Monday, August 29, 2011

Craig's MGoMix 2011

[Author's note: Today, I'll be breaking down the songs that I put on this year’s MGoMix, the "mix tape" that I make for driving to Michigan football games. As I noted last year, it should be noted that this is not a hype mix, these are songs which reflect where I am right now as a Michigan football fan. As is the rule, until Michigan wins a Big Ten title, no repeat non-Michigan songs from the previous year’s MGoMix. Also, this entire endeavor owes a debt of gratitude to Geoff for giving me the idea to do it in the first place.]

Also new this year...a Spotify link!

1). "Flash's Theme" by Queen (from the soundtrack to the 1980 film Flash Gordon)

This is a slight hold over from last year, but I thought that Denard Robinson had earned the right to the ultraheroic and over the top theme from Flash Gordon (remember, in the film, Flash is a New York Jets quarterback with awesome hair.)  Consider if you will the adjectives used to describe Flash:

"He's a miracle"
"King of the impossible."
"He'll save everyone of us."
"Just a man, with a man's courage, you know he's nothing but a man and he can never fail."

Yeah, no pressure Shoelace.

(Also, in the song itself, there are snippets from the movie which calmly say "There is seemingly no explanation for these extraordinary intergalactic upsets" and "This morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm." which kind of sums up the last four years.)

2). "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones (from the 1968 single "Jumpin' Jack Flash")

It's for this lyrical section:

I was drowned, I was washed up and left for dead.
I fell down to my feet and I saw they bled.
I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread.
Yeah, yeah, yeah
I was crowned with a spike right thru my head.
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, I'm Jumpin' Jack Flash,
It's a Gas!  Gas!  Gas!

Sound familiar?

3). "Out of Control" by U2 (from the band's 1980 debut album Boy)

Kind of an easy pick, since ESPN made great use of it in their promo about strikers and the Power of 10 for the 2010 World Cup*, but is there any better summation of something the Michigan fanbase can agree on coming in to the 2011 season than this lyrical refrain:

"I had a feeling it was out of control
I had the opinion it was out of control

I had a feeling it was out of control
I had the opinion it was out of control."

*-No pressure Jeremy Gallon, no pressure.

4). "Gray Cell Green" by Ned's Atomic Dustbin (from the band's 1991 album God Fodder)

Or welcome back power running game...and play action passing.

You're telling me it's in the trees, in the trees
It's not it's inside me now

You're telling me it's on the ground, it's all around It's not it's inside me
You're telling me it's in disguise well use your eyes It's not it's inside me

You're telling me it's mother earth some sign of birth
It's not it's inside me

Plus, I think this will appease the football gods by having Green and Gray mentioned.

5). "Having an Average Weekend" by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (from the band's 1990 album Savvy Showstoppers)

You probably know this track better as the theme to The Kids in the Hall, and the nice duality exists here.  One the one hand, "Having an Average Weekend" is kind of the theme from last season.  Some good, some bad, but mostly average.  On the other hand, I get to make Kids in the Hall references, which include mentioning the Daves I know, I know, Terriers, Business Meeting, Career Ending Moments in Show Business, The Pit of Ultimate Darkness, and Daddy Drank.  Really, I could do this all day.  All you have to be is quiet and willing to do it.*  But we have a mix tape to get back to...

(*--And, I've got quiet shoes...)

6). "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + the Machine (from the band's 2009 album Lungs)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, we start looking forward.  Perhaps a little too hopeful, but the mood of "the Summer of Hoke" certainly had this vibe:

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your loving, your loving behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive.

Run fast Denard, run fast.

7). "Superunknown" by Soundgarden (from the band's 1994 album of the same name.)

Let's face it, for all of our hope, for all of our belief, for all of our "The worst is over" moments, the reality is that, well, I'll let Mr. Cornell handle it:

Alive in the superunknown
First it steals your mind
And then it steals your soul

We don't know, and that's why they play the games.

8). "The Fixer" by Pearl Jam (from the band's 2009 album Backspacer.)

In the categories of "Things we remember being pretty awesome in the 1990s", Greg Mattison, this one is for you:

When something's broke I wanna put a bit of fixin on it
When something's bored I wanna put a little excited on it
If something's low I wanna put a little high on it
When something's lost I wanna fight to get it back again
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
Fight to get it back again
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Fight to get it back again.

9). "Everlong" by Foo Fighters (from the band's 1997 album The Color and the Shape)

The last three years are like a weird fever dream in some ways.  I don't know if they qualify as a mistake, but they definitely are a learning experience.

And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I'll ever ask of you
Got to promise not to stop when I say when

Worth noting, it is David Letterman's favorite song.  You know where David Letterman went to college?  Ball State.  You know who else went to Ball State?  Brady Hoke.

10). "Rifles"by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (from the band's 2001 album B.R.M.C.)

There is no really good reason for this to be on here other than I like the sort of chill dark intensity it brings to the table.

11). "I'm Not Over" by Carolina Liar (from the band's 2008 album Coming to Terms)

I'm not saying this is how I feel about November 2010-early January 2011, but...

What a waste of time
The thought crossed my mind
But I never missed a beat
Can't explain the who or what I was
Trying to believe
What would you do
What would you do
Do you know
I once had a grip on everything
It feels better to let go

I'm not over
I'm not over you just yet
Cannot hide it
You're not that easy to forget
I'm not over

12). "Three Strange Days" by School of Fish (from the band's 1991 self-titled album)

Days...years...  And yes, in my world, "Johnny Clueless" is in fact a fantastic nickname for a former defensive coordinator.  The drinking by yourself is personal perference.

"But I've got to make it through, no matter what it takes.  I've got to make it through...three strange days."

13). "Saving Grace" by Buffalo Tom (from the band's 1992 album Let Me Come Over.)

In addition to loving the word of Buffalo Tom, well...

It's been so long since I've been home
Since I've had fun
I'm coming home
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon

Let's hope it's sooner rather than later.

14). "Back in the High Life Again" by Warren Zevon (a cover from his 2000 album Life'll Kill Ya)

Firstly, Warren Zevon is awesome.  Secondly, come on, it's right here:

I'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
I'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in

Call it an ode to bandwagoning.

15). "Untitled" by Interpol (from the band's 2002 album Turn on the Bright Lights)

There are only five lines in this song, but I think it kind of hits the nail on the head:

Surprise, sometimes, will come around
Surprise, sometimes, will come around
I will surprise you sometime, I'll come around
Oh, I will surprise you sometime, I'll come around
when you're down.

I can handle surprise.

16). "Three is a Magic Number" by Blind Melon (from the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock Rocks!)

Yes, this is here for two reasons:
1). I miss the kicking game.  "And it's a magic number!"
2). "Man and a woman had a little baby, there were three in the family...and that's a magic number."  Welcoming my son to his first Michigan football season.

17). "Rise" by Eddie Vedder (from the soundtrack album for the 2007 film Into the Wild.)

Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

Any form of fandom is about faith, about belief in things that cannot be seen.  It's not religious, though it has overtones which give rise to paralells, but it is built on the fact that we are left to believe in something we cannot prove until the game is over.  We're going to find our direction magnetically, and hopefully not have the tragic ending of Into the Wild.

18). "Clubbed to Death" by Rob Dougan (from his 1998 album Furious Angels)

This is here to remind me that Denard may have actually originally come from the Matrix.

19). "The Wanting Comes in Waves" by The Decemberists (from the band's 2009 album Hazards of Love)

It's morning again in Ann Arbor...with a full pirate hat tip to our aspirational peers at The House that Rock Built

The mix then finishes with the Michigan songs run:

20). "M Fanfare" by the Michigan Marching Band (2009 edition)

21). "The Victors" by the Michigan Marching Band (2009 edition)
(the standard full version of the Victors.)

22). "Temptation" by the Michigan Marching Band (2009 edition)
(I still have no idea how a standard, made popular by Perry Como, became one of the most beloved songs in the MMB arsenal, but there it is.  Also, Muppets!)

