Monday, February 25, 2013

Stephen Colbert on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I often stumble upon things that enrich and enlighten my worldview, helping me to grow as a person.

This is decidedly not one of those things.

Most of us remember the innocent family friendly comedy of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the show that brought the art of improv from the trendy darkened theaters of big cities into the living rooms of everyone.

It began as a British show and like most of their creative endeavors, it was later brought to America where we described it with terms like 'Fresh!' and 'Fun for the whole family!'.

The basic cast was almost always the same featuring Colin Mochire, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and host Drew Carey.

The fourth comedian slot rotated among a pool of other regular contributors (there's one online featuring Robin Williams), but once in a while they picked a relative unknown to chime in.

These two episodes feature a young Stephen Colbert.

"Did you say there isn't enough ME on this show? I agree completely."

They aren't the funniest episodes—I chose to fast forward through the non-Colbert parts—but we see some precursors to the current King of American satire.

In both episodes, Stephen hosts a fake newscast worth a few chuckles. He demonstrates his inability to rap while showing off dance moves that are distinctly 'him'.

There's also a sketch where he and Wayne Brady are supposed to 'fake' German, and based on my rudimentary foreign language skills (and the video comments), Stephen actually speaks bits of the language including the gem, “Today Germany is ours, tomorrow, the whole world!”


Friday, February 22, 2013

Notre Dame Beats Miami at Soldier Field (Again)

Photo Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast

Different sports, different Miami, same outcome.

In October, the Fighting Irish football team, en route to an undefeated regular season, pummeled the Miami (FL) Hurricanes 41-3 on the gridiron at Soldier Field.

Months later, the Irish returned to Soldier Field to take on the Miami (OH) Redhawks as part of the Hockey City Classic.

Although this Irish team is not on its way to an undefeated regular season, it does have its sights set on a berth in the National Championship game.

If they manage to do so, here's hoping the Irish icers fare better than their gridiron brethren.

Behind the Scenes of an Epic Comeback: ND vs. Pitt Basketball

Some of Notre Dame Men's Basketball 21 wins have come easier than others. Count Monday's comeback of epic proportions among the more difficult.

After 14 minutes had elapsed at the "Zoo" in Pittsburgh, the Irish had managed to score a whopping three points. At that point, Head Coach Mike Brey decided he had seen enough, so he did what any self-respecting coach weary of an embarrassing loss would do - he earned himself a technical foul.

As you can hear in the video below, ND's radio announcer Jack Nolan was the most pleased he had ever been with a 3-point halftime deficit.

Ensuring their efforts weren't all for not, the Irish stormed out of the gates in the second half and eventually pulled away for a remarkable 51-42 victory over the home Panthers.

Notre Dame's digital media team has done an outstanding job over the past few years delivering high-quality behind the scenes content, and the following is no exception.


Next up for the Irish is a reeling Cincinnati squad who has lost four out of their last five games. Tune in to CBS at 2pm EST this Sunday to see if the Irish can put another "L" in the Bearcats' loss column.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Weezer Day!

Each year on February 14 while most men are engaged in a panicked scramble to unearth the last box of chocolates at the drug store, I kick back and listen to one of my favorite bands and inevitably I attempt to share some of that quirky joy with others.

A quick reminder, the band had their first official practice on this date in 1992, making this the group's 21st birthday. Birthday shots for everyone!

Of course, there's nothing wrong with showering a loved one with homogenized greeting cards and overpriced sweets, but I've always found the gift of music to be one of the most meaningful things one can give.

That being said, enjoy your day no matter how you celebrate. Take some time to tell someone you care about them and then make them watch YouTube videos like I'm about to do.

First, "Undone (The Sweater Song)". A great cut off their debut album and a wonderful video shot in one continuous take by inimitable director Spike Jonze.

Next comes the criminally underrated song, "The Good Life" from 1996's Pinkerton. The video features Chloe from 24 as a pizza delivery girl. That's nice.

And finally, a fitting epitaph to a day of love is the classic b-side, "You Gave Your Love To Me Softly".

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Feeling Good" on Hump Day

Struggling to get to the weekend? It happens to most people once and a while (or every week) and if you need a little pick-me-up, you've come to the right place.

The Sheepdogs are a Canadian import from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Despite becoming the first unsigned act to grace the cover of Rolling Stone in 2011, they've continued to fly largely under the radar—probably because I don't think anyone reads that magazine anymore.

They've got a kind of blues/rock thing going on that the kids love, which makes it no surprise that their next album is being produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.

They're certainly on the rise, and with an unbelievably awesome music video like the one above, there's no reason to think they won't be wildly successful.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Song From The Postal Service

By Justin Cates

While the United States Postal Service is busy hemorrhaging money and reducing delivery days, the outstanding musical side project The Postal Service is entering a banner year.

Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello's side project is celebrating the tenth anniversary of their fantastic release, Give Up. 

Yeah it's hard to believe it's been ten years of beeping and blooping along with classics like "Such Great Heights" and "We Will Become Silhouettes", but it's true.

The band has said there won't be a new album, but they're releasing a ten-year anniversary reissue of Give Up that will include two new songs.

The first new tune was just released in the form of, "A Tattered Line of String".

The song features vocalist Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley fame—she was also on many of The Postal Service's original songs—and it would fit in quite nicely as a B-side on Give Up. In fact, it wouldn't even be out of place on the album proper. 

The group has announced 12 tour dates for 2013 including stops at the Coachella Music Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain.

They close the tour June 14 at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY where no doubt myriads of hipsters will be stampeded trying to acquire tickets to what's sure to be an awesome show.

Monday, February 4, 2013

L.A. Noire Was More Impressive Than I Realized

By Justin Cates

When L.A. Noire was released in 2011 it represented an enormous leap forward in motion capture technology.

I remember not being in love with the story, but being able to essentially play a movie was a really cool idea that was more than worth a run through.

Where the game really set itself apart was the idea that you were actually a detective in a way you couldn't previously experience.

Your main task was to go around 1947 Los Angeles and interrogate suspects in various cases and unrelated side cases.

Not an unusual concept, but finally you were able to really read people to determine if they were telling the truth.

Australian company Depth Analysis developed the MotionScan technology that brings the game to life.

Through the use of 32 high definition cameras, the actors faces were able to be depicted in the game with stunning detail. Even the smallest facial movements are picked up and transferred into the digital world through the process outlined in this video.

This brings us to the secondary point of this post.

Presumably just for fun, Depth Analysis recently released a blooper reel that shows the real-time reactions of the actors as they attempt their lines.

Best gag reel of all time? Based on the synergy of technology and acting represented, I say yes.


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