Category Archives: Poker

A Seattle Sports Fan: The Dawgs’ dance continues… in my heart

So I’m sluffin on my blog posting. I actually have a blog that I want to post about idiotic doormen at clubs/bars, which is really a comment on idiots in general. But first I MUST type a blog which should’ve been posted on Thursday. I ended up playing poker instead. Then I proceeded to find myself drinking Absinthe on Friday. I sluffed around some more on Saturday only to play more poker that night. My excuse for not writing this blog yesterday is minimal, except that I was actually able to watch college basketball again… That being said, here it goes.

I’m starting this blog with these lyrics from MGMT’s Flash Delirium. How does it fit in with this blog? I don’t know but I’m really digging this song, and really I’m just trying to stay composed after this U-Dub loss. Deal with it.

… plants, as far as I know are still / still bendin toward the light / and if we dance / until the heart explodes / it’ll make this place ignite / and even if this hall collapses / I can stand by my pillar of hope / it’s just / a case of flash delirium / here’s a growing culture / deep inside a corpse / ages stuck together / takin it to the source / timeless desperation / pictures on a screen scream / “Hey people, what does it mean?” …

And it would be logical to post this song for you to listen to while you read along, but I already have in a previous post. Instead I encourage you to listen to the new Black Keys single, “Tighten Up,” (click the link to listen to the song while reading) produced by Danger Mouse. I’ve had a chance to listen to some of the songs off of the new Black Keys album Brothers, it’ll be a good one.

That Seattle Sports Guy

I’m one of THOSE guys. You know those guys who are a lifelong fan of the home teams. This becomes difficult when your home teams are from Seattle.

I don’t want to talk about Super Bowl XL, but my Seahawks were robbed. Yes, I realize we had plenty of opportunities and yes I realize it was years ago. But that’s what happens when you are a Seattle fan who gets a taste of the big prize, and in the end remains a hungry fan.

Then there was the 2001 record tying 116 regular season wins of the Mariners, you know when we flubbed like fish out of water in the postseason. Since it’s the Lenten season and I’m Catholic, I gotta say I like the taste of fish, but if I were a fish I’d rather be in water.

Don’t get me started on that one team that used to be here. You know that one basketball team, The Seattle SuperSonics. Yea those guys, who now are in Podunk Oklahoma City with one of the best young stars of the game and about to be in the playoffs. Screw you David Stern and fuck you Howard Schultz. I mean I have stock in Starbucks, a local commodity, but whenever I see Starbucks (every 22 seconds in Seattle) I imagine the old yellow and green Sonic uniforms and want to puke a little bit.

Purple and Gold in My Veins

I’d have to say that the Seahawks are my favorite sports team. But my passion for purple and gold runs even deeper. So deep that if you cut me, the bloodshed would be purple and my tears would be gold (maybe I should collect them and sell them as a side gig). Moms is a U-Dub alum. The colors of the high school, in the town where I was raised, were purple and gold (though the fight song was taken from WSU, jerks). Not to mention I myself am a Husky alum and swam on the now defunct U-Dub swim team. Damn, don’t get me started on that one either.

So if you’re trying to get to know me. You’ll need to know the above and that I’m pretty much a sports fanatic. No, I AM a sports fanatic. You wanna get me riled up? Talk sports to me (you can also talk dirty to me, but that’s for another blog). Further you need to understand that I have a lot of gamble in me, and in my degenerate ways I’ll pretty much bet on anything sports related. This includes a bet on how long you can keep a ping-pong ball floating above your head by blowing on it. Or how long I could do it for.

It should now be obvious that my love for Seattle sports especially that of the purple and gold variety is slightly obsessive. This brings me to the rest of this inevitable blog.

*Sigh* The Dawgs’ Final Dance of 2010

At Least I Got a Dope Shirt

The very first thing I noticed was that West Virginia is HUGE. If there’s one thing U-Dub needs to recruit in the off-season is size. And screw you Enes Kanter, I hope you enjoy cheater ass coach John Calipari in Kentucky. Kentucky? Are you serious? They don’t even have cool colors. And it’s in Kentucky. Weak sauce.

So the first half was like a Sloppy Joe sandwich, gooeing all over the damn place, from both teams. U-Dub couldn’t get a rebound to save their life. Somewhere between leaving San Jose and arriving in Syracuse, the Huskies forgot to take of the ball while at the same time forgetting how to pass. This brain fart extended to shot selection. Now I’m all about gambling, but really a double crossover while you’re being stuck by a defender and then shoot a three? I still love you Elston Turner, but damn.

I’m not going to bash the referees for bad calls. But refs, you made too many bad calls. The thing about U-Dub’s aggressive style is that if the refs don’t let the teams play, the Dawgs become tentative. And that’s pretty much what happened. Quincy Pondexter had 3 fouls by the 4:30 mark, limiting his playing time. All of which were questionable, 2 came on offense. Isaiah Thomas eventually fouled out of the game. Dammit, now I’m just getting upset again.

One good thing about the first half, and quite frankly the rest of the game, was U-Dub’s defense. Justin Holiday and crew were all up in the passing lanes. Like I said in my previous blog, teams often overlook the Huskies’ defense and I think WVU was one of those teams. It was a horrendous first half though as both teams were off rhythm. Although U-Dub had a one-point lead at half, I was thoroughly nervous. It seemed as though the Dawgs reverted back to the first half of the season, where it turned into one-on-one ball instead of team ball.

Coach Romar praised the Dawgs for coming together at the end of the season, using a “fist” analogy. Essentially a fist is only as strong as all its fingers. Each of the five players represents a finger of the fist. If one of the fingers gets loose, the fist is weak. The fingers were straying, and the panda was worried.

Unlike the previous NCAA Tournament games the outside was not falling. Because of the lack of penetration, the outside shots were not open. And when they were open, U-Dub was connecting. Outside shooting is not our game, but it helps to ease that zone. Like I said in the last blog, U-Dub is not an outside shooting team, but it helped previously to loosen up the zone.

Seriously the stress level during halftime was not good. I even decided to change my pants (no it wasn’t because of a I peed myself feeling like after the Marquette game) and belt to get some new mojo going. My friend Alyssa came by at half to watch the rest of the game for me. I warned her that I was mildly freaking out and that a bunch of yelling is sure to come. She assured me that it was fine. Little did she know a lot of yelling was about to come (from both of us). Little did I know, that thank goodness she was there to provide a calming effect because I was about to enter a throwing things at the TV, walls and my own face type of mood.

The Second Half

The second half pretty much started the same as the first half ended, a loose fist. I’d like to give an objective breakdown of the second half, but I really can’t. I don’t know how to make a puke emoticon (and quite frankly after writing this, I’m not the mood to figure it out). Yea it was that bad. But the worst part is that U-Dub’s defense was tremendous. The Dawgs had 14 steals to WVU’s 11 and led 8 to 4 in blocks. WVU had 23 turnovers unfortunately U-Dub had 21. Worse is that the transition offense was there for the Dawgs, but ill-advised passes combined with forgetting how to pass made all the turnovers a wash.

The fist became an open hand. An open hand that which U-Dub couldn’t even slap in a shot if they wanted to. The lack of attention to the little things was also becoming evident. Apparently U-Dub forgot to box-out and crash the boards, yet another thing I implored the Dawgs to do. The Huskies were outrebounded a heartless 41 to 25 and an embarrassing 19 to 9 on the offensive glass. 9 for 14 from the line, showed that the Dawgs were not penetrating on offense (no I refuse to go further into the ineptitude of the refs).

Seriously Dawgs, where was the focus and heart? This was going to be a tough game; there was no doubt about that. I just wonder if the Huskies themselves believed it. Instead of playing like a fist, they crumbled under the adversity. Something I had been worried about before the Tournament, but after the Marquette game I felt they had under control. Nothing against WVU, but U-Dub beat themselves. With all the WVU turnovers, if U-Dub made half the shots in their transition offense as well as free throws down the stretch it would’ve been a victory for the Dawgs and I’d still be dancin with them.

