Category Archives: Endeavors Elsewhere

Me, Elsewhere: John Rocker and Johan Santana, Together At Last

I wanted to alert loyal Scratchbomb readers to a couple of posts I’ve penned elsewhere that went up in the last few days. First, for Vice, a look at creep ne plus ultra John Rocker, who’s just released his long awaited (by no one) memoirs entitled Scars and Stripes. (GET IT?) Rocker’s been making the rounds withe bottom-barrelest right wing news sites, and one such profile was the inspiration for my piece. Spoiler alert: I’m not a big fan!

One thing I’d completely forgotten about when I wrote this article (which is just as well, since it probably wouldn’t have fit) is how half-assed Rocker’s “apology” was when he came to New York for the first time after his infamous Sports Illustrated profile. While doing my research for Yells For Ourselves, I rediscovered coverage of his return to NYC, and it’s sickening how much he tries to weasel out of saying he’s sorry, like he’s Racist Fonzie.

Rocker recorded a video they played on Diamond Vision at Shea in which he said, among other things, “Many people perceived these comments to be malicious, and for this again I apologize.” In other words, It’s YOUR fault for being offended. “I am not the evil person that has been portrayed.” It’s the media’s fault for reporting exactly what I said.

Rocker’s the kind of bully who, if you punched him back, would run to the principal and insist you started the altercation. I realize that writing about him at all is just fuel for his warped fire, but good lord, he cannot fall off the face of the earth fast enough for me.

I also took time to write about non-horrible people. Last week, the Mets finally saw one of their pitchers throw a no hitter. Maybe you heard about it? It was a cause for much rejoicing, which is why I was so perturbed by a post at Deadspin that wondered if Mets fans wished another pitcher had done it. I disagree strenuously with that premise for several reasons. To find them all out, you’ll have to read this post I did for The Classical. Or, barring that, have someone read it to you.

Speaking of which, Jon Stewart’s piece on The Daily Show about attending Johan’s no-no with his family was heartwarming in a Jon Stewart-y sort of way. When it comes to baseball + children, I can get embarrassingly sentimental. This ESPN ad still brings a tear to the eye, and every time a broadcast shows a dad with a small kid in the stands, I get all misty. I’m sure the same is true for many parents who also sublimate their emotions into sporting events. Go team!

What’s Been Doin’

Hey! I haven’t written here in a while. Nor have I been writing all that much at Scratchbomb in calendar year 2012. One large reason is that, for the last bit and a half, I’ve been concentrating alternately on finishing my novel and working on a large-ish non-fiction thing.

As far as the novel goes, it is 98 percent done. I’ve completed a second draft, and will soon begin a third so I can dot the i’s, cross the t’s, remove superfluous adverbs, and so on. However, all the really hard work (the actual writing of stuff) is done, and very soon I will send it out to the world and onto a slush pile near you. I am close enough to completion that I feel confident enough to tell the world the following facts about this novel:

  1. The title is Love and a Short Leash.
  2. It is a spy novel that involves baseball.

Speaking of baseball, the large-ish non-fiction thing I mentioned above involves The Great American Pastime and it too has been consuming me of late. I’ve been kinda squirrely about exactly what this thing is on Twitter and elsewhere. I realize that vagueness such as this is maddening and I apologize for that. Here is what I can say about it:

  1. It is called Yells For Ourselves.
  2. It is a multi-volume ebook about the 1999/2000 Mets, or rather, about the narratives and media perceptions thereof.
  3. It will be available in a no-frills version and a souped-up version for the iPad that will include lots of extra goodies, the technical aspects of which I’ve (mostly) figured out.
  4. More details will become available upon the official launch of YellsForOurselves.com. (Nothing there right now, really, except a “watch this space” notice and one of my favorite Mets-related pics ever.)

I am pursuing traditional channels to get my novel published. (Speaking of which, if you’re involved with traditional channels, hey, hit me up, wouldja?) The non-fiction book will be self-published, more or less to prove that the souped-up version is something can be done, from a technical standpoint.

