Friday Playlist

Once again we are brushing up against a slowing stream of new music, so this week’s playlist is a little more eclectic, at least in terms of date of recording.

“At Attention” – Northern Portrait
You cannot convince me these kids aren’t actually from the industrial north of England. Sure, their bio says they are from Denmark, but I’m not buying that for one minute.

“Zenosyne” – Caroline Loveglow
What a gorgeous song! She kind of has a Hatchie-adjacent sound, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is nearly a year old and I’m mad it took me until recently to come across it. Also, you cannot convince me that her last name is really Loveglow. I do kind of love it, though.

“Oceans of Darkness” – The War on Drugs
TWOD just released the expanded edition of I Don’t Live Here Anymore, including two bonus tracks. This one is really good. I would have preferred it to one or two songs that made the original album track list.

“Vow” – Garbage
I’ve been working through probably the best indie playlist ever over the past couple weeks and came across a Garbage song the other day. That got me digging into their catalog, reading about them, etc. No doubt they were one of the best and most important bands of the middle-grunge era, for lack of a better term. They’ve come back at least once with really good music, something you can’t say of many of their contemporaries. Anyway, I don’t know that this is their best song, but it was their first big single here in the States, and has always been my favorite.

“Raised On the Radio” – The Ravyns
Continuing my recent run through cool songs from early 1980’s teen movies, this was one of the true New Wave songs that was both used in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and on the movie’s soundtrack. It was used in the scene when Brad Hamilton is washing his car. A really solid tune. More semi-obscure music from ’80s movies in a moment…

“Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio featuring L.V.
Damn, pour one out for one of the better dudes in 1990s hip hop. Look up his story about resolving his beef with Weird Al. More people in the public eye should have his ability to look at themselves and realize when they have fucked up and an apology is in order. RIP.

“Beat City” – The Flowerpot Men
In Steven Hyden’s piece about the music of The Bear, he highlights this song. If you are a child of the ’80s I guarantee you will remember it about 10 seconds in, and immediately think of a specific scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This is not on any streaming services, as far as I can find. That is a gigantic bummer because it is amazing!

Baseball Notes (+1)

My season-long boycott of baseball has continued. It’s really not been hard since the Royals have been so shitty this year. I’m not feeling any inclination to crack in a week when the playoffs begin. I’m sure I’ll watch some of the games, but I don’t expect to be as into them as I have been in recent years. I have plenty of other things that can entertain me during evenings in October.

Still, I thought I should drop a few baseball related thoughts.

Dayton Moore Fired

This is over a week old, but the Royals have finally moved on from their long-time general manager/president of baseball operations, the architect behind the 2014 pennant and 2015 World Series winning teams.

This was a good move.

Everyone says Dayton is a decent man who loves the franchise and the Kansas City area, and I don’t doubt that. But his methods had become outdated and it seemed like as long as he was in charge, the organization would remain stagnant.

When you look back at his career, it’s really remarkable that the R’s ever got to the postseason. It’s not that they weren’t deserving; those teams were filled with high draft picks and smart acquisitions. Rather what made those two Octobers seem so unlikely are the seasons around them.

I think Dayton was probably one more under-performing season away from losing his job in 2014. And the post-World Series era has turned into an absolute disaster.

A Twitter commentator said that championships are never truly flukes – it takes too much to win one in any sport to write them off as breakdowns in the matrix – but when you look at how the Royals performed in Moore’s first seven or eight years, and then in the seven years since, that title seems like a huge outlier.

I’m hopeful that J.J. Picollo, despite being a Moore protégé, is the right choice to move the franchise forward. He seems more open to using advanced stats and more modern training methods than Moore ever did. Perhaps that will unlock the potential of all the pitchers the R’s have collected in the past five years. His changes to the organization’s hitting philosophy are promising, so that bodes well.

The Dayton Moore era was filled with contradictions. The Royals were one of the few franchises that looked to take care of all of its employees during the pandemic. His efforts to build a new baseball academy are exactly what the sport needs to stay relevant and capitalize on talent that doesn’t come from the baseball factories of the American south or Latin America. Then there was his weird interest in educating players about the dangers of watching porn. Of all the ills in the world, that’s the one he chose to take a stand on? Bizarre.

There was a lot of shitty baseball between 2006 and 2013, and again since 2017. But what happened in the middle can never be discounted, no matter how much of an outlier it was.

Aaron Judge

I’m sure my long-time readers will be shocked that I’m super-annoyed by the coverage of Aaron Judge’s pursuit of the American League home run record, a mark he tied last night.

