Cowpers, big bulls and weiners
When I began writing columns more than 20 years ago, I swore that I would never roll out one made up of a bulleted list of random rants betraying the fact I lacked the motivation to expound on a single, cohesive idea for 500 words. But after six months or so, I’d written one.
You’re about to read my second.
No one asked me, but …
• Television wasn’t around in 1785 when English poet William Cowper wrote, “Variety’s the spice of life that gives it all its flavour.” But had it been, Cowper would have lamented the demise of the variety show. People my age grew up with “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which more often than not presented a mishmash of diverse acts that, on any given Sunday, might include a plate-twirler or someone who juggled boxes and Indian clubs; a dog or chimpanzee act; an opera singer; three comedians; a popular sports figure who stood awkwardly to be interviewed; and the latest hot rock band. “America’s Got Talent?” No, it doesn’t.
• Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown may be the most hyperactive, over-the-top play-by-play man I’ve ever heard. I’m sure Steve Blass and Bob Walk, his broadcast partners, must tire of handing him dry pants every time he wets them. All play-by-play men need a home-run catchphrase, but Brown’s “Clear the Decks! Cannonball comin’!” wore out its welcome last year. He’s worse when he tries to be cute. Caught off guard last week by a Pedro Alvarez line-drive dinger that left the park too quickly, Brown shouted: “Drive, Wooly Bully!” OK, they call Pedro “The Big Bull” because of his size and Spanish heritage. But you’d have to be an aficionado of Tex-Mex garage-band rock from the ’60s to figure out that Brown probably was quoting Samudo Domingo, AKA Sam the Sham, who in his 1965 hit “Wooly Bully” calls out “Drive! Drive!” during the sax solo. Phil Rizzuto’s “Holy cow!” might’ve been more apropos.
• “Concerts” should have seats. People who go to shows with the oxymoronic label of “open floor seating” should know the promoters don’t give a damn about providing an enjoyable night of music – they want to maximize profit by squeezing a vertical body into every possible square foot of the floor. Fans, boycott “open floor” concerts! By the same token, acts from the ’60s and ’70s should know that most of their fans would like to sit, and thus refuse to play “open floor” shows. They won’t get any more of my money unless they do.
• For fans who attend concerts with seats, I have two words: “Use them.” Music doesn’t sound any better when you hear it standing. The experience won’t be more meaningful because you saw it from three feet higher up.
• Finally, to wannabe New York mayor Anthony Weiner: You call yourself “Carlos Danger” when sexting? Here’s a better moniker: “The Weiner the World Berated.”