05.31.14

From The Desk Of Randy L. : Enough About Dave Hudgens, There’s A Big Offer (Still) On The Table

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 10:09 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : From time to time,  noted Bronx baseball executive Randy L. takes advantage of the freedoms afforded him by CSTB to weigh in on the events of the day. Following this week’s dismissal of Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens —- and Hudgens’ subsequent comments about Mets TV broadcasters and players’ difficulty coping with fan cruelty, Randy graciously offered, well, he demanded to have his say – GC)

Readers of this blog — all 4 of them — are no doubt familiar with the old baseball axiom, “he who listens to the fans ends up sitting with them”.  I’m not entirely certain that’s how it’s turned out for Dave Hudgens —- in the unlikely event he’d wanna attend a game in the future, Mets tickets are probably out of his price range (and then there’s the matter of whether or not his severance checks bounce).  That said, this latest, all-too-typical embarrassment for our crosstown rivals is a cautionary tale for what happens when people who can’t pack my intellectual lunchbox attempt to run a baseball team.

For starters, there’s reports Hudgens was shitcanned following an angry text from genetic lottery winner Jeff Wilpon to the emasculated, titular General Manager Sandy “Nice Name For A Man” Alderson.  Not only do I find these rumors believable, but it all sounds terribly familiar.  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve intercepted a text message from the Yankee Universe’s own genetic lottery winners Hank and Hal to our own emasculated, titular, librarian-fucking GM, I’d have as much money as Jason Giambi’s spent on penicillin over the last decade.

Upon being shown the door in Flushing, Hudgens strongly suggested Mets legends-turned-TV analysts Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez had quashed team morale with their pointed critiques. I afraid this particular scenario is not one I can personally relate to. If, for instance John Sterling dared to suggest that our 40 year old team captain wasn’t in the prime of his career, do you have any idea how quickly he’d be selling pencils in midtown Manhattan?  Also,  are there still men wandering around midtown Manhattans selling pencils?   I rarely get out of my car in that part of town, but Mickey Rivers has told me some pretty wild stories about the 1970′s.

The portion of Hudgens’ exit interview I found the most curious, however, was his insistence that veterans like Curtis Granderson and David Wright are somehow intimidated by jeers from the paying customers.  To which I’d reply,  what paying customers?  There’s acres of empty seats! If Chris Young needs privacy to hit higher than .200, he’s in luck — he’s got more peace & quiet at Citi Field than he’ll find in most libraries (the exception of course, being libraries in which Brian Cashman is having very loud sex with someone on staff — those libraries aren’t quiet at all, and actually have more in common with select restroom stalls at the new Yankee Stadium).

I’ll remind you all again that I’m not merely penning these entries because I relish the misfortunes experience by the Wilpons, their players and fans.  On the contrary — a strong New York Mets franchise makes all of New York a better place to live (and more importantly also drives up the value of our ballclub, though it seems a little insane a team with 2 fluke trophies can even be mentioned in the same breath as the most successful franchise in the history of team sports). And that’s why for the third time I am repeating the most gracious offer the Wilpons will receive short of Bobby Bonilla saying, “that’s ok, you don’t have to keep paying me.”  We’ll still take Matt Harvey straight up for Alex Rodriguez.   That’s right, a sure-thing, first ballot Hall of Famer on the brink of breaking the most hallowed record in baseball, for an attention-starved, obscene-gesture-making PUNK who has yet to accomplish anything of note in the big leagues (an undignified headhunting display on national TV doesn’t count).  And we don’t even know if he’ll be physically fit (with Mets physicians on the case, let’s just assume he isn’t).

One of these days, I’ll grow weary of such benevolent overtures and shall simply retire to my private table at NYY Steak, from which vantage point I’ll no doubt see highlights of David Wright, unprotected in the batting order, popping up weakly in a crucial spot. Or I’ll witness young Mets phenom Jacob DeGrom being committed to a mental institution once he’s realized he’s toiling for a team that aren’t going to score any runs for him (a situation that might well have been averted had Sandy Denny or whatever he calls himself shown the good graces to return my messages and bring A-Rod’s bat and nearly 700 career home runs to your fucking ghostland stadium).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a TV commercial to supervise.  Stephen Dorf looks really good in pinstripes and starting next month we’ll be selling blu e-cigarettes at all Yankee Stadium concession stands (with charging stations available to those with Audi Club access).   “We’re all adults here…and we’re 28-time World Champions.”.  Pretty good, right?  I wrote that myself.

DUECE OUT THA ROOF,

The Randy L

I Cannot Prove Kent Hrbek Posted This Craigslist Ad…

Posted in Rock Und Roll, social crusaders at 9:52 am by


….but I can’t prove he didn’t, either.

05.30.14

An Important Message From The Entertainment Division of Cumbucket Media

Posted in 12XU, Austin, Internal Affairs, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 4:44 pm by

DeadSpace12XUSleeve

Who amongst us hasn’t pondered how good Joy Division might’ve been had they been recorded by Spot (NOT SPOT LONG OF TRAILER SPACE, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) instead of Martin Hannett? Don’t all raise your hands at once.

OK, maybe I’m the only one that’s woken up in the middle of the night grappling with that particular “what if?” But I’ll bet I’m not not nearly the only person that’s about to be poleaxed by The Dead Space’s long-awaited debut album, ‘Faker’ (12XU 063-1). The trio of bassist/vocalist Quin Galavis, guitarist Garrett Hadden and drummer Jenny Arthur have been honing their craft in Austin, TX since high school, but after a 7” on Hadden’s excellent Thread Pull label (Flesh Lights, Foreign Mothers), a song on the second ‘Casual Victim Pile’ comp. (12XU, 2012) the moment is long overdue for The Dead Space to put-it-all-together. And that’s exactly what they’ve done —this is a band whose blend of tension, fragility and genuine muscle —certainly in the spirit of avowed influences like Joy Division, Bauhaus and Swans without being remotely copyist ——has never been nearly this confident or incandescent.

15 copy

(photo : Eric Karjala)

We’re a couple of years past The Dead Space making the good-to-great leap ; at present, they’re in the middle of that awkward period I like to call the “How Have You Assholes Slept On This Amazing Band?” Stage. And while the recent notoriety of their other projects might elevate The Dead Space’s profile a tad (ie. Galavis’ beautiful solo works or the heavier jams laid down with Nazi Gold, Hadden’s recent participation in Ghetto Ghouls), ‘Faker’’ Is The Real Deal. Like Evander Holyfield. Don’t be a fucking Charley Steiner. Preorder here.

GhettoGhouls7InchFINAL

Would it be fair to say Austin’s These Are Words decided to lay down a gauntlet of one sort or another when they changed their name to the decidedly more malevolent GHETTO GHOULS —- culled from the old lady-stomping street gang in “The Exterminator” (1980, dir – James Glickenhaus). Actually, it would be a colossal reach, the sort persons like yourself make on a daily basis, I reckon.

Fresh off a widely acclaimed debut LP for Austin’s Monofonus Press, Ghetto Ghouls have been likened to such regional predecessors as Bobby Soxx or The Dicks, but there’s echoes of X-Blank-X or ‘Live At The Witch Trails’-era Fall in their staggery swagger (especially if you play an old Fall record at the bottom of a well while listening to Ghetto Ghouls up above). In a town where the best gigs often straddle the line between parties and disasters, a ridiculously high percentage of those shows seem to occur with this quartet right in the middle of the action.

This 7” couples a pair of songs from the S/T LP sessions that either represent 12XU getting the cream of the crop or the goddamn leftovers. Think very carefully before you decide which of those two scenarios is most likely, because I’ve got a looooooong fucking memory.

RIYL : getting beer spilled on you, people not apologizing for spilling beer. Preorder here.

When Racial Slurs & Successful Branding Aren’t Mutually Excusive

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 4:35 pm by

Appearing earlier today on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” to discuss the Washington nickname flap, NFL senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs Adolpho Birch (above) was asked by Andy Katz if “Redskins” constituted a racial slur. USA Today’s Erik Brady recaps the comedic highights that followed :

“The team name is not a slur,” Birch said. “The team name is the team name, as it has been for 80-plus years.”

The Nation’s Dave Zirin, appearing on the broadcast, said that’s like saying an orange is not a fruit. Oneida Nation spokesman Joel Barkin offered a similar simile.

“That’s like saying the planet is not getting warmer,” Barkin told USA TODAY Sports. “The NFL is getting to be like the climate deniers.”

