Friday, January 16, 2009

Tie your blogger down!

Just can’t seem to do that lately, as all of sudden I’ve gotten the writing bug again, and found lots to talk about…

Kudos to US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger III and all the rescue workers who responded yesterday for their brilliant work in avoiding major carnage in New York, where an engine-less jet crashed into the Hudson River just after takeoff.  Apart from two broken legs and scores of temporarily cold bodies, there were no injuries, and all 155 aboard were moved to safety in an amazingly short amount of time.  It appears the lucky passengers had the right man at the controls on this flight, as Sullenberger has been involved in numerous safety programs in addition to his regular duties as a pilot, and he was able to guide the plane into a shallow part of the river.  Nice job also by the commercial ferry boat operators for their quick-thinking in rushing to the aid of the victims and rounding them up.

One thing I could do without in all this is the exploitation of the crash victims by the news media, especially the way all the morning shows made sure to include the little kids who were on board on their shows to tug at our collective heartstrings.  Haven’t they been through enough already to then be thrown in front of TV cameras on national TV?

The (C)Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame announced this years "class" and it’s even lamer than last year’s, if that’s possible:

Metallica—Sorry, boys, but you don’t get in until Motorhead gets in, in my book.  Without Lemmy & Co., there would be no Metallica.

Little Anthony & The Imperials—Borderline choice, at best.  "Goin’ Out of My Head" and "Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Puffs—er uh—Pop" are classics, and they had a nice little run in the early/mid-‘60s, but just couldn’t compete with the likes of the Temptations and Four Tops.

Jeff Beck—I guess you could make a case for him here, but since he’s already in as a Yardbird, his inclusion is kinda redundant.

Bobby Womack—Decent songwriter (he co-wrote "It's All Over Now", which the Stones and Molly Hatchet covered) and had a few minor hits in the ‘70s, but I don’t view him as being any more influential than one-hit wonder Percy Sledge, who’s also in the Hall.

Run-DMC—Out of concern for my blood pressure, I’ll have to politely refrain from discussing this utterly ridiculous selection to the Hall in depth.  Does this mean Aerosmith with make the Rap Hall of Fame when it opens?

Meanwhile, there’s the Doobie Brothers, Moody Blues, Deep Purple, Kiss, Jim Croce, Neil Diamond, Heart, Three Dog Night, et al, still sitting on the bench, just waiting to be voted in.  Oh, I forgot—people like them don’t generate enough "buzz" for the Carson Daly/Ryan Seacrest/"American Idol" crowd to get excited over and watch the induction ceremony.

Unless it’s all tongue-in-cheek, K.C. Star sports columnist Jason Whitlock’s pre-occupation with his friend, former NFL quarterback Jeff George, comes across as just a tad warped.  Hardly a month goes by where in one of his columns, the Flatulent One makes the assertion that George would be a good pick-up for some NFL team needing a veteran QB, including Thursday’s column about new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.  Never mind that JG is 41 and hasn’t even played in the NFL in eight years, nor has he even shown any indication lately that he still wants to.  And let us not forget that when he was playing, Jeff George was very insubordinate to the coaches he played for and was a bad teammate too.  The Chiefs (or any other team, for that matter) need a locker room cancer like George about like the folks in Tahiti need space heaters.  Could it be that Jason is outing himself in his columns?  Maybe he serenades George with that old Animotion song, "You’re my obsession, what do you want me to be to make you sleep with me?"  Whitlock once accused Drew Bledsoe of being gay, you know.  I’m just sayin’…

Why do major publications like the Star waste valuable print space with archaic crap like Billy Graham’s daily advice column?  All he ever advises people to do is pray, and he always says even the most unrepentant sinners will be forgiven anyway, so what difference does it make?  Hell, he probably doesn’t even write any of the tripe that’s credited to his name, either…

As expected, Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement this week.  Dungy only played three seasons in the NFL at defensive back, but it always amazes me how guys like him who had marginal playing careers always seem to make the best coaches.  Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi are two other good examples.  True, there are some people who had great careers, like Mike Ditka (or Joe Torre and Lou Piniella in baseball, for instance), who go on to be successful head coaches or managers, but oftentimes it’s under-the-radar guys like Dungy who are the best leaders.  Classy guy, indeed, and it’s great to see him go out on his own terms.

I already like Dungy’s replacement, Jim Caldwell.  When he was introduced as Colts head coach the other day, Caldwell expressed the hope that his inaugural press conference wouldn’t wind up on one of those dopey Coors Light TV commercials.

I saw by the paper today that K.C.’s annual NHL exhibition game in September will feature the New York Islanders playing the L.A. Kings at the Sprint Center.  The paper implied that the Isles might be interested in making Sprint their permanent home someday soon, since discussions about renovating or replacing Nassau Coliseum are about as dead as Terence Trent d'Arby’s career.  Sounds ducky to me, being’s how my beloved New Jersey Devils have their own new joint now (which they should’ve called Hell, btw) and the N.Y. Strangers will soon be playing in a remodeled Madison Square Garden.  We really don’t need three teams in the New Yawk area anyway, so let’s get on the (hockey) stick and make this happen, okey-dokey?

"I tell ya, folks, it’s harder than it looks…"—Bon Scott, AC/DC

This might well have been Brother Bon’s most lucid lyric ever, in regards to what it takes to play in a band, whether you’re just playing bars or looking to make the big-time.  It’s easy to forget that there’s more to playing in a band than just plugging in your guitar and playing a gig.  There’s hours and hours of rehearsal time during the week to get the sound down, not to mention the time it takes to set up (and later tear down) equipment for a gig, then there’s the gig itself, which lasts four hours or more, just to make a few extra bucks on the weekends.  I love music, no question about it, but even if I were a musician, I don’t love it enough to kiss off that much of my free time every week.  Makes me respect my good friend Phil Alvarez and the rest of the guys in Headz Up even more for making such a commitment.

First in a new series filled with useless information you can impress your friends with…

"Ain’t No Sunshine"—BILL WITHERS (1971)  During the middle break where Withers utters "I know, I know, I know, I know…" he was actually marking the place in the song as a reminder of where a potential guitar solo was intended to go.  Evidently, the producer thought it was kinda hip the way it was, so they left it alone.  Check my math here if you want, but I counted 21 "I know"s altogether.

Before he became famous, BW had an interesting job—he manufactured airplane toilet seats for a living.  While not quite as smooth a vocalist as his contemporary, the late Lou Rawls, I’m surprised Bill didn’t go on to have a bigger career than he did.

There was a feature in the paper this week about actress Marla Gibbs, best known as Florence on "The Jeffersons", and her current local dinner theater gig.  It seems she’s really stretching her thespian muscles in this production—this time she plays the part of a domestic servant!

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