Royals and Opening Day

5 04 2010

Opening day for baseball fans is the start of a journey towards the pennant race. The start of America’s game, however, for Royals fans is bittersweet. Today, a sold out Kauffman Stadium will be packed with Royal blue and the intensity level will be high, yet probably not matched for the rest of the season.

Since the passing of Ewing Kauffman and the transfer of the Royals franchise to Major League Baseball and then to current owner, David Glass, the Royals have been out of contention well before the trade deadline. Heck, they are usually out of contention before the All-Star break.

Hope is the greatest weakness and greatest strength for Royals fans. Hope makes us show up 40,000 strong on opening day, 30,000 on buck night. But after blowing late leads, missing cutoff men and bobbing routine defensive plays, 40,000 turns to 20,000, turns to 12,000 by September.

Baseball in Kansas City has becoming a depressing topic. So, let’s stop talking about what will go wrong and hope for what might go right.

Last year’s CY Young winner, Zack Greinke, will take the mound today for the Royals. He brings the franchise a small amount of credibility nation-wide, but a large reason to hope for Kansas City fans. He’s added a change-up to his repertoire and looks to increase his wins from last year. Billy Butler is on the verge of not just being well-known in KC but a budding star in the league. He’s a over .300 hitter with a 100-plus RBI season potential. At the back of the bullpen, the Mexicutioner, Joakim Soria, is one of the top five closers in baseball. He’s converted over 90 percent of save opportunities since becoming the closer.

Now I know three players don’t make a baseball team. They can’t field every ball, throw every pitch or swing at every at-bat, but it is a start. You need a lot else to be a competitive baseball team, but ask other fans, coaches or players and they will tell you the same thing. You cannot have a good team without a great hitter in the middle of the lineup, a solid closer and a shut down, top-of-the-rotation, pitcher.

This is a year when we need to not focus on the middle of the Royals bullpen, Jose Guillen or the terrible middle-infield errors. Focus on the division. There is a great opportunity for this team. The Twins lost all-everything closer Joe Nathan and have just made a huge investment in catcher and last year’s MVP, Joe Mauer. The Indians might be in worse shape than the Royals. The Tigers and White Sox have proven players who have won division titles and World Series rings, but don’t have the talent to pull away from the pack in the division. Their aging rosters and lack of proven pitching make these teams success unpredictable. The Royals probably won’t win the division, but they certainly can win the division.

The negative Nancy’s of the world will tell you, “It’s just the Royals.” “Why watch?” “Worst team in baseball.” And if you listen, they are right. They will be the team that after a few weeks shows a glimmer of hope only to crash and burn into a last or second-to-last place finish in the AL Central. Why go to the games? Enjoy the hotdogs thrown at your eyes by Sluggerr? Watch fireworks on Friday nights? Because that is what being a fan is all about.

So today Royals fans, forget about the eventual collapse. Forget about 2003 and trying to replicate it. Forget about those 100 loss teams with last place finishes. Enjoy today, enjoy Greinke and enjoy the season. I might be right there with you pulling my hair out in mid-May while the Royals are in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, but until that point comes, enjoy it. Go out and enjoy one of the best stadiums in baseball.
It’s baseball season. There are 162 games to decide who the best teams in baseball are. If you don’t show up and support your Boys in Blue, then why should they believe in themselves? Show up, be loud, enjoy a cold one and hope. Because for Royals fans that is all we can do and its all we can ask they players to do. Play with hope, catch some breaks and maybe this team can take advantage of a weak division.

It’s baseball season. Let’s go Royals!

Cheering from Siesta Key,

Dubya





My time in Sarasota/Siesta Key

30 03 2010

It has now been seven months since I made the long journey from Kansas City to Sarasota, Florida. I came to the Sun Coast to start my career, live next to the beach and improve my craft. I was planning on working hard, living within my means while trying to find that great job. I accepted a position with the Pelican Press, which is a weekly newspaper located on Siesta Key. Putting out three to four stories a week while working two days in the office kept me busy and allowed me to pay my rent.

After a three short months, budget cuts made my life a little more difficult. Those four stories a week turned into one to two stories a week. Car payments started, cable bills doubled, life got that much harder. At least I had the beach right? Well that would be great except this was the coldest winter in Sarasota in 32 years.

There are worse places, however, than Siesta Key to launch your job search. This job market (over 13% unemployment in Sarasota) is more about who you know then if you can do the job. But when you make a genius decision to leave a state and a city where you know hundreds of people to a town where you know one, well, connections are slim.

My nationwide job search continues as well, I’ve applied to jobs back in Missouri and plenty in Florida, but I’m not limiting myself to those areas. New York City (#1 on my wish list), Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, I’ve applied to jobs almost everywhere. Foolishly, I even applied for a job in BFE Kansas. Without even interviewing me, I was offered the job. More surprising, I was still offered the job after I had an embarrassing typo. I misspelled the editor’s name at the top of my cover letter. I made the difficult decision to decline and continue to just get by then be miserable in Southwest Kansas. As a Missouri alum and fan, I might have been exiled from the fan base or alumni association if I had accepted it.

It is difficult and too early to say if this has been a great experience. While I have no concrete plan to leave Sarasota, I don’t know how long I’ll be here. I am lucky enough to have an interview in Orlando later this week. This job would be huge step in the right direction for my career. I just want the opportunity to prove myself. I’m quick on my feet, street smart, work hard and thrive under pressure.

I know one day I’ll look back on my time here and say I learned this and that, but until that time I’ll continue to find my way through the snow birds, spring breakers and this job market.

Until next time,

Dubya





2010 Grammys – yawn

1 02 2010

I’m not sure why I watch the Grammys. They have little to no validity about who really put out the best album. It’s a popularity contest at best. However, I still watch.

Please excuse the following stream of consciousness.

Easily the best performance of the show was the opening act from Lady Gaga and surprise guest Elton John. She has a great stage presence and is actually talented unlike many pop stars. Her song “Speechless” is the one where John came in for the duet. You can really hear the Queen/Freddy Mercury, one of Gaga’s biggest influences, sound in this song.

I really hate, or strongly dislike, Green Day. It is a sham their American Idiot album is now a musical on Broadway. I don’t think this gives Green Day more credibility, just Broadway less.

Beyonce’s performance was solid. At least she can sing and looks good doing so.

When is Pink going to go ahead and join the circus? I think it might give a boost sales for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

I honestly think the Grammys legitimize pop while simultaneously bringing down indie music. What makes a best album? Song? Record? Is it iTunes download? Radio spins? Album sales?

Now since CBS and the Grammys only care about ratings it’s logical for them to focus on pop.

The Black Eyed Peas produced one of the most popular albums of the year, The End. They have four No. 1 hits just off that album. While they may be extremely talented in the studio, they leave much to be desired for the stage show. They are one of the few bands who I’d support lip-syncing. They cannot carry a tune.

Jamie Foxx, should stop trying. Go back to playing Ray Charles. And for Slash, stop being a guitar whore. You’ve become nothing more than a collaborator and a guitar hero avatar.

Kings of Leon win for best record of the year. It’s the only album of all the winners that I have on my iTunes.

The Taylor Swift/Stevie Nicks duet started awkwardly enough and continued to the point that most of America now wants Kanye TO grab the mic from her hands.

When will the music industry stop riding off the coattails of Michael Jackson to gain ratings? (Probably when his father does, Oh snap)  Also, I love Beyonce rocking the 3D glasses during the tribute to Michael. Those glasses may have been worth the performance, those celebrities look ridiculous.

Also, when did the Jackson kids learn how to speak? Prince was very well spoken, but it didn’t seem genuine, which I know is terrible to say. There have been very few tributes to Jackson that have seemed genuine since his death.

I know I rant about Green Day a lot. They are so overrated it is funny. But if one bad may take the overrated cake it may be Bon Jovi. Besides middle-aged women, who really gets excited about the Jersey-natives?

You know the Grammys are a joke when Lonely Boat get nominated.

“Run This Town” by Jay-Z ft. Rihanna and Kanye West wins best Hip-Hop/Rap collaboration. Kanye was in three of the songs nominated, yet he was not present at the event. Where is he? A) he was probably not invited and B) he’s been at some fashion show in Paris for the past week. C) he tweeted he was sitting on the couch watching TV.

Haiti tribute. I’ll refrain from making a snide comments about this one. Mary J. Blige is truly a great singer and this actually seemed like a meaningful tribute. They song they performed will be available on iTunes tonight.

Make sure that you take in all of Lil Wayne’s performance. It will be his last before he goes to the slammer. What a poor Lil guy.

Who ever this old white dude is, he’s killing the ratings. I was ready to turn off the TV. I guess award shows have to have a diplomat to talk about how great the show is and the history, but if there’s one speech that should get the cutoff music it should be this one.

Dave Matthew’s Band … snooze. I swear all of their songs sound the same. It’s like folk elevator music.

Beyonce wins again, surprise. At least she looks smoking hot winning those awards. My boy J is one lucky guy.

Everyone’s favorite pillow talking musician Maxwell is up next. His music is not really my fav, but I can at least appreciate his singing abilities.

For whatever reason I really like the tributes of all the musicians who have died in the last year. History in a 5-minute time span. Now a tribute to Les Paul. Truly a music legend.

Now for the performance we were all waiting for, Lil Wayne, Drake and Eminem performing “Forever” with Blink 182’s Travis Barker on drums. Dear FCC, stop bleeping things out for multiple seconds at a time. I understand for a split second, but 5-6 seconds is ridiculous.

Drake, Em and Weezy brought more energy to the show than all the other artists of the night combined. Em still has BY FAR the best verse of the song. He really is one of the best hip-hop artists when he’s pissed off. I don’t like the sober Em.

Finally, after 2 ½ hours, album of the year … drum roll …  Taylor Swift? Damn, when will she go away? She can thank Kanye for her latest record sales and music awards. Had he not grabbed the mic from her, she may not be standing there getting that shiny award.  Though I hate to kid Kanye credit for anything. She’s talented and all, but for her to win album of the year is embarrassing for the Grammys.

They Grammys were anything but special or worthy of remember, but there were some highlights. Lady Gaga, with special guest Elton John, had a great opening performance. I know a lot of people don’t like Gaga, but she really puts on a good show and is talented.

Kings of Leon and Tarantino were hilariously drunk. #drunkatthegrammys

The last performance of “Forever” by Em, Drake, Weezy and Barker was solid. They brought so much energy to the stage.  Tonight, this show, for me, was more about evaluating the performances, because the awards part of the show is a joke.

