So yesterday the wife received a year-end present from her place of employment.
They gave her a mouse pad.
Yes, it’s lame in and of itself. But let’s allow that to slide and speak of the mouse pad as an object. In, oh, 1997, this might have been a dandy little present. Never amazing, but certainly right there with book lights and mechanical pencils. But, to be blunt, in 2010 who the fuck thinks, “Here’s a great idea! Let’s give out … mouse pads!!!!” Seriously, does anyone here use a mouse pad? Does anyone here use a mouse? And, if you do, is it the type that requires a pad?
Mouse pads haven’t been utilized in a decade, and even when they were utilized they were never truly utilized. They existed because the world is overrun with foam, and the pad provides an outlet.
That said, I feel like this morning’s post lacked a little … something. So here I go:
The reason I loathe listening to Ruocco and Lundberg is because they bring nothing to the table. Absolutely nothing. They offer v-e-r-y little knowledge of sports, and seemingly no historical context. They rely on stale one-liners (“Matt Dodge is so …”) and circa 1998 gag lines. They don’t know how to properly interview guests (Two tips: A. Let the friggin’ people talk; B. Ask questions that conclude with a question mark). They have this wanna-be Mike and Mike thing going, and it’s really sort of embarrassing. No, not embarrassing. Terrible.
When I hear older listeners call and ask a question, I always think the same thing: Why? What could these two guys possibly answer correctly?
Personally speaking (and I’m biased on this one), my favorite talk radio guy is ESPN Richmond’s Greg Burton, my old pal from the University of Delaware. Greg never talks over guests. He boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He rarely—if ever—delves into cliche, and he grasps the ludicrous nature of the whole thing.
That, to me, is a biggie. My favorite sports media types are the ones who understand how inane the world of pro and big-time college athletics is. Bob Costas is a perfect example. He gets it, and isn’t afraid to use that knowledge to confront a subject. Same actually goes for Tim McCarver, which is why so many people hate him. He’s very smart, and he doesn’t accept blather for the sake of accepting blather.
And, most important, he would never put out a video like the one above.
6. The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality
Jeff Pearlman has come up with a pretty good formula for writing about contemporary sports legends who would prefer not to have their less compelling sides written about: Interview everyone who could possibly know anything meaningful about the subject and collect as many anecdotes not previously known as possible and fit them in a working narrative. His Barry Bondsbook: Love Me, Hate Me, the Making of an American Anti-hero is equally as good as this biography of Clemens, but I prefer this one because the Bonds book kind of proves what you already know: Bonds is a jerk. Clemens comes across as a bit of a moron, but Pearlman manages to finds a way to soften the edges, in particular his treatment of his youth growing up in Ohio and the ache he feels for his fallen brother is a pretty convincing explanation for Clemens’ flaws. The chapters of the Blue Jays years are also full of interesting insights which we’ll doubtless be hearing about more in court soon enough.
While making s’mores at one point during Sunday’s episode [of her dumb-ass reality show], the former Alaska governor proclaims the marshmallow and chocolate treat is “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.”
It’s not the first time Palin has taken a jab at Mrs. Obama over her campaign to discourage fattening foods, especially from public schools. The former vice presidential nominee told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham last month that “the first lady cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.”
Palin also hand-delivered cookies to a Pennsylvania school last month before delivering a speech there, saying: “Who should be deciding what I eat? Should it be government or should it be parents? It should be the parents.”
I would like to add something important. My wife was watching TLC a few nights ago, and she said, “Kate From John and Kate Plus Eight” is going to be on Sarah Palin’s reality show. I didn’t believe it. Makes no sense. And then—Boom! There Kate is, with her eight kids, in Alaska visiting Sarah Palin on her reality show.
This is a person we’re supposed to consider presidential?
Oh, and yeah, Sarah, the government shouldn’t have any involvement in our nation’s nutrition. Even though we’re a country of fat slobs. Even though, without government regulation, chains from McDonald’s to Burger King to Arby’s would run wild.
So I’ve pretty much been living in Book Hell for the past couple of weeks. My deadline is Jan. 3, and it’s been 15-, 16-, 17-hour days. Stuck in my basement office. All alone. Lonely. Hungry. Frustrating. Sorting through piles upon piles of papers for tiny facts that would seem insignificant to anyone not writing this book.
Three minutes ago, my wife surprised me with this hat.
She knows I love hats, she was at the mall and she bought it for me.
My friend Mike Lewis just called me with very exciting news—he was cleaning up his pad when he stumbled upon an old boombox. And inside was a casette—Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue.”
I started making fun of Mike in my head, rushed to YouTube to play a Gibson song for him, put on the above video—and was suddenly reminded:
A. How much I liked it.
B. How big of a crush I had on Debbie Gibson.
Back then, the big thing was “Debbie Gibson’s only [X]-years old and she writes her own music!” We were all impressed. Then, upon reaching high school, I sorta realized that her songs were deep as a dime. That doesn’t mean it’s not impressive but, well, she’s not exactly penning U2 material.
But I digress. Right now in Florida there’s a man in his mid-30s sweeping a floor to Debbie Gibson, singing along as loud as humanly possible.
We hear ya, Lew. We hear ya …
PS: Can someone please tell me what in God’s name sort of dance that is? And why is she standing in an empty studio? On a tile floor? With nobody else around? Man, those ’80s were odd times …
I don’t spend much time listening to sports radio. First off, I’m not in the car all that often. Second, when I am in the car it’s usually with my kids. Third, well, I’m just not into it. No disrespect—there are some excellent hosts out there, especially on my local station, WFAN.
That said, whenever I go to the gym on weekday mornings, I somehow find myself tuned into 1050 ESPN. The reason? Because I seem to enjoy horrific wrecks.
For the most part, ESPN Radio is excellent. Mike and Mike have established themselves as stars of the medium and Michael Kay is infinitely better than Mike Francesca. It’s a strong lineup, and the guests are always top choice.
Between 10 and 11 am, however, ESPN hands the mic over to two men who drive me insane. I listen, cringe, turn away, turn back, cringe, feel my head pounding, turn away. It’s so bad it’s good, so I absorb the badness. Then, as I’ve said, I run for the door.
Today I went to the 1050 website to learn the identities of the purveyors of swill:
When their voices have oozed through my speakers, my first reaction is generally, “These guys seem very young.” Which, it turns out, they are. Ruocco graduated from Fordham in 2009, and Lundberg looks to be about the same age—maybe a tad older. What strikes me is their utter, jarring lack of sports knowledge. I know … I know—they’re young. But I’ve gotta believe most die-hard sports talk listeners expect the so-called “experts” to be experts. WFAN’s Evan Roberts, for example, is a young guy. Mid-20s, I believe. But ask him about 1970s and 80s baseball, he seems to have a very strong grasp.
These clowns, on the other hand, are all about bad one liners, lame cracks, deep-as-a-dime analysis, etc. It’s maddenings, because I’m sure ESPN employs 8,000 people with more knowledge, more understanding, more … everything.