Friday, June 29, 2007

Indianapolis Star Sends Purdue Packing with Style

It has always been observed though never overtly stated, the Indianapolis Star doesn't really give a shit about Purdue University athletics.

The Star has always given Purdue short shrift, more often focusing on Indiana University, a fact most Purdue fans understand and accept. IU is closer geographically to Indianapolis (by 10 miles!), there are more IU graduates in Indianapolis, and there are definitely more IU fans in Indianapolis (mainly because so many non-matriculating citizens fall in step with Bobby Knight U). The IU bias is a fact of life in central Indiana.

The Star has recently decided to no longer pay a beat writer to cover Purdue sports, instead pulling stories from the Lafayette Journal & Courier, a paper right on top of Purdue's campus and owned by the same parent company, Gannett. This makes solid business sense and most Purdue fans welcomed the better/hometown coverage we're supposed to get.

Until that coverage change takes over, the Star will go on treating Purdue as if it's some bastard step-child and get this, IU isn't even involved in the story. Take a look at today's front page.
Obviously, no story is bigger than two guys who have played together their entire lives being drafted 1st and 4th. Oden and Conley deserve the publicity. The third picture is of Duke's Josh McRoberts who somehow is now on par with Oden and Conley because he was born in an Indianapolis suburb.

Oh yeah, there's that tiny photo of Purdue's Carl Landry who was also drafted...six picks ahead of McRoberts. Talk about a slap in the face. "We'll run your photo, but only if it's one quarter the size of the other guys. You want respect, go get it from your own newspaper."

Sure, they're doing a story about Indianapolis owning this draft, right? Too bad McRoberts only gets mentioned once in the article and only to point out he played on the same travel team and in the same conference as Oden and Conley in high school.

Then we come to the two articles buried on page D-7 of the sports section.

Landry and McRoberts get equal ink when it comes to words, but McRoberts gets a huge Associated Press photo as well. Never mind that Landry was listed as the top power forward at the pre-draft camp. His presence in this edition must have been such a burden. He's an afterthought, who just happened to play in the state of Indiana. "I guess we've got to cover him till that damn new contract kicks in."

I know that ultimately this whining is just that, petty whining at its best. But do you have to run the miniature picture on the front page? Why even go through the trouble? He was drafted in the second round. That makes him irrelevant, right?

I just think Landry deserves better considering most of this season's coverage of Purdue centered around his All Big Ten play and leadership helping resurrect the team back into the NCAA tournament. Landry shouldn't feel too bad. Imagine going through life with the name Stanko Barac like the Pacers draftee.

This was just the Indianapolis Star's way of telling Purdue, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I Love....

"Fox on the Run" by Sweet: the first installment in what may or may not be an ongoing series detailing things I enjoy for no reasonable reason.

Supposedly smell is the one sense tied most to memory. You catch a whiff of mustard and you're instantly whisked away to the time your dad scored bleacher seats at Wrigley and some drunk dork from Champaign puked all over your hotdog. Who cares? You caught an Andre Dawson homerun ball.

It's true, the smell of Tide detergent transports me to some bygone utopia, but more often than not my memories are tied to songs and sounds. This may be the underlying cause of my affinty for Wes Anderson movies, either way I'm constantly listening for the soundtrack to my daily existence.

Thereby, it would come as a shock to most folks akin to my musical tastes to discover that I can't get enough of Sweet's "Fox on the Run." The pop-ready, synth-heavy, glam anthem straight out of 1975 tries to masquerade as edgy and in-your-face but in fact is so sing-along-able I can see my Mom and toddler nephews bopping to the chorus of "Fox on the run/ you scream and everybody comes a'runnin'/ take a run and hide yourself away/ Fox-y ON THE RUN!"

My affection for this jilted rock-out is firmly rooted in the two years I spent working in the soul-crushing cul-de-sac of a bank lobby. I couldn't have lasted much longer than two weeks without my coworker Barb's insistance on listening to the oldies station that inevitably piped "Fox on the Run" at least once a day. It wasn't the only song I fell in love with - in fact, I would drop any customer like a sack of potatoes to crank Elvis' "Burning Love"- but "Fox on the Run" was antithetical to so many things (myself, good music, bank lobbies) that who couldn't help but love it?

I don't care who you are, you're gonna rock along to anything that touts, "You think you got a pretty face/ But the rest of you is out of place/ You looked alright before (oh - ORE!)" From that point, this three and a half minute opus is all gravy.

And I defy anyone to contradict my assertion that the "Fox on the run/ you scream and everybody runs" melody is the secondary music used on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. We all know the main title song is "Dog on Fire" by Bob Mould, but it seems the music used to carry the show into and out of commercial breaks in each episode bears a shocking resemblance to this post's focus.

