Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kidd Kraddick, RIP

I did not grow up around here and he wasn't syndicated in any place I've lived in my adult life, at least not while I lived there.  So he wasn't a part of my radio DNA over the years. 

But it's clear from the reaction of the Ticket guys, this morning's Shake Joint, and commenters that he meant a lot to a lot of Confessors. 

A thread for you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Me, Myself, and Identifying

A couple of weeks back, a commenter asked the question:  With which Ticket personality do you identify?   At the time I asked whether this was a different question from "Which Ticket personality do you like the most?" which is also a worthy question, but not quite the same.

I've been thinking this over myself.

At first I thought -- no contest:  Craig Miller.

He takes a wry view of things, digs beneath the stats to try to discern the human element that is sometimes ignored, is fearless in his frequent predictions and, if he remembers them, is quick to note when they do not pan out.  He has an offbeat sense of humor.  As the Fred Astaire of The Ticket, he has a very elegant style of public discourse, although perhaps uses fewer words than Your Plainsman to get his point across.  He hasn't vomited in many years.  He is an avid cyclist.  He goes a long, long time between blog entries.  (  And he is devastatingly attractive when he puts on the dog for a dressy function:

Then I thought:  no; no.  Gotta be Gordon Keith.

You may not find this particular site amusing, but I've done a fair amount of humorous writing and performing in my time.  I wrote and performed the songs for a parody band in Chicago called Lower Wacker Overdrive that got a lot of airplay on the Jonathan Brandmeier morning show on WLUP ("Got a Black Magic Johnson," about 20 others, including lead-ins to traffic and news; keyboards and vocals, a little guitar).  He's a voracious and omnivorous reader.  He is very keenly interested in the Kennedy assassination and perceives, correctly, that Oswald acted alone.  He has struggled with his weight from time to time.  And, of course, he frequently assumes a false identity:

But that still wasn't quite right.

Then, I got it.

The Ticket personality I most identify with is Jeff "Cat" "Catman of the Americas" "The Pan-American Catman" Catlin.

Youthful.  Natty.  Only one image of him available on the Internet.  Favors Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep products (witness his inaugural endorsement of Pat Lobb Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Frisco).   Recipient of occasional praise and frequent, and angry, criticism, which he accepts with aplomb as going with the territory.  But his characteristic that puts him over the top is his task of wrangling a large number of talented and intelligent but strong-willed and sometimes naughty men who must sometimes be reined in and, on rare occasions, um, deleted.


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Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Gordon Exegesis -- Wherein I Get to the Point I Started Out to Make, or Some of It

So let me get to the pronunciamiento that's I've been meaning to pronunce now for a couple of years, teasing the Confessor quite rudely in the meantime:

Gordon Keith is The Great Ticket Moderate.

See, unlike a lot of his critics who deride what they perceive to be his pseudointellectualism, I believe that Gordon is, in fact, an intellectual.

Before I get pounced on by the many, many Confessors who think Gordon is only a pretend sophisticate who just reads some popularization of the latest pop-psycho trend, let me tell you what I mean by "intellectual."

I've spent some time in the academy among people who most would regard as "real" intellectuals, and I have to tell you that if that's the case the state of our intellectuals is pretty, pretty sad.  The academy, much of it, is in the grip of ideology, of "theory," and I wouldn't give you a nickel for the opinions of the lot of them on The Way the World Really Works, or Should.

He may not have a lot of university book-larnin', but I will stack his analytical skills up against pretty much any of today's liberal arts faculty. He's a perfect spokesman for Half-Price Books. When I call him an "intellectual," I mean he has a thirst for learning, and when he acquires it, he digests it in a very non-ideological way. He sometimes plays the Muser Liberal, but I'm not buying it. If you really listen to his (admittedly rare) serious broadcasting on issues, I daresay you would have a difficult time pegging him as a liberal or as a conservative. Hell, he's even had some kind words for Rush Limbaugh, recognizes what is powerful and appealing about the man (and what is bombastic and offensive). He's skeptical of government, the control of the many by the few, but exhibits what I, at least, hear as sympathy for those whose unfortunate condition is out of their hands. Gordon is what I would call a "classical liberal" -- remember, the Enlightenment philosophers behind the American Revolution were "liberals" -- as opposed to today's "social liberal." I don't know who the guy voted for, but I sure don't hear much admiration for Obama, nor did I hear much contempt for Romney. I really do think that if you make a serious effort to discern what Gordon "really thinks," you're going to find a guy who listens to all sides and uses plain old common sense to make up his own mind.  Unlike many of today's "real" intellectuals, academics, pundits, those types, Gordon is not in the grip of ideology.

