Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Slayer - "Reign In Blood"
I'm not sure there has ever been a more intense 30 minutes in the history of recorded sound than Slayer's 1986 album "Reign In Blood." Like a bar room bully, it grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go for its duration. People think Metallica is fast? No, with all due respect to Lars, James and the guys, THIS is fast. I have no clue how Slayer plays as fast as they do on "Reign In Blood." But what makes this record work is that it is truly an album. The songs all fit together, usually running right into the next one. The album is relentless, but in a good way. By the end of the audio assault Slayer has just unleashed on "Reign In Blood," you either loved it or hated it. Thought it was either a brilliant piece of metal music or was completely satanic and evil. Either way, your jaw was on the floor at the sheer velocity and intensity Slayer brings on this record.
Looking back, 1986 was quite a year for metal. Metallica released "Master Of Puppets," which has gone on to greater and greater fame as the years go on as the definitive metal record. It was also the year "Reign In Blood" came out but it doesn't get the same level of accolades for some reason. It should. "Reign In Blood" marked the point when the two thrash metal titans formally went off on their own courses. Metallica to being the biggest metal band the world has ever known and Slayer to being the mischevious younger brother who liked to set things on fire. Slayer developed a cult following so dedicated they came up with their own version (facetiously, of course)of the "Clapton Is God" sign...
All my babbling would be moot if the songs on "Reign In Blood" did not hold up so well. The band is amazingly tight, as Dave Lombardo punishes his drum kit while guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hannemann shred with reckless abandon. Bassist/vocalist Tom Araya brings the madness to a fever pitch with his rapid fire vocals and piercing scream. It's that scream which officially announces Slayer's arrival on the opening "Angel Of Death." King and Hannemann start off with simple guitar riff that builds up to Araya's yell, which starts off as a high-pitched wail and gradually gets lower until it literally sounds like someone descending into hell. The band kicks in behind him as Araya's lyrics describe the gruesome crimes of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Araya has always said he wasn't glorifying Mengele's crimes in this song and by listening to the way he recites the lyrics, I agree with him.
The next two songs, "Piece By Piece" and "Necrophobic" fit together and each plays like a horror film. 20 years later the work of Eli Roth would turn Araya's narratives into film reality with his "Hostel" movies. Each song is barely two minutes long and the band crams as many time changes and guitar solos as is humanly possible to fit into that amount of time.
After that, we get another double-sided suite with "Altar of Sacrifice" and "Jesus Saves." It's impossible to think of these two songs apart. "Altar" keeps up the furious momentum the band has built up to this point. Araya's vocals sometimes seem to struggle to keep up with the music but that effect works to the band's advantage: the snarling chaos of the vocals matches the band. "Altar" then slows things down for the badass guitar riff that opens up the ironic "Jesus Saves." This is the point in the album where a first-time listener probably says "fuck yeah!" That slowed down tempo lasts, oh, 20 seconds, before the band launches into an attack even faster than what they just did in the previous four songs.
"Criminally Insane" comes next and also has a slowed tempo to start, this time with a snare and hi-hat countoff by Lombardo before the band is at it again. "Reborn" keeps things going, while "Epidemic" shows off a style more reminicent of later Slayer releases "South Of Heaven" and "Seasons In The Abyss." "Postmortem" goes on a bit long (odd on a 10-song 30-minute album) and might be the weakest track here but it helps lead into the crowning moment of the record, the closer "Raining Blood."
"Raining Blood" has one of, if not the best intros in heavy metal. It starts off with a clap of thunder and the rain falling. Then Lombardo hits the tom-toms.
It's an eerie sound. Then the guitars come in and the band explodes into the song. Once Araya finishes the verses with the lines "Awaiting you reprisal/your time slips away," the band goes into a military stomp before one final thrash metal freakout, which reaches its crecendo with the thunder and rain again. Its a perfect way to end the album, like you're leaving Dante's Inferno behind.
"Reign In Blood" is one of those albums that doesn't seem to age or get stale. It's just as ass-kicking on the 100th listen as on the 1st. The album took thrash metal away from the more progressive vein it had been going at the time and gave it more of a punk rock feel. Like many things in life, "Reign In Blood's" innovation was a happy accident. Supposedly, producer Rick Rubin shaved the band's songs down to such an extent that the entire album could fit on one side of a cassette tape. However, the band loved the result, which was a much more intense experience than if the songs had dragged on with lots of solos and tempo changes. The band and Rubin were correct. If you don't believe me, listen to the "Hell Awaits" E.P. which is much more of a progressive album but doesn't have the electric chair energy of "Reign In Blood." This was the album where Slayer turned into SLAAAAAYERRRRRR!!!!
The band loved the album so much, they played it in its entirety for its 20th anniversary, complete with a raining blood effect on "Raining Blood." Here's a clip.
Monday, March 30, 2009
...yesterday, the Baltimore Colts ceased to exist. The details of that fateful day and what led to it are well-documented. Just a view of those pictures of the Mayflower trucks moving the franchise to Indianapolis and a Baltimore sports fan can recite those details like they can remember the last days of a relationship with a wonderful ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend if you're a lady).
First, as is the case with any ex-lover, you remember the good times. Johnny Unitas. The 1958 NFL Championship Game. Raymond Berry. Art Donovan. Lenny Moore. Gino Marchetti. Alan Ameche. "Mad Dog" Mike Curtis clobbering some hippie who dared cross his path. Tom Matte's wristband. Super Bowl V. Bert Jones. Roger Carr. Ted Marchibroda. Even when the memories were negative, like Super Bowl III and "The Ghost To The Post" game, they remain special for reasons good and bad.
Then come the really bad memories. Robert Irsay's purchase of the team in 1972. General Manager Joe Thomas coldly shipping Unitas to San Diego. Irsay's hideous and callow trading of John Elway to Denver. The half-empty stadium. "Irsay Sucks." Irsay's overtures to Tampa, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Indianapolis. The eminent domain bill. And finally, the infamous midnight ride. Mayflower moving trucks taking the team to Indianapolis under cover of snow and darkness. Of the great Baltimore Colts sneaking out of Owings Mills in the middle of the night like some kind of repo man.
Then, the aftermath. Baltmo Mayor William Donald Schafer practically breaking into tears. The failed expansion effort in 1994. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue telling the city it should build a museum instead of a football stadium.
Here's about where I come in. You see, on March 29, 1984, I was 5 years old. Pretty much my entire youth was spent without a team I could truly call my own. Having been born in Westminster, about 15 miles outside Baltimore, the city is in the blood. I spent most of my early years watching the Redskins, a team yes, but not MY team. The first team I could call my own wasn't even an NFL team and they are largely forgotten these days.
In 1994, the Baltimore CFL Colts (as they were briefly known) started play and they were MY team. Besides being damn good (they played in the CFL's Grey Cup game twice, winning it all in their second and final season over Doug Flutie and the Calgary Stampeders) the CFL Colts were a cult phenomenon in Baltimore, especially that first season. Fans packed the old, lovable dump known as Memorial Stadium to cheer on a team that wasn't the NFL but was close enough. I got my first taste of Irsay haterade that first year when the NFL and the Indianapolis team wouldn't let Baltimore's CFL franchise call itself the Colts. For what reason I had no idea (something about copyright infringement even thought the team differentiated itself by the CFL in the middle) but in my 15 year old mind, I said "Fuck Irsay, Fuck Tagliabue and Fuck the NFL." It was a sentiment that was shared by everybody. That first year, the CFL team called itself the "Baltimore CFLers" as it didn't have a nickname. But that didn't stop team owner Jim Speros from playing up the Colts heritage, complete with the old Colts Marching Band (which never broke up despite not having a team), famous cheerleader Leonard "Big Wheel" Burrier and the nice touch of the PA announcer always saying "Your Baltimore CFL...." to which the crowd would respond "COLTS!!!!"
I remember those old CFL guys much the same way older fans remember the Colts. Mike Pringle. Tracy Ham. Shar Pourdanoush and Neil Fort - 750 lbs of offensive linemen. O.J. Brigance, whose number, 57, I would wear as a high school hockey player. Alvin Walton. Carl Anthony. And of course the immortal Donald Igwebuike, the team's African kicker that first year. I remember being on edge during the 1994 Grey Cup playoffs, especially the conference finals game in the subarctic temperatures of Winnipeg. Then there was the Grey Cup game itself against the British Columbia Lions, who were playing in front of their home fans in Vancouver. It looked like the CFLers were going to pull it off, right in the Canadians back yard. But Lions kicker Lui Passaglia, who was 700 years old I think, kicked a game-winning field goal to break our hearts.
The next year, the team, renamed the Stallions, stormed through the CFL, crushing teams with a punishing running attack led by CFL MVP Pringle. The Stallions would become the first, and only, U.S.-based team to win the Grey Cup. But by that time, news that Art Modell was bringing the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore overwhelmed the Stallions victory and they quietly left for Montreal to become the newest version of the Alouettes.
Of course, the Ravens took over in 1996 and we've lived fairly happily ever since. It was a rough go for the team at first. Nationally, Modell was raked over the coals for moving the Browns out of Cleveland and even fans in Baltimore felt dirty about taking somebody else's team the same way Irsay took the Colts. But at least Cleveland got to keep its name, its colors, its history and its records. The Baltimore Colts were and still are, in some form of football pergatory. The records in Indianapolis, the players refusing to acknowledge the Indianapolis franchise.
I guess if I were to mark the official date of the final ascendancy of the Ravens as THE team in Baltimore and the ultimate burial of the Baltimore Colts, it was Saturday, January 13, 2007. On that day, Indianpolis came to town to play the Ravens in the playoffs. The hype and hysteria of that game was unprecedented, even compared to the Super Bowl the Ravens won in 2000. Quite frankly, the behavior of us Ravens fans, including myself, was pretty crass and juvenile. Like a spurned lover barging into the bar where an ex is for no other reason than to tell them to rot in hell. We were so prepared to jeer and boo Indianapolis, to get our ultimate revenge for Irsay's crimes in 1984, that we forgot to stand behind the team we have now.
Any Ravens fan knows what happened next. Steve McNair stunk, Brian Billick's playcalling stunk and the Ravens lost 15-6. I'm not sure I've ever been more depressed than after that game. I just wanted to get drunk and forget it ever happened. But a strange thing happened, at least to me. In my mind, the Colts ceased to exist. Oh sure, I was pissed off to see Indy guys like Tony Dungy and Dwight Freeney on ESPN's special of the '58 Championship Game. But in 2007, when Indy came to Baltmo again, I didn't think about Irsay, the Mayflower trucks or any of that stuff. Indy is just another team to me. No different than Oakland, Minnesota, Houston or Atlanta. We Ravens fans have a new arch-enemy in the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have an exciting team coming off a tremendous playoff run. We finally have a franchise QB and the face of the franchise, Ray Lewis, will spend his entire career here and then get a statue to match with Unitas'. We've got a lot to be thankful for as Ravens fans. To keep up with the girlfriend/boyfriend analogy, the Ravens are our lady now and she's damn good. The Colts were great, they were first, but now she's gone forever, married to somebody else and she's not coming back. Arrivederci, auf wiedershein and goodbye.
Ed. Note: Here is some other coverage of the 25th anniversary of the move from the Baltimore Sun. Sun reporter Ken Murray was there. David Steele says things worked out just fine for Cleveland, Baltmo and Indy. And Childs Walker says the move was good riddance to bad rubbish.
Just for posterity and to show how big a train wreck Bob Irsay was as an owner, here is this epic Sports Illustrated piece from 1986. When people ask the difference between Irsay and Modell, I tell them that Modell was just a greedy businessman while Irsay was a true scumbag.
Also, here is a YouTube clip that ESPN put together before the 2007 Ravens-Indy playoff game.
As a child of the late 80s/early 90s baseball card boom, I was a voracious reader of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. It was always a very satisfying sight to look at Beckett and see that my Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf rookie card was worth $100. One of my favorite Beckett issues was the one from, I think, around 1991-92. Bo Jackson, still for my money the best all-around athlete I've ever seen, was coming back to baseball after missing a year due to a hip injury. For those that don't remember Bo, he was a sight to behold. Now, he's more famous for his prowess at the old Techmo Bowl game than anything else, but Bo really was that damn good. He was also one of the first huge crossover athletes (along with Michael Jordan) that became a marketing phenom. Remember the old "Bo Knows" ads?
...anyway, coming to the point. When Bo came back to baseball, Beckett ran this very clever shot of the back of Bo Jackson's jersey with the line "Bo's Back" underneath it. I always loved that shot but alas, it does not live on in Google images, so this old Nike poster will have to do.
So we are back to the business of being Hangar 39 and I'll have at least 2 posts up for you later today, one of which will involve the 25th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis.
For now, enjoy your YouTube Clip To Swing Your Heavy Metal Hair To, which is a beauty. It's Metallica covering "The Ecstasy of Gold" from the film "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly." This has long been their entrance music and the video works very well because whoever did it laid the Metallica version of the track over where the original Enrico Morricone version appears in the film. Enjoy fools.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Junk emails have become a daily part of our existence. We get them all the time, most of the time deleting them as fast as they come in. At The Day Job I get some doozy's and if you occasionally look through them, you can encounter all sorts of unintentionally hilarious hidden treasures. Here now are some actual junk emails I have received at The Day Job followed by my own personal smart ass commentary...
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 13:21:41 -0700
From: "The Internet Guy"
Subject: Hi, my name is Paul and I'm one of those Internet guys ...
Hi, my name is Paul and I'm one of those "Internet" guys ...
I work at home and make more money in a month than most people make all year.
I don't have any eBooks, courses or "membership sites" to sell you.
But I do have a website that explains what I'm all about.
It costs nothing to see my online video...
Here's what I'm proposing. No ridiculous claims and no B.S.
- I have no idea what Paul The Internet Guy is proposing to me. Does he want me to buy something? Invest in a pyramid scheme? Become a scientologist? Help him invest a snuff film? He doesn't bother to tell you in the email. I love his claim that he makes more money in a month than most people make in a year. Sure you do Paul. Do you need a college degree to become an "Internet" guy? What sort of training is required? And why do I get the sense that Paul is something like this guy...
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
From: "IQ QUIZ"
Subject: Who the heck thinks you're DUMB?
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 11:19:41 -0400
Click Here to beat your friends IQ score!
This is an advertisement from Great Incentives.
If you would like to stop receiving these messages
click here at any time to unsubscribe or write us at: Great Incentives 8721 Santa Monica Boulevard #1445 Los Angeles, CA 90069
-Who the heck thinks I'm DUMB? Everybody apparently. Including the sender of this email. And even if I do partcipate and beat my friends IQ score, won't that hurt our friendship because I will be proving that THEY are the dumb ones?
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
From: "Reyna Castillo"
Subject: ESTRES FINANCIERO?
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 02:33:27 -0500
Corporacion Legal y Fiscal, se complace en invitarlo a su Seminario Premier:
En epocas de crisis las empresas pierden presencia en los mercados, reducen la capacidad de generacion de efectivo, incurren en incumplimiento de pagos de obligaciones de crédito, incrementan su carga financiera y fiscal y decrecen las utilidades afectando seriamente el capital de los accionistas y de sus acreedores.
Actualmente los drasticos y constantes cambio en los mercados globales de estrategias y circunstancias inesperadas en los negocios, hacen que las empresas se vean afectadas por retos que demandan la necesidad urgente de una TRANSFORMACION FINANCIERA.
Para evitar que su empresa caiga en el excesivo optimismo en los planes de crecimiento y falta de consideracion de alternativas, escasa o nula planificacion financiera, inadecuada estructuracion del fondeo y deficiente manejo de las situaciones de estres financiero.
Encuentre las respuestas a interrogantes como: ¿que no esta funcionando? ¿Lo que ya estamos haciendo es lo correcto? ¿Debemos cambiar lo que siempre nos ha resultado exitoso? ¿Debemos ignorar nuestra experiencia y empezar de nuevo? ¿Contamos con los recursos financieros necesarios? ¿Por que no generamos el flujo de efectivo y liquidez requeridos? ¿Sera necesario liquidar al personal? ¿Como podremos mejorar con la mayor rapidez posible?...
Empresarios, directores Generales, directores de Finanzas, contralores, Tesoreros, personal de cuentas por Cobrar y Cuentas por Pagar, Contadores y en general a todas las personas que esten interesadas en conocer las acciones para la reestructura financiera y operativa en cualquier empresa.
MÉXICO, D.F. 6 y 7 de Abril 2009 Hotel Fiesta Americana Grand Chapultepec.
Horario los 2 días: 9:00 a 14:00 hrs.
PARA ADQUIRIR LA INFORMACION COMPLETA:
Solicite un folleto via telefonica Tel. 0133 3122 4500 con 10 Lineas
Solicite un folleto via correo electronico. Responda este correo con los siguientes datos:
Seminario: REESTRUCTURA FINANCIERA
Le interesa que esta conferencia sea impartida en su institucion? Solicite una cotizacion INCOMPANY...
Se han omitido intencionalmente los acentos para evitar la deformacion del texto en algunos equipos.
Si no desea recibir invitaciones en el futuro sobre ningun tema de CLF envie un correo con asunto N7. Gracias.
- Donde esta la Biblioteca? I'm sorry Dexter I don't speak Spanish. This one amuses me, not only because it's in a foreign language, but because I can't figure out if the sender is one of these...
...or more like this...
"Como esta, bitches!"
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 09:14:02 -0700 (MST)
From: Russian Wives
Subject: ...HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE WOMEN FROM RUSSIA?!?
Click Here and meet HOT Russian women... Who are looking for Men to marry!!
- This one is a personal favorite. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the subject line. It's like "Jesus Christ! Did you see the SIZE of that sperm whale!" In fact sir, I have seen the women...
...and they are impressive, yes. But the part about them looking for men to marry is just a tad, how shall I say, sleazy. I mean, how do they get over here? Does the emailer ship them in a crate ala Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase in "Spies Like Us?"
Do you get a warranty in case she cleans out your bank account or gives you the clap? Is she only using me to get to Ovechkin? I think I have a few unanswered questions before I take you up on that offer there sir.
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 02:40:09 +0100
From: Mohammad Hazim
Subject: Hello my Friend
>Hello my friend,
I am Mohammad Hazim an oil merchant in IRAQI, I would need you to
help me out from an urgent situation, which the almighty Allah will
bless you as you listen to my cry to respond back to me immediately
so I can give you details on how you can help me out. I have a
lucrative business proposal of mutual interest to share with you.
Please I would appreciate to receive your urgent response at the below email.
May the almighty Allah be with you
- My personal favorite. On its face it seems like a typical Nigerian 419 scheme. But its the details that make this one a source of high comedy. First of all, he's from "IRAQI" which I suppose the Bush Administration didn't send troops into because I'd never heard of it. Second of all, if you are an Iraqi oil merchant, wouldn't an American be the last person you would look for help from? Then there are the Allah references. Did Mohammad think that maybe the people he was sending this email out to, you know, don't exactly worship Allah as their deity? And then there is the dichotomy of him having a lucrative business proposal, yet he needs my help to do it. Um, Mohammad, if you are an oil merchant, why do you need the help of a guy making $20K a year? Why didn't you just go directly to Bush and Cheney when they were in office. I'm sure they would have been glad to share in your business proposal. And what is his proposal? Training sessions in Kabul? A one-way flight to Washington D.C? But hey, I can't hate on Mohammad too much, he did wish that Allah be with me. Gee, thanks Mo.
"I have urgent business proposal for you Hangar."
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Alyonka became well-known in hockey blogging circles for accompanying a certain Washington Capital who also happens to be Russian to last year's NHL awards ceremony.
Now who knows if Alex Ovechkin and Larionov are still an item but after watching that video and seeing Malkin, dressed like an Abercrombie model, relentlessly flirting with a girl every hockey person knows was seen with Ovie, can we say that Malkin is pursuing Ovie's "sloppy seconds?"
Here is where I will digress and go on a tanget specifically for the amusement (or maybe not) of the female readers out there. Allow me to maybe shed a little light on male behavior through ice hockey players.
Women, of course, are like cats, specifically lions.
Like lioness', women form close knit groups, similar to a lion pride, that are generally self-sufficient. The pride does everything together. They rely on each other to survive. During the hunt, each member of the pride has a defined role. The pride will usually carry one or two males around for intimidation and other purposes. They watch each other's backs and are resistant to outsiders, especially other females but also other males. It works that way for lions and seems to work that way with humans. Right or wrong ladies?
Now, men, we're like dogs. Then again, you ladies already knew that. But really, we are. Much like dogs, groups of guys establish a pack and therefore a pack order. How outsiders (like new girlfriends for instance) are accepted depends on the pack. Sometimes the pack will accept a new person and sometimes they won't. If I were a dog psychologist or a better writer I would explain how but for now, just roll with me on this one. Needless to say, the pack has certain defined roles. Let's take the Washington Capitals for instance. Anybody that has followed the team the last two years knows they have a close knit bunch with certain key members playing certain key roles. Here now are those roles followed by the corresponding Cap and a description of what the role does. So ladies, next time you are around a group of guys, you will now be able to identify each member of the group by their role. See, I told you there would be some edumacation here.
Alpha Dog- Alex Ovechkin
The Alpha Dog is the main man in the group. He's the guy everything revolves around. The alpha is very easy to spot, since usually he'll have most of the group members around him. Sometimes there is more than one alpha dog in a pack, but its usually only one. For the Caps, Ovie is obviously the alpha dog. He's the most talented, most charismatic guy on the team and his teammates love him. Got the hardware and the scoring records to back him up.
Wingmen/Beta Dogs- Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin
The wingmen are very important to the alpha dog. They watch the alpha's back, assist him and help prop him up when necessary. They can also take over the pack in a pinch. While talented in their own right, the wingmen don't quite have the charisma of the alpha and they can't really carry the pack for long stretches. But without them, the group would not be as dynamic. It's no coincidence that Ovechkin's two best friends are the team are Backstrom and Semin.
The Glue Guy- Viktor Kozlov
An underrated member of the pack. The Glue Guy is not flashy and he's not often pretty. On his own, he's not much. But the glue guy holds the thing together (you could also call him a "Lebowski Guy"). There's no logical explanation for it but without the Glue Guy, the group wouldn't be the same. The Glue Guy can also be confused with the alpha dog because he's often a popular guy, albeit for different reasons. He's quick with a joke, buys drinks at the bar and keeps the pack loose, either by being funny or being a willing target for the other pack members jokes. The Glue Guy has a good sense of humor about him and doesn't take himself seriously. In Kozzy's case, he brings Ovechkin and Backstrom's line together. He does the dirty work in the corners and doesn't mind playing third banana to Ovie and Backy.
The Wise Man- Sergei Fedorov
He's usually the oldest member of the pack. The Wise Man has seen it all and done it all and typically serves an advisory role. He's not the alpha dog in this particular pack but has been one in other packs. The Wise Man has the respect and admiration of the pack, which is why he was accepted in the first place. The Wise Man can seem a little aloof and his role in the pack can seem uncertain to outsiders but those within the pack understand his importance. All those things would describe Feds, who the younger Russian players on the Caps revere. When he came aboard last season, the team really took off. Plus, that toque he used to wear on his head all the time made him look very wise.
The Fun Guy - Mike Green
The Fun Guy is an essential part of any pack. He's the guy that will do all sorts of stuff to keep the pack loose. The guy that will fart in someone's face, crack jokes, dance badly, get a goofy haircut, drive a fast car, get tattoos, you name it. He's not all about that of course, there are usually several sides to the Fun Guy, but within the pack that's his role. In Greener's case he fulfills three of those things: his got two huge tattoos, drives a Lamborghini and made the faux-hawk a fashion statement. He also looks like he just woke up half the time. But on the ice, he's one of the best defencemen in the NHL.
The Cleaner- Evgeni Malkin
The role of the Cleaner is a strange one and can be rather loosely defined. The Cleaner is usually not a member of the pack, in fact, he's often in a rival pack. He's more like an associate of the alpha dog. The only way a Cleaner comes near the pack is through a relationship with the alpha. Lower members of the pack typically are not allowed to bring Cleaners around. What exactly is a Cleaner? He cleans up things on the periphery of the pack. In other words, he's the guy that will date a pack member's sister or a pack member's ex-girlfriend. He's the guy that will usually eat the last slice of pizza and bum cigarettes from everyone. These attributes are why he's not in the pack in the first place. The Cleaner is not even the alpha dog in his own pack, which is why he is able to co-exist with other packs. So what are Malkin's cleaner credentials?
Member of rival pack?
Friend with another pack's Alpha Dog?
Messing around with the an ex-flame of another pack's membership?
So there you have it. I hope my little educational session was helpful. I am sure the Discovery Channel will be calling me about the documentary soon. With that being said, let's have The Bloodhound Gang send us on our way with a song about nature.
Well looky what we have here, my little baby is all growns up. In the span of a month and a half, the Hangar has gone from this...
And what would be a 100th post celebration without the one, the only, Willard Scott.
"Well, thank you there, let's wish a happy 100th birthday to Hangar 39! Please help me, I've been kidnapped. There's things here in this Hangar that I've seen that you can't unsee. We gotta stop 'em! They're going to kill us all! Tell the presi..."
Ok, thank you very much Willard. Let's just put this here ball-gag back in your mouth to get you to stop talking for a while. Snitches get stitches you know. Anyway, let's blow out the candles on the cake and toast to the next 100 posts shall we?
Today's clip is very fitting for this blog. It's from everybody's favorite French-Canadian extreme metal band, Kataklysm, with "Crippled And Broken." Enjoy.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For about 57 minutes tonight the Caps and Leafs got us to jump into the DeLorean and head back in time...to the Dead Puck Era. A time when 50 goal scorers were about as common as Halley's Comet and the only thing lower than the offence was the television ratings. Other than Alex Ovechkin's goal in the second period, there were very few moments of brilliance in this one. It was a game played between the blue lines, as the Leafs fired up the flux capacitor and rebooted New Jersey's hideous neutral zone trap. Martin Gerber (seriously, Martin Fucking Gerber! Ottawa ran this guy out of town with pitchforks for crying out loud) and Jose Theodore kept the game at 1-1, with Theo seeing most of the few good chances there were.
Then at about the 3 minute mark, the Caps finally turned it into their kind of game: fast-paced, high-tempo with lots of puck possession in the other team's end. But what really jump started the craziness was a Caps mistake. John Erskine got whistled for very iffy hooking penalty and on the ensuing power play, Toronto's Pavel Kubina (who scored the game-winner the last time these two teams played) fired a slap shot that had eyes, trickling past Theo to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead.
The Caps, as is their wont, came back, scoring on a wild scramble. Of course, it was Brooks Laich scoring the goal. It looked like Laich got the puck into net before shoving Gerber back into the goal. The ref was right there on top of the play in perfect position. That didn't stop Gerber from going all Tuukka Rask out there, bumping the referee and shoving the linesman, earning himself a game misconduct.
From there, our trip back to the Dead Puck Era came full circle as Curtis Joseph, one of the top goalies of that era, dragged his 41-year-old self off the bench minus a warmup. But the rusty CuJo looked more Fred Savage than Judge Reinhold (if you can guess that reference, you win a 6-pack of beer on me) and stoned Ovie cold with a brilliant pad save. He was even better in overtime as the Caps dominated play, outshooting the Leafs 8-0 in the extra session. The Caps got a power play late in OT and CuJo made two outstanding stops on Mike Green and Alex Semin to give his team a chance in the shootout.
