Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 7.31.02

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works. – Douglas Adams

Doug wrote some wonderful lines about the inherent boredom of your typical Sunday, but the same thing also can easily apply to Wednesdays in the wonderful world of the IWC if there’s nothing earth-shattering going on.  Believe me, sometimes it’s a little difficult to get a Wednesday news column done.  Raw’s already filed away in the memory bank.  NWA:  TNA hasn’t broadcast yet.  If something great happened at the Smackdown tapings, you want to comment on it, but then you get people pissing and moaning about “spoiling” the show (as if most WWE shows already don’t come across like they’re a month past their sell-by date).  If nothing important is happening on Smackdown, you don’t feel like commenting on it, only to get some people pissing and moaning that you DIDN’T spoil SD (which is the case this week except to say that this week’s Special Guest Defections caused me to piss and moan).  That’s why Wednesday columns from me tend to concentrate on things like You’re A Moron or Mailbag.  I’ve got to have something to fill this thing up.  So here I go again on Another Boring Wednesday.

THE PIMP SECTION

Murphy gives LUV out to Chi-town indies, which, of course, is cool by me.

Nason, meanwhile, gives LUV to every other indy out there.

Anderson deconstructs the worst year WCW would have until rigor mortis (not Kanyon) would set in.

Daniels.  Because it wouldn’t be 411 without me pimping Daniels.

Memo To Jay Bower:  Thanks.

Memo To Unca Ed:  Ditto, and I hope it’s an angle for TBS, because the other possibility means that they’re turning Booker heel again, and God help him if that happens.

TV GUIDE FUCKS UP AGAIN

They have earned seven Academy Awards.  They sparked the six-decade partnership of their creators, who ended up creating one of the greatest periods of dominance by any set of behind-the-scenes people in television history.  Many of their works are considered classics.  They’ve survived format changes, censorship, repackaging, being turned into kiddie characters, and being sold to Ted Turner.  They are, frankly, immortal.  And according to TV Guide, forty-nine characters or sets of characters in animation history are better than Tom and Jerry.

That alone blows the credibility of their list all to hell.  However, I’m willing to contribute more reasons.

(Before anyone clicks on that e-mail link to complain about this, please note the following:  1) It’s a well-known fact that I’m a cartoon smark, and I’ve discussed the topic before.  2) With just a tease in yesterday’s column, I started to get e-mail about this topic, so people in the IWC are LEGITIMATELY INTERESTED in this.)

Okay, let’s start at the top.  If you think I have a problem with Bugs Bunny being ranked #1, think again.  Bugs is God, period.  Bugs is one of the primary influences in my life.  I’ve been involved in the near-DVDR-level debates over what is Bugs Bunny and what is “Bugs’s Bunny” (please, don’t ask; it’s very complicated to explain to non-initiates and would take too much time).  So there’s no problem there.

The problem starts immediately after that.  Any list that has Bugs at #1 has to have Mickey Mouse at #2.  Mickey is the most influential character in animated history.  He was the first cartoon character with a true worldwide following.  He legitimized the use of sound for animated pictures.  Even the two silent Mickey cartoons that were made are watchable today (albeit with dubbed 1927-esque music; “Plane Crazy” occasionally shows up on Toon Disney’s thirty-minute daily bone to classic animation).  Jesus, Jean-Paul Sartre used to haunt movie theaters in Paris in the hope that they were showing a Mickey Mouse cartoon.  He is the Ric Flair of cartoons, period.  But there sits Mickey on TV Guide’s list at #19.  In his place is something named Homer Simpson.  How would you feel, as a wrestling smark, if a Greatest Wrestlers Of All Time list had Ric Flair at #19 and, say, Flex at #2?  Now maybe you can understand my pain.

And there’s the real problem right there.  TV Guide, yet again, is attempting to appeal to the young audience who might not know the history of animation, who have never seen a cartoon in movie theaters.  The entire list is an ass-kiss to the Youth Of Today, mining their propensity for Instant Nostalgia, ignoring the fact that history will look back on this list and laugh hysterically.  Here’s more examples of that:

1) Beavis and Butthead at #4, while the character who should be in that slot, Donald Duck, languishes at #43 (reader Bill Nielsen agrees with that injustice and with the Mickey issue as well).  Mike Judge is incredibly overrated, and he gets pimped again down where Donald is quacking as only he can when Bobby Hill gets mentioned at #48.  Jesus.

