Archive for December, 2010

GW: Favorite Albums of 2010

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I’ve tried to play the guitar. It never took. I was inspired by my buddy Paul, who used to play the cymbals in the grade school band. He played those cymbals with the flair of a dozen figure skating suns. Alas, with the exception of 70s funk/soul karaoke, I don’t have the gift of music. I do have the gift of judgment.

This was a pretty good year for music. A good year indeed. And I haven’t even heard close to everything. There’s this guy called Kanye West who put out  some rap stuff that even the hipsters are getting half-chubbed about. Gonna have to swallow my contempt and check it out. Here’s what GW liked this yr…

(also good:  The Black Keys – Brothers, Futurebirds – Hamptons Lullaby, The Roots & John Legend – Wake Up, Nico Stai – Dead Pony, Kathryn Calder, Are You My Mother, Caribou – Swim, Cloud Cult – Lightchasers, Delorean – Subiza, Best Comedy Album (nerd!) - Hannibal Burress, My Name Is Hannibal)

20. CitayDream Get Together: solid debut. amirite? you probably aren’t sure.

19. Merle HaggardIf I Could Only Fly: There’s something to be said for literal bare-bones country. Merle continues to say it well.

18. Gil Scott HeronI’m New Here: Speaking of old timers, I repeatedly listen to this poetic trip for the entire month of February, though in fairness February is the shortest month. The more you know, kids. Not for everyone, but if you like the legendary GSH, you need to check it out.

17. Broken Social SceneForgiveness Rock Record: Pretty standard. Pretty Canadian. Pretty sure I want to see ‘Chase Scene’ live.

16. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame: Driving through west NC, heard this dude in studio on WYQS, an excellent public radio station. Good stuff. Sincerely, Shadow Person.

15. JonsiGo: If you open the door to this weirdo, he might get to you.

14. She & Him – Volume 2: Keep it simple. And as my old lady mockingly chimes in every time I play this album and Zooey D’s voice comes over the speakers,  ’the touch, the feel…of cot-ton..” The point of that little anecdote is that she doesn’t like it as much as I do.

13. The Black AngelsPhosphene Dream: A little polished and right there for you.

12. Mavis Staples -You Are Not Alone: Still got it? Amen.

11. El Ten Eleven – (self titled): Groovy.

10. The National –  High Violet: They really know how to start off albums. Not their best effort, but good nonetheless.

9. Titus AndronicusThe Monitor: This is the kind of pseudo-punk I hardly ever like. However, there are some rollickin’ tracks on this album.

8. Maximum Balloon – (self-titled): yep.

7. RakimThe Seventh Seal: (Officially Released 12/09) but needed obligatory hip-hop album demonstrating author’s multicultural tastes. Also my favorite rap album in a long time.

6. The WalkmenLisbonHarpoon Harbor’s favorite album of the year. I pretty much second what he says.

5. Fitz & the TantrumsPickin’ Up The Pieces: My current flavor of the month. Fun stuff. 2/5 at the Metro.

4. The Tallest Man on EarthThe Wild Hunt/Sometimes the Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP:  Who said Swedes have no soul? No one I can think of. I just needed an opening statement. Take a listen. He cuts deep.

3. Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah DogsGod Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise: Always thought this guy was kind of a pretentious douchebag. He may still be, but now that he put out an enjoyable start-to-finish album that really stuck with me, I can deal with it. Not the most inventive, but certainly one of my favorites this year.  Who’s the pretentious douchebag now, GW?

2. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More: Missed the boat on a couple of opportunities to see these guys this year. Hopefully won’t happen again.

1. Arcade FireThe Suburbs: I know. Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.





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Maybe The Gators Should Hire Randy Shannon To Clean Up The Program

Posted by Matt on Sunday, December 12th, 2010

I wrote this a while back and never posted it. In light of Urban Meyer Favre-ing it up again, I thought I would post it.
And yes, the word of the week is “sanctimonious.”

"V" For Values

On September 14, Florida playmaker Chris Rainey was arrested on a third-degree felony charge of aggravated stalking, a charge resulting from Rainey allegedly sending his former girlfriend a text message that read, in part, “Time to die bitch.”

Meyer dismissed Rainey from the team the following day, saying that Rainey had violated the program’s “core values.” The 2-time national champion defended the program saying, “It’s not a dirty program. We follow the rules and some guys make mistakes and we’ve got to correct those mistakes. We follow the rules.” Meyer added he was “real upset” and also vowed, “enough’s enough.”
One month, 2 losses, and a considerable drop in the polls later, Meyer welcomed Rainey (and his 4.3 “40″) back to the team.
I’m disappointed that he violated a core value of our program, but he continues to pay a price for his actions. Chris will have to meet a set of conditions to become a part of our team again, and although he is practicing, he will not play this weekend. The timetable for his return will depend on his ability to follow the guidelines we have laid out for him.”
This is just a hunch, but I’m guessing that timetable will lapse some time before the Georgia game on October 30 (it did).
While Rainey’s death threat surely violates the “core values” of most human beings, his actions are pretty much par for the course when it comes to Meyer’s players. According to the Tribune, Rainey was the 28th Gator arrested during Meyer’s tenure. In contrast, the former poster-children for misbehavior down the road at Miami have had only one player arrested during the same period under Randy Shannon (since fired for not winning enough games).
The sanctimonious fog of Tim Tebow has lifted and the core values of Meyer’s program can be seen as plain-as-day. Success on the field trumps all other concerns, including the character of the players he recruits. Sure, a lot of other programs function in a similar vein, but please don’t try to sell me “change” and “contrition” as the pattern continues to repeat itself. If Meyer wanted to recruit kids with stronger character, he could. Like Northwestern or Duke, he would have a smaller pool to draw from, but he could certainly “correct some of the mistakes” his program had made.  But he doesn’t really want that. The same old story remains, and Florida’s alumni, fans and administration will ignore these recurring offenses as long as Meyer continues to follow through on the only 2 “core values” that really matter to them: money and Wins. 
See you next year.

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What Have You Saved For Me Lately?

Posted by Matt on Friday, December 10th, 2010

Washington (CNN) — Senate Democrats failed Thursday to win a procedural vote to open debate on a bill that would provide medical benefits and compensation for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The motion for cloture, or to begin debate, needed 60 votes to pass due to a Republican filibuster, but fell short at 57-42 in favor.

While supporters said they would try to bring the bill up again, either on its own or as part of other legislation to be considered, the vote Thursday jeopardized the measure’s chances for approval in the final weeks of the current congressional session.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill — named after a deceased New York Police Department detective who had worked in the toxic plume at ground zero — seeks to provide free medical coverage for responders and survivors who were exposed to toxins after the attacks.

There’s a lesson here, America. Don’t help your neighbor and always carry a lung brush. Another Christmas miracle! GW sources said the GOP decided to pull back an amendment to the upcoming Appropriations Bill that would subsidize the purchase of coal for placement in the stockings of responders’ children. At the last-minute, Jim DeMint removed it as he noted that these responders are already blessed with high levels of Wall Street asbestos and that these government handouts need to stop.

This would be a good issue for the President to publicly take the GOP to task for being inconsiderate asshats who constantly invoke 9/11 for self-serving purposes, but obviously couldn’t care less about the actual victims. Too bad he saves up all his indignation to yell at the liberals who had the gall to put him into office and expect him to hold true to an occasional bullet point from the campaign platform.

Maybe I’m just being sanctimonious.

Never forget – unless they’re asking you to fork over a sawbuck for the medical costs of people who risked their lives to save strangers.  Wear that lapel pin instead, Johnny America.

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Gratuitous Video – Just The Tip!

Posted by Matt on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

These biscuits do comedy stuff around Chicago. Get with it.

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Made Up Word Of The Day?

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

As operator of this uninspired time-suck, I’m privy to all the search terms that cause people to stumble across this site. Most of them make sense. Yes, at some point I have mentioned variations of “omar wire” and ”tim tebow girlfriend’s huge cans.” That’s why you joined us.

Occasionally, however, I am totally miffed, as I was yesterday when I saw the following search term that brought someone to Gratuitous World:


Excuse me? What the hell is ‘titsdance?’  Is it pronounced ‘TITSdance’ or ‘titsDANCE?’  TITSdanc`E?

"I don't smoke... But tonight I'm gonna smoke you! then we'll 'titsdance?'"

The initial image I mustered was of some sort of topless Dutch flash mob. Or maybe it’s the description of some muscular gyrations - like whe Super Macho Man from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out makes his man-boobs move up and down? Take that query over to WebMd, bud!

I’m thoroughly confused. What was this person hoping to find? Is this something 50Cent coined on Twitter? My confusion brought me to urbandictionay, and believe it or not, there’s no entry. 

Now i’m left with another secret of the interwebs. and future ‘titsdance’ traffic. nice.


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Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010


This was linked from Greenwald’s post, which I recommend…

It is a “scandal” when the Government conceals things it is doing without any legitimate basis for that secrecy.  Each and every document that is revealed by WikiLeaks which has been improperly classified — whether because it’s innocuous or because it is designed to hide wrongdoing — is itself an improper act, a serious abuse of government secrecy powers.  Because we’re supposed to have an open government — a democracy –  everything the Government does is presumptively public, and can be legitimately concealed only with compelling justifications.   That’s not just some lofty, abstract theory; it’s central to having anything resembling ”consent of the governed.”

But we have completely abandoned that principle; we’ve reversed it.  Now, everything the Government does is presumptively secret; only the most ceremonial and empty gestures are made public.  That abuse of secrecy powers is vast, deliberate, pervasive, dangerous and destructive.  That’s the abuse that WikiLeaks is devoted to destroying, and which its harshest critics — whether intended or not — are helping to preserve.  There are people who eagerly want that secrecy regime to continue:  namely, (a) Washington politicians, Permanent State functionaries, and media figures whose status, power and sense of self-importance are established by their access and devotion to that world of secrecy, and (b) those who actually believe that — despite (or because of) all the above acts — the U.S. Government somehow uses this extreme secrecy for the Good.  Having surveyed the vast suffering and violence they have wreaked behind that wall, those are exactly the people whom WikiLeaks is devoted to undermining.

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Gratuitous World Blog

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      January 29, 2014

      [Former NCAA President Myles Brand:] They can’t be paid. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] What makes them amateurs? [Brand:] Well, they can’t be paid. [Q:] Why not? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] Who decided they are amateurs? [Brand:] We did. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because we don’t pay them. – Michael Rosenberg’s 2010 Sports Illustrated interview of former NCAA president Myles Brand Yesterday, quarterback Kain Colter led a group […]

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      January 7, 2014

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