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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

Scene




The Observer

Notre Dame Cult Classics

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With the upcoming release — and preview screening here at Notre Dame — of "The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day" fast approaching, all the excitement on campus begs a question: Why does Notre Dame love cult classic "Boondock Saints" so much? In lieu of extensive research and a definitive answer to this question, here instead is a glimpse at some of Notre Dame's own cult classics. Not all are Irish, and not all garner the respect and adoration that "Boondock Saints" does. But Domers love them anyways. From hilarious musicals to anarchical action flicks, Notre Dame loves to spend those months without football watching these movies, over and over again, getting them the coveted distinction of being Notre Dame Cult Classics.


The Observer

Miscellaneous Bracket

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In a match that pitted the lizard that destroyed Tokyo against the most terrifying hunter in the universe, Godzilla shrugged off Predator on his way to victory.

The Observer

Mythology Bracket

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All good stories come to an end. Unfortunately, Cerberus's maniac run to the Elite Eight was cut short by the hydra, who ended this heartwarming Cinderella story with strength, tenacity and just a small bit of immortality.  


The Observer

Folklore Bracket

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Everyone said it couldn't be done but seventh seed Sasquatch has made it to the finals of the folklore bracket. Not only has the Sasquatch vanquished such foes as the grotesque Genie, the lovable Leprechaun and the magical Mermaid, but he has also done it in style.


The Observer

Literary Bracket

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Using brute force, swift flying and craftiness, the Dragon was able to overcome the powerfully magical but arrogant Merlin on his way to the Final Four.  


The Observer

Morrissey, Marr, and Madness

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The bittersweet eclipse of fall, the hooded sweatshirt walks to class, the brisk gust of loneliness blowing down South Quad … no band can musically emulate all of the emotional realities of college life quite like The Smiths.



The Observer

Kill Bill Kicks Butt

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Beatrix Kiddo fans rejoice! The man himself, Quentin Tarantino, director of "Kill Bill," amongst other modern classics, has recently gone on record saying that he plans to make a third volume of the epic revenge saga. And, better yet, the Bride (Uma Thurman) is just as excited to get to work on "Volume Three." The Internet is booming with speculation about the plot. SPOILER ALERT. After all, Bill is officially dead. Not many are known to have survived the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.



The Observer

The merits of B-movies: "Bikini Bloodbath"

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You there. Are you tired of watching months of hype for the next "great" box office hit, only to be thoroughly disappointed in the product you so willingly dropped that 10 spot to see? Are you tired of forking over $10, $15, $20 for that latest DVD release, only to see your money sit on a shelf?


The Observer

Loyal Daughters and Sons drives the point home

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Since 2006, "Loyal Daughters and Sons" has told stories about sexual assaults. And not just any assaults, but the ones most personal at Our Lady's University: the stories that Notre Dame students have to tell.