Until next year’s Shammy awards … or the Oscars … peace out.

Dub





New Music for 2010

11 01 2010

As the new decade/year begins I always look forward to the new music that is coming out. During the first decade of the new millennium we were lucky enough to witness some great and historic music. Radiohead proved they were the most influential band in the world. They put out four albums that will surely stand the test of time. We were lucky enough to witness the beginning of the White Stripes, Arcade Fire and the Strokes. All put albums that could argued were the best of the decade (Funeral, Elephant and Is This It?)

What to look forward to this year?

Radiohead: After releasing In Rainbows in 2007 with a pay-what-you-want model, the band is slated to make a quick turnaround and put out an album before the year is out. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien said, “10 years ago we were all collectively in the land of Kid A, and although hugely proud of that record, it wasn’t a fun place to be. What’s reassuring now, is that we are most definitely a different band, which should therefore mean that the music is different too and that is the aim of the game.” He comments on the new record, “I’m an eternal optimist, but I truly believe we can shift massively on this [next] record. That’s the thing we all know, that we feel in our bellies as we’re rehearsing — we’re on a big move here. We’re definitely on a journey. And it’s exciting.”

Portishead: Pitchfork reported in September that the British electro rock  band, Portishead is in the studio hoping to release a new album within a year. According to band member Geoff Barrow, “We’re going to start writing and if all goes well it could be [out] in a year’s time.” Luckily fans of the band got a sneak peek of the new material when Portishead released a song for free in December, called “Chase the Tear.” The song was a benefit to Amnesty International.

Arcade Fire: After releasing Neon Bible in 2007, Arcade Fire is reported to be releasing a new album before the summer of 2010. Billboard reports the band may be a headliner at a few of the summer’s music festivals. They write, “Billboard sources say the album will be preceded by a single release earlier in 2010. The band is weighing multiple offers for live shows in the spring, and will likely take a top slot at one or more of the major North American summer festivals.”

Gogol Bordello: My new favorite band is not as well-known as others on this list, but the gypsy punks are scheduled to release their fifth album in 2010. There are not a lot of  sources to confirm his, however, when I saw them live in May of 2009 they said a new album would be out next year. One article says famous producer Ric Rubin will be producing Bordello’s follow-up to Super Taranta. The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed the gypsy punk bassist, Thomas Gobena, who confirmed the band was recording with Rubin at the helm and a new album soon out. “I think [Rubin] figured out I was a funky bass player,” Gobena says. “He wanted me to rock it like Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and understand what space means.” He later adds in the same article that Gogol Bordello is slated to play upwards of 200 shows this year.

LCD Soundsystem: The electro/dance/rock band is working on its third album after releasing the acclaimed Sound of Silver in 2007. The 2010 album is scheduled to be released by March of this year. In October, Pitchfork reported the band released its first single.

Strokes: In spring of 2009 the Strokes confirmed they were back together after four years. In October, Spin interviewed lead singer Julian Casablancas, who said the band is at a stalemate. He says part of the band thinks the songs are ready, while others thinks they need work. “I’m somewhere in the middle,” Casablancas said. “”My idea was always to take undergroundish, cool music and make it mainstream. That was my goal, and we haven’t achieved it,” he said. “We got to the top of the underground, but we never got as big as Green Day or Creed or any of the bands we were supposed to be replacing in 2001. So, in my mind, there’s still a step to take. I hope we can do it.”

Also releasing new albums this year: Beastie Boys, Hot Chip (albums comes out in Feb.), Spoon, O.A.R., Dr. Dre, Interpool, Amy Winehouse, Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eminem.

Daft Punk is rumored to be touring this year in support of a new album, but the only places I’ve read that have been un-sourced blogs and message boards.

It looks like many of the bands that shaped the first part of the 21st century will be kicking off this decade with a bang.

Here’s a quick list of my favorite albums (2000-2009)

1. Radiohead – In Rainbows

2. Man Man – Six Demon Bag

3. Arcade Fire – Funeral

4. Gogol Bordello – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike

5. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

6. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

7. Daft Punk – Discovery

8. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People

9. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

10. Jay-Z – The Black Album

11. Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta

12. Beck – The Information

13. White Stripes – Elephant

14. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

15. Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris

16. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head

17. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

18. Radiohead – Kid A

19. The Black Keys – Attach and Release

20. The Strokes – Is This it?

Let me know what you think. Until Next time,

Dub





NYE, Lady Gaga in Miami

3 01 2010

After a short one-day work week, my girlfriend and I headed to Miami for NYE. My big Christmas gift to her this year was tickets to see Kid Cudi and Lady Gaga in concert on NYE in Miami. While this is not my type of musical taste, I played the part of the good boyfriend, smiled and went to the show.

After getting a little, or a lot, lost on the way to the show, we arrived in time to see the first band. Semi Precious Weapons, out of New York City, took the stage as I was getting our first round of rum and cokes. This flamboyant band was loud and proud of who they were. Each song while not great, was very catchy. Still today I have a couple of their hooks/choruses in my head. The thing that stood out the most was their between-song chatter with the chord. The lead singer pawned off the band’s t-shirts, one of which said (and the singer said this often), “I can’t pay my rent but I’m fucking gorgeous.” Before their final song, they told of a story of the first time Weapons played with Lady Gaga. In New York City, 2006, in front of 12 people. Quite a long way considering this concert as well as every other show on The Monster Ball Tour is/was sold out.

After the many awkward moments that Weapons brought on it was time for the performer who I was looking forward to see the most, Kid Cudi. On the way to the show I was listening to “Day N’ Night,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” and “Make Her Say,” in anticipation. He’s a rare artist who can both sing and rap. Unfortunately, Cudi was nowhere to be found. Apparently he had a little incident in Vancouver prior to the show. I had no knowledge of this when I watched one-hit wonder Jason Derulo take the stage. His song, “Whatcha Say,” gets played entirely too much on the radio already and I did not want to hear him sing/see him lip sync. Although he is a Miami native, he hardly had an inspired performance. The crowd had little reaction for Derulo, who even had a hard time getting a lucky lady on the stage to sing her a song. The biggest applause/cheer of his set was when he announced Gaga was up next.

Time for another round of rum and cokes. I needed another drink after that performance. With Gaga up next, the James Knight Music Hall was finally full. The crowd was becoming anxious before the lights went out and Gaga took the stage. She came out after an intro that was too long to “Dance in the Dark.” Although this was a song that has not been released to radio, the crowd sang in unison. This performance was troubling as Gaga was behind a mesh screen that looked like a grid. She danced and sang behind it for the duration of the song as her costume occasionally lit up. It was an interesting effect at first, but wore on as the song progressed.

Luckily, that was the only song where Gaga was more of a backseat to the special effects. Throughout the night the crowd sang every word. One of the first concerts where there were not a lot of awkward silences when the performer played a song that has not been released.However, there was an exception. “Show me your teeth,” almost seemed to weird out the crowd. Off her new LP, “Teeth,” had little to no bass and the crowd was definitely not into it. Gaga played the big hits, “Just Dance,” “Love Game,” “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi.” She even played a new version of “Poker Face” on the piano.

What stuck out to me more than the songs was the love Gaga had for her fans and their love for her. It actually felt genuine, though with $45 being the cheapest tickets it is easy to argue that’s why she loves them. But I don’t think that is the case. Between every song Gaga reminded the crowd how much she “loved her little monsters.” Her rags-to-riches story has been told repeatedly, but she seems truly grateful of where she is at this point of her career.

As a whole, my first pop concert was very entertaining and eye-opening. I have a preconceived notion that all pop stars are just stars with no talent. However, Gaga proved that a pop stars can sing, write their owns and play instruments. Derulo, well, he fit the stereotype. Gaga stole the show and rang in the new year hoping for more success for her “monsters” and for world peace. (How cliche, ha). But what I’ll always take from this show is the genuine love Gaga has for her devoted fans, especially her “gays who have been with me since the beginning.” Although it was worth the price of admission, I will leave Gaga in my memory as I do not foresee spending money to see her again.

COSTUMES/SPECIAL EFFECTS: Nothing new here. We’ve seen Gaga have Kermit the Frog outfits on TV and seen her perform at the VMAs and AMAs with ridiculous costumes. They were the same tonight. If you watched SNL when Gaga performed, you saw her sing and play the piano with rotating metal spheres around her. She did this at her NYE show as she came on for her encore. She also had her standard performance in a cube. Although it was nothing I hadn’t seen, the effects were still awesome. They definitely helped to create a party atmosphere and make it more than a concert, it made it a show.





New Moon = good (box office) and bad (movie)

23 11 2009

I do not understand people. Twilight’s New Moon is one of the worst movies to make so much money on an opening weekend ever. Not that Rotten Tomatoes is the standard or authority of movie reviews, but here’s a look at the top 10 opening weekends in Box Office history. RT compiles movie critic’s reviews, which can either be “fresh” or “rotten.” The percent is the amount of “fresh” ratings. The higher the percent, the more that critics like the movie.

1. The Dark Knight (94%) – $158 million
2. Spider-Man 3 (62%) – $151 million
3. New Moon (29%) – $140 million
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (53%) – $136 million
5. Shrek 3 (41%) – $121 million
6. Spider-Man (90%) – $114.8 million
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (45%) – $114.7 million
8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (19%) – $108.9 million
9. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (79%) – $108.4 million
10. Shrek (89%) $108 million

Summary: It appears as if people go see similar, if not the exact same, movies. Outside of Shrek, EVERY single movie, on this list is not an original piece of work. They are either sequels or based off books/comics/tv shows. It’s really sad when you think about it.

How "Twilight" should have ended

There are 93 movies with the distinction of making more than $50 million on opening weekend. Only “Revenge of the Fallen” , “Fast and Furious” –  $70 million (28%) and  Van Helsing (22%) – $51 million, had worse reviews than “New Moon.”

More Numbers:

While box office success does not normally translate in Oscar or Golden Globe success, there are a few that bucked that trend. Of the top 20 grossing films of all time, only “Titanic” (81%) – $600 million, “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (94%) – $377 million and “Forrest Gump” (72%) – $329 million won best picture. That is total gross though, not one weekend. Of the top-20 box office opening weekends, not one movie has even been nominated for best picture and I highly doubt “New Moon” will be the first.

