Email received by BoardOps June 21, 2004:

I have avoided your board for the past several months, but had the misfortune of looking at it today out of sheer boredom. What's amazing is how bland the site has become after you methodically have removed every poster who disagreed with your politically correct, liberal agenda. It seems like the number of posters has dwindled to a handful of a stay at home housewives and retirees. There is little worthwhile ND football discussion on Rock's House anymore and most of the posters seem to care less about the program's success. There is also a lack of any constructive criticism of the college's administrators or any worthwhile political discussion on the Back Room. Most of what's left there are the media-enamored lemmings wishing to discuss the latest Hollywood gossip or their favorite scene from Caddyshack.

I also noticed that the Michael Moore type Bush-haters with their wacky, defamatory conspiracy theories continue posting without censure or comment.

The guys running this Board can be compared to the sort of smug characters (like the New York Times editorial board but with little or no clout) who believe they are smarter and more sophisticated than the posters on the board and whose wisdom comes from the mainly incompetent left-leaning professors forced upon us in South Bend.

And without further ado...

The Back Room Almanac

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The mention or identification of, or allusion to, directly or indirectly, by name, category, description or otherwise, any babe, chick, supermodel, cheerleader, actress or other female hottie in any post or header shall require the inclusion within the post of appropriate high-resolution photograpy of such person; provided that this rule shall not require or permit the production of any photograph or image of persons with surnames Clinton, Reno, O'Donnell, Barr, or Streisand; and provided further that no poster shall be required to post any photograph or image of the wife, girlfriend, fiance, or significant other of the poster or of any other regular Back Room poster.

The Back Room Thesaurus

Want to look like a NDN veteran? Work some of these words and phrases into your posts.





( o Y o )

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it was the goal line



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The Back Room FAQ

Jvan's Margarita Recipe

It is important to get yourself a decent margarita mix. I buy mine fresh from a local restaurant because the stuff that is carried in most stores is terrible. You can try to create your own mix if you want to experiment, but most people don’t want to risk ruining some fine tequila during the trial and error phase. If you have to buy a mix from a store, stay away from the stuff with high sugar content. It ruins the taste and may lead to a sharp hangover or a sour stomach. A mix that is too acidic or full of preservatives cannot compare to one made with fresh ingredients, but after the third or fourth drink you may not give a shit.

As for tequila, Jose Cuervo Anejo and Herradura are very good, Patron is even better. Cuervo Gold is for amateurs but it works on the in-laws. There are many brands of fine tequila and I can’t mention them all. I’m working really hard at trying to taste them though.

With those precautions, try this recipe:

12 ounces of margarita mix
4 ounces of tequila
1 ½ ounces of Triple Sec
1 ½ ounces of Grand Marnier
splash of orange juice
2 ½ cups of semi-crushed ice (not too fine or slushy)

Take a lime wedge and moisten the rim of the glass. If you want to add salt to the rim, do it now. Then squeeze the juice of the lime into the glass and drop in the rest of the wedge.

If you are going to use a blender, do so on the lowest setting and only for a few seconds (you don’t want to liquefy the ice). Those that like their margaritas on the rocks should just shake the pitcher vigorously to ensure that everything is blended.

Another note of caution: some of you may eschew the Grand Marnier because of the cost. This is a serious mistake because it is essential to creating a smooth tasting drink. Cointreau is a viable substitute but the cost is about the same. I’ve also experimented with a few other exotic combinations but the above recipe is time-honored and reliable.

Happy Drinking


How to Cure a Hangover

I like drinkin'. I almost never feel more than groggy the next day. I am over 30 and no longer immortal. Allow me to share some (perhaps obvious) wisdom.

1. Drink as much as you want/can and whatever you want (save methanol or ethylene glycol).

2. Space at least 30 minutes between your last drink and sleep. An hour is best. Note: This means going to bed later, not drinking less.

3. Fill a 32+ oz. cup to the brim with water and get it down any way you can. Finish it no matter what.

4. With the water, take 2 Aleve (naproxen sodium, 440 mg). 3 tabs (660 mg) is not unreasonable. Aleve has a longer half-life than ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) and therefore will carry you through the morning better. The only reason I can think of to avoid this step is if you have renal disease, in which case the drinking itself is probably doing more harm than any single dose NSAID could.

5. If worse comes to worse, next time you're at the doctor's, ask him to write for Prednisone 60 mg. It works better than the Aleve.

Side notes:

- If you toss your grits a lot when you drink (shut it, Andy), consider taking 75 or 150 of Zantac prior to binging.

- If you ever break out in that alcohol blush-like rash in your face/neck, take a non-sedating antihistamine before drinking. Alavert, Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec all do the trick.

You're welcome.


Interview Tips

I asked for interview tips awhile back.

A bunch of people responded (gmurphy, GU82ND4ever, banshee, tbsone, sprack, chicago, GoDomers, Matty96, 105Marquette, RJD) and gave some awesome advice.

I'm now deciding between two offers and just wanted to thank everyone for helping out.

And if anyone's curious, here's a compilation of the tips:

• Make sure your shoes are shined and your suit pressed.

• Smile, be positive, research the firm, have questions to ask, ask for the job, and send thank you notes asap to those with whom you interview.

• Learn everything you can about the company

• Nothing is more annoying than bringing an interview candidate in and their first question is, "So who are your clients?" or "How long have you been around?".

• Do your research - it shows you're serious about the position.

• Good firm handshake, look them in the eyes

• Also, say "yes" and "no", not yeah or yup, or na. its sounds basic, but many people fail to use yes, and it makes them sounds stupid.

• Do a quick teeth and breath check.

• Remember the name of the interviewer and use it when speaking to them.

• be sure you can state how you will ad value to the company, not necessarily monetarily.

• what are your accomplishments, be able to state them clearly.

• be able to articulate your strengths and your weaknesses. Should they ask you about your weaknesses, limit them to something about being impatient or that you're a big picture guy and that you offset your lack of detail with complementary skills in your staff.

• If these interviewers are worth their salt, they may ask you situational questions. e.g., a member of your staff is smart and hardworking, and produces good results, but steps on the toes of his peers. What do you do?

• Avoid talking money, unless they bring it up. In which case, you may ask, "While I know $$ is important, I would first rather uncover all there is to know about the job first. But since you asked, what salary range is available for this position. Avoid putting a price on your head until you know where the pain begins for them.

• Follow up letter to all interviewers, with a hand written note at the bottome of the letter. Be sure to remember something about each interviewer that you can refer to in your handwritten note.

• Ask for the job, if it one that you like.

• Read up on EQ (emotional intelligence) and ask how it is a component in the way people are hired, evaluated, asked to contribute and valued.

• Be confident, you're good at what you do and exude all of that.

• is to have some specific examples ready to go of some past successes in work etc. If you get into a situational interview if you have 4 or 5 good stories to tell you can almost always work one of your stories around the question being asked. They are not necessarily looking for an achievement, but on how you got there, decisions made, problems solved etc. They want to see your thought process and how you have handled some adversity in the past.

• Also, don't forget to ask for the job.

• Always Be Closing, and just like how a salesman must always ask for the sale, an interview is no different. Always, always, always ask for the job - but at the end of the interview, of course.

• Get each interviewer's business card and follow up that evening with a hand-written thank you note to each one.

o Agree -- don't email them.

o Taking the time to handwrite them will show you made the extra effort.

• Greet 'em with a solid smile but not too big.

• First impressions are very important, so check your zipper if you made a nervous pit stop.

• Make sure that you read you resume and can answer any questions on it because it will be the basis of questions. Many folks forget their resume once it's on paper.

• Have a good answer for where you want to be in 5 years.

• Maintain eye contact. Stare a hole in them if you have to.

• From having gone through this a year ago (for consulting interviews):

• Your first interview will likely be one case interview and one "fit" interview. The fit interview means nothing unless you nail the case.

2nd round of interviews will likely be multiple cases.

• Ask probing questions to gather case information (you will not be told all information upfront). Use a structured framework to evaluate the data you are given and to give the interviewer insight into your thought process.

• If you have a good rapport with your interviewer and get stuck, walk through the data at hand, he or she may give you a hint as to the direction they want you to take.

• Most importantly, practice, practice and more practice. Get a good case guide (Wetfeet publishing makes one) and familiarize yourself with the various types of cases.

• Then find a friend, preferably one who has consulting industry experience, to run through practice cases with you and offer you constructive feedback afterwards. Buy them beer if necessary. I would recommend at least 10 practice runs before your interview. You will feel more confident and be better able to frame the various types of cases after rigorous practice.

• Some consulting firms will have first year associates visit campus to give case run through. Take advantage of this, as they will often give you more targeted feedback than your buddies will.

-- thegonzo

How to Protect Your Home PC

There are 4 main privacy issues to look out for on your PC that range from dangerous to merely annoying. Luckily, there are plenty of programs dedicated to handling these problems. Here are the 4 major categories of programs to have and use to keep your computer safe and clean.

Anti-Virus Software Viruses are the things that get into your computer through email attachments or the work of a hacker. The best and only way to make sure your computer is virus-free (or fix your computer should a virus infect it) is to use Anti-Virus Software. There are some free versions, but this is something where paying for a quality product is probably a good idea. The two main anti-virus software packages are from Norton and McAfee. They are both easy to use and are very powerful tools to keep your computer healthy. Read the websites and find the product that fits your level of home PC use. If you work for a large company, check with IT first. Sometimes they have copies they will let employees put on their home computers, especially if you do work from home. If you don't mind spending some extra money, some of the deluxe anti-virus software packages, like Norton's Internet Security Professional, combine an anti-virus package with the next topic, a firewall.

Firewalls Firewalls are what keep your home computer shielded from hacker attempts to infect your computer or take it over completely. Basically, a firewall only lets in and out of a computer what you let it. Along with anti-virus software, a firewall is becoming a must have for the home PC...especially one with broadband internet access. The two major firewall developers are Zone Alarm and Black Ice. Some users though have reported issues with installing Black Ice. Zone Alarm is a nice option since it has a free basic version that is entirely suitable for home needs. If you want the extra whistles and bells, their professional versions are annual award winners. Another option is to buy a router that plugs in between your computer and your internet connection. Think of it as a hardware firewall, as opposed to a software one. You can buy a hardware firewall/router for ~$50, or ~$100 for one that will also give you a wireless network. Routers will then protect all the computers on the local network from common internet attacks. Linksys, US Robotics and D-Link are the best known brands. If you have Windows XP, a firewall is included and while not as robust as the versions by Zone Alarm, Black Ice, and Norton, it is better than nothing. If you're not sure if your firewall is working, run the Shields Up! test at Gibson Research to see what exactly your computer is showing to the world. This test involves probing your computer but the site is trusted and nothing malicious is being installed on your computer.

Spyware Eliminators Spyware are the programs loaded into your computer without your knowledge...much like viruses. However, unlike viruses, they are rarely destructive. Rather, they are normally used for shady marketing purposes. If you all of a sudden notice the same pop-up coming up over and over, or if your home page has changed to something you've never seen before, you probably have spyware on your computer. Spyware can also track your online surfing habits and report back to whatever company/person wrote the software. A common source of spyware are file-sharing programs like Kazaa. To get rid of these nasty programs, download a tool like Ad-Aware, which is a widely used, free, and very effective spyware eliminator. Like Zone Alarm, they offer professional versions with more features. Some people like to use multiple programs to find tricky spyware a single program might miss. If you'd like, you can run Spybot Search and Destroy as well. Unfortunately, certain spyware programs are able to reinstall themselves and take a bit more work to eliminate. One handy program is Hijack This! which reports back everything program that is tied in to your browser. Unless you know what you are looking for, it's best to save the generated log file and send it to a trusted computer expert friend or try to find the answer at a message board like One last program that is extremely useful is called the CWShredder, which is dedicated solely to eliminating one particularly nasty and persistent piece of spyware called the CoolWebSearch. The CWShredder is a great program to run when nothing else seem to be working. If you want to do further research into the various programs that can infect your machine, the pestpatrol website (another spyware program site) has a great definitions section with tips on how to remove all manners of spyware.

Pop-Up Stoppers Pop-ups are the annoying windows that "pop up" while web-surfing from site to site. Usually they are harmless and are basically ads for things like Orbitz or a certain cell phone company. Pop-Up Stoppers vary widely in effectiveness so feel free to try out a few different ones. One quality pop-up stopper is built into the Google Toolbar. A nice benefit is that along with the pop-up stopper, you get a google search toolbar and Auto-Fill capabilities for online forms. Yet, there is another form of pop-up that nearly all Pop-Up Stoppers fail to catch. These annoying windows take advantage of a built-in Windows service called Windows Messenger Service. Luckily, you can turn off this mostly useless feature. Read how to do so here. A final option to stop pop-ups is to stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Netscape altogether and start using Firefox. This might be for someone who's a bit more comfortable around computers though.

Ireland Information

County Clare
The West
Sunny South East

Ireland is small and you can drive coast to coast in most directions in under 5 hours (three if you go east to west). It is still largely rural but there has, inevitably, been a flight towards the cities. Dublin has 1 million people and the rest of the country (excluding Northern Ireland) has about 3 million. Renting a car would be a good idea if you want freedom and the chance to explore different parts - about $50 per day. There is a decent bus service and a pretty poor rail service throughout the country depending on where you want to go. Getting between big towns is no problem.

A very leisurely holiday could be had on a bicycle (though you could get a bad spell of weather) but you will be confined to one area - I would pick west cork and/or Kerry for this. Roads are not great (by US or say French standards) except between major towns, but could be worse. If cycling is not your thing then renting a car for one week is recommended - use public transport for the rest or spend some time in the cities. In rural areas hitch hiking is the most usual form of public transport used by everyone from old women to young men on their way to mass/the shops/the pub etc. Of course you should be cautious either hitching or picking up people, especially traveling on your own, as they have their share of weirdos here too. Irish drivers (they drive on the left by the way) are also not the best – in fact, they can be quite dangerous, so watch out. Personally I think you should spend a few days in Dublin and/or Galway and then spend time in somewhere like Cork/Kerry, Clare or the West (Galway/Mayo/Donegal). The North of Ireland, esp. around Coleraine, Portstewart, and Portrush is beautiful as well.

I mention drink and pubs quite a lot below but if you are a non drinker don't let this put you off. In rural Ireland pubs are pretty much the center of social life and everything of interest happens there. Pubs are for talking (drink simply aids in this) and it is perfectly possible to enjoy an evening in a pub while drinking mineral water. However, I have to say, having a drink of the black stuff will help ease conversation with locals - ask locally where the best pint is to be had - everyone has an opinion on this. Pub food is quite good down the country and occasionally in Dublin.

I live in Dublin but my family is from the midlands (flat with lots of pretty lakes and good rich farmland - food-wise a bit unpredictable). I holiday in West Cork (rugged, stunning scenery and THE food capital of Ireland) and County Clare (the Irish music capital and contender for the friendliest place in Ireland). The Southeast (Waterford) and this is also an area I can highly recommend as it is lush and beautiful in a way totally different to the rugged west coast. I suspect ruggedness is what you are after and for the most rugged go to Connemara (west of Galway) and to Mayo and Donegal (top left hand corner). The scenery in Donegal is unrivaled and its remoteness means it receives less visitors than elsewhere, but this remoteness also means the food is less good. (quick example: just try buying decent fish in Killybegs - the largest fishing port on the island!! - "sorry we don't serve fish - this is a fishermen’s restaurant" (this may be an apocryphal quote but you get the picture).

Towns to visit:

Gleann Cholm Cille — a reasonably old town: farming people first settled here between five or six thousand years ago. The most significant reminders of this community are the nearby court tombs of Mainnéar Mortlaidh and An Clachán Mór.

The influence of Colmcille (Columba), who was born just up the road in Gartan, is everywhere. You can still see the ruins of the church this latecomer founded here a matter of some 1,500 years ago.

What not to miss:

The Slieve League Cliffs — just outside the town of Carrick in south west Donegal, overlooking Donegal Bay. Claim to be the highest cliffs in Europe with a sheer drop of 1,972 ft into the Atlantic. Croaghaun on Achill also claims to have the highest cliffs, but hey, what’s a couple of hundred feet between friends — especially when a 50mph wind threatens to dislodge you from your vantage point.

No matter whether it’s the record holder or not, Slieve League is one of the most magnificent sights in Europe, if not the entire world. The richness in colour of the massive rock face provides visual pleasures non-stop. If you need to get your awe inspired, this is as good a place to start as any. And it’s not just the height. Different hues in the rock formation — orange, red and grey, mingled with stains of various metallic ores, accumulate with washed down clays and soils to provide an impossibly colourful background to the restless Atlantic below.

It’s an amazingly historic and romantic place. Along these paths armies have trudged, Spanish sailors from the Armada have taken refuge, smugglers have plied their trade, sheep have munched their way ever onwards. In the last century asses and ponies carried ladies to the very top of the cliffs. There are still forts and lookout towers from the Napoleonic wars clinging to the edge — and everywhere the crashing sound of the Ocean and the lonely call of seabirds.

Best curiosity value:

Near the top of Slieve League clearly marked out in the blankets of heather is a sign, visible for many miles, saying simply “Tír Éire”. Apparently this was to warn aircraft in the forties that here was a neutral country.

The old Spanish church just outside Kilcar is also worth a visit. Built by survivors of a Spanish galleon this slice of Andalusia sits incongruously in the wilds of the Donegal countryside. Nearby is a sundial, which, when the sun shines, the shadow of the dial’s arm tells you the time. Whatever will they think of next?

What not to do:

Climb Slieve League mountain from the cliff top, then venture along One Man’s Pass. As the AA Illustrated Road Map of Ireland says, “The cliff scenery is notable for its majestic grandeur and exquisite scenery . . . however it is a difficult place to negotiate, and should only be attempted by the experienced.” Say no more, squire. With a sheer drop on one side of 1800 ft, and a plunging 1000 ft run-off on the other, even the promise of rare flowering plants wouldn’t entice me up “Slieve League’s awesome precipices.”

You might also consider giving Glengesh Hill a miss. Linking Ardara with Gleann Cholm Cille, its hairpin bends and steep gradients are decidedly not for the faint-hearted.

What to take:

Sensible footwear — like flippers. OK, I jest. But it does rain quite a lot round these parts. It isn’t coincidence that the countryside is so green, you know. So take plenty heavy weather gear, and be prepared to use it. After all there’s nothing between you and the gales of the North Atlantic except for one small tree on the island of Rathlin O’Birne.

Also take a book of Donegal poet William Allingham, he of the phobia about Little Men. He described his home of Ballyshannon thus: “An odd, out of the way little town ours, on the extreme western verge of Europe. Our next neighbours, sunset way, being citizens of the great new republic, which indeed to our imagination seemed little, if at all, further off than England in the opposite direction.” Excellent stuff as you roam round the airy mountains and rushy glens.

Pay a visit to:

Little Acorn Farm, if you have an interest in horses above and beyond whether Istrabaq has won the 3.30.

Hacking, trekking, trail riding, pet farm. Caters for all standards of horse riding and all ages. Tel. 00 353 73 39386

Religious experiences:

Should you require to do penitence there is a holy well above Loch Each at the ruins of Diseart Aoidh Mhic Bhricne — for maximum benefit visit the place on Aoidh’s feast day, November 10. The shrine is situated near the top of Slieve League, so heavy penitential duty is the order of the day. Better, perhaps, to pay a visit to Gleann Cholm Cille and the oratory of St. Columba which is said to have been used to cure diseases of the eye. Truly a site for sore eyes.

Where to stay:

Although there are many hotels and self-catering holidays available throughout the area, one I can highly recommend is Rockville B&B set in the mountains just above Kilcar.

In my time, I’ve stayed in ski-lodges in the Alps and cabins in the Rocky Mountains, but never have I had breakfast in a more spectacular setting than Rockville, high above the waters of Teelin. Maureen Hughes is the friendly proprietor. She also has 4 star self-catering accommodation available. Telephone 00 353 73 39107, or e-mail

Be not afraid of traveling on your own and I would strongly advise against a tour style holiday as you will end up mostly in the company of retired couples and you will be forced to eat in the hotels you stay in (generally the places with the worst food - though things have improved substantially in recent years.) and take the touristy tours with them. I know of a chinese american with no connection whatsoever to Ireland that spent a month traveling the west coast of Ireland on a bicycle and he had a whale of a time. Practice talking about the weather to initiate conversations and that is usually all you will have to do. There are of course unpleasant people in Ireland but if you are lucky you wont meet any of them!! Traveling around Ireland on your own might not be as good as traveling as a pair but as long as you are open to conversation and can drink a pint or two (or tolerate others that do) then you should do fine.

Do try to develop a taste for Guinness when (or before) you come as at its best it is a truly sublime drink and goes wonderfully with Oysters (and seafood generally) but also with beef/lamb dishes such as stew and even with chocolate. It is an acquired taste, but so is coffee, and remember it needs to be drunk out of a pint glass as it just doesn't taste as good out of a smaller glass (by the way a "glass" of Guinness means a half pint but a "glass" of whiskey means a double - no, I don't know why either.) Of course just drink half pints if you don't feel up to a pint. If you are in Cork (but only in County Cork) you should also try locally brewed Murphys and Beamish which are the stouts like Guinness but sweeter - the Murphys in particular is an excellent starter for the novice stout drinker. I would always order Beamish or Murphys in Cork because freshness is everything to a good pint. Beware of Extra Cold Guinness by the way as it is an abomination dreamed up by marketing men to try to lure young drinkers away from Budweiser and the like. Modern trendy pubs serve it but if you stick to the traditional pubs you should be fine. By the way no lite beer is available here and you will be laughed at if you ask for this. If you insist on a lighter, diet style beer ask for Satzenbrau (diabetics drink it for example). Most profits in the pub trade in Ireland come from the sale of soft drinks (orange, coke and mixers etc.) and bottled beers so I would develop a taste for draught beer if you can. If you really can't drink alcohol try Cidona (sparkling non-alcoholic cider) which looks like beer and will stop well meaning locals trying to buy you a "real" drink. Cider by the way contains alcohol here (about 6 per cent) so if you want cider US style ask for apple juice.

Best general advice for anyone visiting Ireland is to purchase any or all of the Bridgestone Guides published by John and Sally McKenna. There isn't a restaurant, guest house or hotel this couple don't know about and if a restaurant, guest house, hotel or food shop makes it into their books you are almost guaranteed to find it above average if not outstanding. Their writing style is somewhat idiosyncratic but I have almost never been let down by their recommendations.

Next some general advice - B&B's are indeed often the best places to stay but some are better than others (Bridgestone 100 best places to stay has good recommendations at all price levels). One word of warning is that almost everywhere in Ireland charges rooms and hotels as Per Person Sharing with a supplement often being charged for single people. You get a huge cooked breakfast thrown in that will keep you going til lunch and beyond. We are not a cheap country to visit but there are ways of making your Euro go that bit further. For example try some fish and chips from the local chipper - the cheapest and best fast food in Ireland. Never go into one with an Irish name over the door, always look for an Italian name as these are without exception the best (ok one exception is Burdocks in Werbergh Street in Dublin - probably best in Ireland - but this is the only exception I know of). Best way to judge a chipper is to peek at the battered fish already prepared and judge the quality of the batter - should be light and crispy looking. Always ask for fresh cod as the other fish is less predictable (all fish in Burdocks is good however). Whole generations of Italians from villages to the north of naples and south of rome have been serving fish and chips (and now burgers etc.) to Irish people since the early 20th century. Strangely they never came and made us Ice Cream (except in Northern Ireland). Another good idea is to have a picnic as in places like West Cork and Clare you will often find good locally made cheese and brown bread and cooked meats in the local Super Valu (almost always the best place to shop in a small town in Ireland). Irish butter is excellent as is the brown bread (watch for McCambridges bread) but we have our share of white sliced rubber also.

I notice a lot of recommendations for Kilarney in county Kerry below and it is universally loved by most people. Irish people tend to stay away as it is viewed (often unfairly) as being aimed at foreign tourists rather than the local population. This is not in any way to decry the quality of the welcome you will receive there as tourism has been the business of this part of Ireland since the 1800's - even Queen Victoria holidayed there. Kerry is a beautiful part of the country but has less interest to us foodies (Kenmare being the exception - but then Kenmare is almost in West Cork and West Cork is where all the foodies go). There is great golf in Kerry and Ballybunion course in Kerry is great . Good writers festival in Listowel in late May early June. Dingle is a very happening place made famous by the David Lean Film Ryan's Daughter (Robert Mitchim, Sarah Miles - romantic and a bit twee to modern eyes - but great for a rainy afternoon). Dingle is tourist heaven and you will have to look hard to find Irish people - having said that it is great fun. Visit Fungi the Dingle Dolphin - all trips to see him are fully refundable if you don't see him and practically get to pet him. He is a national hero at this stage, at local level he has been elevated to sainthood. I don't know anyone in Kerry so I don't go there that often. The Ring of Kerry is a must to experience as well. If you go to Kenmare look for Packie's restaurant and the exemplary Sheen Falls Lodge and Park Hotel Kenmare - friendliest fancy hotels in Ireland). All the descriptions of Kerry by the other contributors are accurate.

