Monthly Archives: September 2013

J3C College Football Top 25 (after Week 5)

A better slate of games than the previous week produces some movement in the college football ranks.  And none of it more entertaining for me than the shake-up on the west coast.

Let me just go ahead & get this out of the way.  {clears throat}
Ding dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead, which old witch?  The wicked witch, ding dong the Kiffie witch is dead.  Being fired on an airport sidewalk couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy than Lame, my one regret perhaps is that Robocop wasn’t available to give him the severance package he so richly deserved.     Now, on to teams that are actually relevant in 2013.

Have to give Georgia credit for winning a shootout at home over LSU but long time Tennessee fans had a feeling what was about to happen.  There are reasons that the absence of John Chavis in Knoxville hasn’t been the subject of all that much angst even during the recent years of disaster, a national audience was reminded why that’s the case on Saturday …  Ohio State kept rolling along for a 17th straight win, Florida State almost had their very own Clemson moment, and Oklahoma State stumbled against a team that had been annihilated 37-0 the week before.  It’s almost enough to put fans into {wait for it}  {wait for it} a state … Florida got by Kentucky in a game that might not have been as close as it felt while South Carolina had an even closer call against UCF but the next wins might be tough to come by until QB Connor Shaw returns … You think maybe UNC might be hoping Mack Brown really is out at Texas, maybe he could help them get past being blown out by East Carolina on their own home field … Things probably aren’t much jollier in West Lafayette today after Northern Illinois beat Purdue by the same margin that Wisconsin trounced the Boilermakers by the week before … Congrats to UNLV for breaking their 23 game road losing streak with a win at New Mexico.  The teams combined for video game caliber number like 1,149 yards and 98 points, so it was interesting if nothing else … That’s more than can be said for Georgia Tech’s Thursday night flop against Va Tech, but what else does anyone really expect from a CPJ led team at this point?  The problem isn’t the system, the problem is the lack of legitimate D1 players involved in said system.

In successive weeks I’ve felt like I had answers, questions and virtual boredom.  This week I think the word is “conflicted”.  Late into Saturday evening I was leaning toward a new number one team for this week but a 50 yard TD run late in the 4th quarter seems to have been just enough for me to hold off on such a move … for now.  With that at least temporarily settled sometime on Sunday, it’s time for this week’s new Top 25.

1.  Alabama  (1)
2.  Oregon (2)
3.  Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Clemson (6)
6. FSU (5)
7. Louisville (7)
8. Georgia (11)
9. Texas A&M (9)
10. Oklahoma (13)
11. Michigan (10)
12. LSU (8)
13. Northwestern (14)
14. Miami (15)
15. Washington (17)
16. South Carolina (16)
17. UCLA (18)
18. Baylor (20)
19. Florida (22)
20. Texas Tech (24)
21. Oklahoma State (12)
22. Maryland (25)
23. Arizona State (Un)
24. Northern Illinois (Un)
25. Ole Miss (19)

Dropped Out This Week:  Notre Dame (21), Wisconsin (23)


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Clean up on aisle 1 …

… and row 2, and aisle 3, and section 4, and lot 5.

If you aren’t into trashy blog entries then you might just want to skip this one, otherwise let me take you through a bit of my Sunday afternoon.

Huh?  What?  Oh, I don’t mean THAT kind of trashy (get your mind out of the gutter).  I’m talking about having cleanup detail duty for a parking lot near Sanford Stadium after a big SEC game.

Long story short, my son’s Scout troop makes a fair bit of change running a parking lot on game days during college football season.  They have control of an entire apartment complex lot which is (I believe) basically the closest private lot to the stadium entrance.  “Control of” also means “responsibility for”, which is why sometimes scouts & parents (mostly parents) handle the complex geometry of parking as many cars as possible into about 160 spaces on Saturday … and why somebody has to clean up after the partying parkers the next day.

