Thursday, May 15, 2008

Out of my brain on 5-15...

…and many other selected dates as well!

I had to do some major cutting with my chainsaw yesterday following recent storms that knocked big limbs out of two of my trees.  The latest one fell during straight-line winds around 45 MPH on Saturday night, and would have crushed my car big-time if my mom’s answering machine wasn’t giving her problems.  Let me ‘splain:  I normally park my Chevy Cavalier (that I owe 3.5 years more of payments on) along the side of my house, but I was parked on the driveway in front on Saturday so Phil and I could load sheet rock and supplies for my bedroom project into the house during the day.  I get a call from Mom around 6PM saying there was something wrong with her answering machine, and since my parental units only live a mile away, I hopped in the car and went over to fix it for her.  Good thing, because I might not have moved the car otherwise, and that limb would have landed on the back end of the car for sure.  It was also blocking the front of the driveway when I got up Sunday morning, and was so heavy I could barely move it out the way, plus it fell from way up high in the tree, so I can only imagine how much it would’ve mangled my vehicle—a fortuitous bounce, indeed!  And, anytime I come away from using my chainsaw with the same number of fingers and toes that I started with, I’m quite pleased.  Ohhh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

In a very annoying trend, TV and Internet news outlets (ESPN included) are really overdoing the "Breaking News" thing these days, and it’s high-time to get a grip on it.  I am so sick of how the media make sure to urgently alert us about such routine non-stories as "Hillary vows to remain in the race" or "Gas prices on the rise", so I hereby propose a ban on labeling any of the following as "Breaking News" until further notice:

"Sprint announces layoffs"
"Clemens denies allegations"
"Britney (fill in the blank)"
"Phelps family protests funeral"
"Iraq War not ending anytime soon"
"Rap singer (or Cincinnati Bengals player) arrested and/or shot"
"Economists unsure if U.S. is in a recession or not""Brad and Angelina are adopting"
"Paula Abdul says/does something stupid"
"Environmentalists blame tornado outbreak on Global Warming"

There are tons more examples of this, but you get the idea…

Speaking of headlines that won’t go away, I can’t take any more of this whole New England Patriots videotaping scandal (I refuse to refer to it by this arcane "Spygate" nickname), especially since Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (a Republican, naturally) won’t let it go—even though the NFL apparently is going to—and is threatening to pursue Congressional hearings on the matter.  What, just because the Pats beat your Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl a couple years back, eh, Senator?  Granted, I don’t think the Patriots are totally guiltless of malfeasance in all this, but until these fuckers in Congress are able to end the war in Iraq, solve the gas price situation, fix the economy, sort out the illegal immigration mess and the veritable plethora of other important issues that our nation faces, I don’t want to hear shit about them investigating a friggin’ pro football team accused of cheating.  And you know it’s just a matter of time before another one of these elected schmucks launches an inquest about the judging process on "American Idol", too.  Enough already, you nimnuls!

BTW, I’ve been looking for a good excuse to use the word malfeasance for quite a while, now!

Don’t look now, folks, but those dreaded Tampa Bay Rays are in first place in the American League Eastern Division.  I have no doubt that all the fundamentalist super-Christians out there would credit the team’s newfound success to them dropping "Devil" from their moniker.  I will politely point to the success of the New Jersey Devils (three Stanley Cups since 1995) and the Duke Blue Devils basketball team (three NCAA Tournament titles since 1991) and shut up…

First it was "Family Jewels", then "Celebrity Apprentice", not to mention that recently-unearthed sex tape, and as I type, I'm watching "Ugly Betty", and there's Gene Simmons gracing the boob tube yet again!  Next thing you know, he'll be on "The View"oh wait, he already did that show, too.  Hey Gene, you could at least lose the shades when you're indoors, Stud...

"Manic Depression"—JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE (1967)  "Woman so willing, the sweet cause in vain…"  At first, I thought Jimi was singing "the streetcar's in vain"!  Then again, the author who wrote the Jimi bio ’Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky was just as bad in reciting the line from this song that goes "Feeling, sweet feeling, drops from my fingers, fingers…"  In the text of the book it read, "Fingers, fenders"!  Not sure what the guy was thinking, unless he was referring to Jimi’s Fender Stratocasters…

JOHN RUTSEY, 1953-2008
Original Rush drummer John Rutsey passed away last week.  You might say Rutsey played the part of Pete Best in Rush—opposite Neil Peart as Ringo—by leaving the band before the gravy train arrived.  Not unlike Best, Rutsey wasn’t a spectacular drummer, by any means, but he was quite serviceable, and he played on tracks like "Working Man", "Finding My Way" and "In The Mood" from the eponymous first Rush album in 1974 before being replaced by Peart for their second album, Fly By Night.  Rutsey formed the group in 1968 with guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Jeff Jones (ultimately to be replaced by Geddy Lee), but was unsure if he could hack the rigors of heavy touring because of his diabetes, so he departed the band fairly amicably.  Peart—who was far superior on the drums—was a fine lyricist to boot, and subsequently took the band to heights they most likely never would’ve reached if Lee had continued to warble lines like "Hey, Baby, it’s-a quarter-to-eight—I feel I’m in the mood…" as opposed to typical Peart phrases like "a victim of venomous fate", which kinda sums up Rutsey, who was found dead of an apparent heart attack, possibly connected with his diabetes.  R.I.P., John…

After missing the show several times, I was finally able to catch VH-1 Classic’s fund-raiser concert for the victims of 2003’s Station Nightclub fire on TV the other day that featured Twisted Sister, Tesla, Stryper (they’re still around?!?), Winger (oy vey!) and several other Hard Rock and Country acts that was staged back in February on the fifth anniversary of that horrific night.  It’s easy to forget that many of those who survived the whole ordeal are still struggling to regain their health and/or are unable to work because of it.  The show featured some of the victims who’ve endured numerous surgeries and procedures and will continue to endure them for some time to come, and I can’t begin to imagine what’s like for those people whose lives were altered so dramatically.  In the words of Pete Townshend (again), "No one respects the flame, quite like the [person] who’s badly burned…"

I clearly remember driving home from work the day after the fire happened and DJ Marty Wall was talking about it on the now-defunct 99.7 KY.  I immediately turned on CNN when I got home and watched the video, and my jaw just dropped at how quickly it all went down.  Seeing those people in the video in the front row all pumped-up for a Rock show, then realizing that most of them were dead left me very depressed that whole weekend, too.  I love pyro during a Rock show as much as anyone, but it’s best left to the professionals like Kiss’ road crew who know what they’re doing in a big arena or stadium, as opposed to some amateur in a tiny club.  Anytime I go to see a show at a club (or any bar, for that matter) now, I make it a point to scope the place out and see where the exits are—you never know what could happen.  If everything works out, my itinerary for my upcoming road trip to New York and New England in August includes a stop at the Station site in West Warwick, RI, which is now (as the pic shows) a shrine to the victims.

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