The Observer

Online Shopping Adventures: A Mishap Story

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Identity theft, ruined credit scores. These are the words that first come to people's minds when they contemplate the negative aspects of online shopping. But what about customer service and shipping time? Online shopping may or may not be one of the greatest inventions of our generation. Think about it, it is such a simple, easy process. All you have to do is sit down at your computer, surf the Web for a bit and presto, a few days later, a package arrives at your dorm, containing your new clothing. Even better, because being green is so hip right now, it is an environmentally friendly way of shopping, no car needed. Not only that, it is a great way to procrastinate on that eight-page paper due the next day in your College Seminar. But in reality, online shopping is not always such a cakewalk. Sometimes you choose the wrong Web site, and your package is not sent to your dorm room in a few days. Sometimes it takes a month, many phone calls, and three lengthy e-mails in order to receive your package. The key to avoiding this dilemma is discretion in picking reputable Web site. Clearly, big name Web sites, like J.Crew or Old Navy, are respectable sites and can easily be trusted without a lot of extra research. But it is when you go off-roading, when you really need that pair of Ugg Minis and the official Web site does not sell them, that you run into trouble. First thing to check on a Web site, where does the company ship its goods from? If it is a foreign country, beware, and possibly run away. Or in this case, hit "Back" on your browser and Google another Web site. Next thing to check on a Web site is the "About Us" section, or something similar. What you are looking for here is evidence of poor-quality translation. This clearly indicates a foreign company and generally, though I do not like to stereotype, foretells customer service representatives whose first languages are not English. Weirdly placed punctuation is also a tip-off. For example, this quote is taken from a Chinese-based company and clearly exhibits classic symptoms of FreeTranslation.com: Dear friends from all over the world,warmly welcome and sincerely thank you for visiting our website of International Trade CO .Ltd., with excellent surroundings of convenient transportation and flourishing economy center. It is very important to not be swayed by the shiny baubles and promotions of these Web sites. It is very tempting to buy from them, with their offers of free standard shipping (only four to seven days), but do not give in, unless this site is fully researched. The opportunity cost of free shipping can be very high. Think about it in the context of an example. Imagine you need a new pair of Uggs because your current pair is two years old and, quite literally, ripping at the seams. Maybe you think you are too good for the official UggAustralia Web site, so you perform a Google search and find a Web site that offers free shipping, and you just cannot resist the gleam of that bauble. You order the Uggs, excited about your find. But then, it's two weeks later, the cold is seeping in through the cracks in your boots, and you've seen neither hide nor hair of your new shoes. In fact, when you check the tracking number, an error screen pops up. Then, to make matters worse, when you call the company, they repeatedly blow you off. Furthermore, you can only call after midnight to talk to the manager, though they never patch you through, because of the time difference. Imagine calling back twice a day, every single day and still never receiving answers about your shoes, only more faulty tracking numbers. Then, one glorious day three and a half weeks after you placed your order, your shoes do arrive, and it's fantastic. But the anger and resentment remains, buried deep within your soul, waiting to erupt into a 1,200-word letter to the company that, true to form, remains unanswered. Be careful when shopping online. Remember that, though it is easy and you are saving the environment, there are hazards and pitfalls, so use discretion and always do your research. Also, never use uggonlinesale.net, no matter how free their shipping is.       


The Observer

Dining Hall Dish: Panera Edition

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Each year, Domers return from lazy Fall Breaks to the harsh winter winds of South Bend.  Chattering teeth and frozen fingers seek solace in warm soups and toasty sandwiches. This week's Dining Hall Dish takes a few classics from the menu at Panera Bread, the go-to spot for warm paninis and savory soups, and recreates them in our dining halls. Fontega Chicken Panini Traditionally baked on Focaccia, an Italian flatbread with olive oil and sea salt, this panini's rustic flair can be recreated on freshly baked French bread, drizzled with olive oil and a shake of salt. 1. Grab two slices of bread ­— I recommend venturing to the freshly baked breads, located behind the desserts in SDH. 2. Spread chipotle mayo on bread slices. If chipotle mayo has too much of a kick for you, pesto mayo works wonderfully as well. You can find these sauces by the Panini makers in the sandwich station. 3. Top bread with grilled chicken (I prefer the slices, found in the Mexican station, but a chicken breast works just fine too), red onions, tomatoes and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. 4. Grill on the Panini makers and enjoy! Chicken Bacon Dijon Panini Most people don't realize the wide assortment of condiments our dining halls offer. This panini uses Grey Poupon mustard, one of four mustards offered in SDH.    1. Grab two slices of bread. Panera uses "crisp and nutty" artisan Country bread, but I find that wheat or fresh-baked French bread works well too. 2. Slather Grey Poupon onto both slices of bread. 3. Top bread with sliced chicken, bacon, Swiss cheese and a squirt of lemon juice. You can find lemons in the salad bars. 4. Grill on the Panini maker and enjoy! Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl Panera describes its Broccoli Cheddar soup as "chopped broccoli, shredded carrot and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce."  Served daily, this staple consistently pleases hungry stomachs. With a little ingenuity, you can create this café classic in our dining halls. 1. In SDH, freshly baked breads are served behind the desserts. Grab a round loaf of bread —that's right, the whole loaf! — and cut into a bowl shape.  2. Fill bread bowl halfway with Canadian cheese soup. 3. Add steamed broccoli, some shredded carrots from the salad bar, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper and a small spoon of mustard. The mustard may sound a bit strange, but Panera adds it to their soup too. Just a hint of mustard kicks up the flavor a bit. Optional:  Add some tri-color rotini to the Broccoli Cheddar soup. Although this doesn't mimic Panera's menu, this fun take on Mac & Cheese tastes absolutely delicious! ——