Before I go any further I think I should probably make something clear.  Yeah I’m in Athens so these happen to be UGA people (mostly) I’m fixing to talk about.  However, do not confuse this in any way with me implying that I believe it’d be particularly different anywhere in the SEC or even at least as far as north/west as the Big10 or Big 12.   (I won’t begin to guess what  Pac 12 tailgate would be like, more wine bottles than beer bottles would be my presumption if you forced me).  Bottom line: ain’t nothing here anybody oughta take too personally.  Well, unless of course you’re responsible for some of the stuff I’m gonna mention.

On the whole, probably 15 bags worth of tailgating debris, all things consider the volume wasn’t all that bad.   This particular lot is probably 75% regulars who reserve a spot for the whole season, many of them have parked there for going on two decades.  I have to think that helps matters somewhat.  Plus, $40 per spot for the unreserved ones likely increases the caliber of the patrons at least a little bit.   Or maybe I’m just a cheapskate & that doesn’t seem so bad to everybody else. {shrug}

Notice that I said “likely increases the caliber” … which really is what I thought until I cleaned up after a few of these folks today.  Some thoughts/observations, in no particular order.

First of all, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how much you paid to park, I don’t care who you root for, I just don’t know if there’s anything you could use to justify scattering chicken bones on the ground in the middle of an apartment complex that’s going to stop me from suggesting you have some serious white trash tendencies.  No shortage of people around you bagged up their own much neater trash, how about you overcome your lack of upbringing next time & at least stick the bones back in one of the bags you almost certainly brought stuff in?  It ain’t that difficult, no matter how drunk you are.

Upon arrival, I was actually kind of oddly encouraged by the sight of an empty jumbo bottle of Crown Royal.  I think it was roughly the size of a small car gas tank.  I noticed that the bottle was left smartly beside a couple of neatly tied off garbage bags.  Other than a few beer cans that I figure were finished off at the last second, those folks were easily the most together of the partiers who left stuff behind.  Alas, the further up the lot I went, things tended to deteriorate.

Chicken bones were outnumbered only by beer cans.  But not just any beer cans, no no.  After today I’m left to ponder a couple of possibilities.  I’ve decided that either:

a) Miller Lite & Bud Lite are almost the only beers anyone parking there has ever heard of; or
b) Miller Lite can & Bud Lite bottle drinkers have a exponentially higher tendency to leave their crap all over the place whereas people who actually drink decent beer are much neater

Yes, I can be a beer snob, sue me.  I’ll drink American-made dog piss socially right along with the best of ’em — give me a chance on a hot day and I’ll throw back enough standard Coors (none of that Light b.s.) to embarrass both of us —  but honestly, I kind of expected better from the $40 parking crowd.  Of all the cans & bottles left lying around the lot, I saw exactly one that was ANY brand other than Miller Light or Bud Light.  Not a single straight up Bud, not a single straight up Miller, nary a designer microbrew in sight.    Everything I touched* except for one lone bottle was either a Miller Light or a Bud Light..  The exception?  An empty Guinness bottle … sitting politely right next to the empty bottle of Crown.  *(The six pack of Stella Artois was bagged neatly for disposal, they even put ’em all in the cardboard container, I only had to touch the bag)

Still, all in all, the clean up didn’t produce anything too shocking.

Wait, that’s not true.  Not even close to true.

What I should say is that the rest of the experience didn’t produce anything that came within miles of topping what I found in the first five minutes, in the very first little secondary lot we cleaned up.

Look, let me be honest with all of you.  I’m not exactly the most naive person in the world.  I’ve lived a little bit along the course of my 40-some years.  And what I haven’t lived, odds are fairly good that I’ve at least heard of. 

That said, there was really nothing that quite exactly prepared me for a Sunday afternoon clean-up that included a container of …

“Go Deep” Oral Sex Mints.

Yeah, I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.  Feel free to read that again, I had to read the label more than once myself.

And then I’ll mention that the otherwise innocuous little tin was empty … a fact that gave me considerably MORE pause –  considering the extremely public location I found it in – than the mere presence of the tin itself.  I mean, I know it was a big win and I’ve heard of post-game celebrations buuuuuut … well, just damn.

