Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Not on the radio...just on the Web.
We're done tweaking our Newsradio 620 WTMJ home page, and I'm glad to announce that my Cold Filtered drivel is moving exclusively to this location:
Same low-priced blogs...same low-rent attitude.
Thanks for following me over to my new web home, and thanks as well to all of you who've made this read part of your daily routine. I'm incredibly flattered by the fact that people give this the time of day, and even more flabbergasted when folks write back with comments/compliments/criticism. All are truly welcome.
Please be patient--our tech folk are very, very good, but there is the chance of an occasional glitch, which will probably be my fault. Your patience is deeply appreciated.
Thanks again, and feel free to look around. My change in venue has me rubbing up against some really bright people with unique takes on the world. Visit their blogs, too. Share the love.
But remember me, too.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I listened to a Chicago talk station Monday afternoon, first getting agitated, then strangely relieved. I ended up being glad I'm a Brewers fan, with heady players like Prince Fielder on my side as opposed to the Cubs who sport hotheads like Carlos Zambrano, Michael Barrett and the most recent addition to the Windy City Distemper Hall of Shame, Derrick Lee. Lee faces a suspension after what happened over the weekend, with many of today's radio listeners questioning if Lee should sit at all.
Welcome to life, as viewed thru Cubbie Blue shades.
At issue: the fight Saturday between Lee and San Diego pitcher Chris Young, triggered when a high and tight Young pitch struck Lee shoulder-level.
I understand the heat of battle, and the Cubs certainly show more fight between pitches these days than they do when the game is on. Recent hot streak aside, these are some true underachievers at this point in the 2007 season.
Lee is a team leader, 31 years of age, knocking down some 13 mil a year.
Contrast his actions Saturday with those of Fielder a few weeks ago against the Pirates at Miller Park.
Fielder got dusted by Pittsburgh hurler Matt Capps May 5th. Rather than charge the mound or do something stupid, Fielder got up and trotted down to first. Capps got ejected, and later would absorb a four-game suspension.
The true revenge, though, came one day later.
Fielder homered twice, then singled and scored the winning run as Milwaukee beat the Bucs--and, as luck would have it, he plated said score as Capps was back on the mound. Again, Fielder kept his cool, letting his actions on the field dictate the terms of his vengeance. Sure, he called Capps everything but a child of God as he headed back toward the dugout, but NEVER did he make a move at the previous night's tormentor. All Capps could do...was slink back to the mound. Brewers win. Fielder gets his pound of flesh.
Fielder is 23. He makes a fraction of what Lee knocks down. Another sign that the bio and the paycheck aren't always the measure of a ballplayer.
Suddenly, I feel a lot better about being a Brewers fan.
A few...very few...get really fancy, powerful sports cars for Father's Day.
No matter when they get them, it seems folks who get the keys to these supercharged machines are wadding them up at a pretty incredible clip.
The trend is so severe--overmatched drivers putting high priced rides into trees, poles and other immovable objects--that there's a website out there devoted to the smoldering wreckage:
And, check out the article that turned us on to all this on Wisconsin's Morning News:
Sunday, June 17, 2007
We're talking Umbrella Man, Badge Man, David Ferry, secretaries named Kennedy and cars that are Lincolns and all manner of other ways for the public to refuse to accept the inevitable: that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK all by his sordid lonesome.
So, is it any surprise that the latest, greatest shared cultural experience is the subject of all kinds of off the wall theories?
We're talking "Sopranos" here.
A week since the hit HBO drama abruptly faded to black with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" chopped in mid-verse, people are still sifting clues, looking at the final scene the way one looks at the Zapruder film--frame by frame--hoping for some sort of clue from creator David Chase as to what happened to Tony and his family.
Why is it that we can't take it for what it is?
"Entertainment Weekly" lists seven theories as to what happened in the final scene, and discounts them all.
One has it that the troubling strangers who walk into the diner as the Sopranos go face-first into the onion rings are all people from past episodes, including the Cub scouts who supposedly are the same kids who witnessed Bobby's train store derailment the week before. Turns out NONE had ever been on the show before. This theory is unique in that it creates a new character, "Nicky Leotardo", who never existed.
Number two: the bells on the restaurant door ring every time someone walks in, except Meadow, meaning Tony's dead by the time she arrives. Repeat viewings prove this take wrong, too.
The third: Bobby talking in a past episode about what it's like getting whacked: "You never even hear it--everything just goes to black." Close, but no cigar: he actually says "You probably don't even hear it when it happens", with no mention of things going to black.
Theory number four: this is the only episode that ends without music (what that means, I don't know), supposedly a harbinger of death. Nice, but not so: Season two featured an episode that trailed out to the sound of Christopher breathing on a ventilator.
We're almost done, so hang with me.
Theory the Fifth: Chase shot another ending that makes it clear Tony dies. EW quotes the actor who played FBI agent Harris who says the finale was originally intended to be clearer about Tony's end, that it "went a little further. The gentleman sitting at the counter was much more mysterious, almost like he's walking to the table to shoot Tony, and then the end of the script." Fueling the fire: photos of James Gandolfini in the same scene, wearing a different shirt. A network rep says the picture was taken during rehearsals, with Gandolfini in his own clothes. And, HBO denies that Chase filmed dramatically different endings.
