Sunday, April 29, 2007

One of my all time favorite bass players

This is a clip of a solo by Billy Sheehan when touring with Mr. Big. Previous gigs include Talas and the David Lee Roth band with Steve Vai. Billy can also be heard with Niacin, which is a very different jazz group. He's with Dennis Chambers and a keyboard player who's name I can't remember. Its good stuff. Check it out; its not very much like this!

Terry Bozzio and Chad Wackermann

Here's something a little different for ya. Terry Bozzio played with Frank Zappa at age 18, and was in Missing Persons in the '80's. He's one of the best drummers you never heard of. Chad Wackermann's bio also reads like a who's who. Copied from his website: "He has also recorded 6 albums and toured with guitar legend Allan Holdsworth, played on the 'One Voice' album and video with Barbra Streisand, and recorded albums and toured with artists as diverse as Steve Vai, Andy Summers, Men At Work, Ed Mann, Albert Lee, Colin Hay, Dweezil Zappa and Tom Grant.

Chad has also toured with James Taylor, John Patitucci , Joe Sample, Banned From Utopia and The World Drummers Ensemble (Bill Bruford, Luis Conte, Dou Dou Ndiaye Rose and Chad Wackerman) and most recently toured the USA with another ex Zappa drummer - Terry Bozzio.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What's so hard about making a good show?

I'm flabbergasted at how quickly shows come and go on TV these days. Smith, which had a ginormous push before it went to air, only lasted something like five episodes. It had Ray Liota in it, and a pretty interesting story line. Its gone. There have been shows that were on and off TV so fast that I never saw them. Its amazing. It probably also explains why there's so much junk on TV. Ya can't spend that much money on a show and not have it hit, which explains the continual march of new reality shows (which are nothing of the sort) that get run out every time its the season for new shows.

I miss some programs that should have lasted and didn't. The problem is, in some cases, that the producers of said shows are too PC to take any criticism, even if the show was a great big fat hit. Case in point: Combat Missions. The only "reality" show I ever watched, and I never missed an episode. I watched the re-runs. If it was on, I was in front of the TV for it. The premise was to get martial professionals from several different jobs and have them compete. There were Special Forces, SeALs, Marine Force Recon, big city SWAT dudes, and even a guy from the CIA's Operations Directorate. They had tactical problems to solve, were given time to formulate a plan, and then the teams would execute the plan. At the time, it was a great big fat hit for USA Networks, and the producer of Slurvivor, Mark What'sisface. However, since 9/11, ol' Mark seems to think that nobody wants to see this kind of stuff. Oh, how wrong you are, Mark. It could be the feel good story hit of the year; hell, the decade. But he's afraid to do it again, and instead we're stuck with Dancing with the Has-Beens, and American Idle, and controversies about Mangina's (or whatever his name is) hair.

I was thinking recently about some of my favorite shows that aren't with us anymore. Sadly, there aren't that many that were just great and didn't catch on. There were a few:
The first season of Soldier of Fortune, Inc. That show was great. Actual weapons handling, actual tactics used, strong characters for the most part, and decent story lines. What it lacked was a sizable enough budget to pull it off as it shoulda been. It couldn't find an audience because of its weird time slots, and they screwed it all up in the second season. The concept was awesome, though. Even in the second season, with Dennis Rodman on the show, I never missed one. Firefly was obviously ahead of its time, and there are still a heck of a lot of viewers out there that want it back. That the movie ever got made speaks volumes regarding its popularity.

There is no new Miami Vice. There is no new Tour of Duty. There is no new SWAT, although they made a mildly entertaining movie loosely based on the characters from the series. I guess the bottom line is that its just to expensive to give the people what they want. By all means, lets run another cheap piece of crap "reality" show out there. Who cares if nobody is watching Big Brother. Its cheap. We'll keep making them.