It's a succulent auditory adventure, and I'm not a bit ashamed to admit I revel in its simplicity and rockability. And as if you needed any context to the packaged, pander to the masses land this emerged from, have a look below.

The googly-eyed shenanigans of that guitar player will no doubt insure "everybody comes a'runnin." Fuh-Foxy!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Here's Your Infinite Sadness

Apparently it wasn't enough for Billy Corgan to simply masquerade his new band as a reunited version of the Smashing Pumpkins. ("The Pumpkins are back! I mean, we don't have Iha or D'arcy, but we've got Billy and the drummer who came crawling back after Billy took the moral high ground and 'fired' him after that keyboardist OD'd!") But I digress. Here's a charming tale of how they plan to sell their "comeback" album.
Best Buy and Target each get a version with an exclusive bonus track. So does iTunes. Like, a different one for each. Everybody else gets the regular version with no bonus tracks. So if you want all of the bonus tracks, you have to buy an album at Best Buy, an album at Target, and an album at iTunes.
The oddest thing to me in looking at those four tracklists is the Best Buy version - where the bonus track isn't just tacked onto the end (which is an increasingly common iTunes stunt that I don't have a particular problem with, because you can still listen to the album in any order you choose.) The Best Buy bonus song is track 9 of 13, which just seems very odd to me in the course of actually sequencing an album to make it flow. It's completely different from tacking something on to the end of the album, and it puzzles me for reasons I can't fully articulate.

So it looks like they're putting out four different versions of the album, right? Oh if only. I did a little snooping and discovered that there will actually be twelve different versions of the album worldwide. TWELVE!

In actuality, you can put out 50 different versions for all I care. If your fans are stupid enough to swallow the nonsense of buying multiple copies of an album in each cover with each bonus track, then more power to you. And the fact is that the bonus tracks will float around online, so if people really want to hear them, they can do it. But the distribution method of screwing over independent record stores is complete bullshit. You could at least ship the different bonus track versions around, instead of going out of your way to force people to buy the album at Best Buy or Target instead of an actual record store.

It makes you wonder if Billy Corgan ever received the age old advice of "Don't shit where you eat." Dinner is served!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Modern Life

I was driving to SuperTarget this afternoon in search of spiral appetizers for a soiree my wife was hosting when a sad realization crept cross my cerebrum.

As I was playing a mix-CD in the Survival Car, "Ana Ng" by They Might Be Giants was waning with what is really an excessive amount of choruses.

I knew full well what song was next on the playlist - I made the damn CD - but after reaching out to advance to the next song, my hand recoiled to hear the fading moments of "Ana Ng." Did I really want to here the chorus yet another time? No. Was I expecting to run across some audio nugget heretofore unheard? Not at all. I was padding my numbers.

In the past year or so, I've fully given myself to iTunes, though I'm still not the owner of an iPod. I've had most of my musical library digitally ensconsend as mp3's and I hardly ever juggle CD's in my home but rather plug away at the laptop with iTunes humming on shuffle.

I've recently gone for the jukebox layout that allows me to trapse through the myriad of album covers when choosing my songs, but mostly I let shuffle run until I have a hankerin' for Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go" or Ozma's "Gameover." Either way, each track gets its full length of playtime, not for the purity of songs as the artist intended but rather my own posterity. One wouldn't want to keel over tomorrow and leave the world thinking you loved Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

You see, iTunes tracks the Top 25 Most Played and I have been very reticent in any attempt to skew the statistics. However, the glitch in the system is that iTunes only counts songs that reach the final second of their recording. Sure you can fast forward - how VHS of me - and fool iTunes into thinking you really listened to all 6:51 of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," but eventually the truth comes out. Therefore, once a song starts I must see it through to fruition or forever let it be lost in the statistical ether.

One obvious victim of this practice is the end of CD "hidden track." Case in point, "Slide Show" by Travis. The actual song - which may or may not have been recorded in the back of a car - is actually a 18:31 track featuring 3 unreleased songs. Who really has time for four minutes of silence when playing blackjack online? The other victims are those bands stringing together multiple narratives Pink Floyd style. Say maybe, the Decemberists. "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" is the most depressing victim of these number crunches. I absolutely love part 1, yet iTunes thinks I've only listened to the song 6 times since its release (the actual plays near 4,000).

I guess I'll be struck impotent and uable to jump to the next song unless I want to unseat my current top played laureate, The La's with "There She Goes."

Until then, I'll be wondering how long until I download a CD in lieu of buying its jewel-cased bastard cousin.

