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December 16th, 2016

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

- It's the end of 2016, which, obviously thank god. As we all take stock of this terrible, no good, very bad year, let us not forget that there is beauty in the world, even in this fucking epoch of diarrhea. In terms of film, I can highly recommend the hype surrounding Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, even though they are not what you would call uplifting. Ultimately, you should watch this video, which annually culls together the best of cinema, and watch everything on it you haven't made it to yet. I feel like even sadness of a different nature is still distraction.

- Speaking of movies, here's kids playing Star Wars music with lightsaber bows! I'm going to see Rogue One tomorrow, and while I'm more excited to see La La Land, my erection is probably still visible through my jeans.

- Since we are mandated to at least mention politics, here's a "guide to defending democracy" that is pretty spot on. And if you want your anger splayed out for you, I enjoy the Keith Olberman videos laying out our new kleptocracy. Or, you can get this extension that replaces pictures of Trump with Kittens!

- We are headed back to Montreal for our now annual Christmas in Canada, and we all couldn't be more excited. Not because even though it's not technically legal yet, you can now purchase weed at eight stores in Montreal, but that is pretty cool.

- Finally, this will probably be the last post of 2016, so I want to wish all of our dear readers Happy Holidays. If you exchange gifts, I recommend experiences over plastic garbage. If you have to spend time with family, cut that promised trip in half and add the saved time to another visit later in the year. And while enjoying your friends and family, I recommend the perennial favorite Nick Offerman's Yule Log, as well as the new for 2016, countdown to the new year with more Nick Offerman sitting peacefully drinking whisky. Cheers.

Posted 2:10pm
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December 6th, 2016

Happy Birthday!

tbaggervance.com is 12 years old today. Like most precocious pre-teens, it's probably going to spend the next year telling you how it is right and you are wrong - with your stupid, outmoded, misogynist, bigoted opinions that are ruining this country - and how we can only move forward when you decide to lay down and die.

Of course righteous indignation isn't foreign to me, and many people who know me casually would claim it's my default position if not stock in trade. That's not wholly untrue, but I can only tell you that I'd rather not walk around like that. Unfortunately I feel like I have to when so many people are trying to destroy civility, equality and the triumph of facts and reason.

So gird your loins everyone. The rancor will be thick. We will do our best to at least offer positive steps and solutions to beating back the assault on our civil liberties, but we're twelve, and parents among you will know how that goes.

Here's a happy birthday gif (pronounced appropriately like gift) that I was saving for some special happy occasion. This might be as close as we get for awhile.

Posted 10:17am
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November 22nd , 2016

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

- We are the champions! Well, I am the champion! I've been trying to win a Sporcle Live trivia tournament for a year and a half now. My failure for the last year of that has been not being able to actually show up for the final week and secure victory. Last night I finally got to completion. I also managed to do it playing completely by myself for the entire three month run of the tournament, so double achievement unlocked. Of course my family is going to be in town for the state-wide tournament, so that goal gets kicked down the road. Again.

- Hey guys! Twitter is still a fun thing. I promise! There's no hate in my timeline, probably because it's too advanced a social medium for the people of Ohio I grew up with. Last night I got a nice congrats for winning the aforementioned Sporcle tournament:

And you also get to see cool things like this:

Which you should totally go try right now.

- Having fun things to look forward to and anticipate is good mental health advice in the best of times, and when things aren't so hot because your country is about to be led by racists and misogynists, well the distraction aspect ups the value of these 'fun things' to necessary. That's why we are going to see Wicked tomorrow, Hamilton in two weeks and are frantically trying to plan a trip to Montreal over winter break. Go see some theater. Take a mini-vacation. Get tickets to something fun. We have to fight and be vigilant, but we still can have a little fun now and then.

- Speaking of distractions, I want to express my profound thanks to everyone involved with the show Parks and Recreation. I binged the entire series (again) in the week post-election and it not only helped me laugh again but it was the perfect antidote to real life: good people who care coming together, trying to make good government work. Did I say antidote? Maybe I meant blueprint.

- Finally, it's Michigan/Ohio State week. The older I get, the more I become like my dad and gain the ability to take things like losing a football game in stride. This should be seen as a good thing. However, this maturity applies in no way when playing Ohio, and sure as shit doesn't occupy any space in my brain this Saturday. Needless to say it's a big game. Winning would level the playing field between the two schools on the grid iron (Ohio still isn't in the same conversation academically or overall) and this is important to me. My expectations are measured with a backup QB, but this is Michigan/Ohio. I believe in our advantage in the trenches and that it will rule the day. I don't really have any other choice. Hail.

Posted 10:49am
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November 18th, 2016

Rise Up.

I've taken a fair amount of shit over my position on Trump voters in the last week and a half. My reaction to any of the criticisms is 'meh.' If your reaction to Steve Bannon and using the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as precedent for roundin' up them Muslims is "we need to reach out and work with these people" that's your right. I hope you succeed in changing hearts and minds. But I feel justified in saying 'fuck those guys' because they tacitly endorsed misogyny and racism.

That's not to say I'm going completely negative. I'm not fleeing to Canada and giving up (although mostly because I want to go to French Canada and I'm not yet fluent enough to get in. Yet.) I'm still wrapping my head around what is the best use of my time to help out, but I've decided where my money is going.

- I've set up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, because the PEOTUS has bragged about sexual assault and his Veep passed the country's most restrictive anti-abortion laws.

- I've set up a monthly donation to The Trevor Project, because I can only imagine the fear LGBTQ youths in rural areas must be feeling right now.

- I've set up a monthly donation to the NAACP, because the chief strategist of the new White House is a White Nationalist, the PEOTUS has made unabashedly racist statements and hate crimes were up 6.8% last year.

- And I've set up a monthly donation to the ACLU for everything else. I've been a member for over 10 years because their mandate is to defend the civil liberties of all Americans, and Trump just nominated a racist for Attorney General.

I'm not a rich guy, and my donations on their own won't fix anything. But I believe in strength in numbers, and together we are mighty. Let's remind that cheeto dusted, tiny handed bigot that he lost the popular vote by over 1 million.

- I also donated to Foster Campbell. He's in a runoff in a couple weeks in Louisiana and a win would keep the senate 51-49. Read about the hows and whys here and then chip in if you can.

Posted 9:01am
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November 17th, 2016

Fuck Donald Trump.

And fuck everyone who voted for him.

Posted 4:13pm
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November 14th, 2016

All the feels.

I vacillate wildly from anger to sadness these days. I wish I could stop reading about and engaging with the world, but that'd be irresponsible even if I were capable.

Watching a lot of Parks and Rec helps. It's a mindless, funny distraction with a side of nice people working towards good government.

In real life, our President-elect just appointed a racist and misogynist to help him run the country. I have no idea how anyone justifies this as remotely OK.

That's why I consider every person who voted for Trump to be a racist and misogynist. You asked to be led by one, so you're at least willing to look the other way, which implicates you in my book.

This is beating a dead horse, as I've been saying it for months. And I sincerely hope it applies to no one reading this. I have no delusions about my scope of influence or how many readers I have, but I'm so fucking goddamn angry at people's lack of empathy and their short sided solipsism that I need to say it again.

If you voted for Trump, you're a racist and a misogynist. I want nothing to do with you ever again. Don't call. Don't write. I have no need to dress you down should we meet in public, because I'm done arguing with simpletons whose only motivations are their own self interests and hatred of people who are slightly different then their cohort.

