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?

05.27.14

Kelly : Enough With Canadians In Camo

Posted in Baseball, The Woah at 11:17 pm by

Memorial Day 2014 saw every MLB club donning camouflage caps and camo-lettered jerseys, a recent tradition that irks the Globe & Mail’s Cathal Kelly, who finds such wartime trappings inappropriate for the Toronto Blue Jays. “We are the United States’ global partner, not its kid brother,” argues Kelly. “When you’re traipsing around a ball field in a simulation of battledress, you’re making the whole thing seem like fun..I doubt anybody who’s been through it feels that way.”

Every time Canada does one of these overreaching, ‘Please like us’ efforts on the U.S., I am reminded of Homer Simpson’s rationale for not wanting to travel here on vacation: “Why should we leave America to visit America Jr.?”

There is the disorienting sense of rah-rah about the whole thing. It’s a celebration, which seems the wrong tone if what we are doing is honouring those who have been harmed or risked harm on our behalf.

Seeing your heroes running around in camo is neither heartening nor instructive. It’s toying with politics. Cheering in that environment is a mandate of the hive mind, because are you going to be the one guy who sits on his hands while everyone is standing? No matter how good the intention, it’s coercive and arbitrary.

When you don the trappings of war in an environment that has nothing to do with real battle, you are play-acting. I’m not sure what the sight of 17 Americans, five Dominicans, a Venezuelan and an Australian wearing the distinctive camo of the Canadian military is supposed to mean to Canadians. The only guy who makes any sense is Brett Lawrie.

I’m also trying to imagine Carlos Delgado – who famously sat during God Bless America as an act of protest – going along with this.

 

May 27, 2014 : The Day Dino Costa Got Busted For Channeling Shia LaBeouf

Posted in Dino Costa, Sports Journalism at 3:13 pm by

Though it’s hardly news to those who’ve had the good fortune to follow the CSTB twitter feed, former Sirius/XM host-turned-web portal hopeful Dino Costa has filled his website with “news” items, culled from a variety of major news organizations.  If you’re wondering, “hey, how’s that any different from what CSTB and countless aggregator sites do everyday?”, there’s a few crucial differences.  For starters, Dino’s site cuts and pastes THE ENTIRE FUCKING ARTICLE.  Not the odd paragraph or two, but the entire piece.  Most damningly, unlike every halfway reputable sportsblog on the planet, Costa’s site fails to credit the author(s) or attribute these copywritten materials to their owners, be they the Washington Post, ESPN.com, the Miami Herald, you name it.

Though these ethical lapses have noted frequently — both by myself and frequent Costa sparring partner Tracy Ringolsby — it wasn’t until this afternoon, when Awful Announcing’s Matt Yoder cataloged several of Costa’s acts of theft, replete with screen shots, that Dino found the sort of notoriety he narrowly missed when he said he’d sooner poke his son’s eyes out than allow him to watch Michael Sam french kiss a man.

Through the auspices of his Twitter account — not, I should stress, the same one that at one time had nearly 40,000 fake followers —- Dino apologized, but not before calling Yoder, “a mental midget of epic proportions” (JUMBO SHRIMP!  ON SALE HERE!) and blaming the entire debacle on an unnamed 3rd party.

If you’re keeping score, in the space of less than a month, Dino’s managed to lose his website/podcast’s sole sponsor and find himself nationally vilified for blatant, repeated acts of plagiarism.  At this point, he’s gonna have to do something very dramatic to restore faith in his (sad sack) investors and re-energize his pathetic fan base (all 12 of whom have suffered almost as much vicarious humiliation as they experience in their real lives).  He could always resort to another David Duke booking, but maybe DD would sooner hold out for someone with more credibility or mainstream appeal?

05.26.14

Dave Hudgens’ Testy Exit Interview : He’s Mad At Somebody (And It Probably Isn’t Gary Apple)

Posted in Baseball at 11:20 pm by

(above far left : just another media creep who’s never swung a bat)

Following the Mets’ Memorial Day 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh, a game marked by Jacob DeGrom’s 3rd consecutive strong start and yet another display of ineffectiveness from reliever Jose Valverde, the latter was waived and hitting coach Dave Hudgens was terminated.  Given that Hudgens held his position for 4 years, it would be difficult to argue he’d not been given an opportunity to refine his tutorial chops, but he’s pissed nonetheless. Quoted by Newsday’s Marc Carig, Hudgens seems to think he’s been buried by, well, Keith Hernandez.

Did Hudgens believe he got a fair shake?

“It depends on who you’re talking about, from who,” Hudgens told Newsday Monday night in a phone interview, just a few hours after his dismissal. “From Sandy, from the front office, from the players, from Terry [Collins], from the other coaches, yeah, absolutely.”

He omitted team ownership. Hudgens and Alderson have ties dating to their time with the Athletics organization.

“The naysayers, the guys who disapprove of us, the guys who I listen to on TV all the time, those guys that know everything about the game, I’m just amazed at it,” Hudgens said. “What’s wrong with getting a good pitch to hit? Somebody, please punch a hole in that for me. I just shake my head at the old-school guys that have it all figured out. Go up there and swing the bat. Well, what do you want to swing at? It just confounds me. It’s just hilarious, really.”

“That’s one thing. I’m glad I don’t have to listen to those guys anymore.”

What could Keith Hernandez possibly know about hitting big league pitching? How dare he question Hudgens’ proven track record? Hudgens tells Carig that “every one of the players came in and gave me a hug” upon his departure, and presumably those ranks include the team captain who is on pace to hit 10 HR’s this season (or less).

SNY’s Howie Rose Recalls A Time In Which He Described Meaningful Sports Events

Posted in Hockey, New York, New York, Sports Radio at 5:59 pm by

With the New York Rangers on the brink of advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, what better time for the New York Post’s Zach Braziller to distract Mets radio voice Howie Rose from his miserable full-time gig with memories of his most fateful piece of hockey commentary, which celebrates it’s 20th anniversary tomorrow night.  To wit, Stephane Matteau’s double OT goal that gave the Rangers a Game 7 victory over the New Jersey Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals :

“It’s a moment that a lot of broadcasters work their entire careers for and never get,” Rose said before calling Monday’s Mets-Pirates game at Citi Field on WOR 710 AM. “Particularly now, with the 20th anniversary [on Tuesday] and the Rangers on a pretty great run, there are even more reminders today than the last couple of years.

“For it to have endured for 20 years, it’s pretty neat. I will say that I don’t think it would have taken on the apparent life it has had they not won the Cup.”

“The overriding thing I felt was the pressure to get every single play right,” the two-time Emmy Award winner and member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame recalled. “Your focus as an announcer is so intense. My attention to the puck was so acute and fixed, and a lot of it had to do with the location where we broadcasted at the Garden [above the tunnel where the teams entered and exited].

“It wasn’t an ideal location for hockey. In a perfect world, you like to be higher up, but in that particular case, the vantage point made it easy for me to keep my eyes glued to the puck. It was almost magnetic. [My eyes] were almost attached to the Rangers’ crest on the puck. There wasn’t any deliberation, any guesswork. It was the product of just basically reporting what I saw, which was reporting Matteau scoring the goal.”

05.25.14

CSTB’s Greatest (?) Hits : Rae Dawn Chong’s Dad Boasts Of Flagrant (2) Foul On Dylan

Posted in Basketball, Rock Und Roll at 6:37 pm by

(EDITOR’S NOTE : Because I’m a lazy motherfucker today is Bob Dylan’s birthday, here’s something special from August 22, 2008 – GC)

The New York Post’s Page 6 helpfully provides an excerpt from comedian Tommy Chong’s soon-to-be-released tome, “Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography”, including the shocking claim that unlike fellow Minnesotan Prince Rogers Nelson, Bob Dylan most certainly doesn’t have game.

“Bob Dylan wrote and recorded so many meaningful, historic songs,” writes Chong. But his genius didn’t extend to dribbling. “Bob had a good jump shot and some pretty good moves – but when he tried driving past me for a lay-up, the Canadian ice hockey player in me came out . . . I dumped him on his ass.

Chong also recounts a disastrous meeting with his idol, Jack Nicholson.

“[He] stared at me as if to say, You [bleep]ing idiot! Is that all you can say? . . . Is this why you exist? To bug the hell out of us celebrities who just want to be left alone to drink, snort coke and [bleep] adoring fans? Why don’t you get out of my face and let me continue on my way forgetting that we ever met, OK? . . . My pot high evaporated . . . I vowed that when I got as famous as Jack, I would never disrespect my fans.”

