Thursday, May 29, 2008

God Bless You Patrick Swayze plus the law of Identity

I really hope he gets better. In the meantime I will take you through some of his movies and what I remember of them . I will also take this piece in directions that surprise even me.

1987 Dirty Dancing was huge . I spoke to women who admitted seeing it ten times. Like the feminine equivalent of This is Spinal Tap. It happens to have one of the most ridiculous scenes in any movie. The climax dance scene with the signature song Time of My Life. Song does not even attempt to fit into the era and yet that's what worked. I think at that moment Cecil B. De Mille was rolling in his grave. Some will admit it and some won't but we all know the truth , Patrick Swayze's butt gave this movie the must repeat chick appeal.

Roadhouse. Comical premise . It's almost like everybody knew in 1988 that Cocktail was a dumb premise but somebody out there tried to out dumb it. Guys we need you to make an even dumber premise. Two years later voila. Roadhouse. I can't find proof of this anywhere on the web but his character graduated with a major in Philiosophy from Harvard , drove a Benz and was a bar bouncer. The late Jeff Healey is in it.

The surprise hit Ghost. Something about the notion of Swayze's spirit taking over Whoopi's body kept me awake nights.

Red Dawn. The Soviets take over the US and teenagers resist them . I would have loved to have seen the studio pitch for that one. Charlie Sheen's first movie.

And of course my favorite Uncommon Valor. It's bascially a more realistic version of the Rambo premise and came out two years earlier. Vietnam vets go back in to rescue those still in the camps in the early 80's. There is a scene there I just find very profound. And I am not being sarcastic.

The team is training in preperation. Everybody there all served in the same unit. Except Swayze's character. They all get pissed at him thinking he has some guy who has never been there. They don't take him seriously . Then the Randall Cobb character starts beating him up . But Swayze never gives up. He will never leave the mission. Then it's explained his dad is missing in Vietnam. Then the team takes him in .

Make sure you read the Law of Identity powerpoint based on John Maxwell then watch that scene from Uncommon Valor. You might learn something.


The Tao of Swayze

072407_roadhouse.jpgRoadhouse will screen at the Somerville Theatre at midnight on Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 29. It will also screen Monday, July 30, at 7:30 pm.

Cult classic Road House, featuring Patrick Swayze as a philosophy-spouting bouncer, is running at the Somerville Theater this weekend. Why is Road House, made in 1989, so much better than other action flicks of the '80s?

Swayze's collected, Zen demeanor in many of his movies led the Onion AV Club to christen him "The Swayze." To reveal why Swayze is a thinker for the modern age, here's a quiz. You pick which line is Swayze, as the bouncer Dalton in Road House, Sun Tzu, or Socrates:

1. "The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim."

2. "People who really want to have a good time won't come to a slaughterhouse."

3. "Nobody ever wins a fight."

4. "Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence."

5. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."

6. "All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. And three, be nice."

7. "To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting."

8. "Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires."

9. "To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know."

10. "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice."

Image of Road House poster from Wikipedia. Answers after the jump! Is it Socrates, Sun Tzu, or Swayze?

1. "The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim." – Sun Tzu

2. "People who really want to have a good time won't come to a slaughterhouse."--Swayze

3. "Nobody ever wins a fight." –Swayze

4. "Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence." – Socrates

5. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." – Sun Tzu

6. "All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. And three, be nice." --Swayze

7. "To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting." – Sun Tzu

8. "Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires." – Socrates

9. "To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know." – Socrates

10. "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice." –Swayze

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tito Jun Vargas' funeral

I can't believe it's been six days since the horrible news. A week ago none and I mean none of us ever dreamed we'd be here.

Pictures :

1) My dad doing one of the 10 or 11 eulogies today.

2) wider shot of the funeral but there were more people not captured from where I took the shot.

3) Bookmark giveaway. I forgot the origins of the poem but I am sure one of my Vargas cousins will read this and fill in the blanks.

4) & 5) Tito Jun April 20 2005.

What more can you ask of someone than what was all said about Tito Jun? I knew them to be true. My dad was amazed in his eulogy how he could seamlessly discuss his faith and his love for Mac computers. Everyone was exceptionally saddened by his loss , yet they all mentioned how they are confident that this good soul is up in Heaven . My dad relayed a story how he could call his busy aunt on her birthday using Tito Jun as a conduit. He felt we can get God's attention via a similar route.

I would have loved to have quoted each and every speaker from today and a few from Saturday and Sunday. But I am on the wrong side of forty as you guys may know. I admire his son Tonito for being composed enough to say what he said. How generous his dad was of himself to so many people. My Aunt Ginny brought up an excellent point that her husband's generosity had her bewildered since he was always demonstrating that generous spirit and sharing it with the people he described. She did doubt where she fit in but now she knows. She would say how the last few days she would come in the place where the wake is held and tell him "Now you're all mine".

I will end this by talking about Tito Mae. He and Tita Agnes have hosted me in their home numerous times in Bacolod. Over dinner he is a great story teller and I am glad to have been there for three of his public speeches. 1) Tita Vicky's funeral (April 2006). 2) Day 2 of the wake (May 24 08) 3) today's eulogy

He agreed with what everybody said. Then he kept it very simple. He was Tito Jun's classmate since they were in short pants as well as his first cousin. For a lot of their lives, they either lived in the same house, next door or a block away. Since Tito Jun was young , Tito Mae described him with three simple adjectives. "Humble, kind and honest. If we were all like that, this country would be in better shape"

Tito Jun's time on earth June 19 , 1951 - May 22 ,2008.

What anyone puts into that hyphen (-) is up to them. Based on what I heard today and what I know myself about Tito Jun, I wish my hyphen will be 5 % as good.

Hollywood Obit

I was just thinking of him 10 minutes before I read this. Maybe because of Tito Jun's funeral later I thought of Johnny Sack in the Sopranos when he was in the prison hospital ward, wedding etc. No logical reason to connect the two except they saw their kids get married shortly before they passed on. Nobody ever accused my brain of acting logically. Anyway thought of Sydney since he was a fellow prisoner of John Sacrimoni who happened to be a doctor.

(George is talking on the phone as Michael enters)
George: (into phone) Hang on one second. (punches phone button; to Michael) Michael, would you wait outside, please? I'm talking to the coast.
Michael: This is a coast, too, George, New York is a coast, too.
George: (miffed) Okay. (punches button again; into phone) Sy, are you - Sy? Sy? God - (to Michael) Look what you did. (pushes other button) Margaret? Margaret, get him back, will you? I cut myself off. (hangs up phone) Now what is it, Michael?


By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press Writer 13 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay who achieved commercial success and critical acclaim with the gender-bending comedy "Tootsie" and the period drama "Out of Africa" while often dabbling as a television and movie actor, has died. He was 73.