Is this just a conspiracy to keep action off of TV?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What would happen if Carrie Underwood really did

Carrie Underwood has this real catchy tune out called "before he cheats". I kinda like the song; the hook is strong and her performance on that track is very solid, and emotionally powerful. The thing is, and this is what drives the people that work with me a little nutty, is that I pay attention to lyrics. In "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree", by KT Tunstall, I was the one who realized that the horse was the one who was doing the proposing, which freaked out my coworkers and caused them to dislike what we've come to call "the woo-hoo song". Besides how goofy the lyrics are, hearing it five times a day, 40 + hours a week is too much anyway.

So, when Officer Timmy came over to the shop today, I asked him what Carrie would be looking at for charges if she were to do what was claimed in the chorus. So you don't have to go look it up, being the kind and benevolent dictator of this blog that I am, I'm going to quote it for you:

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats...
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Turns out that in Kentucky, that's called Felony Criminal Mischief. OT said that's what's typically charged when stuff like vandalism of more than a thousand dollars is involved. What you're looking at is five years in Federal Pound You in the Ass Prison. Typically, what happens is the charge will get plead down, and would normally end up with a couple years probation, and she'd have to either pay the deductible and and difference in the coverage to get the truck repaired, or she'd have to go out of pocket for the whole thing. If she fought it and lost, she'd be looking at max penalties, because her response was so far out of proportion to what he did to her.

I'm not in any way advocating cheating on your significant other. Doing that makes you pretty much a dirtbag, and there's no two ways about it, whether you cheat on her, or she cheats on you. If you're gonna cheat on 'em, just man up and break up with the chick. Sure its difficult, but it beats having to deal with a bunny boiler. I know some dudes on the Intarweb-not to name Wild Mustang's name, though-that have been there. Its endlessly entertaining for us, but its unnecessarily...griefy for you, and her.

Still, we all know what really happened in the story that the song presents: she goes to jail overnight (at least; that's assuming somebody makes bail for her) he knows she's gone for at least the night, and he ends up doing the horizontal mambo with her best friend and her other best friend, while her other best friend mans the video camera. We all know Carrie's best friend in this scenario is a hose beast who couldn't be trusted to stay out of anybody's pants. I'm sure she's a bleached blonde, too. We know how they are.

Leave the truck alone and just leave. How hard is that?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Non News Non Stories are abound tonight

OK, so its not exactly the hottest of the non-news regarding the VT shooter, but this story is the just about the height of the idiocy. Talk about trying to make something out of nothing. I suppose that blame must be laid somewhere other than with the dirtbag loser geek that committed the crime.

Wow, ten round magazines for his Walther P22. That's preposterous! Those are only for killing people. They have no sporting purpose whatsoever! They can carry those hollow point cop killer bullets, too! I gotta get me some rolly-eye emoticons if I'm gonna keep writing that sort of stuff. I guess I just wanted to stay in the same theme as the major papers have.

The only problem is, those magazines (at least the Chic Trib didn't call 'em "clips" for a change) are legal just about everywhere, including California. They're against EBay's policy, too, which is retarded...but that will have to wait as its a separate topic of its own. Bottom line is, this is a non-story.

The news is clearly looking everywhere other than where the blame truly lies. By omission, they're blaming both the EBay seller and EBay themselves. They're blaming his upbringing. They're blaming his personality; his taciturnity. Don't worry about not knowing that word, I had to go look it up, too. It means quietness, introversion. More specifically, it means being taciturn to the point of being a jerk; only volunteering the bare minimum of information (which will usually have to be pried out of the subject through repeated questioning) and being difficult to communicate with.

I'm somewhat of an introvert. I don't have much trouble talking to people I don't know, but I don't go looking for people to meet, either. Even so, one must learn to have at least a little bit of socialization skills to get by in the world anymore. I mean, this kid went from a country where family communication is paramount, and then went to a huge university. How can ya not at least come out of the shell a little bit? I'll call it like I see it: he's a jerk.

Here's the bottom line here: Dude was an ass. He did this. It all ends with him. Its all on his shoulders. The students there apparently made it easy for him, but its still all on him. Let's quit trying to blame everyone and everything else and put that blame where it belongs.

One last point, since I probably won't be on this subject again unless I get disgustipated and post about that. One of my friends, who's an SF Weapons Sergeant, made a good point yesterday. If I saw this skinny little twit come into a classroom, line everyone up and then shooting that first person, I'd have reacted like my bro. His comment was "...I'd be thinkin' 'what have I got to loose?' and get up and throw a fist at that punk" he then went on to pantomime pummeling him with fists and then giving him the boots and a good monkey stomping. Some of these kids at VT talked about "waiting to die, I guess". I can't even fathom that kind of thinking. I have a gun with me most days. It would be pretty clear that this guy had no training. The body count was so high not because he was so skilled, but because so many allowed it to happen. Unbelievable.

Maybe this will cause people to take their own safety seriously. Wow! You could get expelled for having the tools to defend yourself? Yeah, that sure pales in comparison to getting dead. I'm sure VT is the only school to go to, as well. Am I advocating the ignoring of school policy? Not as much as I am advocating being thoughtful about your own well being. I'd rather there would have been one guy there who chose to ignore policy and save the lives of a couple dozen people, including himself. Or herself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Where Hollywood is blowing it

Hollywood, as we all seem to know, is somewhat out of touch with America. Both TV and film hardly ever get it right. The thing that kills me, though, is that its so clear what they should be doing that I can't believe they haven't latched on to it. They even employ professionals to assist with making movies, and they don't bother to ask "hey, what do ya think?" They'd get the right answer for free, and they can't even grasp it. New words can be coined: dufusism, doltocracy, moronicality quotient.

Over There could have been a big hit show. It had the production value, semi-interesting characters, and current story lines...sort of. The Unit may or may not be picked up for another season, but there are some other reasons for that besides half the story lines. At any rate, it got picked up for a second season, where Over There didn't.

Why is that? There's a fundemental difference between these to shows. OT showed soldiers in bad places, doing bad things, and making questionable moral decisions. In other words, they didn't paint soldiers in a particularly good light. The Unit may not be picked up long term, but I believe one of the main reasons the show got a full season purchase is that it depicts America's top warriors doing great things as American soldiers. The holes in the show are aggravating and don't have to be there, but that's a production problem that's a little outside the scope of this missive.

If Hollywood wanted to find another huge hit, they need to do two things: first, realize what is so great about "300": honor, integrity, self sacrifice, and the warrior spirit, among other great qualities. People connect with those ideals. They understand being part of something bigger than themselves. Secondly, they need to understand that America is ripe for a new "war" movie, but one with a different focus. We're ready for a film that paints American soldiers in a positive light, and shows the great heroism and power of the American fighting man. I even have just the story for them.

ODA 555, The Triple Nickle. Everyone on that team that I've met has been a great guy; they're all stand up dudes. Funny, professional, serious. The Triple Nickle was the first ODA into Afghanistan after 9/11. It was the Triple Nickle, with CIA team Jawbreaker, that finally broke the Northern Alliance free and pushed the Taliban out of power. Who wouldn't want to see a big budget action movie about that piece of history? How awesome would that be? Completely mind blowing, is how that'd be! And they wouldn't have to write up some goofy improbable story, like the hokey love story angle that ruined Pearl Harbor. All they have to do is relay what really happened. America would love it. Of course, the same Islamic whackos that set fire to things over comics and protested "300" so vigorously would hate it, which is as good a reason as we need.

My job puts me in contact with America's heroes every day. I have come to know and love them. They're amazing people. John Wayne said about Special Forces in Viet Nam "Somebody needs to tell their story". That time has come again. These men deserve it, and America needs to at least have an idea of what they did. These heroes deserve a proper treatment with no crap added in. And it'll make billions.

Tough going in these parts

Having just watched the very good Casino Royale, I decided that Daniel Craig as Bond has some definate Piratical qualities. If we could get him away from Martini's, we might find even more of the Pirate Soul in that character. What he really needs is the Sonny Crockett of the Miami Vice movie pirate-ness; i.e. an affinity for rum.

