One of the great orators of the modern age unburdened himself last night after the Giants clinched an NL Wild Card berth. Can you imagine how (fucking) excited Pence would be if San Francisco had actually won the division?
One of the great orators of the modern age unburdened himself last night after the Giants clinched an NL Wild Card berth. Can you imagine how (fucking) excited Pence would be if San Francisco had actually won the division?
(photo by Autumn Spadaro Cali, l-r : Ussery, Steen, Vandever)
Flesh Lights – ‘Free Yourself’ (12XU 069-1) In Stores November 4.
Guitarist/vocalist Max Vandever and cousin Elissa Ussery (drums/vocals) migrated from San Antonio and began their assault on Austin’s live music dumps in 2008 playing as a duo under ill-advised names including but not limited to Candle Shop & The Psychic Reader, Dead Ledger and Carousel Images. After poaching bassist/vocalist Jeremy Steen from an early lineup of The Gospel Truth, the newly dubbed Flesh Lights (this name being approved by a focus group — A PERVERTED FOCUS GROUP), the trio quickly became a fixture on whatever you-got-songs-in-my-punk / you-got-punk-in-my-songs circuit that began to coalesce around the alleged live music capital. A pile of records soon followed ; 7”’s for Twistworthy and Super Secret, a killer debut album for the former imprint in the form of 2012’s ‘Muscle Pop’, this past summer’s “No Longer” single, etc. There’s also a 2013 national tour at the behest of The Hive which briefly elevated The Flesh Lights from subterranean spots to the sort of rooms that have bouncers who lift weights, but feel free to consider that an aberration (until The Hives come back, HINT HINT)
Pretty early on, this trio established themselves as being songcraft devotees without much self-consciousness (and that’s not meant to be an allusion to Steen’s brief projectile vomiting streak). And while those of us who bought ‘Muscle Pop’ consider it a bona fide classic, LP #2, ‘Free Yourself’ functions as so much more than a sequel ; the band claim they told producer Evan Kleinecke to make it sound like ‘Heaven Tonight’, but they could’ve thrown in the Exploding Hearts, Dictators, Only Ones or Teenage Fanclub while they were at it. Fortunately, they didn’t — he’s being paid by the hour.
I could go on about Vandever’s ridiculous development as a guitarist, about how following this band onstage is a great way to look super feeble, but I trust a good looking, super intelligent person like yourself to eventually figure it out. Because I hate hyperbole with every bone in my body (in yours, too!), I’m dead fucking serious when I say the best things about living in America right now are universal health care, the advent of driverless automobiles and the Flesh Lights. Not necessarily in that order.
Kevin Niemann’s B— F— inspired stickers hailing the 2014 Orioles’ pennant chase are available from Accidental Guest.
Most sensible persons under the age of a thousand don’t wanna hear about how awesome things were in downtown NYC in the late ’80′s / early ’90′s. For one thing, not everything was awesome. For another, there’s actual real-life-shit happening right now all over the place that’s also worth obsessing over. But if you’ll allow me a brief bit of looking-back-indulgence, I consider myself crazy fortunate to have known so many amazing people from that era. And it never ceases to amaze me how many of those same persons have made colossal artistic strides (in more than one medium) in the decades since.
Letha Rodman Melchior was one such person. I got to know her back in the days when my not-entirely competent band was fortunate to play several times with her far more accomplished Ruby Falls ; she without question had the kind of soul + creative mind combo that made everyone in her orbit incredibly happy to share her company.
Years later, after I’d left New York and before she’d relocated to North Carolina, Letha did the virtual elbow-in-the-ribs thing on me concerning the musical output of husband/collaborator Dan, whom at the time I was barely familiar with. People love to throw words like “prolific” or “adventurous” around (ok, maybe they don’t actually love the throwing of “adventurous” but they do it anyway) but none of that is ample warning for the dizzying amount of musical terrain he’s covered. I’ve got a shelf full of Dan’s recordings and there’s awesome surprises on every one of them.
Later still, Letha’s own works as a visual and sound artist began to emerge and no diss to Ruby Falls (whom I loved) is intended when I say she’d honed her respective crafts to a staggering degree.