Pollack died of cancer Monday afternoon at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, said publicist Leslee Dart. Pollack had been diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago, said Dart.

Pollack, who occasionally appeared on the big screen himself, worked with and gained the respect of Hollywood's best actors in a long career that reached prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act," George Clooney said in a statement from his publicist.

"He'll be missed terribly," Clooney said.

Last fall, he played law firm boss Marty Bach opposite Clooney in "Michael Clayton," a drama that examines the life of fixer for lawyers. The film, which Pollack co-produced, received seven Oscar nominations, including for best picture and a best actor nod for Clooney. Tilda Swinton won the Oscar for supporting actress.

Pollack was no stranger to the Academy Awards. In 1986, "Out of Africa" a romantic epic of a woman's passion set against the landscape of colonial Kenya, captured seven Oscars, including best director and best picture.

In accepting his Oscar, Pollack commended Meryl Streep, who was nominated for best actress but didn't win.

"I could not have made this movie without Meryl Streep," Pollack said. "She is astounding — personally, professionally, all ways."

Over the years, several of his other films, including "Tootsie" and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" got several nominations, including best director nods.

The list of actors he directed reads like a who's who of Hollywood A-listers: Sally Field and Paul Newman in "Absence of Malice," Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in "The Interpreter," Robert Mitchum in "The Yakuza," Tom Cruise in "The Firm," Robert Redford in "Three Days of the Condor," and Redford and Barbra Streisand in "The Way We Were," and other big-name actors in other films.

"Having the opportunity to know Sydney and work with him was a great gift in my life," Field said in a statement. "He was a good friend and a phenomenal director and I will cherish every moment that I ever spent with him."

In later years, he devoted more time to acting, appearing in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives," Robert Altman's "The Player," Robert Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her," and Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut."

His last screen appearance was in "Made of Honor," a romantic comedy currently in theaters, where he played the oft-married father of star Patrick Dempsey's character.

Pollack had an occasional recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace" playing Will's (Eric McCormack) father, and also appeared in the "The Sopranos," "Frasier" and "Mad About You."

Pollack also produced many independent films with filmmaker Anthony Minghella, who died in March, and the production company Mirage Enterprises. His recent producing credits include "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold Mountain."

The Lafayette, Ind. native was born to first-generation Russian-Americans. In high school in South Bend, he fell in love with theater, a passion that prompted him to forego college and move to New York and enroll in the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater.

Studying under Sanford Meisner, Pollack spent several years cutting his teeth in various areas of theater, eventually becoming Meisner's assistant.

"We started together in New York and he always excelled at everything he set out to do, his friendships and his humanity as much as his talents," said Martin Landau, a longtime close friend and associate in the Actors Studio, through spokesman Dick Guttman.

After appearing in a handful of Broadway productions in the 1950s, Pollack turned his eye to directing — where he would ultimately leave his biggest mark.

"Sydney let the dialogue and the emotion of a scene speak for itself. Not given to cinematic tricks, his gentle and thoughtful touch and his focus on the story let us inhabit the world he created in each film," said Michael Apted, president of the Directors Guild of America.

In the "The Interpreter," that world was the United Nations. The first feature film to be shot inside the U.N., Pollack had never been inside the Manhattan landmark until starting work on the film in 2004.

"I am ashamed to admit that I went to school here in New York. I got married here, I worked here, I walked by this building a thousand times," he told reporters. "I had never been inside it until the first location scouting trip, and I was awed by it."

Pollack, who stood over six feet tall and had a striking presence on the screen, never totally gave up acting.

"Most of the great directors that I know of were not actors, so I can't tell you it's a requirement," he said. "On the other hand, it's an enormous help."

At the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, Pollack said "Tootsie" star Dustin Hoffman pushed the director into playing the actor's exasperated agent.

Pollack said Hoffman repeatedly sent him roses with a note reading, "Please be my agent. Love, Dorothy." At that point, Pollack hadn't acted in 20 years.

In the 1982 movie, Hoffman plays an out-of-work actor who pretends to be a woman to land a role on a soap opera.

"I didn't think anyone would believe him as a woman," Pollack said. "But the world did, they went crazy."

Pollack is survived by his wife, Claire; two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel; his brother Bernie; and six grandchildren.Pollack's son, Steven, died in a plane crash in 1993.


Associated Press writer Marcus Franklin in New York contributed to this report.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Previous Week In Jokes May 17

Jokes can say a lot about a society besides what it finds funny. It can say what it takes for granted. It can say what is not sacred. They can talk about current issues. Like below. I did not understand Senator Edwards joke so I had to look it up. Link immediately below. The 3AM joke is reference to negative ad Clinton put out to prove Obama not being worthy of big issues like national defence.

I transcribed the jokes below from ABC's This Week which I listen to on my Ipod weekly. Ed (edwards two Americas)


"Hillary Clinton's campaign right now, three million dollars in debt. So now when she gets that 3AM call, it's from a collection agency. "- David Letterman

"In a recent speech Barack Obama made a mistake, saying that he visited all 57 states. After hearing this Pres. Bush said ' Ha ha he forgot Alaska and Hawaii'". Conan O Brien

"Sen. John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama for Presisdent of the U.S. WOW! He is going to need more than two Americas to hide from Hillary Clinton "

"While he was in Israel President Bush launched a political attack on Barack Obamahe . I guess he attacked him over there so he does not have to attack them over here. "- Jay Leno

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tito Jun courtesy of Angela Vargas


Angela says it so much better than I can. I will say more later on.


"Angel Soriano Vargas Junior"-May 22, 2008

I woke up at 8:30am the other morning and after around 10 minutes my dad comes running to our room shouting "You better pray for tito Jun! their trying to revive him!", "Who tit JUn?!" manang and i said, Our Tito Jun was the last person we'd ever think of. "Tito JUn! My brother tito jun! My brother! He might be dead!".. I was in shock, i didn't know how to react to it... manang Ina just grabbed her pillow and started crying... Then everyone in Pili starts going out of their rooms and gathering in the terrace, they all start to talk about the bad news they hear. I was in the room with my dad, phones were buzzing right to left that he was being revived for about an hour already.. Then my dad gets a call and all i see is his face going down "Manong JUn passed away?"... I couldn't believe it... He was pronounced dead...

Then i started remembering everything about him... he was the only uncle i felt really close to. He was my partner here in Pili when Martina would be out. He'd show me everthing great about his iphone! He was so funny, He'd show it to me and say "o, do u have this viedo? Look at this! Look what my phone can do!"... You guys have to check out this r year old Korean kid in Youtube who sings "Hey Jude!" in his pampers, he's irresistably cute! Thanks tito for sharing all those funny videos with me and all those "Dancing with the Stars" videos... Thank you for telling me and beleiving in me that i could dance like them though i actually can't... He'd let me play games in his phone when he'd have nothing to do, the Parking Lot game! that was so fun!.. I'd remembber how his fat little fingers would stretch showing me how he'd zoom in and zoom out stuff in his phone... He even made me chek my multiply in his phone but it was funny coz' the pictures were all over the place and you couldn't understand anything... hahaha! anyways, thank you tito...

