Major League Greedball – A New Outlook

12 04 2008

Jose Canseco

Last month, I wrote a pretty bad, yet cheesy, poem about Jose Canseco, and what I thought about his ‘name calling’ in his books and interviews. I made up my mind about him from the beginning, and never gave his word a chance. But that changed today, when I finally gave in and bought one of his books. I bought his newest release, ‘Vindicated’, from a Penn Station bookstore that was selling it at 20% off (not that the discount is what led me to buy it). It was time for me to give ‘Jose’ another chance. After all, my former opinion of his ‘allegations’ and ‘name calling’ was mostly fueled by the media bigwigs at ESPN or CNNSI, instead of my own cerebrally-formed opinion. So, here it goes.

[Start of ‘Bizarre Story’ Break]

I was riding the LIRR with my girlfriend, on our way to visit my grandparents, when a whole bunch of Mets fans got on the train at Woodside (I say Mets fans because they all had Johan Santana jerseys on). One of them caught a glimpse of what I was reading, and said down at me, “What does it say about A-Rod?“. I ignored him, and kept on reading, because I wasn’t about to get into a conversation with a guy on his way to a baseball game who already looked drunk (at 11:00am, mind you). He turned to a friend of his and continued by saying, “This kid is reading that Canseco book. Man, @&#% Canseco… and @$&% A-rod too“. Kid? Amazing how an 18 year old “kid” calls a 26 year old a kid (I know he was 18 because a friend of his had said “you’re NOT drinking at the game, you’re only 18”). Okay, how in the world would he know I’m 26 anyway… but that’s besides the point. Back to the post…

[End of ‘Bizarre Story’ Break]

I’m not going to give away the meat of the book, because I believe everyone (who has an interest in this topic) should buy the book and give it a chance. The guy is simply recalling his life, from start to present day. Sure, he names a bunch of players and recalls a lot of conversations, but that’s purely secondary to what he really talks about in the book. The majority of this new book was focused on two things (at least from what I took from the book):

A) Why steroids and performance enhancing drugs were kept so ‘quiet’ during the post ‘Strike of 1994’ years of baseball. (I happened to have the same ‘theories’ that he had)
B)
How steroids created a ‘Level Playing Field’. (That’s where I was a little skeptical)

My opinion on Jose’s claims haven’t change dramatically, but simply looking at what he has to say (lie-detector passed and all) has given me a whole bunch of new theories to rack my brain with. I will agree with him on this, though. “Chicks Dig The Longball”. How many of you remember that commercial with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Big Mac? Jose made a reference to that commercial in the book, and how it was a funny reference to the state of baseball back in the (now referred to as the ‘Juiced’) era. Fans (and sports coverage hounds like ESPN and others) love the home run ball. Whether it’s a solo shot, a grand slam, or a game-winner… there’s something about the ball being crushed into the next atmosphere that gives baseball fans an incredible rush. After reading this book, I’m starting to believe in the idea that Steroid use was kept quiet because it kept fans (notice I didn’t say ‘all fans’) in their seats, buying more tickets, buying more food/alcohol, and fueling the baseball economy.

None of this means I’m a believer in everything Jose says. What it means, is that I was knowingly hand-fed media garbage and used their opinions as my own. I accepted it without questioning it, and now I want my own opinion back.

So what have I learned from all this? While I never did know a whole lot about Jose Canseco, his book has given me some neat theories to play around with. Thanks Jose!

Believe what you want. Believe who you want. We’ll all believe who we want and what we want. It’s our god-given right to do so. But me? After all of the ‘Canseco Nay-Saying’ I did? I’m glad he opened his big mouth. Then again, the media-opinion-hungry kid on the inside wants this guy to fade away into the darkness that is the “Steroid Era” and never been heard from or seen again, along with everyone else involved. But then I’d just be a media-puppet… and we all know that’s no fun!

Respect My Authoritah!

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Live Music versus Produced Music

26 02 2008

Remember the good ol’ days when musicians and artists would play live shows, and sounds just like (or even better than) their recorded albums? I sure miss those days. Paul Simon live sounded like a Paul Simon record. Billy Joel live sounded like a Billy Joel record. I’m sure you can catch my drift. Well, times have seemingly changed, and I felt like blogging about a topic that I’ve debated with some of my friends for a long while. What I’m going to do is share two videos, featuring a band called “Panic! At The Disco”. One video will be a produced music video, and the other will be a live performance. I’m interested in hearing which version of the song sounds better, and why you think so.

Remember, be as open and honest as possible. I’m really interested in hearing your truthful non-biased opinions. Watch, and discuss!

Produced

Live





The Tuesday Tally

9 01 2008

I’m a little fahklempt…
Talk amongst yourselves for a while.

Here, I’ll give you a topic: The 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections. Who do you support, and why?

Discuss!

Here’s a little dose of zen while you think.





ExplainCast – Voice Your Opinion

1 11 2007

FameCast.com has thrown my band, Soundscape Soul, for a loop (and for the 3rd straight Season). Thanks to everybody’s support, we’ve kept up a #1 Ranking on the Pop Stage and have made it into the Top 10. On the Singer/Songwriter Stage, we had maintained a #3 Ranking. For some reason, we were knocked down to 20th while the voting was closed and therefore missed the cut into the Top 10 on that stage. FameCast has issued a response to the drop in rank by sending me this email:

“Hi Josh,
I apologize for the confusion regarding the drop; the Audit Committee had their work cut out for them.  As always, votes deemed illegitimate were removed and the ranks changed accordingly.  I assure you that your shift was the direct result of such action.
Thank you”

Please, if you have the time, visit this Forum on FameCast.com, login to or create your account, and post your feelings on what has happened and what you feel should be done to fix the “Vote Auditing” system. Your opinion matters, and can make a difference. You can also leave a comment here. If we can rack up enough comments here, I’ll go ahead and forward all of your suggestions and comments directly to FameCast.

What’s done is done, and our focus returns to the competition. Despite being knocked out of the Singer/Songwriter Stage, we’re still alive on the Pop Stage, and that’s where we’ll need your support the most! Our submission into the Pop Stage (since this new round must feature a new video) is a clip of us performing the first song we had ever written: “Her Song”. We performed this song at the Triad Theater in New York City back in March of 2006. I hope you all enjoy it, and can head over to FameCast.com to vote for the video. Voting will begin on Tuesday, November 6th at 9:00pm Eastern and last until Tuesday, November 20th at 12:00pm Eastern. Thanks again everyone, and enjoy this clip!

Soundscape Soul – “Her Song”





Music – The Gift of a Lifetime

11 04 2007

I suppose the title of this post should create a positive buzz, but I’m not feeling too impressed at the moment. Let’s start (where things usually start) at the beginning.

Matt Aronson and I (Soundscape Soul) joined a website called FameCast. This website offers a chance to perform live in Austin, TX for the eventual chance of a $10,000 prize (along with national exposure) to the artist who draws the most votes by signing up for a “Fan Account”, and then clicking on the “Vote” button next to the artist’s video. (Sounds like a cool idea, huh?) When we joined the Pop Stage, we barely got through the open round. Round two saw us receive double the votes from the previous Round. When we made it into the Top 25, that’s when we knew that we had some serious work to do. Matt and I went beserk and sent out emails, myspace messages, bulletins, and promoted the competition on every music website we are on. The result was amazing. We were voted into the Top 10! (Still Sound pretty cool?). The Top 10 voting began, and we ran out of the gates with another week-long promoting and marketing run. In the end, it paid off. We made it into the Top 5, but had to withdraw from the competition. Matt and I didn’t realize that the date of the Live Show fell during Passover, so we couldn’t perform. But after watching the Top 5 Pop Stage Webcast, and reading about some of the experiences of artists on the Pop Stage, I truly believe that our decision to stick with our beliefs was the right decision.

We’ve decided to enter ourselves onto a more “appropriate” stage for Season 2 (which starts on May 2nd), the Singer/Songwriter Stage. Why is this more appropriate? Because things got a little ugly after we withdrew from the Pop Stage…

[ Before you continue, please read “This Blog“. The following “rant” is a response to the contents in that blog ]

As a musician, songwriter, and artist… I feel that I have automatically become a role model for not only aspiring musicians, songwriters, and artists… but for any human being in this world. As a community, no matter how popular or famous an artist may be, we are role models to the world. We have been given a gift; the gift of Music. Aren’t gifts meant to be “given”? If there is one thing in this world that everyone can relate to, it is Music… whether it be a classical symphony, a heavy metal rock ballad, or even a simple drum beat against some pots and pans. When we (the world) creates music, it stimulates us in ways that goes beyond words.

When Music is brought into the “Competition” realm, it no longer becomes a means for communication, peace, or expression. It becomes… how you say… a Weapon of Mass Popularity, and even a form of violent behavior that should never be unleashed on any human being in this world.

So after all of that ranting, here comes my words of advice for anyone in “Music” Competitions. It also goes for anyone who is going for their music dreams.

[ Note: “Music Competition” = Music Industry ]

Your music is not for everyone. My music is not for everyone. The world’s music is not for everyone. Some people will tell you they don’t like your music. Some people will really tell you they don’t like your music. Some people will go to great lengths to express their negative opinions towards your music by causing you emotional strife.

My real advice would be this…

Music is a gift, not a toy. Convince people that it’s a toy, and you’re bound to ruin somebody’s gift. Never forget how it made you feel to successfully play your first chord on a guitar, pluck your first bass line, play your first piano, belt your first melody, or beat your first drum. Felt good, didn’t it? Sure, anything can be turned into a business… even Music. But never forget your own beliefs when you enter such a business. Surround yourself with friends and fans who believe slander and humiliation will get you far, and you’ve already gone bankrupt.

FameCast is a wonderful opportunity for all artists. It gives you the chance at exposure regardless of how far you make it in the competition. However, with every competition comes rivalry and negativity. Anyone can “dish it”… but can you “take it”?

Maybe it’s time we all went back to the Elementary School Glee Club… or the High School Marching Band… Good times… Good times…

FameCast, Season 2, here we come!… but not before my Daily Moment of Zen! Peter Griffin, you’re the next American Idol!

Somebody call Don Imus… XM is knocking on his door… or maybe it’s Sirius… I think his Fries are done.








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