There’s the way ESPN has covered it. I don’t watch a lot of Sportscenter these days, but when I switch by it drove me nuts how the crawl would say something like “Judge Still Stuck at 60.” Still stuck. Two games after he hit #60. God I hate American journalism sometimes.

There was the same whining that happens anytime a record is being pursued and a hitter gets walked a lot. It’s not the job of the opponent to serve up meatballs, especially when they are fighting for a playoff spot. Ironic that some of the people complaining about Judge’s walks are the same people who fit into the next group and are allegedly concerned with the sanctity of the game.

But what has annoyed me most is the commentary around his chase, and the idea that should he break Roger Maris’ 1961 mark, he will become the “real” home run king.

That is garbage.

The MLB home run record is 73. It doesn’t matter if you hate Barry Bonds, if you think he didn’t play a clean game in his life, and if you think everything about that era was suspect. Those games, and those home runs, happened. You can’t strike them from the record without removing everything that happened in that era. So, Yankees fan, do you want to eliminate the team’s consecutive titles between 1998 and 2000? Roger Clemens was on those teams. Andy Pettite was on those teams. Jason Giambi. Kevin Brown. And those are just the big names we know about.

And you know how I feel about steroids. Do we know for certain that Judge is clean, or that he’s not using something now that is illegal but won’t be allowed in five years? The PED line is always moving, there are always advances in medicine, and I refuse to get upset about who is/is not using when the criteria for what is/is not allowed is not fixed.

Aaron Judge is a marvel, and what he’s doing is one of the most impressive performances in baseball history, especially when you compare his numbers to the other power numbers. He’s in position to break the AL home run record while also winning the Triple Crown, which is nuts. Let’s just celebrate that without trying to re-litigate 20-year-old grievances.

Albert Pujols

Hey, Pujols has had a remarkable summer, too. I figured when he signed with the Cardinals it would be for a victory lap, maybe a couple home series in the summer in front of packed crowds, then he’d slip away with an injury that would keep him on the IL until the final weekend of the season when he would come out for a few final ABs and hat tips to the crowd.

Boy was I wrong! Despite being 52 years old,[1] he’s somehow rediscovered the magic he lost over a decade ago and has bashed his way to 700 career homers and is OPS+-ing a cool 142.

It’s pretty amazing how a player can decline for a decade and suddenly find it agin. It’s weird how there’s been all the kvetching about Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa but no discussion of Albert’s miraculous comeback. Not saying it’s not legit, just saying be consistent if you’re going to complain.

Brett Favre

Not baseball, but he’s a piece of shit. Not that this was a surprise.

  1. Or 42. Allegedly.  ↩

“Yes, Chef” – The Bear

Every so often I bust out a post dedicated to a show or movie I have watched as soon as I see it rather than wait for my monthly Media edition. Last weekend I watched an entire season of a streaming service exclusive that rocked my world. Yes, I watched the latest season of Cobra Kai last week. But this post is not about that.

This post is about The Bear.

I caught some of the buzz for The Bear over the summer. But since we didn’t have Hulu at the time, I added it to my list of shows to watch and moved on. I understood it was about a family restaurant in Chicago, but, honestly, I thought it was a documentary rather than a scripted dramedy.

So I was a bit surprised as I watched episode one, and it took me a few minutes to find my footing. But once I did, I was blown away.

The Bear is one of the best shows I’ve watched this year, right up there with Barry and Better Call Saul. Hell, it is instantly one of the best shows I’ve ever watched.

The characters are all so well developed, even in the very tight window of eight, half-hour episodes. You quickly understand who they are and develop strong feelings for each of them.

That ability to squeeze a lot into a little time is a common theme throughout the season. There are plenty of artsy moments, showcases for the culinary skills used by the restaurant’s crew, for example. These moments are satisfyingly brief, so they neither impede the story nor seem pretentious.

The camerawork is off-the-charts great. For starters I’m not sure how they filmed in a tight kitchen. There’s often barely room for the chefs let alone squeezing in cameras and crew, lighting, etc. Second, the show is loaded with exceptionally long shots. I didn’t go back to see if any tricks were used to make multiple shots appear to be single shots or different takes that were stitched together. Several of these scenes feature long monologues or dialogue, so you naturally wonder how many takes it took to get it all onto tape. If you’re into this kind of thing you will geek out on these scenes.

The acting is superb across the entire cast, but Jeremy Allen White just destroys in the lead role of Carmen Berzatto. His extended meltdown in episode seven and his monologue at the AA meeting in episode eight are two of the most stunning acting performances I can recall.

