The year of 2016 was certainly an interesting one in the music world. Though many headlines will focus on those who have passed this year, we wanted to reflect on the joyous occasions that music brought throughout 2016. In doing so, we asked a number of musicians to tell us about some of their favorite experiences throughout the year, and will be running features all week to celebrate all things live music.For the final installment of this Year In Review series, we took a slightly different approach and asked, “What music are you mosted excited for in 2017?” Many are looking forward to new releases from their favorite new bands, and several are hoping to be turned on to something totally new and original in the new year. Of course, many of these dedicated musicians are also laser-focused on their own projects, which bodes well for an incredible year of music in 2017Here’s what your favorite artists had to say:Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company) – I am just excited for music itself in 2017, but specifically I want to study with Weedie Braimah next year.Scrambled Greg (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong) – John Mayer Trio, Phish and discovering more new bands like Organ Freeman.Jesus Coomes (Lettuce) – When Jerry comes back and takes a solo with Lettuce. It should be soon I promise.Simon Allen (The New Mastersounds) – The Bernard Purdie & Friends album which our bassist Pete Shand has written, produced and performed with Brian J from the Pimps. Pete played us a few rough mixes on our tour bus last week and we were blown away – it’s the funkiest, most soulful thing I’ve heard in 10 years. I’m so proud of Pete, and I can’t wait to hear the finished record. There is also a Melvin Sparks live LP coming out in 2017 on my label One Note Records. Melvin died suddenly in 2011 and this was his last recorded live show. The album, produced by Eddie Roberts, captures a wonderful performance at Nectar’s in Burlington, VT featuring Kung Fu organist Beau Sasser, drummer Bill Carbone and the Phish horn section, Dave Grippo and Brian McCarthy. Melvin and his music have had such a big influence on The New Mastersounds (we often play his tunes in our live set) and I’m honoured to have a role in curating this piece of his musical legacy.Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) – Man, so much! I always get psyched when Dopapod puts out new stuff and I know they’re working on an album now; I’m super psyched on the Chicago based band Mungion too, and my goal for 2017 is to catch a Kendrick Lamar show, and an Erykah Badu show- those are both bucket list sets! And of course AQ tour and festival season and seeing the ga-jillion other bands that rule in this scene!Rob Compa (Dopapod) – There’s a lot of fantastic bands out there who deserve and need to be heard by more people. I would love to see those bands get the attention they deserve for how hard they work and how much they pour into their art.Dave Watts (The Motet) – Our new album! (Sorry, does that even count??) [Editor’s Note: Sure does, Watts. We can’t wait for new Motet either!]Seth Walker – Working on some new music with Jano Rix of the Wood Brothers. I want to push the boundaries rhythmically, sonically and lyrically. Gotta keep swinging at it.Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) – New Wood Brothers Music! We have the new live record coming out in January and we also start work on a new studio album.JP Biondo (Cabinet) – The unexpected band that I don’t even know I love yet.Chuck Jones (Dopapod) – Jam CruiseCraig Brodhead (Turkuaz) – Jam Cruise.Eli Winderman (Dopapod) – Hopefully Tool and Gorillaz. I’m looking forward to getting into the studio with Dopapod and making some new music as well.Nick Tkachyk (Spafford) – GORILLAZ. PRYDZ. TCHAIKOVSKY.Matt Gibbs (Evolfo) – I’m not sure which of my favorite bands are officially preparing for 2017 releases to be honest! As far as popular stuff I’m aware that LCD Soundsystem and Modest Mouse are working on new albums, I’m pretty excited to see what those dudes are up to. I’m excited about new music from Ty Segall and Meatbodies. There’s so many friends’ bands in Brooklyn that I want more from as well, like Stuyedeyed or Nick Hakim. Can’t wait to hear new material from those guys. Our first full length album Last of the Acid Cowboys will also be out in April and I’m pumped to finally share that with people.Karl Denson – The coming year will be all about the Tiny Universe. I think I’ve completed the pieces of the puzzle to take this musically where I want to go. We’re going to spend a lot of time rehearsing and writing this year in hopes of really creating something long-lasting and memorable. There’s also the possibility of touring Europe with the Rolling Stones. That would be nice too.Sammi Garett (Turkuaz) – TURKUAZTony Hall (Dumpstaphunk) – Dumpstaphunk at Tipitina’sNeal Evans (Dopapod) – Sigur Ros tour ya dummy!David Shaw (The Revivalists) – Hoping for a Childish Gambino tour in 2017.Michael Kang (The String Cheese Incident) – SCI Sound Lab releases for Electric Forest FestivalAlric Carter (TAUK) – Lupe Fiasco and Bonobo new record releasesWilliam Apostol (Billy Strings) – I’m always looking forward to what Greensky Bluegrass is up too.. they just keep cranking out amazing songs and albums. Paul and Dave are 2 of my very favorite songwriters. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!Jeremy Schon (Pigeons Playing Ping Pong) – Vulfpeck and The Big Something.Nigel Hall (Lettuce) – To make more musicEric Bloom (Lettuce) – LETTUCEDominic Peters (Goldfish) – Goldfish’s new albumRuss Lawton (Trey Anastasio Band) – TAB tour/ Red Rocks, Soule Monde’s new album and tour.Pappy Biondo (Cabinet) – Gatos BlancosLaurie Shook – Gregory Alan Isakov new albumRyan Jalbert (The Motet) – I’m personally excited that we blocked a lot of time on our calendars to work on material for our next record so as soon as we get back our New Year’s run we’re going to hit the ground running. Aside from that there are some highly anticipated album releases slated for next year that I’m psyched to check out. I’ve read that Bjork, Damian Marley, Missy, Chronixx, Beck, JT, Phoenix, MGMT, GZA are just a few of the bands projected to drop a new release. Life goes on!Cory Wong (Vulfpeck collaborator) – Kimbra’s last single blew me away. I’m hoping to hear a new full length from her. I’ve also gotta say that I’m super excited for my homie Theo Katzman’s new record to come out. I’ve heard it and it’s SLAMMING. I can’t wait for the world to get their ears on it.”T Sisters – We are so excited for our tour in support of The Wood Brothers on the East Coast in February!
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Governor Wolf’s 2017-2018 Budget Address Budget News, Remarks, Videos Pennsylvania State CapitolHarrisburg, PATRANSCRIPT:Lieutenant Governor Stack, Speaker Turzai, President Scarnati. . .Leader Corman, Leader Costa, Leader Reed, Leader Dermody. . .Members of the General Assembly, invited guests, friends and family. . .And, most importantly, my fellow Pennsylvanians:I have always believed in the potential of our great Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is where I grew up. It’s where Frances and I raised two wonderful daughters. It’s where I signed the backs of paychecks as a forklift operator – and where I signed the fronts of paychecks after I bought the family business.Pennsylvania should be a place where anyone who wants a good job can find one. . . a place where businesses large and small can grow and thrive. . . a place where every family can pass on greater opportunities to the next generation.When I first ran for Governor, I met so many Pennsylvanians who believed in our potential, too. Even if they, themselves, were hurting, struggling to get back on their feet in the wake of the Great Recession, they loved our Commonwealth, and they believed that a brighter future was possible here.But they felt like Harrisburg wasn’t doing its part to help build that brighter future. And they were right.That’s why I promised to be a different kind of governor who would bring a different approach – because I knew that we couldn’t keep doing things the same old way here in Harrisburg and expect different results.Over the last two years, we’ve begun to make progress. And, even better, we’ve been able to make progress together.We came together to pass a historic liquor reform bill. I didn’t do that. We did that.We came together to bring relief to suffering children by passing medical marijuana, something people in this building have been fighting for since long before I got here. I didn’t do that. We did that.Today, Pennsylvania’s schools are beginning to recover from years of chronic underfunding. We’ve taken a new, more aggressive, more effective approach to fighting back against the heroin and opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. And, I’m proud to say, there are 82,000 more Pennsylvanians working than there were two years ago.I didn’t do that. We did that.But there’s still work to be done to help Pennsylvanians build a brighter future. And, yes, there’s still work to be done when it comes to making Harrisburg work better for the people it serves.And there’s no better example than the issue at hand today: our state budget.Our Commonwealth has been operating with a structural deficit for a long time.That means Harrisburg has been living beyond its means. Households can’t do that, and neither can we.Harrisburg’s past failure to address that deficit led to devastating cuts in education, made our senior citizens more vulnerable, and prevented our economy from reaching its full potential. To Pennsylvanians, it seemed like the budget always brought out the worst in Harrisburg. Politicians always found a way to avoid making the tough decisions. Special interests always found a way to avoid giving up their special privileges. And taxpayers always wound-up holding the bag, forced to choose between paying higher taxes or settling for worse services.Harrisburg’s inability to solve these problems responsibly put our education system, our economy, and our families at risk. Pennsylvanians deserve better—and we must continue to deliver for them.As Governor, I’ve pushed for a different approach, one that puts schools and seniors first, because I believe that, if we’re going to help Pennsylvania fulfill its potential, we can’t go back to forcing our children and our parents to pay the price for Harrisburg’s failures. Nor can we go back to the practices that created this problem in the first place. Nor, for that matter, can we go back to saddling Pennsylvania families working hard to get by with the bill for a mess they didn’t make.So, I’m offering a budget proposal that represents a responsible solution to our deficit challenge – and a different approach from the way things have been done in Harrisburg for almost a generation. Let’s start here: In my proposed budget, there are no broad-based tax increases. At the same time, my budget protects the investments we’ve made in education, in senior services, in fighting the scourge of opioids, and in growing Pennsylvania’s economy.And it sets our