Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Of It All, 2012.


1 Deftones - Koi No Yokan.
I wrote a review here. My feelings are unchanged.

2 Bloc Party - Four
To be honest, I thought these guys were washed up after 2008's Intimacy. But this album dropped the electronic posturing and got back to their rock roots. It's kind of an uneven album, but there is true beauty in the unevenness--it listens like a Bloc Party best of album from 2017.
Key tracks: V.A.L.I.S., So He Begins to Lie, We Are Not Good People, 3x3,Coliseum, Ketting, The Healing

3 Local H - Hallelujah , I'm a Bum
I am just as surprised as you are about the existence of this entry. Local H dropped off my radar in the late 90s and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the years have been good to Scott Lucas, the only remaining member of the original band. HIAB is a concept album about the hard knox life in present day Chicago. The songs here chill you like -15 degree weather, as you wait for the Blue Line, where the next stop is an existential crisis.
Key tracks: Night Flight to Paris, Say the Word, Feed a Fever, Paddy Considine, They Saved Reagan's Brain

4 Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix
After The Pick of Destiny, I was pretty pessimistic about the D. I guess that's what happens when your debut is comedy rock gold. Rize went back to the basics, trimmed the fat and saw Jables and Rage Kage find their chi once again. This is a great Rock album.
Key Tracks: Low Hangin Fruit, Deth Starr, Roadie, Throwdown, Rock is Dead, 39

5 Indian Handcrafts - Civil Disobedience
Don't left this band's horrible name fool you, this is a dynamic album. It's a two-man outfit who picks up where Death from Above 1979 (also an all-time worse band name) left off. It's noisy, chaotic and beautiful all at the same time. This is a young band to watch.
Key Tracks: Bruce Lee, Coming Home, Worm in My Stomach, Red Action, Centauri Teenage Riot

6 The Mars Volta - Nocturniquet
One of my favorite bands of the last decade drops their most accessible album to date. There are some actual attempts at melody here which goes against the Volta's usual jazz-funk riot. If you don't dig this one, stay away from the band's awesomely weird backlogue. 
Key Tracks: The Whip Hand, The Malkin Jewel, Aegis, Dyslexicon, Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound, Nocturniquet

7 Beach House - Bloom
Ever since I experienced last year's best film, Drive, I've been a sucker for melodic Electro in the same vein as Chromatics and Kavinsky. Had Beach House dropped this gem a year earlier, they undoubtedly would have had key songs added to Drive's excellent soundtrack. A great album to fall asleep to. 
Key Tracks: Wild, Other People, Irene, Troublemaker, New Year, Wishes

8 Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox
Here is an artist that I never thought would be on any top list of yours truly. I was very surprised to hear what a more mature Mars confessed to on this one. This album sounds like it could have shared Billboard top 10 space with Michael Jackson, The Police and Prince--cuz this disc goes beyond just a tip of the cap to 80s pop-- it sounds like an unknown gem from 1983 that suffered from a lack of a promotional budget. 
Key Tracks: Locked Out of Heaven, Young Girls, If I Knew, Moonshine, Treasure

9 Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods
To me, this band is hit or miss. Sometimes they sound like Smashing Pumpkins a wee too much. But this album caught my attention after I heard the lead cut, Skin Graph. The tracks that followed sounded like the soundtrack to a Stephen King story that takes place at Camp Crystal Lake. To call this album haunting would be putting that shit lightly.
Key Tracks: Mean Spirited, Make Believe, Skin Graph, Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings), Gun-Shy Sunshine, Busy Bees

10 Soundgarden - King Animal
Probably my most anticipated album of 2012. It wasn't the disappointment I thought it could be. Reunion albums error on the side of suck most times, you don't have to look much further than Stooges The Weirdness and The Eagles atrocious double album of country diarrhea (Long Road Out of Eden). King Animal is easily one of the best reunion albums ever, mainly because the band didn't try to reinvent the iPhone. The music is entrenched in 1994, but the lyrics are so 2012. The album was a tad uneven with Chris Cornelly ballads mixed in with the rockers, but that is my only critique. 
Key Tracks: Rowing, Worse Dreams, Non-State Actor, Blood on the Valley Floor, Bones of Birds, Eyelids Mouth

Honorable Mentions:
Pujol - United States of Being 
Now here is a kid that gets it. Part 90’s pop-punk, part Tom Waits. Albums like this reaffirm my faith that rock will survive the wave of synthetic Dubshit that screams, quietly, into earbuds of  the lost minds of youth.
Key Tracks: Mission from God, Made of Money, Diy2k, Reverse Vampire, Dark Knight in Shining Armor

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
I came late to the Frank Ocean party. He’s crooner that isn’t afraid to get weird the Pink Floyd way. Is this world’s first psychedelic soul album? Probably not. Between Channel Orange and Kid Cudi’s Indicud (out the first quarter of ’13), Hip Hop is in great hands.
Key Tracks: Pilot Jones, Sweet Life, Pyramids, Thinkin’ ‘Bout You, Sierra Leone

Top five albums I first heard in 2012: 
1 Wavves - King of the Beach
I'm a sucker for this new (or old?) lo-fi surfer rock that has hit the Indie circuit over the last couple of years. Wavves personifies that sound to a T, with jangly guitars, sex wax fingers and cheep beer. Super Soaker takes me away to my youth when I was forced to listen to Janet Jackson and Aerosmith’s Pump.
Key Tracks: Converttiible Balloon, Idiot, Linus Spacehead, King of the Beach, Super Soaker, Post Acid, Baseball Cards

