Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Caught somewhere in time; my secret addiction

Sorry for the delay in posting; haven't felt very creative. Been a rough stretch financially in UF's World and that always drains me. There are days I miss being rich. But money is like poker chips in a tournament; no matter how short stacked you get, you can always come back. It's just a way to keep score.
The Iron Maiden concert last week -- I promised to talk about the freak show. I did a whole segment on the Saturday show about it, so I won't repeat all of it. But I have one take I want to share:

If you are a woman over 50 and have extensive tattoos, do NOT wear low cut shirts, tank tops or shorts. It's not sexy anymore. It was sexy 20 years ago; maybe 10. Now it's gross.

There was one woman who had a tattoo of a bird on her leg. When she got it, it was probably a hummingbird. Now it's an ostrich.

I don't care if you have them; just cover them up.

And never, NEVER be a dude and wear black dress socks and shoes to a metal concert. I mean, back in the day, we would have beat that guy senseless. (How much has life changed? He had the hottest date there).

Finally, I have two great kids. They love my music. But they aren't hitting a Maiden concert until they are 15 or 16. There were TONS of little kids there. The worst was a dude who had his twin four-year-olds head banging. There is something really wrong about four-year-olds banging to "666, the number of the beast." Those are the kids that grow up to put their children in a freezer or hang the dog in the back yard.

GREAT show, however. Bruce Dickinson still has serious pipes, and the band was tight! I miss jamming Maiden on the Les Paul. But I digress.

Meanwhile, I have a secret addiction that makes Mariah's pants look silly.

I am addicted to Facebook horse racing.

It's stupid. It's goofy. The ap is slow. But I LOVE horse racing. Even fake little horses. I could spend hours (and I have) goofing off, betting on fake horses, and racing my own.

The real addiction is the chat. The people are all so much fun. They are from all over the world; I have my England/Europe crew; then the Canadians; then the Aussies. All good natured degenerates with a great sense of humor.

I get a sick rush out of winning fake money on the game. But I have to admit, I really like to check in to see who is there. So many cool personalities from all over the world with the same sick addiction.

If you know me, you know I love kindred spirits.

The most recent ex called my addiction "online masturbation." A clever one, she was. Kind of an overbearing dickweed, but clever.

I didn't play for a month or so. Just too busy with the updates, because it's ALWAYS a good time for vitamin water. But I missed the people. And the silly game.

The people make me laugh, a lot like the ostrich woman.

Does anything else really matter in life?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mariah Carey's pants

OK, I have apparently been too serious lately, so we'll lighten things up...
I have a weird obsession with Mariah Carey's pants.
I am not a big Mariah fan, either of her appearance or her music. But I am a borderline stalker when it comes to her torn blue jeans.
I suppose I should explain. We share studios with KRBE, a pop station, and Jack FM. KRBE is the big, popular station, and we are pretty much gravy trainers. The hallways are filled with KRBE stuff; autographed pictures, signed guitars, a "man or woman?" photo of Clay Aiken...all sorts of weird/cool pop culture things.
Including Mariah Carey's pants.
Just outside the ESPN 97.5 The Ticket Studio, hanging on the wall in a glass frame...
When I first came to the station, I thought ESPN...sports...we'd have a Calvin Murphy jersey or something like that hanging outside the door.
Instead, we have Mariah Carey's pants. Faded blue jeans with her signature.
OK, so she's sporting. She's been Jetered. I guess it makes sense that her pants would be outside our studio.
So I have embraced her pants. I am intrigued by them. I wonder where they have been.
Before every show now -- for luck -- I go all *Proximo on them.
(*-In Gladiator, when Proximo returns to Rome, he walks up to a statue, says "hello, old friend," touches its feet and says, "bring me fortune.")
Mariah's pants are my old friend. I ask them each morning to bring me fortune.
So far, not so good. But I have a new object of affection. A new idol.
By the way, 29 waist, 32 length, in case you were curious. Mariah is a tall one.
Bring me fortune...oh magical pants of Mariah.

