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…
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
…and to all a good night.
* its a baseball thing, if you don’t know
The state of over the air sports talk radio from my perspective. Yes, biased. Based on auditory observational skills the level of Sherlock Holmes ocular ones. AND I’m a real guy. Mostly. †
HOST – Hi! Jim you’re on WFAN with Mark ( Moose ) Malusis…
JIM – …yeah hey uh huh uh yeah uh first time caller, long time ummm er uh yeah hello? Oh hi Jim. Wha? huh! oh yeah I’m Jim. Hey Tony love your show. Huh? Oh ummm OK sure hi Moose. Thanks for taking my call. Love the… wha? oh yeah ummm a caller called with a call a few calls ago today. You know what I mean. Hello Moose—you there? The caller who called about the Jets—I mean the Mets. About how, you know, I mean ummmmm the the the call. The one when he said Charlie Manuel should be… Huh? oh yeah Jerry Manuel. Wha? no I haven’t been drinking? Ah uh er um you mean tonight? This morning I mean. Yeah I disagree. I think Jerry Manuel should be fired.
MOOSE – wow I wonder what he was on! [ other than the air you mean Moose? ] But he does have a point—the Mets have struggled all season due to unreal injuries, though they have looked better as of late. So who knows about next year. Bill you’re on WFAN…
BILL – Yeah um uh uh uh that last guy was uh um yeah. Hi Bill—I mean Moose—love the show. I think Charlie Manuel should be uh umm I mean about the Jets. Uhhhhhh I mean the Giants really kicked the Patriots as — ummmm butt. I predict they will go at least 10 & 6. Maybe 9 & 7. Or 10 & 6. If they do win at least 9…
MOOSE – Yeah only a pre-season game Bill. But things looking positive for Big Blue heading into week 1 of the regular NFL season going forward. I can’t wrap my head around predicting a record yet. I’ll be doing that next week. OK one more call before the 20/20… Jim from New Hyde Park you’re on the FAN…
JIM** – Hello Moose. Must be a full moon—heh heh heh.
MOOSE – I don’t know is it a full moon? I sleep all day, so…
JIM – I don’t know either, all my windows are painted black & I live in a basement apartment. But back to sports. I really think Jerry Manuel should be fired. AND Omar Manaya too. Plus the Wilpons should sell the Mets. To the Yankees.
MOOSE – ( silence for 10 seconds of dead air! ) Jim, how long have we known each other. From calling the FAN, I mean? Like 10 years! that is the most brilliant idea I have heard since I started working in sports! They won’t do it though hah ha ha.
JIM – As you know Moose, I am a lawyer. From Mars.
MIA [ sports reporter cuts in ] – It is a Full Moon, Moose.
MOOSE – Really? I don’t know I sleep during the day. OK we’re a bit late—here’s Mia Harris* with the 20/20…
† In case you’re wondering, I chose not to attack ESPN this time. Mainly because those aholes went 90% football talk in mid August. They suck.
* Mia Harris is attractive & smart, but she does need to work
** lots of Jims call—really–they do
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!
It seems Manny being Manny was aided and abetted by performance enhancing substances†[please see below]. All those clutch, drop the Yankees hits while with the Boston team, were bullshit. Now, while that city and its players enjoy the rewards their envy and hypocrisy continue to provide them, they need to admit they are phonies. If they can hate on and gloss the NYY as the evil empire, riddled with cheaters, then they themselves are surely the Weasel World of sports. Yankees suck? you m*****r f****rs suck and blow.
I have been watching, and for a short youthful period, playing baseball since 1956. I steeped myself in the game via what media was available then— TV, radio, books, magazines and baseball cards. It never seemed enough—sure baseball was talked year round—with friends. Nothing like the current media, carpet bombing 24 hours a day, seven days a week; pervasive and invasive coverage. Really, it’s too much. It encourages excesses and it gets them. From everyone involved.
Too much and yet the magpies who pass for talk show hosts on all sports radio outlets, discrete team owned tv, and networks like ESPN & Fox, turned a sycophantic blind eye to some tried and true practices. Amphetamines before games and shopping trips after—lining up groupies for stars. AND the last 20 plus seasons of slowly unfolding revelations of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones (HGH)usage by the big names of the big leagues.
It has resulted in the breeding of hack writers such as Selena Roberts (Sports Illustrated) who indicted the Duke Lacrosse team for party fouls at the rapist level before they were found NOT guilty*, to her present exposé book of Alex Rodriguez. These jock sniffing carrion eaters turn on you faster than a whirling dervish and they care not a whit if they are subsequently off the mark. The bullshit “court of public opinion” is the demographic they court. The lowest common denominator, once the exclusive stained and chawn turf of the National Enquirer, a newspaper no self respecting journalist would’ve been employed by when I was in J school, is catered to via sensationalism passing for reporting and writing.
It has also grown the barely literate radio talk host, most of whom have never read a book. If they have, it was about sports and no doubt, at the level of a fifth grader. Video games began cutting into the sports dollar heavily during the eighties and in some cases supplanted it for youth recreational time and bucks. The spawn of gamers are the announcers of today’s media. Dumb as rocks without the charm and personality. The majority of athletes, even less so. Easy to see how in this environment a clownish thug such as Manny Ramirez can thrive and pull the double-knit polyfiber over the eyes (and the limited intellect within their heads) of the feral media. One moment they are sucking up, the next, sucking the life out of their prey—the superstar, over paid and undereducated.
Major league baseball itself is led by a septuagenarian former team owner and used car salesman. He needs to step down; he never should have been there to need to do so. Baseball needs restructuring, it is at once archaic and contemporary, the new parts grafted on top of its decay, an aging Hollywood actor made of plastic. A Joan Rivers face, attempting to deceive the world into thinking she’s Megan Fox. A world moving so fast, it almost works—one because even if they had attention spans, most humans own the observational skills of two year olds.
No Boston fan will ever own up**—Manny ain’t theah prawblem anymore. I’m sure they’ll say he never got caught copping ‘roids down by the Charles River. He is however, the true face of the MLB, smug and bloated, and they only suspend him for 50 games? ha ha ha. Manny loves a vacation, he comes back well rested (pumped full of some new undetectable designer dope) for the stretch run and leads a slumping LA to the playoffs again. This is almost a strategic gift! Blow up baseball and bring the Dodgers back to Brooklyn—if you rebuild it they will come. But you won’t, you’re too fucking stupid. And so are your ugly, dumbass friends.
Did I mention beam me up, Simon? Simon! Theodore? ALVIN!!!**
† Ramirez tested positive for a female(!) fertility drug HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is popular with some steroid users because it can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of the drugs. Going off steroids can stop testosterone production, decreasing sperm count & shrinking testicles. Manny apparently wants to maintain those big balls as well as cheat…
* Niether Roberts nor SI printed a retraction—creeps.
** Denis Leary, Doris Kearns Goodwin & Jonathan Schwartz might, but they are exceptions because they are exceptional.
** Simon Pegg appears as Scotty in the new Star Trek movie—Alvin & the Chipmunks reference 110% gratuitous, though a nuts connotation is implicit