AROD: Asshole Robbed Others Dignity

Well, well, well. What do you know. All of our suspicions have come to fruition. Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera were the latest names to come out in the Performance Enhancing Substance Scandal. This is very sad and embarrassing, especially since Alex has denied ever using any type of substances. I remember when AROD was just a young kid coming up in the Texas Rangers ball club, there was another former player who has been linked to steroids and HGH. Rafael Palmeiro, I remember watching some of his home runs and wondering how he got so much strength.

Of course, this is just another black eye for the New York Yankees who always seem to be linked to trouble. The latest news on AROD brings up the subject of Performance Enhancing Drugs and how it has really put a black cloud over Major League Baseball. I understand the argument that some analysts and fans alike use, that this was just a product of the game during this time period. BULLSHIT!! There are plenty of MLB players who chose not to use these substances and they became fine all around ball players.

I can remember back as a young baseball fan, watching the likes of Mike Schmidt, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Barry Bonds (Pre Steroid), and many others like them. Then we look back at the legends of the game: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimagio, Ted Williams, Rod Carew, the list goes on And on. We can even go into the pitching realms: Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carleton, CY Young…and then the more modern ones Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, on and on.

These players who have chose to use drugs to better their performance have ruined the game. They should be ashamed of themselves. And what makes it ten times worse is that they all lied about it. At least if they told the truth, maybe just maybe we could find it in our hearts to forgive them. We are weeks alway from pitchers and catchers reporting to camp and this news comes out. The Yankees are seeking a way out of his contract…to void the remainder and rightfully so.

As a huge Baseball Fan, I am disgusted by the amount of players that dabbled in this practice. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemmens, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco just to name a few. And now AROD. Or should we call him ADRONE! Yes he is a drone. What a pathetic waste of talent and a LIAR. He should be kicked out of Baseball. This league has no place for players like this that decide to cheat. This is our National Past time folks. AROD is a nobody in my book now!

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Metallica Top 25

Ok…so a buddy of mine and another blogger is going to do a post on his Top 25 Metallica songs of all time as well as a list of his definite duds. He has requested that I join along so this should be interesting. He has other people getting involved so it should be rather entertaining to see the different lists. Metallica has a very large catalog and spans a very large period of time…almost 4 Decades! Wow…we are really getting FN old!

I have done a list similar to this with my favorite Band Megadeth in the past, however Metallica is more well known throughout the world so this should create some BUZZ. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, Metallica has announced that they will do the Orion Festival in Atlantic City again this Summer!!! What an awesome time for those of you who did not make it last summer. Who knows, maybe they will do the Entire Master of Puppets and Justice For All Albums. Whatever the bill is…it should be a great event.

Speaking of artists top songs. I am a huge Ozzy fan and there are too many tunes to rate at the top of my list. However, I was listening to Pandora the other day and “Mr Crowley” came on. WOW! What a song. I’m not sure this is my favorite, however it is at the top of my list with Randy Rhodes on Guitar. He was a legend who died way before his time was up. Also, I just think Ozzy always covers cool topics in his songs, even going back to his Black Sabbath days. Mr Crowley is a classic! I can listen to it over and over and never get sick of it. So what is your favorite Ozzy Song? Anyways, stay tuned for more Metal Mania as we head towards a year that should bestow many new great albums…from old bands to new ones! Rock On!

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MÖTLEY CRÜE: Dr. FeelGood or Shout at the Devil?

