RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, November 26

NFL WK 13: NFC South & East teams

#1: NEW YORK GIANTS (10-1, 1st overall) - In this year's booking of the NFL, the Giants seem to be playing the roll of last year's Patriots, except the NFLminati realized the perfect season thing was a cheap gimmick if they couldn't push it all the way through. And once you do that, those old Dolphins players - 33rd degree footballmasons in abundance - don't have that solitary record of a perfect season anymore. A few more of those guys are gonna have to pass on before that record will be broken. The Giants seem to be an unbelievably deep team where guys just show up and plug-n-play at a top level. It seems almost inevitable they will cruise to a repeat Lombardi Trophy, which is probably they won't. The true question is how will the NFL marketing wizards and old school football minds who imagineer things into a most profitable story end this run? Will it be in the NFC playoffs to send two new teams to the Super Bowl this year, or will they go to the big game to job out to an AFC team? Is there an AFC team big enough to hold that title over the Giants? Right now, I'd say no, but last year's Giants at this point were hardly a team you thought would ever be considered the best team the NFL had to offer, was it? The Jets seem to be building to some sort of power play for merchandising mechanisms, but I doubt very seriously the NFL would fix things to be a NY Giants vs. NY Jets Super Bowl. Maybe we'll get Manning Bowl I, although I would expect that to be a one-time only affair, and probably at the twilight of Peyton's career. I am excited to see how it all plays out though. My Sunday stories has been good this year.

#2: DALLAS COWBOYS (7-4, 3rd overall) - Man, I hate me some Cowboys. Last week, it was the return of Tony Homo. This week, T.O. can successfully repress his latent homosexuality for another couple of weeks after getting all the glory he needs to beard reality. It's disgusting. And now they have to commit their yearly parade of cocky, self-important Thanksgiving Day douchery, while I try to enjoy a nice fat natural turkey brined in a contractor's bag for 2 days, and a homemade pumpkin pie my wife made utilizing such old school methods as squeezing pureed sugar pumpkin guts through a cheesecloth to get the juices out. It's so much fun seeing the kids use hand beaters to whip the heavy cream into pie-worthy fluff. Why does it have to be fucked up every year by Jerry Jones Parade of Worthless Humans. I hope Texas Stadium gets blown up by the Al-Jarreaus.

#3: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-3, 5th overall) - The NFC South is sort of this underrated clusterfuck of high mediocre teams in a highly mediocre year of the NFL. The Bucs are playing the part of that crafty, wily veteran team with no real marketable young superstar, just a bunch of dudes who might've been Pro Bowlers a few years here or there. The defense is led by the last aging members of that crushing group Tony Dungy built, and the offense is just Jeff Garcia doing whatever it is he does. I won't revisit my love triangle thing from last Bucs blurb about how their success will hinge on how well Jon Gruden and Garcia continue to get along, working through feelings that can complicate the jobsite, whether it be a pro football team or an insurance office or a pizza parlour. The return of Cadillac Williams from a 14-month long knee injury sabbatical is great though, because I love hearing people say Cadillac Williams. Cadillac, like a Playboy bunny tattoo, is classic street player (as in notching pussy, not gaining yards) aura.

#4: CAROLINA PANTHERS (8-3, 8th overall) - It's actually pretty amazing the Panthers have had as good a season as they've had, considering Steve Smith, after being inactive the first two weeks for breaking his teammate's face, has been less-than-stellar for most of the season. He certainly hasn't been what you'd expect from a guy who got NFL MVP talk a few years in a row. The double-headed backfield of Hall & Stewart has been good, but not as dominant as many expected, and Jake Delhomme probably isn't regarded as affectionately as a simple Cajun boy made good by Carolina fans as he was a couple years back, yet somehow through it all, here are the Panthers, poised to make the playoffs yet again. If someone was to start a new NFL franchise in L.A. in the next few years, I'd say the best two lessons they could follow is to mimic what the Panthers have done in their first 15 years, and try to do the opposite of the Houston Texans as much as possible.

#5: WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-4, 9th overall) - I am a Redskins fan, through and through, but I will not deny the fact that this team is a fraud, built upon the lowered bar of the 2008 NFL season. I have never seen a more frustrating offense than this one, which is far more like its 2007 Al Saunders over-complicated shift-happy shittiness, than it would easily admit. Will they ever actually have a game put away early? Fuck man, I feel like they could play a high school team and still need a missed field goal to win by 2. Luckily though, they did release Shaun Alexander this week, thus lowering their overall Pussy Factor by 2.378 points. And I also must admit, I really look forward to, ten years from now, London Fletcher being a defensive coordinator somewhere in the NFL. He is an all-time classic.

#6: ATLANTA FALCONS (7-4, 14th overall) - You have already heard about what an amazing turnaround year the Falcons have had, Matt Ryan aka Matty Ice blah blah blah, Michael Turner revitalized offense, new coach Mike Smith all that shit ad nauseum. But I would like to talk about Michael Vick, who was this past week back in his and mine home state of Virginia, to plead guilty to state dogfighting charges, and get forgiven to an extent with a lighter sentence that will allow him an earlier start at reclaiming his life. And you know, I feel bad for the prominent, athletic, semi-ignorant black QBs like Vick or Vince Young and the like. All their life, they are thrust into this position of importance, getting by on their raw athletic ability. Shit, you look at the national title games in college that Vick played in (and lost) and Young played in (and won), and in both of those games, their teams were doomed outside of the performance of them alone. So you are put on this pedestal all along in life, then you get to the NFL and suddenly you are expected to be Bobby Fischer on the complex analogy scale. Never are the GMs who draft guys who get by on raw talent blasted like the guys themselves get blasted. Vick has been made a pariah, and not even three years after he was supposed to be the face of not only the Falcons' future, but the NFL itself. Now, he's riding out his time until parole hearing in Leavenworth, and nobody gives a shit about him anymore, because he was involved in stupid fucking dogfighting. (By the way, in my opinion, there are many things worse than dogfighting, including people getting indignant over sensationalized dogfighting stories in the newspaper in between whoofing down supersized McDonald's value meals.) I did think briefly this past week though, that I was glad that Vick, who has been abandoned by pretty much everybody who claimed to be down with him (including the halfwit dude who snitched on him and his cousins), had a brief appearance in the regional jail in Hopewell, just over an hour from where he grew up, the week before Thanksgiving, so some kinfolk could come visit and give him a little love. Federal prison might be cushier on many levels, because you're not in with the riff-raff that state maximum security jails have, but being so far away from your support foundation sucks. So that's the end of my Thanksgiving week pro-Michael Vick diatribe. When Matt Ryan starts throwing interceptions in two years, or looks like he doesn't care enough about the game to please unsatisfiable football fans, start booing him too. I'm sure the next big thing will be the real big thing this time.

#7: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-5-1, 15th overall) - The downfall of Donovan McNabb can be entirely traced by his previously ever-present smile. Before, even when things were down, he was always smiling, except for that one season with T.O. where it all went bad. He always had a great attitude, exuding confidence or at least joy, much like the Ol' Gunslinger Brett Farrvrer. But this year, even before McNabb started tossing pick-sixes, even before he looked like a fool for being a starting NFL QB who didn't know the rules of overtime, he was never smiling anymore, it being lost somewhere between the end of last season and the middle of this year. Philly is a more brutal place than most anywhere to be a prominent pro sports figure, but they were turning quick on both he and Andy Reid. And I can't help but think the fact the story got leaked right away that Reid had talked to upper management about benching McNabb as early as a week before it happened was Andy Reid's way of preserving his own career. In a league where coaches and GMs routinely suicide each other in the name of self-preservation, Reid had no such luxury, being both the grocery shopper and the head chef in Eaglestan. But luckily, the overweight sausage-engorged drunkards that make up the Eagles fanbase were teetering on turning on Donovan McNabb, so old Andy - an overweight sausage-engorged walrus-haired man himself - threw McNabb under the bus. So regardless of what happens the rest of this season, whether they pull it together and make the playoffs or continue to implode, whether Kevin Kolb is worth half a shit or not, Andy Reid bought himself another year. Donovan McNabb, however, will probably be playing in Minnesota next year.

#8: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-5, 17th overall) - The Saints are like a Madden football team. They might score like 50 points with four different guys having what would normally be considered a career day all at once, or they'll just not be able to do anything at all, what with the game's artificial intelligence working completely against them, and they'll struggle to simply lose by a respectable five or six points. I have found it amusing that one of the few teams tripping over themselves to get Jeremy Shockey's punk ass now are indifferent towards him completely. Usually, with him being an overhyped under-performing cocksucker, this would mean he'd be playing in Dallas next year, but they've already got Jason Witten, who is better at the good things than Shockey is, and without all the muss. The Saints might want to find some sucker ass team to trade him too for a couple of draft picks and try to build a little defense. Or pay off Deuce McAllister to come back for a couple more years, because without that guy plowing through motherfuckers, all the fancy-footed skill position weapons the Saints employ wouldn't be freed up enough to run up fantasty league rankings everywhere.

