Wasted Words 13: Ten Favorite Albums of 2003

Not that I feel the need to explain myself, but I’ll do it anyway. Keep in mind this is my list of personal favorites for the year. I’m sure other people’s opinions will differ quite a bit from my own, and that’s cool. Feel free to post a comment and voice your opinion. Think my list is great? Tell me! Think my list sucks ass? Well, tell me that too. Hell, post your own personal list. I think that would be great. Seriously. The writers here at Baloola Palooza put a lot of time, effort, and a lot of times emotion into their columns. Comments are welcome and greatly appreciated. Anyway, on with the list. Here are my ten favorite albums of 2003.

10.) Anti-FlagThe Terror State: Anti-Flag comes out swinging on their latest effort. The album begins with a lyrical attack on Mr. President, that being their single, Turncoat. Anti-Flag albums have always varied in their sounds. Die For Your Government carried more of a street-punk sound. A New Kind Of Army ventured into some melodies, while Underground Network carried the catchy, melodic punk rock sound often associated with Fat Wreck. This album carries that tradition, and ventures into different sounds. While it’s still a fierce, angry punk rock album, there are some songs which sound a bit too radio friendly for Anti-Flag. Subject matter considered, however, I wouldn’t worry too much about seeing them on TRL.
RecommendedRank-N-File, Post-War Breakout

9.) MestMest: 2003 must’ve been the year for pop-punk bands to get serious and try different things. Mest’s follow-up to Destination Unknown slows down the tempo and darkens up the lyrics. While some songs still feature the same bouncy, pop-punk sound as found on previous efforts, other songs are toned down and almost sad. Rooftops takes a trip back in time and revisits growing up, while Until I Met You talks of being in a relationship with someone you just can’t get along with. Their single, the acoustic driven Jaded(These Years), which features Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, helped cast Mest further into the mainstream this year.
RecommendedBurning Bridges, Chance Of A Lifetime

8.) NOFXThe War on Errorism: With this album, NOFX cover a wide varieties of topics. From the current state of Punk music(Seperation of Church and Skate), politics(Idiots Are Taking Over), and even a love song(Two Jealous Agains). Of course, it wouldn’t be a NOFX album without some humor tossed in(She’s Nubs). While some topics have changed, most of it is still the same great NOFX sound of fast melodic punk, and mixing in a bit of ska here and there.
RecommendedMattersville, Seperation of Church and Skate
Click here for a full review.

7.) The All-American RejectsSelf-titled: Okay, so it was originally released in 2002, but it was re-released in 2003 so it made my list. When I first heard the song, Swing, Swing, I wasn’t too impressed. However, upon hearing the song several times, it grew on me and I couldn’t seem to get it’s catchy tune out of my head. While the lyrics can be overly sappy at times, Tyson’s voice and the overall greatness of each song more than makes up for it.
RecommendedMy Paper Heart, One More Sad Song

6.) Blink 182Blink 182: I never thought it could happen, but Mark, Tom, and Travis got serious. Not only that, but it works well for them! I’m still a big fan of their previous work, but this album took them to a whole new level in my book. I’m all for trying new things and experimenting, and that’s what this album is all about. They’ve added pianos, thrown in some acoustic guitars, programmed drum beats, and cover more serious topics. A lot of people compare this album to that of Box Car Racer, which is Tom & Travis’s side project. While I too am guilty of this, I really feel this album can stand all on it’s own.
RecommendedI Miss You, Stockholm Syndrome

5.) ThriceThe Artist in the Ambulance: If I could sum this album up with just one word, I’d say amazing. The band definitely came out strong on their major label debut, proving that signing to a major isn’t always a bad thing. If anything, the band improved compared to their previous efforts. This album is a brilliant blend of hardcore vocals, melodies, and metal riffs.
RecommendedSilhouette, Under A Killing Moon

4.) RancidIndestructible: Amidst all of the talk of deals with Warner Bros. and selling out, their arose a great album, which punched all the nay-sayers right in their mouth. The Rancid boys took all of the pain, heartache, anger, and aggression from the past few years, put it all into these songs and created a masterpiece. In my opinion, the only way you’d find a better Rancid album would be to pick up …And Out Come The Wolves.
RecommendedRed Hot Moon, Indestructable
Click here for a full review.

3.) Rise AgainstRevolutions Per Minute: Take some melodic punk rock, add in some hardcore, a hell of a lot of emotion, and a Journey cover. What do you end up with? Thirty-seven minutes of pure bliss called Revolutions Per Minutes. This album is perfect for fans of Bad Religion and Thrice.
RecommendedBlack Masks & Gasoline, Like The Angel
Click here for a full review.

2.) AFISing The Sorrow: 2003 was the breakout year for this band, if that’s what you want to call it. Having already a huge fan following, the release of their major label debut threw them right into the mainstream. While STS has quite a different sound from their previous offerings, it’s still AFI, and at their best no less. AFI has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard, and Davey delivers each line with great emotion. It definitely makes every song on the album a must-hear.
RecommendedDancing Through Sunday, Paper Airplanes(makeshift wings)

1.) Avenged SevenfoldWaking the Fallen: Before purchasing this album, I had never listened to this band. After listening to this masterpiece, they’re now one of my favorite bands. This album is truly metalcore at it’s finest. From the screaming vocals to the Iron Maiden-like guitar riffs, this album hits you hard and fast leaving you wanting more. The eight minute and 58 second long epic, I Won’t See You Tonight Part 1, might just make power-ballads cool again. The song is, dare I say, beautiful. I would recommend checking this album out if you’re a fan of Killswitch Engage, Poison the Well, or old-school metal.
RecommendedUnholy Confessions, Clairvoyant Disease, Second Heartbeat

Honorable mention:
ThursdayWar All The Time
Death By StereoInto the Valley of Death
The AtarisSo Long, Astoria
From Autumn To AshesThe Fiction We Live

Thanks for reading. Until next year, I’m out. Happy New Year.

