Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm alright, Jack--Keep yer hands offa my stack!

With that in mind, please wish me luck on the Powerball thing tonight.  Being as the #9 has been very prevalent in the news this week, and being as I had exactly nine Yankee dollars in my wallet during my trip to the store last night, I took that as a positive sign, thus I purchased nine lottery tickets.  I have plans for that $275 million, too.  Number 9! Number 9!  Number 9!...

Speaking of #9 in your lineup, a couple more thoughts on the dearly-departed Gov. Spitzer.  First off, when I saw the whore-rific (sorry!) photos of the prostitute that did him (in), my first thought was, "you paid $4,300 for that?!?"  His wife is a helluva lot prettier.  I also love the way Republican readers of the Kansas City Star have been raising a fuss because the paper never once mentioned that Spitzer is a Democrat in the inital articles they ran.  This man is an elected public official who (literally) fucked around and broke the law—what the hell difference does it make what party he's from?  Get over it, already, all you Larry Craig sychophants...

MOTHER NATURE'S COLORS WERE SHOWING... Atlanta last night when severe thunderstorms disrupted the SEC men's bassit-ball tournament at the Georiga Dome, blowing a couple holes in the roof and scaring the shit out of 18,000 people.  They were actually able to resume and complete the game that was interrupted, but the final game of the evening was postponed, thus causing the first "rain-in", as well as the first "twi-night doubleheader" (for Georgia) in college basketball history!

Today's Kansas-Texas A&M game in the Big 12 men's tournament here in K.C. was the final broadcast in the career of Fred White, one of the longtime voices of ESPN's college basketball as well as the Kansas City Royals.  Fred recently announced his retirement, and I'm going to miss him quite a bit.  He teamed up with Hall of Famer Denny Matthews on Royals radio broadcasts in 1974 and was part of the soundtrack of my summers for nearly 25 years, until the team threw him under the bus in 1997 and fired him for no good reason other than to shake things up.  Gee, our team sucks, so let's fire the announcer—brilliant idea!  They replaced him with Ryan Lefebvre (son of former L.A. Dodger Jim Lefebvre), and while Ryan's a nice guy, he's a fairly dull play-by-play man.  The Royals did rehire White a few years ago as their director of broadcasting or some such thing, and he did get to do some fill-in work on broadcasts when Matthews took time off, but I still think he got a raw deal.  Anyway, I'm going to miss his easygoing delivery and Midwestern drawl, like when he pronounces Missouri "Missour-uh" and possession as "po-ZAY-shun".  In a very classy move, they stopped today's game briefly at the Sprint Center to recognize Fred White and honor him—bravo to the Big 12 people, and bravo especially to the man himself—ya done good, Fred!

It was also great that for his final game, White was teamed with former Royal Paul Splittorff, whom I worked with briefly during my stint at KKJC in Blue Springs in 1987.  Splitt got his start in broadcasting at the "Mighty 1030" as a color analyst on high school football and basketball games.  High school sports on local radio and TV is fairly commonplace now, but back then it was almost unheard of, and we were one of the few stations to carry high school sporting events, so I kinda like to think we pioneered it in some ways.  Anyway, Paul's delivery was very tentative and wooden at first, but he got better and more confident as the years went on, and sounds very polished now, and even does play-by-play on Royals telecasts in addition to color.  I can also say that Paul Splittorff is a truly nice man—what you see on TV is pretty much what you get in person.  He's very affable and has a very wry sense of humor—very cool guy.

It appears that the new Scent Printer is a big hit with out-of-town Big 12 fans, as is the adjoining new Power & Light entertainment district.  The entire area has been quite zoo-like the last three days, and I'm tickled to see downtown Kansas City come alive again—it's been long overdue.

Memo to the Big 12:  You might re-think a couple of your corporate sponsors for this conference tournament.  There are only like two Chik-Fil-A restaurants in K.C., and there ain't a Whataburger within at least 200 miles of Kansas City (let alone Nebraska, Colorado or Iowa).  You might wanna recruit sponsors that all Big 12 TV viewers can actually patronize, okey-dokey?

And in a sure sign of the apocalypse, during the Big 12 game last night between Texas A&M and Kansas State, I heard one of the pep bands playing "Shout It Out Loud" by Kiss.  Black Sabbath, Metallica and AC/DC also get the college pep band/marching band treatment from time to time these days.  I never thought I'd live to see the day when college bands would be playing heavy metal songs!

I just had to chortle yesterday when I read that singer Sheryl Crow is joining Fleetwood Mac.  Evidently, Horsey-Face is now the ersatz replacement for Christine McVie.  This is akin to Kid Rock joining the Eagles...

Some baseball fanatics with way too much time on their hands came up with the following funnies:

Alex Rodriguez = Regularized Ox

George Herman Ruth = Rather Huge Monger
San Francisco Giants = Fascinating! No scars!
Los Angeles Dodgers = All Negro Goddesses
San Diego Padres = Ignored Sad Apes
Derek Jeter = Jerked Tree
The Cincinnati Reds = Indecent Christian
Andy Pettite = Tainted Type (can that one be any more ironic?!?)

Milton Bradley = Notably Milder (ditto)
Tony LaRussa = Sour Analyst
Gary Sheffield = Large Fed Fishy
Hideki Okajima = Hi, I am a joke, kid
Chase Utley = Eyelash Cut

Pedro Martinez = Note: Prized Arm!
Carlos Pena = Anal Corpse
Fantasy Baseball = A Baseball Fan Sty
Tom Seaver = Arm Vetoes

Oscar Charleston = Anal Crotch Sores
Roy Oswalt = Wooly Rats
Kansas City Royals = Ink Ya Salary Costs!
Tom Glavine = Angel Vomit
Greg Maddux = Max-Drugged
Bruce Sutter = Cubs utterer; Butt rescuer
Jose Offerman = Major Offense
Al Kaline = Alkaline
Cal Ripken = Lean Prick; Pain Clerk

Travis Lee = Versatile
Stan Musial = Lust Is A Man
Chris Capuano = A Crap Cushion
Lou Piniella = I, Paul O'Neill
Dustin Pedroia = Super Addition
Dmitri Young = Dim Orgy Unit

Magglio Ordonez = Glamorized Goon

And one non-baseball item: Jennifer Aniston = Fine in torn jeans

Yours truly, Brian Holland = Land Ho, Brain L!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another blast from the past

Anybody out there remember Fotomat?  With the advent of digital cameras and One-Hour Photo, et al, this bygone edifice of American culture is now about as obsolete as VCRs and the Yellow Pages, but for no particular reason, I was reminded of them the other day.  Here's what a real one looked like, but I wasn't able to save the pic to my hard drive because of site limitations.

And here's what one looks like today, after having been subjected to the carbon-freeze process!

Separated at birth?

Disregarding the hair and skin tones, the similarity in the facial expressions is just uncanny!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Check it out, Leroy!

Y'ever listen to that Henry Lee Summer song, "I Wish I Had A Girl" and say to yourself, "Who the fuck is Leroy?!?"  I have on numerous occasions...

I bet New York Governor Spitzer wishes he was in one of those Southwest Airlines commercials right about now.  I believe Spitzer's man-sized predicatment was best summed up by that noted philosopher B. Bunny many, many years ago:  "What a maroon!"  Client #9 ain't got that many political lives, that's for sure...

I don't know which is crazier, QB Trent Green still wanting to play football, or the St. Louis Rams signing him yesterday for $8.9 million a year for three years to do so.  This guy is one more concussion away from becoming a Zucchini permanently, and I can't believe the Rams think they're going to get three games out of the man, let alone three years.  Trent, buddy, I admire your competitiveness, but you're a tragedy just waiting to happen...

Did anyone waste their Monday evening on that Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame folderol last night?  I most certainly didn't.  I would've sooner watched three hours-worth of "Roseanne" reruns.  Oh fuck—did I say that?!?

Talk is heating up about the NHL staging another outdoor regular season game next season, this time at the soon-to-be demolished Yankee Stadium in Da Bronx.  Baseball purists are viewing this as heresy if the final event there is a hockey game, but I have a solution to this dilemma.  Why not stage one more Yankees game there at the end of Spring Training in 2009?  They could then have a big "passing the torch" ceremony similar to the way Montreal closed out The Forum about ten years ago, followed a few weeks later by imploding the place on national TV—with George Steinbrenner in it, of course...

I love old neon signs like these—they're becoming a dying breed.  Vess Cola is a regional soft drink bottler based in St. Louis whom former Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith used to do endorsements for, as I recall.  I stumbled across this pic online the other night, and I believe this sign is just a couple blocks north of the Ram Dome in St. Louie.  There's also a beautiful (and huge) Anheuser-Busch neon sign along 40 Hiway west of downtown St. Louis that I'm dying to get a photo of at night, but it's really hard to access.

