Looking For Drollery, Settling For Trollery

Posted in Blogged Down at 10:48 pm by

Of the in-house variety! Somehow ignoring the historic contributions of Rog, the New York Times’ Allen Salkin muses, “There are those who have blogs. Then there are those who leave comments on other people™s blogs, sometimes lots and lots of comments, sometimes nasty, clever, brilliant, monumentally stupid or filthy comments.” Expert witness Shel Israel opines, “œPeople are doing it for the same reason another generation of people called in on talk radio. They are passionate, they live in a world where nobody listens to them, and they suddenly have a way to speak.

So how better to examine this modern phenomena than by considering comments submitted to Gawker.com….by a Gawker Media employee?

The real-life identity of one of Gawker™s most frequent contributors, and a best of the week honoree, LolCait, was a mystery to the editorial staff until a few weeks ago. That™s when Richard Lawson, a 24-year-old sales coordinator in the Gawker Media ad department, who was worried his insider status could be discovered and ethically embarrass the company, confessed that he was LolCait.

His success shows how good commenting has become social currency online. Mr. Lawson, who studied playwriting in college, said he started leaving comments after he was hired five months ago, just to see if he could survive the audition as a Gawker-approved commenter. He made it, and was later singled out for a comment that was in the form of a fake entry from the socialite Tinsley Mortimer™s diary.

œThat was when some of the other commenters started saying, ˜Hey, I like your stuff,™ Mr. Lawson said in a telephone interview.

His basic style is œeasy jokes, puns, random celebrity jabs, he explained. In response to a news item about the rapper Foxy Brown slapping a neighbor with her Blackberry, LolCait commented, œThis is like the time Spinderella stabbed me with her Treo.

Easy jokes? Did Oscar Wilde ever crack wise about Salt-N-Pepa’s dj and a PDA? I think not.

Compare & Contrast The Following Snapshots From Flushing & Philly

Posted in Baseball at 3:40 pm by

(Fred Wilpon – wishing he’d stayed home to watch the Jets lose)

(east coast baseball team, celebrating rumors of a Sadistic Exploits reunion).

‘Tis better to start the season 4-12 than finish 5-11, apparently.  Congrats to the Phillies on surviving a brutal start, a patchwork rotation, numerous blowups with the local media and the division’s worst second worst bullpen en route to claiming the 2007 NL East title.  And while Jimmy Rollins deserves an MVP nod or several, here’s a recommended pitching strategy for handling Ryan Howard in the playoffs — either walk him, or save yourself the trouble and just put it on a tee.

Mets In A Hole, Glavine Held The Shovel

Posted in Baseball at 12:26 pm by

Marlins 7, Mets 0 (bottom of the first)

Tom Glavine’s line for the day : 37 pitches, 0.1 IP, 7 earned runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP.

Steve Traschel was just on the phone — he’s very hopeful his former teammate isn’t going through any marital problems.

Stern : Don’t Blame Vescey For Jayson Blair

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism at 12:08 pm by

Peter Vescey’s vacation just happened to coincide with the sort of over-the-top upheaval in the NBA that you’d otherwise expect the Post’s “Hoops Du Jour” columnist to be completely on top of. Perhaps by way of over compensation, Vescey returned this Sunday, proclaiming “the NBA couldn’t have experienced a worse summer had Isiah Thomas bought the league.”

Anybody with intimate knowledge about a degenerate gambler knew this kind of sports scandal was inevitable, just as common sense dictated referees were without a doubt more susceptible to violating a sacred trust than players and coaches. Of all those with a controlling hand on the wheelhouse of wins and losses and, oh, yeah, altering or enhancing point spreads/totals, wiseguys always knew, if they’re going to get to anybody in the pros, tempting a referee or threatening to tattle on one who has something to hide is your best shot.

Moreover, nobody’s more abused and thought less of than referees, not even sports writers.

I only point that out on the exceedingly slim chance referee Tim Donaghy isn’t sick, isn’t addicted to the thrill, the action, of betting. If that’s the case, pure greed and a superiority complex may have been the determining factors for his morals rotting. Who knows, he may have felt the incessant insults his nightly chores invites entitled him to steal an extra five or 10 grand tax free to pay off mounting losses and bills, or maintain a lifestyle beyond his $200,000 annual means and indulge in decadence without his wife catching on.

Thanks to Donaghy, the league’s 60 referees will be taking immeasurable grief for seasons to come. The integrity of every single call that goes against a team will be questioned even more fanatically, just as their body of work will be scrutinized even more scrupulously and meticulously by the league office.

There isn’t enough money in circulation to pay me to walk in their shoes, and that was before this scandal. How is anyone supposed to handle such nightly pressure? The league might want to think about outfitting each ref with a bodyguard and a personal psychiatrist.

David Stern repeated to me his message of total support he communicated to the refs when he addressed them last week at their camp in Jersey City.

“Just because one of their members engaged in a criminal activity, it’s unfair to impugn the reputation of any other referee. Same as it’s unfair to impugn the reputation of other FBI agents because Richard Hanson sold secrets to Russia. Jason Blair failed to follow the ethics of his profession but, guess what, it didn’t influence me not to return your phone call. I don’t think less of you because of what Jayson Blair did.”

Chronically Sacked QB Eschews Profanity

Posted in Gridiron at 11:58 am by

(possibly a favorite tract in the Carr household)

David Carr might be starting for Carolina today against Tampa Bay in place of Jake Delhomme, and much to the amazement of the Charlotte Observer’s Tom Sorensen, the former Houston Texan claims he neither drinks nor swears.

Have you ever had a beer?

“I have, yeah,” Carr says earlier this week, his street clothes coordinated black and white from his cap to his shoes. “But probably when I was younger. I did a lot of things when I was younger that I was not supposed to do. But I have three boys now (sons Austin, Tyler and Cooper). It’s just not me.”

The lack of alcohol I can understand. The lack of profanity is difficult to grasp.

What if a receiver runs the wrong route today and, even with the black glove, the pass is intercepted?

“As far as dog cussing guys, life is too short for that,” says Carr. “It’s not something I’d go out and make a point of.”

What if an enemy player such as Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks hits you long after you release the ball?

“I’d get hot, I’d get hot,” says Carr. “But I know Derrick and if he did he’d probably have a reason for it. He hits the 3-wood a long way and we’d probably talk about it when we play golf in the offseason.”

I’m not giving up here. What if a really mean player who can’t hit a 3-wood and lacks a good reason for hitting you late hits you anyway?

“I’d have something to say, but I couldn’t tell you right now because I’m not in that mindset,” says Carr.

Can you conceive of becoming so angry that you swear at him?

“Probably not,” says Carr.

America’s Team No More – TBS Cancels The Atlanta Braves

Posted in Baseball, Sports TV at 11:21 am by

Once upon a time, Atlanta Braves telecasts (along with NWA Wrestling) were the foundation of Turner Broadcasting’s WTBS. Today, the Braves are as poor a fit for the cable superstation as Bob Horner’s trousers on a normal-sized person, explains the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Tim Tucker.

The Braves’ season finale at Houston marks the end of an era that began in 1977, when Ted Turner had the novel notion of bouncing his bad baseball team’s games off a satellite to cable systems nationwide. Although Braves games will continue to be televised in Atlanta and much of the Southeast, the team no longer will be national programming on TBS ” a casualty of the evolution of the TV industry.

“A very important part of my life won’t be there anymore,” said Bill DeArmond of Winfield, KS, a college professor who credits the distant team with helping him through personal tragedies.

As the number of channels ” and baseball teams ” available on television has exploded, the national audience for Braves games has eroded. From a peak rating of 4.9 in 1983, the national Nielsen cable rating for Braves games is down 84 percent, to 0.8 this season ” an average audience of 716,000 households. (The rating is the percentage of U.S. cable TV households tuned in on average.)

So like countless other TV shows of declining popularity, the Braves are being … canceled.

“It’s going to be hard, going to be a very emotional day,” said longtime Braves broadcaster Skip Caray, who will call today’s game with his broadcaster son, Chip Caray. “These [viewers], we’ve been a big part of their family. The connection is going to be severed, and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to them.”

The Braves played a key role in sustaining the cable industry through its infancy.

“Without that [programming], a lot of cable systems would have died,” said Terry McGuirk, at the time Turner’s right-hand man and now the Braves’ president. “I remember going over to Charleston one time, and the cable-system guy had, like, 15 VCRs playing tapes of really bad-quality stuff. Then all of a sudden, we arrive on the satellite with the Braves.”

Whipping It Out With PJ Proby

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 11:05 am by

It took some doing, but the Independent’s Robert Chalmers managed to wrangle an interview out of PJ Proby, the Texan rocker whose staggering rise and fall in the UK is best typified by the following incident, “in the late 1980s: Proby left the stage after half an hour, telling the audience: ‘I’m sorry. I cannot go on. I am suffering from gonorrhoea, more popularly known as the clap.’”

If he’d died when he might have done “ in the mid-1960s, when he was ordering Jack Daniels for breakfast and hosting nightly parties where he’d discharge his .45 more often than some would deem prudent “ PJ Proby would need no introduction. Early death, as his former associates Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran and Elvis Presley might testify, is the one foolproof way to cement a reputation in popular music.

But Proby survived, and there is probably no star whose profile has plummeted so rapidly and from such a height. He had top 10 hits in the mid-1960s with songs like “Hold Me” and “Somewhere”, but his greatest talent was for performance. He developed increasingly exaggerated stage mannerisms, one hand cupped behind his ear, the other reaching out as though attempting to adjust an invisible side-mirror. ‘

He was the first white singer to introduce an unambiguously direct sexual element to his act. If Presley’s choreography could be likened to the trouble-free eroticism of a chorus girl, PJ Proby’s instincts were closer to those of a low-life stripper. “Am I clean?” Proby would scream. ” Am I clean? Am I pure?”, massaging his thighs as he executed pelvic thrusts whose coarse vigour appalled the parents of his young female audience, especially on his first tour of Britain.

“I am an artist,” Proby announced at the time, “and I should be exempt from shit.”

This proclamation went sadly unheeded in the UK where he was banned from every major theatre, and by BBC and ITV; a fever of prohibition that began after his velvet trousers split on stage at Croydon in January 1965. To his irritation, censorship is what he tends to be remembered for.

“My trousers split across the knees,” he says. “Never to the crotch. These days Iggy Pop gets his tackle out on television and nobody pays any attention.”

His last steady partner, singer Billie Davis, moved out of this house years ago, making a succession of withering observations in the popular press. (” In the time that we dated,” Davis complained, “he had one erection. It lasted three hours. He was so pleased that he spent the whole night smiling at it. I didn’t get a look in.”)

Producer Jack Good flew PJ Proby to London to appear on the Beatles’ first UK television special, where he was introduced by Paul McCartney as an established American star. Proby says that he boarded the plane wearing garments pilfered from Hollywood sets. “I took Paul Newman’s shirt from Left Handed Gun. I stole Russ Tamblyn’s boots from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.”

The singer believes every detail of this story, though the details sometimes change. Still, it can’t have been easy to have been plucked from obscurity only to have his priapic live performances halted by what he still claims to be a conspiracy orchestrated by the late guardian of British morals, Mary Whitehouse. (The manager of the ABC Luton brought the curtain down on Proby on 1 February 1965; three weeks later, following in-depth scrutiny of his ripped trousers in the Daily Mail, he was barred from every major venue in Britain.)

“Were you tearing your clothes deliberately?”

“No,” Proby says. “And I don’t blame the tailor. They’d never experienced anything like me in England. Adam Faith and Cliff Richard? They were momma’s boys. I was Britain’s Errol Flynn, the rough mother of pop. I was Jimmy Dean all busted up. I was Marlon Brando. They wanted rid of me.”

Move Over Culturcide, Negativland : GSM Hijacks The 2nd Most Popular NBA Game

Posted in Basketball, Video Games at 10:48 am by

While my own fantasy of seeing Renaldo Balkman on the cover of “NBA Live ’08″ would surely result in the worst selling video game since “James ‘Buster’ Douglas Knockout Boxing” for the Sega Genesis, I’m very impressed with Golden State Of Mind taking matters into their own hands.

Country Time : No Jacket Required

Posted in Baseball at 10:32 am by

Showing the kind of veteran leadership he’d love to pass along to the likes of Lastings Milledge, Mets reliever Billy Wagner’s critical remarks about his manager and pitching coach have hit the papers just hours before the Mets’ biggest game of the season. From the New York Post’s Mike Puma (link courtesy Chuck Meehan) :

In a New York magazine article that hits newsstands tomorrow, Wagner points a finger at Willie Randolph and pitching coach Rick Peterson as part of the problem.

“We’ve been throwing four innings a night – for months!” Wagner told the magazine. “Our pitching coach has no experience talking to a bullpen. He can help you mechanically, but he can’t tell you emotions. He has no idea what it feels like. And neither does Willie. They’re not a lot of help, put it that way.”

Wagner, who is signed through 2009, tells the magazine he accepts responsibility for his failures and doesn’t put too much stock into fan reaction.

“If I walk in after a save and this fan’s up there yelling, ‘We love you!’ – yeah, you love me today,” Wagner said. “I blow a save, ‘We hate you!’ Well, you hate me today.”

Considering the fragile state of the Mets’ starting rotation — a collective that at one time or another has included such Cy Young candidates as Brian Lawrence, Jason Vargas and Dave Williams — perhaps Country Time’s lament of “four innings a night” is best directed at the general manager?

True Love Conquers All

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, Sports Journalism at 10:20 am by

The following link comes courtesy of Repoz who sighs, “proving agan there is always somebody out there for everybody….ok, maybe not Michael Kay.” From the Canadian Press :

Punk rocker Bif Naked married sportswriter Ian Walker on Saturday in surprisingly traditional nuptials at a downtown Vancouver church.

In his blog, Walker describes himself as a failed pro athlete who once aspired to a hockey career. He’s written about his tryouts for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League and the Vancouver Canadians minor-league baseball team.

Naked, who was briefly married in 1990, has several albums out, the last Superbeautifulmonster in 2005. She fronted punk bands before going solo, writing poetry and songs, some of which talk frankly about her bisexuality.

Though they knew each other from working out at the same gym, Naked and Walker began dating last year after connecting at mixed martial arts event Walker was covering where Naked was the emcee.

“I always knew her as this hot chick from MuchMusic, with the tattoos,” said Walker, who besides writing for the Vancouver Sun also blogs on extreme sports.