Thursday, August 16, 2007

Van Halen Reunion

You can't write about something of earth-shaking importance every time (although some people would classify a Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth as exactly that). Here's what rockers everywhere have been waiting for - David Lee Roth returning to Van Halen, although minus original bass player Michael Anthony.

Although many will believe it blasphemous to say so, I preferred the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen. Say what you want about the gifts of David Lee Roth (a great frontman to be sure, but lousy singer and lousy lyricist) Hagar is a great singer, great songwriter, and great - although underrated - guitar player. Even before he joined Van Halen Hagar had great credentials, singing with Montrose and going on to a stellar solo career. Talk about classic songs - his solo material is full of great moments: Heavy Metal, I Can't Drive 55, One Way to Rock, Two Sides of Love, Three Lock Box, Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy, I've Done Everything For You. What does Dave have in his solo canon to rival these songs? And what about that solo career - as Van Halen went on to scale new heights with Hagar, Roth's career had some initial success and then quickly crashed and burned.

I saw the first Van Halen tour with Hagar and Sammy was great. During Why Can't This Be Love Hagar stayed right with Van Halen as they soloed together. Hagar is no slouch on guitar; the man is a serious player.

Enjoy the reunion with Roth. As for me, I'm waiting for Sammy to rejoin.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Are celebrity environmentalists full of hot air?

Reading through some political news I stumbled on a short piece about a well-known actor who has not decided who he will support in the 2008 presidential election. This actor, who I will not name, will offer his support to the candidate with the strongest environmental policy. Well, good for him. We should all be more concerned about our environment, which we continue to destroy, but I am tired of hypocritical celebrity environmentalists.

Out of curiosity I looked up one of the actor's homes on Google Earth (that's right - this environmentalist owns more than one house - not good for the environment, heating and cooling all those empty homes!) As suspected, the house is quite large and appears to have a swimming pool. Here's my questions - is the swimming pool heated? Why does one person need to own a home that is probably at least 5,000 square feet? If one claims to be an environmentalist, shouldn't that philosophy be reflected in one's choice of home?

But it's not just this actor who is guilty - how about the Live Earth concert event that spanned all seven continents last month. How many of the artists flew to the venues in private jets? I know they don't want to be bothered by commoners on a commercial flight, but you can't preach about environmentalism while so blatantly being anti-environment in lifestyle. One band even made it their goal to play on several continents during the 24 hour event, which means they certainly were burning up a lot of jet fuel. Why not just play in one venue and save all the fuel?

It's not just industry that is at fault for harming our environment; it's our extreme consumerism and ravenous consumption of the earth's resources that is one of the roots of the environmental destruction that threatens our very existence. We could all take a lesson from an environmentalist friend of mine - who I will also leave unnamed - who truly lives what he believes and is probably leaving one of the smallest environmental footprints of anyone I know. As to the celebrity environmentalists who live an anti-environment lifestyle - give me a break!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

No Smoking Means No Smoking!

This is really a pet peeve of mine, and if I offend you with this - good! I am constantly amazed at the number of people who stand at the entrances to hospitals and smoke. Yesterday, as I was exiting a hospital, several people were gathered around a sign that plainly stated the area was a no-smoking zone and plainly stated the location of the smoking area. Yet there they were, blowing their smoke on everyone entering and exiting the hospital.

If you want to smoke, be my guest, but please use some common courtesy and avoid the areas that are plainly marked as no-smoking. This is particularly important at a hospital entrance where patients really should not have to walk through a haze of cigarette smoke.

And don't bother telling me about smoker's rights. Yes, we all know you have a right to smoke, but not in all public places. A few weeks ago, as I ate lunch in a restaurant that neither observes a smoking ban or even designates a smoking area, a nearby diner shared her smoke with a number of us while she loudly proclaimed her "right" to smoke. Her attitude betrayed a lack of concern for anyone else in the restaurant and only served to demonstrate rude behavior.

If you're going to smoke, please don't be rude about it - don't smoke where you are plainly told not to smoke!