The Observer

Fall in love with Michael Buble

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A jazz man who is said to be from another musical era is taking today's music industry by storm. After two and a half years, Michael Bublé has done it again, releasing his newest album, "Crazy Love." With inspirations like Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong, Bublé makes sure that their spirits shine through in his remastered melodies. The young Canadian crooner is best known for his all-American classics and for a warm voice that has earned him the reputation of a modern-day Sinatra. His wicked charm and charisma on stage are breathtaking, and his versatility is incredible as he intertwines himself in the jazz, rock, blues and pop genres that have taken custody of so many young and old souls. "Crazy Love" focuses on Bublé's renditions of famous American tunes like "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles and "Cry Me a River" by Julie London. One of the album's highlights is Bublé's hit single "Crazy Love," an adaptation of the song originally preformed by Van Morrison. Morrison was a master of soul music, and his passion for his art inspired Bublé to try out his own modified version, adding his signature smooth tone and flowing energy. If you purchase the album, you might also want to consider the deluxe edition that includes a bonus video track of Bublé singing "Haven't Met You Yet" with his utter quirkiness against a white backdrop. The album showcases contemporary elements with the busting sounds of brass and guitar. Vocal ensemble Naturally 7 lend their voices to the oldie "Stardust," and fellow Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith contributed a ballad in the track "Whatever It Takes." For years Bublé has worked with the big boys of blues, but on this album he has transformed into a cool, controlled and hearty singer who is coming into his own not only as an artist, but also as an assured performer. With its fun ballads and over-the-top lyrical performances, anyone can easily become infatuated with "Crazy Love." Bublé is constantly influenced by the jazz aesthetic, and in "Cry Me a River" we get a jazz club feel with a smooth beat all the way through. Bublé's music is easy on the ears and perfect for those long drives home or long nights in the library studying. He keeps it old school with swinging beats and an attitude that will hypnotize listeners. When concentrating on these upbeat songs, it is hard not to picture Bublé and all the collaborators having a blast in the recording studio. Bublé has progressed and matured very much as an artist, and releasing "Crazy Love" with a more relaxed, positive and upbeat sound was a smart move on his part. With a voice that sounds effortless and a passion that comes through on each cut, it is impossible to think this guy doesn't have talent. Bublé's vocal skills are top-notch, and whether he is strutting his stuff in a Starbucks commercial, singing the favorite "Come Fly with Me" or dropping memorable classics in the record studio, Bublé has captured the older generation and the younger one as well ... one Frank Sinatra remake at a time.


The Observer

Superfreaks

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Studying brings out the worst in people. Anyone who has crumpled a piece of paper or sneezed in a library during finals week has learned this the hard way. Nevertheless, in the dark, dreary tunnel of books and noses meeting, there is a gleam of light: musical exploration. Do yourself a favor and complete this little social experiment. Next time you're in the library and you have to go to the bathroom or pick up another book, creep on people's music. It's an awesome bored-in-the-library game. Walk up to a person, make a mental assumption about what they're listening to, then sneak a peak, and ... you're wrong. Totally, totally wrong. Guaranteed. Goth girl is listening to the "Pride and Prejudice" soundtrack, guy you thought would be all about DMB is actually all about "Weird Al." It's strange, and it's occasionally kind of frightening (say, when a Marilyn Manson fan pops up), but it's true. The experiment does not just have to target random people; friends are the best for creeping. They are the ones who will have the weirdest stuff, so be prepared to question everything about them. Welcome to the moment of finding the freak in people. For instance, say you've had a best friend since freshman year. Forget the person who can sing every Taylor Swift album word for word, note for note. She (or he) has been replaced by a pod-person working up a mental sweat to steel drums or to those weird relaxation CDs they keep by the greeting cards in Target. It might even have some album cover that is just a picture of a freaked-out eye — don't even try to find out what that's about (true story). The biggest confession in a friendship might be about someone's obsession with hip-hop violin music. Everyone listens to some kind of quirky, random music. Maybe it's the Italian route — Andrea Bocelli, Frank [Sinatra], Dino [Dean Martin] and the boys — or maybe a World Music CD happened to find its way into the space between the driver's seat and the console in your car. Here's another social experiment. Next time you go on a food run off campus, check out the loner guy who pulls up at the stoplight next to you (yeah, like you don't anyway), and guaranteed, three out of every four people is grooving out to what has to be some weird, embarrassing music, like that Kenny G's Christmas CD that chills out in the disguise of a Metallica case when other dudes are in the car. Here's the deal: everyone wishes he or she could be cool about his or her music all the time, and oh, the lengths to which we go to hide the weird stuff. Hint, ladies: your boyfriend's iTunes "most played" playlist doesn't lie, and apparently, neither do his hips, because he is lovin' him some Shakira. Having perfectly hip music taste is just not possible, because we all have that weird compulsion that makes an Irish Catholic, Ralph Lauren-and-Gap girl want to krump on a study break to some tribal dance music that may or may not have been bought on a whim at Ten Thousand Villages. It's the same whim that makes a guy who would sleep outside for three weeks and sell a kidney to see Slipknot turn up the Enya when the day gets a little stressful. Can't help it, can't stop it and definitely can't hide it. That "Best of John Tesh" CD will eventually slide out from under the passenger seat, and at the worst possible moment, so own it. Let the musical freak flag fly, because everyone has it. A certain reporter for a school newspaper whose name may or may not be on this byline will out hers right here and now: Cajun music (Blind Uncle Gaspard, anyone?) and polka. It's a freeing feeling, trust. Don't let the haters get you down, because there's a reason Celine Dion had a sold out Las Vegas show for five years (hint: there are only so many middle-aged Canadians in the world). You are not alone.


The Observer

Shwayze letting it beat again

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Last year, the duo Shwayze burst onto the music scene with their self-titled debut, an album that successfully combined rock and rap into a sound that can only be described as California beach music. Despite being on the Vans Warped Tour and being involved in a multitude of side projects — ranging from running a record label to producing a movie — Aaron Smith, a.k.a. Shwayze, and Cisco Adler have managed to record another album, "Let It Beat," which is being released today. My friend Mike Bartlett and I recently had a chance to talk to Cisco, former frontman for Whitestarr and son of the famous producer Lou Adler, about the new album, some of his side projects and exactly what it was like to write a song for a fake rapper call Alpa Cino — think "Tropic Thunder." Look for Aaron Smith's take on Shwayze's success, coming soon in Scene.


The Observer

R.E.O. Speedwagon Rolls Along

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Despite the facts that they have been playing together since 1967, that they were nearly overshadowed by the opening band and that their lead singer doesn't quite have the voice that he used to, one thing was clear from the opening song — R.E.O. Speedwagon, after all this time, can still rock. With his patented platinum blond hair and a white suit that could rival Elivs, Kevin Cronin, the long-time lead singer of R.E.O. Speedwagon, came onstage to a roar from the mostly 40-something crowd and moved right into R.E.O.'s most popular hits. Cronin struggled somewhat, especially in the beginning, to hit the notes that he used to, which became obvious as he changed some of them to better fit his voice. Particularly during their second song, "Take It On the Run," it was clear that Cronin didn't have the range that he used to, but it didn't take away too much from the performance on the whole. The other members of the band had clearly lost nothing of their past ability, though some were not original members of the band. The bassist, Bruce Hall, has been with the band since 1977, but he still looks as though he is part of the rock scene. Neil Daughty, whose keyboard playing is one of the things that separates R.E.O. from the average rock band, was an original band member, and he is still playing keyboard for the five-man band. Guitarist Dave Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt are newer members of the band, having joined the group in the early 90s, but both perform up to R.E.O.'s high standards. As the concert progressed, the band steadily improved, especially Cronin. His voice started to show signs of its original form, especially when the band performed ballads which didn't require him to sing over the electric guitar. Their performance of "Keep On Loving You" was a particularly well-done rendition of one of their two number one hits. But Cronin seemed to have saved his voice for their penultimate song, "Roll With the Changes," which he belted out to near perfection. Only twice did Cronin express his political views on stage, as members of the music industry are wont to do, and he did so tastefully (or as tastefully as one can). He did not mention anyone specifically, and he expressed his desire for a change that he thinks is coming in this country. One of these statements occurred during the performance of "Golden Country," a song written during the Vietnam War, and the other occurred just before the encore performance of "Riding the Storm Out," which brought down the house. The opening act of the night was another famous rock band from the 70s, the British rock group Foghat. It seemed that some members of the audience actually had come to see Foghat rather than R.E.O., and the band did not disappoint. Saving their three most famous songs for last, Foghat performed "I Just Want to Make Love to You," "Fool for the City" and finally "Slow Ride" to perfection. Though he is not the original singer, lead vocalist Charlie Huhn performed the songs almost exactly as they originally sounded. Guitarist Brian Bassett, originally from Molly Hatchet, and original Foghat drummer Roger Earl kept the band running smoothly. Both bands performed excellently considering their ages and the wear that the rock and roll lifestyle must have put on their bodies. And despite the average age of the crowd, R.E.O. Speedwagon delivered a performance that, because of the familiarity of the songs and the pure enjoyment they expressed on stage, could be enjoyed by rock lovers of all ages.