In lieu of the Hall of Fame thing and/or "Roseanne" reruns last night, I flipped over to my '70s Music Choice channel on my cable, and spent the most enjoyable hour listening to oldies from my youth that I'll probably never hear on over-the-air radio again in my lifetime unless I buy my own station and play the damn things myself!  Here's a little sampling of what I heard during a 60-minute span last night:

"Holly Holy"—Neil Diamond
"Smokin' In The Boys' Room"—Brownsville Station
"One Tin Soldier"—Coven
"Only Yesterday"—The Carpenters
"Theme From Shaft"—Isaac Hayes
"Shannon"—Henry Gross
"Everlasting Love"—Carl Carlton
"If You Leave Me Now"—Chicago
"Burning Bridges"—Mike Curb Congregation
"I Woke Up In Love This Morning"—Partridge Family
"Have You Never Been Mellow"—Olivia Newton-John
"Popcorn"—Hot Butter

Okay, I know about half of those songs get regular airplay on Oldies stations, but my point here is look at how well they peacefully co-exist on Music Choice.  So my question to all you program directors and corporate radio suits out there, is what the fuck do you have to lose by broadening your playlists and adding songs stuff like the Carpenters and such?  You can't tell me that all people want to hear is "Joy To The World", "Stayin' Alive", "Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Play That Funky Music" every hour—no wonder terrestrial radio is dying!  Take a chance, people—throw in "Run Joey Run" or "Indiana Wants Me" now and then!  Even some Ohio Express would be a step in the right direction...

P(raise) T(he) L(ord) and P(ass) T(he) L(oot)

Regular readers of my blog know quite well that I like T.V. evangelists about as much as I like liver and onions, John Mellencamp and diarrhea, so with that in mind, I present to you the Top 10 T.V. Evangelist-Bashing songs of All-Time:

Honorable mentions:
"Would Jesus Wear A Rolex?"—RAY STEVENS (1987)  Brother Ray posed some interesting questions here.  "Would He wear a pinky ring?"  Well, would He?
"Long-Haired Country Boy"—CHARLIE DANIELS BAND (1974)  Not about evangelists per se, except for the verse that goes "Preacher man talkin' on TV, puttin' down the Rock 'N' Roll/Wants me to send a donation, 'cuz he's worried about my soul..."
"The Wages Of Sin"—THE RAINMAKERS (1987)  Again, not about preachers per se, but I love the line "If heaven is guilt, no sex and no show, then I'm not sure that I really wanna go..."

10) "Just Put Your Hands On The Screen"—MARTIN BRILEY (1983)  Sounding rather Peter Gabriel-ish, this was Briley's forgotten follow-up to "Salt In My Tears".  Video is pretty self-explanatory.
9) "Bad Religion"—Motorhead (1992)  As usual, my man Lemmy cuts right through the bullshit:  "Evangelistic Nazis—you cannot frighten me…I need no burning crosses to illuminate my night."
8) "Satellite"—The Hooters (1987)  A song I wouldn’t have expected from these guys, but they were quick to capitalize on the whole Jim and Tammy Faye scandal.  "Hush, little baby, don’t you cry—God’s gonna buy you a satellite."  Great video, too.
7) "T.V. Crimes"—BLACK SABBATH (1992)  Not so much a slam on the evangelists, but the gullible fools who support them.  "Send me a plastic Jesus—there’s a check in the mail today."
6) "Mary Long"—DEEP PURPLE (1973)  "How did you lose your virginity, Mary Long?"  ML was actually an amalgam of two people, one of whom was Mary Whitehouse.  According to singer Ian Gillan, Whitehouse was "a female Jimmy Swaggart" in England, self-righteously preaching celibacy, while in private Mary was apparently (in the words of Dr. Niles Crane) "randy as a stoat!"  "What we do in full-frontal view is more honest than your clean-up mind..."
5) "Ticket To Heaven"—Dire Straits (1990)  Mark Knopfler deftly put together this wickedly subtle slam on money-grubbing TV preachers, orchestrating it with lush strings and pretty steel guitar.  "Now I send what I can to the man with the diamond ring…"
4) "Thou Shalt Not—Kiss (1992)  Back when Gene Simmons was still my idol, he sang "Kindly reconsider the sins of your past—I said, ‘Mister, you can kindly kiss my ass!’"  Here's what it sounds like if you don't mind watching a video of some ugly fat guy lip-synching to the song!
3) "I’m Alive"—W.A.S.P. (1986)  This song applies perfectly to Rev. Fred Phelps and crew: "Force suppression, that’s what you do—tell me, what’s in it for you?  Listen I’m on to your game…All your lies are the same!...Damn you, holy man alive…"  Preach, Brother Blackie, preach!
2) "Jesus He Knows Me"—Genesis (1991)  It’s like Phil Collins saw about 15 years into the future, as this one could’ve easily been about the whole Ted Haggard saga.  "I believe in the family—got my ever-lovin’ wife beside me; She don’t know about my girlfriend—or the man I met last night…"
1) "Miracle Man" —Ozzy Osbourne (1988)  The Ozz-Man scored a direct hit on Jimmy Swaggart ("Little Jimmy Sinner") and Oral Roberts on this classic.  I loved Ozzy’s rant on his Live & Loud CD about Roberts:  "I’m gonna die tomorrow if I don’t get $8 million.  Well then fuckin’ die, asshole!"  Amen, brother!