Monthly Archives: February 2008

Music Therapy on a Lost Highway

Just when I think they can’t impress me any more than they already do…

Just when I think I can’t possibly have more appreciation for their music and performing than I already have…

They come to town and rock my face off.

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This is not from last night, but it is from the current tour, and I just love it.

This was my 5th Bon Jovi concert (6th if you count the one in the theater), and I am telling no lies when I say, “it gets better EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME.” They always manage to throw in an old song that I’ve never seen performed live. This was my first concert since Richie went through his divorce, Denise Richards, and rehab, and I have to say he is on one heck of a comeback tour. He was phenomenal last night, and nearly had me in tears. It was so great to see his smile, again and to see him show a guitar who’s boss. You would think that I would be able to put the show into words better with each time that I see them, but it honestly gets harder and harder. So, let’s begin at the beginning. Maybe that will help…

This time my tickets were in the dreaded 400 level of the Verizon Center. Try as I might when they first went on sale, I couldn’t get anything better. Well actually I could have been on stage for a mere $1300 with the VIP experience, but I decided against that. Once we got there, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Sure the stage was still quite a bit of distance away, but it really wasn’t that bad. In fact it was educational. I learned that the WNBA gives out awards for Season Attendance Champion and that the Washington Mystics have one the award three times as evidenced by the banners hanging from the rafters. I also learned that there is some kind of energy drink called Havoc Energy whose slogan is “Disrupt the Ordinary.” I kind of like that as a general life slogan, too.

Nevertheless, at 7:31pm Daughtry took the stage. I was really excited that they were opening for Bon Jovi because when Chris covered “Wanted (Dead or Alive)” on American Idol, I thought to myself…WOW he should open for Bon Jovi one day. And “one day” was this Lost Highway Tour. They played a 45 minute set and showed 5,000 reasons why Chris should have won American Idol that season. Of course those 5,000 reasons are the same reasons I’m glad he didn’t win because I truly believe Chris wouldn’t have gotten to do what he’s done with his band if he’d won. He never would have been able to write the recording contract for the band as a whole instead of him as a solo artist supported by a band. They had a fabulous time on stage, and that’s actually something I like to see. If a performer is having fun on stage, that fun translates to the audience. I think they’ve got a long career ahead of them.

At 8:31pm the houselights came down again and stayed down until 10:52pm with nearly 2 1/2 solid hours of 20+ years of music in between. VERY THERAPEUTIC!! Here’s the set list from last night:

Washington, DC – Verizon Center – 2/28/08
LOST HIGHWAY
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME
RAISE YOUR HANDS
RUNAWAY
CAPTAIN CRASH AND THE BEAUTY QUEEN FROM MARS
I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD (w/ Jumpin’ Jack Flash)
IN THESE ARMS
WHOLE LOT OF LEAVIN’
BORN TO BE MY BABY
BLAZE OF GLORY (w/ Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door intro)
WE GOT IT GOIN’ ON
IT’S MY LIFE
BAD MEDICINE (w/ Shout)
STRANGER IN THIS TOWN (RICHIE VOX — RICHIE’S SOLO ALBUM)
(YOU WANT TO) MAKE A MEMORY
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
BED OF ROSES
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME
HAVE A NICE DAY
KEEP THE FAITH
LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER
ENCORE:
WANTED (DEAD OR ALIVE)
I LOVE THIS TOWN

Jon was perfect in everything…the way he spoke to the audience, the way he engaged us, the way he joked around with Richie. He even apologized for only doing one show in DC this tour because other cities are getting 2 and 3 night engagements, but apparently there’s a Philly Soul AFL game on Saturday that he has to attend as part owner of the team. We forgave him when he said he’d be more than willing to return to DC 10 more times. He will be 46 on Sunday, but he doesn’t look a day over 35. And that smile…oh that smile. To this day, I cannot name another person who has a better smile than his. It’s just one of those smiles that makes you smile because you can’t help yourself. Whatever IT is…he’s still got IT. I think to a degree what I love about him is how much he enjoys his job and quite frankly that he views it as such.

Jon and Richie performed “I’ll Be There For You” in the middle of the audience. They’ve been doing this one microphone for the two of them on that song for the last couple of tours, and it’s become one of my favorite parts of the show. There were fantastic up close views of Dave and Tico on their keyboards and drums, respectively. I don’t think I’ve seen that much of them in any other concert. I ADORE watching Dave play the keyboards because he’s great and because it always makes me wonder what-if he had taken that scholarship to Juilliard instead of signing the recording contract with Bon Jovi. Would he now be one of our greatest classical pianists? He’s certainly good enough to have turned out that way, but for whatever reason he chose Bon Jovi instead. Tico amazes me on many levels but primarily because he’s in his 50s and still pounding those drums.