Life at 5 a.m.; Cool breezes; Iron Maiden's gonna get you

It's amazing the things you see driving through Fondren Southwest at 5 a.m.
The morning updates that I do start at 6:20. I usually try to get to the station a little before 6, but I have to drive through a pretty bad area to get there. Over the last week, I have seen a naked man walking in the middle of the street (hung like a chipmunk), a prostitute still trying to get business at 5 a.m., a woman getting dressed at a bus stop, and a guy waving a gun at another dude in a car.
(I figure as long as the guy isn't waving the gun at me, it's all good).
(And no, the naked man and the prostitute weren't on the same day).
I tell my man Abel if I don't make it in one morning, they will probably find me dead at the Braeswood/Fondren intersection, shot in the head for the $4 I have in my pocket.
(Side note: there are some really cool folks I work with right now. Abel is one of them. Matt the Superstar is fast becoming one of my favorite people on the planet, and Julie Takahashi is hyper cool. And then there's Picachu, who is a hell of a good sport, considering how much we beat on him).
Meanwhile, tomorrow night, I'm going to go back in time and see Iron Maiden at the Woodlands. I hate the concert venue there, but...can't wait to see the show. And I can't wait to comment on some of the freaks I see there. I just wonder if it will be better or worse than Fondren Southwest at 5 a.m...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stability, dammit; do I miss newspapers? Nothing funny in here...

This has been the most tumultuous year of my life. It's been unbelievable. Relationships falling apart, the D-word, three job changes, successes and failures at business, a financial quagmire and lots of personal tragedy and disappointments. One WTF after another, man...
But hey, that which does not kill us, baby...Uncle Freddy doesn't whine. He makes fun of it. What else can you do? Besides, a lot of it was self-inflicted.
But it figures that right when things seem to be stabilizing, more weirdness.
Jerome Solomon is the reason I went to ESPN 97.5 The Ticket. We had lunch one day, and within a week I was on board.
Jerome and I go way back. I hired him, promoted him, worked with him for years at the Chron. I think he has the potential to be one of the biggest stars around. He's opinionated, smart, funny , arrogant. Good stuff on radio. Good stuff in print. A good friend and a good guy.
So it sucked to find out he wouldn't be doing his show at the station anymore. I understand the reasoning behind it; I really do. I'll miss working with him. More on that in a minute, but I have a long rambling tangent before we get to it.
I missed working with Jerome at the paper, too.
I left the newspaper for a lot of reasons. A couple people have asked me to write about why I left. They don't get it.
Sometimes, I don't either.
I know people want me to go all Hiroshima on the place, but I invested most of my life in it. That life is gone now, and we're on to a new, exciting one. So the trash job won't happen. Sorry.
But I do have one thought about the future of newspapers I will share. I fear that the people running most of the newspaper corporations in this country are missing one key understanding: A newspaper is not like any other business. It is not like selling widgets or wrenches.
A newspaper is indeed a business, but it has to be more than that. A paper is a public trust; much like our sports teams. The paper is willing to rip those teams for bad management; but they should turn the spotlight on themselves before they rip a team owner for a "money decision."
When you quit listening to your readers -- when you quit caring about them -- you will lose them. When the Astros quit caring about their fans, they lose them.
You can't run the Astros, Rockets or Texans like any other business. And you can't run a newspaper like that, either. Not if you want your readers to care so much they can't miss it. You don't let your best free agents go and not replace them. Those people create your connection to the readers. If you don't keep your talented folks happy, they become disenchanted and leave, and the quality dips even more.
Good businesses invest in good people. That's why they thrive. That's the secret. They care about their employees and they spend money in the right places. Jeff Bagwell was worth the 18 mil he got for doing nothing, because all he had done to build the team before that. Those players build the relationships with fans; you can't wait to watch those guys. You buy their jerseys, their autographs.
I watch so many talented people leaving the newspaper business, and it makes me sad. And I admit I feel some guilt for doing the same thing. I underestimated the impact it would have on the product. In retrospect, I should have stayed and fought. But I didn't. I had a lot going on and didn't deal with it very well.
It's funny, though. Being on the air has given me insight about that I didn't have when I worked there. I have a much better understanding of what people want to read about. As newspapers, we're not doing a great job with that anymore. We don't listen to the readers. They are still out there, and they want to love their team. (Did I say "we?" Whoops...)
Being in radio has given me another insight; newspapers should encourage their biggest stars to do radio. And they should allow them to do endorsements, as long as it is not for teams they cover. Radio makes journalists better. It connects them with the listeners in the way that fans connected with Bagwell. The listeners then read the paper because they heard John McClain or Richard Justice on radio.
Newspapers need radio and TV connections more than radio and TV needs newspapers now. Without endorsements, many stations simply can't afford to keep big stars on the air. Eventually, the stars will all leave newspapers. It's sad. The Jerome Solomons, John McClains, Richard Justices...those guys create loyal fans for the paper. You can't just replace them with any kid out of college; that doesn't work real well for the pro teams, either.
When I was at the Chron, I added Lance Zierlein to our blog lineup because Lance has loyal fans; he brought them to the Chron Web site. If he was off there tomorrow, they would go with him. Radio helps you connect; all the interaction we tried to create on the Web site and in print exists here on radio. Especially if you have personality. There is a reason Lance and John are popular; that Sean Pendergast is popular; they are talented, fun, personable. They connect with the listeners. That's what Matt and I try to do on our shows.
That's what John McClain and Richard Justice do.
That's what Jerome did.
I hate that he is gone, but in the end, I think it is on the newspapers to adjust.
I really hope they do. The fans are still out there.
Win them back, guys.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Robby Albarado on my spit list; maybe poker's not your game...congrats to my buddy Jay

