Saturday, February 23, 2013


I'm going to describe a popular movie that you've probably seen before. The thing is, you might not be able to guess what it is, the real answer may surprise you....

Remember that Disney cartoon movie about animals that starts out with the birth of a prince and all the animals are coming to see their new prince?

Our little main character has a very loving parent that teaches him so much about the lessons that he will use future in life.

He also has a female friend that he plays with, unknowingly that someday she will be his true love.

But while still young, our little main character loses his loving parent in a tragic traumatic experience. Saddened, we see him crying having learned a very hard life lesson, he thinks he is all alone in the world now....but he quickly learns he isn't.

A cheerful music montage shows our little guy grown up into a young adult and don't worry, he has a wise old character that is full of wisdom and teaches him a very important fact of life and acts as a guide.

Our main character also has two little friends that we find comical and cute but are always there to stick right by his side!

Soon our main character runs into his female playmate from back in his childhood but this time she's not his friend, this time we see they are falling in love.

It isn't all happy times for the main character, he gets into a fight scene, winning, but soon after a huge fire starts burning everything in it's path. Don't worry, all of the animals escape and our main character survives.

We get the feel that some time has passed and the damages of the fire are no longer visible. We are at the end of the movie and yet again, like in the beginning we find all the animals congregating to view another birth, this time our main character is the father.

And as the movie's final score plays and we listen to the singing, we see our proud main character standing tall and proud high above all on a cliff as the circle of life continues.

Let's not forget all the Oscar nominations for this movie's music too!

If you think I was talking about the Disney cartoon movie of THE LION're wrong. I was actually talking about the Disney cartoon movie Bambi.

Wow. Holy crap. Disney remade Bambi into The Lion King.


I'm going to describe a popular movie that you've probably seen before. The thing is, you might not be able to guess what it is, the answer may surprise you....

You know that historical Mel Gibson movie where he is the main character and he is based on a real live person and he's fighting the British?

He's just kinda living his life even though the British are in charge and the rule over Mel's country but things keep getting worse and they start to talk about freedom and Mel Gibson isn't all that into it but then he loses his family and gets all crazy-mad and decides he's going to fight the British.

This isn't such a good idea considering how big and powerful the British are, and since they've been ruling over Mel Gibson's country for so long.

So Mel Gibson starts to fight the British guys and he keeps winning and it's driving them crazy so they start to fight back harder and  dirtier which makes things in Mel's country really tough on the people but freedom is all anyone is talking about.

But Mel Gibson isn't alone, he rallies his country men to fight with him for the cause of freedom. He even has a friend that is from another country and typically wouldn't be friends but in this case, they also have a hatred for the British, so they're willing to fight too.

Mel Gibson keeps fighting the British and a lot of the main characters get killed in bloody battle scenes. The British REALLY want to kill Mel Gibson's character at this point, feeling if they got rid of him they could stop this rebellion.

At the end of the movie we learn that Mel Gibson's fighting spirit for freedom inspires his fellow countrymen to fight and finally, after years of tyranny, defeat the British, gaining their freedom.

If you thought I was talking about're wrong. I was actually talking about THE PATRIOT.

Wow. Holy crap. Mel Gibson made the same movie twice.


Ever since the first time I saw an Oscar fish I wanted one. This is the first albino one that I've had, and as you can see, he was grown quite a bit since I got him! That is the same rock, he was tyring to swim through it the other day but doesn't realize how much bigger he is now. These pictures are one year and a month apart. This shows you how fast and how big they can get in a short period of time.

Oscars get very big and most people would agree that you shouldn't start in anything less than a 50 gallon tank for a single Oscar. 75 gallons is pretty standard and is what I'll be moving up to very soon because my Oscar is huge, as you can see. They are extremely friendly fishes, they know their owners, and if you've ever come over to my place then you have watched as this guy as hidden from you, he doesn't like new people he doesn't know but when he can see me he gets very excited. Oscars LOVE to eat, they live for it, a lid is necessary because they will jump out of the water. (another favorite past-time of the Oscar) This is actually how my last Oscar died, he jumped out of a lidless tank, stupidity on my part for not having a lid.

Oscars will follow your finger and swim right up to the glass to say hello when you come into the room. My Oscar likes when I'm playing my bass guitar because he can see me and when you make eye contact he gets excited because he thinks he's going to get fed...which is usually true. Oscars eat other fish BUT there are many types of pellet fish food that Oscar and other predator fish can eat. I have a special brand that enhances colors, hence all the yellowish colors in him. Goldfish in the form of feeder fish are the choice of most Oscar owners, even though goldfish are not the best choice. Mine hasn't had any feeder fish in his life yet but once I put in a cricket and he quickly grabbed it, instantly spitting it back out, sinking to the bottom, and cowering in fear. I guess he wasn't expecting it and didn't like it? That experience has made me hesitate from feeder fish and since he loves his pellets, I see no reason to switch now.

Oscars, although willing to eat anything that can fit into their mouths, can be housed with other fish, AS LONG AS THEY ARE THE SAME SIZE. This is very important because once an Oscar thinks he can eat his buddy, he will. Currently I have a bristle nose Pleco in with my Oscar, they are bottom feeders and he helps keep the tank clean but even though these fish also get huge, they do not grow very fast and I'm starting to worry.

I love this little guy, and he has a face only a mother could love. I still need a name for him though.
Oscar fishes are great, I really think they are one of the best fishes to own. They are smart, love to interact with their owners, and at times appear to be comical. I would suggest one for anyone but understand they take up a lot of space! Oscars are great fish to own, but that's just my two cents.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Here is a short list of a few people I just plain miss from my life and wish they'd come back.

CHRIS FARLEY. Don't you all just miss this guy?? How funny was he? His movies were hysterical, even his worst movie is still funnier than half the movies out nowadays. He died too early in my opinion and I hate to think about all the wonderful movies and jokes we are missing out on.

Kenny Loggins. Remember this guy!?! What a good musician, I wish he would make something new or get into a soundtrack again like he used to back in the 80's. Caddy Shack, Footloose, Top Gun, man what a guy. In fact....where is he now? I really am clueless, pretty sure he's still alive but I have no idea where he is or what he's doing, whatever he IS doing, it's not making more great he should be. Also, what a great beard.

Leslie Nielsen. Oh what I wouldn't give for just ONE MORE naked gun movie! I was so thrilled and happy to see him in some of those new Scary Movie's when he played the president but for him to star in one more movie would have been so good. Kids today are going to miss out on this comedic talent and it's a shame!

Huey Lewis. Please come back....please, Huey please....listen to me...I need you in my life, please come back to us Huey!!! I swear he is going to return one day, maybe by himself I don't really care if he brings the News with him, as long as he is the one singing. This guy was the background sound of the 1980's and hasn't made so much as a peep since then. If he made a bad song, I didn't hear it. I just wish he would make more music.

Michael Jordan. Not that I was a huge Bulls fan or anything but look what we are stuck with now. Lebron James is a dick, Kobe is a rapist, Shaq has the brain of a 5 year old, we sure could use a little Air Jordan right about now if you ask me. I was watching the ESPN special on Michael's 50th birthday and as I watched the clips of him playing I just thought to myself, "boy we don't have anything close to that right now." Well we probably never will again.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


As a bassist myself, I love to hear the bass lines of my favorite songs and over the past few years as I've learned more and more about the bass guitar itself, I have come to learn more about the people that play them too. BUT there are a few that stand out in mind as the best and my favorite. This is a list of several famous bass players, some you may know, and some you may not.

I feel the bass is an underrated instrument and I got into it because I believed it would be easier to learn than the electric guitar, people told me the bass was harder to play and I responded with, it has 4 strings instead of 6, how can it be? But the truth is, it is harder to play. It really makes me appreciate the people who play bass guitar. Keep in mind this list is of my favorites, not necessarily what I consider to be the best.


Bootsy Collins is known as one of the best Bassists of all time, he's the guy Flea listened to for tips...FLEA. Playing for James Brown and then Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy is one of the BEST when it comes to the slapping and popping technique and giving a song that funky sound. I'll always think of "Groove Is In The Heart" by Deee-lite, a great song and that's him playing the bass. Truth is I can play next to nothing when it comes to basslines by Bootsy, he's just that good.


Floyd, the bassist from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem is one of the most recognizable Muppets, and that's saying a lot because there are a ton of them. I'd like to point out that Floyd is PINK...a possible joke? I think it may have been. His name is also a reference to the Beatles, not to mention Floyd plays his Bass left handed. Appearing on the Muppet Show, and in most of the Muppet movies, Floyd has always been one of my favorite Muppets, and that was before I knew he was the bassist. Floyd had several lead vocals in the Muppet Show's run and appeared in every episode. 


Yes, Gene Simmons, the front man of KISS is the bassist, a little known fact to people other than KISS fans. Although I am not a big KISS fan myself, their songs have always been fun to play, some are pretty simple and some are pretty tough and Gene is actually quite good. Here he is with his signature AXE bass guitar, quite possibly the coolest bass ever to be played. Often using a pick, Gene has been rocking out with his bass guitar for decades, and probably decades to come.


Tom hamilton has been playing with Aerosmith since the 1970's and in that time he has played the bass line to some of my favorite songs of all time. Long time friend of guitarist, Joe Perry, Tom was jamming on his bass, which he switched over to from guitar, since the age of 14. Surprisingly Aerosmith only has one number one song, but we all can name so many and I like way more than just one of their songs, and it is Tom's wonderful basslines that catch my ear, whether using a pick or his fingers, Tom is one of my favorite bass players. 


Who is Leland Sklar you're asking? Well I guarantee you've heard him playing the bass. Pretty sure you've never heard him play hu? Well you have. Still not convinced? I would put money on it that you HAVE heard Leland playing bass on the radio, on tv, in the movies, or on MTV (back when they had music videos that is). That's a real beard by the way, Leland Sklar is the ultimate wondering bassist, going from band to band and musician to musician. Leland has played the bass for the following bands or musicians: James Taylor, Phil Collins, Air Supply, Clint Black, Jimmy Buffet, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Kim Carnes, David Cassidy, Neil Diamond, The Doors, Art Garfunkel, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Hall and Oates, Lyle Lovitt, Wynona Judd, Lisa Loeb, Reba McEntire, Ricky Martin, Randy Newman, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Aron Nevill, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Raitte, LeAnn Rimes, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, George Strait, Barbara Streisand, The Weather Girls, Wilson Phillips, Trisha Yearwood, and Merle Haggard JUST TO NAME A FEW. Believe me, you've heard this man play his bass, and it goes to show how versatile of player he must be, probably the most versatile bass player that ever lived...impressive just doesn't cut it when describing Leland. 

D'arcy wretzky, the lone female from the 90's band Smashing Pumpkins! The only female on my list and definitely a favorite of mine when it comes to bass lines. I love playing "Bullets With Butterfly Wings" and in my opinion it's the great bass line that makes this song so good. D'arcy is a master with the pick and almost exclusively used a Fender Jazz Bass, which may surprise some people but it gave the band such a distinct bass sound. D'arcy's unique alternative sound was innovative and refreshing for the time period and let's face it, she looked better doing it than any other bass player out there. 


Axl, Slash, Izzy, with names so famous in such a famous band it would be easy to get swallowed up and over shadowed, especially in a heavy metal band where the guitars are so loud and prominent, but I think Duff's signature sounding bass kept him from falling into that trap. Listen to a Guns'N'Roses song sometime without Duff or just listen to Duff's part and you'll see a big difference, Duff definitely contributed to the band's distinct sound. I think when it comes to using a pick, Duff is probably the best, known for dropping down and his own special combination of amplifiers and pickups to make his signature sound, Duff is a very recognizable bassist. Helping write songs for Izzy and Slash's albums, Duff even played the bass on some of these albums after Guns N Roses. I love this band, and I love Duff's style, although not entirely unique in his genre, I would venture to say he did it best. 


Paul McCartney, the most talented of all the Beatles, still playing to this day and responsible for writing some of the most famous songs of all time. Paul McCartney was a pioneer when it came to the bass guitar, seen here with his Hofner Style Bass guitar pictured above. Let's not forget the bass guitar was only invented  in 1950 by Leo Fender, and the Beatles came together in 1960 so Paul had very little to go on when it came to using a bass guitar in a band. Paul McCartney reluctantly became the band's bassist when their original member Stuart Scutcliffe left the band. I'm glad he did because although Paul can play just about every instrument, often seen playing piano and guitar, it was the bass he helped to shape into an important part of any band. You can tell how much better of a bassist Paul becomes as his career continued, the early songs have simple bass lines that are easy to play but as the Beatles progressed, so did his bass as the bass lines became more intricate and important. In my opinion Paul McCartney helped to put the bass guitar on the map, and for that I thank him and say we owe him a lot. Sir Paul McCartney is also the only bass playing Knight since Sir Lancelot.  (facts may not be correct) 


