Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More pics from Nashville

This is a club around the corner from the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel... you can see, former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew played here on March 25...just missed him!

Vanderbilt Stadium, home of the Commodores.

Fraternity row on the campus of Vanderbilt University.

A castle-like frat house at Vandy.

The Parthenon at Nashville's Centennial Park...a full-scale replica of the original.

Details of The Parthenon's façade.


...and more columns.

Some words from Nashville

NOTE: I actually recorded and posted this around 12:30 p.m. Nashville time before I went to the CASE Editors Forum. However, I had my AudioBlogger settings set to go to the wrong blog. Hence, I have moved it over to this one. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to modify the time stamp because that isn't showing up when I go to post a new entry. Don't know what that's all about, but here is the audio post:

this is an audio post - click to play

As I type this, it is 5:40 p.m. local time and I am getting ready to go out to the Editors Forum reception at the Wildhorse Saloon. Then, I am having dinner with about 30 other conference attendees, including at least two from the University of Florida. Hopefully, I can help my Gainesville, FL, area friend Cliff get a foot in the door if any UF jobs open up.

The Parthenon...

...Nashville style.

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A Night at the Opry!

Well, I'm not the biggest fan of country music, but I wasn't going to let a trip to Nashville go by without a trip to one of the hallowed halls of American music history, the Grand Ole Opry House.

So that is what I did my first night in Nashville...and I must say, it was surprisingly very fun. Considering it was a Tuesday night show, I was surprised to see two acts that I have at least heard of in country music circles, Craig Morgan and Trick Pony (Trick Pony's bass player has this ridiculously pimped-out upright that is a purplish chrome color and has flashing headlights built into the body). And both of those acts were very entertaining...probably because they are younger and have a more modern sound.

But the "funnest" act of the night has to go to family bluegrass band, Cherryholmes (the family's last name). There was one song in which every member of the family--except for the bearded patriarch who plays upright bass--started clogging. How often do you see a family band do that?

Another peformer was Australian native Jamie O'Neal.

Sorry the pics are so dark. I have just resigned myself to the fact that my camera sucks taking photos in dark places.

Grand Ole Opry members who performed Tuesday night included Porter Wagoner (performing in the picture above), Jeannie Seely, John Conlee and Jim Ed Brown.

Cherryholmes on the Opry stage.

Trick Pony on the Opry stage.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hello from Music City

Well, I am in my room at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville and just thought I would say hello. As I often do, I took some pics of the view outside my windows. I think this may be the first hotel room I have stayed in that as windows facing more than one way. Because I am at the end of the hallway, I have a view towards downtown (first pic below) and of Vanderbilt University (second pic below) across the street.

I don't think I have ever been able to see two different directions from a hotel room before...then again, I don't really travel much. And when I do, I'm usually not staying at a's more like Low, as in low-priced.

For as much money as this place charges, you would think Loews could put better signs up at the front entrance. It took me three tries to find the right driveway--and even then I wound up going the wrong way for about 100 feet. During one of my attempts, I noticed a small club around the corner that said "25 Adrian Belew" on the marquee. I can only assume that means Adrian Belew played there on March 25...that stinks because I would have loved to have seen that show.

Who is Adrian Belew? He is an experimental guitarist mostly known for his work with King Crimson, but he has worked with a number of artists, including Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos and -- I just found out -- Ben Folds and WIlliam Shatner on Shatner's Folds-produced "Has Been" album.

Adrian Belew on Wikipedia

Anyway, here are the two crappy pics from my hotel room. I'm going to see what's around here and then try to see some bluegrass at the Grand Ole Opry.

Off to Nashville!

A phone pic from the smallest plane I've ever been on.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Likely hiatus

Well, don't expect much new content on the ol' blog for the next couple of weeks.

Currently, I am in the middle of volunteering my time as a press conference microphone holder during the first- and second-round NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament games being played at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ. I'll be one of two people passing around a handheld mic to the reporters during the press conferences held on practice days and after the games today and Tuesday. I'm also going to be helping out in getting the quotes together for the media.

Later in the week, I'll be busy tying up loose ends at work before flying down to Nashville on March 28 to attend a conference for college and university alumni magazine editors.

It will be nice to come back, though, and see another kick-ass show from Transfusion M at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ, on April 1.

Friday, March 10, 2006

3/17 UPDATE: "Doctor Who" lands on SciFi Channel tonight!

In celebration of the March 17 debut of "Doctor Who" on SciFi Channel, I thought I would post one of the teasers SciFi has been running for the show.

SciFi has also decided to run "Doctor Who" as a two-hour premiere with back-to-back episodes starting at 9 p.m. ET. The series debuts with "Rose," which introduces us to the new Doctor and his soon-to-be companion Rose while battling the Nestene consciousness that is turning plastic shop dummies and dust bins into living, evil creatures. "Rose" will be followed by the second episode, "The End of the World," in which the Doctor takes Rose five billion years into the future to a space platform designed to give the universe's rich and influential lifeforms a front-row seat to Earth's final seconds of existence...but something goes horribly wrong on the space station, threatening the lives of all on board.

Open Video in New Window

(Photo: SciFi Channel's "Doctor Who" logo, reminiscient of the one used by the classic version of "Doctor Who" that ran on PBS and UHF stations in the 1970s and 80s.)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More like Red Bulls**t New York: New Jersey gets another slap in the face from a sports team

As much as I, as a Philadelphia Flyers fan, hate the New Jersey Devils, at least I respect them for identifying themselves as playing in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Nets are looking to bolt for Brooklyn and the Jets and Giants continue to use "New York" in their names even though both teams have played their home games in New Jersey for several years.

And then there are the awkwardly named New York-New Jersey MetroStars of Major League Soccer. The MetroStars currently play in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, NJ—same as the Giants, Jets, Devils and Nets. However, the MetroStars are hoping to build a soccer-only stadium in Harrison, NJ.

You would think that by choosing to remain in New Jersey, the MetroStars would remain committed to keeping "New Jersey" in their official name. Well, thanks to the team being sold to the makers of Red Bull energy drink—a move including naming rights for the new stadium in New Jersey—that won't be the case.

Instead, Red Bull has renamed the MetroStars as the even more awkward—and geographically inaccurate—"Red Bull New York." Yup, the team's name is now the same as the drink...and so long to New Jersey...even though the new Red Bull Stadium will be in Harrison, NJ.

Fortunately, this is American soccer were talking about here and nobody cares.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leave it to the UK to make a real-life "Simpsons" intro

Apparently, this was created by Sky One TV in the UK as a promo for "The Simpsons." It is just plain freaky...and really freakin' cool:

New songs from Christian Beach

My friend Christian has put a couple of more songs—"Open Spaces" and "Great Ideas"—up on his site so check 'em out.

Good stuff!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Rent's Rapp rolls into Rider

Actor Anthony Rapp, best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the musical, "Rent," came to Rider earlier tonight and talked about the part, the play and dealing with the losses of his mother to cancer and "Rent" writer Jonathan Larson to a twice-undiagnosed aortic dissection due to suspected Marfan syndrome—all of which is discussed in Rapp's first book, "Without You...."

Each person attending the lecture was handed a ticket on the way in. It turns out, they were giving away 20 copies of Rapp's book through a raffle. Now, since I was the elder statesman in the crowd among 19-, 20- and 21-year olds, I would have felt awkward walking up to claim my prize if I were to win so I just sat there hoping my number wouldn't be called.

Of course, my number is the third called...why couldn't I have had that kind of luck playing Mega Millions a couple of weeks ago? Ugh.

So I gave my ticket to the girl sitting in front of me and she went up and got the book. Now, I just hope my action earns a karmic reward. A benefit celebrating the 10th anniversary of "Rent" is being held at the New York Theatre Workshop on April 24; and Katie and I are going to enter the lottery for two of the 34 tickets being made available for $25. Hopefully, one of our cards is picked then.

Anyway, Rapp was very entertaining and insightful Monday night, and he gave those in attendance a treat by singing a bit of "Seasons of Love"...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The wait is over...the Phillies are back!!!

One of my favorite days each year is the when the Phillies play their first spring training game of the season. The games in March might not mean anything in the standings, but to me they mean the return of baseball...and that is a beautiful thing.

So I have the radio in my office tuned to 1210 WPHT-AM to hear the sounds of Harry Kalas, Scott Graham & Co. as they broadcast the Phils' 2006 Grapefruit League opener against the New York Yankees at Legends Field in Tampa, FL.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Katrina revisited: Perhaps "Brownie" was the scapegoat

When former FEMA chief Michael Brown testified in February before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee investigating the government's failings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that he felt like a scapegoat "abandoned" by the Bush administration, I thought he might have a point but figured that he was just as much part of the problem as Bush and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff were.

However, the Associated Press has obtained video of briefings conducted in the days before Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast that seem to bolster Brown's claims.
Linked by secure video, Bush's bravado on Aug. 29 starkly contrasts with the dire warnings his disaster chief and a cacophony of federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then- Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

Some of the footage conflicts with the defenses that federal, state and local officials have made in trying to deflect blame and minimize the political fallout from the failed Katrina response...

A "catastrophe within a catastrophe"? Those were Brown's words to Bush and Chertoff. Brown actually tried to tell them that a failed aid and recovery plan would lead to a disaster on top of the initial disaster from the storm.

Interestingly enough, Chertoff -- Brown's boss at the time -- said the following in an interview about a week after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast:
"...if we had an atomic bomb on top of this...and we could pile on catastrophes...whenever you do a planning process, you have to deal with what is reasonably foreseeable. It is true that you can sometimes have a combination of things that are reasonably foreseeable but that combination is unforeseeable."

Uh, Chertoff...according to these videos, your own FEMA director warned you about the multiple catastrophes on the day the storm hit New Orleans.

Another great line the Bush administration used in the days right after Katrina was that New Orleans appeared to dodge a bullet and that nobody knew about the levee breaches until the following day, Tuesday, Aug. 30.

Of course, just before Brown's appearance before the Senate committee last month, e-mails were produced that showed federal, state and local government officials were notified of levee breaches as early as 8:30 a.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 29.

And then there is the line Bush himself used -- "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" -- during a "Good Morning America" interview on Sept. 1.

Hmm...those videos AP got a hold of apparently tell a different tale.
Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility — and Bush was worried too.

I guess he was worried because he knew there was no way his administration could deal with a recovery and relief effort that huge -- something that actually required so much of the humanity and compassion his administration seriously lacks.

So Bush decided to play the "ignorance" card, which comes oh so naturally to him.

As David Letterman would say, "George Bush.!"

(P.S. Thanks to Katie, I attended last night's taping of "The Late Show with David Letterman"...woo-hoo!)

What if Microsoft marketed the iPod?

This is a great video that shows the difference between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to marketing savvy: