Archive for January, 2009

They Should Make the Monday After the Super Bowl "Presidents Day"

Posted in misc.blurbs on Saturday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

It’s so obvious, I’m glad I thought of it. I need to figure out a way to make money off this idea, but I’d settle for just getting the day off.

Here’s the deal: they have Washington’s Birthday or I guess now they sorta combined him with Lincoln or something and made it “Presidents Day.” Third Monday in February I think it is. And the Super Bowl that used to be played in late January, now increasingly falls out on the first few days of February. Not a huge deal, but that puts a bit further from Martin Luther King Day, and it has become a “February” event in our minds. “January football” now means Playoffs and “if you wanna be playing in February” is now a direct reference to making it to the Super Bowl.

So, you see where I’m going with this right? Presidents Day is kinda pointless anyway, right? It’s just some random Monday off. It’s not like we plan family visits or anything. And it usually isn’t really on Washington’s actual birthday, so why not move it back couple weeks and make it the first Monday in February? Like it matters. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25.

But wait…. that’s not all. I’m not proposing the day after Super Bowl be Presidents Day just for the partying factor and being able to stay up late for the game (hey, a new generation of kids/fans/consumers need to be raised, how can they watch the big game if they got school in the morning?). And it’s not to avoid calling in sick, AKA hungover.

This is actually an economic stimulus package that I implore President Obama, enthusiastic sports fan that he is, to embrace and pursue. Presidents Day is usually filled with ridiculous sales on cars and mattresses (two items that are ALWAYS on sale). They drum up these silly commercials with cartoons of Lincoln and Washington to tell us to shop for stuff. Why? Most of us just do laundry that day and wonder what might be open or closed, since it’s not really a holiday but it is. So no one shops. Wasted holiday.

So, once you move it the day after the Super Bowl, Presidents Day will be right after the day/night famous for not just football, but the fact that 10’s of millions of Americans of all demographics gather around their TV’s to WATCH THE COMMERCIALS. Personally I’m all about the game. But a LOT of people come right out and say they are “excited” for the “commercials.”

What an opportunity! Wouldn’t it be awesome if, the day after the Super Bowl, hordes of Americans were off work and school, and heading out to buy the cars and colas and countless other crappy items they saw advertised the night before!

This makes too much sense. And while it might not happen, I think it’s more likely than the NFL moving the game to Saturday. But, until then, just keep callin in sick.

Stairwell

Posted in photos on Thursday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank


stair
well

Top 10 Best Country Albums Ever

Posted in music, top 10 lists on Wednesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Keep in mind, these are just the ones that I love the best. NOT a list of the Most Important/Influential or what have you. Just my favorites. Some might be considered classic country, folk, alt.country, country-rock… doesn’t matter. I promise these are all great records. In no particular order, but numbered anyway. Ah screw it, I’ll give ya 11:

  1. WhiskeytownStrangers Almanac
  2. Gram ParsonsG.P./Grievous Angel
  3. Neil YoungEverybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  4. Loretta LynnVan Lear Rose
  5. Johnny CashThe Legend of Johnny Cash
  6. Ryan Adams / Cardinals Jacksonville City Nights
  7. Old Crow Medicine ShowBig Iron World
  8. Old 97’s - Too Far To Care
  9. Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline
  10. Drive-By TruckersDecoration Day
  11. Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead

How I Became a Steelers Fan

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports on Tuesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Y’know, it’s weird. You’re born in a certain geographic area and you are bound to certain sports teams. I guess you’re really not, but it feels like you are. Or you should be. And so it was that I was born in Washington, DC, and raised in nearby suburban Maryland. A Redskins fan.

And yet, here I am, Super Bowl week, with my basement covered in black and gold. Getting geared up cuz Pittsburgh’s goin to the Super Bowl.

How did I get here?

Well, I lived in northern West Virginia for 10 years and that’s Steeler Country. Of course there were plenty of times that I resisted and hated the Steelers, if only because The League forced me to watch them because of where I lived at the time. But I noticed something. They were a tough, resilient bunch. On and off the field. The fans endured and the team pressed on under solid ownership and very few coaching changes.

I didn’t live through it, but I lived near the Mike Tomszak and Neil O’Donnell and Bubby Brister and Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddux eras. The Chin. The Bus. Hines Ward. I remember when they lost to San Diego in the AFC Championship in the mid-90s. Sure at the time I probably laughed and mocked them for not making it to the big game. Just as I did when they lost that Super Bowl to the Cowboys on those O’Donnell interceptions. But I wasn’t a Steeler fan then. Not yet.

So after all those years of living nearby, I moved away to Baltimore, only to do so with and then marry a crazy Steeler fan. So the Steelers became my Team-inlaw. We grew close. They drafted Ben Roethlisberger. They somehow won that crazy playoff game against the Colts. The Chin. The Bus. Hines Ward. And that season, during that playoff run, I could feel it. I felt it.

The next season I went to three games, two on the road in my black and gold. We lost all three.

Then we had a son. We decided to raise him a Steeler fan. Even though he’s living in Ravensville, not far from Redskins country. But… and you’ll roll your eyes and think this is just politically correct, but the Washington pro football franchise has a racist nickname and have a turned a culture into a mascot. So all those lamps and hampers and onesies and kids replica jerseys we’re gonna buy for our kid? They wont be supporting the racist Washington football franchise.

One of my best friends is a Cowboys fan. We have some fun Dallas-Washington banter and wagers. Some solid sports-rivalry-style hatred there. But much like me, he’s starting to feel like his team represents everything that he hates about modern professional sports. So since he lives in Baltimore, and was a Colts fan as a little kid, he’s pledging his allegiance to the purple of the Ravens. And much like I accept my Washington football franchise blood, he’s still a Dallas Cowboys fan…

And as the Washington-Dallas games have lost the luster they had in the 70s and 80s, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has snuck up to become the best and hardest hitting in the league. Right up to this year’s game with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

So this Super Sunday I’ll be cheering in hopes for a 2nd ring since I’ve been a Steeler fan. Tomlin. Big Ben. Hines Ward. So call me a bandwagoneer if you must. But so far Steeler Nation has welcomed me aboard that bandwagon. This is how I became a Steeler fan.

Oh yea, and Troy Polamalu.

The Day the Music Died

Posted in music on Tuesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – It’s been 50 years since a single-engine plane crashed into a snow-covered Iowa field, instantly killing three men whose names would become enshrined in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

The passing decades haven’t diminished fascination with that night on Feb. 2, 1959, when 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens performed in Clear Lake and then boarded the plane for a planned 300-mile flight that lasted only minutes.

“It was really like the first rock ‘n’ roll landmark; the first death,” said rock historian Jim Dawson, who has written several books about music of that era. “They say these things come in threes. Well, all three happened at the same time.”

Starting Wednesday, thousands of people are expected to gather in the small northern Iowa town where the rock pioneers gave their last performance. They’ll come to the Surf Ballroom for symposiums with the three musicians‘ relatives, sold-out concerts and a ceremony as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designates the building as its ninth national landmark.

And they’ll discuss why after so many years, so many people still care about what songwriter Don McLean so famously called “the day the music died.”

“It was the locus point for that last performance by these great artists,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. “It warrants being fixed in time.”

Stewart said the deaths still resonate because they occurred at a time when rock ‘n’ roll was going through a transition, of sorts. The sound of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Holly was making way for the British Invasion of the mid-1960s.

“The music was shifting and changing at that point,” he said. “The crash put a punctuation point on the change.”

All three musicians influenced rock and roll in their own way.

Holly’s career was short, but his hiccup-vocal style, guitar play and songwriting talents had tremendous influence on later performers. The Beatles, who formed about the time of the crash, were among his early fans and fashioned their name after Holly’s band, The Crickets. Holly’s hit songs include “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Maybe Baby.”

Richardson, “The Big Bopper,” is often credited with creating the first music video with his recorded performance of “Chantilly Lace” in 1958, decades before MTV.

And Valens was one of the first musicians to apply a Mexican influence to rock ‘n’ roll. He recorded his huge hit “La Bamba” only months before the accident.

The plane left the airport in nearby Mason City about 1 a.m., headed for Moorhead, Minn., with the musicians looking for a break from a tiring, cold bus trip through the Upper Midwest.

It wasn’t until hours later that the demolished plane was found, crumpled against a wire fence. Investigators believe the pilot, who also died, became confused amid the dark, snowy conditions and rammed the plane into the ground.

The crash set off a wave of mourning among their passionate, mostly young fans across the country. Then 12 years later the crash was immortalized as “the day the music died” in McLean’s 1971 song, “American Pie.”

-By MARCO SANTANA, Associated Press Writer

Starting to Clean Up the Mess

Posted in first 100 days, politics on Tuesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Some more good news a few days in to the Obama Administration. As promised and expected, Obama moved fast on changing the direction of our energy and environmental policies. From Reuters news service:

Obama takes steps to reverse Bush climate policies

By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama began reversing the climate policies of the Bush administration on Monday, clearing the way for the government to allow states to set stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
The president told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California’s request, denied under President George W. Bush, that would allow it to impose stricter limits on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for contributing to global warming.
As many as 18 other states have indicated they may follow California’s lead, putting tailpipe emissions standards that are tougher than federal requirements into effect.
“The federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Obama said at the White House, taking a stab at his predecessor’s policies.
California has shown bold and bipartisan leadership through its effort to 21st century standards. And over a dozen states have followed its lead.”
The president also directed the Department of Transportation to move forward with setting vehicle fuel efficiency standards for 2011 by March, giving automakers an 18 month period to impose them.
He also instructed the U.S. government in general to become more energy efficient.
“The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. My administration will not deny facts. We will be guided by them,” he said.
Obama laid out broad principles that he said his administration would follow. It was time for the United States to lead on climate change, he said, and reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
“It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil,” he said, adding previous administrations had made similar goals.
“We need more than the same old empty promises. We need to show that this time it will be different,” he said.

JAYDIOHEAD

Posted in music on Saturday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank
It’s exactly what you think it might be: JayZ mixed and mashed up with Radiohead. Some tunes are really cool and some are just ok. Overall it’s definitely pretty cool if you like either or both of these artists. And it’s free to stream and/or downlowd from Jaydiohead.com.

Produced by: Minty Fresh Beats (www.myspace.com/mintyfreshmusic)

Track list:

1 – Wrong Prayer
2 – 99 Anthems
3 – No Karma
4 – Lucifer’s Jigsaw
5 – Optimistic Moment
6 – Dirt Off Your Android
7 – Dreaming Up
8 – Change Order
9 – Fall In Step
10 – Ignorant Swan

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