Friday, January 29, 2010

The Musers Offer a Note of Grace

You've got to love the Ticket. I mean, you simply have no choice.

Just when you're about to smash your Sausage McMuffin with Egg into the car radio when Gordon (contrary to my request here) wrongfully accuses George of some absurd prejudice, or Dan McDowell interrupts someone unfunnily, or the AM and FM signals both pretty much vanish in the heart of Dallas, you hear something that reminds you of why you can't really listen to any other station in any other format, much less any other sports-talk station.

A couple of mornings ago, both Junior and George offered some extremely kind and generous thoughts on the subject of Tom Hicks. I've only lived in Dallas during a time when Hicks was the least popular of the major sports owners in the area, so it was quite arresting to hear from Craig and George what almost sounded like a nostalgic fondness about the man.

It was good to hear. It was gracious. And you what else it was? – it was manful. It was the way guys react to guys who are having a hard time, no matter what their past failings. It was a way that men say goodbye. It gave me a good feeling about the Musers, and about the Ticket – and about Tom Hicks, a guy whose qualities I might not otherwise have heard anything about.

Ever Wondered What "Heave To and Trice Up" Means?

Mike Rhyner has taken to using this phrase in his introduction to the Hardline program.

The phrase apparently has a couple of meanings from military naval usages.   It is more frequently expressed as "heave out and trice up."

In former days, it reportedly was a call to the crew to get out of bed (hammocks, whatever) and assemble on the deck to view floggings administered as discipline to crew members. All sailors were required to be present to view the punishment.

More recently, it is a call to the crew to get out of their bunks and fold the bunks up to the wall and secure them there.

If I get any other (better) explanations, I'll post.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prediction: Jason Walker . . .

.  .  .  will never win an E-Brake of the Week.

I think we should all email the Hardline and demand that they interview Jason Walker to get his story, just like they did with Doyle King.

But I do wonder what happened to Ms. Smith.  Someone out there knows, someone who reads this blog.  Some anonymous source.  I fear it isn't a happy parting, which would be too bad.  She was good for a laugh now and then, if not for a coherent account of trouble on our roadways.  And she was a pretty good sport about the pranks. 

Perhaps she has joined the Obama administration.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Full Disclosure" and One -- Actually, Two -- of the Funniest Typos of All Time

Since yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of the birth of The Ticket, I thought this might be the right time to post this item that's been rattling around on my topic list for awhile.

I read "Full Disclosure" in hardcover. It's not "Gone with the Wind," but it isn't badly written and moves along nicely, tells you some things the Ticket fanatic needs to know. And then I came to this typographical error that absolutely put me on the floor.

Now, the error appears in the course of George relating a story that was very frightening and unhappy for him and his family. But once you factor this out, and think about what this typo is saying, it's hilarious. And what is even more hilarious is that the book contains exactly the same typo a few pages later in an even more hilarious context.

Congregation, please turn to page 97 in your hardcover copy of "Full Disclosure." On that page you will see the dramatic story of how an out-of-control boater almost struck George's son Blake who was in the water having fallen off his skis. The bad boater missed Blake. You can imagine the drama of the scene when it was clear Blake was going to be OK. You yourself experience this relief, until you see this passage:

"It was just horrible. Everybody was crying, and my wife was balling." 

I defy you to read that sentence and not have an image flash through your mind of Mrs. Dunham engaging in some grossly inappropriate behavior while everyone else is crying with relief, and I'm not talking about a pickup game of hoops.

The same error appears a few pages later as Junior is describing how he left a girlfriend in Dallas to try his luck in Colorado. They had dated for two or three years, but, Junior reports, "the relationship was wobbling a little bit." Upon parting, Junior recalled on page 107:

"It was really tough; I remember leaving her that morning and we were both balling." 

Doesn't sound all that tough, really.  I love that "both," as though perhaps they were not balling, uh, together.  (If they were, you wouldn't need "both.")   Of course, the word the writer (who apparently was working without an editor) was searching for is "bawling." I note the unusual acknowledgement in the front of the book: "Proofreading by Jennifer Canzoneri."

Someone must have brought this to the publisher's attention, because neither error appears in the paperback version. So hang on to that hardcover first edition, P1's – like a misstruck penny or a stamp mistakenly bearing a likeness of Pauly Shore, or Billy Ripkin's notorious 1989 Fleer baseball card – it'll be worth a fortune someday.

Dr. Gary Tylock . . .

.  .  .  is falling seriously behind Dr. William Boothe in advertising frequency on The Ticket.

By the way -- the LASIK business in North Texas is a pretty nasty one.  Lawsuits, spammers criticizing doctors on consumer complaint websites, doctors allegedly setting up fake websites to denigrate the competition.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Or Would You Rather Spit on a Star?

This one is out of date, sorry.

Before the third Eagles game, the story circulated of Eagle employee Dave Spedaro, the guy who runs their website, having recorded himself spitting (a couple of times) on the blue Cowboy star in the middle of the field at Cowboy Stadium. It was a major story in the Dallas market.

The Musers and the Hardline both criticized the media coverage, arguing, in effect, that no one should care whether an Eagle employee spit on the star, because it was only a symbol. Desecration of the American flag, they said, was different. I couldn't tell if they thought it was different because (1) the flag is a symbol of America and America is a lot more important than the Cowboys, or (2) the flag is more closely associated with America than that blue star is with the Cowboys (in other words, the blue star hadn't attained true "symbol" status). Had to be one of those.

Surely wasn't #2. The star is sitting in the middle of the field. It's large. We all noticed when it wasn't on the field when the stadium first opened. It is on the helmet. Spedaro thought it was meaningful to spit on it. Terrell Owens thought it was meaningful to preen on it before he was a Cowboy.