Hats off to the Neers and further good job beating Kentucky in the next round (a little justification for the loss). I’m going to become a WVU fan this week. Two reasons, they beat my Dawgs and secondly there are only two sports teams I can honestly say I despise the Yankees and Duke basketball. Speaking of the Final Four, a huge round of applause to Butler and a bigger cheer to Tom Izzo keeping his Michigan State Spartans together after losing star player Kalin Lucas. The Butler v. Michigan State game will be a doozy. Butler is the hometown team and you can NEVER count out a T-to-the-Izzo team. All I know is that my friends think I have an obsession with Tom Izzo, and called me crazy when I said they were the second best team in the Midwest Region… yup totally crazy. Who wants to check out my wallet on Michigan State bets alone in this tournament?

Still Have Love For My Dawgs

I said at the beginning of the season that if the Huskies made it to the Sweet 16, I’d be happy. When the brackets came out, I believed that WVU was the best team in the tournament. I plotted out my picks and had U-Dub v. WVU in the Sweet 16. And yes, an objective sports better came out and I had WVU beating UW. Which for all intensive purposes, juiced my wallet, but squeezed my heart in the end. I just wished that the last game of 2010, the Dawgs played well. I wished that Q-Pon’s last game in a Husky uniform wasn’t marred by stupid ass calls. Maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be so upset with the loss.

That being said, I must look at all things in a positive light. The first is that Alyssa came by to watch the game with me and prevented me from an ultimate breakdown (I saved that for the poker table, but thank goodness I composed myself there to come out on top). Like I said making it to the Sweet 16 was awesome, especially after this roller coaster of a season where the Dawgs were not even assured a ticket to the Dance until they won the PAC-10 tournament.

Also U-Dub is a young team, 9 freshmen and sophomores. This 2010 ride has given them much needed experience for next year. Elston Turner, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and to an extent Abdul Gaddy grew up. Isaiah Thomas (until the last game) learned that doing the little things other than just scoring would help the team more. Justin Holliday has turned into a defensive machine. Venoy Overton, I was totally going to rip you about your seemingly selfish decisions in the WVU game, next year just channel it into the team game. There are a lot of positives to take from this season, I only hope Coach Romar can ensure that he projects those lessons learned for the 2011 season. Hit the weight room Dawgs (Tyreese Breshers, hit the treadmill). Don’t forget what happened in that last game, don’t dwell on it, but don’t forget this nasty taste in your mouth. We play with chips on our shoulders, let’s come out next season and prove that we are fist to contend with.

HELL OF A SEASON DAWGS!

And to the University of Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball Teams, we true Dawg fans courteously Bow Down to Washington.

Well that blog was a struggle to write…

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The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was: Pt. 1

The gist of this post two part post: The Panda was slightly pulled back into his college days and pondered two things: 1) How’d I survive the initial round of college? and 2) What have I really done since college?

Before I go any further into this blog I’m dropping a song early on for you to listen to while reading. Daniel Merriweather’s “Cigarettes” may or may not get you through this first post. But it does exemplify my weekend of sorts. I know my readers have the attention span of a 2-year-old boxer, so I’ve posted headlines to guide you through.

This blog was supposed to be posted Sunday, but apparently I’m a busy guy when I’m unemployed. And away we go…

A Standard “It’s Friday, I have nothing to do. I’m just gonna chill.”

I’m convinced that whenever I say, “I’m just gonna chill,” it more often than not becomes anything but. After a dose of laundry and resume firing off into the mythical reality called the Internet, I realized it was Friday and needed to get out of the house.

I jumped on the ferry on the sunny afternoon, stood on the observation deck at the bow of the vessel, popped in my headphones and contemplated what the Panda was going to do.

Basically, Friday was a day of recover from the Thursday UW v. Marquette game, and really supposed to be one of those filler episodes in your favorite TV series until Saturday’s game. To be honest, I was just trying to get by Friday in anticipation for the Huskies’ berth into the Sweet 16.

I decided to pop over to the hommie’s pad in West Seattle (the usual crash pad during the weekends). After watching a bit of non-inspired NCAA Tournament basketball (honestly, that first day was one of the most epic in history) I decided to bust on up to Snoqualmie Casino.

Snoqualmie Casino

I’d never played up at The Snoqualmie Casino, but I heard the game is entertaining and that the new casino is actually worth checking out. So there I was driving solo styles to play poker at casino up in the Cascade Mountains, on a Friday evening while listening to the games on the radio, and feeling good about all my parlays (the Cal game was the sweet stroke to continue this good run of basketball betting during this epic Tournament). Translated, the Panda is a degenerate. But again I realized maybe there is something good about ditching the law firm.

Finally ended up at Snoqualmie and ran into some local poker acquaintances that I had not seen since college. Here is the obligatory recap of my life, verbatim: “After college I worked at two newspapers, went to law school in California, travelled a bunch, somehow passed a Bar exam, tried to live the dream in LA, travelled more, came back up to Washington, travelled again, worked at a law firm, and now I’m back to trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.” They tried to reminisce and I was somewhat interested, but really wasn’t. I just popped in my headphones and said I didn’t even really want to play and was just passing time, but that the Panda needed some bamboo money.

Passed time I did. And realized after a two hours that I was once again going to make more money from my sports bets and poker than I did working at the law firm. I started on a rush, but realized it was probably going to end soon and that listening to gangsta rap was only going to instigate the end of the rush. Plus the fact that the poker room was filled to the brim and dude next to me kept talking about watches and poker strategy. I could handle the watch talk, but was wondering why with my headphones on he insisted on chatter. The poker strategy, I mean look dude it’s not even close to being high stakes, you’re starting to get drunk, and really I don’t know how to play poker so I’m not all that interested.

So after one ridiculously awesome bluff I stacked up my chips, filled up my racks, and decided that really I just wanted to chill out. It was still only about 9:45, I saw another friend of mine with his pops and he almost convinced me to have drinks with him at the “club” up there. But like I said, I was in chill mode. So I rallied back to the Crash Pad.

Chill Night Apparently Means No Sleep

The hommie’s whose pad I was crashing at had to work in the morning, so a few other peeps came by for a couple of brews. After all it was a Friday night. While finishing a case of beer and random sips of who knows what alcohol, we found ourselves watching Gangland on the History Channel, Taboo on National Geographic (which was mostly about gangs), the old cartoon Rugrats (essentially gangsta babies), and Family Matters (not so gangsta, but hilarious, and I never realized how high pitched Urkel’s voice was).

I could talk endlessly about each one of those shows, but I won’t. And yes we were watching Rugrats at 3 a.m. and Family Matters at 4 a.m. This weird level of TV watching had my boy Sky and I starving. (To be honest I really don’t watch much TV, unless it’s sports related, then in actuality I watch a lot of TV).

Here’s the only thing I will crack on about West Seattle, there are no 24-hour joints (that we’ve discovered yet) except for Jack in the Box. Not feeling the Box, we did an online search for 24-hour diners… Low and behold, back in college if I was starving at this point in the evening/morning where was the standard sit-down spot? Beth’s Café, yes Beth’s.

Beth’s Café: Sky’s 12 Egg Omelette Devirginization

Oh it’s been a while since I went to Beth’s. Sky had never been to Beth’s, but claimed he was ready to take on a 12-egg omelette. I myself had achieved the feat on three separate occasions; I even have shirts to prove it. Apparently these days (blame it on the economy or Adam Richman’s Man v. Food), they don’t give out shirts anymore. Nonetheless, Sky wanted to take on the 12-egger. I’m not even going to begin to describe what a 12-egg omelette is like, it’s just one of those things like the Great Wall of China, that you have to see in person.

We got to Beth’s after a heavy dosage of Fiend blaring out of my car, peeps were standing outside and when they saw us roll out were probably thinking, “These guys didn’t have a chill night.” There is an air of familiarity every time I come to Beth’s from the oft jamming tunes from the juke box, the lingering smell of who knows what kind of coffee, the patron crayon drawings on the wall, and the standard 2-4 people hanging out either writing, or doing something creative with their lives. It’s a piece of Seattle that brings up instant nostalgia, even if you aren’t from Seattle.

A few things have changed since the last time I made a 5 a.m. Beth’s visit. For the record, to really get the experience of Beth’s you need find yourself there between the hours of midnight and 9:30 a.m. and hopefully if it’s after 4 a.m. it’s because you’re still up. Just saying.

Anyway the main thing that changed is that the menus are all classied up and of course they don’t hand out the shirts anymore. Come to think about it, not sure if they ever really did per se, but I think the exuberating candor I possessed every time I finished one of those lead them to give me one.

But there was a new omelette on the menu, or maybe I never noticed it before. By now you’re probably catching on to the state of mind I often found myself in when going to Beth’s, but I love the place. The new omelette is called the Northwestern; jammed with smoked salmon, cream cheese and peppers. Sky decided he wanted that one as his first Beth’s experience. I myself was upset he didn’t go with the standard and official Southwestern omelette, the one I ventured to consume. The Southwestern is a chili omelette, but chili, I mean this thing is loaded with beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and meat. Not just ground beef, I’m talking CHUNKS of beef.

Sky and I ordered from the waitress (who I think may have remembered me from my frequent visits back in the day, damn it’s good to back in Washington) Beth’s… Sky asks for the Northwestern and the man I am ordered the Southwestern… The waitress goes, “Is there going to be gang related activities going on.” We just start crack up laughing and I go, “Funny that you should say that…” She gives me a quizzical look.  I say, “Don’t worry we’re cool, yo.” I mean we just spent 4 hours watching gang related television and listened to Fiend way too loud on the drive over.

The omelettes (if you can even call these things omelettes) came. Sky and I both looked at mine. Beth’s got me. I wasn’t really in the proper mindset to actually finish mine, but I’m also a sucker for food challenges. But seriously, mine was flowing off of the pizza tray it came in on, not to mention my hash browns were double layered. Sky himself had about 8 pounds of food in front of him, but he even said mine looked unruly. I don’t need to get into the details of two grown men trying to consume 20 pounds of food at 5 in the morning after being up all night. But I’ll just leave this picture for you… Sky actually finished his, I got over three-quarters and when I picked up my to-go box realized I still had 4-5 pounds of food left.

Sky and his finished Northwestern

Fiend was a bit too much for our drive back. I don’t even remember what I was talking about but at one point Sky said this, “I’m like in a food coma man. I listened to everything you said but I couldn’t hear you.” We finally got back, I still couldn’t breathe. Had a couple sips of Scotch and passed out watching Crank. So much for a chill evening… Continue to The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was: Pt. 2

Springing Ahead…

I’m sure by now everyone should know that it’s time for more daylight and your clocks should be set one hour ahead.  If not, that’s okay.  And if that’s the case, then I envy you that you’re in a position that you don’t really have to worry about time.

I was actually going to write one massive blog… but know that most of the people who read this have a pretty short attention span.  So I’ve decided to make three separate blogs.  I could’ve gone all three in one; you know in this economy everyone wants value for their buck.  But you also know in this generation we can only read so much.  So the order is a little out of whack with the blogs… but enjoy nonetheless.

Where the New Year has Warn Off and Spring is Almost Here

So I’m trying to justify quitting the firm last week.  And it’s still not feeling all that great seeing how I don’t have a legit job right now.  I’m not going to get too deep into it, as most of you know my feelings of being an attorney.  Basically you need to have a strong will for law during those long stressful hours.  Am I weak willed? That’s not up to me to judge.  Do I have a passion for law?  Also yet to be determined, but I don’t have a passion for corporate law.  I know that.  Yes the money was outrageously good.  And yes if I could’ve somehow got over the fact that I wanted to drive off of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge twice a day, I could’ve “inherited” the practice in two years.  So that sick feeling I have?  Comes from closing that door, maybe a bit too soon.

But I had an interesting dialog with my friend Aubrey about passions last night.  She gave me undeserving credit (“mad respect” in her words) for realizing that I wasn’t passionate and leaving a position that many would probably die for.  That passion for dying for your job, is something I’m searching for.  My buddy Sky also told me that maybe 1% of the people enjoy their job.  An over-exaggeration, but well noted and understood.  Basically I’m a lame ass, because I don’t have any direction and my sanity couldn’t handle corporate law.

That being said, Saturday into Sunday was a great weekend.

To give some foreshadowing (if you read this blog first) the two blogs below are about the Huskies dancin into the NCAA tournament and Manny Pacquiao’s romp over Josh Clottey.