Park Hotel Kenmare for a Whiskey, tea and sandwiches (if you can't afford dinner)
Dingle to visit the pubs and meet Funghi the dolphin
Connor Pass, Ring of Kerry etc. for the scenery

West Cork , has some of the prettiest villages in Ireland with the finest cheese makers, salmon smokers, organic vegetable growers etc. all there (Bantry, Baltimore, Kinsale, Skibbereen, Ballydihob, Castletownsend, Clonakilty, Schull, Durrus, Glandore, Crookhaven etc. etc.). You could happily travel around here for months on end exploring the villages - all of which have some claim to foodie fame from Black Pudding (Clonakilty) to Smoked Salmon, Tuna and Eel (Castletownshend and Union Hall) to Farmhouse Cheese (just about all of them). North Cork also has some wonderful cheeses and places to stay and East Cork isn't bad either with Ballymaloe (Myrtle and Darina Allen) Restaurant, hotel, cooking school and food industry unto themselves and Cobh - one of the prettier towns in Ireland and renowned for Frank Hedermans smoked mussels, eel and salmon (available at the Temple Bar food market in Dublin). Wonderful restaurants abound in these villages such as Blairs Cove in Durrus (finest buffet in Ireland for a first course and maybe local fish or home prepared duck confit for main) or perhaps the renowned Annies in Ballydehob Must Visits: Almost every town mentioned above but if you have to pick go to Skibbereen (for the west cork hotel, Fields Super Valu and Bunalun Organic shop), Castletownshend (a one street town on a scary steep hill with a castle, old church, and excellent pub/restaurant - Mary Annes), Kinsale (v. pretty town but be careful where you eat - the Blue Haven is reliable) and visit the Wine museum to learn about the Irish wine heritage worldwide - from Chateau Lynch Bages to Concannon in California, Glandore (visit Hayes Bar if you are there at the weekend), Bantry for mussels and finally Ballymaloe House in East Cork for the excellent kitchen shop if not for the excellent restaurant and coffee shop (they sell Hedermans smoded fish here also).

Cork city is a bit industrial as mentioned elsewhere but nice and hilly and good fun all the same with good restaurants and friendly people with an accent you will fall in love with (provided you can understand them).
Must visits:
The English Market - a must for foodies: fish, bread, cafes - all good things to eat (though watch out for the drisheen and tripe - a local speciality (blood pudding and cow stomach lining - an acquired taste).
Mermaid Cafe (some of the finest food in the country - vegetarian so inexpensive)

County Clare is also a good place for food but is more a spot for music and sessions (musical gatherings - usually in a pub that go on for hours - with members of the audience regularly asked to join in so have a party piece prepared if you can). Ennis is the capital town and a fantastic place to visit for everything except the food. It is a pub town with some of the best pubs in the country and excellent pints of guinness costing up to 20% less than dublin. For good food head to places like Lahinch (10 miles down the road) and visit the best seafood restaurant in Ireland on the edge of a cliff (ok, headland) called Lahinch is one of the surfing capitals in Ireland (also, a great golf course) and Clare also has the Cliffs of Moher (big high cliffs - worth seeing) and the Burren - strange limestone plateau, kind of like a dessert made of stone. Rare alpine plants grow in the cracks in the limestone and there are Dolmens (ancient burial grounds) and other interesting sites. A quote from an disgruntled soldier of Cromwell (most hated man in Irish history) goes something like this "no trees to hang a man, no water to drown a man and no earth to bury him in". A great reason to visit the Burren is the town of Ballyvaughan at the far edge of the plateau on the sea. Great pub food in Monks pub (try the mussels) and a good restaurant called the Whitethorne - owner represents Australian Wine in Ireland so a good wine list and quality local food (esp. seafood and burren lamb - some of the best in Ireland). Clare has everything scenery wise and is a great place to visit for all kinds of reasons but music and scenery and good food are the main ones. Also travel to the Aran Islands is easiest (and quickest) from Doolin in west Clare. These islands are well worth visiting and are outcrops of the burren so very desolate and beautiful. They are Irish speaking and could well be the highlight of your trip. The big one Inis Maan (inis is irish for island) is nearest Galway and interesting but feels a lot like the mainland. The smaller two Inis Oirr and Inis Maan (where JM Synge wrote some plays) are a better bet. Inis Maan is truly beautiful and very old fashioned and you have to stay over night (tidal reasons) with an amazing designer knitwear factory in situ. Inis Oirr is more fun and is smaller with one of the best and cheapest B and B's in the country (Brid Poil) and she sometimes has supplies of locally knit Aran jumpers (pullover) or funky hand knit scarves, hats and socks for next to nothing.
Must See:
Lisdoonvarna -- stay at the Carrigan hotel to get away from the B&Bs for a night. Go to the Roadside Tavern for some Guiness, Paddy's, and music.
Ennis for the music, try Ciarans Bar, the Old Ground Hotel, or just about any other bar in the town - get picnic food in Abbey Meats near the football pitch.
Inagh (midway between Ennis and Lahinch) for a pint of Biddy Early's stout (micro brewery).
Ennistymon - another contender for prettiest town in Ireland where every house is a different colour (just try and count the pubs) - have tea and cake in Ungelerts bakery/tea shop and a loaf of bread to take away for a picnic and head on a mile down the road to...
Lahinch - surfer and golf town (fine links course) seek out Kilshanny cheese (kind of a gouda, only available locally) and definitely visit Barrtra (bar traw) restaurant, check out the surfer gals and guys in O'Loonys and have a go on the bumper cars in the amusements on the seafront.
Burren (limestone plateau has to be seen to be understood - fascinating) then on to Ballyvaughan and Monks Pub
Corofin - north of Ennis (to pay homage to Sharon Shannon - check her out on CDNow) and hear great music in the pubs, stay in Clifden House - built in 1750)
Aran Islands if at all possible - Inis Meann and Inis Oirr in particular - less visited and hence less commercial.

Galway is a wonderful city, described by a friend as the Pleasure Gulag (so good you simply can't leave – so much fun it almost becomes tiresome but you still can't leave). Walk down shop street and drop into the Quays or Naughtons pubs. Visit the food market on Saturday mornings, visit Sheridans Cheesemongers - see note on Dublin below. Less sure about restaurants here but ask in Sheridans for advice. Great theatre here also. On then to Clifden - The Sky Road outside Clifden is utterly amazing no matter what the weather - aptly named. Connemara is fun and still Irish(gaelic) speaking. Visit the lovely towns of Cornamona, Leenane (The Field was filmed here), Spiddal, Kylemore Abbey (girls convent boarding school - a fairytale castle by the lake to be seen to be believed - excellent coffee shop, working farm etc. all run by the nuns), and finally Maam Cross where The Quiet Man was filmed (john ford film starring john wayne, Maureen O'Hara ) and home of Ashford Castle where Ronald Reagan stayed on his visit here in the 80's - lovely if very pricy (I prefer its sister hotel Dromoland in County Clare).
Mayo is equally wonderful and Westport is well worth a visit. Sligo is nice too - visit WB Yeats country etc.
Must See: Galway City, Clifden and Spiddal, Drive from the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare up to Westport along the coast - recently declared one of the ten best drives in the world.
If Catholic, also, check out Knock -- Our Lady of Knock is there -- in 1879, Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John appeared here.

Travel over the beautiful Knockmealdown mountains (see Colonel Grubb's grave - a beehive mound - buried standing up with his gun and dog on his favourite shooting ground - his descendents make the excellent Cashel Blue cheese). Have a pint in the Toby Jug in Cappoquin and visit Dromana Estate (beautiful hindu-gothic gate lodge)and on then on to Lismore where Sir Walter Raleigh lived - fairy tale castle, 11th century cathedral etc. on then to Youghal in North Cork or Dungarvan or Dunmore east - all lovely places. Very lush countryside around here and beautiful for walks etc. - but if it is rugged you want go west!

Dublin is a great capital city and I couldn't and wouldn't really live anywhere else. We have a couple of 2 Michelin Starred restaurants, Guilbauds (pretentious and a bit over bearing though the food is excellent) and Thorntons (where the food is simply amazing and where I feel more comfortable) but also l'Ecrivain (cruelly overlooked by Michelin in my opinion) also lots of good mid-range restaurants and the best ethnic restaurants in the country - best Indian you will ever taste outside London and Bradford is Poppadoms in Rathgar (500 yards from my house so I am somewhat biased). Dublin is about the size of Boston and is as easy to get around with most places of interest within walking distance of the city center (bad traffic problems so just as well). Visit Sheridans (great cheese shop) on South Anne Street and buy Milleens, Durrus, Gubbeen, Ardrahan, Lavistown, Crotin, Knockalara, Desmond, Gabriel and a bit of french Epoisses (finest you will ever taste, I guarantee). Visit the gourmet food market on Saturday mornings in Temple Bar and walk around Joycean Dublin (Bloomsday is the 16th of June by the way so loads happening in Dublin then but if you miss it you can still follow Leopold Bloom's journey through the city from Ulysses). Take a ride on the DART railway along the coast from Bray to Howth (seaside town to fishing village). All galleries and museums in Dubin are free so visit the National Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art or any number of excellent modern galleries. Visit Temple Bar for more galleries and lots of restaurants and pubs plus funky shops - from heart shaped hot water bottles to designer t-shirts. Go to the Abbey or Gate theatre (depending on what is on). Visit Trinity College in the center of town, book of kells (beautiful coloured medieval manuscript) great 18th century buildings - see if you can find the "no pope here" graffiti in the chapel. Have a coffee in the Winding Stair bookshop and Cafe and watch the river Liffy float by and the young people crossing the ha'penny bridge. Visit St. Michans church crypt and see the preserved dead bodies - scary, visit Christ Church and St. Patricks Cathedral and Dublin Castle (more an 18th century palace) and stop into Burdocks for the best fish and chips in the country - make sure to ask for batter bits which come free. Visit the veg. market on Moore Street and meet real life molly malones (fish sellers) and look in the butcher windows on the street to see pigs ears, tails and feet for sale (i am not joking) and look in on the Nigerian shops (thriving nigerian community on this street and the one perpendicular to it - get some cassava root, frozen fish, fela kuti tapes), walk up to Camden street to visit the old jewish area (only the excellent Bretzel bakery remains) and visit the Irish Jewish Museum then for cultural diversity purposes visit the mosque and all the north african and halal shops in the area for egyptian, algerian and iranian food. Visit the Stags Head or Mulligans or O'Donohues or Doheny and Nesbitts pubs or Smithfield with the flaming torches for lights at night..... better stop. Must See: Food market in Temple Bar on Saturdays Temple Bar Area for shops, restaurants and museums, galleries and arts centres Moore Stree veg. market, nigerian sector and butcher shops. National Gallery, Merrion Square or perhaps the Hugh Lane Gallery where the Francis Bacon studio is (free on Tuesday mornings) or maybe the modern art museum in Kilmainham. (collections are small but free access and the odd masterpiece to see) Sheridans cheesemongers on Sth Anne Street off Grafton Street - ask what is good today. Burdocks fish and chips shop on Werburgh street near the Cathedrals

Beware of Irish people that say visit as they sometimes don't mean it (they will have had a few drinks and wont remember you when you turn up on their doorstep with your rucksack and copy of the Rough Guide!). If someone offers you their number then do call them up but don't necessarily expect to stay in their house for two weeks!!. Also a strange thing about Americans coming here to stay with friends or relations is that they sometimes forget to bring a present. ALWAYS bring a present (a bottle of wine or whiskey or a loaf of brown bread or a box of chocolates or a pot of jam (you get the idea) if invited into an irish person's home.

The Irish are very open and welcoming generally but I would have to say they are probably not as welcoming or open as many Americans - at least this is my impression. Also a word of warning if you offer someone a drink and they say "ah, no-thanks, i'm fine" - ALWAYS, BUT ALWAYS ask a second or third time as it is considered terribly impolite here to say yes the first time you are offered anything. Drink is a crucial element of the culture.

It is perfectly acceptable by the way for a single woman to walk into a bar (even a hotel bar) and order a pint of Guinness or a gin and tonic for herself. She should not expect to be hit upon for example but bring a book if you don't want conversation. I say this to encourage you to drop in to local bars - ask in the guest house where they would recommend - and strike up conversations. Often the oldest and most dishevelled old man in the bar will be the most amazing box player (a box is a small accordian - or will tell you all kinds of stories. There are always more young men around in rural Ireland for some reason always looking for a chat - the girls go to Dublin to work in offices I think.

Ireland has moved from being one of the poorest countries in Europe (on a par with Eastern Europe I would almost say) to being the 8th richest country in the world in the space of about 20 years. The downturn has affected us here but you wouldn't think it for the price of houses - think New York There are numerous reports of our new found wealth (some would say greed) having changed the country and it is very difficult for me to judge. A recent Bord Failte report (irish tourist board ) showed that tourists are up to 96 per cent satisfied with their holidays here and of the 4 per cent that were not happy.

The weather. The universal topic of conversation is even more so in Ireland. "Soft day, thank God" might sound great but it actually means "won't the rain be great for the crops at least!!" It does rain a lot here (hence the green) but recent summers have been good (not counting 2002). We always seem to get better weather here in May/June than in July/August though the temperature is not as high.

One thing I would suggest, since you only have a week, is to concentrate on one area of Ireland. I'm not sure how set your plans are, but despite the relatively small size of the island, it is pretty tough getting around. 30 miles can take 2 hours in some areas -- esp. those areas w/o good roads.

I love the west -- Galway, Clare, and Kerry especially.

The best route to get to Galway from Shannon is to go through Co. Clare -- Clare is one of my favorite counties. (BTW, buy a map -- the Irish are renowned for poor markings of roads and confusing directions). You have to see the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Lahinch and Lisdoonvarna are neat little towns.

Galway is a really neat city. There are a number of things to do in Galway, but I would suggest wondering to nearby places -- Spiddal is about 20 miles west and is where the main Gaelic language school is located. The Kylemore Abbey is one of the most beautiful settings anywhere -- an castle on a clear lake surrounded by mountains. Clifden is a fun town -- one of the few places in the west that Cromwell thought worthy of colonizing. The Aran Islands are great -- but it is most likely going to take up a full day -- it is like going back in time. Buy an Aran sweater (you can get a nice one for around $40 -- a really nice one for over $200). Head to the American Bar on Inis Moor if you go -- you'll run into people of about 10-15 different nationalities. Padraic Pearse's (leader of the Easter Rising) cottage is near Galway. One thing about the area of Connemara (western Galway and Mayo) is that you are in the Gaeltacht -- Gaelic is the first language of most people in this region. They speak English, but converse with their friends and family in Gaelic.

When you head to Kilarney, make sure you do the Ring of Kerry around the Iveragh Peninsula if you have the time -- it will take a couple days at least, but it is incredible. Cahirciveen is a decent little town -- one of the best restaurants in that area is the Point -- incredible view of Dingle. Daniel O'Connell (father of Catholic Emancipation) is from nearby -- the Catholic church is named after him in fact. The Dingle peninsula is also beautiful.

While in Dublin, visit the Guinness Brewery and the Gravity Bar for the best pint you will ever have. Or check out Jameson's distillery. If you are into history, check out the General Post Office -- site of the Easter Rebellion; Kilmainham Gaol -- where numerous nationalists have been imprisoned; Clondalkin Round Tower; numerous castles -- Howth, Malahide, Drimnagh; Trinity College -- the Book of Kells is incredible, but the line might be a tad long. There are a number of walking tours that aren't too bad, but I prefer to see things on my own. Some fun bars include Chancery Inn (traditional music on weekends), the Auld Dubliner, Foley's, Stag's Head, Mulligan's, or O'Donaghue's. A great deal will depend on what part of the city you are staying. If you are into literature, there are a number of pub/literary tours that can be fun -- the Joyce one is particularly good.
Dublin can be pretty expensive, esp. lodging. You might want to get rid of the rental car when you get to Dublin -- parking is tough.


Atkins Diet

There is a ton of information on the web about the official Atkins Diet.

Here's a good site for counting carbs.

A popular alternative to the strict Atkins Diet is a hybrid low-carb, high-protein diet. Here's the plan as described by gmurphy:

(1) Cut out alcohol for a month. A month is a good period of time for which to do so, as it is finite and one can count down the last days.

(2) Cut out starches for a month. Corn, rice, potatoes, beans, breads of all kinds.

(3) Add 100 ounces of water to your daily intake of fluids. This means figure out how much you drink in a given day, and add 100 ounces to that.

(4) Cut out sweets for a month. No candy, cookies, ice cream, soda/cola/pop etc.

(5) Cut from 3 meals per day to 2. I was close to this anyway, but I essentially cut a muffin out of my mornings. On the weekends, I had late breakfasts of meat, eggs and fruit.

(6) No coffee for a month.

(7) No snacking between meals. If you must snack, peanuts and cashews and raisins.

(8) Do not count carbs, calories, or anything else. Cutting your intake down to 2 meals a day - with no excess calories from sweets, no excess starches other than those in fruits/veggies, and the water "flushing" through your body, you'll lose weight.

After a month, see how much weight you've lost and figure out how serious you want to be from that point forward. I was rather happy. I also found that I preferred the way I feel when I'm on the diet. However, I did want to reintroduce some carbs. So now I drink beers on the weekends, eat pasta once a week, and have sweets now and then. I have salads or roasted chicken for lunch (or sometimes just fruit and peanuts). But I have a "normal" dinner, albeit without a starch. If I'm going to have something "bad," I make the most of it: Krispy Kreme donut instead of Starbuck's bagel.

The most important thing is training your mind and body to not desire the starchy and sweet foods. It takes a month to do that. Once you've done it, though, you can go back whenever you want (that is, when your weight is creeping up on you) without feeling like you've blown your diet. Chances are, you'll be like me and it will be more of a new nutritional plan than a one-time diet...


When it comes to questions about HDTV or home theater equipment in general, the AVS forum is the best place to find an answer.

As for Tivo, any question you can think of has probably already been asked and answered at

iTunes-- the free software-- can rip CDs to any of a number of formats, including MP3. Its default setting is to rip to a format called AAC-- essentially a newer MP4 format.

iPods, which sync most easily with the iTunes software, can play music stored in any format, including AAC and MP3. Most other portable music players do not play AAC files, but only play MP3.

The iTunes Music Store-- accessible through the iTunes software-- sells songs that download in a Protected AAC format. The raw purchased file will play on any computer, and can be burned to a CD to play in any stereo, but the only portable player the raw file will play on is the iPod.

Songs purchased from the iTMS-- the protected AAC files-- can be burned to an audio CD. That CD can then be re-ripped to a computer in any format you desire-- including unprotected AAC, and MP3. The new file has no protection or restrictions at all. This is all perfectly legal as well.

Some people think that taking an AAC file, burning to CD (which does not degrade the quality) then re-ripping to MP3 format (which uses a different kind of compression) degrades the quality of the sound. They're probably right. That is the trade-off to get the format you want.

Digital Cameras

Before purchasing a digital camera, it is very important for you to consider how it is that you're going to be using it. Do you want something small and stylish, always available in the briefcase or purse? Do you want something with a longer zoom, and more manual controls? Do you want to take pictures of kids and puppies scampering about the house, and need fast response? Or do you mostly take landscapes and not really care because the mountain isn't going anywhere? Are you really only ever going to make 4x6 inch prints, or are you going to want to make a 11x14 or 13x19 to show off your artistic side? The answers to these questions should help guide you in what direction you should go.

Digital cameras basically come in 3 different types: the compact or ultra compact, the more "prosumer" type, and a digital SLR (single-lens reflex). In general, the cameras in all types are shipping in the 3MP(megapixel) range all the way up to the 7 to 8MP range. Do NOT get yourself caught up in the megapixels hype! Sure, a 7 MP camera will have more absolute resolution than a 3 MP camera, but if you're only going to make 4x6 pictures, you'll NEVER notice the difference! I'm going to go on record here as saying the way you process your images in the editing software of your choice has a LOT to do with the way you're prints are going to look. (Hint: Unsharp Mask is your best friend and a filter found in any of the Photoshop full versions or Photoshop Elements, 2.0-3.0 which ships free sometimes, or similar Paint Shop, etc.. ) I've made professional quality 11x14 inch prints from a 4 MP camera that are capable of being sold as artwork; looking like they came from a high resolution film camera. I've also gone as high as 13 x19 inches from the same 4MP camera with results 99% of you would be delighted with, and I find completely acceptable. So, to simplify: 3 MP = fantastic 8x10, 4MP = fantastic 11x14. Anything more is just gravy for most people, but those extra megapixels give you the option to crop your photos heavily (zoom in) and still maintain that superior quality. And I'll go on record here as saying that a 8x10 size photograph is absolutely HUGE for most people. For example, my Mom puts 4x6's(maybe a rare 5x7) in frames around the house, never larger.

The compact/ subcompact segment consists of small to unbelievably small "point and shoot" type cameras. Most people get something like this and simply turn it on and off, shooting primarily in Auto mode, and get great snapshots. These cameras have been designed to be foolproof to use and to download onto your computer. You can buy models which are utilitarian and plastic; there's also stylish stainless steel models for the "gadget lover" in you, the person with the latest tiniest cell phone in the office, etc. Pros: size, portability, ease of use. Cons: limited features, VERY limited flash, short zooms or no zooms.

The "prosumer" segment of cameras consists of larger , more fully featured cameras. They usually have long to VERY long zooms, quick start-up times and very short shutter lag, and higher resolution/megapixels. Some of these cameras have the equivalent of a 28mm-300mm "35mm film camera" lens built right in. What a convenience! You'll be able to reach out and grab shots of Junior playing shortstop from your seat in the bleachers with no problem at all! Also, more importantly, the shutter lag has been shortened drastically, so you don't miss those perfect moments anymore. Those of you who have tried to take pictures of kids or pets with your digital camera know what I'm talking about. By the time the camera actually focuses and fires, you've missed the moment! Well, the manufacturers have really addressed this problem, and some of the cameras are much faster now. BUT, seek out some info about the camera you want, and it also doesn't hurt to actually try it out in the store. In addition, you also get a full complement of manual controls and overides, so the more adventurous and artistic of you can control your images more. The same rules apply with megapixels as does above. Buy what you need; but it certainly doesn't hurt to have more.

The digital SLR segment consists of SLR (single lens reflex) cameras. A SLR camera is the type of camera you may have used when you took a photo class in school; or the kind you imagine professionals using when you see them on TV or at a wedding. The great advantage of these cameras is you are looking directly through the lens which is taking the picture; you focus, frame, and see exactly what you're going to get! These cameras have the advantage of multiple interchangeable lenses, flashes, and accessories. It is exciting what has happened in this segment. You can now get an amazing 6 MP SLR camera from a couple of manufacturers for under $1000(even more like $800) that will do ANYTHING you could possibly want from your camera. The BEST part though is the absolutely instantaneous shutter release and focusing mechanism. Getting great shots of your pets or action shots of the kids are no longer a problem with the "what you see is what you get" aspect of these cameras. These digital SLR's were once only the domain of working professionals, but the price has dropped so drastically that it is not a stretch at all for the typical ND person hanging around here to consider one. It is my strong opinion that you should look at one of these cameras BEFORE you go ahead and spend the $500 -$800 or so on an all-in-one prosumer model as discussed above; that is if you are indeed looking in this price range.

Some other considerations:

-Buy a case, and use it. There are small, stylish cases out there that don't get in the way at all, and these small compacts and ultracompacts do not take kindly to being dropped...not even once. I cannot tell you how many of these I saw come in for repair, simply as a result of being dropped, sat on, etc. Of particular concern is the delicate lens mechanism on these cameras; try not to bump the lens or force it at all. I will tell you that the manufacturers do not cover impact damage, especially visible impact damage. If you have it in a case and it falls, maybe it stops working...but there's no "visible" impact for the repair place to quarrel over. I will also tell you the manufacturers will want $150 or so to repair that $200 camera you just in most cases, it's not even worth it to make the repair. You go get a new one.

-Continuing on this theme, it's a good thing to have a full 1 Year manufacturer's warranty on these cameras, so check with the salesperson and inside the box. I can't tell you how many I've seen come in that just "failed' or stopped working for no apparent reason whatsover. Think of them as little computers. Beware: there's one highly regarded name brand out there that begins with a "S" that only gives a 90 day warranty on its cameras; they make a good stylish product, but that warranty policy precludes their products with me. I'll also say I didn't see too many of that brand come in for repair either, so take that for what it's worth. Also, there's no need to purchase the extended warranty if offered to you by the store, unless you're going higher end. Those warranties are HUGE profit makers for the sales staff and store. If something is going to go wrong, it will usually go wrong within the warranty. If it's past a year or longer, the lower segment of the market changes so rapidly that you just go buy something that has more megapixels, is faster, is smaller, and 3/4 of the price you paid for your last camera!

