Wizards: It turns out I’m a tattoo designer

Way back in 2011 when it the Washington Wizards finally returned to the franchise (and DC sports) colors of red, white and blue, I came up with a uniform and logo concept for the Wiz.

The logo wasn’t that far off from what the Wiz went with in the rebrand.

On Friday, @dcsportsbog retweeted a tattoo pick and it looked very familiar:

This isn’t the first time an idea of mine has been used by someone else — Mr. Walkoff, the nickname I came up with for Ryan Zimmerman, became a t-shirt for sale by other bloggers and then the Washington Nationals (sadly, I didn’t get to the ballpark in time during the giveaway, though Adam Dunn provided a walk-up of his own in his penultimate Nats game). This mover though, shows more commitment than anybody else to date.

It had not occurred to me that I might be a tattoo designer, however inadvertent. I guess I have a new skill to add to my LinkedIn profile. I’m flattered.

Oh and since we’re on the topic of D.C. basketball, here’s a little something I found in my old stuff in my mom’s basement the other day:

old Washington Bullets trucker hat

I probably bought it around 1992 at the Capital Centre, perhaps when I saw my only Bullets game (floor seats, under the basket no less) against the Portland Trailblazers.

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Just one Nats-Brewers question with @LeavittDC

I’m really busy and haven’t gotten to offer many All-Star break #halftakes on the Washington Nationals. Wisconsin expatriate @LeavittDC isn’t even in the country right now, so he’s spending even less time focusing on the Nats or the Milwaukee Brewers. I still needed to get one burning question in with the DC series starting this evening.

WFY: Is having to cold call people and apologize for using PEDs is a bigger deterrent than suspension, fines and loss of reputation?

@LeavittDC: I’d make a lot of unpleasant phone calls for $105 million. He’s handled things very well, though. I suspect the phone call that was even more awkward — although, again, he can cry into his pile of money — was the one from Aaron Rodgers announcing that their friendship and business partnership was over. I don’t know how dear the 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill was to Ryan, but that public divorce had to have been awkward. Back to your question, it’s not a deterrent, clearly, but if players knew they are risking not only their professional reputation but personal friendships… crap, I can’t finish that sentence. They’d cheat anyway.

* * *

We’ll try to do better next season, but let’s not forget the most important thing:

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It’s 196 days until the Capitals host the Winter Classic and no venue has been selected

Earlier this week Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis was arguing why D.C. should host the 2024 Summer Olympics1 (DC Sports Bog, The Post). I’m more interested in D.C. hosting the Winter Classic; the Caps are the scheduled home team. My preferred option is Nationals Park which is a mere mile from the U.S. Capitol. Seems obvious, but the NHL and Leonsis choose not to make the selection (or any other) concurrent with the 2015 Winter Classic announcement. I’ve said that was bad policy and now, barely 6 months out, the lack of a venue is mysterious, even more so given that Leonsis included Baltimore in a list of possibilities. That’d hardly be the kind of authentic D.C. experience he boasted about during the Wizards run through the NBA Playoffs earlier this spring.

So instead of worry about the Olympics and all that comes with it (debt) Leonsis needs to settle on a D.C. (or even Landover – FedEx Field) location for the Winter Classic.

In other Caps news, I like the Barry Trotz hire as head coach, but am wary of GM Brian MacLellan who was promoted from within. Hopefully, these two will stop looking for a free agent goalie in the hope it might find one that gets hot and instead address the need for a second line center and solid defensemen.

1Which coincidentally would be held 3 years before the agreement with the District on the Verizon Center would expire…

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2014 Nats vs. SF Giants Q&A with my friend David

I sent these questions out before Ian Desmond ripped apart the San Francisco Giants like he was a cop avenging his dead partner (the day before he was supposed to retire) in a 9-2 Washington Nationals win.

David, who grew up on another court in our Northern Virginia suburb, has been a guest prognosticator in 2011, 2012 and 2013 Nats vs. Giants Q&A and prediction with my friend David.


WFY: After a 52 year wait, the Giants won San Francisco it’s first World Series in 2010. Then, they stunk in 2011 and came back to win the 2012 World Series, followed by a rough 2013. Now, in 2014 they have the best run differential and record in the NL by far. Why are they going back and forth between domination and mediocrity?

DFS: There is rumor that rears its head ever so often that the Giants ownership wanted to maximize profit following the World Series both times. The Giants are owned by a consortium of moneymen, like hedge fund managers accustomed to return on investment, and not an old baseball family. I don’t know if there’s much truth in the rumor, but the team did not pursue marquee free agents in 2011 and 2013 and were content with limited talent starting often. Like many teams that don’t have a recent tradition of playoff success they re-signed and overpaid old veterans out of gratitude rather than thinking of the future. The contracts awarded to Aubrey Huff and Marco Scutaro come to mind. This year the Giants did the opposite and added two big names—Morse and Hudson—and each have had a great, positive impact.

WFY: The team with the second best run differential in the NL is facing your Giants for four games this week. The Nats have been great in June, having come within a blown save of consecutive sweeps to get them into a three-way tie for the NL East. What’s the take on the series from the Bay Area perspective?

DFS: I can’t really say. From the limited media I take in about the team no one has said anything about the Nats other the typical sales pitch of seeing Strasburg. I’m curious because I’m a Sports Illustrated reader and they have picked the Nationals two years running to take the National League pennant. I think the perception is that the Nationals are an underperforming squad that has been hurt by key injuries. For instance, I wasn’t aware that they’re in such tight contention in their division. The talk of the town really has been how great the Giants have been playing and that’s it. The two-out rallies and late inning comebacks have been so much fun.

WFY: Each game of this series has strong starting pitching from both sides, but I have to think the Giants have the edge playing at home and the overall dominance of Tim Hudson against Washington. The Giants get a little lucky that they don’t face Jordan Zimmerman who dominated the San Diego Padres yesterday and has been part of a starting rotation that gave up one walk in the past week.The DC bullpen has been quite strong, but gets a lot of work at times. How is the Giants bullpen?

DFS: The Giants bullpen has been tremendous. Saturday’s game was a good example. Hudson pitched poorly and only made it through the 5th inning. The bullpen kept the Giants in it long enough for the team to come back in the ninth. The Giants don’t have anybody that overpowers batters with 100 mph stuff—the kind of pitcher who gets a lot of attention. Romo is an unconventional closer—a guy that throws in the 80s and relies nearly exclusively on an off-speed pitch: his slider. The fans absolutely love him.

WFY: Way back earlier in the year, we briefly discussed Michael Morse, the former Nat turned Giant LF who is having a resurgence. How big has he been for the Giants? How has San Francisco taken to him? Is he as bad in left as I remember? He was a fan favorite here and until recently, his at bat music “Take on Me” was still being played in the middle of the 7th which was kind of weird.

DFS: I’ve been so pleased with Morse. Last year the Giants left fielder and first basemen hit about 20 home runs combined! Posey represented the only real consistent power in the lineup. Sandoval, of course, can be a fearsome hitter but he was largely ineffective last year. Pence was spotty. With Morse (and an improved Sandoval and Pence) the Giants have real hitters batting 1 through 5. Having Pence hit 2nd has been great too because he’s fast and his speed was not optimized when he was hitting 5th previously. The reaction by the fans and team to Morse seems to have been instant adoration. He plays with verve and joy. It is fun to watch him play because he’s having a good time while still delivering. It has been so great to get production out of left field or first base. Posey can play first base on off days and Morse moves to Left. The prior option at Left was Gregor Blanco who bunts for singles.

WFY: Who is the face of the franchise?

DFS: Posey. The team has a ton of character and characters. But Posey’s jersey is the one parents buy for their little boys.

WFY: Bruce Bouchy has a pretty strong resume having won the division and even a pennant with the San Diego Padres and of course two World Series for the Giants. What is his style of managing? Did he help get the Giants to the promise land? Have old managers like Felipe Alou and Roger Craig ever been heard from again?

DFS: I feel very fortunate that the Giants have Bochy. I think managers’ value generally is overstated. Football is the ultimate coach’s sport where expertise in talent evaluation, film study, game planning, and clock management reveal a coach’s value. In baseball, I think the game has historically been a player’s sport and you have to look more closely to see how a manager may be adding value. Bochy has the confidence to assert himself into the game and take strategic risks. In the 2010 and 2012 playoffs his regular line-up changes seemed to pay off beautifully. To wit, using Ryan Theriot as a DH in Game 4 of the World Series made me scratch my head. Theriot scored the winning run. The Giants have been using the Williams Shift frequently and they realign for each batter’s scouting report in more dramatic ways than I’m used to seeing. Bochy also manages with the long-term in mind. He’s not afraid to sit two of his best players on the same day if he thinks it is prudent to give them rest even if that means a much more likely loss. He elected to have a robust bullpen with only 5 bench players (including a backup catcher that plays at least once a week). That can be a problem in extra innings situations or in games where he goes to the bullpen early. But it has worked very well thus far. Those are the type of things that can be lucky, random trends that may disappear down the line.

WFY: The Nats ripped the Phish “WIL-SON” chant from the Seattle Seahawks for catcher Wilson Ramos. How in the world did San Francisco not adopt Phish’s Wilson for former closer Brian Wilson? Or does The City not acknowledge jam bands other than The Grateful Dead.

DFS: My friend Bill used to complain that they didn’t play the Beach Boys when Brian Wilson came out. Now that he is in LA, the Dodgers really ought to do that. I saw the NFL Films piece on Phish. The band actively campaigned its fans and the team to use it. I had never heard of it before the NFL Films piece. The Giants are a bit more folksy and local with their cross-marketing—like Metallica Night, for instance. My favorite tradition is that they play Tony Bennett after every win while playing a film of scenic and iconic San Francisco locations. I almost always stay to watch it and listen to the song before leaving the park.

WFY: Are the Golden State Warriors still trying to move across the bay to a pier? Is there any fallout from the 49ers leaving for the South Bay?

DFS: The Warriors have purchased land in the city to build a stadium. They abandoned a prior plan that would put it right by the Bay Bridge on a pier. I’m not supportive of the move. I don’t follow or really care about the NBA—although I was delighted the Bullets advanced in the playoffs. But I have a great amount of respect for the Warrior fans. They have filled that house through thick and thin. Oracle Arena is in the same asphalt and steel complex as the Coliseum and lacks the beauty and design elegance that some people have come to expect from arenas. It does not have readily accessible night life like the Verizon Center does in DC. But it has its own BART stop and ample parking. And it’s in Oakland. Everyone knows that long-time fans will be priced out by a stadium in San Francisco and I find that to be deeply unfair to such great fans.

The only people that I’ve heard say positive things about the Niners’ move are those that live in the South Bay. Candlestick was one of those places like Veterans Stadium—where everyone to a man complained about it. But to borrow a phrase from Joe Queenan, it was a temple. If you have the time, give this a read: Closing the Cave of the Winds (Grantland) Looking at it without sentimentality however, I don’t blame the city government at all for letting it happen. Football-only stadia represent a bad deal for American cities. They are dormant nearly the entire year but require a tremendous amount of pavement and traffic control. The early reports on the new stadium bring back traffic nightmare memories of Raljon. Evidently the stadium won’t host any Monday or Thursday games because of insufficient parking on weeknights: they will have overflow parking at surrounding locations on Sundays.

WFY: I have probably asked this before, so forgive me if I have, but how has the fanbase evolved in your decade of living there, late Bonds era to 2 time champ? You arrived just in time!

DFS: When I moved out here Bonds was still playing. He was an obstacle to my full adoption of the team. I don’t despise him and am still in awe of his accomplishments, even if not completely earned. But he rubbed me the wrong way and I had a hard time supporting the team fully because of it. I started to self identify as a Giants fan in his first year of retirement, which means I didn’t have to suffer through much before I enjoyed the rich bounty of 2 championships in 3 seasons. Winning does change things in the typical ways. I certainly see a lot more gear these days. The team also has cultivated a more jovial take to marketing itself. The players all have nicknames and fans riff on that by wearing costumes. The team’s commercials are light-hearted and occasionally funny without being too slick.

I don’t remember seeing that stuff when I moved here. Going to a game was an opportunity to watch Bonds in an idyllic ballpark. You didn’t need much more than that.

WFY: We’re to the point where team gear is kind of silly at times, but I’ll ask anyway — what Giants merch you have?

DFS: I have four items—all of which I received as presents. I have two Giants sweatshirts, one cap and some great orange and black argyle socks. I agree the gear has become ridiculous, particularly all the jerseys. Football fans are the worst. Everyone’s walking around with authentic jerseys that look like house dresses when worn by normal-sized people not wearing shoulder pads. When I wear gear I try to keep it understated. For instance, one of my Giants sweatshirts is stitched black on black. Harkening back to another older conversation, I agree with you that if you’re going to wear a jersey, wear one that has no name or number on it. If you must, go retro and cool like the Raider fans that wear Jack Tatum’s jersey.

WFY: Do you have a favorite Giants cultural, film, literature, television reference? What about favorite book about the Giants? I just learned on Uni-Watch today that Clint Eastwood wore a Giants cap in The Enforcer.

DFS: That scene in The Enforcer has Clint going into a whorehouse where he announces himself as Larry Dickman. That film also includes a scene shot at Candlestick during a game against the Reds. It is pretty cool. I’ve never read anything by Don Delillo, but I’ve been told that one of his novels starts with an extended description of the Bobby Thomson game. I’d like to read that. Robert De Niro made a lousy film called the Fan, where he is a rabid Giants fan that stalks a star player played by Wesley Snipes. Nothing else is springing to mind other than a Peanuts cartoon strip lamenting the World Series lost to the Yankees.

WFY: Who takes this series and why? What about the season series? Will they meet again in October?

DFS: As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have much insight into the Nationals, or any other non-NL West team. So this is pure guesswork. I think that Giants split this series 2 games to 2. They’ve been on such a great run that I feel like they’re due for a few bad hops. This team has the fundamentals for a great playoff run. I think they will take the season series and win the NL West. Meeting in October will be up to the Nationals.

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RIP Don Zimmer

Farewell to Don Zimmer, colorful baseball lifer. I first remember him from his days managing the Chicago Cubs (The Boys of Zimmer! (well, some of it) when I was a fan because they were on superstation WGN every afternoon. There was his long tenure as Joe Torre’s bench coach with the New York Yankees during their great run in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He even managed the team in 1999 when Torre was getting cancer treatments. He also managed the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, being on the losing end of Bucky “Q@#%&-ing” Dent. Thankfully.

Zimmer finished his playing career with the Washington Senators after his second stop with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nats Enquirer’s post describes how Zimmer found out he was leaving L.A. for D.C. Zimmer had most of his on-field success with the Dodgers, being part of their first two championship teams in Brooklyn and L.A., respectively. He also played for the Cubs and the ’62 New York Mets. He was employed by the Tampa Bay Rays at the time of his death.

The two best obituaries I have seen thus far are from the NY Daily News: Don Zimmer dead at 83: Longtime Yankees bench coach, original Met and former Brooklyn Dodger was baseball lifer and Sports Illustrated Remembering the incredible baseball life of Don Zimmer.

It’s too bad the Nationals never had any sort of Old-Timer’s Day with a bunch of Senators — how would have been to have Zimmer there in a Senators uniform?

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29 Diner by Lou Corsaro, used with permission

Fairfax’s 29 Tastee Diner is closed, but for how long?

29 Diner in Fairfax Has Closed; It Opened in 1947Burke Patch

UPDATED 7:42 PM

Via my brother, I learned that the 29 Tastee Diner in the city of Fairfax closed in May. The classic diner had been just west of the intersection of VA 123 on US 29 there for 67 years, hence the name though the road scholar in me feels obligated to note that US 50 is also along that stretch and US 211 was as well before being decommissioned east of Warrenton. Here’s a excerpt from the web site:

The Tastes 29 Diner is architecturally significant as one of very few diners left in the United States exhibiting exceptional streamline Moderns design and construction characteristics.

This particular model would have appeared unique in its day and especially unusual in the then rural back drop of the Virginia countryside. Through the 1940a and 1950s, the Mountain View Diner Company custom fit its diners to the level demanded by customers: they manufactured high-quality diners that were “built to last a lifetime.” The Tastes 29 Diner is now surrounded by intense commercial development.

Was it “Tastes” all along? I remembered it as Tastee. Also, Mountain View Diner Company built hundreds of diners and was based in New Jersey (naturally), not far from where my dad grew up.

When I was a teenager working at the Oakton Friendly’s (long-gone too) that was where we’d congregate after work regularly for a late night dinner. It was a time warp to when Fairfax wasn’t part of a major metropolis; just a sleepy county seat of a largely rural Northern Virginia.

The food was greasy; I couldn’t handle it now. The cook smoked while working. There was a neon sign advertising air conditioning. It was the setting of one of the local car dealers commercials (AND A FREE LOH-NAH CAH). There was a sign that said YCJCYADFTJB – Your curiosity just cost you a dime for the juke box.

I had not eaten there since the late 1990s, but I always figured if it made that long, it’d be there forever. I hope diner gets re-opened/re-used somehow either at its present location or elsewhere. It’d be a shame to see that vintage building be destroyed.

Photo by Lou Corsaro, used with permission

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The Washington Senators had an accordionist, Merv Conn

During yesterday’s Washington Nationals broadcast, Dave Jageler was lamenting that the strike zone was going back and forth like an accordion. A discussion about accordions with Charlie Slowes ensued. I don’t think they know that in the 1960s, the Senators hired Merv Conn to play the accordion during games (I mentioned it a couple of years ago). A brief demonstration and explanation from Conn himself:

That was from local filmmaker Jeff Krulik‘s The Legend of Merv Conn which is available here:

Conn was more than just a musician at RFK Stadium, he was a beloved music instructor and performer, even though “The Beatles killed the accordion.” Here’s a 2007 profile from John Kelly before the documentary came out – A Legend With Oomph — and Oompah

Conn died in 2011, his obituary is here.

As for Krulik, he has made many films but is best remembered for Heavy Metal Parking Lot. We talked about that several years ago during the 25th anniversary of HMPL. While all his work is enjoyable, I suspect that Charlie and Dave would enjoy this award-winning documentary.

MEANWHILE IN THIRD PLACE

So, don’t look at the standings until Memorial Day?

NL-standings-20140527

Maybe it’s supposed to be the actual Memorial Day, rather than Memorial Day Observed.

Between injuries and Matt Williams over-managing and love of bunts and sacrifices, the Nats are struggling. Thankfully, Chicken Man on the case:


After Memorial Day loss, fans plan chicken sacrifice Tuesday at Nationals Park
Let Teddy Win

What took so long?

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A new DC United home may be near (and not a moment too soon)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but there may be a new stadium for D.C. United in our time:

Sources: D.C. United and District government finalizing stadium dealThe Post

And not a moment too soon:

Well done X-Men moviemakers, I guess. You just destroyed the most all-time beloved venue of sport in the nation’s capital. There’s no way RFK Stadium would have held up that well in real life too.

In all seriousness, I hope DCU finally gets a new home; I’m withholding any significant emotional investment until I know they’ll be here for the duration. I suppose the Baltimore/Washington/Chesapeake Bayhawks might be interested in that venue as well.

H/Ts

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7957770102_817c8b824e_c

Another edition of Nats COLD T8KEZ, swept out of Oakland edition

I know I’ve said it before, but I really expected to see Chico Harlan’s byline for the gamer in The Post this morning awful Washington Nationals series in Oakland. The last time D.C. won a baseball game there — August 2, 1970 (Baseball Reference), the first game of a doubleheader. The Swingin’ A’s took the nightcap on a walk-off, 1-0. Rollie Fingers pitched 8 shutout inning. Joe Coleman went 6 for D.C., but Horacio Pina lost with 2 outs in the 9th.

SOOOOOOOO…

We’re about a Nats loss away from a team meeting, right?

My microcosm of the series:

Another one:

Small sample size, but Gio single-handedly beaten by a game by the guy he was traded for (Derek Norris, 2 3-run homers) doesn’t feel good. Also, Robbie Ray has won his first two starts while the Nats have one start and a loss by Doug Fister. D’oh!

So, this is going to be the week that DC MSM’ers start questioning why Cal Ripken, Jr. wasn’t hired as Nats manager, isn’t it?

Hey, there is a Tom Boswell chat today!

HOW DID THAT WORK OUT?

Having about four innings with the Opening Day lineup this season to date isn’t optimal, but mental errors are preventable. They haven’t played crisp since September 2012 it seems.

MattsTown - Washington Nationals - Matt WilliamsNo Arizona Diamondbacks guest prognosticator unless I get inspired and ask John McCain and he agrees to do it. Matt Williams lives in Phoenix though, so I guess we’re really talking about MATTSTOWN now. Also, MATTITUDE is really just is Rigglemantude with a better pedigree and less boring media appearances

Ian Desmond isn’t contributing much on the field right now, though Barry Svrluga’s article on his family and how it deals with baseball season is good reading.

The Nats are the 14th smartest spender in MLB over the last five years according to Bloomberg Business Week. Take that Barves!

This has nothing to do with the Nats, but Weezer’s Blue Album is 20 years old as of Saturday.

Of course, a good series in ‘zona would make this trip look a bit different.

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weezer-blue-album-crop

Weezer’s Blue Album is 20 years old

Welp, that was fast.

I remember when “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was 20 years old and it being a big deal. I think it came out on CD concurrent with that anniversary which might be the part of it. Physical media!

Weezer’s “Blue Album” isn’t that big a deal and Weezer’s aren’t the Beatles.

Not even close.

But it was a fun album of its time and a nice contrast to grunge which had peaked and was only going to get worse — I’m looking at you BUSH. “Buddy Holly” is still the great turn-it-up and roll-down-the-windows-on-a-warm-day classic it’ll always be.

Gee, it’s so quaint to look back on Rivers Cuomo’s lyrics and think about how much he’s grown as a songwriter, singer and man since…okay I can’t say that with a straight face.

Weezer t-shirt, front

Apparently, the social contract mandates going through the album and saying something about the songs.

My Name is Jonas – annoying, awful, almost killed album before it began

No One Else – catchy sounds like every other song

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here – beginning to think that high school never ended for this dude

Buddy Holly – Windows 95 (not so good Al)

Undone – The Sweater Song – proto shoe-gaze

Surfwax America – Catchy, kind of different than the other songs. A little at least.

Say it Ain’t So – always seemed to hear it going over Blue Mountain on I-81

In the Garage – He talks about KISS who were best described as “they suck, but they have sucked longer than anybody else.” That was over 20 years ago.

Holiday – just a set up for Island in the Sun years later

Only in Dreams – more proto shoegaze that never ends

Oh and good job by producer Ric Ocasek for this album.

Some people who took this assignment more seriously than me:

Now, people who took the assignment more seriously than I did:

‘The Blue Album’ at 20: Looking Back at Weezer’s Debut, Track by Track «.

Remembering Weezer’s ‘The Blue Album,’ A Garage Rock Classic, on Its 20th Anniversary – The Daily Beast.

Weezer's 'Blue Album' at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review | Billboard.

Weezer t-shirt (back)

DEATH TO FALSE NERD ROCK!

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William F. Yurasko's blog v.15 – Nats, Redskins, Capitals, D.C. life, transportation, not so much Penn State anymore,