New CD Review: Rush – Clockwork Angels

The moment has arrived.


I have heard the new music.


The verdict is in.


Rush no longer needs–nor have they *ever* needed–the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” With this release, they have inducted themselves into their own hall of fame. Once again, their newest offering triumphs over pretty much everything else that’s available today. The songs are epic (not in the trendy sense of “Whoa … that’s so epic, man!!”), cinematic, and … simply VAST. There are 12 tracks on Clockwork Angels, and every single one of them is a home run. Or a hat trick. Or a Gordie Howe hat trick. In fact, that’s it right there–they are the Gordie Howe hat trick to end all. There’s scoring. There are assists all over the place. And there are brutal, drop-the-gloves, bare-knuckle fights that will rend your soul in two.

“Wait … what? how can there be an actual fight?”


Sit back, relax. If you’re reading this on your phone and have Instapaper installed, you might want to open it. This review’s gonna be commute-worthy.


This is Rush’s first “concept album” since their heady days of 2112, Hemispheres, Caress of Steel, etc. However, this CD differs from them in that the concept spans THE WHOLE CD. None of their previous concept albums lasted longer than 1 side of an LP. 2112 clocks in at 20:33. Between “The Fountain of Lamneth” and “The Necromancer,” Caress of Steel‘s concept tracks span 31:27. Cygnus X-1: Book 2″ from Hemispheres lasts a “paltry” 18:08.


Clockwork Angels is over 65 minutes long, recounting the story of a young man longing to leave his lands. He yearns for the enormity and grandiosity of Crown City. After successfully landing work as a carnival worker in Chronos Square, he falls in love, and is rejected. He seeks comfort by seeking out Cibola–the City of Gold, meanwhile working in the port city of Poseidon.


Themes of order, chaos, anger, forgiveness, wonder, love found and lost, heroism, failed journeys … this CD has it all.


You know what? Read the book. It comes out in September. The collaborative book between Kevin Anderson (for all you Star Wars novelists, that name should be *extremely* familiar) and Neil Peart expands on the story told by the CD.


In truth, I’ve had this CD now for about 5 days. I won’t lie: I downloaded it as soon as it hit the torrent sites. Call me what you will. I have every intention of buying it outright on Tuesday; probably two or three times. So no–I’m not a pirate. I am, however, a die-hard Rush fan, and I make no bones about it.


That being the case and knowing that Clockwork Angels was literally days away, I figured it might have leaked. I downloaded it and literally ushered my daughters to the backyard for a couple hours of sprinkler summer fun. Or … late spring, since, you know … it was June 5th. Technically, still spring.


The musicianship on the whole CD is ridiculously superb. There have been so many times over the last few days that I’ve just sat here in stunned silence, thinking “I don’t think I’ve ever heard them at this level … and they’ve been doing this for almost 40 years.” And the lyrics … seriously. This is beyond classic Neil; he elevated his game to a whole new level for this go-round. His drumming is equally stratospheric. There are parts that he sounds like he had 10 arms. Geddy pulls out some bass lines that are simply inhuman. “Headlong Flight” has this bass line that just leaves you staring into the distance, wondering how anyone can play all the notes he hits with just one hand. Alex pulls out all the stops on every single song. His solos range from haunting to twisted and everything in between. There are chords that he plays that I’m fairly confident have never been played by ANYone. “Clockwork Angels” has a couple, as does “Headlong Flight.” There are intense, spine-shattering moments, and moments where he plucks what sounds like a 12-string (“The Garden”) that give me the shivers.


I queued up “Caravan,” though I’ve had that and “BU2B” memorized since early 2010. I figured if I was going to enjoy the new CD,  I was going to enjoy the whole CD.


Even being familiar with the first two tracks through the singles released a couple of years ago, there were subtle differences that were obvious. The echoed chorus at the end of “Caravan,” the lamenting melancholy of the acoustic intro to “BU2B” … even on Neil’s fill before after the second “verse” in “BU2B”, it seems like there’s an extra length to the cymbals. The singles were excellent. The CD versions are even more polished.


Eventually, my playlist navigated to track 3, “Clockwork Angels.” This is where the “Gordie Howe hat trick” reference should make a whole lot of sense. There have been a few times in life where music has literally left my jaw hanging on by the sinewy tendrils of my mandibular tendons. This was one of those instances–where the opening leaves you feeling like you just got punched in the gut and had the wind literally knocked out of you. You *want* to breathe, but you can’t. And even if you could, you’re afraid to because you might miss a single, solitary note, and that pain is inexplicably more unbearable than a complete and utter lack of oxygen.


