Monday, May 29, 2006


Congratulations are in order for Mr. Joe Pendleton.

If you read this week's Sports Illustrated, he is mentioned in the lead paragraph of the Carson Palmer rehabilitation article. Take a bow, o famous friend.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

heyday of the power ballads

In honor of our newest blogger, SJPsandman, I've compiled the following lists of that favorite '80s phenomenon known as the power ballad. Here are the five best and five worst -- can the two be separated? -- power ballads of that memorable era.

Keep in mind, this is the same timeframe that produced a combination of spiked hair and mullet on a 12-year-old Squawking VFR. Your first thought must be, "No, it's can't be. Squawking VFR was always way too cool for that."

Unfortunately, photographic evidence exists somewhere in my mother's scrapbooks.

The best:

1. Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue.

While they weren't busy getting high and maiming fellow motorists, Vince Neil and company started the formula that defined 1980s metal: Kickstart an album with a rollicking, hard-core tune filled with head-banging glee, then tone the next single down with the power ballad.

The first one was also the best.

It is also worth noting that a friend of mine taught me how to play the piano portions of this on a keyboard. Sometime while we were in college, this grade-school chum OD'd on heroin and died. Guess he was emulating the Crue a little too much.

2. Love Bites, Def Leppard.

A standard. This was very popular among us seventh graders in North Jersey, and played at all school dances. Because we had been jaded by the whole folly of love by age 12, of course.

3. The Ballad of Jayne, L.A. Guns.

What a shame, what happened to Jayne. What happened? We never learn. All we know is Jayne is in Heaven, and it will be one of the great mysteries of the 80s as to how she got there.

4. House of Pain, Faster Pussycat.

Deadbeat dads cause heartache for little boy. At 18, he's still talking to himself. While the lyrics never explicitly state it, we can assume this child is destined for a life of petty crime and delinquency, all because of the lack of a father figure.

5. High Enough, Damn Yankees.

The boundaries of the power ballad are pushed to unforseen heights, and it earns the fifth spot thanks to its over-the-top video.

Channeling Charles Starkweather, the Bonnie-and-Clyde couple in the video have a blast driving around and knocking over liquor stores. An armed batallion of law officers use the element of surprise, descending upon them mid-coitus in the back of a convertible.

She gets caught. He holes up in a home the size of a dollhouse. The police fire more rounds into the house than were used during the entire Vietnam War. Unfortunately, they manage to miss a zebra-clad, gum-chewing Ted Nugent, who's standing on the front porch wailing away on his guitar. Hot bird gets sentenced to death.


Now we move onto the worst:

1. When The Children Cry, White Lion.

Political activists masquerading as 80s metal band? It will never work.

2. I Remember You, Skid Row.

Pure made-for-radio schlock. There's no way the same band that made "18 and Life" and "Youth Gone Wild" seemingly churns out this garbage.

3. Time For Change, Motley Crue.

Home Sweet Home rocked. This? It makes Motley Crue sound like a bunch of vaginas. It should also be noted that this song was sung at my eighth-grade graduation, which contributes to its embarrassing downfall.

4. I'll Be There For You, Bon Jovi.

"If you breathe, I want to be the air for you." Vominous.

5. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison.

Fuck Poison.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

some real straight talk

John McCain flip-flopped.

On Saturday, the Arizona senator delivered a commencement address at Liberty University, an institution founded and governed by bloated windbag Rev. Jerry Falwell. The pair made strange bedfellows.

Six years ago, McCain blasted Falwell as an "agent of intolerance." The U.S. Senator rode around the country in his Straight-Talk Express bus saying he did not mind "going any place where people have views I find hateful, but when I go there, I'm going to tell them exactly what I think of them."

When he had such an opportunity Saturday, McCain laid down like a lamb.

Not only did he retreat from the frank talk that made him an intriguing candidate in 2000, he made nice with Falwell and the religious fantatics he represents.

Pragmatically, McCain needs their votes to survive the '08 Republican primaries. But his courting of the Religious Right also runs contrary to the values he espoused in 2000, values that made him a refreshing alternative in a party coopted by zealots. Now that he running as an establishment candidate instead of a maverick outsider, McCain looks like another run-of-the-mill charlatan who will say anything, do anything to get elected.

Speaking the truth gets you nowhere in politics, a tenet underscored by his disingenuous-yet-inevitable run to the right. McCain looks like a first-rate phony, another bullshit artist.

I point this out because, while McCain was busy holding hands with the lunatic fringe that holds the key to his nomination, there was one Beltway politician who dared to speak his mind this weekend. Naturally, it got him nowhere.

Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) voted against George W. Bush's foolish $70 billion tax cut that benefits those with an income of more than $200,000. Considering the Senate passed an $82 billion spending bill for continued funding of the Iraq Quagmire less than a month ago, and the national debt now stands at $8.46 trillion, it is a frivolous cut.

To Voinovich, incidentally a former Cleveland mayor, the issue was not a partisan one, but one of common sense.
"We should not be cutting taxes by borrowing," he said on the Senate floor. "Instead of making tax cuts permanent, we should be leveling with the American people about the fiscally shaky ground we are on. ...

"If you look at the extraordinary costs that we had with the war and homeland security and Katrina, the logical thing one would think about is to ask for a temporary tax increase to pay for them. Did you hear that? A temporary tax increase to pay for it. Instead of saying we will let our kids take care of it, we will let our grandchildren take care of it."
Voinovich then warned Social Security is doomed under its current structure and that Baby Boom retirements could make the system unsustainable. But no one wants to hear hard truths.

The Senate passed the tax cut, 54-44. Those in the majority are people who would rather shout "tax cut, tax cut" or "flip-flop, flip-flop" at the loudest possible decibel level so they can be re-elected, their civic responsibility be damned.

Again, this is hardly surprising. These days, an elected official who leaves office clear of indictments is about the best we can hope for.

But it's no wonder the American people are jaded and disinterested in the political process when popular reformers expose themselves as frauds and the warnings of our sober-thinking leaders drown amid the constant spin.


Friday, May 12, 2006

what would Jesus blog?

For those of you interested in some live Springsteen clips, the cat over at has some fine answers.

About a third of the way down his page, you can find links to several Bruce clips from Seeger Sessions concerts, some of which are songs not on the new album. It's good stuff.

And the cat who runs the site, a stranger, must be pretty hard core.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

a quick turnaround

Apologies for the back-to-back postings of aviation-related news. But it's the only thing I've really paid attention to over the last week. So I have no rants for the moment. I do have some more good news, though.

Two days after the aforementioned flight test, I interviewed for a flight instructor position at my school and was offered a gig. I accepted.

This all happened much faster than I anticipated. The last week has been spent doing a lot of orientation-related things, like learning new operating procedures, observing other instructors from the back seat and learning a new airplane. With any luck, I'll be performing the instructor function about this time next week.


Here's some other news. Last week, we passed the T-minus-6-months-until-the-wedding milestone. It is all starting to go very fast. It was 13 months away when we got engaged, and to think we are more than halfway through that portion is insane. Perhaps next time, I will throw up some pictures of the wedding location for those making a journey in early November.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

cleared for approach

At long last, I am happy to announce some progress in the friendly skies.

I passed my instrument instructor's exam Monday afternoon, which has all sorts of positive ramifications. It's probably the most important thing I've done since I started all this pilot stuff two years ago, so excuse me while I pat myself on the back here for a few graphs.

This basically means I can instruct instrument students in addition to private and commercial students. It also should give me a leg up in finding a job instructing, which I plan to seek immediately.

There has been a ton of maniac-esque studying over the last seven or eight weeks leading to Monday's exam, which explains the sluggish pace of my recent posts here.

The exam started with the written test about three weeks ago. That went well.

On the flight, we headed north out of JeffCo and accomplished a constant airspeed climb to start, timed and compass turns, unusual attitude recovery, holding procedures. Then we did a non-precision GPS approach at Erie, and concluded the checkride with an ILS back to JeffCo.

My old instructor Andrew, who now flies for SkyWest, was on his way up to Rapid City when we switched frequency onto Denver Approach. He knew I was doing my checkride, and he gave me a "Go Pete" that was much appreciated. Hard core, Andrew!

After it was all over, the only downside was I had to pretty much go straight to work. Nontheless, I had a shit-eating grin on my face which will stay lodged there for several days.

So the moral of this story is if you know anyone in the Denver area who needs a good flight instructor, pass my name along, as I am shilling for students.

I will, of course, leave a slot open for Local Shill on my schedule the next time he's in town. Our last flight together out of Teterboro was a memorable one.

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