Tag Archives: music

The Greatest Smashing Pumpkins Songs Of All Time

From L to R: Jimmy, Billy, James, D'Arcy

A post 20 years in the making, 14 years too late.

Honorable Mentions: By Starlight, Snail, Slow Dawn, Cash Car Star, Plume, Frail And Bedazzled, Obscured, Saturn9, We Only Come Out At Night, Silverf***, Jesus Loves His Babies, Crush, Real Love, Home, Speed Kills, Try, Try, Try, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, Stumbleine, Medellia of the Gray Skies, God, Dross, This Time

52) Beautiful – Makes the list solely for the nah-nah sing-along section beginning around 2:00 on the studio version. I’m pretty sure Beck’s copied it for at least half of his late career singles. The rest is bouncy, electronic fare. Not really my cup of tea, but that catchy psychedelic turn packs a hell of a hook.

51) Ugly – Pure ’80s goth-pop. I don’t know how Corgan beat Depeche Mode and Robert Smith to this one. Synthesizer? Check. Bleak lyrics? Check. Sinister delivery and sparse arrangement? Check and check. About 100 times better than the similarly sounding “Eye” that was released just months later on the “Lost Highway” soundtrack.


50) Behold! The Night Mare – The quintessential cut from “Adore”: pretentious but quiet, absurd and haunting all the same. One of the few electric guitar cameos at 2:51. Or maybe it’s a synthesizer. Sublime either way.

49) Transformer – Just shows the quality of the Pumpkins’ catalogue that a cut like this can’t crack a 28-song double album or the 16-song follow-up (not that it would fit on “Adore” anyway). You can find “Transformer” in the incomparable B-sides collection “The Aeroplane Flies High” box, along with all the other fantastic “Mellon Collie” leftovers. Great driving bass line, typically awesome drum work and a flawless chorus… except for the “happy as a turtle” lyric. What the hell does that mean?

48) Vanity – This list’s lone representative from the digital-only “Machina II” release tells us two things: Corgan 1) still had his musical wherewithal intact when the band broke up 2) had absolutely lost the rest of his freaking mind. The problem with the “Machina” era isn’t that the band started sucking, they just could no longer sort the wheat from the sh*t. How “Vanity” and “Slow Dawn” and “Real Love” and “Dross,” etc. didn’t make the original album is one of the great mysteries in life (to me, anyway), especially when you’re releasing crap like “Heavy Metal Machine.” Here’s a hypothetical “Machina” tracklist for kicks… In no particular order: “This Time,” “Stand Inside Your Love,” “I Of The Mourning,” “Slow Dawn,” “Real Love,” “Dross,” “Let Me Give The World To You,” “Innosense,” “Cash Car Star,” “Satur9,” “Home,” “Age of Innocence,” “Wound,” “Try, Try, Try,” “Home,” and “Speed Kills (But Beauty Lives Forever).” That looks like a fourth classic album to me. Morons.

47) The End Is The Beginning Is The End – Corgan’s purgatory. Still wanted to make loud rock ‘n roll, but didn’t have the drummer to pull it off. Chamberlin could have made this song a classic. Negative points for its association with the disastrous “Batman and Robin” film.

46) Ava Adore – The lead single off “Adore” and the one that gets closest to realizing Corgan’s electronica ambitions. Cool song, and even better video filled with gothic robes, heavy makeup and filmed in one continuous shot. This track could have been on “The Downward Spiral” if not for the gorgeous chorus melody. Too bad the follow-up single (“Perfect”) sucked.

The Adore Era... A perfectly well-adjusted bunch, no?

45) To Forgive – “MCIS’s” first breather. Sounds like it’s about being dumped by your parents, but maybe I’m making that up. Sad either way. The buildup around 2:40 could make you a little misty if you’re a sucker for emotional chord progressions.

44) I Of The Mourning – Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. The “Machina” sound is laughably overproduced no thanks to British bigwig Flood (U2, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave, etc.), but Corgan and Co. absolutely kill the guitars on this one. In a good way. The lyrics run the gamut from corny to you-can’t-be-serious, but that wall of fuzz just keeps building and building. A lone instance of the late-period excess paying off. The part at 2:40 gives me goosebumps, and the battering ram drumming reminds you just how much they’d missed Chamberlin in his drug-addled absence.

43) Set The Ray To Jerry – Another “Mellon Collie” b-side that I’m sure was a legit candidate to make the album proper. Some people think that this is one of their very best. I’ll go so far as to say that the D’Arcy/Jimmy battery has never been more impressive. The quietly propulsive bass line only pales in comparison to the restrained punch of the percussion. Some of the vocal grinds on my nerves, but no other complaints.

42) Thirty-Three – The last “MCIS” single paved the way for the softer, more introspective tunes on “Adore,” which is a little ironic given it was the first song Corgan wrote after the “Siamese Dream” tour. It’s also notable for Chamberlin’s absence both on the song (it’s a drum machine) and the video. Months earlier, he’d been kicked out of the band after overdosing on heroin with touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, who died. Still, impossibly beautiful melody that would have been the next album’s best… It was the beginning of the end in hindsight, which makes the “And you can make it last forever” line sad and nostalgic for people who care about this kind of stuff.

41) X.Y.U. – A song this punishing has to make the list out of novelty alone. Straddles the thin line between appropriately acerbic and plain ugly. Up there with “Tales of Scorched Earth,” “Glass’ Theme,” “Aeroplane,” and “F*** You” for pure metal appeal, and the fluency of the time shifts is almost startling. What other ’90s bands had the chops to pull this off? Soundgarden, maybe? Metallica?

