Thursday, January 31, 2008

Guitar Tab -- Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights"

Back around 1997, when I got back from WSU, I bought a Takamine G330 acoustic guitar, lowered the action on it, and taught myself how to play. As most will tell you, all of the great songs are simple I, IV, V progressions, with a minor VI chord thrown in to bridge back and forth to the Vth. Well case in point, Matchbox 20 was a band that stormed onto the scene in 1996 with their debut Yourself or Someone Like You...and their stuff was a great to teach yourself to play because every good song on their CD is anchored by G, C and D. "Hang" is probably one of their best ballads that you could teach yourself in 5 minutes if you know open G, C and D. Once I learned barre chords, the world was wide open.

There used to be this online database called OLGA that people could post guitar tablature, or "tabs," of songs on. I think the RIAA took it down due to copyright infringement, but most who posted always had a disclaimer stating that the work was the author's "own interpretation" of the song, and not plaguarized. Since OLGA was taken down, others have popped up. I remembered that I had posted my interpretation of Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights" song to OLGA a long time back, so I googled it, and there it was, as plain as day...

Absolutely Spot on...Only thing worse than the commute is the tourists

This guy's got it spot on. I couldn't have written it any better, I know, I know, the tourists support the economy and keep prices low (*snicker*) in the city...But it is truly the tourists that make the city suck. If you think you are above this, I encourage you to try and walk from 34th and 2nd Ave to 42nd Times Square and see how long your faith in humnity lasts.

Those of us who work in the city, or have even lived there, have this weird thing happen to us. As you walk about the tourist areas, your "evil twin" often emerges. Whether it's in the subways, Times Square, the Port Authority tunnel, or near the areas that the the tourist love (think 34th st, Empire State Building), all of a sudden, your evil twin's elbows start moving independent of you, you stop trying to get out of the way of people, and you start to make your own line through the mass of "walking crap," listening for the occasional "oh my gosh, did you see how rude that guy was" from the idiot who thinks he/she actually owns the sidewalk.

As Shawn would say, "Get off my planet!!! You're breathing my air?@!"

Well said Mr. Bean...Thanks to Dave Lozo...your blog's post is hilarious, and all true.

Somebody Save this Poor Soul@$!%!

I cannot stand idly by anymore...It's a travesty the way this is playing out. The way the media follows this one around, and yet no one offers any help. We've all had tough times, and well, this seems like one of those human moments, where we should reach out and help those less fortunate than ourselves.

If you find yourself near this train wreck, please try and free her dog. While I do not condone small dogs, as let's face it, they're one step up from a rat, let's be honest, no dog deserves to be subjected to this crap.

So for the love of all dogs, big and small, just let the dog go BS!

Wilkes, I called this one back in 2000 at Molitierre's, was only off by a couple of years. With all the crap going on in the world, this is what leads most news stations and website site feeds. Makes you realize why we may have lost our edge, and the rest of the world will own us one day.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Charlie Morton" -- Remember the name

Charlie Morton is an up and coming pitcher that is part of the Atlanta Braves org. We first met the hard throwing right hander in NYC this past summer and then later this past holiday, as he and my kid sister Cindy are two peas in a pod.

Charlie most recently was part of the Braves farm system, and played in the Arizona Fall League which is where several organizations send their top prospects to play (Yankees, Nationals, Braves and others). His record was 4-1, with a 2.57 ERA. His SO/BB ratio was 20:8, with 21 IPs. Charlie told me he throws a 2- and 4-seamed fastball, a curve, a change and slider.

Before the Arizona Fall League, Charlie played for Philip Wellman's Mississippi Braves. Philip Wellman was the general manager who made national news with his hilarious blowup at the umps this past season...The grenade toss at 1:40 of the video is the best.

Charlie was recently signed to the Braves 40-man roster. If nothing else, I was struck by Charlie's humility, as he was drafted by the Braves at the age of 18, and has paid his dues working hard to make it to "the Show."

Congrats again Charlie on your recent, well-deserved success!

Remember the name "Charlie Morton."


Friday, January 25, 2008

TradeSports -- Electronic Market for Sporting Events is an electronic futures market that you can trade contracts on sporting events, as well as presidential elections, pretty much anything. There is a contract being trading on the exchange that lists the Patriots as +12.5 favorites (or conversely, the Giants as -12.5 underdogs). The chart below shows the action... (Click all charts to enlarge)

"Patriots +12.5 Favorites to Win Super Bowl XLII"

The contract opened at $51, but has traded lower (red line is price) since it opened on Jan 21. But you'll note that while the contract traded lower immediately, the volume (green bars) picked up on the Jan 22-23, when Brady was seen on and ESPN "limping" to his supermodel's apartment in NYC. This contract is one of the most heavily traded, so the contract's price decline suggests more and more folks believe the Giants might cover the initial +12.5 line for Super Bowl XLII. This contract's market gives you an idea of public sentiment leading up to the game from a line perspective...If you want to see sentiment on straight picking the game's winner, see the chart below, which is the futures contract "Giants will win"....We'll keep you posted.

Giant's will Win the Game
(Price Spiked after Brady seen limping)

Some other interesting Futures markets:

"US Will Go Into a Recession"
(Chances are increasing, as demand is picking up increasing price of contract...temporary declines are from Fed Rate Cuts and belief in Fiscal Stimulus)

"Hillary Gets 2008 Democratic Nomination"
(Price drop was after Iowa)

"Obama Gets 2008 Democratic Nomination"

"The "Shanks" in Hi-Speed Slow Motion

I've been bitten by the golf bug lately, probably has something to do with the fact that I gave up golf for two years when we lived in the city. So now we're out in the burbs, and am ready to start playing again.

When I worked at the club in PA, I was fortunate to have a head pro and friend, Will Reilly, get a hold of me and teach me everything I know about the game. When I arrived at Twining Valley, I had a "beyond" strong grip, and basically hit the golf ball like a baseball player, that hit the ball far, but it was because I de-lofted the club with a forward press and relied on a lot of hand-eye coordination.

As any serious golfer can attest to, going through a swing change to ultimately be a better player can test your love for the game. When Will taught me how the golf swing worked, I have to confess, I went through a period where I shanked the ball. For those who don't play golf, it's horrible. To folks who don't play golf, the shanks would be like loving to ride a bike, and then, all of a sudden, you get on the bike, pedal twice, and the bike tips over and you're on the ground. When you start shanking the ball, the ball basically goes sideways, to the point where you actually need to ask the people in your group to stand directly behind you when you swing so they get out of your "killbox" and don't get hit. It's horrible. The other option is to sell the clubs on eBay.

Point is, we spent a lot of time talking about what causes the shanks. CBS has this high speed camera that shoots 7,000 frames per second to show a golf professional's swing in super slo-mo. I've posted a video of Darren Clarke, who shanked a ball at a tournament when the CBS crew was shooting in slo-mo. You can see the ball hit the hosel, which ultimately answers the easy part of the question "what causes the shanks?" The harder part is that it's you, the golfer, and you have to ask the tough question, "what am I doing to cause me to shank the ball?" Golf is life in that sense.

I cannot thank Will, as well as Jim and Duan-o, enough, for teaching me the golf swing because they taught me everything I know about the game.

I've also posted Tiger's, Charles Howell, Ernie Els, and Sergio swings in slow-mo as well.

Darren Clarke's Shank

Tiger's Swing at Torrey Pines in 2006

Charles Howell's Swing -- Sneaky Long

The Big Easy's Swing, Ernie Els

Sergia Garcia's Ridiculous Lag

Nike Commericals

Nike is probably one of the best marketing machines, and over the years they have created some of the best commercials. I've put some of the more recent ones, but most recently during the NFL Conference championship games, they launched their "Legendary" promo spot. It's awesome. I also put Tiger's famous commercial where he bounces the ball on a wedge and then hits it. I remember when it came out, everyone thought it was computers. ESPN might be the only company that makes a better commercial. Enjoy.

One Scary Dude

Tom Cruise is one scary dude. Seriously...but the scarier thing is that there are probably people of the religious right in this country who may have seen this video and stated "wow, he's crazy." If you ask the tough question, how is organized religion and their absolutism any different than the conviction this guy has about how righteous he is?

At least you know what you get with Mr. Cruise. I would argue that organized religion in this country is also really scary because they presume to be different than this wackadoo. Can't wait for November and the red and blue colored map.

If there is intelligent life out there, Earth is probably the Alabama of the galaxy. If we're lucky, maybe the ship can pick this idiot up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Fish Tank

Erin got me a fish tank for christmas. It's a 55 gallon freshwater tank that I set up in the office. I have been steadily adding fish after the tank fully cycled on the 20th. For those of you who are counting, I set the tank up before christmas, so it's actually been a month since the ammonia and nitrate levels were safe to add fish. I set up the tank the night I got hit by the car, since I figured I was living on borrowed time...

The following freshwater fish are in the tank:
1 Golden Ram (Apistogramma ramerizi)
4 Panda corycats (Corydoras panda)
5 Tiger Barbs (Puntius tetrazona)
1 Odessa Barb (Puntius ticto)
4 Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus)
2 Danios (Danio malabaricus)

Have a couple of live amazon sword plants in the tank as well. The ram is the coolest though, he actually follows your finger across the tank...

I have to give a loud shout to Shawn and James for inspiring me when it comes to the tank. They taught me everything I know about this hobby I love.

(Click pictures to enlarge)
Closeup of the ram, a peaceful South American Cichlid

Two Panda Corys, talking about their new tank mates....
Feeding time; tiger barbs, gold gourami, and the odessa barb in the background...they all love the shrimp pellets


Link to more pictures of tank:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

T.O. was Right about Favre & "Remember the turds"

Whatever you think about T.O., there are two things for certain; he makes any QB he plays with better, and he was right about playing for a guy like Favre vs. McNabb. Besides having better stats, Farve recently won Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year while McNabb thinks it's ok to park in handicapped spots.

Below is a story that Peter King, sportswriter for, wrote about the Packer QB....

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
Seems that the Packers have this 2007 tradition that started the first week of the season. Instead of a rookie getting the donuts at Stadium Bakery across the street from Lambeau Field, coach Mike McCarthy gets a few dozen the morning before each home game. And in the team meeting and the quarterbacks/wide receivers meeting that morning, the donuts are devoured.

One of the donuts is a plain, small, crescent-shaped brown thing, with a couple of small ridges. Glazed. When McCarthy brought them in at the beginning of the season, Brett Favre took one look at them and christened them "turds.'' A couple of times Favre has had to remind McCarthy to "remember the turds.''

On Friday morning, I went into Stadium Bakery and ordered one turd. "Aaah,'' the guy said. "You must have talked to someone from the Packers.'' It cost 60 cents. It reminded me of a regular plain donut, with a glazed frosting. Not so memorable, really, except the name it's been given in the building across the street.

Link to Farve Sportsman of the Year:

Link to McNabb Story

As an Iggles fan living in Jersey and working in NYC, I have to root for the Pack. Git 'ir done Brett.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Sittin' on the stoop, staring at a poop"

We took this picture one cold morning in Dec. after some snow had recently fallen. Katie insists on always going out back to watch the squirrels jump from one tree top to the next. It's quite humorous. I sing that song in my head whenever I see her out there cause I imagine that's what she'd be saying if she could sing.

As some of you know, Katie was rescued from the Bronx and fostered by two great people, Nick and Alison, before we were lucky to find her and adopt her. She is one of the most curious, loving and appreciative doggies you'll ever meet.