Saturday Night Video: Elvis, Ann-Margret, and Elvis - by Colin G.

A blast from the past to mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley. This originally ran Feb 2014 - Colin G.

I recently returned from an extended rock n roll sabbatical in Memphis, TN. Obviously, Elvis has been in the forefront of my mind ever since. If you haven't read "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley" by Peter Guralnick, you need to do that immediately. It's way more than sex, drugs and rock n roll. The Elvis Presley story is the original American Shakespearian tragedy that will break your heart and leave you crying over his grave at Graceland. Please enjoy these clips sponsored by my insomnia and the remaining cans of beer in my fridge. - Colin G.

Below: Elvis giving his all right to the end. Heartwarming and heartbreaking. Thrilling.

Below: Elvis singing "If I Can Dream" from the 68 comeback special. The Graceland tour ends with this song as you stand over the graves of Elvis, his Mom, Dad, Grandmother and twin brother. But the song alone should make you weep out of respect by it's sheer beauty and power. It's like listening to the Grand Canyon.

The N.F.L. is the Sport for Stupid People: #TBT - by Colin Gawel

Pencilstorm Throw-Back Thursday 08/04/17

Originally published September 2014. It still gets hits. Go figure. Click here for current not-stupid NFL coverage by Brian Phillips.

Before you can say, "What? Me stupid? That's unpossible!" - let me explain. I'm not trying to be an elitist or a contrarian.  I too, like you, care deeply about all sorts of stupid things. In fact, just this past month I'll have you know that I.......

A) Forked over $50 to watch WWE Summerslam and.....

B) Watched every episode of "4th and Loud" - the reality TV show about arena football team the L.A. KISS, starring Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

I think reasonable people can agree it doesn't get much dumber than that. 

And before you soccer types get all excited that this is going to be some manifesto on the merits of Premier League Football over American football, that isn't happening either. Despite an exciting World Cup, I much prefer Uncle Sammy's brand of pigskin. In fact, I play in two fantasy football leagues and this Sunday while I am coaching third base for my son's little league team, I will be crying on the inside knowing that I will be missing the Browns opener. (Though it is sure to be another curbstomping compliments of the dreaded Steelers.)

So, though I like the NFL like all normal people, I HATE NFL coverage. God, it never stops. Ugh. BARF. So dumb. So Boring. Every single day of the year ESPN jams the "THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE" down my throat and I am so very tired of it. I know you are too. I can feel my poor brain cells dying of boredom as they absorb questions like who will start at center for Green Bay and will Jacksonville win over or under 3.5 games. The company line is, "The NFL is the nation's most popular sport, so we have to talk about it every 15 minutes, 365 days a year because YOU can't get enough of it." Okay, sure. Still, McDonald's is America's most popular restaurant, but everybody knows it sucks. Just because something is the most popular doesn't mean it is good. Just check out the top song on the charts right now. Whatever it is, I bet dollars to donuts, it blows.  

But why does NFL coverage bother me so much? The odd thing is, though I am much less likely to watch a entire regular season NBA game than  I would an NFL game,  I love reading about the NBA. I like ESPN stories about the NBA, but not the National Football League. Why is this? Some theories......

For one, I hate that every talking head has stopped using the abbreviation NFL and almost always refer to THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. My theory is that using the longer name fills content over the course of a grinding 24 hour news cycle. By just stretching that out and saying it say, 1,500 times a day, that's almost 45 minutes of airtime each day filled by somebody just saying, "He is going to have to make that throw if he wants to keep his job in the…NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE."

For two, ESPN treats the entire country like we are all superfans of all thirty two NFL teams. They will do a full twenty minute segment on Maurice Jones Drew joining the Raiders or Ryan Tannahill learning a new playbook. This would be would be fine if I lived in Oakland or Miami. But I don't. Why are they telling me this in such fine detail? Do you know how hard it is to run on a treadmill in February while enduring a 12-minute story on the possible new Carolina Panthers starting wide receivers? Basically, they take waiver wire stories and treat them like the lead segment on 60 Minutes. Who fucking cares? Who are these people that enjoy this? Is there a comment section giving 99% approval I haven't seen?

For three, and this is the big one, I suspect Bill Simmons has done such a good job covering the NBA, it just shines a light on how many dumb jocks cover football. All those jackasses standing around in designer suits on a fake football field flapping their gums for two straight hours and they never have anything interesting to say. How is that possible? Professional football is, by far, the most complex sport on the planet, but nobody seems to able able to write a story about it that is interesting.

Watching Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose do a podcast on the NBA is great fun. Watching the FOX NFL pre-game show is like having your eyes gouged out with stale celery stalks.

So maybe the NFL isn't the sport for stupid people after all. Perhaps it is the sport for stupid journalists and it's just hard to tell the difference.  Either way, thank GOD we can finally start watching THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE and stop talking about it. For a day anyway.

Colin Gawel plays in the band Watershed and started Pencilstorm as a way to kill time at his coffee shop, Colin's Coffee. As he is writing this, he is watching that guy lip syncing that "Happy" song before the NFL opener in Seattle. Some sort of lame kick-off party. How very stupid indeed.  





JT Barrett is the Greatest QB in OSU History. Does he Suck? Baver Answers.

Baver covers Buckeye Football for Pencilstorm. Follow @baverbuckeyebag

Colin: You seemed downright giddy about new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson after the spring game. What are you seeing that has you so excited?

Baver: We saw screen passes that were actually executed the way screens are supposed to be executed, saw a passing game that had all the parts in sync with one another, and actually saw pass catchers running crossing patterns. The coaches pretty much abandoned the crossing patterns late last year, so that was a nice site. Yeah, it was just a spring game, but Kevin Wilson is just what the doctor ordered for this offense. The Buckeye offense struggled mightily against every good defense they faced last year, and after the 31-0 beat down by Clemson, Urban finally got the wake up call and sent two offensive coaches packing. And Kevin Wilson was there for the taking. Now, Wilson is working with 4 and 5-star guys instead of the 3-star guys he had at Indiana. Yeah….I am giddy as can be.

Colin: The million dollar question. JT Barrett will go down statistically as the greatest QB in Ohio State history. By far. Is he any good?

Baver: As of right now, I think he’s far better than most OSU fans think he is. But I get it….even when he had time to throw last year, he often missed WR’s badly. The 2nd qtr play against Michigan when Barrett launched the ball way over a wide-open Curtis Samuel comes to mind. It was a simple throw, and Samuel would have likely taken that one 94 yards to the house…and Barrett air-mailed it. But JT is a gamer. 5 OT drives that he has led as a Buckeye….the results? 5 touchdowns. He’s the guy you want with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. This year, I still don’t expect him to throw the ball as well as he did in ’14, but I expect him to look a lot better with the tutoring he has gotten and will get from Kevin Wilson and new QB coach Ryan Day. 

Colin: How can we seriously expect a breakout performance from any WR or TE? Who do you expect to break out and what will the numbers look like?

Baver: Maybe it wasn’t too bold of a call, but I had Curtis Samuel as the most likely offensive player to breakout a year ago at this time, followed by Noah Brown. (click here to read that story) They both had breakout seasons last year, to different extents. I don’t see a TE making big noise, but I think the new hybrid, Paris Campbell, is your breakout guy this year. We saw glimpses of what Paris is capable of last year on kick returns, and I think it all comes together for him this year, on returns, rushes and as a pass catcher. Numbers? I don’t think you’ll see 700+/800+ rushing/receiving yards like Samuel did, but I think you could potentially see 400+ and 700+, respectively.

Colin: Is Mike Weber a world class back like top 5 programs come to expect? What recent Ohio State starting RB is he better than?

Baver: Not sure if it’s fair to ask what recent Buckeye RB he is better than, with Weber having only one season in the books so far. I thought he was a solid back last year and felt he should have been used more down the stretch. Urban is singing Weber’s praises this summer, and he was 4th on Ohio State’s 40-yard dash board in June. Weber has also showed up as a 1st rounder in some 2018 NFL mock drafts. World-class? Not sure. Ezekiel level? No. But I think Weber is in for a big year if he stays healthy.

Colin: Can this OL dominate if we have trouble throwing the ball downfield or could we see a repeat of MSU, Michigan and Clemson against a stout D?

Baver: OL is my biggest concern on offense. They probably should have fired a trio of Buckeye offensive coaches, instead of just a pair, as Greg Studrawa ain’t gettin’ it done. And I can’t imagine that OSU couldn’t find an elite O-line coach that would be worlds better than Stud. Obviously Isaiah Prince has to make huge strides after Pro Football Focus graded him out as the worst pass-blocking O-lineman in the FBS last season, allowing 45 QB pressures. I think you’ll see better results as a whole in ’17 with Kevin Wilson being more involved with the Slobs, but I am still taking a wait and see approach.

"Softer Side" - Erica Blinn's New Single

It would be tempting to call Erica Blinn the "little sister" act of the Colin Gawel-galaxy of bands: Watershed, The League Bowlers, Colin Gawel & the Lonely Bones.   It would be tempting, but it would be wrong, because little sister is too demeaning & limiting a term for the gigantic talent that Erica Blinn represents.  There's a lot more we here at Pencilstorm could say about Erica - and we WILL at some point in the future - but for right now, let's just kick back and enjoy Erica's new single, released today, "Softer Side."  

Erica Blinn / "Softer Side"


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I Need Your Help With This Kickstarter Project - by Colin Gawel

Please take one minute to check out the pre-order for the original Watershed side-band, The League Bowlers. I love playing in this band and I'm really proud of this record. However, time is short. One of our members has serious health issues. We need your help to get this CD finished ASAP. But this is no charity case. Any fan of Watershed is going to love this record. And it will be yours this September. 

I would really appreciate you checking out our Kickstarter campaign to learn more about the project. I hope you can help us. Thank you. - Colin 

Click here for League Bowlers Kickstarter Campaign and CD pre-order.