Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union Address

When I was a kid, I hated the State of the Union. It always interrupted way cooler programming, like Night Court, Cheers, and the Simpsons.

Now, however, I look forward to it. Not because I enjoy watching skulky politicians stand up every five seconds to applaud because if they don't they'll look like a tool. Not because I get to watch the opposing party's silly "rebuttal." But because it's been turned into an online game.

Football season's essentially over. The baseball is months away. What's a fantasy sports player / Internet addict to do? Take the SOTU Quiz.

Last year we finished 14th out of 1166, just two questions from the top spot. This year we've redoubled our efforts (is that the same as "quadrupling?"). So join in the fun! Or you can just get tanked on Tecates like we did last year.

(Man, why did I honestly think Bush would mention Ban Ki-moon or global warming??)

(Update: Or just take the SOTU drinking game!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MP3 of the Week: "Google Ron Paul" Edition


As we mentioned on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, we are sick to our collective stomach at what is going on in South Carolina. While we'll have more on that after the outcome of today's primary vote, let's turn to our own home state and our own home-grown candidate, Ron Paul.

First of all, there's probably a 50/50 chance that the Republican and/or Democratic Presidential nominee won't be decided by the time the Texas Primary rolls around on March 4th. At that point, if it is indeed still up for grabs, it might just come down to a straight delegate count. That means that these symbolic wins in Iowa and New Hampshire only mean as much as the number of delegates the candidate is able to receive.

For the Democrats, the Texas contest is not winner-take-all. That means the candidate will be awarded a proportional amount of the 193 delegates.

For the Republicans, the contest is winner-take-all only in the event of a majority victory, which is extremely unlikely if the nomination is still undecided. More likely, Texas will be divvied up proportionally for the 140 delegates.

In short, what this means (and I know it's going to be tough to get a hold on this): Texans might have an impact on the Presidential race.

I know I just blew your fucking mind, but it's true. You actually might be able to have your vote count for something. I know it's never happened before, but there's a decent chance it could happen.

There is a caveat though: while it is an open primary, meaning you can vote for the Republican or Democratic nominee, you can obviously only vote in one or the other. So you have to choose where you want to have an impact.

Now, this means you might have to become educated about the candidates. I know it's a pain and all, and the last place I recommend going to is the TV.

But back to us for a second.

While a few months ago the thought of voting in the Republican primary would made the hairs on the back of DMS's neck stand up, we're just about ready to take a big shit on the Democratic party for good. Don't get us wrong, we still like Obama, almost as much as we did back when we saw him (and touched his hand!) way back when. But while we'd still consider voting for him in the general election, the fact that so many Democrats are being swayed (whether they admit it or not) by Bill Clinton and Hilary's gross misrepresentation of Obama's words, to the point where they become flat out lies, and Hilary's teary-eyed moment, it just makes me want to send a big middle finger to the Democratic party once and for all. I fucking give up with you a-holes. You have no spine and you obviously never will.

Trust me: if Obama actually loses South Carolina today, this blog is going to fucking explode.

All this leads us to the one person left in either party who voted against the war in Iraq (now that Dennis Kucinich has dropped out): Ron Paul.

We're starting to like him. A lot. And we could easily see us voting for him for the Texas primary. We're not ready to officially endorse him yet (trust us: you can have your New York Times, the Dear Mr. Supercomputer endorsement is wayyyy more influential), but we do recommend you at least became educated about his (and the rest of the candidates' I suppose) platform. And once you do, commit to vote in the first election in your lifetime in which Texans may actually influence the nation.

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Oh yeah. Here's an mp3.

Rufus Wainwright - "Going to a Town"


"I'm gonna make it up for all of the Sunday Times
I'm gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes
They never really seem to want to tell the truth
I'm so tired of you America."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No Coffee - Day One


I'm not sure why I did it. Maybe it was the disgusting feeling I get after not eating all morning and guzzling an entire pot. Maybe it was the drugged aura I would wade around in. Maybe it was my breath. Maybe I was just tired of having to empty the coffee maker every morning and refilling it. Maybe it is because I had Folgers three days in a row. But were cutting out coffee from our daily routine.

Cold turkey.

Now, mind you, I didn't say I'm cutting out "caffeine." That would be just plain silly. And as such, I just finished my third cup of hot tea - all caffeinated. And while that sounds excessive, it pales in comparison to the amount I was drinking before, back when I used to drink six cups of coffee. Like, yesterday.

I feel a little groggy, but not too bad. But I'll probably need at least one more cup of highly caffeinated tea before the day is through. I don't feel totally drugged and a little sick, like my internal organs are in a perpetual state of having to dry-heave.

