Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dear Chicago Cubs Management,

In case you haven't noticed your team still needs a center fielder. You've spent a lot of money in last ditch effort to save Hendry's job, yet you still haven't filled a crucial spot. I know you've said that newly signed Soriano will most likely play center field, but is that really a good idea. He has speed and a strong arm, but he kind of stunk playing right field last year. A lot of his assists were because he botched the original play. I know I'm simply a researcher for a TV show and have no experience running a baseball club, but I have a couple suggestions that I think could work.

My first suggestion is a bit of a long shot, but something could be worked out. Ichiro is in the last year of his contract with Seattle. I seriously doubt Seattle will resign him. So, why not trade for him. I know he plays right field but I'm pretty sure he could play center better than Soriano. Also, he's a legitimate lead off guy. This way you have Ichiro leading off. This would result in the following line-up.

1. Ichiro CF
2. Soriano LF
3. Lee 1B
4. Ramirez 3B
5. Jones RF
6. Barrett C
7. DeRosa 2B
8. Izturis SS
9. Pitcher

In the National League, how does that line up not fit into the top 5? Hitters 1 through 4 are all potential All-Stars. I'm not sure what you would need to trade to get Ichiro, but this could perhaps be a possibility. I do though have a more realistic and solid option.

One of the rumors floating around is Philly trading CF Rowand to the Padres for a relief pitcher. How do you not throw your hat into the ring and see if you can get Rowand. We have relief pitchers up the ying yang. I know that brick wall might seem a like a career ending injury waiting to happen for Rowand, but is this not the kind of player that Cubs fans love? He's not going to be a major offensive threat. He will most likely crack his skull open hitting the brick. Still, he's a solid defensive CF that I think would like to come back to Chicago. It would only take one or two relief pitchers to get him. He's also going to come at a decent price. I think Rowand would be the best option here, and am surprised you haven't jumped all over this.

Please consider these as suggestions not criticisms. I realize you did a lot this season to improve this club. I just don't think you are completely finished yet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Eggs and Ham Annual

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Eggs and Ham Annual. Which is basically a party that was thrown by one of our writers Sunil. I've been to a couple big Hollywood parties where people like Vin Diesel and Kirsten Dunst have showed up. I still have awful flashbacks from attending those things. This party though was the closest I think I've come to some sort of insider Hollywood party. The kind where you are personally invited along with other famous people. This was still on the fringe, because the celebrities ranged from Alicia Witt, to Camryn Manheim, to Det. Terri Stivers from Homicide, to a couple of our actors. No first name only celebrities.

Anyway, the party called for the always vague cocktail attire. I went with the suit to be safe. The problem with going with the suit is that I have no hat to accompany the suit. That lead to the comment I heard the most that night, "I didn't even recognize you without the hat." The comment easily cracked the 15 range within my first hour there. That lead to me hanging out with strangers in order to avoid that comment. Which lead to me spending most of my time hanging out with a girl named Monica whom I had met once before at one of Sunil's other parties. And that lead to such comments from stranger as, "So how did you guys first meet?" or "How long have you two been dating?" or "How are things going with that?" or "Do you love her?" or "Are you going to get some tonight?" The last comment came from an annoying highly intoxicated close talker who everyone kept trying to avoid or pass off to someone else. Somehow, I got stuck talking to him twice. My reply to his comment was "If be "some" you mean Cheez-its, then yes. Because I love Cheez-its." It's always easy to be smart ass to someone who won't remember the comment two minutes later. Also, this Monica girl talks less than I do. Numerous times I had to make a strong effort to carry the conversation. Maybe she was just struck dumb by my dimples when I smile. I've come to realize they wield more power than I ever thought they could. My dimples are on par with Clooney's "Aw shucks" head bob, Pitt's half smile/half smirk, and Matthew Fox's "I'm not constipated. I'm crying." face.

Other conversations throughout the evening included the genius of Guitar Hero II, why had I never made a move on another girl even though she was sending me all the signals, pros and cons of dessert, movies, why is it so difficult for women to be friends with each other, and super powers.

I discovered something about myself when discussing super powers. A guy was discussing some 7 page essay he wrote on a whim detailing all the specifics of the super powers he would like to have. Yes, even I found that a little too geeky for me. Yes, I was tempted to put up an argument that having so many different super powers that are not based on one main ability is a little preposterous. Don't even throw out Sylar from Heroes as a defense because his multiple abilities is still rooted into the one central ability that he knows how everything works. Sorry where was I? So, when asked what super power I would like to have, I quickly answered teleportation. He then asked me more specific questions of did I have to picture where I wanted to go, and what needed to happen to keep me from teleporting into someone or something? At that moment I realized if someone asked me about potential Presidential candidates or some issue like health care, or my opinion of French New Wave's impact on cinema it would take awhile for me to compile my thoughts and stumble through my explanation and ideas. But if you ask me about how would I make my super power safe to those around me, I will have no difficulty explaining my thoughts and ideas in an organized manner. Yes, I find this kind of sad.