The other big reason I’ve been delinquent in my posts here is because I’ve been writing for other sites. (Scratchbomb and I have an open relationship.) I realize this has endangered my goal for Scratchbomb to be the M*A*S*H of the Internet (“where hilarity meets brooding introspection!”). However, I’m pretty proud of the stuff I’ve done elsewhere of late. Apart from my regular stuff at Amazin’ Avenue (which should ramp up now that spring training is upon us). here’s where you could have seen me so far in 2012.

  • Last Friday I eulogized Gary Carter at The Classical. The Kid was the first athlete I loved, and his death, while sadly unexpected, hit me hard. I hope did his memory justice here. On a less serious tip, I also took a look at how Ray Manzarek’s brought an otherwise fine HBO doc about John Wooden and the UCLA basketball dynasty to a screeching halt.
  • For Vice, I penned a brief assessment of the Marlins’ home run monstrosity as a sign of the impending apocalypse. If you think that take is a bit hyperbolic, I assume you have not seen this thing.
  • For Splitsider, I looked back at the Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special, possibly the greatest thing Bill Murray has ever done, if not humanity itself.
  • Last but certainly not least, I’ve scribbled a few things for Low Times: a review of Mitch Miller’s prog record, and an in-depth study of which exact city was built on rock and roll. And if you’re not listening to the Low Times podcast, get on the stick, fella. I have to say the Worst Lyrics discussion with Ted Leo and DC Pierson is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in many a moon.

Will I be posting here with more regularity in the near future? Possibly. What I can promise is that if I don’t, I will definitely put up another post apologizing for not posting.

Me, Elsewhere: The Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special

Today, I have a new post up over at Splitsider concerning the greatest thing Bill Murray has ever done: The Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special. Click on this this link, watch the clips, and tell me I’m wrong. I dares ya.

This is seriously one of my favorite hours of television ever and it will become yours, too, once you watch it. I COMMAND IT.

Hear the Chilling Tale of ‘El Capitan’ and the Woodman of the Year

You may recall that a few weeks ago, I took part in The Soundtrack Series, a live event in which folks are asked to share some stories inspired by a particular song. If you couldn’t make it out that evening, first of all, you’re dead to me. But more importantly, you can now hear what you missed while you were becoming to dead to me!

That’s because the Soundtrack Series is also a podcast. So you can now listen to my harrowing tale of how I won a Major Award, and the evil role played therein by John Phillip Sousa’s stirring march “El Capitan.” You can subscribe to the podcast here (I recommend all other episodes as well). If you’re one of those people who doesn’t do iTunes for some reason, stroke your Amish beard thoughtfully, then scoot over to the Soundtrack Series site, where you can listen to my story in the webbed browser of your choice and download the track for future safekeeping.

If you’re wondering about the stray noise in the background, the show took place in the downstairs bar at Le Poisson Rouge while an enormous burlesque show of some kind went on upstairs. Though it occasionally can be heard in this recording, I didn’t hear any of this when it happened because I was in the ZONE (of sheer terror and wanting to be loved). Enjoy!

Me, Elsewhere: Metropolitan Times Podcast

So, fellow Amazin’ Avenue scribe Jeffrey Paternostro invited me onto his podcast, Metropolitan Tales, for the purposes of discussing the 1999/2000 Mets, Hall of Fame balloting, and a few other items that may or may not include Glendon Rusch. You can check it on out here. It was super fun and if The Greatest Infield Ever means anything to you, I think you will enjoy it. So there.

Me, Talkin’: The Soundtrack Series

So: Next Thursday, December 22–a week from today, as the crow flies–I will be talking live onstage for The Soundtrack Series. This is a monthly storytelling event where participants choose a song and weave a tale around it. My tale involves John Phillip Sousa and a very high school brand of humiliation, two good things that go great together.

In addition to me, you can come see Franz Nicolay, who you may know from The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society, or most recently of the Franz Nicolay. I can personally vouch for his storytelling abilities. If you doubt me, you can peep this tale of rock hubris he contributed to Scratchbomb a few months back. Also on the bill: Elna Baker, Cammi Climaco, and Jessica Halem.