In the midst of all this, I have to say the technology on the stage took my breath away. There was a front video screen above the stage, one giant screen on each side of the stage (hung high for the people in the 400 level), a screen built into the stage that moved and that Jon could actually walk on, and four screens behind the stage that moved and turned. Those 4 screens behind the stage were the most impressive to me. They could come together to form one giant screen, and they could stretch and separate into strips vertically and horizontally. Way cool!

I had a blast to say the least, and I wish there was more I could say, but I honestly think I’m either sleep deprived or still speechless…or maybe a little of both.

The Fallen

32…12…5

No, I didn’t forget how to count, and that’s not the combination to my locker. Those are Tyler Hansbrough’s stats from last night’s UNC basketball game, and those aren’t even his best numbers. 32 points (a mere 14 in the first half)…12 rebounds (3 offensive/9 defensive)…5 steals (1 that turned into a fast break dunk). His season average is a double-double, and he has a career high 15 double-doubles this season. They don’t call him Psycho-T for nothing.

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Over the last three seasons, he has made 658 free throws putting him on top of the UNC record books in that category, currently 55 more than Lennie Rosenbluth from the 1957 National Championship team. However, that’s not all. Tyler currently has 1,911 career points, placing him 9th in the UNC record books in that category. The Heels list the career points total for the players with 1,000 points or more. 59 names appeared on the list in this year’s media guide.

Here’s who Tyler has passed so far:

Sophomore Season:

  1. NC State (game 1 — 02/03/07): Tyler enters the 1,000 point club with 1,016 career points and passes Tommy LaGarde (1,007)
  2. Duke (game 1): passes Vince Grimaldi (1,018), Lee Dedmon (1,019), and John “Hook” Dillon (1,021)
  3. Va Tech (game 2): passes Lee Shaffer (1,053) and Bill Bunting (1,069)
  4. Boston College (game 1): passes Jerry Stackhouse (1,080)
  5. NC State (game 2): passes Dante Calabria (1,098)
  6. Maryland: passes Brian Reese (1,113) and Jeff McInnis (1,128)
  7. Duke (game 2): passes Pete Chilcutt (1,150) and Matt Doherty (1,165)
  8. NC State (ACC Championship game): passes Jerry Vayda (1,187)
  9. Eastern Kentucky (NCAA Tournament game 1): passes Sean May (1,213) and James Worthy (1,219) — retired
  10. Michigan State (NCAA Tournament game 2): passes Joe Wolf (1,231) Ademola Okulaja (1,254)
  11. Georgetown (NCAA Tournament game 4): passes Raymond Felton (1,260), Ed Cota (1,261), Bobby Jones (1,264), and Vince Carter (1,267)

Junior (current) Season:

  1. Davidson: passes York Larese (1,287), Joseph Forte (1,290), George Karl (1,293), and Kevin Madden (1,296)
  2. Iona: passes Al Lifson (1,322)
  3. South Carolina State: passes Pete Brennan (1,332) and Rusty Clark (1,339)
  4. BYU: passes Kris Lang (1,392)
  5. Ohio State: passes Brendan Haywood (1,411)
  6. Penn: passes Shammond Williams (1,445) and Jason Capel (1,447)
  7. Rutgers: passes Dennis Wuycik (1,469)
  8. Nicholls State: passes Donald Williams (1,492)
  9. UC Santa Barbara: passes Scott Williams (1,508)
  10. Valparaiso: passes J.R. Reid (1,552) and Jeff Lebo (1,567)
  11. UNC Asheville: passes Mitch Kupchak (1,611), Hubert Davis (1,615), Jawad Williams (1,626), and Eric Montross (1,627)
  12. NC State (game 1): passes Kenny Smith (1,636)
  13. Miami: passes Rick Fox (1,703), Billy Cunningham (1,709), and Rashad McCants (1,721)
  14. FSU (game 1): passes George Lynch (1,747) and Mike O’Koren (1,765)
  15. Duke (game 1): passes Michael Jordan (1,788) — retired
  16. Virginia: passes Bobby Lewis (1,836)
  17. Va Tech: passes Walter Davis (1,863)

