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Archive for November, 2007

Santana Clause is Coming to. . .?

November 30, 2007 1 comment

This is my favorite time of the baseball year. Yeah, that’s right, the Major Leagues are not currently playing games. Not on the field anyway. Next week MLB holds what they call the Winter Meetings. It’s like a Shriner’s Convention with player swapping. It’s in Nashville too! two of my three favorite things in the same place. Excellent. Too bad none of my baseball songs ever got a record. . ..

The rise of the Player’s Association & free agency with it’s tangled web of contractual traps, i.e. stratospheric salaries, media shares, player agents, no trade clauses, limited trade clauses, player options & buyouts etc. etc., have removed most of the fan fun. Making trades ain’t just a handshake anymore. Though, since the explosion of 24/7 sportstalk, internet reporting and yes, Bill Conlin: bloggers, the rumor mill is grinding harder than ever. The grist is finer having been gone over a million times. The facts, not so fine. Anyone can start a rumor now. I could, but as usual, that’s not why I’m here today.

Due to a billionaire owner’s Scrooge-like penny pinching, a much coveted pitcher Johan Santana ( Minnesota Twins LHP, 2 Cy Young awards ) may or may not be trade bait, before he can opt for free agency after the 2008 season. Though that depends on the offers. Blah blah blah. Because any such trade would involve the other team sending back young, but proven players and a substantial amount of money, not too many teams are up for it. Let’s forget the maybe teams and focus on two well known rivals. Yes sports fans, you guessed it or were exposed for a nanosecond to some form of media in the last 10 days, so you knew. It’s the Yankees & that Boston bunch.

Frankly, let’s forget about the Yankees. If they get Santana, great. Maybe. Their luck with bringing in big time arms from other teams either via trade or free agency, is very, not good, verging on spooky bad. So, pardon me if I don’t get all ecstatic thinking about Johan Santana in the ace role ( rhymes with ____ ) I come here not to praise Soxus, but to bury them. As for the Minn. Twins, they are acting like a 15 year old girl with two popular boys fighting over her. They should be grounded with all Great Mall of the America’s privileges revoked until after graduation.

The definition of psychological projection is: the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another. Several years ago, Boston CEO Larry Lucchino referred to his down south Bronx nemesis in such a way as to portray the bled Sawx as the team led by Luke Skywalker. But as their recent record indicates, the Bostons are anything but lambs to the Yankee lions. The Red Sox won a World Series in 2004 and when the 2006 season started only 7 players from that roster remained! and one of them was traded tout de suite.* Even less were left when they popped the tediously cliched champagne for this past 2007 WS victory.

When Lucchino, much more Darth Vaderesque than George Steinbrenner at this point, puked the Evil Empire yack all over the NYY, he was obviously projecting. Just last year he outbid the Yankees for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, and it wasn’t for just dangling a sushi franchise and a traveling personal masseuse, though the latter was part of the deal. If the Red Sox organization manages to acquire Santana without giving up even one of their acclaimed untouchable, admittedly terrific young players and/or pitchers, they will have dropped the veil for even the blindest to see them for what they really are. The Twins should include a lifetime supply of Beano for the Boston front office, Santana can hand deliver it the day he puts a Sox uni shirt on over his suit for the big press conference. Talk about lame sport’s practices, that’s as dumb as they come. AND quite the sporty look too; just don’t get why that hasn’t caught on amongst the hoi polloi.

They call the big goofy left wall in Fenway Park–The Green Monster. But it’s the green-eyed monster that resides all curled up & hissing in Boston ( thank you Kevin Cronin ). Caveat emptor, Caesar Lauritius il Bocco Grasso, caveato esay! Gautama Buddha aside, our country’s poster boy for Karma, Earl Hickey can tell you, you better watch out. You just might get what you deserve. Sure, in between you might win a World Series or 2, but the next time you call people names, everybody will know why. . ..

* close enough, damn if I’m going to be more than 86% accurate about the Bled Sox

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Thanks, but no thanks

November 22, 2007 Leave a comment

It’s good to change things up. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, the second major US holiday in a 10 day period this year! I will do just that. Time to pick on another medium. Magazines.

There are so many awful mags to choose from and though they are often difficult to differentiate, I have one in my sights. Before I do, I’d just like to report, albeit maybe 7 years after the fact, on magazine covers. You can walk into almost any library in America now and see displayed on its shelves, lots o’ skin. The kind of pics, when I was a kid, your dad had hidden in the garage underneath Popular Mechanics. To be fair, and probably due to all that hard work of Gloria Steinem & her feminists in the 70’s, now it’s both female and male skin.

One of the pioneer men’s mags still extant, is ESQUIRE. They had scantily clad ( a dated, yet apt phrase, if I ever saw one ) women & illustrations by a guy named Vargas. Appreciating his work was a rite of passage for boys in that era. This was pre-Playboy. Can you imagine! if not the Dark Ages, it certainly was not so nakedly out in the light. Make that the spotlight. It’s that selfsame ESQUIRE I am about to rip a new one.

Now, in the 21st century, ESQUIRE is a compendium for all that is wrong with humans. They are a publication aimed at upscale men, or wannabes, in the 21-49 demographic. Features are always about how to dress, dine, drink, drive, drives ( sex ) and yes, even die. ESQUIRE never met a word beginning with the letter D it couldn’t publish 2000 words on it’s slick, pretentious pages.

ESQUIRE magazine at it’s inception was for men who are heterosexual. It ostensibly still is, unlike contemporary GENTLEMAN’s QUARTERLY ( GQ ), which is umm, metrosexual. . .. While being told black wingtips is the go to shoe for the serious grown up man on a monthly basis, is Hitler-like enough to make me bristle, the ads are truly something special. Somebody please explain to me what demo guy considers this a desirable kind of scenario? Five men, one woman? This is a family kinda blog, so I won’t use the word that scene brings to mind. It’s routine for ads in ESQUIRE and GQ though. In the name of full disclosure, I’m forced to admit, if the bashes I went to as a young dude are any measure, that disturbing ratio is about right! Maybe I’m just having difficulty accepting reality. Again.

What I really want to address ( undress? dress? redress? ) are the full page ads, sometimes a 2 pager, with no women to get in the way of good old homoeroticism. They often depict a naked or scantily clad male, surrounded by a male model mix of adoring and diffident chums. Oh boy! ( pardon the expression ) now there’s a party. Why wasn’t I invited? OK, I’m not good looking enough. But still! In the minds of twisted advertising people, they calculate a woman friend will open ESQUIRE and imagine her male companion in this setting, immediately run to Barney’s in Manhattan and do a Pretty Woman level shopping spree/music video montage for him. Deep in their fashion slave hearts, all the hot chicks wanna be Richard Gere ( the pre-white hair version, natch ).

If you got this far ( cough ), you’re likely puzzled. Why does this guy even know this stuff? Research, and I just like magazines. Also, I got it at the library; I sure wouldn’t pay for it. Hey, I really wanted to write how there are probably more than a few people out there who think the Pilgrims were racists because no black people were invited to the first Thanksgiving. No fear, things changed over the next 300 years. Slavers apparently being the 1660’s analog to the bussing of the 1960’s. Now we are all here and we all have so much to be thankful for annually, on the third Thursday of November. Me? I’m thankful I don’t own , or ever will own, a pair of black or any other color wingtips. That’s just shoe-ist not racist.

So much more to say, so much antipathy for typing & filing via dialup. Yet, I am compelled to add, is there anything more heartwarming than hearing barely articulate morons call in sports talk radio on Thanksgiving and share their golden memories of boxing? I am thankful for the off switch. I bet all of them were wearing boxer shorts & black wingtips too. . ..

Hack-ting Out

November 15, 2007 Leave a comment

The Writers Guild of America, read: Hollwood hacks, is on strike. They have a point and you may find their issue described elsewhere in detail. Nub of the quill pen, hmmm I mean nib, would be writing royalties or residuals for DVD sales. Simply, they want to be paid part of those huge monies derived from television series sales; I agree.

Well, I agree, some of them should be paid. Not the clowns who write the same kinds of bad teleplays and scripts using phrases such as ‘ Excuse me!’ when a character is indignant ( typically when they are being told the truth about themselves.) AND my new favorite stereotypical response to being asked to comply with some questionable act: ‘ Hell, no! ‘  Nobody should be paid for that, in fact, money should be deducted! Every time either of those lines is uttered, an angel loses its wings. I bet they don’t do that kind of lame work in Islamic countries. At least not more than twice.

Make no mistake, even hack writing is work. It does require a modicum of discipline and an ear for everyday, conversational speech. Not to mention re-cycling other’s pap, churning out cliched crap and/or— I can get it for you wholesale plagiarism. If it was easy, I could do it! Actually, the real skill of these people is being able to sit down and type. Or having a girlfriend/boyfriend/life mate, who can. Being able to make it snow year round in a warm climate, doesn’t hurt either.

While I’m at it, last TV season’s breakout show Heroes, has sucked so far. It’s been soap opera slow with repetitive scenes. The producer, Tim Kring has acknowledged this, and vowed to fix it. Not having writers will be an impediment. Or will it? First sign of Heroes super-shark jumping for me, was the appearance of overly familiar ( and obnoxious ) faces such as Stephen Tobolowsky and Alan Blumenfeld. Whoever thought this was a worthy followup to first season casting of George Takei, Eric Roberts, Christopher Eccleston & Malcolm McDowell, needs to be terminated, rehired, then fired again, right after they buy a house in the Hills.

My sole experience with screenwriting was when I worked for a guy who scored movies. One day, after I had done a particularly good job feeding the cat, he took me aside. Seems he and his writing partner had a screenplay, a teen sex-ploitation comedy. I won’t tell you the basic plot ( think law suit ) but the catch phrase could’ve been: ‘ This one time. . . at Van Camp’s. . .. ‘ *  He thought I could take a run at punching it up. What apparently inspired him, was my never-ending supply of anecdotes featuring my show biz failures. Also, he’d just torched some excellent weed. Wow. . . he should hear me now.

Once the smoke had literally cleared, that project went nowhere. However, after reading my version, he did say that I was really wacky. Excuse me? Then he told me it was time to clean the cat’s litter-box. Hell NO! So, I ain’t in the WGA. Or on strike.

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* sorry—gotta know your pop culture and canned goods for that one