Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Slammed

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I'm up to my ears in work.

Normal posting should resume soon (I mean, c'mon, the world cup starts next week, and I still need to post a primer for my non-soccer-loving readers to help them enjoy the world largest sporting spectacle).

NP: "Passover" - Joy Division

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Friday Music Report

No, I haven't taken leave of my senses. I'm fully aware that this is Thursday, but since I'll be travelling up to the sticks tomorrow, I thought I'd get this out of the way early (rather than late). According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following artists the most last week.
  1. Wilco
  2. Death Cab for Cutie
  3. Bettie Serveert
  4. Blur
  5. The Clash
  6. The Replacements
  7. Broken Social Scene
  8. Pulp
  9. Echo & the Bunnymen
  10. The Damned
I can too go a week without listening to the Charlatans U.K. (even though they have a new album out).

NP: "Let Love Note Weigh Me Down" - Ed Harcourt

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Sandinista Project!

I'm not sure how I missed this for so long, but I ran across The Sandinista Project! this morning. This is a project to remake--track by track--the album Sandinista!, one of my favorite albums, despite its many endearing flaws.

Jimmy Guterman, the man behind the project explains its genesis this way:
December 12, 2005 is the 25th anniversary of the release of Sandinista! I've been thinking about doing something to celebrate it. A party didn't seem like the right thing. Someone suggested I write a book about it. Only a few thousand words in, it was clear that I shouldn't inflict that on anyone. So what to do?

I'm not a fan of tribute records. Nearly every one I've heard is a hit-or-miss set, usually with way more misses than hits. So I'm wary of that particular vehicle. But the more I've thought about it, the more I'm convinced that a Sandinista! tribute collection could be a sprawling mess in the tradition of Sandinista! itself, especially if I populate it with people you wouldn't expect on such a collection. The original was stuffed with surprises; so should any tribute.
Apparently, Disc 2 is now complete, and there are a couple of pretty recognizable artists involved. I'll definitely be checking in on the progress of this effort.

NP: "Duel" - Swervedriver

Friday, May 19, 2006

15 Covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart

My Old Kentucky Blog has posted 15 covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart. I had most of these, but there are some interesting editions. Check 'em out. Which ones do you like the most? The least?

NP: "Theme from Shaft" - The Wedding Present

Friday Music Report

According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following musical artists the most last week:
  1. The Charlatans U.K.
  2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  3. Steve Earle
  4. Death Cab for Cutie
  5. Elvis Costello
  6. Wilco
  7. Blur
  8. Echo & the Bunnymen
  9. Pavement
  10. Supergrass
NP: "History of Lovers" - Iron & Wine and Calexico

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Congrats to Barca

At least I don't feel as bad as when Grady Little left Pedro in against the Yankees--so that answers that question.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Paris in the Springtime

Well, tomorrow is the big match. How can a fan not be excited about a match between the teams that play the two best players in the world: Ronadinho and Thierry Henry. Add that to the fact that this is Arsenal's first trip to the Champion's League final and I become ecstatic. And yes, I took all day tomorrow off to enable my, uhm, celebrations.

The matchup has been dissected, resected, dissected again all over the place. So I won't get too much into that. Arsenal go into tomorrow's final as an underdog--there's no doubt of that--but I don't think this will be the automatic victory that many Barcelona supporters think it may be.

Of course neutralizing Ronaldinho and Eto'o will be difficult, but that's what they said about Ronaldo, Nedved, and Riquelme, and they are all sitting at home tomorrow. A team doesn't play over 900 minutes in a competition without allowing a goal just on pure luck alone. Tomorrow, Gilberto will be the key to hold off Ronaldinho when he begins his drift to the center. On the other end of the pitch, Barcelona's improperly maligned (by some) defense will be tasked with stopping Thierry Henry and the flanking runs by Hleb and Reyes. Its important to remember that their defense hasn't let many goals in either.

There are the keys to the match. If you want a long lunch and live in Atlanta, join me at the Brewhouse tomorrow at 2:30 to see what I think will be some very entertaining, attacking football. For the local look on Barcelona, I'm sure Braves and Birds [Ed. Note: And Barcelona?] will have something to say. Care to make a friendly blog-wager Michael?

Prediction guaranteed to be wrong or your money back: 3-2 to the Arse. Go Gunners!

NP: "Do You Remember the First Time?" - Pulp

Friday, May 12, 2006

Remember The State?

If you do, here's $240 worth of pudding. Awwww Yeah!

Friday Music Report

According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following music the most last week:
  1. The National
  2. Pulp
  3. The New Pornographers
  4. Lush
  5. Dinosaur Jr.
  6. Joy Division
  7. Killing Joke
  8. Billy Bragg
  9. The Charlatans U.K.
  10. Wilco
Obviously, it was quite the up and down week.

NP: "Cause = Time" - Broken Social Scene

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dagwood Sandwich

For real! The sandwich made famous over the years in the Blondie comic strip will now be a reality, with a chain of restaurants named after the hapless sandwich maker. I'll definitely try one if one of Dagwood's Sandwich Shoppes moves to Atlanta.

I wonder how they'll stack the sandwich a foot high like Mr. Bumstead always managed to do. And I hope that my father gets a chance sometime to have one.

NP: "(I Am) What I Am Not" - Idlewild

Monday, May 08, 2006

Funny Firefox Ad

Firefox has been running a sort of mini film festival, letting users create their own Firefox commercials. And my friend R.J. decided to get in on the fun, creating his own commercial. I'd say it's quite subtle, but once you get the joke, it's pretty damn funny. Of course, knowing him helped me.

NP: "I Never Wanted" - Idlewild

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy St. Totteringham's Day!

St. Totteringham's Day explained.

It came a bit late this year, but come it did.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Music Report

According to the good folks over at Last.fm, I listened to the following artists last week:
  1. The Charlatans
  2. Luna
  3. Gnarls Barkley
  4. My Bloody Valentine
  5. The Smiths
  6. Rival Schools
  7. Sleater-Kinney
  8. Lush
  9. Superchunk
  10. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
NP: "X-Mas Curtain" - My Morning Jacket

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Roster Changes Already

I hope I didn't push any bad vibes his way with my less than enthusiastic response to his inclusion, but Frankie Hejduk is now out of the World Cup. Taking his place from the list of alternates is Chris Albright. Chris is a capable defender and can cross the ball better than Frankie. He lacks Hejduk's speed though. I actually saw him play over the weekend and he looked pretty good.

Here's wishing Frankie a speedy and complete recovery. I've been hard on him in the past, but he always worked his butt off and was fast as blazes.

NP: "Misery Galore" - Bettie Serveert

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

U.S. Roster for World Cup Announced

The 23-man roster for the U.S. in June's World Cup was just announced live on ESPN. I love the extra attention this garners. Now that I've heard the selections, I'm sure all of my dear readers are eagerly wondering just what I think (well maybe one of you will be). So without further ado, I'll break these down by position:

Goalkeepers
Kasey Keller (pictured)- Any discussion of Goalkeeper for the U.S. begins with Kasey Keller, the undisputed starter. He's been the MVP of the national team for as long as I can remember (only briefly giving up that spot to Brad Friedel, whose now retired, about four years ago.

Tim Howard - The keeper of the future at the biggest club in the world, Manchester United. I definitely don't doubt his potential, but I have questions about his playing time backing up Edwin Van Der Sar (Holland's starter) this year. Good pick, if only to get him ready for 20010.

Marcus Hahnemann - He's been playing stellar keeper during Reading storm through the Championship in England this year. Due to his current form, I'd call him Kasey's first backup.

Absolutely zero surprises in these selections.

Defense
Carlos Bocanegra - This selection is no suprise since he starts in the Premiership and he brings versatility to the squad. A natural center-back, he can also play the wide back if necessary. He's probably not in the starting four at back, but will probably see a good bit of playing time next month.

Steve Cherundolo - No surprise here either as he has been solid through qualifying and plays well for his club, Hannover 96, in the German Bundesliga. Probably the starting left back. He can also help aid the attack.

Jimmy Conrad - This selection surprises me a little bit. Sure, he's been playing well in MLS, but he hasn't impressed me during the last few international matches. All in all, probably a serviceable backup.

Cory Gibbs - I'm glad to see Gibbs on the lineup, as many pundits were doubting he'd make the cut. He'll provide valuable cover for the two starting center backs as he is big and rarely beaten in the air. His pace and conditioning will be key as well.

Frankie Hejduk - Death. Taxes. Frankie Hejduk. One of these days the U.S. will be deep enough at right-back that Frankie won't have to go. We obviously aren't there yet. That said, I love his energy despite his occassional mistakes. He can definitely make the overlapping run and give an opponent fits. Right now, I think he'll be backing up Steve Cherundolo.

Eddie Lewis - Talk about versatility; Lewis plays midfield for Leeds in the English Championship, but has accepted the role of left back for the U.S. A deadly crosser, he has shown the ability to track back and move forward in the attack. Ladies and gentlemen, here's your starting left back.

Oguchi Onyewu (pictured) - I predict that Onyewu will have one of those breakout World Cups that will have bigger clubs calling Standard Liege, his Belgian team. Big, powerful, and skilled, he'll be the key to shutting down opposing forwards and midfielders--no small task when you have to face the Czech Republic and Italy in the first two games.

Eddie Pope - Defender of American Soccer. Eddie's playing in his third World Cup and will probably start alongside Onyewu. I like his inclusion for his considerable experience, but am glad that Gibbs will provide cover for him.
I'm a bit surprised that Greg Berhalter didn't make the cut as he has been solid, if not exceptional for the national team. If he was relegated to the alternates list to make room for Gibbs though, I'm OK with it.

Midfielders
DaMarcus Beasley (pictured) - I think Beasley will be the spark plug that generates the offense for the U.S. He's already the first U.S. player to play in a Champion's League semifinal last year with PSV Eindhoven in Holland. While he is slight, he makes up for it with incredible hustle and skill. And he's not one to back off either. He'll be the one getting hacked at by opposing defenses and bouncing right back up. A definite starter.

Bobby Convey - Last year nobody thought he'd be on the squad. What a difference a year makes, especially when you're a key cog in helping a team get promoted to the Premiership in England. He won't start, but will probably come off the bench to try to generate office (and backup Donovan).

Clint Dempsey - See above. Clint has really brought his game to another level with the national team this year. An inventive dribbler with height and speed, I think he'll also provide spark from the bench.

Landon Donovan - The Golden Boy (or Mama's boy depending on your point of view). Donovan's story is long. Youngest U.S. player signed abroad (Bayer Leverkusen in Germany). Got homesick, tried again, got homesick, came back to be a big fish in a small pond in LA. All that said, he'll be starting as the attacking midfield, and his game will be crucial to the U.S. chances. He'll need to feed McBride and create chances during the run of play.

Pablo Mastroeni - Mastoeni wasn't supposed to make the squad for the last World Cup, but made it due to an injury to Chris Armas. Since his outstanding performance then, his presence is expected. He may start, depending on the formation and whether on not John O'Brien is healthy or not. If he does, he'll be the defensive midfielder allowing the outside backs to forage forward. He'll be crucial hooking up the defense with Claudio Reyna.

John O'Brien - He will start if he is fit. He played every minute in 2002 and was a big part of the run. Of course, his fitness has been a concern ever since then. He's a creative player that can hold his own along side Reyna and help feed the ball forward. If he's not healthy, look for a combination of Ben Olsen and Pablo Mastroeni to fill his shoes.

Ben Olsen - If you'd told me last year I'd be happy to have Ben Olsen on the team this time around, I would have probably called you crazy, but I am (happy and crazy may be debatable too). He's had a string of fine performaces, both in a national jersey and in MLS. While I don't see him starting, he'll provided valuable minutes off the bench and is capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. I also love his work ethic on the field.

Claudio Reyna (pictured)- Our captain. Captain America. The only U.S. player to be named to the all-World Cup team, ever. He is the indispensable man. He makes it all work--holding the ball in midfield, linking the defense to the attacking midfield. And this is probably his last World Cup.

No surprises here either.

Forwards


Brian McBride (above) - McBride will be the main option up front next month. He make work as a lone forward with lots of midfield support, or he may pair with Wolff or Johnson. He's the only U.S. player to score in two World Cups for the U.S. He got the teams lone goal in France in 98 and scored two game winners in 2002: against Portugal (pictured) and Mexico. This image is my favorite from 2002, especially since it took a couple of phone calls from friends to convince me that I wasn't dreaming that we were beating prohibitive favorite Portugal.

Eddie Johnson - Eddie is just coming back from injury, but if he is fully fit next month, I expect him to do some special things. When he was first called up to the national team, he set the world on fire, including scoring in the qualifying win over Guatemala. He has the potential to be an electric player, and if he can partner with McBride, he may make things very interesting for the Czech Republic and Italy. I expect him to be McBride's partner when the U.S. features two forwards.

Josh Wolff - Wolff has proven himself to be effective next to McBride, and while he doesn't have the nose for the net that Johnson does, he does have speed to burn. Expect him to give slower defenses fits (Mexico, I'm looking at you).

Brian Ching - This selection really surprised me. While he's been looking good in MLS, he hasn't impressed me at all when playing for the national team. Sure, he looks good in a Houston kit, but only if he plays teams named Colorado. I expect that he's the emergency backup to McBride since they have similar games (if not similat results),

The only surprise in this group is the inclusion of Ching over Taylor Twellman, who, while he's as slow as a donkey, has shown the ability to score for the national team (albeit a bit belatedly). At least Cobi Jones will be finally watching from home.

Game Six of the 1986 World Series with Nintendo RBI Baseball

This is fun if a little painful: a recreation of the fateful final at bat in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Thank God these demons were exorcised in 2004!



Link to YouTube page. (via Kickthelinks.com)

NP: "Apply Some Pressure" - Maximo Park

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Clash on Fridays

Do you remember Fridays? For those of you around my age, you probably do: ABC's attempt to compete with Saturday Night Live.

My favorite parts of that show were almost always the great live performances, which were almost always better than those on SNL. From Devo to the Plasmatics, and yes, the only band that matters, The Clash. The Clash Performance especially hit home with me. It was my chance to actually see them play live, even if it was only on TV (rather than in the flesh). Before that, all I had were magazine articles and the albums themselves.

Now the good news. Bedazzled has a video available of that performance.

NP: "Reason is Treason" - Kasabian

The World's Largest Shuffle Player

The L.A. Times gives of the story of the mysterious KCDX-FM, a radio station with a cult-like following and no ads, or talk for that matter. It turns out that its playlist is an entirely random shuffle of the owner's complete music library.

NP: "Whatver" - H├╝sker D├╝