02.28.14

Plain Dealer : Time For The Tribe To Kick Chief Wahoo To The Curb

Posted in Baseball, Racism Corner, When Mascots Are Attacked at 11:41 pm by

(my 2005 proposal that Cleveland introduce a new mascot based on a popular local icon still require has gone unrecognized by the region’s largest daily).

In the eyes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s editorial board, merely de-emphasizing the Indians’ Chief Wahoo caricature isn’t going nearly enough. “A demeaning symbol is a demeaning symbol, regardless of degree,” argues Friday’s editorial. “It’s a little unsettling that it hasn’t happened by now. Why cling to Wahoo when it so clearly offends?”

One might wonder whether, if Greater Cleveland were a faster-growing region, if it didn’t feel so defensive about its hard-luck professional sports teams, it would have found the collective self-esteem before now to part willingly with Wahoo.

But the Indians shouldn’t wait to win a World Series or for the city to hit boom times to discover the well of decency and understanding within itself to dump the Chief.

The team should do it now. Take the heat. Deal with the backlash. Move on. It can be done thoughtfully, by simply acknowledging the mixed emotions of all involved.

Then the city and the team can send a message to the world that it gets it. And Indians fans, all of them, can root for the team, unconditionally.

It’s A Fair Bet Private Eye Is Not Counting The Days Until The Austin X-Games

Posted in olympics, Recommended Reading, Sports TV at 7:06 am by

(Team GB’s Jenny Jones reminds The Zapper she’s only a couple of opponents’ drug test failures from becoming the numero uno woman snowboarder in the world)

Of the BBC’s recently concluded coverage of the Winter Games from Sochi, Private Eye’s The Zapper considers the lesser of the Olympiads something less than crucial viewing (“what a disparate, distant event like this needs is some kind of narrative chassis, a story that gives the whole sprawling pageant focus and reroutes the headlines from corruption, government-sanctioned gay-bashing and no snow”).  That said, perhaps the Zapper’s biggest hang up is the Winter Games’ emphasis on “a whole load of sports we don’t understand”.

In freestyle snowboarding, for example, that left us with two shouty men bleating vaguely scatological non-sequiturs as men in baggy pants pinged up and down like popcorn in a pan : “The backside air was smooth, but it wasn’t massive”;  “The front ten is the shire horse of halfpipe riding.”  It was at least encouraging to see that Coleman and his redoubtable balls live on in the next generation of sports broadcasters.

“‘The Seatbelt’” said Dom Harington, commenting on some obscure snowboarding move.  “It’s like an alligator giving birth : very rare.”

“They’re reptiles — they lay eggs,” pointed out his partner.

02.27.14

Hayhurst : The Minors As We Know ‘Em Are Exploitive To The Max

Posted in Baseball at 7:18 pm by

Former Jays reliever Dirk Hayhurst (above) has chronicled the grim minor league experience in “The Bullpen Gospels” (his third book “Bigger Than The Game” is published next week), and as such, the journeyman-turned analyst/journalist is uniquely qualified to weigh in on 3 former minor leaguers’ class action lawsuit against MLB, claiming the Uniform Players Contract is sham. In a blog post from last week, Hayhurst bemoans the moment “it became out of fashion for minor leaguers, who truly do get paid like shit, treated like shit, worked like dogs, and screwed when injured, to complain about any of it.”

Baseball has the money to at least alleviate the minor league struggle. It just doesn’t have anyone telling it that it must. In fact, it will tell you that if it did alleviate things players wouldn’t work as hard to make it to the top; that they wouldn’t want it as badly if the minors were comfortable. Gosh, thank you, MLB, for being so considerate.

And thank you, major league players, for not speaking up and allowing this wonderful, character building cycle to continue. For those who may not know, the MLBPA routinely bargains away the rights of minor leaguers and amateurs even though minor leaguers and amateurs have no say at, representation on, or power over the MLBPA’s negotiating table.

Odd, isn’t it, that Baseball will tout it’s charitable efforts and desire to see change in suffering communities. That it will set up institutions to help kids break out of poverty and punch their tickets to its meat grinder, wherein it will turn them into live stock, expect them to behave as such, and toss them right back into the dirt when they fail?

02.26.14

Paging Steve Mills : A Dark Horse Candidate For Mike Woodson’s Job Has Emerged

Posted in Basketball, Lower Education, Rugby, Sports Journalism at 9:49 pm by

I don’t know if former Chicago Sun-Times freelancer Clyde Travis (above, left) has any basketball coach experience, but he’s very well versed in delivered REAL TALK to underachieving players. According to this item from last Thursday’s Romensko.com, Travis was so disillusioned with the effort put forth by top ranked Curie (IL) in a 58-56 win over  Hyde Park High, hee delivered a postgame lecture in the former’s locker room, one that mysteriously wasn’t mentioned in his Sun-Times account of the game.

I hope you all gave yourselves a good round of applause. You know why? Because you all stunk that shit up worse than anything I’ve seen. That was the worst exhibition of basketball that I’ve seen in about 30 years. And not that they weren’t trying, it’s that you guys did not come out focused. You are the number one team in the state, and they played like they were the number one team in the state. …

The word that I would use in terms of looking at how you all played was it was a very unintelligent game. ….”

Travis has since been deemed surplus to requirements by his paper, though there might be some slim consolation in knowing news of his exploits have reached all the way to South Africa, where IOL’s Kevin McCallum attempts an analogy almost 5% of you will understand :

How our media cousins from Cape Town would have loved to have been allowed into the Ellis Park change rooms to have a natter with the Stormers after they were belted by the Lions. Tears streaming down their little faces, they would have told them that was the worst exhibition of rugby seen by them in the last 30 years, glossing over the 1999 Super Rugby semi-final and the odd Currie Cup final.

It starts with the slow use of “we” instead of “South Africa”, progresses to wearing a team’s jersey in the press box, then to screaming for your team from your media seat. Before long, you find yourself in a changeroom giving motivational speeches. The horror of doing a Travis.