The Jester Will No Longer Need To Borrow Your Coat

We live in a "What have you done for me lately?" world. Present-day mediocrity or failure can often obscure past glories. Just ask Kelly Clarkson.

Last night, this reality hit me once again when I was watching the AFI's special on the 100 Greatest Films of All Time. The list originally came out 10 years ago, so last night's unveiling was designed to account not only for movies released in the last decade, but also adjust for shifting opinions on the original 100 films since the initial list was unveiled.

As the updated list was revealed, one fact became clear to me. James Dean has clearly dropped the ball over the last decade.

In 1996, two of Dean's three films were on the list. "Rebel Without a Cause" was firmly planted at #59, and "Giant" was respectably at #82. On this year's list, both films were nowhere to be seen. The message seems to be clear - James Dean has slacked off the past decade and his films have been hurt as a result. The same can apparently be said for Mozart, as "Amadeus" was also left off the list, despite coming in at #53 in 1996. Quit resting on your laurels, Wolfie. It's like you haven't done anything worthwhile since the Requiem.

Naturally, to balance out the free fallers, there were some quick risers on the list as well. "Vertigo" flew from #61 to #9 in the past decade, and "Raging Bull" skyrocketed from #24 all the way to #4 with a bullet last night. Eat that, Schindler's List! How's that right hook taste, Lawrence of Arabia? You pansy.

Among new entries, the most baffling addition to the list had to be "The Sixth Sense," or as I like to call it, "The movie everyone in America saw in 1999, raved about, and then after thinking about it for a few minutes, realized it was actually kinda cheesy and probably not worth watching again." It inexplicably appeared at #89, ahead of "The French Connection," "Pulp Fiction," and "Goodfellas." It even beat out "Do the Right Thing." As if Spike Lee needed anything else to be pissed about.

On a related note, kudos to George Lopez for using his clout to make sure "Porky's" gets it's due in the litany of American cinema. However, if Lopez had done his homework, he would know that "Porky's" is a Canadian film, and therefore ineligible to appear on the list. Were it not for that technicality, I think it's safe to assume "Ben-Hur" would definitely have been bumped from it's spot at #100.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Can't Take Being Broke

There's all kinds of speculation as to where OSU's Mike Conley, Jr. will end up after the NBA draft. Most talk swirls around Memphis and Portland, but it seems like Conley's already reached the pinnacle of his young career.

He's been name dropped in a hip hop song. Maybe.

According to Conley's blog, he's mentioned in the Fabolous song "Jokes on You." Haven't downloaded it yet? Hop over to Fader for a listen.

With all honesty, I've listened to the thing four times and still can't hear Conley's name with any modest amount of intonation, unless he's 'Money Mike' mentioned 46 seconds in.

What I can say for certain is that this joint needs to be archived as an exhaustive chronicle of the past 20 years of comedy on Earth, which makes the inclusion of Dolly Parton and Mike Conley, Jr. all the more curious.

I present a sampling of popular references dropped as if they may or may not be hot.
  • Chris Tucker
  • Comedy Central
  • BET
  • Dolly Par(ton)
  • Sam Kinison
  • the Wayans Brothers
  • In Living Color
  • Bebe Kids
  • Dave Chappelle
  • Andrew Dice Clay
  • Kramer
  • Dane Cook
  • Delerious
  • Eddie Murph(y)
  • Bernie Mac
  • D.L. Hughley
  • Richard Pryor
  • Ashy Larry

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Now Stop Bringing That Up

I was born in the driving wind and snow of a blizzard, and was 12 minutes from being delivered in the back of a Chevy Suburban. Each year the story comes out retelling the significant events surrounding my birth.

A friend of mine was born in her front yard.

We all know someone born while their dad was out of town on business/ sloshed in a bar/ touring with Journey.

Poor Sam Alexis Woods will have to be careful if she's ever inquisitive about the details of her birth. Her poor dad spent the preceding day, Fathers Day at that, losing to a tubby Argentinian who was chain-smoking Marlboro Reds.

It could be worse, they could have named her Eldrick.

Just call me Angel of the Oakmont.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

God Speed, Mr. Wizard

One of the stalwart symbols of my early youth has gone to that big labratory in the sky.

Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, passed away at his Southern California home. He was 89.

Whether it was using a hammer to smash apples after they were dipped in liquid nitrogen, determining the height of a tree with a pan of water and a little trigonometry, or proving that gravity has no effect on how or what you swallow, Mr. Wizard's World was always a never-miss. Along with Dangermouse and You Can't Do That on Television, Mr. Wizard ruled my Nickelodeon fueled world of the early 80's.

