August 31, 2011

KITTYHAWK PRODUCTIONS LAUNCHES OFFICIAL WEBSITE

SANTA MONICA, CA, August 27, 2011

Kittyhawk Productions (NYSE: KTPR) today announced the launch of their official website celebrating the history of the legendary band “Top Priority”. The website, in the works for nearly four years, welcomes fans and visitors alike to experience the music and history of “The Band That Never Changed Rock” in all of their never-achieved glory.

“This venture is truly a culmination of four years of love, that’s the only way I can put it”, Kittyhawk Chairman and CEO Victor N. Cugini told an assembled multitude of one reporter, one heavily tattooed youth holding a skateboard, and one homeless man who had just bummed a dollar off of Cugini. “If Doug [Richard], Keys [Palma], The Cat [Ken McDougal], and Mark [Richard] were here, I think they’d be justfiably proud of this achievement. The new KP website not only links people to a detailed history of the band as well as their music, it also allows fans to keep in touch with the band’s current and ongoing projects, even if there really aren’t any.”

Asked why the launch of a seemingly-uncomplicated, single-page website would take nearly four years to launch, Cugini would only say, “love takes time.” 

When asked about the release of Top Priority’s long-rumored “Anthology” CD, Cugini replied, “Ditto”.   

Cugini did go on to say that “[the band] is very keen and very together in their excitement” of the website’s launch, and that any and all conflicts the band might have had with their label – including several lawsuits accusing Kittyhawk of witheld royalties that were ultimately settled out of court – are, in Cugini’s words, “a thing of the past”. Cugini closed his announcement by saying that rumors to the effect that no further Top Priority YouTube music videos would be forthcoming were “premature”, and that the band was presently “reviewing tapes for a possible new video release in the fall.”

Me and the band are very excited about the new KP website, please feel free to take a look at it and let me know what you think.

Peace and tacos,
Victor

Filed in: Top Priority - News! by vcugini at 00:04 | Comments (2)
August 30, 2011

I’m not going to get into a big anti-Obama diatribe over stories like this – it’s too damned hot outside to start a fuss. Besides, what I find most interesting about this story is that it’s just one of a number that have starting cropping up in the past few weeks as Obama’s poll numbers continue to decline. When you see stories like this cropping up, it means the White House has lost its ability to control the narrative about who writes what about the First Couple. Expect to see more of this in the future.

But I digress…

What I really want to say is that the next time “Moochelle” starts lecturing me about the energy I’m consuming, the food I should be eating, and how I should be living my life in general, I’m going to tell her (politely, of course) to shut the (bleep) up.

Of course, this is nothing new when it comes to liberals, they’re the absolute kings of hypocrisy when it comes to global warming and lecturing people as to how we ought to be living our lives for the sake of the children, the planet, and the polar bears. You know what I say about the damned polar bears? Screw ‘em! Besides, once they’re gone that just leaves more salmon (especially the blackened variety!) for the rest of us. But hey, is the fact that I like my seafood blackened mean I’m a racist? No, but the fact I don’t believe in global warming sure does, at least according to Al Gore.

(Actually, I’m surprised Gore even wanted to go there, considering that as a United States senator back in the ’60s his father Al Gore, Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act. But that’s the hypocrisy of the loony left.)

Fortunately, I don’t have to keep track of all the hypocrisy – Instapundit’s Glen Reynolds has done a fabulous job documenting it for everyone to see. Liberals love to preach, but they sure hate having to practice what they preach.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (0)
August 29, 2011

neverforgetirene11 Hurricane Irene is history, and while it certainly didn’t measure up to all the media hype, the fact is that lives were lost and there will be a lot of damage resulting from it. I think there are some lessons that, if the media were truly paying attention to this kind of stuff (which they aren’t), we could all learn from it:

1. Hurricanes are unpredictable and even those most experienced meterologist will tell you that, while computer models have improved hurricane forecasting exponentially over the past couple of decades, we still don’t know exactly why hurricane A will behave differently than hurricane B given the same meterological dynamics. Hurricanes are very complex internal systems and marvels of nature.

2. The media should focus more on what the meterologists are saying and focus on what is happening now, rather than hyping what might or might now happen. Watching FOX News and CNN this weekend was painful: I mean, why must the networks insist on dragging local reporters outside to spew nonsense about something they really don’t have a clue about? The more I see of the media in general, the more I realize that journalism degrees at universities are useless: these people in the light of day are ignorant beyond belief and as dumb as a bag of hammers. And it isn’t just about hurricanes, either.

3. If the media (and the politicians) were really doing their job, rather than hype Irene and scare the daylights out of people, they would simply encourage people to use common sense and use it as an educational exercise in disaster preparedness if a much more serious event were to happen. Everyone should have a family disaster readiness plan – Glen Reynolds over at Instapundit has been stressing this for years. All unnecessarily hyping a relatively minimal storm like Irene was does is create amongst the public a false sense of security and – surprise! – further distrust of our elected public officials.

4. And speaking of the latter, watching the White House and the federal government “in action” the past few days will do nothing to reinforce the increasing notion that Barack Obama’s presidency is really nothing more than a non-stop photo ops with nothing really there. Roger Kimball of Pajamas Media writes the following:

A friend with a sense of humor sent me this reassuring story: “Obama Takes Charge at Hurricane Center.” “Now you can sleep well tonight,” he said. Hardly that. I mean really: does he look like a man who has a clue about what to do? Ponder the official NOAA name plate emblazoned with “Barack Obama President of the United States.” Why does that seem ridiculous? After all, he isthe President of the United States. Maybe it’s because it put me in mind of that iconic image of Mike Dukakis in his tank. Anyway, if it failed to be reassuring, it did introduce a welcome moment of levity.

Absolutely. I mean, did the White House really think that simply releasing a picture like that is going to reassure people that he and this administration can truly handle a really serious emergency were it to arise? Just another example of a president and an administration that sees everything – and I do mean – everything in terms of politics. And what’s up with the stupid placard in front of him? Doesn’t everyone know he’s the President of the United States? Or is he so clueless that he needs to know where he should be sitting? I mean, he’s at (I’m guessing) some emergency command and control center, not at some professional training seminar.

irene2

God, if this is what our federal government spends its money on we’re all in deep doo-doo.

Time to say goodnight, Irene.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:17 | Comments (2)
August 28, 2011

smile …is the official release date of The Beach Boys’ “The SMiLE Sessions” in various forms. This is gonna be a significant release in the history of rock music, if for no other reason that it will show just how much Brian Wilson was far, far ahead of everyone – including The Beatles – when it came to progressive pop music in the Fall 1966 / Spring 1967 period. If he hadn’t lost his nerve, the history of rock music would have been re-written in ways impossible to imagine. Think about it: who back in those pre-Sgt. Pepper days was doing anything like this:

Prayer
Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow
Cabin Essence

All done, BTW, during the days before the computer and the synthesizer. Yes siree, November 1 release promises to be quite the day in rock music history. It’s all very exciting.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:10 | Comment (1)

hurricane All this talk about Hurricane Irene sent me scurrying for great hurricanes of the past that have followed near the track Irene is on. Here are some really interesting links I’ve found:

You can’t even start talking about the great hurricanes without mentioning the “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. I hate websites with black backgrounds and white letters – they give me a headache – but the pictures alone are worth the visit. What devastation! There are a couple of great – albeit heart-wrenching – books about that hurricane: R.A. Scotti’s “Sudden Sea” and Everett Allen’s wonderful “A Wind To Shake The World”. Both are page-turners.

There was Hurricane Carol in 1954, a year before I was born. Wasn’t there, but it sure appears that it was a bad one.

I do remember Hurricane Donna in 1960. The memories are pretty sketchy (I was only five), but I distinctly remember watching TV and seeing some report about small planes blown over and vividly recall the loud moaning of wind outside. I also remember my family and my aunt, uncle and cousins (they lived upstairs from us at the time) eating spam by candlelight after the power had gone off. This is a pretty cool remembrance of Donna; I always equated Steinbeck with Depression-era writing. You learn something new every day.

I definitely remember Hurricane Gloria in 1986 – that was in The Weather Channel’s (as it was called then before they dropped the “The”) heyday. I remember the night before it hit getting an ice cream down at Gary’s Ice Cream and marveling at how gray, murky, and still everything felt. It really was “hurricane weather”. Gloria turned out to be a fairly decent blow, but nothing catastrophic by any means. I do remember walking outside my parents’ condo (where I was living at the time) after it had passed and the air full of the smell of timber from broken and downed trees.

…might I digress for a second? It appears we’re getting a dust storm outside. I can hear the wind chimes chattering away, and my favorite streetlight looks like it’s shrouded in fog – a weather event you will never find in Gilbert, Arizona. Sigh. More sweeping of the pool and patio tomorrow…

And finally there was Hurricane Bob. It wasn’t a bad storm as I recollect, but it was bad enough that we lost our power for four days afterwards. I threw out a lot of food from my freezer, and I remember being pissed about it. Of course, I should have known better – after all, our area of Lowell/Dracut always had power outages. If three squirrels were having a party on some transformer that would be enough to knock the power out.

Of course, a storm doesn’t have to be actually classified as a hurricane to act like one and create havoc and devastation like one. Consider the Great Halloween Storm of 1991 (the one of “Perfect Storm” fame). I remember being in work and hearing word about a real bad storm on the coast; it was amazing that, while twenty miles or so inland we were getting warm showery rains, all hell was breaking loose on the coast and the fishing banks beyond.

I can’t help but think that with Irene the way is opened this year for more serious hurricane activity along the East Coast, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Irene was just a precursor to something bigger and more devastating in the next month or so. It’s certainly time, that’s for sure.

…and I sure miss New England weather. Less than two weeks!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comments (0)
August 27, 2011

…that was th high temperature in Phoenix today, the highest temp ever recorded for the month of August. I don’t think it got hot enough to affect flights in or out of Sky Harbor Airport (they close the airport down when the temps come close to 120 because of the weight of the airplanes on the soft tarmac), but it was blazing mutha-freakin’ hot nonetheless. And, to top it all off, the west side of the Valley got quite a dust storm. Here in Gilbert we only got as high as 115 with a bit of blowing dust under a shimmering gray-brown-silver sky, and our low tonight is only going down to 92.

This has been quite a stretch of heat, and our excessive heat warnings have been continued through Monday, making it a while week under these warnings. Pretty remarkable, when you think about it. This should be a great time of year for late-night swims: by this time the pool is usually down to the high ’80s and the nights are in the low ’80s, making for some lovely, luxurious swims, but not this year. The pool has jumped to 93, and when it’s 102 at 11 PM and the water is 92 like it was last night you feel like you’re just making yourself wet for no good reason.

Everyone has their tipping point when it comes to the heat. After all, we’ve been in and around the 100s for four months now, and with the humidity around for the last month or so you just get tired of it all. Mine came last night at 11 PM when I brought the trash out and I was sweating before I even came back into the house. Not even the occasional flash of distant lightning to the southeast was enough to make me want to sit outside with my nitecap in that – it was just too much.

Still, we’re only six weeks at most away from Arizona winter, and one of those weeks will be spent up in Massachusetts, so I can handle it. And, we don’t get hurricanes or earthquakes or snowstorms out here either.

Regarding Hurricane Irene: sure it’s kind of hit its max in terms of wind and strength, but I have a feeling the water and wind damage from this storm with its path over the heavily-populated Eastern seaboard is going to make for a very destructive storm event. The sheer amount of water being pushed by a storm this large is going to cause immense damage along the shores of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey. And who know what kind of water damage Long Island and Manhattan will see? Ought to make for good TV viewing inside this weekend.

Because I’m sure not going outside, I’ll tell you that.

A song for this weekend. One of Neil’s best. Enjoy!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:50 | Comments (3)
August 26, 2011

Thanks to Jimmy for the inspiration for the title. It’s one of my favorite tunes of his…

What an amazing technologically-advanced time we live in. It wasn’t even ten years ago that if you wanted news about a gathering hurricane threat to the US you would plod out to your livingroom, plop into your favorite easy-chair, then pop on the TV and probably turn to either CNN or The Weather Channel in order to get your information.

Today, the blogosphere is full of places that not only provide better, more accurate and up-to-the-minute info, but a wider range of information where you can choose the site that gives you the kind of info you like, in the format and content you like best, all from the comfort of your computer desk. No commercials, no bubble-headed bleached blondes spouting happy chat, just info. And if you don’t like what you see, alternatives are just a couple of mouse clicks away.

Do people realize just how much of a sea change that is in terms of technology and sociological change?

Me, I’ve come to rely on Accuweather.com for my weather info out here in the Valley of the Sun; as soon as the monsoon season arrives, at the first sign of clouds I’m checking their radar to see if there’s any activity heading towards us. Joe Bastardi was one of my favorite meterologists at Accuweather, now he’s started his own weather site at WeatherBell.com.

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground is also a great resource – I remember during Hurricane Katrina that his WunderBlog was the absolute tops when it came to the best info, not to mention lively discussion from weather buffs from all over. Over the past few days, courtesy of Instapundit, I’ve really enjoyed Brendan Loy’s blog for not just his hard info, but his intuitive nature as well.

We’ve sure come a long way from the likes of WBZ’s Don Kent and his chalkboard.

But I digress.

It sure looks like Hurricane Irene is gonna cause some trouble as it churns up the Eastern seaboard (BTW, isn’t that a lovely term? God, I miss hearing that term. Sure beats “the desert southwest”!).

But I digress….

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comments (2)
August 25, 2011

A big thanks to good folks at Powerline blog for the reminder about just how good this classic was. Lots of people equate The Searchers with the original hit version, but what most people don’t know that Jackie DeShannon sang the first version (and, I must say, very awesomely) before The Searchers turned it into a hit.

Leaving The Searchers’ inferior (at least in my view) version aside, let’s talk Jackie DeShannon’s, shall we? And yes, even though I’m sure y’all will let out a huge sigh about this, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that here’s yet another song with some serious Phil Spector influence at work here. Spector’s legendary arranger Jack Nitzsche and his equally legendary go-fer Sonny Bono co-wrote the music and lyrics.

I should also mention that I always liked the sound of DeShannon’s voice – and the fact that she was wicked hot if you were a guy in his early teens didn’t hurt, either. DeShannon had a flurry of big hits in the mid-sixties (more about that in a planned later post); unfortunately, “Needles And Pins” wasn’t one of them.

Of course, as with any great pop tune, there are no shortages of remakes. Actually, Sonny and Cher had their own version – you really hear the Spector influence Sonny was trying to incorporate into the arrangement – but it’s not great. And Cher sounds like she’s always trying to catch up with a runaway tempo that’s always threatening to get away from her.

This live version by The Turtles (a great band, BTW, with hits like this, this, and my all-time Turtles fave) is pretty pedestrian. Hell, even Top Priority could have done a better job on that song than that!

The Ventures did their own instrumental version. As great a band as they were, this is a pretty plodding and uninspired version, I think.

Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks had this interesting version; it’s a little ragged, I think, but still pretty cool. Love the cheesy-sounding organ in the background at the start…

Without a doubt, however, the absolute best version of all-time has to be by none other than The Ramones. It’s not just faithful to the original version, but like the best rock n’ roll, it starts simple and gradually builds to a nice crescendo with Johnny’s punk swagger at its tongue-in-cheek best.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:39 | Comments (0)
August 24, 2011

Goodboy or not, you’re probably wondering why, more than a month after the 2011 Goodboys Invitational weekend, the champions picture on the main page hasn’t changed. It sure isn’t because the 2010 champs Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin and Steve “Killer” Kowalski successfully defended their crown this year – they didn’t. And I’ve got a beautiful picture of 2011 winners Mike “Vegas” Clark and Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis all set to take their place among the greats whose pics have adorned the main page here at Goodboys Nation weblog in years past. Unfortunately, the web hosting company I’ve used for the past 5+ years, Blogs-About Hosting, appears to have stopped all support of their clients beyond the minimal hosting services they provide.

For the past month I asked, begged, pleaded, chastised, then begged some more for the support desk at BAH to replace the champions picture. The cost for doing it is minimal, and I’ve had my PayPal account at the ready just waiting for someone at BAH to care enough about a client who, over the course of these five years, has at one time or another faithfully paid subscriptions to as many as four websites. I wouldn’t mind for a second if they just came out and said “you’re on your own, bub, but we’ll show you how”, but I’m still waiting for any response to my support tickets a month later. That’s simply not how client support works in this day and age if you want to stay in business long.

Given that BAH’s website hasn’t been updated for several years now, I’ve sorta gotten the clue that either they’re no longer in business and have some proxy keeping the lights on, or maybe none of them care anymore about the customer service they provide. They don’t respond to support tickets, they don’t answer inquiries from their website, and they have no phone number published where you can talk to a real human being. I do know for a fact they’re always faithful in taking their monthly support subscription out of my PayPal account, but that’s pretty crappy behavior if you ask me. Their clients deserve better and shouldn’t have to put up with such crappy support.

I mention this now because, even though I have a link to Blogs-About Hosting on my main page, it’s not worth your money if you’re thinking about a company to host your website or blog. Their support is terrible, and they really don’t care about their clients. For all I know, they’ll read this and shut me down, but be assured that if they were to take such a petty stand Goodboys Nation weblog would pop back up again in some kind of a form – and soon. I don’t expect the worst, but I’ve always tried to be honest with the loyal folks who make this place a regular stop in their daily internet wanderings.

In the next day or two I’ll be evaluating new companies to host this site. I hope that in finding a new hosting company I can keep the content of this blog intact, but there’s no 100% certainty about it. We’ll see…

Just wanted y’all to know there are changes in the wind, I’ll keep you posted as things develop.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:19 | Comment (1)
August 23, 2011

August in the Valley of the Sun, we’re under an excessive heat warning through Thursday. Today it hit 111 at 4 PM here in Gilbert, tomorrow the forecast is for 115. The dry heat you hear so much about in Arizona is the stuff of June and long gone. Once August comes around, you get enough humidity in the air so that when you open the door the heat hits you like a brick wall. The sky is an electric blue, shimmering in the heat.

In weather like this, any bush or tree weakened for any reason succumbs in a matter of days. A house around the corner from us had a beautiful queen palm tree by their entryway. A couple of weeks ago it started to turn a little browner than usual, last week there was but a single green branch drooping from its crown, today it was completely brown and dead. I saw the owner outside his house today, I said to him, “why’d you let that beautiful palm die?”. The clueless jerk looked at me like I had two heads. My flowers in my front and back pots have really taken a beating. Next year, after my winter flowers die I think I’ll go with phony flowers – at least you don’t have to keep watering them!

The pool temperature had been dropping over the past couple of weeks, from a high of 95 in mid-July to 89 late last week. It was back up to 91 today, which is what happens when your low temperature for the previous night only drops to 87.

We were extremely smart to have the insulation in our attic replaced last year – in previous spells like this the A/C unit would run all the time. Even on the hottest days this year like today it will shut off for a half hour or so. The break from the A/C is nice.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:17 | Comments (3)

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