Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ted Nugent Star Spangled Banner

This probably should have been saved for the Fourth of July but I couldn't resist. The following is a recording from the meeting of the Cowboys and Eagles on January 9, 2010 in the opening round of the playoffs.

Guitarist Ted Nugent originally stuck his claim to fame as a member of the Amboy Dukes more than forty years ago but has since embarked on a very successful solo career.

While not nearly as epic and revered as Jimi Hendrix's famous performance of the Star Spangled Banner this was certainly a memorable showing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union

I’ve decided to try a “new” journalistic tact to provide some more unique content to our little slice of the blogosphere.

My creative juices tend to flow best just as I reach the state of tiredness that makes my basic functions difficult and renders most everything hilarious. Said juices tend to flow freely just after midnight and return to a sporadic trickle just before dawn.

My circadian rhythm appears fatally flawed.

None the less, I shall bring you these ramblings- which may or may not be the continued makings of my first book- as they appear the day after.

It wouldn’t be true “gonzo” journalism if I edited them, so I’ll try to avoid the temptation to tinker, but I fear my maniacal alter-ego “the editor” may continue to inflict his knowledge upon us all.

Here are the initial impressions from POTUS' big talk, virtually unedited:

Get off the Goddamn Internets (sic) man! It’s rotting your brain from the outside in. A beautifully useful tool, yes, but there are so many fools shouting at the same time the cacophony sometimes drowns out what really matters.

As if I didn’t have enough reason to despise the dumbing down of America known as Twitter, seeing elected officials on their Blackberry’s “tweeting” during the State of the Union address puts me on edge.

I’m a 24-year-old man who has grown up squarely in the age of technology, and even I know there are times when it’s not appropriate to be on your damn phone.

I don’t even answer my phone during dinner, yet these people feel it’s totally appropriate to send messages during a speech by the President?

It’s not just any speech either, it’s the most important speech of the year hands down. For a public speaking nerd like me, it’s not unlike a huge sporting event.

Obama’s first State of the Union was a pretty good one too. It was like the previous guy’s eligibility was finally up and this year for the big game we finally had a quarterback who could throw (and didn’t fumble as much).

Obama shines under the bright lights of the big stage, and while his prose was a bit lengthy, I thought overall it was well thought out and presented.

I’m not commenting so much on the policies, those seemed to be a mixed bag. Even the general tenor of the speech was a bit too arrogant for my tastes. All this, “America! We’re #1!” nonsense is just that. However, it’s just so utterly delightful to listen to a speaker who can actually speak.

The cynical bastard will reply, “Oh well he has a teleprompter.”

To that, I must remind you he’s reading a speech that’s over an hour long on national television in front of ostensibly the entire nation. I’m not sure John and Jane Q. Public could hack that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Song Of The Day: Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks

If you wander the vast expanse of the Internet anywhere near as much as I do, you're probably familiar with the band Grizzly Bear by now.

Over the past year or two, they've become the big thing amongst the "indie hipsters" who just love their independent flair.

Because of this (and the fact that Pitchfork loves them), I was always reluctant to listen to their stuff. I finally broke down and watched this video for the song, "Two Weeks" off their successful album Veckatimest.

This song immediately struck something with me. It has some beautiful vocal harmonies that dominate the song, something very rare these days. I'll admit, I haven't been able to really get into the other songs on the album, but I also have yet to listen all the way through.

This may well be one of the coolest -and no doubt creepiest- videos I've seen. You've been warned.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Widow Wake My Mind

Remember how I told you about the Smashing Pumpkins' new album and how it would be pieced together?

Well, here's the second piece to the album. "Widow Wake My Mind" is the second song on the album "Teargarden by Kaliedyscope." Enjoy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Les Henson and the Henson Heave

January 21st marks the 30th anniversary of what is known in Hokie lore as the "Henson Heave"

In a game at Florida State (playing in the old Metro conference) the Hokies led late, but the Seminoles rallied to take the late lead. It was then that Henson picked up the ball and tossed it the full length of the court to win.

There are two crazy things about it, the first being it only counted for two points as there was no three-point line yet.

Second, Henson threw the ball with his right hand and he normally shot left-handed. To be fair, I've heard Les was ambidextrous aside from his basketball shot.