-Beware of "digital zoom", as it is a misleading feature. You want "optical" zooming only, and want to disable the digital zoom feature on your camera if possible. All digital zoom is doing is cropping in on the center part of your photo digitally; basically the same effect as zooming and cropping the Jpeg later in the image editor of your choice! It magnifies the pixels, and results in image degradation. It is a false and misleading feature, designed simply as a selling point. Turn this off, and crop your photos later on.

-Try and shoot at the lowest ISO speed rating you can. That generally means anywhere from 50-100 speed. As you go up in "film" speed, the pixels become noisier, more magnified, "pixelated", "grainier"; very similar to the way film gets grainier as you go up in speed. There is a big trade off in quality as you go up in sensitivity. Most of you will just leave the ISO setting on Auto, but you'll get better color and "smoothness"if you can capture the same photo at the lowest speed setting possible.

-If you're looking at point and shoot types, consider buying cameras which use cheap readily available batteries such as AA's. You'll be able to grab a set of short-lasting alkaline batteries in a pinch. You'll also be able to buy inexpensive, long lasting rechargeable NiMH AA's which you can use in any number of devices around the house in addition to the camera! You can get a charger with 4 batteries, and an extra set to always be ready. Try and find the highest mah rated batteries you can find. Current tech batteries are now in the 2300mah + range. The manufacturers don't put a "cell phone" type battery in these cameras because of cost. At the lower price point, the customer doesn't want to pay $50 for a spare battery, when you can get cheapo rechargeable AA's. The more expensive, smaller cameras get better batteries, but you pay for it. Those "proprietary" type batteries from the manufacturer cost a fortune, and are a HUGE source of profit. So that ultra stylish mini- stainless steel camera you want is going to cost you if you want a spare battery. But, in many cases, these cameras can't even fit AA's anymore as they've gotten so small.

-Get some memory as you want to shoot at the highest resolution Jpeg ALL the time! I cannot stress this enough. Shooting a high resolution camera at low resolution is like using a new Ferrari to drive up the street at 10mph in 1st gear to get a latte! Drive the thing would ya! Unless you have specific needs and will never need to go higher (insurance claims/ emailing only of pics), you can always resize a picture DOWN to suit your needs, but you cannot go UP in resolution! More experienced users can probably come with a trade-off resolution that they like to use, but don't get stuck with that once in a lifetime shot of Junior having been taken at a low resolution; unsuitable for a 8x10 to give to your Mom, or for you to remember with a big print when Junior is all grown up. At last check, a blazing fast 1 GB CF (Compact Flash) card or 1GB SD card is now in the range of only a $100! (I remember a time when a very slow performing 128MB CF card was around $1000!) For a rough idea of how many images you'll get on a card, consider this. A 4 MP camera at highest Jpeg resolution will generate a 1.5MB to 2MB file per shot. So, a very inexpensive 128MB CF Card will store anywhere between 70-80 photos at highest resolution on a 4 MP camera ( for larger quantity cards, simply factor up in multiples of 128MB) So to summarize, shoot high; memory cost is low.

People often ask me what's the best camera to get or what's the best brand to buy. It's a difficult thing to say, as I work in the field. I usually say whatever works best for you. Some people have great experiences with products from a manufacturer whose product I would never own in a million years. Some people have bad experiences with product from whom I think is the best manufacturer. I will state here, though, that I am a big fan of a couple companies in particular: they are traditional Japanese camera companies who have been around a long time and know photography. One begins with a "C"; the other begins with a "N". Any professionals working today are using cameras from one of these 2 companies. And the "C" company is so good in design, style, ease, and technology (even more so in point and shoots), that is is a clear cut winner for most people. They are a huge company with R&D from many industries, and they utilize it.

I am a frequent lurker and poster, and I ask you to contact me via e-mail with any questions, comments, or advice. My address can be found by seeking out my profile. I can answer some questions in the public forum of the Backroom; sometimes it's best if I do not. Good luck.


Why we hate Michigan

Why I hate Meechigan:

My conscience dictates that I bear no hatred for a person or aggregate of people no matter how whiny, annoying, misguided or man-boobish they may be. Ideas are different, though. The truth demands revulsion at ideas that lead souls from her path. My hatred of the Meatchickens, then, must be grounded in the realm of ideas, not personalities.

On the surface, their football program appears to have much in common with the Blessed Mother’s University’s own. They are both ancient midwestern powers, at least by the temporal standards by which college football can be measured. Midwestern roots tend to flourish best in the rugged soil of a punishing ground attack. Both schools are competitive universities, drawing a relatively similar student body, at least in the ways that the many measure such things. The Michiganers fancy that they have a respectable national following. If it were true, that would be another similarity.

These superficial points of confluence, however, only heighten the essential dissonance between the schools, and the irreconcilable philosophies that guide each football program. EdMartinigan clings to an empty, deracinated philosophy of education. There is no Good; there are only subjective goods, many of which must be respected as equal idols. Education is an end unto itself, to be used to whatever purpose the customer may wish to apply it.

Notice well how they have no compunction about using their athletes as kinesiological pieces of meat, tools of profit for the greater institution. Notice the size of the school and the emphasis on research at the expense of the undergrad’s quest for wisdom and understanding. Concern for their reputation alone sets their path, straining to seem excellent rather than truly to be excellent, the aim of the sophist. Also note well how quickly they deride any mention of religious themes when mixed with athletic competition by their southron rival. The intellectual must be kept alienated from the spiritual and both from the physical, as if any person actually exists that way. In short, the University of RichardToddBranchigan has swallowed every error modernity has ever spewed into the wheels of human history. They cling desperately to these fallacies, believing that their obstinacy makes them valiant and will lead to victory, and ridiculing any with a wisdom that surpasses their own.

The yawning chasm separating this bastion of hubris from the University of Notre Dame cannot be plumbed, even if one could measure the distance between the east and the west. At Notre Dame, the soul is gently nurtured in the understanding that all things seek but one ultimate Truth, that every endeavor under the sun only finds fullness to the degree that it furthers that pursuit. Excellence in all things becomes the goal prized by worthy and dignified creatures. They are obligated to pursue it in all they do, with all of their faculties. There is a unity in life, with a single focal point that will consummate every part, transforming them into living stones. Athletes are not merely athletes. Students are not merely students. All must share in the essential life of the school, never used simply as an object.

This is why my heart leaps every time I see Notre Dame’s warrior-poets take the field, golden domes flashing in the sun. They embody the spirit of the agon, an all-encompassing pursuit of excellence alien to Ann Arbor, a wrestling with personal weakness to yield to transcendent strength. Her warriors are a visceral reminder of that very mystical body, every part dignified and fulfilled in its unique and blessed toil for the common good.

The Back Room Books

Frederick Douglass
James Baldwin
Tennessee Williams
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Eugene O'Neill
Herman Melville
Edith Wharton
Charles Bukowski
William Faulker
Hunter S. Thompson
Edgar Allen Poe
Jack Kerouac
Arther Miller
Melville - Moby Dick
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans
Harper Lee (to kill a mockingbird)
If you're into poetry, also try Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson.
Twain, from whom, Hemingway said, all modern American literature descends, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
S. Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Whitman, poems: "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"
Emily Dickinson, try her poem that begins, "Because I could not stop for death / He kindly stopped for me"
Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
Hemingway, stories: Indian Camp, 10 Indians, Big Two-Hearted River, parts 1 and 2 (indispensable), A Clean Well-lighted Place, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Faulkner, As I Lay Dying or Light in August
TS Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (you can go from there)
Robert Frost, any decent anthology of American poems: e.g., "Stopping by Woods," "After Apple Picking," "Neither Out Far nor in Deep," "Mending Wall" "Desert Places,"
Frank Miller
Steve Englehart
Roger Stern
Mark Waid
Major Molyneux," "Young Goodman Brown")
Henry James, Portrait of a Lady (or his story "The Beast in the Jungle")
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Divinity School Address"
Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
"Sister Carrie" by Theodore Dreiser
The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson
"Howl" (poem) by Allen Ginsberg
"Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe.
"The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (south)
Intruder In the Dust by William Faulkner (south)
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1940s)
The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James A Michener (Korean War)
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Farina (1960s)
Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien (Vietnam)
In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason (post-Vietnam 1970s)
Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis (1980s) (looking back though, this one is crap)
John Irving
Nathaniel Hawthorne (Scarlet Letter)
Thomist Flannery O'Connor
Donold J. Sobol (Encyclopedia Brown)
Franklin W. Dixon (Hardy Boys)
Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Mario Puzo's The Godfather
Heller, Catch-22
Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Vonnegut, Slaughter-House Five
Kerouac, On The Road
A Confederacy of Dunces...John Kennedy Toole
Hemingway - anything, in particular For Whom the Bell Tolls.stories: Indian Camp, 10 Indians, Big Two-Hearted River, parts 1 and 2 (indispensable), A Clean Well-lighted Place, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Faulkner, anything, so you can fear Southerners even more
Walt Whitman and Robert Frost for poetry
Whitman who within the various incarnations of Leaves of Grass penned the closest we have to a national epic.
Emerson: If not the architect, then at least the arbiter of American values.
Faulkner: Inarguably the most important novelist we've ever produced; however, as far as literary influence is concerned, his work has to date meant more to the late-twentieth century Latin American novelists and to European writers like Albert Camus than it has to subsequent generations of American authors. Achieved the universal despite his work being intensely local in scope.
Crane's Red Badge of Courage
Twain, of course, anything but in particular Huckleberry Finn.
Walker Percy
Philip Roth
Robert Benchley
Elizabeth Bishop
James Ellroy
E.B. White and Ralph Waldo Emerson for their essays
Lincoln and Jefferson are good for letters and speeches.
Russel Baker's autobiography captures a great American experience
Charles Kurualt's essays capture America
MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail
De Tocqueville "Democracy in America"
Max Weber has some good essays on American exceptionalism. I believe they are in an edited volume by Talcott Parsons.
V.O. Key's "Southern Politics in State and Nation"
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle".
Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters
Whalen and Whalen "The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act"
Carmines and Stimson's "Issue Evolution"
Takaki's "Iron Cages"
Manning Marable, "Race, Reform and Rebellion"
Willa Cather - My Antonia! (a book about a woman living in the midwest, right up your alley)
Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Louisa May Alcott - Little Women
Kate Chopin - The Awakening
Flannery O'Conner - A Good Man is Hard To Find
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
Gertrude Stein - The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
Civil War: The Killer Angels
James McPherson- Battle Cry of Freedom
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America
Greene, Peripheries and Center
Maier, From Resistance to Revolution
Wood, The Creation of the American Republic
Potter, The Impending Crisis
Thomas, The Confederate Nation
John Dos Passos: As Edmund Wilson wrote, while Hemingway and Fitzgerald were off cultivating "their own little corners," Dos Passos realized on the broadest possible scope post-WWI America. His U.S.A. trilogy, in my mind, will answer your question much more fully than either Gatsby or Hemingway's work. Of the latter, only the short stories really apply to your specific query, though much can be extrapolated from viewing the exiles-in-contrast in The Sun Also Rises.

The Back Room Movie Poll

Thanks to everyone for submitting their favorites -- looks like we came up with a good, deep list. Some surprises bubbled to the top in round II. There are some really great, enjoyable films here, and I think we accomplished our goal of finding not just the most "respected" movies (note the absence of Citizen Kane), but movies that you enjoyed and that you'd want someone else to see.

Keep in mind that every movie on the list is, at the very least, recommended by someone -- so don't think that just because a movie got only 1 vote that it isn't worth seeing. It is. Somebody cared enough about it to include in his or her top 10, so keep them in mind for your Netflix queue. And at the end of the poll results is the list of "Obvious, Must See Movies".

Thanks for participating. Enjoy!

11 Princess Bride, the banshee, DEA, El Kabong, ewillND, gmurphy, lbbeachrat, Mr. Natural, PMan, PUgrad NDfan, scal_irish, shamrock
11 Rushmore Dillon1998, Domer25, Final_Flanner, Jameson, JPH, Legacy, minister, Mr. Natural, shamrock, SoCaliDomer, socalnd

10 Fargo banshee, BostonDomah, Denver Jim, ewillND, FourLeafDomer, Francisco Brothers, Khaddafi, MCB, rknsaw, shamrock
10 Groundhog Day banshee, FourLeafDomer, gmurphy, Irish96, JacksDaddy, minister, Mr. Natural, RJD, SoCaliDomer, Special_K
10 Memento banshee, bbill99, BostonDomah, DEA, ewillND, Final_Flanner, FOFM, Francisco Brothers, JacksDaddy, PUgrad NDfan

9 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Angel, Denver Jim, drmurray, Fantom, FourLeafDomer, Francisco Brothers, Khaddafi, RJD, rknsaw
9 Tombstone DEA, gmurphy, Irish96, irishvol, MCB, minister, PMan, PUgrad NDfan, RJD

8 Amadeus drmurray, Final_Flanner, Irishted, JacksDaddy, MCB, Mike Embrey, NDFoil, PUgrad NDfan
8 Bottle Rocket Brandywells, Dillon1998, Final_Flanner, FOFM, Francisco Brothers, shamrock, SoCaliDomer, Spiral_Stairs
8 Chinatown Denver Jim, drmurray, Irishted, lbbeachrat, Nitschke, PUgrad NDfan, shadyirish, Special_K
8 Dr. Strangelove banshee, bbill99, drmurray, FONToKNOW, Irishted, JacksDaddy, RJD, shadyirish
8 Full Metal Jacket bbill99, Denver Jim, FourLeafDomer, NDEE01, Nitschke, PeteatND, PUgrad NDfan, tbsone
8 Gladiator drmurray, Irish96, Mike Embrey, NDEE01, NDoggie78, rknsaw, SoCaliDomer, tbsone
8 Glory drmurray, El Kabong, Glass, Irish96, irishvol, JacksDaddy, Marine Domer, PMan
8 L.A. Confidential BostonDomah, Denver Jim, ewillND, Irish96, Irishted, Nitschke, Rallying Son, Special_K
8 Raising Arizona drmurray, ewillND, FOFM, Francisco Brothers, JacksDaddy, Mickey, minister, shamrock
8 Seven BostonDomah, Final_Flanner, lbbeachrat, MCB, NDoggie78, PUgrad NDfan, rknsaw, tbsone

7 2001: A Space Odyssey bbill99, Denver Jim, Dillon1998, FourLeafDomer, Francisco Brothers, JacksDaddy, shadyirish
7 American History X Angel, banshee, Final_Flanner, lbbeachrat, minister, NDoggie78, PUgrad NDfan
7 Band of Brothers (HBO) bbill99, BostonDomah, El Kabong, Final_Flanner, NDoggie78, PUgrad NDfan, SoCaliDomer
7 Cinema Paradiso bbill99, BostonDomah, drmurray, ewillND, JacksDaddy, MCB, PMan
7 Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon DEA, Dillon1998, Final_Flanner, FONToKNOW, Francisco Brothers, JacksDaddy, Spiral_Stairs
7 Graduate, the Denver Jim, drmurray, Fantom, FourLeafDomer, JacksDaddy, Khaddafi, Special_K
7 Great Escape, the ewillND, FONToKNOW, FourLeafDomer, GMatous, PeteatND, PUgrad NDfan, shadyirish
7 Heat banshee, FONToKNOW, gmurphy, irishvol, NDFoil, PMan, Trosa
7 Hoosiers Domer73, ewillND, FourLeafDomer, Khaddafi, Mike Embrey, Mr. Natural, tbsone
7 Old School DEA, irishvol, NDEE01, PUgrad NDfan, rknsaw, SoCaliDomer, Special_K
7 Quiet Man, the El Kabong, Fantom, irishtattoo, Khaddafi, Mickey, NDoggie78, scal_irish
7 Sting, the drmurray, ewillND, FourLeafDomer, gmurphy, JacksDaddy, Mickey, PUgrad NDfan

6 Best in Show banshee, DEA, Domer25, Domer73, irishvol, lbbeachrat
6 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Denver Jim, drmurray, ewillND, Fantom, RJD, shadyirish
6 Clerks Dillon1998, El Kabong, Final_Flanner, irishvol, PUgrad NDfan, tbsone
6 Fish Called Wanda, A DEA, Domer73, El Kabong, ewillND, Fantom, Mr. Natural
6 Good, the Bad, the Ugly, the 47oft, Denver Jim, Irishjoeinnc, PMan, SoCaliDomer, Special_K
6 Hoop Dreams BostonDomah, ewillND, Final_Flanner, FOFM, Francisco Brothers, rknsaw
6 Life is Beautiful DEA, Fantom, FourLeafDomer, MCB, PMan, shamrock
6 Searching for Bobby Fisher Brandywells, ewillND, Final_Flanner, GMatous, JacksDaddy, SoCaliDomer
6 Silence of the Lambs, the Denver Jim, FourLeafDomer, lbbeachrat, NDEE01, NDoggie78, PeteatND
6 Super Troopers DEA, Final_Flanner, irishvol, NDEE01, PUgrad NDfan, Spiral_Stairs
6 Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the Buddy Jeans, Denver Jim, hobbs, Irishjoeinnc, Mr. Natural, Rallying Son
6 Unforgiven Fantom, JPH, minister, NDoggie78, Nitschke, PMan
6 Waiting for Guffman Domer25, Domer73, Fantom, Final_Flanner, FOFM, shamrock
6 Waking Ned Devine drmurray, ewillND, Fantom, gmurphy, NDoggie78, shamrock

5 Breaking Away Domer73, ewillND, JPH, Mr. Natural, shamrock
5 Bull Durham banshee, Dillon1998, ewillND, RJD, shamrock
5 Cool Hand Luke DEA, Fantom, Nitschke, RJD, shadyirish
5 Deer Hunter, the Francisco Brothers, Khaddafi, lbbeachrat, shadyirish, Spiral_Stairs
5 Fight Club BostonDomah, FONToKNOW, Francisco Brothers, MCB, tbsone
5 Good Will Hunting gmurphy, Irish96, MCB, NDoggie78, scal_irish
5 Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels BostonDomah, FONToKNOW, Francisco Brothers, Jameson, Trosa
5 Marathon Man, the 47oft, Fantom, FourLeafDomer, JacksDaddy, Khaddafi
5 Meet the Parents bbill99, Domer25, irishgambino, irishvol, SoCaliDomer
5 Mulholland Drive bbill99, Fantom, socalnd, Spiral_Stairs, Trosa
5 Natural, the Dillon1998, FourLeafDomer, MCB, Mike Embrey, tbsone
5 O Brother, Where Art Thou? banshee, NDoggie78, PMan, rknsaw, shamrock
5 Patton Dillon1998, drmurray, FONToKNOW, Irish96, shadyirish
5 Rear Window Dillon1998, Final_Flanner, Khaddafi, Mickey, shadyirish
5 Requiem for a Dream Angel, BostonDomah, Buddy Jeans, Francisco Brothers, Marine Domer
5 Rocky Dillon1998, irishvol, Mike Embrey, Mr. Natural, NDEE01
5 Rounders BostonDomah, ewillND, Final_Flanner, irishvol, Trosa
5 Royal Tennenbaums, the Francisco Brothers, gmurphy, Irishted, shamrock, SoCaliDomer
5 Run Lola Run DEA, Domer25, Final_Flanner, FONToKNOW, shamrock
5 Schindler's List irishvol, JacksDaddy, Khaddafi, Mike Embrey, Nitschke
5 Shrek DEA, drmurray, gmurphy, irishvol, NDoggie78
5 Terminator, the 47oft, Khaddafi, NDEE01, NDoggie78, PeteatND

4 After Hours FOFM, Francisco Brothers, socalnd, Special_K
4 Almost Famous GMatous, MCB, Rallying Son, socalnd
4 Amelie BostonDomah, DEA, FOFM, MCB
4 Big Chill, the 47oft, Domer73, drmurray, irishtattoo
4 Blade Runner Khaddafi, lbbeachrat, NDEE01, Trosa
4 Blue Velvet bbill99, Brandywells, Francisco Brothers, Spiral_Stairs
4 Body Heat Domer73, FourLeafDomer, hobbs, Rallying Son
4 Bronx Tale, a Brandywells, Irish96, minister, Mr. Natural
4 Diner FourLeafDomer, MCB, mkovac, shamrock
4 Do the Right Thing FOFM, Khaddafi, minister, Nitschke
4 Dumb and Dumber DEA, Dillon1998, irishvol, SoCaliDomer
4 Few Good Men, a gmurphy, Khaddafi, NDoggie78, shamrock
4 Four Weddings and a Funeral irishtattoo, NDFoil, NDoggie78, Special_K
4 Frailty DEA, Francisco Brothers, PeteatND, PUgrad NDfan
4 Game, the 47oft, Domer25, Final_Flanner, rknsaw
4 Glengarry Glen Ross Denver Jim, Domer73, Jameson, Special_K
4 House of Games drmurray, FOFM, Francisco Brothers, Mr. Natural
4 L.A. Story Domer73, El Kabong, Final_Flanner, gmurphy
4 Manchurian Candidate, the banshee, Denver Jim, FONToKNOW, Khaddafi
4 Miller's Crossing bbill99, Francisco Brothers, Irishted, Nitschke
4 No Way Out DEA, GMatous, NDFoil, Rallying Son
4 Ordinary People Angel, irishtattoo, Nitschke, rknsaw
4 Professional, the BostonDomah, Buddy Jeans, Mr. Natural, Spiral_Stairs
4 Scarface irishvol, minister, PMan, rknsaw
4 Shakespeare in Love FourLeafDomer, gmurphy, Mike Embrey, Trosa
4 Sixth Sense, the banshee, DEA, Domer25, drmurray
4 Sleeper drmurray, Khaddafi, RJD, shamrock
4 Sling Blade irishgambino, JacksDaddy, MCB, Nitschke
4 Taxi Driver bbill99, Khaddafi, mkovac, Nitschke
4 To Kill a Mockingbird Angel, Dillon1998, Khaddafi, Mr. Natural
4 Verdict, the Dillon1998, ewillND, GMatous, Mr. Natural
4 What About Bob? 47oft, banshee, irishvol, Mr. Natural
4 Zero Effect, the Dillon1998, JacksDaddy, Ohio Domer, Special_K

3 African Queen, the Angel, Fantom, Irishjoeinnc
3 Aliens Dillon1998, JacksDaddy, NDEE01
3 American Psycho bbill99, MCB, PeteatND
3 Apollo 13 47oft, El Kabong, SoCaliDomer
3 Babe banshee, FOFM, JacksDaddy
3 Being John Malkovich Buddy Jeans, Mickey, Trosa
3 Being There FONToKNOW, FourLeafDomer, Francisco Brothers
3 Big Trouble in Little China Buddy Jeans, Irishted, Special_K
3 Bridge on the River Kwai, the Denver Jim, FourLeafDomer, shadyirish
3 Bullets Over Broadway Domer73, ewillND, Mickey
3 Chariots of Fire Domer73, JacksDaddy, JPH
3 Christmas Story, a ewillND, Mr. Natural, rknsaw
3 Clockwork Orange, A Domer73, REM, shadyirish
3 Conversation, the Jameson, Khaddafi, Rallying Son
3 Dazed and Confused Dillon1998, irishvol, minister
3 Dead Again FOFM, Francisco Brothers, Jameson
3 Eyes Wide Shut bbill99, rknsaw, socalnd
3 Fast Times at Ridgemont High Mr. Natural, NDEE01, Special_K
3 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Dillon1998, ewillND, irishgambino
3 Fletch El Kabong, Irish96, lbbeachrat
3 French Connection, the BostonDomah, Irishted, Khaddafi
3 Gangs of New York Fantom, SoCaliDomer, Spiral_Stairs
3 Gods Must Be Crazy, The minister, Rallying Son, REM
3 Guns of Navarone, the GMatous, Khaddafi, PMan
3 Hard Day's Night, A 47oft, REM, RJD
3 Hunt for Red October, the DEA, FONToKNOW, NDFoil
3 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World DEA, drmurray, hobbs
3 Kelly's Heroes irishgambino, PMan, RJD
3 Life of Brian BostonDomah, El Kabong, shamrock
3 Lone Star Brandywells, Rallying Son, REM
3 Longest Day, the drmurray, Glass, irishgambino
3 M*A*S*H Denver Jim, drmurray, Fantom
3 Major League DEA, Glass, irishvol
3 Mission, the Final_Flanner, FourLeafDomer, NDFoil
3 Mister Roberts Brandywells, Fantom, FourLeafDomer
3 Parenthood GMatous, Rallying Son, shamrock
3 Passion of the Christ, the bbill99, NDEE01, SoCaliDomer
3 Platoon PMan, rknsaw, tbsone
3 Right Stuff, the Irishted, PeteatND, Rallying Son
3 Ring, the DEA, Denver Jim, NDEE01
3 Road to Perdition BostonDomah, Domer25, SoCaliDomer
3 Road Warrior, the FOFM, lbbeachrat, Mike Embrey
3 Sandlot, the PeteatND, rknsaw, Spiral_Stairs
3 Scrooged banshee, bbill99, Mr. Natural
3 Seven Samurai, the BostonDomah, Mr. Natural, Rallying Son
3 Sleepers Domer25, Glass, minister
3 Straight Story, the Domer25, Francisco Brothers, JPH
3 Three Days of the Condor 47oft, Domer73, Mr. Natural
3 Virgin Suicides, the Angel, Special_K, Trosa
3 Wall Street FONToKNOW, irishvol, Trosa
3 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory banshee, MCB, SoCaliDomer
3 Wonder Boys Brandywells, Jameson, minister