I don't plan on giving up coffee for good. But if I was ever going to slow it down, I had to start by cutting it out for a few weeks, you know, build up a tolerance for it again. On the road I was going, it would have been just a few more weeks before I was filling up my thermos with this every morning. And at that point, you'd probably have to say goodbye to the Mr. Supercomputer you all knew.

Not sure why I'm letting you all in on this. Maybe just to give you guys (all three of you) a heads up in case my posts seem testy or sullen or use excessive swear words.

Wait......

Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK

With all the ugliness going on over in the South Carolina, I had considered posting about how much uglier it may get over the next months. However, I'll save that for another day.

We tried to explain to Toddler Supercomputer just exactly what "Martin Luther King Day" means. We told her it was a day we marched down the street. We told her it was a day about a real nice guy. We told her it was a day about a man who told us to be nice to one another.

That's the best we could do. Better to go to the source. And for now, lock away the pessimistic part of our brain.

Friday, January 18, 2008

MP3 of the Week : "Back to Normal" Edition

It's been an abnormal couple of months around here.

First, there's the birth of Jr. Supercomputer. Then there was the GRE (I destroyed it. I did. But, and this is not a joke, I apparently put my birthdate in incorrectly when I registered. I hope that doesn't come back to bite me. Yes, I may have done well on the GRE, but I can't remember my own birthday.).

Then there was all that list crap. Call it witty. Call it lazy blogging. Whatever.

But as was expressed in the comments in Thursday's insightful post by the only two people left brave enough to have their internet IDs linked to my blog, it's time to get things back to normal around here.

You know: insight and analysis of everything from pop culture to politics. From Cleveland baseball to Cleveland football. From indie-music to alt-indie-music. Yes, we run the gamut here. So what better way to get things back to the way they were than by the never-popular MP3 of the Week series.

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This week's mp3 comes from Austin's own Voxtrot. Placing a gentleman's 19th in the 2007 Songs of the Year: "Introduction." I'm totally a sucker for album openers that don't have a chorus.

Voxtrot - "Introduction"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why Are My Top Candidates All the Crazy Old White Men?

If you haven't taken this (or a similar) candidate match quiz, I urge you to take this, the Candidate Match Game from USAToday.com. It asks a mere 11 questions and by your responses and the importance in which you weigh them, it reveals which candidates line up with you for those 11 questions. Although, be prepared. I certainly wasn't expecting this:


Kucinich, Paul, and Gravel???!! What the hell? Am I that much of a crackpot?? These are the guys that are just in it to be crazy. And my #1 and #2 are the most left-leaning Democrat and the most conservative-leaning Republican. What gives?

(Note: I swear I did not fudge the results just to get the crazy candidates to be 1, 2, 3.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Top Albums of 2007

Once again, it was crowded at the top. However, 2007 was deep. While 2006 offered one truly great album and a few other good ones, 2007 yielded great album after great album. It was almost impossible to choose between the top two albums. And the next two, and so on. Eventually, you are left with a whole lot of really kickass albums.

Actually ranking the albums is honestly sort of a disservice to music. I’ll admit it accomplishes nothing, it’s totally subjective, and by no means comprehensive. However, it does foster some fun discussion.

When we rank albums as Dear Mr. Supercomputer, we ask two questions:

1) How creative is the album?

2) Will we be listening to it in five years?

So basically to rank high you need to be innovative and have longevity. While it’s tough to project the staying power of an album over the course of several years, it’s easy to get an idea of how much one enjoys an album by answering this question:

Corollary to question 2: How much we listen to it this year?

It seems like a banal question, but more often than not, it works. Those are the two/three driving questions that spur these rankings. If you disagree, well, of course you’ll disagree. If you don’t then either it’s an extreme coincidence or you’re easily convinced.

Enjoy!

  1. Neon Bible, The Arcade Fire

“But wait,” you say, “it’s not even their best album!” I don’t disagree with that statement, although it’s hardly a universally accepted sentiment. In fact, you have to really ponder at length if Neon Bible is better or worse than Funeral. And while I agree with the latter, the fact you can even have that debate shows you how great the album truly is.

It’s like picking the greatest baseball team of all time. You can debate between the ’27 Yankees or the 75’ Reds and develop well-reasoned, salient points. But the larger, undeniable fact is that those are two of the greatest baseball teams of all time. It’s not so important that one is better than the other.

And so it is with Neon Bible and the shadow of Funeral that it will undoubtedly always have to reside in. And as silly as it is to compare two baseball teams separated by almost 50 years, so too it is silly to compare two albums so awesome and declare that one is unilaterally better than the other.

If Funeral was by far the best album of 2004 and Neon Bible is pretty damn close in quality (if not better), then doesn’t it stand to reason that it should be up there in the rankings?

