Sunday, February 25, 2007
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--Bart Simpson, The Simpsons, 1993, with finger firmly held on the sarcasm button
"Billy Crystal would suck a cock to win a sack race."
--Artie (Rip Torn), The Larry Sanders Show, around the same time.
Here's another great piece dissing the delightful Billy Crystal (it's quite a blog by the way, be blogger's have to stick together). Since it's Oscar night, we figure it's only fitting to blow the other Billy C's cover, especially in regards to Bruno Kirby.
Kirby also appeared in many episodes of The Larry Sanders Show. A memorable exchange:
Bruno Kirby: I was in "The Godfather".
Hank Kingsley: I don't think so.
Bruno Kirby: I was in "The Godfather Part 2".
Hank Kingsley: Oh see, I only saw part 3, the good one.
By the way, there are two infamous myths that Crystal's people have started that should probably be dispelled:
- He's begged to do the Oscars every year. If that's the case, then why in the past few years have we seen David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, even Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and now Ellen? It's because they want somebody new to work out. If Crystal was really the legend he thinks he is, then he'd be like Bob Hope or Johnny Carson and actually host the fucking thing every year. I can't think of one generation that thinks Crystal is some sort of legend. I don't hear anybody wishing the "delightful" Billy Crystal would have hosted afterwards. You definitely won't hear it tomorrow.
- He stayed up all night with Bob Costas to help him write the eulogy for Mickey Mantle's funeral, which Costas read eloquently and to wide acclaim. The whole thing is even available at a website called eulogywriters.com (who knew?). Unfortunately, Costas hasn't come out and called Crystal out on this, primarily because Bob's not the sort to cause waves. This one might still be up for debate, but it's just like Crystal to jump on something like this.
One more great exchange from Larry Sanders, this one from the final episode:CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Another Royal Goes to Cooperstown; Billy Crystal Killed Bruno Kirby; AND Oh Yes, The Pine Tar Incident
This will be Matthews 39th season with the Royals. Denny isn't on anyone's list of all-time greatest baseball announcers. In fact, as a life-long Royals fan, I'd say the greatest compliment I can give Matthews is that he's consistently competent. The word "ordinary" would often come to mind, but never "bad" or "horrible" (like I've called his current partner, Ryan Levebvre, many, many times). Matthews is getting this award and recognition for his longevity and association with one team for so long.
The Kansas City Royals baseball tradition runs much deeper than Denny Matthews, a guy who I'm sure the throngs of fans who show up in Cooperstown in July for Cal Ripken, Jr. And Tony Gwynn won't even recognize. I guess it's appropriate that Matthews goes into the Hall the same year that Ripken and Gwynn are. It was also announced last week that Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch won the 2007 J.G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. Hummel, like Matthews, Ripken and Gwynn, spent his entire career with one organization (in his case, covering the Cardinals).
I'm not familiar with Hummel's work, but I've been with Denny from day one of my life. Ripken's major claim to fame is the consecutive games streak, but the guy did win two AL MVP's. Gwynn was a much better hitter than people are giving him credit for. I can recall three defining moments in Ripken's career (that jog around Camden Yards after breaking Gehrig's streak in 1995, catching the final out of the 1983 World Series, and hitting that batting practice pitch that Chan Ho Park threw him in the 2001 All-Star game). Other than the first moment, the others aren't exactly awe inspiring. Gwynn could have given .400 a run if not for the strike shortened season of 1994, but if Aunt had a penis she'd be my Uncle. There's really no real "moment" from Gwynn's career. And similar to Gwynn, Denny Matthews has no signature moment from his broadcasting career. Not the home run that George Brett hit off of Gossage to seal the pennant for the Royals in 1980. Not the Pine Tar Incident (that was more for TV the Yankee announcers, and yes we've got the whole thing for you below -- we can't really that this one from radio because it had to be seen to be believed). Not the final out of the 1985 World Series or even the infamous blown Don Denkinger call. None of these signature Royals moments are defined by calls Denny Matthews made, which is odd for a Hall of Fame broadcaster. About the only one I can remember with Matthews voice that rings a bell is Brett's final at bat in 1993, and that's only because the game wasn't televised in our area.
Nevertheless, I'm happy for Denny Matthews, who I've heard more than any other broadcaster in my life. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown, if only because he's documented the entire history of the Kansas City Royals, and not many give this franchise the historic credit it deserves. It's almost like the 1970's or '80's never happened. So until Johnny Damon goes into Cooperstown as a Royal (which I'll argue over in 7 years) and Alex Gordon gets inducted 25 years later, we'll have to settle for two Royals getting baseball's greatest honor.
Oh, by the way, turns out Billy Crystal really is the rat bastard we've always thought he was. This is a great read, and has a great follow read after. So take that Yankee fans: One of your most beloved and famous fans is a major league jackass. And you've got nobody representing in Cooperstown this summer. And A-Rod is finished sucking Jeter's cock. Everything's right in the world.
Now the real treat. The 1983 Pine Tar Incident, in all it's glory. My favorite part of this video isn't Brett going Lou Ferrigno on the umpires, but Gaylord Perry and Hal McRae playing hot potato with that bat all the way up the visitors dugout. That Gaylord Perry, he always knew a thing or two about getting away with something. But keep your eyes on McRae. He was due up next in the lineup, but rather than congratulate Brett rounding the bases, he keeps his eyes on what the fuck those umpires are doing with that bat. You then see him go over to Geroge in the dugout as if to say, "I think you went with too much hot sauce on the taco", and then he made sure that when the shit went down, SOMEBODY grabbed that bat. The Yankee announcers credit Gaylord for taking the bat away from the umps, but we few Royals fans know the real truth, and if you watch closely, you can see it. McRae went out as if to restrain Brett, only to grab the bat, toss it down to Gaylord Perry, who made sure nobody important got it. I also love that bastard Craig Nettles trying to come in as if HE'S going to be the one to calm a madman down. Just a classic moment, and one that Denny Matthews isn't going to Cooperstown for (but that bat is believed to either be there, or with Hal McRae, nobody really knows for sure):
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Friday, February 23, 2007
Anywho, the locks:
- BEST PICTURE: Nobody flipped and flopped on a movie more than Mackenzie did on The Departed. He went from the old Larry David, "Ehh" to being first in line to buy it when it came out on DVD. It's a great movie, better than anything else it's up against (including the vastly overrated Little Miss Moonbeam). It's not Goodfellas, it's not Taxi Driver. But it's Marty's time...
- BEST DIRECTOR: In this decade, we've seen Roy Williams finally win a National Championship, the Red Sox win a World Series, and Peyton Manning finally win the big one. Martin Scorsese has been overdue for years (we still live in a world where Kevin Costner beat him out for Best Director for Lounging With Wolves, the same year Marty was up for GOODFELLAS!). He got killer performances from everyone in the cast and easily made the most entertaining flick of the year.
- BEST ACTOR: All signs point to Forest Whitaker in a movie that nobody's seen or can remember the exact name of. My big question, other than the omission of Sacha Baron Cohen was why Matt Damon didn't get a nod here for The Departed. Go with Forest here, it'll be one more alum from Fast Times at Ridgemont High to have an Oscar.
- BEST ACTRESS: Helen Mirren for imitating the Queen of England. The one sure thing, let's just move on.
- BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I love how everyone says that since Norbit came out before the votes were in, Eddie Murphy isn't the shoe in he once was. As if that killed his comeback or something. So if Forest Whitaker would have done Big Momma's House 3 during the same period, would he be in trouble? Come on, this baby's Eddie's moment. But as much as I love Eddie for his SNL years and stand up comedy videos alone, it wouldn't disappoint me at all if Marky Mark got this thing, if only because he was so robbed for his landmark role in Boogie Nights.
- BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: This is the one where all of the upsets happen (like when Jack Palance "allegedly" read Marisa Tomei's name in 1993 when it was supposed to be Judy Davis. That's right, Marisa one for My Cousin Vinny, and we're not to believe Palance read the wrong name?). But mostly, this is the category that likes to reward the little girls. That's why we'll have an upset again this year. Go with Abigail Breslin from that Little Miss Moonshine movie. You heard it here first. That poor American Idol reject will be a bridesmaid yet again. You've got to pick the upsets in this category, like Mackenzie did stunningly in 2001 with his writing down the name Marcia Gay Harden, which was waaaaay out of left field. I bought dinner that year.
- BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The other thing they'll give to Little Miss Sunshine, although if Borat were in THIS category, where it should be, instead of adapted, it'd give that Little movie a big run.
- BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Departed. It just feels like Marty's night.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Hey, if you just lost 49-13 at Kansas State, wouldn't a concoction of Long Island Ice Teas or Whiskey-Cokes be on your agenda too?
That's what former back-up Husker center David Kolowski says was the order of the day in his new tell all tome, which is still in search of a publisher by the way.
Nothing very earth shattering in this read, unless you consider college kids smoking weed and playing football unheard of. Even with the relative success of a National Championship berth and a Heisman Trophy winner, the team seemed unmotivated, coaches were fired, and the program quickly disintegrated. And now we've got an insider to go Jim Bouton on the whole fiasco. It seems that Kolowski, who didn't look to get any playing time, opted instead to document his Corn experience by writing a daily journal on his life as a Husker player. The book is sure to cause some shock and awe in Husker Nation now that the Weird Herald has caught wind of it (and it does include a foreword by Heisman Winner Eric Crouch, who was "morbidly depressed and homesick" during his redshirt season, but we already knew that Crouch had some issues before that).
Here are some of the other goodies (and I'm guessing the Weird Herald didn't give us any of the really fun stuff, and it sounds like Kolowski was begged to not print anything derogatory):
- Players would show up to December practices drunk or hungover. They didn't care that coaches were "showing off" for new recruits
- Solich never had control of the team and was a horrible communicator, and that Kolowski himself intends to give a copy of the book to Stevie P and Billy C because he agrees with Solich's firing.
- Before the 2002 Rose Bowl, former Husker Jason Peter gave a pre-game speech where he offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could knock Miami QB Ken Dorsey out of the game (it didn't work obviously, I don't remember anyone getting a finger on Dorsey).
- We get some insight into Solich recruits like DeAngelo Evans and Randy Stella leaving the program. The latter really pissed me off because it stopped me from doing my "STELLA" scream during games.
- We also get to hear more about what an ass Richie Incognito really was (and probably still is).
- Oh, that loss to Texas at home in 2002. Well, Kolowski blames the whole thing on himself, although I guess we'll have to actually read the book to know why.
- And of course, that horrible loss at K-State caused the offensive line to get their Long Island's on for that long, lonely trip back to Lincoln.
You can now order the book at Amazon and Kolowski's going on a book signing tour across Nebraska. We're going to try and land Kolowski for some Q&A and maybe get some more insight into this. It sounds like something we already knew: Solich just isn't a #1 guy, unless you're at Ohio University and like multiple shots of whiskey on the anniversary of your firing. I can't wait until Ross Pilkington comes out with his read on Billy C, which if it isn't in the works, certainly should be.CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Trainer Doak Ostergard, who's been with the Husker Athletic Program since 1984, was told by Billy C that his services weren't going to be needed any longer, and a day later tendered his letter of resignation. That's one less Christmas Ham to worry about.
The bottom line is this: Players, coaches, even fans have been spoiled to the extent that everyone thinks anything from the Osborne era is sacred and if it isn't handled with kid gloves that Lucifer Callahan is growing more horns on his head. Christ we're talking about a trainer that got along with some of the kids. If people can't realize that college football is big business, similar to businesses that fans work for, the rose colored glasses need to come off. Any major shake up at any organization is cause for the old guard to worry. It's natural for the new sheriff to bring in his own troops.
"Ever since (Callahan's) been here," Ostergard says, "it's been painfully obvious that trainers were not part of the coaching staff."
This article, which appears in today's Daily Nebraskan, also goes to great lengths in detailing a secretary who was told to hit the road, and a wide receiver who received no explanation why he got more playing time in his freshman year than he did his sophomore season. People, including many former Husker greats like Jason Peter and Kyle Vanden Bosch, are saying glowing things about Ostergard. I'm sure he's as good a man as they and T.O. say he his.
But we need to paraphrase something Rick Pitino said when he was at his disaster that was coaching the Boston Celtics. "Tom Osborne is not walking through that door. Bob Devaney is not walking through that door. Mike Rozier aint coming knocking either." For all we know, Billy C's tenure here could turn out about as well as Pitino's was in Boston. And right now, it's looking that way. But let's not put anything and everything that happened on T.O.'s watch on some pedestal that can't be fucked with. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
But not to worry, HR's new program, tentatively called "Game Plan", has dreams of bringing in the likes of Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, John Elway and Jerome Bettis (who I think is from Detroit) to Omaha.
This story, which first appeared in the Omaha World Herald, obviously didn't receive any play on ESPN. According to the article, Reynolds says, "My message is all about encouraging people to get the most out of who they are, to be able to share that, that to me is what's important." The story does not mention whether or not HR brought along some Bloomin' Onions from the Outback Steakhouse for the kids to enjoy.
The CWS, Omaha's future, and all Outback Steakhouses just aren't going to be the same. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Here's your very first look at what the "new" Van Halen Lineup looks like. Funny how Alex always seems to look the same in every single picture. You never know what to expect from Diamond Dave. I can't imagine that's what he's going to be wearing on tour this summer (Nor Eddie in a stocking cap). The first order of advice for the new kid is that the chain wallet thing was really never in style, unless you were Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. Which I suppose is the whole point. You can check out all of the comments at rollingstone.com where people are quite excited now that there's a visual to go along with everything.
Good God this could be a fun summer after all.CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Friday, February 16, 2007
But whether he or anyone associated with NU football understands it or not, they're all going to get the Lindsey Lohan star treatment. Everyone's going to continue to whisper things like, "He pulled a T.O. (in this case being Terrell Owens, not Tom Osborne)" or "He can't take the pressure". Whatever. There's a lot riding on this kid for Callahan in particular. Billy C has had some eventful off-seasons he'd like to forget himself. Callahan has to hope that the media spotlight shines on things like the NCAA fucking around with the city of Omaha with the College World Series, and Creighton's bid for another trip to the Big Dance in basketball. Anything until spring practice starts up again.
He wants a sea of 70,000 strong at the spring game on April 14th. He wants to answer questions about how great Sam Keller looks. Marlon Lucky wants all of this too, but mostly I'm sure he just wants to stay away until practice officially starts back up. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
- The Rolling Stones (who haven't confirmed a new tour yet, but at this point in their careers, what else are they going to do because they can still charge $250 per ticket)
- The Eagles (who have already announced a 2007 AND 2008 tour, with, GULP, a new album and they'll get up to $200 for the good seats and like the Stones sell out every arena)
That's it. That's the list. But now USA Today and other outlets are declaring this as the "Year of the Reunion". When the reality is, only two of the "reformed" bands have a chance of being considered a success:
- The Police: Mackenzie's favorite band is the big one of the bunch, and just think how much bigger this would have been had Sting and Company agreed to pretend to get along, oh 10-12 years ago. The reason this one's going to work and probably work big is that they've followed the successful model. They opened up the Grammy's with a killer performance (something Simon & Garfunkel did before they reunited, akin to the Eagles doing their legendary acoustic version of "Hotel California" on MTV to kick off their own rehash). And the really good news: They're playing ONLY Police stuff. No Sting solo work, which surprised the hell out of me. Sting's had quite a nice solo run, so much so that I could actually see a handful of his stuff (especially from "Dream of the Blue Turtles") working with Andy and Stewart. But I like this idea of sticking to the Police playlist. There's still enough material for a great 3-hour show and probably justify a $200 ticket price. This one could give the Eagles a run for highest grossing tour.
- Van Halen: The big fly in the ointment is 15-year old Wolfgang Van Halen filling in on bass. NOT the Dave and Eddie fighting. Eddie's been a mess since his divorce from Valerie. The last time VH got back together (the ill-fated affair with Sammy on the mike), Eddie played most gigs drunk out of his mind, and when he wasn't chain smoking, there was always a lit cigarette dangling from his legendary guitar. I'm guessing a fucked up Eddie will deal a whole lot better with Diamond Dave's antics. This will definitely be, as Roth termed it, "Knots Landing meets Jerry Springer". But remember: Irving Azoff played a bad hunch when they got back with Sammy. He over charged for tickets to the point that VH played less than full arenas. Maybe it was the fact that everyone wanted Dave instead of Sammy. I'm guessing that had a lot to do with it, but if Azoff's involved in putting this tour together, he better not gouge the public with Police/Stones/Eagles-esque ticket prices. I'd follow the Bob Seger and Billy Joel model and get $45-$70 a ticket. That will ensure more asses in the seats and more buzz towards Eddie and Diamond Dave sharing a stage. But man can you imagine what would happen if Dave makes a crack similar to the one the last time the original lineup played in Omaha? A fan threw a pair of ladies panties up to Roth, who turned to Eddie and said, "Uh oh, looks like somebody found Valerie's panties again!" That sort of shit could lead to Altamont. The other problem is that Michael Anthony, who's a great bass player, is nowhere to be found. Yes, the background vocals on the Roth era VH songs were cheesy 60's harmonies. But they were ALL Michael. Is this responsibility now going to fall on a kid named Wolfgang? The train wreck element alone is going to make this puppy sing for a few months at least. But I think at least until we see how things work out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies next month, all bets are off.
