Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Raven - Performed by Vincent Price

True brilliance!

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

BLOGGER NOTE: A true tale of terror written by the master himself. I would like to visit his former home some day, which is now called Poe Park and is located in the Bronx.

The Raven


Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Top Horror Movies

How can you not get into the Halloween fun when there are so many great movies on A.M.C. and the like. I decided to post my favorite horror movies. Above is a picture from the Jack O'Lantern Blaze in scenic Croton, N.Y.

1- Amityville Horror. True story or not, it's just a very scary movie. The remake from 2005 was good too.
2- The Exorcist. Based on a true story. I'd prefer to watch it during the day, except I like to be scared. So why not put it on at say, midnight!
3- The Black Cat. I found out recently that there are two versions with Bela Lugosi. The one that I like he teams up with Boris Karloff. The movie was way ahead of its time.
4- Interview with the Vampire. An early classic from Anne Rice turned into a movie. The book was better, of course. I saw Interview in the theater and remember many folks around me being pretty scared.
5- Rosemary's Baby. Classic, must-see film for any horror fan.
6- Halloween. A blank mask worn by a psycho terrorizing a neighborhood on Halloween means good stuff.
7- Friday the 13th. Before Jason, there was his mom. Because there were so many sequels the entire series of movies is snickered at quite often, but the original is a true classic.
8- Dracula. Bela Lugosi is the Dracula as far as I am concerned. This one probably deserves to be higher than "batting eighth."
9- Psycho. Anthony Perkins plays the perfect lunatic. You'll think twice about taking a shower after this one.
10- Night of the Living Dead. What, no Leprechaun? Dead folks rising up and overwhelming everyone while munching on humans. There are some pretty gross scenes in this movie and it's pretty dark. But overall, very good.

W.W.E.: Still Waiting to be Saved? Austin Returning, DX Reunites, Sting to W.W.E?

Apparently, the W.W.E. has decided to hold off on Chris "Y2J" Jericho's return, due to the fact that so many websites had him returning this past Sunday at Cyber Sunday. In fact, Newsday had him showing up at the Nassau Coliseum last night for the Smackdown/E.C.W. taping. We'll see if he is in L.A. next week for Monday Night Raw. Nonetheless, two videos aired on Monday night (first one is above). Some fans are getting restless, but I have no problem with it. There is even talk of Jericho going to Smackdown, but I bet he at least starts off on Raw because that show is live.

One person who will be at Raw next Monday is "Stone Cold"Steve Austin who will respond to Santino Morella's taunting in regards to Austin's movie, The Condemned.

DX will reunite for "one night only" according to Vince McMahon in L.A. on Monday. Shawn Michaels and Triple H are the DX, but I've got a feeling McMahon has something up his sleeve.

Sting's contract with T.N.A. expires at the end of this year, and although there has been talk of Stinger retiring, there are rumblings that the W.W.E. will make a strong push to bring him in. Jim Ross wrote about the possibility of Sting coming to the promotion, which signals that the W.W.E. will do everything in its power to sign the lone superstar who has never wrestled in the W.W.E. and has stated he would never work for McMahon.

- Ric Flair is reportedly back on good terms with McMahon and the plan is for Flair to make one more run before retiring. I'd love to see him take home one of the World titles at Wrestlemania. If there is one true legend in the business, it's Ric Flair.

- Two of the original members of the N.W.O. are said to be reuniting in T.N.A. Scott Hall is said to be joining that promotion to team with Kevin Nash.

Keep it in the Ring!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blog Talk Radio

Tommy Dee and I will interview Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, tonight at 10, following the New York Knicks final preseason game against the New Jersey Nets. Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Save Us Y2J...Save Us Mike Huckabee?

Chris"Y2J"Jericho will "save" the W.W.E. this Sunday when he makes his long awaited and highly anticipated return at Cyber Sunday. The latest video appears above.

Meanwhile, I'm stopping just short of an endorsement - I first have to meet with the rest of the hosts, guests, staff, management, strugglers, and stragglers here at Rangers In Seven - but I'm seeing that more and more people are sharing my sentiments with regards to the former governor of the great state of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. I started out liking him and Duncan Hunter (R-Ca), but believe that Huckabee may be the only one who can save the Republican party. Read more about Mr. Huckabee here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

W.W.E.: Are You Ready To Be Saved? Real Injury On Raw, Monster Mash

Are you ready to be saved? The answer will most likely come this Sunday when Chris Jericho makes his much anticipated return to action at Cyber Sunday. For the last few weeks, W.W.E. programming has aired those cryptic videos that have been apparently hyping the return of Y2J. There was some speculation that it was pumping up the debut of the "new" Hart Foundation, however, that all ended when Teddy Hart was fired shortly after being brought up to the main roster. So how do I think all of this will end?

Well, whenever I have seen any one of those videos I think of a computer virus, not only because of all the scrambling of letters and numbers, but due to the fact that when they air, it is always an unexpected interruption. The promos usually have been shown in the middle of a wrestler talking or when one of the t.v. guys is speaking. Let's tie this in to Cyber Sunday where the fans get to vote for opponents and match stipulations. I'm thinking that W.W.E Champ Randy Orton is is the ring awaiting his opponent - which could be either Shawn Michaels or Mr. Kennedy or Jeff Hardy - and none of the three come down, instead it's Chris"Y2J"Jericho who appears from backstage. The W.W.E. "explains" that some kind of weird computer glitch caused the votes to go for Jericho instead of the listed options. That's my prediction, but I am quite often wrong about such things.

I posted a video above of Candice Michelle getting injured in her bout against W.W.E. Women's Champ, Beth"The Glamazon"Phoenix. I'm not a huge fan of ladies wrestling, but folks, this was a real, nasty injury! Michelle is slated to be out eight weeks with a cracked clavicle. The match took place two nights ago on Monday Night Raw. Jim Ross and Jerry"The King"Lawler provide the commentary.

Next week's E.C.W. will feature a "Monster Mash" battle royal. Mark Henry, Big Daddy V, Kane, and The Great Khali will all try to oust one another over the top rope and to the arena floor next Tuesday night on Sci-Fi at 10. The total combined weight of the four is being billed as close to 2,000 pounds. I'm just wondering what happened to the Boogeyman and if he doesn't somehow get involved in all of this?

- Harry Smith, the son of the late Davey Boy Smith, made his t.v. debut on Monday Night Raw the other night. Original plans were for Harry to be part of the "new" Hart Foundation.

- Some of you may already know this: The number one college football team, Ohio State, boasts the best linebacker in the country, James Laurinaitis, a junior. So what? Well, No. 33 just happens to be the son of Joe Laurinaitis, better known as Animal of the legendary tag team, The Road Warriors.

Keep it in the ring!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Could You Become a U.S. Citizen?