 





Mizzou Beats Bowling Green

13 09 2009

Last week when the Missouri Tigers defeated the University of Illinois 38-9 in St. Louis, most people said that was the sign that Missouri had indeed reloaded, opposed to rebuild. They pointed to the play of Blaine Gabbert and the bruising defense. It was a surprise to most as the Tigers lost most of its starters including 6 NFL draft picks. Heck, there was no reason to expect a win, especially since over 50 players on the 2-deep depth chart are either freshmen or sophomores.

After that game Missouri was supposed to cruise through the rest of the non-conference schedule and head into the Big 12 opener against rival Nebraska. However, Bowling Green had other intentions to get the Tigers out of cruise control. Heading into the game, the Falcons had defeated the Tigers in their two previous meetings, both since MU head coach Gary Pinkel has been there.

 (L.G. Patterson/AP photo)

(L.G. Patterson/AP photo)

Missouri began the game sluggishly and never looked comfortable until the end of the 3rd quarter. Bowling Green was up 13-0 at one point in the first half before two field goals by Grant Ressel of MU made it 13-6 at halftime. On the opening drive of the second half, the Falcons drove down the field and scored a touch down to make it 20-6 in what was looking like another Missouri loss. It looked like the Missouri of old, high expectations before falling flat. The Tigers needed to respond. This next quarter and a half would help me decide if this team is rebuilding or reloading.

Like any young team, these young Tigers struggled. Gabbert and the rest of the offense were flat and the defense bended but did not break. Mizzou came back from being down 20-6 to score 21 unanswered points to win 27-20.

For me, this was the game that showed that this program has progressed as a national power,  not last weeks beating of the Illini. This team was challenged, did not play well for three quarters and still won the game. Previous Missouri teams lost this same game. Even last year I don’t think the Tigers would win this game in the position these Tigers were in tonight. In years past, if the game plan was not working, Mizzou did not win. MU offensive coordinator David Yost relied heavily on the Derrick Washington and the running game to get Missouri this win. It’s something former O-Coordinator Dave Christensen would not do.

 (L.G. Patterson/AP photo)

(L.G. Patterson/AP photo)

Am I disappointed that MU did not below out the Falcons? Kind of, but games like this serve as wake-up calls. This game showed that those youngsters have matured and that this team has enough senior leadership to win tough games.

Now I’m not saying they’ll repeat as Big 12 North Champs, but this game makes me think they’ll be in the discussion, not Illinois. They came into St. Louis last week and caught the Illini off-guard and Illinois did not respond, that game did not show me much. Bowling Green came into Columbia yesterday and caught Missouri off-guard, but Missouri did respond. And in doing so reminded me that Mizzou now reloads instead of rebuilds.





Top 20 Albums from my iPod

28 08 2009

No one iTunes library is alike. Each one has a distinct flavor of the owner. Some are filled with today’s pop, while others choose to listen to a more mellow and alternative side. Either way, your library can be seen as a reflection of you. Maybe it reveals some of your hobbies or even what political party you affiliate with, if at all. Your library can be a look into your past. “What music did I listen to four years ago? Wow, I did download a Seether album.” It can serve as a timeline for music taste, but most importantly that music is a way to express who you are almost as much as the artists in your library use their music to express themselves.

Today I’m going to dive into my iTunes library and dig out my 20 favorite albums. They are not necessarily the best or the most critically acclaimed, but my personal favorites. I apologize now for repeat artists on the list. I’ll try to keep the descriptions brief and just list a couple songs from each album that you might want check out.

20. A Rush of Blood to the Head – Coldplay

While my two favorite songs from Coldplay (Yellow and Trouble) are from their first album, this is from top to bottom their best. Not a bad song on the CD. Check out “Green Eyes,” “The Scientist,” and “In My Place.”

19. Is This it? – The Strokes

It’s hard not to listen to this album and say ‘I remember that song’ because there were so many hits from Is This it? Listen to “Take it or Leave it,” “Someday,” and “Last Night.”

18. Toxicity – System of a Down

Another political band on this list, but they still are not RATM. I have to be in a certain frame of mind to listen to System. But when I am I usually listen to “Shimmy,” “Chop Suey,” or “Aerials,” from Toxicity.

17. White Album – The Beatles

Considered their most experimental work, the White Album has great hits like “Helter Skelter,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Revolution 9” that show why the Beatles are considered one of the best band of all time.

16. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

This is my new favorite album. Even though I have only had this for a little over a month, the harmonies of the Fleet Foxes make for the most easy listening folk music today. Listen to “Sun it Rises,” “White Winter Hymnal,” and “Ragged Wood.”

15. The Odd Couple – Gnarls Barkley

This might be the best album of 2008 that nobody listened to. It was also nominated for a Grammy that year. “Charity Case,” “Run,” and “Surprise” are the best songs on the album.

14. Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

I guess you could call this their comeback album when John Frusciante rejoined the band. It’s easily their best album. “Californication,” Otherside,” and “Scar Tissue.”

13. Master of Puppets – Metallica

I had to have at least one truly metal album on the list. This band redefined how fast and hard rock was played and this album is a main reason for that. Listen to, “Master of Puppets,” “Battery” and “Welcome Home.”

12. Six Demon Bag – Man Man

By far the weirdest album on this list. Listen to, “Black Mission Goggles,” “Tunneling Through the Guy and “Engrish Bwudd.”

11. Midnight Vultures – Beck

All of the beck albums have their own distinguishable identity and this one is no different. It is the most upbeat of his albums and one you can’t help but smile after listening to. Check out, “Satan Gave Me a Taco, “Discobox,” and “Deadweight.”

10. Discovery – Daft Punk

Hard to pick just a few songs, should really listen to entire album. “Digital Love,” “Something About Us,” and “Around the World.” After listening you can see why artists such as Kanye West and Missy Elliot use Daft Punk in some of their work.

9. Evil Empire – Rage Against the Machine

I remember when I first heard “Bulls on Parade.” From the first beat to Tom’s solo, I was hooked to RATM and have been a fan ever since. Listen to “Bulls on Parade,” “Revolver” and “Down Rodeo.”

8. Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor Tricks – Modest Mouse

One of the lesser known albums from Modest Mouse, but it’s their most coherent. Each songs transitions well from the next seamlessly. Check out, “The Air,” “So Much Beauty in Dirt” and “Here it Comes.”

7. Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike – Gogol Bordello

My feel good album. Although the album is great, it does not do justice to their incredible live show. Listen to, “Sally,” “Illumination,” and “Think Locally, Fuck Globally.”

6. Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix

Check out “Gypsy Eyes,” “Crosstown Traffic,” and “Rainy Day, Dream Away.” Just listening to these three songs should remind you why he’s regarded as the best guitarist ever.

5. Blond on the Tracks – Bob Dylan

It’s very difficult to pick my favorite work from Dylan, but with songs like “Simple Twist of Fate,” “You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” and Tangled Up in Blue” you cannot go wrong here.

4. In Rainbows – Radiohead

The newest work from Radiohead is arguably their best. This is my chill album when I want to relax. They stripped down a lot of the computer generated sounds from their previous albums and came out with their most soulful album yet. “Reckoner,” “Weird Fishes,” and “Jigsaws Falling into Place.”

3. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

Hard for me to pick my favorite Rage album, but every song is a classic. “Know Your Enemy,” “Wake Up,” and “Killing in the Name of.” Although the songs were recorded in 1995 their political messages remain relevant today, which is a tribute to the quality of Zach Dela Rocha’s writing.

2. Revolver – The Beatles

Definitely not the most popular album from the Beatles, but my favorite. Listen to, “Elanor Rigby,” “Good Day Sunshine,” and “Only Sleeping.”

1. Kid A – Radiohead

Not a bad song the album and by far their most experimental work. This arguably one of the most influential albums of the last 10-15 years. Listen to “Idioteque,” “Everything in its Right Place,” and “Kid A.”

Honorable Mention: Hail to the Thief – Radiohead, Sky Blue Sky – Wilco, Legend – Bob Marley, Battle of Los Angeles – Rage Against the Machine, At War with the Mystics – Flaming Lips, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank – Modest Mouse, Nevermind – Nirvana, Lullaby’s to Paralyze – Queens of the Stone Age, Portishead – Dummy, Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin.





To be a Royals fan

21 07 2009

This past weekend the Royals had a home against the Tampa Bay Rays. They were swept even though they had the lead at one point in all three games.

Now this should not come as a surprise to any Royals fan, but what is troubling, is that used to be the Rays who at the end of that feat. The Rays had never made the playoffs until last year when then went from worst to first. Their magical season ended in the World Series against the Philadelphia Philies.

The Rays had a couple of breakout rookies and some skilled veterans that combined to make the the season a success. That is something that has eluded the Royals since I’ve been alive. That’s right, I’m 23 years old and I have never seen the Royals play in a playoff game.

The year before I was born, 1985, Kansas City witnessed the Royals win their first World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The team was full of potential and hall-of-famer George Brett was in his prime. However, that was the last playoff run the Royals have had.

Since then the old owner, Ewing Kaufman, has died and replaced by a stingy owner named David Glass. You know the guy who used to be the CEO of Wal-Mart. He acts like he doesn’t have money, but we all know that is not the case and this year the Royals payroll actually increased and they are not in the bottom 10 in spending this year.

So, who’s to blame for yet another miserable season at the “K”? Well since Mr. Wal-Mart, I mean Glass, spent money the blame has to fall elsewhere. The players? Manager? Injuries? General Manager? Or how about a combination.

Let’s start with the players … well beyond Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria and Billy Butler, this entire team has been a dissapointment. Now some would argue that Alberto Callaspo, batting almost .300, should be on this list, but he leads the team with 11 errors.

Jose Guillen, despite having been on the DL, has hit into the most double plays on the team and for $12 million a year, his power numbers are not close to matching that salary. Oh, and please don’t get me started on Mike Jacobs. He is the worst defensive first basemen in the league and his .225 average is disgusting. He was supposed to anchor the new and improved Royals offense. However, he is 6th on the team in RBIs. That’s not a compliment to the other players production.

Injuries. Now one could wallow in the injuries. The starting center fielder, shortstop, third basemen have all been out for more than half the season. Soria and backup catcher John Buck (who was leading the team in RBIs before he went on the DL) have been out for an extended period of time too.

But, every team in baseball has had injuries and it’s just too easy to blame it on that. The defense is in the bottom five of Major League Baseball and so are most of the hitting numbers.

