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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

Columns

The Setonian
Columns

David Heck | The Sauce

As a die-hard fan of major league baseball, I annually find this week to be one of the most frustrating of the year.


The Setonian
Columns

Michael Sherry | Political Animal

Never is the expression that "hindsight is 20/20" truer than on the day after an election, when pundits and bloggers from coast to coast race to make the winning campaign out to be political super-geniuses while casting the losing campaign as a collection of drooling morons who can barely dress themselves in the morning. But it's a false dichotomy.


The Setonian
Columns

Devin Toohey | Pop Culture Gone Bad

Remember LEGO, back in the good ol' days when we were growing up? You could use them to build anything you wanted ... granted, anything you wanted that you could build out of little plastic rectangular boxes. You could even splurge on one of those cool sets and build castles, pirate ships or dungeons. Heck, they even had the little LEGO ghosts and dragons and wizards!


The Setonian
Columns

David Heck | The Sauce

This is a period of turnover in America. With Barack Obama winning the presidency and the Democrats picking up a significant number of seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, one thing is clear: The people were tired of the old administration.     After eight years under one of the oddest, least successful presidents in history, the country has moved in a new direction. The only real question that anyone has left to ask is, "What took so long?"     The same rings true for my New York Knickerbockers. Fellow fans and I have suffered for five years under a regime that even a toddler could tell is not doing its job. I would even go so far as to argue that Isiah Thomas has been worse as a general manager than George Bush has been as a president — and keeping this in perspective, most current polls have Bush's approval rating at under 30 percent.     Remember how Bush took over a country with a massive surplus and turned it into trillions of dollars of debt? Well, Isiah managed to one-up him. He took over a team already devoid of talent and well over the salary cap. Any reasonable person would have recognized the long and difficult rebuilding process ahead; the Knicks would simply have to wait out their overpriced contracts — a difficult task in New York, but a necessary one in this case — and build through the draft until they had enough money to make moves through free agency.     So what did Isiah actually do? He made trades that INCREASED the team's total salary, and in doing so traded away the team's draft picks that it was supposed to rebuild with. So instead of LaMarcus Aldridge or Brandon Roy in 2006, and instead of Joakim Noah or Al Thornton in 2007, we got three years of 14 points and six boards per game from Eddy Curry.     That's right, Isiah traded away the future talent and financial well-being of the Knicks for a career underachieving big man. And what did he do in New York? Surprise! He underachieved!     The most rebounds per game Curry averaged in New York — and for that matter, in his career — was seven. The man is 6-foot-11, 285 pounds, and the best he's ever done is seven boards per game. To put that in perspective, Jason Kidd, at 6-foot-4, 210, has bested that mark six times in his career, including last season when he was 34.     So obviously, I'm quite happy that through three games this season, the only thing Eddy Curry has recorded in the stat book is "DNP — Coach's Decision." This relic of the Isiah administration is just that: a relic.     But there's another remnant from Isiah that Mike D'Antoni shouldn't be so quick to discard: Stephon Marbury.     No, I don't like the guy either, but talent is talent. Curry never showed the ability to put up numbers; Marbury has. Curry was replaced at center by the similar but much more productive Zach Randolph. Marbury was replaced by ... Chris Duhon?     It doesn't make sense. The Knicks finally have a fast-paced system in which Marbury could thrive, and they're paying him $20 mil to sit on the bench. I don't care what anybody says about his decline; working under three coaches in three years and playing with the scrubs that Isiah brought in, anyone's numbers would have taken a dip. With Duhon averaging 6.7 points and 4.3 assists in the first three games, what's there to lose by giving Marbury a shot?     Team chemistry is obviously important, especially in a sport like basketball in which ball movement makes a huge difference. But are the Knicks playing more like a team with Duhon? I don't know — D'Antoni certainly has more inside information than I do, but it seems doubtful. Marbury can be quite the ball distributor himself.     So why wait for an excuse like an injury to insert him into the playing rotation? The Knicks, like America, should take a chance. He could be just the change that the team needs.