Mr. Wizard is loosely responsible for the only time I was grounded in my life. Imagine your dad coming down to the basement and finding you and your younger sister building a hot air balloon with a dry cleaning bag, some straws, aluminum foil and a pile of flaming paper. Even though dad watched Mr. Wizard himself in the 50's, there's no merciful way out of that scientific quandary.

Oh, and the balloon never got off the ground. Curses!

If famous people die in threes, who might be the next two Nickelodeon pioneers to be ushered off to the great beyond? I'm putting my money on Jeff from Today's Special and Christine "Moose" McGlade from YCDTOT.

Rest in peace, Mr. Wizard.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Call me Naismith

I don't know how this has slipped under the sports media at-large, but today's events will change the lives of sixty...uh, athletes?

The Championship Gaming Series will hold their six team, 60 player draft to launch the newest league for sports fans to drool about. The new league will have "franchises" in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and one representing the Carolinas.

New sports league rule #1: Always make sure both Carolinas are aptly represented. Remember the USFL? I didn't think so.

The amazing thing is that the league will have a payroll of $5 million with each draftee receiving at least $30,000. Not too bad if you're 18-year-old Kevin Parrish of Centerville, IN. He's been at the gamer combine - you heard me, the combine - and has been ranked as high as fourth and seems to be a dead lock for Dallas, unless the Carolinas trade up to get sophomore phenom Chip "Thumbzilla" Jacobs out of Our Lady of Good Posture Memorial High in Reno.

Parrish's family is ecstatic that he could get paid to play video games, but they're going to make him go to college anyway. His older brother Nick accompanied him to the combine at Fox Studios in LA and says Kevin had some early bumps in the clean and jerk, but tore up Project Gotham Racing 3 and more than tripled Vince Young's Wonderlic score. Both Parrish boys are certain Kevin can have a sustained career if he improves his FIFA 2007 skills and avoids another case of Wiiitis.

The CGS has a TV deal with DirectTV, virtually shoring up a spot ahead of the NHL for viewers. The only thing missing are team nicknames. Do they go with the animal and invader heavy archetype of the NFL or the abstract unmeasurable style of the WNBA? "And that 3 from the Shock oughtta do it. Down go the Liberty."

I for one want to cheer for the Los Angeles HotBox, Dallas Memory Chips, San Franciso Wristers, and the Carolina Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Starts. They're old school.

And if my accountant buddy doesn't screw me like he does every year, I should be able to get Kevin Parrish in the fantasy draft this fall.

This Week in...

Awkward Indiana High School Sports Photos

And that's how you get to second base.

"Shanked it."


Monday, June 11, 2007

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

As a homeowner in the great state of Indiana, I'm well obliged to pay property taxes based upon the assessed value of my home.

Never mind that those doing the assessing are often elected at the township level. (Let's see, Marion County has 9 townships, Indiana has 92 counties meaning we've got 800 different people doing this job give or take. Think things may not be consistent?)

Also, please disregard the fact that since Indiana got rid of its tax on inventory, most of the financial burden has been shifted to property taxes meaning that some homeowners are going to be paying over 50% more annually with most people paying some increase.

No, please focus your attention on the systems, let's call them deductions, in place to help taxpayers alleviate some of this burden. In fact today is the final day to apply for the Homestead, mortgage, or any other deduction that might nibble away some of your property tax bill.

Homeowners can get a deduction of up to $206,500 off of the value of their home if they are a veteran...of World War I. It's been all over the news. (here, here, here, and also here.)

That's right, WW Uno. The War to End All Wars. The war formerly known as The Great War until Hitler decided to goosestep into Poland in 1939. The war that ushered out most of 19th century colonialism and killed somewhere near 10 million soldiers and sailors. It also ended on Armistace Day November 11, 1918. That day alone was a mere 88 years ago.

Thereby, if you were say a young recruit who falsified some records to land a spot in the infantry only to have the war end on your 16th birthday, you would now be a spritely 105 years old. Considering the United States' oldest citizen is only 114, your longevity isn't entirely unprecidented but that's still a pretty long time.

According to the never-failing Wikipedia, there are 5, count 'em 5, known living veterans of the First Wolrd the United States and none of them live in Indiana. Not to fall prey to the whims of some blogosphere nut out to maliciously skew wikipedia war data, I consulted the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. There were 5,343 Indiana veterans whose service preceded the World War II of the 2000 census. Even 7 years ago the VA wasn't keeping specific WWI data. And if these laws carry over to WWI widows, I'd love to see the count on those. Do you need both hands?

Franz Ferdinand is a bunch of Scottish guys in tight pants. The Ottoman Empire would likely be confused with fluffy footstools these days, and a Doughboy sells instant biscuits. If there are any World War I veterans alive in Indiana, God bless them, and I say give 'em a free ride for ol' Black Jack Pershing's sake.