Thursday, November 20

NFL WK 12: AFC South & East teams

#1: TENNESSEE TITANS (10-0, 1st overall) - Usually the Madden curse has only affected players physically in the year they grace the cover, but apparently it has taken a strange Ringu-style PG-13 horror flick psychological turn on Vince Young, who is now crazy and despondent and doesn't care any more about the game of the egg. Kerry Collins still creeps me out. Trent Dilfer as a QB who didn't fuck up just enough to let a strong defense win the Super Bowl didn't bother me, because Dilfer looked like a decent enough dude to talk at and chill and drink some beers and take some shrooms and shoot at crackheads with an air pump BB gun and all. But Kerry Collins looks like a roofer. Roofers are the lowest rung of construction site society, like the filth of the salt of the earth. I can accept good ole boy Super Bowl QBs (ala Brett Favre, plus anyone before 1979), I can accept uber-Christ Super Bowl QBs (ala Kurt Warner), or Super Bowl QBs who got that surgery that fixed their cleft lips (like John Elway), even a gay (like Steve Young or Joe Montana), mongoloid (like Peyton Manning), or black Super Bowl QB (Doug Williams, plus 1/8th of Mark Rypien's blood). But I will never accept a fucking roofer Super Bowl QB. America, as fucked as it is, cannot have fallen that far from grace.

#2: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-4, 8th overall) - Peyton and the boys have creepy crawled their way back into playoff relevance, except gangsta ass-looking/corporate-voiced and named Bob Sanders might be injurious again, thus fucking up the Colts ability to not allow teams to outscore their old ass offense. But they will probably still make the playoffs, mostly because the NFL and Roger Goodell would like to engineer some marketable and well-known ass players into the mix, so as to increase ad revenue. This shit is all fixed. Next year, new mulatto President, war in Iraq phased out for more important showdown with persnicketty Iranians (which has been in the Bilderberger works since at least 2001, when the Twin Towers plane landings were faked), Tom Brady will have "recovered" competely and the Patriots will again fill us all with patriotic fervor. The rise of the Manning bros. has been nothing more than a couple of good Southern characters that we can all trust to do the job and lose to Tom Brady's pretty face, thus making him seem like not only the pretty boy us Joe 30-packs see him to be, but a regular straight up bro who can get the job done. God Bless America.

#3: NEW YORK JETS (7-3, 11th overall) - Being he is about the only superstar on my shitty fantastical football team, I wish the ol' gunslinger would stop leading his team to rushing TDs in their glorious rise to AFC prominence. I often mock guys like T.O. or Jeff Garcia or Chad Johnson or Shaun Alexander for having the twinkly-eyes of the repressed homosexual, but in the coaching ranks, there is no more obvious a repressed gay pervert than Eric Mangini. I would not be surprised if the Mangini/Belichick conflict arises from that very fact, as I could see Belichick having wet dreams during the two hours he sleeps on his office couch during the football season about big, hairy, bald men, but with Tom Brady faces.

#4: MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-4, 13th overall) - You know, the Dolphins rise from the dregs of the NFL is commonly attributed to the alleged brilliance of Bill Parcels, but there's a lot more at work here. We've sort of moved away from astrology since the '70s, it seeming like a joke to our 21st century science-fellating mindframes. But when you break down the Dolphins roster, there's about 37% Sagittarians, which is a ridiculous zodiac majority, considering there are 12 signs in all, and this year has been a phoenix-like year of rebirth for Sagittarians. Long-term, it doesn't look as good though. Astrologically speaking, they should peak even higher next year, then maintain a modest consistency the following 2010 season, but that will be about it for this cycle of the stars. I wish NFL dork websites had birth sign data, so I could investigate whether Bill Parcels is truly a sports scientific genius, or just an astrological nut, who works his magic according to how the planets are aligned. That'd explain his short-term work history, which always seem to be successful.

#5: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-6, 21st overall) - It always seemed odd to me that Big Pun, the Puerto Rican rapper, tried to play it off he was a gangsta of some sort, which I guess was expected of any rapper at that point. How gangsta can a 400 pound happy-faced dude really be? I bet he loved kids, and would bounce them on his knees, which he probably didn't really like to stand on, being his weight broke them down at an early age. A little-known internet factoid is that Pun was a seventh round draft pick of the Jaguars back in their inaugural year, when Pun was a nose tackle for Syracuse.

#6: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-4, 22nd overall) - I used to not believe in a God. But I have to admit, it became cliche to want to smash stupid fucking Boston types in the face with empty 40 ounce bottles, mostly because travelling throughout the northeast a couple of times showed me that Bostononians were the low-rung of New England society, contradicting that whole Blue Blood tradition. But then the Patriots and Red Sox and Celtics all started winning championships left and right the past decade, causing stupid Boston cartoon caricature true flesh and blood humans to be even more outlandishly retarded, thus causing me to pick fights with them again. My passionate hatred has been rekindled, and only a caring and observant God could have seen fit to cause such a thing inside of me.

#7: BUFFALO BILLS (5-5, 24th overall) - The Bills will nary be successful with those hideous Eurotrash soccer uniforms. If Marv Levy had any sense, and I think he's still the Dictator of All Affairs for the Bills, he'd dump this shit they're wearing now, go back to the old school ones like they wore when O.J. was stabbing defenses with the thrust of his powerful legs, except be all bitchy because of the O.J. bullshit, and change the shitty flag blue to powder blue. Powder blue jerseys with that block-style red bison on the white helmets, that shit would be pimp. Then you might get more than one awesome proud oversized black man like Marcus Stroud to come play for your franchise, thus relinquishing the necessity to trust habitual child molesters like Darryl Talley and Bruce Smith with your franchise's success.

#8: HOUSTON TEXANS (3-7, 26th overall) - Back to the bottom with your stupid asses. You can throw all the Steve Slatons and Andre Davises you want on this team, they are doomed perpetually. Stupid post-9/11 uniform choice, combined with the stupidest team nickname of any major pro sports team of the past twenty years. Although I just watched the video for "Brooklyn Zoo" four times in a row, and if they could somehow incorporate that happy-go-lucky successful-against-all-odds crackhead energy of ODB, perhaps with a slowed down DJ Screw soundtrack, complemented with their stupid logo given a cracked mirror photoshop effect on their helmets, now with like a glitter candy flake stupid blue instead of the regular blue, or better yet a color changing helmet that gets purple looking at night under fake lights but still dark blue in the sunshine, they'd get over as fuck. I'm sure there's some crazy rich Arabs who have color changing silk you could use for the uniforms, too. Those motherfuckers be building islands in the shape of fetishes, so I bet they got clothes using genetically modified silkworms.

Sunday, November 16

NFL WK 11: AFC North & West teams

#1: PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-3, 3rd overall) - The Steelers are a beat-up team, especially on the offensive line, which means Ben Roethlisberger might be broken in two within a couple of weeks. Against the Redskins, Byron Leftwich did alright, and might do well trying to prove himself one last time, much like Charlie Batch used to do for the Steelers. I have been banking in the fantastical footballs with Mewelde Moore, so much so that I’m pretty disappointed Fast Willie Parker might be actually playing a regular amount again this week. The Steelers are probably, even after losing to the Colts, the second best team in the AFC, in what’s a pretty down year for the NFL, because if we could put the ‘08 Steelers into the middle of ‘07 AFC in simulation world, they probably wouldn’t even make the playoffs.

#2: BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-3, 10th overall) - Joe Flacco is living the tiniest little corner of young millionaire success you could ever dream of. New Jersey high school kid who slipped through major college recruitment processes, and ends up in neighboring Delaware playing as a Blue Hen. Somehow makes enough I-AA noise to become a top QB prospect in an era when teams spend high draft picks on QBs that never pan out from major colleges, much less from lesser-known ones. There really is no one else to be the Ravens QB as Steve McNair is retired and Troy Smith is one of those aforementioned flame-out QBs from a high profile college team. So Joe Flacco becomes a rookie starting quarterback. And the Ravens go crazy beyond expectations, as the defense plays like it always has, and the offense is able to do more than just not fuck up when necessary. Still, I have a hard time believing a young kid named Flacco from Jersey can maintain such success. There seems to be Lifetime Channel flavored tragedy awaiting him. Maybe not this year, but it will happen at some point.

#3: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-5, 19th overall) - Man, what a great year to be a misanthropic Redskins fan. The Cowboys are self-imploding, and Norv Turner is proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that he might be one of the worst head coaches in the history of the NFL. Not obviously bad enough to get fired mid-season, but definitely the most underachieving mediocre waste of collected talent coordinator there ever has been. I hope Andy Reid retires to help his kids through rehab and the Eagles hire Norvell after he gets fired in San Diego.

