Posted by: Rites of Patches | January 3, 2010

10 Best Albums of 2009

2009 will be remembered for many things, most of them negative. For now at least, 2009 will be remembered as one of those blank years of an unpopular war, another year of economic troubles, and the year that a bunch of people we’ve never met from movies died and everyone cared for some inexplicable reason. Now to be fair, there are plenty of reasons, but I won’t continue to damage my faith in humanity by thinking about it any deeper.

However, I will remember 2009 as the year that rock and metal got back to kicking ass. If you read my review from last year, you know that I thought that 2008’s rock music was sorely lacking. In retrospect, I’m a genius because I was dead on. I messed up on a few albums to be sure – it was damn near criminal to leave Trivium’s Shogun off my list when In This Moment occupied the number two spot. However, 2008 was only a shadow of the twenty must-have albums of 2007.

In 2009, rock and metal got back on track. So, it with great pleasure and an overinflated sense of self that I present to you the 10 Best Rock and Metal Albums of 2009.

Read More…

Posted by: Rites of Patches | November 29, 2009

Scenes from the First Thanksgiving

Occasionally, and by occasionally I mean for my job, I think about what history gets wrong. Yes, the same guy who writes about cats with guns, peeing on sports announcers, and sweet, sweet boobs is also in charge of educating your children. Woooooo! America! Speaking of which, let’s reflect on a (sometimes) more accurate First Thanksgiving.

Settler: Wait, what is this?
Indian: It’s a gourd. We use them for decorative purposes.
Settler: Uhhh… Thanks, buddy….

Settler: This is how we say “Nice to meet you and we promise not to strip you of your rights and sacred lands, forcing those we do not kill onto reservations and a life of crippling economic disparity.”
Indian: Nice to meet you too.

Indian: You know those buckles on your hats look fucking retarded, right?

Indian: Here. I give you fish.
Settler: Yeah, guy. Those, um, blankets you wanted are on the way too. (winks at wife)
Indian: Why are you winking?
Settler: Oh, no reason. (WINK, WINK, WINK)

Pastor: We thank you, Lord, for our great fortune, finding a new land far away from the oppression of our Mother country. A place where we can finally be free to chose our own life and destiny. A place where we can live our lives without the encroachment of some outside party. And also for placing all these savages at that table over way over there.

Pocahontas: So, you know that I’m like twelve, right?

John Smith: HELLS YEAH!

Posted by: Rites of Patches | November 7, 2009

I’m a Hippopotamus and I’ve Got Noodles on My Back

I'm a Hippopotomus and...

Posted by: Rites of Patches | October 16, 2009

Every Sunday on Football Night in America


Bob Costas: Hello, everyone and welcome to Football Night in America. We’re here tonight to see a Week 6 showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears.


Costas: With me tonight, as usual, are former NFL stars Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, and Chris Collinsworth, and former Lions CEO Matt Millen. Jerome, let’s start with you. What should we be watching for tonight?

BettisH.standard Jerome Bettis: Tonight’s match up features two of the premiere quarterbacks in the NFL. Jay Cutler took a lot of flak for whining his way out of Denver. Now it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is. Matt Ryan was anointed a future superstar last year. Can he compete with one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL right now? Bob…

Costas: Tiki?

Barber2.widecTiki Barber: I wouldn’t look at that position. I would look at the running back position. When you talk about critical positions in the NFL, you go to the backs first. After all, if a team allowed its All-Pro running back to retire, certainly you wouldn’t expect that team to win the Super Bowl the next year, especially after said running back gave the game everything he had only to get nothing in return. Fucking Eli Manning-

Costas: Alright, Tiki, I’m gonna cut you off there, you sad, bitter little man. Chris?

Collinsworth2.widecChris Collinsworth: Well, Bob, first off, I think calling me a star is a little generous, but thanks. (Chuckles all around, except for Tiki, who quietly weeps) Tonight is all about defense. The high-powered Falcons offense versus the solid Chicago defense or the respectable Bears aerial attack against a lackluster Falcons secondary. Take your pick. Bob…

Costas: Matt, what are your thoughts on the evening?

matt+millenMatt Millen: 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. (Everyone chuckles) 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16. 0-16.

