Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Are We Fighting? Mick, I Have No Idea

What are we to make of this fracas over The Fan ripping off The Ticket?  I confess (of course), I'm amused and puzzled by the whole thing.

I personally have not heard any of this thievery, but the accounts I've read from Confessors' comments is pretty persuasive that the Fan is nakedly copying more than a couple of Ticket bits.

Now, let's acknowledge that The Ticket itself may have been, um, inspired, in some cases, by historical bits from gag-based radio.  I personally don't know of any, but it would be surprising if some of those items don't have broadcast antecedents.  I don't think that's very important.  Clearly, The Ticket has owned the bits in question in this market for a long, long time, and their sound and structure must be counted as The Ticket's Own.

This has several aspects.

First, there's the copying itself.

My first thought was anticipated by a commenter to the previous thread, which is that this avalanche of plagiarism may be a deliberately provocative "mass bit" to get some attention, get The Ticket's goat.  If so, it must be considered a success.  Guy's Night Out, today's BaD Radio.  The Fan hasn't had that kind of publicity since RaGE and Greg Williams's perambulations kept us all fascinated by the slow, but inevitable, train wreck.

Second, there's The Ticket's reaction.

Is it wise to let anything about a station as seldom visited as The Fan get under the hosts' collective skin?  I suppose a little well-placed outrage isn't going to improve The Fan's fortune very much.  I'll confess (again), though, when Mike's Mind today was going to be about a current event, instead of checking out Cowlishaw and Mosely (or whoever was subbing for Matt today), I tuned in The Fan.  (It was a segment on Ben's, I think, trip with his family to a drive-in in Ennis.  Of some interest.)

On balance, though, I think I'd let it go.  It can't be a smart competitive move to rip off a rival with bits which, by all accounts, are hugely inferior to the original.

Third, and only tangentially related, there's the suspected invasion of this site by Fan operatives.

We have welcomed Kevin Turner here for a long time, and I personally continue to do so.  I find his contributions credible, and they're always restrained and within the spirit of the site.  As to various other non-named interlopers, I have no evidence other than anonymous accusations that The Two Gavins (Spittle and Dawson) are posting.

Gavin Spittle preparing to open his laptop to compose a comment
for My Ticket Confession
My self-interested reaction is to be somewhat flattered, on my own behalf and that of the Confessor.  I am encouraged in this by Anon 232 from the last thread, who wrote:  "Oh, and why, pray tell, would The FAIL mess around with MTC? Because, and this is a testament to you commenters and to Plainsman, they know the CTO and Ticket personnel DO pay attention to MTC."  While I know that what is written here is sometimes reflected in on-air adjustments, those influences are extremely minor and extremely rare.  (Other than the move to 96.7 FM, for which I still have not received a commission check.)  Some hosts fly by.  Cat checks in maybe once a quarter.  Some of he JV and off-air staff read it with some regularity, I think.  (Long ago I heard from a Ticket employee who said that in walking through the station he would see My Ticket Confession displayed on laptops.)  Most hosts -- no.  I think maybe two check it from time to time, the others only if someone emails them a link.  But The Fan guys?  Maybe more.  Kevin, certainly, and others looking for evidence of interest in their offerings.

Gavin Dawson fortifies himself for the burst of creativity
required for the drafting of a standout comment for
My Ticket Confession
(Side note:  I've noted in the past that the fact that  I so seldom hear from Ticket insiders via email -- really, pretty much never, maybe once every few months -- tends to suggest that whatever the intensity of the politics at the Ticket workplace, it's a tight-knit, loyal, satisfied group.)

Come to think of it, though:  Other than the occasional radio message board and Reddit, this site remains maybe the only regulated swap-meet for views on DFW sports radio.  Guess I should speculate more responsibly.

Self-interest aside, I've said it before:  If Fan enthusiasts want to be heard, I don't have any strong objections to that and won't unless they threaten to take over the comments, which they are far from doing.  As far as who the commenters might be  .  .  .  I will say that I haven't heard privately from anyone denying that Fan luminaries are posting here.   If I were one of The Two Gavins, though, I think I would let the speculation and accusations fly even if I weren't commenting.  As Oscar Wilde famously observed, "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

I oughta know.

The inventor of Gay/Not Gay
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Funnymen Steal

The P1 is duly outraged by that almost unbelievably crappy "Fake Jerry" imitation that the imitator -- I can't even remember his name and the sooner I forget the whole episode the better -- stole from Gordon.  The impression is awful, every gag not directly plagiarized from Gordon is lame.  Even calling him "Fake Jerry" is a steal.

