Saturday, January 17, 2009

Goodness gracious...

...great balls of fire! (click pic to enlarge)

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!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The proud blog with the golden tail..."

I just saw on the 'net where Mr. Roarke moved on to the real "Fantasy Island" today at age 88.  I always thought Montalban made a pretty good villain as Khan in Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan.  One wonders if his casket will be lined with rich Corinthian leather...

…to our good friend Randy Raley, whose radio gig in north central Illinois came to an abrupt end last week, apparently for no good reason.  One of the biggest reasons I got out of the radio industry was the sheer instability of it, and I could also never get past the sad fact that one can do a kick-ass job at any radio station, and yet still be unceremoniously fired at the drop of a hat.  And that was 20 years ago—I can’t imagine trying to function in today’s cut-throat environment in the radio biz.  I also didn’t love radio enough to keep banging my head against the proverbial wall and bouncing from station to station and town to town.  My brief radio career was fun while it lasted, but I honestly don’t miss it all that much now—I much prefer having a steady job.

As for you, Randy, you’re one of a dying breed whose heart and soul is in the radio biz (no matter how corporate it’s become), and I respect and admire your propensity for sticking with it.  You also seem pretty resilient, so I’m confident something new will work out for you, hopefully soon.  Hang in there, dude—you’re a damn fine human being and a credit to your profession.

Speaking of corporate radio FUBARs, barely a year into its existence, the much-ballyhooed 99.7 The Boulevard (which replaced K.C. Album Rock legend 99.7 KY) is changing formats again.  According to Entercom, the revamped station will offer Kansas City women "a blend of starpower, celebrity access, pop culture and today's hit music," and it will be built around the syndicated "On Air with Ryan Seacrest".  I think I'd rather jab ice picks in my eyes than listen to that no-talent wanker...

While I'm not shedding any tears over the Boulevard's demise, I'm sure at this very moment, a few distraught Jackson Browne fans are chaining themselves to the station's studios in protest.  Even though they did play some great album tracks now and then like Pete Townshend's "Slit Skirts" and Elton John's "Burn Down The Mission", the Blvd. was your basic bore and wasn't destined to last anyway.  Ironically, 102 The Zone, which replaced the original KY-102, also only lasted a year before changing formats again.  And the band played on...

I was beginning to worry that the Chefs would screw around and miss out on snagging Scott Pioli as their new GM, but yesterday owner Clark Hunt bagged the big fish he was looking for after all.  Based on his track record with the Patriots, this man should be light years better than Carl Peterson ever was at evaluating talent and making smart draft choices/free agent acquisitions.  This apparently will also be the end of Herm Edwards’ term as head coach, and although I like Herm for the most part, I think it’s time to make a clean break and bring in someone new with no previous ties to the team, which is pretty much what the Chefs have done for the last 12 years or so—Marty Schottenheimer was replaced by defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, who was replaced by Dick Vermeil (a crony of Peterson’s), who was replaced by Edwards (a crony of Vermeil's), who previously was also an assistant here.  Other than Bill Cowher, I don’t want to see any former Chiefs assistants on the new coaching staff—let’s start over and see what happens.  By the way, interesting irony/coincidence that the Bush Administration and Carl Peterson era here are ending at almost the same time.  In both cases, nowhere to go but up…

This week’s special guest star, Sarah Palin!  Yes, Ms. Winky-Dink was back in the spotlight this week whining that the big bad news media was mean to her during the campaign.  She also complained that Caroline Kennedy isn’t being taken to task for her lack of experience in the same way that Palin was.  Beg to differ, Winky, but I don’t exactly see the media warming up to the idea of "Senator Caroline" any more than they did to "VP Palin".  Boy, for someone who claims to be a maverick lipstick-wearing, moose-dressing pit bull of a hockey mom, she sure can’t take criticism worth a damn.  Uhhh, you’re a politician, sweetheart—it comes with the territory.

I was watching an old "Quincy, M.E." rerun on DVD last week, and in one scene set at a cheesy casino nightclub/lounge, the house band featured not one, but TWO bass players.  Two bass players, Gracie?!?  I’ve seen bands with two drummers before, but never two bassists.  Even funnier, one of them was right-handed and the other was left-handed, both playing Fender basses.  And the lefty evidently attended the Danny Bonaduce School of Bass Playing, because there he was just a-strummin’ away on his four-string axe, instead of plucking it.  Can you just imagine what it woulda sounded like if the bloody thing was actually plugged in to an amp?

Back when I was a kid, college marching bands always played show tunes and such during halftime shows.  Nowadays, it’s downright disconcerting to hear them play heavy metal, as with the U. of Texas and their tribute to Led Zeppelin last week at the Fiesta Bowl.  I couldn’t believe I was hearing "Black Dog" from a brass band, as well as "Kashmir" and "Stairway To Heaven".  Oklahoma’s band also played a tune during their halftime show last week that it took me about 30 seconds before I recognized it—The Who’s "Pinball Wizard"!  Now if I hear Motorhead coming from a marching band, you might wanna get the rubber truck ready for me…

…for what was my favorite movie theater of all-time, the Blue Ridge 5 Cinema at 40 Hiway and I-70 in Independence.  Even though I worked right across the parking lot from a 6-screen movie house at the Brywood Shopping Center for several years in the ‘80s, I much preferred to drive a little further over to Independence to see new flicks because Blue Ridge was so much nicer and the sound was excellent, especially in the big auditorium they added in the ‘80s to house blockbusters like, E.T., the Star Wars sequels, Back To The Future, etc.  Sadly, the Blue Ridge 5 fell victim to the soulless 20-screen AMC stadium-seating clusterfuck mega-plex located nearby, as well as the decline of the Blue Ridge Mall just across the highway.  The theater couldn’t even survive as a "dollar house" and closed for good in the late ‘90s, and its demolition is imminent in the next couple months, according to the paper.  Hate to see it go, but it’s better than watching the place decay and rot like it has for the last ten years.  Another chunk of my past bites the dust…

Ever notice how when someone on TV or in a movie walks into a bar and orders up a beer, they never specify what brand they want? It’s always, "Gimme a beer," or "Can we get a round of beers?"  And nine times out of ten, they hardly even drink any of it once they get it!

Even ol’ Mike Damone from Fast Times At Ridgemont High couldn’t scalp tickets to this show.  I saw this ad in the paper and it made me chuckle—yes, kids, there’s no concert, but plenty of good seats are apparently still available starting at $25!

Monday, January 12, 2009

May the farce be with you!

After football yesterday, I kicked back and watched back-to-back-to-back Star Wars flicks (the original trilogy) on SpikeTV.  It occurs to me that in this day and age of virtually no creativity in Hollywood, it's only a matter of time before Hollywood assualts us with the inevitable Star Wars remakes with today's generation of actors.  So I played casting director and came up with the "new generation" of Jedi lore:

Luke Skywalker...Leonardo DiCaprio
Darth Vader...Gene Simmons
Han Solo...Ted Danson
Princess Leia...Kate Winslet (or Peri Gilpin)
Obi-Wan Kenobi...Sean Connery
C-3PO...David Hyde-Pierce
R2-D2...Himself (Hey, if he ain't broke, don't fix him, I say!)
Chewbacca the Wookiee...Shaquille O'Neal
Yoda...Verne Troyer (aka, Mini-Me)
Lando Calrissian...Denzel Washington
Boba Fett...Bono
Jabba The Hut...Sally Struthers (or Star Jones)
Governor Tarkin...Patrick Stewart
Emperor Palpatine...Gary Oldman
Ewoks...Danny DeVito/Rhea Perlman, et al
Wedge Antilles...Adam Sandler

Other suggestions/changes are quite welcome, so feel free to whip out your light sabre and wail away!

May the Force be with us, always...
Cecil B. DeHolland :)