So as you know from reading my blog, Racecar Rhapsody was my choice to run second or third in the Preakness. He was well clear in the stretch behind the Big Brown Roid freak, but faded and finished fourth. A special thanks to Robby Albarado for moving too soon, going 10 wide and costing me the tri to go with the superfecta my man Scotty hit and I was fortunate enough to gravy train on. I love Robby as a person, but as a rider? He has cost me more money than all my ex wives combined.

You read it here first (again). Casino Drive pisses on Brown Boy in the Belmont. (Unless Robby gets the mount. I mean, this guy could get Curlin beat...oh yeah, I forget. He already did...)

I got murdered at the track, got blitzed, got murdered at poker Saturday night (I ain't real good when I am lit) and bounced back with a fun show Saturday morning. Our non-sports topic? People you do not want to see in thongs, in honor of Jason Giambi. It was a great show, one of my favorites. Matty is really turning in to a hell of a radio dude. We make a good team.

Matty came over and watched me play online Sunday. I learned so much from the dude. He is sick good. Better than me. I don't say that about a lot of people. I final tabled another little rebuy on Full Tilt. Went on one of the sickest card rushes ever....was down to 3K and got up to 200 in 6 hands! AK, AK, 10-10, Q-Q, and AK in six hands! This after nothing for two hours (and nothing after!).

I got called a donkey by a dude when I played small suited connectors (hey, nobody raised!) Flopped the nut straight and let him bet into me with his overpair.

I wish you could listen to me talk to the computer when I play online. I usually do my best Val Kilmer in Tombstone..."Must be a piece of a hand..."

In this case, I wanted to go Ike Clanton on him..."Maybe poker's not your game...I know...Let's have a spelling contest!"

(He did not do well with basic grammar in the chat).

I went on to finish fifth, then cashed in the 50-50 later that night. I am back on my tournament game. That's a win, two final table and four cashes in a week.

But yeah, I'm a donk.

Unrelated, props to my boy Jay Lee for his new job in Denver. Dude was my right hand man back in the Chron days but had to bail for family reasons. Jay is one of those guys who always has your back. He's also overdue to be the man. Couldn't be happier for him.

Back in the Chron days, we used to rule the cubicle. A lot of what you hear on the radio now started back there. We used to have a blast making fun of everything. He's hilarious. One of these days we will have him on the show. He's a lot like an older, wiser Matt, with the same sick sense of humor.

Looks like the Main Event will get pre-empted for the NBA playoffs. You will have to come here for your Freddy bad beat stories.

Parting shot...if you missed the Sunday show...My thong take was NO ONE should wear one unless they are a) a stripper; b) a sumo wrestler.

Most disgusting person anyone mentioned wearing a thong? John Daly.

Ugh. Gotta go throw up...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Karaoke night

There should be an unwritten rule of Karaoke. Remember the sign in Wayne's World? "No Stairway to Heaven?"
It should apply to Karaoke.
I heard it for the first time Thursday night. The dude doing it sounded like he was gargling monkey pecker. It was brutal.
However, even if Robert Plant had staggered in with a heroin needle in his arm I wouldn't want to hear it.
Throw Bohemian Rhapsody on that list too.
(Uncle Freddy is a bit of a Karaoke snob, in case you hadn't noticed).

I haven't been out in a while. These 4:30 wakeup calls make it tough to be out the night before. But I decided to tough it out and get back in the game.

Jet's "Look What You've Done" was the song of choice.

Dana and I also did a sick ass version of "Stop Draggin My Heart Around." Petty is my bitch.

Meanwhile, I have your Preakness Longshot for second -- Racecar Rhapsody.

One other random thought -- do they do penile reduction surgery too?

Just curious...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Forget the Preakness; let's talk Belmont....Resetting the eight minute date

OK, so Big Brown will win the Preakness. Over/under on margin of victory is 10 lengths. There is really nothing in here that should come close to him.
I hate that. I always look for a way to beat odds-on favorites; it won't happen here. It reminds me of the year that Smarty Jones won the Preakness; that pick 4 still paid over $700, and that's where I will try to make my money.
So forget the Preakness. They don't even need to run it. Let's just declare him the winner. (Don't worry, we'll have a longshot for second by Saturday for a nice exacta/trifecta play.
But let's be the first to start hyping the Belmont, where Casino Drive will beat Big Brown. That's a matchup we can't wait to see.
Who is Casino Drive? He's out of the same mare who has produced Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches, so he'll run forever. He's only had two starts -- he won his first in Japan by almost 12 lengths. In his second start, after months in quarantine, he destroyed the field in the Peter Pan at Belmont, a huge effort for a horse in just his second start.
So bring on the Belmont. Unbeaten Casino Drive vs. Unbeaten Big Brown. Should be a blast!
OK, so enough serious stuff...One of my favorite radio stories was about the infamous eight-minute date I had recently.
A friend set us up. We met at the bar at Escalante's, one of my favorite haunts. We started small talking. She asked what was No. 1 on my list of things I wanted out of a potential mate. I gave my standard answer: 1) Sense of humor. Period. After that, intelligence, tolerance, honesty. Then I worry about looks.
She then said, "Well, I'm big on appearance. And you are pretty attractive for an older, heavyset guy. That's usually not my type."
Yeah, well, dickweeds usually aren't my type, either.
End of date.
Then again, maybe she was trying to be funny...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Romo or Simpson? They both suck

OK, it takes guts to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on a microphone at Wrigley Field in front of thousands of people.

There's the disclaimer.

Having said that, Romo's "rendition" this weekend was the worse thing I've heard since Rosanne Barr stepped on a cat while trying to screech out the national anthem.

The good news for Romo? As bad as he is, his girlfriend might be an even worse singer. Mostly because she presumably gets paid for it. When she steps to the microphone, Jessica Simpson sounds like she is gargling a castrated mouse.

(At least she's better than her sister).

Yeah, yeah, they are richer than me, better looking than me and more famous than me.

But I am a better singer.

Then again, so is Rosanne.

Maybe they have Carl Lewis beat...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I got flashed on the elevator

Nobody believed me, either.

It was before the Tuesday night show. A small woman, Hispanic, mid 50s, was riding to the 8th floor. The Bud Light studios -- where I was heading -- are on the 7th floor.

I wasn't really paying attention, but we were the only two on the elevator. She then said "can you look at this for me?"

I look over to see her exposed girls poking out. "What do you think?" She proudly held up her breasts.

For once, Uncle Freddy had no response. I was speechless. I think I mumbled something about this being a business office and that being inappropriate, but I suspect my answer might have been different if they hadn't been pruned and wrinkled.

What's worse? Nobody believed me. Chuck Savage didn't believe me. Julie Takahashi said I was making it up.

Abel, my early morning cohort in the studio, is the only one who believed me.

