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This is one of the quietest offseasons I can remember. Some day, the Braves may make us proud again. (Much like Mac used to say about the 2008 Braves and Chipper Jones, this team doesn’t deserve us right now.) But in the meantime, I’m proud that Braves Journal is still around. Here’s a song by a girl I went to high school with.

38 thoughts on “Home”

  1. Conversation-Starter Dept.:

    Fave 2015 Albums

    1. Sufjan Stevens: “Carrie & Lowell.”
    Essentially a “folk record” about forgiveness & redemption from a guy & a guitar, it’s beautiful, haunting, melodic, sad, self-aware and completely memorable. And don’t let the subject matter scare you—-it’s about the death of the singer’s mother & the reflections on his difficult relationship with her in life-—this record will push your buttons & wrench a response.

    2. Kendrick Lamar: “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
    Funny, mean, deeply topical, bitter, joyful, reflective—there’s a lot to digest, for sure, but it’ll have you hooked all the way thru. An MC at the top of his game.

    3. Matrixxman: “Homesick.”
    A great, buzzy techno record for those (like me) who love buzzy techno made for dark, gritty dancefloors.

    4. Jason Isbell: “Something More Than Free.”
    Tough to follow his last album, of course, but this one seemed to have a more modest approach (in the big-ideas department) – but enough great songs (I count 4) to balance off the majority of the merely very good, well-crafted ones.

    5. Courtney Barnett: “Sometimes I Sit & Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.”
    Poppy-catchy, then folky, then distorto-Nirvana-ish the next moment, all with sharply tuned perspectives—-a terrific debut from a scrappy young Aussie gal who probably has some more greatness in her.

    6. The Chemical Brothers: “Born in the Echoes.”
    Even in a modern EDM world that’s partly ruled by 20-year-old DJ/producers who grew up using nothing but plug-ins, the Chems (who started in the early ’90s) still make the best-sounding records. If you don’t hear anything else from this terrific electronic album, check out “Go” with Q-Tip on the mic.

    7. Sleater-Kinney: “No Cities to Love.”
    As always, words & guitar (2 guitars, actually, with a kick-ass drummer). As always, a ripping, squalling ride.

    8. Maribou State: “Portraits.”
    A great chillax record, ethereal & groovy, a mix of organic & electronica. A useful album for a variety of endeavors.

    9. Jamie xx: “In Colour.”
    Some great dancefloor tracks, some listen-in-your-car-or-home electronica—-includes 2 of the year’s bigger festival/club tunes.

    10. Thunderbitch: “Thunderbitch.”
    An old-fashioned, stripped-down rock record with a pretty tough-sounding frontperson – Bama Shakes’ Brittany Howard.

    Happy New Year, y’all…

  2. Thanks, bubba, I will now have something to do and check out Sufjan Stevens.

    Edit: ‘Should have known better’ is beautiful.

  3. Third post in a row, my apologies. I have been listening to Twenty One Pilots lately, Blurryface. Cage The Elephant, “Tell Me I’m Pretty” has some good tracks as well.

  4. Don’t have much to say this year on the music topic, so…

    Fave 2015 Movies

    1. “The Duke of Burgundy”, dir. Peter Strickland
    If you only see one erotic lepidopterist chamber drama this year, make it this one. A dreamlike, disorienting mashup of Bergman’s “Persona”, “The Manchurian Candidate”, and 1970s European arthouse softcore, but at its center a humanist rumination on the compromises we make to sustain loving relationships. You should also check out Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio”, although the dense and amazing sound design is seriously compromised via streaming.

    2. “Mad Max: Fury Road”, dir. George Miller
    How does someone who hadn’t directed an action movie in 30 years come up with this? By going back to a forgotten tool — practical effects.

    3. “Ex Machina”, dir. Alex Garland
    The directorial debut of the year.

    4. “Creed”, dir. Ryan Coogler
    The single-take boxing match is the signature flourish, and if Michael B. Jordan’s updated “morning run through Philly” scene doesn’t get you I don’t know what to say.

    5. “Mississippi Grind”, dir. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
    Degenerate gamblers on the road. Recalls the Hollywood maverick era — seedy locations, grimy characters, reprehensible behavior only occasionally redeemed. From the directing team that made “Sugar”, the best movie ever to star Jose Rijo.

    6. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”, dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
    Can be found in the Iranian vampire western genre in your Netflix suggestions. More spooky than scary — great early ’80s vibe to the soundtrack.

    7. “About Elly”, dir. Asghar Farhadi
    Actually a 2009 film, but just received American distribution this year. Along with Farhadi’s “A Separation”, everyday, well-meaning people finding themselves pitted against each other in a situation where the stakes are enormous yet specific to each character.

