Friday, January 30, 2009

The Super Bowl

From one former grocery stocker to another, good luck.

There doesn't seem to be a much of a sense of excitement about this year's Super Bowl as in some years past. This year's matchup, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, doesn't have the allure of previous years - many are assuming the Steelers will win in a rout. And although this old dog finds the selection of Bruce Springsteen as halftime entertainment appropriate given what has transpired the past few months, I can't blame younger folks for seeing the pick as another dull choice of the post-wardrobe malfunction era, yet another boring classic rocker.

The Steelers, one of the NFL's glamour franchises, always stir a certain amount of fan interest. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are the league's perennial losers. Along with the Bears and Packers, the Cardinals are the only other of the NFL's charter franchises still surviving, but that long history has mostly been a miserable one. Those with long memories, though, will remember a time when the Steelers were every bit as pathetic as the Cardinals, before Chuck Noll arrived in 1969 and built a dynasty. In fact, during World War II, both teams were scrounging for money and fans, and decided to pool their resources to save on expenses. They were known as Card-Pitt; they staggered through the 1944 season with an 0-10 record, and were referred to throughout the league as the "Carpets".

I admit to having a soft spot for this year's Cardinals, though, something that goes back to the mid-70's and the franchise's St. Louis years. The "Cardiac Cardinals", as they were known then, featured a high-powered offense and mediocre defense, somewhat similar to the current Arizona squad. Those Cardinals won back-to-back division titles in 1974 and '75 but lacked the defensive grit to advance in the playoffs. The 2008 Cardinals seemingly won the weak NFC West by default, but during their playoff run, the defense suddenly stiffened, and became a key element in bringing the team to its first Super Bowl appearance ever.

The Cardinals had been assembling offensive talent for several years, but none of it gelled until veteran quarterback Kurt Warner came off the bench to take charge of the attack. Few NFL stars return to their previous level after a long gap in production, generally, in pro football, once you're through, you're through. There have been a few spectacular comebacks - George Blanda, Earl Morrall, and Ottis Anderson, off the top of my head - but those guys were decent pro players out of college. Kurt Warner came out of college, went to arena football, and stocked grocery shelves in the offseason to pay the bills. Warner landed a backup job with the St. Louis Rams, and in 1999, when starter Trent Green went out with an injury, he stepped in and had an MVP season. He led the Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV, setting a Super Bowl record for most passing yards in one game. Two years later, he had another MVP season and Super Bowl appearance. Then came injuries, and a five-year production drought that saw him bounce from the Rams to the Giants, and finally to the Cardinals. With the Cardinals, he was in and out of the lineup at first, and most observers were ready to proclaim his career over. But when Matt Leinart went out with an injury in 2007, Warner became the Cardinals' starting QB. The Cards' young receiving corps thrived with Warner at the helm, paving the way for the team's unlikely Super Bowl appearance this year. Warner, a devout Christian, sometimes comes off as too sanctimonious for his own good, but one cannot deny his talent, his leadership, and especially his determination.

So, I'm rooting for the Cardinals to win their first title since 1947. I'm rooting for Kurt Warner, as another Super Bowl win would probably give the finishing touch to a most unlikely Hall Of Fame career, and the other team members, to reward their surprising playoff run. For those 60's and 70's St. Louis Cardinals, guys like Jim Hart, Mel Gray, Terry Metcalf, Jim Baaken and Roger Wehrli, who never got their proper due. For the lesser-known St. Louis players as well, such as Dave Meggyesy, who told some hard truths about the game of football and paid for it with his career. And also for Pat Tillman, the late Arizona player who taught us some hard truths while giving up his NFL career for military service, and learned a few of his own. My head knows better, but I'm picking this one with my heart. Cardinals 27, Steelers 23.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Album project: Straight Up

Badfinger, Straight Up (1971): Badfinger's story is one of the saddest in the annals of rock. On the brink of a promising career in the early 70's, internal turmoil, poor management decisions, and outright theft all but destroyed the group, and ultimately drove two of its members to commit suicide.

They began as The Iveys, a mid-60's Welsh beat group led by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Pete Ham. Drummer Mike Gibbins joined up in 1965, as The Iveys began to expand their following outside of their native territory, gaining a reputation in the clubs of Liverpool and London. By 1967, they had relocated to London, and added guitarist Tom Evans, their first non-Welsh member, to the lineup. In time, The Iveys were noticed by Mal Evans, The Beatles' roadie and jack-of-all-trades, who convinced the Fab Four to make the group the first band signed to their new Apple label, creating an association that would be key to their future success.