Meanwhile, I can't eat raisins now.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More on Eight Belles; Evil Freddy wins; Do guests screw up radio shows?

I am continually disturbed that the real issue of the Eight Belles breakdown is being largely ignored. Trainer Larry Jones says it wasn't the jockey's fault and she wasn't on steroids.
Larry, it was your fault. You had two fillies; you ran one in the Oaks. You got greedy and wanted to win both races. SHE HAD NO BUSINESS IN THE DERBY.

Be responsible in the future. You were greedy and you asked too much of her. Live with that.

If you heard the Main Event Tuesday, you heard my Monkey Man take. I have not been able to find a picture of the Monkey Man anywhere or I would have attached it. You will just have to watch the Golden Child again. (And I tried really hard to be Nice Guy Freddy, but it lasted 16 minutes). Our guests were Taylor Caby and Bill Chen. Chen is too smart for our show. He got into a weird tangent about stock prices. Even I was lost. At least El Deano seemed to enjoy it.

I wonder sometimes if guests don't screw up a show. Ours are only two hours, and they fly by. Between our callers and our takes, our shows are pretty damned entertaining. In most cases, the guests have a tendency to kill the show. I like the weird guests -- midget wrestlers, musicians...I think they add something to a sports show.

The 4:30 a.m. work days are not quite working out. Over/under is about two more weeks before I eject.

Parting thought: Chris Paul should have been MVP.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I had sex with Roger Clemens and all I got was this t-shirt...

Not even a signed baseball. Yes, I was 15 at the time, but...
OK, so Roger is a little too male for my tastes, and a little too dishonest. But enough already; enough about his affairs. If media outlets want to go after him for that...check yourselves first, dammit.
I don't like Roger. I am certain he used 'roids. But who he has been involved in his personal life with does not belong on the front page. It's not fair to his kids or his wife, who didn't do anything to deserve this. He is not running for office, people.
And this BS about how the defamation suit opened it only opened things up for the jackals who wanted to pretend to be journalists.
This whole incident is so National Enquirer. I don't want to read it. (But I admit I look at the cover in the grocery store!)
Funny, however, how Roger denies roids and HGH, and he says he "relationship" with the 15-year-old was twisted out of proportion, but doesn't deny he made "mistakes."
Maybe Mindy "misremembered," too. After all, she was 15.
We have all made mistakes, Roger. I don't care what you did or didn't do, as long as no laws were broken. I do care that the nation's media has prostituted itself by quoting every one night stand it can find.
Now send me that signed baseball, dammit. I hope I was worth that.

Welcome to Uncle Freddy's World!

I have been threatening to start a blog for a long time. I think the blogosphere has been overdone by self-named experts and people with no sense of what makes a good blog. So I stayed out of it because I thought the last thing the world needed was another bad blog.
So hopefully, this will not be that. You'll find some sports takes here. Lots of attempts at humor. Some deeper insight into some of my radio takes. This won't be masturbatory; it won't be about me. It will be about what I see in the world.
Today we'll start with a horse racing take. I covered the sport for years before I became sports editor for the Houston Chronicle. (Side note: I left the Chron because I was sick of a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with the newspaper itself. I still like the place and some of the people, but I will rip them on occasion for bad journalism).
You didn't read this in the Chronicle or many other places, because there is rarely deeper insight into horse racing. Perhaps few care, but the death of the filly Eight Belles was underreported around the country, and the real issue was ignored.
PETA got involved, ripping the horse's jockey and wanting him suspended.
As usual PETA, you got it wrong. The horse was not hurt when she finished or she would have broken down before the finish line.
Want someone to blame? Her trainer. Her owner.
Asking a filly to run 1 1/4 miles against top colts when she already had a hard campaign was irresponsible. Maybe the accident was a fluke, but I am betting the overexertion from her outstanding effort was the reason.
The Triple Crown races are grueling. There is a reason only three fillies have won the Derby.
Rags to Riches won the Belmont last year and was never the same, and she was bred to go 1 1/2 miles.
Derby Fever is dangerous. Maybe the effort was too much, maybe not. But it wasn't the jockey's fault or the track's fault.
Her trainer only needs to look in the mirror.