I will stop here today because I’m already over 500 words and will leave my criticism for the GM and Trey Hillman for next time.

Peace,

Dubya





Twitter

22 06 2009

My name is Dub Mansell and I am an avid Twitter user. My handle is dubmansell and you can find me here. When I began using the site in early January of this year little did I know how addicting yet  useful this social-networking site is.

At first I thought of twitter as a way to follow  and connect with friends similiar to the way facebook.com is used. However once diving into the site, I realized how useful twitter really was. I can get breaking news instantly on one site. I don’t have to scroll through my favorite sites or watch TV, I can get onto page and view the latest news. Strangley enough, a lot of my news comes from links posted on twitter.

Now if only I could find a job using this wonderful site.





Gogol Bordello, the Cashew, etc.

16 06 2009

In my last post I spoke of my hesitation to move back home to Kansas City for a while. I am not one who feels the need to stay close to home nor live with my parents forever. However, seeing as this is my only option, I am trying to make the best out of living at home. Ps, this is not a knock on Kansas City, I love the city, it’s a knock on being a college graduate and being forced to move back home.

Gogol Bordello

My first night back I went to a concert with two of my good friends, Erik and Lindsay. We went to the Beaumont Club in Westport to see one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello. Let me just say that this was definitely one of the best concerts I have been to. The crowd had more energy/movement than any concert I have been to, cept for RATM.

The band opened with “Illumination,” played favorites such as “Start Wearing Purple,” “Not a Crime,” “Think Locally, Fuck Globally” and closed with “Boro Foro.” I can honestly say that Gogol brings more intensity and engergy to the stage than anyone I have seen. All nine members were jumping/running/dancing … and drinking the night away.

One of the coolest parts of the show was when the band announced they had some new music and played two songs that will be off their next album. They told the story of a former Gypsy town in Europe that had been bull-dozed and destroyed to make room a … Ramada Inn. That segwayed into a new song about not letting people destroy where you come from. Lead signer Eugene Hutz was visibly angered and emotional during this song.

Highlights of the Nights: Early in the show they played two of my favorite Gogol songs, “Sally” and “Ulimate.” Altough, I do not think anything came close to Boro Foro, which was played as the last song during the encore and was at least 15 minutes long.

In summary, great show and I will definitely see them again. Also, Man Man opened up for Gogol. They also put on a great show and are one of the most original acts going today. Best song, “Black Mission Goggles.”

The Cashew, etc.

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During my trip to NYC over winter break last year, I put time and effort into finding the most original and best places to get a drink in NYC. It was well worth it as my girlfriend and I came across one-of-a-kind places such as PDT (Please Don’t Tell) and Pegu Club. After I moved home, it struck me that while I have lived in the KC area my entire life I had not looked into the hot spots to go to in KC.

After doing a bit of reasearch, I went downtown to check out the cocktail bar the Cashew. It is located in the Crossroads district on the corner of Grand and 20th street. The cocktails were amazing, orignal and they also had homemade sangria. The Cashew is three stories with the first two open to the public and the third available to rent out. We sat on the second story to enjoy our drinks. From our table, we had an excellent view of the KC skyline that may only be beaten by the look from the top of the Liberty Memorial.

The Cashew was well worth the price (average $8 a drink) and the atmostphere/view were great. Places that I’m going to check out before the summer will be the Velvet Dog, Kelsos, Indie and the Element.

Last weekend, June 12, I made my first trip back to Columbia since graduation. Brief note, on that Friday I went and saw The Hangover. Hilarious. On Saturday my girlfriend and I were on our way to dinner at Bleu when we saw a sign for a new bar called the Vault Speakeasy. We told ourselves that after dinner we would check it out.

After deciding to pass on the hour long wait at Bleu we ate at the Forge and Vine and then headed to the Vault. It is locaded in the downstairs part of the Tiger Hotel. When you walk in you feel as if you’re in another decade or in a weird dream. The decor is like the 1920s but with a modern flare. The drinks are original and created by the bartender. While the prices were steep for Columbia ($9 average) they did have some good specials. They had $3 glasses of wine and had one of their original cocktails for $4. The ambiance was enhanced by a piano player who liven up the scene. The Vault is a nice alternative to the sometiems noisy and obnoxious bar scenes in Columbia. If you’re looking for a chill night in como, it’s definitely worth it. Did I mention no cover too!

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Summer 09 thoughts

16 06 2009

Wow, I cannot believe that I have not posted on this site since late April… almost two months. Sorry ladies and gents, I’ll try to stay more active.

Let me give you a rundown of what has happened since then.

May: I graduated from the University of Missouri’s school of journalism. I woud say that this accomplishment would bring me some sense of relief, but nonetheless, it has not … yet. Once I establish myself and find a full-time job it might be more enjoyable. I am working 40 hours a week spitting time between Crown Industrial Construction (I do general labor, yawn) and the City of Grain Valley (I’m writing/editing/designing the community newsletter and doing various other tasks).

The goal heading into this summer was to find a job quickly and move there or move back home to KC for few months and save money so that I could move to New York City.  The latter became the only option. However, the more I work this summer and the more time I invest in looking into moving to NYC, it becomes more unrealistic.

I have thought that I save up enough money for six months rent in NYC than I could move there and find a job. However, it has become clear that I cannot move to the Big Apple without a job in hand.





Thoughts on the Royals

20 04 2009

Let me start this by saying that as a Kansas City fan I have grown up accustomed to the Royals losing. The Royals won the MLB World Series in 1985 against the St. Louis Cardinals, the year before I was born. Since then KC has had exactly zero, yes zero, playoff appearances. Since 2000, they have only had one winning season. So even as the Royals (7-5) currently tied for first place in the AL Central, I have no choice but to be cautiously optimistic. However, that does not mean I’m not going to enjoy it while it lasts, because there are some players who should give KC fans some hope. 

Zack Greinke has a 0.00 ERA and is 3-0 on the season. He is pitching like a guy who should win a Cy Young award. Joakim Soria is arguably the most effective closer in the game today. He is 4-4 in save opportunities this year and was an All-Star closer last year. Also, Gil Meche and Kyle Davies give the Royals a formidable 1-2-3 punch at the top end of the rotation.  Offensively, the Royals do have a lot of question marks. Two of guys who this team was counting on to carry the offensive load, Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon, are currently on the DL. Gordon will be out until at least late June. The Royals have had some players step up so far. Coco Crisp continues to get clutch hits with Mike Jacobs and John Buck providing most of the team’s run support. 

I could go through each player and give his stats and tell you why they will or will not have a good season, but all that matters is that the season is only two weeks old. It’s baseball season and the Royals are in first place, what can I really complain about? I should enjoy the run, even if it ends next week, the new season and of course, the new stadium. Go Royals.

Here are some pictures/scene from opening day against the New York Yankees. 

Player introductions with the view from my seat.

Player introductions with the view from my seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First pitch from Sydney Ponson

First pitch from Sydney Ponson




I have forgotten thee for too long

16 04 2009

Dear blog,

I apologize for the lack of productivity and blogging lately. What can I say? I have been busy. I have been reporting at the Boonville Daily News and copy editing at the Columbia Missourian. All the while trying to be a full-time student, working 15 hours a week on campus and unsuccessfully looking for a job. Even with all of that, it’s no excuse. I should be blogging more because, well, I like to write and like to think that others like my writing too. 

Now that I am unofficially done with two of my classes I can begin to get back to blogging. I still do not have a certain platform or topic that this blog will cover. I usually just post whatever is on my mind or what is current. Music, sports, movies and politics will on be touched on at some point. Recently I have also been working on my resume and cover letters and also a web site. http://www.williammansell.weebly.com It has articles I have written and stories I have edited. 

Until next time,

W





10 Most Underrated Artists

16 03 2009

In light of this past Wednesday’s list of the 10 most overrated artists, I thought it was time to make another list. The 10 most underrated artists. When I first creating this list and brainstorming bands, I realized that this list was a lot tougher to make than the last. Some of these bands/artists are rated, but maybe not to the degree that they should be. Some picks will surely be disagreeable, but what good are opinionated lists without something on there that you think is wrong. 

Here we go. 

 

10. Eagles of Death Metal/Queens of the Stone Age – Josh Homme is the front man for both bands and his vocals and guitar are the main reasons these bands make the list. EODM is a band composed of just two member, who play southern folk-rock style. However, QOTSA are more driving, but have a unique industrial sound that is hard to stop listening to once you’ve started. 

9. The Cool Kids – This Chicago-based hip-hop group has the most addicting beats I have heard in a long time. Every time I hear one of their songs, I can’t help but turn up the base and roll down the windows. While I usually refrain from such actions, The Cool Kids take basic beats and make them hits, such as “88” and ” I (Mikey) Rock.”

Cool Kids – I (Mikey) Rock

8. The Good, the Bad & the Queen – With producer DJ Danger Mouse (band member of #6) and Gorillaz lead signer Damon Albarn, this band screams cool. Having only released one album, the Queen are back in the studio and are bound for more notoriety once it is released. 

7. Fleet Foxes – This five-piece band from Seattle recently just released their second EP in 2008. They have unique mixture of folk, rock and pop, which makes the Fleet Foxes a band who could potentially have a wide appeal. 

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6. Gnarls Barkley – While most notably known for its 2006 hit “Crazy” Gnarls Barkley is a true original band that toes the line between hip-hop, R&B and alternative. Their second album, Odd Couple, which was released last year was my favorite CD of 2008. Cee-Lo’s emotional and harrowing lyrics are disguised through Danger Mouse’s smooth beats. Rumors say the band may not make another album, I hope that’s not the case. They are one of the true original bands playing today. 

5. The Black Keys – In my post last week, I said any country music past 1990 is overrated. I said that because today’s country music has lost what made it country. Soul and singing about issues of the common man have been replaced with dance songs and glorifying how much of a hick he or she is. While the Black Keys are by no means country, country artists and fans should listen to the Black Keys. Their folk/southern rock is more soulful and powerful than any song playing on country radio stations. Listen to “The Lengths,” “I Got Mine” or “Psychotic Girl.” 

4. The Kills – This British alternative/punk rock band is led by vocalist Alison Mosshart, whose voice is unique in music today. The Kills have released three albums and while all of them have received critical praise, little notoriety followed. Maybe the Kills will get a boost in populartiy when singer Mosshart sings for Jack White’s new band The Dead Weather. 

