Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vieja Skina, Peruvian Ska

I thought I'd show a Peruvian ska band today since I showed one from Argentina the other day. Through the next few weeks I intend to show as many South American ska bands (or any musical type) that I like as I try to connect with some good music that doesn't get much exposure here in the U.S. The first group I will show is called Vieja Skina (translated to Old Skin in English) and they are from Lima. According to their translated Myspace page, "Old Skin is a band of Ska/Reggae, with also some jazz fusions. Is formed in early 2007, little by little the band has been taking shape and growing, with a series of changes in members, rehearsals, concerts and support . We hope shortly to have some songs recorded, and so also the EP. The band is rehearsing, we hope to see in the shows. Thanks for the support everyone who is always with us, health and good vibe SKA!" Check them out, give them a chance and see what you think.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Iron Man 2

While the family vacation is over mine continues as I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday. With that in mind I took my son to the babysitter and went to a movie. I considered seeing a documentary called Reel Injuns but honestly I just wanted something where I could unplug my brain and relax so I went to the discount theater to see The Crazies. However after I got there I saw a note on the door stating that it would not be shown due to "technical difficulties" whatever that means. Since they didn't have anything else that I wanted to see I jumped back into my truck and attempted to race over to another theater that was only about 2 miles away. I say attempted because one of the streets was cut down to a single lane each way due to construction. At any rate I got there and again was faced with the prospect of not seeing much that I was interested in that would start soon so I decided on........Iron Man 2

I will say right now that I didn't watch more than about 15-20 minutes of the first movie. For some reason I couldn't get into it and before I knew it the dvd had to be back at the library. With that in mind I have to say that I really enjoyed this film. The special effects are nothing short of amazing. You could see it for that reason alone. I'm not going to get into the details of the plot but it was enough for me plus it's setting up an Avengers movie. Just about everyone left during the credits but for the few of us who stayed until after the credits rolled there was another scene that showed Thor's hammer in a large crater. All in all it was a nice getaway for me and a good way to spend some time for myself. Go see it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Satelite Kingston, Ska From Argentina

I've just come back from a short vacation which explains why I haven't posted for several days. The purpose of the trip was to visit my wife's cousin and her family, particularly her 5 month old baby girl. While it was nice to get away and visit it was extremely muggy there and since it was just for a few days the drive there and back really got to me and right now I'm just trying to get back to my routine. Anyway, I had prepared some Cd's to listen to while driving and some of them were Peruvian and Argentinean ska because recently I had been getting back into ska in a much bigger way. Back in the mid to latter 90s I volunteered at Marshall University's radio station (WMUL) and did a ska and reggae show called Ska Beat. Ever since I still listened to some of the music but not like I had done before. I had been looking for 80s Peruvian music and after that I found some current ska bands (mostly in Lima) and started expanding my search which led me to Argentina and the band Satelite Kingston.

This song stood out to me on the CD that I made because I like the singers voice and how it melds with the tempo of the music. Plus the traditional ska sound is my favorite. As far as what the song is about from what I've been able to understand is that in 1972 some political prisoners opposing the military dictatorship from various groups planned to escape from a prison in the city of Trelew. The leaders were able to escape but 19 others were slower to get out and got to the airport as the plane with the 6 leaders on it was taking off. They surrendered to the military and of course there are different versions of the story but 3 of the survivors state that they were made to lie prostrate on the floor and then machine gunned which resulted in 16 deaths. The military version is that the prisoners grabbed a machine gun from a guard and an intense firefight resulted that ended with 16 prisoners. Some people in the town were arrested and the entire town ended up going on strike against this action. 2 of the survivors were later "disappeared" (a process involving the government kidnapping people and holding them for torture and then usually killing them) and the other ended up missing. It's a very sober message.

Unfortunately the bands website is unavailable due to exceeding it's bandwidth which to me means they have something that you can download there but too many people have done so and so I must wait to get more info on the band. But their myspace site is still okay and can be found here. Still, there's not a lot of information about the group that I can find especially since I'm cursed by not speaking very much Spanish. Here's a live version of the song recorded at a radio station in which they were all crowded into a small booth to perform.