The Setonian
Columns

Mikey Goralnik | Paint The Town Brown

If there's one thing I've learned from The Traveling Wilburys (there is only one thing), it is that supergroups tend to be less than the sum of their parts. It seems like a good idea: George Harrison is good, Roy Orbison is good, Bob Dylan is good, Tom Petty is pretty good and Jeff Lynne won a Grammy. If they all get together, they'll be good and win a Grammy. Q.E.D.     Granted, that same logic produced Cream and Blind Faith, but it also produced Audioslave, Zwan and the 2004 US men's national basketball team — aka the Cream Team. Having a slew of talented people doesn't guarantee a quality output. If you get that many elite cooks in the kitchen, issues of chemistry, focus and balance can get in the way of success, and the resultant supergroup sometimes just gets its ass kicked by Puerto Rico and Lithuania.     Lipp Service — the live-electro supergroup of producer Eliot Lipp, Lane Shaw and Alex Botwin from the Boulder band Pnuma Trio — formed when a promoter asked Lipp, whose solo performances consist of him, a computer and some synthesizers, if he could perform his buttery-smooth, head-nodding, rump-rousing electro/hip hop/IDM blend with a live band.     The live-music gods then intervened, serendipitously introducing Lipp to Botwin and Shaw at a festival in February. The trio kicked around the Lipp Service idea, settled on it, and rehearsed a few times. The rest, as they say, is history.     Playing to a haggard crowd of zombies, ghosts and slutty Joe the Plumbers, Lipp Service showed Austin, Texas how a supergroup can be at least, and at times way more than, the sum of its parts. With chemistry like peas and carrots and bass that shook windows, Lipp Service put on a Halloween performance that was scarily (SNAP!) good.     That these lads only recently met and have played less than ten shows together is absolutely astounding. On stage, the trio — Botwin on bass, Shaw on drums and Lipp playing keys and stripped-down samples from his songs — has such a visibly harmonious dynamic that you nearly expect them to finish each other's sentences backstage.     During "Eyesore," you could see Lipp look up from his keys/computer to nod/motion at Shaw to cue the next drum section. During Lipp's solo sets, cuing synthetic drum tracks would be something that he would do himself from his computer. During the Lipp Service set, the transitions were so smooth that Lipp might as well have been doing them digitally, with the added benefit of being between live drum tracks instead of programmed ones.     The live drums add an element to Lipp's songs, but, at times, Botwin's live bass makes the Lipp Service songs better than their digitally produced counterparts. Not only does Botwin handle Lipp's synth lines with his four-string, but on tracks like the swaggering banger "Vallejo," he turns them up, breathing even more life into my favorite songs.     The best was "Flashlight." I was outside the venue for the first few bars of this Lipp mainstay, and across the building, down two flights of stairs from the stage, the windows were vibrating from the bass. And it wasn't just the volume — Botwin holding down the bass lets Lipp focus on tweaking, cutting and cuing the melodies in ways he simply can't when he's responsible for the whole song.     Lipp Service is what happens when talented, egoless people cooperate. Playing off each other's strengths, the supergroup sounded infinitely better than they would have if they each showcased their individual skills, and that's exactly how they put on a killer show. If they could only play basketball...


