Friday, November 5, 2010

Favorite week of the year and frozen tundra

There's nothing like Breeders' Cup Day. Well, other than Derby Day. But let's not ruin a good overstatement.

I am looking forward to this year's more than any since...well, Sunday Silence/Easy Goer in 1989.

I won't bore you with picks, but if you want them, Friday's are here and Saturday's are here.

Zenyatta has been an absolute joy to watch this year. I don't know how many times I thought she wasn't going to get there, then...bam! She makes it.

The analyst/handicapper in me says no way she wins. Blame, Quality Road, Lookin at Lucky...those horses are all light years better than what she beat in last year's Classic.

But there is something about her. She has that it factor. If she were a human, she would be Michael Jordan in his prime. Tiger Woods before he got all skanky. Tom Brady.

She just finds a way to win.

When I was a very little kid, I fell in love with horse racing when Secretariat unleashed the most dominant race in history in his Triple Crown-clinching Belmont. It brought tears to my eyes, the majestic power of such a fantastic animal. (Later many other horses would bring tears to me eyes by getting beaten on the wire to cost me big scores. But I digress)

Zenyatta is not that kind of horse. She isn't going to destroy a field like Secretariat did.

This will be her toughest test. Deep down I'm hoping she does it, and that somewhere, a little kid is watching and falls in love with the sport.

Those kind of moments have been rare in recent years. Smarty Jones was a letdown in his Triple Crown run. Big Brown was, too. The build-up for Zenyatta has us set up for another disappointment.

In my heart, I hope that's not the case. But if she does lose, I will have to console myself with winning tickets.

Isn't that how capitalism works?


Speaking of capitalism...The final table of the WSOP is this week. While I am hoping Michael Mizrachi wins it, he might be too short stacked. Jonathan Duhamel, John Dolan and John Racener look like the most likely winners. I do think moving the final table to November has been great for poker. We don't get to talk about it as much on The Blitz, but this time of year I miss having the poker show.

More importantly, I have the bug again, and playing like a fiend online and am looking at playing some big tourneys next year, including the main event.

Anyway, with the BC, final table and good college and pro football this's my favorite sports/near sports weekend of the year. (Well, other than the opening of football season. And maybe January bowl week. And Derby week...OK, never mind).


So we will be taking a trip to Canada soon. I have only been to Toronto, and this is Saskatchewan, so I don't know what to expect.

I am assured this is inaccurate, but this is what my American friends have told me:

1) Everyone says "eh" and hands me a beer when they meet me.

2) Carrying a hockey stick on the plane is encouraged.

3) Cross-checking family members is perfectly acceptable.

4) If I get depressed, I am only allowed three downs, not four.

5) I will be frozen into a popsicle the second I get off the plane and will have to be shipped back in the service cart.

6) Eskimos rule the wasteland and will some day rise up against the world.

7) The Canadian hottie just his me over the head as I type this, so it must not be as funny as I think.


Local band update: If you get a chance, check out
Adrenaline. Very strong cover band in the Houston area. Have seen them several times and they never put on a bad show.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A long overdue update on freaks, twitter and an awesome local band

Yeah, I know, no updates for a long time on this blog. Trying to balance teaching, radio, Examiner sports columns, and a script I need to have finished yesterday. But my son shamed me into updating and promising something every week, so five quick points and we'll be back in business:

1) Just signed a new deal with ESPN radio, so the Blitz shall endure unless I decide to leave Houston. So Falcon haters, tough you know what. It's a blast doing the show with Hoffman, the ratings are through the roof and I work with a great bunch of people at 97.5. Thanks to all of you for making us the No. 1 midday sports show since December of last year...

2) Freaks still find me. A man on the elevator after the show today started a Tantric chant and wanted to "show me his new tattoo." I got off on the third floor and walked the rest of the way.

3) If you are a serial Twitter or Facebook status updater, I am de-following/friending you. That means if you post an update on Facebook more than 10 times a day...or 25 times on Twitter. I don't need to know that Mark Schlereth is walking his dogs, or that Bennie is "waking up." Please just assume I know you are waking up every day. If not, then...well, someone else will update your status, and I will pay my last respects.

4) I am finally on Wikipedia! I've arrived! (Thanks for whoever did that).

5) Saw a couple great cover bands last week...Fan Halen from California, and Tokyo Road, a local Bon Jovi cover band. We knocked down a few with the guys from Tokyo Road after the show. Please check them out on Facebook and go see them if you are in Houston. Awesome band, GREAT musicians, very cool guys.
(Canadian hottie in concert gear)

There. Updated. Everybody happy now?

Publish Post

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why do birds suddenly appear...

So it is time to catch up a little. This blog is where I am supposed to mention generic freaks and weirdos, but life has taken on so much -- dare I say, normalcy -- of late, that it has been hard to come up with topics. Plus, a bit of writers block, since I am also doing the Examiner sports blog and have been working on some new, disturbing fiction. Expect some excerpts on this blog soon.

First, I have to give serious props to Curt for his artwork. He is a very talented man who also works at the college. His only flaw is that he is a Chiefs fan, which is only really a flaw if you think winning is a good thing. But he is one hell of a talented guy, and the Chiefs did have a nice offseason. So there is that.
In all seriousness, thanks Curt. Great stuff!
I did actually eat crow. It was as hideous as it sounds. I don't have much else to say about that other than I was tasting barbeque'd crow for two weeks. Ugh. I still have nightmares.
I think it was bad karma. Now, my car is constantly pelted by overflying birds, I can't get Bird is the Word out of my head and an angry grackle actually took a flying swipe at me in the parking lot recently, presumably revenge for his lost cousin.
Ah yes, a point. I have one somewhere. If you have read this blog for very long, you are familiar with my admiration (well, ok, outright worship) for the late Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently's belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things inspired this post.
Why I would incur the wrath of all birds over a measly crow when I have been devouring chicken, turkey and the occasional duck my entire life...
Perhaps it is the Falcon nickname? Professional jealousy?
Other concerns:
A car almost ran over me. The sticker on the window? Willowridge Eagles.
A kid threw an F-bomb at me for no real reason. He had on a Baltimore Orioles hat.
An 18-wheeler nearly runs me off the road and then of course the driver...flips me the bird.
On the other hand, this interconnectedness thing can work out. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything in Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide is...42.
The whiskey I am drinking at the moment? 42 proof.
Yesterday was Derby Day. How did it finish?
And yes, this time I picked the winner.
Kind of makes up for, um, Mine That Bird winning last year?
(Yeah, yeah. I know. Long weird road to a bad punch line.)
A.J. Hoffman debuts full time on The Blitz on Monday. Make sure you tune in. He is a talented dude and it should make for a fun show. He is a real pro, has a sick sense of humor and will fit right in with Team Degenerate. A lot of very cool, talented people tried out, and any number of them would have made for a great show. But this one should be pretty awesome. Please check us out Monday through Friday, noon-2.
If you aren't a fan of The Blitz on Facebook, please become one. It's a fun group of wildly divergent people and there is a lot of good sports talk on there on a daily basis. Plus we'll have some show updates and giveaways on there as well.
Enjoy the rest of your day. I would rant on, but I Gotta Fly Now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Crow, new Blitz scheme and more

I am a crow. Do I look like a tasty treat?

So I have to eat a crow.

As a falcon, does that make me a cannibal?

We challenged our Facebook fans to get to 1,000 before April 1. They crushed it.

Next up, if we get to 2,000 by May 1, Jong Lee has to wear a thong and go stand on the street corner with a sign that says "The Blitz Rocks."

I don't think we will get there, but the more pressing issue is I actually have to eat a crow. We're working on the details, but let this be a lesson: Never underestimate the public's desire to see you humiliate yourself.


The Blitz is undergoing some changes. We've moved to 12-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. I know it sucks for people who had just gotten accustomed to 1-4, but it's a prime time gig, should get us on the road more and should help continue to build the station's numbers. In a perfect world, we'd do a longer show, but this is one case where shorter is better. Really. (and I have NEVER used that excuse in my life).

The other change is a little less fun. Matt Dean is leaving the show. He has been accepted into the graduate program at Rice business school with a full ride. Rice is a terrific institution; a degree from there is priceless. It's a terrific move for Matt and his family longterm.

From a personal standpoint, I am thrilled for him and Persis, his terrific wife.

Yes the Blitz will continue. We've got a lot of good people who want the gig, and we'll keep the basic elements of the show.

However, it's rare in life you get to work with someone you truly like and admire. Matt is intelligent, funny, and most of all, a terrific friend.

We've all been in positions where we worked with people we didn't like. I've been fortunate in my short radio career to work with two gentlemen -- David Nuno at 1560 and Matt -- who I am proud to call friends.

In the end, Matt was too smart for radio. He has a brilliant future ahead of him, and he will do great things in this life. We will all look back and remember how we knew him back when.

As an aside, hey Matt, don't get Boggs'd at Rice by those teachers. (Gratuitous Shawshank reference).

The show, of course, will go on. It always does. And it won't suck. We'll still hit degenerate topics, have a gambling slant, make fun of everyone -- especially ourselves -- drop in great sports takes...

Most of all, we'll have fun.

But as happy as I am for Matt, it is bittersweet. He has truly made The Blitz a joy to do every day.

For that, I say: thanks, amigo, and vaya con dios.

Can you take the crow with you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Five random thoughts from the Falcon...

Don't fear the Falcon.

Spring break is winding down. The NCAA Tournament is heating up. And The Blitz is trying to put Matt Dean in a loin cloth. (OK, so that third one doesn't fit. This is the kind of random thing that happens when people talk you into trying margaritas with beers sticking in them. More on that shortly.)

Regardless, it's time for some random observations.

First, however, a few words from our sponsors:

*Please join us on Mondays at Sam Houston Race Park for The Blitz from 1-4. The Greatest Show in the History of the Known Universe will be there two more weeks in March. Come out and enjoy great racing, $1 draft beer specials and an opportunity to win a dollar by being the first to hit me on the head.

*Please join our Blitz Facebook page. If we are ahead of The Drive by Monday at 4 p.m., Matt The Superstar will wear a loin cloth in studio. It promises to be amusing if not pretty.

Now, on with the show...

For the first time in forever, Spring break actually means something to me. I never took one in college (working), and until I started teaching this semester, it never meant anything to me other than having to find babysitters for the kiddos. However, a week off from the school has shown me just how much I missed all those years.

(Yes, I still had to do radio all week, but is that really work?)

Anyway, five observations from an old man's first spring break in forever:

1) Spotted Dick is not something you get when you fail to wear the proper protection. Jockey Paul Nolan, who is from England, joined us Monday and we reset his love for Spotted Dick. And no, I will not be putting Spotted Dick in my mouth at anytime, even though Paul is the leading rider at the track. It is a delicacy perhaps best tried on spring break. But not by me.

2) This has nothing to do with spring break, but strange men hanging out near a playground with a cane and a sign that says "you must be this tall to ride" should be reported to the authorities immediately. No more details necessary.

3) Finding a bar that shows all the games and drinking all day is a moral imperative on the first day of the NCAA Tournament. In fact, it is a much bigger deal than St. Patrick's Day. This year, if you played it off right, you could have done both. Overdo it on green beer Wednesday night, call in sick Thursday and spend all day watching the games. It requires skill, stamina, and...well the touch of a degenerate. It is the sports fan's version of spring break.

4) The idea of Matt Dean in a thong came after several of these and a weird flashback to a Ted Nugent concert. Why is it everything seems like a good idea when tequila is involved? And why is it I always have dreams involving talking cats afterward? Isn't spring break sponsored by Tequila?

5) Finally, if for some reason you are having a bad day, overdid it on St Patty's Day, being stalked by the guy with the cane or having dreams about talking cats, try this site for a good laugh.

And lay off the tequila. School starts again on Monday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Not as easy as it looks...

OK, so the whole world gets caught up in the Olympic spirit. Once every four years, obscure sports like curling take center stage.
Carl Dukes, whose show follows ours, spent a lot of time talking about how anyone could curl and how easy it was. So the nice people of the Curling Club of Houston invited everyone down to learn.
We visited the Space City Ice Station, which is an awesome place. The people were terrific. Friendly, helpful, enthusiastic.
So I barely know my way around ice, much less curling. The results were predictable:

OK, so that was the only time I actually fell down.

Team Blitz, of course, had a ringer. The Canadian hottie, who looked like a natural, even though she hadn't curled in 10 years. We won, and didn't need her to make the last shot to do it.

Anyway, I have to admit, it was a blast. It's also harder than it looks on TV, especially the sweeping. A good time was had by all:

More details on the Examiner blog, but I highly recommend you give it a try sometime.

Especially if you don't mind falling on your ass.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Perfect? Naw, not so much

Perfection is where you find it.

A joke told so eloquently it evokes the desired reaction.

Those teaching moments where you see the light come on, where someone learns something for the first time.

A day lounging on the couch with your favorite person, beer in hand, football on TV.

The pocket aces that hold up against pocket kings. Or flopping quads and having someone bet heavy.

Turning the TV on time to see a favorite movie coming on in the next few minutes.

An enchanted moment.

A horse getting up by a nose at the wire.

A hole in the clouds, with a small ray of sunlight breaking through, signaling the end of a storm.

There is a lot of perfection out there. Everywhere. Every day. Sometimes we tend to forget that; focus on the negative. The failures.

The negative creeps in our thoughts, follows us around like a mangy, wild boar, angry and aggressive.

Perfection is beating the living crap out of that boar; pounding him to a bloody, messy pulp.

OK, so this post doesn't qualify as perfect.

Sorry. Good moods don't make for good posts. Hopefully I will have a freak encounter tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Blitz is on...for an extra hour

First, as always, please check out for sports takes. Click early and often...

Big news on the radio front this week: The Blitz picks up an extra hour. We will now be on from 1-4 Monday through Friday.

It doesn't seem like a lot, but it is a big deal on a lot of levels.

From a personal perspective, I am now off the 6 a.m. updates, which now means no more 4:45 a.m. wake up alarms. I can sleep until 6 and head straight for school instead of the station/school/back to the station/back to school run. (45 minutes one way via Beltway 8 if no one, er, carjacking). So life should be a little easier on all fronts.

It's also a nice response to our listeners and the ratings we have put up in a very short time.

This is an extremely competitive sports talk environment. There are a lot of talented people all over the city, many of whom I consider to be very good friends. I was fortunate enough to get a foot in the door because of a past life in newspapers, and I had no idea how things would play out.

We started with a weekend morning show with a pretty simple idea: put two fun-loving degenerates with solid sports backgrounds together. Throw in a sick, somewhat disturbing sense of humor and multiply that by two. Then focus more on fun and less on controversy, but don't be afraid to tackle issues when they come up.

We had no idea if it would work, and to be honest, we weren't too worried about it if it didn't. We pretty much took the Princess Bride approach: They will most likely kill us tomorrow. If so, we'll all move on to other options.

But it turned into a daily show, and now that has turned into a bigger daily show. They will still most likely kill us tomorrow. If not...well, there might be a new Dread Pirate Roberts in town one day.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for listening, and to Matt the Superstar and Long Lee, adult film star, for making it work. Hopefully there will be more good stuff to come in the future. If not? Well, there are still other options out there, including the following....


After all that time searching for a nickname, we've finally come up with one. Well, more appropriately, an alter ego as opposed to a nickname.

Meet Freddy Falcon.

It has sort of a generic, FM morning DJ vibe. Or maybe an adult film star vibe. Or maybe just a bad actor who gets a lead in a Lifetime movie opposite some burned out female actor in her 60s who is made up to look 30 and has a midlife crisis.

I can see the tout now: "Tune in Tuesday at 8 for Life Choices, starring Kathleen Turner as a middle aged housewife who is struggling with her feelings. And introducing Freddy Falcon as the friendly widower neighbor whose poignant artwork touches a nerve and sets off a chain of events that will change their lives forever."

Hey, it worked for Peter Coyote.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Freddys World challenge

OK, so I suck again. Haven't been inspired to write much lately. However, since I have assigned my students to post once per week on their blog, I will do the same on this one.

(Also, please check out the Examiner columns. I get paid per click, so help a fellow out).

Today's topic on the show was best/worst team names. Sure, names like the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and UC-Irvine Anteaters are easy to make fun of, but even some of our NFL teams are pretty weak.

Dolphins? Really? They inspire fear? And don't even get me started on the Cardinals.

Allegedly there is a hockey team in Alabama called "Hicks with Sticks." The easy punch lines are too numerous to list here.

But my personal favorite was the Webster University Gorloks.

Warlocks I have heard of. Gorgons, too. But Gorlocks?

And no, it is nothing sinister.

From the Webster University website: "The Gorlok is Webster University's school mascot. It is a mythical creature that was designed by Webster staff and students through a school contest. It is reported to have the paws of a speeding cheetah, horns of a fierce buffalo, and the face of a dependable Saint Bernard."

You judge for yourself. I don't see the Saint Bernard. Looks like a freaky combination of a lion, cat, dog and bull. In other words, the result of a very drunk animal party:

Oh well, we shall all fear the Gorlok.

My personal favorite? A caller suggested the Reapers. I like it. Nice uniform possibilities. And who isn't afraid of death?