Within this season he is guaranteed 5 more games (4 regular season and at least 1 game in the ACC tournament). Granted, he’s probably guaranteed at least 1 game in the NCAA tournament, but I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch. He needs 380 points to take the #1 spot. With his average points total at 23.1, that comes out to about 16.5 games. Between the rest of the regular season, ACC tournament, and the NCAA tournament, there are 13 possible games left after last nights game, which averages out to 29.2 points per game. There are 8 players remaining ahead of Tyler, and 3 of those 8 have had their numbers retired:

  1. Phil Ford (2,290) — retired
  2. Sam Perkins (2,145)
  3. Lennie Rosenbluth (2,045) — retired
  4. Al Wood (2,015)
  5. Charles Scott (2,007)
  6. Larry Miller (1,982)
  7. Antawn Jamison (1,974) — retired
  8. Brad Daugherty (1,912)

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So, let’s review. Since starting his collegiate career at the Chapel Hill, NC campus in the fall of 2005 (a mere 6 months after the Heels won the National Championship), Tyler has managed to jump 50 former players.  North Carolina has 5 National Championships, and with every passing game, I wonder if Tyler will join that elite group because while I want his jersey to hang in the front row of the rafters where the retired numbers hang, I want him to win a National Championship more. In fact, in all my years of being a UNC fan, I have never wanted a National Championship more for any one player.

I hope upon hope nearly every day that he stays for his senior season, and not just to lead the record books, but because Tyler Hansbrough is College Basketball. He is what the NBA doesn’t understand: a kid who loves playing the game and doesn’t need money or shoe contracts to have the desire and passion to step on the hardwood, strap his team to his back, and bring home the wins.

13lbs 14oz

Lincoln is getting so big. He’s going to be ready to graduate high school by the time I see him, again. He’s starting to drool a lot more, so that first tooth is right around the corner. Apparently you can feel it under the skin, but it hasn’t broken through, yet. He’s holding his head up really well. And even though, I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (long story), he did ask me to be his valentine, and I accepted. Enjoy the new pictures.

The Beginning of the End

This is my maternal grandmother.

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She is, quite frankly, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met in my life. She passed away two months before my sixth birthday, but just in the short amount of time that I knew her, she made probably the biggest impression on me of any person in my life.  She had a way of making you feel like you were the most important and only person in the room when she was talking to you.  I have not in my nearly 30 years of life met another person with as much grace and kindness as she had nor have I ever met someone who could laugh like she did.

I don’t talk about her for many reasons, but mostly because it hurts too much, and as a result, I try not to think about her too much as well.  However, Monday I thought about her.  By the time my grandmother was 30 years old, she had the beautiful white hair you see in this picture.  And Monday, I found a strand of white hair just like it on my own head.  I nearly broke down in tears, and I think the only reason why is because I know without a shadow of a doubt that no matter how hard I try and no matter how much beautiful white hair I may have at the end of it all, I will never, ever be the wonderful woman that she was.

Lincoln 5 months and 5 days

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Mommy, Grandpa’s coming to visit!

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Can he feed me my peaches and cereal?

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I’m wearing my special I Love My Grandpa bib for him.

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He’s here!

Don’t Forget to Turn Out the Lights

I’m a little bummed this morning because another NFL season is in the books and we have a good 20-some weeks before Training Camp starts. Sure we’ll be appeased with Spygate goes to Congress, the Free Agency Market, the Combine, the Draft, etc., but until training camp 2008 starts, I always feel like something’s missing. Even with NASCAR and March Madness knocking on the door, a part of me is just missing until the new season starts. The Colts are getting to play in the Hall of Fame game against the Washington Redskins. I’ve never really been a big fan of the Hall of Fame game, but hey, it’s a game…one more chance for me to get to see my boys play.

In summation of the season:

1. I noticed this morning how bitterly cold it was and it was a mere 20 degrees outside. Then I thought about the Giants/Packers NFC Championship game that was played in 45 degrees colder weather than what it was this morning. That ain’t right. The fact that the Giants were capable of thawing out in time for the Super Bowl is quite impressive.

2. The Pro Bowl yesterday was pretty interesting. They usually are. It’s not always a blow out though yesterday’s score will say that it was a blow out. It was more a tale of two halves. The AFC did really well in the 1st half and the NFC did really well in the 2nd half. Personally, I think if the NFC wins the Super Bowl, they should win the Pro Bowl. I know that doesn’t have any basis in logic, but when have I ever been logical in my thinking…REALLY! The days leading up to the Pro Bowl are my favorites though. I love NFL Total Access from the Pro Bowl and watching the practices because you get to see all these guys really be themselves, act up, and kid each other. Some of my favorite stories about all these guys come from the Pro Bowl, and this year was no exception. The following is a video of Peyton calling out Rich Eisen and his karaoke performance during the week. Now, Peyton is no Grammy winner by any stretch of the imagination, but he can tell a story like nobody’s business.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3. Watching Osi Umenyiora introduced at the Pro Bowl as the lone representative of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants was bittersweet. More of his teammates should have been there, but the cheers and applause he got were fantastic.

