Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

Album:Mothership Connection

Funkmeister George Clinton once had a group called The Parliaments but he lost the rights to the name. He continued on with Funkadelic but regained the name rights and started Parliament. Both groups had the same core members of Clinton, keyboardist Bernie Worrell & bassist Bootsy Collins. Parliament had an outrageous sci fi stage show. The music was the best funk anywhere. And Clinton added horn players Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker from The JBs just to make Mothership Connection even more funky. The music still holds up very well twenty years later.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Fred Hammond

Song:Give Me A Clean Heart

Album:Purpose By Design

Fred Hammond started out as a member of the group Commissioned but has become one of the most popular gospel artists today. He can do everything and he has his own record label now and was even executive producer of the film The Gospel. Purpose By Design was released in 2000 and has a lot of very strong material featuring his excellent backup group Radical For Christ. Give Me A clean Heart is a great song and very typical of Hammond's music. His new CD Free To Worship will be out on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Injured Canadian soldier on road to recovery

Corporal Christopher Klodt was shot in the neck during a gun battle with Afghan rebels outside Kandhahar 2 1/2 months ago. The bullet lodged in his spine and he's paralyzed from the neck down. Despite that, Chris has said that if he could, he would go back to Afghanistan and continue to serve.

Chris is now recovering at Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton. The medical prognosis had Chris breathing through a machine, being fed through a tube and never to speak again for the rest of his life. The doctors always do that. They want to prepare you for the worst. Chris could have given up but instead is out in his power chair and has regained some use of his arms. You'll notice he has a collar around his neck. He'll ditch that soon. He's just started eating solid food again and has also taught himself to dress and hold his food. It remains to be seen how much better he can get. A lot of times you get to a level and never get any better than that level. He's gotten pretty far already.

Chris's fiancee Deena gave birth to their son Jonathan Sept. 7. Chris is lucky to be here to see his son. But he's going to keep getting better and I wanted to wish him the best of luck in his recovery. You have to do for yourself because the doctors will try and discourage you. This article is derived from Dana Borcea's article in the Hamilton Spectator and Jane Wiens of CBC's Metro Morning has done an interview with Chris which you can hear on the CBC website.

Satomura/Kato update

Meiko Satomura had hernia surgery in August. With a Sendai Girls show looming on Sept. 29, she has been delaying the decision about her participation in the show. She has now announced that she will appear on the Sept. 29 Sendai Girls show at Zepp Sendai. She also announced that Sonoko Kato will make her long awaited return to the ring from years of knee surgery on the Chigusa Nagayo Produce show called Sonoko Kato:Restart Again Oct. 1 at Shinjuku FACE. It will be Sonoko Kato & Aja Kong vs KAORU & Meiko Satomura.

Montoya to make stock car debut at Talledega

Columbian Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya has signed to drive the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for Chip Ganassi in 2007. Montoya has finally been released from his F1 contract. He tested at Talledega on Monday and Ganassi has announced that Montoya will make his stock car debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series October 6 at Talledega Speedway in the #4 Texaco Havoline Dodge. The ARCA cars are very similar to Nextel Cup cars and the Busch Series isn't there that weekend. He's also testing at Iowa Speedway this week and will likely run the ARCA race there too. It's expected that he will run some Busch Series races this season too. The Talledega ARCA race will be shown by SPEED on tape delay Friday October 6 at 8PM.

Tomoko Watanabe announces retirement

Veteran joshi wrestler Tomoko Watanabe announced at the Sept. 23 Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling show that she plans to retire. No date has been given yet. It is well known that Watanabe has had a bad right knee for years and it's getting worse. Tomoko posted the accompanying pic on her blog. Apparently she had to inject a double dose of painkillers before the show. The pain must be very bad. She hasn't announced post retirement plans but considering that Kaoru Ito is her best friend, it would not be surprising if Tomoko becomes a trainer at the Kaoru Ito Professional Wrestling Classroom.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sly & The Family Stone

Song:Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)


Sly & The Family Stone mixed R & B, funk, social commentary & psychedelic music to become one of the most popular groups of the late 60s. The psychedelic part came honestly as Sly Stone produced some garage bands before forming the group. Thank You was a huge hit and was only released as a single and then issued on the 1970 Greatest Hits album. Various factors contributed to Sly's decline in the early 70s. Times were changing and Sly didn't want to change. Sly was also addicted to cocaine and was notoriously unreliable. Promoters never knew if he was going to show up. And bassist Larry Graham left to start his own group. That really hurt the band. Anthology is a good comp. It has all the hits. The 2CD Essential Sly & The Family Stone is more complete. Sly Stone has attempted comebacks over the years especially with Jesse Johnson in 1986 but has ultimately been unsuccessful. But Sly & The Family Stone were a great band.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Bessie Smith

Song:Baby Won't You Please Come Home

Album:The Essential Bessie Smith

Thanks to veteran Columbia record producer John Hammond, Bessie Smith was the first major jazz and blues artist to record. And though Baby Won't You Please Come Home was recorded in 1923, the undeniable power of her voice still comes through today. Some of her songs are pretty raunchy too. She worked with a lot of the top musicians of her day including Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins & Benny Goodman but the great pianist & arranger Fletcher Henderson was the primary arranger of her recordings. This 2CD comp is worth getting but there are plenty of others available too. Bessie Smith's career petered out by the late 20s and The Empress Of The Blues died tragically at age 43 on Sept. 26, 1937 in Clarksdale, MS when she was in an auto accident and no hospital would accept her because she was black.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Animal Hamiguchi visits Pro Wrestling SUN office

A couple of Pro Wrestling SUN items. They held a press conference on Sept. 24. It appears that the main purpose of the press conference was to announce that Natsuki*Head has changed her ring name. Japanese is difficult to tranlate so I'm not sure what the name is or why she changed it. It looks like a variation of Natsuki*head. I don't know why she doesn't just use her real name Nizumo Mizushima. The press conference is supposed to be online but it's not up yet but I'll check again later.

On Sept. 26, a special guest visited the Pro Wrestling SUN office. It was puroresu legend Animal Hamiguchi. These days he's probably best known for his daughter world champion amateur Kyoko Hamiguchi. And before the rumours start, Kyoko wasn't there and she will be at a wrestling tournament in China this weekend. Of course Animal Hamiguchi is not only famous for his mat skills but his yelling. So he was there to offer best wishes to SUN and also instruct Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Head on the art of yelling. It was ten yells in rapid succession. So it was ZERO-ONE MAX president Nakamura's attempt at a photo op in the hopes that the media would cover it. And Nikkan Sports did cover it so it was successful. Nakamura's posts on the ZERO-ONE MAX blog indicates he is a little concerned about the debut show which is fairly normal. We'll know this weekend.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Song:The Tracks Of My Tears

Album:The Ultimate Collection

The thing you have to remember about William "Smokey" Robinson is that he not only had several big hits with the Miracles but he wrote and produced plenty of hits for other Motown artists. He really personifies the Motown Sound and was there from the very start. The Tracks Of My Tears is one of his greatest songs and you can't go wrong with the 25 songs on The Ultimate Collection. It's part of a series Motown released a few years ago. Robinson returned to the charts in the 80s with his Quiet Storm sound. These days he's kind of semi retired but Smokey goes right to the top of the class of R & B legends.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Ella Fitzgerald

Song:Stairway To The Stars

Album:Ella:The Complete Decca Recordings

There's not much question Ella Fitzgerald was one of the great innovators of jazz vocal. This 4CD box set is probably a good place to start. It covers her early career with Chick Webb and also has discs featuring her work with other arrangers and the Songbook series of the 50s. This version of Stairway To The Stars is simply gorgeous and emphasizes Ella's strength as a ballad singer. It was recorded in 1939 shortly after Chick Webb died and Ella was made the bandleader. It was the same band but I guess Ella had name value at the time. It's always amazing to me how a recording like this sounds this great all these years later. Ella Fitzgerald died in June 1996 at age 79.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jeff Burton wins at Dover

The main topic of discussion over the past week was about Jimmie Johnson & Kyle Busch having bad races last week. Are they out of contention for the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship? A bad race is one thing but when the first race is bad it puts the driver behind the eight ball. It just shows that it's easier to lose the championship than win it. So those guys had to climb out of a big hole at Sunday's Dover 400 at Dover, DE. Jeff Gordon won the pole.

While Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge led, disaster struck on lap 11 when Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot/Six Flags Chevy spun right into Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge. Stewart finished 33rd and Kahne was 38th and he's now ninth in the points. Rookie David Ragan-#06 Sharp Aquos Ford spins on lap 22. Some guys pit but Newman stays out to lead but is passed by Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford on lap 29. Ragan spins again but hits the wall this time on lap 48. Most guys pit but David Stremme-#40 Coors Light Dodge & Elliott Sadler-#19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge stay out. Sadler takes the lead on lap 54. Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Tools Ford uses fresh tires to lead on lap 74.

Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy is running third on lap 106 when his engine blows and he finishes 40th. Two bad races in a row and he's done. Everyone pits during a debris caution on lap 164. Matt Kenseth has a long pit stop when his right front tire is out of the pit box. The long pit stop puts him back to 19th. Reed Sorenson-#41 Target Dodge leads. Stanton Barrett#61 Oak Glove Dodge breaks his track bar and crashes on lap 204. Most guys pit but Greg Biffle-#16 National Guard Ford stays out to lead.

Green flag pit stops begin when Biffle pits on lap 264 and gives up the lead to Matt Kenseth. Scott Riggs-#10 Valvoline Dodge hits the wall on lap 297. This leaves a bucnch of guys who already pitted a lap down. Kenseth still leads. The turning point of the race comes when JJ Yeley-#18 Interstate Batteries Chevy spins out on lap 322. Most of the leaders pit during the caution because none of them had enough fuel to finish. Kenseth, Kurt Busch-#2 Miller Lite Dodge & Reed Sorenson stay out. Kenseth & crew chief Robbie Reiser question that decision. It's the same strategy they used to win the spring Dover race. Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy is fourth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy is having a problem but he's not sure what it is. He drops back and finishes 21st. On lap 357, Jeff Burton moves into second and is closing on Matt Kenseth. Kevin Harvick's-#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy good fortune runs out with engine failure on lap 366. He finishes 32nd. After a long battle, Burton passes Kenseth for the win on lap 394. Then Kenseth and Reed Sorenson both run out of fuel. Kenseth says "Guys, this was stupid."

Congratulations to Jeff Burton, crew chief Scott Miller and car owner Richard Childress. It was Burton'e first win in almost five years and gives him a six point lead over third place finisher Jeff Gordon. Big top ten finishes for Martin Truex Jr, Bobby Labonte & Clint Bowyer. The Nextel Cup & Busch Series guys are in Kansas next week. Here's the top ten of the race.


1.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

2.99/Carl Edwards/Office Depot/Ford/Jack Roush

3.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

4.2/Kurt Busch/Miller Lite/Dodge/Roger Penske

5.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Ford/Jack Roush

6.1/Martin Truex Jr/Bass Pro Shops/Chevy/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

7.43/Bobby Labonte/Cheerios/Dodge/Petty Enterprises

8.07/Clint Bowyer/DirecTV/Chevy/Richard Childress

9.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

10.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush

Mike Skinner wins Las Vegas Craftsman Truck race

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck series visited the newly configured Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. The track now has more banking. It's been repaved and looks great. The series is coming down to a battle between Todd Bodine & Johnny Benson. Mike Skinner won another pole but can he win the race?

Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota led 114 of 146 laps. He was challeged by Ted Musgrave-#9 ASE Toyota & Ron Hornaday-#33 Allstate Employment services Chevy. Skinner passed Musgrave for the win with 20 laps left but Skinner clearly had the fastest truck. Musgrave was second, Mike Bliss-#16 Chevy was third.

Points leader Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota battled an ill handling truck but was able to move up to 12th place. Johnny Benson-#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota had transmission problems but was able to hold on and finish 4th. He made up some ground on Bodine and is 91 points behind. In two weeks, the Craftsman Truck series goes to Talledega for the first time.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:John Legend

Song:Ordinary People

Album:Get Lifted

R & B singer John Legend was born John Stephens in Springfield, OH. He grew up singing and playing piano in church and eventually moved east and played piano on Lauryn Hill's Everything Is Everything in 1998. He would play sessions for a few years but recorded a solo album on the independent DCN label in 2003. Kanye West heard something he liked and signed him to Columbia and gave him the name John Legend. Ordinary People was a big chart hit and was nominated for a Grammy. Legend's new CD Once Again will be out next month. Because John Legend writes and plays a lot of his own material, he has the potential for a lengthy career in music as long as he doesn't try to be something he isn't. It doesn't look to be a problem as Get Lifted was a hit on its own terms and Legend doesn't appear to be subject to flaky trends.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Aretha Franklin

Song:Dr. Feelgood

Album:Live At Fillmore West

Aretha Franklin is the Queen Of Soul and this newly released and expanded 2CD version of her March 1971 Fillmore West concert is essential even if you have everything else. Producer Jerry Wexler convinced Aretha to use King Curtis & The Kingpins instead of her usual road band. So you've got King Curtis on sax, Cornell Dupree on guitar, Billy Preston on organ, Jerry Jemmott on bass, Bernard Purdie on drums, The Memphis Horns & Aretha's backup singers The Sweethearts Of Soul. And Aretha plays Fender Rhodes piano on her own composition Dr. Feelgood. You can't beat that. This is Aretha Franklin at the height of her talent when she was capable of turning any song into church. Live At Fillmore West is a must for soul fans.

Friday, September 22, 2006

LAMP's annual general meeting

The LAMP Community Health Centre had their annual general meeting last night at The Assembly Hall. Apparently it's their 30th anniversary too. I jokingly said that I wanted to see what The Man Who Would Be Prime Minister, Michael Ignatieff, had to say. But really I didn't expect him to say much of anything. These kind of community organizations are dependent on government funding so it's not like they're going to be hostile to him or hostile to local Ontario government MPP Laurel Broten for that matter. She was there too.

LAMP is a pretty good organization and they do have some good programs. It's just that none of those programs are of any use to me. As many of you are aware, my agenda is to advocate for the disabled. One way to do that is to approach an organization like LAMP. If I want to exercise or undergo supervised physiotherapy, I have to go across the city to do that. There's nothing available in this area. There are plenty of disabled people but no services for them. Obviously I want to do something about that. LAMP knows how to get funding for these type of programs. And with my gift of gab, I can help them sell it. The usual problem is LAMP doesn't have anyone disabled on staff to advocate for the disabled. So I was chatting up some of the LAMP staff and one of them turned out to be LAMP Program Director Bill Worrall. I will follow up with him next week and we'll have a meeting and see what can be done. It's not going to happen tomorrow but this is a good way to get things rolling. I'm not sure where this could go but I'll do what I have to do to get something done.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day


Song:Jungle Music

Album:Jungle Music

Black/Note is a very good post bop jazz group from Los Angeles that caused a bit of a stir with this in 1993 and then as bands do sometimes, they just disappeared. Black/Note was started at a club called World Stage by bassist Mark Shelby, trumpeter Richard Grant, drummer Willie Jones III & alto sax player James Mahone. Eric Reed was one of their early pianists but he left and Ark Sano was on this CD. Grant also left to go to Rutgers and was replaced by Gilbert Castellanos. They recorded four CDs including Jungle Music on Columbia in 1993. The group members have gone on to varying degrees of success. Shelby, Castellanos & Jones work a lot of sessions. Castellanos just released his first solo recording and Jones has recorded solo and is a regular with Roy Hargrove. Black/Note is recommended to hard bop fans.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Randy Newman

Song:Sail Away

Album:Sail Away

These days Randy Newman is probably better known for his film scores but he started as a singer songwriter with a wicked sense of humour that was frequently misinterpreted. He comes by his film music honestly as uncles Alfred & Lionel were film score legends. In the late 60s he started recording but his vocal style isn't for everyone. His pal Harry Nilsson did a whole record of his songs and that turned more people on to Newman's music. Newman has described Sail Away as a recruitment song for slaves. It's obviously satirical but like his big hit Short People, some people don't get his humour. Rhino rereleased Sail Away in a remastered version in 2002. It still holds up today.

The Lakeshore Area Medical Project (LAMP) is a community centre and they're having their annual meeting tonight at The Assembly Hall. The guest speaker is MP Michael Ignatieff or as I call him, The Man Who Would Be Prime Minister. No, I didn't vote for him. It's within rolling distance so I'm going to see what he has to say and I will try to conceal my sarcasm when writing about it later. The only time I went to LAMP was to have my taxes done. I don't know if they're much use otherwise.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shibutani goes to hospital at JD Star show

The main event for JD Star's Sept. 17 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show was supposed to be the big blowoff for the Shuu Shibutani/Kyoko Kimura feud. Things did not go as planned and it looks like they'll have to conclude this feud some other time. Fuuka also made her return after her successful appearance in Smackgirl.

