Friday, March 31, 2006

Carl, can I get a ruling here...

Atlanta Journal, Sugarloaf, GA BellSouth Classic - Davis Love III gets the award for most favorable ruling of the day. His ball on the par 5 fourth hole came to a rest only inches from a snake - a very, very thick and long snake.

Upon closer inspection, it was determined to be a water moccasin, a poisonous snake. Love was given relief under the rule regarding “dangerous situations”.

“I’m not afraid of snakes, but that was a big one.” Love said.

What a pussy. I would’ve pulled a six iron and played through…

"I Want Some Of This and Some Of That..."

In response to my Buck Owens post, Dyna Girl wrote:

"Buck Owens was a house guest of ours as well. He visited every Saturday night in the form of Hee Haw. I can't believe the obit didn't mention Hee Haw! Can you post the mp3 of your crazy neighbor singing that song?"

Couldn't agree more with her on the Hee Haw sentiment.

Re: the request to post Buck Owens classic "Some Of Everything You Got" performed by Mrs. Alva & the crazy neighbor lady.
There were two obstacles needing to be overcome to getting this done. The technical one my good friend and uber blogger setter upper Hue B. Mooksuki has found a solution for.

The second involves very complicated legal issues regarding publishing and copyright infringement.

Okay, okay... actually Mrs. Alva has communicated a few concerns that involve my overall happiness at home that I can’t really get into BUT despite this, I'm not completely opposed to giving the people what they want (since they deserve it so much).

Perhaps some lobbying on behalf of the general public can coax this cat out of the bag? How ‘bout it?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Future USMA Grad and Army Aviator Gets Her Ballet Recital Costume...


I saw this on the tube last night...

Why do these guys insist on validating every stereotype ever hoisted upon them? How do we get coaches, schools, parents, etc... in front of this problem and teach the shame for this kind of behavior to male athletes? Gee, you think these guys heard about the MN Vikings fiasco? Think they might have been emulating them in some way?

It goes beyond just the problem of doofus jocks. I have personally witnessed plenty of athlete "groupies" willingly let themselves be humiliated by guys like this.

Without a doubt it begins with fathers. I don't remember my dad ever sitting me down and talking to me about this kind of thing specifically ("Tony, it's wrong to force yourself on a women"), but there is no doubt in my mind of exactly how disappointed he'd have been in me if I'd even been close to any incident like this. He'd have been even more disappointed if I had and didn't do anything to stop it.

Us dad's need to teach our sons how to behave with ZERO tolerance for this kind of shit. We need to teach our daughters how utterly degrading it is to be treated this way, the huge risks that exist out there, and how to avoid them. The best place to start is the example we set with our own relationships. I used to quickly dismiss this notion as cliche until I became a parent and realized how impressionable kids really are. They are sponges and their retention will astonish you.

It really is this simple, If girls see their dad's treat their mothers like shit, they will expect to be treated the same way themselves. If boys see there dad's treating their mother like shit, they will certainly treat their future girl friends the same.

Free if you act now!!!

In addition to wanting to stay connected with an old friend, there is another reason I read Fred Wilson's A VC blog. Fred's blog offers a prophetic glimpse into the future of technology and cutting edge discussion of business modeling and strategy. He's posted a couple of times on the topic of marketing internet content here and here. There are links to other bloggers who weigh in on the subject too, including Jason at Trickster! here. Jason once again picks an analogy on the subject that makes it easy for a guy who took longer than four years to finish his undergraduate degree to understand.

These are VERY smart guys. If you have any interest in the world of internet based business I would highly recommend taking a look.

Since the subject of downloadable musical content is something that is near and dear to me, I enjoy being able to stay tuned in to what the future may bring on this front, and offer my opinion from a consumer's persepctive when inspired to do so. This is the heart of what makes blogging so great. I recall having a conversation with Fred a year ago or so ago while in NYC and he became instantly animated when the topic of blogging came up and I clearly understand why. For the business he's in he get's to bounce around ideas with experts and consumers alike and get instant feedback. It is a completely inclusive forum and more of that is what we need.

Ta boot, it's free!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On Brave Old Army Team...

