Saturday, January 05, 2008

Feed Your iPod vol. XII: Summertime

Near the end of last year VH1 unveiled their 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s which I have still haven’t seen all of it yet because I know I would spend too much complaining what did and did not make the list. Right around the time that I aired, a song from that decade popped up on random on my iPod that made stop and go, “wow that was a great song.” Now I’m not sure if Summertime by The Sundays made VH1’s list, in the parts I’ve seen it wasn’t, but it definitely should have.

If you are currently in a winter doldrums, this is definitely the song to lift you up, but be warned you may find yourself singing, “And its you and me in the summertime, walking hand in hand down in the park” which may garner some weird looks by passerby’s when there is white stuff on the ground as the song is a less cheesy version of Walking on Sunshine. But no matter what time of year, Summertime is certainly worth a listen.

And a note to all the female karaoker out there, singing with your hands behind your back like in the video below is uber-cute. Although for the dudes, if you try this, you will end up looking like a tool like Liam Gallagher.

Summertime - The Sundays The Sundays - Static & Silence - Summertime

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Wrote these Words for Everyone Who Struggles in their Youth

Sometimes it is odd to see an artist destined for greatness just fall completely off the Earth. Lauryn Hill ruled the world with a streak from 1996 to 1998 from singing hook for Nas to The Score, the breakout Fugees album, to her one smash debut album. But ever since the landmark album, Hill sightings have been almost akin to far and few in-between from her Unplugged 2.0 album to a duet with Method Man to the disastrous Fugees reunion to a song on the penguin surfing movie Surf's Up of all things. The closest she has come to getting back into popular culture was when Kanye West used an interpolation from her song Mystery of Iniquity for his song All Falls Down (to which she refused permission for the sample leading to Syleena Johnson to sing the hook).

But being a two time one-album wonder with her group and on her own is a novelty in itself. Not that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a novelty in terms of the music making it this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. Many artist before and Hill and after have tried to combine the hip-hop beats with R&B songs but no one has come close to doing it as good as Hill. This is best exemplified on Doo Wop (That Thing) where she brings the horns and piano heavy sound from the Stax era and harmonizes with herself with the raps going to town and guys and girls with alternative motives when it come to the other sex. This is only heightened by the brilliant seamless spit screen video.

The album starts off with Lauryn calling out someone on Lost One (Wyclef maybe, “I was on the humble, you was on every station”) with a hip-hop meets reggae vibe. She flips it on Everything Is Everything with the same bounce using an orchestra to fulfill a beat which also featured a then unknown John Legend on the piano. Ex-Factor is a heart wrenching balled that put her up their as one of the best vocalist of the era. And it is when Lauryn slows it down and goes into full R&B mode where she truly shines also her on the D’Angelo duet Nothing Even Matters as well as the Carlos Santana assisted tribute to her son, To Zion.

It is also a sign of a great album when the hidden tracks are better than most artists’ singles. Lauryn take on the old Frankie Valli hit, Can’t Take My Eyes off You from the otherwise forgettable movie Conspiracy Theory may be the best take on the song. Then there is Tell Him should be in the running as most romantic song of the nineties and should be required for any baby-making mix tape for a long time coming. Who know if we will ever get another record from Lauryn Hill, it look even less likely with Wyclef recently blaming the Fugee failed reunion on her calling her bipolar and begging her mother to get her mental help, but at least she had her act together to draw out her Miseducation.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Previewing When Weather Changed History

Have you ever thought to yourself, “The Weather Channel and The History Channels are cool, but I wish there was a way to combine them”? If so, first, we should totally hang out, and second, I have a show for you: When Weather Changed History premiering Sunday, January 6 at 9PM EST on the Weather Channel.

The concept of the show is pretty self explanatory and the first episode deals with the Challenger explosion which, even though I remember it vividly when it happened, I guess I was too young to follow up to every find out what exactly when wrong and never realized that weather was a factor in what happened that day. The show interviews a couple of people who were there and were working for NASA at the time as well as archive footage from the disaster and subsequent inquiry into what happened.

I have made it a habit of collecting front page newspaper of big events and the Challenger explosion was the very first I ever save so it was very interesting to go back two decades later and learn more about the tragedy. Below you can find a clip of the premiere episode, a press release about the show and a list of upcoming episodes:

The Weather Channel® Series Features Weather’s Surprising Impact on Historic Events

Was the weather just too cold on the morning of the space shuttle Challenger’s launch to support a successful mission? Did a dust storm actually devastate a military operation and ultimately help shape a presidency? A new high-definition series on The Weather Channel (TWC) looks at the power of nature and its incredible impact on modern history.

