November 2012

MUSIC&reviews30 Nov 2012 01:59 pm

Well, it’s Friday, which means five more albums to chat about. We’re locked into catching up on the releases from this past year and we’ve made it to March. This is going to take three parts again. On a housekeeping note, since there aren’t any more major release weeks coming up, I’m going to be sticking with catch-ups for the duration of the year and, in efforts to get everything covered by January, I’m considering stepping it up to three a week. We’ll see if that works out, but for now, step back to March with me and check out five major releases. You know the drill: 25 word or less and today, I’m aligning each album with a forest critter. Off we go.

Jimmy Needham – Clear the Stage (CD) | (mp3)

Blue-eyed soul from the singer and songwriter who surprises me every time with something fresh, unexpected, charming, and enchanting. Vulnerable vocals. Effortless confidence. Black Bear.

SEE ALSO: Dave Barnes, Chris August
DON’T MISS: If I Ever Needed Grace, Rock Bottom
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SPORTS29 Nov 2012 05:21 pm

Thanks to Cam Newton, I stayed above 10 correct picks for the fourth week in a row. (He also helped me edge out a fantasy football matchup to stay in first place). Anyway, by the skin of my teeth, I was 10-6 last week due to some disappointing performances by the Chargers, Packers, Seahawks, and Titans. (Not to mention Jay Cutler actually playing when I thought he would sit another week.) And the Bills. Of course, the Bills lost. Not only did their loss cost me a correct pick, but it continued the Colts campaign for wild card berth, which remains the only outlier for my playoff picks.

The Titans continue to play on my nerves as they blew a good chance for another win, instead choosing to let the Jaguars earn their first home victory this year. The Titans are now 4-7 (2-3 since I predicted a turnaround) and they’ll have to win out to end up 9-7. That’s not likely. I now expect them to finish 6-10. The Cardinals lost again, as they struggle to find an NFL quarterback willing to play for them and they are 0-5 since I predicted their tailspin. As I mentioned, Cam Newton put up big numbers against the Eagles this week and the other 4 “overrated” players I’ve been picking on had solid weeks as well. So, I’ll leave them alone today.

This week, I’ll pick the final records for all the teams in the NFL. Now, I’m not going to do this in a complicated fashion, like using a matrix (woah!) or anything fancy like that, so, it’s possible that I’ll mess up terribly. But that’s half the fun, right?
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Bookshelf&Movies&pop culture&television&web29 Nov 2012 10:31 am

Another week, another batch of updates to the old A to Z Media lists. This time, I’m going to avoid any changes to the music list as last week’s shake up was pretty significant. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the other lists and we’ll see where it takes us. For the sake of a reminder, this isn’t intended to be a thorough examination or evaluation of the items on this list, just a high level overview of why I’m drawn to it at this particular point in time. It is, for all intents and purposes just me being a captive of the moment and picking one piece of pop culture for each letter in each general category. And since there’s no reason to beat around the bush any longer, we’ll just dive right in with changes to the TV list. (NOTE: Sorry for the delay on this. I had another couple projects jump in my way yesterday. NFL picks are still on track for later today.)


A is for Arrow (replacing: Alcatraz). Sorry, Hurley. I thought your show had a shot, but I guess not. Arrow, however, offers vindictive revenge, highly choreographed action sequences, and intrigue by the buckets. That’s all based on the pilot, of course. I’ll be catching up completely on the show, which is about 7 episodes in, shortly, but I’m expecting good to greatness. Just have to ignore all the shirtlessness.

E is for ESPN’s 30 for 30 (replacing: ESPN’s First Take). This is going to extend to a number of sports-related documentaries, including the NFL Network’s A Football Life and other ESPN productions. (I just finished re-watching “The Bronx Is Burning” and enjoyed it thoroughly.) I really appreciate the ability to put better context around some of the definitive moments in sports and history.
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MUSIC&reviews27 Nov 2012 05:34 pm

Back again with another dose of music. We’re reaching back to February for the last time as we round out the month’s releases with a fresh batch. We’re getting there. It’s a daunting task, but we’re getting there. Friday, we’ll plan to dive into March, another 3-parter. Until then, here are the final five from February, in 25 words or less and a bag of chips (or other snack food). Off we go…

Sixteen Cities – Love Is Making the Way (mp3)

There’s a real sense of nostalgia in this album. Like pop-rock boy bands from the 90s are coming around again. Good Old Days. Cracker Jacks.

SEE ALSO: Rock N Roll Worship Circus, Cadet
DON’T MISS: Walk on Water, All Around the World
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Bookshelf&reviews27 Nov 2012 03:23 pm

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, or if it’s even completely official, but apparently, Max Lucado has his own sub-brand under his publisher. I guess that makes him the Michael Jordan to Thomas Nelson’s Nike. Either way, as of September, the Lucado Brand released a suite of books about one of Max’s favorite topics: Grace. Through various channels (namely, BookSneeze and NetGalley), I’ve secured a few from off the line and here’s my take.


