Wednesday, June 17, 2009

He likes me! Dave really likes me!

It's been a rough week for David Letterman. Oh yeah, he had that little kerfuffle with Alaska's Governess, but the media missed his biggest blunder ... he thinks I'm funny.

Well, maybe not Dave himself, but somebody on his staff -- probably an unpaid intern, or a junior associate assistant writer or maybe Alan Kalter. You see, the Late Show runs a weekly Top 10 contest in which it throws out a topic and lets its viewers suggest possible jokes for inclusion in a web-only Top 10. I've been doing this off and on for a couple years, sending in my lead balloons and imagining them falling flat in NYC.

But this week, the magic happened. I finally got noticed.

From the Top Ten Complaints of Jon and Kate's Kids

6. Cameras make potty training a bit awkward
Patrick D, Las Vegas, NV
Number 6! Not bad! Number 6 is one of the key mid-list jokes -- it has to have enough jazz to regain the attention of viewers who thought, "Hey, this might be kind of funny," but have grown bored after the first few jokes. And it has to be sharp enough to convince viewers they should stick with the bit the rest of the way.

Now that I've been discovered, I can only imagine the bounty that awaits -- book deals, standup gigs, my own HBO show? Or perhaps I'll just settle for a Late Show mousepad. Either way, it's good to be discovered.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Same song, second verse

In 1998, Ensign was the first member of Nevada’s congressional delegation to call for President Bill Clinton’s resignation over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Speaking on the Senate floor in 2004, Ensign called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, saying, “Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded.”

In 2007, Ensign was among the most prominent Republicans calling on Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to resign, calling Craig a “disgrace” for his arrest in an airport men’s restroom on disorderly conduct charges.

On Tuesday, Ensign indicated he would not step down, saying, “I am committed to my service in the United States Senate and my work on behalf of the people of Nevada.

Read on: Ensign admits affair with ex-campaign staffer

So here in Nevada, we've got a Republican governor and U.S. Senator who can't keep it in their pants when their wives aren't around, yet they
are happy to tell you who you can and cannot have sex with or marry. God bless whoever invented hypocrisy ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

TBBBC Book 2 review

Time for TBBBC Book 2 review. The May entry was Frank Deford's The Entitled, a Tale of Modern Baseball. It's a bit of a lofty title, but then again, Deford is a bit of a lofty writer. One of the true living legends of the sportswriting biz, Deford has dabbled in the fiction world before, most notably with Everybody's All-American, a tale of a college football hero's rough transition into the real world. And much as that book was about characters who happened to play football, The Entitled is another character study that just happens to be set in the world of Major League Baseball.

The two central figures in this book couldn't be more different. The protagonist is baseball lifer Howie Traveler, a guy who parlayed a minor-league baseball career into a comfortable life as a major league coach before finally landing his first managerial gig as the skipper of the Cleveland Indians. His star player is five-tool outfielder Jay Alcazar, a cosmopolitan celebrity athlete who seemingly has the world by the tail at every turn.

The drama centers on an incident that takes place in the first 20 pages -- as Traveler wearily returns to his hotel room, his job hanging by a thread after another string of listless play by his Indians, the door to Alcazar's room flies open. A woman appears to be struggling to leave, but the star player roughly yanks her back into the room and slams the door. Will Howie go to the police? Will he cover for his star player and use the situation to his advantage to save his job?

The rest of the book plays out in a series of flashbacks the tell the backstories of Howie and Jay, how they reached the point where their futures are indelibly intertwined, and a deeper examination reveals that each man is not quite what he seems to be on the surface.

Because Deford deals with real-life athletes in his A job, and because he uses actual MLB teams in the story, it's tempting to draw comparisons to the figures you see on ESPN and in the sports pages on a daily basis. Alcazar has a lot of A-Rod in him -- multi-talented on the field, an enigma off it, a man obsessed with his image and endorsements who doesn't really know who he is when you strip away the uniform and sportscars and mansions and designer sunglasses. The incident at the hotel has overtones of the Kobe/Colorado case, although sadly, it's probably even more common than we know.

Traveler reminds me of a cross between Tom Kelly and Joe Madden -- TK in that he had a cup of coffee in the majors before making it back to the bigs as a coach and manager, and Madden in that he didn't get his first shot a running a club until he was well into his 50s, so he swore to do it his way no matter how unconventional his methods appeared.

I found it to be a quick read -- lively prose, an engrossing story -- and Deford's characters are far from the one-dimensional stereotypes that we imagine professional athletes to be. If you're looking for a good beach novel this summer, The Entitled should work for you.

TBBBC rating: Four fungoes (out of five)

Now batting: Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy

On deck: The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski

See also: TBBBC Book 1 review, The Last Real Season

Month of Mauer trumped by Tex?

It's pretty much a given that Joe Mauer will get the AL Player of the Month award, right? I mean, he came back on May 1, so his season stats are his May stats -- .411 BA, .500 OBP, .838 SLG, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 1.338 OPS.

Not so fast my friend. The Yankees' Mark Teixiera had himself a good May -- .330 BA, .391 OBP, .748 SLG, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 1.138 OPS. Now, to most of us there's still no comparison -- yes, Tex had two more HR and two more RBI. But you know he has a chance, not just because of the East Coast bias but because of the Yankee bias.

MLB is desperate to get fans into those expensive seats at the new Stadium, and I believe they'll do anything to drum up positive publicity for the pinstripers. And given Teixiera's crummy April, there might be a few fans who assumed he was another free-agent bust and turned their attention elsewhere.

The Yankees are already playing a ton better -- No. 2 in the Yahoo! Power Rankings, a half-game up on the Red Sox in the East -- but giving Tex the AL Player of the Month would be something they could use in their marketing and ad campaigns as they try to sell tickets. So, if it happens, remember you heard it here first. Or, if you are in the greater NYC area, you probably heard it here first.

You just gotta love the self-absorption of the insulated Yankee media and fan base. Not even a mention of Mauer, or even Morneau, whose month rivaled Teixiera's. Then again, they probably know something we don't -- namely, that the Yankees always get their way. We'll see soon enough ...