August 20, 2012

Calmedy (part 2) (no Gary Glitter)

What up. Since I last wrote about calmedying, some stuff done happened. I was in a calmedy competition. That was cool. So, I gots some thoughts about things. That's what this is gonna be.

July 16, 2012

Album Review: Mike Eagle - 4NML HSPTL

Way back when, in the infancy of my flooding the webbernetz with my very important opinions, I had a (non-paying) gig writing album reviews for a hip hop website. One such album I reviewed was by none other than Master P's little brother, p/k/a C-Murder. It wasn't my choice. Not that I didn't like No Limit. But C-Murder was to No Limit as, say, Scott Norton was to nWo Hollywood. Yeah, technically on the roster, but...c'mon. So I did what any too smart for his own good 17 year old would do. I wrote an incredibly mocking, scathing review. I think that was the last review I wrote for that site. What does the No Limit B-squad have to do with Mike Eagle's new 4NML HSPTL? Read on...

July 2, 2012


Hello. Been a while. I'm writing this at 4:50am on a Monday. Not sure I'll even publish this. If you don't believe me, I have about 20 other posts written in a similar time and place that will likely never see the light of day. Some of them are actuall quite good, too. Anyways, this is just gonna be a lil refresher course to bring yall (and myself) up to speed on what's been going on the last few months.

February 19, 2012

My Breakfast With Sylis: Reviewing Andy's Diner

Here's a fun lil' fact about me: I love diners. No. You don't understand. I. LOVE. DINERS. I don't know if it's the night owl hours they keep, the readily available breakfast at any time of the day or the general air of sexual permissiveness they support. At any rate, my priorities are God, country, diners, etc... (don't worry, family is pretty high up on my "etc..."). There is nothing like a good diner. A place where you can kick back after a night of whiskey and bad decisions, get some pork roll and maybe break down a bathroom door or two. Conversely, there's nothing as bad as a bad diner.

And so, it is with a heavy heart I present my review of Andy's Diner.

February 16, 2012

The Stuart Pankin Drinking Game

Ed. note: We at Required Reading do not endorse/condone/advocate binge drinking in any shape or form. Even if it is in honor of a character actor whose heyday was the late 80s-mid 90s.

I can hear you now. "Who the hell is Stuart Pankin?" Well, who the hell are you? Seriously. Did you play Michael Douglas' buddy in Fatal Attraction? How many installments of the Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century trilogy did you appear in? Cause Stuart Pankin was in all three. Yes, that includes Zenon: The Zequel, bitch! Oh, and was that you flexing that raw acting prowess in a little film called Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, alongside none other than some Ukrainian ex-pat actress by the name of Mila Kunis?

Now that we've established just who the F Stuart Pankin is, let's get to the drankin'!

February 15, 2012

syPod shUfflin'

Ed. Note: This is a new feature, which I'm blatantly ripping off of The Onion's AV Club. For more information on how you can help your local The Onion's AV Club, please visit

As alluded to in the above note, this here is a fancy new feature. The premise is simple. I fire up the old syPod (my vain pet name for my iPod, being as my name is Sy..and..well, I've already spent too much time explaining this)....anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. The point of this post. So yeah, I put the old syPod on shuffle, and the first 5 songs that play get highlighted in this very prestigious space.

I'll drop random factoids, personal anecdotes relating to the songs, and maybe even shoot some t-shirts into the crowd. Cause who the hell doesn't love a free t-shirt? A caveat: my collection of songs is kind of ridiculous. Not ridiculous in the "wow, there's a lot of songs here!" sense. Rather, ridiculous in the "my God, why would anyone admit to having that song on their iPod?" vein. (Note to self: two points for two separate and correct uses of vain/vein in consecutive paragraphs!) I hope this venture is as informative for you as it is embarrassing for me. On we go!

Song: Mrs. Robinson
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Released: April 1968

Ah, a fine song to start with! It's not my favorite Paul and Arty tune, but that's mostly due to its ubiquitous use in just about everything ever. As a stand alone song, it's quite nice. Its prominence through the film The Graduate has lent it a tone of bawdiness that, in my opinion, betrays its themes of hope, despair, and, ultimately, the foretelling of the celebrity worship that would continue to this very day ("Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?/A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.") It's light on production, with simple, yet memorable lyrics that make it easily digestible. This makes it one of the best examples of a pure pop song I can think of. 

