Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuscaloosa: An Incredible Tornado Event

A very rare combination of all of the essential ingredients needed for incredibly explosive, tornadic storms came together for one afternoon yesterday across the deep south, triggering what will be considered one of, if not THE worst tornado outbreak in recorded history. While not confirmed yet, one particular storm sustained a mesocyclone/circulation/tornado continuously for almost 200 miles, from eastern Mississippi, across the state of Alabama, into northern Georgia, before the storm dissipated entirely, finally, southern North Carolina. This was the fateful storm/tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa, AL, and went on another 50+ miles, tearing through the north side of Birmingham. It would go on to do more damage as it crossed northeast Alabama, and into northwest Georgia. The majority of the known fatalities from yesterday’s outbreak are from this one supercell thunderstorm. Truly amazing

I don’t think this video was taken by a trained spotter or storm chaser, but needless to say, he had a front row seat for one of the most jaw-dropping, terrifying sights he will ever see. (No , he doesn’t get hit by the tornado!). He is on the south side of Tuscaloosa (5:15-5:20 PM) in a commercial area (restaurants, mall, etc…), looking to his west-southwest at a very rare monster tornado.

At about the 5:00-5:15 mark in the video, after the tornado has passed his immediate area, he starts experiencing very strong winds blowing into the tornado (now to his east-northeast), and he turns the camera back to his south/southwest, thinking that it’s another tornado. The wind he was experiencing were actually what are known as Rear Flank Downdraft winds, or RFD, rapidly sinking cool air from the top of the storm on the back side of a mesocyclone, and one of the necessary ingredients for a tornado to form and sustain itself.

At about 6:30 in the video, his adrenaline really kicks in, as he realizes the extent of what has happened. That’s when fear sets in, because he knows he was sitting directly in the path of it before he (wisely) moved south.

A very intense, incredible video. This was a day that will be talked about for years as one of the worst natural disasters in our history. There were dozens of tornadoes just like this one yesterday. Very rugged, hilly, forested terrain, very rural areas with few resources, and very few structures with basements or true shelter, combined with the power and size of these tornadoes yesterday is unfortunately adding up to perhaps hundreds of lost lives. Heartbreaking.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Queens of the Stone Age - Monsters in Your Parasol (2002)

Dave Grohl using live ammunition for drumsticks.  Any band is a better band when Dave's sitting in.

"Dave Grohl’s fills should be a MacArthur fellow.  They help America."  -M. Mann


iPhones are freaky, man.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wrestlemania 27: Live Stream-of-Consciousness Notes

A note up front: For at least what is looking like the first hour or two, due to an extremely hyper-needy 14-month old, this isn't going to go real smooth. He's found his voice....and it sounds like a loud, inaudible 14-month old.

This will be the post that will update every 5-10 minutes or so. So, what have you done with your entire day to quell the overwhelming anticipation?? T-Minus 5 minutes till the Grandest Stage of Them All begins once again. Dating back to a young, impressionable 7 year-old, Wrestlemania was always the larger-than-life event to me, where my boyhood heroes became legend.

SO what's my excuse now? Well... Um.... I guess I keep thinking that it will be as entertaining to me as it was in the mid to late 90's, during the peak of the "Monday Night Wars". Wrestling certainly wasn't what it was in my childhood anymore. Raunchy, bloody, extreme, immature....entertaining.

It appears that this Wrestlemania is trying to tap into that storied history with tonight's lineup. The Rock is back, albeit not in an actual match. Steve Austin is back, also not in a match.

Who am I bullshittin'. I have no excuse. Just go with it. COmmence with the funny. Here we go!

6:00 - THe Georgia Dome is host to WM 27. Looks amazing. Jam-packed, sans the area behind the MASSIVE stage/entrance.

America the Beautiul (a WM tradition) is being sung by an R&B singer whom I've never
heard of.

6:02 - THe Jabroni-beating, pie-eating, most electrifying man in sports entertainment makes his entrance. Decent pops from the crowd. Did I mention the crowd is stupid huge?

6:09 - FINALLY.....The Rock.....has said something into the micorophone! The Rock promises that this will be the most electrifying WM of all time. It's all around the place. Can you smell it? Perhaps that's the prepubescent, overweight 14-year-olds that haven't found the goodness that comes from anti-perspirant.

If the WWE does nothing else worth a shit, their ability to put together the most elaborate, spectacular montages is unequalled by any league or association. THey make what is bad acting and fake moves, and package them with a soundtrack to make the entire thing look 100 times bigger and better than what it typically is.

6:17 - But, I'll hand it to them....they do put toogether a pretty good production & stage set-up. THey just shot off about $10,000 of pyro. THe upper deck should be able to see the ring through the smoke in about an hour.

6:19 - World Heavyweight Title Match: Alberto Del Rio (challenger) VS. Edge (Champion). Yes, this is a title match to kick off the show. But there are essentially two world titles. Confused yet? Well, if I have to explain all of this crap, I can't honestly believe you care.

The traditional introduction of the announcers at the Spanish announcer's table at ringside. THe over/under on their announcer's table making it through the show intact is 60:1

Pretty sweet graphcs/TV screen "Cube" hanging above the ring. Apple is securing patent rights to it as we speak.

((Interruption of viewing: Steak on grill, kid in everything))

Not as long of a match as I was anticipating, but Edge pulls out the predictable win. Walking back up the ramp, he pauses at Del Rio's Rolls Royce car that was driven out on the ramp. Gives it a few kicks. THen Christion (Captain Charisma to you) brings a tire iron and a lead pipe. Hilarity ensues. Del Rio cries at the front grill of his newly detailed Rolls. End Scene.

6:40 - Cody Rhodes VS. Rey Mysterio Jr. Not sure what the storyline is with this one, but Cody Rhodes is wearing Rip Hamilton's facemask, calling himself disfigured & grotesque. Has he seen his father Dusty's forehead? I've seen tenderloins with better complexion. Rey Mysterio is in a Captain America outfit. I would like to see his birth certificate. Great action, as always in any Mysterio match. Now Rey has Cody's mask. I'm corn-fused. Somehow Rey gets hit with something. Rhodes wins.

6:55 - Snoop Dogg with a little pre-taped skit. Nice Rowdy Roddy Piper cameo. Mildly funny. Steak's done. Kid is still defiant in the eyes of sleep. Ugh...

7:03 - 8-Man Tag Match: The CORRE VS. Kane, The Big Show, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston. At least we have some wrestlers who actually have moves to make up for Kane & Show in this one. Don't expect me to give names to members of The Corre. They're made up of newcomers who won one of WWE's Tuff Enuff seasons a while back. Okay, I'll mention Ezekiel Jackson, but only because he's ridiculously huge. And 3 minutes after it started, it's over. That wasn't even enough time to go take a squirt. Kane/Show.Santino/Kofi win.

7:09 - Mae Young wants "The People's Strudel". The Rock and Steve Austin exchange pleasantries backstage. This isn't nearly as fun with a kid around. Hey, Mom's got cough syrup with Codeine in it. Hmmm...

7:15 - CM Punk VS. Randy Orton. Orton's got a bad right knee. ((DOES he??)) And yes, that appears to be a tattoo of the Pepsi logo on Punks arm. These guys like their ink. Uh-oh. Orton's up in the Tree of Woe. What ever happened to that classic move?? Actually this is probably the best match so far. Pretty well done.

((Sidenote: Why doesn't anyone do the Greg "The Hammer" Valentine delayed faceplant after taking a bump? These guys need to study up on their History.))

RKO....catching punk in mid-air off the top rope.....Punk goes sleepie. Orton wins. GOod match, except for some terrible knee injury acting.

7:35 - Mean Gene Okerlund talking to The Rock. Cena's #1 fan is here to confront Rock. Pee-Wee Herman? The Pee-Wee Herman wants to be on Team Bring It. I paid $65 for this.

7:40 - THe Fink, Howard Finkel announces the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011: Abdullah the Butcher, Sunny, The Road Warriors, and Drew Fuckng Carey? Oh, and Bullet Bob Armstrong, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. Someone needs to give HBK some Sweet Chin Music so he's not cross-eyed anymore. WTF?

7:47 - Friday Night Smackdown Announcer Booker T comest ringside, walking out to the old Harlem Heat theme song. Can you Dig It? SUCKA!!! And Jim Ross, and his stupid OU Fight Song entrance music. Ugh.

7:48 - Michael Cole VS Jerry "The King" Lawler. I hate this. I hate having to explain some of this stupid shit. I hate it it because then it shows that I actually know these storylines, which in turn shows that I actually do watch this hot garbage more often than not. Anyway, Michael Cole is the TV Announcer turned heel. He's picked a fight with King, his broadcast partner. He's been trained by wrestler Jack Swagger (HAS he?). Guest referree is Stone COld Steve Austin, which really is the only reason I'm sitting here and not turning it over to the Weather Channel for Severe Weather coverage. Christ, I need a social agenda.

Austin arrives ringside in a camo four-wheeler. Cole is wearing a bright orange wrestling singlet with headgear. Cole is in his plexiglass announce booth, "The Cole Mine", so King joins him, raining down fake punches. Lawler's got a devastating fake right. King has a spectacular spray tan for a 60-something. 10 minutes into this one and nobody's cracked a beer yet in the ring. Fail. COle has the muscle definition and skin tone of a scallop. I think of all of the wrestlers on the WWE payroll who aren't on this card, knowing that these two wastes of time, along with Snooki are the ones taking their place. Chants of "Boring" starting to come in now. What took so long? Jesus Christ, Steve, do something! Pour some beer on someone. Anyone.

Jack Swagger throws in the towel to save Cole. Gets a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin. Cole doesn't know how to take a bump. Took a pretty good boot to the face. Lawler's pretty spry for an old man. Lawler taking his time, Austin encouraging him. Cole's tapping out to an ankle lock, but Austin not calling for the bell to ring for a bit. Finally. Okay, let's drink some goddamn beer already. It's fucking Wrestlemania and the bet beer you can get is Keystone Light?? Wow. Booker T gets in the ring to celebrate with the Spin-a-Rooni. Then gets the predictable Stunner from the Rattlesnake.

An email comes in from the "Anonymous Monday Night RAW General Manager (No, I'm not going to explain this horseshit). Says the referee was involved too much in the match, DQ's King, awards the win to Cole. Another announcer gets a Stunner. More beer. Speaking of which......


8:18 - Best montage of the night for Undertaker Vs. HHH. Pretty much the reason I even thought of getting this damn PPV this year. Otherwise the card seems pretty slim. Sad to say that I remember The Undertaker as Mean Mark Callous back in the NWA. His finishing move? The Heart Punch.

8:22 - The Undertaker VS. Triple H. Coming into this PPV, the highlight of the night was likely going to be the entrances of both of these guys. HHH coming out to a rain of explosions and Metallica's classic "For Whom The Bell Tolls". Incredible production value. QUick change with the lights out, now HHH walks down the aisle in his traditional Motorhead theme. I'm a kid again. Suck it.

Lights go out. Bell sounds. Flames. Lots of them. Johnny Cash song. Smoke. Black Light. Awesome. I'm gonna go ahead & say that if you meet someone that causes thunder & lightning when he takes off his hat, that you should consider that a really cool bar trick, and buy that man a beer. No holds barred in this one, kids. It's been quite a while since HHH wore the proverbial Crimson Mask. I think he's due to dues some blade work to the forehead in this one tonight.

Well, there goes Michael Cole's "Cole Mine" Announcer's booth. Taker is taking some serious bumps. Selling everything well. Looks like King and JR's announce table is going to go next. The Spanish guys are getting off easy. WOW.....HHH took a back flip off the table to the floor. He bounced. Damn.

Taker just launched himself over the top rope onto HHH. Not sure HHH caught him clean to break the fall, but Taker is upright. First chants of "Holy Shit" from the crowd tonight. THey're not disappointing them.

Aaaaand.....there goes the Spanish announcer's table. That was a sucker bet.

Steel chair.....Not yet. But it's in the ring. Solid chair shot to HHH's back. Warped it with one shot. Fake? Not that one. Pedigree by!....and a kickout.

Over-under on kick-out's in this match: 13. We're at 3 now, I think. Just getting warmed up. THe Last Ride Powerbomb, from a serious height. Kickout by HHH. Damn, Taker looks old. GIving the throat shlash gesture......Tombstone? Yes. Folds the arms, gives the tongue and eye roll...One....TWOOOO!.....Kickout by HHH!

More steel chair fun.....DDT by HHH on steel chair! (WAS it?) Both men down. Where's Earl Hebner Or Joey Marella for a good double-count out when you need it? Both guys climbing the ropes back to their feet. Pedigree!! One....TWOOOOO!.....Kickout by Taker.

Another Pedigree.....and another kickout by Undertaker. Man, if I didn't know better, I would swear this shit is scripted. BIG chair shot across Taker's back. That chair is fucked. 6 more chair shots to the back. Some Boo's trickling in for that one. HHH yelling at Taker to "Stay Down!" Square shot to the forehead with the chair on Undertaker. Trying to get up in his patented rise-from-the-dead way, but can't.

HHH gives Taker the Tombstone? Kickout. Crowd is going bananas. Taker is out. HHH rolls out of the ring to get his trademark sledgehammer. JR: "Desperate times are obviously upon us."

Taker gets HHH in the Hell's Gate Submission. Essentially a triangle choke. HHH has the sledge.......can't hang on to it. THe Game Taps. Taker wins. 19-0. SOmehow, some way, some script had this ending, and somehow the fake streak lives! Virtually no pops from the crowd. Hard to get excited when you know what the ending will be, I suppose.

Another $10,000 in pyro gets shot off. You can leave now, Upper Deck. Nothing else to see way down there.

9:10 - 6-Person Mixed Tag Match: Dolph Ziggler, LayCool (wome's tag team) VS. John Morisson, Trish Stratus & Snooki. I'm gonna go take a dump.

Back now. I do a lot of thinking, like most men do, when I'm in the loo. Perhaps I didn't think about this particular blog post idea enough. I had done this similar kind of thing in previous years pretty much anonymously on a off-topic message board I used to frequent. It was entertaining, something to laugh about and others participated in the self-deprecating nature of it all. Markedly different feeling when you've not only posted it on your own blog, but even gone out of your way to promote it in your circle of friends. Ahhh, regrets. I've had a few.

Official attendance: 71,617. A Georgia Dome record. How could 71,617 be wrong? Amirite?

9:23 - WWE Championship: John Cena VS The Miz (Champion). Good Motage of The Miz (yes, of The Real World fame). They've made this guy one of the big names. But more importantly, he's made himself one of the big names, as well. He's easy to hate, so he's a natural heel.

Interesting to see what role The Rock has in this match/storyline. Haven't seen him for a couple hours. Some host.

Cena has a giant Baptist Choir on stage singing for his entrance/montage. He's done pretty cool WM entrances before. This montage is a prayer/poem. Playing to the kids. But still, pretty well done.

I took 7 seconds to think about the Rock-Cena-Miz storyline. Ref's gonna get knocked out. Rock will come down to be the ref. Cena wins. They embrace, much to the delight of every screaming kid everywhere. Not the ending I want, but that's what I'm gonna get. Let's watch this unfold here, shall we?

9:45 - And there it was. The ref's knocked out. Cena's got the pin. Nobody's there to count. Miz's assistant Alex Riley in the ring, hits Cena with a metal briefcase. Ref comest to.....Miz with the pin, One....TWOOOOO!!! Kickout by Cena.

Now Miz has the briefcase. Cena ducks, hits Alex Riley. Cena Hits the Attitude Adjustment, the pin...One....TWOOOOO!.....kickout by Miz. Huge clothesline outside the ring over the guardrail. Full tackle by Cena at miz over guardrail. Double-countout. Rulde a draw. Still Champion: THe Miz. Really? That's how this ends??

Let's see what The Rock has to say about this. He's in the ring. Both men still down on the outside. A message comes in from the Anonymous Monday Night Raw Commisioner. WM is not over. The Rock says that this match must restart right now. No DQ's. Miz & Cena get back in the ring. Rock gets in the ring, gives Cena the Rock Botomm from behind. Miz Pins Cena. Miz Wins.

Rock staring at Miz from outside. Rock runs in, giving Miz a whuppin'. THe People's Elbow. Closes the show.

Well, there it is folks. Another one in the books. It's been funnier. It's been better. It's also been a helluva lot worse.

Thanks for enduring. I was running out of steam, frankly. Perhaps that's a sign. Am I growing up? Shudder the thought.