Thursday, April 30, 2009

Classic SportsCenter Commerical

This is one of the simplest commercials, but I think it's hilarious. I honestly can't think of a bad commercial that Tiger Woods has been involved in.

Which reminds me...

That's the simplest yet coolest advertisement of our time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Special Goodness

Today's song comes from Weezer drummer Pat Wilson's side project The Special Goodness. The band's name comes from the feeling Wilson gets when he's making music.

The band features Wilson on guitar and lead vocals and former Offspring and current Angel's & Airwaves drummer Atom Williard. Several Weezer members (former bassist Mikey Welsh and current bassist Scott Shriner) have played with the group live or on albums.

This song, "Life Goes By" is from the 2004 release Land, Air, Sea.

The band hasn't released any more albums, but may do something in the future. Pat Wilson has written many songs in recent years, though some of them are now being used as Weezer songs. Touring of Weezer and recording albums (they're rumored to be in the mixing phase of their latest full length release) has also limited action for The Special Goodness.

This video is directed by webmaster Karl Koch.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Penguins Clinch Series!

AP Photo Tim Mahalek

Just finished watching the game (I love DVR... who needs those commercials anyways?) and I'm honestly speechless. Down 3-0 in Philadelphia the Penguins somehow managed to score 5 unanswered goals to win the series 3-2 over the Flyers.

I'll go a little more in depth later today, but now it's time to watch the Sox vs Yanks... thank you DVR for allowing me to watch two sports games that were broadcast over the same timeframes.

Go Pens (and Red Sox)!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Iron And Wine

I get a laid back vibe from today, and so the song of the day is "Naked As We Came" by Iron and Wine.

Iron and Wine is the stage and recording name of one Samuel Beam, a man who has essentially perfected the role of folk rock singer-songwriter.

There are several connections to colleges that I'm connected to here.

Beam earned a bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Many talented artists, such as my good friend James Dunay have done similar things at VCU.

Beam then got his MFA degree from the Florida State University film school. FSU is of course where good friend and frequent Stars & Slights reader Bobby West goes to school.

Prior to the release of the first Iron & Wine album, Beam made his living teaching as a professor of film and cinematography at the University of Miami and the Miami International University of Art and Design.

That's all quite the mouthful to say, "Sam Beam is smart and very talented". Also included in today's update is "Boy With a Coin" from Beam's most recent full-length album The Shepard's Dog. It's truly a must own. Great Stuff.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Penguins Slide Into 3-1 Series Lead Against Flyers

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Following up on the pseudo hockey-centric post from yesterday, below are highlights of Game 4 from the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

While I've been thoroughly disappointed not to have seen the one and only Don Cherry yet during these playoffs I have been equally ecstatic about the play of the Penguins.

Some might consider the goals the Penguins have scored to come from lucky bounces but I contend it has clearly been the work of a swarming offense that has found itself in the right place at the right times.

Don't believe me? Just watch Sidney Crosby's goal 1:29 into the video. As the goal was being reviewed the play was shown about at about 5 different angles for roughly 7 minutes.

Based on my rudimentary knowledge of the game, the shot was deemed a goal because it was tipped off of Crosby's stick and then deflected (albeit off Crosby's arm) by himself into the net before the post became ungrounded from its bearings.

With the series at 3-1 in favor of the Penguins the two teams will head back to Pittsburgh for game 5 tomorrow night at 7pm EST on Versus.

The front office is calling for a "Whiteout" and the timing feels right for the Penguins to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, especially since 91% of teams leading 3-1 in Stanley Cup Playoff history have gone on to win the series.

The Penguins will most likely face the Boston Bruins, who hold a 3-0 series lead and are up 4-1 in the 3rd period of game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens.

Let's go Pens!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome Home Stanley Cup

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Besides from Lord Stanley, the cup itself, Wayne Gretzky, Barry Melrose, and perhaps Don Cherry, it's probably the Versus Network.

Ever since the 2004-2005 NHL Lockout NHL games lost their mainstream contracts (including a bid from ESPN reportedly worth $130MM) and instead settled for an agreement with the Versus Network.

Formerly known as OLN, Versus has positioned itself as the man's network, featuring programming like hunting shows, hockey games, and extreme cage fighting.

In keeping in line with their manly programming they have also associated themselves with hard, heavy metal intros when moving in and out of commercials.

Below is an example of one of their ads:

The song playing in the background of the commercial is entitled "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria.

Originally featured as the third track of the album "Good Apollo, I'm burning Star IV, Vol.1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness", this melodic progressive rock song has been used by various sports teams/players and radio stations as intros, by video games for commercials and in-game experience (Rock Band), and movie trailers.

Below is an acoustic version of Welcome Home performed for the Fuse Network. I would have embedded the actual music video for this song, but YouTube tells me embedding has been "disabled by request."

Oh well - hopefully you find the acoustic version as scintillating as the original.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Is In The Air...*sniff* Oh Wait...

Today is a special day for some of you. I won't delve into specifics for fear of some type of unjust persecution, but if you get it cool. If not, that's cool too.

I've selected some tunes for today's occasion that should make everyone happy because they're good no matter how you feel. If you're down, they'll bring you up, if you're up they will continue the trend upwards, or "higher" if you will.

First of course is Bob Marley. Those who cite his music as simply stoner-fare are doing a disservice to both the man and to themselves. His wisdom and ideals were pure and he strove everyday to make this world a better place.

The most famous example of this came when he was attacked and wounded in his home by unknown gunmen in 1976. He suffered minor injuries, but his wife and manager were seriously wounded. Two days later, he played as scheduled to a festival crowd of 80,000 people. When asked why, he famously responded, "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?

Perhaps his most genius line, and one of the greatest put on paper has to be this:

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds…"

I've chosen the optimism of "Three Little Birds" because in this troubling time, we can all use a little bit of positive thinking.

The other song is The Grateful Dead, taken from a live performance in 1988 in Hampton, VA.

Sugar Magnolia is without a doubt my favorite Dead song. I just don't think it's possible to listen to it and not feel incredibly happy. I remember the first time I heard this song and thinking, "Oh okay, I can see why people painted vans and rode around following these guys around everywhere they went."

This particular performance takes a bit to get going. The intro is the first few bars of a Miles Davis song called, "So What", a pretty classic song in it's own right. Apparently, Jerry Garcia actually did a number of acoustic jazz sessions that were later released following his death.

Anyway, this is a cool performance despite the crappy video quality. Hearing it is the important thing anyway.

Also, if you want to read some crazy stuff, check out Grateful Dead on wikipedia here. You should read all of it, but in particular check out the stuff towards the bottom about their sound system known as the "Wall Of Sound". They didn't use it for very long due to it's impracticality (it weighed 75 tons!) but holy Hell did it generate a lot of power. 26,400 watts. The sound quality was acceptable up to a quarter of a mile. There were separate channels for every instrument and even each of Phil Lesh's bass strings had it's own channel.

So enjoy the music, enjoy the day. Be safe and smart and may these tunes bring a little joy to your life.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Classic SportsCenter Commerical

I don't really know how it happened, but last night I stumbled upon countless classic commercials for ESPN's SportsCenter. They still kick out some classic stuff these days, but these spots from when I was just a little sports nut are where it's really at.

I'll probably keep posting these periodically when there's nothing in particular to talk about, mainly to appease our loyal readers (eat that Laura!).

This is a great one featuring Rich Eisen showing what really happens during commerical breaks on a sports show. Trust me, it's all true.

Friday, April 17, 2009

No More Madden!

John Madden has been in the broadcast booth for 30 years. He's the only man to have been the lead color analyst for all four major television networks and is known just as well for his video game franchise as for his game calls.

For many years, Madden was the best broadcaster in pro football. When he and the great Pat Summerall were doing a game during my youth, you knew it was the big game of the week. They were great together and it was sad when Pat had to retire.

In recent years Madden has become a bit of a caricature of himself, but he still had a lot to offer football fans. I would watch games just to hear that one nugget of unintentional genius that he would spit out during a game. It made it all worthwhile, and often he was more entertaining than the game.

I'll greatly miss John Madden and I probably won't watch as much pro football without him around (mainly because the NFL sucks). It bothers me that years from now, kids will be playing his video game and won't even know who John Madden was. But when Madden 43 is out on Playstation 6, I'll tell my kids all about one of the most unintentionally hilarious people ever and then show them videos like the one below.

And that's what that's all about.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We Are Virginia Tech

It's difficult to believe that it's been two years since the tragic events that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech.

I'll never forget the shock and numbness, the outrage and confusion of that day. Such a flood of emotions and no way to handle it except to stay close to those around you and try your best to comfort one another.

The cell phone lines were jammed and no calls were coming in or out. In hindsight, I should have sent an e-mail to my parents, but I was preoccupied with the news and with my friends. Making sure everyone was accounted for was both difficult and deeply concerning. Thankfully everyone that I knew directly was safe.

I'll always keep the experiences of that week with me. It was an incredibly dark time, but in the darkness there were moments of light that were so incredibly uplifting.

Case in point, the convocation the day after the shootings was extremely sad, but also so very helpful. Nikki Giovanni's speech remains one of the most inspirational things that I've heard. Afterwards, when the, "LET'S GO HOKIES!" chant started everyone immediately joined in and I've never yelled it louder. It was such a necessary release and one that had me feeling much different when I left the ceremony.

This year is difficult because I'm not where I want to be, at my home in Blacksburg on the campus I love so very much. No matter where I am in the world, no matter where I may one day live, there's never anywhere I'd rather be than in the heart of the Hokie Nation.

I still think about what happened on April 16, 2007 almost every day. It's important to remember the 32 brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers of the Hokie family who lost their lives on that tragic day, but it's also important to live our lives for those who no longer can.

Please, spend some time in self reflection today. Be grateful for all that you have and make the most of your life because you never know when it might be cut short.

Justin Cates

Virginia Tech, Class of 2008

Ut Prosim

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blue/Gold Game Visits

My postless streak has now officially come to an end (though I did make a post earlier in the week that was taken down... more on that later).

I'll be in South Bend this weekend for the annual Blue & Gold Spring Game. Plenty of recruits will be on board to see a preview of what Notre Dame Football will bring to the table in the 2009 season.

For now, enjoy this video from Rivals about some of the recruits who will be visiting.

Jackie Robinson Day

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game in Major League Baseball. To mark the occasion, the commissioner of baseball (the not so honorable Bud Selig) has asked that all uniformed personnel wear Robinson's now retired no. 42.

The past two seasons wearing the number was made optional, but that's not the case this time around.

12 years ago Selig retired the number 42 for all teams across baseball, but allowed players who already had the number to keep it. Of that group, only New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is still active.

Robinson holds a special place in the heart of all major leaguers, but another Yankee has a special connection. Second baseman Robinson Cano is named after Jackie, and normally wears no. 24, the reverse of Robinson's famous number as a tribute to the great man honored today.

Interestingly enough, this all started with an idea by Ken Griffey Jr. who two years ago asked the commissioner for permission to wear the number for one day.

"It's just my way of giving that man his due respect," Griffey said at the time. "I just called Bud and asked him if I could do it. He made a couple of phone calls and said, 'Yeah.' We had a good conversation. It was about me wearing it on that day, and only that day."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ugh No Updates Again!

I was once again out of town, and though I had my computer along didn't post anything. Neither did Brian. I suppose it's partly my fault for going down to Blacksburg for the weekend two weeks ago and staying through until the next one.

For now, we'll just bring you a pretty amazing video showing us an unbelievable golf hole in South Africa. Nice shots by these guys also. I'd say this course is worth the $220 to play it.

Also a link to the Yahoo Sports story here.


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