The opener has Leon & Bullfight Sora over Apple Miyuki & Cherry when Sora used an avalanche style brain buster on Cherry at 11:16. Next was Sachie Abe vs Tsubasa Kuragaki. Kuragaki used her size advantage and when Abe tried a hurricanrana, Kuragaki blocked it and finished Abe with the Argentinian backbreaker at 12:13. Fuuka returned to JD Star to team with Bambi against Misae Genki & Gutsworld rookie Lily Urai. Not surprisingly, Fuuka & Bambi teamed up on Urai to win at 14:08.

The main event has Shuu Shibutani vs Kyoko Kimura. It appears that Kimura busted Shibutani open by accident when she hit her over the back of the head with a chair. Shibutani tried to continue but she was losing a lot of blood and the ref stopped the match at 12:20. Shibutani was taken to hospital for stitches. Kimura apologized to the crowd and said she wants another match with Shibutani when she's recovered. In the meantime, Kimura also wants a shot at Fuuka's POP Title. Nothing has been announced but it's not finished between Shibutani & Kimura.

Azumi Hyuga wins JWP Championship

Azumi Hyuga has been working for JWP for a decade now. She has been very loyal to JWP at times when no one would have blamed her for leaving. So she is somewhat underappreciated though she is a tremendous wrestler. In the main event of the Sept. 17 JWP Korakuen Hall show, Azumi Hyuga won the JWP Championship from Manami Toyota. I guess it could be a kind of passing of the torch but Hyuga's in her thirties now. It's a little late to start passing torches. Toyota broke out all her big moves but couldn't finish Hyuga. Then Hyuga came back and won. Congratulations to her.

Yuka Shiina announces retirement

Veteran NEO wrestler Yuka Shiina won her match over Sachie Abe on NEO's Sept. 17 Korakuen Hall show and then announced her retirement. Shiina has been with NEO for over a decade. There's no date for the retirement yet but she says she will retire by the end of this year. She hurt her neck five years ago and it's just not getting any better. So it's time to get out while she can still walk. The main event of this show had Yoshiko Tamura defending her NEO Singles/NWA Pacific Titles over Chikayo Nagashima.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Wilson Pickett

Song:Land Of 1000 Dances

Album:Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits

Wilson Pickett was probably the rawest sounding soul singer of the 60s. He started out as a member of The Falcons and they had a top ten hit in 1962 with I Found A Love. Atlantic signed him in 1965 and sent him to record at Stax in Memphis. In those days, Booker T & The MGs could make hits with anyone and Pickett was no exception. He had a long string of hits including the dance anthem Land Of 1000 Dances. It was originally a hit for the song's writer Chris Kenner in 1963. There were several cover versions but Pickett's was the most memorable. This comp is pretty good. It has all his hits. Pickett left Atlantic in 1973 and continued to record for RCA & EMI but wasn't able to repeat his success. There is something about working with those Stax boys. Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack on Jan. 19, 2006 at age 64.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hollywoodland review

When I was a kid, Superman was one of the most popular TV shows for kids. As far as we were concerned, George Reeves was Superman. So when I learned a few years later that he had committed suicide because he despondent over being typecast as Superman, it was hard to take. Decades later, further investigation revealed that Reeves was involved in some sordid affairs with some pretty powerful people in Hollywood and may have been murdered. Hollywoodland takes a speculative look at what may have happened to the real George Reeves. This is director Allen Coulter's first theatrical feature. He has directed Sopranos episodes and other TV shows. Screenwriter Paul Bernbaum and several other key production people come from TV too.

George Reeves (Ben Affleck) was a handsome actor probably best known for his debut in the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind. World War II interrupted his acting career and when he came out of the service, nobody wanted him anymore. Against his better judgement, he auditioned for the Superman TV series and got the role. He knew that he would have trouble getting any role other than Superman. The film is told mostly in flashbacks and starts with a gunshot killing Reeves in his bedroom. Reeves had an affair with former Ziegfeld girl Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), wife of MGM general manager Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins) so the LAPD chose not to investigate Reeves' death. Reeves' mother (Lois Smith) hired private investigator Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) to look further into her son's death. Simo is the one major fictional character in the film.

As film executives go, Eddie Mannix was not the creative type. He was the type to fix problems if an MGM star got into trouble. He's not someone to mess with. He allowed his wife Toni to have an affair with Reeves so he could be free to have his own affairs. When Reeves decided to break things off with Toni and take up with his new fiancee Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney), maybe he pissed off the wrong people. Then we find out that he ended his engagement to Leonore. He doesn't appear to be despondent as he's starting his own production company. So did George Reeves kill himself? Maybe but we see through Simo's eyes various scenarios where he could have been murdered or maybe he did commit suicide. The film allows the viewer to draw his own conclusion. Either Eddie, Toni or Leonore could have done it. Though Reeves' mother is paid off by MGM, Simo continues to investigate and runs afoul of Eddie Mannix and his boys.

The strength of Hollywoodland is its portrayal of Los Angeles of 1959 and the primary characters place in that setting. Production designer Leslie McDonald (The Shaggy Dog) creates a film noir Los Angeles though the film was mostly shot in Toronto. Veteran Canadian TV cinematographer Johnathan Freeman assists in the pastel look they are after. Composer Marcelo Zarvos (The Door In The Floor) adds to the film noir feel with vintage jazz and rock 'n' roll. Affleck, Hoskins & Lane all give strong performances. You wouldn't think Affleck could be Reeves but he does better than expected. The only problem with the film is they decided to delve into Louis Simo's personal life and that detracts from the basic story. This sub-plot seems like it was tacked on because Adrien Brody is an Oscar winner and they needed to beef up his role to justify hiring him. I didn't think it was necessary and they should have cut that stuff. Hollywoodland is a strong film debut for Allen Coulter and his crew of TV veterans. I'm still not sure if George Reeves was murdered but I enjoyed the film's look at the seedy side of Hollywood.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Freddie Hubbard

Song:Prophet Jennings

Album:The Artist Selects

The Artist Selects is a 2005 comp of Freddie Hubbard's Blue Note recordings selected by Hubbard himself. Prophet Jennings is actually from the 1962 classic Hub-Tones. Along with Hubbard on trumpet, we have James Spaulding on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Clifford Jarvis on drums. Hub-Tones is available in a remastered version with alternate takes and The Artist Selects is a good intro to Hubbard's music.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Trish Stratus leaves the WWE

Trish Stratus won the WWE Womens Championship from Lita in her final match at last night's Unforgiven PPV in Trish's home town of Toronto. To answer the obvious question, yes, Trish is leaving the WWE. She's getting married in a couple of weeks and I would be very surprised if she returned to wrestling on a regular basis. Maybe a one shot someday but that's it. Supposedly she will try acting. I hope it goes well for her.

The match itself was OK. I've included a download so you can see for yourself. It's about 12 minutes long so they got more time than usual. As always, Trish looks great and gives a decent performance. Lita wastes too much time. Trish really got a good pop for using the Sharpshooter. The WWE will really miss her. I don't know what they will do with the belt. Keep in mind Lita is leaving in November. I suppose a battle royal for the belt is the most likely solution. I don't expect a tournament as the the WWE doesn't usually like them because they take too long. Trish Stratus was hired by the WWE as eye candy and she could have remained eye candy. But she deserves credit for working hard on her ring skills and becoming a decent wrestler. So I appreciate her work ethic though I'm not a big Trish fan. Just remember what I usually watch. Good luck to Trish Stratus. Have a happy life.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Branford Marsalis

Song:Cheek To Cheek

Album:Contemporary Jazz

Of course sax player Branford Marsalis is from a prominent musical family. He basically started out playing in younger brother Wynton Marsalis' band. He's also done odd things like play with Sting and was musical director for The Tonight Show. In recent years he's returned to jazz with a renewed spirit. Contemporary Jazz was his first recording after the death of long time band pianist Kenny Kirkland in 1999. He brings in the outstanding pianist Joey Calderazzo along with his usual guys bassist Eric Revis & drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. It's a great band and this is a strong interpretation of the old Irving Berlin song Cheek To Cheek. It was also Branford's last recording for Columbia. He now has his own label Marsalis Music and among others has produced great CDs for Calderazzo & Watts. And of course as New Orleans natives, the entire Marsalis family have been using music to recover from Katrina.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Kevin Harvick wins at New Hampshire

Jimmie Johnson foretold his future at today's Sylvania 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Loudon, New Hampshire. He said you cant win the Nextel Cup championship with a win but you can lose it with a bad race. Uh oh. Kevin Harvick has been on a big roll and he went and won the pole too. Let's see who had trouble in this race.

Things go bad for Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy when he makes contact with Jeff Green-#66 Haas Automation Chevy on lap 3. Green hits the inside wall and is out of the race. Busch damages his front end alignment and is likely to have a long day. Kevin Harvick-#29 Reese's Chevy leads mostly and almost causes a disaster on lap 35 when he squeezes between Jeff Burton-#31 Cingular Chevy & Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Chevy to take back the lead. Fortunately, there was no crash.

Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy tells his crew that his engine is failing. He pits on lap 81 during a caution to see if the problem is a loose plug wire. It doesn't matter when on lap 88 Sterling Marlin-#14 Ginn Resorts Chevy checks up and knocks Johnson into the wall. He gets back out on the track but finishes 39th. Jeff Burton leads for a while but Harvick gets the lead back on lap 138. Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW Dodge Dealers Dodge has a flat tire but rebounds and finishes 17th.

Kyle Busch has contact with Clint Bowyer-#07 Jack Daniels Chevy on lap 198 and hits the wall. He finishes 38th. Harvick continues to lead. Bobbt Labonte-#43 Cheerios Dodge crashes on lap 207. Everyone pits except Dave Blaney-#22 Caterpillar Dodge stays out to lead. Harvick wastes no time getting back in the lead. There's a final caution when Kyle Petty-#45 Dodge blows an engine on lap 292 but Harvick easily holds off Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy & Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy for the win.

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, crew chief Todd Berrier and car owner Richard Childress for the win. Harvick leads the points for the first time in his career. Big topten finishes for Brian Vickers, Elliott Sadler, JJ Yeley & Dave Blaney. The Nextel Cup is in Dover next week. Here's the top ten of the race.


1.29/Kevin Harvick/Reese's/Chevy/Richard Childress

2.20/Tony Stewart/Home Depot/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

3.24/Jeff Gordon/Dupont/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

4.11/Denny Hamlin/FedEx/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

5.25/Brian Vickers/GMAC.Chevy/Rick Hendrick

6.19/Elliott Sadler/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham

7.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

8.18/JJ Yeley/Interstate Batteries/Chevy/Joe Gibbs

9.22/Dave Blaney/Caterpillar/Dodge/Bill Davis

10.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush

Murderball being turned into feature?

Anyone see the 2005 Oscar nominated documentary Murderball about wheelchair rugby? Claude Brodesser-Akner reports on his City Of Industry blog at TMZ that director James Mangold (Walk The Line) has acquired the film rights to the stories of Mark Zupan (Team USA captain), Joe Soares (Team Canada coach) & Christopher Igoe (Zupan's childhood friend). Zupan has also written his autobiography Gimp which will be in stores next month. The connection is that Muderball co-director Henry Alex Rubin has been assistant director on some of Mangold's films. A Murderball film could be very interesting. The documentary is great. Brodesser-Akner also reports that Mangold's next film, a remake of the western 3:10 To Yuma starring Christian Bale & Russell Crowe, has picked up Lions Gate for distribution. Columbia put the film in turnaround when Tom Cruise dropped out. That's Zupan & Mangold in the pic.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Sonny Rollins

Song:Lover Man

Album:Rollins 'Round Midnight

Sonny Rollins is one of the all time greats of the tenor sax and he's still around today at age 76. This 1963 version of Lover Man is reasonably representative of his best music. Rollins became popular in the 50s but left the music business in 1959. He returned in 1961 and made some of his best recordings at that time for RCA. Rollins 'Round Midnight is a budget comp of those RCA recordings but it's actually from the 1963 album Sonny Meets Hawk! where Rollins gets to record with his tenor sax idol Coleman Hawkins. Paul Bley is on piano, Bob Cranshaw is on bass and Roy McCurdy is on drums. All of Rollins' RCA recordings are available on the 6CD box set The Complete RCA Victor Recordings. That's what I have. Rollins is still recording today and released Without A Song:The 9/11 Concert in 2005 on Milestone. Rollins and wife Lucille live blocks from the World Trade Center and he recorded this date four days after the 9/11 tragedy.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Johnny Benson dominates New Hampshire truck race

Right now Todd Bodine is leading and Johnny Benson is second in points in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series. Starting with Saturday's Sylvania 200, Benson can't afford any problems if he has plans to catch Bodine. His teammate Mike Skinner won the pole and Benson was second.

Johnny Benson-#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota dominated the race. He led 145 of 200 laps and only lost the lead on caution flag pit stops. Kyle Busch-#15 Freedom Grill Chevy led after one of those cautions with Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota second and Benson third. Benson got the lead from Busch just as a Mike Bliss-#16 Chevy brought out a caution on lap 167. Benson won easily after that.

One altercation of note was on lap 90 when Ted Musgrave-#9 ASE Toyota hit the wall. He thought Rick Crawford-#14 Circle Bar Truck Stop Ford spun him out and tried to run him into the wall during the caution. Musgrave was parked and finished 31st. Further penalties are expected. Crawford finished 7th. CHAMP car star A.J. Allmindinger-#24 Toyota made his NASCAR debut. He crashed during qualifying and had to start in the back in a backup car. He finished 13th so he did well. He will return at Talledega in a couple of weeks. The Craftsman Trucks are in Las Vegas next week.

Hitomi Akano wins Smackgirl World Middleweight Championship

Hitomi Akano won the Smackgirl Middleweight Championship at Smackgirl's Sept. 15 Korakuen Hall show. But it looks like a new challenger is on the horizon as Kanako Takeshita won the 2006 Smackgirl Next Cinderella Middleweight tournament. Also, JD Star Athtress Fuuka, US fighter Lisa Ward and WINDY Tomomi were victorious in their matches. And Fuuka had someone very special in her corner.

The vacant Smackgirl Middleweight Chanpionship was up for grabs in the main event between Hitomi Akano & Molly Helsel. Akano's ground attack is her strength and other opponents have found her very difficult to deal with. Helsel tried to counter with kicks but Akano's perserverence paid off as she secured an armbar which forced Helsel to tap out at 1:32 of round two. Akano credited her victory to her training with Megumi Fujii and other teammates. She declared this a great day for women's MMA. WINDY Tomomi wasted no time in pounding her opponent Seri with punches and a devastating body shot finished her at 2:15 of round one. Lisa Ward made a successful Japanese debut by easily defeating MIKU with an armbar at 3:04 of round one. Afterwards, Club Barbarian president Rian Fukumoto said MIKU was fighting above her weight class and she won't do that anymore.

JD Star pro wrestler Fuuka returned to Smackgirl with Josh Barnett in her corner. Her opponent Mai used strikes to counter Fuuka's takedown attempts. That didn't seem to work as Fuuka had several successful takedowns. But she was unable to finish Mai off as she couldn't do much with her once Fuuka got Mai on the mat. Fuuka won a unanimous decision despite a bloody nose and it appears she may have broken her thumb too. She'll have to see a doctor this week. Kanako Takeshita won the 2006 Smackgirl Next Cinderella Middleweight tournament over Sakura Nakamura with an armbar in 3:04 of round one. So a big win for Hitomi Akano and it should be interesting to see who will come forward to challenge her for her title. All bouts were scheduled for two five minute rounds unless otherwise noted. Here's the results of the show.

SMACKGIRL - 9/15/06 - Korakuen Hall

OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Tama Chan def. Natsuko Kamei by armbar at 3:13 of round one

52 KG BOUT-Kyoko Takabayashi def. Akiko Naito by unanimous decision

48 KG BOUT-Ayumi "Edge" Saito def. Ikuko Tamada by unanimous decision

2006 SMACKGIRL NEXT CINDERELLA FLYWEIGHT SEMI FINAL-Fukuko Hamada def. KM-MAKI by unanimous decision

2006 SMACKGIRL NEXT CINDERELLA MIDDLEWEIGHT FINAL-Kanako Takeshita def. Sakura Nakamura by armbar at 3:04 of round one

48 KG BOUT-Masako Yoshida def. Eri Kanetari by unanimous decision

52 KG BOUT-Fuuka def. Mai by unanimous decision

52 KG BOUT-Lisa Ward def. MIKU by armbar at 3:04 of round one

54 KG BOUT-WINDY Tomomi def. Seri by KO at 2:15 of round one

SMACKGIRL WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT (3-5 min. rounds)-Hitomi Akano def. Molly Helsel by armbar at 1:32 of round two

Two matches added to Pro Wrestling SUN debut

When Pro Wrestling SUN had their press conference last week to announce the main matches for their Oct. 1 debut at Korakuen Hall, Saki Maemura said she wanted a match with Steve Corino. As a compromise, SUN has decided to put her in a mixed tag team match. Her partner is ZERO-ONE MAX wrestler Yoshito Sasaki and the opponents are Steve Corino & Panther Claw. The have also added Natsuki*Head vs Ayumi Kurihara to round out the card. These two matches along with the three title matches is probably the complete card.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Earth, Wind & Fire

Song:Shining Star

Album:Greatest Hits

It took a few years and a move to Los Angeles but Chicago born drummer Maurice White's band Earth, Wind & Fire became one of the most popular groups of the 70s with their hit Shining Star in 1975. White was drummer for jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis and had a jazz soul sound in mind for his group but Columbia Records head Clive Davis convinced White to make the group more commercial. So Maurice and bassist brother Verdine White brought in singer Philip Bailey, guitarist Al McKay, keyboardists Larry Dunn & Charles Stepney and some hot horn players and made it to the top of the charts. White, Bailey & Dunn wrote Shining Star but White & Stepney teamed up for a lot of their best songs. So when Stepney died of a heart attack in 1978, EW&F went into a decline. Maurice White had his own health issues in the 80s. This comp has all their hits. Their earlier Warner Bros. recordings are also good but none of that stuff hit the charts. The music holds up pretty well generally though songs like Boogie Wonderland seem kind of silly today.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Film Review-Electric Miles:A Different Kind Of Blue

This 2004 documentary premiered today on the Canadian channel COOL TV. It centers around Miles Davis' legendary appearance at the Isle Of Wight music festival on August 29, 1970. Director Murray Lerner has produced previous documentaries about the festival itself and Jimi Hendrix's appearance at the festival. He uses Miles' appearance at Isle Of Wight to look at his determination to use electric instruments in jazz and has plenty of interviews.

At some point in the late 1960s, Miles Davis decided that looking and sounding like a typical jazz musician wasn't getting him anywhere. Oh, he was making money and doing well but Miles was looking for something different. Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock say that Miles' short lived marriage to Betty Mabry in 1967 was a pivotal event in his life as the newlywed Betty Davis introduced Miles to the music of Jimi Hendrix. Her own recordings in the 70s were very unusual too. Santana says Betty was comparable to Madonna except Betty made Madonna look like Donny Osmond. This made Miles look at using electric instruments and rock elements in jazz. Musicians and critics heaped scorn upon Miles but time has proven that Miles knew what he was doing.

That's pretty much what all the interviewed musicians say in the film. Pianists Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea & Keith Jarrett all said they had never used electric keyboards before. They were very reluctant but they all wanted to work with Miles. Things turned out very well for all those guys. Sax player Dave Leibman, guitarist Pete Cosey & percussionist James Mtume played on the On The Corner album in 1974. By that time, the resistance to fusion music was gone but Miles had gone even further into funk territory. Jazz had to change and Miles Davis changed it.

Miles Davis and his band performed a 38 minute set at the Isle Of Wight festival on August 29, 1970. He was preceded on stage by Tiny Tim. The bulk of the set was the song Call It Anything and is included in its entirety in the film. Joni Mitchell was there and was concerned that the rock audience wouldn't accept Miles. The musicians in the band talk about the experience. Brazilian percussion legend Airto Moreira says he doesn't remember much about the performance and thinks he was in a trance. With all his various gadgets and sounds, he is fascinating to watch on stage. Organist Keith Jarrett says that they couldn't find a suitable electric piano so he was given an organ instead. His role wasn't to solo but to create an atmosphere. Sax player Gary Bartz says it was only their third show together. Pianist Chick Corea & bassist Dave Holland are interviewed too.

The film ends with Carlos Santana playing Sketches Of Spain on his guitar, Herbie Hancock playing a short tribute to Miles and Airto Moreira using his voice and various percussion instruments to become a one man Miles Davis band. Electric Miles is a fascinating look at one of the most important and influential musicians in music history and what went into his decision to use electric instruments in jazz. Some embraced it. Some rejected it. But Miles knew that it was the right decision for him. The film is a must for jazz fans.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Miles Davis

Song:Pharoah's Dance

Album:The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

Miles Davis' influence on jazz and popular music in general is pretty obvious but Bitches Brew was very controversial back in 1969. Today it's still great music and reveals Miles and producer Teo Macero as visionaries. And many of the musicians went on to their own successes. Pharoah's Dance was written by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and he, sax player Wayne Shorter and percussionist Airto Moreira started Weather Report. Guitarist John McLaughlin & drummer Billy Cobham started The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Keyboardist Chick Corea started Return To Forever. It's quite a legacy. The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions is a 4CD box set in a metal box and is part of Columbia/Legacy's continuing efforts to reissue all of Miles Davis' recordings. The original album is on 2CDs and is recommended to all. But you can't dance to it. It was the first jazz album I ever listened to way back when.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Afrika 55, Wesna Busic & Panther Claw speak

With the Oct. 1 debut of Pro Wrestling SUN fast approaching, the SUN office received faxed promos from REM members Wesna Busic, Afrika 55 and Panther Claw.

Panther Claw says she started getting fan mail from Japan the moment she returned home. She says she lost to Hikaru because she was careless. She has been training and will be perfect this time. She wants a rematch with Hikaru but will leave her to Amazing Kong and promises a knockout for the Japanese fans. I'm sure they'll be pleased that she plans to wear a sexier costume.

Wesna Busic says she is glad that Ayako Hamada challenged her. Now she can prove that Mexicans are as weak as the Japanese. Apparently Ayako has demanded a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match. Wesna says she is skillful at hardcore matches and will win anyway. She's had hardcore matches against men in Germany. She apologizes in advance to the Japanese fans as she plans to make Ayako a bloody mess and she doesn't want anyone fainting. Last time she broke Hikaru. This time she'll break Hamada. Then she wants a shot at the AWA World Womens Championship. Wesna wants to prove she is the strongest girl wrestler in the world today.

Afrika 55 says she has never seen Nanae Takahashi but Amazing Kong told her Nanae is a big and powerful girl. That doesn't concern Afrika. She says she'll punch her so hard in the face she'll need plastic surgery. She also wants to know if Takahashi has any other areas that require plastic surgery and she'll take care of that too. Afrika says that because a beautiful visual is necessary for women's wrestling, she wants both Takahashi & herself to wrestle in bikinis because it will please the fans. Afrika says she is training hard five days a week; two hours each of boxing, wrestling, weight training and massage. She will be at 200% by the time she comes to Japan. And she wants a doctor ringside just in case the match needs to be stopped after she beats up Takahashi.

Nanae Takahashi responded by scoffing at Afrika 55's suggestion of plastic surgery and bikinis. She is who she is and words don't rattle her. Nanae says Afrika won't have it easy and Nanae plans on having the AWA World Womens Championship around her waist.

LLPW announces All Star Strongest Woman tournament

LLPW owner Shinobu Kandori announced at a press conference on Sept. 13 what she has in mind for the LLPW 20th anniversary show at Sumo Hall. It will be called the All Star Strongest Woman tournament. The president for this tournament will be the God Toshino. He's the comedian who does the Inoki impression and they should have a prominent role for their biggest draw. Kandori wants to have a tournament with the oldest stars like 45 year old Dump Matsumoto and youngest stars like 26 year old Meiko Satomura. Remember when 26 was old in the joshi business? Those were the days.

There hasn't been a joshi show in Sumo Hall in eight years obviously because it holds 10,000 people. And LLPW can't fill Korakuen Hall to its capacity of 2,000. But Kandori believes that the way to revitalize the joshi business is to put on a big show in a big arena. I always thought promoters were in business to make money, not throw it down a bottomless pit. It just seems like Kandori is delusional. Can they even find enough fans to give comps? This is a recipe for disaster. She claims she doesn't care if she makes money on this show.

Along with the LLPW 20th anniversary celebrants Harley Saito and Shinobu Kandori and the rest of the LLPW roster, Aja Kong, Manami Toyota, Dump Matsumoto & Meiko Satomura are scheduled to appear. Kandori believes that a big show is best to get attention for the joshi business. Or it could be a good way to go down in flames. She said that fans don't want to see small shows in small halls. Considering that Kandori has run LLPW like a hobby instead of a business for years, she's living in a glass house. Oh and Shinobu...honey...sweetie...update your damn website.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Blood, Sweat & Tears

Song:And When I Die

Album:Greatest Hits

Former Blues Project member Al Kooper started the jazz rock movement of the late 60s with Blood, Sweat & Tears but by the time And When I Die came out on their second album, he had been ousted by guitarist Steve Katz & drummer Bobby Colomby over Kooper's vocals on the first album. I guess they wanted a more traditional rock sound. Trumpeter Randy Brecker also left to form the group Dreams with brother Michael. Blood, Sweat & Tears actually rehearsed with Laura Nyro as lead vocalist. That didn't work out and they hired Toronto based singer David Clayton-Thomas. But they kept one of Nyro's songs And When I Die and it was a huge hit. The group's success was short lived because of a revolving door of group members and the fact that producer James William Guercio decided to work with rival group Chicago. Clayton-Thomas left for an unsuccessful solo career and then returned. This comp has all their hits and was originally released in 1972. The first two BS&T albums are recommended.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mirai memorial show

Chiemi "Mirai" Kitagami died one year ago at age 22 because of a bathtub accident. On Sept. 12, her friend GAMI and M's Style held a memorial show for Mirai at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Mirai is the Japanese word for future and Chiemi Kitagami was a rising star of joshi puroresu. She has been missed. Fans were greeted in the lobby of the arena by a display of Mirai's costumes and some pictures.

The show started with Mirai's theme song Can't Help Falling In Love by Hi Standard. Then video letters to Mirai from Vader, Mima Shimoda and Atsushi Onita and a letter was read from Mirai's idol Akira Hokuto. The matches were mostly of the comedy variety. The first match had Yasu Urano & isami over Tomohiko Hashimoto & Kasakai in 12:29. Yumi Ohka then read from a diary Mirai kept on the road.

This was followed by a very special Royal Rumble style battle royal. The order of entry was Shuu Shibutani, Ayako Sato, GAMI, Saki Maemura, Commando Bolshoi, Sachie Abe, Sakura Emi, Yuka Shiina, Haruka Matsuo, Azumi Hyuga, Mariko Yoshida, Yumiko Hotta and...TAKA Michinoku. The whole thing turned into a square dance at one point with GAMI getting beaten down in the middle. They also did the rowboat and multiple abdominal stretches. It got back to being a regular battle royal when Yoshida, Hotta and then TAKA showed up. The match ended at 20:54 when Sakura Emi used Mirai's finsher, the Mirai Roll, to pin GAMI.

Next was a memorial video of Mirai's career highlights including what was considered her best match vs Momoe Nakanishi at the Dec. 21, 2003 Korakuen Hall A To Z show. The main event had Kyoko Kimura & Ayumi Kurihara over Atsuko Emoto & Zero. Kimura used what they called the Mirai Crossface on Zero for the win at 16:52. Oh and under the Zero mask was Sakura Emi trainee Rei.

They finished off with a tribute to Mirai with the fans throwing purple streamers. Everyone had something to say about Mirai including Mika Nishio, Sachie Abe & Yumiko Hotta who worked very closely with her at A To Z. Then everyone posed as a group in the ring. This included Mirai's parents with her mom holding a photo. It was a very emotional day for all the wrestlers. Sometimes the wrestling business is about something other than money. That's what we saw on this tribute show, a life lost at a young age. It's very sad and we all miss Mirai.

Yoshida gets veteran help at Sept. 10 Ibuki show

Mariko Yoshida's Ibuki held their latest show on Sept. 10 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Ibuki is mostly an extension of Yoshida's Gym where she offers advanced training to young wrestlers. She usually has a guest veteran on the main event of the show. This time it was former GAEA veteran and current partner of GAMI at THE WOMAN Toshie Uematsu. Lately Ibuki has focused on Kyoko Kimura. She's improved a lot and is probably headed for a main event against Yoshida.

The opener had M's Style youngster Ayumi Kurihara vs rookie Hiroyo Matsumoto. Matsumoto is very green but the fans are starting to like her. Kurihara won with a cross arm breaker at 5:18. Next was Kaoru Ito trainee Ayako Sato vs Gutsworld rookie Yuri Urai. Urai needs a lot of work but Sato is really improving and wins with a missile dropkick at 8:45. Kaoru Ito & Gktn rookie Aoi Kizuki vs NEO veteran Yuka Shiina & Shuu Shibutani. Ito & Shiina carry most of the match and it ends in a 20 minute draw.

A few months ago K-Dojo's Bambi caused a lot of commotion by appearing in Ibuki wearing a white bathing suit a la joshi legend Mimi Hagiwara. She won a couple of matches but now she's having trouble again. Her opponent here was Atsuko Emoto (Bullfight Sora minus the mask). Emoto beat Bambi from pillar to post and finished her with a face buster at 11:03. The main event had veterans Mariko Yoshida & Toshie Uematsu vs Kyoko Kimura & Cherry. Kimura has a recent victory over Yoshida and Yoshida wanted a really good partner for this match. So Yoshida & Uematsu schooled the youngsters and Yoshida got her revenge over Kimura with a figure four leglock at 24:03 while Uematsu beat up Cherry. Afterwards, Yoshida thanked Uematsu for winning the match for the team. The next Ibuki show will be Oct. 29 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. Maybe Mariko Yoshida vs Kyoko Kimura will be the main event.

JD Star sets up Shibutani/Kimura feud on Sept. 10 show

Hey, great news folks! JD Star has finally redesigned and relaunched their website. They're off to a good start as they have complete results and pics from the Sept. 10 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show. the url is Hopefully they will keep up with current events as that can be a big problem with joshi feds. The main purpose of this show was to set up a Shuu Shibutani/Kyoko Kimura feud in the tag team main event. The other main Athtress Fuuka is a little preoccupied right now with her upcoming Smackgirl MMA bout. She does make an appearance though.

The opener has former AJW trainee and current Kaoru Ito student Ayako Sato against Bullfight Sora. Sato uses her mentor's diving foot stomp and she definitely wrestles the AJW style but Sora wins in 8:36. Next is the tag team of Sachie Abe & Tanny Mouse. Tanny gets on the mic and names this team Team Matsubara because both are from the Matsubara Ward. The opponents are Misae Genki & Cherry. Team Matsubara are wise to focus on Cherry and after a lariat ans a double spear, they finish her off at 15:23. After the match, Tanny says that everyone should move to Matsubara.

Next Yumi Ohka hosts a talk show segment with Fuuka showing off her new zebra print outfit for the Sept. 15 Smackgirl show. That's important. Of course Fuuka predicted victory and she has won in Smackgirl before. Pro Wrestling SUN's Nanae Takahashi vs Saki Maemura are next. Hikaru & Natsuki*Head are in attendance. These two are probably a little too familiar with each other. Maemura sprays water in Takahashi's face but a German Suplex and Shining Wizard finishes Maemura in 15:36.

The main event had Michiko Ohmukai & Kyoko Kimura defeat Shuu Shibutani & Ayumi Kurihara in 16:48. The focus is mostly on Shibutani & Kimura and they're in the ring most of the time. After Kimura forced Shibutani to tap out, she demanded a singles match. Shibutani tries to change the subject but Kimura isn't interested. Kimura is still upset that she didn't win the POP tournament and she wants to take it out on Shibutani. The match will be the main event of the Sept. 17 Shin-kiba 1st Ring show and Kimura says Shibutani will tap out again.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Keke Wyatt

Song:If Only You Knew

Album:Soul Sista

Like a lot of R & B singers, Indianapolis born Ketara "Keke" Wyatt grew up singing in church. As a teen, she was a member of a group that would eventually become Destiny's Child. Keke surfaced in 2000 in a duet with R & B singer Avant. Both signed with Magic Johnson Music and were produced by Steve "Stone" Huff. Huff was a bass player with Paul Collins' Beat (not to be confused with The English Beat) and has produced several gospel and R & B acts over the years. I don't much care for Avant but I like Keke Wyatt. Soul Sista was released in 2001 and is her only CD to date. She does a great job on this cover of the Patti Labelle hit If Only You Knew. I think Keke Wyatt has a great voice an I hope she gets another chance to record.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Brian McKnight

Song:Where Do We Go From Here

Album:U Turn

It's not very surprising to know that Buffalo born R & B singer Brian McKnight grew up singing in the church choir. He already had a publishing deal at age 18 but decided to send out demos in an effort to get a record contract. His big hit duet with Vanessa Williams Love Is gave him more freedom to write and produce his own material. Where Do We Go from Here is fairly typical of McKnight's music. He's a very strong vocalist. McKnight left Motown for Warner Bros. with his latest CD 10. There were a lot of record company politics and management problems at Motown. It was probably a good move.

Monday, September 11, 2006

D'Auguste returns Smackgirl Middleweight Title, title match on 9/15 show

Smackgirl has announced that Laura D'Auguste has returned her Smackgirl Middleweight Title and there will a Smackgirl Middleweight Title match on the Sept. 15 Korakuen Hall show. D'Auguste won the title in Aug. 2005. Smackgirl claims that they had attempted to sign D'Auguste to defend the title on next week's show against Hitomi Akano. But it's been known for a while that D'Auguste was unlikely to return to Smackgirl due to a disagreement between Samackgirl management and Team Tiger Schulman who represent her. I understand this is over some of the Smackgirl rules which are different from standard MMA rules. So now it's official.

A Smackgirl Middleweight Title match has been added to the Sept. 15 Korakuen Hall show. It will be Hitomi Akano (pictured) vs Molly Helsel. Akano is a teammate of Megumi Fujii and a rising star of MMA. Her 6-1 record includes victories over Debi Purcell & Emma Bush. Her only loss is to Tara LaRosa. This will be Molly Helsel's first trip to Japan. She trained in Hawaii but is now training at Apex Jiu Jitsu in California with Debi Purcell. Very interesting. Her record is 3-3 and was runner up at last November's Hook 'N' Shoot tournament. The match is sceduled for three five minute rounds.

The other match is a Lightweight match with MIKU vs Lisa Ward. MIKU has a 5-2 record. Her most recent victory over Brazilian Carina Damm on the Aug. 26 GCM show avenged an earlier defeat. This will be her first Smackgirl appearance. This will be Lisa Ward's first trip to Japan. She is from Vancouver, BC and trains in Seattle. Smackgirl says she is a Lightweight champ for a company called NFC. Her record is 5-2 and she lost to Molly Helsel in that Hook 'N' Shoot tournament. All bouts are for two five minute rounds unless otherwise indicated. Here's the card so far.

SMACKGIRL - 9/15/06 - Korakuen Hall

52KG BOUT-Fuuka vs Mai

48KG BOUT-Ayumi "Edge" Saito vs Ikuko Tamada

53KG BOUT-Akiko Naito vs Kyoko Takabayashi

54KG BOUT-WINDY Tomomi vs Seri

48KG BOUT-Masako Yoshida vs Eri Kanetari

OPEN WEIGHT BOUT-Tama Chan vs Natsuko Kamei




SMACKGIRL MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE BOUT-3 5 min. rounds-Hitomi Akano vs Molly Helsel

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Lee Morgan


Album:Tom Cat

Lee Morgan was one of the best jazz trumpeters of the 60s who died a tragic death at age 33. When Tom Cat was recorded in 1964, Morgan had just become a star with the hit Sidewinder. Despite the all star lineup and the high quality of the music, Blue Note didn't release Tom Cat. It was found in the vault and released in 1980. Blue Note has released a remastered version recently. The music is as good as anything Morgan recorded. The all star band is Jackie McLean on alto sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass & Art Blakey on drums. That's a band worthy of a Jazz Messengers session. The music still sounds fresh today and is a worthy addition to the collection of any jazz fan.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Harvick wins, Kahne's in, Stewart's out

Going into the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond, Kasey Kahne was in 11th place 30 points out of tenth. He knew that he would have to have a big finish to get in and also hope that one of the top ten would have enough problems for him to overtake one of them. It was very close from 4th to 11th so anything was possible. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

Things got off to a bad start for Tony Stewart-#20 Home Depot Chevy when he crashed during Friday's practice and had to bring out the backup car. Stewart qualified 40th but would the car handle well enough for him to get to the front? Kevin Harvick-#29 GM Goodwrench/Barenaked Ladies Chevy controls the first part of the race. Jimmie Johnson-#48 Lowe's Chevy has trouble when Carl Edwards-#99 Office Depot Ford gets loose and both spin out on lap 80. Both are able to continue but Johnson finishes 23rd. A fast pit stop for Matt Kenseth-#17 DeWalt Ford gets him the lead.

A yellow comes out when Martin Truex Jr-Bass Pro Shops Chevy has a flat tire on lap 118 and Kyle Busch-#5 Kellogg's Chevy gets the lead with a quick pit stop. Busch swaps the lead with Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne-#9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge is in the mix and moves into 10th in the points. Tony Stewart is having trouble with his throttle and drops out of the top ten in points. Then Denny Hamlin-#11 FedEx Chevy reports that his engine is failing. Can he hang on and finish? Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt Jr-#8 Budweiser Chevy makes contact with Ryan Newman-#12 Alltel Dodge and Jeff Gordon-#24 Dupont Chevy is having brake problems. If any of these guys drop out, he's out of The Chase.

Jimmie Johnson spins again on lap 320. When he tries to get going, Jeff Green-#66 Goldrush Chevy slams into him as payback for spinning Green out earlier. Green is parked by NASCAR for this and further penalties are expected. Kyle Busch continues to lead and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no rear brakes. He finished 16th. Denny Hamlin holds on and finishes 15th. Jeff Gordon finishes 31st. Tony Stewart is 18th and needs to pass five cars to get into The Chase as Kasey Kahne is running 3rd. Harvick passes Busch on lap 399 for the win. Kahne is 3rd and is in. Stewart is 18th and is out.

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, crew chief Todd Berrier and car owner Richard Childress. Kasey Kahne did exactly what he had to do to get in The Chase. Big top ten finishes for Dave Blaney, Ken Schrader & Scott Riggs. The ten guys in The Chase are Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon & Kasey Kahne. Defending Nextel Cup champ Tony Stewart is on the outside looking in. The Chase starts next week in New Hampshire. Here's the top tewn of the race.


1.29/Kevin Harvick/GM Goodwrench-Barenaked Ladies/Chevy/Richard Childress

2.5/Kyle Busch/Kellogg's/Chevy/Rick Hendrick

3.9/Kasey Kahne/UAW-Dodge Dealers/Dodge/Ray Evernham

4.22/Dave Blaney/CAT Engines/Dodge/Bill Davis

5.6/Mark Martin/AAA/Ford/Jack Roush

6.16/Greg Biffle/National Guard/Jack Roush

7.21/Ken Schrader/US Air Force/Ford/Wood Bros.

8.17/Matt Kenseth/DeWalt Tools/Ford/Jack Roush

9.31/Jeff Burton/Cingular/Chevy/Richard Childress

10.10/Scott Riggs/Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper/Dodge/Ray Evernham

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Herbie Hancock

Song:Ostinato (Suite For Angela)

Album:Mwandishi:The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings

Herbie Hancock has been around so long and done so many different things that you have to cover his career in stages. Mwandishi (Herbie's African name) is a 2CD collection of Hancock's recordings with Warner Bros. after he left Miles Davis in the late 60s. Like Miles, Hancock was experimenting with what was to be called Fusion music. Ostinato is a jazz funk version of a Bela Bartok composition from 1970. The basic band includes Bennie Maupin on reeds, Julian Priester on trombone, Buster Williams on bass & Billy Hart on drums. Jose Chepito Areas from Santana & Leon "Ndugu" Chancler bring funky percussion and rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose sits in. Hancock uses a lot of the gadgets he loves. His Warners recordings are very good so you don't want to overlook them.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Donnie McClurkin
Song:That's What I Believe
Album: Live In London And More...

Donnie McClurkin is a gospel artist from New York City. This CD was recorded live at Fairfield Hall in London. The hit We Fall Down was a huge crossover hit and has made McClurkin one of the most popular gospel artists today. McClurkin wrote That's What I Believe and benefits greatly from his backup singers (mostly his sisters) and Kevin Bond's arrangement. I don't think this is his best CD but it is his most popular and I like this song.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:The Kurt Carr Project
Song:God Great God
Album:One Church

Kurt Carr is a multi talented gospel artist from Hartford, CT. His first job in the music industry was as pianist & arranger for gospel legend James Cleveland. Carr learned from Cleveland that there are no old gospel songs. just update the arrangements. And that's what Carr has become known for since moving to Los Angeles and starting The Kurt Carr Singers. One Church features mostly his own songs recorded live in LA. His singers are very talented and Carr's arrangements are outstanding.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One year later

It was one year ago today that I moved into this apartment after my April 2005 spinal fusion surgery. It's worked out pretty well and I think I was pretty lucky to find a place like this. It was the first and only place I went to see so I made my own luck and took advantage of the opportunity. The other co-op members are decent and some of them have become good friends. Some of them comment about my being out & about regularly. I'm not staying indoors all the time. The management here is great too.

