Category Archives: Life

40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

  1. Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Alien 3. It came out on May 22, 1992.

  2. Alien 3 was directed by David Fincher, who went on to make no fewer than three movies about serial killers: Seven, Zodiac, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The unstoppable killing machine of Alien 3 must have been good practice!

  3. Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of me going to see Alien 3 with my dad when I was eleven and a half.
    Continue reading 40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Reliving the 1996 Billboard Chart

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

If you’re anything like us, this year has been a hard one for living in the moment. That’s why we’ve spent a number of podcast episodes reliving moments of the past, both in our own lives and in the culture. Today, Marisa leads Jesse, Rob, and Sabrina down a guided trip of a representative cross-section of Billboard Magazine’s top songs of 1996. It was a simpler time, one when we were all in high school and Bob Dole was the worst thing that could happen to us. Some topics covered:

  • Every band is someone’s favorite
  • Getting into a band you don’t like before they make it big
  • Sheryl Crow dishing dirt on the seedy underbelly of the music industry
  • Rob and Jesse’s AP English class
  • Mickey Rooney’s worst role is good argument for a 1984-style regime
  • Friends (both the tv show and the concept of a close bond with others)

How To Listen

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

As a bonus, here is some content we discussed below (please note: none of these songs are on the list)

Continue reading The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Reliving the 1996 Billboard Chart

What ‘The Girl on the Train’ Gets Wrong About Westchester

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

The novel The Girl on the Train takes place across the pond in the good old U.K., but the move adaptation imports it to Westchester County, NY. It’s a pretty good match for the subject matter, in that there is a train that runs alongside some big freaking houses, which is basically the main building blocks you need for the story. Since Westchester is my turf, I’m in charge of WC fact-checking,  just like I was with the X-Men movies. Here’s what they messed up.

train01

You Can’t Live in Ardsley-on-Hudson

At least I don’t think you can. It my 20 years of living in Westchester, I never met anyone who said they were from Ardsley-on-Hudson. Ardsley-on-Hudson is more of a hamlet than a village. There is a college (that uses a Dobbs Ferry street address), a country club (home to Westchester’s only curling team), and, yes, a Metro-North station, but that’s about it. There’s no mayor. There’s no elementary school. If you look for Ardsley-on-Hudson real estate, you’ll find houses in Irvington.

It’s funny, because if the movie had transplanted the events of The Girl on the Train to any other “-on-Hudson” town, they’d be fine. Irvington-on-Hudson is a place, which is also just called Irvington. Hastings-on-Hudson is a wonderful village, and you can get away with calling it Hastings. But the village of Ardsley—which is a real village with its own mayor, school system, mailing addresses, and the like—and Ardsley-on-Hudson are two different places, and they’re in two entirely separate locations. Sadly, Ardsley has no Metro-North station of its own, so many times people hop on the train assuming the Ardsley-on-Hudson stop is close enough, only to wind up with an expensive cab ride. The New York Times even made this mistake.

That stuff about being a routine baby factory, though, is pretty spot-on.

WTF Is NY1?

For updates on the seedy crime that’s being investigated throughout the movie, the characters often turn to TV staton New York 1. NY1 is unavailable in the county. We’re a News 12 Westchester region all the way.

train03

The Train Itself

Sometimes, the Metro-North seats looked a little off to me. Sometimes, though, they were dead on, so it could’ve just been the shooting angle. But the fact that I could see enough of the seats to scrutinize them is a fundamental mistake in the movie. If Rachel was really commuting at a time that would be convincing for someone who had a real job in a city, all those seats would be taken. And forget sitting in the same window seat in the same car every day—if she was getting on around Ardsley-on-Hudson, she’d either be squished in the middle, or standing.

And One Last Note

Ardsley is a teeny, one-square-mile village, and Ardsley-on-Hudson is less than that. It’s not odd to me that few movies are set in any of the Ardsleys. As far as I know, there are only two: The Girl on the Train, and Unfaithful.