40) For Martha – Really the only song of its kind in the Pumpkins catalogue – an understated piano epic that goes from being a really good song to something just short of ethereal at around 4:20. Makes you wonder what “Adore” would have been like with those signature Pumpkins guitars. Should have canned the pointless coda and made this the album’s bookend. (Bonus points for Soundgarden association – Matt Cameron plays drums).

39) Once Upon A Time – An absolute gem on an album that could have been a classic if it was chopped down by 20 minutes. Sad and beautiful and melancholy. This song has a “Martha” in it, so I assume it was written about Corgan’s mother… Probably the only SP song my mom would like.

38) Zero – Spawned a classic riff and the classic t-shirt… Billy’s big, bald head was getting to him at this point as evidenced by lines like, “Emptiness is loneliness/and loneliness is cleanliness/and cleanliness is godliness/and God is empty just like me.” Okay. Somehow that stupid a cappella break didn’t seem so stupid in fourth grade.

Admit it, you have a Zero T buried somewhere in your closet.

37) Galapogos – A hybrid of “To Forgive” and that oceanic, space vibe of “Porcelina.” Shows more than anything the extent of Chamberlin’s talent – he was heavier and more muscular than any of his peers, but had deft touch as well. Here those subtle cymbal splashes? That’s world class restraint. If there’s a lesson for the kids, it’s this: if you want to be a famous drummer, better hone your jazz chops… If you’re lazy, just cut to the 3-minute mark and let it go from there. That epic buildup is quintessential Pumpkins. “To make the turn back now…”

36) Rocket – Another soaring rocker on “Siamese Dream.” I almost never listen to this song, but when I do, I think that I should more often. It’s not as good as the four songs that precede it or the three songs that come after. That it sustains the momentum is a testament to its greatness, I guess. And the last 20 seconds of feedback is a glorious mess.

35) In The Arms Of Sleep – How freaking beautiful is this track? If Billy sang this way from the beginning, he wouldn’t have had to constantly fend off the “nasally” criticisms. The supposed concept behind “MCIS” was that the first disc was supposed to be “Daytime” and the second “Night.” This is one of the only songs where I totally buy into it. Definitely has a starry, late night feel to it. Play it under the moon for your girlfriend, or in the car as background music. Great stuff, especially that “And I always need her more than she can ever need me” line… Admit it, you just teared up a little.

34) Marquis In Spades – A crunching rocker that should have replaced “Tales of Scorched Earth” as the 3-minute metal track between “1979” and “Ruby” on the second half of “Mellon Collie.” The pummeling riff is more impressive than the melody, but that final solo at 2:25 pushes this song to another level. A succinct classic that exists in the SP universe only as a castoff demo. Most bands would make a career out of this song.

33) Bullet With Butterfly Wings – A song played frequently at the Miami Arena during the year of the rat. Appeals to nostalgia more than anything, but I bet it means something special to Scott Mellanby. Spectacular video and the first cameo for the classic Zero t-shirt that would, in short time, be a fixture in the pop culture lexicon. Sinister and loud, just how I like my Pumpkins.

32) Wound – A dreamy pop nugget buried underneath a bunch of garbage on the second half of “Machina.” Higher on this list than it has any right to be – Corgan’s voice is grating in the verses… But, damn, those two vocal hooks are ace. The “if you wait/I will wait” melody is great. The “last night I turned around…” is nothing short of perfect. Would have fit snuggly on side five or six of “MCIS,” and there’s something sad and ironic in the line “So take it all/I doubt if we will know it’s gone” considering Billy’s penchant for defiant self-sabotage.

The Machina Era... And no, that's not D'Arcy.

31) Where Boys Fear To Tread – Good lord, can you say “groove”? So you’re 15 years-old, you go out and buy “Mellon Collie,” you’ve just listened to the best 60 minutes of music you’ve ever heard in your life, and you pop in disc 2 expecting a letdown, or at the very least, a bunch of soft acoustic music… Wrong.

30) Love – Gets bumped even higher up the list if it’s really about former Corgan/Cobain flame Courtney Love. Kind of reminds me of her – scuzzed up, druggy, corrosive, beautiful in a dirty way. Shouldn’t function – in this case, just a bunch of heavy synths and feedback – but it charges forward almost despite itself. A truly great song, and different than anything else in the Pumpkins’ catalogue. It’s a precursor to the next album’s “Ava Adore,” and if this was the electronic direction Corgan was talking about, I would’ve been totally down.

29) Disarm – The BBC banned this song because of the line “cut this little child.” The BBC sucks. String arrangements, on the other hand, most definitely do not suck. Not here, anyway. If you’re having a bad day, jump straight to 2:30. Catharsis.

28) Tristessa – The second record the band ever released right after “I Am One” sold out it’s limited edition pressing in like 10 minutes. Somehow, Seattle indie juggernaut Sub Pop got a hold of this one, which is kind of funny if you think about it. Yeah, you like us? You think we’re great? You want to sign us? SEE YAH, SUCKERS! The Pumpkins bolted for Virgin subsidiary Caroline right afterward, before re-upping for millions with the parent label… “Tristessa” has that familiar “Gish” tone i.e. faintly psychedelic and heavy as hell. A great rocker that gives the album’s second side a much needed kick in the ass.

27) To Sheila – Written right after Corgan declared rock was dead. For 4 ½ minutes, you think maybe he was on to something. Stunningly pretty. A song for overcast autumn days and 3 a.m. wanderlust.

26) Luna – Shoutout to high school friend, Sara. I used to badger her in Yearbook about all the new music I’d just “discovered.” I’m sure I was insufferable. She loved this song… It’s pretty much “Mayonaise,” except softer and prettier. Minus points for dearth of guitar squall. But great way to close an incredible album (“Siamese Dream”). Think of it as a sleepy, late-night beer chaser.

25) Bodies – So there’s this meaty, metronomic dual-guitar riffing at about 1:15 in “Gish’s” “Bury Me.” “Bodies” is four minutes of that, except Corgan, Moulder and Flood had concocted some freakish algorithm that turned those two guitars into dozens. You can hear it. Layers and layers and layers of heavy. The production never got any better.

24) Hello Kitty Kat – Ridiculous title. Ridiculously awesome everything else. This one’s a barnstorming rocker with big melody buried deep in the mix (where Billy’s voice should be; the “New Pumpkins'” songs put his nasal whine right in your earhole. Vanity, man). The guitars have that signature “SD” crush and the drum track is just as ferocious – the fills at 1:27 and 1:36 are some of Jimmy’s finest. It’s got all the pieces to be a classic Pumpkins track, and probably would have been if not for the B-side status… The coda is a clusterf*** of awesomeness.

23) Mayonaise – Everybody loves this one. I should probably like it more than I do – when I made the original list, this didn’t even make the cut… which is probably blasphemous in some Gen-X circles. At the end of each chorus verse, Corgan takes his hand off the guitar neck for a split second and just lets the feedback ring. That stuff takes a certain kind of genius… Okay, fine. I love it.

Billy still has hair, so I'm guessing '93 or '94.

22) Siva – Singular to the Pumpkins’ canon in its gothic darkness. They’d dabble in the same bleakness later on, but by then it was sterilized with electronics and crappy production. “Siva,” on the other hand, has an ’80s garage feel to it – like a re-imagination of The Cure with balls, and teeth to match all that sappy sadness… Perfects the soft-loud dynamic that they’re known for and, really, takes the two spectrums to their logical extremes. You have to turn your speakers up just to hear the interlude from 2:50 to 3:30… and then brace yourself for the ensuing heavy metal onslaught.

21) Tonight, Tonight – A stone-cold classic forever banished to modern-rock radio hell. The guilt-by-association is a shame because this is the only Pumpkins cut that ever one-upped the orchestral arrangement on “Disarm” (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, anyone?). You know the rest because you’ve heard it a billion times. Great video. My Dad’s favorite. Cemented the Corgan legacy. Etcetera. Etcetera.

20) Today – Apparently written during a particularly gloomy day in Atlanta, “Today” funneled all of Corgan’s suicidal thoughts into a tune that Blender says, “achieved a remarkable status as one of the defining songs of its generation, perfectly mirroring the fractured alienation of American youth in the 1990s.” Whatever. “Today” transformed the band from indie buzzword to honest-to-goodness superstars. You’ve probably heard it 100 times. It’s also big in Japan.

19) Muzzle – “I fear that I am ordinary just like everyone.” Seriously, what teenager can’t relate to that? This song was somewhat of a battle cry for all the kids that were just a bit too late for the grunge scene and wanted something to be pissed off about. Most of the lyrics are a little cheesy in hindsight, but I think there’s a lot of truth in words like, “I knew the emptiness of youth.” If I ever make it big, “Muzzle” will be my victory cigar.

18) Jellybelly – Oh, HELL YEAH! Pure audio adrenaline shot with a 1,000 volts of electricity and pumped through the jackhammer drumming of The Great Jimmy Chamberlin. Enough metaphors for you? Because I have more. This song is just over the top. Great melody. Great squealing guitar – about 100 of them. Great everything. Corgan said during a 1999 radio interview that he wanted to release this as the lead “MCIS” single, but was talked out of it by producers Alan Moulder and Flood. Bastards.

17) Cherub Rock – The opening salvo to one of the five best albums of the ’90s. It has to be great, right? Right. The opening drumroll is almost as famous as the searing solo at 3:09, and the lyrics are a biting putdown to the indie scene that had discarded them for “selling out.” This album and the next went on to sell 13 million copies in the U.S. alone… Hey, but Stephen Malkmus still has his street cred.

16) Bury Me – Blew me away the first time I heard it, mainly because it’s not frequently mentioned among the great Pumpkins songs. If you’re keeping track, this follows “Gish’s” opening trinity of “I Am One,” “Siva” and “Rhino” and, as such, fills the cleanup hole for arguably the finest quartet of tracks the band’s ever strung together (“MCIS” and “Siamese Dream” both have multiple contending sequences). I still have no idea what James (?) is singing between verses around the 1:30 mark, but it’s insanely catchy, and I, like my mother, have no problems making up lyrics. The doubled-up riffing at 1:15 on the studio version creates this perfectly thick tone and the scratchy wah-wah before the solo is flat brilliant. Corgan’s tyrannical practice regimen obviously payed dividends early on because these guys were tight as hell.

On the way to the tanning salon.

15) Quiet – The aural equivalent of high-wire acrobats. Rumor was Corgan and producer Butch Vig layered dozens upon dozens of guitars to build “Siamese Dream’s” “wall of sound.” One listen to the brutal ascending riff and the freakout soloing suggests that this is indeed the case. The quintessential pre-“Mellon Collie” rocker.

14) I Am One – Like with Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, Jimmy Chamberlin’s first appearance on an album proper turns out to be something of a game-changer. The three rounds of soloing showcase the Corgan/Iha interplay at its finest and D’Arcy’s chugging low-end (probably Corgan’s, actually) gives the hazed psychedelia some muscular girth… But, damn, that hard, simple drum intro makes everything that follows. No doubt about it.

13) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans – Impossibly soft (so much so that you can’t hear the first 35 seconds of the studio version), impossibly heavy (the 2:12 mark blows many a speaker), impossibly pretentious, and, yes, impossibly awesome. Pretty much mid-’90s Smashing Pumpkins in a nutshell. And how many 9-minute songs justify their running times?