The Former Roger Murdock Weighs In On A Gala Even Lamer Than The Austin Music Blogger Awards

Posted in Basketball, Cinema at 9:33 am by

OK, the above headline cannot fairly be attributed to NBA Hall-of-Famer / thespian powerhouse / jazzhound Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but having already taken a crack at analyzing Lena Dunham’s “Girls” in the pages of Esquire, Kareem now takes aim at the Academy Awards, declaring, “there’s a reason Oscar has a sword covering his crotch: It’s to hide the fact that he has no balls.” While reserving high praise for Steve Coogan’s “Philomena” (and who amongst us cannot wait for a Coogan/Abdul-Jabbar collaboration?), Kareem was particularly not-blown-away by David O. Russell’s “American Hustle”, calling the film, “a complete failure as history and as drama.”

Whenever “American” is used in a title, the filmmakers are announcing that the story is meant to convey some deeper insight into American culture and psyche (as in American Psycho, American Me, American Graffiti, American Beauty, American History X, and so forth). That doesn’t happen here. The story structure is the same as the much superior Goodfellas, multiple voiceovers by unreliable narrators justifying their actions as they build toward a major real-life heist. Two problems: First, the story is predictable and therefore boring. You know what the characters are going to do and say before they do it or say it. Second, the characters are so unlikable that you never really care what happens to them, so there’s no suspense. I’m fine with unsavory characters, but if they aren’t likable they must be compelling. These characters aren’t. There’s a lot of thematic posturing with characters discussing “survival,” as if that’s the big insight into American culture: Everyone’s on the take, justifying it as survival. That’s not particularly fresh, nor particularly American. Having a cool ’70s soundtrack, disco dancing, and elaborate hair does not a historical drama make. In the end, what do we learn about the time period or America or humanity? Not much. The main thing we learn is that Amy Adams has some awesome blouse tape.

Keane To Carrack : Learn To Cut A Promo, For Fuck’s Sake

Posted in Football at 9:09 am by

You might expect former Manchester United captain / horror-tackle specialist Roy Keane to take issue with last night’s listless showing against Olympiakos, but while providing post-match analysis for ITV, Keane seemed to think his old club’s lack of vigor extended to their sad sack interviews afterwards, Michael Carrack’s in particular. From the Telegram :

Keane reacted sharply to a post-match interview from Carrick, who succeeded him in the United midfield in the mid-2000s, in which his demeanour appeared jolted by what he had experienced.

“That interview was just like the performance: flat. He should say a bit more, have a bit more urgency even in his interview,” Keane said.

“That just reflected United’s performance tonight: flat, with no urgency.

“They keep saying, ‘Ah, well, next game, next game’. For some of them there won’t be another game for them. That’s the reality.”

Carrack’s wife, Lisa, had the following reply (since deleted) :

02.25.14

Good Kickers Are Apparently Very Hard To Find In The Big Ten

Posted in College Spurts, Gridiron at 7:03 pm by

Earlier this month, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke (above) refused to answer questions about the December expulsion of K Brednon Gibbons, citing “federal laws and stuff.”  Ten days after a local blog accused the Ann Arbor News of burying the story about 2009 rape allegations against Gibbons, the same paper’s Kellie Woodhouse reports Michigan is being investigated by the US Department Of Education for their not-quite-timely or transparent handling of the matter :

It remains unclear why four years passed between the incident and the expulsion, when U-M first received a complaint about Gibbons and when it began investigating the incident. It’s also unclear when the football program became aware of the investigation, and if it acted appropriately after it found out.

U-M has repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation, citing student privacy laws.

The school also denied Freedom of Information Act requests relating to the investigation, citing student privacy and section of the act that allow the university to refrain from “disclosing information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.”

A Heartfelt Plea To Support The World’s Greatest Radio Station (Though Admittedly I Haven’t Traveled Much)

Posted in Radio at 12:25 pm by

I prefer not to discuss personal matters in this setting for a variety of reasons.  For starters, I’ve little desire to share my innermost thoughts & hopes for the future with a bunch of degenerates, voyeurs and ambulance chasers.  Also, because I have almost nothing of human interest to impart. When I’m not putting hydrogen peroxide on the dozens of box cutter wounds I accumulate each afternoon (BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MY SEX LIFE – HEYOOO), I’m being pestered for meat by one of two predatory creatures who are under the impression I’m their personal chef and servant (and who am I to argue?).

The life of an intermittent sports blogger is not particularly glamorous, trust me. And that’s why I’ve always clung rather fiercely to certain hobbies that perhaps the general public might not fully appreciate.   Some of you collect baseball cards, others are obsessed with Faberge eggs, Furby’s, expensive wine, Nazi porn, human body parts, or old copies of fanzines. And that’s all well and good, but none of those things float my boat.

No, instead, I’ve dedicated my off-hours to hoarding the rarest form of sports collectible ;  Ballpark Giveaway Figurines Depicting Closeted Homophobes Looking To Hook Up In Public Bathrooms.   Only the bravest of pro sports franchises have contributed to this fascinating genre, and the St. Paul Saints’ 2008 Larry Craig Bobblefoot Doll has long been considered the holy grail, the “Six & Change” if you will, of the pile.

As it happens, however, a couple of years ago, a person very close to me managed to procure one of these rarities, and while the gift was most certainly cherished, all of a sudden, my days no longer felt as full.  The Chase Was Over, if you know what I’m trying to say.

So now I just send all the money I’d have otherwise spent on Ballpark Giveaway Figurines Depicting Closeted Homophobes Looking To Hook Up In Public Bathrooms to WFMU.   Sure, the firing departure of Dino Costa Tom Scharpling was deeply disappointing, but one man does not make a radio station. Two men, sure, but not one man.  WFMU remains the single greatest outlet for amazing, format-smashing sounds of endless variety, delivered by a wildly knowledgeable airstaff, most of whom seem blissfully unaware of whatever lifestyle accessory crap is happening at other, ostensibly non-commercial stations.

