Sunday, October 30, 2011

Props for Today's Bills/Skins Game

The Bills and Redskins play in Toronto today at 1:00 pm and, based on the rooting interests of various G:TB editors, we decided to place a friendly wager on the game's outcome: losers pay the winner's bar tab at Tortuga's. We also included Teedge in the wager because it will be fun to drink on his dime if he loses.

Rather than base our bet on something as mundane as the final score, we came up with several Gheorghian prop bets. The person who comes closest to each prop wins that prop, and the person who wins the most props wins the wager.

Without further adieu, here are the props (who got da props?) and our respective predictions:

In a showing of typical tremendous apathy, neither rob nor Teedge chose to fill in their forms, opting instead to let Igor pick their prop predictions. And I won't be surprised if one of them wins.

For clarity: "reference to" means the number of separate instances of announcers mentioning the subject during the game. "Shots of" means to the number of times the person is shown on camera, except for "fans in X jersey" with means the total number of fans shown in a particular jersey. Igor and I will watch the game from our respective abodes and score as we go. We will resolve scoring differences in a manner that has yet to be determined. Feel free to join us in the comments and score along with us. If you want I can send you a table of the props in Excel so you can print and score yourself (or just open the picture in a new tab). I'm sure that's what everyone wants to do on Sunday -- score a wager in which they have no stake.

And because we are a leading source of Buffalo Bills blogging, we provide the following preview, which could be titled "Two of a Kind, Alternatively Titled A Tale of Two Titties." I say this not because typing "titties" makes me titter, but because the two teams are a nearly perfectly matched pair.

The Bills scored the 4th most points this year while the Skins allowed the 4th least. Conversely, the Skins scored the 24th most points while the Bills allowed the 19th least.

The Bills allowed the fewest sacks while the Skins recorded the most. The Skins allowed the 11th fewest sacks while the Bills are dead last in sacking the opponent. So it would appear that John Beck will have time to throw. But this plays right into the Bills' hands, as they have the 2nd most INT on the year while the Skins threw the 2nd most INT so far.

The Bills have the 8th most passing TD while the Skins allowed the 3rd least. The Skins have the 25th most passing TD while the Bills allowed the 17th least.

The Skins have the 18th most passing yards, while the Bills allowed the 24th least passing yards. But the Bills have the 13th most passing yards, while the Skins allowed the 7th least passing yards.

The Bills have the 8th most rushing yards while the Skins allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards. Conversely, the Skins have the 25th most rushing yards while the Bills allowed the 25th least rushing yards.

The Bills have the 4th most rushing TD while the Skins allowed the 23rd least (a noticeable difference!). The Skins have the 21st most rushing TD while the Bills allowed the 28th most.

Finally, the Bills' defense leads the league in takeaways, while the Skins offense has the 2nd most giveaways. Conversely, the Skins' defense has the 22nd most takeaways while the Bills' offense has the 7th fewest giveaways.

'Twould appear that the turnover stats favor Buffalo, but we're leery about the flukey nature of many of these turnovers. The numbers are simply too close to call, and the game will be played in a neutral site. The Skins are ravaged by injuries and John Beck is their starting QB, so in the end it seems most likely that the Bills will prevail. But I wouldn't bet on it.


Some donkey took the time to do this:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese

We never really closed the book on 2011 Rugby World Cup, so here goes.


As predicted by many (except Jerry), the host nation of New Zealand won. The All Blacks topped Les Blues by the narrowest of margins. Read the recap here for more details, but there was a good story to emerge in the result.

All Black flyhalf Dan Carter, regarded by more than a few as the best in the world, went down during the tourney with a groin injury. G-g-g-groin in-ju-ry.

His replacement was Colin Slade, who went down with a groin injury as well. His replacement was Aaron Cruden, who was preparing for a Disneyland vacation but jetted to Auckland post-haste. Inspiring stuff, but in the Final, Cruden nearly buried the hearts of the Kiwi faithful with a wounded knee.