Again my fear of missing anything that might happen resulted in me getting home around 3am. Overall, I had an very enjoyable time at the Eggs and Ham Annual. And this post fell apart by the time I mentioned Vin Diesel.

If I Were A Rich Geek!

Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Man With Hats

Friday, January 19, 2007


It's been awhile since I've posted one of these so lets get started.

Sometimes while I research I come across something that makes my day even week. Today I came across this intro to a bottle manufacturing website. It's the music that makes it. Click here and let it load, and then enjoy the "movie of the week" music. I've already hit refresh five times today. SETCO!

Had our annual dead pool draft last night. None of the people on my list died last year. I still dropped three for new replacements. Here's how awful this game can be. This year we are adding points so the younger the person is when they die the more points you get. So, who do I want to add on my list but Anna Nicole Smith's baby. Yeah, I know. Here's what makes it worse. One of our writers had the baby on his list as well, and got to select the kid first. It's awful but how can you not make take that gamble. She could accidentally confuse the baby for tempura

A new Heroes tonight! As Mandy would say, "Whoo hoo!"

I've realized I would be less likely to date a woman because of what she liked rather than what she didn't like. For example I would be willing to look past a woman not being a fan of the Beach Boys, but if she had every Dashboard Confessional album, forget it. I think I base this on the fact that with time I could wear her down to the point of at least appreciating the Beach Boys, but I can't get her to hate something she's already invested her heart in. Though if she didn't like this I would have nothing to do with her.

One of the movies of my youth is the thriller "The Hitcher." It was one of those movies that was always on cable, and preyed on the universal warning of never picking up strangers. As a kid it scared the hell out of me. The scene that everyone remembers from this movie is the semi-truck scene with Jennifer Jason Leigh tied between the cab and the trailer. It's such an awful scene not just because of what happen to poor Jennifer, but because in the scene there are a bunch of cops and people who do nothing but watch. They make no effort to help. Then there's the scene where C. Thomas Howell sees Hauer in the back of station wagon with a family. Howell later on comes across the station wagon with its victims inside. How can you ever pick up a stranger after seeing this movie? Even C. Thomas Howell is effective in this movie. At the end I believe that Howell is now permanently screwed up to the point he could follow in Hauer's footsteps. There are also some solid cheese lines that Hauer sells like gold.

John Ryder: How do you like "Shitsville"?

John Ryder: That guy back there, the one we just passed. The guy who picked me up before you did.
Jim Halsey: That was him in there?
John Ryder: Sure it was. He couldn't have walked very far.
Jim Halsey: Why's that?
John Ryder: Because I cut off his legs... and his arms... and his Head. And I'm going to do the same to you.

Interrogation Sergeant: What's your name? Come on. What's your name? Do you have a name? Do you have a police record? Where are you from?
John Ryder: Disneyland.

This weekend Hollywood has come to "The Hitcher" on their "To Be Remade" list. Yeah, I'm kinda disappointed. The trailer itself frustrates me to know end. First off they swapped the gender of the lead. This really wouldn't be a problem if they didn't start off the film with her and her boyfriend. Part of the fear in the first movie was that Howell's character was all alone in the middle of nowhere. Yes, he eventually persuades the waitress to help him, but that added to the tension. With two people starting off together the tension is lessened. It also doesn't help that the couple look too pretty. Couldn't they find someone that could perhaps come closer to portraying nonchalant crazy than Sean Bean. The mass populous still sees him as the guy that gave his life at the end of the first Lord of the Rings. How can he possibly come close to the crazy that Hauer portrayed.

I really don't mind all these Chainsaw Massacre and other popular horror remakes. It's when they start messing around with movies that meant something to me in my youth that get me a little irritated.

Two months and 10 days till Cubs opening day.

And like that...It was gone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snobfest 2006: What Is Old Is New

Normally at this point I would throw out my Classic Song of 2006, and then a few other songs that I like and a few I hate. I started trying to decide on my classic song, and simply couldn't decide. Why limit it to just one? Why not just give a list of old songs I've discovered or rediscovered? Before that, let us get the tearing down part out of the way.

Most Annoying Song of the Year- The funny thing is that I haven't even heard this song all the way through. I haven't even heard this song on the radio. I don't know anyone that likes it, but you still can't escape it. Every Saturday and Sunday you are guaranteed to hear it about 10 times an hour during football games. Yes, I'm talking about the migraine inducing song, "Our Country" by John Mellancamp, that plays during every Chevy Silverado commercial. The commercials that air once every commercial break during sporting events. Here's the real problem. Songs on the radio have a life in heavy rotation for at the most a month. This song is planned to be apart of the Silverado campaign through at least 2007. At least! This is going to be a long year.

Guilty Pleasure Song of the Year - I'm really kind of embarrassed how much I enjoy this song. Especially since it's just her singing over a sample of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." For some reason there was a time when I couldn't get enough of Rihanna's "S.O.S." I will also admit it probably had something to do with the fact that she's purty as well.

Now on to the songs.

Wait a Million Years - The Grass Roots Back in March I already labeled this group as having earned my classic song of 2006. Because of that I'm starting off with these guys. I narrowed my list of songs by this group down to four and then just blindly picked one. So, enjoy the horns and the "whoas" and that long intro build. I highly suggest picking up their greatest hits album for starters. You will not be disappointed.

