Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Upcoming Performances and More

A couple of my favorite singers will be performing in the New York area soon, both on September 11.

The first is Rachel Fuller. She will be at the Barnes & Noble, 675 Sixth Avenue, in Chelsea, New York, in a prelude to her gig at NYC's Joe's Pub(425 Lafayette Street) September 14th. As I have mentioned on here before she is very much like Sarah McLachlan with a bit of an edge.

The second will be Montgomery Delaney at The Lazy Lounge, 152 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. at 7 p.m. I met Monty in 1999 when we were both residents of southern Westchester, now coincidentally we both again live near each other. I have fond memories of seeing him at the Guitar and Pen in the north Bronx. He's had a very interesting life being a former New York City police officer, marine, and now a lawyer, and his vast life experiences come out in his music. He has a few guests joining him at the Lazy Lounge as well.

I have links to both artists so if you want further info or even if you want to give them a listen that is a possibility by just a couple of clicks of the mouse.

A couple of loyal readers sent me some interesting information recently so I would like to pass that along.

The first being that Greenwich resident and good guy Charlie Glazer has been nominated by President Bush to be ambassador to El Salvador, pending confirmation by the Senate he would replace H. Douglas Barclay. The 63-year-old Glazer is an investment banker and is married with three children. I met him on numerous occasions while being part of the sports broadcasting team at WGCH over the last few years. Congratulations Charlie!

The next item is that a new assault ship has been built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. The USS New York is expected to launch in the summer of 2007. The massive ship was designed for special-ops missions against terrorists and is capable of carrying a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready U.S. Marines.

Below I have provided the link to a very interesting read regarding what happened to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This is a very interesting piece. John Loftus is interviewed and I will say that he is probably the most well-informed guy around when it comes to Iraq and terrorism, so I take what he says very seriously.

Finally, can anyone name me one decent movie that is out in theaters right now and is worth seeing?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

By Numbers...

Greetings one and all!

Today I was listening to The Who By Numbers CD, one of my favorites. So many songs on that album that I like such as Slip Kid, Squeeze Box, However Much I Booze, Dreaming From The Waist, and In A Hand Or A Face. I do listen to lots of other music besides The Who, by the way. But I am looking forward to their upcoming shows in the New York area so I probably am listening to them more than usual.

As we all know, today marks the one year anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history. Of course, Hurricane Katrina could not be prevented but the response was abysmal. I will not lump blame on any one individual, except to say that, similarly to September 11, 2001, it was a collective failure.

I was in New Orleans in 2002 and enjoyed a coffee and a beignet at the world famous Cafe Du Monde. I loved it there and I wish all those people in New Orleans the best. I really wish that our government was more proactive in the immediate aftermath of the storm. It also pains me to see that there is still not enough being done.

The fact is that for years it was well-known that the levees could be breached during a major hurricane, but there was never any preventative steps taken to ensure the safety of those who would be in danger, not to mention the massive amounts of property damage that would occur.

This brings me back to the 2004 debates between President Bush and Senator John Kerry. There was so much focus on swift boats and Vietnam, that real issues were not addressed. This country really needs to get over Vietnam! Does anyone remember the blackout that hit this region in the summer of 2003? Well, we were told many different reasons for this occurring, yet there was never any final story given to the public. There was even a claim by a terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda that they caused the power outage as a gift to the Iraqi people. I don't believe this last one.

However, my point being is that this country seems to get distracted by things that will sell in the media, rather than taking on issues that are important to the state of this nation. I guess it's sexy for the media to compare war records between two candidates, yet it is not sexy to discuss solutions to current or very foreseeable potential problems.

Instead of saying Bush lied about Iraq, why not examine why our intelligence is so inept. Look our intelligence apparatus has been wrong about WMD in Iraq, 9/11, finding anyone with links to the anthrax attacks after 9/11, catching UBL, and so on. Why is that? Why, is their still such a lack of Arabic speakers working for the CIA and FBI.

So let's take this back to Katrina. What I thought was the biggest failure was that there was not one guy in charge. There was no one who stepped up to the plate and said "I'm running the show." George W. did this, eventually, about ten days too late.

But here's what is apparent to me: I don't get the impression that today, there is anyone taking control of things in New Orleans.

One obvious lesson to me is that our government can not protect us. So in today's world if you are black, white, or brown, you better find a way to be self-sufficient. Our government is just too large with too much bureaucracy.

Think about this: The U.S. government can't even run Amtrak!

I will keep the people of the great city of New Orleans in my prayers, but most importantly I hope someone will finally step up and do what's right.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Must See...

Last night I caught the last half hour or so of "In the Footsteps of bin Laden" on CNN hosted by Christiane Amanpour, and all I can say is that this is a must see. The next few weeks there will be many specials on television in regards to 9/11 and bin Laden, but this is a good one. I know it is going to be replayed over the weekend at 7 p.m. both nights. I suggest anyone interested watch it.

I have never been the biggest fan of Amanpour, however, she hits a grand slam with this one. I have read many books and articles on this subject, and generally, it is the same regurgitated information. However, this special taught me a great deal of things I did not know. Keep in mind I only saw the last half hour and I learned a great deal. So I can only imagine what I will get from the first part of the show.

Two things I came away with were how popular Usama bin Laden still is in places such as Pakistan. Also, how he definitely is still in charge of his terrorist network.

The show has several guests who interviewed bin Laden in the 90s as well as within the last couple of years. Very interesting!

I found it interesting the way they set the stage for how things led up to the 9/11 attacks and how cagey bin Laden is. This was exemplified by the assassination of Northern Alliance leader and a legend in Afghanistan lore, Ahmed Shah Massoud. This is something that is not mentioned very much in America. But on September 9, 2001, bin Laden had two men posing as a cameraman and reporter from a television station go and "interview" Massoud. When they arrived the cameraman detonated an explosive that was hidden inside his camera, killing himself and Massoud. The alleged reporter was killed by Massoud's bodyguards.

Bin Laden's logic behind this was to appease the Taliban since he knew that in 48 hours he would need their support. The show actually interviews the wife of the suicide bomber.

Well, I don't want to give it all away. But I think if you watch this special you will be very intrigued. I must forewarn you that some of the information the show closes with is quite chilling.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Symphonic Cacophony

Greetings folks!

I was out last night so I was unable to see ECW and only caught the last 20 minutes of Rescue Me. But from what I got from ECW's website, Sabu went nuts and hit Big Show with a chair a couple of times, thus the match ended in a disqualification for Sabu.

In so far as this revitalization of ECW, I have to say I miss some of the stars from its heyday, such as Mikey Whipwreck and Terry Funk. I know people say wrestling is "fake," however, I would prefer to call it "staged." Fake implies that these guys don't get hurt, which everybody knows they do. Funk was a guy who got hurt plenty of times and never stopped fighting. He definitely is one of the toughest hombres ever to walk the planet. Hey, anyone from the Doublecross Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, has to be tough!

Oh yeah, as far as Rescue Me goes, I know they repeat it Friday and Sunday nights so I will definitely be able to see it at one of those times. I am pretty sure next Tuesday is the season finale, as the week after Nip/Tuck starts. Talk about a sick show!

I am not sure if John Mark Karr is guilty of killing JonBenet Ramsey. But I know one thing, he's one of the creepiest dudes I've ever seen. Of course, he also is innocent until proven guilty.

But I have to give kudos to Kuby, Ron that is. Yep, one half of the Curtis and Kuby Show on WABC Radio. He was very cautious last week about the guilt of Karr. He definitely urged his listeners to be cautious when it came to Karr killing JonBenet. Catherine Crier of Court TV also urged caution and cast doubt over this man's alleged involvement.

Getting back to Kuby...Here is a guy who is an attorney and probably one of the most liberal guys on radio. Yet I really like him. I've been listening to him and Curtis for the last five or six years, if not longer, and I love hearing both sides of the story from them. I find Kuby is one of the few guys on the left who can get his point across without putting people down, same goes for Alan Colmes from Fox News.

It's funny though, I disagree with Kuby on every single issue, and even one that as a registered republican I might agree with him on, I disagree. That is the issue of the second amendment and the right to bear arms. He is a staunch supporter, while I feel the only ones who should have access to guns are those in law enforcement or the military. Some day soon I am going to go into further depth about this very hot button topic.

Generally speaking, I listen to Curtis and Kuby every morning. The addition of Warner Wolf a few years ago makes their show even better. I remember Wolf from his days doing sports on CBS in the early 80s when I was a little kid. He got me into pro wrestling as a matter of fact. He was the only guy who would show highlights, usually from Madison Square Garden. I remember he would always show the Masked Superstar fighting other guys who donned a mask, such as Mr. Wrestling II. By the way, for those interested, Masked Superstar also fought under the name of Super Machine and Demolition Ax.

This story is not getting much play but it should. Last week, two Muslim students were thrown off a plane going from Spain to Great Britain after the passengers became alarmed at the men's behavior and demanded that they be removed from the aircraft.

I say good for the passengers! This is something that the Muslim world should take a good look at. I have stated on this blog before that their is not enough outcry from the Muslim world in condemning terrorism, yet there is plenty of outrage and violence over cartoons. The reality is that the longer Islamic terrorism rears its ugly head the more of a backlash the Muslim community will face.

Islam is in crisis. There is no doubt about that. They need to form something like a Vatican to bring their people together and to marginalize and eventually eliminate the extremists.

I do not support being a racist or racial profiling. Nor do I condone violence against ordinary citizens. However, the War On Terror, will be won with more than bullets and bombs, mostly victory will be attained in a change of attitude.

Finally, congratulations to Art Bell! He was inducted into something called the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. These days Bell is remarried and doing his Coast To Coast AM show on the weekends from Manila, in the Philippines.

Bell is a great broadcaster and definitely deserves to be in any hall of fame related to radio. Although he is only part-time these days, with George Noory doing the show during the week, Bell helped to create one of the most successful shows in the history of radio. Believe it or not.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pure And Easy

One of my favorite Who songs is Pure and Easy.

If only life could be like that. Oh well, dare to dream!

But really it is. The idea being that "one note" is enough. So if we find one thing to be grateful for each day, than really it is enough. No?

So tonight on ECW...Big Show will defend his World Title against Sabu in a rematch from Sunday's SummerSlam, which Show won.

I am really surprised by this but it appears as though Brian Leetch is set to sign with the New York Rangers. I've mentioned my feelings on here before which are that no doubt Leetch was a great player. If it's a one-year deal and he is just a power-play specialist. I am OK with it. Any more than that is asking for trouble. No way Leetch should be able to command the type of minutes he once did. But I think Head Coach Tom Renney is definitely in control of the team, so I don't think it would be a problem. If Leetch is healthy and used properly, he will provide something the Rangers desperately lacked last season, which was a steady quarterback with the man advantage.

Minnesota native and former 7th round draft pick of the Montreal Canadians Joe Micheletti is expected to be named the new analyst on Rangers' broadcasts with Sam Rosen. He has some major shoes to fill replacing John Davidson, but I think Micheletti is pretty solid. He reminds me a lot of New York Yankees' analyst Jim Kaat. In my opinion Kaat is the best baseball analyst in these parts. No schtick, just straight baseball. Same goes for Joe Micheletti. You won't get much in terms of giggles but you will get a guy who knows the game of hockey. Joe M. is also a former assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues where he finished up his playing career.

So, Tuesday is the only night of the week I make a point of watching something. ECW at 10 p.m. followed by Rescue Me at 11. Well, I have to say it can be a bit of a challenge for me to stay up that late, believe it or not. But I love Rescue Me and there are only a few more episodes left in this season. So why not...

Oh yeah, I watched some of On Native Soil on Court TV Monday night. It was all about the 9/11 commission report. I watched about an hour of it before, yep, had to go off to dreamland. If you did not see it you did not miss much. There was nothing in it that most people already don't know. Basically too much finger pointing at people who really tried to do their best that day in an extremely stressful situation. The blame should, first and always foremost, be directed at the terrorists. Yes, we should learn from our mistakes, but I don't believe it is necessary to put someone down in order to do so.

That's all for now!


No Surprise....

Nope not when it comes to dealing with the Iranians. They said today that they are "ready to get serious" about negotiations but were unwilling to abandon nuclear enrichment. Then they went out and attacked and took control of a Romanian oil rig in the Persian Gulf. Basically what is going on right now is that Iran is thumbing their nose at the west.

So exactly when will the west wake up?

Adolph Hitler was allowed to do his thing for far too long causing far too many lives to be lost.

Usama bin Laden virtually ran wild from the day the last Soviet Union tank left Afghanistan in February of 1989. We all know what an unchecked bin Laden has brought to the world.

So how long will the world wait?

We are nine days away from a U.N. Security Council deadline for Iran to halt their enrichment or face possible economic sanctions. Economic sanctions? Are you kidding me? Economic sanctions lead to war. Oh yeah, by the way, as most of you know Iran holds the world's second-largest oil and gas reserves. So they basically have the west in a compromising position?

I know, unfortunately, this will lead to war. Just depends when.

In last week's New Yorker Magazine, Seymour Hersh, wrote about how the United States planned to learn from Israel's assault on Hezbollah in preparation for Iran. You see Hezbollah has been tutored by Tehran in how to tunnel and hide weapons underground. In order to combat these tactics, some serious bunker busting bombs, similar to the 1,000 pound bombs dropped on the caves of Afghanistan nearly five years ago will be required. Well, by all accounts Israel underestimated Hezbollah's capabilities and now it is back to the drawing board.

Iran is a very complex issue and is going to need complete unification inside the United States and outside as well. By that I mean the world has to recognize the threat and be willing to confront it. But I know ultimately it will be the U.S., Britain, and Israel facing down Tehran. What else is new?

Monday, August 21, 2006

What I Am Reading Now...

I picked up The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe over the weekend, paperback, of course. Awesome book! I have already read about 150 pages. This novel is a long one, probably about 700 pages. But it has pulled me in right off the bat.

Recently I was at an event at Manhattanville College where ESPN Radio had set up a booth. They were giving out all sorts of stuff if you answered some trivia correctly. So I took a stab and answered three questions. I came home with two prizes as one prize I used to trade up. I won a DVD of the Carolina Hurricanes run to the Stanley Cup Championship and I also won John Daly's book My Life In & Out Of The Rough. The book was approximately 200 or so pages. I have to tell you I found it to be quite depressing. The guy just doesn't see how much talent he has and how his problems with booze and gambling have hurt his career. His exploits on and off the course are funny, but at the same time the book is tragic. I hope there is a happy ending for Mr. Daly. He seems like a genuinely good guy.

So, oh yeah, I am reading Bonfire. Well, what usually happens for me when I read is that I have two books going at once. One long book that I really want to read but I know it's going to take a while. That right now is a book someone gave to me a few years ago called The First American:The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H. W. Brands. That one is on the side and I read a little at a time. The book I am really reading right now is Bonfire. Pretty much when I read a book it either catches me or it doesn't. For example, I started reading Bonfire in the store and it caught me. So I bought it. But other books that people have given me, if I am not taken in by the first few pages, well, let's just say there's no chance of me reading it.

The Ben Franklin book is good I just know that it's going to take a while to read. So basically what happens is that if I get bored with one I can switch over to another for a while. I guess everyone has a method to their madness. I suppose I am only figuring out what mine is.

Well, that's enough of me for today. Thanks for stopping by as always. Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, complaints, riddles, whatever you like.

Weekend Warrior

So Friday night I went to "Open Mic Night" in Sleepy Hollow for the Hudson Valley Writer's Center. They gave you five minutes to read, mostly people did poems, some did stuff they were working on like short stories, etc. I read "Compassion Long Gone" which I wrote a couple of months ago. Here is the link:

So anyway, I'm glad I had some folks to go with me. There were about 60 people in attendance. The setting was the Philipse Manor train station. Well, a part of it anyway. They have converted this section into their own home, the Hudson Valley Writer's, that is. So they had coffee and the usual sugar treats. I really enjoyed it. For $3 you sign up and you have five minutes to read your stuff. The crowd of course was polite. Except, two people got some cat calls, but that was only because they used some naughty words. Yes, some curse words are worse than others, especially, that nasty "c-word." It's kind of a shame because their writing was actually very creative and the use of that type of language just tunes out many people.

The whole thing lasted about two hours. I heard some really excellent and creative work. The age range was probably from early 20s to late 50s. That would be my guess. I only took one poem with me because for one, I was not sure I wanted to read at all, and two, I really didn't even consider bringing more than one with me. Some people read like four or five poems, so next time I think I will bring maybe three with me. The good thing was the lady in charge made sure no one went over the five minute mark.

This was my first of many that I plan on going to. The next one I believe is in Peekskill on September 1 sponsored by someone else. I may go if I can, I hope to...

In one of the bloodiest matches in WWE history Ric Flair made Mick Foley say "I Quit." I was wondering how they would play this off. Both men are legends of the squared circle and you have to have some type of angle to make it look good. So the angle was that Flair was like a man possessed, that Foley had never seen Ric Flair like this before. The storyline was that both men nearly bled to death. If you see the highlights they both certainly spilled some serious blood.

Hulk Hogan beat Randy Orton in the usual Hogan style. I wonder if they plan on giving the Hulkster one last push before he retires. Maybe give him the belt again. It appears that the crowd is really into him and right now there seems to be a lack of a real superstar with that type of crowd appeal.

In the only other match I cared about Big Show pinned Sabu to retain his ECW World Championship. Show looks to be unstoppable right now. He has toppled Flair, Undertaker, RVD, Kane, and now Sabu. He is really on a roll. I hope they keep him as champ for a while. I used to like in the old days how champions kept their titles for a while, like at least a year. Now it seems there is a new champ every week. But the fact that Show is so dominant, shows me that the McMahons and Paul Heyman are serious about ECW and bringing it back to its former glory of the late 90s. If they establish a great champion in Big Show it will prove that the promotion is a major player. Not as great as the WWE but certainly better than any of the indies or TNA.

That's all for now folks.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Influences And Confluences


So yesterday I was in one of my favorite places: Barnes & Noble. So many books I want to read! I wonder sometimes, though, how much money they make. It seems that the store is always crowded, but there are not always a lot of people buying stuff. But I guess they make a big chunk of change on the coffee. Anyway, I finally was able to get Rachel Fuller's Shine CD. She's really an incredible artist. If you like Sarah McLachlan you will love Rachel Fuller. Although Fuller has a bit more of an edge to her. But I stumbled upon her music not too long ago and am really glad I did. I believe there is a lot of good music out there, but it is not always easy to find.

It took a while before I found out that she is apparently the boyfriend of Pete Townshend. Amazing! Being the fact that I am a huge Who fan. PT plays some backup guitar on many of her tunes, as does Pete's brother Simon.

I am really happy that the murderer of JonBenet Ramsey has turned himself in. I hope this is legitimate and that he was not coerced for one reason or another. But, in all likelihood, John Mark Karr is the guy. But there is a great deal of doubt over this guy, also. Right now it looks like it could go either way. But I have to hope that this man knew something that would separate himself from just being another nut. But who knows. This looks like it could go on for an even longer time.

The Ramsey family has gone through so much over the last 10 years. I hope that John Ramsey can now have some peace in his life. How unfair that the media and the Boulder police put the murder of JonBenet on him and his late wife, Patsy. Too often things like this occur.

Similarly, another incident that made me sick was when some members of the media, mostly on the conservative side, blamed Michael Schiavo for the condition of his ex-wife Terri Schiavo. Some folks said he assaulted Terri which led to her being in a vegetative state and ultimately dying. Disgusting. There was never any evidence to prove this, just talk.

So has anyone seen this terrorist? Imad Mugniyah. He is a 44-year-old senior Lebanese leader of Hezbollah. His name resurfaced last month during the conflict between the terrorist group and Israel.

Prior to September 11, 2001 Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group. Now as a result of the conflict, new fears have surfaced in the U.S. that Hezbollah has plans to strike our homeland. Raising suspicion is the fact that Mugniyah has met several times with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the last few months. It is suspected that he could be part of some large scale attack against the U.S. or her allies.

Mugniyah is behind multiple attacks against the United States. Most notably, however, were the attacks on the U.S. barracks in Lebanon in October, 1983 which killed 241 Marines.

He is alleged to have worked with al-Qaeda. Particularly in a joint effort between Hezbollah and al-Qaeda in attacking the Khobar Towers, in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American servicemen.

As a result Mugniyah has been put on notice that he is at the top of a supposed United States Military and CIA assassination list and therefore is in hiding, presumably in Iran. Still, New Yorker Magazine said that he did have strong ties to the now-deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and together they coordinated many attacks in Iraq.

A $25 million reward sits on his head. President Bush released his name as part of the original 22 most wanted terrorists in October, 2001.

If you go to the FBI website(which is in my links section) you can read more about this guy. But it's really strange. You see, the only photo the FBI has of the guy is from 1982. Nothing since. When I was reading about him it seemed like someone out of a James Bond movie.

It also goes to show how difficult it can be to catch these types, especially when they are revered. I believe this is why we have not caught Usama bin Laden(UBL). Because he is very popular on the "Arab street" as opposed to Saddam Hussein. Saddam was not very religious and also killed his own people. Ditto for Zarqawi. In the cases of Saddam and Zarqawi the turning point came, not only in good intelligence, but by disgruntled members of their respective inner circles. Same goes for Saddam's kids; Uday and Qusay.

But I know that the U.S. is working like hell to find UBL and eventually they will get him.

From everything I have read on the web and heard on television and radio, it appears that the "chatter" going on amongst terrorists is similar to what occurred before 9/11. Obviously, the terrorists are desperate to do something to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

Scary, scary stuff.

So this Sunday at SummerSlam Sabu will get his shot at Big Show for the ECW World Title. Show came down and interfered Tuesday night in the ladder match between Sabu and RVD. It was actually quite silly how it all ended. RVD was in la la land outside the ring when somehow Sabu ended up on Show's shoulders. He was then able to grab the contract hanging high above the ring which meant that he would now challenge for the title at 'Slam.

Sabu-Big Show should be a great match at SummerSlam. Incidentally, Kurt Angle was not allowed to be in the match with Sabu and RVD, which was originally booked as a triple-threat match. For some reason Scarsdale native and ECW President/Owner/Storyline writer Paul Heyman said Angle was physically unable to compete. Later, Angle attacked Heyman which subsequently led to Angle's arrest. Silly stuff. But gave me a good laugh!

So I have a question for you: Have you ever been driving on the highway and you see someone walking but you haven't and don't see an abandoned car anywhere in sight? You ever wonder where they are going or how they ended up on the highway? Probably not a good idea to pull over and ask them.

Have a nice day!

Introducing, Rob Adams!

Allow me to introduce the newest member of the blogger community: my friend, Rob Adams. Rob and I have worked together in varying on-air capacities at WGCH Radio in Greenwich, Connecticut, for the last seven years or so.

Rob is very knowledgeable about sports, music, and the goings-on in the world. He is most passionate about the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

You can catch Rob leading the best sports broadcast team in the tri-state area in September on AM 1490 WGCH. Listen on the radio or on-line. The direct link to WGCH is in my links section.

So go visit his blog...and bookmark it...and if you haven't already, bookmark mine as won't regret it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The World Sits On Edge...

So what exactly was accomplished by this war that took place between Israel and Hezbollah. Israel didn't get their kidnapped soldiers back. Close to 1,000 people died with probably billions of dollars worth of property damage being, combined from both sides.

Now there is a cease-fire. So what? So Hezbollla and Hamas can regroup and get more weapons from Iran and Syria. So that Saad bin Laden, who was sent to the Lebanon border a couple of weeks ago from Iran, can have enough time to build a cell of suicide bombers. I don't get it! The Israeli government is taking a lot of heat for not being as aggressive as many would have liked them to be. The populous is sick and tired and I don't blame them. When this war begins again, I would expect a full-scale, no-mercy, assault from Israel. This is a double edged sword, of course. Because on one hand it will destroy Hezbollah, on the other hand the war will spread across the region. Which would mean that Syria, and possibly, Iran would get involved.

But I will conclude that ultimately the world will have to face Iran. Tensions between the west and Tehran have been building since, oh, about 1979. Like it or not this is where the world is headed. That is why it would behoove the United States and her allies to get things settled in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because if you examine your map you will see that Iran is right in between those two countries which, I presume, would provide a militarily geographic advantage.
I ask those on the left and the right a serious question: How will you confront Iran?

August 22 is a day that the world is watching. It is the day that Iran will respond to a package of incentives for Tehran to ditch it's nuclear program. The package was offered June 6 and it was expected that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would reply by June 29. He did not, and instead said he would reply on August 22. So why is the world so worried? Well, apparently this is the day that the Prophet Muhammad visited Heaven and Hell before going back to Mecca. So from what I have read on-line it is feared that the Iranian President may mark this day with a major strike on Israel. Stay tuned...

We are going to see many of these false alarms at the airports over the next month or so. What we saw today with a United Flight from London to Washington, D.C. being diverted to Boston as a result of an unruly passenger, is going to be very common. Initial reports were that the lady was claustrophobic and then that she had a screwdriver, Vaseline, and a note referencing al-Qaeda in two languages. The second report was then reported to be false.

However, I want to say that although I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I will say that the airlines are going to be very careful. Meaning that unless they absolutely have to they may not always tell the truth. I would not be surprised if this lady did in fact have the items mentioned above. But that the folks at United would rather say she was unruly or claustrophobic. That won't hurt business. But if she did have those items, on the day when there was supposed to be that big attack that was foiled last week in Great Britain, it would make people more wary of flying and that will hurt business.

Again, stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Return Of Odds And Sods

So I was mostly right last week when I said that Kurt Angle, Sabu, and Rob Van Dam would square off tonight in a triple-threat match. This coming after RVD interfered in the Angle vs. Sabu match last week that would determine the number one contender for the ECW World Title. But I left out one detail. I forgot we are talking about ECW. So let's make this a triple-threat ladder match to decide who faces ECW World Champ Big Show this Sunday at SummerSlam on pay-per-view.

I would have to say that RVD wins this one. I don't know why. Let's call it a hunch! Should be an interesting show tonight for ECW on Sci-Fi live from Washington, D.C.

Also, Hulk Hogan chased Randy Orton from the ring last night at Monday Night Raw. Hogan faces Orton this Sunday at SummerSlam.

Ric Flair will fight Mick Foley in an "I Quit" match Sunday. I gotta think this is the last hurrah for Flair and Hogan. Both are in great shape. But I think their act has worn a bit thin, as of late.

Turning to baseball now...

I know a few weeks ago everyone had the Yankees missing the playoffs. Then they trade for Bobby Abreu and everyone has the Yanks and Mets in the World Series. I am not totally sold on either team in the World Series. Yes, the Mets are definitely in the post-season. However, I don't trust their pitching staff or their bullpen. The Bombers on the other hand could be without Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield the rest of the way. Two major, major losses for the Yanks.

Everyone seems to be looking to Alex Rodriguez to carry the Yankees. But it will take more than what A-Rod can provide. Consistent starting pitching down the stretch of the season for one thing. I have an idea for A-Rod...why doesn't he get a new number. I mean '13' is well, you know. I remember old New York Rangers' GM Neil Smith talking about Sergei Nemchinov wearing '13'. He said: "Russians aren't superstitious so it's ok." But if I was A-Rod I would give it a thought!

Running back Lee Suggs failed his physical. Thus, he will not be coming to the Jets. Question: Don't these guys know these things already?

I know some folks are clamoring for the return of Brian Leetch to the New York Rangers but...well, I'm not. You see I think the Blueshirts did a great job of moving forward last year and a move to bring in Leetch, would be a step back. Yes, he probably has one more good year in him. But not with this team. Times change and sometimes it's just better to move on. No?

Hope everyone is having a nice summer. As always, thanks for checking in and please keep coming back. While your at it...tell a friend!

Have a nice day!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bojinka! Bojinka!

So I am sure you have heard the news by now that Great Britain was able to foil a plot to blow up nine or ten planes heading from England en route to America. Reports vary, but at least 24 men, of Pakistani descent, ranging in age from 17-35 were arrested. At least five men are being sought.

Allegedly a man was picked up near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last week and he tipped off authorities to the plot. This was a great job done by Britain, Pakistan, and the United States to prevent such a potentially devastating attack from taking place. Kudos to all those involved in the three countries!

Immediately this morning when I first heard the news. A caller on WABC Radio, a pretty conservative station, said that she believed that this was a hoax. Her justification was that the Republicans are in danger of losing both the House and Senate this November, and needed to shift gears toward their "bread and butter." The perception being that Republicans are better able to handle the War On Terror than Democrats. However, I will easily debunk this conspiracy theory.

I am saddened by the fact that so many Americans believe 9/11 was an inside job, or at least was allowed to happen. In fact, recently C-Span aired a panel of pretty well-educated professors who tried to make the point that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were an inside job. After a half hour I heard no evidence. But it bothered me that C-Span would give these men air time, thus lending them some credibility. But let's go back in time, shall we?

In 1994, Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center attack, came up with three new plots to further his global jihad. Yousef, you may recall, parked a Ryder van containing a bomb in the parking garage between the Twin Towers. When the bomb detonated shortly after noon on February 26, 1993 it killed five people, wounded 1,000, and caused a half a billion dollars in damage.

Yousef, immediately left the country. He surfaced in the Philippines, which was when he came up with more ideas for terror. One was to assassinate Pope John Paul II in his trip to Manila in early 1995; second was to create an undetectable bomb to be smuggled on board eleven U.S. jumbo jets entering the United States from Asia; third along with terrorist buddy Abdul Hakim Murad, a pilot who trained at four U.S. flight schools, Yousef would coordinate the training of Islamic pilots at U.S. schools who will then fly the airliners into buildings in the U.S.A. This third plot, obviously, was the blueprint for 9/11.

The third plot was later scaled down because Usama bin Laden thought it to be too ambitious and therefore too difficult to pull off. But let's go back to the second plot.

He nicknamed the plot Bojinka, this was Serb-Croatian for "big noise." This was due to the fact that Yousef trained with Islamic terrorists from Bosnia in camps in Afghanistan.

So without getting too technical here is what Ramzi Yousef did: He boarded a two-leg flight from Manila to Cebu City which would then head on to Narita Airport in Japan. Yousef would get off the plane at Cebu City, but not before he would plant his bomb on board.

Ramzi Yousef used a number of false IDs under the identity of Arnaldo Forlani, an Italian government official. He boards the plane and using a Casio watch as a timer and diluted nitroglycerine in a contact lens cleanser bottle, Yousef assembles the device. He puts it inside the life jacket pouch under seat 26K by the center fuel tank of the 747. Yousef then gets off at Cebu.

When the PAL Flight 434 reaches cruising altitude, the Casio alarm ignites the filament of a broken bulb Yousef has embedded in the nitrocellulose explosive. The bomb explodes killing the passenger in seat 26K, who boarded the flight for its second leg, and just misses the center fuel tank. The 747 is forced to make an emergency landing in Okinawa.

Meanwhile, Yousef took a flight back to Manila where that night in a karaoke bar he celebrates the successful "test run" with his uncle Kalid Shaikh Mohammed and terrorist financier Wali Khan.

The test showed that if Yousef moved the device up several inches he would have been able to blow the plane out of the sky. This recent plot was too secure explosives inside bottles of a sports drink.

You may recall TWA Flight 800 which exploded out of the sky on July 17, 1996 and fell into the Long Island Sound near Long Island. The flight was bound from JFK to Paris and killed all 230 people on board. The explosion on that flight took place near row 26, near the fuel tank. Remnants of explosives are found near row 26 when the plane is later assembled in a hangar.

The Feds will tell you that it was a mechanical failure. However, the above evidence would prove otherwise.

This all occurred as Yousef was on trial in New York for the Bojinka plan. In addition, there were ten cargo doors on that plane. Only one was not recovered suggesting a massive force would have destroyed that particular door. A terrorist group in the Philippines sent a warning to a New York newspaper the morning of the bombing.

You may hear in the coming days that this recent foiled plot was "unheard of" or that it was "something out of the realm of possibility." Or maybe that "al-Qaeda is stepping things up." But as you can see, that is false because it has been over 10 years in the planning. I think, that the same goes for the 9/11 plot which was hatched by this shadowy figure who now sits in the SuperMax prison in Denver, Colorado.

There is one more thing that I am intrigued by. Yousef is from Baluchistan, which sits right in between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those arrested were of Pakistani-descent. I wonder if there was a direct connection. After 9/11 Yousef faced even tougher restrictions in prison. The reason being that he was suspected of getting information out and possibly still being in contact with terrorists around the world. How this is possible in such a tight prison? I don't know, however, nothing surprises me.

In conclusion, I am really happy that this plot was foiled and that it was done with three countries and multiple governmental agencies working together. Infighting and the inability to work together was part of the reason the attacks of September 11, 2001 were not stopped.

Perhaps the world is now getting it. That this is a global war. Not just one or two countries. I hope this is the case. At least in this instance three countries got it right!

Wrestling's Glory Day Part II

So getting back to my previous post...I want to say that although the WWF(now the WWE) always had more wrestlers who were into having gimmicks as opposed to the NWA/WCW. The WWF did have some classic matches. Several come to mind.

Ricky"The Dragon"Steamboat beating "Macho Man"Randy Savage for the WWF Intercontinental title at WrestleMania III in front of 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome was incredible. Two great textbook wrestlers with amazing agility. As, I recall, though, Steamboat got a raw deal a few months later dropping the IC belt to the Honky Tonk Man. HTM then went on to be, at the time, the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in the history of the WWF before being mauled by the Ultimate Warrior.

Another great match was the late Owen Hart vs. Brett Hart at WrestleMania X. Again, two well-trained wrestlers with incredible moves. This was a match that would be labeled a "great scientific match" by the experts. Both men exhibited tremendous Greco-Roman wrestling moves, as well as their vast repertoire of pro wrestling moves.

The WWF, and Vince McMahon, in particular, were at the receiving end of a great deal of resentment from promoters, traditionalists, and those who covered the action. They saw McMahon staging cards in traditional strongholds of other promoters. They complained that his daddy would never even think of bringing his promotion to Atlanta or Minneapolis. But Jr. did, for better or worse.

Some great promotions that stand out in my mind are the old Stampede organization in Calgary. Owned and operated by Stu Hart, the patriarch of the legendary Hart family, Stampede produced Brett Hart, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and Chris Benoit among other great wrestlers. These guys all learned from Stu in his "dungeon" where some rigorous training took place.

The other promotion that was great was the UWF. Steve"Dr. Death"Williams was the World Champ. The promotion had such stars as "Hacksaw"Jim Duggan, the Sheepherders(who later became known as The Bushwackers in the WWF), Butch Reed, Kamala, and a team known as the Blade Runners(Sting and Rock). Wrestling fans know who Sting is, but some may not know who Rock later became. Yep, the Ultimate Warrior in the WWF. That promotion was ruined by the WWF as they raided all its top stars, with the rest moving on to WCW.

I remember the UWF used to be on WPIX in New York every Saturday. It was preceded by a show called Pro Wrestling This Week, which was sort of like This Week in Baseball. Gordon Solie was the host, if I remember correctly. Solie, was one of those guys who was just born to do what he did. He was the best wrestling commentator there ever was. The voice and his demeanor gave it credibility. I would put him up there with any sports commentator.

One thing that I have to say that bothers me a bit. Is that when I watch some of the classics on television, I realize that so many of these guys are dead. Mostly at the hands of drugs. I watched three matches last night on MSG Classics and realized that there is just no other industry where so many guys die before their time. Sad but true.

Another great promotion was World Class. Run by Fritz Von Erich and based in Dallas, Texas, with the legendary Von Erich family dominating the competition. There was David, Kerry, Kevin, Chris, and Mike Von Erich. Also, there was a guy named Lance Von Erich, who was supposedly a cousin, but that was just part of the act. Incredibly, there is one Von Erich still alive: Kevin. Fritz died in 1997 of a brain tumor, while David died at the age of 25 in 1984 from an overdose, Mike, 23, in 1987 killed himself, as did Chris, 21, in 1991, and Kerry, 33, in 1993. Another son Jack Jr., 7, died in 1959 from an electrical shock.

A very, very sad story, obviously. David was the best wrestler in the family and it really hurt the promotion when he died. But I remember some great matches with David vs. Ric Flair and various combinations of the Von Erichs against the Fabulous Freebirds. Great stuff!

So, I guess this is about as much wrestling as I will be writing on here. But it is fun to walk down memory lane once in a while.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wrestling's Glory Days

After posting yesterday and mentioning the great Bruiser Brody. I started to recall the great days of pro wrestling. I believe the heyday of grappling was the 1980s. I look back and think of how things were much different then in the business of the squared circle.

First off, today there is one promotion:the WWE. Yes, I know there is TNA, and the WWE has some "developmental" leagues. However, back then there was the NWA, which later became WCW, there was the AWA, World Class, Mid-South, which later became the UWF, Mid-Southern, which later became the USWA, and so on. There was even a collaboration between the NWA and AWA known as Pro-Wrestling USA.

There was a time when wrestling was regional. The WWWF(owned by Vince's daddy), before it became the WWF, and before it was the WWE, was based in the northeast, the NWA was down south, primarily Georgia, there was the Central States, based in Kansas, World Class was in Texas, Mid-Southern was in Tennessee, and Florida, was, well Florida. Wrestling promotions would never do a show in another promoter's territory. But that all changed when Vince McMahon decided to take the WWF national and then eventually international.

This explosion was able to occur for two reasons, really. Rocky III, in which Hulk Hogan had a role, and the whole Rock and Wrestling connection, with Hogan, Cyndi Lauper, and MTV. The centerpiece for it all was of course, Hulk Hogan. Hogan, broke the camel clutch and beat the Iron Sheik in the middle of Madison Square Garden in January of 1984 to become the WWF World Champ and the rest, as they say, was history. Wrestling really took off with the sale of t-shirts, dolls, video games, etc. McMahon was doing what his competitors such as Jim Crockett and Verne Gagne were not doing, he was promoting his promotion. McMahon looked at his superstars as products and marketed them as such.

Oh yeah, one other thing:pay-per-view. Originally McMahon's promotion would put on a "big event" every few months that could be seen by paying your cable company an extra fee. Soon though it became every month. The other promotions were not doing this and missed out because of their lack of imagination. The NWA had Starcade, their annual supercard. The WWF started with WrestleMania. McMahon knew how to do things right. The pageantry and wrestling mixed together. The stars of the WWF and the stars of Hollywood or pro sports all came together. He marketed it as the place to be.

Starcade had some memorable, memorable matches, and it is a shame the NWA never was able to really promote that event and give it its due until many years later. The actual wrestling in the NWA and Starcade was often better than the WWF and WrestleMania. However, more people knew about the WWF and thus the NWA never capitalized on their great talent.

McMahon often went for the cartoon types such as Koko B. Ware, who came to the ring with a parrot on his shoulder, or Jake"The Snake"Roberts, who came to the squared circle with, yep, you guessed it a snake. Those guys were bad enough. But in later years we saw Doink The Clown(who was sometimes accompanied by his midget companion, Dink), The Repo Man, IRS, etc. Conversely, the NWA had guys who were all about wrestling such as Ric Flair, Nikita Koloff, Magnum T.A., The Steiners, etc. Yes, the NWA had their cartoonish-types, but never to the level of the WWF.

But let me get back to my original point. I am not saying wrestling was better or worse then or today, just different. I did enjoy watching the various regions' stars perform. The Von Erichs were as popular in Texas as the Dallas Cowboys or the show Dallas. In Memphis it was Jerry"The King"Lawler who was the Elvis of pro wrestling.

