Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Globe Trotting

Potential new feature here in Freeze Pop land, born from a longtime love affair with the Sunday paper. As I consume more and more of my news online, the Sunday Boston Glove endures as my one tangible newspaper experience. Call me a hopeless romantic but there's still just something different and wonderful for me in the experience of having a newspaper in your hand versus reading articles online.

One of things I really enjoy about flipping through a Sunday paper is the randomness of seeing which stories and sections grab my attention from week to week. Maybe it's an interesting Travel piece. Maybe a book or movie review that sends me straight to my Amazon wish list or Netflix queue. Or maybe it's a long feature in the Ideas or Sports section. It could be almost anything.

That's where this feature comes in. In this space, I want to share the journey through the Sunday paper by presenting my top five list of the most interesting pieces of the week. The rules are simple. There are no limits on what's eligible. Could be a small blurb. Could be three stories in the same section. Whatever's clever. As long it catches my fancy it's fair game. And, on that note, let's dive into a first pass (in no particular order) below.

Clarke's Globe Picks of the Week (10/25/2009)

1) Headline: Coming Around Again
Author: Joan Anderman
Description: Record-contract limbo behind her, Carly Simon revisits her classics and makes new album a family affair

Comments: I'm far from the world's biggest Carly Simon fan. I mean, I've got You're So Vain and Nobody Does It Better on my ipod. Don't get me wrong. I know about the failed marriage to James Taylor. I'm familiar with their son Ben Taylor and his music. That's pretty much where it ends though. That said, I thought there were lots of interesting tidbits in this piece about her re-packaged greatest hits project.

You learn about her Starbucks contract and how that deal fell apart. Then there's the whole dynamic of her relationship with her son which is kind of fascinating. You can tell he adores her on the one hand but that they have this kind of weird working relationship too. There's the lingering enmity with her famous ex-husband. There's hope that this project is going to be commercially successful despite what seems like a lot of mixed feelings over doing it in the first place. After reading this story I could easily see myself buying into a book or a movie based on Carly, JT and the kids. There's more material there than I would have thought.


2) Headline: Islam's Darwin Problem
Author: Drake Bennett
Description: In the Muslim world, creationism is on the rise

Comments: See, here's why I enjoy the randomness of the Sunday Globe. We go from a story about Carly Simon to a feature about the rise of creationism in the Muslim world. I love it. And I highly, highly recommend this piece if you can find the time. It's fantastic. I think you might be surprised how many people (even in the US) do not support the theory of evolution. Some of the statistics that Bennett provides are pretty eye-opening. The stuff in here about Adnan Oktar (Turkish author and vehement creationism-defender) is worth the price of admission alone too. No scientific or religious training? No problem! Blame Darwinism on Freemasons! On the flip side, surprising support for evolutionary theory from a Middle Eastern country you might not expect. Which one? You have to read it yourself...


3) Headline: Welcome To The Dollhouse
Author: Francie Latour
Description: The line the new black Barbies won't cross

Comments: Well-written piece about the problem with black Barbie dolls. Plenty of valuable historical context. I learned about "Colored Francie" from the 60's and Oreo Fun Barbie from the 90's. The biggest impression that the story made on me though was in regards to the crazy lengths that many black woman go to get straight hair. I don't think I had any concept of the severity of the salon experience described by Latour, what with the burning chemicals and so forth. Yikes.


4) Headline: For Walker, Financial Fouls Mount
Author: Shira Springer
Description: Former Celtics star pursued by creditors as free-spending lifestyle drains his wealth

Comments: Poor Antoine. Nothing in this story really surprised me. "Young person is given boatloads of money and doesn't handle it well," is a tale we've all heard by now. But the details are still pretty depressing. And, granted, it's hard to feel sorry for someone that was paid over $100 million to play basketball. But when you balance the craziness of playing $15,000 hands of blackjack with Michael Jordan and $1,800 dinners against taking care of about 75 people (especially his mother) to the point where you're giving five people authorization to just use your credit cards as they see fit, you do have to have a touch of remorse for the guy.


