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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.

Apparently—I Love NY!

May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Having just realized I rarely say anything about the sports media people I like, I hope to remedy that a bit here. One reason I neg out a lot is, the guys who provoke me seem do it when I’m nearest to a keyboard. The other is I’m bitter. Here are thumbnail mentions of a few who just happen to be from the NYC metro area. How’d that happen!

Michael Kay, who began his pro career as a sportswriter, currently straddles two media giants. One owns the New York Yankees, the other takes cheap shots. Long before the NYY launched the YES Network (Yankees Entertainment & Sports), Kay made the move from print to the broadcast booth, paired with legendary egoist John Sterling. I thought Kay was great—at a time when the beloved pair of Phil Rizzuto & Bill White (my former neighbor) were ending their run, Kay was a breath of fresh & knowledgeable air. Yankee brass agreed. Now he anchors the YES play by play team & does a daily afternoon drive radio show for ESPN’s New York affiliate. AND I like him a lot. Joe Torre, on the other hand, may not. That’s another story.

Howard Megdal is a regular & integral contributor to a podcast—The New York Baseball Digest (hosted by Mike Silva). He’s also an author The Baseball Talmud— a non-fiction work which chronicles the history of professional Jewish baseball players. However, his main gig is covering NYC baseball for a newspaper The New York Observer. Though an ardent Mets fan, his sharp wit & ability to extemporaneously turn a phrase on mic, make him a rare exception in the sports media—intelligent beyond the sports arena. I used to be pretty good at this: I’d place his IQ at 130, if not slightly higher. He’s one of the few I can actually listen to criticize the Yankees, typically because he’s right. His Achilles’ heel is WFAN megastar Mike Francesa—don’t get him started. . ..

The next man I have come to praise (and not bury) is another sportswriter & blogger Pete Abraham. His LoHud.com Yankees blog has so many hits each day, I can rarely leave a comment due to my slow dial up—because there are frequently too many other comments, often well over 300-400, sometimes many more! Pete is the Yankees beat writer for The Journal News & also makes many radio appearances, providing his insight to Yankee baseball. Even when he’s on a break, he often files a post, because he loves baseball. Sadly, the immense popularity of his blog doesn’t exclude him from the current economic downward trend in newspapers, and he’s actually on an unpaid furlough for a week! Sigh. BTW Pete was at the game anyway last night as a fan. Here’s hoping it all turns around for everybody. Except for Boston — I ain’t smoking any of Mary Lou’s bud.

Not in any way would I minimize the work, talent & efforts of the next two. I place them in tandem because Sweeny Murti & Ed Coleman cover the Yankees & Mets respectively, for WFAN AM New York, the King of sports talk radio. They are both routinely on air around the clock, doing phone reporting i.e. Sweeny was on today at 4:25 AM. Are the Yanks on the West Coast? did a game run extraordinarily late or something extremely awful happen? Nope—though Joba Chamberlain did take a batted ball off a kneecap (he’s OK—hmmmm). Sweeny is also very bright (Penn State grad). Mercifully(?) the Mets were on a travel day to Feng Shui Park for the weekend ugh, unless you like hubris with your chowdah. So, Eddie had a respite from the Mets woes.

See, I can say nice stuff. Especially when it’s true. Yankees v. Phillies this weekend, should be balls flying out of new Yankee Stadium. While I am naturally rooting for the Yanks to win more than they lose, I have a soft spot for the Phils from my 20 years of living & working in Bucks County PA.

Oh yeah — Lets GO METS!


Aks me no questions. . ..

May 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m well aware most of you @#%&*! jock sniffing morons, who somehow were hired to be professional media announcers only made it to sixth grade. So, one more time:

If a proper name ends in the letter s i.e. Phil Hughes and you need to make it a possessive, as in— Phil Hughes’ next start—that is how it is enunciated. Don’t add another s. Not only is it unnecessary, it creates sibilance, which is bad for audio, most importantly as spoken, it’s AWKWARD sounding. BTW no doubt you were asleep, dreaming of showering with the football team that day in class, because they teach that rule by sixth grade. Pete Rose’s name only sounds as if it ends with s. You’re on your own with Rodriguez, Gomez, Martinez & Aziz et al. That ain’t English.

Note to major know it all Colin Cowherd–the word is pictorial. Not pictoral.* As for some audience members who call in radio programs—how do you exist at least twenty plus years in a country where English is the primary language, and mispronounce the word ask? Laughable and depressing at the same time. Audio-verbal dyslexia—the new epidemic.

OK— recess you dumbasses. Go enjoy some repressed homosexuality. Don’t aks

* next time I heard that particular promo, the pronunciation had been corrected—incroyablé!

Hackety Hack Do Talk Back. . ..

February 9, 2009 5 comments

These are the Top Ten phrases I personally loathe, most often employed by intellectually challenged writers & talk show hosts. Anyone heard using any of these should be thought less of immediately, strapped to a rocket & sent into deep space. Below each, is my witty comeback. Dorothy Parker just IM-ed from Heaven to say — she ain’t worried.

1. Excuse me?

OK you’re excused. In fact, you’re expelled. Forever.

2. Moving forward

Be my guest, and please do keep moving.

3. Wrap my mind/head around

Hold still, I’ll help, just let me get my Louisville Slugger.

4. of late

Miss Manners’ lawyer called. She’s suing you for speaking like a prig from a Henry James novel.

5. share with you

No thanks. I’m not into sharing. With you.

6. I’ll be honest with you

I’m pleased you admit it. Up until now, I had the feeling you were lying.

7. own it

Really— you looked like more of renter to me.

8. unlimited use

B U L L S H I T

9. here’s the weather for your ( fill in day of week )

I rather have that guy’s weather over there. He looks happy.

10. I got nothin’

Seriously, I got nothin’.  I ran out with number 9.

W.W.J.G.?

December 19, 2007 1 comment

Good golly Miss Molly! look at the calendar—Christmas is here. Why only yesterday it seemed as if it were baseball season. Oh wait, that was the Mitchell Report, last week. Lots of coal in those sanitary socks this Yuletide.

As usual, I’ll be walking the line between pre-ghostly visitors Scrooge and Will Ferrell in Elf. I have a Gemini moon OK. Now where’s my present? I do wish I could give my friends gifts, but I’m a bit low on flow, having blown my allowance on NetFlix. Well, the ones who take the time to read my blog deserve gifts. The rest are dead to me. Did I mention I have a. . . yes, I did.

But since Christmas is in theory, a fun time of year, in the spirit of that, here are the gifts I would give what friends I have left, after the preceding paragraph. I will be using initials, because I really can’ t afford to lose them too and/or any litigation. They will know who they are, and that’s all matters. If they don’t, they weren’t really getting anything any way.

For the best sounding board I have ever had GEO: Marshall Crenshaw’s old back up band + 3 hit song co-writes.

For the only poet I’ve ever read who didn’t make me homicidal or suicidal & not necessarily in that order JEM: a villa on the Spanish Riviera & a copy of her daughter’s future coffee table book of photography.

For a woman who had the courage to move to Manhattan, get a Masters, then quit a secure job to pursue the Muse KSH: anything she wants musically. Ever.

For my former manager, a guy too nice for show business REL: one son in the NFL & the other on Broadway & a long, rest of your life to enjoy it.

For the only couple on this list S & EG: a continued endless supply of whatever it is makes you both so amazing.

Finally for the family members who still put up with me: It ain’t over til it’s over. . .. twang twang

Happy Christmas & the best year ever. Hey! what’s Zooey Deschanel doing here? and why is she dragging that huge chain!

Love,

Me

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