2 Film School - Film School
I loved (and continue to love) the Post-Punk/Shoegaze revivalists of the Aughts. So much good shit came out of it—Interpol’s any album, The National’s sad and poetic High Violet, The Killer’s first album, Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm—just to name the good ones. Somehow, I missed Film School. How did I miss this band? I blame sports.
Key Tracks: Harmed, On & On, Pitfalls, Breet, He’s a Deep Deep Lake

3 Fidlar – DIYDUI (EP)
Fidlar is a force of nature. In the same vein of the nu-Surf of Wavves, Fidlar has no qualms about admitting to the Lester Bangs theory about the band The Guess Who, admitting through their music that they are drunken buffoons. Wake Bake Skate not only hustles the shortest chorus in maybe rock history, but they do it so effortlessly and carelessly, it makes you wonder if they might be one of those bands that burns twice as bright as they drink themselves into oblivion. 
Key Tracks: Wake Bake Skate, Oh, Wait for the Man, Max Can’t Surf

4 Pentagram- Relentless
Boy, am I late to this party. I saw the great documentary, Last Days Here awhile back and fell in love with lead singer Bobby Liebling—a washed-up drug addict enabled by his wealthy parents. It’s a great story about a band I knew nothing about. There was nice little spotlight put on Relentless  at the beginning of the flick, especially the circular groove of All Your Sins, a song that can keep its own with Black Sabb’s best.
Key Tracks: Relentless, Sign of the Wolf, All Your Sins, Death Row

5 The Black Keys - Magic Potion
To defend myself, I was actually an early adopter of the Keys--I had Thickfreakness and Rubber Factory on my hard drive when John Kerry got an exploratory committee together. But for some reason, I missed what is now my favorite Keys alum, the aptly-named, Magic Potion
Key Tracks: Back Door, Give Your Heart Away, Your Touch, You’re the One (my fav by the band)

1 Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16-
Although the title puns itself against one of the great American novels, it nicely updates the themes to the modern era. Kasher unflinchingly tell the story of his troubled childhood. It’s great because it doesn’t glorify drug use, but it doesn’t unglorify it either. Kasher instead uses drugs as a bailiwick to tell his odd story of recovery. Plus, the guy knows how to turn a phrase with the best of them, further proving that comics tell the best stories period.

2 Outliers: The Story of Success-
I have been flirting with this book for quite awhile and I finally decided to use it in two classes this last semester. I’m glad I did. This might be Gladwell’s best to date as he explores the idea of genius and legacy and how the two are never mutually exclusive. It breathes hope into passion and tells the reader that if they have a particular interest plus 10,000 hours to spare, then your true calling is never out of reach.

3 Among the Thugs-
Bill Buford’s non-fictional account of soccer fanatics (don’t you dare call them hooligans) is up there with Hunter Thompson’s Hell’s Angels as a sociological yarn about society’s unmentionables. It pulls the camera back and looks at Britain as an island culture of desperation and anger, especially in the book’s framing in the 1980’s. This one creates it’s own world and throws the reader into the crush of a brutal subset of society.

4 Animal Man-
During some downtime in Manhattan over the summer, I wandered around world famous Midtown Comics and met this dude who quickly downloaded some potential series that I might like. We talked Alan Moore for a bit until the comic nerd said, “Ever read anything by Grant Morrison?” Boy, did that change my perception of what comics could be. He told me to start with his freshman outing at DC, revitalizing the lame duck character, Animal Man. I got a compendium of the 89 issue series. It now stands as my favorite graphic novel. It's psychedelic, weird, and extraordinarily meta. Grant Morrison is one of the best storytellers alive.

5 V.A.L.I.S.-
Philip K. Dick is a weird guy. This is one of his final books, a fictional retelling of a nervous breakdown he had. It is one of the stranger rides one would take in a psychedelic sci-fi—it involves drug use, pink beams that transmit from UFOs into protagonist Horselover Fat’s brain and a strange hybrid of 1974 Los Angeles and Ancient Rome. Dick is also a character in the book as well. It’s a strange book that I can’t really recommend because it’s so bizarre. I’m not even sure I liked it—but it did have some mind-blowing ideas contained within. This might be an accurate description of Dick’s writing in general.

1 Argo
Ben Affleck is #winning as a director. He needs to not act anymore, but he doesn't drag the rest of this stellar (often doppelgangers for their non fictional counterparts) cast down in this thriller-cum-space opera. It matches Lincoln's use “that guys" and uses humor when it's warranted. The plot never wavers and its kinda nail-bitey towards the climax. If you don't like this film, you hate the movie-going experience and all I have to say to you is #argofuckyerself.

2 Looper
Looper will twist your brain into a pretzel. I still don't know what it's fully about, but I'm okay with this. I do know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a badass actor (look to last year’s 50/50 and Hesher for further proof) and he went all in on his spot-on Bruce Willis interpretation. Plus, the story is pretty goddamn good too. Sci-fi is alive and well and it isn’t afraid to use its brain.