When Weather Changed History, a series of one-hour suspenseful dramas, offers the often-surprising effects of weather on well known history events. TWC uncovers key moments with insider personal stories that disclose unexpected facts about history, revealing both mankind’s heroism and hubris. The dramatic documentary series starts Sunday, January 6, 2008, with an episode on the space shuttle Challenger. The series will air every Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET. History often repeats itself, so for the first time, the network will broadcast encore episodes of the premiere episode throughout launch week.

“While most people don’t realize it, weather has had such a dramatic impact on history,” said Janet Johnson, VP of long-form program planning and production at TWC. “This is a launch event like no other for The Weather Channel, and we wanted to give our loyal viewers, as well as those new to the channel, multiple opportunities to see this incredibly dramatic and surprising first episode.”

Each episode explores influential and exciting moments in history when the forces of weather intertwine with the forces of human nature to change the course of history. These weather-influenced experiences come from the fields of politics, exploration, the military, sports, entertainment and much more. The focus of the series is the epic struggle of man against the power of nature – and the dangers of underestimating that power.

“Each program engages viewers through strong drama, action video and stories of personal risk and heroism,” said Johnson. “This series delivers compelling content with all these qualities while including both the scientific facts and emotions involved with these events.”

When Weather Changed History joins existing programs on TWC, Epic Conditions and Weatherventures, as another program shot in native high definition that will be simulcast in HD and SD. When Weather Changed History episodes feature a daring South Pole rescue to secure medical treatment for the sole physician of an isolated research station, the Battle of the Bulge, the space shuttle Challenger, the race to Nome that inspired the modern-day Iditarod and the Mississippi flood of 1927. Other series focuses include the evacuation at Dunkirk during World War II, the capsized coal ship that sparked the creation of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Air Florida crash in the Potomac and the Delta 191 crash that changed commercial aviation and windshear detection, and Operation Eagle Claw in response to the Iran-Contra hostage crisis. Future planned episodes include the super tornado outbreak of 1974 and the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.


EPISODE GUIDE: When Weather Changed History

An innovative new series from The Weather Channel spotlights the weather that has, quite literally, changed our world. Unexpected stories are told and highlight the ways in which the almighty power of nature has steered the march of history.

Challenger – Airing 1/6/2008
Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger and seven crewmembers prepare for its tenth flight into orbit. Despite colder than average temperatures, the mission is given the go ahead. Seventy-three seconds after take off, the shuttle suddenly explodes – to the shock of all those watching below – killing all seven crewmembers. NASA and an independent investigative commission determine that a combination of events, some triggered by the cold weather on launch day, caused the failure of the O rings on the shuttle. (Premiere episode: Sunday, Jan. 6, 9 p.m. ET)

Battle of the Bulge – Airing 1/13/2008
Dec. 1944 – Jan. 1945: In the largest, bloodiest land battle ever fought by American soldiers, more than 1.1 million American, British and German men take part and nearly 20,000 are killed. In mid-December, the American army is low on supplies when the well-equipped German army releases a surprise, brutal attack on the Americans. As desperate Nazi troops use the cover of severe winter weather to counterattack Allied forces, weather conditions also hinder American attacks. Then a fortuitous break in the weather finally enables them to defeat the Germans and destroy the Third Reich, impacting the outcome of World War II.

Air Florida Potomac Crash – Airing 1/20/2008
Jan. 13, 1982: Air Florida Flight 90, with 79 people onboard, takes off from Washington National Airport in a snowstorm. Seconds into the flight, the plane crashes into the icy Potomac River, killing 78 people, including four people on the ground. The crash of Flight 90 changes commercial aviation. In the wake of the tragedy, new communication protocols are developed and stricter de-icing guidelines are enacted, making air travel safer.

Operation Eagle Claw – Airing 1/27/2008
Nov. 4, 1979: Islamic extremists take 66 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. The following April, military pilots engage in a mission for recovery in the Iranian desert. At first the weather is perfect, but after crossing the Iranian border, the helicopter and airplane pilots find themselves in the middle of a suspended dust storm called a haboob. Weather conditions and insufficient forecasting help cause disastrous results for “Operation Eagle Claw.”