Plus, I'm going to be very busy spending my money and wielding whatever influence I have to beat back your hatred, because you are the worst. Toodles.

Posted 4:13pm
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November 11th, 2016

Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer... dead. Leonard Cohen...

As if I wasn't spontaneously crying enough the last couple of days...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen once referred to himself as a "closet optimist." I think that's why I loved him. The world is a terrible place and you should acknowledge that and even scream about it, as long as you secretly believe deep down it'll get better. Doing that without Leonard around is going to be harder, but he would want you to keep your secret desire.

Posted 2:20pm
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November 9th, 2016

I'm sorry.

I am hurt. I am angry. I am disappointed, disheartened and worried. Both of my parents are dead. This feels like that, the world will be forever harder. I've been through my share of significant breakups. I know the feeling of now what? that sits in your belly full of dread. It's an aimless, meandering panoply of emotions with no place to put them.

Most of all I'm sorry. I want to apologize to the world and everyone in this country who just got fucked. I'm not sure what actions I could have taken to prevent this, but it definitely feels like my fault. I'm a white guy over 40, it's certainly my demographic that did this. For that I am sorry and ashamed.

Of course yesterday I made a big speech imagining what it would be like to have to stand up when it counted. I don't know what standing up now entails, but I'm a feckless asshole if I don't figure it out and make good on my rhetoric. I guess that's where I'm at? Every other time I've felt like this I found a way to keep moving forward. It's hard, but it's all there is.

Posted 10:49am
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November 8th, 2016

Washington. Lincoln. Roosevelt. tbaggervance.

The last 40 years have been a pretty great time to be an American. I personally subscribe to the theory that all things considered, society advances and we are more free and better off that those that came before us, so anyone in their own time can make that claim. With that maxim in mind, and noting that not everything's perfect (by far), we've got it pretty good - thanks to everyone who came before us and worked to make it that way.

My lifetime also has its big "where were you when" moment with 9/11. It could be argued that its the defining moment of a generation, an era. It certainly changed all of our lives. But outside of bloating the government, making airports more unbearable and letting racism be overt and tolerated, it wasn't a call to action. Not for me anyway. I don't want to callously say that terrorism isn't a threat to this country, but I didn't feel that my inaction of not joining a branch of the armed services meant that I hastened our countries rapid descent from being a shining city on a hill.

I've thought about those moments in history a lot lately, largely because of my obsession with Hamilton. What would I have done during the American Revolution or in the years immediately after? What about being 25 in the 1860s? The 1960s? World War II? It's an impossible hypothetical wherein you work backwards to try and justify to yourself that you would have done the "right" thing. To have been part of a historical movement that changed things for the better.

You can probably see where I'm going with this. I'm not remotely arguing that voting for Hillary puts anyone in league with those at the battle of Yorktown or Selma, but for everyone voting today to ensure that Donald Trump never holds public office, yes, you've saved the Republic. Not that we couldn't have done it post hoc had things gone tits up, but doesn't it speak to how lucky we are to be alive right now that we did it without taking up arms? Land of the free and home of the brave indeed.

- Also, here's a youtube playlist I made for you to stream in between results coming in. I promise it's better than a thrill running up Chris Matthews' leg.

Posted 8:54am
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November 2nd, 2016

Guilt by association

"You're known by the company you keep" is something my mother used to say to try and keep me from hanging around kids who had divorced or permissive parents.

When I was a 19 year old deer-in-the-headlights father, my infant son's maternal grandfather told me to cut my hair, lose the earring and dress like an "adult."

I spent a lot of time telling the both of them to fuck right off.

Now that I'm much older, I see their point. I still don't agree at all with their conclusions about my choices, but who you associate with and how you present yourself says a lot about you.

I was wrong about a lot of stuff back then, don't get me wrong. I used language and rhetoric that I now am deeply ashamed of. It's all stuff easily attributed to youth and society at the time, but I can still wince about it, because some of it I knew was wrong as I participated in it, and the rest I could have seen had I sat down and considered it for five minutes.

I eventually got it right. Most of it anyway. I'm still evolving as we all are. I personally like to get there as quickly as possible, for what I think should be obvious reasons to everyone. They clearly are not.

I think the choice you make next Tuesday says a lot about you. You can justify it however you want, but standing with misogyny and racism means you get painted with the same brush, and the best case scenario is years from now you'll feel shame for not sitting down and considering that for five minutes. Or don't. I'm 41 years old and still walk around with the same ridiculous haircut I had when I was 19, maybe I'm the idiot. Just not one who brags about sexual assault.

Posted 11:32am
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October 27th , 2016

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

- I love a good boycott. I hate having to keep a list of places in my head that I shouldn't patronize because of their views on this or that, but even if the evidence that they accomplish anything is specious, doing the right thing is its own reward. Even when it's giving up something delicious like Chick-fil-a. When it's something I didn't care for in the first place, like Wal-Mart or Yuengling or someone I know who says Hillary's only success in her life is because of her husband, well good riddance to bad rubbish. Just remember, cutting people out of your life for supporting Trump doesn't just mean individuals. Corporations are people too.

- Election years are rife with lefty protest songs, and 2016 is no different. I personally enjoy both Ted Leo and Aimee Mann's anti-Trump screeds, but don't forget to peruse all of the 30 days, 30 songs project.

- And if you're a lefty activist who can't sing, well then it's your sworn duty to make a get out the vote PSA. Just ask Ben Affleck, Joss Whedon et al , DiCaprio et al, Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Robert Rodriguez, and the CAST OF HAMILTON! Of course that's for us leftys. If you find yourself in a party that rampantly trades in voter suppression, well fuck you. You disgust me.

- Will Ferrell is on an impression nostalgia tour (apparently), using current events to trot out old chestnuts like George W. Bush and Harry Caray. He's still got it.

- Finally, before we exorcise the demons of this seemingly endless election season, we first must purge ourselves of the monkey that is the Michigan State Spartans. Ok, probably an improper use of the collective "we", but I'm going to East Lansing tomorrow to watch a year of collective frustration be unleashed by the Wolverines on a hapless Sparty. It should be more of a foregone conclusion than November 8th. I won't tell you which massive upset would probably hurt more, because it's pointless to talk about things that will never, ever happen. Right?

Posted 10:49am
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October 19th , 2016

O Cananada!

Raise your hand if you are suffering from election fatigue! Me too, and I live for this shit. I've spent far too much time thinking and saying out loud "Ugh. Fuck this country." It's not that we didn't know that racism and misogyny and anti-intellectualism are imbedded into everything we do*, but to have it being openly celebrated by such a large faction of people is disheartening to say the least.

Of course those ideals are setting themselves up for a landslide defeat, but as we've said here before, damage has been done. Hillary could win 40 states, and there will still be a Trump News Network in 2017 and Alex Jones will take the Glen Beck spot for the next 18 months. After we win, there's the aftermath, and that looks like Fox News without their thin veneer of "fair and balanced". Ugh.

But a win is a win even if it's in a fight you never should have been in in the first place. And we're still America. Like (most) every other time before, our diversity and striving to be the better versions of ourselves should rule the day. If you want to be reminded of how good we can be, our neighbors to the North are here with a kind word. Canadians may very well be the better versions of ourselves, and this site makes a great case for it, by reminding us what we're capable of.

*Admittedly, I forget this, or at least how pervasive it is. My little enclave insulates me from the ugliness to a large extent.

Posted 11:28am
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October 7th , 2016

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

- Cumberbitches! Wanna know why they cast Mssr. Benedict as Dr. Strange? This is why.

- Vaping is douchey. Yes, I know this. Despite outstanding circumstances, I can still have fun poking at its inherent ridiculousness. Listeners to My Brother My Brother and Me will be happy to see that Which One Vapes? hath become extant reality. Non-listeners can also laugh along playing.

- Hamilton news! Lin-Manuel is hosting SNL tomorrow, and to promote, he returns to Jimmy Fallon's Wheel of Freestyle. It'll put a tingle in your bottom.

- Speaking of Hamilton, the BDGF's littlest gets her xmas present (or rather notification thereof) this weekend.

Why this weekend? Well...

- We're going to Boston! One of my favorite people in the whole wide world has found herself a beau and is getting married this weekend. We figured we could surprise the littlest while viewing some revolutionary heritage, and give her something to talk about to boring adults all weekend. But most importantly, we get to spend time with some of our best friends and celebrate something we are all very excited about. L'chaim!

Posted 10:49am
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September 30th , 2016

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

- The tightness in the chest, the feelings of helplessness and generalized anxiety dissipated for us as a nation after Monday's debate, as Trump quickly descended into the incompetent blowhard that he can't help himself from being, even for 90 minutes. I mean, constant vigilance and all that for SURE, but personally, I feel like I can exhale after a turbulent September (which as Paul Krugman noted, was largely a whore-ish media's fault.) So ready for levity? Have fun crawling down the rabbit hole of Peter Serfinowicz's Sassy Trump collection. And for a bonus, note that Peter was the voice of Darth Maul in that one Star Wars prequel that was at least better than the other two.

- Hamilton news! Firstly, Lin-Manuel Miranda is hosting SNL next Saturday! You can also watch all of the trailers and teasers for "Hamilton's America," a PBS documentary premiering October 21 here. To tie things into innocuous thing #1, you can also watch Lin sing Trump Tweets. Although be warned, he really looks like Ralph Macchio in the top picture on that page.

- I remember back when The Da Vinci Code was a thing dozens of people derided my derision of that trash "literature" because they said it got them reading and/or closer to their faith. I'd love to see the numbers on any of those idiots' reading habits and/or church going prowess even six months later, much less now. So speaking of Hamilton, we've been trying to expose the BDGF's littlest to more and more theater so that we can maintain the cultural momentum we've established. AND YOU can go HERE to see which Shakespeare play is the best fit for you and your mood! Eventually, you should both read and see all of them. For reals.

- Politics! Music! Culture! This new Norah Jones track has it all. Or as I wrote when I first listened to it: "Sonically, it's a theme song to a 1960s spy TV show, with an appropriately Saul Bass-ian lyric video. Plus it's got a political message I like to boot!" I may have been high.

- Finally, last week was the start of Big Ten football, and Michigan won big. The BDGF and I had tickets to see Nada Surf afterwards, so I was stayed relatively sober post-game. I instead drank my second Red Bull of the day, which made me feel like this all the way to Ferndale:

Tomorrow's game is actually important, so I can't stop thinking about my dad and how much I'd love to talk to him about all of it. But it's not morose. Ok it's a little sad, but I guarantee I'll only feel like the above gif after we win. I'm saving the tears for when we beat Ohio.

Posted 2:21pm
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September 21st , 2016

Don't be the reason we can't have nice things.

I'm in the last couple of days of my 41st year on this planet. I've worked hard. I've sacrificed. I've suffered. Less than some, more than others. I'm not complaining. Your story has the same pitfalls and earned triumphs, but this is my little corner of the internet. We are here to talk about me.

I am a college educated, upper middle class, white guy. I am decidedly middle aged. This is supposed to be the section of my life where I am rewarded for being all of the above. The hard work and sacrifice are going to start paying off any day now, right?

I mean, I'm against all of the privilege and entitlement stuff, but haven't I done enough to earn a second of goddamn respite from an orange, racist, misogynist jizz trumpet for a year and a goddamn half? I've spent hours defending this stupid goddamn country to Canadians who were pointing and laughing while I, with an ever increasing sheepishness, sit there and say "we'll get it right in the end."

Let me be clear - I still think we will. But some damage is done. We find ourselves in this position because Republicans sat on their hands or gleefully promoted bigotry and ignorance for 20+ years, and now the best case scenario is that Trump and Ailes lose fantastically but go on to start a new cable news channel whose advertisers will be Klan laundry services and mobility scooters for seniors. This election has broken my brain and now we have to live in a world where Fox News isn't conservative enough.

So thanks, everyone supporting Trump. I assume you're tired of hiding your old timey racism, because I can't in my infinite wisdom conjure an honest answer as to why anyone would ever vote for this cheeto skinned joke of a plantation owner, other than you are scared of Muslims and/or want to watch the world burn.

So watch this video and heed its call to action. Watch this video and force anyone who thinks Trump should lead this country to do the same (Clockwork Orange style if you must.) Because for the love of Jesus tap dancing Christ, the only way the last 18 months can be justified are if that bloviating sack of leaking diarrhea gets his ass kicked AND the Democrats at least take the Senate. I'm an adult. Please stand with me and tell the fucking petulant children that play time is over. We have earned it.

Posted 1:55pm
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September 9th , 2016

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

- Listen! More American Football. New Sting, Wilco and Ted Leo. And while I will always be a Van Halen apologist, rendering my objective opinion on them moot, this version of a Sammy Hagar era classic is super cool. Van Halen may have little in common with what I listen to today, but it's comforting that it translates.

- Hamilton news! Here's Daveed Diggs band clipping performing some new music on James Cordon. Renee Elise Goldsberry performs a song cut from the musical. For the super fans, try and place these ten Yos from the soundtrack. I got 10 out of 10.

- I've been buoyed as of late by talking to the few people that I respect and thought could possibly vote for Trump or sit it out, because they've all pledged their vote to Hillary in order to utterly reject everything that Trump embodies and stands for. Talk about a whew. I don't get paying much attention to a politician's likeability, but I also get that people don't like Hillary. I invite anyone who feels that way even a little (myself included) to read this. It unsurprisingly brought a tear to my eye.

- The NFL is back, which puts us at peak football for the next four months. Rejoice! Or don't give a shit. If you're the latter, you'll probably still want to watch St. Vincent shred the national anthem.

- Finally, there's a new twitter account for you to follow! @wearesogoodat is the official twitter feed of the We Are So Good at Football podcast. Obviously many of you reading this couldn't give two shits about my best friend and I bloviating about gambling on college football, but I consider it a personal favor if you follow and then mute us. Same goes for downloading the podcast and then not listening to it. Hand jobs for anyone who leaves us a positive review on iTunes!

Posted 11:35am
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August 31st, 2016

Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer... dead. Wilder...

Like everyone else, when I was a kid I wanted to be Han Solo. As an adult, I've always wanted to be Willy Wonka. No other performance in the history of cinema so captured my imagination. It rightly exists in rarified air. He's beyond genius as the Waco Kid and Young Dr. Frankenstein and Leo Bloom, but damn, Willy Wonka... What else is there to say? Thanks Gene. So shines a good deed in a weary world.

Posted 10:52am
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August 26th , 2016

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

- There's a lot of new music coming out this fall to be excited about, Wilco, Beck, Signals Midwest, American Football (?!?)- but perhaps the most exciting is the new Hamilton Leithauser/Rostam project I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. I loved Hamilton's last album Black Hours, but this sounds like it has a quicker pace to it. I can only dirge for so long. Check out "1,000 Times", "In a Black Out" and "When the Truth Is..."