Number six ties into the fifth...something about Tony wearing a different shirt. Also bogus.
The seventh is too dumb to elaborate on: that Tony had a heart attack because of the onion rings.
What's interesting about the finale a week after it aired is that a lot of people who originally didn't like it are coming around. I needed a night's sleep to process it, but came to the conclusion that Chase was true to himself, didn't lapse into neat, episodic conclusions and wrap the series up with a neat little bow. Noting about "The Sopranos" was little, or neat. The ending had to be bigger than life, and more controversial than it's 85 predecessors. Chase succeeds, beyond all expectations.
The theories? The blossom like mushrooms seemingly every time something in this nation appears to be too obvious to accept at face value. JFK. RFK. Pearl Harbor. Even 9/11.
Add to that list a pop culture entry: "The Sopranos". An ending too obvious to be believed. Or accepted, by some.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Here's what happens when a headline hits you in the face, and I'm sure many of you faced the same conundrum as you make your summer travel plans.
You go to a website that offers discount air fares, hotels and rental cars--you're presented scads of choices, you make your picks and you wait for vacation to arrive.
I was at the computer the other day, booking a trip to Baltimore where my boy and I will be based during our annual summer baseball trip.
That's when the headline came to life.
Midwest Airlines...or Air Tran?
The choice was easy for the flight out--Midwest was only a couple of bucks more, certainly not enough to be a deal-breaker.
The flight home was a different story. The price difference was, what shall we say, substantial.
I stared at the screen, double checked the numbers, looked again to make sure I had the right departure times right.
And then, I made my choice.
I tried to rationalize it, thinking that I could use the experience on the air, to give an honest appraisal of the differences between the hunter, and the hunted.
And, I felt really, really dirty.
Midwest IS the hometown airline. I know people that work there. I see what they do in the community, from the sponsorship of the convention center that bears it's name to the kadzillion charities where it donates trips. AirTran does business in Milwaukee, too, but I don't see them working the charity circuit nearly as much.
Does this make me a bad person, doing business with the so-called enemy? Or, does it make me a smart shopper who voted with his wallet?
And, do I now lose any right to bemoan the loss of Midwest a local entity if and when AirTran's hostile takeover succeeds?
I'm wondering what others did when faced with the same choice--or, how many of you publicly bemoan Midwest's potential acquisition while privately flying other carriers with lower fares.
I plan on bringing this issue up on the air during an upcoming edition of Wisconsin's Morning News--perhaps Friday, if time permits. We already are efforting reps from both Midwest and AirTran, plus an analyst who could give some neutral insight into how this how process works. I hope you'll be listening, and I also would love to see some feedback via the comments link.
Pardon me while I take a shower. I feel WAY dirty.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I've heard it all, from people cancelling HBO out in protest over the way the show ended Sunday night to others assigning deep, philosophical meaning to each and every scene in the series finale.
I just don't think it's that complicated, and apparently, creator David Chase didn't mean anything quite so deep, either, at least not judging by the one and only interview he's given since the credits rolled.
Was it the audience getting whacked when the screen went black? Were the different characters in the final restaurant scene ready to either kill or arrest Tony?
Chase made the show's final moments some of the most tension-filled ever--we all were looking over our shoulders as the family munched it's onion rings, oblivious to what went on around them. Brilliant.
Each of the Sopranos said or did something in those final 61 minutes to let you know that they hadn't changed one iota in the whole time we'd been watching them--even A.J., who seemed to be in his own solar system, eventually found a comfortable orbit in the family's galaxy.
My only criticism of the last episode is the neat-and-clean way in which Phil Leotardo's underlings so easily agreed to meet with Tony and kick their boss to the curb. That, and the way Tony's longtime FBI nemesis suddenly became a Sopranos fan, giving the what was left of the Soprano clan Phil's location so he could be whacked. Granted, the agent had tipped Tony off to the plot against him, and there is a basis in reality to what he did, but it still came together just a little too easily for my taste.
Then again, don't some things in life do that, too? After days, weeks, months or even years of angst and agitation, don't you find sometimes that a problem just...solves itself in virtually no time, with little or any cost or effort? That is the genius of Chase, who makes his shows so lifelike. Not all story lines wrap up. People come, and go. Who amongst us has ever had an episode in our own existences wrap up neatly in 60 minutes or so, as climatic music plays and credits roll?
Think about how many times you expected something to happen in that final hour--only to be left wanting? Perfect. How often is life THAT obvious?
Be pissed about the finale, if you will. Don't write the series off just because the end left you wanting. Think. Talk. Discuss. Process. Watch it again. Enjoy it for what it was.
A show that remains top of mind, three days after the fact.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Olympic organizers pull part of a website featuring the new 2012 logo after some viewers reported medical issues when watching some of the footage online.
I've been at several games, both winter and summer. I've seen good, and I've seen bad.
London's logo: bad.
Barcelona's mascot: worse.
What the hell is Cobi? It's been 15 years since they trotted his bare ass out, and I still haven't figured it out.
Then, there's Atlanta's "Izzy", as in, "What the hell IS HE?"
I didn't get to go to the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, and after seeing the mascots I'm glad I stayed home.