In the cinematic world, “Ardsley” is shorthand for one thing: murderous infidelity. In our Tim Burton podcast, we talk about how the suburbs are usually only given one treatment in film: the whole American Beauty, materialistic souring-of-the-American-dream/seedy-underbelly thing. You go from zero to The Ice Storm in 60 seconds. (Though The Ice Storm took place just over the border in Connecticut.) That’s not to say that it never happens, or that it never works. (Cheever, man.) But I do hope that someday filmmakers find a different color to paint the suburbs in the way Burton does.

 

Observations You May Have If, Hypothetically, You Somehow Get Yourself Into The Press Room at a Presidential Debate

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

You are asked to arrive two hours early. With nothing but your laptop, a communal wooden table, and large TV screens playing hours of CNN, you’re more productive in those two hours than you were in your previous eight at work.

The venue has left freebies on the seats. By the time you get there, two hours before the debate, the freebies are already gone. Journalists are fast.

You wonder if anyone else in the bullpen had a previous stint as a wedding magazine editor and was mentally converting the press room into an event space. (It’s easy—turn the desks into banquet tables, swap out the laptops for place settings, turn the TVs into centerpieces, and you’ve got an industrial-chic thing going on.) You decide that the Venn diagram for political reporters/weddings editors probably has little overlap, at least outside of D.C.

There is a clear delineation in dress between on-camera reporters, print/web reporters, and you.

You find that the hardest working people at the debate are not the campaigns, the staffers, or the security. They’re the people manning the food trucks out back.

You only ask two questions the entire night: What is the WiFi password, and where are the aforementioned food trucks. You are embarrassed to admit that you asked the second question first.

You watch the other journalists take photos and shoot video. You wonder if all of their B-roll have footage of you chowing down on the fare from said food trucks.

When the Broadway performer sings the National Anthem, you wonder about whether or not to stand. What are the rules about standing when you’re watching the Anthem being performed on a TV showing footage from the building next door? You glance at the person next to you for guidance; he’s German.

The coffee is free. It’s good. A half-hour into the debate, you get one for yourself. You reach for the milk; it’s empty. Journalists are fast.

You’re constantly struggling between the desire to go use the ultra-fancy porta potties and the worry that they’ll talk about the one issue you’re professionally interested in while you do.

Relief washes over you when it becomes clear that you and the German will become please-watch-my-stuff-while-I-use-the-fancy-porta-potties buddies.

Looking around sheepishly, you wonder if anyone would catch you searching, “When does the debate end?”

You don’t have Imposter Syndrome; you are an imposter.

TRACK MARKS: “False Alphabet City” by Eleanor Friedberger

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Eleanor Friedberger used to live in my neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I passed her walking down my block once. Other people I’ve passed on the street in my neighborhood include Craig Finn and Ray from Girls, which is to say I might be priced out of Brooklyn before I’m done writing this. Back when Eleanor Friedberger lived in my neighborhood, she played a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, just south of here; the vast majority of times I’ve seen her play, either as a solo act or as part of her band the Fiery Furnaces, have been in Greenpoint (here, until I get priced out) or Williamsburg (just south of here, until I get priced out). At that Music Hall of Williamsburg show, I was in the front row, and toward the end of her encore during the song “My Mistakes,” she lowered herself from the stage onto the floor, using me and the guy next to me to help herself down. Offhand, I would call that brief moment the most intimate one I’ve shared with a professional rock and roll musician, especially if that sex dream I had about Shirley Manson doesn’t count. (It doesn’t count.) That moment, combined with passing her on Calyer Street, combined with the time I saw the Fiery Furnaces play at a club a block away from my old apartment that no longer exists (before you ask: both. The club no longer exists, and the apartment no longer exists, at least in the form it did when we lived there), combined with the lyric in “Owl’s Head Park” about posing for a photo on Manhattan Avenue, has lodged Eleanor Friedberger firmly into my head as one of the New Yorkiest of indie rockers. It’s a selfish distinction; she feels like New York City to me because I know that she knows my New York City – even if most of her New York references talk about further-flung places like Coney Island, Roosevelt Island, and Owl’s Head Park, places I go maybe once a year if ever; Owl’s Head Park being someplace I went mainly because of the song.