Flea, the best when it comes to slapping and popping, in my opinion. I can't play much of the Red Hot Chili Peppers because Flea is just that good. People disagree when I say it, but I really think Flea carried this band, it was such a unique unmatched sound that his bass brought to the band, it's hard to imagine a RHCP song without him! If you ask me, when the band changed their style and slowed down their songs, it slowed down Flea and his bass, and it ultimately ended the band's success. Again, just my opinion. Flea loves to slide and loves to slap and pop AND to add his own little things, so playing his songs so they sound like him is near impossible for me and most others. Highly respected in the bass world, Flea looked up to Bootsy Collins, but I think Flea's own aggressive edgy twist on the bass launches him past Bootsy. Flea also appears in the Back to the Future movies as Marty's friend Needles, in case you were wondering. He has actually appeared in several movies and was the voice of Donny from The Wild Thornberrys. When it comes to playing the bass I really think Flea is the best in the world, many would agree, however that doesn't make him my favorite, although he is a close second. 


Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson's older brother. He is my favorite bass player, the legendary Jackson 5 had so many hits in the 60's and the bass lines were such a big part of these songs. Listen to a Jackson 5 song, and pick out Jermaine's bass lines, it will probably surprise you at how important of a part they are in the song. Jermaine actually has several solo albums and he really is an amazing bass player, not the best, most well known, well liked, or talented, Jermaine still manages to be my favorite. The bass line was something that Motown felt was very important, I feel Michael carried this idea into his own solo career as most of Michael Jackson's songs have very unique and recognizable bass lines. When I first started to learn the bass, "I Want You Back" was on the top of my list of songs I wanted to learn to play and it took me forever, I thought it was so hard but it remains probably my most favorite song that I can play to this day. With the responsibility of learning and playing the most difficult instrument in the Jackson 5, I'd say Jermaine did a good job and hopefully avoided some beatings from his father Joseph. Jermaine is probably the most underrated bassist there is but I really think people that know the bass can appreciate his contributions to the instrument and maybe you will now too.     

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ground Hog Day

Well it's that time of year again, the day of the year when a groundhog comes out of his hole at sunup to see if he can see his shadow, if he does, there will be six more weeks of winter, if he doesn't it means there will be an early spring.

What on earth??? Well it's a German thing but living this close to Punxsutawney PA, we were always big on Ground Hog Day. Going to this event is actually a pretty cool experience and I encourage everyone to do it at least once. Sure it's pointless, but most things in life are. It's basically 30 thousand screaming drunk people, freezing to death in a farmer's field, don't expect too much more, other than a fireworks display, cause they have that too.

It had been 11 years since I last went, and that was NOT a good time. It was 24 degrees in 2002 and I wasn't dressed for the occasion, also getting there at 2 am for something that happens at 7:28 am was not good planning on our part. It was something I swore I would never do again but here I was, in Punxsutawney for the 127th trip to Gobbler's knob to watch a sedated overweight groundhog look for his shadow. This year it was 8 degrees out, but I was ready for it with several layers, under armor socks, and my Spyder snowboarding jacket. It really wasn't too bad considering we got to the field at 6:30am. BTW, if you haven't gone but you have watched the movie, it's nothing like the movie depicts, it doesn't happen in the middle of the town, it is quite literally in the middle of a farmer's field surrounded by trees. The movie wasn't even shot in PA.

This year the sun came up and they dragged him out of his stump and forced him to look for his shadow, which he didn't see, and the crowd cheered due to the news of an early spring. The truth is Punxsutawney Phil is only correct 39% of the time, which is pretty close to actual weathermen.

I do recommend going, at least once in a life time, that's about as much as most people can stand. Just know what you're in for though. The town really tries to put on a good time for people and it shows with their hospitality and friendly disposition. You can't dress warm enough, after all it is February in PA, so be ready for that. And if you're claustrophobic be warned that you will be touching other people non stop. Which brings me to my next question, in a wall to wall sea of people sometimes some idiot would come pushing their way through saying, "sorry, excuse me, sorry" and it's like.....where do you think you're going??? As if the front of a crowd of 35,000 people has extra space for you. So go, have a good time, enjoy yourselves, and then NEVER go again, but that's just my two cents.