Enter Stephen Donald, the fourth choice for flyhalf, one of the most pivotal positions on the pitch. Stephen "Beaver" Donald, as he's known. Not a joke. Donald wasn't en route to visit Mickey, he was whitebaiting elsewhere in New Zealand when he'd been asked to join the rest of his countrymen. "Whitebaiting Beaver" apparently means something entirely different than when I was in undergrad. It's this. So he signed on to ride the bench.

As fate would have it, however, "Beaver" Donald was called upon at the 34-minute mark when Cruden went down. And, in storybook fashion, in a Cup marked for the number of critical missed kicks throughout, it was Donald's kick that notched the 3 points that ultimately decided the match. He's been appropriately heralded by the legions of All Blacks fans, even leading to what this article describes as "Beaver Fever." The best part is you don't need penicillin for that variety.

New Zealand 8, France 7

The French put up a good fight all the way but ultimately surrendered. The All Blacks won for the first time since 1987 (when they also beat the Beret Boys). Good Cup, more coverage than I'd expected, mostly enjoyable action.

Also great to see old roommate, teammate, and cellmate Brian Hightower getting some airtime on NBC and its subsidiaries. Consensus among our friends is that Highcheese acquitted himself very well throughout, and here's hoping it only leads to more of the same.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Are you threatening me?

Hey, . . . baby.

The boys are back.

Yep, the rumors are true -- Beavis and Butt-Head are returning to MTV, starting tonight. After a decade and a half of fading from popular culture, Generation X's poster children re-emerge as . . . their same old selves, apparently. Mike Judge is attempting the kind of comeback that usually results in high expectations with middling results. Eh, who cares, it'll be great to have the boys back. Who doesn't love Beavis & Butt-Head?

Well, lots of folks, but more people enjoyed their stylings than would admit it.

18 years ago, I was in the perfect demographic for the B&B test. Just out of college, had a "real" job (real sucky), and there's no way I should be watching/enjoying/laughing out loud at Beavis and Butt-Head. But I did. Rob and Spoido formally introduced me to it, and my reaction mirrored that of everyone who would follow me:
  • enter aloof
  • mild amusement, head nod
  • still reserved, smiling
  • chuckle
  • attempt to stifle audible laughter
  • that fails, full laughter
  • laughing 'til crying
  • repeat Butt-Headisms
  • watch religiously
  • tell friends about it sheepishly
  • usher unsuspecting friends into the Cult of Beavis
Those were heady times. It was a regular Algonquin Table for the 1990's, the three of us plus Buck and Cliff and whoever else playing NHL '95, drinking Natty Light, and laughing along with Beaver and Bunghole. To this day, when I see Spoido, he will inevitably drop quotes from this segment after a few beverages:

But time marched on, and we grew up. (Raise your hand if you believe that.) We watched them less and spent more time working, getting in serious relationships, and meticulously filling a VHS videotape entitled "T-120" with nothing but nude scenes hurriedly taped from Cinemax Late Night and other pay-cable offerings. (Hard Hunted gave us quantity, but Helen Hunt in The Waterdance was the wait-for-it footage.) Mike Judge, meanwhile, graduated to the inspirational Office Space and the less-so "King of the Hill," the latter of which inexplicably lasted for 14 seasons on a major network. (Thanks, Middle America fartknockers.)

With that, Beavis and Butt-Head drifted from relevance and our conscious (excepting Rob's throwback "cool" or "rules" grunts, or my Butt-Head "huh-huh," which we still occasionally utilize -- to little recognition and less appreciation, except from each other).

Now, though, Mike Judge -- who, by the way, has done dick in the last 12 years, in perfect B&B/Peter Gibbons slacker form -- brings them back in new episodes. Unfortunately for me, he kicks me in the jimmy and does not go with the idea that I have been pitching to the big network execs -- at least the ones who hang out in my local pub. I have been pleading for a "Where Are They Now? . . . Beavis & Butt-Head," both because I think the concept is ripe for good comedy but also because I kind of miss the lads and want to see what they're up to these days.

Instead, we're getting B&B Redux. They are frozen in time, for better or for worse, and although some of the content has been updated (they watch "Jersey Shore," for example), it's pretty much the same gig. I fear that we may be in for the cartoon equivalent of Joe Gibbs 2.0. You know what, there are some similarities there . . .

Settle down, Beavis. The show defied the odds and its early detractors -- and there were plenty of them -- two decades ago, and it was great. Hell, given what else is on these days, it's worth a flier.

Flier! Flier!

Come . . . to Butt-Head.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Black Keys song!

"Lonely Boy" from their upcoming album "El Camino."

Dude dances like Teedge.

Celebrate the McRib, Help Sick Kids

The McRib is back, apparently, and I'm sure that more than one member of the G:TB staff/audience is eager to celebrate. You can do so by buying this McRib tshirt:

Available here. Before you cast aspersions upon my sartorial suggestions, know that all profits from sales of the tshirt go to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Do the right thing for some sick kids (and your cardiovascular system) -- buy this tshirt instead of a few McRibs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NFL Week 7 Recap, With A Twist

One of the greatest albums of all time, in this humble scribe's opinion. And yesterday's NFL scores. Enjoy.

NY Jets 27, San Diego 21
"Time to Get Ill"
"Went outside my house - I went down to the deli, I spent my last dime to refill my fat belly..."
It's an easy joke, but seriously Rex, have you thought about wearing lesser fitting shirts?

Kansas City 28, Oakland 0
"No Sleep till Brooklyn"
"Our manager's crazy - he always smokes dust, He's got his own room at the back of the bus.."
Hue Jackson, coach of the Raiders, called the trade for Carson "Pick Six: Palmer" a "great trade". Sure, bro.

Chicago 24, Tampa Bay 18
"Rhymin & Stealin"
"We got maidens and wenches - man they're on the ace, Captain Bly is gonna die when we break his face..."
The Bucs were awful yesterday. This one really makes no sense, except I want to work with the pirate theme. Sue me.

Carolina 33, Washington 20
"The New Style"
"Got rhymes that are rough and rhymes that are slick, I'm not surprised you're on my dick..."
Auburn fans, Panthers fans, and anyone that saw Mr. Newton make fools of Redskins' defenders Sunday afternoon.

Denver 18, Miami 15 (OT)
"Posse In Effect"
"I'm schoolin' in the boys' room - coolin' by the locker All the girls in class know that I'm the cool rocker..."
"Rocker" in this instance means coolest God Squad guy around, riiiight?

Green Bay 33, Minnesota 27
Well I'm cruising, I'm bruising - I'm never ever losing, I'm in my car - I'm going far and dust is what I'm using..."
Aaron Rodgers, video game quarterback. Maybe someone on the Vikings just realized Greg Jennings was open.

Dallas 34, St. Louis 7
"Slow and Low"
"It's never old school - all brand new, So everybody catch - the bugaloo flu..."
I am now nicknaming Cowboys rookie running back DeMarco Murray the "Bugaloo Flu".
New Orleans 62, Indianapolis 7
"Paul Revere"
"I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with a whiffleball bat..."

Atlanta 23, Detroit 16
"Fight for Your Right"
"Man living at home is such a drag, now your mom threw away your best porno mag (Busted)..."
This is actually what Lions' defensive lineman were saying to Matt Ryan yesterday when he injured his ankle. It's also the quote several dumbass lacrosse kids submitted to the yearbook my senior year for a poor schlep who had no clue until the yearbooks were handed out.

Cleveland 6, Seattle 3
"Slow Ride"
All the fly ladies are making a fuss, But I can't pay attention - 'cause I'm on that dust..."
This lyric can apparently apply to every offensive player on the browns and Seahawks. What the F were you people doing for 60 minutes yesterday?

Houston 41, Tennessee 7
"She's Crafty"
We got into the cab - the cab driver said, He recognized my girlie from the back of her head..."
I'll let you decide if the cab drive is the Texans or the Titans. You're smart folks, I think you'll get it.

Pittsburgh 32, Arizona 20
"Hold It, Now Hit It"
"I'm down with Mike D. and it ain't no baloney, for real, not phony - "O.E." and Rice-a-Roni..."
Harro, Hines Ward.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Morning, Sunshine

By the time you soft Americans wake up, New Zealand and France will have battled for 80 minutes to see who claims the Webb Ellis trophy as the winner of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Right-thinking people the world over are rooting for the All Blacks to take their first title since 1987.

One of these days, we'll get around to that top 10 all-time sports traditions post, right after the Chinese Democracy review gets done. I'm quite confident this will make the list:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Being Elmo

We've celebrated Kevin Clash here before, so it's probably no surprise that we're pretty excited about 'Being Elmo', the acclaimed documentary about his life's work.

Passion is one of G:TB's themes, mostly because we're trying to find it in our lives. Kevin Clash's story makes me happy, makes me hopeful, and makes me wish I had my hand up a Muppet's ass. Watch the trailer for 'Being Elmo' and join me in heading to the cineplex when it's released in DC at the E Street Theatre on November 11. NYC readers can catch it now at the IFC Theatre. Floridian's are gonna need to head to Boca. I'm working my documentary film connections to see if we can fix that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oooo Rev Ain't Right!

One of my favorite Ghostface songs is Wu Banga 101 which includes the stanza:

Bottles goin off in the church, we broke the wine
Slapped the pastor, didn't know Pop had asthma
He pulled out his blue bible, change fell out his coat
Three condoms, two dice, one bag of dope
Ooo! Rev. ain't right, his church ain't right
Deacon is a pimp, tell by his eyes
Mrs. Parks said, "Brother Starks, meet you at the numbers spot
Heard you got red tops out, and I want a lot"
Shirley fainted dead on the spot
Two ushers slipped eighty dollars right out the pot
Oh shit!
This might be a reference to the pastor married to this "Family Feud" contestant:

I'll let Teedge select the appropriate labels for this post, but feel free to suggest some labels in the comments.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

These Bills Are Overdue

I'm extremely enthused about the Buffalo Bills' 4-2 start. Almost as enthused as this guy:

It's a really enjoyable opening to the season after last year's 0-8 start, and this is the Bills' best 6-game start since they went 5-1 in 2008. I remember the 2008 season like it was yesterday. They got their 5th win by beating the Chargers, the team that made it to the AFC Championship game the year before, featuring future Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates still in their primes, and Pro Bowl QB Philip Rivers. I remember thinking to myself "All they have to do is go .500 from here on out, then they'll be 10-6 and that has to be good enough to make the playoffs."

It turns out that 10-6 would not have been enough, as the 11-5 Patriots didn't make it to the championship tournament. It also turns out that the Bills played .200 ball after their 6th game (i.e., they went 2-8), finishing 7-9. Then they drafted Aaron Maybin, which was awesome.

Those of you who know me know that reminiscing over the 5-1 Bills of 2008 casts a pall, at least in my addled brain, over the 4-2 Bills of 2011. For your entertainment and perhaps my misery, I will examine this pall a bit closer.

Last week the Bills were #1 in Football Outsiders' much vaunted DVOA rankings. The Bills also were #1 in DVOA through 4 weeks, prompting this correlation analysis which concluded that "there's a pretty good chance that teams like Buffalo, Tennessee, and Detroit are going to be good all year."

A closer look shows that unlike these hips, numbers can lie. The Bills have the #30 passing defense with respect to yards allowed. They notched 4 sacks, good for a 1.8% sack rate, both dead last in the league. For comparison, 21 players have 4 or more sacks so far this year. League leader Jared Allen has 9.5. The Bills allow 7.6 net yards per pass attempt, which puts them in a 4-way tie for 4th worst in the league.

Once again, Buffalo's run defense is quite willowy. They have the #29 rushing defense with respect to yards allowed. They allow 5.1 yards per carry, tied for third worst in the league, and their 8 rushing TD against is the worst in the league (in a 4-way tie).

The Bills are ranked #31 in total yards and first downs allowed. And they are in a 3-way tie for 6th most points allowed.

Buffalo succeeds despite these shortcomings because they have 12 interceptions on the year, good for a 5.4% interception rate, both best in the league. They've also recovered five fumbles and are first in the league at +9 takeaway/giveaway. Going into their game against the Giants, something like 48% of their points scored came off of turnovers. Various talking heads including Mike Francesa and Mike Ditka have opined that Buffalo will continue to win the turnover battle for the rest of the year because that's what history says will happen -- teams that have a positive takeaway/giveaway number at the start of the season continue to be successful in this metric throughout the rest of the season.

They may be right. I haven't even attempted to do the legwork required to analyze the data. Luckily, Bill Barnwell did and it looks like the talking heads are wrong. Either way I don't think the Bills will continue to have such an audacious turnover margin because they are taking the ball away using sheer dumb luck, and you can't rely on luck to carry you for 16 games.

For example, three of the four picks Vick threw two weeks ago were bizarre tips/strips. One of Tom Brady's four interceptions came when Brady's pass ricochetted 90 degrees to the left after it hit Marcell Dareus' helmet and floated right to Drayton Florence.

So four of the eight Vick/Brady picks were lucky/flukey plays. Luck is, of course, an important part of a winning season in any sport, but the Bills are so dreadful everywhere else on defense (i.e., everywhere but luckiness) that when their luck runs out and their bills are due they won't be able to pay the piper, simply because their egos are writing checks that their bodies can't cash. How many metaphors and cliches did I mix there?

We can look at this another way. The Bills are +9 through 6 games, which projects to a +24 turnover margin over 16 games. That would put them at the 26th highest turnover margin of all time, tied with ferocious defenses like the '96 Packers, '89 Eagles, and '72 Steelers. I just don't see how this result can obtain after 16 games given their putrid performance in other defensive metrics.

Simply put, this team is overdue for a return to, at best, mediocrity with respect to the turnover game.

Things are rosier on offense. The Bills scored the second most points and racked up the seventh most yards so far this season. They have not lost a fumble yet this season (tied for best, obviously, with the Lions). They have the 5th best completion percentage and have allowed the fewest sacks in the league (7) resulting in the lowest sacks allowed percentage in the league (3.3%). Fitzpatrick has the fifth most TD and the fourth highest passing TD percentage in the leauge. They have the fourth most rushing yards, the second-highest yards per rushing attempt, and are in a 4-way tie for second place with most rushing TD.

Fred Jackson, whose praise I sang two years ago, is playing lights/balls/tits/whatever-else-you-can-think-of out right now. He has the second most yards from scrimage, rushing yards, rushing TD, and yards per rush (behind Vick which shouldn't really count). I knew he was good but I had no idea he was this good. He does all this running behind a no-name offensive line that starts a 7th round pick and two guys who weren't drafted at all. That Jackson languished on the bench and returned kicks is further proof that Dick Jauron is a dipstick.

Further proof of the Bills' dipstickery: the offense starts 5 undrafted players, 3 seventh round picks, 2 second round picks, and 1 first round pick. Imagine how good this offense might be if more of Buffalo's early picks panned out? Meanwhile, 8 of the starters on the aforementioned statistically challenged defense were drafted in the first or second round.

I don't know exactly what to make of this Bills team, but I guarantee that they will be an excellent source of fantasy football points. Every game will be a shootout so their will be plenty of opportunities for Bills to score. I also guarantee that these guys aren't walking through that door (h/t Work Jerry):

I therefore see four winnable games on their remaining schedule (WAS, @MIA, MIA, DEN). The rest are road games against perennial playoff teams, a home game against the Jest, and a home game against the dreaded Inbreds of Tennessee. If the Bills could win one of these six games they would finish at 9-7, much better than I thought they would be and about as good as turn-of-the-century history says they could be.

