Thursday, August 27, 2009

If Aggravated Assault with a Weapon is a Crime then I’m Guilty as Charged

By Doug Lieblich * Other Doug Lieblich Posts

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly society can lose its core values. Our personal liberties, the moral foundation upon which our framers stood to build this great nation are slowly eroding away, and if we don’t stay vigilant, they’ll be gone before we know it. We will become slaves to political correctness and suddenly lose the ability to enjoy the pastimes we once treasured.

You can imagine my surprise when I was stopped by police officer for pounding a middle-aged man in the face with a tire-iron last Sunday.

At first it didn’t register. Was I on private property? Did I need a license for this tire-iron? Perhaps it was wrong for me to park my car on the middle of that golf course. No. Instead, I was deprived of my fundamental right to assault a fellow American with twelve pounds of steel in broad daylight.

I admit that I did not receive his consent at first, but he was a complete stranger. I didn’t want to disturb him. My point is that we no longer live in a world where one man can take his tire-iron, find another man at a water fountain, and club him in the face with it. I dare to dream and, suddenly, I’m the big-bad villain.

Freedom-hating conformists! It makes you just want to go out and assaul--oh wait, that’s right, you can’t.

My father would always tell me “never trust a man you can’t attack with an iron hunk of metal.” As a boy, I dismissed it as sentimental and old fashioned, but I’ve now realized just how profound it truly is. When you meet a stranger on a boardwalk, a nature preserve, a carnival, or even your local parking lot, you learn a lot about his character by the clothing, posture, manner of speaking, and whether you’re able to strike him with a lead pipe or power-tool.

Call me a hopeless romantic. Call me a nostalgic fool. Call me a felon with three charges of armed assault. I like hitting people in the face. So sue me. But don’t really sue me; you would probably win damages in our “pay-his-medical-bills” court of law.

If bludgeoning someone for no apparent reason is such a crime, then lock me up and throw away the key. I’m tired of getting stares from bystanders, inching away in fear, as if I’m the violent person. If you take a step back, you’d realize the media is to blame. We assaulters are unfairly profiled as muggers, thieves, or even lunatics. I have never stolen so much as a wallet from any of my assaultees. And I never ever follow orders from the voices inside my head. They only choose my lottery numbers.

Consider this a call to arms, America. We need to defend our right to attack. Sheathing our lead pipes, our wrenches, our nightsticks, our broken bar-stools will only allow the government and powerful “public safety” lobby to manipulate us with their shiny small-print books and fancy college talk. That’s a fact. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll smash you in the head with a brick to prove it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Start Spreading the News

By ned * Other ned Posts

Like the gum littered on subway platforms, New Yorkers symbolize to some a clump of coldness and inconsideration to the rest of humanity. The word "coffee" from a local can almost sound as abrasive as an actual cup from a tin stand on the street at 5am on a cold February morning. As much as midtown is cramped between the hours of 8 to 8, the nose to the grindstone, “live-to-work” lifestyle pervades the city’s ethos. You cannot help but feel some collective pressure to be in motion, to engage tasks, sites, smells and to deliver as you hustle and bustle through your day.

Therefore, you might expect that I would be glad to rid myself of that city and embrace the peaceful, duderrific lifestyle of the left coast. This could be true especially when you consider how frequently I tried to embrace what “The City” had to offer only to commit faux pas that would cause any true Manhattanite to raise their nose. I proudly purchased both Mets and Yankees hats – much to the stern disappointment of my Mets fan friends and much to the mild indifference and perplexity of the Bronx Bomber bleacher bums. While living in a bastion of progressive thought known as the East Village, I voted for John McCain. I ordered pops instead of sodas and declined the offer to drink them with a straw. I attended a Decemberist concert at Bowery Ballroom before they were signed by a major label and did not have a degree in the humanities let alone irony.

Considering myself a cultured soul, at other points I tried to take in the finer visual arts that bless New York. The Whitney is dedicated to American artists and the standing exhibit on its top floor houses big names of our tradition – Hopper, O’Keefe, and Whistler to name a few. Calder is known for his mobiles and playful geometric shapes. While in his section of that floor, I noticed a label on the wall next to a light source with canvas over it. As with other Calder pieces, the shadows hitting the canvas were geometric and delighted in constant motion. Wanting a closer look I leaned in towards the masterpiece. My admiration was only disturbed once as the security guard tapped me on the shoulder. I initially thought that I had gotten too close. That notion was corrected. “Sir, that is a window.”

Despite my best tendencies to distinguish myself as someone to poo poo, perhaps it comes with surprise that now two months removed I have a special place in my heart for New York City. New Yorkers are often mischaracterized as inconsiderate. To me instead, they are just indifferent. Encountering so many people in a New York minutes instills that survival technique. You have to be able to cope with a multitdue of sounds, sites and smells that avoidance is your only way out and saying a small-town hello to all passers-by on the street would simply be impossible.

But the cause behind this indifference is what makes New York wonderful. A diversity and vastness of people allows the Big Apple to support a diversity of activities whether they be pillow fights in Union Square, Santa Con, or a new restaurant to try every week. This diversity of interest too creates opportunities for well-meaning but often aloof midwesterns to carve their own niche in a city that never sleeps. You can see the sights and love every new food you tried in both a Yankees and Mets hat. You just cannot expect a local to help you differentiate fine art as opposed to the mundane. That requires your own desire, resourcefulness and playful ignorance.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Oakland Raiders: The NFL's Lost Dynasty of the Turn of the Millennium

By CL * Other CL Posts

I became a Raiders fan in the late 1980s, back when Bo Jackson was making football, baseball, and video game history. He's still my favorite athlete of all time, but this post isn't about him. It's about the Oakland Raiders, and their run of dominance in the beginning of this decade that should have brought multiple Super Bowl championships.

This isn't the early-1990s Buffalo Bills, who dominated the AFC for four years before running into bad kicking (SB XXV) and dominant teams (the next three years). The Raiders, in three consecutive years, played extremely well in the regular season and (if applicable) earlier playoff games, before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions in increasingly painful and creative ways.

(Despite these losses and the Raiders' general futility since then, few people have a sense of the Raiders as a tragic or suffering team. Everyone sees them as a mess, and a team in disarray, but not one that sinks to the depths of certain other teams. They don't have the Lions' clean 0-16, or the longevity of the Cubs' or Clippers' failure, or the whiny "look at us, our suffering is more profound than yours" fanbase of the pre-2004 Red Sox. Maybe it's because they're in Oakland as opposed to their old L.A. home or another larger market; maybe if Raider fans were more literary - or literate? - it would be written and talked about more. Maybe it's because a run like this isn't that out of the ordinary; they were very good (but not great) for a while and very bad (but not historically bad) for a while. Anyway...)

In 2000, their rushing attack led the NFL but the unquestioned team leader was All-Pro/Pro-Bowl QB Rich Gannon. The defense held up its end of the bargain, as this was back when Charles Woodson was good. Having won the division and steamrolled the Dolphins in their first playoff game, the Raiders hosted the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

And what happened in that game? Early in the second quarter, Ravens DT/whale Tony Siragusa bodyslammed Gannon, injuring Gannon's shoulder. Thankfully, it's not available on Youtube, but Gannon couldn't quite recover and the offense would only manage 3 points. The Ravens, obviously, went on to win the Super Bowl.

In 2001, the Raiders added legend Jerry Rice and won another division championship. They may not have been as dominant as the year before, but the way they lost was more painful. They travelled to Foxborough to play the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

This was the "Tuck Rule" game. Out of deference to my own emotional wellbeing, I'll let Wikipedia tell the story:

The game was played in a heavy snowstorm, and late in the fourth quarter an apparent fumble by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was recovered by Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert. The recovery would have led to a Raiders victory, however the play was reviewed and determined to be an incomplete pass (it was ruled that Brady had pump faked and then "tucked" the ball into his body, which, by rule, cannot result in a fumble). The Patriots retained possession of the ball, and drove for a game-tying field goal. The game went into overtime and the Patriots won, 16–13.

I don't know what to say about the Tuck Rule. Some referees say it was correctly applied here, some say not. There were efforts to change the rule after this game; nothing came of them. The Patriots, obviously, went on to win the Super Bowl.

Having run into one fat bastard and one badly-written or badly-applied rule, the Raiders stormed through the 2002 regular season. 11-5, division title, league-leading offense, top seed in the playoffs, and Rich Gannon was the NFL MVP. They breezed through the playoffs and were ready for the Super Bowl, in which they would face the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Of course, in the offseason, they had traded Jon Gruden, the coach who had made them such a dominant team, and relied on Bill Callahan to lead them. (Sidenote: As a fan of both Nebraska and the Raiders, I do not like him. He should not be confused with this Bill Callahan, who produced one of the best albums of this year, or this Bill Callahan, who produced and wrote one of my all-time favorite TV shows.) Being the evil genius that he is, Callahan elected not to change anything about the offense before the Super Bowl. Who was the opposing coach in the Super Bowl? Jon Gruden.

Now I'm no NFL coach, but if I was about to coach a Super Bowl team against the coach who had devised my entire offensive system, including the signals the players use on the field to indicate what play they are about to run...I would change the system before the game. I would, at the least, mix a few of the formations up. But not Bill Callahan! Tampa Bay intercepted Rich Gannon, who had thrown 10 INTs all year, a ridiculous five times, and three of them were returned for touchdowns. Tampa Bay's defensive players said they had seen every play used by the Raiders at some point in their practices. The Bucs, obviously, went on to win the Super Bowl.

(Incidentally, that Super Bowl is notable for two other reasons: Barret Robbins's disappearance, which turned out to be a pretty awful story, and a sudden reduction in the metaphorical consistency of a song by the Mountain Goats.)

That three-year run of playoff losses that should not have been, all of which came at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion, was painful. What have the Raiders been up to since then?

2003: 4-12 (last in the division)
2004: 5-11 (last in the division)
2005: 4-12 (last in the division)
2006: 2-14 (last in the division)
2007: 4-12 (last in the division)
2008: 5-11 (not last!)

It's been a rough few years, and it hasn't gotten much better. A few weeks ago, head coach Tom Cable punched an assistant coach, breaking his jaw. The night Ned left New York, I had a conversation with the bouncer at the bar we were hanging out at - who also happens to be a Raider fan; you'd be surprised where you run into them - that concluded with the determination that the Raiders are doomed to futility until Al Davis dies. Unless he's already dead, in which case the Raiders are doomed to futility until a court rules that zombies are not legal persons and thus incapable of owning and running football teams.

And that's pretty much that. From a near-dynasty that produced zero actual championships, to being so deeply mired in failure that your best hope is the death of the team's owner.

I'm also a Nets fan, and they've had a somewhat similar trajectory (NBA Finals in 2001-02 and 2002-03, haven't come close since), but writing about the Raiders and Nets in successive posts would not be good for me or you. My next post will focus on a much happier topic.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Would Probably Be Better Off Just Linking to Frost's "The Road Not Taken"

By CL * Other CL Posts

Gail Collins wrote a column last weekend focusing on her Woodstock memories (to summarize: things went wrong, she didn't get to much music, she still had fun). At one point she writes:

The lesson I took away from it is that whenever anybody asks you to do something off the wall, you should really try to do it — unless it involves being unethical or a two-plane connection. You might not enjoy it while it’s going on, but somewhere down the line the anecdotes will always come in handy.

I think this is a great point (even if it's not entirely original), so I decided to expand on it, incompletely and inadequately, here. Because really, everyone knows that it's true, on some level. But what people don't seem to realize is that it goes beyond the relatively inconsequential decisions; it's true at almost every level, including major life decisions.

(This isn't to say that you should do what you don't want to do, or ignore risks. It's just that people discount too many options just because they're not commonly done, and when they go out on a limb just a bit, it ends up being worthwhile.)

It is most obvious on the micro level. I spent the last ten days in Chicago, and in the days after Lollapalooza I woke up each morning with a plan to pick a direction and walk in it until I found something interesting. I was rewarded with fighter jets overhead (which, in fairness, was more due to lucky timing than anything else), the record store from High Fidelity (the movie, obviously, not the book; I didn't walk to London), an appearance by LeBron James promoting a documentary about his high school team, and a field in the middle of the city with several horses in it. The same goes for getting adventurous with food: it's low-risk, low-reward; even if it works out badly you haven't lost much and it could be a good story.

Getting a bit more macro is more educational - decisions that could have some downside, such as being a waste of time and money. I have a group of close college friends that has become geographically dispersed, so we make efforts to take trips to various cities from time to time. Usually, these are popular destinations: Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans. Our best trip, however, was one of the first: Omaha.

It was my idea, and I'm proud of it. I had gone to school right outside of Omaha and had attended the College World Series a few times, and knew how much fun it was. I suggested it to the group, and the response was lukewarm at best. There was even an email chain shortly before the trip titled (paraphrasing) "are we really doing this?" But after three days, a handful of new friendships, several friendship-testing incidents, an epic battle between a sharpie and an unnamed friend's face, and about two innings of baseball actually watched, all involved considered it a huge success.

So even at the macro level, this "going off the beaten path is worth it" idea is fairly obvious. Here comes the point of this post, and the part that goes beyond the quote above: when it comes to major life decisions, if you're inclined to do something most people wouldn't do, you absolutely should do it.

My first and smaller example of this is the law firm at which I'll be working in a few months. My school's on-campus interview program had a fairly simple signup process: we each had 35 slots to use on the 100+ firms and locations that were conducting interviews. I knew I wanted to focus on New York and DC (I know, this part isn't very adventurous) and I wanted a firm I could be at least somewhat happy at. I went through the Vault guide and knocked out all the firms that seemed a bit too unfriendly, or intense, or whose descriptions sounded a bit desperate (certain code words made themselves obvious after reading a few firm profiles). Having knocked out the prestigious undesirables, I was left with fewer firms than there were bidding slots, including several firms I knew nothing about: their Vault profiles were thin, their web presences minimal, and their associate ranks to small to have produced enough former employees to give reliable information on any non-obvious downsides. I ended up having a great experience with the firm that I knew the least about, both in the interviews and as a summer associate, and would rather work there than anywhere else.

I know that doesn't seem like a very off-the-wall thing to do, but trust me: in the context of scared law students at a good school interviewing for jobs, with the first rumblings of the credit crunch being felt (I remember, in my first callback, asking several partners how they thought the firm would be affected, in comparison with others, when things came crashing down), it was not something many of my classmates would have done.

The best example in my life came from the decisions of my parents. Moving to the New York area has been fairly standard for Irish people for the last 150 (give or take a few) years. Moving to Indonesia, in the dying days of a violent 31-year dynasty? Not so much. Following that with a move to Nebraska, a state you know so little about that you assumed it would be just like New York? Again, not a typical move. And yet outside of the direct influence of my family, growing up in these two places - learning from the natives, seeing other values systems and ways of life, making entirely new groups of friends every few years - had more to do with making me who I am today than anything else. For those of you that don't know me, I am a HUGE fan of who I am today, and I say that in an only slightly ironic tone.

Had we not moved to Indonesia, I would not have spent my formative years waking up to the muezzin's call. I would not have had a loris living in my backyard. A sixth-grade trip to Borobudur was the source of two college papers, and my experiences in Indonesia in general were the background of my largest law school project, which singlehandedly supplied 13% of the footnotes published in my academic journal this year. (See, it's not just in blog posts that I overdo the explanatory parentheticals.)

Had we not moved to Nebraska, I would not have spent my high school years surrounded by four hundred acres of corn, in a school run by Benedictine monks. I may not have discovered running, which was a huge part of my life for about a decade. And I certainly wouldn't have found myself, as I did in June at a high school reunion, in an Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan making jokes about center-pivot irrigation.

Obviously this all needs some sort of caveat. Despite the examples above, I'm extremely risk-averse (a risk-averse lawyer? shocking!) and I love routine - I generally don't do something unplanned unless I'm told about it at least two days in advance, lest it disrupt my carefully-arranged workout, blog-reading (yes Ned, and blog-writing) and sleeping schedules. Which is why it's surprising, and maybe more persuasive, that I'm the one making this argument.

In any event, I have a few more months before I start work, and I hope to make some slightly irrational decisions between now and then that turn out to be great stories. There are already a few in the works. If any turn out to be both blog-appropriate and blogworthy, I'll pass them along.


Sidenote: This is my return from a long, bar-exam-forced break. I'm still adjusting and haven't really worked out my post-bar schedule yet, but I will be posting more often. And in a move which will excite at least two people, the sonnets may soon return.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Froggy Jamboree

By ned * Other ned Posts

The past decade has included its fair share of high profile legal entanglements. Big Tobacco went down. The OJ civil trail showed that if it doesn’t fit then you must owe the Brown and Goldman families damages. The law even decided the Presidency. But, for those fans of 1990s sketch comedy, we can finally put one set of legal issues behind us. The entirety of MTV’s sketch comedy show the State – which was unavailable for release due to matters of the rights to songs aired during episodes – is out now in stores on DVD.

Surrounded by the programming of Liquid Television and 120 minutes, the show is in part a product of the aesthetic of the times. Your televisions starts by blasting you with loud edgy grimy distorted music in the background to a grittily shot intro. The cast members wear their fair amount of flannel. Appealing to teens and twenty-somethings, characters of angst make their share of appearances in sketches. However, although certainly a part of the feel, the serious nature of anti-establishment, anti-selling-out, Gen-X culture is not the only characteristic that defines the show.

The State is absurd. For example, one of the shows most critically acclaimed skits is Porcupine Race Track. Perhaps the State's largest production, a string of music numbers parody My Fair Lady and dozens of other musicals around the setting of watching – as the name suggests – porcupines race. Others skits have less of a semblance of a plot or spin a few minutes around simple, innocent premises – such as a teen dealing with fact that he grew up in a barn.

Following in the tradition of Monty Python, delight in the silly was a defining characteristic of other mid-90’s comedy. Perhaps most prominently and profitably, you can cite the rise of Jim Carrey and his slaphappy Ace Ventura. With characters such as the Chicken Lady and Bellini, the Kids in the Hall drew its audience in part from being over-the-top and outlandish. To a certain extent, Mr. Show did as well from clever and sometimes wacky premises.

Goofiness though has proven to be a fad. Perhaps the change was due to 9/11 bringing a sense of reality to the zeitgeist or just a matter of trends running their course. In any case lighthearted stupidity in comedy does not garner the same appreciation as before. In the Daily Show era realism rules the day. The staged sitcom is in decline. Shot with a realistic feel, the Office, Arrested Development, and Reno 911! obscure the lines between reality and the television screen; the last of these is the current project of many of the former cast members and creative forces behind The State.

Despite this swing of the pendulum, I feel much of the comedy of the State’s time will be enduring. Along with clever wit, the absurdity when coupled with the counter-culture, Gen-X aesthetic is what makes the State and much mid-nineties comedy so intriguing. When discussing architecture Robert Venturi in the book Complexity & Contradiction in Architecture delights in spaces that put two seemingly contradictory elements together. This combination to him creates ambiguity, movement and intrigue.

The comedy of the 90’s is appealing in much the same way. Perhaps a result of the financial boom times and lack of war, the lightheartedness and carefree spirit in some of the States sketches are somehow coupled with an angst and desire to reject the status quo that grew out of Grunge and other movements. That’s why I think shows such as the State, Kids in the Hall, and Mr. Show will have staying power. That’s also why I’m crushing your head.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Birthers and hating Obama

By Mike Corey * Other Mike Corey Posts

Every now and again, slivers of the American population reveal themselves as something less than that which Americans ought to be.

These slivers are omnipresent in every society, and always have been, I'm sure. They fluctuate in size depending on time and circumstance, and garner varying amounts of attention. But neither of those facts makes them any less disappointing.

Right now, that sliver has silver-tongued opinion-shapers across the spectrum of media encouraging them to believe and advance the notion that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen. It's almost too mindless to mention, but it has gained enough traction with enough people that the cacophony of crap that they're spewing has become impossible to ignore.

This sliver, which has adopted the sobriquet of "Birthers," contends that Barack Obama is yet to prove his claim to the presidency because of the constitutional requirement that the president be an American-born citizen of the United States. Nevermind the fact that he was born in Hawaii and that two local newspapers announced his birth in 1964, these people are doing their utmost to devise a contention out of thin air. The other day, for example, a document magically appeared that was purported to be a birth certificate from Kenya announcing the arrival of Barack Hussein Obama. The document was proven to be a forgery, of course, riddled with inaccuracies and inconsistencies, leaving the Birthers without a shred of evidence supporting their hyperventilations--aside from “the fact” that Obama has "taken" their country from them. Indeed, the document was so easily debunked that some of the theorists have contended that the Obama Administration planted the forgery to discredit them.

But this "Birther" notion isn't the primary concern. It's what the people who want to capitalize on the passion of the Birthers are trying to do, and are capable of inciting, that is most foreboding.

Consider Glenn Beck. He has a massive following, and has uttered malignancies like, "Barack Obama has a deep-seeded hatred of white people" in recent days. Opportunists like Beck do not seem to care about the potential consequences of their actions, only that their viewership is up. (Way up.) Indeed, before Beck followed the cavalcade down into the perdition of information, Fox News, he was just another conservative commentator, albeit a less than formidable one. Now, he impresses on his growing viewership that apocalypse looms because of Barack Obama and what he's "trying" to do to the country--and more egregiously, because of who he is.

These kinds of attacks are a troubling ramification of the themes spun by the far right in the waning months of last year's election, when Reverend Wright and William Ayers became part of the Republican noise machine's vernacular, with the vice presidential nominee repeatedly assuring her supporters that Obama had been "palling around with terrorists" and that he didn't see "America as you see it and how I see America."

(McCain did little to quiet or discourage the former Alaska governor, though when he was faced with one who insisted that Obama was a Muslim, he quickly admonished her before moving on with his politicking. Similarly, McCain's camp has gone on the record in asserting that Barack Obama is, in fact, a U.S. citizen. He remains one of the few Republican leaders to have done so.)

The result, of course, is a sliver of Americana that is unsettling. Consider the following images compiled from across the country in recent weeks, which go well beyond the "birther" movement and into a whole other category of ignorant anger.

When people believe such things, and are whipped into enough of a frenzy--and when they truly believe their country is either being led by someone that doesn't legally warrant the responsibilities of office or is using that office to undermine the country--dangerous things can happen.

Unsurprisingly, death threats against the president are up 400 percent from President Bush's tenure in the White House.

Coincidentally, gun sales have skyrocketed since Obama was elected, a phenomenon largely based on another unfounded assumption--this one being advanced by the National Rifle Association and its vendors--that Obama is going to outlaw all guns and ammunition.

"It started the day that Obama got elected," Johnny Dury, who owns Dury's Gun Shop in San Antonio, tells NPR's Michele Norris. "It is when everything just went crazy in the gun business."

Some would surely point out that lunacy is not partisan. And that is surely true. But those that believe George Bush was a war criminal were not stockpiling weapons of personal destruction, nor were their protests going unchallenged by far too many Congressmen.

It's time for Republicans to step up and lead their party and their people, and not let them be led astray into the recesses of radical hate.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mixtape Mondays - Summer Driving Tunes

As a new feature to Around the Couch, we introduce to you Mixtape Mondays! On the first monday of every month, ATC will bring to you a sampling of songs. They may revolve around a theme or simply the tastes of one of our contributors. Regardless, enjoy!

This Month's Theme - Songs to listen to when hitting the open road!

August is the month of summer vacations and seeing what this big planet has to offer via the freedom of four wheels and gasoline. We feel these tunes help put your pedal to the metal and soak in the air of the drive.

Some of the rationale for some selections:

* "Teenage Riot" by Sonic Youth - The slow syrupy dripping intro of the song fits well as an introduction to the album "Daydream Nation" and to any summer drive playlist. The first lazy riffs are the perfect aural accompaniment to pulling off the driveway and the mounting energy of the song is complimentary to speeding through concrete

* "Factory" by Martha Wainwright - This was actually on a summer mix by Q magazine, and it has an oddly appropriate-for-summer feel.

* "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. - There sort of has to be a song by them on there, and there may be a more appropriate one, but this is pretty sing-along-y and we didn't want to just pick "End of the World" based on Tommy Boy.

* "Drive Slow" by Kanye West - Appropriate easy summer feel for some cruising.

* "In a Daydream" by the Freddy Jones Band & "In God's Country" by U2 - Appropriately anthemic and grand when moving through the expanse of the west

* "Saturday Morning" by the Eels - The uptempo beat and optimistic and playful lyrics are just what you need to kick it up a gear and enjoy the ride.