Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heavy D, Joe Frazier, Coach K, Penn St.


Heavy D
5/24/67 - 11/8/11
Dwight Myers, aka "Heavy D," the notorious "Overweight Lover," passed away last week at the age of 44. Heavy D (and the Boyz) enjoyed moderated success in the late 80's, early 90's. Most of us know his work on "Now That We Found Love" and "Nuttin' But Love." Heavy was also responsible for both opening themes of "In Living Color" and MadTV. What many don't know is how successful Heavy was in other endeavors. He became the first rapper to head a major music label when he became president of Uptown Records. During this time, Heavy helped develop the talents of Mary J. Blige and had Sean "Puffy" Combs as an intern. Later on he became the senior vice president of Universal Music. Heavy D also tried his hand in acting, both in plays, television and film. This is one of those guys who has contributed much to his art form and whose contributions outweigh his commercial success. Let's take time to appreciate the man and what he contributed to modern music.

"It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine
Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine..." Notorious BIG 

New Releases

Nov. 15th

Take Care

This is one of the most anticipated releases of 2011. Following his debut album, Thank Me Later, Drake puts forth his sophomore effort. This album has already spawned two singles, Headlines and Make Me Proud. Drake belongs to perhaps the hottest record label in the industry with Young Money Entertainment. I won't recommend or criticize this album. Instead, I will call it as I see it. This album is probably like his first and most likely similar to other artists on this label, such as Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. If you like this kind of music.....great. If you are like me, I find that this music has good beats with moderate lyrics. I am going to sample this before I even think about buying this.

Here & Now

This will be the seventh studio album by Canadian rockers, Nickelback. This is a follow up to their Dark Horse album that went multi-platinum. Two singles have already been released from this album, "When We Stand Together" and "Bottoms Up." I wanted to give this a thumbs down soooo bad, but I just couldn't in all fairness. I am sure this album will sell well, they always do. I am sure they will have a few radio hits, they always do. I am just sick of Nickelback. Is anyone with me on this? I know Detroit is. They recently signed a petition to not have Nickelback play there. HAHAHAHA...are you serious? I feel like I need a break, seriously....oh yeah and blond perms are soooo out.  

Break the Spell

This is the third studio album from rockers, Daughtry. Their first two albums fared very well, both going multi-platinum. The only reason I didn't give this a thumbs-up is because it is reported that this album is supposed to be nothing like the first two. I am not saying this couldn't be a thumbs up, that precursor just makes me nervous. That being said, three of the songs are being used in ESPN programming, "Renegade," "Louder Than Ever," and "Outta My Head." I hope this album is better than the first two and that the new sound is successful. All this being said, I am still going to purchase this album.

Nov. 22nd

Snow Patrol
Fallen Empires

This will be the sixth studio album from Snow Patrol. Gary Lightbody reports that this is their longest and best album to date. Two singles have already been released with some success in Europe, "Called Out In the Dark" and "This Isn't Everything You Are." I don't know how I feel about this one. I was never a huge Snow Patrol fan to begin with so I am staying neutral on this one.


"Smokin'" Joe Frazier
1/12/44 - 11/7/11

The "City of Brotherly Love" lost one of it's icons last week when it lost Joe Frazier. Joe Frazier was a boxing legend. "Smokin' Joe" was an Olympic and Heavyweight world champion. Frazier first became Heavyweight champion in 1970 and also the next year when he beat Muhammad Ali in the "Fight of the Century." Two years later he was beaten by George Foreman and never regained the title. He faced Ali two more times over his career, but lost both. The third of which was the famous "Thrilla In Manila." Ali and Frazier has a rocky relationship in the years following their bouts. Initially, Ali called Joe a gorilla and later Foreman was quoted as saying that they should have thrown Ali in the Olympic flame. Both men retained respect for another and when Joe passed, Ali attended a small, personal funeral. Frazier had said that his ill feelings toward Ali were gone in a 2009 article. Ali was reported to have said that the world lost a great boxer after Frazier's death.

Highlights from the "Fight of the Century"

"I smoke on the mic like "Smokin'" Joe Frazier..." ...Inspector Deck

Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, now sits atop the all-time wins column of Division I basketball. He passed his friend and mentor, Bob Knight on Nov. 15th with a win over Michigan St. 903 wins is remarkable, especially by today's standards. Coach K should be celebrated for his accomplishments. He has always run a clean program and has been one of the best teachers and molders of young men. Even if you don't like Duke, or the ACC, you have to give credit where credit is due. During his tenure with Duke, Coach K has led Duke to 4 National Championships, 11 Final Fours, 12 ACC Championships, and 13 ACC Tournament titles. In addition, he is the current coach of the Men's USA basketball team and led them to gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics and again in 2010 at the FIBA World Championships. Oh yeah, and as if that isn't enough, he was an assistant coach for the 1992 "Dream Team." Congrats Coach earned it!

Penn State
This logo seems to be popping up all over the place. I don't think I can do a blog, that includes sports, and not at least mention what is happening at Penn St. At this time, I am going to keep it simple. It is sad and nobody wins. This is not about Penn St. and this is not about Joe Paterno. It is about the victims. I have included a link to read the Jerry Sandusky Grand Jury report so that you can formulate your own opinions. I do feel that this story will ignite other stories around the country and encourage other people to come forward. I hope that people take this seriously and not make false claims, just for their 15 minutes of fame.

Joe Paterno
I chose this image to remember "Joe Pa" in good light. He was an outstanding coach and the all-time wins holder in Division I football. The man coached at Penn St. for 61 years, 46 of which was as head coach. That is remarkable, especially by today's standards where longevity is unheard of. Unfortunately for Paterno, his legacy will be tarnished, it has to be, but how much, only time will tell. It is sad that things had to end this way. I will share more on this when he makes a statement or when more facts surface about his involvement or lack there of in these tragic events. I do believe that the school should decline any bowl invitation this year. As unfair as this may be to the current players, I just don't see what good could come from that.

Friday, November 4, 2011


New releases...

Nov. 1

Florence + the Machine

This is the sophomore album by British Indie-Pop band, Florence + The Machine. This album is highly anticipated in the wake of the first album's success. The new album draws comparisons to Kate Bush, Bjork, Adele, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and PJ Harvey. The album has already spawned three singles, "What the Water Gave Me," Shake It Out," and "No Light, No Light." If you have not listened to them before I suggest sampling the album first.

Miranda Lambert
Four the Record

FOUR the Record is the FOURth studio album released by country artist, Miranda Lambert....clever girl....The album's first single, "Baggage Claim," debuted at #33 on the country charts, which is the highest debut for any of her singles. Personally, I think she has one of the better sounds in country music today. I think she has an excellent blend of modern country, blue grass, girl power and song writing that works. I highly recommend picking up this album. Also, check out a side project of hers....Pistol Annies....

Nov. 8

Lost Children

This will be the sixth album by metal band, Disturbed. This album will be a collection of B-sides. I am often weary of B-side albums because there is usually a reason that the songs didn't make the A side. I usually only get B-side collections if the artist has strong song writing skills or is in a genre that doesn't get much airplay. Neither of these criteria fit this album. Although I love Disturbed, I am going to sample this one.

Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland

I haven't been able to find much information about this album but I will do my best. This album was taken from last year's Time Machine tour. This album was recorded in Cleveland and encompasses the entire Moving Pictures album. I have only recently become familiar with their work and am sorry it took me so long to see the light. If you are like me...check it out before any more time passes. Rush is a great band and don't seem to be losing any steps with age.

Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

This is the debut album from former Oasis front man, Noel Gallagher. Gallagher claims to have drawn inspiration from Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Jefferson Airplane for the title of his album. "The Death of You and Me" is slated to be the first single off of the album. The album is getting overly positive reviews from critics. I will check this out based on pure curiosity. I would recommend doing the same before buying it outright.

Angels & Airwaves
Love Part One & Part Two

This is a follow-up album from last year's "Love." This also coincides with an Angels & Airwaves movie of the same name. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, they feature Tom Delong, front man from Blink 182. All songs were written by Delong for this album as well. The first single is scheduled to be "Anxiety." If you like Blink 182, you most likely will like this, although the musical composition is deeper and on a much grander scale.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack

Firstly, if I didn't mention this album, my wife would kill me. Secondly, these albums are actually really good. They always feature a strong mixture of well-known and lesser-known artists. The music is usually a mix of Rock, Indie-Rock and ballads. This album contains Christina Perri, The Joy Formidable, and Bruno Mars among others. For those in doubt, listen, it may surprise you. I own the first three soundtracks and enjoy them very much.


ESPN Announces New Network
Due to the continuing increase in athlete-related crime, ESPN has decided to release a network targeted at covering these events. The network will be called Back Court TV. Initially, the network will be supplemental and will only be included in premium packages. Rumour has it that a free trial will be given to all cable/satellite subscribers for the week following it's release on January 1st. The station will carry up-to-the-minute information about all court proceedings, hearings, sentencing, and probation. Experts will also be weighing in with legal advice and giving odds of the outcome. The use of back-court when titling the show is thought to be a jab at the increasing number of off-the-court antics by NBA players. Currently, there has been no backlash from players or owners. I provided you with a sample of the channel's logo.

***Did you buy this? This was totally made up. My point in fabricating this was to demonstrate the sad state of off-the-field behaviors by professional athletes. If you found this to be believable then you too understand how bad it has gotten. Sorry to be misleading but it gives you something to think about.

Hot Stove Preview...
This MLB off season posts one of the weaker big-name classes in recent years. However, if a team approaches this in the right way, they can rebuild their team for decent prices. Since I am a Yankees fan, I will focus on the Yankees off season. The Yankees have recently resigned Brian Cashman to a three year extension. CC Sabathia also resigned for an extension. Most people assume that the Yankees are going to pursue Albert Pujols because he is the biggest name on the market. However, in a recent interview, Brian Cashman admitted that Pujols is not on the list. I don't completely buy it but in some ways I hope this is true. Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees did lose in the postseason because of their offense but feels that pitching is the key to a strong team. He also admitted that Rangers starting pitcher CJ Wilson was high on his list. I like this idea. Currently, Wilson is projected as the 8th best free agent. Other big names this off season are Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Mark Buehrle, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Carlos Pena, Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Thome and JD Drew. As a Yankees fan, I can't wait until they drop the dead-weight that is A-Rod and sign some other players who actually contribute. For his salary, they could practically buy the entire American League. I would much rather drop his salary and pick up another third base free agent like Aramis Ramirez, Eric Chavez, or Wilson Betimet, any of which I would prefer to have at this time. Everyone always says that you have to spend money to compete with the Yankees. In recent years, the Yankees have HAD to spend money to keep up with some of these other teams. I would love to hear how other sports fan's feel this year's free agency will go.....send me your thoughts. 


Rook Arikes?
Apparently, the new trend in Asia is couples dressing alike. How would you feel about dressing like your spouse or significant other? Most of you probably think it is lame or ridiculous. Let me tell you why I like this. First, since PDA's are still taboo in the Asian culture, this is a way for couples to express their affection toward each other. They have even started selling outfits in pairs and advertising clothes in magazines as couples. If the relationship does not work out, the clothes are discarded. Secondly, wouldn't you rather see a couple dressing alike instead of making out in front of you? Well I would. I don't think this trend would ever catch on in America, but I respect what Asian couples are trying to do. I do, however, think it is more a testament for women's commitment to affection because all of the clothing was on the masculine/unisex side of fashion. None of the clothing was feminine in any manner other than color. I guess that is to be expected from such a male dominated society.

Beavis and Butthead are Back
Mike Judge's delinquent teens are back! The series originally aired on MTV's Liquid Television in 1992. It ran successfully through 1997. These two teens, ignorant and oblivious to the way the world works, made mischief through most of the 90's. In past episodes, they spend their time critiquing music videos. In the new series, they have been critiquing more shows than videos. This is fitting since MTV no longer plays music videos. Very little has changed for this dynamic due. If you were a fan back in the day as I was, tune in, it is well worth it. If you never watched should give it a try. I have included the pilot from 1992 for you below. These "minisodes" have been far less seen as fewer people followed Liquid Television.....enjoy!!

This week I would like to retire a phrase....a sports phrase....It seems like every year there is a catch phrase that commentators use when describing a play....last year it was pick 6 and the year before it was "pin their ears back." I wish to retire the latter. So this weeks entry is "pin their ears back"


Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 24 - 30


New releases this week...
Toby Keith
Clancy's Tavern

This will be Toby Keith's 15th studio album. His first single off of this album, "Made In America," has reached number one on the country charts. This album was named after his grandmother bar in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Bottom line is that Toby Keith is one of the biggest stars in country music today and his albums always do very well. If you like his music, this is probably a safe purchase. 

Mylo Xyloto

This is the fifth studio album from Coldplay. This is one the most anticipated album releases of this fall. The first single, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," has already done very well. So far, this album has been met with favorable reviews. This has been described as a concept album. I personally have enjoyed their other releases and don't expect this to be any different. This is probably another safe purchase.

Kelly Clarkson

This will be the fifth album from American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson. This album was supposed to be released in 2010 but was pushed back several times. Most people I speak to have a very polarized opinion of Kelly Clarkson. They either love the pop side of her or appreciate the darker, more recent material. Either way, she sings with feeling and typically writes about experience. This should be as good as her last album but we shall see. You may want to sample this one before you buy it.


The NBA Lockout
I am not going to take sides on this matter. I will only ask this.....Does anyone care that there may not be a NBA season? Most people will say no. College basketball grows increasingly more competitive and the tournament has been very surprising in recent years. I do care for the following reasons. Here are my problems with the current state of the NBA. First, the playoffs last year were incredible. They were competitive, close, unpredictable and worth watching. With no season, there will be nothing to switch back and forth with my hockey playoffs. Secondly, the NBA has perhaps the most to lose out of the big four sports. The NBA struggled to recover after last lockout and I imagine the same will happen when all is said and done. Also, the NBA has the greatest percentage of stars under 30 years old. Most of the talent in the league is young and have long careers ahead of them. The league will just lose a ton of revenue with this ordeal. I hope this ends soon.

The State of the NFL
With a shortened preseason, it holds true that the cream will rise to the top. I think most of us will be surprised at some of the records that teams around the NFL have. Here is my opinion on if these teams are legit or not.

Buffalo Bills (4-2) NOT
As much as this pains me to say, these guys are not legit. They are much improved from last year and do have some developing talent, but I feel they will get swallowed in the drive for the playoffs. I have to believe that the two wild cards will go to Pittsburgh/Baltimore and the Jets.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) NOT
This is one of the better stories of the year. Andy Dalton has come in and made Cincinnati forget about Carson Palmer very quickly. Experts felt that Dalton and Ponder were the most prepared to do well in the NFL. Dalton has proved it. In addition, this may be Marvin Lewis' best coaching job since he has been with the Bengals. I feel that the Bengals will be hurt by the fact that they are in a strong division. They will get beat up on by the Ravens and the Steelers.

Oakland Raiders (4-3) NOT
My opinion for this team only recently changed. I thought these guys had a real chance to win the division, but I think this chance went away with Jason Campbell's injury. The matter only gets worse. They traded away almost all of their draft picks for next year with an "all in" attitude to get Carson Palmer. He is definitely a better solution than Kyle Boller, but it will take too much time to adjust to playing again and learning a new offense.

San Francisco 49ers (5-1) LEGIT
This team has been on the rise and perhaps had only been missing strong quarterback play to become a contender. Well this year, Mr. 9 lives, Alex Smith, is playing some good ball. This team has assumed coach Harbaugh's "chip on the shoulder" attitude and is playing aggressive, mean, smart football. These guys are for real and have a strong chance to run away with this division.

Detroit Lions (5-2) LEGIT
This team has a ton of young talent with limitless possibilities. They are good and will contend. My problem is this....their division. They won't win their division and therefore need to battle for one of the wild card spots. With Chicago nipping at their heels, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia all contending, this is going to be a war down the stretch. I hope they can pull it off but I think they are still a year away from being a contender.

Washington Redskins (3-3) NOT
Any Bears fan knows the trials and tribulations of Rex Grossman. He can throw for 400 yds and 3 TD's one week and throw 5 picks the next. This won't suit the team and Shanahan won't stand for it. They have put John Beck on the battlefield the last couple of weeks with limited results. This team is mediocre anyway and are being helmed by two back-up quarterbacks. I think they benefited from a short preseason and had a quit sprint out the gate....unfortunately they have no stamina.

Lastly, I have to believe that the Eagles are going to get it together and contend, the Colts are a totally different team with Manning and the Panthers are going to be a team to fear, even at 2-5.


Forever Lazy
Has anyone seen the new infomercial sensation?....the Forever Lazy.....Well, it is kinda like a full-body Snuggie. It comes in three colors; pink, blue and gray and sells for about 30 bucks. Now before you say, WTF? I do have to point something out. The Forever Lazy comes with front and back flaps so you don't have to disrobe to do your business....I know...genius. This feature alone makes me at least a little bit more tolerant to a bad idea. Has anyone sat on a cold toilet seat and thought, hey, this experience would be much better with a blanket. For practical reasons, you can't cover yourself with a blanket while your on the toilet...there are far too many risks for droopy fabric. I by no means endorse a product like this, but I would be hypocritical not to admit that some features of this intrigue me. I could see myself lounging around with nothing on underneath this. I can't imagine this idea catching on but hey, I said that about the Snuggie. Enjoy the commercial!

80 Proof Gummies?
A new trend is sweeping the nation: alcohol infused gummy bears. Teens are apparently soaking their gummies in alcohol and then eating them at school. If your teen has been buying gummy bears or had a sudden spike in the interest of should be aware. Let's be honest, even if the school and parents find a way to prevent this from happening, kids are going to find a way to consume alcohol. I am just sensible enough to admit that kids are smarter than us. We are more wise, but they are more savvy and resourceful. They have access to any information they want at the touch of a button on the Internet.....we had to rely on our creepy uncle to teach us stuff like this. The best thing to do is talk to your kids and be a parent....just being there for them is half the battle.

Word of the Week
This week we add the word PORTFOLIO. This is just not a word you use in conversation. I know some jobs require you to develop or prepare one but in every other instance, this word is not OK to use.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 17 - 23

I am switching up my blog. I have been on hiatus for some time. I didn't really like the direction this site was going. I began to feel burdened to complete this weekly when I initially started it for fun. I decided to include some more ideas that I am familiar with. I hope you all enjoy, and as always, I welcome your input.


R.E.M. takes a rest after 30+ years:

 R.E.M. decided to call it quits after 30+ years of musical contribution. They released this statement on their website on September 21st, "To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." They formed in Athens, Georgia as an integral member of the college rock scene. They should be appreciated for paving the way for the alternative and indie rock movements. I think you have to identify them as one of the best, consistent and influential American bands of all time. No doubt, many of you have an extensive R.E.M. play list. Most people know the words and always sing along whenever the songs come on. My only regret is that I got into R.E.M. a little too late. I missed most of their early, classic albums and have only enjoyed them in retrospect. Thanks for the music.....

New Releases

Jane's Addiction
The Great Escape Artist

This is the fourth studio album and the first in eight years by Jane's Addiction. This album has already produced two singles, the second of which is entitled, Irresistible Force. I absolutely love this song. I highly recommend checking it out. From what I understand, this is true Jane's Addiction sound with some modern influences from bands such as Radiohead and Muse. This was a strong effort from the band to put together a solid, memorable album. Perry Farrell, lead singer, stated that he wanted the record to "have a groove impact and hit you like an atom bomb. We've been doing that, so I feel like I'll die happy after this record." Check it out and let me know what you think.

Songs of the Ungrateful Living

I will be the first to admit that my input about this album is biased. I have been a huge Everlast fan since his days with House of Pain. I have liked his solo albums as I enjoy the rough mix of rock and hip-hop. This kind of music is not for everyone so be careful. I couldn't find much information about the album but I imagine that you would be better off sampling the album before you buy. Nonetheless, I am still giving it a thumbs up based on who it is. Enjoy!

Montgomery Gentry
Rebels On the Run

This is the seventh studio album by hugely successful duo, Montgomery Gentry. Not much information has been provided for this album. However, one interesting note; inside one lucky CD will be a golden ticket to win a custom Demented Cycles motorcycle. 

Patrick Stump
Soul Punk

This will be the debut album by former Fall Out Boy front man, Patrick Stump. What impressed me most about this album is that he did everything on his own for this album, including, performing, composing, writing, playing over 10 instruments and producing this album. WOW! The album is already getting strongly positive reviews. I only hesitate to give this a thumbs up because I am personally, somewhat resistant to the quality of modern music. I most likely will give it a try. 

Lalah Hathaway
Where It All Begins

The First Daughter of Soul releases her 6th studio album. Again, I may be biased because I am a huge fan of Donny Hathaway. Either way, this girl can sing. If you like classic R&B, you should like this album. If not, stay away or sample the record. 


This week the NFL lost one it's biggest personalities when it lost Al Davis. For me, the loss was bittersweet. In one sense, the man is a legend and the face of the Raider franchise. He was one of the pioneers of the game and perhaps the biggest driving force behind the merger of the NFL and AFL. He is exactly what is missing from the game today, an owner who is not afraid to challenge the status quo. In the other, the man perhaps held on too long and became irrelevant to today's NFL. His bold statements and draft picks have handicapped the Raiders since the fall of their glory days. He was also known to hold grudges, even to the point of handicapping the entire franchise. Which ever side you choose, the man was an integral part of pro football for decades. I also think it is a shame that Sports Illustrated could not include him as a cover story. He may not sell magazines but he is at least worth a mention. Instead we got Jimmy Johnson....whatever. RIP Al.
1929 -2011

He's not a rookie mother, he's a Newton:

It's official, Cam Newton has already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations Cam!! I guess I would expect people here in Charlotte to be quick in anointing him a savior, but it seems that others around the country are steady piling on the Cam Newton bandwagon. In all seriousness, why not? The man has come in and made a mediocre team competitive, has a huge arm, and has the ability to extend plays. In addition, through five weeks, he has thrown for over 1600 yds. and been responsible for 12 TD's (7pass/5rush). This is a good looking, confident kid with a world of potential. If the Panthers were smart, they would sign this kid for life and surround him with a plethora of talents to keep him interested and hungry. We could see a perennial contender.


Apparently there is a new fad emerging in the fast food culture. It is called the, and forgive me readers, the McGangBang. Now the interesting thing is that this comes in breakfast McGangBangs or lunch/dinner McGangBangs.

For the breakfast version, you take

For those of you keeping track at home, that's a sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle, with a chicken biscuit smushed in between. The lucky customer in the picture was conscience enough to order hash browns as

The lunch/dinner version is...

This is a McDouble with a McChicken smashed in the middle. I have not been brave enough to try either version. Maybe that is why I am available to write this blog today. Hey, I know, what's worse than a fast food sandwich......two fast food sandwiches crammed together against their will. Evolution my friends.

Be careful of the path you choose....
He could have been someone completely different.

Let's face it, there are some words and phrases you just shouldn't use in everyday conversation. I am starting a word wall to include all words and phrases that should be omitted from your vocabulary. Some of these words push gender line expectations, some are overused in today's culture and some words are just plain stupid. The first installment on the word wall is "Dicey." Ex. This situation is getting a little dicey. No good! Time to retire this word...