I'll take 9-7. Chan Gailey clearly knows what he's doing with the offense. If they can stock up on legitimate defensive starters in the draft then they should be able to improve by a win or two next year and maybe even make the playoffs. Much like their turnover margin, the Bills are overdue for a return to mediocrity.

I am, to my own surprise, cautiously optimistic about the Bills. How the hell did that happen?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Loyal readers, we are soliciting your help in solving a problem faced by one of this blog's authors. For confidentiality reasons, we will call him "RT".

RT asks your thoughts on this topic. He wants to know what is the bigger problem. Having a 4 year-old son who prefers suppository medicines to drinkable medicines, or having a 4 year-old son who will only accept suppositories from his father, not his mother.

Please use the "Comments" tool to respond. Thank you!

Weenie Does Something Cool

We have a friend named Kevin.  Sometimes we call him Weenie.  Sometimes he deserves the name.  But not this past weekend:


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Kind of Desk

Bob Boilen has one of the coolest jobs in the world, curating music for All Songs Considered and managing NPR Music's overall efforts.  As if that weren't enough, serendipity and a corner location led to the Tiny Desk Concert series, where bands strip down their equipment and play short gigs amongst the piles of papers, CDs, and books in Boilen's Washington, DC office.

This week, G:TB fave Wilco played two new tunes and and old favorite hard by Boilen's workspace.  Check it out.  And check out the entire series. My office is not nearly this awesome.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi, Oy, Oy, Oy

Regular rugby contributor Igor is battling a newly-diagnosed 40-hour-a-week malady, so I'm jumping in to give a brief update on the 2011 Rugby World Cup (Mr. KQ, feel free to drop us a line if you'd like the assignment for next Sunday's final).

Host New Zealand topped arch-rival Australia in a bloody semifinal, prevailing 20-6 to keep their date with destiny.  Piri Weepu overcame early inaccuracy to connect on 4 penalties for New Zealand.  The All-Blacks set up a rematch of the first RWC final against France.  Les Blues topped Wales, 9-8, in the first semi, benefitting from a controversial red card to Welsh captain Sam Warburton. The young Wales flanker dumped French winger Vincent Clerc 17 minutes into the match, forcing his side to play 7 against 8 in the pack for more than 60 minutes.  The undermanned Welch side played valiantly, missing two kicks by inches in the final 20 minutes, but France move on to face the sentimental and actual favorites.

New Zealand lost all-world flyhalf Dan Carter to an injury early in the tournament, but still remain the class of the RWC.  The nation will hold its breath for another week, but smart money remains on Buck Shelford's countrymen.  The final is at 3:45 am EST on Sunday, October 23.  Meet at KQ's house at 3:00 am for the tailgating.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

G:TB Kickstart of the Week*

For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, think of it as a dating service for artists and creators trying to raise funds to complete projects. Since it launched in April 2009, Kickstarter has helped people raise more than $100 million from more than 1 million individual donors, funding films, design projects, artwork, music, and a broad range of other creative efforts. When we finally get around to Gheorghe: the Book, we plan to use Kickstarter to help us pay for an actual writer.

In the first installment of G:TB's Kickstart of the Week, we celebrate Aaron Torres, a slightly nervous-seeming young filmmaker from Michigan who's seeking $1,000 to help him travel around his home state and interview people about beer. Nobler efforts are hard to find in this day and age. Help the young man out, won't you?


* Week, month, whenever. Duh.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Morning Filler, By Request

Dennis emailed me the image below, with this simple subject line and no other text: "This needs to be shared via some sort of public venue..."

Who am I to argue. Plus, we needed something to reside in this space until the next music review.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Know You Got (blue-eyed) Soul

Just in time to comply with rob's plea for content, I got two new blue-eyed soul albums. This is right in my wheelhouse (as opposed to this wheelhouse, which has been celebrating the Tribe's football playoff appearance for almost a year now). Reviews are in order.