#4: DENVER BRONCOS (5-4, 22nd overall) - It’s really hard to believe any division in the NFL could be worse than the AFC West when the Broncos are in first place. They have a white fullback named Peyton Hillis (a frat brother’s name if there ever was one) starting at tailback. I guess they did resign Tatum Bell, which hopefully will lead to an entertaining parade of Broncos cast-offs, who Shanahan discarded like empty cereal boxes because it was his system, not the back, that made it work. On a related note, I hope Travis Henry gets convicted on federal charges and ends up in Leavenworth with Michael Vick. That would make the evil semi-pro guards vs. upstart got-nothing prisoners football game really interesting. Maybe Matt Jones can fuck up real good so Leavenworth could get a good receiver too, to cover all the skill positions. (I love that term “skill position” as if linemen don’t do shit. Why don’t you just say “handsome people position, where the guys look good and are fast and people like them, as opposed to the big, ugly fuckers we have everywhere else”?)

#5: CLEVELAND BROWNS (3-6, 23rd overall) - The Brady Quinn era has begun, on a night time basis only thus far. I am pretending he only played one game because I never got aruond to finishing this shit this past week, but I'm gonna wrap it up and predate post it using blogospheric brave new worldliness. I bet this week Brady Quinn has a much tougher time, but does well enough for them to just sneak out a win against Buffalo, probably on like a 56 yard field goal or some shit like that.

#6: OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-7, 27th overall) - Al Davis is getting more and more entertaining, cutting DeAngelo Hall (only after paying him 8 million bucks for eight games). I am hoping he will become more and more crazy and gets to do whatever stupid assed reality show the NFLs does on whatever cable show next year. Not that I'd see it, but I'm sure I'd read little things about it inside the internets, then I would pretend I knew it for myself. That's the great thing about the internet... it allows you to act like you're not the fucking ignorant piece of shit you really are.

#7: CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-8, 28th overall) - Man, Chad Johnson became obsolete pretty shortly this year, didn't he? And I think this is a forced contract year where he was probably hoping to get enough of a contract next year to have a gold-plated shark tank beside a 1967 postcard-worthy pool. Probably the stupid Dan Snyder will sign him next year. I think they were trying to trade half their draft for him this past year anyways. Meanwhile, I think quietly and without much notice, T.J. Houshmanzadeh has become my favorite non-Redskin foozball player. The Hindu power ponytail, arm tattoos, and overbearing personality on offense. He's so dreamy.

#8: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-8, 29th overall) - Tyler Thigpen has become undiscovered halfway decent talent extraordinaire, at least when it comes to the fantastical footballs. When a QB catches TD passes in the NFL, washed-up fratboys nationwide will rejoice and sound like Jim Rome inside their own halfwit thoughts. Again, I hope this is all part of Herm Edwards master plan to eventually have nobody on his team with more than 4 years experience, trading all older quality veterans for multiple draft picks. Madden '03 is the best version of that game ever, and that was the method for success there. Never sign a free agent over 30.

Saturday, November 15

S14: 2008 MLB Worst Payroll-Per-Victory Rates

I used to every year in my zine The Confederate Mack do payroll per victory for baseball teams and rank them, because I find it amazing how much player payroll is spent per winning game. It seems impossible to me that anybody could make money owning a pro baseball team, excepting those few teams who have like 3000 different styles of their baseball cap worn by fans and urban youth galore. So I did it again this year, and here are the worst 14 teams, if you consider worst being spending the most money per victory achieved. I count post-season as well as regular season in this nonsense.
#1: New York Yankees ($2,349,231.20 per victory) - The Yankees have pretty much always finished worst on this list ever since they took over A-Rod, and before then they always finished second behind the Rangers, who has a high payroll and still sucked. I used to frequent this dork message board where there was a prominent guy who was a Yankees fan and he’d call anti-Yankees fans cockroaches and shit, acting like they were haters. But come on man, fuck the Yankees, buying up everybody they can. It’s so ridiculous that you know it won’t work, and this past season where they didn’t even make the playoffs, yet like half their starting line-up got rich enough to buy other Major League Baseball teams, it’s too fucking funny. Then stupid assed Junior Steinbrenner gets all bitchy about how the playoff teams are decided, acting like it’s not because they didn’t make the playoffs for the first time in a while but because he cares about the sport. If the Yankees cared about the sport, they might try to not drive up the price of every player who might be halfway decent, thus rendering most teams unable to sign a high profile free agent. Then they all end up in the Bronx, where they are poisoned by the cancer of contentedness, knowing they’re not just a baseball player anymore but in NYC, and could end up fucking Madonna (like A-Rod) or Mariah Carey (like Jeter) or something. I can understand it being hard to give a fuck about playing a stupid game like baseball when you’re trying to score some pretty famous notches on the gold-trimmed mahoganey headboard of your king-sized bed.
#2: Seattle Mariners ($1,928,958.72 per victory) - They weren't that good either, outside of Ichiro Suzuki, who must be making a bazillion dollars in order to explain this hefty payroll.
#3: Detroit Tigers ($1,860,610.76 per victory) - The Tigers, not too long ago, were one of those young scrappy teams that made the playoffs with a relatively low payroll. Instead of sticking to their secret genius plans and dumping off all their good players for hot prospects, to keep cycling in unknown talent and compete, they actually resigned all their good young players, as well as a few high profile free agents. This has led to absolutely nothing but false hopes and finishing third on this nefarious list.
#4: New York Mets ($1,548,240.18 per victory) - As much as I hate the Yankees and their fans, it's just as fun to laugh at the misery of the Mets, who don't even have all those World Series rings to flash at me to justify their ridiculousness.
#5: Atlanta Braves ($1,421,745.60 per victory) - The Braves have come back to earth, finally not having like 3 of the best 6 pitchers in the game at once, which carried them to a decade's worth of Divisional titles, but only one World Series ring. My dad always liked the Braves, and I grew up a Giants fan, so I've hated the fucking Braves forever. Pulling up their Triple-A team from Richmond, which was a good afternoon place to go get drunk in the sunshine, even though I didn't do it hardly enough, makes me not like them even further.
#6: Los Angeles Dodgers ($1,347,597.00 per victory) - Had a pretty good run after getting Man-Ram there at the end of the season. I was actually rooting for them in the playoffs, as I like Manny Ramirez. Baseball players are such full of shit assholes, it's nice to see some guy just be like fuck it, which of course is an affront to the purity of baseball to the types of assholes who obsess over it. If he ends up signing the contract the Dodgers offered him, I would expect them to be far higher on this list next year, regardless of how well their season goes.
#7: Chicago White Sox ($1,346,548.13 per victory) - Really, the only thing good about the White Sox was Ozzie Guillen's wacky ass antics, but after hearing that "psssh" soundbite about 3000 times in the two hours of Jim Rome I've listened to this year, I don't even like him. There are people out there who excitedly listen to the Mike & Mike show in the morning, and then Jim Rome in the afternoon, and they think all of it is smart and funny. I hope all those people get the bird flu.
#8: Boston Red Sox ($1,320,693.42 per victory) - Honestly, being they consistently have the second highest payroll, by far, in Major League Baseball, the fact they are successful enough to fall as low as 8th on this list is impressive. I really don't mind the Red Sox, as they used to be funny that first time they won the World Series with a bunch of longhaired freaks and closet degenerates. Now, they've moved more towards that clean cut whiteboy image which probably matches their fan base better, but doesn't seem as probably to win another ring. And man, I can't tell you how much that Papelbon kid freaks me out, with his mouth always looking like an anus.
#9: Chicago Cubs ($1,220,060.13 per victory) - I enjoy seeing the Cubs curse continue year after year, because it's so comedically perfect to see baseball fans suffer. Also, I am in full solidarity with goats, so not letting a straight up regular acting bro bring his goat to the baseball game is an unforgivable offense, and they are right to never win a World Series again for as long as stupid baseball is played professionally.
#10: Los Angeles Angels ($1,180,359.73 per victory) - Being not a baseball fan except extremely casually, the Angels are off my radar. I know they have a few really good players, really ugly ass red uniforms, pretend they are from L.A. proper, and used to be the team of The Black Jew Rod Carew. Beyond that, fuck ‘em. Oh yeah, Bobby Grich too, which used to be my rap name.
#11: San Diego Padres ($1,169,485.97 per victory) - This will surely go down once they dump Jake Peavy for minor league scraps.
#12: St. Louis Cardinals ($1,158,423.83 per victory) - The Cardinals and Cubs being blood feud rivals is interesting to me, because I would not be too bothered if both team planes crashed into each other in the sky. Then again, there’d be a bunch of corny assed black patches on baseball hats and jerseys and all sorts of dorky remembrances where pretentious dicks like Peter King and Rick Reilly and Bob Costas wax melodramatically about it all.
#13: Toronto Blue Jays ($1,137,138.37 per victory) - I am not sure in the translation of dollars with the world economy in a shambles, but I would figure since the Canuck economy has not gotten retarded with speculative lechers destroying it like in American, that maybe this figure may not be perfectly correct. Although, I guess all the info I found was in straight up U.S. dollars, and they can convert that shit however they want. Were I to hit the lottery this weekend, I’d buy gold bars and machine guns, and hire a bunch of Mexicans to hang out on the bottom of the mountain I buy with the machine guns, keeping the riffraff out. Mexicans are loyal as fuck, and hard workers to boot. That’s why I won’t hire a white dude anymore.
#14: San Francisco Giants ($1,063,812.50 per victory) - Haha, Barry Zito. I was more than glad to abandon the Giants as my team last year when the Nationals rolled out at a new team full of crazy negroes like Lastings Milledge, Dmitri Young, and Elijah Dukes, in a new stadium that wasn’t even completed yet. When I was 8, the first little league team I played on was called the Giants and I thought if I was good enough, I would move all the way up to the pro Giants. Man, I was a naive little fucker then. That Giants thing got me to trade for tons of Giants baseball cards back in the day, including a Dave Winfield card when he was with the Padres to this kid named Jay who was a Yankees fan for 25 random Giants cards. The Barry Bonds years really tested my tacit approval of a team in a sport I barely follow outside of the newspapers, but I stuck with it because I’m one of those fucking dorks that puts some sort of pride in being blindly loyal to teams you have absolutely no fucking physical attachment to outside of your own retarded emotions. But fuck them now. I’m a Nationals man. Well, at least once in a while during the summer when I need to halfway care about something to read in the paper’s sports section when there’s still 15 minutes left in my lunch hour... Who am I kidding? I’m self-employed. I regularly take two hour lunches, and still bill motherfuckers for it. Hahahaha.