2) Angelica Pickles at #7 and SpongeBob at #9?  Gee, the check from Viacom must have cleared, huh?  SpongeBob SquarePants is unwatchable.  However, a few years ago, in a list I did on one of the Usenet animation groups of the most influential cartoons of the 90s, I had Rugrats at #9, so I can’t complain too much about the other entry.  But this is ridiculous.

2a) On that same list of Influential Cartoons of the 90s, I put Ren and Stimpy at #2.  However, influential doesn’t mean good.  If Judge is overrated, then John Kricfalusi is the Flex of cartoondom.  #31, though, is about the right place for R&S.

3) Unlike some of the people who already wrote me about this, I’m okay with Cartman at #10.  That’s right about where he belongs, actually.

4) Daffy Duck at #14 is eleven places too low.  Any list that has Bugs at #1 and Mickey at #2 has to have Daffy at #3, period.  Here’s a damn good point to consider:  Bugs’ modern personality was essentially created by Tex Avery and refined by Chuck Jones.  Same with Daffy.

5) Pikachu at #15.  DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!

6) The Powerpuff Girls at #13 and Josie and the Pussycats at #24.  Big Daddy Kurt Dieckmann says it better than I could:  I get the f*cking Powerpuff Girls on the list ahead of Josie and the Pussycats?   Wrong.  J&TP probably did more to attract girl viewers than PPG can hope to. Plus, J&TP was empowering – seriously, a cartoon about an all-girl rock band that didn’t take a lot of shit from anyone was way ahead of the pablum we get today. Ask Liz Phair what she watched when she was a kid – betcha Josie’s at the top of the list.  Now, I like PPG, but they’re overrated on this list, period.

7) Betty Boop at #17 is another overrating.  Hey, he’s going after a classic character, you say in a surprised fashion.  Here’s my problem with Boop being ranked so high:  her period of greatness was too damn short, from 1930 to roughly late 1933, as the Production Code kicked into high gear and forced the Fleischers to tone her down and make her into a “career woman”, saddling her with “guest co-stars” like Grampy.  It’s like the “Does Frank Thomas Belong In The Hall Of Fame” arguments that erupt here on sports talk radio every time trade rumors start up with him:  early dominance does not equal great career.

8) Tweety and Sylvester at #33 I’ll argue is a bit too low.  However, here’s my personal perspective:  Yeah, Friz Freleng did a great thing by putting together his generic cat and Bob Clampett’s abandoned “little defenseless bird” (although Clampett made him an outright vicious son of a bitch; I enjoy Clampett’s Tweety a lot more than Friz’s).  However, he fell into a trap with them and kept recycling the same damn plots.  Warner Brothers really sank into a period of stagnation in the 50s.  It was a constant stream of S&T from Friz, Coyote and Roadrunner from Jones (broken up occasionally by the tedious Pepe LePew), and Hippety Fucking Hopper from McKimson.  McKimson gets roasted over the coals for this all the time, but no one goes after Friz or Jones for doing the same thing because they’d whip out a classic now and then to prove they still had the chops.  Sound like Trip to you?

9) Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman…I’ll defer to Big Daddy again:  Supes and Bats I can live with, so long as it ain’t that namby-pamby Saturday Morning JLA shit. Give me the new angular, dark stuff and it’s all good. But Wonder Woman? Not unless you’re talking late-70’s live action with Lynda Carter.  Lynda Carter’s tits were proof of the existence of God.

10) Big Daddy, Eric Dolhon, and a number of others who know about my cartoon smarkness anticipated my feelings about Daria being on the list perfectly:  total injustice to the characters that missed out, especially Droopy.

11) Porky Pig at #47…oh, for f*ck’s sake.  Someone needs to go back and read their history.  Warner Brothers Animation was created in 1930 as an independent contractor by Leon Schlesinger, owner of Pacific Art and Title, who created main titles for WB (among other studios).  Leon, who knew nothing about cartoons but now had to sell stuff his “studio” made to WB, brought in two guys who did:  Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, two of the many people Walt Disney had working for him that he pissed off to the point of quitting.  Harman and Ising brought along their fellow Disney refugee Friz Freleng as lead animator (and hired a bunch of talented West Coast kids to become apprentices, including Bill Hanna and Chuck Jones).  Together, they created a character named Bosko, whose cartoons are not shown today for fear of racial stereotyping charges (although Nick showed them for a long time).  Bosko was WB’s first animated star (all the early Looney Tunes featured Bosko; Merrie Melodies was created in 1931 as a vehicle for one-shot characters).  In 1933, Leon got a little upset at the Harman-Ising slow work pace.  At the same time, MGM got on the Clue Train and realized that this cartoon thing was taking off, so they decided to build an in-house animation unit, and were able to get the alienated Harman-Ising team away from WB.  One problem:  Harman and Ising owned Bosko, leaving WB without a star.  That was the situation for two years.  Things were getting desperate at WB.  They wanted and needed a Mickey Mouse-like franchise.  They tried with a character named Buddy and failed miserably.  Then, one day, Bob Clampett had an idea:  the Our Gang shorts were popular, so how about we do our own version with funny animals?  Friz Freleng jumped on that and did a cartoon called “I Haven’t Got A Hat”.  One of the funny animal Our Gang was a stuttering pig named Porky.  Nine months later, the Our Gang concept was eliminated, but by that time, Tex Avery had arrived at WB, and he liked the pig and started using him as a solo act.  Porky Pig carried WB during one of their worst times, only taking a back seat when Bugs and Daffy started to become popular in the early 40s.  In other words, Porky Pig is Bret Hart.

12) The otaku are up in arms about anime getting short shrift, with a bare mention of Speed Racer at #49.  Now, I loathe Speed Racer and don’t want him on the list, but anime should have received at least a mention.  I wouldn’t have bitched about Goku being somewhere in the 20s.

Memo to Christopher Arrington:  No, the worst thing to happen to recent cartoons wasn’t the creation of Kids’ WB.  It was the fact that Jamie Kellner was brought in to run it.  That’s when the real shit hit the fan there.

Okay, I’ve eaten enough column space with that.  However, as said, it is a topic that a lot of wrestling fans seem to be interested in.  Cartoons are part of the fabric of all our lives, after all, and we being media creatures of the worst sort would naturally gravitate to that as much as we’ve gravitated to wrestling.  There’s a lot more of a crossover than you think.

YOU’RE A MORON:  THE MILLER’S GRIST

This week’s winner is Jeffrey Schubeler, who brings up the same old “he’s ripping this guy off” argument that goes back to Brad Lavender at The Shooters (although Brad did it in a kind, funny way, and out of respect):

I think you’ve been watching too much early Dennis Miller.  You used more vague references and words that you’ll only hear in the national spelling bee than Dennis ever aspired to do.  I guess your “two decades” of journalism experience hasn’t gone real well.

Except for a game of Monday Night Football that I was stuck watching in a hotel room in Davenport, Iowa last year where they didn’t have TNN, I haven’t seen Dennis Miller since I stopped watching SNL a decade and a half ago.  My humor influences are the people I watched or listened to in my pre-adolescent days in the mid-to-late 70s:  Python, Richard Pryor, George Carlin.  As for my literary style, it’s Hunter Thompson, a point I made blatant last year on The Smarks when I did “Fear and Loathing In Houston”.

The “obscure references”…hey, that’s the way I actually am.  The fact that you’re not well-read isn’t my fault.  Maybe some of those references can get you up off of your fat, dead ass to look them up and come across something that might interest you.  Then again, you may just be pig-ignorant.  I’d personally vote for the pig-ignorant part because you can’t understand a perfectly clear sentence like (my journalism background is now almost two decades old, but it informed my writing style and ability, and I know how to be “journalistic” if I wanted to) (from my column yesterday).  To a person of average intelligence, that sentence means that I have some journalism training in my past (two decades ago would put it in my high school and college years), and that it impressed upon me the importance of things like spelling, grammar, clarity, leads, word count, presentation, and other factors that come into play doing a column like this.