Toronto's Jeff Hamilton, an amazing 53 percent in shootouts, scored on the first attempt against Theo, who hadn't faced any shots for roughly 6 minutes. It was yet another reason to hate the shootout: Caps were dominating action, with only CuJo's unbelievable performance keeping Toronto in it and end up losing because of a silly breakaway competition. Nonetheless, the Caps did have three shooters and CuJo stoned them all. Well, except Alex Semin whose propensity to miss the net is maddening. Still, give the old man credit, he dialed up the same kind of performance that Ottawa Senators fans got wayyy to used to seeing in the earlier part of this decade.
Here now are the game highlights, courtesy of NHL.com.
So, until next time, let's say good night to the 5-game road trip and say good night to da bad guys.
- The flu bug has worked its way onto the Caps roster. Alex Semin and Professor Matt Bradley both have it and Coach Bruce Boudreau says they are "iffy" for tonight's game in Toronto.
"Get your stinkin' mandibles off Professor Bradley you damn dirty bug!"
- To make up for the possible loss of Semin and Professor Matt, the Caps have called up goalie Darren Machesney and the wonderfully named Steve Pinizzotto. To make room, Simeon Varlamov was sent down to Hershey for salary cap reasons. According to Tank, Semin and Bradley are doing better. With a name like Pinizzotto, he's already my 5th favorite Cap. Sounds like something out of "The Godfather" or something.
"Find out more about this...Pinizzotto character."
- Couple of Caps related items from Dan Steinberg over at DC Sports Bog. First post is about the large numbers of Caps fans that swarmed Raleigh, North Carolina to attend Saturday's Caps-'Canes tilt.
- Steinz again, this time arguing why Alex Ovechkin is no Terrell Owens.
- Two more Ovechkin related items, both from Toronto papers. First, despite the misleading headline, Tiger Williams, one of the original hockey showmen, liked Ovie's "my stick is on fire" celebration in Tampa. Next, Leafs (and former Caps) coach Ron Wilson and Don Cherry have something in common: their dislike of Ovie's celebrations.
- Japer's and Peerless with previews of tonight's game.
- From OFB, Alex Giroux got his 50th goal for the Chocolatetown Bears. He's the first Bears player to hit 50 in 22 years.
- Another story from Tank, this time about Tomas Fleischmann trying to regain his scoring touch.
- Yesterday I posted the highlights from the last time the Caps played in Toronto. Here is a less happy memory, the last matchup between these two teams at the Phone Booth, which resulted in a 2-1 Leafs victory.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Metallica - "Kill 'Em All"
(Ed. Note- This little section used to be called "Albums I Am Addicted To" but I'm changing it to the slightly less cumbersome "Metal Classics", sort of my version of Roger Ebert's Great Movies pieces, only written by me and about heavy metal albums. Enjoy)
Has there ever been a more metal song than "Seek And Destroy" off Metallica's debut album "Kill 'Em All"? Sure, there have been better metal songs - Metallica themselves have several - but as a pure, unadulterated expression of what "metal" is, as a summation of an entire musical philosophy, there isn't anything better.
I think part of the reason some people turned on Metallica a little bit in recent years was what some fans probably felt was a loss of this "Seek And Destroy" ethos. As early as the massive selling "Metallica" (aka "The Black Album") in 1991 people were yelling sellout. Oh sure, there were other things along the road: the haircuts for the "Load" album, the more blues based music of "Load" and "Reload," the Napster lawsuit, the sprawling mess that was "St. Anger" and the well-documented group therapy sessions.
The band came full circle though this year with "Death Magnetic," an album that was not just a return to form but also helped put the preceeding 17 years in perspective. As the band members got older, they didn't want to be limited by the manifesto they helped lay out. You can't be a raging beast forever. Certainly some bands have survived for 30 years by doing essentially the same thing - Slayer, AC/DC and Motorhead all come to mind. But even those groups experienced their share of lean years - Slayer in the 90s, AC/DC for most of the 80s and early 90s and Motorhead has never had much commercial success in America.
Metallica was never that sort of band anyway. As early as their second record, "Ride The Lightning," they had begun to branch out with elaborate instrumentals and even a ballad ("Fade To Black"). This was a band that has always been willing to stick their necks out there and try something different.
So having looked ahead, we can now look back on "Kill 'Em All." In hindsight, it really sounds like no other Metallica record. It's sort of like watching the James Bond film "Dr. No" again after having seen all the other Bond movies that came after it. There's a DIY, raw, hardcore feel to "Kill 'Em All." The sound of young band in their garage trying to piss off the neighbors. They looked like four guys that just emerged from a hail of pot smoke in a basement.
Metallica makes clear what they are all about from the very first lines of the very first song, "Hit The Lights" - "No life 'til leather/Gonna kick some ass tonight." Obviously, the first thing that jumps out is how high James Hetfield's voice was on this record. He sounds more like Mercyful Fate's King Diamond (an early influence on Metallica) than he ever would again.
"Hit The Lights" leads into the first huge Metallica anthem, "The Four Horsemen," a song which the band would keep in their live set fairly consistently ever since. The song was so popular amongst fans that band took on the title as a nickname. Interesting thing about "The Four Horsemen" is that it was originally written by the band's first lead guitarist Dave Mustaine under a different title( I won't rehash the band's history. If you don't know it, why are you reading this? But if you need a refresher, here's their Wikipedia page for quick reference.) When Kirk Hammett took over, he added probably the key part of the song - the slow bridge in the middle. It was the first hint of the more sophisticated arrangements the band would perfect in later years.
From there we get "Motorbreath," a song written by Hetfield before he started Metallica and is done in a style similar to Motorhead. It's a celebration of all things metal with its defiant chorus, "Motorbreath/It's how I live my life/I can't take it any other way." "Jump In The Fire" is next and almost certainly bears the influence of proto-black metal pioneers Mercyful Fate and Venom, both contemporaries of Metallica. Lyrically it's like nothing Hetfield would ever write again, with its narrative of going to hell, told from Satan's point of view.
That brings us to the most musically extraordinary track on the record, Cliff Burton's bass solo, "Anethesia (Pulling Teeth)." I listen to this now and still can't believe Burton used a bass guitar to make all those sounds. While Cliff just noodling around is a case of "how did he do that?" When Lars Ulrich's drums enter the picture the instrumental jam becomes a song and yet you still can't believe that its just drums and bass doing that. Burton and Ulrich alone could have been one of the heaviest bands on the planet if this song was any indication. It was unfortunate for Burton's successors (Jason Newstead and Robert Trujillo) that they had to follow this act. Besides being one of the unique bass players to ever walk the Earth, Cliff looked like he came out of heavy metal central casting. It must be like following Sean Connery as James Bond. No matter what his successors do, they will always be measured up to Burton.
After that is "Whiplash," which, along with Slayer's "Angel Of Death," can pretty much be called "Thrash Metal 101." You wanna know what thrash metal is? Listen to "Whiplash."
Following that, the album loses a little of its momentum with "Phantom Lord" and "No Remorse," two songs that aren't bad on their own but in the context of this album, seem like b-sides.
Then we come full circle to "Seek And Destroy," with one of the most famous opening riffs in all of heavy metal. But as opposed to Metallica's other famous opening riff, the one for "Enter Sandman," this one signals not the coming of some huge monster, but of the gunslingers riding into town. Of four punks storming into a bar full of rednecks, looking to raise hell ("We're scanning the scene/In the city tonight/We're looking for you/To start up a fight.") The song has a swagger to go with its heaviness. It all leads to the fist-pumping chorus, "Searching/Seek and destroy," that would remain a staple of the band's live set. It's "Seek And Destroy" where Metallica separated themselves from the Motley Crue's and Def Leppard's of the world. Those bands, while great in their own right, were always more about good times, good drugs and sexy women. Metallica made it clear their only goal was to be the biggest metal band the world has ever seen, "Our brains are on fire with the feeling to kill/And it won't go away until our dreams are fulfilled."
If "Seek And Destroy" is the battle call, then the closer, "Metal Militia," sets the troops in motion - "Oh through the mist and the madness/We're trying to get the message to you/Metal militia." However, the key verse in the song is the last one. It really sums up why people like myself love heavy metal, why millions of people throughout the world love this form of music. No matter what kind of people try to put down metal, whether it be parents, teachers, government officials or the religious right, it's this verse that explains why metal will never die. Why it unites people from Baltimore to Berlin, from Orlando to Oslo.
"We are as one, yes, we are all the same
Fighting for one cause
Leather and metal are our uniforms
Protecting what we are
Joining together to take on the world
With our heavy metal
Spreading the message to everyone here
Come let yourself go."
"So they got that going for them...which is nice."
- The O's bullpen is looking to stay healthy this year. Having the starters last longer than 4 innings every start would help.
-Chris Gomez's roster status is "shaky" as spring training starts to wrap up. You could say Gomez's baseball talent is also "shaky"
- Former Oriole Curt Schilling called it a day. May you continue to rot in hell Glenn Davis.
- Happy news for Nick Markakis fantasy owners: he's looking to steal more bases this year. I also hope he keeps his awesome heavy metal hair all season.
- There will be no Rich Hill on opening day.
- O's blog The Wayward O previews the AL East.
- Another O's blog, Dempsey's Army, has some info on the Matt Wieters hype machine, including, apparently, Chuck Norris Facts.
- Peter Angelos says once the O's get into playoff contention, then they will start going after big name free agents. So the plan is, once we develop all this minor league talent we're trying to develop, then we can go out and get another Albert Belle to sink the franchise into another decade of 4th place finishes. Is it just me or is there a lot more optimism around the O's when Angelos doesn't talk?
Welcome back to your usual sports banter here at the old Hangar. I took a little bit of a break yesterday but after putting up 10 posts in 2 days, I figured it was time for one. But we're back with the nonsense that the few of you that come here have come to know and love. We'll start the day off with some Good Guys Links- Caps Edition. Later today I'll catch us up on some Orioles stuff and then have a metal album retrospective and hopefully another episode of "Bad Movies I Love," time permitting. Hopefully I can come at you with a mix of sports and non-sports stuff to help bring balance to the Force. So, without any further rambling introductions, here's some Caps stuff.
- One thing I did not address in my Caps-'Canes recap from Saturday was the officiating. It was, how shall we say, a bit questionable. Here's Billionaire Ted's take on it from his blog.
- Then there is this dandy quote (per Puck Daddy & Tank) from Bruce Boudreau that will surely cost him some cash...
"I've looked at them five times in there and I can't see where these calls are," Boudreau said. "It's my humble opinion, but holy frig. Those are some, in my estimation, some really iffy calls."
"There's no chance [Fleischmann's penalty] was a dive," he added. "His leg got corkscrewed. Then on Green's, when they went to the double minor, they cross-checked him in the head and then Pitkanen went at [Green]. Pitkanen goes at him and Mike retaliates and there still was only two [minutes] given each."