Song: Rabbit Run
Artist: Eminem
Released: October 2002

Maybe I should credit this song to Eminem's 8 Mile character, Jimmy Smith, as it's rapped from his point-of-view. As we now know, this movie spawned the monster hit Lose Yourself. But I say this song, as much as any other on the soundtrack, exemplifies what Mr. Mathers was trying to get across in the film. The hunger, the anxiety, the sense that the clock is moving faster than your pen can write. In some way, we all can relate. It's that feeling that as much as you're doing, you're not doing enough. Eminem's rhymes are in a foot race with the beat, and an impending sense of failure is hot on his heels. If I had to point out to a current Eminem fan why I've been disappointed with the majority of his output over the last decade, this song would be exhibit A. The pitfall of having his talent is that he can be "good enough" and get by, but I like to think he knows that when he gets down to business, he's as good, if not better than anyone.

Song: Heaven
Artist: Last Emperor
Released: 2003

Ah, yes. The Last Emp. From West Philadelphia, born and raised. A cult favorite of the indie backpacker movement of the late 90s/early 00s, he was signed for a minute to Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. Accordingly, his album never saw the light of day. This is one of his signature songs. Sampling the main theme from the Otto Preminger film Exodus, Emp waxes on what he expects to see when his run here is done. If nothing else, it provides food for thought and some truly beautiful music to listen to. So fresh. So fly.

Song: Sussudio
Artist: Ol' Dirty Bastard
Released: 2001
Oh, you have no idea how happy I am this song popped up. Few people know of it, and even fewer know WHY it exists. If I recall correctly, there was a Phil Collins tribute album by the R&B/hip-hop community. And why not? Phil is funky. I don't remember any of the other covers except this one. And really, what else do you need when you have Ason Unique paying homage to the Genesis gawd? Just...just listen to it. It's incredible.

Song: The F Word (RJD2 Remix)
Artist: Cannibal Ox/RJD2
Release: 2001

Man, this is a gem. Cannibal Ox (Vast Aire and Vordul Mega) released a critically acclaimed album in 2001 called The Cold Vein. It put fledgling indie hip-hop label Definitive Jux on the map. Honestly, I don't even remember how the original version of this song sounds. RJD2 did such a great job with capturing the emotions of Vast Aire's unrequited angst. Its structure is kind of peculiar for a rap song by a duo. Vast handles all the verses while Vordul doesn't so much provide a hook as he does a mantra wedged in between Vast's therapy sessions. RJ uses driving guitars and fading drums at exactly the right moments to create an instant classic for anyone who's spent time in the friend zone.

Well, that's the first installment. I noticed it's heavy on hip-hop. I listen to a lot of stuff. Just so happened to be hip-hop that popped up on the first 5 plays this time. I'm sure with each edition the genres will vary in reflection of my eclectic listening habits.


January 31, 2012


 My grandmom is going to be 90 at the end of February. 90. That is, like, really old. But she's still very much with it. After a recent visit with her, I kinda just stopped and thought for a while about what it means to live that long.
(Warning: the self-aggrandizing thoughts of a deluded blogger lay ahead)

January 3, 2012

Your Guide To 2012

Well, hey there, kiddies! Been a while. How were your holidays? You're right, I don't care. Me? I spent New Year's Eve avoiding Chinese people as I didn't want things to get awkward at midnight. It's not really their day, is it?

You don't realize it, but I gave you all a gift this year. I didn't subject you to any of my year end lists. You're welcome. See, I'm not a dick like most people. I'm a dick like me. And I know my opinion doesn't mean shit to most of you, so I figured I'd save us all the trouble and just fore go the whole "year end" thing.

But you're not getting off Scot free. Never understood that saying, as most Scots I've met are such filthy, mangy beasts that they have no use for our material possessions anyway. Most wouldn't know how to trade or barter if their disease ridden lives depended on it. Seriously. Scottish people are just the worst. Truly awful, foul smelling human beings. If you can even call them that. But I digress.

See, I have some powers. And I've chosen to use them, typically, for evil. But in this instance, and in the spirit of giving, I've done you all a great service. See, I can travel into the future. I'm all about the element of surprise, so I don't often employ this power. But for you, dear reader, I made an exception. Now, I should note that everything is subject to change, given the whole "Free Will" thing that us humans possess. Ugh. But I'm pretty sure I nailed everything. So without further Gerard Depardieu, I present:

Sy's Handy Dandy Guide To 2012