This, I think, is the foundation of his comedy.

I used the word in the previous post: Gordon Keith is observant. He is a watcher, a listener. He soaks it up and writes it down, without judgment. The whole world is fodder for his voice and pen. This may sound obvious and treacly -- all comics are observant -- but Gordon couldn't do what he does, certainly not in the volume he does it, if his mind only bent a certain way.

And now I'm going to go out on a limb (surprise).

I think Gordon's bottomless curiosity has a price.

I sense a deep but distinctive streak of melancholy in Gordon. It doesn't come out, often, in his comedy. As I write this, I realize I don't really have much in the way of evidence for it. But the observer who is also a reporter (I mean a reporter through comedy, not a Muse/News reporter) with Gordon's wide range of subjects can find it difficult to keep contacts with any of the many worlds he mines for material:  male/female, right/left, black/white/brown, young/old, rich/poor.  His humor, because it is so wide-ranging, so "moderate," if you will, isolates him.

I know nothing, absolutely not one thing, about his personal life.  But I would be surprised if he does a lot of palling around with palsy-walsies, belongs to organizations, has a whole bunch of close friends.  I don't mean he's a complete loner strange-o, yeah, he has friends, sure.  But I think his intellectual and comedic restlessness manifests itself in restlessness generally -- and what we know to be a certain lack of personal organization, an unwillingness to plan ahead.  And not exactly a fear of commitment, but a wariness of what commitment to anything or anyone means -- it means drawing a curtain across a window to observation, blocking off a comedic avenue, settling on something that needs continuing evaluation.

So I would invite the Confessor to give Gordon a break.  I thank those commenters who have observed that with Gordon the P1 has been given a very great gift.   We don't have to like everything he does, and I don't.  But what he does is hard work, he does it incredibly well most of the time (and again -- at an extraordinary pace) and, I am suggesting, he performs it at a considerable psychological cost.

I think Gordon Keith is a good guy.  I consider it a privilege to hear him every day and read him every week.

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Do I have a second?  All in favor?  Hearing no objections, I declare Gordon Keith Week at a close.  

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I will be away all week.  Take good care of the joint.  I'll be checking in probably once daily to chase away the babyarm people but other than that not back for a bit, maybe toss in a comment.  Anything dramatic happens on the air, please let us know. Be kind to one another.

And hey, you Gordon-dislikers.  Your opinion is respected here.  All I ask is that you keep things civil.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Long-Promised Gordon Keith Article -- Part 1 of . . . Who Knows!!?? As Gordon Keith Week Continues to Mature

Everyone has a view of Gordon Keith.  A few days ago, I posted birdie's account of his evolving view of the man.  Very nice, balanced piece.  He has the advantage of me, as he's been listening for many years longer than I have.  You will see a lot in here that birdie's already reported; many of his views and mine are congruent.

Some Confessors just don't like the guy much at all, but with only few exceptions, they recognize his talent.  Those talents are considerable and, in my judgment, borderline amazing. 

First, there's just the comedy content, which, for many, focuses on his impressions.  They are indeed very good, and in some cases uncanny.  Are you aware that he has two Jerry Jones impersonations?  There's the comic foghorn Jerry that we're all familiar with.  And, every once in awhile, very rarely, he'll favor the P1 with his "real" impersonation where he backs off a little and that is absolutely dead on with the Jerry you hear -- well, you hear everywhere.

Garrett.  Hicks.  Norm.  Nolan.

And there are the characters which, when listed, current and retired, soar into the dozens upon dozens, very few of them sounding like another  .

And think about the sheer volume of material he has to come up with -- a lot of which he composes during the show.

I'm like most of you -- I hear some things from time to time that I'd have left on the shelf.  I mentioned a week or so back that I heard something awhile back that I did think went over the line.  I wrote a column on it, but shelved it myself.  It was the Doug Free character (no evidence I know of that it was an actual impersonation).  Since this column is basically a rave, I'll cut and paste it here:

Let me make one thing clear.

I laughed at Gordon's Doug Free bit during Kowboy Komedy Theater (I know, I didn't tune in, but they replayed it the next day).  I laughed at it again during the 8:40 bit back a week or so ago.  I guess maybe that's two things to make clear.

I will also make clear that I am aware that Doug Free, after receiving yet another one of Jerry Jones's incomprehensibly gaudy contract extensions, may have devolved into the worst offensive lineman in the Niffle.  I don't recall having heard anything about him being injured or that there is any other explanation for his poor play other than just plain bad football playing.

So I cannot deny that, as a prominent local underperforming professional athlete,  he is fair game for Gordon.

But is anyone else out there uncomfortable with his (again, concededly, hilarious) portrayal of Doug Free as a drooling, brain-damaged maroon?   Most of Gordon's impersonations are pointed, but only rarely are they vicious.  

So, alls I'm saying is -- I'm uncomfortable with it in the same way I'm uncomfortable with teasing of any unsatisfactory person that crosses the line from wit to cruelty. 

True, I laughed out loud.

But I'm not happy about it.

I think this summarizes what a lot of us think about Gordon.  Our jaws drop at his output and talent, but once in awhile we're mortified at the juvenalia -- which, at their heart, I think pieces like the Doug Free segments boil down to.

Having said this, I want to defend Gordon against charges of on-air bullying.  Maybe I'm not thinking of the same instances that other listeners are, but I think those critics are referring to his selection of unsuspecting interview subjects during his wireless perambulations.  It's true:  Some of them are drunk old men; some of them are silly young girls; all of them can be made to look foolish and sad to the with-it masses tuned in to the program.   I will concede that those are not my favorite Gordon segments, either.  But I believe all of these subjects know they're either on the air or being recorded, and if they're uncomfortable with Gordon doing his insinuating thing , asking about their sex lives and whatnot (more juvenalia), they can turn away from the mic or beat feet.

I do sometimes hear some, uh, shall we say, pointed remarks to the behind-the-scenes guys.  There's the "wanna shut that mike off, buddy?" drop, and there are other occasions where he's plainly unhappy with something going on behind the scenes.  I sense he's not a JV favorite.  We like to think of The Ticket as a bunch of guys who all get along, but the inside baseball there would probably astound us.  I'm going to come back to this, but on this particular point I'll only say this:  When your entire on-air time partakes of performance, and not just conversation, then things like timing and freedom from interruption are important.  If the toys don't work, or a drop plops in at the wrong place, or a JV inserts some snark -- well, it can screw up the gag. 

But I think we would also have to concede that there is very little of this.  The great mass of his production is quality stuff and within the bounds of comedic taste.  Yeah, there's the occasional miss, but, like Alan Swann (the Errol Flynn-like character from "My Favorite Year" played by Peter O'Toole) said while in extremis:  "Dying is easy; comedy is hard."  (The original quote to this effect, not nearly so pithy, is attributed to deathbed statements of Edmund Kean and/or Edmund Gwenn, the latter seeming to have the better claim.)  Not every bit is going to kill, especially when the bitmeister is called upon to produce like Gordon is.

I'm also impressed by his writing.  His DMNews columns are funny, but they can also be quite touching, and frequently very observant.  (If all you had was the evidence of his column, you would call him a "humorist.")  I wish I could think of the one a few months back that really moved me.   I would think some clever person (Wilonsky?) would be making an effort to syndicate his column, although it might have to lose the occasional DFW flavoring.

I'm going to say one more nice thing about Gordon before I get to my Big Point:  Gordon is always adjusting his game.  I think he listens to the P1.  birdie got to this point very nicely when he talked about Gordon's, and his own, journey down through The Ticket years.  I'll only mention one example, and unfortunately it's going to sound self-aggrandizing but here it is anyway:  I really didn't care for the way he used to bait George by attributing to him anti-gay/black/Mexican/etc. sentiments that he did not hold.  I didn't mind the political teasing -- it's just that it would bring the show to a complete halt while we all waited for George to say "that's not my opinion," and there would be an awkward pause, and jeesh.  He used it a lot.  I wrote about it a couple times, here's one:  MEMORANDUM TO: That Certain Commander.  Well, there's still that political teasing, but you almost never hear the baiting anymore.  Gordon is always fixing, tinkering, ridding out.  He cares more about the laugh than the showing off.

And Gordon mentioned in the mini-interview in The Observer that he's thinking of heading in a new direction.  I believe it.  Of course, anything -- including pronouncements of new directions -- can be a bit with Gordon.