Letha passed away yesterday after a cancer fight she chronicled with incredible courage, grace and wit. For those familiar with her work, the loss is big. For her family and friends, it’s incalculable. My thoughts today are with everyone who knew her and cared about her.
(donations to Letha’s health care expenses can be made here)
(addendum : though the fundraiser linked to above appears to be down at the moment —- and I’ll post a new link when or if one’s available — there’s a November 9 benefit at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade featuring a host of Letha’s New York friends and former bandmates including Versus, Antietam, the Thalia Zedek Band, the Rogers Sisters and Cynthia Nelson)
Darko Milanic stepped down as Sturm Graz manager over the weekend after having been poached by Leeds United. The latter’s owner, Italian businessman Massimo Cellino expressed great enthusiasm over the acquisition, with the following quotes culled by The Guardian :
The Leeds owner confirmed the former Slovenia international and “very cool guy”as the club’s manager. “Yes, we agreed a two-year deal,” Cellino told Sky Sports News. “He’s just arrived today. We’ve been waiting for him about 15 days. I don’t know [why I’ve chosen him]. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particularly qualities? He’s good-looking, what can I tell you?
“He was a very good counterattacking defender with Partizan Belgrade and Sturm Graz, and a good coach with Maribor for four years and took the club to the Champions League and Europa League, and he made it good as player and coach and he likes the Premier League.
“He gave up his place in the Premier League in Austria to come to the Championship with Leeds, and we hope that the club in Leeds is a good chance for him to have a good team and an important club to run, so he can make us proud. He does not talk much and is very pragmatic. I like him. He is a very cool guy.”
…and with the NBA regular season more than a month away, is this really that big a deal? The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons has been suspended by ESPN after daring the network to do exact that.
On a podcast on Grantland, the sports site owned by ESPN, Simmons sharply criticized Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and called him a liar.
“I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what was on it,” Simmons said. “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail.
“And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”
Simmons challenged ESPN to discipline him for his words: “You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast.”
In a statement about the suspension, ESPN said: “Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks.”
Elsewhere, it’s being reported that Simmons is barred from Twitter as well, which should come as a serious blow to those hoping to generate positive coverage for the Cassette Store Day 21sd Anniversary edition of the Counting Crows’ ‘August & Everything After’.
Earlier this year, Ghanian rapper Theophilus Tagoe aka Castro de Destroyer, disappeared after a jet ski outing at a resort in Ada, Ghana. Tagoe and his girlfriend were presumed drowned, though their bodies were never recovered, and there’s apparently been enough wild speculation surrounding the role of Ghana international striker Asamoah Gyan in their disappearance that the former Sunderland star issued a long statement via his lawyers yesterday, as The Guardian reports :
The declaration, recited by lawer Kissi Agyabeng, attacked the media for “wild allegations and rumours … ranging from the absurd – of the imputation of criminality to [Gyan] in the sense that he either murdered Castro or had him kidnapped – and ending with the ludicrous – that he sacrificed him spiritually to enhance his career.
“We have been silent while these wild allegations and rumours have been peddled in the media. We have been silent not because we are concealing anything or that we do not feel the need to fully state what, from our reckoning, had happened in Ada. We have been silent because we did not want to interfere with police investigations.
“In our painful silence, we have been totally dismayed by the fact that the platform was provided for the peddling of these wild and ludicrous allegations and rumours against us. Those to whom the platform was provided offered no evidence whatsoever to back their statements. And indeed, the allegation of spiritual sacrifice can by no stretch of the imagination be propped up.”
The statement added: “We take the opportunity and state without the slightest doubt in our minds that we are not blamable for the disappearance of Castro and Janet Bandu. We had no hand in that occurrence. We have no moral or legal culpability whatsoever. None of us rode out into the open estuary with Castro and Janet Bandu. Castro rode out there on his own volition and none of us have the slightest idea as to what happened to them.
Years ago, I recall Seton Hall University’s campus radio station, WSOU, being one of the few eastern U.S. college broadcasters to largely eschew alternative/underground/indie rock/whatever programming in favor of a mostly metal programming slate. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that WSOU’s license holder, a Roman Catholic institute of higher learning, might be at odds with many of the themes and sentiments expressed, but apparently such contradictions have come up in conversation a few times. WFMU and Dangerous Minds both published the following earlier this week :
Though it’s nice to see that Kilslug spinoff Upside Down Cross have made the big time (sort of), how are WSOU brass thoroughly unfamiliar with Adolf Satan?
…the sport, as touted by John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobbler in Cameron Crowe’s “Say Anything”, being kickboxing. Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine ably translates the following press release from NBA Serbia concerning the latest career segue for former #2 overall NBA draft pick Darko Milicic :
The top-ranked Serb in the history of the NBA draft, Darko Milicic, will officially become a kickboxer on Wednesday at the Falkensteiner Hotel in Belgrade, when he will officially sign a contract with the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO).
Milicic will sign a contract with Barbara Falsoni, director of WAKO PRO, who will also announce the famous basketball player’s first kickboxing match.
For the last year and a half, Milicic has not played basketball, but only done individual training and various strength and conditioning programs. There is no doubt he will have a lot of work to do to find his way around in the ring. However, he is not the first Serbian basketball player to dedicate himself to combat sports. Before he did it, so did Igor Rakocevic, former captain of Red Star Belgrad
British heavyweight Tyson Fury takes his 16-0 record into a rematch with Dereck Chisora in 12 days, yet it was the promotional campaign for the pair’s first bout last June that left Fury £15,000 poorer after the British Boxing Board of Control got done with him. As you’ll see from the clip above, on Monday, Fury was taking no chances whatsoever.
In Monday’s issue of New York Magazine, soon-retiring Yankees SS Derek Jeter touches on a number of topics with the publication’s Chris Smith including but not limited to politics (he voted for Obama), his new book imprint (Jeter Publishing), the media (they ask lots of “boring questions”) and Alex Rodriguez (see above!). Jeter was a tad more effusive, however, in denying the long-standing rumor he’s presented any number of one-night-stands with parting gifts before they begin their walk(s) of shame to the subway.
The Post once claimed that after sleeping with women, Jeter would leave a gift basket of signed memorabilia in the car taking the “conquest” home. He’s avoided commenting on the item for three years. But he’s still annoyed. “Like I’m giving them signed baseballs and pictures of myself on the way out! Who comes up with a story like that?” He laughs, incredulous. “It said the reason people found out was because I gave the same girl the same basket and I had forgotten I’d given her one—like there are so many people coming through I forgot!” Even if Jeter were cheesy enough to have handed out souvenirs, he’s far too careful to have made that kind of mistake.
As opposed to who, this guy?
…only because Bristol U. has served up another easy target. From Phil Mushnick’s column for Sunday’s New York Post :
ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Destroying Sports, spent days making “Woe is us” over Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy — just to name a few. Yet Thursday, as its special guest on “First Take,” it welcomed the vulgar, N-wording, love-my-Glocks, trash-my-women, ain’t-I-great, ganged-up rapper Jadakiss.
Jadakiss, real name Jason Phillips, is straight out of rapper central casting — he even has been arrested twice for gun possession. But not even after 10 days filled with national angst and calamity over the lawlessness among athletes — as seen, heard and discussed on ESPN — could move ESPN off its good-for-business, cross-promotional embracement of hardcore, criminal rappers.
Maybe next week “First Take” could invite the cops who have dealt with Jadakiss and his crew in Yonkers.
Why let the lack of a felony conviction get in the way of branding an artist, nay, an entire genre, criminal? Are Jadakiss’ alleged offenses against the community any greater than Skip Bayless’ crimes against common sense?
To paraphrase that great man of letters, Bart Scott, CAN’T WAIT.
(Blackhorse, far more durable than RGIII)
Earlier this week, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and correspondent Jason Jones solicited Washington R——- fans to participate in a segment that apparently ended with their being confronted by unamused Native Americans. As the Washington Post’s Ian Shapira explains, this wasn’t exactly what the volunteers signed up for.
The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
The Native Americans who confronted the Redskins fans — including Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff in the case that stripped the Redskins of their trademark protections this year and is being appealed — said in interviews that they marched into the room and accused the fans of backing a racist mascot.
“My heart goes out to them because they are people, too,” said Tara Houska, an Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation who lives in the District and works for the grass-roots group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. “But it’s a weird position for them to take, because someone is crying over the loss of their offensive mascot when I am right there, standing in front of them. I don’t think they’re racist. I think their mascot is racist.”
“Going up against Amanda Blackhorse? It’s like playing football and they’re going to have RGIII,” Hawkins said, referring to injured Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. “I am just an average fan. These are activists who have media training and talking points.”
As you’ve probably read by now, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” made a number of (unsurprising) claims last night regarding the Baltimore Ravens’ knowledge of exactly-what-happened it that Atlantic City hotel elevator between former RB Ray Rice and his fiancee-at-the-time, Janay. Between the club being told details about the incriminating video, Rice’s confession to Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bischotti’s “wait ’til all this blows over” tweet to Rice, a picture has been painted of a franchise far more concerned with self-preservation than the truth. If nothing else, the Ravens’ charmed life with Charm City’s Fourth Estate has come to a sputtering halt, with the Baltimore Sun’s Dave Zurawik declaring, “the narrative of the ESPN investigation, which says that Bisciotti, club president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome drove that cover-up, is decidedly at odds with the version of events that much of the Baltimore media has embraced once it was shaken out of it years-long ‘In Ozzie We Trust,’ Stepford-Wives-like stupor in covering the team.”
The narrative now being peddled by some in Baltimore media is that it’s all the fault of Goodell and the NFL — they are the evil parties. Of course, the Ravens wanted to help out Ray; that’s because Steve, Dick and Ozzie are good, decent and loyal guys. So, let’s focus our hate on Goodell. That way we can acknowledge that something bad happened in that elevator but not be made to feel unwelcome at the Castle.
The other revelation in the ESPN probe – and I have no way yet of knowing if it is true – is that Coach John Harbaugh wanted to get rid of Rice in February right after TMZ posted the first video. But, the report claims, Harbaugh was overruled by his bosses, the three guys allegedly driving the cover-up.
If that proves to be true, I will have a new and profound respect for Harbaugh. And I will have new contempt for Bisciotti, who sent Harbaugh out alone the night the video was posted to face the firestorm of press coverage it ignited. (Bisciotti subsequently said the day was “so emotionally tough” on him “there was no way” he could have prepared to meet the press that night.)
If a manager receiving a vote of confidence from his club’s GM is commonly thought to be a dreaded occasion, receiving a very public vote of no-confidence-whatsoever probably goes down as super dreaded. And that’s what happened Thursday in Baltimore when Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was quizzed about the status of Toronto skipper John Gibbons. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” mumbled Anthopoulos to the assembled media throng. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with me. I don’t know what Alex, what his plan is.” Yeah, really, who of us can really predict the future? From the National Post’s John Lott :
Someone referred to Gibbons’ remark and asked the GM if he would “take care of” the manager’s job security before the end of the season.
“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos replied. “He’s always under contract, pretty much. I don’t think there’s anything to take care of, and I think he’s done a good job.”
He’s done a good job. So he will be the manager next year?
“He’s under contract,” Anthopoulos repeated, and here’s where things started to get a bit murky.
“I’ve said this before,” Anthopoulos said. “I’m a big believer that no matter what position — grounds crew, administrative assistant, manager, coach — you support them until you don’t support them.”
Kansas City’s 6-2 defeat of Chicago Wednesday night included Royals fans displaying a Japanese flag in the outfield stands in tribute to OF Nori Aoki. Troube is, as the KC Star pointed out, “it was the flag Japan used in World War II…the Rising Sun flag is known to symbolize Japan’s military, which attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and occupied Korea from 1910-45.”
For a mere $39.99 (marked down from $60), Touch Of Modern will sell you the above Citi Field blueprint, featuring “hand-drawn artwork of the park including a plan view, signature elevation view, and architectural details.” I am certain none of this blog’s readers would dream of using such materials in the planning or commission of a violent and/or treasonous act that may or may not bring a particularly evil regime to their knees.
Shropshire’s AFC Telford compete in the Conference Premier, the highest tier in English non-league football, but the lofty heights of last season’s Conference North championship campaign are but a distant memory after a Tuesday evening defeat at Alferton Town, a performance that led manager Liam Watson to declare his charges, well, useless. From the BBC :
“It was totally gutless. I told one or two in the changing room that they can go. I told them ‘go and get yourself a club’,” Watson told BBC Shropshire.
“It was just cowardly and embarrassing. Five or six of them looked out of their depth. They don’t look up to it.”
After seeing his side go in 3-1 down at the break at Alfreton, Watson labelled it “the worst 45 minutes since I’ve been Telford manager, probably of my managerial career”.
He continued: “They were jumping out of tackles. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was shambolic, weak defending.
“They are looking miles out of their depth. They’ve got no heart.”
In the considered view of Yahoo Sports’ David Brown, “excessive swearing should never be tolerated, especially with kids around.” But enough about Wally Backman’s poor prospects of ever becoming Mets manager, telling Bryce Harper that he “fucking sucks” is considered grounds for ejection (provided your seats are close enough that umpires and microphones can hear you).
Introducing the new Dallas Stars mascot. Because there’s nothing more likely to win the hearts of kids and those indifferent to hockey than a mouthless/pantsless homage to the Philly Phanatic.
What sort of world are we living in which public figures cannot face criminal charges for child abuse without the companies who lend their names to his image-burnishing being asked, “would you hit your kids in the genitals with a tree branch?”
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was reinstated Monday after missing Sunday’s 30-7 home loss to New England that came on the heels of accusations the OU product had physically abused a 4 year-old last spring in Houston. Minnesota’s decision was closely followed by revelations Peterson’s been accused of abusing another of his children, but it seems it’ll take even greater offences for the Vikings to distance themselves from such an otherworldly talent. As the Star-Tribune’s Jim Souhan notes, “when the Wilfs were embarrassed by the Love Boat scandal in 2005, they commissioned a lengthy code of conduct to cleanse an organization that leads the NFL in arrests since 2000…Monday, the Wilfs shredded the code of conduct and spliced it into a pompom with which to cheer a man who admits he beat his son bloody.”
Why not sign Darren Sharper? The former Vikings safety has been accused of sexual assault in three states, but not in Minnesota. He may be able to intercept a few passes between trials.
The Vikings are hiding behind the phrase “due process,’’ which refers to a citizen’s rights in our legal system. “Due process’’ has nothing to do with a company deciding whether it wants to be publicly represented by a man who has admitted to police that he whipped a 4-year-old with a branch until the boy bled, after stuffing leaves in the boy’s mouth and before threatening to punch him if he told anyone.
Sunday, the Wilfs will cheer for Peterson while waving their shredded code of conduct. Evolved Minnesotans should cheer for any Saints defender who may want to stage an impromptu intervention with the big man who beat the little boy.
WFAN announced yesterday that longtime Yankees radio fixtures John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will return for the 2015 season, with someone who closely resembles one of our most beloved contributors saying of the pair, “they’re friends, they’re great people and they’re part of the Yankee brand.” If that sounds like a less than thorough endorsement for the duo’s chances of winning individual Ford C. Frick Awards, check out Newsday’s Neil Best delivering the damning faint criticism :
Of course it would be nice if Sterling waited for balls to clear the fence before announcing home runs – something for which he remains unapologetic, preferring, he says, to be ahead of calls rather than behind them.
It also would be helpful if he struck a better balance between shtick and game description, and if he let Waldman handle some play-by-play. (Either way, WFAN at some point ought to wedge a younger potential successor into the play-by-play mix to ease the future transition.)
But let’s face it, after 26 seasons without missing a game, Sterling is woven into the fabric of Yankee-land, from his goofy antics to his signature home run calls. And like him or not, he will be missed when he is gone.
And let’s face this, too: While Waldman herself is unconventional and subject to caricature, she also might be the only possible partner for Sterling at this stage. She is a team player who helps smooth the rough edges of Sterling’s mis-calls and patiently puts up with his idiosyncrasies.