Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Van Halen 'A Different Kind of Truth'

Every once in a while I do a music post on this humble blog 'o mine. It's usually when a band recreates some magic from it's past. This one is mostly to due with Van Halen's new album 'A Different Kind of Truth'. I'm always amazed that a band can come back sometimes 25-30 years after they release their first album and release an album worthy of their prime. I last did a post in '09 about this but their have been quite a few CD's that have been release since then that also qualify. Last time the catalyst was ' Death Magnetic' by Metallica. This time it's Van the way....the latter two bands are in my top 5 of all time easily. By contrast we have a band like the Rolling Stones...who defy the odds again and again...but their CD's don't quite cut the mustard. The last good album from the 'stones was 'Tattoo You' '81! That was only 17 years after the first official record. If there was ever a longevity award that would certainly go to the 'stones...but I'm sorry....they haven't done anything worthy of their prime since '81. Since I last did a post like this there have been no less than 4 bands that qualify with 'Comeback of the year' efforts. Here is the wikipedia entry for the includes all the stats and info.

I have to admit being biased here but releasing an album like A.D.K.O.T. an amazing 34 years after their debut album....just blow me away. I've been listening to the whole CD while going to the gym and it doesn't disappoint. I think the track I like least is their first single...'Tattoo'. I was expecting something like 'Hot for Teacher' or some high charged heavy boogie-woogie (you VH fans know what I mean) for their comeback single with D.L.R. I was also skeptical about their ability to handle the old harmony vocals which would be noticeable on their new CD...Right? I bought the whole thing on iTunes and took a few listens all the way through before declaring it a huge winner. I'm as impressed....probably even more so than Metallica's comeback album 'Death Magnetic'. I'll be able to get a feel for the band when I see them live at the Boston Garden on March 11th. First time I will see them with D.L.R. He does sound a lot older on the CD but what does anybody expect. I have to say they did a great job doing the background vocals and harmonies...we'll see what happens live. So since my last post there have been other big albums by some of my favorites...(by the way if this all sounds is...this is a blog a misc stuff and my dumping ground for poker and misc. be it). I swear I'm not just kissing Van Halen ass here....but Eddie is playing like a man possessed. His leads almost sound like 'Dimebag' Darrell and Jimi Hendrix filtered through Van Halen fingers. The riffs....sure they re-recorded old songs.....that's what all bands's called 'going back to basics' for a reason. They still give the fans what they want and they still sound like they are evolving their overall sound. Does Dave still sound like hokey-VegasLounge-Dave? Yes! I do expect that...that would be like Steven Tyler not sounding like a strangled cat in front of Aerosmith. There are just some things that need to be finished....and D.L.R. recording and touring with Van Halen is one of them. Another is my finally being able to see them live. I missed out in '85 when they broke up for the first time...I was 15 and just at the age when you can get to a concert by friends or neighbors. Although I saw Kiss in '81 when my neighbors brought me with their kids. The second time was there '08-'09 reunion daughter was born the day after the show that my wife bought tickets for...I had to give those away. The other night I just bit the bullet and bought them the old fashioned way......through a ticket broker. Fuck it...I always said when I was a kid I would buy tickets for any show I wanted because I would have the money. I'm not exactly rolling in dough but this is an opportunity that I won't pass on this time.

 MegaDeth has released no less than two albums ('Endgame' in '09 and 'Thirteen' in '11) that are very close to some of their best..their debut was in '85 and that wasn't exactly stellar. I almost made a separate post for Anthrax...who released 'Worship Music' in 2011...a full 27 years after 'A fistful of Metal' in '84. Joey Belladonna came back and they really blew me away with that. They have had a hugely similar career path to Van Halen with 3 different lead singers and fans who are fervent supporters of vocalist 1 Joey and vocalist 2 John Bush. I like 'em both but this last recording from them is certainly up there in their top 3 of their career. Motley Crue has a great recording worthy of talking about "Saints of Los Angelas' was a great throwback to their earlier and harder rocking years. That made quite a few fans take notice and now they are headed back to the studio again and have an ongoing gig in Las Vegas. The only thing slowing them down again is band health (Mick Mars is basically walking and playing with a debilitating disease and I'm sure one or two have hep-C or something). I would be hugely remiss in not mentioning Slayer. The CD 'Psychopathy in Red' was just a killer. When I was down in the dumps in '09....I listened to that CD all the time and believe it or got me excited to get to work and have a good attitude. I am not sure that's what they wanted as a band but I was very impressed with that CD. I am sad to hear about Black Sabbath's latest comeback effort being hampered by cancer (Tony Iommi) and Bill Ward's lawyer/contract issues. Reunions should be a glorious return to form but they more often than not are hampered by megalomaniac egos and health problems. Those two reasons alone make it amazing for a band like Van Halen and some of the others in this post to be able to come out with such great music so long after they started their illustrious careers. Believe it or not I am huge fan of not only heavy guitar music but jam-band type music and bluesy music as well. I will be chomping at the bit for new albums from Phish, The Black Crowes, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Joe Walsh,,,,,the list contains to many to mention. I know after I post this I will think of a shitload more...but that's what comments are for. I wanna hear about it now.....'I don't wanna hear about it later'!!!! anybody get that reference????

Monday, February 20, 2012

Charity Tournament Win......

I went to the Elks Lodge in Wakefield on Friday night after work. I saw an advertisement for a charity tournament and figured I'd play since I haven't been able to in a long time. There were a few people I have seen there before and sure enough...I've played against them at Rockingham Park. Needless to say the play was a little wacky with some people who have never played before and some with a little experience like me. It was a charity tourney though and some of the worst play is quite common. The 75.00 entry fee was about all I can afford these sad. The charity was advertised for youth baseball but ended up for youth hockey in Wakefield. Fine by me. I'd rather play a charity tournament in my town and have it go to something worth supporting. I think there were 5 tables that weren't quite full so I liked my chances. So after a couple of hours and a couple of breaks...we made the final table. No surprise that everybody that plays at Rockingham was also at the final table. I pushed a few times and everybody folded. The one hand that doubled me up to a big stack from one of the soon to be eliminated was my push with K-7o in early position. I was going to be blinded out in two more rounds which were going to happen quick. I saw one of the guys from the Rock in the BB and it looked like he would probably fold to my push but he called with K-J suited. I was done...until the river 7 fell...that all but guaranteed the cash. It always happens that way...I push and somebody calls. It usually works out for me..that's why it's so hard to call. It was getting down to 5 players and people started talking about a chop. The one guy that never played before was skeptical but once we carved out a 100.00 4th place finish....he was good to go. He did get knocked out 4th and when we got to three our stacks were pretty even. The other 2 guys were skeptical again...but I just said "Let's chop...we're even"....they agreed and we got a nice little 450.00 dollar chop between the 3 of us. I was happy after that river stinger that got me to the money. Thems Da breaks!
I went to Rockingham on Saturday night...I played a 40.00 SitNGo...I got knocked out when I raised from mid pos. with 10's. 3 callers called and one spike trips with his 7-6s. They are basically turbos and it took all of 10 minutes to be knocked out after I pushed and he reluctantly called. I held out for the 80.00 turbo that they have at 9 PM. I usually make the final table and I did again. Alas...I was the bubble boy when the blinds skyrocketed. I pushed with 7-6s under the gun and the big stack called with Ad-3d and river'd his flush. It was unreal the guy got A's twice at the final table in a turbo...and every time he called he turn'd or river'd the nuts. I could have held on to min-cash....maybe. I wasn't really going to hang around when the blinds were at 5K-10K and I had a stack of 30K. No big deal.....just a half decent weekend for a change.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Schadenfreude Central

It buuuuuuuuuuurns....oh it burrrrrrrrrns.....I have now watched the Patriots lose 4 SB's...and don't like it.

OK....the lowest of lows has crept back into the sports world in New England again. The last time was Sept. and the inevitable crash of the Red Sox. The thing that hurts most about the Patriots loss is that it was at the hands of the New Jersey Giants. It was horrendously bad to lose to them in '08. They could have made everyone forget about that with a SB46 win. The goddamn Giants practically asked them to take this SB and win. The Patriots just would not take multiple chances to put this away and take the win. They just couldn't come up with that one catch on that critical drive or that one stop on the Giants last drive. They couldn't avoid the costly offside penalty or the 12-men on the field at the most critical of times. They led for most of the game but the Giants controlled the football and killed the clock methodically. Let's face it...John Elway could get to multiple SB's on his own but not UNTIL he got the ability to control the clock with a killer running game and we'll say at least a 55% passing to 45% running ratio. The Patriots didn't have that this year or since '05-'06. That is when they played that poor excuse for a team the PhEagles. The major turning point in the game was the hit that Justin Tuck put on Tom Brady. Brady was basically setting a record pace for completions and QB rating until that one hit and he PLANTED Brady into the Turf...or more specifically his shoulder. After that hit Brady was a completely different QB....but still they had multiple chances and everybody dropped critical passes. The drop that hurt the most was probably the Welker miss that would have probably sealed a win. I'm not blaming him specifically because all phases of the game just weren't up to snuff. Usually 2 or the 3 phases of the game would probably win...special teams and offense did the trick the whole year. The defense came together with the old 'Bend don't Break' mentality. That's not good enough any more obviously. This was all pretty much Deja Vu from SB42....The Giants deserve it...and we have to eat it as fans. The AFC is probably going to be pretty lol bad so they may just get back once or twice more in the next 3 years. A few things may help the cause though :
1. Get Offensive and Defensive coordinators....and delegate like the Belichick of old...please?...or....
2. Get a General Manager and stick to Head coach and defensive coordinator with an offensive coordinator.
3. Use you fucking draft have two 1st rounders and 2 second rounders...there are lots of positions that need to be addressed..please for the love of god use 'em or trade UP for a change....(and please do not pass over the next freakishly good pass that guy on Green Bay that you passed over).
4. You are going to be 20 Million under the cap...yes 20 mil. that could be used for real free agents...not OchoFucko (I love to tweet...yay) or Fat AlbertPaynseWorthless etc...etc.. if anybody wants to add in the Camera-Gate should give it up...the Patriots have 3 SB's whether you like it or not. No moron Senator or NFL commissioner is going to give back restitution or a SB trophy ever. They simply picked the Patriots as an EXAMPLE to set a precedent of how they are going to punish going forward. The Patriots were merely one of half the NFL teams that were doing the same thing.....and they paid big time. I mean...did you see how they lost SB 42? That was fixed...and it was at the end of same season where the hammer came down from the NFL about Camera-Gate. Book it...Done....