Saturday, January 31, 2009

MP3 of the Week: "Scarlett Johansson & Jeff Buckley Make Both Mr. And Mrs. Supercomputer Happy"

We had planned on blogging about the new Arcade Fire. Or the new Bon Iver EP, Blood Bank. Or maybe even the new Sufjan track.

But even Sufjan plays second fiddle when Scarlett Johansson and Jeff Buckley are prominently involved. You see, Jeff Buckley makes Mrs. Supercomputer happy for many reasons. Meanwhile Scarlett Johansson makes us happy. For one reason.


Anyway, most people will piss all over a Hollywood superstar covering the beloved indie-hero Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye." But frankly, if you close your eyes and get over your incredible inferiority complex, it's not bad. In fact, you might even say it's good.

This may be a corrollary of the "Whenever a female artist does an acoustic cover of a Modest Mouse song, she'll be the MP3 of the Week" rule, but whenever Scarlett Johansson covers a Jeff Buckley song, she'll get MP3 of the Week.

Here's a link. Scarlett Johansson - "Last Goodbye"

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Update: Here's a stream of an entire Scarlett Johannson album of Tom Waits covers that's actually pretty good.

Update 2: OK it's not that good.

Dick Armey Rumor Mongering #1


In case you haven't heard, Dick Armey is a dipshit. So we figured we'd start throwing some libel worthy material up on the web. You know shoot from the hip. So here we go:

We have it on good authority the Dick Armey likes to sift through his own fecal matter.

P.S. If you don't know why we're directing vitriol at former majority GOP leader Dick Armey, it's not just because we can use the phrase "Dick Armey" over and over again, which is a perk to be sure. Just google, say, "Dick Armey is a douchebag" and see what comes up.

Update: DMS is 4th.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Colorado Weather 2, DMS 0


Remember our first battle with Colorado weather? That didn't go so well. And that was during August.

This past Tuesday, we decided to ride our bike to work. After all, it had snowed on Monday so it had been a few days and we were itching to get back on the bike (since we spend the other 23 hours of the day sitting on the couch and eating McRib sandwiches).

Always the eager beaver, we stepped outside, and onto the bike and let 'er rip.

...

Before we moved here, we would usually try to garner some laughs, when asked about the cold weather, by joking, "I mean, really, once it gets below 20 degrees, does it really make a difference? At that point, it's just fricking cold, right? Ha Ha!"

Wrong. There is a difference. Oh my is there a difference. Allow us to give you a scale of how your mind set is as the temperature drops and descends below the freezing point:

30 degrees: "Wow, it's really cold! Good thing I'm wearing all these layers!"
20 degrees:"Yeesh, I better get inside fast! My face is becoming numb!"
10 degrees:"Holy fuck! The layers, they do nothing!!!!"
0 degrees:"Dammit! I'm never going outside again! I can't feel anything from the eyes down!"
-10 degrees:"Hmmm.... I feel strangely warm. I think I'll lie down here in this pile of snow and take a little nap."

The morning we biked to school it was -8 degrees at our work. That's right. We were two degrees away from collapsing in the snow and not being discovered until either a mountain lion did or when the snow melted, like in, you know, June.

Have you ever been so cold that when you step into a super-hot shower you don't know if it's hot or cold? It's like your entire body just says, "Aw fuck it, I'm turning off those nerves since YOU'RE obviously not doing anything about it." That's how our body was for 6 hours. We had an icicle on our eyelash (that is not a joke).

Needless to say, we learned a few things that morning: Never start a land war in Asia. And don't ride your bike when it's -8 degrees.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goodnight, Bush

A heartwarming tale to tell your children at night (click to enlarge and subsequently, print).









Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodnight, Bush



In the great white house
There was a telephone
And a bald louse

And a picture of -

A cow that also looks like a mouse.

And there were three oil men sitting on chairs

And two guys who panic
And a little Hispanic
And a bunch of coal, resting content
And tax breaks for the richest one percent

And a Constitution and a Bill of Rights
And a President who insisted he had more might.