12) Here Is No Why – Would’ve killed at radio had Virgin execs had the guts to confront Corgan about it. That opening riff is lush and fluid, but this is without question an air drums song despite what the towering solo (which sounds like it was ripped from “Plume,” by the way) would have you believe. I also love the uplifting vibe, a major bonus when you’re sandwiched between “Zero” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” No flaws here. Just a huge, crunching rock song with an even bigger melody.

11) Starla – Here’s the ideal tracklisting for “Siamese Dream”: “Cherub Rock,” “Quiet,” “Hello Kitty Kat,” “Today,” “Hummer,” “Rocket,” “Obscured,” “Disarm,” “Soma,” “Geek USA,” “Mayonaise,” “Luna,” “Starla”… That looks like the greatest rock ‘n roll album ever to me. This song’s over 10 minutes long. The bongo interlude is dreamy, and the surging final 5 minutes make me shiver. The template for Zwan’s excellent “Jesus I/Mary Star of the Sea” and probably all the soaring “MCIS”-era epics as well.

10) Hummer – My high school buddy Gus said that he’d die a happy man if he ever heard this song on the radio. Ditto. I would have been fine if Corgan chopped it at 4:30, but that spacey coda is pretty gorgeous. Also, now is a good time to point out that Corgan, Vig and Chamberlin made this album (“Siamese Dream”) by themselves because James and D’Arcy couldn’t stand each other’s company after a brutal breakup. Billy was depressed. Jimmy would disappear for days at a time on smack binges… And this is the product. Amazing.

9) Stand Inside Your Love – Everything a rock ‘n roll song should be – melodic, melodic, heavy, driving, melodic. Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe that this got bumped as the lead “Machina” single for “The Everlasting Gaze”. Think about it. You have a shrinking fan base turned off by all the anti-rock music on “Adore.” You’ve decided you’re going to bite the bullet and give the people what they want – RAWK! – and, bonus, you just reinstated the greatest drummer of all time. You have a perfect song in the can – a song that reminds people of your glorious yesterdays… And instead you release “The Freaking Everlasting Gaze.” So much for reclaiming the throne… “SIYL” is the last truly classic Pumpkins artifact and the one that proves that Corgan still had plenty in the tank when the band broke up in 2000. He’d chucked quality control out the window, shot the production to hell and lost control of his ego. But the tunes. Damn, the tunes. The surge of guitars around 3:30 gives me chills every time.

8) F*** You (An Ode to No One) – “Destroy the mind/ destroy the body/ but you cannot destroy the heart.” Pseudo-philosophical bullshit? Yeah, probably. But backed by a swirling maelstrom of dual-guitared riffing and those firing-squad drums turns these lines into something just short of apocalyptic… There’s a live version of this (linked) from the band’s last show at the Metro on 2/12/2000 that is so fast and so heavy that it’s a testament to James and (D’Arcy stand-in) Melissa Auf der Mar that they could simply keep up. A small part of me thinks the Pumpkins were always meant to be a heavy metal band. Here’s the proof.

7) The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right) – How Billy had the willpower to leave this monstrosity off of “MCIS” I’ll never know. Clocking in at just over 8 1/2 minutes, it’s the last great Pumpkins epic and maybe the best of all. It’s for sure the heaviest. The chord progression is simple and sinister. The crushing tone and corrosive soloing impressively match the drumming. It’s just really, really heavy… Heavy.

From L to R: The balding one, the hot one, the ethnic one, the backbone.

6) Soma – My favorite Pumpkins song in 10th grade and still my favorite solo. Something about these 7 minutes appeal to the pissed off teenager in me. “So let the sadness come again”? “I’ll betray myself to anyone”? Geeze. Somebody grab the eyeliner and black hair dye… I’m not going to spoil the surprise for those who haven’t heard it, but let’s just say I owe the majority of my premature hearing loss to this song. Remember Marty McFly’s Van Halen mishap in the opening scene of “Back to the Future”? No comment.

5) Drown – Originally appeared on the untouchable “Singles” soundtrack. It’s both the album closer and the only song from a non-Seattle band. I think there’s something to be said for that – this shaggy group of hippies from Chicago upstages the vaunted likes of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains… “Drown” is most impressive in it’s 8-minute incarnation: a wave that builds and crashes and builds again on a surge of epic Chamberlin drumming. The final crest leaves you awash in four minutes of distortion and lurching bass lines. Nirvana can’t touch this.

4) Rhinoceros – The absolute apex of their early-’90s psychedelic phase. “Rhino” is basically two songs in one: first the three-minute, Velvets-inspired pop song with the classic “She knows” refrain, and then – liftoff – the screaming fretboard workout egged on by more classic drum fills. Did they ever top this? Maybe. We’re kind of splitting hairs at this point.

3) Geek USA – From the intro to the “Mashed Potatoes” bootleg version: “ARE YOU READY TO FU**IN’ ROCK?!” Well yes. Yes I am… I’d call this song perfect, but “perfect” would be a major slight. The drum ‘n guitar onslaught after the dreamy psych interlude is the stuff rock gods are made of. File the coda under “Incendiary Post-Sabbath Dirge.” I dare you not to play air guitar on this song. Got long hair? Even better.

2) 1979 – The band’s only top 20 hit. Trying to describe it further would be demeaning. It’s an immaculate pop song… You’ve heard it before, but if you haven’t, brace yourself for the section beginning at 2:28. Flooring.

One big happy... Nevermind

… And your No. 1 song is …


(*Michael Buffer announcement*)

(*more drumroll*)

1) Thru The Eyes of Ruby – Show me a better rock song. Not a better Pumpkins rock song. Just a better rock song, period. A part of me thinks this is the best track of the last 20 years. The other part of me is wrong. It’s hard to say whether the freight train drumming tops the crashing walls of fuzzed guitar or vice versa, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that everything from 2 minutes on belongs in some lionized rock ‘n roll canon with “Dazed and Confused” and “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Voodoo Chile” and all the other genre staples. Here’s my favorite part: “The night has come to hold us young/the night has come to hold us young…” THWACK, THWACK. A cascading barrage of riffing – rising and falling, falling and rising – plays perfect foil to transcendent soloing and Jimmy’s legend-making performance. And to think, it’s all bookended by these two gorgeously frail acoustic melodies. Best played loud.

– Robbie



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“F****** Curling” and Other Google Trends: The Week in Review, Redux


Blondes: Curling's only positive.

This is part two in a two-part installment. Please click here to read Bryan Holt’s irreverent commentary on real sports and faux sports. Or simply scroll down, lazy ass. No, I’m only kidding. Enjoy.

While my SC cohort sips a vodka tonic from his Lazy Boy on this admittedly bright Friday afternoon in Gainesville, I am huddled on my sofa with doubled-up sweaters trying in vain to keep this damn fire in the middle of my living room from going out.

I’ve burned through three textbooks, a weekend edition of The USA Today and my mother’s 30-year-old Fender guitar. I’m both still freezing and seven days away from the start of Spring Break. This is Florida. This should not be happening.

Speaking of things that shouldn’t be happening…


Just in general, but especially not on the front page of the New York Times. This is particularly bothersome to me because I get my news from exactly two places and two places alone: Bryan Holt posts and, yes, the Times. Now both have been corrupted by the likes of kizzle kazzles (look it up) and, in the case of this second publication, piss-poor quotes from the nerdy Super Rich who get to pretend for 2 weeks every four years to be expert sports authorities… or at least like they haven’t been shoved into a locker by the captain of the football team every single morning from fourth to ninth grades.

Case in point. This is what Robert P. Kelly, chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon/curler extraordinaire, told the Times for a story entitled – I kid you not – “On Wall Street, A Romance with Curling”:

“Let’s face it: if baseball and football were in the winter, nobody would be watching.”

Great call by you, skip. Except 106 million Americans. It’s called the Super Bowl. Look it up. Furthermore, I for one, get chills when the likes of Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Tim Kurkjian appear side-by-side on my television screen in late February. And again, not because I’m freezing or because I’m mildly horrified to see that Big Mac has been in the “weight room” since his Congressional fiasco, and now roughly six times the body weight of Tiny Tim.

This picture was not chemically enhanced in any way.

Am I just bitter because it’s bitterly cold outside and I’m running out of things to burn? Yeah, a little. Am I doubly bitter that U.S. curling spokesman/workout freak Vernon Davis won’t just come out and admit that he joined the team because he thought there were dumbbells involved? Absolutely.

And am I triply bitter that a bunch of glorified shuffle-puckers beat me to Olympic glory while I was wasting my time playing real sports that I had entirely no chance to ever excel at? In the words of Sarah Palin, you betcha.

I cannot wait for Sunday’s closing ceremonies so that we can all get back to talking about the things that matter, like the NFL Combine and The Honda Classic. Until then, I’m mapping out the best shuffleboard watering holes that this little college town has to offer. Training starts today, and come Sochi 2014, I will be competing with the finest 45-year-olds, pregnant women, and 45-year-old pregnant women curling has to offer.

And with this 42-pound stone of a bitchfest off my chest, I present to you with a deep breath and in Spaghetti Western-style… all that I have left.

The Good: As you can probably already tell, I don’t have many positive things to say on this morning (*SHUT YOUR CHIRPING, YOU DAMN BIRDS!*), but I would like to pass along a piece of Sports Casualties information that until today, only two people in this world were privy to. Here are the top three search engine terms, in order, that drive traffic to our humble site:

1)   “Lindsey Vonn

2)   “Kate Lost

3)  “Lindsey Vonn hot

I don’t know exactly how I feel about these recent developments, but I can tell you it’s somewhere on the scale between “awesome” and “unequivocally elated.” Also, should you search “Sports Casualties” in your googler, the site before you comes up Jeter-style in the two hole. R.I.P. Korey Stringer.

Now Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph also makes this section, not on statistical excellence alone, but also on humility. When asked by ESPN’s Ryen Russillo how he thinks other people would describe him, Big Zach said, “You know, probably play hard. Leave it all out on the court.”

Quick scouting report on Randolph – Pros: prolific rebounder, strong in the low post; Cons: lacks defensive tenacity and self-awareness.

I got one more Ryen Russillo story for you, because the guy doesn’t get enough love and he has to hang out with Scott Van Pelt’s Ego all day. Describing a recent Nuggets-Cavs game, the NBA Today podcaster said, “This is a classic game for LeBron haters. And I know that there aren’t many of you out there that hate LeBron, but there’s always that guy, and you know who you are if you’re him… and you know who he is if you’re friends with him and you don’t want to be anymore.”

In related news, Ryen Russillo and Skip Bayless are no longer friends.

LeBron Haters: Not Welcome in the SC

This week in funny pharmaceuticals names, CNN began pounding commercials for one “Aciphex,” as in “Kim Kardashian’s aciphex Reggie Bush.”

Moving on, Bob Ley of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” did a feature on squash this week. Given the relevance of Ley’s recent reporting, I just figured he was doing a piece on the spring harvest.

And finally, because you can tell I’m grasping at “good” straws, former NHL player and current Canadian Matthew Barnaby announced Monday after U.S.A.’s hockey victory over Canada that he “became a permanent resident of the United States today.”

