When the Rockets lost to the Western Conference worst Minnesota Timberwolves at home a few games before the All-Star break, it isn’t hard to imagine Les Alexander and the powers that be saying “Trade for Carmelo or blow up the season.”
And here we are. Carmelo went for the bright lights and the contract in NYC. A Rockets defense that sucks mightily (ranked 24th overall) just traded their defensive stopper for a project center and a draft pick. That Shane Battier’s contract was up at the end of the year and the Rox may have ended up with nothing if they had held onto to him until then is small consoliation. Best of luck to a class act, wish he would have went to a contender.
Brooks was toast as soon as he chose to walk off the court that day, and his contract was expiring as well. Perhaps with these two contracts, Yao’s and the draft picks, there will be something exciting in Rocket’s basketball next year.
The Rockets had an outside (okay, I’m being optimistic) shot at reaching the 8th seed in the playoffs, mainly due to Utah and Denver submarining themselves with trades. But they are four games out with Phoenix and Memphis also between them and the playoffs. And by throwing the towel in, they save me from the humilation of watching my ex-hometown Spurs annihilate them (the Spurs were my team when I was there, with the Ice Man, Larry Kenon, Artis Gilmore, the Whopper, etc….but not after I drank from the fountain of The Dream!). The remainder of the team is not Clutch City, they would stand little chance against the rejuvenated Spurs.
So, thanks in large part to Yao Ming’s feet not being built like Shaq’s (how does Shaq survive for so long?), I’ll just be glad that the San Jose Sharks rebounded from a poor first half, just in time for another wild ride at the playoffs.
Growing up in San Antonio in the 1980s, my brother and I fell firmly into the Rock and Roll camp, versus those country and western afficiandos whose pickup trucks frequently ended up in ditches (or worse, at the kicker bars!).
But our tastes diverged. Bob, Tom, Dan and I were at every heavy metal concert, in line for Judas Priest, April Wine, AC/DC, UFO…pretty much any band that had two or more guitars and could be played loud. My brother was listening to RnR, but venturing more into the Pink Floyd sound…which I considered “the dark side”; it wasn’t country, but it wasn’t heavy metal.
Then he brought home an album with the back of a naked dude on the cover staring at a red star. I knew he’d lost it.
He then cranked up “Working Man” from All the World’s A Stage, and I was hooked. I even used some of the themes from their songs for my first fiction attempts in high school and college; the obsession had begun.
Thirty years later, the DVD release of Beyond the Lighted Stage not only goes through the band’s history and provides some excellent concert footage guaranteed to cause flashbacks, but it begs the question: why aren’t these guys in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Is it simply because they are Canadian? Their lyrics too complex? Their playing just too good? Waiting on their new album, Clockwork Angels, before you let them in?
The first DVD of the two DVD set walks through the history of the band, starting with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson’s school boy friendship as the kids who got beaten up through their latest endeavors. The documentary walks through their first contract, what drove them to replace their first drummer, John Rutsey, with Neil Peart and how Peart’s lyrics started them into the longer “saga” songs; how they went out on a limb with the concept album 2112 (the album my brother started with) against their label’s wishes but to the raves of fans; and an excellent segment on Hemispheres, my favorite Rush album, how complex and virtuoso each of their playing was on that album and all of their albums. It also taunts their fashion sense (or lack there of) and Geddy’s voice.
The list of things that Geddy’s voice sounds like:
The story finishes with the band taking a break as Peart, working through the death of his child and wife, takes off on his motorcycle, and ultimately rejoins the group (Note: Peart has written several books about his ride, good reading). There are great concert scenes all the way through (I did not glimpse me or my brother), including excellent Farewell to Kings tour footage and one of Peart pounding out “Tom Sawyer”.
The second DVD starts off with some longer segments from the first side (not outtakes, perhaps director’s cuts of scenes, like Geddy and Alex searching the school for the room where they played their first gig). But the jewels of the second DVD are the concert footage, especially the “Canadian Bandstand” footage of a very young Geddy, Alex and initial drummer John Rutsey cranking out “Best I Can” and “Working Man” while teen school kids from Laura Secord SS sit on their hands in the auditorium (from 1974)…priceless. A full jam of my favorite Rush song, “La Villa Strangiato” is included, along with “Between the Sun and Moon”, “Far Cry”, “Entre Nous”, “Bravado” and “YYZ” (with Geddy Lee ripping the bass while some dude takes clothes out of a dryer on stage?).
Put them in the RnR HOF. After all, as the DVD cover proclaims, “….Ranked third in consecutive gold or platinum albums after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones…”, they are with pretty heady company.
My not so secret obsession with Doc Savage comes fully out of the closet (where I keep the books!) with the “Who is Doc Savage? (A Doc Savage Primer)” on SFSignal.com. I’ve read most of the stories as a kid, and am in the midst of a re-read of the series.
The article discusses:
We are also planning:
After I read John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany (which is an outstanding read) several years ago, I went on an Irving reading rampage; I stopped because though the writing was exquisite, the stories had elements that repeated throughout.
That was several years ago. I read Last Night In Twisted River because my wife read it, and in her description it reminded me of why I liked Irving’s books: they take ordinary people, who have strange twists and turns in their lives, and follow them through life, love, loss and usually across America through time. unfortunately, it also has all of those elements that repeated throughout many of the previous Irving novels, making it repetitive and ultimately nothing new…which is why I stopped reading this author the last time.
Last Night in Twisted River is like that, following Danny Baciagalupo and his father Dominic through the years, starting when Danny is twelve and accidentally kills his father’s girlfriend, thinking she was a bear. The girlfriend, Injun Jane, also happens to be the local cop’s girlfriend as well. This starts a life a running and hiding for Danny and Dominic, aided by woodsman Ketchum, Dominic’s sometime friend and Danny’s protector…who was something a bit more to Danny’s wife than just a friend.
Thus starts a string of tragedies, common in the Irving books I have read, which seem to have an individual impacted by a multitude of horrible events. Tragedies, sex with older women, rants at the Vietnam war (and multiple ways to keep men out of the war), rants at America, people getting fingers, hands or arms cut off…and bears; all elements observed from other Irving novels (there is even mention in this book of using a similar method to that employed in Owen Meany to keep a young man out of Vietnam).
The story follows Danny and Dominic from Twisted River to Boston, to Iowa, Vermont and to Toronto, always hiding from the mean cop…or the thought that the cop will come after them. Irving’s descriptions of the scenary and the activities (in this case, cooking as Dominic is a cook) are a pleasure to read. And, as in the other novels, the ancilliary characters were quite interesting and well developed, as was Ketcham the woodsman. Danny becomes a famous writer, and Irving mentions interactions with some of the famous writers he learned from (the great Kurt Vonnegut) as being Danny’s.
But at the end of the book, I started skimming, as the story had similar plot lines to novels read before (though certain occurences at the end of the story (which I will not spoil) though difficult to believe, were new and different).
The Texas Independence Relay (TIR) is a 40 leg, 203 mile relay race with 8-12 people, from Gonzales, Texas to the San Jacinto Monument. It should take us (we hope) less than a day and a half of straight running, starting the morning of Saturday, March 5 and ending with what I am sure will be a well-beered celebration mid-day Sunday.
This is obviously all Bert’s fault, since he was the one who got me doing my first half-marathon (SA Half, 2009); or maybe I can blame this on my brother, the doctor and marathoner, who’s run Boston a couple of times and frequently extols the virtues of running.
As Bert knows due to my complaining after we pass mile ten, I still feel there is no good reason to run a half-marathon. But he still talks me into them..and into the TIR.
Our Team, named Most Likely to Secede, consists of twelve runners (more…)