4. Likewise, the three representatives from the Washington Redskins (on the same day that they announced the hiring of their new head coach Jim Zorn) all wearing #21 in honor of Sean Taylor spoke volumes in the quietest way possible. The NFC Pro Bowl players voting those three as captains and tight end Chris Cooley catching a touchdown pass during the game was icing on the cake.

Enjoy the off season folks because in just a matter of months we have to hunker down for the 2008 season, and considering how incredibly surprising this season turned out, we may need to install seat belts on our couches.

Let’s Talk

If you want to know what the following pertains to, leave me a comment and I’ll email you.  It really has nothing to do with anyone I know personally.

=====

If you want me to care, you have to care.

If you want me to listen, you have to listen.

If you want me to not give up on you, you have to not give up on yourself.

Let me know when you’re ready to handle your end of the bargain, and then I’ll have your back.

Cheaters Never Win…

…And the Giants made sure of that last night.

Super Bowl Week Predictions

Unlike Plaxico Burress, I don’t publicize my predictions of games. Usually because when it comes to sports, I’m extremely superstitious. But now that it’s over, I can say this, I knew they were going to win. You might not think I’m telling you the truth if you’d been at my house last night watching me watch the 4th quarter, but deep down I knew it all along. From about Monday last week, I knew. When I saw how the Giants were treating the Super Bowl, that it was just another game, that it was a business trip, I just knew. But I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. I certainly don’t know anywhere near as much about the Giants as I do the Colts, but I knew enough to want them to win. I actually got really nervous right before kickoff. I’m not entirely sure if I ate anything yesterday, so it’s possible I lost ten pounds yesterday from the nerves, the not eating, and the jumping up and down between 9 and 10 pm (during which I think I’ve done something to my knee).

The Game

I’ve heard a lot of people say the game was boring until the 4th quarter, but I’m not completely sure they were watching the same game I was. There was no point during that game that you could have definitively said one or the other team was winning handily. In fact, until that final Tom Brady pass fell incomplete, the Giants hadn’t officially won. If that guy catches the ball, breaks the tackle, and runs it in for the game winning touchdown or steps out of bounds and gives Gostkowski a chance to send the game to overtime, we could be talking about something totally different at this point, but I’m glad we’re not.

I have to hand it to the Giants defense for getting to and knocking down Tom Brady 23 times (5 of them sacks). The most effective way to get to the Patriots is to get to Tom Brady. If you can ruffle his feathers a bit, he starts concentrating more on what is going wrong than concentrating on finding a way to win the game. I will say that drive that ended with the Randy Moss touchdown was a Tom Brady-type drive. It’s what we expect to see from him, but I think it may have been too little, too late. The Patriots just waited too long to start their come back performance like they have in several other games this season, and this time it cost them. So, the Giants defense let the Patriots have their little 14-10 lead with roughly 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter because the Giants defense knew they had Eli Manning and the Giants offense in their corner. Wait…What? Yeah, I know.

The Drive 2008

New York Giants at 2:42, (1st play from scrimmage 2:39) NYG NWE
1st and 10 at NYG 17 (2:39) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short right to A.Toomer to NYG 28 for 11 yards (R.Harrison).    
1st and 10 at NYG 28 (2:09) (No Huddle, Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short middle to P.Burress.    
2nd and 10 at NYG 28 (2:04) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to P.Burress.    
  Two-Minute Warning    
3rd and 10 at NYG 28 (1:59) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short left to A.Toomer to NYG 37 for 9 yards (R.Harrison).    
4th and 1 at NYG 37 (1:34) B.Jacobs up the middle to NYG 39 for 2 yards (V.Wilfork, R.Seymour).    
1st and 10 at NYG 39 (1:28) (Shotgun) E.Manning scrambles right tackle to NYG 44 for 5 yards (A.Thomas).    
  Timeout #1 by NYG at 01:20.    
2nd and 5 at NYG 44 (1:20) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete deep right to D.Tyree.    
3rd and 5 at NYG 44 (1:15) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass deep middle to D.Tyree to NE 24 for 32 yards (R.Harrison).    
  Timeout #2 by NYG at 00:59.    
1st and 10 at NE 24 (:59) (Shotgun) E.Manning sacked at NE 25 for -1 yards (A.Thomas).    
  Timeout #3 by NYG at 00:51.    
2nd and 11 at NE 25 (:51) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass incomplete short left to D.Tyree (B.Meriweather).    
3rd and 11 at NE 25 (:45) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short right to S.Smith pushed ob at NE 13 for 12 yards (B.Meriweather).    
1st and 10 at NE 13 (:39) (Shotgun) E.Manning pass short left to P.Burress for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN. 16 14
  L.Tynes extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Alford, Holder-J.Feagles. 17 14

