Saturday, August 22, 2015

Awesome Old (wait it's not old?) Song of the Week: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

As I mentioned earlier this week, in my advanced age I'm no longer up on current pop music like I once was (play me any 90s hit and I'll tell you the artist and title within three seconds, no problem).  With that in mind, please bare with me for not writing about this song earlier (although I did have the idea for this blog back in the springtime, but I didn't get around to writing it till now).

Walk the Moon's Shut Up and Dance came out last year and is still in the top 40, but it's so perfectly 80s I can't even believe it.  The first time I heard it I though "How did I miss that song for the past 30 years?"

The band (which got their name from The Police's Walking on the Moon) credits The Cars' Just What I Needed, Pat Benetar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot and Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl for the inspiration behind Shut Up and Dance, but for some reason it reminds me of Eddie Money's Take Me Home Tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Contributing to ESPN Boston's 2015 Celtics Summer Forecast (Part 1)

Once again, I've been asked to contribute to ESPN Boston's Celtics Summer Forecast, in which a panel of bloggers make various predictions about the upcoming season.  Here's the first round of questions, with my answers quoted from the site (click on the links for the full articles and other writers' prognostications):

What will the Celtics record be in 2015-16?

(45-37): "After the roster shake-ups settled down and [Brad] Stevens finally had a consistent crew to work with, the 2014-15 Celtics finished 24-12 in their final 36 games. That's 44 percent of the season during which Boston was a very good ballclub. It doesn't seem reasonable to expect the 2015-16 squad to play at that level, but, in theory, this year's team is better than last year's squad."

How will the season end?

(2nd round of playoffs): "If I'm saying deep postseason run, all that really means is the Celtics can win a playoff series. Why not? Last year's squad would have had a decent shot in the first round against every team but Cleveland -- Boston even played the Cavs closer than the top-seeded Hawks did. Who in the East besides Cleveland really scares you in 2015-16? Chicago, Toronto, Washington or Miami? Atlanta will regress. If the C's can outplay a couple of those clubs, they'll be in the hunt for home-court advantage in Round 1."

The Celtics need to trim a roster spot before the season starts, who's most likely to be gone: Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger or Evan Turner? 

(Turner): "Jones is a low-risk, high-reward player with a rookie contract, so it makes sense for Boston to hang on to him. Between Turner and Sullinger, I'll guess [Danny] Ainge's pride/ego makes Turner more likely to be dealt. Sully is a born-and-raised Celtics draft pick with oodles of potential despite his issues. Turner is a guy Ainge grabbed off the scrap heap for nothing but turned into something. Giving up on Sullinger feels like a loss for Ainge; getting anything of value in return for Turner is a clear win."

If Sullinger starts at power forward, who will start at center: Amir Johnson, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk or Tyler Zeller?

(Johnson): "Given what the Warriors did in winning a title and the way Stevens likes to play, I'm not convinced anyone will start at center for the Celtics. But since somebody has to jump the opening tip, I'll say Johnson. He was the team's premier free-agent signing and is Boston's second highest-paid player after Lee, who's already used to a bench role. Johnson started 72 games in each of the past two seasons for the Raptors. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a Lee-Johnson frontcourt, though. And regardless of who starts opening night, I expect Stevens to try out about a million different lineups over the course of the season."

Will Isaiah Thomas be a starter this year?

(No): "It just makes too much sense to keep Isaiah on the bench -- he's perfectly suited for the Vinnie Johnson "microwave" role. [Avery] Bradley is the longest tenured Celtic; [Marcus] Smart is the future of the franchise. Both are established starters at this point. The only reason to bump one for Thomas is to placate his ego, but as long as Thomas has got the ball in crunch time that appears to be a non-issue."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Did you know that turkeys sleep in trees?

Here's a photo I took last week outside my family's Vineyard house at dusk:

If you didn't notice anything weird, take a closer look:

There's a family of wild turkeys that frequently hangs out in the back yard, and apparently on occasion they sleep in trees.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rachel Platten is pretty cool in my book

This may be the cheesiest blog I've ever written.  I'd heard Fight Song on the radio a bunch of times before, but I never really paid any attention to it and I had no idea who Rachel Platten was--until I happened to catch her perform on the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday night (I have no explanation for why I was watching the Teen Choice Awards).

Now I can't get the song out of my head.

Two things about Platten caught my attention.  One, she's from Newton, MA.  And two, she's 34 year old.  To become a breakout pop star at age 34 is absolutely amazing.  That just doesn't happen.  Not only that, but the song that did it for her basically tells it's own story.  How perfect is that?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Am I not too old for Snapchat?

I always though Snapchat was for kids.  Not actually children, but people in high school, college and just out of school.  However, in the past few weeks I've noticed that some of my peers seem to be using it regularly.   Then today I saw this:

Mike & Mike is an early-morning ESPN show that features two (relatively) old guys, with what I always presumed was a regular audience of similar (relatively) old guys.  If Mike & Mike thinks it needs to be targeting Snapchat-ers, clearly there's something I'm missing out on.

I do seem to be doing just fine without Instagram though.  And while I'm on the subject, when is Facebook going to die off and go away?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gronk's new SportsCenter ad vs. his 4th and final music video with Big Papi

This Rob Gronkowski SportsCenter commercial debuted today:

Also just released, Gronk and Big Papi's final summer single for Dunkin' Donuts, 4 Things we Love:

Which is better? My gut tells me the ESPN engagement ring spoof is funnier, but I did actually laugh out loud the first time David Ortiz said "and America."

Here's the complete list of Gronk and Big Papi songs:
Turn it Up
Me Estoy Enamorando
4 Things we Love

Also related: Can Gronk break Randy Moss' TD record this year?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Possum Kingdom" by the Toadies

During my senior year in high school in 1995, I remember the little sister (who was a sophomore) of one of my buddies listened to the Toadies a lot.  That was all I knew about them.

When I went to college in the fall, I started hearing Possum Kingdom all over campus, and I realized that my friend's little sis had way cooler taste in music than I did.

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