...randomness surrounding Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard, and other great indie rock bands; a quasi objective look at "my" sporting teams; the random horror film; plus other crap as we see fit...all with a Pittsburgh based feel.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bloated Stiffs Victorious

This is the post that absolutely no one will care about (unlike the majority of posts where only 1-2 people care about).

On Xmas night, the Bloated Stiffs secured a Windy City Fantasy Football League record 3rd Championship, beating the Assmunchers 57-56. YEAH BER BER!!!!!

Kudos to commish Joe Nardi for running one of the 3 best leagues in Chicago.

confidential to Big Jim & the Twins: Cough it up Chompers!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Stocking Stuffers

Our little buddy loves Christmas:

This guys does, too:

One more of Stiffler. Yes, he's a little spoiled:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Or Happy Holidays, if that's more politically correct and less offensive to some. I would hate to come off as "offensive." This is fookin funny:

Who ever said I wasn't into the whole Xmas thing?!?! Here's another treatie from Holly Golightly, who appears to have another album coming out this March. Enjoy:

(left click to play; right click to download)
Holly Golightly - Christmas Tree on Fire

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Dark day for the taxpayers of the Burgh yesterday, in what has to be one of the biggest political shams in the city's history. For those not familiar with the whole Slots Gaming License, I'll break it down as simple as possible. These are the bare facts:

  1. Pittsburgh was awarded a "gaming license" that will allow 1 sole applicant to build a casino in Pittsburgh. That casino will have Slots Only.
  2. Pittsburgh is in dire need of a new events center type facility. Mellon Arena is 45 years old, and is no longer an option to host 15,000+ capacity events (i.e. Icecapades, wrestling, monster truck stuff, big shitty concerts, whatever). Mellon Arena is also the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  3. This new building WILL be built within the next 10 years, whether or not the Penguins are still residing in Pittsburgh.
  4. The Penguins long-term lease is about to expire in June of 2007. The current owner (Mario Lemieux's group) has been trying to sell the team, but the club's current price is too much for a team without a home.

Now here comes this gaming license, and right behind it is this big contingent of political scumbags, just waiting to get their pockets greased before their terms run out. This party of pond scum, the leader (or biggest pile of useless fungi) of which is Governor Ed Rendell, organizes this "gaming commission" that will ultimately decide on WHO gets that ONE gaming license.

There are THREE groups competing for this ONE license, one of which is the Isle of Capri. The Isle of Capri pledges this:

"If you give us the gaming license, we will give (GIVE!!!!!) the City of Pittsburgh $290 million to build a new arena."

The new building will become the new home of the Penguins as well as host events that no longer come to Pittsburgh. The other 2 applicants make no such promise. Instantly, and for good reason, the Isle of Capri becomes the public favorite.

Think of that. A city who has just built TWO new stadiums (PNC & Heinz) with the taxpayers' $$ is now offered a TAX FREE $290 million dollar building. Seems simple, but the 2 other applicants must be considered, right?

If it was that simple, the "gaming commission" would no longer have a decision to make, and their enormous salary paid by the taxpayers (and $100,000 cars) would be unjustified. So the other 2 applicants' bids must be weighed against the Isle of Capri's. And we must take years to make this decision, because it's a fairly difficult one.

Let's review what the other 2 applicants bring to the table: They offer NO building.

Instead, if they get the Slots License, then the tax payers will pay for the new $300 million facility. No problem, we've already paid for 2 others. Instead of a TAX FREE $290 building, we get the people of Pittsburgh to finance it. Makes sense to me.

Well, this type of decision was very difficult to make, or so says the dirt bags of the gaming commission. So, a new term was introduced by all of the Scum Politicians who ultimately wanted their pockets greased. That new term:


Here's what Plan B essentially says:

If Isle of Capri does not get the Slots License, then we (the crooked scumbags) will work with the winning applicant to build a new arena. And whatever that applicant doesn't pay towards that building, and then we'll get the taxpayers to pay for it. There's nothing in writing, or no actual plan, hence we call it Plan B.

"Plan B" is a nice little way to say: "Well, we tried." Ask what Plan B actually consists of, and there's nothing. It's an excuse. It's a lie. It's a complete SHAM.

But taxpayers in Pittsburgh are used to getting screwed. For example, before I'd moved to Pittsburgh, I'd never heard of an "Occupation Privilege Tax." Everyone in Pittsburgh pays $52/year out of their 1st paycheck for the privilege of having a job so that they can pay more tax.

Yes...it's a Tax for the Privilege to Pay More Tax. Seriously.

Property taxes in Allegheny County are astronomically high, despite consistent promises every year (from those same scumbags) that they will be lowered.

But that's Pittsburgh, PA. Ran by old stale slime, in a state ran by the King of Slime, Ed Rendell…slime that could care less about anything that happens outside of Philadelphia, as long as he gets his kickbacks. Between greasy Ed, the smooth talking cover-up guy County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, and 26 year old (no, that's not a misprint) Mayor Luke Ravensthal, this city continues to get driven into the dirty mucks of the Three Rivers.

Droves of young people are driven out of this decaying city every year. If you're a young goal-minded individual, chances are you'll be leaving Pittsburgh within the next few years. There are more transplanted Pittsburghians than any other kind. Hopefully, we’ll be able to join them soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We Are Marshall

Got to see the premier of "We Are Marshall" last week, courtesy of Dallas and Rivals.com. Must admit, I was a little apprehensive due to the presence of Matthew McConaughey, since he can be somewhat of a blowhard. But don't let that stand in your way of seeing this film, which I thought was wonderfully done.

And McC (not to be confused with McG who is the director) actually plays the perfect role for himself. I'd be curious to know a little about the actual Coach Lengyl, just to see how closely his character is portrayed in the film. I'd suspect McConaughey embellishes the character a little, but his quirky wack-a-doo-ness offers some well needed comic relief to this tear jerker. Yeah, I was near tear. Swelled up within the 1st 15 minutes, so kudos to 'Marshall' for that.

Must admit, I knew very little about the Marshall plane crash tragedy of 1970. But that's not entirely what this film is about. 'Marshall' deals with how the entire college campus and surrounding community was rocked by the crash, which killed 75 team members, coaching staff, supporters, and flight crew. The central focus is the resurrection Marshall's football program in the midst of this tragedy, which only had a handful of team members left (who were fortunately left behind for their final road game due to injury). 'Marshall' also presents the morale dilemma of when is it appropriate for those left behind to return to 'normalcy.'

As most know, I'm usually not a fan of these big mega-movies, and there are some of your typical sports movie cliches here, but overall I say bravo to 'We are Marshall.'

Bring tissue.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Speaking of Gangstas

This is HILARIOUS...

You Go Girl

I thought most of these NBAers were supposed to be all gat lugging gangsta-gangsta like. I'm no fighter (I'm a luva), but the above makes Carmelo Anthony look like a little beeaatch. Talk about your all time "stick and move."

I think David Stern gave him the longest suspension because of how embarrasing "Melo" looks running away. Does the NBA also have the authority to take away his man card?

Reminds me of that scene from The Holy Grail...."RUN AWAY!!!"

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Terms to Describe T.O.

