Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reunion Tour

When Wilco's Summerteeth came out many people--myself included--either underestimated it or never knew about it. Then came along Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, over which roughly 68% of music fans wet themselves, claiming it to be the new Sgt. Pepper's. However, YHF is no Summerteeth and actually pales in comparison to the far more structurally (and arguably aurally) inventive A Ghost Is Born, which went largely unnoticed/underappreciated by the masses. I invoke the hallowed Wilco here not as a sonic touchstone but rather as indicative of the pitfalls of being recognized one record too late, a fate that hopefully will not befall the Winnepegan band The Weakerthans, as they have just released an album far superior to their well-received third record; the A Ghost is Born to their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

The Weakerthans second record Left and Leaving is one of the better records of the last decade but still received little to no attention. However, the inferior (though still good) follow-up--2003 's Reconstruction Site--was lauded as a masterpiece by many, garnering the rave reviews and attention Left and Leaving was rightfully due. Now they have released Reunion Tour, a step above and beyond Reconstruction Site. The sonic quality is equally as polished though significantly more textured than their previous record. The engaging opener "Civil Twilight" and its follow-up "Hymn of the Medical Oddity" are the two best examples of this newfound textural canvas. Subtle use of tape loops, extra tracks, and other well-worn ear-candy techniques provide a sense of "exploration," though only in the way little kids "explore" by camping in the backyard. This is not at all a bad thing, however, as the centerpiece of The Weakerthans body of work is John K. Samson's songwriting and any unneeded distraction from it only detracts from the overall effect (for reference, see Reconstruction Site's nearly superb but overly busy "Hospital Vespers").

The main way in which Reunion Tour takes a step beyond their previous work, though, is in the musical craft itself. Rest assured Mr. Samson's impeccable lyrics remain, providing the same insights and hidden surprises listeners have come to expect (this reviewer will refrain from spoiling those surprises with direct quotes), but they are now coupled with music that if not groundbreaking is at least quite interesting, utilizing their rhythm section to far greater effect and using less straightforward song structures. Meanwhile, notably and thankfully absent are the kinds of saccharine sentiments that dragged down some of the cuts on Reconstruction Site. Instead, such ideas are tempered with either contrasting music or clever lyrical juxtaposition. For instance, "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" finds the ultra-sappy cat from Reconstruction Site offering far more substantial, and thereby moving, details into her owner's life than the faux-anthemic counterpart "Plea From a Cat Named Virtute."

Most notable on this record, however, is the way in which The Weakerthans managed to eschew the indie rock tradition of second-half letdowns by backloading their album with all of the strongest songs. Tracks like "Elegy for Gump Worsley" (a spoken-word tribute to the brilliantly talented manchild who tended goal for the Rangers), "Reunion Tour," and "Bigfoot!" find the band in their best form since Left and Leaving, while the more pop-oriented songs (among them insta-hit "Tournament of Hearts") have more cream than sugar, providing a far richer experience (pardon the metaphorical schlock).

After one listen I thought it was quite good. The lyrics are great, the production is good. However, two listens and I was thoroughly convinced--this is quite simply an absolutely beautiful record. It's the kind of record that makes your heart hurt, though you're not entirely sure why (that good friend nostalgia, maybe). This may not be the best record you'll hear all year, but it most likely would be if it weren't for Sky Blue Sky. Damn Wilco.

Cut: "Bigfoot!"
Jams: "Civil Twilight"; "Reunion Tour"

Blogger Play

The world is blogging. And here are the pictures.

Apparently they've been watching for years in the blogger offices but now they've let the rest of us in on it. Be's strangely addictive.

Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What a commercial should be...

This is one top-notch commercial. For fans of Phil Collins. And monkeys. And chocolate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


So I just found this site while searching for games to play with a 4' earth ball. Just perused it for a second but it seems pretty amusing. Cracked, brilliant ideas. I love it.

Oh...and if you're jealous that part of my job is to look up and make up games to play with an earth ball...5 words: na, na, na, na, na.

What other job do you get to spend time reading holy scriptures, buy tickets to a Fall Festival, and search the internet for games?

For the record, my favorite so far is "Death Ball."

I did eat cereal off of Blades of Glory

So I'm proofreading my paper on Bill Hybel's book Too Busy Not to Pray & for whatever reason I couldn't help thinking of this quote from Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell):

"They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing at them."

Why did I think of this? I have no idea. Other than we watched the movie Monday night.

For the record ... Blades of Glory ... B. Hilarious moments but not classic like a Tommy Boy or something like that. Without Will Ferrell it would have been and F--.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'd definitely eat cereal off of this...

An absurdly accurate re-creation of the Bill Buckner debacle in Shea via RBI Baseball and Vin Scully's radio broadcast. This is long, but is absolutely genius.

Watch it here.

Admire vs. Follow

Here's another installment of a bit of Kierkegaard:

" it not true that the more someone makes assurances, while his life still remains unchanged, the more he is only making a fool of himself?...The difference between and admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is exhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires...And because of the follower's life, it will become evident who the admirers are, for the admirers will become agitated with him."

In his book story Steven James says: "Jesus didn't want a fan club. He wanted a spiritual revolution."

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Grit Winter Stew

Delicious Grit Winter Stew. Mmmm...tis the season. Almost. Obviously all the stuff doesn't have to be vegan if you're not particular and all that. And sometimes we've added more potato, etc.

It actually makes you warm when you eat it. I typically sweat. Sorry, that's gross.

1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 medium boiling or Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
5 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 cup Guinness Stout or other stout beer
2 tablespoons vegan Worchestershire sauce
4 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and thinly chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium leek
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
very small pinch of nutmeg
1 bay leaf
Pinch of sage
Pinch of rosemary
Pinch of thyme
1/2 cup corn
1 cup soy milk

Boil parsnip and potato in a blend of water, soy sauce, onion powder, beer and Worchestershire sauce until barely tender; set aside.

Melt margarine in a large stock pot and add onion, carrot, celery and leek. Saute until vegetables are tender. Add flour, yeast, salt, black pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg and herbs and cook over gentle heat for 5 minutes. Increase heat and gradually stir in boiled parsnip and potato mixture. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes. Add corn and soy milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"I'd eat cereal on that..."

I think it's a well known fact that the ferry's love their cereal. I'm partial to granola or Kashi Mighty Bites these days but there was a time when the 3 of us would either (1) fight each other over the good stuff or (2) get up early and eat the whole box so the others couldn't have any.

So as I was winding up my job of cleaning out the shed, which was nasty and cluttered by the way though I only found one mouse carcass, I said, "It's better but I wouldn't eat cereal in it." So...that's the new expression. You can apply it to anything like Brent's " the wolf" ala. Duran Duran. Patient like the wolf, tired as the wolf, sick as the wolf, etc.

So when something is clean you can say: "I'd eat cereal on that" of "off of that" whichever you'd prefer. If you agree with something said: "I'll eat cereal to that!" You get the idea. How will you use this expression and help it take off all over the world? Add it in the comments as well as your favorite cereal.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scott's Fantasy Team

Here's another Ferry's fantasy roster, The Bane of Your Existence. I should note, by the way, that I got smoked this week.

The Bane of Your Existence
Quarterbacks Runningbacks Wide Receivers Tight Ends Kicker Defense
D. McNabb
V. Young
F. Gore
T. Henry
J. Norwood
V. Morency
C. Dawson
L. Evans
T. Holt
R. Brown
B. Berrian
G. Jennings
V. Davis
J. Scobee

Random Muppet T

So this T showed up in the mail addressed to me. I have no idea who sent it but (1) they obviously know me fairly well to know I am a Muppetphile (2) they read the Onion because it's an Onion T (3) they must have intended it to be anonymous.

This is the first time a T has shown up like this. Pretty cool.

For whoever sent it...THANK YOU!

By the way, Meka and I were watching the Muppet show the other night and she started to cry, freaked out by a weird German group called the Mummenshanz (sp?). I thought it was kind of funny though I vaguely recall being scared of these cats myself when I was little.

And for the record, the Muppet show Season 2 is out on DVD and will be on my Christmas list!

Our Fantasy Teams

So here are the ferrys' fantasy teams:

The Extremely Manly Ferry Tigers
Quarterbacks Runningbacks Wide Receivers Tight Ends Kicker Defense

P Manning
C Pennington
T Bell
L Betts
E James
R Moss
T Perry
D Branch
M Muhammad
R Wayne
T Scheffler
A Crumpler
J Hanson
D Jaguars

Meka's Monkeys
Quarterbacks Runningbacks Wide Receivers Tight Ends Kicker Defense
P Rivers
B Favre
C Brown
W Parker
R Bush
V Morency
M Barber
P Burress
D Jackson
D.J. Hackett
D Henderson
V Davis
J Brown
D Chargers

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Fantasy Manning

So we're playing in a Fantasy Football league with our Life Group and it's pretty sweet. Fantasy Football may be the most brilliant interest raising marketing thingy ever. I am SIGNIFICANTLY more interested in any and all games since I have players from quite a few. I don't know if the NFL did it deliberately but it's brilliant.

Anyway...I picked Peyton Manning in the first round for my team, the Extremely Manly Ferry Tigers. We'll see how it works out. Last night he earned me 29 points, which I'm not really even sure how great that is but it sounds good, with these numbers: 288 PaYd, 3 PaTD (27,28,45).

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Ballad of the Kingsmen

Alright...I beg to differ, the blog ain't dead. Not even close. Here's my excuse: it was August and in Cincinnati it was too hot to blog. It was too hot to do anything. Almost too hot to continue existing.


Check out this Todd Snider song that I've been listening to & enjoying:

The Ballad of the Kingsmen

Here's an exerpt of the lyrics:

"You know, every ten years or so our country and some other little country,
We start firing all of our newest weapons
At each other for some reason or another, right or wrong,
Like it or not, it happens, and when it happens
People get shot and when people get shot,
They show it on tv a lot, every night at six o clock
And you don't even have to be eighteen to see it
you don't even have to be in first grade,
First grade where they teach the kid pride
They tell him he'll need to thrive,
In a world where only the strong will survive,
So he's taught the art of more
To compare to and to keep score Monday thru Friday while
He stares at the floor til' Sunday they make him go to
School once more only this time they make him wear a suit and a tie
And listen to some guy who claims to know Where people go
When they die tell him that only the meek are gonna inherit the earth
Well shit, by this time the kid doesn't know what anything
Is worth, now brothers and sisters I am only one guy
And I don't even know the words to that song Louie, Louie
but I can tell you right now without batting an eye
That the next time some latchkey kid goes wrong
It aint gonna be cause that Eminem gets to say the word faggot in his song
And I'm not trying to preach to you either,
I'm just trying to sing to you too, you know string a few words together...
Hey kids...Lets get it on...

By the way, the Polyphonic Spree is on Austin City Limits that we're watching right now and here's a few observations:

(1) I liked them better the first time when they were the Flaming Lips
(2) Is it just me or does every song sound like something from Jesus Christ Superstar?
(3) The multi-colored robe bit they have makes them look like a cult.
(4) Nobody has ever or will ever use the theramin as effectively as the Beach Boys in Good Vibrations so everyone should just stop trying and leave it to B-grade monster movies.
(5) Tim Delaughter is a bit of a megalomaniac, but not necessarily more than all of us human beings.

Michigan: The Mediocre Lakes States

It's fair to say this here blog is almost dead, I guess, but here's a mild attempt at resuscitation.
I am now settling into Ann Arbor, which as a whole is settling into being worse than Appalachian State. Just for the record, it's a sweet place. Expensive, yes, but very cool.

It's true what you hear about the Michigan economy, though. It's not so good.

So that's that there. No reason to drag that out.

Now, I have been wondering what Republican presidential candidates people like nowadays, as I don't really see a whole lot of difference. Luckily the New York Times found it fit print an article about that. It's utterly depressing, really, that these are the type of people that choose the president.