Month: October 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

Weekend Notes

Friday

L had the day off after our DC trip (more to come on that tomorrow), although I still had to get up and take C to school. Why did I have to take her? M was on her senior retreat Tuesday through Friday.

Friday evening was the welcome home ceremony for the seniors. That was interesting, as all the kids (40-some) had to stand up and say something about their experience. A few of the speeches were super emotional. Some were funny. But most were about how good the week was, how they connected with people they didn’t know well before, etc.

This stretched out long enough that I didn’t have any interest in going to Cathedral’s football sectional opener against Lawrence North, who had a really talented young quarterback but not much else. M did run home then head back to the game. It was a tense one. CHS was down 10 in the first half, jumped ahead by 10 in the third quarter, but only led by two with LN driving late before they forced a fumble and got a late score to win by nine. Survive and advance, I guess.


Kid Hoops

L had two CYO games this weekend.

Saturday they played St S, a team they torched in a preseason scrimmage back in August. L and her best friend both scored about 20 points in that game. We knew St S was missing a girl or two that day. This game was not a repeat of that scrimmage.

You could tell our girls hadn’t played or practiced in nearly two weeks. It took a long time to get comfortable on either end, we had two players get three fouls in the first half, and once the girls remembered the plays, they were ice cold from the field. We were down six at half, 12 at the end of three. Not looking good.

We started pressing and trapping in the fourth quarter and the girls ripped off a 13–0 run to steal the win. L played like crap on offense – she had six points on about 3–12 from the field, 0–3 from the line – but she had two steals, forced two more turnovers, and a couple of assists in that run. The win moved our record to 3–1.

Worth noting that this was the first week that her game(s) did not coincide with a KU football game. KU being on a bye week made that easy. But, naturally, this game was played at 9:00 AM, when it did not interfere with any college football games. Next week her games will again fall in the exact time KU is playing.

Sunday we faced a team that was 2–2, St O. Based on scores, I expected a close game. We got that.

St O just killed us on the boards and grabbing loose balls. While we were one-and-done on the offensive end, they were getting 3–4 chances on each possession. It felt like we were down 5–7 the entire game. But we got it to three late and L hit a 3 from the top of the key to tie it. Seconds later she stole the ball at mid-court and got fouled on her layup attempt. She hit one of two free throws to give us the lead.

They came down and hit a shot to re-take the lead. On the next possession L had a great look from behind the arc that rimmed out. St O knocked down a few free throws and we lost 32–28. L finished with a team-high 10. The coaches and I were lamenting our inability to grab any loose ball afterward.

Tuesday we play the undefeated, first place team. Hoping we can keep that one close.


Colts

The team that can’t get out of their own way. During the week they benched Matt Ryan and elevated Sam Ehlinger as the starting QB. Ehlinger only fumbled once and didn’t throw any interceptions Sunday, so that was an improvement over Ryan. He wasn’t all that special otherwise, though. His fumble came at a key moment, as did Jonathan Taylor’s later in the game. This team LOVES to give the ball away deep in the other team’s territory.

Indy native and Cathedral alum Terry McLaurin made a fantastic catch on an under-thrown ball that setup the winning touchdown for the Commanders. At least Carson Wentz wasn’t the winning QB.

It is starting to feel inevitable that the Colts coaching staff and front office will be cleaned out after this season. I think Frank Reich is a good coach, if perhaps too reluctant to move away from under-performing players. Chris Ballard has done a lot right as general manager. But this team should be better than its record, and some key moves the past three years have failed to deliver expected results. The pass that Reich and Ballard got for Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement can’t cover their failures anymore.


Pacers

Who knew the Pacers might be the best team in the city when the calendar flipped to November?

My interest in the NBA has been increasing lately, mostly because I found a few good podcasts that I’ve added to my gym playlist. I really figured this would be a lost year for the Pacers. They are trying to rebuild, they seem perpetually bit by the injury bug, pretty much everyone knows that Buddy Hield and Myles Turner will be traded at some point, and any minor injuries will be used as excuses to shut players down in March in order to squeeze out every loss possible to increase their lottery odds.

