Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring (Slouching Beast Style)

It has been a long, brutal winter in the Northeast: tough on the roads (i.e. potholes deeper than Rob is tall) and tough on our souls (and our soles . . . all the stomping around with my dog in the snow in Sorel boots-- which have very little arch support-- aggravated my plantar fasciitis).  I normally love the cold, but this winter was more than I could handle in good spirits. My only solace is that I didn't go Jack Torrance on my family . . . though I certainly came close. There was a night or two where I had this look in my eyes:

But it's over . . . or nearly over (snow in the forecast tonight) and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or at least makes you stuck inside with plenty of time to play the guitar. The result is two seasonally themed Slouching Beast songs.

The first song-- Long Winter-- was inspired by a Christina Gutierrez line from Serial . . . I recorded the vocals back in February, when it was zero degrees and extremely dry, and my voice sounds even raspier than usual. I was going to try again last week, but decided against it . . . as the final effect is more than fitting. It really has been a long winter, and my voice on the track is a testament to that. 

I'm very proud of my bass riff on this song (played on a short scale Danelectro Longhorn).

The second song-- Shining Incident (Averted)-- is a tribute to spring that rivals Vivaldi's masterpiece (there's some lovely vocals and a full fledged jazz interlude-- it's quite upbeat by my standards . . . aside from the ax and the undercurrent of violence . . . Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious ailment,  and there needs to be more songs about it, as a lot of people north of the border lost their shit this winter). 

I have reason to believe
my wife is stepping out on me.

There's a guy who works the floor.
I think she's giving him something more
than she's giving me.

My kids are pale,
they creep and fail. No tooth and nail.
They do their hair.

There's nothing in there.

I have reason to believe
it will be a long winter.
Sun low on the horizon,
it's barely a splinter
in my eyes.

I have reason to believe
my new boss despises me.
She averts her eyes
every time I pass her by.
I don't know why.

I have reason to believe
it will be a long winter.
Sun low on the horizon,
it's barely a splinter
in my eyes.

When the fog rolls in,
and the rain begins,
you will call my name,
you will call my name.

And you will come to me,
in your weakest hour.
You will succumb to me--
feel my super power.

Remember December,
the glow won't go forever.
Remember . . . remember,
this won't last forever.

Put away the axe.
Let your mind relax.
Pour yourself a beer,
spring is near.

This time was close,
you were seeing ghosts,
but the sun melts the snow,
and the feelings go.

Encapsulate your rage,
your house becomes a cage.
Every sound you hear
devastates your ears.

But you made it, you made it,
the gray days finally faded,
and they made it, they made it,
your family's out of danger.

But remember December,
the glow won't go forever.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Your Moment of Lekker

Comedy Central announced today that 31 year-old mixed-race South African comedian Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart when the latter's 16 year-run at the anchor desk of The Daily Show comes to an end this autumn.

I confess to having never heard of Noah before today. I also confess to rarely even watching Stewart any more, at least at his regular airtime. I'm old and all. But as Noah and Larry Wilmore take over for Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central certainly didn't play it safe.

For all we're likely to hear about the socio-racial-political implications of Noah's meteoric ascension to the heights of American late night comedy, he'll sink or swim based on one single factor: is he funny?

Hard to judge by a few random YouTube clips, but he certainly seems a deft mimic and a subtle social critic:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

They're Playing Basketball

I introduced my daughter to this classic yesterday:

Her first reaction: "This is awful."

But at the end, "It's actually pretty awesome."

Yes it is, sweetheart.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Death & Taxidermy

The Marls clan is in Hershey, PA today as a stopover on a trip to NJ for a 35th birthday party. Mrs. Marls is using this an opportunity to hit the spa at the Hotel Hershey, leaving me with some welcome quiet time to catch up on the goings on in this crazy world of ours. One tidbit seems perfectly fitting for this space as it combined our beer snobbery with our love of a certain small woodland rodent.

Apparently a group of Scottish brewers calling themselves BrewDog have developed a 55% ABV beer that they named The End of History. Before you run out to your local packie and try to find one of these babies, be forewarned that a single bottle will set you back $750 Americabucks. While that feels a bit steep, you need to take into consideration the unique container the beer comes in. 

Not satisfied with a plain ol' label for their bottles, the good folks at BrewDog are swaddling their creation in the carcass of a roadkill squirrel. 

So before today's games begin, go out, grab a six pack and toast to high alcohol brews, college basketball, and Rob's rodent relatives who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you could drink out of a cool bottle. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

This scene aptly depicts the UK/WVU game from last night

*K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies softly plays in background*

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sweet Sixteen Candles Peep Filler

WTF is this?