I love the arc of the season in general, and how the show runners present it. Your typical show will spend episode one giving introductions of all the players and backstory on how they got to this point in their lives. In The Bear, we get thrown right into the story with no explanation. Those details are slowly revealed over the entire season. In fact, just minutes before episode eight’s big reveal we are still learning things from the past that set that moment up.

Another wonderful thing about the show is the pacing of the story. We get this kitchen crew, a mix of established faces with established routines and two newcomers who shake things up, and how they battle each other to find common ground until they have a series of big wins that brings them together. Then shit quite literally goes insane and wrecks everything they’ve built together in episode seven, “Review,” and episode eight, “Braciole.”

Oh, man, “Review”! That has to be one of the greatest 20 minutes in TV history. Just a bat-shit crazy, four-alarm, total, mind-blowing meltdown. It will make your chest tighten and pulse rise as you watch everything fall apart. Each element in those 20 minutes is perfect, but what really makes the episode shine is how it is limited to those 20 minutes. There’s no long setup before or cooldown after. We are thrown into the disaster’s midst, watch Carmen and his crew attempt to deal with it, and then get yanked out.

The Bear is a brilliant piece of art. It is a nearly flawless show anchored by terrific writing, a killer soundtrack, and unforgettable performances by its cast. There are hilarious moments, beautiful moments, incredibly intense moments, and moments that can make you cry. It has everything.

Oh, and how did I finally get to the show? When the college football season began I remembered that our Verizon plan offers the entire Disney+ package for free, so I got ESPN+ fired up for the first KU game. It took me until last week to get Hulu going again.

Weekend Notes

A jam-packed weekend full of events that may be of mild interest to my loyal readers.


Cathedral traveled three hours to play a horrible team – they were up 56–0 at halftime and held on to win by that exact score – so I walked across the street with my pal Nicole H to watch The Other CHS play the school our tax dollars support. It was the first, real, fall-weather night of the season, and it was terrific, other than the occasional sprinkles that surprised us. The Other CHS used a stellar defensive and special teams performance to win 50–19. I got to talk to Coach H for a few minutes after the game, which is always good.

KU Keeps Rolling

I was able to watch the entire first half of the KU-Duke game Saturday. That was good TV. A packed Memorial Stadium, KU making big plays on offense, and Duke doing enough to make it an interesting game. Daniel Hishaw’s 73 yard TD catch-and-run immediately goes up there with Monte Cozzen’s run in 1991 as one of the greatest plays in school history.[1] And Jalon Daniels’ TD pass to Luke Grimm was a thing of beauty on both ends. I was sure it was going to sail out of bounds, but it was perfectly placed and Grimm made an amazing catch to haul it in.

As has been the theme this season, I missed the second half going to L’s basketball game. KU made it interesting late but held on to get the win and go to 4–0.

I was a little concerned after the game. Duke is solid but I don’t think they are better than any team KU will play the rest of the season. Yet they hung with KU all day.

Then I remembered that the Duke defense never really stopped KU, and if not for several self-inflicted wounds, KU wins this game easily. So chalk it up to still winning despite not playing your best? I don’t know, this is all uncharted territory for me.

I do know the defense needs to find a way to stop giving up the big plays. If you’re going to commit to stopping the run, which the Jayhawks pretty much did Saturday, you have to be able to at least slow the passing game. KU’s secondary make big plays but also give up big plays. With their level of talent and depth, I’m not sure you can hope for much more than that. But I do think that’s problematic as we get into the heart of the Big 12 season.

It was fun to see national commentators jumping all over the AP voters for not including KU. I’m sure K-State fans are taking some joy in knowing their win over Oklahoma is probably what kept KU out of the polls. Still, it’s good that so many national voices have come to KU’s defense.

I really don’t think KU is one of the 25 best teams in the country. But based on their performance through four games, they deserve to be ranked. I believe I saw that, of the teams receiving votes this week, the Jayhawks have played the seventh-toughest schedule, so you can’t say they’ve had an easy go of it.

Still, polls are kind of dumb and I’m not going to get worked up about the “snub.” Use it as motivation to come out extra focused for Iowa State. Win that, and there should be no question that the Jayhawks will appear in next week’s poll.

Double Kid Hoops

We’ve reached the point in the calendar where L has two different basketball teams in action. On Saturday her travel team continued their efforts in the Back to School league. Once again it was kind of a disaster.

They played a team they’ve never faced before. These girls were all long, wiry, and scrappy. They grabbed like hell on defense, which has been a theme all season. We even had three refs for this game and they were totally uninterested in calling any on-the-ball fouls. And these girls could shoot the hell out of the ball. They hit at least 15 3’s. At one point they had a 3-on–1 break and the girl with the ball pulled up and drilled a 3. S, who knows nothing about basketball, looked at me at one point and said, “I think our girls should just shoot 3’s, too.” She’s grasped what modern basketball is about.

