Friday, April 30, 2010

Sing Like a Champion

A couple months ago, we were briefly blessed with a glimpse of a video made by Purdue to send to alumni, apparently in an attempt to raise money (because farmers have the internet). The video was beyond awful. It was cheesy, it featured scenes of what appeared to be someone's post-apocalyptic vision of Indiana complete with overcast skies and grotesque-looking people, and it begged you to donate even $5 if that's all you can spare. It was pathetic.

Seeking to wrest from Purdue the title of "Northern Indiana University with the Worst PR Video," Notre Dame has thrown its self-entitled hat into the mix by making this horribly hilarious song and video (thanks to Gregerson for the link). Brace yourself. Things are about to get uncomfortable.

Huh. So that's what they did. A couple things that popped into my mind while I was laughing out loud:
1. Holy shit, thank you Notre Dame.
2. Is it possible to be embarrassed for a university, much less one that I hate?
3. To paraphrase Hack (I think), look at all those average-looking women.
4. The song blatantly derivative of Morris Day & The Time. Morris, I've never asked you for anything, but please sue Notre Dame.
5. I want to meet the man or woman who thought, "You know what would really make sense in this video? A dude wearing a feathered London policeman's helmet."
6. Why is there a John Lennon lookalike rapping at around the 2:20 mark? Yoko, I've never asked you for anything, but please sue Notre Dame.
7. Whereas the dude who posted the Purdue video was so embarrassed that he took it down, Notre Dame fans and grads are, for the most part, too proud to admit that anything associated with Notre Dame is bad (aside from minority coaches, of course), so I fully expect them to come up with a variety of reasons as to why this is not the worst song and video on the planet. "It'll really unify the fan base." "It's better than anything Michigan ever did." "If you don't like this video, then you don't like God."
8. I pray that IU never does something like this. While the fact that IU has the world's top-ranked music school and The Coug' lives in Bloomington give me some assurance that IU's effort would be better than the failed attempts of Purdue and ND, frankly, in this case, it's better to have not tried at all than to have tried and failed.

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 4/30/10

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Something Shady in Lexington?

From point shaving to openly racist head coaches to paying players, Kentucky is historically the dirtiest program in college basketball. John Calipari is a slippery little SOB who has a history of leaving schools right before they get NCAA sanctions (according to the NCAA, Calipari has been to zero Final Fours, despite being the head coach in two). That's why the marriage of Kentucky and Calipari seems so perfect.

In the short time since Coach Cal has been in Lexington, he has pulled in unbelievably recruiting classes. His most recent commitment came from Indianapolis guard Marquis Teague, a top 5 recruit in the Class of 2011.

Someone set up a fake Facebook account for Coach Cal and sent a Facebook message to Marquis Teague. Click here to read what was said (thanks to Holt for the link). It's vague, but Teague's response seems to be a tacit admission that there was some shadiness that went on with his recruitment. Kentucky fans, of course, suggest otherwise because they are part of the most delusional fan base in the world.

It would seem to me that this is something UK should look into, but I'm sure they won't, since these are the same people who hired Calipari in the first place.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shit I Hate: People Who Are Too Cool or Too Hurried For Stop Signs

This morning, I was walking Harley. She poops in the mornings, and we'd rather she do it outside. At the end of my block, there is a four-way stop. It's a block north of a major east-west thoroughfare, and in between two relatively busy north-south streets, so people are always cutting through in all directions, often ignoring the red octogon positioned conspicuously on the right side of each corner.

Anyway, I was walking Harley and about to step into the crosswalk when I see a black Passat barreling down the street towards us at what had to be 40-50 miles per hour. I yanked Harley back, and the driver noticed us in time to slam on her breaks to come to a stop halfway through the crosswalk. Had I not yanked Harley back, this bitch would have definitely hit her. And then I would have broke some shit, most notably my hand as I rained blows on her hood.

Instead, I yelled, "What the fuck!" Then I stared her right in the eyes, pointed to the stop sign and yelled, "That's a stop sign, asshole! Slow your shit down!" She was blond, so I'm not sure she understood a single thing that came out of my mouth. Then she mouthed "sorry" and appeared to gesture as if she had no idea the stop sign was there, you know, because there aren't stop signs on every single residential block in the City of Chicago. I hope she gets t-boned the next time and paralyzed from the neck down. It's the only way she'll learn.

I've come to expect this kind of behavior from people who drive Range Rovers because traffic laws don't apply to them, and they always have somewhere important to be because, well, they're better than you and me. But lately, I've noticed all makes and models of cars blowing through this intersection without stopping. It happens a lot in the morning, when people are on their way to work, and that extra half-second of stopping clearly means the difference between getting to work on time or getting fired. Hey dicknose, leave a few minutes earlier if that's an issue.

The worst is when people don't even look to their left or right and just drive through the intersection like if they don't see other cars and people, then they must not exist. Or the people who see me about to cross the street and blow through the stop sign so they don't have to wait the two seconds it takes for me to cross in front of them. These are the people who most deserve to die, and the people at whom I usually end up yelling and flipping the bird. There are a fair number of kids on the four blocks leading to this intersection. If the idiot this morning couldn't see me as I was about to cross the street, then she definitely would not have been able to see a kid crossing the street.

Seriously people, slow your shit down.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Things I Did This Weekend

I had a pretty decent weekend, so I'd like to share with you the top ten things I did:

10. Made a '70s rock playlist on iTunes.
If it rocked and it was released in the '70s and I own it, it's on the list, including, but certainly not limited to, Thin Lizzy, KISS, Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Boston, and the like. I figure it's important in case I want to give off the "I still party" vibe when I'm at work. Of course, there are 1,044 songs on the list, so I may need to pare the list down a little bit.

9. Watched most of the NFL draft.
I couldn't turn away.

8. Went to Rocks Friday night for dinner, where I had my first burger since February.
They still do wonderful things with ground beef.

7. Worked on my ventriloquism routine.
Woody should be ready for his big debut sometime within the next three to four years. What a cad!

6. Watched I Love You Man.
I thought it was a pretty funny movie, despite the fact that I hate Rush.

5. Watched the Blackhawks win a fantastic OT game and the Sox hit two HRs in the bottom of the 9th for their second walk-off win in a row on Saturday.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't really watch much hockey during the regular season, and I'm fine with that. But I will watch playoffs and enjoy them, especially when the Hawks blow a 3-1 lead, only to get a shorthanded goal with 14 seconds left in regulation to tie it, and then the overtime victory. And the Sox game was pretty sweet too. Maybe they'll start playing like a .500 team.

4. Played in a flag football game.
Technically that was Thursday night, but it was still pretty awesome, seeing as though I hadn't sprinted in about a year and the defenders underestimated my foot speed (as they often do). The result? 17 receptions for 321 yards and 6 TDs, or at least that's how I remember it. God, I miss football. On a related note, I am still sore.

3. Finished making a playlist for Daughter.
I bought Daughter a little speaker system for her crib. Don't freak out – there's no sub woofer or anything. It's actually made for cribs, and you hook up an mp3 player to it, and it shuts off after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, depending on how long I want Daughter to listen to hair band music.

2. Ate at the new Coney Island on Southport Sunday evening with Jester, Daugher, Tradd, and Kara.
A little taste of a Detroit tradition right here in Chicago (aside from the recent baseball bat attacks). I had a Coney dog and a Gyro, and I'm not ashamed.

1. Ate three DQ Blizzards in the course of two days, including two on Sunday.
Hey, it was buy one, get the second one for 25 cents. And no, the second one on Sunday wasn't bought at the same time as the first. I actually went to two separate DQs at two different times of day. I'm not sure that's any better than buying two for myself at once, but either way, it was a pretty fucking awesome Sunday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Book: Open by Andre Agassi

I recently finished reading Dry by Augusten Burroughs, and it was a pretty interesting (and funny) book. It's a memoir about Burroughs's struggle with alcoholism, from his pre-rehab benders to rehab to AA and post-rehab treatment, and beyond. When reading Dry, I had two prevailing thoughts: (1) I am not an alcoholic; and (2) I should feel bad about drinking because I can do it in moderation and this guy can't. In all seriousness, it's the kind of book that makes you realize just how destructive alcohol and drugs can be, and how seemingly normal and put-together people may, in actuality, be raging alcoholics. For me, I'd like to think I could never get to that point because I realize the bitter paradigm about alcohol. Alcohol is a wonderful elixir, but if I want to continue to enjoy the many benefits of alcohol, I cannot abuse it because then it will be taken away from me (not to mention the disasterous physical consequences on my already fragile gut). Thus, I will not be the guy with hundreds of empty scotch bottles stockpiled in my apartment.

From alcohol abuse, I now move onto crystal meth. My next book is Open by Andre Agassi. He is my favorite tennis player, and I know he has had a pretty insane life, from an overbearing father to relationships with supermodels to fantastic mullets, so I expect this will be a pretty good read.

Books read in 2010:
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Happy Hour is for Amateurs by The Philadelphia Lawyer
Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm Just Mad About Saffold

Yes, I just made a Donovan-related pun.

Just because I hate the new NFL draft format doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention. I was somewhat upset that IU offensive tackle Rodger Saffold fell to the first pick of the second round (pick #33), but that's still pretty solid, seeing as though it's the highest drafted IU player since defensive end Nathan Davis was taken 32nd in the 1997 draft.

For those of you keeping track (which I'm pretty sure is just me), Saffold's selection at #33 meant that IU had a player drafted before Purdue, Notre Dame, Illinois, and Ohio State -- which is awesome because those are my four most hated college football programs -- as well as before USC, LSU, Georgia, and Miami (both Florida and Ohio). IU hasn't had a player drafted before all eight of those schools since 1966 when IU defensive end Randy Beisler was taken 4th overall. Needless to say, I haven't been this pleased about an IU draft pick since IU QB Gibran Hamdan was drafted in the seventh round in 2003 ahead of Heisman winning QB Ken Dorsey.

I'm also baffled that the Broncos wasted their first-round pick on someone who projects as a back-up fullback in the NFL. Look, I get that Tebow is a good guy with a great work ethic, but he seems like a terrible first-round pick. Then again, the Broncos' starting QB has a neck beard.

I also like the Bears' sixth-round pick, QB Dan LeFevour from Central Michigan. He's like Tebow, but with more NFL-ready talent. I think he could be a solid QB a few years down the road.

That's all I got right now. Here's to hoping Jammie Kirlew, Greg Middleton, and Nick Polk end up getting drafted or, if not, quickly picked up as free agents.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shit I Hate: The New NFL Draft Format

As recent as last year, the NFL draft was cool. On a Saturday in April, you could sit at a bar or in your house and watch the first two rounds of the draft. Brownstone Tavern even had ESPN Radio there, and they had a contest where the person who correctly picked the most first-round picks won a 42-inch plasma TV. It's the reason Gregerson knows the name Kenny Phillips. If the Giants had drafted anyone but Phillips with the last pick in the first round two years ago, Gregerson would have another TV. And for Tim Weeser*'s friend Austin, for whom draft day was a second Christmas, his life is more or less ruined. It's clear to me that Roger Goodell was not thinking of Austin when he shortsightedly changed the format.

