Friday, March 20, 2020

Screw Covid-19! This is America!!

Listening to Crap Music on Day 5 of the COVID-19 Lockdown

How am I coping? Well I work from home, so I am doing that. That being said, for some reason I starting playing music today that I don't normally like to listen to. The first of the bunch was Van Halen III - you know...the one with Gary Cherone as lead singer. Am I sick? I almost was when I got to the end and listened to the song How Many Say I that Eddie Van Halen sings. Jesus. I still remember really trying to actually like this record when it came out as I always considered myself a "ride or die" Van Halen fan. I did end up liking maybe 3 songs, but they aren't great: Without You, One I Want, and Fire in the Hole.  The rest? Dumpster fire.

The red-headed step-child of the VH catalog
Knowing what I know now and have read about over the years, this album is an even bigger disappointment to me now than it was then. This was when the VH brothers really started to screw over bassist Michael Anthony (arguably the heart and soul of his band), and was more or less the end of his tenure. People have said that this was essentially an Eddie Van Halen solo record with hired gun musicians, and it might be true.  Anthony supposedly only played on 3 of the album's tracks while Ed did the rest. What Mikey did end up playing was very dictated by Ed. Just sad all across the board. As everyone knows the Cherone experiment only lasted one album, however there is allegedly material from a 2nd album they were working on. As bad as Van Halen III was, I'd still be curious to hear that music if they ever let it out of the VH 5150 vault.

Second up on the crap music list:  Motley Crue's album New Tattoo. This one came out during the years when various members were in and out of the group. For this one, Tommy Lee was no longer a member and was replaced by Randy Castillo of Ozzy Osbourne fame. This album is often at the bottom of Motley fans' favorite albums, mainly because the songs are without-a-doubt cheesy and lyrically lame. The lead single, Hell on High Heels is enjoyable enough, but just corny.  The albums's two ballads, New Tattoo and Hollywood Ending are bad, but for me - a guilty listening pleasure. Vince's voice is not made for Hollywood Ending's note changes, therefore it's so bad it's good.  The one true good song on the album is called Fake. It is a nice shot at all the record executives from all the past years for making a gazillion dollars off of Motley Crue. They kept the band coked up and so drunk that they almost killed them just to keep the money machine going. At least that's how they tell it. I'm sure Vince, Nikki, Tommy, and Mick didn't conduct any self destructive behavior on their own at all.

Well that's all I have time for today.  I will be sure to update you with the additional crap I listen to in the coming days.  What else am I going to do?

Thursday, March 19, 2020


I don't want anyone to say I wasn't helpful today... so I am going to provide you with a list of things NOT TO DO during the Coronavirus pandemic. While it is truly not THAT helpful, it is providing a dose of humor and snark we all need right now.... because that's what I do.


10. Get a friend dress up in a hazmat suit, and run into Target yelling 
      "which way did he go?" and then grab you and drag you out screaming

 9. Playing Ding-Dong-Ditch while licking all the doorknobs throughout the neighborhood

 8. Listen to Donald Trump

 7. Get all hot and sweaty like you have a fever, and then show up at the Old Folks 
     Home asking to see Grandma and Grandpa

 6. Four Words: Topless dance party kegger

 5. Finally host that Pampered Chef Party that your annoying friend Karen 
     has been hassling you to have

 4. Running though Walmart and insisting everyone give you a high-five

 3. Challenging others to wrestling matches over toilet paper

 2. Paint yourself orange, insist things are great and that there are no problems

 1. Drink all the Busch Light and not offer to buy more

Monday, March 16, 2020

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 158

The Time The COVID-19 Virus Shut Down Everything

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, and I figured now was as good as any. I pretty much have time, much like everyone else since everything is SHUT DOWN.  Well, not everything. Enough to definitely make life uncomfortable though.

Some people are going out of their minds because they can't see anyone, go anywhere, and have to work from home.  I'm like "Bitch, I've been training for this for years.  This is nothing."  I'm a full-time work from home guy, so not much has changed other than my wife and kids are now home all day every day. It's nice that they are home, but I feel bad because they are doing activities and projects in the house, and I'm down in the basement working. A. I feel left out; B. I feel like I will be in trouble for not helping even though I'm working; and C. I don't want to work, but have to.  Working sucks.