I’ll also have to say that I had a decent night at the poker table.  Tripling up what I sat down with.  I’m not going to say how much I won for two reasons: 1) Because if Schaefer or any of my poker pro friends happen to read this they’d laugh at the couch change I made last night. 2) Some of you might have the idea that I should play poker more as per hour I made more money than being an attorney (which was actually more than I probably should’ve been getting paid).  Though it does make me pause and think… If I made more money off of the first half and overall win for the Dawgs, Pacquiao beating Clottey, and playing poker all in one day than I did being an attorney… never mind… Another round of resumes and cover letters here I come…

By the way if you did in fact read this blog before the previous two here’s something to keep you entertained.  It’s made by some of the players from U-Dub’s b-ball team.  It gets me every time. Q-Walk now…

And some additional listening from B.F.A.M.  This one is just great…

The People’s Champ

Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao comes through again against Josh Clottey last night.  This was the first Pacquiao fight that I had not seen live as I was playing poker and enjoying some family time at Little Creek Casino.  But don’t think I wasn’t getting texted updates during each round.  I mean you have money on something; you want to know what’s going on.  And yes I lost my bet that the fight would be over in 5 rounds, but I made up for it for the end result and my other college b-ball bets throughout the day.  I’m also going to throw out there, that I was wearing my Team Pacquiao jacket last night.  Thing is about that, is that every Filipino in the joint (you know there were a bunch, it was a casino after all) started to talk to me in Tagalog.  Good thing I have a general base for the language, but I definitely to become more versed.

Manny Pacquiao has his critics.  That’s fine, to each their own.  But let’s face it he’s a machine.  (Yes, insert your steroid allegations here.  I’m just going to say that there’s a reason why a defamation lawsuit is being brought against the Mayweather camp…) Back to the lecture at hand.  Pacquiao threw a record 1,231 punches in 12 rounds.  To put that into perspective, that’s over a punch every 2 seconds.  Sure he only landed 20% and didn’t knock Clottey out.  But that’s expected, Clottey is a counter-puncher and I’m sure didn’t want to be the next poster victim of Pacquiao… but he was.


Sure his singing is questionable at best.  Yes people wonder about his political aspirations.  I don’t want to delve too much into Filipino politics.  But, let’s put it this way, the Filipino government is a mess.  I can’t judge the character of Pacquiao too much either, but I have been witness to him doling out a truckload of turkeys on Thanksgiving to the Filipinos in LA.  I know he gives money out like it’s his job.  In fact he fights for those mega purses only to give back.  In such a corrupt political system where money is king, it’s good to see a person actually giving away their money instead of hording it.  How may he fare as a politician?  All I know is that he could beat the crap out of anyone that gets out of line.  At least his security team could handle it.  The Philippines needs a hero right now to help float the ship, not saying Pacquiao is one but it’s better than most over there.

Dan Rafael Says Pacquiao is the Greatest in the World.  If you wanna talk noise against Dan Rafael, go ahead. I mean he’s only one of the best boxing analysts around.

All I’m going to say is that I want that Mayweather fight more than anyone else.  Pretty Boy, can we just go with the rules set forth in all sanctioned fights with the drug test?  If you are pound-for-pound the greatest fighter of all time (as you say), why not have the fight with the man that Dan Rafael and a number of other boxing heads say is the current pound-for-pound fighter.

Until or if that fight ever happens… I believe I have a right to my opinion saying that Manny Pacquiao is currently the pound-for-pound greatest boxer.

Speaking of Pacquiao and Music

In this strange musical tie-in.  David Byrne and Fatboy Slim have teamed up on an album titled “Here Lies Love.” This is Rolling Stone’s review:

“Here David Byrne turns an unwieldy premise – A musical dramatization of former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos’ early life – into dizzy fun by setting 22 songs to Fatboy Slim’s lush and bustling beats.  (Marcos was a clubgoer who had a disco ball in here New York town house.)  Guest include Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper and Santigold on the wah-powered funk single “Please Don’t.”  The songs depict Marcos’ outsize anxieties, desires and ambitions.  Dig into that heady stuff if you like – or just surrender to the inexorable beats.”

I’m not going to talk about my opinions of Imelda Marcos.  But I will say sampling some of the music, I did find myself “surrendering to the inexorable beats.”  Being a Filipino, it’s kinda strange listening to songs about Imelda Marcos, at least in the light cast by the lyrics.  But if you can remove yourself from the subject matter, it’s actually quite good…

Rolling Stone didn’t mention this track in their review.  But I think it’s a good one and it features Florence Welch from “Florence and the Machine,” another album worth checking out.