This play-by-play doesn’t do it justice by any means. Twice Eli averted a sack in what can only be described as pure athleticism and determination. That 32 yard pass to David Tyree in the middle of field after pulling free from about 6 Patriot defenders was incredible. It was trumped only by the catch that David Tyree made on that same play. Any other time, I guarantee you that ball bounces right off Tyree’s helmet and either falls in complete or into the hands of a defender for an interception. But not last night. Last night, Tyree some how, some way defied the laws of football physics and pulled that ball down. Without that catch and the one on the sideline to Steve Smith, Plaxico never gets a chance at that game-winning touchdown reception. Fabulous, fabulous football playing there guys. With that one drive, Eli and the Giants, at least for now, quietly, professionally, and collectively told the media (New York especially) to Shut the (Bleep) up!

The Brothers Manning

I think the world would be a better place if all siblings loved each other as much as the Manning brothers do. I have never in the last 14 years that Peyton Manning has been on my radar screen seen him as happy as he was last night. That includes after last year’s AFC Championship game and last year’s Super Bowl. NEVER!!! And really, how could you blame him? That was his brother out there. Every time they showed him cheering Eli on and getting so incredibly excited on great plays, it warmed my heart. Although I was a bit concerned about Peyton’s blood pressure during the game.

But the best part came after the game. ESPN interviewed Eli, Peyton, and Archie. Eli said that watching Peyton win last year made him want it even more. Peyton said he was probably more happy last night than he was after his own Super Bowl win. And, Archie just couldn’t believe how blessed he was to be their father. However, if you watched really closely, this is what you saw. Under Peyton’s name on the screen when he was being interviewed, it simply said “Eli Manning’s Brother.” There was no mention of the Colts, that Peyton is a quarterback in his own right, or anything about any of Peyton’s accomplishments…just that he is the brother of the Super Bowl XLII MVP. Likewise, under Archie’s name during his interview, it simply said “Eli and Peyton Manning’s father.” No mention of the years of suffering as the Saints quarterback…just that he is the father of the last two Super Bowl MVPs. And that is as it should be.

This is how I showed my support for Eli and the Giants last night:

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I was so impressed to see how Eli handled himself throughout the game. He has not allowed anything to change his “Easy-E” approach or quietness, especially not the New York media. And that demeanor that he has been so criticized for is the same demeanor that helped win them the game. Calm, cool, and collected. Just be yourself and do what you do. There’s no other way.

Thank you to the Giants because parents can still tell their children that cheaters never win and winners never cheat. It was really a treat to see people like Michael Strahan and Jeff Feagles win their first Super Bowl after such long careers. Congratulations to Plaxico who has played with injuries all season and fought to the finish for this one. And Congratulations to Tom Coughlin for coaching one heck of a Giants team to a Super Bowl victory.

Hubba Hubba

Note: This blog entry is for my benefit only, so that I can have this picture on my blog forever.

Besides Ashley Manning, I may very well be the only person in the world who thinks Peyton Manning is HOT! I’ve thought this for years. In fact, it’s what first attracted me to him. In any case, I didn’t think he could get more attractive to me than he already is, but WOW this new look just sent me over the moon, AGAIN:

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80 Weeks

The official injury report for Super Bowl XLII came out Wednesday.  On it, there was no mention of Tom Brady’s ankle.  However, he was listed as having a right shoulder injury.  Incidentally, he has been listed with this injury for the last 80 weeks of football.  Now I know that isn’t 80 weeks straight, but regardless, that’s a long time.  I get that it’s his throwing shoulder, but for crying out loud, you’re an NFL quarterback…SUCK IT UP…or perhaps do some strength and conditioning to help that out a little bit.  All I’m sayin’ is that if I had a body part that was bothering me for 80 weeks, I’d get that checked out.  Just sayin’.