Monday, April 30, 2012

Boys or Men?

I listened to the most thought provoking sports radio show yesterday morning. They were discussing the 2012 NFL Draft. This particular discussion was focusing on how when many analysts talk about a college football player who is a draft prospect, who may have a troubled resume, the player is referred to as a "kid." But when analysts talk about the rest of the college football players who are draft prospects, they are young men.

So are we letting our standards slide, when we talk about player who has encountered some problems during his college years and say, "Oh, he's just a kid." Or, "He didn't know any better."

Lets face it. Most of the college football players who are NFL draft prospects are 22 or 23 years of age. At what point do we draw the line? At what point do they go from being boys to men?

Notre Dame's Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd being interviewed at Notre Dame's Blue-Gold  game.
I admit it, even I most likely called Michael Floyd a kid at some point during all of these draft discussions, when talking about his past missteps and his future career in the NFL. But at 23 years of age, is he really a kid any more? I hope that he, and the other guys who have had troubled college careers, have gotten their issues all straightened out and do amazing things in the NFL, but we all know that is not always the case.

The best thing that I have heard, though,  throughout all of these discussions is the need for mentors in the NFL. Not only for those guys who HAVE had rocky starts in college, but for ALL NFL rookies. Why reinvent the wheel, when you can have current NFL veterans show them the ropes, and hopefully prevent them from making the same mistakes that they (or someone they knew) made. Thank you to Desmond Howard and Oscar McBride, for reaffirming that I am not crazy in my beliefs that mentoring in the NFL often plays a crucial roll in the success of these YOUNG MEN!

Okay, I guess that's my soap box for today! Have a fantastic Monday!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Going Going Gone

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band The Posies, and the song "Going Going Gone."

The Posies are an alternative rock band which formed in 1987 in Bellingham, Washington. The primary songwriters are Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. They are best known for their radio hits "Golden Blunders" (from the album Dear 23), as well as "Dream All Day", "Solar Sister" and "Flavor of the Month" (from the album Frosting on the Beater).

The founding band members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow met and began writing songs together in late 1986 while Ken was in school at the University Of Washington. Auer later recalled in an interview that "we first met at a Dan Reed Network show; we were united in feeling we could do that stuff much better ourselves, the two of us".

Their first performance in a public venue came as an acoustic duo that next summer while Ken was home in Bellingham. During the last part of 1987 and the first two months of 1988, Ken drove home on weekends to join Jon as they recorded twelve songs in Jon's family's home studio. These tracks were intended to be demos to attract other members and form a full band, but the recordings turned out so well that they became the Posies' first self-released album, Failure.

Interest in the Posies rose out of the numerous home-copied cassettes that began to spread around Seattle and Bellingham. Mike Musberger and Rick Roberts joined soon after, allowing the band to play its first live shows in Seattle and Bellingham. The four members then moved in to a house in the University District of Seattle, where they would develop many of the songs that would appear on later albums. Failure was released on vinyl near the end of 1988 on local indie label PopLlama with one song dropped.

Several major labels noticed the band early on and in late 1989 they signed to new Geffen Records imprint DGC Records. They chose John Leckie to produce their first album for the label and Dear 23 was released in the fall of 1990. "Golden Blunders" was the big hit off the album and reached #17 on the US Modern Rock charts. Ringo Starr later covered the song for his 1992 album Time Takes Time.

Unfortunately, following Dear 23 the band encountered much turmoil and never really achieved the success that they anticipated. When they returned from their extensive U.S. tour, the Posies thought they were ready to record their third album. They headed to Robert Lang Studio in Shoreline, Washington, in late 1991 and recorded many of the songs they had been working on over the past two years. Among the recordings were three songs written (and two of them sung) by bassist Rick Roberts. The founding band members, Jon and Ken, later decided that Rick's songs didn't mesh well with the band and subsequently asked him to leave. The entire recording session was then scrapped and is referred to by fans as "the Lost Sessions".

My favorite song from The Posies is not off one of their traditional recordings though, it's off the soundtrack of the movie Reality Bites. "Going Going Gone." If you have never seen the movie Reality Bites ... please, get on Netflix and order it RIGHT NOW!! Okay ... quick movie description!

Reality Bites is a 1994 American romantic comedy-drama film written by Helen Childress and features the directorial debut of Ben Stiller. It stars Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Stiller, with major supporting roles played by Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn. The film was shot on location in Austin and Houston, Texas in only 42 days. (42 days!!)

The plot is centered on Lelaina (Ryder), who is an aspiring videographer working on a documentary called Reality Bites ... the disenfranchised lives of her friends and roommates (Hawke, Garofalo, and Zahn), and to a certain degree, about Lelaina herself. Their challenges, both documented and not, exemplify some of the career and lifestyle choices faced by Generation X.

I guess the reason why I like this song, and the movie Reality Bites, so very much is that it was very much in my wheel house. It came out shortly after I graduated from college, and I could really relate with what the characters were going through. I myself was searching for a job, embarking on a career, making new friends, looking for Mr. Right and all the while trying to have a little fun! You may see more songs from this soundtrack in the not too distant future!

Okay, I think I've rambled on long enough ... here is "Going Going Gone" for your listening pleasure!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blues_Kings Playoff Preview

With one round of playoffs completed, many prognosticators are predicting the St. Louis Blues will go all the way. Such a crazy concept considering that in early November the Blues fired head coach Davis Payne and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock. What a long strange trip it has been!

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire. We know it's going to be a fight to the finish, but who will win the Round 2 series between the Blues and Kings?

The Los Angeles Kings have certainly had the St. Louis Blues number this season. The Blues were 1-2-1 against the Kings during the regular season, with the most recent game being in Los Angeles on March 22, a 1-0 shootout win by the Kings. In that game, Jonathan Quick outplayed Brian Elliott. Every game of this series should resemble that game … but don’t give the Kings the advantage just yet. Let’s take a look at how the Blues and Kings match up for this second round playoff action.

For my complete Blues-Kings Playoff Preview ... head on over to NoCoastBias!


Notre Dame Blue-Gold Game

As far as Notre Dame Blue-Gold Game weekends go, this year’s weekend was pretty fantastic. It was jam-packed, star-studded weekend, and the game was pretty good, too! Sit down while I take you through the diary of my Blue-Gold Game weekend experience.

Apr. 21, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Members of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish run onto the field for the spring game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
Want to read more of my Blue-Gold Game diary? Head on over to NoCoastBias and check it out!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Under the Milky Way

Today's edition of Retro Friday features the band The Church, and the song "Under the Milky Way."

The band The Church is an Australian rock band that was formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially they were associated with new wave and the neo-psychedelic sound of the mid 1980s, but their later music became more reminiscent of progressive rock, featuring long instrumental jams and complex guitar interplay. The founding members are Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, and Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars, while Tim Powles has played on drums since 1994.

The Church's debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), produced their first radio hit "The Unguarded Moment". Following this debut, they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band before it was even released. This put a big dent in their international success, but they did return to the charts in 1988, with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit "Under the Milky Way". Subsequent commercial success proved elusive, and in addition to that, the band weathered several line-up changes in the early 1990s.

My favorite song from The Church, is their late 80's hit, "Under the Milky Way."

"Under the Milky Way" was written by bass guitarist and vocalist Steve Kilbey and his then-girlfriend, Karin Jansson. It charted in the Top 30 on the Australian Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, reaching #24, and won an ARIA Award in 1989 for 'Single of the Year'.

Under the Milky Way" featured a 12-string acoustic guitar melody along with a solo composed with an EBow on a Fender Jazzmaster, leading to a sound very similar to bagpipes. According to a press release issued with Starfish, the song was written about an Amsterdam music and cultural venue called Melkweg (Dutch for "Milky Way"), which Kilbey used to frequent.

I just love the lyrics for this song, beautiful and haunting.

The Church

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it's something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight...

And here it is, for your listening pleasure, "Under the Milky Way."


Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Coast Bias

No coast bias you say? Yup, I'm a sports fan in the midwest, and that means I am a "No Coast Bias" girl.

I am pleased to announce that I have joined the writing staff at the "No Coast Bias" sports blog. I will be covering Notre Dame sports, as well as St. Louis sports, and you can catch my first piece, a preview of the St. Louis Blues playoff chances, on the blog right now!

Here's a sneak peek of what's over there ...

It’s Christmas Eve. Okay, maybe it’s not Christmas Eve, but it is the night before the Blues first playoff appearance since 2009. Tomorrow night, the St. Louis Blues take on the San Jose Sharks at home, in their quest for their first ever Stanley Cup title. The Blues are hungry, and they need to capitalize on that fire during these NHL playoffs. Read more ...



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding Beauty

I love how beauty can be found in the most unusual of places. In a place that you might think is dark and dirty, beauty emerges. Take for example, the New York City subway. If you had never actually been there before, you may think, ick ... the subway. A dirty, dank, dark place underground.

But actually, if you really look at the subway, there is much beauty to be found there. Here are a few places that I, and my pinterest folks, have found of beauty (from past and present) in the NYC subway! I hope you enjoy them!

Napping on a Subway car?

A fleeting moment ... to or from the subway?

NYC Subway, circa 1904

And of course ... Marilyn Monroe

NYC Subway Signs

More NYC Subway Signs

Mosaic Sign ... Halsey Street

Details at Grand Central Station

NYC Subway ... a moment in time

City Hall

Vintage Subway Car


Friday, April 6, 2012

Only A Memory

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band The Smithereens, and the song "Only a Memory."

The Smithereens are a rock band from Carteret, New Jersey. The group began in 1980 with members Pat DiNizio on vocals & guitar, Jim Babjak on guitar & vocals, Mike Mesaros on bass guitar & vocals, and Dennis Diken on drums & percussion. This lineup continued until 2006, when Mesaros left the band and Severo Jornacion took over on bass guitar. The band's name comes from a Yosemite Sam catchphrase, "Varmint, I'm a-gonna blow you to smithereens!"

The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced music. The group gained publicity when a single from its first album, "Blood and Roses", was the theme song of the 1986 Albert Pyun movie, Dangerously Close, and the video got some moderately heavy rotation on MTV. "Blood and Roses" was also featured on the 1980s TV show Miami Vice during the episode 'The Savage' (first aired on February 6, 1987).

The group spent a good chunk of its initial semi-celebrity phase defending itself in Rolling Stone against thinly-veiled accusations of sounding too much like The Byrds and The Beatles, pointing out that its Marshall Amplifier-heavy live sound was closer to heavy metal than it was to The Beatles. The Smithereens have always worn their inspirations proudly on their sleeve, but the band also influenced other musicians, most notably Kurt Cobain during the period he was writing the album Nevermind. Ironically, it is thought that the Smithereens (like many early 1990s bands) were hurt by the rise of grunge.

Two of my favorite Smithereens songs are "Only a Memory" and "Blood and Roses". "Only a Memory" was on the Green Thoughts album ... the second album released by The Smithereens. "Only a Memory" only reached #92 on the Billboard Hot 100, but topped the Album Rock Tracks chart in 1988.

And now, some Smithereens for your listening pleasure!

"Only a Memory"

"Blood & Roses"

And a bonus track for this week ... "A Girl Like You"


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Under the Lights

It's hard to believe that under a month ago I was under the lights of Madison Square Gardens getting the keys to my brand new, 2012 Volvo S60!!

[Down on center court at Madison Square Garden with the CEO of Volvo]

Even though I have not actually taken possession of the car yet, I am still giddy with anticipation ... which was furthered along by Volvo release the video of my trip to New York City!

What ... you have not seen it yet? Well here it is ... my debut on center court at Madison Square Gardens! Enjoy!

Volvo proudly announces Lisa Kelly, from Notre Dame, as the winner of the Volvo's "Biggest Fan of the Big East" contest! Watch Lisa at the Big East Tournament Championship game, as she receives the keys to her brand new, 2012 Volvo S60 on center court of Madison Square Garden in New York City! Congratulations, Lisa!