Monday, May 29, 2006

Remember Our Fallen Heroes

Photo by Allen Conant

Metallica: Post Some Kind of Monster

I have to say: seeing & hearing the live stuff that Metallica has done on their St. Anger tour (and beyond), I have to think they are absolutely at the top of their game. If they were an NBA team, I would say that they are hitting on all cylinders and going to take the title for sure.

To be sure, St. Anger was an extreme departure from anything that they had done before, no question about it. To my (guitarist) mind though, it also contained some of the coolest riffs they've done since ...And Justice For All. The lyrics? Well, certainly some of it came across sounding like they were spilling their guts out for all to witness (just like the movie)--for better or worse. I'm sure the kids that jumped on that 'tallica bandwagon when the Black album came out were suitably annoyed at this post-AlternicA awakening. No doubt many of them decided to drop them like a rock...

Oh well...

At any rate, they look & sound as good live as they ever have in their career. Hetfield actually looks like he's enjoying himself up there as opposed to wanting to kick the ass of the latest idiot to throw a water bottle on stage.

Yep. They are at the top of their game and I certainly expect them to "take it all" with their next album. I guarantee they will if they'll just let Kirk solo again! ;-)

If I could have my wish, it will be an amalgamation of the RtL + MoP sound & energy + the sophistication of arrangements found on ... And Justice For All. If nothing else at least give me a 2000-era version of RtL! 80's graphics and all notwithstanding! Hey, what do ya want, I am old school :-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Damone: An iTunes Promo That Worked!

Every once in a while on a friend's suggestion I will download the iTunes freebie of the week. Such was the case a few weeks ago...

Mostly, I have remained unimpressed (unfortunately). Finally though, something caught my ear. It was Damone's Out Here All Night.

Frankly, it rocked!

Next, I believe I heard the acoustic version of Out Here All Night--which in it's own right (properly equalized, etc.) should be released as it's own single, IMHO. It's stunning. I haven't felt that way about any 'new' music in a while--Rodrigo y Gabriela being the UNDENIABLE exception.

It did not take me long to find many of Damone's other (streaming/legal) offerings in the wild.

Most all of them rang "true" to my ear--meaning they sound like authentic songs from an authentic band--meaning--if you do not know what that means you need to start listening to music that was produced [at the very least] prior to the nineties. That will be as gracious as I can get for today kids. (Oh get over it! We all have to look to the past to grasp our future--figure that out now and maybe you will enjoy life quite a bit more later, ok? Find some old Led Zep while you still can, huh?)

Out Here All Night (I could'a, should'a, would'a wrote that! It ROCKS! The bridge (guitar) CRUNCH sounds reeeeeally nice! The breaks are right on. 'Dude, this song totally rocks man. Yeah, I know a chick is singing, but dude listen!... ' I can just hear it (circa 1980-something)! LOL, all the way to the bank with Damone! ROCK ON! YEAH! And, BTW this 'chick' is going to kick your butt while she's at it... Get this, she can ACTUALLY sing ROCK! :-)

What We Came Here For (guitar harmonies with the double-bass kickin' makes me smile!)

Now Is The Time (it doesn't get much more 80's rock for me then this, aside from the fact that the production is better! What did you all do, steal your parents LPs? :-)

On Your Speakers (weeeeeeak. What happened? Yes, the production is still there but man this is a weak song, sorry... Lita Ford and/or Bruce Dickinson would not be amused. I know I wasn't. Advice, FWIW: Do not play to the Jessica/Ashley Simpson crowd, pleeeeeease! It will NOT resonate with... anyone. You ROCK. Don't forget it. That doesn't mean you can't write a ballad of sorts--just make it rock while you are at it.)

So, ok, there is the review of a few of songs that I've heard so far. What did I do?

I bought the CD today online (Best Buy $6.99! ). I'll pick it up tomorrow, and at this point I am certain it will be a nice addition to my collection.

Sometimes internet marketing actually works. In this case the iTunes freebie worked as intended (although I'm sure they would rather you bought the whole album from them instead of elsewhere). In my case all of the recent purchases in music have come from finds on the internet.

Island Records has a winner with this one I believe. The band sounds great, the songs are fun, and it rocks!

Update: I have CD in hand. Mostly really cool rock. Some weaker material towards the middle of the album though. I had to laugh, Outta My Way has to be the tribute song of all time (if there ever were such a thing) to Poison. I was never a Poison fan myself, but I have to say Damone nails their particular style dead on in that song.

Their redition of Iron Maiden's Wasted Years is interesting. I will have to give it a few more listens though. Overall I think the album is well done and brings some elements back that we haven't heard in quite a while. It may sound like a contradiction but that is really refreshing. 3½ - 4 Warmoths at least.

Another reviewer had this to say, I think it sums it all up:
If Damone focuses there is no reason why they can't be very successful hard rock band. Their arena rock chops are there, but the mellow stuff creates a big distraction... Drop the Hatfield, add just a little more Hetfield and those questions will answer themselves.

Updated 24 May 2006: Condensed & quick review of the actual CD added. Larger album cover image added.
Updated 27 May 2006: Full album review added.
Updated 28 May 2006: Minor edits.
Updated 17 June 2006: Revised album review.
Updated 19 June 2006: Full album review gets it's own post--It just makes sense...

Ack! Waaaay Too Political!

Time to move my political thoughts to my other (insignificant) blog. To see my latest political rant see Reflexive Codex.

I think it's time to get back to GUITAR & general geekness over here...

PS I will still keep my IP law, patent, copyright rants on this one however, FWIW...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

AP On Immigration Double-Standards

There may yet be some hope for the mainstream media.

The Associated Press is picking up on the double-standards that Mexico has on immigrant issues:
Mexico works to bar non-natives from jobs
Associated Press

MEXICO CITY - If Arnold Schwarzenegger had migrated to Mexico instead of the United States, he couldn't be a governor. If Argentina native Sergio Villanueva, firefighter hero of the Sept. 11 attacks, had moved to Tecate instead of New York, he wouldn't have been allowed on the force.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies "xenophobic," Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I was initially leaning towards 'moderate' on the so-called illegal immigrant issue prior to all of the recent marches and demonstrations. I even sent my US Representative a note stating (more or less) as much.

Now that I have taken the opportunity to inform myself on the issues of Reconquista, etc. (which I never really would have been aware of without the marches/demonstrations--thank you) , my opinion or position on the matter has 'hardened' quite a bit (as you may have noticed in previous posts). It has changed so much that I am considering publishing the following as a T-Shirt. I know, the design may be lacking but the message IS clear--particularly for incumbents looking to maintain their seats [and the status quo] in Congress this fall. Here it is, for those that are interested:



I should say, before any accusations fly: I am positively not against anyone of any ethnicity, period. I am positively for the sovereignty of my nation (The United States of America) and it's (legal--as if there was any other kind) citizenry; and, their sovereign (there's that word again) RIGHT to govern themselves. Certainly Mexican Nationals (among all others) would agree, considering their own (extremely strict) immigration policies. With regards to the "Never Forget 9/11" message on the T-Shirt: It should be noted that there is a definitive connection between our lax immigration policies (and/or lack thereof) and the 9/11 tragedy, as Ms. Malkin makes perfectly clear in this video. Congress forgot somehow.

Here are key points from the PDF article linked above on Mexico's own policies. Mexico as a
sovereign nation certainly has the right to implement these laws whether I agree with them or not, here they are:
  • Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse.
  • Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights.
  • Immigrants are denied equal employment rights.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service.
  • Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
  • Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) and hand them to the authorities.
  • Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.
Maybe we should just leave Senator Kennedy's "virtual fence" where it belongs and implement some of the policies of our southern neighbor instead??

Members of Congress, Mr. President, with all due respect: I am not alone on this issue...

"Let's Roll."

Updated 19 May 2006: Minor edits for clarity.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Can Keep My Toyota After All!

20/20 reported last night that we are not, in fact running out of oil. Now that gasoline is hitting around the $3/gallon mark it will now be profitable enough for oil companies to extract it from the vast reserves found in the tar sands of Alberta Canada. Their expert claimed it contains enough hydrocarbon to supply the world for the next century.

Cool! I won't need to buy a hydrogen car (if they ever really develop one that I could afford anyway) and that should give us enough time to get all the nuclear power plants running that we could want/need. You go Canada!

We'll just have to get used to the fact that the end of cheap oil is upon us, although from the video, the tar sand extraction process doesn't look all that complicated. I'm sure it will get better & cheaper with time.

Another point made in the Stossel show last night, everyone is having fits claiming that the oil companies are price gouging, but let's be realistic here. Theirs is an extremely long term venture and most of the time it is a losing matter. When they finally can make a bit of money, they need to and quickly. Why? So they can stay in business to continue developing new sources of energy, drilling for more oil, alternative fuels, etc. If they don't make the money now when the prices are high, what's going to pay for R&D when what they have is gone?

I know, that executive with his outrageous windfall of millions doesn't seem to bear out this case and perhaps that needs to be looked at--but really folks, it takes money to stay in business. Think long term. Sure, you can keep yelling that oil companies "suck" but they go out of business, how are you getting to work? How are producers getting their products to market so you can buy them (i.e. FOOD)?

Sure it's a totally bogus socio-economic situation we live in. A house of cards that could quite easily tumble to the ground leaving us in a world of hurt, but eh? What can ya do?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Double Standards

Video Permalink

Ok, love him or hate him, at least listen to the whole thing before calling him names. His point was not surprising to me as I already knew that a double standard existed. Check out the video. Find out what it is.

Maybe foreign governments should take their own advice before trying to tell us what to do...

PS The Immigration Reform protestors really need to take their cause back from the Marxists/Socialists, leftists, and seditious/treasonous radicals who are demanding 'their land back'. Those guys are totally usurping the issue to further their own agendas. It is a real turn-off and doesn't help the real cause one single bit.

Monday, May 01, 2006

An Issue of Sovereignty

For the record, the interests of foreigners that are in my country illegally do NOT trump the interests of my nation's sovereignty.

I really could not care less where an illegal alien hails from originally, the interests of the United States, it's legal citizenry, and legal immigrants come FIRST.

Otherwise, their is no sovereignty. There is no government. There is no nation. Think about it...

Is that really what these 'protestors' want?

I have more friends of Hispanic descent then I do of any other ethnic origin. On this so-called day 'Without An Immigrant' protest, I don't know of a single one of my friends, or any of my co-workers (of Hispanic descent or otherwise) who a) even talked about the 'protests' or b) participated in any of them.

It is true, I don't know where all of my friends & coworkers (of Hispanic descent) stand on the illegal alien issue but I expect that they would pretty much agree with my initial statement: illegal alien rights do not trump OUR national sovereignty.

In my mind I have, and always will view all of my American friends exactly as I do myself--no matter their ethnic origins. That is, as American Citizens.


I believe that while each of us may truly love our own rich cultural heritage we view ourselves as precisely that: Citizens of the United States of America.