“Clockwork Angels” is a lengthy one, clocking it at over 7 and a half minutes. It opens with this sad, echoing, almost gregorian chant performed by Geddy Lee, which follows with an “archer’s lob” of cymbals before the full-on frontal assault hits–a barrage of guitar that sounds like it’s straight out of a “Meddle”-era Pink Floyd song. Specifically, “One of These Days.” And it’s sooooo much more dark and ominous than is the PF track. The opening is at once frantic and frenetic, pummeling you with lefts and rights of guitar and bass upper-cuts that leave you wondering when the beating will ever end. Here’s the thing: you do not WANT it to end. You WANT it. You CRAVE IT. But you are denied as the dynamic completely shifts to this whimsical, light and airy melody that recalls moments of driving through a big city for the first time, with the top down, eyes wide, and drinking in all the grandeur and splendor that you’ve always imagined. For example, imagine you’ve always dreamed of visiting someplace like NYC, Paris, Shanghai … and checking out places like the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, or the Oriental Pearl Tower, Eiffel tower, Louvre … imagine visiting any of these places for the first time. That’s the wonder I felt when the transition hit … except that feeling of wonder and comfort lasts precsiely 21 seconds. That’s all the more time you’re allotted to catch your breath and return your trays and chairs to their original upright positions. The next thing you know, Alex comes roaring back and reminds you just why he’s one of the premiere guitarists of all time, pulling out one of the most ace riffs in the Rush arsenal. Following his assault, Geddy and Neil join in and permanently seal upon you the memory of why you started listening to Rush in the first place. If ever there was a moment where you forgot who these guys used to be, or where their roots are, this song will smack you back to remembrance with all the love and force that you deserve.


The lyrics to this are as tight and as Neil-esque as it gets. Here is an excerpt from “Clockwork Angels”:


“High above the city square
Globes of light float in mid-air
Higher still, against the night
Clockwork angels bathed in light


You promise every treasure, to the foolish and the wise
Goddesses of mystery, spirits in disguise
Every pleasure, we bow and close our eyes
Clockwork angels, promise every prize”


When I saw “Carnies” on the track list a few weeks ago, I will admit that I had my reservations. I’m glad I kept those in check. “How I prayed just to get away. To carry me anywhere. Sometimes the angels punish us by answering our prayers.” I love the punch to the song. It has this very “Working Man” vibe to it in the beginning. You’ll read this in the liner notes, but the story behind the song really caught me off guard. I won’t spoil it for you, cuz that’s the fun of reading the liner notes, right?


Which is one of the greatest things about this CD. Each track’s lyrics are prefaced by a little back story. It really helps to tie the whole saga together, and it really whets your appetite for the book (again … September, but seriously … this CD will keep you plenty entertained until then).


The last track, “The Garden,” is one of the most introspective and philosophically deep songs that the band has ever written. I’m ripping this right out of the liner notes, so please don’t confuse this with anything I’ve written. I could never deign to write as such. Anyway,


“LONG AGO I READ A STORY FROM ANOTHER TIMELINE about a character named Candide. He also survived a harrowing series of misadventures and tragedies, then settled on a farm near Constantinople. Listening to a philosophical rant, Candide replied, “That is all very well, but now we must tend our garden.”


I have now arrived at that point in my own story. There is a metaphorical garden in the acts and attitudes of a person’s life, and the treasures of that garden are love and respect. I have come to realize that the gathering of love and respect – from others and for myself – has been the real quest of my life.


“Now we must tend our garden.”


Chills, right? How can you not read that and just weep with hope and aspirations of filling everyone’s lives with joy and love? “The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect. The way you live, the gifts that you give. In the fullness of time, it’s the only return that you expect.” If this is the last song on the last CD that Rush ever releases, they go out on the highest note possible. There are so many things about this song that is good–from the lyrics, to Alex’s solo that is rife with emotion, to the sheer beauty of the song … if you don’t well up and shed at least a single tear, you don’t have soul. Period. I said it, so you know it’s true.


Answer me this: how is it that a band that’s been around almost 40 years, and has gone through as many metamorphoses as these guys have, can come back to their roots and completely dominate? Clockwork Angels is their masterpiece, in my opinion. Their classics will always be their classics and their building blocks that got them to this precise stage, where they *can* write this kind of music. This is them at their pinnacle best–the culmination of EVERYTHING they’ve ever been.  This was the CD they were destined to write.