If you’d like to get an idea of what this is all about, there is a Soundtrack Series podcast that I recommend subscribing to. (Julie Klausner’s entry on The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” is a good entry point.) The show goes down at 7pm at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street between Sullivan and Thompson (Manhattan’s fabled Cover Band District). Your attendance is mandatory, I mean, appreciated.

Me, Elswhere: The Baseball Hall of Shame and Cherry Cherry Christmas

I’m blowin’ up on the interwebs today, and I want to shout it from the rooftops! Or here. Yes, here will do.

First, you should know that I’ve written my first feature for The Classical, the new webbed site that aims to be heavy on the latter half of “sportswriting.” It’s about The Baseball Hall of Shame, a series of books that were incredibly influential on my young mind, and, my thesis goes, the young minds of many a lad who grew up to write about sports on the internet. I’m very proud of this piece and it was super fun to write, so tweet, like it on Facebook, put it on your MySpace doodads, and whatever else you need to do, but get the word out there, capisce? And while there, you can also check out a quick blog post I did on the subject of the dad who forced his kid to cry on camera about Albert Pujols. Fun!

But wait! If you act now, you can also read me at Low Times, where I survey my “favorite” holiday song of all time, Neil Diamond’s cray-tacular “Cherry Cherry Christmas.” If you’ve never heard it before, you’re in for a treat. If you have heard it before, my condolences!

Me Elsewhere: Rap Ads at Low Times

Let this be a heads-up to all and sundry that all this week, you can read contributions from yours truly over at Low Times. You see, once upon a time, companies thought they could capitalize on the emerging hip-hop culture in order to move some product. They also thought anybody could rap, and the results that littered the airwaves in the late 80s/early 90s were not pretty. So that we can all take a trip down memory lane, or expose unwitting younger generations to their horror, Daniel Ralston and I have compiled a few examples for your listening and viewing pleasure (?).

The first installment is up as we speak, with more segments to follow all week at Low Times’ “Long Player” section. The inaugural post includes a commercial I think you’ll “love in a major way.” Enjoy!

Dennis Miller: A Stranger to My Own Soul

A while ago, nearly every season of Saturday Night Live was added to Netflix Instant, and I rejoiced. I was anxious to rewatch the episodes I remember from my youth–the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey/Jon Lovitz years–and see if they were just as awesome as I remember. I also had very vivid memories of SNL band leader G.E. Smith, and the utterly nauseating “rockin” faces he would make as the show went to commercial. I wanted to see if this, too, was everything I remembered.

Sadly, the SNL episodes on Netflix are woefully incomplete, with tons of stuff cut out–some are as brief as a half hour long. And almost none of them retained the bumpers and the attendant guitar wankery I was looking for. ‘Twas a bitter pill to swallow.

But! I discovered something else while searching in vain for G.E. Smith’s painfully pursed visage. Did you know that while he was on SNL, Dennis Miller was acting in a one-man show into which he poured his tortured psyche? It’s true! I noticed that in every episode in which he appeared, at least once Dennis Miller would stare off into the middle distance and conduct a dialogue between himself and his innermost essence in a vain attempt to understand his place in the cosmos.

I have now captured these moments at a new Tumblr entitled “Dennis Miller: A Stranger to My Own Soul.” Tune there for regular excerpts from the Weekend Update anchor’s meisterwork. You can also follow the show on Twitter, where you can be apprised of updates and get occasional insights from the tortured late-80s mind of Miller himself.

So follow. And read. And be transformed by “Dennis Miller: A Stranger to My Own Soul.” Frank Rich once said of it, “the only things on Broadway that stink worse are the streetcorner garbage cans on an August afternoon and Legs Diamond.”

Me, Elsewhere: Steampipe Alley!

So! Yesterday Splitsider posted a piece I wrote about Steampipe Alley, a thoroughly singular slice of kiddie show weirdness that aired on local NY TV back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I am very proud of this silliness, and the fact that it made it to the front page of The Awl. (You may catch it there if you hurry!) So if you haven’t read this yet, I encourage you to do. It is one of the few places where you can see Mario Cantone feed worms to Morton Downey Jr. Enjoy!