No other "reunion" tour makes any sense at all:
- Crowded House: What, is Mr. Mister busy working on a stripped down version of "Kyrie" in hopes of coming back? Should the Cutting Crew have visions of older fans holder their cell phones open while they perform "I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight"? Are members of Glass Tiger calling each other up to mend fences? Oh, and here's the other thing: Crowded House's drummer killed himself in 2005. And they were a TRIO. Where the hell are these fuckers going to play, state fairs?
- Genesis: I'm sorry, Phil Collins became a joke ever since he started doing cheesy ballads to Disney cartoons. Until Peter Gabriel becomes involved, this is no reunion anyone will give two shits about. Either tour in England or stay the hell away.
- Smashing Pumpkins: Why doesn't Billy Corgan just tour by himself. The Pumpkins will NOT have James Iha and D'Arcy Wretzky in their new lineup. What's the fucking point? Oh, and Jonathan Melovin, the heyboardist who overdosed on heroin in 1996? I don't think he's a part of this either. The only band from the grunge era anyone wants to see reunite is Nirvana, and unless Courtney Love grows a penis that aint happening.
Now, here are the ones we REALLY want to see happen:
- Jane's Addiction: A full-fledged tour, not just a Lalapalooza thing, with all original members. If only to make my friend Jason Jorgensen happy. There's actually a new audience for this band that digs their early work. Would be a huge hit, as long as ticket prices stay in the $50 range. People have been reintroduced to them because their song "Superhero" plays over the opening credits of Entourage.
- REM: I have a feeling that when Bill Berry joins them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this will generate some buzz. Berry really only left for health reasons, and the band has generally stiffed without him. A tour with Berry back on drums where the band could really let loose on their old stuff would be an unexpected hit. This is the one I want to happen more than anything, if only because I went to one of their shows that they mailed in during the "Green" tour, and I've felt cheated ever since. I love this band, and need to see a full-fledged effort with all 4 original members before Marlon Lucky comes back to football practice.
And the one reunion that's going to happen, be maybe bigger than any of these, and nobody's talking about:
- AC/DC: There are rumors of this thing already being signed, sealed and delivered, and I've even heard of a very probable Omaha date. Like the Eagles, Stones and Police, the younger generation has really taken to this band. They've got a whole new generation of fans they've never even seen before. Not a $200 ticket band, but they could justify upwards of $100, absolutely kill in Australia, and surprisingly clean up here as well.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Here are a few things we DO know, and this stuff may or may not pertain to Lucky. Ever since Billy C became the new sheriff in town, he made the art of recruiting his mantra. So much so that most of the media bought into it, starting with the now infamous 4-page spread the Omaha World Herald ran in February, 2005 with Callahan's first recruiting class, which included the bust that was Harrison Beck and Marlon Lucky. The Weird Herald has pulled this shit ever since, including with this year's class. These kids, some of who are 17-years old, get immediate rock star treatment. There are glowing quotes about their abilities, how they'll fit in, what to expect from them. Mel Kiper Jr doesn't get this in depth on NFL Draft day, or even in his 800 page draft kit. But from February, 2005 on, both Beck and Lucky were looked upon as the second coming of Tommie Frazier and Mike Rozier. Lucky would even wear Johnny Rodgers old #20 (a number which should be retired by the way, but we've spent enough time on this issue). Harrison Beck received a POLICE ESCORT on the interstate to the spring game for crying out loud. Nevertheless, a backfield that included Lucky at I-Back and Beck under center danced in Husker fans heads. So the expectations on those two alone were simply unreasonable. Again, this isn't to say anything about why Marlon Lucky was found unconscious Sunday at his apartment in Lincoln and rushed to Bryan LGH Medical Center.
- "We would like to make it clear that MarlonÂs medical emergency did not come about as a result of the use of alcohol or any illicit drugs. We are very appreciative of the thoughts and prayers for Marlon during this time."
EVERYONE is putting boldface print on the word ILLICITT" in front of drugs. As if this could be some sort of TO swallowing too many Vicodin situation. Again, not suggesting anything, but we should remember this: A few years ago, Real Sports on HBO and Bernard Goldberg did an amazing piece on former Husker great Jason Peter. The segment was amazing in how candid Peter was in admitting how hooked he was on pain and sleep medication. He admitted to taken dozens of pills of Ambien and Vicodin. Peter also mentioned how easy it was for somebody like him to get these addictive pain pills from doctors. He could simply bring in an autographed jersey or football and a doctor would write scripts for Vicodin and the like, with plenty of refills. Peter was so upfront about his problems that Goldberg went back and revisited the segment just last year. Peter is doing much better, he looks great (even losing a ton of weight, I was stunned at how slimmed down he was), and even brought up the fact that he was going to have major knee surgery soon, and that pain medication was going to be brought back into his life. Goldberg asked Peter how he would handle having to take the meds following the surgery. Peter said he would now have to rely on loved ones who knew of his problems and make sure the episodes wouldn't reoccur.
This goes back to the treating of these college students as rock stars, and illustrates just how easy it is for a Husker Football player to get these drugs. None of this could apply to Lucky, but when you're a rock star, and slated to be next season's starting running back, people most definitely talk.
Here's the other curious thing: Why is it that we just now get a statement from Billy C? Before yesterday, it seemed that Lucky's high school coach was doing all of the talking, dating back to when Lucky almost left the team following the Cotton Bowl. Just curious...CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Monday, February 12, 2007
At any rate, this is too good to pass up. In the new issue of Esquire, there's a pretty average piece on movie director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en). The article missed out on a lot, but it did mention something that has Fincher scared to death: The now infamous trailer to the movie The Shining, which has been redone to show how the media can sell a completely different movie to a certain audience. There's actually a school of thought that Fincher at first thought this trailer was the ACTUAL trailer that was shown in theaters before the movie was released, and somebody had to point out it's a fake. At any rate, the whole thing has Fincher freaked out. He still swears that a test audience went to see Seven expecting to see something like Legends of the Fall or Driving Miss Daisy because Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman were in it. Personally, I was expecting Thelma and Louise meets The Electric Company with Rita Moreno's head in a box. I also would have accepted watching Jessica Tandy trying to give Kevin Spacey head, but really now I'm just being picky. Spacey was never old Jessica's kind anyway.
So here's the trailer, and now it's making it's way to film classes on how studios are manipulating films. Remember, unless you're David Fincher, it's not the real one people. More later on the aforementioned Callahan's heart growing two sizes, the joke that the Grammys have been for decades, and some predictions on some really bad rock reunions coming to a venue near you this summer:
CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
--The Joker (Jack Nicholson), Batman, 1989
Our favorite salesman, Bill Callahan, has convinced the Omaha World Herald and a number of local television that national signing day is the equivalent of playing in for a National Championship. Just last week, the Weird Herald ran a full FOUR PAGE spread on all of the new toys that Billy C bought for all the good Husker fans on national signing day. In his short time at Nebraska, Callahan has used this special day to wipe away any negative thoughts fans might have lingering from the previous season. In 2005, the elevation of Harrison Beck (you remember him, right?) to Tommie Frazier-esque status on signing day made everyone forget that Joe Dailey even existed. Now we're all supposed to buy into the fact that all of those defensive holes that Oklahoma State of all teams exposed last season. One such recruit, a junior college transfer, was quoted by a recruiting expert (the type of job Mel Kiper Jr had in 1982) as being maybe "the greatest junior college player -- EVER." All enough to make you forget about five losses, aint it?
Billy C is as smug as he can ever be on signing day. It's the happiest you'll see him since that day back in January, 2004, when this plumb job fell into his lap after Al Davis and the NFL tossed him to the curb. We can't deny the fact that each year, Billy C has brought in some incredibly talented players. He's scoured every corner of the nation for some of these kids. Hell, the last place he looks for recruits is in the state of Nebraska, which isn't a bad thing considering what he's trying to do. The real problem is now what he and the coaching staff does with all of these toys.
The Beck (Harrison, not the alternative music star) fiasco is well documented. Nebraska was thisclose to losing the other star from the 2005 class, Marlon Lucky, during the off-season. Who the hell knows what bill of goods Billy C and his cracker jack staff promise to these 4 and 5 star recruits. All I know is we're know officially into year 4 of the Billy C Experience. This is the year our man is officially on the clock, tough schedule and all. Another five loss season and Recruiting Day will be about as meaningful as Groundhog Day.
Or the Grammys. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Purple Rain certainly isn't one of the all-time great rock movies, but for better or worse, it's my generation's A Hard Day's Night. Mostly this is because of the soundtrack, which everyone played to death in 1984 & 1985. Not to sound dated, but it was one of those "records" you could play from beginning to end without having to move the needle and skip over any song. The least popular song from the album is probably "Computer Blue", which you still listened to just because you wanted to hear Wendy and Lisa talk to each other about the water being warm enough, and how the song perfectly dove tailed into "Darling Nikki". Most importantly, the soundtrack and I guess the movie firmly distanced the purple one from the other famous pop star of the day. As Chris Rock would famously state years later, "Remember the fight between Michael Jackson and Prince? Well, Prince won."
I had to buy all of Prince's albums through the beginning of college. Around the World in a Day (which is better than people remember), Parade (the soundtrack to an awful movie called Under the Cherry Moon, but the tunes were played almost as often as those on Purple Rain), leading up to Prince's masterpiece: Sign Â☮Â the Times. It was a "double album" (thankfully all on one cassette though, which was great for listening to in the car). It was more of a "cult" hit that wasn't nearly as popular as anything from Purple Rain, but those who got into it really got into it.
Then came college, and I wound up living in a house with two of maybe the biggest Prince fans in the world. I had started to lose interest in Prince's stuff, especially after the odd choice of Tim Burton having his songs scored in Batman. I gave up on anything new from "the Kid", even though my roommates still swore by anything and everything he recorded.
In late 1997, Prince played the Civic Auditorium in Omaha, and I went with one of those roommates and a bunch of others. Prince could have gone on stage and played feedback for three hours and my old college friend would have said it was the greatest concert of all time. Truth be told, Prince was off that night. Or maybe the Civic is such a shithole and the worst place for any sort of concert. Or maybe we had shitty seats. At any rate, I left the show disappointed more than anything, especially because he literally only sang two lines from "The Beautiful Ones". I thought that was quite a tease for a 2 1/2 hour show. My college friend still thought it was an extraordinary show, so much so that I couldn't bear to tell him how the concert did nothing for me.
Finally Prince came back to Omaha in April, 2004. He was one of the first performers to play at the new Qwest Center, and this time he brought along his Purple Rain magic. Finally, this was a performance worthy of listening to all of those albums from the '80's. This was the guy my college roommates idolized. Everyone who was there got a free copy of his Musicology CD, which was actually a really good disc. He even played an acoustic set towards the end, which included "Sometimes It Snows in April" from Parade. I finally got to hear a live, stirring rendition of "The Beautiful Ones", this time the ENTIRE song. And of course he ended with one of the most inspired versions of "Purple Rain" he ever did. It could have been just being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that night Prince put on the show of his career. Afterwards, without reservation, I was able to call both of my college buddies and tell them about one of single greatest concerts I'd ever attended.
Now, because of his rave reviews for his performance at halftime of an otherwise awful and forgettable Super Bowl, Prince is all the rave again. What really got me thinking about Prince and Purple Rain and really the early to mid '80's was seeing Prince with Eddie Murphy in the audience last month during the Golden Globes. In 1984, they were the biggest stars in the world. They've both had long and successful careers since (with weird varyingying degrees of success). Both won awards that night, and it seems now that the biggest winner on Super Bowl Sunday besides that dork Peyton Manning was the guy who said over 20 years ago, before text messaging was even a dirty though, "May U Live 2 C the Dawn." CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Some sports columnists have it worst, and most of them are forced to go back and determine the best and worst in Super Bowl history. You know, like Ned Macey of foxsports.com (who?). And wouldn't you know it, guess who cracks a lot of the "worst lists"??? In Macey's column titled "Even a Blind Squirrel...", we get another look at our hero Billy C:
- "Bill Callahan: He took over for Jon Gruden and promptly led his team to the Super Bowl. Once there, he was embarrassed by his former boss in one of the worst coaching performances in Super Bowl history. The next season he alienated almost everyone on the team, leading to his dismissal with a career 15-17 record."
Another "famous" foxsports.com columnist, Elliot Kalb, listed Billy C's performance as one of the worst coaching jobs in Super Bowl history (shades of what we talked about in our first ever blog):
- "Super Bowl XXXVII: Meet the new boss, Bill Callahan, same plays as the old boss. The Oakland Raiders made it to the Super Bowl with Bill Callahan, who had replaced Jon Gruden. The only trouble was, they made the Super Bowl against Gruden's new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs seemed to know the Raiders' plays, as if the plays and audibles weren't even changed from the year before. The Bucs defense intercepted five passes. Callahan had a chance to totally confuse and double-cross the Bucs. It didn't happen."
Sort of makes all Husker fans excited about another season with Billy C and his 845 pound playbook, don't it?CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Which is the time Irving finally got his wet dream and put the Eagles back together. It was when Kurt Cobain was still alive (for a few more months), and Azoff finally convinced his boys that there was an opening to go on tour and make a shitload of dimes. That Cobain and Nirvana and Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam and Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins had cornered one market, but another one that had nothing left of "old" school rock was wide open. Nobody would take a chance on anything that wasn't grunge, unless of course hell froze over and Henley would forgive Glenn Frey for going all Miami Vice in the '80's and agree to be in the same room.
All of a sudden, April 5, 1994 happened, Courtney Love killed -- err, I mean, Cobain offed himself -- and there was an even bigger opening. Not so coincidentally, MTV agreed to have their Unplugged crew tape the first "reunion" shows of Azoff's reunited Eagles in less than 3 weeks in California. The telecast would be one of the first recorded in 5.1 Surround Sound, a still best selling DVD would be released, most of the concerts would be recorded on CD as "Hell Freezes Over"...but would include studio versions of...
....wait for it, wait for it....
FOUR BRAND NEW SONGS!
Only one of which was written by Henley/Frey ("Get Over It", which was a minor hit). The others were leftovers from Henley and Frey solo sessions, and one song which was co-written by the late Jim Capraldi of Traffic fame and Pete Vale and Paul Carrack, and supposedly went #1 on the AC charts, whatever that means). In other words, the DVD (or at the time Video Cassette) and CD (and I reckon cassette) were packaged to get folks to buy an alleged "new" project that was in essence an overdubbed live album with four half-assed tracks nobody remembers.
So forgive me if I, unlike the rest of the modern media, doesn't get excited about an alleged bombshell that frankly I've known about for three years. Why have I known about this damn thing for three years? Because that's how long they've been working on the fucking thing, and only now -- since Henley was at the MGM Grand, where Mackenzie and BSmoked Turkey were at as recently as October, 2006 (I was nowhere in sight) -- is it making the rounds of news. Fuck, Walmart packaged together a CD of three of the new songs to go with their latest DVD over Christmas. And yes, all three songs would count as B-sides in anyone's world (read: They suck). And I got the DVD with the CD of new material from two different people over the holidays. Why on earth, based on those three songs and the knowledge in knowing that NO reunited band has done anything NEW since reformatting, would I rub my hands with glee over news of a new "album"???
Don't get me wrong. The Eagles, like the Stones and even U2 I guess, are still incredible in concert. That's because all bands have a huge well of old material to choose from and play for over three hours. And the Eagles have a small advantage over the Stones and U2 in that they can play some of Henley's solo stuff (at LEAST four songs if you count "Boys of Summer", "Dirty Laundry", "Sunset Grill" and "All She Wants to Do is Dance") and Joe Walsh's outside material ("Funk #49", "Life's Been Good", "Life of Illusion", Rocky Mountain Way"), to put together a killer show.
Who CARES if there's nothing new to offer? A long time ago, a program director for an oldies station told me that there was nothing they could do to change the music, but rather it was what they DID around the music that made the format and radio station relevant. I hope Sting and the boys take this advice. And that David Lee Roth convinces Eddie Van Halen and his small tongue that they don't need to throw out two new songs in every show. And I hope Henley's right. I hope that the "...if they don't kill each other first..." line somehow prevents a new album from happening.
Unless, of course, hell truly freezes over and it becomes the Eagles' Time out of Mind. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!