Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown, Godfather of Soul.



James Brown died on Christmas Day 2006. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business; he single handedly created the musical genre of funk and soul. Undoubtably one of the most influential musical artists of all time. IMHO, he ranks right up there with Parker, Trane, Hendrix, Dylan, et al. Read about him here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

After the elections

Well, the elections are over, and it is a coup for the Democratic Party, as they essentially take over the legislative branch of government. I am pleased to see the Republicans being dealt a big blow, and the country is better off with this change in power. America spoke out, loud and clear that they were tired of the Republican administration's corruption, hypocracy and most of all this unjustified and mishandled war in Iraq.

The Dems are touting a 6 point plan as their agenda for the next two years. Its a great agenda that promotes ending the Republican culture of corruption and dishonesty, energy independence, affordable college education, fixing the prescription drug plan and retirement security. A great plan indeed. Now its time to see if the Dems can put words into action.

As for Lamont. Unfortunately he lost, but his candidacy helped to bring the anti-Iraq war movement into the forefront of American politics and the elections.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

As the election draws near...

the importance of the Iraq conflict as a basis for your vote cannot be overstated. Thousands of Americans have lost their lives, tens of thousands seriously wounded, hundreds of thousand Iraqi's, mostly non-combatants, have been killed. It is clear that this illegitimate military occupation was based on lies, misrepresentations and miscalculations. If our mission was to rid the country of tyrants and terrorists, only the opposite effect has been achieved. It is clear to me, that when we eventually leave Iraq, it will not be with a secure US friendly democracy ruling the country, but in the midst of a brutal civil war, that we cannot, nor should not play a role. Therefore, why should we prolong this occupation, lose more of our sons and daughters to death and mutilation. What is to be gained by continuing this flawed policy?

If this election offers a choice in your state, as it does in mine, of electing a representative that supports 'staying the coarse' versus one that advocates a timetable for withdrawal, vote for the candidate most likely to put a swift end to this unjustifiable, illegal war. Here in the state of Connecticut, we have a choice between Lieberman, and Lamont. Lieberman is no less than Bush's lap dog. He has been an opportunist throughout his Senate tenure, skipping votes when they may be a political liability. His pockets are bulging with corporate contributions from which he will be forever owing favors. Lamont takes a strong stand against this war, and for universal healthcare. If you live in Connecticut, I urge you to VOTE LAMONT! If you don't live in Connecticut, it is likely that a similar choice is before you. Vote to end the war in Iraq.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Jazz scene in Hartford

Yes, it is true. Hartford does have a thriving jazz scene. I thought Hartford and Jazz was on its last legs, but all of a sudden, the Hartford International Jazz Festival comes along and kicks it up. We had a GREAT weekend. Jazz every night, club hoppin' after the shows, eating in the Hartford restaurants, meeting great jazz fans and musicians. The best time I have had in Hartford in about 20 years. The main concerts were awesome. Lou Donaldson w/Dr. Lonnie Smith on Saturday put on a helluva show. On Sunday evening, we heard Cyrus Chestnut with Eric Alexander doing a Coltrane tribute. It may have been THE best jazz performance I have ever seen. These incredible musicians playing Coltrane classics in a small NYC type club, was the perfect atmosphere. They blew the doors off the house with hard-driving renditions of Cousin Mary and Mr. PC, and brought the crowd to tears with beautiful ballads like Naima. A memorable weekend.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Five Years Later

and how the world has changed. Five years ago I chronicled the events of 9/11 and the days following. It is interesting to go back and read these posts. Five years later, I just don't feel that any attempts to bring justice to the evil perpetrators has succeeded. Sadly, Taliban, Hezbohlah, Islamic terrorism, has not been defeated or even held in check. I don't have the answers, but what we have done and are doing is not working.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dylan, the legend

Bob Dylan, a legend of Folk and Rock, a pioneer of the protest song, poet extraordinaire, founder of folk-rock music, truly a legend like Hendrix, Miles, Trane, Bach and Beethoven. So, even though I haven't liked anything the man has written or sung since 1975, I had to see him live in concert when my buddy Gordon offered up the tix. Man, it was a great concert and great party. Yeah, his 65 year old voice is old and raspy, but it's Bob Dylan not Andrea Bocelli! His band was tight and smokin' and Dylan played lots of old tunes. Standing out in the rain, hearing Dylan sing 'Like a Rolling Stone' sent chills down my spine. A great night.


In The Groove Podcast on iTunes

Finally, after several attempts, In The Groove, Jazz and Beyond has been listed in iTunes. The holy grail of podcasting directories... achieving podcast nirvana! Imagine, In the Groove is now distributed right along side NPR, CNN, KCRW and many other media sources. As you see I am pretty excited. Check it out AND SUBSCRIBE!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Brand spankin' new Domain

<start geek alert> What is more fun than buying a new Domain on the World Wide Web? Woohoo!! Just claimed jazzandbeyond.com for use with my way cool podcast. jazzandbeyond.com is so much more hipper than refering to it as a 'lasternet dot com slash in the groove'. </end geek alert>

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Mid-East today

The situation looks even bleaker than before this war began. On August 6, I wrote in this blog:
Any further incursion into Lebanon, such as attacks on Beirut, or other densely populated areas, will not help the Israeli cause, but will only embolden its enemies (which includes Syria and Iran). Continued bombing by Israel, only intensifies that support, and encourages legions of misguided youth to join in Hezbollah's terrorist cause. The reality is that continued violence will only make it more difficult to disarm the terrorists.
It is sad to say, but my prediction was right on the mark. Now, not only does Hezbollah hold a heroic status throughout the Arab community, but has also gained political strength to the point where heads of state are lining up to sing their praises and extol their 'victory'. Prior to Israel's miscalculation, many of those same Arab aristocracy may have been willing to even help disarm Hezbollah. Now any hope that that will happen is remote indeed.

Meanwhile, the situation in Lebabnon, Iran, even Afghanistan are far scarier than Iraq. Even today, Iran put on display a defiant show of its military might, and proclaimed it will not give up its nuclear program. Still, we are wasting all our military capital in this senseless war. Yet, Bush refuses to concede to this unjustified and mistaken foreign policy. Question is, where does it all end.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Vacation

I just can't take enough vacation time, but this one at Cape Cod was just great. Pics came out great. An incredible whale watch, and ending the week at Fenway Park was perfect.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The People Speak, The Country Listens

Ned Lamont has defeated Senator Lieberman in the Democratic Primary for the Senate. For the first time in many years, I feel good about the Democratic Party. At least in Connecticut, grassroots Democrats have stood up against the party hierarchy to proclaim that they will not support this unjust, illegal senseless war in Iraq. This race has, incredibly gotten national attention. The majority of Americans no longer support this war, and its time for our legislators to take notice. These results speak volumes. Lieberman has backed this administration for this war despite the lies and deception that was used to justify this illegal action. It has cost this country thousands of deaths, and 10's of thousands of lives lost in Iraq. Lieberman has also supported bogus Republican policies like the energy bill giving millions of dollars in tax breaks to the energy companies. No surprise as Joe Lieberman has collected more corporate contributions than any other Senator or Congressman.

Ned Lamont stands for an end to the illegal war in Iraq, he is for universal health care, and an energy policy that does not give more money to oil companies already lining their pockets with unprecedented profits. I can only hope that Ned Lamont represents a new beginning for the Democratic party, one not afraid to stand up to George W. Bush. How refreshing is that!

And guess what! Republicans are already courting Joe Blow Lieberman, pledging support and money if he will run as an Independent. You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Good riddance Joe.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Now is the time...

to let the seeds of peace in the Middle East take root. It is not often that I find this administration 'getting it right', but listening to Condeleeza Rice express US policy regarding the Israel/Lebanon conflict, I am heartened to see us pursue an aggressive and balanced approach towards a cease fire. Thus far we have held fast to the primary objectives in agreeing to a cease fire. First and foremost, Hezbollah, clearly a terrorist organization, must be disarmed before a cease fire can be agreed to.

It is now up to Israel to make a move to halt the escalation of violence and killing. Why must Israel make such a move? Because Israel, as the western style democracy represents what is good and just. Israel says they do not wish harm to come to civilians. Israel holds the overwhelming military might to cause death and destruction, and with such power to destroy, comes the responsibility not to use it.

A severe blow has been given to Hezbollah, and a lesson has been taught to the Lebanese government. Israel has accomplished all they can by military means. Any further incursion into Lebanon, such as attacks on Beirut, or other densely populated areas, will not help the Israeli cause, but will only embolden its enemies (which includes Syria and Iran). Continued bombing by Israel, only intensifies that support, and encourages legions of misguided youth to join in Hezbollah's terrorist cause. The reality is that continued violence will only make it more difficult to disarm the terrorists.

Yes, the world owes Israel a debt of gratitude for killing Hezbollah terrorists and destroying their weapons. They have done what the US and other peace loving countries have been unable or unwilling to accomplish. This is why I say that it is in Israel's best interest at this juncture to begin to de-escalate its attacks in Lebanon, and use this draft resolution as a stepping stone to a cease fire and some measure of security for Israel.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Let us not delude ourselves...

The Bush administration must take on much of the blame for the current situation in the mid-east. The misrepresentation and deception that brought us into a military occupation in the region has only increased the mistrust and heightened the adversary relationship between the US and the Muslim world. This has resulted in more violence, more terrorism, and heightened aggression throughout the region that has spiraled out of control. Now it appears, god forbid, we are on the brink of world war. Should Syria and Iran engage their troops in this conflict, will the US be able to stand back and watch? Can the US effectively broker a diplomatic solution when it is reviled and distrusted throughout the Arab world? It is not easy to see any way that the situation can come to an end game without all out war. I hope and pray that I am wrong. (and it is not often you will here me use the word 'pray').

Perhaps Israel has done what the US should have done. Israel went directly after the terrorist organization that threatened their security. They did it swiftly and directly against those that threatened them. Contrast that to the US action in Iraq. If we had been sincere in our actions, we would have gone after the terrorist infrastructure in Saudi and Syria, rather than the deception and ulterior motives that led us to a war in Iraq.

Who Killed the Electric Car
GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! A great, great flick. One of the best documentaries I have seen. Quite different than the Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. While that was more or less a classroom lecture, Electric Car is an engaging look, not only into this important technology that was tragically squashed by corporate interests, but it is also a look into how government and commerce works. It shows the importance of government regulation in the protection of the environment AND the advancement of technology. When the government abdicates its responsibility and gives in to corporate bullying, citizens will suffer. The automakers realized that Electric Vehicles not only will cut into sales of expensive, profitable combustion engine cars (like SUV;s), it will devastate aftermarket industries for repairs parts, oil filters, mufflers, spark plugs, fueling stations.... A typical maintenance on an electric car is rotate the tires and top off the windshield washer fluid.

What made the movie great in my opinion was (unlike the Gore flick), this movie ended in such enthusiastic optimism. The technology exists and is improving with newer and better batteries. Gas prices are getting ridiculously higher, evidence of global warming is becoming evident. The growing success of hybrid vehicles has proven the demand is there. Given these conditions, and the human spirit to embrace new technology, the demand for Plug-In Electric cars is bound to grow, and some entrepreneur within or beyond the auto industry will step up and prevail. It just makes too much sense.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Fantasy Baseball Heaven

A sure sign that spring is here. Not only is the weather getting nice... great, last night was Fantasy Baseball (FBB) Draft night. Look forward to this night all winter long. 4 hours of hanging at Rookies Bar & Grill, drinkin' suds and talkin' baseball. Pretty damn pleased with my picks. Got some power (Helton), speed (Juan Pierre), and pitching (Santana). Now the excrutiating wait till opening day. Hey, we get to watch our favorite players in World Baseball Classic action. Whoopie... we get to see our FBB players pull hamstrings, tear shoulder muscles and get hit by pitches... oye.

I've played FBB for a decade now. How it has changed since the Internet took hold of it. Now its huge, its interactive, its a blast. THIS IS WHAT THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED FOR.

Hilarious article in the Onion.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Stupid is as Stupid does.

Dick Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter. How stupid is this. Stupid people engaged in a stupid sport (shooting birds), get into a stupid accident and shoot each other. This couldn't happen to more deserving people.

From CNN: "The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey (of birds) flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."

This sounds like they are talking about some stupid trailer trash hicks.. and these are people that we entrust to protect our country. How pathetic!

And the Press... As Lou Dobbs pointed out, at today's press briefing 65 questions from the media were about this accidental shooting, and only 17 on other subjects. We are in the midst of a War based on lies and deception, we have a huge trade deficit, we have incompetence at highest levels of our intelligence agencies, and FEMA. We are surrounded by hatred and terror in the world... and our press is preoccupied by a STUPID HUNTING ACCIDENT! How stupid is that.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Still Blogging after all these years

Woa! This month marks the Fifth Year of the Brain Drain Blog. Been at it since February 2001. Blogger was a lot different then, and this blog shows it. Different archiving system, no built in commenting, just a couple simple templates. But Blogger started a revolution in personal publishing, and I feel like I was in it on the ground floor. Its fun to go back and read those early posts.

My most favorite project, In The Groove Podcast now also runs off of Blogger. I see even Roger has gotten into the act.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Damn Sudoku

Got hooked. Wasted most of this weekend.

On the other hand, my powers of deductive reasoning should be greater than most mortal men!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Big Day for us Apple geeks

Its like Xmass, New Years, birthday all rolled up into one, when Steve makes his MacWorld Keynote speech. Us cult members are frothing at the bit when Jobs takes the stage. This years big announcement was Intel chips in the iMac and Powerbook... er... MacBook Pro. Way cool. Probably the only thing I will open the wallet for at this point in time is iLife 06. Upgrades to iPhoto, Garage Band (podcast features) and the new iWeb look droolworthy.

Maybe the coolest thing on stage was that jazzy iPod ad featuring Wynton.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years Blahs

The holidays are over with and I feel like crap. Too much eating, drinking, late nights, and a big fall on my head, so now I look like this. Don't ask.


Gotta heal my wounds, diet and clean up my act.