- Preparations for Fortress Party 2016 have begun! For those unfamiliar, in short, for one night every December a friend turns his entire (very large) house into a blanket fort, with themed rooms and interactive experiences. This is my second year on the "planning committee" and it's a joy to get together with nerds and be creative and build stuff that otherwise has no reason to exist. My NDA prohibits me from mentioning anything approaching specifics, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about juxtapositions and mash ups, so here's some famous album covers with Star Wars characters inserted into them.

- Werner Herzog: pendulous brass balls.

- It's been less than a month since I was in Montreal, but I already miss it. The only drawback to the place is that it's just far enough away that I can't runaway there for a weekend. If I could switch the locations of Toronto and Montreal, my life would be measurably better. Alas, until I become a millionaire or we get a Detroit to Montreal hyperloop, it'll just be a constant anticipation of return. Here's a map of the Metro in Montreal that lists all the closest bars to every stop - for when I'm living there and you come and visit me.

- Finally, we sit on the precipice of another college football season. Over the next week I will experience all of the feels that someone as emotionally stunted as myself is capable of. There's a weird dichotomy in the fact that football season is simultaneously exciting and calming for me. Trying to find insight as to how things are going to unfold while anticipating the abject fun that the whole experience is is thrilling. The continuity and familiarity are soothing. It makes me miss my dad, but only in the fondest of ways. It fills me with hope, almost inevitably anger and sadness, and ultimately contentment. Every year I try and write about this and ultimately fail, because it is, as I said, all the feels. To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman, that's all I want from everything all the time.

Posted 4:02pm
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August 19th , 2016

Denouement

For the record: it was as bad if not worse that I had imagined. The heat melted my brain. Everything is designed for 5-8 year olds - even though it's not well-designed (seriously, learn about traffic flow you pricks). I got bumped into so many times that I twice woke up in the middle of the night to have a panic attack. The food is terrible, but the booze slightly better than expected. That and the Star Tours and the Indiana Jones show were kind of neat. Otherwise, it was a hellscape of Biblical proportions.

I still love my in-laws, but that "vacation" took a part of me that I'll never get back. That sounds dramatic, but I honestly believe it. I avoided that place successfully for so long that the fact that I eventually succumbed chipped a piece of my soul away. I'll be fine, but I'll never be truly 100% "over it". Good news is that it's behind me, I never have to do it again under any circumstance and I have an extra callous to say no to anyone for anything they ever ask me for ever again and not feel a shred of guilt. I'll let you know how that goes.

Posted 4:16pm
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August 9th , 2016

The most miserable place on earth

Tomorrow I am flying to Florida to spend 5 days at Disney with all of my in-laws. This is troubling and problematic for two distinct reasons: a) because I personally loathe the Disney brand and its sanitized bullshit and b) my personal melanin levels demand that I never set foot in the state of Florida, much less to ever do so in the month of August.

Nevertheless, I am about to be held in a prison of my in-laws and Walt Disney's making for 5 straight days. My coping strategy will mainly consist of staying indoors as much as possible while upping my normal BAC by a minimum of .05% at all hours of the day. I will also be playing the following on a loop through my headphones:

  I kept telling myself for the last year that at some point everyone would realize what an asinine idea this is and I would be granted a reprieve, but as I sit on the precipice I am finally coming to terms with the fact that there will be no call from the governor. May God have mercy on my soul.

Posted 8:55am
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August 5th , 2016

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

- Montreal! We are back from our fifth trip to Montreal in a year, and still very much in the honeymoon phase with French Cananada. Donald Trump or no, emigrating sounds like a grand idea. The French thing will probably be a bridge too far (convincing an employer that I am uniquely qualified to do a job there will be tough when my French is tres merde) but you never know. I'm still pushing to buy an apartment there, rent it to a student for nine months a year and then have a summer place in Quebec! I am unconvinced it is not the perfect crime.

- My favorite part of Montreal in July is the Just For Laughs Festival. This year we saw the following comedians either perform or just hanging out in the streets of the Place des Arts:

Judd Apatow
Blake Griffin
Nick Kroll
Julia Louie Dreyfus
Tony Hale
Frank Rich
Timothy Simons
John Mulaney
Nick Thune
Eugene Mirman
Maria Bamford
Joe Mande
Greg Proops
Andy Kindler
Todd Barry
Tom Green
Russell Peters
Louis Black
JB Smoove
Ralphie May
The Sklar Brothers
Cameron Esposito
Steve Rannazzisi

And probably others I'm forgetting. It's super fun. You should come stay at our new condo (pending) next year and attend.

- Oh yeah, we also saw Radiohead and Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, because there are always several festivals going on in Montreal. Twice a week there were even fireworks! Like, the coolest fireworks shows I've ever seen. I mean, what do you want from a view other than this?

- Honestly, I haven't had time to peruse the list in a significant way, but you bet your juicy ass that I'm going to go through Edgar Wright's 1,000 favorite movies and watch anything that I haven't seen yet. I put the over/under of the impending to do list at an even 100.

- Finally, I was watching the DNC last week and just reveling in the pageantry and how great it felt to be aligned with that party and platform amidst what I had seen the week previous. I watched the Khizr Kahn speech live, jaw agape, astounded at the disparity between him and literally anyone who spoke at the RNC. The fact that history may see his stirring speech as the breaking point of a petty tyrant's bid to scare us into voting for an unqualified failure warms the cockles of my heart and honestly buoys my hopes that we might make it after all.

Posted 11:54am
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July 15th , 2016

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

- I'm a little over half way through my bachelor's fortnight (aka Cartoon Levels of Debauchery) and it is going swimmingly. Things are being spruced up around the house daily, before I head round to the pub, usually for a pint and a quiz. Take yesterday, where my friend Boike and I demolished the competition at Geeks Who Drink and I finally finished restoring this lounger:

- St. Vincent covered the theme song to The Golden Girls. It sounds as weird as the previous sentence. Or as weird as that one time Quentin Tarantino played Elvis on an episode of The Golden Girls.

- The AV Club lists the 50 Best Comedies since the century turned. You can obviously nitpick placement and omissions, but since it includes all four Edgar Wright movies, including two in the top ten, you can't say it's ill considered.

- It's suppose it's not surprising that a Broadway musical would make me emotional, but just by thinking about it? Six months after first hearing about it and being obsessive about it the entire time? Lin-Manuel Miranda (or as the BDGF recently flummoxed, "Lin-Manuel Noriega") left Hamilton this week, and I kind of can't believe I missed him in the role. Sucks not to be super rich I guess, but at least I'll still get to see it.

- Finally, my only begotten son turns 21 tomorrow. It's a much bigger milestone for him than me, but the world should take note that half of my replicated DNA is now street legal. Him being 21 also means that our relationship at the moment is a question mark, but someday I look forward to (legally) sharing a quiet drink with him. And then several loud ones. And then a quiet one again.

Posted 10:10am
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July 8th , 2016

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

- I live about 5 miles from work, which admittedly is a short commute, but I rarely make it off my street before I find myself yelling at some idiot and calling them a fuck trumpet from the comfort of the driver's seat. Recently however, we purchased another scooter, allowing me take one to work on days where rain isn't in the forecast. It's been game changing for my overall mood. I think it's mainly because instead of getting frustrated at everyone who doesn't understand the rules of the road, I'm forced to be content riding in the right lane and barely keeping up with the flow. Instead of trying to minimize my travel time, I'm just enjoying the outdoors. Now if we could just get some decent public transportation, I can be not angry the other three seasons of the year.