Friday, November 14

100 VINYLZ: #80 - Gratitude 2xLP by Earth, Wind & Fire

(1975, Legacy Records)
This was one of my folks’ records that I copped when I went away to college. They were divorced, and dad only kept like 30 records, and mom didn’t even have a turntable, so fuck it. When I lived on Grace Street’s 1200 block (Richmond‘s scenic transvestite prostitution block), I’d make loops of nice breaks off records using a dual cassette tape player of my bitch girlfriend’s. I made a ton of loops off this double LP. Part of it is live, and part of it is studio (I think), and it’s really the only Earth, Wind & Fire I’ve ever heard that held my interest even remotely. I used to jam loops off this enough that I bought five or six other Earth, Wind & Fire albums, expecting more of the same, only to be disappointed each and every time.
After Sunz of Man released that terrible reworking of “Shining Star” a few years back, I started to play this double LP again fairly regularly. But honestly, I haven’t put it on a turntable in years. I think it’s in the sideways stack of albums in the corner of the front room that I tore the walls up to put new drywall in and paint and get all tight and crispy for a new bedroom. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe I should work on that some more. Or I could just go sit by the river and wait for trains to come by and see if they have any interesting graffiti on them.
But yeah, I’ve been meaning to dig this record out for a while now, to see if there’s some good funk to fuck around with. It was one of my parents few soul albums, and I guess once you get into soul a little deeper, Earth, Wind & Fire is not the first thing you go for. It doesn’t really conjure up baby-making music, so much as middle-aged, successful black folks dancing in church clothes at a soul food buffet. Or something you’d hear at the public lake where black people go to wax their cars on Sunday afternoons.

(frybread) Goat Rights vs. Property Rights

I was sitting around yesterday, about to log onto the stupid internet and waste twenty more minutes of my life, with no one else home, when I figured, fuck it, I might as well go for a walk to the end of the road. The wife and kids would be coming home from ballet class, so I’m sure they’d pass me somewhere along the way, because I didn’t really mean to walk for a couple of hours.
I enjoy the concept of walking through wherever you live, with the attitude that even if you drive a road a thousand times, you don’t really see it as closely as you would by walking it. I got past the first deep gulley where some kid died hitting the guard rail a few summers ago and there’s still a plastic bouquet of flowers in the curve. That made my heart pump a bit, not that I’m fat, but I could definitely use dropping a few pounds, and reconditioning myself. By the time I went through the second deep gulley dip in the road, going up to the old commune set back off the road where the old couple brings us dumpster dove bread sometimes, I was in the mode and not huffing at all. It was all overcast like it might start raining again any moment, and cool, unless the sun busted through to make it too hot every now and then. I got up towards the end of the road where the farm pastures start, and laughed at all the young black cows staring at me like I was gonna shoplift from them. The opposite side of the road, the pasture rose above the road about nine or ten feet along a bank, and I could hear a goat freaking out. All my goats are dead, but I know that sound. Something was fucked up. I pulled myself up the bank and saw for some reason a little square of fenced out land in the pasture (probably some phone line bullshit or something) and two goats had gotten their heads stuck in the fence squares trying to get at some better varieties of weeds. I looked through the fence and thought, “Fuck.” It wasn’t my land to be tromping around on, nor my goats to be concerned about. Plus, I didn’t need no wigged out goats goring me up accidentally with their horns.
So I walked the last half mile to the end of the road, thinking the family would be along shortly and I’d just ride past it on the way home. Or if they didn’t come (which they didn’t), they’d be loose all ready and okay, ignoring the obvious that goats are retarded creatures (that’s why they’re called nature’s presidents), and can’t get themselves unstuck, and that’s why you’re not supposed to use square fencing with bigger openings like what this pasture had for goats to graze inside of. Almost back to that spot, I heard the goats still freaking out, so I walked through some woods to where an entry gate was, and not only were those two still stuck, but there was a third one stuck on the front fence line. By this point I had kind of figured this was a test. When I still had my goats, I did a lot of hanging back with them in their pen, and they’re pretty chill animals. But before getting back, I came to the conclusion my respect of arbitrary property markers was pretty stupid, and exactly what faggot Republicrat/Demolihicans would want me to respect. And it seemed silly to leave three living goats to be stuck, hoping whatever other human claimed ownership of them would come along to save them before they died. So I jumped the gate, and went in to the first goat. He was big, but smaller than the ones I had. But mine had had their horns burned off, which is a decent idea to keep from getting fucked up, and doesn’t hurt them when their young kids just like circumcising baby boys is painless. (Yeah, I know.) When I got near him, he was freaking the fuck out, trying to jump through the little square to the outside to get away from me. I thought he was gonna break his fucking neck before I could help him. So I calmed him down by petting him for a minute, then angled his head until the tip of the horns went back through the same square he was stuck in. Then I had to work his neck backwards a little, and he gave it a yank and was free and did this weird bounding back-and-forth wobble hop run thing that goats do when happy and tweaked.
The second one went way easier, being smaller, and a pretty friendly little fellow. He was actually the one calling out when I passed by the first time. He got out and took off. The last one ended up being the hardest one because every time I got near the back of his head to try and move his horns out, he’d flip out in paranoia mode and twist his whole body around so he could look at me. I even think he snipped at me a couple of times, but I’ve never seen a goat bite anything other than bushes, so that probably wasn’t the case. I had to do the chill petting thing with him, and it took some goat head twisting to get his horns pointed back through in the right direction, to the point I thought I might end up breaking his neck getting him out. Lots of times, that’s how goats die, is from broken necks, and then they just lay there dying, their BWAAAs getting more and more feeble. He finally pulled out and took off quick, to join the other hundred goats halfway across the field. Behind me, two miniature horses with long blonde hair had meandered over and were looking at me like, “What the fuck is up with this dude?” All I did was leave, not stepping in cow shit once, and walk the rest of the way home. It was then, passing one of the speckled steel guard rails in the curves of one of the gulleys, that I was gonna start carrying big, thick Sharpies and go on these walks and write things real tiny in the curve of guard rails, where no one will ever notice it driving past, and probably the only people who do see it will be the Mexicans cutting the grass along the roadside for the state, and they won’t be able to read my scrawly English.

S14: Best College Football Teams

Figured I'd do one more best football teams list since Division II playoffs are about to start, and Division III and I-AA aren't too far behind. I'm not sure about NAIA, it being too far off the radar, but I'll probably find out as I look up stupid little things to mention along with these listings. Most likely in a couple weeks, once all college regular seasons have ended, I'll do a final shitty team list, and then a final best team list after the Division I National Championship spectacle, which I guess is like the second week of January now. Fucking ridiculous. But here's the best college football teams, simple criteria of least amount of losses (meaning none pretty much) with average margin of victory breaking the ties.

#1: Mount Union College Purple Raiders (9-0, 39.89 average margin of victory) - The Purple Raiders faced fellow unbeaten team Otterbein last weekend in a Division III showdown for control of the Ohio Athletic Conference, and Mount Union smoked the #12 Cardinals of Otterbein 49 to 20, solidifying their own #1 ranking, and setting them up to steamroll through the Division III playoffs, yet again.

#2: Morningside College Mustangs (9-0, 39.89 average victory) - Morningside will be taking part this weekend in what the NAIA refers to as The Game, against Sioux Falls (see #5 below) in South Dakota, where Sioux Falls has won 32 straight games. They've also won 72 of their last 73 conference games (both teams are members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference), with the only loss coming to this very Morningside team in 2005.