In the end, this CD is for every Rush fan that’s ever existed. It’s for every *music* fan that’s ever existed. Clockwork Angels is their definitive work, and if your music collection is without, then your collection isn’t complete.


House MD Finale and My Thoughts

So, House is over.

Oh, wait … if your name is TROY, better stop reading. I’m about to spoil the crap out of this episode.

Or if you simply don’t want to know what happened, then by all means, read elsewhere. Or … here.

Still here? Great.

Yah, House is over. Not sure what we’re going to do with the other hour of our Monday night. Probably weed, since our yard looks like crap. That’s always fun. Ranks right up there with plucking hair off your upper lip.

Now … way back at the beginning of this final season, I called it: “House will commit suicide.” For those of you who have seen the last show, you know just how close I was to being right! I thought for sure that he’d do himself in. The leg pain, losing Cuddy, his best/only friend having 5  months left to live, avoiding jail … the man was a train wreck. However, the way the show ended was just perfect. House found the ultimate solution to his grandest puzzle.: how do I help support my friend? Committing “suicide” allows him to 1. stay out of jail, b) tool around with Wilson on their motorcycles for the next 5 months or however long Wilson has left, c) in a lot of ways, it frees House to live whatever life he wants from here on out. I especially liked the name badge under the chair trick. “Hi. Still here. Not dead. Just playing. See ya. Or … not.”

I read this funny article on how one person thought the show would end (read #3). While I find it humorous, it would have been almost tragic to end the show like that. I guess. Actually, it wouldn’t have been funny cuz I would have been wrong. THAT would have sucked. As it is, I was only partially wrong.

However, reading that article got me thinking about the “sarcoidosis” inside joke. Not that ANY disease is funny or has an entertaining element, but come on … imagine you’re Hugh Laurie, or Omar Epps, Or Jesse Spencer, or Olivia Wilde, or ANY of the actors who played on the show and had to say, “Well, umm … it could be sarcoidosis …” I’m guessing there’s a bell curve to the number of takes it took to actually say, “sarcoidosis” without breaking into hysterical laughing fits as the number of eps increased  in which it featured as a possible threat.

Sarcoidosis "bell curve"

Well, okay … not so much a bell curve. More like an upright cucumber followed by a large span (read: rest of the life of the show) of “Really? Of the hundreds of thousands of diseases, this has to be our default diagnosis for every single show?” Yah … if I were the cast, I would have boycotted. “Find another disease. I don’t care if it’s tennis elbow, mad cow, proctalgia fugax, witzelsucht, rhinotillexomania, or gynecomastia … come up with something else.”

Well, thanks to the House team for 8 years of awesome. Gonna miss the show, but thankfully it lives on in digital.

March of the Solar Moon

Yes, I’m aware that the post title doesn’t make a whole lot of sense … unless I give you some context.

This Sunday, I’m going to southern Utah to watch the annular solar eclipse in its entirety. Well as “entirety” as it gets in our neck of the woods, since the sun sets just before the eclipse ends (but really, we’re only going to miss about 20 minutes).

For the last week or so, I have woken up and headed out to the car to drive to work. I get up pretty early–between 5 and 6. I’m out the door well before sunrise, generally speaking.  One day early last week, when I was driving in to work a little later than normal, I could see an almost full moon just getting ready to set on the western horizon, while on the eastern horizon, the sun was already threatening to crest the tops of the still-snow-capped mountains.

This morning, I saw the moon directly over head as i left around 5:30. It’s in its waning crescent phase, and it is marching towards its inevitable encounter with the sun this coming Sunday afternoon/early evening.

It struck me that this cyclical phase the moon goes through–the rotation around the earth once every 28 days (for the sake of discussion, anyway) … and this collision course with lunar and solar alignment in just such a locale that I only need to drive 4 or 5 hours … this is why I love science–specifically, astronomy. Today, anyway. I love watching documentaries as a general rule. Anything to further learning. 🙂

But I digress.

This morning, it struck me that I am going to witness an incredible spectacle on Sunday. This is going to be an awesome event! I even rented a high quality lens to make sure i get good pictures. How often does one get to say, “Yah, I saw an annular eclipse today.”?! I’ve read of people whose lives were changed after seeing events like this. The sheer grandeur of the confluence of celestial bodies in just such a perfect alignment; the awe-inspiring vision that presents itself as the moon blots out 95% of the sun; the day that turns to night, then back to day … all in a matter of minutes. How could one NOT be struck by something like that?

Then there’s the Venus transit on June 5th. Another incredibly rare event. So rare, in fact, that it happens twice every 110-125 years. Unfortunately, this transit is the last one until December 2117, at which point most anyone alive right now will be dead.

August 21, 2017 will see a full total solar eclipse pass through North America, the center of which passes right through Jackson Hole, Wyoming, southern Idaho … well here–see for yourself. The path cuts through THE ENTIRE CONTINENTAL USA. I can’t wait for that one. It’s going to be awesome.

April 8, 2024 will see another total solar eclipse, this time passing over Niagara Falls. Seriously? Can we say “photo op”?

But for now, my heart is already in southern Utah. Sunday morning cannot get here soon enough. Gonna have to start making a playlist for the trip. Obviously Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon, CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” and whatever else I can think of. Spotify to the rescue!


This morning, I came in to work earlier than normal. A buddy of mine stopped by my desk and asked about some stuff, and we got to talking. Eventually the conversation migrated to the new Rush single, “Headlong Flight.”

“Hey man. Have you heard the new Rush single?”

Buddy: “Not yet. Is it any good?”


me: “Here. Take my phone and listen to it.”

About 10 minutes later, he came back to my desk, shaking his head. “Really, I don’t need to say anything, do I?”All I could do was smile and nod in agreement.

What’s mind-boggling, is that these guys are 58 and 59. Peart will actually be 60 this year. The three songs that have been released from the upcoming CD are some of the best they’ve ever written. Specifically, my favorite is still “BU2B,” but “Headlong Flight” is starting to take over.

Clockwork Angels now comes out June 12, not May 22. Not sure what the reason for the delay is, but whatever. I can listen to these three tracks for now and be happy.


The Jimmy Chunga Fallacy

Ahh, the grandness of being an on-air celebrity. They can say a lot of things! And apparently, they feel they can say it without impunity.

Not today, Chunga. Not today.

You see, Jimmy Chunga’s take on this whole Trayvon Martin case is that “There isn’t any evidence” pointing either way, so he feels that Mr. Zimmerman should be left alone–have the media spotlight taken off of him. After all, this is AMERICA! LAND OF THE FREE! Innocent until proven guilty, right?! Leave him be in peace! You have no evidence against him, so leave him alone.

Please. Are you serious? No one buys that schlock anymore.

Come on …

Thus was Chunga’s stand: there’s no evidence against Zimmerman, so he’s innocent. Ignore the fact that the girl with whom Trayvon was chatting over the phone said the he told her that he was being followed. Ignore the fact that the surveillance cameras show NO blood on Zimmerman ANYwhere after shooting Trayvon (Zimmerman claimed that he was punched in the noes and hit on the back of the head).

Chunga made it perfectly clear how uninformed he actually is about the case to his audience before he opened up the phone lines for the wildly popular, “What’s happening hot stuff?” segment. I had an opinion and wanted to weigh in. After a few attempts to get through that were met with busy signals, indeed–I got through.

I presented my argument. This country does *not* assume innocent until proven guilty: quite the opposite. If such were the case, there would be no need for bail, or bail bondsmen, or the like. The point of bail is to pay into a system that has already fingered you as a guilty party, but if you pay us X amount of dollars, we’ll assume you’re innocent. Really? THAT’S considered “innocent until proven guilty? What a facade. And what about those who don’t make bail, or aren’t offered bail? Where’s the innocent until proven guilty there? Again, I reference Josh Powell. No one assumes he’s innocent, despite the fact that there’s literally no hard evidence–only circumstantial.

I presented my argument. He cut me off and said that “No–it’s better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man sit in jail,” and so on and so forth. “This country was founded on the principle of innocence until proven guilty! We need to get back to that!” I countered with there is no such thing as innocent until proven guilty and I used a very first-hand experience to get to my point. Obviously, I didn’t give minute details, but in a broad sense, I explained that my wife and I were no longer allowed to do certain things for the state because of a case that was brought against me. That civil case never even got to go to trial because we were strong-armed into dropping our civil suit against the state … BY THE STATE. In other words, the state threatened to press criminal charges and drag us through a criminal trial, even though they knew good and well that they didn’t have enough evidence to every actually win … but they also knew that strong-arming me into dropping the civil suit by using the threat of criminal charges should be enough to get us to drop our case. And ya know what? It worked. Know why? Because I do not trust the justice system. I have family that works in law. I was strongly advised to take the deal and let this whole issue go because trials by jury can and do go wrong–very, very wrong. That is coming from within the legal system, people–not some radio DJ with a semi-popular morning show. “Drop the case. You do not want this to go to trial. Juries get it wrong. A lot. If they’re offering to drop any possible criminal charges by you dropping the civil suit, take it.”

So now we go back to the call-in show. Mr. Chunga went on to call my argument “dumb,” and then hung up on me. It gets better. He told his audience after he hung up on me that I was just “grand standing because [I’m] pissed off about my case,” leaving me no chance to refute or explain anything.

Here’s what I think:

1. Jimmy Chunga does not believe, nor does he practice, what he spouts. If he did, he would not have said that I was just “grandstanding.” Presenting an opposing idea based upon personal experience is not “grandstanding”–it’s stating fact. Cold, hard, undisputable fact. Not facts that *Chunga* had, but facts nonetheless. Yet this man, on air, decided within our 30-second call that my idea is “dumb” and that I was grandstanding because I was pissed off. Sounds an awful lot like judging without facts, to me. Jumping to conclusions that aren’t accurate, based on the fact that he has no facts … which is exactly what he’s preaching against.

2. EVERYone wants to point to Josh Powell as having murdered his wife, Susan, despite any hard, cold evidence to support the claim, yet EVERYONE assumes that he did it. The man even killed his own kids and himself to keep his in-laws from having custody of the two boys. But he wasn’t tried in an actual court of law, so he must be innocent, right?! Right …?

3. Chunga couldn’t be bothered to discuss or debate without using name-calling as part of his argument. “Your idea is dumb.” Wow. It doesn’t get any more childish or immature than that. Not to mention he presented no facts for showing how great this American court and justice system is. All he could do is sling mud. Here’s an idea, Chunga: run for office. That’s what the best politicians do, right? Call names and make personal attacks? Go for it! New Mayor of Salt Lake City!! JIMMY CHUNGA!!

What’s really sad is that I really like his show. I like the fact that he has a more conservative slant than do other stations, say, in the 96-97 wavelength. On principle, he and I see more eye to eye than we don’t. But this … calling someone’s idea’s dumb and assuming that someone is just grandstanding for the sake of piss-offed-ness without knowing a single thing about the person … while claiming that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that we must not judge?! They hypocricy is just too great to ignore. Sorry, Chunga, but you lost a listener today. Not that you care.

CD Review: Paisley Rose – Milk and Honey

First off, all apologies to Jennifer and Anthony for the ridiculous delay for writing this. Jenn told me that it was available for download over on CDBaby a couple of weeks ago. It’s been playing non-stop since then. (With a few interludious [yes–“interludious”] distractions by Muse. Some addictions simply cannot be shaken. That bass line in “Hysteria” … I mean … COME ON!)

But here it is. To be fair, I didn’t want to just dive in and write my first response to the new music. I wanted to take it all in for as long as possible before putting finger pads to keyboard. In essence, I wanted to get it right.

Just like Jenn and Anthony have.

Now … to be fair, I came at this with a slant towards their previous songs, “Exist,” “Murder of Crows,” and “I Was a Child of God.” All of those songs were as organic as it gets. Deeply layered instrumentation, the vast majority of which is completely acoustic and … and ….. I mean … sick with emotion, pathos, and amazement. Rarely do you hear such harmonies. Mamas and the Papas, Alice in Chains … I mean, we’re talking *that* level of insane harmonies.

Now, having said all that, I immediately went to CDBaby’s, downloaded the new CD, fidgetdly waited for it to finish, popped it into iTunes and onto my phone. Grabbed my headphones, turned off the lights, and settled in.

First sound: Champagne cork popping, and bubbly being poured. I can only assume this is in recognition of them FINALLY being able to release their life’s ambition. Laughter, yet … there’s some distinct foreshadowing to the echo in the sound.

Then “Incognito kicks in … and I’m left flabbergasted. I wasn’t ready. I expected more along the lines of “Exist” and Crows. Instead, I get a thunderous drum, trumpet, and completely plugged in guitar?! What?!