3 Moonrise Kingdom
I am constantly in an abusive relationship with Wes Anderson. I loved his first three films (especially his first, Bottle Rocket)—but Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited were both pretentious messes that suffered from bloated budgets. Fantastic Mr. Fox was great, but confusing—for I didn’t see Anderson making the switch, fully, into kid’s films—even though a majority of his films seem like kid films for adults—which might be the perfect description for Moonrise. This might be Anderson’s best. He pulled back on the pretense a bit and allowed the characters to explore their isolated island world. All of the adults pull out great performances here—but the main characters of Sam and Suzy (played by great upstarts Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, respectively) are the real gems here. Sam Shakusky might be one of the greatest film characters of all time once this film marinates for a bit. And if he isn’t, it’s a godamned shame.

4 The Dark Knight Rises
I feel obligated to choose this film because of both my allegiance to Batman and Christopher Nolan—and even though this is a great flick, it doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor. But if this is my lone critique, I can live with it. Truth is, this is a much more methodical and patient film than Dark Knight. The biggest payoff was the end of the film, which left this writer’s eyes filled with milky tears. Nolan maybe done with the franchise, but the story isn’t over—maybe the next director of the series will pick-up right where Nolan left off. I would be okay with this.

5 Lincoln
Daniel-Day Lewis is the man. He proves it once again by reshaping our perception of the notorious 16th president. I liked that Spielberg decided to go against the typical biopic grain by isolating the story to the passing of the 13th amendment to abolish slavery in the United States. It showed audiences that bickering in Washington is nothing new (or old?)—and it allowed perspective to take as much as the spotlight as Lewis’ show-stopping performance. And it completes Spielberg’s High School civics trilogy with Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. This is an important film.

6 Django Unchained
This would be a great double-feature with Lincoln—as long as Django is the first to be shown. It could give the audience the problem, while my #5 offers up the solution. That being said, Django might be Tarantino’s funniest film. There is a scene early in the film, where a bunch of upstart KKK members bicker over not seeing out of the holes in their masks—I wet myself with amusement over the rednecks Monty Python-esque deconstruction of the absurdity of the situation. Samuel L. Jackson gives one of his best performances in years as the slave-hating slave, Stephen. Also, Christoph Waltz is fast becoming a Tarantino go-to—showing his chops again as Dr. King (pun intended?), a German bounty hunter with a heart of gold.

7 The Raid: Redemption
Holy shit was this a thrill ride. This Indonesian gem was high and action and low on boredom. This is easily one of the best action films ever made. Even if you hate subtitles, you will do very little reading cuz the characters in this one talk mainly with fists and feet.

8 Killing Them Softly
To be honest, I didn’t really like this one upon first seeing it. It was slow and needlessly crude and violent. Plus, I didn’t get the whole parallel of the 2008 presidential election parable thingy. Then I read this article on Grantland and it changed my mind. Every ten years or so, a movie like this is made—think Taxi Driver, Falling Down or Pitt’s greatest film, Fight Club. It boils down American frustration into violent fantasies of how to exist outside of the status quo. Softly does this in spades and I agree with Zach Brown’s assertion that, "the film may not be particularly beloved this year — it's too obvious, too on-the-nose, too grindingly familiar — it will probably be adored in another 10 or 20 years, when the grimy details of our current moment are forgotten but the general foul aura of the last four years remains.

9 Sleepwalk with Me
Between Mike Birbiglia’s excellent comedy and Moshe Kasher’s book—it is clear that comedians in this country can make great fucking art used as extensions of their craft. This is a funny and poignant film about not only the difficulty of stand-up comedy as a occupation, but it examines the rare condition of sleepwalking that Birbigs fights in real life. It also looks at a modern relationship about as honestly as any film this season has.

10 Lawless
This is a mediocre period film is soon forgotten if not for Tom Hardy, one of the best in the bossiness. He was adequate as the heavy in Dark Knight Rises, but in this one, as one of the protagonists, he gives a quiet, Aspergery kinda flare to his role as a bootlegger during Prohibition. 

1 Ari Shaffir's Skeptic Tank - Christiana Pazsitzky
I don't know why I loved this episode so much. Maybe it was one of the first episodes I listened to of Shaffir s underrated show. Maybe it's because Pazsitzky really opened up about growing up as a troubled Goth chick in Southern California, talking about things I could relate to about being a minority during her school years. Regardless of what it was, what you'll find here is intimacy between two comedians who don't know much about each other until the end of the show. It felt like a first date between two vulnerable and honest people who speak the same language as me.

2 Joe Rogan Experience - Dennis McKenna
This episode was on right before the dreaded 12/21/12 Mayan end date. Rogan and McKenna talked a lot about Terence McKenna, Dennis' late brother who was a psychedelic advocate during the 80s and 90s--a more intellectual Tim Leary if you will. This was one of the best episodes of the Experience yet.

3 Adam and Drew - Episode 5
They're back! Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky are doing the Loveline thing again, this time in podcast form. Loveline was easily my favorite radio show when Carolla was on from 1995-2005. It took a few episodes, but the newest one, episode 5, finds the comedian/doctor in their old groove with Adam hogging airtime and Drew passive aggressively punching his microphone. Looking forward to a 2013 filled with this new show, twice a week.

4 The Duncan Trussell Family Hour - Dan Harmon
Dan Harmon, former show runner for NBC's Community, talked to Duncan on a random episode over the summer. The podcast is still on my Zune. Dan matched wits with Duncan throughout as they discussed the possibilities that we are living in a technological simulation--among other fascinating topics.

