The Best and Worst of 2001 in Attack World

The absolute worst of 2001--

September 11, 2001: A date that will live in infamy…Watching those jet airliners fly into the World Trade Center is still surreal and unbelievable. I was at work watching the entire drama unfold on TV when the first tower collapsed, and it had the quality of a Hollywood movie, except it was all too real. If that wasn't bad enough -- the sheer rage of being attacked -- I suppose what really upset me was the reaction from some of my fellow American countrymen after the event. The lack of moral outrage by some was really unsettling; therefore I'm going to go out on a limb here: Flying those Boeing airplanes into the WTC and Pentagon, and killing those people was just plain wrong. History will judge them as being "wrong."

I have to say a hearty thank you to the President Bush Team. He has shown a great deal of courage and gravitas in his handling of this war against the enemies of the United States. The down side is to see how American people with no moral courage or conviction saying that we need to show "restraint" and "compassion" and empathy for the attackers/murderers.

Best Movie I saw -- I saw Harry Potter. Not bad…about 30 minutes too long. My son really loved it. Almost Famous was great, as was Shrek. Almost Famous is one of those movies you can watch a number of times and pickup subtle storylines and images. As a musician, it is probably my favorite. Supposedly Mr. Crowe, writer and director of this movie, hung-out with Zeppelin back in the day. ATTACK to you, Cameron!  Rock Star was also outstanding -- didn't Marky Mark used to be a rapper?

Worst Movie I saw -- Evolution. Just one question: David Duchovny, why in the world did you quit the X Files?

Something Interesting in the Global Conspiracy Department – The Enron cluster is particularly saddening for me. I majored in business, and I like to follow the stock market. I particularly like to listen to the "experts" on CNBC -- the same ones that let us wander blindly down the dot com path. My question still remains: where were the experts on this one? It is sad to watch those old ladies cry about how much money they lost on the Enron deal. However, I bet they could have put their money into a bond fund with a secure payout, but they probably chose the stock fund for a better return. This is what will happen if we ever privatize Social Security. If the market turns south when the Baby Boomers retire and start pulling money out of funds, the government may have the "Mother of All Bailouts" on their hands.

Check this out…On November 28, the day Enron dropped almost 82% (leaving it 99% below its 52-week high), only one Wall Street analyst rated the stock as a sell -- and this was a Fortune 500 company! By the close of trading the very next day, two Wall Street analysts STILL ranked Enron as a "strong buy." One had Enron as a "buy." Seven rated Enron as a "hold." Keep in mind, these ratings remained constant as Enron fell from $100 per share last January to $0.87 on 15 December 2001

When it comes down to it, nobody gave any guidance to sell Enron, despite its huge laundry list of problems. And whether or not you own Enron, the sad fact remains that it appears (remember -- perception) that a large number of Wall Street analysts are not there to help you make sound financial decisions. Do you think there will be any accountability? Maybe a few hearings and a firing or two at Andersen, in my opinion.

By the way -- I was watching CNBC today and a highly trained "analyst" from one of the big brokerage firms was talking about how the worst was behind us and that the economy will turn around in the second half of calendar year 2002. Wasn’t his the same firm that told us that we weren't in a recession last summer? Isn't this the same firm that told us things like P/E ratios didn't matter in the new economy? Be careful out there!

Best CD I bought -- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs to replace the vinyl version (wasn't that an old one?). The new Lenny Kravitz CD is great, as is the King Biscuit recording of April Wine Live. Great recording. I got the Kiss box set for Christmas -- KILLER! The demos are just great -- I particularly liked the disco God of Thunder. I was listening to Kiss recently and I started smiling uncontrollably. I believe it was because Kiss is the reason I started playing electric guitar in the first place.

And in the KISS department….

Box sets are interesting for several reasons. I think the insider information contained in the overpriced "box" is about worth the price of admission. First, my suspicions about Ace Frehley not playing some of those solos were correct. A real shocker was that Rick Derringer played lead on "Larger Than Life" from ALIVE II. Come to think of it, that really was a good solo. Also, a guy named Steve Ferris played the solo on "Creatures of the Night" while Ace graced the album cover. A very, very good solo. In another article I read that Dick Wagner (from Lou Reed's band) played a number of solos on Destroyer, and Ronnie Montrose actually redid some solos on ALIVE II. Wow…how can I resolve being deceived as a teenager? Oh well…I'm over it and I still think KISS is great!

Worst CD I bought – Too many to mention. I bought my son the edited (Wal Mart version) Chocolate Starfish from Limp Bizkit. He even hated it.  I bet the "F-word" version wasn't much better.  Boy...some really give everything to their art.

Books - Bernard Goldberg's book Bias is awesome. Read it for some insight on the stuff that is on the evening news, and is better than Don Henley's attempt.   General Wes Clark's book on Waging Modern War is particularly thought provoking since I was there in Kosovo.  I still read Guitar Player magazine, and I do love to watch TV.  Is that so wrong?

Best New Guitar I tried – None noted. All of the instruments I've tried in the past year seem like a rehash of some 50 year-old designs. I'm afraid guitarists are so entrenched that they'll never try anything new. When a moron will pay $2000 for an old PAF pickup on eBay, we may be in real trouble.  As General Shinseki says, "If you don't like change, you'll like irrelevance even less." Hooooaaaaahhhh!

Worst New Guitar I tried – The Gibson Historic Reissue Les Pauls. They still don't have the headstock right -- the truss rod cover is too close to the nut, and the inlay is the same as the ones found on the Standard.  Check this out -- What is really incredible is that you can buy a real 1962/63 Les Paul SG for what a new Historic Collection reissue of the same guitar costs.  Figure that one out, guitar traders!

Best Trend. Computer based recording at home. The computers keep getting faster, the soundcards keep getting better, and quality of garage band recordings have become near pro quality. Unfortunately, the computer doesn't help you write a killer song, but at least it'll sound good when you're riding around dreaming about opening for Limp Bizkit. Keep practicing. By the way -- I love the new Cubase 5.0 VST.

Worst Trend. The lack of decent soloing! We need to get some guitar going, and we need it now. Why the backlash against soloing? Hey young dudes…it is OK to being able to really play the "H. E. double-hockey sticks" out of your guitar! I predict the phenomenon won't last too much longer…Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Green Day have been done-to-death.  Do you guys think Van Halen III might have something to do with this?

Something Strange. Guitar World featured artists from the 70's on nearly all of their covers this year. What does that tell you? It is sad to note that Led Zeppelin IV is thirty years old and still the top of the heap. I think that clearly shows that our record companies are not developing artists, nor are giving bands more than one shot.

So what do you think? Send me an email or post it on the Forum. Have a great 2002!

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