Beginning (and hopefully ending) this year is a three-day format. The first round will be Thursday night, the second and third rounds will be Friday night, and the fourth through seventh rounds will be Saturday. People are going to watch the first round whenever it's on (although surely it will lose some people to Must See TV and the fact that most wives don't want to watch the draft on a Thursday night). But the rest of the draft? Putting rounds 2 and 3 on Friday essentially during dinner time is a mistake. Bars will undoubtedly still have it on, but it seems to me like there were be a much smaller audience. And rounds 4-7? Diehards watched them before and will surely watch them again, but before they were on a Sunday, when there's always less going on than on a Saturday. Now, who's going to get a group of people together to go to a bar on Saturday to watch rounds 4-7?

On the other hand, with the previous format (1-2 on Saturday and 3-7 on Sunday), you're going to get most of the people watching the first round to keep the TV on and watch the second round. On Sunday, as I mentioned before, there's usually not much going on (sportswise and lifewise), so you're probably going to get a larger audience tuning for rounds 3-7 on a Sunday than you will for rounds 4-7 on a Saturday.

Finally, much of the fun and intrigue of the draft is that the most important two picks for each team were made on one day, and the clock didn't stop between rounds 1 and 2. As one writer pointed out, now the first pick in the second round become a lot more valuable because teams have another 18 hours to evaluate who they want to take. Draft-day trades are awesome, but it's a lot cooler when I'm watching. No Fun League, indeed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Songs With a Female Name in the Title

Rock and roll has always been about the ladies. This past weekend, after sharing some peyote with Harley, she suggested I do a Tuesday Top Ten about my favorite songs with a female name in the title. Never wanting to disappoint a griffin, I obliged.

I'm not even going to try to opine on what the "greatest" songs with females in the titles might be, since there have been so many classics: "Layla" by Derek & The Dominos, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly & The Crickets, "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles, "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry, "Good Golly Miss Molly" by Little Richard, "Lola" by The Kinks (although, technically, is that a female's name?), "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby Stills & Nash, "Sherry" by The Four Seasons, "Bernadette" by The Four Tops, "The Wind Cries Mary" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, "Gloria" by Them, "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners (which, by the way, is one of the dirtiest song titles in rock history), "Carrie Anne" by The Hollies, "Roxanne" by The Police, "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers, "Jamie's Cryin'" by Van Halen, "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith, "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar Mellencamp, "Valerie" by The Monkees, "Lady Madonna" by The Beatles, "Valerie" by Steve Winwood, "Angie" by The Rolling Stones, "Caroline, No" by The Beach Boys, "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone, "Help Me Ronda" by The Beach Boys, "Proud Mary" by CCR, "Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner, "My Sharona" by The Knack, "Rosa Parks" by Outkast, "Michelle" by The Beatles, "Sweet Jane" by The Velvet Underground, "Beth" by KISS, "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart, "Pictures of Lily" by The Who, "Mona" by Bo Diddley, "Mary Jane's Last Dance" by Tom Petty, and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles, to name a few.

Instead, this list is comprised of my favorite songs with a female's name in the title.

Honorable Mention: "Emily Kane" by Art Brut; "Lovely Rita" by The Beatles; "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis; "The Wind Cries Mary" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience; "Charlotte the Harlot" by Iron Maiden; "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson; "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan; "Molly's Chambers" by Kings of Leon; "Lola" by The Kinks; "Brandy" by Looking Glass; "Denise" by Randy & The Rainbows

Here are the top ten, alphabetically by artist.

1. "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band
It's my wife's name, and it's one of the best instrumental songs in rock history.

2. "Sexy Sadie" by The Beatles
Had this song not been renamed, it wouldn't be on this list. It was originally entitled "Maharishi," and was a pointed attack on what John perceived to be some improper behavior by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during The Beatles' spiritual retreat at the Maharishi's Indian compound. I once owned an '89 Accord that I named Sexy Sadie. She met her fate when I hydroplaned off Indiana State Road 46 about ten miles west of Spencer and hit a tree going about 60 mph. The song that playing when I hit the tree? "Sexy Sadie." I couldn't make that up. Well, I could. But I didn't. (And, as it is a Beatles song, it's not on

3. "Layla" by Derek & The Dominos
I think this might be the greatest rock and roll song of all-time. The riff is unmistakable, and the back story is second to none. In case you're unfamiliar with rock lore, "Layla" is actually Pattie Boyd Harrison, who was, at the time, George Harrison's wife and in the span of a year was the subject of both this song and The Beatles' "Something." Eric Clapton, who was best friends with George, was madly in love with Pattie. Combine that with booze, drugs, and Duane Allman, and the resulting product is one of the more heart-wrenching songs and albums ever made. I used to be indifferent to the coda, but it's hard not to warm up to it. After the franticness of the first half of the song, Allman's guitar sounds like it's crying, and the piano works quite nicely.

4. "My Michelle" by Guns N' Roses
One of the many (12, to be exact) great songs off of GNR's mega-debut Appetite for Destruction, "My Michelle" is actually based on a woman named Michelle Young that the band used to hang out with. Axl originally wrote it as a romantic song, but then decided to be honest about Michelle's life and completely changed the song into what it became: a dark, brooding, and raunchy rocker about drug abuse and parents who are either dead or working in porn. The first couple lines kind of blow you away (certainly when you're ten the first time you hear them): "Your daddy works in porno / Now that mommy's not around / She used to love her heroin / But now she's underground." At least poor Michelle gets free coke.

