Friday, May 29, 2009

Joe Barton: the most tone deaf man in politics

The same member of Congress who initiated the dog and pony show hearing to pander to Texas fans upset that they lost out in the BCS is at it again. Now Rep. Joe Barton of Texas is threatening to have the executive director of the Alamo Bowl charged with perjury and contempt of Congress. Derrick Fox, the gentleman in question, testified that bowls provide tens of millions of dollars to charities. Apparently the most recent accurate figure is 3.2 million. Exactly how prosecuting Fox for this supposed perjury would do anything to help the country or even the cause of a playoff system is not clear. The idea that Roger Clemens and the executive director of the Alamo Bowl are the two people most likely to be prosecuted for lying to Congress right now while, say, Alberto Gonzales evidently has nothing to fear speaks volumes about how ridiculous this is.

Billy Gillispie is suing Kentucky, claiming he was fired "without cause" and should get all the money he was scheduled to earn under the terms of his memorandum of understanding with the school. That's hilarious, since the memorandum was supposed to be the prelude to a contract Gillispie refused to sign for his entire two years he worked at the school. As they should have, UK is countersuing. In contract law according to Gillispie, he gets all the protections of a contract without giving the school anything in return. It seems agreeing to a personal conduct code, interacting with boosters and doing PR stuff - things that are standard for any head basketball coach - was a little too much to ask of Billy G. Gillispie's explanation was that he was a coach, and that's all. There's a name for those kind of people: assistant coaches. They make 15-20 times less than a head coach for a reason. If you want the trappings of being a head coach, you have to live up to the responsibilities too.

I was sorry to see the news that Lee Corso recently suffered a stroke. Fortunately indications are it wasn't too severe (I refuse to ever say "mild" about stuff like strokes or heart attacks) and Corso should be recovered by football season. Lee's an unusual guy, but treats people very well. What you see is his own odd persona - all the "not so fast my friend" and "sweetheart" stuff is him, not some guy who decided to start throwing out catchphrases so he could be famous. College Gameday remains a terrific show, despite ESPN's best efforts to find ways to screw it up over the past decade. It would be a shame for Corso not to have been able to continue to be a part of it.

I would not want to try and sing the Star Spangled Banner in public under any circumstances. Even pros acknowledge it's a very difficult song to hit the right notes on, and that's without the added factor of thousands watching you do it. If you do accept the invitation to sing it before a public event, your mission is simple: sing the song. Be respectful and sing it as written as well as you are capable of doing. Do not, as Tyrese Gibson did before Lakers-Nuggets Wednesday night, decide to rewrite the lyrics to say "our Lakers were still there" or "the home of the Indianapolis 500". This is not a hard concept - sing the song, with no shoutouts to anything, or don't sing.

Tongight's Jay Leno's final day as host of the Tonight Show. I almost never tune in, so I watched it for the first time in a while last night. How the hell has this guy been the top rated late night host for years? I've seen Leno in person - he can be very funny as a standup comic. So why is his show so mind-numbingly dull? Reading interviews with him like this one from GQ the past few weeks, I think I understand the problem. David Letterman does the show he wants to do, and assumes the audience can keep up. Unlike when he's performing in person, Jay dumbs everything down to the point where if you have a brain you can say his punchlines with him as he does his monologue. He runs the show like he's running for mayor of Topeka. It's been good business for Leno, but I'm glad he's going away. Unfortunately the odds are that rather than actually challenge people a little bit, he'll do the same thing every night at ten when he debuts this fall.

Sorry we were off the usual routine this week. The trip to Destin was extremely productive, but with so much audio to edit and writing to do for I had to miss yesterday after not having a chance to blog Tuesday either. Things should be back to the five day a week routine now. Have a good weekend, and I'll see you back here Monday.

1 comment:

Erik said...

couldn't agree with you more about Leno. Lettermen's humor reaches a smaller crowd, which is sad to say that our culture likes to laugh only at thinks that they don't have to think about. The Office and 30 Rock are some of the only shows on TV recently that have had good success with counter culture humor. Arrested Development was great, but it got pulled because people "didn't get it".

Never heard about Corso's stroke. I hope he's okay. I know alot of people get annoyed by him, but the dynamic he brings to show and the chemistry of those three is the reason for the success of that show and the reason that ESPN hasn't destroyed it.