Friday, October 29, 2010

Verde FC Wrap-Up (as promised)

As you'll recall, the league in which the Green Team played went to 7v7 last spring so we scrambled to put together a new team to play in a tougher league. Keeping the green theme, we went w/ Verde FC & enter the MUSL Over 30 5th Division. It was a fun experience & we'll definitely stay w/ it for next year, but we'll have to make some improvements in order to get more points & move up the table a bit.

As a brand new team, finishing bottom of he lowest division didn't surprise me too much, but what did surprise me was the lack of quality in some of the other squads. Had we had enough players on a regular basis, we would have gotten more than 5 points out of the 14 matches (that still puts us on track to finish better than Derby County did in the Premier League a few years ago when they were relegated w/ 10 points after 38 matches). We were short-handed more often than not though which was rough. Playing 8 or 9 against a full side week-in & week-out starts to weigh on ones soul a bit. Everyone on the team improved though so moving ahead, things look good. We had 22 people on the roster but only 15 who showed up on a regular basis (& only about half from week to week). Other than that, our friendships got stronger & the dedication was always there. Even when losing 4-0 w/ 9 people, we kept going forward & trying to play decent soccer, so we can take that from the season as well. Plus, I rediscovered my love of slide-tackling. Even though I also rediscovered the weekly bruises that occur in a tougher league, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Perhaps next year, we'll relocate to the Ypsi area, sell some kits, & get a few people out to support us on a weekly basis. Start writing your Verde FC songs now so you'll be ready come when May rolls around.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hey, do any of you guys know how to Madison?

Ryan Adams: "Halloween Head"

Ryan Adams: "I See Monsters"

Warren Zevon: "Werewolves of London"

Jerry Garcia Band: "Werewolves of London"

Michael Jackson: "Thriller"

Tim Curry "Sweet Transvestite"

I do the Rock, myself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Arsenal Highlight Series

It's been a while since I last remembered to do this, but if you want to see the ones we missed, you can srcoll through the old ones after you watch it. Stay tuned for a Verde FC season wrap up coming soon too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donetsk Don't Tell

The Soccer Aspect of this Post
Arsenal continue their amazing run in the Champions League yesterday by beating Shaktar Donetsk 5-1 in London which brings their goal tally in the competition to 14 in three games. Awesome! Not only did they score 5, but they were scored by 5 different people: Song, Nasri, Fabregas, Wilshire, & Chamakh. The goal they conceded, 8 minutes from the end, was scored by Eduardo. He had played for Arsenal for the last few years before leaving this past summer. He suffered a nasty multiple fracture that kept him out of the squad for over a year, so seeing him get goal was nice too.

The Politics Aspect of this Post
In other news, Don't Ask Don't Tell has been in the news lately, & it seems to finally be on its last legs. Dan Choi has re-enlisted & the courts seem to have done their job. We'll see. Of course, the real reason I'm discussing it is because it fit so nicely into the title. And because it will work as a happy transition into a little fun talk about the election. With all of the ballot proposals coming up next month, I thought you might enjoy this little link: Ballotopedia. It's a little wiki that can keep us all up to date on them, including Califoria's attempt to decriminalize weed & Oklahoma's attempt to make English the state's official language, as the elction gets closer. Enjoy... & dn't say I never gave you nuthin'.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bad News Everywhere I Go

Last night @ The Magic Bag, Whitey Morgan & the 78's had their fun CD release party for their 2nd album, Whitey Morgan & the 78's. We'd been looking foreword to is for a few weeks, but @ the last minute Stephanie came down w/ a nasty cold. She still wanted the cd though, so I gave Dan a call & the 2 of us checked it out. We got there right as Horse Cave Trio, a fun rockabilly group w/ w/ obvious influences from Carl Perkins & ZZ Top were starting "That's Alright, Mama." I love it when I walk in on a band I've never seen & they play a tune I love. They also did a dark cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" which reminded us of "Jesus Left Chicago." The other song that stands out, I imagine it's called "Outlaw Blues" because they used that phrase a lot, was less impressive. Rule 1: Name a song after a Dylan song... you got big shoes to fill. Rule 2: verses modeled after "The Future's so Bright" don't really fit in a song named after a Dylan song. They were fun, & certainly talented, but were definitely 1 trick ponies.

