Biff! Bang! Pow!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Beer and football VIII: What is there that I can be?

Week one
The game: Chiefs at Patriots
The beer: Maine Lunch India Pale Ale
The result: Loss, 42–27; Falcons win, 23–17
The commentary: "There goes the no-hitter," as I would say—every time—in the days when I attended Red Sox games. "Patriots eat shit in front of God and everyone," says some "unionized" basement-dweller under the Deadspin banner. It happens. Check with us in January, Emma.

Losing Thursday was weird. I started the game later than I'd hoped after A. pouted a bit over Project Runway's postponement (it is pretty great so far), catching up to the broadcast at halftime and assuming Belichick would straighten everyone out in the interval. Maybe next weekend.

After a fast start by Brady that pointed to blowout city, the Chiefs outclassed the good guys in literally every way. Offense, defense, special teams, coaching, general enthusiasm. The new banner was blue, right? The Pats were wound too tight, made evident after Gronk's overturned touchdown—he appeared to have the wind knocked out of him (let's hope that's all it was) and recovered enough to never enjoy himself. No one did. The gloom stuck as Amendola and Hightower went down, various defenders got dusted like it's Tecmo Bowl and Mike Gillislee scored three touchdowns when he wasn't stuffed on fourth down(s). By quarter to midnight—this was a long game—I fought to stay awake for, I don't know, principles. I'm still paying for that. At least the undefeated talk can go away, "We're on to New Orleans" and all. I just don't know if talk of this historically bad defensive performance will disappear so quickly.

What doesn't disappear is the past. (Right, Mark Wahlberg? Manage to make it through this one?) Hours of new LI-centric television will heal all opening-week wounds, even if Edelman's shameless, douche-y plug of his children's book throughout America's Game means less screen time for the always affable LeGarrette Blount and the insightful and rightly proud Dont'a Hightower—"Duntuh" addressing Orange Is the New Black is a nice touch. A rerun of February's Turning Point (answer: Hightower's strip-sack), Top Ten highlighting an odd selection of Brady's "best wins of all time" (XLIX at number four??) and—saving the best for last—Do Your Job, Part II will keep me afloat until Sunday. It's a looong season, despite levels of panic that should be reserved for hurricanes and, you know, incompetent presidents. Patriots fans are the worst.

On the bright side, the Thursday game meant Sunday was wide open to eat away at my stomach. G. attended a fun bowling party at Market Street in Lynnfield, allowing A. and me to duck out for some adult time. And so: Starbucks! It was the first stop even though we neglected the Lululemon/Ezekiel Elliott (!) dress code. Ineffective window shades demanded indoor sunglasses as we stared in horror at preteen girls ordering Frappuccinos and wondered when G. and her friends would begin stunting their growth at the hometown coffee shop. You're in for a future of headaches, ladies, should you ever fail to get your caffeine fix before noon.

A. left a bit before one to do some shopping while I nursed my coffee and wondered why the CBS Sports app wasn't displaying anyone's picks yet. What does it take? Eventually, by the time I walked over to Kings to pick G. up, the early-game blanks were filled in and a convincing majority—thirty-six out of what ballooned to fifty-seven of us, as if this thing wasn't already dragging into next season—went with the Steelers over the Browns or the Bills over the Jets. They all had a lot less to worry about than I did, with the fragile Falcons—in a game that would have ruined their season and beyond had they blown it—keeping things interesting with my heart pounding and my palms sweating on the wheel circa four o'clock. Exiting the Trader Joe's parking lot I knew the Bears—isn't is always the Bears?—were advancing and time was expiring. I awaited Iggy proclaiming "Yeah!" out of my phone to signal either a game-tying score by the Bears (and a deciding PAT attempt to come) or the end of the game—oh, to be able to assign different ringtones to different outcomes. Iggy kindly sounded off at a red light and a peek at Android Oreo's creamy-filling notifications indicated survival, barely, prompting an apology to my family for several minutes of agitated silence. I am not cut out for this.

Houston's handful of fans were not so lucky—I've been on both ends of that. They and someone who miscalculated a Cardinals rebound represent the weekend's six losses, as my silver-lining scenario of the Pats taking people down with them never panned out. Drag. At least I already won the privacy contest since no one else chose to mistrust the inter-net and obscure his or her last name and email address. Good luck with that next credit report, losers. Otherwise, with all participants given two strikes and no buybacks, the magic number is one hundred six. Good lord.

Up next: Tom Brady improves upon his bottom-dwelling completion percentage. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Beer and football VIII — training camp/the all-important third preseason game

The beer: Ipswich Blueberry Shandy
The commentary: I dreamed I was Julian Edelman. On the goal line leading 4–2 (!) over the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl or the opening game—there was tension beyond what the scheduled week-four matchup deserves—"Julian" went in motion behind Brady and told him "I want a touchdown!" I/he scooted past Brady before the snap as he stuck the ball forward for me, over the line of scrimmage, into the end zone, and I lunged forward to and pluck it for the score. An irate (understandably so, given the blatant false start) Bucs assistant coach bolted onto the field, got in my face and assaulted me until he either tripped and fell to the ground or I knocked him down. He was not out of options and so grabbed onto my ankle like a bear trap, refusing to let go as I taunted him with "Look at the scoreboard!" even though "we" were only up 11–2 in a dreamworld where touchdowns counted for a full seven points. Edelman is a douche even when I'm playing him in the ether.

This occurred days before he was lost for the year during the all-important Detroit layover. I'm cautiously optimistic in that Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell, plus whichever rookie sticks to the roster, can fill in for him while Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks and Gronk expand the field beyond dinks and dunks. We'll see how many of them can stay healthy. It's the preseason, sure, but Brady and company looked pretty great against the Lions' starters. It should be fun.

Training camp was a little subdued for G., my father and me this year as an overwhelming crowd obscured much of the action in a joint session with the Jaguars. I appreciated Papa's vow to appeal to Robert Kraft about moving a particular tree—passion over right and wrong, or over things in our way, runs hot in the blood. G. didn't like how "the flavor" kept seeping to the bottom of her slushie and more or less refused to have her picture taken. I managed to get a couple of keepers before a lack of balloons at Red Robin brought it to a full stop. At least 2016's Etsy dress still fits, even though we needed to bring it to a seamstress—whose workspace resembled a Hobbit hole—for repairs. Beware the internet and its shoddy stitching.

New England (the region) enjoyed a proper, old-school Summer this year and we took full advantage of a general lack of humidity, a welcome amount of rain after last year's drought and all-around excellence. The last week of June was spent around Penobscot Bay in Maine where Belfast and Rockland suited us better than an overrun Camden, though our cool lobster-boat tour did originate from there. Finding the dock took Olympic-level skill over a wrinkled pastel slalom course.

A month later I took my… butterfly mermaid?… to "Daddy Daughter Princess Night" with the Lowell Spinners, an A-level Red Sox outfit. Who doesn't love visiting Lowell? It was a fun night capped off by a costumed Princess Jasmine's bosom and a fairly spectacular fireworks display, both (all three?) of which approached a kind of danger. An earlier snafu at the box office left a bitter taste, though, as I had the audacity to request a seat next to my daughter—by the time everything was sorted I'm sure the guy behind the glass hated me as much as I did him. Good luck with your ticket-distribution career, failed hipster meathead.

Outdoor dates with Circus Smirkus and a Snow White/Alice in Wonderland mashup followed, where irresistible trees beckoned children until we were told they were imported from Japan and therefore unsuitable for climbing. Good luck with your woodland-authority career, public-theater roadie lady.

And Canobie? And Canobie! The lady behind us in line at the Ferris wheel was stroking a stuffed Moana pig and complaining that Columbus didn't discover the New World because "Cuba isn't America." You can see her and her bra straps in the other car while G. posed for a Heroes reissue.

The Dragon Coaster was in full effect this year as my six-year-old monkey embraced rides beyond the carousel and the Ferris wheel. She started a little slow with the Kiddie Canoes and said afterward that the cave was full of spiderwebs.

Eventually she perfected her horror-queen scream on the Dragon Coaster, Flower Power and Over the Rainbow before mellowing out with the Sky Ride (a favorite in my youth) and the Alpine Swing. You might be on your own on Untamed next year, kiddo.

Downtime with Rosie and her infamous vanilla leg was and is valued as well. It's not all beaches and tee-shirt cannons.

The knockout pool, you ask? It's back! In corporate form, as the organizer has outsourced management and tracking duties to the home of Silk Stalkings. How CBS Sports can get away with enabling illegal stakes is beyond me—hopefully it at least means we'll find out everyone's picks before the games are played. Other changes: instead of running several separate contests (of which I participated in one), my man is lumping everyone together. More people means more total units to win, especially with a one-time contribution of forty each instead of twenty and no buybacks this time—great, right? However. The odds of a single winner emerging by the end of the regular season are nil because everyone gets two strikes and ties now equal wins. I'm not allowing myself to get too worked up over the latter because ties are rare enough but, with fifty-three people and one hundred six strikes, we'll be lucky to have fewer than fifteen left come January. A popular vote among those who remain will supposedly decide between various split-the-pot or kick-in-more-and-keep-going scenarios that I'll worry about should I be involved. Mudhoney's fantastic The Sound and the Fury From Seattle, in the meantime, will assist in maintaining realistic expectations… excepting local football heroes, of course. "Fuck you! Keep it outta my face!"

Up next: Don't all teams have a chance at three championship titles in four years? Twice? Cheers!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

We have guilt… we have fault… we are ungovernable

I am tired and a little bored. Two years and two volumes ago, a similarly exhaustive post—so soon after the Miles Davis fusion-o-rama and a heartbreaking goodbye to my dear Chlo-Chlo—threatened a self-imposed May deadline and so I subtracted twenty-five percent, whipped up a simple stock-image cover, rested my eyes for a few weeks and awoke to cough up a pathetic Super Bowl "recap" that amounted to "Football was played." Three months and zero Trout Mask Replica posts later I recovered enough to write again.

And then last year? "Let's hope I refer back to this next May so it doesn't happen again. So it doesn't happen to me again. Thirty-six songs are plenty." With drooping eyelids we have come home again. For better or worse, though, following this year's Super Bowl triumph—rooting for successful teams is highly recommended!—I overcompensated with five thousand words resulting from several hours of re-watching the greatest comeback in sports history (there, I said it). Excessive, sure, but don't question the you-are-there value. And so: "Thirty?" Maybe next time, if I'm able to avoid repackaging selections from existing playlists and sprinkling in a few "new" picks for a best-of retrospective in honor of ten volumes. Motivation weeps.

Mudhoney, like old friends Wayne Kramer and the MC5 before them, gave us a title that stuck even after "Where Is the Future?" did not. I guess the band is satisfied with "The Only Son of the Widow From Nain" and "Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme" in the past few years—only twenty-eight-letter titles allowed from them. (Sorry, "Beneath the Valley of the Underdog." Maybe I'll one day forget "valley" has two Ls.) The bit about "I want a world run by giant brains" is deemed redundant because anything at all would improve the Donald and his Earth-shattering lot, with their fucking flag pins that make them better Americans than the rest of us. Give me a break. "Hindsight 2020" cannot come soon enough. Anyway, this was originally to be called "A Telegram From the Late Colonel," taken from a throwaway snippet in a quasi-legitimate alternate edit of the Beatles' "Revolution 9." Teletype font variety is unreliable so the artwork correspondence, to have read "Dear sirs – Remember a day when fat kids got high? Yours, &c., Winston Legthigh," was discarded in favor—again—of another easy stock-image search, minus Volume 8's scanner manipulation. The parallels with 2015 are indeed eerie.

I lack the affection for this year's "form" (dig my tight new post labels!) compared to volumes two through seven (yes, a tepid nod above to Volume 7 belies its excellence, Kiss and all) but love will eclipse ennui over time, despite a few labored transitions and the total absence of L7 after I saw them in August. I don't know, their songs only hold up well against each other or something. And how! I've made their shitlist. Trump's made mine. Only two repeat artists from last year. Number nine… number nine… number nine… number nine…

1. Terry Reid – July
Terry Reid was great with Marc Maron on WTF last year and clearly harbors no resentment over his unrealized Led Zeppelin partnership with Jimmy Page, nor the same insecurities as Robert Plant and Eric Clapton—his holler as he revs up here is everything Plant never achieved. "July" played over the end credits of the excellent documentary Touching the Void: "The film was long-listed for an Oscar Best Feature Documentary award but was not nominated as judges felt it was not a documentary so did not qualify for an Academy Award," presumably due to the proportion of reenactment. Horseshit. I'm not done with the Academy yet.

2. Watts Prophets – Pain
"How much did you say that last moonshot cost?" Perfect cello execution. Between "Pain" and Gil Scott-Heron's "Whitey on the Moon" it seems fair to conclude that those in poverty reserved a sincere rage for the space program in the sixties and early seventies. Hotshot pigs too—not much has changed. "And then you sick peckerwoods wanna know why we don't follow rules!"

3. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – I Love You, You Big Dummy
I love you too, baby. Thanks for sticking with me all these years, through carelessly tucked-away motel receipts and no tan lines on my ring finger. Next Summer's silver anniversary will be wonderful.

4. Black Sabbath – Iron Man
"Riff… from… 'Kuen Kuen Lueng.' We're stealing the ri-iff from 'Kuen Kuen Lueng.'" Turnabout, etc. SingleCut Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout, a championship beer denied its own post this time around, served me well during an extended panic attack. It was long drained by the time of "We got a ballgame now!" and I nearly graduated to Evan Williams and oxycodone for the conclusion. Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to write about Black Sabbath's career because the element of discovery present in the Bitches Brew thing would have been absent. I've loved Sabbath for years and still prefer the first album to anything else so my reader (!) would have grown tired and bored as well. We'll always have "Warning."

5. Electric Prunes – General Confessional
The Prunes' Mass in F Minor and Release of an Oath, both released in 1968 (of course), were extended, loosely spiritual David Axelrod vanity projects that included little participation from the credited band. "Kyrie Eleison" and "General Confessional" went on to represent the era well when sampled during the golden age of hip-hop in the late eighties and early nineties and, yes, provided the "ungovernable" commentary atop. We are not a nation of yes men. Guilt and fault lie with leadership.

6. Amps – Pacer
Ladies and gentlemen, Tammy & the Amps! "The album received mixed reviews, ranging from highly enthusiastic to quite dismissive." As if The Bends and its glorified nineties sad-sackery has aged anywhere near as well as Pacer.

7. Les Goths – Out of the Sun
The A-side, "Le Jour √Čtait Gris," translates (straight-up according to Google, what can go wrong?) to "The Day Was Gray." So where's this sun you're coming out of, Frenchy? Give me something I can use! "Les Goths," meanwhile, translates to "The Trout Mask Replica Enthusiasts."

8. Evie Sands – One Fine Summer Morning
This year's Blossom Dearie or Tia Blake? Not quite, but the strings might make her this year's Nick Drake. More than a minute passes before the vocals kick in with lovely ease… only two verses and they're allowed to breathe. Maybe I want to live here too.

9. Sleepy John – Al Capa Strong
Much like Acton Cleaners on 119 reads to me as "Action Cleaners," I will always see this title as "Alpaca Strong." As if that wouldn't be the centerpiece of a concept album about nature and wildlife revolting against its Trump-led human oppressors.

10. The Jesus Lizard – 7 vs. 8
I realize this is from Head, not Goat, but what are you gonna do. It was first the "Chrome" (a.k.a. "TV As Eyes/Abstract Nympho" medley) B-side anyway, thereby doubling this year's 1980s constitution. Volume 6 lamented the perennial absence of the Jesus Lizard over the years and we've had nothing since, even after spotting Ivan and me at the eleven-minute mark ("Nub") of the live-at-Venus-de-Milo-in-1994 video. I'm playing it cool as if David Yow and his violent cowboy boots hurtling right at me on a sea of sweaty arms isn't the most reckless moment of my youth. Ivan actually is cool, banging his head to music I'm not sure he even liked. The infamous Landsdowne bouncer is in there as well, of course, at stage right—balding ponytails and fingerless gloves forever! "Do you got the shot of the nipple?"

11. Thee Oh Sees – So Nice
It's a wonder my life over the past year or so hasn't been plagued by nightmares brought on by Thee Oh Sees albums covers. I now own everything in full going back to 2008's The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In. So colorful!