05.29.14

Guest Editorial : Why Must Grantland Puke All Over My Rich Cultural Heritage?

Posted in Austin, non-sporting journalism, Norman Wanklord, Rock Und Roll at 9:42 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE :  from time to time, Austin music blogger / fledgling independent label operator Norman Wanklord takes a break from his own unique brand of trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary to grace the pages of CSTB with, well, even more trenchant analysis and hard-hitting commentary – GC)

Unlike certain living-off-past-laurels jerks I could mention but shall not because I’m such a positive, community minded guy (AHEM, PAVEMENT, COUGH, COUGH, PAVEMENT) , not all of us are lucky enough to earn a living from the music business — not even those of us who tirelessly review upwards of a dozen soundcloud links a week.  No, instead, I’m paying the bills by teaching the future of tomorrow, beautiful, sweet innocent public school children. And while these kids are pretty goddamn lucky to have a mentor like me (by the way, who spray paints a penis on a middle school teacher’s car?  when I was their age, I didn’t know what a penis looked like!), in many other ways, I pity them.  Sure, they’ve got all sorts of cool new gadgets (iPads, electronic cigarettes) but they’re never gonna have the thrill of discovering paradigm-smashing new music in a way that’s personal and meaningful.  Simply put, no amount of Soundcloud links  or Spotify album premieres can replace the incredible moment when me and the rest of my generation saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! make their network television debut.

(BLOG ROCK IS STILL REAL TO ME : you can keep your Kurt Cobain!  The anonymous balding guy with the melodica was my gateway to an entire universe of people dying to cut loose)

If you were there, I don’t have to tell you what it felt like.  But if you weren’t, you’ll just have to take my word that it represented an epiphany for countless white males who didn’t have much rhythm, sex appeal and really didn’t want to make too big a racket because we just moved into the gated community and what’s the point getting off on the wrong foot?

It was a moment where we all realized everything was possible — just so long as, y’know, we didn’t have company after 10pm and remembered which day was recycling pick up.

I wouldn’t think I’d have to refresh anyone’s memories of that glorious age, but Grantland’s Steven Hyden has made such a crash course in early 2000′s music history sorely necessary.   Of the genre, “blog rock”, Hyden writes, “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Cold War Kids. Tapes ‘n Tapes. Black Kids. Nearly 10 years ago, a new crop of bands appeared and a new genre was born before quickly dying. Did it mean anything at all?”  Excuse me, dying quickly?  Would my site be generating nearly 100 unique visitors a week if BLOG ROCK WERE DEAD?   Would the recordings I’ve issued by some of Austin’s least intimidating bands have received nearly as much acclaim from other Austin music blogs with nearly 200 unique visitors a week if the struggle fought by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were all for naught?

Hyden — who I am starting to think might be an even more cynical, elitist creep than the guy who publishes CSTB — says of a latter CYHSY TV appearance, “this was an actual band, and not a comedic sketch written by a person who hated indie rock and wanted to exaggerate the genre’s most familiar mannerisms.”  Oh, so now you’re the mannerism police!  There’s more sneering (“MP3 blogs were just another extension of the industry, frequently promoting bands as ‘real’ that in retrospect would be more aptly described as ‘corny’) and ultimately Hyden dismisses CYHSY as a merely “solid indie-pop act”, not quite the equal of The National (why not just say they’re not as good as The Beatles meets Radiohead meets Jesus, Stephen?  Talk about an unfair standard!).

I mean, duh, they aren’t the National.  I’m not Raoul Hernandez, either, but that doesn’t give Hyden the right to diminish an incredibly special time for those of us of a certain age (who routinely got our ass kicked by metal kids).  I realize Clap Your Hands Say Yeah only sold a few tens of thousands of records, but every single person who bought one of those records went on to work in the tech industry.  Which of your precious punk/thrash bands are gonna be nearly as influential?  Lumpy & The Dumpers?  Listen, I’m only the person in music/new media who has earned the right to be compared to Lumpy Rutherford, so those guys can fuck off, whoever they are.

Alright.  That’s about all I have time for.  There’s papers to grade and tomorrow’s pile of Soundcloud links aren’t gonna review themselves, though if I manage to paraphrase the press releases while tossing in the odd “delightful” and “toe-tapping”, they come awfully fucking close to reviewing themselves!   That’s a time-honored trade secret…don’t tell anyone!

yours from the live music capitol,
Norman Wanklord.

Sen. Reid To Daniel Snyder : Thanks For The Laughs

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner, twitter twatter at 7:59 pm by

Demonstrating a command of public relations slightly somewhere between that of Dave Hudgens and Dino Costa, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder  (above) responded to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s public plea for the team to change their name by encouraging Washington fans to send tweets to the Senator bearing the hashtag, “#RedskinPride”.  Said tactic backfired spectacularly, with Washington fans and others taking to Twitter en masse to ridicule Snyder. While Reid might be above gloating, his spokesperson certainly isn’t, as the following quotes compiled by DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg demonstrate :

“From our perspective, what we saw was just overwhelming opposition” to the team name, Faiz Shakir, Reid’s digital director, told me. “It’s really made our day.”

Shakir did not know the Redskins were set to launch this campaign; when he saw the team’s tweet, he guessed “that they probably had coordinated something on the front end” and was waiting for Reid’s account to be besieged with protests.

That, though, isn’t what he saw. Shakir said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the reactions, many of which caused laughter in Reid’s offices.

“From my perspective, Twitter and social media in general is a wonderful outlet, because it gives a voice to so many people,” Shakir said. “What we saw was a collective, overwhelming outpouring that was heavily critical of the team. I hope that causes the organization to reflect on why that occurred.”

50 Cent’s Ineptitude Placed In Historic Perspective

Posted in Baseball, Hip Hop at 3:13 pm by

You’ve all seen the footage of 50 Cent making like Rick Ankiel in the 2000 NLDS the other night, but it’s taken the Washington Post’s KnowMore and Christopher Ingram to illustrate that Fiddy sucks even worse than Carly Rae Jespen or Gary Dell’Abate (when it comes to throwing a baseball).

Lance Stephenson Blows (In LeBron’s Ear)

Posted in Basketball at 12:05 am by

Judging from the reaction in the Costa household when two men dared to embrace and kiss on television a few weeks ago, it’s a fair bet the kids were hustled off to bed early during Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Because we all know what one man blowing in another man’s ear is a prelude to ; deferring to Chris Bosh with the game on the line.

And no parent wants to see their children learn from that example.

05.28.14

Just Fuck Off Already

Posted in Baseball at 2:38 pm by

(screenshot courtesy SBN / Grant Brisbee)

Possible Evidence That Sandy Alderson’s Autonomy Is Just As Bullshit As Phil Jackson’s

Posted in Baseball at 11:01 am by

It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for former Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who went from “is he Vanessa’s dad?” status to internet laughing stock in rapid succession (kudos, however. to that team player, Dino Costa, for taking the heat off Dave).  And while it’s hard not to scoff at Hudgen blaming the Amazins’ offensive woes on a) SNY broadcasters, b) the few remaining fans who could stomach the collection of contact-phobic hitters Hudgens allegedly coached, it is equally difficult not to take pause at the prospect of Jeff Wilpon being the club’s real general manager.

The younger Wilpon (above), whose glittering baseball resume includes supervision of the construction of the very baseball venue that has so horribly perplexed and intimidated Hudgens’ former chargers (most prominently, David Wright, whom the club are paying more money than God to hit singles, play an above-average 3rd base and smile thru 90 loss seasons) is said by Capital New York’s Howard Megdal to have demanded the firing of Hudgens..  Writes Megdal, “it’s one thing for ownership to decline to give Alderson money it doesn’t have. It’s quite another, autonomy-wise, to force Alderson to fire baseball personnel.”

During Monday’s disappointing 5-3 loss at home to the Pirates, Jeff Wilpon sent Alderson an angry text, and followed it up with an angry call. Then, after the game, they had an angry meeting.

But at that meeting, according to a knowledgeable source, Wilpon did something new: He overruled his general manager on a baseball matter, ordering him to fire hitting coach Dave Hudgens, a longtime Alderson friend and colleague.

This incursion into baseball decisions by Wilpon would seem to indicate that Alderson will have limited latitude as he tries to improve the team despite severe payroll constraints.

If Alderson he couldn’t overcome Jeff Wilpon’s bright ideas and Fred Wilpon’s wallet when he had the discretion to make his own baseball decisions, what chance does he have now?