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I’ve Got a New Podcast

June 11, 2020

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My Top 25 Albums of 2015

December 21, 2015

I listened to more than 100 albums this year.  While I liked most of them, these 25 were my favorites from 2015:

  1. Sink Tapes – Creases Listen on Spotify
  2. Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight Listen on Spotify
  3. Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics Listen on Spotify
  4. Saun & Starr – Look Closer Listen on Spotify
  5. Oil Boom – Red Metal Listen on Spotify
  6. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think… Listen on Spotify
  7. Destroyer – Poison Season Listen on Spotify
  8. Young Buffalo – House Listen on Spotify
  9. Sick Sad World – Fear and Lies Listen on Spotify
  10. Love Axe – South Dakota Listen on Spotify
  11. Tuxedo – Tuxedo Listen on Spotify
  12. Reno Bo – Lessons from a Shooting Star Listen on Spotify
  13. Royal Headache – High Listen on Spotify
  14. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man Listen on Spotify
  15. Phylums – Phylum Phyloid Listen on Spotify
  16. Yukon Blonde – On Blonde Listen on Spotify
  17. Martin Courtney – Many Moons Listen on Spotify
  18. Robert Pollard – Faulty Superheroes Listen on Spotify
  19. The Helio Sequence – The Helio Sequence Listen on Spotify
  20. Best Friends – Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. (not yet on Spotify)
  21. The Cairo Gang – Goes Missing (not yet on Spotify)
  22. Tall Tales & The Silver Lining – Tightropes Listen on Spotify
  23. Tommy Keene – Laugh in the Dark Listen on Spotify
  24. The Sonics – This is The Sonics Listen on Spotify
  25. Kristin Diable – Create Your Own Mythology Listen on Spotify

My Top 25 Albums of 2014

December 18, 2014


The Lowest Extremities

September 5, 2014

My wife and I recently had a conversation with two of our teenagers about the dismal state of American politics, which I rarely discuss with anyone these days, even though I majored in Political Science back in college. Not that such a course of study makes me more qualified to have such a discussion — it most certainly doesn’t — but having once been interested enough in the topic to spend four years focused on it (actually five, if I’m being completely honest) would seem to suggest a willingness on my part to more frequently discuss politics.

Alas, this is the social media age, where every word posted on Twitter or Facebook is immediately scrutinized, judged, and — if not completely aligned with that particular reader’s entire viewpoint — attacked. Anyone who dares to disagree in the slightest on even the smallest point is instantly branded a dangerous heretic or an imminent threat. This appears to be a direct byproduct of the intense partisanship that currently permeates Washington, D.C., and which has led to the demise of civil discourse.

The two-party system has been in place for well over a century, yet only over the past two decades has the divide between the Democrats and Republicans become so deep and bitter. With each passing year, the rancor and vitriol becomes increasingly hostile. The chasm is now so great, the middle ground has completely eroded. All that remains on the ideological spectrum is the far left and far right.

Somewhere along the way, independent thought became viewed as weakness. To be truly considered a Democrat, you must be unyieldingly liberal, and to be truly considered a Republican, you must be unflinchingly conservative. Any view held by the other side must be immediately opposed, dismissed, rejected, and repudiated as treasonous heresy. Strength can only come from a complete and total alignment of opinion. Dissent is anathema.

As a result, it has become virtually impossible to engage anyone in a reasoned discussion about anything even remotely political. Every single topic, regardless of significance, is now a hot button issue requiring a stance be immediately and definitively taken on one side or the other. All that exists is black and white. Gray is but a distant memory.

That’s why I typically avoid discussing politics, but when our kids wondered aloud who we thought might be the next President, my wife and I considered it a perfect opportunity to try and start reversing the trend of belligerent political discourse in this country by openly engaging the next generation in a civil and respectful manner.

We talked with them about how the two-party system is antiquated and broken, which has caused a level of government gridlock so impenetrable that it severely handicaps the effectiveness of whoever sits in the office — regardless of whether that person is a Democrat or Republican. Each of the past two Presidents — Barack Obama and George W. Bush — have been criticized to the point of villainy by their opposition in Congress, who uses their power to serve as an obstruction to democracy, rather than the conduit they were elected to be.