Times change and unfortunately for the NWA and others they were not able to keep up. McMahon bought everyone and in a most astute move, purchased the video libraries of every single one of those promotions. He then came up with WWE 24/7 which is an all-day wrestling channel which airs all the wrestling footage that the WWE owns. Pure genius.

Wrestling is still great today. I don't watch it as often as I did. But I do fondly recall the days of ESPN airing classics such as David Von Erich(World Class) vs. Ric Flair(NWA) for the World Title. Great stuff. I supposed nothing stays the same, not even pro wrestling. But one can always dare to dream.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dog Days

Finally! Finally, some nice weather! Today has been the nicest day in a while. No heat. Not muggy. Perfect summer day! If only it was like this all the time...

So today is August 8th. You say: So what? Well, six months ago today, I smoked what I hope is my last cigarette. It's funny, I have not had any cravings until the last few days. But I have found it is just as easy to get addicted to the "good stuff" such as fruits and vegetables, as opposed to the "bad stuff" such as cigarettes. I was only a "serious smoker" for a couple of years. But I definitely notice a difference. I have been running three or four times a week since April, and would like to get back to the point when I was able to run five miles non-stop. I like running in the evening when the sun is going down. However, last week this became problematic when it was 85 degrees at 8 p.m. Uggh!

I finished Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice and am now almost done with Servant of the Bones by Ms. Rice. Blackwood was great. Very scary! Servant is OK, but definitely not her best work.

I generally read paperbacks, which are $8, give or take a penny. However, I think I will make an exception when I buy Guests of the Ayatollah which is in hardcover. Even before I started "blogging" I would underline and highlight things that I found interesting in non-fiction books, so some of my books are a bit ragged, and hardcover books can be a bit pricey.

Last night on Monday Night Raw, Mick Foley agreed to wrestle "Nature Boy"Ric Flair in an "I Quit" match at SummerSlam later this month. Foley, the hardcore legend, against Flair, the 16-time World Champion should be a classic. Flair has wrestled and beat them all. From legends like Harley Race, Bob Backlund, Nikita Koloff, Hulk Hogan, Bruiser Brody, and Dusty Rhodes to more current stars such as Goldberg, Scott Steiner, and The Undertaker. This may be Flair's last hurrah. He proved a few weeks ago he could handle a "hardcore match" when he faced the Big Show on ECW. Now we will see how he fares against the New York Times' bestselling author. Flair famously made Terry Funk say "I Quit" in 1989.

Speaking of Bruiser Brody...If there was ever a guy made for ECW, it would be Brody. Sadly, he was killed on July 17, 1988 after a match with Abdullah the Butcher in a town outside San Juan, Puerto Rico. Brody was stabbed several times by a fellow wrestler, Jose Huertas, AKA The Invader. Huertas was later found not guilty and never served a minute of jail time. What a disgrace!

In fact, many wrestlers boycotted wrestling for the World Wrestling Council in protest of the verdict, which virtually destroyed wrestling in Puerto Rico. Brody was a great brawler and was a legend for the Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling. He often teamed up with the Von Erichs against The Freebirds. Brody was one tough dude and whenever I watch ECW I can't help but think of what it would have been like if Brody was still around. Mick Foley is very similar to Brody, but nowhere near as tough.

With such an obvious lack of good movies coming out of Hollywood, the Bruiser Brody story would be a good one.

Finally, ECW ended tonight with Rob Van Dam making his return to beat up Sabu and Kurt Angle, who just happened to be wrestling one another for the right to face Big Show for the ECW World Title. The program ended with RVD in the middle of the ring with a steel chair and Sabu and Angle lying on the mat stunned. Can you say triple-threat match next Tuesday night? Stay tuned...

Thanks as always for checking in and please don't hesitate to leave comments, suggestions, concerns, or really anything pertinent or impertinent.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Some Like It Hot...

I don't! Nope, I don't like anything extreme. Heat, cold, extreme religion. No. No. No. The only thing I like extreme is...Extreme Championship Wrestling!!! Big Show defends the ECW belt against Batista tonight. I watch that and Rescue Me on Tuesday nights. The only night I really make a point to watch something. Plus, I don't have to wake up early on Wednesdays.

By the way...stop, look, listen on this extremely hot day. What do you hear? Well, it's not anyone screaming for the shutdown of Indian Point!

Israel fought the Six-Day War in June of 1967 and kicked some major tail against Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It is pretty scary that we are now in week three of this conflict. Israel has to beat Hezbollah. This is not only Israel's war, but the United States, and any country that wants to rid the world of Islamic terrorism.

I empathize with the people of Lebanon, but not the terrorists. Check out Beezer on his blog as he tells you how things are from the perspective of a civilian in Lebanon:

What a scary and unpredictable time it is in the world. President George W. Bush has an incredible opportunity to go down in history as a man who had great impact on the world. The question will be if he has a positive or negative impact. The crisis in the Middle East, the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues, and now Fidel Castro is ill. I have heard reports that he is not expected to last the weekend. Things are changing rapidly in the world. Some would say that we are in the "End Times" and my reply to them would be "I hope so." No I don't want the world to end. But I think that the first 15 years of this century will see dramatic change for the better. I hope for the end of terrorism and ruthless dictators like Fidel. I hope that people will see the images of war on television and realize that it would be better to learn to live together as opposed to slaughtering one another. One way or another things will change that I can guarantee.

Happy Birthday MTV! But you have not aged gracefully. I remember the early days of great videos from Van Halen, The Police, David Bowie, and others. The hair bands like Poison, who also had the best looking women in their videos. The infancy of rap with Blondie's "Rapture" featuring Fab Five Freddy and then later Run DMC and Aerosmith in a classic version of "Walk This Way." Today, however, MTV doesn't have as much music as they do just inconsequential stuff. Oh well. Happy Birthday anyway!

I still want my MTV!