Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A to Z Challenge:Warren Zevon

My blog is a little late today. I ended up being stuck at work due to the wild weather down here! My car was almost flooded, ended up getting drenched and worked 25 hours in a 28 hour span. So I picked Warren Zevon to finish out my blog challenge.

This one sounds appropriate..

A theme for my crazy life...

This one was re-recorded and became a hit..

This song is so true..

This might be the happiest song he wrote..

Happy blogging, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Neil Young

Neil Young can twist into country, tell a comfortable tale in a folk song or just simply rock the house down. Let's wander through his musical career in songs.

Let's start off with this iconic song from Buffalo Springfield...

Here is Neil Young with Crosby, Stills and Nash performing "Down By the River"

Here is a classic tune "Old Man" performed by Neil alone...

I can;t forget Crazy Horse, here Neil Young and Crazy Horse blow through "Like A Hurricane"

A more recent version of "Cinnamon Girl"..

This is what today's post was all about..."A Journey through the Past"..

Stay tuned and "Keep on Rocking"..

A to Z Challenge: X all about it!

X is the 24th letter of the alphabet!

Sesame Street to help us out..

X is the third least common letter in the alphabet, so if you are struggling with this letter for the challenge you now know why.

X is also used for an independent variable in math. Also an axis.

Apparently a lot of people want you to sign by the X. I have also heard X marks the spot. Whatever the case might be this is my blog post on the letter X. I will be back soon with a new post.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A to Z: Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap is the only National Park devoted to the performing arts. In the summer months Wolf Trap's Filene Center outside amphitheater hosts some of the biggest names in music, theater, and opera. It also hosts some special events. Special Theatre-in-the-Woods. In the Fall, Winter, Spring fans can catch more intimate shows at Wolf Trap's Barns.

Robert Plant performing at Wolf Trap last year..

You can read my review of that show here.

My daughter ready for a show..

I've been lucky to catch folk performers such as Judy Collins, Country stars like Alan Jackson, symphonies, plays, the blues such as Buddy Guy, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker, classic rockers like Joe Walsh, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Joe Walsh. Jazz like Diana Krall. Wolf Trap really is where the arts come out to play.

You can see who is playing at Wolf Trap this year at their site.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Van Halen

Since today is V day on the challenge I thought I would celebrate the music of Van Halen.

The first song to get me on the Van Halen bandwagon was "Jump"

This one has special meaning from my high school days..

Then there was the Sammy Hagar years with Van Halen...

Then was the other singer..

Gary Cherone isn't a bad singer. He just wasn't David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. It just wasn't a good fit.

The band eventually went full circle back to Roth..

Now fans wait for what is next with Van Halen..

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Usain Bolt

Who has won eight World Championships? Who has won six Olympic Gold Medals? Who holds three World Records? Jamaica's Usain Bolt is the answer to all three questions.

You can see him set a World Record below:

Apparently he is no Cheetah..

However being the fastest man in the world is still something!
You can learn more about him at his website.

Thanks for stopping in! I'll be back soon...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Ticketmaster

I have been lucky, spoiled of late getting to see so many shows for free. Then I have been able to find some good deals and get to see some shows pretty darn cheap. Then sometimes there are shows you want to go to and have to buy tickets. Which, I am fine with purchasing tickets. I am not fine with ticketmaster.

The reason I was buying tickets online and in advance of an event was the event was out of town. The event was also offering reduced prices for ordering tickets in advanced. Well when I ordered my tickets online ticketmaster added their fees which wiped out the discount.

I think there was a 50 cent difference from purchasing my tickets at the door than in advanced. Which I am not against a company making money. However, $15 dollars for them to email me a ticket I have to print out myself is a bit insane!

I know it has been going along for a long time. However, for music fans it isn't good. Especially with the rising costs of concerts. Add that to a less than great economy and you wonder why the music industry is suffering? I'm off my rambling soapbox.

