Running with the Devil

I recently ran across this video on Youtube. This is supposedly the first live recording of the song “Running with the Devil,” the first track on side one of Van Halen’s self-titled debut album.  It was recorded in Pasadena on May 29, 1976.

I saw this song performed live in October 1982 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. The band was in the middle of their Diver Down tour. The show was on October 9, the day before David Lee Roth’s birthday, so the guys encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

I saw this show the week after seeing 38 Special, which I saw a week after seeing Blue Oyster Cult. My ears were ringing until Christmas. Good times.

Go, Go Godzilla

I saw this on Youtube the other day. Blue Oyster Cult did a remote live performance of their hit “Godzilla.”

I saw this song performed live – and in person, when such a thing was the norm – back in 1982 in Potsdam, NY. I saw .38 Special the following week, and Van Halen the week after that. Needless to say, my ears were ringing for a few weeks afterward. But great shows all.

Programming note: I hope to have my Friday movie quote up by early afternoon tomorrow. I need to get back into the habit of regular posting here. I’ve been falling down on the job for too long.

35 years in the black

ACDC-BackInBlackOn this date in 1980, rock band AC/DC released the album Back in Black. It was the band’s seventh studio album, and their first with lead singer Brian Johnson, who replaced the late Bon Scott. It has been certified as the second best-selling album of all time. Back in Black, in my humble opinion, is tied with Led Zeppelin II as the greatest rock and roll album of all time. Hard to believe it’s been 35 years already. Time flies when you’re alive.

Here’s a video of the album’s title track.

hookman 2.0 – new, but not improved


I’m not a big fan of the new Hawaii Five-0. It’s not that I dislike the show. It’s okay, I guess, I can take it or leave it. I frequently watch it, but I’m usually not following too closely. More often than not, I don’t even remember key plot details from an episode 24 hours after I’ve seen it. To me, it’s just mind candy with nice scenery (both the Hawaiian landscape and Grace Park).

Now the original H5O is a different story. I loved that show back in the day. One episode that always stood out to me was “Hookman”, which aired in the early 70s. McGarrett and his team were hunting for a double amputee who was taking revenge on the police officers he blamed for his injuries. The killer was played by Jay J. Armes, a real-life private investigator from El Paso, TX. As a teenager, Armes lost both of his hands in an accident. He uses hook-shaped prostheses, hence the name of the episode. Watching him assemble, load, and fire a sniper rifle using his hooks was pretty damned impressive. (Also, I read Armes’s biography back when I was in college, and he’s led a pretty interesting life.)


The producers of the new H5O decided to remake the episode, so I made it a point to watch last night. Peter Weller played the killer, a double-amputee named Jason Kroger served as a stand-in for close up shots of the killer’s prosthetic hands. Weller also directed.

Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the remake was vastly inferior. It could be because I already knew the story, so there were no surprises for me. Or maybe it’s that the whole episode had a slapped-together feel. And it didn’t help that Danny was way too bitchy, culminating in his douchetastic tirade in the gun store. I guess “Hookman” 2.0 is just an example of why the new H5O is on my TV B-list, and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

For a pictorial comparison of the old and new “Hookman” episodes, check out this page on the CBS website.


Since today marks the 20th anniversary of the demise of the Berlin Wall, I thought I’d post some pictures of my spring 1988 trip to Berlin. This first one is of the wall itself. Check out the graffiti.

Here’s the famed Brandenburg Gate, which sat in East Berlin, just beyond the wall.

Here’s an East German patrol boat, standing ready to intercept West Germans attempting to sneak into the Worker’s Paradise by swimming across the Spree River.

“You are leaving the American Sector.” Are you really sure you wanna do that?

Checkpoint Charlie, scene of so much fictional, and real-life, Cold War intrigue.

I went back to Berlin in the fall of ’88 with my friend Mike. I have some pictures from that trip too, but I can’t find them at the moment. If I run across them, maybe I’ll post one or two.


Have you seen that commercial by Goldline with former US Mint Director Jay Johnson. I’ve seen it a lot lately, including at least once today. Every time I see it, it makes me think of another Mr. Johnson. Anybody remember this guy, from the old Miller Lite commercials?

I always wondered what happened to that guy. Looks like he’s still alive and kicking, he’s just not doing commercials these days. His real name is Bill Saluga, by the way.

On a side note, former US Mint Director Jay Johnson–who is still doing commercials–is apparently not alive and kicking. As it turns out, he passed away last weekend.

PCS + 20

Twenty years ago today, I boarded a plane at the airport in Nürnberg, (then-West) Germany and returned to the U.S. after a two year tour. My next duty station: Ft. Irwin, CA. I liked being stationed in Europe; I met some cool people, visited many interesting places, and had a lot of fun. But it felt good to be back in the good old U.S. of A. Plus, I got back just in time to see Michael Keaton play Batman on the big screen.


As it turns out, my job-issued car has a cassette player, rather than a CD player. I mean, why a cassette player? Do they even make cassettes anymore? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s a take-home car with a gas card. It could have a frickin’ 8-track player in it, and that’d be fine. Anyway, I was digging through my cassette collection (buried deep in my garage) when I ran across a Deadeye Dick tape. They were a flash-in-the-pan, one-hit wonder from the mid 90s. Anybody else remember that group? Here’s a video for their one hit, “New Age Girl”.