Oink oink.

MAILBAG

I told you there wasn’t anything Ashish hadn’t already covered, so it’s directly on to Mailbag and shit/shower/shave/work.  But, first, a little food from Rick McBride, who always graces me with his post-Raw comments.  He’s contributed a recipe for what he calls Osaka Broil:

Recipe amount is for 1 LB bottom round steak.

Spice amounts are approximate, I use a “visual common sense” approach based on what I know each spice will do. I shake into the mixing bowl until it’s “about right”

Marinade
———
3/4-1 cup Sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup Olive oil
2 dashes Cumin powder (or about 1/4 tsp)
3 dashes Powdered red pepper (or half again as much as the cumin)
4 slices pickled ginger (sushi style, probably equivalent to 1/2 tsp
powdered or 1 tsp dried)
1/8 cup cooking sherry (what I had left when I started this recipe)
1 1/2 – 2 TBLSP dark soy sauce
3 tblspoon steak sauce (I used T.R.’s Bully sauce, but I expect A1 or Crystal would work)
1/2 tblspoon Dat’l Do it Datil pepper sauce (this is another steak sauce type mix with Datil pepper)
Dash sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp monosodium glutimate (delete if desired) can be found under the trade
name “Accent Seasoning”
2 TBLSP granulated garlic (fresh garlic would be better, but I have a huge container of granulated garlic I’m trying to burn through)

Using small drink blender, blend well.
—–

Score meat with diagonal cross-hatch pattern on both sides, approximately 1/8 inch deep. In non-reactive container (glass) place scored meat, pour in marinade. Marinate covered overnight in refrigerator turning about every 2 hours when possible.

Let container with meat sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while heating broiler.

Broil 7-8 minutes each side, internal temp should be about 135 degrees F for medium-rare.

While cooking, pour marinade into small sauce pan and bring to boil over medium high heat. While heating, add 1/2 tsp corn starch, and several mushrooms. Any type will do, I used brown mushrooms. After rapid boil is reached, reduce to medium and simmer while meat broils.

After removing meat from oven, cover with foil and let sit 4 minutes.  Cut into 1/2 inch or smaller slices. Add juices from sliceing to the marinade pot, cover slices and let sit 2 more minutes while increasing marinade heat slightly.

Spoon reduced marinade mix over beef before serving, should be about the consistency of a slightly thin gravy.


Sounds really good.  Maybe one of the pros out there should try this.  Smitty has spent a quarter-century cooking meat (not cutting it as I said in here a few weeks ago; sorry).  Maybe he could test it and give us results.

Let’s start off the rest of the mail with a troll that would have made YAM if it hadn’t been so obviously a troll, from Matt Johnson:

Why don’t you f*ckers just report the news? No one gives a flying f*ck about what stupid internet columnist is feuding with whom. I don’t care who Rick Scai likes or who you like. Just report news. And by the way, Benoit and Guerro both suck big fat monkey balls. They can’t talk and all they can do is f*cking chop.

Go to the corner and eat your Samuda Snacks, bitch boy.  Or go to another site that will give you the content-free news that you seem to enjoy.  We don’t need you or want you here.  And you could at least spell “Guerrero” correctly.  If you really feel that way about Our Lord and Savior and Latino Jesus, though, guess you won’t be watching Smackdown anymore…damn, a spoiler.

More Big Daddy (you think with an infant in the house that he wouldn’t have time to write me, but he does, and God love him for it)!  Um, did I hear things correctly last evening? During the ultra-lethargic stroll to the ring by Test et al, did JR actually say that “we’re as deep in the heart of the United States as you can get?” The heart of the United States? God, I love revisionist history. Apparently, JR thinks the “heart of the United States” is a state that seceded from the US, thinks the Civil War was a tie (if not an outright victory), still refers to those of us north of the Mason Dixon line as Yankees, and flies the Stars and Bars over its capitol building. Oh – that heart of the United States.  No further comment is necessary.  That’s why I love Big Daddy.