5) Headline: What You Hear Is Not A Chorus
Author: Matthew Guerrieri
Description: The truly original thing about "Rapper's Delight"

Comments: Now here's an easy sell. You give me an article about Wonder Mike, Big Bank Hank and Master Gee's signature hit and I'm in. This story, in particular, is about the uniqueness of a song with no chorus. Guerrieri describes the phenomenon in Rapper's Delight thusly, "Like the balladic verses of the blues, or the improvisatory excursions of long-form jazz, the song is less interested in how loud it can rev its engine than in how long it can keep it running." Well said, sir. Well said. I like a good chorus as much as the next guy but who says that every song needs one? Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fire up some Sugarhill and ease into the afternoon. Happy reading kiddos.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Music Finds You

Well... sort of.

I have been on an absolute barnstorm across the world wide web the past few days loading up on new music. It has been one of the most successful new music missions I have ever had - and like all things, it came with a clear strategy. A strategy that I want to share.

It started with the great website Hype Machine, which aggregates music from the top blogs around the world in one place. You can listen to them all like it were a long running playlist, which is the first step. I listened and when something struck my fancy, I jumped to the blog and began the second part of the search. I spent some time on this persons blog to feel out their musical taste - was it one dimensional, did they have a wide variety of styles that I enjoyed, how did they write about the songs and artists they were offering for download.

I did this exercise for about two weeks and came away with 12 or so blogs that just killed it. These sites offer fans the ability to download tunes - so download I did. I must have added 200+ songs to iTunes over the two week span... didn't try to decide if they were worthy of a long-standing position yet - that came in phase 3.

Once all the songs were on my iPod - the switch shifted towards my commute and Wednesday wedding planning which I have dubbed "new music and new memories". Which now makes wedding planning time, also the time where I find new music and both of us are all geared up (for different reasons) - just brilliant stuff. So the system at this point is pretty simple. There are three grades I give each song which allows me to circle back and finish my new music quest afterwards (this method is straight from the Hadley handbook by the way). As for the ratings, each grade is assigned one of the ratings star on iTunes/iPods

- If the song doesn't resonate, doesn't seem like something that will get plays - but instead a constant skip over - it gets one star

- If the song is good, a song that may grow on me, a song that might just be great one day - it gets two stars

- And finally if the song comes off like an instant classic, something that just clicks from the get go - it lands three stars

At the end of the day, I go back and sort by rating on iTunes. Erase all the 1 star songs, keep all the 2 start songs, and immediately do two things with the 3 star songs: 1/ make a mix tape to share the new music with people and 2/ begin to download more stuff from each band

It's that easy... and nothing is more refreshing than finding a boat load of bands to discover... because let's face it - discovery is the best part.

And just in case you want to check out some of the new groups I have dug up:

-The Vaselines (not new, actually most famous for Nirvana covering - but new to me and great)
-Cymbals Eat Guitars
-Camille Yarbrough (old r&b/mo-town/funk - "Take Yo Praise" has been covered a few times)
-Alex Bleeker and the Freaks
-Fluffy Lumbers
-The Noisettes
-Blind Pilot
-The Drums
-Clare and the Reasons
-Free Energy (song Something in Common)

Happy hunting

Thursday, October 08, 2009

CB Buckner Review

See full size image

Seriously, the MLB has to do something about the horrible umpires in this league and their method for placing them into the post season. It needs to be based on merit, not tenure.

Awful. God f'n awful. No pressure or accountability to be good at their jobs.

Genre Review - Country

What the hell did Country music ever do to deserve this? I am serious, why do people have an unrelenting hate for Country music? It pisses me off to no end and I want to address 3 points:

1) Country music is as old a form of American music that we got. Developed by blending several styles of music together in South Eastern U.S. at the turn of the last century, it extends into so many different genres of music. It was born from the blues that had been a major part of the same region for quite some time – and it has so much of that in it.
2) The issue is that everyone associates Country music with people like Garth Brooks, John Denver and Kenny Chesney. That is a subset of the genre – closer to “Country Western”, than say some of the more blue-grass banjo fronted Country bands or say – a bluesy Country band… or say, I don’t know – ELVIS F’N PRESLEY. I mean even Ray Charles was considered country soul in the early 60’s. And you know what? Country music led a new genre of music called Country rock in the 1960’s. And some of the early bands playing in this space? The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Eagles, and so many more. Country influenced the best bands of all time – throw on Honky Tonk Woman by the stones… seriously do it now Honky Tonk Woman. Great song, rooted in Country. Wilco, Son Volt, Old 97’s and a bunch of other bands spun off with Alternative Country in the early-mid 90’s. The problem is, people think Country Pop and Country Western is the beginning and end of the genre and it pisses me off to no end. And what happens is great musicians are overlooked. Go download “Jackson Station” by The Band of Heathens and tell me that is not a great f’n song.
3) I swear to god I am going to punch the next person that says “I like all music except Country” in the dick. Right in the pecker. Because it is a stupid ass thing to say, even if you really hate all Country music (which you obviously haven’t listened to it all) – you don’t like EVERY other kind of music. When was the last time you dug deep into the Big Band our Latin House genres? Big on Gothic Rock? How about Progressive Trance? Do you have any idea how many genera’s of music there are? I’ll tell you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_popular_music_genres. So please, if you don’t want a punch to your weiner, please don’t say that idiotic sentence ever again. It makes you look stupid.
Some of my favorite bands in the world are Country. Country is a major section of music with a bunch of genres within it. Stop giving it a bad name.
Country: A
People who say “I like everything buy Country”: F

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Traffic Boners

On the way out, eh? Then how come I see traffic boners by the bushel basket every morning on 128 during my morning commute. I can't drive 2 miles without some hooligan whipping a traffic boner out at me.

Movie Review - King's Ransom

I remember where I was the day my idol was traded from the most entertaining NHL team of all-time to the Los Angeles Kings. I was 13 years old and my parents were picking me up from SVS Hockey Camp in Rhode Island. It was hot and muggy and I was devastated.

When you're 13 years old there's no way to process how arguably the greatest hockey player in the world can be traded. I mean, why would you do that if you were running a team? You've just won 4 Stanley Cups. He's in the prime of his career. He's Wayne-flipping-Gretzky! You can't trade Wayne Gretzky!

So I was stunned. And confused. I bought a t-shirt of Wayne in that silver and black Kings uniform and wore it with the same pride I had in my authentic blue Oilers jersey with 99 on the back in orange. But it never felt right to me. When the Kings knocked the Oilers out of the '89 playoffs it felt weird. When the Oilers returned the favor the next year and won the Cup, without Wayne, it felt even weirder. And when he broke Gordie Howe's all-time scoring record in the middle of all that, in Edmonton as a King, that may have been the weirdest of all. I could never fully resolve myself to the reality of that trade. Maybe I never will.

Enter King's Ransom...Peter Berg's documentary, the first in ESPN's 30 for 30 series, on that fateful day in 1988 when The Great One was dealt to LA. I think I had last night circled on my calendar from the minute I knew when it was airing. The Red Sox could've been playing Game One of the ALDS last night and I might have skipped three innings just to watch it. That's how excited I was for this project. Excitement justified? Sadly, not quite. Here are my impressions...

-I love Peter Berg for tackling the subject. And I love that you can kind of tell he's just in awe of Wayne throughout the film. I don't love the job that he did with Wayne's interview on the golf course though. I feel like he let him off the hook way too easy in spots.

For example, they talk about how Peter Pocklington and Glen Sather both gave Wayne the option to call off the trade right before the press conference. That's fascinating and something I never knew. Wayne's comments about it are really interesting too. He admits that maybe he should've taken a few days to think about it before saying, essentially, that they're already too far down the path and the deal makes sense so let's go ahead and do it.

I think there's genuine regret in Gretzky over the trade. He talks about leaving a championship-caliber team for one of the worst teams in the league. He estimates they might have won another 4 Cups if he stayed. I think there's a part of him that's completely haunted by the whole thing. But Berg didn't really press him or fully explore that angle. He takes Wayne's ultimate answer of "no regrets" at face value. I'm not sure Jeremy Schapp or Bob Costas buys that. I certainly didn't.

-On a more positive note, kudos to Berg for slipping in two quick clips of my favorite Gretzky goal, his shorthanded OT winner in Game 2 of the '88 Smythe Finals against Calgary. (Shown between :11 and :16 in this video...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3uVSFmSLTY&feature=PlayList&p=A08B30F755CB14FA&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=26) In general, I thought the use of old highlights was choppy and somewhat disorienting. I always appreciate seeing that goal though.

-I definitely did not need all kinds of footage of Wayne standing in an empty Great Western Forum. Way, way overused. The opening scene of him driving up and getting out of the car was cool but everything after that could have been cut.