Those of you who know me and are familiar with my many passions, know that Army football is one them. There are many reasons for this which I'll blog about in the months to come, but understand that this devotion runs deep. Deep devotion is what is required to be an Army football fan if you are even mildly familiar with their history over the last five years. A very poor AD and coaching choice sent the already marginal program into the crapper bottoming out with a NCAA Div. 1A worst record ever of 0-13. Fortunately, wiser minds finally decided to put an end to everybody's misery, and AD Rick Greenspan and his equally inept head coach Todd Berry were mercifully kicked to the curb. Shortly after this move, Bobby Ross was hired as coach. Hope was restored, but the climb out of the basement has been slow but steady.

I went over to to see what was happening and there's a recap of the football team's spring practice activity. Third year Head Coach Bobby Ross is taking his spring look at what he's got to build on before the summer quiet period begins and cadet football players are absent from the field until the fall. Coach Ross seems pretty happy with who he's got returning as starters on both offense and defense. It would seem that the toughest challenge Ross has is filling two key spots being vacated by graduation and those are quarterback and running back.

In my estimation, the loss of Zak Dahman at QB is not as hard as losing Carlton Jones at the running back postion. Zak was one of Todd Berry's recruits and Army fans owe him a great deal of respect for having to deal with the transition of head coaches and their systems, but the guy was a not a strong decision maker in my mind. Ross will have to work his three up & comers, David Pevoto, Pat McDonald and Kevin Dunn pretty hard to come out of the gate swinging when Army takes on Arkansas State on Sept. 2nd. While many of us wish Ross would take the team back to more of a classic wishbone offense, Ross did have some success with the passing game last year. He also had Jones to make up the balance once the passing game broke down. The guy was just explosive out of the backfield last year. Ross didn't cite any real standouts for Jones' replacement, so I'm a little concerned.

College football is the greatest game in the world. The absence of it during the summer months is the only downside to sunny season. I look forward to the fall and what promise it will bring for the Army team. I hope to get up for a couple of games this year and witness the history being made in person.

Expect more college football blathering from me in the future. For now, GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!!!

Cast Away...

Artist: David Gilmore

Album: On An Island (Columbia Records)

Produced By: David Gilmore and two other guys who swept the floor and ran out for sandwiches (Phil Manzanera & Chris Thomas)

Recorded By: David Gilmore and another guy who he let hit the "Record" button once while he went to take a leak (Andy Jackson)

Recorded At: Astoria and four other places not anywhere near as good (Abbey Road, British Grove, Gallery Studio, & David's home) OK, David's home might be as good...

There are many divergent opinions on many topics regarding politics, religion, music etc… that divide my friends, family, and blogging community. Sometimes we even resort to saying mean things (see Dave’s comment here), but there is ONE thing that we can all agree on. One thing that says that hope for world peace is not beyond mankind’s reach. No, it’s not Scientology. Yes, it is this one universal truth: Pink Floyd rocks, and anything associated with Pink Floyd rocks. Thus, it is almost a given that David Glimore’s long awaited latest effort MUST rock. I picked it up last night and am almost all the way through it and you can rest assured that it does indeed rock. Scientists are still working furiously to validate this hypothesis, but word form the lab is that their experiments are giving off a strong indication of serious rocking.

Just about everything about this album exudes rock. The CD packaging is a well designed and very cool bound booklet housing tasteful artwork and lyrics with an unusual rubber nubbin that holds the disc in place in lieu the standard plastic jewel case. Ted's brother might actually keep the CD booklet in his kitchen for a few days after ripping it onto his iPod before it finally gets tossed (I kid, I kid... I know you store them down in the basement much to the chargrin of the Gotham Gal). You also get an additional CD with its’ own cover jacket titled “Island Jam”. I haven’t listened to it just yet, but if I had to guess, it’s a long wailing extended Gilmore shredding session over a descending riff into E minor. At least I hope it is (I’ll let you know if I was right with an update later). It is noted that this is a “CarbonNeutral CD”. Whatever that means, it must be cool.

As far as what I’ve listened to this point, I’m kind of wondering how this isn’t a Pink Floyd record. Other than the lyrics which are distinctly Gilmore and not Waters, it sounds like a Gilmore/Waters collaboration. The trade mark PERFECT production, the brilliantly tasteful guitar work, the amazing guitar sounds, the haunting layered vocals, the scary pastoral aural scenes and interludes, the big keyboard underbelly, it’s all there. (I’m listening to track 4, Take A Breath” and it sounds like it’s right off of “The Wall”).

There are many, particularly my friend Chrispy, who possess far more Floyd knowledge than I(fifth steppers in Scientology terms I believe) who I’ll rely on for a more in depth and insightful review of this album, but I will go ahead and say after listening to eight of the ten tracks that if you don’t go out and buy this album today you obviously don’t care about music, hate all things living, and probably don’t bathe regularly.