5 The B.S. Report - Malcolm Gladwell
One of my favorite writers, Gladwell, made his podcast debut as he and Simmons talked about PEDs and the 30 for 30 documentary 9.79*, about Ben Johnson's gold medal stripping at the 1988 Olympics. These guys should make their case for PED use in all sports to the UN/congress/Olympic Committee. 

6 The Nerdist - Paul Williams
Paul Williams, singer/songwriter of soundtracks of your favorite movies in the 70s/80s, talked to the Nerdist boys about his success and failures due to alcoholism. I loved how self-deprecating Williams was about his boyish looks and his honesty about how Hollywood has worked for a long time. 

7 The Joe Rogan Experience - Alex Grey
Another psychedelic hero joins Joe for crazy hippy drug talk. If you don’t know who is Alex is, Google his name and hit images…I’ll wait. Now you know who he is, don’t you? He was a great guest who politely disagreed with Joe’s gloomy outlook for humanity. Grey, as it turns out, is an eternal optimist who is soft-spoken, yet heavily articulate. This was podcast gold.

8 WTF with Marc Maron - Tenacious D
I’m lukewarm on Maron’s show for the most part, but he’s been interviewing a lot of great musicians of late because, well, he’s running out of comedians (one of his rules is that he doesn't double-up on guests, once they are on, he doesn't ask them back). Tenacious D (my number 4 album of the year) stopped in as a sort of comedian/musician hybrid—ushering in a new era of Maron’s sometimes great show. Jables and Kage brought their great energy to show and often had Maron choking on his own laughter. Later in the ep, Maron phones comedian-buddy Mike Birbiglia about the premier of number 10 movie of the year, Sleepwalk with Me.

9 The Joe Rogan Experience - Maynard James Keenan
One of my favorite musicians of all-time gave a long-form interview with Rogan about wine, drugs and weird mysticism. Maynard is a hard guy to get anything out of—but Rogan’s attention to subject matter that Maynard cares about kept the flow going. Even in the parts where Rogan’s dim-witted sidekick, Redban, tried too hard to ask about Tool and A Perfect Circle—Rogan quickly swooped in with his patented, “Oh. Brian.” MJK is one smart mutherfucker.

10 The Joe Rogan Experience - Duncan Trussell (any episode)
They must have done at least 10 episodes this year and they all are blurred into one giant resin ball in my mind. This is one of the best verbal pairings in all history. Looking forward to more podcasts from these two psychedelic visionaries in 2013.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Koi YES Yokan

Ok So...
Here is the list of the best American Bands:
1 The Doors
2 Ramones
3 Deftones
4 Nirvana
5 Beastie Boys

You can disagree with me all you want--but this is a solid list, you can't disagree that all of these bands have melted two or more forms of specific music and blended it together.

I'm serious about that number 3 pick. That first one is out of respect. John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and James Douglas Morrison, a man I have met in person--those cats invented the American notion of Rock and Roll. Fuck The Byrds and The Beach Boys and Buddy Holly. And while we're at it, fuck The Crossroads dude!

There was no rebellion in Rock before that. Morrison was part lounge crooner, part prophet for the tune-in-turn-on-drop-out generation. His echoes remain a strong influence on the young and the old. His picture is more synonymous with rock and roll than Elvis ever was. Doors brought darkness to the flower power generation. Morrison was warning those kids of the 1970's. And he was right.

And the Ramones invented Punk Rock...

But the Deftones are a true influence to me. They helped shape my life, in the most literal sense of the word. I moved to Sacto because of them. I loved Around the Fur that much. Isn't that a true-blue California notion, go to a school because your favorite band is from there? That album spoke to me in ways I cannot explain to this day. That album grounded me.

Two and a half years later, I was living in Sacramento for over a year and White Pony (my #1 College Album and the first thing I ever downloaded on Napster--sorry Chino!) I still bought that and every album the band has put out since.

That habit will not change, for Koi No Yokan  is one of the best love albums ever recorded.

If you love Slayer, Depeche Mode, Jawbox, Metallica, Deadsy, Soundgarden, System of a Down, The Cure, Snoop Dogg, Interpol, Duran Duran, Tool, Fugazi, Korn, Joy Division, The Smiths, Radiohead, Far, Smashing Pumpkins, Limp Bizkit, Incubus or Bad Brains--there is a chance the Deftones will win your heart. They are 40% Metal, 30% Shoegaze, 20% Dream Pop, 10% Trip Hop.

You see, I consider myself one of the best amateur Deftones biographer (see: Stalker Guttersnipe) and think about this excellent band as two parts of the same half. The first half released 5 albums. This first incarnation of this band tragically died when Chi Cheng was in a car accident.

The good news is that the Bassist is still alive. The bad news, he can't play bass. And Terry Date didn't record an album in 2012.

Enter bassist Sergio Vega and producer Nick Raskulinecz. Enter Deftones 2.0: A well-oiled metal machine, looking to go into another realm once again.

Koi No Yokan is a perfect album for a perfect time. We all need a little hope. This usually gloomy band has made their most upbeat to date. People will cherish this like Loveless or Reign in Blood someday. But until then, swing your head to the beat of "Goon Squad"--their most well-crafted song to date. It has everything that makes these fuckers perfect. It builds a rising sound a'la Pink Floyd--melody, darkness, ambient sounds, buzzsaw hooks, samples, spellbinding lyrics and chorus, a Quicksand-esque low end and Abe Cunningham's caffeine beats. It is an American treasure--a torch to the other side of our collective darkness, reminding us, "there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the good news is that it's an oncoming train."

Notable Tracks: Goon Squad, Entombed, Poltergeist, Romantic Dreams.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This is my first crossblog with The website is making its premier, so check it out and bookmark it. Thanks to Paul Eide, Paul Major Bradley and Matt Stewart for the opportunity to hitch my gonzo Winnebago to their undoubted Titanic. Going down in flames never felt so good...

...this is how it ends. This is also how it begins...

We watch the NFL because it gives us something we lack. If you're a lonely 49er's fan in St. Paul, MN for business and you go to watch a Vikings/Bears game late in the season and you want to see the Bears lose so that the Niners get home field in the playoffs, you will find your fill of kindred spirits as you raise glasses in honor of the hope for a Chicago loss.

Comparatively, if a socially butterflied Chicagoan who looks like George Wednt, goes into a Sasaluito tavern, orders a round for the house and when asked what the celebration is for, the Chicagoan farts out his brauthole, "a Bears Super Bowl victory," he will be satisfied that he pulled a nice little bait-and-switch-come-wool-over-the eyes of a bunch of smelly, unemployed hippies.

If a Yankee fan sees that the Sox are losing to Baltimore 10-0 in the 3rdthe Yankee fan will enjoy a blast of a hatred dopamine that compares to a bath salt haze. If a Cavalier fan (all 13 of you) sees Lebron holding his knee in Game 2 of the 2013 Finals, that Cav fan will go a premature  one in his Under Amour shorts. These tactics/thoughts/transitions of psychic thought are the very cornerstone of hating/loving people simply based on a personal preference. It's tribalism at it's best. Divide, then conquer.

“Our heroes may make us love them, but it is our villains that make us cheer.” 
I tend to think that I don’t enjoy sports I way I used to. In fact, I know I don’t. Back in 1998, I didn’t care that Randy Moss was an idiot and that Bret Farve had a penis. All I wanted was to see Moss get that jumpball  or Farve “have fun out there.” Now I wonder about the grand conspiracy that secret European treatment will extend Brain Urlacher and Kobe Bryant’s careers 10 years (allegedly.)

This operation is going to be the bee’s knees.

The term “soap opera” has become synonymous with today’s Twitteroided National Football League. Why? Because we care more.  When  we get to know a Calvin Johnson or a Drew Brees or a RG3—we like them more. This is a fundamental rule in any good fiction, if you don’t like Don Draper or Rorschach, then you have no story.The same goes with a villain, we must love to hate Anton Chigurh or Bob Costas. 
Some may think that this soap opera element in sports is a lowering-of-the-standard. It may be. But just a wee bit. It's mirroring the WWF of the 1980's. It's a male tabloid. It's a hunking behemoth that has no rival. The NFL is like a B track from News of the World.

We will look back at the 2011 season at the beginning of the NFL Singularity: the year when a Super Bowl rematch between the Giants and Patriots was eclipsed by something as stupid as Tebowmania. The year when they figured out to stay relevant in the off-season with Andrew Luck vs. RGIII in the draft and the Saints Bounty/Sean Payton's martyrdom. 

And now 2012. The first season of post-NFL singularity--("the year the machine awoke" would be the subtitle if this were a Hollywood blockbuster). Leonardo DiCaprio would play Tom Brady. Denzel and Will Smith as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Brad Pitt as Bret Farve, who returns to the game for the Buffalo Bills only to go 1-6 after acquiring America's Top Penis Model, taking over for out-for-the-year Ryan Fitzpatrick, to be played by my future brother-in-law. 
This entry has no real thesis, so here are some unorthodox decisions (AKA Predictions):

Breakout Player: I'm going for the sexy pick: RG3.

Surprise Team: Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. (9-7, loses to the Bengals in the Wild Card)

Devastating Injury in Week 1: Drew Brees. Broken throwing hand. Out 12 weeks. The Saints go marching to 5-11 in his absence.

Will Calvin Johnson survive the Madden Curse? Yeas.

Disappointing Team: The Sexy pick wins again. Denver Broncos (7-9, miss playoffs)
League MVP: Eli Manning.

Will the Bears take it to the house? The house burns...
Super Bowl Champ: See: the Mayan Calendar. 

I will end you if you fuck with my shit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Big Wish

The powers think they run the Internet. The people that really run the Internet will soon give them the keys and explain nothing. There would be a noticeable glitch in the webnets. Shit will get fucked up and the government would show just how limited they are as they beg the forefathers of the Internet to take them back. But during this downtime, the forefathers don’t rest on their laurels, as they perfect the Internet and publicly made politicians hand the keys back, symbolically, as the Internet will then take over the American fiber optics. 

This might be what the 2012 event is, the moment the Internet takes over. That would be a day, wouldn't it? Maybe a meme high jacks the prez election and the Internet releases their candidate for the newly patented "Internet Party:" Texas Congressman/oxygenarian curmudgeon, Ron Paul. The forefathers force the courts to rule on a new patented voting machine, based on server tally. The rules and regs are drawn up and endorsed by the Repubs (payouts) and the Dems (hookers/prescription medication). The courts will rule it a constitutional change to American democracy. Voting will go up 37%, the electorate college will be broken-up and super delegates will go back to work at local used car sales floors in Lansing, Michigan. 

Paul will win in a landslide. Fleet wood Mac and Billy Corgan will sing “Landslide” at the victory party, hosted by Jon Stewart. A new baby boom dawns.

If we can imagine it, we can change it.

Paul/Stewart '12

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Era of Suck

Even in her offseason, the NFL has proven that she is a force to be reckoned with. It took a full 20 minutes of last night's Sportscenter to even get to the coverage of actual games last night as they recapped all the free agency and disciplinary action from the last 24 hours.

Saints ain't gonna have a home field Super Bowl this time around, as the hammer came down hard on Gregg Williams, Sean Payton and the Saints GM. Payton won't coach for the entirety of the 2012 Wayfarer and Williams is out indefinitely. Fuck! Where to start with this one....

Let's be clear, this is more about setting a precedent than anything else. The Saints ended up in the crosshairs of the league just as she was conveniently looking for a scapegoat/martyr to burn at the stake for the sins of contact football. This is more about safety than upholding the integrity of the game. This is also about the bottom line and litigation (ain't it always) and the avoidance of the latter in the future. But mark my words, once the smoke clears, this will be the NFL version of the steroid era in baseball, a strange middle period where everything that was on the hush at one moment, becomes a congressional hearing in the next.
"I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule."

Football is becoming a lot like government, in that there are too many rules and not enough enforcers of said rules. When your rules start to define the game being played (i.e. taking away the physical contact of football or having Satanic-suckers-of-lobbyist-cock masquerade as public servants), what you are doing is changing the scope of the game to suit the needs of their overlords. The outcome is something new that is pretending to be the old thing, yet never acknowledges this change. This, to me, is the worst kind of lie. If the NFL were indeed a sociopathic woman, we would call her Madonna.

Not a coincidence that this succubus preformed at the last Super Bowl.

This is the ultimate example of "do as I say..." in the NFL. Does anyone else find it slightly ironic that Goodell handed down this harsh disciplinary action on the shoulders of a storied franchise for being lied to? Goodell is fundamentally changing how the game is played, on behalf of the owners, to protect their collective investment--the pawns of the gridiron.

My guess is that when the teams huddled up last summer for contract renegotiations during the infamous Lockout of '11, they talked heavily about the problem of ex-players filing suits against the league for compensation of medical and lifestyle treatments they needed in their older age. The NFL agreed to institute draft to grave coverage in medical costs, but the caveat was that they would need a reason to justify harsher penalties against defensive players. And you get the sudden demonizing of players such as DonkeyKong Suh and James Harrison laying down the hits they are paid good money to carry out.

The truth is, these type of bounty programs have been embedded in the culture of the sport since it dawned. When when I was in High School, we were given skull and crossbone stickers to put on our helmets as a reward for a key tackle or sack. Although it wasn't cash, it was still an incentive program (or a bounty program, if you want to demonize it.) But I don't understand why this is all of the sudden a bad thing. Because the league needs it to be a bad thing so that they can implement their new policies, rules and ultimately penalties for the very contact the sport is known for. It's called problem-reaction-solution. This is the NFL version of the Gulf of Tonkin...and I smell a rat.
Want some cheese, asshole?

I think the biggest blowback of this sudden Hitlerization of making hits and tackles will be injuries on the other end of the spectrum, because the last time I visaged, there weren't many offensive flags thrown because Heinz Ward or Lgarrette Blount turned on beast mode after the catch and pummeled some poor free safety who was pulling up a little bit because he didn't want a league fine. What then? It's the same problem, is it not? It's so fucking stupid the blatant hypocrisy of it all. When did the defense become the bad guy and why is there pity taken upon the man with the ball? I think what we are seeing is the residual effect of the collective remorse of adult jocks feeling sorry for themselves for winning so many games of "smear the queer" back in the day. And it's the game that is suffering the most. There's a storm a brewing ahead, my friends--and it will put a black eye on the sport we all love so much. Mark.

Okay, now on to the free agent highlights. Obviously ,I was super stoked about the Bears getting Brandon Marshall and I thank Peyton Manning and Marshall's penchant for smacking a bitch up for the reason the Bears got him so cheap (two third rounders). The only thing that worries me is that the Bears could start 2012 without Marshall (suspension from that faghag Goodell) and Forte (holdout)--leaving Cutler to piecemeal, once again, on offence (although he is becoming disturbingly used to this in Chicago). But, once they figure out how many millions to dole out to Forte and Marshall finishes his slap on the wrist, the Bears suddenly look deadly on both sides of the ball for the first time in my memory. Plus, they signed a couple ex-Raiders (Jason Campbell and Michael Bush) to backup Cutler and Forte, something they didn't have last year. I kinda like this Phil Emery guy, unlike Goodell, he approaches the game from a logical prospective.

Okay now on to Manning and Tebow. Mark my words, the Broncos now have a huge target on their back with Manning under center and it's not a given that he will be 100 percent next season. I predict a 9 win season, barely missing the playoffs because the Raiders pOwn the division like they have threatened in the last couple of years. Peyton Manning is playoff poison, so if they do get in the postseason, the usual suspects will devour the Broncos. One man does not equal a championship in any sport.
"The fuck you say?"