#3: University of Saint Francis Cougars (9-0, 39.11 average victory) - The #3 ranked team in NAIA football has a showdown on the road in Chicago with their Mid-States Football Association rival, Saint Xavier, this Saturday. The winner will go to the NAIA playoffs. The NAIA actually signed a deal to have their national championship on TV this year, although it's whatever fucked up college sports CBS-affiliated station there is inside the cables and satellite signals nowadays. But it'll be on TV.

#4: Monmouth College Fighting Scots (10-0, 36.30 average victory) - Division III the Fighting Scots fucked up Knox College last week, to retain the Bronze Turkey, whatever the fuck that is. I love all those little obscure ass regional trophies like that. Hampden-Sydney College plays Randolph-Macon, and that's like the third oldest rivalry in college football, and it's little shit ass private colleges, but them whiteboys get geeked up for that shit. Congrats to the Fighting Scots though, for winning their version of the Super Bowl, and now they wait for the Division III playoffs to start next week.

#5: University of Sioux Falls Cougars (9-0, 36.22 average victory) - Sioux Falls is a perennial NAIA powerhouse, ranked #2 right now going into the aforementioned showdown with Morningside, and in their nine games, have only given up 26 points this season. The Cougars struggled last week against shitty little Dordt (who has shown up on the worst version of this list both times) and only won 34 to 2 on the road. Perhaps even in the small pond of NAIA unknown college football, teams can suffer from looking ahead.

#6: University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (11-0, 34.45 average victory) - The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions' regular season ended last week, and they earned a bye through the first week of NCAA Division II playoffs, which get underway this Saturday. In two weeks, they will host their first ever playoff home game against the winner of Wayne State/Chadron State.

#7: Wabash College Little Giants (9-0, 33.78 average victory) - Wabash hosts DePauw University in their 115th meeting, for The Monon Bell this weekend. Wabash is the favorite to win the game as well as the North Coast Conference title, and earn an entry into the Division III playoffs.

#8: Abilene Christian University Wildcats (10-0, 33.70 average victory) - The Wildcats have already won the Lone Star Conference title for the year, wrapping up Division II regular season competition last week by whooping Midwestern State. They got a bye through the first week of the Division II playoffs, and in the second round will host the winner of a game this weekend between Central Washington at West Texas A&M. West Texas's only loss this season came against Abilene Christian in their conference blood feud, so a rematch in the playoffs would be huge. West Texas A&M is probably more known nationally this season for being where Ryan Leaf was bumming painkillers from players.

#9: Millsaps College Majors (9-0, 32.56 average victory) - After beating fellow small college previously undefeated powerhouse Trinity College a couple weeks back, Millsaps should be able to cruise through their regular season finale against cross-town rival (the town is Jackson, Mississippi) Belhaven College this weekend, into the Division III playoffs next week.

#10: Friends University Falcons (9-0, 29.00 average victory) - The past two years, Friends has been Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference co-champions with Bethel, but this past weekend, they crushed their conference rival, 41-7, to earn a solo championship. Should they power through Saint Mary's this weekend, they will enter the NAIA playoffs as top five team.

#11: Grand Valley State University Lakers (10-0, 28.30 average victory) - Grand Valley State is the #1-ranked team in Division II, and a traditional power at that level. They closed out the regular season by crushing the 25th-ranked Division II team, and got a bye through the first round of the playoffs, being seeded #1, awaiting the winner of this weekend's Ashland/Minnesota State game.

#12: Case Western Reserve University Spartans (9-0, 27.67 average victory) - They can lock up the University Athletic Association title this weekend against Washington University, and probably get into the Division III playoffs as well. The UAA only has four teams. Case Western is 2-0 in conference; Washington U. is 1-1.

#13: Boise State University Broncos (9-0, 25.89 average victory) - Boise State is the infamous BCS crashing team that plays on that ridiculous blue turf, who beat Oklahoma with plays from the 1930s where the dude who scored the winning points proposed to his girlfriend in the end zone afterwards. And here they are again, undefeated, and trying to crash the BCS games, which should be crashed. I find it amazing the biggest argument against a playoff in Division I football is that it would make the regular season games less relevant. I have a solution (internet Div. I playoff solution #3,295,406) that solves that problem and doesn’t make the season too retardedly long either. You keep doing the polls and computer ratings and releasing the BCS bullshit, but all you do is take the top 8 teams that actually win their conference title. Fuck second place teams, even if they’re in the best division on earth. If you’re not the best in your conference, you can’t be the best in the nation. And who the fuck cares if Boise State would finish in 13th place in the SEC? Take the best 8 of the eleven conference champions (or if one of the few independent teams finishes higher in the BCS than four of the conference champions). It’d make the conference title games all the more important, and all the games going up to it more important, because right now a major team could lose a game and still weasel their way into the national title game. I’m gonna email President-Elect Obama a link to this post. Everything’s different now. He’ll listen to me instead of just sending a form letter response.

#14: Texas Tech University Red Raiders (10-0, 25.70 average victory) - I actually watched their game last week against Oklahoma State (I missed the Texas one), and this is a fun ass team to watch. I would be perfectly happy to watch them play in the national title game. It’s like watching Madden football almost, so much so you sort of wish they’d just abandon punting altogether and plan on going for it every fourth down ever.

Friday Love/Hate

I love wearing my dirty assed bright orange stocking hat this time of year, all high up on my head like an old dude from some dirtbag east European country would wear. My grandpa used to wear his like that, and I never could figure out how to do it. Then when I stopped giving a fuck about things like personal appearance, my hat rode up comedically to the top of my head naturally. There's probably a valuable life lesson in that, but I didn't bother to pay attention.

I hate people who talk about taking a cold shower to stifle their sexual urges. I used to live in an apartment that was basically a retard commune, and the only place you could have any pure privacy was in the bathroom, and that's where the best porn mags were, so usually that's where I'd masturbate. Being we never paid bills in a timely manner, half the time we didn't have hot water either, so I learned how easy it is to masturbate in a cold shower's stream. It's actually nice feeling. That tub never drained, and there'd be like two inches of water in it with questionable chunks of things floating in it at all times. You just had to hope it was your questionable chunks of unovaried babies.

100 VINYLZ: #81 - SlaughtaHouse 12” by Masta Ace Incorporated

(1993, Delicious Vinyl Records)
You know, the internet being acting like it's all that and knows everything, but when I was looking up this single, since it's amidst the mass of vinyl out in my cold ass camper, which tends to be off limits during the deep winter months, everything I found on Masta Ace discography listed this single with no mention of "Born to Roll", which is what makes this single so awesome. Understand, I had the "Jeep Ass Nigguh" single, and the original song was great enough. And I was buying a lot of vinyl back then, and Masta Ace was gonna get snatched up every time, being the album this was off of is good start to end (like most Masta Ace shit, which the internet acts like it knows already, but does it really feel it, or does it just perpetuate this "Masta Ace is the shit" persona because everyone else acts like it's supposed to be that way; the internet seems to be on some emperor ain't got no clothes trip a lot of times). And "SlaughtaHouse" was a solid enough song to have the single of, for remixed version and instrumentals because I tended to be the blunt-happy Super Nintendo playing some WWF Royal Rumble type dude who would play some quality instrumentals for like 9 hours in a row back then. But when I bought this single and heard "Born to Roll" for the first time... holy fuck. That was some genre-shattering shit.
Now let me clarify for a second. I'm not trying to get into music dork "Masta Ace bridged the seemingly impossible gap of east coast and west coast, furthered on the Sittin' On Chrome LP, which was notable because of self-destructive tribalism polluting hip hop at the time blah blah fucking blah" meme. I don't care about trends or who did what first or what caused this or that. It's just, as a giant music fan (as opposed to dork which I probably am too, hence this list that I may or may not ever finish by the end of the year like originally planned upon), know good shit as it spikes through my eardrum. Often times there is no explaining it at all. "Jeep Ass Nigguh" in its original form was a pretty top-notch track for that boom bap era on its own, but slowing the pace of it over top that new thick ass bass line on this remix, it was much too much. This was also the golden era of riding ass music, that you could just cruise too, with 808 bumps galore to rattle your side view mirrors as you looked for cops while you sipped on your Mickey's double deuce. But most of that riding music tended to be pornographic (like Too Short) or gangsta as fuck (like pretty much everything else). Just hearing a nice, smooth ass traditional east coast lyricist make a sumthin' 2 ride 2 track was like rounding the corner, bumping into some roller skating chick whose stick of chocolate got in the jar of peanut butter I was eating on while walking around for some reason, and we knew it was perfect together as we tasted it, and we ended up tearing up the bed sheets in the whirlpool room of the Comfort Inn all weekend long.
I don't know why the internet I perused didn't acknowledge "Born to Roll" as the first song on the B-side of this single, before "Saturday Night Live", but it didn't anywhere I looked. Did I get some ultra-rare bullshit by accident back in the day from Willie's (R.I.P.)? I doubt it. Internet just be stupid half the time, full of shit and talking long and loud about everything like it know, but it don't know. Fucking robot nerdland.

