busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Monday, August 28, 2017

    shout out to Funky Cold Mark Medina who is heading to the Warriors 

    One of the funnest parts of overseeing the blogs at the LAT way back in the day was our sports blogs.

    the Lakers Blog was one of the first blogs at the Times and it was already a monster before I ever got there.

    i was able to convince LA’s best Dodger blogger to blog for us, and i was able to do it without costing the paper a lot of money (because we had just gotten rid of some salary elsewhere).

    but when ESPN poached the Kam Bros I was suddenly lost because i never expected them to leave us.

    I tried everything in the book to convince them to stay saying things like, “radio isn’t where intellectuals go, it’s where washed up journalists and jocks go. You are both young, pretty, full of life, do you really want Bill from Downey to tell you that he thinks Kobe should pass the rock all day?”

    it didn’t work, The Sports Leader ganked the brothers and I had a giant hole to fill.

    at first I decided to replace them American Idol style by having 4-5 contenders take over the blog, one applicant per week, and at the end of the trial period we let the readers vote.

    but life is rarely that exciting. so we interviewed this guy from that paper and this other dude from this other paper. they were fine.

    but Mark Medina had something special that i liked: he was young, totally down for Whatever, and somehow it came up that he lived in El Segundo so he could be close to the Lakers and Clippers practice facilities.

    i was all, this is the sort of insane fan/pro that i need to write 3-4 blog posts a day.

    so we hired him and expected the worst because the Kams totally dominated the Lakers blogosphere up until that point.

    and part of their popularity was the fact that they’d get 100s of comments a day. Could Mark mix it up in the comments AND go to practices AND interview the players AND cut videos AND go to all the games AND give me half or 3/4ths the traffic that the Kams did?

    weirdly he Could!

    in a total shocker, many of the readers did not follow the Kams to ESPN, they stayed loyal, for reasons I still don’t know (habit maybe), with the Times.

    people asked, is Mark really that good of a writer? what’s his secret?

    and maybe the secret was the readers saw what I saw: Funky Cold truly loved the game, was earnest, wasn’t full of shit, and was personable.

    and for two years straight his numbers were consistent with the kings, the Kams.

    Mark was so friendly that when Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace) first retired from the Lakers he gave a shout out to Funky Cold.

    Today Mark announced that the San Jose Mercury is hiring him to cover the world champion Warriors.

    Last night he called me to tell me he was going to announce it all today. He thanked me for the help I gave him at the Times.

    But the truth is, he wrote everything, he did 60+ hour work weeks, he studied film, he worked as hard as anyone out there.

    I am Very happy for him. Boring as that team will be to cover, at least he will get to go to a few more postseason games than if he was stuck covering the Lakers.

    Give em hell Mark!

  2. Saturday, May 13, 2017

    80 years ago today Bill Veeck convinced the Cubs to plant ivy 

    my heroes arent the ones with lots of money or good looks or fancy cars.

    they’re idea people. but more, they were convincing enough to get the ideas out there.

    one of my heroes is Bill Veeck. Not Bill Sr, but Jr.

    Senior was a sportswriter in Chicago almost exactly 100 years ago. In his daily column he would often speculate what he would do if he was running the Cubs. Eventually William Wrigley Jr gave him a shot as Vice President to try out some of those ideas in real life and the Cubs won the NL pennant. So Wrigley made Veeck president of the club where he remained for about 15 years until he died.

    Long time readers will remember that I used to write daily blog posts here where I would start off by saying Dear LA Times, you suck…. and I would then give away secrets of how they could improve if only they hired me. Eventually they let me run their blogs and our traffic increased by 2,300% until some genius convinced them that they could do it without me. LOL.

    After Veeck Sr. died, his son sold peanuts in the stands at Wrigley Field. 80 years ago today Bill Veeck Jr. got the ear of the Wrigleys and told them about an idea that wouldn’t cost much money but would add a touch of class and uniqueness to the ballpark. The idea was ivy covering the bricks. Which today still grows at the Friendly Confines.

    Veeck Jr., would go on to own the crosstown White Sox and there he would let his imagination go wild while innovating baseball — and other sports. He introduced the exploding scoreboard that would shoot off fireworks whenever someone from the home team hit a homer, he put the players names on the back of their jerseys to appease people who didn’t want to buy scorecards, he put a showerhead in left field so people could cool off on hot Chicago afternoons. He even set up a barbershop in the bleachers in Center Field so a man could get a haircut while watching the game.