-Speaking of things that could have, nay SHOULD have, been cut, the worst part of the entire documentary in my opinion were the ridiculous shots that were thrown in of someone skating around in the dark in Oilers and Kings uniforms that was clearly NOT Wayne Gretzky. Why in the world would anyone think that's a good idea? Awful. Just awful.

-That made it into the film for some reason. The biggest lost opportunity, however, was something that wasn't in the movie. And that's any kind of reaction or interviews from Wayne's former teammates in Edmonton. That's a gigantic ommission. How can you not get Kevin Lowe or Paul Coffey or anyone from those teams on the record with their thoughts on the trade? Gretzky famously says, "I promised Mess I wouldn't do this," while crying at the press conference. How do you not cut to Messier after you show that clip to describe his emotions at that moment?

-Lacking Wayne's famous Oilers teammates, at least we get Glen Sather. I was never a huge fan of Slats (especially when he was running the Rangers) but I have to give credit where credit is due. He's great throughout. I love how Pocklington describes him as "pretty pissed off" (I think that's the quote) when he first told him about the Gretzky trade and Sather says in response, "I was more than pissed." You can tell he's still seething over the whole deal. And I loved the part about how he wouldn't have traded Wayne for an entire organization if it were up to him.

-I was very surprised to learn that Wayne did most of the planning for his wedding with Janet. Really Wayne? Wouldn't have guessed that.

-Speaking of Janet...best line of the movie was easily, "...hey Janet! I saw Police Academy 5!" I'm sure she's delighted to have that on her resume.

-I dont know why but I love Walter Gretzky. It looks like he lives in the same house he's lived in for the last 50 years. Canadian flag flying in the front yard. Picking dandelions. Just as soft-spoken as you please. Love it.

-One last criticism...I would've liked much more discussion on the aftermath of the trade. They gloss over it with text that mentions Wayne never winning a Cup in LA, Edmonton winning in '90, Pocklington selling the team, warm-weather expansion and Bruce McNall going to jail. I wish they spent more time on that stuff. Let's get definitive opinions, not just from Wayne and Pocklington, about whether the trade was a success. Let's debate whether that expansion was a good thing for the league or not. I wish they gave more time to those types of questions.

Overall Grade: C (Wish I could go higher but I just can't.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Facebook Status Reviews

Ok, so I was going to start by saying sorry. By saying that I apologize if you find this little website and realize I am making fun of your Facebook Status Update. I was going to say no hard feelings - but screw that.

I accepted you as a friend on facebook and now you have to face the fact that your Facebook status is awful and borderline embarrassing. That is what friends do - we tell our friends when we have shit in our teeth, when our zippers down and today, in 2009, we call out people for having lame ass status updates.

So what is my social network up to...

Love Happens
You know what also happens? People take a crap because they ate to many ding dongs and twinkies before dinner... that is what also happens. You know what seperates the two? The later is something that people actually give a shit about

Grade: F

Literally had a headache all day... What the Hell
I literally don't give a shit. That's the hell.

Grade: F

Just got a free copy of The Nest in the mail. There's a magazine for married people??
Yes, there is also magazine for married people cheating on their wife with barn animals. Are you kidding me? You are surprised that there is a magazine for married people? It is a pretty large f'n segment of the world you know... and magazine's are purposely segmented into small niches. Or, just maybe, did you want to let everyone know for the 200th time this month that you are married?

Grade: F

Things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart... and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away :)
Okay, so I figured that an actual person didn't sit around and make this shit up for their status update - it had to come from some movie, song, tv show... and sure enough, my friend google lets me know that it is a Sex and the City quote.

Now why does it irk me, well a few reasons:

1/ I know cities change, but what is the point here. Guessing it was part of some sappy "NY isn't like it used to be" that everyone who has ever lived here always says. It was always better a decade before...

2/ People who I love are certainly in my thoughts quite often... I guess I am okay with the heart analogy as well, although from a very scientific perspective I could call bullshit. What pisses me off is the "always" crap. No one is in my heart when I am taking a dump and no one wants to be - no matter how big the love.

3/Very lucky? I think lucky should do just fine... or even just normal. I have lost plenty of people close to me, but there is still a boat load of people I love within a car ride never mind a boarding a damn plane.

All and all, I hate every quote that doesn't make me laugh or remind me of the roller palace in 6th grade

Grade F

Needs new music on her i-pod and is open to suggestions...
First reply to this update: "Buffett".