It was a humbling 41-point loss. Egad! We were missing our best inside player but I don’t think she was worth 41 points.

L had been sick all week and it showed. She could only play a few minutes at a time before she lost her wind. Yet she went 3–3 from the field, including a 3, and 1–2 from the line to score eight.

Sunday the CYO season started.

We were playing the school, St N, that beat L’s kickball team in the City championship game the two times they made it. We knew they were tall and big and had a really good player we’ve faced in travel ball. We were missing the same inside player the travel team was missing, so we knew it would be tough to compete with them on the boards.

Fortunately L had her stamina back and played the entire game. She played really well, clearly our best player. The only issue was she missed five layups. A couple were in transition with pressure, but she still should have made them. Two looked like fatigue got to her, short-armed misses. And other was just a tough shot that was low percentage. Throw in a couple missed jumpers and she went 3–10 from the field, 2–4 from the line, for eight points. She had a couple assists, a couple rebounds, a couple steals, a couple turnovers. Twos were wild on her stat line.

St N’s best player got hot in the second half and they built a 13-point lead. They had multiple possessions where they got 3–4 chances to score because we could not get our hands on rebounds. We got it down to six with the ball a couple times, but couldn’t either hit the shot to cut it to one possession or get a rebound. Their inside girl wasn’t very good until you fouled her. She was 8–8 from the line, including 6–6 in the fourth quarter. She was six inches taller and at least 60 pounds heavier than the biggest girl we had.

Put it all together and it was an 11-point loss. I think if we have our inside girl and can get some rebounds, and L is 100% we could have won it. But we didn’t really expect to win so keeping it respectable was a decent result.

We are lucky this year to have a loudmouth dad. I was running the clock so well away from him, but I could still hear him screaming at the refs the entire game. In the second half the fouls were 9–2 against us. It was 7–1 before we started fouling in the last minute. All those calls against us were legit; that’s what happens when you’re trying to guard bigger girls with guards. But the one against them was fishy, especially since their best player got three fouls in the first quarter then didn’t get another foul the rest of the game.

Our loudmouth dad came walking across the court when the game was over and the refs were gathered at the scorer’s table. He loudly asked, “D, does the foul button work for them? Because it seemed like it was stuck on one the entire game.” Terrific. I think I’m going to keep stats on the bench during road games so I never have to sit near him.

L is very excited about the CYO season because she knows the level of competition will be lower than what she’s faced in travel. Sunday she looked like the second-best player on the court. They switched their best player onto her in the second half and she was still getting shots. She just needs to prove that she’s improved by hitting them.


The Sunday game matched up with the Chiefs-Colts game – apparently all my football interest this fall will coincide with L’s games – so I was only able to see the last 20 minutes or so. Even then I was only half watching, because the Colts seemed to be sucking and I figured the Chiefs would do just enough to win on a day they seemed to be lacking intensity and focus. I wondered if another Colts loss could lead to some kind of changes in the coaching staff this week.

Then a fortunate penalty gave the Colts new life on their final drive and Matt Ryan did just enough to get the win.

So the Colts get a tie and loss against the two worst teams in their division, then beat the co-favorites in the AFC. Sports make no sense sometimes.

The win gave me no real hope for the Colts’ season, though. That offensive line is terrible. It’s amazing how quickly things can fall apart in the NFL. That unit was one of the best, if not the best, o-lines in the game just two years ago. A retirement, some injuries, and poor decisions on incoming players have wrecked it. And while I was hopeful Ryan could be a steady if unspectacular correction from the high-stress Carson Wentz experiment, he looks washed up and a worse option than Phillip Rivers was two years ago.

Also, there must be something in the water in Indy, because like the Pacers in recent years, the Colts are just constantly decimated by injuries. It’s hard to expect them to improve when their best defensive player can’t get on the field and each week brings a new swath of players who will miss the next game.

The only good thing is the Colts are in the weakest division in the league, so there’s still a path to the playoffs if they can get healthy and find a way to protect Ryan. Although Jacksonville may not be as shitty as people expected, which could change that math significantly.

Local Excitement

One final note. S and I were taking a walk Sunday morning when we saw and heard a couple police cars race by. We were about a mile from our house and they seemed to be stopping at a major intersection, so we figured there must have been a bad accident. But then more police cars roared by and we figured it was something else. It seemed like they were turning away from our house, so we weren’t super concerned.

As another batch of police screamed by, we crossed paths with some other walkers who told us they heard there was am armed intruder in a home. When we got back to the main road our house sits off of, we could see at least eight police cars in front of a house about half-a-mile south of ours. We later read there was someone with a weapon in the house that was refusing to come out. Whether they were an intruder or a resident we never heard. But the person was detained, no ambulances ever showed up, and things calmed down.

Not your typical sleepy, Sunday morning.

  1. The play was made even better by the FS1 announcer LOSING HIS MIND over the play. “LOOK AT HISHAW GOOOOOOO!!!!!”  ↩

Friday Playlist

“Cold Shoulder” – Peace Ritual
Since I first heard this band a month or so ago I’ve been trying to figure out who they remind me of. I know it’s some late ’90s/early ’00s band that I did not like. I think my mind is intentionally blocking those memories since I like Peace Ritual’s songs and it doesn’t want to ruin them by making the connection to the turn-of-the-millennium band I did not like.

“Night Moves” – Lissie
Speaking of sounding like other artists, on this track I think Lissie sounds like 50% Stevie Nicks, 50% Miley Cyrus.

“Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?” – Martha
Who says breakup songs always have to be slow and sad? I love the title line and the acknowledgement in it that his partner isn’t excited when they see his name on their caller ID anymore.

“Head In The Clouds” – The Beths
I’ve shared at least one song from The Beths over the past couple months. I wasn’t expecting much from their album; it wasn’t even on my running list of new releases to watch out for. Then I saw they got an excellent review in Pitchfork and I’ve listened to the album multiple times over the past week. It’s really good, and highly recommended if you like this, or any of their other songs I’ve posted.

“Carry the Zero” – Built to Spill
BtS (not BTS) released a new album a week back that also got really good reviews. I tried to listen to it but it just wasn’t my jam. After giving up a few songs in, I pulled up this, likely their greatest song ever, the first BtS song I ever heard, and one of only a few of their songs I’ve ever really loved. It was a year or two after its release in 1999 that I got into it, but for a while it was a staple on the mix CDs I used to make to listen to at work or in the car. Remember making mixes on physical media???

“A Million Miles Away” – The Plimsouls
I heard this song on the way home from dropping L off at school this morning. It got me thinking about how my relationship with music has changed over the past 20-ish years. In the late 1990s, classic but semi-obscure songs like this were hard to hear, unless you owned the albums they came from. Even on Eighties Weekends on local radio stations, this wasn’t exactly in high rotation. When it would pop up, it felt like a special occasion, and you could pick out the real ’80s Music G’s by how people reacted to it.

But once file sharing, the iTunes Music Store, and eventually streaming took over, you could hear these songs whenever you wanted to. If you listen to a specialized channel like SiriusXM’s First Wave today, you’ll hear this once a week or so. Which is all cool, and hopefully The Plimsouls are making a little bit of money off of. But I also realize that some of the magic of the track has been rubbed away. It’s still a great, great song. I just don’t react the same way I do when I would only hear it a few times a year.

BTW, those real ’80s Music G’s will instantly recall the scene in Valley Girl that featured this song. Valley Girl had the soundtrack that Fast Times at Ridgemont High should have had.

Ranking Shit: SNF Songs

Today I unveil a new style of post. Who knows how regular these will be, or how long they will last. But let’s give it a shot.

As the title suggests, in these posts I will be Ranking Shit. Five things I will place in an order with just a few words of explanation.

To kick us off, I will rank the top five songs on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Why am I ranking songs that are 45 years old? Great question! Over the past week I’ve heard a bunch of these, either on SiriusXM or an iHeart Radio American Top 40 replay. So they’ve been in my head.

5 – “More Than A Woman”

There should an asterisk on this one, since there are two versions of the song on the soundtrack, one by the Bee Gees the other by Tavares. They are both very good, although I was partial to the Tavares version as a kid.

4 – “Stayin’ Alive” – Bee Gees

THE song most people remember when they think of the movie and the soundtrack. Not many things in my lifetime have been cooler than John Travolta walking through Brooklyn to the beat of this.

3 – “Disco Inferno” – The Trammps

Burn, baby, burn. My favorite song on the album when I was a kid and my parents were spinning it endlessly. The only entry on this list not written by the Gibb brothers.

2 – “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees

A perfect ballad.

1 – “If I Can’t have You” – Yvonne Elliman

Maybe the archetypal crying in the club song? Elliman does an amazing job injecting her vocals with pain without ever going over-the-top.

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 78

Chart Week: September 18, 1982
Song: “Somebody’s Baby” – Jackson Browne
Chart Position: #18, 8th week on the chart. Peaked at #7 for three weeks in October.

I loved this song when I was 11. It wasn’t because I was a big Jackson Browne fan, or because it was a fantastic song. No, it was solely because it was the lead single off the soundtrack for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, arguably the greatest movie ever made about being in high school.

There was a long stretch of time when I could probably have quoted 90% of Fast Time’s dialogue back to you. But that wasn’t until 1987 or so.

Why did it take that long? Because I was not allowed to see R-rated movies in 1982.

Still, I got sucked into the cultural vortex Fast Times created when I started six grade in September 1982. Enough of my friends had seen it – or more likely had older siblings that had seen it – that you couldn’t not hear quotes from the film throughout the school day. Like most kids I was a social opportunist, and if quoting a movie I hadn’t actually seen could get me some cred in hallways and locker room of Pittman Hills Middle School, I was all in. I had no idea who Jeff Spicoli was, but I going to say “Hey Bud, let’s party,” anytime I had the chance.

My mom could stop me from seeing the movie, but she couldn’t keep me from hearing its music. Thus I fell in love with the biggest hit of Jackson Browne’s career. I didn’t consider it odd for a 34-year-old, widowed, soon-to-be divorced, father who was several years removed from his most recent, biggest hit to be singing about the lives of high schoolers. All I knew was that his song was from a movie that the cool kids were talking about, which meant the song must be cool.

I still think it’s a pretty good track. It tells a pretty standard story of wanting to be with someone, but thinking that they are unattainable. There are probably a million songs that tell the same story. So just because it’s an old dude singing doesn’t mean it isn’t also applicable to teens.

As I aged, Browne’s presence on the soundtrack made less sense to me. This was a movie about kids in Southern California. Shouldn’t Spicoli and his buddies have been listening to surf punk?[1] Half the girls at Ridgemont High dressed like Pat Benatar, but there are none of her songs in the movie or on the album. While the Go Go’s “We Got the Beat” plays over the opening montage,[2] there are no other examples of SoCal New Wave nor any of the hair metal that was developing in LA.

Instead we got Jackson Browne and a bunch of other odd choices.

The double-album soundtrack also features songs by four former Eagles,[3] Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, Jimmy Buffet, Graham Nash, and Poco. Not exactly artists who were on the cutting edge or whose prime audience was teenagers. It smacks of a collection put together by label executives nervous about filling it with unproven artists, and instead chose to go with established names who would give it more mainstream appeal.

They had to sell albums, I get it. But those choices keep the Fast Times soundtrack from being a cultural signpost for Gen X the way the movie was.

I will never be able to listen to this song without thinking of the fall of 1982, starting middle school, and Fast Times. Sometimes nostalgia can elevate an otherwise unremarkable song into one that is timeless. 7/10

  1. Or Van Halen, who the closing credits say Spicoli hired with the reward money earned from saving Brooke Shields from drowning.  ↩

  2. “We Got the Beat” is not on the soundtrack. Instead the Go Go’s “Speeding,” a B-side from the Vacation album, was included.  ↩

  3. Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Don Felder. Glenn Frey must have been busy.  ↩

Jayhawk Talk: FOOTBALL!!!!

Some weekend. No Cathedral football Friday. L’s hoops team got blasted on Saturday. The Colts appear to be shitty and have made the wrong selection, yet again, for their quarterback. I could write a lot about two of those three topics.

I’m going to save all my writing effort for another topic, though. And I think you know what that is.


First 3–0 start since 2009. Consecutive, double-digit road wins for the first time since 1995. First time receiving votes in the AP poll since October 2009. And with the early lines out for next week, which pegged KU as eight-point favorites over Duke, it is the first time KU has been favored over a Power 5 school since November 2009.

When you’ve been as bad as long as KU has, even a modest run of success can make history.

I wish I could Saturday’s game against Houston down in great detail, reveling in all the highlights as KU laid the wood on a team that was ranked in the preseason and had designs on a New Year’s Day bowl. Sadly I missed almost the entire game.

Just like last week, L’s basketball kept me from the beginning of the game. We got in the car in time to hear KU score, get an interception, and drive into the red zone before lightning stopped play for an hour.

We met friends at Top Golf. Between shots I checked and saw that KU tied the game, took the lead, and then pulled away.

When we got home, I was hoping to watch the final 5:00 or so. However, I was again the victim by one of the biggest screw jobs in televised sports: despite paying for ESPN+, since our cable package does not include ESPNU, I can’t use the ESPN app to watch any games that are on the U. It’s a fucking travesty and Congress needs to get involved.

Luckily KU still streams the radio broadcast for free so I was able to listen and hear the Rock Chalk Chant rolling through the stadium as KU closed out the win.

I was pumped, but at least 30% less pumped than I would have been had I been able to watch the entire game.

What a performance! What a start to the season!

We KU fans have been teased for years. Every August we heard stories about how that season would be different, how whatever coach was running things had finally got his players in, how the attitude around the whole program had changed. And every September they would lose to some shitty teams then go get pounded for two months in the Big 12.

I figured KU would be better this year. Lance Leipold and his staff had a full year in Lawrence to get their systems in, to get used to the returning players, and to bring in some really good transfers. But I knew with KU’s schedule, seeing a huge increase in wins was unlikely. The team would be better, but it was most likely a 2–3 win squad and the 2023 season is when we should expect to see real improvement.[1]

I didn’t put much stock into the week one win over Tennessee Tech, a truly bad FCS team. I wasn’t sure what to make of last week’s win over West Virginia. Maybe WVU was shitty and it wasn’t that impressive of a win, a game KU did its best to piss away. And I really didn’t think KU had a chance this week. I thought they might battle into the second half, but Houston was supposed to be really good. The persistent rumor this summer was that KU was doing everything it could to get out of the game, hoping to replace the Cougars with a cream puff. Houston refused, lest they give up their own cream puff. Joke’s on them, I guess!

When I saw KU was down 14–0 I let out a sigh and hoped we could at least make it respectable.

I never expected KU to erase that lead in a matter of minutes. Or dominate the rest of the game.

Jalon Daniels appears to be the real deal. The running backs are one of the best collective groups in the nation. The wide receivers don’t awe you with their talent, but they make plays. And how about the offensive line?!?! The unit that has killed KU for a decade, rendering decent skill players impotent because they couldn’t block or protect, has somehow given up zero sacks through three weeks. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki might be a genius, and it’s as much a crime that he took so long to get any national run as it is that Leipold was ignored for so long.[2]

The defense…well, it’s shaky. Some people who know more about football and follow things more closely than me have said the D really isn’t that bad. In fact they are often solid. They just kill themselves by giving up too many big plays.

My reaction to that view is, ok, fine. But it’s going to get a lot harder to not give up those big plays in the next few weeks as the talent level they will face ratchets up.

I don’t know if KU can continue to score 50 a week against Big 12 competition. The defense needs to find a way to stop giving up 40 a week so the offense has a chance.

So here we are, nearly a month into the season, and KU football fans can actually dream a little. Duke is 3–0, but against lesser competition. KU had a lead on the Blue Devils last year at half-time then got blown out in the second half. I think the returning players will look to atone for that loss.

Then comes home games against Iowa State and TCU. Not necessarily games KU will be favored in, but likely the easiest of the remaining Big 12 games. If KU is for real, it’s not too much to ask for them to go 2–1 over that stretch. Hell, 3–0 and being bowl eligible before Columbus Day is not likely, but it’s also not completely outrageous.

Maybe this is all still a fluke and KU will come crashing down soon, if not this week then as soon as the proper Big 12 season starts. Maybe KU will somehow thread the needle this year of not winning enough games to make a bowl game but enough to ensure that Leipold and his staff leave for a better job after this season. Maybe a rash of injuries hits the squad as they play bigger, better teams and they fall back into the hole of getting blown out every week.

For now, though, we Jayhawks can enjoy competence and actual good play from our football program. It’s been so long since that’s happened, we have every right to gloat and dream for a minute or two.

Rock Chalk, bitches.

  1. Until you look at the non-conference schedule and see zero patsies on it. I’m not sure who has done the football scheduling for KU in recent years, but they are all idiots. Play a bunch of crappy schools from crappy conferences until you are sure the program needs the boost of playing other Power 5, or near Power 5, teams.  ↩
  2. Cue the “We finally hired the right guy and he’s going to leave in two years!” complaint. I’ve said for years I’m totally onboard with this. KU should aspire to be a stepping-stone job. It’s better than firing a guy and starting over every three years because it means the outgoing staff has done something right. Ask me if I still feel the same way in December if/when Leipold is interviewing in Lincoln, NE, Auburn, AL, or other cities with a richer football tradition than Lawrence, KS.  ↩

Friday Playlist

“Shine A Light” – Paolo Nutini
Forget where I came across this, either via a Spotify recommendation or somewhere else, but it was a nice surprise. I remember Nutini’s name from somewhere in my musical past, but can’t find where I’ve ever listened to much of his music or shared it with you. Thinking this song might be an opening to something new and interesting, I gave his new album a spin. Sadly this track had a different vibe than the rest of the disk. Meaning this was the best song, by far. At least to my ears.