Break it Loose - Onyx This comes from a compilation of Bay Area funk bands I bought a couple years back. It's one of those albums I just loaded onto my iPod and then waited to be pleasantly surprised while shuffling. This song has become my favorite from the comp. This group is not to be confused with the 90's rap group of the same name.

Too Far Gone To Turn Back Now - JR Bailey Just a great R&B song. A lost classic.

Baby, Now That I've Found You - The Foundations These Brits actually sang a lot of songs other than "Build Me Up Buttercup." This is their first hit.

Who Are You Gonna Love (Your Woman or Your Wife) - Rozetta Johnson Part anger and part sadness and I can't get enough of this song. I would like just one American Idol contestant who has a deep knowledge of R&B and start singing lost R&B classics. If someone sang this on Idol, I think it would do wonders for this song. A British label called ACE Records has done a wonderful job of making songs lost this available again to the public.

Go Now - Bessie Banks Yes, this is the Moody Blues song we all know. I think Bessie's version is actually better than the original. The Moody Blues had too quick of a pace when they wrote it. Here Bessie let's the song simmer along like it should.

Funny How Love Can Be - Ivy League Another Brit Pop one hit wonder. There's a little SoCal harmonies and a dash of Motown in this little ditty.

Something Here In My Heart- Paper Dolls Came across this while looking for girl groups. This song and the Foundations song were written by Tony Macaulay and John MacLeod.

Walking Out on Love - The Beat Was reminded of this song after hearing The Exploding Hearts cover. This is probably Paul Collins best song, but "Rock N Roll Girl," "Work-a-Day World," and others give it a run for the top slot.

Don't Let Her Know - Alter Ego Another power pop gem. This comes from the band's unreleased LP. Rave Up Records did a reprint of the LP on vinyl, but apparently this song was so messed up on the masters that it didn't make it on what turned out to be an EP. Teenline though came to the rescue and was able to save this song. People at Teenline and Rave Up deserve support for their efforts to make sure the fantastic music these forgotten bands have created is still available.

Understanding - The Rockers In case you can't tell we are in the power pop section of this post. Don't worry there are only three more after this. I completely lucked out in getting a hold of the EP that this song comes from. I was buying a couple albums by The Finders from a small record label. The Finders used to be The Rockers and due to a disagreement between the former bassist and the band the Rockers EP couldn't be sold. Turns out the guy running the label was a part of both bands. Because I was a fan and had already bought a couple albums he passed along the EP to me for free since he couldn't legally sell it. I think I actually did the hand claps of joy when I got it.

Holiday Fire - Marc Thor This is such an odd power pop song. His voice wavers from the pitch almost deliberately. The change from chorus to verse (?) is awkward. Actually the whole song structure is a little off, but I really like it.

Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric Well anyone who saw the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" now knows this song. I'll be honest I was a little torn when Will Ferrell's character sat down and started strumming the song. My first thought was "Yeah, Wreckless Eric!" Then I realized a song on my list of 200 songs I want to get into a TV show or movie that I write was now taken. Also, did anyone believe that this could possibly be a song that the character knew? The one song he learned was this? Really?

Statue of Liberty - XTC Each year I come to appreciate XTC more and more. I don't think their early stuff gets enough credit.

Natural's Not In It - Gang of Four To all you kids out there who love Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and the rest of the recent post-punk bands that have come out, this is one of the bands to whom they owe half their royalties.

I Am A Scientist - Guided by Voices For the first minute and a few second of this song you have a nice low-fi pop song. Then that odd slightly off kilter guitar part kicks in. It's almost like Pollard wanted to throw the listener off. One of Ohio's greatest bands.

Celebrated Summer - Husker Du Back in the day it was the Replacements or Husker Du. Kind of like how fanboys these days like the Xbox 360 but hate the Playstation 3. I was a Replacements fan, so it took me a little while longer to come around to Husker Du. I still like the Replacements more. I will admit Norton's mustache was the greatest in rock n roll at the time.

Care of Cell 44 - The Zombies Look The Zombies did more than the song "Time of the Season." In fact their album "Odessey and Oracle" is a brilliant album.

The Red Lantern - Jeff Klein
This song actually came out in 2005. I've really come around to this kid. I like how this song literally seems to just chug along. My advice to him is that he really needs to start touring with a full band.

Got No Shame - Brother Cane Back in 1993 when hair metal was exhaling its last breath and bands began hitching onto grunge's shooting star, Brother Cane came out of nowhere with this pure rock song full of heavy cow bell and harmonica. Somehow this got played on MTV where I first heard the song. Case and I played the shit out of this song. Unfortunately, the band went the way of grunging up their sound, stopped rocking, and became boring.

That's it. I hope you enjoy at least one or two of these songs. Coming up is the TV and Movie Snobfest posts.

Respect the Pornstache!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Well, I did it, and honestly I was tempted to try four it went that well. I got off work a little later than expected, so I had to switch around the order of the movies I was going to see. I was planning to start off with "Dreamgirls." Instead, I had to go with "Children of Men" first. "Children of Men" was well made but nothing you haven't really seen before. In fact it's a lot like a movies I've already seen this year. I won't say which movie because that could possibly spoil the ending to either one that you haven't seen. I will say I think "Children of Men" was slightly better than that movie.

The second movie I saw was "Dreamgirls." Now, I don't really like musicals, but I have a hard time turning down a movie that basically covers the history of R&B group the Supremes. Which makes me wonder if Diana Ross and the Supremes had to approve the musical or anything? Still, I admit I enjoyed enough of it to give it a high recommendation. I finally discovered my main problem with musicals. It's when they start singing what they want to say. This movie only does it a few times but it still drove me up the wall. If you want to sing a song that represents how that person is feeling with a few lines relating directly to what is happening that is fine. But when you start having people talking to each other in song, I can't take it. I liked most of the songs. Yes, that Hudson girl can really sing. In my audience, she got two ovations from the audience and Beyonce got one. The movie really only gives Beyonce one song to show her chops. I also enjoyed Jamie Fox's character. Not necessarily Fox, but I enjoyed the path of his character.

Finally, I wrapped up the trifecta with a wonderful film called "Pan's Labyrinth." It's a bizarre and beautiful fairy tale about a young girl that takes place after Spain's civil war. I've come to really love Guillermo Del Toro as a director. I loved "The Devil's Backbone." This is though his best film. It's superb in all aspects. I will say that this is not for kids. Don't let the cute little girl and the mythical creatures confuse you. This is rated R for a reason.

My prediction for the week is that Stomp the Yard will be number one in the box office this weekend. It was selling out all over around here. At the theater I went to there were kids holding impromptu dances like in the movie. It was rather impressive, though I'm sure the movie still blows.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dammit! I'm Going For It! ...I Think.

So, the writers are leaving early to go to Vegas for the weekend. That means I get to leave early. If I get out early enough I'm going for the movie trifecta. That's right. Three movies back to back to back in the theater. I feel like today is a day in which I can pull it off. I think. I'm certainly going to make the effort. It will at least be two, and then I will see if I can pull off the third movie. Why would I even try to make an attempt at such a feat of movie watching endurance? Because, I'm really behind in seeing movies. Hell, I haven't even see Rocky yet. Oh the anticipation. What do I do to prepare? I know I'm limiting it to one theater. Traveling from one theater to the next would simply be too much. I'm probably an hour from leaving work. This could be the greatest thing I've done in life. Next to beating God of War in God Mode, or the time I ate six atomic fireballs at once. Yeah, this could be one of the greatest things that would prove how sad my life is.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Oooh. I Forgot To Mention The One Good Thing About Last Night.

One thing was made perfectly clear last night on FOX. Next week, I get to watch Jack Bauer save the world in glorious HD. The one problem is that this conflicts with Heroes. Thank you dual tuner Tivo! Thank you!

Um, Can I Get It Without The Phone?

While waiting for a cable guy that never came, I refreshed Engadget's live coverage of Steve Jobs' keynote. See this is what tech geeks like me do. So, the big news other than Apple TV was the announcement of the long anticipated iPhone.From simply a tech geek this is pretty sexy. That big touch sensitive screen. So pretty. My problem. Why can't I get just an iPod that looks like that? Kick out the phone guts and put is a 30 or 60 GB hard drive and you are ready to go. Wouldn't the TV shows and movies be much more viewable on this screen? This is the video iPod everyone has been waiting for, so why limit this design to just the iPhone? I guess I have to wait a little longer to upgrade to a new iPod. I would jump at the chance if my iPod looked like this.

Monday, January 08, 2007

So That Happened

Wow. I don't know what to say. Except 51 days! You can't tell me that had nothing to do with this. When did I know in the game that we were in trouble? When Ginn Jr. was limping to the locker room. Our one true speed threat sent to the sidelines. Credit to Florida for having a solid game plan, and executing. I didn't see a blow out like this. I have a few questions though. What happened to the run? Our defense gave the offense chances to get back into it in the second half, but nothing happened. This sucks. I expect this when I watch the Cubs. I don't with the Buckeyes. They were not prepared. They played flat the whole game. Now I'm rambling. Thank goodness I bought a new TV, or it would be in pieces. This isn't as bad as NLCS, but it comes close. I still don't know what happened. Thanks for ruining a wonderful night my sister and I planned to have.

Ok, I think I've changed my mind a little. I don't think this is close to the NLCS. First off I've witnessed the Buckeyes winning not only a great game against Michigan but the National Title just three years ago. Also, the Buckeyes didn't just show up at all. Have you ever seen a dominating team like that just not show up? I think I would be more upset if the Buckeyes played well and then lost in some close game. I'm still pissed that they laid an egg an a half, but after the first 20 seconds or so you saw it coming. The Buckeyes were never in it. Am I still baffled? Absolutely. I just think the disappointment has dissipated some now that my head is clear. It simply came down to Florida playing the game of their lives and The Ohio State University playing the absolute worst game of their lives.

The Big Game

Over a month and half ago I was completely confident that The Ohio State Buckeyes could beat the Florida Gators. Watching the Florida vs. Arkansas game I saw a young team that made a lot of mistakes both on the field and by the coaches. Now, I'm not so confident. Why, you might ask have I now lost that confidence? Because it's been over a month and a half! It's been 51 days since the Buckeyes have played an opponent. 51 days! Anything can happen with that kind of layoff. It's ridiculous. Still I will be sitting on my couch with my sister while the Buckeyes hopefully prove they are the better team in glorious HD!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Snobfest 2006: The Songs

This part of Snobfest is probably my favorite and most difficult. It's not easy narrowing a song list down to a single CD's worth. There were three songs I'm still agonizing over that I cut from this list. Anyway, you can either download them or email me for a CD. Again no specific order has been given. Enjoy. Oh, and some of these songs have "bad" words.

Eagles of Death Metal-Don't Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!)-

This is a movie trailer song if there ever was one. I've tried numerous times this year to get this song on our show. I couldn't even get this song into our Christmas reel. Anyway this song fits into my "dirt rock" category. It's all sleazy and percussion heavy. How can this not make the teaser of one of our episodes?

Twilight Singers-Andiamo-

There are better songs on Powder Burns and the Stitch in Time EP. So why am I putting it up here? First of all, the only way you can get this song is through eMusic. Even the bonus track on iTunes made the EP. Second, Dulli hasn't rocked like this in awhile. It begins all simmering, and then builds into a wall of sound built with horns, guitars, drums, bass, and Dulli's cigarette stained howl. There might be better songs, but I love this song. The third reason is the line, "My belly's gettin' fat/but my thoughts are even heavier" makes me laugh. The horns make this song.

The Exploding Hearts-(Making) Teenage Faces-

How can you not love this band? Just one big fat hook that won't let go.

The Hold Steady-Stuck Between Stations-

It's the piano that really makes this song for me particularly during the coda. And that opening power chord. As with any Craig Finn written song you also have to enjoy the humorous touches in a story about a poet who commits suicide.

Stuck Between Stations

there are nights when i think that sal paradise was right. boys and girls in america have such a sad time together.
sucking off each other at the demonstrations.
making sure their makeup's straight.
crushing one another with colossal expectations.
dependent, undisciplined, sleeping late.

she was a really cool kisser and she wasn't all that strict of a christian.
she was a damn good dancer but she wasn't all that great of a girlfriend.
he likes the warm feeling but he's tired of all the dehydration.
most nights were crystal clear but tonite its like it's stuck between stations
on the radio.

the devil and john berryman took a walk together
they ended up on washington talking to the river
he said "I surrounded myself with doctors and deep thinkers
but big heads with soft bodies make for lousy lovers".
there was that night that we thought that john berryman could fly.
but he didnt so he died.
she said "you're pretty good with words but words won't save your life"
and they didn't so he died.

he was drunk and exhausted but he was critically acclaimed and respected.
he loved the golden gophers but he hated all the drawn out winters.
he likes the warm feeling but he's tired of all the dehydration.
most nights were kind of fuzzy but that last night he had total retention.

these twin city kisses.
sound like clicks and hisses.
and we all come down and drown in the mississippi river.

we drink
we dry up.
we crumble into dust.

we get wet we corrode
we get covered in rust.

Voxtrot-Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives-

Hmm. There are some big old late 80's Brit-pop jangly guitars in here. I really thought I'd given up this type of jangle. Here though Voxtrot balances the guitars with a solid hook and strong bass and drums. The way this song builds is nice that I clearly have come back to enjoy this jangle-pop song. With the EP of the same name and their Wolves EP, I'm looking forward to see what this Austin group can do with a full album.


I was completely hooked on this song the second I heard it. It's a twist on that Fleetwood Mac sound with CSN&Y harmonies. Plus the lyrics come across like a backwoods hippie version of Iron Maiden lyrics. Too bad none of the rest of the songs on the album come close to this.

Band of Horses-The Funeral-

Damn more jangley guitars. I swore I gave them up. The first thing that popped into my head when I heard this song was "Catherine Wheel made a new album?" Tell me this doesn't sound like their song "Black Metallic." I eventually got past this once the haunting "Ooohs" came in. This could be perhaps the saddest song of the year.

Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins-Rise Up with Fists!!!-

How ballsy is Jenny Lewis? She put not one, or two, but three exclamation points in this song title. Three!!! I still like the gospel sound the Watson Twins give this song. It helps me handle the first two versus of this song that come across like the Genesis song "Jesus He Knows Me."

Lucero-I Can Get Us Out Of Here-

I can't remember how I came across this song. I don't think I've heard the rest of this album, but this song has apparently stuck with me. Again, I think it's the keyboards that won me over to this song. It has a hint of Springsteen, a little dash of early Whiskeytown B-sides, and a bit of a vocalist trying to hard to sound hoarse. This is a really nice driving late at night song when you need to stay awake.

Destroyer-European Oils-

There are three things I love about this song. 1. The verses that seem to come from some hippie drug trip in a late sixties movie. 2. The la la la's. Fantastic la la la's. Some of the best la la la's ever in a song 3. I will admit I sometimes listen to the song simply for this line: "She needs to feel at peace with her father, the fucking maniac." The way he whisper yells "the fucking maniac."

The Blow-Parentheses-

This is the kind of song you would play in college if you wanted to hook up with that really cute feminist-to-the-point-of-being-confused-for-being-a-lesbian girl you met in your Intro to Arts class. Most of the class is annoyed when she goes on her rants in class, but you find it kind of cute. The way she juts her bottom lip out when the professor tells her to sit down. So cute. If only she bathed a little more often. Anyway, this is the kind of song she would really like. She would really like the part about the"deli isle." Too bad she likes the closet gay guy that won't give her the time of day and treats her like crap.

Phoenix-Long Distance Call-

Damn, Parisians. How do you pick a song when half their album is solid grade A pop songs? I narrowed it down to three and finally just picked this one. I think it's the "hmm" the singer utters before singing the chorus. It might be the line "Got little to tell, I don't say much but I might." I identify with that line. Actually it's just the jangly guitars and hook.

Peter, Bjorn & John-Young Folks-

Now it's easy to see why this song is great. It's the whistling, and the baseline. How can you not whistle along? Ok, ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman adds a lot too.

TV on the Radio-I Was a Lover-

I almost went with "A Method" simply because I like the a cappella song. Then I decided on selecting "Wolf Like Me," but thought that was too obvious. I really love this song. The string sample rolls along with the drums, the noise, and the falsetto, then at the 2:24 the piano comes in and turn the song on its head, then goes right side up again. Great song.


Look, I don't care what you say. I swear this song was made in 2006. I swear.

The Coup-My Favorite Mutiny-

How this for a piano based funk call to arms anthem? Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress bring on Black Thought and Talib Kweli to share the rhymes and create a song that rivals any so called activist song released today. The funk doesn't hide what they are saying, it just makes sure you hear what they want to say because you end up listening to it multiple times.

Ghostface Killah Feat. Raekwon-Kilo-

This song would fit on "The Wire." It paints a perfect picture of the paranoia, hierarchy, and how kids are used as gophers by selling them the dream of a better life. Ghostface could probably be a staff writer for "The Wire." He hits those details that other rappers don't. Did I mention the funky horns?

Gnarls Barkley-Smiley Faces-

The best R&B song released this year.

Rhymefest-All I Do-

The best hip-hop anthem for those who live in the slums and work hard and fight to make it out without giving into temptation.

Snobfest 2006: The Albums

Where going to go backward in comparison to last year, and start off with the albums. Again there is no specific order. I'll be honest and say I was a little concerned that this post could even reach a satisfactory number that it would be worth doing a list. I was gladly mistaken. Though the song list became much more difficult to narrow down so they could fit on one CD. Anyway, let us start off with the obvious ones I've mentioned before.

Twilight Singer - Powder Burns + Stitch in Time EP

Yes, I can hear you all groan from here, so I'll do my best to be short and sweet. I've had over eight months to absorb this album, and my final decision is that Powder Burns is Dulli's best album since Black Love. I still personally like Blackberry Belle more, but Powder Burns as a whole is the better album. The bonus Dulli fans received this year was the Stitch in Time EP which fits nicely with Powder Burns. First off it has the fantastic cover of Massive Attack's "Live With Me" with Mark Lanegan handling the lead vocals. What follows is just as good or at least comes really really close. There's the R&B groove "Sublime." The dark groove of "Flashback" which along with "They Ride" (co-written by Whigs guitarist Rick McCollum) would fit perfectly on any of the Afghan Whigs albums. The EP concludes with the haunting "The Lure Would Prove Too Much." Coming up this year I get not only the Afghan Whigs collection by Rhino, but hopefully the long anticipated Gutter Twins, which is an album Dulli and Lanegan have been working on together. It used to be years upon years between Afghan Whigs records. Now I've gotten something from Dulli once a year for the past three years.

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

I already covered the greatness of this album here. If someone I knew could just get past his voice.

The Exploding Hearts - Shattered

I still get sad about this band sometimes. I still remember listening to their debut album back in 2003, and knowing I would be sticking with this band for awhile. Then a van accident ends the band by taking three of the band members. What we have here is a collection of singles, alternate takes, and unreleased tracks. This is a band that rose above their influences and created one of those albums in Guitar Romantic that should grow in popularity as time goes on. This collection of songs is a nice gift, but also makes you wonder what more they could have given us. I suggest picking up Guitar Romantic. It's going to become one of those albums.

I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends

Again, I wrote about these crazy Swedes here.

Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

I never belonged to the Belle and Sebastian cult of followers. I have Tigermilk and Arab Strap, but never fell in love with them like so many have. After picking up this album, I feel like the high school quarterback who realizes the girl that's been tutoring him is really kind of hot. Just like in that teen flick scenario it's because they took off their glasses and put on some cool clothes. For, Belle and Sebastian they glammed themselves up some on songs like "The Blues are Still Blue," and "White Collar Boy." Some would call this album a reinvention. I'd disagree and say they just took some tips from T. Rex, and Motown and gussied themselves up some.

Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

I've often considered Dan Bejar the weak member of The New Pornographers. Which is pretty ridiculous but I think the cause was because I've enjoyed his Destroyer albums so much. On Rubies, Bejar ditches the MIDI sounds of Your Blues and shows his improvement as a singer. This is probably my favorite album of his after Streethawk, and that could be just because of nostalgia.

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Normally this isn't my type of record. In fact, I avoided it on purpose knowing I would probably appreciate it but not really like it. I'm not a big fan of the so called "art rock." That's why I like Radiohead's The Bends over Kid A. Well I gave in, and I love this album. It all begins with Tunde Adebimpe's fantastic voice. From the opening track, "I Was a Lover" through "Providence" with its odd piano chord progression through the a cappella "A Method" and ending with the drone of "Wash the Day Away." I guess there can still be very good art rock. How can you not like an album titled Return to Cookie Mountain?

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

Simply the best R&B/Soul album released this year.

Ghostface Killah- Fishscale

Veteran Ghostface is the best storyteller in hip-hop. While other rappers tell short stories of their neighborhood, Ghostface tells full novels. His stories include smells and sounds of his neighborhood. In songs "Kilo" and "R.A.G.U." Ghostface tells tales of the drug trade, but avoids lifting the pusher as the neighborhood king like so many other rappers do. Combine Ghostface's stories with deep soul samples and you have one of the best albums of the year. This is an album that shouldn't be limited to only those purists out there.

Rhymefest - Blue Collar

I wrote before that I was completely baffled how this album didn't become a hit. The line "Hot like hot sauce" should be right up there with bringing sexy back. As the title suggests, Rhymefest covers the life of the everyman. He uses refreshing self-deprecating humor in "Devil's Pie." In "Bullet" he tells the harrowing story of a young man joining the military to get out of the ghetto only to get shot while in Iraq. Rhymefest really shines when he uses humor in his stories. Even the song "Build Me Up" almost strays away from being a novelty song even with the ODB sung "Build Me Up Buttercup" sample. Rhymefest shouldn't be ignored.

Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That

This Parisian band have always excelled at crafting pop rock songs. On their latest they add a little scruff to hide the shine of their craftsmanship. The scruff comes in the form of Strokes like guitar. Normally this wouldn't work. Here though it doesn't hide the band's ability to write perfectly constructed songs but actually blends creating one their best albums. The songs are pop but they hang with you long after listening.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away

So, tonight was the night. I became one of the blessed. I went big and got the 42" Panasonic plasma TV. It's almost like the one Ben K. has. Aren't you excited Anne Marie? Isn't that TV too big for that stand? It seems so. Does it matter? Nope. Thanks goes out to Dad, Mike, the CSI: Miami writers, three grandmothers, one grandfather, and Anne Marie who helped make this financially possible. Thanks also to my Mom who gave birth to me three days after Christmas. This has helped with Christmas and birthday money coming at the same time. Finally big thanks to Jen who drove me in her SUV to pick it up and even helped me carry it up one flight of stairs, and to Megan who helped me put the plasma on its stand. That should be everybody.Unfortunately, it is not all good news in this Iten's home. The first thing I did after setup is fire up the old 360. I had to see Gears of War in glorious HD. Well, it froze on me. So, I restarted. Then I got this:I can't believe I got the red ring of death! The Red Ring of Death! Suck.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Plan Is Nearly Complete (Wringing Hands With An Evil Smile)

All my siblings have finally fallen under the spell of blogging. The last two hold outs (Jennie and Sam) are now blogging. Jennie has had "Filling Rooms" up for almost a month. Sam just started "Commonplaces" today. Everything has fallen into place now. The world will soon be mine. (This is the residual effect of watching so many Bond movies in 24 hours.)

Monday, January 01, 2007


I meant to bring this up in the last post. It seems that even though I recently turned 35 years old I still need to be carded for cigarettes. The last few months I have been carded a dozen times. Most recently I was carded in Maine. I admit I have a somewhat young face as long as the hat stays on. I can almost understand that I could be carded for buying alcohol. But being carded for cigarettes means they think I could be 17 years old. I'm more double that. Maybe this is a little gift to make me feel better about passing out of the 18-34 age demographic. I would like the advertisers to know I still buy like I'm in that demographic.

Encore is showing a 007 marathon to ring in 2007. I don't think I've given them enough credit for their stunts. I've watched most or all of about 7 of them so far. What? I'm resting up for the three day work week I have ahead of me. Anyway, even the ones with Timothy Dalton had great stunts. Take "License to Kill." It has the driving the semi truck on one side and then dropping it on a jeep. The flaming car that flies off a cliff and over and airplane. There's also the decent jumping on a plane from a helicopter and then hooking it with a wire.

Way to lay an egg again Michigan. Lloyd Carr can't coach his teams in big games.

Speaking of big games, how great was that Boise State vs. Oklahoma game? That might be the best bowl game this year. Pulling off the hook and ladder to tie the game, and then calling the "statue of liberty" play on the winning 2 pt. conversion. Screw the NFL. College Football is where it's at.

89 days till the Cubs season opener!

Twilight Singers performed on Jimmy Kimmel last night. I actually had tickets for the mini-concert even though that probably meant having to watch Kimmel. Unfortunately, I had to cancel. Thanks to YouTube I at least can see the song they performed. It's nice seeing Joseph Arthur up there too. Dulli must have been sick, because he was clearly struggling vocally. It's still nice to see one of your favorite bands get national exposure.

If the below office paper shredder happens to disappear you can go ahead and blame me. For some reason they placed it right behind my desk, and every time I'm trying to have a conversation somebody starts shredding. I'm on an important research call, and someone starts shredding. One the writers is asking me a research question, and someone starts shredding. It's like they sit and wait till I start talking to shred. It's become almost comical. I stress the "almost" part because I hate this thing. I hate it.

Not With a Bang But with a Whimper

Did pretty well in the seating department on this flight. No babies or little kids. No extra large people. No window or middle seat. Still, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a flight where there were a lot of unhappy people. Guess everybody spent their goodwill toward men during Christmas, and didn’t save any for New Year’s Eve.

Of course non of this has helped the fact that this flight seems to be taking forever. I’ve taken a nap, listened to my iPod, watched some movie called Neverwas, and tried seven times to beat Dracula in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. I’m still two hours away.

So, the movie on the flight is called Neverwas. Which I’m pretty sure was it’s time in the theaters as well. I have no recollection of this movie. Basically it was about a psychiatrist who comes to work at the institution his father was institutionalized before he killed himself. You know what. I’m not going to bother with a recap. Just avoid it. Don’t let the cast tempt you to rent it. Actually, some of you might actually enjoy it. So how about we just ignore this whole paragraph.

The guy sitting in front of me annoys me. He’s coming from Bangor to LA where he currently leaves in Redondo Beach. He used to live in Bangor. I’ve never spoken to the guy but I already know all this about him. How you might ask? Because, he stated it loudly in the airport for all of us to hear. He talks on his cellphone loudly, he mentioned to an old high school acquaintance where he lives loudly. He made sure to emphasize the LA part. He has that stupid tweed sportcoat with the black T-shirt thing going on as well. It’s like he walked off the set of Altman’s “The Player.”

One hour and twenty minutes left.. If I keep rambling it should fly by right. Half an hour in and I’ll have to shut this thing down, so only fifty minutes left of typing.

This flight is really boring and warm. The longjohns might have been a bad idea. I don’t think my legs have ever sweated this much in my entire life. They were a good idea in Maine and in Boston. Now I’m basting in my own succulent juices. I’d change but I’m sure there’s a curse about changing out of longjohns while 30,000 feet in the air. Plus I think it might be best for everyone to not walk down the aisle with longjohns in my hand.

Oooh, somebody’s reading those Robert Jordan fantasy books my Dad used to always read. Man, he seemed to always read those. I don’t know why I “Oooohed” over that right now. Must be that damned sentimentalism.

Bathroom break.

Ok. This sucks. Maybe I should just go days without sleep and try to write that way. The post on the flight out here is much better than this one. Perhaps, it’s because I’m trying to capture past glory. This is though a pretty boring flight. I’m listening to the Hold Steady while watching Kings of whatever sitcom. Do sitcoms like this give hope to fat men that they can land an attractive wife or does it lead women to think that being married to a fat guy isn’t so bad? If it’s the latter, we need more sub-par comics that are really skinny to get their own sitcom.
My beard is growing in a little weird this time. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the water? It just doesn’t look like it usually does. It’s been bothering me for the past few days.

I read this afternoon in EW’s best of the year issue that one of the critics placed “Brick” on his worst of the year list. This critic has no soul especially for a critic. All the awful movies released this year and you put “Brick.” That screams, “A lot of people really liked this move and I didn’t really enjoy it, so I’ll put it on the list just to irritate people.”
Yes, Brick will make my Snobfest for the movies.

Sweet! Almost there! The pilot shaved an extra ten minutes off. This will sort of make up for the hour long taxiing that we will have to do to get to our gate.

Rather than just let everybody rushing to get out, why don’t they do it like some weddings where the bride and groom greet each row and let them leave? Also, Long Beach airport has it so you can exit out the front and back of the plane. Why, isn’t this done anywhere else?

Wow. I not only get to see Aaron Eckhart in Neverwas, but I also get to see him in Frasier. Thank you in-flight entertainment gods!

Time to put my tray and seat in its upright position. I also need to turn off all electronic devices. I have to make sure my seatbelt is on, and if I am standing in the cabin I need to return to my seat and put my seatbelt on. Almost home. Almost home.

We’ve spent the last 20 minutes taxiing to our gate. The Maine guy in front of me has called 13…14 people since we have landed. It’s gotten so ridiculous that the young couple to me has even been laughing at the guy. 15 people now. When will he stop?

Got home and got to talk to Dave Baldwin who was spending his New Year with Melissa and friends.

I also realized that I need to get my car jumped. This is what happens when I let my car sit for a week and a half. Happy New Year! Some things never change.