Rescue from the South Pole – Airing 2/10/2008
Feb. 1999: Dr. Jerri Nielsen, 46, is living her dream as the sole physician to 41 staff members at an isolated South Pole research station. Dr. Nielsen discovers a lump in one of her breasts, which by June, has grown to the size of a golf ball. Pilot Maj. George McAllister and members of the 109th Air National Guard fly one of the earliest recorded flights to the South Pole, making a daring rescue in intense Antarctic conditions and zero visibility.

Dunkirk Evacuation – Airing 2/17/2008
May 26, 1940: The course of World War II is at stake as the British army attempts to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, despite severe weather. Estimates are that only about 10 percent of the troops can successfully evacuate because smaller boats are needed. Thousands of British citizens with small civilian boats volunteer to help in the effort, and in nine days, more than three hundred thousand French and British soldiers are rescued.

Coast Guard Rescue – Airing 2/24/2008
Feb. 11, 1983: Just off the Virginia coast, the Marine Electric ship journeys to Massachusetts with 27,000 tons of coal. As a blizzard sweeps offshore, gale-force winds capsize the coal ship, leaving only a few crewmembers alive. The Congressional inquiry into the tragedy helps establish The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer program. The program’s success and the Marine Electric’s legacy are apparent in 2005 when Coast Guard helicopter teams rescue Hurricane Katrina survivors.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 - Airing 3/2/2008
Spring 1927: Perhaps America’s greatest natural disaster deeply changes race relations, government and society in the Mississippi River Valley. A flood of more than 30 feet of water stands over land inhabited by nearly one million people. Almost 300,000 African-Americans are forced to live in refugee camps for months. The changes produced by the flood in the lower South ultimately foreshadow federal government intervention in the region's social and economic life. Today, many draw parallels between Hurricane Katrina and the 1927 flood.

Delta 191 Crash – Airing 3/9/2008
Aug. 2, 1985: With 163 people onboard, Delta Flight 191 prepares to land at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Instead, it crashes about 100 yards from the runway, killing 137. Investigators later prove that just before landing, the plane flew into a weather phenomenon known as a microburst, generating the most violent form of wind shear. This conclusion leads to widespread improvements in wind shear detection and severe weather training for pilots.

Race to Nome – Airing 3/16/2008
Jan. 1925: A diphtheria epidemic threatens the region near Nome, Alaska, and the only hope is lifesaving medicine hundreds of miles away. In the middle of winter, the 700-mile dog sled trip is the only option available. At a time when it normally takes a musher 15-20 days to make the trip over the old Iditarod Trail while dogs and drivers encounter blizzards and 50-below-zero cold, this trip brings the serum to Nome in a record five days and seven hours. The modern-day dog sled race, the Iditarod, commemorates those dog teams and drivers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I, Scooter McGavin, Endorse…

Longtime readers to the 9th Green may not realize it, but the astute reader may notice the occasional political reference I try to drop into my otherwise pop culture reference heavy posts. Even though I rarely talk about it at lengths here, I am a big time political junky to the point that I would much rather hook up with Holly Bailey than Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba or Jessica Tangy (if you don’t know who Holly Bailey is it is time to turn off E! and work in MSNBC every once in a while).

Of course the only problem with being a political junky these days is the politicians that get elected seem to get worse and worse with the last two presidential elections instead of voting who I thought would be the better leader, I was forced to instead vote for the dude I thought would mess up the country the least. This lead me in recent years to realize that all politicians cannot be trusted and the longer they stay in office the more corrupt they become (look at the two-term presidents since the institution of term limits, each had a major scandal: Scooter Libby, Monica Lewinski, Iran-Contra, Watergate, Tea Pot Dome).

And so I started my anti-incumbent stance when it came to election in that I would never vote for any candidate with that big (I) next to it. The only problem this time around is that there won’t be an incumbent to vote against in the presidential race. And the primaries, starting tomorrow, are extra important this year because there is an overabundance of horrible candidates this year which could lead to another Douche vs. a Turd Sandwich type showdown between Rudy Giuliani and Hilary Clinton.