There is a great deal of talk about illegal aliens and immigration these days. This is one of the tests that you would have to take to become a citizen of this great country. Go here and see how you would do.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blog Talk Radio

BLOGGER UPDATE: Unfortunately, we were unable to proceed with last night's show. We do apologize. However, Tommy and I will be on tomorrow after the Knicks' game. Hope to hear from you then!

WGCH's Rob Adams joined Tommy Dee and I for some Yankees' talk last night. Listen here. We'll go over the Knicks this evening at 10. Tune in and please call with your thoughts.

My Tops in Pro Wrestling

I'm not a big fan of 'lists,' so it may come as a surprise that I would post one. But the other day I got to thinking - generally a scary prospect - after I wrote that Shawn Michaels is in my top five of the best pro wrestlers, who else do I think is great? I decided to go back to around 1984 when wrestling began to end its regionalization and became an international game. Thanks to Vince McMahon, wrestlers would now travel all over the world. The W.W.E. started this trend and its competitors would soon follow suit with varying degrees of success. This was a factor in considering who are the best: those who grappled worldwide and maintained great longevity, like Ric Flair, for instance. Other factors include in-ring accomplishments (championships, big wins, etc.), fan reaction, and mic skills. They get you into the arena and they get you watching on television, if they can sell the fan a story. Remember, these are my choices, I'm not even sure if these picks would be the consensus of most fans. Oh well, here is my list with a memorable moment for each, as well:

1- Hulk Hogan. Unmatched charisma. I think he is the best and most pundits do as well. Body slamming Andre the Giant in front of 93, 173 at Wrestlemania III.

2- Ric Flair. Fought anyone, anytime. Flair had the dramatic skills of Al Pacino and the coolness of Joe Montana. Classic matches with Rick Steamboat.

3- Bret Hart. Outstanding mat skills. I loved when he stood in the middle of the ring at Madison Square Garden in the summer of 1997 and basically told the fans that he convinced Mark Messier to leave New York for Vancouver.

4- Dusty Rhodes. The best talker in the biz, do doubt about it. Rhodes-Flair was wrestling's version of Yankees-Red Sox.

5- Shawn Michaels. The second best talker in the biz, a high-flyer, and great mat skills to boot. HBK's Wrestlemania X bout against Razor Ramon in a ladder match.

6- Owen Hart. From the fabled and tragic family of Calgary, this guy's life was ended way too soon by a freak accident. Owen would be World Champion today and running circles around all the top stars if he were still alive. He was everything that Bret was with more acrobatic ability. Owen vs. Bret at Wrestlemania X was one of the greatest matches ever!

7- Terry Funk. Mean and tough dude from the "Double Cross Ranch" in Amarillo, Texas. I had to run out of the E.C.W. Arena in Philly because Funk's branding iron set the ring ablaze. No, this wasn't part of the show either! I kid you not, some kerosene was spilled by - The Dudleys, off all people - in the prior match and it was not entirely cleaned up. Fire + kerosene equals bad news! Funk was completely misused in the W.W.E., but his matches in E.C.W. were classic. I also remember an old bout with Funk vs. Jerry Lawler in an empty arena match.

8- Ricky"The Dragon"Steamboat. His arm drag take downs exhibited remarkable technical skills. Steamboat fought Randy Savage in the best match of 1987 at Wrestlemania III. Story goes that Vince McMahon was really ticked off that Steamboat's match overshadowed the main event of that card: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant.

9- Randy"Macho Man"Savage. Agile and quick as a cat. Winning four matches at Wrestlemania IV to become W.W.E. Champ.

10- Bob Backlund. Was a great amature wrestler. Had an absolutely classic bout with Jimmy Snuka in a steel cage at Madison Square Garden in the early '80s. Snuka leaped from the top of the cage (some 18 feet up) but missed. Backlund was able to roll away from Snuka and out the cage door for the win.

11- Sting. Another charismatic wrestler billed from Venice Beach, California (Hogan being the other). Sting's days in the U.W.F. on channel 11 in New York were very memorable.

12- Ron Simmons. Extremely powerful. First black world champion in pro wrestling. Simmons' number 50 is one of three numbers retired by Florida State University. He played football there and with the Cleveland Browns. I remember him teaming up with former Kansas City Chief, Butch Reed, to form the awesome tag team, Doom.

13- Mick Foley. Would do anything to make sure the fans got their money's worth. His rants on t.v. during the old E.C.W. days are priceless. Foley's career was inspired by Snuka's leap off the steel cage at M.S.G. against Backlund and the next man on the list:

14- Bruiser Brody. A powerful brawler. Sadly, his murder was never solved. He had some brutal matches with Abdullah the Butcher. E.C.W. was made for Brody, sadly Paul Heyman's promotion wasn't formed until years after Brody's murder.

15- Kerry Von Erich. If it was the 1980s and you were in Dallas you loved the Cowboys, the t.v. show Dallas, and the Von Erichs. David, Kerry's older brother, was the best performer inside the squared circle, but Kerry's popularity was staggering. Texas Stadium filled up to watch him beat Ric Flair back in 1984. The Von Erich story is as sad as it gets, though. Six brothers and only Kevin is still alive. Three Von Erichs committed suicide.

16- Tully Blanchard. Remember the kid in high school who wasn't the best athlete but thought he was and made sure he told everyone so? That was Tully Blanchard. His slingsghot suplex was a thing of beauty.

17- The Undertaker. Vince McMahon has come up with some horrible gimmicks: turning Terry Taylor into the "Red Rooster," Duke"The Dumpster"Drocie (think garbage man), the Repo Man and so on. But when he took "Mean" Mark Callous who looked pretty grim and stoic most of the time and paired him up with Percy Pringle (a licensed mortician) you got the greatest gimmick in the history of pro wrestling. Throw in some eerie music and rename Pringle "Paul Bearer" and you've got someone who exceeded all expectations. Creative genius was at work with this one.

18- The Iron Sheik. Strong, with very good amature wrestling moves. Sheik was truly from Iran and wrestled in the Olympics and the Pan-Am Games in 1972. He got the fans to hate his guts, which means that he also helped to "put over" the good guys like Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter. I'll never forget when Sheik got hit in the face with an ice cream while his tag team partner, Nikolai Volkoff, sang the Russian National Anthem at Madison Square Garden.

19- Psycho Sid. More powerful than Hogan, but a better technical wrestler. The "psycho" moniker stemmed from a real-life incident in which a drunken Sid tried to stab an equally inebriated Arn Anderson in a hotel room with a pair of scissors. I saw Sid wrestler four guys once and he threw them all around like they were the proverbial sack of potatoes. His two reigns as World Champ between 1995 and 1997 are regarded as the most successful in the history of the W.W.E. Rumors persist that he is headed back to the W.W.E.

20- Triple H. Reminds me of Sid in terms of wrestling ability. Great ring entrance. Has won the W.W.E. Championship 11 times. It's hard to find one great moment because Triple H puts on a great show almost every time out.

21- The Rock. Tremendous athlete who talks as well as anyone. Charisma almost as good as Hogan's. Had a great match with Hogan about five or six years ago.

22- Jerry"The King"Lawler. Lawler is the second most popular person in Memphis history. I remember him winning the A.W.A. World Title; you may remember his little spat with comedian Andy Kaufman.

23- Chris Jericho. All around great wrestler. The believability factor is very high with Y2J. Wrestled some spectacular matches in the old E.C.W.

24- "Stone Cold"Steve Austin. Eric Bischoff mistakenly made Steve Austin. The former head of W.C.W. fired "Stone Cold" by FedEx. An irate Austin moved on to E.C.W. and was told by head promoter, Paul Heyman that "he could say whatever he wanted." Giving free reign to Austin led to some of the best spoofs I've ever seen. Austin used his time in the land of extreme to perfect his "Stone Cold" attitude before going to the W.W.E. where he wrestled Jake Roberts, who had basically become a Bible thumper. After getting whupped by Austin, "Stone Cold" declared in an interview immediately after the bout that "Austin 3:16 says that I just kicked your ass." Thus, led to the sale of probably millions of t-shirts which say, "Austin 3:16."

25- The Sandman. O.K. this one is sort of for laughs, but here's the deal about this wild brawler. I went to E.C.W. wrestling in Middletown, N.Y. at some armory or such around 1997. I go up to the bar to get some drinks for me and a friend of mine, and there's a guy sitting at the bar wearing the E.C.W. World title around his waist, smoking a cigarette and nursing a beer. Oh yeah, his bamboo stick is also leaning against the bar. I made some regrettable remark, got my drinks, and never forgot that moment. Sandman was managed in E.C.W. by a beautiful young lady who simply went by the name, "Woman." You may know her better as the late Nancy Benoit.

Keep it in the Ring!

My Tops in Rock

I recently heard WFAN's Chris"Mad Dog"Russo and Mike Francesa talking about the best in rock and roll. I took what they consider the top five and began with that to form my own list of 25. Basically, it is considered heresy to start off a list like this without Elvis or The Beatles in the number one positions. I suppose it might be more interesting to list my top ten or so, which I have done at the end. There are so many singers and bands that could have made this list and it is of course very subjective. I'm pretty solid on the top ten, though. The rest is interchangeable. The reason I don't like doing lists with musicians is because I don't want to disparage anyone's work, not that they care what I think. But I have the utmost respect for anyone who can pen a song and then perform it for everyone to critique. That alone makes these folks inspiring! Nonetheless, here is my top 25 in rock accompanied by my favorite song or songs:

1- Elvis Presley. The "King" truly had it all. Great songs, charisma, awesome live. Unfortunately, he also died too early, which in many ways and quite sadly immortalizes a rock star. "Suspicious Minds" is one of my favorite songs ever!

2- The Beatles. Led the "British invasion" into America. As much as they accomplished - which is a lot - imagine (Lennon solo, but still no pun intended) if they were able to stay intact for even another ten years! A shame that they couldn't get along. Here's a little known fact about them: they've sold over one billion units! That's tapes, compact discs, records, eight tracks, etc. Incredible! "Here Comes The Sun," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Twist and Shout," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Ballad of John and Yoko," are among my favorites.

3- The Rolling Stones. They could be considered overrated and underrated, if that makes any sense. Their longevity and money making ability is unparalleled. Forbes ranked them #4 on their most powerful list. "19th Nervous Breakdown," "Ruby Tuesday," "Get off my Cloud, " "I'm Waiting."

4- The Who. The band from Shepherd's Bush round out the "trinity of rock gods." The Who's display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes them as prime contenders for the title of "World's Greatest Rock Band,"only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones receive a similar accolade at the Rock Hall. Influenced Led Zeppelin, U2, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, and Oasis just to name a few. "Substitute," "Amazing Journey," "My Generation," "The Kids Are Alright," "Who Are You," "Baba O'Riley," just some of my favorites. If this list were who I think are the best, the top ten spots would be occupied by The Who, but I am trying to remain impartial here. Live At Leeds is an absolute must for any fan of rock, and is considered to be perhaps the best live rock album ever.

5- Bob Dylan. I'm not in love with his voice all the time, but his song writing ability is the kicker for Dylan. Usually only twosomes like Lennon-McCartney can match the great quality of Dylan, who is of course one man. "Hurricane" stands as my favorite.

6- Beach Boys. They aren't loud enough or hard enough for me, however, I get their popularity and their musical contributions. Pet Sounds is regarded as one of the best albums ever made. "Barbara Ann," "Good Vibrations" are to my liking.

7- Jimi Hendrix. Wasn't around very long, but what he accomplished in that time period is amazing. I remember hearing Pete Townshend saying that he, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger would go check out Hendrix and would just sit there in awe. "All Along the Watchtower," "Purple Haze," among many very good songs.

8- Led Zeppelin. Their popularity on radio, their influence, and the different styles of music that Led Zep used in their music is truly one of a kind. "Going to California" is my favorite Zeppelin song. Like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, they have too many for me to list. I must say I was a little let down when I saw Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in concert at the Meadowlands in 1998. They were good, but not as great as I was expecting.

9- Eric Clapton. I admire the fact that Clapton just keeps coming back from adversity. Drug and alcohol abuse, the loss of his friend, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his four-year-old son, Conor, only proved to inspire "Slowhand." Was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame as a solo artist, a member of The Yardbirds, and Cream. "Forever Man," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Cocaine."

10- Bruce Springsteen. Bruce's longevity is really astounding. The guy just keeps putting out number one albums. I saw him live and think that he is one of the rare singers out there whose performance level goes up a notch in person. There's not many around today that could sell out a stadium, no question Springsteen can, because he does. "Jungleland," "No Retreat, No Surrender," "Born to Run," etc. etc.

11- U2. This band evokes many different emotions for the listener. They've evolved through their history, but the Irish band remains one of the best out there today. "Bullet the Blue Sky," "Desire," "Where the Streets Have No Name."

12- Elton John. Sadly, his personal lifestyle has sort of overshadowed his musical genius. Many people don't take him as seriously as they used to and that's a shame to me because he is definitely one of the best. A personal favorite of mine. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Rocket Man," "Your Song."

13- Billy Joel. Joel is like the Rolling Stones to me in that he is in some ways overrated and underrated. He's the Russell Crowe of rock music! Get back to me on that, if you get it. He's very popular on radio, where you can hear him on a variety of different types of radio stations. "Angry Young Man," "The Stranger."

14- Pink Floyd. I get their lyrical genius and their contributions, but I find much of their work to be quite depressing and too slow moving for me. I saw a cover band called The Machine that looked like and sounded like Pink Floyd. "Dark Side of the Moon."

