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.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lovable Loser & No Account Boozers

We went out last night to see Whitey & the 78s. Stephanie had never seen them, & I hadn't seen them in a couple years. They were playing @ the Inverness Inn which is about 1/2 way between Dexter & Chelsea on N. Territorial. It's not in Butt Fuck Egypt, but you can see it if you squint. It's a fun roadhouse style place w/ a nice mixture of locals (who knew people lived there?) & die-hard fans. I'd definitely make the trek again, but next time I see them will probably be in Ypsi. Jeremy said they'll be playing the Savoy in November & I expect to see many of you there.

Last night, they opened w/ "Me & Paul" then "Swingin' Doors," "Lonesome, Orn'ry & Mean," and "Workingman Blues." They moved away from the covers and did a few off of their 1st CD, played some new stuff that absolutely smokes, threw in some more Waylon & Merle covers including "Mama Tried" & "Sing Me Back Home." They played a couple Hank Williams tunes tunes too ("Your Cheatin' Heart" & something I didn't know).

Their new CD comes out in October & they've singed w/ Bloodshot Records, a record label that has seen the likes of Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Whiskeytown, & The Old 97s and is the current home of The Bottle Rockets, The Detroit Cobras, & Rosie Flores. The album was recorded in Woodstock @ Levon Helm's studio, & Larry Campbell (formerly of Bob Dylan's band & Phil & Friends... & Grammy winning producer of Levon's newest records) appears on a couple tracks. It should be amazing.


"Another Round"

Check out more of their stuff on the Whitey Morgan & the 78s on Myspace and then you can pre-order the new CD here:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spacey-a-thon Post #5: Another 8 Reviews

The Men Who Stare @ Goats:
We watched this back in the beginning of May, & it's the 1 that started this whole ridiculous marathon. I wrote about it then, but I feel that a quick mention of it now is a good way to ensure it's connected to the official reviews. It's a fantastically weird movie. Great cast... great plot... great look @ the insanity inherent in the military.

A co-worker kept telling me that this is cool, but we only got around to it a couple weeks ago. I really dig it. It's even weirder than The Men Who Stare @ Goats. See it. A man is alone on a moon mining base & Spacey does the voice of his companion robot. Things go wrong & we find ourselves deep in the middle of a nice existential discussion involving cloning @ subjectivity.

This is about 3 years old & takes a close look into the Florida recount of 2000. Spacey plays a lawyer for Gore's people & we get John Hurt & Tom Wilkinson as Warren Christopher & James Baker. Oddly, 2 great British actors play the former Secretaries of State... & turn in great performances. It reawakened all the anger that lies deep w/in me concerning that election which I'm sure was part of the point, but all sides are considered in a pretty balanced way. Certainly more balanced than anything Fair & Balanced that we've become used to on Fox.

Ordinary Decent Criminal:
We watched this 1 the other night. It's a little caper flick that takes place in Dublin w/ Spacey as a master criminal w/ an Irish accent. It's OK, but not great. The capers are fun, but the cops are a but 1 dimensional & it seems to have trouble figuring out if it's an action/comedy or some sort of arty thing.

Henry & June:
The 1st ever NC-17 film is also the 1st Spacey film (other than See No Evil, Hear No Evil) that I ever saw. It's as good as I remember, but the pacing is a bit off. Maybe 10 minutes could be cut off. It's a fun look @ the writers' lives in Paris between the wars. Although, it's always made me want to read Henry Miller, I've never actually been able to get through Tropic of Cancer... it's more self-indulgent than this blog.

Glengarry Glen Ross:
I'd never seen this 1 before. The cast is amazing, but I'm sure you're all aware of that. I think I may be the last person on Earth not to have seen this. It's cool, but I wonder if the dialogue w/in each scene is more important than the overall plot which doesn't really go anywhere. BTW, Jack Lemmon is fantastic. Who knew? I think Some Like it Hot may be the only other Jack Lemmon film I've seen. That's kind of embarrassing.

A Bugs Life:
We watched this 1 w/ the kids a couple months ago. I'd seen it when Solstice & Aiden were little. It's good, but it's no Toy Story.

L.A. Confidential:
Awesome. Like The Usual Suspects, it's 1 of Spacey's defining films. I hadn't seen it in years, but I doubt I'll go that long w/o it again. The hard boiled story is fun w/ great writing & a fantastic performance by James Cromwell.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Afternoon in the "D" w/ the Kids

