The One Time I Tried To Be Alexandra Petri And Failed Miserably

Alexandra Petri is a humorist for the Washington Post, who writes articles that parody current reality or just out-right pokes at a current event in a funny, amusing way. I envy her. What a gig! It’s like if the Borowitz Report were actually funny. I’ve enjoyed her columns on the regular, and even went on to buy her funny and amusing book ‘A Field Guide To Awkard Silences‘. She’s written columns like the perspective of the fly that was on Mike Pence‘s head to people who feign about how they’re being forced to vote for Donald Trump to the dangers of weaponized soup. She’s a walking Onion article dispenser at the ready. I once made the mistake of trying to emulate her.

I’ve tried about a few times – as a writing exercise, to write humor and parody columns. I thought I could do it! I’m from Chicago (suburbs)! I read The Onion regularly on my train rides to Second City (I never made it past level A)! I watched Conan growing up! It turns out I was wrong. I could not hip flex with invisible strings and will humorist columns into existence. And not only was I wrong I was also horrifically under-motivated to do so.

I set up a Patreon account! I bought a website (this very one in fact)! I emailed people! I made a Facebook post! I was ready to go. I was ready to put keys to the screen, pedal to the medal, and whatever allegorical hutzpah and go all out. Nothing came out.

And when I say nothing came out, I mean literally nothing. I wrote a few other articles that weren’t parody, but that was it. It was bad. I said I would get to it next week. Then the next week came and went. And nothing. The dread began to set in. What the hell was I doing. I have ideas! I had thoughts, ideas, and would even jot a note down in my phone that made me chuckle. And still, nothing produced. It was like watching J.D. in Scrubs laugh/daydream at thoughts in his own head that no one else heard.

I even embarrassingly emailed my hometown newspaper, thinking maybe after they wrote an article about me because I had put out my debut feature film ‘Lost Signals‘ that they would give me the time of the day maybe one a week to let me write a column. They of course, rightly, did not answer my email. I got really bummed. What the hell was wrong with me?

The answer in fact, was really simple. I am not Alexandra Petri. I am not a humorist columnist who can do this weekly. I can write a comedic script, I can write a column with a funny anecdote or a one-off joke and poke fun at myself relentlessly, but I am not an Alexandra Petri. I cannot write a column about ‘Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV‘ the way she can. I can not write an entire chapter about going to a pun contest like she did in her first book.

It turns out the more I read, and the more I consumed content on websites like the website formerly known and forever blacklisted in my heart Deadspin (subscribe to Defector), GQ, and SFGate that my bullshit column wanna-be writing style nonsense is much closer to Drew Magary – if a drunk penguin spinning in an office chair wrote it.

You might have an idea or two here or there but you necessarily don’t have to follow through on every idea, not all of them succeed. But it’s also OK to fail! I learned a miserable lesson there. And it’s also not to say that I can’t write a one-off parody column here or there, but I just know that that is something I can’t do on the regular.

My writing is of course, ever-evolving. It may always be that way. But I’m happy to know one thing that I’m not, and it’s great to watch the people that can be the way that they are continue to do so with gusto! It’s great to watch a Lebron James be a LeBron James, or an Alexandra Petri write things no human can write! It’s great to read Drew Magary say all 32 NFL teams suck!

Perhaps one day I’ll figure it all out and we’ll be truly in peak Coleman writing territory, but that won’t be for me to say. And I’m OK with that, just like I’m OK not being something I’m not.

In the mean time, let me load up this entire post as a series of tweets that will bork out halfway through because I’m a boomer who doesn’t know how to use technology. And if you’re not interested in that, then perhaps just follow @petridishes on Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter here and watch me play video games mediocrely on Twitch.

AOC’s ‘Among Us’ Stream Was A God-Damn Delight

There’s not a lot of joyful, unabashed good times out in the world right now. The closest thing I’ve truly gotten to just disappearing into and away from the world is ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’, the 10-part docuseries on Michael Jordan’s time with the Chicago Bulls that lead to 6 championships. The Last Dance was pure nostalgia, a shot in the arm of when things were at the peak of entertainment, and notably for me, as a Chicago fan and ex-patriot.

I’ve seen a few posts here and there that serve as reminders that we shouldn’t revere our politicians too much because they’re human, and can fuck up and do bad things, which is true, but since we’re capturing a moment in time here during a fucking pandemic with what little joy there is to have in here, I’m making an exception.

On October 20th (what one may call a Tuesday), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired up a Twitch stream for the first time ever in a fit of joy to encourage people to register to vote or make sure they were already registered, and let me tell you folks, it was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time.

I hate to pull the ‘I’m a streamer’ card but as a streamer *Holds for massive-eye rolls and applause* not only was AOC doing all the RIGHT GOD DAMN THINGS, she was doing them very well. She hid her ‘Among Us’ code, which was smart because she was playing with incredibly high profile Twitch streamers like Hasan, Moist, and Pokimane. Secondly, she did push-to-talk! As one Twitter user put it….

Use your push-to-talk, assholes! AOC out here making you dumbfucks look… fucking dumb!

Now, I didn’t tune in for 100% of the stream, I cut off the beginning because it was a lot of setup, but of the actual gameplay up until the ending, I was actually surprised by the lack of politics that was in the stream. There were interstitials here and there, telling people to register to vote, to make a voting plan as that makes them more likely to actually vote, with maybe a zinger or two at Mike Pence about who can call her ‘AOC’. But AOC came to play.

Most notably what was fun about this was the pure innocence about what it was like to play a game for the first time ever, with a large group of people that were not bent on cursing her out if she happened to not complete her tasks or just kind of lollygagged around the map. There was no animus to any of this.

She started out hoping that she wouldn’t be an impostor on the first round, and then immediately was made an impostor within seconds of that wish. Oops! And also she self-reported, and somehow got away with it.

As an impostor, she also killed notable streamer ‘Pokimane‘. She was reticent to do it at first, with a, “I can’t kill Poki, Poki’s so nice!” before driving a knife into Pokimane’s back in Security. A lot of people have already made the comparisons that this is what it’s like to be in Congress, and it’s true! So why not play the game!

The other fun thing to watch unfold was her counterpart, Ilhan Omar, who secretly was really good at playing the Impostor role, and was also running a STUPIDLY stacked PC. As a rule now all politicians must disclose what kind of disgusting hardware they’re running because it puts a lot of our own machines to shame. Jesus….

I had an observation minutes into this, because I wanted to be weary at first at just enjoying what AOC already does, because obviously this could have implications for how much Congress becomes a part of the platform.

There’s gonna be a swath of people that come out and decry politicians for being an increasing part of the platform but the truth is they’re already here. Most accounts are now on EVERY platform imaginable to get the word out to vote or to find a place to make their case for their causes. AOC just happens to be really GOOD at it.

Ocasio-Cortez also SMASHED records, making her stream the third most viewed stream of all time. While she was getting jump scared by an O2 alarm, she peaked at 439k viewers behind the liked of Ninja and Shroud’s return to Twitch.

It felt like a cultural shift. You could see it in the tweets. EVERYONE was tweeting about it, from journalists I follow, to normal Twitch users, to people not on Twitch, and also… former GOP and now politically homeless Justin Amash?

Even Chris Murphy, who – next to Brian Schatz on the Democratic side, is also extremely online, wanted in.

It’s truly bizarre to watch one game that came out two years ago, not only surge, but surge so much our politicians are now playing it and with gusto! But now they have another way of connecting with constituents. For anyone who wants them to purely legislate and stay offline, you’re in for a rack of trouble here.

AOC has an immense well of power here. And if by having a good time playing Among Us helps get out the vote, by all-fucking-means, DO IT! AOC not only picked up the game fairly quickly, but also created hilarious moments like panicking trying to call a meeting, walking mere inches by the button in the center of the cafeteria, and came so close! She got by! She had FUN. I had FUN.

It’s of course good to be weary of your politicians, no one is infallible or perfect, AOC’s voting record is subject to scrutiny but she’s also allowed to participate in some of the other things out here in society, but there’s no doubt in one of our lowest points of this generation we were able to find something to come around on together.

It’s clear how much of an influence this was. And of course Twitch will run with this. It was a hit! There’s no telling just yet if in time before Sen. Patrick Leahy is playing War Zone or Tim Scott is playing Jedi: Fallen Order to get out the vote. Not all will do it will, some will fail miserably, but undoubtedly the younger generations will want to jump on opportunities like this, especially if they’re charismatic.

I felt a lot of my stress, my anger, and a lot of problems kind of melt away during her three hours of streaming. It was nice to just enjoy a moment for once. Of course those problems won’t disappear, and will need work, but it was nice to let off on the gas for once.

