Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blues for New Years Part 2

I have a theme going so I will be keeping the blog kind of focused. Yes I am plugging my articles but I am trying to add a little new herein the lines of youtube videos.

First up the D.C. Blues Society is bringing Melvin Taylor to ring in the New Year in Wheaton, Maryland. If you like a stinging blues guitar Melvin won't disappoint. He has played with Pinetop Perkins and opened for Buddy Guy and more. You can read my preview here.

Here is a little taste of Melvin playing "Tin Pan Alley " :

Here is Taylor caught in the act from one of his gigs earlier this year in Chicago:

An alternative to smoking guitar, no offense intended to her guitarist, but perhaps one of the best voices in the area is more your style. Mary Ann Redmond ushers in the New Year in Bethesda. Here is a link to my preview.

Here she is live covering a John Hiatt song, which John is one of my favorite song writers so she gets bonus points:

Here she is with Tommy Lepson who pplaying with Tom Principato see yesterday's post:

That song really shows off her voice! Well I hope you enjoy and I hope I am helping you decide what to do on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blues for the New Years Part 1

I have decided to hit the Examiner hard to blow out the year. Since I am a blues writer there I have started a series of previews for blues artist playing the Washington D.C. area for New Year's Eve.

First up is Tom Principato, who is one of the areas best blues guitarists. He will be playing New Year's Eve in Falls Church, Virginia. You can read my preview for more info. It will be off the hook with Jay A. Turner on bass and Tommy Lepson on organ. Both of those artists are worth seeing on their own! Here is Tom in action in 2007:

There is more! In Winchester, Virginia Terry Oates and the Mudcats are getting ready to kick 2011 out of here, ring in 2012 and tear the house down at the George Washington Hotel. You can read my preview here.
Here are the Mudcats covering "Red House" :

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates Christmas. We had a busy one but a very nice one. The children were well taken care of and that is important. My daughter performed in her first Christmas Pageant. She was really excited about it and to a 4.5 year old it was a big deal. I think she has been influenced a bit from me taking her to the theater this year.

She did really well. She gave up seeing Santa Cow at Chick-fil-la to go to rehearsal. The Chick is her favorite place so for her. So, i was really  impressed she was willing to sacrifice that to perform.

If you don't celebrate Christmas I hope you are enjoying the Holiday you choose. If you choose not to celebrate I hope you get to spend some time with family and friends. I wish everyone Happiness, Peace and Joy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nat Reese: West Virginia Blues

Taking a break from the Holidays to share about a West Virginia Blues player. When you think of West Virginia you might think of bluegrass, folk, country, or scary banjo music. Yes, I live in a border area with some fine blues players. However, I spent some time in the southern part of the state and was lucky enough to discover a true West Virginia player in Nat Reese. He is the real deal, a mining camp blues players.He is a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Here he is with Phil Wiggens, a fine Piedmont Blues player. Yes you can blend the Mountains with the Piedmont.

Here is another song from him..

Just keeping the Blues Alive a bit...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the Spirit of Paying it Forward

I did this a while back a couple of times with bloggers. This time I am going to do it with some other writers. This blog entry is going to stay on the paying it forward theme.

Cyle Durkee wrote a great column on the Maryland Theatre Guide on helping out the theatre. Cyle is an actor, singer, dancer, who has delved into choreographing and directing in the Washington, D.C. area. He has a very entertaining style of writing filled with wit. Theaters and production companies are struggling in this economy and definitely can benefit from the support of others. Without theater I would have one less thing to write about. One less creative vise would be out there. As a music fan I have seen the correlation between music and theatre and dance as well.

A Christmas Carol kind of has that pay it forward theme to it. Scrooge changes his heart. If you are still looking to see it for the holidays let me suggest the show at the Olney Theatre Center. I was very impressed with the venue when I saw The Sound of Music there. I can only imagine their version of A Christmas Carol is very wonderful. Don't take my word for it read Amanda Gunther's review.

Hey, I do kind of have a Holiday theme going this week.Let's keep it going Season's Greetings.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tommy Emmanuel Christmas Album

I had the distinct honor of reviewing Tommy Emmanuel's newest Christmas album "All I Want for Christmas." Tommy is an amazing finger style guitarist from Australia. Here he is performing "Here Comes The Sun:"

You can read my review of his album here. It is the guitarist first ever Christmas album and it is a Holiday treat for the ears to listen to as it is the perfect album for your Holiday errands, parties or just relaxing.Here he is performing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" which is on the new album. He is performing with John Knowles who contributes quite a bit to the new album.

Happy holidays and I hope you get a chance to check out Tommy Emmanuel's new album.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Keith Richards Birthday

Today was Keith Richards 68th birthday. So when I had the chance today I listened to some Rolling Stones, some Keith Richards solo music. Yes, The Rolling Stones are among my favorite artists. Keith Richards is one of the main reasons.

So today's blog is dedicated to him. No shameless self promotion. No death notices. Just a chance to enjoy some Rock and Roll.

First up: You got a respect someone who will look out for his band mates. Yes Keith laying down order with his guitar.

Second, this is an unreleased Stones song and it is simply beautiful.

There are so many selections to choose from with Keith. One of my favorite songs is Before they Make Us Run. Here is Keith leading the Stones:

Yes the Holidays are near. Some deer has to Run..Happy Holidays:

I hope you enjoy. I might do this again next year with different songs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Theatre Again

I published two more reviews today. It has been kind of hectic last week covering three plays.

First up: The Reindeer Monologues. This is not a typical Holiday play. However, with all the other scandels going on this play is so topical. Santa's got problems of his own.

Staying with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, I also reviewed a play that was a little more traditional for the Holidays. Their production of A Christmas Carol.

Me I am taking a bit of a break from the theatre well at least this weekend anyway..
However, I am making musical plans for the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Theatre Update

I enjoy taking my daughter to the theatre. It is a new experience and I think she is catching the bug. She is going to do the Christmas Pageant this month and then who knows. I took her to her first non children geared play when I took her to Alice in Wonderland. She loved it and got to meet the cast later. Kids follow more of the show than you think too.

Next up I took her to The Commedia Pinocchio which is wrapping up this weekend. It was at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre's Fun Factory. I liked that it was longer than the last children's play I saw there. Again my daughter loved it.

Then I saw a bigger production of Hairspray at the Signature Theater. It was an incredible show. The singing and dancing were out of the world. It was hard to write a review since I could put so much in to it.

I've been busy. I have written two more reviews and hopefully they will be published soon. Then I think I am done with the theatre for 2011. However, I have said I am not doing anymore shows this month and end up doing four so who knows.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Poetry

Well the Holiday's are here. Most of my latest poems deal with them. So, I thought I would share a few with you. I hope you enjoy.

My latest is a Tanka poem I wrote called Holiday Lost.

I wrote a fun Haiku on Holiday Leftovers on Hubpages.

Those were this year's efforts.

Here is my original Holiday Haiku Sweet Holiday Spice.

Season's Greetings!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

These Heroes Deserved Better

I just heard the news today, at least 274 U.S. Soldiers had their cremated remains dumped in a Virginia landfill by the Air Force. It is a much higher number than originally revealed. However, I think even one is way too many. These people gave the ultimate sacrifice and deserved so much better They should not have been treated like this from our country it is a disgrace to them and their families.

Here is a link to a report in a Bangor, ME newspaper. If you google it you will find it in a lot of different news sources.

It is a news story that struck me this morning. Especially since my last blog was about Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor, 9.11

Today is a day not to be forgotten we were sneaked attacked. We were sneaked attack again on September 11, 2001. One by a military one by a terrorist group. Similar methods the latest used hijacked  airliners one used one used kamikaze bombers.

In hindsight we should have guessed these would have been targets. The twin towers had been bombed before in the past. Japan was at war with are allies.

According to World War 2 History info the Japanese attack sunk 3 battleships, capsized another and disabled the other four. 18 ships in total were messed up including the battleships. Notably three light cruisers and three destroyers. 161 planes were destroyed and 102 more were damaged. A minimum of 57 civilians were killed and 2345 military personnel lost their lives.A total of 2392.

The attacks on 9.11 caused 2819 people to die from Firefighters and paramedics lost 343 brave souls. 23 officers from the NYPD and 37 from the Port Authority police died.

Yes Pearl Harbor had more military deaths. However both days should never be forgotten. The brave military folks at Pearl Harbor need to be remembered for their sacrifices and service to our nation. It should also be a reminder at the risk our military folks are in not only at war time but in times of no war.

The police and firefighters who risked their lives in New York should be remembered as heroes as well. They gave the ultimate sacrifice to save others.

Times like this are times to reflect on the heroes of our military, fire departments and police and to offer a simple thanks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Darrell Scott

I love covering music. I was able to see Darrell Scott at the Shepherdstown Opera House and I have to admit I was excited to see this show.

First, I would like to thank Darrell Scott for coming to Shepherdstown in West Virginia. A drive of only a few miles for me is much nicer than a drive to Washington, Baltimore or more. The crowd appreciated it too.The Shepherdstown Opera House has been lining up some pretty cool shows recently I hope they find success and this continues.

Photo by Rodney Bursiel from Darrell Scott's website and press kit.

I enjoyed watching Darrell twice this year in the Band of Joy with Robert Plant. I saw him in Washington and at Wanee. I was able to see his musical talents displayed there. I wanted to hear more from him and then when I researched him I found out about his legendary songwriting. Then when i was able to see him do his own stuff he added new twists. It was a great experience and you can read my review here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

More Theatre...

Last weekend I watched two plays as I tried to balance my folks being in town and my wife's mom being in town. Yes it was a crazy weekend.

The first play I saw was The Greenbelt Arts Center production of "Alice and Wonderland." It was a solid production but it put art ahead of the story which was daring and creative. You can read my full review here. I really enjoyed Liz Cassedy as Alice, Ronda Anstead as the Cheshire Cat and others, and of course the Mad Hatter Ryan Willis.

Then on Saturday I watched the Olney Theatre's production of "The Sound of Music." I thought after watching this production it could hang with any Broadway version or National Touring production. They really do incredible work there. You can read my review here. It was neat to see Maggie Donovan shine playing a teenage child in the production. I raved about her performance in a completely different role. She was wonderful in "The Last Five Years." You can read that review here. It is neat to run into these talented actors and actresses in different productions.

I had nothing scheduled at the beginning of November and ended up covering three plays and I have one more to go on Sunday to bring up the total to four. So stay tuned there will be more...

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Sure it is easy to come up with a list of things you are not thankful for...perhaps we should have a Holiday for that. Anyway today is thanksgiving a day to give thanks for what you are thankful for,,,

I'm thankful for my family. Some days it might be as dysfunctional as any other family. However, I am blessed to have the cutest daughter ever, sure I am bios but she is a cutie. Thankful for my wife, without her I wouldn't have the cutest daughter ever and she is responsible for her curls. Through our ups and downs we have still managed to go on some neat adventures and we still have many more  to go. Then there is Ben, I know Evelyn and I are thankful for her big brother to cheer for during high school football season. I'm thankful he is a great big brother and a neat kid.

I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for my readers and for my writing. Some days writing isn't easy like life it has its ups and downs. However, it has brought me to some cool theatres, and incredible festivals like Wanee.

So yes I have lots to be thankful for and today is one day I am glad I am not a turkey no matter what some people say.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Death by Them Crooked Vultures

I like Them Crooked Vultures. Everybody who knows me knows I like Led Zeppelin, and I think John Paul Jones is a very talented musician. I like Dave Grohl too. The band has a bit of a metal edge to it with Queens of the Stone Age Josh Homme in the band. However, I never would have considered them death metal.

However, a story out of Ultimate Classic Rock might change my mind. A guy stabbed himself too death after listening to Them Crooked Vultures in concert. He blamed the pain associated with hearing loss as the reason and blamed the band. The news is tragic and yes I use a little pun humor.

Of all the reasons to blame your death on a rock band hearing loss caused due to the band rocking is better than blaming subliminal messages, Satanic messages, or the band was so bad one just wanted to end the misery. On a serious note I guess this would be a reason to consider ear protection.

Here is the band in action:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Madness

Yes everyone is used to their brackets being broken in March when it comes to NCAA Basketball. Upsets in March have ended up having the Tournament called March Madness. However, big upsets don't just happen in March. These happened last night in November:

Kent State upset West Virginia from the Big East 70-60. In the Pac-12 Pepperdine took down Arizona State 66-60. Middle Tennessee blew out UCLA 86-66. In the Big-12 Drake upset Iowa State 74-65. In the SEC tiny Elon beat South Carolina 58-53. Coastasl Carolina topped LSU 71-63.

The NBA season might be in limbo. However, the NCAA is in full madness mode! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poetry Update

I had not posted anything on my poetry since September 4, 2011. Then again I haven't written a lot of poetry since then. Well my latest is a haiku which was suppose to be about winter. As a skier I like snow, but sometimes it might be too much. You can read that here.

I've wrote more poetry this year than I have in quite a while. I have a bunch more that I wrote in my younger years but they were kind of private. Now that I am older I write more public. Everything changes and this one is about the season Fall. You can read that here.

Then I did a quick Haiku about a rabbit you can read that here Poetry: Haiku about rabbits - by Mike Spain - Helium. I guess it is silly Haiku night as I wrote one about beavers too. Poetry: Haiku about beavers - by Mike Spain - Helium.

And since my anniversary just past let me leave with It is a stab at a poem in the villanelle style on marriage.I wrote this one a year ago so I am digging up something a little older.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

American Buffalo

In late October I reviewed "American Buffalo" at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre. I picked the right night to review it, since we evacuated are home due to the freak snow storm to stay at a Frederick Hotel. It was not so much the snow but the lack of power and wanting to keep the family warm that created the hotel stay.

Any way "American Buffalo" is playing through November 20th. You can read my review here which also has ticket information. If you go beware it is Mamet so there will be some colorful language featuring quite a few f-bombs and s-bombs to name a few.

It might be community theatre but the MET always has great acting. This production features a guest in Jeff Keilholtz as Teach. I probably didn't mention enough about him in my review. Jeff is based out of New York and has appeared in off-Broadway productions, films, and one of my favorite television shows "The Sopranos." He played the role of the Party Doctor in two episodes back in 2006.

Tad Janes the theatre's artistic director performs as the shopkeeper Donny and Bobby was played by Clayton Myers making the cast of three really incredible. Check it out if the language does not offend.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

I humbly thank the service members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Many of them have to work on their Holiday. They work long hours, sometimes stationed away from family and loved ones. I thank them for their sacrifices big and small. They should never feel their job is thankless.

For those away from home, I hope they will return home safe and sound and reunite with their loved ones. For those who have had to deal with the loss of fellow co-workers, Brothers and Sisters in arms I can't say I know how you feel as a civilian. I'm sure there is pain, sorrow, and other emotions. I can say I am sorry for our Country's loss, for your loss, and for their family loss. I an say I am thankful of their sacrifice.

I hope we get politicians and diplomats who can succeed at diplomacy more. So war and battles will be fewer. However, I am proud of all who stand ready. I am thankful of your non-battlefield activities as well. Thank you for your law and order, your humanitarian efforts, your entertainment, and your rescues.Things you may feel are over look we see and say thanks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

R.I.P Pay it Forward: John Gugie

John Gugie was one of the first people I met on Associated Content way back in 2007. I joined a Yahoo! Group he was in and used to browse his work quite often. I've made stabs of paying it forward on this blog before without a contest. If I like someones work I share it. John was probably the first peer, that I shared his work. The blog post can be found here and it was in regards to an interview he did with a band called Mr. Jack.

Here is his profile on what was Associated Content now known as Yahoo! Contributor Network. He wrote a lot about movies, food, poetry, and his local area in Pennsylvania. He has over 2 million page views. He will certainly be missed by his readers.

I would like to say thank you. You made it fun in the beginning. You helped me hang on and reach higher levels. You also helped me improve by encouraging me to continue. Though we never met you will bne missed my writing friend.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Hiding!

Okay not really in hiding. However, due to the freak October snowstorm. I don't have to worry pruning those trees. Oh and since I did not have electricity from Saturday morning until late Sunday I got to take a mini vacation of two nights in a motel. I'm sure I saved a bundle on heating costs.

Well I ended up staying in a nearby town. No real vacation.We had a few inches of snow the town had a dusting. However, the wi-fi was down due to the weather. So it was a rather lo-fi weekend. Then Monday I was playing catch up on other writing things and it was Halloween so I took my youngest out. Tonight was my son's last JV football game of the season. They won. Which was better than the Gators or my fantasy team did.

Needless to say this blog was put on the back burner. Well it could have been worse no one was hurt. The branches that hit he house were only branches though some were pretty big, they were not trees. The power came back on a day and a half later but that is better than a week. I guess things can really get worse.

Interesting year we were brushed by a tropical storm, felt an earthquake, and now October snow that was more than flurries. Maybe I should go in hiding...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Bit of Shakespeare

The Washington, D.C. has a lot of Shakespeare Theatre action going on at the moment. If you live in the area or are planning a road trip and you are a fan of the Bard I have a few suggestions. Yes there will be a little shameless self promotion but hey that's what I do. However, in the spirit of pay it forward I will share some other folks work as well.

This has to be one of the best reviews I have read. Jordan Wright reviewed "Othello" at the Synetic Theatre which is having their Shakespeare Fest. Imagine outstanding performances without words. It runs through November 6, 2011 in Crystal City.

If you like your "Othello" with words it is playing at the Folger Theatre through December 4, 2011. You can read what Jessica Pearson had to say about the show here.

If you are still thinking about summer, A Midsummer Night's Dream might be for you. If you like the play the Elden Street Players have one heck of a performance running through |November 12, 2011. It has an outstanding cast and I was very impressed by Ian Pederson, a teen actor who is wow as Puck. You can read my review here.

I needed to mix up my blog a bit it isn't all about football or sports. A lot of it is theatre and music and a few surprises now and then.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Golf Still Going Strong!

Drama and Competition brought the two top golfers on the PGA Tour to Florida to play the final PGA event. The Fall Series events were supposed to be the land of the unknown golfers. However, this year Tiger Woods made an appearance at one event to try to fix his game. The final event featured Luke Donald and Webb Simpson to battle it out for the PGA Money title. As a golf fan you have to enjoy it. Here is my reaction to Luke Donald's Big Win.

Down a level and a couple of hours north in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Gavin Coles won the first Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. I am excited Sawgrass was able to get a Nationwide Tour event to go along with The Players Championship. It is the next to last event on the tour and I love how they have added more drama by having 25 PGA cards on the line for the top 25 money finishers. You can read my reaction to this event here.

Yes it is late October but there is still some great Pro Golf action going on.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pay it Forward Encore

Yes the Pay it Forward Festival was last Friday but it was so much fun I am going to do it again.

First up The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment by Matthew MacNish and Alex J. Cavanaugh and his blog. They are the people who put together the Pay it Forward Blogfest so kudos to both of them.

Okay in the spirit of things here is another blog from the fest called Fiction and Film. by Kate Larkindale. Like me she is a writer, she review films I haven't dived into that yet but I do review plays. She's a mother I am a father. She doesn't get much sleep and either do I. So we have a lot in common but she writes an enjoyable blog check her out.

Next up Janice Phelps Williams Appalachian Morning. Well, I wake up to one every day living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am literally just a few hundred yards from the Appalachian Trail. Janice is a writer, illustrator, artist, creative gem check out her stuff at her blog.

Well that's what I have this week...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Football Trade

Just some more football talk here. Fox Sports is reporting the Cincinnati Bengals have traded Quarterback Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders for a first round pick next year, and a second/possible first in 2013. Just looking at this story everything says this is a win for the Bengals.

They survived the stare down with Carson Palmer. Palmer missed six games and the Bengals went 4-2. Yes, Carson got his trade but he had to be a bit nervous and it cost him six games. Cincinnati looked tough but not stubborn since a suitor came a long. The Bengals didn't bungle the deal either getting an extra first round pick in the first round will help them. A first or second round pick the following year is a bonus. A sweet deal as some quarterbacks have been traded for just a third round pick.

The Oakland Raiders are 4-2 as well. They might have overpaid. However, with their quarterback out with an injury they needed to do something. It was a flashy trade. It is a big name. Oakland is hoping they got the quarterback to get them to the playoffs this season in Carson Palmer. They hope he doesn't come in out of shape or has a learning curve with the playbook. It was a gamble, a bold move, but that kind of fits for the Raiders.

Here is his press conference:

Monday, October 17, 2011


Well the Gators lost their third straight this week. So, I decided to give them a rest this week. Instead, I wrote about my home state West Virginia Mountaineers who are ranked 15th in the first BCS poll.You can read my reaction to it here. I think they are in a great spot if they can avoid an upset in the second half. The schedule will be tougher since everyone is a conference foe. Below is a promo for this season:

In other football news my fantasy football team won for a second week in a row. Next week will be tough since I have a lot of players out due to the bye week. I did however pick up a solid wide receiver who was injured on waivers which I hope will strengthen my team down the stretch. My team will need all the help they can get as I think they are perhaps the weakest one I have fielded through the years.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Latest Theatre Review: Driving Miss Daisy

Okay I have been slacking about posting some of my theatre reviews on here. Let me go ahead and make up for it now.

Driving Miss Daisy plays through October 23 at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I gave it a five star review pretty much based on the acting alone. David Jones, Arthur F. Greene, and Jane Squier Bruns turn in some incredible performances. You can read my entire review here.

I have some other reviews up on the site but Driving Miss Daisy is the only one still playing. I am not scheduled to review anything for a little while. However, that could change and I do have a show lined up at the end of the month so stay tuned. In the spirit of playing it forward check out the rest of the site for reviews of theatre happening all around the Washington and Baltimore areas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay it forward

Okay something new. I am doing the pay it forward Friday thing. Where I guess I am suppose to pick three blogs and play them forward from a list.

If you want to find out more you can check it out here. Which is kind of cool because I have been featuring a few other writers on my blog any way. Well at least linking articles. Well, these blogs are new to me and might be new to you as well so we will be discovering together.

Em Dashes and Ice Cream by Brenda McKenna . She lives across the country from me in Washington State. Her blog title caught my eye since it mentioned ice cream . I like ice cream, ice cream does not like my waist line but beer doesn't either. Anyway she has a three year old and they have adventures. I can relate since I have a four year old and I  have many adventures. It is neat we share some of the same experiences at similar places even though we are miles apart.

Sean McLachlan's Civil War Horror is an excellent civil war blog. Blogs, book reviews, lots of history. Since, I live in a hot spot in the Civil War it caught my attention. I live in Harpers Ferry anmd I used to live close to Antietam, and I know the best darn chocolate place in Gettysburg.

Write, Skate, Dream is a blog by Jess. She is only 15 but quite a talented young lady. She writes a lot. Plays the violin, She skates. I hope she dreams big cuase I think she is going to make a few of those dreams happen. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This week's football

To many deaths lately so at least there is football...

The good news is my fantasy football team came back from the dead and I won this week! Considering the week before I was blown out and lost by the most in the league.

Talking about big losses, the Florida Gators got a hurting from the LSU Tigers. You can read my break down of the Gators here Florida Gators crushed 41-11 by LSU: A fan's reaction.  You can read a happier reaction from Patrick Johnston here. I linked one of his articles in last week's blog before the game as well. 

I am have linked articles by other authors in the past in my blog but they have been far and few between. So, I am trying to link a few more. Especially, when the articles are good and share a different perspective on the subject which Patrick does and he writes for the same outfit as I do.

The Gators were not the only college team in Florida to have a bad weekend. The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles both lost. No team from Florida was ranked for the first time since 1982. You can read my opinion on that here. I agree with the pollsters since I don't have any Florida teams in my rankings. You can check who I do have ranked here.

Stay tuned for more ramblings....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

R.I.P Al Davis

Al Davis, the long term owner who has been loved, hated has passed away at the age of 82.Al had success having 34 winning seasons in his 48 years of ownership. The Raiders also won three Super Bowls during that time.

Sure his team has missed the playoffs the last eight years and he did move the team to L.A and back. No fan will ever be 100% happy with their team's owner. But in the greater scheme of things he opened a lot of doors. He hired the first black coach and the first Latino coach in the NFL. He also hired the first female CEO in the NFL. These were all great advances which were overdue when they happened.

Here is Al Davis:

Some will be glad Al is no longer the owner, but I am sure few would have wished him death. His death will open up questions regarding who will own the Raiders? Will they go the market? May Al Davis rest in peace.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts on Steve Jobs

I am sure everything I could possibly say about Steve Jobs has been said. He added much to our world. A world of computers, I-pods, smart phones and more. When I was studying business he was an example  used several times. So he influenced me in technology. He influenced me in the class room.

He died at 56 which is too young. It is funny the older I get the older the age of someone dying too young increases. He was successful. I haven't got there yet, but he set a pretty high bar which I don't think I can achieve. However, he was very philanthropic. Something, i strive to be. I am glad he was. I believe with great wealth comes great responsibility.

He was genius, but I think his team deserve some of the credit. He, will be a loss but technology will keep moving forward.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

R.I.P Bert Jansch

I discovered Bert Jansch much the same way I discovered the blues. Through continued exploration of music where Led Zeppelin had left off. Through that band and others opening the doors I was able to discover and explore and develop my own taste. Bert wasn't blues but then again Zeppelin was not just blues based rocked. Jimmy Page "pinched" some of Bert's arrangements and made them his own. Bert Jansch was one of the acoustic, folk influences that was present in the band.Here is a prime example of that influence with Zeppelin:

Bert influenced many more than just Jimmy Page. The list includes Neil Young and Oasis to name a couple.
Rolling Stone Magazine named him one of 100 influential guitarists of all time. In a Washington Post obituary Neil young called him "as much of a great guitar player as Jimi Hendrix was."Below is a song that Neil confessed he copped a lot and was a lot of Bert in this song.

The song it was influenced by:

For more I would recommend the Washington Post obituary here.

I will add some more Bert down on my blog where I have something from you tube.
In the meantime here is some more Bert:

R.I.P. Bert Jansch

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

College Football, Mostly Gators

Been a busy week writing a lot of college football articles.First I have my college rankings for this week. It was hard not to put Alabama number one. Here is my ranking. I am not going to reveal a lot but I am sure there are some surprises in it.

Then I wrote about the Gators falling to Alabama, you can read it here. The Crimson Tide sure did make their case for number one. I moved them up to number two. Below are some high lights.

Then I wrote about the Gators quarterback being out when they face number one LSU. You can read that here. To give another point of view here is a story by a colleague on the same subject but from a Tigers fan point of view. Patrick Johnston appears to be a pretty true LSU fan so it should be a good read.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to October

I can't believe I haven't posted here in two weeks. Now, there is so much I could I post but then again maybe not. I've been busy writing and writing. Reviewing shows. Then there is the normal home life and work. In other words I  have been living in the rush rush world of a part time writer.

I've been Tweeting more. Adding lists and it is the fastest way to plug what I write. If you would like to follow me on twitter you can find me here @ThePlaceofMike.

You can also follow me on facebook at my fan page here. On that page I pretty much just plug what I think are my highlights.

Other than that I have been failing miserably at staying warm in dry. The weather has been unseasonably wet and chilly for the first few days of October. If could be worse Snowshoe a few hours away received 9 inches of snow. Which would be great if I was at Snowshoe since I like to ski but they are not open yet.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Perfect Play for thinking of 9.11

Sorry, I have been distracted from the blog for a while with other writing and live. Anyway my last post was about reflections of the morning after 9.11 called 9.12. I have blogged about 9.11 pretty much every September 11 since my blog was up. So, I wanted to look at it from a different angle.

I covered a play by Christoper Durang called "Why Torture is Wrong and The People Who Love Them" at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, Maryland. I linked my review. I recommend seeing the play in Frederick if you are close or if it is playing somewhere near you. It is a dark comedy. However, it does make you think. It makes you think of subjects that are politically incorrect. However, sometimes it is important to think about them to make them correct.

One of the blessings of theatre I suppose is the power to make us think about different things. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


The vivid images on television on September 11, 2001 did effect me. The facts that two planes crashed within a 100 mile radius of me is not a good thing. If I hadn't taken the day off from work that would have been one plane crashing within three miles of me.

I wasn't locked down in the Navy Yard like my Mother. I didn't run over to the Pentagon to help like my office mate did. No I watched the events unfold after my Dad called me. It was the first plane hitting. I had the unbelieving feeling like I did when the first Space Shuttle exploded.

However, it is September 12, 2011 which I will never forget. I parked my car in the pre-dawn hours outside in a parking lot in Crystal City. Fancy name for a part of Arlington next to Pentagon City and the Pentagon. It was the smell of the burning rubble from the plane. That stench in the air, is when it all hit home for me.

To the volunteers, to the Fireman, for the Police on 9/11 what you did was appreciated. What you do everyday is appreciated.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Real Dad and A Real Hero

I didn't know Richard Kerr. He was a founding Father of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at his school, Queens University, like I was at my old college. He was my age and had a four year old child like me. So, we had some things in common. He was also a father of three.

Some folks say there aren't any good dad's left. I say Richard Kerr was a great Dad. He made sure his son got to safety. He sacrificed himself for his son. He almost made it too. It is sad he did not make it. His family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Here is an article about his heroic deed, when he and his child were caught in a rip tide off the Atlantic Coast in Florida.  Link.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

College Football Part 1

Okay, I am calling this one football part 1, since I have some other articles I am waiing on to be published.

First off here are my rankings after week one. One week in the books and I already have a new number one the LSU Tigers.

Staying in the SEC here is my take on Florida's 41-3 win over Florida Atlantic. The Gators rolled. The Gators are ranked in the other polls, but I am not ready to rank them quite yet even if they looked good.

Moving to the Big East and the state I live in West Virginia. Here is my take on the start of the Dana Holgorsen era. Less than two weeks before West Virginia and Maryland meet in what should be a great game.

Well I hope you enjoyed the fist long weekend of college football. Stay tuned for part two.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Poetry

I hadn't realized I haven't pimped out my poetry on this blog since May. I have written a few since then.

I did a Father's Day poem which I got creative on form it is an acrostic formed by three haikus and an extra line. Since my dad has gone through a lot since I wrote it, it is still meaningful. He has gone through my Mom's battle with cancer(she won) and he had pretty serious open heart surgery. You can read the poem here.

Then I wrote a couple of Haikus. The first one is called The Siren. I also wrote one about hurricane Irene. I know Irene didn't do anything major around me, but I do understand other folks did not have it so lucky.

Well that catches everyone up on my poetry. I should have a busy month..with football and I am covering a few more plays this month as well. Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cathy Rigby

Friday, I published a review of Peter Pan starring Kathy Rigby which is touring the nation. If you want to read the review I linked it for you. It is great and family friendly. What I can't get over is what ind of shape Cathy Rigby appears to be?

I know she was an Olympic star. However, that was in 1968 and 1972. Here she is at 58, flying through the air with a harness. Dancing and doing moves with the ease of a fit person half her age or younger. Maybe it is that she is playing a youthful character like Peter Pan that has her looking young on stage. Perhaps it is all make up and what not. Perhaps it is fairy dust. Perhaps like Peter Pan she is refusing to age.(Peter Pan just refused to grow up.) Whatever it is kudos to her. Maybe one day I will be in shape like this 58 year old lady, but I doubt it. Here she is in action:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Honeyboy Edwards

The blues world lost another legend when Honeyboy Edwards passed away. At 96 he lived a full life. I care because I love the blues. Mr. Edwards was considered by some as the last connection to the delta blues. He hung out with Robert Johnson in Mississippi, he settled in Chicago. He lived in played through the delta blues to the electric Chicago blues.I thank him for his music. I appreciate it and I appreciate how it influenced so much more.

I enjoyed reading the New York Times article on him. The picture shows the blues. I will defer to it as the obituary it is better than what I would ramble off in my blog. Hopefully, the younger blues players will keep the music alive.

Here is Honeyboy in action:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First College Football Rankings

College football kicks off this weekend. This first week of games is pretty exciting. Yes there are some obvious mismatches but there are some big time clashes as well. Oregon and LSU, Boise State and Georgia, and Miami at Maryland. There is at least one state rival with Marshall facing WVU.

This is the fourth season of me ranking the teams each week. Here is my preseason rankings for this season.

I'm ready for it to kick off are you?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan

21 years ago Stevie Ray Vaughan died. He died too young. I blogged about his death last year and you can read it here. It is a shame he passed away and it would have been interesting to see what kind of music he would have came out with.

He was great at covering Hendrix. Here he is performing Little Wing.

He also had some great songs which were his:

Even on the covers he embellished them, added to them and made them his own. However, in doing so he still was able to give a nod to the original artist. Being a blues artist, they all cover a lot of past artists.

Stevie is still missed 21 years later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flirting with a Hurricane

It looks lie we will be spared from Hurricane Irene where I live. However, just a few miles east there are some Hurricane Warnings and Tropical Storm Warnings. Looks like we will just get some rain and thunderstorms. Where I live those could always create some flash flooding and some fallen tree branches. 

Looks like the beaches will be the worst hit. Which sucks for them I am sure. One of the last weekends of the season and being shutdown. Some of the cities to the northeast could get hit worse. It isn't the storm of the century or anything. It is just a Hurricane getting ready to brush an area that doesn't usually experience Hurricanes. Hey we will adapt since we already had earthquakes this week.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mike Flanagan

I'm a sports fan. Those who know me, know I am married into a baseball family. Those who read this blog know I write about players such as Beau. This is different...

I followed baseball as a kid. I would watch the Braves or Cubs game on TV with my Granddad who I visited in the summer. When the family of my youth settled down outside of Washington, D.C well I would occasionally go to baseball games in Baltimore at Memorial Stadium..

 Mike Flanagan was a Cy Young Award winning pitcher for the team I got to see.So, today when the news came he died it was a little personal. It was a player from my youth passing away. It was the passing of a memory.

The way he died was terrible. You assume a person like him who is living a dream life wouldn't have problems. But he is human and he had his problems. Maybe i t touches me more since I have problems, I have struggles but I am not suicidal. Yes but till today Mike Flanagan wasn't either. Scary thoughts.

I feel for his family who lost a husband, a dad, and for the fans who lost a hero, to his teammates who lost a team member, and to his friends who lost a friend.

 Mike Flanagan RIP

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Little Earthquakes

Yes, I am borrowing the title of a great album by Tori Amos. However, it kind of describes today. There was an earthquake west of Richmond, Virginia today it was 5.9 on the scale. I felt it at work in Frederick, Maryland. The monitors were shaking, then the building, and then it was like a wave moving under my feet.

It tied for the strongest East Coast earthquake. I had slept through the smaller earthquakes we have had before. I also slept through a minor one in California. I was finally awake to experience an earthquake. Thankfully, it was a little earthquake and not a devastating one like the one in Haiti.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nature's Fireworks

I had to pick up Ben from his football scrimmage. It was good, I was able to spend some time with him. Anyway before the rains came, nature provided quite a lightning show. Lightning was filling the sky like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

It was quite an awesome display. Sometimes people miss out on awesome displays when they are caught up in the rat race. However, tonight was Nature's shock and awe. You couldn't help but notice.

In honor of the show, the Grateful Dead performing Lazy Lightning:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Last Five Years

If you are anywhere near the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. and you like great musicals you should check out The Last Five Years playing at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg. It is being produced by the Kensington Arts Theatre. I was expecting less and I was pleasantly surprised.

Two lead characters and a piano player produce a great musical. You can read my review here. Ryan Burke was as advertised, he can sing and he can work a lead role. Maggie Donovan can sing too, and she was wonderful.

Here is one of the original cast members performing a song with the play-write and composer Jason Robert Brown to give you a taste of the musical.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In Regards to Elvis

34 years today Elvis Presley died. Tonight my blog is kind of a tribute to Elvis. Sadly, I don't have any memories of his death. I knew of him as a child ,but I was only 6. So, probably my biggest Elvis memory was watching U2 covering "Can't Help Falling in Love." Here is a version of  them playing Elvis:

Here is Robert Plant sharing a story on the David Letterman Show of meeting the King/;

Here is a vintage video of Robert covering Elvis with Rockpile.

Anyone want to share their Elvis memories?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Alison Krauss

Cool, the blog is working again. Sorry, I haven't been posting lately due to some technical problems. A week ago, I had the privileged to see Alison Krauss and Union Station at Wolftrap in Vienna, Virginia a week ago Sunday.

A pretty easy review to do considering Alison's angelic voice and Union Station's talents. You can read my review here. Here is a taste of what I got to see and listen too. A taste of what you missed. She opened with this song:

The opening act was the band Dawes. I would have like to have heard more from them but they were only allotted about 20 minutes. Here is a song they performed but from another venue:

More blogs to come!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

Curt Cobain I think perhaps wanted to join the 27 club, Amy Winehouse I don't think she really wanted to join it. Amy had her demons she was battling, I think in the end her demons won. In the end, we have lost a talented singer.

It isn't an opinion that she was a talented singer. Her debut album won 5 Grammy Awards, there has to be talent in order to pull off that feat. Perhaps one day we will be lucky to hear the album she was working on. Like so many artists who have died to young we will never know what her talent and creativity would have brought if she lived a longer life.

I love the blues and guitar music I often think what would have happened if Jimi Hendrix would have lived longer. Could you imagine the songs Janis Joplin would have sang? The lyrics Jim Morrison would have composed? We could go right down the list of the 27 club and ask questions. Now we ask questions about Amy Winehouse.

Here is Amy performing her hit song Rehab:

Here is some other coverage of her death:

Amy Winehouse may your demons now leave you alone and may you rest in peace. Thank you for the songs that we can still listen too.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pop! at the Studio Theatre in Washington D.C.

My latest review is published you can read it here. The musical was performed at the Studio Theatre's 2nd stage in Washington, D.C. It was really neat you entered the set as soon you entered the stairs leading up to the stage. The seating was very close to the stage as well creating a very intimate theatrical experience. If you want to read more check out the review.

I went to the play on Wednesday and it was a sizzling day in the city. The temperature at 10:40 was 87 degrees. It was one of Washington's typical summer days hot, hazy, and humid. However, it was neat to walk through the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. We had a quick dinner at the Playbill right across the street from the Studio.

|Stayed tune for upcoming reviews..

Friday, July 22, 2011

Borders Books Closing

Sad new Borders Books is closing. Apparently they can not compete with e-books. I guess I am old fashion I prefer a solid book to read. Okay not that solid, a paperback novel is my style. Sure, I read a lot of things online. However, mostly I read non-fiction or research something. I hope that modern trend continues since I do write online.

However, I will always be partial to the novel. I liked Borders Books, it was a great store to find gifts for book lovers or find a hard to find book. I'm not the best customer for full price book stores as I buy most of my books online or at a used book store. Still, the loss of Borders is a loss of an opportunity to find books. It also can't be good for the book writers. If there is no place to sell books, there won't be a demand for writers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Congrats Japan!

Congrats to Japan for winning the 2011 Woman's Soccer World Cup. Team USA great job getting to the finals. The girls from both teams played their hearts out in a dramatic game decided on penalty kicks. A great, exciting game is what soccer fans wanted and the teams delivered.

Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan scored goals for team USA. Team USA we will turn in again in 2015 as you go for the cup in Canada. Hopefully, your great run will carry over to more support for the woman's pro league in the USA. Japan may you enjoy your title and may your victory spring woman's soccer in your country like the 1999 USA team's win did in the the USA. Below are some highlights from youtube.

World Cup Final USA Vs Japan

The woman's World Cup Final is today 2PM EST pitting the USA team against Japan. Team USA has been compared to the team in 1999 which won it all. However, the 1999 team had more media support.

This year's final isn't on a major network, but on ESPN. It is probably true, the ratings would be lower in the USA if the American girls weren't in the finals. However, the girls deserve kudos for making it to the finals. They are doing their part to keep woman's soccer on the map in the USA.

They may not be the superstars like Mia and company were but they deserve a chance. The media should be covering more. The 2011 team did their quest on the road. The 2011 team can be beaten like Sweden proved. Japan will challenge team USA ad hopefully it will be a terrific match. Win or lose Team USA has done a wonderful job in 2011.

Game time is soon, enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rock of Ages

It was my first theater review for the MD Theatre Review and I think it was a success. I based my review on if the play was entertaining or not. Considering it was not a deep work it had to be entertaining, and it had to have talent to pull it off. Rock of Ages certainly did.You can read the review here. It was quoted by the National Theatre on their website and that was a thrill for me!

I don't want to spoil it. The National Theatre in Washington, D.C. is beautiful inside. It was also easy to get to using Metro by getting off at the Metro Center stop. It was a very fun evening. I hope to publish several more reviews soon. My next review will probably be Pop at the Studio Theatre in Washington.

Monday, July 4, 2011

USA VS. Sweden WWC

USA and Sweden are both out to 2-0 starts in the 2011 Woman's World Cup. Both teams have qualified for the quarterfinals. Tomorrow the teams play each other. I hope USA continues to have success in the World Cup. It is good for the woman's pro league. It is good for soccer in general in America.

If Sweden wins, I am fine with that. Team USA can still have success. I have enough Swedish bloodlines running through me to root for Sweden. I wish both teams well. I wish for a great match.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Willie Dixon's Birthday

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed I am a fan of blues music. Today is Willie Dixon's birthday. In my opinion he was one of the best songwriters in the blues. He influenced so many musicians from The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones to many more.

He was also a great bass player as well and performed with Howlin' Wolf.

A musician who influenced so many. May you R.I.P. and may your music be appreciated.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hats of to South Carolina

I was hoping the Florida Gators would win their first College World Series Championship. Instead, the South Carolina Gamecocks defended their championship. The SEC is more than football with three teamsi n the FInal Four.

The Gamecocks deserve the kudos. They knocked off top seed Virginia and then knocked off the second seeded Gators to win the championship. They swept the Gators two games to none. South Carolina showed they were number one.

Tak about your power conference South Carolina, Vandy, and Florida were among the last four teams remaining in Omaha.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Brunswick Music Fest Update

A couple of reviews of the 2011 Brunswick Music Fest have been published on the Examiner. The festival was an eclectic mix of music and my page on the Examiner is more blues so the reviews are of the Beaucoup Blue band and the Kelly Bell Band.

Here is the review of "Beaucoup Blue"  They were an eclectic band based on traditional blues but expanded quite a bit into other genres.

A picture of Kelly Bell performig life at the fest whch was too big for the Examiner.

 A bit of foreshadowing on my part as the second review was about the Kelly Bell Band which you can read here.