UPDATE: The latter half of the album has couple of low key mellow tunes that are just fantastic!

UPDATE II: Island Jam is actually a slow blues jam with what sounds like a Gibson Byrdland or someother type of hollowbody...

UPDATE III: Wait a minute... The organ just kicked in and it's building. I can smell a minor chord coming... OK, it just mellowed out again.

UPDATE IV: I won't ruin it for you, go out and buy it during lunch.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Way To Fix Baseball...

Make it more like hockey.

Grenade: Pull Pin & Toss...

The immigration debate has been an interesting volcano to watch erupt. Jackson over at Savage Distortion has teed it up if you want to get in on the shark frenzy, but what I'm talking about is the way it all played up in the press and the political machine. It makes me ill thinking about it. We're all such lemmings aren't we? This has been an issue that has been brewing here in Georgia for quite sometime and relative to what tone the debate has taken on lately the discussion has been fairly meaningful. Georgia, while not topping the list of states with the largest population of illegal immigrants, has one of the fastest growing populations of them. Here in the Atlanta metro area, houses continue to be built as quickly as counties can print building permits, and illegal immigrant population continues to grow like tribbles on the Starship Enterprise.

What I've seen in the past few weeks, perhaps more clearly than ever, is how we allow ourselves to be polarized so easily. We ALLOW the press to create this situation. It's like dropping a dead cow into a tank of piranha’s. I think the reason it's become so apparent with this particular debate is that when this topic broke big last week, our crappy two party system did not really have clear policy lines drawn. It's certainly spiltting the GOP right now, but I'm sure they'll shore that up soon at the expense of rationale. A couple of days have gone by and it now seems that, as with all issues these days unfortunately, this one will have missed an opportunity for a bipartisan solution. Nope, it's xenophobic GOP vs. the let'em all in Dem's. Nice.

John Cole make's a good side observation here.

If you'll excuse me, I have to get into my wetsuit and jump into the tank with the other piranha’s. The water's a little cold today...

UPDATE: Chrispy pointed to Tom Watson's post this morning that I hadn't gotten to yet. Tom's take doesn't suprise me, but he did say this that sort of supports one of the points I made above:

"So what to do? Clearly, the massive rally of half a million people in Los Angeles in response to the hated criminalization bill was a wake-up call to politicians on all sides and it shows us that immigration issues in the U.S. do not clearly have Republican and Democratic positions."

Of course, he's already sliced it up and pushed everybody into corners, but that's his meme. Back to the tank...

Buck Owens 1929 - 2006

Alvis E. "Buck" Owens is dead. His obit is here. RIP my man.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Got it Bad, So Bad, I'm Hot For Teacher...

Thinking about my blog this weekend and those whom I'm hoping are going to click over and read it, I've decided to introduce each of the blogs on my blogroll to those who may not be familiar with them or the blogosphere in general. I'll employ a phased approach to this by linking to posts that "cross over" from what I commonly refer to as my New York friends to my non-New York friends and family.

This week, Jason Chervokas who writes Trickster! posts an excellent article on the No Child Left Behind Act.

I am surrounded by teachers in my life. My father has spent his post military retirement career teaching at the collegiate level and many years of his active duty service teaching and in administration at the military academy at West Point. I have a brother who has taught high school to New York's incarcerated, New York's elite high school kids, and New York's junior college pre-adults (he should write a blog about the differences in these various student bodies. I'm sure at times he felt there was no distinction between any of them). I also have a sister who is half way through a masters in education and is planning to teach 7-8th grade (proof that she is truly insane). My wife and I have some good friends who are teachers as well. Our good friend and next door neighbor is an up and comer in the Georgia state system and is an extremely energetic and engaging teacher.

Me, I know exactly jack squat about the art of teaching having spent most of my adolescence and teenage years avoiding teachers and their classrooms, but I have a four year old now and must play catch up to ensure my kid gets the best education possible (how else will she grab that appointment to West Point right?). Recognizing my severe shortcomings on this topic, I pay close attention to my friends, family, and media analysis regarding education and public schools. I'm determined to learn as much as I can.

I have heard a great deal about No Child Left Behind from my group of sources here. I find Jason’s take particularly interesting for two reasons: One, the guy is like a walking Google of knowledge on so many subjects he seems inhuman. Two, he is perhaps the GOP and the Bush administration’s harshest critic and when the guy passes on props to our sitting president or his policies either they’re playing hockey in hell, or he’s speaking of what he sees as real results of this controversial program.

So take a look and let him and me know what you think. And if you feel up to it, take a look at some of his other posts. He's a great writer whom I enjoy reading whether I agree with him or not.

P.S. If you have any interest in the history of popular music, check out Jason’s Podcast “Down In The Flood”. Shear brilliance. If you don’t learn something, you’re not listening.

Friday, March 24, 2006

See The Sun...

I turn forty two years old this coming Sunday. I don't really sweat birthdays that much, but do recognize them as milestones. I usually spend some time during the week to think and reflect. Last week, I came across a lost letter from the wife of a buddy of mine and Jackson's. Her note informed me that Count M'Butu had recorded an album and dedicated it to him. His name is Brian Spears (it's spelled wrong on the jacket).

Brian was a highschool friend who picked up the drums in his senior year. His sole inspiration was that he simply wanted to rock. He was not a particularly good drummer those first couple of years, but jamming with him during summer and winter breaks from college, he fell deeply in love with music. He was quite the prodigy with all things academic, but music consumed him. Brain, myself, Jackson, and the others in our small circle of musician friends always held strong opinions on the music we listened to, and often times what we were listening to was quite diverse. For instance, Jackson and I were in the beginning throws of our lifelong love affair with the Rolling Stones when Brian was digging Genesis, Gabrial, Yes, and all the other art rock acts during a certain stretch back then. We all weren't quite totally past the "everything sucks except what I'm listening to" phase, but we were mature enough to be a little more open to really listening to other genres. These epic listening sessions are amongst my foundest memories. Brian would throw on some Marillion record and wax on about each song and the excellence of the drumming, guitar, lyrics, etc... (sounds funny saying this), and then Jackson and I would spin the Stones cover of Chuck Berry's "O Carol" and blather on and on about Keith's ever increasing capability to rob every lick Chuck ever played (my how little I've changed). Sometimes we'd each scratch our heads and wonder why the other person was so jazzed about one artist/song or another, but we acknowledged each others enthusiasm and continued to listen.

By the time we started recording music in my basement, Brian was way deep into the prog rock thing. He was spending a lot of time jamming with likeminded players and had decided to double major in music further distancing himself from what the rest of us we emersing ourselves in which was blues based rock. On one Christmas break, Brain returned to town to discover that we'd been recording over at my place for a couple of days and was a little bummed that we'd left him out. Our response was that we didn't think he was really into what were recording, but certainly would love to have him come over and hang. From that day on, his drums stayed in my basement until the day he packed them up and moved to Atlanta 4 years later.

Brain became an extremely successful banker for a German exchange bank in his day job life. When they offered him a VP's position in a start up branch here in Atlanta in 1989, he said "yes" before they could explain what it all entailed. Atlanta was the booming city for music during that period on the strength of REM and the whole college radio thing that was happening down here. AR guys for all the labels were crawling all over the place. When he got here, he found people to play with the second day. He plied his talents in an excellent production of Jesus Christ Super Star that ran for several months. In that band, he forged relationships with a circle of musicians that would blossom many times over. When circumstances in my life back in NY lent itself to moving, there was only one place I wanted to go and that was to join him here in Atlanta.

Brain, myself, and a couple of other guys ran studios and recorded music for the next few years as we had done back in NY, but Brian was really looking to master his craft and become a working musician. He played with as many people as could, any style, anywhere. He would spend his ever increasing bankroll on annual month long trips to Africa, Cuba, and Brazil to learn first person these distinct percussion styles. Along the way, he met The Count. The Count took an immediately liking to Brian and took him under his tutelage. Brian performed in The Count's African drum troop all over the South. During this period, Brian would become a most excellent and professional drummer. I learned more from him then appreciation for other genre's of music, but how to better listen music. I learned to get something out of anything that I listened to, even if I wasn't particularly fond of it.

We were building the studio of our dreams in the basement of the house Brain had recently bought when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that took his life less than a year later. I hated music for a long time after that.

It took sometime, but I gained perspective on it all and by happenstance reconnected with my long lost friend Jackson who had never put down his love affair with music and helped me find mine again. That was five years ago.

This record that The Count has recorded, See The Sun, is very much Brian. I have listened to it a few times through and it is quite good. He even plays with the drum troupe on one of the tracks.

On the eve of my 42nd birthday, I thank Brain, Jackson, The Count, and all the other musicians I've come in contact with since for helping me rediscover something I so deeply love and was missing for a long time.

Media Coverage and Fairness...

Pretty light day on the blogs today, but I did catch an update over at Michael Yon's Online Magazine and this peeked my interest since the topic has been volleyed around in the MSM and blogosphere this week. Before I go on, let me make one point clear: I do not want MSM outlets to curtail coverage of events in Iraq, Afghanistan, or hear at home. If a bomb goes off in a Baghdad cafe I want to know about it. If a citizen is going to be put to death for converting to Christianity in Afghanistan, I want to know about it (I wish someone would make this poor bastard watch just one episode of the 700 Club. Perhaps then he'd know that the grass ain't much greener). What I also want is fairness. I am one of those who strongly feels that we don't get that from our major news outlets. I read blogs. I read on-line news. In fact I'm a fiend for it, but the fact is that most Americans do not share this addiction. Despite decreases in dead tree newspaper readership, and flat ratings for network and cable news, most Americans get their news from these sources and they remain highly influential in shaping public opinion. I think improvement is long overdue. Reporting on Iraqi quality of life is a good place to start.

I have a list of things I, and I would assume everybody, would like to know about the quality of life and our progress in Iraq. A fairness litmus test if you will. Here's the preamble to the list: The human quality of life scale is obviously a relative thing. Ebert's review of "Brokeback Mountain" means nothing to a kid in Darfur who hasn't eaten in three days. A annual decrease in the frequency of bombs going off on Tel Aviv buses is a sign of security progress vs. a single bomb going off on ANY bus here in America for instance. In order to measure progress abroad it's important to use their benchmark, not ours. With that in mind, here's the list of things that I feel are worthy of coverage no matter what the facts are good or bad:

  1. What is the outage rate for commercial power for the ENTIRE country of Iraq before invasion to now? (note: During Saddam's reign, power was more stable in certain areas vs. others. Basically where ever Saddam was, the power grid was more stable)
  2. How many more Iraqi's have telephone service in there homes pre/post invasion and what restrictions are in place pre/post invasion?
  3. What is the availability of clean drinking water in the whole of the country pre/post invasion?
  4. How many schools are open to the entire general public (boys/girls, Sunni/Shia/Kurd)pre/post invasion?
  5. How many Iraqi's own cars pre/post invasion?
  6. How many miles of truly navigatable paved roads pre/post invasion?
  7. How many Iraqi's have television and internet access, and what restrictions are there pre/post invasion?
  8. What is the state of the Iraqi economy pre/post invasion?
  9. What is life like in the Kurdish North pre/post invasion (I've seen/heard little reported on these folks).

There are many more, but this is a start. Now, many will retort immediately that any/all this information is available to me right now. I simply have to research it, and that my friends is my point. Any of the nine topics listed above should NOT have to be researched at all. They should be found between pages one and four in any newspaper across this country, and story one through three on any TV news rundown. Updates on these topics should be juxtaposed against, NOT replaced, with what is already well covered in the news on Iraq. Why? Because it's fair. It simply allows for us to make better informed assessments of progress. I will tell you upfront that while I've heard both good and bad things regarding the topics on the list, they have been extremely scarce. So let's see if how well our major news outlets do in the coming months on covering any of the nine topics listed above. Anyone out there spot any of these things being featured no matter how remote let me know by commenting. Provide as much detail as you can.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Since I visit and comment on all of your blogs and topic creep on you constantly, I'll post crap on my own blog in the hope that I can get you guys over to read my thoughts every now and again. The picture to your left is me at 14 years old. Quite studly if I do say so myself. The one below is me and my precious 4 year old daughter Katie. We're standing behind the bar at Guinine's Pub in Garrison NY. I think the photo was taken last fall. Me, not looking so studly at 42 (as of this coming Sunday).

I'm old but I still rock. In the fore picture my biggest worry was how to hide my report card from my parents and avoid the subsequent restriction sentence I'd receive which would significantly cut into my skating time. In the aft photo I'm just a guy who complains about the cost of car repair bills, healthcare, wingnut neocons, bleeding heart liberals, the shitty state of popular music, homerowner's associations, my ever slicing golf swing, etc... Only if I'm not boring you with tales of of my life in the industry that I work in which I happen to enjoy a great deal.

But for all my bitching, I guess the always wise Joe Walsh says it best: Life's been good to me so far...