Mayer Hawthorne's new album, "How Do You Do," is a bit more diverse than his first one. This isn't always a good thing. A few tracks are typical MH, neo-vintage soul with clever lyrics and toe-tapping tunes. Like "The Walk":

As you can tell from the production quality of this video, MH left Stone's Throw and signed with Universal, so now he has some serious money behind him to pimp his ride.

Other songs, like "A Long Time," sound like Steely Dan. Others, like "Stick Around," sound like The Foundations. "Henny & Gingerale" (which may be good for Igor's hangovers) sounds like Marvin Gaye. Still others, like "No Strings," sound downright modern.

The only clunker on the album is "Can't Stop," featuring Snoop Dogg. The track suffers from all the problems of current popular hiphop -- the music is plodding, simplistic, and hamfistedly unsuccessfully dramatic. The lyrics have the same issues. In contrast with MH's usual playfully smart flow, "Can't Stop" actually features the line "let me hit it from behind." Someone needs to tell Snoop that Biggie said that shit 17 years ago.

But I can't get too mad at Mayer. I know this is a stretch, but if I were to put myself in the shoes of a thirty-something white guy named Andrew who grew up listening to hiphop and Motown and who rocks chunky tortoiseshell glasses and a stodgy 1950's haircut, I would be completely blown away to have Snoop Dogg on my album and I'd let him do whatever the hell he wanted. Again, this is a stretch for me, but that's my hunch.

I suspect that MH knows that "Can't Stop" sucks because the next song, "Dreaming," is brilliant. As I listen to the intro I expect to hear Nat King Cole, but then it morphs into a peppy Beach Boys/"Beatles For Sale"-vintage-Beatles sounding song about, of all things, the destruction of California featuring the words "restitution" and "detrimental," perhaps in an effort to make up for the preceding "hit it from behind" embarrassment.

I like "How Do You Do". You should check it out.

Allen Stone's self-titled album is a bit more blues than soul but it's still soulful enough for purposes of this review. As I said before, Stone sounds vaguely like Stevie Wonder. This is unfortunate for him, a bit of a blessing and a curse. Here's why.

Jay Kay sounds a bit like Stevie Wonder, and this is good for him because Jamiroquai made decent music.

Eddie Murphy can sing like Stevie Wonder. But when Eddie tried to make music all he could muster was "Party All The Time".

Allen Stone falls somewhere between Jay Kay and Eddie. The net result is a forced/contrived album with about as much depth as something from Maroon 5.

I really wanted to like this album. I want to root for a dude who can simultaneously look this goofy while making these fantastic sounds:

But in the end I'm just not feeling it. Maybe a better producer could get more out of Allen Stone. And yes, those are my grandmother's glasses.

As a coda, I'd like to encourage everyone to revisit Amy Winehouse's (slim) discography. Until she died I never realized how important she was (and still is) with the 24-to-30-year-old set. I first heard about her on various music blogs and listened to a track or two but never bought an album. Then zsister gave me both albums and told me I had to listen to them. This is huge because zsister doesn't listen to music. I guess people her age grew up listening to girl power acts like the Spice Girls and Britney Spears and at some point they realized that this music is bogus and then found Amy Winehouse who could back up all the swagger and bravado that goes with girl power. And they could tell their parents that they were listening to a "real musician" and their parents would agree. I developed a little bit of a mancrush on her based on the picture of her CD collection on the liner notes to "Frank." She made two excellent albums that deserve another listen. Ghostface would agree.


FOG:TB Squeaky suggested that I listen to the new We Were Promised Jetpacks album, "In the Pit of the Stomach". The buzzy RS preview is accurate -- it's good. Sometimes it sounds (musically, not vocally) like Franz Ferdinand, other times like Death Cab For Cutie, still other times like Alice in Chains or Neurosonic. All these different sounds are unified by a complex percussion section (I can't imagine they have just one guy hitting all those drums) and the lead singer's unique voice. Every song feels like a surging wave of sound and angst. You should give it a spin.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What The Middle School Kids Are Watching

You thought it would never recur, but it is definitely recurring . . . that's right, it's high time for another installment of "What the Kids Are Watching." Two years ago we learned what the High School Kids were watching, as well as what Rob's Kids were watching. And for the past two years, I'm pretty sure you've all been thinking: What about middle school kids? What about that demographic? How can I understand this great nation's digital media landscape unless I know what middle school kids are watching?

So G:TB has ascertained the answer. I did extensive and comprehensive research (i.e. my friend Melanie, who has two middle school aged children, sent me a link) and I have determined that middle school kids are watching this:

What is wrong with you, Carl?

Well . . . I kill people and I eat hands. That's two things.

And middle school kids are also watching this:

I wish my kids were watching stuff that funny, but I can't complain because they're not watching complete crap . . . they either watch Phineas and Ferb or Avatar, both of which can be streamed on Netflix, and both of which seem to have an infinite number of episodes. Maybe someday they'll enjoy Community or Breaking Bad, but until then-- as Rob pointed out in his installment of "What the Kids Are Watching"-- there are worse programs.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Buffalo's Back

The title of this post is not a reference to the posterior portion of a bison. Instead I present to you "Buffalo's Back," the audio-visual oeuvre of someone called Matt Diddy of an organization called NY Flava. It's even worse than you can possibly imagine.

Jay-Z wants his cadence from "99 Problems" back.

This is what it's like to be a Bills fan. Don't cry for me, I'm already dead.

I have a bad feeling about today's game. The Bills' defense still gives up 4.9 ypc so I can see Vick and McCoy gaining 100 yards on the ground apiece, temporarily silencing those critical of Philly's run/pass balance. I can also see the Philly defense getting fired up to beat on a bunch of relative no-name offensive linemen and receivers.

Eagles 31
Bills 17

Saturday, October 08, 2011

I Left the North Again

I'm fascinated by obsession, with that inexplicable inner drive that forces some people to go to absurd lengths to climb their mountain.  I think it's because I find it so easy to stop at the foothills.  Janice Whaley's The Smiths Project is a monument to such single-minded devotion.

Whaley recorded every track - vocal and instrumental - from every one of The Smiths' 71 songs over the course of a year.  The result is both a beautiful tribute to a great band and a testament to Whaley's persistence, talent, and creativity.  In her honor, I plan to update my goofy blog on a semi-regular basis over the next year, and cajole my fellow bloggers for content in a decidedly half-assed manner.

Friday, October 07, 2011

New Black Star song!

It's only been 12 years since Black Star released their lone self-titled album. Perhaps another one is in the works? Who knew that Colbert would break the news?

And Mos Def isn't Mos Def anymore.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Gheorghe is quite photogenic this week

Just days after we saw our namesake catching big ass fish comes this photo of Gheorghe in a spin class (that is what this type of aerobic exercise is called, right?)...

With Ray Lewis.

Where will our fearless hero be photographed next?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Yankees season depends on THIS guy

I hate you so much, A.J. Burnett. I think I hate you as much as I hate Javier Vazquez AND Carl Pavano. This image seemed fitting, A.J. choking himself out...good warm up photo for what will surely be a Game 4 to remember, one way or the other. F U pal.

Oh yeah, hi rob!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy Dave Winfield Birth/Bobby Thompson Home Run Anniversary Day

Three score years ago, a New York Giant named Bobby Thompson hit a famous home run to win the pennant. The team went on to lose to the Yankees, but Thompson's clutch home run became one of baseball's most memorable plays from that era. On the same day, in a hospital in Minnesota, a bad-ass brother named David Mark Winfield came into the world.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Where's Igor?

Our hero is gallivanting about the globe before he returns to polite society and joins the rest of us in our numbing workaday routines.  That may have come out wrong.

In any case, see if you can guess where he is this afternoon.  There's one fairly big hint in the picture below.