The Setonian
Columns

Ally Gimbel | When kiwis fly

There are two things that you are constantly warned about when preparing to study abroad: Don't lose your passport, and everyone will probably hate you a little bit at first when you tell them you are an American … it might even be best to just say you're from Canada.     Now, while liking your country is always a given, it truly irks me that the rest of the world loathes Americans so much. Not that I don't understand why — pointless war in Iraq, excessive lifestyles, globalization, just to name a few — but to negatively label me for it, without even knowing who I am? I just think that's a little unfair.     I mean, I'd consider myself a pretty cool person. Besides being your average 20-year-old college student, I have a passion for reading, cooking and walking barefoot. I like music and art and seeing movies. I read the newspaper and I actually do give a crap about endangered animals and the global food crisis.     I am also an American, and yet for some reason unbeknownst to me, I was told to act like I wasn't.     When I came to New Zealand, I initially felt extremely self-conscious about my appearance as a foreigner and did everything I possibly could not to stick out like one. It was difficult at first — constantly having to remind myself to walk on the left side of the sidewalk so as to avoid awkward pedestrian pile-ups, and alter my style of dress to fit in with my indie/hipster peers. Even my alcohol consumption habits changed, as I learned that being legal affords me the opportunity to actually enjoy drinking socially rather than making a complete ass of myself in frat basements.     I've learned how to dress, eat, drink and even act like a New Zealander. Though I could never fully adopt the accent, I've begun to lower my voice and inflect my speech accordingly. I now champion the correct sports teams, use proper phrases (like "hiring a car" and "having a shower") and converse about the weather using the metric system. I tell other Kiwis about red Solo cups and, yes, we all have a good laugh about it while we pretentiously sip wine out of glass stemware.     But in the end, I do still feel like the same person I was in America. I'm still over-opinionated about politics and I salivate over celebrity gossip, and guess what? Nobody hates me for it.     In fact, being American has been more of a social catalyst than anything else. Kiwis are genial folk and find stories about American culture amusing and intriguing, as it is so misrepresented by the media. Clearly, we understand that American life is nothing like Hollywood's portrayal, and yet I can't even calculate how many times a week I have to explain that not everyone in California looks like Marissa Cooper and that high school is not as one-dimensional as it is in "Mean Girls."     Furthermore, people like it when you are genuinely interested in their daily lives. Asking lots of dumb-sounding questions is probably the best thing you can do if you want to avoid seeming like an aloof snob. Rather than going in with a mentality of American superiority, it's important to be open-minded to other worldviews.     I've realized that when you make the effort to exchange cultural outlooks with Kiwis, they don't label you as an "American." They see you as a friend, just with a few cultural differences that really only take some patience and tolerant conversation to overcome.     One of my Kiwi flat mates posed the issue of anti-American sentiments in New Zealand this way: "We don't necessarily like America, and we have our prejudices about Americans … But we know you, so we like you."     Well, I like you, too, New Zealand. But please, don't steal my identity.



The Setonian
Columns

Devin Toohey | Pop Culture Gone Bad

Three weeks ago, I voiced my hesitance culturally over Obama winning. I rescind that statement. I'm sick of John McCain and his cronies invading my television set and would like to see them banished like oh-so-many "Power Rangers" monsters-of-the-week.


The Setonian
Columns

Caryn Horowitz | The Cultural Culinarian

As you go out about your business today — going to class, the gym, grocery shopping and whatnot — there are two nuggets of information that I would like you to keep in the back of your mind. Both involve food scandals and prominent Republican women. So remember to think about these tidbits during your Tuesday, Nov. 4 routine, which should include something like, say, going to the polls.     The first involves none other than the lipstick-wearing pitbull herself, Gov. Sarah Palin, in an event dubbed "Salmongate" by Barry Estabrook of Gourmet magazine.     Let me summarize: The Clean Water Initiative, or Ballot Measure 4, proposes to restrict the amount of pollutants that mines can dump into Alaskan water. The measure targeted a mine that was dumping upstream of Bristol Bay, a sustainable wild salmon fishery. Palin spoke out against the Clean Water Initiative, saying "Let me take my governor's hat off for just a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop 4 — I vote no on that."     Here's where it gets interesting: According to an Aug. 22 article on "Salmongate" from KTUU, an Alaskan NBC affiliate, "It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure." Palin said she had the right to take "personal privilege" to publicly discuss Ballot Measure 4.     The entire ordeal was extremely … fishy. Why would Palin clearly break Alaskan law to speak out against a ballot measure that is intended to help a $250 million business, which just happens to be one of the largest sustainable salmon fisheries in the world? Proponents of the bill called Palin's political ethics into question after she made that comment; you can't just pretend you're not the governor when you make a statement to the press.     The second scandal involves Cindy McCain and what has since been dubbed "Recipegate." Last April, a lawyer from New York Googled the ingredients from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that she wanted to find. The top hits in the search were Foodnetwork.com and John McCain's campaign Web Site. Both had recipes that matched the ingredients of her search. Interesting.     There used to be a section of the McCain site called "Cindy's Recipes" that listed "McCain Family Recipes," such as ahi tuna with cabbage slaw and passion fruit mousse. The only source given for the dishes was Cindy herself. After doing some research, the lawyer discovered that every "McCain Family Recipe" had an almost identical match from the Food Network.     "Cindy's Recipes" were promptly removed from the McCain site when the story broke in April, but you can still find screenshots of the pages online; they are almost word-for-word the same as the Food Network recipes, which are protected under intellectual property laws. It would have been a different story if they were called "McCain Family Favorite Recipes" and were put on the site properly attributed to the Food Network with permission to do so from the celebrity chefs. This was not the case, however, and since Cindy falsely accredited the dishes to herself, this was recipe plagiarism. The McCain campaign called the incident a "low-level unpaid staff debacle," blaming the plagiarism on an intern.     So, while you are making other important Tuesday, Nov. 4 related decisions, you can decide for yourself why Sarah Palin would blatantly disregard Alaskan law with her advocacy against a sustainable salmon fishery or why Cindy McCain, or an aid of an aid or whoever in the McCain camp did it, would plagiarize Food Network recipes. These incidents are just some food for thought.


The Setonian
Columns

Jeremy Greenhouse | Follow the Money

Over the summer, there was this guy who won a bunch of gold medals, broke a few world records and became the focus of the nation.     Yeah, Michael Phelps might be better at swimming than anybody else has ever been at doing anything.     The Olympics have a short period of relevance, but Phelps appears to have transcended the Games in America. He has become one of the more popular athletes in recent memory, but who stands to profit from his success?     After winning a measly six gold medals in Athens in 2004, Phelps pulled down $5 million a year in endorsements. In 2008, Phelps finally made something of himself — he won eight golds and as a result stands to earn an estimated $100 million in career endorsements. Phelps' current endorsements include Speedo, Visa, Kellog's, AT&T, Hilton, Rosetta Stone, Omega watches, Power Bar and PureSport beverages. The amounts that they are paying Phelps are unknown, but they are almost surely seeing a great return on their investments, considering Phelps's rise to stardom.     By winning eight golds, he garnered a $1-million bonus from Speedo. Phelps' deal with Speedo ends in 2009, when he might jump to one of the apparel superpowers like Nike to begin his own swimwear line. This marketing strategy is very feasible, as Mark Spitz demonstrated in 1972. Spitz had worn Speedo in Munich when he won a then-record seven gold medals. He retired from swimming the next year but nevertheless became the front man for a brand new swimwear line, Arena, which was branched under the Adidas family. By the world championships in 1975, two-thirds of swimmers were wearing Arena. Some say that Phelps could be worth up to $50 million to Nike.     So what exactly are Phelps' medals worth? The actual value of the ore to make a medal is a bit over $200. That's a start. The United States Olympic Committee gave out 25 grand bonuses to athletes for each gold medal they won, which was actually chump change compared to Singapore and the Philippines, which doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for each gold. It's hard to estimate how much a Phelps medal would auction for, but $100,000 would be a conservative guess.     Phelps' daily expenditures are much greater than the average person's. When he trains, Phelps must inhale food faster than he swims the 200 free. He spends well over a Benjamin on meals per day. His typical breakfast runs about $50 at an IHOP.     When he doesn't train, he makes it rain. I don't know much about the guy, but I know two of his vices are clubbing and gambling. Both are costly. Of course, those expenses are on his own time, and as Bobbie Barrett says, "Being a big shot means you don't have to pay." He's been paid $100,000 to swim at a party and makes upwards of $50,000 for speaking engagements.     Since the completion of the Olympics, Phelps has remained prominent in the news. He appeared on just about every late-night talk show and started the Michael Phelps Foundation, a charity to promote water safety and youth swimming. For hosting SNL, Phelps pulled down $5,000. He made a cameo on Entourage and that Guitar Hero commercial he filmed with Kobe, A-Rod and Tony Hawk will probably be aired plenty. It's even been rumored that there will be a Michael Phelps reality show.     Will Phelps reach LeBron or Tiger territory? I doubt it. He'll never get to be known by one name, since there already is a Michael. But he hasn't done so badly for himself, considering he's only 23. Phelps plans on swimming in London in 2012. Financially, he doesn't need it, and I'm already tired of him. I don't think we need four more years of the same.


The Setonian
Columns

Jessie Borkan | College Is As College Does

I don't consider myself a particularly vain person. Yes, I've e-mailed the Daily nearly every week asking them to please change the picture above my column, and yes, I cried my eyes out when I got red house paint all over my hair and ended up with Peter Pan's haircut, but nine times out of 10 you'll find me in my morning class having rolled out of bed and directly into one of those chair-desks, no makeup involved. I think it's also worth noting that about 70 percent of my wardrobe consists of men's T-shirts and the same Converse sneakers I've had since sophomore year of high school.     That's why I was shocked at the symbolic and retributive nature of what happened to me on Thursday night. On my way out to dinner, I ran upstairs to grab a pair of gloves, and as I bent down to pick them up, the full length mirror mounted on my wall fell and shattered over the back of my head. Talk about God trying to send me a message.     I felt dazed, but I still knew how to spell my own name, so I figured I was good to go and proceeded to have the most hilarious train ride of my life, due mostly to the influx of unmistakably tipsy behavior on my part. It wasn't until I could not decide what to order at the restaurant — I could barely concentrate enough to read the menu — that I realized that I might have more than a headache from my run in with my own vanity. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with a mild concussion Friday morning.     The next couple of days were a confusing blur of me doing really stupid things. I found myself throwing my dishes in the garbage when I was done eating and riding my bike around Powderhouse Square several times before it occurred to me to get off at my street, and I consistently called my little sister when I was trying to call my dad. My brain couldn't take the cornucopia of electronic beats and slutty Pocahontases on Halloween, and don't even get me started on how confused I was over Daylight Savings.     I wondered how long I was going to be like this? So I called my mom, fully expecting her to have an answer to this unanswerable question, and she made a simple but profound statement that left me feeling a bit better.     "Like what?" she said. "You're always like this."     She is so right.     I am absentminded and have a terrible sense of direction. My wallet is a mess, I don't really know how to use my cell phone and there's nothing I hate more than a slutty Pocahontas. Okay, so maybe my concussion did make me legitimately woozy and unable to handle loud noises, but it didn't manufacture any insane behaviors in me — the crazy was already there.     The moral of the story? Diagnosis can be a dangerous thing. Without my mother's voice of reason, I might still be blaming the Jessie in my life on my concussion next week, when I accidentally call my teacher "Mom" (at least 85 percent of you have done this, I am sure of it), or next month, when I get into the shower with my socks on.     Apparently, I am more vain than I thought, seeing as my subconscious had no qualms with letting my minor head injury take the rap for all of my less than sterling qualities. Nevertheless, thanks, God (and Mom) — lesson learned. Personality happens. Personality flaws happen. And so do concussions.