Commonwealth on a sustainable fiscal course that will grow our paltry rainy day fund from $245,000 today to almost $500 million by 2022.How? By reforming our state government – and by making Harrisburg work smarter.One of my first acts as Governor – two years ago – was to identify $150 million we could save by making our state government more efficient – everything from negotiating for lower prices from vendors to putting voter registration online to streamlining the process for outgoing mail.This budget goes even further. In fact, it contains the largest cuts to, and consolidations of, government bureaucracy in our history.Some of these reforms are simply long overdue common sense measures – like centralizing shared services like human resources and information technology, selling property the state owns but doesn’t use, or consolidating pension funds to save millions that used to flow into the pockets of too many Wall Street financial managers.Some of these reforms reflect new thinking on how we can cut costs without reducing the level of service we provide to Pennsylvanians – like merging departments under one roof, or offering a new early retirement program to modernize our state workforce.And, yes, some of these reforms involve gritting our teeth and tightening our belts – like eliminating funding for bureaucratic positions that are currently vacant.But streamlining our state government doesn’t mean reducing the services it provides. In fact, it can improve services. For example, my proposal streamlines the various programs designed to help small businesses get off the ground by creating a single point of contact to help small business owners cut through red tape and start creating jobs.By identifying specific programs that could be working more efficiently – and others that are no longer working at all – this budget proposes reforms that, altogether, will save taxpayers more than $2 billion.That’s right, $2 billion.That’s money we can use not only to protect the funding we’ve restored for education, but to provide more options for seniors so they can stay in their homes while receiving the care they need, make new job-creating investments in manufacturing and workforce development, and help communities ravaged by heroin and opioid abuse.This proposal also closes corporate loopholes that have helped big companies avoid paying their fair share. Look, I have nothing against successful businesses. I used to run one. But Pennsylvania families are already paying too much to help fund our government. And when big corporations get special treatment, Pennsylvania families and small businesses wind up shouldering more of a burden than they can bear. That’s why I’ve fought to close these loopholes from the beginning.Today, and in the days and weeks to come, we’ll have a chance to sit down and discuss this budget in depth. But I believe that any debate about budgets is, at its core, really a debate about priorities. And the budget I’ve proposed reflects my belief that there should be no greater priority for our government than educating our children.After all, if you ask Pennsylvanians about their top priority, the odds are that, if they’re parents or grandparents, they’ll start by telling you about their kids, or their grandkids.I’m honored beyond words to serve as Pennsylvania’s Governor, but the most important job I have ever had is being Sarah and Katie’s father. And I know the same is true for everyone in this chamber who has had the incredible fortune to be a parent. There isn’t a single one of you – not one Republican, not one Democrat – who wouldn’t do anything for your kids.Frances and I sent our girls to public schools in York County. There, we watched them grow and learn and discover who they were, thanks in no small part to some incredible teachers. We watched them earn the opportunity to go off to college. We watched them build careers of their own – Sarah as an architect, and Katie as a geologist.So when, five years ago, our state government cut a billion dollars from public education, we – like so many parents all across Pennsylvania – were horrified. Teachers were being laid off by the hundreds, schools were pushed to the brink of closing, and the same education system that had given my kids so much opportunity was being set up by Harrisburg to fail.As I traveled the state, I found that I wasn’t alone in that fear. I met brilliant students who were being held back because their schools didn’t have enough textbooks – heck, some schools I visited couldn’t even afford enough toilet paper. I met parents who worried that the school buildings they sent their kids off to every day weren’t safe. I met teachers who were being asked to do more and more with less and less – and then being told they were overpaid.Over the past two years, we’ve taken a different approach. Instead of allowing schools to become the first casualty of our budget deficit, we’ve made them our first priority. We’ve undone nearly two-thirds of those short-sighted cuts to our public school system. In fact, we’ve made the largest investment in education in the history of the Commonwealth.Struggling schools in places like Chester, and Wilkinsburg, and right here in Harrisburg are back on stable financial footing. Parents and teachers no longer have to spend their summers worrying about whether the school doors will open in September.And when I travel the state now, I visit more and more school districts where, instead of scrambling to make ends meet, they’re expanding the programs available to students – and expanding the opportunities these students will