As I said I can't get a lot of information on the band but I did find a site that showed the band's membership consisting of:
Alejandro Pribluda: guitarra
Daniel Flores: teclado
Daniel Zaltzman: batería
Germán Cohen: trombón
Gonzalo Santos: trompeta
Hernán Fernandez: saxo
Julián Cuestas: trompeta
Milton Alonso: bajo

This however doesn't seem to be a complete list as there is clearly a female vocalist in the group. Perhaps in the future I'll get more information and go more in depth about the band.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Flashback: Ronnie James Dio

I'm going to make this pretty fast as I don't have much time before getting to bed. I posted on Sunday about legendary singer Ronnie James Dio losing his battle with stomach cancer. I put up a couple of of my favorite videos by him on that post. So today in remembrance of RJD I decided to put up a few more videos. First up is Holy Diver which is off of the album by the same name released in 1982.

Dio was in the band Elf which led to which he left to help form Rainbow. They recorded four albums together before Dio left the group and replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and recorded one of their best albums Heaven and Hell. Dio's next move was to form his own group named after himself. Dio the band was formed in 1982 and immediately found success in the metal world. He kept the band going through many lineup changes until 1991 when he returned to Black Sabbath.

In 1993 Dio reformed his band and started recording and touring again and kept the group going until his untimely death. He also returned to the Black Sabbath fold in 2006 but since they were still together with Ozzy Osbourne they decided to call the group Heaven And Hell. Heaven and Hell had planned on touring this summer after RJD had recovered from his illness but that was not to be as he passed away on May 16th. Although he was small in stature he had an incredible voice that lost nothing over the years. From all accounts he was a wonderful person so I think it's safe to say he will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book Review: Them, Adventures With Extremists by Jon Ronson

A few weeks ago I read Ronson's third book Men Who Stare At Goats and afterwards I decided to read this one, his second book which was published in 2001, since my local library also had it. Ronson has a writing style that goes smoothly and keeps the pages turning. Basically he interviewed and spent time with various leaders of fringe groups, including a radical Islamic activist, the head of the KKK, various conspiracy theorists, politicians and so forth. The more time he spent and the more he learned about them as people the more he wondered if what they said made sense and was he turning into one of them? He was chased by Bilderberg security, attended a Klan cross burning (or lighting as they call it) and was unmasked as a Jew at a Jihad training camp. He also infiltrated the yearly Bilderberg meeting (supposedly who not so secretly control the world) in the Bohemian Grove in California. There's a lot of funny things here but also a lot of unsettling ones as well. In 2005 the rights of the book were purchased to make a movie from it with Jack Black starring and Edgar Wright directing but so far nothing has come of it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Please Not Again.........

This past Friday night as I was finishing my dinner break at work I received a call from my mother. She wanted to tell me that my sister, Teresa, was in the hospital and had been since the previous evening. My heart immediately jumped into my throat. If you notice my previous few posts you’ll see that it had been one year since my mother’s near fatal heart attack and my mind instantly went to that situation and I could feel the dread welling up inside me as I waited for her to tell me what could only be extremely bad news. As it turns out it was not life threatening but nevertheless was not pleasant for her either. You see last year Teresa (my older sister by three years) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I won’t get into the details of what sent her to the hospital but my mother explained that it was related. Of course my family is always very late in informing each other when something bad has happened to one of us. Usually by the time everyone knows about it the afflicted person is already out of the hospital or almost over their symptoms.

Last year was a very trying time for my family. First my mother almost died from a severe heart attack. Then my son burned his hands on a friends grill. Within a few weeks of that, just a few days before we were to go to my sister’s wedding my car died. While home everyone enjoyed spending time with my son John and he in turn loved being around them. As a matter of fact you could say he flourished with the attention given to him. The only negative thing for me was that my younger sister, Karen, did not show up to see her nephew, her brother and her sister-in-law nor did she see her older sister find happiness and share in that. She has made her choices in her life long ago for the things that are important to her and her children and her family are far down on the list. The day after returning home from my sister’s wedding we had a flat tire on my wife’s car which we had driven home. This caused us to buy a new tire. Next we found out that my car was a lost cause and would have to be replaced even though we did not have the money to do so. After some time sharing the one working car that we now had we were finally able to get an older truck for me. After that came the news that Teresa had Parkinson’s disease.

As you can imagine everything that transpired put us in a financial hole that we spent the rest of the year and the early part of 2010 digging ourselves out of. As a matter of fact it took our tax return to finally pay everything off. From my plane ticket home to see my mother, to the care needed for my sons hands (which his doctor was so wonderful for not charging us for every visit we made to have his bandages changed), to the cost of making a trip home and then a new tire followed by a new (to me) vehicle and then other little things that popped up (a few repairs to the truck) it just kept adding up so that not only was it a drain on our finances but on our marriage as well. Throughout it all I kept trying to keep a positive attitude and tell myself that it could always be worse. My mother could have died. My son’s hands could have been permanently damaged. My sister’s disease could have been further along and the quality of her life could have been worse. The truck could have needed more costly repairs. It goes on and on.

It does no good to bemoan the fact that bad things are happening to you. To question “Why me?” and wallow in misery. It’s much harder to be thankful that nothing worse happened. Still, when I heard my mother say that Teresa was in the hospital, I’ll admit to a few seconds of that sinking feeling that it was all going to start over again. But I was able to quickly correct those thoughts and tell myself to wait until I found out what was wrong and then I could start thinking about what would happen in the near future. Thankfully my sister is out of the hospital and recovering. I know I need to try to follow the idea of “it could always be worse” even though it’s not easy. Truthfully, rarely is anything worth having without effort so I will continue to try. It’s all I can do, no promises though. That’s life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio Passes Away

I just came in from cutting the grass to take a break and buy some concert tickets to see Iron Maiden next month. After purchasing the tickets I went back to my homepage and there was a story about singer Ronnie James Dio passing away at 7:45 AM today. He had revealed last summer that he had stomach cancer and was stopping his touring plans so that he could focus on fighting and recovering from his disease. He was known for his soaring vocal style and his themes of good versus evil in his lyrics. Even at the age of 67 Dio had shown that he still had the vocal chops and his voice had not suffered any letdown over the years.

After fronting the band Black Sabbath for the album Heaven and Hell he went on to form his own band Dio which was very successful. Through the years he returned to Black Sabbath two times and the last time the band decided to call themselves Heaven And Hell since Black Sabbath was also actively touring with original singer Ozzy Osbourne. Dio was one of those artists that I always thought I'd get around to seeing at some point or another and now it's too late. He joins the ranks of artists that I waited too long and now will never have a chance to see playing live and there's a lesson to be learned there. Don't wait around to do something someday because if you wait too long that day may never come. Enjoy life now, live in the present, not in the future. You'll be missed Ronnie James Dio.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

12 Inch Singles The Beat Farmers - Riverside

Band members:
Country Dick Montana (Dan McLain) (drums, guitar, vocals) 1983 to 1995
Jerry Raney (guitar, vocals) 1983 to 1995
Rolle Dexter Love (bass) 1983 to 1995
Buddy Blue (guitar, vocals) 1983 to 1986
Joey Harris (guitar, vocals) 1986 to 1995

This one takes us to the halfway point of the 12 inch singles that I bought at the flea market on that fateful day back in the end of 1986. It was on the album Van Go that was released in 1986 and was used in a Budweiser radio commercial. The band was formed in San Diego in 1983 and continued until the early 90s when lead singer and drummer Country Dick Montana died although the band had morphed into The Farmers who continue to play today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Flashback - The Knack - Get The Knack

I was very unsure about who this weeks flashback should be about and was drawing a blank until I listened to the Rock N Roll Geeks podcast that featured a classic albums revisited with guitarist Berton Averre of The Knack. Get The Knack was their first album and was released in 1979 and quickly reached # 1 on the Billboard 200 list . The band had a lot of buzz about them but had not been able to get a recording deal. That all changed after Bruce Springsteen got onstage and played with them. The very next day the offers started flowing in. The album was recorded in 2 weeks and only cost $18,000 which was virtually nothing in those days. My Sharona went to # 1 on the singles chart and it features one of the greatest extended guitar solos ever. The song returned to the Billboard Top 100 hits list in 1994 when it was featured in the movie Reality Bites and was released as a single from the movie soundtrack.

EDIT: After waxing poetic about the extended guitar solo in this song I realized that the video is the edited version that does not contain the full solo so I have decided to include the original album version.

There was a backlash from critics mainly due to the bands management giving them bad advice on not doing interviews. Some critics were particularly savage in their reviews especially of the next 2 albums which was not really warranted. All you have to do is listen to the music and the expert musicianship is clearly there. Every member of the band has excellent chops and they're all molded together perfectly. The 2nd single released was Good Girls Don't and it reached # 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Unfortunately many times critics take a personal bias against a band and let it carry over into their work and can't be objective when reviewing albums, concerts and so forth. Their memory is notably long.

The Band:
Doug Fieger - vocals, rhythm guitar
Berton Averre - lead guitar
Bruce Gary - drums
Prescott Niles - bass

The band ended up breaking up after their 3rd album but reformed to release another album in 1991 and then several more later. They continued to record and perform occasionally until Doug Fieger lost his battle with cancer in February 2010. Bruce Gary had left the group and did not take part in the later reunions and passed away in August 2006 from lymphoma cancer. One thing to note is that when you see live footage of the band playing you'll notice that they're always smiling because they were having fun playing their music. Nothing was forced or fake about it and the music stills holds up today.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Strong Bad and Trogdor

I've decided to stick with the animated cartoonish humor thing and want to talk about Strong Bad. Strong Bad is a character in the Homestar Runner world that I came across about 7 years or so ago but fell out of touch with about 3 years ago around the time my son was born. He has his own section on the website simply called sb emails where he reads emails from a very old computer (it gradually gets upgraded every so often but is still horribly out of date). Originally he was a minor character who was a villian but now isn't so much a villian as he is a jerk. He's always trying to get over on everybody else and is extremely sarcastic. Every character is odd but Strong Bad has his own quirks. He wears a Mexican wrestling mask on his very oversized head, goes shirtless and wears boxing gloves. Many people have wondered how he manages to type as well as he does while wearing boxing gloves but he's tired of talking about that subject. He speaks in a very rough and gruff voice and amuses himself easily. Perhaps his most well known email that he has responded to is Trogdor, The Burninator.

Strong Bad loves to listen to music, especially metal and one of his favorites is hair metal band Limozeen which has been brought to real life and actually play shows and in 2007 their song Because, It's Midnite was included in the Guitar Hero Rocks The 80s edition.

This is the clasic death metal email where Strong Bad waxes poetic about what it takes to be a successful death metal singer.

I've decided to make a more concerted effort to catch up with Strong Bad and the rest of the characters such as his brothers Strong Mad and Strong Sad. We can all use some stupid humor in our lives and Strong Bad more than supplies it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

30 Second Bunnies

Many thanks to Steve Spears over at the Stuck In The 80s podcast and blog for leading me to this. Basically someone with a lot of time on their hands has redone movies with animated bunnies as the actors and shrunk them down, sometimes to 30 seconds. You can find more about them here. Sound interesting or even shall we say cool? If so then enjoy. If not, well...........don't watch them. They're also all over Youtube. Of course I went with the 80s stuff, it's who I am, it's what I do.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Year Ago.............

One year ago on a Monday my mother suffered an extremely serious heart attack that was nearly fatal. As a matter of fact if my older sister hadn't been reasonably close by and answered her cellphone I am convinced that our mother would have died on her front porch. She had been having chest pain and saw her doctor earlier in the day but after doing an EKG the doctor told her that it probably wasn't her heart and sent her home. Hours later as she talked to my sister, my mother refused to go to the ER because she said that the doctor had told her that it wasn't her heart and so my mother felt that it would be a waste of time and money to go to the ER. My sister talked again with her later and she was worse so my sister told her that she was hanging up and calling 911. My mother didn't want her to hang up and when my sister called her back she said that she felt like she was dying and stopped communicating with her.

When my sister got to her house the ambulance was already there and had initiated emegency procedures. The hospital was on the line and when they pulled in the staff was there ready and waiting and had everything prepared to start treating her immediately. She had a heart cath and had stents put in and we didn't know if she would make it or not. My sister called me at work after Mom was at the hospital but I wasn't able to fly out until the next afternoon because I had to make arrangements with the babysitter for my son. After arriving in Lexington, Ky it was a little over an hours drive from the airport and my niece and brother in law (to be) picked me up and we raced home. It was late when we got there and visiting hours were over but the doctor had given me authorization to see her because it was unknown at this point if she would be able to pull through.

It was touch and go for awhile but in the following days she started to make her recovery and the doctor was amazed that she was able to come back so quickly after suffering such a severe heart attack. I ended up staying until Saturday and by that point she had been moved out of the intensive care and it was clear that she would recover. She was released from the hospital a few days later. I have to say that she's a tough old lady and it amazes me that she was able to recover and resume her life.

I feel certain that she was minutes if not seconds away from dying. There are so many "ifs" involved in this story. If the hospital staff hadn't been as prepared as they were then she would have died. If the ambulance crew had arrived a little bit later then she would have died. And the biggest one of them all, if my sister hadn't answered her cellphone (which is not uncommon for her) then my mother would have died that day. I have said a lot of prayers and given a lot of thanks since that day. Who knows why things worked out the way they did? I'm just glad that they did.

Over the course of the year I can see where we family members have gotten complacent again, after all, it is human nature. I for one haven't gone to the doctor to get checked out nor have I started excercising as I should. I'm overweight and don't get out a lot which doesn't bode well for the future especially since after Mom having her heart attack I found out that there was a history of heart disease in the family which I was unaware of. At the very least for my sons sake I owe him the chance at having me fully functioning so that I can be there for him as he grows up. I know I have to make some changes but it's hard to escape from patterns of behavior that have been going on for decades. Slowly but surely I got into this condition so I need to slowly but surely pull myself out of it. All I need is to get serious and look at my inspiration...............

Saturday, May 8, 2010

MIki Gonzalez - 80s Music Peruvian Style

Last week as I was trying to find more information about the Peruvian thrash metal band Arsenal I came across a few blogs concerning Peruvian rock music. As I started looking through one of them there was a link for different decades and of course I started looking at the 80s. For me it's interesting to hear what music in other countries sounded like especially in my beloved 80s. The thing is that we Americans (by this I mean from the United States) tend to think that just because an artist or song was popular here that it was popular all over the world and that is just not the case. One thing that listening to the podcast Stuck In The 80s has taught me is that sometimes a top 10 song here never even got released in other countries. Perhaps this is arrogance, perhaps it is just due to people not even thinking how music spreads globally. Whatever the case I came across an artist named Miki Gonzalez and a video for his song Lola. As soon as it started playing I knew that this was what I was looking for. Other than the Spanish vocals the music would have fit anywhere people played the new wave/power pop kind kind of music in the 80s. In a roundabout way I started converting videos to mp3s so that I could give them a good listening to on my ipod.

After my wife came home I started talking to her about Miki and she remembered him quite well. She told me the names of other songs that he had and of course I had already found them. It's funny to see some things in Peruvian music that took a few years to get to them. In this day of instant Internet access where you can find almost any kind of music in even very remote countries it can be hard to understand that it took sometimes years for styles and music to reach other countries. Our three year old has really taken to these songs, especially Lola, as have I.

Miki Gonzalez was born in Spain but moved to Peru at an early age. He started experimenting with Afro-Peruvian music and mixing it with rock, new wave, ska and reggae which led him to a lot of commercial success in the 80s. You can see in the Dimelo Dimelo video things that would have looked common in music videos 5 or more years earlier in the U.S. like the pop locking and Devo-esque robotic movements of the band members.