Tiki (softly): Jerome? What’s it feel like? To win a Super Bowl?

Costas: I heard nothing you actually said, Matt. How the fuck do you have a job? Let’s send it to Keith Olbermann at our NBC studios in Chicago.

Olbermann Smug

Costas: Thanks, Keith. Alright, we’re ready to go. Let’s go to Faith Hill since we’re paying the bitch millions to rip off a fucking Joan Jett song. See you at halftime!

My Decision to Renounce Religion

How to Hide Your Girlfriend from Your Mother

When I Get Married, It Will Not Be in a Church

How to Hide Your Bastard Children from Your Mother

Why I Enjoy Co-habitation

How to Hide Your Gay Lover from Your Mother

The Pope Sucks and Is Also Full of Lies

Posted by: Rites of Patches | September 4, 2009

Metal Reviews by Patches: Speed Round II

A quick review of four recent albums.
serious_catExplanation of Scoring System Here

Lacuna Coil: Shallow Life

Lacuna Coil took a huge step, going from the electronics of Comalies to a thicker, warmer sound on Karmacode. Although there is no similar leap here, if you enjoyed Karmacode, then Shallow Life will not disappoint. Shallow Life is a little simpler, the music a little thinner, and the atmosphere a little less moody, but Lacuna Coil succeeded in making an album better than most out there.

Bottom Line: The simplicity of the album ensures that it will never be as good as Karmacode, but the album still has enough solid modern rock tracks and gorgeous ballads to justify spending your money. If you want another reason, Cristina Scabbia is an attractive person. Just like me! Only on the outside too.

Told Ya...

Told Ya...

Killswitch Engage: Killswitch Engage

With 2006’s  As Daylight Dies, KsE continued the evolution of their emphasis on the melodic side of their music. Killswitch Engage is a refinement of the musical style found on Daylight. The only real change in the music is the influence of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots producer Brendan O’Brien, who shares production duties with guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. While the album is still undeniably KsE, it continues to emphasize the melodic aspect over the hardcore.

None of this is to say that the album is boring or not heavy enough. KsE still knows how to kick ass. “Never Again” and “A Light in a Darkened World” feature Jones’ brutal verses and gorgeous refrains. “This Is Goodbye” is as epic an album closer as “Hope Is…” or “Reject Yourself” (Okay, maybe not, but darn close). “Starting Over” features some really cool drum production. The biggest change is the lyrics. No matter how brutal their music, KsE’s lyrics have always been hopeful and optimistic; one of my favorite features of metalcore in general. The pessimism of our times seems to have infiltrated the band as they were writing this album. Hopefully, this change is not a permanent one.
Toonces2Bottom Line
: Do you like metalcore? Yes? Then buy this album. KsE may have slid towards the mainstream over their last three albums, but they are still metalcore’s most talented and consistent band.

Anubis Gate – The Detached

Unless you arrived here via Google search, you’ve likely never heard of Anubis Gate before. Allow me to bring you up to speed. Anubis Gate. There. I linked it to Wikipedia. God, do I need to do everything around here?

The Detached is a concept album, telling the story of time-traveling immortals blah, blah, who cares. This album is incredible and the early front runner for my rock album of the year. The story is interesting, the lyrics are engaging, and the music is melodic and technically sound, even if it never goes overboard into the realm of Iron Maiden or Dream Theater. The vocals are powerful and expertly produced to maximize impact on the listener.

Best of all, The Detached is an album. All of the songs flow perfectly from one to the other. From the classic metal of “Find a Way (or Make One)” and “Lost in Myself,” to the Egyptian influence in “Pyramids,” to the harmonies of “Out of Time,” to the funky bass of “Options – Going Nowhere” and the auto-tune tinged vocals of “A Lifetime to Share,” The Detached simply grabs hold of the listener and never relinquishes. It’s an album so complete that you feel like you would be doing the band a disservice by listening to anything less than the entire album. That might be the greatest compliment anyone can give an album.Toonces3

Bottom Line: Did you read anything I said? Buy the damn album already!

Cavo – Bright Nights, Dark Days

After hearing the undeniably catchy “Champagne,” I eagerly anticipated Cavo’s debut album, entitled Bright Nights, Dark Days. However, as soon as the abovementioned lead single, and album opener, ended, the disappointment began. Few of the remaining songs stood out, and their attempts at ballads were as bland as every other band that sounds just like them.Meh Cat

Bottom Line: Although there’s only a couple memorable songs on the album, Cavo does display a good deal of potential. They’ve shown they can write a few strong tracks. The next couple of albums will show whether Cavo has either the talent or the desire to rise above the three singles and eight fillers formula of their genre’s albums.

Posted by: Rites of Patches | August 29, 2009

The Five Things I Hate Most About the Brett Favre Saga

5. Brett Favre

Favre Crying

You’d think Brett Favre himself would be higher on this list, but you’d be wrong. I don’t begrudge the man for having a tough time retiring. He obviously loves the game and I’m sure I’ll do the same thing when I’m 60 and can’t hang up the slow-pitch softball spikes.

This whole saga has been beaten to death and this article really isn’t about Favre anyways, so I’ll just say this: I’ve never liked Brett Favre. I never really hated him either. I “hated” him because he was an overrated quarterback who somehow made a Hall of Fame career out of being a luckier Rex Grossman. I “hated” him because he was a Green Bay Packer and I was and am a Vikings fan. I “hated” him most of all for being successful when the Vikings floundered in Wild Card mediocrity and Denny Green’s clock mismanagement. (Although I wish I could go back and tell my 1997 self about Brad Childress. I would have savored the Green Era while I had the chance.)

However, I have come to hate Favre’s panache for cameras. Favre has an awareness for TV cameras that is rivaled only by his lack of awareness of defensive backs. The guy is an attention whore. At his first retirement conference, it seemed like a genuine guy was calling it quits, but as time went on, every fluctuation in Brett Favre’s life was somehow on ESPN. At some point, coincidences stop being coincidences.

4. The National Sports Media

Still, I can’t hate attention whores for being attention whores. They can’t help it. It’s like hating Hayden Christensen for being a shitty actor or Michael Bay for being a hack. They are just being who they are. The hatred should go to George Lucas for raping a beloved (Wait, I forgot about monkey and fridge-nuking – two, I mean two) franchise or the studio executives that shell out millions for Bay to direct money-making shit-storms like Transformers 2. Hate the enablers.

ESPN has been so insufferable the last two years that it has become cliché to talk about Brett Favre. Their decade-long fellating of Favre has made it impossible to talk about Brett without drowning in one’s own apathy. I can dork out about a lot of things, but nothing like football. A couple friends and I killed a long road trip by spending 2-3 hours predicting the finishes of every division in the NFL. I love football that much. But their non-stop coddling of Favre has made it so that I can’t watch SportsCenter anymore and for two years I dreaded Monday Night Football while Kornheiser was on the announcing team. No one would applaud me for giving cash to a hobo sitting in front of a liquor store, but that’s what ESPN has become.

Then SI released this cover.


Seriously, Sports Illustrated? Fuck You. You’re gonna joke about how you’ve made my last two summers a Mad Maxian wasteland, scrounging for non-Favre sports news scraps like it’s the last three gallons of gas in Australia? Fuck. You.

3. Pink Jerseys

Still, I’m a Vikings fan and Favre is a Viking. I’ll cheer for him. I thought it was as simple as that until I went to a Target store in Minneapolis the other week. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the store was a mother doing some back-to-school (shudder) shopping for her elementary school daughter. Before my cuteness reflexes could react, mom reached for the rack of pink Brett Favre Vikings jerseys.

Vikings 4 Brett Favre Pink

I don’t care how good you look in pink. If you are going to wear an article of sports clothing it should be in team colors. Hell, I don’t even care if you picked your sports teams on the basis of their jersey colors, you wear those damn colors. Team colors are like national flags. And like other countries, I don’t care which colors you support, as long as you are supporting something. Unless it’s those damn, hairy Greeks. I can make fun of Greeks and not be racist, right? Also, Alyssa Milano agrees with me, and she is basically to female sports fans as Gandhi was to the non-violence movement. That is to say, of course, that Gandhi was an excuse for bloggers to put a picture of hotties in their sports articles.

Not Pictured Above: Gandhi in a Thong

Not Pictured Above: Gandhi in a Thong

2. Over-Eager Vikings Fans

As I was leaving the store, I saw a guy in a Vikings Favre t-shirt. A friend who works at Target Headquarters has told me that Favre jerseys and shirts are flying off the shelves. You saw hundreds of them in the crowd during Favre’s pre-season debut. I have no problem with owning a Favre Vikings jersey. I’ll certainly never own one, but it’s commendable that you are willing to put your love for your team above your dislikes of people on your team.

However, it seems that some Vikings fans are being way too quick to buy these jerseys. How can you hate a guy for fifteen years and then buy his jerseys as soon as you find out that he’s on your team? If you can stop hating him that easily, I think your hatred of him and your perspective on sports in general were never irrational enough in the first place. The enemy of your enemy is indeed your friend, but you shouldn’t share social security numbers and set up a joint checking account, if you get what I’m saying. Buying a Favre Vikings jersey should be a gut-wrenching experience. You should take longer making that decision than deciding which of your children to save from drowning – I mean, seriously, they’re fucking drowning so you shouldn’t be taking your time.

And don’t even get me started on all the Vikings fans who proudly wore Favre Packer jerseys to the game.

1. Brett Favre Fans

A "Packer Fan"

A "Packer Fan"

Of course, many of those jerseys where probably not Vikings fans at all, they were something much worse. They were Packer fans who think they can be fans of the Packers and their favorite player, who incidentally is leading their rivals against them, requiring them to cheer against their own team. I can think of nothing so vile as a sports fan. I have favorite players on every NFL team. Hell, I even think that you can support numerous teams as long as you have a clear ranking. As a high schooler, I had a #29 Jason Belser Indianapolis Colts Jersey. That jersey has become a part of my life. I wore it to school once a week. People at school started calling me Belser. People call me Belser to this day because of that jersey. In 2001, he was released and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. There is no way in hell I would have cheered for the Chiefs over the Colts. I like Chad Pennington. I think if I were a Jets fan, I would still appreciate him and wish he was still my quarterback. That said, I would rather die in this hypothetical situation than buy his Dolphins jersey. This is still tough to think about since I’m still getting over the fact that I can like the Jets and Dolphins more now that they are no longer Indy’s divisional rivals.

Seriously, your new Favre jersey sports the colors of your most hated rival. You are betraying everything you stand for as a sports fan and I hate you most of all. Christ, maybe next week I’ll wear my bedsheets to a NAACP meeting. I’m not big on stupid crap like “It’s a Man Law! You have to hate queers!” or “It’s like an unwritten rule, man. You never put fruit in your beer!” or “This is a public high school. We expect employees to wear pants at all times,” but even I need to draw the line somewhere.


Posted by: Rites of Patches | August 25, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

With school a mere couple of weeks away, I feel obligated to provide you, my loyal reader(s?), with my reasons (Editor’s Note: Actually excuses) for not posting more regularly this summer. This summer has been insanely busy with a great many undertakings successfully completed. See for yourself!

Helped Children in Third World Nations

Helped Children in Third World Nations

Became the Starting Quarterback on a Professional Football Team

Became the Starting Quarterback on a Professional Football Team

Negotiated Peace in the Middle East

Negotiated Peace in the Middle East

Created the Cash for Clunkers Program

Created the Cash for Clunkers Program

Unsuccessfully Attempted to Resuscitate Republican Party

Unsuccessfully Attempted to Resuscitate the Republican Party


Indeed, you may be thinking, “Gee, Patches, the people in the first two pictures are Angelina Jolie and Tony Romo, both of whom are not you. The third picture is clearly an old photograph with The Rock poorly photoshopped into it for some reason. In fact, both leaders in the picture are now dead. The other pictures are also obviously not you. Since it is not possible to switch between multiple sexes and ethnicities over the course of a summer, you obviously were not involved in any of these history-making endeavors.”