5. "Judy Is a Punk" by The Ramones
Whenever I hear this song, I think of the montage about Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums, which is cool for many reasons, not the least of which is seeing a topless Gwyneth Paltrow make out with another woman in Paris. Anywho, the song is a punk classic. I have no idea why Jackie and Judy would perhaps die if they went to Berlin to join the ice capades or to San Francisco to join the SLA, but I like hearing about it.

6. "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" by Bruce Springsteen
This is one of my favorite Springsteen songs, off of the album just before Born to Run. Bruce wasn't quite The Boss just yet, and I've always thought this song was a perfect, point-in-time song for him, as the song's narrator is telling Rosalita that she better come with him right now because he just got a big record deal.

7. "Rosalie" by Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy's cover of this Bob Seger song is fantastic. For a while, I thought the opening lyric was "She's not from Indiana / A smoother operator you will never see." In actuality, it's "She's quite the mediator . . . ." Either way, the song is about some chick named Rosalie who knows about music. Good for her, and good for Thin Lizzy for covering it. (Sadly, it's not on, but click here to hear it.)

8. "Lady Ann" by Township
This is one of my top two or three favorite Township songs. "Gonna write a book / You're gonna read it / It's gonna change your life . . . Gonna find me the finest woman / And I'm gonna make her my wife / We're gonna live in a goddamn mansion / And roam the hills at night." I love the image of a wealthy author and his wife roaming the countryside (presumably in England or California) doing God knows what. The local townspeople would probably be a little freaked out, and it would probably result in a mild hysteria. Either that, or he's singing about the movie Funny Farm. For some reason, those last couple lines make me think of an episode of Sliders (yes, Sliders, starring the inimitable Jerry O'Connell) where they slid to an alternate version of Oakland, and there was a mob of people who would roam the streets doling out vigilante justice when needed. Their name? The Raiders.

9. "Sweet Jane" by The Velvet Underground
I want to know why Jack is wearing a corset (his corset, no less) and Jane is wearing a vest. Also, I love Lou Reed's timely little "oohs" and "ohs" throughout the song, and the "just watch me know" in the third verse. And, of course, I love the bridge (if you can call it that) that busts into "And anyone who ever had a heart . . . ." It's a definite classic by an influential and bafflingly underrepresented band.

10. "Jolene" by The White Stripes
The creepiness of the song really comes out when Jack White sings "Jolene," probably because the song is originally a Dolly Parton song sung from the perspective of a woman whose hotter friend (Jolene) steals her man despite begging by the ugly one for that not to happen. After all, Jolene can have her choice of men, but the ugly one might not be able to ever love again. I assume this ended with bloodshed, although I have yet to hear "Look Bitch, I Warned You."

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Free as a Bloody Bird

This weekend was, in many ways, the reverse of last weekend and, in many ways, a triumph of the proletariat. Jester took Daughter home to the H-town area for the weekend, which meant that Harley and I had the place to ourselves. Needless to say, shit got crazy. Actually, I should say, shit got weird. That's not a metaphor, unfortunately. Harley had been eating inconsistently the last week or so. I just figured it was probably some sort of silent protest of canine rights violations in Myanmar, but then she started shitting blood. (Again, not an metaphor.) When she is sick, our dog – who may or may not have a mild form of mental retardation – only pukes or expels liquid feces on carpets and rugs. Nearly our entire first floor is hard wood, but she decides to shit on the oriental rug my brother gave us as a wedding present and then go downstairs to puke on the cream-colored carpet. Bitch. (Again, not an metaphor.) Thursday, Jester took Harley to the vet and got some antibiotics and the canine equivalent of Imodium, the latter of which clogged Harley up for several days. At least I didn't have to spend my weekend attempting to appease people on my block by trying to pick up dark liquid off of their lawns with a plastic bag. And you thought that my first post ever was the last time you would have to hear about my dog's bloody diarrhea. Think again.

But enough about the combination of blood and feces. This weekend to myself was definitely needed, considering in the last 7 weeks, I've billed over 20% of my required hours for the year. To put that in perspective, I have essentially worked an extra month in the last month and a half. A weekend left to my own devices was exactly what the doctor ordered. My doctor is an alcoholic named Andrew, by the way.

I spent Friday night and most of Saturday sitting on the couch watching westerns while eating hoagies and drinking two-liter bottles of orange and grape pop. I also watched as two Chicago sports teams were dismantled by teams from, cough, Cleveland. Thankfully, Cleveland doesn't have a hockey team. Or a football team, for that matter. Zing!

Saturday night was the observation of the thirtieth anniversary of the birth of Tradd. A bunch of us (with one noticeable absence) went over to his place for some spirits and platonic companionship. As is the custom, Tradd did 30 shots of whiskey, one made in each year he's been alive (except 2010). After Tradd died, the party kind of dissipated, and things became a little awkward. Not wanting to get in Kara's way, Chris, Allison, and I grabbed some cake, stepped over Tradd, and headed over to the Burwood. I haven't been there in a while. It's still the perfect neighborhood bar it's always been, aside from the noticeable lack of John the Bartender behind the bar.