How much time and money went into legislating this deduction? Are these news outlets not at all bothered by reporting this? Do they take us for morons? I'm starting to think Indiana's government is just another lost generation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Leave the ball, will you George?

Basketball and indie rock. They're not commonly associated with one another, and yet, I always enjoy the few occasions when the worlds intersect. For example, when Elliott Smith died, there was no shortage of heartfelt tributes (occasionally sprinkled with hypocritical "cautionary tale-type" posturing from former junkies in The Flaming Lips.) But among the outpouring of sympathy, my favorite tribute came in the form of Ben Folds relating a tale about Ben, Elliott, and Beck playing basketball. It's a bizarre, but sweetly endearing and personable image to think of Beck posting up for a turnaround j while Elliott throws elbows left and right to box out.

Alas, sometimes the mix of critical acclaim and roundball can lead to theft and/or slander, as the following blog showcases:

The author of the blog alleges that lead singer Win Butler stole his basketball from the Cal Berkley gym. Interestingly enough, Win's brother (and bandmate) Will weighs in on the blog comments and makes a compelling case that Win in fact did NOT commit the alleged theft. Will even created his own blog which not only maintains the band's innocence, but also drops a brilliant Chris Gaines reference.

In reality, it doesn't really matter if the ball was stolen or not. The allegation was made, and that creates buzz whether it's true or not. Based on this, I would like to weigh in with some of my own accusations. Are my allegations true or false? Again, it doesn't matter. I have written it down, therefore transferring the burden of proof onto anyone who would like to prove me wrong.
  • Jeff Tweedy stole my kicking tee.
  • Ben Gibbard stole my shin guards.
  • Lily Allen stole my shuttlecock.
  • Isaac Brock stole my hacky sack.
  • The Hold Steady stole my Kent Hrbek jersey.
If you see any of the following items, please inform your local authorities. I demand satisfaction!

NOTE: A major tip of the hat to Gorilla vs Bear for the fine artwork shown above.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Plot Thickens...With Cash?

As if your Monday sucked.

Former Colts quaterback Jack Trudeau appeared in Boone County court today following his arrest after hosting a party for his daughter and some of her fellow graduates of Park Tudor High School at his suburban Indianapolis home.

Despite his efforts to provide a safe haven for teenage drinking - making all kids sign in, camp in his backyard, and hand over their keys (was this a party or a reenactment of The Ice Storm?) - Trudeau still faces those pesky charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and now a felony charge of obstructing justice since the sign-in list can't seem to be found. Now that's a no-snitching policy Carmelo Anthony could get behind.

Yet, the emerging detail that's getting most of my attention - beyond the empty half gallon of vodka, beer bong, and only 30 of 127 beers opened (evidently Trudeau hadn't started drinking when the cops arrived) - is a little request made to police.

According to WTHR's report, Trudeau beseeched the officers asking, "What do we have to do to make this go away?"

Most likely Trudeau was expecting a response of 'I'm gonna tie my shoes, and if I stand up and don't see 12 drunk kids or any beer cans, me and Deputy Manning are gonna go elsewhere about our business. Go Colts!"

But whose to say conjecture and hearsay aren't pointing in a monetary direction? Hell, he already sprang for the beer bong. What's a few more clams to grease the wheels?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Jack Trudeau is the Cool Dad

This won't be good for his coaching career.

Former University of Illinois and Colts quaterback Jack Trudeau was arrested for providing alcohol to a host of high school kids at his home in Zionsville, an Indianapolis suburb.

This is a doubly dipshit move considering 1) the NFL just extended its ban on providing alcohol to players to include flights and team events - a rule that presupposes those players are 21 - and 2) Jonathon Pavey, a Zionsville high school athlete remains in critical condition after a one-car accident last week resulting in large part from his being drunk. (Trudeau's partiers attend Park Tudor High School, Pavey attended Zionsville Community High School.)

In response to the Pavey incident, Boone County sheriff Ken Campbell said, "We will find out who supplied this young man with the alcohol and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law." Looks like Trudeau might need to find a replacement for that 3rd and 4th grade team he's coaching.

The article details how Trudeau has not always been the friendliest to law enforcement. My favorite part is when he refuses access to his home demanding a warrant. Know what the cops did? They got a damn warrant and searched the shit out of Trudeau's place.

I would have loved to see Trudeau's reaction when he realized the cops called his bluff and in the meantime he didn't get the kids to clear out except those that were hiding in his woods, which were all apprehended and charged with resisting law enforcement. Touchdown!