...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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Spain wins Europe, Shows Sack

Sergio Garcia can barely contain himself as time winds down in yesterday's final.

Congrats to Spain...WAY overdue major title to a country that's loaded with talented footballers. And congrats to Euro 2008, as well. Tremendous...exhilarating 3-week display of the beautiful game.

One of my favorite players from Barcelona... Xavi...Player of the Euro 2008.

Revisiting some of my terrible pre-tournament predictions:

  • Italy, sucked.
  • Spain, my 2nd choice, wins it. Very nice.
  • Had 2 of the 4 Group Winners, 6 of the 8 Quarter finalists. Eh.
  • Top goal scorers, Luca Toni and Antonio Di Natale. Ok...stop laughing.
  • Fernando Torres, somehow got named to the all-tourney team. Great game winner yesterday, but for most of the tournament I thought he was rather average.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mates of State

Mates of State

Got to check out Mates of State last week at Mr. Small's. Fun little show...

Mates of State

Mates of State

performing "Goods (All in Your Head)"...


Appears they're playing a Lollapalooza aftershow at the Double Door on August 1st, so you Chicago peeps should get on out to check 'em out.

A couple from their 2003 album, Team Boo....

(left click to play; right click to download)
Mates of State - Whiner's Bio

Mates of State - Ha Ha

Check out their mySpace page here, or go buy the new album Re-Arrange Us on Barsuk Records here.

Here's "Fraud in the 80's" from the 2006 album Bring It Back...

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Closer You Are...

the quicker it hits you...

bringing closure to the Pens season, or at least trying to. However, with a plethora of unrestricted FA's still unsigned, the puck stress is still killing me.

Malone's a goner, but if for some crazy reason he gets resigned, that's my next jersey. The whole puck to the pre-broken face thingy really sold me on this guy...tough as balls. But as I said, he's most likely outta here. 2007-08 was fun. Prior to that...I ripped you for being a pansy-ass. But you stepped up big time this year, and will get paid elsewhere for it.

I want the Pens to resign Hossa. If not for any other reason...to spite Pierre McGuire who insists there's no chance. With the cap going up $6.4 million (as opposed to the predicted $3), I feel a bit better about the prospects.

We may need to move one of these offensive defensemen. With Letang and Goligoski, Whitney and Gonchar's contracts are too large to keep. Gonch is getting up there, and Whitney simply isn't worth the $4 million they're giving him. I'd rather his contract got moved over to Orpik.

Gary Roberts. Thank you, sir.

Whatever happens, just keep in mind...

a little more than 3 months til the puck drops in Stockholm, Sweden.

Can. Not. Wait.

Posted some pics from the last couple months over at flickr. Good times...


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lots more, click here

Dave T...thanks for the DVD!!! Any of my fellow Pens pals out there...need to contact him re: this must see...capturing the whole season along with some great playoff party moments. Glorious times.

Addio Donadoni

"I'm sorry that a penalty kick has decided this situation," ... "Over these last two years, my Italy also did something positive, and one last game can't erase that"

It wasn't just the loss, but the style of the loss...completely embarrassing to all fans of futbol. Somehow that equals "positive" in RD's mind. There's a fine line when you play that style. Win...your fans will at least tolerate it. Lose...and the entire futbol world loathes you.

Good riddance.

Lippi's Back!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Switch Pitcher vs. Switch Hitter

wow. 2 posts referring to baseball in the same day. these are crazy times. thanks to Bachman for sending this along...

in typical baseball fashion, this took forever to sort out.

Boston Spacehips (read: ROBERT effin POLLARD!!!) Tour Dates Announced

last week, actually. yeah, I'm late to the party as usual...

Thu 9/25 Cincinnati OH - Midpoint Music Festival
Fri 9/26 Cleveland OH - Grog Shop
Sat 9/27 Washington DC - Black Cat
Mon 9/29 Philadelphia PA - Johnny Brendas
Tue 9/30 Boston MA - Paradise
Wed 10/1 New York City - Highline Ballroom
Fri 10/3 Ann Arbor MI - Blind Pig
Sat 10/4 Dayton OH - Dayton Music Festival
Mon 10/6 Chicago IL - Double Door
Tue 10/7 St Paul MN - Turf Club
Thu 10/9 Campaign IL - High Dive
Fri 10/10 St Louis MO - Bluebird
Sat 10/11 Memphis TN - Hi Tone
Tue 10/14 Austin TX- Parish
Wed 10/15Dallas TX - The Loft
Fri 10/17 Atlanta GA - The Earl
Sat 10/18 Nashville TN- Mercy Lounge

so much for the notion of Bob slowing down on the live tour scoop. 17 dates in 24 days!!!!! I will be there for at least 4 of them, so I've got that going for me.