Amazingly, I didn't eat a single burrito this weekend. I did, however, have pizza for the first time since February. It's still good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 4/15/10

1st grade teacher referring to a Biggest Loser contestant: "He is the sickest fuck I've ever seen. I think I'll call him chin pubes."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething female: "My grandpa said dont stand in front of the microwave it will make you sterile, so I always stand in front of the microwave."
--Chicago, Hopleaf, Clark & Foster
Eavesdropper: Tron

4th grade teacher: "Someone needs to piss on me tonight. All of you need to piss on me tonight."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Guy and gal having a conversation about if he's still interested in her or not, and she says: "My vagina is a whole lot closer to you right now than hers is."
--Durham, NC
Eavesdropper: Shep

4th grade teacher on her golden birthday to her husband: "Josh, I brought our anal beads."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thirtysomething female: "I like bad things to happen to Notre Dame, but I guess I don't want people to die."
Eavesdropper: GMYH

4th grade teacher on her golden birthday: "Tell her I will put my vagina on her forehead, even if it has a rash."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Late twenties attorney: "I really need to up my pot habit."
Eavesdropper: Can Can

Twentysomething marketing executive on opening day: "This is the cleanest day of the year for the trough. I think I'll drink from the trough!"
--Chicago, Wrigley Field, Clark & Addison
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

5th grade teacher recalling a night out: "I probably had slinger all over me."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

5th grade teacher: "We only like red wine. That's why our teeth are fucked up."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Twentysomething special ed teacher during dinner: "I want that sauce all over my face."
Eavesdropper: The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

Thanks to all who contributed, and to Chicago Public School teachers for opening their mouths. And remember, whenever you overhear something funny, email it to, and it will be included in the next exciting installment of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Defunct or Dead Bands or Artists I'd Most Want to See In Concert

With the summer concert season just around the corner, and my Iron Maiden tickets purchased, I got to thinking: "GMYH, you sly and regal mothertrucker, what bands or artists that are no longer around would you most like to see in concert?" "Good one. That's tough." "I know." "Oooh, that would make a good Tuesday Top Ten." "Good call." "I love you." "I love you more."

I love live music, and I've made it a point over the last fifteen years or so to see whatever bands I can because I know that nothing lasts forever, especially in the music world. I've been lucky enough to see Metallica, Van Halen (with Diamond Dave on vocals and Wolfgang Van Halen on bass), Simon & Garfunkel (with a special guest appearance by The Everly Brothers), Aerosmith, Santana, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Black Crowes and Jimmy Page, The Scorpions, Ratt, Def Leppard, Journey, Styx, Foreigner, Boston, Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, Poison, Paul McCartney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tesla, Eric Clapton, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Jimmy Buffett, among others.

With many of the bands and musicians that I love getting up there in age, I may not have too many more opportunities. Hell, I was already too late with many of the aforementioned bands, who have either had to endure deaths or departures of band members. (Also, it would be nice if AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen didn't charge $75 for the "cheap seats.")

With Iron Maiden tickets in tow, I can cross another one off the list -- not that it's about having a list to cross off, but I just don't want to look back in 20 years and say, "Damn, I wish I would have seen Iron Maiden while they were still touring." For Christ's sake, I haven't even seen Eddie in person.

But it got me thinking about which bands I'd like to see live that I won't get a chance to see. For this, I am talking about a band (or a lineup in that band) that is definitely never going to play live again (due to death) or that will more than likely never going to play together again (due to break-ups).

I'm talking about a typical concert experience, here – not, for instance, a Zeppelin concert with just me and my closest friends at The Bluebird in Bloomington (although that would be awesome). For example, KISS (in its original form) is on the list, and my concert experience with them would be an arena show with pyrotechnics and 10,000+ rabid fans (and maybe festival seating – egad!).

You may be surprised that I don't have The Beatles on this list. Yes, they are my favorite band of all-time (and, by far, the greatest and most influential band in rock history), but I'm not sure I'd necessarily want to see them live over the bands on this list, mainly because they stopped playing live in 1966, I would likely be unable to hear them over the screaming girls, and I am not fond of the smell of teenage female urine.

Honorable mention: The Who (original lineup); James Brown; Queen

10. Van Halen (original lineup)
As I mentioned above, I've seen them with David Lee Roth on vocals and Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, but I want to see the original lineup. I know you're probably thinking that there is still a possibility that the original lineup will reunite at some point. But I want to see the original lineup playing at the Starwood in 1977.

9. Howlin' Wolf.
Howlin' Wolf was a giant man (he basically had the body of an offensive lineman) who had one of the most unique voices I've ever heard, and from what I understand, he put on a great show. Live blues is something I simply don't see enough of (which is pathetic, considering I live in one of the best cities to see live blues, and less than a half-mile from two of the better blues clubs in the city). Sitting in a smoky, South Side blues club in the '60s listening to Howlin' Wolf belt out "Wang Dang Doodle" or "Smokestack Lightning" would be pretty awesome.

8. The Grateful Dead
I wouldn't consider myself a Deadhead by any means, but I'm also not averse to the Dead's music and culture. Deadheads are certainly one of the more unique phenomena in rock history. I had a chance to see them at Soldier Field in either 1994 or 1995, but I passed. I regret that, since Jerry Garcia died soon thereafter (in fact, the Soldier Field show in 1995 was apparently his last show).

7. Thin Lizzy
Live and Dangerous is generally regarded as one of the better live albums of all-time, and with good reason. Unlike many live albums, which are essentially just greatest hits albums with some fan noise added in, Live and Dangerous features interaction with the crowd, extended versions of songs, and some songs that you won't find on a Thin Lizzy greatest hits album. They were not only a great rock band, but Phil Lynott knew how to play a crowd. Unfortunately, he also knew how to drink and drug himself to death.