The Pacers swept a road back-to-back over the weekend, including an embarrassing (for the Nets) win in Brooklyn Saturday. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin seems like the real fucking deal, dropping 32 on the Nets and averaging 21 a game coming off the bench. After losing an important game to the Spurs – another team expected to be deep in the lottery next spring – the Pacers have won three of five. Through seven games the Pacers have the same record as the Warriors. They need to stop winning!

I’m sure this team success won’t last. But at least with Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton and a few other young guys the team is fun to watch. I hope they won’t regret these early wins when lottery time rolls around. They need the maximum number of ping pong balls in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

Friday Vid

“Superstition” live on Sesame Street – Stevie Wonder
L and I arrived at our house, tired but happy, around 1:00 this morning following a long, jam-packed, and mostly excellent trip to Washington, D.C. with her classmates. I’ll get to all of that next week.

In the meantime, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book album had its 50th anniversary this week. Pop culture writer Jeremy Gordon contributed to this New York Times feature about it, and tweeted out a link to this most excellent video for one of the album’s most famous songs. I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend. I hope you all have good ones.

Monday Playlist

Monday playlist? WHAT?!?!

That’s right, a very special playlist to kick off the week.

By the time you read this I will likely be in the air, on my way to Washington, D.C. as a chaperone for L’s 8th grade class trip. We have an action-packed week ahead of us, from the moment we land until we depart late Thursday. Gotta keep these little heathens on the move and out of trouble! I’ll fill you in on all the details next week.

As I prepped for the trip, I wondered if there were any good songs about The District. I dug around the Internets, found a few cool lists, and put some of my favorites from them into my own DC PL.

Weekend Notes

Fall Break

A pretty boring break for us, as we have trips ahead of us.

M went up to Ball State to hang out with a friend of hers. Apparently they went to a few parties Friday night, but I tried not to hear too much about that.

Normally we get our flu shots over fall break but I couldn’t wrangle all the girls together at the same time to knock that out efficiently. The Walgreen’s nearest our house, which is where our insurance works, has temporarily stopped doing shots, so that’s an added bummer.


KU Football

As has been the case so often this year, I missed the best part of the game because of basketball. The part I saw Saturday against Baylor was pretty stinky. Seemed like Same Old KU in the first half. Then, as soon as I left the house, the Jayhawks rallied to at least make it interesting.

I guess the good thing is this team does not seem to quit, no matter how poorly they play in the first half. The bad thing is these first half holes have been dug in nearly every game.

The bye week comes at a good time. Seems like there’s a chance Jalon Daniels could be back in two weeks. A couple of the other injured players could use the extra week of rest, too.

But with the strength of schedule left, finding that sixth win is getting harder-and-harder.


Kid Hoops

L started play with her Cathedral team this week. They had only practiced twice, and several girls – including L – missed last week’s practice. So I figured the first week would be rough.

The fall league schedule is two games every other Saturday. The first two opponents were 7th grade teams from L’s travel program.

In game one we were up 9 midway through the second half, but the other team threw a trapping press at our girls that they couldn’t handle and they gave it all up, losing by two. Worth noting L was not on the court when they were blowing the lead. I’m not saying we win if she plays. I am saying she’s a better pure point guard than the girls who were turning it over every possession.

Game two was against a better team. It was never really close and we lost by 19. I think the coach realized her error in not playing L for that long stretch of the first game, as she played the entire first half then deep into the second half before getting her first break. Didn’t help much on the scoreboard but at least we got the ball across the ten-second line.

No concerns about the play. They need more time to work together. They were also missing a couple girls Saturday. I don’t know how good those girls are but it would have been nice to have nine bodies instead of seven when playing back-to-back.

Of the girls that were there, L has played with four of them. Her best friend is on the team along with three girls they played with last winter. One of the new (to us) girls is big, pushing six-feet. She can really rebound and affect shots. But she’s like a lot of girls her size, her age: she’s very awkward and it’s a real mess when she tries to score. The offense, what there was of it, was not very focused on getting her the ball. I think the coach should find ways to set her up for easy looks as they get deeper into their time together.


Colts

Yep, shitty again. Or at least Matt Ryan is. I’m afraid he’s toast and the Colts were, once again, snookered into hitching their franchise’s fortunes onto the performance of a player who is well past his prime. Even when he gets time, his throws look weak and off-target. Maybe he’s just hurt and can be salvaged but it’s really hard to win in the NFL when you have a creaky QB playing behind a line that struggles to protect him.

Crazily the Colts only have one divisional game left on their schedule. If they get their shit together they are going to need lots of help to win the division.


Weather

Phenomenal weather the past few days. A little breezy, yes. But up near 80 during the day, not too chilly at night. These are the days you wish for this time of year. If only we could get a little rain. Indy is one big pile of blowing dirt, dust, and leaves, and everyone’s cars look disgusting. It’s not worth taking them to the carwash, because within five minutes they’ll be covered in a thick film of muck again.

Friday Playlist

Slow week here at blog headquarters. Or actually a busy one in terms of commitments outside the home which has meant for limited posting opportunities. Expect the same next week, but more on that later…

Here is this week’s selection of music.

“See” – Hooveriii
Hoover three, get it? The latest track to pop up recently that has at least a hint of psychedelic funk to it. Might we be in the midst of a boomlet?

“Years Ago” – The Radio Field
Lovely jangle pop. This band is nearly impossible to Google, so it was tough to find info about this band. They are from Düsseldorf, which is a surprise. They are signed to Subjangle Records, which is awesome.

“ENTITLED MAN” – Ron Gallo
I did some reading on this guy and apparently his muse takes him all over the place, from garage rock like this into the world of jazz. One writer compared him to Frank Zappa, which is interesting. I dig this song and its digs at toxic masculinity.

“Lipstick on the Mic” – Leggy
These kids are from Cincinnati, a city that has a surprisingly good music scene. It was even better when WOXY was still around. If M goes to school there I wonder if she’ll get into the local bands? Maybe we can go see The Afghan Whigs or Wussy together. Or perhaps this band.

“Catch a Colt” – The Afghan Whigs
Hey, speaking of the Whigs, they have a new album out! It got pretty good reviews although I have not listened to the entire thing. Of the songs I sampled, this was the stand-out.

“Hum” – The Sheila Divine
It’s been awhile since I shared anything from this (should have been) legendary band from the turn of the millennium.

“The Loneliness and the Scream” – Frightened Rabbit
Another blast from the past, this is the song FR closed their live shows with, ending the night with a rousing sing-along.

Reader’s Notebook, 10/18/22


The Stand – Stephen King
I mentioned in my last entry I was working through a very big book. Nearly 30 years after reading the original version, I decided to read the “completed and uncut edition” of The Stand. Released in 1990, this version included over 400 pages cut from the original 1979 manuscript, and checks in at over 1100 pages.

I read the original version in the summer of 1993, my first-ever experience with a King novel. I was inspired to take on the expanded edition thanks to a sportswriter I follow who recently read it and gave it his highest recommendation. While the basics of The Stand are still stamped in my brain, the details had all faded, and October seemed like a good time to jump back in.

As you would expect, a lot of it felt unfamiliar. I was constantly thinking, “Do I not remember these parts because they were ones that were cut from the original, or because it’s been almost 30 years since I read this?” It was clearly more B than A, because I remembered way less than I thought I would. There were also moments that he obviously updated pop cultural references in the re-editing process that kind of threw me.

I also realized that I think I’ve mixed up a lot of other King works with The Stand in my memory. Certainly parts of The Dark Tower series, which has some overlap. I really thought more of The Stand took place in Kansas, but realized after that I was thinking of parts of The Dark Tower.[1] And, let’s face it: a lot of King books revolve around cross-country quests, so it makes sense that I would get them a bit jumbled in my mind.