Chuck Wooding pimps the collected 411 work of Raywat Deonandan (deservedly so), and asks me what I think about l’affaire Traficant.  There’s an old Chicago principle at work here:  if you take bribes, make sure they’re small.  It’s money received for services rendered, not an outright purchase of your favors (being a prostitute is much better than being a kept person).  That being said, if you get your hand caught in the cookie jar, you deserve to be bitch-slapped.

Monty Smith asks me about what motivated me to become a prominent member of the IWC and how to get into it.  To answer the second question first, Monty, every site is different.  Some want audition pieces, some will give you the call.  The second is what happened to me.  I got into the message board scenes at Delphi because, at the time, it was one of the few intelligent places where wrestling was discussed.  The intelligent conversation appealed to me, and I decided to join in.  Certain people were impressed by my literary ability, and Luke Johnston asked me to join the staff of The Shooters a couple years ago.  From there, I gained some notoriety and got a slot at the Smarks.  Now I’m here at 411.  There’s really nothing much more to it than that.  It’s all a matter of having a viewpoint and being able to express it in an intelligent, creative, and clear manner.

Mattbisc76 asks me about Trillian and spyware.  I haven’t used Trillian in a long time, so I don’t know if they’ve put in spyware since that point.  However, if you use it and are unsure, please, head over to http://www.lavasoftusa.com
GBChamps, aka Ryan, accuses me of hypocrisy:

You’re an attention whore. You’ll say anything if you think people will read it. You’re the Vince McMahon of the Internet. You’re also worse than Scaia is. His opinions may not be harsh, but he has one, whereas you hide yours behind a veil of insults. When’s the last time you gave an opinion without going over the top? You’re mean for the sake of being mean. You could easily tone down your column and still say what you want to say, but you know
if you did that, no one would read you. It’s simply supply and demand: your readers demand you be over-the-top insulting, so you supply that. If your readers wanted you to be nice, you’d be that.


First of all, your statement that Scaia has an opinion has people rolling in the aisles all over the IWC. Scaia is best known for NOT having an opinion, or having one that’s so bland and wishy-washy that it’s worse than actually not having one. Now, as for me:

1) Define “going over the top”. Different people set the bar at different heights, you know.

2) “Mean for the sake of being mean”…hmmmm, no, I’m mean because I ENJOY being mean. There’s a difference. I’m doing it for a particular reason, to get my rocks off, instead of for no reason, as you state.

3) No one tells me to be or demands me to be “over-the-top insulting” (again with the over-the-top stuff). If that was true, The Smarks would have never fired me for the Barbara Olsen comments. If my readers wanted me to be nice, I’d tell them what I’m telling you: I’m not a nice person. If you want nice, go somewhere else.

After that, I need to turn it over to someone who’s in the media industry, TV news producer Jeff Proctor…

…what’s-his-balls turned into a vag the minute wrestleline took over. Every show turned into “thumbs in the middle”. He’s the equivalent of a Detroit Lions fans who found something positive in the 2-14 debacle that was 2001 (Mike McMahon my ass). I’ve been reading various wrestling sites for long enough to remember when he wasn’t afraid to have an opinion. Nothing is black and white in this world, but that’s not an excuse to sit on the fence. I’m the 10pm news producer for a TV station in Lansing, Michigan, and there’s nothing I hate more than when a staff member refuses to take a stand on a story idea. “Well, it might appeal to…” starts way too many sentences in our newsroom. Bravo for shitting on this ‘gine on behalf of people who realize the current WWE product is light years behind 1998-2000, and barely ahead of 1995.

So you hate Flex, I enjoy him. Big f*cking deal. Two people singing the praises of the same
person/thing/idea is about the dullest conversation I can imagine. “I like The Rock.” “Me too.” “Yeah…so…how bout them Red Wings?” If The Cock wants to enjoy the shit WWE is churning out right now, then throw me a f*cking reason, that’s all I ask. Blindly
saying “thumbs in the middle” is a way of avoiding saying “I don’t have an opinion because I don’t have the intellect for critical evaluation”.

As for “gimmick” columnists, I get a greater sense of reality out of you, Scott Keith and even Hyatte than I do out of Scaia. You’re a prick, and I mean that as a compliment. It makes it easier to evaluate the opinion I’m reading. I generally have a good idea of what
you’ll praise and what you’ll slag (although sometimes I’m surprised). I can predict with unremarkable accuracy what Keith will love and hate. I don’t know anything about Scaia, which makes his opinion meaningless to me. There’s a reason I don’t read the feedback section of the Torch web site, I don’t know those people, therefore I don’t care about their f*cking opinion. Ripping TV that sucks is not a gimmick, it’s a reaction to stimulus. Randomly finding something to praise is a gimmick. There’s a reason nobody reads OO anymore, and Scaia is it. Thank you.


And thank you. I normally take being called a prick as being a compliment, by the way.


For more of a journalistic perspective, I’ll end this with longtime reader and great guy Robert Bemis, who has a few comments about The Prick and his idea of what journalists are about:

Okay – does this guy know anything about journalists? We spend a great deal of time on the phone – it’s usually the best way of communicating with someone and getting quotes. And writing a report on what happened on t.v. isn’t *supposed* to be investigative journalism – you’re simply reporting the facts (sometimes people throw in their opinions about the match). It’s like going to a baseball game and writing a game story – that’s still reporting, and should know because that’s my job. What’s the difference between writing “Jeter committed an error and the Red Sox scored two runs” and “The Rock blew his move and the match wasn’t convincing because of it?” I think it’s pretty obvious people can tell when someone blows a move in the ring, and that takes away from the match.

As for getting backstage reports – how the hell else is someone going to get them? Let’s face it, most internet sites don’t have the budget to send a full-time reporter to follow around even one of the WWE tours, let alone both. Not to mention Vince probably wouldn’t allow it anyway, because part of his business is to try and protect surprises. Investigative reporting would kill that, because they’d actually get the facts of an angle and report it, thus killing the surprise aspect. Thus, there’s really little else for those trying to get news on the WWE other than trying the phone, unless you want to read that canned, pre-packaged crap from their website and magazines. Yeah, there’s some hard news right there.

And if he thinks mainstream media doesn’t have any bias… you should give him a permanent space in gold in the “You’re A Moron” section. Just watch any network or cable news show and you’ll detect bias for yourself. Or pick up a newspaper. Almost every friggin’ piece of journalism these days swings right or left.


About the “if you hate wrestling, don’t watch” comments, Lord Bemis ripostes:

You know something – basketball frickin’ bores me to tears. Most teams have lost the element of team play and everyone’s basically looking for that one ball-hogging superstar to lead them to the promised land. And yet I dedicate a good part of the winter watching it and then writing on it, hoping that it’ll get better. The difference between me and you? I’m getting paid (and it ain’t that great a paycheck, either). If that makes me a loser, soy un perdedor, baby.

Beck reference. Cool. Now here’s the good part, where the dander starts flying:

Fuck – if they’re being negative did he ever stop to think that’s their honest opinion in the first place? I don’t want some jackass who’s afraid to say something sucks – I stopped reading Rolling Stone long ago because they’re afraid to trash albums. I want a f*cking honest opinion, and I want it in an entertaining format that is intellectually on my level. If anything, you, Eric, should be ashamed that this guy thinks he’s even in your league. Ricky ain’t no Eric. I mean that shit, too. I’ve told you before I enjoy your columns and I continue to, because you don’t f*cking bullshit me with lukewarm, tepid crap…And I’ll gladly tell him he’s a f*cking moron right to his face. That’s not a f*cking safe haven, that’s a zombie. Zombies don’t question they exist, they wander around aimlessly without a thought in their heads. I care about the quality of my entertainment – it’s my hours that I’m wasting instead of doing whatever else, and I’d like it to have quality. But that’s because I’m not a zombie.

Thank you for that. Nice dose of reality check there. You know, I’d love to hear what Ric Russo, an actual wrestling journalist, has to say about The Prick’s column. That would be interesting to read.

I’ll be back next week with more interesting-to-read stuff. You be sure to stay tuned here for Grut, who always provides something interesting to read, and Ashish, who is always informative. But, always remember, we’re not real journalists, we only play them on 411.