Monday, April 28, 2008

Duty, Honor, Country ?

Hero? I think not. I have no idea why anyone would celebrate this young man's fortune.
Having served ten years myself, I feel like Caleb Campbell is shirking his responsibility. Many people are trying to compare him to Pat Tillman, and nothing could be further from the truth. Pat Tillman left his contract to go serve his country. Campbell is dodging his duty that he signed up for to go play football.
Harsh? Yes. The fact is that Campbell went to West Point. He signed up to be an officer in the United States Army. Your tax dollars paid to house, educate, and train him to serve and defend this country. Now, he can take all that, and make a living in the NFL. Other athletes attend state schools on scholarship, but the athletic programs and merchandise offset that cost. At Army, this is not the case.
He still has to make the roster, but unless he fails, he won't be in any army I was a part of. The US Army says he'll be a great recruiting tool. Really? Showing people they can sign up and then not actually live up to their end of the deal?
I'm all for someone making vast amounts of money playing in the NFL; as long as they don't already have a commitment to serve their country. I couldn't believe the people at the draft chanting "U-S-A-U-S-A". This man is not any hero. He's someone that might renege on his own word. The US Army has a motto: "Duty, Honor, Country". I guess he missed that class.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today, the wind isn’t like it was yesterday.
It signals a change. Today, I feel summer.

I actually FEEL summer. Not the full on, heat waves rising off the pavement, sweltering Florida in August summer, but it’s still here. The Summer Solstice is still months away, but summer is here. The wind is lighter, and you can sense the heat from the ground up, not just from the sunlight. The shadows are getting shorter, and the sunlight becoming richer, filling in the pale shades of spring. It’s a subtle change, but it’s definitely there.

I can hear the beach sand crunching underfoot; feel the sand baked to almost furnace like temperatures on the bottom of my feet. I feel the thirst that is so hard to quench that it leaves you breathless from trying to intake liquids to satiate. Instead of there being a hint of salt in the breeze coming off the ocean, the smell permeates the air, deep and rich, it fills the nostrils, announcing it’s presence, rather than alluding to it. It’s amazing how the sun solicits fragrances from seemingly mundane items and objects: asphalt, car interiors, grass, etc.

Things are starting to come alive again; the plants are getting prepared, much like soldiers readying themselves for inspection. Not quite at full attention, but you can sense that they are primed. A slight buzz is audible, as well. The insects are starting to signal that they are there. The incessant cacophony will be almost overbearing in a few short weeks.

The biggest change is in the sun. Sol is making the change from light source to heat source. It is the one constant in the Floridian summer. Never wavering, steadfast, domineering, overhead convectionary star. Giver of life and the sapper of strength. It will be overhead, bombarding us with cosmic rays for the next six months.

I, for one, welcome our returning solaric overlord.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shit you should be listening to II

Around 5 years ago, a female acquaintance(read:hoochie that I met at a bar) asked me if I wanted to go see a band in orlando(45 min drive). She said she would buy me a ticket and beer at the show. That was the best money I've ever spent. The band was Authority Zero.
At that point in their short career, they had a minor hit on MTV called "One more minute", a beachy kind of anthem. I had heard the song, and it was catchy, and identifiable with the area I live in and the crowd I was hanging out with. The show was at the Social, an Orlando bar synonomous with punk/alternative bands that held about 300-400 people. A sparse crowd was there, giving me ample opportunity to see the band perform. I would have to rank them in the top 10 bands I've ever seen live, having seen well over 500 shows from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Slayer to Jane's Addiction.
The album, their first complete album is called "A passage in time", and I would rank it in my top 25 complete albums of all time. The album contains 13 tracks, ranging from Irish folk song to straight old school punk rock, reggae to ballads. The group can transition from one style to the other song by song, or within the same song. The band I would compare them to is Sublime, only for the reason that they can seamlessly switch back and forth from the different genres, not for musical style. The musicianship is excellent, lyrics are provoking, and the live performances are a must see. I see them EVERY time they come to Orlando.
The band itself is also very, very fan friendly. By that, I don't mean they'll bang your girlfriend, I mean that they'll talk to you if approached, and always hang out for beer after the show.
They've released 3 albums since then, but the best is "A passage in time". All of the albums are worthy of a purchase, but cut your teeth on the first, and then you can see where they've gone with their music. For acoustic, check out Jason DeVore, the lead singer's solo album. Also very good work.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Shit you SHOULD be listening to.

Well, I’m by no means a critic in any professional sense, but I will treat(?) you guys to my insights on things that I think are damn good. Or, are damn bad.About 2 months ago, I stumbled across a video of a couple playing acoustic guitars. The reason I clicked on the video was the title: "Acoustic performance of Orion". Being a fan of old Metallica(And justice for all and anything prior to that), I was, to say the least intruiged. This was one of the best choices I’ve made so far this year.Rodrigo y Grabriela are a real-life couple who happen to play acoustic guitars together. Their style could be classified as "Flamenco", but it’s so much more. I, myself am a fan of musicianship, not sticking to any one genre of music, and this couple doesn’t either.Rodrigo and Gabriela are from Mexico and played in the spanish/Mexican metal band Tierra Acida(also another band you should check out). Since then, they have moved to Ireland, and perform around the world.They play a mix of covers of rock and metal songs along with their own tracks. The covers have the odd ability to stay true to the original, but at the same time sound completely different, in the best possible way. The originals they do are Flamenco, but don’t sound like they are. If you are a fan of guitars in any form, you must hear these two do their thing. It is nothing short of amazing.