Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slap the Bag -- Ohio's Greatest 21st Century Innovation?

It was sometime in 2003 or 2004 when I walked down the Mill St. hill in Athens and first heard it, then turned and first saw it. A group of 7 or 8 undergraduates were tossing around the bag from a box of Franzia boxed wine as part of some sort of pseudo-pagan spiritual cleansing. Little did I know then that I was witnessing an early version of Slap The Bag -- the first great American drinking game of the 21st Century.

The origins of "traditional" songs like Kumbaya or Sloop John B. are often mired in controversy. But there is no doubt that Slap The Bag was anonymously authored at my alma mater, perpetual Top 10 Party School, Ohio University.

The title of the game is not in dispute, but what, exactly, happens during the game is.

Official Rules of Slap the Bag
According to me, Slap the Bag is played thusly:

  • Bag of wine is extracted from Franzia box.
  • Bag of wine is guzzled for 30-odd seconds by Player #1, who after said introductory guzzle rants for 30 to 60 seconds about ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who did them wrong.
  • Rant builds to a crescendo, whereupon player guzzles again, slapping the bag savagely (observers are welcome to slap said bag as well, when compelled to do so).
  • At conclusion of follow-up guzzle and related slapping, bag is passed, or even tossed high in the air, to next player.

Yeah, so that's pretty much it. Hilarity and hi-jinks ensue, and all that. But what's significant is the insinuation of cheap wine, which despite its cheapness, insinuates class, and so elevates the whole thing from a mere drinking game into a drinking ceremony:


And (it gets good at 1:30):

Since moving back to Cincinnati four years ago, I have yet to hear the home-grown Afghan Whigs played in public, either on the radio or on a bar's juke box. Similarly, I haven't seen Slap the Bag. Cincinnati is in real danger of hearing about yet another Ohio innovation from Hollywood.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barry Horstman is twice your age and can walk twice as fast!

Back in May, Barry Horstman claimed that the 3-mile streetcar route could be walked in 34 minutes. The next day, instead of retracting Horstman's preposterous article, Morning After editor Carl Weiser dismissively challenged those who challenged Hostman's methodology to

Carl, why didn't you make Horstman prove that he actually walked 6mph (the pace of an Olympic Power Walker) by using a GPS app on his cell phone? They're free, after all.

I got around to doing it today, and my walk proves that Horstman more or less used his one-way time as his round-trip time, if he even made the walk at all. I'm half Horstman's age but somehow he can walk twice as fast?

Here is my GPS data (the mileage is exaggerated due to the GPS errors which occur around tall buildings, but the time is correct):
[Click Here for a link directly to this Runkeeper activity]

Predictably, this lie introduced by The Morning After keeps being told and retold (skip ahead to :58):

This whole thing smells like a set-up so it's unclear if replacement of The Morning After's entire staff with a crop of desperate young j-school grads would make any difference.

Update 6/23/11 11:32am
That's their story (and in this case it really is a story) and they're sticking to it:

Mr. Mecklenborg

Thanks for the post. I'm confident Barry did walk that route in the time he said. But, as my follow-up blog notes, it may be a faster time than other pedestrians may experience.

I did not intend for the blog to be 'dismissive,' but hoped it would spur others to walk it - like you did - and submit their times.


Carl Weiser
Government/Public Affairs Editor
Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati.com
312 Elm St.
Cincinnati, OH, 45202
(513) 768-8491
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Instead of Current Events, schools should teach Current Propaganda

Our nation's grade school and high school teachers are paid, ostensibly, to instill honesty, respect for writing, and respect for adults. But what happens when the writing of adults is a calculated lie?

My favorite class in grade school was Current Events, which if I remember correctly took the form of everyone bringing in a newspaper article one day per week and the class discussing a half dozen issues until the bell rang. Unfortunately, we took those newspaper articles at face value, and so we (including the teachers) were all duped.

What if we instead taught students how to spot hit pieces, and how propaganda often masquerades as general news?

Below I have marked up an anti-rail piece that appeared in the June 1, 2011 edition of USA Today. Yellow designates typical anti-rail dialogue, magenta marks the four appearances of the word "safety", and green marks instances in which the supposed debt of Chinese rail projects portends similar problems in the United States:

[Click Here for a larger version of this graphic]

Unlike China, our founding documents and laws permit teachers to introduce propaganda detection lessons -- after all, developing "critical thinking skills" is another supposed central task of our schools. But they don't do it.


First of all, most Americans seem to think that there isn't much propaganda here, think that they can spot it when it does appear, and quickly dismiss anything they don't agree with as "bias". It never occurs to them that what they perceive to be "common sense" is actually a pile of concocted junk. Second, if such a program were introduced, parents would never admit it to each other or to themselves, but they'd fear the loss of credibility in the eyes of their children.

But a central dilema of our time is that parents, and especially grandparents, are losing credibility. Young adults routinely fact-check news items against trusted internet sources and post contradictions on sites like this. Old people still take newspaper and television reports at face value. They keep believing the same old crap that was never true and often never even existed. They might use the internet a little, but it's mostly to email folksy chain letters that I suspect are planted by party operatives.

As high unemployment continues, and as retirees (who often didn't go to college) keep taking church van trips to the casinos while their college-educated children and grandchildren reluctantly take part-time jobs at Home Depot, we are headed for a showdown.

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Eminem, now Iggy Pop selling Chrysler sedans

Driving a Chrysler 300 lets everyone know you eavesdrop on gospel choir rehearsals, troll independent record shops, shop at Kenwood Towne Center in clothes you bought in New York, and were invited to a Superbowl party last year.

Several years ago, Henry Rollins ranted about the use of the classic recordings by The Stooges in car commercials:

Well it has happened again, as Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit" campaign continues to exploit Detroit.

This new Chrysler 300 commercial makes even less sense than the Eminem one:

Instead of Eminem as our protagonist, we have some midlife crisis dude driving his shiny new Chrysler 300 to a record store, where he happens upon an early Iggy Pop record. In the commercial's final seconds, we hear "No Fun" from The Stooges' self-titled debut record -- NOT the actual record the guy bought at the store.

What's so odd about this commercial is that the Iggy Pop references pass so quickly (the record being found in the store, then the Iggy Pop artwork on the elevator door), it's as if it was designed to pique the curiosity only of those who recognize a song from the B side of a record that peaked at 106 on the Billboard charts in 1969. "No Fun" was never played on the radio, and aside from one time when I heard it played under pregame highlight footage on Monday Night Football, I've never heard it in public.

It is, of course, a great piece of rock and roll, featuring one of the greatest lyrics of all time at 1:35 and perhaps the most life-affirming string bend in history at 4:32:

But there's more -- I thought I was done with this blog post before thinking that our mild-mannered protagonist might in fact be someone famous. Turns out he's a fashion designer from Detroit named John Varvatos. I had never heard of the guy. According to his bio on Wikipedia:

John Varvatos credits his early obsession with rock ‘n roll as the catalyst for his interest in fashion. A unifying theme in his design, it is deeply ingrained in all his efforts and evident in every expression of the brand. The memorable ad campaigns for the main collection—shot by Grammy-nominated music documentarian Danny Clinch—have featured such legendary icons as Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Velvet Revolver.

Okay, whatever. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Then I made the mistake of looking him up on Youtube, and found that he bought the old CBGB's and turned it into a fashion boutique:

I'm speechless. Here are two of the clip's comments:

This is so wrong on so many levels.

I was a young HC/punk who found a home away from home at CBGB in the early 80's and in the late 80's I started working there and was there til the end in 2006.

I would rather see a McDonalds or Starbucks in our old space than this boutique that represents the opposite of everything we stood for.

800 dollar "punk" boots and 90 dollar "punk" t-shirts.

Better we be forgtten than have our carcass defiled to give this leech credibility.

So who conceived of this preposterous Chrysler 300 commercial? Was it the ad wizards at Chrysler, or did Varvados himself call the company the day after the Superbowl with his next big self-promotional idea? Either way, no doubt you'll soon be able to trade in your Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer for a Varvados Edition Chrysler 300.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I am Bullfrog...Hear Me Roar!

Eric Deters has had a bad month.

In just a few weeks, the second of his two sports bars closed, he was fired from his radio gig at 700 WLW, and his effort to avoid a suspension of his law license entered a new phase with another lawsuit against the Kentucky Bar. He has no one to blame for these events but himself, but instead of quietly leaving his Tea Party pulpit and going back to being the Democrat he was before he joined 700 WLW in 2008 (he was an Obama supporter through the first few months of 2009 until his tune changed with the prospect of full-time employment), his damage control keeps betraying more and more of his character flaws.

In a disgusting turn of events, on June 3 Chris Smitherman called into Lincoln Ware's show in defense of the bizarre remarks that got Deters fired from 700 WLW. What's more, Smitherman used the incident to further smear Councilman Chris Bortz (the call begins at 4:25):

What's so upsetting about this radio appearance is that Deters still doesn't get it. Meanwhile, our city's scumbags still see political value in his anti-intellectualism. But a morning radio appearance wasn't enough for The Bullfrog. Early this afternoon he posted this rant on his website:

"The Truth about 700 WLW"

From Eric Deters Newsletter

I must begin with stating that 700 WLW, up until this past week, gave me a wonderful opportunity. I have never been a "what have you done for me lately". However, I must explain my anger and my activities since Chuck Frederick called me Tuesday. What they did, by "no longer needing me services" after the video blog is to tell the world that 700 WLW does not approve of this video blog and we disapprove of it so much, we are firing Eric Deters. Therefore, they publicly tried to brand me a racist. What could they have done and should have done? Allowed me to go on air Saturday as planned. I would have apologized. I could have explained why I'm NOT a racist and moved on. Matter over. They could have shown loyalty. I received the radio opportunity to speak and explain, not from my "friends" at 700 WLW but from Lincoln Ware on the BUZZ. Listen to the webcast. The callers called in with stories proving my innocence as a racist. Chris Smitherman from the NAACP even called and said let's move on. How ridiculous is 700 WLW? The black radio station and callers support me, they don't. Someone I know from 700 WLW listened to the entire BUZZ interview. They said: "WLW are buffoons." Why would I be so mad they "threw me overboard"? Here's why.

There is no regular or occasional listener of 700 WLW who has not heard worse comments than this everyday on the radio station. Comments derogatory towards blacks, Hispanics, stroke victims, women, and more. You name it. It's been on the air. And not from me. I have bashed Obama and Bush. For them to fire me is the height hypocrisy. But, its far worse than this. Before I provide what I did for 700 WLW the last three to four years, allow me to share the truth about Clear Channel at 700 WLW.

Who wants boring radio? No one. It's about entertainment. But why do it by insulting the listeners or abusing the listeners? Willie states things all the time you and I know are not true. The women he's dating? It's funny. Why do talk show hosts need fake callers? I couldn't stand it. Nick from Loveland is a fake caller. He's funny. He's fake. Who else is fake? Richard from Indian Hill. Fake. Rodney from Norwood. Do you think he's real? The women who call in on Sloanie and Tracie's show complaining about things? They have a female caller that plays more than one role. Tip: ridiculous caller. Fake. The tornado damage stealer. Fake.

700 WLW does not have any black talk show hosts except Doc Rodgers who is limited to Extra Innings. He's a class act. He also was kind enough to send an email in support of me. He knows I'm not a racist. How does the largest radio station in Cincinnati have no women or black hosts except a black who does limited spots? I'm a racist? Whitey (as Tracy Jones says) fired me when only whitey was mad.

700 WLW has some wonderful people. The entire news team. Wonderful. Segman. Great person. All the producers. Great young people. By the way, the day I was fired, I gave $375 to the producers to sponsor their softball team. Me, the part-time guy. Bill Cunningham is one of the best human beings I know. Jim Scott. Smooth. Good guy. Despite their shenanigans, Tracie and Sloanie are good people. Steve Summer and Bubba Bo. Good people. Sherry Rowland. A gem. I'm sure I forgot others.

Allow me to share some true stories about a few members of 700 WLW. Chuck Frederick is a phoney. He's a white collar, snobby, phoney. Cares about no one. Every time I spoke to him I thought yuck. Joe Frederick. The same. He once strangled an employee in his office. No discharge. And, I learned from day one, he hated and Chuck hated that a "Plaintiff's lawyer" got on their station somehow. Their buddies would pound them.

I thought Darryl Parks was my friend. Two weeks ago I wrote him a handwritten personal letter thanking him for his friendship. He's the double agent at the radio station. He acts like my buddy, but then would simply ignore emails, texts, or other things. When he got promoted, they had a party. I decided not to drive up from Independence. I learned three people showed up from the entire station. Wonder why? After I was fired, he responded to an email like he didn't know.

He is a big phoney. He is also a "coach". I marvel at this, because everything he told me to do, he never does, Doc Thompson never does it and thank God I didn't do all of it.

Also, he kept picking people over me. Thank him for Doc Thompson. His ratings are so bad, that's why he's on with Jim Scott all the time. It's why he invites himself to the Stooge Reports. All he does is ruin them. He's a complete bust. They have to try to save him to save face. Who gets excited to listen to Doc Thompson? Trust me. Most people at the radio station, myself included, think he's a dork.

Marc Amazon. Who gets excited to listen to him?

When they named me interim night time host in September, I asked Darryl "Am I the guy?" he said "yes". He told others I was. I sent an email about pay or insurance to Chuck and Darryl. They ignored it. Re-sent it. Ignored it.

From September, October, November, and December, I was on every night and every Saturday and Sunday except when basketball or football bumped me. No pay. The strain on me was unbelievable. I told my wife: "This will be worth it. I'm going to be the guy. Paid.". I hired lawyers. I ramped up Bulldog stuff and websites. I prepared. In addition, I was the only host without a producer lining up guests. All my music. All my ideas. All my bits. All my and Chuck Holbrook ideas. I had to prepare shows. I did it. What else did I do for 700 WLW:

1. Never was late

2. Always accepted the gigs.

3. Would go at a moment's notice.

4. Wrote Willie's book. Darryl asked to write the Intro. I agreed.

5. Went to events - Matthew 25/Car Dealers

6. Gave the station client exclusive interviews.

7. Did legal commentaries on a moment's notice

8. 5,000 people showed up at my MMA fight. Ten people showed up to watch Marc C lose to Willie.

What did I get out of all this? A lot of publicity. I benefited. No question. But, I was given a promise. Then, they chose Marc Amazon. They weren't even going to tell me. Rich Walburg made them. Chuck Frederick met with me and told me the news. I couldn't believe it. I sucked it up. To this day, I regret not telling them to jump in a lake then. Guess who Darryl Parks told to "warm up in the bullpen" when they thought Willie was leaving. Me. I was, in their minds, good enough to be thrown in for Willie, good enough to be the Bill Plummer, good enough to have more social network friends than any of them, good enough to build Bulldog Nation up, good enough to get speaking engagements. But, not good enough to be treaty with loyalty, decency, and respect.

Andy Furman. Escorted out of the building. Mike McConnell. Escorted out of the building. Paul Daugherty. Escorted out of the building. Eddie Fingers. Escorted out of the building. Rich Walburg. Treated like dirt when he left. No matter who you are, they don't care. It's a culture. And, review their current line up and compare it to a year ago.

Advertisers should not advertise. Listeners should not listen. Everyone there, except Willie, work in fear. As far as ratings, we were coached how to manipulate them. It works.

I was there for a long while. I formed relationships. Lance McAllister's wife works for me. I saw him every night I worked nights. Not as much as a text. Gary Jeff Walker. They mistreat him.

Why was I fired? I'll tell you why. In Chuck, Joe, and Darryl's eyes I got to big for my britches. Let me explain. They want you to become a radio personality. So I did. Sherry Rowland asked me to walk in the Reds Parade. (By the way, the Reds make they radio station. They count!) I said sure. Marc Amazon heard. He complained he wasn't asked. So they asked him.

I took Whiskey, got a Bulldog Nation Flag, my Reds hat, and showed up. Before and during the parade people shouted "Bulldog". No one even knew who Marc Amazon was. When Sherry Rowland text me: "How is it going?" I responded: "They love me." Darryl Parks, I guess was with Sherry, texted me: "Eric. They love you? Lose the ego." He destroyed my psyche. I texted back: "Do you want me to be a radio personality or not?". My day was ruined. Later, he tried to claim he was joking.

I could feel it. Doc T. Darryl. Marc C. Resentment. Here I am a part-timer and I'm more popular than they are.

I have been told by insiders they were waiting for an excuse to fire me. They jumped at the chance.

Clear Channel epitomizes the worse in Corporate America. By the way, they are struggling with advertising dollars. By the way, they will give more duties/hours to people, no increase in pay. Paul Mason. They are killing him.

I call on all of Bulldog Nation. Email them. Call them. Call their talk shows. Lie about why calling to the producers. Then blast them. Let's make them miserable. Make them use the dump button.

I'll help. Advertisers. Take your money some place else. If I can get one advertiser to cancel, I'd be happy.

Ask yourself this question: why do you listen or advertise on a radio station who mistreats everyone, including Willie?

The following is a sample of emails I'm getting:

"That blows, you were a refreshing, entertaining personality on WLW. I have a 13 year old son who over the course of last year or so has so much enjoyed listening to you that he wants to be a lawyer himself. It started last summer, when we were out on the pool deck, if you were on the radio, he would turnoff the local rock and roll station and listen to you. He still lights up if we are in the truck headed somewhere and you come on the radio. You unknowingly made an impression on him and gave him his first sense of what he may want to do with his life. We will miss hearing you on the radio."

Inspired. Informed. Entertained. Hell, Doc T and Marc C couldn't believe I could do stand up too. Their bashing of that was no act. It was real.

Finally, sorry folks if you think the Bulldog was going to put up with their corporate crap. I challenge Chuck, Joe, and Darryl to who has the better race record. You think those country club jerks can relate to black culture? Ever co-signed a loan for a young black man? I have a bust of MLK, Jr. in my office. They don't. I've already sent out my record. I won't do it again.

I'm not a racist. Clear Channel radio are racists. They are also phoney, uncaring, disrespectful jerks. Join me in making their lives miserable. I almost forgot that I am suing them for fraud for their misrepresentation. I also have reported them to the FCC for their fraud in not paying me. After January when they screwed me, they paid me $10 a hour just to not violate the rule. They stiffed me after Rich left. I told them to preserve all of their emails and hard drives so I can find out what they said to each other and prove none of their advertisers really cared about my video blog.

They have the Reds, the Bengals, the news, Willie and 50,000 Watts. That's it. It has nothing to do with their business talent. Let me tell you what they do when someone is fired. They send an email. Don't mention their name on the air or by a caller. It's funny. Also, they play the silence, hope it goes away card. Not going to work. I'm going to pound, pound, and pound.

I'll have even more to share next week. I think next week I'll share what they say about each other! Yeah Doc. Everyone thinks you're a dork. If I would have went quietly in the night, they would have won. Sorry. My style is to defend myself. I care about my family, friends, clients and fans. They need the truth. As always, they never abandon me. I don't care about the "haters" and Clear Channel radio. Leaving there is setting me free. They would have never allowed me to take off. Real Talk 1160 may be smaller, but they won't be holding Bulldog Nation back!"

What's clear here is that Deters hasn't had many, if any, real jobs outside his law practice, and didn't recognize nearly universal management techniques. What's more, he doesn't seem to understand that every radio station screws its on-air talent in the same way record companies exploit musicians, publishers exploit authors, art dealers exploit artists, etc.

And how did his restaurants fail when they received so much free publicity? For the same reason 700 WLW was eager to can him: his self promotion probably drove off more people than it attracted. In his own mind, Deters had the highest ratings at 700 WLW. But if the sympathies of this crowd is any indication, he had few if any admirers: