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…
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
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
Avoiding the news is a preoccupation of mine. This will not be an exegesis, satirical, tedious or otherwise on that subject. But it is a quick factoid, explaining that the Internet has virtually made it impossible for me to not see the headlines in some side bar. Even when I’m only reading the @#%&*! comics! That’s how I read the news today (August 20). Oh boy. . ..
While I often allude to a boyhood in the Bronx, NY, where I was born ( the hospital a block from Manhattan—which made all the difference ), for purposes of being clear about one point in this piece, I admit I graduated high school in New Jersey. That’s why I will now tell you about Stevie Butler. I went to high school with him and his older brother Brian—Brian and I were born a few days apart in the same year. Their parents had a general store, maybe a football field’s distance away from the school. See, if it were in the Bronx, it would have been called a candy store.
Due to the vagaries of life & my incredible smarts ( mostly incredible for the fact each year I seemed to lose an IQ point ), even though Brian and I were identical in age, I was a Senior, he was a Junior & Stevie was a freshman, as was my sister. The year after I graduated, I was in a band & the times they were a changin’. Their mother was my boss for two summers I worked for the Parks & Recreation Dept. Sadly, there was no colleague the equal of Rashida Jones.
So, there was a connection. Two years after high school, Brian & I went to sign up at the US Armed Forces Draft Board in New Brunswick together. Despite the well intentioned advice from Arlo Guthrie, we did not walk in holding hands & sing a chorus of Alice’s Restaurant, and then walk out. One, because we didn’t want them to think we ” were both faggots ( sic )”. Two, I couldn’t sing harmony to save my ass. Literally. The thread which ties my life to others is so unbelievable, it’s more suited for the novel I never intend to write. I can’t do it here. Which spares us all. For now.
In that era, most guys I knew had grown their hair long, mustache and/or beard optional. For authority figures, it was believed to be a solid tipoff that person was doing some kind of drugs. It may strain credulity, but at 18 ( some of this ground covered in a previous episode ) I chose not to smoke, drink or do dope. Maybe it was the Catholic training or maybe it was I just wanted to save all my resources for girls & music. This was also the year I met another person who played a major part in my music history. His name was David Sutch–he was larger than life, and his did not end well.
I’d see Stevie at gigs & parties, he was affable, generous and blunt. He did have an annoying habit of busting me for not going out into the world & examining every possibility, in every corner. My retort was I didn’t need to, I had an imagination. The irony of my relationship with him will show up later in this. Despite what my so called other friends & acquaintances, family too, thought then, I was out doing other things. It just wasn’t with that old bunch. As a new decade opened, I jointly started a unisex clothing shop in Flemington N.J. with a college buddy, and I’d met several girls from that Hunterdon County area.
A life long habit of personal high impact-short lived jobs began with that store. About a year after leaving the store in a clash over business styles, I heard one of the girls Rita, had been hit by a car, while walking. Her injuries were extensive, but by the time I got the news, she was home and slowly mending. Rita had been a friendly and attractive girl, who came into the shop a lot and any ulterior motives aside, I went to visit her, hoping to cheer her up. She had some bad physical scars, all over. Though she was in decent spirits when I visited, one of her friends told me, she was good day, bad day. Something about her made me think Steve Butler could help bring back a healthy spark to her wounded psyche. He had a way with chicks.
I promised Rita I’d come back and I did. This time I took Stevie, he was up for it too, and because I was interested in one of her friends, Jaye, it was only natural for Steve to hang with Rita. I just knew Steve & Rita would like each other. I was right. Somehow I lost track of Steve after he got involved with her—my attachments to girls sometimes as short as my jobs. Their relationship lasted awhile, and I know he helped her recovery.
Next thing I knew about him, he was traveling with another girl, his hair down to his waist, and according to Brian, they were in Los Angeles. Everybody got excited when word was out, Stevie was going to appear on a popular television game show To Tell the Truth. The hook—lame, but tailor made for that era— He and the girl were placed, standing with their backs to the audience, the panel had to guess who was the boy or the girl. Yikes! We laughed, we cried–my pals got high, I didn’t. I was envious of Stevie being on TV. I can’t recall, but I think he & his gf made it onto the original Price Is Right that same week. It might even be on YouTube now—I don’t know and I don’t want to either.
Steve lived in a cave for a phase, on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Mostly he traveled the world. I’d get picture postcards from all over the planet, many with the same message— ” have you left the house yet?” I resented it after a while. But he wasn’t wrong. Experience had made me even more solitary, writing songs & collaborating with several others. My body lived locally—my mind traveled globally. Then I’d write a song. One made a sentimental reference to a friend like Stevie and a guy like me & a girl. I was sure it would be a hit. Just like me, it didn’t go too far. But it did leave the house, winding up no doubt in circular files from NYC to L.A. with a stop in Nashville.
In 1986 I was doing a thankless gig at a street fair in Frenchtown N.J. I’d invited an old friend, but he had not shown up. Much to my happy amazement, another, very unexpected person, did— Stevie. He’d just come back from Tibet (!), spoken with our friend Dennis ( the no-show ) & decided he’d try to sell some of the items ( no! not drugs ) he’d brought back from Asia. Doing my usual, “ I’d like to buy something, man , but I’m doing this gig free ” act, I shook his hand. Being Stevie, he said—“…just pick out a few things, they’re yours. It’ll be your pay for playing.” Chambers of Commerce could learn from guys like him. Ex-cave dwellers being more giving than say, fat white blowhards. I chose a great cap & a scarf, which I subsequently employed as gifts for two women. I’d told him I might do just that & he smiled. But the third thing, a small wooden slide whistle, resides just a foot away from this keyboard.
That was the last time I saw Steve Butler. Two years later, he boarded a plane in London for NYC. It was Pan Am Flight 103 and it blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The story doesn’t end there. That’s why I’m stopping this one. And for the moment, I won’t be leaving the house.
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.