But most of all, we emphasized to both our 16-year-old son and our 14-year-old daughter the importance of thinking for themselves, rather than simply falling in lockstep with either extreme of the ideological spectrum. Each man and woman in this great country of ours should be free to make their own informed decisions, without feeling any societal pressure to align with one side or the other. A party platform is not sacrosanct, nor should it be viewed as a guide for living one’s life.

Show respect for others to hold opinions which differ from your own. The fact that someone disagrees with you does not make them wrong. Simply because someone has an opposing viewpoint does not mean they are a bad person. This line of thinking has to stop, or this country is doomed. We are capable of peacefully coexisting, despite our differences. That is the very freedom upon which America was founded. Let’s all please try and remember that the next time we engage with someone whose opinion differs from our own.

My Quick Thoughts on Packers at Cowboys 2013

December 16, 2013

(Jim Biever/

  • After riding an unstoppable running game to a seemingly-insurmountable 23-point halftime lead at home against a reeling opponent saddled with an extremely ineffective backup quarterback, the Dallas Cowboys came out of the locker room and ran just seven times in the second half, while inexplicably calling 23 pass plays. Meanwhile, their supposedly reeling opponent – the Green Bay Packers – chose not to abandon the run. It paid off immediately, as Eddie Lacy began the third quarter with a 60-yard run on Green Bay’s first play from scrimmage after halftime. Three plays later, the Packers would score their first of FIVE second-half touchdowns, en route to a 37-36 comeback win that should be shocking, but really wasn’t in the least.
  • Dan Bailey (5-for-5 on FGs, including two 50-yarders) and DeMarco Murray (134 yards rushing, with an average of 7.4 yards-per-carry) are the ONLY two people associated with this franchise (including those who receive checks from the team, as well as the guy who signs those checks) who don’t deserve to be harshly criticized after that debacle. That includes Dez Bryant, who although he made some spectacular plays and posted big numbers on the day, also made the completely inexcusable decision to leave the sideline and head back to the locker room with a minute-and-a-half remaining. He’s got to show more maturity than that.
  • There’s really not much else to say about the Cowboys’ disaster of a defense that hasn’t already been said after any number of their many catastrophic performances this season. If the game ended at halftime, it would have been their best performance of the season, as they held the Packers to just three points in the first two quarters. But after forcing Green Bay to punt four times in the first half, the Dallas defense forced zero punts in the second half, allowing the Packers to score 14 in the third quarter and another 20 in the fourth.
  • DeMarcus Ware has been one of the greatest players in the history of the Cowboys over the course of his career, but he’s played well below expectations this season. Last week, his frustration reached a new high, as he took a page from the Heisenberg playbook and defiantly asked the media, “WHAT’S MY NAME?” After his no-show yesterday (1 tackle, 0 sacks), you have to wonder whether anyone on the Green Bay offensive line could answer his question. The real question that needs to be asked is, “How much is left in his tank?”
  • Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan, and Monte Kiffin should ALL be fired, but it’s doubtful any of them will – especially not during the season. If the Cowboys win their next two games, they will still win the NFC East and make the playoffs, so Jerry Jones will view that as a successful season. If they beat the Redskins, but then lose to the Eagles, he’ll be able to fall back on the argument that the Cowboys at least were right there with a chance to win the division on the final day of the season. Heck, even if they lose both of these last two games, he’ll probably justify it by blaming the rash of critical defensive injuries to key players. Unfortunately, the one thing he WON’T do is fire the guy who’s responsible for hiring all of those incompetent coaches: the General Manager.
  • Given the numbers Kirk Cousins posted yesterday in his first start of the season for Washington (381 yards passing, 3 TDs, 94.8 passer rating), along with the Cowboys’ inability to stop the backup quarterbacks of opposing teams in recent weeks (Green Bay’s Matt Flynn and Chicago’s Josh McCown), it seems inevitable that Cousins will light up the Dallas secondary. So, what seemed like it should have been an easy win just one week ago now looks to be anything but that. And if the Cowboys somehow do manage to beat the Redskins next week (ON THE ROAD, no less), their reward is yet another season-finale winner-take-all showdown for the NFC East title. They failed two seasons ago when facing the Giants in that situation at MetLife Stadium, and failed last season when in that same scenario against the Redskins at FedEx Field. In order for history to even have a chance of repeating, the Cowboys will have to immediately reverse the direction of their sinking ship, or that last game at home against the Eagles won’t be for anything but one final undeserved 2013 paycheck.
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