6. Otis Redding
If you've footage of his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, you know that Redding was a hell of a showman, in addition to being a hell of a singer and songwriter. Plus, he had the MGs backing him, so that's an added bonus.

5. Led Zeppelin
Zeppelin were the kings of rock in the '70s, and, unfortunately, with John Bonham's death in 1980, they were forever disbanded. In one sense, I'm glad they've never attempted to re-form the group with another drummer. On the other hand, I want see Led fucking Zeppelin in concert, even if Jason Bonham is sitting behind the drum kit.

4. KISS (original lineup)
I saw KISS last November, and don't get me wrong, it was awesome. KISS has always been known for their fantastic stage shows, and they do not disappoint. I have nothing against Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, but Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are the originals (and I have kind of a thing for Ace). Seeing KISS in, say, 1976 or 1977 would just about be the ultimate concert experience, in my opinion.

3. Guns N' Roses (any lineup from May 1985 to 1993)
Yes, I know Axl continues use the GNR name, and that he has used a variety of line-ups (and put out the long-awaited Chinese Democracy) in the years since Slash and Duff left the band, but let's not kid ourselves. Without Axl, Slash, and Duff, it's not the real GNR (with all due respect to Steven Adler, Matt Sorum, Izzy, Dizzy, and Gilby, a combination of whom I also believe contributes to my definition of the "real GNR")).

2. The Doors
I've seen "The Doors of the 21st Century," which was comprised of Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, former Cult singer Ian Astbury playing the part of Jim Morrison (and absolutely killing it – he was awesome), and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland playing the part of John Densmore. It was a phenomenal concert, and if you squinted, you might have actually thought Astbury was Jim Morrison. But he's not. I have several Doors live CDs, and I know what a powerful and hell-raising force Jim Morrison was on stage. I would have liked to have seen that. Thanks, God.

1. Jimi Hendrix
Whether it was with the Experience, Band of Gypsys, or solo, I can't think of someone I'd rather see live than Jimi Hendrix. Lord knows I have no musical talent, which is why virtuosos (and particularly, guitarists) fascinate me. I can stare, mesmerized, for hours at someone playing a wicked guitar. Hendrix did things with the guitar that no one had ever done before and that no one has done since.

How about you guys? Any band or artist that is no longer around that you'd want to see in concert?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Father Time

This weekend was my first real test of fatherhood. Jester went out of town to The Meadows for the weekend -- something about a "much-needed coke binge." At least, I hope she said "coke." Thus, it was just me and Daughter (and Harley) this weekend. After two days of being a single parent, frankly I don't understand what all of the fuss is about. It was a fun-filled and action-packed two days.

We laughed, she cried.

We went shopping on Armitage and told people what time it was, or at least this one chick who was all "do you know what time it is?" Time to stop hitting on me, trollop.

We went to a birthday party for another infant, at which she slept for a total of 14 seconds, and cried for the remainder, thus prompting an early exit and a deserved 15-minute scolding once we got in the car.

I taught her how to terrorize an autistic dog into submission by opening umbrellas and making a fog horn sound by blowing into the top of an empty beer bottle. Oh, I also taught her how to drink beer.

We made gratuitous use of the Baby Bjorn.

She learned the ins and outs of yelling at the TV during White Sox games. Her first word will either be "mercy!" or "yougottabefuckingkiddingme."

I taught her how to make a shitload of hard-boiled eggs, eat all of them, and then buy another 18-count carton of eggs to make it look like nothing happened.

And all of this is just while she was awake. When she went to sleep, I recited The Big Lebowski to her from memory. After that, I got so much done: dishes, laundry, watching Metal Mania, online trivia, filing my canines into fangs, writing a screenplay about my weekend.

On the online trivia front, I've become pscyhologically addicted to Sporcle. While I have played many a game on there, here are the five that stuck out to me thus far as ones that you guys should check out:

1. Olympic Cities (10 minutes). Name every city in which the Olympics (summer and winter) have been held. I got 38 out of 47. For some of the winter cities, you would pretty much have to live there to know them.

2. Chicago Bears QBs (8 minutes). You have to name every Bears starting QB since 1985. I got 20 out of 28. Not to give you too much, but I am pissed at myself that I missed Will Furrer.

3. The OC Characters (6 minutes). They give you the actor/actress, and you name the character. I got 25 of 30. God, I miss that show.

4. Led Zeppelin Songs (12 minutes). Name every song from Led Zeppelin's 9 studio albums. I got 50 out of 81. My early Zeppelin is far more solid than my late Zeppelin.

5. Beatles Songs (19 minutes). Name every song from The Beatles' 13 studio albums. This is the motherlode. I got 127 of 192, which I consider to be pathetic. In the spring of 1999, I would have gotten a 192.

By the way, whenever you play MLB trivia games, do not forget about Nap Lajoie.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Book – Dry by Augusten Burroughs

I finished up Happy Hour is for Amateurs by The Philadelphia Lawyer,about two weeks ago, but I haven't had enough time to write about it since then. I really enjoyed it. The book is kind of like a more grown-up version of Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. The Philadelphia Lawyer regales the reader with tales of debauchery, hilarity, and the stupid shit you have to deal with when you're a lawyer, throughout his first seven or eight years as a lawyer. Like many young lawyers, he is apathetic and cynical. He switched jobs several times, trying to find a firm that he liked, only to realize that it wasn't so much the law firms that he didn't like, but being a lawyer in general. At some point, he started an anonymous blog to vent about the ridiculousness of being a lawyer. Then, when he was 33 or so, he wrote a book, which got picked up by a publisher, and he then quit the law. This was inspiring to me, particularly since last month was my highest billing month since I became a lawyer, and I'm pretty sure there were a couple times when I almost had a heart attack. If nothing else, Happy Hours is for Amateurs reminds me that there is a way out and that I need to get my shit together. I'd defintely recommend this book for any lawyer who has practiced for at least three years, and in general to anyone who hates his or her job.

I've since started reading Dry by Augusten Burroughs. It's a memoir about going to rehab for alcoholism and his subsequent struggle with being a recovering alcoholic. So far, it's pretty funny. Just a note for you conservatives who may be thinking about reading this book: Burroughs is a homosexual. I know that freaks you guys out. Also, he lives in New York City. I know that also freaks you guys out even more.

Books read in 2010:
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Happy Hour is for Amateurs by The Philadelphia Lawyer

Old School Wins

Well, the verdict is in, and by an 80% to 20% margin, you, the fair GMYH readers, chose Old School over The Hangover as a better comedy. I told you, Morgan.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Bands I'm Most Excited About Seeing at Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza is back for its sixth year at Grant Park in Chicago, August 6-8. Jester and I were some of the few lucky ones to grab the $60 souvenir tickets a few months back when they were on sale for somewhere between three and ten minutes. After missing last year (which was well worth it, given the hellacious time I had in Memphis), I am pumped to be retuning to Grant Park for three days of love, music, and sweating through my pants.

This year's line-up was announced this morning, and it includes the likes of Green Day, Soundgarden, The Strokes, and Lady Gaga.

Here are the ten acts I'm most excited to see (in alphabetical order):

10. Arcade Fire.
I only know a few of their songs, but I saw them a few years ago at Lolla, and they put on an awesome show. If I recall, at one point, someone put on a helmet that another band member then used as a drum. There also might have been a cello nearby.
9. The Black Keys.
They are becoming a Lolla staple, as I think this is their third or fourth appearance. I've seen them several times, and they always bring the thunder. Plus, they have a new album coming out this spring, so watch out.
8. Company of Thieves.
This is a Chicago trio that Jester happened upon last year. I only know one of their songs, but it's pretty good.
7. Cypress Hill.
I would rate their self-titled debut album and Black Sunday as two of my favorite hip hop albums.
6. Devo.
They're weird. Plus, Daughter's new trick is to pretend to crack a whip.
5. The F**k Buttons.
I have no idea what they sound like, but the name alone is intriguing enough.
4. Green Day.
Seems like I should see them before the end of the summer, seeing as though I've never seen them in concert.
3. Soundgarden.
I'm really hoping that creepy girl eating ice cream in the "Black Hole Sun" video will be there, as well as Spoonman. But seriously, this should be a pretty sweet show. Chris Cornell is an underrated singer who can belt it out with the best of 'em.
2. The Strokes.
I've been wanting to see them for the past nine years (Jesus, has it been that long since they put out their debut album?), so I'm excited to finally have the opportunity. Had they released more than three albums over the past ten years, they might have rivaled The White Stripes for the title of best rock band of the 2000s.
1. Wolfmother.
I saw them in 2006 at Lolla, after they put out their massive self-titled debut album that summoned early Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The band all but broke up soon thereafter, leaving only singer Andrew Stockdale, who reformed the group and put out the band's second album, Cosmic Egg, last year. They still sound great, and you've probably heard "New Moon Rising" on SportsCenter or on lead-ins or lead-outs for commercial breaks during televised sporting events.

I'm sure I'll discover more bands as I check out the many acts I've never heard of, but this is definitely a good start. I'm excited, although I hope not to piss 60 ounces this time around.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Say No to Proposition 96

While we're on the topic of March Madness, I think expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams is a terrible idea. The awesome thing about the NCAA tournament is that -- unlike college football, where about half of the D-1 teams go to a bowl -- it is a special accomplishment when a team makes it into the tournament. Adding another 31 at-large teams waters it down and cheapens the tournament. There is a reason the NIT still exists: to give the teams not good enough to make it to the NCAA tournament something to do for a couple weeks.

Under the proposal, the NCAA would likely end the NIT. The NCAA tournament would last essentially the same amount of time (i.e., starting on a Thursday and ending two and a half weeks later on a Monday). Here's how it would go down:
  • It would start on a Thursday, and the play-in game would be eliminated.
  • The top 8 seeds in each region would receive first-round byes.
  • Seeds 9-24 in each region would play first round games on Thursday and Friday of the first week
  • The winners of first round games would move on to play the top 8 seeds in the second round on Saturday and Sunday.
  • For the third round, winners of the Saturday games would play again the next Tuesday, and winners of the Sunday games would play again on Wednesday.
  • The winners of the third round games would then move onto the Sweet 16, which would be on its currently scheduled days, that Thursday and Friday, with the Elite 8 following on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Final Four would be the same as well, on the next Saturday, with the championship game the following Monday.

The NCAA says this proposal would include no additional travel time, and that the amount of time student-athletes would be out of school would roughly be the same as the current model. I don't see how that's possible.

Under the current model, if, for example, a 9 seed advances to the Sweet 16, they would be play first and second round games on Thursday and Saturday, and then in the Sweet 16 game the next week on Thursday. They would at least be going to class on the Monday and Tuesday in between.

Under the new model, if a 9 seed advances to the Sweet 16, they would be playing a first round game on Thursday, a second round game on Saturday, a third round game on Tuesday, and the Sweet 16 game on Thursday. I think there is a general rule, that teams arrive at least a day in advance, and I would think it's unlikely that, if the team lost in the Sweet 16, they would head home Thursday night. Thus, those kids would be away from campus from Wednesday of the first week all the way through the second week, missing a week and a half of classes. And, if the regionals are in a different location than the first three rounds, then that team will have to travel to another city on that Wednesday.

Under the current model, if a 1-8 seed advances to the Sweet 16, if they play on a Thursday and Saturday the first weekend, and then on the next Thursday. Like the 9-seed example above, they would be missing class on Wednesday through Friday of the first week and Wednesday through Friday of the second week, for a total of six days (assuming they have class on each week day).

Under the new model, they would play on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Thus, they would not be going to class the Friday before (the travel day) and the entire next week. This would also be six total days, but it would include an entire week of classes missed (i.e., at least two classes in a row).

Essentially, there is no possible way the new model will result in the same amount of missed classes as the current model. Obviously, this new model doesn't have the student-athletes' interests in mind. The NCAA's motive is entirely transparent: money.

Adding 31 more teams won't make the tournament more competitive. No one is going to care if a 16 seed beats a 17 seed for the right to get stomped by a 1 seed. The NCAA tournament is not broken, so there is no reason to fix it.

Final Fantasy 2

With what little time I have left to talk about this year's Final Four before it becomes passé, I have yet another nugget of statistical wonder.

Butler is the fifth school from the state of Indiana to go to a Final Four. This, of course, triggered my OCD mechanism and made me immediately need to know which states have the most different schools that have been to the Final Four.

With that, here you go. As always, I am including vacated Final Fours.

1. Eight - Pennsylvania
Duquesne (1), LaSalle (2), Penn (1), Penn State (1), Pittsburgh (1), St. Joseph's (1), Temple (2), Villanova (4)

2. Six - California
California (3), San Francisco (3), Santa Clara (1), Stanford (2), UCLA (18), USC (2)

3 (tie). Five – Four States
Indiana: Butler (1), Indiana (8), Indiana State (1), Notre Dame (1), Purdue (2)
New York: CCNY (2), NYU (2), St. Bonaventure (1), St. John's (4), Syracuse (4)
North Carolina: Charlotte (1), Duke (15), North Carolina (18), NC State (3), Wake Forest (1)
Texas: Baylor (2), Houston (5), SMU (1), Texas (3), UTEP (then Texas Western) (1)

7. Four - Illinois
Bradley (2), DePaul (2), Illinois (5), Loyola (IL) (1) (It should be noted that Loyola is still the only school in Illinois to have won an NCAA men's basketball title.)

8 (tie). Three – Seven States
Florida: Florida (4), Florida State (1), Jacksonville (1)
Iowa: Drake (1), Iowa (3), Iowa State (1)
Kansas: Kansas (13), Kansas State (4), Wichita State (1)
Kentucky: Kentucky (13), Louisville (8), Western Kentucky (1)
New Jersey: Princeton (1), Rutgers (1), Seton Hall (1)
Ohio: Cincinnati (6), Dayton (1), Ohio State (10)
Washington: Seattle (1), Washington (1), Washington State (1)

15 (tie). Two – Seven States
Georgia: Georgia (1), Georgia Tech (2)
Massachusetts: Holy Cross (2), Massachusetts (1)
Michigan: Michigan (6), Michigan State (8)
Oklahoma: Oklahoma (4), Oklahoma State (6)
Oregon: Oregon (1), Oregon State (2)
Virginia: George Mason (1), Virginia (2)
Wisconsin: Marquette (3), Wisconsin (2)

22 (tie). One – Sixteen States Plus DC
Arkansas: Arkansas (6)
Arizona: Arizona (4)
Colorado: Colorado (2)
Connecticut: Connecticut (3)
District of Columbia: Georgetown (5)
Louisiana: LSU (4)
Maryland: Maryland (2)
Minnesota: Minnesota (1)
Mississippi: Mississippi State (1)
Nevada: UNLV (4)
New Hampshire: Dartmouth (2)
New Mexico: New Mexico State (1)
Rhode Island: Providence (1)
Utah: Utah (4)
Tennessee: Memphis (3)
West Virginia: West Virginia (2)
Wyoming: Wyoming (1)

39 (tie). Zero – Thirteen States
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota

And because I am borderline retarded when it comes to NCAA tournament statistics, I will give you another one. If Butler wins, it will be the second school from Indiana to win a title, becoming the 9th state with multiple winners (and if West Virginia wins, it will be the first school from that state to win a title). Here is how the states break down when it comes to number of schools to win an NCAA title:

California: California (1), San Francisco (2), Stanford (1), UCLA (11)

North Carolina: Duke (3), North Carolina (5), NC State (2)

Kentucky: Kentucky (7), Louisville (2)
Michigan: Michigan (1), Michigan State (2)
New York: CCNY (1), Syracuse (1)
Ohio: Cincinnati (2), Ohio State (1)
Pennsylvania: LaSalle (1), Villanova (1)
Wisconsin: Marquette (1), Wisconsin (1)

Arkansas: Arkansas (1)
Arizona: Arizona (1)
Connecticut: Connecticut (2)
District of Columbia: Georgetown (1)
Florida: Florida (2)
Illinois: Loyola (IL) (1)
Indiana: Indiana (5)
Kansas: Kansas (3)
Maryland: Maryland (1)
Massachusetts: Holy Cross (1)
Nevada: UNLV (1)
Oklahoma: Oklahoma State (the Oklahoma A&M) (2)
Oregon: Oregon (1)
Texas: UTEP (then Texas Western) (1)
Utah: Utah (1)
Wyoming: Wyoming (1)