And young master Tebow has joined the circus that is the NY Jets. I really do hope that his faith grounds him, because the random strange that is going to be hurled at him in the Big Apple will be of the unbelievable variety. That being said, his virginity will walk a tightrope. But who knows, maybe it will be the edge he needs to win the job away from that pussyhound Sanchez. Either way, the Jets will suck again next year and miraculously, the NFL messiah won't be able to save the smoking 747 that is the New York Jet franchise, as it falls further into the abyss that is this era of suck.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Podcast: The Education of Jeremy Lin

In today's love affair with my own voice, I talk mostly about the Knickerbocker phenom, Jeremy Lin. From there, I go into familiar country as I wax nostalgic about old skool Knick teams, compare and contrast the vocations of stand-up comedy and teaching Community College, and I seem to remember talking about mine eternal nemesis: Mathematics. Set your phazers for FUN!
This guy Skooled Kobe?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and John Wilkes Booth

1. Booth appeared in an 1863 production of MacBeth with Louisa Lane Drew.
2. Louisa Lane Drew appeared in an 1896 production of The Rivals with her grandson Lionel Barrymore.
3. Lionel Barrymore appeared in It’s A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stuart in 1948.
4. Jimmy Stuart was in 1977′s Airport ’77 with Jack Lemmon.
5. Jack Lemmon was in JFK in 1991 with Kevin Bacon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.

Electricity warps outward in a dark alley. A flash of light burns then turns to steam. A nude male, 6'4, weighing 16 stone is kneeling in a glowing indention in the concrete jungle. The man rises, his body chiseled a Greek statue, his face calculated for a mission, eyes red as lasers. Beneath this skin an exoskeleton of future steel, programmed to destroy the youngest member of a NFL quarterback mill named Manning. This bloodless conception, know to humans as New England Patriot quarterback, Tom Brady is on a hunt--revenge his creed.
"I'm looking for Lucas Oil."
"It's all happening," was a common mantra amongst the throng of band sluts in Cameron Crowe's best film, Almost Famous, an apt expression, me thinks, for the ramp up to Sunday's football melee, a true unofficial American holiday that has evolved from clash of the bested gladiators to pop culture explosion when advertisers throw their tightest spiral into our collective eyeballs and gambling addicts bet on the outcome of a simple toss o' the coin.
This year's game will be different than all Super Bowls played before it. We all know what happened on February 3, 2008 in Phoenix as the Giants rose like the city they were playing at, on the shoulders of...well, Giants; looking down at the aberration that had become the Patriots bid to be the only 19-0 team in league history. It went down as the greatest loss in pro football history. Klosterman agrees.
Vince Wilfork enjoys his offseason...
But this game coming up should have the subtitle: Goliath Gets Back Up. The match-ups have be repeated to death by the so-called experts, but the one I am most interested in is the demeanor of Capt. Suave and the TE offense. The first couple of series will tell the outcome: If Brady comes out swinging, connecting throw after throw and gets at least 7 out of the first two series of chess moves, he has a good shot. But wait...this very thing happened in 2008. I guess the real thing we'll want to keep an eye out for is how Brady reacts to an early lead. Last time he didn't have the motivation to keep it going because, frankly, he was drained for the undefeated season and the ramp up to the equally draining Super Bowl hype machine that has been turned up to 11, it seems, ever since Janet Jackson showed the world her sunny nipple.
WTF just happened?
This Super Bowl will be different, mark my words--because Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. has a fire in his belly that he seems to ignite at his will. He's the Michael Jordan of the NFL that way.
Feed me, Richard Seymour.
Believe it or not, this chubster would become the purest quarterback in universal categories to ever play quarterback in the highest league. Tom Brady grew up just north of here, in a parallel dimension to yours truly (wouldn't be a metagonzo journalist it it didn't point back to me at any point in the game here). Really, Brady is an amalgamation of about 3-4 dudes I went to high school/played sports with. And now that I think about it, at my High School, Eric Rabuse was our Tom Brady.

Eric Rabuse was my best friend in 4th grade. The tandem of Rabuse/Stutsman were the equivalent of a terrorist network to grade school teachers at Woodlake Valley Middle School. Eric and I seldomly paid attention in class, goofed on all the goof-worthy candidates and we were obssessed with seeing the flick Raw Head Rex (a film I still have yet to see). Eric and I were so bad that it was requested that we not be allowed in the same class for the rest of our tenure at WVMS. But on a technicality, we were back at it in Mr. Lee's class in 5th grade. Eric and I quickened whatever eventually killed Mr. Lee that year.
The Rawest of all the Heads...
After 5th grade, the school officially made it a policy that Stutsman and Rabuse not be in the same class for the next three years. After that, Eric became a really good basketball player. To this day, I marvel how natural his layup was in 1988. He was also a great baseball player, leading little league in the HR category 3 years straight.

In Pop Warner hell, Eric became the starting quarterback, then he leap-frogged freshman league football and became the JV starter, perfecting his throwing motion and accuracy, leading the league in passing categories for two seasons in Charlie Dodd's west-coast offense. I would watch my former best friend with the same awe that I'm sure kids in the Bay Area did when they watched Tom Brady rule the roost on Norcal gridiron.

