I’ve been following a lot more people on Twitter recently, largely to try and get more views in my timeline. That’s increased the noise on my TweetDeck, but I felt like I wasn’t seeing as much stuff as I wanted to while trying to keep my follower count lean.
No, I haven’t been adding more conservative political views or anything like that. Most of the follows have been culture writers, especially people who either work in the comic book industry or cover it, to try and learn as much as I can for The Amusement Park Podcast or my own writing.
Along the way, I’ve noticed a few writers linking to their Muck Rack page, a database for journalists and public relations professionals. (I think it was Meg Downey, writing for DC Universe, who first got my attention.)
This reminded me that I created a Muck Rack page for myself a couple years ago. I had actually forgotten! I’m even a verified journalist there! My avatar was a photo of baseball player Munenori Kawasaki wearing a Cubs cap, which means I posted it in 2016. So I figured it was time to wipe off the cobwebs and update that thing.
Here’s an exciting, long overdue development to share: The local sports talk radio station in Asheville, WISE Sports Radio, is now streaming online! That means anyone interested in hearing my weekly segments on The WISE Guys show can now listen in throughout the country.
I’ve appeared on the show to talk baseball (and movies) for nearly five years now, for which I’m grateful to Pat Ryan and his former co-host Bill McClement. But it’s been disappointing that friends and colleagues (or prospective employers) haven’t been able to hear the stuff I do on local radio, so I’m glad that’s now going to change.
The WISE Guys is on Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. I appear on the show Tuesdays and Thursdays to talk baseball at 4:25, and Wednesdays at 3:40 with a movie review.
You can listen to the live stream (which also includes Fox Sports Radio programming throughout the day) by clicking on the image below:
Hope you can tune in! Don’t hesitate to provide feedback. And if you need someone for some baseball (or sports media and pop culture) talk on your radio show or podcast, contact me at iancass [at] gmail [dot] com.
I don’t write about baseball as much as I once did, and that means I don’t talk about it on radio or podcasts as much either. So I was grateful when Jim Irizarry invited me on his new podcast, Jim On Things, to talk about the upcoming MLB season and baseball’s woefully slow offseason.
You can listen to the show below, at the Jim On Things website, or through just about every podcast provider available, including Anchor FM, which I’m eager to learn about from Jim. We recorded the show via Zencastr, which provided some excellent sound (maybe too good, when you hear me loudly draw in a breath frequently).
Next time, maybe we’ll get into some of MLB’s proposed rules changes. And of course, we’ll have actual baseball to talk about in a couple of months. Or I’ll try to add to whatever stress Jim is experiencing about his upcoming wedding.
It was always great fun with Jim and Craig Williams (who I knew from one of his previous radio gigs) on their Maximus and the Bartender podcast talking baseball and pop culture. I could talk to those guys for nearly an hour and it felt like 10 minutes. I was bummed out when they had to shutter the show, but I certainly understand when life takes precedence over fun and hobbies, and they had to move on. I’m glad to hear Jim get back in the ring, though.
As someone who’s tried his hand at podcasting and may want to expand what I’m doing there, I’ll be following Jim to see what he does with his new show — not just in terms of content, but distribution. It gets easier each day to find a podcast and listen to it on whatever device you choose. Jim’s not trying to fit in a niche; he just wants to talk about whatever is on his mind and tell stories from his life. I’m intrigued by that.
We usually save something inspirational for the end of these (not a) newsletters. But Steven Soderbergh has been doing quite a bit of press for the release of his new film, High Flying Bird, on Netflix. (I hope to post a review this coming week.) And in one interview, he responded to his 2001 Academy Award acceptance speech being used by Oscar telecast producers as an example for the ideal acknowledgement for winners.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the speech Soderbergh gave upon winning the Academy Award for Best Director. (Traffic was the film that earned him the honor.)
Succinct and to the point. It’s definitely a good example for other Oscar winners to follow. Here’s the key passage, the one which really spoke to me and so many others:
“I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music — anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think this world would be unlivable without art, and I thank you.”
This week’s cover photo alludes to Bohemian Rhapsody‘s surprising Golden Globe Awards win for Best Picture – Drama. The voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thought the Queen biopic was better than Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk. (I haven’t seen Beale Street yet, but hope to take care of that this weekend, now that it’s opened in Asheville.)
Obviously, this is all subjective and awards don’t matter that much, but come on. Bohemian Rhapsody was fun and a testament to the greatness of Queen’s music. But the narrative was a mess and the script played with the facts more than necessary. Yes, the re-enactment of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance was tremendous, even more so when you compare it to the real-life footage.
This isn’t even a concession to popular tastes. If so, wouldn’t Black Panther have won that award? Maybe the voters just got caught up in the music and Freddie Mercury’s story (regardless of how the movie portrayed it). Or we just chalk this up to being the Golden Globes and winners don’t linger in the memory as they do with the Academy Awards.
But if the award got you to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “We Will Rock You” or “Radio Ga Ga” over the past week, that’s not a bad thing.
Last Sunday was WrestleMania, which served to remind me that my revived interest in pro wrestling has fizzled out. It’s probably part of a general malaise during which I haven’t been watching much on TV other than news (and punditry), but yeah, this foray back to a childhood love lasted about nine months.
However, HBO’s Andre the Giant documentary brought back plenty of memories of my wrestling fandom, and how fascinating it was not just to follow WWF, but the other wrestling companies and territories throughout the country like the NWA, AWA, Mid-South and so forth. I remember spending Saturday mornings at the old Community Newscenter in Ann Arbor poring through wrestling magazines and spending my paperboy paycheck on too many of them.
The film also reminded me how special it was to be in the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III, which I wrote about last year on the event’s 30th anniversary. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant was definitely the event of the day (though not the match I was most excited about), and as the documentary explains, gave WWF a huge cultural push. To hear how much pain Andre was in during that match and how the ending hadn’t been determined until the two performers were in the ring was surprising and sobering.
All right, here’s what we have to show for the past week. Not a lot of writing out of me, unfortunately. Just that kind of week.
The week’s reading
** Brian Michael Bendis’s DC Comics debut hits comic book shops this coming week with Action Comics #1000. I’m not sure if it was in an article or on his old Jinxworld message board, but I recall Bendis once saying Superman was a character he couldn’t get his head around. Or a character that didn’t work in modern times. Something like that. But he’ll be writing the Man of Steel’s adventures after helping to define the Marvel Universe for nearly the past 20 years. And I’ll be buying. [New York Times]
** The “new” Comiskey Park — now Guaranteed Rate Field — was the first of the new ballparks throughout Major League Baseball. But it could have been so much better, as Dayn Perry explains in this outstanding feature. (And you’ll learn something about ballpark architecture too.) [CBS Sports]