Pod People or How I Spent the 21st Century’s First Decade

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

As the Aughties* (see below) draw to a close, let others make those lame lists. Lists are for shopping. Provided you remember to take it with you, and can read your own handwriting. Yeah, listen elitist, you use up your toner, that stuff is expensive.

I’d like to take aim at the best phenomena of the Internet Era – the podcast. Everybody and their mom has a podcast. Except for me and my mother, and she wants the Propaganda software for Christmas. Some of these are professionally produced by broadcast industry professionals and bring with them all the positives and negatives of program content, performance and tech savvy. They are not the target for this diatribe which is genuinely intended to be helpful tools for tyros. Cough cough.

No, the pros be pros. I do download some of those shows. NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a personal fave. Nothing like well balanced politico bashing and intelligencia poop jokes. This blahg is pointed at the kids in the basement (not the Kids in the Hall, they are old pros). Not all podcasters are actually amateurs or young, they just share some common flaws. Flaws which are not just me being a bitter old unemployed radio worker, which I am. Real problems in presentation.

I am well aware too, of budget constraints. I’m not about to criticize somebody for not owning state of the art, broadcast quality equipment – that stuff costs almost as much as toner! Since most of the podcasts are essentially non-commercial, they are done out of love. Mostly ego, but self love counts in the show biz, or why bother to continue spouting off your opinion on Jar Jar Binks ten years later. Every week. Sometimes twice a week! Luckily for me I’m too spaz for game playing – those geeks are freaks. Though the podcasters who speak Klingon are in the top spot for doofy.

My grind is with untrained extemporaneous speakers. Working from a script sucks – I ain’t no card reader; I don’t want to have things read to me, no matter how interesting.  Ad libbing off your notes and knowledge of a subject works for my ear, a few uhs and pregnant pauses won’t kill me. Good show prep is key though. As sharp as it is to have a good outline of topics, and most of these ‘casts do have loads of excellent content, they need to prep some basics too. The kinds of direction you need before the mic is open.

By far the most egregious problem is people talking simultaneously. Its pandemic. This overlapping dialogue can be organic and fun at a party or in an old Robert Altman flick. But as an audio only listen, it is a cacophony. Mostly ca ca. And they are not doing this because they are arguing or fighting. Or stupid. They are just talking at the same time.

This happens because the host(s) and/or guests are typically in different parts of the world. Tough to get physical cues from the panel when one of you is in LA, one in Hong Kong and another is in a car on the Long Island Expressway, eating a taco. Even if it is a video/cam show, it takes sophisticated equipment and engineers to synchronize audio/video. I’m just talking about the talking. So, I can tell who actually is. That and being able to delineate what they’re saying.

Here’s a helpful tip. Prior to the show (or before their segment), tell your guests you and they, must take an audible beat when you are finished speaking. That’s their cue – a beat is clear and fast, and a bit longer than a natural breath and some practice is required. A host can always cleverly cue a response by saying the person’s name he’d like to speak next. This does control the flow and sometimes is not as natural sounding as we’d all love. But it’s @#%&*! a lot better than the wall of sound effect. Never ever forget what happened to Phil Spector and his hair.

Next point of contention is a technical issue. Not everyone can afford a Gentner, or ClearOne studio phone-in system (a specialized PBX). Voice levels can be adjusted to match the level of the studio program microphones and callers. Well, it can, when its installed properly. Don’t ask. Hey! I know I couldn’t do it. But I am NOT a highly paid radio engineer. It wasn’t my fault. . ..

Even if the podcast is archived from an actual radio broadcast, the levels can be way off. Yeah, sure, I know I’m lucky to get anything at all. I also know they are not paying an engineer twice so he or she can go back and do the audio for a freebie podcast. I can’t pay for them so I wouldn’t know. In fact, I regularly listen to maybe a dozen different, mainly weekly podcasts. But there are probably several thousand to choose from in existence. Severe download speed limitations keep me from many good ones. I have rejected some due to size. The reason I drop many is due to my complaints about their performances.

Oddly, Howard Megdal, one of the more intelligent and witty sports personalities emerging from the Pod Era, just corrected some of the over-talking on his Perpetual Post Radio show (I’m listening to it as I type – I am all about the multitasking), by employing the technique I described. Did I mention he was smart? and yet while the media may indeed be the message still, when its garbled, it’s mess only.

No doubt the strait laced and older listeners might have a problem with the flagrant usage of obscene language in some podcasts. The F bomb gets lots of play in certain genres – that being the drunken young dude’s ranting one. Or the young dudes talking about life i.e. drinking, chicks, sports and more drinking. Think the show Jackass, sans the visuals and stunts. A few of them are entertaining while having true insight into media. I don’t mind those words – I was using them before most podcasters were born and getting in trouble for it too. What I do mind, besides misogyny, is the mother fucking laughing at everything they say shit.

The laughing problem is not genre, age or subject specific. I like movie reviews and commentary on TV series. I tried one podcast. The two 40 something guys laughed so much I had to think they’d smoked a doobie or three. They likely were not under the influence – they were much too articulate and made sense in between the yucks. But holy crap – every remark was punctuated by extended guffaws. OK -this is judgmental, but what they were saying wasn’t funny. I tried a really well produced Science Fiction media ‘cast. Same thing, with the too many laughs.

I’m not against having a good time, or laughter. Does anybody remember laughter  (insert Jimmy Page guitar riff here)? I gave them a second try, new episode. They were at it again. Only this time it was a ratio of one comment::two laughs. Sigh. I dropped a few F Bombs. And that podcast. Speaking of which, depending on the bandwidth the podcast uses, it can take me anywhere from three to five  minutes of download time to get one minute of program. After not being able to do anything but watch my ISP crank, and possibly disconnect me, for 5 or 6 hours, I gots to have mo show, yo, than ho ho ho (see how I worked Christmas in there? which I can do because I am not PC. I’m a Mac).

Previously, I’ve admitted I’m a know it all, who knows I don’t know it all. Though overall, I know more than most sportscasters. My usual opinion of the majority of those people are, they were the kids who fell asleep in class beginning with 6th grade. If they made it to senior year or astonishingly to college, they cut out the middleman bullshit and stayed home to do their sleeping. Books were for propping up the couch with the missing leg.

Not only do they routinely mispronounce words, in One Hundred Monkeys style, they all say the same ones incorrectly! They also misinform. The most egregious statement I ever heard was a former NFL player at Fox Sports fool(who shares the same name as an older UK actor) say, on the occasion of President’s Day, “Lincoln owned slaves” well, that and the rest of them calling Lindsay, Lo – Han. She’s not Asian, though she is aging. It is Low – un. BTW she’s still relevant in a look at me look at me! kind of way, if a new photo shoot is any gauge.

I’m not against informal speech or playing with language either. I enjoy mixing in some patois with my huge vocabulary – my patois de foie gras is legendary. When I do it, its ironic. When they do it, its moronic. Sure sports ain’t the Algonquin. Yes, it is not. But as Yogi once said – “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him a Man o’War.” You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can fire his dumb ass and get a smarter dog.

Oh well, do what you will podcasters. I’ll take what I can get. I might just be in a blue mood exacerbated by a seasonal disorder. The first half of December includes the birthdays of five of my former girlfriends, none of whom are in contact with me. Not even a card. You’d think with all those Sagittarians, one of Cupid’s arrows would’ve hit something above the belt. It’s not because I’m a prick – it’s because I am a poor prick.

Ho ho ho

____________________________________
* Or the Naughties if you had lots of fun. I tried to copyright Oties. But it was too esOteric…

Bud Out!

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

TOP 5 Reasons Bud is leaving MLB in 2012

5. There are still plenty of used cars to sell in Milwaukee

4. The WS Games are too @#%&*! cold to go to at his age

3. He’s gonna buy a team… hold on, he owns one all ready!

2. Will be replacing Oprah on daytime TV

1. Bud uses the Mayan Calendar

The Happy Halladay/Holliday Edition*

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Having recently re-subscribed to the “Less is best” school of life grad program, here is my burn out—I mean — burnt offering for the coming holidays. These are the things which can still make me laugh out loud, long and so hard, I risk a ruptured gut. Pretty sure you’ll agree.

My life is finally one with the universe. Well, the universe as I perceive it anyhow. Spike Lee, peanut head film auteur & Knicks fan, spoke out recently—no breaking news there, he does it a lot. That he called the works of Tyler Perry buffoonery, suggesting it was setting the cause of African-Americans back faster than Oprah can load a dish at an all you can eat buffet, is the shocker. Not sure I can live in a world where Spike Lee and I agree, so I’ll add the following—Tyler Perry is setting the entire human race back. Now that’s a race problem!

Perry’s partner in a recent movie release, Winfrey, has announced she’ll be ending her TV show in 2011. This one made me laugh so hard I might have to sue her for the sutures my sides required. 2011?!… Hold on, maybe she knows something! [see below] Regardless, she’ll no doubt pull a Leno and turn up on a night time version. Let’s see, I bet it will be called O! What a Night. I like O! What a Load.

The 2009 Major League baseball season ended the way it always should, so no gloat-fest here. Two things do need addressing. One is the phrase “bought players.” Teams sign players to contracts—- often for huge money. Yes, they all have the option to do so. While the jaded fan may choose to esteem that process as “buying,” they are morons. Abe Lincoln freed the slaves with that old Emancipation Proclamation. Nobody ain’t buyin’ nobody no mo’. To claim the Yankees bought C.C. Sabathia is racist. BTW did I mention THE YANKEES WIN! THE_UHHHHHHHHH YANKEES WIN!!

As for Bud Selig, 80 year old used car salesman/baseball commissioner (@ $20 million per annum). He just noticed the time lag between playoff games is a bit extreme. Wow! 20 mil doesn’t buy the quality brains does it. Of course, LA of A Angels manager of the year Mike Scioscia complained about it. Mainly due to the Angels losing. If Yankees mgr. Joe Girardi had bitched, a fresh round of anti-NYY sentiment would have filled the airwaves in red hot parallel pinstripes to the yowls of “Yankees bought another World Series” bullshit. Those fellas need some new slogans. I have one for them — STFU.

Read some history you a-holes. Sports has always been this way. You can’t sit around smugly saying life ain’t fair – deal with it to people having a rough time of it now- and then cry when your team gets whupped. Mainly because they are cheapskates. Why doesn’t Selig donate 18 or 19 million of his take, to the team with the worst record each year, so they can S I G N a big time free agent. AS if that alone assures anyone of positive results. MLB needs a major league overhaul, with a tier & rewards system for team performance. They won’t do it, because suits like Pud & his cronies like it the way it is-stoopit. Don’t blame the Yankees, blame the owners of all the other teams. But you won’t.

Nobody cries but NYY fans when tyro low payroll teams like the Florida Marlins & Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Yankees on a fluke & their owners bank the cake for trophy wives and ocean front property in Palm Springs. Oh! then it’s David v. Goliath and if it’s like a story in the Bible, it’s good enough for Joe Redass. When did douche baggery start ruling the world?

Which dovetails, in an un-dove like way to a socio-religious aspect of the current flick 2012. Seems they are ecumenical in their destruction of world religious symbols. Oh wait, they forgot to blow up any Islamic sites. Wouldn’t want to offend those clowns. Now I think of it, they do a pretty good job of blowing up the world themselves, literally and figuratively. If somebody told them the truth about the virgins (actually it’s a box of raisins – you could look it up), do you think they’d do that reprehensible shameful Bombing for Allahs trick? Still, all that doesn’t excuse the P.C. pandering of the film makers. Weak. Very.

Continuing on in the weak dept., there is a sports talk host on WFAN, New York City. The guy is a man of the people type, he speaks English natively, but he mangles it grammatically. He can barely speak a sentence without stammering and repeating words. Was this a pity hire? Hey! that’s fine on some small radio station in the sticks, not on the seminal sports powerhouse, in the world’s largest and most influential media market. The worst part is, a typical sports talk show attracts limited intellect callers. This guy’s audience takes it to a new low, the mouth breather boxing fans are the most virulent. He’s on now like 8 nights a week. Can anyone say—video of suits with donkeys?

It’s obvious, I’m thankful for all the laughter this has all brought me. I’m looking forward to all the swell things 2010 will bring. After all, we’re at the 2 year warning—the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012. Anybody else notice it’s “the Calendar?” My @#%&*! calendar ends every year. My only hope is every year would end with-

THE YANKEES WIN! THE_UHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

YANKEES WIN!!!!!!

…and to all a good night.

* its a baseball thing, if you don’t know

Non Apologia. . ..

October 10, 2009 Leave a comment

In the October 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly, there appears a short article in which Tyler Perry reveals he was the victim of extreme abuse as a child. Child molestation and its corollary abuses are criminal and repugnant on any level, to anyone. I hardly lack the compassion to not feel this was a terrible thing. However he and fellow spotlight whore, Oprah Winfrey are set to profit from this muy pronto by wide release of Winfrey’s latest cinematic cash cow.* I’m sure some of the take will go to charities they support. Anyone know how much? Odd they are so circumspect in that arena. Sweet restraint. If only they’d do it everywhere else.

I don’t like those two people. They exploit their pain in the name of helping others. Perry has been very successful wearing a dress & making movies of it. We all know what Oprah does. Though frankly, I’m not sure. She has a magazine which features her on the cover. Every issue. Excessive at best, egoistic certainly. Does she even know O is the title of a major erotic novel. She’s obviously aware it’s the Periodic Table symbol for oxygen, as she’s full of hot air. Regardless, Winfrey was also famously the victim of family horrors. Who knew it could be so profitable? Repeatedly. I’m guessing they did, every chance they got. It separates them from me, I know that for sure.

One has to question the motives of tossing this information out into the media, like chum to sharks. Does it help the sadly large numbers of others who have suffered and currently are suffering? Many of them in silence. Is it going to give the courage to some boy to put on a female family member’s clothing & upload it onto You Tube—in hopes he’ll hit number one, as opposed to being hit by someone. Most likely it will make him or her a target to a larger circle of creeps. Or worse. We’ll have another Tyler Perry. There will of course, never be another Oprah. Thank God & Steadman for that-amen.

They are not the only people to regurgitate their traumatic lives. MacKenzie Phillips just wrote a book and went on some shows to talk about her incestuous episodes with her father, John Phillips aka Papa John of The Mamas & the Papas, a successful folk-rock group in the Sixties. Papa John—not to be confused with the pizza magnate, though there is an awful joke there, I’ll skip it, was known to get doped up & was quite the ladies man. Apparently ( no pun-OK it is ) he had no governor on which lady, all were fair game. Maybe Mac will have a Lifetime movie. I’m guessing Valerie Bertinelli won’t be in it.

So, I’m sorry Tyler, I had no idea you were so fucked up. Listening to you speak, reading about your work, seeing how you want to own an island—I never guessed. But hey Oprah—try featuring something else on the cover of O magazine other than your fat face. You don’t see Malcolm Forbes on the cover of Forbes —what? he’s dead, machts nichts schnickelfritz, you think I don’t suspect you have a clause stating O runs your mug until the end of the universe?

And oh yeah, I was abused. But I don’t wear a mu mu for money in bad flicks. And I wouldn’t. I might use it to dodge a war. But hey, I ain’t stoopit.

* I know the title – I’m not helping them, even with my 3 readers

Correction

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment

We’re sorry, the following title as it appears – I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF – is a typo. It is actually listed with the Screenwriters Guild and IMDb as – I CAN DO BAD MOVIES ALL BY MYSELF. QED

In a related story, all the resale & thrift shops in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys & Manhattan are out of womens size 23 clothing. Donations are needed. Thank you.

Pete, We Hardly Knew Ye

September 18, 2009 Leave a comment

The state of the economy has taken its toll of many. I would never minimize how it has adversely affected people and the ramifications of it will extend into their lives for years to come. That said, it has finally & cruelly gone too far. This is just awful, sad news. I see the Apocalypse coming out of left field and it ain’t Manny Ramirez—OK, maybe it looks a lot like him.

PETE Abraham, Yankee beat writer and incredibly successful blogger for the NY area Lower Hudson Journal News is leaving the pinstripes to move closer to his family. He’s going to work for Boston Globe.com. It’s an upgrade for him and I wish him the best. But he’s going to be covering the Re… no! I can’t bring myself to say it. Or type it. Or whatever it is I’m doing. Other than feeling ill that is.

You know, when they tried to trade the legendary Jackie Robinson from the Brooklyn Dodgers to their hated cross town rivals the NY (Manhattan) Giants, he retired. It was a laudable and principled albeit extreme statement Mr. Robinson made. Of course, a hot dog at the ballpark & a Coke didn’t cost you $25 fifty years ago. And gas to fill the tank to take a drive to see the folks was 22¢ a gallon. Really.

Sure, Jackie wasn’t making 15 million a season either, he was lucky if he topped out at 40K ( the O’Malley’s were likely trying to salary dump, seeing as Robinson was in his mid 30’s). Pete isn’t getting millions to switch, but the Globe is getting a guy who did make a baseball blog in three years the most popular one on the net. Having the Yankees as the team didn’t hurt. That won’t happen in Boston—99% of Sawks fans can’t read. Oddly the other one per cent are writers of all levels and/or brilliant talents. Go figure.

I’d heard the newsstand copy of the Globe will become extinct in 2010, along with the NY Daily News, Miami Herald & 5 other major metro dailies. Online being the current format & one Pete has been extremely successful with, they are getting a proven winner. That said, here are the Top 5 Stories I hope he gets to file next season-

5. Ted Williams secretly longed to be a NYY & wore Yankee logo boxers

4. MIT will publish a Nobel Prize winning paper that Varitek is indeed a Cro Magnon

3. Larry Lucchino & Theo Epstein are married to each other

2. Every Red Sox player except Ted Williams & Dom DiMaggio has been juicing since 1919. They just didn’t get the good stuff until 2004

1. The entrance to Hell is that door in the Green Monster Manny used. . ..

Look out Gammons, there’s a new Pete in town.

Pyrrhic Pressure

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a season of win-lose here in Gritropolis. This, so pointedly captured by this weekend—on the court, on stage & sigh, at the movies.

Having a Pyrrhic victory may be fine for some. Not for me. Sure, that fat head no talent Tyler Perry, finally let a woman wear the dress. But his dreck came in number one at the box office. The one solace I have is that all people buying tickets for that movie have been tagged by Homeland Security, as no threat whatsoever to US intelligence.

While Serena Williams blew up at the US Open ( tennis ) for what she felt was an umpire’s wrong call on a foot fault*, Kanye West retained his title as Biggest Loudmouth in Music. Homeboy still believe he can hit that Beyonce groove thang, soon as the girl see he prettier than Jay Z. Or delusional that Taylor Swift has jungle fever & digs stupid guys. Either way, he on crack. One thing I know for certain—Taylor Swift’s videos are better than Tyler Perry’s. Watching hers only get you tagged by the local Fish & Game Commission. And that’s so they can call you for a donation.

If Serena can be fined an amount the equivalent of her tennis shoe allowance for a Grand Slam tournament (just kidding-I know she gets them gratis), why can’t that ahole Kanye get fined by the FCC. Why? for being an ahole in prime time. I bet  Mr. Obama’s backhanded smack of Kanye got more play than anything he might’ve said publicly about Joe Wilson (R-Rep. South Carolina). He probably just got an atta boy from Rush Limbaugh—ha ha ha ad infinitum. Times like these I wish James Brown was still alive to advise some entertainers. Not the sports James Brown. Or the other sports James Brown. Or one of the Steve Smiths. The late great King of Soul. Of course!

There’s more, but I like to stick to the headlines. I do feel compelled to inject a future story—Prince Fielder, the really talented & large (+ packing a few more lbs. than needed ) first baseman of your Milwaukee Brewers, is likely to be trade bait over the Winter. Team very interested resides in Boston. Since they are allowed to make any move & be praised for it by buttboys at ESPN, I can’t fight the power. It is true, they have gone too long without a big fat guy to play first for them, since Mo Vaughn left. And Pig Papi Ortiz admitted his ” protein drinks ” only enable him to do one thing well—hit v. the Yankees.

Speaking of baseball, who won the World Series? The season must have ended while I was on my retreat in Nepal, searching for the home of Deechen Lachman.** I had no joy finding it, though I did run into the Dalai Lama.† When I asked him if he knew her, he said vexedly—” she’s Australian, you moron.” If I’d have known the MLB season wound up early so ESPN could go football 24/7, I’d have asked the Dalai Lama about the WS. Hey! he was all ready pissed off, I had nothing to lose there. 

All I can get from ESPN is football f*gs, enabling gamblers with point spreads & injury reports & sucking up to coach. They are stat diligent to the point of being anal. I’m amazed they don’t do the Pop Warner games. Must be a licensing fee conflict. Or maybe the authorities draw an age line for boys locker rooms those bozo can invade. Why don’t I just Google? have I mentioned the page-load times for me & this old dial up here on the Copper Line yet this post? Oh look! there’s some mail from the Dept. of Homeland Security. . ..

* it was a bad call

** actor Dollhouse Fox-TV series

† I know I know—the DL is in exile in India




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