Buried Treasure – Review – The Goon: Nothin' But Misery

Fast Facts

Title: The Goon: Nothin’ But Misery
Format: Graphic Novel
Art/Story: Eric Powell
Colours: Eric & Robin Powell
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

It’s a twisted world where a mafia thug battles the undead hordes of his arch-nemesis, the Zombie Priest with no name who lives on Lonely Street. It’s the noir-influenced 1930’s which Eric Powell’s Goon calls home.

The Goon is a mob enforcer who, with the aid of his pal Franky and the motivation of the protection money that rolls in, battles the living dead of the Zombie Priest bent on the destruction of the Goon’s boss, the myserious LaBrazio. We learn very quickly that LaBrazio is not one to be trifled with, as does a television announcer and the dastardly Fishy Pete.

Throughout the pages of Nothin’ But Misery we meet the strange and hilarious denizens of The Goon’s world. The first is Fishy Pete, a gangster who, as his name suggests, is a fish-man. His arms and legs have been taken by The Goon and replaced by hooks and peg-legs, respectively, and Pete isn’t too happy about it. There’s also Buzzard, an Old West gunslinger cursed by the Zombie Priest to feast on the flesh of the dead to survive. Merle the Werewolf with an unnatural phobia of midget hands makes an appearance, and there’s even an appearance by Santa Claus and his elves. The most interesting characters however, are The Goon and his sidekick, Franky. Which makes sense, really, because they’re the main characters. The Goon fights the forces of evil for money and, more importantly, because they’re infringing on his turf. Franky… well, he’s just freakin’ hilarious. You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean.

Powell’s art brings the dark and dingy world of The Goon to life with a fairly muted colour scheme, interspersed with a billious green or a bright dash of red(usually, and unsurprisingly, blood). The Goon looks as goonish as you can get, appearing, as he describes himself as “a shaved gorilla with twenty pounds of ground beef for a head”. Pools of blackness are common and reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, which will probably appear in this column soon or later.

The Goon is probably one of the best comic books you’ve never heard of, and you’d be doing yourself a favour to pick up Nothin’ But Misery and see what’s up. Trust me, even if you don’t like comics you’ll find something to like about The Goon.

Fill up with Phillip: Volume 2

You’ve probably noticed that the name of my column has changed. Well, you have to thank Hawaiian Bryan for this fantastic name. I think it’s great. Thanks again Bryan.

This week, the main topic is a review of the book The Stone Cold Truth. This is an autobiography on the WWE’s own, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Embarrassment of the Week
I was watching Around the Horn on Monday when they showed a clip of Nicole Richie at a Los Angeles Lakers game over the weekend. The courtside reporter started talking to her about her new television show and the conversation was going fine. He then asked her who her favorite Laker was, and she responded with this, “Kobe Bryant is my favorite because I want him to have sex with me.” Now, this girl is very good-looking, but apparently, she has no brains. Kobe is currently accused of rape and does not need things like this said. Lionel probably had a conniption when he saw this. She was totally out of line and should be smacked after such a stupid comment.

A Record Breaking Streak Ends
Saturday in the Continental Tire Bowl, one of Pittsburgh University’s greatest players college career may have come to an end. The Panthers lost to the Virginia Cavaliers 23 to16 and Fitzgerald did not catch a touchdown pass. This is the first time in 19 games that Fitzgerald did not catch a touchdown pass. He now holds the record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Fitzgerald is only a sophomore, but by spending a year at a naval academy, he may be able to enter the draft early. Good luck to him, as I feel he will be a big star.

A True Packer Icon
Many of you heard about the passing of Bret Farve’s father a week ago. Bret’s father had a heart attack while driving a car and crashed. Bret was very close to his father, and he couldn’t decide whether he should play in the Packers Monday night game against the Raiders. He decided that his father would’ve wanted him to play in that game, so Bret did. I watched that game with anticipation of what Bret would do. There were speculations that Bret would play bad, because he had a heavy heart. Bret kept his feelings in check, though. That game against the Raiders was the best game of his career. Farve threw for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had a career high 311 yards in the first half alone. The Packers raped the Oakland Raiders and won 41-7.

Then on Sunday, the Packers laid a beating on the Broncos 31-3. Bret didn’t have a stellar game by any means, 116 yards passing and 1 touchdown, but the Packers won and are going to the playoffs. This man, is definitely one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. If I were wearing a hat, I’d tip it to Bret Farve right now.

Lord of the Rings Phenomenon
Many of you have gone to see the final move in the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy, ‘The Return of the King.’ I went to see it, and it definitely is the best movie I have ever seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie has grossed more than 500 million dollars world-wise. Now that is a lot of fuckin’ cash. Word is that the director Peter Jackson wants to make ‘The Hobbit’ in to a movie. Should be a good one if he gets it.

Book Review: The Stone Cold Truth
The book is 312 pages long and is a very good read to any wrestling fan. In this book, Steve Williams goes through his life as a young man growing up in Edna, Texas, to being the Texas Rattlesnake Stone Cold Steve Austin in the WWE.

Steve talks about the death of Brian Pillman in the book. As you know they were the tag team in WCW called the Hollywood Blondes. They became really good friends, and eventually ended up in the WWE together. Brian died of a heart attack, but Steve says that he knows the drugs that Brian was on put a lot of strain on his heart. He mentions that he will never sit around anymore and watch someone destroy their life they way Pillman did. The gold chain you always see him wearing is the one Brian gave him when they were the Hollywood Blondes.

He also mentions a few wrestlers that he didn’t like. Lex Luger is one of them. He believes Luger has no in-ring talent. Steve also says how the Road Warriors never sold any moves.

Steve tells us how he was brought into the WWE to never make it past the Intercontinental Title level. Steve went through his second divorce during this time and needed to buy a house for himself. He didn’t have the money at the time and asked Vince McMahon for a loan. Vince loaned Steve $30,000 dollars to buy a house so he could have someplace to live. A few years later, Steve tried to pay Vince back, and Vince told Steve that he could keep the money. Vince does have a heart. *Too bad he doesn’t have a brain and take the belt off of HHH.*

Many people were critical of Stone Cold’s match verses The Rock at Wrestlemania XIX. I for one have not seen the match. However, in this book, you find out that the day before this great event, Steve was taken to the hospital for being very dehydrated. He was given through an IV 5 bags of fluid. Most people usually get 2-3. He had been drinking a lot of coffee and ephedrine laced drinks, which led to this. Steve tells us that he has sustained clonuses reflex in both of his legs. This is an involuntary shaking of nerves. His back and neck were worsening all the time, and it was about time Stone Cold called it quits. He felt like he had a duty to do, and that was to put The Rock over cleanly. At Wrestlemania XIX, The Rock beat Stone Cold Steve Austin in what was Steve William’s last match. He won’t guarantee that you won’t see him in the ring again, but he says there is a very slim chance.

My Thoughts
I thought this book was very good. I’ve now read Stone Cold’s, The Rock’s, and Mankind’s autobiographies. This one is probably second best behind Foley’s. With this book, you see behind the rough badass exterior of Steve Austin, and see the person of Steve Williams. Out of 10 thumbs up, I give it 9 thumbs up.

That’s it for this week’s column. Check it out next week, when I preview the BCS National Championship game.

Wasted Words 12: Holiday Edition

In tribute to the holiday season, I’m straying from the normal musical topics of my columns.

So the Holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving has passed. We’re onto Christmas and soon after we’ll be ringing in the new year. Minus the cold weather and snow, I’ve always loved this time of year. Spending time with the family. Going to holiday dinners and seeing grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that you don’t get to see often. That’s what has always made the holiday season so great for me. I won’t lie, the Christmas gifts are a nice addition, but they’re not what makes this time so special. Family, it’s what it’s all about. I remember as a kid, we would drive around town looking at all the Christmas lights. My parents would play that awful Christmas music. I hated it! The music, I mean. The lights were great. There was one Christmas song that I liked, which was Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer. Every time I heard it on the radio, I’d call her up on the telephone and tell her it was on so that she could listen to it. She got such a kick out of that, as did I. Setting up the Christmas tree together was always fun too. Untangling all of the lights that had been packed away for the past year. Placing the ornaments on the branches, with each one seeming to bring back a memory or two. Remember those shiny “ice cycles” that you put all over the tree? Those were fun, but made one hell of a mess. Oh, and can’t forget putting the lights on the tree and turning them on, only to find out that a bulb was out and they wouldn’t work. Talk about frustrating! But when you’re a kid, you didn’t have to worry much about that. Let the parents handle it, right?

Going to see Santa was always fun. Here you are, sitting on some strange mans lap, telling him about all the toys you want. What does he do when you’re done? Gives you a candy cane, of course. Sounds like an evening with Michael Jackson, I know. But it’s a lot more innocent than it sounds.

We can’t forget about the anticipation of the big day either. You know, when Santa Clause drops by, slides down your chimney, and leaves you a big pile of toys. It seemed like the closer it actually got to Christmas Day, the further away it seemed. The presents already wrapped under the tree didn’t make the wait much easier. On Christmas Eve, my brother and I would beg my parents to allow us to open one gift before going to bed. Sometimes it worked, most the time it didn’t. I guess we thought it would help us sleep better if we could open just one gift. Yeah, right. As far as I can remember, I probably averaged about three to four hours of sleep on Christmas Eve. I’d lay there and try to go to sleep, but it wouldn’t happen. Late in the evening (or early in the morning, however you look at it), I would get out of bed to see if the big guy had been there yet. If he hadn’t, I’d stroll back to bed and try to catch some sleep. See, me and my brother had an agreement as far as getting up to get our gifts from Santa. If he got up and the presents were out, he’d wake me up. If I found the presents and he was sleeping, I would wake him up. Teamwork my friends, teamwork. Upon getting up, we’d check out each others swag, whether it was the latest Ninja Turtle action figure, or the latest Nintendo game.

Christmas Day usually went something like this for me and my family…my brothers and I would get out of bed around 5:00 am, play with our toys that Santa had left for us for a few hours, then wake our parents up to show them what had been left for us. Little did we know there was a big secret about those gifts that Santa left, but we’ll discuss that later. My mom would then cook breakfast and we would all eat. After breakfast, we’d all open a new clothing outfit so that we could wear them to my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. My dad didn’t like opening all of our gifts that morning. Instead, he opted to save them until after dinner at the grandparents. He claimed it was to make Christmas last longer for us all. We didn’t care much for doing it that way, but that’s how he wanted it. After opening our new clothes, we’d all get cleaned up and head to my grandparents. We would spend the day there, eating dinner, spending time with the rest of the family and opening gifts. We would also sing those dreaded Christmas songs that I hat…err, loved so much. Well, I pretended to like them anyway, for grandmas sake. She always enjoyed singing them together. I don’t know how many of us kids actually enjoyed singing those songs, but we all went along with it. After leaving my Grandparents house, we would head home and open up the rest of our gifts that were waiting for us.

Looking back at holidays of the past, a lot of things have changed. The secret of Santa Clause is out of the bag. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and GI Joe’s have turned into compact discs and clothes. The day full of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents has turned into my mother, my two brothers, my daughter, and myself. Things seem so different at Christmas time these days. Several years ago, around this same time of year, my grandmother passed away. Remember those Christmas songs I hated singing on Christmas Day? I’d give about anything to be singing those same songs alongside my grandmother right now. No longer do we pile up in the car and go to grandmas house anymore. After my grandmother passed away, it seems that no one sees any reason to get together for the holidays. It’s sad really. This past March, my father passed away after just turning forty-nine years old. This is the first Christmas we will spend without him here. As much as I hated waiting all day long to open the rest of our gifts, I wish he was here right now to tell us to wait. I’d put off opening all of my gifts for an eternity if he could be here right now. I’d give anything to go back to how things used to be. Believing in the magic of Santa Clause. Going to grandmas house and spending time with the rest of the family. Having to wake my dad up from his Christmas morning nap so that we could open up that one clothing outfit. Oh, how I miss it all.

I’m twenty-four years old now, and I’ve started my own family. All of the things I enjoyed as a child, I now get to pass on to my daughter, Ashley. We put our Christmas tree up as a family, just as we did when I was a kid. She loves the Christmas lights, so we drive around searching for the houses with the most lights. She sits in her car seat and yells “pretty” as we drive by each house. Of course, I’m still not too fond of Christmas songs, so you won’t find any in my CD changer any time soon. She knows who Santa Clause is now, and she’ll wake up on Christmas morning to find the toys that he leaves for her. She sat on Santa’s lap at the mall the other day, and did so without screaming her head off as she did last year. Of all the things I will teach her about Christmas, one thing stands above all else. The importance of family. Not just at the holidays, however, but all year long. Most people, myself included, tend to take for granted the people who love them most. Most of us assume they’ll always be there, until one day we wake up and they’re not. An old Cinderella song comes to mind. I know what you’re saying…What does cheesy hair-metal have to do with family and Christmas time? Nothing really, other than as the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got, ’til it’s gone. So this holiday season, hug your loved ones a little tighter. Tell them you love them a few extra times. Call that friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while and let them know how much they mean to you. Take care, and Happy Holidays.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hello boys and girls of BP! I’m sure all of my adoring fans have missed the presence of my column dearly… right?!? In any case, after a few weeks off to settle personal issues I am back. The above title (cheesy as it may be) is the title of my column. Every other week I plan on doing a review and the other weeks (as this is a weekly column) I will do an article in the vein of what I have been doing for the past couple of months. So enjoy the following review!

Literature Review: Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs

Running with Scissors is a jagged memoir of a boys search to find himself through the insanity of his family, friends and somewhat botched adolescence. An amazing read for both the dysfunctional raised and the well bred, Running with Scissors chronicles the life of a young boy trying to come to grips with the absurdity of his life. Raised for the first half of his life by his mother, a self-important poet, and his emotionally bereft father, Burroughs’ is sent to live with the family psychiatrist after his mother’s breakdown. The book explores the bizarre habits and thoughts of Dr. Finch and his family. His new and far to the left of strange life takes place in a filthy cockroach ridden Victorian home in New England, with a cast of characters too odd to be fictional. The book follows an ordinary boys journey into a world where rules are unheard of, patients live in the house and everyone pops Valium. There is no end to the absurdity, grotesqueness and hilarity of the antics of both the Finch family and Burroughs’s mother. Running with Scissors manages to illuminate the inner workings of the average American adolescence through the sheer impossibility of the author’s situation.

Movie Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Although possibly the longest movie of all time, Return of the King was an absolute masterpiece. Once again Peter Jackson amazes moviegoers and critics alike with his stunning battle scenes sweeping sets and careful attention to detail. Although I was disappointed at the departure from the novel in Jackson’s rendition of The Two Towers, all the pieces from the left over of book two were tied in nicely. Jackson’s greatest feat is the creation of some amazing monsters, character and villains. Gollum, as is evident from the previous movies, is amazing and he truly steals the show in the scenes he appears in. As well, Shelob is an incredible monster and the Witch King is by far the most bad- ass villain in the entire epic. Second on my list of the wonders of Peter Jackson and LOTR the movies: battle scenes! The fight at the Minas Tirith is incredible; I was literally squirming in my seat at every turn! But the most incredible thing I think Jackson has done with these movies is the ability to keep the audience alive. As a professed LOTR geek, I was amazed that despite my peeves with not following the books page by page, and the Hollywood concocted love story, Jackson managed to keep my attention, my praise and even a little bit of surprise. The only weakness in content was the touchy feely script between Frodo and Sam. However, for all its glories the extraneous ending of Tolkien was not meant for the screen. After an amazing three hours Jackson managed to suck every last bit of adrenaline the audience had. In a grueling twenty-minute ending, Jackson prolonged the completion of an amazing trilogy in a completely unnecessary manner. My vote is to end the movie with the bow scene, although it departs from the ending of the book (as does Jackson’s long ending) it is in keeping with the general spirit of the books/movies and would be in Hollywood’s best interest as the average American has the attention span of a three year old. Save it for the extended version! All in all, a wonderful movie. I applaud Peter Jackson and the entire cast for their efforts and amazing skill; I would sit through the movie a third time!

Well boys and girls, that’s all I have for today. Have a Happy Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah! I will see you all in week, a few pounds heavier and with more materialistic goods than a small country should have.

Amazing Bands that You're Not Listening To…but I am! PART ONE

It should be common knowledge to all by now that I have a serious love for music. Most of the bands on my top 10 favorite-all-time bands are ones that some of you know and love. However, my musical penchants extend themselves far beyond the top 10 list.

Today I would like to discuss some of the albums I own in my collection that when people look through it, they say “yeah..don’t know who that is.” These are bands that I seriously recommend you all give a listen to, for the betterment of society. or something of that sort.

Jeff Buckley
There have been many amazing singer songwriters in my life time. Pete Yorn, Ben Folds, Connor Oberst, the list goes on and on. I think you probably haven’t heard of Jeff Buckley in the news or on television, probably because unfortunately, he’s dead. He died back in 1996 when he was swimming and drowned after a collision with a boat. However, he should still be remembered and talked about today. His voice is like an angel. His guitar skills were incredible. His lyrics…amazing. The way he sang his songs with such a sad but inviting feel makes him perfect for every rainy day or broken heart. I couldn’t describe the genre, because he really doesn’t fit into any one. He’s just really, really, really good.
Recommended Download by Jeff Buckley: “Last Goodbye”

The Eels
There are not enough words in the English language to describe how I feel about The Eels. Infact, to describe them I shall have to make up a word that means “fucking incredible.” The Eels are absolutely…shilpadoo. What makes them so shilpadoo you ask? Well…I’m not really sure exactly what it is. Their songs are really cool and fun and catchy as hell. They rock out like nothing else. They make the perfect band to get drunk to, work to, chill to, or do just about anything to. They are also amazing to see live. What makes the band so amazing is the front man, known only as Mr. E. He is weird, and badass, and he has the coolest voice I’ve ever seen. For such a small man he is absolutely electrifying to watch. They are just straight up rock. No frills. Just pure shilpadoo goodness!
Recommended Download by The Eels: “Novocain for the Soul”

The June Spirit
For those of you who hate emo don’t even consider reading this section. The June Spirit is totally emo, but completely incredible. The only problem with liking them is that you’re not going to see them in concert because they broke up already..twice. The first time was only temporary and they came back with a new awesome singer, but the second time it was for good and the June Spirit is no longer around. However that should not prevent you from investing in listening to them. Both singers are really great. The lyrics are all sad and poignant. The guitars send chills down my spine. The June Spirit are perfect for those times when you’re just sad, and want to listen to music that will make you even sadder. Its pure emo goodness.
Recommended Download by The June Spirit: “..And the Radio Played the Hits”

To all my readers out there, have a very shilpadoo Christmas, and a Shpadoinkle New Year

Until next time…turn off your friggin’ radios.

Fill up with Phillip: Volume 1

The Column has finally arrived here at the great Baloolapalooza.com. It is so nice to finally be able to write for this website once again. My column will mostly revolve around the sports world unless something else big pops up that I want to write about.

This week’s edition will be about the NCAA College Football Bowl Championship games that a Top 25 team will be competing in. The GMAC Bowl has already taken place, and Miami of Ohio stuck it to Louisville 49 to 28. Not many people know much about Ben Roethlisberger. He’s the outstanding quarterback for Miami of Ohio. Many feel that he will be the first quarterback taken in next year’s NFL draft. From the looks of things this year in the NFL, it appears as though the Arizona Cardinals could use a new quarterback because there is no way that Jeff Blake can get it done in the NFL. Roethlisberger has been the only total package in a quarterback in the NCAA this season and has led his team to 13 straight victories. This man is one to look out for next year in the NFL. Now we are going to take a look at the remaining big bowl games. I will analyze them (some more than others) then predict the winner.

Fort Worth Bowl
Texas Christian vs. Boise State
-All the hoopla that was made for TCU this season got shut down when Louisville destroyed them toward the end of the year. I was very happy when this happened. Why you ask? Because TCU was very overrated for not playing anyone very good, and they were beat by a mediocre team. I think this will be a close game however.
Winner: Boise State

Alamo Bowl
Michigan State vs. Nebraska
-If this game had happened two weeks ago, I would’ve picked Nebraska. However, Nebraska took it upon themselves to fire a great coach in Frank Solich. Bad idea by the Huskers, and I think it will effect them in this game.
Winner: Michigan State

Holiday Bowl
Texas vs. Washington State
-Come on! This is a no brainer!
Winner: Texas

Sun Bowl
Oregon vs. Minnesota
-I don’t know a lot about either of these teams. So I’m flipping a coin.
Winner: Minnesota

Liberty Bowl
Utah vs. Southern Miss
-This game will be an exciting one. Both teams bring fairly impressive offenses into the game.
Winner: Southern Miss

Outback Bowl
Iowa vs. Florida
-Come on. This game is a no brainer, also. Florida Gators are going to destroy Iowa. Seriously.
Winner: Florida

Gator Bowl
Maryland vs. West Virginia
-This is a tough choice. Both have had fairly good seasons. Maryland fought hard toward the end of the season. West Virginia put on a VERY good performance against Miami Hurricanes. Hmmm…
Winner: West Virginia

Capital One Bowl
Georgia vs. Purdue
-On paper this looks like a good game. However, I believe Georgia will be looking to impress the nation after their ugly defeat at the hands of LSU in the SEC Championship game.
Winner: Georgia

Rose Bowl
Michigan vs. USC
-Everyone expects USC to run all over Michigan in this game to prove that they are the true number one team. Well, I think that is pure B.S. After beating no quality teams all year, why should they be number 1? USC brings in mediocre defense against the nation’s best offensive back in Chris Perry. I expect Perry to have a big game on the ground and bring it home for the Wolverines.
Winner: Michigan

Orange Bowl
Miami vs. Florida State
-Hopefully this game will be better than the one they had earlier this year. In that mud soaked game, Florida State had turnover after turnover after turnover, which led to a loss. Brock Berlin feels like he has something to prove to his Hurricane teammates, but I expect Chris Rix to come out firing for the Seminoles.
Winner: Florida State

Cotton Bowl
Mississippi vs. Oklahoma State
-Ole Miss brings one of the best quarterbacks in the country into this game in Eli Manning. Expect Manning to have a big game.
Winner: Mississippi

Peach Bowl
Tennessee vs. Clemson
-Tennessee had a big win over Miami this year IN Miami. So I’m going with them.
Winner: Tennessee

Fiesta Bowl
Kansas State vs. Ohio State
-Buckeyes look strong in this one, but then again Kansas State did run over Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.
Winner: Ohio State

The last bowl left is the Sugar Bowl, which I will be covering in its own column on January 3. All these games don’t appear like they will disappoint. If you are a fan of football, this is what you want to watch. These guys play their hearts out. I’ll be back next week with another, The Column.

Open Mic with Bear F'N Frazer – Holiday Inn Style

Ladies and Gentlemen, I said, Ladies and Gentlemen! Can I get you all’s attention? I would like to introduce to you … the world’s best and sexiest writer ever … Bear F’N Frazer!

Here I am, folks. Man, I have been so busy as of late. I mean, I just had to deal with finals and do some last minute things for people, and lets not forget holiday shopping, so I’ve been running around the East Coast faster than a whore on a Cross Country Team, for real. But have no fear, for Bear is here! See, although my absence have been conspicuous like somebody stealing cookies from a cookie jar, I have been in the works on writing one of BaloolaPalooza’s mainstream features! See, sometime in January, I will be posting what I feel are the Top 22 Albums since 1990. That will be taking up a ton of time, so although this whole weekend update thing may not be in full effect, I want you all to know that your faithful leader IS HERE TO STAY and is fighting off evil villains, politicians, Howard Dean supporters, and all 12 year-old boys off my streets, my ghettos, and my website in the sake of BaloolaPalooza.

Since it’s the season to celebrate holidays, I figure why don’t I write this column about the holidays, hence Holiday Inn Style. I figure to make this Open Mic a bit different from the rest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna give you all my opinion, but not necessarily focusing all on Entertainment, but my personal needs as well.

So, everybody has been making up a Christmas List. I am sure everyone is asking what I want for Christmas. Well, here are the Final Four things of what is on my list.

1.) John Cena Action Figure (Ruthless Aggression Series 5) – See, John Cena is my favorite WWE Superstar, but there is one thing that pisses me off: let me tell you the story. For the longest time, John Cena has been saying that he is an incredible MC. Ill be the first to admit, Cena has skills. He raps on television, he raps in the locker room, and he even raps in the studio, because he has finished recording his album. I’m actually cool with that … but what makes me mad is that he battle raps people outside the Arena after the show. I mean, let’s face it; if you saw a wrestler or somebody you thought was awesome, wouldn’t you try to imitate them, especially if the person is a rapper? I mean, you probably got some cracka ass kid who has no rapping skills walking up to Cena and spitting a nursery rhyme. They’ll probably do that just to meet Cena and maybe, they think, “Since Cena is white, then I can rap.” Well, let me tell YOU something, Mr. Cena! I refuse to let you think every white boy can rap! I want to be the one to put him in his place. But, since you never come to North Carolina and because I’m a college student, chances of me battle rapping you are slim, so I have to do the next best thing: Find a John Cena Action Figure. I have been looking for this damn John Cena doll since Thanksgiving. THANKSGIVING, PEOPLE! I have traveled for about three different Wal-Mart locations, Toys R Us, Kay Bee, and my girl went to a few stores in North Carolina. The figure ain’t there. All I know is this: John Cena is in hiding and if somebody can go into a sewer and find him, then I will handsomely reward them with a five dollar bill.

2.) A Glow-in-the-Dark Condom – I think this is something everyone can in some way, shape, or form, relate to. I personally love blacklights and loud music. When you have both blacklights turned on and the stereo on blast, you just feel like moving, whether it is dancing, moshing, skanking, jumping, shaking your head, or fucking. The human eye appeals to colors, no joke. When somebody sees a light, then their eyes tend to gravitate toward it to find out, what the hell it exactly is. They’re all like, “Oooooh … sooooo shiny … can I touch? Come to mama …” Now this is to my brothers. Imagine if you got this hot looking chica, with the perfect body, and the killa mentality. You think you can score and you just happen to have a party in your pants. How can you spice that party up? Grab a condom! But … how could you make it more interesting and appealing? A … Glow-in-the-Dark Condom!. You put that on your ding dong and then, walk up to the girl. Her eyes are going to gravitate towards it with ease and she will probably smile (if you’re big like me, she will definitely smile). And, let’s face: once the girl sees the glowstick, then the party is on! That would be fuckin’ cool!

3.) A pair of Oakley – This is definitely a big thing for me, people. I have wanted a pair of Oakley Sunglasses ever since 8th Grade. This has been on my Christmas List every single year. I always wanted to go to the beach or just to the mall, or for that matter, anywhere at anytime when the sun was out, and when it shi-ines … on my face. I would slap on my pair of $100 Oakley Sunglasses and send the sun off to another galaxy. But, that has always been the problem. I simply refuse to pay $100 for any single product … any single product. No way, Jose! I go to Santa every year, hoping my parents would buy me those sunglasses. The best thing about sunglasses though is that you can wear them year round … even in the winter. So if there is a bad Jerry Springer Show on and you don’t want to watch it. Put on those sunglasses. Hey, remember that Lil Bow Wow Video? Let me put on my sunglasses … oh what! Where’s Bow Wow Now? Hey, if you are sitting down and you see that girl who always has those nasty gritty teeth and that messed up mole on her cheek … put on those sunglasses. “Hey, you talkin’ to me? Where are you? I’m blind, child!” That is the best. “I’m right here … you can’t see me!” See, Oakley’s can make your life and mine, much much better!