Anyway, I enjoyed the re-read, even if it took up nearly two whole weeks of my free time. In addition to the dated pop culture references, the way King wrote about relationships and sex has changed a lot. His perspective has always been from the political left, but some of his words in The Stand still struck my modern ear as very retrograde. It was also a little disconcerting to read it in the age of Covid, especially since the Super Flu of the book nearly wipes out the world’s population.

As I said above, The Stand was my introduction to King’s work. At least in terms of reading it. I had been familiar with King for a long, long time before that, though. My mom was a massive Stephen King fan. One of the few indulgences she allowed herself in the years when she was struggling to keep us afloat financially was buying each new King novel the moment it hit her Book of the Month club. There was a big section of his books on our shelves. I would occasionally take them out and look at the covers. This was during the time when his books were more pure horror, and those images spooked me. I don’t remember if my mom told me specifically not to read them, or rather that they were best saved for when I got older, but I built up an aversion to them. I was never terribly interested in horror to begin with, and assumed all of King’s books fell into that world. So even as I got older, I didn’t have much interest in them.

One of my college roommates bought the paperback of the updated edition of The Stand in the spring of 1993. I read the back cover blurbs, talked to him about it, and became interested when I realized it was more of an apocalyptic/quest novel than one about spirits and gory death or whatever. When I got home for the summer, I found my mom’s copy of the original and spent a week or so getting through it. And I loved it.

Soon I was racing the clock before I went back to school to read as many of King’s books as I could. I specifically remember reading The Shining. My mom had long told the story of how when she read it, she stayed up all night to finish it because it was so compelling. I know I saved it for a weekend night when I didn’t have to worry about getting up the next morning, but couldn’t quite last long enough to polish it off in one sitting. But I did read it in less than 24 hours.

Born in that summer was a love for Stephen King that continues to this day; I just read Billy Summers back in March. I recently counted how many of his books I’ve read (at least 30; a few I’m fuzzy on), and while it is a lot, it is no where near everything he’s written. I’ve “retired” from reading his stuff a couple times.[2] I once again feel like I probably don’t need to read any more of his books. But I also know it will only take one good review or recommendation from a friend for me to pick it up should be publish something new and compelling. I was also thinking about re-reading The Dark Tower series. Some of those books I’ve read 2–3 times, but the later ones I’ve only read once. That feels like a project that would occupy my time for several weeks. While I would love to revisit Roland Deschain and his compatriots, there are a lot of other books I want/need to read, not to mention things to watch on TV. I think it was enough to pause my reading for two weeks to get through The Stand a second time. At least for now…


  1. I believe there are big parts of two Dark Tower books that take place in and around Topeka. The Stand does go through Kansas, specifically Pratt, which is 30 minutes from where my mom grew up, and where her parents used to take me to Pizza Hut sometimes. Might The Talisman run through Kansas as well? It’s been too long.  ↩

  2. Just as he has “retired” from writing at least once, only to publish three books the next year.  ↩

Weekend Notes

FNL

For the ninth-straight year Cathedral ended their regular season schedule against Center Grove. They are almost always great games, although CG had a 6–2 advantage coming into this year’s game. Two years ago the game came down to Cathedral being unable to get less than a yard on fourth down. This year the game also came down to one team coming up one yard short. Kind of.

Center Grove (No. 2) was up 14–13 after very even first half, the difference being a missed CHS (No. 3) PAT.

Then CG ripped off 15-straight points in the second half. Cathedral was committing too many penalties, turned the ball over twice, and was unable to get stops on defense.

Center Grove has this loud, stupid train horn they blast after every positive play. Fans have a collection of horns and cowbells the join in with. It’s annoying. When they are kicking your ass, it is really annoying. You can’t even hear the radio announcers the main horn is so loud. After Cathedral threw an interception and they blasted it for at least 15 seconds I was close to turning the game off because I was sick of hearing that dumb horn.

