...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, 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.