Monday, July 31, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Lyle Lovett f/Randy Newman
Song:You've Got A Friend In Me
Album:Smile:Songs From The Movies

Lyle Lovett is a singer songwriter from Texas who started out as a country singer but has been able to cross over into pop, jazz and movies. He was discovered by fellow Texan Guy Clark and signed with Curb Records in 1986. He's still there. His 1987 Pontiac album crossed over into Adult Oriented Radio and Lovett moved to LA and abandoned the country market. He's also acted in several films especially for director Robert Altman. Smile is a collection of songs Lovett has performed in films. They don't appear on his other albums. They're mostly standards but of course You've Got A Friend In Me is from Toy Story and features songwriter Randy Newman. Maybe I can talk about him some other time. There's more to Lyle Lovett than his hair and his marriage to Julia Roberts.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Bobbettes
Album:The Doo Wop Box

If you're going to talk about essential Doo Wop songs, Mr. Lee by The Bobbettes has to be included. They were one of the first girl groups of the rock era. They were originally known as the Harlem Queens and went to school together at P.S. 109 in Harlem. Atlantic signed them and in 1957 the girls came up with the song Mr. Lee inspired by one of their teachers. It's a classic and their one big chart hit. Of course the 4CD Doo Wop Box from Rhino is the definitive comp of the great Doo Wop of the 50s and well worth getting.

Carl Edwards wins Gateway Busch Series race

2006 is the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series so the Busch Silver Anniversary 250 was held at Gateway International Speedway in Madison, IL. This is across the river from St. Louis which is the HQ for series sponsor Anheuser Busch. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

After a 1 hour 40 minute rain delay, Denny Hamlin-#20 Rockwell Automation Chevy dominated the race. But the win came down to late race pit strategy. Carl Edwards-#60 Henkel Ford was running second and pitted with 16 laps remaining and took two tires and fuel. Hamlin pitted 3 laps later but took fuel only. Edwards passed Hamlin for the win with 9 laps remaining. Clint Bowyer-#2 AC Delco Chevy also passed Hamlin for second and Hamlin finished third.

It was a big win for Carl Edwards. He's from Columbia, MO and this is his home track so it was a very popular win. Also, NASCAR used unleaded fuel in a race for the first time. There were no problems and there are plans for NASCAR to switch completely to unleaded fuel in 2007. Kevin Harvick finished fifth and remains firmly in cobtrol of the points lead. Next week the Nextel Cup will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 and the Busch & Trucks will race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. It's considered one of NASCAR's biggest weekends.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another open wheel star coming to NASCAR

Open wheel racing veteran Max Papis will make his NASCAR debut at the Nextel Cup & Busch Series races at the Watkins Glen road course in August. In the Nextel Cup race, he will drive the #78 Furniture Row Chevy normally driven by Kenny Wallace. In the Busch Series race, he will drive the #36 Chevy normally driven by Tim Sauter. The #36 will be sponsored for this race only by Sport Clips.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:India.Arie f/Akon
Song:I Am Not My Hair
Album:Testimony:Vol. 1 Life & Relationship

This is the latest CD from Neo Soul singer songwriter India.Arie. I Am Not My Hair has already been to the top of the charts and it looks like this CD will be even more successful than her previous two. She's a great talent and writes a lot of her own material so as I have said previously, she will have a long career in the music business. I like this song and it features a rapper called Akon. You've probably heard it already.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Christian McBride
Song:Technicolor Nightmare
Album:Vertical Vision

Christian McBride is one of the young lions of the current jazz scene and has built a reputation as a tremendous bassist. 2003's Vertical Vision is somewhat more experimental than his earlier CDs. It features Ron Blake on sax and Geoff Keezer on keyboards. It's very creative music and worth a listen.

I went to Canadian Tire yesterday and bought a rain suit. And it's raining today so I get to try it out. Hopefully it will keep me dry.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cuty Suzuki is a mommy

Former JWP wrestler Cuty Suzuki gave birth to a baby boy on July 25 by caesarean section. Cuty was a very popular wrestler in the 90s. She is now 36 years old and is a Japanese TV personality. Her husband is Hideyuki Harashima. He owns the Japanese branch of the Brazilian Shootobox martial arts academy. I seem to recall the two were married sometime last year. The mother and child are doing well. On behalf of all joshi fans, congratulations to Cuty Suzuki and I wish the very best to Cuty and her family.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Milt Jackson
Song:Bop Ag'in
Album:Burnin' At The Woodside

Milt Jackson is the most significant vibraphone player in jazz history. He was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in his home town of Detroit but became famous in the 50s as part of the Modern Jazz Quartet led by pianist John Lewis. Jackson continued to record as a leader while a member of MJQ for 20 years. Jackson continued to record up until his death from liver cancer at age 76 in 1999. This 1995 recording was released on Quincy Jones' Qwest label. It's straight ahead jazz and that's what you will get when listening to Milt Jackson.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Manami Toyota 20th Anniversary show card announced

God bless Manami Toyota. She has announced that she will appear in all the matches on her 20th Anniversary show on Aug. 6 at Shinjuku FACE. Of course Toyota's endurance is legendary as she demonstrated many times over the years. She starts with a match against Natsuki*Head that is supposed to represent her rookie days. It will be followed by what appears to be a comedy match. Toyota will team with Yumiko Hotta against Stalker Ishikawa & Furoshi Miwa. Then Toyota will have a match against one of her old tag team partners Mima Shimoda and another of Toyota's former tag team partners, Toshiyo Yamada, will ref. Next is an eight woman tag match. Toyota teams with Kaoru Ito, Mariko Yoshida & Tomoko Watanabe against Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Azumi Hyuga. in the main event, Toyota will face her long time best pal Aja Kong. What, no Yoshiko Tamura? Just kidding. I don't know about the other matches but you can be sure that Toyota & Aja will tear the house down as they have many times in the past.

Futami names "trouble shooter" for next T-1 GP show

T-1 president Futami has announced that the next T-1 GP show will be on August 26 at the Nishi-chofu Arena. I believe this is at the U-File training camp. Futami has announced that "Queen Fight" Hikaru Shinohara is being brought in as a trouble shooter for this show. He also announced that he will host a talk show and a screening of the third T-1 GP show. Hikaru Shinohara is mostly known as an MMA fighter though she has appeared occasionally on pro wrestling shows. Her MMA record is 2-3. Her last fight was in Nov. 2005. I guess the idea is that she is a legit fighter who won't take any crap from the usual T-1 GP troublemakers like Yumiko Hotta & Sachie Abe. I guess the problem is she looks more like an idol wrestler than some of the MMA fighters I'm familiar with. So he's trying to sell her as tough but she doesn't really have the credentials. Megumi Fujii as a troubleshooter would be a different story. Also, Futami continues to blather on about getting a match with Kumiko Maekawa. I don't know if she'll ever take him up on his offer. The hilarity continues at T-1 GP.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Lovin' Spoonful

The Lovin' Spoonful had a string of big hits in the mid-60s including Daydream. The group was led by John Sebastian & Zal Yanofsky. Sebastian wrote a lot of the songs including this one and liked to add a lot of unusual sounds like his autoharp. They were heavily influenced by folk & jug band music. The Lovin' Spoonful broke up in 1968 after two members were busted for pot and gave up the dealer. This Anthology comp from Rhino is the CD to get. Sebastian had a decent solo career and is best known for singing the theme to Welcome Back Kotter. He died a few years ago. The Lovin' Spoonful attempted to reform a few years ago. Not a good idea.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Superman Returns review

I've been a Superman fan since I was a kid. I read the comic books. I still love the 1940s Fleischer Bros. cartoons & I watched the 1950s TV series. I also liked the 1978 film Superman starring Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner and also Superman II. In developing Superman Returns, Warner Bros. could have gone in a different direction with the character. At one time, they were going to produce a Kevin Smith script directed by Tim Burton and starring Nicolas Cage. But they got cold feet and eventually hired X-Men director Bryan Singer to direct what is essentially a copy of the 1978 film and even hired an unknown actor who resembles Christopher Reeve. Fans of Superman comics probably wanted something different but but this approach was probably better for general moviegoers.

Singer makes sure we know what their approach is right at the start of the film by giving us the ghost of Marlon Brando as Jor-El. Throw in the theme from the 1978 film by John Williams and cameos for Jack Larson & Noel Neill from the 50s TV series and it's pretty clear that Singer is invoking nostalgia. The basic plot is that Superman has disappeared for five years and returned to his boyhood home. It was great to see the legendary Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent. He returns to Metropolis because arch enemy Lex Luthor was released from jail because Supes doesn't show up at his parole hearing. Clark Kent gets his old job back at the Daily Planet but things have changed for Lois Lane. She has a young son and a fiancee.

Of course this leads to Luthor hatching this wild plan to take over the United States by putting it under water. Well, he is an evil genius. Meanwhile, Lois obviously still holds a torch for Supes though she claims commitment to the fiancee. Yeah, right. I'm not giving anything away by telling you that Superman foils Luthor and saves the day but getting there is a lot of fun and that's why you should see the film. A lot of it is silly but the CGI effects in this version of Superman make a big difference over 1978. There have been some complaints about some of the scenes at the end but they're just setting up the sequel.

Like Christopher Reeve in 1978, Brandon Routh is an unknown playing Superman. He's fairly bland but Superman has always been a bland character anyway. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane suffers somewhat in comparison to Margot Kidder in 1978. But I think both will improve as they get used to playing the characters. Expect Routh to have trouble doing anything but Superman. Kevin Spacey is very understated as Lex Luthor and I think he was a good choice. Also, Parker Posey is good as his girlfriend.

Superman Returns hasn't performed as well as expected at the box office. Bryan Singer has stated publicly that the ad campaign was poor. But he also said that he is close to signing to direct a sequel to be released in 2009. Warners has no complaint. They wanted a popcorn film and that's what Singer gave them. Though the film is somewhat silly, I enjoyed the ride and I especially liked the special effects and action scenes. Some of the other stuff didn't work as well. I think anyone who is a fan of the original 1978 film will like it as well and I hope the sequel takes Superman to another level now that the characters have been re-established.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Prine
Song:Sam Stone
Album:John Prine

Along with his best pal Steve Goodman (he wrote City Of New Orleans), John Prine came out of the late 60s Chicago folk scene. Kris Kristofferson helped Prine land a record contract with Atlantic. Atlantic made the mistake of trying to sell Prine as a Bob Dylan clone. Prine is much more than that. He injects a lot of humour into his songs and has a strong following among other singers. Sam Stone is a classic 1971 song looking at the effect of the Vietnam War on soldiers coming home. It has very powerful imagery. After Prine was dropped by Atlantic/Asylum in the early 80s, he started his own Oh Boy label. Prine had a cancer scare in 1998 but has recovered and is still going strong today on Oh Boy Records. He's definitely worth seeking out.

Now that I have new glasses, I want to go see movies again on the big screen. So today I am going to the Queensway Cineplex Odeon to see Superman Returns. That's the closest multiplex. I'm a big Superman fan so it should be good. I will review it when I get home and I hope to do this regularly.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Megumi Fujii cleans up at July 23 Smackgirl show

Smackgirl had a very unusual show on July 23 at the Gold's Gym South Tokyo Annex. They had a couple of semi final matches for the 2006 Next Cinderella tournaments. But the bulk of the show was a one day tournament called the Smackgirl Grappling Queen Tournament 2006. So the matches were all grappling rules. There were Middleweight, Flyweight, Lightweight & Open Weight divisions. But they didn't announce most of the participants until a couple of days before the show and the brackets were announced the day of the show.

The big name on this show was Sambo Queen Megumi Fujii participating in the Lightweight tournament. To illustrate that she doesn't get paid by the hour, Fujii took a total of fifty seconds to dispose of her opponents and win the Lightweight Grappling tournament. In her first match, Fujii defeated Akiko Naito with a guillotine choke in 30 seconds and in the final she used an ankle lock to finish off Emi Tomimatsu in 20 seconds. Why waste time? Megumi Fujii is a force to be reckoned with and it isn't going to be easy to find competition for her short of Yuka Tsuji.

In the other tournaments, Takayo Hashi won the Open Weight tournament but lost in the Middleweight finals to her arch rival Hitomi Akano. Eri Kaneya won the Flyweight tournament. In the Next Cinderella semi final matches, KM-MAKI won her Flyweight semi final over Mitsuki and Kanako Takeshita won her Middleweight semi final over Kazuna Moroboshi. Here's the results of the show. The grappling matches were schduled for one seven minute round and the Next Cinderella Tournament matches were scheduled for two five minute rounds.

SMACKGIRL - 7/23/06 - Gold's Gym South Tokyo Annex
Mutsumi Kasai def. Nanako Yameski by decision (2-0)
Mizuho Sato def. Mayumi Aoki by arm bar at 1:20
Takayo Hashi def. Aoi Chihiro by arm lock at 2:41
Rin Nakai def. Harumi by arm bar at 41 sec.
Yasuko Tamada def. Berry 15 by default
Naoko Ohmuro def. Ayumi Funakoshi by arm bar/triangle at 4:43
Eri Kaneya def. Masako Yoshida by decision (4-2)
Miyuki Shibuya def. Shiho Yaginuma by decision (19-0)
Akiko Naito def. Youko Inaba by choke
Akiko Ninomiya def. Mutsumi Kasai by choke at 2:03
Hitomi Akano def. Mizuho Sato by arm bar at 4:50
Takayo Hashi def. Naoko Sekiguchi by choke
Rin Nakai def Felicia Oh by decision (14-0)
Yasuko Tamada def. Naoko Ohmuro by decision (13-0)
Eri Kaneya def. Miyuki Shibuya by choke at 2:07
Emi Tomimatsu def. Kazue Matake by decision (7-0)
Megumi Fujii def. Akiko Naito by guillotine choke at 30 sec.
Hitomi Akano def. Akiko Ninomiya by decision (4-2)
Takayo Hashi def. Rin Nakai by decision (17-4)
Takayo Hashi def. Mayumi Aoki by decision (11-0)
Keiko Hattori def. Eri Kaneya by default
Roxanne Modaferri def. Youko Yamanaka by decision (1-0)
Felicia Oh def. Masako Yoshida by choke at 2:50
Keiko Hattori def. Roxanne Modaferri by arm bar at 1:45
Takayo Hashi def. Felicia Oh by decision (3-0)
FLYWEIGHT-Miyuki Shibuya def. Naoko Ohmuro by decision (4-2)
LIGHTWEIGHT-Kazue Natake def. Akiko Naito by arm bar at 2:14
MIDDLEWEIGHT-Akiko Ninomiya def. Rin Nakai by ref stop
OPEN WEIGHT-Roxanne Modaferri def. Felicia Oh by decision (1-0)
KM-MAKI def. Mitsuki by arm bar at 1:40 of round two
Kanako Takeshita def. Kazuna Moroboshi by arm bar at 4:15 of round one
MIDDLEWEIGHT-Hitomi Akano def. Takayo Hashi by arm bar at 6:30
LIGHTWEIGHT-Megumi Fujii def. Emi Tomimatsu by ankle lock at 20 sec.
FLYWEIGHT-Eri Kaneya def. Yasuko Tamada by decision (4-2)
OPEN WEIGHT-Takayo Hashi def. Keiko Hattori by decision (2-0)

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Kierra "Kiki" Sheard
Song :Hidden Track
Album:I Owe You

Kierra Sheard is the hottest young talent in gospel music today. She sure has the breeding. Her mom is Karen Clark Sheard of The Clark Sisters and her grandma was gospel music innovator Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Kierra made her recording debut at the age of ten singing with her mom on the 1997 CD Finally Karen. She signed with EMI Gospel at age 17 and the top producers in the industry lined up to work with her. This Hidden Track was written & produced by Tonex and Tonex & Kiki is a "lethal combination" as he says on the intro. Kierra's new CD was released last month and should do even better than the first. Expectations are high but Kierra Sheard has the talent to exceed them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Denny Hamlin sweeps Pocono

Rookie Denny Hamlin won his first NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Pocono in June. He'd never raced there before. On Friday he won the pole for today's return to Pocono and was definitely the favourite to win. And Hamlin was just outside the top ten in points. So a big day would get him back in The Chase.

Polesitter Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Kinko's Chevy led the first part of the race. On lap 31, Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy gave Clint Bowyer-#07 Jack Daniels Chevy the finger and rammed him into Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford and both guys crashed. The replays showed that Bowyer almost ran Stewart into the wall. Stewart was penalized a lap for rough driving but he came back to finish 7th and get back to the top ten. The crash was very costly for Edwards and likely knocked him out of The Chase. Then he did something really stupid. On lap 66, Edwards spun Stewart out on pit road. Edwards was black flagged for rough driving and finished 39th.

Just to show how quickly things can go bad, two weeks ago Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy was third in the points. He blew an engine last week in New Hampshire, finished 43rd and dropped to seventh. This week on lap 87 Dave Blaney-#22 Caterpillar Dodge bumped Earnhardt from behind, Earnhardt crashed and finshed 43rd again and dropped to 11th in the points. Yikes!

The end of the race came down to everyone trying to find pit or fuel strategy to outfox Denny Hamlin. No one could pass him on the track. The strategy went out the window when a caution came out on lap 179 when Scott Wimmer-#4 Chevy blew a tire. Hamlin had no trouble winning after that.

Congratulations to Denny Hamlin, crew chief Mike Ford and car owner Joe Gibbs on the win. A rookie sweeping a pair of races is pretty cool. Kurt Busch's second place keeps him in contention for The Chase. Jimmie Johnson finished sixth and still leads the points. Big top tens for Brian Vickers, Bobby Labonte & Martin Truex Jr. Nextel Cup is off next week but are at Indy for the Brickyard 400 in two weeks. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx Kinko's/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
2.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
3.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
4.25/Brian Vickers/GMAC/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
5.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench/Chevy/Richard Childress
6.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
7.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
8.43/Bobby Labonte/Cheerios/Dodge/Petty Enterprises
9.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
10.1/Martin Truex Jr/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Andrew Hill
Song:Time Lines
Album:Time Lines

Jazz pianist Andrew Hill has been recording since the 60s but never really caught on so turned to teaching in the 70s & 80s. Time Lines is a 2006 release and marks Hill's third time around with Blue Note. Trumpeter Charles Tolliver & sax player Gregory Tardy are the featured musicians and work very well with Hill. Tolliver's an old pal but Tardy is a young guy so that's good to see. Hill's 60s recordings are worth a listen too.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kevin Harvick wins Martinsville Busch Series race

The NASCAR Busch Series returned to Martinsville Speedway for the first time since 1994 in the Goody's 250 Saturday. Of course NASCAR fans know all about this half mile paper clip shaped race track. The best way to win is to stay out of trouble but with the racing so close that's easier said than done. Of course a few Buschwackers came down from the Nextel Cup race in Pocono too. Clint Bowyer won the pole but several Buschwackers didn't arrive in time for qualifying and had to go to the back of the field.