This is the Patriarch of the Grace family. Subtitled “More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine,” Lucado launches into his discussion of grace with both feet, using this book as the cornerstone for other endeavors. At almost 250 pages, the book defines terms and lays the groundwork for a deeper understanding of the grace of God and how it impacts our lives. And, for the sake of applicability, there’s a study guide and discussion questions built (or published) right in to the book.
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MUSIC&pop culture&reviews24 Nov 2012 12:38 am

Well, we’re running a little bit behind schedule today. With Thanksgiving and all, I had hoped to get this all squared away beforehand, but then that didn’t work out and then I’m trying to get a new plugin working. And with football and all that food, I just got all tuckered out. Anyway, we’re here now and there are five more albums from February primed for 25 words or less. Also, each album gets its own piece of the Thanksgiving feast. Off we go.

Sent By Ravens – Mean What You Say (CD) | (mp3)

A nice balance of hard rock with growl-laden vocals and radio friendly hooks with meaningful lyrics. They definitely say more than Nevermore and Caw-Caw! Stuffing.

SEE ALSO: Project 86, Pillar
DON’T MISS: Learn from the Night, Never Be Enough
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MUSIC&pop culture22 Nov 2012 02:41 am

As I promised when I first compiled and unveiled my Media A to Z Lists, the best part is that I’ll be able to periodically update these lists because they are, in fact, living documents. And, as I also mentioned, the Music list will be subject to the most frequent updates. True story: I have 16 updates for the Music list. I also have updates for the other lists, but today, we’ll just be focusing on music. I suspect we’ll visit the other four lists next week and there probably won’t be as many changes between all of those.

For the sake of a reminder, this isn’t intended to be a thorough examination or evaluation of the items on this list, just a high level overview of why I’m drawn to it at this particular point in time. It is, for all intents and purposes just me being a captive of the moment and picking one piece of pop culture for each letter in each general category. Okay, now, let’s see what has changed in the last three months.

A is for Audio Adrenaline (replacing: Aaron Gillespie). I’m only half joking when I call this group “Audio K” because it’s a completely different group with Kevin Max at the helm. But they are picking up the torch where Audio A left off and the lead single, Kings and Queens, is really, really fun.

B is for Brandon Heath (replacing: Charles Bradley). This one’s pretty obvious. Brandon is one of my all time favorites. What’s really crazy is that he wasn’t in the original list. His new album, Blue Mountain, provides an enjoyable look at a fictional town up in the mountains. I’m covered in dirt, too.
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pop culture&SPORTS21 Nov 2012 02:42 pm

Last week was quite a dramatic week in the NFL. At one point, as the early games were ending, it looked like we had 5 upsets brewing. I would’ve benefited from one of those as the Browns coming up short was one of the TWO games I got wrong in my picks. That’s right, I was a season high 12-2 this past week, which makes three weeks in a row of over 10 right. I’m carrying this momentum into a tough week with extra games tomorrow and injuries that put everything up in the air. And, in light of Thanksgiving and time off and tricky scheduling, I’m planning for this to be a shorter post than normal. We’ll see how that works out.

The Titans had their bye week, so they remain 2-2 since I called rally for them. The Cardinals fought valiently, but lost again, leaving them 0-4 since I predicted their demise. As for overrated players. Cam threw for 252 yards, and 1 TD, while rushing for 40 more yards. No interceptions or fumbles, but they did lose the game. Hali managed a sack, 4 tackles and 1 assist in the Chiefs loss. Dez Bryant blew up, with 12 catches for 145 yards and a TD, while Jason Witten was held to 51 yards on his 7 grabs. Steven Jackson settled back into the realm of “meh” as he netted a total of 86 total yards on 15 touches.

This week, I’ll talk a little bit about the four worst teams in the NFL to point out what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and one big change that might help save them face. This is called: What’s Wrong with the…
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MUSIC&reviews20 Nov 2012 02:57 pm

Continuing through the calendar, we’ve reached February, which was a busy month for music. In fact, it looks like this will be the first of three parts covering February releases. And it’s quite possible that part two will run on Friday, leaving part three for next Tuesday. That should speed things along a little bit. Anyway, we’ve got some pretty good releases this week. A wide variety by design, as we dive into some rock, rap, acoustic, and everything in between. So, I’ve used my words sparingly once again, limiting each description to 25 words or less and I’ve also compared each album to a type of insect, bug, or otherwise creepy crawler. off we go…

For King & Country – Crave (CD) | (mp3)

The duo’s expansive sound and soaring production fills the background so well, it’s unfortunately hard to remember afterwards. Quite enjoyable as it plays, though. Firefly.

SEE ALSO: Tenth Avenue North, Remedy Drive
DON’T MISS: Middle of Your Heart, Pushing on a Pull Door
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MUSIC&pop culture&reviews16 Nov 2012 05:16 pm

Another week, another fresh new Music of the Day. I’m happy to say that I managed to scrounge up enough albums for a new release edition today. (We’ll resume the catch-up editions next week.) Interestingly enough, these are mostly lesser known releases and 4 are only available on Amazon as mp3s. I had honestly never heard of one of the artists (Julie Elias) and was pleasantly surprised to discover the indie releases from Warren Barfield and Sevenglory. But, the real question is: How do they stack up? Let’s get down to it. 25 words or less on each album including an appropriately associated candy left over from Halloween. (I know you’re still eating them, too.) Off we go…

Disciple – O God Save Us All (CD) | (mp3)

Another mix of hard rock screamers and ballads. There’s definitely something distinct about their sound, just not between albums. Hey, if it ain’t broke… Jawbreakers.

SEE ALSO: Nine Lashes, Sent By Ravens
DON’T MISS: Outlaws, Trade a Moment
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