At 11:40, Whitey came out & rocked. Apparently, Seger's manager was there checking them out. I hope he dug it because they played a fantastic set. To the best of my memory, here's the list:

Paradise >
Bad News
Cheatin' Again
Honky Tonk Angel
Cocaine Train
Another Round
If It Ain't Broke
Memories Cost A lot
Turn Up the Bottle
Where Do You Want It?
I Ain't Drunk

Honky Tonk Heros

They were great & he crowd was fantastic (albeit a bit smaller than I expected). Dan seemed to dig them too, which was very cool. However, I had a scary ass moment on the way home.

I was rollin' down Southfield 'round 1:30 when the driver's side rear wheel started makin' noise. It sounded like something was caught in the wheel, but then it just stopped... w/in 30 seconds I as on the side of the road though. The tire blew out in what might be the most inconvenient place on Earth. There I was, laying just off of the expressway in the dark w/ cars wizzing by @ 70 MPH. I can say this... it wasn't fun. i got the tire changed & slowly on my stupid little spare made it home.

This afternoon, after watching Arsenal gain a few points on Chelsea, I headed out to replace the tire. I was hoping to find an open junk yard to keep it on the cheap: no dice. I ended up @ a shady auto place on Michigan Ave. At that point, I stalled in the lot & couldn't get it started again. (Sidenote: it stalls all the time, like @ every stop.) It turns out it I needed a new battery & a new starter so what started as a hunt for a cheap tire ended w/ me splashing a lot more cash than i could afford. On the positive side, they replaced the PVC Elbow which was the cause of the stalling. The ironic thing is that I tried to replace it 6 months ago, but the places I went claimed they couldn't get one. Furthermore, the constant stalling & restarting was what cause the other problems. Had I been able to replace it when I 1st tried, the other things would have been avoided. At least it'll work right now, and I'll be sure to make it out to the next Whitey Morgan show. You should too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Talk About Bond Songs, Baby

Encore Action has been showing James Bond films almost every night for a couple months. Of course, this means I've been watching a lot lately. Last night, for instance, Live & Let Die was on, followed by The Spy Who Loved Me. This got me thinking about the quality of the theme songs these films have sported over the years. I then, obviously, realized I needed to rank the Top 5. Before we get to that though, here's a little bit about a couple that didn't make the cut. "Tomorrow Never Dies" is the only Bond theme sung by someone who has had her ass a little bit groped by @ least 1 of the writers for Visions of Ypsi. (Actually, I was pushing her out of my way & accidentally touched her ass so it might not qualify as a "grope.") "Goldeneye" is the only Bond film to have a theme song sung by someone whose best theme song wasn't for a Bond film; Tina Turner should have given up on film themes after her awesome performance of "We Don't Need Another Hero" for Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The other reason "Goldeneye" gets special mention is because, while it was performed by Tina Turner, it was written by Bono & The Edge. Here we have a case of the entertainment industry tying to create the perfect song, ie: too many cooks in the kitchen. Lastly, Rita Coolidge, Rita Coolidge may have done it for Willie Nelson, & "All Time High" is a cool song, her country stuff in the 1970's was just so much better that it seems like a let-down.

Before we get to the list, we need to set down a few guidelines. Songs have been selected based on 3 categories: relationship to the content of the film, representation of the artist's general catalogue, & all around awesomeness. And now, your Visions of Ypsi Top 5 James Bond Themes:
5) "Goldfinger: It's a weird song & hard to believe it could have been a hit. Never the less, it rose to #8 on the US charts in 1964.

4) "Nobody Does it Better" Carley Simon's song from The Spy Who Loved Me is good stuff. Her voice is perfect w/o the cheesy '70's qualities found in many of her other songs. Of course, that means it doesn't represent her other work very well... hence 4th rather than 2nd.

3) "For Your Eyes Only" I never assumed Sheena Easton would get props on this site, but props where props are due. It's a cool song, & it works well w/ the movie. I've always really liked it.

2) "Live & Let Die" Many people would complain about this because they feel that Sir Paul should top the list. That however, would be an inaccurate claim. It's a great song, but it doesn't represent the complete Wings repertoire.