OK, I know, not much new here, long way to go for not much.  Welcome to My Ticket Confession!  Time for the Big Point.

But I, personally, am having such a good time here during Gordon Keith Week -- and I can really feel the warm feelings out there among the Confessors! -- that I'm going to keep GKW going for at least one more episode.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

We Suffer Yet Another Unconscionable Interruption in Gordon Keith Week to Bring You a Spirited Defense of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"

Corby has made something of a recent career out of sneering at Mike's taste in -- well, everything.  This may be frequently overlooked.  But when he pooh-poohed the incomparable "Dobie Gillis," based on stories by the very funny writer Max Shulman, I had to say something.  (Shulman's Barefoot Boy with Cheek was one of the comedy inspirations of my youth. Since it's about college life in the 1940's (no, I'm not that old), probably dated now.) 

The show featured the teenaged (at first) Dobie (Dwayne Hickman) longing after unattainable girls.  His pal was Maynard G. Krebs, played very memorably by Bob Denver.  The cast, in fact, was a showpiece of comic acting.  Dobie's dad was played by the perpetually cranky Frank Faylen and his mother by the protective Florida Friebus, who you will recall as one of Bob Newhart's addled "group" patients on "The Bob Newhart Show"

who may have been the only onscreen couple both of whom had alliterative "F" names.  You're familiar with the iconic images of Maynard, allergic to work (which word he would repeat, shrieking, whenever he heard it), a bongo-playing beatnik (here with Dwayne Hickman as Dobie).

In its first season, Dobie's romantic rival was one Milton Armitage, played by Warren Beatty (here in a scene with Mel Blanc):

(The next time you would have seen him back then is in Elia Kazan's "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood.)  But for me, the two most memorable characters are Zelda Gilroy, played by Sheila James.  She pined after Dobie, who resisted her advances.  After her acting career, she became a lesbian activist, and, as Shelia Kuehl, has held several elective offices in California.

As it turns out, her character (because of her brains and, uh, plainness) became something of an inspiration for ambitious young women of the time.  The other was Steve Franken, who played Warren Beatty's successor rich-kid rival as Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.  (He passed away last August.)

Directed by the legendary Rod Amateau.  Guest stars galore:  Barbara Bain, Michael J. Pollard, Ronnie Howard, Sally Kellerman, Rose Marie, Bill Bixby, Richard Deacon, Norman Fell, Jack Albertson, Michele Lee, Mel Blanc, Jo Anne Worley.

 All right.  Those names may not mean much to you now.  And you may not think they're funny.  But at the time, the show was a hit.  It aired almost as many episodes as "The Dick Van Dyke Show," its approximate contemporary.  Are you gonna bust a gut watching "Dobie Gillis"?  No, not now.  But you have to watch the thing through the lens of the late fifties and early sixties.  I don't know if it was revolutionary, but it was the only show I can think of from that era about teenagers (Hickman was in his 20's when it was filmed).  Mike R is right:  Bob Denver is funnier in this show than he ever was in "Gilligan."  It's a gentle humor, not a place to turn for dick jokes.

I caught up with some clips and episodes on You Tube as I was writing this.  Still gave me a smile.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Thanks to Confessor BBQ for this news:

Here is a comment from radioInsight  (

"The station currently rebroadcasts Sports '1310 The Ticket' KTCK to the northern suburbs of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.

The sale price will come in two parts. At closing of this sale, Cumulus will receive $100. Whitley will then turn around and resell the station at which point Cumulus will receive all proceeds from that sale minus all expenses incurred in the operation of the station and from marketing and reselling the station.

William Whitley, the owner of Whitley Media, is a broker with Media Services Group. KTDK is a Class C3 operating with 6.2kW at 192 meters.

INSTANT INSIGHT: With Cumulus being at the ownership limit in Dallas and the way this sale is being structured it makes us wonder if they needed to quickly divest their worst signal in the market in order to make room for the acquisition of another."

This is either real bad news (incredibly scruddy Ticket aggregate signal gets even scruddier, unless there's some arrangement to keep broadcasting on 104.1 -- at this writing Ticket still on 104.1) or real good news (Cumulus gloms some other, better, signal and puts The Ticket on it).

Your Plainsman spends a fair amount of time on 104.1 so this is of extreme interest to this site.  Even though radioInsight calls the station a "rimshot."  It's MY rimshot.

