Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Thoughts

Well there is a really big sporting event this weekend and I'm not talking about the Super Bowl. No I'm talking about UFC 94 which has a main event of lightweight champ BJ Penn vs welterweight champ George St Pierre. In case you have no idea of what I'm talking about the UFC is the Ultimate Fighting Championships and is the premier mixed martial arts league in the states. Want more info than that? Try looking it up on the internet sluggo! Anyway, superfights routinely do not live up to the hype, it's just the nature of the beast and this one has been hyped up to maximum levels. However in this case I think it will live up to it. You have two athletes that when they are prepared and are on look unbeatable. On paper it appears to be a monstrous clash of champions and come tomorrow night we'll see if it transfers over to the actual fight. I'll go out on a limb and predict that BJ Penn will submit GSP in the 3rd round. As for some of the other fights, I see Lyoto Machida getting a decision over Thiago Silva, Nate Diaz submitting Clay Guida (Diaz always seems to find a way to win no matter what) and Jon Fitch over Akihiro Gono by TKO. Unfortunately I doubt I'll be able to watch the fights unless my dear beloved wife allows me to go visiting.

Upcoming concerts in Oklahoma:

1/31 Clinton - Ratt, Dokken and Warrant (too far away from me)

2/21 Red Rock - Flock of Seagulls (this is a maybe)

2/27 Newkirk - Rick Springfield & Mickey Thomas from Starship (doubtful)

3/20 OKC - Street Dogs - (definately will be going)

4/7 Tulsa - Bruce Springsteen (only if I work a lot of overtime for ticket money)

It's kind of strange that at this point of the year there haven't been many concerts announced for the next few uncoming months. Well, at least concerts I want to go to. Several places that do summer concerts haven't released any news for their schedules yet. Usually we already know who some of the first ones will be but so far no word. I will keep a diligant watch though.

I've heard rumors that Mexican rock group Mana ( will be coming to Dallas in June or July and I will be watching for news on this one as well. The wife wants to go in the worst way and since she's been so nice to let me go to concerts it's only right I reciprocate and take her to one she want's to see.
That's all for now folks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Street Dogs - Real Boston Punk Rock

Recently I’ve been feeling like listening to some good street punk music. I started looking for my copy of "Do Or Die!" by the Dropkick Murphys but couldn’t find it so I jumped on the internet and started looking around. To my surprise I found that the original singer Mike McColgan was now in a band called Street Dogs and that they had put out several cds. I decided to give them a try and immediately started enjoying their music as soon I heard the first song and I've even been able to turn a few people on to to them. It was a surprise because Mike had left Dropkick Murphys after they released their first cd. He had always wanted to be like his uncle and become a Boston firefighter and the band knew this in advance. His number came up and he walked away with no regrets and the DMs recruited Al Barr from The Bruisers. For me though it just wasn’t the same without Mike and I drifted away from their music although history has shown that the band has had great success. After a few years though the music bug bit McColgan again and he started playing with Johnny Rioux and eventually they formed the band Street Dogs. He now no longer is with the Boston Fire Department and is giving music his full attention.

While researching about the band I was able to read a short interview that Mike had done and he was asked about his military service. Like me he had served in the first Gulf War. I have always had a habit of downplaying my role in the military and the war since I never saw combat nor had to fire my weapon however I was in Saudi Arabia for over six months and it did end up costing me something personal. In the interview Mike talked about his role in general and how just being there changed people. He never stated if he had seen combat or had to fire his weapon or just what his role was but it didn’t matter to me. He spoke the truth about how life changing it was and that resonated deeply with me to the point that I quickly banged out some lyrics for a new song about my own experiences in the war. Now I’ve been writing lyrics with my best friend Tom for a while and have had a hand in most of the lyrics for his band in some form or another but I’m unsure if they will ever do anything with this one. My mind was definitely occupied with punk music when I wrote the lyrics and that’s how I see this one coming out once music is married to the words and the thing is that Tom’s band is not punk. I'm unsure if their sound is what i want for these particular lyrics. Time will tell of course just what will happen with the song so i'll just be patient.

On a side note I went to Street Dogs website ( and through their links have found several other bands whose music I like such as Everybody Out!, TAT, Against Me and Death and Taxes. Even better, Street Dogs will be playing in Oklahoma City on March 20th at the Conservatory which is only about an hour and a half away and it only costs 10 bucks to get in! The wife has already been alerted and given her approval so I’ll be there more than likely solo barring any weird circumstances that pop up in the meantime. I’m certain to be one of the oldest people there but that’s okay as long as the music is loud and good which I know it will be. Just don’t expect me to get into the pit, I’ll only end up hurting or even worse embarrassing myself. Many thanks to Street Dogs for their music and in particular Mike McColgan for providing the impetus to make me rethink my role in the war and (hopefully) write some good lyrics about it. Hope to see you guys at the show in March.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Have you ever felt like you were Stuck In The 80s?

If you’re like me and you like knowing anything and everything about the 80s, then head over to which is the wonderful, immortal, stupendous, memory provoking home of my favorite blog and podcast, Stuck In The 80s. There you will find all things 80s. Steve Spears is the mastermind of this most enjoyable blog and Sean Daly is his co-host (and dare I say muse) for their (mostly) weekly podcast. They cover your (okay their) favorite 80s movies, music, actors, musicians, hangers on and so forth through their intrepid use of trivia and overall personal knowledge. They’ll tell you about the stuff you remember, the stuff you think you remember and the stuff you managed to block out for one reason or another. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a podcast and heard them mention a song, musician or movie and had that little memory light bulb go off as I say out loud “Oh yeah” and then slip into flashback mode as I remember the lost treasures of my youth.
The podcast features the Mystery Movie Moment where you listen to a clip from an 80s movie and have to name the movie, as well as Name That 80s tune where you listen to a song clip from the 80s and you have to name the song and the artist. You used to be able to win fabulous gifts and prizes but now mostly you get to hear your name mentioned on the podcast, although they do keep threatening to send the winners autographed bags of Munchos. The podcast normally has the air of a great sausage hang but they do try to even it out with the occasional female guest host. Does this mean there are no male guest hosts? Don’t even dream it! While there are many great contributors both male and female I’ll go out on a limb and name Jeff in Cuba as my favorite so far. He’s got a ton of 80s knowledge, he’s in the military serving in Guantanamo Bay and he’s right because he’s Jeff In Cuba.
So head on over and hear Sean gripe about The Smiths, hear Steve get lost in thought as he thinks of The Vegas Girlfriend or hear both as they get Stuck In The 80s.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

AC/DC Tulsa Jan 26th, 2009 BOK Center

As it turned out the weather was not a factor tonight for AC/DC or their fans. While the weather was not great it seems like the worst of it missed the BOK Center and in all honesty the only way the show would not have gone on is if there had been a total blackout. Then again, with as much energy as the group and crowd provided that wouldn't have been much of a problem.

It was my first time seeing AC/DC in concert and I was not disapointed. One thing that stood out to me is how much Brian Johnson enjoys singing in front of a crowd. He put on a great show and showed that while the group might be getting up there in years they still have what it takes to perform at a high level.
All of the greatest hits were played as well as about 5 tracks off of their latest cd, Black Ice. While some might complain about so many new songs being played I salute the band for doing so. Far too many bands get stuck in the rut of playing perhaps one single new song and then all of their classic hits and at the expense of new music. Often songs can grow and change over a period of time but if they are never played live there is no chance for this growth. It also guarantees that very few fans will have a chance to connect with the new music.

In somewhat of an odd happening opening act The Answer only played for about 30 minutes however with some very good stage patter from singer Cormac Neeson and some blistering guitar work they managed to win over some new fans for themselves. It's too bad they didn't play longer but it was nice to seem them and hopefully bigger and better things are in store for them.

We'll see later today just how bad the weather will get but right now it doesn't matter one bit. I've managed to remove two bands that I wanted to see from my concert wish list and more importantly the number 1 band. It was a great concert and a joy to see it with my wife Connie and my best friend Tom and his wife Laura. It also brought some memories from back in the day when Tom, Laura and I would see concerts. Well worth the extremely expensive price if you ask me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

AC/DC tonight in Tulsa!

AC/DC is the number one band that I have never seen on my concert wish list however with some luck from the weather that will change tonight. They are scheduled to play at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa along with opening act The Answer in what promises to be an exciting and LOUD concert. I 've had my very over-priced tickets for months now. The weather is a little bad but by all appearances will get worse as the evening goes on. The big question is if it will rival the big ice storm from December 2007. That was a devastating storm that had the power out all over the city and parts of the state and personally at my house it was out for 6 days. It's unclear if the worst of the storm will miss us but if it doesn't hopefully nothing bad will happen until after the show. I know that sounds a bit trite but hey, I've been waiting a long time to see AC/DC and I'm almost as excited to see The Answer, a fine Irish rock band that has it's roots in 70s and 80s hard rock. The best case scenario is that the weather dunderheads get it wrong (again) and the storm is nowhere close to being as bad as they say it can be. We'll find out in a few hours either way. As for now it's time to get cleaned up and then off to the library. More on this later...................

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

The Stone Gods Rock!

Right now I’m rocking out here at work to the Stone Gods “Silver Spoons & Broken Bones” cd and I do mean rocking out! There are some killer riffs and hooks on this cd. In case you asking yourself just who this band is it’s basically The Darkness without singer Justin Hawkins who quit to form the strangely moniquered band Hot Legs. They don’t miss him and his falsetto a bit and have gone to a heavier and rougher sound that suites them quite well. The only negative thing I can say at this time is the over-indulgence in cursing but in my experience that does seem to be a given with youngish rock bands from the U.K. All in all it’s a fine debut album that I look forward to listening to in greater detail soon.


Last night I watched a very good movie that I checked out from the library called “Outsourced.” Todd Anderson manages a customer call center in Seattle and is told that his company is outsourcing all of their calls to India. They send him there to train his replacement and he struggles with the culture shock and feelings of betrayal until he takes some friendly advice and learns about India and stops trying to do things the American way. By doing so he learns a lot about himself and even finds some romance along the way. Everything about this movie was well done. My wife thought this would be a full on “Bollywood” movie and was disappointed when she learned it wasn’t so she went to bed. Too bad for her because she missed a wonderfully written, directed and acted movie.

Blood In The Cage; Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Militich, and the Furious Rise of The UFC by L. Jon Wertheim

Let me tell you, I love mixed martial arts in general and submission grappling in particular so every chance I get to read about them I grab as quickly as possible. I believe I was the first person to request this book at my library and it’s been a fairly quick read. A lot of the information contained in the book about the history of mixed martial arts and the UFC I pretty much already knew. However what I didn’t really know about was the history of Pat Militich. I knew that he had fought in the earlier UFC events and had been the welterweight champion but I had no idea about his past and what made him into the man he is today. This part of the book was fascinating and inspirational to me. He went from a rough background, suffered through personal setbacks that many others would allow them to give up on life, yet still turned himself from an extremely poor, angry street fighter into a martial artist, an elite fighter, a champion and a trainer of champions. Pat Militich is to be commended for showing that sheer perseverance in the face of life’s difficulties can not only help to overcome them but can destroy them. Sure there are some nit-picky discrepancies about a few details bit overall this was a great read. I recommend it if you want to find out more information on mixed martial arts, The UFC and most definitely Pat Militich.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Heaven Help Us

This past Saturday I went into Big Lots to buy some cd sleeves and of course I had to stop at their little DVD section. For some reason I have no control over this, I always try to check it as quick as I can even though I know it’s extremely unlikely I will find anything I’m interested in. However on this day I was incredibly lucky. I found a little gem from 1985 called Heaven Help Us. Sure it featured Donald Sutherland and John Heard but the movie really focused on 80s favorites Andrew McCarthy, Mary Stuart Masterson and Kevin Dillon. In smaller roles are Patrick Dempsey, Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson), Dana Barron and Stephen Geoffreys. McCarthy, Masterson, Dillon, Dempsey and Smith all went on to bigger and better things and Barron has had a full career and still acts to this day. The most interesting person is Geoffreys. He seemed destined to have a brilliant career and had even been voted as one of the most promising young actors of 1985 (I believe). This was his first film released however in the same year he was in Fraternity Vacation and most notably Fright Night as Evil Ed. After this strong year he didn’t do very much for the rest of the decade and apparently started doing gay porn in the 90s. Only recently has he started acting in regular movies again. There has been some internet chatter that he never did porn but instead it was a brother that looks very similar to him who has done it. If so neither has ever tried to get this information corrected on , which is an in-depth database for movie, tv, etc.
information, or any other website for that matter. Personally, I have no interest in checking out any of these movies out to discover for myself if it is him. I’ll leave that to someone braver than me.

Back to the movie. It’s a coming of age story set in Brooklyn in 1965. McCarthy is a new student at a Catholic school whose grandmother has high hopes for him to be not only a priest but also eventually becoming the pope. Problem is he has no interest whatsoever in becoming a priest. Instead he’s figuring out what life is al about as he falls for Masterson’s character, a tough girl on the outside who drops out of school and is taking care of the soda shop while her father sinks farther into depression. She ends up being turned into city officials by the priests due to her protecting the students from being caught smoking and hanging out in the shop and is taken away by Children’s Services. Dillon is a wisecracking, somewhat dimwitted cool guy who talks a lot. He shows his true intelligence in his own areas of expertise by advising the other students on how to adjust their confessions so that they won’t get into more trouble. Gradually Dillon and McCarthy become friends with Dempsey, Geoffreys and Malcolm Danare who plays the intellectual Caesar. There is a side plot about a sadistic priest who dishes out corporal punishment in extremely brutal fashion that sets up the ending of the movie nicely. He pushes the boys to the breaking point and in turn gets punched by McCarthy (if you can believe that) and in a moment of polite justice gets transferred out of the school by Sutherland. The boys are suspended from school for 2 weeks much to their joy for their role in the beheading of a statue that led up to the physical confrontation and all is right with the world just like it always is in Hollywood.

Honestly this is not an award winning film but I found it quite enjoyable when I first saw it and still do today. It has held up well and the coming of age subject matter is always relevant no matter when you were born. Feel free to disagree but I for one like this movie a great deal and hey, it only cost three bucks. You can’t beat that in my book.