- The much-anticipated Don Cherry reaction about Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration...
Here's some takes from Puck Daddy, OFB, and Peerless. My take? Now that Cherry has had his say, let's all move on with our lives. Please?
- Japer's on the Caps penalty kill.
-OFB has the brackets for this year's NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament, which will culminate at the Phone Booth this year.
- Finally, here's some highlights from the last time the Capitals visited Tuesday's opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Hate is a very strong word. Often its thrown around in a cavalier way. We don't really hate, we just don't like some people. Hate is not just a really crappy song by the Plain White T's. Hate is the foundation for wars, holocausts and terrorism. Hate can be a scary thing, especially hating someone we've never met.
That being said, as a youngster I HATED Ulf Samuelsson. Hated him. Hated the guy so much, I practically hated the entire population of Sweden just on principle because Samuelsson was Swedish. To me, Samuelsson was the antichrist with a hockey stick. Just an incredibly loathsome player. You see, Samuelsson wasn't just some pest. Guys like Claude Lemieux, Esa Tikkanen, Scottie Upshall, Steve Ott and Sean Avery were/are pests. Annoying yes but never anything more than nuisances. Samuelsson on the other hand, was a menace. He was dirty. He tried to end careers. And then when he would have to answer the bell, he'd turtle. What is turtling? It's hockey parlance for a guy that ducks his head and won't fight. Looks something like this...
That wasn't all. He'd take dives. He'd feign getting hurt and lay there on the ice like someone just stabbed him. Then he'd be miraculously healed, get up and start the power play.
You will notice in the above photo the guy wanting to pummel Samuelsson. That would be Cam Neely, who was and is my favorite non-Caps player ever. By the 1991 playoffs, Neely was the premier power winger in the game. He was coming off back-to-back 50 goal seasons and was one of the game's good guys to boot. And yet his career was never the same after this run-in with Samuelsson in the '91 Wales Conference Finals.
But Neely wasn't the only player Samuelsson put out of hockey. There was Montreal's Pierre Mondou, a talented forward who scored 30 goals 3 times in 8 seasons. Mondou's career was ended by a Samuelsson high-stick to the eye.
All you really needed to know about Samuelsson was the title of a Sports Illustrated piece on him entitled "Mr. Dirty." That's exactly what he was.
The worst part of all this is that the Pittsburgh fans loved the guy. Oh did this infuriate me as a youngster. How could they cheer for this guy? Here was the biggest chickenshit cheapshot artist of all time and these people cheer him? I would have been embarrassed to have a guy like Samuelsson on my team. A guy who recklessly put people's careers in jeopardy, all the while wearing that big Robocop visor and refusing to answer for his crimes.
Soon enough though, the groundswell to get some payback on Samuelsson started not long after the Neely incident. People wonder why Don Cherry seems so xenophobic. Maybe he was born that way but guys like Samuelsson didn't help.
For me, any guy that hammered Samuelsson was good with me. Despite his infamy for his cheap shot hit on Pierre Turgeon in the 1993 playoffs, Dale Hunter will always be a hero for breaking Samuelsson's jaw in a fight. Alas, that clip is not on YouTube but I remember it like it was yesterday. Samuelsson started wacking Hunter in the back of the head in front of the net. Hunter turned around to face him and then Sameulsson punched him. They both dropped the mitts and then Hunter dropped Samuelsson with a straight right to the face. The Cap Centre went absolutely nuts at the sight of Ulfie crumpled on the ice. To add to the indignity of getting his ass kicked, the refs also gave Samuelsson the seldom called "fighting with a visor" penalty. Later that season, I attended Dale Hunter's 1,000th game celebration. They showed a montage of clips from Dale's career and what got the biggest pop? Not Hunter's famous Game 7 overtime goal against Philadelphia in 1988. It was the shot of Hunter KO'ing Ulf.
In 1995 Samuelsson was traded to the Rangers.
I am compelled to admit, my hatred for him subsided a bit. Maybe it was that he cooled the act or maybe it was that he wasn't on the Penguins anymore. Whatever the case, he seemed to stay out of trouble and play a much cleaner style. His most notable accomplishment with the Rangers was knocking out Wayne Gretzky's wife Janet with a pane of glass.
But it was with the Rangers that Samuelsson finally got the payback time I would have killed to see as a teenager. First, there was this hit from behind by Boston's Ken Belanger...
...and then the coup-de-grace, Tie Domi's sucker punch that knocked Samuelsson cold.
...that punch cost Domi 8 games and in the eyes of many, it was well worth it to see Ulfie get his comeuppance. You notice one thing about that clip: there aren't too many Rangers rushing to their teammate's defense. If it had been any other guy, a riot would have broken out with the whole Rangers bench trying to get at Domi. But they knew. Hockey players always know when a guy has something coming. And everybody on the ice knew Samuelsson had something like this coming.
Ulf retired in 2000, having bounced around between three teams in two years. The world of hockey did not miss him. For six years, he wasn't heard from and most assumed he went back to his pit in hell where Satan greeted him with a nice pat on the rear. But no, Samuelsson has reemerged as an assistant coach under Gretzky with the Phoenix Coyotes.
As a kid, I was often asked, "What would happen if Ulf ever became a Washington Capital?" I figure my response would be, fittingly, a line out of a bad movie, in this case "Major League 2." There's a part where Bob Uecker is talking about the character of Jack Parkman, who, in the movie, was a loathsome slugger with Chicago. At one point Ueck says, "It's funny how a new uniform can change your attitude about a guy" before closing his hand over the microphone and saying "He's still a dick." I feel the same way about Ulf Samuelsson.