Assorted Listening

Stuff I’ve been listening to recently:

Local H’s latest release Twelve Angry Months – here’s a live version of the song “Michelle (Again)”:

Preview of TV on the Radio’s newest single (thanks, Janie!)

Against Me!’s New Wave — here’s “Thrash Unreal” (any band that can turn a chorus of “No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie / No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s going to grow up to sleep alone” into a sing-along is talented)

Orson and Holly’s hilarious podcast on the rules of sex during college football season. Personal opinion? Reverse cowgirl and your couch or recliner exist for a reason — angle the TV properly, and don’t dare bone if either Pam Ward, Paul Maguire, or Brent Musberger are anywhere near the telecast.

(You do not want the Walrus looking at you from his pod out on the field while you’re going deep. No, sir.)

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A-Rod Schadenfreude, Writ Large

When my local TV news station ran an item on Alex Rodriguez’s marital discord, I knew the story had struck enough chords and brain receptors in the minds of editors and executive producers across the country for the perfect story. Combine the highest-paid baseball player (and the game’s most talented) with a washed up pop star like Madonna (quibble all you want, but she is riding on her 80s output like a greatest hits show), toss in possible Kabbalah crap and rumors of Lenny Kravitz joining the jilted Cynthia Rodriguez in Paris, and these are the things that crack local newscasts and papers across the country, not just in New York, where the Post and the Daily News are the closest thing we have to semi-legit tabloids.

These are the stories that give license to Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio to create tags of genius such as “Justify My Glove” to encompass the entire scandal (part baseball reference, part Madonna reference, and part Kravitz, as he penned “Justify My Love” for the Material Girl years ago.)

But the question that always pops up with me is: why do we care so much? Michael Jordan’s divorce from wife Juanita did not receive this much play outside of Chicago and he’s worth more than A-Rod could ever hope to be at this point. Obviously, there is the inevitable celebrity factor involved with Madonna, which will get shows like Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and their ilk all over it, but as far as sports fans go, well, what’s the explanation?

I sense that, more than any athlete around right now, we want to see Rodriguez fail at things.

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A Double Fault On Defending The Indefensible

On Friday at Sports by Brooks, I wrote on Justin Gimelstob, who turned a career as an unremarkable tennis player into an equally unremarkable career writing columns for Sports Illustrated‘s web site and occasionally working as a TV analyst, and his much too frank comments on his feelings about Anna Kournikova and opinions on the pulchritude of several up-and-coming female players (of course, all said on D.C. sports talk radio, unfortunately, WJFK’s archive has purged this segment of the Junkies due to age since it aired on June 18th.)

I didn’t expect anyone at SI to address the matter; the usual modus operandi is to sweep these things under the rug and/or handle it internally, while sneaking out a small note about the matter. But, the mag’s lead tennis writer, L. Jon Wertheim, brought it up in his “Wimbledon Midterm Grades” column, yet I think he’s only managed to make it worse by admitting it was indefensible — if only to then excuse it.

Justin Gimelstob: Dozens of you referenced his unfortunate remarks. The full disclosure, of course, is that Justin has been writing for si.com, which makes this all the more awkward. The remarks themselves are thoroughly indefensible. But let me say this in his defense: he’s always been a beacon of candor, one of those athletes who speaks honestly, regardless of whom he might offend or what collateral damage might arise. This doesn’t, of course, give him license to say anything, but — and I feel similarly about Charles Barkley — it tempers at least some of the outrage when he crosses the line.

I don’t ever recall Charles Barkley on TNT ever saying he wanted to hit someone — never mind a woman — with a ball, and saying that if he didn’t do that, he hadn’t done his job. That’s really awful moral equivalence, and it serves to distract from the offenses. Barkley has talked shit about entire cities, about backwards-ass people in his home state, various other things, but I don’t recall him talking openly about how much he hated someone; so much so he expressed a desire to hurt the person physically.

Never mind Gimelstob’s comments about maybe letting his “stud” brother take a run at Kournikova if she offered to screw him.  I got a bit of a slimy feeling just listening to it as I waded through the audio on Friday, and I’m fairly crass myself. Gimelstob has had to apologize, of course, but it’s probably not that sincere, and I’d say if he’s still keeping those views of the women’s tour, maybe he shouldn’t be paid to write or analyze it, because he may not be entirely capable of doing so fairly and with respect.

Gimelstob comes off as a self-involved frat boy, bragging about nailing Martina Hingis, and talking about Kournikova, Tatiana Golovin, and Alize Cornet in such pleasant “sexpot” terms. It’s one thing to do it when you’re an average Joe viewer (I’d be lying if I said I never gawked at Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, or Ana Ivanovic, to note a few) but it’s quite another when you are a former player and current analyst of the game, never mind a member of the ATP board of directors.

Wertheim’s “not really a condemnation” is also insufficient because it doesn’t detail the remarks; it presumes everyone has heard them, which I’m not sure is actually the case. So, once you frame it as something regrettable and indefensible, you can make the excuse that it’s a candor-based mistake without quoting or linking to any parts of what he said.

Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters

Trapped In The Rundown Of Love

Anything involving Roger Clemens these days has descended into pure unintentional comedy (you couldn’t come up with parody as good as his testimony in front of Congress over Brian McNamee), and you’ve likely read the news that has been all over sports and music blogs better than this one you are reading about an “intimate” relationship that the Rocket had with country star Mindy McCready that started when she was 15.

McCready told the NY Daily News she couldn’t refute a word of the original article. Clemens’ attorney Rusty Hardin says the relationship was never sexual (um, sure it wasn’t), and I can’t add a whole lot of indignation outside of the “god, that’s absolutely vile on his part” type, although it did take a while for this story to get a lot of play, on, say, SI or ESPN (betcha it would have been faster if it was a new item on Kimberly Bell, right?) Isn’t it typical that McCready’s got both plans for a new album and a reality show as this breaks? All press is good press if you’re in entertainment. That aside, I can only expand upon this with the fun of song titles about the whole matter (and baseball in general) for her comeback. Some of them would be for Mindy, and others likely for an aggrieved Debbie Clemens (provided she’s actually bent out of shape about this.)

  • “Don’t Let Our Love Go Inside The Foul Pole”
  • “Walk-Off Love (Bottom of the Ninth)”
  • “You Hit One Into The Upper Deck of My Heart”
  • “Broken Bats and Broken Hearts”
  • “Hit By The Pitch of Love”
  • “I May Be Young, But I’m Ready For The Call-Up”
  • “Suicide Squeeze (Trapped In The Rundown of Love)”
  • “Double Switch, Double Talk, Double Cross”
  • “Sliding Head First Into You”
  • “Calling for a Pinch Hitter (Hit The Showers!)”
  • “My Bases Are Loaded, Now Swing For The Fences”
  • “He Wanted A Double Play, But Struck Out Swinging”
  • “Slump Buster (Driving One Into The Gap)”
  • “You Stole My Heart When You Stole Home Plate”
  • “Make It A Doubleheader, Baby (Let’s Play Two)”‘

If you’ve got others, drop them in comments….

Photo: Getty Images

Mindy McCready weeps as she confirms affair with Roger Clemens [NY Daily News]

When A Verbal Apology Just Isn’t Enough.

Scene: New York City, in the offices above Tiffany & Co.’s store on Broadway. One of the company’s executives sits in his office, evaluating designs for its newest collection, when the phone rings.

Receptionist: Mr. Lamont, there’s a call waiting for you regarding an Elite Account.
Lamont: Entertainer, politician, or athlete?
Receptionist: Athlete, sir.
Lamont: References?
Receptionist: Codes provided by the NFL’s offices, usually given to their higher-profile players. Plays in Baltimore, name of Steven McNair.
Lamont: Put him through, Anne.
Receptionist: Yes, Mr. Lamont.

(Soft click, as lines patched through.)

Lamont: Hello, Mr. McNair. How can I be of service to you today?
Steve McNair: I was hoping you could help with a gift selection, Mr. Lamont. I thought of coming into the store, but I figured it might be better to do this over the phone.
Lamont: Understood. We keep Elite Accounts completely private, no surprises. Is there a particular order you’re looking into? Mother, wife, or girlfriend?
McNair: What?
Lamont: It’s easier to evaluate what you’re looking for if I know the nature of the relationship.
McNair: Um….wife.
Lamont: Appreciation or apology?
McNair: Apology. I may need one in advance, even though none of the stuff being floated in the papers is remotely true, y’know?
Lamont: You’ve called the right man. We’ve assisted high-profile men such as yourself when they find themselves either directly involved with or implicated in…delicate situations.
McNair: So, how much money should I be looking into here?
Lamont: Depends. We have the A-Rod level, which is $10,000+ — very popular, and if extremely necessary, there is the Kobe level — $500,000 and up per piece.
McNair: Neither level’s really appropriate. Anything in the 5-10K range?
Lamont: Plenty, at least as far as necklaces go. Rings, not as much. We’ll send along the catalog with those levels immediately, Mr. McNair. Give my assistant a call when you receive it and she’ll guide you through the process.
McNair: Wonderful. Thanks again, Mr. Lamont.
Lamont: We do what we can. I’d advise you set up an account with us in the future — keep a bit of it on hand in case something more…serious should happen.
McNair: I’ll take it under advisement.

END.

(Thanks to the Big Lead for inspiring the idea. Odd tidbit that came across while semi-researching: Tiffany & Co. designed both the Lombardi Trophy and the current NASCAR trophy that goes to the Nextel Cup winner.)

Sean Salisbury Is Totally Jealous Of Rob Stone.

Via Awful Announcing, we find out that, yes folks, ESPN’s Rob Stone is popular with the ladies…

This is one of those ideas that probably sounded really, really awesome in the meeting that afternoon between the writers and the talent, but comes off kinda skeezy and very questionable. Forget the Awkward Turtle; you need an Awkward Hippopotamus for this.

In other ESPN-related news, sources are informing me that both Sean Salisbury and Woody Paige are applying for transfers to cover soccer.

“Yeah, The Prescription’s Under ‘Buster Iraq.'”

Given that trusting a source calling itself L.A. Rag Mag screams credibility, I’m just going on the humor potential of such a story alone: the site is claiming via someone who used to work for Alba that while she dated Derek Jeter, he left her with the gift that lasts forever; in this case, herpes. Now, usually, STDs are not terribly funny (especially when they happen to otherwise beautiful people that we would fantasize about.) Derek Jeter is supposed to be a defense asset — I can’t imagine him going without a glove. Major E-5 on his part.

Now, given the track record we have from the more carefree days of Michael Vick and the mileage earned from “Ron Mexico,” I ran it through the Ron Mexico name generator and got the name you see in the title. Now, that’s just dull. Here are some alternate suggestions that are slightly more plausible for nom de STDs — and feel free to leave yours in the comments.

  • Eric Belize
  • Mark Lesotho
  • Jason Cyprus
  • Danny Ireland
  • Leo Suriname

Tipping the cap to: The Big Lead, Larry Brown, and Sports by Brooks.