Of course, I'm dying to see POTC: The End of the World, which comes out soon. I'm definitely feeling the Inner Pirate these days, after spending the first weekend in April in Vegas (see some of the fun that ensued in the previous post here). Most of the Monday that wasn't spent in bed was spent poolside in a cabana at The Molded Nugget...I mean...the Golden Oldie...I mean...the Golden Crunchlet. Its that one place downtown. They spent a sizable sum of money renovating the place, and its not the dump I remember from a few years back. The pool is pretty slick. The best part of that pool, though, was the bottle of rum that is no longer with us, because of that facilitator named Coke. Coke tries to be all smooth and mild mannered. Coke is supposed to be the can you can take home to meet yer significant other's family with. That sick bastard is wearing an aluminum veneer, though. He's all about egging on the other bottles. Coke's just sitting in the fridge, acting like he's not doing anything wrong, and all of a sudden, the Captain Morgan's bottle is empty, and most of the Coke's gone, too. He's a sneaky little cheat, that guy. Don't let him tell you any different.

After having watched Casino Royale, and not particularly wanting to sit home all day-I did get a lot of work done around here, but still-I decided that I was in need of some rum. The problem is, the one really big spirits dealer I know if is an 1/8th of a tank of gas away, and at current prices on a Saturday evening, it didn't seem like a good bet. I went to the next biggest one, which happens to be up the street just a little bit. Turns out their selection of rum is pretty weak. I knew I didn't want Malibu, and it was kinda downhill from there. I ended up bringing home a bottle of The Captain, Spiced. If you don't know who the Captain is, you're probably too young to be reading my blog. Shoo.

I have also rediscovered juice of late, and have a particular fondness for Dole's strawberry, pineapple and tactical banana blend. Turns out it works nicely with about half a glass of the Cap'n, and the other half of the glass being Dole's. Over ice, because even though its been raining today, its somewhat warm, and I wanted a Caribbean vibe anyway.

Still, I feel sort of let down by what I found at the store. The prices weren't even that great. Normally, I'd hit up the Intarweb and have some stuff shipped to me, but because there are dry counties here, places won't ship to K-tucky. Poop. There are some rather exotic rums I want to get my hands well as some less exotic ones. Several have been recommended to me, the one most often so is Castillo. Supposedly better than the Cap'n, and about half the price. Good mixer, and probably better for that. Not as much a sipping rum; its very closely related to Bacardi. The Big B is a good mixer, but I find it harsh for sippin' purposes. But then, I'd rather shoot Jack than sip it, and it's allegedly *takes hat off and holds it over heart* Tennessee Sippin' Whiskey. I still like it, but others are smoother and more drinkable. That's important to me; proving how tough I am by imbibing has never been my way. Probably because I saw the Hero to Zero Effect so many times while working as a bouncer back in the day. I don't drink for effect anymore; those days are long gone. Even though I do have a whiskey story to go with my tehkillya story, I can still drink whiskey. I hardly ever touch Brother Cuervo's offerings. Ever. Been there, done that, got the bus driving license.

So I suppose the quest is on for more education in the rum arena. If you have any suggestions off the beaten path, I'd be interested in hearing them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Best Friends in the World

I have come to a conclusion: the best friends in the world are those with automatic weapons. I spent my weekend (April Fool's Day, oddly enough) with a bunch of people I had only "met" online, most of whom I didn't know before getting to the range. Under normal circumstances, that might be troubling, but these guys are Megaforce. Trust them with your life, maybe your money, not your wife. Well, even the wife is safe with these folks.

What started as a simple PM to one of the moderators on the forum I administrate turned into a get together of Las Vegas Lightfighters (known both coloquially and warmly as LF'ers) and all their toys. My friends have the best toys.

Present at the shoot were:
  • A civilian owned Knights Armament SR15 M4. I know; I didn't believe it till I saw it, either

  • LFT15 Carbine serial #1

  • Various M4's of the suppressed and unsuppressed varieties

  • A very cool .45 ACP MAC-10

  • A couple of Steyr AUG's, one in 9mm. That gun on full auto was FUN!

  • HK-53, knicknamed Black Sex after having shot her. Even more FUN than the AUG

  • An M60, MG42, RPD and an M1919 machine gun

There were more, such as an M1A with a Crane stock on it, a big fat pile of handguns, and enough ammo to make Sarah Brady cry. Twice. It was the bestest day in the world. There's video to prove it: