Monday, March 26, 2007

Post Pancake Pontifications















"On with the dance, let joy be unconfined..." -- Mark Twain

Ya know, I really think CBS should have taken the opportunity to run a few more SUV commercials during the NCAA tournament. I mean, there were only around a couple hundred each game…

And how many timeouts and breaks were there during each 20-minute half? If there were more than two or three stretches of actual game time exceeding 3 minutes I would be shocked. And never once did I see them staying live during a late timeout to build some drama; it was always cut to commercial, with at least 9 out of 10 ads being car commercials, & I don’t recall seeing a single car ad that was not for SUVs…

Besides promoting obesity, bad driving, wasting gasoline & taking up too much damn space, here's something else these vehicles now have to answer for: a 21-year-old kid who worked as the North Carolina University team mascot was
struck & killed in New Jersey last week by one of these monstrous machines, & now his life is literally over. Is it going overboard on my part to blame the model of car on Jason Ray's death? Maybe, maybe not. It just seems that every time we read about a hit&run driver killing a pedestrian, it's invariably an SUV that's responsible for the carnage. Perhaps it's due to the drivers being up so high & looking down on the world both literally & figuratively, brazenly chatting on their cell phones -- which seems to go hand in hand, no pun intended. Riding a bicycle on the city streets has become a much less enjoyable exercise due to these road-hogging behemoths, along with the selfish dumbasses who cruise down our streets in Hummers & the like. But it's just a fact that the odds increase against anyone surviving a crash or accident involving an SUV due to the sheer heft of the vehicle. I suppose if you live out in the boonies or in a hilly rural area and have a large family, you need the 4-wheel drive & space for the kids. But if you live in an urban area, it's overkill to the max. I really thought these things would be phased out by now.

After all, why should Americans think about conserving energy in the year 2007? It’s not like we can’t just invade another Middle Eastern country and take their oil so that we can keep driving around with our Support The Troops decals…

If last year’s NCAA tourney was defined by lower seeds like George Mason upsetting favorites, this one has seen the chalk winning with numbing regularity. That has made it much less exciting for the average fan…

Also, take away the betting pools, and if you didn't go to a particular school, why should anyone really care which team of overly tattooed, corn-rowed black teenagers emerges victorious against the other? Just because of the uniform, I suppose, but with the best players now staying in school for one or two years tops, there are just no more rivalries being fostered anymore like you used to have with St. John’s-Georgetown when the Big East was in its heyday. Now kids don’t even have to take more than one or two classes anymore for their first year. (All-American C Greg Oden is reportedly taking two classes this semester as a freshman at Ohio State, one being History of Rock&Roll.) Maybe we should show these student athletes’ grade point average and class loads when they go to the free throw line instead of points and rebounds, as well as the graduation rates of the school whenever we zoom in to see one of these self-important coaches prancing along the sidelines…

Other complaints about the NCAA coverage: The cameras show the exact same angle constantly. How about a little innovation here? Show some floor-level shots for a few possessions so that you can appreciate how tall these guys are. If you always show these athletes from overhead, it gets very boring. Give us a view as if we were sitting courtside at the game, and sustain it for one or two trips up and down the floor. Do I have to think of everything here?!…

Also, the 3-point line is a joke. It’s a little over 19 feet from the basket, which is an average jump shot really. (The NBA 3-point line ranges from 22 feet at its closest near the sidelines to over 23 feet at the arc.) I would strip the 3-point basket altogether in college. I saw one kid take a 3-point shot with his team down a point and less than a minute to go. Hello! And nobody said a thing about it – his coach, the announcers. It’s part of what has made the game almost unwatchable, to say nothing of all the traveling, walking, steps, pivot foot being picked up, shuffled, switched you see in an average game. The college game has finally reached the stage where it’s about as meaningful and memorable as any inner city pickup game…




















Don’t even let me get s
tarted on the horrible sportsmanship being displayed, with players screaming at the top of their lungs as they run down the court after every made shot, as well as all the look-at-me antics the average student-athlete engages in. Of course, the very term student-athlete has become a misnomer. I would also cut down on the number of scholarships given to each school. Why shouldn’t there be a few walk-ons on every team, mixed with four or five kids there on scholarship? Would the games be any less enjoyable, and the players any more lacking in fundamentals, if that were the case? I don’t see how myself…

Speaking of sports broadcast news, for once there’s a positive development to announce: Joe Theismann has been kicked out of ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth, about 10 years too late, because you could search high and low and not find a Theismann supporter, outside of his immediate family. Hope he now finally gets treatment for that diarrhea of the mouth that’s been plaguing him ever since he left the Redskins…

John Thompson Sr. has become a pretty good color guy on radio broadcasts, but is there any reason for him to be calling Georgetown games that his son John Thompson III is coaching in? Well, there he was on the radio yesterday in the North Carolina game, and by the end of the Hoyas’ win, he was basically in tears telling listeners how much it meant to him. I know it’s only a “game” but isn’t this like Bill Clinton moderating a debate among Democratic presidential candidates? Well, isn’t it? I’m asking the questions here today… Maybe it bothered me because I hate Georgetown and their fans now that they've again become good enough to root against, complete with another young Ewing, son of ex-Knick center Patrick...

Before we leave basketball, let me mention that my Philly 76ers have modestly put together a pretty good stretch over the last few weeks, first winning 8 out of 10, then dropping 2 games (by a combined 71 points, including a brutal half-a-hundred loss to the Rockets, 124-74!), before winning two straight again, including an impressive road win at Miami after trailing by 19 points in the first half. The Sixers still have the longest of long shots to make the playoffs, but it's a positive to finish the season on a high note, even if it costs us a lottery pick in the NBA draft...

Met a friend early Sunday morning for breakfast at the world-famous Neptune Diner in Astoria, voted best diner in Queens at some point in the last five years by The Daily News. Decided to follow my friend’s lead and order the pancakes, as I was sick of eggs, having just had the egg special with my brother the day before at Mike’s Diner. Big mistake, literally. When the flapjacks arrived at our table, I was flabbergasted, if I can say that anymore on the Internet, at the size of these things. Each pancake was literally the size of a regulation Frisbee, hubcap or record album, whichever is bigger, and there were 3 or 4 of them sitting there. I would rather have a bunch of smaller pancakes, your silver dollar variety, because it was more than a little monotonous to make your way through these freakishly large, mutant, griddle cakes on steroids, which could double as manhole covers in a pinch. I thought I was hungry, famished even, but I couldn’t make my way through a whole plate of these things…

Had a double dip last Thursday, working first for LT from 9 till 2, and then shooting downtown for a new client, a famous advertising agency that I had never heard of before stepping foot into their Varick Street office at 2:30 that day. I caught a bunch of stuff, really cleaned up both proposals, they were naturally grateful for my expertise, and lo & behold we have another client in the fold. The office was a lot like the one at S., another ad agency I go to that is a few blocks away: a big loft, everything painted white (walls, ceilings, workspaces, people) with row after row of young white attractive happy creatively fulfilled professional types. Hopefully they’ll call back and will become regulars on my freelance merry-go-round. By the way, that was my second double-dip day in two weeks, where I worked two short shifts at two different places on the same day. I like the feeling of hustling between different gigs, makes me feel like I'm in demand…

Also added another employment agency last week, a place down on Madison. Although they’re not exclusively in publishing per se like my main freelance agency is, they did get me an interview already, which I went to last Tuesday (I’m not gonna mention which company it was for now). I think it went OK, the guy seemed to like me, as much as you can tell on these things, and then I took a proofreading test: two pages of pop culture, music, movie content and the like, right up my alley. I know I caught all the spelling/grammar/punctuation details, but I also know I may have missed a few names and such. I wasn’t allowed to use a computer to take the test of course, and I know I got Natalie Portman’s name wrong (giving her two nn’s. and I left actor Stephen Rea as "Rhea" even though I wanted to take out that damn ‘h’ … I don’t think anyone was gonna get 100 percent on the test, but did I do well enough or better than the competition? Still haven’t gotten any feedback from the agency, so I don’t know for sure …. Anyway, it’s always good to go on interviews to keep yourself sharp, and even if I didn’t land that particular position, it’s a positive to have another agency in my corner…

Funny piece by my pal Kathryn in the Stowe Reporter last week called Typing Twisters in which yours truly gets a mention. We were both ace transcriptionists when we started out at The Wall Street Transcript back in the late ‘80s before becoming star copy editors, and here Kathryn recounts the trials and tribulations involved in attempting to capture the garbled words & thoughts of pseudo-literate business types down on paper in some agreed-upon semblance of accepted coherence. Wasn’t always easy but was often hilarious, such that to amuse ourselves we kept a running log for the best/worst/most egregious transgressions of logic/taste/intelligence. I remember some of my favorites to this day, such as the time a typically syntax-challenged financial analyst predicted that “70 percent of every person in America will enter a McDonald’s this year” -- while I guess the other 30 percent would just remain outside until the meal was finished. Good stuff.

3 comments:

Johnny Starr said...

Silver dollars next meeting

Anonymous said...

People who sign confidentiality agreements should not be writing on blogs. You know who you are. Will be in touch with lawyers shortly.

Kathryn Drury said...

I forgot about that 70 percent one. I just hope it wasn't the belly left outside although most people that enter McDonald's are probably at least 70 percent belly. Remember the guy who said, "I just look at my corporate navel and say, 'gee whiz.'"? And then there was the guy who pointed out -- rightly so, I guess -- that with the graying of America, he saw some upside potential in Funeral Homes. Ah...words. Kathryn.