    One of his most overlooked ideas was letting the fans decide if a pitcher should get pulled from the game or if they should put in a pinch hitter.

    But maybe the best idea he ever had was hiring the lovably wild Harry Caray as the White Sox’ broadcaster and letting him do whatever the hell he wanted to do, which soon included singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch.

    When Veeck got old he sold the White Sox, he was often seen back across town in the bleachers of Wrigley cheering on the Cubs at the field he grew up in, in the park that he touched in such a beautiful way. He would be seen with his shirt off, in shorts revealing his wooden leg, sipping on an Old Style, just feet away from the ivy that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for him.

  3. Sunday, April 16, 2017
  4. Monday, July 18, 2016

    dear tony, are you sure you’re not a rock star? 

    tom morello

    let’s see…
    cubs hat: check
    cubs shirt: check
    beautiful cherry wood gibson SG: check
    but i let my axe hang a lot lower than that
    also, the only time i wear a cubs hat and cubs shirt at the same time is at Wrigley Field

    but i do love Tom Morello and Rage and what he wrote in yesterdays LA Times

    is better than anything i ever wrote there times 100

  5. Tuesday, June 14, 2016

    sometimes i dont know any more 

    tony awardsyou do your thing, you walk around. you drive around. you talk to people. the people seem reasonable.

    but then you go on the internet and something changes. everyone loses their minds.

    were their minds always lost? is my mind lost?

    when something happens 1,000 times and every time is sad and every time is horrible, shouldnt it be changed?

    since the massacre at Sandy Hook where 20 little innocent kids were gunned down there have been 998 mass shootings in the USA. the land of the free. my home sweet home.

    of those 998 only three of the mass shootings were at the hands of Muslims.

    and yet the LA Times, my hometown paper, allows Jonah Goldberg to write a column about how its all the Muslims’ fault. and how Obama is weird by not calling it Islama Fascism or whatever Jonah Goldberg wants him to call it. and the Times pays him money for this.

    meanwhile of the 998 mass killings, all have been done by men.

    most of them white men.

    when will Jonah Goldberg whine that Obama doesnt tell the world that what we have here is a White Man With A Gun Problem?

    who will the LA Times pay to write that? you know, something that’s based in actual math and science instead of malarkey gleaned from the Fox News talking points.

    no one will write it there because, it’s not really a White Man With A Gun problem, it’s just a plain old gun problem.

    there are some guns we shouldnt have. and there are ways that we should be selling and registering and keeping an eye on these guns that is the problem.

    duh

    and thats why i feel like sometimes i just dont know. because some very smart people really truly believe in their hearts

    that if we treated guns like how we treat cars, which is to say, in order to get and keep a gun

    you would have to prove you are capable of using one, you have to register it, you have to maintain it, you have to do all the paperwork, etc.

    these smart people really think that it would lead to us taking away

    all

    of the guns.

    they forget or ignore the fact that we haven’t taken away

    all

    of the anything in the usa.

    hand grenades are illegal but there are still a few floating around.cartoon

    a man can’t have a bazooka, but every now and then you find someone with one.

    all we are asking for is a reasonable adjustment to these unreasonable actions occurring to innocent people.

    like i said yesterday, i believe this change will come.

    i believe the tides will change. i believe we will start voting out representatives who care more about money flowing in from the NRA than they do about blood flowing out of innocent victims.

    we will return to being the home of the brave

    and we will let go of some of the machine guns that have ruined the lives of far too many innocent families.

    we are not a stupid scared fucked up terrible ignorant doomed nation of jonah goldbergs

    who like to blame boogeymen and not ourselves.

    this is not a muslim problem or even a white man with a gun problem.

    this is an american problem

    that will be fixed by americans.

    which is why i cant wait to vote.

