Categories for Miscellaneous

Castles Made of Snow

March 2, 2015 Adam Thomas

On Saturday night, I was sound asleep when I woke suddenly to the sound of my dogs barking viciously at something outside. I got out of bed and went to the window in my spare bedroom to do the nosey neighbor peak and noticed two teenagers in hoodies standing directly in front of my house. My mind started to race: what could these hooligans be up to? Are they messing with our cars? Are they going to do something to our house? Gaaaaaaaah!

Thinking these thoughts and worrying about the teenagers made me feel old, as not too long ago–or perhaps, longer than I want to admit–that would’ve been me out there in my hooded sweatshirt causing mischief on a Saturday night while scared old neighbors looked on terrified from their windows.

I watched as they moved into the street when suddenly a car came by and caused them to spring back onto the sidewalk. They each took out their cell phones and with the blue lights shining, they looked like druids walking around with lanterns ablaze.

Once the car went by, they went back out into the street and started moving around again. Their heads were down and their movements were deliberate. I knew they were up to something….but what?

I watched them suspiciously as my dogs growled on the bed beside me. I wondered what I would do if I saw one of them do something to my car. My heart started to race when suddenly, they moved away from my house and back into the night.

I kept an eye on the street for a few more moments. There was no sign of them but before long, another car came by and shined its headlights on the street. That’s when I saw it and I realized what they were doing. They weren’t doing anything malicious. They were simply drawing a large penis in the middle of the street out of snow. Which is hilarious.

I started laughing. And laughing at this made me realize that perhaps I’m not as old or mature as I think.

The next morning, I looked outside to see if the snow penis was still there for all the neighborhood to see.

Sadly, it had melted and washed away.

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Lame Best Ever Debates

February 7, 2015 Adam Thomas

Is Tom Brady the best quarterback EVER?

You probably heard that question asked about a bazillion times over the past week. The short answer? Probably. But who cares? Aren’t best ever debates incredibly subjective? A fan of the Patriots would definitely say Brady, but a fan of the 49ers would lean towards Montana while a Steelers fan might be inclined to throw Bradshaw’s name out there. It all depends on who you ask. The problem with sports debates, however, is that you can only pick from a handful of candidates–only those 3 quarterbacks and maybe one or two others.

It’s just weird how sports can be completely matter of fact about debates like this while when it comes to other things–like music, movies, books–the debate can go on forever and include a huge number of possibilities. Hell, Tom Brokaw even wrote a book about how one generation was better than every other generation in the history of the world and some people agreed while others were like ‘Shut up old man!’

Of course, in sports, there are tangeible results. Championships. But with those championships come about a trillion different variables (like, what if Pete Carroll hadn’t lost his mind and ran Beast Mode on the one yard line?). It’s weird to discount the variables and just focus on the results. (Yeesh, even I barely know what I’m trying to say at this point.)

I guess it’s like this, with sports, if you don’t say Michael, Gretzky, now Brady/Montana, Ali are the greatest ever at their sports, then your ostracized. I remember back in college I had a debate–after a few brewskies–about how Barkley was better than Jordan and everyone was so taken aback that you would’ve thought I proposed that the world was still flat. One guy even stole my can of Pringles in retaliation. Now, I was in North Carolina mind you, and I tend to not be the quietest person in the world after a few beers, so that might have played a part, but if I want to believe that Barkley was better than Jordan, then that’s my right even though everyone else will probably argue otherwise.

So the next time you ask me who the greatest players of all time are, I’m going to say that I don’t know. I only know who are the players that I like the best, and they are Iverson, Barkley, Kirby Puckett and (hall of famer) Tim Brown. And I believe them to be better than guys that are always listed like Jordan. 

And then you’ll steal my Pringles.

Album of the week: Teenage Retirement by Chumped.

This is the greatest album that Weezer never made, and by that I mean that at its best, the album sounds like Weezer used to when they were turning out classic albums like the Blue album and Pinkerton. It is that good at times.

It’s also one of the most Emo/pop/punky things I’ve listened too in quite some time and sounds like it would’ve been right at home on the old 90’s Kevin Smith movies soundtracks–especially Mallrats.

I’ve got to say, 14 year old Adam may have fell in love with this like he did Pinkerton. As it is, I still really dig it.


Albums of my Youth: Flickerstick Edition

August 14, 2013 Adam Thomas

Sometimes, you have to go back in order to go forward. With that in mind, I thought it’d be fun to take a look back to look at some albums that I was into back in high school/middle school. And what better way to kick off the series than with a band that was made famous by being on a VH1 reality show?

Honestly, there are probably a lot better ways to kick it off, but I gotta admit, there was a time when I absolutely LOVED Flickerstick.

I remember watching the finale of ‘Bands on the Run’ in my brother’s friend’s basement and getting so fired up when they won, then having my mom order their CD for me in the mail, buying their t-shirts and ultimately going to see them play at the Electric Factory in Philly.

I actually think that Flickerstick’s Welcoming Home the Astronauts is the perfect allegory for my teenage years: at the time, I thought I knew everything when in fact, I was wrong about almost everything. Like Flickerstick.

As a change to the Daft Punk post, I will be going through each song on the album and giving it a score on a 1-5 scale. I’m going to try to be as objective as possible, but it’s tough to hide the nostalgia factor in my scores.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Album: Welcoming Home the Astronauts

1.) Lift (With love we will survive)

Musically, the song isn’t that bad. The lyrics are a little meh, but it has a nice build up. The guitars and the little alien noise are pretty darned cool. Gotta give this song a 3.

2.) Talk Show Host

Blah, what a generic topic to base a generic song around. This is basically every Alt Pop song ever written. And again, the lyrics: “The Radi-O/it seems so shady Oh.” This song gets a 1.

3.) Chloroform the One you Love

“She’s Only 18/But such a beautiful dream/All she needs is some Chloroform and she’ll be mine” ummm….what? I never understood why they put ‘Talk Show Host’ and then this song back to back after ‘Lift.’ It totally sucks all the life out of the album. When you make an album, you only have so many bullets in the clip, and when you’re a band like Flickerstick, you can’t miss twice this early. This song also gets a 1.

flicker4.) Coke

Fun fact, when they signed on with Epic after winning bands on the run, they had to change the lyrics to this song because Coca Cola didn’t like the fact that they said, ‘Come on I want to buy the world a Coke and lay here naked with my girl.’ So they changed ‘Naked’ to ‘Taken.’

Guess what else? I didn’t even have to look that fact up. That’s how into Flickerstick I was and how my brain is filled with useless knowledge.

Coke is better than the previous two songs, and trust me, for an angst riddled teen, I must’ve listened to this song about 10,000 times. This song does have the definitive Flickerstick lyric as well: ‘Come on let’s die until we live.’ Even as a 15 year old, that one had me shaking my head. I’ll give Coke a 2.

5.) Beautiful

I feel like I’ve been waiting all album for this song which is certainly the bands’ biggest hit. Heck it even got played on Y100 back when Y100 was alternative rock. It still holds up, for me at least. I’ll give it a 3.

6.) Sorry…Wrong Trajectory

Definitely points off for the 1 minute build up that is just the same two guitar notes plucked over and over and over and OVER again. BUT, once it gets to the song, this is on par with Coke. The two guitar parts when played together are cool and I think the lead singer-Brandin Lea-sounds the best on this song. It gets a 2.5.

7.) You’re So Hollywood

I love the ‘That Thing you Do’ drums on this song, and the music is pretty darn catchy. Power chords one-time (or I guess 7 times at this point of the album).

If only they could’ve come up with a better hook. The ‘You’re So Hollywood’ just isn’t cutting it. It gets a 2.

8.) Got a Feeling

Gotta love the little synth at the beginning of the song. I remember this was one of my favorite songs on the album when I used to listen to it. In all honesty, I think that Flickerstick had the formula for writing mindless 3:30 minute pop-rock songs down COLD. Verse-Bridge-Chorus. Lather, rinse repeat.

When they veered from this formula, they were probably at their strongest (See ‘Lift’ and ‘Direct Line to the Telepathic’). I’ll give this a 2.5.

9.) Hey or When the Drugs Wear Off

The airplane take off sound effects on the snare drum at the beginning is a nice touch. As are the globs of chorus and flanger on the guitars. This song sounds like a B-side of a Killers album. It gets a 2.

10.) Right Way to Fly

I had totally forgotten about this song, and I’m not sure why because it’s one of the better ones on the album. Honestly, I’ll never understand why they went with ‘Talk Show Host’ and ‘Chloroform’ in the 2-3 slot when the could’ve easily put in ‘Got a Feeling’ and this song. I think that would’ve set a better tone for the album. This gets a 3.

11.) Direct Line to the Telepathic

It took them all album to get here, but here they are. I’m telling you, if Flickerstick had made more songs like this, they would’ve been really good. It’s one of the best examples of them being Pink Floyd-light (and by that I mean REALLY light…but still). Lyrically and musically, this is the best song on the album. They finish it off with a 3.5.

Overall, I’d say the album is about a 2.5. (BTW, the re-release of this album on Epic got a 4.5 out of 10 on Pitchfork and 3 out of 5 stars in Rollingstone).

Would I recommend the album? Sure. But only if you listened to it in high school. If not, it may be a little bit harder to appreciate.

Like most things about the ‘Glory Days,’ they’re fun to visit now and then, but you don’t wanna live there.


Cardinals and Supercuts

July 26, 2013 Adam Thomas

Can we just take a second here and appreciate how good of an organization the St. Louis Cardinals have been recently? In the past 15 years, they have had only 3 losing seasons, been to the playoffs 9 times, and won 2 world series.

How do they do it?  I don’t know, but the Phillies better find out. In the immortal word’s of Cardinal Pretzley: Ruben…take notes.

You know what happens when you don’t have cable? You get stuck watching shows like: Under the Dome. You know what the best part about Under the Dome is? A freaking DOME came down and surrounded this town and all the citizens reacted the same way: they took a look at it, sighed, shrugged and went “Meh.”

Are you kidding me? If a Dome came down around Newark, I’d be running around like “OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! I NEED FOOD AND BATTERIES AND GUNS AND BLANKETS AND FIRE AND WATER AND AAHHHHHHHH GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

But not the citizens of Chester’s Mill. Nope. They’re just like, ‘Whatever.’

So, have you seen the Supercuts commercial with that band who are incredibly in love with Supercuts, saying things like, “You have a pride in the way you step out into public, especially when you have a good haircut.”

Well, did you know that the band featured in the commercial is an ACTUAL band? How weird is that? I thought they were just a bunch of actors. But no. They’re a real band. They’re called ‘Vintage Trouble’ and they played at the ESPYS.

Look, I know that as a band you gotta do what you gotta do, but to do a freaking Supercuts commercial?

Although, to be fair, I probably never would’ve heard of them and they probably wouldn’t have gotten the ESPYs without it, so I guess there was a method to the madness. Be sure to keep an eye out for the tiny Nicorette ‘Celebration Band’ at next year’s award show.

Speaking of bands, did you know there was a guitarist who got kicked out of Nirvana AND Soundgarden before they both got super huge?  Yeesh.


The Slumpiest Sports Week of the Year

July 16, 2013 Randy Neil

Oooo, fans, do read on!  That compelling title probably has you foaming at the mouth for more!  Well, let me clarify about the reason this week is the sccchhlompiest sports week of the year.

During the All-Star Break, the Phillies aren’t playing.   The actual All-Star Break is a fun time, but it’s over on Wednesday and that means we really are in a break.  There’s not going to be any baseball on for a while.  Even worse, there isn’t any filler sports to ease that pain except for the occasional Union game or Summer League basketball game.  Bleh.

Buuuuuuuuuuut, there’s still a couple gems that need discussing (see how I salvaged everything, there?)

Congrats to Tim Lincecum for throwing a no-hitter right before the All-Star Break.  With all of the struggles he’s had this season, being able to pitch a gem the way he did shows that there’s still a lot of talent in the Freak.

A lot of commotion was made about the fact that he threw 148 pitches to accomplish it.  People are criticizing Bruce Brochy for not pulling Timmy earlier in that game because of the pitch count and lead they had.

The way I see it, Lincecum is not the same pitcher from 2 years ago.  He may never be again.  The lack of velocity on his fastball is something you can’t just reclaim (unless your Bartolo Colon and you take a crap ton of PEDs.)  Even if Tim’s season goes in the toilet from here on out because of his high pitch count, he’ll still sit in the history books as a pitcher with a no-hitter and 2 Cy Young Awards.  He could have a career 8.00 ERA and people will still marvel at those accomplishments.  Bochy made the right call.

Jason Kidd was getting a lot of crap for taking phone calls during games that he was coaching this summer.  On one hand, it was the D-league, and the coaches don’t really coach those.  On the other hand, he’s been a coach for like a month, he could probably learn a thing or too.

Well, Mr. Kidd pleaded guilty to his DUI from 2012 today, so he was probably talking to his lawyers.  He’s gotta take those calls, lol.

On a closing note, Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail is… actually… pretty good.  With all the corporate sponsorship, phone release, and poor audio quality, I was just dying to find reasons to hate this album.  But, I don’t.  It’s put together really well.

Turns out Rick Rubin didn’t do a single thing for that album, in spite of him being featured in the commercials.  Apparently, he just sat on the couch.  That’s what you can aspire to, boys and girls.  Become so cool that people will pay you to sit on a couch and enjoy music.  Then, they’ll film it.

Alright, I’m out.  Get to a pool folks!  It’s SUMMAH TIME!


Great Broadcasting Names: Ducis Rodgers

June 26, 2013 Adam Thomas

Without cable, if I want to watch TV in the morning or in the afternoon after work, I am usually forced to watch the local news. Which sucks. And is depressing. EXCEPT for the fact that Philly’s ABC sports anchor is named Ducis (pronounced ‘Deuces’) Rodgers. That is a great name. And I felt it was appropriate to start off with that in light of Randy posting the Anchorman 2 trailer (which looks awesome).

Moving on.

I wanted to do a track by track iTunes review for Kanye’s new album, but I couldn’t do it. Listening to Kanye just fills me with an unexplained rage. The guy is the world’s biggest D-Bag, and I just can’t take him. So screw it.

Speaking of music, the early favorite for my summer album of 2013 is….wait for it….RUBBER SOUL by the Beatles!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. That album came out YEARS ago, which is true, but I have never been able to appreciate the Beatles and so for me, listening to them is a brand new experience.

I’ve got to say though, for being some lover boy types, the Beatles do sure write a lot of disturbing songs about women. That song ‘Run for your Life’ is psychotic. “You better run for you life if you can, little girl. Hide your head in the sand, little girl. Catch you with another man, that’s the end…little girl.” Alrighty then.

The first 6 tracks on Rubber Soul are great. In fact, the only two tracks that I don’t really like are ‘Michelle’ which is almost unbearable and ‘Girl’ which IS unbearable–I think the song would be OK if it weren’t for the sighing.

Good for the Heat winning the title (as was predicted here), and even better for the Blackhawks–who I think have the sweetest jerseys around.

And all this news about the Phillies possibly blowing up their team and trading their stars would make me happy if it weren’t for one small detail: Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to be making the trades! I bet all the other GM’s are just lining up to fleece that sucker. He is the worst.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out ‘This is the End.’ It’s good stuff (especially Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. Holy crap, they steal the show).

That’s all I got. Until next time….