23). "Hawaiian War Chant" by the Michigan Marching Band (2009 edition)
(because you can't have one without the other.)

24). "The Yellow and Blue" by the Michigan Marching Band (2009 edition)
Closing with the alma mater.  Hoorah for the yellow and blue.  Hail! [small fist raise])

So that's it, that's the list, 79 1/2 minutes of mix.  Still probably a bit too depressed for it's own good, but who knows?  Comments, concerns, questions, you know where to find me.  Go Blue!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Settling Accounts

A couple of years ago, back when he was still HSR's correspondent in the Pacific Northwest, Dave wrote up an awesome Sporcle quiz:
Can you name the Universities & Colleges Michigan has played in a football game?

Take ten minutes and play it and come back here when you're done.


And you're back, good.  As you may have noted, Dave included the last year played in the quiz, and the record against the opponent.  It's actually kind of neat to realize that Michigan actually has a winning record against most schools they have played.

Which brings us to 2014.  David Brandon announced today that Michigan will be playing Appalachian State once more, six years and 363 days after well, you know.

This is Mike Hart, doing those things that Mike Hart did, like find the hole behind Jake Long.

I don't need to recap the events of that day, the media will do that for you all throughout August 2014, but after I got past my anger about this, and my anger that we have scheduled another FCS team (well, maybe, the Mountaineers could be FBS by that point, but that's a whole other thing.) has subsided.  Because I realized something.

Nah, there weren't really eighty-eight of them. They just called themselves "The Crazy 88."
Dave Brandon took one look at Beatrix Kiddo (and her awesome Maize uniform) and decided to settle some scores.  So, with this in mind, the list of future opponents to bring Michigan back to .500 against every still extant school in Division I.

Arizona State (0-1, 1987 Rose Bowl)
You know, this was the game that convinced Ohio State to hire John Cooper, do we really need to "avenge" this.  OK, fine, fine, put them on the list.

Army (4-5, last played in 1962)
Michigan needs to go to Michie Stadium, since they are 0-2 on the banks of the Hudson*.  Also, all of the losses are between 1945 and 1954, so I blame Eisenhower. (*-Whoops, both of the losses came at Yankee Stadium.)

Brigham Young (0-1, 1984 Holiday Bowl)
Michigan was 6-5, BYU was approaching an undefeated season and a national championship.  Robbie Bosco and all.  But now, you know, BYU is an independent, and they need people to play.  Perhaps Michigan can place a call to Provo?

Cornell (6-12, last played in 1952)
OK, this is going to take some time.  Can we count hockey games against them?  I mean, we stole their hockey chants, that has to count for something, right?

Mississippi State (0-1, 2011 Gator Bowl)
Avenge me!!!  Viva Starkvegas and all.

North Carolina (1-2, last played in 1979 Gator Bowl)
We should try to get the Tar Heels in soon, you know, while they're still reeling from hanging out with Butch Davis.

Oklahoma (0-1, 1976 Orange Bowl)
Actually, it amazes me more that we've only played the Sooners once ever.  Let's wait until Stoops retires.  They'll never see it coming.

Southern California (4-6, last played in 2007 Rose Bowl)
OK, firstly, we need to get them out of their SoCal comfort zone.  Secondly, we need to get them while Lane Kiffin is still at the helm.

Tennessee (0-1, 2002 Citrus Bowl)
You know Mr. Brandon, Neyland Stadium is one of the few facilities outside the B1G that could host Michigan and not cost Michigan money if you scheduled a home and home.  Get them before Derek Dooley figures it out.

Texas (0-1, 2005 Rose Bowl)
It could be a huge selling point for the Longhorn Network!!!

Toledo (0-1, last played in 2008)
Yeah, if this shows up on the 2014 schedule, I know my thesis has validity.

In the end, we cannot fully avenge every losing record since we're 0-1 against Wesleyan, but there is the list.  Let's get to work.

Loose Seal, Loose Seal!

