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Thursday, March 28, 2013

In Which The Pens Land A Holy Trinity

Okay, so by now you know how much I love hockey in general and the Pens in particular. This year's half-season lockout was torture, what with the Steelers imploding, the winter dragging mercilessly on and 30 Rock closing up shop.

It was a glorious week in mid-January when NHL hockey returned (coinciding with my beloved Rhett Miller's solo show. Passions colliding.) with a shortened schedule which has played out like an extended playoff season from the get-go. My boys struggled at first, but are now sitting on top of the heap, currently riding a 13 game streak WITH a missing Malkin and Letang.

So, fast forward to this week...

Pens GM, Ray Shero shrewdly jumped ahead of the trade deadline next week to craft deals for two team captains and a big-ass defenseman.

First up, long-time Dallas Stars Captain, 34-year-old Brenden Morrow was swapped for Joe Morrow and a prospect, rendering Stars fans shocked and speechless. He waived his no-trade clause with a franchise he called home for 14 years to move to a team in the running.

"Not long after Brenden Morrow caught an early-morning flight out of the only National Hockey League city he's ever known Monday, his 8-year-old daughter came upon his wife crying. Morrow's wife, Anne-Marie, relayed what little Bryelle told her via a text Brenden received during a layover. 

She said, 'Mom, it's going to be OK. It's only a couple months -- and he's got a chance to win the Cup.'"

Bright little girl.

It's gotta be tough coming from a leadership role for nearly 14 years to go back to player. When Morrow spoke at his conference, he addressed that particular issue with a humble acknowledgment that the Pens is Sid's team. He's happy to play his role, and thrilled to be playing alongside such talent. Showing their class and fraternity, several players traded numbers so Morrow could retain his number, 10.

welcome aboard

Then one day later, Shero and company acquired San Jose Sharks' big defensemen, 33-year-old Douglas Murray for second round draft picks in both 2013 and 2014. Our defense has been struggling with Letang out most of this shortened season. Murray's big frame can fill a much needed position in front of the net, not unlike the much-maligned Hal Gill who was instrumental in our last cup victory.

"San Jose has become home for me and I'm leaving with an empty feeling with the teams we had here not getting it done, but it's extremely exciting going to Pittsburgh, going to the best team in the league already. They always have some great players and I'm just excited to get there, get used to the team and take a run at the Stanley Cup." - Douglas Murray

And he ain't afraid to fight. Woot!

Then this morning came the big news, Shero worked his voodoo magic and snagged Calgary Flames' nine-season Captain, 35-year-old Jarome Iginla right out from under Boston.

It's a freaking Easter miracle!!


When everyone went to bed, Boston had a lock on Iginla. Then the magical trade fairies wearing Ray Shero masks proclaimed, "Ain't NOBODY got time for that."

POOF! Penguin.

So sad. NOT!

Iginla has consistently scored 30 goals per season, fed Sid the winning goal for Canada in the 2010 Olympics AND donates $2,000 to charity for each goal he scores. Great guy for a great team.

Because I can't resist, one more gem from the interwebs.

Crosby and Iginla
pittsburgh's own dynamic duo

All the NHL is hating on us bad right now. heehee

The dream of drinking from Lord Stanley' Cup is a powerful motivator. All three of these seasoned veterans cashed in their long-term allegiances in pursuit of their chance to hoist those precious, shiny metal rings, handed only to the most deserving battle worn.

When Hossa bailed on us to search for his holy grail as a Red Wing with Detroit, I thought it was a shitty thing to do. Our team still had promise. But now I get it. These guys play hard their entire career. They just want to wrap their bloodied and bruised hands around that cold steel and grab a taste of that one magical moment that gives their entire life meaning.

The stage is set pretty damn tight for our Cup dreams to become a reality. Shero's doing everything in his power to make it so. Fingers crossed our newest black and gold will complete their life's work in a sea of waving white towels.

the dream is alive

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fun Times At Mr. Small's
or some other such woefully inadequate titling

Okay, so I used to hate going to Mr. Small's, the sanctuary-turned-concert-venue in one of the dullest mill towns in outer Pittsburgh, because the crowds were annoying, the sound system was horrible and the putrid smell of hot dog water wafted in from the vendor set up RIGHT in front of the intake fan outside the entrance.

Nothing heightens a rock show like the pervasive scent of hot wiener juice.

"Wiener juice" heehee

Oh CRAP. Here come the porn bots and freaky fetishists looking for a jolly. Sorry, Charlie. No scintillating abnormalities here. Oh, great. Now the midgets-wearing-diapers-and-oversized-bonnets enthusiasts are blowing up my timeline. Aaaaaand here come the firearm-stockpiling malcontents. Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera...

You see how this works? It's a slippery slope, People! This is how the fall of modern society silly-ass blog mention at a time like this one about... Um... what was I talking about? Oh yeah! Mr. Small's.

Aaaaywho, my self-imposed moratorium on this particular venue has definitely been lifted being as I will have frequented this establishment three times in as many weeks--last Thursday for my beloved Old 97's (for whom I will travel to the very pits of Hell to see), Thursday night for quirky They Might Be Giants, and next Friday for Scottish rockers, Frightened Rabbit.

Last week's Old 97's show was spectacular, as always. There were at least 15 people in our group of devotees perched stage left, Murry side.

half the crowd plus a spare part
I've written so many times about their greatness live, that I have run out of superlatives and creative ways to effectively convey their superior stage performance. Lucky for you I have preached ad naseum here, here here, oh and here. (Sarcasm included at no extra charge)

courtesy Amy Crawford

courtesy of Frank Vilsack

courtesy of Frank Vilsack

time bomb jump courtesy of Amy Crawford

A couple fun notes about this particular show:

1. They barreled on stage with the perennial crowd pleaser, Barrier Reef. During the long musical intro, Rhett's acoustic wasn't up to snuff so he ended up guitarless for the start of the vocal. Clearly not knowing what to do with his unexpected idle hands, he put one on the mic stand and the other awkwardly in his pocket. Adorable. Eventually his electric appeared, restoring his comfort zone.

2. A lovely, spirited blonde girl of four years dancing and twirling on the far edge of the stage caught Rhett's eye. He sprinted over, guitar in hand, to say hi only to SCARE THE LIVING CRAP out of her. She leapt into her mother's arms and buried her face in Mommy's neck. Poor Baby. Rejected by a 4 year-old. Ha Ha! Mr. M made up for it later by personally handing the tot his setlist. She'll appreciate his gesture later in life, after she puts a little salve on that emotional scar.

the moment just before Rhett scared the tiny tot

3. Dude! They played Can't Get a Line!! Old 97's fans will be the only one's excited by that fact. They also played Busted Afternoon (another rarity) and No Baby I, the song from which this illiterate piece of blog gets its title. (Everytime the Blue-eyed one sings this one, I pretend he's singing it just for me. Shut up. It's my fantasy, dammit.)



4. Oh, and hey! No eau du wiener juice! Score.

*link to the rest of Frank Vilsack's photos here

Fast forward to Wednesday night...

They Might Be Giants is a band that has been around since 1982, but this is the first time I've ever seen them live. Geo and I amassed several of their early efforts, but nothing of late. They are uber prolific. They are also hard to pigeon hole, what with their nerd pop, accordion-laced, short-form witty observations on tiny life moments. They have also produced three children's albums.

The joint was packed to the gills, so Sue and I opted to hang in the bar corral just behind the sound board. The opener, Moon Hooch, consisted of three guys, two of whom wielded a big tenor sax and weird oboe thingie which made everything sound a little Philip Glass-ish. Sue dubbed this new genre, Sax Rock. Sucking down a couple heavy-handed V & Ts helped make them tolerable.

um...i can't feel my face

When TMBG took the stage, all the lovable nerd boys behind us sang along to everything, which I sincerely appreciate because the charm of TMBG songs is the cleverness of the lyrics which were nearly impossible to decipher, what with the marginal acoustics in the Baby Jesus' cavernous former home.


The band played for nearly two hours, bantering with the crowd, popping up in the balcony, making up a song about Mr. Small's.

And then this happened.


Pretty entertaining evening. No confetti cannons this time, but a fun time for sure.

Old 97's setlist
Barrier Reef
Won't Be Home No More
Brown Haired Daughter (Murry started writing this one, Rhett finished it)
W Texas Teardrops
Lonely Holiday (one of Geo's faves)
No Baby I (for me. that's my story. shut up)
Champaign, IL
Victoria Lee
Can't Get a Line (!!!)
Please Hold On While the Train is Moving
Busted Afternoon
Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue
I'm a Trainwreck
Big Brown Eyes
The Easy Way (another rarity)
4 Leaf Clover

Rhett solo:
Long Long Long

Every Night Is Friday Night
Rollerskate Skinny
Time Bomb

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Video(s) Returns!!

Okay, so my favorite thing to come out of the interwebs this entire week is a screaming goats mash up of popular songs.

What the hell is a screaming goat mash up, you say? Let me start from the beginning.

First there was this hilarious compilation video of goats screaming... like humans.

I. Am. Crying!!

Being an urbanite, I had no idea goats screamed like that. My friend who lived several years in an English village has confirmed that yes, goats scream like freaking humans much to the horror of her offspring. But holy crap! Comedy gold right there.

Naturally, this led to a pile of videos in which snippets of the aforementioned goats are inserted into popular songs at the opportune moment, hence the "mash up".  The best by far, in my humble opinion is the Bon Jovi classic, Living on a Prayer.

Again. Crying!

There are a ton more on YouTube. Here's just one site featuring a selection. The fact that the goat's tongues are wagging with every utterance, kills me. Never gonna tire of this one. It totally speaks to my inner 10 year-old boy sense of humor. Seriously, this is my favorite item from the last seven days.

Okay, well maybe it's a tie with this.

Call me Munchma.

These names are going on our list beside Dick Fitzwell, Erin McCooter and Craven Moorehead. Don't know what's funnier, the names, or Colbert completely losing it. This is the shit for which the interwebs were made, yo.

God bless your pointy little heads.