Saturday, November 24, 2012

21 Years

It was twenty-one years ago today that Freddie Mercury shuffled off this mortal coil. Queen is my favorite band and I think Mercury was the greatest front man of all time. On top of his incredible vocals, he just had an amazing chemistry when he was performing. The way he connects with a crowd is just awe-inspiring. Here is Queen at Wembley Stadium in 1986 in one of their most famous performances

Here's to you, Freddie. Your voice is amongst the angels now, no doubt showing them how it's done.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nightwish Has a New Singer

This apparently happened last month, but I just found out today. Epic symphonic power metal band Nightwish has parted ways with Annette Olzon who joined the band in 2007 to replace Tarja Turunen. Olzon was a somewhat controversial choice as she did not have the operatic vocals of Turunen. Tuomas Holopainen's compositions didn't change, but the delivery couldn't help but be different with Olzon who had a "smaller," poppier voice. Personally I ended up liking her more than I expected to, but I still missed Turunen's voice as did many other fans of the band.

The replacement singer for the time being is Floor Jansen. She was the lead singer for After Forever before they broke up. At this time she is just filling in for the remaining Nightwish concerts on their current tour. Whether she will continue with the band when they go back to the studio is up in the air. I'm excited about the possibilities. I always liked her in After Forever and her voice is definitely more operatic than Olzon's. Here are a couple of tracks from After Forever.

She definitely has the chops. I hope she does stick with the band.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Journalism, Drones, and Assassination! Oh, My!

Jeremy Scahill is one of the best voices out there covering American foreign policy, especially in regards to drones and American policy on terror. Here is a good interview with him about these subjects and the media that covers (or doesn't) these topics.

I do think the stuff about video games comes off as sort of a cheap shot. Kids have played at war games ever since the advent of kids and I don't think violent video games are much different than running around whacking each other with sticks.

Leadership in Government

One of the things that bugs me the most from people in government (typically from legislators) is the phrase along the lines of "The President (or governor or whomever) needs to step up and lead" on some issue. The latest version of this I've seen is from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) speaking about the fiscal cliff.

There’s a problem out there. It’s got to get solved; it’s got to get solved by the president leading. He’s got to put forward what we ought to do and ought to negotiate from there? The point is real leadership — get in the room, here’s what I ought to do. All of the speculation doesn’t do anything to do anything except muddy the waters. He needs a clear vision statement, what he thinks we ought to do, and specifically how. If his answer is only to raise taxes, that doesn’t stop the problem. We ought to stop sequester.

I wonder if Sen. Coburn (or other people saying this) skipped their government class in high school. It seems that he doesn't realize that the Congress is a co-equal branch of government. He or any other legislator can step up and lead on this issue just as well as the President. The problem, though, is that would require Sen. Coburn to put himself out there, to take some responsibility. It's far easier to call for some other guy to put forth a plan and then criticize it for not being exactly what you want. I understand that's the political game, but there's no reason for us not to call it out when it happens.