Matthew, on behalf of Sports Casualties, welcome, and we accept your apology.

The Bad: Geeze, where do we start. Dan Le Batard is probably a safe bet… After “Pardon the Interruption” host Tony Kornheiser was suspended for insulting smoking-hot-despite-her-advanced-age co-worker Hannah Storm, ESPN producers decided per usual to fill Tony’s void with Pablo Escobar/Shane Battier lookalike Le Batard. Dan proceeded to tell African American co-host Michael Wilbon that college football teams cannot be among the nation’s elite without players who get arrested. 

This strikes me as both more offensive and less sexy than Kornheiser comparing Storm to a Catholic school girl. But Le Batard is black, so he can get away with it.

In more bad news, it came to my attention this week that ice dancers compete in a “compulsory program,” which means even ice dancers really have no desire to ice dance.

Tragedy struck Sea World this week as a killer whale killed a trainer in a story that is both sad and rhetorical.

As if the Kansas City Royals couldn’t embarrass themselves any more, headlines this week confirmed that team mascot Sluggerrr hit a fan in the face with his weiner. Click here for full details.


Pop icon Whitney Houston was recently booed off the stage during a concert in Brisbane when the 46-year-old failed to hit high notes and took prolonged breaks in between songs.

This just in: crack bad for singing.

In non sequitur news, we’re 100 percent sure that Joe Lunardi isn’t the lovechild of David Stern?

Like son...


...like father?

Moving to the financial sector, bankrupted General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. will make a reported $9 million this year. When asked the last time they’d seen such an undeserving payout, most Detroit residents responded, “Charlie Villanueva.”

On Wednesday, SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross interviewed former backup quarterback and current analyst Tim Hasselbeck about the importance of NFL Combine speed drills. I was not watching.

Why? Because talking to Tim Hasselbeck about the 40-yard dash is like talking to Dick Cheney about bipartisanship or John Edwards about fidelity.

Sticking with politicians, quitter Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) went on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and told Candy Crowley that deadlocked government needs “exogenous” events to get things moving.

“9/11 – a few weeks after that things were better,” Bayh said, as producers cut to break so that Crowley could pick her mouth up off the floor.

The Kim Cattrall: Behind curling, the second biggest reason I want these Winter Games to just end already. It’s a harsh reality that British Columbia’s own alpha-cougar gets ample airtime during each NBC commercial break. Cattrall is the reason I can’t turn on TBS past midnight. She is also the reason every 27-and-under male checks their unattended drinks for roofies. Really, the only thing worse than Kim Vicious turning up in this Canada ad every 20 minutes is Sarah McLachlan turning up every 20 minutes in the exact same Canada ad.

Though at least with Sarah, you don’t have to worry about the roofies. I mean, if you’re a guy anyway.

My time is short. You’ll get no buzzer beater and like it.

– Robbie

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Curling and Little Herb Brooks: An Unfocused Look at the Past Week in the World

Oh curling, how you will be missed.

Because we can’t cover everything, and we don’t work weekends, each Friday, Sports Casualties’ two co-authors will write two separate reviews of the past week. These startling pieces of immediate nostalgia will cover whatever topics the writers care to include. Consider this a wallet-sized picture that you can carry with you the entire weekend to hold yourself over until Monday when we will be back and better than ever.

Following last week’s recap, which was admittedly a synopsis of a chaotic and volatile week, the week in review is back and refreshingly peaceful. The skies are blue, the weather is crisp and the surplus of homeless people surrounding my complex are happily going about their day. This will surely be the most charming and bright column written since the Boston Globe let Peter Gammons canoodle in the Red Sox clubhouse and then type out 1,500 words on his experience.

I’m leaned back in my favorite chair, my obsessive Sports Casualties notepad is sitting next to me on the armrest and curling semifinals are on my television. Let’s do this.

It is officailly the final Friday of the Vancouver Olympics which means two things. First, today is the final day of women’s curling, a sport that has mesmerized the masses throughout these winter games. Curling, which is seemingly on either CNBC or the USA Network at all times, has become the world’s favorite perrenial time-waster and a cult-favorite here at the University of Florida. It is a sport that seems to take entirely longer than it should and can probably be played mildly well while innebriated. In other words, it’s an absolute vacuum for college minds.

"I can watch more curling than you!"

Perhaps most intriguing about curling is the determination of what actually makes one good or bad at it. For example, it was reported this week that the U.S. men’s curling team actually lost to a random group of average curlers at a curling club in Duluth, Minnesota, not long before their trip to Vancouver. This news sparks an endless amount of comments.

The simple thought of a real life curling club almost makes it seem enjoyable to live north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Okay, not really , but it fools you for a second. I have a tremendous mental image of Tuesday night curling leagues with excessive amounts of alcohol and mullets. As the competition intensifies through the night, things get rough and typically conclude with a number of sliding brawls across the ice as Wednesday morning approaches.

Now imagine the U.S. national team walking into this establishment. I’m personally envisioning a Clint Eastwood western saloon moment here. And then the impossible happens, the rag-tag bunch of Duluth failed hockey players beats John Shuster and his gang of national embarassments. It’s kind of like when the short girl blocks Charles Barkley’s shot on a street court in “Space Jam.”

Anyways, today Canada goes up against Sweden for the gold medal in women’s curling. The true winner here is ESPN’s Bill Simmons who gets one final glimpse of his favorite Olympic athlete, Canadian skip Cheryl Bernard.

The Sports Guy: President of the Cheryl Bernard Fan Club

The other Olympic-related greatness that today brings is the USA-Finland semifinal in men’s hockey. The USA will look to continue a run that has already been magnificient and surprising. The Americans cannot look past a tough opponent in search of a likely rematch with Canada on Sunday in the gold medal game.