- I'm perhaps weirdly nostalgic for the Saturdays of yore when I would lay on the couch all afternoon, hungover, flipping through the dial and mindlessly watching whatever dreck I could find to pass the hours until it was time to go out and drink some more. My buddy Stov and I often partook in this ritual together, ordering copious amounts of bad pizza and otherwise trying to move as little as possible. During these salon-esque meetings, we would always eagerly anticipate a block of old episodes of "Match Game" on the Game Show Network. If you've never had the privilege, you can probably turn your TV on right now and see some in all of its drunken, 1970s glory. OR, you can turn in to ABC on Sunday nights and see the excellent revival, starring Alec Baldwin, Rosey O'Donnell, Tituss Burgess and a cavalcade of stars. Finally, a version of Match Game I can _______ to.

- Obligatory Hamilton update: here's a neat mashup of Hamilton with some Irish dancing, and check out the final #Ham4Ham featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, who's final titular performance is tomorrow.

- Road trip! Since the BDGF is out gallivanting the globe I figured the least I could do was go two states to the left. Turns out two of my favorite bands are playing a free street fest in the Windy City Sunday, so I am Chicago bound. It's the Cloud Nothings, Craig Finn, AirBnB and me. Half a dozen breweries, several pizza joints and a few questionable decisions are sure to make an appearance as well.

- Finally, this was a recent gift from my mother-in-common-law:

Turns out to be the perfect project for while the BDGF is out of the country. I am thankful for the "build your own six pack" paradigm that has invaded A2 grocery stores.

Posted 9:07am
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July 5th , 2016

Cartoon Levels of Debauchery

Tomorrow the BDGF leaves for her month long escapade in Montreal. I'll be joining her for the end of July, but the two and half weeks in between have been adorably dubbed Cartoon Levels of Debauchery.

Of course now that I'm 40, that mostly means I'll be watching movies by myself in the backyard while trying to find someone to text with, but there will be copious amounts of alcohol involved.

And let's be honest, I'll spend most of my free time working on projects around the house. I've got furniture to refinish, things to paint, improvements to be made, maintenance to perform.

These are all well worn tropes of my behavior while the BDGF is away, and it's not all that different from when she's around. The difference is it'll just be me. For over two weeks. As mild as that may be for an old man like me, you come to appreciate the peace and quiet. I mean, my peace and quiet involves blaring Radiohead at all hours of the day and night, but it's peace and quiet nonetheless.

Posted 10:35am
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June 29th , 2016

Empowerment

Most of the time, when a weasely middle manager tells me that he wants to "empower" me, he usually means that I should feel free to play with his balls while he fucks me, so it'll be over more quickly.  But sometimes, he means to go ahead and jack myself off while he fucks me, and that's a good day. Someday I may get a reach around, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted 11:50am
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June 24th , 2016

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

- Last night I sent this tweet to the BDGF which led to a ton of replication experiments, including a replication video:

 

Science!

- How much Hamilton content is contained in the rest of this post? One item is 100% Hamilton, the other two I managed to shoe horn some in there, so no worries.

- Shhh! Don't tell the littlest but we have three tickets to see Hamilton in Chicago this December. I have no idea how I will contain my excitement or keep the secret for six months, but when it goes down we may all spontaneously combust from excitement.

- For friend of the blog Dr. Walker, here's Michael Shannon being adorable lip syncing to REM and The Pixies. Plus, Emmy campaigns are getting interesting: here's Bruce Campbell being very Brucey, and Titus Andromedon auditions for Hamilton.

- Finally, I (obv.) recently purchased this T-shirt, and post Brexit, it has a dual meeting. You're on your own...

I'm 100% certain that this will cost me a ton of money from my retirement account, and it makes me fearful for November, because hubris and xenophobia clearly carried the day here. But hey, at least the UKIP immediately backtracked on their immigration and NHS policies, so you got what out of this? Thanks. Still a great T-shirt tho...

Posted 10:44am
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June 14th , 2016

Tuesdays are for politickin': The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Edition

The Good
Not only is Cananada legalizing weed, but they're doing it for super conservative reasons while being adorable with babies! The fact that the GOP nominated Trump makes me want to move there immediately.

In better news stateside, the courts upheld net neutrality! It may seem small, but I assure you that those who understand these things let out a collective "Whew!"

The Bad
I know this may not be surprising, but the only reason climate change denial exists turns out is because the coal industry spent an avalanche of money to ensure it did. I rarely think about former commentor around these parts ljv, but occasionally I shake my head, laugh a little laugh and think "What an idiot." I'll never understand being afraid of people smarter than you.

The Ugly
The right and their standard bearer are using the tragedy in Orlando to continue to try and make you scared of Muslims. They do this because people are stupid and if they tried to address something, say like assault rifles, their bosses would take away their precious money.

I don't agree with Democrats about everything by a long stretch. But how anyone would align themselves with the GOP is literally beyond me. Watch this and (naturally) this and then wonder what kind of person, so lacking in empathy, sides with a racist who self congratulates in the wake of a tragedy.

Posted 3:29pm
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June 10th , 2016

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

- As a super lefty progressive, my dream running mate for Hillary would of course be Elizabeth Warren. I know this is almost 30 minutes long, but watch this speech. It's really too bad she couldn't drop the mic at the end. Think about it, what would be more appropriate than a misogynist getting his ass handed to him by a pair of women who are his better in every conceivable way? #thinskinnedracistbully

- OK, maybe you don't have 30 minutes for Senator Warren. How about 10 for President Obama as he slow jams the news? There's even a joke about butt stuff!

- Obligatory Hamilton update: here's the cast performing "Wait For it" in 360 degrees. Yup, I can't wait for the Tonys.

- Wormer... dead. Niedermeyer.. .dead. Howe... Can a fortnight pass this year without a collective scream of "FUCK YOU 2016!" emanating from the internet? I met Gordie Howe once (which it makes me happy to have done and remember and why I can talk about it under this headline). He was retired. A living legend who went around signing books to generate money for this charity or that. He was 45 years older than me and if we had gotten in a fight, no one would have bet on me. He was of course modest and an utter gentleman. This NYTimes obit lays it all out. And of course, there's this...

- Finally, the summer blockbusters for the next few weeks suck butt. That's lamentable because I love popcorn movies, and doubly so because it's the one time I get to see Siddhartha. Of course what is amazing is that we still go see a lot of movies together. My dad and I had Michigan football, and Sid and I have movies. Getting him to do much else is pulling teeth (which I try not to do) but he's always game to see a Star War or super person run around and punch things. It's not everything I've ever wanted, but I get to regularly enjoy my kid as a person and an adult, which is pretty great.

Posted 3:53pm
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June 7th , 2016

This Week in Indie Rock

- If you aren't burned out on Prince and David Bowie covers yet, Spoon paid tribute recently, and it is appropriately Spoon-y and awesome.

- Since the blog has slowed to a crawl around here, you can absolutely expect every post in the near future to contain some Hamilton data in it, since that's what is occupying about 30% of my waking hours these days. I mean, I hover around 70% gay, but I've never watched the Tonys before. That changes this Sunday, so maybe I need to adjust that 70% number. In any case, for those of you as excited as I am, here's Lin-Manuel Miranda et al doing Carpool Karaoke with Tony's host James Cordon.