As for the top spot, well, that’s a personal choice. As I stated earlier, the two questions that each album must answer relate to creativity and longevity. Neon Bible scores perfect 10’s on both metrics. It charts new territory matched only by the Arcade Fire’s dazzling live performances. The sound of Neon Bible is 100% original and heretofore, unmatched in creativity. As for longevity, it’s tough to say that there’s any album I’ll be spinning as much in five years. Even now I already play it much more than any other album on this list and it’s been out for quite a while now. And it isn’t even getting close to tired. In fact, it’s getting better with each passing listen.

I’ll admit that the #1 slot isn’t as clear cut as in years past. But it’s entirely a factor of the outstanding quality at the #2 spot, not at all an implication of the greatness of Neon Bible.

  1. Boxer, The National

I strongly considered making Boxer #1B, but that would be totally pussing out. The truth is though, this is a great album that doesn’t contain a weak track. Quite the contrary, it’s difficult to even find a below average track. And the opener, “Fake Empire” will go down as one of the Songs of 2007 in the same way that Midlake’s “Roscoe,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” and TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” recall 2006.

I had the pleasure of seeing both of the top two album’s bands on the same day in the same order as they are on this list. Both were my favorite performances of the year and both are my favorite albums of the year.

  1. Marry Me, St. Vincent

In 2006, we “lost” Regina Spektor. In 2007, we “lost” Leslie Feist. Enter St. Vincent.

Now, when I say “lost” I don’t mean “they sold out” or anything like that. It’s just hard to imagine Regina or Leslie going back to where they were before they released their respective albums. Regina’s sailor-swearing and rawness of her debut album was replaced by the polish of her Sophomore effort and garnered her huge critical and financial success, and deservedly so. It’s hard to imagine Leslie Feist going back to showing up on Morning Becomes Eclectic unshowered, hair unkempt, sporting a gray hoodie-sweatshirt or making out with Peaches on stage. The iPod people wouldn’t allow it.

Now I love both of the albums that led to Spektor’s and Feist’s meteoric rise. And despite Mrs. Supercomputer’s continued assertions, it’s not “you don’t like them because their popular.” Rather, it’s just something fierce, raw, and independent, which you loved about an artist, can be lost when you rise that far that fast.

Anyway, the “loss” of Spektor and Feist is tempered by the arrival of the young Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent. She’s all those things Spektor and Feist were: fierce, raw, and independent, only much, much more so. And even better: she totally shreds on guitar.

Marry Me is great in and of itself. But it also gets bonus points for being an incredibly promising first album. While dark and treacherous with “Paris is Burning” and “The Apocalypse Song,” Clark still manages to charm the ever-loving daylights with the title track and “Crawling Through Landmines.”

And while we’ve blogged before about St. Vincent’s brilliance, it warrants another mention: Annie Clark will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

  1. In Rainbows, Radiohead

Here’s a case of the story of the album being bigger than the album itself. While a fantastic album, much of the talk of the album is not the content, but the method of distribution: choose your own price. Surely this is an groundbreaking, if semi-successful, method of releasing an album, but let’s not forget how innovative In Rainbows is on its own.

I think most people agree it’s their best effort since the revolutionary Kid A. That alone ensures its place on the top 10 list. Beyond that, In Rainbows contains a myriad of solid tracks.

  1. Friend and Foe, Menomena

“Wet and Rusting” is another one of those Songs of 2007. And the long touted video of the year.

  1. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon
  2. Wincing the Night Away, The Shins
  3. Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
  4. Drums and Guns, Low
  5. Hello, Avalanche, The Octopus Project

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Top 10 Primary-Debate-Inspired Band Names


As the year begins to turn to 2008, we'll be participating in a tradition as old as the Internets themselves: creating an overabundance of top 10 lists.

Last night ABC televised back-to-back primary debates for both the Republican presidential nomination and the Democratic nomination.

Today's list is the Top 10 ABC Political Primary Debate-Inspired Names For My Fictional Band.

And yes, it's already 2008 and these phrases are taken from a 2008 event. But I think we all know that the door on 2007 isn't really closed until DMS releases it's Albums of the Year.

  1. "35 Years of Change" - Hillary Clinton
  2. "Bunker Mentality" - Mike Huckabee
  3. "I Won Wyoming Last Night" - Mitt Romney on Meet the Press
  4. "The Firewall is on Fire" - Meet the Press @ Hillary Clinton
  5. "Nicing These People to Death" - John Edwards
  6. "A Form of Amnesty" - Mitt Romney @ John McCain
  7. "You are the Candidate of Change" - John McCain @ Mitt Romney
  8. "Experience is a Leper(?)" - Bill Richardson
  9. "Likable Enough" - Barrack Obama @ Hillary Clinton
  10. "World Policemen" - Ron Paul

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top 25 Tracks of 2007

As the year begins to turn to 2008, we'll be participating in a tradition as old as the Internets themselves: creating an overabundance of top 10 lists.