Long story short, Rabuse lost the fire in his belly (if he even had it, Eric was the most natural athlete I had ever observed, but his heart was more into doing stupid shit in class than completing a 78-yard pass to William Harrison on Exeter's home field) when he threw 5 interceptions in a the league-opener against Lindsay our Junior year. I always thought that Eric threw the interceptions on purpose, as a protest to the expectations of his dad, the coaches, the student body and the town. Can't you just hear the Rage Against the Machine soundtrack in the background? The next year, Eric transferred to rival Exeter where he may/may not have been illegally recruited (ah High School sport politics). The coaches in Woodlake made such a stink that Eric wasn't allowed to play any sport at Exeter his senior year, which threw a wrench into the machine since Eric was expected to dominate in baseball once again, that senior year all-important to show off to the scouts for the MLB draft. This move got Woodlake it's quarterback back, but it was moot because Eric hurt his hand in the only game he played in that senior year, a comeback effort against Dinuba were the Rabuse magic was once again on display....for the last time.
Tom Brady was also a Rabuse-esque natural at the big three sports. Brady was heavily pursued by the Montreal Expos in 1995. Instead, Brady opted for college to play baseball/football for the Michigan Wolverines. After the Wolverines won the National Championship following an undefeated season on the shoulders of Brian Greise, Tom Brady became the starter for blue and yellows in 1997. But even then, the much-hyped Drew Henson was nipping at Brady's heels, touted as the next two-sport prospect à la Bo Jackson and Neon Deion (Henson went on to play for the Yankees for a bit after college, retired from baseball and played quarterback briefly for Parcell's Cowboys before getting cut in favor of Drew Bledsoe, the man who lost his starting job to Brady in New England. Weird).
L to R: Drew Henson, some unknown Puke, and Gisele's meal ticket

Despite the Henson setback, Brady was able to start for the majority of his two seasons in Michigan. Then in 2000, Brady entered the NFL draft. Early analysis said he was too little to be a NFL quarterback and the NFL being the copycat league it is, Brady was passed up the first day of the draft until the Pats got him late in the 6th round.
Don't judge a book by it's cover...
My favorite Brady-is-a-T-1000 story happened not long after Brady stepped in for Bledsoe in 2001. I remember reading an article in Sports Illustrated at the CSUS student clinic (for undisclosed reasons), an interview with Belichick talking about Brady's autistic level attention to detail after taking the snap. If I remember correctly, Belichick was yelling at Brady after he threw the ball away on a 3rd down and Brady defended the decision by going into a detail-rich explanation as to why all his targets were covered as he rolled out of the pocket. Belichick probably gave him one of those knitted looks we all love the Coach for, but to his surprise, upon further review of the game tapes, Belichick was floored when he saw each receiver scenario play out just as Brady had described. It was at that point, I believe, Belichick knew he wasn't going back to Bledsoe in 2001--his franchise quarterback in New England was already under center.


As much as I love a good revenge story, I really don't want the Patriots to win on Sunday. But if they do win, Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. This is enough to root against the Patriots in general, if they aren't your team, nobody should have this much success--at least according to your local Cleveland Browns fan.

The key to the Patriots winning this game will be to keep Eli and his receivers off the field, allowing Brady to take ticks off the clock as he moves the offense down he field for a slow motion score. This is an apt game plan, if there is one thing Brady doesn't do is turnover the ball. But if the possession clock is 50/50, the advantage is with the Giants--because the secondary of the Patriots has been more maligned than any other Super Bowl backfield in recent memory.

But if it comes down to quarterback play, I begrudgingly give the advantage to Tom (although Eli, four years later has proven himself an elite QB). It's all about the fire in the belly, Tom Brady remembers all the people who said he couldn't do it. He heard it in Michigan, he heard it at the combine, he heard it at Patriots training camp and if you asked him, I'm sure the pubescent chubster heard it too. And Tom Brady remembers. Oh, does her remember. And these are the memories that act as jetfuel to his eternal flame.

This is, ultimately, why I am just jealous of Tom Brady. I'm not jealous of his Adonis exhibition in Stetson adverts. I'm not jealous of his conquest of one of the most beautiful models in the world (high maintenance on steroids if you ask me). I'm not jealous of his athletic abilities, his ease of existence under center, his championships, his MVP awards, his role as the golden face (and arm) of the NFL. Not so jealous of his cars, homes, helicopters, island deeds and access to inner-party functions. The quality I am most jealous of is this fire I speak of. I am jealous that through all of the fog of the extravagant lifestyle he leads, Tom Brady still has access to that feeling of inferiority while his life seems to be free of this inferiority. Tom Brady is advanced enough to know that if he were to let go of this spark, he wouldn't be as successful, year-in/year-out. One thing you can bet on in this game and any game that Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is under center, it will not be lost because he didn't give it his all. This to me, is an impossibility. Pats get their revenge, 24-37.

KEEP CALM AND BRADY ON (courtesy of <span class=

Monday, January 23, 2012

Podcast: Paleolithic Winter

Old skool podcast for yer ass!! Although I discuss the AFC/NFC championships at the top, I get into dark nerd territory as I discuss the best TV show in the boob tube's history, "The Wire," that SOPA/PIPA bullshit, the strange thing that is Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the fantastical novel Ready Player One, and the ambitious album by the band Fishboy called "Creepy Classics" and the awesome band from Wassilla, Alaska--Portugal. The Man. Call me, Ishmael!
"When you walk through the garden you gotta watch your back..."
We Scythians loathe rainbows. #loathsomerainbows #sworcery
"It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place."
If Tarantino made music. Listen here.
Musical Guest: Portugal. The Man.