Now at this point, on an otherwise peaceable Sunday afternoon and on a typically relatively mild blog at that, I don’t think I’m actually going to even TRY to explain exactly what that product actually is.  (Nor do I actually recommend anyone confessing that there’s no need for me to explain, people WILL look at you differently, just trust me).   If your curiosity overwhelms you, I’ve found a simple link from Amazon that shouldn’t get me too much grief from the folks who host this blog.  Fair warning: that’s the least graphic product description I could find, if you Google for more details then you’re on your own  (the manufacturer’s site is a bit more, um, detailed about the product usage and benefits).

And that, my dear readers, is how MY Sunday afternoon went.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

A diverse group of new entries this week, with 4 songs in & 4 songs out of my Spotify Top 40.  Those four songs include a hard rockin’ love song, a straight-up rapper, maybe the closest thing to AC/DC that isn’t AC/DC and some young Christian rockers.  Still just one song missing from Spotify.

Missing songs this week:
Remember Me – Emphatic

New to the Spotify list this week
What If I Was Nothing – All That Remains, Berzerk – Eminem, Back In The Game – Airbourne, Criminals & King – Stellar Kart

Dropping off the Spotify list this week
Beautiful – P.O.D., Here’s To Us – Halestorm, Legs – Danko Jones, Die For You – Red,

For the larger (once again nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s more new music this week including the latest from Rival Sons, another new track from Queensryche, a solid cut from Christian rockers 7eventh Time Down, new Hinder, new Skillet and more.   You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know./23

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J3C College Football Top 25 (after Week 4)

Well that was an interesting Saturday,huh?   Or not.  Sure there were a couple of good games I guess but on the whole I’d say this was about as bland a college football weekend as you’re going to see.

Seemed like half the top 25 beat the living daylights out of somebody that we knew was awful before they ever kicked off.  I’m not actually bothered by those tune-up/scrimmage games as some people but so many of them on one weekend was less than stellar for fans in general … Several other ranked teams ended up finishing games better than they played for most of the day  …  A few others looked vulnerable to downright bad even while winning … I feel like I’m left with generic comments and observations that could be applied as needed to a number of teams, such as “Team X proved they can still play down to the level of competition”, “Team Y proved they can send out their walk-ons and freshmen and still beat Little Sister A nearly to death”, “Team Q vs Team R was at least entertaining in spite of neither being very good”, so on and so forth.   It wouldn’t take much for you to find multiple options for the identify of any of those designations, which seems to suggest it’s as good a take as any.  There’s at least one or more teams I’d like to move down a bit this week but there’s nothing in favor of the teams behind them that would justify me moving them up in the process.

If week 2 gave me answers to some things and week 3 gave me more questions than answers then week 4 probably accomplished the least of any weekend so far this year.  But that makes it short work to get together this week’s new Top 25.

1.  Alabama  (1)
2.  Oregon (2)
3.  Ohio State (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. FSU (5)
6. Clemson (6)
7. Louisville (7)
8. LSU (8)
9. Texas A&M (9)
10. Michigan (10)
11. Georgia (11)
12. Oklahoma State (12)
13. Oklahoma (13)
14. Northwestern (14)
15. Miami (15)
16. South Carolina (16)
17. Washington (17)
18. UCLA (18)
19. Ole Miss (19)
20. Baylor (22)
21. Notre Dame (20)
22. Florida (21)
23. Wisconsin (23)
24. Texas Tech (24)
25. Maryland (Un)

Dropped Out This Week:  Michigan State (25)

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Family feud, country edition

On the heels of a recent slap fight amongst rock stars comes another dust up amongst the musical fraternity, this time on the country side of the street.

So it seems that award-winner Zac Brown isn’t exactly fond of the latest song (“My Kind of Night”) by even bigger award-winner Luke Bryan.  The phrase “one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard” isn’t really ambiguous, nor is his description of his reaction to similar tracks “When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.”  Okay, well, that’s another precinct heard from.

After reading a companion set of comments** from Gary Allan ( a guy who does sell records & still has an occasional hit scattered amongst the stiff nowadays), I was inclined to lean toward a broad view of “live & let live, just diff’rent strokes, no worries” on the subject.  But then Allan so completely missed the mark in his comments that I had a tough time being sympathetic to the complaints.   While I can buy into what he said about how  “I don’t feel like I make music for a genre anymore” , he came across like a world class doofus when he blamed radio consolidation for how “now it’s about a demographic”.

Well duh you ignoramus, it’s ALWAYS been “about a demographic”.  It was last year, it was a decade ago, it was when Hank, Sr. was bending them guitar strings too.   Thinking that through a bit, I realized what had changed:  I don’t think it’s unfair to say that country music used to be largely about a lifestyle that people lived.  That’s a demographic.  What shifted, I believe, is that a big part of the composition of the current country fan base isn’t living the life in the songs, instead  the hit songs often reflect the life they wished they were living.   That’s different … but it’s still a demographic.  You may not like it, you may not understand it, you may not relate to it very well, but it’s still just a demographic, same as it has always been.

Given that whole misstep – which truly offended my numbers-oriented soul, along with my intelligence, down to the very core – I figured I’d like end up at least reluctantly on the Luke Bryan side of things.

And that’s true despite the fact that, if you just look at the lyrics without any other info, you’d most likely figure that is either a hybrid country rap song or simply a straight up rap song from a guy who didn’t grow up in an urban area.  Whatever it is, well, the phrase “ain’t country” does comes to mind.  It might be “today’s hit country” … but the lyrics are about as country as diamond-studded teeth.  But still, room under the tent & all that I guess.

Now let me point out here that, to his credit, so far I haven’t seen a peep about any of this from LB, so I’ve got even less beef with him at this point.  Songwriter Dallas Davidson however … well some folks must just have the knack for saying the wrong thing.

Davidson has every right to defend his song (he’s one of three co-writers), I’m cool with that.  It’s definitely a hit (then again right now Bryan could probably go at least gold by singing two pages from the Topeka, KS phone book), so you can’t blame him for defending the appeal.  All is well, right up until I get far enough into his comments to watch him shove his foot down his throat far enough to choke an average man to death.

I think the downloads and the ticket sales that come with those big hit songs are the facts, and that’s really all that matters to me.

Umm, excuse me?  {reads again}  Did you actually just launch an impassioned defense of your work, go on at length about how you just write what you know … and then admit you’re only interested in the money?  Seriously?  I’m about as monetarily motivated as anybody going these days but I’m also not going tell you what a virtuous person I am AND tell you that I’m a two-bit whore in the same interview without expecting … no, wait.  I’m not dumb enough, nor full of shit enough, to do that PERIOD, never mind apparently expecting no one to call me out for it if I did it.

I understand the need to balance artistic integrity (nebulous term that it is) and to produce a viable product someone will pay for … but I’m not sure how often I’ve ever seen someone basically disavow any integrity to their work at all, not in this particular line of work anyway.  And what a sad indictment of the entire niche that it’s apparently now considered acceptable to claim the “Justin Bieber Defense”.  Suddenly Zac Brown’s criticism seems a good bit more reasonable and understandable to me.  Next time Mr. Davidson, just invoke your Miranda rights and then Call Saul.

And then we get to the real (presumably unintentional) comedy portion of this whole mess.   For some reason or another, almost out of the blue, Jason Aldean decides to chime in with the apparent intention of defending Luke Bryan. First of all, I’m pretty sure the reigning Entertainer of the Year doesn’t need a whole lot of defending from the anybody on the B-list.  That aside, the idea that a marginally talented performer like Aldean would have the  comical audacity to utter a single word on the subject of songwriting is thoroughly mind-boggling.   This is a guy who, after all, has been the subject of consistent criticism throughout his career for the fact he doesn’t really write jack shit.   Country has long relied on performers who sing other people’s songs … but they don’t usually set themselves up for ridicule by commenting on the subject of songwriting, something that Aldean has largely failed to prove he knows anything about in the first place.  Jesse Pinkman has a favorite word … and if ever the word “bitch” seemed to apply, Aldean deserves it for his contribution here.

So what should we take away from all this?  We already know that all hits aren’t great songs and that all great songs are not hits.  We know that the phrase “country music” steadily bears less resemblance to what it means to a lot of people.  Then again, it seems that the traditional definitions are less relevant every passing day so maybe that’s simply inevitable.  We know that Zac Brown doesn’t care for that much (ironic since his work is far from traditional country either), we can extrapolate that Luke Bryan doesn’t really mind.  None of this is exactly earthshaking stuff to be honest.

Here’s what I believe we’ve REALLY learned from all this: if you say something strikes someone on the internet as incredibly ill-considered or simply outright stupid, it might end up being a blog topic for a complete stranger that you could care less whether they lived or died.  And that should get every bit of the consideration it deserves.

** Note: Gary Allan has since tried to walk back some of his criticism, fair to let you read that and judge for yourself.  The comment that put me off so badly remained intact, so I’m comfortable letting my thoughts about that stand as they were originally written.

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Three Things (for 9/18/13)

I’ve often said that, as a parent, just about anything can turn into a teaching moment.  This afternoon reinforced my belief about that.

1) As recently-minted 15 year olds go, mine is probably in the upper half of driving skill (best I can tell from swapping stories with other parents).  I’m definitely in the bottom half (of the bottom half of the bottom half) of parents who are remotely comfortable being in the car when he’s behind the wheel.  Happens when you only have one nerve left to begin with I suppose.  Still, there’s stuff to be learned when the parent is doing the driving.  Case in point, approaching a turn lane, with a redlight while blinded by the sun in your face.   I slow-played pulling up to the light out of habit … since I watched 3 cars and 1 motorcycle all cut the corner & come well in our lane where I would have been if I’d raced up there.  Pointed that whole sequence out to him, seemed to register somewhere.  Parents: ABT = Always Be Teaching.

2) Some button pushing on the ol’ Sirius XM resulted in hearing the Scorpions ballad Holiday en route to his tennis lesson.  Singing along, I remembered hearing it live for the first time … and found another teaching moment.   Back in 1984 I was on the minority in the Omni who knew what song from a 5 year old album was coming from the first note AND was completely pumped about the song.  (Really is one of my favorite rock ballads ever, still to this day).  Was a good chance to remind my child, or at least reinforce the concept, that if you’re going to rave for weeks before the show about how much you loooooove a band then you probably oughta know something more than their current radio hit.  It’s okay to not know every word of every song when you go see a band, it’s okay to see a band that you’ve never heard of before that night, what’s NOT cool at all is to talk all the talk about that band and then epically fail to back it up.   We had a word for that sort of thing:  poser.   Don’t be that guy.

3) That bit of musical advice led me to perhaps his least favorite subject to hear from me on: dating advice.  But of all three bits, I got the feeling that — to my amazement — he actually understood my point on this one best of all.   If you happen to have a date along for a concert like the one described above, and if you happen to live up to all the hype about your band fandom, and if she’s smart enough to notice, and if she’s at least into you enough to reasonably care … then even if she could hardly care less about the band nor the song, you might just look over to find that hot blonde you brought with you looking hotter than you ever imagined as she takes your arm & draws in a little closer just to share the moment.  And if something like that were to happen, you might find yourself remembering it fondly a few decades later.   Lesson being: take smart girls with some heart to concerts, they’ll appreciate that you’re not a poser … and so will you.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Last week I expected a good bit of movement post-holiday and got it, with 5 new songs entering the top 40 playlist.    What I didn’t expect was to have another 5 songs in & 5 songs out for a second straight week.  Still just one song missing from Spotify.

Missing songs this week:
Remember Me – Emphatic

New to the Spotify list this week
Seether – Seether, Battle Born – Five Finger Death Punch,  Ain’t No Sunshine – Black Label Society, 
Loner – Black Sabbath, Die For You – Red (re-entry)

Dropping off the Spotify list this week
Lift Me Up – Five Finger Death Punch, Until The Sun Comes – Rival Sons, You’re Insane – Escape the Fate, End Of The Beginning – Black Sabbath, Piggy In The Middle – Leogun, 

For the larger (once again nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s more new music this week including the latest from Bullet For My Valentine, a rockin’ return after 25 years from (don’t call us Jefferson) Starship, the always steady Airbourne, New Jersey newcomers Ill Nino, talented UK rockers Voodoo Six, something extra from Brand New Machine and more.   You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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