15- Grateful Dead. Very underrated, with an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base. The Dead were not just a band, they were a lifestyle. "Friend of the Devil," "Fire on the Mountain," "Ripple," "Box of Rain," "Uncle John's Band."

16- The Doors. Lead singer Jim Morrison was a deranged poetic genius, who became the tragic hero of his own play. One of many rock icons who died at age 27. "Crystal Ship," "People Are Strange," "Break on Through." "L.A. Woman."

17- Nirvana. Cobain was a modern-day Jim Morrison, although more depressing, yet still brilliant. I admire The Doors and Nirvana for their lyrics, which can be complex at times. "Lake of Fire," "The Man Who Sold the World," "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

18- Janis Joplin. I prefer Starship's Grace Slick because she was much easier on the eye and had a much more powerful voice, still, Joplin's influence is immeasurable. It's a testament to her greatness that many people never even think of the band she started out with, Big Brother and the Holding Company. What Bob Dylan was to Greenwich Village, Joplin was to the Haight. She remains one of the best female rockers ever. "Piece of My Heart."

19- Queen. You want to talk about underrated? Queen is it. "Bicycle Race."

20- The Allman Brothers Band. Their live stuff is truly awesome! "Melissa."

21- Fleetwood Mac. They formed in 1967 and what amazes me most is that they have gone through so much turmoil and turnover to put out hit after hit. "Little Lies," "Don't Stop."

22- Sex Pistols. They aren't my cup of tea, but they do have some stuff that I really like. Never Mind the Bollocks is considered to be one of the best albums ever. "God Save The Queen."

23- The Kinks. The term "British Invasion" has been expanded and contracted, yet The Kinks are definitely a part of it in my book. "You Really Got Me," " Lola," "Come Dancing."

24- Van Halen. David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar has been debated at many bars around this country, with no real winner ever being established. I like the band with either frontman. "Panama," "Runnin' With The Devil."

25- Aerosmith. Perhaps the greatest American band ever. "Walk This Way (with run DMC)," "Crazy," "Dream On."

1- The Who
2- The Rolling Stones
3- The Beatles
4- Led Zeppelin
5- Bruce Springsteen
6- Eric Clapton
7- Jimi Hendrix
8- Elton John
9- U2
10- Aerosmith

This is of course rock, otherwise Jay Z would have gotten in there somehow!

Don't sing off key, or something like that!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

WWE Cyber Sunday: Vote Early, Vote Often

Here's a look at the entire card for Cyber Sunday on October 28 at 8p.m.

W.W.E. Champ Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels or Jeff Hardy or Mr. Kennedy. The fans get to pick the opponent and although it is enticing to see Hardy or Kennedy against the champ, my pick is Shawn Michaels. "The Showstopper" has laid out Orton the past two Monday nights with his "sweet chin music" kick to Randy Orton's chin.

World Champion Batista vs. The Undertaker with special referee J.B.L. (who has an equally successful career in business as he does in wrestling), or best-selling author Mick Foley, or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Batista and Undertaker were battling one another for the better part of 2007 until Undertaker got injured in the late spring. Since The Undertaker returned in September from a real biceps injury he has declared Batista as target number one. Both guys are loved by the fans at this point, which is pretty rare to see two "babyfaces" go up against one another. The fans get to pick from three former World Champions to be the ref, but I like Steve Austin as the special ref in this one.

Austin, who was forced to retire due to a neck injury, always provides for something funny to happen. Like when he drove Donald Trump's head into the mat at Wrestlemania. Priceless! Unless, of course, Foley were to make a comeback and would fight the winner, that might be good. Foley's matches with The Undertaker some years ago were outstanding. J.B.L. has a legit bad back and should stay behind the mic.

E.C.W. World Champ C.M. Punk vs. Big Daddy V or The Miz or John Morrison. The Miz is a clown and shouldn't even be a consideration. They are really pushing Big Daddy V, and I kind of expect him to beat Punk if he gets voted into this match. John Morrison, formerly known as Johnny Nitro, looks to regain his belt which he had to drop due to his suspension for being connected to Signature Pharmacy. Either way I see a new E.C.W. Champ walking out of this contest.

Triple H vs. Umaga in a steel cage match or a first blood match or a street fight match. I'm a traditionalist and go for the steel cage!

United States Champion and co-holder of the W.W.E. tag team championship M.V.P. vs. Matt Hardy (the other co-holder of the tag titles) in a boxing match or a mixed martial arts match or a wrestling match. Enough pizza eating contests, foul shooting contests, etc. I just want to see a wrestling match. Some think that M.V.P. (Montel Vontavious Porter) is the next Rock. We'll see.
Rey Myesterio vs. Finlay in a no disqualification match or a stretcher match or a shillelagh on a pole match. I have no idea why these two have been fighting one another. It makes even less sense when Mysterio doesn't have the W.W.E. Cruiserweight title anymore. I'll go with the Shillelagh on a pole match and the Belfast Bruiser sending Mysterio packing for Monday Night Raw.

- Nicholas Cage will star in a new movie called The Wrestler.
- Bret Hart calls Vince McMahon a "master manipulator" in his new book slated to hit bookstores in November.
- Ric Flair is still with the W.W.E. and recently did a promo for them. He says they are coming up with a storyline for him. I hope Flair is able to have one more big moment before he retires.
- Speaking of retirement, Sting is rumored to be in the final months of his career.
- Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels recently had a backstage verbal confrontation. Apparently, McMahon was embarrassing Michaels in front of the other wrestlers, when Michaels put Vince in his place. The W.W.E. needs Shawn Michaels more than he needs them right now, so they should just cool it!

Keep it in the Ring!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Originals, W.W.E. Notes, Hogan to Start Promotion

For W.W.E. fans, most are really excited of the return of "The Heartbreak Kid"Shawn Michaels. But let's get one thing straight, the original H.B.K. was quite simply my Ray Cook Blue Goose putter. Believe me, it broke many hearts on golf courses throughout Westchester County, New York during the 1990s. Thus, I wrote "The Heartbreak Kid" on it's name tag. Seemed only fair, right? Now, I see there is a movie called The Heartbreak Kid with Ben Stiller? Huh? Don't besmirch the good name of my putter or Mr. Michaels thank you very much!

I'm in a "tipping of the cap" kinda mood tonight. So I figure that I must tip my cap to the orginial "Killer." That, of course, is former pro wrestler and now wrestling instructor "Killer"Wladek Kowalski (picture above).

- King Booker and his wife Queen Sharmell have both been released from the W.W.E.
- E.C.W. and Smackdown will be sharing wrestlers. Thus, Kane is teaming up with C.M. Punk tonight in a handicap match against Big Daddy V, The Miz, and John Morrison.
- Jonathan Coachman is doing double duty as Mr. McMahon's stooge on Monday Night Raw while also providing analysis on MSG's MSG NY nightly program. He's good on both.
- Rumors continue to swirl that Hulk Hogan will start his own wrestling promotion to rival the W.W.E. I've read that he is halfway to raising the $100 million, Hogan believes he will need to compete with Vince.

Keep it in the Ring!

Blog Talk Radio

Tommy Dee was unable to make it to studio 1-3-2 Sunday night, so I took the reigns alone for an hour of sports. I pretty much covered everything from the Jets and Giants to the Joe Torre situation to the New York Rangers. Have a listen here. We'll reconvene Thursday night at 10 following Knicks-Nets.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

WWE: The Showstopper Returns!

Last night, I caught the final 10 minutes of Monday Night Raw, and was completely surprised to see how the show ended. Mr. McMahon stood in the middle of the ring and introduced new W.W.E. World Champ, Randy Orton. McMahon had been promising all night that every wrestler on the Raw roster would shake Orton's hand and congratulate him on his title victory. So each member of Raw stood on the stage waiting to be called up the ramp and into the ring to "congratulate" the new champ.

Orton took the microphone and said that he could see the jealousy in the eyes of all the wrestlers. Meanwhile, McMahon realized that one wrestler was missing from all that had gathered on the stage. Triple H was not out, having been "injured" earlier in the night in a handicap match against Orton and Umaga. Upon realizing Hunter Hearst Helmsley was nowhere to be found, McMahon screamed into the mic that if Triple H didn't come out immediately that he would send Orton backstage to drag him out to the ring.

After a few moments passed without the appearance of Triple H, Orton began walking down the ramp toward the locker room area when all of a sudden, familiar theme music began playing. Out of the shadows came "The Showstopper," "The Heartbreak Kid (HBK)," a true legend: Shawn Michaels! To say the crowd went crazy is an understatement! Orton retreated back to the ring with Michaels giving chase and spearing Orton in the middle of the ring.

Randy Orton, who is known as the "legend killer" had allegedly put Michaels out of action due to a concussion some months back. Really, Shawn Michaels took time off to rest and have some work done on his knee. Getting back to what happened, Michaels set Orton up for "sweet chin music," which is a kick to the guy's chin. Michaels did just that and knocked Orton out. McMahon sat at ringside in stunned disbelief with Orton lying in the center of the ring out cold.

Shawn Michaels is one of the best wrestlers ever, in my book. He's a high-flyer with great mat skills and he's also one of the best talkers in the business. He's held every title in the W.W.E. and incredibly never jumped to the competition. He came up with the old American Wrestling Association as part of a tag team known as the Midnight Rockers. He and his partner, Marty Jannetty, jumped to McMahon's organization around 1988 when tag team wrestling was hot. The two became known simply as The Rockers were one of the top teams for a few years before splitting up. Jannetty never becoming a great singles wrestler, while of course, Michaels went on to great fame.

It had been rumored recently that Michaels was going to retire. Well, apparently those rumors are false. Michaels makes his opponent look better than he really is in the ring and I expect he'll have some classic bouts with Orton. Some of the most memorable contests inside the squared circle that I have ever seen involved Shawn Michaels. Such as his matches against Bret Hart, John Cena, Davey Boy Smith, Ric Flair, Owen Hart, The Rock, Steve Austin, and even Hulk Hogan. With Chris Jericho's return rumored to be a few weeks from now at Cyber Sunday, the W.W.E. could be on the upswing with some heavy hitters vying for the W.W.E. Championship.

Speaking of Cyber Sunday, one of the main events is all set. It will be W.W.E. Champ Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels or Mr. Kennedy or Jeff Hardy. Fans get to vote at Although Kennedy and Hardy against the champ make for some interesting bouts, I have no doubt that the "Showstopper" will be main eventing against the third generation superstar, Randy Orton.

- Another cryptic video aired last night and according to some is more confusing than ever. To me, there's no doubt it is meant to hype the return of Chris Jericho. There's no chance they would waste this much time promoting the "new" Hart Foundation or anyone else.

- So I got to see a recent classic on W.W.E. 24/7 involving Bret Hart. It took place at Madison Square Garden in late July of 1997. Hart who was adored in Canada at this time, while simultaneously despised here in the U.S. was addressing the M.S.G. crowd during an episode of Monday Night Raw. He stood in the middle of the ring and said thank God he was able to have a sit down discussion with Mark Messier in helping him to decide which team to sign with. Messier had just recently inked a deal with the Vancouver Canucks. You could imagine the crowd's response when Hart said this. That, my friends, is great stuff!

Keep it in the Ring!

Monday, October 08, 2007

W.W.E.:No Mercy, No Y2J

No Mercy aired last night from Chicago, Illinois and by and large it was a pretty good show. Vince McMahon and Raw G.M. Steven Regal strutted down to the ring at the opening of the pay-per-view where Mr. McMahon grabbed the microphone and drew the fan's ire by stating that he always gives them what they want, all the while the fans were chanting, "Y2J." McMahon quickly shot them down essentially saying that there will be a championship match for the W.W.E. title taking place, but it won't involve Chris Jericho.

McMahon goes on to declare Randy Orton the new champ in place of the injured John Cena. Orton comes down to the ring and grabs hold of the title like it is the holy grail itself. Triple H interrupts the festivities and hits the ring with a challenge to Orton. Initially reluctant, McMahon gives in after his manhood was challenged by Triple H (who is also his son-in-law). Vince McMahon screamed for a referee and for the bell to be rung so that right then and there Triple H would challenge Randy Orton for pro wrestling's most prestigious world championship, the W.W.E. strap.

This was a really good match with two of the best in the business going at it. Triple H wins, but does not have long to celebrate as backstage McMahon says that the originally scheduled bout between Triple H and Umaga would indeed take place, and that the W.W.E. title would be up for grabs. A few matches later Triple H defeats Umaga, thus ending their feud and probably Umaga's time on Monday Night Raw. Rumors abound that the "Samoan Bulldozer" will go to Smackdown in a trade for "The World's Strongest Man"Mark Henry.

Triple H, a.k.a. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, does not come out of this match with Umaga unscathed. No, it seems his ribs are pretty banged up. So enter Mr. McMahon. He now says that Randy Orton has demanded that his automatic rematch for the title would take place at the end of No Mercy. Oh yeah, in a "Last Man Standing" match!

The two face off against each other to conclude the evening in one of the better bouts I've seen in recent memory. They use every object in the arena to knock each other out. Both men come close to not making it to their feet by the referee's ten count on several occasions, however, in the end it would be Randy Orton who would make it to his feet before Triple H. So the W.W.E. Champ is Randy Orton.

The rest of the card was pretty good, there was a six man tag team match won by Mr. Kennedy and the W.W.E Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch over high-flyers Jeff Hardy, Brian Kendrick, and Paul London. The W.W.E. women's title changed hands when Beth"The Glamazon"Phoenix defeated Playboy centerfold, Candice Michelle in a match that was a great opportunity to go use the restroom or refill your glass with more soda.

Matt Hardy and M.V.P. had a pizza eating contest, which Hardy won but then ended up throwing up on M.V.P.

Batista defeated The Great Khali in a "Punjabi Prison" match. The ending was great, overall, neither one of these guys is very good. I'm not sure how Batista is World Champion, but he is at least for the time being.

No Edge and no Chris Jericho at No Mercy. There were reports that one or both would show up and involve themselves somehow in one of the main events. The fans were cheering for Jericho and holding "Y2J" signs up, to no avail. They did air one of those "Save Us" promos and I'm sure there will be a new one tonight on Monday Night Raw. I guess it makes sense that Jericho return at Cyber Sunday which is at the end of this month. Edge is scheduled to come back at the Survivor Series in November. So neither wrestler's return was pushed up. A bit disappointing to me.

- The John Cena injury really hurts the W.W.E. The next couple of months they are getting some more guys back from injury such as the aforementioned Edge, Shawn Michaels, and Bobby Lashley. All through 2007 the promotion has had a depleted roster due to injury, suspension, or otherwise. Hopefully, Jericho will bring some more intrigue into the product.

- I have no idea why the W.W.E. wastes a guy like E.C.W. World Champ, C.M. Punk against the dangerously overweight Big Daddy V. Punk is from Chicago where the card was held and basically fought a five minute match against V, which ended in a disqualification of Big Daddy.

- Finlay faked being injured in his match against Rey Mysterio. Not quite sure where this one is going.

- Interesting promo for this Friday's Smackdown, The Undertaker will team up with his "brother" Kane against W.W.E. Tag Champs Matt Hardy and M.V.P. Look for their to be new champs, leading to some good matches for the U.S. Championship between current champ, M.V.P. and Hardy. I don't really watch Smackdown that much, mostly because I'm usually not home, I'd like to see this one, though.

- If you've read this far, I must confess that the logo above is from the 2002 No Mercy card. Basically, because I liked that logo better than the one used for this year.

Keep it in the Ring!

Blog Talk Radio

Tommy Dee and I were joined last night by Anthony De Rosa of and Mets Blog Talk Radio. We took a hard look at the Mets and the MLB Playoffs. Listen here. Hope you drop by Thursday night at 10 following the Knicks preseason game.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

To Opine or Bloviate? I Do It, You Decide.

I've taken notice recently of more and more people visibly demanding that President George W. Bush and/or Vice President Dick Cheney be impeached. I'm not sure on what grounds. Those who are proponents of such actions are really fringe Democrats who are still miffed about the impeachment of former President Clinton. The worst thing politically that could happen to this country right now, would be impeachment proceedings. Congress, should be focused on fixing and not damaging.

I'd also like to add that I do not want to see a Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani matchup for the Oval Office. Why? Those two are probably the most polarizing characters in the United States and I could only imagine the mudslinging that would take place would reach new depths of classlessness.

United Nations' peacekeepers are regularly getting attacked in Darfur and yes, I'm going to repeat myself, there is a genocide occurring there as we speak. Former President Carter just continues to make an ass of himself by suggesting it is not a genocide. Uh, here are the facts: 400,000 killed and two million displaced from their homes, mostly fleeing into neighboring Chad since 2003. What's so hard to grasp, Mr. Carter? Is it because those doing the killing and displacing are Arab militias - also know as the Janjaweed - and that Mr. Carter has shown himself over the years to be sympathetic to the radical Islamic movement? I don't get him or why our country is so obsessed with Britney Spears, Isiah Thomas, and all the other degenerates that "grace" the covers of our newspapers daily when there are some serious topics that never see the light of day. What say you?

Jets vs. Giants probably has the least juice of any matchup between New York metro area teams.

Will tomorrow be Joe Torre's last game managing the Yankees? How about A-Rod in pinstripes? I thought the Bombers would make it to the World Series, however, at this point it looks like Tore will be working for Fox and A-Rod will be in San Fransisco about six months from now.

I began this week to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn(same sound as wine) Rand. The book is about 1,079 pages, but I have only heard good things about it, so I decided to give it a go. Usually 450 pages is the max for me, then I start to lose interest. Incidentally, Rand is buried locally at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla.

No word yet on the No Mercy main event tomorrow night. Randy Orton, though, will be involved in some type of match to fill the vacant W.W.E. Championship. Who will he fight? It's all pretty hush hush right now. I know that Vince McMahon is high on Orton as champion and I'm just wondering if somehow Hornswoggle (Vince's illegitimate son) doesn't get involved and ruin the whole thing for Mr. McMahon. Hmmm, could get interesting!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thoughts On Rangers' Opening Night

The Blueshirts won their first game of the season last night by beating the Florida Panthers 5-2. Brian Leetch, who is getting his number two raised to the Garden rafters in January, was part of the ceremonial puck drop before the game began. New York opened the game with a buzz which lasted about ten minutes. The rest of the period neither team was very effective and the second period was clearly dominated by the young Florida Panthers. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game by making some outstanding saves in the second.

The third period was all Rangers. They came out flying and never let up. The third line showed how valuable they are by netting two goals (one each from Ryan Callahan and Petr Prucha) but also by drawing a penalty and just using their speed and determination to wear out the Panthers. Chris Drury (playing on a line with Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka) was named the number one star of the game. Yeah, I guess that makes for good theater. But the best player was Lundqvist.

Let's go back to that third line and why they are going to be so key to any success the Rangers may have this season. How does an opposing coach determine who he is going to match his lines with? Do you put your top defensive forwards and d-men on against the Jagr line? How about if and when the Shanahan line is on fire? Then you have to decide how to combat the Rangers third line? Brandon Dubinsky looked more and more confident as last night's game went on, and Prucha and Callahan are two of the more spirited Blueshirts that you will find. Surprisingly, Head Coach Tom Renney put Blair Betts in Dubinsky's spot late in the game for a few shifts, because he likes Betts' poise.

Interesting to note that the Rangers have four, count 'em four, rookies in their lineup: Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Brandon Dubinsky, and Marc Staal. Only Staal did not see NHL action last season. Callahan, Girardi and Dubinsky did not play in the maximum number of games last season where a player would no longer be considered a rookie.

Now the Rangers visit Ottawa for a big test Saturday night.

Stay Onsides!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

W.W.E., T.N.A. News, Update On Cena, No Mercy

The big shots of World Wrestling Entertainment were scheduled to meet today to discuss what the heck to do now that John Cena will be out for a minimum of six months, or a maximum of one year following Tuesday's surgery.

Cena, sustained a torn pectoral muscle during his bout with Mr. Kennedy. It should be noted that Kennedy was returning after sitting out for 30 days due to his involvement with the whole Signature Pharmacy bust in Tampa, Florida. Cena got hurt while trying to execute a hip toss, which looks to be pretty routine. I wonder if Kennedy's rust didn't have something to do with the injury. Cena amazingly finished the bout and then was attacked by Randy Orton following Cena's victory.

Meanwhile, the W.W.E. loses their biggest star. So who will face Randy Orton Sunday at No Mercy? McMahon, undoubtedly, will set up some kind of match where the winner is declared new W.W.E. Champ. Is this where Chris Jericho comes in? How about Shawn Michaels, who has been out since the spring recovering from knee surgery? Maybe Ric Flair. The legend has been at odds with the W.W.E. over his reduced role, but I've read that he can't quit the promotion because he still owes McMahon money for bailing him out a year ago from the I.R.S. There was talk of Flair getting one last run before he retires, similar to the story in the movie Rocky Balboa.

Whatever, the W.W.E. is without another top star. It's pretty uncanny when you think about it. Rey Mysterio, Edge, Undertaker, Mark Henry, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bobby Lashley, and now Cena have all suffered severe injuries leading to extensive time away from the ring. Also ironic, is the fact that the W.W.E. was pushing the idea that Cena should not be fighting Kennedy so close to No Mercy. In essence, they were suggesting that Cena could get hurt. It was only the week before that Jonathan Coachman threatened to strip Cena of the title as part of a storyline. Now they actually do have to strip him of the belt, for a real reason! I hate to bring this up, but it kind of reminded me of when McMahon was playing up the angle of his "death" and then the Benoit tragedy occurred. It is only my observation, nothing more.

No question in my mind that this has had to have been the worst year for Vince McMahon and the W.W.E. The Benoit tragedy, numerous other former wrestlers dying, an exorbitant amount of top stars getting injured, the bad press, etc. It's gotta turn around, I think.

- Current Total Nonstop Action World Heavyweight Champ Kurt Angle was arrested for drunk driving last week. The story has now been picked up by all of the major media outlets. There's no truth to the rumor that Vince McMahon was pouring alcohol down Angle's throat.

-Total Nonstop Action goes to two hours tonight on Spike TV. Hey, if you want to be a wrestler T.N.A. is holding tryouts on October 28 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

-Hulk Hogan signed a deal with NBC to be the host for the return of the once successful show, American Gladiators.

-Edge, who is scheduled to return at the Survivor Series may make an early return this Sunday. There are rumors that he will interfere in the "Punjabi Prison" match between World Heavyweight Champion Batista and The Great Khali.

- The Hornswoggle angle is funny, but I just don't know where they are going with this. I'd really like to see the W.W.E. cut out the chicanery and just have wrestling. What was wrong with Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog in front of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium; or Bret vs. Owen at Wrestlemania X? Hell, Cena vs. Michaels at this year's 'Mania was pretty darn good. A little less Horswoggle would be nice!

- Rumor has it that Undertaker and his "brother" Kane will team up to face World Tag Team Champs, M.V.P. and Matt Hardy this Sunday.

- Speaking of Chris Benoit, can we all put aside the frivolous talk of whether or not he is going into the W.W.E. Hall of Fame. Yes, what he accomplished in the squared circle merits an induction. But it's just not happening!

- The W.W.E. continues to look for an actual place for their Hall of Fame, with Stamford Connecticut seemingly the most likely place.

Keep it in the ring!

A Quick One While He's Away

So much for no videos for a while. This is "A Quick One While He's Away" by The Who from the Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus, which took place on December 11, 1968. Cello, cello, cello, cello, cello...

NHL Preview: From Broadway to the Motor City

The waiting is over...well, sort of. While most of New York's sports fan tune in to the Yankees (who will beat the tribe in four), the New York Rangers will kick off their much anticipated 2007-2008 season tonight at home against the Florida Panthers. It's been five months since the Blueshirts were eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres and as is the norm in the National Hockey League, the roster has been shuffled. Enter Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

The first day of free agency on July 1, saw G.M. Glen Sather nab the two most coveted prizes on the unrestricted free agent market. These signings were different than past U.F.A.s the Broadway Blues have grabbed. We're not talking an over-the-hill Val Kamensky, or a "we have no idea how to use you correctly," Bobby Holik. No, these two are proven winners. With the signings the bar has been unquestionably raised. The Rangers are now in year three of their rebuilding mode. They've mostly gotten away from Mark Messier's huge shadow, although, Don Maloney would still be here had it not been for the Messiers declaring the G.M.'s position, "Mark's for the taking when Glen is gone." But that's all for another day, let's look at the Rangers and we'll also skate around the rest of the National Hockey League with some picks that may cause your Zamboni to jam. OK, 'nuff cheesy hockey jokes. Let's drop the puck:

Henrik Lundqvist has done so much his first two years in the league it's pretty astounding. He's won 30 games or more each season, was a finalist for the Vezina, and backstopped Sweden to Olympic Gold in 2006. So what's next? I expect "King" Henrik to win the Vezina this year and lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals. When you watch Lundqvist you see a guy who gets better and better through each N.H.L. experience. In some ways, he reminds me of Martin Brodeur, in that he loves to play a lot of games and he's got a pretty laid back even keel personality. All Rangers' fans would love to see Henrik mirror Brodeur's success. There's no doubt that Henrik is the Rangers' number one, and he'll have two capable backups when he needs a breather. Stephen Valiquette will be the Rangers' number two man. Meanwhile, Al Montoya will most certainly see some action as well. Montoya earned a spot coming out of camp, however, it just doesn't make sense for the 22-year-old to sit. He'll get plenty of minutes in Hartford and then maybe take an Amtrak into Penn Station from time to time to give Henrik a rest.

The Rangers defense is better as a unit than as singular entities. Marek Malik will make some costly gaffes, but he'll still be atop the league in the +/- category. Michael Rozsival continues to improve but needs to shoot more especially when the team has a power play. His low slap shot from one of the points creates juicy rebounds that I'm sure the forwards will love to pounce upon. Dan Girardi enters his first full season and was stellar down the final few months of last season. He was one of the reasons why New York turned their season around. Fedor Tyutin needs to break out this year. We've seen flashes of brilliance from "Toots" but now that he has a full-time regular partner in Girardi, he's got the green light to jump into the play and make something happen. Paul Mara was awful in Boston, and superb in New York while splitting his time last season between the two storied cities. So which Mara will we see this year? Jason Strudwick provides good stability and can play forward. He also writes a really good blog, too. Thomas Pock may be the odd man out. For some reason, Head Coach Tom Renney doesn't show much faith in the 24-year-old. I have no idea why, either. The main d-man everyone wants to see is Marc Staal. Staal, 20, made history last season with the Sudbury Wolves when he was the first player from a losing team to win the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as the Ontario Hockey League's postseason M.V.P. Staal is 6'4, 240, and can hit, sees the ice well, and has a modest offensive game that is reportedly getting better all the time. I hope the Rangers don't put too much pressure on Staal to be their blueline's rock. In time he will be, but this year the Rangers may need to incorporate, dare I say "Staal's Rules." The point is that Staal's development should not preclude New York from going out and making a deal for a vet to bolster their backline.

This is where it gets fun! We know everything runs through Jaromir Jagr who had a full summer to work out and get ready for the season. Last year, he was recouping from shoulder surgery. Jagr has said he will only play for another year or two and he's desperate to win another Stanley Cup. Jagr will have a monstrous season, no matter which centerman he ends up flanking. That leads us to the prized duo: Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Gomez put up 13 goals last season with New Jersey, and 33 the year before. I'd pencil Gomez for about 25. The danger is that Rangers' fans are going to expect a ton of offense from him due to his "gee, isn't America great" $10 million bonus-filled salary for this year. But being an offensive wiz is just not his game. Gomez carries the puck a great deal, which means if things are going bad, that's the signal for the boo birds to come out at M.S.G. Asking Gomez to do too much offensively, could mean that he'll give up some of his defensive attributes. I hope not. Ditto Drury. Mr. Clutch we'll score, and score some big goals. But he's more of a gritty, in your face, type of player. Brendan Shanahan had a fabulous first year performance on Broadway, and looks to continue to lead this team deep into the playoffs. Shanny will turn 39 in January but he showed last year he's still one of the top forwards in the game. The key will be for Renney not to overplay Shanahan in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Sean Avery brings his abrasive style of play back to New York after an arbitration hearing that hurt Avery's feelings. Gimme a break, Sean. You've gotta have thicker skin than that, otherwise YOU sir will have to change your name. Avery was another player who helped to turn last season around for the Rangers. He'll most likely be a winger, but is also very good at center ice. Avery needs to keep his mouth under control in order for this to work. But he drives the opposition nuts, especially Martin Brodeur. The third line for the Rangers should bring the Garden crowd to its feet with its energy, intensity, and hopefully its goal scoring: Ryan Callahan and Petr Prucha will be centered by Brandon Dubinsky. These three youngsters are a high-octane line that was partially together last season. Prucha and Callahan were centered by Matt Cullen, who has since been traded back to Carolina. Dubinsky saw some action in the playoffs and showed some grit, but no goals. Callahan is one player the entire N.H.L. will have to take notice of. He loves to shoot the puck, and quite often he scores when he does. He also can fight and drives to the net on every shift. Martin Straka, Ryan Hollweg, Colton Orr, Blair Betts and Marcel Hossa round out the forward corps. Straka will start the season on the top line with Jagr and Drury. He can also play center. The most important thing for Renney to do is to find a suitable role for Straka and Hossa.




Has there ever been a team in any sport that had two men who hailed from Alaska? Quick, someone call Elias, and no not Patrick. Dubinsky and Gomez both are natives of that great state.

Every team in the Atlantic division has improved and has also bulked up. This may not be like the old Patrick Division, but it's going to be close. Still, I like the Rangers to finally win the division after falling short the last two seasons. Sidney Crosby is said to be in better condition than last year, which spells bad news for the rest of the N.H.L. Pittsburgh needs to learn to play defense, however. Philly and Daniel Briere will really test the Rangers. New Jersey made a very astute move in naming Brent Sutter as their coach, and with Brodeur between the pipes they'll be dangerous. The Islanders added Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin among others. They'll definitely contend for a playoff spot.

It's Ottawa and then everyone else. So why did we exactly have a lockout when Buffalo would lose Briere and Drury anyway? Boston will be better and doesn't Marc Savard know how to pass. Montreal is a fun team to watch, but usually ends up on the wrong side of 5-4. Toronto is starting to become a punch line. Sorry, no disrespect meant to the late coach, George "Punch" Imlach.

Carolina is healthy and made a couple of wise pickups in the off-season, notably Matt Cullen. They'll battle Tampa Bay tooth and nail and indeed it will be the Hurricanes who will come out on top. Washington is better, but not quite ready for prime time. Florida is ho hum.

Detroit is a little long in the tooth in goal, but Dom Hasek should be one of the league's best this year. Nashville really disappointed in the playoffs. The ownership situation is a mess, but I don't think that we'll distract them from what has to be done on the ice. J.D. has done a nice job rebuilding St. Louis, but it won't be enough for the playoffs. Columbus has many talented players, but has difficulty staying healthy. Chicago: see Toronto.

Calgary has one of the best goalies in the league in Miikka Kiprusoff. Colorado has enough to push the Flames. Vancouver: Roberto Luongo and this talented bunch may take a step back. Minnesota: They play "put you to sleep hockey" but what else would you expect from Jacques Lemaire. Edmonton: Was it really worth getting Dustin Penner?

Anaheim. How will the champs defend their title? I say pretty well. Dallas. Love the Stars on the shootout. San Jose. Can Joe Thornton and the boys finally overtake the usual perennial favorites? Los Angeles. Movies anyone? Phoenix. Golf anyone?

Rangers over Penguins in 7.

Detroit beats San Jose in 6.

Rangers defeat Detroit in what else? 7

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


UPDATED 4:52 p.m. W.W.E. Champ John Cena tore his right pectoral muscle during his match last night against Mr. Kennedy in which he was victorious. Cena is scheduled to have surgery and will be out 6-8 months. Therefore, his bout with Randy Orton this Sunday at No Mercy has been called off. The W.W.E. has promised that a contest for the W.W.E. belt will take place at the pay-per-view and a new champion will be crowned.

The saga continues...Now it seems as though everyone is completely thrown off! Some folks now think after seeing the second video last night on Monday Night Raw, that this one could be hyping the return of "The Showstopper" Shawn Michaels, or perhaps Michaels and Chris"Y2J"Jericho will be forming a new "faction" that would be bigger than the old N.W.O.

Wrestling and football announcer extraordinaire Jim Ross also confused some of us by writing on his blog, that if Chris Jericho does come back, he would be headed for Smackdown, not Raw. This makes sense and it doesn't. W.W.E. Champ John Cena was the one that beat Y2J in a 2005 match where the stipulation was the loser would have to leave Raw. So wouldn't it make more sense for Jericho to come back to "avenge" his loss against Cena. On the other hand if Jericho went to Smackdown, he could take that brand's version of the World Championship, and Vince McMahon would have two "faces" of the company that would not draw any suspicion in light of everything that has gone on in the last six months.

I saw Cena and Jericho on Larry King shortly after the Benoit tragedy and both came off as being well-spoken and don't appear to be steroid fueled monsters. King, showed that he did some research, because he even referenced that Cena had beaten Jericho to force him into "retirement." All three seemed to have a good laugh about it. I'm not a huge fan of Larry King, but he sure does beat Miss Poutyface, Nancy Grace.

To sum up, the above video is pretty weird, but the W.W.E. creative team has got something good going.