We were going to go to Lansing today but Isaiah is sick & Stephanie had a headache so I decided to do a little syllabizing & then take them out around here. we grabbed lunch @ American Coney Island. I'd been to Lafayette many time when I was a kid but I'd never been to American. People seem to have a preference, but I don't quite understand the difference... same owners, same food, same atmosphere, same block. Apparently, American beat Lafayette on some Travel Channel show last week; I didn't see it, I've never even heard of the show, so I'm not too impressed w/ the victory. The food, on the other hand, was great. Chili fries & a pair of coneys. I was almost done before I realized they had beer. Oh well... next time.After we ate, wee hit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. I had never actually been there before... it's amazing! I've sent my students there many times, but the only time I got there was just into the gift shop... never around the actual exhibits. Solstice & Aiden were really into it, but Aiden was (justifiably) creeped out by the Slave Ship exhibit. There was also an exhibit celebrating big, colorful women's hats. I wasn't quite as interested in that, but it was alright. I can't wait to go back. Anyone interested in a trip down there?Or a trip out to Chelsea on Saturday night for Whitey Morgan at the Inverness Inn. The show starts @ 9:00 & I think it's outdoors. I haven't seen them in a few years, & they have a new CD coming out next month, so it should be a fun time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Champions League Draw Today

Group A: F.C. Internazionale Milano,* SV Werder Bremen, Tottenham Hotspur FC,** & FC Twente

Group B: Olympique Lyonnais,* SL Benfica,** FC Schalke 04, & Hapoel Tel Aviv FC

Group C: Manchester United,* Valencia CF, Rangers FC,** & Bursaspor 1963

Group D: FC Barcelona,* Panathinaikos, FC Kobenhavn, & Ruben Kazan**

Group E: FC Bayern Munich,* AS Roma,** FC Basel 1893, & CFR Cruj 1907

Group F: Chelsea FC,* Olympique de Marseille, FC Spartak Moscow** & MŠK Žilina

Group G: AC Milan, Real Madrid FC,* AFC Ajax,** & AJ Auxerre

Group H: Arsenal FC,* FC Shaktar Donesk,** SC Braga, & FK Partizan

* My pick for the 1st place teams in each group
** My fick for the 2nd place teams in each group

Here's my initial reaction to the draw:

Inter has Group A wrapped up already, but the 2nd place team will be tough. I think both Spurs & Bremen will be too much for Twente though.

Shalke could pip Benfica in Group B, but Tel-Aviv better hope for some lucky home wins if they want to finish anywhere but the bottom of the group.

Like Inter in Group A, Man U have Group C sealed already. Valencia could manage to get past Gers though. These Buraspor people will have a tough go of it... good luck to them upsetting Man U.

In Group D, I'd like to see Ruben Kazan make it out. They had a nice little run last year in the group stage. Maybe this is their year to reach the knock-out stage.

Roma got lucky to fall ass-backwards into a group w/ Basel & Cruj. Otherwise, I wouldn't have picked them to get out of their group.

It looks like Abromovich wasn't able to pull the strings to get an easy group for Chelsea like he usually does. It's nice to see them w/ a bit of competition for a change. They should still roll over everyone in Group F though.

Visions of Ypsi is unofficially the 1st blog to refer to Group G as the "Group of Death." It'll be a tough one for all of the teams. I'm sure Madrid will pull it together, but who knows?

Arsenal have, what looks on paper anyway, their easiest draw in ages. I hope they don't crew it up.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Four Nice, Young Boys from Liverpool

And no, I'm not talking about Everton's Reserve back line or some random group of strikers who were never given a chance @ Liverpool under Rafael Benítez. I'm talking about The Beatles. Rolling Stone just released a list of the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs of all time. It's available in a fancy oversize issue w/ little fun facts about the songs (mostly just summary of the fun facts that we all learned in the Anthology series & the fun facts we learned growing up as members of the human ace). Here's the top 20:
1. "A Day in the Life"
2. "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
3. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
4. "Yesterday"
5. "In My Life"
6. "Something"
7. "Hey Jude"
8. "Let It Be"
9. "Come Together"
10. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
11. "A Hard Day's Night"
12. "Norwegian Wood"
13. "Revolution"
14. "She Loves You"
15. "Help"
16. "I Saw Her Standing There"
17. "Ticket to Ride"
18. "Tomorrow Never Knows"
19. "Lucy in he Sky w/ Diamonds"
20. "Please Please Me"
A couple of the songs seem a bit high on the list & while "She Loves You" is historically important, I don't know if it's really that great of a song. Ditto that w/ "Please Please Me." A couple months ago, RS released an updated version of their 500 Greatest Songs of all time list on which the Beatles songs are placed in a different order: "A Day in the Life" is the 6th Beatles song on that list (after "Hey Jude," "Yesterday," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "Let it Be," & "In My Life." This contradiction seems to be raising some eyebrows in the Beatles fan/blogging community, but we must realize they used different critics & musicians to compose the lists so they were bound to differ.My real concern isn't in the slight differences but in the glaring omissions. As if a top 100 Beatles songs list isn't stupid enough considering that they only recorded about 200 originals in total (@ least 200 released on official Beatles records). It's an obvious money grab from RS sure to be followed up w/ yet another ridiculous compilation released before X-mas. Of the glaring omissions, "It's All Too Much," "Savoy Truffle," "Cry Baby Cry," & "Revolution #9" are the most glaring in my eyes. To suggest that "I Should Have Known Better" & "Ticket to Ride" are better than "#9" & "Savoy Truffle" is just sheer folly. Here's my Top 20 Beatles Songs:
1. "A Day in the Life"
2. "Helter Skelter"
3. "Revolution #9"
4. "Across the Universe"
5. "Tomorrow Never Knows"
6. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
7. "Rain"
8. The Abby Road Medley ("You Never Give Me Your Money" through "The End")
9. "She Said, She Said"
10. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
11. "Day Tripper"
12. "Come Together"
13. "Here, There, and Everywhere"
14. "Gotta Get You into My Life"
15. "Savoy Truffle"
16. "It's All too Much"
17. "Glass Onion"
18. "I Wanna Hold your Hand"
19. "Lucy in the Sky w/ Diamonds"
20. "Something"
I know this list is no less problematic than the RS list, but that's OK... I'm really just interested in know what y'all's list would look like. Think about it for a few minutes & then let's see your top 20 Beatles songs in the comments section!
John digs a sporran

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine & a Thought About Reviews in General

We watched it the other night, & Joel asked for a quick review, so here it goes.

It is a lot better than I expected. The plot has a few holes that would teach Goatsee a new meaning of the word "gaping," but for once, I didn't really care. The references to 80s films & time-travel films were fantastic... & more subtle than in most movies like this. Plus, Crispin Glover plays the 1 armed bell-hop. As a general rule, 80s time-travel movies are never complete until he makes an appearance. i say, "See it."

In other movie review news, At the Movies aired its last episode last week. Roger Ebert presents At the Movies will supposedly replace it, but the original show has ended. I must say, I loved that show. Film fans said they were dumbing down criticism by reducing it to such basic terms ("Thumbs up" / "Thumbs down") & others complained that they were too intellectual & that reviews "destroy the movie-going experience, but I liked to watch them about over the films. I still remember the 1st episode I saw; they reviewed Raider of the Lost Arc & I knew I HAD to see it. I think it was the same episode on which they reviewed some comedy that featured a scene where couple met @ a mattress store & humped on the show-room floor. I have no idea what film it is, but i might be an Alan Alda film. I also remember, a few years later, their review of Blame it on Rio. I never actually saw the movie until just a few years ago (in the height of my Michael Caine period), but the review always stuck w/ me. It was a long run, & like it or not, their impact on the movie-going experience can never be overlooked. Here's a little clip from your favorite 90s animated review show, The Critic, which features some fun references to The Twilight Zone, An Affair to Remember, &, oddly, Family Ties.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some "New" Music

We've gone on a bit of a music buying kick lately. It's been quite some time since I'd purchased CDs, & now suddenly I've picked up a bunch. We watched a documentary on PBS a few weeks ago about Merle Haggard... I think that's what started this. Here's a quick overview of what we've gotten:
1) Gram Parsons: GP/Grievous Angel
I know there are people out there who have based their lives on The Burrito's Guilded Palace of Sin & Burrito Deluxe, but I've always thought they were a bit too slick & over-produced. This feeling has lead me to ignore Gram's solo stuff until now... & that was a big mistake. I'm sure most of you know this already, but these 2 albums are fantastic. More closely resembling his work on The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo than his stuff w/ the Burritos. I've been enjoying this a lot lately!
2) Kris Kristofferson: Kristofferson
This is a pretty strange album. It's got his biggest hits on it but them some silly 70s singer/songwriter talking blues stuff & a song that sounds like it could have come from Kurt Weill. I like it a lot though. "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is soooo cool... but you knew that anyway.
3) Phish: Colorado '88
This is the earliest Phish recording I have. (I used to have older tapes, but I don't know what happened to them over the years.) This finds them right in the middle of their circus music meets Zappa phase before they got into the jazzier stuff a couple years later. It has all of The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday stuff plus a few tunes from Junta 7 some cool covers. It's an amazing document from the early day. It's crazy to think about how long they've been around. I haven't seen them since 1997, but I think if they were to come around here, I'd be sure to go again.
4) Emmylou Harris: Elite Hotel
This has been in Stephanie's car since I brought it home & thus I haven't listened to it yet. One of these day, Emmylou... One of these day!
5) Neko Case: Live in Austin, TX
I listened to this a few times already & loaned it to Liz & Dan who promptly returned it already too. I imagine people who like her already know that this is worth getting & people who haven't listened to her wont run out & get this, but do yourself a favor & give it a go. Her cover of "Buckets of Rain" is amazing!
6) Merle Haggard: 16 Biggest Hits
This is horrible! The track listing is good, the original recordings are great, but this has some fucked up rerecordings. His voice & he pedal steel are fine, but the drums sound like they were programmed on an old Casio keyboard. It's almost unlistenable... I take that back... it is unlistenable.
7) Norman Blake & Tony Rice: Blake & Rice
I've been loving Tony Rice since Drivetrain introduced me to him in 1997, but my knowledge of Norman Blake has been limited to cover versions of "Ginseng Sullivan." This is a fun rootsy bluegrass album (I know... big surprise). I've really been digging "New River Train" & "Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar," but everything is well done on the entire album.
8) The Flying Burrito Brothers: Close Encounters to the West Coast
Although it was recorded few years after Gram's death, & as such, doesn't feature Gram Parsons, I think this is my favorite Burrito Brothers album. The fact that it's live means there isn't the same studio slickness & they include some fun covers too: "Rocky Top," "Rollin' in My sweet Baby's Arms," "White Line Fever," & "Truck Drivin' Man."
9) Del McCoury Band: Del & the Boys
I've never really listened to them before, but people have been raving about them for 15 years. I'm glad I found this @ a garage sale for a buck, because I doubt I would have shelled out the money elsewhere, & it's really cool.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Something evil's lurking in the dark

I've never been much for zombies. The resurgent zombie craze has, in fact, left me a bit baffled. I saw Night of the Living Dead, but I was more interested in the racial politics than the zombie stuff. I never even got around to Shaun of the Dead... & I really liked Superfuzz. (I never saw Run, Fat Boy, Run either though, so maybe my interest in Superfuzz is solely Timothy Dalton related.) As far as zombie books are concerned, there have been a bunch recently: World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, etc. Believe it or not, I haven't read any of those either. There is even a prequel to the Pride & Prejudice book although @ the moment, I can't recall what it's called. W/ this in mind, you can imagine my shock @ really being interested in this story. You should check it out... scientific evidence for zombie ants straight from The Guardian!

In other zombie news, I was watching a bit of the Man U game the other day & came to a fun realization. People have compare Berbatov to Dracula on many occasions, but it goes far beyond that. Alex Ferguson's House of Fucked Up Horrors also includes Igor, Michael Jackson's zombie from Thriller, & some weird cyborg. No wonder those bastards win so much... they're obviously dealing w/ the dark arts.
(I found the Berbatov & Nani pics on-line but I had to make the Rooney & Owen ones... you better enjoy the effort!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Carnies, Cokes & Cotton Candy

In the build-up to the big Kelly Miller Circus, we watched a couple circus movies: The Greatest Show on Earth (which wasn't even the greatest show on TV that night) & Roustabout (an Elvis film that bares the distinction of being the only Elvis Film I've ever seen). I wonder if Elvis movies (all 31 of them) might be a good follow-up to the Spacey movies. I realized while watching it that I really have a predilection for loving crap. At t turns out, Roustabout is only vaguely circus related because it's only 1/2 circus; the other half is carnival, but it's unclear what it's supposed to be. We also saw a Dukes of Hazzard episode yesterday morning in which Luke joins some sort of traveling stunt-driving road show which is sort of circus related. And I watched the last hour of Octopussy in which a rogue Soviet officer plans to detonate a nuclear bomb in a circus tent on a US military base in West Berlin & James Bond dresses like the knife thrower (& later, like a clown) to infiltrate the roustabouts & save the day. Did you follow that? Good; there may be a pop-quiz @ the end of the post. As far as other circus movies go, we forgot about Big Top Pee Wee & Dumbo didn't come in time... oh well.
Roger Moore IS James Bond!
As or the actual circus yesterday, I took Isaiah to watch the tent raising in the morning. He brought his little stuffed elephant toy to show the elephants. He liked the camels too, but the elephants were his favorite. Afterwards, I called my sister & she came out in the afternoon to go w/ us to the show. We went to the 4:30 show so as to get home early, make pizza, & chill out in the evening rather than leaving @ 9:30 & fighting w/ Isaiah's bed-time.

I wish we could see a circus w/o the residual guilt that always comes after watching animals jump through hoops (similar to the guilt I feel every time I eat meat). That said, we had a good time watching the animals jump through hoops. Isaiah loved the dogs, the tigers, & most importantly, the elephants. The older kids dug the ropes/tumbling stuff & Aiden seemed to love the clowns too. I think Elizabeth had fun, & Sam was paying much more attention than we expected he would. He's also developing a strong interest in watching the other kids. While Isaiah couldn't b bothered while watching the elephants, Sam couldn't be bothered while watching Isaiah. It was pretty cute. The down side this year was 2 fold. 1) It was moved from Riverside Park to Parkside Park which just isn't as good of a location. 2) It was hot as Hell in the tent. Other than that, a good time was had by all. They're playing Fowlerville this evening, so you should go check it out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jamboree Day 2

Woke up Saturday morning, poured an XL Rum & Coke, & walked up to the park in time to catch the Mayflys set. Lots of EMU folk were in attendance, but most took off w/o coming back for the other stuff later. It's nice that people came out to support the band, but they missed a lot of good stuff later in the day.

A good mixture of the stuff from the CD & some new tunes. Super fun dancin' in the AM. There's talk of a Mayflys' appearance @ Daye & Pete's Pumpkin Day party in Oct. That should be cool. There's also talk of a Mayflys' gig in Chicago so I guess we'll be up for a road-trip... I hope Jim has a big floor. If only they played "The Eleven"... or "Whippin' Post". Joe loves the 11/4 so I assumed it was coming.

These guys are a fun funk/hip hop/fusion band from the K-Zoo. Daye was losing her mind for them, so I suppose we can expect them to get an invite to Pumpkin Day too. Overall, that seems to imply a 3 band event 9assuming that those guys from Wisconsin come back again. Anyway, while Funktion as playing, I took Solstice to get some henna from Kelly, my former student & current Facebook Scrabble partner. We @ Visions of ypsi are also proud of her as we introduced her to Charmie & she's been writing for Charmie's Medical marijuana newspaper, The Midwest Cultivator. Afterwards, I took Aiden to meet Brandon Inge @ the Verizon Wireless store next on Washtenaw. he was thrilled & I got to use it as good bribery to keep him havin' fun throughout the fest. Afterwards, we enjoyed the S. African portion of the Foods of the World Cup, fixed another XL Rum & Coke, grabbed our mitts & baseball, & headed back to the park. (We missed Hullabaloo & Rootstand during this Inge/lunch break.)

Dick Siegel:
I hadn't seen him since I went to the Gypsy Cafe w/ Jenn about 11 years for a Bob Dylan b-day celebration when he played "Positively 4th Street." I dig him. Fun acoustic jazzy pop... just like he song y'all know from "Sunday Morning Over Easy."

Wayward Roots:
After a nice, if unintended, tribute to the Grateful Dead (ie: 15 minutes of tuning before the 1st song), these guys pulled off some really good Bluegrass. I love a band w/ dobro & these guys are a band w/ dobro. Maybe the 1st Dobro I've seen in a local band since Drivetrain. Check them out if you get the chance.

Nervous but Excited:
A fun, eclectic folk duo in the style of The Indigo Girls. We all dug them & their cover of "Faith." See them when they play around town.

Black Jake & the Carnies:
These guys are fun as fuck! See them again & again & again! Like punk bluegrass. Loud, silly, a little angry, & featuring a guy who just moved in down the street on banjo (& vocals)... & he played both Scruggs style & claw-hammer throughout each song. They are fantastic... definitely my find of the fest. Isaiah seemed to dig them too as he sat on my shoulders (IE: "Up-Top") as we danced & watched some guy break-dance in the dirt in front of the stage. We also got our pc taken & it should be in the Ypsilanti Courier this week!

The Ben Miller Band:
Good stuff, but I wasn't quite as into them as everyone else seemed to be. I would have preferred the Glen Miller Band, but they're fun... & have a washtub bass.

October Babies:
I didn't dig them nearly as much as everyone else. well, Stephanie didn't really like 'em much either. The bass player is really good & has been in tons of local bands over the years, but the singer is obnoxious as hell. I think she can get away w/ it because she's Asian & people can say, "Ohhh, she's sooo exotic!" Yeah, exotic like a Japanese game-show. If she were white, people would see through it quickly. She's like Yoko meets Bai Ling. I know this sounds pretty negative, but I won't say I disliked them. They sounded fantastic... it was just the stage antics that kind of got to me.

Laith Al-Saadi:
A damn good guitarist... & he covered "Whippin' Post"! Finally, the 11/4 for which we'd been waiting. He also covered "Ophelia." I love that song too. His 3-piece power-trio reminds me of Gov't Mule. They play @ the Savoy every Monday night for free... check 'em out.

The Ragbirds:
I hadn't seen them in a few years. They're really good, & it's nice to see they've been able to stay together. Interesting folk/multi-ethnic stuff going on. Most of you have seen them before, so there's not a lot I can add.

Over-all, the fest was fantastic. Maybe next year we'll get a couple more out-of-town headliners like The Meters or Phil & Friends. Phil might be a bit too much to ask for, but maybe Los Lobos would do it. Up next, we've got the Kelly Miller Circus coming to town on Thursday. It's fun if more than a little problematic in terms of it's animal situation. The web-site responds to criticism not w/ a nice logical defense, but simply by attacking PETA... uncool. We'll be there anyway though. Besides, Tony the Clown's potato shtick will never get old.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jamboree Day 1

After a morning @ the DIA to check out the "Through African Eyes" exhibit (more about that in a few days), we stopped by my parents' house to drop off some boxes. They're moving across town so I grabbed some from Nicola's & Stephanie grabbed some from the Co-Op. Once Isaiah had his nap in the afternoon we headed down to the Jamboree. After checking out the vendors, we found a nice spot behind the tapers (all 2 of them) & settled in to watch the music. We missed Mr. Shz, but having seen them once before, we really didn't miss them @ all.

The 1st band we saw was Tokyo Sexwhale. They were pretty cool. Instrumental electronic jams kind of like Particle. They did a 15 minute version of the theme from Magnum PI & closed w/ a fun version of Henry Mancini's theme from A Shot in he Dark. I'll definitely keep my eyes & ears peeled so as to see these guys again.

Next was Theo Katzman. Apparently, he's in My Dear Disco. I liked them when I saw them, but solo, he was lacking something... like an interesting band I guess. His songs all sounded the same & he could have fit nicely on the early to mid-90s pop-charts w/ Matthew Sweet or Tom Cochran. or on the soundtrack from Reality Bites. He was talented, but didn't do it for me. I think Stephanie like him though, so it wasn't a complete wash.

We then went up to Aubrees w/ Georgina & missed most of Dragon Wagon. It's too bad because what we heard @ the end was some good bluegrass. I love me some good bluegrass. I want to say they were playing "Rollin in my Sweet Baby's Arms" & then "Shady Grove," but we were mingling & getting our chairs set up so I may be wrong.

Chuck's band Smokestack was up next. Maybe I'll post the Saga of Chuck from the 1996 Further tour on here soon to make y'all smile. Once you've read that, you'll realize why I was so shocked that he is actually a really good guitarist. I was impressed.

The penultimate performance came from The Macpodz. As far as local bands are concerned, I'd gotten tire of hearing "This band is really good; you should check them out." So I'd never seen them. I was never floored by Back 40 the way I was supposed to be. Hullabaloo are playing this afternoon, but the time I saw them I was under impressed. The Macpodz fell through the cracks... unfortunately. They're pretty fucking great. They're playing The Blind Pig in October & we might have to go. A trumpet player, a drummer, a guy on keys w/ some funky, "Superstitionesque" tones, a singer who also played some hand percussion & the flute, & an amazing bassist. The lack of a guitar threw me for a loop @ 1st, but the bass & horn filled in those gaps nicely. Very, very cool.

Last up was ekoostik hookah. We hadn't seen them since 1999. They haven't changed a whole lot. The guitarist is amazing, but the lyrics blow. I was loving the jams, but then they'd start singing again & it would become boring. They're cheesy sophomoric tunes about getting high & being a hippie. W/ a good lyricist, they could be a good band... or by dropping the lyrics & just doing instrumentals & covers they could be a cool band. As it stands, they're fun & maybe in another 10 years I'll give them another chance.

I'm about to make some PB&Js to bring up there in a few minutes as we check out The Mayflys. Be there! They start @ 11:00. Brandon Inge will be signing @ some Verizon place on Washtenaw @ 1:00 so I think I'll take Aiden up there while Isaiah takes a nap & then we'll be back @ the Jamboree for the rest of he afternoon & evening. See you there!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spacey-a-thon Post #4: Some More Reviews

Beyond the Sea:
This is a really cool movie. it got some mixed reviews, but I think a lot f that is due to the fact that it doesn't work like a normal music bio-pic. The flashbacks & dream sequences work nicely to give it a strange mythic feel. It does some nice stuff w/ Bobby Darin's political life during the late '60s. I had no idea he became some sort of anti-war/pro-civil rights hippie. Maybe that's common knowledge, but I didn't know it. I also didn't know he was married to Sandra Dee... but then again, all I knew about Sandra Dee I earned in Greece.
Shackleon's Antarctic Adventure:
I wrote the Wikipedia page about this movie for my ENGL 121 class in May. I wish we'd seen it in the IMAX theater when it was new. The cinematography is amazing. As is the life of Shackleton. Although, he may also have been bat-shit crazy. I wish it went into his relationship to the time period. It seems like that crazy drive to conquer stuff should be put into the context of the early 20th Century British ego 7 the fall of the British Empire.
Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil:
This movie is about 10 minutes too long. It's good, but a bt more editing would have helped the pace. It's a pretty crazy story based on a true murder in Savannah. I almost considered picking up the book, but true-crime isn't really my thing. Spacey plays the Southern gentleman/murderer & does a great job. It left me wondering if people down there really wander the streets w/ open booze @ all hours of the day & night. And if so, why don't we do that up here?
A Time to Kill:
Again w/ the open intoxicants. Them there down in Dixie are some rascally varmints. It's a good movie, but it plays on too many stereotypes. It's really predictable. Also, Ashley Judd is a shit actress. Her boob-sweat in every scene makes no sense either. Matthew McConaughey, on the other hand, was really good. What ever happened to that dude? He was so promising & then he went to shit.
The Usual Suspects:
Awesome. I hadn't seen it in about 10 years. But you all know it, so there's not much to say other that the usual "It's an awesome post-modern story about story-telling & the construction of reality."
I saw this when it was 1st released on video & stayed clear of it ever since. And rightly so. It's a shit movie. spacey is good as the friend who dies. When his character contracts the disease & dies rather quickly, it's left unexplained how Renee Russo can then survive much longer & remain pretty hot until she is saved.
I'd never seen this. It's almost as cool as its reputation suggests, but like w/ A Time to Kill, the relationship between the main character & his wife is done 1/2-assed. When she dies in the end, I just didn't care.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil:
An offensive, ridiculous, shameless, funny as hell movie. Pryor & Wilder were never afraid to take the blind/deaf jokes a little further than I expected. Spacey as the bad guy w/ the generic European bad guy accent is silly. I saw it in the theater when I was in middle school & I think it holds up pretty well. I was surprisingly entertained by this chimilicious piece of shit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visions of Endorsements

It happened again, a local politician approached me & asked if I was Andre w/ the blog. He was looking for an endorsement. The fact that he knew who I was kind of freaked me out, but it was cool none-the-less. The mid-term primary election is next week, Aug. 3, so I figured it was time to end the suspense & tell you who you should be supporting... assuming you're living in my ward. However, even if you're not in my ward, you should still heed my words in regards to the broader stuff.

Governor: Virg Bernero
He seems to be, by far, the most progressive candidate. I like that Andy Dillon is from Redford (I went to high school there), but he doesn't seem to have his shit together in the same way. (Side note: Mike Bouchard aired an anti-union commercial last week. I only saw it once, but it was scary as shit. He was talking about turning MI into a Right-to-Work state to restore our manufacturing... because the Right-To-Work states are stealing our jobs. I wish that was really the problem, but unfortunately for them, those states [Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, etc.] have shit economies too... & where Georgia is growing isn't in manufacturing but in professional careers & coffee-shop employees. Bouchard is bad news!)

State Senate (18th District): Rebekah Warren
I always liked Pam Byrnes, but now that we have to chose between them, it's clearly Warren all the way. (Side note: Thomas Partridge, the 3rd Dem. on the ballot, is a freaking nut-job. He comes into Nicola's all the time, & I take the Hell off so as to avoid dealing w/ him. I doubt he'll win... I doubt he'll get more than 10 or 15 votes... but if he does, I don't know what I'll do... he's nuts!)

State Representative (54th District): William Riney
He's an old-school organizer. He's not afraid to hit the pavement and look like a goof-ball. He's also an all-around great guy.

Mayor of Ypsilanti: Pete Murdock
I know a lot of you Yuppies like Schreiber, but Murdock is dedicated & honestly concerned w/ the community. He's been involved w/ local politics for years, he's got good plans for Water St. & the Thompson Block. He's always supported the chickens. In fact, I think he's the guy I can lean on for llamas!

Ypsilanti City Council Ward 3: Brian Robb
He's a good guy. He's hitting the streets w/ a great plan to continue revitalizing the city.

Ballot Proposals: Transportation Millage, Yes
According to Ann, there were some technical problems w/ the proposal so the August 3rd vote won't count & it will be on the November ballot again. I'm voting "Yes" just in case. Apparently, state law says that type of proposal can only be determined in a General Election & not a primary. Also, it apparently had 2 too many words in it. we'll see.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Visions of Beer Fest

Jason & I walked up there @ about quarter to 12:00. We picked up our credentials from Greg & headed to the WAB table to pour until 2:00. The pouring went smoothly, we were able to drink the WAB stuff (ass long as we stepped out from behind the table to do so), & then we grabbed a couple handfuls of tokens & hit the other brews. As VIPs w/ the WAB, we also got into the VIP tent where there were 8 or 10 kegs & a nice buffet w/ some spicy noodle thing that was really good. The kegs were hard to make out, but I know a few were from Founders. I don't think that's what I was drinking though. I had some random brown Ale that was pretty good. The 2nd time we went into the tent, I had some Blonde that was a bit fruitier than I would have liked... it was weird that they weren't labeled better.

As far as the WAB stuff, the Vanilla Porter & the Triskadekaphobiale Coffee Porter were my favorites, but the Green Bullet Organic IPA is fantastic too. I tried the Blonde & the Hefeweizen too in order to know what I was pouring, but those aren't my personal styles.

From the Tri-City Brewing Company from Bay City I tried the Russian Imperial Stout. It may have been my favorite of the Afternoon other than the WAB Porters.

Behind the WAB table was the Kuhnhenn Brewing Company table, a brewery in Warren. They had some sort of UFO theme going on. A few were in rented alien costumes & their beers had space themed names. I went w/ the ET's Reeses Pieces Stout... big let down. They need to spend more time on the beer & less time on the silly gimmicks. At least I didn't get suckered into trying Yoda's Tihaar Mandalorian Fruit Beer.

Next to the WAB table was Sullivan's Black Forrest Brewery out of Frankenmuth. Oddly, they weren't listed in the guide. Also, oddly, the 1 guy working the table was in a tie-dyed shirt, but they had none of their Grateful Dead inspired beers like Grateful Red, Lost Sailor, New Speedway Imperial Stout, or Dark Star Schwarz. I had the Pirate's Porter & it was pretty good. Not real good, but pretty good.

While looking for the guide book things, we ran into my cousin who was working w/ Big Rock Chop & Brewhouse out of Birmingham. He claimed thei IPAs have won all sorts of awards. Norm's Raggedy Ass IPA was the one he wass pushing, but I prefered the Bonnie's Raggedy Ass Imperial IPA. I don't know what an imperial IPA is, but it was good.

Overall, it was a great time. We ran into Daye & Pete who had a nice spot in the shade. I saw a few Green Teamers who were representing the Green Team by being absolutely hammered. And I saw 2 former students... "Hi professor...."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Belle Isle

Last weekend we went down to Belle Isle for a soccer tournament on Sunday. I hadn't been out there since I was in high school, & then it was only to drive around for a few minutes. I'd never actually hung out there for any length of time. The soccer field got the grass from the Silverdome in 1994 after the Word Cup... but that it was still in World Cup condition, but it was a fun little thing none-the-less. Greg from Verde FC & the Woodward Ave. Brewery hosted it. He brought in 4 teams, 2 from Detroit, a W.A.B. team, & Verde. We got 2 matches (lost both as per usual), & put in a god showing. The island itself is amazing. It's sad that the funding to keep it up isn't available, but even w/ the closed buildings & overgrow areas, it's beautiful. I didn't get to the Great Lakes Museum as I'd hoped, but I did take the kids fishing for a bit which kind of freaked me out. I couldn't get the reel to work properly, but more importantly, I wasn't down w/ watching the worm squirm in agony when I baited the hook. Of course, we didn't actually catch anything so the whole hook through the mouth thing was never an issue. Well, we did catch 1 little fish, but it wasn't hooked; it was just eating he worm and then let go once I reeled it in. Overall, big props to Greg for putting it on & be sure to check out the W.A.B stuff @ the Beer Fest today. I'll be there helping out & pouring for a while so you can stop on by & say hi too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Belated Celtic Fest Post

Isaiah's highlight was seeing the large pile of horse-shit while looking @ the Clydesdale, but for me, that was maybe 3rd best... or 4th. On Friday night, Stephanie & I hit the Pub in the Park for a little beer. They didn't have Guinness this year so we enjoyed a few 1/2 gallons of Boddingtons. we were met out there by Daye, Pete, Geo, Andy, Matt, Laurie, & Pete. As you've probably already heard (or read), I finished 2nd Runner Up in the Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt contest. The winner (as per usual) was a douche. And he was the key-tar player from the band which makes me assume it was fixed. I made a right fool of myself stumbling around & talking shit as I grabbed the mic from the MC (who turned out to be a better musician when she did her little solo set afterwards than the band). Her tramp-stamp sticking out just above her high-waisted 1989 straight out of a TLC video jeans was ridiculous though. There was much stumbling, slurring, & in the case of a certain person who will remain nameless, vomiting.

On Saturday, my parents came out w/ us & we enjoyed a fun morning & early afternoon looking @ stuff, eating fun food (I had the haggis & the haddock chowder), & just hanging out. The music was good, but we didn't listen to as much as we have in the past. We watched some dude give a talk about Haggis which was funny & informative. However, he suggested a delicious sounding sauce made from heavy cream & whisky that also called for "Black Capers." These seem to be a rather elusive ingredient. I can't find the anywhere... other than some shop in Virginia that claims to carry them but doesn't list the brand. I'll try Morgan & York next time we get Chinese food I guess. Aiden got a deck of cards... his new obsession. Solstice got a key-chain... her new collection. Isaiah loved watching the sheep dog & the birds of prey, but really really loved checking out the horses... hence the horse-shit.

Afterwards, we headed out to Howell for Meg & TC's engagement party. It was fun & we got to see the whole family. Of course, if you ask Isaiah what the highlight was... owls? "Yeah... and horse poop." Did you see Grandma and Grandpa? "Yeah... & horse poop." Did you see Aunt Megan & Aunt Holly? "Yeah... & horse poop." I guess you can't blame him... horse poop is pretty awesome.
The 2nd Runner Up
Happy couple... a little drunk
Watchin' the sheep-dog demonstration
The Haggis talk by the guy from the National Trust of Scotland

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Return of Mr. Pretty Legs

The Saline Celtic Festival is going on this weekend out in... wait for it... Saline of all places. Tomorrow's festivities get under way @ 10:00 w/ the parade & the rugby matches. You should be sure to come out tonight though to the Pub in the Park for cheep pitchers of Guinness, some good music, & the 4th Annual Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt Contest. I haven't entered since my sweet, sweet win in the 1st contest back in 2007 so I think it may be time to defend my crown. There will also be some Gaelic Football matches happening this evening. For those of you who have never witnessed this fucked up sport before... believe me, it's something to behold. It's like Rugby & Basketball had some mentally slow, physically challenged love-child. It's the Corky to Soccer's Becca Thacher... & yes, it still wants to drive the car. Here are a few pics from the Ghost of Celtic Fests Past:
Stephanie... as the old yellow Escape looks on
Wendy, Pete, & an empty 1/2 gallon of Guinness
2 badass dudes
A 3rd badass dude
Chain-Mail Solstice