have once they graduate.For example, in the Dover Area School District, they’ve created more Career and Technical Education programs ranging from Agriculture to Accounting to Geospatial Technology. More than 200 students are now enrolled in these programs, many of them earning college credits while still in high school thanks to partnerships with post-secondary institutions. And they’ve done it without raising local taxes one dime.And in the Jersey Shore Area School District, they’ve used new funding to further develop their Learning Pathways Curriculum, which helps prepare high school students for careers in business, human services, and industrial technology. Next up will be an expanded Health Science program.Meanwhile, in Mifflintown, the Juniata County School District was just named to the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll for expanding access to advanced placement courses and tests while maintaining student achievement. It’s one of 44 districts across the Commonwealth to earn that distinction. Our renewed commitment to Pennsylvania schools has included $465 million in restored funding for K-12 education, $14.6 million for early intervention, and $81.4 million for higher education. We’ve restored $60 million in funding for early childhood education, and now nearly 200 school districts across the Commonwealth are planning to make new investments in pre-K or kindergarten, giving thousands of our youngest Pennsylvanians a boost as they embark on a lifetime of learning.We haven’t solved every problem in our education system. But I’m proud to say that the investment we’ve worked together to make in Pennsylvania’s future is already beginning to pay off. In this budget, I’m proposing $125 million for K through 12 classrooms, $75 million to expand high-quality early childhood education, and $8.9 million for our state system of higher education. Just as Pennsylvanians make their children a top priority, so, too, are aging parents, aunts and uncles a top priority for all of us. When I was running for this office, I listened to seniors all across our Commonwealth. They told me that they very much appreciated how often politicians came to see them, but that they’d prefer real action on improving senior services.That’s why one of the first initiatives I announced as Governor was to improve home-based and community-based care services, so that more seniors could have more options for getting the care they needed without having to move out of their homes.And it’s why, when health insurers threatened to kick 180,000 seniors off their health plans, we stepped in and took those insurance companies to court to make sure that their coverage stayed in place.Just this past year, the Department of Aging distributed more than $2 million in lottery proceeds to 43 senior community centers across our Commonwealth. And we made it easier for struggling seniors to get assistance purchasing nutritious food.There’s more to be done. Next January, another new program called Community HealthChoices will come online to help more seniors receive the care they need within their community instead of at facilities. But innovations like these are only possible if we continue to move past the budget battles that have paralyzed Harrisburg for far too long and take a different approach.And there’s no better illustration of that different approach than the steps we’ve taken together to address the public health crisis of heroin and opioid abuse.This epidemic has stolen the futures of far too many of our fellow Pennsylvanians. The numbers are simply staggering.But, for me, and I suspect for many of you, the numbers aren’t what compelled us to act. It was the stories. It was the people.Like, the woman who had been through eight treatment facilities by the age of 20 but who still struggles with addiction everyday. The dad who broke down in tears begging for help for his daughter. The cop who’s arrived on the scene too late to help the latest victim.I remember being in a doctor’s office when the physician’s assistant came in and closed the door. “You’ve got to do something,” she told me. She’d seen too many people suffering the effects of an opioid addiction. And then she told me her own brother had died of a heroin overdose just a few weeks earlier, at the age of 39.There’s not one of us in this chamber who hasn’t been shaken to our core after hearing from a constituent who had to identify a loved one at the morgue or bury a childhood friend. And so, we worked together to take action.We armed law enforcement with the tools they need to crack down on those who profit from this crisis by preying on our most vulnerable citizens. And we equipped police and first responders with naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose antidote, allowing them to reverse more than 2,300 opioid overdoses so far.We destroyed more than 100,000 pounds of unused and unwanted prescription drugs before they could fall into the wrong hands, and we redesigned the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program so that medical professionals can monitor patients and identify those who may be at risk.We’ve taken our campaign against opioids from classrooms to emergency rooms to correctional facilities – and we’ve devoted more than $20 million to expanding treatment options, creating 45 Centers of Excellence throughout the state and giving nearly 11,000 Pennsylvanians a chance to escape addiction.And when we took action to expand Medicaid, providing more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians with access to health care, we empowered more than 120,000 people currently battling addiction to get the help they need – which is why I’m going to fight to keep those protections in place.I pledge to continue doing everything in my power to keep protecting our communities from the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse. And I know that I, and all of Pennsylvania, can count on everyone in this chamber to stand together.I still believe in the potential of our Commonwealth. And I’m proud of the progress we’ve begun to make to fulfill that potential.Now, the kind of change I’m trying to bring to Harrisburg won’t come easy. If reforming our state government and putting Pennsylvania back on a path to fiscal stability were easy, these things would have been done long ago. And I can’t do it alone.That’s why we’ve reached out to legislators on both sides of the aisle and incorporated their ideas for cutting spending and eliminating wasteful inefficiencies. And it’s why I’m ready to work with anyone in this chamber to pass a budget that addresses this challenge responsibly and protects the priorities that matter to Pennsylvanians.The truth is, the people of the Commonwealth have elected a Democratic Governor and the most Republican legislature in modern history. I think it’s safe to say that they don’t expect us to agree on everything.But no Pennsylvanian is interested in more of the same here in Harrisburg. Nobody wants to see us argue over who should get the credit for solving problems – and if we don’t solve problems, no Pennsylvanian will be interested in watching us argue over who should get the blame.The people who put us here want to see progress. They deserve to see progress. And when we’ve worked together, we’ve been able to deliver that progress.Sure, over the two years I’ve been in this job, we’ve had our share of disagreements, some of them fierce. But we’ve also proven that, when Pennsylvanians demand action, we are capable of coming together to answer the call.Over the last two years, we’ve decreased our prison population, we’ve begun to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, and we’ve brought some much-needed transparency and accountability to Harrisburg, just to name a few.And there are more Pennsylvanians working today than there were just two years ago.Yes, we’ve seen what Harrisburg looks like at its worst. But we’ve also seen what’s possible when we set aside those tired old fights and make Pennsylvanians’ priorities our priorities.I believe that we can leave the frustrating politics of old behind us and work together to build a brighter future for all Pennsylvanians.And it is in that spirit that I invite this legislature to join me in turning the page on the broken politics that have held our Commonwealth back, and choose a different path forward, one in which Democrats and Republicans work together to re-imagine and re-invent our state government. . . re-commit to our schools, to our seniors, and to our most vulnerable citizens. . . and rebuild our middle class.I’m ready to get to work. And I hope you are, too.Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.Read more posts about Governor Wolf’s 2017-18 budget.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf February 07, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Tweet 22 Views no discussions Sharing is caring! Whale in Dominican waters.Results from three-year survey indicate that Dominica’s marine mammals are a major tourist attraction and that whale watchers visiting the island support efforts to protect whalesOne in 10 whale-watching tourists staying on the island said their main reason for coming to Dominica was to see whales, according to a three-year survey by CARIBwhale, the association of Caribbean whale-watch operators.An additional 70 percent said whale-watching was one of the attractions that drew them here. From 2008 to early 2011, more than 1,000 whale-watch passengers on CARIBwhale boats, such as Dive Dominica’s, completed the survey.The questionnaire was designed and its results were analyzed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a global nonprofit organization with more than a decade of conservation experience in Dominica and other Caribbean islands.Whale watchers surveyed expressed satisfaction with their excursion in Dominica: 98 percent of those surveyed said they would recommend this tour to family and friends, and 95 percent said they would go on another whale watch tour.Three-fourths of survey respondents were very satisfied with the quality of their whale-watch tour overall, and 69 percent agreed with the statement “I learned a lot about whales and dolphins.”Elderly couple answering survery Survey respondents demonstrated concern for protecting whales.Three-quarters of whale watchers said “minimizing the tour boats’ impact on marine life” was important; nearly half of all respondents (48.9 percent) said it was “very important.” Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents said that “knowing the tour operator has committed to a code of conduct” is important; 59 percent said “very important.”CARIBwhale operators such as Mr. Augustus Bernard say they strive not only to be responsible stewards of the ocean in their work, but also to raise tourists’ awareness about protecting marine mammals.“Even when we don’t see a whale, I want to educate tourists about whales and the environment,” said Mr. Bernard, who has 13 years of experience leading whale watches at Dive Dominica and has participated in several CARIBwhale training programs about sustainable whale watching and natural resources management. “I talk about the environment a lot, such as how trash, pollution, marine debris and all that affect marine life and whales specifically.”Nearly half of all whale-watch survey respondents (46 percent) agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement “After this trip, I am more concerned about threats to marine life.”“These survey results underscore that whales are worth far more to Dominica alive than dead, as clearly marine mammals and the island’s other underwater treasures are a major draw for tourists,” said Jacob Levenson, IFAW’s whale program officer. “Careful protection of these natural resources will yield long-term economic benefits for Dominicans for years to come – a position reflected in the Dominica government’s prudent and praiseworthy decision not to support a pro-whaling agenda at the meetings of the International Whaling Commission.”The 2011 International Whaling Commission meeting is scheduled for early next month in Jersey, a small island of the United Kingdom just north of Normandy, France.CARIBwhale Inc. is an association of whale-watching operators as well as hotel and tourism organizations committed to responsible whale watching in the Caribbean.Its mission is to foster protection of cetaceans and their Caribbean habitat, and to support non-invasive scientific whale research, conservation, education and advocacy.Launched in 2007, CARIBwhale’s membership today spans six nations: Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.By: Alice Dalrymple Share LocalNews One in 10 Whale Watchers Staying in Dominica Choose This Destination for the Whales by: – June 29, 2011 Share Share
Ollie Jung | Daily TrojanIt’s a simple fact that most sports fans are hopeless optimists. Dodger Stadium has been packed to the brim for the opening two games of the World Series in support of a team that last won it all during the Reagan administration. Tens of thousands of people pack the Coliseum week-in, week-out every year despite more than a decade passing since the Trojans’ last national title. Optimism is sports’ lifeblood, and even the most jaded fan has the slightest sliver of it.But for the last week, it has felt like Notre Dame bled every last drop of that optimism during last Saturday’s massacre in South Bend.Like many others, I have been almost blindly bullish when it comes to these Trojans since January. Ignoring all the warning signs for a far more challenging, target-on-your-back season to come, I basked in the Rose Bowl glory, completely convinced that the trifecta was coming in 2017: a Pac-12 championship, another victory in Pasadena and a return to the national championship.Nearly 11 months later, and here we are. USC is still a frontrunner for the conference crown, but with the ultimate prize out of reach, the remainder of the season will only determine what sort of silver lining the program can take into next fall. Some have called for head coach Clay Helton to be fired, and others have declared redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold a bust.I instinctively want to defend the Trojans. I want to point to Helton’s strong 22-9 record at the helm and remind everyone of what Darnold did against Texas and Utah this year. But there’s not much I can say that doesn’t ring hollow after USC last Saturday. I feel like a flat-earther: The facts are staring me in the face, but I’ve somehow talked myself into something different.I’ve died on worse hills, though (I was convinced Blake Bortles would be a good NFL quarterback for far longer than I am proud of). What really scares me is that the nightmare may not be over. The Trojans are traveling on back-to-back weeks coming off arguably their two most taxing games this season. And like the losses at Washington State and Notre Dame, Arizona State is expected to have a sold-out crowd at its back. The Sun Devils beat then-No. 5 Washington and Utah in their last two games, and they will look to catapult themselves into the thick of the Pac-12 South race with an upset over USC.After ASU, Arizona arrives at the Coliseum, and the Wildcats could be coming off a home win over Washington State, riding speedster quarterback Khalil Tate. Tate put up nearly 400 yards against UCLA — 148 through the air and 230 on the ground with three total touchdowns. After facing Arizona, the Trojans go to Colorado, then return home to face UCLA to wrap up the regular season. How great can you feel about any of those games? My greatest fear is when all is said and done this season, USC will have had a seven- or eight-win season with a trip to the Holiday Bowl — no different from the days of Steve Sarkisian and Cody Kessler.There’s no bright spot to look to anymore. Darnold hasn’t hit his peak all season. The rushing attack that opened the year so promisingly has been derailed thanks to injuries. Special teams coughed up the ball and left easy points on the board in recent weeks. An intimidating defense that ranks among the nation’s best in forced turnovers got dominated in South Bend. Week-to-week improvement hasn’t been this team’s forte, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see another error-filled night in Tempe on Saturday.It’s hard for me to believe that Helton and company will suddenly clean things up to win the Pac-12, which means that after all the fanfare, it’s just another lost season. I would say that the Trojans finally stole away all my optimism, but there is just a bit left — the hope that they will prove me wrong and win out … and win it all next year.Ollie Jung is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, Jung Money, runs Fridays.