Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Robert Müller's Toughest Fight

OK ... OK ... I know what you're thinking. Not another post about Ice Hockey!!! And who is Robert Müller and why should we care about him?

Here at the Brothers McC, we often like to ramble on (and on and on and on) about things we know about. And sometimes we'll even ramble on about things we know hardly anything about. That's all part of the joy that is being us! But one of the topics that will keep on popping up on this page is sports. And, as I have found out, there are so many times that a sports story can be truly inspiring ('Miracle On Ice' and ' Rudy' and 'The Pride Of The Yankees' to name just a few). But it seems that there are so many great stories in this world that often some of them fall through the cracks of the general public’s radar.

Here’s a story that should be a front pager – if not on every newspaper, at least on every sports section.

This is the story of Robert Müller, the remarkable German goalie who has fought back from an operation to remove parts of a brain tumor. And, while still undergoing a full course of chemo- and radiation therapy, amazingly, he has returned to the nets in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. He even stopped 96 of 100 shots for Kölner Haie in a 168-minute-long playoff match — the second longest game in hockey history!!! Müller then went on to backstop Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) to the DEL final and played well for Germany at the World Championship in Canada.

But then over this summer, the tumor started growing again, and in August he underwent a second operation. Then, a couple of weeks ago came bad news — Müller, just 28 and the father of two, has a rare and incurable form of tumor, and he has already exceeded the median survival period for those with the condition.

And yet despite this dark prognosis, Müller continues to inspire. He started practicing with Cologne last month, and last week he even dressed as the backup for a game in nearby Duisburg. (Fans there greeted him with a big ovation.) On Sunday, dressed for the first time in Cologne, he came onto the ice to finish the last eight minutes of an easy victory over Nuremberg Ice Tigers.

This is a great story – and you can read more about it here:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Hawk Will Never Die

It’s a funny thing about the loyalties of your youth – they just never die. And for me, one of those strongest ties was built at one of the greatest sports halls in the world; The Palestra. For the uninitiated, the Palestra housed the college basketball games of the The Big Five (St. Joe’s, Penn, Temple, La Salle & Nova). And, when I was a kid, a couple of bucks got you a soda, a Philly soft pretzel and (on most Saturdays) a double-header.

What’s not to love???

Well, as we all know, The Hawk Will Never Die – and apparently, neither does a young boys love for the team, the school and … well … sports.

As I’ve moved back to Philly, and once again picked up on the local sports scene – yesterday I found myself (and my four year old son) at The Skatium; another great little sports site – though this one housing not basketball, but ice hockey games. And there, on the ice, were the St. Joe Hawks.

Just that quick I was immersed with the faithful, cheering the Hawks on. Sadly, on this occasion, the Hawks efforts fell short – but it was a great game. There was excitement, great plays, bad calls, powerplays, odd man rushes, great saves … everything that makes hockey (and college sports) fun!! And, in what has become a rare oddity in today’s sports world; it was free!!

So, my dear readers, my advice for you today – find a team, find a passion, and get on out there and cheer. Or, as the wife of the youngest Brother McC would say; “Shoot the ****ing puck!!!!”

Anyone who cares to join me as the Hawks skate again, here’s a link to their schedule.

The Hawk Will Never Die!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Boss Is Back


Bruce Springsteen's new album 'Working on a Dream' has been set for January 27 release on Columbia Records. 'Working on a Dream' was recorded with the E Street Band and features twelve new Springsteen compositions plus two bonus tracks. It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed the album.

'Working on a Dream' Song Titles:

1. Outlaw Pete
2. My Lucky Day
3. Working On a Dream
4. Queen of the Supermarket
5. What Love Can Do
6. This Life
7. Good Eye
8. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Life Itself
10. Kingdom of Days
11. Surprise, Surprise
12. The Last Carnival

Bonus tracks:
The Wrestler
A Night with the Jersey Devil

Bruce Springsteen said, "Towards the end of recording 'Magic,' excited by the return to pop production sounds, I continued writing. When my friend producer Brendan O'Brien heard the new songs, he said, 'Let's keep going.' Over the course of the next year, that's just what we did, recording with the E Street Band during the breaks on last year's tour. I hope 'Working on a Dream' has caught the energy of the band fresh off the road from some of the most exciting shows we've ever done. All the songs were written quickly, we usually used one of our first few takes, and we all had a blast making this one from beginning to end."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Welcome Back Boys!!

Band members announce they are hitting the studio soon

The Faces are set to reunite for rehearsals with a view to a full reformation.

Frontman Rod Stewart told that all the original members aside from late bassist Ronnie Lane, who died in 1997, were set to reconvene on Monday (November 17) to run through their old hits.

The singer, who spoke at the Claridges Bar 10th Anniversary Party said the band, which includes current Rolling Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood, will use Stewart's touring bassist to fill in for Lane.

Teek - You in??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Rachel Maddow Show

OK folks – it’s time to let everyone in on what you may be missing. My current fave show is The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Weeknights at 9:00pm).

If you’ve ever watched the news and thought:
“Sweet Jeebus – what the hell is going on in this world?”
Well … then this is the show for you.

To give you a little background on Ms. Maddow, here’s a little info from her website:

Rachel has a doctorate in political science (she was a Rhodes Scholar) and a background in HIV/AIDS activism and prison reform. She shakes a mean cocktail, drives a bright red pickup, hates Coldplay, loves arguing with conservatives, spends a lot of money on AMTRAK tickets, and dresses like a first-grader.

What’s not to love???

Her show doesn’t feel so much like a news show ... it feels more like sitting around having a beer with a friend, and freaking out over the bullshit that is going on around here on a day-to-day basis. Some days, she finds news items that are so ridiculous that she actually asks a guest to “talk her down” – an option that I wish we all had in our daily lives.

Anyway – give her show a chance – I promise you’ll love it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Cover

Ever since the beginning of music, I’m sure there have been ‘covers.’ And, in that time frame, the success of those covers have been met with varying degrees of success (both critical and commercial).

Yesterday, I heard Bruce Springsteen’s cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Trapped” – a version that I’ve always loved. It’s great to hear an artist deliver a cover with the power and emotion that the E Street Band brings to this. And it got me thinking: What are the best cover versions of songs?

Some are obvious:

The Beatles; “Twist & Shout”
Written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell. It was originally recorded by the Top Notes and then covered by The Isley Brothers.

The Clash: “I Fought The Law”
Originally recorded by Sonny Curtis and The Crickets (post Buddy Holly) in 1959. The song was then famously covered by Bobby Fuller Four.

Jimi Hendrix: “All Along The Watchtower”
Penned by Bob Dylan.

But what are the tracks that have been most “original” in their version?

Tori Amos solo piano ballad take on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” comes to mind. As does The Dropkick Murphy’s rocking version of Pete St. John’s “Fields of Athenry.”

So … what are the best ‘covers’

Here are a few choices from your humble author:

Rod Stewart: "Country Comfort" (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)
Tom Waits: “Somewhere” Leonard bernstein and stephen Sondheim
Jeff Buckley: "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)
Rolling Stones: “Aint Too Proud To Beg” (Norman Whitfield & Edward Holland, Jr.)
Bruce Springsteen: Santa Clause Is Coming To Town (J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie)

Feel free to chime in on the good, bad & ugly that you’ve heard!