To help inspire Uncle Sam’s ice warriors I have brought to SC the best in the business at motivational hockey speeches. Ladies and gentlemen, Little Herb Brooks.

Goosebumps…and slight laughter.

Stepping away from the Olympics, on Thursday, Joakim Noah celebrated his 25th birthday. It is truly surprising that Noah has made it in the NBA as long as he already has with his hideous shot and controversial demeanor. However, he is currently at the peak of his young career and proving many wrong. Somewhere, Yannick Noah is smiling. And not just because he’s sitting next to a collection of illegal drugs that would make Hunter S. Thompson blush.

Thursday was also the anniversary of the day that Jerry Jones became the most hated man in Dallas, for a short period of time. Jones’ unceremonial dismissal of legendary coach Tom Landry is a moment that still seems radically harsh and unprofessional. Nothing a few diamond rings couldn’t take care of. (whisper voice)…He went to Jared.

Things aren’t all unified team-like on the U.S. women’s ski team front where reports surfaced this week that Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso are in the midst of a personal feud. I guess that explains the baseball bat that Thomas Vonn has been carrying around with him all week.

Adorable and innocent...or are they?

Co-author Robbie Hilson did an excellent job earlier in the week of covering the “OMG Tim Tebow is working on his delivery” videos. While the videos were cool to see, I don’t think they surprised anyone not named Mel Kiper, Jr. Did ayone really think that Tebow would walk in and say “this is how I throw the ball, take it or leave it?”

Tebow’s issues are things that can be fixed, and that he has the work ethic to fix. Here’s to hoping he shows up to pro day in the same Under Armour outfit with a rugged beard, and simply makes Kiper cry. I want tears. Terrible, overpaid, ESPN tears.

Manchester City footballer Wayne Bridge is officially refusing to play for the English national team in the World Cup due to the fact that his would-be teammate and former team captain John Terry had an affair with his now-ex-girlfriend.

Vanessa Perroncel, Soccer Groupie

In related news, all American golfers have refused to play for the next Ryder Cup’s USA team if Tiger Woods is on the squad.

AND NOW…(drum roll)

WHY I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK: The Never-Ending Saga

In no specific order, and with no real explanation, this is my weekly look at some of the things that kept me distracted while I was trying to write.

Curling. Distracting America for hours at a time.

YOU WILL NOT videotape Alex Ovechkin after an embarrasing loss for the Soviets.


What to Watch on Television this Weekend

Because although we live in a country where we are free to watch whatever we want, deep down inside we still want people to tell us what to watch.

Winter Olympics – Every channel with any form of a relation to NBC – All Weekend

They’re almost over. Soak it in and feel patriotic.

NASCAR Shelby American GT 350 – FOX – Sunday, 3 P.M.

California is over, so it is safe to look again.

Have an obstreperous weekend.


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Roundball Roundup: Sky Blu, Vulcan Grip, Durantula


Afraid of spiders? The Western Conference is.

What would make hockey better? More black people. It’s Roundup time.

I know what you’re thinking: how is Hilson going to fit Mitt Romney into his NBA talk this week? Well thanks for asking, Fictional Second Person.

Two big Utah-related streaks came crashing down in a heap of culture shock over the past few days and I, for one, am determined to find multiple parallels between them… if for nothing else, as an excuse to recount the following.

On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks beat the red-hot Jazz 121-112 for their first victory in Utah in 17 years. So Atlanta over Utah – we’re one streak down. Now here’s my in…

On Saturday, Utah-via-BYU’s finest Mitt Romney took his well-coifed head of hair and Reaganesque smile to the Conservative Political Action Conference (read: Star Trek Convention for Glenn Beck Fans) in D.C. only to get based in a straw poll by Texas congressman Ron Paul. Romney had won the poll three years straight – you could say he had a “Vulcan grip” on CPAC.

That’s streak two. Now stay with me because here’s where it gets weird. Besides great fried chicken and Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta is known primarily for two things – famous rappers and the Olympics.

Well funny thing: last week Romney, on a flight back from the Olympics, was allegedly attacked by an irate passenger who wouldn’t return his seat to its full, upright and locked position.

Turns out the assailant was none other than LMFAO rapper Sky Blu… You can’t make this stuff up, but it gets much better.

For his part, Sky Blu says, hell no. That’s not how it went down. He told TMZ that a belligerent Romney not only attacked him, but used – and I quote – “a Vulcan grip.”  

“I’m not your prey. I’m not a salmon going upstream. You’re not going to grip me up,” the rapper said of Romney’s turn as Dr. Spock. (Great freaking quote, Sky)

LMFAO: Not happy with the Right Wing

So you see, there was precedence for Monday’s game. And how about this: Romney was done in by Ron Paul; the Jazz were done in by subpar games from Ronnie Price and Paul Millsap.

All of this is to say, those who keep up on their celeb news should have seen the Hawks’ victory coming. Seems Atlanta’s been roundaboutly sticking it to Utah for a couple of weeks now.

A typically pointless side note: both Sky Blu – nephew of Motown legend Berry Gordy – and Mitt Romney – son of American Motors legend George Romney – were born in Detroit. Much like all you’ve read so far, this has nothing to do with anything, much less basketball. But hell of a story, right?

Let’s talk about The King.

After trying my damnedest to persuade Cavs GM Danny Ferry to sit tight at the trade deadline – and then summarily convincing myself that Jamison was the right move instead – Ferry’s team repaid my unabashed support of the ‘Tawn deal by coming up O-fer in consecutive games to Denver, Charlotte and Orlando before topping New Orleans on Tuesday.

Of course, LeBron had little to do with his team’s sucky play, posting a 33-10 and 8 boards per in the three losses (although James scored only 3 fourth quarter points in Orlando). But bottom line is, Cleveland, despite still having the best record in basketball at 44-14, is making me look like an idiot for putting my stamp of approval on their acquisition of a banged up 33-year-old.

Be this as it may, I’m sticking to my guns, and not because I lost a card game to Gilbert Arenas.

Jamison/West poster on sale at your local Sports Authority

Let me reiterate: Antawn Jamison will be just fine – he followed an 0 for 12 FG debut with 37 points on 16 of 28 shooting combined in his subsequent two contests. Plus, he won’t have to worry about his body breaking down on him, logging 38 min. a night for a hopeless Wizards club. In fact, now he’s got a healthy Leon Powe to spell him.

And I never thought I’d say this – mainly because he looks like he swallowed Gilbert Brown – but Shaq is actually rounding into shape (no pun intended). He’s notched back-to-back 20-point games on a Martin Gramatica-like 18 for 23 from the floor, and for the year, is averaging a 12-7 and 1 block in 23 minutes per. Not bad for a soon to be 38-year-old with tits.

The Zydrunas Ilguaskas hang up is another story. The Wizards buyout isn’t going as quickly as expected, and David Stern at one point seemed dead set on keeping him from returning to Cleveland even though he’s allowed these kind of prearrangements since the beginning of time.

When the Wiz do free Big Z, the Hawks, Mavs and Nuggets will be jostling for position like a rabid pack of Wal-Mart shoppers on Black Friday. Dallas has a nose lead given Ilguaskas’ history with GM Donnie Nelson on the Lithuanian national team… I know two things about the Lithuanians – they throw a hell of a discus and their homies stick together.

It’ll all work itself out. In the meantime, my advice to Skip Bayless: pop a Quaalude and get back to me in 30 days.

Hey, speaking of abused substances, now’s a good time to discuss the budding feud between head case Charles Barkely and head case/Heat forward Michael Beasley. The Round Mound recently referred to Beasley as the Tito to Dwyane Wade’s Michael Jackson.

No way, Chuck. Tito plays defense.

But seriously, there’s no way Pat Riley could’ve landed Amare Stoudemire for Tito Jackson. Jermaine maybe. Not Tito.

Barkley: The Unofficial Sixth Jackson

Barkley: The Unofficial Sixth Jackson

A quick Juice Hellmanns update before we go any further. The Juiced One has topped 22 points three times since Wednesday and is shooting 53 percent in his last four. More impressively, rumor is that Memphis almost dealt him for Monta “I’m 24 and a Scoring Machine” Ellis. That’s respect, holmes.

Moving on…

If there was any question as to who will win out in the Association’s collective bargaining dispute, Boston guard Marquis Daniels this week settled the debate once and for all: the players union has no chance in hell.

No. Chance. In hell.

Daniels recently paid out to forge a replica of his own head. Now I’m all for head-forging. Nothing about this strikes me as fiscally irresponsible… until I find that said head is made of three pounds of 14k gold and diamonds.

Let me be clear as bling: the players will fold first. They have to, because when you’re buying 1300-grams of bejeweled human likeness, you can’t afford a lockout.

Marquis Daniels will make $1.9 million this year. He has mouths to feed.

Lil John is jealous

On that apocalyptic note, it’s time for this week’s edition of Streaking: Everybody’s Doin’ It!

The “In Underwear for Charity Run” Streak: Toronto. The Canadian government came out Tuesday and basically said that it burned the $117 million it spent to support its Olympic athletes. You will get no argument from Sports Casualties. On the bright side, Canada gets to keep Chris Bosh for three more months. He’s averaging a man’s 29-11 on 56 percent shooting in February as his Raptors have gone 5-2 in that period and won 10 of 12 overall.

The “Still Partially Clothed, But A Little Tipsy and It’s Getting Chilly” Streak: Mad ups to Dallas for making the Streaking portion of our show. One can credit this promising development to Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld who swapped Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood for Josh Howard in a don’t-give-a-s*** move that makes you wonder if Evan Bayh was involved. While Butler’s figuring out the two guard spot, Haywood’s already comfortable in his new role as Absolute Monster, as evidenced by Monday’s 18 point, 20 board outburst. Dallas is 4-1 since the trade and has pulled to within 1 ½ games of the second seed – this as ex-Mav Howard tore his ACL Monday and, unfortunately for Wiz fans, will now have ample time to smoke tree.

The “Birthday Suit But, Hey, It’s Dark Outside” Streak: Utah steals this spot despite the aforementioned loss to Atlanta primarily because Jerry Sloan’s group came from 25 down to top Portland on the road Sunday. Impressive. The Jazz are 17-3 since Jan. 9, and for what it’s worth, Deron Williams was the best player on the court during All-Star Sunday. Yeah, you’re right. Not worth much. But here’s something: Andrei Kirilenko has to be motivated by all the Ivan Drago talk around here. Now if he can just shake those back spasms…

The “Wild Wimbledon, Only Clothes Are These Painted Flags, ‘Lookout, Queen Mother!’” Streak: Kevin Durant. I’d say Durantula has Air Jordan in his sites, but really he’s looking like a mile ahead of him. Mike’s got the record for consecutive 25-point games – he reached 40 twice – but Durant is at 29 and counting. What excites Thunder fans, though, aside from this cool-as-a-cumber, freakishly gifted 21-year-old, is that OKC is 20-9 during KD’s scoring binge. The entire city of Seattle just collectively stepped up to the ledge, and not because of the depressing music.

As always, it’s been real. Here’s your buzzer beater.

– Robbie

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