Big Nasty Porter

AFFORDABILITY: I actually have no recollection of how much this cost, as I got it at the same time I got that free double deuce of James River Pale Ale. I will figure that into the cost, and also assume since it was a local brewery there for Richmond, it was not as obscene as many 22 ounce bottles of microbrew bullshit can go for. 4 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: It had good enough alcohol content, you could taste it. It was just hard to force it into my throat because of the bitter taste. I came to a realization, which was pretty obvious, but never occurred to me before drinking this. I have always thought I loved a good porter, except there's so many porters that taste like ass to me. This is because most porters taste like chocolate and coffee mixed together into the beer. The only ones I like are just straight up chocolate shit. I drink maybe five cups of coffee a year, and hate people who drink that shit all the time. So the last thing I want to do is have my beer taste like a dirty ass cup of coffee. But I guess that's some folks thing. 1 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Honestly, the label looks like it was designed by a guy who couldn't get into the Marines from New Jersey, who has a Tasmanian devil tattoo on his semi-muscular arm. Lots of primary colors mixed with black, and I guess that's supposed to be striking, but it looks kind of stupid. Props though for the odd shape of the label, tricking your eye into thinking the bottle's actually painted. 2 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Richbrau Brewing Company in Richmond, Virginia. There are two micro spots in Richmond - Legend and Richbrau. Legend was in this shitty ass industrial neighborhood where like five blocks over you could get robbed by crack addicts. Richbrau was in the cobblestone streets of Shockoe Slip, home of big money youthful douchebags. I always assumed Richbrau was a piece of shit place, just because of where it was located in town, although I think I've gotten drunk there a number of times. Did they used to have a bunch of pool tables on the second floor? I don't trust Richbrau though, being it's in Shockoe Slip. Probably some old money assed bitches, finding a money-making hobby for their leisure lifestyle. 2 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Everything about this did not make me feel good. Cup of coffee beer, with a goofy assed label that made me too self-aware, from a place I don't remember enjoying too much when I lived in Richmond. I guess since then I've had some good friends' bands play there, but that has nothing to do with me firsthand. My experiences were not good, and I didn't enjoy this beer. I can't outright fault it for anything, but I will never probably buy another one. 2 out of 5.

Thursday, November 13

Harpoon Winter Warmer

AFFORDABILITY: A seasonal fauntleroy beer, thus it's not very affordable from a crumbling economy perspective. I think this bitch was like $9 a sixer. 1 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: I will not front, this is one of my favorite fancy fucker beers. When we lived in Oregon Hill after having the first baby, and the godless Hindus ran the neighborhood store every day of the year, I remember both Thanksgiving and Christmas walking the alley the three blocks up there multiple times on both days to get just one more 6-pack of this shit. I think it's probably a myth that fancy beers have higher alcohol content than shit beers, something to make fuckers who aren't rich (like me) wasting extra money on something unnecessarily feel better about their frivolity. But I know, if I could afford it, I'd drink this shit all night long. I actually went out of my way to find this shit, at a new Whole Foods in clusterfucked Short Pump. Anybody who knows me knows how much I hate going in Whole Foods, and most likely were I ever to get mental health care, I'd be on xanax right away to deal with my white knuckle worries I get in such places. Yet I willingly went in to try and find a 6-pack of this when the Kroger by the Home Depot across the street didn't have any when I was buying some new sanding discs. 4 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Simple Christmasy label, makes me feel good. I am trying to stay in simple man mode for this Christmas, ignoring the consumer extravaganza it's become. I've got three kids, two of which are old enough to make a list of like 3000 things they'd like to get, but hopefully we can temper that with some charity work or something. Fuck all this buying everything everywhere. People need to remember how fucking good they have it. Most of this useless shit I end lusting for is just that - useless. Of course, I say all the self-pretentiously while talking about a $9 six-pack of beer I drank. 3 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Harpoon Brewery, of New England fame. The label promises breweries in Boston and another somewhere in Vermont. I'm not much for New England, but I've learned from travelling there, it's not that different from what I know from experience. You just replace Mexicans with Puerto Ricans, and everybody not only actually says all the letters in words, they enunciate them rather sharply, probably because of the cold. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: It fills me with warm feelings for the holidays, whether that be actual holiday or just laying out of work because it's raining, and playing music loudly with the kids dancing around and a crock pot full of pot roast, enjoying my home. Fake Gods bless us, one and all. 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, November 12

100 VINYLZ: #82 - Black Berries 7” by The Isley Brothers

(1969, T-Neck Records)
My wife is a trained herbalologist, doing mad plant science, the corner of the kitchen all crazed up apothecary style with bottles and jars and ointments and bubbling jars of fermented this or that. She is always talking about communicating with plants, which I can respect but haven't really experienced too often at all. But a few summers ago, I started noticing blackberry bushes flowering like crazy. Like everywhere I looked, there they were, and I'm sure they've always been there; I just had never been drawn to them before. This started intense blackberry harvesting on my part, which is hard because the deers and wildlife always snatch them up in the wild as soon as they get ripe. But we had a giant clump of blackberry bush grow in the middle of a yucca plant on the edge of our front yard near the ditch, with sporadic country road traffic, usually just neighbors, but that kept wildlife off the bush. I was getting about a quart of fresh blackberries a day at one point in season, which was great. Then the state came along and chopped the whole thing down, yucca plant and all.
We used to have local VDOT workers cut this road, and they were cool. They'd park their tractors in our side field and would even mow that field for me for not messing with their shit. It was all good. But I guess they started subbing it out and it was just Mexicanos who cut the road, and chopped up all my shit. I called the local office to talk to the manager dude, who we'd talked to before about a shrub conflict with an old bitch bus driver lady as well, who felt we had to cut down trees in our front yard on the off chance she had an accident because someone came around the curve that was marked 25 mph too fast and plow into innocent children, who would be our future. I was jeopardizing America's future by having an untrimmed shrub in my yard. I told him about the dudes cutting my shit up, because I thought he might want to know. He gave me the number of their subcontractor company to try and get money back, but fuck man, the yucca plants were here when we moved in and the blackberries were wild. It wasn't about money no ways, just about dudes chopping down shit that was on my property. He sent out his boys, who measured right-of-way from the center of the road, and not only were the Mexicanos beyond that, they were even more beyond it than I realized, as right-of-way is measured from the center of the road and not the edge. The local office boss guy was cool, and he must have told the subbing company, because I stood around in the yard to make sure to let the Mexicanos know next time, and he didn't even cut near my house, which was good because another spot fronting a pasture they always cut, I had planted a bunch of sunflowers.
Anyways, it was during my blackberry spells, that I was digging in the crates in the basement of Plan 9 in Richmond's Carytown, looking for dollar 45s that seemed halfway worth a shit, when I came across this song. The Isley Brothers are great, but you probably knew that already. Good old school baby-making music, and I have a couple of LPs, but never any singles, especially 45s. And what a good purchase this one was. First off, it's some obscure little label called T-Neck, and the sides are just one long song broken up into two parts, which the Isleys were famous for, but also is classic soul single snazziness. Ron Isley does a little intro about him and his brothers picking blackberries growing up in Cincinnati, and then of course the song goes into euphemism mode, and it's just great shit that is reason 1,309 that I'm an idiot for not having my jukebox fixed yet. I could be playing shit like this in the kitchen with all the lights out and candles lit right now, drinking a homemade pear cider, and trying to convince the old lady to be wearing less clothes at the kitchen table.

Homemade Song of the Week: "Not the Only One" by S.E.P.

I am putting this up even though I am bored with most of the music I have that we've done. I need to get back out in the camper. I need to get all the instrumentals that PSY/OPS thinks sucks from him. I need to start doing some new shit. Wintertime's coming quick, but I'd rather not hibernate at this point. Times are still climactic, even if everyone is gaga for Obama, and shit needs to be happening. Anyways, this song was originally some lyrics I wrote in the camper to record over the instrumental of "Cadillac on 22s" slowed down a chunk of rpms, and I was gonna put it on the new Prolo CD we've been working on, but then one night at PSY/OPS house, throwing shit together at the end of 45s on 33, he played me this beat and I felt like doing something, so I just used the lyrics I had written for the fake "Cadillac on 22s" song (which I originally called "Virginia Back Roads") for the PSY/OPS beat. I like the song good enough, and I had already uploaded it to sharebee at the library the other week, so it's what you get this week. Prolo still ended up doing a "Virginia Back Roads" song over that David Banner beat, but it was just a freestyle with me and Mike Gee, and then Boogie Brown dubbed in a hook he sang like a hobo wino, which is his style. Hopefully, I can get some of the final mixed new Prolo shit to start putting up for all four of you who actually look at this blog, but for now, have at this "Not the Only One" song.