That is your recommendation on new music for a friends i-pod? While your at it... you should also rent Stand By Me and check out this show Friends. You know what... I don't even hate the status update - I just think people should be accountable for having stupid ass friends.

Grade F

Ya... E's and Sloans marriage will last... No problem
The goddamn show JUST ENDED. 90% of the people I know are watching Sunday Night Football and are going to be catching this on either OnDemand or DVR... Are you kidding me? Why in the dick do you think this is ok? Wake the hell up...

Grade F

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Language Review - Irresistibly Irish

Quick post after a late night realization…

Substitute “”me” with “my” and you will sound like you’re right off the boat from Ireland. I literally spent 2 hours last night cracking my shit up.

Where’s my car – “Where’s me car”

Can someone tie my shoes – “can someone tie me shoes”

Or maybe - I think I have lost me wallet, me keys, me jacket and me dignity… if anyone finds me things, call me cell – I should be in me pajamas at me house with me lady

It doesn't get old

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lyrics Analysis (Funky Cold Medina)

All right, kids.  Let's jump back into the lyrics analysis game
with a song that's shockingly 20 years old now. My comments in

Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc

Alright, dig it
(As you wish, sir)

[ VERSE 1 ]
Cold coolin' at a bar, and I'm looking for some action
(Is there a better way to describe hanging out than cold
coolin'? I say no.)

But like Mike Jagger said, I can't get no satisfaction
The girls are all around, but none of them wanna get with me
My threads are fresh and I'm lookin def, yo, what's up with
(Questioning yourself in the third person is kind of awesome.)
The girls is all jockin' at the other end of the bar
(Or, as they say in Spain..."Las muchachas son todo el jockin'
en el otro
extremo de la barra. It seems "jockin'" is the same
in any language.)

Havin' drinks with some no-name chump, when they know that I'm
the star
(The nerve)
So I got up and strolled over to the other side of the cantina
(I like that. Tone's perplexed but he's not in any great hurry.
Just calmly strolls
across the cantina.)
I asked the guy, Why you so fly? he said, Funky Cold Medina
(I love that the guy answered so confidently and with no
hesitation. Like
some stranger coming up to you in a bar and
asking "why you so fly?" is
totally normal and expected. I'd
like to ask 100 random people "why you so
fly?" to see if even
one of them wasn't completely confused.)

Funky Cold Medina

[ VERSE 2 ]
This brother told me a secret on how to get more chicks
Put a little Medina in your glass, and the girls'll come real
(In your own glass? Not in their glasses?)
It's better than any alcohol or aphrodisiac
(It absolutely isn't. This is like saying a Mercedes is better
than a car. Something can be the best in its class. It can't

be better than something it is though. Ketchup can't be better
than any tomato-based
A couple of sips of this love potion, and she'll be on your lap
(That's powerful stuff. A couple sips?)
So I gave some to my dog when he began to beg
(Wait, what? Why? Why in the world did you do that? You gave
some to your
dog? Your dog!?!?)
Then he licked his bowl and he looked at me and did the wild
thing on my leg
(I'm sorry but you deserve that Tone. What were you hoping
would happen
when you gave your dog Funky Cold Medina? Again
...it's your dog!)

He used to scratch and bite me, before he was much much meaner
(I bet the Dog Whisperer secretly uses Medina.)
But now all the poodles run to my house for the Funky Cold
(All right, I'm confused. Do you give the Medina to someone and
it makes them
horny? Or do you drink it yourself and suddenly
you become irresistible? I mean,
the guy at the bar had it in
his glass. And your dog is getting all kinds of
hot poodle ass
from drinking it. So that implies you drink it yourself. But
you're giving it out to everyone in the rest of the song.
And it only stands to
reason that the object of your affection
should be the one drinking it. Hmmmm.
Mysterious stuff, this

You know what I'm sayin?
(Not really)
I got every dog in my neighborhood breakin' down my door
I got Spuds McKenzie
Alex from Stroh's
(Two celebrity dogs and they both live in your neighborhood?
What are the odds?
Love how dated those references are now too.)
They won't leave my dog alone with that Medina, pal
(Oh, we're pals now? Nice.)

[ VERSE 3 ]
I went up to this girl, she said, Hi, my name is Sheena
(Speaking of odds...what are the odds her name would rhyme with
Medina? Would've been much harder to write this lyric if her
name was Barbara. Or Ruth.)