12. Boss Hog – Gerard
"Aiiight, I'd like to dedicate this sooong to Mr. Gerard Cosloy, lead singer of of the rock group Dagobah." Here's another shoutout from four years earlier. In 5/4 time! Or maybe it's just 4/4 that gets interrupted. I know nothing about music theory.

13. Albert Washington – Hold Me Baby
"Turn down the lights-uh, pull down the shades-uh, lock the door. I'm about to love you." An otherwise unreleased extended version taken from Mojo Music Guide, Vol. 3: Raw Soul. It plus volumes one (Instant Garage) and two (Roots of Hip-Hop) absolutely opened my eyes beyond "Mercy Mercy Me," "Psychotic Reaction" and "Funky Drummer," respectively.

14. Caetano Veloso – De Cara/Eu Quero Essa Mulher
In February my coworkers and I lost our friend Claudia, who had been unceremoniously laid off mere months before by a company that pretends it is different from every other. (She'd since landed on her feet and was happier than ever when we all met at the Beantown Pub in January.) By coincidence, the day after she passed—and before I knew of it—G. and I had some daddy/daughter time in Boston visiting the aquarium and taking in a 3D nature movie. She desperately wanted to stop by my office before heading home and so I conceded "For a few minutes, OK? Really, just a few minutes!" A half hour later as we left for the train I was fairly distracted—as much as one can be distracted by anything when walking a mile with a forty-pound monkey on his or her shoulders—by my colleague asking if I'd checked email since the day before. The news was clearly bad and she insisted I wait until after I got home. Halfway there, though, as we approached the bridge to Beverly and a view I knew would keep G. occupied for a minute, I logged in to learn the awful news. Dear Claudia, proud of her Brazilian heritage and likely the nicest person I've ever known, never tiring of G. photos and updates, died within days of contracting a sudden and horrid illness. The sentiment of this Tropic√°lia medley, which translates loosely to "Face"/"I Want This Woman," is likely off the mark because I don't speak Portuguese. But I'll be damned if I wasn't going to include a Brazilian artist in her honor.

15. Jeff Beck – Hi Ho Silver Lining
G's breakout song of the year, without a doubt. She knows the chorus better than I do—I turn to mush when she goes all in with "Hi! Ho!" in the middle of her bath. It's a matter of time before I bore her with Clapton/Beck/Page career comparisons and, for that matter, differing US versus international releases of (mainly) Beatles and Stones records. I'd better start soon.

16. Barbara Lynn – You'll Lose a Good Thing
"Unusually for the time, Lynn was a female African-American singer who both wrote most of her own songs and played a lead instrument." And that voice! Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross get all the acclaim while dressing up their hits in schmaltz and gimmick (or, rather, having their hits dressed up by others without their input). I'd probably be in the dark too if it weren't for Sooouuul Town. I'm one of the lucky ones.

17. Mr. Flood's Party – The Liquid Invasion
This begins and ends like an old Roger Corman soundtrack, with a creamy middle as delicious as any Cadbury Egg. I know nothing about the band but searching Wikipedia for "Mr. Flood's Party" redirects to turn-of-the-(last)-century American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson for some reason. I'm guessing there's a sonnet out there with his name on it that begins "Beware! Beware! The liquid invasion is here!"

18. A Tribe Called Quest – The Space Program
"There ain't a space program for niggas, no, you're stuck here, nigga." I guess this really is a thing. Years of fury caused by anything from bureaucratic spending habits, trigger-happy (at best) cops and Trump supporters who blame racism on Obama fueled two perfect Tribe performances during the only episode of Saturday Night Live I've seen in years. I declared the group in decline after Midnight Marauders in 1993, irrelevant after Beats, Rhymes and Life in '96 and kind of pathetic after The Love Movement in '98. I was right. Things change.

19. Ty Segall – The Only One
Tribe's Willy Wonka sample is a tough transition so let's overwhelm it with noise, instant noise. Pow! I don't know what to make of Ty Segall IX (what I'm calling his second self-titled album—who does he think he is, Jacques Dutronc?). Manipulator and Emotional Mugger are two of my five favorite albums in the last three years (definitely Mugger) and I suppose IX is… fine. I'll keep trying but the songs and/or songwriting aren't as interesting so far. There's a chance Ty takes the reigns from himself since I'm not so hip to this whole scene but if Thee Oh Sees (more than likely), Shellac (not so likely), Dead Meadow, Fuzz or Mudhoney release anything before New Year's Day I don't see it happening. I'll still race you to a live show.

20. Cortney Tidwell – Eyes Are at the Billions
It took everything I had to find a place for this gem from 2006, continuing my tradition of being blown away by individual songs and too lazy to pursue the rest of an artist's material. Nothing of Cortney's can be as good as this anyway, right? Even if it should have been four minutes longer.

21. Holly Golightly – Your Love Is Mine
This Serial podcast, have you heard of it? (Not Serial Girlfriend. My mistake.) I entered the zeitgeist a bit late to the party and asked the hosts if I could crash on their couch—they didn't hide how much I put them out. The second season was released as I finally prepared to head home but I took my time—misplaced socks, etc. Lucky for them I blasted through S-Town quickly enough to catch the last-straw cab they called me. Conclusions? Adnan Syed seems nice but probably did it, Jay Wilds seems dirty and probably is and Asia McClain's library recall is awfully specific. Bowe Bergdahl suffered as no one should and had his heart in the right place (and probably a screw or two loose) in the face of multiple macho pissing contests—everyone handled it badly. John B. McLemore was a self-important blowhard and con artist who exposed himself to too much mercury. Bonus critique: Sarah Koenig and her "sense of humor" make Serial almost unlistenable. And the theme music? The theme music!

22. Bonnie "Prince" Billy/The Phantom Family Halo – I Wonder If I Care As Much
In June I accompanied a friend to see Will Oldham play a… collaborative?… show with the Bitchin Bajas in Cambridge. The Bajas opened with a set of their own (that we missed) followed by one of Oldham (playing as Bonnie "Prince" Billy) solo. It was such an austere and goddamn reverent performer–audience dynamic—I haven't been in so quiet a crowded room outside of church. Oldham was self-consciously funny and personable, and after his last song he shuffled over to some keyboard for what we presumed would be the "headliner" sound check. I couldn't retire to the bar fast enough and wasn't really looking forward to him returning with the Bajas since "Show Your Love and Your Love Will Be Returned," the only song I'd heard from their album together, was overlong and dull. After like fifteen minutes of small talk soundtracked by weird cooing sounds from the stage we peeked around the corner to see Oldham and the Bajas in the middle of their first or second or who knows what song. Tape loops, beards and novelty mini baseball bats for percussion… what do you call it when four keyboard players shirk enthusiasm and never look up from their hands? Korg-gaze? Anyway, this Phantom Family Halo project is much more satisfying. Well, maybe. "I Wonder If I Care As Much" is the only song I've heard. Oldham should have reserved the title for the other guys.

23. Dorothy Ashby – The Moving Finger
This was a late replacement for Guru Guru's eleven-minute "Electric Junk," thereby relieving me of the guilt over my own electric junk guitar gathering dust after a year of little activity. Justin Guitar has taken me as far as I can get without personal "How can I put this finger here and this finger there and still have room to put this other finger here without touching that string there??" attention. So I completed the midlife-crisis stereotype by tearing a phone number off of a GUITAR LESSONS—FREE INTRO LESSON flyer at the hometown toy store (!) and adhering it to the fridge. If I haven't called this guy by the time training camp rolls around then I might as well let G. play the thing after all.

24. AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie
You wanted more Rosie and you got it! Ours weighs less than nineteen stone but is shaped like one nonetheless. All peanut butter and chocolate, she is, with one rear leg dipped in vanilla ice cream. She poops where she sleeps and enjoys baby carrots, peppers of any color and those flowery bits of hay. G. loves her to death and wants to snuggle her forever. I just want to eat her.

25. Simply Saucer – Dance the Mutation (Live)
"The band's style has been described as a hybrid of proto-punk and psychedelia and they form a 'Rust-Belt punk' style [see Eels, Electric and Tombs, Rocket From the], along with the Stooges, MC5 and Alice Cooper. The group's references also included German progressive rock, or Krautrock… the Velvet Underground… early Pink Floyd." I never stood a chance, especially after disregarding the Stockhausen reference. I am not there yet.