A completely different direction. Talk about a curve ball. Which, using my least favorite sports metaphor, they hit out of the park, over the Green Monster, and whetted my appetite for the rest of the CD.

Far and away, one of my favorite tracks on the new CD is the next track, “Head in the Clouds.” I love this song for so many reasons. The dueling guitars. The subtle synth. The lyrics. The harmonics. The dynamics. This is the first time I’ve heard Jenn simply BELT IT. And holy sweet Halloween candy bag full of Skors … can she let it out. I’ve had my suspicions–that there’s a lot more force to her voice than she had previously let on. I was so much more than just right. It’s like when you’re watching some incredibly plot-twisty movie, and you kind of see hints of what’s coming, and then you get the big reveal, and it’s exactly what you thought, and you have that “YES! I NAILED IT!” That’s how that track hit me.

“Venus over Mars” is another guitar-driven track that  has to be heard to be believed. Words simply cannot describe it adequately. So … please–just get the CD.

But that’s not the end of the review. Oh … not hardly. 🙂

See, after “VoM,” there is a complete shift. “Space Hibernation” is a completely piano/strings/drums piece that will completely mellow you out to the point where you very well may forget to actually breathe. It’s that relaxing.

“Visuva” is a great choral piece that reminds me of an old, abandoned Catholic church, in which all the benches are rotting, the stained glass windows missing half their panes, but through those broken panes shines beams of sunlight that highlight the choir standing at the front, where once stood the pulpit and communion table. I don’t know. It just has a really incredible vibe to it. If this were a video, that’s how I’d shoot it. Dramatic shots of the instruments being played, close-ups of the choir members, shots from the back of the church, showing the age and demise of the building, yet echoing through the once hallowed halls resounds these angelic voices. I love this piece.

For the rest of the album, they return to an acoustic sound, returning to their roots. “Rowboat” is an awesome a capella track that makes you want to get up and travel to just about ANYwhere. “Dancing in the Rain” … if I’m not missing my mark, this could almost be called, “Jenn’s Anthem.” 🙂 “Island Song” sounds like a non-reggae track that has a really awesome island vibe to it.

This is their first CD. It already leaves me thirsting for more. Not because it lacks anything–quite the contrary, it is an amazing first full-length offering. No … it leaves me wanting more because I *know* there’s more kicking around in the back of their collective mind. They have more in them, and now that we’ve this incredible music to gnaw on and ponder, I’m already anxious for them to put out MORE music. Selfish of me, I know … but I’m a music junkie. I need more.

EDIT: Just read Jenn’s Facebook page. Apparently, “Head in the Clouds” is her favorite track too. That makes me smile from ear to ear.

New Music Alert: Rush’s Clockwork Angels Due May 22!!

To say that I’ve been looking forward to this CD for years is really kind of pointless. Anyone who is familiar with Rush has had their hopes up for this release since about June 2010. The “teasers,” as it were–“Caravan” and “BU2B” (short-hand for “Brought Up To Believe) were released, and the world felt right. It felt whole. It felt lighter.

Then the wait began. Little did we know that it would be almost 2 years until the new CD would come out.

But we have an official release date! May 22, Clockwork Angels will be released world-wide. That means at midnight, I will be on iTunes, waiting for the CD to “hit.” That also means that I will be going on Amazon later today as soon as they have a pre-order page for Clockwork Angels!!!

I have been following them since I first heard Presto back in 1989. Not gonna lie … it wasn’t my favorite CD at the time. I was in to Metallica, Van Halen, and other bands over them. I wish I could go back in time and tell that kid to appreciate them for what they were then and are now–talent beyond comparability. I even remember Rick Burton lauding the praises of Hold Your Fire and talking of how Neils completely electronic drum set was “revolutionary.” I remember where I was sitting on the bus, where Rick was sitting, and even what he was wearing (which isn’t hard … he *always* wore a gray hoodie over whatever other t-shirt he may or may not have been wearing).

Rush got me through my college years. Rush has been a part of my marriage. Up until 2010, I was severely afraid that I’d never get to attend a Rush concert with my wife. She came on board the Rush train with Vapor Trails, quickly latching on to “Earthshine” as her favorite track.

I think of the sheer joy their music brings me. I think of the incredible quality of their music. The camaradarie the 3 of them share as band mates for almost 40 years. I think of the chance I have to share their music with my kids … and it leaves me breathless, misty-eyed.

