Monday, September 04, 2006

The Croc Hunter Ruled!!

The Croc Hunter Ruled!!, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

A mightymerk favorite, Steve Irwin has passed in what can only be described as a tragic and freak event. Better known throughout the world as the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin was snorkeling at Batt Reef when he stirred a stingray that was concealed beneath the sand at the bottom of the ocean. The 6"-10" barb of the normally docile animal pierced Steve's chest and through his heart. He was killed almost instantly.

I loved the Crocodile Hunter. Most of my friends loved the Crocodile Hunter and most importantly my young children loved the Crocodiel Hunter.

I have many fond memories of playing the Crocodile Hunter board game with my children. My flight to Germany a few years back when I got to view Collission Course (a movie Steve Irwin starred in) in which a Swedish fella and I got to laugh it up over a few beers. Most importantly I am going to miss the guys enthusiasm. He was truly doing what he loved and you could tell every time you saw him.

Rest In Peace Crocodile Hunter...You Ruled!!!

Posted by mightymerk, 2:26 PM | link | (1) comments |

Friday, August 25, 2006

No One Played High Notes Like 'The Lip'

Maynard Ferguson RIP, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

I learned this morning that Maynard Ferguson has passed away.

For those of you who don’t know Maynard Ferguson, he was what many regarded as the last great jazz trumpeters.

I first became familiar with Maynard Ferguson in high school. I started playing trumpet in 4th grade and by the time I started high school I chose music over sports as my primary extra curricular activity. At the time all the older kids spent most of their non formal practice time on exercises that increased their range so they could hit these high notes that at the time I never even knew could be produced by the instrument. It was only later that I learned these notes were not only capable of being played but were surpasses by the person they were all trying to emulate, Maynard Ferguson.

Our Jazz program always included at least one arrangement by Maynard. Sometimes it was “Gonna Fly Now” (which brought Maynard his largest commercial success) or MacArthur Park. Somehow each and every year we always had a horn player or two who had the chops to pull it off…almost but never quite as strong or high as Maynard.

A few personal Maynard moments:

At a Jazz clinic in High School I got to scat sing with Dennis DiBlasio, an alumni with the Maynard Ferguson band. I remember him doing a Maynard impression something to the effect of “Hey get me some pasta”…*squeals a high note*…hey get me some lamb chops *rips another solo* …etc. etc. (Maynard loved food as much as his trumpet)

A few years ago a few of my friends and I were able to attend a concert at a local high school that Maynard was putting on. The last 20 years or so of Maynard’s life were equally dedicated to being a professional performer and an educator. We all were musicians, and all teetered on going or now. I kind of viewed it as my one and perhaps only chance to see Maynard. Needless to see we did go to the concert and my instincts were right. After speaking with my buddy Christian today we both had fond memories of the night and appreciated the fact that we went.

About two months ago I was in Chicago and spent some time at a Jazz club. I happened to catch a set of Tom Garling’s, a trombonist and alumni of the Maynard Ferguson band. Besides signing the CD I bought from him we also spent a few minutes talking about his time with the Maynard. Tom sounded really appreciative of the time he spent with Maynard and the experience and opportunities his time with Maynard brought him.

Maynard Ferguson was known the world over for his great range when playing in the upper register (high notes), signature kiss-offs, and love of food. While some jazz purest take exception to Maynard showmanship and commercial ventures (perhaps with some merit), I would argue that it was Maynard who captured the attention of most of my contemporary’s and possessed almost unmatched longevity. That will be his lasting legacy.

Rest In Peace Maynard ‘The Lip’ Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson May 4th 1928 – August 23rd 2006

Posted by mightymerk, 8:19 AM | link | (0) comments |

Monday, July 31, 2006


coming-soon, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

The Mighty Blogs Lives!!
Check back soon for continual updates!!!

Posted by mightymerk, 6:23 AM | link | (1) comments |

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I want to be a part of it...

Midtown Shadow photo by Automatt, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

Hat tip to Doug Ross for this excellent find.

I couldn't help but think about my May 10th date to watch the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox at Yankee stadium.

It is truly a fantastic photo of New York City that is part of a collection by Automatt.

It is equally impressive for those that have never been to the Big Apple as it is for those who have lived their all their lives but never have seen it from this angle.


Posted by mightymerk, 5:00 PM | link | (1) comments |

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Today is Earth Day...Did you remember?

What every day should be, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

Neither did I.

Well, I guess I did. But did you really?

This debate aside as we 'hopefully' become more and more environmentally concious I hope we can take some time to appreciate just how beautiful this world can be if we are willing to take the time and make the effort to act as responsibliy as we can.

The official Earth Day site can be found here.

Cool quiz here.
Posted by mightymerk, 4:59 AM | link | (1) comments |

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, originally uploaded by mightymerk.

To those celebrating, whether it be with Christ or just with friends and family I wish you peace and joy.

Posted by mightymerk, 6:24 PM | link | (0) comments |

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities - Washington D.C. and Paris

The images in the press the past few weeks have been quite striking. Anything from continued speculation and revelations about Scooter Libby and the Valerie Plame leak, to 'Florida-Like' election results in Italy. It has been quite a fascinating few weeks for me to just sit back and observe.

In particular what has sparked my interest has been the marching and demonstrations within the United States protesting the Immigration Bill that was passed by the House in the United States and the protests/riots in France over the proposed labor-law reform. In the United States the Immigration Bill is set to redefine the 'legal status' of those working in the United States, but came here illegally. Allowing most workers to stay under a guest worker program as well as to provide a 'path' for these same individuals to gain citizenship. In France the law would simply allow employers to lay off employees in their first two years.

Some thoughts and observations:

At the heart of the French resistance are those anarchist thugs and anti-globalist foes who insist it cheats the developing world's poor. While Globalization isn't without its victims the net results are positive. A win/win. The great exception though isn't Asia or Africa though, it is Europe.

In the D.C., America's own immigrants (legal or otherwise) demonstrated for the right to work. In Paris, French students and radical posers marched/rioted to prevent the creation of jobs for the less privileged.

Unemployment averages around 10 percent in France. In the United States the figure is less than 5 percent unemployment. Youth unemployment is far higher in France sitting at 23 percent, and the figure for youth unemployment among France's immigrant youth is almost at 50 percent.

Europe's cradle-to-grave welfare systems wroked as long as Europeans engaged in protectionism at home at the same time exploiting captive, neo-colonial markets abroad. With the IT revolution, the rise of globalism and the internatinal triumph of entrepreneurship, what Thomas Friedman would call the "flattening of the world" Europe is faced with insolvency.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post correctly states that the "winners" of the globalizing world will be:

"those willing to adapt, innovate and work hard. Wich means, above all, North Americans and East Asians, the English-speaking world and talented inidividuals who welcome risk."

Further the losers will be:

"those who cling to the past, who demand privileges without paying them, who cherish stultifying security above opportunity."

So how are each of our two cities dealing with the matter:

In Washington, while the focus remains defining the 'legal' status hiring of non-citizen workers who are already in our country illegally and providing a citizenship path for these productive folks willing to work while emphasizing the importance of enforcing immigration laws this day forward.

Paris has taken a different path. Rather than reasoned debate and revision to its proposed labor-law, it has all but been completely abandoned. Bowing to nothing more than spoiled adolescents and unions, the very small step needed to address the economic concerns of the French economy has been removed. What is to become of the non-university-educated oung adults who have no jobs to riot over, let alone the prospects of landing any?

In Washington there is a worrisome deficit. But as long as Ameircas workforce continues to be employed and produce its problems, worst case, lie well into the future.

In Paris, with growing unemployed masses, unassimilated and unemployed immigrant blocks, suffocating taxes and legal codes that discourage innovation and entrepreneurship combined with the expectation of a credle-to-grave welfare system the problem is here and now.

While America maybe saying Adios one day in the future, is France really that far from saying Au Revoir?

Karl Marx said that the global revolution would be led by the workers of the world. He was right to some extent, but rather by social radicals of the 'workers parties' it is being led by the workers of the capitalist economies of the world.
Posted by mightymerk, 4:33 AM | link | (2) comments |