1) "A View to a Kill" This song scores high in all 3 criteria. It's perfect for a mid-80's Bond film, it sounds like everything else Duran Duran recorded, & it is simply awesome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Archie Comics

Who's the real king in queen Archie's world? Hooper X suggested that it is Jughead, but it may not be Jughead for long. In the September issue of Veronica, Veronica #202, Kevin Keller moves to Riverdale. He is apparently Riverdale's 1st openly gay resident. Considering the population of Riverdale, that seems hard to believe, but I guess the possibility of gay people Riverdale never occurred to the gang. On breaks @ Nicola's, I've read a few Archie books, but I hadn't noticed this new one. I hope there are still a few left on Friday when I go in there again.In this issue, Veronica has a thing for the new kid in school, Kevin, but he obviously isn't interested in her. Jughead, out of jealousy (& maybe homosexual panic) develops a plan to get revenge on veronica for liking a gay guy more than she likes Jughead. The plan involves not letting her in on Kevin's homosexuality in order to see how long they can go laughing behind her back. Nice work, guys. "Ha ha ha... she likes a fag and doesn't know it!" Real classy. Of course, by the end it all works out & they all become friends as we learn that we should all tolerate the gays in out community too (and not a moment too late). But only if we really, really have to, right Arch? Here's a fun little story about it from Talk of the Nation.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

James Garner Garners Some Praise from Visions of Ypsi

The week after I got out of 5th grade, I was in a promotional video for GM that was filmed @ the State Park in Petoskey. (The following year, I was in a GM commercial that actually aired on TV & I have a cop of it waiting to be transferred from VHS to the computer as soon as I find someone w/ the technology to d0 that... so don't worry, it'll be on Youtube for your viewing pleasure soon enough.) I returned from filming to learn that while I was out, cable television had come to Parkview, our neighborhood just west of Petoskey. Of the 9 channels we got, 1 of them was WKBD-TV 50 from Detroit. ("What were the other 8 channels?" you ask... Disney, The Movie Channel, EPSN, CNN, The Nashville Network, USA, MTV, & TBS.) One night that summer, WKBD showed a movie that changed the course of my life (& the life of my siblings as well). My dad recorded that movie that night & we watched it as a family. I even remember the dessert I ate that night: vanilla ice-cream w/ crème de menthe. The movie we watched on that fateful night was Support Your Local Sheriff. By that point in my life, I'd already seen some Rockford Files episodes, so I knew who James Garner was, but after watching the film, I realized that he is pretty freaking awesome. If you don't believe me, watch him in The Great Escape. People always point to Steve McQueen as the star, but Garner steals the show.

You may recall that a couple years ago, I went on a Rockford run & watched it every nightly. Since then, Channel 38, WADL in Detroit is no longer showing it, but Encore Western has been showing Maverick which is just as awesome. If you haven't seen it, give it a go. It was on from 1957-1962 & is one of the strangest shows I've ever seen. It runs the gamut from straight ahead Western to everything else under the sun: hard-boiled mystery, drawing room comedy, adventure, romance, tongue-in-cheek con (even The Sting lifts a large part of its plot from a Maverick episode), Shakespearean tragedy, & satirical post-modern social commentary.

Along w/ the great writing & bizarre plots is the stellar cast. Not only do we get James Garner as Bret Maverick, but his brother Bart is played by Jack Kelly & we get guest appearances from Clint Eastwood, Buddy Epsen, & Adam fucking West! After James Garner left the show, he was replaced by Roger Moore who played Beau, their British cousin. This role lead directly to Moore's starring role in The Saint which in turn set him up to replace Sean Connery as Bond. I know I haven't been blogging as much lately, but w/ teaching, soccer, & the fact that readership is down, I haven't been ass motivated. However, the need to celebrate James Garner & Maverick couldn't be back-burnered any more. Besides, I actually got Aiden to watch an episode the other day... if only we'd have ice cream w/ crème de menthe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Phone Posting

You may remember that about a year ago the cord for the lap-top stopped working. We got a new one, but recently, it became clear that it wasn't long for this world. The rubber coting was pulling away from the plug & a few days ago sparks started to shoot out of it. As I didn't have any electrical tape, I put some duct tape over it for the time being. However, that was only going to work for so long. Yesterday, the battery died & I noticed that the green light on the cord wasn't lit. Assuming there was a connection problem under the tape, I started to unravel it & it took it upon itself to scare the shit out of me by sparking in my hands. (Yes... I'd forgotten to unplug it first.) Once it was unplugged, I realized the out-put plug (which had been under the tape) had broken clean off. To make a short story even shorter, the cord will be purchased @ Clover Computers next week after I get paid, but until then I've only got my phone & my office computer.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Arsenal Highlight Series

I had some problems getting the video from the weekend draw w/ Sunderland to post, but in this video you'll see Lansbury's 1st goal for Arsenal, Robbie Kean score from an off-side position, 2 penalties well taken by Nasri, & then a sweet set piece w/ Arshavin. Enjoy. You can then scroll back for the Sunderland stuff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Reading

Here we have reviews of some of the books I've read recently... & by recently, I mean going back to march or April. Feel free to come on up to Nicola's this evening after the Arsenal match & pick up a copy of these books... or order them used right here.

Roddy Doyle: The Van
I read this last spring in the run up to the World Cup. It's part of Doyle's series that also gave us The Commitments, & it takes place in Dublin, set against the back drop of Ireland's 1990 run in the World Cup. The 2 main characters get a "chip van" & wait outside of pubs to sell burgers & fries to the fans after the Ireland matches. It's a fun little book. Subtle & very well crafted.

Bernard Cornwell: Sharpe's Eagle
depending on how you catalogue them, this is either the 1st, 2nd or 8th book in the Sharpe series. It was the 1st written, the 8 in the chronology of the main character's life, & 2nd in the film series. When I grabbed Sharpe's Rifles last year, I didn't realize that the 1st in the films wasn't the 1st in the series. They're fun book, but they lack any real depth. The historical specificity is fantastic though.

Roberto Bolano: The Savage Detectives
This is an amazing book! Bolano is definitely the real deal. Born in Chile, he spent about 15 years in Mexico City before moving to Barcelona where he wrote his novels (most of which take place primarily in Mexico). The structure is frustrating as Hell, but it's well worth it. We get bout 150 pages of a college kid's diary, 400 pages of 3 or 4 page vignettes from about 20 different narrators, & then another 100 pages of the diary from the beginning.

Roberto Bolano: Amulet
Narrated by one of the many narrators of The Savage Detectives, this follows the "Mother of Mexican Poetry" through about 25 years of Mexican literary life... flashing between the ever changing present & the time she spends hiding from the military in a college bathroom stall. It's a much simpler read than The Savage Detectives (& much shorter), but well worth it.

Roberto Bolano: The Romantic Dogs
One of 2 collections of poetry I read this summer. Again, I can't praise Bolano enough. He started as a poet in Mexico, but refused to publish (claiming that publishing for for bougie suckers), but once he had some kids in Spain, he realized some cash wouldn't be a bad thing so we get a bunch of his stuff all @ once. The translations are only just now coming out... & they're coming fast & furiously. Read him!

Paul Beatty: Joker, Joker, Deuce
This is the other book of poetry I read this summer. Like w/ all of Beatty's novels, it's hilarious, heartbreaking, & loaded w/ pop-culture minutiae. He actually has 2 books of poetry, but they're both out of print already. His other one was going for $150 though, so I haven't had a chance to get that yet. If you're into the post-modern poets, give both of these guys a go.

Paul Beatty: Tuff
Paul Beatty provides a great example of the difference between st & 3rd person narratives. In his other 2 novels, we get 1st person narrators telling great, sarcastic stories. This one, though, is a 3rd person story about a young thug in Harlem who ends up running for city council. It's good, but had he stuck w/ the 1st person of his 1st book (he went back to it w/ his 3rd book), this would have been better. Interestingly, writing classes & writers' workshops often suggest 3rd person as an easier, more useful way to write. Here we see that, @ least as far as Beatty is concerned, that isn't always the case.

Colson Whitehead: Sag Harbor
Brand new in paperback, I'm teaching it this fall, so I gave it a go. He's not quite as pop-culture oriented as Beatty, not quite as flowingly poetic as Whitman, not quite as nostalgic as Jean Shepherd, & not quite as political as Ishmael Reed. If it wasn't for the running political commentary on race relations on Long Island during the 1980s, I'd say it would make perfect beach reading. As it stands, it'll be a good book on which to end the semester. It's nothing too weird or revolutionary, but it's fun... plus, members of UTFO make a cameo appearance!

Michael Cox: The Meaning of Night
This seems to have so much potential, but doesn't quite cut it. I struggled w/ this for months, thinking it would get better, but it never really did. I bet it'd make a fun movie though. It's narrated in flashbacks by a murderer explaining why he killed a man, but the flashbacks don't quite hold together, & the pacing is a bit slow. I'll give you the link, but I don't really recommend it.

Ishmael Reed: Barack Obama & the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers
If the title doesn't do it for you, nothing will. It's a collection of essays concerning the media treatment of Obama, comparing it to the treatment of slaves by overseers. At times, it's a bit over-the-top, but in general, it's pretty amazing.

Jean Baudrillard: Simulacra & Simulation
I'd been sitting on this for a long time, but was a little intimidated so I finally got to it recently. I was right to be intimidated, because it's a pretty tough go, but it's worth it. It's fun stuff. A great Borgesian look @ art, literature, & pop-culture.

Flann O'Brien: At Swim-Two-Birds
We started w/ an Irishman, so we'll end w/ 1 too. Close friends w/ James Joyce, O'Brien lets his post-modern flag fly in this weird-ass book. I love it. A college student in Dublin is writing a book about a guy writing a book in which his characters revolt & put him on trial because he's a shit-ass writer. It moves between the 3 different narratives running @ the same time, while lampooning Irish history & mythology. Word up!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oliver Kuttner & The X Prize

His car, looking like something out of THX-1138 or Logan's Run, or some other rarely seen '70s sci/fi film, won the coveted X-Prize, a 10 Million dollar award given to environmentally friendly automobiles. His car weighs in @ just over 800 pounds & gets a whopping 110 miles to the gallon. It's even got a back seat & everything so 4 people can sit (albeit probably not so comfortably) in this thing. Furthermore, test runs were made @ the Michigan International Speedway so we get to call this a local interest story too! Here's the story from Morning Edition. Check it out! And then you can check out & edit the Wikipedia page about it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Arsenal Highlight Series

I don't know why I've never done this before, but better late than never I suppose. We'll start today & see how long it lasts. Each week, after an Arsenal FC match, you'll be able to find the official Arsenal highlight footage here. Of course, when they lose 5-0 @ home to Chelsea, we may accidentally forget to post that week. I'm not going to bore you w/ some bullshit Youtube, fan-edited reel set to some shit-ass Euro-trance stuff though. I'll only be posting once the official stuff is released. After the video plays, you can scroll through the back footage to find the Arsenal highlights from the 1st 3 matches as well. Now, enjoy Arsenal's 4-1 thrashing of Bolton w/ goals from Koscielny, Chamakh, Song, Vela, & Bolton's Elmander. Also, you'll be able to see Gary Cahill's less than red-cardish red-card. don't say I never did anything for you... enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Begging Your Indulgences...

I'd like to post another Whitey Morgan post, but this one is about this evening

Stephanie is spending the weekend w/ her mom while her mom's husband is out of town. Tonight she took the kids w/ her so I had a night of pseudo-bachelorhood. W/ my night, I grabbed a tempeh burger @ Sidetrack before heading out to see Whitey & the 78s. The catch here is that they were playing @ the Scorpions MC clubhouse between South Lyon & Milford. It meant another Saturday night w/ a long drive to see those guys, but more importantly, it meant I was hanging out @ a motorcycle club clubhouse. I'm sure they're fine upstanding citizens (probably 9-5 yuppies), but I felt out of place like a mother fucker! I know it was all in my imagination, but I felt as though everyone was looking at me like I was a narc or something. I enjoyed a PBR, tolerated 1/2 a can of Miller Lite & hung out in the corner while watching the band. Had I known anyone, it would have been different, but I'm gad I went because I'd never been tot a MC clubhouse nor had I ever gone out on my own like that. Whenever I've gone by myself to see a band or whatever, I've always known I would run into friends, so this was a good experience. If only I had more leather.