Here's the actual video , and no, he wasn't out of bounds if you account for the fact the camera is shooting from mid-court. There are angles and math involved far too complicated for me to elaborate on, but there was also an official right there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Song Of The Day: It's Easy

We've been very sports-centric as of late and I've been hearing grumblings from the masses. In respect to your wishes, I bring you a song from Weezer.

This was one of the tunes written for their 2008 release, Weezer, known as the Red Album. It was written by guitarist Brian Bell as one of the first songs to feature a lead vocalist other than Rivers Cuomo.

This is a nice little acoustic rendition done for AOL. It features Rivers on drums in a beret, nice vocals by Bell, cool harmonies by bassist Scott Shriner and a nifty little guitar solo by drummer Pat Wilson.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Todd McTool

I'm not going to pretend I know what tools are necessary traits to be a quarterback in the NFL. Aside from leadership, passing accuracy, and pocket presence I have no clue what else scouts look for.

Furthermore, I am oblivious to how they determine that player 'X' will help their franchise more than player 'Y'.

After watching the following clip, though, I got the impression that Todd McShay McTool has no idea either.

He purports that former Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen should be a worrisome commodity to pro scouts because, among other things, he "has had a little bit of trouble in terms of getting beat up."

That, of course, is in reference to his freshman campaign in 2007 that featured an offensive line that surrendered a then record 58 sacks on the season.

Nonetheless, it is truly difficult to ascertain how a lack of adequate blocking is a reflection of Clausen's ability as a quarterback.

Mel Kiper agrees with my line of thinking and puts McShay in his place in the following segment.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

OK Go - This Too Shall Past

Two years ago Jimmy Clausen and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team traveled to sunny Southern California to over Thanksgiving weekend to battle Mark Sanchez and the USC Trojans. The end result? A miserable performance from the entire Irish squad, which did not manage a first down until the end of the third quarter.

As painfully unforgettable as that performance was there was an equally memorable performance by another Irish squad: the University of Notre Dame Marching Band.

For the first time in 35 years Notre Dame brought its band along for the holiday weekend in Los Angeles. Determined not to completely disappoint the domers in attendance the band put on one of the more talked about shows in school history.

While not a 'show band' by any means the Notre Dame band is known to entertain students, alumni, and visitors with halftime performances featuring dancing by band members.

On the fateful night of November 27, 2008 the Irish performed "Here It Goes Again" by OK Go. This song sparked the group's rise to fame as its music video featured band members synchronously dancing on treadmills.

It rose the group to such popularity that the Notre Dame band choreographed a halftime show to it in 2007. Crowd reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that Director of Bands Dr. Kenneth Dye decided to save it for later use.

You can see the actual performance of the song below starting at the 2:30 mark but will have to bear with the awful commentary.

Members of the band OK Go were in attendance and were so impressed by the performance that they sought out the Irish for an opportunity to film a music video.

Shooting for the video was held over Notre Dame's fall break this past October. The Observer, a student-run newspaper at Notre Dame, has an excellent write-up with interviews from band members and Assistant Band Director Emmett O'Leary.

On a week typically reserved for recovery from midterms several Irish Marching Band members stuck around for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

"This Too Shall Pass" is the debut single from OK Go's new record, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky" and could be the next craze on YouTube.

Kudos to members of OK Go and the University of Notre Dame Bands for making this happen.

More Tennessee Drama is the place to go for independent Tennessee football and basketball coverage, message boards and the personification of the general ignorance of their entire fan base. However, it's been struggling to handle all the web traffic of the past few days.

The shocking resignation and hiring of Lane Kiffin at USC started the disaster. As students took to the streets, literally blocking Kiffin from leaving Tennessee's athletic complex for several hours until a police escort was put together, the internet ran wild with rumors.

So far, it would appear that Tennessee has been turned down by Texas defensive coordinator and "head coach in waiting" Will Muschamp and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun.

There are plenty of rumors surrounding Mike Leach and David Cutcliffe, but my gut tells me UT will be reluctant about Leach, another high-profile, big-ego guy.

Most sources indicate Cutcliffe still doesn't have any interest in the Vols. You may remember they approached him last season, but he elected to continue building the Duke program. I can't see anything changing in one season, if anything Duke is a much stronger team and has a bright upside.

Here's a link to a Huffington Post article that includes some great pictures of the students and their handy work on one of those free expression rocks found on many campuses that students can repaint.

Also, word now is that my boy Al Groh is likely going to be the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lane Kiffin Heads Back To USC...LOLZ!

First, let me say that I'm extremely excited about the contribution of Mr. Chris Jones just below. I would have posted this last night as news broke, but I didn't want to bump his fine piece which I would encourage everyone to read.

That said, Lane Kiffin!!!! LOLZ!!!!

After one average to very average season in Knoxville (and a Hokie butt-whoopin' to cap it all off) Lane Kiffin is returning to Southern California as the head coach of USC.

What USC sees in their former offensive coordinator is beyond me. I think he can be a good coach, but he's now failed to prove himself during two very brief head-coaching stints.

Of course Papa Kiffin will be along once again so the defense is covered, Ed Orgeron is along to handle recruiting and word is offensive guru Norm Chow will be returning to USC as well. Lane will be in charge of the most overqualified staff in America.

This one will be tough to screw up.

Here's what is almost legitimately Florida coach Urban Myer's reaction to the news. Judging by the time in the game of this clip, you can piece together that it's about when news was breaking.

And finally the obligatory picture of Lane's smokin' hot wife Layla.

The NFL Goes to Court

The NFL. MLB. The NBA. The NHL.

The major professional sports leagues in America need no introduction (well, maybe the NHL needs one, but that’s neither here nor there). All four have inspired countless hours of heated and in-depth discussion regarding the best players, the greatest teams, and the most memorable games. Relatively little, however, is spoken about how these leagues operate and function as major business organizations.

Tomorrow, that will change.

In oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, petitioner American Needle will challenge the National Football League over “single entity” principles of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

In May 2001, the NFL signed an exclusive license with Reebok to produce team headwear (notice how every NFL player is wearing identically styled hats while standing on the sideline?). Prior to the agreement, individual teams were free to choose their own suppliers for team merchandise. Afterwards, former producers were excluded from the market (and, hence, the ability to make money each time a fan buys a hat). Not surprisingly, one of the former producers, American Needle, filed suit against the NFL.

While the issue of hat sales may not excite the average fan, the potential implications of this case run far beyond logo-adorned headwear. Each NFL team, both on the field and off, is its own organization. Each team makes its own personnel decisions, provides for its own stadium accommodations, and will enter into their own advertising agreements. However, as American Needle alleges, when the NFL signed the exclusive agreement with Reebok, it acted as a single entity as opposed to being an association of 32 individually owned teams that make their own business decisions.

The Player’s Association fears that a decision in favor of the NFL will allow the league to act as a “single entity” to restrain competition in the market for player services (in other words, free agency may be radically altered or end altogether). Further, what might it say to the inherent competitiveness of the game if team owners are acting far more in concert rather than in opposition?

Not surprisingly, MLB, the NBA, and the NHL filed amicus briefs before the court in support of the NFL’s position. Hence, any broad based opinion could have sweeping implications across professional sports (the NCAA also filed a brief in support…readers can draw their own conclusions).

For a more in depth take on the matter, (a blog that follows the activities of the Supreme Court) published a very readable account of the case and the potential leanings of the Court. Also, last Saturday, the Washington Post published an Op-Ed on the matter written by Drew Brees, the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Finally, Gwen Napp, a columnist for the San Fransisco Chronicle, wrote here a response to Brees’ op-ed and included an interesting list of the implications that could arise from the case.

(Also, it may be worth paying special note to the role of the newest justice to the Court, Sonia Sotomayor, during oral argument. During her time on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor came down hard on MLB owners to end the strike of 1994.)

(For a recap of today's arguments, see here)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Song For A Son

In perhaps one of the most daring business models ever revealed by any musician, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan announced he would release all 44 songs of the Pumpkins' new concept album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope for free, available for download one song at a time on their website.

Here is what Corgan had to say about his radical concept:
[I] don't think I'm going to make albums in the old-fashioned way, meaning 12-15 songs, etc. in one small package. My desire at this point would be to release one song at a time, over a period of 2-3 years, with it all adding up to a box set/album of sorts that would also include an art movie of the album... My thinking is that if I focus on one song at a time I would approach them as beautiful, distinct paintings that would each require the attention they deserve. This would also mean I would choose what I am recording quite carefully as there would be tremendous internal pressure to get it just right, and that is the kind of pressure I like, which is to make the most beautiful thing possible. I've gotten lost many times during the long haul of making a record and have overlooked some great songs because of that. The new standard for an SP song would that it be excellent and fantastic and most importantly essential or it's not coming out. I will do my best to meet that intention fully.
Based on those comments it his clear that this album is being made for the sheer enjoyment of writing music, not for the immediate monetary benefit so many artists seek and often 'sell-out' for.

Best of luck to Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins on this truly unique endeavor.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sit Down For This One

I've dropped the ball on posting over the past week and shame on me with everything that has been going on in the sports world. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to briefly play catch up.

Notre Dame Assistant Football Coaches Named
New Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly has already begun hiring his half, which as many expected contains a few holdovers from his Cincinnati days and a smorgasbord of coaches with ties to Grand Valley State and Central Michigan. After several days coordinators have been selected to compliment the other hirings and retainment of Tony Alford, the lone mainstay from Charlie Weis' regime.

My take - all are excellent hires because they all have numerous years of collegiate experience with and without Kelly's tutelage. One of the problems with Weis' staffs was that they were a hodgepodge of, albeit talented individuals, whom he had little or no experience interacting with. Don't read too far in to anything you're hearing at this point, though. We need to be patient and see how the product on the field performs.

Weis Still A Chief... Per-se
Speaking of Charlie, it appears all is well in his world as several sources have confirmed he inked a deal to become the Offensive Coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.

My take - this is an excellent fit for Weis and I am happy to see him move on in his career. No one ever doubted that he couldn't orchestrate a well-oiled offensive machine. His downfall at ND was that he had minimal head coaching experience (one year of high school football) so he forced himself to learn on the job. I think he also struggled with the fact that college kids aren't as disciplined as NFL players. Without time restrictions for practices and player development in the pros Weis benefitted from extremely well prepared players who knew every in and out of his beefy playbook. At ND he did not have that luxury. He will go on to do great things again. I'm not sure if Matt Cassel is a Super Bowl quarterback in the mold of a Tom Brady but he is capable of leading a team into the playoffs at the least. Good luck, Charlie.

Seahawks' Late Christmas: Carroll
In the span of 24 hours word spread like wildfire that the Seattle Seahawks were interested in USC Head Coach Pete Carroll. Fast forward a few more hours and it appears as though Carroll has signed a lucrative deal to replace now former Seahawks frontman Jim Mora.

My take - With the NCAA breathing down his neck regarding several suspected improprieties (Joe McKnight and Reggie Bush) and numerous player defections to the NFL (Damian Williams, Joe McKnight, Everson Griffin, Stafon Johnson) it is no surprise that Carroll is returning to the pros. Carroll was not shy about his desire to one day return to the NFL, which is the one league he has yet to prove himself as a head coach. A ho-hum 33-31 record is on the books from one season with the New York Jets and his brief stint in New England. Word on the street is that Carroll will have control of personnel decisions, which was a stipulation he indicated could lure him the NFL. The Seahawks have not been competitive since the 2007 season when they finished 10-6 and lost in the divisional playoffs to the Packers. Turning this franchise around will not be as taxing as Detroit but there is still a small mountain to climb. My magic eight ball reveals chances not good for a Super Bowl run at any point in the near future.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hokie Defensive End Jason Worilds Declares for NFL Draft

Virginia Tech junior defensive end Jason Worilds will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Worilds had 49 tackles this season, including 11 for loss and 4.5 sacks.

As a redshirt sophomore, Worilds had a career season with 62 tackles, 18 for loss and 8 sacks.

Despite his relentless motor on the field and his ability to disrupt plays without getting statistical credit, Worilds has struggled with injuries during his career at Tech.

Worilds got a medical redshirt after having season-ending shoulder surgery in 2006. Worilds battled a sore shoulder throughout 2008, eventually having to sit out Tech's Orange Bowl victory.

Worilds underwent surgery again after that season, and missed off-season workouts and spring practice leading up to 2009.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Virginia Tech: 2009 Chick-Fil-A Bowl Champions

I'll post in more detail in the coming days, but I just wanted to congratulate the Hokies for a terrific 37-14 win over Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Frank Beamer led Tech to its second consecutive bowl victory for the first time in school history.

The Hokies tallied 10-wins for the sixth consecutive season (second longest active streak to Texas) and continued to prove they are the premiere program in the ACC despite failing to win the conference this season.

Also, congratulations to Bobby Bowden who went out a winner in his final game at Florida State. I didn't always agree with him, but there's no question he's one of the greats and he got a very raw deal that he handled with far more class than I would have.


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