The Ivey's career began to move forward with the near-hit "Maybe Tomorrow", but things really got rolling when Paul McCartney offered the group the chance to record for the soundtrack of the movie The Magic Christian, including McCartney's composition "Come And Get It". By this time the group felt they needed a more contemporary name; "Badfinger" was suggested by Beatles associate Neil Aspinall. Also, original bassist Ron Griffiths left the group. He was replaced by guitarist Joey Molland, causing Evans to move to bass and forming Badfinger's most successful lineup. With everything in place, "Come And Get It" was released as a single at the end of 1969 and reached the Top 10 in the UK and US. Further success came in 1970, with another Top 10 hit, "No Matter What", and the release of the album No Dice, containing "Without You", which reached #1 when covered by Harry Nilsson in 1972. As Badfinger' stature rose, many fans and critics noted the band's similarities in style and sound to the recently disbanded Beatles. Badfinger members worked on several Beatle solo projects that year, including George Harrison's All Things Must Pass LP and Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy". As 1971 approached, Badfinger looked forward to recording the album that they thought would put them over the top.

The band began recording what would become Straight Up at the beginning of 1971, but their manager had scheduled an American tour for March, causing the new tracks to be mixed hastily. Apple rejected those recordings, but a silver lining emerged when George Harrison offered to produce the band. Harrison worked with the group through June and July, completing four tracks, but had to drop out when organizing the Concert For Bangladesh began to take up nearly all his time. All four members of Badfinger were in the backing band for that historic event on August 1, 1971. Upon returning to the studio, Harrison was unable to continue working with the group, and Apple brought in studio whiz Todd Rundgren to complete the project. At the time, Rundgren's star was on the rise in the US, but he was barely known in the UK. Joey Molland said the band went out and bought some of Rundgren's albums so they could figure out who he was. Although Rundgren and the band never warmed up to each other personally, he provided a steady hand behind the board and gave the remaining tracks a pop sheen that further invited comparisons with The Beatles. Straight Up was finally completed and released in the US in December 1971, and in the UK in February 1972. The final result was a masterpiece of early 70's power pop.

Ham's "Take It All" kicks off the disc, followed by "Baby Blue", as fine an example of guitar-led power pop as you'll hear anywhere. A powerful hook underscores the tune, which Ham wrote for Dixie Butz, a woman he had dated during the band's last US tour. The medley of "Money" and "Flying" that follows is a psychedelic swirl that points up the group's debts to George Harrison and John Lennon.

Of the four tracks Harrison produced, the best and most successful was the gorgeous ballad "Day After Day". Ham's wistful melody is supported by fine slide guitar work from Ham and Harrison. Molland recalls, "Peter and I were down in the studio working out the slide guitar parts when George came in and said, 'Would you mind if I played slide on this?' I mean, this man's a hero, he's a Beatle, so I said, "No, man, that's OK, sure, go right ahead.' " Ham's and Harrison's slide parts were separately recorded, then doubled up for the final version of the song, which also featured Leon Russell on piano. Other standout tracks include "The Name Of The Game", a piano-based ballad among the original tracks Apple rejected, and the elegant "Perfection", Ham's plea for peace and understanding sung over mostly acoustic guitar backing. "Successful conversation", Ham tells us, "will take you very far".

"Day After Day" became Badfinger's most successful single, reaching #4 in the US, and "Baby Blue" would climb to #14 a few months later. The album itself, though, fared less well, partly due to distribution problems caused by turmoil at the disintegrating Apple label, which also led to the failure to release "Baby Blue" as a single in the UK. Some critics also felt the sound of Straight Up was too close to that of The Beatles for comfort. A scathing Rolling Stone review noted, "With Straight Up, Badfinger seem to have already reached the Beatles' Revolver stage: a stultifying self-conscious artiness, a loss of previous essential virtues, and far too much general farting around." Only with rock's continuing devolution through the 80's and 90's would such values come to be truly appreciated. Following the demise of Apple, Straight Up went out of print, becoming a prized collector's item - for example, in the St. Louis area, copies of the LP in the 80's sold for $30-$50 depending on condition. Straight Up was finally re-released on CD in 1995.

Through 1972, Badfinger felt they were on their way to major success. Trouble started when Todd Rundgren, slated to produce the band's next LP, walked out in a dispute over payment and production credits. The followup album, the unfortunately-titled Ass, bombed miserably. Apple fell apart, and manager Stan Polley pushed the group into signing a one-sided deal with Warner Brothers. Pete Ham quit the group due to friction between him, Joey Molland, and Molland's wife, who had become suspicious of Badfinger's business arrangements, then was pressured into rejoining by Warner Brothers. Meanwhile, the band had found that its assets had been tied up in a series of holding companies owned by Stan Polley. The turmoil and tangled financial arrangements drove Pete Ham to commit suicide on April 24, 1975.

Various Badfinger lineups have carried on from time to time ever since. The financial disputes continued, though, with vicious arguments between Molland, Evans, and Gibbins, at times touring with rival Badfinger lineups. On November 19, 1983, following a heated telephone argument between Evans and Molland over back royalty payments, Tom Evans hanged himself in his garden. Mike Gibbins died in his sleep in 2005, leaving Joey Molland the only surviving member of Badfinger's once-promising classic lineup.

This performance of "Baby Blue" is a bit of a cheat, as the vocals are sung live over a prerecorded backing track. Also, Mike Gibbins had left the group briefly, and a session drummer is behind the kit. Still, it's hard to deny this tune's excellence. Extra credit if you can identify the dude who gives the introduction.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Because everybody deserves a good word.

Your Word is "Peace"

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone was safe, happy, and taken care of.

Social justice, human rights, and peace for all nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.

Via Mixter's Mix.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We begin again

We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

-President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good riddance

He stole at least one election, and quite possibly two. He prosecuted a war that cost over 4000 American lives, who knows how many Iraqi ones (we don't count them), and is estimated to wind up costing us $3 trillion before it ends. He stood and watched as a major American city drowned. His cowboy capitalist buddies looted the Treasury, leaving the next President little leeway as he attempts to deal with the worst economy in 75 years. Now, some of this was going on before George W. Bush's muddy boots soiled the White House carpet, and other parties can shoulder their share of the blame, but Captain Dubya's attitude that the public welfare is none of government's business didn't help matters much. It is not for nothing that he earned the scorn of historians as the worst president ever.

At Salon, Vincent Rossmeier and Gabriel Winant assess the damage.

Hilzoy: He's a small, small man, who ought to have spent his life in some honorary position without responsibilities at a firm run by one of his father's friends. Instead, he ruined our country, and several others besides. He wasted eight years in which we could have been shoring up our economy, laying the groundwork for energy independence, making America a fairer and better country, and truly working to help people around the world become more free. Instead, he debased words that ought to mean something: words like honor, decency, freedom, and compassion.

Thanks, George. Now leave.

(Portrait H/T: Darkblack via SteveAudio.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Album project: Bad Company

Bad Company, Bad Company (1974): Bad Company, one of the most successful British hard-rock acts of the 70's, got its start when soulful vocalist Paul Rodgers, who had risen to fame with Free, formed an alliance with ex-Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs in 1973. Drummer Simon Kirke, who had been in Free with Rodgers, quickly joined with the duo. After auditioning a number of bassists, the group settled upon Boz Burrell, formerly of King Crimson, a singer who Crimson leader Robert Fripp taught to play the bass guitar after Fripp became dissatisfied with the bass players he had been auditioning. The group signed with Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, prompting many comparisons between the two bands. Rodgers named the group Bad Company after a 1972 Western that he was a big fan of; the name also served as the title of the group's debut, and its title track.

While with Mott The Hoople, Mick Ralphs had written a song, "Can't Get Enough", which he felt would be a sure hit. Mott singer Ian Hunter, however, felt the song didn't fit the band's style and refused to record it. "Can't Get Enough" proved to be a perfect fit for Rodgers' testosterone-laced vocals, anchoring the debut disc and giving Bad Company their first major hit. Taking advantage of this vein, Bad Company offers more odes to Rodgers' virility in "Rock Steady" and "Ready For Love". Gentlemen, if your hard-ons could sing, they would sound just like Paul Rodgers.

The title track, built around a basic yet strong three-chord riff, featured the group's fascination with the American West, another source of inspiration they would often return to. Life-on-the-road song "Movin' On" followed "Can't Get Enough" up the US singles charts, and the LP closes with "Seagull", an early example of Rodgers' and Ralphs' ability to write fine ballads. Bad Company topped the US album chart the week of September 28, 1974, going on to sell over 5 million copies, and providing the group an auspicious debut.

Vintage footage captures Bad Company at the height of their powers.

Bad Company, Straight Shooter (1975): A solid followup, Straight Shooter was another multi-million seller that confirmed Bad Company's status as a top-drawer arena and stadium act. For the most part, the album sticks to the tried-and-true formula that made the debut successful. Straight Shooter, though, mixes in a few more ballads like "Weep No More" and "Call On Me" that feature the more soulful side of Rodgers' singing, along with certified barn-burners like "Good Lovin' Gone Bad" and "Deal With The Preacher". "Feel Like Makin' Love", another Top 10 smash, is perhaps the ultimate ode to Rodgers' eternal tumescence. The best tracks here are "Wild Fire Woman", where Rodgers' desire to return to see his lover is underscored by Mick Ralph's stinging slide guitar, and "Shooting Star", Bad Company's best ballad, which recasts "Johnny B. Goode" in a suburban London flat.

Bad Company, Desolation Angels (1978): Run With The Pack and Burning Sky, the lackluster albums that followed Straight Shooter, saw Bad Company dig their rut and dig it deep. Paul Rodgers' macho posturing seemed more abrasive as the inspiration began to lag, while his bandmates' playing, although always competent, was seldom creative. The energetic, funky "Rock And Roll Fantasy" raised hopes for their next LP, becoming the band's biggest hit since "Feel Like Making Love". But Desolation Angels was a disappointment, yet another tired effort with too many songs about unappreciative women, showing severe signs that the band had been out on the road too long without a break. Apart from "Rock And Roll Fantasy", the only high points are the ballad "Crazy Circles" and when Rodgers' voice kicks in about halfway through "Evil Wind".

In fairness, the band had driven themselves hard through the latter 70's and was looking to wind down. They suffered a blow when in the wake of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's death, their manager Peter Grant decided to curtail his management duties. The original lineup released one more album, Rough Diamonds, and called it a day. Mick Ralphs said, "Paul wanted a break and truthfully we all needed to stop. Bad Company had become bigger than us all and to continue would have destroyed someone or something. From a business standpoint, it was the wrong thing to do, but Paul's instinct was absolutely right".

Bad Company, The Original Bad Company Anthology (1999): Paul Rodgers released solo albums through the 80's, as well as forming The Firm with Jimmy Page, which was sometimes good, and The Law with drummer Kenney Jones, which usually wasn't. In 1986, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke got together to form a new band featuring ex-Ted Nugent vocalist Brian Howe. Atlantic Records forced this new outfit to use the Bad Company name over Ralphs' and Kirke's objections. The new Bad Company was modestly successful through the late 80's and early 90's; the best-known song from that period was the hit ballad "If You Needed Somebody".

In 1998 Rodgers approached Kirke with some new songs and expressed his desire to get together with Ralphs and Burrell to reunite the original group. These new tracks appear on The Original Bad Company Anthology, and are forgettable. Longtime BadCo fans were also disappointed by the compilation, as it left off a number of the band's most popular recordings. The Anthology makes up for this somewhat by including a number of B-sides and previously unreleased tracks from their golden age, the best being the tasty "Easy On My Soul", the B-side of "Movin' On". Except for "Rock And Roll Fantasy", the first two albums have all the Bad Company you'll need; this collection is mainly for die-hard fans and those looking for hard-to-find tracks.

The members of Bad Company got together in various projects on and off through the early 2000's. In 2006, the original lineup was put to rest when Boz Burrell died of a heart attack. Most recently, Paul Rodgers joined up with the surviving members of Queen for a tour, and subsequent live LP. It seemed a curious idea for the macho Rodgers to step into the shoes of androgynous icon Freddie Mercury, but all involved seemed to feel it went well. In 2008, Rodgers and Queen released The Cosmos Rocks, an all-new set of Queen material that was poorly received despite the initial interest.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Submitted for your approval

I saw this little jewel while out and about, and it's apparently becoming the talk of the internets this week. I read it, and didn't know whether to laugh or cry:

I've met some jerks in my life, but this one has been by far the worst.
I'll start off by saying how I noticed a lot of men here complain about not getting messages. Therefore, I decided to take it upon myself to message men in my area who I found interesting. This one in particular was creative, intelligent and handsome...or so his profile led me to believe. We messaged each other on and off through here and IM for about 3 weeks before we met. It's amazing how much of a connection you can make with someone just by talking to them online. We had a lot in common and a lot of the same outlooks. I could not wait to meet him in person.

So the day we meet rolls around and I dress up nicely and wear my hair beautifully, and let's face it...I looked HOT. We meet at a little cafe/restaurant place, and he was just...rude. He barely made eye contact with me, he spoke in a bored monotone voice. I did most of the talking, and I swear to God he would kind of roll his eyes in a childish way. He habitually checked his watch and his cell phone. When the meal ended he only offered to pay for his half, and then bails. Doesn't offer me a ride or anything. What did I do wrong? It was so depressing since I really liked him online.

Read the whole thing; naturally, it only gets worse. Be sure also to check out the comments, especially once the dude shows up to defend himself. Just wondering what you think. No further comment except that stuff like this sometimes makes me fear for the future of humanity.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ron Asheton

Ron Asheton, guitarist of The Stooges, whose droning technique influenced a generation of punk rock outfits, passed away Tuesday at age 60. He was found dead in his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he had lived since his parents originally moved there in 1963.

As a teen, Asheton visited England with a school friend, Dave Alexander. While visiting, the two saw The Who perform live at the legendary Cavern Club. The power and fury of The Who's performance in that intimate setting convinced Asheton and Alexander to start their own band when they returned home to Detroit. With Asheton on guitar and Alexander playing bass, they added Ron's brother Scott on drums. For a vocalist, they found a skinny record store clerk named Jim Ostenberg, later to become known to the world as Iggy Pop.

This quartet christened themselves The Stooges (they supposedly asked Moe Howard for permission to use the name, to which Howard replied, "I don't care what you guys call yourselves so long as it's not the Three Stooges!") and set out to play some of the rawest, most uncompromising rock 'n' roll heard anywhere, with an outrageous live act highlighted by Ostenberg's stage antics to match. Signed to Elektra in 1969, they released a pair of LP's, The Stooges and Fun House, that stand as classics of rock at its rawest and crudest. Asheton played a major part in shaping the group's sound with his loud, thundering two and three-chord riffs, playing his guitar with an open, droning, low E string tuning providing an extra measure of foreboding.

Coming out of the era of flower power, though, audiences simply weren't ready for The Stooges' raw noise, and the two albums sold poorly at the time. Money woes, endless touring, and Iggy Pop's growing heroin habit nearly brought an end to the band until David Bowie, a fan of Iggy's, befriended the singer and got him cleaned up long enough to return to the studio for a third album. For that disc, Pop decided to replace Asheton on guitar with the more technically adept James Williamson. At the time, Pop had decided to dispense with bassist Alexander as well, but three months later, still needing a bass player, Asheton was invited back to the group to play bass. Under Bowie's guidance, the reconstituted Stooges recorded Raw Power, another thrash-rock classic once again ignored by the record-buying public.

After the Raw Power tour, Asheton and Pop parted ways, not to see each other for over 25 years. During this time, Asheton kept busy playing in such outfits as The New Order (not to be confused with the British group of the same name), Destroy All Monsters, and Dark Carnival. While Asheton labored in these obscure groups, though, Iggy Pop became a cult hero, and a new generation of musicians looked to The Stooges' early albums, and Asheton's guitar work, as inspiration. In the late 90's, The Minutemen's Mike Watt and Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, two musicians who admired The Stooges, teamed up with Asheton for a tour featuring some of the old classics. This led to the reuniting of the Asheton brothers with Pop, and a subsequent world tour where The Stooges were treated nightly to sold-out audiences of younger fans who regarded the group as heroic forefathers of punk.

New Musical Express has put together a compilation of Ron Asheton's five greatest riffs so I don't have to. Essential stuff, both for Stooges fans and those unfamiliar with the group's exquisite white trash noise.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Are you crazy?

So much for substantial blogging today...

Are You Crazy

You are :

A Little Crazy

You are a little crazy but nothing to be worried about, we are all a little crazy

Take the Are You Crazy quiz at

Anyway, I thought I'd better check, just to be safe. I'd suggest you to do the same.

(Note to those wanting to post this to their own blogs: I had to play with this quite a bit to get it into a form that worked.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday interlude: Uncle Tupelo

I changed my avatar over the weekend. Today's featured clip helps to explain.

The "Liquor, Guns, And Ammo" sign was prominently featured for many years in front of a liquor store along one of Columbia, Missouri's main drags. Really.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy 2009 to all! I'm not much of a New Year celebrant; to me as it is to many others, New Year's Eve is "amateur night". I stayed home and grilled chicken, drank beer, and watched football. No, it's never too cold for the grill. I once grilled pork steaks with the temperature 9 below. When it's that cold, the secret is to bring the grill up on the porch so you can run back inside.

They said it couldn't be done, but not only did the Vanderbilt Commodores appear in their first bowl game in 26 years, they actually defeated Boston College 16-14 to give them their first winning season since 1982, the last bowl year. Detractors might point out that the game was played only four miles from the Vanderbilt campus, but given Vandy's downtrodden history, they'll celebrate whatever they can, and considering that this year's Commodore squad was expected to win only two games, their Music City Bowl win is a worthy accomplishment. Congratulations to the Vanderbilt players and coaches for a job well done.

2008 was certainly a bittersweet year for me, but in those sad circumstances we find the means to change and grow. The years give us many good memories as well as bad ones. I look forward to 2009, and the opportunities it brings to learn and to experience new things. I'm still amazed at the number of people who show interest in this humble blog, and I thank you once again for your continued readership. Now let's drink more beer, eat more chicken, and watch more football.