- Beck's Odelay turns 20 years old any day now, which makes me positively ancient. For me and the people I was hanging out with, it was the definitive album of our college experience. I doubt I went to a party for two years without hearing multiple tracks from the modern masterpiece. It's dated in ways, but so is Off the Wall, and you could play either at a party and people would dance their asses off. Anyway, Beck just dropped a new track, and it's the funky, fun loving Beck, and not the wistful acoustic one*, so rejoice!

* I still love both of these Becks, just not the Scientology one.

- Finally, Chuck Klosterman's latest tome comes out today. Years ago a few people said I both look and write like Klosterman - half of which is much more true than the other, and no offense to either of use, but not the half I would prefer. Anyway, here's an excerpt from But What If we're Wrong?, examining what the world will distill rock and roll to in 300 years. I think he too easily sloughs off the right answer (The Beatles) but it's a better read for doing so (something I constantly struggle with). Anyway, hopefully he still believes what he wrote in his first book that so endeared me to him: "But I can't deny my heart: I like to drink, and I like to rock. You think I'm an idiot? Fine. You don't have to come over."

Posted 11:21am
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June 1st , 2016

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

- Every year classic rock icon Eddie Money opens the outdoor concert season at Pine Knob here in Michigan. No one really knows why this is a thing, which is perhaps why my friend Stov and I have been obsessed with it for so long. As weird and hilarious as we find the premise, we've only ever gone to see the spectacle once. Outside of all the classic rock goodness, the most memorable aspect of the experience was how he wouldn't stop talking about how stupid American Idol was for not letting his daughter on the show. Like, he didn't just mention it in passing, he talked about it a lot. Throughout the show. I tell you this is as context for this story about what a huge asshole Mr. Money (allegedly) is. Just sayin' I'm buying it.

- Last night we went and saw Courtney Barnett in Detroit and Christ on a bike can she rock. Along with St. Vincent, she's one of my two favorite guitar players at the moment*. Anyway, here she is on SNL and Fallon.

* Is it weird to note that my two favorite guitar players are women? I mean, like I shouldn't have to make a thing about it because who cares but it still feels significant? Maybe I'm being overly sensitive? I mean, I would never say she rocks for a girl, so I'm OK, right?

- I'm going back to school!

- If you're not watching Silicon Valley, well listen, it's season three so that's on you. Catch up. While I agree with most people that a little TJ Miller goes a long way, this super long take of him hurling elderly insults is pretty fucking great.

- Finally, we were in FLA last weekend to celebrate friend o' the blog Markie C's 4 decades on Earth. It was a great weekend save for one heart breaking fact - we couldn't get him on board with Hamilton. I should have known when he said he hadn't heard it yet, but I figured once he did, he'd find it as irresistible as the rest of us. It didn't go that way. Instead he insisted that we will all be embarrassed by it in 5 years, like it's Cats or Rent. I could craft a cogent argument as to why that's not going to be the case, but you know what? Fuck it. I really don't care if I'll be ashamed someday about being obsessed with a musical for 9 months of my life. Sure Dawson's Creek doesn't hold up, but I still love that I loved it 20 years ago. And people can make fun of Van Halen all they want, but those first half dozen albums are still amazing to me. I bet that someday I'll be taking my grandkids to go see a revival of Hamilton so that they can fall in love with it too, but if for whatever reason it doesn't hold up, I'm still enjoying the shit out of it now. Here's the Rolling Stone interview with my current man crush Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Posted 11:42am
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May 13th , 2016

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

- Obviously I am a huge fan of Bruce Willis' 1987 album The Return of Bruno. Whom among us isn't wistful for the old days where MTV had to give air time to stupid, objectively horrible celebrity vanity projects? Sure we still have the Bacon Brothers and Thirty Odd Foot of Grunt and whatever Billy Bob Thornton is up to, but do they get an hour long HBO special that glorifies their hubris? No. Only Bruce Willis gets that. You're welcome.

- Listen, we all want Elizabeth Warren to be Hillary's running mate. None more so than me, who has a long list of reservations about our future first female president (hint: she ain't that liberal). However, let me float this by you: Vice President Franken.

- Being privileged white people, Hamilton looms large in our house. Yesterday, I was telling the littlest how Lin-Manuel Miranda not only stars in the musical, but he wrote the score and the book and she immediately started to scream "THERE'S A BOOK?!?!" She settled down after I explained what book means in musical theater terms, but it was literally adorable beyond words. Anyway, here's Lin-Manuel and J.J. Abrams singing the cantina theme from the latest Star Wars. Call me guys, you'd love hanging out with me.

- There are only two movies on this list of the 80 best directed movies of all time that I've yet to see. Some day I'll carve out six hours, get me some of them eye holder openers from A Clockwork Orange and watch Gone with the Wind and Dr. Zhivago all in one painful swoop, and then I can finally rest.

- Finally, I'm just going to leave this here. Have a good weekend.

 

Posted 3:27pm
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May 5th , 2016

This fucking guy

Yesterday I reiterated the fact that I have no use for anyone who votes for Donald Trump in November. I'm going to be a broken record about this, if for no other reason than to reiterate exactly how serious I am.

The other point I am going to ham-fistedly beat to death around here is this: everything you read in the next six months has a vested interest in a "close race." The media needs Donald Trump and they need him to be competitive. Progressives like myself will bloviate about it because we can't afford apathy - even in the face of the most unelectable Oompa Loompa ever to stick his tiny hand into the race.

Hillary just released two ads about the Donald. They're exclusively built on what Trump has said and what his party has said about him. It's a prescient reminder as to how much of an empty suit we are dealing with. Even if Clinton botches campaign moments like in '08, or millennials stay home because she represents the old corporate paradigm, Trump is still gonna get beaten like a red-headed step child, all while every news source available to you is going to make it seem otherwise for as long as they can. I mean, that's how it'll play out or I'm fucking done with this country.

Posted 1:16pm
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May 4th , 2016

Never bet on the man with the most punchable face

So Ted Cruz finished second in a war of attrition. Thankfully that's as close as he'll ever get to being President, because for all the blustering about how awful Trump is, Ted Cruz was worse. Like, a lot worse.

So hooray! We avoided a theocracy! Again. It won't be the last time we have to go through this. It'll get worse before it gets better. But right now we have to turn our focus towards the other xenophobic, loud mouth, bigoted demagouge that people will actually have a chance to vote for in November. I'll be really interested to find out which Republicans I know still intend to vote for their party now that Trump is their nominee. Quitting facebook won't be enough to cut those hateful, gullible morons from my life.

- And while we are at it, climate change deniers can go fuck themselves too.

- Oh, and in happier news, may the fourth be with you.

Posted 10:57am
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April 28th , 2016

Assessing the fuck off

I'm of course still contemplating my decision to ditch the facebook. Yes, my major problem turned out to be that people in real life couldn't keep their mouths shut about the derp that is inherent online. Yes, I've only ultimately made it harder to see the derp, not eliminated my ability to see it at all if I am ultimately compelled. Most importantly perhaps, yes, I should stay and push back and call these xenophobic dickheads on their shit, because silence is consent.

Given all that, I still feel good about my decision. Moving across town to get away from toxic waste isn't as good as leaving the state, but it's still an improvement. And while telling people who want to boycott Target that they are small minded hateful bigots feels good, I'm still stuck ruminating for days on how upset ignorance makes me and lamenting the fact that I hate the place where I grew up with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

The GOP revels in the concept of "Real America". It longs for something that frankly, never existed. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and if this rhetoric doesn't upset you, well it'd take quite an argument to convince me you are not a real moron. Real or "normal" America doesn't mean what they think it does. I know that facts mean nothing to them, or are at least overridden by their guts, so for now, I'm going to bury the shit instead of continuing to dip a toe to see if the shit is still shit.

Posted 1:41pm
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April 26th , 2016

Na na, nana na na, hey hey hey, goodbye

Social media is generally really good at letting you be passive aggressive. Most platforms let you give an Irish goodbye to your friends via a block or an unfollow - and they don't even have to know it. You just don't have to be inundated with their bullshit in your feed or timeline anymore.

This has worked very well for me over the years. Out of the few hundred "friends" I had on facebook, there were really only a dozen or so that I actually followed. The rest could post all the inanities they liked and I was none the wiser. Except for the fact that approximately twice a year I'd get a "Did you see what so and so posted on facebook?" and then I'd be compelled to look and have my day ruined.

Turns out my brother-in-law is a real Grade A conservative asshole. A while back he lost his shit when gay marriage was legalized, and now he's having a conniption about all of the hateful, disgusting, transphobic bathroom laws being passed around the country. Apparently blocking him from my timeline hasn't far enough removed me from his toxicity, so I decided to just quit facebook.

It's a completely redundant platform anyway. Almost everything I see on it is duplicated on instagram or twitter. Since I think wishing someone happy birthday on there is bullshit anyway, I fail to see what I'm going to miss out on by abandoning ship. I mean, the ugly, hateful rhetoric that makes me want to punch someone I used to like, but I'm guessing I can live without that.

Posted 8:53am
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April 21st , 2016

Tales from the Buckeye State

One of the things you have to tell children these days is that everything on the internet lives forever. Not just that if you write a blog for ten years that you'll eventually be embarrassed by the quality of your writing from your youth, but that every picture, comment, review or tweet is going to exist long after your dead for anyone to find. Good times, and bad.

Adults need to remember the infinite nature of the internet's memory too. And when you helm a popular internet destination like tbaggervance.com, there's always a chance that something you post goes viral. Or at least gets co-opted by another website that even more people are likely to see. Take the website for the Put-in-Bay Jet Express, who has apparently co-opted a picture from our little abode to promote the debauchery that is Put-in-Bay.

Don't worry, the tbaggervance.com legal team is working on arranging appropriate compensation for the fact that a commercial entity is using our art to sell their services. Also, don't worry that I might at some point take down any embarrassing thing I've written or posted here. Everything on the internet lives forever. Remember that.

- I feel like I've been too nice to Ohio in this post. So to right the ship, let's all point and laugh at how many Limp Bizkit fans there still are in that godforsaken state. I hope they really can "make Dayton a kind of cool spot that we could all come to and rock out." Unfortunately, I've been there. I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted 9:30am
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April 12th , 2016

Watch out!

- Here's the 100 greatest action one-liners in film history. Recommended for when you are all out of bubblegum.

- Nick Offerman's shower thoughts. Like a 21st century Jack Handy.

- The plethora of things that even non-Nerds know about Star Wars despite the fact that they aren't mentioned in the movie may astound you.

- Dan Harmon's brilliant web series Great Minds visits with Billy Shakespeare.

- The Thermals rally for Bernie, play the Blind Pig next Thursday.

- Not sure why this is posted now, but here's a video of the differences in Scott Pilgrim, book to movie (GO!)

- Anyone with any taste will tell you that Mel Blanc was one of the great actors of the 20th century - even if you rarely saw his face. So relish this opportunity to see him crack up Jack Benny (about 12 minutes in).

Posted 2:17pm
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March 31st, 2016

Hell is other people.

People often mock research that tends to fit what common sense has already told us. Well you may not feel that way about this, but I sure as shit do. Everyone scoffs and laughs when I tell them what I want for a present is to be left alone. From now on I do so with a copy of this article.

Posted 10:35am
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March 23rd, 2016

Spot a penis, win $2500.

The state of Kansas is a tire fire. Don't believe me? Google Kansas Brownback and read half a million articles about how going full conservative in the state has left it reeling. It's not surprising, supply side/trickle down economic theories are so debunked that even the people who started the notion have disavowed them. It doesn't work. Brownback has called his governorship a "real live experiment", and the evidence all points to a massive failure.

So as they strip Kansas's education system to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, they've also decided to win a few points with the uneducated by offering $2500 to any student who spots a transgender student using the 'wrong' bathroom at a public school OR university. I'd like to think that anyone I know would be appalled and livid over something so obviously abhorrent, but in case you do exist, fuck you.

I get it if transgender rights aren't what get you out to the polls. I understand if you don't rush out to protest or send massive amounts of money to support people from being marginalized and segregated. But your vote for Trump and Cruz are explicit support for those ideals. They're not American. They sure as shit ain't Christian. But maybe it's what you stand for. If so, you are a wretched, horrible subhuman being. Your priorities are repugnant and I hope against hope that you don't have children, because god forbid you put the hatred that exists in your cold black heart into anyone else's worldview.

Posted 10:35am
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March 21st, 2016

Of course Ted Cruz looks like the guy from Stryper

It's one of those things that seems inevitable once revealed. They are both emblems of something so antiquated that it's amazing to any thinking person that they still exist. Not only that, they're the weird christian version of that thing that even the rank and file hate because they are an unlikable joke. Stryper and Ted Cruz - being pointed and laughed at for decades now. We all long for the day when we can forget about Cruz like we had forgotten about Stryper, until the next horrible thing comes along and we can recycle them as a punch line, because that's all either have ever really been good for. That and their stupid, punchable faces.

 

Posted 10:35am
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March 11th, 2016

This Week in Indie Rock

- Your bit of Friday afternoon pretension: George Saunders writes about Wilco in the New York Times. If you stay around long enough, mainstream becomes an inevitability. They also played a Tiny Desk concert.

- New tunes from Modern Baseball, a band doing it's best to keep my nineties self alive.

- Rolling Stone almost agrees with my 90s self , naming Nothing Feels Good as the third best emo album of all time. This is fine, because somehow the underdog coming in first wouldn't seem right.

- For those of you with an 80s version of yourself, here's Violent Femmes on Colbert.

- New music from Jeff Buckley, the Tupac of sensitive indie rock snobs.

- Jack White covered Stevie Wonder on the Muppets, because of course. This was a fait accompli.

- Finally, the original indie rocker Beethoven visits Dan Harmon's The Crossroads of History. I have a new appreciation for his Fifth.

Posted 9:52am
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March 8th, 2016

Vote*

*unless it's for Donald Drumpf.

It's primary day here in the Mitten. It's an important election if for no other reason than the SCOTUS judges that will likely be replaced by our next president. But you know this already.

Since I'm not catching you unawares, I'm also going to assume you won't be voting for the racist reality TV show star. Even for those of you that are Republican, I assume that if said megalomaniac gets the GOP nomination, you'll be sitting this one out. Or hopefully voting for Gary Johnson or whomever the Dems put up, just not that bigoted Oompa Loompa.

I can tell you this (not that it matters probably) but if you at any point cast a vote for someone who thinks all Mexicans are rapists, you are dead to me. Don't call, don't write, don't say hello to me in the street. You are an unserious toilet person whom society should shun. Since they likely won't, I will.

