Friday, April 27, 2007

Hey Stoopid

Longtime readers of this blog may remember a post I once wrote about madcap rocker Alice Cooper's syndicated radio show Nights with Alice Cooper. So far, that post has received two comments, both from people who mistook me for Alice himself. The most recent comment was left in the wee hours of this morning (8:21 pm HADT yesterday). This commenter left his phone number and mailing address, which is pretty weird, but here's where it gets really strange - he claims to live in the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort on Maui, which is where Michelle and I stayed on our honeymoon. If only he could have found my blog a year and half ago, I could have told him in person thanks but Alice wouldn't be requiring his services for his upcoming tour of South America. Still, I shouldn't complain. At least the people who are mistaking me for Alice are fans of his show.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Live Free Or Die

April 21 | 3:09 pm | Tuckerman Ravine - Mt. Washington - NH

Monday, April 23, 2007

So Long, Andrew

I learned of the passing of one Andrew Hill, of my all time favorite jazz pianists, on my way home from work on Friday. I don't remember exactly how I discovered his music. I picked up Point of Departure about 10 years ago on a whim and I was immediately hooked. Hill's music was a unique synthesis of 20th century classical composition and free improvisation. Normally, I'm not all that impressed with attempts to fuse jazz and classical traditions together, but Hill was an exception. His large group recordings are masterpieces for the way he utilizes every voice in the band to its fullest potential and creates a sound that is even bigger than the already augmented group. With the exception of John Coltrane, Hill created more hauntingly beautiful music than any of his contemporaries. It's too bad that I never got a chance to hear him play live in concert, but I'm pleased that his genius was finally recognized before he passed away.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hockey Night

As far as I'm concerned, the best thing about the NHL moving to Versus is the feed from CBC I'm watching right now. Versus has used the CBC feed for games three and four of the Detroit vs. Calgary series. I'm not sure why Versus didn't send their own crew out to Calgary. I did hear the announcers give a shout out to all of Versus viewers south of the 48th parallel during Tuesday night's game, so at the very least, we know that Versus is not stealing the feed off of CBC's satellite. Right now, the Premier of the Province of Alberta, who is in attendance at tonight's game, is being interviewed. You just don't get that kind of coverage from American hockey broadcast crews. Part of me enjoys the CBC coverage because it reminds me of home, but I mostly enjoy it because their broadcast crew is much better than Versus. I also recently discovered that CBC is streaming every Hockey Night in Canada playoff game online.

In other sporting news, the NBA playoffs are coming up and for the first time since the early/mid 1990s, the Golden State Warriors are in the postseason. I learned this on Deadspin this morning, and like Hockey Night in Canada, it brought back some memories. My brother was a big Warriors fan in the early 1990s. For reasons that escape me now, we nicknamed Billy Owens "Baby Back Ribs" back when he was playing with the Warriors. Not Billy "Baby Back Ribs" Owens or "Baby Back Ribs" Owens mind you, simply "Back Back Ribs". I don't really have anything else to say about this, it just popped into my head for the first time in about 15 years today when I read about Golden State and Billy Owens.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson

Along with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier has been a fair amount of hand-wringing about the declining numbers of black ballplayers in Major League Baseball today. From what I understand, MLB has largely vacated America's inner cities, where its baseball development programs had nurtured many future stars, for Latin America. Like many businesses, MLB took a look at the global market and decided that their player development dollars would go further in Latin America, where costs are lower and they can get young talent on the fast track at a younger age due to looser regulations. None of the articles I have read, including this one in today's ProJo have mentioned the globalization angle, but I think it's an important part of the story.

I also wonder how important this story really is. Black players are well represented in professional football, which is easily the most popular sport in America today. Black athletes have risen to the top in many sports that had little to no black representation a generation or two ago. Jackie Robinson's story is important and it's one that all kids should learn, but the most important part of his story is not the game that he played, it's the way he humbly blazed the trail for all black professional athletes in the face of constant and often vicious racism.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering Kilgore Trout

As you have no doubt heard by now, Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. With the exception of his friend Issac Asimov, Vonnegut is the only novelist whose works I have read extensively. I got onto a pretty big Vonnegut kick about ten years ago. It has subsided in recent years, but I picked up Galapagos last year and it brought me right back to the excitement I felt as a younger man reading his unique voice for the first time. Here are some more interesting reflections on the man and his works.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I just found out that a documentary film about my favorite musician, Ken Vandermark, is about to be released. Here's a brief synopsis and here's a short clip.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Branch Davidians, Part Deux

A friend and I were recently talking about the Branch Davidians, and we wondered if any followers of that spiritual persuasion still exist. As luck would have it, someone else was thinking the same thing and wrote a newspaper story about the reorganized Branch Davidians, now called The Branch, The Lord Our Righteousness. The new church is led by a former Branch Davidian who was exiled from the church in the mid-1980s after challenging David Koresch. The new church currently has about a dozen members. Other than owing a lot of money to the IRS, the new leader doesn't appear to be in trouble with the law. I don't see this new church having much success building a cult on the ruins of the Branch Davidian compound, but I've been wrong about these things in the past. I've never felt the urge to join a cult, but if I ever do, I hope that I'll at least join one that has a sizable and/or growing membership. Indoor plumbing would also be a big plus, but maybe that's just me.