Boston Spaceships are Bob, Chris Slusarenko on geetar (former GBV bass), and John Moen on drums (Decemberists, SM & the Jicks). Joining them on tour will be Jason Narducy (kick ass!!) and Tommy Keene (Keene Bros).

Go here to listen to "Go For the Exit" from the forth coming album or go to their mySpace page for that and more.

The debut album Brown Submarine will be released September 9th on GBV, Inc., which will surely be available at Rockathon Records. Speaking of Rockathon, appears that Rich T has included a new little e-mail announcement feature thingy which is now available for your convenience. Simply go here, enter your e-mail, and get all the latest up-to-date info on Rockathon merch. Sweet.

The Yankees are Coming....YAY!

No disrespect to the Yankees, but this is HUGE news around Pittsburgh for some reason.

With the Pens season over, and the Steelers preseason over a month away, it gets pretty slow around these parts in June.

Bad Football

The play of my beloved Italia side on Sunday against Spain was downright embarrassing. Going into the Euro Quarters, this looked to be the most attractive match-up between 2 legit powerhouses. It ended up being the only snoozefest of the round. We play 120 minutes with the intention of trying to win on PK's, only to see De Rossi and DiNatale pucker up when the match was on the line. Buffon was stellar as usual, and he kept us in it with another PK save in the shootout...which s/b enough to win it. But as someone always tells me, when your goalie is your best player...

Luca Toni sucked the entire tournament, but his support was rather lacking as well.

Cassano just isn't there yet. Di Natale was brutal. Our offense is way too dependant on getting the ball deep to Toni, and very unimaginative when he is not in form (i.e. blows). Shit...I'd rather have Pippo Inzaghi out there. Sure, he'd be called offsides a dozen times during the match, but at least he'd try to go forward.

Pirlo was missed, as predicted.

WHERE THE FUCK WAS DEL PIERO?!?!? Roberto Donadoni brings him on in the 110th minute?? Maybe that's when he realized the long-ball prayers to Luca just weren't getting the job done. I'm absolutely sick of this guy. Bring back Marcello Lippi, please!!

Ambrosini played well in place of Gattuso, but maybe we missed the feistiness of the crazed one...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mark Recchi Apologizes

So in light of the NHL season coming to an end, I've been playing a lot of NHL 08 on PS3 lately, opting to play "dynasty mode" with my beloved Pens. I started the entire 07-08 season over, and have been trying to emulate the same moves Mr. Shero pulled off throughout the season.

A couple of weeks into the season, I called up Mr. Kennedy from Wilkes-Barre, and to make room for him in the line-up, I started scratching an under performing Mark Recchi. A few games after not dressing, I rec'd the above message from Recchi.

Hilarious. But I've got to think of what's best for the organization.

Screw him. Recchi has since been waived.

Pirates Plan "Italian Day"

Tomorrow at 1:35, your Pittsburgh Pirates host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:35pm. The promotion of the day is:

"Italian Day - Join the Pirates for authentic cuisine, music and entertainment on the PNC Park Riverwalk."

Too bad there won't be any Italians around as they'll all BE WATCHING THE ITALY / SPAIN EURO 2008 QUARTERFINAL THAT KICKS OFF AT 2:45PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeesh. Talk about an organization that just can't get it right.

At least some good pals of mine got to see free baseball last night, as the Bucos went 12 innings with the those silly Cito Gaston revived Blue Jays. They only got to see 1 run cross the dish, but they got free baseball.

Wait what? 1 run after 12 innings?!?!?!?! What kind of sport is that? How boring (insert smiley face here).

I overheard that the highlight of the game was Roy Halladay taking it in the face.

Heartbreak Shitty

My heart goes out today to all my Croatian pals up North, most of who are probably waking up this morning and hoping the Croatia / Turkey ending was just a bad dream.

After 119 minutes, Croatia finally got on the board, and appeared to be on their way to the semi's with a 1-Nil victory over a scrappy Turkey squad. Then 2 minutes into stoppage time (of the extra 30), on most likely the last play of the game, the Turkey GK sends a 3/4 field long ball to the top of the 18...it falls harmlessly to the foot of Semih Senturk, who promptly buries it in the back of the onion bag...1-1. Un. Fucking. Believable.

