Saturday, September 15, 2018

Judas Rising Tour

The Judas Rising Tour came through Indianapolis' Vogue Theater the other night with four bands playing - The Stir, Stone Broken, Adelita's Way, and Fozzy.

I had never listened to The Stir or Stone Broken before, but they were two great rock openers. I'm a fan of Adelita's Way (thanks Sirius XM's Octane!) and knew what to expect from them. They opened with the song I've heard the most, Still Hungry, as well as other songs like Ready for War (Pray for Peace), Bad Reputation, Sick, and Notorious. I really hope Adelita's Way returns to Indy to play a longer set.

 Stone Broken's lead guitarist, Chris Davis. I love that shirt.

Adelita's Way's frontman Rick DeJesus, is a powerful vocalist and a tall dude.

And then we get to the headliner - Fozzy.

With a lineup consisting of Chris Jericho (lead vocals), Rich Ward (lead guitar and backing vocals), Frank Fontsere (drums), Billy Grey (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and Paul Di Leo (bass guitar and backing vocals), Fozzy rocked the place with a show that included a sequin jacket adorned with red, white, and blue LEDs, fire extinguishers, blistering guitars, and nonstop energy. Jericho once said in an interview that "if Metallica and Journey had a bastard child, it would be Fozzy".

And he's right.

 Chris Jericho, Wrestling Legend and lead vocalist of Fozzy

Rich Ward and Chris Jericho of Fozzy

The setlist spanned four albums with about six songs (including Painless, Judas, Burn Me Out, Wolves at Bay, and Drinkin' with Jesus) coming from their newest album Judas, for which the tour is appropriately named. Other songs from earlier albums included Bad Tattoo, Do You Want to Start a War, Sin and Bones, and Sandpaper. They even surprised me by playing a rocking cover of Michael McDonald's 1982 class I Keep Forgettin' You, for which the crowd happily joined in on the chorus. I loved it. They also covered ABBA's SOS, which was freaking cool.

 Rich Ward pointing at me in the crowd.

Lit up jacket! Wrestling or rock show? Quoting Starlord, "A bit of both?"

I've listened to Fozzy for many years, but the band really surprised me by their stage presence, especially Jericho and Ward. Jericho was all over the stage, bouncing up and down the entire show. At a few points in the show, Ward ventured into the crowd playing solos and taking selfies with people. Then he came over to me, snatched my glasses off my face, put them on, and delivered an intense guitar solo, propped up on the railing about five inches in front of me.

 Those are my glasses!

Soloing in my glasses!

Tickets are cheap. It cost me $20. Four rock bands for 20 bucks? Hell yeah. If the Judas Rising Tour comes through your city or a neighboring city, go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

In the meantime, go listen to:

The Stir's self titled EP - The Stir released August 2018.
Stone Broken's Ain't Always Easy released March 2018.
Adelita's Way's Notorious released October 2017.
Fozzy's Judas released October 2017.

All can be found for purchase on iTunes or streaming for free on Spotify.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

30 Songs That Make Me Drive Faster

I drive about an hour to and an hour from work every day. And I find myself driving to court on longer trips for work quite a bit. Needless to say, I listen to a lot of music while driving.

Image from

These are my current favorite 30 rock and metal driving songs...those that when listening to, I tend to drive a little too fast.
  • AWOLnation - Burn It Down
  • Volbeat - Seal the Deal
  • Halestorm - Mayhem
  • Egypt Central - Over and Under
  • Foo Fighters - All My Life
  • In This Moment - Blood
  • Semi Precious Weapons - Magnetic Baby
  • Iron Maiden - Two Minutes to Midnight
  • Guns 'N Roses - You Could Be Mine
  • Marilyn Manson - Fight Song
  • The White Stripes - Blue Orchid
  • Nothing More - Don't Stop
  • My Chemical Romance - Thank You For the Venom
  • Dead Sara - Weatherman
  • AC/DC - Girls Got Rhythm
  • Sixx AM - Lies of the Beautiful People
  • Unleash the Archers - Tonight We Ride
  • Rage Against the Machine - Wake Up
  • Metallica - Die, Die My Darling
  • Static-X - Push It
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Gets Me Through
  • The Offspring - Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell\
  • Korn - Got the Life
  • Filter - Welcome to the Fold
  • Bush - Machinehead
  • System of a Down - Sugar
  • Five Finger Death Punch - Burn MF
  • The Prodigy - Breathe
  • Rob Zombie - Dead Girl Superstar
  • Powerman 5000 - Super Villain

Enjoy! And, please, try to drive the speed limit!

If you're reading, leave a comment with your favorite songs that make you drive fast.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

This blog is going to undergo somewhat of another change here soon. I'm turning it into not just a science blog, but one that includes other things that I do...

Music. Movies. Pop Culture. Parenthood. Sports. Exercise.


Hope you keep reading.

- Kevin

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Exposure to "Fentanyl" in the Field

It's in the news everywhere.


Fentanyl and secondary exposure.

Here are some of the news headlines from the last few weeks...

From KLTV7, a Harris County, TX police officer was hospitalized after coming in contact with a fentanyl-laced paper flyer. The officer "removed the flyer, got into her car and drove away. She soon began feeling lightheaded and had other symptoms". This story was also tweeted by the official handle of the Harris County, TX Sherriff's Office.

From KATC3, police officers in Lafayette, LA responded to a call of an unresponsive man at a residence. Upon observing the scene, two officers "showed symptoms of being exposed to the potent drug [fentanyl]".
From ABC13 Eyewitness News, a Houston, TX police officer checked a person's hotel room and found 50-100 pills in a plastic bag. The officer "put the baggie in the patrol car" and "he started feeling ill, shortness of breath and feeling dizzy, and he was no getting better".

From the Belleville News Democrat, two police officers were responding to a series of overdoses at a Brooklyn, IL strip club when they came into contact with fentanyl and began to feel ill. "The thing with fentanyl is the smallest amount, like if you put just less than a gram in a room, it can knock out everyone in the room. It's a pretty hardcore substance, and it's happening everywhere."

There are other stories out there.

It goes without saying that fentanyl is a potent mu-opioid receptor agonist substance that produces central nervous system depression. That is true.

Chemical structure of Fentanyl
Drawn by Kevin G. Shanks (2017)

It's been used as a pharmaceutical in the USA since 1968. Intravenous and intrathecal fentanyl is used for anesthesia and analgesia in a hospital setting. It is also available as a transdermal patch for chronic pain management, or as a lozenge for oral transmucosal absorption which is intended for opioid tolerant people and in the treatment of breakthrough pain in cancer. It can also be used intranasally and sublingually.

But can stories like this really happen?

No. Not from dermal absorption of powder. It's not possible. NOT. POSSIBLE.


Let's go to the facts.

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) (a really smart group of medical doctors) has issued a position paper on this topic and they brought math, science, and some much needed damned common sense to the table.

You can read their position here via the Clinical Toxicology journal website.

Go read it.


It's good. I promise.


OK. You read it?

Notice the lack of hyperbole and hysteria?

No. Not that Hysteria.

Notice the logical viewpoints?

Notice the use of math and science?

Lots o' numbers! You're making my head explode!


It is impossible to dermally absorb enough powder fentanyl to produce any sort of pharmacological effect. There needs to be some sort of mechanism in place to move that fentanyl through the skin. Pharmaceutical companies invested a large amount of time, effort, and money to develop transdermal delivery systems to administer drug (e.g. transdermal patch to place on the skin). If you were to find yourself in a situation where you had powdered fentanyl on your skin, calmly walk over to the sink and wash your hands with soap and water.

Let's use facts in our discussions about drugs. Hysteria and hyperbole is not helpful to anyone. At all. In fact, it makes things worse. Much worse.


The flyers from Harris County, TX mentioned above were tested in a lab and contained no fentanyl or any other drug. Imagine that!


Now there's this gem of a story in the news today...

From the Northwest Indiana Times, a paramedic was attempting to intubate an unresponsive man when the man coughed and snorted in his face. After doing his job and returning to the fire station, the paramedic "began to feel unwell an fell unconscious". The paramedic suspected he "was exposed to a powerful synthetic opioid, such as fentanyl".

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Semi Charmed Life (1997)

Third Eye Blind's song 'Semi Charmed Life' debuted as the first single on the band's 1997 self-titled album. 

Third Eye Blind album cover art (1997)

It quickly became one of the most well known (and most played) songs of the late 90s as it made its way up the charts peaking at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was featured in several movies including Dirty Work (1998), Wild Things (1998), American Pie (1999), and A Lot Like Love (2006). A snippet of it can also be heard in Contact (1997). 
Music Video, Semi Charmed Life (1997), YouTube
It’s an upbeat catchy song right from the opening line, so much so that I can recognize the song by only 1-2 seconds being played of it.
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo... 
It’s a happy song...or is it?
Have you really listened to the lyrics? Read them below. You'll soon find out that it isn't a happy song after all.
I'm packed and I'm holding
I'm smiling, she's living, she's golden
She lives for me, says she lives for me
Ovation, her own motivation
She comes round and she goes down on me
And I make her smile, like a drug for you
Do ever what you wanna do, coming over you
Keep on smiling, what we go through
One stop to the rhythm that divides you
And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse
Chop another line like a coda with a curse
Come on like a freak show takes the stage
We give them the games we play, she said...
I want something else, to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...
The sky was gold, it was rose
I was taking sips of it through my nose
And I wish I could get back there, someplace back there
Smiling in the pictures you would take
Doing crystal meth, will lift you up until you break
It won't stop, I won't come down
I keep stock with the tick-tock rhythm, I bump for the drop
And then I bumped up, I took the hit that I was given
Then I bumped again, then I bumped again
I said...
How do I get back there, to the place where I fell asleep inside you
How do I get myself back to the place where you said...
I want something else, to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye
I believe in the sand beneath my toes
The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling
I believe in the faith that grows
And the four right chords can make me cry
When I'm with you I feel like I could die
And that would be alright, alright
And when the plane came in, she said she was crashing
The velvet it rips in the city, we tripped on the urge to feel alive
Now I'm struggling to survive, those days you were wearing that velvet dress
You're the priestess, I must confess
Those little red panties they pass the test
Slide up around the belly, face down on the mattress
And you hold me, and we're broken
Still it's all that I wanna do, just a little now
Feel myself, heading off the ground
I'm scared, I'm not coming down
No, no
And I won't run for my life
She's got her jaws now, locked down in a smile
But nothing is alright, alright
And I want something else, to get me through this life
Baby, I want something else
Not listening when you say...
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye
Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...
The sky was gold, it was rose (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
I was taking sips of it through my nose (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
And I wish I could get back there (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
Someplace back there, in the place we used to start (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)
I want something else (Doo doo doo, doo doo-doo doo...)

Lyrics as written by Stephan Jenkins.


Semi Charmed Life is the happiest sounding song you'll ever hear about doing methamphetamine and drug addiction.


Friday, June 8, 2018

RIP Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain has passed away from what is being reported as suicide. From all accounts, he was a fantastic person who spoke his truth wherever he went. He was honest and reveled in teaching people about new things through curiosity and humor; he was a gifted storyteller. And best of all, he was an advocate of world and its people. All people.

If you need help and/or are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Please do not hesitate to call.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The beat goes on...

The US Federal government has moved to control five new synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled  substances.

Synthetic cannabinoid herbal incense
Image by Kevin G. Shanks (2017)

These newer alphabet soup synthetic cannabinoids include:





Napthalen-1-yl 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indole-3-carboxylate

Chemical Structures of Newly Controlled Cannabinoids
Drawn by Kevin G. Shanks (2018)

With the inclusion of these five substances, the Federal government has now scheduled 38 synthetic cannabinoids since 2011. In case you want to learn more about synthetic cannabinoids, I wrote a 2.5 minute primer on them quite a while ago. It's a quick read and is still more than applicable -  you can find it here.

Also, there are many posts about these substances on this blog. Please read some of them as these are substances of extreme toxicological importance. These substances are cheap. They are used for convenience and to evade drug tests for THC. They are easy to get ahold of. Yet, they are complete pharmacological and toxicological unknowns. As I usually say, when people consume products containing synthetic cannabinoids, they are ingesting substances of unknown identification with unknown pharmacological and toxicology properties in unknown dosages in unknown combinations. It's a recipe for disaster.

And the beat goes on...

Stay safe.


United States DEA (2018) Notice of Intent: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of NM2201, 5F-AB-PINACA, 4-CN-CUMYL-BUTINACA, MMB-CHMICA, and 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA Into Schedule I.
Federal Register, Volume 83, Number 103