Goodnight Bush
Goodnight Dick
Goodnight cow who also looks like a prick
Goodnight Rummy
Goodnight Condi
Goodnight to the cute, new Blondie

Goodnight guys who panic
And goodnight Hispanic
Goodnight offshore tax loop holes
Goodnight guys who had no control
Goodnight Constitution and Bill of Rights
And goodnight to the President who insisted he had more might.
And goodnight to the librarian who was always so bright.

Goodnight to the torturing that happens over there
Goodnight neo-Cons everywhere .....

(tune in later tonight for the printable picture version, might be edited)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Putting Things To Rest: McCain / Palin

It's been a while since we've added a new feature that we failed to follow up on. So with the changing of the guard at 1600 Pennsylvanie Ave., the new year, and, of course, the Indians signing Carl Pavano (previously referred to as "The Worst Free Agent In History"), it's time to tie up some loose ends; there are things we need to have one final word on and then never speak of again. Consider this segment like the last two minutes of Rome is Burning except without the pretentious goatee and the words "jack," "green," and "dumbfounded." Today, we tackle: The McCain/Palin Campaign. We certainly need to put this one to rest.

As with our treatise on Romeo Crennel, here's another opinion that you won't hear very often and you certainly won't hear from those who voted for Obama:

Sarah Palin was an inspired choice for VP.



Now, we here at DMS still harbor suspicions that the entire McCain campaign was a bad joke that backfired on them. We mean, when an ad involving Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton is not the silliest thing you did, then you had a strange campaign. And certainly the bitter backstabbing that came out within hours of November 4 is a testament to the general train wreck of the McCain/Palin campaign (side note: it actually would have made for a interesting, if tumultuous four years).

The Palin rollout was particularly damning. Let's recap:

1. Within 12 hours of Obama's acceptance speech, McCain introduces previously unknown Sarah Palin in Ohio. Press goes nuts.
2. Nothing but positive accolades from cable news. Both for the pick and the whole "stepping on Obama's toes" mechanism of the rollout.
3. Republican National Convention. The media is loving Sarah Palin. We know it seems strange to think of now, but the press had nothing but positive things to say about Sarah Palin.
4. Tina Fey does a "scathing" impersonation of Palin. And by "scathing," we mean "dead on." This is where the wheels start to come off.
5. Charie Gibson interview. She stumbles a but about the "Bush doctrine," which really isn't that big a deal.
6. The Katie Couric interview. This is where the wheels came off the train. She sounded like a dumb-fuck, there's just no other way around it. Can't name a court case besides How about Roe v. Wade? How about Brown v. Board of Education? Marbury v. Madison? Bush v. Gore? Just so many exciting to choose from! What newspaper do you read? All of them? At this point it is clear that Sarah Palin is probably no smarter than your average AP U.S. History student who knows Marbury v. Madison (even if they don't know why) and can at least feign competence on a AP exam.
7. Total shutdown/lockout of the press. No more questions! Nothing to see here!
8. Next time we see a media interview with Sarah Palin, it's with Sean Hannity and she spends the whole time bitching about the liberal media.
9. At this point, it's over. In the span of a few weeks, Palin went from superstar to laughing stock to giving interviews in front of live chickens being beheaded. Along the way, we get "Joe the Plumber," "$150,000 wardrobes," "Pallin' around with terrorists," and a whole lotta winking, but none of this really mattered. The damage was done.
10. The Republican Civil War between the David Brooks "eggheads" and the Sarah Palin "real Americans" ensues.

Now.

If it sounds like we're piling on Sarah Palin, we're not. As we stated: we thought the Sarah Palin pick could have worked out. The problem was with the rollout and subsequent handling.

If you're going to introduce a total unknown, it's probably not best to do it right before the election. And 10 weeks is right before the election.

Imagine if they announced Sarah Palin in, say, May of 2008. We would have had all Summer to get to know her. Her inevitible meltdown would have occured in, let's say, June. Meanwhile, the meltdown gets buried by the Obama/Clinton 100 Years War. In fact, the pick of Sarah Palin during this tumultuous time in the Democratic party might have broken the whole thing to pieces.

Too, Palin would have gotten better and better on the campaign trail. She might learn a few things about foreign policy before asked to defend her foreign policy credentials. They would have figured out what works and what doesn't.

The problem was that the business of Sarah Palin was condensed into a tiny time frame and we had to frame of reference to put her in. That's why the media simply exploded in all directions. Imagine if Barack Obama had been introduced 10 weeks before the election, same thing would have happened. And when Obama did make mistakes, he had months to change the dialogue. The McCain campaign had literally hours to try to explain away gaffes.

Perhaps the underlying problem was the cynical strategy involved in the selection of Sarah Palin itself. It was pretty clear what the McCain campaign was trying to do: if Obama picks Hilary, pick someone "safe." If not, pick a woman. So the Obama campaign brilliantly waited until the very end to announce Joe Biden, a.k.a. Not Hilary Clinton. So the McCain campaign scrambles to find the woman of their dreams and they quickly throw Sarah Palin in front of the cameras. Destruction ensues. Game over.

Had the McCain campaign said, "screw it, we're just going to pick a woman regardless of the Obama / Hilary drama" and rolled out Sarah Palin early on, at least the narrative arc would have been different.

Instead, now every single interview with Sarah Palin involves the words "liberal media bias" or "bias liberal media" or some other form of those three words that at this point sound like the ultimate in sour grapes. Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com put it well, "complaining about the media is not a strategy."

On the other hand, maybe she wasn't ready for the big stage. But a rollout in May, would have at least given her a few extra months to get ready.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Putting Things To Rest: Romeo Crennel

It's been a while since we've added a new feature that we failed to follow up on. So with the changing of the guard at 1600 Pennsylvanie Ave., the new year, and, of course, the Indians signing Carl Pavano (previously referred to as "The Worst Free Agent In History"), it's time to tie up some loose ends; there are things we need to have one final word on and then never speak of again. Consider this segment like the last two minutes of Rome is Burning except without the pretentious goatee and the words "jack," "green," and "dumbfounded." Today, we tackle: Romeo Crennel.



You're not going to find this opinion anywhere else on the internet: the Browns shouldn't have fired Romeo Crennel.

Every fan website, blog, and sports editorial said the same thing: nice guy, bad coach, right move. In fact, we think what you're about to read will be the only defense of his administration as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

We'll give you the once-in-a-while (by which, we mean "every other week") bonehead timeout or clock management blunder. Most notably the second regular season Steelers game last year where Romeo called a timeout to decide if he wanted to challenge a play, then challenged it, then lost the challenge, thereby costing the Browns another timeout. None for the price of two! Worse, this came in a game in which an extra two timeouts might have allowed them to move into field goal position to win the game (as it was, Phil Dawson missed a long one).

But, we digress.

Those happen. And yes, they happened too much under the Crennel/Savage regime (more on Phil in a minute).

But the truth is: they won 10 games that year. Partially the benefit of an easy schedule and partially because they were lucky, but they won 10 games. This year, they were sacked with tons of injuries and errant QB play. They were down to their third string QB. There's no way any coach would have broken 8-8 with Ken Dorsey at QB.

If you wanted to fire someone, fire Braylon Edwards who singlehandedly (which is, apparently the only kind of catch he can make) caused 378 drives to stall out this year. If he could make a catch, they probably beat the Broncos.

If Derek Anderson doesn't fumble it into the arms of the Colts, they probably beat the Colts. If Derek Anderson doesn't throw 12 interceptions against the Redskins, they beat them. If they get anything from the QB position all year, they probably win an extra 3-4 games. I'm going to throw some numbers at you:

114
166
125
138
310
136
246
219
239
185
94
110
150
156
64
18

These are the passing yardage for the starting QB of the Browns' 16 games this year. That's right, 18 fucking passing yards from Bruce Gradkowski in the 16th game.

Maybe it's partially, maybe even largely, Crennel's fault that the offense deteriorated to the point that 1 reception for 12 yards makes you the day's leading reciever, that's beyond coaching. You take Vince Lombardi and put him in charge of a team that under Crennel got 64 passing yards against the Bengals and you know what you have? A pretty shitty team.

As for fired GM Phil Savage, that seemed like a total overreaction. This team is more talented than when he and Crennel found it. Maybe the medical staff should be fired for apparently drowning the entire training facility in the Ebola virus, but that's neither here nor there.

Perhaps the firing would have been better if it seemed like the Browns ownership had some sort of plan. Right now, they've hired Eric Mangini to be the head coach. They've also got the coordinators in place. All of this is well and good, but they're doing this totally bass-ackwards: they have yet to hire a general manager. So whatever incoming GM the Browns hope to snag, better like Eric Mangini and the staff he's put in place, because he will have no say in it.

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Think about this: remember the first three years you worked? Remember how bad you were at your job? We can remember our first three years of teaching: we sucked. We totally sucked. The fact that in only his third year of being a head coach anywhere, Crennel nabbed 10 wins, should be a positive indicator of his coaching ability.

We're not saying Crennel is a great coach. He may not even be a good one. But I suppose we'll never know (until he gets another head coaching job and then goes on to win multiple Super Bowls).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Albums of 2008

Now that we're almost 1/24th finished with 2009, we figured we should probably compile our top albums of 2008. Just like last year, it was difficult to rank and resolve the list. However, like last year, we tried to think about the Big Picture. We tried to project what we'll be listening to in, say, five years time rather than what's going through our brains in January of 2009. With that parameter, the results can sometimes be surprising, but helps shake out the results a little more cleanly.

5. Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs

Death Cab appears to be cursed by the runaway success of Transatlanticism. In fact, Narrow Stairs is one of those albums that probably soars to the critical heights that Transatlanticism did had it been released before Transatlanticism. Lyrically, they've lost nothing since that release. Musically, they've only gotten stronger. Really the only difference between the two albums in Narrow Stairs' lack of an anthem like Transatlanticism's title track. But we challenge you to listen to Narrow Stairs through an unfiltered lens.

4. Headlights, Some Racing, Some Stopping

We're not sure why Headlights didn't appear all over the place: on top 10 lists, Gray's Anatomy, etc. We have a hard time leaving this CD alone. In fact, this was the first album of the year that really sank in for us.

3. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

This is one of those albums that was released early in 2008 and even at that time already had a huge buzz around it. So it became cool to knock it as soon as it was released. But after listening to it the past few weeks, it holds up remarkably well. It certainly passes the iPod Shuffle Test. That is, when you have your iPod on shuffle and a song from the album comes on, do you skip it? With Vampire Weekend we almost never skipped a track. And we bet you don't either.

2. TV on the Radio, Dear Science...

This album had the #1 spot locked for a long time until it was unseated right at the end of the year. We're never disappointed by anything TV on the Radio does. They're phenomenal.

1. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago



Bon Iver has been sitting in our car's CD player for weeks and hasn't come out. That's even a tougher test than the iPod Shuffle Test: the Leave the CD In the CD Player for Weeks On End Test. In fact, there are probably very few albums that can withstand that test. In fact, there are even fewer that come out sounding better at the end of that test. Bon Iver's album does just that: it lulls you in and keeps you there.

If we gave you one guess as to where For Emma, Forever Ago was recorded, what would you guess? A cabin in the woods of Wisconsin? You'd be exactly right. And this album is probably the perfect Winter album. It's also the perfect drinking-alone album; the perfect falling-asleep album; the perfect Sunday-morning album. It's versitile in it's simplicity.

Actually, it's interesting that we'd have TVOTR and Bon Iver as the top two albums. From two independent people we heard the comparison of Bon Iver as "an acoustic version of TV on the Radio." Between the falsetto, the aggressive lyrics, and the "My my my; my my my; my my" on "Skinny Love" they do sound similar, if you were to unplug TVOTR.

***

Honorable Mention: Flight of the Chonchords, Flight of the Conchords. Maybe the funniest television show of all time. Not that we're prone to hyperbole or anything. But seriously, give it a watch and give it a listen.