The story of this race was track position and the pit strategy used to get track position. Clint Bowyer-#2 AC Delco Chevy led the first part of the race until he pitted. He complained to his crew chief that his engine didn't have enough power to pass anyone. But passing was tough for everyone. Paul Menard-#11 Menards Chevy took the lead for a while. His strategy was to pit once and when everyone else pitted a second time, he'd be in the lead. That didn't work out and Menard finished 12th.

Kevin Harvick-#21 Coast Guard Chevy took the lead with Clint Bowyer second and Denny Hamlin-#20 Rockwell Automation Chevy third. Hamlin seemed to be faster than either Harvick & Bowyer but couldn't pass them. And Harvick & Bowyer team owner Richard Childress called from Pocono and told Bowyer to race Harvick clean. So Kevin Harvick won the race easily and still has a big points lead.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Michael Brecker
Song:My Ship
Album:The Nearness Of You:The Ballad Book

Michael Brecker is one of the most popular jazz musicians today. His sax playing is very much influenced by Coltrane. For years he played in bands with his trumpeter older brother Randy Brecker including the very successful Brecker Bros. band. He also played tons of sessions. He finally recorded his first solo recording in 1988 and has been very successful ever since. The Nearness of You was released in 2001 and includes Herbie Hancock on piano, Pat Metheny on guitar, Charlie Haden on bass & Jack DeJohnette on drums. Needless to say, it's a great band. All Mike's records are worth checking out. Some recent health problems resulted in Mike getting an experimental transplant from his daughter. Here's hoping he makes a full recovery.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I finally got new glasses today

I finally got my new glasses today three months after asking for an appointment. This just illustrates the kind of hoops the disabled have to jump through to do anything. I had to go see an opthamologist which is basically an eye surgeon. Opthamologists are usually prefererable to optometrists for diabetics. They can find problems affected by diabetes. The appointment was rescheduled once but I did see Dr. Mednick at 385 The West Mall on June 30. Wheeltrans messed up my ride but we got it done anyway. It used to be I was nearsighted in one eye and 20/20 in the other. Now I'm nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. That means I need bifocals. See what happens when you get old.

In order to get the Ontario Disability Support Program to pay for the glasses, I faxed them the prescription. They sent me a form to give to an optician. I guess they don't want anyone buying designer frames. Though it said there are restrictions, it didn't say what they are. So I called ODSP and they said the optician would know. The closest optician is Eye Candy at 3170 Lakeshore Blvd. W. I called him to make sure he knew what to do with the ODSP form. He did so I went there and Shawn filled the prescription Tuesday of last week and I called him today and the glasses were ready. It will take some time to get used to them and I only wear them when watching TV or reading. I'm not wearing them now. Fortunately, I can do a lot of things myself and the power chair helps a lot. I hate to think what this is like for people who aren't as mobile as me.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Eddie Harris
Song:Freedom Jazz Dance
Album:Artists Choice:The Eddie Harris Anthology

Eddie Harris was a pianist in Chocago jazz groups who became a sax player by accident when he had a big hit with his version of the theme from the film Exodus in 1961 on VeeJay. He not only experimented in different kinds of music but even tried stand up comedy. Artists Choice is a 2CD comp on Rhino that covers Harris' Atlantic recordings and also includes Exodus. Freedom Jazz Dance is Harris most famous composition because Miles Davis covered it but Eddie's own version well worth seeking out. It's on his 1965 album The In Sound with Cedar Walton on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Billy Higgins on drums & Ray Codrington on trumpet. That's an outstanding rhythm section. Rhino has reissued The In Sound on CD as a twofer with Mean Greens. Eddie Harris died on November 5, 1996 at age 62 due to bone cancer & kidney disease. He had a very interesting career and had more chart success than most jazz musicians.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Does Panther Claw have something else in common with Janet Jackson?

Panther Claw & Alison Corino did brief interviews on the ZERO-ONE MAX blog. They heeled it up pretty good. Panther Claw said the loss to Hikaru upset her and she is never going to lose again to a woman with the body of a man. I swear she said that. She also said that she only lost the match because her outfit was ripped. A wardrobe malfunction? That might explain the odd way Hikaru pinned her. Panther Claw said the next time she comes to Japan she wants to have an undergarment match with Hikaru if Hikaru is willing. I don't know how the fans would feel about that kind of match. Meanwhile, Alison Corino suggested that Nanae Takahashi should go on a diet. She said she normally uses the name Alison Danger but agreed to use the Corino name to help her brother Steve. She says she can't wait to return to Japan and bring some of her friends to join the Real Evil Makers.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Marvin Gaye
Song:Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

Of course this classic is from What's Goin' On, one of the greatest albums in pop music history. There's a 2CD version of What's Goin' On available along with the 4CD comp that covers Marvin Gaye's entire career. I think Anthology is 2CDs. Marvin Gaye died in 1985 when his father, Marvin Gay Sr. shot him during an argument. Gay Sr. was a lay preacher and was considered a bit nuts and he did not approve of his son's career. Marvin Gaye is one of the greatest musical performers of all time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Song:The Call
Album:The Call

Anointed is a contemporary gospel group led by the brother/sister duo of Steve & De'Adra Crawford. The Call was their biggest hit in 1995. It won several awards. Anointed was a larger group then. Today it's just the two of them. Instead of getting individual CDs, it's probably best to pick up the Best Of comp released by Word in 2003. It has all their best songs on it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amazing Kong added to Wrestle Expo 2006

Japan's top gaijin Amazing Kong has been added the Joshi Puroresu vs Womens MMA show at Wrestle Expo 2006 on Aug. 19 at Shinjuku FACE. It should be interesting to see who her opponent will be. There could be a significant size difference. Two matches have already been announced and MMA fighters Misatoshi Nishijima, Yoko Yamada & Megumi Imagawa are scheduled to appear on this show too. All matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds. Here's the card so far.

WRESTLEEXPO 2006 - 8/19/06 - Shinjuku FACE
Joshi puroresu vs Womans combative sports
Ayako Sato vs Tama Chan
Kaoru Ito vs Bihana

Two more girls leave Gktn

Two more of Sakura Emi's trainees have announced that they are leaving the Gktn promotion after the July 30 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. Mai Ichii will join Kaoru Ito's Wrestling Classroom on August 1. This is probably a very good idea if she wants to improve and face better wrestlers. Mirai Saotome appears to be leaving the wrestling business completely and is returning to school to learn fashion designing. Maybe if more of these girls leave, Sakura Emi will get the message that she's not cut out to be a promoter.

Aja Kong announces 20th Anniversary show

Aja Kong announced that she will hold her 20th Anniversary show on Sept. 23 at Korakuen Hall. The main event is Aja Kong vs Yumiko Hotta. The other match announced is Amazing Kong vs Dynamite Kansai.

Yuka Nakamura retires

NEO held a big show at Korakuen Hall on July 17. Not only was it the retirement show for Yuka Nakamura but there were a couple of big title matches on the show and a debuting rookie. Yuka Nakamura is retiring due to a neck injury. Unfortunately, she's mostly known for this goofy little dance she does before all her matches. She's an OK wrestler but working for NEO tends to affect most wrestlers negatively. She isn't any different. NEO rookie Aya Watanabe made her debut against veteran Misae Genki. Genki won with a lariat in 6:09. We'll see how she does.

Yuka Nakamura had her retirement match against her old pal Mima Shimoda. Normally Shimoda would be expected to win but Nakamura did win her final match at 15:58 with her Romantic Clutch finisher. They did the usual stuff at Nakamura's retirement ceremony with everyone in the ring doing her little dance in unison. I guess that's a tribute of sorts.

So Kyoko Kimura got this big win over Mariko Yoshida on the Ibuki show. So now she teams up with Amazing Kong to challenge for the NEO Tag Tem Titles held by Kyoko Inoue & Etsuko Mita. Good choice for a partner. Kong & Kimura won the belts when Kimura used her Big Boots finisher on Mita at 22:49. Yoshiko Tamura successfully defended the NEO Singles Title/NWA Pacific Title over Kayoko Haruyama with a running elbow at 23:56.

Big win for Kyoko Kimura at Ibuki's 1st Anniversary show

Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki had its first anniversary show on July 16 at Shinjuku FACE. A couple of rookies debuted. It was Yoshida trainee Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Kaoru Ito trainee Hanako Kobayashi. Matsumoto won the match. Bambi had a rough day after Kaoru Ito used the diving footstomp on her. The main event had Mariko Yoshida against Kyoko Kimura in a 2 of 3 falls match. Kimura got the upset win with her Big Boots finisher. This could be the start of some sort of push for Kimura but time will tell if it sticks. It looks like this Jungle Girl gimmick is finally working for her. There's been some discussion about that big afro of hers. She did change to dreadlocks a while back but it looks like she brought back the afro about a month ago. Who knows? She might change it again. I'll let the fashion consultants deal with it.

Nanae Takahashi announces new promotion at tenth anniversary show

Nanae Takahashi & First On Stage presented Nanae Takahashi's Tenth Anniversary show on July 14 at Shinjuku FACE. 457 fans were in attendance. I believe that's close to a full house. The big news going into this show was the debut appearance of a new gaijin heel stable called Real Evil Makers led by veteran gaijin Amazing Kong along with Alison Corino and Panther Claw. But this was overshadowed by Takahashi's announcement that she is starting her own promotion in October. The opening ceremonies included a special video message from Riki Choshu.

In the opening match, new Dream Catchers member Natsuki*Head beat Ayumi Kurihara in 12:45 with a missile dropkick. Somebody asked me why Zero-One didn't bring in a fourth gaijin to face Natsuki*Head. Well, she just joined Dream Catchers and they didn't have time to get the paperwork done. The Real Evil Makers were introduced with Alison Corino over Saki Maemura in 13:32 with a variation on the Shining Wizard. Alison's brother Steve Corino was at ringside. It was said that Alison played the heel very well.

Next was the debut of Panther Claw against Hikaru. As has been already reported, Panther Claw's inexperience makes her a somewhat controversial selection to appear in a Japanese ring. If you've seen pics of her or been to her MySpace, you know she looks like a fitness model. She's fairly tall and that's what got her the gig. The fan reaction to Panther Claw was that she's beautiful and her abs make her look like Janet Jackson. Wait a minute. Janet Jackson? Well, as I have said many times before, the Japanese can be awfully goofy when it comes to gaijin women. Here's an example. A couple of years ago, MMA fighter Erica Montoya came to Japan for a match. The Japanese media went gaga over her because they thought she looked like Jennifer Lopez. Seriously. So this is laughable but not surprising. Hikaru was busted open when she was rammed into an exposed turnbuckle but Hikaru won in 11:11 when she sat on Panther Claw and held her shoulders down with her arms.

The main event had Amazing Kong over Nanae Takahashi in 21:39. Amazing Kong used a new finisher called the Amazing Buster. From what I can tell, it appears to be a variation of a Fisherman Buster. So the Real Evil Makers won 2-1 over Dream Catchers. Then Alison Corino & Panther Claw came to the ring. Panther Claw was handed a pair of scissors and proceeded to cut Hikaru's hair. It was broken up but that sort of thing is always going to attract heat. Takahashi then apologized for the Dream Catchers loss to the Real Evil Makers. It was Alison Corino & Panther Claw vs Hikaru & Saki Maemura at the July 15 ZERO-ONE MAX show in Niigata. Panther Claw won the match with some sort of power bomb. Both girls have returned to the US.

Nanae Takahashi announced that she is starting a new promotion in partnership with First On Stage. There is no name as yet but the debut show will be October 1 at Korakuen Hall. Takahashi says they will open a dojo and start taking applications for trainees. At this point, I would have to assume that this new promotion is tied in to the ZERO-ONE MAX joshi show on Sept. 27. This will become clearer in time but I'm not surprised Takahashi is starting her own fed as she has put on a few shows in the past year. She told the Naigai Times that she wants to put on a show at the Tokyo Dome. Uhhh, right. She needs to crawl before she walks. Here's the results of the show.

NATSUKI*Head def. Ayumi Kurihara in 12:45
Alison Corino def. Saki Maemura in 13:32
Hikaru def. Panther Claw in 11:11
Amazing Kong def. Nanae Takahashi in 21:39

THE WOMAN staging three shows at Summer Festival

THE WOMAN has announced that they will forego their monthly show in July and have shows on three consecutive nights at a Summer Festival. The shows will be on Aug. 16, 17 & 18 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Among those scheduled to appear are THE WOMAN owner GAMI and her assistant Toshie Uematsu, Michiko Ohmukai, Yuki Miyazaki, Cherry, AKINO, Ayumi Kurihara & Tsubasa Kuragaki. There will be a free market on location and Ayumi Kurihara's parents own a roast meat shop and will be there to feed the fans. Now they're making me hungry.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ben Webster
Song:Someone To Watch Over Me
Album:The House That Trane Built:The Impulse Records Story

Tenor sax player Ben Webster became popular from his days in the Duke Ellington band in the 40s. He's considered influential because of his style in playing ballads. He never adapted to the bebop sound but did continue to record in the 60s. This version of the Gershwin song Someone To Watch Over Me is from Webster's final US recording session in 1964 called See You At The Fair. It was a quartet with Hank Jones on piano, Richard Davis on bass & Osie Johnson on drums. Jazz fans should check it out. Like a lot of other jazz musicians, Webster then moved to Europe and died in 1973 in Amsterdam at age 64.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Song:Shake Your Hips
Album:Live At The Wetlands

Do you know what a pedal steel guitar is? It's an instrument that's been closely identified with country music for decades. It gives country that extra twang. But Robert Randolph started playing pedal steel guitar in his New Jersey church as a teenager. And that has converted him into a major crossover star. Randolph's music is basically gospel but the harder edge of his music makes him more popular with a rock audience and he's toured with rock bands so he's been marketed in that direction. John Ginty's organ provides a great counterpoint to Randolph's playing. This CD on the independent Dare label got Randolph a contract with Warner Bros. His music is very energetic and fun to listen to but it's not immediately identified as gospel though that's what it is. Very interesting.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Kyle Busch New Hampshire Nextel Cup race

With nine races remaining until The Chase For The Nextel Cup, it's time to think about who is going to make The Chase. This was the backdrop for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at the mile long flat track in Loudon, New Hampshire. Points leader Jimmie Johnson & second place Matt Kenseth seem safe but it's very close from third to thirteenth so there's still a lot of room for movement. And there are perennial Chase participants like Kurt Busch & Ryan Newman who have to get in gear or they're going to be out of contention. Newman won the pole and it was a good race with a screwy finish.

Brian Vickers-#25 GMAC Chevy was leading when a caution came out on lap 20 for a Travis Kvapil-#32 Tide Chevy spin. Vickers pitted and Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge stayed out to take the lead. Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy took the lead on lap 26. Newman dropped back to 27th place. Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy took the lead on lap 62. Stewart looked like he would have a dominant car but during green flag pit stops on lap 91, Newman spun out Stewart while trying to get his lap back after Newman's pit stop. You have to give guys more room early in the race. Stewart broke his radiator, finished 37th and dropped out of the top ten in points.

The restart was a traffic jam with several guys on the tail end of the lead lap. Leader Brian Vickers was in the middle of the pack. On the restart, Michael Waltrip-#55 Napa Auto Parts Dodge tapped Ryan Newman and spun him into the wall. Newman broke his radiator and finished 39th. This kills any chance Newman had of making the Chase. And it was karma. Vickers & teammate Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy swapped the lead for a while. Reed Sorenson-#41 Target Dodge took the lead on lap 119. Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy blew an engine on lap 135 and finished 43rd. He dropped to fifth in the points. Greg Biffle-#16 takes the lead on lap 151 and then Kyle Busch gets the lead back on lap 173.

Again green flag pit stops are interrupted by a caution. Kenny Wallace-#78 Furniture Row Chevy lost his brakes and hit the wall on lap 186. Like before, Kyle Busch led but had a bunch of guys in front of him on the tail end of the lead lap. They all get back on the lead lap when Joe Nemechek-#01 Army Chevy is spun out by Brian Vickers. Jeff Green-#66 Haas Automation Chevy hits the wall on lap 209 to bring out a caution. Most guys make what could be their final pit stops. Six guys stay out and Clint Bowyer-#07 Sylvania Chevy leads. Kurt Busch-#2 Miller Lite Dodge is spun into the wall by David Stremme-#40 Coors Light Dodge on lap 233. Busch finishes 38th and that should knock him out of the Chase. Bowyer pits to give Elliott Sadler-#38 M&M's Ford the lead.

Fuel mileage is the big question now. Who has enough fuel to finish the race? Kyle Busch takes the lead on lap 239 and clearly has the race won when Clint Bowyer spins to bring out a caution on lap 298. This sets up a green/white/checker finish but Reed Sorenson gives up third place to pit as he's out of fuel. Then while the caution is out, Michael Waltrip rear ends Robbie Gordon-#7 Menards Chevy and breaks his radiator. More caution laps. Elliott Sadler runs out of fuel on the restart and finishes 25th and then second place Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Chevy runs out of
fuel on final corner and finishes sixth. Kyle Busch wins.

Congratulations to Kyle Busch, crew chief Alan Gustafson & car owner Rick Hendrick on the win. Jimmie Johnson finished ninth to keep the points lead and top ten finishes for Denny Hamlin & Scott Riggs. Next week Nextel Cup returns to Pocono. Here's the top ten of the race.

1.5/Kyle Busch/Kellogg's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
2.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush
3.16/Greg Biffle/Subway/Ford/Jack Roush
4.6/Mark Martin/AAA/Ford/Jack Roush
5.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench/Chevy/Richard Childress
6.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Jow Gibbs
7.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
8.9/Kasey Kahne/Ask Dr. Evernham
9.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
10.10/Scott Riggs/Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper/Dodge/Ray Evernham

Jack Sprague wins Memphis Craftsman Truck race

Jack Sprague is a former NASCAR Craftsman Truck champion. After a failed attempt in Nextel Cup, he returned to the Craftsman Truck series last year. He was in ninth place in the points but had yet to win a race in 2006. Sprague won the pole for Saturday's race at in Memphis.

Most of the race was a battle between Jack Sprague-#60 Con-Way Freight Toyota and Dennis Setzer-#85 Flex Fuel Chevy. Sprague would lead the early part of the run and Setzer would get stronger on a long run. That was the pattern for most of the race.

The turning point of the race was after a lap 175 debris caution. Everyone made final pit stops But Dennis Setzer had a very unusual problem. On his way into his pit stall, the pit board for Kevin Grubb-#15 Sponovits Bar & Grill Chevy was held so low that Setzer got caught up in it. This knocked Setzer out of contention and he finished tenth. I don't recall this ever happening before but it's unfortunate that it cost Setzer the race.

Rookie Erik Darnell-#99 Ford led after the caution but Jack Sprague passed him on lap 193. A caution brought out by an Aric Almirola-#75 FedEx Chevy set up a green/white/checker finish. Sprague held off Darnell to win the race. Todd Bodine finished 15th and still leads the points. David Reutimann finished seventh and moved into second as Johnny Benson crashed and finished 32nd to drop to third in the points.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Chick Corea's Elektrik Band II
Album:Paint The World

Pianist Chick Corea is one of the primary sources of what is called Fusion music. It's a mix of jazz & rock popularized by Miles Davis on Bitches Brew etc. Corea was in that band and then became popular as a leader with Return To Forever. Along with Joe Zawinul, Corea is probably the best pianist to adapt to electronic keyboards & synthesizers. Ritual is from the 1993 Paint The World CD and it's the second version of his Elektrik Band featuring sax player Eric Marienthal. It's very straight ahead music and well worth a listen.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Temptations
Song:Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Album:20th Century Masters:The Millenium Collection:The Best Of The Temptations Vol. 2

By the time Papa Was A Rollin' Stone came out in 1972, Paul Williams was dead and David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks had been replaced by Dennis Edwards & Damon Harris. This classic song written by Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield and produced by Whitfield brought the Tempts out of a major tailspin. And it was probably their biggest hit. I guess it was somewhat influenced by the social commentary in R & B from Curtis Mayfield & Marvin Gaye and it's as powerful as anything those guys did. This series of budget CDs is a good intro to the Tempts but you can get this six minute version on plenty of comps and you can get the full twelve minute version on the original New Directions album. Papa Was A Rollin' Stone is an all time classic and supposedly the guys didn't even want to do it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Canadian to make NASCAR debut

19 year old Canadian driver Peter Shepherd III will make his NASCAR debut this weekend at the Craftsman Truck race at Memphis Motorsports Park. He will drive the #50 Ford owned by Roush Racing. Shepherd was a contestant in last year's Driver X competition shown by Discovery Channel in the US. Erik Darnell won the full time Craftsman Truck ride but Jack Roush was so impressed with Shepherd that he signed him to a driver developmental deal. Shepherd has been driving a USAC Silver Crown car owned by Carl Edwards. Griddly Headz Board Games has been announced as the sponsor. They are a Toronto based sports themed board game company and have a license to produce a NASCAR board game.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Charlie Parker
Song:I Can't Get Started
Album:The Ultimate Charlie Parker

The Ultimate Series of budget priced jazz CDs issued by Verve in 1999 were comps selected by musicians greatly influenced by the featured musician. This Charlie Parker comp was selected by Jackie McLean, a great sax player in his own right. The Ultimate Series is recommended for beginners as they give a good cross section of the artist's work. I Can't Get Started is from the 1946 Jazz At The Philharmonic concert and features Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young & Coleman Hawkins along with Parker. These are great musicians at the top of their game.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:McCoy Tyner
Song:Blues Back
Album:The Impulse Story:McCoy Tyner

Of course jazz pianist McCoy Tyner became famous as part of the "Classic" John Coltrane Quartet. His purcussive style endures and Tyner has become a major influence on today's generation of jazz musicians. This comp is part of the new Impulse Story series and is a good intro to his 60s Impulse recordings. Blues Back actually is from a 1963 Art Blakey recording called A Jazz Message also featuring Sonny Stitt on sax & Art Davis on drums. That was rereleased on CD in 1999. There is more to McCoy Tyner than his Impulse recordings. He has done everything from recording solo to recording with a full blown orchestra. He even tried rock once. That didn't work out. Many of his recordings on Milestone & Telarc are well worth seeking out. Especially recommended are 1976's Fly With The Wind (Tyner & a small band with strings) on Milestone & 2001's McCoy Tyner Plays John Coltrane:Live At The Village Vanguard on Impulse.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Song:The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
Album:The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

Traffic started out as a standard post Beatles pop group but when Dave Mason left the group, it focused more on Steve Winwood's interest in a more freeform style. Originally Winwood's plan was to go solo but Traffic stayed together for a while as a trio. The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys was the result and was Traffic's most successful record in 1972. It's still rock but with definite jazz influences and they used some outside musicians to help that along. Traffic petered out when Winwood became sick with perotinitis and bassist Jim Capaldi had a successful solo record. Eventually Winwood would have a very successful solo career too. Jim Capaldi died on January 28, 2005.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sendai Girls debuts

So it's been over a year since Michinoku Pro's Jinsei Shinzaki announced that he was starting a new joshi puroresu company. The company is called Sendai Girls because it is based in the city of Sendai. This in itself is unusual because of course most companies are in Tokyo and Sendai isn't across the street. Shinzaki hired former GAEA star and head trainer Meiko Satomura to run the company. I don't know if they can revive the joshi business but having Satomura training young girls is a good start. After delaying the debut once, Sendai Girls finally debuted on July 9 at Sendai SunPlaza. The attendance was estimated at 2498. Meiko Satomura vs Aja Kong was the main event.

Other than the main event, Satomura chose to debut all of her trainees against veterans. It's supposed to be Sendai vs The City or something. It doesn't seem like the smartest booking strategy but it may pay off down the road. I can understand her wanting to establish her rookies but I don't believe this is the way to do it in one fell swoop. But with Satomura training them, the rookies are likely to turn out well. 16 year old Sachiko Kanari was the first to debut against Kyoko Inoue. It appears the match consisted of Kanari throwing elbows and drop kicks and Kyoko no selling all her offense. Kyoko's ankle is still bothering her so she isn't moving very well. Kanari did attempt a DDT but Kyoko finished her off with a lariat in 5:56.

Next to debut was 20 year old Kaneko Yurie against Mariko Yoshida. Yurie had trained with Kaoru Ito for a while but moved to Sendai last winter. Yoshida gave the rookie a wrestling lesson and after 6:09 of ground & pound, Yoshida finished her with a reverse figure four. 17 year old Chisako Shinari is Sachiko's older sister. She's the smallest of the four rookies and her opponent was Dynamite Kansai. Uh oh. Chisako demonstrates a lot of energy and even knocks Kansai out of the ring with a tackle. But Kansai zonks her on the top of her head with a high kick and knocks her out at 4:49. Chisako is unable to comment.

Next to debut is Akari Okuda against Mayumi Ozaki. Some fans note that Okuda resembles GAEA comedy queen Sakura Hirota. Thankfully, Ozaki didn't bring her usual hardware and Okuda got in more offense and more time than the others. Ozaki won with a spinning back fist in 14:51. Meiko Satomura & Aja Kong had some classic matches in GAEA so fans were looking forward to the main event. The whole point of this match was for Aja to pass the torch to Meiko and that's what she did. Satomura won with the Scorpio Rising in 23:21. Reports indicate that Satomura hurt her right knee during the match.

Among those in attendance were Meiko Satomura's mentor Chigusa Nagayo, Manami Toyota, AKINO and several others. Aja Kong said afterwards that it took so long for Sendai Girls to get to this point and now that this show is done, Satomura can really start to build the company. The next Sendai Girls show will be Sept. 29 at Zepp Sendai. It looks like the Sendai vs The City theme will continue and Satomura plans to debut more trainees on this show. And all the Sendai wrestlers wore red. So Satomura is obviously going for a thematic approach. One of the problems with using the rookies is three of the five matches were shorter than ten minutes. That's somewhat unbalanced and Satomura will need to find a solution for that problem. She's also going to have to develop distinct personalities for these girls. They can't all be younger versions of Meiko Satomura. Here's the results of the show.

SENDAI GIRLS - 7/9/06 - Sendai SunPlaza
Kyoko Inoue def. Sachiko Kanari in 5:56
Mariko Yoshida def. Kaneko Yurie in 6:09
Dynamite Kansai def. Chisako Kanari in 6:09
Mayumi Ozaki def. Akari Okuda in 14:51
Meiko Satomura def. Aja Kong in 23:21

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir
Song:Jesus Is My Help
Album:Billboard Modern Gospel:Contemporary

Brooklyn pastor Hezekiah Walker leads one of the most popular & energetic choirs anywhere. He is known as the Pastor of Hip Hop and a lot of hip hop guys, most notably Sean Combs, use him as a spiritual advisor. This Billboard various artists comp released by Rhino in 1999 is an OK introduction for beginners. Jesus Is My Help led off Walker's 1997 Live In London At Wembley Stadium CD. It's a rousing opener and that CD is definitely worth getting. A lot of the big gospel choirs usually record live as it can be very difficult to find a recording studio big enough to fit.

Monday, July 10, 2006

KAORU coming to the US

Former GAEA star KAORU is planning a trip to the US. Bruce Kreitzman is handling her bookings. Any interested indy promoters can contact him at Kaoru was planning to come to the US when she was injured last year so it's not surprising that she still wants to do that.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Four Tops
Song:It's The Same Old Song
Album:The Ultimate Collection

The Four Tops were very unusual in that they got together in high school in Detroit and stayed together for decades. Lead singer Levi Stubbs had the talent to go solo but never did. No personnel changes. That's unbelievable in the music business. After some false starts with Chess & Columbia, The Four Tops signed with Motown in 1963. Berry Gordy hooked them up with the writing/producing team of Holland/Dozier/Holland. It was just magic. They produced plenty of Four Tops hits including It's The Same Old Song. The Four Tops hit a rough patch when Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown in 1968 over a money dispute but they continued to record for decades. The Ultimate Collection is a great comp to get if you are interested in all their 60s hits. All those classics still sound great today.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jeff Gordon wins Chicagoland Nextel Cup race

Back at Bristol, Matt Kenseth bumped Jeff Gordon, spun him out and ruined his finish. After the race, Kenseth tried to apologize and Gordon pushed him. NASCAR put Gordon on probation for that. Of course no one ever does this on purpose. And there's never any retaliation. Oh, you don't believe that either? With that in mind, the Nextel Cup was at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday for the USG Sheetrock 400. Jeff Burton won the pole.

Until the end, the race was fairly mundane. Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy led the first part of the race. Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy takes the lead after green flag pit stops on lap 63. Debris brought out a caution on lap 68. There were varying pit strategies but Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy stayed out to take the lead. Generally the leader was going to be able to keep the lead as clean air made the car easier to handle. But Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy was strong on long runs and he took the lead on lap 109.

It's deja vu all over again. After green flag pit stops gave Earnhardt back the lead on lap 131, another debris caution came out on lap 139. Everyone pitted but Reed Sorenson-#41 Target Dodge took fuel only to take the lead. Matt Kenseth-#17 USG Sheetrock Ford took the lead on lap 144 and he would dominate the rest of the race. But things would get interesting.

Tony Raines-#96 DLP Chevy spun on lap 196. Everyone hit pit road for their final pit stops of the race. Matt Kenseth led with Jeff Gordon was second. There were two issues here. First, would everyone have enough fuel to get to the finish? And Kenseth was concerned that Gordon had a much stronger car on long runs. He wasn't sure if he could hold him off. Crew chief Robbie Reiser reassured him but fuel was still an issue.

Gordon continued to gain on Kenseth until he tapped him in the rear, spun Kenseth out and Gordon took the lead on lap 263. The caution came out. During the caution, Kenseth suggested that if NASCAR wants to be consistent, they should penalize Gordon for spinning him out. After watching replays, it looked like Kenseth got a little loose with lapped car Casey Mears-#42 Texaco Havoline outside, had to slow up and Gordon tapped him by accident. No penalty for Gordon. Then Kenseth ran out of fuel and so did Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy. Stewart finished 32nd. Kenseth finished 22nd but collided with David Stremme-#40 Lone Star Steak House Dodge and wrecked his car. Needless to say, Kenseth was very upset and continued to complain about Gordon after the race.

Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte and car owner Rick Hendrick on the win. Big top ten finishes for rookies Reed Sorenson, Clint Bowyer & JJ Yeley. Jimmie Johnson finished sixth and still leads the points. I'm sure NASCAR will attempt to defuse the situation between Kenseth & Gordon but these things are never over. Here's the top ten of today's race.

1.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
2.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress
3.5/Kyle Busch/Carquest Auto Parts/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
4.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench/Chevy/Richard Childress
5.8/Dale Earnhardt Jr/Budweiser/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.;
6.48/Jimmie Johnson/Lowe's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
7.41/Reed Sorenson/Target/Dodge/Chip Ganassi
8.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
9.07/Clint Bowyer/Jack Daniels/Chevy/Richard Childress
10.18/JJ Yeley/Astellas VESIcare/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

Ron Hornaday wins Kansas Craftsman Truck race

Mike Skinner has had a very difficult NASCAR Craftsman Truck season. He qualifies great, runs fast but something always seems to happen to him. He's only won one race. Skinner was looking to change his luck at Saturday's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kansas Speedway. Australian rookie Marcos Ambrose won the pole.

Marcos Ambrose-#20 Team Australia Ford led the first part of the race but varying pit strategies and a caution at lap 59 put Ambrose back in the pack. He finished 19th.

Green flag pit stops and a subsequent caution led to the turning point of the race. There were only seven cars on the lead lap but there were several cars on the tail end of the lead lap. That meant the leaders were in the middle of the pack. This kind of thing always leads to another caution and that came on lap 129 when Ron Hornaday-#33 Chevy inadvertently squeezed Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota into a collision with Dennis Setzer-#85 FlexFuel Chevy and Skinner was out of the race. Another bad finish.

That set up a battle between Hornaday, Rick Crawford-#14 Circle Bar Truck Stop Ford & Brendan Gaughan-#77 Orleans Casino Dodge. But Hornaday is so good on restarts he had no problem holding off both guys. Todd Bodine finished 10th and still leads the points race.

F1 driver Montoya coming to NASCAR

Chip Ganassi announced today at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL that F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge in the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Of course it is well known that Montoya will lose his current F1 ride with Mercedes-McLaren at the end of the 2006 season. Montoya has worked for Ganassi before and won the 1999 CART championship & the 2000 Indy 500 and Ganassi has said he would love to get Montoya back. Also, Montoya drove Jeff Gordon's Nextel Cup car in 2003 in the Trading Paint TV show. Montoya met with team members today and also attended a meeting with Ganassi, NASCAR president Mike Helton and other NASCAR officials.

Montoya was at a press conference last weekend at the US Grand Prix at Indy with DaimlerChrysler chairman Dr. Deiter Zetsche, Mercedes-McLaren boss Ron Dennis & NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham. The purpose of the press conference was for Zetsche to reaffirm the company's support of motorsports, especially NASCAR as there had been rumours that Dodge was looking to leave. Zetsche also attended the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. No doubt Montoya spoke to Evernham and Evernham got word to Ganassi about Montoya's interest in NASCAR. Montoya is likely preferable to Dan Wheldon because he appeals to the latin audience. Plans are in the works for Montoya to drive some Busch Series races later this season after the end of the F1 season.

The other big announcement in NASCAR is that UPS has announced that they will take their 2007 sponsorship to Dale Jarrett's new ride for Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip said he will announce a driver for his third car sponsored by Burger King/Dominos Pizza in a couple of weeks. It's rumoured to be Ward Burton. This means that Robert Yates has to find a new driver & sponsor for the #88. The rumour is that current Busch Series driver Stephen Leicht & sponsor Citi Financial will move up to Nextel Cup.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Otis Redding
Song:Pain In My Heart
Album:Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding

Despite his tragic death on Dec. 10, 1967 in a plane crash at age 26, Otis Redding is still regarded as one the greatest R & B singers in pop music history. And at the time of his death, he was just breaking through to a wider audience. A lot of oldies don't age well but Redding's sound is still fresh today. It must be that church upbringing. This 4CD box set is a must for any R & B fan. Otis wrote a lot of his own songs usually with Booker T & the MGs guitarist Steve Cropper while they were recording at the Stax studio in Memphis. Otis wrote Pain In My Heart but was sued when Allen Toussaint thought it was too similar to one of his songs. Toussaint won the suit.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Jimi Hendrix
Song:Machine Gun
Album:Voodoo Child:The Jimi Hemdrix Collection

Though he had a very brief solo career, Jimi Hendrix is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists in pop music history. His mundane beginnings as a sideman for R & B groups like the Isley Bros. did not foresee what Animals bassist Chas Chandler saw when he discovered Hendrix in a New York club. His music is still very fresh today. The 2CD Voodoo Child comp is probably a reasonable introduction for beginners. It samples all of Jimi's recordings. Machine Gun was recorded live at the Fillmore East in New York Jan. 1, 1970 with the Band Of Gypsies. It also appears on the 2CD Live At The Fillmore East reissued by MCA in 1999. That is highly recommended.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Herbie Hancock
Album:Inventions & Dimensions

This was one of Herbie Hancock's earliest recordings in 1963. With bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Willie Bobo & percussionist Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez, it's more percussion based than some of Herbie's other recordings. Subsequently, Herbie was invited to join Chambers in the Miles Davis group and the rest is history.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

ZERO-ONE MAX starting gaijin heel stable

It appears that ZERO-ONE MAX is preparing for the Japan vs USA theme of their upcoming Sept. joshi show. They have put together a heel stable of three gaijins and calling them the Real Evil Makers. They will be matched against the Dream Catchers.

