Custom Search

December 18th , 2015

This Week in Indie Rock

- The Violent Femmes are releasing their first album in 15 years, We Can Do Anything. This is good because you like the Violent Femmes. This is exciting because I saw the Femmes two summers ago and they were amazing. This is questionable because the only good Violent Femmes album came out in 1983.

- I am cynical and wary of a headline like "Meet America's Most Exciting Punk Band" but I read about the Downtown Boys and I am in. If only bands came to Michigan anymore.

- This year's indie rock tunes to stuff your stockings: The Both's "You're a Gift" and this fabulous Postal Service Parody Gift Up.

- New tunes: Freddie Mercury from the grave, Spoon celebrates ten years of Gimme Fiction with unreleased demos, the amazing music from the excellent TV show Fargo gets an album, plus new Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, which for my money might be the best backing band name of all time.

- Finally, I thought I had squared with waiting until Saturday to see the new Star Wars, but I very much had a panic attack last night when I realized there were non-celebrities who had seen it while I was sitting around with my thumb up my butt. Thankfully I had Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) channeling Bill Murray to soothe me. Seriously, I swooned.

Posted 9:22am
permalink - comments

December 14th , 2015

Because we're all checked out already

Christmas approacheth like a freight train and there's that Star Wars thing, so you're probably not going to get labeled "productive" by your supervisor anytime soon. No need to pretend - grab some headphones and treat yourself to the glorious world of internet video:

- Last Week Tonight is on hiatus, but John Oliver checks in with some holiday re-gifting tips.

- Will Ferrell returned to SNL to remind you that the current GOP field makes him look S-M-R-T.

- The Koch Bros. use the power of song to help you justify your anti-science views.

- Rockets!

- For the artsy fartsies - short films of famous people flying in slow motion.

- The year in film, montage style.

- And of course, Star Wars drops this weekend. In case you haven't exhausted every corner of the internet in search of content, here's the latest TV spots, in parody news there's an SNL commercial and an MST3K spot, and don't forget that Star Trek drops a new trailer that has attached it self to The Force Awakens, because we have reached nerd detente.

Posted 2:32pm
permalink - comments

December 11th , 2015

Your current GOP frontrunners*

The Hypocrite: Marco Rubio
Yesterday, despite the fact that he's one of two anti-immigrant candidates who is the child of immigrants, I still considered Rubio the favorite to win the nomination. Then it was revealed that while also being staunchly anti-Obamacare, he's a paying participant. Bold move, jackass.

The Anti-intellectual: Ted Cruz
There are people out there who will tell you that Ted Cruz is an intelligent policy wonk. I can only assume this opinion is based on private conversation they've had with him, because publicly, he's dumber than a box of hammers. Take this science denying interview he had with NPR, where he gets every single fact wrong.

The Gun Nut: Ben Carson
Ben Carson is so wrong on history that he thinks the pyramids were grain silos. He also thinks that the Holocaust would have been prevented with less restrictive gun laws. This man is a doctor.

The Racist Xenophobe: Donald Trump
Donald Trump wants to make sure you are scared of Mexicans and Muslims. His son wants you to know that these vile sentiments are "resonating with the people." And you're OK with that?

The truth is, every one of the above mentioned candidates shares these cute traits. Hypocritical anti-intellectuals who want you to be strapped because there are minorities out there. That's your leader? Good luck.

*or why, even if I don't believe in my heart that any of them can win, I still want to emigrate to Canada

Posted 9:12am
permalink - comments

December 10th , 2015

I stand on guard for thee

I long for a holiday where I can sit at home and do nothing. No offense to anyone, but I had one Thanksgiving about 7 years ago where I didn't have to leave my house and no one came over, and it was glorious. That was a vacation.

This scenario is probably never going to happen again for me. I'm still making my peace with it, but there are worse things. Plus, we have decided to do the next best thing this Xmas. With the girls out of town for a week over break (and Sid being 20 years old and like his old man, prefers to be left alone) the BDGF and I are heading back to Cananada for the holidays.

If you've run into either of us in the last five months, you know both of us are only short of being fluent in French from emigrating to Montreal. So sans child obligations, we decided to head north again. If the trip goes well, this threatens to become the new paradigm whenever we have a week with no one pulling us in a particular direction.

How will it go? Of course the cold is a concern for the BDGF. But staying across form a metro stop should mean that between cheap mass transit and Montreal's famous "underground city", we should be able to manage. Plus, rumor has it the entire city looks like this in December.