A month ago we released a preliminary list of the rankings for the top 25 songs of the year. Releasing a preliminary like that serves the purpose of allowing all the songs to posture for the final push of the season. Between then and now we've had a lot of jostling of position and a few late-comers into the fray (don't worry, The Fray didn't make it).

Before we release the final list, let it be known that the top 4 spots were all very close. Nothing against #5 but the top 4 all could stake a claim for number 1. See, this is why there are all these advocates of a playoff system, perhaps the +1 model.

But enough about the pedagogical process. Here's the Top 10 25 Tracks of 2007.

  1. "Fake Empire" - The National
  2. "Wet and Rusting" - Menomena
  3. "23" - Blonde Redhead
  4. "Keep the Car Running" - Arcade Fire
  5. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
  6. "Scythian Empire" - Andrew Bird (mp3)
  7. "Heart it Races" - Architecture in Helsinki
  8. "Intervention" - Arcade Fire
  9. "I Feel it All" - Feist
  10. "The Underdog" - Spoon
  11. "Paris is Burning" - St. Vincent
  12. "Truck" - The Octopus Project (mp3)
  13. "Bees Bein' Strugglin" - The Octopus Project
  14. "Accident and Emergency" - Patrick Wolf
  15. "Bros" - Panda Bear
  16. "Butterfly Nets" - Bishop Allen
  17. "Relief Next to Me" - Tegan & Sara (mp3)
  18. "Now, Now" - St. Vincent
  19. "Introduction" - Voxtrot (mp3)
  20. "The Ivori Palms" - Peter and the Wolf
  21. "Nude" - Radiohead
  22. "Sleeping Lessons" - The Shins
  23. "All My Friends" - LCD Soundsystem
  24. "Angel in the Snow" - Elliott Smith
  25. "Tonight I Have to Leave It" - Shout Out Louds
Dropping out of the top 25
"Cherry Bomb" - Spoon
"Mother of Pearl" - Nellie McKay
"No Cars Go" - Arcade Fire
"Slow Show" - The National
"Dashboard" - Modest Mouse
"Black Blizzard / Red Umbrella " The Octopus Project
"Phantom Limb" - The Shins
"The Magic Position" - Patrick Wolf
"Bodysnatchers" - Radiohead
"My Moon / My Man" - Feist

Others receiving votes:

"Rain" - Bishop Allen
"Don't Make Me a Target" - Spoon
"Hijomoland" - Sigur Ros
"Spitting Venom" - Modest Mouse
"Rehab" - Amy Winehouse
"Jesus Saves, I Spend" - St. Vincent
"Apocalypse Song" - St. Vincent
"Boy With the Coin" - Iron & Wine
"Impossible Germany" - Wilco
"Heretics" - Andrew Bird

Most Annoying tracks of the year:
1. "D.A.N.C.E." - Justice


It gets its own category:
1. "Atlas" - Battles

Comments:

Yes, it was a tenuous stay in the top 25 with no less than 10 tracks dropping out. But the big news has to be "Fake Empire"'s final push to the #1 spot. It had been on the outside, looking in at "23" and "Wet and Rusting" for months. But as those two tracks peaked earlier in the year, "Fake Empire" finally broke through when it mattered most: a real clutch job.

The biggest jump was Andrew Bird's "Scythian Empire," going from unranked to #6 in the span of a month. The other big jumper was Architecture in Helsinki's "Heart it Races," however that was a function of not realizing it was a 2007 release. The biggest drop was Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers," from #7 to unranked. It's tough to say why exactly. It's a really cool song.

One other observation without giving away too much for the long awaited Albums of the Year post: it was really tough to pare down the number of St. Vincent tracks. In fact, if we were really being honest, we might have a few more of her tracks in here. She's fantastic.

Until then, post your favorite tracks of the year. Peace.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Top 10 DMS Posts of the Year

As the year begins to turn to 2008, we'll be participating in a tradition as old as the Internets themselves: creating an overabundance of top 10 lists.


At the risk of being too narcissistic, self-serving, and arrogant, today's list is Top 10 Dear Mr. Supercomputer Posts of the Year, as chosen by the editorial staff.

10. Drinking Tecate while watching the State of the Union. How did I get here?
9. Last year's top albums list. Yeah, yeah, I'm working on it.
8. Drunk blogging while watching espn.com NBA gamecast. Try not to get too excited.
7. Dear Mr. Supercomputer doesn't understand the differences between Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.
6. Seriously, did anyone ever beat Zelda II?
5. DMS forges new depths in swearing. Still hate the Yankees, too.
4. DMS has a guest blogger.
3. DMS unveils its new subscription-only service.
2. I still contend this was a freaking awesome post, even if no one commented and I don't know no formatting.
1. Deadspin, meet DMS. DMS, Deadspin.