However, I am thankful I can work because there are A LOT of people who want to work, but have been told to go home because their businesses can't be open. That's the sad part out of all this.  People are going to suffer needlessly because they can't work, therefore they can't afford to feed their families and pay bills. People are going to get sick, but can't afford to go to the doctor. Even if they could, they probably can't because other dummies with minor things are taking up vital services others may really need. Many kids who go to school and eat the only meal they probably get every day can't even do that.  A lot of places are stepping up and providing lunches for kids, which is really cool, but you know the kids that REALLY need it probably aren't getting it. A lot of places will even deliver things if they can. I hope people can and do utilize that.

Then there is our fine government agencies. Most state and local levels are on top of it as best they can, and should be thanked for their front line efforts. Our Federal level and our fearless gaslighting leader, Donald Trump are an entirely different story. Normally I don't like to get political on my blog here, but Sweet Baby Jesus....Donald Trump is the stupidest ass-bag one could ever be.  I can't even with this guy. He has been and is by far the biggest obstacle to anything productive or helpful in this matter (or anything really), and should really not be listened to in this time of emergency. That's pretty sad. This isn't even a Republican/Democrat/Never-Trumper/political bias statement at all.  This is just a stupid blog guy saying someone in a place of authority is being very stupid and reckless when all they are thinking about is their ego and pocketbook. Somehow he has conned people into believing his hype, and at this point it is downright dangerous.

So yeah...I'm rambling and this post is disjointed at best and probably lost it's point. What is my point today? I don't know. I guess my point is I hope everyone can stay safe, stay away from others as much as possible, and take care of their mental health. Being a shut-in is not for everyone.  Find ways to communicate with others when you can.  That is probably why I felt like writing this to begin feel like I'm talking to someone.  Yeah I know it might be read by two people...but whatever. Thanks for reading.

We'll get through this.

Friday, September 13, 2019

R.I.P. Eddie Money

Another one of the rock and roll greats passed on today.  Eddie Money died today at the age of 70 due to esophageal cancer. I'm sure he will rest easy knowing his music will keep us Shakin' for the rest of all our days.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The BEST Picture

I love this.
Jon Stewart smiling as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk by on Capitol Hill. Stewart was there as an advocate for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, ensuring all those who were injuring during the attacks or the clean up would continue to be compensated. Several verbal jabs were exchanged between Stewart and McConnell in the media prior to the bill being passed by the Senate (07/24/2019). Stewart's grin says it all.

McConnell is a douche bag, but that goes without saying.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 157

The Time Mookie Went and Saw Halestorm Again


Halestorm - with openers -  In This Moment, Palaye Royale, and Beasto Blanco
Date:  May 9, 2019
Place:  U.S. Cellular Center - Cedar Rapids, IA
Time: 6:00pm

Upon hearing that Halestorm was coming back to the area, I was immediately excited to snatch up a ticket go see them. When I began asking people who would like to go with me, I was surprised - but yet very excited - that my youngest sister said that she was "definitely" in. Hell yeah.

Upon arriving at the venue, getting through security, hitting the bathroom, and procuring a cold beverage, we found ourselves standing on the floor in front of the stage. The floor had no seating (general admission) and we were free to get as close to, or far away as we wanted. After some quality people watching, the lights went down and Beasto Blanco hit the stage.

Beasto Blanco
I admittedly knew very little about any of the openers prior to the show. Beasto Blanco doesn't even have a Wikipedia page for goodness sake. However, they SHOULD. They were first, and came out with a thundering beat and dressed in gothic wear. The lead singer would trade vocals with a woman who spent a lot of her time swinging flags and baseball bats with knives sticking out of them. It was quite a show. The highlight for me honestly was the bassist, who wore a jacket that had metal studs all the way down both arms. It was sweet. The only thing sweeter than that was his massively huge black/gray hair and beard. The dude looked like an awesome cave man. As I told my sister, definitely not the worst opening band I've ever seen.

Palaye Royale
Next up was Palaye Royale. From what I read and saw, the group was made up of 3 brothers. There were six dudes on stage, so I guess they must have picked up some people along the way. Palaye Royale's sound and look was a mix of Bowie, and maybe a heavy punk version of the Cars (if that is possible). They weren't too bad and were fun to watch. You could tell these kids loved what they were doing, and were trying to make the people love it too. In between songs, they thanked everyone for coming out, and admitted they knew that no one in the building was there to see them that night. They probably picked up one or two fans out of the deal though I'm sure. Even though their music wasn't my jam, I admit it was entertaining, and again - definitely not the worst opening band I've ever seen.
In This Moment

The third band in the line-up  - In This Moment - was allegedly the co-headliner with Halestorm, but I knew little-to-nothing about them. During my impromptu pre-show investigation work, I determined they were probably an odd cross of Lady Gaga and Slipknot. Needless to say, my impression was spot on. This show was by far the most theatrical performance I've ever seen (which is odd because the last time I saw Halestorm, one of those opening bands achieved that title). They had a curtain in front of the stage before the show started, and when they dropped the curtain......oh my goodness. The stage was set with lots of silhouettes of religious imagery, altars, and graveyard settings. There were these blond women with expressionless masks writhing around another blond woman standing upon a platform, with a huge headdress of some kind. This lady began singing, and I couldn't understand a word. However the imagery and odd visuals were amazing. Every song had some performance on stage with the writhing blond girls, while the leader shrieked about God knows what.The band - like I said - resembled a Slipknot theme by wearing masks and scary attire. The last song was called "Whore," and the lead singer stood upon a raised platform for the song, and the platform had the word "whore" on it. I'm not sure if she was the whore, or if she was singing about someone else that might have been a whore. I didn't feel like a whore, so I never really got that answer. Needless to say I knew none of their songs, but it appeared many in attendance did so I hope they enjoyed the show. Again...not the worst opening act I've ever seen.

Then finally around 9:30, it was time for Halestorm. My sister and I made a push further into the crowd until we were about 8th row center stage. The lights went down, and everyone was ready.

Halestorm's drummer, Arejay Hale, walked out on stage and up to his drum kit and the crowd went crazy.  He started thumping the drums and and proceeded into a drum solo for a few minutes. Then he stopped, and reached behind him for THE BIG STICKS!  He uses these drumsticks that are the size a cardboard tube from wrapping paper, and proceeds to slam the drums, twirl the sticks in his hands and put on a solo that is not only bad-ass, but funny as hell too.
credit mookie5150

As he finished that up, guitarist Joe Hottinger, bassist Josh Smith, and lead singer Lzzy Hale came out on stage to thunderous applause and tore into Freak Like Me. They followed that with Love Bites (So Do I), and Mz. Hyde much to the crowd's appreciation.  Lzzy was rocking a sweet outfit of what looked like 4 inch platform boots with heels, skin tight vinyl pants with matching bra top, and a leather jacket. The stage had an immense light kit that strobed and flashed to the music, and a Halestorm logo that changed colors as the evening bore on.

The set was a great mix of their classic hits, as well as a number of songs off their newest album Vicious. One surprise song was one called Chemicals, that was released as a b-side to their single Skulls on Record Store Day. They admitted they had only performed it live one other time, so it was cool to see that. Then they wrapped up their set with the screamer Uncomfortable.

Apparently Halestorm ditched their previous stance on not doing encores, because they came back out a few minutes later and put on an encore that absolutely blew the roof off the dump. I'm not even kidding when I say that. They started slow with a wonderful version of their recent song The Silence featuring just Lzzy singing and Hottinger on acoustic guitar. Then they brought out the rest of the band, including the gang from In This Moment to join them on stage for a toast. After that they did they broke out everyone's favorite Here's to Us, followed by Lzzy's acapella rock hymn She Won't Mind.  THEN...just as you thought they might be done, Lzzy screams out OHHHHHHH I MISS THE MISERY!! and they kicked hard into that. It featured a blistering guitar show by Joe Hottinger, a brief bring-down of a crowd sing-a-long with Lzzy, and then just came back over-the-top vocally to finish off the show.
credit mookie5150

As we walked out of the arena, I turned to my sister and went "Holy balls that was awesome."
I'm out there in that crowd somewhere
photo credit @judyhwon on Lzzy Hale FB

All in all, an AWE. SOME. SHOW. I get that for some people that Halestorm is an acquired taste, but there is no questioning the talent these four individuals have.  Just amazing. Needless to say, I will see them again when they come back (They better). I recommend you check out their music and do the same.

Halestorm Set list 05/09/2019
Drum Solo
Freak Like Me
Love Bites (So Do I)
Mz. Hyde
I Am The Fire
Familiar Taste of Poison / Amen
Do Not Disturb
I Get Off

The Silence
Here's to Us
She Won't Mind
I Miss The Misery