3. Gogol Bordello – Let me preface this by saying that Gogol Bordello is one of my favorite bands. Anyone who has ridden in my car or has let me choose what music is played has seen me select Gogol from my iPod. This gypsy punk rock band is by far the most original band on this list. They are also extremely intelligent while making some great party tunes at the same time. “There were never any good ‘ole days/they are today/they are tomorrow/it’s a stupid thing we say/cursing tomorrow as sorrow.” I do not care what type of mood I am in, Gogol Bordello only makes me fell better. Unfortunately, I have to listen to them on my iPod or computer to hear them, since no radio stations in Columbia or KC play them. They are not on TV or on most radio stations, but Gogol Bordello surely puts on better music than what those broadcasts play. 

2. Lupe Fiasco – You know you have written some intelligent lyrics when… BET will not air your music video “Dumb it Down” because they think their viewers will not get it. That is what happened to Lupe Fiasco. While new faces such as Drake and Lil Wayne are crowned as today’s new hip-hop, Fiasco in my opinion is in a class of his own. He has songs the cover a wide range of topics and mood. From politics in “American terrorist” to skateboarding “Kick Push”, Fiasco has shown that he can make music that can cross cultures and music tastes. 

1. Bob Dylan – Do you listen to Bob Dylan? Can you name more than one song that he sings? Most people my age probably can’t, which is exactly why he is #1 on my list. Dylan songs that were covered by other artists are more famous than his original versions. Jimmy Hendrix (“All Along the Watchtower”), Johnny Cash (“It Aint Me, Babe”, Rage Against the Machine (“Maggie’s Farm”) Guns N’ Roses (“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”) and Stevie Wonder (“Blowin’ in the Wind”) covered Dylan. As famous and original as these bands were, they ALL covered Dylan. His influences can also be seen from Jay-Z to Radiohead. He is arguably the greatest song-writer of all time, but besides music critics no one takes notice. Dylan never played to the media or had his songs played on the top-40 stations, but more artists cite Dylan as an influence than almost anyone else. Dylan, for all his fame and critical acclaim, is still under appreciated. I hope you take a listen.

Honorable Mention: Iron and Wine, Modest Mouse, Mac Lethal, LCD Sound System, TV on the Radio, Saul Williams, Daft Punk, Man Man.





10 Most Overrated Bands??? – What do you think?

10 03 2009

After listening to the new U2 album, I came away completely unimpressed, but that was not surprising. I have long been a critic of U2’s music, but what surprised me is the reaction it got from many critics in the music industry. Rolling Stone gave it a perfect review as did many others. 

This got me to thinking, who are the most overrated artist in music today? Now I know this won’t be an exact science, because there is no scientific way to measure the quality of music. While overrated, these artists are still nonetheless, rated. That is more than thousands of bands can say and with them being rated by someone’s standards, my opinions will surely be disagreeable to some.

Here are my Top 10 Most Overrated Musical Artists Today. 

10. Pearl Jam – Is not liking Eddie Vedder a good enough excuse to be on this list? 

9. Kiss – C’mon, besides “Detroit Rock City” and “Rock and Roll All Night” Kiss should only be remembered as a band who revolutionized live performances and the dudes who wore the creepy makeup. I mean I guess their face paint influenced the likes of the wrestler Sting and the movie The Crow, ha. Rumors say they may tour this year, please don’t. 

8. Nickelback – Many would argue that they should not be on this list, but not because they are not overrated, but because they shouldn’t be rated at all. Agreed. But while almost anyone who listens to music critically does not like Nickelback, millions do. This can be seen as ALL of their albums have gone at least platinum. Their new CD is not far from that benchmark as I type this. Chad Kroeger cant’ sing, can’t write intelligent lyrics and can’t play the guitar. Why do people listen to them???

7. Kanye West – His producing skills are almost second to none, which is why Jay-Z has tabbed Kanye to produce his next album. However, Mr. West is not as influential as he thinks he is and his actual rapping technique is average at best. Maybe I would like him a little bit more if he didn’t talk so much. C’mon dude, you can’t compare yourself to James Brown and Hendrix. 

6. The Eagles – The fact that they charge $100 a ticket and people only really know one song, “Hotel California,” justifies them to be on this list. Enough said. 

5. Bon Jovi – I think every time I hear a Bon Jovi song, my IQ drops a couple of points. Besides a couple of songs you can play at an arena or a noisy bar, Jovi has done nothing for the music landscape. Hopefully rumors of his plans to play at next year’s Super Bowl are false. 

4. Green Day – Maybe I’m an “American Idiot” for not caring about their new album that is dropping this year, but they haven’t given me a reason to care for 10 years. They are regarded as punk rock gods, but are as influential to punk rock as Kid Rock is to heavy metal. 

3. Garth Brooks – Garth Brooks is one of the most celebrated country acts of all time and his albums sale totals are still atop the record books. Last year, Brooks played 8, yes 8, nights in a row in Kansas City. All 8 shows were sold out in less than and hour. This speaks to the power of Brooks. However, the man never wrote one of his hit songs. Not one. Did you ever notice that the pitch of his songs doesn’t vary much, it’s because he can’t hit any high notes. Great entertainer, not a great musical artist. 

2. Dave Matthews Band – For a band that has such a following, one would think they would have more credibility in my eyes. But with no notable musicians and a lead singer who doesn’t even sing that well, Dave Matthews will always be someone I cast aside probably won’t listen to. I want to “Crash” into something every time I hear that song. 

1.U2 – I know I’m in the minority of people who do not appreciate and like U2’s music. I think the only reason they are still relevant today is because they are one of the few bands from the 1980s who is still around and putting out albums. While that has to be commended, U2 will be more remembered for Bono and his opinions than their influence on music. Their arena rock style is outdated and uncreative, but that doesn’t stop Bono from whoring himself out to any social cause in the world. He never lets his good deeds go unnoticed, he’s like Oprah he says, “look at me. look at all the goodwill and volunteering I’m doing.” In 20 years I doubt too many artists outside of Coldplay and The Killers will list U2 as an influence. Just saying. 

Honorable Mention: Foo Fighters, P. Diddy, Rush, Nas, Aerosmith, Any country artist after 1990, anyone from American Idol, Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, Kid Rock, Coldplay, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction.. I’ll stop there. What are your thoughts?





Who’s watching the Watchmen?

6 03 2009

Check out the opening title on this site before it gets yanked by people from Warner Bros. 

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MARVELMANIACS/news/?a=6552

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That is a great question. Who’s watching the Watchmen? Last night, I did. Zach Snyder’s Watchmen is a visually compelling movie that takes place in an alternate reality of the 1980s where Nixon is serving a fifth term and the U.S. won the Vietnam War. 

There are several costumed heroes, though only one has actual powers, and when one is killed, all hell breaks loose. Conspiracy theories arise and questions about nuclear war and the end of the world become common place. 

The Watchmen is arguably the most celebrated graphic novel of all time. In fact, Time Magazine named it to their list of the 100 greatest novels of all time. Needless to say, Snyder had a tough task at hand, how to attract new audiences not familiar with the book, while keeping the comic book enthusiasts happy. I think Snyder, while not perfect, achieved both. The movie is pretty much faithful to the book and the action scenes and special effects certainly would draw in the casual moviegoer. 

From the opening credits I knew I was going to enjoy The Watchmen. With Bob Dylan’s “The Time’s They Are A Changin’,” playing, it set the dark and ominous feel for the rest of the movie. These first few scenes are arguably my favorite in the entire film. 

With an enormous budget for special effects, Zack Snyder had to save money somewhere to get this film made. He did so be hiring a cast of relatively unknowns and unlike his last hit “300” it did not work here. Only one actor, Jackie Earle Haley, made it work for duration for the movie. His portrayal of the stoic vigilante Rorschach stole the show and gave life to the movie when other actors did not.  

If I were to give the Watchmen a rating out of 5 starts, I would give it 4, but only because I had previously read the book. Had I gone in without any prior knowledge I might have gotten lost with all the back stories and the lack of character development in the film. I hope you watch the Watchmen soon!

rorschach-watchmen





A greener stimulus bill

22 02 2009

michael-phelps-smoking-weed-with-a-bong-at-a-party-b

With each new day our economy worsens, jobs are lost and confidence that it will get better decreases. What to do? Apparently throwing money at the problem will work. Doesn’t it always? That’s the Hope of millions of Americans and the Obama administration. I hope it works too. I’m not one of those people, like Rush Limbaugh, who wants Obama to fail. I just do not think it will.

While this sounds ridiculous to some, this country should legalize marijuana, especially medical marijuana and look into sparingly legalize other substances as well. Now before you discount this, this could potentially be a huge shot in the arm to our economy. Right now marijuana is a billion dollar industry, which all that money and subsequent power is in the hands of drug dealers. If legalized, that power and revenue could be with the American government. More and people in the United States of America think it should be legalized. This would probably be the hardest part for a bill like this to pass, public approval. There is a certain stigma to those who smoke, but as the below chart shows it has less negative affects that most other “drugs.” This study was by safecolorado.org and here is their findings. Colorado, by the way, is the only state in the Union to have cities legalize marijuana. 

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FDR repealed prohibition when this country needed an economic boost, now Obama should do the same. Some even think his new administration picks have set the tone for the “Change” he championed on the campaign trail.

While I do not smoke, nor do I have a desire to put anything unhealthy into my lungs, I think it should be legalized. Americans pride themselves on freedom and personal choice, pot should be a choice. Now some opponents of this idea say marijuana will poison the minds of the youth and will create a stoner nation. People will be stoned at work, driving and cause more crime. Didn’t people think that about alcohol in the 1930s? There would be laws that would prohibit substance abuse at work, just as there are laws now that prohibit drinking on the job. 

As politicians and economists go study the economy and how to fix it, they should look seriously at this. It could be a





Mizzou – An Era Begins???

10 02 2009

As an off balance Cole Aldrich shot missed and the clocked reach 0.0, years of angst, heartache and disappointment seemingly went away for Missouri basketball. MU had defeated its arch rival Kansas 62-60. Both teams were coming into the game ranked for the first time since 2003, which was the last year that Mizzou made the NCAA tournament. Missouri came into the game ranked #17 and Kansas came in #16. Missouri left the game the victor as the crowed stormed the court. The fans, who have lately been pessimistic towards the team, embraced THEIR Missouri Tigers. 