The Setonian
Columns

Mikey Goralnik | Paint The Town Brown

Someone once told me that seeing Tom Waits in concert is like meeting God but not having to pay for the DMT or LSD. I've seen Tom Waits twice, and I'm going to tell you that if this sage-like analysis is true, then seeing Leo Kottke is like discovering the Holy Grail in Atlantis surrounded by intelligent extraterrestrial life who are boys with Amelia Earhart — and getting free DMT or LSD while you're there.     I tend to get really worked up about performances by young-gun electronica producers and high-energy bands with standout rhythm sections. Kottke, the 63-year-old Oklahoma-raised guitar veteran, is neither of these things, but his was still the best show I've seen all year. Musically jaw-dropping and emotionally sublime, the guitarist reminded me (as if I could forget) why he will die one of the most significant figures in both American music history and my life.     So much has been said by more knowledgeable people about Kottke's guitar abilities that I really have no place talking about it again, but whatever — it's my column, I do what I want. I know and have seen a lot of guitar players and even played for a spell myself, so it's hard for me to really wrap my head around how much better he is than virtually almost everyone else I have ever heard.     Simply watching his hands and seeing these painfully intricate phrases take form in front of my eyes, I felt much the same as I did seeing LeBron James beat the Detroit Pistons in game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals: Either I'm watching some kind of elaborate hoax, or this is a display of skill and creativity more incredible than any I've ever seen.     With the 12-stringed "Gewerbegebiet," it was the composition: part black dirge, part multi-colored flamenco-esque; the song waltzes, then explodes in two totally different but somehow similar sections. With "Ants," which he prefaced with a rambling, hilarious review of his favorite illustrated ant biology textbook, it was the left hand, frantically running along the fretboard and precisely pressing on the disparate notes with spidery dexterity. Other times, it was his open or unorthodoxly dropped tunings, his battered, baritone voice, or his commanding presence on stage. Whatever it was, every single second of the show coursed with an elite level of technical prowess that I'm neither the first nor the last to geek over.     Kottke's skills aside, on an autobiographical level, I haven't been as moved at a show as I was at the Sanders Theatre. Not only is he the endearing grandfather figure that I always wanted, but he's also a powerfully pathological force for me. When I was 12, my parents took me to see Kottke at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis. Ever since, his music — particularly his voice — has evoked not only that night, but my parents, my city and my adolescence as well. Seeing and hearing him in that beautifully intimate room brought all of that rushing back in a swell of nostalgia, and for a Midwestern boy who has never been that comfortable in New England, that's a pretty powerful and important effect.     But even if you don't share my personal attachment to the man, Kottke gave his legion of fans many, many other things to smile about on their way home. Personally, I left both knowing beyond a doubt that I just sat second row center away from one of folk music's ageless legends, and having taken a poignant trip through the more treasured areas of my pathos. And I wasn't even tripping! --


The Setonian
Columns

David Heck | The Sauce

With the baseball season coming to an end and the basketball season just beginning, this feels like a time for a significant, meaningful column.


The Setonian
Columns

Michael Sherry | Political Animal

Almost two months ago, when John McCain plucked Sarah Palin from obscurity to be his running mate, I wrote that the choice had sent the 2008 presidential race into "uncharted territory." Palin was such an unknown figure to most of the national political media that nobody was quite sure how the pick would play out or what effect she'd have on her party or the country at large. And when I say nobody, I mean nobody -- even McCain had only met her twice, briefly, before deciding "McCain-Palin '08" had a nice ring to it.



The Setonian
Columns

Jessie Borkan | College Is As College Does

What is it about Halloween that somehow makes everybody get it on? Maybe it's the intense sugar high combined with the anonymity of wearing a costume. Maybe it's the fact that it falls right on the two-months-at-college mark or that the weather is just cold enough for people to get cozy. Whatever the reason, Halloween hits, and suddenly campus becomes "The Real World: Medford." We all start finding out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real, and this generally translates into a lot of making out.


The Setonian
Columns

Jeremy Greenhouse | Follow the Money

This year, the World Series is getting some of its worst TV ratings ever. Networks can blame it on Boston and New York not making it to the Series, since those cities contain the largest audiences. But those teams also have the most national appeal, and that can be attributed to the networks' coverage of them. FOX shows every single Yankees-Sox game and markets "The Rivalry" above all else. Even though more words have been penned on the Rays than on anybody else this year, they were scant found on national TV during the regular season. I still don't think Tim McCarver even knows who Andy Sonnanstine and Carlos Peña are. The networks essentially dug their own graves there.