After spitting in DeAngelo Hall's face tonight, and admitting he did so because "he kept frustrating me", you can now add SCUM BAG to the long list of expletives to describe the animal that is Terrell Owens. Is there anyone left on this earth (with any credibility) that still defends this jag off?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

GBV Live in Austin 2001

Courtesy of Rich T (which means courtesy of Bob I presume), and via GBV Database wizard Jeff W comes this little live GBV treatie. Go over to the amazing site that is the Guided By Voices Database and download the entire show (2 zip files), or listen and download individual tracks. Recorded originally on Minidisc by Albert C.

Here's just a few to wet the whistle

(left click to play; right click to download):
I Drove a Tank

Get Under It

for jim joll:
The Brides Have Hit Glass

from the 1st Encore:
Psychic Pilot Clocks Out

Thanks Rich, Abert, & Jeff!!! Entire show is over there, minus the 2nd encore (47 of 51 songs!!)

Sebadoh Reissue

Just picked up the Sebadoh III reissue a couple weeks ago, complete with the bonus "extras" disc. When "III" originally came out in 1991, it was about 2 years after Lou Barlow had been kicked out of Dinosaur Jr. I probably prefer Sebadoh's '94 record "Bakesale" over "III", but what do I know.

I've seen Sebadoh labeled "the quintessential lo-fi band of the 90's." Well, no matter what your opinion on that label is...perhaps you prefer GBV or Pavement...you still gotta admire the do-it-yerself mentality of a lot of these early indie bands, and Sebadoh rightfully deserves its lofty place in the hierarchy of early indie rock bands. At least in my humble opinion.

Anyway...here's a couple from that "extras" disc. The first is a clean remix of "Violet Execution", probably my favorite of the Eric Gaffney contributed songs. The 2nd one is the original 4-track demo of Lou Barlow's "The Freed Pig", which has Eric switching over to drums. I believe "The Freed Pig" is an ode from Lou to his angry departure from Jay Mascis & Dino Jr. Unlike his former band, Lou was allowed to contribute songs to Sebadoh, and this is one of those gems.

(left click to play; right click to download)
Sebadoh - Violet Execution

Sebadoh - The Freed Pig

There's also an interesting little "showtape '91" track on there, as well as the improvised classic "Gimme Indie Rock", and a bunch more demos. Go over to Domino Records and pick up a copy here:

Also, be sure to check out Sebadoh's site for a bunch of mp3's and other goodies. Looks like they're planning a reunion tour, with the complete classic line-up of Eric, Lou, and Jason for Spring 2007. Kick ass!


nothing to do with nothing side note: AOL's City Guide is taking votes on the Best Live Music Venue in Pittsburgh:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Position. A Memo to the Experts

Here's one from the Getting So Sick of Hearing This file:

Note to ESPN football analysts and "experts." It does NOT make you sound any more intelligent to refer to any position on a team as "The Position."

For example:

"The Tampa Bay Bucs are really struggling at The Quarterback Position."
"The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of depth at The Wide Receiver Position."
"The Houston Texans need somebody to step up at The Running Back Position."

Just simply say...Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Running Back. It's easy. There's no excess verbage. Adding "The Position" does NOT make you sound like any more of an expert. It pretty much makes you sound like a pompous ass.

Cc: Sean Salisbury, Mark Schlereth, Joe Thiesmann, Ron Jaworski

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I Loves Me Some Me

Y'all need to notice ME!! This ain't about Ro-Mo. It's about T-O. Now pay attention to ME, please.

There's no "I" in Team. But there's a couple in Narcissism.


For those still playing the Steelers Making the Playoffs Game, here's what you're rooting for this weekend, complete with spreads & game times for the multiple TV set-DirecTV households. I retired from this game a few weeks ago, but you're still welcome to play along:
  • TENNESSEE (+3.5) over Jacksonville, Sun 1:00
  • MINNESOTA (-3) over NY Jets, Sun 1:00
  • ARIZONA (+2.5) over Denver, Sun 4:15
  • SAN DIEGO (-8) over Kansas City, Sun 8:15
  • INDIANAPOLIS (-3.5) over Cincinnati, MNF
Okay, if the Steelers win at Carolina (as a 2.5 fav), and all 5 of the above win out, I'll get more involved and we'll dulge further into the scenarios next week. Shit...they're all home teams, including 2 short dogs, so it's not that far of a stretch. Whose crazy enuff to think this can happen?


Took 3 days for me to thaw out from the Steelers / Browns game last Thursday. And once I did, I realized that Kellen Winslow Jr. is still a little punk-ass bitch boy with zero credentials to back up his forever going mouth. Nice cheap shot on Farrior, dickhead.


YO!!! The Pens / Caps game Monday was the SHIT!!!!!!!!!! Midway through the 2nd, down 4-Nil, I remarked to Jess: "Well, so much for the hype about this game." But we're true fans dammit! And besides, the only other thing on was the boring MNFer featuring the great mind of Joe Theismann.

Pens rally...Evgeni Malkin ties it at 4...stays that way to the shootout...Malkin again puts puck in net for organization...winner winner beef stroganoff dinner. I love this game.

At intermission, there was a classic interview where Alexander Ovechkin translated for Malkin. Good times.

And this just in...the Penguins beat Philly tonight....AGAIN. Sid the Kid with a 6 point night. He's only NINETEEN!!


The Red Sox just signed Hideo Nomo to $52 million over 6 years? Let's move on.


Speaking of MNF, I'd heard that Devin Hester is a prodigy of one dorky Deion Sanders. Great. I loathed the overrated clown act that was "Prime Time," and I'm sure I'll be just as fond of "Prime Time Junior." Is it really necessary to go through this whole schpeel again? At least his return skills make up for his lack of CB coverage skills.


The Chelsea / Arsenal match was the best football game of the day Sunday. Kick ass in every way, and it was a 1-1 tie.

This weekend, we get the knockout stage draw for the Champions League, to be resumed in February. My Inter Milan boys will get paired up with one of the following in the 1st round:

Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Valencia, or Lyon


Must see goal of the week, from that Chelsea/Arsenal match...less than 10 minutes left to play...Chelsea's Essien ties it 1-1 with an incredible strike. Fantastic stuff, or as Ray Hudson would say: "Orgasmic"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frozen Tundra

If y'all don't hear from me by this weekend, that means I froze my noots off at the Steeler game tonite.

It's been fun.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Hey kids. Need to put this at the TOP of the old Netflix queue ASAP. Or go ahead and make a purchase here:

loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies

Whether you're an old skooler Pixies fan, or a young'en looking to learn a little about one of the most influential bands ever, this is must see stuff. It basically chronicles the Pixies reunion tour from 2004, but also does a great job at looking into the personal lives of Charles (aka Frank Black), Kim, Joe, and Dave. Beautiful camera work on the live concert footage.

Being a big fan, I'm probably a little biased. But this is a very nicely done piece of film. Serious Hi-Fives recommendation.

Don't skip out on the extras and deleted scenes, one of which includes a visit by Kim & Charles to the recording studio of Sigur Ros...a subtle, yet interesting encounter.

Here's a trailer:

When the Pixies last album came out (albeit, we didn't know it was the last at the time), I was renting a room off campus at Loyola University in Chicago. One of my roommates bought "Trompe le Monde." (dang, I forget that dude's name...not Tony whom I went to high school with, but the other dude). Anyway...to this day, it's still my favorite of all their stuff. Here's a couple off that album:

Pixies - Subbacultcha

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lava Lounge Thursday

This just in...Moodsickness is going back to its original name, The Moodswingers. Which means...I am the proud owner of the one and only set list from the only Moodsickness show EVER, at Folino's (Young's) a few weeks back. I will treasure it for the rest of my days.

Anyway...Jamie, Dennis, and Martin are back as The Moodswingers, and will be playing again...THIS Thursday at Lava Lounge. Word on the streets is that they'll be going on stage first @ 10:00ish. They definitely won't be playing another 2+ hour set, so get there asap.

Also playing...another band under a new name...The Hi-Speeds. Check them out over at myspace here:

Glad to see the talented Trym Killi playing again, despite the fact my good pal Ryan Moore has moved ship to Atlanta and is no longer playing with the band...formerly known as the Last Times. Rumor has it he's disappointed I didn't do my little boozy fist-point enough at their last show at the 31st Street Pub, so Ryan doesn't call or write anymore. :)

Also departed from the former line-up is their bass player Jack, so now playing bass is Martin Kantoryzk...the same Martin who plays with the Moodswingers. High demand for bass players in the Burgh.

Anyway....Trym and The Last Times kicked ass, so I'm sure The Hi-Speeds will be a rawkin good time as well. Sans Ryan.

Headlining the night, another band from the Burgh....the Cosmo Sonics, featuring former members of the The Science Fiction Idols.

Should be good times. Get out, have a piece of booze, and support local music. $4 CHEAP. 2204 East Carson. Thursday!!!

College Football is FIXED

Shamed to say it, but my favorite of all sports is rigged. Like boxing. Like professional wrestling. Like figure skating. We already knew the BCS “Championship” was a sham, but for the 1st time, the human pollsters set their own agenda, and FIXED the participants of the title game.

What’s the goal of the BCS? It’s to place the “Two Best Teams” in the Championship, no? I understand if you didn’t want to see a rematch between Michigan and Ohio St., but that personal preference is not part of the equation. The pollsters obviously didn’t want it either, which is why they rigged the final poll so that Florida would leap frog Michigan. How else do you explain Florida jumping Michigan after being behind them for 7 straight weeks?

Ask yourself this. If USC would’ve won Saturday, do you think the voters would’ve still swapped Florida ahead of Michigan from #4 to #3. Shit no, because it wouldn’t have mattered. Florida was placed ahead of Michigan because the voters didn’t want a rematch. PERIOD.

Some voters placed Michigan 4th & 5th in their ballots, just to insure they wouldn’t get into the Championship. Some coaches didn’t even vote. That my friends, is setting your own criteria…and your own agenda…to get a predetermined result = FIXED. Brenston Buckner, a voter in the Harris poll was shown on ESPN Sunday night explaining that Michigan didn’t win its conference, so that’s why he put Florida ahead of Michigan. “Not winning your conference” does not eliminate you from the formula. Just ask Nebraska from a few years ago. That precedent was already set. But Mr. Buckner, as well as countless others, set their OWN criteria to the voting process to achieve a desired result = FIXED.

Major kudos to Florida for a great season. Never would’ve thought they’d make it through that schedule in the SEC, the #1 Strength of Schedule in the land. Michigan ranked a distant 3rd in the nation…TWO whole spots behind Florida.

The fact of the matter is Michigan was clearly a better team than Florida. Just ask Vegas, the people who REALLY know the strength of a team. The line that would’ve been set for a Michigan vs. Ohio St. rematch on a neutral field:

Ohio St. -1 over Michigan

The line for the actual game, Ohio St. vs. Florida:

Ohio St. -7 over Florida

It’s clear that Michigan is a BETTER team than Florida, with a similar resume warranting a spot in the BCS Championship. But the voters didn’t want a rematch, so they rigged the voting so they wouldn’t get one.

So once again, the BCS fails. Anyone who thinks this will ever change is kidding themselves. The Major BCS Conferences own the Bowls. The Bowls have Money. And that money will never see the NCAA’s hands. So get used to it. THAT’s what this is all about. It's not about "the student athlete" playing too many games.

Oh sure, you’ll still get the BCS Committee to “tinker” with the system, as they do every year. And every year, they sell a couple people on the “better and new improved system.” But until the championship is settled on the field, there will be nothing but paper champions in NCAA Football.

I also get a kick out of the argument that this type of controversy is “good for the game” because it entices us to talk about it. If I decided to run naked down Ohio River Boulevard, I’m willing to bet it would be controversial and “people would talk about it.” Not exactly a “good” thing for me, however.

I’m not a fan of Michigan, Ohio St., or Florida. Personally, I think this was the best scenario that could’ve unfolded because it further demonstrates what a complete joke and atrocity the BCS is.


On a lighter note: BOBBY MO!!!! Rolls over Duquesne Saturday night at the Chuck 73-72, just like I predicted here last week.

Okay, I said “pummel.” Maybe a 1 point come-from-behind victory doesn’t qualify as a true “pummeling.” But a win is a win is a win. Coach Schmidt’s got the Colonial off to the best start in school history.

The sad news: I was not in attendance, as I was among all the animals and craziness looking for a Christmas tree.


TODAY: Less than 1 hour to kickoff:

2:45pm: Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich. ESPN Deportes. If you don’t get ESPN Deportes, call your local cable company and bitch them out.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pictures of You, DK

You ask and you shall receive. My long time good friend seems to like Empties Crushed, but "there are no pictures of me."

DK. I love ya. I miss ya. Next time you're taking in the rays, make sure I don't have my camera.

Nothing to do with nothing, but this song's been stuck in my head all fookin day. I don't why. Who cares. It's old skool. It rocks:

(left click to play; right click to download)
The Saints - (I'm) Stranded

Not sure what the deal is with the '(I'm)' in the title. Feels like sort of a diss to be included in parenthesis, while you're actually part of the lyrics. Would it've been too much trouble to incorporate the 'I'm' into the title without the ( )?? I think '(I'm) got jipped, personally.

More nothing to do with nothing...and courtesy of Ned's bro Tony, who I thank for the reminder of this little quote from Noel Gallagher:

"I don't ever attempt anything unless I can make it look effortless."

Well, alrighty then.

Back tomorrow with our little update on Sabina Sciubba and the Brazilian Girls, who we saw tonite at the Rex Theatre. Hell yeah Sabina!! You go girl.

editors note: that's not actually DK above. The sleepy jackson above is much too studly. Diane...don't be mad at me. Your hubby asked for it. You mess with me or the EC, you get the horns. Or something like that. I think. Whatever. I guess.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Who you Crappin?!?!

Central Michigan frosh QB Dan LeFevour
, after beating the Ohio Bobcats in the MAC Championship Thursday night, said to ESPN sideline chic Erin Andrews:

"This program's had a great tradition for a long time."

