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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

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

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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

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.

You’re On the uh er um. . ..

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

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


Bust A Cap in Yo Ass -The Sequel

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Yeah I really can’t help myself. In that way I have total empathy with the individuals I’d like to excoriate. That would be whoever approved and subsequently permits major league baseball players to wear those lame, dumb ass hip hop style caps on the field. Absolutely zero excuse for players who adopt the style either. It’s officially the New Era 5950 cap, more like New Error. This is not the original model 5950, but a pandering perversion of it. Let me think why…oh, yeah M O N E Y!

Here’s a few reasons why they shouldn’t be allowed.

1. They make you look retarded

2. They come from a thug sub-culture, one that embraces violence toward women, police & lately—animals. . ..

3. Did I mention they look fucking retarded? ( so much for a pretense of civility )

Oh I wouldn’t want to dictate how anybody should dress themselves. That is, if they are in fact doing so. Much of this sub-culture gets off on sticking it to the man. The man, who is authority, doesn’t give a shit. The man is making money off you fools. The roots ( oops ) of this styling comes from poverty. Clothing is passed down from older brothers ( oops again ) and often larger than the recipient is. Though a few boys ( oh stop!) apparently got a sister’s, maybe aunt’s? clothes ( see Tyler Perry ). So, the hat resting on ears look is organic—still looks, you know what. The pants falling off thing from a decade ago? same deal. Very tasteful choice. Yet fitting ( ! ) if you extend the image, downward.

When I was a young teaching assistant, the trend among some kids was to wear their belts unbuckled & dangling. Now what does that most evoke? here’s a clue —it’s not the result of a big meal in the cafeteria. Some actors started using their mouth to emote non-verbally. If you aren’t sure what a lolling tongue suggests, go ask Mick Jagger. Michael Jordan was a flagrant tongue abuser on the court. Maybe I’m just envious. When I played in Little League, I was ridiculed for making faces while I pitched.* It’s all pretty puerile, if not febrile. Definitely infantile. Ile ( sic ), er um I’ll say. . ..

The worst part is the fat white dummies who have adopted this look too. What man are they sticking it to? oh yeah, me. Just like wearing gold chains, while playing baseball, you look stupid ( cough—gay ). Those grotesque chin beards are a whole other story. The cast of Moby Dick phoned, they want them back. Yes, stupid. But they are also repulsive. Again, it’s athletes aping ugly musicians. You kids need a designer. Hmmm hold on, most of them are… OK, just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re only young & dumb once. But don’t try to tell me it’s ironic. Unless the irony is, you think it’s attractive. Now pull up your pants.

* I had a .786 won-lost percentage. Of course in Little League that’s meh

Dogged

July 21, 2009 1 comment

Update: August 13, 2009 Michael Vick has been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. After complying with the conditions of an NFL imposed limbo status, he will have his second chance. That said: to repeat, any moron using the ” culture ” excuse for abusing animals— then your culture is criminally ill. AND as far as I know Vick’s culture is the United States of America. If you think that behavior is acceptable in the US, have someone read the penal code to you. Slowly.

The release of Michael Vick from Federal custody has provoked a fresh round of debate. Most of it concerns whether or not he should be allowed to resume his career in the National Football League. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not yet announced a ruling on this matter, and when he does, the fire will really burn up sports talk radio lines.* Those freaks will trot out their legal experts & PETA deriding jokes. Topped off with the usual unhealthy dose of their Oprah informed grasp of psychology.

That’s not what’s burning me though. I just had to listen to a caller on WFAN claim it is ridiculous to not accept the practices of other cultures. This is a moronic argument for excusing dog fighting ( for which Vick was imprisoned, along with torturing & killing the animals ) & another favorite, cock fighting. For the uninitiated, which is to say, civilized humans, that would be roosters. UK actor Ricky Gervais was recently in the news for taking a stand against bull fighting. I am with him—I think Pamplona’s running of the bulls has also out run its course. Just ask the guy who got gored to death. My opinion is this kind of entertainment is not a part of a culture which gets grandfathered in & perpetuated, it is a clear lack of any semblance of culture.

