Friday, May 28, 2010

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Death Trip


Last year, my grandfather died. He had been sick for a long time and had a good life. His funeral was held at a place I am familiar with, King-Lynk funeral home in Ft. Madison. It was a nice, well-attended funeral and the funeral director was able to put together a nice slideshow featuring pictures of the deceased at various stages of his life accompanied by Ferlin Husky's gospel hit "Wings of a Dove". Now, I came to appreciate my grandfathers favorite music too late in life - he was a big Johnny Cash fan WAY before it was cool - and I can dig on a nice gospel tune done right. However, Ferlin was the only thing on the menu all during the visitation and it got to be a grim joke towards the end as God's pure, sweet love was spread around for the 50th time that afternoon.

Now, everyone should know by now that music plays a big part in my life and, as anyone who's wrestled with me for control of a car stereo can attest, I am pretty particular about what I like. And so, in the interest of preserving it in case of my untimely demise, I have decided to post the music I want played at my funeral on this blog. I came to this decision after having a re-occurring nightmare of lying in state while "The Time of Your Life" by Greenday plays softly in the background. It... haunts me.

So anyway, here it is. Notice that, in the interest of harmony, I have not included a lot of my more esoteric fare and nothing that I have noticed really irritates some people (Killdozer, Daniel Johnston, etc...). If you have similar fears, please feel free to post the listing for your own mortuary mix-tape in the comments and I'll make sure you are put in the ground with a smile on your face.

Now all of these songs can be found on my iTunes under the soundtrack heading "funeral party mix". And I did put some effort into making them segue from song to song, so don't fuck with the order.

1. "Come Down Softly to my Soul" - Spacemen 3
2. "King of Birds" - R.E.M.
Shut up.
3. "Cocoon" - The Decemberists
4. "Buckets of Rain" - Bob Dylan
5. "Felt Good To Burn" - The Flaming Lips
Tee-hee, I know. Hopefully, the fuzz combined with sad small talk with drown out most of the cussing/violent imagery/references to drug use.

And all your dreams, and oh, God blessed your soul
I saw you were holdin' your head
But we couldn't have been dead
'cause you stood up and moaned and said,
I wasn't wavin' goodbye, I was sayin' hello.

6. "Spider in the Snow" - The Dismemberment Plan
7. "Tired of this Life" - Dawn Landes
8. "Thirteen" - Elliot Smith
Yeah it's a cover. Sue me
9. "Hangman" - Fire on Fire
10. "Love Love Love" - The Mountain Goats
11. "Which Will" - Nick Drake
12. "Wayfaring Stranger" - Johnny Cash
13. "Jesus, Etc" - Wilco

Jesus, don't cry
you can rely on me honey
you can combine anything you want
I'll be around
you were right about the stars
each one is a setting sun

14. "Chasing After Deer" - Midlake
15. "Miles From Nowhere" - Cat Stevens
16. "Guiding Light" - Television
17. "Mercy" - Mojave 3
18. "Atmosphere" - Joy Division
19. "Soon" - Low
20. "Here" - Pavement
21. "So It Goes" - Tom Waits
22. "Homeward, These Shoes" - Iron & Wine
23. "Every Fool has a Rainbow" - Merle Haggard
Thanks, Grandpa.
24. "After Hours" - The Velvet Underground
It's the version on the Quine tapes: "I'd like to introduce my drummer Maureen, we call her Moe..."

So there you have it. If not played at a reasonable volume on a decent sound system, I will haunt every one of you motherfuckers from beyond the grave.

Oh, yeah, and sorry for not posting for a long time, blah, blah, blah...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jocko Homo

Throughout history, mankind has competed in contests designed to test personal and group stamina, speed and coordination. And it's been well documented that the participants in these contests were routinely observed by groups of smaller, fatter individuals who scientists believe were absolutely convinced that they knew their favorite team or contestant was totally going to blow it. "Xithiachutichu is getting paid how many goats to drop the fucking head in these kind of pressure situations?" the drunken Mayan would scream at his bored son in the stands in ancient Mexico, "They should have sacrificed his dumb ass last season!" Of course, historical records of these exchanges are sketchy at best, but thankfully today we have the technology capable of preserving these types of shrewd analyses for generations to come. Today, I have spotlighted just a few representative websites designed to be suppositories of such fan wisdom. Enjoy!

Website: Bleed Cubbie Blue

Team: Chicago Cubs

Current Team Condition: Business as usual. The Cubs as of this writing are 41-41 with one of the highest payrolls in the major leagues. After a few years of being Cinderella stories during the regular season and then turning back into pumpkins the minute October arrives, the Cubs have decided to suck outright this year, helped along by bizarre deals made during the off-season including trading the popular jack-of-all-positions Mark Derosa and former Cub hero Kerry Wood to the Indians and acquiring the hot-headed, injury prone Milton Bradley. An early injury to star player Aramis Ramirez has hurt the Cubs offensively but perhaps no injury is as emblematic of the Cubs current season and indeed their well documented history of futility as the one recently suffered by starting pitcher Ryan Dempster: he broke his toe trying to jump over the dugout railing after a Cub win at Wrigley field.

Webmaster: Al Yellon. Al's one of the best webmasters out there, at least as far as fansites are concerned. He's been a Cub fan for years and his game reviews usually strike a great balance between insightful commentary on the game itself and his experiences as a life-long bleacher season ticket holder. I always count myself lucky that I stumbled upon Al's site right away when I was looking for a Cubs blog, as there are SO many blogs that forgo the human aspect of baseball in favor of sterile statistics and unreadable charts.

Commentators: BCB, as a member of SportsBlogNation along with all the other sites on this list, has "benefited" from a recent partnership with Yahoo Sports which now advertises and links to it in their box scores and news stories. This has had the effect of turning every game thread into a 1,500+ comment clusterfuck full of "funny" pictures of cats and TWSS* posts. It's reading these threads that gives Cubs fans the reputation they so richly deserve as they usually devolve into a long series of posts featuring pictures of Erin Andrews or whatever sports babe is currently popular.

Sample Wisdom From The Masses: "Now that Ryan Dempster is out on DL I truly believe the cubs should go after pedro, pick him up and allow him to become starter. When Dempster returns to full strength, trade him to a team in need, for another hitter the cubs REALLY need. I understand that Dempster has contributed but i think he is the cubs worse pitcher and the rotation could then be: big z harden lilly wells and pedro. Pedro has proven before that he is a great pitcher and i think deserves another chance to show his stuff on the big stage. If pedro doesnt work out, which i believe he would the cubs still have marshall to fall back on. The possible hitters the cubs could get would be big ones like 2B men Luis Castillio Miguel Tejeda Cristian Guzman Clint Barnes or a possible back up to theriot at short in Cesar Izturis Jhonny Peralta Edgar Renteria and maybe to protect ramirez a back up 3rd in Pablo Sandoval or similar players. This is just a few examples f but im sure a couple of those deals could work. A good result and the most realistic one to me would be Jhonny Peralta because the Indians may want another pitcher with there struggles, and you can see with the recent trade of Mark Derosa, there hungry for answers. GO CUBS and make a deal!!!!!!!!" - cooltrev

Website: Blog A Bull

Team: Chicago Bulls

Current Team Condition: Insane. After quite literally winning the lottery to acquire Derrick Rose in the NBA draft and coming within one game of beating the previous year's world champion Boston Celtics, the Bulls made some front office changes and now seem determined to undermine any chance to build on those successes. Just recently, they let Ben Gordon, who's heroics in last years playoffs led to some of the most exhilarating games the Bulls had seen since the Jordan & Co. were dominating the league, walk and he was immediate snapped up by the rival Pistons. Then they signed his replacement, Jannero Pargo. Seriously.

Webmaster: your friendly BullsBlogger. Another old hand at the blogging biz, YFBB is knowledgeable and able to put together very well constructed posts on just about any subject. He's great at breaking down the intricacies of the somewhat arcane salary cap and tax structure that NBA teams are cursed with and has a knack for exposing the odd patterns behind the statistics. Sometimes, however, he does seem like a debbie downer - after some of the more exciting wins last year, his headlines read like the team lost - but overall he's one of the best.

Commentators: All over the place. Most of the posters are at least as lucid and informative as the webmaster, but the ones that aren't seem to have their hearts in the right place, it's just that they seem to type by mashing their face on their keyboards. Most of the heated discussions right now are centering on the speculative fate of Tyrus Thomas, the Bulls' young, talented and butt dumb power forward with half of the posters seeing him as trade bait and the other half wanting to hold on to him and refusing to admit the Bulls fucked up by drafting him. Also, the "Don't Tase Me, Bro" guy from a few years ago posted a long, rambling diatribe a few months before his performance in front of John Kerry. So there's that.

Sample Wisdom From The Masses: "the beauty of the NBA channel is watch the bulls playoff series with the celtics without emotion………if you people do the same you will see a short non defensive player hold onto to the ball to long and yes making a great shot……then you will see that same guy not ever try to fight thru a screen to contest a celtic player to make a game winning shot or send into overtime…….gordon stiffled roses’ development and what JR, Gar and Pax are saying THIS IS ROSE’S team not your s BG7….so to pay 10 mil a year for a 6th man is plain dumb……and yes i do think they have a plan……the trade to get salmons and miller was excellent……and i think the trade they plan to make to get bosh is going to smart as well…….so i think tyrus will have to eat is words when he says “He is the starting PF” yeah you are but in Canada……." -bluezman7

Website: Windy City Gridiron

Team: Chicago Bears

Current Team Condition: Cautiously hopeful. Last year, the Bears underperformed spectacularly thanks to a worn-out and aging defense and inexperienced quarterback. With the addition of Jay Cutler, they have addressed one of the issues that plagued them last year, but a lot of questions remain, including an untested receiver corps.

Webmaster: Windy City Gridiron is a relatively new addition to SBN and when it first began it was run by someone named WCG and he was terrible. Writing poorly worded headlines that were often misspelled and chock full of erroneous information, he started being called out for the lack of quality in the comments thread. Since then, the blogging has been taken over by ChiFan13 and former commentator GeauxBears and the site has improved considerably. Now it's a valuable resource for information especially during the off-season.

Commentators: One thing I noticed about the football blogs as compared to blogs of other sports (except maybe hockey) is the willingness of posters from other teams to visit a rivals team's blog and talk shit. Indeed, some of the fans of other teams sometimes become regular posters who can be counted on to post in the game threads dedicated to that weeks match-up, at least up to the point when their team starts to stink up the joint, at which point they mysteriously disappear.

Wisdom From The Masses: "obviously, you watched every single game for both the Jets and Vikings last season in anticipation of this post. You’re right, the Vikings did play the hapless Lions twice last year, which everyone likes to throw in the faces of the rest of the NFC to tell us “lucky” we are. Here’s some teams for you, Cincinnatti, Rams, 49’ers, Seattle, Buffalo Bills (twice) offensive juggernauts all. What do they have in common???? Oh, yeah they all played that formiddable Jets defense last season, no wonder their stats were so far below the Vikings.

I can’t believe you are making me defend the team I hate the most in the NFL, but you are quite the expert and I’m sure in line for the next scouting position on Jerry’s staff, so how could you possibly be wrong." - BearFan611

Website: Second City Hockey

Team: Chicago Blackhawks

Current Team Situation: On the way up. After a very good playoff run that saw the team make it to the Western Conference Finals only to lost to the hated Redwings. During the offseason, the 'Hawks have made some deals to improve their team including signing an absolute monster in Marion Hossa to replace the departing Martin Havlat. Unfortunately, they've also made some really boneheaded mistakes like screwing up their offers to their free agents this year which they may end up paying for. A very good young team that will only get better.

Webmaster: SCH is run by two Chicagoans, SamFels and Matthew Dirt, both of whom are very knowledgeable and have followed the team for years. They attend most the games and sell a homemade "real fan's program" called The Committed Indian outside the United Center before the game starts. I was curious and ordered the electronic copy for a few months and found it really funny and insightful. During the playoffs last year Dirt titled each of the game treads after Mastodon lyrics, so he's got that going for him.

Commentators: In a word, scarce. Hockey, of course, is no where near as popular in the U.S. as it is up north and you have to be able to get an obscure extended basic cable channel to even watch the games in some parts. Most news posts are lucky to get 10 comments, but usually those comments at least will add a little bit to story. But as hockey fanatics, the comments are sure to be pretty informative and profane.

Wisdom From The Masses: "FREE WILLY!!!! GO HAWKS!!!! I’m hopin’ for that initial goal too – I couldn’t stomach another 60 minutes of the clam trap. Really enjoyed the CBC pre-game story on the 4 Vancouver Hawks and their peewee team they all played together on – the Pacific Vipers. Just awesome. They all agreed of the 4 (Ladd, Fraser, Brouwer, & Seabrook) that Seabrook was always the standout, although Seabrook himself siad he always thought Fraser had the best goal celebration moves. - Hungryhawk

*In case you were wondering, TWSS stands for "That's What She Said" and allows for emotionally stunted men who have never felt the touch of a real, live woman to imagine that they are wittily zinging the previous commenter by giving their post a sexual connotation that was not originally intended.

For example:

Poster A: Boy, I sure do like the way Carlos Zambrano is pitching this year but I can't help but think I'd rather have his penis in my vagina.

Poster B: omg TWSS dood!

...aaaand scene!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Male Mystique

The male gender has a lot going for it, generally speaking. We tend to get paid more for doing less than the average female. Urinating standing up is very convenient and fun. Mustaches and beards can be groomed into many fresh and exciting shapes. All of this, however, rarely makes up for the fact that, however forthright and upstanding we may seem in our profile, we are all just quivering masses of neurosis and raging hormones on the inside. And I don't think I've ever found a site that really captures this seemingly disparate situation as perfectly as Psychotic Letters From Men does.

Straddling that fine line between bat-shit insanity and simple patheticness, PLFM is your one-stop shop for stories about that guy who took his affections a little too far. Thankfully, none of the stories on PLFM ever devolve into physical violence as it does so depressingly often in police blotters all over the world, but it's hard not to be amused by a fully grown man dressed up in a Hershey Kiss outfit screaming at a disinterested co-worker that he knew she was allergic to chocolate but that "I'm a piece of chocolate you can have!" The video above comes from this site - apparently the object of our four-wheeling Hercules' affection ran so far that even the internet, with it's unlimited resources, cannot find her. A good thing too: somebody who made a parody version of this video became the target of psychotic and profane comments when the romeo in question found out about it. One suggestion for reading this site: open your ITunes and cue up "My Body Is A Cage" by The Arcade Fire and push play every time you read something along the lines of "Derek didn't get the hint." or "Linda wasn't ready for what happened next." It's psycho-tastic!

Why do some men seem to focus their romantic intentions on unwilling subjects so stubbornly that PLFM is riddled with stories that end in restraining orders? Personally, I blame an unceasing sex drive and John Cusack movies. However, YouTube personality bill122460 has another theory: women be bitches.

Bill is one of the founders of the TFL (True Forced Loneliness) movement which postulates that the only reason women won't date homely, poor guys that are really nice is because they are secretly in league with the NWO: a rogue government-created organization that is working hand-in-hand with feminists, the WWE, MTV, and well, just about every entity that has ever been even tangentially connected in conspiratorial circles. Bill and his corpulent co-founder and friend, then enemy, then friend again, Dwayne Holloway have been spreading the gospel of TFL for months and Bill himself has somehow amassed a staggering 485 videos outlining how feminism caused 9/11. I usually listen to his slurred rants in my headphones while working on legal forms at work. It really seems to make the day fly by when Bill starts talking (quite seriously, I assure you) that McDonalds is kidnapping children, sacrificing them to Satan, and then grinding up their meat to put into Big Macs.

So there you have it. I suppose the true nature of the male mystique is somewhere in between the two extremes.

Where have all the cowboys gone, indeed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I quit girls

Just some random thoughts - Larry King style!

Why does Harmonix wait until I'm virtually broke to announce the release of a whole lotta awesome Iron Maiden tracks for Rock Band? And why do they make me have to figure out how much money 2000 Microsoft Points costs?... I work in an area right next to the IT staff and yesterday I could hear them arguing the relative strengths and weaknesses of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective vs. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls... The difference between right-wing kooks and left-wing kooks is the ability and general inclination to kill another human being for their dumb beliefs... My sister has decided that she loves Lady Gaga.... Fun City in Burlington will let you purchase plastic bottles of beer and float around in pool with a bunch of kids for as long as you want for $10... The band Japandroids have surely released one of the top 100 most rocking debut albums of all time... Bruiser Brody was one of scariest badasses every to get murdered in a shower stall by a Puerto Rican... David Letterman's writers may have mixed up Sarah Palin's kids, but surely "Number 5, Alex Rodriguez loves to rape children!" would have a suitable replacement joke... Synecdoche, New York is a great film if you don't mind devastating character studies about aging and loss... Despite this, it grossed less that 1/100th than a movie about giant talking robots that shoot each other... The Chicago Cubs organization continue to pretend to be a major league club, but this flies in the face of empirical evidence to the effect that they clearly do not know how to play baseball... I've spent a criminal amount of money buying old role-playing games from the eighties on eBay because I'm a broken human being... I would probably have a more favorable opinion of Twitter if it had something to do with titties... If I can't find anything else on television, I will settle for watching an episode of Cops... While re-watching Repo Man recently, I noticed a joke I hadn't before... It was "The Rodriguez Brothers do not approve of drugs." "Neither do I, but it's my birthday."... I enjoy WFMU's Beware of the Blog, but mostly for the features about old radio/TV personalities... When I'm on the phone at work, there are countless times where I want to roll my eyes back into my skull so bad that it actually causes me physical pain... The fact that Fox and Friends currently airs repeatedly on a basic cable channel will always blow my fucking mind... You know, I really don't mind the taste of rye whiskey, and this terrifies me....

Well, that should be enough for now. That was kinda fun.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Totally focused!

Apparently, every school in America's budget is due today so I really haven't had a chance to put together a decent post. Instead, I'll answer the question that's on everybody's lips these days: "YHP, why are you so fly?". After watching the next video, you'll understand how I keep my dance card so full. See ya next week. Maybe.

Friday, May 22, 2009

YouTube Superstar: Chris the Parade Kid

I'm not going to lie to you, things haven't really changed all that much since last week. I'm still kind of down, due mostly to the severe ineffectiveness of Chicagoland sports teams: Since Sunday the Cubs are 0-4 and the Blackhawks are 0-2 in their playoff series. Add to this my own NHL09 slump (0-4 with 2 different teams) that has actually seen me cry out to an indifferent god for just a single fucking light in the darkness. So as you can see, I'm in need of a little pick-me-up that only three days of no work and nice weather and Chris The Parade Kid can bring.

Chris is a delightful enigma. He appears to be a white male of indiscriminate age (made harder to define due to his omnipresent high vocal register) who dons over-sized cardboard Spock ears, mom pants, some sort of (presumably) stuffed bra and sleeveless lycra top and bounces up and down to various pop music songs while swaying his arms at irregular intervals. He received the moniker of Parade Kid from his frequent appearance in his Georgia hometown's annual Independence Day parade wearing his usual "elf" outfit (sorry about the Lenny Kravitz):

Why does he do this? Is it the result of some explosive combination of mental retardation, psychological problems or bizarre sexual fetish? All three? What's his deal with Harry Potter? And what the fuck is a Pikachu Wall? I believe the answers to all these questions are: who cares? He's obviously comfortable with who he is and what he does and by existing he has brought minutes of amusement and bewilderment to bored cube-dwellers like myself. And for this I salute you, Chris. May we non-elves experience just a pinch of the joy that seems to follow you wherever you bounce.