We in Pili will always remember him as that very cheerful person who'd walk into you and pinch you really hard and bight your shoulder then would ask "Where's your Papa or Where's your Mama? How are they?!"...

One thing i'd never forget about him was that time in Bacolod when i called him up. Tito Jun is my neighbor in Bacolod eh so i called him and said "Tito! i broke my dad's mac! pls come over and fix it... i'm so scared of him. he's not gonna be home till tonight pa naman." Without any hesitation he came to the house. After like 5 minutes i see him coming in in his collared shirt, black pants with his phone attatched to his belt.. i bring him up to the attic and with his experties he fixed the computer... then he asks me "you have water? Can i have Pancit Canton?" hahahahah! so i gave it to him... funny how good he is when it comes to fixing apple products but u give him a PC he can't fix it... Thank you for fixing the mac tito..

As i was remembering all these i just hugged my pillow really tight and cried.. I went out with my big puffy eyes and everyone was wondering why i was crying really hard i just said "he's dead"... everyone started crying, we were all wondering why ddnt he tell anyone he was suffering already? Why did he die alone? No Vargas was in Bacolod when it happened.. We were all here.. Everyone was worried how to break it to Lola.. Lola has tried to loosing her own dad, husband, a son, and a grand son.. it was to heart breaking to tell her... not very long she came out of her room clueless on what has been happening for the past 30 minutes... She comes out saying.. "O sino da sinyu gusto magamit sang auto ko?" nobody answered.. everyone crying was trying to hide. Then she says" ano na ang ginamo!? ano ni? Ano natbo".. and that was it... my dad told her.. she was so kawawa... we all just embraced her eally tight and once in awhile would call the nurse Cevrin to check her BP... It was so sad... Everyone was hurrying to catch a flight and booking reservations just to fetch him and bring him here to Manila. too bad the nxt flightw as still at 4 but thanks to lolo oscar they were able to get a private plane.

Martina and I had to leave the house. We had to go to our "SANTA CRUZAN PRACTICE" when we really didn't want to go... I was suppose to be Reyna Emepretris and Matina, Reyna Elena... We had no choice coz' our parents forced us into it. It's this annual thing they do in Forbes every year wherein we were to ride the kalesa and bla bla bla... anyways, good thing while we were there tita inday had us pulled out because we were supposed to fly home to bacolod for tito jun. As Martina and i were waiting for the car, i was still in tears then Martina and i were saying, "i'll do the santa cruzan any day to get back tito jun".

We got home to Forbes and the cars were lining up in the house, so many drivers were outside. The house was soo full.. Eveyone was there comforting each other and most of all lola.

Tito Jun was a great man, a great father, son and friend. He was so close to God. i love him soo much. Until now many of us still can't believe he's dead. It was just so sudden.

My dad, Tita Ginny, manong ton and manang kina, tita risa, tito vincent and tita tina arrived the next day still wearing the same clothes. they had to stay in bacolod for one day coz' their were so many people who wanted to pay their respects. It's just so over whlmeing to hear that so many people were touched by tito jun, he was a really great man. My dad was saying nga "Manong jun was like a politician, the cars were all the way from carmelites to robinsons... daming tao!"... he was greatly loved, he touched so many lives...Haaaaaaai tito jun, why so soon?

It was so sad to see his lifeless body for the first time. His hands were so white, but you know he looked very gwapo, he's actually smiling. I just can't help but cry eveytime i approach his coffin and i see his chubby face, i start missing his painful "kusi" and his iphone!... haaaaaaaai tito jun...

i'm just so happy we were able to spend a lot of time together in Subic a week ago. He left us a lot, he was actually the one who fixed my sisters mac and she found videos he left in it which he actually made himself. it's about God, he made his own video. It's so nice, he even left manang ina blank dvd's which are now being used to reproduce copies of the video he made... so smart of you tito! I'm also so happy i was able to get a picture with him before he left, it's so funny pa coz' i look so stupid in it but i don't care... what's importanat was that i was with him... I'm so lucky, we have the same name! I'm ANGELA and he's ANGEL! It's so funny also coz' since were neighbors people mistaken his grabage can outside his house that says "AV" as mine! hahahhaha! haaaaaaaaaaai tito....

Tito Jun, you're greatly missed! We miss all your "Kusi!!", why did you have to leave without any of us around? why so soon?... Anyways, thank you for everything you've shared with us. We're happy we now have 3 angels to look over us, YOU, LOLO TOTO and TITO LING.. We love you tito....

Thanks for taking time to read this... please continue to pray for him and his family. I'm actually getting ready coz' us cousins are gonna fetch Manang Issey( from Florence) in the airport at around 1:30 and Manang Elley (from Autralia) later at 4:00, it's gonna be a long day today. Today is his 3rd day. Pls pray for her and Manang Elley, they havn't seen their dad in a long time and it's gonna be really hard for them.

Continue praying for their family and our whole family most especially for Lola Mameng and his brothers and sisters who are still having a really hard time.


For those of you who know tito jun and are in Manila, masses are at the Santuario SAn Antonio, 12noon and 7pm... He will be crimated on Monday and his funeral will be on Tuesday.

God Bless!!!

statement of our times in 1979

Once in a while it's Deja Vu all over again. This was released in 1979 but it might as well be today if all you did was read headlines in between frequent stops at the pump. Check out the lyrics . The Kinks may not crack my top 10 but with all the music I love it's no slight. Might as well read up on them from people that know more than me.


Gallon of Gas From Low Budget

I've been waiting for years to buy a brand new cadillac

But now that I've got one I want to send it right back

I can't afford the gas to fill my luxury limousine

But even if I had the dough no one's got no gasoline

I went to my local dealer to see if he could set me straight

He said there's a little gas going but I'd have to wait

But he offered some red hot speed and some really high grade hash

But a gallon of gas can't be purchased anywhere for any amount of cash

I can score you some coke and some grade one grass

But I can't get a gallon of gas

I've got some downers some speed all the drugs that you need

But I can't get a gallon of gas

There's no more left to buy or sell

There's no more oil left in the well

A gallon of gas can't be purchased anywhere

For any amount of cash

I love your body-work, but you're really no use

How can I drive you when I got no juice?

Because it's stuck in neutral and my engine's got no speed

And the highways are deserted

and the air smells unnaturally clean.

It's got power-assisted overdrive and carpets on the floor,

but it's parked out front just like a dead dinosaur.

And I'll be paying off the bank for 45 years or more.

It should go 100 miles an hour,

but it's never moved away from my door.

Who needs a car and a seven-forty-seven

When you can't buy a gallon of gas

Who needs a highway, an airport or a jet

When you can't get a gallon of gas

There's no more left to buy or sell

There's no more oil left in the well

A gallon of gas can't be purchased anywhere

For any amount of cash

You can't buy a gallon of gas


Apart from a tiny handful of big international hits like 'Lola',

the Kinks spent the most part of the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's in virtual oblivion. Once the Internet started transforming the progressive part of the planet into one global village, though, it suddenly turned out that practically every pop-music-related site of serious merit thinks it his duty to include a little personal shrine to these guys. The Kinks are not esoteric knowledge - that honour should probably go to someone like the Frogs or the United States of America (the band, I mean, not the country) - but theirs is a weird phenomenon nevertheless, as most people fall into one of the two categories: (a) those who have never even heard the name and (b) those who consider the band to be among the top ten all-time musical greats of the XXth century, if not the greatest band to ever exist. There's precious little in between, and I'm not sitting on the fence either, firmly joining group (b).Yes, the Kinks were phenomenal; they just had a nasty history of doing the right things at the wrong time, and just as often doing the wrong things at the right time. In terms of invention and experimentation their most creative period happened to fall upon the early years of 1964-66, yet whenever they tried something new, somebody "better equipped" would always run in front of them and do it (or pretend that he did it) better, be it The Beatles or the Who. And when the Kinks finally settled into a groove that was practically impossible for anybody to recreate on the same level - that is, created an absolutely unique musical style of Brit-pop which NOBODY could pull off with the same effectiveness - they did it in defiance of the musical fashion of the times, which led to their being basically written off as dull British pop freaks. C'est la vie - if you choose to ignore the trends, it's fruitless to expect immediate rewards.


One of the joys that we constantly experience here at MusicTAP is the ability to review reissues of our old favourites from ‘back in the day’. We get to hear fresh reproductions of past gems and get to review them just like we wished we could then. In this case, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs’ SACD/DSD reissue of The Kinks’ 1979 gold album, Low Budget, in stereo and with no multichannel interference. I’m not prejudiced against multi channels but there is a place for it. You may remember as I do, when we dropped the tone arm and was able to hear our favourite music. We were entranced by what the combined workings of the turntable, stylus, and speakers yielded. That was vinyl and we loved it. This, folks, is SACD, and the love begins all over again.

The recognition of The Kinks and their music by having some of their important albums remastered using DSD technology in a time where the format is still in it’s infancy speaks clearly for the band’s output.

The Kinks have a resiliency that has supported them well for several decades. From "You Really Got Me" to "Lola" to their hits infused Arista release, Low Budget..and forward, The Kinks have produced a wide bodied collection of music. Whether you’re a Kinks fan or not, it’s difficult to dismiss the lively quality of their songs. I had occasion to play this disc for a friend of mine. This friend doesn’t go out of his way to acquire music in any fashion. However, he really enjoyed the album. If he were a buyer he would pick this up which states volumes on the appeal of the music despite its age.

Unfortunately, while The Kinks are recognized for their output, that recognition is not a vast one. Never mind the fact that two of their songs are cemented classics. They’ve floated in and out of public awareness over the course of time. With Low Budget, they put another foot on the rung. The mainstay of the band, Ray Davies, worked hard to create catchy songs and this album is full of them being the significant fruit of arduous reworks. When all was said and done, Low Budget produced 11 strong tracks with an interesting mix of styles. From that mix were generated several singles including "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" with its disco treatment and "Pressure" which fuses a new wave sound with surf music.

As you move from track to track, you get as many styles as could be crammed between the grooves of a vinyl disc back in the late 70s. Of course, many of you reading this review are already aware of what I’m talking about. That’s the allure of The Kinks and the draw of this album. And for the very reasons that you purchased this album back then, you should purchase this Mobile Fidelity release.

The sound has been revitalized by the procedures of Mo-Fi’s Ultradisc UHR Gain2 with DSD to instill back into the recording the vibrancy lost to CD and digital replication. Using the original masters, Mo-Fi reworked a classic into an awe-inspiring playback classic that you can revisit in its original intent for years to come. The disc is supplied in both PCM version and SACD’s DSD quality to create a hybrid and therefore transportable from house to other methods of playback.

With an extraordinary capture of sound depth and quality, Low Budget regains its voice as a document of the era that spawned it. DSD sharpens the clarity and presents an undeniably enjoyable playback experience. This disc is so good that it even sounds great on my PC speakers. Imagine how well the SACD layer sounds...yeah, that good. The vocal tracks reveal a crisp and clear playback as do the instruments. In a word, fantastic.

The added bonuses of this disc are three additional tracks. There is a US single extended version of "A Gallon of Gas", a subject that is as valid today in ’03 as it was in 1979. There is an original extended version of "Catch Me Now I’m Falling" and a disco mix (inevitable given the already disco sound of the song) extended version of "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman".

This set provides an essay written by Rob Gillis who pays much closer attention to the band than I do here. Additionally, there are lyrics with cool photos of bygone days, notably the once essential singles.

I have hope that Mobile Fidelity revisits more of the Kinks’ Arista/RCA catalog. I also hope that Mobile Fidelity can acquire rights to other Arista catalogue like Lou Reed’s Street Hassle (to begin with) and The Grateful Dead’s Arista output.

If you are a Kinks fan, particularly of Low Budget and Everybody’s in Showbiz, Mo-Fi’s other SACD offering, then you cannot go wrong in acquiring these titles. I’m hard to please where music is concerned but I know what I like. And I like this issue.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama from his own mouth you decide

I never understand people who get enraged by comments from somebody else when names are not mentioned. Recently George W.Bush and Senator John McCain seemed to totally piss off Obama and the Democrats with that very technique. They described an action not even a specific person and it seemed to hit the mark. Please read the CNN story below of the Jerusalem incident then the link to Obama's own website. Please tell me if you see a connection or not between Bush describing an action and what is stated in Obama's plan for Iran. As someone once said "I resemble that remark". It sure as hell was not Obama. It sure as heck is not change I believe in.


  • Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

    JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Democrats on Thursday condemned President Bush's insinuation that they would be appeasing terrorist states by holding talks, with one going so far as to call his remarks "bulls**t."


    President Bush called the idea of negotiating with terrorists a "foolish delusion."

    Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that if the president disagrees so strongly with the idea of talking to Iran, then he needs to fire his secretaries of state and defense, both of whom Biden said have pushed to sit down with the Iranians.

    "This is bulls**t. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement," he said.

    "He's the guy who's weakened us. He's the guy that's increased the number of terrorists in the world. His policies have produced this vulnerability the United States has." Video Watch more of Biden's comments »

    Biden later told Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Thursday that he didn't mean to use a curse word.

    "I shouldn't have used that word. I came off the elevator and was confronted with what had happened, and I responded. ... I should have just said 'malarkey,' but the essence of what I was saying is absolutely accurate. This is outrageous."

    Don't Miss

    The president, at Israel's 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem, suggested that some Democrats were acting in the same way some Western leaders did when they appeased Hitler in the runup to World War II.

    "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is: the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history," he said while speaking to Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

    He called it a "foolish delusion" to think the U.S. can negotiate with terrorists.

    Biden later asked, "Since when does this administration think that if you sit down, you have to eliminate the word 'no' from your vocabulary?"

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, called on Bush to "explain the inconsistency between his administration's actions and his words today."

    "Not surprisingly, the engineer of the worst foreign policy in our nation's history has fired yet another reckless and reprehensible round," he said in a statement.

    White House officials denied Obama was a target of Bush's remarks. But privately, White House aides indicated the criticism was aimed at various Democrats, including Obama and former President Jimmy Carter.

    Discussing the remark, White House Counselor Ed Gillespie told reporters Friday, "We did not anticipate that it would be taken" as a slam against Obama "because it's kind of hard to take it that way if you look at the actual words of the president's remarks, which are consistent with what he has said in the past relative to dealing with groups like Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda, relative to standing by Israel, relative to concerns about Iran developing the prospect of a nuclear weapon."

    Gillespie side-stepped a question about whether the president believes Obama is advocating negotiating with terrorists and radicals. He said the White House wants to stay out of the presidential campaign.

    "The president is stating American policy and his policy toward Iran and toward Hezbollah and toward al Qaeda," said Gillespie, adding, "We are happy to allow for Senator Obama and others to express their own points of view on these things."

    Doubts about Obama with Jewish Americans were stoked by Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election, when he recently charged that Obama is the favored candidate of Hamas.

    Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist group that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

    Obama last week called the Hamas allegation a "smear" and lashed out Thursday at Bush's speech in Israel.

    "It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack," Obama said in a statement released to CNN by his campaign.

    "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel," Obama's statement said. Video Watch the Obama camp's response to Bush »

    According to Obama's Web site, he favors "tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions, and is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe."

    He does not favor talks with Hamas, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who leaves later Thursday on a bipartisan congressional trip to Israel, said there is a "protocol" of not criticizing the president when he is abroad, but then declared, "I think what the president did in that regard is beneath the dignity of the office of president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel."

    She and Howard Dean, the Democratic Party chairman, called on McCain to denounce the comment. Video Watch more of Pelosi's comments. »

    McCain declined to do so Thursday, instead criticizing Obama's willingness to talk to the president of Iran.

    "It is a serious error on the part of Sen. Obama that shows naiveté and inexperience and lack of judgment to say that he wants to sit down across the table from an individual who leads a country who says that Israel is a stinking corpse," McCain said.

    The Bush administration held three rounds of discussions with Iran about security in Iraq last year, including two at the ambassadorial level, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that Washington needed to "figure out a way to develop some leverage ... and then sit down and talk with" Iran.

    Bush largely focused his speech in Jerusalem on highlighting the American-Israeli partnership. He said the alliance between the two governments is "unbreakable."

    Bush said the United States and Israel are locked in an ideological struggle with radicals in the Middle East, using the speech to tie al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

    "That is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the 'elimination' of Israel," Bush said. "That is why the followers of Hezbollah chant 'Death to Israel, Death to America!' That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that 'the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.' And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map."


    Bush then made his transition to Obama and other Democrats without naming names, raising the specter of the Holocaust to make his point.

    "As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century," the president said.

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    CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

  • The Road To OZ and the Quest for What You Want and Need

    Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were all going down the Yellow Brick Road. They finally met with the wonderful Wizard of Oz.They each make their plea to the powerful wizard.

    Dan Quayle " I want a brain".

    Newt Gingrich " I want a heart !"

    Bill Clinton "I want Dorothy!"

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    This Week in Jokes May 10 2008

    Jokes can say a lot about a society besides what it finds funny. It can say what it takes for granted. It can say what is not sacred. They can talk about current issues. Like below. More than a decade after Paula Jones etc . Bill Clinton skirt chasing is still fair game for comedians. As well as the US staying in Iraq and the daily rising price of gas. I transcribed the jokes below from ABC's This Week which I listen to on my Ipod weekly. Just dawned on me this morning I can milk this stuff for blog entries.


    "Hillary Clinton barely won my home state of Indiana and she lost in the state of North Carolina but here's the good news: she has a substantial lead in the state of Denial."

    - David Letterman

    "Jenna Bush is getting this married this weekend. Congratulations Jenna!! But, she did not sign a prenup (agreement) .

    Apparently the (Bush) family does not believe in exit strategies"- Craig Ferguson

    "This Sunday's Mothers Day. If you have not gotten your mom a gift yet . You can't go wrong with a gallon of gasoline. "

    Jay Leno

    Former President Clinton gave a campaign speech for Hillary while standing on the back of a pickup truck. Like all speeches Bill Clinton gives on the back of a pickup truck it began " You have Beautiful Eyes. "

    Conan O'Brien

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    The Album or Music Appreciation 101 with Bob Lefsetz

    The Album. Let me get into Andy Rooney Curmudgeon mode again sonny. Ok so I am a fossil. I remember days without the Internet , Cd's and MTV. In terms of MTV that was a good thing. You see for me music was at its best listening to an album where what was on it was exactly what the artist intended. I don't mean greatest hits or movie soundtracks or compilations. I mean a real album where the tracks were recorded by the same people, written by the same people and sometimes at the same time and place. This whole idea of "hits" for the masses who had short attention span and did not know music. Usually for these masses , music had to be trojan horsed via some other medium like a movie or music videos. You see the album was not enough if you were not a hard core music fan.
    I'll give you an idea. My mom loves stuff like Everly Brothers and Ventures and stuff popular during her high school years. I have to admit I would not be the music junkie I am now since I was introduced and still appreciate stuff like Bacharach and Tchaikovsky from her.
    But for her the seventies did not happen. Eleven years ago when Princess Diana died she had to ask me if Elton John was a pop singer. Whether or not you were hip to music , Elton was a celeb that was all over the place in the 70's and 80''s. Yet in 1997 it took a trojan horse of Diana's funeral to get my mom to know he existed.
    Anyway this whole idea of listening to an artist's original album is actually something I feel passionate about. Which means this won't be the last time you will hear me talk about it. Bob below captures a lot of what I know and feel.

    Anyway before this becomes War and Peace. Just know that a good / great / classic album is one that totally proves the concept of the "whole being more than the sum of the parts" or totally explains the concept of "synergy".

    Think of a real album like your favorite movie. You would never remove scenes or rearrange the order of the scenes. It would ruin the flow . Well I am here to tell you, the generation raised on MTV and one hit wonders that these things exist in music form.

    And when experienced without MTV you are truly at the mercy of the musical artist ( which is a great thing) and not some "creative director " and their interpretation of the song. You have your own. What a concept!

    If any one should question why I don't appreciate much music produced in the 90's and beyond, just tell me the good albums I missed in the same context I described. Something you can listen to again and again in it's entirety. No compilations or greatest hits . Just one artist and an original album. Enjoy Bob's piece below



    Don't make an album. And whatever you do, don't send it to me! I don't have time. And neither does anybody else. Except for your hard core fan base. Assuming you've got one. And they might not even be interested either.

    The album was a moneymaker. Let's string together 10 or 12 tracks so we can charge more. That's why the labels' enabling of iTunes/Amazon/Wal-Mart to sell singles is a death wish. You get one-tenth the money! It would be like buying a car wheel by wheel. Worse. Being able to buy a car for $1000. Manufacturers want to load your automobile up with gadgets, so you'll pay a high price, so they can make a lot of money! Labels can't pay their bills at a buck a track.

    And maybe you can't either. Which is why you need a career.

    How do you garner new fans? By selling them sixty minutes of music? No, through the single! One track!

    Sure, the Beatles turned the paradigm upside down and made the album an art form unto itself, releasing "Rubber Soul" in the U.S. with no singles whatsoever. But that was forty years ago. Today albums are endless productions, over sixty minutes long, that everyone gave up listening to prior to the Napsterization of the music business, back in the nineties, when they realized albums only had one good track. They had to purchase the album to get it, but no more. Furthermore, how many of those nineties acts have careers today? Turns out it was only about the single!

    Heritage acts. Classic acts. Cut one great single! That you can do your best to work. Shit, give it away for free... As an inspiration to buy a concert ticket, where the true money is. Why spend all that money and time to cut an album that almost no one's going to hear?

    Come on, when your favorite old classic act has a new album do you buy it? No, not unless you're the diehard of diehards. And even those people don't expect it to be good, since the act hasn't cut anything great in decades. But what if Styx put out only one track. You'd check out that track. Hell, if I got e-mail telling me Styx had one great track, I'd check it out, even though I'm not a big fan of the band.

    Everybody's got time for one track... If they hear it's good. Sample fifteen seconds? Sure... If you say so. But as soon as you tell me about ten tracks and you want an hour of my time, I'm out of here. Most albums take days to devour, to fully understand, to get...and I've got much better things to do with my time, and so does the rest of your potential audience.

    The album is a circle jerk, perpetuated by so called "artists". Do you really have that much to say? Does it really all tie together? Do I need to hear it all at once? No, you just believe you're the new Beatles and you're important and you're entitled. But you're not! You're competing for mind share with not only the greatest musical hits of history, all at one's fingertips online, on one's iPod, but 500 cable channels, video games... Make it easy for me. Just give me one steaming single. That I can't deny!

    When we heard "I Want To Hold Your Hand", we didn't put our fingers to our chins and say...wonder what the album's gonna sound like! We did buy an album because we were infatuated with the sound, and were rewarded...but we were still jerked off by not only Dave Clark Five albums, but early Stones records too. And Animals albums. And Gary Lewis & the Playboy albums. Shit, the album really didn't gain traction until "Sgt. Pepper", and now everybody believes they've got a "Sgt. Pepper" in them. Wrong!

    I'm not saying you've got to create a Clive Davis hit. Rote, by numbers, just like everything else. But it must grab the listener. Maybe because it's so damn different, but there must be instant magic. So maybe you can have instant karma, and become an instant success, so people will want more!

    But you don't give them ten more tracks... You give them a dribbling of killers. So they end up becoming fans of the act, not the track.

    Everything you know is wrong. The train has jumped the track. The slate has been wiped clean. The old era is over. The Internet and iPod have changed everything. Now you're only one of thousands of tracks. You've got to make it into a listener's pantheon, or be deleted. How good are you?

    New bands... One track only. Maybe you'll get radio play, good luck. But even so, if it's that good, people will trade it. And, if you get no traction, you can go back to the drawing board at a much lower price. In the old wave system, you cut an unsuccessful album and you're over. Today, have a stiff single and you go back to the studio!

    I know, I know, you don't like it! You want to be like the bands of yore. Maybe you are a band of yore. But no one's paying attention! They just don't care!

    We're constantly trolling for great stuff. We say no, no, no and then yes! There's not an issue of scarcity, there's tons of music out there. And we haven't got time for all of it. Face that fact. Can you earn our time? It's precious. Start by asking only for a little. If we like what we hear, we'll give you more. Continue to spoon-feed us, let us become addicted, we want to become addicted. To something good!

    Maybe if you can get the record company to give you a big advance, or Wal-Mart to cut you a guaranteed check, then you should make an album. But then it's about money, not success. You're just interested in pocketing the dough. If you're interested in having a career, don't spend six months or a year in the studio working up ten tracks, cut one and give it away on your Website!

    Even the hippest haven't gotten this memo. I like a small slice of what Trent does. If he'd only put out one track, and the buzz was good, I'd have checked it out. A whole album? I pass. I'd rather spend my time listening to satellite radio, playing only singles, trying to find good new stuff.

    The buzz is everything. It's why "Iron Man" is a hit and "Speed Racer" will be a dud. Create something great and let the Net minions spread the word. But they can't spread the word on something that takes an hour to digest. It's kind of like when someone tells me to check out a movie online, or sends me more than one track or a CD, I don't bother at all! I figure this person's got no respect for my time, no understanding of the marketplace, thinks their shit is so great that they're entitled to attention. You've got to earn attention. You've got to beg for a minute of our time. You've got to create something so good we want to give you our time!

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    SUN-TZU: THE PRINCIPLES OF WARFARE Chapter Seven: Armed Struggle

    Chapter 7 discusses the sovereign first. Implying the big picture or the one true goal. Tactical maneuvering in a way that your intentions are masked. He also discusses that you don't make good decisions under stress and fatigue. "Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art
    of retaining self-possession.". When I read this I was reminded of a drill Coach Don Haskins used to bring the ball up court. It looked chaotic but the chaos was scripted. You may know him as the protagonist of the movie Glory Days which I have yet to see. Read the book though. I like to refer to the idea as organized chaos.Which is deception. Chapter 7 not only talks about deception and masking intentions but also the flip side. To also avoid your opponent sucking you in. It also talks about consulting with "locals" familiar with the environment.





    Chapter Seven: Armed Struggle

    Sun-tzu said:

    Generally, the principles of warfare are:

    The general receives his commands from the ruler, assembles the troops, mobilizes the army, and sets up camp. ?

    There is nothing more difficult than armed struggle. ?

    In armed struggle, the difficulty is turning the circuitous into the direct, and turning adversity into advantage. ?

    Therefore, if you make the enemy's route circuitous and bait him with advantages, though you start out behind him, you will arrive before him.

    This is to know the calculations of the circuitous and of the direct. ?

    Therefore, armed struggle has advantages, and armed struggle has risks.

    If the entire army mobilizes for an advantage, you will not arrive on time. ?

    If a reduced army mobilizes for an advantage, your stores and equipment will be lost. ?

    For this reason, by rolling up your armor, rushing forward without stopping day or night, covering twice the usual distance for an advantage a hundred li away, the general will be captured.

    The strong will arrive first, the weak will lag behind, and as a rule, only one-tenth will arrive. ?

    If one struggles for an advantage fifty li away, the general of the front forces will be thwarted, and as a rule only one half will arrive.

    If one struggles for an advantage thirty li away, then two-thirds of the army will arrive. ?

    For this reason, if an army is without its equipment will lose;

    if an army is without its provisions will lose;

    if the army is without its stores will lose. ?

    Therefore, one who does not know the intentions of the rulers of the neighboring states cannot secure alliances. ?

    One who does not know the mountains and forests, gorges and defiles, swamps and wetlands cannot advance the army.

    One who does not use local guides cannot take advantage of the ground. ?

    Therefore, the army is established on deception, mobilized by advantage, and changed through dividing up and consolidating the troops. ?

    Therefore, it advances like the wind;

    it marches like the forest;

    it invades and plunders like fire;

    it stands like the mountain;

    it is formless like the dark;

    it strikes like thunder. ?

    When you plunder the countryside, divide the wealth among your troops;

    when you expand your territory, divide up and hold places of advantage. ?

    Calculate the situation, and then move.

    Those who know the principles of the circuitous and direct will be victorious.

    This is armed struggle. ?

    The Book of Military Administration says:

    It is because words cannot be clearly heard in battle, drums and gongs are used;

    it is because troops cannot see each other clearly in battle, flags and pennants are used. ?

    Therefore, in night battles use torches and drums;

    in day battles use flags and pennants.

    Drums, gongs, flags, and pennants are used to unite men's eyes and ears. ?

    When the men are united, the brave cannot advance alone, the cowardly cannot retreat alone. ?

    These are the principles for employing a large number of troops.

    Therefore, in night battles, use many torches and drums, and in day battles, use many flags and pennants in order to influence men's eyes and ears. ?

    The energy of the army can be dampened, and the general's mind can be dampened.

    Therefore, in the morning, energy is high, but during the day energy begins to flag;

    and in the evening, energy is exhausted. ?

    Therefore, those skilled in the use of force avoid high energy, and strike when energy is exhausted.

    This is the way to manage energy. ?

    Disciplined, wait for disorder;

    calm, wait for clamor.

    This is the way to manage the mind. ?

    Near, wait for the distant;

    rested, wait for the fatigued;

    full, wait for the hungry.

    This is the way to manage strength. ?

    Do not do battle with well-ordered flags;

    do not do battle with well-regulated formations.

    This is the way to manage adaptation. ?

    Therefore, the principles of warfare are:

    Do not attack an enemy that has the high ground;

    do not attack an enemy that has his back to a hill;

    do not pursue feigned retreats;

    do not attack elite troops;

    do not swallow the enemy's bait; ?

    do not thwart an enemy retreating home.

    If you surround the enemy, leave an outlet;

    do not press an enemy that is cornered.

    These are the principles of warfare. ?

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Union Cries Not Fair

    Kids, let this be a lesson. If yiou ever want to be part of a group. Don't be high maintenance and aloof then cry like a baby when nobody invites you to play in their corner of the sandbox.

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    Union express concern over lack of offers to Barry Bonds

    By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer 7 hours, 29 minutes ago

    In this April 6, 2008 file photo, former San Francisco Giants outfielder and all-time home run king Barry Bonds waves to the crowd while attending a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif. The players' association has expressed concern to the baseball commissioner's office over the lack of contract offers to Bonds, asking for additional information about the offseason's free-agent market, the union's general counsel said Tuesday, May 6, 2008.

    In this April 6, 2008 file pho…

    AP - May 6, 8:58 pm EDT

    * MLB Gallery

    NEW YORK (AP)—The players’ association has expressed concern to the baseball commissioner’s office over the lack of offers to Barry Bonds, asking for additional information about the offseason’s free-agent market.

    The union did not go as far as to file a collusion grievance on behalf of the 43-year-old outfielder, who remains unsigned since the San Francisco Giants decided not to make him an offer last year and he became a free agent.

    "We’ve raised both general concerns and some player specific concerns," Michael Weiner, the union’s general counsel, said Tuesday.

    Weiner said the only player the union specifically brought up in its discussions with the commissioner’s office was Bonds, who repeatedly has said he wants to play a 23rd major league season.

    "I haven’t received any offers on Barry since he became a free agent," said Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris.

    Management has repeatedly said there has been no concerted effort against Bonds.

    "The union notified us that it was investigating potential collusion regarding Barry Bonds and asked for information, and we told them that there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Barry Bonds or any other free agent," said Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general labor counsel. "We are aware of no facts which would support a collusion claim regarding Bonds or any other free agents."

    The union’s concern over Bonds was first reported by

    A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds broke the career home run record last year, then was indicted in November on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to 2003 grand jury testimony in which he said he never knowingly used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. A trial is unlikely to start before 2009.

    "Every year we look internally into whether the free-agent market operated according to the Basic Agreement. Not every year do we raise concerns," Weiner said. "We have raised concerns with the commissioner’s office, but it’s still in the investigative phase."

    Weiner said there was no timetable for what happens next.

    "We have made requests for information. I expect at some point we would sit down with the commissioner’s office and make a determination whether to proceed with any grievances," he said.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    SUN-TZU: THE PRINCIPLES OF WARFARE Chapter Six: Weakness and Strength and the book I am reading

    I just bought the above book a week and a half ago. And I am enjoying it despite the fact I don't like the person it is being written about. I won't go into why since its a Google search away. Anybody who knows me knows I love NFL Football. A lot of Chapter 6 is applicable to football strategy. Belichick 's game plan has always been taking away the opponents strong suit forcing them to rely on a secondary plan that they may not be able to do as well. Chapter Six discusses that. About getting your enemy out of their comfort zone. Apply deception - fake to the right and attack the left. Force your enemy to reveal their cards. I may get back to you on what I learned from the book.




    Chapter Six: Weakness and Strength

    Sun-tzu said:

    Generally the one who first occupies the battlefield awaiting the enemy is at ease;

    the one who comes later and rushes into battle is fatigued. ?

    Therefore those skilled in warfare move the enemy, and are not moved by the enemy. ?

    Getting the enemy to approach on his own accord is a matter of showing him advantage;

    stopping him from approaching is a matter of showing him harm. ?