We'll manage.

Posted 4:43pm
permalink - comments

December 7th , 2015

Happy Birthday!

The old gray mare ain't what she used to be, but she still kicks nonetheless.

Eleven years ago I resurrected a nothing of a website I built in college and eventually it became the empire that lays before you. OK, somewhat derelict, crumbling empire, but that's what happens as things age, or so I am learning. We're still here though, as we have been every day for the last eleven years.

I know things are mostly innocuous or complainy these days, and a lot of features have become derelict. We all have to make peace with that. I choose to think of it as aging gracefully. If I can't do it IRL, at least I can be the one person on the internet with dignity.

I just remembered that it's an election year. I immediately retract the stuff about grace and dignity and replace it with indignation and profanity.

Posted 9:53am
permalink - comments

December 3rd , 2015

Happy Holidays

I spend most days, Monday through Friday, sitting at a desk for 8 hours actively waiting to die and imagining what would be on my tombstone if I believed in that sort of thing. (Current front runner is "I was always right. It never mattered.") I know I am not unique. I should be grateful that I am relatively well paid to do a job that I am so overqualified for that I could come to work drunk and high every day and I would still be the most effective person they have. It's easy work. Except when it isn't.

I don't suffer fools. I can only sit on my hands so long before I have to tell someone how colossally obtuse and shortsighted they are being. It's ultimately impossible for me to not say something when I see how milquetoast fuckups favor corporate platitudes over analytical thought and individualized solutions. The intervening period of me repeating my mantra of "Just don't care" until I finally explode makes me miserable.

So what do we do? We apply for new jobs that might value our skills and mindset. We imagine new careers that might make use of the experience and talents we have acquired over the years. We stare at the clock and await such a time when our children are no longer in college and we can get away with making less money doing literally anything other than attending the current shit show that we have perpetual front row tickets to. We dream about giving a flying fuck again and making things matter.

In the meantime, here's 45 minutes of Nick Offerman sitting in front of a fire drinking whiskey. Happy Holidays.


Posted 3:48pm
permalink - comments

November 17th, 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- You know what's really great when you're trying to watch a movie every day that you haven't seen before? 100 best lists. This time it's the 101 Funniest Screenplays Ever. It's a pretty good list, which unfortunately contained only 4 movies I haven't seen. Preston Sturges films, here I come.

- Walk into any department store and you'll be assaulted with the fact that Christmas is coming. Not soon, if you're a sane person, but coming nonetheless. I also know this because a.) there was a screening of Elf in my basement last week and b.) Robert Pollard put out a new holiday song. And we haven't even had time to be thankful yet.

- Since I was about 15 years old, it's been predicted by, well everyone, that I will be a crotchety old man far before my time. It is often argued that I am already there. So I guess in the prophecy fulfillment department, read this, imagine my aneurysm, and then sing it with me:

If you're gonna leave the house don't wear sweats... [clap, clap]
If you're gonna leave the house don't wear sweats... [clap, clap]
If you're gonna leave the house then have some self respect
If you're gonna leave the house don't wear sweats... [clap, clap]

Now get off my lawn and stop listening to that hippity hop jibber jabber.

- Now we all know that there'll be an out gay president before an out atheist one here in 'Murica, which should make all of us sad. But when it's one of the world's biggest assholes with a two cent head who will pander to anyone telling you that you're unfit, well these are the criticisms that we should wear as a badge of honor. A right thinking person knows that the next President of these United States should stand in stark opposition of whatever Ted Cruz stands for, so thanks for the compliment, you milquetoast, effete, grandstanding asshat.

- Finally, the world is a scary place. You're an adult who responds to horrible events with sadness and empathy and a desire to help. You can give money to various organizations trying to put things back together. You can help by supporting the people you know and care about (and those you don't) who unduly suffer because of islamo/xenophobia. You can vote for people in power who don't react to these events by beating the drums of war or by pledging to take your personal freedoms away. Do all these things. Please. But also go about your life. Laugh. Love. Be kind to each other. The best revenge is a life well lived. To wit, here's some Belgian kids trying to make sense of the Beastie Boys. Cheers.

Posted 11:01am
permalink - comments

November 3rd , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- This Week in Indie Rock: Stream the new Destroy This Place album, listen to autotuned Bill Nye and Neil Tyson, Courtney Barnett on ACL, Spoon dishes on their Gimme Fiction reissue and don't forget to spend NYE in Chicago watching the Promise Ring play Nothing Feels Good in full. Couldn't you just take me with you?

- Watch! A documentary on John Carpenter's The Thing, live action Metroid and finally scope the hidden edits in Birdman.

- This makes me equal parts sad and furious. I want to start a program to adopt little atheist kids stuck in these stupid fucking podunk places like Louisiana and bring them to a place where they can be properly educated and allowed to think freely. That would make me ecstatic.

- I'm kind of impressed with myself for still being on pace to make my 365 movies in 365 days goal. 59 days to go! If you still have a Halloween itch left unscratched, I highly recommend the koo koo banana pants 1977 Japanese movie House. I've seen 306 movies this year that I've never seen before, and it's by far the strangest, in a completely wonderful way.

- Finally, practice your voting skills for next year's national election by heading to the polls today. Here's your guide for the Ann Arbor area, and citizens of Ohio, do something right for once in your life.

Posted 11:38am
permalink - comments

October 16th , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- This Week in Indie Rock: Craig Finn is making the rounds with his new solo album and The Promise Ring is teasing something, but Maritime drops a new LP today! Oh, and dear reader, check out this new anthem for Bernie Sanders from Brad Neely.

- Hey dickweeds, clean, renewal energy is as cheap as the stuff that's killing our planet. Of course, it'll be a while until the entrenched interests get out of the way, but we can now conceivably do this people. Clean energy will be the only answer your grandkids use, so keep your legacy in mind when making decisions about what kind of car you drive.

- If you're as obsessed with The Martian as my house is, you're probably well versed in the accuracy of the science involved. If you're as yet unawares, here's a helpful video to get you up to speed. Spoiler alert: science rocks.

- Sometimes I lament the fact that I have to go to the bar and play trivia by myself far too often, but this paradigm is buoyed by the fact that I often don't need you lightweights gumming up the works.

But still, come out and play with me. It's fun. We will win often.

- Finally, tomorrow! It's snobs vs slobs as Michigan takes on Sparty. Since this is the first game of any consequence for Michigan in 9 years, I'm having a titch of trouble concentrating today. I don't loathe Sparty nearly as much as Ohio or Notre Dame, but loathe them I do nonetheless, and they've got a beatdown coming. Or at least I hope so. I'm not ready for this all time high to fade away just yet...

Posted 10:20am
permalink - comments

October 12th , 2015

I'm ready to be heartbroken

Gambling in intrinsic to college sports. Not necessarily the placing money with shady bookmakers part, but the putting your faith and allegiance into something you have no control over and having that outcome effect your emotional state part. It's a dice roll every season, every week.

For me anyway. Ten days ago the BDGF was cautiously warning me from getting too excited about Michigan's prospects this year. I told her not to worry. You don't have to talk me down off the ledge, because I'm not even getting up there. You can imagine how long that sentiment lasted.

I cam home Saturday night after demolishing a top 15 team somewhere between giddy and euphoric. I was pole dancing on that ledge without regard for my physical or emotional safety. This is something I can't explain to the BDGF, who finds the whole thing silly, and it's that fact that made me realize how dumb (and impossible) it will always be to attempt to guard myself from the emotional swings of fandom.

I would argue that the emotional swings are the point. There's no sweet without the bitter and whatever ol' chestnut of a cliche you want to throw at it. Furthermore, I've earned this. I sat through seven years of ineptitude, and while disregarding the whole first world problem nature of this idea, it would be asinine not to try and let the new found success wash over me and enjoy it for everything it's worth.

So I'm ready to be heartbroken. I've been there before, I know what I'm doing. Argue that it's silly. That it's not worth it. Roll your eyes at its juvenile nature. But before you go, you should really step out on this ledge with me. The weather is perfect and the view is spectacular.

Posted 1:39pm
permalink - comments

September 30th , 2015

Would you give a guy a foot massage?

You could call a liberal rag and most people wouldn't argue with you too much. I get it with articles like "The 7 Most Impressively Stupid Things Ben Carson Has Said" or even "Kissinger poisoned the Middle East." Not that I don't agree with the aforementioned, but they're not exactly giving equal time over there.

However, at the same time, reporting the truth as fact and calling it vile or ugly or irresponsible is still journalism, especially in 2015. Which is why Salon may be the liberal lamestream media, but compare these articles from just today, versus what passes for news on redstate, Drudge, Fox News or whatever you think is the functional equivalent:

- Indiana's GOP House Leader sends explicit video (of him cheating on his wife) to all of his friends, claims phone was stolen "in Canada". Of course, he co-sponsored the Indiana religious freedom law that you may remember.

- Former Governor, current colossal idiot Mike Huckabee tweets that Planned Parenthood isn't a healthcare provider. Which, you know, is as infuriating as it is inaccurate.

- Rush Limbaugh claims NASA finding water on Mars is a liberal conspiracy.

- Ben Carson is fine with the Confederate flag.

As we are so fond of saying 'round these parts, ain't no motherfucking ballpark neither. It's going to get a lot uglier in the next 13 months. I will probably get angry about it. But whatever shortcomings and pitfalls that the Democrats may have, there's a colossal fucking divide in the seriousness of these two factions. Sorry, I know you know this, I'm just sayin'...

Posted 3:37pm
permalink - comments

September 24th , 2015

This is 40

This is 10

This is 20

This is 30

This is 40

Let it never be said that I am unwilling to post embarassing pictures of myself on the internet.

There's too much to unpack about my birthday at the moment to do it justice. People from literally all over the country came to help me celebrate, which makes feel incredibly loved. And perhaps most inportantly, they all did it without facebook telling them it was my birthday. I have successfully scrubbed my birthday from social media, so the people that said hey yesterday meant all the more. Thanks to everyone who did all the amazing things yesterday and all week. You are the best.

Posted 11:59am
permalink - comments (1)

September 18th , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- By now you know that a teenager in Texas was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school because he also happened to be brown and a muslim. (But don't worry, conservatives aren't bigoted xenophobes). As lamentable as this is, take solace in the fact that it's 2015, which means that stuff like this not only fails to get swept under the rug, but rather the kid gets his own hashtag and NASA, MIT and the White House all shower him with praise and opportunities. Always remember that humanity is great, the GOP is vile.

- For actual science fun, check out these cats who made a scale model of the solar system in the desert and then try and land a Falcon 9 rocket. No one said science was easy.

- This Week in Indie Rock: local favorites Destroy This Place drop a new scorcher, and The Promise Ring get fancy new reissues. You can also watch some Japanese teenagers cover some TPR classics amazingly well, because the internet.

- Your Friday watch list: This supercut creates a phone conversation over 57 films and this mini-doc shows how everyone steals from everybody. As Elvis Costello said, "every pop musician is a thief and a magpie."

- Finally, my thirties are finally all but over. I'll shake the last vestiges of my fourth decade on this planet off over the next few days and prepare to settle in to middle age. I suppose it could be worse. At the end of the day I don't feel that different. I have no plans to slow down. It's merely an arbitrary demarcation of time that societal norms dictate we use to celebrate and contemplate. At least these are things I will continue to tell myself as my insides fill with panic and uncertainty. I've been past my halfway point for a while now anyway, so it's all just keeping both feet on the brake from here on out. That and knowing when to take them off and let yourself careen down the hill, because it's all one big adventure - otherwise what's the point?

Posted 10:10am
permalink - comments

September 3rd , 2015

Harbaugh is my savior, I shall not want

When you're an atheist, the believers will always try to ascribe something to you as "your religion." Conservatives try and tell me that liberalism is my religion. Sometimes you might even hear me say that I "believe" in science or reason. Both are non-starters, because while I may have faith in a liberal mind set, I don't take any of it without evidence. And science is the opposite of "belief" in something sans evidence. It may be my dogma, but that's something else.

I suppose if cornered, the only thing I have that's semantically close to being a religious experience for me is Michigan football. I irrationally believe in the power of it. I am inexplicably drawn to it. It has the power to both calm and consume me. I look down upon those who have yet to see the light. I believe the rituals surrounding it have power and my participation in them matters. It's all very, very silly.

Michigan broadcasting legend Bob Ufer used to say "Michigan football is a religion and Saturday's the holy day of obligation." Saturday comes early this week, as Michigan kicks off their 2015 campaign tonight somewhere in the middle of Utah. Ultimately the idea of Michigan as religion falls apart for me because it fails far too many criteria. It's not a guide to morality and says nothing of an afterlife. And while we all should have a healthy fear of Jim Harbaugh, I do not conduct my day to day affairs under his watchful eye.

Michigan is, however, family. I say "we" when talking about the University and the football team because it is something I am a part of. I am part of 500,000 alumni. I am part of a group of people who gather in a parking lot 8 times a year to celebrate and commiserate together. I'd do just about anything for any of them and would forgive them almost anything. I've entrusted them with my children. That may not be religion per se, but it is something even more powerful in my estimation. That's what I believe, anyway.

Posted 12:14pm
permalink - comments

September 2nd , 2015

Free at last

The only people who should have college roommates are people in college.

I love our children and by all accounts they are some of the most genial twenty somethings available. However, being a proto-adult is messy and at some point, I'm too old for a front row seat. I still want to see the show, but I want to do it from my couch, where I can pause it and go do something else for a while. I want to be able to control the volume and fast forward past some of the parts that just aren't for me. I'm too old for the mosh pit, and sometimes even getting dressed to go out sounds like more of a chore than I'm up for.

Which is why hooray! The bigs went back to college. Siddhartha finally has his own apartment and in all likelihood will never move back in. The BDGF's eldest is back in the dorms, but I've already got my check book at the ready for her to get a sublet next summer. Let's be honest, we are in a very fortunate position in that both of our children go to school a few miles from our house. We can insist that they come see us when we decide that we miss them because we've forgotten how terrible they can be. This is why I have no qualms about being giddy about them getting the fuck out.

The children get to be practice adults, which you can't do when you live with your parents. Don't get me wrong - they are far from being actual functional adults, if for no other reason than we still pay for everything. Make no mistake - we are paying you to go away. Just don't be surprised when we occasionally bribe you with food, laundry facilities and cash to come back once in a while. But don't overstay your welcome. Being an adult means knowing when it's time to leave.

Posted 9:35am
permalink - comments

August 26th , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- Sometimes I lay in bed at night and as I drift off into a well deserved slumber, I wonder what the various members of the New Pornographers are up to. Is AC Newman in a bunker somewhere creating a new power pop masterpiece? Is Neko staring off into the distance and dreaming of a 40-ish midwesterner who she hasn't met yet but just knows would be everything she ever wanted if they would ever accidentally bump into each other? I know for a fact that Kathryn Calder and Dan Bejar are making lush, gorgeous solo albums that border on the divine. I assume I'm right about AC and Neko too.

- Once again, our little liberal bubble here in Southeast Michigan is the most educated city in America. It doesn't hurt that our building boom continues, surpassing the GDP of 18 countries. It's no wonder everyone thinks we're smug assholes (which we are).

- The UK has come out with a study claiming that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than lighting tobacco on fire and inhaling it into your lungs. But yes, let's ban them in public spaces. I have co-workers who wear cologne that's more harmful.

- In science good/science bad news, you can sign up here and have your name sent to Mars. MARS! Which will be the only thing left of you after this thing gains sentience and takes over the goddamn planet. I mean, there's no bigger fan of Elon Musk than yours truly, but we all can see him standing over some mechanical abomination muttering "What have I done?" right before humanity ceases to exist. Right?

- Finally, Born to Run just turned 40, beating me to the punch by almost a month. I swear I'm going to try not to spend the next month whining about my impending doom and how much I hate every living second of it. Or about how if I had friends that really cared about me and wanted to do something nice for my birthday, they would shut the fuck up and not mention it at all. I mean, as the day approaches of course I want to go be by myself, abandon social media for a week and come back to civilization when it's all over, but I know people will be waiting when I get back, because everyone is dicks. So I'm going to do what I'd normally be doing this time of year, and spend all of my energy on Michigan football. If you want to talk about anything else, don't expect pleasantries from my old, grizzled ass. Eight days until kickoff!

Posted 10:22am
permalink - comments

August 12th , 2015

Make Math Studio!

It is my distinct pleasure to announce the creation of Make Math Studio:

The BDGF is starting her own math lab to bring her legendary instructional prowess to the masses. Tell your friends, sign up your children, like it on facebook. I'm planning on this taking off so that I can be a stay-at-home husband, so your proselytizing on our behalf is appreciated.

Posted 9:56am
permalink - comments

August 11th , 2015

How to be an adult

Last Xmas I got the BDGF's eldest a set of gift certificates so she could take all of her friends out for a nice meal and then attend the cinema, because that's what adults do. I decided she could use a set of instructions on how to comport oneself in adult situations, so this is perhaps part one of an ongoing series. Feel free to use them for the burgeoning adult in your household.

Posted 3:38pm
permalink - comments

August 7th , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment - SciFriday Edition

- Our recent 10 hour car ride to Montreal flew by thanks to a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian on audiobook. I highly recommend it for anyone contemplating an arduous road trip. Of course it's being made into a film with Matt Damon, so if you are book averse or smart enough to avoid 10 hour car rides, watch the viral videos they're making to get excited about the premise.

- Actual science! Here's your personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the universe in 8 minutes - slightly superior to the opening credits of The Big Bang Theory, all apologies to Canadians Barenaked Ladies.

- Devoted Star Wars fans are aware of the myriad changes that the original trilogy has undergone over the years - even long before Lucas bastardized his legacy with the "Special Editions" a while back. Now you can watch all the futzing with a masterpiece in convenient internet form. Prepare to continually ask yourself "Why?"

- Science Fiction and action movies are often only as good as the weapon our intrepid hero uses to dispatch the baddies. To wit, enjoy this Illustrated Guide to Iconic Fictional Weapons. Conspicuously absent: Ash's chainsaw and Ming the Merciless' power ring. Slightly less subjective is this list of the fastest vehicles in sci-fi, because if we were just ranking cool factor, the Falcon wins in a walk.

- Finally, you're cool, so you're probably already hip to the greatness that is William Shatner's 2004 album Has Been (produced by Ben Folds). The album's signature tune is a cover of Pulp's "Common People" and while it took over 10 years, someone finally made a video for the song using old Star Trek clips. It's the greatest thing you'll see all day, so enjoy and have a spiffy weekend.

Posted 10:10am
permalink - comments

August 4th , 2015

Tuesdays are for politickin'

It's primary day here in Ann Arbor, so go out and vote, dummy.

- The senate barely kept funding in place for Planned Parenthood, and of course it took Elizabeth Warren to explain to everyone exactly what is going on. Just like she took this Financial Exec to task recently on his shady practices. Man I wish she were running for the big job.

- In not fair fight news, Rachel Maddow explains the Constitution to Rick Santorum. I can't remember laughing harder at a transcription that was not intended to make you laugh. GOP!

- And for a trifecta of women telling everyone what's up, Amy Schumer is taking on gun-control. Anyone with half the brain of any of these women will fight with them instead of against them.

- Finally, in I'm moving to Canada news, the AP U.S. History curriculum is being re-written to emphasize "American Exceptionalism", aka "we liberated America from the Indians." Now I'm not suggesting we drop everything and have Howard Zinn teach every U.S. history class, but you should have a giant fucking problem with impressionable kids who are someday going to run this country being told white washed lies in order to cover up the fact that we fuck up a lot. I had great history teachers in high school that didn't gloss over shit, and everyone who took those classes is better for it. But hey, let's go back to thinking that Reagan was a great president. I'm going to go learn about Pierre Trudeau.

Posted 3:52pm
permalink - comments

July 29th , 2015

This Week in Indie Rock

- The Walkmen are back! Well, two of them anyway. And if you are an East Coaster, they'll hand deliver their new LP. Mine will be delivered by some dude in brown shorts.

- Craig Finn released another new song from his upcoming solo LP and more importantly perhaps, played Replacements tunes the other night with Ted Leo and Titus Andronicus. I once saw Craig make a Ted Leo reference on stage and almost passed out, so one can only imagine the level of swoonage from yours truly had I been in attendance.

- Speaking of coverage, Brandon Flowers did The White Stripes at MoPop.

- Speaking of upcoming albums, Maritime and Josh Ritter both have LPs due this fall. I suddenly find myself paying for a lot of albums that I won't get to hear for months. Welcome to the record industry, 2015.

- Ben Folds is also dropping songs from a forthcoming release. I still enjoy his work, but our interests kind of split ways 10-12 years ago.

- Led Zeppelin is wrapping up their re-releases, and you can hear an early version of "In the Evening" as part of it. I only wish I heard better things about some of those remasters. My collection is dying for suped up version of Physical Graffiti and Houses of the Holy.

- Finally, since most of the above at least verges on aging dad-rock, here's some power-pop goodness, doled out 2 minutes at a time by Sleepy.

Posted 2:37pm
permalink - comments

July 27th , 2015

Je voudrais Montreal

Part One: America, meh

Sean Hannity's profession is to scare old people with his verbal diarrhea about liberals. That's a given. I've always cringed every time I heard him mutter "America is the single greatest nation that God ever gave man on this earth." Blech. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel and I'm guessing Sean has never traveled farther than two blocks from his Manhattan apartment. He sure as shit hasn't been to Montreal, because otherwise even his smarmy lying ass would have a hard time uttering that completely already bullshit phrase.

Canada is clean and polite and crime free. It's like Canadians are all Disneyland employees being monitored at all times. They also have universal health care, so get in line 'Murica. We ain't such hot shit. Celebrities are constantly getting in 'trouble' for saying that if so and so gets elected, they're leaving the country. Well I'll tell you right this second, if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or literally any of the other half wits that the GOP is trotting out to be our next President somehow gets elected, I will make every effort to emigrate to Montreal. For reals.

Part two: bon jour!

Everything in Quebec is in French. Exclusively. The rest of Cananada goes through great pains to print things in English AND French, but not Quebec. It's French or nothing. Most restaurants will have an English menu and everyone knows at least enough English to get by, but make no mistake that you're going to need at least a little French to get on in Quebecois.

I speak zero French, but a week in Montreal was a crash course that I had a great time with. I still can't speak a lick outside of please, thank you, hello and goodbye, but I can breeze through a credit card reader to pay for a meal without an interpreter. And of course I assumed that even though everyone is still Canadian, the Frenchiness of it all would make everyone at least a little dickish, but they are right: love wins. Or politeness does anyway, because as stated above, everyone in Canada is a big ol' sweetheart.

Part three: Know your Canadians!

One day during our trip we decided to ask people to name famous Canadians. There are many. Michael J. Fox. Alex Trebeck. Wayne Gretzky. Mike Meyers. We were very unscientific and inconsistent in both how we asked this question and how we tallied results, but I'm pretty sure the most named Canadian was Celine Dion, followed by Justin Bieber. So not that great, eh? Maybe they can get Rush to revoke their citizenship with the power of rock.

Celine Dion aside, I can't wait to go back to Montreal. And 100% would consider moving there. Go ahead America, call my bluff.

Posted 4:37pm
permalink - comments (2)

July 14th , 2015

Civil discourse and disobedience

I've written my share of strongly worded letters. I've probably written your share too, as I don't think enough people write strongly worded letters and I have a penchant for it. I'm not always great at keeping a civil tongue (especially when I was younger) but in the old days (before rampant anonymous internet message boards) you'd call someone on their shit, and a lot of times, they'd get back to you. So I may have used my fair share of colorful dialogue, but at least there was a back and forth and a respect and understanding. At least more than you'll find on facebook.

But there's little point in writing about how the internet poisons our collective conversation. It of course emboldens it as much as it degrades it. Truthfully, the above words are just half-hearted filler to justify showing you what Tom Petty and Eugene Mirman did recently. Please use these examples of civil discourse and disobedience to guide you in fighting the good fight and becoming a more aware human being and member of the collective. It's really all there is.

Posted 2:29pm
permalink - comments

July 9th , 2015

Happy Birthday Moesy-Woesy

My dad would have been 77 today. I've been thinking about my old man a lot lately - all of the things he had to do and the tiny amount of resources with which he had to do them. It's reassuring because he made it work so I should be able to as well.

It also makes me sad because I wish he wouldn't have had to work so hard. It makes me feel guilty for the bitching and moaning that I do (even though my propensity to be gruff and silent and mutter to myself is something else I learned from him). Then it makes me cry because my dad believed in me.

He would never use those words. But he said he didn't have to worry about me, which is akin to the same thing for someone who grew up in the 50s. With all apologies to everyone in my life whose opinions I cherish, his was the one that mattered most.

So when I'm pissed off or depressed and I don't know what to do, I think about my dad and what he would have done. And then I remember that he would have thought that I could handle things, so I must be able to. Thanks for that MoeMan. And Happy Birthday.

Posted 4:15pm
permalink - comments

July 8th , 2015

Music Word Ladder

The other night the BDGF and I played a game where one person picked a song from my vast iTunes library and then the other person had to pick the next song in the queue based on the previous song. The idea was to get inspired by the lyrics or melody or guitar line or what have you of what was playing and then see where that takes us. We called in Music Word Ladder, probably because we were tipsy and concentrating on what to play next rather than coming up with a clever name for the game. Anyway, for the curious and posterity, here's our trip down the rabbit hole*:

T Koop Waltz for Koop
BDGF Ben Folds Kalamazoo
T King Tuff Black Moon Spell
BDGF Metric Black Sheep
T Digable Planets Rebirth of Slick
BDGF Flight of the Conchords The Rhymenocerous
T Ben Folds Bitches Ain't Shit
BDGF The Hold Steady Stevie Nix
T The Who The Seeker
BDGF Led Zeppelin Gallows Pole
T The Jayhawks Ten Little Kids
BDGF Jack White Just One Drink
T Stevie Ray Vaughn Pride and Joy
BDGF Tom Petty The Waiting
T Elvis Costello Veronica
BDGF The Beatles We Can Work it Out
T Ted Leo Tell Balgeary Balgury is Dead

I especially liked going from "Stevie Nix" to "The Seeker". I tried to make a spotify playlist to make this easier to listen to in order, but I only got to song #4 before spotify let me down. Music streaming is nice for you kids and all, but it never fails to meet my expectations.

*Did you know that Lewis Carrol invented Word Ladders? That's TWO Lewis Carrol references in ONE paragraph!

Posted 10:46am
permalink - comments

July 1st , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- Everything is totally gay now and it is awesome! That's not innocuous but the fact that I had no ignorant hate speech come through on any of my social media outlets (outside of people posting it to mock it) kind of is. Seriously though, just thinking about it still makes me giddy. Turns out Churchill was right: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."

- This Week in Indie Rock: Stream the new record from Cloud Nothings/Wavves, Belle and Sebastian on Seth Meyers, and more from Courtney Barnett.

- At the movies: James Bond drinks!: The Infographic, Great movie posters. We've also reached the halfway point in our 365 movies in 365 days experiment, and we are still ahead of schedule. Movie #192 was Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles. It's hard to believe that I hadn't seen a movie about puppets so vulgar that they make the ones from Avenue Q look like teetotalers, and even harder to believe I hated it. I suppose if you are going to watch 365 movies you've never seen before, they can't all be winners.

- Thrillist's quest to turn everything into a list ranks every state in America. You'd think I wrote it based solely on the placement of Michigan and Ohio.

- Finally, you know how the moment you pay off your car someone inevitably rear ends you, or you run over a pot hole and need a new axle? I was two paychecks from being out of debt for the first time in my life, and then my son smashed out the rear window of the van. Then it rained so hard that we had to have a plumber come snake our drain. The real kicker though was that we have to replace our roof. Getting almost out of debt only to have the door slammed in your face is neither innocuous nor happy, but being able to stick your foot in before it closes and knowing that it's no big deal and everything is going to be just fine is. Still though...


Posted 4:27pm
permalink - comments


This is me

Other stuff:
2015 Movie list

2016 Movie list
tbaggervance RSS feed
tbaggervance on Yelp
tbaggervance on twitter
tbaggervance on flickr
tbaggervance on facebook
tbaggervance on tumblr
tbaggervance on instagram
Uncle t-bags Podcast
Musée d'tbaggervance
Marquee pics

Brewery pics

The Archives:
Oct. '16 - Dec. '16
July '16 - Sep. '16
Apr. '16 - June '16

Jan '16 - Mar '16

Oct '15 - Dec. '15
July '15 - Sep. '15
Apr '15 - June '15
Jan. '15 - Mar. 15

Oct. '14 - Dec. '14
July '14 - Sep. '14
Apr. '14 - June '14
Jan. '14 - Mar. '14

Oct. '13 - Dec. '13
July '13 - Sep. '13
Apr. '13 - June '13

Jan. '13 - Mar. '13
Oct. '12 - Dec. '12
July '12 - Sep. '12

Apr. '12 - June '12
Jan. '12 - Mar. '12
Oct. '11 - Dec. '11
July '11 - Sep. '11
Apr. '11 - June '11
Jan. '11 - Mar. '11

Oct. '10 - Dec. '10
Jul. '10 - Sept. '10
Apr. '10 - June '10
Jan. '10 - Mar. '10
Oct. '09 - Dec. '09
July '09 - Sept. '09
Apr. '09 - June '09

Jan. '09 - Mar. '09
Oct. '08 - Dec. '08
July '08 - Sept. '08
Apr. '08 - June '08
Jan. '08 - Mar. '08
Sept. '07 - Dec. '07
May '07 - August '07
Jan. '07 - Apr. '07
Sept. '06 - Dec. '06
May '06 - August '06
Jan. '06 - April '06
Sept. '05 - Dec. '05
Dec. '04 - August '05

The Essay Essays
Southern accents.
This is for the people of the sun...
Budget Boozehounding
Hamtramck Blowout '06
Notre Dame 2006
Put-in-Bay '06
My Very Own Stalker
PIB Photo Essay
Cubs AC pics



This page is written and maintained by Tyler Brubaker. All content is spewed forth from the author's brain, unless otherwise credited. He views his opinion as much more valid than yours, but welcomes all thoughts and comments.