I don’t know why it took me so long to put together this list of The Best Albums of 2015. Just too busy I guess. But now that football season is over, I’ve not much else to do this Valentine’s Day Sunday. Right now I’m just sittin’ around listening to vinyl, drinking Batch 15 IPA and eating some chocolate. Just the right combination to get me motivated enough to list the best albums of 2015 and embed some cool videos.

Coming in at Number One on the chart is Courtney Barnett‘s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. This album also topped KEXP’s 2015 listener poll, and here’s the song they played to end the countdown.

Sleater Kinney reunited in 2014 and released No Cities to Love in early 2015. They didn’t miss a beat during their ten-year break.

Wilco surprised everyone by dropping Star Wars for free! Not that I would download a crappy mp3 or anything like that. I waited for the hard copy and also saw them live at Marymoor Park on a warm summer evening last August. Here they are live on Stephen Colbert’s show performing “Random Name Generator”.

Julia Holter topped MOJO Magazine’s list, so I went out and bought Have You In My Wilderness to hear what all the fuss was about. I really liked it. It’s a real album, so you have to sit and listen to start to finish a few times to appreciate it.

Melody Gardot is not on a lot of people’s radar, probably because her albums are found in the Jazz section of your local record store. Her latest album, Currency of Man, is jazz leaning towards blues and rock, and it has a sharp political edge to it. Perfect for the troubled times we live in. Here is the real standout track “Preacherman”. It’s a pretty intense video with a long introduction, so be patient. The song starts at about 2:50.

I’ve been a big fan of Johnny Dowd ever since I heard his 1999 album, Pictures from Life’s Other Side, and saw him live at The Tractor Tavern. His new album is titled That’s Your Wife on the Back of My Horse, and here’s a quirky video for “White Dolemite”.

Kurt Vile has been pretty prolific over the past few years, and every album he puts has something really great on it like “Pretty Pimpin'” from b’lieve i’m goin’ down.

I had not heard of Houndmouth before 2015, but they got some airplay on KEXP, and I liked what I heard, so I bought Little Neon Limelight. And I’m glad I did.

Nadine Shah has one of the most powerful singing voices. I love what she does with it on Fast Food. Too bad she isn’t appreciated much on this side of the Atlantic, because she should be. Then maybe she would tour here and I could see her live.

I heard about Israel Nash from friends who are really into his music. I bought 2014’s Rain Plans some time in 2015 and loved it. I missed his sold out show at The Sunset Tavern, but I did see his ridiculously short 30-minute set at Bumbershoot, and then saw what was one of the best shows of the year at The Crocodile in December in support of his latest album Silver Season. Here’s “Have You Seen L.A. Lately”.

And here’s ten more favorites from 2015 listed without video support.

LowOnes and Sixes
Laura MarlingShort Movie
Royal HeadacheHigh (a shoutout to Troy Nelson at KEXP for turning me on to this band this summer)
Paul WellerSaturns Patterns
Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free
CalexicoEdge of the Sun
Alabama ShakesSound and Color
Julien BakerSprained Ankle (an album that is almost too personal)
Rhiannon GiddensTomorrow Is My Turn
The Oh SeesMutilator Defeated At Last

That’s twenty. There’s more great stuff from 2015, but this post is too long already. You can check out The Guardian’s list here and Pitchfork’s list here.

Super Bowl 50 2016 Bay Area
CBSsports_logo


When is Super Bowl 50?

Super Bowl 50 is Sunday, February 7th at 3:30 p.m. PT.

How to watch the Super Bowl this year:

Watch it live:

Super Bowl 50 will be carried live on CBS. If you have yet to “cut the cord,” you can find the affiliate station in your area using  this CBS TV Stations and Affiliates guide from CBS News.

You can also watch it on the public airwaves if you’re old-school. Get a digital antenna and tune to your local CBS affiliate.

Watch it online:

CBS Sports will be streaming the game live. Tune in to CBSSports.com, NFL.com or SuperBowl.com. Beware – you can only stream it on your mobile phone if you are an eligible Verizon Wireless subscriber using the NFL Mobile app. There’s a little ambiguity as to whether it will stream to your browser on your phone, but it seems as though you can do so on a tablet.

Stream it on your set-top box:

Apple TV, XBOX ONE, Roku all have CBS Sports apps available. Check the app store for your device.

What time does the Super Bowl start?

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. pacific. 4:30 p.m. mountain. 5:30 p.m. central. 6:30 p.m. eastern.

The pre-game show will basically be on as soon as you wake up in the morning. CBS also has a list of pre-game programming for Super Bowl 50.

Where is Super Bowl 50 taking place?

Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

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Donald Trump is trying to lose. But he’s just as big a failure at that as he would be as President of the United States

Months ago I predicted Donald Trump’s unfair attack on John McCain’s military service would sink his presidential aspirations. No republican, I reasoned, could reconcile the indefensible position Trump was taking.

“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. Sarcastically, Trump quipped, “He’s a war hero because he was captured.” Then, he added, “I like people that weren’t captured.” – The Washington Post

Even the conservative Washington Post was predicting that this argument wouldn’t go over well with the Republican party’s base. In this seemingly devastating indictment of Trump‘s vile attack on McCain, the Post pulled no punches. Quoting such GOP standard bearers as Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and even the RNC’s Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer, it seemed as though the Post was announcing the death of the clownish political campaign of a man widely believed to be using his ostensible ambitions as nothing more than a narcissistic publicity stunt. Read More →

photo from seller's website

photo from seller’s website

What dedicated follower of the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t covet this beautiful weapon designed for killing people in a gloriously efficient manner?

This semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Spike’s Tactical isn’t just any old secular assault rifle though, this one is emblazoned with the cross of the Knights Templar, a religious order that fought Muslims in the 12th-century Crusades. Read More →

My 8 year old’s big plans for this past weekend: “Can we go to the Mystery Soda Machine? You really don’t know what’s going to come out and then you have to drink it no matter what it is. The buttons just have question marks all over them. And it’s really dirty.” Nobody knows who fills it, it’s empty until you put your coins in, and there’s a magic rule that you have to drink what you get.

That machine has been there for as long as I can remember. Seems like it only had one “mystery” button before, though. Now they’re all “?M?Y?S?T?E?R?Y?” buttons. It’s been forever since I even paid attention to it.

Adding to the silliness of the whole thing, the mystery was amplified by my never letting on that I knew exactly where we were going and that there was nothing actually mysterious about the mystery soda machine in any way and I have walked by it (with both of them!) more times than I can count and have lived around the corner from it more days of my life than I have not.

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Highlights from today’s monthly customer support chat with AT&T regarding my cell phone bill:

AT&T Logo

I never really looked at this logo closely until just now. It’s kind of cool.

Jarvis: Hello! My name is Jarvis. How may I help you today?
Tony: My bill is indecipherable again. Can you help?

Jarvis: Please go to the OVERVIEW page and click on the I WANT TO drop down. Once there, click on VIEW & PAY BILL and then VIEW MY BILL.
Tony: I’m looking at it right now. I’ve been looking at it for 20 minutes.

Tony: Ok, so the bill is for service from 8/11 to 9/10, right?
Jarvis: Yes, well actually not that full cycle because the prorated charge […]
Tony: So looking at my bill on your website is … well, what am I looking at on your website?
Jarvis: You must be looking at a different bill date […]

Tony: Ok, I’m going to go insane dealing with your website […]
Jarvis: No worries Tony i understand you are confused […]
Tony: I’m not confused. I’m understanding the information as it’s presented. The presentation is confused.
Read More →

For reasons unknown to me, Bumbershoot lost money last year even though it drew pretty big crowds and had one of the better musical lineups of the past decade, including The Replacements. As a result of the loss, One Reel handed over the reigns to AEG Live for 2015.

I hadn’t bought tickets in advance, and heard on Saturday that it was sold out that day. I really wanted to go on Sunday to See Israel Nash and Neko Case, so I checked the paper Sunday morning and read about how the torrential thunderstorm shut it down for a while. I’m glad I didn’t go that day. But that wasn’t the only thing wrong. I read this by Danny Westneat: Read More →

I’m rarely as impressed by a viral video as the descriptions suggest I will be. But I don’t think this one can be over-hyped. It is technically tight, doesn’t overreach creatively, and combines iconic moments from some of the best movies of the last 40 years that give you that archived serotonin rush from your love of those movies, the chosen scenes in particular.

It makes masterful use of audio and music. Flawless as far as a non-audio tech nerd can tell (me). I was especially impressed by the Stayin’ Alive/The Wall segue/superimposition. Read More →

I sat down with my iPad last night and was bored out of my skull because there was nothing engaging on Facebook and I was at least three days caught up on all of my newsfeeds, so I started up Paper by 53. Previously I had looked at it and played with it. But then I dismissed it completely when I discovered the useful brushes and tools were in-app purchases.

Until last night. Bored and grumpy, I opened it up just to draw something. It presented me with a blank sketchpad with around 10 pages and I started experimenting. Well, to make a long story short, this morning I posted this to YouTube. I don’t even know where all of this came from. A very limited set of tools, fingers for brushes, and a complete lack of familiarity with the UI of this app and my imagination went somewhere completely unfamiliar to me. Read More →