Saturday, June 28, 2008

Local Musician - Michael Doman

While checking in on MySpace yesterday I noticed a bulletin from one of the local musicians in my "friends" list - Michael Doman (a singer/songwriter with a very distinctive voice and quality acoustic guitar) was to be performing in my area. I had to go and check it out.

The venue was Caffe Bella in downtown Ventura. The last time I walked in this place it was a little coffee shop off Main Street. It's now basically a wine bar that also serves Guinness, martinis, a small selection of appetizers, and (of course) live music.

Michael Doman was there with Michael Ann (a female singer/songwriter), and the two of them worked off each other to good affect - occasionally doing duets, at other times trading off on solo performances. Ms. Ann carried herself well with vocals somewhat of a cross between Sarah McLachlan and Reba McIntyre.

Mr. Doman was every bit as good live as he is on the recordings on his MySpace page, playing on a small-scale acoustic single-cut Fender guitar - which had amazing tonal quality for it's small size, made to appear even smaller in comparison to the tall Doman, who himself was made to appear even taller due to his proudly displayed afro.

I had the chance to speak with Michael for a bit while Ms. Ann was doing a solo performance. He was surprised that downtown Ventura had changed since the last time he'd been up this way, and asked if I was from here. When I told him I was originally from Philly he said, "I could tell from your accent."


Fourteen years living in SoCal, and people can still make out my Philly accent from a mile away. Not that I'm ashamed of it. It just cracks me up when it happens, a lot of times by people from the same region of PA. Sure enough, Michael was originally from Bucks County, PA - a northern Philly suburb.

He'd been involved in music for about a decade, but had been out of the scene for awhile. The music industry has been in an absolute shambles for quite some time. But this breakup of the industry, along with the explosion of technology, has opened up opportunities for performers to go DYI.

For the past year or so, Doman has gotten back into performing again and is taking things at a casual pace. No pipe dreams. No chasing the brass ring. No losing tons of cash trying to hustle your band from one big-name club to another. No convoluted contracts from a faceless major label.

Just enjoying the moments when they come, performing in varied intimate venues throughout the region and the country. Whatever happens happens. In the meantime, he just goes about doing what he loves to do - being independent, writing and performing his own music.

Go check out his page, and give a listen to the handful of tracks. "Shine" is a particularly strong selection.

Good Luck, MD!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


(Hat-tip to Ace of Spades)

Something lighthearted and very cool, a 29-year-old Frenchman built a miniature model of downtown Paris out of concrete blocks. The slide show (in the linked story, above) has some amazing pics.

P.S. I've updated my links lists on the left. Feel free to check 'em out. I'll eventually be adding more in the "Miscellaneous" section.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now THAT was an a** whoopin'...

Even though I've been living in the L.A. area for the past 14 years, that doesn't necessarily mean that I've automatically become an L.A. sports team fan. I may be able to root for certain L.A. teams. But, to root for Lakers (or the Raiders - L.A. or Oakland versions) has always gone against my grain. It's like rooting for the Cowboys or Georgetown. I - just - can't - do - it.

So, it brought me a certain amount of glee to watch last night as the Lakers got SPANKED by the Celtics. I'm not a Celtics fan, either (in general)... but when you have to choose between the two... it's an obvious decision for me. I'm not a Red Sox fan, either. But I've cheered for them ever since Schilling and Francona (two former Phillies - pitcher and manager) joined Boston.

What I enjoyed most about the Celtics win is the way the players (and coaches) approached the game all season long. Old school. Defense. Fundamentals. Team play. It's why I'm a fan of coach Larry Brown. And all season long, all the way through to the post-championship interviews last night, all the "star" players talked about was their sacrificing their own talents and egos to work as a team to accomplish their goals.

Now, I don't know much about Kevin Garnett - as a player, nor as a person. I just don't follow pro hoops that much to really notice. At the post-game conference table last night, he was asked by a reporter what it felt like to finally be able to win it all after so many years of struggle and criticism. I loved how he responded, completely from the heart:

"You ever go to school and you have that bully mess with you every day? You know when you get out of your mom or dad's car that you're going to have to see him as soon as you walk through the door and he's going to be sitting there with his feet up waiting to pat your pockets.

"Then one day you say to yourself, 'It's going to stop tonight.' You walk through there and as soon as he pats your pocket you lay his ass out. You see the expression on his face and you're sort of kind of shook because you know what, you just knocked the bully out and you don't know how he's going to come back.

"So the next morning you come in and he's not there, and it's like a sigh of relief... [and if you've never been bullied before in your life, you won't understand what I'm talking about.]"

Don't misunderstand him. He's not talking about the Lakers.

Congratulations, K.G.!!!

I understand.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just a little "thank you"...

This certainly isn't a heavy-traffic blog, but I continue with it as a way to make my little voice heard (a "voice in the wilderness," so to speak). It was four years ago this coming July 6 that I started this fledgling little blog. It is what it is. Yet, I still get amazed when I receive the occasional comment, or when I check my SiteMeter stats from time to time.

For example, I've had someone comment to a 1-year old post about an Al Stewart concert that I attended. Or to a year-old post about my remembrances of vacations gone by in Ocean City, Maryland. I've gotten a comment 2-years after I'd made some reference to a remote little band that used to play in the Philly area during the 80s, and the commenter was surprised that anyone would even know who the band was, let alone post about them.

Here are just some of the locations from around the globe where some of you have recently "clicked in" from:

Maunaloa, Hawaii
Manila, Philippines
Cebu, Philippines
Melbourne, Australia
Dzelentsy, Ukraine
Tel Aviv, Israel
Jakarta, Indonesia
Kochi, India
Louth, Ireland
London, England
Derbyshire, UK
Batman, Turkey
Bangkok, Thailand
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Glen Falls, NY
Forth Worth, TX
Clearwater, FL
Phoenix, AZ
Walla Walla, WA
Sturgis, SD
Fresno, CA
Bronson, MI
Davis, WV
Atlanta, GA
St. Louis, MO
Thiensville, WI
Manchester Township, NJ
Warren, MI
Woodbridge, VA
Manchester, NH
East Providence, RI
Jamaica, NY
Springdale, PA
Miami, FL
Windsor, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Houston, TX
and Jasper, AL

Some of you may have accidently stumbled upon this place, then quickly left. Others have clicked through via Google or Yahoo search links on a specific topic. Still others have stuck around and browsed through my pages. Some have even returned from time to time.

The internet is an amazing place.

So, THANK YOU to all of you who happen to stop by my little corner of the world wide web.

And a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you Dads and Granddads out there!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oregon Health Plan Covers Assisted Suicide, Not Drugs for Cancer Patient

Get the full article here.

Impeach Bush? The Anchoress has something to say about that...

Sometimes, The Anchoress just hits it right out of the ball park. Today, with this post, she does all that and more (with tons of links to back up her arguments).

Worth the read.

Like those high gas prices at the pump???

ANWR Exploration
House Republicans: 91% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration
House Republicans: 90% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
House Republicans: 81% Supported
House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery Increased Capacity
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 96% Opposed

As Gateway Pundit says:
Democrats have blocked the development of new sources of petroleum.
Democrats have blocked drilling in ANWR.
Democrats have blocked drilling off the coast of Florida.
Democrats have blocked drilling off of the east coast.
Democrats have blocked drilling off of the west coast.
Democrats have blocked drilling off the Alaskan coast.
Democrats have blocked building oil refineries.
Democrats have blocked clean nuclear energy production.
Democrats have blocked clean coal production.

Click here and here and here for three informative posts from Flopping Aces, Red State, and Gateway Pundit.

Church History Comes Alive...

First up, the necropolis (click here for the full article):
Touring a necropolis beneath the Vatican is a lesson in life and a chance to go back in time to see the faith of the first Christians, says the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica...

The crypt, which dates from the second century and is famous for its stucco decorations, is located in the middle of the route through the old necropolis that leads to the tomb of St. Peter...

... Cardinal Comastri stressed the importance of the Vatican necropolis: "We must make everyone understand that the basilica was not built here because of a whim, but because it has a history underneath that has been preserved, protected with extreme scruple, and it is the history of the Apostle Peter."

"Peter came to Rome," the cardinal continued. "Here he met with martyrdom during Nero's persecution. Then he was taken by Christians, because Roman law allowed the recovery of bodies of the condemned to give them burial.

"Peter was brought to the point where at present the papal altar is erected. He was buried there and we can say that for 2,000 years, that site is the justification of the presence of the Bishop of Rome next to the tomb of Peter, that is, of the Pope."

In fact, "we can almost touch with our hand the tomb where the first Christians of Rome placed the body of the Apostle Peter," he added. One can see, "extremely clearly, around the place of Peter's burial, a whole series of testimonies of devotion" to the apostle in that precise point, for example, the most famous inscription in Greek: "Petros eni" (Here is Peter).

For Cardinal Comastri, the visit to a necropolis "is a lesson of life, because death is part of life, it is inseparable. The ancient peoples respected the dead, and in this they were surely more civilized."

They "would never have violated a tomb, something that happens today and is a sign of a civilization's sickness," he reflected.

Second, is the recent discovery of the world's first Catholic Church (click here for the full article):
Archaeologists in Jordan have unearthed what they claim is the world's first church, dating back almost 2,000 years, The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.

"We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD," the head of Jordan's Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan, said.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Common Sense 101: The Hybrid Version...

So, you're thinking of getting one of those spiffy and fuel efficient Hybrid cars. Let's take a look at the numbers by comparing like-for-like models:

The Honda Civic Sedan Hybrid is reported to get approx. 45 MPG (so they say).

The Honda Civic Sedan DX is reported to get approx. 36 MPG (again, so they say).

That's a difference of 9 MPG. *woo-hoo*

The average driver drives 12,000 miles per year, which means that the standard Civic will use 333 gallons over the course of a year. The Hybrid model will use 267 gallons over that same period. That's a difference of 66 gallons a year. Gas is currently going at a national rate of $4.00 per gallon. That's a "saving" of $264 per year. Nice! Over a lifetime of 12 years, that's a saving of $3168. WOW!!!

But, the purchase price of the Civic DX is $15810, while the price of the Hybrid model is $25020. That's a difference of $9210. That means that you would have to drive that Hybrid for 35 years before you begin to recoup your initial investment. I doubt the car will last that long. Even if gas prices were at a steady $10 per gallon, it would still take you 14 years before you would recoup your investment.

"But, I'll be getting that cushy tax rebate," you say.

Uhhh, no you won't. That was only for the first 60,000 models purchased, and Honda and Toyota have already reached that sales mark, so... NO REBATE FOR YOU!

"But, I'll be saving the environment by using less gas," you say.

Ummmm, yeah... but that Hybrid has a lot more of those batteries with all those toxic chemicals that will need to be replaced on a regular basis just like your regular car battery. So, "six of one, half dozen of the other" as they say.

R.I.P. Tacoma...

'Tis truly a sad day. My friend and colleague, Todd, had to put down his ailing 16-year old cat, Tacoma, today. Todd, as you may recall, is the writer and director of the hilarious mockumentary, "An Inconvenient Penguin" which was previewed in Hollywood last month. Tacoma was a very talented feline and was the inspiration behind Todd's film career; he even appeared in the starring role in Todd's first official short film. After many months of poor health, it was now time to send Tacoma to that Great Scratching Post in the sky, where catnip is plenty and dogs are few.

So, in honor of the fine feline and his memory. I give you this link for you to view Tacoma in his debut and starring role in the short film, "The Silent Partner".

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hillary supporters are a bit miffed right now...

(Major hat-tips to PowerLine and Flopping Aces)

Hillary may have won Puerto Rico by 36% today. She may have won West Virginia and Kentucky by similar margins. She may have won key, crucial states such as CA, NY, NJ, PA, OH, IN, TX, TN, NH, MA, AZ, NM, AR, OK, FL and MI. She may have won the "popular" vote when all is said and done after Tuesday's final two primaries. But the "bosses behind closed doors" of the Democratic Party are doing their best to make sure The Obamessiah is the nominee.

Fine by me. Not so fine for Hillary supporters such as these three ladies: