Monday, February 26, 2007

And The Oscar Goes To…

No Oscar for me (Hammerstein? Robertson? Gamble?) Nope. So let’s blog the Oscar show!

OK, the “have the nominees stand up” thing was cute but dumb.

Wait – was that Jack (please don’t ask “Jack Who?”)? Is he BALD? He can’t handle the truth!

Ellen DeGeneres is fine. I’ve come around on her. She’s kind of funny, but white shoes? OK we get it. You’re gay. Cool. God bless. My father wore white shoes. In 1971. I look back and cringe.

Ellen, the jokes are dying, babe. To keep things under four hours, please get to the first award. Please.

Yeah, it is Jack. Man he makes bald cool.

First Peter O’Toole joke of the night about how many times he has lost. I think The Wife is rooting for him, largely because he was very debonair alongside Audrey Hepburn in “How To Steal a Million” in 1966. I’ll go out on a limb. He stands no chance alongside Forrest Whitaker.

First Al Gore reference. Stop, now.

Jesus, God, there’s a choir (nice reference, eh?) singing for the nominees. The show is 12 minutes old and it’s getting painful. You all thought the Uma and Oprah was bad?

Finally – our first award for…Art Direction? Hey, the Bond guy is rather suave (nothing like a plain black tux), but Nicole Kidman looks unhealthy. Could be the Keith Urban effect?

While they talk, let me just say that I watched roughly half of “Gone With the Wind” and all of “Casablanca.” None of the movies nominated tonight will make me forget those.

Something called “Pan’s Labyrinth” won for Art Direction. Stop the presses!

I promise I will not blog every award. I have too much of a life to do that.

What the hell is the thing of people on the screen? It looks like Mummenschantz (for those who remember). Credit The Wife for the reference. Oh I get it. It's Oscar.

Hey, it’s the Geico announcer guy! You know, “in a world where both of our cars are totally underwater.” That’s been the coolest thing yet.

Well, other than Jack.

I love Will Farrell, but this is just…sad. Still, the ghost of Oscar Gamble’s afro lives!

Two Oscar Gamble references – I’m on a roll. Throw in the Mummemschantz line and it's 1975 all over again!

Quite a night when both Kelly Leak from The ORIGINAL Bad News Bears and Marky Mark (without the Fun Bunch) are nominated for Oscars.

OK, I said I would not blog every award, but if I have to watch people wave flags for their awards all night, we will have some serious trouble.

First name check of America’s Actor (Mr. Tom Hanks). Good to hear.

This show is wickedly boring already. I switched over to writing another blog entry (on the Yankees retired numbers).

I’m back, if only to say that this sound effect thing is not QUITE as dumb as the pre-show thing at 8:00. Man, we’re delving into worst broadcast every territory so far.

Steve Carrell, with the best line yet, regarding sound editing and sex. Wait – did Greg Kinnear really just cause a seven second delay problem, or was it planned?

I’ve been watching the Oscars for a long time now, and I don’t think we’ve waited this long for a major award to be given out.

By “major award”, I don’t mean a leg lamp, just in case The Sister-In-Law is reading. Shame on you if you don’t get that reference.

Rachel Wiesz won Best Supporting Actress last year? Wow, who knew?

Alan Arkin wins for Best Supporting Actor. He’s reading his speech, but that’s fine. I like how the director put a shot up of his Oscar, sitting on the floor. A very good actor. Especially funny in a small role in “So I Married An Axe Murderer.” Still, wouldn’t it have been cool if Eddie Murphy won? Or Kelly Leak? Or Marky Mark?

Why is Ellen walking through the crowd? Thankfully she picked a gracious Marky Mark to talk with. The screenplay thing with Scorsese was fairly humorous.

The interpretive dance troop is back. Oy vey.

One hour in, and I’m skeptical that I will make it to the end. So now I’m onto recording it. We haven’t even had our first musical number.

Uh oh. Sound problems with Sweet Baby James Taylor. All seems well now. JT is one of my musical faves, but the better song from “Cars” was Sheryl Crow’s “Real Gone.”

A Jerry Seinfeld sighting. I thought his only thing was trying to save Michael Richards.

Oh God, Mr. Internet Creator and Leo are talking about Green Oscars, or something. Can we stop with the Al Gore lovefest?

Gee, the strike up the band thing during Gore’s “speech” wasn’t too predictable, was it?

I know Saturday is a bad night for TV, but don’t you think that people would have parties and watch the show? They could all stay up late, get drunk, etc. Good times! Sunday is tough.

Best Animated Feature is up now, and I DEMAND A RECOUNT. HOW THE HELL DID “CARS” NOT WIN? Larry The Cable Guy should have won an award alone for being the voice of Mater. The Son will not be happy when I tell him.

Ben Affleck is on stage and my one question is…why? This is how far we have fallen. At one time Yankees fan Billy Crystal hosted awards, and now we’re stuck with Mr. Red Sox.

By the way, I still haven’t forgiven Crystal for the Mets hat in “City Slickers.”

Audrey Hepburn was just on the screen. That would have made The Wife happy, but she’s already in bed. Only two people can truly channel Ms. Hepburn: Natalie Portman and The Wife.

I love old movie montages. I’m hooked, at least for now. Especially when Jack vamps for the camera.

Mr. Hanks is on, with brilliant Ms. Helen Mirren. Just a reminder, only two people have ever won back to back Best Actor awards: Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy. And America’s Actor should have at least one more, if not two. He should have won for “Saving Private Ryan”, if not for “Cast Away.”

Oh for the love of God, it’s Tom freakin’ Cruise. Damn, he looks almost normal. He’s giving the Hersholt Award away. This also brings our first true standing ovation of the night. It took a while, surprisingly.

Ellen and Clint Eastwood gave us a funny moment. Thank god.

Hey, it’s Apple’s mom, Gwynnie Paltrow. She was part of one of the worst Best Picture farces ever, “Shakespeare in Love.” Nice movie, kind of funny, but a Best Picture? Um…no.

We’re not quite two hours in now, and I’m barely paying attention. The Meryl Steep glare at her two “Devil Wears Prada” co-stars bit was quite humorous.

Again, not quite two hours and we’ve only seen Best Supporting Actor. At least give us songs or something.

Oooh, another movie montage. Oh, it’s foreign films. Never mind.

Ellen’s in white now. Sheesh. Now she’s doing the interpretive dance thing. Somewhere David Letterman is really enjoying this.

OK, I have to ay attention. George Clooney’s on to give the Best Supporting Actress. My guess is the Dreamgirls/American Idol girl. Nothing wrong with Cate Blanchette, though. Jennifer Hudson does indeed win. No shock. Let the tears begin. Beyonce, sans Jigga, looks calm. It’s got to be an act. Now, before the band kicks in, get off the stage. Oooh, too late. Glad she got in the Jennifer Holiday reference. Beyonce looked perturbed.

By the way, who are some of these presenters? Should I know them?

Hey, it’s Seinfeld again. Could he please bring us some yucks? Well he’s trying, but what’s the deal with that? Some producer must have told him that the show is sucking, and needs life, so go so some standup. He’s on a roll. Good stuff, overall. If he just auditioned for the hosting gig next year, he just got it.

This will forever be known as The Al Gore Oscars. “An Inconvenient Truth” wins Documentary Feature. Unreal.

Clint Eastwood is giving a special Oscar to Ennio Morricone and is ad-libbing. Then he says, “I should have worn my glasses.” Who cares? You’re Clint. The end. The theme to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, and the music from “The Untouchables” makes this guy a legend. Not Clint, he’s already a legend. Mr. Morricone.

Wait, what the…couldn’t Mr. Morricone just receive his award? Why is he sitting in the audience in the first place? And why is Celine Dion now singing?

Morricone’s on stage now, and Eastwood needs to translate for him. The pain level increases…

Sorry, it’s been roughly a half hour. I’ve just got nothing to add.

Did I just hear this: “Please welcome a reason for high definition television, Jennifer Lopez?” OK…

I’m back to say Melissa Etheridge is an Oscar winner. I’m also pleased because we had a girl-girl kiss. And while that might make you think I’m having a man moment, it’s more about spicing this freaking show up. Then she thanked her wife, and…wait…Al Gore!

I’ve gotten so bored that I’ve started putting switching channels.

It’s 11:44, and we’re nowhere near done. Ouch. Jodie Foster is on for the ghoul section – the In Memorium. Her best friend recently died. She brings a certain amount of class. So who will get the largest applause?

A second leg lamp reference!

Applause is scattered early on.

Robert Altman wins, barely, if only because the room is so dead that the crowd has their own ghoulish thoughts.

I’m at the point where I’ve actually given thought to going outside to shovel snow. Bear in mind that it’s 11:50 PM.

Finally, Best Actress. Helen Mirren, come on down. Philip Seymour Hoffman hasn’t even said it yet. I’m just trying to move things along.

Yep, it’s Queen Mirren. Kate Winslet is crying. I don’t think that’s because she lost. I think she gets it. Mirren pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth. Nice touch, but this is still a lame night. It has to be when people keep telling you about all of the surprises.

Midnight. Good morning, East Coast.

By the way, I’m a fairly honest sort. This blog has sucked almost as much as the show.

Best Actor time. Again, Forrest Whitaker, come on down! Reese Witherspoon looks over made up. See what a marriage separation can do?

Good for Forest Whitaker. His wife is crying, while he’s reading his speech. For the first time tonight, I’m begging the orchestra to not play. He’s got my attention. This guy is cool. This guy was Robin Williams sidekick in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”

The Three Amigos are up (Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg). Is it Marty’s turn?

Here we go…tympani please…Scorsese. It’s about friggin’ time. A standing ovation. He should have won a long time ago – for “Raging Bull.” The place is going nuts, but Marty wants to get it over with. Let’s face it –it’s a lifetime achievement award.

Jack and Diane Keaton are on. Warm up my pillow – it’s Best Picture time. Jack just stands there and nods. I have no clue who is going to win.

And the Oscar goes to… “The Departed.” A tame standing ovation, leading to a full standing-O. Diane Keaton screamed when Jack announced it. I really had no idea. Each of the movies is very appealing, but I think “The Departed” and “Little Miss Sunshine” are right up my alley. “The Queen” also looked good.

Ellen keeps it brief and calls it a night. Bedtime for Bonzo.

OK, I’ll say it. These were, I think by far, the worst Oscars I’ve ever watched. Sorry to be a downer, but I think it’s true, and the things I’m reading on the Internet seem to agree.

Nearly four hours, and we’re done.

Good night, everyone!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Birthday Wishes and Baseball

Not a lot of time to write this morning, so I'll be brief, with a Happy Birthday extended to Sean Robert Adams, the pride of mine and The Wife's lives. The Son turned five on Friday and has been partying down all weekend. He still has one more party - this time at his school. He struggles with the same things that many five year-olds do: temper, frustration, testing his parents' limits, and so on. At the end of the day, he's a very good boy and I am deeply proud of him. He's also going to play ball for the first time this year, in the T-ball league.

My friend from Section 5 at Yankee Stadium, Mick, has his own blog up and running. He responded to some of my feelings from recent posts regarding the Bombers. I'm glad I could inspire him to get back to blogging, but we have our differences. He thinks it's shameful the way the Yankees are treating Bernie Williams. I say it's time for Bernie to get over himself. Then again, I've often been very hard on Bernie. I respected the fact that Bernie stayed loyal, and didn't take the Red Sox money but at the same time, I've seen him hit strike out and hit into countless double plays in big spots. That doesn't mean that I don't like him. It means I'm critical. My feeling is still that if Bernie wants to play, then he should get to Florida and go through Spring Training. I don't think he's being thrown away like a piece of garbage. I think he's being treated like everybody else in the business. Unfortunately it happens to everyone, unless they know better and get out. Babe Ruth was dealt to the Braves in 1935. Steve Carlton pitched pitifully for the Twins and Giants in his last days. Hank Aaron as a Brewer? Let's go to other sports. Emmitt Smith as a Cardinal? Franco Harris with the Seahawks? Patrick Ewing? You're getting the idea - and these are hall of famers. Bernie had a nice year in 2006 but proved himself to not be the outfielder he once was. He doesn't seem to fit at first base, and is not a good pinch hitter. So where should he be? The Yankees have their outfield covered for now. Should he just stay in shape and wait at home for the phone to ring? OK - we'll see how it plays out.