It's really the best for both of us. I won't be able to hide my disdain for your unscrupulous decision and you'll probably start urinating all over the place while shouting nonsensical gibberish, because you've clearly lost all regard for how society works. You don't need me to dress you down with words you can't comprehend, and I don't need to see you masturbate in public.

I am 100% serious about this. Now go practice democracy and save us from ourselves.

Posted 10:11am
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February 23rd, 2016

This Week in Indie Rock

- Are you a white male over the age of 35? If not, you can probably move on, since the demographic for Rush seems to exclusively be boring dads at this point. Since I am in that demo, here's a supercut of Rush rocking "Tom Sawyer" over the last 13 years. The River!

- Courtney Barnett rocks Colbert, plays the Majestic in Detroit on May 31st.

- The Flaming Lips have been covering lots and lots of David Bowie on tour - here's 9 Bowie tunes from their Aspen set.

- New Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - still the best backing band name of all time.

- New music from The Thermals - playing the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on April 21.

- New Nada Surf, currently not scheduled to play Michigan anytime soon :(

- Surprising no one, we just got back from another sojourn to the great white north, so here's a hip new Canadian band, Pet Sun.

- Finally, I've managed to curtail almost all of collecting/hoarding tendencies down to things in the digital realm (because they don't take up physical space) and vinyl. That one is not going away. While we already own a beautiful vintage jukebox, there's good news for the rest of you - jukeboxes will start to be manufactured again after a 20 year hiatus. Now you too can spend your Saturdays digging through boxes at dingy record stores around other sketchy obsessives to build your collection!

Posted 12:17pm
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February 10th, 2016

Should we, or should we not, follow the advice of the galactically stupid?!?

It is often said that no one is qualified to be President. Not going in anyway. It's too big a job and no one person can possibly have all of the pre-reqs prior to being on the job. Of course that's why you have a cabinet full of advisors who are experts in all of the areas that you can't possibly be expected to be an expert in.

The President is supposed to be the leader. The pragmatist who governs by reason. That's why I voted for Obama. I figured that after eight years of W going from a combination of his gut and Jesus and listening exclusively to his daddy's old poker buddies, it'd be a nice change. I'm happy with what I got.

Now that two lunatics have won the first two contests for the GOP nomination, it's time to consider our two frontrunners beyond even their xenophobic, misogynistic asshole rhetoric and look a little deeper. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty shallow.

Exhibit A: Ted Cruz, weasel faced dickbag with zero national security experience, has hired someone with a Ph.D. in Art History whose prior experience in national security is working on Donald Rumsfeld's book and advising Rick Perry on the same issues that she hasn't clue one about. Anyone, literally anyone, who casts a vote for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump next November can do me the favor of never speaking to me again - because you clearly are less capable of picking a candidate than Cruz is of picking a national security advisor.

Posted 2:43pm
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January 29th, 2016

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

- As my basement can attest, Star Wars merchandise is quite varied. My wallet will tell you that it's expensive, while some of my art projects will show you just how much fun you can have trying to recreate some of the Star Wars aesthetic on your own. I may not be as good as these guys, but I plan on standing on their shoulders: Build your own Rebel Pilot helmet! Build your own BB-8! And for the advanced amongst you, build your own real working lightsaber!

- I was raised to speak up when you see injustice in the world, lest you be complicit in it. So would I have had some choice words for Governor Snyder had I been at Old Town last night? You're goddamn right I would.

- As one would expect, my daily news feed is filled politics, indie rock, movies and various other entertainment and actual news sundries. Since falling in love with Montreal last summer, it is now also chockablock with all of those things strictly related to Montreal. Because guess what dum dums? We're going back in February! This time with the littlest in tow. I'm still scouting new breweries and restaurants to check out, because I have to find something to do when the girls go shopping.

- Trump may have skipped last night's debate in part because it fits his narrative and allows him to control the news cycle. Make no mistake about it however, it's also because he's a misogynist and bully. Here's a list of his twitter insults from the NYT. If you want this person to be president, or even think he'd make a good one, you're an idiot and an asshole too.

- Finally, this winter has been obscenely mild (he said, knocking on wood before February hits). I mean, I was in CANANADA on CHRISTMAS and left my coat at home. Yet, it's still not summer. Less things happen in the cold if for no other reason than people save their vacation days for things like the beach. However, now is the time people and entertainment entities start to plan for the thaw. So including our upcoming foray back to True North, there are friends coming into town, concerts to attend and various other plans to do fun things that require leaving the house, because if there's one thing you have to be to survive winter in Michigan, it's indefatigable - even if you're only planning your escape.

Posted 2:39pm
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January 13th, 2016

This Week in Indie Rock

- New music: Courtney Barnett.

- Old music: Jack White unearth's pre-White Stripes music.

- New album: The Thermals.

- New band: Washer.

- Old man, new cover: Willie Nelson sings "Imagine".

- Deceased Legend: David Bowie. Full disclosure, I've never truly taken the plunge down the Bowie rabbit hole. I feel like he's always been a part of my life, or at least the fabric of my universe and that his existence was a gigantically positive thing, but when someone asks what album "Suffragette City" is on, my response is "Ziggy Stardust?" But who doesn't love Bowie? I have nothing prescient to say about the man's passing, other than to echo everyone who noted how lucky we all were to walk the Earth at the same time he did, and how lamentable it is that's no longer the case. Here's Britt Daniel covering "Never Let Me Down" Here's Jemain Clement talking about The Conchords writing "Bowie in Space" and of course, Bowie eviscerating Ricky Gervais.

 

Posted 1:31pm
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January 4th, 2016

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

- I did it! 365+ movies in 2015 that I hadn't seen before (and 47 that I had). It's not something I'm likely to try again, but it was an education. The capper would have been seeing Tarantino's The Hateful 8, but since we were in Montreal when it came out, we mistakenly tried to go see it dubbed in French (no subtitles). We made it about an hour before walking out, because what's the point of watching Sam Jackson and Kurt Russell if they both sound like Gerard Depardieu?

- I generally enjoy returning to a familiar spot for vacation just as much as exploring new places, because I always have favorite spots to return to, and Montreal tops that list at the moment. I was super excited to go back to one of the coolest planetariums I've ever been to, the best (and so far, only great) brewery in Cananada, and my favorite record store of all time. I mean, I don't want to bore you with talk of exchange rates and monetary policy, but everything there is automatically 25% off (just like everything in Cananada at the moment).

- Cananada has it over on the United States in so many ways it's kind of remarkable. This recent South Park episode does a pretty good job of illuminating some of it. Or just take the fact that they just elected a liberal PM who has promised to legalize weed. And in Quebec, liquor stores are already planning on distributing. Poutine munchies! Plus, this the view from where we stayed (for next to nothing):

Je t'aime Montreal.

- I generally can separate myself from the competitive nature of social media. I only try and post things to amuse myself, or on occasion very specific people. But I'll cop to it - I was starting to get jealous of people's cool vacation photos on instagram. They were making me feel boring. So I decided to try and step up my instagram game. At the end of the day it wasn't really about shoving my good time in someone's face, because I like having those pictures as memories from the trip, which was tre magnifique.

- Finally, we sent xmas cards out this year. Sorry if you didn't get one, maybe we didn't have your address? Or we were cheap and only sent out like 20. Either way, here you go if you were left out:

Cheers.

Posted 1:31pm
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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.