26. Tony, Caro & John – There Are No Greater Heroes
"All on the First Day was made in 1972 with almost no budget and primitive equipment, recorded on John [Clark]'s two-track. They could overdub in mono only by re-recording the backing track at the same time." Is that where they got that great underwater guitar and bass sound?

27. Old Time Relijun – Your Mama Used to Dance
Taken from the album 2012, released in 2005 (?), which is part two of the band's "Lost Light" trilogy that began with—yes—2004's Lost Light (home to more heaviness) and ended with 2007's Catharsis in Crisis. On a scale from zero to ten, out to one decimal place: what say you, Pitchfork Internet Media? Lost Light: 8.0; 2012: 7.7; Catharsis in Crisis: 7.9. As if there is a difference between any of these. (And if your fussiness is so pure then why not stick to whole numbers from zero to one hundred? I would know.) We can agree, though, that each is a marked improvement over the site's opinion of Uterus and Fire and its 0.3 rating in 1999. Seriously, we learn nothing more from that than we would from a zero on a zero-to-five scale. "Suckin' is cool." Don't you know it, ex-Pitchfork writer Michael Sandlin. Maybe you're getting paid to write decent criticism these days. Or paid at all.

28. Pere Ubu – Heart of Darkness
I'm working my way through the classics: Heart of Darkness, Cat's Cradle, The Thrawn Trilogy. Commuting this year was once again tolerable since A. began working from home full-time a little over a year ago, now that an hour and a half in the car is out of the picture. I still love Route 1—the Hooters logo really is well done—just not at rush hour. Give me the train! Give me bookmarks! Give me the opportunity to nickname every other weirdo I encounter on a daily basis! (Including new favorite "Rhymes With Runt," who tries and fails to take up an entire three-seater with her unsexy sun damage twice a day.) Even if I do nod off on the occasional ride home and, goddammit, got on the wrong train a month ago. It wasn't my fault!

29. Soundgarden – Hand of God
Celluloid hero Bill Paxton passed away in February. The following evening during the portion of the Oscars when famous people pat each other on the back even after they've died—while the people doing the real work are chased off the stage with orchestral swells and the ghost of the (still-living) Micro Machines guy—someone decided that Paxton didn't die young enough and excluded him from the "In Memoriam" segment. As if it wouldn't take someone—me!—forty-five minutes to edit a good-enough tribute to him from my DVD collection using a laptop that doesn't even have a DVD drive. So, as a big middle finger to Hollywood fat-cats big and small, Volume 9 includes a contribution in honor of Chris Cornell, who died a good eighteen days after I was supposed to cap this sucker. See how easy that was? Sure, I could have waited until next year, but by then I might have forgotten his relevance to my youth or, even worse (and more likely), that he had died at all. Of Nevermind (which I liked), Ten (which I kind of pretended to like until I realized how stupid that is) and Badmotorfinger it was Soundgarden's effort that meant the most, not to the point that I still listen to the band as often as I do, say, Six Finger Satellite, but rather to other tastes it reinforced. Zeppelin? Yes! Sabbath? Goddamn right! Pentagram? Be forewarned! Nirvana was good but Mudhoney did it better. Pearl Jam was lousy and fucking Bush were no worse. But Soundgarden? No one I knew was doing the heavy Dio thing in 1991. They weren't perfect—"Black Hole Sun" was their biggest hit and I disliked it from Superunknown's release—but even the King Animal reunion album was pretty good. The sort of delayed reaction to Cornell's death was odd considering how quickly people lost their shit over Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega but everyone's come around by now, which is nice. I certainly wasn't going to wait a year because of some May-to-April rule I've imposed. Just look at me posting in June anyway.

30. The Brain Police – Getting Too Much Higher
Discogs mocks the Brain Police by determining their sound to be "pretty average, if competent, psychedelic-period rock with hard-rock and baroque-pop influences" and comparing their (basically unreleased) output unfavorably to "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride," as if two of the best songs of 1968 (long before oversaturated exploitation) were just hanging around waiting to be picked. Sub-Steppenwolf is an apt comparison but "Getting Too Much Higher" deserves appreciation too, even if used copies of the self-titled album are only fetching seven bucks on the site. My reader (!) and I will increase awareness by one.

31. PJ Harvey – All and Everyone
I don't really know what Let England Shake is about but I'm feeling an England-in-wartime vibe. Lynne Olson's Troublesome Young Men was a terrific account of an appeasing Britain in the early stages of World War II—"death was everywhere," indeed, and Neville Chamberlain ignored it, happy to be island-bound and not left out to dry like Poland and Czechoslovakia. It's only one book and therefore one author's perspective but where might we be if heroes such as Harold Macmillan, Robert Boothby, Leo Amery, Ronald Cartland, Robert Cranborne and others hadn't gotten through Winston Churchill's thick skull that it was his time at last? Do what's right and to hell with political consequences: that is leadership. Nixon, Trump and their champions are obstruction.

32. Yellow Payges – The Two of Us
"Two of us riding nowhere, spending someone's hard-earned pay." Fuck off with that weak shit, Macca! "We're completely the same!" Yiiaaahhh! I like this 1969 better.

33. Royal Trux – Shockwave Rider
"I thought Lethal Weapon was… safe." I agree, it took the sequel to start beheading motherfuckers with surfboards. The photographs on the "Mercury" sleeve likely represent every stage of craving, scoring, ingesting, engaging and expelling hard drugs.

34. Delta 5 – Mind Your Own Business
This was apparently covered by Pigface long after I wondered what the hell I was doing owning three Pigface CDs. I'm sure it's all guttural and ugly. Pass.

35. Man… or Astro-Man? – Myopia
Actually titled "_____/Myopia" according to the record sleeve but I don't go for that nonsense, focusing instead on important stuff like reattaching discarded ellipses. From the magnificently titled and packaged EEVIAC Operational Index and Reference Guide, Including Other Modern Computational Devices.

36. The Graham Bond Organisation – Early in the Morning
"Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, please!" "Eric Clap–" Not so fast, wonderboy. I'm sure you somehow broke up the Graham Bond Organisation as well. Their take on "Early in the Morning" was an early candidate to lead things off but instead it makes three straight years of closing the set with a song shorter than two minutes. I intended for the trend to consist only of nineties indie rock shorter than two minutes but the superior two-thirds of Cream, along with junkie namesake Graham Bond and double-barreled scenester Dick Heckstall-Smith, decided it's ridiculous to declare something a trend after doing it twice. It's just a dirty lie!

The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves onnn: ten songs from the sixties (three from '68 and four from '69), twelve from the seventies (five from '70—typecast sanction), two from the eighties, five from the nineties, two from the aughts and five from the teens. God bless you, daughter. May future presidents be capable.

More furious madness: Volume 1|Volume 2|Volume 3|Volume 4|Volume 5|Volume 6|Volume 7|Volume 8

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Beer and football VII — playoffs, week five
Super Bowl LI
Part 1 of 1: Now he has his revenge

The game: Patriots vs. Falcons
The beer: SingleCut Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout
The result: Win, 34–28
The commentary: Need I add the "OT" designation to the score above? Is any reader (!) unaware of the game's epic? Nah. Even local guinea pig Rosie Posie knows what's up and she's continually dipped in chocolate and peanut butter.

Dreams of another split session, as with two parts of jazz-and-football discourse, seemed inevitable until two thousand something words about Black Sabbath loomed as preposterous. I'll save it for the playlist in a few weeks. Instead, knowing what I—and you—do about twenty-five-point deficits, Dont'a Hightower strip-sacks, James White heroics and premature Boston Globe headlines, and in honor of "live-blogging" a past event with no mystery as to its sexy results: here we go again. The entire game, without skipping commercials as I did that Sunday, undoubtedly (somewhat) riding the same highs and lows as missed opportunities and calamitous roadblocks produced an impossible outcome.

Meanwhile, here's my prescient daughter again in case you missed her original appearance in the draft post. Three Super Bowl appearances and two victories in her short life so far. I see a lifetime of "Remember when?" conversations as future Patriots lose in humiliating fashion to teams from Mexico, England and Germany. Fuck that, let's live in the present (minus several weeks) for the next few hours. It is early evening on February 5, 2017.