Mick's other argument is about retired numbers. He takes me to task (not personally) for saying Ron Guidry's 49 shouldn't be retired. I know he didn't mean it this way, but here's his quote:

"Guidry - Yes! 14 years as a Yankee!"

By that rationale, Frank Crosetti, who played for the Bombers from 1932 to 1948 and won six world championships before becoming a coach and staying until 1968, would be a no-brainer. His numbers five (early years as a players), one (later playing years) or two (final playing and coaching years) should be retired. While we’re at it, why not Lou Piniella, or Willie Randolph, or Moose Skowron, or Hank Bauer, or Tommy Henrich? And there’s that nice outfielder/broadcaster from Oklahoma who’s currently battling brain cancer…He was a Yankee for 13 seasons. Obviously, Mick didn't mean it this way.

The problem is that these are the New York Yankees. If Ron Guidry had his career with, say, the Blue Jays, now you have a point. The Mets have only 14 (Gil Hodges), 37 (Casey Stengel) and 41 (G. Thomas Seaver) on their outfield wall. Yes I know about Jackie Robinson, but that will always be a politically correct make good move to me. Another argument for another time. The Yankees have too many numbers retired. Expect to hear this one day from Bob Sheppard: "And pitching, number one-oh-nine, Philip Hughes. Number one-oh-nine." The Boston Celtics are equally guilty, but their roster size is decidedly smaller.

So let's go through the numbers and get it over with:
1 – Billy Martin. Yes I know he was a good player, and a decent manager (1977 World Series Champs). Beyond that, he was often an embarrassment to the franchise. There was the Copacabana incident in 1957, the drinking, the fights with Ed Whitson, George Steinbrenner, Reggie Jackson, and a marshmallow salesman. As a manager he was often, um, interesting to say the least. Let's use Rick Rhoden (a pitcher!) as the DH! Let's take a pretty good A's team and turn their pitchers in jelly. Verdict - no. Earle Combs would be a better choice.

2 – Reserved for Frank Crosetti/Bobby Murcer (his later years)/Mike Gallego/Wayne Tolleson/Red Rolfe/Tim Foli. Or maybe we'll just save it for Derek Jeter. By the way, this one is a no-brainer. Yes, it's Jeter and it should be.

3 – Babe Ruth. Done. Should be retired all across baseball. If there's no Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson works magic in another facet of life because baseball as we know it does not exist.

4 – Lou Gehrig. The very first number ever retired in professional sports. Even if he doesn't die of the disease that bears his name, this would have been a no-brainer. To me, when he retired, he was baseball's second greatest player ever, behind Ruth. He's still very high up there, as far as I'm concerned.

5 – Joe DiMaggio. As graceful and mysterious as anybody who's ever played. Another no-brainer.

6 – Barring an ugly exit, this one is on hold for Joe Torre. It should be.

7 – Mickey Mantle. No argument here. He's The Mick. There's a book out now that tries to say that number seven is more identified with JOHN ELWAY than with Mantle. Laughable.

8 – Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. Well done, Yanks. Recognizing that both Dickey and Berra were hall of fame catchers, and that Dickey might have been just as great as Yogi (and helped teach “Lawdie” the position), the Yankees retired the number in honor of both of these gentlemen. Yogi always gets the nod because of his clutch hitting and personality. Plus he’s still alive. Dickey was a fine Southern gentleman.

9 – Roger Maris. I would normally criticize this one because I don’t like “make goods” (see Robinson, Jackie). But I can’t argue that the Rajah was treated abysmally by fans and media alike because he wasn’t The Mick, and dared to set the record for home runs in a season in 1961 (which he still owns, in my opinion. Are you listening, steroid boys?). George Steinbrenner wanted to make amends with Roger and his family, and honored him in 1984. Less than two years later, he was dead. I won’t quarrel with his number being retired, but only because of the circumstances.

10 – Phil Rizzuto. This has as much to do with the struggle of The Scooter to get in the Hall of Fame as it does with him being a great shortstop and broadcaster. If he had made the Hall of Fame sooner, I’m not sure we’d be having this discussion. If he weren’t the “huckleberry” of a broadcaster that he became, we definitely wouldn’t be talking about it. I can make a definite argument for his number not being retired. Sorry.

15 – Thurman Munson. Let’s be honest for a minute. I loved Munson, but if he doesn’t die on August 2, 1979, is his number retired? Nope. So again, this is a special circumstance. It can’t be argued, because the team was not the same for roughly 17 years. His locker is still there (at least until 2009).

16 – Whitey Ford. Still the franchise’s greatest pitcher. No argument.

21 – Save this for Paul O’Neill? For what it’s worth, nobody has worn it since he retired. There are just too many others who deserve the honor. I can’t, in my honest assessment, retire the number for t Paulie O’, as much as I liked him.

23 – Don Mattingly. Tricky territory here. He was all fans had from 1983 until 1995. Because of that, I don’t argue it. In fact, I’ve had to defend it in some rather heated debates. He’s Donnie Baseball.

32 – Elston Howard. We’re in “Robinson” territory here. One of the most honorable men in the history of the franchise, and the first black Yankee. Later a coach, he came mighty close to becoming baseball’s first black manager in 1974, with the job going to Bill Virdon (a mega-mistake). Due to the social importance, I understand why the number hangs on the outfield wall.

37 – Casey Stengel. Ten pennants, and seven World Championships in twelve years. Only misses managing the Yankees to the World Series at all in 1954 (when they won 103 games) and 1959 (when they weren’t very good). Easy call.

42 – Jackie…um…Mariano Rivera. No diss to Mr. Robinson, but it’s Mo that the number will be retired for. And it should be.

44 – Reggie Jackson. Five years, three swings. That’s how I see it. The rest was just straw-stirring bull s*it. I still see him as an Oakland A, or even an Angel (think “The Naked Gun”). What still bothers me is that I think he went into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee because A) He was promised a job with the organization and B) He was promised that his number would be retired. I would never retire his number.

49 – Ron Guidry. Here’s my problem: Guidry was one of my favorites. I was saddened when he retired. He had something left, but why force it (are you listening, Bernie?)? So if you retire his number, then why not retire Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, Eddie Lopat, Spud Chandler, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, David Cone, and Andy Pettitte? Gomez and Ruffing are both in the Hall of Fame, by the way. The Gator isn’t going to get there, unfortunately.

51 – Nope. Sorry. Too many numbers retired. But that’s just my opinion.

So there’s my say on the retired numbers matter. When you get right down to it, I’m only truly debating 1, 10, 44, and 49, while saying no to the potential retiring of 21 and 51. Does any of this matter? Nope…really not even to me. OK, well kind of.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I've Got Nothing...

Well, nothing I feel like expanding on right now. There are lots of things going on - like the fact that we need a new car after last week, but thankfully everybody is fine. But there's also lots going on in my brain. Nothing new there, of course. I guess when the time is right, and if you'll indulge me, perhaps I can try to explain. Then again, maybe I won't From day one, this blog has been about whatever is on my mind, and that often has led me to turn into a pseudo-journal. That is, it's often been very personal without getting too personal. I'm trying to turn the pages and new leaves, and all that jazz. I'm trying to find my happy place.

Anyway, Happy Fat Tuesday. Jambalaya, Gumbo, and King Cakes for everyone. I was at a Mardi Gras party tonight and the women all kept their shirts on. For that, I'm fairly thankful. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Memo to Bernie Williams: it's over. You look like a baby. It's a business, and while you've been a wonderful employee, explain to me why the Yankees should GUARANTEE you a roster spot. If you could knock one of the first basemen out, then I'd love to have you back. If you choose to go nowhere else, look at it this way: you'll have a "day" and they'll likely retire your number. I'll go on record as saying that I don't think you should have your number retired, but the Yankees and I have long disagreed on that subject. Reggie? Ron Guidry (who was a favorite of mine, but come on)? Billy Martin? Heck, even though 21 hasn't been reissued, I wouldn't retire it for Paulie O'Neill, but I'm tough that way.

I don't get those who think that Brian Cashman shouldn't run to the great Mariano with a black check. Two words: Greatest Ever. Three more: Still the best. Pay him, or watch him go to Boston next year. Ouch.

Derek and A-Rod: please shut up. Just play baseball and win a championship. I don't care who spent how many nights at whose house. This is a simple game. You hit the ball, you catch the ball. Sometimes you win...sometimes you lose. ("Bull Durham") Otherwise you look like a kinder, gentler "Bronx Zoo" without Sparky Lyle sitting naked on birthday cakes. Incidentally those Yankees won championships.

There, my work here is done for the night.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

When The World is Running Down, You Make The Best of What’s Still Around

Just a castaway; an island lost at sea oh…

OK, Enough Police song references. Much to my shock and even possible chagrin, I got two tickets to see Stewart, Andy and Gordo in August at Madison Square Garden. I suppose if I had my choice, I would have preferred tickets to their Fenway Park show just because I like Boston a lot, and really think Fenway is tremendous. But I got my special Best Buy password for the Garden show, so I’m not going to quarrel. The Wife is now trying to make the effort worth my while and get us a room for a possible NYC getaway.

I’m just glad she’s happy. I actually heard her almost celebrate when I told her that I had them. Almost.

So if you’re in the Northeast, did you enjoy the big storm? Finally we got ourselves a big old blast of winter. A good half-foot or more fell here, and what joy it was to clean it all up. I refused to play the role of martyr and try to get to work, so I didn’t. Ultimately the roads stunk, and White Plains was apparently in bad shape, so I felt I made the right call. OK, we’ve had our fix. Now that’s enough.

Back to the music. After only hearing a little bit of it, I bought the latest CD from The Shins, “Wincing The Night Away.” A very likable CD, though perhaps a bit dark. I’m using one their songs, “Sleeping Lessons” on my MySpace page. That’s not my style to buy a CD like that, but I liked “Oh Inverted World”, their 2001 effort. My homeboy Zach Braff (you know, the “Scrubs” guy) used two songs from that CD on the soundtrack for the movie “Garden State”, so I figured, why not? It seemed like Target (pronounced tar-jay, of course) had it on sale just for me.

In the meantime, I owe some money to Montgomery Delaney, so I can pick up his CD’s. As I said to The Wife today, “You have problems with magazines. I have problems with music.” Consider my iTunes library: 8355 songs and not stopping anytime soon.

The MySpace world really is a fascinating place. Countless men have hit on The Wife, and while I can certainly understand why, what I can’t understand are those who hit on her considering her entry in the “Status” category. It says, “Married.” Enjoy, fellas. As far I know, and as far as she’s telling me, y’all ain’t getting her.

Not say I haven’t had my share of questionable peeps bug me as well. In each case, the people disappear soon after they make their play. In other words, check on the same people a few days later and you’ll see that their account has been deleted. Most of the time with me it is women who want you to check out some illicit site. Funny stuff.

I’d love to tell you that I have more hard-hitting things to conquer, but I don’t. Sure I’ve kept an eye on the Scooter Libby trial, especially since involves journalists, and one of me favorites, Tim Russert, but I can’t get too wrapped up in it. I listen to what Mr. Imus says every morning then put it to sleep.

You have no clue on this, but since I wrote that last paragraph, a little drama has crept into our lives. Everybody’s fine, but I can’t continue. Sorry to be so vague.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

You Don't Have To Put On The Red Light

Shortly after the Grammys (™ - if that’s what I’m supposed to do – don’t want the Trademark Police to get gangsta on my tush) started, I thought that I should take notes and blog away like I did for that Prince concert a week ago. Oh well, my bad.

Let’s play catch-up. I had one reason to watch – The Police. No, their performance of "Roxanne" did not cause me to have towels nearby for The Wife. While Stingo looked good (s*it, if I looked like that I might get some trantric booty, or whatever it is he does), The Wife was waiting with the comment: “He should color his hair.” That, in woman-speak is a nice way of saying, “I wish you’d lose that f***ing Goodyear Blimp of a gut and start looking like a real man. Oh, and YOU used to have some definition to your arms. What the f*** happened?”

You have to know how to read through these things, peeps. I'm kidding. I think.

Anywho, the cops performance was one of those good/eh moments. That is, they started out rocking in the first verse and chorus, staying true to the studio version. Other than Stewart Copeland’s glasses, they looked fairly similar to their 1983 look. So things were going so well, they were bordering on great. Then came the end of the chorus and Gordo’s breaking into what I call CD 101.9 territory. That, for you outside of New York, is a nice way of saying that a lot of Sting’s post-Police work was pseudo jazz crap (CD 101.9 is an elevator music station). Don’t get me wrong, many of Stingo’s solo stuff is top-notch, but at times, it borders on Kenny G. And for a guy of his talent, that is just WRONG. So unfortunately, what started as a potential A+ dropped to an A- at best. Ultimately it’s getting that grade because of the moment itself, not because it rocked. Oh, what could have been?

Now we begin the waiting process for the tour and the tickets that we won’t get or the tickets we will get to an ultra-painful experience. The agony!

(Monday Edit - the tour is being announced. I've got nothing to add.)

Dang, I’ve got catching up to do here, don’t I? As I write, that idiotic “Grammy Idol” (or whatever they’re calling it) has concluded with some nice young lady named Robin shaking her booty with Justin Timberlake. I have to admit it – JT is a freaking talented dude. Thank god he ditched the boy band thing.

OK, I’m going to try to hit the tree tops here.

Mary J. Blige – you won. Then you won again. God is thrilled. I’m thinking Jesus is also. Why do you, and others think that you have to read 1000 thank you’s? Just stand up there and say, “I’m deeply humbled and honored. Thank you all”, and walk away.

The Dixie Chicks – they’re fine. I have no problem with them. They spoke their mind. The song is good. They even low-keyed their wins. So be it. Move on.

PS – They just won Record of the Year. Somewhere, President George W. Bush is horrified. He things he deserves a cut.

PPS – Tony Bennett and Quentin Tarrantino gave them the award. Many will say that Tarrantino was annoying. I thought he was hysterical.

Another Prince appearance. He said, “One word: Beyonce”, and walked off. That didn’t impress me, nor did B’s performance. She’s got more than that.

Justin Timberlake popped “JustinCam” on us. Whoever directed tonight’s broadcast did a fair job of making sure few lost their pre-Grammy meal. Besides, it reminded me of the video for “Hip to Be Square.” If we can revolve musical life around a little Huey Lewis, then all is well.

Tonight gave me an opportunity to work on my Stevie Wonder impression. There are fundamental problems here, but the fact is this: it got a laugh from The Wife. Mission accomplished.

I have family in Fairfield, Connecticut, where John Mayer grew up and graduated from high school. I think John Mayer is incredibly talented but I have a question – is there something in the water of Fairfield that causes young men to grow their hair long? I don’t care, despite my short hair. I’m simply looking for answers.

Then again, Tim Parry (the broadcaster) is, um, sans locks, and I think he lives in Fairfield. By the way, Tim was excellent in his maiden broadcasting voyage as my partner on SportingNewsCT Saturday. I told him that I though he’d be good and I’m starting to think I might have a future in discovering broadcasting talent.

I’m off course again. Back on: Why were Gnarls Barkley bringing us an airplane look for “Crazy?” Further, why did they take the energy out of the song?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are performing now and it’s snowing. Lame-o, this is what I say-o. Really really freaking lame. They should have done “Dani California”, which is perhaps the best song they’ve ever done. And the best video they’ve ever done.

When your resort to stuff like this, it screams, “our music sucks and so does this show.” The show has lacked energy, something that disappeared when Stingo took “Roxanne” from being punk meets reggae meets New Wave to crappy jazz three hours ago.

Incidentally, I am a huge jazz fan with a large collection of jazz music. So yeah, I’m a snob.

Why is Al Gore on my TV right now, presenting awards? And why is he grabbing a look at Queen Latifah’s cleavage?

What the hell was going on with Smokey Robinson? He looked like he is on loan from Madame Tussaud’s.

I love the Eagles, but why was the tribute to them with Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flats necessary? Oh, and Carrie, the clock is ticking. When they hand you the Best New Artist, it becomes official.

Christina Aguilera paid tribute to James Brown? Well she tried, give her that. The girl can sing, and she tried a few moves. But the ball was hit out of the ol’ yard when they completed the “in memoriam” segment. Danny Ray, the Godfather’s longtime MC (at least I think it was him) walked out with James Brown’s cape, waved it around, then put it over the microphone. Wow. About the only chills I got all night.

You know I’ve come a long way when I’m watching the presentation for the Best Rap Album award and, following the winning announcement, I say, “My boy Luda won.”

That’s short for Ludacris, in case some of you squares needed to know. Luda gave love to Shawn Carter, and I knew who he was talking about. That’s Jay-Z, playa.

Oh, James Blunt. People want you to go away. Sorry, mate.

Wait, Don Henley was AT the Grammy’s and he didn’t perform in the tribute to his band? I want a do-over.

Wait, Don just smiled! I love Henley. Politics aside, he is one of my musical heroes. Scarlett Johannsen is presenting with him, and she leaned over to talk into the microphone, and what more can you say? She’s definitely tightly bound in that dress.

Don Henley just wet himself. The Dixie Chicks won Album of the Year. So it wasn’t Mary J. Blige’s night after all. I’m shocked.

Then again, I’m not.

And we’re done. Not quite three and a half hours, including about an hour’s worth of lousy commercials.

The thing I’m most pleased about is that both The Wife and I actually knew most, if not all, of the music presented tonight. Again, that’s progress.

Next up? The Oscars.

Rock on!

Oh, I would be remiss if I didn't get this off my chest, and pardon that pun. I know many, especially the tabloids, are mourning the death of Anna Nicole Smith. I'm sad that a 39 year-old mother is dead, having just given birth. So a little girl will never know her mother. That's sad. What's worse is that Hank Bauer, a Yankees outfielder and Marine, also passed away, and that receives a yawn. Bauer was a good ballplayer; one who got lost in the shuffle of the Mantle years. The hardcore fan knew him. He also won a World Series as manager of the Orioles in 1966. Beyond the fact that he was a good ballplayer, leader, manager, and so on, he defended our country and should be regarded as an American hero. I thought you should know that.

One more thing - Pitchers and catchers report to Florida this week. There's light at the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Some Things Just Need To Be Seen

A friend of mine emailed a link to me for the video that is below. I'm no fan of Michael Jackson, and have been a fervent critic of his at times for obvious reasons, but I get that he has talent as a singer, composer, arranger, and dancer. Some songs resonate, most don't, and his exploits are nuts. With all that said, check out the video that I've posted below. I have to give this wedding party a lot of credit as they must have rehearsed a lot for this. Looks like they had fun.

In other news, sports is now into the dead zone. The Knicks are playing better, and St. John's is barely on the New York radar, which is horribly sad. How far this program has fallen since the days of Lou Carnesecca. The '84-85 Johnnies who went to the Final Four with Chris Mullin are still my favorite team, with Mullin my favorite player. That's was a fun time for basketball in New York, and it carried pretty much through the end of the 20th Century with St. John's and the Knicks. The Johnnies and I began to fall out of favor when they changed their mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm.

I mentioned that I will join Don Boyle for Thursday nights call of Greenwich-Darien hockey on SportingNews CT (7:30 pregame). Ah, but I have more. On Saturday, I will call Notre Dame of Fairfield versus Fairfield Prep (two of the top teams in Connecticut) live on SportingNews. Pregame show begins at 12:45 PM. I'm still trying to get an analyst locked up, otherwise I'll ride solo. You can find the broadcasts here.

(NOTE - Tim Parry will call the game on Saturday with me. That fact alone will make it worth listening. I promise you that we will have fun.)

I was in a small fender bender late last week. I'm fine, and thankfully, so is The Son, who watched as a car back right out of a spot and into us as we waited for a light to change in the middle of Mahopac. I'm glad it didn't hit his door, and I'm further glad that he seemed largely unfazed. That was the perfect end to a rough week. Fortunately, The Wife was very low-key about the whole thing, and we had friends over and that helped put it out of my mind. We also went to Molly Darcy's over the weekend and saw The Joshua Tree again. My only complaint about them is that many of the bands who play at Molly's are off and running by just after 9:00 PM, while these guys are actually doing a sound check at 10:00. Couldn't we have perhaps done sound check a little earlier to get on with the show? But their music is well done, and we had a good time. Still there's nothing worse than loosening up and dancing, only to be left dancing alone because The Wife says that "Helter Skelter" is a hard song to dance to. This from the same person who danced to "Ring of Fire." My feeling is that you can move to almost anything

So I looked like The Geek from the movie "Sixteeen Candles" after Molly Ringwald abandoned him at the dance. Sheesh.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Off The Bench at Super Bowl XLI ™

Lots of hit and run here. Sorry, I know that’s a baseball metaphor, but deal with it.

It’s weird to watch the you-know-what at home. Every year since 1990 (Game number XV) I’ve watched the game at my in-laws house. This year, we’re watching it in our own home. The downside is that my in-laws have a monster TV. We have a 27-inch. Ouch.

Finally, six hours and 24 minutes of pregame stuff, it’s show time.

Holy cow…Devin Hester. Yikes. No “big game” has ever started like that. For Jim Nantz, on CBS, in his first Super Bowl, he had no chance for nerves. Called exceptionally.

I was just getting ready to comment on how Adam Vinatieri was kicking off in his fifth Super Bowl, and wondering what Bill Belichick thought. Then CBS offered a replay of a despondent Vinatieri after Hester flew by. He who laughs last. Incidentally Vinatieri called the kickoff (tails) and was wrong.

Geez, I haven’t even offered my pregame thoughts. Since we got home around 2:30 or so, I figured I’d put the pregame show on the background. For the most part, I didn’t have too many complaints. I feel for CBS in terms of the technical problems.
As I’ve said – been there, done that. The interview with Brian Urlacher and Solomon Wilcots was laughable. We heard his last words but nothing more. Of particular note to me was the segment on Brian Piccolo and Walter Payton – two Bears running backs who died far too young. I found that to be especially emotional. Bill Cowher was a decent analyst and with some polish could have himself another job if he wanted. Selfishly I also enjoyed the Hines Ward story, but it seemed unnecessary. Most of the other stuff was just window dressing.

Billy Joel’s anthem was well done, but his voice was not its best.

Peyton Manning does not look sharp early on. Nearly picked off twice in the opening drive.

The he did get intercepted. Uh oh.

Simms and Nantz have pointed out what I knew. This is a Bears crowd. They think it’s three-quarters Bears, which is at least what it was for the Steelers last year in Detroit.

Incidentally, I had to wear my Ben Roethlisberger jersey today, and the Steelers flag is flying outside. Even if they weren’t the defending champions, I’d still fly the flag. Gotta show the pride.

OK, first real commercial break. Bud Light spot was hysterical. Rock, paper, scissors indeed. I don’t like their beer but I like their commercials.

I hate these CBS player intros. I prefer the ones employed by NBC, in the spirit of the recent Monday Night Football ones on ABC.

Breakdown in defense, and Manning now has a touchdown to go along with his pick. The wet ball, I think, caused a missed extra point. Bears lead 7-6.

OK, I’m into it. I knew I just needed to get things going.

Early review from me – the commercials generally suck. The FedEx moon spot was cute, but nothing grand.

Would you believe that a telemarketer just called? It was, supposedly, the Fraternal Order of Police. I politely said that I was sitting down to dinner (true) but what the hell is he doing calling tonight? I will not be giving them any money any time soon.

OK, the David Letterman/Oprah promo was great. Best laugh I’d had so far.

I’ve watched every game since number XII (1978). This is, by far, the worst weather I can remember. It’s pouring rain, and the crowd is not allowed to bring umbrellas to the game.

First questionable call of the night, on a sideline catch. The striped shirts ruled a push out and a completion. In Seattle, Mike Holmgren says that it cost him this year’s Super Bowl.

By the way, it’s 14-6 Bears at this point.

Another turnover, and it’s Indy’s ball. They just can’t get a rhythm going however.

Thanks to the wife for a super meal (no trademark). Hot dogs, chili, mozzarella sticks, and, yes, a salad. All-American here, for sure!

The Son is here as well, but really isn’t watching. Once he figured out the Steelers weren’t playing, he lost interest.

I wanted to have a drinking game for how many times we saw the Manning family. Instead, I’m thinking we should go for drinks ever time there is a CBS show promo.

Following a shot of three CBS sitcom stars in the stands, Simms offered that the show can’t be that good yet, or else they wouldn’t in the stands; they’d be in a suite. Great line.

One quarter in the books – 14-6 Chicago. I have a vested interest in one pool – my mom’s. She didn’t win the first quarter score.

After a Vinatieri field goal, it’s 14-9.

The commercials keep getting dumber. The list is too long for me to calculate.

Look I’m thrilled that The Police are reuniting, but how soon before I’m sick of them? Not just because of the Grammy’s, and what not, because of just how many times The Wife will play them. Of course, that will lead to the inevitable attempt to buy tickets. Can’t decide if I want us to score or not.

The Bears just had another three and out. Neither team can get going. This is brutally ugly so far.

Career Builder – well done! The old “it’s a jungle out there” concept, with the Security Office telling people to “Sign out please” as they run by.

Simms and Nantz have developed great chemistry. You can tell they like working with each other. Now some dopey executive will break them up.

This rain is a nightmare. I’m now convinced that this is the worst “big game” weather ever. The cameras are having trouble staying dry and clear. If I recall correctly, Game VII in Houston was cold, as was Game IX, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The game was only held there because the Superdome wasn’t ready yet. They’d come back for game XII.

First lead for the Colts. A big pass to Marvin Harrison set it up, then another pass to Dallas Clark. I said yesterday to Ricky Fritsch that I thought Harrison was a big key to this game. For a nearly legendary receiver, he has never been good in playoff games. Gee, any chance that contributed to Peyton Manning’s previous postseason problems?

The commercials having some better moments. The GM spot with the robotic arm was good, but then Coke went for the PC angle with a Black History Month spot. Lame.

Cedric Benson is apparently done with a knee injury. The Bears seem to be passing the ball now, and Rex Grossman isn’t setting the world on fire.

Manning – 14 of 21 for 169 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int. I was just thinking that he might throw for 400 yards before they put those stats on CBS and so far, it’s possible.

Another turnover, as Fletcher fumbled. The Bears are so opportunistic and that’s the key stat – who has the most turnovers.

But Grossman fumbled it right back to the Colts. Most of the time, when there is a not ready for prime time quarterback in the big game, against an established veteran, the vet wins. Grossman stands no chance against Manning.

We’ve seen a couple of lackluster QB matchups. Think Kerry Collins and Tent Dilfer or Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson.

The Lays/Doritos/Tostitos spot about the African American coaches nearly made me vomit. I’m thrilled for what we have tonight with two great human beings on the opposite sidelines, but I don’t give a shite what color they are. I can’t say it any clearer than that.

Stop the presses. Vinatieri just missed a field goal. In the big game. That is the perfect end to a crazy first half.

Earlier today, NBC had a report about the mega toilet flush that takes place at halftime. So with that said – enjoy!

Our halftime score: Indianapolis 16, Chicago 14. Sean Kilkelly is ready in the studio with the extravaganza. You’re listening to the Super Bowl on 1490, WGCH.

In my dreams.

So the concert just ended. It had its moments but overall it was a yawn for me. Why did Prince play “All Along The Watchtower?”

So who’s up for next year? Culture Club? Blondie? I’m telling you, bring back the days of Up With People.

I’m sure none of you saw it, but the NFL Network played the original broadcast of Super Bowl III for the first time since it was broadcast in 1969. We’ve come a long way since then, that’s for sure. It was great to watch. I found myself watching and reminding myself that they weren’t going to put a lot graphics up because they didn’t have any. They weren’t going to keep the score on the screen all the time, because we were some 27 years from broadcasts doing that. Amazing.

Another asinine fact of life with these halftime shows. I know it’s raining, but let’s face it – the fireworks cause a horrible haze for those I the stadium and those of us watching on TV.

I’ve stayed away from the Tank Johnson thing, but let’s be honest. If I was under house arrest, would I be allowed to go on a business trip to Miami? If the answer’s yes, then there you go. I’d like a judge to explain that.

Indy kept the ball for half of the third quarter, but only got a field goal. 19-14 Colts, and that’s huge, because I think the Colts were on the verge of the knockout punch.

Another drive, another field goal. 22-14, which keeps it at a one-possession game. However, I’m beginning to fall asleep.

The Robert Goulet commercials was both inspired and silly. A decent spot.

Maybe the number of mentions for The Police reunion should have been the drinking game.

The FedEx “what’s in a name” spot was good. The K-Fed commercial was dumb. Virtually anything Bud Light has been funny.

Thanks to a personal foul on the Colts, the Bears got good field position, and Robbie Gould tacked on a field goal. It’s now 22-17 Colts.

Three down, one to go. Colts still leading.

The commercials and the game have made me reach the Thumper Zone. You know, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

The death knell might have just happened. It looked like the Bears were starting to make some noise but Kelvin Hayden picked Grossman off down the right sideline and returned it for a score. 29-17 Indy. Get the trophy ready.

My favorite commercial might be the virtual football game between Jay-Z and Don Shula. Just because it’s Jay-Z and Don Shula.

I’ve reached the point that I’m reading the paper while watching the game. My entire family is asleep, so it’s just me now. Rick Carpiniello in today’s Journal News writes about the black coach issue. Yes, we’ve got them in the big game today, but not enough of them in the Lower Hudson Valley. I’ll just come right out and say it – that is an attempt to be PC, and curry favor with African Americans. I find it despicable.

Look, should there be more African Americans in positions of power? Let me answer it this way – who is the most qualified person? If it’s a minority, then bring it on. Any other way makes it just a quota. As a person who has been a victim of quota layoffs, I really get annoyed at this subject.

In the meantime, Bob Sanders just picked off Grossman.

Manning update – 25 of 38 for 247 yards. So no 400 yard game tonight.

Time to start thinking MVP. Manning is the safe pick.

I have to be fair. Credit to CBS for a smart broadcast tonight. I’ve only seen one shot of CBS stars in the crowd. I don’t recall seeing even one shot of Archie Manning. Nantz and Simms have been good. Overall, I’m giving the production high marks.

Grossman’s fourth down pass just fell incomplete with just about 5:00 to go. Enjoy your championship, Indianapolis. The coronation is about to happen, as they move deeper into Chicago territory.

Two-minute warning. Just get it over with.

It’s over. 29-17 Colts is the final. Congratulations to a fine football team, led by good people in Tony Dungy and starring Peyton Manning. The Bears have nothing to be ashamed of.

Barring anything good in the postgame show, I’m done. This one will not go down as an all-timer.

OK, I’m still here. What the hell is the NFL doing with having Don Shula walk the Lombardi trophy to the podium? This is not the Stanley Cup, gang. No people with white gloves here.

Oh, Jim Irsay says God was in the building tonight. What position did he play? Was he on the sideline, maybe wearing a rainbow wig?

Tony Dungy says he’s more of a Christian coach than anything else. Good for him, I suppose.

Peyton Manning got the MVP. Nobody else stood out, so as I said earlier, he was the logical choice.

For once, I’m not worrying about proofreading and spellchecking. I’m too tired. This one was just not all that exciting, in virtually every aspect. Oh well.

My Neck Is On The Block

Here it is. I revealed it on "The Sports Insider With Ricky Fritsch" yesterday and I will do again here.

Colts 38, Bears 20.

By the way, I'm always wrong about these things.

Also by the way, it is 12:20 in New York (and Miami) as I write this. The CBS pregame show is 20 minutes old. Crazy.

I really want to do a drinking game. Every time CBS puts a shot up of a Manning family member (preferably Archie or Eli), you have to take a drink.

We'll talk again after the main event. Enjoy the game everyone!

PS - Tomorrow should be a National Holiday.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Off The Bench

Happy Friday. Is it just me, or is there no excitement for The Really Big Event That Takes Place on the First Sunday in February (TRBETTPOTFSIF)? I mean I’ll watch come kickoff, but I just can’t get juiced up for this thing. Only a couple of other games in the history of TRBETTPOTFSIF have ever had me this “blah.” I had little interest in the Eagles and Pats two years ago, and probably the same for the Bucs and Raiders a few years back.

Billy Joel will sing the National Anthem. Now he’s one of my favorites, but why is he the choice? And then there’s Prince at halftime. Whatever. If he sings “Little Red Corvette”, it will probably make The Wife happy.

It’s all about making The Wife happy, isn’t it?

Mike Ditka (America’s Coach) dropped that the 1989 San Francisco 49ers will be named as the greatest Super Bowl team in the NFL Network’s series, “America’s Team” yesterday on the Mike and Mad Dog program. What a joke. That’s why you can’t get hung up on things like this. These jackasses who voted all have a fetish for Joe Montana and it is sickening. They all worship at the altar of Bill Walsh (“The Genius). Any of the four Steelers Super Bowl winners in the 70’s, or the ’85 Bears, or the ’72 Dolphins, or the ’66 Packers would have beaten the Niners. I even think the ’86 Giants were better.

(EDIT - Da Coach didn't have all of the facts. The '89 Niners were actually fourth, with the '78 Steelers third, da '85 Bears second, and the '72 Dolphins first. I still don't agree, but I'll live.)

Said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are a couple of quarterbacks that I would take before Lord Joe Montana. We can start with Unitas, then Marino, then Elway, then Bradshaw. At this point, I might even take Brady and just maybe Favre.

Jesus, but I’m in a rotten mood. Started sinking on Wednesday and has almost bottomed out this morning. Of course, I can’t tell you why.

The Ditka interview was great. That guy is a nut-case, but he gets it. He’s not afraid to say that the NFL should be ashamed for the way they’re treating their former players, and he’s right. It’s almost criminal. These guys gave their bodies for the sport, and they’re getting no financial support from the most profitable sport. What happened to former Steelers center Mike Webster was criminal. He lived in his car and his brain was mush, before a heart attack killed him. Earl Campbell doesn’t leave his own house. Old Colts tight end John Mackey is in a nursing home. It’s embarrassing, and the attitudes of former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and labor president (and former Radier) Gene Upshaw is awful. Upshaw should be fired on the spot for his handling of things. Clearly he has forgotten where he came from.

You probably know that the shoulder of a road is known as “the breakdown lane.” In that I wish to introduce new term. The left lane of the southbound Taconic Parkway, from approximately Underhill Avenue to NY state route 134 (or maybe even much farther south than that) should be known as “the crash lane” or “the suicide lane” or something like that. People can not handle driving in that lane, or on that road. I’ve always said that drivers should be forced to take a litmus test before being permitted to drive on the TSP. I stand by that belief.

There are reports that Bernie Williams is going to accept a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Is that the best each side has? Is it time for Bernie to fade out and play his music full time? Are the Yankees just doing him a favor? I think the answer is yes on all fronts. It’s never easy to walk away.

Looks like I’ll be back on the air, sort of. Tomorrow, I will be the guest of Ricky Fritsch on “The Sports Insider.” We’re going to talk with Greenwich hoops coach Bill Brehm about his terrific team, and about the Super Bowl. Join us live around 9:05 Saturday morning. If all goes as planned, I will join Don Boyle on SportingNewsCT ( Thursday night at 7:45, as Greenwich hosts Darien in hockey. I’ve only done color on hockey a few times, so don’t expect me to be John Davidson. Or Dave Maloney or John Spang.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Enjoy the Super Bowl, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about on Monday.