    Therefore, if the enemy is at ease, be able to exhaust him;

    if the enemy is well fed, be able to starve him;

    if the enemy is settled, be able to move him;

    appear at places where he must rush to defend, and rush to places where he least expects. ?

    To march over a thousand li without becoming distressed, march over where the enemy is not present. ?

    To be certain to take what you attack, attack where the enemy cannot defend. ?

    To be certain of safety when defending, defend where the enemy cannot attack. ?

    Therefore, against those skilled in attack, the enemy does not know where to defend; ?

    against those skilled in defense, the enemy does not know where to attack. ?

    Subtle! Subtle!

    They become formless.

    Mysterious! Mysterious!

    They become soundless.

    Therefore, they are the masters of the enemy's fate. ?

    To achieve an advance that cannot be hampered, rush to his weak points.

    To achieve a withdrawal that cannot be pursued, depart with superior speed. ?

    Therefore, if we want to do battle, even if the enemy is protected by high walls and deep moats, he cannot but do battle, because we attack what he must rescue.

    If we do not want to do battle, even if we merely draw a line on the ground, he will not do battle, because we divert his movements. ?

    Therefore, if we can make the enemy show his position while we are formless, we will be at full force while the enemy is divided. ?

    If our army is at full force and the enemy is divided, then we will attack him at ten times his strength. ?

    Therefore, we are many and the enemy few.

    If we attack our many against his few, the enemy will be in dire straits. ?

    The place of battle must not be made known to the enemy.

    If it is not known, then the enemy must prepare to defend many places. ?

    If he prepares to defend many places, then the forces will be few in number. ?

    Therefore, if he prepares to defend the front, the back will be weak.

    If he prepares to defend the back, the front will be weak.

    If he prepares to defend the left, the right will be weak.

    If he prepares to defend the right, the left will be weak.

    If he prepares to defend everywhere, everywhere will be weak. ?

    The few are those preparing to defend against others, the many are those who make others prepare to defend against them. ?

    Therefore, if one knows the place of battle and the day of battle, he can march a thousand li and do battle. ?

    If one does not know the place of battle and the day of battle, then his left cannot aid his right, and his right cannot aid his left;

    his front cannot aid his back, and his back cannot aid his front. ?

    How much less so if he is separated by tens of li, or even a few li. ?

    Based on my calculations, though Yueh's troops were many, what advantage was this to them in respect to victory?

    Therefore I say, victory can be achieved. ?

    Though the enemy is many, he can be prevented from doing battle.

    Therefore, know the enemy's plans and calculate their strengths and weaknesses. ?

    Provoke him, to know his patterns of movement. ?

    Determine his position, to know the ground of death and of life. ?

    Probe him, to know where he is strong and where he is weak. ?

    The ultimate skill is to take up a position where you are formless. ?

    If you are formless, the most penetrating spies will not be able to discern you, or the wisest counsels will not be able to do calculations against you. ?

    With formation, the army achieves victories yet they do not understand how.

    Everyone knows the formation by which you achieved victory, yet no one knows the formations by which you were able to create victory. ?

    Therefore, your strategy for victories in battle is not repetitious, and your formations in response to the enemy are endless. ?

    The army's formation is like water.

    The water's formation avoids the high and rushes to the low. ?

    So an army's formation avoids the strong and rushes to the weak. ?

    Water's formation adapts to the ground when flowing.

    So then an army's formation adapts to the enemy to achieve victory. ?

    Therefore, an army does not have constant force, or have constant formation.

    Those who are able to adapt and change in accord with the enemy and achieve victory are called divine. ?

    Therefore, of the five elements, none a constant victor, of the four seasons, none has constant position;

    the sun has short and long spans, and the moon waxes and wanes. ?

    Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Who is better looking?

    Mindy McCready (born Malinda Gayle McCready, November 30, 1975, Fort Myers, Florida)

    Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an American two-time Academy Award winning actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film.

    Trivia You May Not Be Aware Of

    O.J. Simpson was considered for the role of the Terminator (1984) , but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer.

    Rocket's Launching Pads

    Roger Clemens is no stranger to my blog. The guy earlier lied like hell to Congress where his story was so jiving with his best friend and workout partner Andy and his wife's. Now it seems that is not all that's not jiving with his wife. At the rate he is going the only one so far that has not had a tryst with him is me. See the problem with Roger was he named in the Mitchell Report that he is a steroid/ HGH user. He then filed a defamation suit towards (or whatever the correct preposition is) his former trainer Brian McNamee. At the time it was said, if anyone is going to do that, they better be squeaky clean. First Mindy McCready then a bar tender and now one of John Daly ex wives (I think number 8) . Who's next Bea Arthur? Well in the words of Styx"Nothing ever goes as planned, it's a hell of a notion". Maybe I did have something going with Roger Clemens but I misremembered.


    Roger Clemens’ lawyer: ‘He’s getting pummeled’

    By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer 1 hour, 56 minutes ago Top of Form 1

    NEW YORK (AP)—Roger Clemens’ lawyer says he will talk with his client about whether to press ahead with a defamation suit following a wave of unpleasant publicity in the wake of reports linking the pitcher to numerous women.

    "He’s getting pummeled," attorney Rusty Hardin said Friday.

    The Daily News reported Monday that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country star Mindy McCready that began when she was a 15-year-old aspiring singer and the pitcher was with the Boston Red Sox. Hardin said then "at no time did Roger engage in any kind of inappropriate or improper relationship with her." McCready was quoted by the News as saying: "I cannot refute anything in the story."

    In subsequent days, the newspaper has linked Clemens, a married father of four, to former Manhattan bartender Angela Moyer and Paulette Dean Daly, a former wife of champion golfer John Daly.

    Paulette Daly told the newspaper she and Clemens are friends but would not say if she had been romantically involved with the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

    "You know what, I’m really uncomfortable talking about this. I’m just going to have to say ‘no comment,"’ Daly said in Thursday’s editions. "I know Roger. I consider him a good friend. That’s all I’m comfortable saying."

    Following the release of the Mitchell Report in December, Clemens filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee, his former trainer. McNamee accused Clemens of using performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001, before they were banned by baseball.

    "There hasn’t been any change in plans," Hardin said. "Everybody keeps asking these questions. We’ll sit down and see what his views are."

    The decision on whether to drop the suit rests with Clemens.

    "That’s always a decision the client has to make. That’s not the lawyer’s decision," Hardin said. "I’ve never seen somebody get beat up like this. In some ways, I think we’re on uncharted ground."

    Hardin has been busy with a trial in Las Vegas. Although he spoke with Clemens on Monday, Hardin hasn’t discussed the suit in detail with Clemens in several weeks.

    Richard Emery, one of McNamee’s lawyers, said he would be surprised if the suit is dropped.

    "It’s much too rational a move for them to make," he said. "Everything about the way they’ve handled this case is irrational, so I wouldn’t expect them to act rationally now."