I know it is going to be a great show and a fun time. I was able to get my tickets quick and easy as well. I will give ticketmaster props for that. Their website has always been easy to navigate as well. Just wish they would cut the fans some slack!

Well I will be back with a new blog. Will I have a new soapbox? Stay tuned while I think of something new..

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Sevendust

The song above is "Decay" by Sevendust. I picked them because I had the chance to interview guitarist John Connolly from the group which you can read here.

The band has released 10 albums. One of their career highlights has to be playing Woodstock 99 below is a clip from that show..

I blogged about them last year when I did the interview so I am trying to add some different videos and hit on some different aspects of the band. Below is a clip of the band in their home town of Atlanta.

If you like what you see and hear you can find tour dates and order their albums at their website. The band's latest album is an acoustic effort and here is a clip from their latest tour earlier this month...

I hope you enjoyed and thanks for dropping in! The challenge will continue tomorrow...

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z Challenge: R.I.P Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter died today at the age of 76 he was battling prostate cancer. The name might not ring a bell to some. Rubin Carter was a boxer in the 1960s. He was a contender compiling a record of 27-12-1.

Bob Dylan summed him up in this song performed by Ani DiFranco..(sorry couldn't find A dylan version not muted or messed up)

Here is Rubin in action against Emile Griffith...

Rubin Carter was convicted twice for multiple murders he did not commit. The conviction ended his boxing career. His 19 years in prison. A movie was made about his life and here is the trailer...

Here is a speech he gave some years after his release....

He lost a career, he lost many years of his freedom, and somehow turned into a better person through it. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Queens of the Stone Age

I discovered the Queens of the Stone Age through Them Crooked Vultures a supergroup featuring Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, and Josh Homme. Homme was from Queens of the Stone Age.

The band consists of founder, lead vocalists, guitar and piano player Josh Homme, John Theodore on drums, Michael Shuman on bass, guitar and keyboards. The band also includes Dean Fertita on guitar, percussion, and keyboards along with  Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, lap steel guitar and percussion.

The band has received six Grammy nominations and released six albums since their debut in 1998.

Well this is my post for the letter Q for the A to Z: Challenge. The challenge will continue on Monday. Stay tuned for more....

Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z Challenge: National Poetry Month

Poetry is where my writing really began. I have gone back to it writing more. Perhaps full circle but it is different now. Plus I still explore other writing avenues. Anyway this month is National Poetry Month and I haven't embraced it.

The last poem I read...

I haven't shared someone elses work in a while. The last poem I read was by Bill Williams III on Yahoo! Voices  it is called "Friday at the Office." I enjoyed it and thought Bill caught the balancing act between work and family perfectly. I know I struggle with that balancing act!

Poems for Easter:


Easter treasures and lost meanings My mind finds the same theme on this one as the about Easter one.

The empty tomb  I really liked this one.

Celebrating the return

Senryu about Easter

Senryu about Passover

I tend to write more Senryu and haikus. Short, flowing like this post. I will be back on Saturday with a new post for the challenge. In the meantime I might write a poem or two to celebrate the Poetry month.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Old like The Old Man and the Sea

I may not be as old as the old man in the book The Old Man and the Sea. I am not even as old as the Pulitzer Award winning book by Ernest Hemingway. I am just growing gray. The book was cited when Hemingway won his Nobel Prize for Literature. I am writing about my second Nobel Prize award winning author so far this week so perhaps I am a bit better read than I thought.

Original book cover

The Old Man and the Sea is one of my favorite books a novella actually. Hemingway is one of my favorite authors I have read most of his works if not all. I like the nautical or tropical adventures from Steinbeck, Benchley, Jimmy Buffett and Bob Morris which I a sure I have written about before.

I like fishing, I like the quest and adventure. I enjoy a great story set in a place I can visit in a daydream. I also like a book or story that grabs me and takes me for the ride. Hemingway delivers for me in this book.

Above is the movie trailer which I haven't seen. I wonder if the movie is as good as my imagination when I read the book?

