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Originally submitted at NFL

Bring the vintage vibe back into the stadium with the Mitchell & Ness® short-sleeve Touchdown t-shirt. Contrasting stripes decorate the sleeves for a retro look, while printed fabric team graphic appliqués are featured on the chest.

Possibly the best t-shirt I own

By Matt Monk81 from Baltimore, MD on 11/25/2010

 

5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Shows Off Team Pride, Stylish, Quality Construction, Authentic Look

Best Uses: At The Game, Watching The Game on TV, Anytime

Describe Yourself: Stylish, Die Hard Sports Fan

The material is top-quality, the design is amazing, and the overall construction and attention to detail really makes you feel good about the purchase.

(legalese)

The Orioles, incredibly, just swept the AL West division-leading Texas Rangers to head into the All Star break. I am starting to think that I actually have an illness; I find myself actually believing for split-seconds at a time that it’s entirely possible for them to go 81-0 after the break, thereby finishing the season with a winning record and in all likelihood the AL East division crown.

That is insane.

As it currently stands, they are 29-59. They only have one player heading to Anaheim as an All Star, and let’s face it, Ty Wigginton is only there because just like in Tee Ball, everyone gets something for participating. Everyone around the league knows now that it should be Nick Markakis goin’ to California; Ty has predictably and precipitously cooled off, while Nick has been steadily heating up over the course of the season. That said, many thanks to Ty for actually showing up this Spring ready to play baseball; here’s hoping the rest of the Orioles can do the same for a full season in 2011.

I was listening to some old Oasis songs the other night, and it got me thinking about creative longevity. Oasis’ first three albums  from 1994 to 1997 are generally thought of as classics; even if you want to omit their third album, infamous Britpop-killer Be Here Now, the first three entries in their discography are definitely of-a-piece stylistically. This isn’t surprising, as all three featured songs entirely composed by lead guitarist Noel Gallagher, and anecdotal evidence from this period indicates that Noel had written so many songs by the time the band hit it big that many of the tracks on Be Here Now were written before (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? had even been released.

In 1998, the band followed up Be Here Now with The Masterplan, a single-disc collection of various B-sides from the many singles the first three albums had spawned. Far from being an odds-and-ends collection of half-baked studio experimentation, The Masterplan ended up being in many ways a comparable collection of work to the “official” full-length releases. And then…

Two years passed, rhythm guitarist Bonehead and bassist Guigsy were sacked, Noel got really into classic rock, and he relinquished control of the songwriting to new members Andy Bell (formerly of Ride), Gem Archer (formerly of Heavy Stereo) and brother Liam Gallagher. A lot of fans kind of see this series of events as detrimental to the band, but I think the central issue at play is that it was a mistake for Oasis to continue on under that name. It wasn’t just that new members had replaced the old; an entirely new system and creative model had replaced the old.

Looking back, Noel has admitted that if he had it to do over again, he might not have “wasted” some of his best songs on B-sides, ostensibly so that he could extend the critical and commercial gravy train. But I think Noel and Oasis’ situation is a perfect example of how difficult it can be for one person to sustain an elevated level of quality and quantity over a long period of time.

In contrast, look at bands like The Smiths, Teenage Fanclub, and Idlewild. Morrissey and Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Roddy Woomble and Rod Jones (Idlewild) had/have the luxury of working together on compositions, with each partnership’s member playing to their individual strengths without having the added pressure of being responsible for every aspect of the creative result. Teenage Fanclub follows a slightly different, but no less effective model; the three principle songwriters (Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley) are more or less responsible for both the music and lyrics of their respective compositions, but are limited to only needing to provide 3-4 per album. That comes out to only 24-32 songs for each of them over their (thus far) 20 year career—excepting B-sides, of course. Canadian power-pop group Sloan works in much the same way.

Now, does this mean that one method is superior to the other? Not necessarily. But it does depend on the kind of career you’re hoping to carve out for yourself. Would you rather blow up, make millions, and then face diminishing returns with each release that comes out following your “imperial” phase? Or would you rather subscribe to the “slow and steady wins the race” philosophy?

Earlier today, I was thinking about free agency in baseball, and how rare it is in this day and age for a player to stick with the same team long enough to become irrevocably identified with it. I was also thinking about how much I love making lists. So who is Mr. _________ for each team?

Mr. Oriole: I’m going to go with Cal Ripken, Jr., though a case could certainly be made for Brooks Robinson or Jim Palmer.
Mr. Red Sock: Carl Yastrzemski. Sorry, Nomah.
Mr. Yankee: Jeez, there is no way I can choose just one. You do it for me: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe  DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson, or Derek Jeter.
Mr. Ray: It’s early yet, but I’ll go ahead and say Evan Longoria.
Mr. Blue Jay: This is a tough one, because the teams that won back-to-back World Series in 1992-93 were primarily comprised of hired guns from other teams. The only real candidate just jumped ship after 12 seasons, but we all know he’s going into the Hall as a Blue Jay—Roy Halladay.

Mr. White Sock: The Big Hurt will always be a White Sock in my mind. Frank Thomas (sorry, Shoeless Joe and Harold Baines.)
Mr. Indian: Bob Feller
Mr. Tiger: Ty Cobb
Mr. Royal: George Brett
Mr. Twin: Ugh, so tough; it’s a toss-up between Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, and Rod Carew.

Mr. Angel: Chuck Finley
Mr. Athletic: Rickey Henderson
Mr. Mariner: Ken Griffey, Jr. Without a doubt.
Mr. Ranger: Nolan Ryan played for the Astros and Angels longer, but people seem to really remember him as a Ranger.

Mr. Brave: Hank Aaron
Mr. Marlin: NONE. Maybe they should stop blowing up their roster every few years…
Mr. Met: Tom Seaver
Mr. Phillie: Mike Schmidt
Mr. National: If he keeps it up, Ryan Zimmerman. But for now we’ll have to go with Mr. Expo, and that falls to either Gary Carter or Andre Dawson.

Mr. Cub: Ernie Banks
Mr. Red: Pete Rose
Mr. Astro: Either Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell
Mr. Brewer: Robin Yount
Mr. Pirate: Roberto Clemente
Mr. Cardinal: Stan Musial, though Albert Pujols could dethrone him.

Mr. Diamondback: Uhhh…
Mr. Rockie: Todd Helton
Mr. Dodger: Jackie Robinson or Sandy Koufax
Mr. Padre: Tony Gwynn, Sr.
Mr. Giant: Willie Mays

… I think I might actually start writing on this thing again.

I’ve been itching to write about tons of stuff, but just haven’t had the time. Let’s correct this, shall we?

Gui Boratto, ‘Beautiful Life’

I know I’m a tad behind the curve talking about the new Beatles reissues that hit the shelves last month, but after much deliberation, I decided it would be remiss of me not to mention them somewhere on this blog.

Part of the reason for this delay has been my slow procurement of said CDs. 14 CDs x $12.99 = a lot of scratch. I still haven’t purchased them all (in fact, I’ve only bought half of them, spread out over several weeks), but this isn’t a bad thing. Buying the reissues slowly has given me the opportunity to approach each album with undivided attention and allowed me to absorb and dissect the wonderful remastering job done by the EMI engineering staff. I have to say, they haven’t disappointed yet.

One of the things that kind of blew my mind earlier in the decade was that the Rolling Stones’ catalog got the state of the art remaster/reissue treatment before the Beatles; nothing against the Stones, it’s just that they weren’t really known for their pristine production and creative sound layering back in the 60s, so it didn’t really make a ton of sense to punch up the sound of comparatively simple mixes.