But I must observe that:

Artists, including some very great artists, steal.  Picasso famously is said to have remarked that "good artists copy, great artists steal."  Picasso should know.  But no one would claim that Picasso was not a great artist.

Comedians, in particular, steal.  Some, like the late Milton Berle, make a schtick out of their thievery.

Although this site may not be good evidence of it, I've written a fair amount of comedy in my time for performance and in writing, and I've certainly swiped a gag or three.

And Gordon Keith has  .  .  .  borrowed.

I thought I'd written a whole piece on this because I was so stunned when I saw it, but in Googling myself I see I only mentioned it in a comment last July 9 during the never-ending Gordon Keith Week on MTC.

I don't remember if it was Gordon's old TV show or in a sketch he produced for someone else's show, but he appeared in a bit where the premise was that he was going to appear on a TV show, I believe alongside some female co-host.  The bit was that he strutted into the TV station/studio, overly familiar with the staff, breezy, talkative, confident, acting like being on the upcoming show was going to be the most natural thing in the world, like he was an old hand at the TV game.  Then, when the cameras roll, he completely freezes, staring in stark terror.

While no dialogue got lifted, this is an obvious appropriation, in concept, of the legendary "Chef of the Future" episode of Jackie Gleason's "The Honeymooners."

The punch line -- the stare -- is a direct steal.

Ralph Kramden bought a bunch of multi-use kitchen gadgets that he and Ed Norton (Art Carney) were going to hawk on a live commercial.  All goes well until cameras are about to roll, the director is counting down, and then -- the petrified stare.  If you try to find it on You Tube, you have to find one that begins during the rehearsal, where Ralph is still confident, to get the comedic effect.  I know a lot of these old shows don't travel well through the ages, but the first time I saw this episode when I was in plains graduate school I was on the floor -- literally -- in convulsive laughter.

So let's face it, creativity is hard, good stuff is rare.  It's why the great ones are so treasured.  Gordon is one, in my judgment.   (Come to think of it, Jackie Gleason was known as "The Great One."  Interestingly, Gleason is frequently celebrated on The Ticket as the embodiment of Sheriff Buford T. Justice in "Smokey and the Bandit.")  And jeez, when you crank out the volume that he does, you're going to, uh, remember some things.

And at least Gordon has the good sense to reprise something that's 60 years old that much of his audience will never have seen.  And he ripped off one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the old Admiral.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Pensive in Pensacola -- T.C. Out at The Buzzer

T.C. Fleming:  Terminated at WBSR in Pensacola.  Read from the bottom:

  1. Also if you have any job leads…. I kind of need them :) Radio is the preference, but I'm open to new experiences!
  2. Very excited about the Marshall extension
  3. Sorry for hijacking your feed. Since I don't have a show to prepare for, I'm going to go watch that new Godzilla now. Thanks for listening.
  4. It's a pretty embarrassing episode. I'm gonna try to learn as much as I can from it and try to be a better person going forward.
  5. We didn't put on an amazing show. It was worse than everything on KTCK. But for a first try, I thought it was passable and getting better.
  6. I've uploaded all of the shows we recorded here: Those shows are far from perfect, but I think they're good
  7. The owner also fired my cohost, Tommy, saying our show was not working out. I disagree and invite you to listen and judge for yourself.
  8. I remain stunned by that because, though I admit my faults, they are the same faults I had two months ago when he hired me
  9. I did work there that I am proud of. If this were decided by a vote among my coworkers, I'd still be there but it's the owners' call.
  10. Well guys, I got some bad news. I was informed today that things at ESPN Pensacola are not working out, and I've been let go.

Regrettable.  I rather loudly said that I thought T.C. would succeed.  That's not why it's regrettable.  Guy pulls up stakes, makes the move, two months, gone.  Seems unfair.

Some interesting things in that thread.

He reports he was cool with his colleagues, but the "owner" didn't like the show.

Or  .  .  .  maybe didn't like T.C.  He says he is going to "try to be a better person going forward."  Present faults are the same ones he brought to the show to begin with.   Shows don't usually get cancelled after that short a time because ratings didn't improve.  Oh, it's happened, but usually a show gets a chance to get its feet under it, find its audience (vice versa, actually).  So there's probably some inside baseball there.  Maybe It's Just Banter will get the scoop.

I never heard any of the show.  My recollection is that the few listeners who checked in said it was OK, and that wouldn't surprise me.   Any radio boards on the T.C + Tommy Show?

No, I'm guessing there may have been some conflict other than the owner not liking he on-air content.  Just guessing.  My last T.C. guess was wrong.  Well, just as I and others wished him well on his Pensacola adventure, I wish him well again and hope he lands somewhere where he can make a stand.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Night Before

Two nights before, actually.

I usually enjoy The Ticket's draft coverage even if I don't have a lot of interest in the draft.  I only got to listen to about two hours of it this time around, Thursday evening.  The time leading up to and just following the Cowboys' pick.

It was OK, certainly didn't punch out, but it seemed somehow  .  .  .  I dunno, undernourished.  In the past, The Ticket seemed to have made an investment in the draft, really talked it up, promoted the coverage heavily.  Not so much this year, just the guys in the studio, and Cumulus didn't even turn the air conditioning on for them.

There wasn't the same verve and, I daresay, the same preparation we have heard in years past.  Norm mispronounced names of at least two of the top batch of picks, and on one occasion he was corrected incorrectly by one of the other hosts.

Bob was good, as usual, but seemed kind of checked out, not really fully engaged.  I can't put my finger on it.  No criticism, I just got the feeling that maybe he wasn't all that interested in fighting with all the other voices.

As other commenters have observed, Corby was one guy too many.  Nothing to add on the football front. And he was doing something peculiar:  Every once in awhile he -- at least I think it was him -- would start mumbling quietly when someone else was trying to talk, like nonsense syllables or something under his breath, and Norm would simply stop and the air would go dead.  Some really weird moments.

Bright spot:  David Moore.

I miss Junior Miller's capsule bios of the players following their selection.  Little jewels of reportage and wit.

Draft coverage should be Norm, Bob, and one or the other David (Newbury or Moore).  Whether they're all in the same room or divided up between the draft venue, Valley Ranch, and Victory Park, you'd just have a cleaner, livelier, and more informative show.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Few Muser and Random Quick Hits

Sorry I've been away.  Running like mad.

(1)  I think it was Junior who announced that he had discovered the perfect deodorant -- Old Spice Classic.  I laughed out loud.  I was tired of the heavily promoted sticks I'd been using and thought "hey, I used to like the smell of Old Spice aftershave [those torpedo-shaped bottles with the grey plastic cap], I'll give this a try." Got home, took off the cap, and about passed out.  It was the most potent sweet fragrance I'd ever experienced; it would stun Mike R's proverbial mastodon.  It almost embarrassed me to glide it on, but I did.  When I got out to the field, the receptionist told me I smelled nice.  So it either works or doesn't, depending on your point of view, but I imagined myself trailing vaporous hydrocarbons for the rest of the day.  I'm still using it.

(2)  A long time ago I made a note of a novel that Junior said was his favorite:  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  He mentioned it again on the occasion of Marquez's death on April 17.  I was also very moved by the novel; I read most of it lounging on a chaise on my uncle's patio in California one summer.  It's a wonderful read, even in translation, and I commend it to you.  Its first line is widely quoted:  "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Areliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."  (Trans. Gregory Rabassa.)  And you're off and running.

(3)  I was tired of people, including sponsors, saying "well played" or "nicely played" as though every praiseworthy act were nothing more than a game stratagem, the first time I heard them.

(4)  The consultants may be back at The Ticket.  The Musers were making great fun of something or other in the show being an "activation event" or "event deck" or "activation event deck."

(5)  Calling Gordon Keith, calling Gordon Keith:  You, like I, am a large P1 of McDonald's coffee.  Have you found lately that stores no longer allow you to take your black coffee and go to a little stand where you may select the proper number of Splendas and half-and-half cups and complete the final preparations on your own?  They ask you what you need and put it in themselves, or give you the packets and cups which you must specify at the time the purchase is negotiated.   Come to think of it  .  .  .  I've actually encountered some bad McDonald's in the last year, orders wrong, spotty service.

(6)  In the last thread, a commenter drew our intention to a Reddit subfile dedicated to The Ticket:  It's pretty cool.  I confess, it made me wonder whether this site is any longer of value.

(7)  Why are these Muser quick hits?  Because, well, it's like this.  I mean, it doesn't really mean anything, much, and I don't really have a good explanation, to be perfectly honest with you (as Corby might say a few times), but:  I've been listening to a lot more of Cowlishaw & Mosely's Afternoon Show on ESPN lately.  They finally got Cowlishaw's mic situation fixed so he's mostly audible.  Like the chemistry, like the topics, like the talk.  Like the shorter ad breaks.