Last Night’s Concert

I’m glad I saw the Police back in 2007, so that I wouldn’t have to choose “which was my favorite concert of the year” between that show and last night’s Metallica gig at Nassau Coliseum.
Holy. Fucking. Crap.
It was a setlist designed to appease… to make amends with veteran fans from way-back-when who were as much in denial about the existence of Load and Reload as Highlander fans are in denial about Highlander 2. In their two hour setlist, not a single song featured on the “Load”s appeared, nor did anything from their album after that, St. Anger.
All the setlist had in it was what could best be called “classic” Metallica tracks, from the black album prior, as well as “new classics”, songs from their recent release, Death Magnetic, which was a clear return to their roots.
I’ve seen plenty of Metallica shows in my day. When they toured in support of the black album, I must’ve seen them a dozen or more times. There was a point in time where Little George and I could’ve talked ourselves through the inter-song banter, “insert-city-name-here”ing ourselves through two hours of great tunes.
Last night’s show? Quite possibly the best show I’ve ever been at. The setlist was filled with tons of rarely heard classics: Phantom Lord — only the second time since 2003 that song has come out of the vault)… The Thing That Should Not Be — holy crap what a rush when they started into that….
I ended the concert completely dehydrated (major props, by the way, to the Marriott front-desk woman, who when I asked her to break a $20 so I could find a vending machine and buy some bottled water, just went into the back and got me, Big George, and Mark three bottles for free even though she knew I wasn’t a guest… great service!)… my neck still hurts, and there’s still a little bit of hoarseness in my throat from singing and shouting all night long.
The boys are definitely back. Felt like old times. Almost enough to make me forget the decade of crushing pain in between “then” and “now” …. 🙂

How To Cook Statistics To Meet An Agenda

On Facebook, a friend of mine linked to this article, which claims that low-price airfares are damaging the environment because aircraft emissions are SOOOO much worse than other types, etc., etc.
Here are some of its claims:

Air travel produces 19 times the greenhouse gas emissions of trains

“produces” how? In terms of “ppm per hour”? per passenger? per passenger-hour? total?
Remember that a train by and large takes far longer to get from A to B than a train does. So while it may produce “more pollution per hour”, an airplane trip from NY to LA only takes 6.5 hours, where a similar train trip takes 62 hours. Is it worth generating only 2x the emissions to get there 10x faster? I’d like to think “probably”.

One return flight to Florida produces the equivalent CO2 of a year’s average motoring

An average motorist drives 15k miles per year on their car, give or take. A round-trip flight (which in “Brit-speak” is a “return flight”) is approximately 8k miles (4k each way). A British Airways 747, in its most “packed” variation, holds 295 passengers. So if the statistic that you get 2,360,000 flight-miles for the same emissions as driving a car-load (4 passengers) of people a total of 60,000 passenger-miles, then I’m perfectly A-OK with that.
Of course MY interpretation of the statistic provided doesn’t provide nearly the gloom and doom value of their interpretation, now does it?
Who knows which of us is right? I don’t. They didn’t cite their source for the statistics so there’s no way to go back and look to see what the statistics WERE (as opposed to how they were interpreted for easy consumption). My experience tends towards “oh, they didn’t cite their source? Then it probably says what they say it does, but not what they say it means.”

Death Magnetic

Holy cow. Old Metallica is back!
After the ultra-disappointments of Load and Reload, and a promising but ultimately still not-that-great St. Anger… I was braced for the worst with their latest release Death Magnetic. After all, we’d heard it many times before – that they were going back to basics, revisiting their roots, all the euphemisms bands use when they want to say, “Ummmm, we strayed too far and started to lose our core fanbase. Shit!”
From the long forlorn intro to That Was Just Your Life, you wonder what you’re in for, but then it proceeds to just attempt to kick your ass over… and over… and over again.
There’s a couple questionable decisions (Unforgiven III?? Seriously, you need to go back and tap that well again!??… I mean, it wasn’t your greatest success to start with, let it go… At least you didn’t milk the same riff the entire song this time like Unforgiven II) but overall the disc marks a honest to goodness return to what made Metallica popular in the late 80s and early 90s, and not a moment too soon.
It’s no secret that at times in my past I’ve been one of Metallica’s biggest fans, and later that turned to being one of their staunchest critics. This album reminds me a lot of the Metallica tapes I wore out over and over again in my old Dodge Shadow, with George and I road-tripping to Metallica shows all over the northeast, and while I don’t foresee D and I jumping in a car and driving to Boston “just because”, I’m definitely looking forward to the January show I’ve got tickets to…
… just so long as they play as little as possible from the Loads. 🙂
UPDATE: Oh, and I forgot one other thing…. props to the return of the kick-ass instrumental. How long’s it been since they put one of those on? Oh, right… friggin … And Justice For All, that’s how long…. 20 years.

Airline Recommendations

I’m in a big of a pickle. I have been a loyal American Airlines customer since around 2001 or so. Between flight miles, bonus miles, credit card miles, etc., etc., I’ve banked a metric fuckton of Frequent Flier Miles. Where I live there are only two convenient airports, Stewart/Newburgh (SWF) and Albany (ALB). Six months ago, American pulled out of Newburgh. In September, American is pulling out of Albany.
I simply can’t see driving two hours, dealing with city traffic, etc., etc. to go to a NYC airport that has American Airlines, when there are two airports that are local, very convenient, mostly traffic-jam free, etc., etc.
So now I need to pick out a new “preferred” airline… Here are my options….

  • AirTran (SWF)
  • Delta (SWF, ALB)
  • jetBlue (SWF)
  • Northwest (SWF)
  • US Airways (SWF, ALB)
  • Air Canada (ALB)
  • Cape Air (ALB)
  • Continental (ALB)
  • Southwest (ALB)
  • United (ALB)

So let’s get rid of some of them right off the bat:
Cape Air – goes to like two places. Seen that sitcom Wings? Yeah, it’s like that.
AirTran – Leaving SWF the same day as American, I think.
Air Canada – Only connects through Toronto. I don’t think I want *every* flight I go on to be an international one going through customs.
US Airways – If I fly out of SWF all my flights, and from ALB most of my flights, will fly through their Philadelphia hub, which according to consumerist.com has an absolutely horrendous lost-baggage rate, and a 60% on-time rate. Woot.
Northwest – Has anyone forgotten the way they treated their passengers in the 1999 Blizzard? Did they even apologize? 🙂
jetBlue … oh, jetBlue, how I want to love you. If only you flew to somewhere other than Florida from SWF. Fly me to a major city, and let me partake of your glorious service. Unfortunately, they don’t, and my connecting options through jetBlue are limited to “fly to Florida, and then connect to somewhere else on the east coast, and then fly somewhere west.” It’s just plain silly, and won’t work long-term.
So that shortens the list quite a bit….

  • Delta (SWF, ALB)
  • Continental (ALB)
  • Southwest (ALB)
  • United (ALB)

Southwest is usually cheap (which is sweet) but I really really really hate the cattle-call. It doesn’t usually affect me that much, since (as D can attest) I am always early to my flights, but the fact is that when I connect through somewhere, I can’t be any earlier than my flight drops me off. I’ve got long-ass legs and I want a guaranteed aisle seat so I can stretch them during the flight. So Southwest is really my “last ditch” airline, and certainly not where I want to start banking miles again.
I used to be a rabid United flier, but — in all honesty I have no idea why — I distinctly remember being SO pissed at them about something that I immediately “changed loyalties” to American. My memory is extremely hazy, but I remember that “United fucked me somehow, and American swooped in and saved the day with great customer service,” and I was sold. But I’m not sure if I can hold against them something I can’t remember.
Continental is, by most accounts, awesome to fly on, but you pay for that level of customer service, as I also seem to recall them being one of the more expensive airlines to fly.
Delta… I dunno. I’ve flown Delta recently (when I was flying back from LAX on AA a couple weeks ago, AA cancelled my LAX>ORD>ALB flight for weather (all flights through ORD actually) and AA only connects through ORD, so AA had to throw me on another airline, and hence I got to experience Delta. My Delta experience was ok (heck, they came through for me in a pinch), but my view is a bit jaded by the fact that my connection time was hellishly short (30 minutes), the first leg was late, and I ended up having to haul ass through Charlotte trying to get from my arrival gate to my departure gate.
Anyone got any good long-term experiences with any of these four? Recommendations for or against?

Gordon Ramsay – Man After My Own Heart

I shouldn’t be blogging this from work, but someone forwarded it to me and I have to, before I forget…
I’ve always love Gordon’s shows. He makes for entertaining television, and it’s clear from watching him in various shows (other than Hell’s Kitchen that is) that — to a certain extent at least — there is a bit of a softee behind the loud, abusive, exterior.
One quote I absolutely loved, from a recent tvguide.com interview, which made me realize how much I like him?

TV Guide: What’s your favorite comfort food?
Ramsay: In-N-Out burgers [an L.A. chain] — I absolutely love them.

Oh, HELL YEAH. My boy Gordon likes himself some In-N-Out? I wish the TVGuide reporter had asked him what his favorite Secret Menu item was…..