Monday, March 14, 2022

Dream Theater - Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ -- March 9, 2022 *Full Show*

Via

I have tickets, but I just don't think it's a risk that needs to be taken now. The $75 can be a tip to the band for all they've done FOR ME. See that's nothing. So JP gets 5, JM gets 5, Labrie gets 5, JR gets 5, Mangini gets 5... About 25 other people get 2 or 1, and so on, and then the venue takes a lot.

Many tickets are also still available, so there's that, too..

I also buy all their albums.


"The moment that you recognize
Just where your limits lie.
Hanging on the brink of death
You're never more alive.
When you reach the pinnacle
The world is at your feet.
Welcome to the mind unleashed."

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Dream Theater Live in 2006


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~OCTAVARIUM~

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The Dream Theater of 2010

Via

Friday, July 23, 2021

Preparation

Via

As a child I remember hundreds of games, educational challenges, and sports, as well as other activities that challenged me as a young boy. No basketball player I knew would ever want to begin any game before anyone has dribbled and, of course, taken some shots. It's kinda like playing catch. With a baseball, and gloves, you throw it around a bit, and toss the football back & forth. Enter your own activity!

Nor in golf! As with anything else, it's important to get warmed-up first. Physically, in that you loosen your muscles, and in particular, in that you hit a few golf balls. Mentally, in that you've gained some confidence in your results during your preparation. Things are different on different courses. Your abilities and physicalities and mentalities are different at certain times (certain days, certain ages, and certain times of the day). Bad conditions = bad results. And by the way: Gain some confidence!

Same thing with blackjack. The last thing I want to happen when I sit down at a blackjack table is to have to get right back up in 10 minutes. The lowest minimum table at your bad-ass casinos don't have to be $15. I had the most fun at blackjack tables that were $5 minimum tables, and even $1 tables. That is how you allow all people to fall in love with the game. And why do you have to deal so fast? What's the fucking rush? We're all here to have a good time, and enjoy ourselves, right? Don't make prepared players feel like they aren't!

One of the only things I hated while playing golf in the mornings with my Dad is looking back towards the group behind us, and there were so-o-o many rounds that I'd see them, standing with their hands on their hips, infuriated by our pace of play - too slow for them. Why would they get mad that we were preventing them from getting this over with as quickly as possible? Why would anyone get upset that they couldn't complete that which they most enjoy sooner?? Must. Get. It. Over. With!! It's also not about beating your friends. They're also trying to beat the course. Just like in blackjack, your oponent is the dealer's dealt hand.

Music!! Soccer.. darts.. cornhole.. disc golf.. staying awake or getting up early.. any challenge.. great conversation...

And it's totally the same way with a ton of aspects of life: Friendship, creativity, marriage, grief, finances, life memories with loved ones -- Prepare, and then do it! Do what they don't expect, and as long as you're prepared, you're solid.. Just like you felt when you sank those 11 free throws in a row. Or those six straight 6-foot putts. Or that one phrase you uttered that made her laugh. But you must follow through!

Stop fighting proper preparation!


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Cases Per Capita


Mine

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Right and Wrong

No matter what side of the story you remember having been partial to, I can be pretty certain it will be easy to see that the proper side of the story (issue) is very clear today.

The truth will set you free.

I want to begin with Napster. And it doesn't matter whether or not you were either a fan of Metallica or not, or whether or not you illegally downloaded music. Napster provided a service that allowed thousands of people to obtain digital files that contained music. Songs that we all wanted. The Internet was in its infancy. Musicians everywhere depend upon the revenue that comes from the original artwork that they create, right? Of course! As bad as it made Metallica, and more specifically drummer Lars Ulrich appear - at that time, they did the right thing. Now we have many services that allow the same types of musical downloads, but you must pay. Those artists deserve some money!

Interracial marriage was made legal in the United States a little more than 50 years ago - in 1967's Loving vs. Virginia, even though several states had not created, and have yet to create, any such law. Today dozens of nations worldwide view this as an illegal act. Legal or not racism is as rampant today as it was 50, 100, even hundreds of years ago. More on this later.

Leading up to 1920, there were movements, protests, and a considerable amount of disagreement abroad regarding the rights of women to vote. Many countries, to this day, still do not allow its female citizens to vote. USA made it law with an Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. Recently women will be allowed to drive for the first time in Saudi Arabia. Let that sink in for a minute!

The right of a woman to end her own pregnancy has long been a touchy one. But in 1973, the landmark Roe vs. Wade 7–2 Supreme Court decision declared it legal, that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion. Like many of the laws of mankind, this one will likely always be challenged. In the USA no less than 11 major court decisions, following Rose vs. Wade, are still very relevant.

Slavery.

Did you know that six of our 27 Amendments to the Constitution were ratified between 1913 and 1933? Did you know that only six have been ratified since 1933? Did you know that the 17th Amendment established the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote? Did you know there are six Amendments that were unratified? Four of them, the first four, could still be ratified today. Two of them are still actually relevant today! The Congressional Apportionment Amendment tried to regulate the size of congressional districts for representation in the House. And the CHild Labor Amendment would allow the Federal Government to limit, regulate, and prohibit shild labor. One of the Amendments nullified a prior one, so there really are only 26 still standing. That one is the repeal of a prior Amendment prohibiting alcohol.

I'll get back to Amendments later, but it is at this time that I will say this. The fact that our Constitution has 26 Amendments should reveal something. Our founding fathers are unifiably regarded very highly, right? What child isn't taught that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are the father figures they should all look up to? ...Or Franklin, Adams, or Madison, or later, Teddy Roosevelt for that matter? These "geniuses" did exactly what they thought they should do. And that which they began was very noteworthy. Having just established a new government on a foreign land, you've gotta give them the credit they deserve for their progressiveness. They had no idea what would happen in the next 200+ years! But they obviously made a few mistakes, or else we wouldn't have the Amendments we have. No one can predict the future.

This brings me to a certain topic, in which science HAS predicted the future. Throughout the time that humans have inhabited our lovely planet, it has been proven that temperatures are rising. Glaciers are melting faster and faster. Weather anomalies are happening more and more often. Carbon Dioxide emissions are rising. The earth needs more trees, and much less deforestation. Climate change has been scientifically PROVEN!

Terminating nuclear proliferation.

I mentioned to my family, "did you know that thousands of immigrants seeking asylum have no idea where their children are?" There are effectively missing children. This was over 2 weeks ago. Two weeks later the media is finally reporting the inhumane, unnecessary, cruel "policy" of the new administration. Yeah surely it's been done before. But nowhere near the scope of May & June, 2018. It is not a crime to enter a border crossing seeking asylum from devastating circumstances in another place. In case people don't remember, it was "rule of thumb" adopted as "rule of law" long ago: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Unnecessary war or involvement in conflicts in many, many third-world countries. For the sake of money, exponentially increased military defense budgets, and oil. It's been going on for 50+ years! It has to stop.

Stats don't lie regarding the types of people who have recently been committing mass murder (mass shootings). Virtually none of them are illegal immigrants. Almost all of them are white males. Most of them owned their weapons legally - others did not. Almost all of them, in mass shootings, used a weapon that is unnecessary for the average US citizen to own. If you think you need a weapon of war to protect yourself or your household, you've got another thing coming. Are you also going to expect to own a tank? Perhaps a fighter jet, or a minigun? Nothing you own will help win a war against government tyranny.


Aside: Just a creation of one of my favorite songwriters:

The night is black, without a moon. The air is thick and still.
The vigilantes gather on the lonely torchlit hill.
Features distorted in the flickering light, the faces are twisted and grotesque.
Silent and stern in the sweltering night, the mob moves like demons possessed.
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right; confident their ways are best.
The righteous rise with burning eyes of hatred and ill-will.
Madmen fed on fear and lies to beat, and burn, and kill.
They say there are strangers, who threaten us, in our immigrants and infidels.
They say there is strangeness, too dangerous, in our theatres and bookstore shelves.
That those who know what’s best for us must rise and save us from ourselves.
Quick to judge, quick to anger.. Slow to understand.
Ignorance and prejudice.. And fear walk hand in hand!
--Neil Peart, 1980.

Did you know our grand ol' country used to have open borders? Illegal immigration is nothing new. But before I proceed, why is it even a necessary concept? Many politicians over the course of 245 years have done one thing or another to try to define it. Yet no one really understands the issue at all. Just as an example, try going to a location, far away from a preferred United States port of entry, and take a look at what is preventing you from going into Mexico. It's more difficult to get into Canada, but they'll certainly let you visit. If you intend to stay a while, and maybe get a job, you actually would probably be successful. That's the way it used to be in the USA. Obviously when our nation was in its infancy, populating the vast area was something the founding fathers not only wanted, but saw as a necessity. How strong could our young country become without strength in numbers?

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Theodore Roosevelt - 1904 Mounted Watchmen
Calvin Coolidge - 1924 Official Border Patrol
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin Roosevelt
Dwight Eisenhower - 1954 Operation Wetback
Bill Clinton - 1994 NAFTA, Operation Gatekeeper
George W. Bush - 2002 HHS
Barack Obama
Donald Trump

All of them had a hand in what is known today as "illegal or legal" immigration. It's a battle that hasw gotten increasingly worse. Because obviously in the beginning of our country, immigrants helped our cause. Yet Washington and Jefferson maintained their tight restirctions. Once the Roosevelt Mounted Watchmen, and World War I happened, the country was suddenly in a collective fear of invasion by Axis powers. This never happened then. And Coolodge's border patrol of about 1500 workers helped ease American's worry.

Throughout the next 12 years until FDR was elected, our citizens were much more focused on regrouping from a war that we knew was unnecessary. As with most wars, a recession followed, and this one was the worst in our history. But it was also addressed and brought quickly to an end by our new very progressive president, Franklin Roosevelt. He would soon produce some of the best ideas for the recovering nation. The New Deal, new Amendments to the Constitution - he recognized that many were aging beyond their scope of creation. But after much American success, he was bombarded by another unnecessary war. No other president was elected 4 times. That says something. FDR was a special man, and had some of the best interests and ideas for the people of America.

Clinton and Obama were two of the most loved, and appreciated presidents in the last 50 years. The fact that we had to endure Bush II, and 9/11 on his watch just dragged us down. Sure - Patriotism was very high following 9/11, but his presidency, and everything that surrounded it, was borderline horrendous. I cried my eyes out in November of 2004 when the powers that be declared him the winner over Al Gore. The last 4 years of Bush 2's tenure were some of the worst in our history.

Enter Barack Obama! As far as American HOPE was concerned, it was amazing to see. The man has gone down in history as a top-15 POTUS, and that cannot be denied. Especially as far as immigration is concerned. He deported more illegals than any prior president, and yet allowed just about every family seeking asylum, who applied for it. One of the classiest presidential families in American history helped millions of underpriveledged find their way towards a better life here - in our country of acceptance. If the man could have been elected to a 3rd term, it would've been an overwhelming win.

Donald Trump. Admitted bigot. Admitted misogynist. Admitted xenophobic. Admitted to sexual assault. The list goes on, and on, and on. He lies nearly all of the time that he actually speaks for himself. His pawns lie even more when expected to address the media - the media that he calls the enemy of the people. As a freelance journalist, myself, I find this absolutely reprehensible. The old man is 100% incompetent to serve the highest office in the land. He is forcing dozens of our own allies, and many other world nations to frankly laugh at us. They are laughing at us! The sooner he is gone - the better. Now he declines to lower flags at half-staff for victims of the Annapolis Capital Gazette shooting. This idiot hasn't a clue! Nor does he comprehend the concept of compassion.

We already have 650+ miles of WALL. There are cities all over the world which are split among two countries. But there are a few on the US-Mexico border, which have a giant steel wall splitting the city in two. Yes, just like Berlin, Germany used to. Hmmm... I think China also did this a long time ago? Some of these border cities are said to be "dying," or "dead" on the US side, but just across the wall, there is a happy little flourishing Mexican town. Nogales is one of them. Please go check it out sometime. This is a country with which we haven't been at war since 1848! The increase in border patrol agents, just in Arizona, has increased from about 3500 in 1970 to over 17000 today. What? So the longer the nation is in existence, the fewer immigrants we are supposed to welcome? MOST of these people who are trying to get into the country, are hoping to work for a living wage, and provide a safe life for their children. MOST are also coming from many areas other than Mexico. Go watch "United Shades of America: The Border" from 4/29/2018 (season 3, episode 1). You'll learn something.

Issues here, and issues there. We eventually find out what is right and what is wrong. People die trying indirectly to let us know. Anthony Bourdain.. JFK, RFK, MLK Jr., George Carlin - to name a few.

A hundred years ago, it was commonplace for members of the clergy to disapprove of things like dancing, smoking, parties, and even gambling. It's generational.. Nowadays millions of people can't accept the fact that homosexuals deserve the right to be happy. Love who you want. It is no one's business BUT theirs. There are dozens of millions of gay people all over the world. Most of them have found it very difficult to "come out." YOU don't understand how big of an ordeal that process is for them. Nothing against them, but I'm sure it would be a very life-changing, depressing, series of events to do what they most want to do -- to show you that they are not ashamed of their sexuality. It's not a choice.. It's a biological thing that one can equate with the love and affection for your best buddy, or your pet, or your career: Love is dependent upon the interpretation of the person.. and is absolutely not anyone's business but his/her own.

Racism.

In this life, there are but two kinds of people. Those who support the HUMAN race, and those who strictly support their own race. The race that they think is superior to all others. White, especially. I doubt many Hispanics and Blacks feel that way, although both have much more justification. All of our ancestors were immigrants to the US of A. They stole this land from Native Americans, for goodness sake. How do you think they feel?

Marijuana legalization. It cures diseases, it makes people feel better, as opposed to many, many prescription drugs, and legal stuff like alcohol -- it's ridiculous that it's illegal in half the states. Progress is being made, though!

Open your eyes. There are tons of issues that need support. Don't follow a particular party - just because you were told, or brought-up to think it's "the right way to think." It's not about left or right.. It's about WHAT IS RIGHT.

Go find out what is right!!!!


My original content

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Imagine If You Will

Image Source

Just for a moment - I'd like everyone to imagine what would have happened at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, had 4 or 5 THOUSAND of those 20,000 concert attendees pulled out their handguns and began firing.

(Towards the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Towards the Luxor. Towards helicopters... towards each other...)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An Amazing New Band


It was August 31, 2016 (Stephanie's birthday). We had just finished our fantasy football draft. Mike Matney sent me an amazing song.. "Ether" by Bloody Hammers, and I think it might have been the 2nd time he'd sent it to me. Mike is amazing, and has turned me onto quite a few new bands. "Ether" is fantastic, by the way, as is a lot of their other stuff.

I had just prior to that shown him "Anesthetize" by Porcupine Tree, the Gavin Harrison drum-cam version. Upon reading a bunch of the comments under Bloody Hammers' "Ether," I figured out that in addition to them being one of Sweden's most popular bands, someone mentioned that this band called GHOST is too.

Not even 15 minutes later I was listening to this live version of Ghost's recently Grammy award-winning song, "Cirice", and this was my very first exposure to Ghost. The rest is history. . .

Saw them live in October, 2016. They have a ton of history, and have also entangled themselves within a lot of mystery surrounding band members' identities, and such.. But their music is so good that the negative publicity is worthless. They've toured the world, drawn millions of fans, and are currently venturing out on a tour along with IRON MAIDEN.

They are also currently working on their next studio album.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I'm Back

I'm coming back. I just have way too much to say, and no way to say it. You know - other than liking and sharing crap on Facebook.