Monthly Archives: January 2012

An Angel In The Whirlwind – A Stunning Win For MHK

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but for the first time in a lifetime of watching sports, I found myself in tears watching the New England Patriots jaw-dropping, miraculous victory in the AFC Championship Game yesterday. After Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff hooked to the left of the goal posts what should have been an easy breezy, chip-shot field goal, I found myself prostate in front of the television, as I broke down and cried. As Gillette Stadium and 60,000-plus fans were going berserk thousands of miles away, I screamed and hollered with what was left of my voice and then was shocked to find myself as emotional as I’ve ever been after watching a victorious Boston team, in a combination of exaltation, relief, disbelief and joy.

The Patriots, my beloved band of brothers were celebrating with their genius/mastermind of a coach Bill Belichick under a rain of confetti and for just a a few seconds, I found myself with tears running down my face.

After more than 3 hours of screaming at the top of my lungs at just about every play, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by this outburst. And now, more than 24 hours later, I’m not even sure I know why I was crying at the end of that improbable victory yesterday. But I believe that I wept for everyone else in this sometimes cruel world who’s been down and out; for every person or team that has played it’s heart out and has been rewarded by some inexplicable turn-of-fate…this “angel in the whirlwind”; this strange breeze that incredibly blew Baltimore’s Billy Cundiff field goal wide-to-the-left of the goal posts and sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in less than a decade!

I cried tears of happiness for the generations of Patriots fans, both young and old; for the kids who don’t really know the misery of being a Patriots fan – a team without a home that sometimes played at Boston University’s field, Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, the ancient Harvard Stadium and even Fenway Park. And I wept for the old timers, who had to freeze their asses of sitting on the metal benches inside that terrible joke-of-a-stadium in Foxboro where I used to go and sip hot-chocolate and pray that the game would be over soon. For the veteren fans who have never given up on a team that for so long lingered at the bottom of the list of teams, but somehow kept believing in better days to come.

I cried for the shame and regret that came when the New York Giants came from behind in the final minutes of the 2007 Super Bowl to ruin the Patriots bid for the “perfect season,” when there seemed to be another very different “angel in the whirlwind” that allowed New York Giant quarterback Eli Manning to escape the grasp of Patriot defenders and throw a long pass that David Tyree on his helmet! Oh, demons be gone.

But most of all, I cried for the memory of Myra Hiatt Kraft, who passed away before this season and whose initials, MHK, the Patriots have worn on their uniforms all season long and who’s spirit will hopefully guide this team of destiny to a victory in this years Super Bowl over those very same New York Giants.

I cried for Myra Kraft and all the other people who lost their lives after battling cancer and other illnesses, including my sports fanatic father and lovely sister Elizabeth, who’s passing in the cruelest of months of January my family observed once again this month. For my sister Elizabeth, for my father, and for Tom Brady, for Bill Belichich, for Gronk, and the Law Firm, and Wes Welker and the veterens of Patriots teams-past, like Drew Bledsoe (who presented Bob Kraft with the AFC Championship trophy yesterday) and Tedy Bruschi and on and one, and the rest of the 2011 New England Patriots who, hooray, are going once again to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in just two weeks, where once again I will be on pins and needles all game, screaming at every play.

And hopefully – with a little help from an angel in the whirlwind and the great coaching and playing, the New England Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl in just over a decade.

Once again it will be Tom Brady versus Eli Manning. Once again it will be the best team from the American Football League against the best team in the National Football League. Once again it will be Boston (well, okay, New England) versus New York. Once again it will be for all the marbles.

And for the next two weeks there will be plenty of speculation and pontification on what to expect. But regardless of the outcome, I truly believe that the Patriots will be playing, in their heart of hearts, for respect and for glory and for the memory of team owner Bob Krafts ever-so-dearly departed Myra H. Kraft, who I believe will pnce again be looking down at the game and cheering for her New England Patriots.

And if that’s not enough to carry them to victory, I don’t know what else is.

Go Patriots!!!!

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The Wild, The Angry and The E Street Shuffle

Bruce Springsteen, that modern-day Rock and Roll warrior and long-time advocate for hope and human rights, is about to release tommorow from his forthcoming album the first single, titled, “We Take Care Of Our Own,” which will not only have people talking, but also give his fans a long-awaited glimpse of what The Man has been up to for the past year or more.