2 Aguirre: the Wrath of God 47oft, BostonDomah
2 Alien minister, NDoggie78
2 All About Eve hobbs, scal_irish
2 All That Jazz socalnd, Special_K
2 American Movie BostonDomah, FOFM
2 American Splendor Glass, Spiral_Stairs
2 Amores Perros BostonDomah, Spiral_Stairs
2 Andre Rublev Rallying Son, The Shrubberer
2 As Good As It Gets gmurphy, MCB
2 Babette's Feast FONToKNOW, Rallying Son
2 Bad News Bears, the GMatous, Mr. Natural
2 Bad Seed, the Buddy Jeans, Irishjoeinnc
2 Barton Fink bbill99, Francisco Brothers
2 Basquiat FOFM, Spiral_Stairs
2 Batman gmurphy, NDEE01
2 Before Sunrise Dillon1998, Rallying Son
2 Big Night ewillND, PMan
2 Black Cat White Cat Special_K, The Shrubberer
2 Blackhawk Down NDoggie78, SoCaliDomer
2 Bonnie and Clyde Fantom, RJD
2 Boondock Saints minister, Trosa
2 Brazil Jameson, Trosa
2 Breaking the Waves Rallying Son, REM
2 Brian's Song banshee, hobbs
2 Brothers McMullen, the rknsaw, Trosa
2 Chicken Run FONToKNOW, Spiral_Stairs
2 Clear and Present Danger bbill99, PeteatND
2 Crimson Tide NDFoil, PeteatND
2 Dead Presidents bbill99, minister
2 Dirty Dozen, the 47oft, RJD
2 Eight Men Out ewillND, irishvol
2 El Mariachi Spiral_Stairs, Trosa
2 Election banshee, Brandywells
2 Endless Summer, the Domer25, RJD
2 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Domer25, Trosa
2 Fever Pitch Mickey, Trosa
2 Finding Forrester Brandywells, GMatous
2 Five Easy Pieces Denver Jim, mkovac
2 Flirting With Disaster FOFM, Rallying Son
2 Forrest Gump DEA, Irish96
2 Freshman, the Domer73, ewillND
2 Gandhi Fantom, FONToKNOW
2 Gaslight ewillND, hobbs
2 Gattica Marine Domer, socalnd
2 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner FONToKNOW, Marine Domer
2 Hearts of Darkness FOFM, socalnd
2 Heathers banshee, DEA
2 High Fidelity Dillon1998, socalnd
2 Hope and Glory ewillND, JPH
2 Ideal Husband, an ewillND, MCB
2 Identity banshee, PUgrad NDfan
2 In America Final_Flanner, FOFM
2 Iron Giant, the Dillon1998, socalnd
2 Jaws JacksDaddy, Mike Embrey
2 King of New York, the MCB, Trosa
2 King of the Hill FOFM, Rallying Son
2 Knute Rockne, All-American NDFoil, RJD
2 Little Big Man Fantom, REM
2 Local Hero Francisco Brothers, irishtattoo
2 Love and Death JacksDaddy, shamrock
2 M BostonDomah, The Shrubberer
2 Man For All Seasons, a 47oft, Irishted
2 McCabe and Mrs. Miller Domer73, Special_K
2 Mean Streets 47oft, bbill99
2 Memphis Belle minister, PeteatND
2 Midnight Run Domer25, NDFoil
2 Moonstruck Jameson, scal_irish
2 Nashville Domer73, Special_K
2 North by Northwest Fantom, shadyirish
2 Omen, the FOFM, NDEE01
2 On Golden Pond Angel, FourLeafDomer
2 Once Upon a Time in America Rallying Son, REM
2 Outlaw Josey Wales, the irishtattoo, Nitschke
2 Philadelphia lbbeachrat, tbsone
2 Philadelphia Story, the Angel, scal_irish
2 Pi FONToKNOW, Spiral_Stairs
2 Pianist, the Final_Flanner, SoCaliDomer
2 Pitch Black minister, NDoggie78
2 Planes, Trains and Automobiles banshee, lbbeachrat
2 Raging Bull Khaddafi, RJD
2 Real Genius Dillon1998, Spiral_Stairs
2 Rififi BostonDomah, The Shrubberer
2 Say Anything banshee, Buddy Jeans
2 Scent of a Woman Fantom, Irish96
2 Simple Plan, a Domer73, minister
2 Singin' in the Rain Fantom, Special_K
2 Sirens Rallying Son, tbsone
2 Some Like it Hot PMan, scal_irish
2 Spaceballs banshee, irishvol
2 Spanish Prisoner, the BostonDomah, FONToKNOW
2 Stalag 17 Denver Jim, Mr. Natural
2 State of Grace MCB, Trosa
2 Three Kings Final_Flanner, Rallying Son
2 To Have and Have Not Buddy Jeans, irishtattoo
2 To Live and Die in LA Special_K, Trosa
2 Toy Story Mr. Natural, SoCaliDomer
2 Twelve Angry Men Dillon1998, Mickey
2 Vertigo Irishted, Khaddafi
2 When We Were Kings Brandywells, Domer25
2 Wings of Desire FOFM, JacksDaddy
2 Woman of the Year Angel, irishtattoo
2 Y Tu Mama Tambien Jameson, Legacy
2 Zelig FOFM, Jameson

1 10 Things I Hate About You MCB
1 1,000,000 Years BC mkovac
1 400 Blows, the Spiral_Stairs
1 About a Boy Final_Flanner
1 Ace in the Hole 47oft
1 Adam's Rib irishtattoo
1 Aladdin rknsaw
1 Alive PeteatND
1 All the President's Men JacksDaddy
1 All the Real Girls Special_K
1 Amarcord The Shrubberer
1 Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz 47oft
1 At Close Range Domer73
1 Awakenings rknsaw
1 Back to the Future NDEE01
1 Bad Day at Black Rock Irishjoeinnc
1 Ball of Fire socalnd
1 Band Wagon, the socalnd
1 Barbarella mkovac
1 Barcelona shamrock
1 Battle at Firebase Gloria PeteatND
1 Beautiful Thing lbbeachrat
1 Belle époque Legacy
1 Ben Hur PMan
1 Best Years of Our Lives, the hobbs
1 Big Deal on Madonna Street The Shrubberer
1 Black Narcissus socalnd
1 Black Robe JPH
1 Blind Date banshee
1 Bloody Sunday Spiral_Stairs
1 Blow Dry Legacy
1 Boogie Nights BostonDomah
1 Boot, Das JPH
1 Bounty, the Denver Jim
1 Bram Stoker's Dracula Denver Jim
1 Breaker Morant Brandywells
1 Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo Spiral_Stairs
1 Breathless Spiral_Stairs
1 Brewster's Millions Buddy Jeans
1 Bridge Too Far, a PMan
1 Bringing Up Baby 47oft
1 Buffalo 66 Spiral_Stairs
1 Cable Guy, the Domer25
1 Caine Mutiny, the FourLeafDomer
1 Car Wash 47oft
1 Carousel Irishjoeinnc
1 Chicago Fantom
1 Christmas Carol, A scal_irish
1 Cidade de Deus minister
1 Class GMatous
1 Cleopatra hobbs
1 Conan the Barbarian NDEE01
1 Contempt Special_K
1 Count of Monte Cristo, the PUgrad NDfan
1 Crossing Guard, the rknsaw
1 Damn Yankees! 47oft
1 Dark City Irishted
1 Deep Cover FOFM
1 Delicatessan The Shrubberer
1 Diabolique hobbs
1 Diggstown Domer73
1 Doctor Zhivago drmurray
1 Dogs of War, the FOFM
1 Empire of the Sun Final_Flanner
1 Englishman Who Went Up a Hill... NDoggie78
1 Escape from Alcatraz Denver Jim
1 Everlasting Piece, An Trosa
1 Family Man GMatous
1 Fatal Attraction NDFoil
1 Father of the Bride gmurphy
1 Field of Dreams Dillon1998
1 Finding Nemo irishvol
1 Fish that Saved Pittsburgh, the tbsone
1 Fog of War, the SoCaliDomer
1 Four Days in September FONToKNOW
1 From Russia With Love mkovac
1 From the Earth to the Moon (HBO) NDoggie78
1 Full Monty, the Buddy Jeans
1 Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Irishjoeinnc
1 Galaxy Quest PeteatND
1 Gettysburg irishvol
1 Ghengis Blues JPH
1 Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the socalnd
1 Giant Brandywells
1 Goin' South Fantom
1 Gone With the Wind Irishjoeinnc
1 Grease ewillND
1 Great Race, the scal_irish
1 Grifters, the rknsaw
1 Gung Ho Francisco Brothers
1 Half Baked Domer25
1 Harvey REM
1 Haunting, the (original) 47oft
1 Hidden Fortress, the The Shrubberer
1 High and the Mighty, the Irishjoeinnc
1 Highlander Trosa
1 His Girl Friday Irishted
1 Homicide FOFM
1 Hopscotch scal_irish
1 Horse Soldiers RJD
1 Ice Age irishvol
1 In the Name of the Father Spiral_Stairs
1 Intolerable Cruelty shamrock
1 Italian Job, the FONToKNOW
1 Jackie Brown Buddy Jeans
1 Jagged Edge GMatous
1 Jason and the Argonauts 47oft
1 Jean de Florette / Manon of the Springs The Shrubberer
1 Jeremiah Johnson REM
1 Jesus Christ Superstar Spiral_Stairs
1 JFK JacksDaddy
1 Johnny Stechino drmurray
1 Jules et Jim Special_K
1 Kaspar Hauser The Shrubberer
1 Kentucky Fried Movie Buddy Jeans
1 Killers, the The Shrubberer
1 King Kong (original) drmurray
1 Krays, the rknsaw
1 Kung Pow Domer25
1 La Femme Nikita shamrock
1 La Strada The Shrubberer
1 Last Detail, the The Shrubberer
1 Last Emperor, the hobbs
1 Last Waltz, the Irishted
1 Laura socalnd
1 Legends of the Fall tbsone
1 Life 47oft
1 Life and Death of Colonel Blimp socalnd
1 Lilies of the Field FourLeafDomer
1 Long Good Friday, the The Shrubberer
1 Long Riders, the RJD
1 Lost in Translation mkovac
1 Loved One, the The Shrubberer
1 Mac Francisco Brothers
1 Magnificent Seven, the RJD
1 Maltese Falcon, the shadyirish
1 Man Who Knew Too Little, the PUgrad NDfan
1 Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, the The Shrubberer
1 Man With Two Brains, the shamrock
1 Max Dugan Returns Domer25
1 McClintock irishtattoo
1 Metropolitan shamrock
1 Minus Man, the Spiral_Stairs
1 Mixed Nuts Domer73
1 Mosquito Coast, the minister
1 Mostro, Il PMan
1 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Dillon1998
1 Narc Trosa
1 Near Dark Irishted
1 New York (documentary) Brandywells
1 Night at the Opera, A Mickey
1 Night of the Hunter, the hobbs
1 Noises Off Buddy Jeans
1 Notting Hill irishtattoo
1 Old Man and the Sea Irishjoeinnc
1 On the Edge Domer73
1 On the Waterfront Khaddafi
1 Once Upon a Time in the West RJD
1 One Hour Photo SoCaliDomer
1 Open Range PeteatND
1 Organizer, the 47oft
1 Paint Your Wagon Irishjoeinnc
1 Parent Trap, the GMatous
1 Pawnbroker, the Khaddafi
1 Payback Mickey
1 PCU banshee
1 Pelle the Conqueror FONToKNOW
1 Personal Best Domer73
1 Presumed Innocent GMatous
1 Prizzi's Honor rknsaw
1 Producers, the Irishjoeinnc
1 Promises rknsaw
1 Public Enemy bbill99
1 Quiz Show shamrock
1 Random Harvest socalnd
1 Rebecca shadyirish
1 Red River hobbs
1 Red Shoes, the socalnd
1 Ref, the PUgrad NDfan
1 Remains of the Day, the rknsaw
1 Return From the Ashes socalnd
1 Road Home, the JPH
1 Rob Roy NDoggie78
1 Rocco and his Brothers The Shrubberer
1 Rocky Horror Picture Show, the irishgambino
1 Rolling Thunder Denver Jim
1 Room With a View, A PMan
1 Rush minister
1 Ruthless People 47oft
1 Salton Sea, the Ohio Domer
1 Samurai, the Buddy Jeans
1 Sand Pebbles, the Domer73
1 Sans Soleil socalnd
1 Saving Silverman MCB
1 Secret of Roan Inish scal_irish
1 Seems Like Old Times rknsaw
1 Sense and Sensibility MCB
1 Serpico minister
1 Seven Days in May FONToKNOW
1 Seventh Seal, the The Shrubberer
1 Shadow of a Doubt hobbs
1 Shall We Dance Legacy
1 Shallow Grave Legacy
1 Shop on Main Street, the The Shrubberer
1 Shot in the Dark, A Mickey
1 Silverado Mickey
1 Simon Birch 47oft
1 Slapshot irishvol
1 Sleepy Hollow MCB
1 Sleuth Mickey
1 Some Came Running hobbs
1 Spellbound (the documentary) Final_Flanner
1 Spoorloos (the Vanishing) BostonDomah
1 Spy Kids drmurray
1 Stagecoach Buddy Jeans
1 Stardust Memories mkovac
1 Strangers on a Train shadyirish
1 Strictly Ballroom ewillND
1 Suicide Kings minister
1 Take the Money and Run Mickey
1 Tao of Steve, the MCB
1 They Died With Their Boots On RJD
1 Thief of Baghdad 47oft
1 Third Man, the Khaddafi
1 Time of Their Lives, the RJD
1 Titanic RJD
1 To Catch a Thief irishtattoo
1 Trading Places RJD
1 Trial at Nuremberg Irishjoeinnc
1 Trust Special_K
1 Truth or Consequences, N.M. Trosa
1 Twelve O'Clock High Mickey
1 Umbrellas of Cherbourg Special_K
1 Wages of Fear (original) The Shrubberer
1 Wait Until Dark ewillND
1 Way of the Gun, the minister
1 West Side Story Irishjoeinnc
1 What's Eating Gilbert Grape MCB
1 Wheeler Dealers, the irishtattoo
1 Where the Heart Is irishgambino
1 White Heat bbill99
1 White Hunter, Black Heart irishtattoo
1 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 47oft
1 Wild at Heart bbill99
1 Wild Bunch, the Denver Jim
1 Without Limits Domer73
1 Witness for the Prosecution hobbs
1 Wolfen Mr. Natural
1 Women on the Verge... Legacy
1 Women, the hobbs
1 Woodstock REM
1 World According to Garp, the FONToKNOW
1 Wuthering Heights Mr. Natural
1 Year of Living Dangerously, the lbbeachrat
1 Yi Yi Spiral_Stairs
1 You Can Count on Me Brandywells
1 Young Lions, the irishtattoo

The "If You Haven't Seen Them, Rent Them Tonight" List

Animal House
Apocalypse Now
Big Lebowski, the
Blazing Saddles
Blues Brothers, the
Die Hard
Godfather I & II, the
It's a Wonderful Life
Jerk, the
Lawrence of Arabia
Lord of the Rings - Trilogy
Monty Python & the Holy Grail
Office Space
Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs
Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc
Saving Private Ryan
Shawshank Redemption, the
Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back
Usual Suspects, the
Young Frankenstein

The Back Room Classical Music Poll

Top Ten Composers:
1. Beethoven
2. Mozart
3. Bach
4. Brahms
5. Dvorak
6. Tchaikovski
7. Handel
8. Rachmaninov
9. Copeland

1. Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 9
2. Dvorak: The New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9 or No. 5 depending on the numbering system you are using)
3. Beethoven: Symphony No. 3
4. Mozart: Symphony No. 41
5. Schubert: Unfinished Symphony
6. Shostakovitch - Symphony No. 5
7. Brahms: Symphony No. 4
8. Tchaikovski - Symphony No. 4
Other symphonies receiving votes: Barber: No. 1 / Beethoven 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 / Brahms:1, 2 and 3 / Franck: in D minor / Gorecki: No. 3 / Hindimuth: Mathis de Maler Symphony / Korngold: Symphony in F sharp / Ives: 4th / Mahler: 9 (and one vote for: pick any Mahler Symphony) / Mendellsohn: 4 / Sibelius: No. 2 and No. 5 / Williams: No. 5

1. Holst: The Planets
2. Tchaikovski: 1812 Overture
3. Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
4. Grieg: Peer Ghynt Suite
5. Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
6. Stravinsky: Firebird Suite
7. Beethoven: Ode to Joy
8. Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
9. Copeland: Appalachian Spring
10.Copeland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Others receiving votes: Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance, Enigma Variations / Handel: Water Music / Liszt: Totentanz, Hungarian Rhapsody / Mozart: Ein Klein Nachtmusik / Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld / Mousorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Orff: Carmina Burana / Prokofiev: Lt. Kije Suite, Peter and the Wolf / Rameau: Masterpiece Theatre Theme / Ravel: Bolero / Respighi: The Pines of Rome / Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade, Flight of the Bumblebee / Rossini: William Tell Overture / Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Talias, Lark Ascending

Piano and Harpsichord Concertos:
1. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
2. Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 (the Elvira Madigan Theme)
3. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3
4. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
5. Greig: Piano Concerto in A minor

Piano and harpsichord:
1. Beethoven: Piano Sonatas: No. 14 in c sharp (the Moonlight Sonata)
2. Beethoven: Piano Sonatas: No. 8 in c (the Pathetique Sonata)
3. Beethoven: Piano Sonata: No. 23 in F minor (The Appasionata)
( these three sonatas are often available on one cd...)
4. Chopin: Polonaise in A flat
5. Chopin: Etudes and Nocturnes
6. Bach: The Goldberg Variations

String Concertos:
1. Mendellsohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
2. Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major
3. Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major
4. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major
5. Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor
6. Elgar: Cello Concerto
7. Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major
8. Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor

1. Handel: The Messiah
2. Bach: Mass in B minor
3. Schubert: Ave Maria
4. Pachabel: Canon in D
5. Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard
6. Mozart: Requiem
7. Verdi: Requiem
8. Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Deserving
9. Chants: Karl(1of1) says: Any chant music from Christian or Jewish sources. Gregorian Chant will do (the monks of San Domingo de Silos), but I prefer stuff from further east.
10.Monteverdi: Marian Vespers

1. Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite
2. Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
3. Stravinsky: Petrouchka

Chamber Music
There were no votes for what I would consider to be chamber music, so I will add my own votes here:
1. Beethoven: The string quartets
2. Mozart: The Quintets
3. Bach: the 6 Cello Suites
4. Bach: the 6 Violin Sonatas
5. Mozart's Serenade in Bb (K. 361)

1. Wagner: Der Ring das Nibelung
2. Mozart: Don Giovanni
3. Verdi: La Traviata
4. Bizet: Carmen
5. Mascagni: Cavaleria Rusticana
6. Mozart: Marriage of Figaro
7. Verdi: Il Trovatore
8. Mozart: The Magic Flute
EddieAnderson says: At least one Italian opera from the following list: La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, The Barber of Seville, La Traviata, Norma, Tosca, and Luci di Lammermoor. At least one German Opera each from Wagner and Mozart And to that I will add that you should listen to any opera strictly as music the first few times you listen to it...then you can worry about the story.

Everything else:
1. Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine
2. Bach: Any organ fugue
3. Bach: any harpsichord fugue
4. Barber: Medea
5. Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra
6. Bernstein: West Side Story, Candide, On the Waterfront, On the Town, Mass
7. Debussey: Claire de Lune, Suite Bergermasque
8. Grieg: Solvieg's Song
9. Mendellsohn: Fingil's Cave Overture

Mr. Natural's Back Room Music Poll

Backroom Top 10 of 2005

Here they are, the top 75 (or so) vote-getters in the 2005 Backroom Album Poll, along with my ridiculously biased comments. My apologies in advance to fans of the bands I don’t “get”. I think the vote totals speak for themselves and reveal my pettiness and paucity of imagination for all to see. As I’ve said elsewhere, I shouldn’t knock Sufjan and Brighteyes…variety is what makes independent music what it is. Without the relative success of artists like those, I can’t imagine anyone would be willing to pay my heroes Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel), Matt Harris, Mike Drake (Oranger) and John Dufilho (Deathray Davies) to record their own quirky brand of rock. So rock on, brothers. Or folk on, whatever grabs you…

All posters were invited to send in their top 25 (or whatever) cd’s of 2005. I awarded 8 points for first place, 5 for 2-5, 4 for 6-10, 3 for 11-15, 2 for 16-20 and 1 for 21-25. I imposed very few limitations, but things like reissues and live albums of previously released material tend to limit themselves, so I single them out at the end of the poll.

I think the real value here is to look for items on your list that only got two or three votes, and look at the lists of the individuals who also voted for ‘em. I’ve found some new favorites that way in the past… I appended the individual ballots to the end of the list (sorry about all the commas, there’s got to be a better way to do this and maybe I’ll discover it by next year).

Here’s the list:

1. Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, 15 votes, 88 points. One of those albums that reveals its greatness with dedicated and repeated listening. I’m not saying it’s as great as something like Exile on Main Street. I’m not saying it’s not, though. I always wonder if a “new” album will stand the test of time. I am usually pretty sure albums by folks like Bob Dylan, Steve Earle and Tom Waits will. I’m ready to add E to that short list.

2. Bloc Party, Silent Alarm, 16 votes, 71 points. This record reminds me of Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights… I don’t think it’s quite that good, but many here obviously think it is. Irishted can’t stop raving about the drummer. Well, he’s right. That guy can play.

3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 16 votes, 70 points. I was able to get past the quirky voice and into the guitars, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I wouldn’t call this the third best album of the year, but it was pretty refreshing and it wound up being a lot of people’s favorite. Pitchfork remains pretty proud of itself…

4. My Morning Jacket, Z, 17 votes, 69 points. These guys have become a fixture among this crowd, haven’t they? Note that they lead the poll in “votes”. I found this record a bit more “Stonesy” than their previous two, and just as great in its own way. Jim James has become pretty darned reliable.

5. White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan, 12 votes, 60 points. Here is where I start to have some problems with the voting. In the interest of accuracy, I must report that many people seemed to like this record. In the interest of honesty, I must ask “Why?” The song about the nurse is one of the most awful ones I’ve ever heard on a supposedly great rock record.

6. The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday , 11 votes, 60 points. Mr. Finn is a genuinely entertaining dude, and he’s backed by a terrific rock band. He’s bright, insightful, sardonic, funny as hell… I get Randy Newman vibes. Anybody else?

7. Spoon, Gimme Fiction, 12 votes, 50 points. I see the appeal, I really do. I just find their music too repetitive. And I realize I’m the odd man out. It’s not as though I haven’t tried. I spent my own money on two different Spoon albums, Girls Can Tell and this one. Maybe it’s just too cool for me.

8. Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning , 10 votes, 47 points. I liked the Desaparecidos album. Does that get me off the hook for not “getting” this one? I didn’t think so.

9. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois , 9 votes, 43 points. What state is next? Your guess is as good as mine, though rumor has it he was seen transcribing Bobby Knight’s Purdue locker room rant into stanza form…

10. Beck, Guero , 10 votes, 42 points. Old Reliable… this was a pretty good record, though I found it a bit of a step down from Sea Change.

11. New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, 10, 39
12. Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have Had It So Much Better , 8, 32
13. Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary , 7, 32
14. Kanye West, Late Registration, 7, 28
15. Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust , 7, 27
16. Wilco, Kicking Television , 5, 26
17. Calexico/Iron & Wine, In the Reins , 4, 20
18. Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman , 3, 20
19. Neil Young, Prairie Wind , 5, 19
20. Sharon Jones & Dap Kings, Naturally , 5, 18
21. Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart , 4, 18
22. Magnolia Electric Co, What Comes After the Blues , 4, 17
23. The Decemberists, Picaresque, 4, 17
24. Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang, 5, 16
25. Crooked Fingers, Dignity and Shame , 4, 16
26. Death Cab for Cutie, Plans, 4, 16
27. Minus the Bear, Menos El Oso, 4, 16
28. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods , 3, 16
29. South San Gabriel, The Carlton Chronicles, 3, 15
30. Deathray Davies, The Kick and the Snare, 4, 14
31. Oranger, New Comes and Goes, 4, 14
32. Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers , 4, 14
33. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl , 4, 13
34. Stars, Set Yourself on Fire , 4, 13
35. Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene , 3, 13
36. Idlewild, Warnings/Promises , 2, 13
37. Kaiser Chiefs, Employment, 4, 12
38. Clem Snide, End of Love , 3, 12
39. Common, Be , 3, 12
40. Ryan Adams, Cold Roses , 3, 12
41. Bettye Lavette, I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise , 2, 12
42. Josh Rouse, Nashville , 2, 12
43. Doves, Some Cities , 3, 11
44. Gorillaz, Demon Days , 3, 11
45. Ryan Adams, Jacksonville City Nights, 3, 11
46. Sigur Ros, Takk , 3, 11
47. The Bravery, The Bravery , 3, 11
48. Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak , 3, 10
49. LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem , 3, 10
50. Brendan Benson, The Alternative to Love , 2, 10
51. Danger Doom, The Mouse and the Mask , 3, 9
52. High Dials, War of the Wakening Phantoms , 2, 9
53. Hot Hot Heat, Elevator , 2, 9
54. Maximo Park, A Certain Trigger , 2, 9
55. Bob Mould, Body of Song , 2, 8
56. Brazilian Girls, Brazilian Girls , 2, 8
57. Caribou, Milk of Human Kindness , 2, 8
58. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back, 2, 8
59. Lucero, Nobody’s Darlings, 2, 8
60. Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy , 2, 8
61. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Face the Truth , 2, 8
62. The National, Alligator , 2, 8
63. Marah, If You Didn’t Laugh You’d Cry, 3, 7
64. Go! Team, Thunder Lightning Strike, 2, 7
65. Nada Surf, The Weight is a Gift, 2, 7
66. Robbie Fulks, Georgia Hard , 2, 7
67. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine , 2, 6
68. Frank Black, Honeycomb, 2, 6
69. Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams , 2, 6
70. M83, Before Dawn Heals Us, 2, 6
71. Matisyahu, Live at Stubbs, 2, 6
72. Rosco Gordon, No Dark in America , 2, 6
73. Soundtrack of Our Lives, Origins Vol. 1 , 2, 6
74. Sun Kil Moon, Tiny Cities , 2, 6
75. Various Artists, I Believe to My Soul, 2, 6
76. Teenage Fanclub, Man-Made, 2, 5


Various Artists, Scratchy Sounds: Ska, Dub Roots & Reggae Nuggets
Lee Perry, I Am The Upsetter: The Story of Lee "Scratch" Perry
Prince Far I, Silver & Gold 1973-1975
Bob Dylan, No Direction Home (Bootleg Series #7)
Various Artists, I Believe to My Soul
Various Artists, Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities, Vol. 1: 1968-1974


Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Dwight Yoakam, Blame the Vain
Lockgroove, Settle Right Down
John Dufilho,
South San Gabriel, The Carlton Chronicles
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Naturally
My Morning Jacket, Z
Teenage Fanclub, Man-Made
High Dials, War of the Wakening Phantoms
Oranger, New Comes and Goes
Ash, Meltdown
Deathray Davies, The Kick and the Snare
Magnolia Electric Co., What Comes After the Blues
Lucero, Nobody’s Darlings
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come on Back
Rosco Gordon, No Dark in America
Frank Black, Honeycomb
Marah, If You Didn’t Laugh You’d Cry
Ponys, Celebration Castle
Matisyahu, Live at Stubbs
New Estate, Considering…
The Bats, At the National Grid
Various Artists, I Believe to My Soul
The High Strung, Moxie Bravo
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,

Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Soundtrack of Our Lives, Origin 1
Maximo Park, A Certain Trigger
Kanye West, Late Registration
Bob Mould, Body of Song
Beck, Guero
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better
Hot Hot Heat, Elevator
The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang
Redwalls, De Nova
The Bravery, The Bravery
Stereophonics, Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
Hellacopters, Rock & Roll Is Dead
Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl
Dandy Warhols, Odditorium or Warlords of Mars
Black 47, Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes

Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Animal Collective, Feels
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
Lightning Bolt, Hypermagic Mountain
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Thunderbirds are Now!, Justamustache
M83, Before Dawn Heals Us

matt pond PA, Several Arrows Later
South San Gabriel , The Carlton Chronicles
Okkervil River , Black Sheep Boy
Mountain Goats, The Sunshine Tree
Oranger, New Comes and Goes
Minus the Bear, Menos el Oso
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
The Decemberists, Picaresque
My Morning Jacket, Z
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm

Idlewild, Warnings/Promises
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl
Common, Be
Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart
Deathray Davies, The Kick and the Snare
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Kanye West, Late Registration
Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
My Morning Jacket, Z
Gorillaz, Demon Days
The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
stellastarr*, Harmonies For The Haunted
Beck, Guero
The Go! Team, Thunder Lightning Strike

Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Bloc Party (and friends), Silent Alarm Remixed
The Bad Plus, Blunt Object: Live in Tokyo
Four Tet, Everything Ecstatic
Brazilian Girls, Brazilian Girls
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Matisyahu, Live at Stubb's
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Naturally
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake
Prefuse 73, Surrounded by Silence
The Bad Plus, Suspicious Activity
Snow Patrol, The Trip Vol. 4
Thelonius Monk & John Coltrane, Live at Carnegie Hall
Ladytron, Witching Hour
LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
Willie Nelson, Countryman
Engineers, Engineers
Toby Keith, Honkytonk U

Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Lucero, Nobody's Darlings
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
My Morning Jacket, Z
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Bob Mould, Body of Song
Clem Snide, End of Love
Frank Black, Honeycomb
Rosco Gordon, No Dark in America
Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
Deathray Davies, The Kick and the Snare
Sharon Jones & Dap Kings, Naturally
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Hubert Sumlin, About Them Shoes
Spinto Band, Nice and Nicely Done
Crooked Fingers, Dignity and Shame
Oranger, New Comes and Goes
Nada Surf, The Weight is a Gift

Magnolia Electric Co, What Comes After the Blues
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Impossible Shapes, Horus
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Broom
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
My Morning Jacket, Z
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
Caribou, Milk of Human Kindness
Edan, Beauty and the Beat
Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Armed Love
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Beak, I Have Friends and I'm Not Afraid to Use Them

Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Crooked Fingers, Dignity and Shame
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Naturally
The Blue Van, The Art of Rolling
Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
The Decemberists, Picaresque
I Am Kloot, Gods and Monsters
Calexico/Iron & Wine, In the Reins
The White Stripes, Get Behind Me
Little Barrie, We Are Little Barrie
Marah, If You Didn't Laugh
My Morning Jacket, Z
Clem Snide, End of Love
Eddie Spaghetti, Old No. 2 (I have a weakness for the Supersuckers; sue me)
Constantines, Tournament of Hearts
Supergrass, Road to Rouen
The Rosebuds, Birds Make Good Neighbors
Magnolia Electric Co., What Comes After the Blues
Sun Kil Moon, Tiny Cities
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
Sigur Ros, Takk
Danger Doom, The Mouse and the Mask
Spoon, Gimme Fiction

The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Walking Concert, Run to Be Born (2004)
Clem Snide, End of Love
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Neil Young, Prairie Wind
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Frames, Burn the Maps
Stephen Malkmus, Face the Truth
Oranger, New Comes and Goes
My Morning Jacket, Z
Rolling Stones, Bigger Bang
System of a Down, Mezmerize
Beck, Guero
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The High Dials, The War of Wakening Phantoms
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Lee Perry, I Am The Upsetter: The Story of Lee "Scratch" Perry
Rogue Wave, Descended Like Vultures
Maximo Park, A Certain Trigger
The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Various Artists, Scratchy Sounds
Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, The Greatest White Liar
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Spoon, Gimmie Fiction
My Morning Jacket, Z
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy
Stars, Set Yourself on Fire
The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Prince Far I, Silver & Gold 1973-1975
The Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Silversun Pickups. Pikul ,
Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams
Teenage Fanclub, Man-Made
The Bats, At the National Grid
matt pond PA, Several Arrows Later
The Wedding Present, Take Fountain
The Kaiser Chiefs, Employment

Josh Rouse, Nashville
Ryan Adams, Cold Roses
David Gray, Life in Slow Motion
Bob Dylan, No Direction Home (Bootleg Series #7)
Girlyman, Little Star
Josh Joplin, Jaywalker
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
Glenn Phillips, Winter Pays for the Summer
The Wallflowers, Rebel Sweetheart
Neil Young, Prarie Wind
Van Morrison, Magic Time
Ryan Adams, Jacksonville City Nights

Bettye Lavette, I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise.
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Various Artists, I Believe to My Soul
Richmond Fontaine, The Fitzgerald
Wilco, Kicking Television
Chocolate Genius Inc., Black Yankee Rock
My Morning Jacket, Z
John Doe, Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet
M. Ward, Transistor Radio
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Exploration
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl
Neil Young, Prairie Wind
Graham Parker, Songs of No Consequence
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Steve Dawson, Sweet is the Anchor
Son Volt, Okemah and the Melody of Riot
Robbie Fulks, Georgia Hard
North Mississippi All Stars, Elecrtic Blue Watermelon

The Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Robbie Fulks, Georgia Hard
Wilco, Kicking Television
Calexico/Iron & Wine, In the Reins
Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
Beck, Guero
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
My Morning Jacket, Z
Earlimart, Treble and Tremble

Bright Eyes, Wide Awake It's Morning
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Beck, Guero
Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise
Wilco, Kicking Television
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
The Go! Team, Thunder Lightning Strike
Kanye West, Late Registration
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have it So Much Better

Carbon Leaf, Indian Summer
James Blunt, Back to Bedlam
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
Amos Lee, Amos Lee

Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Wilderness, Wilderness
Lou Barlow, Emoh
The Boy Least Likely To, Best Party Ever
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Face the Truth
Danger Doom, Danger Doom
Minus the Bear, Menos El Oso

Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
The National, Alligator
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ,
Greg Dulli's Amber Headlights ,
Crooked Fingers, Dignity and Shame
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Beck, Guero
Weezer, Make Bel
ieve The Decemberists, Picaresque

Eels, Blinking Lights
Saxon Shore, The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
The Bravery, The Bravery
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Hammock, Kenotic
LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have Had It So Much Better
Brazilian Girls, Brazilian Girls
M83, Before Dawn Heals Us
The National, Alligator
Minus the Bear, Menos el Oso
Stars, Set Yourself on Fire
Kaiser Chiefs, Employment

Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Hot Hot Heat, Elevator
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Kanye West, Late Registration
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams
Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Calexico/Iron & Wine, In the Reins
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
Gorillaz, Demon Days
Audioslave, Your Time Has Come
Foo Fighters, In Your Honor
Rolling Stones, Bigger Bang
Death Cab for Cutie, Plans
Spoon, Gimme Fiction

Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
South San Gabriel, The Carlton Chronicles
Neil Young, Prairie Wind
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Doug Gillard, Salamander

New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
My Morning Jacket, Z
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better
Kanye West, Late Registration
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Cold Roses
Richard Buckner and Jon Langford, Sir Dark Invader vs. the Fanglord
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
The Bravery ,
Marah, If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry

Black Mountain, Black Mountain
Brendan Benson, The Alternative to Love
Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
The Magic Numbers, The Magic Numbers
Nickel Creek, Why Should The Fire Die?
The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang

Hold Steady, Separation Saturday
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, s/t
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Clipse, We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2
Kanye West, Late Registration
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Sage Francis, A Healthy Distrust
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Caribou, The Milk of Human Kindness
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
My Morning Jacket, Z
Beck, Guero
Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Common, Be
Doves, Some Cities
MIA, Arular
Sharon Jones & Dap Kings, Naturally
Fannypack, See You Next Tuesday

Hayes Carll, Little Rock
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Portastatic, Bright Ideas
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Bettye LaVette, I've Got My Own Hell To Raise
Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell, Begonias
The Deathray Davies, The Kick and the Snare

White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Coldplay, X&Y
Billy Corgan, TheFutureEmbrace
Death Cab for Cutie, Plans
Common, Be
Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
Kanye West, Late Registration
John Hiatt, Master of Disaster
The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang

The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
My Morning Jacket, Z
Brendan Benson, The Alternative to Love
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have it So Much Better

Wilco, Kicking Television
Eels, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
My Morning Jacket, Z
Doves, Some Cities
Kraftwerk, Minimum-Maximum
Kaiser Chiefs, Employment
Bruce Springsteen, Devils and Dust
Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better

bloc party, silent alarm
nada surf, the weight is a gift
sigur ros, takk
arcade fire, funeral
death cab for cutie, plans
trail of dead, worlds apart
the von bondies, pawn shoppe heart
doves, some cities
ryan adams, jackson city nights
danger doom, the mouse and the mask

Architecture in Helsinki, In Case We Die
Beck, Guero
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ,
Eels, Blinking Lights
Gorillaz, Demon Days
Josh Rouse, Nashville
Stars, Set Yourself on Fire
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary
Louis XIV, The Best Little Secrets are Kept
NIN, With Teeth

Iron & Wine/Calexico, In the Reins
Sun Kil Moon, Tiny Cities
Minus the Bear, Menos el Oso
Sigur Ros, Takk
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,
Magnolia Electric Co, What Comes After the Blues
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Iron & Wine, Woman King
My Morning Jacket, Z
Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
The Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
Beck, Guero
Bright Eyes, Digital Ash for a Digital Urn
White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan
Kaiser Chiefs, Employment
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Wilco, Kicking Television
Soundtrack of Our Lives, Origins Vol. 1
My Morning Jacket, Z
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl
Neil Young, Prairie Wind
Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,

Spoon, Gimme Fiction
My Morning Jacket, Z
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Watchers, The Dunes Phase
Idlewild, Warnings/Promises
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Cold Roses
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Jacksonville City Lights
Kathleen Edwards, Back to Me
Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
Crooked Fingers, Dignity and Shame
Stars, Set Yourself on Fire
The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan

Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
The Duhks ,
Beck, Guero
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Broken Social Scene ,
The Decemberists, Picaresque
The Faint, Wet From Birth
John Prine, Fair and Square
Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,

Backroom Top 10 of 2004

I present to you the top vote-getters in the 2004 ND Nation Album Poll. I awarded 10 points per first place vote, 8 for all others ranked 2-5, 6 for albums ranked 6-10, 4 for 11-15, and 2 for 16-20. There are exactly 50 albums which garnered more than one vote from Backroomers. I also will submit the individual lists for entry in the Almanac… if you see that one of your favorites got only two or three votes, look up the others who dug it and see if there are treasures on their list to be had. One observation: This year’s list is a little, uh, whiter than last year’s…

1. Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, 120 points, 16 mentions. Containing likely song-of-the-year medalist “Float On”, this album offered some of the most bracing rock sounds in a year full of them… Isaac Brock doesn’t follow a lot of rules, but with his talent, he gets away with it for the most part.

2. Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand, 112 points, 16 mentions. They’re Scottish, right? Or Welsh? I liked them pretty well, but to be completely honest, I don’t think they rock as hard as the Hives, Interpol or any number of unknown American garage-rock bands (Dirtbombs, High Strung, Reigning Sound, Sights)… but everybody else seems to like them. Go for it, dude.

3. Ted Leo & Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets, 96 points, 13 mentions. Which Notre Dame alum had the biggest 2004? Ted Leo or Charlie Weis?

4. Wilco, A Ghost is Born, 88 points, 12 mentions. In my opinion, they have outdone Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by a mile. I know Tweedy’s recycling influences pretty shamelessly (Crazy Horse guitar workouts, Neu synth/drum machine jams), but you know what? It’s not who you steal from, but how good you are that counts. Wilco is very good… maybe their strongest effort to date.

5. Arcade Fire, Funeral, 82 points, 11 mentions. This record came out of nowhere in late fall to knock a bunch of really great records down the list. It’s a rare record that both grabs you with its catchiness and grows on you with its richness and lyrics. Here’s one.

6. Interpol, Antics, 64 points, 9 mentions. No sophomore slump for this band, reputed to be one of the hardest-working in the business. It’s funny to me that they’re almost exactly half as popular as Franz Ferdinand. I think if this was the debut and FF was the followup effort, the positions would be exactly reversed…

7. Black Keys, Rubber Factory, 66 points, 8 mentions. Believe the hype, and don’t believe the conventional wisdom (most often true) that skinny white kids can’t play the blues. They play the blues, all right. They chew them up and spit them out in chunks.

8. Killers, Hot Fuss, 58 points, 8 mentions. One of a plethora of very good postpunk rock bands to arrive in 2004 (see Ferdinand, Franz and Fire, Arcade), these guys got the benefit of an appearance on the soundtrack to The O.C. (Some TV show all the kids watch…)

9. Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose, 50 points, 8 mentions. Jack White produced the album with his trademark Led Zep-blues-meets-grunge sound, but Loretta wrote all the songs and proved she still has the chops to hold her own with a bunch of rock players half her age.

10. U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 52 points, 7 mentions. Hey! How the hell did this get on here? I thought we only liked "critics' darlings"? Blame it on Steve Jobs, I guess.

Rounding out the top 50
11. Kanye West, The College Dropout, 50, 7
12. Walkmen, Bows + Arrows, 44, 7
13. Guided by Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed, 46, 6
14. Drive by Truckers, The Dirty South, 44, 6
15. Brian Wilson, Smile, 40, 6
16. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill, 38, 6
17. Snow Patrol, Final Straw, 34, 6
18. Iron & Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days, 34, 5
19. Richard Buckner, Dents and Shells, 34, 4
20. Garden State, Soundtrack, 30, 4
21. The Streets, A Grand Don't Come For Free, 30, 4
22. TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes, 28, 4
23. Tift Merritt, Tambourine, 24, 4
24. Willie Nelson, It Always Will Be, 14, 4
25. Prince, Musicology, 24, 3
26. Thermals, Fuckin A, 24, 3
27. Ponys, Laced With Romance, 22, 3
28. Old 97's, Drag It Up, 20, 3
29. Stereolab, Margarine Eclipse, 20, 3
30. Umphrey's McGee, Anchor Drops, 18, 3
31. Rockfour, Nationwide, 16, 3
32. Elvis Costello, Delivery Man, 14, 3
33. Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs, 18, 2
34. Jim White, Drill a Hole in that Substrate and Tell Me What You See, 18, 2
35. Green Day, American Idiot, 16, 2
36. Five for Fighting, The Battle for Everything, 14, 2
37. Jim Lauderdale, Headed for the Hills, 14, 2
38. Los Lobos, The Ride, 14, 2
39. Pinback, Summer in Abaddon, 14, 2
40. Allison Moorer, The Duel, 12, 2
41. Johnathon Rice, Untitled EP, 12, 2
42. Marah, 20000 Streets Under the Sky, 12, 2
43. Mission of Burma, OnOffOn, 12, 2
44. Rogue Wave, Out of the Shadow, 12, 2
45. Sonic Youth, Sonic Nurse, 12, 2
46. Unicorns, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, 12, 2
47. Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles, 12, 2
48. Zero 7, When it Falls, 12, 2
49. David Kilgour, Frozen Orange, 8, 2
50. Tom Waits, Real Gone, 8, 2

And here are all the entries...

Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Social Distortion, Sex Love and Rock & Roll
The Killers, Hot Fuss
Los Lobos, The Ride
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Los Lonely Boys, Los Lonely Boys
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Interpol, Antics
Snow Patrol, Final Straw

The Arcade Fire, Funeral
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Walkmen, Bows + Arrows
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South
Kanye West, The College Dropout
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Guided By Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Foreign Exchange, Connected
TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes
Secret Machines, Now Here is Nowhere
Ghostface, Pretty Toney Album
The Libertines, The Libertines
Rockfour, Nationwide
Neko Case, The Tigers Have Spoken

Arcade Fire, Funeral
Modest Mouse, Good News..
Interpol, Antics
Pinback, Summer in Abaddon
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
!!!, Louden Up Now
Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
Blonde Redhead, Misery is a Butterfly
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles
Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill
Sonic Youth, Sonic Nurse
Franz Ferdinand, S/T
Unicorns, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
Walkmen, Bows + Arrows

Modest Mouse, Good news For People Who Love Bad News
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Elliot Smith, From a basement on the hill
The Streets, A Grand don’t come for free
Willie Nelson, It always will be
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Interpol, Antics
Green Day, American Idiot
The Killers, Hot Fuss

Guided by Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Richard Buckner, Dents and Shells
Will Johnson, Vultures Await
Jim Lauderdale, Headed for the Hills
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
The Arcade Fire, Funeral
The Ponys, Laced With Romance
Rockfour, Nationwide
Los Lobos, The Ride
Matthew Sweet, Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu
Allison Moorer, The Duel
Anders Parker, Tell It to the Dust
Mark Lanegan Band, Bubblegum
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
David Kilgour, Frozen Orange
Richmond Fontaine, Post to Wire
Willie Nelson, It Always Will Be
Tom Waits, Real Gone
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
The Features, Exhibit A
Preston School of Industry, Monsoon
Human Television, All Songs Written by Human Television
McLusky, The Difference Between You and Me Is That I’m Not on Fire
Mission of Burma, Onoffon

Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Killers, Hot Fuss
Say Anything, Say Anything Is A Real Boy
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Prince, Musicology
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Velvet Revolver, Contraband
Walkmen, Bows + Arrows
Kanye West, The College Dropout

Richard Buckner, Dents and Shells
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Killers, Hot Fuss
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Garden State, Soundtrack
Steve Earle, The Revolution Starts Now
Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill

Sloan, Action Pact
Pedro the Lion, Achilles Heel
Rogue Wave, Out of the Shadow
Stereophonics, You Gotta Go There to Come Back
U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Mason Jennings, Use Your Voice
Wilco, A Ghost Is Born
O.A.R., 34th & 8th
Modest Mouse, Good News...
Iron & Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
DJ Danger Mouse, The Grey Album
Ted Leo, Shake the Streets
Five for Fighting, The Battle for Everything
Elvis Costello, Delivery Man
Willie Nelson, It Always Will Be

Five for Fighting, The Battle for Everything
Ike Reilly Assassination, Sparkle in the Finish
Bob Dylan, Bootleg Series 6: Concert at Philharmonic Hall
Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill
Grey Delisle, Graceful Ghost
U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Brian Wilson, Smile

Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Interpol, Antics
Talib Kweli, The Beautiful Struggle
Tortoise, It's All Around You
Stereolab, Margarine Eclipse

Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Bobby Bare Jr, From the End of Your Leash
Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South
Allison Moorer, The Duel
Kanye West, The College Dropout
Jim Lauderdale, Headed for the Hills
Interpol, Antics
Old 97's, Drag It Up
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Guided By Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Tift Merritt, Tambourine
Elvis Costello, Delivery Man
Umphrey's McGee, Anchor Drops
Marah, 20000 Streets Under the Sky
Muse, Absolution
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Snow Patrol, The Final Straw
Features, Exhibit A

Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Kill Bill 2, Soundtrack
Garden State, Soundtrack
U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Guided By Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Kanye West, College Dropout
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand

Breakup Society, James at 35
Unicorns, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Thermals, Fuckin A
Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South
Tom Waits, Real Gone
Wykantaug Monks, [tanks] (EP)
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Midgetmen, High Life

The Ponys, Laced With Romance
The Futureheads, The Futureheads
The Libertines, The Libertines
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Snow Patrol, The Final Straw
Joseph Arthur, Our Shadows Will Remain
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
David Kilgour, Frozen Orange
Human Television, All Songs by Human Television
TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Like Bad News
Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Please Describe Yourself
Rogue Wave, Out of the Shadow
Camera Obscura, Underacheivers Please Try Harder
Citizen Cope, Clarence Greenwood Recordings

Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Interpol, Antics
Garden State, Soundtrack
A.C. Newman, The Slow Wonder
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill
Walkmen, Bows + Arrows
Killers, Hot Fuss
Streets, A Grand Don't Come For Free
Snow Patrol, The Final Straw
Green Day, American Idiot
Citizen Cope, Clarence Greenwood Recordings
Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
Kanye West, The College Dropout
Keane, Hopes and Fears

Madvillain, Madvillainy
The Go! Team, Thunder Lightning Strike
The Bad Plus, Give
Fila Brazillia, The Life & Times of Phoebus Brumal / Dicks
Interpol, Antics
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Brian Wilson, Smile
Eagles of Death Metal, Peace Love Death Metal
Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
William Basinski, Disintegration Loops
V/A, Pathe 100: The Original Shanghai Divas
Tim Deluxe, The Little Ginger Club Kid
The Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Willie Nelson, It Always Will Be
Jason Forrest, The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash
Amp Fiddler, Waltz of a Ghetto Fly
Savath & Savalas, Manana
Toots & the Maytals , True Love

Ted Leo, Shake the Streets
Modest Mouse, Good News
Marah, 20000 Streets Under the Sky
The Killers, Hot Fuss
The Hives, Tyrannosaurus Hives
Richard Buckner, Dents and Shells
Wilco, A Ghost Is Born
Old 97's, Drag It Up
Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous

Modest Mouse, Good News...
Kanye West, College Dropout
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
The Streets, A Grand Don't Come For Free
Wilco, A Ghost Is Born
Brian Wilson, SMiLE
Snow Patrol, Final Straw
Elliot Smith, From a Basement on the Hill
The Fiery Furnaces, Blueberry Boat
The Walkmen, Bows and Arrows
The Samples, Black and White
Air, Talkie Walkie
Jay Farrar, Stone Steel & Bright Lights
Stereolab, Margerine Eclipse
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand

Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs

Richard Buckner, Dents and Shells
Sonic Youth, Sonic Nurse
Earlimart, Treble & Tremble
Nick Cave, Abbatoir Blues
Jim White, Drill a Hole in that Substrate and Tell Me What You See
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Stereolab, Margerine Eclipse
Zero 7, When it Falls
Johnathon Rice, Untitled EP
Tift Merritt, Tambourine

Guided By Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Robert Pollard, Fiction Man
Thermals, Fuckin A
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Rockfour, Nationwide
Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South
Von Bondies, Pawn Shoppe Heart

Morrissy, you are the quarry
The Ponys, laced with romance
Felix da Housecat, devin dazzle and the neon fever
The Streets, a grand don't come for free
These Arms Are Snakes, The lion sleeps
TV on the Radio, desperate youth bloodthirsty babes
The Killers, hot fuss
Franz Ferdinand, s/t
VHS or Beta, night on fire
Snow Patrol, final straw

Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Old 97's, Drag It Up
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Musicology, Prince
Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Danger Mouse, The Grey Album
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Kanye West, The College Dropout
Brian Wilson, Smile

Jim White, Drill a Hole in that Substrate...
Brian Wilson, Smile
Camper van Beethoven, New Roman Times
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Blues
Guided by Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Elvis Costello, Delivery Man
R.E.M., Around the Sun
Ellis Hooks, Uncomplicated
Drive by Truckers, The Dirty South
Chris Stamey, Travels in the South

Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Umphrey's Mcgee, Anchor Drops
Garden State, Soundtrack

Green Day, American Idiot
Brian Wilson, SMiLE
The Grateful Dead, The Closing of Winterland
Drive By Truckers, The Dirty South
U2, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Kanye West, The College Dropout
U2, ...Atomic Bomb
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Linkin Park/Jay-Z, Numb/Encore
Gretchen Wilson, Here for the Party

Prince, Musicology
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
The Killers, Hot Fuss
Tift Merritt, Tambourine
Starsailor, Silence Is Easy
Iron & Wine, Our Endless Munbered Days
Interpol, Antics
Keane, Hopes & Fears

TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth Bloodthirsty Babes
Wilco, A Ghost is Born
Interpol, Antics
Walkmen, Bows + Arrows
Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Mission of Burma, OnOffOn
Umphrey's McGee, Anchor Drops
Aloha, Here Comes Everyone
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles
Beak, Amoral Mayor Earwig

Ted Leo & Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Thermals, Fuckin A
Mclusky, The Difference Between You and Me is I'm Not On Fire
American Music Club, Love Songs for Patriots
Walkmen, Bows & Arrows
Pinback, Summer in Abaddon
Blue Nile, High
Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Mission of Burma, OnOffOn

Backroom Top 10 of 2003

Here are the top ten vote-getters. As I mentioned, I gave 4 points for first place, 3 for 2nd or 3rd, 2 for 4th-6th, and 1 for 7th-10th.

1. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves. Great throwback album gives you that blacklight poster feeling again. 11 mentions, 30 points, 2 first place votes.

2. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Massive quantities of catchy beats and rhymes, and enough quality to top several lists. 7 mentions, 24 points, 4 first place votes.

3. Warren Zevon, The Wind. Did he record his best album on his deathbed? That "Knocking on Heaven's Door" is pretty haunting, but it's also a great cover of a great song. 8 mentions, 21 points, 2 first place votes.

4. The Jayhawks, Rainy Day Music. Seems like a return to form for this durable alt/country band. I think their touring the last couple of years has helped raise awareness… 7 mentions, 19 points, 1 first place vote.

5. Robert Randolph, Unclassified. I guess I need to get this record. Hard to argue with the company it’s in on this chart… 5 mentions, 17 points, 3 first place votes.

6. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow. Mercer’s songwriting skills have grown since “Oh, Inverted World”. The songs are subtler, the lyrics are more discernible (and better). No sophomore slump here… 8 mentions, 16 points, 2 first place votes.

7. Radiohead, Hail to the Thief. “Fear of Rock” retains a spot in the top ten. I am unqualified to comment on this record. Others’ comments welcome… 7 mentions, 16 points, 1 first place vote.

8. Guided by Voices, Earthquake Glue. If you put together all the votes for the FIVE GbV titles in the survey, plus the votes for Lifeguards and Robert Pollard’s Motel of Fools, they might be #1. But I’d rather have the quantity than have him try to distill his magic… 5 mentions, 16 points, 2 first place votes.

9. Ted Leo & Pharmacists, Hearts of Oak. Great breakout year for Notre Dame’s most visible indie rock graduate. Oh, what’s that? He’s the ONLY indie-rock graduate? Doesn’t lessen the accomplishment a bit… 5 mentions, 13 points, 1 first place vote.

10. (tie) Centro-Matic, Love You Just the Same. Mr.Natural is happy he talked enough of you into buying this to vote it into the top ten. All the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Pure rock enjoyment, that’s what! 5 mentions, 12 points, 2 first place votes.

10. (tie) New Pornographers, Electric Version. Super-catchy power pop from Canadian indie supergroup. The song “The Laws Have Changed” is the one that pulls it all together for them, with Neko Case’s spectacular vocals… 5 mentions, 12 points, 1 first place vote.

10. (tie) Joe Strummer, Streetcore. As Rocksteady 74 said, “Sympathy vote? Who cares!” Another artist who had been doing some of his greatest work nearly 30 years after his first… 5 mentions, 12 points, 0 first place votes.

Poster whose top 10 most closely resembled the Backroom's Top 10: Tie, GMatous, Naughman and Irishvol, each with 5.

Poster whose top 10 had the least in common with the Backroom Top 10: Tie, Final Flanner and Domer 05, each with 0. They may be the prophets in the wilderness, or maybe they should just get in step…

Recommendations for cd's none of you mentioned, but made my top 20:

Caitlin Cary, I'm Staying Out. I think every one of you would like this. She's a terrific country singer, and her songwriting is improving (it was already pretty damn good). Songs about living, loving and being a grown-up... if you like that about Springsteen and Zevon, she's in that class, as far as I'm concerned. One review I read this year compared her work to the post-Whiskeytown work of Ryan Adams and came to the conclusion that he had received undue credit for the greatness of that band...

Matthew Ryan, Regret Over the Wires. I wish he could get a deal with a label for more than one album. He just released his first material in Britain (after four albums in the US). Talk about your undiscovered treasure! Really, any of his records will do the trick. The quality of songwriting and playing is uniform. RIYL: Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Bob Dylan.

Deathray Davies, Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory. Dumbest title for a great album of 2003. Power pop with a grunge aftertaste. Dallas' little secret. Help let it out... RIYL: The Wrens, The Promise Ring, Fountains of Wayne with more of an edge.

Thanks very much for voting; I enjoy reading your comments and discovering new stuff through you all.

Here are all the entries...

1. Centro-Matic, Love You Just the Same
2. Guided by Voices, Earthquake Glue
3. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
4. The Wrens, Meadowlands
5. Caitlin Cary, I’m Staying Out
6. Calexico, Feast of Wire
7. Crooked Fingers, Red Devil Dawn
8. Dwight Yoakam, Population: Me
9. Cat Power, You Are Free
10. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow

1. Robert Randolph & Family Band – Unclassified
2. White Stripes – Elephant
3. Zwan - Mary Star of the Sea
4. Warren Zevon, The Wind
5. A.F.I. - Sing the Sorrow

1. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
2. Radiohead – HTTF
3. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
4. Ted Leo and the Rx - Hearts of Oak
5. $.50 get rich or die tryin' (had to list it)

Spiral Stairs
1. Ted Leo/Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak
2. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
3. Prefuse 73 - One Word Extinguisher
4. New Pornographers - Electric Version
5. The Rapture – Echoes
6. Songs:Ohia - Magnolia Electric Company
7. The Bad Plus - These Are The Vistas
8. Super Furry Animals - Phantom Power
9. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
10. Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress

ND Trumpet
1. Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium
2. Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers
3. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
4. Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway
5. Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
6. M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts
7. Ted Leo - Hearts of Oak (my copy is autographed!)
8. The Wrens - The Meadowlands
9. The Libertines - Up the Bracket
10. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
1. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
2. Zwan - Mary, Star of the Sea
3. Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
4. Wilco - More Like the Moon

1. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
2. Wyclef Jean - The Preacher's Son
3. Pearl Jam - Lost Dogs
4. Warren Zevon, The Wind
5. The Wrens - The Meadowlands
6. Radiohead - Hail to the thief
7. The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side
8. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
9. The Roots - Phrenology
10. Lou Reed - The Raven

The Twerp
1. White Stripes, Elephant
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
3. The Kills, Keep on Your Mean Side
4. The Shins, Chutes too Narrow
5. Linkin Park, Meteora
6. Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism
7. Stellastarr, Stellastarr
8. Jet, Get Born
9. Grandaddy, Sumday
10. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Hearts of Oak

Francisco Brothers
1. New Pornographers - Electric Version
2. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
3. Cat Power - You Are Free
4. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
5. Sumday - Grandaddy
6. Drive By Truckers - Decoration Day
7. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
8. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Pig Lib
9. Beulah - Yoko
10. Thermals - More Parts Per Million

Final Flanner
1. Guster - Keep it Together
2. Zwan - Mary Star of the Sea
3. GBV - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates
4. Dave Matthews - Some Devil
5. Jack Johnson - On and On
6. Ben Harper - Diamonds on the Inside
7. Mighty Wind Soundtrack

1. Earthquake Glue - Guided By Voices
2. Demons and Painkillers - Guided by Voices
3. Mist King Urth - Lifeguards
4. Love You Just the Same - Centromatic
5. Electric Version - New Pornographers
6. King Me - Visqueen
7. The Wind - Warren Zevon
8. It Still Moves -My Morning Jacket
9. Strays - Jane's Addiction
10. Post Punk X-Man - GBV short song compilation

Irish Cavan
1. The Wind -- Zevon
2. Strays -- Jane's Addiction
3. The Raven -- Lou Reed
4. Nocturama -- Nick Cave
5. Hail to the Thief -- Radiohead
6. What's Wrong with this Picture -- Van Morrison
7. Everything Must Go -- Steely Dan
8. Greendale -- Neil Young
9. Up the Bracket -- Libertines
10. Just an American Boy --- Steve Earle

Irish Texan
1. The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow
2. The Jayhawks, Rainy Day Music
3. The Stills, Logic Will Break Your Heart
4. Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway
5. Dwight Yoakam, Population: Me
6. Warren Zevon, The Wind
7. The Thorns, The Thorns
8. Los Lonely Boys, Los Lonely Boys
9. Explosions in the Sky, The World Is Not a Cold Dead Place
10. Lyle Lovett, My Baby Don't Tolerate

1. Damien Rice, O
2. Jayhawks, Rainy Day Music
3. Jet, Get Born
4. Joe Strummer, Streetcore
5. Liz Phair, Liz Phair
6. Shins, Chutes Too Naroow
7. Postal Service, Give Up
8. Longwave, The Strangest Things
9. Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
10. Wheat, Per Second, Per Second, Per Second... Every Second

1. Unclassified - Robert Randolph and the Family Band
2. Ryan Adams - Rock n Roll
3. Steve Winwood - About Time
4. Derek Trucks Band - Soul Serenade
5. Jet - Get Born
6. Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won
7. Soulive (Live)
8. On The Beach - Neil Young (first released on CD in '03)
9. Steely Dan - Everything Must Go
10. Javon Jackson - Easy Does It

Domer 05
1. The Beatles - Let it Be... Naked
2. Dave Matthews - Some Devil
3. Toby Keith - Unleashed
4. Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won
5. Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will
6. Three Doors Down - Away from the Sun
7. Guster - Keep it Together
8. Barenaked Ladies - Everything to Everyone
9. Evanescence - Fallen
10. A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step

JD in Portland
1. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
2. Warren Zevon, The Wind
3. The Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music
4. Joe Henry - Tiny Voices
5. Kathleen Edwards - Failer
6. Drive By Truckers - Decoration Day
7. Joe Strummer - Streetcore
8. Tim Easton - Break your Mother's Heart
9. The Thorns
10. Paul Westerberg - Come Feel Me Tremble

1. Centro-Matic -- Love You Just the Same
2. Deftones
3. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
4. Jayhawks -- Rainy Day Music
5. Mark Olson -- December's Child
6. Dropkick Murphys – Blackout

1. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
2. Ted Leo, Hearts of Oak
3. Chevelle, Send the Pain Below
4. 50 Cent, Get RIch or Die Tryin
5. Jay Z, the Black Album
6. The Roots, Phreneology
7. Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
8. Coldplay, Rush of Blood
9. Linkin Park, Somewhere I Belong
10. Kenny Chesney, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.

1. Robert Randolph - Unclassified
2. The Thorns
3. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
4. Buddy Guy - Blues Singer
5. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
6. North Mississippi All-Stars - Polaris
7. Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music
8. Ben Harper - Diamonds on the Inside
9. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
10. Paul Westerberg - Come Feel Me Tremble

Rocksteady74 1. Shins, Chutes Too Narrow
2. Joe Strummer, Streetcore (sympathy vote? who cares?)
3. Wrens, The Meadowlands
4. Ballboy, A Guide to the Daylight Hours
5. Mull Historical Society, Us
6. Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress
7. The Long Winters, When I Pretend to Fall
8. Crooked Fingers, Red Devil Dawn
9. Guster, "Keep it Together
10. Tie: Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism; and The Postal Service, Give Up

1. Earthquake Glue, Guided By Voices
2. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
3. Live at the Wheelchair Races, Guided By Voices (It counts)
4. Hearts of Oak, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
5. Motel of Fools, Robert Pollard
6. Red Devil Dawn, Crooked Fingers
7. Mist King Urth, Lifeguards
8. Magnolia Electric Company, Songs:Ohia
9. Love You Just the Same, Centro-Matic
10. Meadowlands, The Wrens

1. Warren Zevon, The Wind
2. Joe Strummer: Streetcore
3. Buddy Guy: Blues Singer
4. Ben Harper: Diamonds On The Inside
5. Robert Randolph: Unclassified

1. Greg Trooper: Floating.
2. Joe Strummer: Streetcore
3. Warren Zevon, The Wind
4. Jayhawks: Rainy Day Music
5. The Strokes: Room on Fire

1. Outkast, Speakerboxx/The Love Below
2. Decoration Day, Drive-By Truckers
3. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
4. The Black Album, Jay-Z
5. How the West Was Won, Led Zeppelin
6. Earthquake Glue, Guided By Voices
7. Thickfreakness, The Black Keys
8. Chutes Too Narrow, The Shins
9. Love You Just the Same, Centro-Matic
10. Fever To Tell, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

1. JayHawks-Rainy Day Music
2. The Incredible Soul Collection-2CDs
3. Robert Randolph- Unclassified
4. Van Morrison-What's Wrong with this Picture
5. Guided by Voices – Human Amusements at Hourly Rates
6. The Black eyed Peas - Elephunk
7. Franky Perez-Poor Man's Son
8. Dylan Reissues
9. Beatles - Let it Be Naked

Slainte Joe
1. My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves
2. Gillian Welch - Soul Journey
3. GbV - Earthquake Glue
4. Lyle Lovett - My Baby Don't Tolerate

The Back Room's favorite people

George W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Pope John Paul II
House of Representatives
Supreme Court
Monk Malloy

Art McDermott
1 Branch Place
Lowell MA 01851-1712

The Back Room's Restaurant Reviews
(Pick a State)






Restaurant: Savannah Chop House

Location: Laguna Niguel, CA

Style/Cuisine: American Grill with Southern Flair

Price Range: $12-$28

Why you recommend it: Super wine list, best martini bar in the area, wonderful ambience-outside ocean view seating with Piano, try the Maryland Crab cakes.

Restaurant: Gary Danko

Location: San Francisco

Style/Cuisine: California

Price Range: $55-75 (fixed-price menu)

Why you recommend it: Best California food in the City

Restaurant: Slanted Door

Location: San Francisco (South Beach)

Style/Cuisine: Asian

Price Range: $60 per person including wine/beer

Why you recommend it: I don't know if it is truly considered Asian Fusion or not but I do know that every dish was completely unique. There wasn't a bottle of soy sauce to be found.

Restaurant: Sierra Mar

Location: Big Sur, California (30 miles south of Monterey)

Style: Contemporary American

Price Range: Fixed Menu - $75

Why I recommend it: Incredible food, service, and view. The restaurant is perched on a 1000' cliff over the pacific. You can also stay at the resort, if you can afford the $900/night for a private cabin (which I decidedly couldn't).

Restaurant: Martini House

Location: St. Helena

Style/Cuisine: The write-up we read described it as "Napa Cuisine"

Price Range: $75 per person including wine

Why you recommend it: The food was outstanding but the real draw of this place is the physical plant. Its a converted crafstman home with a beautiful garden that is really breathtaking.

Restaurant: Sam's

Location: Tiburon, right on the bay.

Style/Cuisine: bar/restaurant with outside patio on the water.

Price Range: $10-$20

Why you recommend it: Beautiful views, hot marin chicks, good seafood.

Restuarant: Tapenade

Location: LaJolla

Sytle/Cuisine French/continental

Price Range: $25-50

Why you recommend it: Best french food on the west coast

Restuarant: Chives

Location: Gaslamp district, San Diego

Sytle/Cuisine modern fusion

Price Range: $25-40

Why you recommend it: Hip eatery with great food, beautiful people and great service

Restuarant: Phils Barbecue

Location: Hillcrest area, San Diego

Sytle/Cuisine casual and take out

Price Range: $10-15

Why you recommend it: Finger licking monster cue, cannot believe such barbecue can be west of the Mississippi

Restuarant: Come On In

Location: LaJolla

Sytle/Cuisine: Bistro style food, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner

Price Range: $5-15

Why you recommend it: You can wear anything to this local bistro, nice outdoor dining to enjoy the LaJolla talent. You will also bump into NFL players and their agents conversing over their new contract

Restaurant: Hash House a Go Go...

Location: HillCrest, San Diego

Sytle/Cuisine: Nouveau

Price Range: $15-25

Why you recommend it: Good Food fun

Restuarant: The Boat Hose...

Location: Coronado

Sytle/Cuisine: Sea Food/Steaks

Price Range: $35-50

Why you recommend it: Good Food/Setting/Wine...Wife Had sex after eating there...with me even



Restaurant: Sally's or Pepe's Pizza

Location: New Haven Connecticut

Style/Cuisine: Pizza

Price Range: cheap

Why you recommend it: Hands down the best Pizza in the world




Restaurant: Blue Ridge Grill

Location: Atlanta/Buckhead (I think. It's within the city of Atlanta)

Style/Cuisine: Eclectic American

Price Range: Expense account

Why I recommend it: Terrific food. I've had two different seafood entrees and salads, all very good. The fried pickles are available as an appetizer, and are recommended.

Restaurant: Bones

Location: Atlanta/Buckhead (OuterInner Atlanta)

Style/Cuisine: Steak. If you order anything else, you're on your own.

Price Range: Expense account

Why I recommend it: Best steak in town, one of the best I've ever had. Also, you may be dining in close proximity to, say, Chipper Jones or Jermaine Dupree, and some people like that sort of thing... celebrities tend to be left alone and thus enjoy eating there.



Location: On the road to Hana

Style/Cuisine: Fresh Fish

Price Range: Expensive

Why you recommend it: Literally on the beach; beautiful views; great food; and you have to be on Maui to go there.



Restaurant: Bella Notte

Location: 1372 West Grand, Chicago

Style/Cuisine: Italian (blend of Tuscany and Mediteranean)

Price Range: mid level price range - $12-20 entree

Why you recommend it: great authentic ilatian food, good price and not many tourists - good place for a date.

Restaurant: Wishbone

Location: 1001 W. Washington, Chicago

Style/Cuisine: Southern Reconstruction Cooking

Price Range: $10-20 per person

Why you recommend it: Nobody else serves catfish, crab cakes, and/or bean cakes with eggs. The coffee is strong and the Bloody Marys are stronger.

Restaurant: Davis Street Fish Market

Location: Davis and Hinman, Evanston, IL

Style/Cuisine: Seafood

Price Range: $40-50 per person, maybe more if you drink a lot.

Why you recommend it: Variety of outstanding fish entrees, variety of preparation methods. The food is elegant, but the atmosphere is casual. Good appetizers, good side dishes.


Restaurant: CJ's Pub

Location: South Bend, downtown

Style/Cuisine: pub grub

Price Range: cheap

Why you recommend it: the waffle fries, the cheap beer, but most of all -- the burgers. Best burger in South Bend, and possibly the world.

Restuarant: 24 Hrs Coffee Shop (a.k.a. Fat Shirley's)

Location: Twyckenham & Mishawaka, South Bend IN

Style/Cusine: Greasy spoon, oversized portions

Price Range: All of Cambodia could likely be fed for under $20.

Why you recommend it: Eisenhower-era prices, the building has character as well as some patrons of questionable character, a guarantee to bring back a few hazy memories of some late night student post bar feast, and if you are truly lucky then you may even get yelled at by the portly Shirley.

Restaurant: Parisi's

Location: SR 23, South Bend

Style/Cuisine: Italian

Price Range:

Why you recommend it: Good Italian food and a view of the Dome from your table. Where Notre Dame takes football recruits for dinner.

Restaurant: Sunny Italy


Style/Cuisine: Italian

Price Range:

Why you recommend it: The oldest Italian Restaurant in town, operated by the same family that runs Bambers Superette on Mishawaka, Ave. Excellent food.

Restaurant: Fiddler's Hearth

Location: downtown South Bend

Style/Cuisine: Irish fare.

Price Range:

Why you recommend it: Pub style fish and chips, good location.

Restaurant: Francesco's

Location: Mishawaka

Style/Cuisine: Italian

Price Range:

Why you recommend it: Good Italian run by former Notre Dame chef.

Restaurant: Carriage House

Location: South Bend

Style/Cuisine: International

Price Range: $$$ - $$$$

Why you recommend it: Intimate dining room in a converted 19th century church. Attentive, yet not obnoxious, servers. Inventive specials coupled with a solid to excellent regular menu. Best wine list in the county, maybe even the state. And desserts. Impossible to pick between the double cherry pie with lattice crust, their apple crumb pie, their four layer cake frosted with white mousse and covered in fresh strawberries, or their mint chocolate chip cheesecake. An excellent alternative to the LaSalle Grill or The Summit Club for fine dining in the South Bend area. Great for special occasions, taking your out-of-town guests, corporate recruiting, or just looking for a great meal.

SBDomer's Downtown South Bend Pub Tour

The tour has a little something for everyone, but starts off at the higher class places downtown and generally gets a little less so as the tour progresses. You can skip the first two if you're not in the mood or not dressed for a classier joint. All of these establishments except the last one are on one city block, bordered by LaSalle, Main, Washington and Michigan Streets. This tour works great on the Friday of a home football weekend, but also works well enough on any other Wed - Sat night.

1. Football Fridays Tent Party - in the middle of Michigan Street at Washington, across from the Hall of Fame

Live music, food, beer, mixed drinks and wine from 7 to 10 pm. A huge tent (heated in cold weather) is erected over Michigan Street. This is a great place to fill the gap between the pep rally and the time the bars start to get going. Licensed Notre Dame apparel is on sale in case you didn't bring the right clothes from home for our unpredictable weather. This event only happens on the Friday night of home football weekends, so on to stop 2 on any other night.

2. The Vine - NW corner of Michigan and Colfax

This is our local wine bar/restaurant, in its second location after a successful start-up near the Hall of Fame. The bar area is small, but a good place to kick off your tour. Reasonable selection of beer, mostly in bottles, some lighter fare.

3. Club LaSalle - walk W on Colfax

This is on the third floor above LaSalle Grill. It's our brick wall, cigar bar, couch-filled jazz club nightspot. Great place to relax and get a tremendous appetizer or light meal. A favorite Thursday night spot for celebrities in for football weekends or other events. Smithwick's on tap.

4. Madison Oyster Bar - walk W on Colfax, cross Main, walk S on Main

You may remember a place by this name near the East Race. The only thing this shares with that is the name. The first floor is one of those long-bar, narrow room neighborhood type joints. Reasonable bar food and beer selection. Don't miss the cool third floor, which fills up late but is a great place to hang out when the crowds are out.

5. Fiddler's Hearth - walk S on Main

This is our public house. A good place to spot young Irish dancers or local bands playing Irish folk music. Plenty of good beer and food from the British Isles available. Its true character is not apparent on crowded football weekends, but at other times a very pleasant place to pass the time with friends.

6. BW-3 - walk S on Main, cross Main, E on Washington

You probably have one of these in your town. The only "chain" in the group. Skip it if you want local authentic places, or stop in for lots of televisions, wings and draft beers.

7. McCormick's - walk E on Washington, N on Michigan

This is still the nasty dive you remember from your college days. It has no redeeming qualities other than large cheap beers. A true classic and worthy of a stop at the end of any self-respecting pub tour.

8. Corby's - walk N on Michigan, E on Colfax, over the river, over the East Race, N on Niles to LaSalle

No this is not the Corby's, formerly located at the fabled Five Points intersection, but it is the same Corby's featured in Rudy. As crowded, dirty and shameless as any true college bar could hope to be. If you go in for that kind of scene, you'll love it here.

That last walk over to Corby's is not as long as it looks, but it's not short - I just can't, in good conscience recommend that you drive at that point. We don't have roaming cabs in South Bend, but if you make it through this pub tour in one piece, keep these numbers handy: Yellow Cab (574) 233-9333, Checker Cab (574) 288-7777. Have fun and don't forget to tip your bartenders.


Restaurant: The Other Place

Location: Cedar Falls, IA - College St. and 23rd St.

Style/Cuisine: Pizza and Pub

Price Range: $20 - Large

Why I recommend it: Great pizza and very college atmosphere. Head early as the Northern Iowa students take over by 9 PM.

Restaurant: Montage

Location: Cedar Falls, IA - Main St and 5th St.

Style/Cuisine: Continental

Price Range: $20/plate

Why I recommend it: Terrific food. Great upscale enviornment and atmosphere. Service is typically excellent. Great wine selection.





Restaurant: Morse's Restaurant

Location: Harpswell, ME

Style/Cuisine: Maine seafood

Price Range: < $15

Why you recommend it: Floating outdoor-only restaurant. Lobster and steamers straight from the boat to the pot. Great lobster rolls and onion rings. Bring your own booze and pour it as you like it. Beautiful scenery. Simple, low-key, hidden gem. What more could you want?



Restuarant: La Summa Location: 35 Fleet St., Boston (North End)

Style/Cuisine: Traditional Southern Italian

Price Range: Entrees $12-20

Why you recommend it: It's hard to go wrong in the North End, but this one is my favorite. Fleet St. is a little-traveled side street, so it's a welcome respite from the crowd on Hanover St. On some weeknights, you can practically have the place to yourself. The food is equal to or better than anything I've tried at more popular places, the portions are large, and the prices are very reasonable. I recommend the Arancini as an appetizer, and any number of entrees are excellent.

Restaurant: Legal Sea Foods

Location: Many locations up and down the east coast

Cuisine: Seafood (duh)

Price Range: Entrees $15-25

Why you recommend it: Yes, it's a chain. It's also the most consistently excellent seafood restaurant I've visited (no matter which location), and I really like seafood. Red Lobster it ain't. Everything is fresh (Legal makes a big deal about this), the specials are usually very interesting, and the wine list is excellent. It's hard to recommend a specific entree, as I've never had a bad meal, but at least have a cup of New England Clam Chowder and try the mashed potatoes as a side dish.







Restaurant: Upstream Restaurant and Brewery

Location: Omaha - Old Market - 11th and Jackson St.

Style/Cuisine: American/Seafood

Price Range: $15/person

Why I recommend it: Wonderful atmosphere, food and beer. Also has a pool hall in the upstairs that is perfect for low-key Saturday nights.

Restaurant: El Alamo

Location: Omaha - 25th St and N St.

Style/Cuisine: Mexican

Price Range: Cheap

Why I recommend it: Probably the best authentic Mexican food in Omaha. In the heart of the hispanic district, a great spot for lunch.


New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

Restuarant: Birricchino

Location: 260 W. 29th St (corner of 8th Ave) 212-695-6690

Style/Cuisine: Italian

Price: $30+

Why you recommend it: Small and Friendly Spot just 4 blocks from the Garden. The sausages there are out of this world. Check out the Rigatoni with Sundried Tomatoes. I guarantee you will come back here every time you go to the BET.

Restuarant: Union Square Cafe

Location: 21 E. 16th St.(bet 5th Ave and Union Sq.) 212-243-4020

Style/Cuisine: New American - Run by one of the best chefs in NYC. Voted Most Popular Restaurant in NYC

Price: $60+

Why you recommend it: Eating here during the 1st and 2nd sessions of the first day of the BET is tough but you can do it. There are two ways to do this; a.) eat at the bar- food is the same- service is the same - and your waiter/bartender doesn't disappear. b.) make reservation early and have a nice leisurely meal that you will rave about for the next six months. The Tuna dish or Lobster Pie(think Shepard's Pie with Lobster) are great picks

Restuarant: Virgil's Real BBQ

Location:152 W 44th St (btw Broadway and 6th Ave.) 212-921-9494

Style/Cuisine: Ribs and BBQ

Price: $30+

Why you recommend it: Excellent BBQ, quick service, Cold Beer. What more could you want? I know this place is not Lee's BBQ of South Bend but you will be impressed. The serving are huge, considering this is a NYC restaurant.

Restuarant: Tupelo Grill

Location: 1 Penn Plaza (33rd St btw 7th Ave and 8th Ave.) 212-760-2700

Style/Cuisine: Think TGI Fridays with Style, excellent pre-game meal

Price: $45+

Why you recommend it: Good location, right at the Garden.

Restuarant: Moran's Chelsea

Location: 146 10th Ave (corner of 19th St.) 212-627-3030

Style/Cuisine: Upscale Irish Pub, seafood and steak menu

Price $42

Why you recommend it: Three reasons: Ambiance of Waterford Crystal and Tiffany Lamps. Blazing Firplaces. Location- only 14 blocks away from Madison Square Garden.

Restaurant: Gallagher's

Location: Manhattan -- 53rd and 8th

Style/Cuisine: Steakhouse

Price Range: $40 per person -- appetizer, main course, side, glass of wine or beer.

Why you recommend it: The best little-known steakhouse in NYC, that is just as good as Peter Luger, Sparks, or Smith and Wollensky's. HUGE portions and blue-collar setting.

Restaurant: Maya

Location: 64th and 1st

Style/Cuisine: Mexican/Mayan

Price Range: $60 per person

Why you recommend it: Best Mexican restaurant in the city. Includes traditional Mayan fare to make Mexican food unlike most any you've had before. Food's amazing and if you're going with friends there are plenty young latinas to hit on. But at the same time, if you're going with your girlfriend or wife, it is very romantic.

North Carolina

North Dakota





Restaurant: Primanti Brothers

Location: many throughout downtown Pittsburgh, Strip District is the best

Style/Cuisine: famous sandwiches along with chili and soups.

Price Range:about $5.00 for sammie, thats what to get.

Why you recommend it: its Pittsburgh. THe sandwich is made in front of you on a grill, I suggest capicola, roast beef, corned beef, turkey. Topped with fries, cole slaw and tomato. Good, quick, cheap.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota


Restaurant: Mafioza's

Location: Nashville (12th South District, near Belmont U)

Style/Cuisine: Pizza, Casual Italian entrees

Price Range: Middle range? Not expensive at all. You can take the kids.

Why I recommend it: Pizza is tremendous. Salads are pretty good, and I understand that their beer and wine selection is good. They also serve a Sunday brunch w/ a terrific sausage/egg/cheese casserole type thing.

Restaurant: Rosepepper Grill and Cantina

Location: Nashville (East of Downtown)

Style/Cuisine: Offbeat Mexican (not very spicy, but very flavorful)

Price Range: Middle range

Why I recommend it: It's very good and close to downtown. Live music most nights.

Restaurant: The Rendezvous Location: Memphis, TN

Sytle/Cuisine: Southern Smoked Bar B Q

Price Range: $40-50 for two

Why you recommend it: Memphis is famous for it's "dry" style of ribs and the Rendezvous' dry rub makes them the best. Also famous for their sausage and cheese plate appetizer and pork bar-b-que nachos.

Restaurant: Corky's

Location: Memphis

Style/Cuisine: BBQ (wet)

Price Range: $5-10 for one

Why you recommend it: The "wet" alternative to Rendevous. Good (not great) BBQ, but it's good for the tourist. The BBQ Nachos are excellent. Good tamales as well.

Restaurant: Germantown Commisary

Location: Germantown, TN (suburb east of Memphis)

Style/Cuisine: BBQ

Price Range: $5-10 for one

Why you recommend it: Great out-of-the way BBQ. More of a smoked flavor than the others.

Restaurant: Interstate Bar-B-Q

Location: Memphis

Style/Cuisine: BBQ

Price Range: Cheap ($20 for two with some beer)

Why you recommend it: Not as "touristy" as the Rendevous or Corky's. Just as good.


Restaurant: The Salt Lick BBQ

Location: Austin, Tx

Style/Cuisine: Texas BBQ

Price Range: $15 (all you can eat)

Why you recommend it: Great atmosphere, BYOB, beef, beef, and more beef.

Restaurant: El Arroyo

Location: Austin, TX on W. 5th Street

Style/Cuising: Casual, rustic roadhousy place, TexMex

Price Range: $10 to $15 per person, incl a couple beers

Why I recommend it: I have to love a place with indoor and outdoor seating, music, a stream running through it, and most importantly, a combo plate (Federale Special) that has a beer included in the package. Very tasty meal, especially the tamale. I'll ber you won't find many tourists here, as it's a bit removed from the usual downtown night spots.





Restaurant: Ruby's

Location: Bainbridge Island, WA

Style/Cuisine: Eclectic/Northwest Chic

Price Range: Moderate to expensive

Why you recommend it: Excellent meals and the chef has a flair for combining ingredients that one would not expect to go together. There are actually several good restaurants on the island.

Restaurant: Metropolitan Grill

Location: Seattle

Style/Cuisine: meat, meat and more meat

Price Range: Moderate to Expensive

Why you recommend it: Easily the best steakhouse in the Pacific Northwest and generally regarded one of the best in the west; centrally located in downtown and set in a classic tone.

Washington D.C.

West Virginia






This nation is nuts. All the things that led to greatness are falling
by IrishJoeinnc (March 03, 2004 at 21:24:45)

one-by-one. Anybody want to just disolve the government and start over again? You think we've got people as inspired as the founding fathers? What would happen? I'll bet we would set up a government as goofy as Haiti. It wouldn't be boring but I'll bet we'd start out with almost no laws? Everybody just do your own thing. That's what pretty much has happened lately. Crime has been down in the last few years but some of it is because laws don't have any teeth in them. You can break a law, have a lawyer(s)argue for your position. Even if you are convicted for lots of crimes you'll get probation. Maybe you plead insanity. I used to hate that defense but now it's relevant because there are more insane people than ever. Even while they're insane they can get some psychologist who will say you're cured. We've got more prisons and prisoners perhaps anywhere in the world,yet we've got plenty of psycho's roaming the streets. A lot of people causing problems(you might guess who I mean currently)and their reward is an end run around laws. You don't like certain laws, just ignore them and there's a good chance not much will be done. It's the "meaning of what is,is."

As an added bonus judges are among the least judicious of our citizenry. You can count on them to rule just about any way. That goes for Supreme Court Justices, maybe especially Supreme Court Justices. I'll beat if somebody could get a case through the appelate courts all the way to the top, with the most assine proposals ever dreamed up, and the Supreme Court would rule very narrowly one way of the other.

We have people who think they are witches, maybe they are too. We have a unabomber that never would have been caught if it hadn't been for his brother suspecting him. He's not alone, the FBI can summon agents out the wazoo and yet it took years before they caught the fugitive right here in my own state. Many people thought he was a hero.

On the foreign scene we target Saddam Hussein and it took what seemed forever to catch him. We can't even catch Osama Bin Laden. I doubt if they get the mess in Iraq straightened out in my lifetime, maybe yours. We have a president by most standards would be on the rather dull side and he beat a man dumber than him. It took a long time to reach a decision because the people of Florida didn't have enough sense to use the Ballot. Don't pick on Florida, there are other states who might have just as much trouble.

Athletes can't pass anymore unless they are given courses in chair stacking(honestly, at the University at Tennesse.) Standard Tests are now dumbed down. I see players who have 3.5, 3.8 who can't say anything but you know what I mean, man. None of them know the difference between good and well. Neither do the coaches and sportswriters.

Any pro athlete worth his shoes makes more in one year than some professions do in their lifetime. There are few jobs anymore because we passed NAFTA and companies build things overseas. It want be too many years until the companies will move back because the salaries will be less here than those Asian countries who used to work dirt cheap.

We can't make up our minds whether there will be a meltdown in the U.S. because of Global Warning. One of our politicians made a speech about that on one of the coldest days of the year. The Pentagon thinks we'll be destroyed by the warming trend and just a few years ago if somebody had said that, he'd have been put in a nut house, yet the report was delievered to the Pentagon. We can find out what's going on at Mars but we can't solve world hunger.

Several years ago they found out that most students couldn't name a single Russian Author or composer. Now our populace knows all the rap stars and most of them scratch themselves in public. Our actors have become experts in politics, they sound off every time they get a large crowd together. What ever happened to moderates? Now everybody is a right wing zealot or a leftist that never saw a cause that is too extreme.

Well, we finally outlawed tossing midgets up in the air. Almost everybody knows wrestling is fixed but they are very well attended. We don't seem to be able to have a non-rigged olympic. Scholarships are easy these days,in sports. You can now get a full ride in sports where you don't have to work up a sweat. One of these days badminton will be very important. Sycnronized(sp)swimming might become a scholarship sports. It won't be too long until any good football player will leave after a couple of years because of a ruling made because a player was a crook. OSU didn't mind that, but since everybody wouldn't hush, they didn't invite him back. We've got an uproar because colleges provide women and booze for their recruits. In fairness, they did that in the old SWC years ago. Even had a boys ranch which had a movie made about it.

I keep hearing where we're the richest nation on earth but it want be long before we can't pay social security to senior citizens. A guy once told me that there wasn't a single city in this country fiscally solvent. He said "if they filled the potholes, they'd be broke." We now let people cross our borders illegally and we say no big deal "you want a social security card, want us to teach your children the language of their old homeland? We let foreigners arrive at airports and detain them for a couple of hours and turn them loose and have no idea where they went. That's why I heard a commentator say "anybody who can afford an airplane ticket can reside in this country. Anybody can get forged documents, just name what you want for a price.

Well, it's time to go. People might get the idea I'm cynical and we wouldn't want that, would we?

Anybody got good news, we need some good news?
by IrishJoeinnc (May 08, 2004 at 21:24:39)

the good news I have is I don't have a headache from a hangover, bet some of you do have one.

I have no crickets in my house, that's wonderful. The washer and dryer work although I had a blown fuse.

Only thing that I spent money on was a printer. The good news is It'll probably work for six months. I've gone through three in about 2 years.

Got no hound dog and for some reason they don't howl around here like they did a few years back, you don't know how wonderful that is.

The oven still works although it has needed cleaning for about a year and a half. Microwaves run whether they'll clean or not.

Don't have to take those big iceburgs out of refrigerators like we once did.

Literacy isn't too important any more. I see a lot of people on tv who dodn't appear to have any ability except to scream loudly and pick. Don't know if any of them lip sync anymore. So I would say heatherns and illiterates do pretty well in this country.

Another good thing is laxatives are still sold in the stores. Another nice thing is you don't know where foods come from. If you knew they were from Mexico, you might avoid them. Don't think any stores use clorox on old meats life they did a few years ago but there aren't many inspectors like they used to be. It's been a long time since I've been made sick from eating something. Maybe it's because I don't eat out. Another great thing is you can get good tv dinners whereas a couple of decades ago you would only have served them to your staunchest enemies.

Boy it's good to post on a Saturday Night. Nobody reads your posts and you can make mistakes out the Wazoo. I bet I can use the wrong tense and Andy will never know it.

We're not playing football at this time a year so we know we aren't going to have a loss this week.

I've got clothes on but I wouldn't have to sitting here at home. Al Capp once said we'd have feel-a-vision and smell-a-vision. Back to the first part of this sentence, I'm not sure you have to wear clothes when you go out or are on tv. Is there anybody who hasn't seen all of Britney Spears best attributes?

There isn't a rooster crowing around so if a Fed Ex plane doesn't wake you up there's a decent chance you can sleep. You might have somebody occasionally mowing there yard at 6AM but most people are to lazy to get up at that time. I think I have about another year before Fed Ex has about 200 planes come over between midnight and daylight. We really got rewarded for letting them choose our locale. I think there must be about 500 people who will make minimum wage. We don't have that in N.C. I know it's supposed to be all over the nation but new things take awhile to get here. Those living in the mountains have televisions now or the only thing those people would know is when somebody swung on a vine like Tarzan used to do. Then they probably only learned what the area gossip had learned.

I got the fan roaring and it sounds like one of those planes not built to spec and I can imagine I'm flying to Rome, or even Paris which is supposed to be the City of Love.

I thought I ate a lot until I went to the Animal Planet and found out that the shrew ate three times it's body weight or it would die. I only eat twice my body weight so I don't guess I'll ever be on tv.

Wonder if old Rumsfield was allowed to go home for the weekend. I think he might be under house arrest. I think he's had lots of inaudibles lately. I missed not having Davie and now I'm wondering if Rummy might be our next coach. He could pad his resume and say he coached at Rennselear Poly. There isn't a soul could can get on me for misspelling that school because nobody is reading this and that school has only had two graduates, so they won't know I've mentioned them. I guess Rumsfield could get around not having coached at a major school by saying he had a 252-0 record there.

Wonder if Dubya has an astrologer like Nancy Reagan had. Wonder if somebody has to taste his food to make sure nobody will try to poison him. Anybody that lives in Texas has got there stomach trained to handle lots of six packs and eschew food so I don't suppose he even has to have an offical cook. Tex-Mex food is what made him so smart; some of you ought to try it.

I wonder what sign Michael Moore was borned under. He must be a Pices because he has to be more slippery than an eel or he'd be sent to an Iraqi prison. That might not be so bad. I'll bet those prisoners will get good treatment from now on. I bet they can have food flown from any place in the world and by the chef they name. I'll bet they'll have suites to live in now. There might not even be locks on the door but that won't matter because they'll have conditions like most of us could only dream of having.

When is the next Bush interview; I had the misfortune of not seeing his last one but perhaps it'll be on a rerun from Saturday Night Live.

I suddenly was struck with the possibility nobody is sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom. How do those guys raise campaign funds anymore? I'd send one of the parties some loot because I feel sorry for them but you can't trust anybody any more. Some dude would tell the other party that I made a campaign donation and they'd have my telephone tapped into. Whatever happened to Linda Tripp? What does James Carville do when it isn't an election year? What about all those lawyers who used to represent Bill Clinton? I'm worried about them. I haven't heard of an investigation of Slick Willie since he left the White House. Wonder if all those people he pardoned at the last minute ever sent him a thank you note; it just isn't right for some people to be given release from prisons without a Hallmark Card. I guess Emily Post decomposed a long time ago so now all those strict rules she used to have went out the window. I don't even think it matters how you set silverware around the table now. Long as you have napkins it doesn't matter if you fingerlick everything and either wipe the rest on the napkin or wall; really doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, does it?

Since the board is in a bit of a funk, I'd even read a post from
by IrishJoeinnc (May 29, 2004 at 12:02:15)

A "Nattering nahbob of negativity." Where are the grouches when you need them? Anybody can piss and moan during the football season.

Give it up for the drunks, wool chasers, minister wantabe's, people who call in the girly 900 #'s. People who swallow fire and other objects. The Willie Chronicles rarely appears any more so we badly need some post about the biggest character you've met; I don't mean in size.

Anybody on the Atkins diet? Anybody a homeless person? If Bob Davie was a homeless person would you take him in? I prefer not to answer that!

Who here would go hunting with Bush? Would you trust him with a gun near you? I wouldn't. I'd be afraid he'd suddenly think of Iraq and start shooting indiscriminately. Would you listen to a Bush speech if there were no teleprompters in the area?

Has anybody ever left for faroff environs and miss the snows ND often has? If you were a 40'ish student and a panty raid was going on, would you dress hurredly and find the rooms or would you read a book? If you answer the latter, please quit reading this post. I want to hear from only those who read books only when nothing is going on.

Anybody ever turn down a drink? What's the one drink you've created after trying all the other ones had been tried? Anybody ever pitched up a hitchhiker? Guess not since you're still breathing.

Anybody want to try to explain the South Bend time? I read that like I had never heard it mentioned. I just start listening to some event an hour before I think it will start or an hour after I expect it to start.

How many Whoppers have you ever ingested in a single meal? Did you get sick from overeating the burgers or did the sanitation,or lack thereof, do you in? Who hear has ever flipped burgers? Was that before of after you got your ND degree?

Are all of your activities based around the softer-sex activities? For instance, would you rather listen to an exotic-looking female for the nightly news or some guy who looked like he boxed several years unsuccessfully but retained his brain power and really knew what was going on. Nevermind answering that, I know which one most would choose.

What's the first car you ever owned. If you're still driving your parents cars, don't be embarassed. There are many nowadays you know foreign languages, are computer literate, know far more than Bush and Kerry combined but have never tasted anything from a silver spoon and can't get a job because you are under qualified or over qualified.

Who here thinks that the only person who could own a house in the future will be Anna Nicole Smith or pro athletes? Will the number of people living in one house resemble the ones that illegal aliens in the future? If you had to share space with one individual on earth, who would it be? I'd rather only heterosexuals answer this.

How many of you agree with the song "Everybody Ought To Have A Maid? If you haven't heard it, It was written for "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum"; if you haven't heard it you should although I don't think there has ever been a female "Quieter than a Mouse." Hey, most of us now know not to plagarize after Ministers Faux Pas. How long have any of you gone without a misspelled word or a typo?

How many of you are planning a trip out of the country? If so, are you doing it voluntarily? Guess you'd better not answer that. Big Brother is everywhere and he'll give you the Heimlick manuever whether you're choking or not!

Is there anybody on this board who hasn't cheated on your income tax. Karl will be proud of you if you answer in the affirmative; if not, remember the IRS can be harsh in case you're not famous. Since we post with a different handle than our real name(in the main) there may be famous people posting here. We need to hear how you got famous but I think we'd rather hear from the infamous.

If you're old enough to remember "The Outlaw" which starred Jane Russell it'll be o.k. if you took several naps while reading this. Sprack, do you remember when stars like Jane Russell just gave you a quick glimpse of what may be there instead of those who have bared it all so many times you feel like you've know them in this life or in a previous one.

Bugs Bunny used to say "Tha-tha-tha-that's all f-folks."

If you were on an island with only a can of pork n'beans with no way
by IrishJoeinnc (June 08, 2004 at 13:49:32)

to open it and no way to obtain food to eat, would you think of the girls that got away, ND football, Hollywood Actresses or spend all your time trying to find loin cloth for the time when all the women of the earth who would be hunting for you desparately? Would you become a Buddhist if you found a book about them?

Would you know how to prepare ants if they were swarming near you? Would you decide to go to sleep in the hopes you'll awaken and be back home?

What kinds of messages would you try to send? Would it be by bottle? Would you yell like those yahoos in N.C. who scream for prizes?

Maybe you'd try to build a boat? Did you ever have a project that passed a shop course? Maybe you watched Tarzan movies and can swing from limb to limb and talk to the apes. Would you start out looking for Jane so you could say "me Tarzan, you Jane?

What if you saw a Pirate Ship would you take your chances with them? Would you beware of Greeks bringing gifts? Would you drink unprocessed water? Would you brush your teeth? Remember nothing has been treated with flouride and you might not see a dental hygenists for months and months. What would you do for toilet paper? Corn cobs are not available and neither is a Sears Roebuck Catalogue.

What if you saw mosquitos? Would you worry about them carrying Aids? Would you miss Dubya's speeches?

Maybe the worst thing about your travails would be missing the (oYo's) on Friday. Did you bring your hair spray with you; also, what about Viagra?

If you did find animals would you eat your fill and start thinking about them as companions? If this happens to you, please take notes so you can give us the details in case you survive!

In those primitive times there was not much work.
by shadyirish (June 08, 2004 at 15:50:25)

In reply to: So you're the guy who taught Osama Bin Laden how to hide in the posted by IrishJoeinnc

As a kid, I was lucky to have one of the few jobs available. From morning to night, I took a piece of wood, rubbed it, cleaned it, and then hit a tree with it. Why, you ask? Just to keep busy. There was nothing else to do. But I felt lucky to have that position. There were plenty of people out of work who would've killed for that job!

Never had that but what I'm about to tell you is something none of you
by IrishJoeinnc (June 23, 2004 at 10:23:27)

will believe. I had the crabs without partaking. I was playing softball and leading the league in just about every hitting category when I got this bright idea. I said I'll do like those superstitious players and managers often do: not clean my uniform as long as my hot streak stayed alive. It did and I didn't wash my uniform for weeks. Somehow the crabs appeared and that's when I learned about Blue Ointment. Looks like they would be the most plentiful thing on earth. I tried to pick and wash those devils to death and they just grew and grew until the ointment was used.

Even if you are at working I'll bet you're sitting there not doing a
by IrishJoeinnc (June 28, 2004 at 16:07:04)

dang thing. Do something. As far as I know nobody is sure if there's a voting machine that Floridian's can use properly. I'll bet none of you were national spelling champion, bet you weren't best in your home town. How disgusting!

Just because you graduated from ND doesn't mean you can sit on your fat. Get up and find out where the Virgin Monologue is playing. Find out where minister has gone. Find out if Marco has become a pessimist. Draw up some plays that Coach Willingham can use. Find out how many face lifts you're old girlfriend has had. Check to see if your jowls are as big as Boss Hog's. Read up on weiner dogs, kill a few Swedes. Find out what all Al Gore invented. Find out if Hillary plans to take over at the Democratic Convention. Find out if Carol Channing is playing Hello Dolly somewhere. Read the UN Charter. Find out how much gasoline has gone up today. Play some pool. Cuss a little; scratch that Karl will catch you. Ask Scal a computer question. Crash your system just so she can tell you the intracies of computers. Admit it, you're flunking modern living. Slop the Hogs. If you don't have an oil well, get one. Invest in that company that doesn't make what you use. You know, the one who simply makes what you use better. Send Michael Moore a love letter. Enclose a low carb diet. Pick up a guitar, if those slow Southerns can master it, you know damn well, you can. Do research, find out Dubya's SAT scores. Play some golf and get so good at it that you don't have to cheat on your score. Find every h.s. quarterback that wants to go to ND and give him a dart board game so he want have to learn to pass from tossing darts like Tony Rice did when Lou Holtz coached him. Spend some time doing some creative concerning how many ND has. Don't give up until we have more mythical championships than Alabama fans claims. Don't quit when you top their claims because they study this thing daily. Be a guard; don't let Bob Davie back on campus no matter how much identification he has from ESPN. Yodel, don't let your lungs deteriorate. Propose to Brittany Spears. Don't let a little thing like her admitting she lost her virginity stop her. Teach Mich,USC grads how to change light bulbs. Maybe if they get some light, they'll discover scholarship. Make sure AARP knows about JoePa. If he doesn't strangle Big Ten officials bad enough that they're so scared of him that they don't cheat, help him. Find old copies of former presidential tax returns; it'll save you lots of money on your next return. Eat banannas, they've found out that monkey's can really learn. If you're anorexious(sp)quit being as picky an eater as hogs. They've found out that they have far more taste buds than we do and reject more types of foods than most humans. I know, Michael Moore!

Well, it's time to nap now that I've got all of you energized.

I wonder what kind of players midgets would be
by IrishJoeinnc (May 19, 2005 at 12:47:53)

It would take the defense a while to see them but their short legs might not be able to traverse the field very well. Players are taught to get their pads lower but it would be impossible to get pads low enough that they'd reach the lowness of midgets.

It would be dangerous for the midgets because if it took a long time for the defenders to catch the midget, they might be mad enough to heave them like a stick of stovewood and they might go over the stadium walls.

I think I've given up the idea of using midgets but what if you recruited receivers that were among the tallest in the world. Even db's with the greatest leaping ability wouldn't be able to defend the lob pass. When the officials had to mark the ball the length of the receivers would allow them to fall for a lot of additional yardages.

What new rules would have to be implemented if teams started recruiting midgets and giants?

It was a national, worldwide tragedy
by mkovacs, August 06, 2004 at 12:59:34

One of the quickest people to respond was David Frost. An Englishman, and head of a tv program called, "That Was The Week That Was," he assembled his staff and within days, put together a program that showed to the world the video of the assassination, the aftermath of our nation in mourning and the reaction in Paris, London, and Berlin, where they especially loved Kennedy.

There was a deep connection between Americans and JFK. Forget all the stuff about how his father bought him the election in Illinois, the girls in the White House (we didn't know about that stuff until much later), or the failed Bay of Pigs attempt to overthrow Castro, or the hair-trigger nuclear brinksmanship of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

We loved the man, his wife and two children. For the first time, Americans saw children growing up in the White House, little John-John playing under the President's desk, and lovely litte blonde Caroline's hair in the breeze in her daddy's arms on board their sailboat off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.

But, in my opinion, it was JFK's oratory that lifted us up. Coming out of the serene middle 50's, and into the cold war of the late 50's and early 60's, kids were ducking and diving under their desks, their parents were buying nuclear fallout shelters, and we would see black and white Civil Defense videos of what to do in case of a "disaster." There were little blue and white "Fallout Shelter" signs, shiny reminders of the big game being played in Washington and Moscow, on public parking lots and movie houses. John Hersey's "Hiroshima," was published, and for the first time, we read what happens to human flesh exposed to a nuclear bomb. It was a sobering book, and one which caused hawks in both the East and West to keep that trigger finger off the button.

Nuclear anxiety became a low-grade fever that needed relief. It caused a national ennui that fostered the escapism of rock 'n roll and slapstick comedy with "I Love Lucy," and "The Honeymooners," and even reruns of "Abbot and Costello." It was the perfect petri dish for "The Three Stooges." America was carrying an albatross on its shoulders called "mutual assured destruction," and one man offered a message of hope, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Kennedy's speeches are worth reading and, if possible, seeing. Every one of them was masterful. He never failed to look at the horizon and offer hope for America, that there was a better way, for us as a nation, but most particularly for each of us as individuals. He challenged us. Under his 1,000 days, he inspired America to start getting fit. The Air Force Fitness Program, featuring calisthenics was adopted by countless high schools around the nation. It was the beginning of America working out.

Kennedy had an easy relationship with the press. Not exactly like the staged "fireside chats" of FDR, Kennedy would stand up and go toe to toe with the press, answering the hard questions about the Berlin Wall, missiles in Turkey, missiles in Cuba, and revolutions in South America.

His State Dinners, hosted by Jacqueline, were the E ticket for politicians and artists. Once, while, hosting Pablo Casals at the White House, Kennedy introduced Casals and then, before sitting down to enjoy the cellist, observed, "This is the greatest collection of intellect and talent ever to be gathered under this roof since Thomas Jefferson dined here alone."

It was that kind of wit and ease in front of the people that led the press, and then, the rest of us, to fall in love with him.

So, when he was cut down, it was like a member of the family had been taken from us. Most of us who remember it like it was yesterday, cannot but well up with tears remembering it.

For me, I was a sophomore in high school and it was a cool November morning, the 22nd. I was walking up the corridor at my Catholic high school between classes, and my best friend, Frank Gundry, came up to me and said, "The President's been shot." All the kids were instantly silent. The girls, who attended class on one half of the grounds, were all crying. Someone brought in a television and we saw Walter Cronkite take off his glasses and state that the President was dead.

We all went home after that and just watched the three network channels with our families.

I remember our local radio station taking up a collection for Officer Tippit, the police officer killed in the movie theatre when he was trying to arrest Lee Harvey Oswald. I put together a few dollars and sent it off in an envelope. I remember coming back from church on Sunday and playing with the dog out in back and then seeing my father come outside and telling me that, "They've shot Oswald." I went inside and watched the replay.

It was the first time that I remember wondering about just how responsible adults really were in handling serious matters - that maybe they didn't always make the right decisions. I realized that I was living in a historic moment right then and that from that time forward I was going to pay close attention to current events and to dig into the past and revisit history.

Then, it was time to stay home and watch the funeral. It was awful. As I have stated here in the past, I will never forget the riderless horse and the staccato cadence of the drummers as the funeral procession followed the draped coffin down Pennsylvania Avenue. And, as much as we all eventually came to resent him for his anti-American policies, that day we all loved DeGaulle, who threw off the warnings of his handlers not to attend the funeral and to at least ride in a bulletproof car, and who walked bare headed with other world leaders in the procession. Head held high, he proudly announced his disdain for assassins and challenged anyone who would undermine the freedoms of the West, and for which he and so many of his generation had shed blood to defend and reinstate.

Since that day, since the moment that the assassin's (or assassins') bullets killed our President, much time has passed. Some talk about time healing all wounds, about closure. Closure? What is closure? A closing of the wound? A healing over? Does the spouse of a lost husband have "closure" when she comes back to her husband's study and his rocking chair sits empty? Does a little girl who rode on her daddy's shoulders and who calls out for him at night get closure with the passing of time? Does a little boy, who salutes the caisson passing by the steps of the White House, and who spends the rest of his life tenderly caring for his mother, but who never knows the pleasure of a man-to-man talk with his father have closure? Closure is a made-up concept for a condition that does not exist. The death of a loved one is a hole in one's heart. Time may dull the pain, but it is disrespectful to those who suffered the loss to speak to them of closure. Just scratch the surface, just raise the topic and they are taken back in time to the moment of their loss and it wells back up inside them like a wave of emotion that overtakes them like a wall of water pressing down a drowning person for the last time. They have to grasp for their breath. It's all happening again. There is no closure. The hole still exists in their heart, and we should all remember that.

If you ask someone who lived during that time about those 4 days, make sure to have a handkerchief close by for them. They will need it, and perhaps you will too. America was deeply wounded on November 22, 1963. It seems like yesterday.


Some have wondered we're I've been lo these past six months. Some speculated a Nyquil induced coma. Other pondered that MNG killed me, finally living up to his initials: Marco's Nemesis.....Glory." A few even whispered that maybe I was "rejuvenating" myself with my dear friend in the Maine Woods. Good guesses all, but all off the mark.

No. Sixth months ago, the BoardOps tasked me with a top secret mission. They told me that they felt some of my optimism on the upcoming season was overstated. They said that they each saw weaknesses in the Notre Dame football squad. They speculated that I was looking at the team through rose-colored glasses. As a result, they sent me on my mission. Quietly, very quietly, they said, canvass the globe. Do intensive research. Spare no expense. Leave no "stone" unturned. Find a weakness on this team. Do not come back until you do. Each BoardOp sent me off with a word of encouragement.

Jvan: "Don't F this up. If I go any further out on a limb for you, Cash is gonna saw off the branch."
El Kabong: "I don't care what happens, you'll still never be able to post on the Pit again."
See: "It's Marco!"
Cash: "*^&^@&% you, you %$%$##&* prick."

With those words of encouragement, I commenced my quest. Based on what the Board Ops told me, I thought it would be an easy task, to be finished quickly. How hard could it be to find a weakness. So I only packed two days worth of food and squeezed those six boxes into a U-Haul, cinched up my muu-muu, and was on my way.

I figured the best place to start was to canvass some of the finest Notre Dame football minds I could think of. I started with my friend Bob Davie. I mailed him some game film of the last to years, and asked him if he could find a weakness. I made the trek to Mishawaka, pulled up into the driveway, and knocked on the door. Bob answered the door, and welcomed me like the old friends we were: "Gig ‘em, good buddy," he exclaimed. "Come on in." I asked Bob what he thought of the game film I sent. He said he was very impressed. He said the suddenness was apparent, as was the way they won, the "right" way, and would likely be unbeatable in October. He said he was most impressed by the "[inaudible]." I asked whether he saw any weakness, and he told me the one thing was that we repeatedly were throwing passes to ineligible receivers. He mentioned that it appeared that one of our offensive lineman consistently ran down field, and sometimes, our QB would throw him the ball. He said that it appeared we were getting lucky because the referees must not have been looking, as they were not calling either an ineligible receiver down field or illegal touching for these blatant abuses. I asked him if he was referring to our tight end, and he asked, "Tight What??" Concluding that I'd hit a dead end, I thanked the coach, wished him well. I could hear him practicing his "BOOOYAHHs" as I departed.

Next stop: Mike Golic. He was just finishing his radio gig, and I caught him as he was heading for the car. "Did you get the game film I sent, Mike," I asked. He started to run, saying "You're not an alumni, are you?? I've got a gun!!" "Mike, Mike," I begged, "I just want to talk about the team, and whether you saw any weakness." "The only weakness I see are you alumni and your crazy talk about ‘excellence' and ‘championships' and ‘speaking in complete sentences.' Who do you think you are?? I'll shoot, and don't think I won't!!" He sped off, nearly running me over, and gave me the finger. "This could take longer than I thought," I pondered, as I finished off my last fried Snickers bar.

I know one person who could find a weakness. Paul Hornung. I drove down to Louisville swung by the old Heisman winner's ranch. I rang the doorbell, and out stumbled The Golden Boy, bottle of sour mash in hand. "Paul," I greeted, "how the heck are you?? Did you get my tapes??" "I sure did, honey." He responded, haltingly. "They arrived in a brown paper wrapper [hic] and were [hic] everything the website said, and more!! He'll, you're even purtier in person, in that big ‘ol dress!! Come on in, and let's git down ta bidness!!" Concerned, I said, "Paul, I'm not a woman. I'm a MAN, baby. And I think you're confused. I'm talking about the Notre Dame football video tapes. Remember?? I'm looking for a weakness." Paul paused, swayed a bit, put one hand against the door frame for balance, then heaved the whisky bottle at me, shouting, "GODDAMIT!! I'll tell you about WEAKNESS!!" With that, he passed out forward onto my shoulder, his eyes closed, looking like a little angel. I carried him back into the ranch, gave him a kiss on this rosy cheek, tucked him into his notch-filled bed, and left.

"I might have to go beyond ND men to find a weakness," I thought to myself. I was now out of food, forced to search between fat crevices for "aged" crumbs. As a chewed on a petrified piece goldfish cracker, which I found just above my third roll of gut (as my father used to say, "it's a wise man who builds a shed to protect his tools"), it came to me: "For weaknesses, I need to go beyond football altogether. The type of expertise I need can be found only at the highest levels. Leaders of the world!! They can guide my quest!!" So I set off to contact the best and the brightest the world had to offer.

First stop: Gen. "Stormin" Norman Schwarzkopf. I sent him the tapes. I was helicoptered into his compound. His Aide-de-Camp met me at the door. "Come on in, the General has been waiting for you." He let me to a large auditorium and sat me in the front row. "The General's been waiting for years to use this room again." He handed me a notepad and said, "be sure to ask lots of questions." Then, down came a giant screen. Out walked the general. The grace, the flowing robes, everything. Magnificent. He strode confidently to a podium on the stage and picked up a gilded pointer perched on the podium. "Let's break down these attacks," he bellowed. The first highlight showed Justin Tuck speeding off the edge, flying past the head of the Stanford QB, who had just ducked to adjust his slip, barely escaping decapitation. The general rewound the tape, and, confidently clicking the "slo-mo" function, stated: "I'm now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq." I leaned over to the Aide-de-Camp and asked, "Iraq??" "Never mind, he's on a roll," he whispered in response. What followed were 16 consecutive hours of detailed analysis of Notre Dame's ground attack, it's aerial attack, and the battles in the trenches. I hung on every word. At the end, The General stepped back, and an ever so slight look of shock and awe glinted in his eye. "I've never seen such unit cohesiveness. Such dedication to dominance. Such perfect execution of assignments. These troops indeed have no weakness. Any group of men going up against them shall be in for the mother of all battles, and the shores of Kuwait will flow with their blood." I thanked the General, who looked at me, then unfurled a mighty slap across my face, calling me a "sniveling coward" for seeking any sort of assistance from him. He threw down the pointer, stormed off, and four jack-booted thugs threw me out of the compound.

Next stop: The leader of the Free World. I went to the White House to see President Bush. "Big George," I said, did you get those tapes I sent." "I sure did, Macro," he responded. "They were great. You know, I love ND. I consider myself part of the ND Family. And I see the opposition teams. They are cunning and tenacious and adaptable. They want to destroy Notre Dame. And so do we." With that, he said any further questions had to go through Dick Cheney. I tried to find Dick, but was told that after he'd been trotted out for the RNC, he'd been put back in deep freeze in the bunker. Another dead end.

I decided to swing by my old friend, Arnold Schwartzenegger, soon to be the Leader of the Unfree World. Arnold regaled me with a marvelous tale. "I recall, when I was a young man and first moved to America, I went to Michigan, and drove with my father and uncle through the Soviet-controlled portion of Ann Arbor and always worried that my father, who believed in freedom, would be yanked out of the car and sent to a gulag in Osh Kosh, never to be heard again. For that reason, I feel Notre Dame are Ubermen destined to return the Glory of the Reich!!" With that, he slapped his hands together and said, "My God, you are a fat pig. Let's go exercise and I will Pump you DOWN. Hasta Lavista, FAT!!" He then threw himself violently to the floor and began doing push-ups..."One, Doo, Tree, FOOR, ...."

The Republicans were a lost cause. So I figured I'd try the Dems. I stopped by John Kerry's estate on the Vineyard. I asked JFK about the tapes."After seeing these tapes, it reminds me of when I was a young boy and I used to watch my favorite Notre Dame player, Red Grange, like a Galloping Ghost, run through the line." At just that moment, Ter-ay-sa walked in, saw me, screamed, and ordered the guards to throw me out. "I shall not have anything so hideous disgrace these expensive halls again. FUMIGATE!!" she screamed.

What I needed was a man of the people. An every man. You guessed it. Howard Dean. "Governor," I asked, having reviewed the tapes, what do you think the ND Team is going this year??" He jumped up on a chair, ripped off his tie, and screamed: "I'LL TELL YOU!! WE'RE GOING TO UTAH, AND INDIANA, AND MICHIGAN AND NEW JERSEY, AND TENNESSEE AND WE'RE GONNA GO TO CALIFORNIA, AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO GO TO MIAMI, FLORIDA TO TAKE BACK THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ........YEAAAAAAAAGGGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!!" I ran away.

I was at my wits end. I'd failed the BoardOps. I'd asked the best and the brightest our country had to offer, and no one could come up with a weakness for this ND team. "Expand your horizons," I thought. Think International. But who. WHO?? "Well," I thought, "Notre Dame was founded by Fr. Sorin and the CSC, a French order of priests. In fact, the name even sounds vaguely French, even to this day. How about a French opinion??" I immediately bought a row of seats on a flight to Paris. Ahh, Paris. The food, and the .... food, and the Mmmmmm. Stop. You've got work to do, Marco. Right, Marco. Let's go.

I set up my meeting with French President Jacques Chirac. We sat and watched all of the game film from the last two years together. After it was done, I flipped on the lights and asked, "well, what do you think?? Do you see any weaknesses, mon ami??" "Mon Dieu," he exclaimed, "but of course, there is one thing that this Notre Dame team does that is simply incroiable!! "What, I asked, what??" "You see, my American simpleton, this team, I saw it against this Washington State team, and I saw it against Navy in 2002, and against Michigan State in 2003, they do something that lacks honor and shows clear weakness." "What, what," I begged. Well, in those games, the team was down, facing unfathomable odds. A superior opponent. They were tested. To win such a game would require dedication, effort and a commitment to excellence. The ONLY proper response in such a situation......." "Yes, yes," I panted, hanging on his every word, hoping against hope that my quest was at an end. "The ONLY proper response," he repeated, "is to surrender. To give up. To roll over. Hands up. White Flag. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?? Notre Dame's weakness is ....... THEY NEVER GIVE UP!!"

By Job, I'd found it. Like a perfect circle, the French had founded Notre Dame, and darned if a Frenchman didn't find me the answer to end my quest. This team's weakness was that the NEVER GIVE UP. I can get back on the Board now!! I've FOUND IT!!

Some 60 pounds lighter, but massively wiser, I went back to the BoardOps. And they responded WITH GLEE:

Jvan: "Cash is gonna be really pissed now."
ElKabong: "Just stay away from the Pit"
See: "It's Chirac!!"
Cash: "F^%%$% you, you F**^&%ing prick!!"

Post Script: This story may contain embellishments and tongue-in-cheek portions (I did not actually meet with Chirac).

How I met Marco...
by akaRonMexico

I had just discovered ND Nation at the end of the 2003 season, but didn't really become a lurker until right before last season. It was the Friday before the first game last year when I read a few posters were going to meet that night at the Goathill Tavern in Costa Mesa. I was meeting a few friends across the street earlier in the evening so I planned on stopping by just to meet a few Domers. I walk into the Goathill and I hear a loud, shreeking train whistle followed by a loud booming Lets Go Irish! There, sitting at a table with 2 other Irish fans was the man, the myth, the legend - MARCO! He is as animated, and imaginative in person as he is over the net. He is not as rotund as he leads you to believe, and there was no moo moo...but the cockeyed optimism, and blind devotion to Ty and the Irish were spot on. And I will never forget that train whistle...CHOO CHOO! It was actually shaped like a freakin train and made out of wood. As to the origins of the Chevron station I have no idea - unfortunately it doesn't exist anymore.

Boy, did you come to the wrong website with this
by Shamrocker (01/19/2006 02:42:49)

I will probably be banned for saying this, BUT... LOL! (oh, by the way, they hate "internet shorts eg. LOL, LMAO, etc.) Anyway, you are new, so, if you don't indent, spell perfectly, have absolute perfect sentence and paragraph structure, they think you are some kind of neandrathal. Also, if you don't have some kind of "IN" with the MOST upper crust of the football administration, then YOU are not in the "know" so don't even think of posting something you may even think that may be news or newsworthy. Do even mention ESPN, Mustain, Willingham here and if you have anything (even remotely) negative to say about any recruits coming in, don't even think about it (for some reason, we think that EVERY recruit takes anything we say as gospel). It's really killing alot of them that this post has gone this long without breaking paragraph structure but for the most part, these are really knowledgable and interesting people, alot of information and great perspectives. This site is really great to read but, if you're interested in posting or want to relay a life changing Notre Dame experience without someone dying in the middle of the experience, then be cautious because you'll get alot of complainers (flamers). They do not want to hear your views or thoughts about OUR LADY unless you may have majored in writing or journalism. I for one really do LOVE this site but alot of people really need to relax, drink a beer, and look to the intent, feeling and meaning of the post posted and ENGLISH NAZIIZM many times displayed here.

Just some feelings about some people here NOT a personal attack on anyone in particular. Everyone's thoughts and views should be considered relevant even if they can't spell Shzmardjia LOL!!!!!! Have a sense of humor for Charlie's sake!!!!

Let the Flamers (oops, sorry) I mean, educated gentlemen begin!
LMAO!! (yea, I've had a couple of beers).
Well, nice talking to you all, just displaying my feelings about the site and will never be heard from again. Will keep reading though, especially OmahaDomer, very informative. Thank you!

TigrisPanthera, R.I.P

Well you're reputation for 'arrogance' is well earned. I elect and decide was is relevant to me & I post frely. I am not trying to be arrogant to you myself but we live in a FREE society. Free Form Jazz, writing improv etc is encouraged! Get the message. We're not in the dark ages here in the USA! Most immigrants left Europe to escape the Inquisition and the RCC.

I'm trying to assist you in winning this game. You need the help whether you understand it or not. I am exaggerated, I flame, I'm nonsensical and I have alot of GD fun. You don't. Sorry.

I also as listed in my profile have associates in Paris, France (ed. note: as opposed to Paris, Utah) who get endless amusement at your name selection. Speaking of irrlevant or nonsensical. Just because you have $$$$$$ and power in the USA does not make you legitimate. Remeber that and remember me. " Notre Dame"

I have associates throughout the world who all credit my IQ in mensa catagory. I have no problem not teaching but I do take issue with irrelevant example: desert condition heat is a factor in Iraq. I am a lifelong friends one of the most decorated Lt. Col in the United States Army. He and I disscuss many topics. I am no typist as you clearly have so kindly pointed out. You'll notice the american Army is wearing Base Gold Camf. Uniforms. Why? It's safer and its cooler. I have no problem allowing fools to be fools and devils be devils.

PS I apologise for the messy gramar and spelling but I say real football men can handle it. "Odd" did you of all groups mention "Odd"?? Odd denomination, no league support, a church football program?

I attended college at I put myself through on my own money not mommy and daddy's.

Determine if you will be so kind Centenary's academic standard?

Grad rates % etc.

OK OK I'M ODD. I'm ALSO B. .R. .I. .G. .H. T.

I was a fulltime student and employeed by The Symphony. 1977-80

In this particualr addition of "Centenary Today" (Vol 18, Number 2, Spring 2005) a Centenary student made the

Top 20 USA TODAY Academic Team.

Her name is Ms. Kelsey Johnson. The 20 successful competitive universities includes in order: Arizona, Auburn,

Centenary College, Duke, Harvard, MIT, Morthwestern, Princeton, Radford, Richmond, Stanford, UCLA, UNC

Chapel Hill, Naval Academy, Valparaiso, Virginia Tech and last but not least President Bush's Ala M. YALE

where is N.D.???