Cathedral forced a fumble but gave the ball right back shortly after and Center Grove drove deep into Irish territory as the game moved to the fourth quarter. Any more points and the game was likely over. They had fourth and goal at the one and ran the ball. The horn started blaring, the crowd roared. But the refs said Cathedral stopped the runner short of the goal line. Turnover on downs.

The Irish offense hadn’t done a thing in the third quarter. They had nine minutes to figure something out.

So they calmly drove 99 yards to score. The two-point conversion failed, 29–19.

On the next drive CHS forced a three-and-out and then blocked the punt, recovering it for a touchdown. 29–26.

Center Grove got the ball with about 3:00 left. Cathedral had all their time outs. A couple first downs and this game was over. CG drove to the CHS 26, but on third down were sacked and lost seven yards. They went for it, Cathedral held, and got the ball with 1:34 left.

On the ensuing drive, CHS converted a fourth and long, getting a huge 33-yard completion. The next play was a 35-yard TD pass. 32–29 Irish! 51 seconds left.

Center Grove returned the short kick to nearly midfield. Cathedral lost this matchup two years ago because they let CG drive 50 yards in less than a minute to score in the game’s final seconds.

Not this time; interception on the first play!

But CG still had three time outs left so the Irish needed at least one first down.

They got nine yards on first down. Time out.

They lost two yards on second down. Time out.

On third down the quarterback flipped a screen pass to his tight end, a kid who is going to Western Michigan next year. He busted through a couple tackles and rumbled 60 yards for a big EFF YOU touchdown.

40–29, final.

What a game!

Cathedral looked dead in the water and completely out-classed going into the fourth quarter. Then they somehow found something and scored 27 points in less than five minutes against the two-time defending 6A state champs. The final score makes it look like an ass kicking when, in reality, Center Grove was one yard from being the ass kickers. Sports are crazy sometimes.

It was the first Center Grove loss to an Indiana team since the state title game in 2019. First regular season loss for them since Cathedral beat them that same season. First home loss since August 2019.

With Cathedral now in 6A these teams could meet in semi-state. However, Cathedral would likely need to beat #1 Brownsburg, who handled them fairly easily in week two, in the regionals to get that far. (Update: Brownsburg lost to the #4 team Friday. Brownsburg also lost their quarterback to an injury and they have a very tough opening game in sectionals.)

M was up in Chicago for a Harry Styles concert. When the game was over, I texted her the score and a brief summary, figuring she would see it after the show was over. But she responded right away. “Harry is about to go on. We were checking Twitter obsessively!” Glad she’s turned into a football fan in her four years at CHS.


Kid Hoops

It was Championship Saturday for L’s travel team. To remind you, the back to school league finished with four-team brackets, and her team’s first opponent forfeited on Monday, so they had a bye into the championship game.

The opponent: a team they beat 35–32 three two months ago. L hit two free throws late in that game it help ice it.

This game started the way we started so many games this season: in a 12–0 hole. We whittled it down to three at one point – L hit a nice floater to get us to that point – but trailed by five at halftime.

We came out on fire defensively in the second half and quickly took the lead, going up by 3. But we turned that around by giving up seven-straight, which turned into an 11–2 run. It wasn’t looking good.

The girls battled back again. We could not hit an outside shot to save our lives, but we started getting steals and layups. We hit a couple and-ones. Finally, with about 2:00 left, down four, L was wide-open from the top of the key. Twice she had fumbled the ball and couldn’t get a shot off in a similar station. This time she handled the pass cleanly, squared her body, and drained the 3 to cut the lead to one. On the next possession she drove the baseline, drew the defense, then flipped it to a teammate who scored as she got fouled. That girl missed the free throw but we never trailed again. We got the lead to five once and ended up winning 34–31. L’s 3 was our only trey of the game; we went something like 1–20. But it was enough!

She had a really good game. Nine points on 4–7 shooting. Three rebounds, a couple steals. The only flaw was two bad turnovers, both when she was stuck between driving and either passing or shooting and shuffled her feet.

And now her first year of travel ball is officially complete. That team will go on the shelf for a few months as the girls settle out onto their school-based teams. Her Cathedral team will likely play this coming weekend.


KU Football

Well, we knew the regression was coming. It made sense that it would happen the week the Jayhawks went to Oklahoma. Especially with the backup quarterback starting. As much as OU losing three-straight made you want to believe this would be a chance for KU to get bowl eligible, decades of history made that seem unlikely.

I saw most of the first half and that was about what I expected. I think OU remembered they are a collection of four and five star recruits and needed to start playing like it. And it seemed like KU’s defense did not show up at all. Jason Bean looked like a guy who wasn’t good enough to win the starting job over the summer: he made some spectacular plays and some brain-dead dumb plays. Add all that up and the more traditional OU kicking KU ass seemed like it was in order.

But it looked like KU at least made it respectable in the second half, even covering the late 10.5 point line. I don’t know if that was more a function of OU taking their foot off the gas, though, since I was watching L’s team play then.

A bummer of a loss, especially when a lot of people were picking KU. But it made sense, given all the other factors that went into the game. The key is they competed. There were stretches where they were bad, but they never stopped playing and it wasn’t an embarrassment, as so many games against OU have been in my life.

The rest of the schedule is a beast, but if KU’s defense can figure out how to mix in the occasional stop again and the offense can work out some kinks as long as Bean is the starter, I don’t think we need to start thinking the rest of the season is a lost cause.


Other College Football

We got home in time to see much of Alabama-Tennessee and Oklahoma State-TCU. I really needed two TVs as both games worked their way to fantastic finishes within moments of each other. What a scene in Knoxville as the Vols finally got that elusive win over the Crimson Tide! That TCU win helps KU’s RPI, right?


Baseball

I set aside my baseball boycott when I heard about the craziness in Seattle Saturday. I watched innings 16-through–18. Seattle fans deserved better than a 1–0 loss and series sweep. I wanted the M’s to win, but was not strongly invested. The experience felt like back when I watched hockey a bit in the mid–90s and came across a playoff game that would stretch into multiple overtimes. At some point you’re rooting for the spectacle more than a result, hoping for great plays – shots that hit the post in hockey or diving catches by outfielders in baseball – that keep the game going.

Then I woke up Sunday morning to see that the Padres had knocked the Dodgers, by far the best team in baseball this year, out of the postseason. No surprise the “We Need To Fix The Baseball Playoffs” takes started rolling in right away.

Listen, the new baseball playoffs suck. They diminish the meaning of the 162-game regular season, even more than the previous expansion of the playoffs did. The Padres, who have a huge payroll of their own, knocking off the Dodgers has zero in common with St. Peter’s upsetting Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

But Rob Manfred and the owners don’t give a shit about what’s fair or right or what the fans want. As long as they can sell more advertising time in prime time in October, and expand the field so cities like Seattle, that are hungry for playoff baseball, gobble up tickets, they are aren’t going to change a thing.


NFL

The Colts looked super shitty early, and I was more concerned with spending our last nice day for a week or so outside getting some work done in the yard than watching them continue to suck.[1] But they rallied nicely and even looked competent on both sides of the ball in the second half. The AFC South is about as stinky as you can get, so this team might still find its way into the postseason.

We had other things going on so I wasn’t able to watch much of the Bills-Chiefs game. It looks like it was entertaining, if not as crazy, as January’s playoff game between the teams.

In recent weeks I’ve heard plenty of “Josh Allen is clearly the best quarterback/player in the league” talk. I mostly hear it because of KC fans in my social feeds bitching about it.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I think it’s a weird argument, and I’ve tried to figure out why people are making it.

I’ve come up with these explanations.

First, it’s hot take-y. Everyone knows Patrick Mahomes is redefining what it means to be an NFL quarterback. Saying Allen is better gets people fired up, clicking links, and otherwise engaging.

Second, Mahomes, while still young, is old news. We all know he’s brilliant. Maybe not everyone knows that Allen is also brilliant.

Finally, I think some of it is because of their games. Mahomes seems like he’s from a video game, doing things no one has ever seen before in ways we would never have predicted. He does things that flat out don’t make sense. Meanwhile Allen is like the prototype for the perfect NFL QB for any era. He’s big. He’s aggressive. He throws a ridiculous long ball. I think that appeals to the same part of some people’s brains that can’t comprehend what Mahomes is doing. Allen is a modern John Elway, where there has never been anyone like Mahomes. Right or wrong, some folks will elevate Allen because of that.

Mahomes has a ring and another Super Bowl appearance. So he has a bragging rights/legacy boost over Allen. This season, most weeks, I think you can say they are 1A and 1B, or at worst 1–2 in any order. Unless you are a Chiefs or Bills fan, though, to say one is “clearly” better than the other is dumb.[2] Why can’t we just say they’re both awesome and not have to nitpick to declare one better than the other?


  1. It is after noon on Monday, cloudy, gusty, and only in the 40s. We are expected to have a hard freeze tonight. Yesterday it was in the mid–60s. Next weekend mid–70s. Fall in the Midwest!  ↩
  2. I still think it’s dumb for Chiefs or Bills fans to claim their guy is clearly better, but at least that’s homerism and choosing with your heart. I can understand that.  ↩

Friday Playlist

Back to the (mostly) newer music this week.

“Lucky One” – The Big Pink
I like the heavy, almost ominous feel of this track.

“Literary Mind” – Sprints
I’m a long-time sucker for songs that capture the feeling of being young and in love, and this sure does that. I especially like how, as the song builds, the band’s Dublin accents come out more-and-more.

“Wolf” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I finally got around to giving the new YYY album a listen on Tuesday or Wednesday. It lived up to the hype it was getting from critics. I’m enjoying the sheen they’ve added to their familiar sound.

“After The Earthquake” – Alvvays
I probably would have listened to the YYY album more if not for Blue Rev, the new Alvvays album. It came with a whole heap of hype. And it 100% delivered on all that praise. It is one of my favorite albums of the year, and it is certainly one of the most fun to listen to. This is one of the standout tracks, which like most of their best tracks on Blue Rev, has a strong Johnny Marr vibe to the guitars.

“Waile” – WITCH
The first new song in nearly 40 years from this legendary Zamrock band. It comes from the band’s early days, and was often played live, but they never recorded/released it until now. It is also the band’s first recording with their original lead singer since 1977. With all that history, you might expect for the track to lumber along. Never fear: it smokes! BTW, mega bonus points for the meaning of the band’s name. We Intended To Cause Havoc. YES!

“Stir It Up” – Johnny Nash
I’m sure I heard this when I was a kid, but I had no memory of it at all. I’m sure any memories of it were wiped out by 25-ish years of listening to Bob Marley’s original. I heard it yesterday and thought, “Johnny Nash covered Marley?!?!” The follow-up to Nash’s #1 “I Can See Clearly,” this peaked at #12 in April 1972. Marley’s original never charted in the US. We weren’t ready for him.

“If I Can’t Change Your Mind” – Sugar
A random Sugar track popped up the other night, which led me back to their amazing debut album Copper Blue. As I was listening to the entire disk I read several articles about it. Somehow the music sites I follow most closely failed to highlight that the album’s 30th anniversary passed about six weeks ago. I know I’ve said this many, many times in my various music writings, but Copper Blue is one of the best albums of the 1990s, and of those great albums, it might hold up better than any of them. Just great song after great song. I could have shared any track here, but I’m going with this since it is one of the few videos I can find from the album. You could do worse than to put on Copper Blue and use it as the soundtrack to your Friday.