  6. Monday, May 23, 2016

    why do old people hate beyonce? 

    beyonce formation

    in my weird universe Beyonce is Queen. thats how it is on my social media, in the web sites i read, and the young people i know.

    when i drive if one of her songs comes on, especially the newer ones, everyone will hush up and sing along.

    last week she sold out the 100,000 seat Rose Bowl, by her damn self, to support a record that had just come out a few weeks previous. The average ticket price was about $100 and the good seats were much more.

    before the Rose Bowl concert went off,  she announced a future engagement at the more intimate 50,000 seat Dodger Stadium in September where face value ticket prices on the field range from $500 – $2,000. if you want to sit at the tippy-top of the baseball stadium tickets are a mere $109 before Ticketmaster et all get their cut.

    beyonce poolpeople admire her beauty, singing, dancing, style, lyrics, husband, child, marriage, career, and most importantly the way she handles herself in times of every day real life drama.

    people, other than those who wrote in last week to complain that the LA Times, that is. and what really irked them was the paper put one of their stories about her on the OMG front page.

    Chuck from Huntington Beach said “I love newspapers.  I have been a subscriber of The Times since 1972.  I am not a subscriber of the National Enquirer, but it is beginning to seem that way.  I know all print media are struggling to stay afloat, but come on, guys.  There has to be some actual news you could put on Page 1.”

    Jeff in Eagle Rock wrote, “Does an unusually gushy article about Beyoncé deserve to be on the front page of The Times when another story about her is on Page 1 of Calendar?”

    There was Carole down in San Diego who complained, “Really, Beyoncé is front page news? And we wonder why someone like Donald Trump could be a leading candidate for president. By any chance, have you seen the movie ‘Idiocracy’?”

    And of course Marty in Whittier who asked, “Is it just me or is anyone else getting weary of Beyoncé?”

    if I was the LA Times, I’d write an op-ed defending its coverage and educating it’s whining readership why they, like the ticket buying public of this country and the world, appreciate her.

    beyonce formationperhaps they can get into the fact that it’s rare for a black woman on a solo tour to be able to command such a huge audience that cuts across race, gender, and age. perhaps they can show pictures of attendees of the enormous Rose Bowl audience crying. Maybe it should be written by a choreographer who can explain that while many female stars like Brittany Spears or Rihanna or Taylor Swift pose real nice, Queen Bey is dancing in dozen of numbers in ways we haven’t seen since Tina Turner.

    there’s a reason they keep inviting her back to the Super Bowl. there’s a reason HBO allowed her what amounted to an infomercial last month to air her groundbreaking Lemonade long-form video. there’s a reason she can put her album on the fledgling Tidal and everyone will rush to the streaming service to hear what she has to say.

    it is because for many many many who don’t usually have a voice in papers like the LA Times or even in LA, she is their Streisand, their Elvis, their Beatles. and there is no way in hell that Marty in Whittier would have bitched that the paper gave The King too much ink if he ever sold out the Rose Bowl.

    so he should probably STFU about The Queen getting hers.

    or better yet, perhaps they should OMG listen to what she’s singing about and realize that she’s just not singing to girls, women, black, brown, gay and straight people, she’s singing to and for everyone. and that’s why everyone, pretty much, adore her. including your local rag.

  7. Thursday, February 11, 2016

    eight years ago today we launched the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blog 

    kareemhave i told you im the luckiest man in the world? i am.

    it seems like just yesterday, i had held the position of Blog Editor at the LA Times for just a few months when i got an email from the Sports Editor Randy Harvey who said the NBAs top scorer was interested in blogging for our paper.

    because i was new i assumed that this happened all the time and it was going to happen all the time. but alas it was the one and only true celeb who would blog regularly for us. and despite the hiccups that we had it was a dream come true.

    as a kid i idolized #33. the book about his life was my favorite book in grade school. so to work with him on this project was almost as surreal as being the damn blog editor of my favorite paper.

    my terms were simple, if he really wanted it to be a hit he had to have a real blog post every day. was he up for it? he told me he was. he told me about all the books he’d written and all the interests he had. and sure enough he DID have a lot of interests and he was able to mesh those with the current events of the day and he churned out a fascinating, controversial, edgy blog that was much more than just about sports.

    when Herbie Hancock won a bunch of Grammys, boom there was a recent picture of Kareem (a huge jazz fan) with Herbie. when one of the Manning Brothers was in the Super Bowl, there was a picture of Kareem with both brothers. he wrote about movies, health, politics, race, and yes, even sports.

    my belief about a blogging athlete was changed because of my experience with Kareem. at first i thought it would be difficult because most athletes and musicians have this image that they feel compelled to uphold through LACK of communication to the world. i thought it would be hard for someone to be able to write every day because of their schedule, but even though Kareem’s calendar was packed, he made time for it.

    and best of all he was not afraid to keep it real.

    over the years i spent there we had other athletes who asked to do what Kareem did and i asked them a few questions: can you keep it real, can you write every day, are you gonna be freaked out if and when the commenters turn on you? they all backed down.

    here are a few of the mentions the blog got when it launched.

    rock on, Cap!

  8. Friday, January 15, 2016

    the LA Times asks an interesting question on their front page today 

    la times front pageand of course when you ask one good question it usually leads to more good questions.

    and since their question was about diversity, let’s keep asking questions.

    first off, of all the writers on the front page of the LA Times this morning, how many are not white? how many are not white in that lead story?

    of all the people who edited those stories, as in their bosses, how many are not white?

    is the news editor white? is the person in charge of entertainment white? is the photo editor white? what percentage of the masthead is white?

    and since the examples used in their story really centers about the lack of african-americans, something near and dear to my heart, let’s keep asking questions down that path: how many african-american editors are there at my favorite local paper?

    how many african-american editors-in-chiefs have there been there? how many african-american entertainment editors have there been (digital and/or print?) how many african-american publishers have there been?

    how many african-american blog editors have there been? how did they do?

    are these unfair questions about a paper that serves an incredibly diverse city? do they matter at all in context of this dramatic front page story? about film? (speaking of: how many black film critics has the times employed?)

    the great thing about good questions is there’s never a lack of them. how many black opinion editors has the times hired? how many black sports editors have they had in their 100+ year history? how many black ad sales vps have there been? we could even ask: of the people who run the parking garage – how many at the very top are black? would our guesses be correct with all of these questions?

    trust me, i am thrilled that questions about diversity are asked in 2016, especially when it concerns african americans,

    but at what point am i allowed to say to my bffs in the press: pot, kettle?

    at what point can someone say, doctor heal thyself?

    is it bad form to quote matthew 7:5 which teaches “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”?

    im sure the LA Times, just like Hollywood, knows that progress can often take a long time to achieve

    but some industries,

    and companies,

    and entities,

    are easier to turn around than others.

    the question is, why haven’t those easy ones changed quickly either

    especially after they’ve taken the log out of their own eye?

    those are the questions i can’t wait for them to ask

    and answer.

  9. Thursday, November 19, 2015

    Long Live Henry Fuhrman 

    henry fuhrman

    Any time there are cuts at the Los Angeles Times it makes me sad because I have the deepest respect for the brilliant journalists who work there. But this is devastating to me. Not only is Henry Fuhrmann a perennial finalist in the Nicest Guy in the World competition, but he’s a fantastic and patient teacher. There were a few people whose offices I would regularly camp out in to learn about journalism, our paper, and how to be an effective editor. Henry was one of the best teachers to learn that from. Because Henry is such a mild mannered and gentle man, I was often embarrassed by the topics that I had to consult him about: “Mr. Fuhrman, it appears Congressman Weiner sexted his, um package, to a young lady. I feel like I need to show that image, which is PG, but I’m not sure.” “Henry, what’s your stance on a band called Pussy Riot?” “Henry, Rihanna got beat up yesterday, TMZ is running the photo, is there something that says we can’t run the photo?”

    What I loved about him is first he would research LA Times precedents. If the topic was “can we use this word?” he would find out all the times we ran the word and if it appeared in print, in a headline and/or online. Each instance held a slightly different weight in his judgement. He’d explain that to me in a very calm way. He knew I wasn’t trying to be some crazy person breaking down all the walls and traditions, but I was often pleasantly surprised when we he gave us the green light because it meant it wasn’t a rash decision and I would be supported later if someone cried foul.

    Henry had great stories about baseball, but even better stories about the writers I grew up reading who I never had the chance to work with. Even though I’m very sad that he won’t be at the paper, I really really hope some smart college is sharp enough to have him spread his knowledge and experience with the kids. In a building of very sharp and well-read gentleman, Henry is one of the very best.

    Enjoy your retirement!

  10. Tuesday, May 27, 2014