Tuesday, March 27, 2012

EMERGENCY OPEN THREAD: The Departure of That Nice Young Michael Gruber

I'm actually sitting here in the middle of a meeting in NoCal, but certain things have to be put aside.  No time to write anything on this, except that (i) I regret intensely and (ii) I'm delighted that Michael is pursuing his education. 

The Barley House is in mourning.

There will certainly be more on this, but here's a place for us all to gather on this very dramatic day in Ticket history.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

OPEN THREAD: Imagining the Unimaginable

Lamest.  Open Thread. Ever.

Confessors, I am out starting now and until at least next weekend.  I will have to leave this site in your very good hands.   Not even sure I'll have time to monitor comments, so continue your current practice of civil discourse.  (The tone of recent back-and-forths has been very high.)

This LOTE is prompted by the last ratings book I reported on a few weeks ago.  I was extremely surprised at the relative strength of ESPN compared to The Fan.  I would have expected the latter to be much stronger than the former, but not so.

So here's your starter topic:

If The Ticket vanished tomorrow (given its technical backwardness, not so far-fetched), and its hosts did not migrate to other sports-talk stations in DFW, and you decided that you still wanted to listen to sports-talk on the radio, which of the two remaining sports talkers would you turn to, and why?  You can compare stations generally, or you can go show-by-show, host-by-host. 

Open Thread policy remains the same:   You are free to ignore the offered topic completely if something more interesting comes along, or we need to get reaction on some showgram drama having taken place that day.

Sorry for the absences. Be back in a week at the earliest.  Carry on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stop the Bombing

I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the pallet this morning.

So much so that I'm not even going to apologize to hockey fans for the following:

I understand that shows that formerly didn't give a rip about hockey (Musers, Hardline) are now required to do hockey segments because The Ticket has had the misfortune to have CTOs who thought it needed some sport to be the "flagship" of.

But must we be subjected to segments such as aired today on "how the Stars feel" -- feel, for crying out loud -- about only earning one point instead of two in last night's shootout victory?   Christ, I could have done that segment.  ("Well, Craig, I doubt that they feel as good about getting one point as they surely would have if they'd gotten two."  Do I get the job?)  I am inclined not to blame The Musers, partly because I'm mainly in the tank for The Musers to begin with, and partly because I'm guessing that they were surely forced to do some kind of hockey segment. 

Yeah, I know they went on the hockey road trip and it changed the Stars' fortunes, but this is my blog and I'm in a bad Ticket mood and I don't want to hear hockey talk under any circumstances unless it involves female nudity.  And I especially don't want to hear forced-segment hockey talk.

And maybe I've been listening to too much Donovan lately, but I'm wondering if the Musers conspired to put on the most leaden possible segment to embarrass management into not imposing a hockey-talk quota.


And while I'm in a lousy Ticket mood, what the hell was wrong with 1310 AM this morning?  I get into range where it's usually clear -- you know, downtown -- and it sounds like five other distant stations are broadcasting in the background.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Donnie Don't

I'm probably going to regret this.

This site is a fan of Donovan Lewis.  Like the sound, like the content, like the attitude.  Like the race talk with the other hosts -- funny, respectful, hits the right notes.  I hope I don't sound patronnizing, but it has occurred to me that Donnie and the BaD team interact with one another in exactly the right way in this time of delicate racial sensibilities.  When he gets friends and family on the air -- some memorable segments, great radio, funny, and educational to those of us who spend too much time on the honkish frontier.

Some commenters have opined that he talks too much, beats things into the ground, takes over segments.  Just never got that impression. 

But my jaw dropped today as I hit the Philco in the Conestoga, waiting eagerly for Race Week, when Donnie and Cash (I think it was Cash, anyway -- I don't listen to Norm enough to have Mike's sound emblazoned into the living tissue, and I think I heard that Mike was in Las Vegas) discussed Earvin "Magic" Johnson's two decades of good health after his announcement that he was HIV-positive.  Thankfully, he never developed AIDS, and has remained in good health ever since through administration of the ever-improving "cocktails" to fight the disease. 

(Folks, please:  Let's not get into the controversy of whether "HIV causes AIDS."  I'm pretty familiar with that controversy, stoked most prominently in the 1990's by Cary Mullis, the Nobel prize-winning biochemist who invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.  The biology remains somewhat controversial, and certainly the AIDS pandemic never took hold in the US as predicted, but there doesn't seem to be much legitimate controversy about the connection between the virus and AIDS.)

I remember that announcement well.  During the Bulls-Lakers 1991 Championship Series, I recorded a parody for WLUP in Chicago ("Got a Black Magic Johnson") that got some good airplay.  A few months later, Magic made his announcement.

It is Donovan's opinion that Magic Johnson was never, has never been, HIV-positive.

He believes that, at age 32, Johnson was approached by the NBA and other powers-that-be offering him -- I'm not sure what -- to falsely represent that he was HIV-positive, end his playing career (mostly, for awhile anyway) and to become a powerful voice in HIV/AIDS education, which he has been in the years since. 

His evidence:  No one of the many women with whom he had sex in the years prior has ever come forward to claim that Johnson (who, I guess it is reputed, never took Mike Rhyner's advice on appropriating sheathing practices) infected them.  Nor his wife (Cookie).

I had never heard this theory before, and wondered whether it was some kind of underground conspiracy theory that never got much pub.  My research hasn't been exhaustive (Google), but I only found one reference to anyone else publicly expressing that thought:   In 2008, a couple of radio talkers at KTLK in Minneapolis, Chris Baker and Langdon Perry, expressed the view that Magic "faked AIDS."  They didn't express their reason for thinking this, not coherently anyway, and seemed puzzled at what his motivation might have been.  (They were obviously puzzled about other things, expressing the thought that Johnson was "the only cured AIDS guy ever.")

Magic strongly rebuked them, and the station "regretted" the remarks and ran a series of HIV/AIDS public service ads in penance.

So -- wow, Donnie.

Now, I didn't hear what came before this, so perhaps I need some context here.  But it didn't sound to me like he was kidding.  He was pretty adamant about it. I would be grateful if anyone else heard this and heard it differently.  And let me say this:  If I've got Donovan wrong here based on what got broadcast, I'll apologize and take this post down.

Interesting to see whether Donovan's remarks will cause a stir.  I'm imagining that Cat is on the phone to The (Incomparable) UnTicket right now.

Donovan -- still love you, man, and you've got some stones.  But hokey smokes, Bullwinkle, hope you're wearing your asbestos boxers. 

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OK, Confessors:  You're a civil bunch, this is a site for respectful comment, and let's keep it that way.  It's a delicate subject, and while if you want to take a shot at Donovan you can do it here, I'll cordially invite you to keep it in the ballpark. 

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Take Me Out to Diamond Talk

This site is a big fan of The Tee Box with Rick Arnett and Craig Rosengarden on Saturday mornings (actually, a big fan at all times). 

But it was great to twist the knob on the Philco this morning on the way to work and hear Sean Bass and David Newbury holding forth on All Things Rangers.  These guys do a solid job during the year and today's presentation is really keeping my interest.  (I'm writing this during their Chuck Morgan interview, which has been real good.) 

David Newbury has taken some heat from Confessors over the months for various reasons:  Fracas with Matt McClearin, an unsmooth broadcast delivery.  I think he's fine.  I do like to hear broadcasters who sound like they're not afraid of a mic, but I think David fits in well with the overall sound of The Ticket.  Sounds like a guy to me, with the added benefit of being a guy who really does his homework.

Sean Bass brings his Tickerman skills to the show along with solid diamond knowledge.  He's a legacy voice for me on the station, never a stop-down.  He also seems to be a guy who has the respect of everyone on the station.  Can't put my finger on why I get the feeling that he's a well-liked figure among the hosts and JV, but it's just something that I feel through the speakers. 

Can't wait for the roar of the grass, the smell of the crowd.

Not Sean and David; Snow Monkeys in Snow

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Friday, March 16, 2012

And This Is How the Ticket Welcomes Me Back

So I'm away all week in rough meetings. I had a terrible day of travel yesterday.  Got into DFW at 11:45 on American, of course the Conestoga is parked at the other American terminal, TravelLink wasn't operating so had to call them up and have them come get me (and others who'd gotten in late).  Took them forever to come and they were surly when they arrived.  Impossible signage out of DFW to get on the right road with all the construction.  Head didn't hit the pillow until 2 AM.   Mrs. Plainsman had let the dog sleep on the bed all week and it missed me, so it refused to go into its crate and now I have a large furred mammal braced up against me like an All-Pro Foundation Repair pier as I try desperately to grab a few hours of sleep before an early day today.  I get up and discover that the latch on my catalogue bag is stuck so I can't get to any of my stuff, including my laptop and all pertinent documents.  I'm facing deadlines and hours behind and no idea how I'm going to get my bag open.

Ah, The Ticket!  Always a bright spot.  I run the razor back and forth along the strop so I can get a nice close shave, lather up my face, and reach over and turn on the Crosley.

And what do I hear?

Three hours of Gordon's desperate and apparently unreturned man-love for Mike Doocy.

Big Gordon P1 here.   I've got a pro-Gordon piece in the hopper.  And he's even toned down some of his guaranteed stop-down habits over the past couple of years.  But this one  .  .  .  .   he just can't quit Doocy.  I've noted his unslakable schoolgirlish crush on Doocy in the past as evidenced by his constant schoolboyish teasing. (Gordon mentioned my observation on the air one day, although without attribution.)  

Apparently the same team ran the Muser show on Thursday, so perhaps my being away paid some dividends after all.

Mike and Gordon Return from a Certain Mountain
(taken without permission from The UnTicket, at this posting)
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Hey, Confessors, great comments while I was away.  My thanks for your careful stewardship of this site.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

OPEN THREAD: The Ticket Talks Politics

Confessors, I'm going to be away from the channel and with zero time for most of the next week.  Got some savory items lined up, I think, but they'll have to wait.   Wait at least a week before scolding me for not providing new content.

In the meantime: 

What's your reaction when any of the shows talk politics?  Not just politics, but current events generally.   I'm less concerned about pop culture -- after all, The Ticket is pop culture -- but about the Larger Issues of Our Time.

President Lincoln Checks Out BaD Radio's Reviews
of His Second Inaugural Address
I have on my list to write about the public-events talk of one Ticketarian in particular, but I'm going to hold onto that. 

All I'll say is -- and this has nothing to do with left/right, old/young, Democrat/Republican, Old School/New School, what I believe/what wrong people believe -- half or more of the time, I cringe.  My punch-out finger usually goes at least halfway to the Philco while I decide whether to take the opportunity to scan the sports-radio horizon.   This isn't a matter of a host's "right" to express his views.  Of course he has the right to his beliefs and to express them.  I'm talking about whether it's good radio, whether it portrays Our Weekday Heroes in a positive light.


ALSO:  Since I won't be around to call attention to particular broadcast items of note, please use this string to do so.  Please report on good stuff as well as stuff like -- well, you know, the usual stuff we gripe about.   All threads on this site are always open for everything, so have at it.  My thanks.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

A Fairly Non-S STD, Followed by a Blazing HSO

The Non-S STD* is this:

The Musers to a smallish extent, and The Hardline, especially Corby, to a much larger extent (or, as Corby might put it, to the largest extent I have ever, ever seen in the history of time), expressed the view that the revelation that the Saints were paying players for inflicting hard hits, more for injuries, more for stretcher casualties, is not such a big deal.  Something that, apparently, everyone knew or must have known or probably knew, and it happens all the time, and across the league.

I'd never before heard that any team, much less many teams, compensated players for causing injury.  I certainly never heard it on The Ticket.  I'm wondering then, why it is such a gigantic story now, and why those who are shrugging their shoulders over it happening on The Little One have never let us in on it.  I'm not saying Corby or anyone else had knowledge of Greg Williams's actions or should have been compelled to report on particular verified instances of pay-for-injury -- I'm saying that if the general practice were widespread and known or even reasonably believed by Our Heroes, they might have opined on it somewhere along the line.

Conclusion:  This may be an instance of ubercoolness by those Heroes of ours, not wanting to seem shocked by the things that are shocking to Those of Us Not in The Know.

If not:  What other amazingly scandalous but unreported things about sports do you suspect that you're not telling us?

*For new Confessors:  STD = Scorching Ticket Disquisition


The blazing HSO is this:

The intentional causing of injury to another is a crime.  Not just hard hits during a sporting event, but any kind of battery with the intent to injure.  Intent being the difference between a crime and injury inflicted in the normal course.

I know Roger Goodell is going to come down on the Saints and maybe other of Williams's stops like a ton of bricks, and that's fine, I hope the Saints and responsible persons, including Sean Payton, get flayed, and where I don't have a dog in the hunt I sentimentally root for the Saints.

Wikipedia reports that since 1969, there have been 12 instances of criminal prosecution for injuries intentionally inflicted during hockey games, almost all of them in Canada.  Many if not most of them resulted in acquittals or minor punishment.  I'm suspecting that this is because in many cases, the difficulty in proving intent is key, and there may even be some instances of provocation by the injured.   And fighting is an expected commonplace in the NHL

What is being charged now in the NFL goes way beyond this.   This isn't "heat of battle" violence, this isn't injuries inflicted during a donnybrook, this is premeditated battery.  The scheme of promising in advance to pay for it on completion makes it particularly heinous, just as murder for hire is always first-degree murder -- not just manslaughter. 

I'm not a criminal lawyer or expert on the topic, but it's my impression that there are two things that make crimes hard to charge and prove, other than the actual commission of the mayhem in question:  the difficulty of proving intent, and the reasonable doubt standard.  It's what kept guys like Jack Tatum and Conrad Dobler out of prison. 

But if today's accounts are to be credited, both intent and proof beyond a reasonable doubt would be a cinch in this case.

And to this, you can add the additional aggravating circumstances of conspiracy. 

Sporting fields, and the games held there, are not beyond the jurisdiction of civil authority.

So if I were District Attorney Leon A. Cannizzaro, District Attorney for Orleans Parish -- and, I suppose, if I didn't care about being re-elected -- I'd be seeking indictments against some coaches and players and coaches, and putting some of them the hell away.

Dinner is served. 

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Few Quick, and Pretty Weak, Hits

Owe the Confessors an apology -- the last few articles have been pretty lame.  Excuse:  Time, haven't got it for the more provocative and interesting pieces, but trying to get up some new content for the increasing number of MTC addicts.  (Whenever I'm off for a few days, they let me hear from them.)   Got some OK topics coming up, but for now, here's some fairly lightweight observations:

(1)  Latest punch-out:  Gingerbread man commercial.  I don't even know who it's for.

(2)  Hitched up the Conestoga around 1 pm Friday, fired up the Philco, and when the sports talk came on, after a few seconds I said to myself:  "What's Corby doing on the air middays?" 

Of course, it wasn't middays and, shockingly, it wasn't even The Ticket.  It was The Fan.  (I must have punched over during a gingerbread man commercial before exiting the wagon the last time.) 

And, of course, it wasn't Corby.  But it was a guy who sounded just like him.  He talked a little faster and he wasn't offering Corby's more reptilian content, but the timbre and even the little break in the voice was startlingly Corbylike.  It was him and another guy, neither of whom I recognized, and neither of whom was Mark Elfenbein.  I tried to hear them call one another a name, and the only thing I came up with is that the Corby-guy might possibly have been named Kevin. 

(3)  All right, this one's way, way out there. 

You know that ad for Bar & Book at Lone Star Park in the form of a news report where all of the anchors and the chick on the scene are astounded that wagering might be taking place there?  (The one where the chick says "Uh, I don't have the angle" and they end up calling the lawyer who says that betting at Bar & Book is AOK and probably fun, too.) 

I was listening to Alexis doing a traffic report and I was startled at some vowel-consonant combination of one kind or another and I thought -- where have I heard that funky sound before?  And I realized it was the Lone Star Park reporter chick.  Now I know, I know that Alexis's traffic reports don't sound like the reporter chick, but if Alexis hammed it up for a voiceover, maybe? 

And anyway, it gives me an excuse to run a picutre of Alexis, which is always good for some Google image-search hits.

Hope to have something better for you soon.  Not better than Alexis, just better MTC content.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Random, and Very Quick, Hits

(1)  Mark Cuban owes The Ticket, and particularly Craig, an apology.  The Ticket guys were saying what everyone else was seeing, which was that Lamar Odom was a discontented bust.  Right around the time of a Guys' Night Out in Frisco, Cuban gave an interview talking about what "idiots" the Ticket guys were, and singled out Junior as the "biggest" idiot.  Well, Lamar Odom is a discontented bust and Mark Cuban should man up and admit it.

(2) There seems to be a lot more hockey talk these days on non-BaD radio.  Yeah, I know the station broadcasts the games, but other than BaD, until recently the station ignored the Stars to the extent possible.  Somehow The Hardline was coerced into interviewing new owner Tom Gaglardi.   The Musers this morning did a rapturous segment on last night's losing effort (shootout).   Maybe it's because the Stars have crept into the decidedly non-elite playoff-eligible club.  Anyway, it seems there is suddenly more enthusiasm for the sport among showgrams that haven't touched it in the past.

(3) Listen up:  I thought Gordon's Joe Odom (Lamar's pop), yesterday's 8:40 bit and today's 6:40 repeat, was absolutely hilarious.  Funniest thing I've heard on the station in awhile.  Amazing vocal transformation.   Didn't find it offensive or racist.  But I was thinking:  OK, this bit plainly calls on stereotypes of older, possibly unemployed black men.  The accent; the language; the topics (gambling, smokes, women).  Is this the sort of thing that people who accuse The Ticket of racism are referring to?  As I say, I thought it was a fair bit, but it was pretty ethnic stuff.

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