Tuesday, November 11

James River Pale Ale

AFFORDABILITY: So I went into the new swank and gaudy Whole Foods in congested Short Pump, Virginia, in Richmond's far west end, looking for some Harpoon Winter Warmer for the wife, and they had a lot of stupid fauntleroy beers, so I stood around looking like a goof in oil-stained housepainter clothes for about fifteen minutes. I eventually picked up this brew because it's a big double deuce bottle I can use for homebrewing, and it's named after the James River, where I have often dipped my shitty body over the years. When I went to check out, the girl ringing it up, a late 20s/early 30s light-skinned black chick, was all extra-friendly, because I got it like that. This one didn't have a bar code, so she was looking at it, and I said, "It said $2.99 over there." And she said, "Well, it don't say it over here. It doesn't have a bar code, so it's on the house," and she put it in the bag. I tried, "Did I tell you I meant to get four of those?" just to gauge her reaction. She laughed a haha, that's funny but probably not laugh, so I didn't push the issue. But still, the motherfucker came home free. 6 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: I only got one, and to be honest, the cap was barely on the fucker, so it wasn't really carbonated too well, tasting kinda flat. It had a little kick to it though, but it was also a pale ale, which always tastes like the smell of dirty socks from a Grateful Dead show in 1989 smell after doing acid for three days straight to me. Normally, that might seem bad, but being I am mired in the realm of responsibility and financial struggle as I grow greyer with weaker bones and more spasmodic muscles, I have romantic memories of doing acid half the week while wandering the fuck away from the home base without concern for the future. 4 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Being it is a microbrew double deuce, it is a big booming brown bottle with ample space for a label, which is a very standard and crudely printed one with bland colors. But the center picture is the Lee Bridge over the James in Richmond, and looks to be an old one, before the foot bridge over to Belle Isle was built. It brings back wonderful memories of being a young and stupid adult in Richmond. My first kid was born like five blocks from that bridge, at a house we rented from a bitch ass lady. One time, with some friends, we went down there and I showed them how to get up on the cat walk (which was a steel grate you could see through) underneath that bridge way over the river, and those three dudes were pretty nervous, and I was naked except for some overalls and kung fu slippers, and of course I ran ahead full speed, even though there were pipes that ran across that you might knock yourself out on if you weren't careful, not to mention the whole plummet to your probable death thing below, and tucked into one of the accesses to underneath the roadway where homeless dudes slept as minor league mole people, waited for my nervous friends to pass by and get ahead on the catwalk a little, then I came storming out with a deep authoritarian voice, "HEY! YOU BOYS! FREEZE!" stomping real loudly behind them. Man, that was good times back then. 8 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Blue & Gray Brewing Company, out of Fredericksburg, Virginia. I like the idea of a little microbrew company doing this, but Fredericksburg? The James River isn't even close to up there. Plus, I'm of the stubborn southside Virginia belief that everything north of Richmond (including Charlottesville, and points north as well) is just the fake south where yankees who like to pretend to be southerner have moved to get away from cold weather and stupid Italians. So I am distrustful of this Blue & Gray Brewing Company. 3 out of 5 though.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Obviously, from my review thus far, it has filled me with nostalgiac memories. I drank part of this out back under the bright almost full moonlight, listening to many penned up hunting dogs howling at rutting deer in the woods. My old farmhouse was warm from the wood stove, smoke billowing out the chimney up into the shadows of the big oak tree perched precariously over the front yard, and everything was fucking good. I wish I had gotten 17 of these for free, and I'd sit out there all night long in my t-shirt, lifting weights between beers, and enjoying every fucking breath of oxygen I was sucking in. 5 out of 5.

Monday, November 10

J.J. Krupert's October Gaypod Mix

I never got around to doing my write-up and dl mix for the October J.J. Krupert Gaypod mix, even though I took the ten most played songs off my tiny little shuffle gaypod and made a rar file for just such a thing. I have not been motivated to dabble in the belly of the beast that is the internet. Life has been a financial struggle, mostly self-created, but still a struggle, and when life gets real, you see the internet for what a fucking waste it is. But I digress, and talk shit against the medium you are all up on in the process, which is kind of my way, to shoot myself in the foot and mock and detest anyone who is interested in what I’m doing. But nonetheless, here is a mix for you to fuck with if you feel like it (meaning most likely nobody but Kami will dl it), and self-reflecting write-ups of the ten stupid songs follow as well, to try and explain why I like gay shit or show how cool I am for obscure shit.
#1: “Pills I Took” by Hank Williams III - Again this month, we start off with a track from the Straight to Hell double CD, which is a classic. Hank III’s new shit just came out, and it’s more like stuff that didn’t make Straight to Hell than an actual new album. It doesn’t seem like progression, I guess because his heart is into making halfway shitty rock music instead of incredibly retarded country music. “Pills I Took” is by some other band I don’t care to remember, because in the honorable tradition of country music, Tricephus took someone else’s song and owned the fuck out of it. Very timely as well, being so many people pop the pharmies nowadays. I was at a big party at my fam’s house, the Fall Fling, and this dude who was a good high school friend of mine’s older brother, Grambo, he disappeared after playing some horseshoes. The next morning when I was spinning some Wilson Pickett much to the delight of older redneck people wanting to shuffle their hungover feet fireside on a Sunday morning while sipping on the day’s third Bud Light, Grambo told me he passed out early because he took a couple painkillers. We shared funny anecdotes of the world slowing down suddenly and against your will when mixing pills and alcohol. I know you’re not supposed to, but it’s just such a perfect hard stomp on the brakes of your brain to do when you feel like getting completely fucked up. Honestly, I find it weird someone would just do pills without drinking. That seems really fucking weird to me.
#2: “Longhaired Lounger” by Prolo - This is off the last Prolo CD, which is one of my musical groups, but I had nothing to do with this. My man Brown writes shit all the time, and has a group with his bro and some other dudes called the Porch Loungers, but he said he wrote a few songs that were just too fucked for them. So basically, this is a country song, but screwed and chopped, and put at the end of a sort of rap album. I guess. But it’s also about the best fucking thing ever, and it has entered my canon of shit to be played at my funeral.
#3: “Wagon Wheel (live)” by The Porch Loungers - See, here’s Brown’s other group, kind of southern rock, kind of bluegrass. This was from the Newport Festival, and S.E.P. played a shitty short set there too like 2 in the morning after everybody had passed out the cops made us cut off the PA since the ultra-shitty Led Zep derivative local classic rock guitar hero fuckfaces before us played really shitty cover songs really fucking loud for far too long. I really love when Boogie and Nate Brown get to getting down, it’s some great shit. I heard they’ve revamped again, with the yankee drummer not being able to play quietly enough for a newgrass band, so they’re all acoustic now or something or other. As long as it’s still loungin’, and not all uptight and conflicted.
#4: “Box #10” by Jim Croce - I love me some fucking Jim Croce. I grew up with my parents playing a bit of his Greatest Hits type stuff, and have pretty much accumulated all his pre-death studio albums as an adult. His ability to tell stories and describe characters is pretty underrated, and were he someone who grew up in an earlier time, I would’ve loved to see what kind of stories he wrote had there been no Jew-run music industry to exploit him for profit. This was the first favorite song I found of him while in college that I had never heard from what my parents played when I was a kid, which meant I tried to blow both my parents brains with this awesome song on mixtapes (actual tapes too, usually Maxell 90 minute bitches) because I knew they didn’t know it. I often times, when writing stupid rap lyrics, try to emulate songs like this, because this is truer to my heart and soul than pretending on and on about how smart and clever I am and how many surgical metaphors I can espout about microphones or words.
#5: “Enough Rope” by Chris Knight - I am not a fan of new country or alt.country or anything that’s supposed to be a shining beacon light of real country in the light polluted neon overglow of modern country. Most all of it, whether mainstream or alternative, seems to be crap. But I heard this song on the satellite one Sunday morning, and it got me. A dude on the Secret Clubhouse message board hooked me up with a number of Chris Knight tracks, as he’s supposed to be this awesome unheralded Nashville songwriter guy who I think wrote a famous song or two, maybe even for stupid homoerotic Brooks & Dunn, but I can’t rightly remember to be honest. A lot of Chris Knight’s stuff didn’t do a whole lot for me, but this song is top fucking notch, small town go-nowhere but happy about it all being perfectly imperfect whiteboy goodness. If Sarah Pailin ends up running as the Republicrat candidate in 2012, this should be her campaign song, if they wanted to be real. But they won’t. They’ll have stupid Charlie Daniels and Lee Greenwood and more irrelevant to regular people bullshit like that, with maybe Toby Keith being a washed-up cartoon of his more marketable younger self by then to throw in some pablum too.
#6: “Born Poor” by The Jaggerz - I have accumulated a ton of 7-inch singles for the broken jukebox I own that I’ve been meaning to actually get fixed for a couple years now. Every time I call the old dude who fixes such things in town, he doesn’t have room to stuff it in his rented workspace, but he’ll call me next week. He never does. Although he always asks me where I live, I tell him, and he says he’s gonna be in that area next week, he can come by and look at it, and I explain I could just drop it off for him to fix at his leisure, and he says he’ll call me next week. This has happened three or four times now. Anyways, this is a 7-inch A-side I have that I know nothing about the group at all, but the song is one of my favorites. It’s goofy ‘60s era white people soul (from the sound of it), but I love this song. I often just go along singing that shit in my head, “I’M SO GLAD I WAS BORN POOR” downt chicka downt du-downt dow downt. Catchy as fuck, and makes being a miserable broke ass far more enjoyable.
#7: “Small Town” by Nappy Roots - Stolen off of their Humdinger CD, and this is about the best song on there. I really dig Nappy Roots for making shit like this, which they seem to do better than anybody else (“Aw Naw”, “Po’ Folks”, “Gonna Be a Good Day”, this song), but it’s like the David Banner “Cadillac on 22s” thing... I just wish they could concentrate on creating this weird sub-genre of happy-to-be-country southern feel good rap music, like Arrested Development but for people who aren’t fucking fruits and not nearly so fruity or pan-African. When I first stole this, we had rented a Pontiac Torrent to go to the Outer Banks and I had this on my gaypod and bumped the fuck out of it on the trip, as it was rap music that my kids could actually listen to. The lyrics aren’t groundbreaking, and I don’t understand why they wanna go to Cape Cod in the hook, but nonetheless, this shit make me feel all warm and sunshiney and want to play horseshoes with 3 point ringers with ponytailed rednecks who smell like Winston cigarettes.
#8: "C.R.E.A.M." by El Michel's Affair - Two sub-culture ripples collide with this song, as the goofy beta version Wu-Tang appreciation societies, most famously represented by that fucking Norwegian whiteboy group who does Wu songs, combines with the new school vinyl funk 7-inch movement. El Michel's Affair put out a 7-inch where they basically, as a funk band, recreate the instrumental to a couple famous Wu-Tang songs. I could see how it could get repetitive quick, but it sounds fucking amazing in minor amounts. This song was always a favorite of mine (way back in the day, Prolo sampled that "livin' on earth no different from a cell" line for an on-the-verge-of-suicide song I used to do all the time). Somehow, El Michel's Affair redoes it, and I love it. One thing on my mental checklist of American consumerism to eventually do now that everything will be different forever since Obama is gonna be President (for example, no more abortions because people won't want to have them, not because they were told no; also, homeless people will smile more) is to buy some of these obscure 7-inch funk pressings that are going on like crazy now and can be seen in Wax Poetics magazine advertisements. I also really need to get some Sharon Jones records on vinyl as well.
#9: "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. - Remember, this was from September gaypodding it, so I was swept up in that undercurrent of pop culture which made me like this song. I remember Mike DIKK trying to get me into M.I.A., partially because he thought it was great and likes to try to trick me into liking gay shit, but also he has a Hindu vagina fetish (just not the hairy ones) and wants to share his perversion with me I think. Hindu girls have weird noses though, for my tastes. The M.I.A. CD, much ballyhooed by musically intelligent dickwads as a must-have offering, I found to be annoying as fuck and not very enjoyable. Too urban American music is one thing, and too urban Euro music is far worse, because it's white people making it mostly and their cities are giant clusters of brick and mortar thousands of years old, but third world chaos sprawl too urban music is too much. I thought I was gonna have the malarias if I listened too much. But somehow, "Paper Planes" snuck into my brain. Somebody told me it was in some movie, but I don't see movies, but some Jew who owned the rights to her next CD must have paid to have this song positioned with the HAARP beams they aim at us all from the satellites, and it got stuck in my brain. My wife, who hated the M.I.A. thing too when I put it on her ipod, was distrustful of me saying this song was good. We must've listened to it like 300 times that week at the beach. In one moment of psychic clarity - I thought - she wanted to hear it and I told her with my gaypod (a shuffle, which means you have no control of the order), you just have to think about the song and it comes on. She was like, "whatever" but I told her I'd been practicing it. Sure enough, two songs later, it came on. We rolled the windows down (actually pressed the down button) on the rental car and smelled the saltwater in the air and it was good man. Thanks weird ass fake drug dealer tiny punjabi chick. (I also realize, after putting these thoughts together, that it wasn't my brain power so much as the HAARP energy that caused the song to come on. All these electronic things are in cahoots, against us. This is why Maximum Overdrive has never been released on DVD, because They don't want you to know The Truth.)
#10: "African People" by The Jay Boys - This is a snippet of the actual song, culled from Madlib's Blunted in the Bomb Shelter mix, which is a great entry into the world of dub music. Dub music is like the new thing that uber-music nerd people like who feel the need to be contrarian to things regular music nerd people say is great (Santogold, for example, or pretty much anything in Fader magazine honestly). The reason I love this song goes back to my personal affinity for the Paul Revere & The Raiders "Indian Reservation" song this is a re-working of. My dad used to play that song, and I actually have it on 7-inch. That's a great song, and really odd and out of place with everything else you hear from that time in pop music. The Jay Boys switching it to Africans just makes it all the more intriguing to me. I just pressure washed a house where a dude from Ivory Coast has a drum importing business, and I hope to do more work there so I can barter for some djembes for my kids, and also to try and talk the dude into hooking me up with a connect to import crates of west African records. Having a source for actual vinyl from that region would make me happy as fuck, because you can't find real good shit within the normal American music dork crate digging realms. I think that's why, no matter how much crap he actually puts out at times, I will always love Madlib, because he is ultimately a guy obsessed with digging for sounds and making beats. But he's not like normal crate diggers - he goes to foreign countries and does themed mixes and shit. Madlib, as much as he is jocked by the normal music nerd people and I am the contrarian type who feels I have to be smarter by being differenter than them, is an American treasure. I know Stones Throw cult members scour the internet looking for links to their shit to throw their robot lawyers at and get links removed, so I hope if you soulless SoCal white dudes working under the magical spell of Peanut Butter Wolf happenstance across this, you will let this mix link fly, being it's just one song, and I have given your overlord's #1 prophet/profit much love.

100 VINYLZ: #83 - Atlantic Jazz: The Avant-Garde LP by Various Artists

(1986, Atlantic Records)
I do not pretend to be anything more than a casual jazz fan. Like most white assholes who came of age in the '80s, my first forays into the jazz genre were the massively-proclaimed genius of Miles Davis. He was the guy you were supposed to like if you were into all sorts of wacky music, showing how intelligent and open-minded you were, to find pleasing rhythms in rhythmless blasts of horn and snare all jumbled together in chaotic meanderings. I didn't really stay with Miles Davis though, but once I was culling for samples for boom bap hip hop beats, I dug deep through the jazz bins of Plan 9's used records, before they even had a basement in Carytown. Mostly, I acquired and admired a ton of jazz fusion stuff, that wacky intelli-funk nonsense spearheaded by Herbie Hancock, but I found a lot of stuff I dug just by reading the musicians and buying other cheap jazz records featuring the same players. That's how I knew what the fuck Diamond D was talking about when he'd always say "Willie Bobo". I'm so old school and smart and hip and have a bunch of records and am awesome, aren't I?
Anyways, this record is a compilation of Atlantic jazz, and was probably the first John Coltrane or Charles Mingus I ever had on vinyl. Oddly enough, neither of those dudes are the ones who cracked my skull on this comp. First off, back when I'd make mixtapes for friends like us older folks used to do back in the days, Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Black Mystery Has Been Revealed" was a great thing to throw in the mix, best at the end of side A, to hear Kirk's freak out to kind of wrap up one side of a cassette mix and leave you hanging wildly if you were about to bolt without flipping the tape (because we didn't have autoflip tape players that often back then, just the dual cassette thing where you could put the second one on play with the pause button and when the first one ended, it bumped the pause button so you could listen to ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY MINUTES OF MUSIC IN A ROW!), and also set you up nicely to get into the other side, which knowing me back then, probably would've started out with either Redman or Eddie Harris if I wanted to continue the crazy theme.
But this album has "Lonely Woman" by Ornette Coleman on it as well, and was where I came into knowledge of that song even existing. This is one of the greatest songs ever, and really, helped me understand that I don't understand jazz music, because it's like wacky retard black man way of trying to create soothing wonderful feelings in you, but doing in a convoluted back alley direction where you think you won't get there. "Hey, let's make a bunch of crazy sounds with all these big band instruments and just generally fuck shit up, but something awesome might happen if we're junked up enough." I can tell you this, along with "Central Park West" by Coltrane (not on this record), are my two all-time no doubt about it greatest most favorite jazz genre songs of forever. And they are two of the most unexplainably beautiful songs I've ever heard. You've got to understand, I'm a genetic redneck from rural southside Virginia. Just the fact I've willingly listened to jazz music makes me a gay in my ancestors' eyes. But to not only just listen, but to find just miraculous songs like "Lonely Woman" in that wacky genre, that makes me really really gay. And now I've written about it on the internet, to score the trifecta. Word up.