The Setonian
Columns

Mikey Goralnik | Paint The Town Brown

When I saw The Egg next to stellar acts like The New Deal and !!! on the Camp Bisco VII bill last summer, I assumed that festival organizers/namesakes the Disco Biscuits were trying to save a little money by filling out the excellent schedule with crappily named bands from their local Philadelphia.     Not the case. It wasn't quite the British Invasion, but it was apparently a gigantic deal when the Biscuits managed to snag similarly techno-jammy London band The Egg for their annual summer festival. The notoriously passionate Biscuits nation no doubt collectively soiled themselves when it was announced that this longtime runner of the UK live-band electronica game was coming to the United States.     Luckily, I was not one of these incontinent folks as, like most of the nation, I had never heard of this stupidly named band. But trusting the Biscuits' tastes, I decided to use the magic of the Internet to track down some of its recordings and see what all the fuss was about.     Not much. Though the group has some stellar moments, on record The Egg is pretty average — it kind of sounds like the Disco Biscuits if the Disco Biscuits didn't like to party, or conversely, Air if the Frenchmen partied like hedonists. So when I saw that the band was coming to town, I didn't exactly have to reach for my Depends. But, being a certified painter, I figured some show is better than no show, so I went back for round two.     Now I know what all those Biscuits kids were geeking about on the Internet last summer — The Egg is awesome live. Funkily electronic but not passé, housey but not cheesy, The Egg combines professional cohesiveness with Ben Cullum's filthy bass playing, catering to a rowdy dance party and doing the Disco Biscuits proud.     None of this is to say that the group didn't indicate why its records are underwhelming. Except for Cullun, no one in The Egg is that good. The keyboards are repetitive, largely un-improvised, and technically un-wowing. The drumming is all of these things but more so, with Maff (lol) Scott ceaselessly banging out the same rhythms song in and song out — like the Energizer bunny, only with much worse teeth.     That said, The Egg performs with the savvy and cohesiveness of a band with nearly 15 years of touring experience. Effortlessly segueing between songs and visibly communicating transitions to each other on stage, The Egg may not have displayed impressive chops, but it definitely maximized its abilities. The criminally small but obviously appreciative "crowd" seemed to enjoy the limited lag time between songs — I haven't seen the Middle East's wooden floor so covered in sweat since that nightmare I had a few years ago where the club was turned into a sauna and I sat around sweating with Chris Matthews and Pat Robertson.     As impressed as I was with the group's professionalism, I was equally impressed with its bassist. Ben Cullum can play — anything from groovy funk rhythms to propulsive house to relaxed noodling, he got the crowd's collective booty shakin' almost right away and never really stopped. While the drums were mindlessly interminable, Cullum's sustained bass rhythms shifted rationally, creatively and dynamically, and, at points, threatened to steal the show from the whole band.     More often though, The Egg's whole was substantially greater than the sum of its parts. The Egg might not be amazing, but it's professional, smooth, and polished (obviously — the band's from the same country as James Bond), it has a killer bassist, and it throws down live. If the Egg ever comes back to Amurrica, I guess I'll need those Depends after all. --


The Setonian
Columns

Poll reading 101

Today I'd like to talk about something that's near and dear to my heart: polling.  No other subject in politics is more widely discussed with less understanding than the numbers polling firms spit out like clockwork.  Cable news is especially guilty of this: Their breathless reports that "Obama's up 6 in New Mexico!  McCain's up 2 in Florida!" absurdly oversimplify the actual science of measuring public opinion.  The truth is, accurately reading polls is a blend of art and science that requires a bit of knowledge, a bit of history and a dash of humility.  So if you want to really understand the state of any given race, read on.


The Setonian
Columns

David Heck | The Sauce

The World Series hasn't quite lived up to the grandeur that comes with the name over the past few years. Quite honestly, the matchups just weren't that exciting. I mean, Red Sox-Rockies? Was there ever any question? Most of the October drama in the past few years has come in the LCS, as the World Series hasn't gone past five games since 2003.


The Setonian
Columns

Jeremy Greenhouse | Follow the Money

For fans, a championship brings brief euphoria followed by lasting peace of mind. Maybe even some pocket change if you had bet on the Rays to win the Series in April at 150:1 odds.