So if you are an independent like me, is it very important this year, if your state has open primary elections (i.e. you do not have to be registered to either party, you just go in and say which ballot you want), that you make your voice heard so us in the middle, as in the vast majority of the country do not have to again choose between the person who we think will suck the least. Considering I won’t be able to vote until March, I’m not sure which primary I will be voting in, mostly likely the one that isn’t already predetermined at that point, but here are the two candidates, from both sides of the aisles that I am officially endorsing and hopefully you will be taking a look at more closely are your primaries near closer:

John McCain (Republican)

John McCainOne of the main reasons I became so disenfranchised with politics eight years ago was McCain would have made for a much better candidate than either George Bush or Al Gore and we would not have gotten in the mess had Karl Rove and his hoodlums hadn’t spread nasty rumors in South Carolina back in 2000. Now it is time to right that wrong by putting McCain in the White House. He is by far the most experienced candidate in the field and in a time a war, what a novel idea to have an actual military man, one who actually knows what torture is and is not unlike Mitt Romney, as commander in chief. And we can blame the recent Walter Reed scandal on having sixteen years of presidents who, not only did not serve their country in a time a war, but did everything they could to avoid fighting.

Another plus to McCain is that he, unlike virtually every other candidate is above pandering, as he is the only voice of reason in Iowa who doesn’t try to get votes by promising biofuel subsidies to the state when he knows that that grain being converted to fuel is better used to feed the world and that biofuels are not that much more efficient than oil based fuels. Speaking of fuel, he is also one of the few republicans that admit that global warming is a real thing, and since he isn’t in bed with oil complains he can make it easier to wean ourselves off the stuff and make the country more energy efficient.

Again on the pandering, unlike every presidential campaign that all the sudden is a lifelong hunter, John McCain, when asked if he was a gun owner, gave the best response in that he knows how to use a gun, have used them in the past, but no longer has a need for them. A much better stance than Mike Huckabee who’s solution to inner city gun problems is right to carry permits. That’s right, to lower the murder rate, more guns are needed. Gee, how about increasing the availability of cold medicine to curb the meth problem? And let’s not forget Huckabee’s ethics problems he faced as governor. (An Arkansas governor with questionable ethics, where have I heard that before?)

Joe Biden (Democrat)

(Scooter's Update: Um, yeah, just ignore this part)
Joe BidenWhenever I see the democrat poll I always wonder if I have entered some bizarro world because the second tier candidates like Biden, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson are much better candidates than the first tier of Barak Obama, Hilary Clinton, and John Edwards. Sure Clinton is right in that Obama, who would make a much better vice president than commander in chief, is too inexperienced but that is a little too much of a kettle/black situation as if her time as First Lady really qualified as experience. If so the English National Team would be calling Posh Spice on to play in the next World Cup.

When it comes to actual experience on the democratic side, Joe Biden tops the list. While Clinton and Obama knock each other foreign policy experience, Biden is currently the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee while spending thirty-two years total on it. And much like McCain, Biden isn’t beholden to big corporations and unlike the last two presidents who were, we won’t have to wonder how many criminals that will be pardoned because they or family members were big contributors (Norman Zhu anyone?).

Also like McCain, Biden is that candidate that candidate that can appeal the center. Seriously, isn’t twenty years of Bush-Clinton partisanship enough? You really don’t want to extend that to twenty-eight years, possibly thirty-six if Jeb eventually throws his hat in the ring in one of the next races. In fact a Biden-Obama ticket would be the best chance for the Democrats as long as they do not face a Repuiblican ticket headlined by McCain.

Most importantly Biden is foursquare (Scooter’s Note: For Christmas I received a Word of the Day calendar and that was today's, so if you see large words in the months ahead, that is most likely the reason why). And here is a fun fact for you The Office fans out there: Joe Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

For those who still need more research on these and other candidates, check out the YouTube video below with question from both YouTube debates:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

100 Best Songs of 2007

This being the Most Mediocre Year Ever, there is no band that sums that up better than Paramore. The bad got a big push from MTV and their record label thanks to being one of the first bands to sign a 360 degree deal. Yet with all the marketing muscle behind their three singles this year, the band wasn’t good enough to show up on this list nor were bad enough to land of the Worst Songs of 2007 list. So congratulations Paramore, with all the mediocre music put out by bland artists such as OneRepublic, Lifehouse, and Sean Kingston, you managed to be the most mediocre of them all. Although the problem with the most mediocre of them all, even though this is the Most Mediocre Year Ever, you will most likely be forgotten by 2009. Sorry.

Onto the songs that did make the list, the reason this is the Most Mediocre Year Ever is the great songs were really thin at the top this year. Most of these songs wouldn’t have cracked the top ten in other years. With that said, even though there was a lacking of great songs, there was an overabundance of good songs this year to the point that there were ten to twenty songs this year that deserved to make the top one hundred when most years ninety through one hundred are an afterthought most years. But here are the ones that made the cut for this, the last post of 2007. Hopefully I will see you all back here in 2008.

1. Drivin' Me Wild - Common featuring Lily Allen

2. Dreaming With a Broken Heart - John Mayer

3. Can't Tell Me Nothing - Kanye West

4. Rehab - Amy Winehouse

5. Two - Ryan Adams

6. Stronger - Kanye West

7. Tennessee - The Wreckers

8. Oh My God - Mark Ronson featuring Lily Allen

9. Read My Mind - The Killers

10. No One - Alicia Keys

11. Radio Nowhere - Bruce Springsteen

12. Alfie - Lily Allen

13. Our Song - Taylor Swift

14. The Underdog - Spoon

15. The Game - Common

16. Brianstorm - Arctic Monkeys

17. Look After You - The Fray

18. LDN - Lily Allen

19. Love Song - Sara Bareilles

20. Dumb It Down - Lupe Fiasco featuring GemStones & Graham Burris

21. Everybody Knows - Ryan Adams

22. Rockstar - Nickelback

23. Trouble Sleeping - Corinne Bailey Rae

24. Like You'll Never See Me Again - Alicia Keys

25. 1234 - Feist

26. Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys

27. Extraordinary - Mandy Moore

28. Sober - Kelly Clarkson

29. You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse

30. Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John featuring Victoria Bergsman

31. Bleed It Out - Linkin Park

32. Bubbly - Colbie Caillat

33. Say - John Mayer

34. Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna

35. Open Your Eyes - Snow Patrol

36. Believe - The Bravery

37. Ah Mary - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

38. Smiley Faces - Gnarls Barkley

39. Umbrella - Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

40. Big Casino - Jimmy Eat World

41. Tranquilize - The Killers featuring Lou Reed

42. Halloweenhead - Ryan Adams

43. Hang Me Up to Dry - Cold War Kids

44. Can You Believe - Robin Thicke

45. Hate That I Love You - Rihanna and NeYo

46. If You're Gonna Leave - Emerson Hart

47. Harder Than You Think - Public Enemy

48. Roc Boys - Jay-Z

49. Other Side of the World - KT Tunstall

50. Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse

51. All Good Things (Come to an End) - Nelly Furtado

52. Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5

53. Throw Some D’s (Remix) - Kanye West

54. Listen!!! - Talib Kweli

55. 100 Days, 100 Nights - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

56. The Pretender - Foo Fighters

57. Conquest - The White Stripes

58. What Goes Around.../...Comes Around Interlude - Justin Timberlake

59. Won't Go Home Without You - Maroon 5

60. Window In the Skies - U2

61. What I've Done - Linkin Park

62. Ever Ever After - Carrie Underwood

63. Nolita Fairytale - Vanessa Carlton

64. The People - Common

65. Never Again - Kelly Clarkson

66. Littlest Things - Lily Allen

67. Wasted - Carrie Underwood

68. Wake Up Call - Maroon 5

69. Icky Thump - The White Stripes

70. Her Eyes - Pat Monahan

71. Dance Tonight - Paul McCartney

72. Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been) - KRS-One, Kanye West, Nas & Rakim

73. Hot In Herre - Jenny Owen Youngs

74. Ain't Nothing Wrong With That - Robert Randolph and the Family Band

75. New Shoes - Paolo Nutini

76. Stop Me - Mark Ronson featuring Daniel Merriweather

77. Tarantula - Smashing Pumpkins

78. Shut Your Eyes - Snow Patrol

79. The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson

80. Teardrops On My Guitar - Taylor Swift

81. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T’s

82. B.U.D.D.Y. - Musiq Soulchild

83. Australia - The Shins

84. You're All I Have - Snow Patrol

85. Guitar - Prince

86. Gravity - John Mayer

87. Good Life - Kanye West featuring T-Pain

88. Say Ok - Vanessa Hudgens

89. Gotta Work - Amerie

90. Follow the Lights - Ryan Adams

91. You Give Me Something - James Morrison

92. Valerie - Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse

93. Saving My Face - KT Tunstall

94. So Small - Carrie Underwood

95. Do It - Nelly Furtado

96. Candyman - Christina Aguilera

97. Thinking About You - Norah Jones

98. Undeniable - Mat Kearney

99. Tick Tick Boom - The Hives

100. This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race - Fall Out Boy

To listen to snipits of most of the songs above or to buy them DRM-free, check out the widget below: