Month: March 2013

footy anyone?

something happened yesterday and i lost my top 5 bands post. i wish i had saved it somewhere else so that i could repost it, but it is gone in the vacuum that cyberspace is at times.

shifting gears i thought i’d post my top 5 football clubs.

5. InterMilan-Serie A


i have clubs that i like in most every league. Inter is my fav in Serie A. Italian football is not a great as English football, but their fans are passionate and violent at times. the first Inter game i watched was a few years back when they won the Champions League. they also won the Serie A and the Italian Cup that year. then Mourihno left and they haven’t been the same.i liked Inter a lot because of Wesley Sniejder, but he plays for Galatasary now.

4. Celtic FC-Scottish Premiere League


when people talk about the greatest rivalries in sports they have to include the Glasgow Old Firm Derby between Celtic and Rangers. sadly the game won’t be played this year as Rangers have been relegated due to financial issues. The Hoops have a grand tradition and have even won the European Cup. if you love good ol Scottish football then Celtic is the tops.

3. FC Dallas-MLS


originally the Dallas Burn and owned by the soccer loving Lamar Hunt, this team relocated to Frisco, TX and became FC Dallas. being a native Texan, i would either have to support Dallas or Houston and since i lived in the North Dallas area i loved going to their matches. i will wear my Brek Shea jersey proudly and say Dallas Til I Die!

2. FC Barcelona-La Liga


one of the greatest sides ever assembled with quite arguably the greatest player in the world. i watched Barça waltz through the Champions League with ease for two seasons in a row. their brand of possession football which has been labeled “tik tak” is interesting to watch. their side is almost all of the Spanish National Team which has won the last 3 major tournaments in world soccer. and then there is Messi. the only thing that keeps him from being considered the greatest player of all time is an elusive World Cup with Argentina.

1. Manchester United FC-Barclay’s Premiere League


the most popular sports brand and most hated team in the world. but they are my club. i have the jerseys. i know the songs. i know the history. i love watching the Red Devils play. all of the legends have played at Old Trafford and someday, i will get to see a match there. i can’t explain why i like Man U. i didn’t grow up watching them, and knew very little about English Football growing up, but i picked a team and i will not change. Glory, Glory!!!

what is your favorite sport? who are your favorite teams?

i was ACTING!!

these top 5 lists are fun. i needed a fun break as i write.

so today, i’ll go with my top 5 actors. i don’t know if my list is on par with others, but it’s my opinion, and i like what i like.

5. Jack Nicholson


just the incredible diversity and body of work he has done makes him one of my favorites. he’s been nominated for Academy Awards 12 times and he has won 3. he’s played the entire spectrum of roles from the Devil to a Marine Colonel. i mean he was the Joker for goodness sakes, and a great one at that. it really comes down to 5 words for me. “You Can’t Handle The Truth”. Brilliance. Genius.

4. Johnny Depp


reclusive and just strange is how a lot of people describe Depp. i’ve been a fan of his for a while, Edward Scissorhands is personal favorite, long before his turn as Cap’n Jack Sparrow (which is a brilliant character). if you haven’t seen his work in Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you’ve missed a master actor in some of his best moments. the character George Jung in Blow is unreal and his 3 Oscar nominations are way too few for this versatile and amazing actor.

3. Bill Murray


a brilliant comedian, his delivery and demeanor early on probably cost him some serious roles, but when you think of iconic cult classics like Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and What About Bob, his characters take front and center. then add in his collaboration with Wes Anderson and you begin to see his brilliance. it’s a shame he has only been nominated for one Oscar and has never won. his portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt was overshadowed this year by another presidential performance. i think we might not have seen his best yet. “It’s in the Hole!!”

2. Morgan Freeman


the man who could make a living on voicing Visa commercials alone is one of the most brilliant actors of his time. i mean he played Nelson Mandela. he was Easy Reader. he’s been nominated for five Academy Awards with one win, and how he didn’t win for Shawshank Redemption is beyond me. that might be one of the most brilliant and convincing performances i’ve ever seen on film. all amazing performances aside, the one line that sticks out to me is from his role as Lt. William Somerset in Se7en.  “There are seven deadly sins, Captain. Gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy. Seven… You can expect five more of these.”

1. Christoph Waltz


pretty much an unknown Austrian actor who spoke German until he was featured as SS Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarrantino’s Inglorious Basterds. i remember leaning over to my friend after the opening scenes of the movie in which he masterfully flushes out a family of Jews being hidden under a farmhouse, and saying, “that is an Academy Award winning performance.” Waltz is 2 for 2 in Oscars with his second win this year for Django Unchained. i can’t explain how i just love to watch him take over a scene. his attention to craft and accuracy is amazing. it is frightening to watch him as he brings a calm, almost comedic presence to very dark characters. he is also probably one of the best interviews you will ever see on talk shows.  an amazing character actor who will probably never be a leading man, but it doesn’t matter.

who are your top 5 actors? honorable mention on my list are Kevin Spacey, Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.

six strings, three chords, and the truth

so my top 5 today is one that i’ve approached before, but it is one that has morphed a bit.

this list is based on my personal opinion and style with little regard to technical prowess and speed. really for me it’s about line and musicality. there are many players who could go on this list, but this is where i am right now.

so here we go with my top 5 guitar players.

5. Jared Scharff


this guy is the lead player on SNL and basically he just rules everything he touches. he is one of the most versatile players i’ve heard and his solo work going to commercial breaks is amazing. i like how he approaches things with simplicity and his tone is amazing.

4. Gary Clark Jr.


Austin local and total badass. this guy can flat play. you hear shades of Stevie Ray in his playing, yet he takes things in a different direction. not just straight blues. it’s definitely his own signature sound. again tone and simplicity coupled with amazing creativity make GC one of my new favs.

3. Nels Cline


to say that Nels Cline creates musical magic would be an understatement. this guy has created several of my favorite moments in music and is equally adept with a lap steel or his ’59 Jazzmaster. the thing is, he’s not a hot shot soloist. he adds beauty, or power by the textures and lines that he plays. being as he is the lead player in my favorite band, Wilco, of course he makes this list. for pure musical goodness check out the solo starting at 1:46 in on the song Either Way from Sky Blue Sky.

2. Matt Bellamy


one word. MUSE. this guy is the genius behind that sonic goodness from England. in addition to being an incredible virtuoso on guitar, he’s also a classically trained pianist. MUSE continually makes music that is through composed and full of complex ideas, rhythms and textures. Bellamy’s use of effects is on par with all of the gear greats, and the built in KAOSS pad on his Manson guitar allows him a palette of sounds unavailable to lots of guitarists. oh, and the dude can sing too.

1. Jack White


if i ever get to make a real record, i would love to have Jack produce and play on it. he is the epitome of hard luck, hard work, blue collar American rock. all you need to do is watch “It Might Get Loud” to hear his vision for his music and style of playing. his idea of fighting with his guitar speaks to me. it is a battle and he plays every note like it might be his last. and that’s what makes him a favorite. he hits things hard with passion. it’s not about the notes or the technique, it’s about the blood left on the strings at the end of the night.

so who are your top 5 musicians right now?

reading is FUNdamental

the other day i wrote about my top 5 worship songs. i like top 5 lists. top 10’s are very David Letterman, and top 20’s can be exhausting, besides a top 5 makes you really examine your favorites to get them down to the best.

so with or without fanfare, i present my top 5 books.

5. Fargo Rock City-Chuck Klosterman


i actually checked this book out of the library and it was my first exposure to the genius that is Chuck Klosterman. his sharp witted essays about his love of Motley Crüe and the bleakness of North Dakota are brilliantly written and connect with the teenagers of the 80’s. he loves this genre of music and you can feel that passion come out in the book.

4. High Fidelity-Nick Hornby


what? books about music that are my favorites? i wonder why? if you know me, then you know that i love all things English and this extends to my literature. Nick Hornby is as inventive a writer as i’ve read. his characters are so very flawed and very British that you can’t help but hurt with and pull for them. actually the idea for “top lists” comes from this book as it is a theme that weaves throughout. the main character, Rob, is an audiophile and has an extensive collection of vinyl and that makes me smile. he continually ascribes songs to feelings and ideas. music is rich throughout this book and Hornby writes from a level of expertise in a wonderfully relational style. side note, i like John Cusack in the movie version, but i hate it when Hollywood takes English novels and “Americanize” them.

3. No Country For Old Men-Cormac McCarthy


oh, how i love Cormac McCarthy. i actually read a few of his books from the library. i started with All The Pretty Horses.  i picked this one up on a return trip and was mesmerized from the title page. Anton Chigur is the embodiment of evil. the character was so scary in the book that i had to remember that i was reading a work of fiction and not a real crime novel. the inner dialogue that Sherriff Ed Tom Bell provides in the interludes of action are beautifully rough and simple. i grew up in the region that the book is set in which makes it all the more real to me. when he describes the sheriff’s office in Sonora, or the open range where the drug deal gone wrong takes place, i can truly see it. masterful prose from a reclusive genius.

2. Chasing Francis-Ian Morgan Cron


this book was recommended by Randy Elrod and i actually got to sit with the author at a SuperBowl party in Nashville in 2010 and talk about how awesome Led Zeppelin is. this book details the journey of a pastor named Chase who becomes disillusioned with his church and accepts an invite to visit his uncle in Italy where he has some supernatural experiences in the areas where St. Francis of Assisi lived and worked. it is a rich novel and Cron weaves beautiful ideas about life and God into the fictional story of this man who is struggling with who he thinks God is. you might also want to check out Cron’s book Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me (a memoir of sorts)

1. The Chronicles of Narnia-The Last Battle-C.S. Lewis


i fell in love with this series at a young age. there was an old linen bound collection at the Dublin Public Library, and i spent the summer between fourth and fifth grade becoming well accustomed to the wilds of Narnia. actually the whole series is precious to me, but this book especially has my heart. because in this book, Aslan, my favorite literary character of all time, reaches the culmination of who he really is throughout the series. don’t laugh, but i seriously cry when Aslan appears in the books. some of my favorite prose that Lewis wrote is in this book.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

so tell me your top 5. what do you like to read? and give me ideas for future top 5’s.

getting better all the time

wow, can you believe that February is already over?

this year seems to be blowing by. last year was such a tough year, it seemed to drag on and on. i just wanted it to be over. this year it seems there is not enough time to get everything done. i guess it’s because i’m more busy and haven’t isolated myself like i did last year.

funny thing about denial, you don’t see it until you’re already in the cycle. i never thought i isolated myself last year, but i did it over and over. not only that, i ran away from and pushed away people who loved me. it pretty much sucks.

so i’m saying this year is going better. i have community. i have purpose. i’m staying, and not running away.

i hope your year is going well too.