So I thought I would do something I haven’t done in awhile. I have picked one of my favorite Bands and we will analyze two of their albums to see which one was a better hit. Today’s band is Mötley Crüe. Mötley Crüe has long been one of my favorite bands and are definitely at the top if not the top Glam/Hair Heavy Metal band of all-time. Yes, Lead Vocalist Vince Neil did leave the band for a short time, during which The Crüe released self titled album Mötley Crüe behind John Corabi. However, besides for this brief hiatus, Mötley Crüe has been rocking this planet year after year.
Mötley Crüe may be considered the World’s Most Dangerous Band and this has been well chronicled in the Best Seller Mötley Crüe: The Dirt. The Dirt is a line by line account of the lustrious, Drug addicted, Sex riddled, Extreme Concert, crazy history of the band told by each Band Member’s perspective. After reading The Dirt, one would wonder how any of these guys are still alive! Seriously, this Band did it all and they were dangerous. They definitely lived life on the Wild Side, no pun intended. Mötley Crüe has released numerous Top Hit albums, but today we will focus on two of their best: Shout at the Devil and Dr FeelGood. If course, Shout at the Devil was released in 1983, while Dr FeelGood was released in 1989. Both of these albums portray Mötley Crüe at the Top of Their Game.
First we will look at Shout at the Devil, Mötley Crüe Second Studio album release. Shout at the Devil reached Number 17 on the Top 200 Billboard Rankings. Shout at the Devil has sold over 4 million copies in the United States and has been one of their most popular albums produced. The album starts off with a quick intro called “In the Beginning”. The album then kicks into the title track “Shout at the Devil”, which pits Nikki Six and Mick Mars at their best along with an incredible Drum rendition by Tommy Lee.
Looks that Kill is a fast speed metal song with a killer message. Bastard and God Bless the Children of the Beast although they did not receive much airplay, are also hit songs in their own right. Of course, Helter Skelter was a cover song of the Beatles Former hit and Mötley nailed it perfectly. Even the solo was a heavier version of Paul McCartney’s Thriller. This song is followed by another speed anthem of Red Hot and then To Young to Fall in Love which pretty much describes the state of the band at the time as far as relationships go. Knock Em Dead Kid is another hit followed by Ten Seconds To Love. The album closes with “Danger”.
Shout at the Devil was only Mötley Crüe second studio album but it remains right at the top of their catalog. Even though the band was still fairly young in their career, the music was well written and scripted and they had a good producer along with sound quality. When you pop this album into your CD player you would never be able to tell that this was one if their first albums.

Ok, fast forward to 1989. Mötley Crüe was well on their way to Rock Stardom and had two more albums under their belt at this point. When Dr FeelGood was released it hit Number 1 on the Billboard 200. This was an amazing achievement and milestone for the band. Dr FeelGood was released after an iconic attempt from the band at sobriety and drug rehabilitation.
Dr FeelGood has now sold over 6 Million Copies in the United States alone and is regarded as one of their most all around Musically Acclaimed albums. It begins with another pounding intro in Terror in Tinseltown. The Intro dives right into the Second and also title track Dr FeelGood. Dr FeelGood is a very powerful song that had a theme of drugs and the enormity of the drug trade at this time. The Hit Title Track is followed by 2 more classics in “Slice of Your Pie” and “Rattlesnake Shake”. These two tuned were also well written and musically put together. The next track, Kick Start My Heart may very well be Mötley Crue’s best and heaviest anthem. Kick Start My Heart is a heavy fast thrill ride with excellent guitar work and heart pounding drum beats. Vince Neil has the perfect voice for this band. KickStart My Heart and Dr FeelGood were both nominated for Grammy Awards but lost.
Without You is one if The Crue’s more serious ballads and is followed by the hit Same Ol Situation, which is about the bands quest for multiple women and conquests. “Sticky Sweet and She Goes Down”are two more tracks that chronicle the dark side of females. Then the album shifts to the ballad Don’t Go Away (Mad) which may be their best all around song ever released in my opinion. The song carries a good message and provides the listener with excellent arousal. The album closes with the song “Time For Changes” which shows a more humble side of Mötley Crüe.

Ok, this was a very tough pick. I mean, I am a tremendous fan of both albums and they both represent important soundtracks to my life. If you look at the stats, Dr FeelGood has better numbers having sold more albums, producing more Top 10 Hits, and the awards that this album was nominated for. However, Shout at The Devil is no slouch and was an awesome album nonetheless. I purchased Dr FeelGood before Shout at the Devil as I became a late bloomer as far as Mötley Crüe goes. The more I listen to Shout at the Devil though, the more this album grows in you. In a photo finish, I am taking Dr FeelGood as the better of the two albums but not by much.
If you are not a fan of Mötley Crüe, you need to own these two albums as an essential part of being a fan. Both of these albums are classics in my mind and I can listen to both of them over and over again and not get sick of either. When I listen to these albums…I feel like I am in Los Angeles living the same lifestyle as Mötley Crüe. I also highly recommend buying the Best Seller “Dirt”. Stay Tuned for more Album reviews.

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NHL WEEK #1 SUCCESS

Week Number 1 in the NHL is not even over and it’s already been one hell of a ride. I think to a lot if amazement…fans have been attending these early games in record attendance. This could not have been predicted a few months back when the possibility of having a season was slim to none. This shortened season actually makes Hockey more appealing if that could make sense. There are many games being played every night…teams are being tested early and often. Lets take the Philadelphia Flyers for example. Coming into last weekend, the Flyers were one of those teams that were thought to be helped by the shortened season due to their youth and also that many of their players had played in other leagues during the strike. Well, The Flyers were 0-3 coming out of the gate, playing 3 games in five days. They just won their first game last night 2-1 to the New York Rangers. The Flyers have lost Scott Hartnell for 4-8 weeks which is a huge blow this early in the grind. They did manage to sign veteran Mike Kunuble as insurance to add some depth while they play without Scott. Danny Briere has yet to play a game but should be back shortly. Lets take a quick look back to 1994-1995 and the last lockout that lead to a 48 game season. That season, the Flyers started 0-3 and were 3-7 after ten games. They finished with the best record in the East and went to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Devils. Of course, everyone argues that was after Bob Clark was able to pull off a huge trade that brought a young John LeClair and Eric Desjardins to the Flyers at the height of their slump. True, that trade was huge and gave the Flyers tons of momentum the remainder of the season. Nonetheless, I would argue thy this Flyers team is more skilled and ready to make a run for the Cup. Claude Giroux could be the best player in the NHL and the youth on this team is amazing. So, please do not count the Flyers out and don’t underestimate Paul Holmgren making another huge trade or more. There is still a lot of hockey to play. The Flyers will be ok…they just need to remain focused and eliminate the sloppy play and turnovers. Plus, having a shortened season will force teams to play harder going down the stretch as every point is golden. This should be an interesting few months.

In other sports, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Delmon Young from the Detroit Tigers. On the surface this Looks like a horrible signing and a poor attempt to help this inconsistent offense. I think fans are making irrational judgements here as well. First of all, the team signed him to a one year contract at less than a million dollars. Yes, Young has been a problem in the past, but he has matured and can surely provide some pop. He most likely will bat in the fifth spot to provide protection for Ryan Howard. Young was the ALCS MVP and is capable of hitting .300 and hitting 25 HR and getting 100RBI while filling the teams void in right field. There is always negativity, but really?? At lest give the guy a month to prove wether he has it.

The Pro Bowl is this Sunday, not that any one cares. The Pro Bowl might be the least important all star game in sports. Nonetheless, there is always some incredible football being played and a chance to see your favorite players. I am still sticking to my prediction that the Baltimore Ravens will win the Superbowl. Speaking of Super Bowl, I guess everyone has heard of the Chicken Wing shortage this season. Yes, you heard it right folks, chicken wing shortage…ughhh.
Finally, after all this gun control debate, a record number of weapons were purchased in a panic and now there is an ammunition shortage. People really use their heads this year. Lets just keep buying more guns. Anyways, stay tuned for more banter regarding this and other topics.

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EARLY SUPER BOWL PREDICTION/ EAGLES TOP PRIORITIES

Well folks, the Super Bowl is still two weeks away and a lot can change in fifteen minutes…just ask GEICO. My pick for the Super Bowl before this season was of course The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Yes, every year I think it’s Philly’s year to win the Big One. Those hopes faded fast in what has turned out to be one of the worst Eagles seasons in recent memory, which led to the firing of its all time winningest coach Andy Reid. Andy was great in Philly, but enough is enough and it is time to move on. Anyways, when the playoff teams were seeded, my early pick for the Super Bowl was the Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos. Well, both the Seahawks and Broncos lost in last minute fashion so that also went out the window.

This brings us to now. The two teams that are left standing are the surprise San Francisco 49ers (who lost the NFC Championship game a year ago) and the Baltimore Ravens who some experts did have reaching the big dance at the beginning of the year. A real quick analysis of this game and my prediction to follow. Both of these teams come into the game being coached by Brother’s John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh making this the Super Baugh…lol. Secondly, both of these teams are predicated on tough defense and a strong running game. Lets break it down by position. At Quarterback, we have Joe Flacco for the Baltimore Ravens who has come into his own the past few years and developed into a solid Signal Caller. On the other side, the 49ers will be led by Colin Kapernick, an amazing story in itself, who will be making his tenth NFL start in the Super Bowl. I like Kapernick’s pocket presence and skill set but the advantage definitely goes to Flacco and the Ravens.

At Running Back, the Ravens are powered by perennial all-pro Ray Rice who is capable of carrying the team in his shoulders by himself. However, Do not underestimate Frank Gore for the 49ers, who when healthy, is capable of putting up huge numbers. Slight advantage Ravens but not by much. In the Receiving/Tight End set the Ravens are fueled by Tory Smith and giant receiver Anquan Boldin. The 49ers have a few star receivers to go along with veteran Randy Moss, who could be an xfactor. The 49ers trump the Ravens on this side of the ball if Vernon Davis decides to bring his AGAME. Advantage 49ers. On Defense, these two teams play different styles but have similar results. I think both defenses are good but once again, the XFACTOR here is Ray Lewis. Ray is on a mission in his last season to go out with a bang. Advantage Ravens. The Special Teams on these teams are even. So this brings us to the intangibles…both Harbaugh’s are smart but John has more playoff experience and I always believe that is an important area to look at when analyzing these big game match ups.

Ok…so this brings me to my pick. I feel that this Super Bowl will be a competitive game with a lot of hard hitting, tough running, and some exciting offensive plays. I do not see this game becoming a blow out like many of these contests of the past, the two defenses are just too good. I am going to say that the Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl 27-23 in a very close game…both teams will show heart and in the end the better team will come out on top, as Ray Lewis goes out with a bang. Real Quick, Pop Star Beyonce will be performing the Halftime Show and 50 contestants will be picked to join her on stage. This should be quite a scene and I am looking forward to that.

Now into the state of the Eagles. With the hiring if Chip Kelly, it’s obvious that the Eagles are looking to mirror the rest of the league in becoming a quick strike high powered offense. Well, my argument as always has been that the Eagles have been pretty decent in Offense the past few years, last year as an exception, but that had to do with the offensive line debacle in an injury plagued season. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I do not care if Tom Brady had played behind the Eagles line instead of Michael Vick, the team still would have ended up with the same record.

No, my argument with this team is consistently on the Defensive Side of the ball where they have no identity. Well, they can quickly fix this in the draft with their first three picks. The Eagles have the Fourth Pick in the First Round. If I were the Eagles, I would jump at the chance to draft Jarvis Jones, OLB from Georgia with the Fourth Pick. He is a special player that would bring not only leadership on the field, but also in the locker room. He is a DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER. Seriously, he is a low risk, high reward pick as many analysts say he could be the top impact player in the entire draft. Ok second move, cut Nhamdi Asamough and cut your losses. In the second round, I am taking local Rutgers product Logan Ryan. Not only is Ryan big, tough, and physical, but he also has the speed to be a shut down corner. This is what the Eagles need that they never got from Nhamdi. Thirdly, I’m taking Free Safety D.J. Swearinger out of South Carolina who can cover, but he hits like a Brian Dawkins. I repeat, this is what the Eagles need, true playmakers that make a difference on Defense.

On offense, they have LeSean McCoy who is already a top 3 RB in the NFL. They just need to use him. They will be getting their star Offensive Tackle back from injury and some other key components to their OLine. Mix in a free agent or two and I think you sure up this position. At receiver, the Eagles still have talent with DJAX and Jeremy Maclin. They also have Jason Avant who I believe is underrated and underused. Wether they stick with Michael Vick one more year or go to Nick Foles, this offense can put up some points. It’s the Defense that has failed is year in and year out. Stay Tuned.

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MISCELANEOUS

Ok…so it’s been awhile. Had some personal issues to attend to but I am back with a vengeance. Today I will cover a wide variety of topics. First off, I would personally like to give my condolences to the entire Saint Louis Cardinals Extended Family for losing one of the true Baseball Legends that were still alive. Yesterday, Stan Musial died at the ripe old age of 92. Well, many of us will not even see 75 so that is quite an accomplishment in itself. Musial in my mind has to be in the top 3 MLB players of all time list and he was an offensive legend. Stan Musial was probably the best all around hitter with both power and tenacity to ever play the game. RIP Stan…You were a true legend and gentleman.

Yesterday also marked the return of the NHL from its extended labor strike. There were quite a few key markee match ups including the Pittsburgh Penguins opening on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, the game did not disappoint as it was a well played game considering the long layoff…it took the Flyers two periods to really break off the rust. I must admit, I was totally shocked with the amount of support and fans that showed up all over the league yesterday, especially in Philly. There was. 10,000 people alone in the XFINITY Entertainment Lounge. With a shortened 48 game season, it should be interesting which teams will ultimately make the playoffs. By judging the games from Saturday, the playoffs are already here in spirit. This should make for some very exciting games and story lines. Stay Tuned.

Well, I worked all day and have not even turned on the TV…I had heard that Atlanta had an early lead on the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Well, my original picks for the Superbowl did not even make it to this round so at this point anything is possible. I was going to take the 49ers, but I feel that Atlanta has the edge at home. Also, I think they are out to prove that their season was not a fluke. The AFC Championship tonight…The Patriots are favored to beat the Baltimore Ravens. I’m going out on a limb to say that Ray Lewis will have one last hurrah and stun the Patriots faithful.

Speaking of Football, the Eagles did finally get a head coach this week by signing Chip Kelly. We will visit this topic many times in the near future but my only early opinion is that the Philadelphia Fan Base is out of control for some of the statements that they have made. C’MON give the guy a chance! Lets see what he can do?

On the music scene, Anthrax announced a new release of an EP this spring featuring cover songs from bands of the 60’s and 70’s. Anthrax also announced that they will be doing the Among the Living Anniversary Tour, following the footsteps of its other Big Four members. They are actually scheduled to play a show in AC so I’m sure that I will try and make it again. Also in other big news, Metallica announced that they will be doing the Orion Festival once again this summer. Should be AWESOME!

As you all know, I am a huge fan of Heavy Metal, but I am far from proclaiming myself Eddie Trunk or anywhere close to his knowledge of music. I would even venture to say that my best friend Aaron knows much more about music than me. Well, while using Pandora I actually heard a tune from Stryper…who??? Yes Stryper! I totally forgot how good this band was and them I did some research and realized that they released an album in 2011 called “The Covering” in which they covered some classics from such bands as Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, the Scorpions and a few others! The album is SICK and I would recommend it to any fan of metal or hard rock. These guys are way underrated in my mind. Michael Sweet is a Musical genius. Look for his new autobiography due out this spring along with a Greatest Hits Remaster album followed by a Brand New Studio Album! Awesome News! Can’t wait…so looking forward to this. Anyways, I was researching Christian Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Bands and I came across a band named Pillar. Let me tell you, heard some of their material and was absolutely impressed. More music news to follow, so many exciting stories including Def Leppard doing Hysteria as a Week Long Guest in Las Vegas. Wow! Wish I could be there for that.

Finally, I thought it necessary to bring up the fact that I think I had posted back when the school shootings occurred in Connecticut, that the one major problem of our government during these crises…is failure to act! Well, here we are a month has went by and still morning on the part of our government. Not even one BILL! I mean…geez they owe it to these families to do something. And the other horrible thing about these tragedies is that after time they are forgotten. This crime cannot and should not be forgotten and the Government must take action in the Gun Control and Mental Health realms. Well…thanks for letting me vent lol. Anyways…it’s good to be back…thanks again to my loyal fans!

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NFL PLAYOFFS WEEK #2

Ok…here we are Week #2 of the NFL Playoffs. Andy Reid is well in to his head coaching job for the Kansas City Chiefs. Well, the Eagles have yet to find their man…what else is new? The Eagles search for a new head coach and assistants is going just like me searching for a pair of matching socks in a laundry basket. What are they waiting for…it’s like Jeff Lurie is scared to pull the trigger and make a mistake and get hung by the fans. C’MON ALREADY…pick up the phone, call Bill Cowher, give him control and all the money he wants, tell him he can pick his guys and lets move forward. The longer they wait, the more chance of losing the guy they want. I said it before and I will say it again, the way to go is not a College Coach. Anyways, that’s a discussion for another day. Onto this weeks games. First we have the Ravens with Ray Lewis on the road against the Denver Broncos. The Ravens looked good in their win against the Colts, but that was against a rookie quarterback. Sorry to say it Baltimore, but Ray Lewis career will end on the road in Denver. Peyton Manning is on a role and he wants another ring to tie his brother Eli with two! Denver wins a close one folks. Ok, the other AFC game is the Houston Texans traveling to Foxborough to face the perennial favorites the New England Patriots. Well, I wish I could say that the Texans stood a chance in this game, but I see Tom Brady lighting it up once again. I see the Patriots Defense rising to the occasion as it always does to stop Arian Foster. Another disappointing end to the Texans season. The Patriots win by at least two Touchdowns.

The NFC sees the Green Bay Packers travel across the country to face the San Francisco 49ers. Well the Niners have a rookie Quarterback, but they have a stellar Defense that creates turnovers. The Niners and Colin Kapernick have been inconsistent on offense. Unfortunately, the 49ers Defense will not be able to score more points than Aaron Rodgers which must happen for the Niners to Win. Packers by 10. Finally, we have the upstart surprise Seattle Seahawks going on the road to face the Atlanta Falcons. Normally I would go with the Falcons, but Matt Ryan has been inconsistent in the playoffs. Also, Russell Wilson will be playing much loser this weekend. I like the Hawks running game and ability to go deep. I say Seattle wins a tough won. On that is my quick picks…stay tuned to more analysis.

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BEGINNING 2013: LOOKING BACK TEN YEARS 2003

We are only Nine Days into a New Year, 2013. We all hope that 2013 will be a positive memorable year. Each and every new year brings the hope for a better tomorrow and some years are good and some are bad. Unfortunately, the bad years seem to be remembered more easily than the good ones.

For instance, 2001 will always be remembered for September 11th and the terrible tragedy that occurred that day. 1986 will always be remembered for the Challenger Disaster which saw the Space Shuttle Challenger Explode right on National Television. 1963 will always be remembered for the John F Kennedy Assassination. The list can go on and the years where tragedies occur usually are brought to light much more than the quiet years.

Without further adieu, let’s go back Ten Years to the year 2003. We will start off with the sports news of 2003. On January 26th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one their first ever Super Bowl beating the Oakland Raiders 48-21. The Raiders were favored but Tampa dominated the game. Tampa Bay Defensive Back Dexter Jackson took home MVP honors. In the NHL, the New Jersey won their Third Stanley Cup in Eight Years, beating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 7 Games. Anaheim Goalie John Sebastian Giguere took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the players despite playing for the losing team.

In the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets in six games 4-2 as Tim Duncan won his second MVP. In MLB, The Florida Marlins upset the New York Yankees in the World Series 4-2. The Marlins had the leagues smallest payroll and were able to slay the Giants of the MLB circuit. The Yankees were heavily favored, but they were shut out in Game Six. And in NASCAR…Jimmie Johnson won the points total again.

In the Movies, “The Lord of the Rings- Two Towers” won the award for best picture, While Eminem won for best male actor in “8Mile” and Kirsten Dunst won for the best Female Actress. In music, Norah Jones took three Grammys for best New Artist, Best Album “Come Away With Me”, Song “Don’t Know Why”, Best Female Artist. John Mayer won for best Male Vocalist. No Doubt won an award for best group with vocals for “Hey Baby”, and Korn won Best Metal Performance and the Foo Fighters for best hard rock song, “All My Life.”

George Bush was still the President of the United States and the official end of the Iraq War was declared in 2003. Sad am Hussein was also captured this year. The population in the World at this point was 6.31 Billion! Wow…this number keeps rising. There were all kinds of war time news stories as the battle in Afghanistan to fight terrorism was in full gear.

There were many people in the news this year as always. Some notable stories included Kobe Bryant being charged with Sexual Assault, Tennis star Serena Williams win her first Wimbledon tournament edging out her sister, Martha Stewart was indicted on 9 counts of security fraud, Arnold Shwarzenager was elected Governor of California, Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was sworn in as the first ever Director of Homeland Security, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs was suspended for having cork in his bat, and Scott Peterson was charged with two counts of murder for his wife Lacey and his daughter.

The most notable disaster was the Space Shuttle Columbia, which exploded on its way back into the atmosphere, killing all 7 astronauts in February. In January, a US Airlines 5481 crashed moments after takeoff. 2003 can also be remembered as the Year of the Tornado. The US weather system sighted over 80 tornadoes alone in the Midwest in May killing 47 people. In October 2003, the Staten Island Ferry crashed killing 11 passengers and injuring many more. Bob Hope both passed away in 2003.

Well, 2003 was a year of good and bad. The capture of Sad am Hussein was probably the biggest story of 2003. Of course, the end of the Iraq War came along with it. However, the fighting in Afghanistan continued. President Bush remained in power and vowed to catch the perpetrators of terrorism. He was able to catch a few but the big fish Osama Bin Laden escaped. In Sports, A team won its first Superbowl (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) another team won its second World Series (Florida Marlins), yet another team win it’s third Stanley Cup (New Jersey), an a basketball team it’s second NBA title (San Antonio Spurs).

Ok, so what will the big stories be in 2013. Hopefully their will be minimal tragedies, an end to the poor economy, the rise in property values, some new blood to win some championships in sports, and much more to come. Enjoy the ride and get your pop corn ready.

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ALICE N’ CHAINS?

What song do you think of when you hear someone mention the band Alice In Chains? Alice N’ Chains was a hard rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1987, by Song Writer/Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and Lead Vocalist Layne Staley. The band also consisted of Drummer Sean Kinney and Mike Star on Bass. Alice In Chains had its roots as a Garage Band that was formed by Layne Staley. His original band was named Sleze and Staley became a vocalist after flirting with the idea of becoming a drummer. After struggling for a few years the band decided to change its name to Alice In Chains. However, due to concerns by some critics, they quickly changed it to Alice N’ Chains so that it would not be linked to female bondage. This tactic was used to stop any of the parental lyric activists of the time. During one of Alice N’ Chains time at a studio known as Music Bank Rehearsal Studios, Staley met Jerry Cantrell and they soon became room mates. Both musicians agreed to join each other’s band and after Layne’s band flopped, Staley joined Guitarist Jerry Cantrell, Drummer Sean Kinney, and Bassist Mike Star. After Kelly Curtis and Susan Silver got their hands on the recent demo recording from Alice N’ Chains, it quickly became a priority to push this band hard. Curtis and Silver were also the managers of the Band “SoundGarden.” After a few EP’s, the Band’s debut album “Facelift” was released in 1990 and peaked at Number 42 on the Billboard 200 during the summer of 1991. During its first six months, Facelift only sold under 40,000 copies which was considered a failure by most music critics. However, after the single “Man on the Box” debuted on MTV and became a staple music video, the album took off and Man in the Box hit Number 18 on the Mainstream Rock Charts. During the next six weeks, Facelift sold over 400,000 copies a huge improvement. In 1991, the band landed the opening slot on the Clash of The Titans Tour featuring Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth among other Metal Bands. After success with their first album and then releasing the EP “SAP”, Alice N’ Chains released its second album “Dirt.” Six of the albums 13 songs had a dark theme that dealt with the subject of addiction. This was no accident as all of the band members were struggling with one form of addiction or another. Dirt was released in 1992, and hit Number 6 on the Billboard 200 Charts. Dirt produced five Top 30 Billboard Hits including “Rooster”, “Would”, “Them Bones”, “Down In a Hole”, and the title track “Dirt”. In 1993, after opening for Ozzy Osbourne on the No More Tears tour, Mike Star left the band and was replaced by Mike Inez on Bass. The Band then toured on the Lollapalooza Tour in 1993. After a long time on the road, the Band decided to return to the studio and produced an acoustic masterpiece in 1 weeks time! The acoustic EP was called “Jar of Flies.” After its release, Staley entered rehab for Heroin Addiction. In 1994, the Band was supposed to tour with Metallica, Danzig, Suicidal Tendencies and Fight, but during rehearsal Layne began using again and the band was kicked off of the tour. The in 1995, Alice In Chains released the Self Titled Album, which hit Number 1 on the Billboard 200. The album achieved the bands highest success and the band then did a few unplugged albums with MTV. However, Layne Staley became a loner and did not leave his Seattle Condominium. On April 19, 2002, Layne Staley was found dead in this same Condo. He had lost his ten year battle with addiction. After an autopsy, it was found that Staley had died from a combination if Heroin and Cocaine and also a weakened immune system. 2 Months later, Jerry Cantrell released his second solo album and dedicated it to Staley. In 2005, the Band did a reunion tour even though they never officially disbanded. During the reunion tour, William Duvall took over lead vocals and Duff McKagan joined the band for the tour on Bass. Then on September 29, 2009 Alice In Chains finally released another album called Black Gives Way To Blue with William Duvall at the helms. Many if the albums songs dealt directly with Staley and his battle with addiction. This album was a huge success and brought former Alice N Chains fans together with many from the younger generation who really never got to see the real band. Since then, another former member of the band, Mike Star was found dead from an apparent overdose. Alice In Chains unfortunately will always be linked to the horrible disease of addiction, but the band will also always be remembered for its union of Grunge and Heavy Metal into a unique mixture of the two styles. Alice N Chains will release their fifth studio album some time in 2013. Alice N Chains will always be one of my favorite bands. They have always produced great sound and many fans can relate to the dark lyrics and themes. I am looking forward to their new album. RIP Layne and Mike, you both are more than a name!

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NHL: NO HOCKEY LOYALTY

Well, this strike is similar to how the 1994-1995 Strike went down. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The New York Rangers were coming off a Stanley Cup Championship Title in 1994, as Mark Messier carried the Rangers to their first title in over 40 years. Then it happened, a long term work stoppage. This seasons strike actually mirrors that one in that it lasted over a half season. When the league finally came to an agreement with the players, they settled on a 48 game season. This season will be the same type of schedule. Well the 94 strike saw Eric Lindros get voted as the MVP in a 48 game season where the Philadelphia Flyers made it to the Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, the Devils went on to beat the Flyers and win their first Stanley Cup. Well, who knows at this point what team will be the favorite. However, One thing is for sure. The fans will return, but I would suggest that they refrain from spending top rate to go to these games. Let us face it, the League owes the Fans. This has been one of the most frustrating sports strikes in history as there was not a huge gap between what the league wanted as far as the players. Nonetheless, here we are already into January, and now there will be a two week period and then a 48 game season. We will talk later how this short season could benefit a team like the Flyers. Stay Tuned.

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