The host of the program, suggested many of us don’t understand why these ” sports ” exist. Hey! listen genius I understand. It is born of desperate poverty, in which those with a pocket of power, prey on the weak minded & empathy bereft. It is based on betting & the need to feel a victory, employing animals as surrogates; animals who cannot give consent. It is deviant behavior on anyone’s dance card, and claiming your society has a right to do it, is frankly bull shit.

In segments of Africa the village male leaders remove the clitoris from their females. That’s their culture. Is that something we should all just accept? They have their reasons—and it’s their ballpark. And it is the product of the power mad and ignorance run rampant, kept in place by strong arm tactics & fear. Do I equate that with animal fighting? Yes. It is men, abusing their authority for the purpose of controlling another living things innate biological urge. I’ll pass on any twisted humor. It is simply the strong ( ? ) victimizing the weak.

I think Michael Vick can be given a second chance, for all the usual liberal reasons. He paid his debt blah blah blah. I also think if he steps in dog shit & even says one hard word, they should lock his ass up again. You know what I mean, so don’t get all jiggy. Play football, and stop getting off on animals. Vick was not a quality pro quarterback; he ran more than he passed ( he’s not very good at it ) & that led to injury. But he is a gifted athlete, so a change of position might work. When it comes to his recreational choices, he can slip into his Ron Mexico persona and have fun in Vegas, gambling with easily impressed dancers & hookers. They’ll be glad to do it doggy style.

AS for Vick’s apologists on both sides of the microphone. You can barely articulate a valid opinion on sports. Keep honing that meager skill and don’t start spouting off regarding culture. You probably wouldn’t know culture if somebody spilled yogurt on you. I’m pretty sure you’d sucker punch them, since it’s no doubt a proud part of your culture.

* Goodell has allowed Vick in the NFL pending a decision by game 6 of the 2009 season, reinstatement on hold based on the comissioner’s discretion. AND the talk is carpet bombing the airwaves now Vick has signed w/the Phila. Eagles.

In the Year 2013. . .. or Larry King stole this style from me 40 years ago

July 1, 2009 2 comments

I just realized the reason the Mayan Calendar ended at 2012. Those freaks ritually sacrificed all the guys who could do the math! which is apparently where the phrase ” do the math ” has its origins. They literally ripped the heart out of their civilization. The dumbasses killed the smart guys just to appease their gods. BTW Apocalypto was a really good flick. I do know two men who were disappointed by it though. I overheard them outside the theatre after the show. One of them thought it was Apocalypso. Well, there was dancing. The Mayans were nutjobs, but we can thank them for adding jai lai to world sports.

Speaking of ancient religions & suicidal tendencies, old Jehu Cristos must have had a major death wish. He not only took on the the entire Roman Empire with his big mouth, he confronted the alte cockers of Jeruselam. Not content to piss them off, he insulted and criticized the hierarchy of Judaism on a daily basis. Having been evicted from the Home Land by pharoahs, they were in no mood to take it on the chin from some snotty kid. Especially one who never got Bar Mitzvahed. Hey! no applause. This stuff just comes to me in between listening to sportstalk hosts refer to Shakespeare’s “novels” and the Egyptian pyramids where “the Mayans did their calendar.” Stick to Lou Piniella and Milton Bradley’s hissyfit & the scores Jason.

I know it’s way too much to hope that last night’s Baltimore Oriole comeback win—they were losing 10-1, over the Rat Sox will mean a deep downward spiral for those creeps. But Manny is due back in LA LA Land Friday. It will be fireworks somewhere this weekend. Good one huh.

Phillies should trade for Carl Pavano. He doesn’t beat his wife. But a move back to the National League and he just might beat enough teams to help the Phils. Unlike the rest of this blog, I’m virtually 100% serious.

I can’t help it—I love ENTOURAGE. But I’d shitcan Ari Gold in a NY minute, too counter-intuitive & petty for me. And who knew Adrian Grenier could sing—well, I have to wait for the DVD release. Thanks NetFlix—don’t fuck me up w/SMALLVILLE though. Please.