The Podcast of Awesomeness Vol. 2, No. 6

Caveman lawyer We all contemplate a career change… a life’s change if you will. For most of us, the path wasn’t really chosen for us as much as there was only one thing we could do. It’s a calling, like being a priest or a prospector.

But our pal Lee Russakoff, the editor and columnist for the good people at Comcast.net, has made the big leap between two divergent occupations. Once a lawyer in a big firm, Lee jumped to writing about sports… on the Internet, no less.

So with a background as varied as his, it stands to reason that Lee would be the wisest (or dumbest) guy in the room for the latest edition of The Podcast of Awesomeness. Of course that’s always a toss up whenever Sarah Baicker and her advanced degree enter the room, so take it for what it’s worth.

Better yet, give a listen:

 

 

Podcast 2.6

 

 

Lots going on around these parts with the surging 76ers and Flyers in action and the Phillies’ training camp just opened in Clearwater, Fla. We talk about all these things and the prospect that Charlie Manuel’s contract issue could be a problem for the Phillies.

The Podcast of Awesomeness Vol. 2, No. 5

Johnny Michael Jordan has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated 56 times. That easily outdistances Muhammad Ali with 38 covers and Tiger Woods with 30. Oh yes, they keep track of those types of things.

They also keep track of the most times people have subbed in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. According to the stats, Joey Bishop was on 117 times, with Joan Rivers second with 93 appearances.

There's cachet to appearing on that many covers or filling in for Johnny all those times. It means something because things like Sports Illustrated and the old Tonight Show mean something. Maybe not so much any more because everyone has a publication and/or a show these days, but that's fine. After all, you have to be pretty good at what you do to be asked back to some place more than once.

Here at this little media empire, we had our second multiple-appearance guest drop in on the show. Indeed, the great Quizzo emcee, Johnny Goodtimes, made his second appearance on The Podcast of Awesomeness today.

Go ahead and take a listen:

 

PODCAST 2.5

 

Johnny's two appearances are second-most behind the three appearances by Chris Wilson, the mellifulous beat keeper for the punk/rock outfit, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. Sure, that's not a big deal now, but someday, folks… someday.

Regardless, it's a good thing Johnny showed up when he did because Quizzo Bowl 7 is quickly approaching. Oh yes, Quizzo Bowl 7 is slated for Feb. 19 at World Cafe Live so get your smart friends together and see if you can hang with the greats of Quizzo.

The Podcast of Awesomeness Vol. 2, No. 4

Oswalt_card The term overrated is used a lot in our business. Frankly, it's a little overrated. Actually, the better theory is its misuse. Sometimes things aren't overrated, but are over-exposed, while things that are underrated are just not known as well.

Before you say, "Duh…" try this out:

Things that are overrated had to be rated pretty highly at some point. That means they were probably pretty good, if not excellent. So as Chuck Klosterman wrote:

It's very easy to be underrated, because all you need to do is nothing. Everyone wants to be underrated. It's harder to become overrated, because that means someone has to think you were awesome before they thought you sucked. Nobody wants to be overrated, except for people who like to live in big houses.

 So in the latest edition of the show we welcome on the very underrated Marshall Harris, who will someday be overrated. We also name different provincial things that are over/underrated.

Take a listen:

PODCAST 2.4

 

Roy Oswalt, Andre Iguodala, sweet tea, cheesesteaks and toasted ravioli get lumped into the proper category, while the upcoming season for Jimmy Rollins, a visitor to the CSN studios on Tuesday, is discussed. 

photo from The Phillies Room

The Podcast of Awesomeness Vol. 2, No. 3

Pujols_lidge When Joe Frazier knocked down Muhammad Ali for the very first time of his career in the first of their three fights, Ali did not allow it to devastate him. Instead, he popped back up off the canvass before the referee could reach the count of four.

Similarly, whenever Brad Lidge blows a save in the ninth inning of a game he does not hang his head in shame when he leaves the mound. Stoically and purposefully, Lidge heads to the clubhouse with his head up and his eyes straight ahead.

After all, to paraphrase a line from Goodfellas, everyone takes a beating every once in a while.

Look at Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty for hells’ sakes. Two of the most admired actors in the history of the cinema are responsible for one of the greatest flops in Hollywood history.

Oh yes, The Podcast of Awesomeness had its Ishtar moment. The only difference is we did not take a net loss of $76 million.

 

PODCAST 2.3

 

It was as if John Gonzalez and Todd Zolecki were being trotted out for a perp walk when they exited the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday afternoon. The crime, of course, was lending a hand in steering a burning plane of a podcast into the lake.

Nope, not even an appearance by Dan Baker could save this one.

Still, like Ali, Lidge, Hoffman and Beatty, we’ll be back. Maybe we’ll be a little gun shy when we climb back in there, but in the meantime we had two heavyweights in our tiny studio and we scared them away forever.

It was like we had the cast of Ocean’s 11 and delivered Ocean’s 12.

Sigh.

Anyway, if anyone has two Super Bowl tickets they can’t use, contact Mr. Zolecki. He’ll gladly take them off your hands.

The Podcast of Awesomeness: Vol. 2, No. 2

Guitar So we keep at this podcast thing. We keep at it even when it seems as if we’re screaming WOLF!  in an empty theater. After all, if the wolf can get into a theater in the first place, chances are it did so to be alone. It won’t matter how loud you scream or how many capital letters with exclamation points you use to get through that wolf’s thick head.

In other words, we made a show without Sarah today. Remember her? The quiet and retiring type? Such a dear that Sarah, it’s amazing that a young lady as mousy and shy as her agrees to be on a podcast in the first place.

But we sent her out to see a dentist today and so Dan Roche, DJ B-Seid and me stripped it down a touch. Y’know, we went acoustic or “unplugged” as the rock-n-roll types say.

Remember that whole unplugged thing? Back when the M in MTV used to stand for Music, the popular cable channel used to do this thing where well-known pop stars showed up and instead of playing songs with electric guitars and wired microphones, they did it “unplugged.” That meant they subbed in wooden guitars, emptied moonshine jugs and megaphones. 

Needless to say it was a giant hit.

 

PODCAST 2.2

And like any landmark event in television history, MTV took the unplugged phenomenon and beat it like a bad habit. In fact, it got to the point where those acoustic guitars sounded just like fingernails on a chalkboard—and not one of those new-fangled dry erase boards, either. This is an old-timey chalkboard with chalk and the fingernails. They have them in museums… go check it out.

Anyway, our little group remains undaunted. Even when interlopers burst into our little room to change clothes or use the complimentary hair spray, we forge on… and so should you.

THE PODCAST OF AWESOMENESS: VOL. 2, NO. 1

image from fingerfood.typepad.com There are some jokes that are timeless. For instance, the old vaudeville bit called The Aristocrats has withstood the test of time through the generations in certain circles.

Don’t go telling that joke at the dinner table when your grandmother is around.

Of course there are other bits of humor that we latch onto as kids and never let go. Heirlooms, of sorts, that becomes flash points in a family history. You know, like the very first time you went to your oldest son and said, “Pull my finger.”

It never gets old.

Reliving the times when funny stories were told never gets old, either. That’s especially true of the tales that involve hand buzzers, bubble wrap or whoopee cushions. In this instance it isn’t just family or friendly banter that these things are relegated to. Oh no, not at all. In fact, Roman Emperor Elagabalus was known to trot out the whoopee cushion at dinner parties when he took over in the year 218. Sure, Elagabalus was only 18 when he was assassinated in the year 222, but a precedent was set.

Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is filled with fart jokes. There was hardly a moment when the Squire, Merchant or Parson was making a crack with a face Rodney Dangerfield made famous attached to it. Better yet, master comic Mark Twain was not averse to going to the ol' breaking-wind route.

So in our first episode of the new year after a long hiatus, we discuss the etymology of the scent gag. Here, take a listen:

 

010411 PODCAST V2_1

 

Of course we break down the matchup between the Packers and Eagles in the NFL Playoffs, discuss the possibility of the Winter Classic in Philly, and wonder if the governor of the commonwealth has lined up when his political career is over.

Maybe he become a gag-pulling talking head on the chat shows… 

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 17

Chtistina-hendricks Sometimes the best laid plans aren't planned at all.

At least that's what we'll tell ourselves about this episode of The Podcast of Awesomeness. I was anticipating a show toward the end of the week, but Sarah Baicker strutted over to where I was sitting in the office at CSN and said, "Let's do a podcast."

It sounded like a good idea until our intern, Cori Egan, said, "Pleeeeeeeeease."

Then it sounded like trouble. Almost sinister. When Dennis Deitch responded to a text that he was hopping on his bike and would peddle down to the Wells Fargo Center (or whatever its called), it looked like it was on.

And here it is:

No. 17

 

With no agenda or planning, we came up with what you hear on this MP3 file. Better yet, we had Tom Finer back on the wheels of steel like in the old days, which was fun. 

So here we chatter about baseball, the Eagles, advanced metrics, the Flyers pre-season camp for and rookies, interns with a death wish, and old episodes of Diff'rent Strokes.

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 16

Nyjer morgan So we’re headed for the stretch run. This is the time of year that could make or break a season. No, the games don’t count any more than they did in April, but they mean more. They carry more weight. They’re heavier.

This is the time of year where legends are made, or, even more heroically, it’s the time legends define their legacies. And yes, the past sentence was written in the John Facenda-voice font. 

Nevertheless, we have much admiration for the guy who refuses to simply play out the string. That’s where the Nationals’ Nyjer Morgan comes in, because even though his team is a good 21 games out of first place and headed for their fifth last-place finish in the last six seasons, Morgan has not given in.
It’s like Updike once wrote about Ted Williams:

“For me, Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.”

For a couple of nights that was Nyjer Morgan of the lowly Washington Nationals. Not only was he running over catchers and swiping bases with his team down by a dozen runs, but when the Marlins tried to drill him a second time for perceived insults, well, that was too much for the man to bear.

And so he started a brawl.

We want to be known as the audio show that barrels over a catcher in a late-season game when there is nothing at stake aside from the final score. Maybe we did that this time:

 

AWESOME 16

 

Was this the “tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and thing done ill?”

Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, we’re giving you, the listener, you’re moneys’ worth…

Wait… it’s free. OK, never mind. 

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 15

Sun There are energizing powers in the sunshine. Whether it’s the vitamin D or simply the warmth, the fact remains that sunshine makes us feel good. Hell, John Denver made a career on just this very fact.

So it’s only logical that when the clouds prevail and the sun is hidden away, those recuperative energies dwindle. Sometimes we drag and it takes everything we have just to carry our sorry asses to where we need to be. Without the sun it’s often as if we spent the last 12 hours sleeping only to wake up and want to go right back to bed.

That was the way we felt this morning when we all stumbled in to the office to record the 15th episode of the Podcast. If there were greenies or coffee available we would have ingested them with the multi-vitamin we all take in the morning, but since we work with an operating budget of $0, we have to pick up each other. Our energy source is Sarah or Boonie or me (or whomever), so when one of us is drained, we all suffer.

We’re a team and no part is greater than the sum.

So here’s our 39-minute effort for a cloudy, chilly and dour Tuesday morning:

 

PODCAST OF AWESOMENESS 15

We have plenty of Pat Burrell chatter along with the abstract notion of the base line. We even go on about Donovan McNabb a bit, too, but then we all get sleepy and want to do something else.

Zzzzzzzzzz…

 

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 14

Buckwheat Remember when Eddie Murphy did Buckwheat on Saturday Night Live, or when Mike Myers and Dana Carvey did Wayne and Garth? Or that one song on the radio that gets you flying down the highway and the mojo working like a caffeine injection? You loved it, right?

That is to say, you loved it until you didn’t.

The slippery slope when a team has a knockout, runaway hit of a character is going back to it too much. Yes, people loved seeing Buckwheat or hearing that song until they got too much of it. It got played out. Overexposed might be a better word.

Certainly Lorne Michaels and the gang at SNL know what happens when they lay it on too thick, and yes, his remedy seems to be to go make a movie with those characters. Did you think the “Night at the Roxbury” boys were charming? Yeah, well, wait around and catch the movie sometime on cable.

It’s doubtful we will be making a movie starring Dan Roche as the renowned Philadelphia public address artiste, Dan Baker. But we could. The bit is that good. Listeners to our podcast—yes, all of them—have written in asking for more Dan Roche doing the Dan Baker impression. See, our listeners are old-school like that… they write in.

We climbed on that slippery slope anyway and Dan trotted out his gift for mimicry. Here, take a listen:

 

AWESOME 14


Here comes the part you don’t want to read… don’t expect Dan doing Dan every time out. That’s the best thing we have so we don’t want to kill it before we have to. See, we’re thinking long term here at The Podcast of Awesomeness and in the meantime, the boys back in R&D are busy coming up with new ideas that we can beat up until they crumble apart like a piñata.

And then we can all dive on top of the sweet, nutritious candy.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 13

Bad_santa There’s a line in the film Bad Santa where Billy Bob Thornton tells the kid disappointed by the fact that his mutilated Advent calendar garnered him just one lousy candy corn a phrase that I like to carry around with me in all facets of life.

The line:

"They all can’t be winners, can they?"

It’s so true. Despite the best intentions of the artist, the hours put into the project and the talent therein, sometimes there are clunkers. Hey, it happens. After all, sometimes even Michael Jordan had a bad game.

After the avant jazz that Dennis Deitch and yours truly put on to the Internets last week in the show billed as Episode 12.5, you can almost expect a bit of a letdown. It’s common—human nature even—for something like that to happen. It’s not on purpose, mind you, it just is.

Oh sure, we came out gunning with the full roster plus Sarah Baicker’s friend, Pat Gallen, but as our friend Dan Roche pointed out early in the Episode No. 13, it was a lot like Clyde Frazier and Pearl Monroe working with the Knicks back in the early ‘70s.

No, we’re not sure which one of us is Clyde and which is Pearl… but listen in anyway:

AWESOME 13

Still, it was nice to have the whole gang back together again. A few of the old favorites from episodes past turned up as well as a rundown of all the great laundromats across the U.S. for all of those out there looking for clean clothes.

So we’ll be back with the crew next week, too. Hopefully we’re back to be-bopping and scatting as usual as long as Dave DeBusschere doesn’t take away any shots from Clyde and Pearl.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 12.5

Page_plant We all have our issues. You could be the most laidback, placid dude on earth and there is sure to be something to make you act as if you have a bee in your bonnet. It’s only natural—human nature or whatever.

This morning our man Dennis Deitch and yours truly showed up at the Wachovia Center with engineer extraordinaire, Ben Seidman, with a hive in our headdresses. We were angry about things we could not control and, ultimately, were inconsequential. Hey, the Phillies stink. We have eyes and can see what’s going on this ballclub and it’s sickening. What makes that especially so is that it never had to be like this.

Want to hear two old ballscribes in full rant? OK, here it is anyway:

AWESOME PODCAST 12.5

We’re calling this 12.5 because it’s a scaled down crew. It’s kind of like when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page went out on the road without John Paul Jones a few years ago, but rather than do some self-indulgent blues numbers with ridiculous solos, we stick with the rock. I’m not sure who the Plant or Page is in this scenario, but we didn’t slow it down with some self-absorbed noodling or extended, blues’d up “Stairway” thing.

Nope. Not at all.

We went after it from the jump. Nobody gets a chance to come up for air. Deitch came gunning at the first riff and I stepped on the gas when given the chance. In fact, rather than just 60 minutes of our regular The Podcast of Awesomeness fare, we bring you 90 minutes of The Podcast of Angryness.

Come get some.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 12

Douglas_macarthur Every once in a while things get away from us. Just when it seems as if there’s a solid rhythm and everyone is locked in and on the same page, it all goes to hell.

That’s what happened with the Podcast of Awesomeness for the past two months. Just when we were cooking along and kicking some butts, everything gets thrown into the wind. First, the Flyers got into the Stanley Cup Finals and that led to another thing and the next thing we know we’re all scattered and doing our own thing.

But like General Douglas MacArthur knew oh so well, the Internet is littered with podcasts that just faded away. Either someone got bored or the entire enterprise got stale or whatever. Obviously, we knew all of this going into it. The cautionary tales were easy to discern.

So after two months of doing nothing, we forged on. Rather than surrender to the whims of society and popular culture, troops were rallied, schedules made and trains were boarded.

As a result, we got the job done.

No, this isn’t the greatest podcast ever, but it’s not the worst one, either. If you’re going for a long drive and want something to keep you company, just download this thing and get to driving. We don’t care where you’re taking us, let’s just go.

AWESOME 12

Just like the completion of every other episode of this enterprise, we feel invigorated. We’re ready to get after it again, if not immediately then at least a week later. Hey, we have the technology and because you’re still reading this, so do you. So, for all the good stuff on the Phillies, Michael Vick, Purple Drank and the World Cup, this is the one-stop web site.

Thank you for bearing with us.

We’re back.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 11

Flyers_Fans Everyone loves going to a ballgame every once in a while. In fact, I can remember times when we went to games and we screamed so loud and rooted so vociferously that we were convinced we had an effect on the outcome of the game. It wasn’t true, but that’s what we believed.

Only once did we get a reaction from a player, which came whilst sitting in the left-field bleachers at Memorial Stadium and yelling non-stop at Rickey Henderson. Oh, make no mistake about it… Rickey Henderson not only is one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but also one of the most entertaining. In his prime he was like the most fearsome cleanup hitter only he batted at the top of the order.

Rickey did it all. He changed the game the way he swiped bases and he could jerk one out of the park, too, if a pitcher went to sleep on him.

But where Rickey really scored points with my friends and I was when he turned around and flipped us the bird at Memorial Stadium. We loved it and we loved Rickey for it.

Now Dan Roche, our esteemed colleague at the Podcast of Awesomeness, has taken the art of going to a game and rooting for the home team to a higher level. Actually, Dan claims to be one of the best hecklers on the Eastern Seaboard, which is a statement he backs up with some compelling stories.

Here, take a listen:

AWESOME 11

There’s a story—a legend, actually—out there that Dan not only heckled Marlins lefty reliever Vic Darensbourg into coughing up a game against the Phillies. So rattled by Dan’s calls was the pitcher that the Phillies actually won the game.

But better than that, Dan also was able to send out messages around the Delaware Valley with his exuberance. So yeah, we’re pleased to be on Dan’s good side…

At least we hope we’re on his good side.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 10

Howard Truth be told, we don’t have much to be angry about here at The Podcast of Awesomeness. No one is living out on the streets and we’re all in reasonably decent health. Sure, there might a few mental issues here or there, but for the most part life is good.

That doesn’t mean we don’t engage in our share of dramas or controversies. Sometimes we even stick our snouts into places they don’t belong and then yelp when they get snapped. Chalk that up to human nature… or just plain busybody-ness.

With that in mind the gang was unified in the simmering anger over numerical order. Yep, those tricky numbers—or statistics as they sometimes like to be called—got our rugs in a bunch. It’s not that we don’t appreciate representative digits and all they do for us, it’s just that sometimes they ruin all the fun.

For instance, when it pertains to Ryan Howard and his statistical body of work and how it relates to his contract extension, well, we just have no patience. The thing of it is there is so much the numbers do not reveal about Howard, which is something else considering he has already posted several of the most statistically awesome seasons in Phillies history.

Look, we all appreciate “advanced metrics” and what they explain about baseball. We get it. The numbers actually paint some sort of a portrait. However, if it comes down to the numbers over the nuance of the game and the sheer beauty of watching the drama and stories unfold, the numbers can go pound sand.

Yeah, that’s right.

Anyway, listen to the gang as we react to the reaction about the Howard deal and discuss hockey player, Ian Laperriere. Check it out:

AWESOME NO. 10

Oh yeah, it should be mentioned that this little dog-and-pony show will evolve into a videocast. And you know what? We’re going all out with it, too. We’re talking a live band, solid production values and a desk from Ikea.

Nope, we can’t wait either.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 9

Philly-postcard It’s time for the playoffs, which means we have to be
ready to move at a moment’s notice. Oh sure, the league office sets up a schedule
so we know where we have to go and when, but in the playoffs nothing is a
given. Just because something is on the schedule it doesn’t mean it’s going to
be played.

For instance, a bunch of us spent the last two autumns
unsure of which city we would be in the next day. It could have been
Philadelphia, Tampa, Los Angeles or somewhere else. Fortunately, the Phillies
cooperated with us and ended the playoff rounds in a timely manner. Better yet,
thanks to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth, we even got to spend an extra day in
Los Angeles and the sunshine instead of cold and snowy Denver.

We took the act on the road on Tuesday for Episode No. 9
of the Podcast of Awesomeness like we were a rock band on tour. So who better
to have in for the show on the road than a guy who tallies more miles and hits
more cities in more countries than anyone we know…

Oh yes, we had Chris
Wilson
back.

Chris and his band mates just finished a tour of the
United States in which they hit 25 cities in 30 days. In one stretch they went
from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia then back to D.C. all in the name of
rockin’. In addition to all those shows, the band appeared on Jimmy
Fallon’s show
, did a bit for The Onion’s A.V.
Club in Chicago
, jumped in on a number of radio shows all while traveling
in a sprinter van.

And get this, starting on May 4, Chris and the gang hits
six countries for 12 dates in 20 days before tearing through Canada and New
England.

Think of all that laundry.

Anyway, if you’re planning on taking some trips this
summer, check the band’s schedule
and see if you cross paths. Better yet, here about some of the first part of
the tour—as well as about the Flyers’ playoffs run—here:

 

PODCAST AWESOME

 

A few of us writing folks have a few to hit the road,
too. In fact, Sarah Baicker and I will go to Newark, N.J. this Thursday to check
out Game 5 of the Flyers-Devils series. Game 6, if needed, will be back here on
Sunday.

Game 7… we’ll worry about that if it’s necessary.

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 8

Jimi One of the themes that is repeated often on this site is
the notion that some folks should not have to follow others. For instance,
during one tour in the 1960s, The Monkees hired Jimi Hendrix to open for them
and, famously, Jimi refused to open for The Who at Monterrey.

Needless to say, fans of The Monkees hated Jimi. Obviously, they weren’t ready for that yet.

Here at The Podcast of Awesomeness, we actually learn
from history. We know we better than to go on after Hendrix, especially when we
know he’s going to set his guitar on fire and smash it into a Marshall stack.

In this scenario my old friend Beth Shuba is our Jimi
Hendrix. We knew we didn’t have the chops to follow her sordid tale about
soccer and the female anatomy so we simply went underground for a week. We
couldn’t top it, so we just let it go…

Actually, that’s not true. Donovan McNabb got traded and
a one-day trip to Washington ended up lasting nearly a week. Moreover, while in
D.C. I ran into frequent PoA guest, Chris Wilson, who was there on the tail end
of the first leg of the Brutalist Bricks
tour with his band Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. The plan to record the show
back in Philadelphia at noon was postponed when Chris and I went searching for
an all night bingo parlor.

Luck was not on our side since we didn’t get to play bingo, but at least we found a place to help us stay hydrated.

Nevertheless, a week on the shelf still hasn’t been
enough to erase Beth’s harrowing tale from our memory banks. It’s still burned
in there and likely will be for the rest of our lives. Beth is like a rash in
that sense.

We forged ahead anyway and acquitted ourselves reasonably
well. At least that’s the way it sounded in the moment as we recorded the show.
Why don’t you listen for yourself?

Download Awesome No. 8


We must mention that the eighth episode was the very last
one we recorded in the office/studio on the penthouse level in the Wachovia
Center of the lonely floor we called home for the past couple of years. It
seems as if our little space has been earmarked for better use, so we’re
homeless.

In other words, if someone has a space we can use for an
hour or so in order to record our little dog-and-pony show, send a shout. We’ll
be right over.

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 7

Uta Pippig I like competitive running because there are no façades.
The phrase, “This may hurt a little,” belongs exclusively to the circle of
freaks who enjoy running marathons.
In that sense it’s the ultimate “rub some dirt” on it sport and that often can
be taken literally.

The fact is distance running is one of those things where
if a participant has to take a rest stop, all normal societal norms and customs
are abandoned. Have to go… then just go. No one is judging you.

The first time I ran the Boston Marathon was back in
1996, which was the 100th anniversary of the great race. Needless to
say the Boston Marathon is one of those sporting events that gets a little bit
of attention. Make it the 100th running of the race and there will
be a few extra thousand set of eyes on the jaunt from the hamlet Hopkinton to
Boston’s Back Bay. Toss in the fact that the race had the largest number of
folks competing in a marathon (at that point in history), and the newsworthiness
of it increases even more.

I remember that April day in 1996 as a sun-soaked but
temperate one with gentle sea breezes blowing in our faces as we made our way
to Boston. Couple all of this with the fact that the course starts with a
pretty steep downhill portion and it made it easy to start out way too quickly.
You know what they say about something being a marathon and not a sprint? Well,
that’s especially true in marathons. You kind of need to pace yourself a bit.

Anyway, not far from my vantage point during the early
portion of the race were the top women runners. Tegla Loroupe, a future word-record
holder in the distance, was up there in the lead. So too was arguably the best
women’s runner in the world in Uta Pippig. The problem was that by the halfway
point Tegla was putting some distance between her and Uta to the point where it
appeared as if it was going to end up as a cakewalk. Uta was fading badly and
no one really knew why.

But oh boy oh boy did they ever find out. By overcoming a
seemingly insurmountable 30-second deficit with a few miles to go, we learned
very quickly what the problem was for Uta Pippig that sunny April day. It
seemed as if it was Uta’s day in more ways than one.

Here, let this account of the race from Lorie Conway
paint the picture:

On April 15 of this
year, during the running of the 100th Marathon,
Uta Pippig, the first woman to cross the finish line, had menstrual
blood and diarrhea running down her legs.

While the crowd
gathered in Copley Square roared their support, male commentators on radio and
TV were, uncharacteristically, tongue-tied. Ironically, the only person to
graphically describe what was happening on live TV was commentator Katherine
Switzer. "Look, there's been a history of diarrhea in marathons, for any
world class competitor knows it happens," Switzer said. "You just
don't worry about it. You've got a race to run." There was no mention of
bleeding. It was "diarrhea" that surprised people and that announcers
picked up on. …

I have to say that Uta showed an incredible amount of
toughness that day that superseded her ability to win the Boston Marathon for
the third year in a row. Certainly it was a toughness that I would never
understand, even though just two years later on another sunny day in
Washington, D.C., I could be found retching on the 14th Street
Bridge more than 22 miles into the Marine Corps Marathon. It wasn’t the bile
and Clif Bar remnants that had me down that day—it was the fact that it took me
just 1:55 to run the first 21 miles of that race and 1:02 to run the last five.

Things like what happened to Uta Pippig don’t really
happen in too many other sports. At least they don’t happen in a setting that
other people find out about it. However, that wasn’t the case with my friend Elizabeth Haralam Shuba. Actually, people would not have heard about it if she hadn’t
written about it, which is what she did. Hey, Beth has something to say, and needs to put her feelings into words. I dig that and can relate a bit.

See, I’ve known Beth ever since my family moved to
Lancaster in 1981. She lived on Marietta Avenue and I lived on Woods. From
James Buchanan Elementary, to Wheatland Junior High and on to McCaskey High, we
were in the same vicinity for all those years. In fact, her dad was our family’s
dentist (and a great dentist at that). So I had the knowledge that Beth could
tell a story or two. She has that gift.

She also has no façades, which is something we all love
about her. Check
out this story she wrote for her site, “The Joy of Being a Monkey Wrench.”

After you’ve read it, listen here:

 

Podcast No. 7

 

Look, Beth is no Uta Pippig dashing over Heartbreak Hill
looking like she’d taken on sniper fire to win the Boston Marathon. But there
is something to be said for an athlete who preserves and fights through injury,
nature or biology. That’s especially the case in soccer, where the Seattle club
in the MLS looked as if they were being beaten by an angry mob during last week's debut for the Philadelphia Union. Those Seattle guys were rolling around on the grass and crying for the stretcher if a Philly guy even looked at them cross-eyed. It made me ashamed to be a man.

No one wants to see that kind of behavior. If there is
going to be blood, at least it should be earned. That's what Uta and Beth have taught us.

Also on the seventh episode of the show, we talk about baseball with Curt Gill of the great podcast, Atlanta Baseball Talk. Curt breaks down the upcoming season for the Phillies' top competition in the NL East for us and explains why Atlantans might not be the most rabid of sports fans.

He also says to expect the Braves in the playoffs this year. The Braves and Phillies… together again.

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 6

Super-intern-buzzparadise Remember how it was when you were a kid just trying to get that first job or internship? Filled with cock-eyed optimism and enough enthusiasm to provide power to an entire city if properly harnessed, these youngsters keep us old dudes on our toes.

See, I remember being young and how difficult it was to wedge out even the tiniest bit of space for myself in the hard-scrabble world of pro writin’. Back then kids like me were to be seen and not heard. We were told that any idea we had was a bad one or required too many resources and/or money or, simply, there were dues to be paid and I didn’t have enough capital yet.

Now that I’m older and been around the block once or twice, I’ve been able to reflect on how things were at the beginning of this bumpy ride of writing sentences for a living. You know what? The old dudes were wrong. The old dudes are always wrong.

Youthful exuberance is infectious. Sure, the kids coming up these days need guidance and some nurturing, but the best thing for a workplace caught in a Groundhog’s Day spin of banging its heads against the wall is to feed off that energy. Bring in the kids and try to see things the way they see things for a change. While you’re at it, mix your old ideas up with some new ideas. Not only does it keep a guy young, it makes everything feel and look better.

There’s nothing wrong with calling the kids up from the minors and letting them push the veterans a little bit. It’s good for everyone and, frankly, it may be one of the reasons why my former medium of choice has been in the dumps for the past decade. Progress and technology are supposed to make your product better… if you allow it.

Anyway, we had a kid named Christian in the office today for an interview. Fresh faced and with nothing but high hopes and big dreams sparkling from his eye, we thought it would be a neat thing to bring Christian into the room where we recorded The Podcast of Awesomeness and put him on the spot. You know, see how the kid could handle a little pressure from a bunch of old dudes who subscribe to the theory that youth is not wasted on the young, but wasted away by old curmudgeons.

Sarah Baicker led Christian right into the fray and the kid knocked it right out of the park. I’m not saying he got the internship yet, but if his poise and sharpness displayed in front of a firing squad that has taken aim at plenty of coaches, managers and GMs in Philadelphia over the past 10 years, well, he’s going to be OK.

And get this, Christian told us that someday he would like to write columns and host a show of some sort. That sounds like he’s coming after me, doesn’t it?

Here… listen to what the kid has to say:

P of A NO. 6

Of course we take our time getting to the meat of the program. We sandwiched it up in a menagerie of chatter about college hoops, the Flyers and the Eagles. We also invited the newest member of the team to the show as Enrico Campitelli joined in.

Don’t know Enrico? Well, have you ever heard of The 700 Level? Yes, that’s him. Enrico runs the show at the popular sports site that is now part of the CSNPhilly.com family. He’s going to fit in quite well…

Or else.

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PODCAST EPISODE NO. 5

Hat We fancy ourselves a knowledgeable bunch here at The
Podcast of Awesomeness. We’re a diverse bunch who comes from different places,
with different backgrounds and an array of educational resumes. More
importantly, we’ve been around. We’ve seen and done things and when we mix it
all up it makes for some good conversation.

Did you know that Dennis Deitch worked on a dude ranch in
Wyoming before deciding to give writing a try? Does it seem as if Sarah Baicker
was a debutante who went to the best finishing schools in the land until she
realized she wanted to hang around the dingy and sullen atmosphere that is an
NHL dressing room?

It’s all true.

Dan Roche was a backyard wrestling announcer who doubled
as a nightclub crooner. He seems to have been born into a tuxedo and ruffled
shirt. Mike Radano rode the rails as a country western singer before he got
caught up in the fickle world of corporate downsizing.

Me? Well, I had a lot of jobs before turning to spinning
a phrase or two… where do you think I met all of those folks?

Nevertheless, we put our knowledge and experiences to the
test during Thursday’s recording of EPISODE NO. 5. That’s because we had a
couple of guests on the show who have seen more than all of us. Better yet, one
of them has the answer sheet.

Oh yes, Johnny Goodtimes, the official quiz
master of Philadelphia, came in for a visit. And yes, he brought the knowledge.
Then again, go see for yourself and check out Mr. Goodtimes in action at the Quizzo
Bowl VI at the TLA
on South Street on Saturday. You really ought to go.

Meanwhile, we dialed up Chris Wilson of Ted Leo & The
Pharmacists
to check in on him and the rest of the gang as they make their way
across the country. In fact, we caught up with Chris in Missoula, Montana
before the gang piled into the van to drive to a gig in Spokane, Wash.[1]

Here, take a listen:

 

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 5

 

If I had my druthers, I’d be out at the Quizzo Bowl VI on
Saturday night at the TLA. But since I have to raise my kids and that kind of
stuff, I’ll probably get on the internet and watch the appearance by Chris, Ted
and the rest of the Pharmacists on The Onion’s A.V. Club. What happened was
each band showed up in the offices at the A.V. Club in Chicago, picked a song
to cover, and got at it.

For TL/Rx, that number was Tears for Fears’, “Everybody
Wants to Rule the World.”