Here come the penalties. Three misses by Cro seals their fate. For 121 minutes, I had wished I was watching with my passionate Croatian pals. After the shocking ending, I was glad I wasn't. Images of Slaven Bilic consoling his players after the match were tough enough to handle.

Hats of to Turkey, who appeared to have spent all their last minute heroics in their last match of the Group Stage against CR...just to get to this game. But for the 2nd game in a row, the footie gods were on their side. Next up...Germany.

Prototypical American sentiment will say..."no goals for 119 minutes?!?!" Much like the majority of this Euro Cup, this match was highly entertaining drama...right down to the 122nd minute. Sport just doesn't get any better. Two + hours of inspiring athletic attrition with only 15 minutes of commercials at half time. Majestic.

Italy / Spain tomorrow. EVERYTHING.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A quick note for all the Amoeba Knievel fans...

Tommy and band are playing another show at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern...

TOMORROW, as in Saturday 6/21, 10:00 pm

with the Frampton Bros and Teen Riot

$5 Cheap. Good times. Unfortunately, I will not be there...but you should be.

Here's some Amoeba Knievel from last year doing "City of Domes" at Flux last June


Don't Call Me "Pac-Man", or I'll Kill You

Anytime Pac-Man...excuse me Adam Jones is mentioned in the news, I'm reminded of a line from Kevin Smith's mid-90's film "Mallrats." A little kid looking at the sailboat poster says, "It's a schooner." To which, Ethan Suplee's fat character responds:
"(insert laughter) You Dumb Bastard."
Yeah...your nickname was the problem. Where's your brain? Seriously.

Moving on...

lots of ketching up to do after our trip to lovely Guelph, ON...still need to post those Pens Playoff pics, lots of Euro and other footie action to follow up on, and we went to see Mates of State the other night at Mr. Small's. To be continued over the next few days...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

EURO 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just in time to ease the Stanley Cup woes. Appears most of the action can be caught on ESPN2, here's the entire viewing schedule...2-a-days in Group play through June 18 prior to the Quarterfinals which start on June 19.

Think...world's biggest futbol tournament after the World Cup. The best teams in the world, sans South America.

OK...a day late, but here's my official picks, like I know what the hell I'm talking about. Like always, though, I do put my $$ where my mouth is:

Group Winners:
Portugal, Italy, Germany, Spain (that's really stepping out on a limb)

Others to advance:
Switzerland (to get in over Czech Rep, and yes I know they lost yesterday)
Netherlands (yep...France exits early, that's my pick)

my beloved Italy. FORZA AZZURRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

minus all-world defender Fabio Cannavaro (and as its looks, maybe Panucci as well), we'll still march on in front of the planet's best GK (after Fleury) in Gigi Buffon.

not sure if it would work out this way, but I'll go with Spain after their disappointing showing in the WC.

Top Goal Scorers:
Luca Toni
Fernando Torres
Antonio Di Natale (semi-darkhorse)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Robert Pollard Stuff

Very blasphemous, but Uncle Bob has been a forgotten man around these parts lately with all the hockey craziness and stuff...

At least we've not been too buried to know his new album, Off To Business, was released...and promptly arrived at our doorstep last week courtesy Rockathon. Another Pollard gem...as it's been declared here...the final 4 tracks are the best 4 tracks ever featured in a row by Bob on anything ever (we're still expecting confirmation on this from gbvh). Actually, if you're a fan of track #6 "Weatherman and Skin Goddess", could it be the best side ever?

Go to Rockathon and ORDER HERE

*** If you order the vinyl from Rockathon, you get a free CDR as well. Long Live Rockathon!! Hurry, there's only 500 copies.

You can also order the download from FINA HERE


Also must thank gbvh for the heads up via The Buddha Den, that Bob is playing the 2008 Dayton Music Fest!!!! Just 4 short hours from the Burgh, in early October (I believe)...we're there.

And hey, let's the throw the great party...

We are the proud new owners of Propeller #77.


Thanks to my lovely girlfriend, Jessica...and Trader Vic who sold it to us. Life is that much more complete.


Someone sent me this the other day, Rob O'Connor's List of the Day - The 25 Best Alternative Rock Bands of the 1990's, featuring our beloved Guided By Voices at #9. Interesting list. I tend to keep in mind this is one man's opinion, so I don't take it personally. Although all of the Nirvana enthusiasts probably will when they see their band behind GBV at #10 :)

From a look at some of the comments, it looks like this guy upset a few people (how dare he have an opinion!!), with the inclusion of what many of the Yahoo readers call "unknown" bands.