Thursday Links

I’ve been focused on my book this week, so not a lot percolating in the ol’ noggin’ worthy of writing about. Thus, some links for your enjoyment.


Become 007 With Pelorus’ Bond-Worthy Travel Experience
I wonder if the girls will be upset when I tell them that their college accounts have been drained so that I can do this instead.

A breakdown of every James Bond actor’s favourite car
“Favourite.” LOL. I guess it is from British GQ so it’s all good.


I love reading Hanif Abdurraqib because his writing is filled with so many unexpected connections. Here he surprises me again, with an appreciation of Loretta Lynn following her death.

She sung the lonely songs better the older she got, which some people might consider sad but I consider necessary. Enough decades of life suggests that one might begin to take an inventory of her aches and regrets, the absences that have been planted through the years and have grown only wider as the clock winds down.

The Singer I Loved Knew the Truth About No-Good Men and the No-Good World


22 Goals
Even if you don’t give a damn about soccer or the World Cup, Brian Phillips’ 22 Goals series is AMAZING. I haven’t read all of them – yet – but the ones I have read are some of the best and most entertaining sports writing I’ve read this year. I highly recommend the Diego Maradona, Dennis Bergcamp, and Marco Tardelli entries. I’m guessing the others are all just as good and I will recommend them once I get through them.


Finally, Rube Goldberg machine videos are always fun to watch. I like this one because it is, in a way, mocking them while also celebrating them. I do subtract some points for some clear edits, but I guess since this is a bit of a parody we shouldn’t worry about that too much.

@josephmachines

This machine passes your wine across a table! Continuing on from my “Pass the Salt” and “Pass the Pepper” series. #chainreaction

♬ original sound – Joseph’s Machines

This machine passes your wine across a table!

Reader’s Notebook, 10/11/22

I am deep into the longest book I’ve read in years. My Kindle tells me I’m 54% through it after more than a week of work. Figured I better get to the books I read before I started it so I don’t totally forget what they were about.


Italian Ways – Tim Parks
Hmmm, a book about taking trains in Italy. That is interesting. Because, you see, we will be riding on trains in Italy in about six weeks.

But more on that next month.

I’m not sure how helpful this book will be in our adventures. The author, an Englishman who has lived in Italy for over 40 years, details his journeys across the Italian peninsula on the country’s trains, which are loaded with idiosyncrasies that often defy logic. I say it won’t be super helpful to our journey because his focus is on the more traditional commuter trains that connect Italian cities. He, for example, commutes from Verona to Milan for work a couple times each week. He does spend some time on the newer, high speed, Frecciarossa trains that we will be using. But those, with their reserved seats and more smoothed out experience, lack some of the local color the commuter trains offer.

Still, it was interesting background on a service that is vital to so many Italians. And I’m sure, despite our higher-end experience, we will run into some of the craziness that is central to Italian train culture.


Heat 2 – Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner
As I mentioned in last month’s media post, I watched the original Heat in advance of reading the sequel that Michael Mann wrote during the Covid lockdown. Re-watching the movie was helpful, but not entirely vital.

The book jumps around in time, from the late 1980s to 2000, showing how the crew of the movie came together and had a formative experience in the late 80s, to how Val Kilmer’s character, Chris Shiherlis, the only surviving member of the crew in the movie, carves out a new life.

It was a bit hard to read the book with the images of the movie characters in your head. Many of them translate just fine. The one I had trouble with, though, was Neil McCauley, played by Robert De Nero in the movie. In the late ‘80s part of the book, he comes across much less cold and closed off than De Nero’s portrayal. Which makes sense; there is a moment in that part of the book which totally explains why his character is so emotionally distant. But it was hard for me to image De Nero playing that softer, earlier version of Neil.

Otherwise the book is solid. Not great. Don Winslow is one of the blurbing authors on the back jacket and I couldn’t help but think he would have made the same story better. But it was a relatively quick read, so not a waste of time by any measure.

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