I can wait 2+ more months. I may not like waiting, but I have 18 other studio CDs, 9 official concert CDs, and countless bootlegs to keep me company.



iPad 3 Eve: What I Hope To Hear and See

First off, let me caveat this by saying that I do not own and iPad of any generation. Yet. I plan on fixing that over the summer. However, for the interim, I’m perfectly content with my iPhone.

Tomorrow, Tim Cook et al will take the stage in Cupertino and announce the next generation of iPad, supposedly called iPad 3, or possibly iPad HD. Or, as I’m hoping, iPadS. The strong rumor is that an iPad Mini is coming down the pike–a 7-8″ tablet that would have all the functionality of a typical iPad, just in a smaller form factor. I would much prefer the smaller version for any number of reasons, but the over-riding factor is sheer size management.

My iPhone already has a 3.5 screen. I like it. It works for my needs, and it does the job just fine for the apps I use. However, a 7″ screen on an iPad would give me 4 times more real estate. Using Garageband would be *so* much easier. The real kicker would be a 128GB model. I think that would probably push me over the edge to getting one.

As far as the new regular sized model goes, I really have no expectations. I mean … at this point, NOT having a retina display is almost laughable, and from all the regular Apple pundit websites (e.g. TUAW, Cult of Mac, 9 to 5 Mac, et al), there’s no reason to assume that it won’t. However, all that means is that every iPad app out there is going to have to upgrade to look semi-decent on the new iPad.

On This Date in Literary History

Last year, I wrote about Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The admiration I have for him has not abated over the course of last 365 days; if anything, it’s increased.

Today, my 2nd grade daughter is having “pajama day” at school. Her class earned the right to have a book party for reading the most out of anyone else in the school, and they are being rewarded with some pretty cool stuff (by 2nd grade standards, anyway). She was allowed to bring her favorite books to school. Being that it’s Dr. Seuss day, she opted to bring “Horton Hatches an Egg” and “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I couldn’t be more proud of her. What a great way to celebrate Mr. Geisel’s accomplishments.

Maybe tonight, we’ll watch “The Cat in the Hat” with Mike Meyers. Actually, I kind of doubt we will. That movie was horrible. “The Grinch” is pretty good though … unfortunately, I like to keep my movies in their proper season. For that very reason, my wife and I only watch “Groundhog Day” once a year.

Happy birthday, Mr. Theodore Geisel. Your writings are as engaging and amazing as they were 10, 20, 50 years ago!



Buffcon 1

As previously mentioned, I’m a hockey fan. Specifically, I bleed blue and gold. Lately, I’ve been bleeding a LOT of blue and gold, as has most of SabreNation cuz the team, as a general whole, sucks. There’s no heart. There’s no grit. There’s no scoring. There’s no defense. There’s no good goaltending. And it’s getting really, really old. So old that talk show hosts are actually excited to see them lose tonight in Winnipeg JUST to see if change will actually happen.

Lots want to blame Darcy Regier, the GM. And that’s fine. I get wanting to pin this on him. He’s the one who assembled this team; he should be held accountable for the on-ice performance. Right?

Except here’s what pisses me off the most. This same team, from Februrary 22, 2011, until the end of the season, were THE BEST team in the NHL. They went on a rampage and got themselves into the playoffs as a 7th place seed, then took Philly to 7 games in the first round.

Off season brought in some great acquisitions in Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff, and Robyn Regehr. Our defense AND offense was supposed to be upgraded. And it seemed like everything was going great.

Until November 11th.

Since November 11th, the Sabres have lost 22 games, 4of which were in OT/SO. They now sit in 11th place, 9 points out of 8th, and 3 points from the bottom of the conference. If they had won even half of those games instead of losing, they’d be vying for the top of the conference. Even if they had won just 5 more games, they’d at least be in 6th or 7th. But no … they haven’t. They’ve just about hit rock bottom, and if they lose tonight in Winnipeg, there very well might be some major shake-ups, from the front office down to the janitor (cuz he’s obviously not taking out ALL of the trash). \

So we of SabreNation watch nightly as the team collapses. I’m kind of on the side of WGR’s early morning hosts. There is nothing about this team worth watching right now, OTHER than to see what happens if they end up losing again.

I will wear my jersey with pride, and I will continue to hope that they’ll win and start climbing out of this funk. I don’t expect a miracle, but it starts with one game. Might tonight be that game? Could be. The optimist in me hopes that it is. The realist in me wonders if they can win another game before the All-Star break.

© 2018 A Theme