Remember, he dubs it "Best" and not "Most Popular." There is a difference.

To each their own. At least my personal #1 (duh), #2 (Pavement), and possible #3 (Sonic Youth) are in there. How dare he not include Yo La Tengo and Superchunk. What a bastard.

Paul Pierce Shot, Crippled, then Leads Celtics to Victory

or at least that's what I've been told. No confirmation as to whether he pounded his chest and looked mad while doing it.

An example of why I loathe ESPN...

and want no part of the NHL going back there:

After Game 6, Barry Melrose was reporting that:

Sidney Crosby refused to speak to the media after the game.

Really? I guess I was dreaming about the horde of reporters surrounding his locker as he was near-tear and answering all questions, with Ryan Malone's broken face sitting next to him. Matter of fact, I heard the audio on ESPN Radio Pittsburgh. At least I thought I did.

If you meant he didn't attend a formal press conference, than say "he didn't attend a formal press conference."

Note to ESPN producers:

EVERYTHING DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A FUCKING SOAP OPERA. Once and awhile, it's OK to report on "sports." There doesn't have to be a shocking story attached to everything, morons. Less "E" and more "S," please.

And if it was simply an oversight by The Mullet: GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, BEAN BAG. And do so before you try to stir up controversy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Congrats Detroit

The better team won the Cup. There. I said it.

Maybe not the more talented team, but the Red Wings were the better team this time around.

Because of their "style," I'm not sure I could be a fan. And judging from their inability to sell out playoff games at the Joe, I imagine many former Red Wings fans feel the same way. Oh, well...enuff about them.

Thanks to my beloved Pens for an incredible, fun-filled ride. I'm physically and mentally drained from these past 2 months, but it was worth every minute of it. That said...I'm taking the rest of the day off, and I'll be finishing these thoughts in a new post tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mike Babcock, Who You Crappin?

Babs has been on a baby soapbox, complaining about the goalie interference calls that went against his Red Divers in Game 5.

Mike...remember when Ozzie went plopping to the ice in Game 2? You're the same guy that complained about Malone and Sykora bumping into your goalie in Game 2, saying that's the wrong thing to do. So who you crappin?

No, no, no...don't crap me now.

-Sincerely, Da Coach.

Tiger Woods Rips Hockey

"I don't think anyone really watches hockey anymore."
My first reaction was anger, but then I imagined Tiger on skates...getting smashed into the boards by Brooks Orpik. Tiger then slowly peels himself off the ice...minus that fake, arrogant, pompous smile of his. While searching for his teeth, his model wife Elin Nordegren runs off with Sidney Crosby. Watching it all unfold from the bench, Jarkko Ruutu does a Tiger-like fist pump.

Let us also remember that most hockey players play golf...during their leisure time.

Not ripping golf, mind you. There's definitely a great deal of skill involved, at least for the non-hacks. And golf's a fun activity for some. Maybe when I retire at 65, I'll pick up some clubs for a little exercise. But that's not the point...

Tiger's comments, and other morons who don't get hockey...no longer bother me. "More popular" does not equal "better." I know Guided By Voices is a much greater band than, say, a cookie cutter like 3 Doors Down. I know Nickelback blows. I don't need validation from the mass majority to know that.

I'm just not on board with the popular opinion that hockey needs to "sell itself" to more people. I understand with more fans brings more $$. But at what point do you sell out the true hockey fans for the purpose of bringing new ones aboard. If hockey fails in the South...fine. I'm tired of seeing half empty arenas in Florida or Atlanta. Bring it back up North, or back to Canada...where the fans are. Quit trying to shove it down people's throats. Trying to sell a sport in a market where people like watching cars race in circles may be counter-productive .

So I no longer care if hockey remains a "niche" sport. If some dork down the street is too clueless to get it, I don't care. I don't need to see the NHL playoffs on ESPN to realize their greatness. I won't get any more joy out of hockey if the sport becomes more popular. If anything, it points out a sad part about our society...we're (not me) a bunch of followers. Tell us what to listen to, and we'll listen to it. If it's on ESPN, it must be great. When Tiger talks, we must listen (just don't take a picture in the middle of his back swing).

Anyways...after the Pens win the Stanley Cup Saturday night, I'm sure we'll party all night, and I'll be exhausted all day Sunday. No problem...I can throw on some golf on TV and get some sleep.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Why nothing beats the NHL Playoffs. Nothing...