For months there have been rumors and rumblings about Springsteen’s 17th album, which follows more than a year’s rest for the singer, after almost three years of touring. Most of those lucky enough to get a preview of the new album have come away impressed and moved. Just about anybody who has heard it is calling it his “angriest” album yet (including Springsteen himself) and say it addresses many of the problems (ie: social, economic and political) that continue to plagued America. Today, RollingStone.com was reporting on the new release, calling it “sonically experimental” and quoting Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau, who says it is a “big-picture piece of work.” “It’s a rock record,” according to Springsteen longtime manager, “that combines elements of Bruce’s classic sound, and his Seeger Sessions experience, with new textures and styles.”

Its probably no coincidence that Springsteen’s latest musical endeavor is being launched the same week that people around the world observe Martin Luther King Juniors birthday and the same week that Republican candidates for president bicker and feud on their way to a primary in South Carolina. Bruce Springsteen has never been afraid to take on the same issues that affect the people he’s been writing for and about for his whole life. His lyrics have long been topical, and often controversial. The New Jersey native’s voice has always been the voice of the people, from Main Street to Wall Street and all the avenues that lie in between. Springsteen has publicly said over and over that he’s most interested in the problems and concerns that confront the people that he has always written about or as fellow musician Bob Dylan once wrote, “the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse.” Whether he’s been speaking out in his songs about human rights around the world or here in America, or campaigning in support of Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Barack Obama, Springsteen’s music reflects mainly very populist views and ideals. To many who admire him, Springsteen is a modern day Woody Guthrie or as the New York Times once described him, “John Steinbeck in leather.”

The new album is a departure in a number of ways for Bruce Springsteen. For the past decade plus, Springsteen has worked in the studio either on his own at his home or with producer Brendan O’Brien in Atlanta. But on this new album, Springsteen has collaborated with producer Ron Aniello, who’s worked in the past with such bands as Candlebox and Jars of Clay, as well as with his wife, singer-songwriter Patti Scialfa. According to the RollingStone.com post the new record features members of Springsteen’s E Street Band, as well as “a variety of outside musicians, including Tom Morello and possibly former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain” to name just a few.

So far there has been nothing confirmed as far as song titles, other than the one track that will be available tomorrow on Amazon.com, “We Take Care Of Our Own.” But you can expect lots of different styles of music on this record and that’s always fun. Rocker Bob Seger got a preview several weeks ago and told reporters that it this LP is unlike anything Springsteen has ever done before. According to another source in the Hollywood Reporter, we can look forward to songs with “unexpected textures – loops, electronic percussion…influences and rhythms from hip-hop to Irish folk rhythms.” Hip-hop and Irish folk rythms!!! That may surprise some, but not anyone who’s paid attention to the broad spectrum of music that Springsteen laid out both in the studio and in concert over the last decade. In fact, it’s long been rumored that Springsteen once worked on a entire “hip-hop record,” so now we’ll finally get to hear what that record might have sounded like.

One thing is for sure. This new release by the 61-year old Springsteen will be plenty controversial. According to that same source in the Hollywood Reporter, Springsteen “gets into economic justice quite a bit.” And in addition to being angry, Jon Laudau also says that the new album has a “very pronounced spiritual dimension.” But none of this should truly surprise anyone who has followed the path that Bruce Springsteen has taken on his records over the last 40 years.
Even Springsteen’s first LP, “Greetings From Asbury Park” featured social and political elements on songs like “Lost In The Flood” amd “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City.”

While some say that Springsteen shouldn’t have anything to be angry about, with the wealth that he’s accumlated, fans of Springsteen scoff at that and say that what is in this man’s bank account is not about to stop him from speaking out about the issues that matter for this father of three. For many, the album comes just in the knick of time, as the “Occupy Wall Street” protests start to lose some steam. Springsteen has always had a fresh and, for most fans, inspiring take on the wicked ways of the world and he’s never been afraid of expressing how he feels in his music. Even the artwork for the song, “We Take Care Of Our Own” has a DIY/Punk look to it.

Just the other day Springsteen was on the streets of Asbury Park, filming a new video to accompany the new album:

So on the eve of the release of the first round or salvo from an “angry” Bruce Springsteen, I say bring it on. Music has always been an essential part of radicalis and revolutionaries. And if we need a revolution to fix this broken country, then let’s join together and start today.

And…um….I don’t know about you, but I could use a little angry rock and roll right about now.

So bring…it….on!!!

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