Is that real? Whatever. On to the real Peep goodness...it's a Two for Thursday deal:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Desperate, But Not Furious

I'm in Minneapolis this week, a place that I generally enjoy. I've been sick since the day before I left home, though, and if there's anything worse than feeling like shit on a business trip (first world problem category only), I don't wanna know about it.

I begged off dinner with my colleagues last night, hoping to just have a quick bite at my hotel bar, washed down with a Surly Furious, my Twin Cities standby. You can imagine by surliness when I learned that my favorite midwestern IPA was tapped out.

The bar was pouring a new Surly offering, brewed in collaboration with the Minneapolis rap collective Doomtree, and named after the same group. As Dessa writes on the Surly website in describing the beer, "Surly started with some homebrewing in a garage. Doomtree started with some noisemaking in a basement. Careful what you do in your spare time in your spare rooms, man. That stuff just might take over your whole life."

We can relate, obviously.

And to close out this head cold-addled digression, here's a February Doomtree in-studio performance at America's second-best radio station, KEXP, backing their new release, All Hands. You'll dig it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This Diorama Goes to Eleven

"Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"

"These go to eleven."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rock and Roll Will Peep Again

We've never been a site not to beat a filler post theme into the ground, so, here we go...


Friday, March 20, 2015

Breaking Peep

Today we bring back an oldie but goodie as our March Madness Open Thread...


Thursday, March 19, 2015

My First Shining Moment

I recall being aware of bits and pieces of NCAA Tournaments as a kid. The hype for the 1979 Indiana State/Michigan State game was hard to miss, for sure, but that final wasn't much of a game, and I don't recall anything about it. I have vague memories of reading about Kentucky's 1978 win over Duke in the final, but I couldn't tell you if I saw any of that game.

My first real memory of the tournament came in 1981. I saw this one live, or at least 33 years of lapsed recall lets me think I did. It was my very first dose of madness.

Let's be safe out there today, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

You Want to Create Joy?

He's been variously described, with some accuracy, as a huckster, a cheater, an opportunist, and a genius. He's also managed to put together one of the great collections of collegiate talent in history. 

John Calipari has been called all those things, but there's little doubt about his motivational acumen. I couldn't help but love this quote from the Kentucky coach during the SEC tournament. When asked about how he kept such a large group of mega-talented kids playing together, he said:

God help me, but John Calipari sounds Gheorghey. And there's a part of me that actually kinda wants to see Kentucky pull off the 40-0 season. (There's another part that would be thrilled to see Wichita State pull the ultimate revenge move in the Elite Eight.)

We won't start paying attention to the NCAA Tournament until tomorrow, as the Tribe takes on Tulsa in the NIT this evening. But the opportunity to see greatness is before us, people of Gheorghe. Enjoy the next few weeks.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Open Thread: Travel Edition

Our tiny dictator is spending the weekend in New Orleans while the Teej is kickin' it out in Vancouver. Hopefully Rob has been reliving one of his greatest drinking performances ever and the Teej is using as many Strange Brew Lines as he can. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Does Anyone Have a Monkey I Can Borrow?

All the great bands have a song with "monkey" in the title . . . Monkey Man, Shock the Monkey, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Brass Monkey (and there are plenty more, check this list out) so why not Slouching Beast?

I'd like to shoot a music video for this song . . . does anyone have a pet monkey they can lend me? Preferably one that doesn't jump on your head and bite your ears.

Monkey in Your Mind

There's a monkey in your mind.
When the world becomes unkind,
there's a monkey in your mind.

Fling your feces
at the wall,
when the starlight
has you feeling small.

Clench your tiny fist, clench your tiny fist,
clench your tiny fist, clench your tiny fist.

There's a monkey in your man.
See the way he makes his little plan?
There's a monkey in your man.

He will leave you
in your time of need.
Scurry out the door,
retreat to the trees.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Immortalized in Meat

This Friday night, the William & Mary Alumni Association will be having their annual fundraising auction, which they alternate yearly between Washington DC and New York City.  Given DC's ongoing sharknado it's a good thing that this year's shindig is in NYC at Tom Colicchio's Riverpark restaurant.  Mrs. Marls and I have been the last few years and it's always a good time, especially as you try get your money's worth at the open bar without puking on the shoes of the school president.  If any G:TB'ers or FOG:TB are going to be in or around NYC on Friday, I highly recommend it.

One of the highlights of this year's live auction is an item that the Teej mentioned to me in an email today.  Paul's Deli, right across from the William & Mary campus, Zman's former employer, and a favorite dining spot of many not named Whitney, donated the right to name a sandwich for life.  

That's right folks, you can now immortalize yourself, someone else, or something in meat and cheese.  I say immortalize because I sincerely doubt that George will be checking the national obituaries in order to revise the menu board.   They had this item on the block last year as well and it went for over $10 grand.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Marls and I are not in the right tax bracket to be dropping 5 figures on such frivolity, but it can't stop one from considering the possibilities...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DC Sharknado

According to the twitters, "Sharknado 3" is filming today in the nation's capital.  I assume that the Teej and FOG:TB Geoff are working as extras.

As evidenced by the working title, this is the third installment of the Sharknado franchise starring Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard and Tara Reid as April Wexler who are forced to battle freak shark-carrying weather systems.  For those of you unfamiliar with SyFy's made for TV Sharknado films, the first tells the story of a hurricane that hit Los Angeles and filled the city with sharks.  Here is a 2 minute abridged version:

The second film sees our intrepid hero Fin travel to New York, only to have sharknado hit the Big Apple, including a devastating downpour of sharks that slams into CitiField, home of the Mets.  

The success of the first two Sharknado films (based on money made and social media mentions not Academy Awards) spawned some imitators, most notably "Jersey Shore Shark Attack", staring a lookalike version of the Jersey Shore cast, Paulie Walnuts, Joey Fatone and Paul Sorvino.  Needless to say, it's awesome.  

While I can't guarantee that Sharknado 3 will be as good as JSSA, according to IMDB, it will have some interesting casting, including Mark Cuban as the POTUS, Ann Coulter as VPOTUS, and Jerry Springer in an undisclosed role.  

This morning as filming got underway, another cameo performance leaked as Michele Bachmann was seen filming a scene in the district.  

Hopefully she is a better actress than she is a counselor with her head-shaking "pray away the gay" programs.   Actually, who am I kidding, she must be a fantastic actress since she somehow convinced some (not many, but some) people that she was a sane and viable candidate for President of the United States.  Maybe she can convince us that sharknadoes are real.

Come to think of it, given the cast of this opus, maybe we would be better off as a country if there really was a sharknado.   We can only hope.

Stay safe out there DC.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Monday, March 09, 2015

I Believe That We Will Win

I don't have the words to do that game justice. It was as good a college basketball contest as I've seen, two solid teams throwing haymakers. Our Tribe just wouldn't die. They're as tough mentally as any Tribe team, ever.

For the second year in a row, and the fourth in the past eight, William & Mary stands one game from the NCAA Tournament. The Wrens face preseason conference favorite Northeastern this evening for all the mid-major marbles. In general, we're a superstitious sort, but y'know what? That hasn't worked for us when it comes to the Tribe. So we say 'Fuck you, Jobu', we'll do this ourselves.

We're gonna win, dammit. Northeastern is good, but they're not great (just like us). We beat them handily in Williamsburg, while they returned the favor in Boston. The Huskies hammered us on the boards in both games, something that's not likely to change tonight. Vegas will likely install the 3rd-seeded Northeastern as favorites. But it's not about analysis at this point.

It's about fate. And it's our time to win, to fling this fucking monkey to the ground, to kick the damn ball out of Lucy's hands, to see our name announced next Sunday on CBS. (If the Selection Committee would see fit to put us in Columbus, Pittsburgh, or Jacksonville, we'd be much obliged.)

Tony Shaver's gonna play the part of Herb Brooks tomorrow.

Ignore the details, because they don't matter. Northeastern isn't the USSR (though the do wear red). We wouldn't lose nine of 10 to them - it'd likely be 5-5. And the game tonight is basketball, not hockey. Great moments, though, are made from great opportunity.

So a bunch of kids is going to go out tonight and do something that nobody's ever done before, that generations of people might've considered impossible, or at least highly unlikely.

Do you believe in miracles?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Tribecast Open Thread

Friday, March 06, 2015

This Is Not a CAA Tournament Prediction Post

William & Mary won the league!?!?!
The 2014-15 Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball season was a glorious clusterfuck. Beyond the obvious fact that four teams tied at 12-6 for the league's best record, the conference slate was a Salvador Dali/M.C. Escher conflation with a bit of Benny Hill thrown in to appeal to the masses. Consider the following:

William & Mary finished 5-1 against the other three co-champions (UNCW, Northeastern, and JMU), but lost twice to Delaware, and fell on the road to both the 8th and last-place teams (Elon and Charleston).

UNCW played the final game of the conference season, needing only to beat 5-12 Elon to clinch the outright league title. The Seahawks lost by 19.

Defending league champion Delaware (nope, not over it yet) went 1-10 in non-conference play, losing to Cal Poly, Army, and Delaware State. The Hens beat William & Mary twice and went 9-9 in conference.

JMU went 0-6 against the other co-champions, and 12-0 against the rest of the league.

First-year league member Elon finished 6-12 in the league. And carries a three-game winning streak into the conference tournament, the longest such current streak in the CAA. Which features wins over co-champs Northeastern and UNCW, and followed a seven-game losing streak.

You'll forgive us, but we won't be making any predictions about the CAA Tournament, which begins this evening in Baltimore, as the 7/10 (Drexel/Charleston) and 8/9 (Elon/Towson) matchups tip. (Though we did finish the season 10-8 ATS on W&M games, despite a two-game hiccup at the end of the year.)

We won't be prognosticating (though if you ask us for a darkhorse tourney winner, we'll give you Hofstra), but we will be offering a bit of a prescription for Tribe fans. We've said all year that W&M has to shoot the ball to win. We've been wrong. You'll hear people say that the Wrens need to rebound, to take care of the basketball. Those people are wrong, generally speaking.

The key to victory for our Wrens is simple. They have to defend.

Allow us to geek out for a minute. As Dragons Speak proprietor Dan Crain pointed out on Twitter yesterday, only once since 2007-8 has the CAA Tournament champion not ranked in the top two in the league in defensive efficiency. W&M is seventh in that stat. But their wins and losses tell a more complete story.

Advanced metrics on this point are crystal clear. W&M's Offensive Rating (ORtg, an estimate of points scored per 100 possession) in its 12 conference wins is a very good 115.65. In the Tribe's six losses, their ORtg only drops to 113.62, a figure that would rank in the top 20 in the nation.  W&M's effective field goal percentage (eFG) in wins is 61.1%. It drops only slightly to 55.1% in losses. The Wrens' total rebound percentage is better in victories, but again not a wide margin (50.8% in wins, 45.8% in losses). And counter-intuitively, the Wrens turn the ball over nearly twice as much in wins as they do in defeats (12.05 per game versus 6.5).

Yes, please
But when opponents make shots against W&M, the Tribe's exceptional offensive efficiency can't save them. In those 12 CAA wins, W&M's DRtg is a very good 93.6. And those six losses? Hide the children, because this is gruesome. The Wrens' DRtg in conference losses is 126.33. That would be the worst performance in the NCAA by more than 10 points/100 possessions over a whole season. Opponents increase their eFG from 45.8% in W&M wins to 61.5% in losses (again, that'd be the worst in the NCAA by some margin).

It's not rocket surgery this weekend in the Charm City. It's all but certain that the Tribe will run a very efficient offense. If Tony Shaver's team plays focused, even marginally effective defense, W&M has a very good chance to win any game they play.

Roll the balls out, and let's see what happens. Lotta ball left. Stay on target*.

* - We're appropriating some long-ago mojo for a new purpose. It worked once, so why the hell not try again?

Thursday, March 05, 2015


1963 Morgan +4
I'm not much of a car guy. (So much not a car guy, in fact, that I've used exactly that phrase to describe myself previously.) Pretty happy with my Toyota Camry with 150,000 miles on it. I might splurge on a MINI when the Camry finally kicks the bucket, but I don't think that'll happen anytime soon, given Toyota's well-deserved reputation for durability.

There are a few exceptions to my general automotive indifference, though. I'm a sucker for the Jaguar F-Type, for example. That thing is sexy as hell. I like the aforementioned MINI, too. It looks cool, and it fits my own personal little guy narrative.

But ever since I was a young lad, I've had a favorite automaker. In 1909, Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan founded the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern, England, producing three-wheeled sports cars for the turn of the century set. The company remains based in Malvern, and in an industry dominated by corporate behemoths, remains family-owned and operated.

(Click play to hear the engine sound of a 1928 Morgan Aero. I know Zman will do it.)

Put simply, Morgans are beautiful. They're works of art as much as they are conveyances. The Morgan +4 is a quintessentially British roadster, all sloping fenders and long bonnet. Every Morgan, really, can stand in for the United Kingdom's automakers. As Wired.com says, "Leather-gloved hands down, Morgan Motor Co. is our favorite retro-modern car maker."

I wanted one as a kid. British racing green, please.

And now, I want one even more. 