Chicle, Cigarillo, Caramelos shows a young boy selling gum, cigarettes and caramel candy on the streets of Peru. This is a common thing that happens even today. Unlike in the video some children are not allowed to go to school and instead they must sell candy and other things on the street in order to help their families or themselves as often these children are runaways or homeless.

These days Miki performs electronic music fused with traditional Andean music which is unfortunately not my kind of music. He has continued to experiment with various kinds of music styles and will undoubtedly continue to evolve as a person and musician. Unfortunately I did not see an official website for Miki but I'm sure something is out there if I had more time to dig around but as usual it's late and I need to go to bed so for tonight all I can say is give his music a chance. I did and I like it.

Wednesday Week - Why

Back in January 1987 I moved back home to Ironton, Ohio from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had originally moved to Oklahoma to live with my dad while in the middle of my junior year of high school at the end of 1981 and after attending college on and off for a few years I decided it was time to be around my mother and sisters for awhile. That didn't last long as by the end of May I had already enlisted in U.S. Army's delayed entry program and would be sent off to training in November. Of course that's not why I'm posting this. Anyway, I had heard the song "Why" by the group Wednesday Week most likely on MTV (back then they did play music videos) and one day I drove up to a record store in Huntington, WV which was about a 20 minute drive away and the only place I could find anything decent musically in the area. While looking around in a 99 cent bin I found a promotional cassette copy of the bands first full length album, What We Had.

I couldn't believe my luck since there was no other way I would have found this in that area of the country. You would have to have lived there at the time to understand. In other cities you could just go to a record store and get things that were different, not part of the mainstream, but not in that Tri-State area. So the band went through a very large amount of players and after their second release the cassette only No Going Back the band broke up in 1990. Eight years later the classic lineup reunited and they continue to play live shows in Los Angeles. You can find more info on them here. I've always liked this song, the band was part of the paisley movement but at the time I heard more of the rock and country mixture that I liked so well. That's what drew me to this song and still does.

Friday, May 7, 2010

12 Inch Singles - Jason & The Scorchers Golden Ball & Chain

Jason & The Scorchers put out this song on their 1986 release Still Standing which followed the stellar Lost and Found from the previous year. The band originally formed in 1981 with a sound that incorporated punk, country and hard rock. They're still going strong in 2010 and released the album Halcyon Times earlier in the year. I found a copy of the video for the song but the volume was horribly low so this live performance will have to do.

Lineup at the time:
Jason Ringenberg - vocals, guitar
Warner Hodges - guitar
Perry Baggs - drums
Jeff Johnson - bass

Friday Flashback - Husker Du

Husker Du are yet another of those critically important bands whose musical influence far overshadowed their actual sales. Formed in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1979 as a hardcore punk band they grew more important with each release and before long were straining at the limitations of being pigeonholed as "just" a hardcore punk band. They never received much mainstream commercial success and broke up in 1987 however their influence is still felt today.

Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely

Husker Du - Dont Want To Know If You Are Lonely

Rab | MySpace Video

Bob Mould - Guitars, Vocals
Grant Hart - Drums, Vocals
Greg Norton - Bass
Charlie Pine - Keyboards (fired during first show)

Makes No Sense At All

Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All

Rab | MySpace Video

They were originally signed to SST Records and then to Warner Brothers after they had outgrown what SST could do for them. The band broke up mainly due to creative differences between Mould and Hart who split the songwriting and singing duties. All three continued on in other groups however Mould enjoyed the largest success when he formed the group Sugar in the early 90s.

Flip Your Wig

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review: Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given by Duane "Dog" Chapman and Laura Morton

I have to admit that when I saw my first television commercial for the show Dog the Bounty Hunter I was pretty skeptical. Sometime later I caught a piece of the show and became even more skeptical. Here was this guy with a country accent and his crazy long hair wearing very loud clothes with cowboy boots chasing bail jumpers around Hawaii and he would be yelling and cursing at them but at the end he was talking to them about God and things like redemption. This was very peculiar behavior and the pieces didn’t seem to fit together. Then a curious thing happened. I watched the show again. Then again and again. As I continued watching I began to understand more of what Dog was all about and where he came from. Instead of judging him by his appearance I started digging a little deeper to find out where he came from and before you knew it, I was a fan, a believer in Dog.

Flash forward and at the end of 2007 there was a scandal involving a telephone conversation that Dog had with his son Tucker in which Dog used strong language including the “N” word to describe Tucker’s girlfriend who is African American. In the conversation he did state that it wasn’t about the color of her skin but her character that he was referring to. His show was taken off of the air by A&E and he faced an uphill climb to get it back on the air. The new book Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given shows Dog explaining how he had come to use the word and that he didn’t even understand that he wasn’t allowed to use it. On the surface that sounds pretty implausible but as Dog explains, he dropped out of school in the seventh grade and became a criminal and a biker then went to prison for eighteen months for a murder that he was present for (waiting in the car) but didn’t commit. Every black person that he met that he was cool with didn’t seem to have a problem with him using the word as it was never used in an angry manner, but in the same way that blacks used it amongst themselves. As Dog got older he continued to use the word with those kinds of friends and in privacy at home. Never did he use it in public in a negative manner.

When this story broke in the news my first thought was “How did a private conversation between a father and a son get taped AND released publicly?" Since a third party doing so would result in a lawsuit the only thing that seemed possible was that his son, Tucker, had to have taped the conversation and sold it to the rag (whose name I won’t give the dignity of repeating) that printed the story. The book explains that Dog would not allow Tucker on the show because he thought that the girlfriend was a bad influence on him and that she was responsible for getting him back on drugs and that they didn’t want her anywhere around them or him. Tucker got what was for him a large amount of money for selling the tape and the story to the rag and they tried to portray him as just a man trying to stand up for his girlfriend who had been called this horrible name. The reality was that it all came down to money and hurt feelings. Tucker later ended up in jail for violating his parole for using drugs.

As Dog tried to repair his image and show people that he never had tried to purposefully hurt anyone and that he was not a racist he came to understand just how he had hurt people by not thinking about the language he was using. Not only was he able to repair some of those bridges that he had destroyed but he was also able to learn a great deal in the process. I always believed that there was more to the story than what we were being told. Dog was able to meet and win over people like Roy Innis who is the chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality by being himself and proving that he was not a racist. All the press does these days is jump on a sensational story and repeat it ad nauseum. Unfortunately they do a very poor job of fact checking and just parrot what they hear others reporting without stopping to verify if it’s true or not. This book goes a long way in explaining the situation in detail. It also gives more information into the Andrew Luster case that saw Dog, his son Leland and his associate Tim Chapman facing deportation to Mexico for what was a misdemeanor crime for apprehending a very rich man in their country who ran out on his bail after facing 86 counts for drugging and raping a number of women and fled the United States. Plus there are some stories about previous hunts that Dog had been on in his career.

Overall the book flowed very well and gave out a lot of information as well as helping to explain just what had actually happened in these cases. Dog received his education on the streets and will be the first to tell you that he isn’t very book smart but he is street smart and he knows the nature of man. He can do things that most police cannot, including finding those that decide not to abide in the law or the policies of the bail agencies. I for one am a fan and only wish him well. He tries to help those who are at their lowest understand not only that they need to change but that they can change. Look at Dog as an example if you don’t think it can be done. After all, he did.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arsenal, Peruvian Thrash Metal

I had a chance to look around on the internet today and I came across this Peruvian group named Arsenal that's opening for Megadeth in Lima, Peru. They remind me a lot of Metallica, (when they were good) even though I don't understand nearly enough Spanish to get what they're singing about. All I know is that the music is good and that's enough for me.

Muerto En Vida

You can go to their website here or try their facebook page which is under Arsenal Peru. I can't give you a direct link since I'm lame and don't have a facebook page myself. They do have a myspace page which is here. The band formed in 1997 and played their first show the following year. Since then they've been going strong and released their first album in 2007 which is not unusual for a band in Peru to take so long to release an album. The economy is completely different in South America and recording music is an incredibly big deal. In fact the band has made the album available for free on their website (google translate is a wonderful thing) so that their fans could have access to it. That's a pretty cool thing to me.

Lo Adverso

Jaime Davis - Guitars, vocals
Rafael Contreras - Guitars, vocals
Alejandro Rojas - Drums
Julio César Jáuregui - Bass


I have to say I'm pretty pleased with finding this group and as a bonus my wife likes it when I find music that I like from her country. I just wish that I could be in Peru now so that I could see them and Megadeth in concert but who knows, maybe we'll be able to go next year and at least see Arsenal play in concert. I can dream, can't I?

Fogotten 80s Song, Nik Kershaw's Wouldn't It Be Good

Okay, I've decided not to do the dishes and instead I jumped around Youtube until I found a video I felt like putting up. I wanted something that would be not as well known but also fit the mood I was in and after not choosing a few for various reasons I remembered this gem from 1984. The song reached #4 in the U.K. and #46 in the U.S. The video featured Nik in an unusual looking suit that was meant to portray him as an alien. He has continued to release albums throughout his life and even released one this year, titled "No Frills." I've just always enjoyed the message of the song and it sounded good to my ears at this moment.

Viruses, Work and Birthday Parties

It's been a strange week. My computer got infected by a virus that wouldn't even allow me to open and close programs. It kept referring me to a website that wanted me to by their software to get rid of spyware, viruses, etc........which is what it was itself. Since my anti-virus protection was a bit outdated (if you call about a year outdated) I finally got off of my lazy butt and went to the store to purchase a new copy. Once it was installed amazingly there was no more virus. Funny how that works. My son has basically broken our dvd player in the living room and the one in our bedroom seems to not want to work either so for now we can't watch any dvds which bums me out. Work has been a drain especially since it seems as I've gotten older that now I may be suffering from allergies associated with cutting grass. If only I could get out of the chore but alas, there is nobody else to do it, at least until my son gets a little older. Work has been especially draining and even more so when you factor in the allergies.

Friday was my son's 3rd birthday and we held his party the next day at 4pm. Now if I can impart any knowledge on you about Spanish speaking people it's that whenever there is a start time for an event it's basically just a suggestion. We had quite a few people over for his party and after almost all of them were gone a second wave came at around 7pm. I got really tired (also I'm not so sociable) so I disappeared to the bedroom to watch some tv. My wife and son have been asleep for some time now but I stayed up to clean things and unfortunately I still have the dishes to do. I need to get on it so that I can get some sleep myself so perhaps tomorrow I can come up with something witty and erudite (smart huh?)to impart on the world. Until then, I'm just too tired.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cleveland Browns Sign 10 Rookie Free Agents

Well the list of the signees that the Browns finally came out with differs somewhat with the one that I dug up the other day but at least they did release it. You never know when a team will find that rare hidden talent but most of these guys will not make it. A few perhaps will be on the practice squad providing they show something to the coaching staff. The defensive backs might have the best chance just on the basis of the need for improvement for those spots.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate College Hometown

Casey Bender OL 6-5 295 12/22/86 South Dakota St. Lindsay, Neb.

Benjamin Burney DB 5-11 205 3/29/87 Colorado Lone Tree, Colo.

Chris Chancellor DB 5-9 180 12/22/86 Clemson Miami, Fla.

Auston English LB 6-3 250 3/10/87 Oklahoma Canadian, Texas

Johnathan Haggerty WR 6-1 195 2/5/88 SW Oklahoma St. Dallas, Texas

Swanson Miller DL 6-4 310 3/24/86 Oklahoma St. Alachua, Fla.

Dion Morton WR 5-8 160 2/25/86 Colorado St. Riverside, Calif.

Joel Reinders OL 6-7 320 10/2/87 Waterloo Oakville, Ontario

Aaron Valentin WR 6-1 205 6/18/87 Purdue Freeport, N.Y.

Troy Wagner TE 6-6 265 2/25/87 Indiana O’Fallon, Ill.