Friday, October 30, 2009

Music Friday: "Outfit"

Click HERE for a fine song by the songsmith Jason Isbell.

I'm getting psyched about seeing him perform at Off Broadway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stay Positive: Learning How to Read

Since Hannah has started reading, she likes to test her skills on a tough but usually attentive audience.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Tennessee

This game shouldn't have been this close. If Ingram doesn't get the ball ripped out late in the fourth quarter, then there's no probably no touchdown by the Vols and no onside kick foolishness.

But Alabama almost lost this game because they didn't put away Tennessee when they had multiple chances. The Tennessee defense is good, but the Tide offense was lethargic. With LSU playing much better offensively and Mississppi State playing surprisingly well, the Tide offense needs to get it together soon, so the off week comes at the right time. I hope McElroy can return to throwing the ball like he was earlier this season, and maybe receivers can catch some of those contested passes and footballs that seem to be bouncing off their hands. While TE Peek not playing yesterday kept Alabama's leading receiver on the bench, receivers were open yesterday, and McElroy didn't hit them. And then some receivers ran sloppy routes.

But two guys came through in special teams. Terrence "Mt." Cody is getting all the press coverage for the two blocks in the game. However, Leigh Tiffin hit field goals from 22, 38, 49, and 50 yards.

The Crimson Tide, as a whole, looked like a tired team yesterday. With LSU next at home, we'll need the time to get the offense back into shape.

An ugly win is a win. But the Tide offense should play better than they have the past three games. If the offense doesn't get more dynamic and effective and if the D can't play better on third downs, we don't win the West.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Music Friday: "Hey, Good Lookin'"

Click HERE for Hank doing his thing.

When I was a kid, my mom always enjoyed singing this song. For a long time, I thought it was some song from the Big Band era, but then I discovered later on it was Hank Williams.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Band Blogs

If you aren't a fan of Jason Isbell, you should be. He's put out two solid solo albums after he left the Drive-By Truckers.

He's playing at Off Broadway in November (maybe on a Wednesday), and I'm seriously thinking of driving over to see the show even though I'll get back to Chucktown until very late.

He recently started up a blog ("Trythespecial"), which I've linked on my "Recommended Blogs." And another great band, Son Volt, has had a blog for while that's written by the drummer.

Good stuff people.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trying to Stay Positive: Asian Lady Beetles

With recent nice weather surging here in central Illinois, so surface the Asian Lady Beetles.

They look like ladybugs, but they stink. Biologists will tell you that they're good at killing aphids, the nemesis to many a garden. But they invade our homes, they stain when squashed, and God do they stink. My Dust Buster is getting a workout.

I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Hangover: South Carolina

When your team's no. 1 running back rushes for 246 yards in game, you would expect it to be a blowout. But this game wasn't. Alabama won hard fought 20-6 game over a very stout pass defense.

On the decisive drive toward the end of the game, Ingram took the direct snap five consecutive times. And then to finish off the drive, he took a quick pitch and drove into the end zone. He accounted for all 68 yards on the drive and didn't come out of the game. Alabama lined up in the wildcat, and pretty much said to South Carolina, "We're going to run no. 22. Try to stop him." And they didn't.

The Alabama D was constantly relied upon to stop the Gamecocks, who had a short field to work with way too many times. With CB Javy Arenas out for the game, the D enlisted the help of the often-maligned Marquis Johnson to cover S Carolina's best WR. He played well. Even his pass interference penalty during the first half was a smart play.

The major concern of any Tide fan right now is to get consistent play from QB McElroy. He started out very well this season, but the last two games he has been lackluster at best. During this game, he was very lucky not to have thrown more interceptions. The Gamecocks' D got halfway decent pressure, but McElroy looked out of rhythm and sometimes seemed like he was throwing scared. This is not good. We need to see the GMac who came alive during the second half of the Virginia Tech game.

In more negative news, the kickoff coverage stunk ... again. And this game the majority of penalties against the Tide were on kickoffs or punts. WTF?

Up next is Tennessee, and I don't feel good about that game. If providing a beat-down to UGA was a big deal to the Vol faithful, then a win over the Tide would make Tiffin's season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Music Friday: "Human Wheels"

Click HERE for one of Mellencamp's lesser known hits, which is probably one of his better songs.

This land today, shall draw its last breath
And take into its ancient depths
This frail reminder of its giant, dreaming self.
While I, with human-hindered eyes
Unequal to the sweeping curve of life
Stand on this single print of time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tabletop Ms. Pac Man

Since I'm usually looking to burn time when my daughter is at her two-hour gymnastics practice, my son and I stopped by the original Burger King in Mattoon after some grocery shopping.

It's a an old fashioned burger joint, with customers getting numbers and numbers being called for burgers, shakes, and fries. It's a Steak-n-Shake type of establishment but family owned.

With dated decor and booths--I'm guessing early 80s--I discovered something I haven't seen in years: a tabletop Ms. Pac Man. It was not as pretty and fresh as the combo Ms. Pac Man/Galaga tabletop shown above, however.

It was vintage; the screen noted 1981. It had also see its fair share of use for the past 28 years.

I remember being told that video game enthusiasts enjoyed Ms. Pac Man more than Pac Man. I never understood the reasoning why. Anyone know? Is it because of the cute pink bow?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Well, the season-long streak of scoring 30 or more is over because the Tide didn't convert its chances in the red zone into touchdowns. Instead, Tiffin kicked five flippin' field goals.

But after about the first quarter, this game was sort of watching a character on The Sopranos "getting taken care of," and you, the audience member, knew it was going to happen. You didn't know the exact plot line, but you had some educated guesses.

The plot turned out to be written by the Tide defense. In contrast to the Kentucky game, the Tide D shut down the run for the most part, and while they didn't sack Snead, the Rebels' QB, he was hurried and discombobulated all afternoon. Two of his picks weren't his fault, but the fault of his receivers. But the Alabama D played a ball-hawking style of defense--Jackson made an outstanding pick.

A season-long negative theme surfaced in this game though. The kickoff coverage stunk in spots. I'm still waiting for this aspect of special teams to improve. Still waiting...

And McElroy, while efficient for the most part, locked on Julio Jones too much. Other receivers were open when no. 8 was double-covered.

One of the ESPN or CBS pundits yesterday started talking about Tide RB, Mark Ingram, for Heisman. He's a serious longshot, but he has the stats to back up a bid.

Regardless, I hope to watch an improved Tide offense next week--better pass blocking, better passing game--and stronger play from special teams.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Music Friday: "Home"

I had never heard of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros until I saw the band's performance on Letterman--click HERE.

They remind of another mass ensemble band I saw in Baldwin Auditorium, Poi Dog Pondering.

These folks give out a neo-hippie, crunchy, granolish vibe. The CD is pretty decent, and "Home" will stick in your head once you hear it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stay Positive: College Love

As I was taking my son for a bike ride on Sunday, I saw love in college form.

We drove down 4th Street past campus and the Panther Paw where the apartment ghettos begin. And that's where I saw a couple walking down the sidewalk and holding hands. The dude was on the left, and young lady was on the right. In right hand she held a very nice looking beer bong--white funnel, forest green transparent tubing, with some type of lock system to keep the tubing wound.

That dude has found a keeper.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Kentucky

In the history of Alabama football, the Tide has only lost to the Wildcats twice. I'm pretty sure that's the right figure. The last time it happened was when Tim Couch was the UK QB. They tore down the goal posts at Commonwealth Stadium that night. Lots of bourbon was drank.

That wasn't the case Saturday with a balanced Tide offense and strong defense.

In comparison to last game versus the Razorbacks, the running game looked better. RB Ingram had yet another solid game, yet frosh Richardson struggled. The OLine pass-blocked well, with McElroy maybe taking one sack. And the Tide QB played well. One poster on the Tide website I'm a member of compared McElroy to Danny White, the solid but not flashy QB of the Dallas Cowboys way back when. And that comparison makes sense to me for now.

The D gave up a big passing play for a touchdown, but it was a great pass and catch on the part of Wildcats. I'm still concerned about our run defense since Kentucky broke some good runs against the good guys, and I don't like that.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Music Friday: "This Ol' Wheel"

Click HERE to watch Shooter Jennings perform one the tracks from his album, The Wolf.

Currently he's touring with J. J. Grey and Mofro. That twin bill kicks butt.