Friday, May 28, 2010

Song of the Day: There's No Place Like Home (from LOST)

The song actually picks up about a minute and a half or so into this clip from the show. LOST watchers will recognize it. Not sure if I'm going to do a post on the LOST finale. Took me a few days to figure out the show and how I felt about the ending. Now it might just be too late. And I wonder if people would rather just settle in with their own interpretations.

Anyway, good piece by the show's composer, Micheal Giacchino. Poignant and fitting. I've even downloaded it to my iPod. It first appeared during Season 4, when the Oceanic 6 arrive home. Since then it's been used numerous times.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Up Wolves!

I am a fan of the Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English Premiere League. (soccer)

How did I become a fan? Well, I'd been getting geared up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by watching an increasing amount of soccer on the Fox Soccer Channel (check local listings. Given that the EPL is one of the top leagues in the world, FSC shows a good number of their matches.

I've always enjoyed watching soccer, but in the past was generally limited to the World Cup. A few MLS matches have graced my screen, but I find it hard to really get into it. The stands are more empty than full, the fields are always lined for something else and the television productions are second or third rate. Between all that and the fact that it's not soccer being played at the highest level, I tend to lose interest. Honestly, I don't hold out much hope that the MLS will ever compete with the European leagues, though I think it can and will get better. It just strikes me that MLS suffer in comparison to European Leagues the way Japanese baseball does to MLB, the Canadian Football League does to the NFL, Euro Basketball does to the NBA, etc.

So I figured to really become a proper fan, I needed to pick a league to follow, then a team. It's not that I won't watch and follow some other leagues (Go Revs!) but it's always easier, i think, to learn from the experience of one team. I tell people that want to learn about NASCAR to pick a single driver and learn from them. You'll pick up other stuff while you watch, but you won't be overwhelmed if you focus mainly on one driver, rather than the entire field.

The EPL seemed a logical choice for a league, but what team? I traded messages with my nephew a bit, because he's a fan of West Ham in the EPL. He became a fan because when he was younger, his dad went to England, saw a West Ham game and brought back a shirt and program for his son.

So, over the course of a week or so, I picked the Wolverhampton Wanderers to be my team. Here was the logic I gave my nephew:

"Why Wolverhampton? Some randomness, some reasons. They have a long history. I don't feel like I'd be cherry picking from "the big four" or other current top teams. Good logo. Cool name. They just got back in the EPL and appear to be building. They've got an Irish manager and some Irish players and a stadium with a French name. (me being Irish/French)

Their academy produced Robbie Keane and some other notables. Their u17 team is World Youth Cup Champions. And I like Orange.

I didn't study all the teams. Some I ditched for dumb reasons. Like I said, I may switch teams as I get more into it. But it's easier to get into it when you can learn from one team.

Plus, we can see who makes more progress next year, West Ham or the Wolves, since they finished 17/15 this year. They split their two games last season, each winning on the road."

So, like Robert Plant, I am now a fan of "Wolves." Timing was a bit dodgy (yes, I'm going to start using English phrasing when discussing soccer) as the season was just ended when I settled on Wolves. But it gives me plenty of time to brush up before the next season starts in the fall.

Until then, I've also been following the UEFA Champions League (jumped on at the end of the semis) and getting excited for the World Cup.

I'll try to post updates on Wolverhampton team news and my learning curve as it goes along. First tidbit to share is that Wolves regular keeper (translation: goaltender), Marcus Hahnemann, is on the US World Cup team. He's not expected to start, but it's still a nice honor.

Right, then. Carry on.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Riveting photos

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."—Yogi Berra.

Celtics putting on a tremendous show of mental toughness. Underdogs? Fine with them. Facing the game's best players on the road? Bring it on. Giving up big leads early AND late? It's ok. Foul out starters? [shrug] They just keep plugging away.

Do the Magic wait until the last 90 seconds to give up? I think it’s going to be more like Lakers ’08. Celts get an early lead in a clinching game and Dwight Howard curls up into the fetal position and the game turns into a 40-point laugher. Even money on whether Vince Carter goes down with an injury or puts up monster “garbage time” numbers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Someone needed to take a stand

It's about time someone spoke out about this issue. We should all be grateful that someone is LeBron James...

CLEVELAND—Cavaliers forward LeBron James railed against the harsh conditions of referee camps in the developing world Wednesday, calling attention to the plight of millions of referees worldwide who flee oppression and the threat of violence only to live without access to adequate food, water, or basketball facilities. "Sadly, thousands of referees are forced to live in unhygienic and crowded tents, unable to return to their home courts," James told reporters, adding that many referees lacked proper officiating equipment and their uniforms were in rags. "I don't always agree with the referees, but no one should have to live like that. Unfortunately for many, their whistles remain unheard, and numerous double dribbles and over-and-back violations are going unpunished." James, who called the situation "unsportsmanlike," has reportedly pledged $2 million to provide much needed shot clocks and urged NBA coaches to draw up a play to save the referees.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Song of the Day: Cobwebs and Strange

A Keith Moon tune from the Who.

Is John Stamos a terrorist?

Cape Cod needs more coal plants

Against offshore windmills. Now opposed to land-based ones, too.

They should shove a coal plant up their ass, see how the town likes that.

Maybe mandate that any oil used to heat homes in the community come from drills within the town or be offloaded at a dock within that town.

They should jack up the power rates and return that money to towns that host coal/oil plants that send their energy there.


Big week on LOST (spoilers)

There's always lots of debate and discussion on LOST in the Facebook world. And people seem to like the speculating. So, in the interest of cross pollination, I'm going to copy and paste some of the discussions I've been involved with there since last night's episode wrapped up.

Thread one
RLM status: Freaking Lost!!! WTF??!!

Noternie: :-(

RL: I was absolutely appalled that Jin wouldnt leave Sun to go and be with his child so she wouldnt be parentless. Horrible. I imagine the leaving her there would be awful but there was no hope! he died for nothing! ugh. and Sayid....poor, poor Sayid. :o(

noternie: Sayid needed to do that for redemption. Remember, he's been a pretty bad guy recently. They (the writers) really never knew what to do with him, other than use him as a tool to do bad things. Can't soil the morality of potential successors to Jacob. They have him doing all of this for Nadia, but he was all about moving on from her when Shannon was good to go. Remember his mourning over her?

As for Jin: He didn't die for nothing. He died for love. Plus, he's way f-ed up from being on that island for so long in weird situations. Three years with Sun gone and then he gets her back and only knows he has a daughter for a matter of days? That kid was never real to him. Plus he's Korean. They can rely on some cultural differences to explain his behavior. That's why he switched to speaking Korean at the key moment.

RLM: I agree about Sayid but not Jin. Sun should have made him leave. I hated it...and listening to my podcast is appears i am not alone...

I wonder where this is all going.... Des is alive in the well but what role will he play? and what about the flash sideways? They definitely are realizing that something is up but where will this lead? and what is Widmore all about? And the big question for me is where the heck is Richard, Ben and Miles??

MLK: Ok, get it...noternie all your points well taken, but 3 candidates (and Lapidis) in one shot....and my Sayid, ...booohooo.. I still blame Sawyer, he acted irrationally and just pulled it, him, Jack and Sayid should have tried to come to some consensus! we aren't getting any answers, i give up!

noternie: Richard, Ben and Miles aren't doing anything. Just hanging out in the woods. If there's anything we've learned about LOST, it's that characters NEVER take advantage of idle time to accomplish or learn anything. In 3 years living with Dharma, what did they learn? Sawyer, head of security and essentially married to a woman who had been on the inside for years. We gained no knowledge from that.

Desmond is going to set things up in the sideways flash for another time change to bring the candidates to the island. Jack will fix Locke's legs and Rose's cancer will get cured and then 815 will crash on the island. Other things will be lined up, as well. The show will end how it began, with Jack opening his eye in the woods.

It only ends once. Everything else is just progress. This show will not reach "the end" in the final episode. It will only show and celebrate the progress these people have made.

noternie: MLK, I get that you're shocked and bummed. I am, too. There were some major developments last night.

You could see Sayid was going, but hook or by crook. He was just too damaged. And Lapidis was always just kind of a hanger-on. The show only kept him around to keep alive the possibility that they'd get off the island on the plane. Killing the two of them at once was bold, but not shocking.

Killing off Sun and Jin together and with the other two was what made last night so huge. They appeared to have finally overcome the obstacles that kept them apart on all those different occasions. And it was over for them so quickly. It seems they were a little clumsy handling the "Jin just orphaned his baby" issue, but I wonder if that won't get handled before the end of the show.

As for Sawyer, they are showing you why he hasn't come far enough to be the chosen one. He disqualified himself last night when he pulled those pins. Two things to consider: motivation for making decisions and process for making decisions. Jack has always been selfless in his motivation for decisions, Sawyer was not, but he is now. BUT where they were both selfish in the process of decision-making, Jack has changed. He steps back, considers others' thoughts and shows some faith. Sawyer still trusts nobody to make a decision other than himself. He has faith in nobody other than himself.

On another...
KM status: Geez LOST, I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach for the last hour. So traumatic!

noternie: They switch over to that slow piano, you know it's tearjerk time.

MRV: The sub scene was reminiscent of Titanic!

SAG: No spoilers!

RLM: yeah...totally Titanic. and I posted how disturbed I was by Jin's sacrifice. There is a kid involved! wtf.


More new thoughts by me:
Isn't Hurley still a candidate? If so, doesn't the current pattern mean he's gonna go down? They've got no qualms about killing off popular characters like Jin/Sun, Charlie, etc. And truth be told, I really like and respect that. Keeps it unpredictable, realistic.

I'm looking forward to next week's episode. Looks like we'll get more of the man in black and Jacob. Good for two reasons. One: we'll get more about the nature of the island and the goings on from the only two that seem to have the complete story. Two: I think the actors that play them do a great job, particularly the man in black. Sad to see that his role was essentially taken over by Terry O'Quinn. O'Quinn is great, but he had his character. If the writers didn't' want to loose O'Quinn, they shouldn't have killed Locke.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Song of the Day: A Quick One (While he's away)

The Who, from Live at Leeds.

Without going into a lengthy, full-blown review, this selection highlights the Who's strengths as a band and why the rose above so many others to become one of the top acts of their era. And why they continue to influence so many.

1--It's not typical for it's time or the category in which the Who played. Tommy is the single piece folks point to for the band's uniqueness, but there are a bunch of other examples. This is one of my favorites. At one point, rather than include the instrument, they all sing "cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello, cello."

2--Great live band. I couldn't find a good video of them doing this live, but I've clips of portions. Let's just say Keith Moon could've been a great front-man.

3--Speaking of Moon, listen to him drum his way through this thing. Tremendous. And if you can pick out the bass line, you'll hear Entwisle's well-established brilliance.

4--It's fun. Amusing little story in there. Not uncommon with Who songs if you get past the standards you hear on the radio. There should always be a little whimsy available.