When Quin Snyder left the Missouri Tigers in 2006, the program was in shambles. He brought nothing but shame and bad luck to Missouri.  There was in the infamous Ricky Clemons incident and the program had to deal with NCAA sanctions because of Snyder’s recruiting violations. There were not a lot of reasons for Missouri fans to cheer. Their team was embarrassing. There was not a lot of hope around Missouri basketball.

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Fast forward to last night, hope  was hanging in the balance. As Missouri guard Zaire Taylor shot-faked and drove towards the basket, Missouri fans held their breath. He released a floating shot from 10ft, it looked long. The ball hit the back of the rim, bounced up and off the backboard and through the net with 1.5 seconds left. The gold-wearing crowd lifted their hands in the air and jumped with joy. Missouri got a bounce of good luck. Hope and jubilation spread through the crowd. The students rushed the court for the first time in four years and maybe, just maybe, hope is back for Missouri basketball. A team that plays hard, plays the game right and wins. This is the beginning of a new era of Missouri Tiger basketball.





How could I not post this?

4 02 2009

This kid just had some teeth removed and it still feeling the effects of the drugs the dentist gave him.





Derrick Thomas – Hall of Fame

3 02 2009

On Saturday, Chiefs fans heard the news they have been waiting five years for. Former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas had been finally elected to the National Football League Hall of Fame. Most people around Kansas City expected Thomas to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but had to wait until 2009.

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During the 1990s, no linebacker was more dominant than Thomas. He even led the NFL in sacks during the 90s (116 1/2). He was selected as the rookie of the year in 1990 and went on to play in nine strait Pro Bowls.  Unfortunately he career was cut short, not by injury, but by a car accident. In February of 2000 he crashed his car on a snowy Kansas City Highway and was thrown from the vehicle and later pronounced dead. His death was something that resonated with the people of Kansas City. He was the good guy who played hard on every down. He had spent thousands hours volunteering and starting the success Third and Long foundation to help inner-city children. He was what you wanted a professional athlete to be. Thomas was not wearing his seat belt when the accident happened. The outcry of support and the new awareness for seat belts became staggering. I can remember seeing cars driving on the highway with “remember DT, buckle up” written on the back of car windows. My parents had a bumper sticker with a similar meaning. He helped improve the lives of people even in death.

No one has a definitive reason as to why it took five years for Thomas to be elected. He was a disruptive force like the NFL had never seen and an even better person off the field. Now his mold will grace the Hall of Fame in Caton





Back at School – Last Semester at Mizzou

26 01 2009

I am about to start my second week of classes for my last semester. It is a little scary. I recently found out that I will not be doing Teach for America. Well since that was Plan A, I need to figure out what Plan B, C, and D will be. Because I’m sure I’ll have to have many plans that need to be altered and flexed. I think that in order to find a job quickly after graduation that I am going to have to look outside the box for a job.

I don’t think I will be able just apply for a standard copy-editing job or reporting job. I need to use my journalism degree and fashion it as a communications degree because I think that will open more doors to employment. I am not bound by a love for journalism to find a job. I’m not a person who lives and breathes journalism, which is why I think getting a job at a paper after graduation is slim to nun. While most industries are not hiring I am still fairly optimistic that I can find a job.

Will keep you posted

-W-





Back from New York

14 01 2009

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Although I absolutely love Kansas City and enjoy being home, returning from New York City made me depressed. I had an absolute blast in New York City. I do not think I have ever had a vacation that moved by so quickly. After my dad had picked me up from the airport he asked me if I still wanted to move to NYC after being there for five days. Yes. It had only strengthened my opinion about the city and my drive to live there.

Here’s a little itenerary of what we did.

Friday
* Got into NYC an hour and 20 minutes late
* Checked into the Marriot Marquee at 2 p.m.
* Walked up and down times square until we got suckered into buying ticketes to a stand-up comedy club. It was awkward at first because we were a little early but we saw some hilarious acts that have performed on the likes of Comeday Central, Flight of the Concords, The Chappel Show and Saturday Night Live. Drinks there were a) not that good. b) not original and c) expensive.
* We were exhausted and decided to be completely lame and turn in early. Asleep by 11. It really was shameful.

Saturday
* We got up early to go get tickets to a Broadway show. There is a large booth in Times Square called TKTS that sells tickets for shows on the day of for huge discounts. We ended up buying tickets for the play “August: Osage County.” This show won best play at the 2008 Tony Awards.
* Then we exploring the other side of Times Square and found the Ed Sullivan Theater. There, we signed up to see the Late Show with David Letterman. Our names would be put in a lottery.
* Got lunch at a chain. Sigh. We need to do a better job finding cooler restaraunts next time.
* After lunch we came across an Irish Pub called the Playwright. It was way cool. I had been to plenty of Irish pubs/restaraunts before, but never had I been to one where the bartender actually had a legit Irish accent. And she did.
* Hurried into the theater to see the play. It was amazing. As my first Broadway show it was quite the experience. Altough a play is not what you might think of for Broadway, but I would highly recommend it. It was a great dark comedy/drama. Plus Roseann’s mom was the main character and the old bartender from “Northern Exposure” was in it.
* Went to a nice restaraunt called Rosie O’Grady’s. Yes I know, Irish place again. Probably the best meal we had in NYC. Steph got a steak and I had the lobster ravioli.
* We were determined to find a non-touristy type of bar for the night. We luckily decided upon Jimmy’s Corner. This place was so cool. The drinks were good and cheap. Four drinks for $19. Can’t beat that ANYWHERE else in Manhattan. The owner of Jimmy’s is former boxer/trainer/manager, Jimmy Glenn. There are pictures of him with the likes of Ali, Tyson, Hollifield and Foreman scattered across the small dive. The man himself was there to making sure his customers had a good time.
* Wanted to go back to the Irish pub. We did. Was not as cool this time but still a lot of fun. Gone was the legit Irish accent. Replaced with two bartenders dancing to annoying 80s pop music. Still a good place to chill with some NYC locals.

Sunday
* Got up and made reservations to the 40/40 Club. This is the place owned and run by Hip-Hop legend Jay-Z. We wanted to watch the NY Giants game in a NY bar.
* Killed time before our reservation by walking around Madison Square Park. Saw a woman call then proceed to feed squirrels with peanuts. One of the coolest things I’ve seen.
* Got the call, we were going Letterman tomorrow.
* 40/40 club was awesome. Very high class, our table was in front of built in seats on a stair case with our own lcd TV. This place had it all, private rooms, huge TVs, hanging/suspended lounge chairs and good drinks.
* After lunch and the game we hopped on the subway off to see Coney Island. After a 40-minute ride we had arrived. It was closed and subsequently empty. It made for some cool pictures and set a cool eerie scene. Did have a hot dog at the Original world famous Nathan’s hotdogs.
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* Made reservations for a bar, PDT, (Please Don’t Tell) at 10:30 that night. This bar might have been the coolest place we went to. Altough it was a struggle to find it, it was worth the effort. PDT cannot be directly accessed from the street and there is no sign no nothing to draw attention to itself. To find the bar you have to go into the hotdog joint, Crif Dogs. Once inside that small place you’ll see an old school phone booth in the wall. Then you go into the phone booth and pick up the phone. A host/bartender is on the line and they open a trap door from the back of the phone booth into the bar. How friggin cool is that??? The place was so small, but so insanely cool. They have the most original drinks you can find anywhere. Both of our first drinks were mixed with Absinth and my second drink was the most original tasting drink I’d ever had. “The Old Benton.” It was bacon-infused Brandy with maple syrup, bitters and a lemon. Wow.
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* After two drinks a piece we headed back to a familiar spot. Jimmys. The bartende recognized us and we realized how cool this place actualy was. Steph and I agreed that when/if we live in NY, this would be our hangout. I shook Jimmy’s hand.

This post is already too long so here’s the spark notes of what else we did.

Monday
* Explored Central Park
* Went into the Time Warner building
* Went to Letterman. Billy Crystal was the main guest and was hilarious.
* Went to the Heartland Brewery. Had been there before, but it was not as good a I remembered.
* Driven to find another “hidden gem” bar we tried to find a place called the Little Branch. It was on a sharp corner of a grafiti ridden building. The only sigh for the bar was a small metal plate on the door. The bouncer standing outsid was the key to finding it. Walked downstairs to find a way too crowded bar. Left to find a bar that came highly recommended.
* Pegu Club. This asian-themed bar was sweet. Through a marked, yet unassuming door we went upstairs to Pegu Club. Awesome design, mood in the place. Drinks were just as original as PDT, but the presentation of the drinks was far better here. My second drink was litterally set on fire before being served to me.

Tuesday
* Checked out and took in one last look of NYC from our hotel window.
* Walked along the famous 5th avenue.

Conclusions
* For all the effort/research that went into finding cool bars/clubs in NYC (and boy was it worth it) we need to do the same thing for restaruants next time.
* New York is where we want to live
* I will in my lifetime find out the number to the most mysterious, unlisted, ever-chaning phone number and address, bar – Milk and Honey. It’s by referral only.
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A happy belated New Year

8 01 2009

Here’s a happy new year to you… Only a week late. Before I say anythin else. Congratulations to the Missouri Tiger football team, especially the senior class. This class had the most wins in school history and with the win over Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl, MU was able to have 10+ wins in back to back seasons for the first time ever.

On to bigger and more important things, my VACATION. On Friday, I will be taking a, way too early in the morning, flight to New York City. I am going there with my girlfriend and will be staying there until Tuesday evening. Although this is not my first time to the Big Apple, I am definitely excited to explore the city. New York is a place where I can see myself living in the not too distant future and before I take the plunge, it would be nice to get one last look.

One of the things I am most looking forward to is going to a cocktail bar called PDT. Please Don’t Tell. This bar is famous in New York for its originial and one-of-a-kind drinks and almost as much for its entrace. To gain admittance to PDT you have to make reservations the day that you are going. (What? A bar that you have to make reservations too???) Then as you head to the bar you are suppose to go into a big building that houses many businesses. Then you are insturcted to go to Cliffs Hot dogs. From there you look for the suspicously out of place phone booth and pick up the phone. The line connects you to a bartender at PDT, who then opens a trap door inside the phone booth. Cool huh?

Well tomorrow I need to pack and then it’s off to NYC. I will hopefully have an update of how it went and have some pictures as well.

Peace,

Dub





This is the End

19 12 2008

Of the semester that is. As I am all completely done with this semester it is time for some reflections.