We get to see Gary Roberts for at least one more game!!!!!!!

Oxygen requires Gary Roberts to live.

In a fight between Batman and Superman, Gary Roberts would win.

Gary Roberts likes people of all kinds. He created the whole concept of diversity, because Gary likes variety. The rainbow was his idea, too.

Gary Roberts is the "I" in team.

The reason the aborigines won't let you take their picture ----> Gary Roberts.

When Gary Roberts stares into a mirror, even his reflection knows better than to stare back.

Gary Roberts can be both Smokey and The Bandit at the same time.

Geico saved 15% by switching to Gary Roberts.

Game 5 for the Ages

I was writing this reply to good pal NB about last night's game, when I realized how stupidly long it was, and decided to make it a post...

Dood...5 games where Detroit's been the better team? That's complete crazy talk. Better-by-a-mile goalie play doesn't count for anything as far as the better team??

Again, the Pens deserved that win, just as they did in Game 3. They outplayed Detroit for the 1st 30 minutes of the game, as well as the final 2 OT's. With Gonch out since the 3rd, and Malone taking another puck off his already broken nose, it was an incredibly gutsy performance. And I'm glad "gutsy" counts for something in hockey...that's what differentiates it from otherwise lame sports. If that was Franzen who got hit in the face, he would've been out for the series with sprained ovaries. Yes... the Penguins went into a shell for much of 3rd, which had me whirling a plethora of f-bombs at the tube. But they weren't outplayed the entire game.

SOG's are SO overrated, especially in a series like this with conflicting styles. The Pens D, much to my dislike at times, plays much more conservatively. Detroit is allowed to gain the zone and take long wide-angle shots, because they know they've got a primo G in MAF. Quality chances are what counts, and the Pens had their fare share. When the Wings had chances, MAF snuffed them.

If Detroit's system played more like Pittsburgh...and wasn't as aggressive at the blue line or with blocking shots, Ozzie would be realized more for what he is...a stiff on a good team. He's been hot for the past month, for sure. But if he was so great as the experts claim, he wouldn't have been backing up that fossil Hasek to start the playoffs. Osgood is a slightly better than average goalie, but doesn't have a tenth of the talent MAF has. Last night...it showed. I'll give credit where it's due...Detroit's D is very solid, and they don't give up a ton of shots. That's where they've got the edge...not in goal with Osgood.

Last night's game was top notch, excitement from start to finish. The only thing disgraceful about it is the ease with which many of the Wings tumble when they're touched. Most are of the Swedish persuasion. It's becoming a joke, and they'd probably be that much better if they didn't spend so much time flopping around the ice like crippled lake trout. I believe there are 9 Swedes on Detroit. If they had 1 more, they'd make a perfect set of bowling pins.

Detroit can take their champagne and stick it. Although if the Pens get a win in Game 6, the collective puckered bung of the Wings would make that a difficult task.

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis (and the Stanley Cup) has just left the building...

The Pensblog captures the moment so much better. GO HERE for their Game 5 post...as kick-ass as ever.

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! My goal lamp won't turn off!!!!!! Effin A YES!!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pierre McGuire is Clueless

It's official.

Unofficially, Mike Milbury is awkward.

Niklas Kronwall

Too busy leaving his feet on checks to remember what net he's shooting at.

Hats Off to Detroit

Hey...gotta give credit where it's due. Detroit has found a way to beat the more talented team in the Penguins. Also have to give them props for their defensive play. The Red Wings are incredibly good at clogging up the neutral zone...clutching, grabbing, and obstructing any way possible without getting called for it. Perhaps that's an area where the Pens need to concentrate on getting better, provided the NHL continues to allow it. So kudos to you Detroit.

I'm not giving up quite yet, especially with the superior talent on the Pens. It'll be tough, but not impossible. Maybe Geno will wake up. Who knows. If they go down tonight, it's been a fun ride.

Could be the last time we get to see unrestricted FA Brooks Orpik play in the Burgh, and if so, he'll forever be remembered for this barrage of hits on some of the Detroit Divers in Game 3...

More sadly, Gary Roberts last week eluded to the fact that this will be his final season. Au revoir, Mr. Roberts. It's been fun. You will be missed.

Final note...heard the NBA is going old skool for its Final Series pitting the Lakers vs. the Celtics. I bet someone makes a shot and pounds their chest.