Well today was a short visit with The Old Man...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Nirvana

Recently Nirvana was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sadly their lead singer Kurt Cobain killed himself to join "the 27 Club."

Unlike the kid who said "Kurt Cobain made the band" time has certainly been good to fellow Nirvana band mate Dave Grohl who has had tremendous success with The Foo Fighters and recently sames to have a midas touch in Rock.

I do like the way how Nirvana has regrouped recently with singers who are vastly different from Cobain so there is no comparison or competition with the late singer.

Like when they regrouped with Paul McCartney..

No one is going to compare Paul McCartney and Curt Cobain they contrast so much in generation, style, and music. At the Hall of Fame they let the girls sing..

Or Lorde..

Bringing new textures and connecting the band with their former generation and today's generation.
I was always partial to Nirvana being interpreted by other artists like Tori Amos..

but this is in tribute to..

Well I hope you enjoyed your visit come back tomorrow as the challenge continues with an O!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Malcolm Young and AC/DC

You may have heard rumors about AC/DC calling it a career. Dig a little deeper and you can discover why. Malcolm Young a co-founder of the band, a co-songwriter, a co-producer, and rhythm guitarist for this hard rocking band has had serious health issues of late. Reportedly he has suffered a stroke and has a blood clot in his brain. Reportedly he is unable to play lie he needs to for AC/DC to continue.

AC/DC and Queen are the "real rock bands" that I was drawn towards as a young kid. This is probably the song that hooked me...

Here is a tribute to Malcolm some fan made..

Here is a more recent song...

We hope he recovers. Hopefully he will be able to live and life will go on. Music is secondary sometimes. If this is the end for AC/DC thank you for the riffs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd played Wanee this weekend. I caught them a couple weeks ago at a small festival in Pensacola called the Beaulah Festival. Samed like a good place to catch them six hours from their hometime of Jacksonville and just five miles or so from "Sweet Home Alabama."

There is a small promo for the fest. Here the band performs at Wanee..

Sure guitarist Gary Rossington is the only pre-crash original left in the band. However, the band carries out the spirit of the original band full of that guitar heavy, southern rock that sure does sound good around here.

The last time I saw the band was in Pittsburgh here is "Simple Man" from that show...

Starting your Monday with some southern fried rock and continuing on with the A to Z: Challenge.
Stay tuned as I will think of something to blog about for M.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

R.I.P Jesse Winchester

Bill Flanagan might have said it best about Jesse Winchester in the linear notes of the 2011 tribute album "I don't know anyone who dislikes Jesse Winchester's music. It seems to me there are only those who love it and those who have never heard it."

I sadly fell into the camp of not knowing him. I had the heard his name. More than likely I had heard his songs covered by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Elvis Costello, Reba McEntire and more.

above he is with Jimmy Buffett below he is with Elvis Costello, Neko Case, ..

I found out about his death through Bonnie Raitt posting this video...

He is a talent that will be greatly missed. Perhaps his songs will be past on to future generations and he will leave behind a musical legacy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z Challenge: King of the Blues and a look at how it is Hard to Be King: B.B. King's Recent Struggles

B.B. King is a living legend. A rock and roll hall of fame member, a blues hall of fame member, Kennedy Center Honoree, awarded a National Medal of Honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, 17 Grammy Awards, and he even has a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker. An impressive resume that holds up well against anyone.

Recording with U2 also helped to spread B.B, King's popularity beyond blues...

Eric Clapton helped B.B. King's career grow as well...

Of course B.B. King became  King due to his own music..

Over the years I was fortunate to see B.B. King perform life several times in venues like Wolf Trap and Constitution Hall. I even got to see him perform with John Hiatt, Jeff Beck, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

I always thought he was a brilliant storyteller. Now at 88 some of his shows have been getting less than glowing reviews. Age and ailments taking bigger tolls. When I saw him I saw how he would sit more during the show. Now reports of lost lyrics, lost musical places, and his guitar playing reduced to brief moments of brilliance. I would take a brief moment of brilliance on Lucille anyday.

This is a review from his performance last Friday from Saint Louis that was a buzz last week. This story reports of more. Sad reports to hear about this musical icon and sad reports to hear about  the blues.

Hopefully it was just a bad show. Hopefully he has a little bit more left in him. Maybe he just needs a little help. However, age is a tough thing to over come.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Japanese Literature Thousand Cranes

I have admitted several times that I am a manic reader. Sometimes I will read a half a dozen books in month other times it may be six months before I read a book. I am not a book worm. I am in insecure reader. Not in the sense that I can't read. More in the fact I never feel like I am "well read." Maybe it is all those lists. Maybe I know too many writers and English majors. The fact is I am pretty well read since most of what I read that is non-fiction is considered a classic buy someone.

That feeling of not being "well read" kind of leaves me with a chip on my shoulder and it makes me open to explore and read something out of my comfort level. That is why I picked up a yellowed copy of Nobel Prize winning Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes. Why not? It is a classic. It's different and probably not o one of those lists. Plus it gave me an excuse from staying in my Western literature comfort zone.


The book wasn't one I couldn't put down. The story did have several plot twists. It shared the traditions of the tea ceremony. One could see the tradition decay and fall apart. Kind of like the love and some of the characters in the novel. If you have read it feel free to leave your thoughts?

I'm glad I read it. The book was written in another generation from me published in 1952. It was also written across the globe from me in Japan. A book from another time and culture. I really enjoyed the authors twists. Not a review and not spoiling the book just my thought on reading some Japanese literature.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Isaac Washington Pour Me A Drink

   Throw back Thursday appears to be the trend on Facebook. Today I am travelling down television               memory lane. Join me and come aboard the Love Boat....

One of my favorite characters on the show was Isaac Washington played by Ted Lange.

Ted Lange Isaac Washington The Love Boat 1977.JPGSomedays, alright most days wouldn't you want to buy what the show selling. Go off on a cruise with your lover, wife, or find a new romance. Go sail off to a new destination somewhere close to paradise. All topped off by a tropical boat drink created by your bartender Isaac Washington aboard The Love Boat!

Thanks for the break, I will be back with a new post after rewinds of The Love Boat and my imagination collide in my dream world.

A to Z Callenge: Huskies Hoops Champs Times Two

One University, two teams, two championships, is the story of University of Connecticut Huskies basketball   in 2013-14. The paths to the championships were as different as night and day. I am talking about the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Champion UConn Huskies and the 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Champion UConn Huskies.

The men came in as a seventh seed, however the Huskies have an established history of success with three National Championships in their school history. They started out the tournament by defeating Saint Joseph's before knocking out seconded seated Villanova.

Marching forward UConn eliminated third seeded Iowa State and fourth seeded Michigan State to advance to the Final Four. Then the Huskies beat the top ranked Florida Gators by 10 points to move on to the Championship.

Then the Huskies defeated  the talented upstart Kentucky Wildcats who made it to the championship as an 8th seed.

The Woman

The UConn Huskies came into the tournament undefeated and as a number one seed. They destroyed Prairie View A&M in the opening round 87-44. Next they crushed Saint Joseph's 91-52. They won their first two games by 43 and 39 points.

Next they beat BYU 70-51 and Texas A&M 69-54 to advance to the Final Four.

They rolled by Stanford 75-56 to reach the finals. Then in the finals they dominated their rivals Notre Dame who had been undefeated 79-58.

I love the way these ladies play and I love how UConn and Notre Dame took care of business to reach the finals.

Congrats to both teams!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Gunther Gebel-Williams

When I was child the most important part of the circus was the animal acts. Back in the 70s I remember Gunther Gebel-Williams performing with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I'm sure at some point in my childhood I even dreamed to become like him. I had the blonde hair which unfortunately has turned quite gray since seeing him.  Sadly my body never developed into his muscular physique. The big cats he used to train would probably look at me as a snack instead of trainer so I never followed in his footsteps...

He performed in a time before the explosion of social media. Yet he made a name for himself through his performances in the circle and by appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Ed Sullivan Show.

However, recently my daughter and I had the opportunity to handle a White Tiger perhaps a bit of Gunther rubbed off on me after all..


Sadly at the age of 66 on July 19, 2001 Gunther Gebel-Williams passed away due to a brain tumor but he did leave us with long lasting memories.

Monday, April 7, 2014

R.I.P Mickey Rooney

Just living to 90 would be an achievement for most people. Having a career lasting 80 to 90 years is hard to believe. Mickey Rooney died Sunday at the age of 93 living into his 90s and having a80- 90 year career.

. Here he discusses one of his movies with some other actors, Billy Crystal conducting the interview..

Here is the trailer for "The Black Stallion"

A career lasting so long included film, stage and television. He won two Golden Globes and an Emmy Award. Honored by the Academy Awards twice and numerous nominations. Perhaps being honored three times by the Hollywood Walk of Fame sums up the variety of his work. He was honored for radio, television and Motion pictures.

What were your favorite Mickey Rooney shows? Memories?

He lived a long live may he rest in peace. 

A to Z Challenge: Fairs and rain

I knew the rain was going to come. It was never a question of if it was going to rain but when it would come. My little girl knew a fair  was in the area and she really wanted to go. She opened up the door and saw the rain was holding off. While my tired bones were trying to sneak in some extra rest her methods were more convincing. Methods that might lead me to need traction.

 Finding the county fairgrounds was a bit of adventure since I went Old School to find it without modern navigational tools. I did end up giving a stranger a ride and it did provide more time for Daddy and daughter to connect.

The first exhibit, a kids farming  activity captivated my daughter with hands on activities. Planting seeds, digging potatoes, gathering eggs, milking cows and being buried in corn. The eggs and cow weren't real but the fun was very real. This simple activity was probably the most enjoyable ne for my daughter.

She was able to feed some horses and pet some ponies before we caught a wolf show. Next we made are way to the rides.

Per her request we did this super shake ride. Then we rode probably the scariest ride at the fair. I knew it was scary I rode it with her friend's dad last summer. But I think the pride of being tall enough to ride the ride got the best of her. She was trembling when she got in the ride. Honestly it was too much for her. Locked in the cage of the machine there was no way out.

She did well. When it started to really scare her I put my arm around her told her it would be alright. Sure she was scared as we tumbled upside down together she told me it was going to make her throw up! Thankfully, she did not vomit. We made it off the ride alive! The ride operator mentioned she conquered the scariest ride. However, she wasn't ready for a second try. I talked to her and she felt accomplished by the time the day was done which made it woth with. Then again a probably should have put my foot down and said no. I guess you could have said it was a coin flip kind of decision. However, the self-confidence and accomplishment she got out of i made it the right decision.

We did the other rides. Then we took in a dirt bike trick show. Real daredevils showing off on big jumps.
Then she played some games, had a pony ride, and went to the petting zoo. This in when the skies opened up. We tried a few more rides without much luck and decided to call it a day.

We both were happy for the time spent together. She had fun! She even fell a sleep on the ride home.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Excitement

Excitement is a thing a lot of us crave. Perhaps for some reason that excitement is lacking in our lives.

Don't believe we have a need for excitement. Look how many adventure movies and tv shows have been created. Look at amusement parks, carnival rides, and look at the lines!

Adventure sports still can almost be called a rage. Sometimes folks can read about the adventures they crave in a book.

Look at how people buy sports cars, 4X4's, sportsbikes, and ATVs. No they aren't going to race in the Indy 500, they aren't exploring a wild safari, or racing in an exotic endurance race. No these are the wheels of soccer moms and couch potatoes.

Excitement it is a need.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A to Z Challenge: DeSean Jackson

Today's post in the challenge is D for DeSean. DeSean Jackson was released from the Philadelphia Eagles in the midst of rumors and reports. A article. Rumors came out that he fell a sleep in team meetings and wasn't easy to get along with coaching staff and teammates.

Football is a business and the Philadelphia Eagles may have wanted to reduce costs, the Eagles may have grown tired for his demands for more money, and I am sure the Eagles would have prefered to have trade them.

The Coach Chip Kelly recently said he had no problem with DeSean Jackson so I would say that puts in doubt the rumors of him not getting along with coaches. If he fell a sleep in a meeting I am sure that was dealt with.

Questioning his work ethic is hard to do when you look at his production. DeSean Jackson is a three time Pro-Bowl receiver. He is a proven playmaker. Last season he caught 82 passes for 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns. He has had 1000 plus yard seasons three times in his six year career. In addition off the field he hasn't had any incidents. He runs a charitable foundation. Both of them should speak volumes about his character instead of rumors.

The Redskins were willing to take a risk by signing him to a three year deal for 24 million dollars and two of those years guaranteed. I heard some random talking head say they would only sign DeSean to a one year deal so Jackson could prove himself. The Redskins took the risk and signed him. Washington improves their team which is important since they didn't have a first round pick.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A to Z: Challenge: California Breed

You might not have heard about California Breed. They are a brand new power trio in the rock world. Collectively the group can be linked to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Country Communion. I'm ready to hear their debut being released in the United States on May 20, 2014. I mean I haven't been this excited for a new band's debut since Black Country Communion's first release.California Breed consists of Jason  Bonham, Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt.

The beginning:

Jason Bonham and Glenn Hughes made up the rhythm section of the supergroup Black Country Communion. Mr. Hughes adding his legendary vocals with his energetic stage presence easily could be considered a frontman in the band.

BCC had more ingredients including blues guitar maestro Joe Bonamassa and keyboard master Derek Sherinian.

Then they split up and out of the ashes came California Breed. Though in honesty, BCC didn't go down in flames. Probably the reason falls more on logistics and conflicting music projects.

Older Past:

Glenn Hughes first made his mark in the music world with bands like Finders Keepers and Trapeze. His status took a legendary leap as a member of Deep Purple. A successful run with Black Country Communion brought Glenn Hughes into the now. Now California Breed is set to put him into the future..

Jason Bonham has the bloodline being Led Zeppelin's John Bonham. He has cut his teeth on rock and roll. He has recorded with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. The first time I saw him play live was in 1988 with Jimmy Page on The Outrider Tour...

He played in his own band and  Bonham in the 80's. Did some Zeppelin tribute tours. He played as a member in Led Zeppelin in a couple of one off reunions including The Celebration Concert at the O2.

He even honored Led Zeppelin with Heart at The Kennedy Center..

The New

Andrew Watt at 23 represents a new generation of guitar heros playing with the established Hughes and Bonham.

The Future coming 5.20.14..

California Breed coming soon!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Baseball is Back

Baseball is back! Spring training is over and the boys of summer are back on the field. The goal  is to end up being World Champions in Autumn.

Here is a flashback from Ozzie Smith and how at 40 he took the field for opening day..

Here is a story I wrote for Yahoo Sports about my experience at opening day in Philadelphia in 2011. Below is a picture from that game.

A bad break on opening day, Don Baylor breaks leg on a ceremonial first pitch..

Baseball is along season and provides so much to write about. Heck, I even wrote an article about Ten Great Baseball Songs. You can read my list here and listen to one of the songs below..

How will the season go? Who will emerge as all-stars? Who will make the playoffs? Who will win pennants? What surprises will the season have?

Fantasy Baseball Today suggested these opening day storylines..

I don't know the answers. However, I might make it to a ballpark, college, minors, or major leagues and catch a game. I might have a hotdog, a cold beverage and just might enjoy a game.