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In Music

Assorted news from my musical world:

1. Honky Tonk Heroes – A great story by Jimmy Patterson about the life of Waylon Jennings, and the “outlaw” movement forged by Waylon and Willie that “changed the course of country music and redefined everything about it from how it was made to where it was played.”

2. The Local Scene – The newest House of Blues is set to open in Boston next weekend at the Landsdowne street address formerly occupied by the Avalon & Axis nightclubs. The new HoB will include a 2,400 capacity music hall, a restaurant, and a VIP lounge. The opening will mark a return to New England for the music chain, which first opened doors in Boston’s Harvard Square in 1992 and remained there until it closed in 2003. They plan to do about 300 shows a year.

3. Best New Album this Year (so far) – Speaking of the House of Blues, The Derek Trucks Band is set to play there on April 2. Derek Trucks released their latest album, Already Free, in January and I can’t say enough good things about it. There isn’t a note too many, nor one you could do without. From top to bottom, it’s a wholesome blend of soulful, bluesy, southern-rock infused good music. For the uninitiated, Derek Trucks is Allman Brothers progeny and one of the best guitarists alive today. For the initiated, don’t expect something similar to their last album, Songlines– this album is a departure from the jazz and world music influences on that album.

4. SadnessBilly Powell, the only keyboardist Lynyrd Skynyrd ever had, passed away on January 28th. “He was one of the best piano keyboardists, rock ‘n’ roll keyboardists, of our lifetime,” said Ross Schilling, the band’s manager. Hank Williams Jr. said: “I will truly miss Billy. We have all lost one of our best rowdy friends.” I like to think Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph all greeted him with “We’ve been waiting on you, welcome to the band.” R.I.P

5. Awesomeness – Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash

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Cutest Cupcake

Do you ever just think to yourself….”ME WANT COOKIES!” I’ve got a very large sweet tooth, so this is something that crosses my mind daily.

I saw this photo on Neatorama.com and think Cookie Monster makes the cutest cupcake ever!  cookie-monster-cupcake

The title pretty much says it all…I’m beyond frustrated right now, considering that I just wasted an hour putting together a blog post that I don’t have time to re-write. Grrrrr!!! Mr. Zelda Pimp has nothing to do with my original post, but he is all I’ve got to offer at the moment.

Zelda Pimp

The stimulus, if it is going to actually do anything productive, needs to be temporary, targeted, and timely. This bill is none of those things. Instead, it’s a disappointing, unfortunate product of fiercely partisan politics and the epitome of business-as-usual. And I’m sorry – honestly, because I wish it wasn’t true – but you can’t even make the argument that this is “change.”  It’s a massive permanent increase in government discretionary spending (pork) mascarading as economic stimulus. Ninety percent of the alleged stimulus is for special-interests and social programs that, however well intended, will not and cannot create economic growth. This thing is an albatross. Continue Reading »

Wingsuit Base Jumping

These guys are insane! My palms were sweating about 30 seconds into this thing. And how the hell did they manage to get some of this footage??

MoneyYou wouldn’t think so, but despite the fact that we’re in the midst of a big economic fart, people are still spending money on lots of things including games. Forbes.com recently compiled a list of the ten things we’re still buying despite our skinny wallets.

It is no surprise to me that video games are on the list. Video games actually saw a 14% increase in sales in 2008 (according to the Electronic Entertainment Design and Research Group). Games are a way for people to escape and have fun, so when you’ve just lost your job or your house, what better way to forget about those things for an hour than playing a game.

So, how else are we spending our meager moolah? Personal care (shaving cream, hairspray, etc.), other technology (smart phones and netbooks), gym memberships, movie tickets, restaurants, car maintenance, toy building sets (huh?) and dress casual shoes (shoes that can be worn at work and on the weekends).

P.S. – I’ve been involved with the New England Games and Interactive Entertainment Special Interest Group (MIT Enterprise Forum) since the fall and our next event is on March 3rd. The panel will actually discuss how the video game industry is being impacted by the economy. I’m looking forward to it.

Howard Beale (Network, 1976) shows us that sometimes anger – not laughter – is the best medicine. This is a great rant – articulate, cogent, and crazed all at once. It’s also remarkably applicable to now.