It’s gone downright viral on these internets.

http://media.avclub.com/assets/flash/video/widescreen_player/bin-release/widescreen_player.swf

 

So we’ll be back with another show next week. It’s
doubtful that it will be as funny (or as much as a train wreck) as No. 5, but
whatever.  


P.S. There was a portion of the show sliced out because it may have been slightly over the edge. Problem is it's really, really funny and we don't quite know what to do with it yet. Stay tuned.

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check us out on iTunes, too.


[1] Apparently I
mispronounced both Spokane and Minneapolis in succession during the show.
Smart.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 4

Zolecki Part of the reason why we started The Podcast of Awesomeness was because we like to talk about people who do things. No, I’m not talking about driving to the store for a six-pack and a carton of Viceroys,though that can be a full day for most. Instead, we’re talking about people who contribute to our culture.

Artists, sculptors, inventers, authors. Those are our
people.

Call us professional appreciators, to steal a phrase from
John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity.
In a media age where it’s cooler to be all snarky and critically, we
decided it would be more fun to just like
things
.

Truth be told, we didn’t actually sit down and have a
conversation about this, because God knows we all have things to do. But if I
could speak for the rest of the gang — Sarah, Boonie, Dennis, Radano our MVP,
Tom — I’m gonna put it out there that it’s nice to be nice.

So in three of our first four shows we’ve been lucky
enough to have on people we like and want to celebrate. In our Episode No. 4, Todd Zolecki (pictured, right), the
scribe from MLB.com who writes about the Phillies came on via the telephone to
chat about a whole bunch of stuff. Better yet, we were able to figure out a way
to hook up a telephone to our recording system. Being all nerdy and Internet-y
and stuff, we wanted to have Todd on via Skype, but it didn’t work out. Give
Todd credit for not being as dorky about that stuff as us.

But the point is Todd wrote a book. It’s called The
Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
and it’s all about the different parts of
the Phillies’ history. We even talked about it on the show. Here, take a
listen:

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 4

Meanwhile, in Episode 3 we had on Mike Sielski whose book Fading
Echoes
is the tale of two rival high school football players from Bucks
County who went to Iraq together. Like I wrote before, it’s a real book.

Of course in Episode 2 we had on Chris Wilson, the great drummer from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.
It just so happens that Chris and the band will be
on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight
,
which means you have to tune in to watch. Better yet, the group’s
latest record hits stores (of all kind) on Tuesday
, so get it. It just
might be the finest collection of songs released by the band yet, which is
saying something. No, it doesn’t capture the energy and ferocity of their live
shows, but that would be pretty much impossible. It also means you should get
the record and then go see the band play when they come to a town near you.

Here’s the song the band will perform tonight:

IMG_0016 http://o.aolcdn.com/videoplayer/AOL_PlayerLoader.swf

Yes, we like our guests and you should, too.

Otherwise, Deitch didn’t make it to Episode 4 because he
was on his way to Las Vegas so he could play cards. Episode 5 will not hit the
streets until March 18 because of travel plans, etc. for the working scribes of
the Podcast of Awesomeness.

Sorry, this one will have to do for about 10 days.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 3

Jimi I imagine musicians get a complex when they are about to
go into the studio and hear a recording of Jimi Hendrix. Jimi, as we all
learned in school, was a force of nature. He was like Mother Theresa and
Genghis Khan all rolled into one when he held a guitar in his hands. How can
anyone measure up to that, the musicians must think. Jimi was playing hard ball
and everyone else is just trying to bat it off a tee.

That’s the way it is for us sentence writers when Bob Ford and Mike Sielski walk into the room. Oh sure, it might sound like I’m
blowing smoke, and you know what… I kind of am. But whether they know it or
not, those guys know how to work a room and when they say things people have no
other people have no choice to but to take the words to heart.

So when Bob told me, “You’re awful,” well, I just
couldn’t write it off. After all, I have never known Bob to be wrong. Ever. The
fact is, he is smarter than almost every person you know. The same goes for
Mike, too. If he isn’t right about something, he can explain why better than
anyone out there.

But Bob is a good sport. He came into our little show,
drank his beverage, ate his ham sandwich and participated in a lively
discussion about everything. He even taught us about physics and the
international dateline. The same goes for Sielski, too. The guy is an author of
a book. Better yet, Mike wrote a real book like a real author and not some
nonsense about lists of perceived greatness according to some guy and his
faulty memories. Who wants to read that? Moreover, who wants to chop down trees
to print those pages?

Put it this way: Mike has contributed to our culture and
our collective discourse. Mike has a legacy.

And with that, the gang got together for the third
episode of our little dog-and-pony show with two heavyweights. Once again we
talked about the Olympics and hockey as well as Allen Iverson and the idea of exclusivity and media semantics.

Bob told a story about his days from hanging around with Charles Barkley and Mike just said a
bunch of smart things.

Oh yeah, Dennis
Deitch
was back and offered a life tip, while Dan Roche stuck around long enough to offer some well-reasoned
points about the local basketball team. But guess what… Ol’ Dan bought a house
last weekend, too. Real estate bubble my ass…

Meanwhile, Sarah
Baicker
and I just tried to keep up with all the wizened souls we brought
into our lair.

Here take a listen:

 

PODCAST NO. 3

Also, keep sending in those comments and whatever else. Check
out the page we have on Facebook, too
. You’ll be glad you did.

PODCAST EPISODE NO. 2

Eddie_pharmacists We were all over the map in our epic Episode 2 of the
Podcast of Awesomeness, which is something we’ll get into in a moment. However,
it should be noted that two shows into the run and we were snubbed for the
first time ever…

SNUBBED!

No, I can’t believe it either. However, for one reason or
another, John Gonzalez of the Inquirer [1]could
not attend the taping of the show because he had to do something for work. No,
I’m not making this up even though I wish I was. Can you believe the ego on
that guy? Oh sure, they mention his name before the curling broadcast on NBC,
but whatever.

Curling? Seriously… the guy thinks he’s too good for us
because of curling?

Sheesh!

Here’s how lame Gonzalez is—a guy schlepped all the way
into our office to be on the show in the rain and messy weather and he is
actually going to be a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s show on March 8 the day before
his band’s latest record hits the streets. That’s right, we had Chris Wilson from Ted Leo & the Pharmacists in to talk with us and hang out and
he’s a guy that toured for a bit with Pearl
Jam
.

Curling vs. Pearl Jam? Do we really need to answer that
question?

I kid Gonz because I can. He’s really one of my favorite
people I know (just ask him), so this is all written with love. Besides, he once wrote an entire column for the Inquirer about the time he wanted to punch me in the face. When it came out people asked me if I was upset by the column and I said, "No. Why would I be upset? He really wanted to punch me in the face."

Still, whatever
curling boy. Have fun listening to Verne
Lundquist
say your name.

Anyway, Sarah Baicker
and I had been talking all week leading up to this show that we might have to
end the podcast because there is nowhere else for us to go but down. That’s
hyperbole, of course, but there is a major difference in what happened in the
debut compared to the second time around. For that we have to thank Tom Finer for stepping in to man the
board and mix all the voices together so we don’t sound like we’re shouting
into one microphone.

This time we had six microphones for six people, so we’re
stepping up.

So listen in as we talk with Chris about his upcoming tour and the
new record from Ted Leo & the Pharmacists called, The Brutalist Bricks
.
Better yet, pre-order it now and check out the touring schedule and make sure
to check out a show when the band hits a town near you. In fact, one of the requisites
of listening to this pod show is to purchase the new Ted Leo & the
Pharmacists record. Just do it already, because if you made a record I’m
positive Chris would want to buy it, too. Support the arts, chrissakes. The
record won’t cost you as much as a beer at a ballgame and you get to keep it
and play it over and over again.

So once you’ve gone to the Matador Records site and
pre-ordered the record, listen to us chat about Brian Westbrook as we offer Jayson
Werth
beard-grooming tips, ponder Allen
Iverson’s
legacy, update the Olympics, lament the epic suckitude of the bands Nickleback
and Creed, and re-live the time Dennis Deitch
rendered Stephen Colbert speechless.

Oh yeah, and Dan
Roche
got up and walked out (again) and Mike Radano inexplicably showed up
(again). I’m sensing a theme…

Here you go:

 

AWESOME EPISODE NO. 2

Also, keep sending in those comments and questions. We
had planned on reading some of them on the air this time around, but it got
lost in the shuffle because I had wind-shield wiper issues and showed up late.
Actually, the truth is I forgot to bring it up but because I respect you guys
so much I felt compelled to make up an excuse.

Nevertheless, if you keep sending in emails, we’ll read
them on the air next week when author Mike
Sielski
will be a guest along with another person we are currently
negotiating with.

Oh yes… it will be HUGE!


[1] They still chop down trees and toss them
onto people’s porches? Seriously, they still do that? I mean, this year begins
with a 2 and they still chop down trees and send them to people’s homes with
words on them. Amazing.

photo swiped from Brooklyn Vegan

Planting the bar low, a.k.a. PODCAST EPISODE NO. 1

Radio So we got together to record a podcast and let’s just say
we placed the bar low. When we get back together next week there will be lots
of room improvement. Besides, why use our best material the first time out?

Anyway, consider this the director’s cut to the still
unnamed podcast. Oh yes, that means there will be more and from what I can tell
it will be exponentially better than the one attached at the bottom of this
page.

The best part? Excluding the solid minute we spent
discussing former Phillies pitcher David Coggin, it had to be when we walked
out of the room after it was all finished and tried to convince each other it
wasn’t awful. It reminded me of the time when my friend John got a home brewing
kit and we spent the better part of the night/morning making our own beer. It
was quite a process, what with the yeast and balloons and industrial sized
plastic tubs. What a mess!

A few weeks later when our friends were grimacing and
choking it down, no one had the nerve to tell us how awful it was.

“Yeah,” our friends said making a face and smacking their
tongue off the roof of their mouths as if they just chewed a Brillo pad. “It’s
not bad.”

Indeed, our first podcast effort was just like making our
own beer from a kit in my friend John’s kitchen.

Here’s the DVD extras… when Sarah Baicker was introduced, she waved. Yes, she knew it was
audio, but she waved anyway. Also, we used some low-rent four-tracker, but were
only smart enough to bring one microphone. Because of that, six of us had to
huddle around a desk and talk loud enough for our voices to be picked up over
the din of the air conditioner and/or fluorescent lights.

Next week we’ll be sure to staple egg cartons to the
walls and ceiling like Terrence Howard and Anthony Anderson in “Hustle &
Flow.”

Loved that movie.

Regardless, for the second episode we will have the great Tom Finer engineering things and I promise to keep a tighter grip on the reins. Take those to the bank.

And without further blathering, here is the first edition
of the nameless podcast:

 

 

PODCAST NO. 1

 check us out on iTunes, too.

 

Here’s what I need from our listener(s): submit a
(tasteful) name for the show. E-mail
them to me
here. The one that
is chosen will earn the submitter a guest shot on the show… or maybe a pack of
baseball cards or something like that.

Cast of characters
John Finger, CSNPhilly.com
Sarah Baicker, CSNPhilly.com
Dan Roche, Comcast SportsNet – Philadelphia

Also appearing
Dennis Deitch, Delaware County Daily Times
Mike Radano, collateral damage

Special appearance
Andy Schwartz as "The Kid"