I thought she'd be good to go with a little Funky Cold Medina
(Well, that's an improvement over giving it to your dog. Lucky

She said, I'd like a drink, I said, Ehm - ok, I'll go get it
(As a rule, I think it's a good idea to let strangers pick your
drink for you.)

Then a couple sips she cold licked her lips, and I knew that she
was with it
So I took her to my crib, and everything went well as planned
But when she got undressed, it was a big old mess, Sheena was a
(Bahahaha. Well then. That, indeed, is a big old mess.)
So I threw him out, I don't fool around with no Oscar Meyer
(It's kinda not his fault though...just for the record.)
You must be sure that the girl is pure for the Funky Cold
(...says a man who earlier in the song gave some of this stuff
to a dog.)

You know, ain't no plans with a man
This is the 80's, and I'm down with the ladies
(Something about the 70's you want to tell us about, Tone?)
Ya know?
(Kinda....I guess)

Break it down

[ VERSE 4 ]
Back in the saddle, lookin for a little affection
I took a shot as a contestant on The Love Connection
(Does anyone have that episode? I'll pay good money for it.)
The audience voted, and you know they picked a winner
I took my date to the Hilton for Medina and some dinner
(That is so, so romantic. I'm swooning.)
She had a few drinks, I'm thinkin soon what I'll be gettin'
(Wait, a few FCM's? You only need sips of that stuff, pal.)
Instead she started talkin' 'bout plans for our weddin'
(See, that's what happens.)
I said, Wait, slow down, love, not so fast says, I'll be seein'
That's why I found you don't play around with the Funky Cold
(Apparently not)

Ya know what I'm sayin
That Medina's a monster, y'all
(Words to live by. And we're out...)

Candy Land - Website Reviews

For a change, not here to rip on why something is bad - instead, applaud a brand for understanding social media and taking a risk. (and then rip on someone for being incredibly bad)

Skittles has completely revamped their website and decided to, in a way, turn it over to the fans.

When you go to www.skittles.com, you are sent through to their facebook page, which has a Skittles branded box in the top left corner that allows you to select different options. Each options bring you to different social sites. Some options to click in the box are:

"Chatter" - brings you to the Twitter Search page looking at what people are saying about Skittles; the good, bad, ugly. Some examples:

Really cool, and of course they could be getting lit up - but they aren't. Because Skittles are the color of the f'n rainbow, taste damn good, and make people inherently happy. A very calculated risk if I ever saw one. We skip the PR bullshit and hear what real life human beings have to say.

"Friends" - brings you right to their facebook page with almost 3.5 million fans. Running promotions, sharing content, active wall, etc. Some brands complain their facebook page doesn't get any traffic. Well chances are your product just isn't relevant and you are not putting any effort into driving folks there.

"Media" - Has all their commercials hosted on their youtube page. No need to skip over these, its up to you to watch them. And their not replacing their television spend, just adding to it.

Now I think this is a great example of how a brand can think outside the box - understanding the depth of the media shift and having a go at something that will drive some buzz.

Meanwhile Hershey's is running a stupid ass and incredibly tired promotion giving away NCAA tickets with literally the lamest copy of the year

"I'm A Big Fan" - really? Who the hell on gods green earth says that repulsive shit? And why do companies still get a huge boner out of any promotion that has user-generated content? Meanwhile they haven't a clue what the hell it means. Listen, we don't care that some schmuck Ohio State fan thinks he or she is "A Big Fan"... and of course its only the Big Ten schools that think this shit matters. Nearly every conference has zero video entries, a couple have 2 or 3, but the Big Ten has 14. And then all the videos are predictably awful, lacking any creativity - how does no one tie in a "hershey squirt" after a big interception or something to prove they are a "Big Fan"... not only does the website and promotion suck, Hershey fans and Big Ten fans suck as well.

So where do I net out... I am going to buy a big ass pack of skittles, cause they taste good and they proved not be stupid, lazy, sheep. Then I am going to video tape a Skittle Squirt and post it on their youtube page.

Skittles: A
Hershey: F
Big Ten Fans: D-

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Old S.I. Review (April 27, 1987)

Man, it's been a long time since I did an old S.I. review. Too long in fact. As soon as I came across the site of a triumphant Rob Deer in a box of old magazines this past weekend though, I knew what I had to do. Let's jump right in shall we...

Bobby V. Packing Wood
Strong start to this issue with a picture of Bobby Valentine carrying about 30 Rangers bats in the dugout in an attempt to shake them out of a hitting slump next to the table of contents. Probably didn't work though since the '87 Rangers finished in a last place tie in the old AL West.

1987 Toshiba Laptop Specs
Gotta love this copy from an ad for Toshiba's new laptop computer...

The Toshiba is the most powerful laptop you can buy. With a standard 640KB memory that's expandable to 2.6 MB. And a spectacular, high-resolution gas-plasma display that let's you work for hours without getting quint lines. It is an incredible example of Toshiba's technologies in miniaturization.

Zamboni Fan, eh?
Check out this fantastic letter from Steve Aureli of Knoxville, Tenn...

Thanks for Leigh Montville's fascinating article on the Zamboni (You're an Old Smoothie, March 30). I've been a Zamboni fan for years. In fact, I used to live in Waterbury, Conn., and when the Whalers were floundering not too long ago, we would go to the Hartford Civic Center and pay good money to see the Zamboni perform. Something resembling hockey was played during the long intermissions."

Things That Sounded Better At The Time
One other thing from the Letters page. Tim and Janet Matthews, a couple from Toronto, sent in a note taking writer E.M. Swift to task for his contention that Canadians, by and large, have low expectations for their athletes in international competitions. First athlete they cite to defend Canada's athletic prowess? Ben Johnson.

Remembering the Fast Start of the '87 Brew Crew
Moving on the meat of the issue, we begin with the feature story about the Milwaukee Brewers starting the season with an 13-game winning streak and a no-hitter from "embraceable lefty" Juan Nieves. Some highlights from that piece...

-Riding an 11-0 start, the Brewers drew 29,357 on Easter Sunday. I don't know what the capacity was at County Stadium but that seems like a low turnout for an 11-0 team.

-Juan Nieves channeling John Kreese..."People probably think this is a joke," Nieves said, "but it's not. It's a taste of what's to come the rest of the way. We're back. No mercy." It's worth noting at this point that Milwaukee finished 3rd in the AL East in '87.

-Did you know Juan captained the baseball, basketball and cross-country teams at Avon Old Farms? That's a fun piece of trivia. I have to admit, I didn't have Juan pegged as an Avon man.

-Best part of the article? I nominate this...

"Shortly before Opening Day, The Milwaukee Journal conducted a telephone survey of Wisconsin residents and found that 74% of them had no idea who the Brewers manager was?"

OK, first of all, a telephone survey to see how many people know the manager? That's awesome. I will pay money for copies of those phone calls. Even better that 74% didn't know though. 74%! That's tremendous.

The 1987 Phoenix Suns...More Sordid than you Remember
I think it's safe to say that the '87 Suns probably benefited from a comparative lack of media scrutiny. Consider the following...

-At the time, the '87 Suns were involved in "the largest single drug bust in the history of professional sports." No fewer than 11 players, past and present, were implicated by Phoenix law enforcement officials, including Walter Berry (a 6-time all-star and the leading scorer in Suns history).

-Berry was not only implicated but largely believed to have snitched on his teammates in the process. Good times.

-Aside from the drug bust, Phoenix police were also looking into allegations that a Suns-Bucks game from February of '87 may have been fixed.

Can you imagine the 24-hour indignation we'd be hearing from talking heads if all that was going on these days? Although....one thing would be the same and that's David Stern's reaction. Stern's quoted in the article and sounds exactly the same back then as he does now. "We've been assured there's nothing to the allegations but we're looking into it..."

The LaFontaine Game
Ahh, the old 4-OT Game 7 Isles-Caps thriller that ended on Easter Sunday. I remember it well. Hadley slept over that night and we watched into the wee hours. I can close my eyes and see Bob Mason standing dazed in the Wasington net after LaFontaine's turn-around slapper. Game over. Series over. Isles advance.

What I didn't remember until reading the article though is that Washington had a 3-1 lead in that series and lost 3rd period leads in Games 6 and 7. Now, that's a tough way to lose a series.

The Nigerian Nightmare
Skipping past articles on the Boston Marathon, Kentucky Derby prep races & a piece about Greg Louganis getting beat a few times at some indoor diving competition, we get a pre-NFL draft scouting report on Christian Okoye. Some highlights...

-Christian's favorite food was a pungent Nigerian stew called fufu.

-The stories of his athleticism and physique are pretty crazy. At the time, he was the African record-holder in the discus and a 17-time All-America in a variety of track & field events. 6'3", 255 lbs with a 34" waist. Ran a 4.45, 40. 35" vertical. Could bench 405 lbs. and could squat 725 lbs.

-Scouting reports were mixed because of his inexperience, as you would expect. Last first-round, early-second round seemed to be the consensus (and that's where he went incidentally...going to the Chiefs early in the 2nd round). Best part of the evaluations is this quote from Reed Johnson (head of player personnel for the Broncos)...

"Think of the acceleration from Asuza Pacific to playing against the Raiders! What a shock."

Ummmm...the Raiders then, or the Raiders now? Because I think Asuza Pacific could've given last year's Raiders all they could handle.

-My other favorite quote comes from Christian himself, after being handed a football for the first time in his life in college. Christian's reaction? "Very interesting....but very impractical."

Dr. Z on the '87 NFL Draft
Dr. Z goes 7 for 28 in predicting the first round of the NFL draft. Nobody ever does much better than that in hindsight. 7 for 28 is actually higher than I would've guessed. His best call, to me, is listing Rich Gannon in his top 5 underrated players section. Says if he went to USC instead of Delaware he'd be a first rounder. Good call on someone that ended up going in the 4th round (to the Pats by the way. We'll see you in at the Snow Bowl game in 15 years, Rich).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chasing Patron

1) No, that is not that cool

2) My top can hold the f'n tequila inside the bottle so it doesn't spill- because that is the god damn purpose of my top. You know what is more important... that I come off easily.

And honestly, why the hell did they cast Imperioli here - was he really the best option. What the hell does he bring to the brand? Tough Italian Guy that knows his tequila? Not for me - when I see him, I think of a raging heroin addict that cries a lot and can't handle his shit.

...Meanwhile, look at Patron - just absolutely understanding what a guy drinking patron wants:

Great commercial, glides over the empty bottle (WITH NO TOP ON) as it scans a bra and jeans and other clothes... whose clothes you ask? A smoking hot chicks clothes that's who. Then they show the tequila on the rocks in a clear glass with a lime on the rim... bottle half empty and no top.

And we see why one feels the need to attack the other.

1800: C-
Patron: A-

Target - Pearl Jam Commercial

Ok, so I love Pearl Jam. Or maybe I loved Pearl Jam... all I know is that at one point in my life - between Ten and Vitalogy and VS. - Pearl Jam was cool as shit. I wore flannel jackets in the midst of Summer because of Eddie Vedder did, I grew out my hair, I cut my jeans into jorts... I literally followed the man blindly. Then something happened... I am not sure if it was them, or if it was me... likely a bit of both, but the relationship hit the proverbial fork in the road. Outside of listening to their old stuff from time to time and my obsession with cut jean shorts - it has all but faded.

The point is - if Eddie Vedder told me to go shop at Target in 1994... I would have not thought twice. I would have jumped on my huffy, silver chromes and all, and b-lined it to nearest Target. But you know what, he never would have... because that Eddie Vedder, THAT Pearl Jam... they found their clothes at Salvation Army or Caldor or some other awesomely shitty store that may or may not sell pretzels that tasted great (Bradlees)

Furthermore, I am not sure how much they paid Cameron Crowe to direct this spot - but I might just call Target's VP Media and let them know that his agency convinced him to overspend for a big name director when my 14 year old cousin could have caught the same footage with better quality on his friggin Flip Video.

And then we have the group of advertising brain child's that must have creamed their pants with the "target logo" stamp idea to kick off the commercial. Not sure why that pissed me off so much, but it did.

So where am I at the end of the commercial? I don't want to go to that lousy themed concert... I don't want to buy their new album... I definitely don't want to go to Target for any reason... The association with Cameron Crowe didn't do shit for me - it just shows a lack of creativity and a fat wallet.

I guess the one thing I might do is go to iTunes. But that is because I always go to iTunes and just quickly hearing iTunes at the end of this stupid commercial reminded me that the new Avett Brothers album came out today. That and I might also throw on my old flannel jacket.

Target, Pearl Jam, Cameron Crowe, Hipsters: D
Apple/iTunes: B