Those New York references I shouldn’t care that much about continue with “False Alphabet City,” her new single that doesn’t appear on her new album New View. She recorded it for some kind of film-based art project (oh, New York) but it stands alone just fine, even for a New Yorker who rarely finds himself in Actual Alphabet City. The way it starts with a stuttery creep throws back to her Fiery Furnaces days; the way the guitar swings in after seconds feels like a veer away from the Furnaces’ weirdness (though their pop instincts, occasionally deployed, were not too shabby). Where it really opens it up is its New York City sentiment: “Everyone’s searching for their own letter in the false alphabet city.” She’d know better than most, having spent over a decade in the city and only recently decamped for upstate. The NYC-centric lyrics, plus the tempo and instrumentation, don’t really fit in on New View, so it makes sense that it was left off; you wouldn’t want the best song on an album to be one that sounds nothing like the rest of it.

For most of her show last night at the Bowery Ballroom, I didn’t think Eleanor Friedberger was going to perform “False Alphabet City.” She played every song on New View, and had to play some older stuff, too (impeccably chosen), which didn’t seem to leave much room for a one-off single based on an art project. But she played it, late in the show, telling the crowd it was for us. That would sound like a cheesy rock-star sentiment coming from a lot of singers, but one of the more remarkable things about Eleanor Friedberger is the way she combines real, sometimes inscrutable charisma (that voice, those mysterious bangs) with a slight hesitation – she’s not a wild dancer on stage, but when she moves with her music, it looks natural and sincere. So when she tells me and a couple hundred other people that a song is for us, I believe her, no questions asked, even if I don’t see her around anymore.

Eleanor Friedberger is out on tour in support of New View right now.

The Last Hamilton Essay of 2015

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

In case you don’t know, Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical based on Rod Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. It takes a non-traditional approach for a play about a bunch of dead white people; most of the cast is nonwhite and the music features a lot of hip-hop. It is very well reviewed and incredibly hard to get tickets (unless you are rich, famous, or lucky). If you’re reading this, you have an internet connection, so how could you not know about Hamilton? If my twitter, tumblr, and facebook feeds are any indication, Hamilton is the only thing people wouldn’t shut up about this year. In fact, I’m posting this on New Year’s Eve as a concession to the fact that the last thing the world needs is another thinkpiece about Hamilton. This won’t even be the best late year think piece about Hamilton that concedes that it’s written by yet another person who won’t shut up about Hamilton.

And yet even though I know no one wants to or maybe even should read this, I was lucky enough to see Hamilton this month and it touched me in such a way that I feel compelled to add to the pile of words spilled about this show. This best way to quantify how strong it affected me is to describe how much I cried. I am not a crier. I don’t say this to sound tough becaused I am decidedly not tough; this is just a fact about me. I teared up a little when my wife and I had to put down our cat Professor and when my sister-in-law’s childhood friend gave a speech at said sister-in-law’s wedding about my wife’s late Grandma (who I spent a considerable amount of time with in her final years), but I can’t actually remember a time I’ve cried in the last decade. By the end of Hamilton, I was sobbing uncontrollably.

RIP Professor
RIP Professor

Why did it touch me so?

Continue reading The Last Hamilton Essay of 2015

’90s Week+!

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

The dream of the ’90s is still alive at SportsAlcohol.com, and during our thorough examination of the decade, we did the following:

…ranked and wrote about the top 90 songs of the ’90s in three groups (90-51, 50-11, and 10-1), and included a little behind-the-scenes about the voting process. (Before you ask: Yes, there is a Spotify playlist.) The ranked lists are worth clicking on for the era-appropriate photos of our contributors alone.

podcasted about the list so we could gripe about each other’s choices.

…defended some songs that didn’t make the list, including seven tracks that received No. 1 votes, and a few stray others that weren’t No. 1s but should have been in contention anyway.

