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ohtani's jacket

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  1. Electric first half between France and South Africa followed by a slog in the second forty. France showed how inexperienced they are in the big games, and the overall feeling I have from the weekend, despite the shock that both Ireland and France have been eliminated, is a sense that neither team understands what it takes to win a World Cup whereas New Zealand and South Africa do. The lopsided draw ended up being brutal for the tournament. We knew that heading into the quarters, but it's particularly bad now that the French and Irish supporters have seen their sides tumble out.
  2. Well, that lived up to the hype. One of the great World Cup matches. I thought New Zealand surprised Ireland with their work at the breakdown and were much better defensively than Ireland expected. New Zealand outplayed Ireland in the set piece battle and their kicking game was excellent. They made it hard on themselves with mistakes after the restarts, and I could have lived without Aaron Smith kicking the ball back to Ireland so they could have 37 cracks at our line, but at the end of the day it was defense that won New Zealand the test so it was a fitting end to the match. Ireland were gutted at the end. As a New Zealander I know how it feels. I want to make special mention of the sledged and much maligned Sam Cane who had the game of his life. Well done, Sammy. Didn't watch the earlier quarterfinal, but that seemed exciting as well.
  3. Giffen & DeMatteis' Justice League was one of the first comics I fell in love with and remains one of the cornerstones of my fandom. Recently, I've been reading some of the other work they did together like their Defenders mini-series and their Hero Squared series, which are told in a similar vein. They never fail to make me laugh. I have mixed feelings about Five Years Later, but I think the next time I read it that I may feel differently about it. I actually loved it the first time I read it and disliked it the second time through. I might read some of his work I haven't touched on before as a tribute to him. EDIT: I just read the first issue of the Ambush Bug mini-series and it's bad shit crazy. It's as though DC published a self-published indie comic. Love the parody of the old DC Silver Age ads.
  4. It's entirely possible that all four NH sides will win. South Africa have the best chance of upsetting the apple cart. They're built for tournament rugby and they're playing well. That said, they're facing an incredibly strong France side. The last three tests between the sides have been close -- 18-17, 29-26, 30-26. Don't be surprised if it's a one score game. Might be the match of the round. England ought to beat Fiji. Fiji have struggled since shedding the underdog tag. Some of that is because they don't have the depth to rotate their team against the lower tier nations. They may step it up in the quarters but I'm not optimistic. Wales have been impressive so far considering the shambles they were in prior to the tournament beginning, but their players are dropping like flies. Argentina started the tournament poorly but are on an upswing. If they play like they did against Japan, they will beat Wales. New Zealand will have to play at their absolute best to beat Ireland. They're capable, but it will take the best performance of the Ian Foster era to get it done. My concern is that it appears Ireland are handling the pressure and the weight of expectation on them like a true champion side. I figure Ireland will probably win.
  5. Stains' Stains... this one left a big impression on me. I've already listened to it three times. The Stains were a hardcore band from East LA. They recorded this LP in '81, but it wasn't released until '83. I suspect the fact that it was recorded a few years before is why the music sounds like it's bursting out of the gates. Unfortunately, they didn't record anything else, but I believe there's some live stuff available. Highway Chile's Storybook Heroes... Highway Chile are a Dutch Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band. This was a pretty standard record for the era. It's perfectly listenable, but nothing that's going to make your hair stand on end. Siniestro Total's Siniestro Total II (El regreso)... neat Spanish punk record. "Siniestro Total" means your car is a write-off. That's cool! The tracks are 2 minutes or less, which I love. I'll definitely check out their other records on the strength of this. Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band's Bloodlines... this has to be the best country record from '83. I can't think of anything else that comes close. Outlaw country was pretty much dead by '83, but Terry Allen was still kicking and screaming. Nikki Sudden's Bible Belt... Nice. I liked this a lot. I've listened to The Swell Maps before but never delved into Nikki Sudden's solo career. Solid songwriting. Gets the thumbs up from me. Dougie MacLean's Craigie Dhu... Scottish folk music isn't really my thing. At least not on LP. If I listened to it live, I'm sure I'd have a better appreciation for it. I'm sure this is a lovely LP if you're a fan. Hitomi Tohyama's Next Door... feel that city pop. I wasn't awed by the production on this, but she had a pretty voice. I felt like I was in a karaoke music video from 1983, so there's that. The Square's Rainbow... this was so much fun! This was a Japanese jazz fusion record that's basically city pop. Man did this bop. Fun times. The Enid's Aerie Faerie Nonsense... So, The Enid were a British Prog Rock group that hit the scene around the same time as punk rock and did their own punk take on classical music by playing it with keyboards and guitars. They failed to find an audience and EMI scrapped this 1977 LP from their catalogue. The band were frustrated with the record being unavailable so they re-recorded it and reissued it in '83. It's okay. Like everything, I'm sure it has its fans. Models' The Pleasure of Your Company... not bad! It always amuses me when you see Kiwi and Aussie bands doing the whole New Wave thing with the hair and the suits, but hey, there's nothing that says you have to be British to be the real thing, is there? These guys supported Bowie, so he must have thought they were all right, and he was a man of impeccable taste. Kauko Royhka's Onnenpaiva... Finnish pop rock. Pretty cool. Apparently, this guy has a strong rep in Finland, especially as a lyricist. That part is lost on me, but everything else jelled. James White' Flaming Demonics... apparently, this is a lesser album from James White. If that's the case then I want to hear his better stuff as I thought it was a ton of fun. Great album cover as well. Sexual Harassment's I Need a Freak... I had to check this out. I was hoping it would be an underrated synth funk album, but nope. The title track is okay, but not good enough to play on heavy rotation.
  6. Nardcore, nerdcore... I blame my failing eyesight!
  7. NRBQ's Grooves in Orbit... Pretty chill pop-rock from this Miami outfit. This type of music was so far removed from what was popular in 1983 to the point that it may be deliberately retro, or perhaps it's genuinely authentic. In any event, if you like traditional 50s rock 'n roll, it's worth checking out. Nagamatzu's Shatter Days... this is a mix of Minimal Synth and Darkwave. I'm more of an up-tempo, "Just Can't Get Enough" sort of guy, but I'm slowly starting to appreciate this type of music even if it does drone on a bit. You can hear the influence of Joy Division in this type of record. Crystalized Movements' Mind Disaster... this was a lo-fi garage punk record. Cool sketch on the cover. Not gonna hail this as some lost masterpiece, but it was an interesting record and you can't beat that. Knutsen & Ludvigsen's Juba Juba... Knutsen and Ludvigsen were a Norway duo who made children's music. Not being able to understand the language, this sounds like quirky pop rock to my ears. I'd probably feel silly listening to it if I knew what they were singing about... or maybe not. James Ingram's It's Your Night... this was exactly what you'd expect a 1983 James Ingram album to sound like, complete with the exact production you'd expect from a 1983 contemporary R&B album, which I guess is exactly what his fans wanted. There is a dose of synth funk on the record, which is more appealing to me than 1983 R&B, though I have a hard time believing Ingram is the party animal he says he is. Fans of 60s and 70s R&B should look elsewhere. Dogs' Legendary Lovers... French power pop! This definitely gets cool points. The Dogs is a great name for a band. I liked this a lot. Will definitely check out their back catalogue when I get through the thousand other records from 1983. Satan Jokers' Les fils du metal... I'm not going to pretend I know anything about the history of French heavy metal, but I will say this was a decent take on NWOBHM with screaming, high-pitched vocals and hard rock style guitar playing. Fun record. Twice a Man's The Sound of a Goat in a Room... starts off very dark and atmospheric. There are times I'm not sure whether I like the sound of a goat in my room. Switches gears constantly, however, as though trying to prove a point that synthpop and darkwave can co-exist on the same record, even within the same song. Interesting. Gabinete Caligari's Que Dios reparta suerte... this rocked. It's a steady dose of Spanish post-punk psychobilly. Maybe not as crazy as you'd expect from that description, but I was down with this. Aggression's Don't Be Mistaken... not bad! I was expecting a hardcore record, but it sounded more like skater music. Then I discovered it's called Nerdcore, which is perfect. Seemed ahead of its time. I have plenty of buddies who would have happily listened to this in the 90s. The System's Logic... Interesting record. Kind of a low key synth pop cut. There were clearly better synth pop LPs in 1983, but I liked it.
  8. I will be super stoked if Japan prove the doubters wrong and qualify for the quarters.
  9. I finished reading Naoki Urasawa's Monster, which is hands down one of the best written manga series you'll ever read. Superbly well-crafted, and one of the best comics of the 90s for my money. I'm contemplating watching the anime, but I might jump into another Urasawa series instead.
  10. South Africa vs. Ireland was a good old-fashioned arm wrestle. Ireland defended extremely well. I thought they were going to choke after the first quarter where they turned over so much lineout ball, but they were ferocious in defense. It was an extremely physical match, and I couldn't help but worry about whether NZ can match either of these teams physically. South Africa were let down by their pool goalkicking, which several pundits predicted. The Irish fans are amazing. The Wallabies failed to fire a shot in what was a must-win pool match for them. They suffered their heaviest defeat in World Cup history and will surely miss the quarters for first time ever. It was also the first time that they've lost consecutive matches at a World Cup. Despite the grief that Australia has given New Zealand over the years, I didn't feel good about this. These are the guys we play three times a year, and pretty much the only international club competition we face. If our primary opposition is this bad is it any wonder why we're struggling against the top sides? Wales played well, and Gatland appears to have done a good job galvanizing the squad, but it was like watching men against boys, which to be fair was exactly what it was.
  11. The plot thickens at the Rugby World Cup. Fabien Galthie responded to criticism of France's performance against Uruguay by fielding a full strength team against Namibia. They destroyed Namibia, but Antonine Dupont left the field injured and news has come out that he may have broken his jaw. France's World Cup is starting to resemble 2011 for New Zealand when Dan Carter was injured. Two big games coming up on the weekend, Ireland vs. South Africa and Wales vs. Australia.
  12. Bit of a shock. I just read Peepshow during the past year.
  13. I guess that means there won't be any more Fables stories in the future. I have enjoyed the current arc for what it's worth, but I wouldn't call it essential reading.
  14. Congrats, Coco! Tears were shed.
  15. Sadly, the All Blacks/France game was as predicted. If we win our quarterfinal that will be our final.
  16. The Rugby World Cup begins this weekend with the opening match between New Zealand and France taking place on Friday night. The All Blacks were riding high at the start of this season, and people were starting to talk us up as favorites, but that came undone after a warm up match at Twickenham where the All Blacks suffered their worst ever defeat. Now you have legendary French hard man, Oliver Magne, calling this the worst All Blacks side in history. In truth, the winning percentage under coach Ian Foster has been poor by All Black standards, and I don’t expect the team to make it past the quarters, but at least we can play without the pressure of being favorites. France have been a machine during the past four years, and destroyed us the last time we played them in Paris. I doubt they’ll wilt under the pressure of a home tournament, and I expect them to be fired up for the opener. The All Blacks have never lost a match in the pool stages, but this is arguably the toughest opponent they’ve faced. Topping the pool would give us a better hope of advancing to the semis, but I think we’ll see the All Blacks lose for the first time in a pool match. The question is how badly? If France thrash us, it will be hard to see the team picking itself up off the canvas. France and Ireland are the favorites to win the Cup, but South Africa know how to play World Cup winning rugby. I’m hoping we’ll see France or Ireland win a maiden title, but I have a nagging feeling about the Boks.
  17. I read Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Kevin Maguire's Defenders mini-series. If you're familiar with their Justice League work, it follows a similar format. If you love their Justice League work then you'll enjoy this. If you don't like their work, or you've never read it, you'll probably hate it. The characters are written completely out of character, and Maguire chooses to draw both Namor and the Silver Surfer in extremely cartoony fashion. I liked it, as it amuses me whenever the characters insult each other. Would have liked to have seen this trio do an Avengers series.
  18. The Vietnam Veterans' On the Right Track Now... this was extremely cool. The Vietnam Veterans were a French psychedelic band with a great garage rock sound. Loved their cover of Roky Erickson's I Walked with a Zombie. Rat Attack's Rat Attack... this was fun. These guys were out of Honolulu? Hawaii's the last place I'd think as the stamping ground for a metal band. Loved the album cover. Loved the duel lead guitars. Martin Briley's One Night with a Stranger... this was the most AOR-sounding record ever, but I knew that heading into it. This is one of those records where the album cover appealed to me. Perfectly fine LP if you like this type of music. Sergio Sampaio's Sinceramente... this was a nice record. A solid set of songs by Brazilian singer-songwriter, Sergio Sampaio, a musician whom often worked with Raul Sexias. He was one of those artists who like to cross genres, so you get a mix of different sounds on this record. Sampaio also has a nice voice. Modern Art's Oriental Towers... this was downbeat, minimal wave, minimal synth post-punk. Kind of the opposite of the upbeat stuff I like from '83. Naturally, I preferred the more synth heavy tracks, but overall this was decent. This was a project of Gary Ramon, and wasn't a real band in the sense that they didn't play live gigs. Ramon ended up forming a band called Sun Dial, which played live, but I'm not familiar with them. Manufaktura's Зал ожидания -- I'm always up for something new and today it was Russian pop rock. Not the first genre that springs to mind when you think of Russian music, but a nice record. I enjoyed it a lot. Jah Shaka's Fire and Brimstone... I must be coming around on dub as this was another record I thoroughly enjoyed. I read this described as "menacing" and that's a good way to put it. Nei Lisboa's Pra viajar no cosmos não precisa gasolina... the 80s weren't the heyday for MPB but this is a gem of an album. Libosa looks like he stepped out of a Godard film on the album cover and gives us a steady supply of piano and pop rock. Good stuff. Earthshaker's Earthshaker... I've listened to this countless times before, but it still rocks, and you can hear the influence on the Japanese metal bands that followed.
  19. Twickenham was an absolute disaster for us against the Boks, but at least Fiji gave me something to smile about. I saw them live in Tokyo a few weeks ago and they didn't look like they were about to beat England in that match, but a week (or two) is a long time in rugby.
  20. Australia can't win a game of Tiddlywinks at the moment either. Wales were the last team that Australia defeated, but it was only by five points and prior to that Wales had won three in a row, including the pool stages of the 2019 WC. They always have close, scrappy matches.
  21. Eddie is banking everything on Australia being on the easier side of the draw. Provided they can beat Wales in the pool stages, which isn't a given.
  22. VIA Tallas' Perfektan dan za banana ribe... Serbian new wave pop rock! This was another short-lived act. Very poppy. I liked it. Mark Shreeve's Assassin... progressive electronic music. I'm not sure I like electronic music enough to be into progressive electronic music, but I'll try anything once. Alceu Valenca's Anjo avesso... MPB. I went through a phase where I listened to a ton of MPB, but I'm not sure I ever listened to anything by Valenca. This isn't the best place to start as I don't think any of the 70s Brazilian artists were producing their best work in the early 80s, but the production featured an interesting mixes of instruments and sounds, and Valenca has a strong voice. Sugar Minott's Dancehall Showcase Vol 2... I have a hard time vibing with dub, and grew up about as far away from Jamaican dance hall culture as you can possibly get, but damn this was groovy. Sugar Minot, ladies and gentlemen. Vault's No More Escape... alright, Dutch heavy metal! This was basically NWOBHM but a ton of fun. Preview's Preview... Holy crap, I have been teleported back to the 80s. This was a bit of an AOR gem. Could have easily spawned a few movie soundtracks. Every cut sounded like a movie montage. The production was so pure that there's no way you could ever parody it. The Suburbs' Love is the Law... this was fucking great. What the hell is this doing languishing at #943 on the RYM charts? Gimme a break. The title track is going on heavy rotation. Wait, it's got a music video too! Brilliant. I hope they have this at karaoke. Imperiet's Rasera... Swedish post-punk. This rocked pretty hard. I can imagine some people not liking the horns and other arrangements, but I loved the up-tempo vibe. Giuni Russo's Vox... Russo was an Italian singer doing the whole new wave/art pop deal. I always dig hearing other country's versions of what was popular in the charts at the time. Fun record. Barış Manço & Kurtalan Ekspres' Estağfurullah... Ne Haddimize! this was Anatolian rock. Surprisingly funky. I could imagine hearing this at a Turkish restaurant and thinking it sounds good. Jun Fukamachi's Digital Trip Queen Emeraldas Synthesizer Fantasy... this was experimental electronic music that *I think* were unused tracks from the Leji Matsumoto anime, Queen Emeraldas. I could be wrong about that, but in any regard it's pretty stuff. Die Doraus und die Marinas' Die Doraus und die Marinas geben offenherzige Antworten auf brennende Fragen... god, what a title. This was the German version of new wave called Neue Deutsche Welle mixed with a liberal dose of synthpop. Worked for me.
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