4.) One More Giant Size Mirror – There are so many people in our society who just hate the way they look. They look into the mirror and see some disgusting freak of nature who shouldn’t exist. Either they are ‘too fat,’ or ‘too ugly,’ but to me, it’s all the same. So what do they do? They probably grab a razor and shave their armpits or slice their wrists (but if you are my ex girlfriend, you’ll shave that mustache). I mean, nowadays, everybody is all about change. Change this, change that, change, change, change. I’m not knocking down change. I ain’t hatin’ on change, because, after all, change is a good thing, nay, it’s a beautiful thing! However, change is only good when you are comfortable with yourself. See, if you are comfortable with yourself, you are calm. When you are calm, you know the terrific features about you that make you shi-ine and, you know your problem areas or your flaws (like having a mustache thicker than Hitler). But when you’re aggravated, frustrated, and complicated, then you tend to blow things out of proportion like you are some sort of drama queen like Susan Lucci. See, that is what Michael Jackson did. He was always a freak of nature and his father always knew this, by calling him ugly and bottle nose all the time. So, Michael Jackson changed. He got rid of his afro and did the one thing a black man never really successfully did before: grow long straight hair. Then, he did something else a black man never really successfully did before: change his nose into what looks like a test tube. And finally, he took that last step a black man has never (and probably will never) has done (or never wanna do) before: change his skin color and officially becoming the first black individual to turn into a white person. All of this has happened because Michael Jackson is a man who is very uncomfortable with who he is. I remained calm and look at me: I am the sexiest man alive. Because I am comfortable with myself, I want one more giant size mirror so I can stare at myself whenever I want. So, to all the young people reading my article – be happy with who you are. You could end up sexy like me or you could end up unhappy, looking like Michael Jackson. And watch it, because you could be spending a sleepover with him as well. I chose not to go the same path as Jackson

There is only one way to end this column! I’m Santa Bear F’N Frazer! I must give some gifts out to celebrities worldwide!

Michael Jackson – Michael Jackson has been a naughty little boy this year. This year, I got him a mannequin of a twelve-year old boy so technically, he can’t break the law. They can even sleep in the same bed, legally!

Hillary Duff – For Hillary Duff, I plan to give her a bicycle. Scratch that, I heard she was a bicycle. Maybe I’ll just give her a Glow-in-the-Dark condom instead.

Hillary Clinton – She uses her hands a lot to feel herself up. To save her some trouble, I decided to give this feminazi a lighter. Now, when she burns her bras, she won’t have to use matches.

Kelly Clarkson – She has been one messed up baby. I believe she’s done crack or coke, or something. There is only one thing she needs from Santa Bear F’N Frazer. Let me reach into my bag and pull something out, oooh! Well, what do we have hear? Yes, here Kelly. This is a new voice. It seems like yours sucks nowadays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Justin Guirani – Is that even how you spell his name? You know, that guy from American Idol WHO LOST to Kelly, I don’t know? He was in that movie? No? Well, I got him a loaded gun with a manual on how to shoot himself in the head. Hopefully, a few minutes after this column goes up, we will have a new headline which reads, “Dumb Pop Star attempts suicide … and misses target.” Yea, I said misses. He’s a dumbass … he’ll probably aim for his head and shoot the kitchen sink. God, pop stars are so dumb.

Frodo from Lord of the Rings – Santa has a very special gift for you, little boy. Santa got you a box of Kleenex Tissues because every scene you are ever in, you always cry, even if nobody says a freakin’ word.

Nat X (Chris Rock) of Saturday Night Live – Santa has a very special gift for you. Santa got you 63 Million Gallons of Gasoline and a couple sets of matches, so you can sneak on Captain John Luke Piccard’s Starship Enterprise and light the whole bitch on fire. Santa knows that they tend to show African-Americans in a negative light on that shot. Do it for Santa Bear F’N Frazer my Nubian Soldier. Black Power (raises fist).

And last, but not least, for fellow BP Staff Member, Aaron Rhoades (Gambino), Santa Bear F’N Frazer bought him several items. The first is alcohol so he can get so shitfaced that he can’t see straight. Then, Santa got him a paper bag so he can put it on Kelly Osbourne’s face. Then, he gets an extra-strength Trojan so he can get wild with Kelly Osbourne. Santa also bought him a toothbrush with a tube of Crest so he can brush the taste of Kelly’s breath out of his mouth. Lastly, Santa Bear F’N Frazer bought him a dime bag so he can laugh and forget about Kelly Osbourne and he wacky and snobby behavior.


To leave a comment, click the link below. I encourage all comments, good and bad.

Sin 4: A fat man's time is precious…

Howdy folks, I’m back. Sorry about that little freak-out last week. What can I say? Sometimes you just gotta get in touch with your feminine side… then get the hell away from it before it turns you into a sweater-vest wearing interior decorator. Anyways, on with the show.


Since I was eight years old, I’ve had a weight problem. I blame myself for this, and my heroic love of carbohydrates. Since I was nineteen, I’ve also had another annoying habit. I’ve spent a lot more time listening to chicks complain about their boyfriends than any man should be capable of.
For instance, I had this one friend, who was a real winner. She hooked up with this guy, and within two months she boned her ex-boyfriend… before boning the guy she was dating. Then she, sobbing, begged for his forgiveness and, being whipped and nowhere as good with women as he thought he was, he gave in.
I get this call while I’m trying to study for my fuckin’ FINALS from her. It’s her bitching for about an hour about how he’s hanging out with his friends instead of her. I get to Searcy, kinda ready to give this guy a talking-to, when the first thing he says when I walk in is, “I hate those guys”-meaning his friends she was talking about-and he “hadn’t seen them in weeks.”

Strike One: Cheating
Strike Two: Bothering a fat guy
Strike Three: Bothering a fat guy with lies, lies, lies!

Girls, if you see a fat guy, don’t start complaining about your relationship with some guy who’s taken care of his body. It just pisses them off. If you want to make a fat guy happy, give him a twinkie or a hamburger. Bitching is just a way to release negativity, but instead of transfering it, as some selfish bitches hope to do, it just spreads it. Then, instead of one sad person, you’ve got a sad person and a bored person.

Unless the fat guy is directly involved in the proceedings, don’t bother him with your bullshit problems.

There, least funny of my seven deadly sins out of the way. Now what?


I never really got this, seriously.
I got Public Enemy. Do you have any idea how hard that is? To be an upper middle-class white boy, and ‘getting’ Public Enemy? I had to listen for hours to get into the mentality of them. To understand the appeal, and where they were coming from.
I can say no such thing about Nirvana.
I just…don’t… get it.
I’ve heard “Smells like Teen Spirit” and “Come as you Are”, and I’ve been put through their other stuff, too, all while the people playing the music tell me, “Can you believe this? Can you believe how good this is?”
“No,” I had to answer, “Because it really isn’t.”
Maybe I just missed the point somewhere. It just seems to me that Nirvana is liked because legally, people between the ages of thirty and ten are supposed to like them. They’re supposed to symbolize some form of depressed rebellion or something. But they don’t.
When “Come as you are” came on the radio when I was a kid, I changed the station. The song bored me. It still does. I just don’t get Nirvana. I don’t want to.


Much has been said of this band, this “Good Charlotte”. Much has been mentioned of their initial goodishness and their quick descent into hatability. Will I say more? Yes.
This happens all the time. I remember people telling me how there was this cool new Mexican dance back in 1996. I saw the dance, and it sucked. I have a keen eye for this. Just like when all my ‘bros’ were rocking to Nookie, I didn’t. I saw that Durst was a bitch. Just like when Fifty Cent popped up on the scene, and I saw that he sucked, so I didn’t listen to him. I’m pretty good at this. I’m like the Annie Oakley of suckiness.
So when “Lifestyles” began to play nonstop, and my friends were “rocking out” to it, I heard that siren song of shit. The lyrics just weren’t that inventive-in fact, rather juvenile. The singers just looked like children going out on Halloween. They remind me of Avrile Levinstien-grr! Look at me! I’m this stereotype! Grr! Look, my lyrics are spelled with numbers! Argh! I’m a pirate!
Popular music bores me. It has since 1997. When “Push” became a hit, they should have just loaded up a bus with all the popstars, present and future, and driven them into the roaring, fiery mouth of hell.


You know why teen suicide is up? Because music has changed.
Back in the old days, songs were happy. Did you know in the 90’s…1890’s… “The Cat came Back” was a big hit? Like a monster hit?
“The cat came back, the very next day, the cat came back, they thought he was a goner…”
God! How could you kill yourself to THAT song? You couldn’t. You’d be too embarassed.
Flash forward a hundred years, and you’ve got Ben Folds singing about his girlfriend getting an abortion, and how sad it is. We now have music styles that appeal to any emotion- Alternative (Depression), Metal (Hatred), Techno (Shamelessness), Pop (Homosexuality). If you’re depressed, pop in something depressing… and get more depressed!
Half these people who write depressing songs have nothing real to complain about. Eric Clapton lost his son, and he had “Tears in Heaven”. That was justified. What do these kids have to complain about now? Did your mom make you take out the garbage? Did your girlfriend not call you back on time? Jeez, share your grief and depression for when you need it, and trust me, there will be a time. Like right now, since my column’s done.

Buried Treasure – Review – Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

Fast Facts

Platform: Playstation 2
Publisher: VU Games
Developer: Snowblind Studios
Players: 1-2
Genre: Action/RPG

It’s time to delve into the vaults and pick out another buried treasure, kiddies. This time it’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance for the PS2, a diamond in the rough to be sure. I think there was a Baldur’s Gate game for the PC before this one, but that game doesn’t matter at all because chances are slim that it’s as good as its console counterpart.

Dark Alliance sets you in the middle of the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons and Dragons; a town called Baldur’s Gate, to be exact. You show up, get mugged by some goons working for the new Thieves Guild, and are rescued by the city watch, who take you to the Elfsong Tavern to recover. Not exactly a heroic debut for your character(a Human Archer, Dwarven Fighter, or Elven Sorceress), but that’s okay, because pretty soon the fur starts flying – literally – when the barkeep asks you to help clear out the rats in the cellar. An exterminator job sounds lowly, but pretty soon you’ll be lopping off kobold limbs and hacking apart big gelatinous cube things and other fantastic monsters on a quest to save the world from the Dark Alliance of the forces of evil.

The gameplay is solid, featuring hack and slash style combat coupled with the RPG elements that would be expected from a game using the D&D license. There’s a button to attack, jump, use magic, and interact with the environment. You can pick up or leave items at your liesure, not only because they’ll still be there later but also because your character will complain loudly if you try to cram too much stuff into their pack. New weapons and items can be found by looting the corpses of dead foes as well as raiding the weapons stockpiles of the more organized enemies such as the Thieves Guild or the Dark Elves. You can also buy weapons and armour from the various shopkeepers, although you’ll want to keep your trips to their establishments quick, because after a while they’ll get irritating with their incessant banter.

That leads me into the sound. The voice acting in this game is, simply put, amazing. Each character that you meet has their own personality and voice, and, surprisingly enough for a game with this much dialogue, the voices don’t sound like actors reading off of scripts in a studio. I know, I was shocked too. The music isn’t spectacular, but you rarely hear it over the din of battle anyway. What you can hear between bloody clashes adds to the ambience though, so that gets a thumbs up from me.

The level up system makes up for the lack of characters by allowing you to individualize your chosen champion in a number of categories. Aside from the usual characteristic increases, you can also give your character upgrades in the various skill sets available to them. The Dwarven fighter, for example, can gain an ability called Whirlwind which allows him to heft a mighty warhammer and whip it around him in a dervish of destruction, while the Elven Sorceress can learn a magic spell called Buring Hands which allows her to spew flames from her palms to roast her enemies.

I picked up Dark Alliance at the Blockbuster by my house for ten bucks, and I found an amazing game that got me hooked mere moments into it. That alone nets Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance Buried Treasure status.