“Out Of My Head” – First Aid Kit
These Swedes are approaching the point where I will automatically include anything new they offer to us.

“Sharks” – BROCKHOFF
This track has a nice mix of various eras of indie pop. I hear some crunchy, mid-90s guitars. The openness of 2010s bedroom pop. And a timelessness that would fit into any era. She’s from Hamburg. I’m not sure if that explains the About page on her website. But I loved it, especially when I read it while imagining a thick, fake German accent.

“Somebody Else’s Body” – Urge Overkill
I love it when random tracks like this pop up. It’s one thing to hear “Sister Havana,” or “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” UO songs that got airplay and people like me listened to tons. But the more obscure tracks like this, when the algorithm spits them out, those are the moments that are truly delightful.

“Summer’s Over” – Jordana, TV Girl
School has started. Labor Day is in the rearview mirror. Next week is the equinox. Summer is truly over.

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now” – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
I saw a Tweet this week noting that this track was released 50 years ago. Our generation knows the Simply Red version, which hit #1 in 1989. I knew it was a cover, but I can’t say that I’ve heard the OG very often. And I did not know until this morning that Teddy Pendergrass was the lead singer on it. Hot damn! This went to #3 in 1972. I think we can all agree it is the better version.

Stuff to Read

I suddenly have a bunch of links to share. Not all of them are fully cooked, but I’ll go ahead and serve up what has been simmering for awhile.

As I get older I realize how hard it is to do big lists like those in the next two links. I’m way overdue for updating my Favorite Songs of All Time list but it seems like a much more daunting task than it did two years ago. I just keep listening to more-and-more music and it’s hard to keep track of all the new stuff and give the old stuff its proper credit. I can’t imagine putting together a truly large list like either of these.

The 100 Best TV Episodes of the Century
I don’t watch a ton of TV so some of this is lost on me, but it was still fun to scroll through. I would argue for a few episodes to either be higher, or replaced by others in their series.

The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time
This one is more up my alley. I think it is interesting how these lists have changed in my life. Probably even 20 years ago you would see very little hip hop. Maybe a Public Enemy album and/or The Chronic. But nothing like the representation the genre has now. It’s tough to argue with the number one choice, mostly because it is in my Top Five list.

A highly scientific survey confirms what we all knew.

Candid Coaches: Which arenas boast the best home-court environments in college basketball?

“We played there, kept it a game, were in the game and then it turned at halftime and the crowd took over more than Kansas did. They had a significant impact on the outcome of that game and I was like, ‘Holy s—, this is all f—— up.’ We rolled up to the gym and we get there an hour and a half early and it’s cold, freezing, snow on the ground. And they’re all out there, a mile-long line to get into the arena. And we’re like, ‘Oh, f—.’”

Since I’m obligated to share any news about the Voyager probes, there has been an update on one of them.

NASA fixed the glitch that caused Voyager 1 to send back jumbled data

A good profile of Michael Mann, who has made some amazing movies and TV over his career. My hold request for his Heat 2 just came in, so I’m looking forward to getting to it next week.

Mann’s artistic signature is to establish a core of painstaking realism, then create around it a heightened visual and emotional atmosphere that can edge, at times, into a kind of hallucinatory, macho camp.

Michael Mann’s Damaged Men

I think the whole retro shoe thing is cool, but other than helping L to buy a couple pairs, I’ve never jumped into that game. These are tempting me, though.

The Nike Mac Attack Is Finally Coming Back

If there is a given in sports it is that the powers that control each sport will always pick the method of maximizing revenue that creates the least amount of joy for the fans. With the college football playoff set to be revamped – again – Kevin Clark offers a terrific plan for what the new system should look like. Meaning it will look nothing like this.

It is not just about the cathedrals of the game hosting playoff matchups; it’s about a smaller team—a 2017 UCF, a 2006 Boise State, a 2010 TCU—making a regular-season run from outside the Power 5 and hosting a massive program in their own stadium. It would combine the stakes of the Champions League with the charm of the FA Cup. Who doesn’t want that? As luck would have it, there are only a small handful of people who don’t, and they all happen to run the bowls and the College Football Playoff.

The Expanded College Football Playoff Can Be Great—If It Follows These Five Steps

Last week’s Pitchfork retro review was right up my alley. It inspired me to listen to another old album – in this case one that isn’t super great – and possibly put some thoughts together about it.

Guy: Guy Album Review | Pitchfork

Finally, one of the strangest things I’ve run across recently.

Eazy-E seaside memorial bench in Newhaven unveiled

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