“I am an F-B-I Agent!”

So I guess they’re remaking “Point Break.” In light of that, I’d like to post this video I’ve found in tribute to Keanu Reeves’ brilliant performance in the 1991 original in which he played an FBI agent going undercover as a surfer. Rad, dude.

 

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Vol. 2

1. The Lucksmiths — “Cliched Title for Kris”

An Aussie trio that writes incredibly catchy, pun-riddled pop songs at a prolific rate. Their drummer is also the singer, which is incredibly cool.

2. Uncle Tupelo — “New Madrid”

Pre-Wilco Jeff Tweedy, w/ his buddy Jay Farrar. This alt-country ditty is a good early autumn jam; perfect for a night on the porch where you suddenly think, Huh. I ought to run in and grab a sweater.

3. Dear Nora — “On to September”

Rationale is obvious. This album is incredibly twee, and therefore too sugary for about 99 percent of society. But taken as a whole, it’s pretty spectacular, and this is by far the stand-out track.

4. Wiz Khalifa — “Wake Up”

You know what it is. [Not Black and Yellow]

5. Against Me! — “Sink, Florida, Sink”

This always seems to be one of their best live songs. I wish Tom Gabel would play it acoustic like this sometime, though.


Two New(ish) Stories

A review of “The Sea: A Cultural History” by John Mack, in Newcity:

http://lit.newcity.com/2011/09/02/review-the-sea-a-cultural-history-by-john-mack/

And a feature on OPRF soccer for The Wednesday Journal:

http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/09-06-2011/OPRF_soccer_perfect_after_first_five


Friday Mix-Tape Vol. 1

Since I generally only update this thing when I publish something, or when a basketball player I don’t particularly like dunks on a pre-teen, I’ve decided to add a little Friday feature to this highly unnecessary blog. In short: these are the songs that should, supposing you aren’t a total lame-o, be the soundtrack to the weekend ahead. To boot:

1. The Ramones — “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”

The Ramones, of course, were one of the first punk bands. They were also about a decibel away from being a doo-wop band.

2. The Giving Tree Band — “Eventually”

These guys are pioneers of green recording technology: their albums are made in solar-powered studios, played on recycled instruments and art-ed up using soy inks. Their music, too, is really earthy, and more importantly, earnest. Check this band out live; they put on a hell of a show.

3. Gladys Knight and the Pips — “Didn’t You Know”

It’s really unfair how good this is.

4. Masta Killa — “Grab the Microphone”

MK isn’t as well-known a Wu-Tang grad as guys like Ghostface Killah or Ol’ Dirty Bastard, but this one from his 2004 album is just plain good.

5. Railroad Jerk — “All Down Hill”

If I ever hop a train, this is what I’ll listen to.

6. The Distillers — “City of Angels”

Listen to that growl.


On the Offensive, Or Lack Thereof

Instead of serving up a longwinded rant about last night’s poor showing from the Bears, I’m going to sum up my frustrations in a single question, that you can discuss if you want or not:

Can the Bears be truly competitive with this offense?

Sure, they went to the Conference Championship, but is there any doubt that their offense was merely around for the ride? Indeed, many of their wins could have easily gone the other way. Game 1 against the Lions, where Detroit really basically won, but Calvin Johnson’s touchdown catch was overturned (God bless the Process!). Their 20-17 win over the Packers early in the season — without Devin Hester’s 70 yard punt return for a touchdown, the Bears don’t win that game. Add in a couple other close matches against the Bills, Lions and Eagles and you could have easily had a team with a record closer to 9-7 or even the reverse of that, instead of the Division winning 11-5 they actually posted.

The Bears have long fancied themselves a defensive team. But this is an offense that inspires very little confidence that they are capable of bailing the team out, that they are capable of putting up points against good teams. To be fair, the Bears line looked better last night. But I don’t think I can remember the last time I saw the Bears convert on third down. I don’t remember the last time the Bears seemed dominant the the red zone.

But most of all, I don’t remember the last time the Bears offense has gone above and beyond when it really mattered, made a big play in a game situation. That’s what the good teams do. If the Packers are behind, Aaron Rodgers and co. are capable of doing something that seems impossible; same with the Patriots and the Eagles. If we want to be really competitive, especially in the post-season, I think we’ll have to get better in this area.

OK, I guess this was a rant, then.


Being John Barth

My recent Newcity essay is up for perusal, and can be found at this address:

http://lit.newcity.com/2011/08/17/revisiting-the-funhouse-a-review-of-%e2%80%9cidaho-winter%e2%80%9d-by-tony-burgess-and-a-bit-of-something-else/


“He’s In Love With Janie Jones, Whoa!”

I’ve seen Against Me! twice in the past year, and both times they put on awesome shows. Seem like a bunch of good dudes, too. Here’s them in a recent installment of AV Undercover covering “Janie Jones” by The Clash.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/against-me-covers-the-clash,60441/