SUMMER MADNESS

June. 21st…The Official First Day of the Summer. There are so many things that come to mind when we think of the Summer. School’s out for Summer…the kids are done school until September. Graduations…the newest year class of graduates, including Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, and Graduate School. Jeans and long sleeve shirts are shed for shorts, t-shirts, bikinis, swim trunks, bare skin, and sun dresses.

Sunglasses are on, sports cars, convertible tops down, car washes and waxes, sneakers and shoes replaced with sandals and flip-flops, summer sun and heat takes over the everyday weather patterns, barbecues daily on the grill, vacations galore, trips to the shore and beach, and numerous other changes.

In the world of sports it’s another exciting time of the year. The NBA and NHL are winding down…an NBA champion already crowned, an NHL Stanley Cup Winner yet to be determined, the NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy, and buy-out periods. MLB is almost halfway over…the All Star Game…teams with big leads…teams with disappointing seasons…injury bug alive and well…and the sprint towards the stretch run and post season. Finally, we have the NFL rookie, mini, and training camp still to come.

Summer is also a huge time period in the world of music. Many brand new CD’s have already been released. Festivals are happening just about every weekend. American Tours are firing on all cylinders. Even bands that have not played in years are making one more go around. Anyone that is a fan of metal and sports has to love the beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is the start of these worldly passions.

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SUPER COLLIDER KICKS ASS

Megadeth released their fourteenth studio album today. Anyone that is a fan of Megadeth knows that ten years ago…the chance of this day coming was slim to None. Megadeth had released RISK and Mustaine went in rehab for the umpteenth time. Then he had a nerve in his playing arm basically explode. There was a five year hiatus which saw David Elleffson forge a lawsuit against his old band mate for the rights to Megadeth’s material.

Ok…fast forward to Mustaine’s miraculous comeback. Megadeth released The System Has Failed, which originally was supposed to be a solo project, but instead Mustaine chose to use the Megadeth label. This album was extremely heavy and is extremely underrated to this day. After touring for a year and a half, Megadeth released United Abominations, which was a little less heavy but still a Megadeth masterpiece.

Then came EndGame. EndGame was heavy but it seemed to get stale with all of the songs sounding the same. Still Megadeth marched on. Then it happened. David Elleffson came back into the fold and Mustaine signed Chris Broderick to play Guitar. Broderick is on the same level as Marty Friedman and matches Mustaines intensity on the notable solos. This brought the next release…Megadeth’s thirteenth studio album…coincidentally called Thirteen. Thirteen was a hit and really put Megadeth back on the map.

Since 13…Megadeth’s popularity has risen immensely. Dave Mustaine is once again a leader in the Metal Community just like he was when he was the spokesman for MTV as the “Rock The Vote” mascot lol. Everyone that knows Megadeth’s story and the backstory of Dave Mustaine and his long lived hatred for his ex band “Metallica.” Well…today Megadeth is once again a leader in the Metal Scene. Although they will never be bigger than Metallica, Megadeth has never sold out as they continue to put out powerful material.

Super Collider is a strange name for an album…especially for Megadeth. However, from the first track KingMaker the album takes off and really grows on you. This album has more of a variety and does not maintain the same dull sound as most of their previous albums have. This album is top notch. You can tell that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears was put into this album. Even Dave’s voice seems to have come to life once again.

Mustaine has lost a lot in his vocals over the years but he seems recharged in Super Collider. “Burn” is a fast paced in your face metal ensemble. The title track “Super Collider” sounds like a futuristic version of a Megadeth sound. “The Blackest Crow” starts off like a country song and then rips into classic Megadeth. “Dance in the Rain” features David Draiman (Disturbed) on back up vocals. This album has a little of everything.

Now I am one of the most Die Hard Megadeth fans you will find. Ask any of my friends who my favorite band is…and immediately they will tell you MEGADETH! Now I have heard a lot of flack and complaints about this album how it really isn’t a Megadeth album? Really? I would say the people saying this are not true Megadeth fans and really are misinformed. This album may be their best since the Countdown-Youthanasia-World Needs a Hero era. Seriously…The more you listen to it the more it grows on you.

I highly recommend this album for any Metal Fan. Even Track “11” Cold Sweat…a Thin Lizzy cover rocks the house. Don’t Turn Your Back also is a classic sounding Megadeth sound with the heavy double bass drums and the guitar onslaught between Broderick and Mustaine. Wow! I have now listened to the entire album twice straight through! I give it an 8/10. Pretty high score…and as I said…I’m a true Megadeth Junkie.

Also…I highly recommend the new Alice In Chains album and am so looking forward to “13” by Black Sabbath! Also, pick up the new book by Zach Wylde as well as Rex Browns book the story behind Pantera. Finally…if u are a Judas Priest fan a must have is Epitaph, a live DVD of one of their final shows from the past tour as they are supposedly retiring.

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METAL MADNESS

The End of May Is approaching fast, and June is right around the corner. There are so many current events that are in full blown attack. We have the Jodi Arias Murder Trial, The George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, the Ongoing War and Terror in Syria, the Obama Health Care Reform Referendum, The Oklohoma Tornado, the Boston Massacre II, and many other current events. The NHL is down to the Final Four after skipping half of a season. MLB is in full swing and this year it’s anyone’s crown. NFL training camp is also right around the corner.

However, there is nothing more vivid than the news and notes and stories coming out of the Heavy Metal Community. Alice In Chains just released their new album on Tuesday. Saturday is the debut of That Metal Show with a guest appearance from Vinnie Apiece. Then we have both Megadeth and Black Sabbath releasing brand new studio albums this Tuesday. Also, Gigantour, The Rock Star Energy Concert in California, The Metal Hall of Fame.

June will also see a new biography from Pantera, which will cover the career of the Super Bands journey, including the tragic death of its star guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. Judas Priest is releasing a Blu Ray DVD called “Epitaph” which will include 22 Tracks from their latest tour in Europe. We have Gigantour, Metallica’s 3D Movie, Rock Star Energy Show, as well as many other concerts. Pantera is also contemplating a reunion tour with star Guitarist Zack Wylde. There are so many stories that are about to arise in the Metal Community. Finally, we have many other new albums that are due out. Also, there will be many huge shows in 2013.

Slash is working on a new album, Slayer is still mourning the loss of their Star Guitarist, Jason Newsted is about to embark on tour with Metallica, so many stories…lets get excited Metal Fans! Let me see your Liighhhterrs! As Ozzy says it best!

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SOCIAL MEDIA CRAZE

It’s so amazing how fast technology evolves. I can remember back to the nineties, when pagers and beepers were the hot commodity. By 1990, World Wide Paging had been invented and there were over 22 Million Different Pagers in Use. By 1994, my Senior Year of High School, there were over 66 million almost tripled from four years prior. Just like Sony Walkmans, everyone had one. Of course, just having a pager was not enough. They began to make all kinds of colors and cases, also donning all types of Decorative Art.

In 1987, cell phones were just becoming a popular item and a certain particular cell phone became very popular. Fleet, which later became Nextel Communications was the hottest provider and actually invented a phone with a “Push to Talk” walkie feature. This was especially popular in the Contracting Realm of Employment. In 2005, Nextel merged with another popular carrier Sprint and at this point had over 20 Million Subscribers in the United States alone.

The next big craze was IPODS and Smart Phones. The first smart phone was actually invented by IBM in 1992. Smart phones overtook the cellular media outlet totally by 2013. Even “Regular Cell Phones” are dinosaurs today. Pagers are almost extinct and non existent. The early models just linked phones with PDA’s but today’s phones are equipped with a minimum of a digital camera, portable media players similar to IPods, and even GPS systems. Touchscreen and wifi were the next upgrades allowing users to surf the Internet at virtually any time from virtually anywhere.

In 2007, The IPHONE by Apple was introduced and now all of the Smart Phones are similar to the IPHONE in options. There is the Android, Blackberry, Symbian and many other models. There are also many service carriers with the most popular being Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and Microsoft. These carriers also provide Internet service, while Verizon actually supplies Cable TV. Everything today begins and ends with the cell phone.

It was only ten years ago where I remember having to wait until the next morning to watch the News to see what was going on in with current events. I can also remember purchasing a Daily News every AM to check out all the sports news, statistics, and highlights. Then this phenomenon became ESPN where you could see the sports news every hour. And of course, it then evolved to the “Bottom Line” on ESPN TV where all of the days sports news slides slowly across the screen. It just keeps evolving. Now you have the news or sports at the tip of your finger. They have applications on the phone that allow you up to second scores, statistics, highlights, and even play by play as well as actual simulated games that are in real time. All of these evolutions are incredible and it almost feels like something new comes about daily today.

Along with the social news media and smartphones…today we have taken it to an even further level. In August, 2003, MY SPACE was launched by Justin Timberlake. MySpace was a social media outlet on the Internet with strong music connections. From 2005-2008, MY SPACE was the most visited networking site…even more than Google. However, in 2008 FACE BOOK was created and quickly overtook MY SPACE as the Number One Social Media Outlet.

Facebook has grown to the point where it has become an actual addiction. I myself am relatively new to Facebook, having joined in 2011. However, it’s so easy to get sucked into the hoopla. One thing that is dangerous about Facebook is that it can put a strain on relationships, because of the access to whoever you want…maybe an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or coworker. It also causes a lot of drama regarding many issues.

One good thing about Face Book is that it gives every individual person the right to put whatever they may like to their site as well as control who and how many can see their material. It actually gives an ordinary person the ability to feel special. For example, a buddy of mine calls himself “The Life Coach” and he posts random statuses about life’s different trials, obstacles, etc. but he adds humor and sarcasm to the mix to get more people’s interest. Face Book can be a great tool as well as bad depending on how it is used. In my estimation, many people abuse the site including myself, which dampens its positive affect on society.

In conclusion, the Social Media Network has become the leader of everyone’s everyday lives. Cell Phones are attached at people’s body. At the dinner tables, people are more worried about what may be going on with their phone, a la text messaging, FaceBook, Internet Web, multi media players and music, etc. Believe me, I see this first hand because I am guilty of it. Also, people in record number are on their cell phones at their Place of employment, while working instead of focusing on the task at hand. And the worst aspect of this craze is the amount of people who die behind the wheel or kill others everyday, while using a cell phone and driving. There is so much more research that is being done on this phenomenon and you could write a novel. I am planning on revisiting this topic at a later date and will cover other topics. To Be Continued……

THE BLAME GAME

We live in a culture that is obsessed with the idea of blame. There always has to be a scapegoat. How did we ever get this way as a country? The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Instead we have become a society that is not only hypocritical, but also judgmental and at many times unfair.

Whatever happened to the old adage of just fixing a problem. Does there always have to be blame attached to the event or story. For example, let us look back at 9/11. After the horrific attacks, it became clear that the Terrorist Group Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the worst attack on American soil in history. Ok, so Osama Bin Laden and his group of Muslim extremists were behind the attack. But instead of just coming together as a country and trying to get these bastards, who were clearly responsible for the thousands of deaths, instead the American people began to look at every avenue and pass blame on numerous sub groups and even individuals.

C’MON, seriously! Do you think that it matters if the CIA had intelligence that these attacks were imminent. Do you think that if the CIA had acted more quickly that 9/11 could have been prevented. Lets face it, some things are just destined to happen. Yes, maybe there was some negligence on the part of the CIA. However, the CIA is not to blame for 9/11. Instead of blaming them and having a war of words between politicians, government agencies, etc., why could they not just focus on solving the problem and moving on.

The reason that the “Blame Game” has become so ingrained in our culture is that no one likes to be wrong. Criticism is not taken very well, so it’s much easier to point the finger at the “other” person. I would argue that blame and judgement could be a very dangerous path and that this type of behavior could truly ruin our country and what it was founded on.

Let us also look at the Benghazi Terror Attacks on September 11, 2011. Now these attacks were carried out overseas instead of in the United States, but they definitely affected our country the most in terms of lost lives and fear. Once again, a Jihad Terrorist Group claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, instead of just taking the information and running with it, the people had to find another scapegoat or “patsy.” This time, the Government including President Obama and Hillary Clinton were blamed. It was stated that they were aware of this threat and once again did nothing.

The “Blame Game” is not relegated to the Political Sector. Blame is used everywhere everyday. In schools. In the workplace. In Sports. On the Roadways. Blame and Judgement are two dangerous tools that can really wreak havoc if not used in the proper way. God tells us not to judge others because we are just as bad.

The latest Terror Attack at the Boston Marathon brought back memories of 9/11, and although no specific group has taken responsibility, it is thought that the perpetrators were somehow tied into a terrorist network. Here we go again. Instead of coming together, sharing our intelligence, sharing our tools to get these terrorists we continue to place blame on whoever is in the way.

This time the blame is being placed on the FBI. Really? Ok, so you are going to sit here look me in the eye and say that the FBI definitely knew these Attacks would happen and they failed to react even a little bit? I would strongly disagree. Had the FBI had intelligence that the Marathon was a terrorist target, they would have reacted right away. I mean no agency, no network, no group is infallible. Mistakes are made. We are all human beings. Instead of standing around debating who is at fault here and who we should blame, can we please look at the facts.

The fact is that two Muslim extremists planned and carried out a terrorist attack in Boston at the marathon. That much we do know and one of the suspects is dead and the other one is in custody. Well, don’t you think that all these agencies should be sharing their intelligence, resources, and plans to find out how deep this plot runs. Are there any other people involved? Was Al-Qaeda responsible? How about Hizbollah? No, instead the American people as well as the Government is crucifying the FBI.

Maybe the FBI was Nieve and negligent, but they are definitely not to blame. Let us please focus on the tasks at hand. Find out who is responsible and get the people that did this to you. The FBI should be addressed but that should be something that is done behind closed doors. Blame is a very serious and dangerous tool that has become all to coon in our society today. The World would be a better place without blame. Instead of blame, how about connecting the dots and finding facts. This is a much more efficient way to get to the bottom of a problem and correct it. Just saying, this “blame game” must stop. Blame the terrorists. Blame the Haters. Blame the real people who are responsible for these heinous crimes. Until next time, have a great weekend everyone!

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