[Edit: I'll re-watch Sound FX, Turning Point and Inside the NFL as well and supplement with a few observations here and there, e.g., "I caught it! I caught it! I caught it!" Look for this extra bullshit in brackets or something. I'll also obtain another SingleCut from the town culinary shop and pour myself a glass as I wrap up this multiple-thousand-word madness—its "super complex richness" will transport me via a great magnetic field to Super Bowl Sunday's state of mind. Lastly, I somehow failed to take any pictures of G. that glorious weekend, so I'll pepper in a few good ones since then. If Andrew Loog Oldham can insert random shots of "the Stones in concert" while detailing the legal complications of Immediate Records in his Stone Free then I can do the same, though mine will surely end with less distasteful and bitter envy. On the contrary: huzzah!]

After watching a promo for MasterChef Junior, a.k.a. Heck's Kitchen, and imagining what value there is in a censored Gordon Ramsay, Joe Buck welcomes us with "Thank you for watching the Ford Pre-Kick show," as if I held onto that recording for these purposes.

[Matthew Slater's pep talk to Dion Lewis ("traded, cut"), White ("couldn't even get on the field your rookie year"), Danny Amendola ("walk-on"), Julian Edelman ("no position") and Patrick Chung ("had to go to another team, come back") is must-see TV. "Remember the journey, fellas. It all led to this."]

George and Barbara Bush come on for the coin flip. I'll fast-forward through this bit since it was awkward enough the first time. In our former president's defense, referee Carl Cheffers did ask him to "toss" the coin, not flip it, and that's about what happened.

Don't worry, everyone will be back for a proper flip in a few hours. Stick with it, Slater: tails never fails but heads never deads!

Great start to the commercials with all of Ford's getting-stuck scenarios. Who knew Nina Simone would one day try to sell me a car? This might be the high point since it was supposedly a bad batch this year.

Montage time brings the fucking Tyree catch. Thanks. I can stomach the Favre and Fridge celebrations but not Tyree, never Tyree. At least Fox had the decency to end with Belichick and his father getting a Gatorade bath after winning XXXIX.

"And now it's time to play football." Without lows there are no highs so I will not skip the bad parts. And I will not keep up this minute-to-minute pace.

LeGarrette Blount not converting on third and one on the first drive is the reason he's still a free agent. Eighteen touchdowns can be spread over several running backs who will probably average more than three point nine yards per carry. Also: welcome to stardom, Deion Jones!

That Devonta Freeman run to open the Falcons' offense stirred up memories of the evil Ray Rice start to Ravens–Pats in the 2009/2010 wild-card round. Beer-and-football, thankfully, was not yet conceived. "Inconceivable!" The first… three-fifths?… of this one will play out the same way.

Second drive, first play, failed jet sweep. Reeking of desperation early.

[Sound FX: Edelman acknowledges sound defensive coverage with "Hey! Hey! Gimme the flag! He hit me out of bounds!" He has a point but would you give him the benefit of the doubt after that display?]

"It's Edelman or Amendola, two little (whiiite!) guys."

"Pass was behind but caught by James (whiiite!)!" Oh wait.

The replay shows how Shaq Mason was sinfully overpowered by Courtney Upshaw on that sack. Sheesh. Falcons with good pressure as this "improved offensive line" has its worst game of the year.

It's unreal how Brady manages to hang onto to the ball every damn time when sacked from behind. Deflategate II!

Hasn't H&R Block seen Black Mirror?

"Oil explores space." Nice try, American Petroleum Institute. I await your inevitable eco-crisis.

Seven straight Super Bowls with the Pats scoring zero points in the first quarter. I'll take it.

Nice Brady commercial for Intel, taking a magazine into the bathroom. So far it, Nina Simone and subliminal John Lovitz are in the lead.

Meanwhile, how do these no-budget, cheesy-ass Toyota commercials afford anything approaching a Super Bowl, let alone last into this century? Those mouse clicks!

Blount's fumble is a killer. Reason number two if he's not back. Highlight number two from Deion Jones.

[Belichick: "Fuck."]

"If that's a Buick then my kid's Cam Newton." 2015 or 2016 version?

After those two amazing catches it's hard to believe Julio Jones only had two targets—and catches—for the rest of the game. Unless you're Dan Quinn or Kyle Shanahan.

[Matt Ryan to Jones: "Great hands on that drift, dog." You think?]

Touchdown Atlanta. Freeman was untouched after taking the ball at the ten. The defense looks gassed and that's after a timeout. 7–0.

Good to see Mark Wahlberg's shameful attempts to get pardoned over his hate-crime conviction aren't standing in the way of making shitty sequels to shitty movies. Or selling bad hamburgers. Or ditching historic football games early.

Oh yeah, the new 24 started. I got a few episodes in before tiring of the whole wait-a-week-until-the-next-episode quaintness so I'm letting them (and now Better Call Saul) pile up while blasting through the quite excellent Black Orphan on Amazon. Here's hoping for a spinoff starring Alison and Felix with frequent appearances by Vic and Donnie.

Julio Goddamn Jones. Falcons in total control.

"Falcons are easily inside field goal range for the big-legged kicker Matt Bryant." Har! Har! Touchdown number two.

Another perfectly executed leap by Shea McClellin over the guard to block the point-after but it draws a flag. Belichick woke up this morning still upset about the call. 14–0.

[Jones and Mohamed Sanu (Sr.): "They tryin' to two-man me." "I know!" "They can't do nothin' with me." "Nope."]

"He's the fucking guard!" Live television rules.

[Blount to Lewis on the sideline: "That's what opened the floodgates really, bro. I put that shit on the ground." He'll get no argument from me.]

"I love you, halftime bathroom break. But sometimes you stink." Buschhhhh.

"The Atlanta Falcons lead by fourteen. It's the largest deficit in a Brady–Belichick Super Bowl for the Patriots as they play in their seventh together."

Dwight Freeney's "patented spin move" is negated by a holding penalty. Remember a couple of years ago when Nate Solder tried to counteract Freeney's spin move with one of his own? Doesn't he know what "patented" means"? More importantly, doesn't he understand why offensive linemen aren't known for spin moves? Hall-of-famers, practice squad scrubs, it's universal!

Let's start taking pictures of the TV. Remember XLIX?

Bad game for Blount. He's close to getting benched. Flags are the only thing keeping this ugly drive alive and so they're advancing. Until…

[A wise, insolent Sanu to Jones on the bench: "We about to get a pick though. We about to get a pick though. We about to get a pick though." Jones responds with the most genteel handshake in sports.]

"A BITTER END." Awesome pick-six by Robert Alford no matter the outcome. We get our first shot of Arthur Blank, in the luxury box for now. 21–0.

[Crazy-Eyes Scott Zolak, Patriots radio color analyst: "Starin' him down, tryin' to stick it into Amendola. No chance." Captain Hightower on the bench, responding to unwelcome optimism: "We ain't alright! We're not alright!"]

This game should be over. But who's the dour gentleman?

A gift from the heavens as Martellus Bennett hauls in a dead duck ripe for picking and gains fifteen and a new set of downs. Is this the first of a thousand impossible plays without which the comeback would have fallen short?

[Sanu and Taylor Gabriel: "Ain't never met nothin' like us." "That's Tom Brady over there."]

A bad Bennett hold doesn't detract from hints of White's dynamic play to come. I and many others thought he'd be cut in the preseason, despite Patriots Football Weekly's still-vague defense of his play in last year's AFC Championship unpleasantness against the Broncos.

Good guys on the board! 21–3. Eighteen-point lead got nothin'.

This Lady Gaga commercial confuses me. She's an artistic rebel who challenges the status quo by shopping at Tiffany's? Stop explaining how outrageous you are. Stop it! "You're born knowing that Tiffany's is, like, the best." I may have inserted the "like" there but is she thirteen years old? Also, if there's anything more insufferable than a Patriots fan blogging about yet another Super Bowl win then it's someone—celebrity or otherwise—talking about how he or she grew up in New York City.

Beautiful commercial for… 84 Lumber? OK. But not compelling enough for me to jump online and "view the conclusion." Who does that? Proof that advertising is altogether silly.

Curt Menefee: "No team has ever come back from twenty-one points down to win a Super Bowl. How can the Patriots do it?" You guys can say whatever you want but you won't be close.

Here come all the weirdos who somehow earned the opportunity to fill the field during the halftime show. Back to the sewers with you in twenty minutes.

And now the drones. I didn't watch Lady Gaga live because I was behind in the recording and too high-strung after G. took awhile to get to bed. The three of us watched the following weekend and, though I'm no fan of the music, it was a pretty great show, even with the phony rooftop bit and the "rock band." Maybe I would have felt differently, or not been interested in watching at all, had the Falcons won.

Carrying Lady Gaga for six seconds will be the highlight of that dancer's life and no one was looking at him.

Keytar Bear making no changes whatsoever to his five-year plan.

"How you doin' tonight? We're here to make you feel good, you wanna feel good with us? Beth, I hear you callin'…"

Gaga's is the fourth best catch of the night after two by Jones and (of course) one by Edelman.

[Sound FX's and Inside the NFL's unique angles confirm the genuine article.]

"Alright Katie Nolan, you've made the big time. You'll be part of our Super Bowl coverage this year. Only on Fox!" "Amazing! I've aspired to this since J school. This truly is the grandest stage! What do you need from me, on-air analysis?" "Bingo!" "I'm so excited and will not disappoint you! So, X's and O's? Advanced stats? Presumed second-half adjustments?" "You'll get thirty seconds to talk about people's Twitter reactions to Lady Gaga." "What the fuck? Get out of my face."

We're back. Troy Aikman: "This opening possession for both of these teams, I think, is big to start this second half." I agree. We're both wrong.

Nice special-teams coverage by the Pats all night. On a related note, punter Ryan Allen is the team's MVP so far.

"One hour, eight minutes since we last saw the Atlanta Falcons offense." Not insignificant.

Nice three-and-out by the defense to open the half. One of many things that needed to happen before we knew what "things that needed to happen" really meant.

[Blount on the sideline: "Damn right! Damn right!"]

"What do I tell my daughter? That her dad is worth more than her mom? That she will automatically be valued less than every man she ever meets? Or maybe I'll be able to tell her something different." That dad drives a black fucking Audi and mom isn't allowed near it.

Live Snickers commercial wasn't bad. "Ungh, Jeremiah, you got us!" Nothing but chaos in Kylo Ren's wake.

Decent field position, even with Edelman stepping out of bounds on the punt return, sets up a whole lot of nothing as the Pats go three and out. They had to score there to keep it close, said everyone in New England at the time (me too). On the plus side, Quinn and the defense decide to use their first timeout before third down because they don't like what they see from an offense that dropped a catchable ball on first down (Chris Hogan) and committed a declined penalty on second. Bad Edelman drop on third so what do I know. First seven drives by the good guys: punt, punt, fumble, punt, interception, field goal, punt.

["Third time today New England's gone three and out."]

Bill Nye the Deflategate-Refuting-Science-Denier Guy.

Malcolm Butler's ankles simply decide "Nah" as Gabriel dusts right by him on the way to a thirty-five-yard gain. That replay was the opposite of Super Bowl-saving achievement. I still want him on the team this year and beyond—he was all in during Devin McCourty's hype speech before kickoff and those are the kinds of "dependable" players Belichick wants around. I don't understand why he's to become a Saint instead. (Mike Reiss knows but clearly isn't telling us.)

Nice pass defense by Butler draws two flags so maybe it wasn't so nice. They weren't stopping this drive anyway—Tevin Coleman's wide-open touchdown, with a no-chance Rob Ninkovich in pursuit, was written. First six Atlanta drives, excluding the end-of-half kneel-down on the kickoff return: punt, punt, touchdown, touchdown, punt, touchdown.

Laugher. Aikman: "This is not what you want to see." Also known as 28–3.

[Presumed Atlanta color analyst: "Too many weapons, they got too many guys to pay attention to." Total number of points scored by said weapons in the game's final twenty-seven minutes: zero.]

"The End of the Beginning." It took a Stranger Things trailer—"upside down" and all—to flip this shit. 2017 will be a down year for the candy industry.

Game over. We spoke of desperation earlier but this was the scene from Swingers when Gutter is leaving all those voicemail messages. "Trickery" in trying to recreate Edelman's perfect-passer-rating, game-changing touchdown pass from the Ravens game two years ago? Desperation. If I were going to turn the TV off—"no way I'm not watching"—it would have been after that incompletion. Fourth down.

[Sanu on the sideline agrees: "Hey, they tryin' some shit. They tryin' anything now." Zolak: "Gotta go for it. If you're out here callin' that play on third-and-three?"]

Life. "Nice job, Danny." No inflection. Is this the man?

[Quinn to cornerback Brian Poole: "Tackle! Hey! Get the legs! Get the fuckin' legs!" The Falcons defense played almost twice as many minutes as their offense and started showing it on this drive.]

First-down scramble by Brady. I'd say this was the turning point if there weren't still a dozen setbacks to come, never mind the point deficit. Like Freeney's and Bennett's helmets getting stuck together with the clock running.

[Sanu again: "I mean, they just wastin' time. I mean, they can't stop us, they just wastin' time."]

Blount is good for one average-altering run per game and that was it. Excellent first down… followed by a gain of zero. Buck: "I would imagine Patriots fans are saying 'Throw the football!'" Nailed it, Joe!

Woot! First six points for White.

[Zolak: "That's one. And maybe, just maybe, there's the one you need."]

Doink! Speculation is rampant that Stephen Gostkowski is set to be replaced. Rough 2017 for him as the rest of the game is in two-point-conversion territory. 28–9.

[Zolak: "You gotta be kiddin' me." The Globe's Chad Finn, discussing his predicted outcome as part of Boston Sports Media Watch's enjoyable "review, with perspective": "Watching Gostkowski lining up for a winning kick might have caused half of New England to black out."]

The Walking Dead, a show I couldn't give up on quickly enough at the conclusion of its first season, gets it all wrong by declaring that "Football season is over." Still more than a quarter to go plus overtime in this historic contest, you revolting gorehounds.

The botched onside kick is the first of the aforementioned setbacks. Ugly all over.

Ryan throws his hands up, backs out of the huddle and calls timeout (their second) as he walks to the sideline because of malfunctioning coach-to-quarterback communications. "I got nothin'!" he explains before removing his helmet. "I can't hear shit." An apparent lack of offensive hand signals is fully exposed and they're left with one timeout in regulation. Thanks guys!

That missed sack by Jabaal Sheard was a perfect encapsulation of his two years here. Bailed out by Chung.

Falcons go three and out. "What are we holding onto, Sam?" "That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for."

It was never made clear why the Falcons were able to run out the third quarter after a delay-of-game penalty. Why doesn't everyone do this? I guess it worked out OK.

I'm glad a twenty-dollar check from grandma can make this grungy Black Crowes cover band so mental with glee. They didn't even read the card. Shoppers at the North Conway outlets won't know what hit them.

Buck: "It would be an unprecedented comeback if the Patriots climb out of this… hole… to win their fifth Super Bowl." Fox compiles Blount's fumble, Hogan's drop, Alford's pick-six, Edelman's drop and Gostkowski's miss in a tidy package labeled "Miscues." Nothing about Quinn and Ryan burning two second-half timeouts.

[Idiot Pats fan in attendance: "C'mon, TB12! You got it! You got it!" Only idiot Pats fans refer to Brady as "TB12."]

That's two red-zone sacks for Grady Jarrett on this drive to go with a boring old regular sack earlier. Probably the MVP if the Falcons win. Are we sure they didn't win?

[Quinn, between sacks: "Call it again, guys, call it again. Call it again." Sanu agrees with me once more after the second sack: "Grady got another one! Hey, Grady's trying to get MVP!" Maybe he and I should do a brewery tour together sometime.]

Big plays from the role-players with White, Bennett and rookie Malcolm Mitchell moving the chains before they have to settle for a field goal. A very close field goal. 28–12.

[Belichick: "We're gonna need two more drives anyway."]

Yeah, that King's Hawaiian guy doesn't hide booze and porn around the house or anything.

[Blount: "There's still plenty of time if we get a stop, bro. If we get a stop and a score, we got plenty of fuckin' time, we just gotta score a fuckin' touchdown, bro!" Hightower: "No more mistakes, none of that no more. Everything's gotta be perfect." Edelman: "We need a turnover. Need a turnover, D."]