My reply?

Can’t I, my friend? Can’t I?


I just hope that my next leap will be the leap home

I just hope that my next leap will be the leap home


But seriously, though, I played video games in my boxers.

Posted by: Rites of Patches | July 9, 2009

The 10 Best Video Games I’ve Played

videogamesRemember Oregon Trail? When I was in 3rd grade, we had a tiny computer lab in our elementary school with a bunch of green screen Apples which were probably as old as the actual Oregon Trail. Marching to Fort Independence, fording rivers, slaughtering the food sources of the Native Americans, and watching your loved ones die of dysentery were all part of a great immersive gaming experience. Then I learned that dysentery was shitting yourself to death, which made the game even better. That game is the reason I have such crappy handwriting. If we finished our assignments early, we could go play computer games. Needless to say, I never put the extra time into making the assignment legible. From that point to the present, here’s my first attempt as a coherent ranking of the games I’ve played.

The Criteria:

1) Story Matters. I believe that video games can be art. Roger Ebert would scowl at me in between bites of the hoagie he’s eating right now, but I want games that give me goosebumps. Games that make my jaw drop. Games that force me to stop playing so I can process what just happened. Games that make me tear up a little (No, my vagina doesn’t hurt. Why do you ask?). A good video game would make a good movie (As long as Michael Bay isn’t directing). I don’t care how great or revolutionary your graphics are. If there is no story, no reason to invest in the game, it’s just a way to shut off your brain and shoot things. Those games have their place. That place includes my video game shelf. That place does not include this list.

2) No sports games. There’s a good chance video games wouldn’t have stuck with me if not for Madden ’95 and Big Hurt Baseball on the Sega Genesis. However, see the above.

3) No kid’s games. Sonic 2 was the first game I ever had, but again, see #1. This rule really hurts early systems, but hey, c’est la vie.

4) I played it. There are too many great games on too many systems for this to be a definitive list. I never cared for hack ‘n slash games, so there’s no Zelda. I only had a Playstation 2 for a year or two, so I never got around to the excellent Metal Gear Solid Series. You get the idea. Let us begin…

Read More…


Wow. That was an impressive shot. A nice backhand right up the line. Poor Baxter over there never had a chance. Perhaps I should offer him an encouraging and patronizing “Nice hustle!” Hmm. On second thought, he’ll live. With another defeat, that is! Oh, I do give myself a good chortle at times.

Rightio, my serve. What is it now? 5-2, serving for match. Excellent. Wait, but what do my eyes reveal over yonder?

Father Daughter Tennis

Ah! Fellow tennis players! It is, after all, an illustrious day here in this Minneapolis Public Park. What a day for a father to teach his young daughter how to play this game of champions. How delightful! Perhaps I should shout something encouraging to her.

No, tennis is a game which must be learned the hard way. She must receive the same education I have been providing Baxter over there. Although she could probably teach Baxter a thing or two as well. Ho ho ho! There I go again!

It is indeed a fine day today. No better day for a tennis match has been seen in many a fortnight. But why are we four the only ones enjoying a tennis match this fine day? Hmmm…Let’s look around.

Some youngsters playing softball to the left.


Ahead are some urban youths playing basketball.

veiled Somali girls play soccer

Some Somali immigrants enjoying some soccer – or dare I say football – on the lawn.

And some little scalawags in the pool too. Should I make the requisite joke to Baxter about Black people in a swimming pool? No, Baxter probably wouldn’t get it. I must remember he is not the quickest of my associates.

But why are the only White people in the park on the tennis co-? Oh no…


I’m a dork.

[Editor’s Note: Much love, James Blake.]

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