1. College moves by way too fast.
2. I graduate in May and don’t know what I am going to do with my life.
3. As can be gathered from the above, I do not like aspects of growing up.
4. Missouri football will always be, well, Missouri football.
5. Sarah Palin is an idiot.
6. Broadcast journalism majors are full of themselves and I only wish I was cool as them.
7. Gogol Bordello is my new favorite band.
8. I cannot wait to visit New York City with my girlfriend in January.
9. Will make a Columbia Missourian Online Marketplace for my capstone.
10. Will continue to blog.

As I was turning in my last paper of the semester, cross-cultural psychology, I had a very surreal moment. There were two dudes recollecting on their first semester at Mizzou and I realized how close I was to being done. Don’t worry, I totally eased-dropped, but you know, what does a good journalist do? Ease drop. “One semester down and seven to go.” “That was not that bad, you know they say that college is the best time of your life and it flies by.” “We should have partied more.” This was the gist of their conversation and needless to say, I concur.





Good Sportsmanship

14 12 2008

This is not a way that I would want to come into a job. So much for giving a guy a chance. But this move is completely off-base and Gene Chizik has not track record of being a good coach.





A Relief

14 12 2008

At the beginning of the year, Missouri football had high hopes. They were on the cover of the college preview issue of Sports Illustrated tabbed as a national title contender. Later in the year, Chase Daniel was on the cover of ESPN the magazine being proclaimed the early Heisman favorite. Now the football team is is headed to the Alamo Bowl to face Northwestern. Not the idea of what many Tigers fans would have predicted earlier in the season. Now I do not think this season was a disaster, but it can definitely be labeled as a disappointment. Missouri did win the Big 12 North for the second year in a row, a far cry from what I remember growing up as a Tiger fan. 

Since the 2002-2003 season the Missouri Tiger basketball team has awful. They have not made the NCAA tournament, have not been ranked during that period and have had numerous off the court incidents that have put a dark cloud over the program. After tonight’s win over Murray State, the Missouri Tigers are 8-1 and receiving votes for the Top 25. Tonight’s game had the largest crowd of the year and that crowd is the only thing the Tigers have to complain about. Home games are Mizzou arena are less than halfway filled on most nights. But I think Tiger fans will come to love this team. When most regard the football team as a disappointment because of the unfilled expectations. Now the basketball team, coming into the season with zero expectations, is starting to turn heads. Missouri has already beaten ranked USC and California. The Tigers only loss on the season is to a top-15 team, Xavier. For me, this team has been a relief. Mike Anderson’s basketball team has given me hope and something to be happy about as a Tiger fan. This team is what I needed, they are my pain relief.





Making of An Upset?

5 12 2008

Tomorrow the University of Missouri football team will be playing in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City against the Oklahoma Sooners. This is a rematch of last year’s game, which the Sonners won 38 to 17. 

After last week’s disappointing loss to arch rival Kansas, no one is expecting much out of the Tigers, including me. And why should anyone? Kansas came into last week’s game with a 6-5 record and having only scored 7 points in their last game. Then after facing our defense, the scored 40. It is still beyond me how the Missouri Tiger defense can return 10, yes 10 defensive starters from the cotton bowl and get worse on defense. 

But I guess Missouri should just quit then since no one is giving them a chance. The line in Vegas is 17. Really? Seventeen point underdog in a championship game? I guess that has to be expected since OU beat MU twice last season and has been on a roll of late. The Sooners have scored more than 60 points in five strait games. A tough feat for the Tigers will be to slow down that offense.

Missouri can win the game this weekend. Oklahoma’s starting quarterback Sam Bradford has a soft-cast on his non-throwing hand. The came is in the backyard for Missouri, Kansas City. The Tigers will be motivated by the fact that no one is giving them a chance to win. Missouri has Jeremy Maclin and William Moore, and all those seniors who do not want to go out on a losing note. 

However, on that note, this game will not be close. Whatever mojo this team had last year and the first part of this year is gone. The player’s are not making the big plays and the coaches are not calling the right one’s. Oklahoma rolls in this one 52-24.





Thanksgiving Leftovers

2 12 2008

Here is one of my favorite interviews in a long time. Palin has just pardoned one lucky Alaskan turkey, too bad the guy in the background gets the turkey’s friends.





I just want to be a Toys ‘R Us kid

20 11 2008

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I do not want to grow up. I hate planning for the future. It makes me so uneasy, so nervous. As a college senior, I am about to go into the world on my own. A world that is at war, going through a recession, changing industries and has a terrible job market. The perfect time to start me new life. For the last 22 years of my life, things have generally been taken care of for me. Food. Clothes. Housing. Etc. After I graduated from high school I remember the fear that some fellow students had about graduating, while I was excited a ready to get out of my small farm-town community and go to college. College provided another level of security. I knew where I was going to be for four more years. But now as my May graduation date approaches, life-changing decision have to made. 

I am currently in the process of applying for Teach For America. For those that do not know, this program takes recent college graduates and puts them into low-income communities and asks them to give a two-year commitment to teach in those communities. For me, this program has a great goal of making our country and world a better place and just as important, trying to equalize the lack of funding for low-income schools. On Tuesday November 18, I took part in the second part of the application process, the phone interview. As I listened and awkwardly answered questions to a voice stationed in New York City, I realized how imporant my answers actually where. I was applying for a salary job. What? I find out on Monday the 24th if I have been invited a final in-person interview. Well at least I have this blog to nervously spew out my thoughts for the next few days until I find out.





Facebook can be news – Here’s to you Mr. Mueller

15 11 2008

On Wednesday November 12, 2008, Jerry Mueller passed away of a heart attack in his home in Grain Valley, Mo. Mr. Mueller was an English and theater teacher at my high school. He was my college prep English teach and advisor to me. But most importantly, he was a dad to my friend Liz. He was a great man filled with eternal optimism and the idea that anyone can succeed. 

How did I find out that he died? Did Liz or one of my other friends give me a call? Did I see in on the local paper’s Web site or kcstar.com? Nope. Facebook. When I woke up Wednesday morning and logged into Facebook is saw friends and people I knew from high school have their status’s directed to Mr. Mueller’s memory. As simply as “RIP Mr. Mueller,” the numerous status’s were news to me. I went to the local paper’s, The Examiner, Web site and there was zero news on his death. Yet a social networking site was connecting me to a story about my local community, not the local paper.

Online news is the future based on the fact of immediacy. I did not want to wait until the next day to read the obituary, I wanted the news now about what happened to my former teacher. As the day progressed I found out, through messages on Facebook, that he had died from a rare form of heart attack called a “Widow Maker.” This however was inaccurate. So while facebook can provide the need for immediacy and the news, we need to be reminded that it is also not the most reliable.

On Wednesday Mr. Mueller was found dead by his wife after she could not wake him for work. He was a great man, advisor and friend. RIP.

0168





How stupid is CNN

7 11 2008

 

This video is hilarious. I want you to tell me if you remember anything she says after she is “beamed” into the newsroom. This is idiotic and a waste of money. She is standing in Grant Park in Chicago for a historic speech in front of 250,000 people and you lose all of that atmosphere to Star Trek her into “The CNN Election Center.” 

Here’s another great example of election coverage by the best political team ever assembled. 

 





Thoughts After the Election

6 11 2008

I am proud to say that I was apart of history on Tuesday November 4th, 2008. I voted in a presidential election that elected the first black president in U.S. history. The entire night seemed surreal. CNN interviewed several prominent African Americans. Spike Lee talked about how 5 generations ago his ancestors were slaves. Oprah talked about history and Jesse Jackson cried throughout Obama’s speech. I was glad to vote for history. 

Day after thoughts – 

1. People should be this enthusiastic and have this turnout for every election. 

2. As Obama preached cooperation and tolerance, California voters denied gay men and women the right to vote. 

3. As republicans complain about Obama and all the “socialist” agendas why would you threaten to move to Canada. It is unbelievable how many facebook status’ are ridden with people saying they are going to Canada. Shouldn’t they know that they have nationwide healthcare there? Are not hand guns outlawed in Canada? 

4. Palin probably cost McCain the election. Had McCain picked Romney I think he would have had a decent chance. Especially with this economy; having a governor of a wealthy state and a CEO of a successful corporation would have only made this election competitive instead of a blowout. 

5. I’m glad that I no longer have to watch all of the campaign tv ads. “Shame on you Judy Baker!”





Interesting Stories

31 10 2008

Each day I scan the web for interesting stories, or one’s that make me laugh. Here are two, one that made me mad and one that made me laugh. The first is dealing with the banning of the new movie “Zach and Miri Make a Porno.” A Salt Lake City movie theater owner has banned the showing of this movie in his theater complexes. However his complex still showed the graphically violent Saw. This owner previously banned the movie “Brokeback Mountain” too. As a journalist this upsets me because I think this type of censorship is a violation of our first amendment rights. This movie had a “R” rating, so those who went into the theater to see the movie knew what they were getting themselves into. If parents or the religious right do not want to see the movie, than they should stay home and let others see it. 

The next story I found interesting was one that made me laugh. I saw this come across the wire on ESPN.com and I had no choice but to burst into laughter. When the headline reads “Daly taken into custody after being found drunk outside Hooters,” you know it is going to be a stellar article. This goes into a post I made earlier called “Unprofessional Professionals.” Like the people discussed in that post, this is not the first time Daly has been the topic of a drunk scene. Now this is more entertaining and was not harmful to anyone but himself. But this goes to show how many athletes/celebrities think they are above the law.





Boys and Girls Club

31 10 2008

On monday I went to the Columbia Boys and Girls Club. This was not a conventional meeting nor really a meeting at all, it was just an look into an area of civil service that I feel is very important; the youth of the community. The Boys and Girls Club is an essential civic group here in Columbia Missouri. It provides an outlet where children can come in after school and be in a safe environment.

The Club in Columbia has several cool programs that the children can participate in directly through the Club. They have a program called “Kids on Campus,” where children from the Club go to the MU campus every Wednesday and learn about college life. They take a tour through the dorms, eat in the dinning hall and talk to some professors. And for some for of the younger children at the Club, they have a boy scouts program that is run at the Club (located on Fay St.) on Mondays. I feel that programs like the “Kids on Campus” is a great avenue for children in Columbia to get a taste of the college experience. I think it gives some of these kids coming from unstable and unsafe families or situations and gives them something to strive for. 