But anyway… I love these reissues. The packaging is great, the sleeve notes are informative, the mini-documentaries encoded in each disc are interesting, and the sound just pops so much compared to the previous 1987 CD releases. Vocal and instrumental parts have more separation from each other now, sound crisper, and things that I never noticed or heard before are now audible. As I said, I’ve only picked up the first seven albums, so I can only imagine how much better the latter seven sound, with all their inherent bells & whistles. That said, these are my Top 10 moments from the first seven discs:

My awesome wife, as a wedding present, landed us third row tickets to see Patton Oswalt perform up in Glenside, PA, just outside of Philadelphia, this past weekend. We kicked off the evening with a stellar meal at one of our favorite restaurants, Horizons. Chef Landau does amazing, magical things in the kitchen—all without the help of animal products. Witness the fitness:

Vietnamese Tacos

Vietnamese Tacos

Vietnamese Tacos with Crispy Lemongrass Tempeh, Sriracha mayo, Daikon, Cilantro, Carrot and Chile

Golden Beets

Golden Beets

Salt Roasted Golden Beets with House Smoked Tofu, Avocado, Capers and Red Onion with Cucumber Dill sauce

Wild & Tame Mushroom Plate

Wild & Tame Mushroom Plate

Sage grilled portabella over smoked eggplant mash, Braised chantrelles on creamed corn, Oyster mushroom Rockefeller

Grilled Seitan

Grilled Seitan

Grilled Seitan with Yukon mash, grilled spinach, horseradish cream, roasted red pepper tapenade

Unfortunately, we didn’t allow enough time for our meal (not pictured: the THREE desserts we ordered: Autumn (Pumpkin) Parfait, Saffron Creme Brulee, and Caramel Apple Cheesecake) to get all the way out to Glenside in time. So we missed the first 40 minutes of Patton’s set. However, the seats were great, and we still got to see the last 30 or so minutes of Patton’s comedy stylings. We were even treated to a few new bits not on his latest album My Weakness Is Strong.

The Once and Future Nerd-king.

The Once and Future Nerd-king.

So, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, my wife (my wife! That is some crazy, grown-ass man shit!) and I were on the west coast for a couple weeks at the start of September. It was my first time beyond the Mississippi, and for the most part it didn’t disappoint.

We flew into LAX on Sept. 4 and promptly rented a car before heading downtown to the business district, where we stayed at the Biltmore. Fun fact: this was the hotel used for the first ghost-busting scene in Ghostbusters, though it was called the Sedgwick in the film. We stopped off along the way at this amazing Thai fusion eatery called Vegan Glory, which had some truly scrumptious stuff on the menu. I gorged myself on pad thai, seitan tacos and yummy wraps.

We also ate at Fatty’s & Co. in Eagle Rock, which was awesome, and Madeline Bistro (I think in Glendale), which was equally impressive.

I was able to see my good friend Gary, my less-good-friend-because-he’d-rather-stay-home-playing-Beatles-Rock Band-than-come-out-drinking Stuart, and all sorts of La La Landmarks.

We then drove up the PCH to San Francisco, which was amazing.

San Francisco is a pretty filthy city, considering it’s inhabited by enviro-conscious hippies.

The redwood forest was great.

Napa is basically a planned suburb in the middle of a desert. It’s not unlike Northern Virginia, but with fewer trees.

We stopped in Ashland, Oregon for a couple days on our way up to Portland. It was a hippie paradise, full of fearless deer and chipmunks and beggars playing panflutes and bongos on street corners (yes, seriously.)

Portland was kinda meh. Not bad, but not amazing.

A picture says a thousand words. I am about to talk your ear off.

This past weekend, the Redskins bounced back from their embarrassing Week 3 loss to the lowly Detroit Lions with an ugly but desperately needed win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It made me think of my grandfather, a huge ‘Skins booster who never got the chance to see them dig their way out of 17 years of failure and disappointment.

‘Stardust’ by Hoagy Carmichael was one of his favorite songs.

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