Guest post from HSR Beltway-ish Correspondent David T. (Yes, he moved.)
Take it away Dave:  

Inspired by Gawker's countdown of the 50 worst states in America and the silly Michigan seal news, I think we should have a poll ranking the 12 Big Ten official seals from worst to first. The seals are below in one handy image file.

1. Rank the 12 Big Ten seals from #1 to #12. No ties please. Your top choice will receive 15 points, second choice 11, third choice 10, all the way down to your last choice receiving 1 point. Whichever school gets the most points wins!
2. Try not to be a homer for your favorite school, and try not to let differing quality of the images affect your decision.
3. Include any comments you want explaining your choices.
4. Use the Google Form below to cast your vote.

Thanks for helping out!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

I've had to spend some time in the Angry Dome today.  You see, Michigan's got me a little steamed.  We'll give each issue its own post, because they deserve their own post. Take it away Michigan Marketing and Design blog:
The "M" and the seal. (Original Title: The Seal buys a Barcalounger.) As campus communicators, you may have heard that our beloved beloved Block M is becoming the principal graphic mark of the University of Michigan, and the equally beloved Seal is taking a secondary position. The changeover will be gradual: it began, in fact, several years ago. The Seal is not going away: it will still be used on diplomas, regental documents, and many other official papers. (And students will still be able to buy those wonderful spiral-bound notebooks with the gold-embossed Seal on the cover.) But the Block M will now take its place as the public face of Michigan on items from business cards to building signage.
Now, I freely cop to the fact that I do not possess a degree in marketing, nor do I have any research on this topic, but this feels, as a Michigan alum and someone who does have a solid sense of marketing and design, short sighted. One of the things that I have always loved about Michigan is that there has been an attempt to have some sort of delineation between the academic units of the University and the athletic department.  The academic units have the seal, the athletic department got the M, block, split, or otherwise.  Obviously, there has been crossover, for instance, this is the current wordmark of the University:
Certainly we see a block M that represents the whole campus (and yes, I suspect this is the argument.)  And if we go back, prior to the renovation, this was above the tunnel:
and this was on the scoreboard:
(yes, we'll get to that issue in the next post.)
Oh and look in this Hockey Huddle, what do we see on the shoulders of the Michigan hockey team:
(side note: The hockey team, in the mid-1990s, wore a version of the seal on their jersey which overlaid a Block M, as seen on Brendan Morrison here:
(if I remember correctly, when Nike redesigned the jerseys in the late 1990s, they had to get rid of that version of the logo because it violated the university's logo rules on combining the block M and the seal.  I want to credit John Bacon for mentioning this somewhere sometime.)
and as our friend Armen (who first brought this issue to our attention) pointed out, how many of us had one of these shirts growing up (or something similar.)
I realize that the seal is not being "retired" but rather usurped as the primary academic mark of the University of the Block M.  I know that Mr. Brandon has made a strong push for the Block M to become "the" logo of the Michigan athletic department.  But this feels like a bridge too far.  To lose the seal is to lose part of what makes Michigan Michigan, the strong combination of academics and athletics.  
Perhaps this is just railing against "change" but this doesn't feel right at all and I hope, sincerely, that my fellow Michigan alums will back me in supporting the seal's future as a part of who we are.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Decision Making

"While it would be great to have Darryl on the field this season, we feel it is in his best interest and the best interest of our program for him to redshirt, Darryl will continue to be an important part of our team and family. He has done everything we have asked him to do, but our number one priority is to help Darryl grow as a person."
The above quote is from a release today regarding Darryl Stonum's redshirt for the 2011 season. This move has been widely praised by Michigan fans and I think there are several reasons for it.

1). It sets up nicely that it shows that Brady Hoke is not putting winning at any cost as the raison d'ĂȘtre of the Michigan football program. This will please a not insignificant portion of "The Clans" who are big on "doing things the right way."