Yes, if our radio guru DA has any poop on this, we respectfully request that he dump it here forthwith.

Thanks, and stand by.

PS:  After you have digested this news, flip back to the just-prior article and read birdie's Gordon Keith observations and Confessor commentary if you haven't already.  Thanks.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's Gordon Keith Week on MTC -- the Fun Continues!!

I don't know about you, but I have hardly been able to contain my delight at the festivities surrounding Gordon Keith Week on My Ticket Confession.  I'm working on a piece that will wrap things up in a few days, but in the meantime, I'm cutting and pasting a comment from Confessor birdie from about a month ago.  I thought it was really perceptive and, in fact, pieces of it mirror my own current feelings about Gordon.  It is also very well-written.  I reproduce it here because of its excellence and also because I'm not ready with any new material.  My thanks to birdie for his or her (I know, I know, 98% chance of birdie being a "his") anticipated approval:

As someone who was in his early twenties when The Ticket went on the air, I'd like to think that I grew up--in many senses of the term--with one Todd Gordon Keith.

My "relationship" with Gordo has been rocky. During the first handful of years of The Ticket, Gordon was my hero. To me he was the smartest and funniest guy in the room, hands down. Anyone who thought otherwise was either a fool or jealous of the man, or both. And I was certain that SNL or some other big time gig was just around the corner.

I used to record both The Musers and THL on cassettes each day. Almost solely for the sake of Gordon. (Back then he did a lot of bits for THL, some exclusively, like Microphone Johnson.) I see my early admiration for Gordo in many of the (mostly) younger commenters here at MTC who extol the greatness of Jake and a few others. Even though I might not always agree with those opinions, trust me, I get them. However, once I hit my early 30s things began to change.

Whether it was a case of getting older, a bit wiser, or due to the fact that I had returned to college seeking a graduate degree that required several intensive seminars in philosophy/logic and psychology, I don't know. But I do know that it was at this time I began to see some serious chinks in what heretofore I had thought to be golden armor. I started to notice how a lot of his humor was predicated on the tearing down, and at times the emotional destruction, of others. A tearing down that involved finding the weakest spot on the weakest individual who happens to be around. I also began to find his knowledge of certain topics lacking and his way of argumentation uncharitable, unfair, and at times fallacious.

In short: much of what made Gordo my hero I now saw in a negative light. I now saw more of a bully and pseudo-intellectual, and less a brilliant comedic mind who also has a more serious, intellectual side. Sure, I still loved the characters; I still laughed out loud at a lot of what Gordo would say; but now with reservation. When he would start to talk philosophy, psychology, and especially politics, I would get angry and/or turn the dial until the segment was over. It was barstool buzz talk trying to pass itself off as meaningful conversation.

Now entering into my early 40s, I have found a middle ground. But part of my finding a middle ground is due to Gordon himself appearing to have discovered some of his own inconsistencies and his inclination to treat others as a means to his comedic/egotistical ends. Gordo seems to have grown up over the last two years. I've no idea as to why. Natural maturation? Epiphany? Personal matters that opened his eyes? Who knows. The only times he bullies these days is when he's in an all-skate situation--e.g., a GNO or a Ticketstock roundtable or when he joins in on The Orphanage at the Greenville Ave St. Patty's Day Parade remote. Even then he is openly and immediately remorseful when he does pounce on some unwitting person, some innocent bystander.

We now get a Gordo who is, at least in my opinion, open and honest in relating his insecurities and regrets. In these admissions, he has touched on his tendency to attack the weak, the passive; he has also (and more often) spoke of his regrets; and there has been an owning up or two of seeing things through a rather narrow lens, while erroneously believing the lens to be wide. I've come to realize that for all of his faults, all of his contradictions, his life being off limits but others decidedly not, and all the rest, Gordo is a special talent; he is an honest seeker of what makes humans tick; he is a gifted mimic (no easy feat); he does have a wicked and quick wit; and while a bit too unbridled for its own good, a sound thinker.

In short, he is the guy I first "met" in 1994, only grown/growing up. While I don't have his skill set or gifts, when I reflect back, I too have grown up with him. Once I began to look at it in this way, I realized it was time to revisit my thoughts on the man and put them aright.

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Very very nice, birdie, just the kind of attitude I'm hoping to spread with this site.  And some really sound insights on Gordon.  My thanks for the time you took to contribute your thoughts to the site.
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