Monday, July 14, 2014

"The Secret" by Edu Ardanuy

Ordinarily I try to share either live performances or an official video when posting music videos. I'm making an exception for Brazilian guitarist Edu Ardanuy, whose song "The Secret" successfully channels Steve Morse without copycatting. Morse recordings usually include something in this chamber music style.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Firewell" by Jolly

This band reportedly played as the opener for Flying Colors.  That's how I heard of them.  This is one of the songs I particularly like.

What's that guitar? "Warmoth," it says. First time I've seen a Telecaster-style body used with heavy rock. But maybe I just don't get out much.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sex discrimination in automobile insurance

There oughta be a law

Now that the nation has addressed unfair sex discrimination in health insurance, the next logical step is to ban gender rating in automobile insurance.
“The gender gap in insurance is especially real under the age of 25,” says Anne Fleming, president and CEO of consumer review site

“Under the age of 25, male drivers are absolutely paying more than their female counterparts when they drive the same car, are the same age and have the same coverage.”
The above passage comes from a document that also assures us that men pay more for good reason:  They present a higher risk to insurance companies.  But the same is true with health insurance.  In both cases, gender rating charges more for the gender carrying higher risk.

So it's a simple matter of fairness.  And we'll be making this sensible advance right behind the European Union.  Right, President Obama?

Fair is fair.

Or is it?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Liquid Tension Experiment: "Biaxident" (Live)

My Mike Portnoy as Daario Naharis post serves as a segue to a live performance of "Biaxident" by Liquid Tension Experiment.

Four out of five  Three out of four  (counting is hard) of the group were in the prog group Dream Theater in 2008 when this was recorded.  Bass player Tony Levin is the one not part of DT.  Yes, that's Portnoy on drums.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

How hard is it to cast Daario Naharis?

Bear with me for this minor Game of Thrones rant.

Okay we had the surfer-dude Daario last season.  This season we get an even more forgettable miscasting.

Why is it so hard to cast a good Daario Naharis?  Two words:  Mike Portnoy.

Daario Portnoy?

He'd have to change the hat and shirt, plus lose the wrist watch, but other than that, Portnoy's the obvious choice. And now I'm wondering if he dyed his beard blue having read the books that serve as the basis for the HBO series "Game of Thrones."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Kansas soundcheck with Steve Morse and Kerry Livgren

Steve Morse is my favorite guitarist, and I've also long been a fan of the band Kansas and guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter Kerry Livgren.  Morse replaced Livgren on guitar when Kansas reformed in the later 1980s.

Kansas put out a special live DVD a few years ago, and both Morse and Livgren put in cameo appearances.  But perhaps even better than that, the soundcheck before the concert featured a version of "Down the Road," an early Kansas song, with Steve Morse and Kerry Livgren playing guitar.

It's kind of special.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Where's Merlin now?

This is a Merlin. Look it up if necessary, 'cause it's worth it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You know, Obamacare may slow the growth of health care spending after all

I've been highly skeptical (along with quite a few experts) that Obamacare will slow health care spending.

It's counterintuitive, after all, providing health insurance to a bunch of people and then see spending on health care drop.

However, I was under the impression that the new health insurance policies would actually be better.  That's what Democrats have been telling us, anyway.  It's now looking like Obamacare sets up strong pressure within the insurance industry to get patients to pay a larger share of their health care costs out-of-pocket, via higher copays and higher coinsurance rates.  The "better" in our better insurance comes largely from lower maximum out-of-pocket spending by the insured.  People who exceed that maximum are a rarity, relatively speaking.

This means that for many routine medical problems Obamacare partially addresses the third-party payment problem.  The third-party payment problem, briefly, simply means that people use more of something if somebody else pays for it.

I don't think this is the outcome Democrat legislators had in mind when they passed the law.  If it was, then it's likely I'd have heard somebody describe it this way.

Correction 2/25/2014:  Not sure how I ended up spelling "Ocamacare" in the title and then overlooked it for so long, but it's finally fixed.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays, game 4

In the past I've viewed Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson as the potential reincarnation (not literally!) of Cubs/Braves great Greg Maddux.

So it's been frustrating watching Hellickson struggle his way to a 12-10 record and an ERA in excess of 5.0 in 2013.  And it causes me to raise an eyebrow or two at the coaches' decision to use rookie pitcher Chris Archer (9-7, 3.22) in relief while using Hellickson as the fourth starter during the playoffs.

GM Joe Maddon and company have to see something in Hellickson at this point in the season that's eluding me.

It's not that I think Hellickson can't pitch well.  I viewed him as the No. 2 starter for the Rays entering the 2013 season.  So far it hasn't panned out that way.  But beating the Red Sox tonight will do a great deal to make his performance this season look good.  I hope Maddon is right on this one.

Go Rays.

Update 12:31 a.m.

Hellickson cruised through the first inning before getting lifted from the game during the 2nd inning jam he helped create.  The bullpen sustained a shutout through the 7th inning, when the Red Sox scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead.  The Rays didn't score after that.

Game over, season over.  And the game was akin to the season.  Boston played consistently well (still hate 'em; this is just respect) and the Rays played spotty.  Pitching wasn't the strength it should have been, and the batting lineup was dotted with severe slumps from key players.

Go A's or some other team I hate less than Boston.  The lower the payroll the better.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not a Jetpack

I don't care what they call it, this newfangled personal flying device is not a jetpack.  It's a little closer to a jetpack than gluing a big patch of velcro on the back of your t-shirt and then attaching yourself to the Space Shuttle. But only just a little closer.