Strange Calls, Different Ideas and Weird Al

Justin July 9, 2011 4

I spend a lot of time listening to sports talk radio. And when I’m not listening, I’m usually watching it. (Thanks to Time Warner Cable in NYC, I can literally watch nothing but simulcasts of sports talk radio shows from 6am to 6pm every week day.)

In all this time, though, I’ve never called in to a sports talk show. I’ve never seen the value in waiting on hold for an hour, just to say, “I agree with you, Mike, they should hold on to Reyes.”

That said, I do have some tips for those who plan on dialing in and joining the conversation.

-Don’t introduce yourself.

Here’s what I hate:

Host: Charlie in the Bronx, Whats up Charlie?

Caller: Hey, Joe, It’s Charlie.

First of all, that has already been established. More importantly, though, no one gives a shit who you are. You are just a guy on a phone, like every other caller for the past 3 hours. Your identity does not make your opinion any more or less valid.

-Drop the niceties and stop kissing ass

Host: Morton in Michigan, you’re next.

Caller: Hi, Phil, how are you doing today?

Host: I’m fine, Morton, what’s on your mind?

Caller: Well, first of all, this is a great show. I’m a big fan.

Just get to the point. You and the host are not forming a lifelong friendship here. He or she is giving you 30 seconds to make your point. If it’s a good one, you may get a full minute. Don’t waste the first half treating it like small talk at the post office. HIDE YOUR RADIO BONER.

-Don’t be creepy or condescending

Female hosts on sports talk radio are still relatively rare. But the number is growing. And just like men, some are great and some are not. They do not need you to validate them.

Host: Leonard in Leonardo, you’re up

Caller: Hello Mary. I’ve got to say, you really know your stuff.

Host: Thanks. What’s do you want to talk about?

Caller: It’s nice to talk to a lovely young lady on this station for once.

Host: Sure. What’s up?

Caller: Have you ever watched a football game?

And it goes on like that. Even worse, is when sad old men call and sing to the female hosts. I know a thing or two about creeping women out. There is no surer way to do it than to sing Perry Como songs at them.

You are not funny

Do you do imitations? Are you a fan of Crank Yankers and the Jerky Boys? Then sign up for an open mic night at the Giggle Factory or Wacky Banana Jerry’s. Don’t try out your material during my important discussion of whether Derek Jeter is good.

Host: Bill in Chappaqua, You’re the next caller.

Caller (In smoky southern accent): Hi. This is Bill Clinton. I think Derek Jeter sucks. And I know about things that suck, because of Monica Lewetsky.

Why can’t these guys at least be current with their terrible jokes? And why do they always make at least one basic factual error in their comedy, like using the wrong last name in the punchline? Don’t you people rehearse your bits?

I’m sure there’s more to say, but I’ll stop at these four basic tips for now. If you would like to add your own, use the comments section.

Obviously, there is no Sports Illustrated this week. Instead, I’ve decided to share some thoughts on a few of the other things I’ve read online this week.


One note before we start. These are things I read this week. They weren’t necessarily published this week. 

Set List: “Weird” Al Yankovic by Nathan Rabin (AV Club)

This is a pretty simple concept. Rabin throws out song titles. Weird Al tells a story about them. It’s a pretty long article. I wish it had been longer.

Weird Al is enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days. He’s been sitting down for interviews all over the place in an effort to plug his latest album. I, for one, welcome this development. As a kid, I loved Weird Al. One of my favorite things as a kid was listening to the radio with my dad and hearing the opening few notes of either Beat It by Michael Jackson or Eat It by Weird Al. He could tell from those first few notes which one it was. I couldn’t. I honestly thought he was clairvoyant.   I also went to a Weird Al concert in high school. I can’t remember if it was done ironically or if we genuinely wanted to see him perform ahead of time, but either way, I was floored. It still stands up as one of the best concerts I’ve ever been too.

The Downfall Of Barry Halper, Baseball Collecting’s Bernie Madoff by Peter Nash (Hauls of Shame)

This article was first excerpted on Deadspin on Wednesday, but I was interested enough to click through and read the full article on Nash’s own website. I remember hearing about Barry Halper, who was somehow a part owner of the Yankees and seemingly owned every major piece of memorabilia in the world. Then, later I heard something about him being less than honest. But I had no idea exactly how dishonest.

More interesting, though, is the author of this article. Peter Nash is a great writer and a noted baseball historian. He’s also Pete Nice from the rap group 3rd base. That’s a tough dichotomy to wrap my head around.

Pop pop goes the Weasel.

When Fashion Meets Fishing, The Feathers Fly by Katie Zezima (NYTimes)


Here’s how this happened. I sat with Katie at a Red Sox game in Boston a few weeks ago. She had a feather in her hair. I mentioned that I had seen somewhere that women using feathers in their hair had put a dent in the fly fishing industry this year. She took it from there. Within an inning, she had run the idea past an editor, found people to interview and, I think, sketched the entire thing out in her mind. I even watched her conduct an interview on the back of a scrap of paper while we sat in an Dunkin Donuts. It was truly one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in my time as a journalist. Fast forward a few days, and this article is the most emailed on the entire New York Times website. And it all started with a stray comment at Fenway.

Obama’s Original Sin by Frank Rich (NY Magazine)

I actually read this one in the magazine, not online. And what struck me most wasn’t the content or the writing. It was the sheer length. I’m used to Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine, where even the “long articles” rarely go one longer than 3 pages. This piece, on the President’s handling of the economy, went on and on and on. I think I was unprepared for it when I dove in.






  1. Henry Donor July 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm -

    This is funny that Peter Nash is writing about fraud. According to these articles he has pleaded the Fifth when asked about the authenticity and provenance of his memorabilia items, and he has admitted to fraud. Here are links to help understand that all is not as it seems by reading his self-promoting website and articles attacking others.This is wild. Check these many links out about Nash, his legal woes, and activities well documented by the legal system and journalists as opposed to the impression given by him in his articles and what he writes about himself on his own website. There is much more to this than meets the eye but you have to read these links to begin to understand:

    Yet ANOTHER lawsuit against Peter Nash, involving allegations of fraud, fake items, using items that don’t belong to him to borrow money, even threats of broken legs, etc:

  2. Kevin July 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm -

    Looks like Henry has posted this comment on several blogs. Someone has an axe to grind.

  3. Douchemcgee July 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm -

    Weird Al was the best concert you ever attended?? Really dude?!? C’mon. What about Tenacious D??

  4. Henry Donor July 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm -

    Not exactly an axe to grind but a genuine fascination with the bigger picture. It really is fascinating.

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