For me, I basically was a volunteer for the day. Talk about an eye-opening experience. Growing up in a small, all white farm town, to being the only “white boy” in the room. I came into Club thinking it was going to be more of a tutoring situation, but it is more of supervision and just being a good role model for the children there. After playing some Madden on the Playstation and some basketball on the court the kids then going into the Club for a “power hour” where they must sit and do homework or read a book for one hour. This is the time that if the kids have questions that the volunteers and adults are there to help tutor. For me, this experience was awesome because it gave me a look at a culture I was not brought up in and it showed me how much work needs to be done to continue to help kids make smart and intelligent choices.





Metallica Review

29 10 2008

Music is one of my few passions. It is something that helps me escape when I am not having the best of days, but music can also make a good situation or mood great. Music is why was a bad Missouri football fan and missed last Saturday’s homecoming game to attend a concert in Kansas City. Metallica has been one of my favorite bands since I stopped listening to process pop music and started listening to something different. Now they are my favorite band (Rage Against the Machine) but they have influenced my music tastes at a great level, just as they have influenced many bands playing today. 

Metallica entered the arena to the music of “The Ecstasy of Gold,” from the corner of the arena to the stage, which was set up in the middle of the arena. The stage was the size of a basketball court with 10 microphones set up in different sections. The crowd surrounded the stage on all sides to make the performers and the audience close. When the first chord was struck on “The Was Just Your Life”, goose bumps rode up my arm. This was the first time I was going to see on of my favorite bands. The crowd was into it from the start, but the crowd situated on the floor was not as crazy as I thought there was going to be. There was minimal moshing. James Hetfield blared the lyrics to the crowds favorite songs such as “Master of Puppets,” “One,” and “Enter Sandman,” with perfection. Although Metallica has been playing shows for over 25 years, the wear and tear of the road was not evident in Hetfield’s voice. He hit every note all night long. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammet may go down as one of the greatest guitarist of all time and he displayed why he should be on Saturday. His solo on “The Day That Never Comes” was especially memorable. 

What can I say about my first Metallica concert? It was everything I expected it to be. Amazing. They played all the songs I wanted to hear and the played with the intensity that made them famous. This will definitely not be the last time is see Metallica. 

 

Metallica setlist: That Was Just Your Life, The End Of The Line, Harvester Of Sorrow; Ride The Lightning; One; Broken, Beat And Scarred; Cyanide; Sad But True; Until It Sleeps; Wherever I May Roam; The Day That Never Comes; Master Of Puppets; Fight Fire With Fire; Nothing Else Matters; Enter Sandman. Encore: Last Caress; Motorbreath; Seek and Destroy.





Unprofessional Professionals

24 10 2008

If I walk into work with my face unshaven or my clothes dirty or wrinkly, I would get a slap on the wrist type of punishment, but nothing more would be needed because I would not do it again. If I continually showed up to work late, that becomes a bigger issue. And if I had continual run-ins with the law my job would be in severe jeopardy. However, If i were a professional football player my tardiness and my habitual lawbreaking would be treated like I had only forgotten to shave. 

Recently, three NFL football players (and there are lots more) had made big news by breaking either the law or team rules. One (Plaxico Burress, NY Giants) is already playing again this weekend after minimal punishment, another (Larry Johnson, KC Chiefs) will be suspended this week but will play the next and lastly another player (Pac-Man Jones, Dallas Cowboys) might be suspended for the rest of the season. The problem with these suspensions is that they are a long time in the making. Plaxico Burress has broken more team rules than imaginable, like being late to practice, and has paid almost a half million dollars in fines because of it. Yet after all that he says he was not sorry about his actions. Larry Johnson has had four different occasions in the last five years of assaulting women. Recently he spat in the face of a woman in a Kansas City night club. And last week and this weeks’ games are the only one’s that Johnson has ever been suspended. Adam “Pac-Man” Jones has been a habitual law-breaker since he was drafted into the NFL. He has been suspended on several occasions and still continually breaks the law. 

When will the owners say enough is enough. Now in my ordinary on-campus job, I am not a professional and my job is not my career. Burress, Johnson and Jones are professional athletes and have chosen the NFL as their career. It amazes me to this day that people can have the patience with these athlete, because in most “professional” jobs, these type of actions are not tolerated. These actions lead to being fired and that is what the owners of the these teams should do. Fire them and send a message that their actions are unacceptable and that they are setting a bad example everyone who looks up to them and for those new to the work force.





I’m Loving it

23 10 2008

As of today, the $1 double cheeseburger is no more at the campus McDonald’s. For some it is just a sad day to which our favorite value meal item is gone. For other’s it is a sign of just how far our economy has sunk. For me, I could care less that the new double cheeseburger is $1.19, but for others, the extra 20 cents is an unwanted added expense.

On Thursday, I was at the campus McDonald’s and I was surprised to see how many people had long faces after hearing about the 19 cent increase. I think that this shows how sad and overweight America has become. Although McD’s didn’t completely get rid of the choice, they added a double hamburger, it still prompted some to complain. The killing of the double cheeseburger is not a nationwide thing. Some stores are leaving the menu as is, while others are only putting one piece of cheese on the burger instead of two.





Biased journalism

14 10 2008

On a day when the stock markets soared to their biggest one-day gain ever, the story remained at the bottom of the page. When the dow plunged 700 points a few weeks ago the story highlighted every news page, including the Missourian’s Web site. At the top of the Missourian’s site was big bold letters with a red highlight to tell the readers of how the stocks plunged. Now on a day where the markets rose by 11 % up to 936, the big red strip at the top of the Missourian’s page is no where to be seen. If you go to the NYTimes.com or to yahoo.com, the story is not at the top. Does the media present a culture of fear, a bad news bias or a liberal bias? If i had to bet, I think it would be a combination, not one or the other. But there is bias, I’m just not sure of what. 

 

I have not done enough research to see if bad or negative news gets higher ratings, but it would be interesting to see. From my perspective when the economy has been as bad as it has, it’s nice to finally have a day like this in the stock market. It’s just too bad that the news of the big day was buried by other stories on national sites and not even found on the missourian.com’s Web site. Now I do not think this bias is intentional, but it’s there and the treatment of this story is proof. In journalism, we live in a culture of fear and unfortunately, that drives our Web pages, headlines, stories and newscasts.





Kent State, the Power House?

9 10 2008

Recently in an article in ESPN it mentioned the fact that the top three teams in the AP and Coach’s college football rankings are all form Kent State. Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners are number one in both the AP and Coach’s poll. Nick Saban’s Alabama team is second in the AP and third in the Coach’s. And Missouri’s own Gary Pinkel has his Tigers as number 3 in the AP and number two in the Coach’s. Alabama has the week off while Missouri and OU face stiff challenges this weekend. Oklahoma takes arch rival Texas (#5) in the Red River Shoot out as 11 am on Saturday. Then on Saturday night Missouri hosts #17 Oklahoma St. at 7 p.m. Then the following week, Missouri will travel to Austin to play the Longhorns.





New ESPN the Magazine Cover

8 10 2008

This is the cover for the next issue of ESPN the magazine. The main story focuses on how there are potential NFL QBs that are now back ups on their college teams. This story features Missouri’s Chase Daniel and backup QB senior Chase Patten.





Oh, Nebraska!

2 10 2008

I the spirit of the rivalry between Missouri and Nebraska, here is a great video. There’s nothing like laughing at your opponent before you play them. And the funny part is that a few in the Nebraska state legislature wanted to change the state song to this.





iTuning Out

2 10 2008

According to an article in Rolling Stone, Apple is considering closing down iTunes. The Internet’s largets digital music provider says if the Copyright Royalty Board increases royalties by 66 percent that it will shut down rather than charge more for the music. This got me to thinking about journalism and the Internet. People do not want to pay for content online. Music is similar to the news in that most people will go to a site where the content is free rather than paying for it. Programs like Bittorrent, Limewire and Frostwire has made downloading music easier than ever. Although illegal, programs like this make it hard for iTunes to remain competitive. Would people pay for news from MSNBC.com if they could get it for free from CNN? Since Apple already has the challenge of facing programs that give away music, I don’t think they can withstand a increase of that amount. 

Newspapers should use Apple and iTunes as a reminder that when people log on to their favorite sites, they do NOT want to pay for anything. With that being said, people need the news as it is part of daily life so newspapers should be cautious of peoples needs before shutting operations down. Apple is already (that was quick) receiving a backlash for its threats.





What are we supposed to believe?

26 09 2008

The recent economic crisis has shown just how little the American public and our politicians actually know about the economy. I’ve asked my friends, I’ve asked fellow students and I’ve asked family members, and there is not one conclusive answer to what should be done. As the markets stumble and bailout plans discussed, the presidential candidates are trying to convince voters that their way is the best. But what are we supposed to believe? Is John McCain actually suspending the campaign because of our terrible economic situation to go back to Washington? Or is he just pandering to the polls? Barack Obama wants to continue with the campaign and the debate. He might be using our economic hardships to slam the Republican Party and in turn, using the bad economy for his political game.  But is that true or the right move? I don’t know. 

Today I took a poll of 10 students and asked them if they were in favor of the 700 billion dollar economic plan. Two students said yes, three said no and five said they didn’t care. Five don’t care? I really found this astounding, because as college students going into the workforce, shouldn’t we care about the economy? But there in lies the problem. The level of apathy in the U.S. is startling and I don’t think our politicians are helping the matter. McCain does not want to do the scheduled debate on Friday night and last night he cancelled an appearance on David Letterman. When the candidates won’t even debate the issues, how is the public supposed to know what’s right and who to vote for?





Thank You Missouri Tiger Football

25 09 2008

During this past two years, the MU football team has risen out of mediocrity to become a national title contender. Having a great team can bring a positive vibe to campus. Don’t believe me? Just check the record number of freshmen enrolled at Missouri to coincide with a record year for the 2007 Tigers. Thank you Missouri football. Because without you, football fans in Missouri might be the most depressed fans of any state in the U.S.

 

The Kansas City Chiefs finished 2007 with a record of 4-12 and this year they are off to a blistering start at 0-3. The St. Louis Rams concluded their season at 3-13 and are off to an equally impressive record of 0-3 this year. That means that the MU football team had more total victories in 2007 than either of Missouri’s pro teams combined in 2007. From 2004- present the Chiefs record is 30-37 (.447), the Rams is 25-42 (.373) and MU has a record of 36-18 (.667). MU football fans have had a lot to complain about in years past, but this team is the lone bright spot for the state of Missouri and it looks like they will continue to be for the foreseeable future.