1a). It sets up nicely to do a little relativistic recruiting. To wit:
  • Brady Hoke redshirts a player for a year after his second DUI offense. 
  • Brian Kelly reinstates a player without missing any game time after his third alcohol related offense.*
  • Mark Dantonio...well, OK, do we need to run the list? 
So you're a parent of a recruit, and Brady Hoke comes in to your home and says he's going to take care of your son, that he's going to make him a better person, not just a better football player.  The decision here speaks volumes to how seriously he takes this role.  Hoke doesn't need to "negative" recruit here, he can simply allow his actions to speak for themselves.  If Coach Kelly or Coach Dantonio don't like the comparison, it comes only from the wake of their decisions.

2). It speaks to the accountability of the players to the team as a whole, which means that the players on this team know that they will be held accountable to the staff and to one another.  It's a bold opening gambit, but one that only means something if it is the consistent line going forward.  Coach Hoke has to know that this sets the tone and in setting the tone, he will be measured against this, but if he believes what he is doing is right, then it should not be a problem.

3). A redshirt senior Darryl Stonum will now, theoretically, line up at wide receiver in 2012, the year of the killer schedule, with a senior Denard Robinson at quarterback.  This is not a bad thing.

4). This is the closest I will come to moralizing on this blog, but here goes: A DUI is nothing to brush off.  Statistics will tell you that alcohol related issues on college campuses around the country are a significant problem, one which should be taken seriously.  It might be easy to say that one DUI is a mistake, an indiscretion, a youthful moment of bad decision making which can and should be learned from.  The fact that this was Darryl Stonum's second DUI offense during his tenure at Michigan means that he did not learn his lesson the first time and tougher measures must be meted out.  If this means that Darryl Stonum learns a lesson from this incident, that's great and that's the best that can be hoped for, but more importantly, if this means that someone else Darryl Stonum's age (or anyone, really) maybe reconsiders driving under the influence because of what happened here, then more's the better.

Honestly, I am a little more upset about the Hagerup suspension for the first four games...not because Hagerup is suspended for a violation of team rules, that's fine, it's that Hagerup was JUST suspended for the Ohio State game last year for a violation of team rules and now he's suspended again for a violation (whether the suspensions are for the same violation remains to be seen, and we likely will never know) means that he did not necessarily learn his lesson.  Now Michigan will be without a punter who averaged 43.6 yards a punt last season for its first four games, which, yes, is the non-conference schedule, but still a critical period.  It is likely that Matt Wile, in addition to being held up as the savior of the kicking game will now also need to take on punting duties.  It's a lot to put on a freshman and I hope he is able to make the transition.  But more importantly, I hope that Will Hagerup gets his head on straight, realize that he's hurting his team, and will come out of this better and stronger.  (By the way, I really hate to say this right now, but this is where I will really miss the sheer crazy of T-Force, I mean, he has perfected the Brian Griese Tribute pooch punt.  Imagine, if you will, Forcier is back there as "the punter" for the first few games, and now, during the Western game, Brady Hoke decides to run a fake punt pass play like he's calling a game on NCAA 12.  Even if it doesn't happen again, you're making the opposing teams think you will do it.  Of course, since Brady is from the Lloyd school of playcalling, all of the good crazy plays will stay in the back of the playbook until the bowl game.)

I sort of look at today's announcements as an extension of the family metaphor.  I'm the oldest of three kids in my family, and I screwed up, relatively speaking, my fair share.  I had my fair share of "talking tos" and I spent most of my teenage years having extended discussions and debates with my parents because we did not agree about my decisions.  My siblings, who are 18 and 33 months younger than I am respectively, told me that they learned a ton from me when I got in to it, because they saw that I didn't get anywhere in arguing, other than perhaps extending out the final decision and perhaps making it worse.*  If you're a younger sibling and you're smart, you learn from the eldest kid and gain "wisdom" from their mistakes.  If the Michigan football family learns from the poor decision making of Stonum and Hagerup and T. Robinson, then every member of the Michigan football "family" benefits, and we, as Michigan fans, by extension.)

*-Update: Further research (read MGoBlog) points out that Stonum failed to do his probation work on DUI #1 and went to jail for it, whereas M. Floyd's three alcohol related offenses are two MIPs and a DUI, so it's not apples to apples.