…put ’90s music in context of music videos, movie soundtracks, and videos from movie soundtracks that specifically featured Elastica (a band that did not make our list).

…remembered that time that Chris wrote Rob an email entirely about Dana from Morphine.

…linked to some other articles that proved we’re not the only website still talking about the ’90s.

No fear.

For Further Reading (Or, We’re Not the Only Ones Who Are ’90s-Obsessed)

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

We just spent the last week exploring the ’90s through music. I know 2016 seems like an odd time to take on such an endeavor, but the decade seems to be having a moment right now, even outside of SportsAlcohol.com. The ’90s have officially passed through the era where they were embarrassing (which usually happens to a decade at the 10-year mark), and has come around to being cool again.

Don’t believe me? Here is how the Decade of Flannel is rearing its head around the interwebs.

My neighborhood had a ’90s fest, and the fest ignored almost all of what we at SportsAlcohol.com considered good about the decade (save Salt-n-Pepa). The A.V. Club did a good job taking apart how awkward it can be to go to a ’90s fest in 2016, while Flavorwire talks about the decade’s commodification through the event.

Still, that doesn’t stop the sisters Haim from wanting to bring back Lilith Fair.  Maybe they can get some advice on bringing back the ’90s from Sleater-Kinney.

Our Spotify playlist isn’t the only place to hear ’90s music. You can also hear what Kmart was playing in its stores, thanks to a dude who took all of Kmart’s cassettes with him and uploaded them for our pleasure.

“As the ’80s wore on, [music] got less interesting and I think things got more interesting again in the ’90s. So I think it’s just the way it goes.” Who said it? Joe Jackson in Salon.

We talked about the many reasons that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ranked as our No. 1 song, but we missed one: science! New evidence says the Nirvana tune is the most iconic song ever. (Take that, decades-older classics like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.)

And yet, there’s still no talk of rebooting Dead at 21.

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

Chris

Chris has always known more about computers than you. You can see the things he made for you at the55.net. You can see the things he blogged about for you at ruinsorbooks.com.

Latest posts by Chris (see all)

[ed. note: chris sent me this email years ago and I asked that we be allowed to publish it as part of our ’90s music rundown because it is the best email I’ve ever received]

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

at a cafe.

I see Dana from Morphine all the time.

Dana from Morphine is a carpenter or fix-it dude of sorts.
He does work at the bookstore that my boss owns.
He drives a pick up truck with assorted band stickers on the back.
It is parked outside my office building all the time.
One of the stickers is a Twinemen sticker.
The Twinemen suck.
Compared to Morphine, at least.
duh.

My office is on the fourth floor.
On the fifth floor is Hi n Dry studios.
Morphine recorded and hung out there all the time.
Various Dana from Morphine related projects record there still.
Sometimes i can hear Dana from Morphine playing the saxamaphone.
Often the same thing over and over again.
For a long time.
That is what recording is all about.
The saxophone carries, so often that’s all i can hear.
wahwahwah, through the ceiling.

Sometimes i pass Dana from Morphine on the loading dock.
Or the stairs.
And i say “hi”,
like he’s not Dana from Morphine,
and he’s just some dude, that plasters ceilings,
carrying a baby car seat,
and i think about telling him that i was way way into Morphine.
That when i was, like, 15,
Morphine, was, like, my fourth favorite band,
between, like, TMBG and Weezer.
That i remember exactly where i was,
and what i was doing,
when i heard that Mark Sandman was dead.
But i think about all that for a sec,
and that he’s got a baby carrier,
and ‘hi’ will have to do.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

They Might Be Giants is going to play a show on the last Sunday of every month at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Jesse and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the second installment of our TMBG musical biography.

[Marisa’s Note: Jesse was away for the February show. He left it up to me to cover it. That’s why you didn’t get a report until the eve of the March show. I am the worst.]

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 2/22/15

The theme of this show was They Might Be Giants, the self-titled “pink album,” so there are lots of oldies here. My date for the evening was the always-up-for-a-TMBG-show Rayme. (The Instagram photos of the show are hers,) Off we go.

Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)