    8. “’71”, dir. Yann Demange
    Jack O’Connell as an abandoned British police officer trying to get back to his unit during the Troubles in Belfast. I was expecting this to be a political thriller, but it was more Walter Hill than John Frankenheimer. Very, very tense.

    9. “Buzzard”, dir. Joel Potrykus
    Loser with no imaginable future runs scams of minute proportions, physically abuses his only friend, and exhibits repulsive personal habits…and yet manages to be an indelible character. Zero budget black comedy about life on the lower rungs.

    10. “Spring”, dir. Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
    American expat finds love in Italy, but she has an ancient, gruesome secret she has to overcome if they’re to be together. Another great lesson in how to deliver a thought-provoking and cinematic experience on a very low budget.

  5. @1, I dug the Courtney Barnett song I heard a few days ago an awful lot. I’ll check out the whole record, thanks.

    @2, The second half of that song makes my jaw drop

    @6, Good lord what a trove of information! Thanks, Sansho. The Big Short is pretty ‘meh’. All the best movies I saw this year were in the repertory department.

  6. #6
    Cool, got some flix to see. Really wanna see “71.”

    Even though you obviously know how it’ll end, I won’t give anything away on “Spotlight” other than to say that some of the supporting-actor performances (Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery & Billy Crudup) are about as good as it gets.

  7. You ever notice how everyone says a bad team is always two years away? Never one, or three, always two.

    The people currently saying the Braves are two years away will probably be saying the same thing eleven months from now, after seeing how bad they are in 2016.

  8. Yeah, I heard about Smoltzie. I think I’m in the minority in really liking Harold Reynolds in the booth for color, but I couldn’t be happier about Buck getting the boot.

    Sometimes Smoltz is spot-on, and sometimes he talks too much. Here’s hoping he keeps his cool.

  9. Buck isn’t getting the boot, though, just Reynolds and Verducci.

    I’ve resigned myself to having to put up with Joe Buck calling the World Series until the day he dies. It’s obvious that mere incompetence, unpopularity, or his obvious boredom with the sport won’t dislodge him.

  10. @6
    Saw 2,3, 5, 9, and 10. I absolutely loved Mad Max & Ex Machina, and was fascinated by MS Grind but didn’t think it was the caliber of the 1st 2.

    9&10…enjoyed and finished but Buzzard really disturbed me.

    By the way, Trainwreck got really good reviews but I despise a comedy that totally relies on shock humor. Do yourself a favor and don’t see it.

  11. I don’t really get any of this. Leaving Buck alone to try to be all sports to all men I suppose they would try to justify by his play by play ‘experience’. He’s their safe bet and the wrong one.

    Analytically Smoltz knows his stuff but he pitches it with same intensity as he did a baseball, something you don’t necessarily want for what should be a reflective exercise.

    Verducci is just that, thoughtful, disarming, no ego, even has a nice smile. I like him too.

    Reynolds has become the most interesting of the four. After his horror exit from ESPN and the contrived studio antics of MLBtv he blew me away, took me completely by surprise, with his post season stuff this year. For the simplest reason – he consistently had something original to say about what was happening on the field. And barely a cliche in sight.

  12. Smoltz’s syntax is often amusing. He’s an underrated master of the malaprop — it helps me to think he doesn’t always believe precisely what he says.

  13. DOB via Buster Olney:

    #Braves announced signings of minor league contracts for RH Kyle Kendrick as well as LH Alex Torres

  14. Kyle Kendrick is the 143rd player signed by the Braves in Calendar Year 2015.

    116 have since moved on to pastures new and green.

  15. So 116+25=141.

    Where are we stashing the other two? Or are they ‘imaginary’ players, like Dian Toscano, only for budget balancing purposes?

  16. Kendrick will give it a go during spring training and will sign with someone else after we release him. On the other hand, I don’t see much of a downside to Torres. He would have easily been one of our best relievers last year. Only negative is that Fredi will try to use him as a loogie even though he had drastic reverse splits last year.

  17. If the season started today, what’s the bullpen arrangement (assuming Grilli’s health)? Is that a better or worse bullpen than last year’s?

    The dichotomy of last year is that they had a laughable bullpen for 1/3 of the season, won only 67 games, and yet went 28-18 in one-run games for the year. Weird.

  18. @28. Wouldn’t it be 116+40? 156. Some could be just on the 40 man. 156-143. Meaning 13 players on the 40 man were in the organization last year?

  19. HAPPY HOGMANY!

    A guid New Year tae ane an aw,
    An mony may ye see!
    An durin aw the years tae come,
    O happy may ye be!
    An may ye nee’er hae cause tae murn,
    Tae sigh or shed a tear!
    Tae ane an aw, baith great an sma,
    A hertie, Guid New Year!

    Robert Burns

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