Things are OK financially at this point. Just waiting for Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits drove me crazy. But that got straightened out and I'm getting monthly benefits. Somebody was dicking around but a friend's wife works for CPP so she got things going. The Ontario Disability Support Program is worthless. I get my meds from them but that's it. The legislation doesn't allow for common sense and the people who work at ODSP don't care. The complaint is always that it's Mike Harris' fault and that's true but Dalton McGinty isn't doing himself any favours by not making necessary changes. The ODSP needs to be more inclusive and though ombudsman Andre Marin is on their case, if the Liberals don't make necessary changes by election time, they will be in deep trouble. Voters remember broken promises. Right now the disabled are treated like sub humans by the Ontario government. That needs to change.

The one negative about this area is there's no supermarket nearby. It would be very difficult to do a decent shopping. I would have to take Wheeltrans and it's not like I can carry very much anyway. It's just not practical. Besides, I'm not a gourmet cook. But I'm diabetic so I need good nutritious meals regularly. I was on Meals On Wheels. It was convenient but I wasn't crazy about the meals. Greg Quill of The Toronto Star wrote about Healthy Heart Meals a few months ago. It's supposed to be a meal plan for dieters but I called them and Jon Burnside said he would call me when he was going to start an a la carte program. So I switched about a month ago and I'm very happy with the results. The meals are gourmet quality. They're not frozen. He has a machine that keeps the meals fresh in the fridge. Nuke them for two minutes. That's it. They're a little more expensive than Meals On Wheels but it's a better product and my blood sugar is down. Dr. Matthews was impressed. I don't mind paying a little more. See for yourself at Jon's website

So I'm going out to a movie or shopping or whatever I want to do. It's doubtful I'll ever work again. It's not worth it. Someone would have to pay me a whole lot of monry to do a whole lot of nothing because I have to rest during the day. I don't have the stamina anymore. I have something else planned but it may not happen until the beginning of 2007. My power chair works great. I exercise at home but this is a long term thing. I'm not going to obsess about it. I'm just going to go on with my life and be comfortable with that. I want to thank all the folks at Lyndhurst, especially the social workers. They helped me get here. And thanks to everyone who reads this blog and puts up with my rants. TTYL.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Chuck Berry
Song:Rock & Roll Music
Album:20th Century Masters-The Millenium Collection:The Best Of Chuck Berry

There's not much question that Chuck Berry's showmanship and songwriting ability makes him one of the most important figures in pop music history. Berry grew up in St. Louis. He became a fixture on the local club scene but a trip to Chicago brought him to Muddy Waters and Chess Records owner Marshall Chess. 1958's Rock & Roll Music was one of a constant string of hits that made Berry a Rock 'N' Roll icon. Though famous for his guitar work and duck walk, it's Berry's songwriting that seperates him from the pack. He wrote in a conversational style that broke away from the established Tin Pan Alley conventions. He came across like a regular guy and his music still sounds great. This particular comp is from a series of budget CDs released by MCA in 1999. It's a decent introduction but The Great Twenty Eight is a more complete collection and is worth getting. Unfortunately, Berry spent two years in jail for messing around with an under age girl and was never the same afterwards. But his best songs personify Rock 'N' Roll and are timeless classics.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Four titles up for grabs on Pro Wrestling SUN debut

First On Stage held a press conference on Wednesday to announce the main matches for the Pro Wrestling SUN debut Oct. 1 at Korakuen Hall. The main thing is there will be a total of four belts up for grabs. Fans complaining about this should keep in mind that this company is being run by the same guys who run ZERO-ONE MAX and they are notorious for having way too many title belts. So it's not surprising that they would take the same approach with SUN. It's obviously overkill. So let's get to what they're going to do.

As was already announced at the Dream Catchers show, The Croatian Panther Wesna Busic will defend the EWA Womens Title and her newly acquired NSG Title against Ayako Hamada. Wesna is doing her cocky heel act and Ayako is basically saying she'll see Wesna on Oct. 1 and we'll see who's the best. As she has done at all of these press conferences lately, Amazing Kong interrupted the proceedings to cause trouble. They're even calling her Weekly Kong as kind of a goof on Weekly Gong magazine. On this occasion, she had a scuffle with Hikaru. As a result, Amazing Kong will defend her World 1 Wrestling Womens Title against Hikaru. Kong won that belt in Michigan in May.

So when First On Stage first announced that they were getting into the joshi business, I suggested that they might revive the AWA World Womens Championsip because they have a working relationship for what passes today for the AWA and they've already revived the AWA World Championship in ZERO-ONE MAX. Some of you scoffed. Guess what folks? That's exactly what they're doing. So for the AWA World Womens Championship, it will be Nanae Takahashi against Afrika 55. Who? Good question and of course I have the answer.

She goes by the name Afrika. Supposedly her record is 200-0 and she has sent 55 opponents to the hospital. I'm not kidding. That's what it says on the SUN website. Afrika is from Los Angeles and is 5'8" 175lbs. She's a bodybuilder type. The SUN website says she started in the underground fighting scene in LA, wrestles mostly men and most of her matches last two minutes. They are saying that Nanae Takahashi is in big trouble with this monstrous black woman. See? I told you those guys were looking for a Shaniqua type. The Japanese crack me up. The only thing I can say about Afrika is she's in great shape. She calls herself the Nubian Warrior Princess. The best thing to do is check out her website at She says she's been wrestling for 12 years but there's no indication on her site that she's ever wrestled in public. She says she wrestles Olympic style submission wrestling. Maybe you'd like a match with her for $300. I can't make up stuff this funny. It was also announced that Saki Maemura, Natsuki*Head & Ayumi Kurihara will be on the show and Panther Crow will return. Sic Afrika 55 on her.

Wesna Busic wins double titles on Dream Catchers show

The final Dream Catchers show was Sept. 3 at Shin-kiba 1st Ring. The big news coming out of this is that The Croatian Panther Wesna Busic defeated Hikaru in 19:25 and is now the EWA Wonens Champ and NSG Champ. She will defend both titles against Ayako Hamada on the debut of Pro Wrestling SUN Oct. 1 at Korakuen Hall. More on that show in a minute. Wesna said afterwards that Hikaru is strong but she is stronger and she has proven that the German is stronger than the Japanese and she has two belts to prove it. She is looking forward to defending the titles against an impertinent Mexican.

Not surprisingly, Dadae Takahashi vs Amazing Kong ended in a double countout at 7:49 and in the main event, Nanae Takahashi & Ayako Hamada defeated Hikaru & Saki Maemura in 33:19. After the show, ZERO-ONE MAX president Nakamura admitted on their blog that he needs to learn more about joshi puroresu as he's having trouble getting a handle on what fans want to see. As you'll soon see, ain't that the truth.

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Song:The Answer Is Yes
Album:Left Of Center

Though R & B singer Javier Colon is from Bridgeport, CT, his parents are Latino. His father owns a radio station so Javier was into music at a young age. After attending music school at the University Of Hartford, he got his first high profile gig with Derek Trucks. Javier went solo and signed with Capitol. His 2003 debut was very good but didn't sell that well so Capitol has taken steps to make his 2006 follow up Left Of Center more commercial. The Answer Is Yes is a great gospel influenced song that benefits from a choir arranged by gospel artist Tye Tribbett. Javier wrote the song with Evan Rodgers and veteran producer Carl Sturken. Sturken has had a lot of success recently with Rihanna and was obviously brought in to duplicate that with Javier. That might be difficult because Javier writes a lot of his own songs and seems to have a clear vision of what his music should be. Dumbing down his music probably won't work. I like this song and I've heard others that are good. Javier has a bright future if allowed to be himself.

I went shopping yesterday at Walmart & Best Buy in that big box mall on North Queen St. Walmart had a couple of good deals on a Gillette Fusion razor & a Crest battery operated toothbrush so I got those. They had some cheap used DVDs so I bought Be Cool & The Gospel. I bought The Gospel more for the extended musical performances than the movie itself. I also bought Bull Durham, one of my faves. At Best Buy I bought the 3DVD release of The Seven Samurai, one of the greatest films ever. It's got interviews and a restored print. If I'm going to indulge, it might as well be something really good.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Yahoo LAUNCHCAST song of the day

Artist:Dexter Gordon

Song:Ruby, My Dear

Album:Manhattan Symphonie

Tenor sax legend Dexter Gordon had several comebacks during his career. He moved to Europe in 1962 and continued to make great music in obscurity. He returned to the US in 1976 and signed with Columbia. Manhattan Symphonie was released in 1978 and featured his working band of George Cables on piano, Rufus Reid on bass & Eddie Gladden on drums. Sony rereleased a remastered version of Manhattan Symphonie in 2005 with Gordon's beautiful version of Thelonious Monk's Ruby, My Dear as one of the bonus tracks. Dexter Gordon was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for Round Midnight in 1986 and died at age 63 in 1990. His music is well worth seeking out.