Of course the Real Evil Makers will be led by joshi puroresu's top gaijin Amazing Kong. Number two is Alison Danger. She is being billed as Alison Corino and of course she is the sister of ZERO-ONE Max gaijin booker Steve Corino. The third gaijin wrestler is called Panther Claw. Who's that? She is former WWE developmental talent Trenisha Biggars. Trenisha was a 2005 Diva Search reject and Kevin Dunn took a liking to her and signed her to a WWE developmental contract in Sept. 2005. She was trained to wrestle by Marty Janetty but was used mostly as the valet for the Shane Twins at Deep South. I think she might have had two matches and was released by the WWE a couple of months ago. Obviously she is very green so is not the ideal person to throw in a Japanese ring with seasoned veterans.

REM will appear on the July 14 Nanae Takahashi tenth anniversary show. Of course the main event will be Nanae Takahashi vs Amazing Kong. The other two matches are Alison Corino vs Saki Maemura & Panther Claw vs Hikaru. The July 15 ZERO-ONE MAX show at the Niigata City Gym will have a tag match; Alison Corino & Panther Claw vs Hikaru & Saki Maemura. So these two are the friends Amazing Kong promised at the Nanae Takahashi press conference. Bringing in a greenhorn is very disappointing.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Album:The Major Works Of John Coltrane

This 1965 recording was very controversial at the time. Though influenced by Ornette Coleman's experiments in free jazz, Coltrane took it to a whole new level. And of course when someone takes jazz to a new level, he is criticized by supposed jazz purists. Ascension is recommended to jazz buffs but you might want to try something else if you're a beginner. Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison & Elvin Jones are all great on this. And it's forty minutes long folks. This 1992 2CD Major Works comp is a great comp of Coltrane's more avant garde material. Even today, it's too adventurous for some.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Joshi Puroresu vs Womens MMA at WrestleExpo 2006

There are plenty of pro wrestling and MMA shows being announced for August's WrestleExpo 2006. There was a press conference held on July 3 to announce a Joshi Puroresu vs Womens MMA show on Aug. 19 at Shinjuku FACE. The main event will have veteran joshi wrestler Kaoru Ito vs Bihana. Bihana has been fighting for one year and has a 1-1 record in G-Shooto. Ito has worked for Smackgirl in the past. The other announced match is Ayako Sato vs Tama Chan. Sato is an AJW trainee who trains with Kaoru Ito. She has worked for Smackgirl in the past. Tama Chan is a Smackgirl veteran who lost last week to Megumi Fujii. Also scheduled for this show is Misatoshi Nishijima & Yoko Yamada. Both matches are scheduled for two five minute rounds.

WRESTLEEXPO 2006 - 8/19/06 - Shinjuku FACE
Joshi puroresu vs Womans combative sports
Ayako Sato vs Tama Chan
Kaoru Ito vs Bihana

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Song:He's Been Good (Uncle Freddy's Remix)
Album:Verity Records, The First Decade Vol. 1

Virtue is a gospel girl group led by Karima Kibble, wife of Take 6's Mark Kibble. Initially the group had Karima and sister Ebony Trotter and two other girls. They worked a lot with Mark's brother Joey Kibble. By the time He's Been Good was released in 2001, it became a sister trio with the two girls leaving and third sister Heather Trotter joining the group. The song was on their Virtuosity CD and was writen & produced by Derek "DOA" Allen. It was remixed by veteran producer Freddie Jenkins. They've got a great sound so I don't know why they never broke through at Verity. Uber-producer Rodney Jerkins signed them to his new Darkchild Gospel label for the 2006 release of Testimony which is mostly produced by Freddie Jenkins.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

JWP/NEO double shot on July 2

JWP & NEO had one of their double shots on July 2 at Itabashi Green Hall. The JWP show was in the afternoon and the NEO show was in the evening. The main event had masked wrestler ECO challenge Manami Toyota for the JWP Open Weight Title. The result was never in doubt and Toyota won easily. ECO tried hard but doesn't have what it takes. Kaori Yoneyama won over Haruka Matsuo in another match and Kyoko Kimura was DQd in her match with Kyoko Inoue when Kimura brought in a chain.

The NEO show started with Yuka Shiina winning easily over rookie Yasusato Nakajima. Kyoko Inoue is still having trouble with her ankle but won over Shuu Shibutani anyway. Misae Genki defeated Toshie Uematsu. Etsuko Mita defeated Amazing Kong. Haruka Matsuo won over Yuka Nakamura. The main event had Yoshiko Tamura teaming with the NEO Machine Gunz-Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki against Ayako Sato, Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kuragaki. It was a comedy match of course and Tamura, Tanny & Miyazaki won.

Lady Gong presents joshi show on July 2

Sunday was a busy day. Not only did JWP & NEO have one of their double shots at Itabashi Green Hall (I'll get to that shortly), Lady Gong presented a show at Shinjuku FACE on July 2. So with this show starting at Noon and the JWP starting at 1PM, there was a lot of scrambling around. Sachie Abe sang a song with some of her old JD pals on this show and then rushed over to the JWP show. And though the show used a lot of rookie idol wrestlers, it also had a debut, appearances by Chapparita ASARI & Rie Tamada and an ARSION reunion main event. There were 620 in attendance.

The show started with Sachie Abe, Keiko Saito & MARU singing a song they sang in JD. Abe left for JWP right after the song. Then Generalissimo Tanny Mouse had some sort of secret ceremony. This had to be a Hustle spoof. Then an exhibition match with Yoko Yamada making her debut against Hikaru. So who's Yoko Yamada? It seems that a few years ago she tried to get into wrestling training and was told she was too small. So she took up arm wrestling and eventually made her way to Smackgirl. She's had a few matches there but is probably best known for her Hot Body DVD and she's been promoting that. Yoko is very small. She's maybe five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds. At that size, it would be very difficult for her to get out of midcard. baby-M was an extraordinary athlete and she couldn't get higher than midcard. Hikaru won the match and it was taped for a TV Asahi morning show.

Next was an elimination tag match with mostly idol wrestlers. It was Fuuka, Apple Miyuki, Haruhi, & Masasai vs Shuu Shibutani, Bambi, Mai Ichii & Nozomi Takesako. A wrestler could be eliminated by pinfall, submission or going over the top rope. Whoever is left is the winner. The whole thing took 10:22. First, Fuuka threw Takesako over the top rope. Then Shibutani used a jacknife pin to eliminate Masasai. Apple got rid of Shibutani with a German suplex. Then Apple & Bambi went over the top rope together. Then Ichii threw Haruhi over the top rope. Fuuka won the match over Mai Ichii with a high kick. The next match had Nanae Takahashi defeating Ayumi Kurihara with a back drop in 18:47.

Next was a Redigon Palace victory ceremony featuring Rie Tamada and Chiaparita ASARI and her fiancee. Finally the main event was an ASRION reunion. The match was AKINO, Aja Kong & GAMI vs Reina Takase, Atsuko Emoto & Michiko Ohmukai. Rie Tamada was at ringside. Ohmukai wore one of her old 1998 costumes. Apparently the match was a lot of fun and Takase won over Aja with a splash at 20:13. Call it a birthday present. They celebrated Reina Takase's 26th birthday afterwards. Not surprisingly, it turned into a food fight. I think a lot of fans would enjoy the ARSION reunion but I don't know if this was on TV.

Chiharu retires at June 29 NEO show

NEO held a special midweek show at Shinjuku FACE on June 29 as a retirement show for Chiharu. Who? Believe it or not, Chiharu is an eight year veteran of the wrestling business. I think she was going to school so she was never full time. She trained at the SPWF and her trainer Asian Cougar appeared on the show. She never really rose above lower midcard status. She was freelance but usually worked for NEO when she did work. I guess that's why Kyoko Inoue decided to give her a retirement ceremony. People get upset with me when I say this but I don't believe all wrestlers should get a retirement ceremony. Some of them should just quit quietly. Chiharu is borderline. She's been around for eight years and a lot of fans don't know who she is. It was very nice for Kyoko to give her this sendoff.

In her retirement match, Chiharu teamed with Kyoko Kimura. Both are single mothers. Opponents Kyoko Inoue and the soon to retire Yuka Nakamura. Inoue pinned Kimura in 11:34. Then they had the retirement ceremony with flower bouquets and the usual things. Chiharu said she has been thinking about quiiting the joshi business for six months. She has aspirations of entering the clothing industry.

Yoshiko Tamura & Tanny Mouse just returned from their trip to California to work for All Pro Wrestling. Tanny took this opportunity to do some sort of Americanized Tanny Mouse gimmick. Oh joy. Tamura won in 9:34. The main event had Etsuko Mita & Haruka Matsuo against Amazing Kong and a mystery partner. The partner turned out to be Kyoko Kimura. Kong & Kimura won after Kong used the spiral bomb on Matsuo at 19:06. Amazing Kong & Kimura proceeded to challenge Kyoko Inoue & Etsuko Mita for the NEO Tag Team Titles. That match will happen at the Yuka Nakamura retirement show on July 17.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Scofield
Album:A Go Go

John Scofield is one of the best jazz guitarists working today. He became known while touring with Miles Davis in the 80s and has been recording his own music for several years. He's been with Verve since the mid 90s. A Go Go was recorded with the jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. They work very well together and the music has a lot of energy.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Song:A Night In Tunisia
Album:A Night In Tunisia

Any discussion of jazz greats has to include drummer Art Blakey. He was a great hard bop drummer and his music remained consistent over several decades. The other thing is he used his group The Jazz Messengers to introduce young musicians that would go on to their own careers. This 1960 album included Lee Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax & Bobby Timmons on piano. It's a hard driving version of the Dizzy Gillespie classic A Night In Tunisia. Blue Note reissued a remastered version in 2005 as part of their Rudy Van Gelder Master series. Van Gelder was the recording engineer who worked on all the Blue Note sessions.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tony Stewart wins Pepsi 400

The Nextel Cup boys made their second visit to Daytona with Saturday's Pepsi 400. The weather is hotter this time of year and racing at night makes the track much slicker. So the cars need to handle properly to win. Boris Said surprisingly won the pole and Tony Stewart was also in the front row.

Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy & Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont/Pepsi/Superman Returns Chevy led for most of the race. There were a lot of green flag pit stops but things usually cycled back to those two. The turning point of the race was when Jimmie Johnson-#48 Shamu Chevy got loose and crashed with Bobby Labonte-#48 Cinnabon Dodge crashed into the wall on lap 148, 12 laps left. Points leader Johnson finished 32nd.

Most guys pitted with varying strategies but Boris Said-#60 SoBe No Fear Energy Drink Ford & Casey Mears-#42 Texaco Havoline Dodge stayed out to get up front. So with guys with fresh tires looming, could Said hold the lead? Tony Stewart is coming but Greg Biffle-#16 Subway Ford crashes and takes out JJ Yeley-#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy, Mark Martin-#6 AAA Ford & Jeff Gordon out on lap 154. With the help of Kyle Busch-#5 Cheez-It Chevy, Stewart passed Said for the lead with one lap left. A caution for a blown tire on the final lap ended the race. Tony climbed the fence to the flag stand and did a mosh pit dive into the crowd. That boy is crazy.

Congratulations to Tony Stewart, crew chief Greg Zipadelli & car owner Joe Gibbs. How about that Boris Said? Frank Stoddard's pit strategy got him a fourth place finish. Similar pit strategy by Donnie Wingo got Casey Mears a top ten. And a top ten for rookie Clint Bowyer. Jimmie Johnson still leads the points but Matt Kenseth closed the gap significantly. Here's the top ten.

1.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs
2.5/Kyle Busch/Cheez-It/Chevy/Rick Hendrick
3.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske
4.60/Boris Said/SoBe No Fear Energy Drink/Ford/No Fear Racing
5.17/Matt Kenseth/R & L Carriers/Ford/Jack Roush
6.38/Elliott Sadler/M&M's/Ford/Robert Yates
7.42/Casey Mears/Texaco Havoline/Dodge/Chip Ganassi
8.26/Jamie McMurray/Smirnoff Ice/Ford/Jack Roush
9.29/Kevin Harvick/Hershey's/Chevy/Richard Childress
10.07/Clint Bowyer/Jack Daniels/Chevy/Richard Childress

Terry Cook wins Kansas Craftsman Truck race

Except for when Mark Martin is racing, the Craftsman Truck series has been a Toyota show this year. Saturday's Kansas race was shaping up to be more of the same. Mike Skinner won another pole. Points leader Todd Bodine didn't pass inspection before qualifying and had to start last.

Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota led the first part of the race. The red flag came out when Kelly Sutton-#02 Chevy crashed hard into the inside wall. The safety crew had to cut the roof off to get her out of the truck and she was taken to hospital. It was very similar to Jeff Fuller's crash at the Busch Series race at Kentucky two weeks ago. Kentucky is replacing the concrete inside wall with SAFR barriers and Kansas should do that too.

Terry Cook-#10 Powerstroke Deisel Ford stayed out when everyone else pitted with 40 laps left. He strung out his lead to win the race. Rick Crawford-#14 Circle Bar Truck Stop Ford finished second. And a career best finish for Aussie Marcos Ambrose-#20 Team Australia Ford in third. So the Toyota domination stops in Kansas. Todd Bodine finished seventh and still leads the points.

Yuka Tsuji wins Winner Take All match at Smackgirl show

With both Yuka Tsuji & Megumi Fujii appearing, there's not much question that the June 30 Smackgirl show at Korakuen Hall was the biggest show in the company's history. Add Yoko Takahashi's tenth anniversary match and Hitomi Akano and this show was loaded.

The main event was a Winner Take All match between Smackgirl Lightweight Champ Yuka Tsuji & WINDY Tomomi. Tomomi is an expert kickboxer and current IKMF Oriental Kickboxing Champ. Tsuji defeated Tomomi in 2003 but a few months ago Tomomi started running her mouth about Tsuji. Tsuji said she had nothing to prove by fighting Tomomi but eventually agreed to a Winner Take All match with full MMA rules including no ground time limit.

Both were very confident. Tsuji said she had already ordered some new gym equipment and planned to use the winnings from this match to pay for it. Tomomi said it's not about the title. She just wanted to prove that Tsuji's time is over. But Tsuji is the sport's number one ranked fighter though Tomomi has improved.

Of course Tomomi's strength is her strikes so she attacked Tsuji at the start of the match. Obviously Tsuji prepared for this and counterpunched effectively. One of those punches put Tomomi on her back and then Tsuji went to her strength. Tsuji mounted her back and pounded her with strikes. This led to a rear naked choke. Tsuji locked it in and Tomomi turned red. Tomomi was unconscious at 4:19 of the first round. Yuka Tsuji is still the best fighter.

Though outweighed by 15 pounds, Megumi Fujii made short work of Tama Chan with an armbar at 53 seconds of round one. Yoko Takahashi won her tenth anniverary match over Michiko Takeda with a guillotine choke at 4:09 of round one. Fujii's teammate Hitomi Akano won a unanimous decision over US fighter Emma Bush.

So what's next? Well, with Megumi Fujii in Smackgirl, a showdown between Fujii and Yuka Tsuji could certainly be in the works. And don't forget that Hisae Watanabe is in the vicinity too. This is getting interesting. Here's the results of the show. All matches were scheduled for two five minute rounds unless otherwise noted.

SMACKGIRL - 6/30/06 - Korakuen Hall
2006 Smackgirl Flyweight Next Cinderella Tournament Semifinal-Fukuko Hamada def. Taeko Magamine by unanimous decision.
2006 Smackgirl Middleweight Next Cinderella Tournament Semifinal-Sakura Nakamura def.Miki Morifuji by unanimous decision.
58 KG Bout-Madoka Okada def.Yui Tatsubun by unanimous decision.
50 KG Bout-Ayumi "Edge" Saito def. Sayahana Takase via armbar at 30 sec. of the first round.
48 KG Bout-Mariko Fujimoto def. Yukiko Seki by unanimous decision.
58 KG Bout-Takayo Hashi def. Kinuka Sasaki by submission via rear naked choke at 2:31 of the first round.
52 KG Bout-Seri def. Kyoko Takabayashi by split decision.
Full Contact Karate Match (Open, 2R 2M)-Yuka Kobayashi def. Asanami Kitajima by unanimous decision.
48 KG Bout-Naoko Ohmuro def. Shiho Yamato by unanimous decision.
65 KG Bout-Hitomi Akano def. Emma Bush by unanimous decision.
Open Weight Bout-Yoko Takahashi def. Michiko Takeda via guillotine choke at 4:09 of the first round.
61 KG Bout-Megumi Fujii def. Tama Chan via armbar at 53 sec. of the first round.
Winner Take All Rules Match (52 KG, 3R 5M)-Yuka Tsuji def. WINDY Tomomi via rear naked choke at 4:19 of the first round.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Coltrane
Album:John Coltrane:The Impulse Story

The great thing about a great musician like John Coltrane is he could take a traditional song like Greensleeves and astonish people with the renewed beauty of the song. This version was recorded in 1961 for the Africa Brass Sessions. It was a fairly large band and featured an arrangement by baritone saxman Eric Dolphy. He also recorded a shorter version of Greensleeves with his quartet. This comp is part of The Impulse Story series I talked about yesterday. I wouldn't pretend to suggest that one CD can adequately cover Coltrane's career at Impulse but it might be a good start for newcomers. The Africa Brass Sessions was rereleased on CD in 1997.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Trish leaving the WWE?

The following is courtesy of the Wrestling Observer newsletter. Obviously it's not a sure thing that Trish Stratus is leaving the WWE but it's very similar to the Chris Jericho situation last year. They have to prepare like she is leaving.

The surprise of Trish returning on the 6/26 RAW and losing in 2:00 to Mickie James and then being berated by Melina and Nitro is being treated as a "passing of the torch moment". Trish's contract is up in August and nobody is sure of her future plans. Also, she is getting married to her boyfriend in September and plans on taking time off after the wedding. She is currently negotiating for a new contract with Johnny Ace.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sonny Stitt & Paul Gonsalves
Song:Salt And Pepper
Album:The House That Trane Built:The Impulse Records Story

Great song by two great tenor sax players. Sonny Stitt was definitely a disciple of Charlie Parker but carved out his own following. Paul Gonsalves is probably best known for his performance with Duke Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival but he played with plenty of other bands too. This song was recorded in 1963. The House That Trane Built is a newly released 4CD box set chronicling the history of Impulse Records. There's also a single CD version available and single CD comps of individual artists. I guess it's a good introduction for those unfamiliar with Impulse but most jazz fans will have a lot of this music already.