Dude. You just won the MAC Championship for the 1st time since 1994. You guys need to play on Thursday night, just to get some of us football diehards to watch the frickin game. Programs with great traditions go to the Rose Bowl. They play on New Years Day every year. They play on SATURDAY!! Just because the NCAA let you keep your "Chippewas" monacher, doesn't mean your program has a great tradition. Perhaps the Chippewa tribe does, but that's another story.

Central Michigan is about the halfway down the totem pole when I think of MAC programs. I think of that big chubby guy that coaches Toledo. I think of Urban Meyer coaching Bowling Green. I think of Miami, Ohio and Randy Walker (R.I.P.). Northern Illinois and the Huskies for chrissakes. WE ARE MARSHALL!!! But Central Michigan?!?! Are you kidding me?

Maybe someone needs to enlighten me on the long storied tradition of Central Michigan. Hey God Bless...you're going to the Motor City Bowl. I'm not ripping that, because I'm 'that guy' who will be tuning in and investing most likely. And thank you for covering the 3 last night. But that doesn't give Central Michigan a great tradition.

I know you're just a freshman coming off a fantastic year, and you had a great game, and you won this guy some $$...but Dan LeFevour...


disclaimer: the opinions of Gary on Central Michigan (and Notre Dame) do not necessarily reflect those of Empties Crushed, despite how right he is.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Notre Dame Trounced AGAIN

Once again, Notre Dame gets their pompous asses handed to them by a team with talent. Pretty easy to beat up on cup cakes like Army, Navy, Air Force, Stanford, and North Carolina. But when it comes time to facing anyone with athletic ability, the Fighting Irish get their teets smacked...AGAIN.

Here's an open plea to the BCS Selection Committee. Please, please, please put the consumately overrated (and overvalued) Notre Dame in a BCS bowl so we can all have fun at their expense again. We all know they don't deserve it, but watching Charlie Weiss look clueless is classic good times. Notre Dame can score a meaningless late TD so we can watch Jeff Samardzjia do his little girly hop in the end zone. That's always worth some laughs.

** Hi, my name's Tom. I'm a tough guy. But I'm lacking speed. Anyone willing to trade some speed and quickness for my tough guy looks, please reach me at the Golden Dome. You know where it's at. I play for the only football team that matters, but I'm tired of seeing WR's run laps around me.

** BOBBY MO!! 4-1!! Yeah Ber Ber!! Is this is the year Mark Schmidt takes the beloved Colonial dancing? Predicted 2nd in the NEC pre-season, Bob's got a slew of talent...senior floor leader Derek Coleman (above) is a pest on the defensive end, stud off-guard Tony Lee plays bigger than his size, soph Jeremy Chappell can light it up, and big man A.J. Jackson (24 ppg) has already been named NEC player of the week twice this year.

We'll forgive the lone loss to #2 ranked Pitt at the Pete last night. The Colonial actually led with about 12 minutes to go, but were just outmanned & outsized down the stretch. Bravo for the effort, boys.

Next up...crosstown rival Duquesne visits the Chuck on Saturday. Prediction: The Colonial pummels the Duke. Should be a packed house filled with the Colonial Crazies. I stress...should. I'm there.

** When it comes time for some of these ass clown sports writers to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I sincerely hope they remember Mark McGuire's words in front of Congress a few years ago:

"I'm not here to talk about the past."

Well guess what, dick? We don't care to talk about your past either. So no need to talk about your Hall of Fame credentials. See ya later. Don't let the syringe hit you on the ass on the way out.

** Sid. Back on the ice last Tuesday night. Winner. And hey!!! Colby Armstrong found the back of the net! Speaking of Sidney Crosby, I found some dude whose got a blog dedicated to all things Sid. Check it out:

** Anyone catch the end of the Steeler game? If they don't care, why should we? What a lame ass effort. I turned it off to watch my Inter Milan boys take down Palermo. We couldn't lose to a team wearing pink?!?! Adriano looks rejuvenated after his 'vacation' in Brazil. Frickin beautiful set up to Patrick Vieira who buried the game winner. Ibrahimovic goes off mid-2nd half with an apparent groin. No problem...bring on all-world Hernan Crespo. Estaban Cambiasso came back from injury, subbing in the 2nd half. 8 STRAIGHT Wins, including 2 in the Champions League! Firing on all cylinders boys!!

Speaking of futbol, my Kaka (Team Brasil) shirt just arrived! Yes, he plays on Inter's rival AC Milan, but the dude's a stud.

If you missed the Milan Derby (discussed here about a month ago), here's the Inter hi-lites, complete with Italian commentators. Not sure what they're saying, but it's beautiful!

** And finally, reserve your 2007 World Series tickets. The Pirates just resigned Damaso Marte. HELL YEAH!

Friday, November 24, 2006

He said it

Upon getting fired from Miami...pardon me moron Michael Irvin...the "U", Larry Coker said at his dismissal press conference today:

"I think we have a very disciplined program here at Miami."

Go ahead and laugh. Don't believe anything else needs to be said here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Weekends with Bob

Bob & the Ascended Masters
Easily the best 8 days of 2006 have been the ones we got to see Robert Pollard & his new band, the Ascended Masters. Which means that 2005 basically sucked. Well...not really, but life is so much better when we get to travel the great Midwest (and then some), hang out with some beautiful friends, and witness the greatest rock spectacle EVER. Without Bob, that whole formula just doesn't work as well.

The Abbey
was just as I remembered it 3 years ago (almost to the day, I believe). Kick ass in every way...great sound, small-ish, easy access to beers, the intimacy of the balcony. So many friendly faces in attendance. Actually, it was a reunion of sorts in that the Abbey was the first preshow where I met a few of the great people from Postal Blowfish, many of which I became good friends with. So raise a glass to the Abbey. The entire night was a gigantic Robert Pollard sing-a-long, drink, and hug lovefest, kind of how I remember it back in 2003 (actually, 2 of my fav GBV shows ever).

All of the Normal Happiness stuff sounds fantastic live. A little old school was mixed in, some of which I'd never heard GBV perform live..."Drag Days", "Wrinkled Ghost", and "No Sky." The end-of-show stompers like "Subspace Biographies" (We like that song here, could you tell?), "Motor Away", and "Everyone Thinks I'm a Raincloud" made their way back into the set. Some of the best of FaCE got carried over..."I Surround You Naked", "Conqueror of the Moon", "The Right Thing" just to mention a few. Basically, the same of what we've come to expect from an Uncle Bob setlist...2.5 hours of leg-kickin, mic-twirlin, party rockin fun.

Speaking of party. Mitch Mitchell kids. He wants to "MOTHERF%^&$NG PARTY!!!" So cool seeing good ole Mitch and his band the Terrifying Experience the next night in Dayton. I was never fortunate enough to see Mitch play with GBV, so this was a real treat for me. We walked into the Foundry just in time to hear him belting out some Clash..."I'm So Bored in the U.S.A." Mitch was the perfect opener for Bob to get the juices flowing. The only disappointment was not seeing him back on stage with Bob, which I think everyone's hopes were up for.

And just like the last show that GBV played in Dayton...THREE ENCORES!!!

"NEED-MORE-SONGS! NEED-MORE-SONGS!" is the new "G-B-V! G-B-V!" people. I think some people had tried a "BOB-BY-P! BOB-BY-P!" at previous shows, but I'm not sure that works. Don't quote me on this, but I'm not even sure Bob likes to be referred to as "Bobby." I thought I heard that one time. I may be wrong. But sign me up for "NEED-MORE-SONGS!"

Anyway...Jess was pretty sad she had to miss this one. And my lack of quality photos is what happens when she's not with me. Hanging with Tommy Keene for a while afterwards, he was kind enough to chat with her for a second on my phone. I'd asked him if he could talk her into going to Boston next week (although it looks like that's not happening now...GET WELL, BOB!!!). The next day, she'd asked, "Was that really Tommy Keene?" Uhh...yep.

Speaking of photos, here's a few from the Abbey and the Foundry:

Here's some footage from the Foundry...RP, Tommy, Jason Narducy, Jon Wurster, & Dave Phillips doing...what else..."Subspace Biographies." Except for the jumpiness, not all that bad. Who am I kidding...sure it is. You at least get a feel for the fun. I'm about 4 rows deep, and holding the camera while maintaining beer & uprighted-ness...was a difficult task (there's a fumble in there about 1:50 in...oops):

Speaking of "Drag Days", this video comes courtesy of good pal, fellow Midwest fish Joe Stopa, from the Abbey Pub. Thanks Joe!!!!

OK...if you already have Normal Happiness, or at least have the sense to check www.robertpollard.net on occasion, then this may be kinda old to you. My humblest. But if you don't...upon hearing this track here, you won't be able to help yourself from singing along. It's actually linked directly from the Bob's site. So play it loud on Thanksgiving day and give the whole family a treat. You and the fam will all be singing. You'll all be hooked. You'll all be normally happy. So listen up to this f%*#ing incredibly catchy gem from Bob...and then go buy.

(double click:)
Robert Pollard - Supernatural Car Lover

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pitt Wins Colonial Classic (and other Sporting Nonsense)

Nothing like inviting 3 patsies to your own round robin tournament, so you can throw another piece of hardware into the trophy case. After a weekend where your #5 nationally ranked Pitt Panthers swept Northeastern, UMass, and Oakland, Pitt claimed stake to the inaugural Colonial Classic crown.

BTW...not sure what's in that name, "The Colonial Classic"? I thought my Bobby Mo had the city's rights to the "Colonial."Oh, well.

Aaron Gray also got some hardware. The pre-season All Big East big dude won the "tournament's" MVP. Gray's gotta come up big this year if Pitt's gonna live up to that #5 ranking. Carl Krauser was a lot of things...a selfish ball hog, a whiner, an "I" guy, a turnover waiting to happen...but one thing Carl could do was score the ball.

A potential problem I see for my Panthers is the lack of a consistent #2 scoring option. Key word...consistent. Especially when they start Big East play...and you start seeing some bigger bodies doubling down on Gray.

Levon Kendall, while being a key ingredient, is more of a scrapper. Levance Fields, in his 1st chance as the full time PG, shouldn't be relied on to score consistently. Ronald Ramon can shoot it when open, but he doesn't create a lot of his own shots.

The key may be how good this new kid, transfer from East Carolina, Mike Cook becomes. So far, he looks pretty comfy, albeit against weaker competition. Cook led ECU in scoring 2 years ago, and so far he's shooting 75% from three. At 6'4", he can also shoot over some guys that Ronald Ramon can not. Cook's the key.

I'd also like to see Sam Young get more involved. Sam's a stud...your athletic high flyer...probably an NBA prospect if he can polish his offensive skills. And Tyrell Biggs is gonna have to step up as the big man off the pines. (Is it just me, or did that kid lose about 40 lbs??).

Anyway, nice start for Pitt. I won't get on them too much for the light non-conference schedule because the Big East is a beaaaatch.

So Sunday, Jess & I made our 1st trip back to the Pete in 2 years...since that bean bag AD Jeff Long decided to slap the fans in the face with his "auction" style seating plan. That's right Jeff...people would've paid higher prices. That wasn't the problem. Tell us the price, and we'd have paid it. Being an institution of higher learning...perhaps getting some marketing experts together to see what the market for basketball tickets would bear...that would be too much to ask. You jag. I swore off Pitt hoops after that. But hey...Long's deficiencies as a PR guy for Pitt aren't Jamie Dixon or the players' faults. So we're back. Jeff Long can go f....

Never mind...too angry...someone's got the case of the Monday's...more sporting tidbits:

* So the Cubs are attempting to buy a World Series again? Soriano's a stud, but here's betting Wood and Prior get hurt again. Yes, the Pirates suck as well, but at least our losing seasons are a lot less expensive.

* Is NASCAR over yet?

* Inter Milan won 1-Nil Sunday over Reggina. Hernan Crespo with the lone goal. And there was an Adriano sighting!!! BIG MATCH ALERT: This Sunday, Nov. 26th vs. 2nd place Palermo. Haven't seen a listing yet, but I imagine it'll be on Fox Soccer or GOLTV.

* So the same week Georgetown is featured on the cover of SI’s College Hoops Preview, they lose to Old Dominion. Being on the cover of SI is like having Mike Tyson wear your campaign T-shirt when you’re running for the U.S. Senate. How’s that old New York Dolls tune go…”Born to Lose…”

* Put me on the Ohio St / Michigan rematch for the BCS Championship bandwagon. That was fun. If you think someone other than Michigan is worthy, you either lack credibility or you're a Buckeye fan afraid of the Wolverine on a neutral field. Unbiased opinion. And don't even start with this Notre Dame crap.

* Staying with college hoops…has anyone noticed Florida junior Joakim Noah? Don’t worry, he’ll pound on his chest until you do.


Steelers 24
Browns 20

* Nothing like bringing a couple ass bags like Braylon Edwards & Kellen "Soldier" Winslow to the table to spice up an old rivalry that seemed to be losing some zest. I've got some Browns fans here (B. Seitz & the Browns Backers...who luvs ya?), so I use that term "ass bag" with the utmost affection. I'm sure the feeling's mutual regarding Joey Porter.

Great game. Great comeback from the Beloved. Did you hear? Big Ben said he refused to come out of the game when Cowher asked about his shoulder. What a warrior. Then he put on his baseball hat backwards.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all. Remember, there's 3 (THREE!!) NFL games on this Thursday! So when Aunt Sally Ann Handbags wants to turn off the TV for dinner, be sure to tell her you want to watch the Detroit Lions.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


No cover?? Dude, that's so punk rock. First time I saw Jamie's old band, The Moodswingers, they did a cover of GBV's "Bulldog Skin." Jamie - you had me at "I".

After getting together with fellow Pittsburgher artist/rocker Rick Bach to form Nudebutcher, Jamie Saunders is at it again, this time with his new band Moodsickness. Dennis Childers, who also played with the Moodswingers & Nudebutcher is back on drums (Dennis kicks ass!!), and playing bass is Martin Kantorzyk, formerly of Carsickness.

Dude, I get it!! Moodswingers + Carsickness = Moodsickness. Very crafty. Very crafty, my friend.

Anyway, it's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a hangover from Thanksgiving eve. I'm there.

You should be, too.

Here's some old skool Moodswingers (since I don't have any Moodsickness). I believe Jamie's being a little facetious here:

(left click to play, right click to download):
The Moodswingers - Rock Star

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More on Portastatic

As promised.

I'm no techi, so I'm not sure why those 2 videos below are outta sync with the audio. So that sucks. A You Tube thing? I know it doesn't look like that pre-You Tube. I dunno.

Anyway, Portastatic was a blast. I hope some of you Chicagoans got out to Schuba's Saturday night. There had to be a better turn out than the Warhol on Friday.

And speaking of that...shame on you Pittsburgh! Maybe 40 people in attendance?? That's brutal. I mean...Frank Black wasn't playing across town this time. No wonder we don't get any good bands to come here. And here's part owner of Merge Records in town, and nobody shows. Great. My hopes of seeing the Essex Green come to the Burgh are crashed.

Instead, we get Nickelback. Fricking Nickelback. That's right, I got a spam e-mail the other day from Ticketbastard advertising for a March, 2007 show for f%&*in NICKELBACK! I mean...it's in March for the luv of God. Didn't Nickelback get, like, banned from Canada, their home country, for being so lame. I know they got nixed from getting tickets for the big Ohio St / Michigan game.

OK...I apologize for the rant. But Nickelback?!?!? Now that I sound like pompous indie rock guy...back to Portastatic...

Mac & crew rocked. Here's the setlist if anyone cares, although I believe Mac always posts the setlist on his blog...so it's not like this is late breaking info. But Jess did get the setlist. Oh...and we now have our own Portastatic 4-piece coaster set. Very neat.

One of the hi-lites was definitely "Drill Me", from 2003's The Summer of the Shark album (see sampling below, rock out). Both "Through with People" and "White Wave" from 2005's Bright Ideas, which is probably my favorite of all of Mac's non-Superchunk material. I highly recommend going over to Merge and picking up a copy.

We just picked up the new one, Be Still Please, so I need to give that a few more spins. From first sounds, it's a little mellower than Bright Ideas, but so far we likeys. "Sour Shores" was a gem live.

My requests for "Tree Killer" during the encore were denied, but we did get a fantastic cover of the Go-Betweens "Bye Bye Pride" (Grant McLennan: RIP). That was cool.

And afterwards, Jim Wilbur, also from Superchunk, was kind enough to snap one off with Jess & I. Very nice. Good work, Nick.

As promised, here's "Drill Me":
(left click to play, right click to download):
Portastatic - Drill Me

For Jim Franklin

Penn St 17
Mich St 13

Even with Joe Pa in the booth, your Spartans just can't get it done.

Other than another loss, how the hell are ya, buddy?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Portastatic in Pitt

Hell YEAH!!! Mac rawking the Burgh! Too boozy to post more, just wanted to get this out there......White Wave, Portastatic, Andy Warhol...tonite!!!

Sorry...got cut off...that blows, i know...here's the end...if you're real quick with your mouse, you won't miss a thing, i swear:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deerhoof at the Andy Warhol

We'd never been to the Andy Warhol Museum before to see a live band, so this was a completely new experience for us. A rather sweet one as well, as there was probably only 100 there, which seems like an insanely small crowd. It's Deerhoof!!!! I guess that's not great for the band, but for the sole purpose of our viewing pleasure it was. Perhaps all the hipsters went to see Frank Black, who was also playing that night, down the street at Mr. Small's. No offense to Mr. Pixie, but when you get a chance to see a band like Deerhoof at a small venue in the Burgh...you go. You go. You go. You go.

I've heard Deerhoof described as a "pop / noise" band, and the rap I get from the unfortunate ones who don't 'get' Deerhoof, is that it's too much of the latter. I'd venture to say that if you saw them live, you may 'get' it. I hate to say that you need to see them live, because it almost sounds like a diss to their recordings (Go get The Runners Four. Do it. Now). The music may be a little tough to classify...too difficult to fit neatly into one section of the rock box. But the fact is...they f#%king RAWK!

Satomi's dreamy vocals and animated stage presence backed by Saunier's bombastic drumming and John Dieterich on guitar...once it really hits you, it becomes somewhat addicting. I'm no music critic, so I'll stop right there. But this is one band you don't wanna miss.

Incredibly nice and personal chaps as well, Greg & John. I'm sure Satomi is a sweetheart as well, but unfortunately we didn't get to see her afterwards.

Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier reacts (left) after the show when I tell him he's my "2nd" favorite drummer. Is that offensive in any way? Well...I guess that would depend on the sample size, but he seemed appreciative. And anyway...if I would've said "favorite," that probably would've sounded like bullshit. "2nd favorite" probably lends the comment a little more creedence. Who knows. I don't think he was offended.

And I wasn't shittin. Greg's the man, and I wouldn't place him 2nd to anyone in terms of pure energy. You can probably tell by my goofy awe-struck expression above that I'm a fan. And if it wasn't for my notoriously aching bad back, I'd emmulate his style a litte more when I air drum at home. I'd probably need to stack a 2nd milk crate for support, however :)

Btw...how kick ass is this drum kit? I'm voting Greg as President of the Less-is-More Contingent. A snare, kick drum, a couple of cymbals, and a milk crate. And a plethora of sticks (the way he wails away, he needs 'em).

I actually grabbed this tune on video at the show, but just like the do-it-myself one following it, and typical of some of my other video...it's not that great. So, courtesy of someone called 'musicpenguin' from You Tube, here's "Flower," from the Apple O' record. It's a great visual representation of Deerhoof, especially of Greg's crazed style.

This one goes out to my good pal Dennis, because I know he luvs this song. The Warhol's pretty dark, and I'm not all that close, so enough of the lame excuses and here's the damn video already:

And finally, for the mp3 loving crowd, here's one from the Kill Rock Stars sample section. Go on over there and make a purchase or two. The Runners Four album, as well as the Green Cosmos EP, both from 2005 are very nice places to start, maybe work backwards from there. This one's from The Runners Four (heads up...my ezarchive thingy is still f'd up, hence why most of the mp3 thingies on Empties Crushed haven't worked...this one you can download straight from KRS by double clicking below):

Deerhoof - Wrong Time Capsule

OH! And big kudos to opening act, Fog, lead by the multi-talented Andy Broder. Appears they're doing a set of dates with Deerhoof as well as Magnolia Electric Co. If you get a chance, definitely check these guys out.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Things To Do in Pittsburgh When the Steelers are Dead

Jess & LG

So the beloved Black & Gold have become complacent after dominating the NFL in 2005-06. It could be expected, but nonetheless is certainly disappointing. Howeva,(said in Stephen A. Dork voice) don't let that get you down. If you plan on heading down to the friendly confines of Heinz Field, you can still get silly crazy at your own little tailgate party.

Grab some beers, some tasty eats, and a few of your closest pals...and you've set yourself up for a nice little Sunday. Make sure to bring some pork chops, as well some other meats & cheeses. You'll need a nice little base for all of the frosty beverages you'll consume.

Oh...and you definitely need a grillmaster. Someone dependable who won't torch your meat. Someone that you can really count on in the crunch...when kickoff is approaching and you need that one last brat to bury. A team leader, if you will. You need a guy that won't act like an ass clown when you ask for ketchup, no mustard. Someone the kids can look up to as a real role model. Like this guy:


If tailgating just isn't your bag, we here at Empties Crushed have come up with the following list of things to do in the Burgh, just to get you through the end of football season:

  1. See Borat. Maybe, just maybe the funniest movie EVER. I know, you think I'm embellishing a bit. No joke, y'all. If you don't laugh at this movie, you're a lost soul. Check your local listings.
  2. Go see the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Penguins. Sid the Kid & Evgeni Malkin are the real deal, kids.
  3. Three Rivers Film Fest, November 2-16. I'll be back in a few weeks with a half-assed report.
  4. Pitt Hoops at the Pete. Unfortunately, we gave up our season tickets because of that scum bag of an Athletic Director Jeff Long's new ticket policy, which was a total sham and screwed its long time loyal fans. However, that's not the players' fault and its an issue for another entry. Pitt is ranked #4 in the nation, pre-season, and they're predicted to win the Big East. High Five.
  5. A few bands to see in the Burgh over the next month: Mac McCaughan's band Portastatic at the Andy Warhol, the Appleseed Cast at Mr. Small's, the Brazilian Girls at the Rex Theatre.
  6. Cheer for the Steelers to lose. Sounds crazy. But a true fan knows the value of swallowing pride when the season is lost, and roots to lose out. The more we lose, the higher the draft pick. I'd rather finish 2-14 than 7-9. If we lose enough, we may just be able to move up high enough to draft Brady Quinn (since it appears Big Ben has lost the mental capacity for the game). I don't recommend taking this tactic to the game, but rather, in the confines of your own home with a few understanding friends.
  7. Spend time with a loved one. I mean, it's only football. It's only a game. Next time your team is getting their tits peeled, think about what really matters in the world...your friends and family. That's right. It's only a game. I said it. So go give your significant other a big hug, and tell her/him that Gary sent you.

If you do go to the game, don't be that guy:

Don't be that guy

And don't be a little whiner about the refs, either. Always remember #7 above..it's only a game, Jess.

Pass Interference?!?!  That's Crap.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Viva Milan Derby

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My boys from Inter Milan take down AC Milan,4-3 in the year's first Milan Derby at San Siro. HELL YA!!!

My boy, Marco Materazzi, puts in what would eventually be the game winner with a beautiful header off of a free kick from Ivan Cordoba. That gave Inter a commanding 4-1 lead, but Materazzi got yellow carded for the celebration (above). His second yellow of the game made Inter shorthanded for the rest of the game...providing AC Milan with the much needed spark to rally. Down 4-2 going into extra time, Kaka put in the 3rd AC Milan goal during innjury time. Inter would hold off a furious rally in the last couple minutes to hold on.

Easily the best I soccer game I have ever seen. Or since I became a fan 4 months ago.

Three days later, we notch a big 1-Nil victory over Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, putting us back into 2nd place in Group B behind Bayern Munich.

Coincidence that Inter has looked more impressive since sending Adriano back to Brazil? I'm no expert, so I dunno. But Adriano has looked pretty uninspired in all of the other Inter games I've watched.

Anyways...this match is being rebroadcast on GolTV Thursday night at 9:00pm. So after The Office, throw this one on for some thrilling Serie A action. Sorry if I spoiled the ending.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Horror

Every October, Jess & I stack the horror flicks at the top of the Netflix Q. Some newly scene, some revisited. Many of the latter, however, since I believe the modern horror film has become, well...just too modern. Too many of today's films rely on post-production & state-of-the-art gimmickry that usually turns the movie into an overblown, overcast, overproduced, overbudgeted pile of junk. It amazes me all of these remakes that keep getting shoved into our faces: The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Omen, The Fog, When a Stranger Calls, etc, etc. It's a shame that the majority of the present day movie viewers that these redo's are marketed toward can not appreciate the originals for what they were. Otherwise, why make them? Instead of the junk of today, give me some old school artistic vision, some craftiness with the camera, and a spooky musical score.

One note before we start, regarding an annoying trait of some horror film viewers. When I sit down in the big chair with popcorn & Jujyfruits in hand, I totally submerse myself into the movie (picking at the teeth, aside). I'm ready to be entertained, and in the case of this particular genre...scared, spooked, or just left feeling awkward and creeped out. If you're the type of person that comes out of a scary movie with a challenging attitude of "that didn't scare me" or "that couldn't happen," then you should probably skip these recommendations. You may simply find them "cheesy." Go watch some feel good Sandy Bullock dumb ass movie.

As mentioned, much of what you'll see here are older films, which are simply what I prefer when it comes to this genre. These films offer a certain aesthetic that you just can't find in today's horror. Right on time for Halloween weekend, here's a few of the best ones we've watched (of about 30) over the past month:

Suspiria (1977) - Frickin FANTASTIC film, and probably my favorite one directed by Italian horror master, Dario Argento. For those sub-title haters in the crowd...don't get yer panties in a bunch. It's all English speaking, although there are some dubbed voices in there. However, nothing to deter from how great this film is.

I believe the tagline on Suspiria was, "The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes, are the first 92." Probably not the greatest tagline for those viewers (like me) who don't wish to know the length of a film before it starts, especially suspenseful thrillers. SPOILERS, PEOPLE!

I don't know anything about film making, but I'm told Argento's use of colors (is it the technicolor technique?) that's one of the enduring qualities that makes the images in Suspiria so unique. The murder sequences are simply horific, and the music to the film, performed by a band named "Goblin," ranks right up there with John Carpenter's original Halloween music...at least in my book.

Without giving away too much of the story, it's basically the best horror film you'll ever see about witches, co-written by Argento and his girlfriend at the time, Daria Nicolodi.

Recommendation: Serious Hi-Fives

Martin (1977) - George A. Romero's low budget film about a teenage kid, Martin (left), who believes he is a vampire. Don't expect Night of the Living Dead, or Dawn of the Dead here. It's a tad different from those zombie classics in that there's no classic monster images. I mean...Martin is a vampire (or is he? maybe he's not?), but there are no fangs piercing from his gums. He doesn't rise at night from a coffin and he doesn't get deterred by clumps of garlic.

On the contrary, Martin, played by John Amplas, stalks his prey in a more concise, practical way than your typical "nosferatu," which his uncle calls him throughout the film (which is pretty comical, actually). Martin's manuerisms and Romero's setting lend a realism to this film, whereas other vampire movies may lean towards more of a fantasy realm.

My fellow Pittsburgh posse will find it even more interesting in that it was filmed locally in Braddock, PA. As a special treatie for all my fellow RMU kids, you get to see former Robert Morris professor Tony Buba, who gets a little cameo role as a drug dealer at the end of the movie. This is also the first film that Romero had pal Buba do the sound for (the 2nd, I'm rather certain was Dawn of the Dead). Make sure you don't skip the extras of the DVD, which includes a short little 'making of Martin.' The house that Martin is shot in is actually Buba's former home in Braddock (you even get to see Mama Buba interviewed!). Great stuff.

confidential note to the RMU-ers: if anyone has the ability, please forward this to Tony. I would love to hear how he's doing. Word on the streets (translate: Nick), is that he's now working locally on a documentary, but you'd all know better than me. Selfishly speaking, I'd also like to know how in the world I can ever see 'Lightning Over Braddock: A Rustbowl Fantasy.'

For those not familiar with Buba, the documentary above was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at 1989's Sundance Film Fest. And for another little tidbit (straight from my personal Rain Man of film; translate again: Nick), legend has it that Mr. Buba actually shared a room at that Sundance with Mr. Steven Soderburgh, who happened to be premiering a little indie classic that year called, Sex, Lies & Videotape. Now that is some trivia bustin-out shits right there people...straight from your friends at 'Empties Crushed'.

HOLY CRAP, Nick! Six Degrees of Tony Buba! Starting with Robert Pollard (hint: use Soderburgh's Bubble). Or something like that.

OK, sorry for the sidetrack. Anyways...if you haven't yet seen Martin, it's well worth the spin.

last house

Last House on the Left (1972) - to avoid fainting, keep repeating:
It's only a movie
It's only a movie
It's only a movie

Or at least that's what the original trailer advised. Legend has it that when this film first hit theatres, there were people leaving in disgust, some even vomitting in the aisles. So that's pretty cool, right there. Wes Craven's first film is not your typical horror flick in that it's not as scary as it is brutally creepy & over-the-edge violent. One of its original titles that producer Sean S. Cunningham (who later produced the original Friday the 13th) came up with was "Sex Crime of the Century." But they later settled on 'Last House...' when some marketing guru saw it and suggested the title to Cunningham & Craven. A nice little extra in the DVD is the making of the movie, which surprisingly features the entire cast of the film (give or take a couple).

Included in the 'making' is David Hess (left, raping), the actor who plays Krug, the leader of this motley crue of thugery. Hess also does the original music for the film, a kind of goofy folk spin, which offers a stark, yet lighthearted contrast to the happenings on the screen. Not to say it's not effective. Quite the contrary, it adds a real-ness, everyday-ness kind of appeal that screams 'this crazy shit can really happen.'

It's amazing to compare this work from Craven, and say, The Hills Have Eyes (another creepy gem, imho) to a movie like Red Eye, which I thought was complete garbage (sorry, Wes). Hey, but those are the Hollywood blockbusters that pay the bills.

I won't spoil the rest of the Last House on the Left but let's just say that the violence bestowed upon the two original girlies is not the end the terror. So strap yourself in with this one, don't pee your pants (foreshadowing), and remember that it's only a movie.

Evil Dead (1982) - maybe the first of the horror / comedy genre that I'm aware of, with a little less of the latter than its two follow-ups, Dead By Dawn and Army of Darkness. A group of friends go to a cabin in the woods for nice weekend of fun, and happen to find a taped translation of a 'Book of the Dead.' There's definitely a lesson to be learned here. Don't ever actually play the translation. That's when the evil arises from the woods. That's when the gore happens. Lots of gore. Bloody & brutal gore.

Bruce Campbell would go on to define the genre, and for any fan of his, I would highly recommend seeing this one 1st and foremost.

Nosferatu (1922) - OK. Let's get this straight. I highly doubt this film's gonna scare anyone. I've seen lists, and heard comments on how it's one of the "scarier" films of all time. I would say that's a reach. I mean...it's a silent film! Hence, prep yourself for some humorous over-acting to compensate. But please don't let that scare you.

I do, however, highly recommend checking it out from a simple nostalgic point of view. And I would dare say that Count Orlok (played by Max Schreck) is definitely one of the creepiest looking monsters of all time. Other film buffs will probably be able to tell you why it's such a great historical film, but I'll stay away from such conversation, and leave that to the more knowledgeable film peeps.

I simply enjoy the creepy images of Orlock and his castle, as well as the landscape shots of old Germany. There's a cool extra in the DVD that will show you comparison photos of both Bismarck, Germany then and now, and many of the buildings, while some are refurbished, still stand today. Call me a romantic turd, but I think that's well worth the rental.

At the very least, if the silent-ness of the film bores you (there is a score, at least), maybe Nosferatu can serve as a mood piece for some background fodder at your next Halloween clam bake. I guess that may come off as blasphemy to some folk.

Audition (2000)
- now while Audition isn't silent, it is a Japanese film, so prep yourself for some sub-titles. I know that will have many of you running for the exits, but you'd be very remissed if you didn't give this one a shot. It's not really your prototypical horror film, but trust me...you will be horrified by the time it's over. And it's definitely a slow mover, but that's part of the greatness of Audition. Director Takashi Miike slowly builds the tension throughout, right up to one of the most memorable climatic scenes in any horror film, ever. Providing you can keep your eyes on the screen.

Please see this film. You will not be disappointed and you will most definitely be disturbed.

Demons (1985) - think 28 Days Later, but trapped inside a movie theatre, and without the disappointing 2nd half. Or at least that's what these ghoul-like zombie demons seem resemble (i.e. they're fast). When I originally saw Demons, I'd mistakenly thought that it was another Dario Argento directed film. Well...Argento is actually the producer of the film, and it is directed by fellow Italian, Lamberto Bava. Upon watching the first five minutes, it's obvious it's not Argento directed, because it just doesn't seem as good as say, Suspiria (above), or Tenebre, or Phenomena.

That's not to say Demons isn't a quality, fun-packed ride through the world of flesh eating ghouls. Corny 80's music aside, Demons is a lot of fun. So bottom line...don't expect Argento, but I'd recommend it nonetheless.

Shock Waves (1976) - as one of the quotes on the poster above claims, "the BEST of the Nazi Zombie horror movies." What it forgets to mention, they can also breath under water!

Actually, the only other Nazi zombie film I saw was Zombie Lake, which sucked.

But Shock Waves, on the other hand, is magnificent on every level (yes...I'm sticking by that statement). I love this film more and more each year. You can all poke fun at me all you want, but it's become an obsession. As Jess is my witness, an October can't go by without watching Shock Waves at least once.

It starts out with a still black & white photo of an actual group of Nazi SS troopers, with a narration that sounds like it's right out of In Search Of, minus the Leonard Nimoy voice. Legend has it that during WWII, some German Frankenstein-like doctors designed this indestructible soldier, trained in killing people with their bare hands (sounds like Bicks, actually). Oh, and they could breath under water. They called them...the "Death Corps."

Well, the Death Corps ship set sail for a 3 hour tour, during which, the war had ended. The ship turns into a ghost ship at some point because it gets lost and is never heard from again. Until now. Somewhere off the coast of Miami, some 40 years later, these crazy German bastards are up to no good.

Much of the film takes place on this tropical isle, during daylight hours as a group of vactioners are taking a little cruise in the Atlantic. It's this summer holiday setting, cast amidst the terror of the zombies, that gives Shock Waves a dichotemy of sorts that I'm pretty fond of.

Supporting roles by horror legends Peter Cushing and John Carradine lend a little credence to an otherwise unknown cast. A young Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Dead Zone) appears as the skimpy clothed whore. The best way I can say it:

Shock Waves is EVERYTHING!

Here's the original trailer, which I found from some dude on You Tube (it's somewhat soothing to the senses to know there are other Shock Waves fans out there):