But Nicholson later inadvertently helped the duo score a hit record as they rode with him to a Lakers game and he sped into oncoming traffic to make time. “Whenever Cheech got nervous he would begin to sing . . a popular song and add his own crazy words,” writes Chong. That night it happened to be a version of “Love Jones,” which he sang as “Basketball Jones . . . I got a basketball jones.” It was so catchy, “we recorded the master the next night.”

Next week : Roland A. Duby on the time he broke up a double play with a spikes-first slide into Phil Ochs’ ankle.

McKenna On The Constant Hounding Of Neil Lennon

Posted in Football at 6:05 pm by

Earlier this week, Neil Lennon stepped down as manager of Celtic after a four year tenure by considerable success/silverware…. and being abused if not physically threatened off the pitch.  Calling Lennon, “the bravest man in Scotland”, the Guardian’s Kevin McKenna catalogs many of the incidents in question while explaining, “Lennon is a Catholic from Northern Ireland. He has red hair and a belligerent onfield demeanour that brooks no compromise. He never backs down. And then of course, he played for Celtic FC. For some in Scotland, this was a toxic cocktail that deserved a violent response.

On one occasion, he was kicked to the ground by two assailants outside his favourite wine bar in one of Glasgow’s most desirable neighbourhoods. Most famously, he was attacked on the pitch in Edinburgh by a supporter of Heart of Midlothian. The incident was witnessed by millions watching live on Sky TV. In what must have been a world legal first an Edinburgh jury subsequently cleared his assailant.

Three years ago, two men from Ayrshire tried to blow up Lennon and his family by sending him a parcel bomb. A judge convicted them of a lesser charge. Others had attempted to send him bullets in the post. He was forced to stop playing international football for his beloved Northern Ireland because he and his family began to receive death threats immediately following his move to Celtic.

Since 2011, he and his family have received round-the-clock police protection at home and at his children’s school. During this time, Lennon was badly let down by every major organisation in Scotland that would normally have been expected to intervene as this extraordinary campaign of personal vilification was being played out before them. Let none be in any doubt about this: Lennon was hated for his religion and for his country of origin. Too many Scottish football writers either chose to ignore what was happening or, worse, tried to justify it by saying that, by dint of his belligerent demeanour, he brought much of it upon himself. The Scottish government simply chose to look the other way while a migrant worker in Scotland was being racially abused in front of them and the Scottish Football Association refused to intervene. Indeed, on the only occasion that they did so, they hit Lennon with an extraordinary ban as punishment for reacting angrily, but not violently, to something uttered quietly by Ally McCoist, his Rangers counterpart.

05.24.14

Step Off Paul De Podesta, There’s A New (Self-Appointed) Successor To @MetsGM

Posted in Baseball, politics at 10:29 am by

(above : a man who has abused the public trust and become a nationwide laughingstock as a result. And on the right, the Governor of New Jersey)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a man as ethical as he is physically fit, appeared Boomer Essiason and Craig Carton’s morning radio program and revealed his cultural interests extend beyond worshiping Bruce Springsteen and not understand many of lyrics. Christie, described by USA Today as “a lifelong Mets fans”, has graciously offered his services to the team. Not as a bouncer at McFadden’s, sadly, but rather as a top executive (or failing that, GM).

“I would love to be general manager of the Mets,” he told WFAN radio’s Boomer and Carton show. “If Sandy (Alderson) would put his crap in boxes and get out of there now, I’d be happy to go there now.”

“I texted my son after they lost one of the games this week: It is impossible to watch,” he said. “It is impossible to watch. Just when you care about them as much as I do, it’s hard to watch sometimes.”

05.23.14

From The Entertainment Division Of Cumbucket Media : Stream The New Unholy Two LP ‘Talk About Hardcore’

Posted in 12XU, Internal Affairs, record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 5:14 pm by

(photo by Michael O’Shaughnessy)

Noisey’s Fred Pessaro says of Columbus, OH’s Unholy Two, “imagine all of the nastiness encapsulated by Brainbombs and in releases by Amphetamine Reptile, and you’ ll get some idea of their confrontational and downright badass approach.” Not to contradict Fred’s considered views on the matter, but another, let’s say less decorated analyst observed, “whether they’re running roughshod over Dallas Cowboys fans in “Redskins” (note to Dan Snyder — you’ll find this song on Spotify over my dead body), chronicling the exploits of Timothy McVeigh, covering NON’s ‘Total War; or paying homage to the oratory skills of Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., Unholy Two combine a sound / worldview that isn’t for everyone. The best records of all-time rarely are.”

If The Mets Are Playing Meaningless Baseball By July, Will It Really Be Matt Harvey’s Fault?

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 4:47 pm by

Of rehabbing Mets starter Matt Harvey’s penchant for bird flipping, model-dating, inflammatory tweeting and front-office contradicting, CBS New York’s Jason Keidel declares of the photogenic righty, “if he has an ounce of sense in his skull he will snap a lid on his mouth.”   So there we have it, the biggest problem facing these 2014 Mets isn’t ownership’s destitution, David Wright’s feeble power production, a gasoline-pouring bullpen or the manager’s curious handling of Juan Lagares.  Rather, it’s Matt Harvey, who at last look, wasn’t even eligible to pitch poorly.

Do your slicing on the mound. We don’t need to hear from you now, particularly that you think you can start six or seven games this year, when you need to wait until next year. Unless Harvey got his medical degree during the offseason, he shouldn’t go all James Andrews on us. The recovery time is what it is, even if the repaired arm is more magical than the others.

It’s too cliché to say that all stars and All-Stars are fueled by hubris, that their outsized egos are essential to their success.

Just ask Dwight Gooden. Despite his personal problems, Gooden was refreshingly modest on the stage. We can fly down memory lane and find ample, humble heroes, from Greg Maddux to Sandy Koufax to Lou Gehrig to Roberto Clemente. Mike Trout, already crowned the next Mickey Mantle, still speaks in the humble, small-town colloquialisms that make the sport so charming.

Mere mortals — and Harvey is all too human — must wait a year to 18 months to return from Tommy John. And his spastic case of machismo isn’t appealing, encouraging or refreshing.

He may not be Gooden on the field — or off, hopefully. But he’s strolling down the spiritual path.

05.22.14

A Handy, If Incomplete List Of Menacing Persons For Mark Cuban To Avoid

Posted in Basketball, Racism Corner at 5:52 pm by

For starters, thanks to Donald Fucking Sterling, I can no longer refer to Mavs boss Mark Cuban as The Owner With A Boner.  Even worse, Sterling’s banishment has Cuban playing devilish advocate all over the place, ie. at what point might his personal thoughts  & opinions be deemed socially unacceptable by the NBA?

Yesterday, Cuban suggested (with all due respect to Jimmy Carter) that he harbors bigotry in his heart, at least when it comes to wishing to avoid hoodlums of any race, particularly those wearing hoodies or donning tattoos.

As a favor to the overworked (and quick to bitch-out Bleacher Report) Cuban, I have compiled a checklist of similarly threatening types for him to steer clear of while negotiating the nation’s sidewalks :

1)

2)

And that’s about it.

05.21.14

A Mets Rebuild & The Demolition Of Citi Field Need Not Go Hand In Hand….

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 5:59 pm by

…unless you want the former to be successful. Seriously folks, I’m pretty fucking tired of harping on Citi Field’s unhelpful dimensions and not simply because I’ve been doing it for nearly half a decade. Were the Mets the sort of team that’s entirely built around pitching, defense and speed, there might actually be something approaching a home field advantage (perhaps the park was build for the 1985 Cardinals). Instead —- with an alarming percentage of monied douchnozzles roaming the ballpark’s premium beer stands rather than actually watching game within earshot of the participants — Citi is anathema to Mets hitters ; soon, the you’ll see children at the games too young to remember an era in which David Wright was actually a longball threat.

On Tuesday, Newsday’s Marc Carig cited a number of disturbing trends (ie. at home, the Mets are 25th in the bigs in line drive rate ; away from Flushing, they’re 3rd) but without concluding “reaching Sandy Alderson’s goal (of 93 wins) while shouldering this home-field disadvantage is nearly impossible.”

For some team officials, the ugly truth is that Citi Field has once again gotten in the heads of their hitters. They are trying too hard — swinging harder, pressing, you name it — to conquer the park’s dimensions. Whether or not they’re willing to admit it, they are competitors who have given way to human nature, even though compromising the process has made it even harder to get results.

“It gets to be more of a mental thing than it actually is physical,” hitting coach Dave Hudgens said. “Because the swings get longer, you try to do a little bit more. It’s more about us than it is anything else.”

The numbers seem to back that assertion as well. Mets manager Terry Collins said that the cumulative effect of watching long drives turn sends a destructive message.

“Hey, I’ve got to swing harder to do damage here,” Collins said. “The harder you swing, the less control of the barrel of the bat that you have, therefore the swing and misses are up.”

Minor League Giveaway Of The Year : Akron’s DEVO Bobblehead

Posted in Baseball, record collector disease at 2:50 pm by

Akron’s Rubber Ducks (AA, Eastern League) have a series of local-themed rock history bobbleheads planned for this season, with figurine tributes planned for Chrissie Hynde, Joe Walsh and (you expecting Tin Huey) hometown chart-toppers The Black Keys. Of particular interest to this blog’s readership, however, is Saturday’s DEVO bobblehead, being issued an collector skummy edition of 1000. There’s a Bob Mothersbaugh autograph signing on tap, and the Rubber Ducks have arranged an auction to benefit the family of DEVO’s late Bob Casale.

05.20.14

There’s Been A Bromosapian Attack In Orange County

Posted in Baseball, Mob Behavior at 5:33 pm by

How many times do you see a rather nifty/acrobatic catch of a foul ball by a paying customer and some declares, “sign that guy up”?  In the case of last night’s ugly incident at the Big A, someone could’ve well announced, “SIGN THAT GUY UP FOR A TEAM DEVOTED TO FLATTENING OLD LADIES AT ALL FUCKING COSTS”

New Snakes Exec La Russa : Hooray For Humanity

Posted in Baseball at 3:17 pm by

Newly ensconced Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa (above) told a Phoeniz radio station that clubs who rely too much on statistical analysis, “are making a big mistake”. Indeed, because as we’ve all learned, you cannot measure heart, unless of course, you’re referring to a human heart that’s been enlarged due to years of PED abuse (which Mr. La Russa would never, ever tolerate on his which, not even under multiple managerial tenures). From Arizona Sports’ Vince Marrotta :

My opinion is that it’s a valuable tool, but mostly a tool to help you identify talent and then prepare the talent,” La Russa told Burns and Gambo Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I think the biggest problem I see is there are teams that have gone way overboard and they are really interfering with the way the managers and coaches conduct strategy during the game by running the analytics and forcing them into it.

“I would definitely say I think that’s a bad idea, so I think my attitude, and I’ve talked to Derrick (Hall) and Ken (Kendrick) about it, is there’s an important place for it, but if you don’t stop and recognize the tradition and history of how you play and how you get coached and managed, and the contributions you can make, a computer analysis is never going to be able to replace that.”

La Russa went on to recall George Kissell, who spent nearly 70 years in the Cardinals organization as a player, manager, coach, instructor and scout.

“If we allow the metrics to do the exaggerated claims that they want to do, guys like Kissell are a relic and irrelevant and that’s a mistake,” he said. “What you do is you take that basic premise about the way human beings compete and how they need to be coached and managed, especially during a game as conditions change, and you don’t mess with it.”

05.19.14

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t : Francesa’s Heart Bleeds For Those Denied His Televisual Dynamism

Posted in New York, New York, Sports Radio at 8:27 pm by

(above : most certainly not Mike Francesa)

The daily simulcast of Mike Franceea’s top rated WFAN afternoon drive program recently moved from the YES Network to Fox Sports, a situation the host might’ve considered an upgrade were it not for Fox’s habit of preempting the show or moving shows-in-progress from FS1 to the less-available FS2.  Though Newsday’s Neil Best points out there’s some programming that’s simply too popular not to bump Francesa for (ie. Champions League soccer), Chris Russo’s former partner tells Best, “we have an issue here…I do have a high level of frustration.”

Francesa emphasized how much he likes the people at Fox both professionally and personally, and he said he and executives there are in the process of trying to “correct” the issue.

That issue is Francesa repeatedly has been pre-empted on Fox Sports 1, for everything from soccer to NASCAR to baseball, and pushed to FS2. Sometimes he has been knocked off both channels.

“We’ve been pre-empted far more than I ever thought possible,” he said.

Even on a clear day, he moves from FS1 to FS2 at 5 p.m. (Until last week, the switch happened at 4 p.m.)

“They have told me they’re very happy with the show,” Francesa said. “But I have to continue to find a way to take care of my daily loyal audience and to take care of Fox right now.”

“I owe my fans,” he said. “They have been great to me. They have been the most loyal audience anybody has ever had. I owe them, and I’m trying to get them the signal.”