But AOC managed to hit the right buttons here. She of course got her point across, and talked about a few major issues, but kept it to the sides of the gameplay, she had fun, and she was great at it! Now someone just has to explain to Nancy Pelosi what the fuck just happened.

I too stream video games but who’s counting? Or you can just follow me on Twitter.

And Then There Were None

Late last night I had the thought about calling my father, but seeing the time, I decided to wait until the next morning. I hadn’t spoken to him in awhile. We don’t chat often but when we do the conversations last at least twenty to thirty minutes. I was going to see how things were holding up because my grandmother just weeks earlier had been placed in hospice. I knew the end was coming, but these things have no rhyme or reason as to when they end. They just … end. She died this morning. The last of my grandparents have faded away.

She was in her 90’s. She lived a long, full life, and now the end had come. I didn’t get to say goodbye. As the descent was coming, she become less communicative, unable to operate things with her hands, and spoke less. She had lived in a home, and trying to call her was unfortunately a no-go.

When my grandfather died, we thought things for her would decline quick, they were one of those old-time couples who did everything together, my grandfather waited on her, hand and foot. But she held on, for a half-decade, it wasn’t her time yet. But after my grandfather died she was placed in a home, she was immobile, and needed care we couldn’t give her.

She was a good person, and every visit with Grandma Ranahan was always a good one. Dinner, coffee, conversation, television, laughs. I’ll remember those visits with fondness. I didn’t get to know my mother’s side of my grandparents that well, so much of my memories of familial authority come from my father’s side.

When the pandemic hit, I thought of her often. “Please for the love of fuck don’t let it be COVID that ends it…” I thought. The restrictions on nursing homes made it difficult for family to see her. The months since, she had few visits. Her decline accelerated, by what I can only imagine, was a combination of her old age, and the lack of familial sights. She did not die of coronavirus, but the looming specter of it all accelerated and exacerbated the situation.

I’ve stared at the same four, white, close walls for the last several months. I’ve seen coworkers once. I ran into a friend at the grocery store. But largely my interactions have all been online. My grandmother had next to none of that, sadly. My grandmother had her time, but I can’t help but think of the few more months she could have had if we hadn’t fucked this entire virus response up. It makes me angry. She deserved better, she deserved to see more than four white walls and the nurses and orderlies who kept the facility running. I understand why she was in the situation she was in, there was no avoiding it, but she still deserved better. My father and aunts and uncles had one last chance to see her, luckily for them. And I’m at least grateful they had their shot.

She was my last living grandparent. In the latter half of the 2010’s they slowly fell one by one, each marked with a return flight home, reminiscence, and family. This year that’s not happening, at least for me. There won’t be a flight, no camaraderie with cousins, aunts, uncles, there won’t be any Catholic services for me to attend (even though I’m non-religious) because my family was largely Irish-Italian-Polish Catholic. There won’t be a dinner, coffee, or conversations. I’ll only get to imagine it.

COVID, and the lack of response to it, has left some of us on opposite coasts, with little recourse, or motivation to chance the trip with no time for quarantine before service. I don’t trust my own body to not betray me, and with a father who has lung issues, I’m unfortunately not returning. I won’t be a swinging scythe to drop on the family .

She didn’t die of COVID, but I won’t get a chance to grieve in person. The last of the grandparents, the last familial titan, is now gone. Considering how much worse other families in the US have had it with this wretched wraith of a virus, I suppose I should count my lucky stars it wasn’t worse. I hope my cat doesn’t mind me babbling to her about the good times that were had, about how my grandmother’s sense of humor sharpened with time, and more.

There’s something strange about the door closing on a generation of family, I can’t exactly put into words right now exactly what that is, I can only meet it with ponderance and silence, and maybe some alcohol too.

My grandfather died from cancer, my grandmother died in seclusion, I take solace in the fact that any suffering is now alleviated. Part of me is also is saddened that this is the way it is, but so it goes…

When this is all over, when we can finally be around each other without worrying that the air we breathe is also trying to kill us, our family will be able to have that dinner, that coffee, and that conversation. There will just be one less chair occupying the table.

LaVerne Ranahan, you will be missed. We love you.

The West Wing Confession

No doubt one of the bigger shows of its time during the Thomas Schlamme (West Wing – 3rd Watch) reign of television was The West Wing. The walk-and-talk infused drama about politics is unlike any political drama I’ve ever seen. It’s infused with large swaths of American history, makes large & boisterous love letters to liberalism, and of course features characters attempting to be morale and just. It is of course, also dated, and somewhat of its time.

A large group of my friends, who are yes, liberal, have used it as a comforting pillow in the times of the 45th President of the United States. I, as much as I am attempting to be a progressive in the modern era, have a bit of a confession, that I have largely attempted to stay away from the enthralling monologues and quirky humor that took place in the fictional universe of the Jed Bartlett administration.

It’s not that I’m chastising my friends and fellow liberals for wanting an escape from the pure hellfire trash circus that is the current administration, I did end up watching part of the first season afterall; but that the ideology and grand nature of it all was too much for the reality set in hard stone that was being bashed into our skulls by Republicans vying for one last gasp of pure power before many of the old geezers bite it all.

Before the 2016 election I sought out to watch the show again. I didn’t make it past the first season. Then a few weeks ago in my bout of stress-induced insomnia I started watching the first season again and made it seven episodes before turning it off. It felt like a false sense of security, that goodness and inherit justness would somehow prevail. That somehow one of us would go on a long rambling monologue would save us all felt hollow. The writing is good, and I still love the show, but fuck me.

One of my favorite movies of the last decade is the hardened drug drama SICARIO. It’s a brutal, unforgiving look at the drug cartels and the relentless, pointless drug war that has gone nowhere for decades. In the film, we expect the main character, played by Emily Blunt, to be the hero. But she’s a distraction. Much like the core principles of Josh Brolin’s character, she’s a vessel to insert Benicio Del Toro into the mix to create chaos and to allow the CIA to piggyback a domestic operation. The scene where Del Toro forces the idealogical Blunt to sign a statement under duress before he casually slips into the ether to me is what the current administration feels like. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s low-rumbling, anxiety inducing, seat-gripping – backdrop of a score, keeps us on edge the entire time.

Maybe I’ll finally be able to watch this show again when the current administration is dust on a book jacket, or when the minority rule isn’t a death grip on the entire nation and we’re all able to breath again without wincing at the smallest backfire of a car.

Maybe one day I’ll finally just be able to escape into the show and just watch it for what it is without having to think about how it compares to the cartoonish Boss Tweed level of bullshit we’re dealing with.

It’s only a television show, but the television show shaped a large part of my upbringing when I only had access to four broadcast channels out in the sticks of Illinois, I’d like to return to it one day.

I’ve tried to use it as a soft pillow twice in this administration, but lo and behold it doesn’t do much to sooth the PTSD induced by an invisible puppeteer tightening the strings on our windpipe, which really seems to gel with the overall fact that I don’t sleep much anyway.

You can find Coleman on Twitter, not sleeping and doomscrolling, and on Twitch.

Top 18 Films of 2018

  1. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  2. Eighth Grade
  3. Game Night
  4. First Man
  5. Minding The Gap
  6. Paddington 2
  7. Blackkklansman
  8. Annihilation
  9. Thoroughbreds
  10. Anna and the Apocalypse
  11. A Quiet Place
  12. First Reformed
  13. Avengers: Infinity War
  14. Sorry To Bother You
  15. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  16. Roma
  17. Hold The Dark
  18. Upgrade
Honorable Mentions

Bad Times at the El Royale

Mid 90’s


Coleman Goes To FitExpo 2018

by Coleman Patrick Ranahan

(Apologies for the semi-blurry phone pics – I didn’t even realize I was going to write about this until half-way through the Expo).

It took nearly three years, but 2018 finally seemed to be the year my schedule wasn’t jam packed or something obscene didn’t interfere, but I finally did it. I went to my first ever… *checks notes…* FitExpo?  Wait, you’re telling me out of the years I’ve tried to go to Comic-Con, failed to go to Comic-Con one year for free (there’s a story), I… went to FitExpo? *Looks around the room… UHHH OK.

I’ve always generally hung outside of cons, never to go in. Not really sure why this is a thing for me, but it is. Comic-Con parties? Sure. Comic-Con dinners? Yeah I’ve been to those. Actual cons? Pffft.

*Halts for a second. I’m gonna explain that Comic-Con story real quick. When I first moved to Los Angeles my employer was paying for the entire company to go to Comic-Con, I got confused by the email that was sent out, and thought I was going to have to pay for my own badge like a dope, and decided that a freshly moved face to Los Angeles couldn’t afford that, so I stayed behind as one of five people still working in the office. *Whispers: We had free badges, I just didn’t realize that, and thus the crowned idiot of 2013 was ME. IT WAS ME.

Anyway, a friend and co-worker had been asking me to go with the last two years and it just never worked out for a variety of reasons but my schedule cleared so I bought a ticket. I had no idea what to expect, other than people showing up and shoveling enough free swag down my pie-hole than one of those Vegas strip assholes constantly slapping their hand, trying to convince me to patronize their asshole establishment like giant assholes.

As a person now carless (old car – bad car), I expected to take the bus over, but fuck a bus at 8:30 in the A.M. (mere laziness rather than walk a mile to the bus stop), I was taking a ride-share. So I called a ride-share over, and right away I knew I was in for a thing when the driver was listening to a hunting podcast. Nothing starts a great car-ride by listening to someone talk about the amount of hunters viciously killed by animals and then also killing said animals at eight in the god damn morning. I did the smart thing and opted for some Alex Lahey in my ears.

I was told to arrive early as possible. As for someone who works nights and rarely goes to sleep by 4 A.M., that seemed daunting, but I somehow managed to do it.  But upon my arrival at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the driver, just had to, and emphasis on a fervent, GOD MADE ME DO IT, HAD TO, comment about the women who were walking around in work-out attire (he got a down-rating he deserved). So… great start to the morning. Thanks Duck Dynasty.

I got my wrist-band and found my way outside to presumably where the line was. There only seemed like a few people, so I thought I had arrived fairly enough. Turns out, that was just the first, not even tenth of the line, and as I rounded the corner towards the South Hall entrance an endless sea of people suddenly appeared in S-curves everywhere. I knew FitExpo had its fair share of attendees, but mother of god and all that is holy proteins, there was a lot of people, and I was EARLY.

Anyway, after finding my friend in the endless sea of groggy and flexing people and waiting for nearly an hour, we were let in, and our first mission was to hit the two biggest booths possible for the free swag. The first one, Optimum Nutrition *Homer Simpson Voice: Op-ti-mum* was easy. We were in and out. The second, for, was a nightmare.

It was like we had made some bodybuilding god angry and it was only fitting that we stood in line for what felt like an eternity. But the best part, and boy do I use this acrimoniously, was when we neared the start of the free swag line, and two colossal tools, two pompous jackasses who thought they were so clever, looked around – side to side, and motioned that they were going to cut through so they could walk on down the floor, and instead planted themselves in front of us. These shitheads just cut us in line after we waited and waited. Without hestitation, my friend looked at me and said, “Well, I take back my douchebag comment” knowing full well these guys would hear us.

They did, and they turned around. “Sorry bro, we owe you a protein shake,” said one of them. Now first off, fuck you. Secondly, fuck you again. What does that even mean, “we owe you a protein shake”? *Makes jerk-off motion. What, are we going to exchange information and you’ll come find us later, pouring protein shakes into bottles like martinis?

If you wanted to solidify yourself as a Grade-A dumbfuck, you stamped it on your foreheads with a machine press that just about cracked your skulls in half. I very much wanted to force them from the line, but seeing as it was my first Expo, and seeing as how I didn’t want to be the one angry guy who started a fight at a convention of people a hundred times more ripped than I (a human marshmallow beaten with fifteen hammers) in a line for free shit, I let it go.

After we escaped the line with our haul, I came to really learn just how many nutrition companies in existence there were. And Jesus H Amino Acids Christ, to say there are a shit-load is an understatement. I genuinely had no idea. Row after row produced new names and brands I could have sworn emerged from the 2018 primordial ooze like strange fish with legs. Some of them seemed fairly genuine, some Mom & Pop types, some big corporations. Some of them seemed to be for the greater good, and some seemed to have an air of SPRING BREAK BITCHES (Spring-Breaaaaaaak) with techno music and people getting up on stage and doing feats of strength like it was Festivus. Form fitting clothes with designs on them to make it look like the women reps for whatever company were spray-painted on was a strange vibe to me honestly in the era of 2018 but there it was.

My friend rattled off name after name as we walked by or talked to a different Mr. Olympia or workout contest winner like they were NFL wide-receivers, I truly felt out of my depth as a sentient jar of mayonnaise for the first time ever but I went with it.