So the Musers'/Hardline's thought must have been that, even though it symbolized the Cowboys, it was no big deal that an adversary's representative expectorated on it.

Now, we may all acknowledge that fights having to do with symbols are less important than the play of the game itself, and that a spot or two of saliva on turf are less significant than an injurious personal foul on a player. But to scorn the coverage of a deliberate injury to an acknowledged symbol as dwelling on something insignificant strikes me as wrongheaded. If the Dallas Cowboys are important to people, then a gratuitous insult to its symbol by a significant enemy is also important to those people.

Thus, the Ticket hosts' position translates into an argument that in the grand scheme of things, the Cowboys aren't important enough for it to matter that Spedaro spit on the star. Really? These guys make their living talking about the Cowboys! Of course they matter to people. Yeah, football is a game, it's not life, it's not Haiti relief, it's not government-sponsored health care, but it is a gigantic part of the lives of lots and lots of people. And once you understand that, then the Cowboy star is "important" in the same way, and a Spedaro recording himself spitting on it is a worthy story. I'm not going to argue about degree, or media overkill – but it was a real story that mattered in the grand scheme of coverage of that playoff game, and the Musers and Hardline sounded a little out of touch in dismissing it.

All Right, I'll Bite -- Where Is Barb Smith?

Not that I miss her largely incoherent traffic reports, but I thought I would see something on the Internets about her absence or outright departure.  Nope. 

Anyone out there have a notion of what's happened to her?

If Ms. Smith is out, I see no reason that we should have to listen to anyone other than Doyle King.  This Jason guy whose last name I used to be able to remember is OK, if you're interested in traffic, but Doyle elevates useless traffic reporting to an art form, where one actually listens to the thing even though aware that it's probably a good hour-and-a-half behind the actual events on the roadway.  So if we have to have the advertising segments extended by useless traffic fibs, we ought at least to be able to enjoy being fibbed to by the magnificent Doyle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Did The Ticket Have to Be AWOL on the Night of the Viking Game?

So here we have the biggest Cowboy game in years.

And over here we have the most popular and famous sports radio station in DFW that prides itself on providing local programming, as opposed to competitors who offer a lot of network or syndicated nonlocal programming.

So why, after Norm and Donovan's two-hour post-game show (which is outstanding), does The Ticket shut down Cowboy coverage and go to a broadcast of a college basketball game – Wake Forest v. Duke, a game of no local interest?

There's a contract in this somewhere, some legal reason The Ticket had to broadcast that game. The advertising already sold, some kind of syndication deal to fill in content. But even though The Ticket might not have had foreknowledge that the Cowboys would be playing today – although the possibility could not have been all that remote – it was a certainty that the weekend would have featured the four playoff games, which would have been of considerable interest to the The Ticket demo.

So the Cowboy game might have taken Ticket programmers by surprise. But what would it have taken to pre-empt that worthless game for the sake of serving the faithful P1's who, I suspect, tuned in to The Ticket's two local competitors' football talk show in droves (like I did)?  Local stations pre-empt network programming all the time for matters of intense local interest.  There is unquestionably a financial hit in doing so, but that begs the question of where management's/ownership's priorities lie.  Maybe it would have been economically irrational to absorb the financial penalty from pre-empting that who-cares basketball game, but to the almighty demo, the effect was unmistakable:    In the P1 Nation's hour of need, The Ticket was, in effect, off the air.

On Sunday, The Ticket didn't seem like the premier sports-talk station in Dallas.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Musers and Hardline Bury . . . Actually, Avoid the Lede

This entry won't be entirely fair. I think both shows missed a big point today, but it's not their job to anticipate what I think the point is about any given topic. So I concede, in advance, that this critique will be somewhat arbitrary.

Both shows devoted a segment to the NBA's suspension of Gilbert Arenas for pulling a gun in the Washington Bullets' locker room. One of his teammates did the same. On the Musers, Devin Harris (I think) was quoted as estimating that around 70% of the NBA players have guns (unclear whether they regularly carried them). The Musers noted that this did not seem to be a big problem in other sports.

Both shows asked the question, "why are all these NBA guys carrying guns?" Both shows kinda half-heartedly wondered whether it was for protection (the Hardline rejected this more vigorously than did the Musers), and there were a couple of suggestions that players wanted to "keep it real." But they professed to be, for the most part, baffled. 

Really? I would have thought that the answer virtually screams itself: they carry guns because the thug-life inner-city hoops street gang culture – and, I'm guessing, actual street gang influence -- has infiltrated the NBA.  Starts in high school basketball, graduates to college, and on to the NBA.   So I thought both shows missed a chance to say something interesting about the NBA.

I myself don't have any evidence of actual gang influence on NBA players. But there's a reason Arenas was indefinitely suspended, and that is that David Stern is terrified that the league has acquired the reputation as the pro sports adjunct to what is, in effect, organized crime.  Player posses loaded with suspicious characters; players bristling with firearms; Paul Pierce and Derrick Rose flashing gang signs.  

Surprised the Musers and Hardline seemed so perplexed about where the NBA gun culture comes from.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Hearing a Lot More . . .

. . . unsponsored segments. I wonder why station management doesn't discourage the hosts from calling attention to this.
The advertising revenue from Junior’s mama or Mike’s butt would have to be negligible.
Could be wrong -- maybe January is the Death Valley of ad sales, coming after the free-spending holidays.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolution for The Ticket

If I had one resolution to offer for The Ticket, it would be to inventory the list of host cliches, and get rid of them.  Number one on the list:

"Not so much."


"It is what it is."
"There is no doubt."
"Ya think?"
"Wellllllllllllllllllll."  (Which single-handedly renders Why Today Doesn't Suck pretty much unlistenable, although there are other elements that render it unlistenable.)

Happy New Year, P1 Nation.