Morgan just announced the release of its updated Aero 8. It's gorgeous, and it can be yours for $121,000. I think that's a small price to pay to drive a sculpture.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

From the Archives: A Fanilow Rides Again

11 years ago I saw the man, the myth, the legend, Barry Manilow, at what was then called the MCI Center, on his "One Last Time" tour. Wellllllll, it seems it might not have been the last time after all, as I will be returning to the MCI Center (nee, Verizon Center) this evening to see Barry perform as part of his, you guessed it. "One Last Time" tour (subtitled: "This Time He Really Means It. No, He's Serious, Why Are You Laughing, Cher?"). Pasted below is the recap I wrote after that magical night 11 years ago...god willing, you will get to be bored to tears in a few days when I recap tonight's performance.
Fanilow Out.


He writes the songs that make the whole world sing

Oh, Mandy, You came and you gave without taking (or as Homer Simpson would sing, Oh, Margie, You came and you gave me a turkey)...

That's right, last night, MCI Center, the one, the only, Barry Manilow, his "One Last Time" tour. Where do I start...
Heading for Section 425 (yeah I know, big spender) an Usheress (not a word) stopped us and swapped our tix for seats in Section 118. Sweet - I'm not sure if it's possible to be any happier, and we haven't even sat down yet.

Picked up two beers (I almost felt obliged to get the white wine) and what seemed to be a day old pretzel, spent $427 dollars, then felt better when I saw the price tag on some Manilow merchandise. Good god, I'm pretty sure the sweatshirt/poster combination cost more than my college tuition.

Quick rundown of the Section 118 roster:
Backwards Hat Lacrosse Kid, with his Mom - This was stunning to me, but we'll get back to him in a second.
Five Flailing Females in the Front Row - Elaine danced better than them.
Scott Van Pelt lookalike with his Crazy Wife - Her level of enthusiasm made others look like they were in a coma.
A mixed bag of ages, races, sexes - Apparently, Manilow brings the world together.

The man of the hour hits the stage to a TREMENDOUS ovation. The last time the MCI Center exploded like that, the Mystics were shattering the WNBA single season attendance record.

I'll give it to Barry, he really knows how to work the crowd. I was gonna start this post by joking that Manilow present day looks like Clay Aiken 30 years from now, but Barry did the bit himself. I'll give this to him - he's not afraid to laugh at himself. He beat me to the elevator music/easy listening crack as well. Then he lets on that he started his career doing commercial jingles, two of which we all know - State Farm (Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there...) and Band-Aid (I am stuck on Band-Aid, 'cause Band-Aids stuck on me...). I mean, is this guy a powerhouse or what?

Quick aside: You would've thought this was a WWE event with the amount of signs being held up. Best sign of the night - "Manilow Makes Me Moist" (OK, so I made that one up, but come on, how good is that alliteration?)

Solid hour of tunes from Barry, then a quick intermission. The second hour of Manilow was even better (yep, I was sucked in), however it was initially trumped by Backwards Hat Kid. Inexplicably, he gets up, mumbles something to Mom, and moves two rows down, laying serious game on the youngest of the Flailing Females. I mean, wow. This was impressive. Curt Schilling might group him with Brandon Arroyo as having "balls the size of Saturn". I do believe it led to some making out in the Uecker seats later on during "Copacabana".

Very solid second hour (gave us back-to-back-to-back smash hits), good encore, well worth the money. Hey Barry, where can I sign up for this Maniloonies fan club, or is it the Fanilow fan club?

You know what, I'm wondering if Mike Swint found his way to the MCI Center last night. If so, did I miss anything?

I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs 

Evil Circus

I am slightly proud to announce that Slouching Beast has a live action music video. It's an instrumental piece called "Evil Circus" and it's the closest I'm ever going to get to "Eruption." It may very well be the most evil "evil circus" music ever composed.

Then there's the video. You should probably watch it first, so you can form your own opinion. It's SFW. If you get bored, fast forward to near the end-- three minutes in-- there's a cute moment with my kids. I recommend watching it with the lights turned off.

As you might have guessed, I coerced my children into shooting some footage, but we didn't shoot nearly enough (everyone got cold and bored) and so the subtitle of this song should be: How to Make a Three Minute Music Video With Thirty Seconds of Film.  Despite this shortcoming, there's no denying that my son's clown mask is very,very creepy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Run It Back

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” -- Alexander Graham Bell

Big week in Gheorghedom, with Dave's birthday followed immediately by that of our own KQ. I really don't know the Alexander Graham Bell quote above applies to this situation, but today is also the 168th anniversary of the fabled inventor's birth. May your day be filled with light. 'Cause of the bulbs, see. Get it?

Monday, March 02, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” -- Theodore Seuss Geisel

Dr. Seuss would have turned 111 on March 2, 2015. Not coincidentally, one of his more obscure but nonetheless beloved characters celebrates the 45th anniversary of his birth this very same day. As the good doctor wrote about this uniquely Seussian character, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”