I tasted enough pre-workout samples to constitute a cocaine over-dose, but at least I didn’t have to buy coffee for a majority of the day. Did you know that you can buy egg-whites that taste like fucking Fruity-Pebbles? Cause I sure as shit didn’t. And they were pouring it out like liquor at your favorite dive bar.

Protein was packed into every single thing you could possibly think of. Bundt cakes (yes, bundt cakes), cookies, bars, and my ears. You could have packed protein into an iron brick and I imagine someone would have probably been munching on it up and down the Expo floor, while muttering about their calves or something. I was amazed. I had truly had my eyes opened for the first time.

When we had finally exhausted ourselves, we venture into a smaller room that seemed to be off the beaten path. There were seminars and demonstrations that noticeably were getting the shaft. I wish I could have given them the time of day but my achy-breaky feet wanted to curl up on the floor like a good book and some whiskey.

When we gathered our wits, we found the food trucks outside the convention hall, and boy were we in for something. 

A funk band donning the purest of 70’s disco was on display for us, and while we patiently waited for our pork melt sandwiches (and my friend took off his vest to see if his shoulder muscles were still there), treated us to renditions of the finest 70’s funk you can imagine. Within eyeline, mere yards away as you walked back into the convention center, was a slackline competition bouncing around to the funky beat while a guy on top of a post narrated their every movement. Perfect lunch entertainment.

I mean, not to beat the New Year’s Resolutions thing to death, but if you wanted some motivation going into the New Year to get into shape, visiting the FitExpo will give that to you in spades. I didn’t expect the crowd size to be so large, nor did I expect to find out a new wealth of nutrition companies, but I managed to find that maybe I should pay a little more attention to these kinds of things. I’ll never be some Olympiad, not with my seemingly shadowy carpel-tunnel or creeping non-diagnosed arthritis plaguing me as of late, but if I can keep an eye on the science of all these things, maybe I can better myself in just some slightly interesting ways. Or I could forget it all tomorrow and run head first into a tree, who the fuck knows.


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Top 17 Films of 2017

Normally I would release a Top (insert number) of year favorite film list, but this year, between work, editing my new short, and some other commitments that’s going to take awhile to release. It’s really an editing exercise for me anyway.  Here is my top 17 of 2017.

  1. Blade Runner 2049
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  4. Lady Bird
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Molly’s Game
  7. Lady Macbeth
  8. Star Wars The Last Jedi
  9. Dunkirk
  10. Get Out
  11. The Killing of A Sacred Deer
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  13. American Made
  14. John Wick Chapter 2
  15. Wind River
  16. Split
  17. Personal Shopper

Honorable Mentions

  • Mr. Roosevelt
  • Atomic Blonde

Top 5 Albums Of The Year

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

Oh god, oh no. It’s that time of year again. EGADs. Run for the hills. Batten down the hatches. Throw steak knives at your loved ones (don’t do that). I don’t really write about music a whole hell of a lot because, let’s face it, I’m an idiot when it comes to the true depths of modern music.

I once asked if someone knew about a popular band (at the time – and no, I’m not telling you jerks what it is) in middle school, like it was sliced bread and the stupefied response like I was just emerging like Rip Van Winkle from a twenty-year bender. But this year I just felt like writing about my top five albums of the year, namely because a few of them aren’t probably going to be in people’s purview, and namely I’m just fascinated by the list.

My taste in music seems to be ever evolving, what I once listened to five years ago is not even close to what I listen to now. And good, I don’t want to get boring (despite being a boring person). I like throwing in something new. So maybe you’ll give one of these a listen, if you’ve never listened to the more obscure artists, maybe you will after. Here ya go, ya bastards.

5. Kendrick Lamar – Damn

Yeah, you’d be kind of an idiot to not include one of the best rap albums of the last few years. I mean, Damn, Damn, Daaaaaamn. (Sorry, the ghost of Gene Shalit is haunting me right now).  But yeah, you know it’s good.

4. ZZ Ward – The Storm

I discovered ZZ Ward just earlier this year while working and became immediately entranced by her combo of blues, rock, and R & B. The album has plenty of fantastic singles and shifts gears when it needs to. It’s a really stellar album that I’m glad came out of left field.

3. Lorde – Melodrama

Lorde has fantastically avoided the sophomore slump with something so eloquent and graceful. Lorde is evolving as an artist and so far it only seems the like the trajectory is up. Green Light, though fantastic, seems a little bit like an oddball on the album, but it still works. It still all gels together. Lorde is my jam. And I’ll listen to whatever the hell she wants to do next.

2. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Honestly, I was an inch away from putting this as my favorite album of the year. The up and comer from Australia has infused Aimee Mann style lyrics to such a fun and thumpin’ tune I was a fan from the first listen. It’s hard to name a single favorite on this, as I pretty much enjoy them all, but some of the lyrics to things like ‘Backpack’ and ‘Awkward Exchange’ and ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disoder’ tell me we’re in for some great albums from Lahey ahead and I hope she develops a great following. Loved, loved, loved this album.

1. Kesha – Rainbow

Kesha has taken the chains holding her back and shattered them into a thousand pieces. If you wanted an artist to completely break free from her past archetypes while also embracing the pop soul she started out with, it’s all here in ‘Rainbow’. Kesha moves from genre to genre, pop, pop-rock, country, ballads, anything and everything you can think of is there. And she can do it all. There’s absolutely no reason to doubt the talent that Kesha truly has, and having seen her in concert in November, I can tell you, she’s a certified rock-star. The best album of the year is Kesha’s ‘Rainbow’.

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Move Over Baby Driver, The Great Heist of 2017 Is Here

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

Sorry folks, it isn’t done with boppin’ tunes and an attractive lead, but with tomfoolery and a bunch of idiots. The great bank heist of 2017 wasn’t done with speeding cars and a bunch of pscyho’s in my back seat, it was half-assed with two blubbering fools with a futuristic laser rifle. It didn’t happen in the streets of Georgia or the real, gritty streets of Los Angeles in the dead of night, it happened of course, in my head.

But let’s hold up for just a second. What could have possibly have lead to such a dream? And how did it go so wrong? Meet me, a college-grad with a job as a YouTube Channel Manager in beautiful Los Angeles, California. I may not have a roving herd of PR flacks, agents, and a posse of idiots running around, but I got a good thing going. How did I develop such a psychosis to lead to a bumbling bank heist?

What my dream didn’t tell me were the spaces in between, the finer details. How did I just happen to come across a futuristic laser rifle that would allow me to break into bank ATM’s in the first place? Why was my one particular friend my partner in crime? Did I have a meet up akin to ‘The Wire’? I’d love to imagine being on the docks of Los Angeles, shrouded in a dark coat, waiting for my mysterious laser rifle to arrive, only to likely trip on a small rock and eat a puddle of rainwater (in this version of LA we get rain all the time). How did I develop these contacts? Was I on the *finger quotes* “Dark Web”?

But let’s fast forward to our finest hour, as my partner (a real life friend for some reason) and I decide to try it out for the first time and actually break into a local ATM. None of us know what we’re doing (naturally – and of course – as always). We try everything we can to figure out how to cut open the front of an ATM machine, but at this point, we’re just painting with a broad brush and making the ATM look like a burned Picasso. We get seriously frustrated and shoot the ATM’s camera right in its little damned, arrogant (?) eye, and we thankfully leave. (Sorry about the mess, Chase).

It didn’t work out the first time, we were complete fools. We couldn’t have possibly dropped the ball more than that, but did that deter us? Did we pack it in and decide, “to hell with it”? NO, OF COURSE NOT. For we are the great ATM Bandits of 2017, we have a god damn’d laser rifle, and we need to close out the year in style because ‘Fuck You’ Donald Trump (I’m not sure what he has to do with this but I had to sneak one in there).

Our second attempt at thievery was upon us. So back in we go, except this time, we use our bank ATM card to get into the building as one does when the building is closed. Hmm, seems like a terrible way to get caught, no? (The chorus shouts back: YES!). How did a chorus get in here? Now who is the one sneaking around??

As we were surely attempting a sound #2 (hold your jokes please) heist, a group of out of town tourists came flocking in, desperate for cash. My crime partner and I froze, as if we were just having some troubles, none the wiser. Everyone, in their Hawaiian shirts and touristy hats (so many hats) fought over who got to use the ATM first, and we decided to just sit there and sweat. We did afterall, have a futuristic laser rifle, capable of cutting into ATM’s, but we were gentlemen, and decided not to cause a scene while Bob and Margaret were retrieving their twenty-dollar bills. As the tourists left, my crime partner and I looked at each other, the dream ended, and I woke up laughing. I’ll never know if we got to pull off the greatest bank heist in recorded history, but it sure was dumb as hell trying to figure it out.

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