"Ball!" Hightower is excited about another season of Stranger Things but Freeman slept through the finale. The strip sack changes everything and directly results in the, yes Joe, "unprecedented comeback." Apologies for the change in screenshot quality, I watched the bad portion of the game during the day and the good at night with no lights on. My advertisers will be pissed.

[Hightower to Malcom Brown: "I told you we needed that!" Zolak: "We got a ballgame now!"]

Brady is immediately sacked by Freeney on the first play after the turnover. See what I'm talking about?

"I'm feeling pretty good."
Every Falcons fan in America
February 5, 2007, 9:38 p.m.

Mitchell gains a mammoth first down and slams the ball to the turf… before he's touched. You are no longer in college. Solid awareness by Falcons cornerback CJ Goodwin to swipe at the ball, poor awareness by him to give up on it after the whistle, allowing Mitchell to snatch it back. I wonder how everything would have played out had Goodwin dove on the thing and Quinn challenged possession.

Touchdown, Amendola! Great game for him. "And Brady tells the world they're going for two."

Kevin Faulk White with the direct snap and that's eight points for him. 28–20.

[Patriots radio play-by-play man Bob Socci: "It's a one-score game!"]

"Born to Be Wild," still the most underrated overexposed song in rock history.

A., doing some work at the dining table all evening while I was the picture of anxiety on the couch, had been asking for the previous half hour if I wanted her to sit next to me for, I don't know, moral support. I politely declined, having accepted a bad outcome and not wanting to get any stink on her. After Amendola's touchdown, when victory became a real possibility, she asked again and I said "Yes, please."

[Dante Scarnecchia to the offensive line: "We're still in a go-for-two mode if we score again. When we score again." Cheffers to Gene Steratore: "Hey, this could get interesting." Shanahan to Ryan: "Be smart, man."]

Another nice punt from Allen—he's not going away quietly in team MVP discussions as Freeman's forty-yard catch-and-run against air effectively ends the game. People will remember the Pats steamrolling post-Stranger Things but it was never, ever easy. (Until overtime.)

Julio Goddamn Jones. Replay after replay is well earned and magnifies remarkable skill, concentration and athleticism. I don't think much of Eric Rowe but he could not have covered it any better. Best catch of the night because Edelman is a bit of a douche.

[Blount dumbfounded on the sideline. Brady mutters "Damn." Sanu to Jones in the subsequent huddle: "Hey! You a baaad man!"]

Trey Flowers, defensive MVP. Timeout Pats.

Aikman and Buck: "You just can't take the sack there. It doesn't knock 'em out, in terms of being in field-goal range, but that's a costly sack by Matt Ryan." "It would be a fifty-three-yard field goal from this spot. Matt Bryant has plenty of leg for that, but that sack makes the field-goal try just that much more difficult if the Falcons don't come up with any yardage on this third and twenty-three." "Yeah, Matt Ryan's gotta be smart here, you can't afford another sack. Try to pick up some yards, make it easier for Matt Bryant. Three points is big right now in this ballgame."

"And with the sack and the hold, the Falcons are not in position to add to an eight-point lead."

[Ryan before the penalty is announced: "What the fuck, guys. Did you hold?" Guard Tom Compton: "I did not. I did not." Tackle Jake Matthews: "Does your mouthguard taste like banana?"]


Falcons fans have every right to bitch about that intentional grounding non-call for the rest of their lives. Dicey.

Big first down but Hogan can't get out of bounds. Brady slowing things with two timeouts left. Ryan helpless on the sideline.

Mitchell with the first. I thought he hurt his knee on that one. We need you, buddy!

[Sanu on the sideline: "We gotta get a turnover." Has he Edelman's hoodoo from twenty minutes ago?]

"It didn't touch the ground!" That was me, over and over, with a sleeping five-year-old upstairs. Ridiculous. Cash money call by the refs. Quinn challenges, of course, and loses his final timeout. I don't blame him. I still look for signs of incompletion whenever I see the Tyree catch. They aren't there. (Eli in the grasp though? Dirty pool.)

[Edelman, rolling around with three defensive backs: "I caught it! I caught it! I caught it!" He and cornerback Poole have conflicting opinions during the review as they look to different big screens for confirmation either way. Sanu, voice of the viewers throughout the game: "I think he caught that."]

Lotsa replays. If Alford intercepts that it's a two-man race between him and Jarrett for MVP.

"The ruling on the field is confirmed." Right on cue, here's the Tyree catch. 19–0 is the lost love I'll forever mourn. It's obvious after Amendola's follow-up catch that the Pats are winning this game. I don't know what to tell you. Two-minute warning.

White with six more. 28–26. Deep breaths.

"This is a tie game!" as Edelman concusses Amendola. I was jumping up and down before they formally confirmed the conversion, confident that a second attempt, if necessary, wouldn't fail following the offsides penalty. This game was going to be tied no matter what. Fifty-seven seconds remaining in regulation.

[Amendola with a sly wink to Brady as they return to the sideline. I love that.]

Aikman and Buck: "And you think now, for the Atlanta Falcons, how costly the sack on Matt Ryan, the holding penalty on left tackle Jake Matthews… knocks them out of field-goal range that would have made this a two-possession ballgame." "Twenty-five unanswered points put up over the last sixteen-plus minutes by New England."

Straight to overtime, right? You haven't been watching. Sanu with a quick first but no timeouts dooms the drive. And shit, if Duron Harmon came down with that inbounds?

Timeout taken by Belichick just to rub it in.

Edelman fair-catches the punt with three seconds left.

Lewis is taken out by sniper fire but hangs onto the ball like a Bizarro Patrick Pass. End of regulation.

Slater: Tails never fails but heads never deads. No confusion this time: "We'll take the ball," complete with hand gestures.

Former leading ladies from Mad Men, Dexter and Orange Is the New Black make for a compelling Handmaid's Tale that I will probably never see. Drag.

[I think linebacker Elandon Roberts is braiding Hightower's hair as they watch the offense take the field to start overtime. Blank and his wife haven't yet retreated from the sideline. He looks ready to start rubbing guys out. "Look how they massacred my boys."]

Yeah, those setbacks are history now. Good guys marching. Falcons plainly exhausted. Now they don't call timeout?

[Hightower, after Hogan's catch: "Arms to the ball, motherfucker!"]

Impossible laser to Edelman. As if Brady isn't the greatest quarterback in history.

Dangerous throw to Bennett draws a flag. I like the idea of getting Bennett a touchdown here but don't force it, man.

Don't force it, man. Vic Beasley (Jr.) stopped just short of James Harrison's legend on that one.

[Zolak: "Dangerous throw. Dangerous, dangerous throw. Don't get greedy."]

I have no words.

[Socci and Zolak: "James White, tucks it under the right arm, cuts it upfield… driving forward! Diving to the goal line–" "YYYUUUUUNGH!" "–a touchdown! And a title! For the Patriots!" PFW's Fred Kirsch on his live chat: "I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! GO ENJOY THE CELEBRATION!!!" Not an accidental "1" in the bunch!]

Twenty points for White, the MVP in a non-Brady universe. Buck and Aikman: "They've already shot off the confetti, fans are on the field." "I don't know what they'd do if they had to overturn this!" Brady clearly telling everyone to get lost until the touchdown is reviewed. Ryan looking ill and wanting none of that.

[I'm gonna skip all this "It's not over!/Get the fuck off the field!" bullshit from Edelman. He was as giddy as the rest until his crush told him they had to review it.]

Touchdown confirmed. The Pats led the game for zero seconds.

[Socci, in his odd, stilted, broadcast-y delivery that sounds like dyslexic pentameter: "They have completed the greatest comeback… in Super Bowl history… led… by the greatest quarterback… in Super Bowl… and NFL annals."]

Blount to Belichick in the middle of a media scrum: "You're the greatest!" Turns to Brady: "And you're the fucking greatest! You're the fucking greatest, bro." Live television rules.

[Zolak: "What an amazing, stunning end as the Falcons just sit there in disbelief. You can say they blew it, but I'm gonna go with New England took it out of their hands." The Providence Journal's Mark Daniels in the BSMW piece: "It's literally impossible to count the Patriots out."

I'm seeing this celebration for the first time. I was fogged in by now.

[Belichick, embracing White: "Way to go, buddy. I'm fuckin'… I'm so proud of you." To Edelman: "They counted us out twenty times."]

Here's my Nina Simone commercial again as Atlanta wept.

The NFL Shop commercial inadvertently reminds viewers that third-world countries will be dressed in red and black in support of the Atlanta Falcons, winners of Super Bowl LI.

Power move by Brady, holding tight to Roger Goodell's perfunctory handshake and pulling him closer for a glorious twist of the knife. Even better in slow motion.

[Excellent second angle on Sound FX, also in slow motion. Goodell tries and fails to pull away early. His limo was already running, parked across three handicapped people.]

Here comes three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest with the trophy. "Kiss this motherfucker!" Live television rules.

Michael Strahan? Goddammit.

[Hall-of-Famer and Matthew's dad Jackie Slater: "They got the best quarterback in the history of the National Football League, bar none." He would know after seven years of Chris Jim Everett.]

"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!11!!1" Goodell hands the trophy off to Robert Kraft and gets the fuck outta dodge.

Kraft, Belichick and Brady stick to the script and I love them for it. Joy reigns over vengeance.

[Inside the NFL narrator: "Fifteen years ago, a sixth-round afterthought hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the first time. Now, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history."]

Terry Bradshaw brings in "James Lewis." What team does he play for again? James White deserves this limelight. There will be no talk of his release in August.

[Socci: "And a silver trophy… is coming back to New England." My second-grade bowling trophy? He seems like a nice guy but what is that?]

A lot of "never befores" from Menefee. Final five Patriots drives, excluding Lewis's end-of-regulation scramble: touchdown, field goal, touchdown (plus two-point conversion), touchdown (plus two-point conversion), touchdown. Falcons final four: punt, fumble, punt, punt.

"Well, for every great victor, there is a tough loser." What happened, Dan Quinn? "Unfortunately, with the play that we tried to execute, the guy makes a great play and jumps in front of the route and makes an incredible play that nobody would ever think he could do. And unfortunately that changes the whole outcome." Whoopsie, wrong game!

Brady's well worn Shields MRI commercial is rereleased as Shields MRI Redux. "Would you please remove all jewelry and place it in the locker?" "Oh yeah, sure. No problem." [Removes four Super Bowl rings.] "Is that all?" "For now." "Uh, actually no. I forgot this one. It's kinda new." "We're gonna need to get you a bigger locker!" "Roger that!"

So ends the recording. By this point I was switching around local networks that likely promoted "PATRIOTS WIN SUPER BOWL" as breaking news for six hours. Eventually I posted to Facebook about what the Fios onscreen guide thought I was watching on Fox: "This is the greatest episode of 24 I've ever seen." Monday was hell. Yes, it's a dynasty.

Now I can delete the game from my DVR and make room for several hours of NFL draft on Thursday. These Monk marathons don't come cheap! Cry not for me, fans of thirty-one other teams, for I preordered Three Games to Glory on February 6. Open races will rule an NFL without Brady–Belichick and, as such, XLIX and LI will make for fine alternatives should future Super Bowls not end in glorious fashion for a sixth time or more. Eventually it will be—it will have to be!—someone else's turn, right? Maybe even the Bills. They know something about teams overcoming deficits in the playoffs.

Up next: Is more beer and football on tap—har! har!—with complete draft coverage? Maybe next year. There is a beauty beyond the senses, Nefretiri. Cheers!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beer and football VII — playoffs, week four (bye)

The beer: Samuel Adams Hopscape Wheat Ale
The commentary: Still fits.

Twas a bye week of Super Bowl memories, thanks to the NFL Network, which I still can't believe is part of my one-step-beyond-basic cable package. Leading up to the Seahawks game a couple of years ago I already covered where I was at with previous Patriot appearances (plus Buccaneers–Raiders, for some reason, though ignoring my first conscious Super Bowls in Redskins–Dolphins, Redskins–Raiders and 49ers–Dolphins, which might have been when we actually got Chinese food). Indeed, a series of Film Session recordings brought some of it back, even the more-competitive-than-I-remember Packers game that felt like a lifetime ago. It was. I wore a red, white and black Banana Republic sweater that night and walked out in a haze after Desmond Howard's backbreaker. Bill Parcells wasn't far behind.

I skipped the Bears and the first and second Giants disasters (shudder) and, after XXXI, watched the four victories in order, saving an electro-jazzed XLIX for the beer of the week. Said Hopscape was smoother than its name implies but sure, Atlanta proprietor, stop selling Sam Adams for a week. (Isn't it brewed in Ohio now anyway?) You're lucky I stopped drinking Coke except when I go to the movies three times in a week.

Supplemental Pats Pulpit material, in which they similarly revisited past Super Bowls, set the scenes and tones a little beyond, you know, slow-motion John Kasay schadenfreude, particularly when letting one's memory fill in the blanks of a bare-bones but well presented David Tyree dagger. (Cheers to Shutdown Corner, as well, for remembering Asante Samuel's non-interception and Mike Carey's judgment over what is and is not in the grasp.) The world's smallest violin—this is G's third Super Bowl in her five-and-a-half years.

Tomorrow, Super Bowl Sunday, "the Big Game Day of Our Lord," I will attempt and fail to sleep in. If I awake past seven it will be welcome—and mean that the nap G. is taking as I type this didn't knock out all of her exhaustion. She's usually in our room around then, asking to watch "teebee" because weekend mornings are really the only periods of screen time we allow. Parenting is hard but it eases up when your child can become engrossed in something else while lying right next to you. (We'll still judge harshly those who let their kids play games on cracked-screen iPhones at every restaurant I've ever been to. But neither are we perfect. I mean, the swearing on this blog.) We push teebee time off until eight and ask her to entertain herself with puzzles/books/elaborate Playmobil dioramas so A. can get some more sleep (bless her) and I can catch up on week-old Patriots news (Brady's dad again?), since I have no realistic shot at dozing so late. Sleep until noon all you want, nineteen-year-old self. Grab it while you can.

This is when it will sink in. Injury speculation will evolve to concern (Alan Branch, who needs to play), resignation (Nate Ebner, who maybe shouldn't) or hand-waving dismissal (everyone else, who might as well put their shoulder pads on now). I'll take everything I've read about the Falcons this week with a grain of salt and dive deep into Patriots Football Weekly, a team-owned enterprise that is the only source for unbiased analysis. Can the Falcons' defensive front seven scheme up some decent interior pressure? Is it enough to limit Julio Jones and let the running backs do what they want? How much does the XLIX win over Dan Quinn's defense matter? Are Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount due to break out this postseason or will they barely register on the stat sheet again? Am I superstitious or do I just like to ask a lot of questions to flesh out a pre-Super-Bowl entry? If only my regular commute still involved driving by Danilchuk Auto Body.

Once I've learned all those answers and not budged from my ninety-percent certainly that the good guys will win by a touchdown or more (and G. has watched a solid two hours of Octonauts) we'll all freshen up and leave the house later than planned to meet friends in Salem for brunch. I'll get an egg sandwich, a muffin if they have any and probably a beer just because. We'll walk around after, maybe hit the playground and then swing by Trader Joe's on the way home because there isn't enough chaos in the world. G. and I will look for Larry the Lobster so she can score a lollipop that won't do her baby teeth any favors and then we'll head home to eat a late lunch and start that Sgt. Pepper puzzle to distract me from the tension that comes with seven Super Bowl appearances in fifteen years. Eventually we'll order a pizza (chaos redux) and settle in for some pregame hot air. G. is excited to watch and is already talking about training camp later this year. She's the best.

At kickoff I'll pop the top off another music-themed beer, paving the way for more nonsense criticism that isn't of Trout Mask Replica or, generally, football. I picked this up a couple of hours ago at yonder culinary shop that, according to its Facebook page, was offering "one free rub per customer" with any purchase of two six-packs. I await satisfaction and so bought a vaguely musical bottle of wine as well. The internet cries for help.

And then? And then! "What time does 'What time does the Super Bowl start?' start?" Kickoff! And I'm feeling pretty good.

"I'm feeling pretty good."
Tony Eason
January 26, 1986

Up next: SBLI. Cheers!