Month: January 2011

Album review roundup: Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, and Deerhoof

Album review roundup: Cage the Elephant, Cold War Kids, and Deerhoof

Music
I didn't make a New Year's resolution to listen to more new music in 2011, but it just seems to be working out that way.  And so far I've been rewarded with some pretty decent stuff.  Will the good times continue?  Let's find out... Cage the Elephant – Thank You, Happy Birthday (Jive) Here's another group that managed to become pretty popular without even appearing on my radar.  I can't speak to how Cage the Elephant may or may not have changed since their first album, but this one is pretty damn good.  For a so-called indie rock band, Cage the Elephant displays a real knack for catchy aggression and a willingness to incorporate whatever sounds and styles necessary to get their point across.  Album opener "Always Something" nails the slinky, urban vibe that My Morning Jacket went for
Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening Booth, Music
Yesterday we lost one of the great composers of the 20th century.  John Barry, best known to me and millions of others as the man behind so many timeless film soundtracks, died at age 77.  Barry won five Oscars for his work, including Dances With Wolves and Midnight Cowboy, but it is his scores for 11 James Bond movies that I love the most. Here's probably my favorite Barry composition, from 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  It's the immortal Louis Armstrong performing "We Have All the Time in the World," the love theme from the sole George Lazenby 007 film. Related articles Bond composer John Barry dies (telegraph.co.uk) John Barry, RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
Album cover of the week: Paranoid

Album cover of the week: Paranoid

Album Cover of the Week, Music
Is there anything left to say about the music on Black Sabbath's Paranoid?  It, even more than their debut album from earlier in 1970, pretty much became the template for heavy metal.  "Iron Man," "War Pigs," and "Electric Funeral" are some of the most essential songs of all-time.  But man, what's up with that cover? So the background on this weird dude is this - Sabbath originally wanted to call the album War Pigs, and that's what the guy in the Day-Glo outfit, sword, and shield is supposed to be.  Vertigo, the band's label, was uncomfortable with that title since the Vietnam War was going on and they didn't want to offend people.  I guess they figured a lot of pro-war types were Sabbath fans too? So anyway, they switched the title to match the second song on the record, "Parano
Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Internet, Links
Here’s a fresh batch of some quality interweb finds I’ve come across over the last 7 days: Song of the week: "Thunder Chicken" by The Impacts (Funky16Corners) Funny webcomic: Ideal life vs. real life vs. weekend life (makeuseof.com) Amy Spencer's "Female American Pop Icons" photos from Glamour magazine (Killahbeez) A village in Holland with no roads (Funny pictures) This is what almost getting hit by a truck looks like. (blogTO) An OCR'd dictionary of hobo slang (GlyphJockey) Gruesome crash photos from a BMW M3 wipeout (Jalopnik) SyFy's latest contribution to the arts: Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, starring Debbie Gibson and Tiffany (I Watch Stuff) Move over FarmVille and Mafia Wars, Oregon Trail is coming to Facebook! (NBC Local) The Popdose staff (including yours tr
Graphicity: Sources of antiques in the U.S.

Graphicity: Sources of antiques in the U.S.

TV & Radio
I used to fancy myself an amateur antiques person from watching episodes of Antiques Roadshow on PBS.  But Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz from the History Channel's American Pickers put those dusty old coots to shame.  They've also taught me a very informative lesson about the best places to score antiques of my own (and no, I'm not talking about hitting Singles Night mixers at the local senior center). Related articles The Antiques Roadshow's Five Most Valuable Finds (dailyfinance.com) Why I'm Addicted to American Pickers (chicagonow.com) What's That Song From the 'American Pickers' Promo? (spinner.com)
The Name Games: Five All-Time Classic NFL Contests You Know by Name

The Name Games: Five All-Time Classic NFL Contests You Know by Name

Listcruft, Sports
NFL history is replete with games that have become so famous (or infamous) and so ingrained into the public consciousness that all you have to do is utter a word or a phrase to a fan and there's an instant recall.  As much as any of the legends that have actually suited up for the NFL, these games are an essential part of this history and fabric of professional football in America.  Let's take a look at just five of the most well-known. The Ice Bowl – Cowboys vs. Packers, December 31, 1967 When you hear someone like Chris Berman talk about "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field," you can credit this game as the inspiration.  On the last day of the 1967 season, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys met in a rematch of the previous year's NFL Championship.  The official game-time temperatu
The word cloud of Robert Burton’s letter to Jeff Hathaway

The word cloud of Robert Burton’s letter to Jeff Hathaway

Sports
For those who haven't heard of Robert G. Burton, he's the winner of January's Douchebag of the Month award.  Burton, who has donated millions of dollars to the University of Connecticut football program and whose name adorns their athletic complex, was most displeased with the recent hiring of head coach Paul Pasqualoni. That's pretty standard I guess.  Boosters get pissy all the time when a coach gets hired/fired, or some other decision is made that they don't agree with.  But Burton took it a step further, firing off a rambling, boastful, and just plain obnoxious six-page letter to UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway. The letter itself (excluding attachment notices and other miscellaneous text) is more than 1,700 words long.  So here's the word cloud for it, which pretty much sum
English manglage: Yes, Dear

English manglage: Yes, Dear

Funny Stuff
I think this is the first time an episode description from a DVR has broken the fourth wall.  The paint fumes in question for this episode of Yes, Dear on TBS seem to have actually affected the writer of this little gem. It starts off well enough, but right around the third line it starts to jump the tracks.  By line six it's clear someone is breathing dangerous fumes, and it ain't Kim or Greg.
Time Capsule: Past State of the Union Addresses

Time Capsule: Past State of the Union Addresses

Capsules, History
As Barack Obama prepares to deliver his annual State of the Union address to Congress, I thought it a good time to take a look back at this most unique event in American politics. So I've gathered images from previous presidential SOTU addresses, from President Woodrow Wilson's in 1918 to President Obama's in 2010. I couldn't find any for Warren G. Harding, and Herbert Hoover made no public appearances before Congress (probably a good move). Appearing in this gallery are Presidents Barack Obama (2010), George W. Bush (2008), Bill Clinton (1999), George H.W. Bush (unknown date), Ronald Reagan (1988), Jimmy Carter (unknown date), Gerald Ford (1975), Richard Nixon (1971), Lyndon Johnson (1968), John F. Kennedy (1963), Dwight Eisenhower (1960), Harry S. Truman (1953), Franklin Delano Ro...