That’s not to say I don’t occasionally hear something I dislike on WFMU, and every time that happens I immediately pick up the telephone, call the station manager Ken Freedman and demand a full and prompt refund of whatever money I’ve sent the station in the past year.

Usually those calls go straight to voice mail (pretty bourgeois, right?) but on the few occasions I’ve been able to get Freedman on the phone, he carefully reminds me that WFMU has a very strict, “you broke it, you bought it” policy  and/or something about continued calls and correspondence  violating the terms of a restraining order that was handed down sometime in the early 2000′s.

The thing is, when you’ve been the subject of multiple restraining orders, it’s hard to keep all the names and dates straight.

In any event, WFMU’s annual fundraising marathon is underway.  For every dollar you give them, that’s one less dollar they’ll be forced to accept from me.

 

02.24.14

What If Gregg Doyel Actually Got It Right For Once?

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts at 11:49 pm by

After Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim got hit with a pair of T’s in the closing seconds of Saturday’s 66-60 loss to Duke, he declared he’d not regret his public implosion, a reaction CBS Sports.com’s Gregg Doyel — quick to label Boeheim, “brilliant, fascinating, frustrating” — finds unconscionable (“what he did with 10.2 seconds left to play very clearly — not possibly, not probably, but clearly — cost his team whatever chance it had to win the game”)

What if the guy who freaked out at the officials on Saturday night hadn’t been Jim Boeheim, but one of his players? What if Boeheim had kept his cool as valiantly as C.J. Fair, but C.J. Fair had stormed around the court cursing at officials until he was ejected, allowing Duke to turn a two-point game into a six-point victory?

Would Boeheim be OK with that?

What if the media had asked C.J. Fair if he regretted his late-game explosion, and Fair had responded in the negative: “Not today, not next week.”

Would Boeheim be OK with that?

Would you?

You know what this says to me? It says Boeheim is putting himself ahead of Syracuse. He’s OK with his tantrum because it was his tantrum. Syracuse needed to win? Syracuse needed to solidify its spot as the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament? Maybe so, but Syracuse didn’t need any of that as badly as Jim Boeheim needed to pitch a fit.

Believe It Or Not, “Lobbyist Drafts Bill” Is The Least Offensive Part Of The Headline….

Posted in Gridiron, politics at 10:23 pm by

…the full headline, courtesy TheHill.com, reads “Lobbyist drafts bill to ban gays from NFL”. Tough break for Johnny Weir, I know, but check out the following wit and wisdom from Burkman Associates’ Jack Burkman, previously best known as a crony for caveman/presidential aspirant Rick Lazio and an avid opponent of such modern horrors as gay cub scouts and lady-humans in the Army  :

”We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said in a statement. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”

Burkman said he came up with the idea after college football star Michael Sam publicly revealed he is gay a few weeks ago.

Burkman was not available to speak with The Hill but urged Congress to act in his statement.

“If the NFL has no morals and no values, then Congress must find values for it,” Burkman said.

I will assume that Burkman’s blend of trolling/posturing is more about wooing future clients than real expectation such hate fuckery could ever succeed at the legislative level.

The Unselfish Ike Davis : Playing Thru Pain To Keep His (Useless) Bat In The Mets Lineup

Posted in Baseball at 1:21 pm by

After a 2012 season in which Ike Davis risked demotion for much of the first half, 2013 was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for the 26 year old Mets first baseman.  On Sunday night, the New York Post’s Mike Puma quoted Davis as saying he’d concealed an oblique injury for much of the year, but never told the club for fear he’d be seen as making excuses.

“I thought about saying, ‘Hey, I would like to take a couple of weeks off, because I’m not feeling great,’ ” Davis said. “But then the timing was bad and it was when I was getting sent down. It would have been a great time, but it looks bad and I just can’t say that.”

Davis was reluctant in admitting to The Post his oblique was an issue for most of last season, beyond the “pop” in Washington, because he doesn’t want to be viewed as an Alibi Ike. Last year he batted only .205 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 103 games for the Mets.

“It makes me look like a baby,” Davis said. “It looks like I’m whining about how I [stunk]. I was terrible, now it’s over.”

So just to be very clear, Ike Davis is not the sort of guy to blame zero production on an injury. Conversely, he’s also not the kind of guy who’s forthright with the team about whether or not he’s physically able to perform. On Monday, Davis called Puma’s story “pointless”, though given that a guy with his thin a resume isn’t entitled to spot on the roster let alone in the lineup everyday, Terry Collins can be excused from thinking there’s a pretty good reason to talk about this stuff (preferably at the time(.

Dakers : Boras’ Jays Critique, Tiresome, Simplistic

Posted in Baseball at 3:37 am by

If the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be standing pat heading into Spring Training, player agent Scott Boras (above) claims GM Alex Anthopoulous is being restricted by Rogers Communication from adding payroll, telling Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “they’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign…it’s a premium city. It’s a premium owner with equity. And it’s a very, very good team that with additional premium talent could become a contending team.”

Perhaps recognizing the Jays are in fact, a baseball franchise playing in the AL East and not anything even remotely resembling an automobile, Bluebird Banter’s Tom Dakers sighs, “ I’m tired of the whole ‘cheap Rogers’ thing. Seems just too simple to blame ownership.”

I’m not sure who Boras is talking to by saying this. Is it his players? I’m sure Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales are getting a little anxious, now that spring training has started. I’m sure they must have questions for Scott and must be wondering if they are going to be playing this year. Maybe they are also wondering if they have the wrong agent. Boras can’t be expecting that the Jays will suddenly sign three guys because some agent embarrassed them.

Baseball-Reference has the Jays sitting third in the AL East in payroll at $131.3 million, Trailing the Yankees ($195.5 million and the Red Sox ($152.1 million), ahead of the Orioles ($87.3 million, with a couple of signings that will move them over the $100 million mark, presuming the physicals go well) and the Rays ($68.2 million). I don’t expect the Jays to be spending as much as the Yankees or Red Sox.

02.23.14

Me Vs. Something Not As Prestigious As The People’s Golden Global Choice Awards, Pt. III

Posted in 12XU, Austin, Blogged Down, Casual Victim Pile II, Free Expression, Internal Affairs, non-sporting journalism, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 10:36 pm by

(above : proposed new category for the 2015 Austin Music Blogger Awards)

After a weekend of back and forth, Austin Town Hall’s Nathan Lankford wrote on Sunday evening, “For me, the sadder part is how adamantly Gerard is about being part of a community, which, like it or not, he is a part of. If you don’t wish to foster a music scene or community, then what are you doing here? Oh, that’s right, pilfering the talent to suit your bottom line and whims.”

Suffice to say, this bozo doesn’t know the first fucking thing about me beyond, y’know, Pavement.  Do my efforts in the city of Austin foster any semblance of “a scene” or “community”?  Maybe.  That’s for someone else to judge.  I’m interested in things like who has something to say musically regardless of where they’re from. The constant reinforcement of “the Austin Music Scene” around these parts is a tiresome cliche (holla!) and one that often leaves the city’s most talented and unique artists —- those who aren’t particularly connected or fit the traditional notion of what an upwardly mobile pro rock band is meant to sound or look like — on the outside looking in. Their welfare and place in history matters to me, sure, but I’m also not gonna pretend “we’re all in it together” because we simply aren’t. The AMBA’s reinforce a goofy status quo far more than they break it down.

As far as “pilfering the talent to suit your bottom line and whims” goes,  that’s a pretty amazing accusation. Lankford can’t credibly claim I’ve pocketed a penny from Money Dump Records 12XU because I haven’t and I won’t.  How putting out records that might not otherwise exist, ownership in the recordings/copyright being kept by the artists and 100% of the profits post-manufacturing with no personal expenses deducted constitutes “pilfering”, I haven’t a clue.  But when and if any of the artists wanna set sail for another label (HINT : PLEASE!) or reissue their existing recordings somewhere else  (DOUBLE HINT) —- even Lankford’s own glorious imprint — they don’t need my permission to do so.  He could’ve asked around, assuming he’s trading in facts rather than sniveling innuendo, but I also suspect the label’s artists based in other cities and countries would be very surprised to know they’ve been “pilfered” from the oh-so-rich Austin music community.

“Whims”? Who is this cretin to question anyone else’s motives or devotion for putting out the records they care about?  There’s certainly any number of Austin releases issued every year that I might find less than exceptional, but I’ve never for a minute presumed they weren’t someone’s labor of love.   Even the ones that sound like someone kicked the Strokes in the nuts.

12XU has been putting out records by artists from Austin and places farther flung for 13 goddamn years.  I’ve been here for nearly ten. I don’t expect any special treatment and I’m certainly not gonna claim I’m above criticism, but I strongly suspect the vast majority of those I collaborate with would not characterize my involvement as “pilfering”, a cash grab or most bizarre of all, “whimsy”.  And while I’ve zero doubts my versions of “giving back” will have at least as much lasting impression than a bullshit awards show, this was never about me vs. …what’s his name again Nathan.

At no time did I argue for more AMBA representation of artists I had any biz relationship with.  I did, however, contend (privately and then publicly) there were completely awesome, world-class bands that-I-have-nothing-to-do-with other than paying to see them play, dicked out of the process because of what, exactly?  They weren’t on a “name” imprint like 12XU or Modern Outsider (news flash : 540′s probably sold more records than both combined)?  Did Spray Paint need to release 3 critically acclaimed albums in 2013 to get a look in?  SUCH LAZY FELLAS — if only they worked half as hard as music bloggers!

No offense to the “Austin Music Community”, but if said village is really in need of a custodian, can you maybe find someone with better musical taste? Or at least someone who can write their way out of a paper bag?

You Don’t Have To Wait 10 Days To Purchase A Meat Joy Record…

Posted in Cinema, Firearms, record collector disease at 8:43 pm by

…but you probably have to wait until 11am tomorrow. Wikipedia helpfully describes John Badham’s 1974 film, “The Gun” as “a series of interweaving stories that tell the journey of a handgun as it passes from one owner to another.”  Somehow, I remember seeing it a kid and was under the mistaken impression the entire film was shot from the perspective of the gun barrel.

Some 40 years later, I’ll admit that’s a rather thin conceptual conceit to base an entire long-form motion picture upon, but not much worse than, y’know, what they actually did.

Anyhow, I only bring this up because of the Meat Joy LP going for $30 in the new arrivals bin at End Of An Ear today. The only reason I’m not launching a Kickstarter to make a movie about that album’s journey from one owner to another is because I’m pretty sure I’d use the money to buy more records and never get around to manufacturing any bumper stickers reading “I’d Rather Be Watching The Documentary About The Slightly Cat Urine-Stained Meat Joy Album”.  Even so, there’s every reason to suspect it would be a more successful crowd-funding exercise than anything the Yonkers Cowboy has pulled of late.

A Not So Subtle Suggestion Niners Owner Jeb York Is Full Of Shit

Posted in Gridiron at 7:02 pm by

It came out on Friday that the Niners and Browns had previously been in talks to complete that most rare of NFL transactions ; trading an NFL head coach (in this case, SF’s Jim Harbaugh) to Cleveland in exchange for draft picks. Clearly such an exchange could not happen without Harbaugh’s enthusiasm and a willingness on the part of Niners management to make such a radical change despite recent postseason appearances, so might understand why SF owner Jeb York would deny such discussions took place. Trouble is, his Cleveland counterpart, Jimmy Haslam pretty much spilled the beans, and NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus cannot help but note SF had previously claimed the story was “completely false”.

Haslam’s acknowledgement confirms this was one bit of business the Niners did not want getting into the public sector. It’s also not a good look for York, who was either dishonest in his response to the report or unaware the talks had taken place.

The effect this could have on the future of Harbaugh and the Niners remains to be seen. The coach has said he and general manager Trent Baalke often “butt heads.” Now the whole world knows there were talks — maybe even a deal in place — to send Harbaugh out of the organization.

The Austin Music Blogger Awards (Pt. II)

Posted in Austin, Blogged Down, Internal Affairs, non-sporting journalism, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 3:04 pm by

(above : most certainly not Jess Williamson)

The other day I weighed in on the subject of next Thursday night’s Austin Music Blogger Awards, an event I expressed zero enthusiasm for given the narrow range of nominees and a number of omissions that were nothing short of jaw-dropping.  I also mentioned I’d been invited to vote for the winners, and declined, citing a colossal conflict of interest (ie. the entertainment branch of Cumbucket Media having released records by Sweet Talk and OBN III’s).

Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall —  one of the participating/organizing bloggers for the Awards, and the person who invited me to vote — offered a lengthy rebuttal yesterday. You’re welcome to read the entire thing here, but I’d like to respond to several of his points below :

1) “I see this event as the Golden Globes to the Austin Music Awards, who would obviously be the Oscars.”

Great.  If Jess Williamson doesn’t mind being likened to Pia Zadora, who am I to complain?

2) “The labels, be it 12XU or Modern Outsider or Punctum, all work hard to give a voice to Austin musicians, and thus have a right, and almost an obligation to be involved in the voting process. Should one decline, that’s respected; that’s a personal choice.  But, to criticize the event after you declined to be involved seems, frankly, childish and counterproductive.”

OK, for starters, who in their right mind puts any credence in an awards show in which the winners are determined by the record labels?  And why shouldn’t I criticize the event?  There’s no information on the AMBA invites or p.r. manifestos about how these nominees were chosen, nor were the public told that record labels could vote for their own artists.  Surely that’s of public interest.

2) “While I respect the work of Mr. Cosloy, I find his comments damaging to the greater Austin community, which he clearly seems indifferent towards. Yes, Beerland is a great venue.  I hit up shows there at least twice a month, and the staff/crowd has always been accommodating.  Now, is it the best venue in town?  I’m not so sure.  The sound isn’t always on point, and it seems, that supported by Mr. Cosloy, the venue has an entitlement towards being its own special club.  It also has the tendency to only feature one genre of music, and that in and of itself is great, but not something that ultimately warrants a Best Venue nod.

Sorry, who is this “greater Austin community” that I’m supposedly indifferent towards?  Which venues and/or genres have I discriminated against?  Obviously Mr. Lankford has a great background in what constitutes decent club sound, but if that’s justification for Beerland not being considered one of the city’s top 5 live music venues, it’s impossible to reconcile how Cheer Up Charlie’s or Red 7 were recognized.

“(Beerland) also has the tendency to only feature one genre of music.”  Even if that were true (and it isn’t even close to being true), one can perhaps presume Nathan and his colleagues at the other participating blogs have no qualms about reinforcing cultural and institutional biases against these genre(s), despite a professed desire to support “the whole music scene”.

3) What I can’t forgive are his condescending comments towards the other artists involved, like Jess Williamson and American Sharks.  Some would think that because Gerard has put out Pavement, and other acts that are well-regarded, that he has the right to his voice, and so he does, but to do it in a demeaning manner indicates a man dying to save his image; it’s about him, it’s not about Austin and the music scene.  And therein lies his faults; he’s apparently not concerned with the whole music scene, just those acts and venues he’s interested in.  How does that benefit Austin? How does that show the diversity of what’s musically going on in this town?  It doesn’t.  If anything, it’s an elitist myopic attitude that sets Austin back, trying to make it some secret club that only those in the know are able to participate in because the rest of us have “no fucking idea what’s going on.” Sorry guys, but that’s bullshit, and to let that attitude go unchecked only empowers this man to continue promoting that attitude throughout the city.

Oh for fuck’s sake. THAT’s the best you can do?  Listen pal, if Jess Williamson and American Sharks can play publicly and have others sing their  praises, surely they can handle one guy suggesting that perhaps they’re not that awesome.  Actually, in the case of American Sharks, my “condescending” remark was limited to suggesting anyone who thought they were a more interesting band than Spray Paint needed their head examined (and I’m happy to recommend a specialist anytime you’re ready).  If that’s the worst thing ever said about the former, they’ll be living a pretty charmed life.  I mean, you could perhaps explain where the shame is in being a less interesting band than Spray Paint, because that’s pretty much every other band in Austin.

As for the rest of this bizarre defense….Pavement…who fucking cares?  Dude, that was a thousand years ago!  I’ve lived here for almost a decade — not nearly as long as others, but certainly long enough that hopefully no one is awed by my association w/ indie rock starlets of the 1990′s.  I mean, they shouldn’t be — it’s not relevant to the discussion and in this case it hardly frames yourself as “mr. community” by comparison.

But guess what — I’m NOT concerned with “the whole music scene” and I never claimed to be (and I’d rather read a music blog with a real POV about stuff they’re excited by than one that portends to represent a wider pseudo-community).  A cursory scan of all the shit I’ve been involved in or tried to support may or may not illustrate that my handle on “the diversity of what’s musically going on in this town” is no more or less myopic than that of ATH (I’d wager less).  The difference being that I don’t claim to represent anyone other than myself, and cheerleading for generic garbage simply because it’s from Austin does zilch to elevate the culture or community.  “A secret club that only those in the know are able to participate in”?   Look, I promise you, no secret handshake is required to go and see bands that aren’t trying to emulate Imagine Dragons.   This allegedly secret club has no issue tolerating a middle aged man who spends half the night checking basketball scores on his cell phone (ie. me) — you’ll have no problem fitting right in.

4) Austin’s not a punk rock town, or a hip-hop town, or anything in particular; it’s an amalgam of styles and people; it’s a fucking city, and one that I love.  We should be proud of the fact that there’s so many different sounds you many not realize are coming out of this city.  That’s how art works.  People create, others react, thus creating new art.  None of us have the right to look down upon other acts simply because we don’t like what they’re doing.  Yes, have your opinion, but to go about it in a manner that disregards the hard work of others in this city is unacceptable, and personally, makes me wish people with this attitude would just leave.

N – you’re dead fucking wrong.  All of us have the right to criticize a band.  Unless you’re a blithering idiot with no critical faculties whatsoever, you’ve probably done so yourself at one time or another.   Yes, I’m sure many of the bands I personally cannot stand have worked very hard, and while I would not willingly go out of my way to listen to Black Books (again), I fully support their right to play, get paid, pursue their dream, etc.   But their record isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Marriage’s.  Apples and oranges, I know, but you’re the ones calling the event “The Austin Music Blogger Awards”, when “The Austin Music Blogger Awards For Upwardly Mobile Bands Who Aspire To 101X Airplay” would be a far more appropriate title.

5) I know this seems long-winded, and possibly a bit scrambled.

Finally, something we can agree upon!

6) My main point is to point out that despite its faults, which I think we’d all acknowledge, the Austin Music Blogger Awards is a chance for the bloggers and the bands to give something back to the community that supports them.  Your band or venue didn’t make the cut? I’m sorry, but take it as a challenge.  Take it as an opportunity to work harder. Don’t sit behind your computer and complain because that makes you a coward, or even a bully.  You’re no better than anyone in this town.

hooooohaaaaahoooohaaaa.  THANK YOU SO VERY FUCKING MUCH for giving bloggers and bands a chance to give back!   Funny, until now, I thought the sorry motherfuckers who were putting on shows with interesting/varied bills, giving bands a place to rehearse for free, actually paying for records, paying to get in, etc. were “giving back”.  But no, they’re not doing nearly as much and need to try harder.  Also good to know the bands that “didn’t make the cut” need to make a greater effort to get on the collective radar of the Austin Music Blogger Awards rather than following the lead of what folks like Spray Paint, Impalers, Breakout, Marriage, Church Shoes and others have been doing (ie. making real records on their own dime, touring around the country if not the world).  I’m sure they’ll all add that to their to-do lists.

I fail to see how pointing out the staggering (you might even say musically bigoted) omissions in the Austin Music Blogger Awards’ lists of nominees or shedding light on a shadowy voting process that makes olympic figure skating judging seem legit by comparison qualifies me as a coward or a bully.  Where I come from (ie. Planet Write About Stuff You Care About), that’s what a blog is intended for.

“Don’t sit behind a computer and complain?” Putting aside for a moment I do a few other things besides merely complain (mock, degrade, ridicule and pile-drive for starters), generally, journalists, critics, analysts, etc. ply their trade from behind computers. If Lankford has managed his particular brand of self-expression without the benefit of a computer (and the relative safety, of say, not telling Mark Kozelek to his face that his latest epic was only deemed worthy of a C-minus), it’s news to me.

I mean, really, how is my taking issue with the AMBA’s appreciably different from Lankford publicly critiquing Beerland’s sound? Other than only one of us knowing what we’re talking about, of course. Is the constructive, positive-minded longtime supporter of Austin music offering to visit Beerland and provide a wealth of engineering tips? Can he perhaps suggest which individual bands the club has unfairly shunned, which musical genres the booking committee has ignored? Neither of those things could be compared to sitting behind a computer, I’m sure you’d agree.

You’re no better than anyone in this town.”

If you’ve got some sort of insecurity thing you need to work out in a public forum, that’s cool.  I mean, I get nostalgic for LiveJournal too, sometimes.  But I don’t recall ever saying or acting like I was better than anyone else.  I did state rather plainly that I thought one specific band was much, much better than another specific band.  Because I actually respect the intelligence of this blog’s readers and that of many Austin musicians / record hounds / people who can sleep w/out a nitelite, I refuse to acknowledge that’s tantamount to bullying.

7) “Maybe next year we’ll even have a special category for the Beerland Award or the Music Curmudgeon Award.  Hope Mr. Cosloy will vote for those.”

It’s slightly amazing that someone passing themselves off as some sort of music blogger/journalist/critic you name it considers actual criticism-of-bands a curmudgeon-y quality, but by all means, keep dodging the issue.  Whenever you’d like to explain how American Sharks are more interesting than Spray Paint, at least one member of this beautiful music community can’t wait to be schooled.


02.22.14

Staten Island Teen / Knicks Fan Busted For Saying WHAT WE’RE ALL THINKING

Posted in Basketball, The Law, twitter twatter at 10:22 pm by

Many in the sporting world were still getting their heads around Twitter when Metta World Peace’s brother Daniel Artest got into a nu-media sparring match with Trevor Ariza. Fast forward nearly 4 years later, and on the weekend World Peace and teammate Beno Udri are being bought out by the Knicks, Artest has been unloading on the former Tru Warier’s most recent employer, but credit where due — at least he’s not advocating the assassination of The Straight Shot’s frontman / wankmeister. From the Staten Island Advance’s Joe D’Amodio :

Johnny Giamella — the son of a New York City cop — took to Twitter and made threats to Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan (above), who oversees the operations of the Knicks and New York Rangers, in several posts, the police said.

In one tweet, Giamella, 19, allegedly wrote, “James Dolan, it’s officially time to die,”

Police said in another tweet he wrote, “Death to James Dolan.”

Also posted were pictures of Giamella holding a gun to the camera and a sharp metal object to his neck.

In another photo, a naked Giamella is seen holding a gun over his penis, according to a criminal complaint.

Giamella was charged harassment. A phone call to his residence went unanswered. The complaint says Dolan’s security chief noticed the postings and reported them to the police

If You Happen To Find Yourself In The Alleged Live Music Capital Of The World This Mid-March (2014 Edition Updated))…

Posted in 12XU, Austin, Internal Affairs, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll, South By Suck Off at 9:15 pm by

Thanks to the efforts (?) of various RSVP apps and bullshit SXSW listings sites, over 3000 people have signed up to attend the above event. The venue’s legal capacity is roughly 1/15th of that amount, so it’s somewhat comforting that many of the persons who’ve signed up are either totally full of shit or are under the mistaken impression we’ll be handing out free brains at the door. In any event, for the handful of you who actually plan on showing up, set times are below (and are very much subject to change) :

12:50pm – The Gotobeds


1:30 – Empty Markets ( patio)
2:00 – Unholy Two

2:40 – The Secret Prostitutes
3:20 – Protomartyr
4:00 – Obnox
4:40 – Tyvek
5:20 – Rusted Shut

Spray Paint will be on the Beerland patio at 6pm.

Nikolai Volkoff, Eat Madison Rising’s Dust

Posted in Automobiles, NASCAR, Rock Und Roll at 7:57 pm by

USA Today’s Nate Scott calls Madison Rising’s interpretation of “The Star Mangled Spangled Banner”, “the most ridiculous version since Roseanne Barr committed a crime against the song.”  So I guess you’re off the hook, finally, Carl Lewis.

Zduriencik : Fat, Stupid & Acquired By Me Is No Way To Go Thru Life

Posted in Baseball at 2:14 am by

Catcher-turned-1B Jesus Montero responded to a knee injury, a PED suspension and very little production to speak of in 2013 by turning up for Mariners camp 40 pounds overweight. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, who traded for Montero as part of the Michael Pineda swap with the Yankees, tells the Seattle Times’ Ryan Dvish, ““He’s got a ton to prove. It’s all on him.”

“I’m not counting on him,” Zduriencik said. “I’m not expecting anything. Whatever he does, he’s got to get our attention — that’s how I’m looking at it. We haven’t discarded him at all. But he’s got to prove it to us. We’ve got players here that want to be big-league players and want to be big-league players for a long time. In his case, he’s still got that to prove yet. And I don’t think he’s done that. He hasn’t taken that next step where he’s got everyone’s attention. He can, because the ability is there to do that.”

And if not?

“In the end, it is Jesus’ life,” Zduriencik said. “It’s Jesus who has to make a call on this. We’ll be there to assist any of these players, him included. But he will not be given anything. It’s an uphill climb for him.

“I feel comfortable with my weight,” Montero said. “But they want me to lose some weight. Whatever they want, I’m here for the opportunity.”

02.21.14

“The Austin Music Blogger Awards” : Why Should The Chronicle’s Music Section Have A Monopoly On Blandness?

Posted in Austin, non-sporting journalism, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 3:30 pm by

A few weeks back, a gentlemen representing something called The Austin Music Blogger Awards asked me to vote on a number of categories, with a Fender-sponsored awards show taking place at the Spiderhouse Ballroom on February 27.

I politely declined, explaining that since I had some sort  of record label relationship with two of the artists nominated, I shouldn’t be eligible to participate. You’d hope, right?

(Impalers – shown performing at an alternative to an alternative of a bogus awards gala, ie. a real show)

Even so, this would’ve been a tough thing to do with a straight face.  That a collection of Austin’s music blogs somehow determined that neither of Spray Paint‘s 2013 albums were amongst the top 5 Austin records of last year is pretty hard to fathom.  Likewise, the omission of the Impalers’ 540 LP was pretty curious.   We’re expected to believe an alleged expert nominating committee had to come up with the town’s Top 5 Venues, and Beerland mysteriously didn’t make the cut?  That Renate Winter, Ángel Delgado-Reyes or Stephen Michael Ruud aren’t amongst the city’s top photographers?

Obviously, there’s differences of opinion about this. The esteemed panel of judges from music blogs that I wouldn’t read if you put a gun to my head are entitled to theirs, just as I’m allowed to state their attempts to acknowledge excellence on a local/regional level feel kinda like, y’know, they have no fucking idea what’s going on.  I expressed as much to the fella who wrote to me, and  he replied that they’re trying to provide “an alternative to the Austin Music Awards”.

Sorry, but pretending the American Sharks are a more interesting band than Spray Paint isn’t an alternative to anything.

Still, because I’d rather be constructive than merely puke all over this noble attempt to sell drinks at the Spiderhouse, I will note the organizers have failed to reveal their nominees for The 2014 Austin Music Blogger Lifetime Achievement Award. I can totally understand the oversight — I’m surprised anyone can stay awake listening to Jess Williamson, let alone put together a huge event honoring her.  So in the spirit of community, here’s the AMBLA nominees :

a) La Snacks
b) Art Acevedo (the Chief Of Police, not the band)
c) Art Acevedo (the band, not the Chief of Police)
d) Cunto!
e) Lance Vallaincourt

If you’re wondering who’s gonna win, well, as they say at most Spiderhouse events besides the poetry slam, good seats are still available.

02.20.14

Over 13 Years, John Rocker’s Views On Immigration Haven’t Undergone The Most Radical Of Transformations

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York, politics at 8:01 pm by

In 1999, Braves reliever John Rocker forever cemented his bonehead status with a notorious interview with Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Pearlman in which the former made his feelings on regarding New York City rather plain (“Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids…I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?” ).   Though Rocker’s long since flopped his way out of baseball and is in the midst of a second act as a wingnut pundit, his most recent entry for World Net Daily — Dino Costa’s preferred news source — reveals the Big Apple still occupies his thoughts.  Applauding “what Mayor Giuliani along with several others have done to clean up the city,”, Rocker takes aim at current Hizzoner Bill DeBlasio’s proposed scheme to provide municipal ID cards for undocumented New Yorkers, warning that no one has fond memories of “the city that smelled like a sewer and had the murder rate of an African civil war”.

New York has and always will be a trendsetting town the rest of the country often looks to. Not only is Mayor de Blasio seeking to impose his left-wing ideology on our nation’s largest city, but in doing so will be blatantly breaking federal law as he sends the Big Apple into a tail spin toward third-world mediocrity, while inadvertently setting the rest of the country up like a big fat road apple poised to receive the same fate.

This nation has evolved into the greatest country this planet has ever seen on the backs of hardworking immigrants who wanted to be here; they wanted to assimilate and were willing to sacrifice their time, effort and resources to make that happen. Individuals will always care more about something when they have skin in the game.

Bill de Blasio, in an attempt to exercise his left-wing ideology under the umbrella of pity and fairness, will do nothing more than remove the incentive for New York’s immigrants to put skin in that game and join the American brotherhood.

Famous (Alleged) Rapists Of The Future : Heavy.com Has Your Back

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 6:40 pm by

Let’s imagine for a moment or two the challenges faced by a hypothetical bright-eyed young singer-songwriter fella who has been publicly accused of rape. Not exactly the way you’d wanna launch promo for a new album, right? Bye bye to any future Springsteen cameos!

That said, the sophisticated people behind Heavy.com are doing their part to ensure women will be doubly reluctant to air such grievances in the future, what with the frat-tard website going out of the way to a) identify one such accuser, b) publish numerous photographs of her, c) reveal her husband’s name, child’s medical condition and the family’s state of residence (and recent hospital visits).

That all of the above information was available elsewhere on the internet cannot be denied, but this brand of cyber-stalking via listicle should sicken most sensible persons. Even if it’s ultimately determined the celebrity in question is innocent, i think it is safe to say that Heavy did absolutely nothing helpful for his cause or anyone else’s. Maybe they routinely engage in this kind of staggering dumbfuckery, but you couldn’t pay me enough to find out for certain.

The specific pop star who’s been named has every legal right to face his accuser, but that doesn’t mean third parties ought to engage in a cowardly, traffic-driven campaigns of harassment and intimidation. Heavy actually usds the headline, “5 Things You Need To Know About ____ _____”. Who, precisely, needed to know any of this?

02.19.14

Beneficiary Of Modern Chemistry Dissed By Bo Porter’s Chemistry Experiment

Posted in Baseball at 9:08 pm by

You’d like to think that if the young Houston Astros were told to turn up for a 9 am Spring Training lecture from a universally respected figure like Roger Clemens, the entire roster would be ready with their notepads, floral bouquets, etc. Apparently, that wasn’t the case earlier today in Kissimmee, and as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart explains, manager Bo Porter will not tolerate a bunch of ingrates, punks, and/or people who actually remember, y’know, what a high-character individual Roger Clemens is.

“Obviously, as an organization we’re fortunate to have some people like Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio and different people that will come in here over the course of the year and speak to our ballclub,” Porter said. “Even that being said, we have the 9 o’clock meeting when it comes to the synergistic chemistry lab.

“Out of respect to your teammates, out of respect to the people that take time out of their day to come out there and try to do everything they can to help this organization, it’s the right thing to do to make sure you’re dressed and ready and attentive when that person shows up or when it’s time for a team meeting.”

From The Desk Of Randy L: Can Rick Pitino See Porcini From Atop His High Horse?

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, The Internet at 3:07 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : From time to time, CSTB is graced with the observations and commentary of noted baseball executive Randy L. of the Bronx. In the wake of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino’s recent comments about social media, ie., “I think anyone who reads social media that’s in sports is not all there”, Randy asked, no, he demanded to have his say – GC)

Greetings to the jobless, dateless and hopeless individuals who make up what’s left of this blog’s meager readership. You might think with everything happening in the my Yankee Universe of late —- the signing of Masahiro Tanaka, the pending retirement of Derek Jeter, the Westminster Kennel Club show — I’d not have time to follow the exploits of a serial philanderer who couldn’t make it in the pro ranks….but enough about our suspended third baseman. No, instead, I’d like to turn your attention to Rick Pitino and his inability to understand the nuances of social media.

I’ll fully admit that one time or another, Randy L. was not the hippest guy in the Bronx. If you’d asked for my Grindr profile, I’d have slapped your face and sternly explained that in this part of the country, we call them submarine sandwiches.

But a few late nights in the company of Jason Giambi were a real eye-opener, and I’ve developed a new appreciation for the many wonderful tools a smart phone places at one’s disposal these days. If there’s a great song playing in the lobby of your proctologist that you can’t quite identify, just hit SHAZAM and hey, it’s another winner from The National. Have a bad experience with a merchant or service provider and need to take them down a peg or several? That’s why Yelp was invented.

I realize for a middle-aged guy like Rick Pitino, the allure of things like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and this site must seem elusive, but for today’s young people, such platforms are almost as useful sources of information as the New York Yankees Team Yearbook, Media Guide or game day program. Certainly, I’ve found them to be invaluable when the club has to perform due diligence on a prospective or current employee. You can learn a lot about someone’s character from the sort of social media footprint they leave, and I am pretty sure I said those exact words out loud the last time we were in contract negotiations with John Sterling.

How might Rick Pitino’s life and career been positively impacted had he embraced social media a few years ago? For starters, he could’ve done a little research about a certain paramour prior to breaking his marriage vows, embarrassing his employer, his family and the entire state of Kentucky by engaging in sexual intercourse in the booth of a Louisville Italian restaurant.

I know, it’s laughable. Perhaps there really are decent Italian restaurants in that part of the country —- I’ll have to consult Yelp to find out! — but do you really want to eat off a dinner table that’s been marked by Rick Pitino’s DNA? Larry Bird and Robert Parish might not be walking thru that door, but patrons of the region’s spaghetti warehouses would surely settle for someone carrying a gigantic vat of Clorox.

Still, it’s not too late for Pitino to see the error of his ways and learn from past mistakes. If nothing else, a cursory glance at the Adult Friend Finder profile of user “ohmygoodnessgracious” should be enough to disable his husband-equipment for an indefinite period.

see you in Tampa,
Randy L.