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01/24/13

Permalink 04:40:38 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 865 words, 1821 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

Jimmy Stewart's Porn Mag

Jimmy Stewart's Porn Mag
Notice the fine reading material on Jimmy Stewart’s coffee table.

It’s around 4 a.m. I can’t get to sleep. Vertigo is on one of the Starz HD channels. It only takes a few minutes to draw me in.

Kim Novak is in the next room freshening up. Jimmy Stewart, looking so safe in his green V-neck sweater pulled over a starched, white shirt, leans over from his 50s couch to catch a glimpse of her. Ol’ Jimmy, ever the gracious host, has a fresh pot of coffee within easy reach right in the middle of his Danish Modern coffee table. To the right of his silver coffee pot, is a matching silver creamer, but to the left of it appears to be a copy of Swank….

SWANK!?!

Good Lord! Choke! Really!?!

To men of my generation, Swank was one of the raunchiest skin mags readily available on the Quik Stop porn rack. Its slick pages were probably the first place where several of my friends and I were introduced to the concepts of girl-on-girl and anal sex.

I can’t really believe that Hollywood nice guy Stewart has a copy of Swank just sitting on his coffee table, out in the open for his lady guest to see. I use my DVR’s search feature to run the scene again to see if my eyes were deceiving me. They weren’t. 1080 pixels on a 52-inch plasma TV reveal that Jimmy likes a little smut with his java, evidently. I wonder if Clarence the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life had his wings repossessed after that one.

Jimmy Stewart's copy of Swank

Of course, Swank was a different periodical back in 1958 when Vertigo came out than it was in the 1980s when its covers lines promised “young, tight twat” in oversized typeface. According to Wikipedia, comic book industry pioneer Victor Fox started the magazine in the 1940s. Comic book historian Mark Evanier described Fox as “an old-time hustler/financier who’s spent years sprinting from one dubious enterprise to another.” Captain America co-creator Joe Simon called Fox a “very loud, menacing, and really a scary little guy.” He called himself “the King of the Comics” as he darted around his office, berating the likes of Jack Kirby and Bill Everett, the artists who’d go on to create most of the characters seen in today’s blockbuster superhero movies.

Somewhere along the line, Fox sold Swank to Martin Goodman, the future publisher of Marvel Comics and Stan Lee’s cousin by marriage. During this time, Swank featured stories penned by William Saroyan and Psycho author Robert Bloch, so Stewart’s disgraced cop in Vertigo could more easily claim that he only read it for the articles, and not all the girly pics that were likely snapped by Stewart’s photographer character from Rear Window—at least in the 50s of my imagination. The November 1957 issue featured a profile of Alfred Hitchcock just six months before the release of Vertigo. Maybe Hitch was repaying a favor when he allowed the mag to appear at the bottom of his frame in his 1958 masterpiece.

But the connection between Swank and Marvel Comics makes too much sense now that I think about it. In the 1970s, three random back issues of comics were bundled into these plastic packs and sold at places like Gemco and Ben Franklin Stores. I remember spending a lot of time trying to lift the visible top comic with my thumb to see what the middle book was, hoping against hope that it was an Avengers and not The Champions. I still ended up with nearly a complete set of The Champions anyway with most of them obtained through those three-packs.

Goodman’s porn overstock was packaged in the same way with printing on the plastic wrap hiding the magazine’s cover girls. I used to work at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco some four miles away from Jimmy Stewart’s Lombard Street apartment in Vertigo. The corner store where I got my coffee and bagels in the morning had a rack with those packs of porn on it over by some dusty bottles of cheap wine. One morning, the Iranian café owner from across the street held up one of the three-packs. “This is just like woman in the Middle East,” he quipped, “you can only see her face.” Everybody in the store broke out laughing after that one.

Martin Goodman, who had been a driving force behind both the comic book and men’s mag industries, died in relative obscurity in 1992, having long-since been eclipsed by such more flamboyant figures as Stan Lee, Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt. Marvel Comics marked his passing with just a short paragraph in their throwaway hype mag, Marvel Age.

“Nobody talks about Martin Goodman,” Irwin Linker, an art-director who worked for Goodman, says in Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: the Untold Story (Harper 2012). “It’s like he never lived, and he’s the guy who started the whole thing. It’s like he never existed.”

Goodman’s son, Charles “Chip” Goodman, sold Swank and what was left of the family’s smut empire to the Magna Publishing Group in 1993. By this time, Swank was hardly the kind of thing that men like Jimmy Stewart would just leave lying around his apartment.

11/13/12

Permalink 11:33:51 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 546 words, 8191 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

Thanks to Petraus & Broadwell, my ghostwriting gig sounds so dirty


Me with “Judo” Gene LeBell in 2003.

I have never had sexual relations with “Judo” Gene LeBell. Thanks to David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, I actually have to say this.

Way back in May 2002, I began working on LeBell’s autobiography, titled “The Godfather of Grappling.” During the following months I got to know the legendary martial arts master and Hollywood stuntman better than I know my own father—better than I know anyone really. There are few details of Gene’s life from the tragic loss of his first wife to his triumph in the 1954 AAU Judo Nationals or when Steve Martin threw him in the pool during the filming of “The Jerk” that aren’t rattling around in my head somewhere. This level of trust (dare I saw intimacy) between writer and subject sounds so dirty now. Thanks David Petraeus. Thanks Paula Broadwell.

My job in writing “The Godfather of Grappling” was a bit different than Broadwell’s with the unfortunately but hilariously named “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” I was ghostwriting an autobiography to be published with LeBell himself listed as the author with me credited as a more ubiquitous “with” or “as told to.” Nobody was expecting objectivity here although I did consider it my duty to try to push this man who had taught both Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris how to break arms to reveal aspects of his life that he was hesitant to. Sometimes I won these arguments. Sometimes I didn’t, but at least I didn’t end up with any broken fingers as a result of my self-enforced diligence.

Broadwell’s work bore her own name in big, white letters above the title, presumably to present Petraeus’ story and a good chunk of raw military propaganda as coming from an objective source. Although even here, Broadwell’s gushing tome still bears the credit “with Vernon Loeb” in smaller letters underneath her name, showing layers of ghostwriting upon ghosting. And while so many seek to brand Broadwell with the adulterer’s scarlet letter, we shouldn’t overlook her publisher, Penguin Press, for not holding the finished work to a higher standard of journalism even if the author herself wasn’t a journalist or a published author. Sadly, Penguin is set to make a greater windfall off of “All In” than their number crunchers could’ve ever imagined, as the book is soaring up Amazon’s charts right now.

My mind turns back to Broadwell being interviewed by Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show,” and her talking about going on six-mile runs with Gen. Petraeus to win over his trust. By the end of the segment she and Stewart are on the floor doing pushups (along with Broadwell’s cuckold Scott Broadwell). For me to win over “Judo” Gene’s trust, I had to go to his dojo in North Hollywood and get on the mats with him. During these sessions, Gene often leaned the full weight of his body onto me as he pushed his chest into my face and held me in a vice-like grip. I could only tap in submission as he demonstrated a series of agonizing joint locks and chokeholds on me.

It all sounds so dirty now.

Thanks David Petraeus.

Thanks Paula Broadwell.

10/19/12

Permalink 09:27:50 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 414 words, 13604 views English (US)
Categories: San Francisco, san francisco giants

The #RallyZito Phenomenon

Barry Zito Unicorn
Tonight Giants pitcher Barry Zito was as magical as the unicorns that he claims to keep in a stable.

#RallyZito was trending on Twitter all day–not just in San Francisco, but worldwide. It made an odd kind of sense that Giants fans would turn to the micro-blogging site to will their team to victory. After all, it’s only about a 15-minute walk from Twitter’s HQ to AT&T Park, where the Giants play ball. Giants fans understand this social networking thing.

And right now, all of those thousands of hashtags seem to have worked. Barry Zito, the one that all of those hashtags were directed towards, took the mound in St. Louis and won a do-or-die game five of the National League Championship Series. Zito has never lived up to expectations since signing a big contract with the Giants, but tonight he defied them.

All of those tweets, memes and changed profile pics may have had little real effect on the outcome of this game, but it’s still pretty amazing that Giants fans could impact the 50 million tweets that are posted on a daily basis to keep their virtual rally going all day long (and probably into tomorrow). St. Louis was on the verge of going into the World Series if they won tonight, but only a smattering of their players trended at all, and then it was only fleeting.

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn matched Zito’s shutout performance—at least for the first three innings—but St. Louis fans didn’t take to their laptops and Smartphones the way that Giants fans did for Zito.

Of course some Giants fans experienced some angry tweets from Cardinals fans over this whole thing, and that’s really to be expected. I’m sure that Cardinals fans have encountered more than a few obnoxious SF fans in 148 characters or less. But the Cardinals fan tweeting has seemed to be nothing but this kind of narrowcasting bordering on trolling.

Giants fans embraced the full potential of the medium and created a mini-movement out of it. Through the #RallyZito hashtag, local Giants fans connected with expat San Franciscans. No matter where they were physically, they had their moment of bonding over Zito’s amazing outing.

The Cardinals may still win this thing. Those red birds have been pretty tough this post season, but they’re going to have to go to San Francisco to do it where they’ll be only two miles from Twitter’s HQ.

10/17/12

Permalink 09:48:57 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 737 words, 18442 views English (US)
Categories: California, san francisco giants, rain delay

Rain delays, robot rabbits and killer tarps

The ball was grounded to second with the bases loaded. It picked up water as it skidded across the damp St. Louis infield, causing Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro to double-clutch the ball as he pulled it from his glove. That small delay allowed David Freese, the Cardinals’ lead runner, to score. San Francisco was down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning in game three of the National League Championship Series.

The skies above Busch Stadium in St. Louis opened up in that way that weather services had predicted they would all day. The players came off the field. The grounds crew dragged the tarp over the field, making this an official rain delay.

“Right now Noah would be impressed with what we’re seeing in St. Louis,” former Giants’ pitcher Mike Krukow said, describing the torrent to me as I sat there in my cubicle listening to what was once a ballgame through a set of headphones plugged into an old boombox.

The Giants’ broadcasting team on KNBR 680 San Francisco found itself with a lot of airtime to kill. That’s when things got weird.

Using what the situation had given to him, veteran broadcaster Jon Miller regaled his radio audience with tales of the drainage system at Busch Stadium.

“It’s sort of a sand-based system, but beneath all of that are these subterranean pumps,” he explained, before the discussion turned to the time that this mechanized tarp in the old St. Louis ballpark tried to eat Cards outfielder Vince Coleman before a playoff game in 1985.

Somebody in the broadcasting booth brought up this mechanical bunny that popped out of the infield in Oakland in the 1970s to deliver balls to the home plate umpire. The first base ump could also step on a switch to allow jets of air to blow the dust off of the base. The Giants broadcasting team all quickly agreed that such conveyances were just Frankenstein’s monsters waiting to harm even the best ballplayers. I think they said that Mickey Mantle was injured by some kind of labor saving device, and of course, there was Vince Coleman again.

“He was the fastest man in the league, but he couldn’t escape this tarp,” Miller added.

After lamenting the terror that Coleman must have felt as he was enveloped by that tarp, former Giants’ second-baseman-turned-sportscaster Duane Kuiper joined in with his account of rats running out from under the tarp in Cleveland and attacking the California Angels dugout. Krukow countered with tales of playing for the Amarillo Giants in the Texas League where the ballpark reeked of a nearby slaughterhouse and they sprayed the field for mosquitos twice during each game.

“I think it was Agent Orange they got cheap,” Krukow said.

Kuiper said, “Reno, 1972,” and I just couldn’t process it anymore. Reno, shit, I’m still only in Reno.

This rolling discussion of robot bunnies, rats and killer tarps almost made up for all those stranded Giants baserunners—almost. I wondered why they didn’t have TiVO for radio, and wished that I had a cassette tape handy so I could record this thing the old-fashioned way. The off-brand boom box made from silver plastic could still do that much even 30 years after it was bought at Radio Shack.

It was these weird conversations that cropped up during the slow moments of baseball games that made me think I could make it in sports broadcasting. I majored in Radio and Television at San Francisco State, but never really pursued it beyond announcing for Incredibly Strange Wrestling, a San Francisco mixture of punk rock and lucha libre. That was live entertainment though, and the crowds flung food, cups, beer and even shit at me. I also had to wrestle the Poontangler and Macho Sasquatcho from time-to-time, but at least I was never attacked by rats in Cleveland.

As the rain delay dragged on, the talk inevitably turned to how much better things are now.

“The minor league ballparks of today are nicer than Wrigley Field,” Kuiper said, and he was right. We’ve made everything so comfortable and so state-of-the-art, but there is a shame in that. What will the baseball announcers of the Year 2027 have to talk about? The Wi-Fi going out?

The game resumed several hours. The Giants hung on to lose 3-1. St. Louis leads the NLCS two games to one.

10/15/12

Permalink 11:13:39 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 344 words, 13600 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances, Iron Sheik Tweets, astronomy

The Implications of the Iron Sheik's Latest Tweet are Enormous

Iron Sheik Tweet
Former pro wrestling world champion The Iron Sheik AKA Sheikie Baby shook the foundations of astronomy and physics with his tweet earlier today.

Former WWE world champion The Iron Sheik rocked the foundations of what is knowable earlier this morning with a tweet about daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s successful skydive from the stratosphere.

“the (sic) Felix Baumgartner never sold out madison square garden,” the Iron Sheik tweeted, “ He no legend like the sheikie baby. fuck him and fuck space for putting him over.”

To those familiar with the jargon common to the pro wrestling industry, the implications of this angry diatribe are enormous. In just 108 characters, this wrestling legend has accused the vastness of space itself—which meausres at a minimum of 28-billion light years in diameter that we currently know of–laid down, took a dive, or jobbed out to a 43-year-old Austrian skydiver.

Even if we limit the scope of The Iron Sheik’s definition of space to only include our own Solar System, it would mean that something taking up over 14 trillion kilometers or 100,000 astronomical units knowingly and purposefully went down 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring to a much smaller opponent.

Sheikie Baby’s bromide may have consequences for the fields of religion and philosophy as well as for astrophysics. What the Iron Sheik is saying here is that the universe we live in “does business,” in that it will negotiate with often greedy and shortsighted promoters to elevate more photogenic stars. One would be tempted to summon the overly used phrase Lovecraftian to describe this, but the scope is so much more staggering than anything dreamed up by science-fiction author H. P. Lovecraft.

With this one tweet The Iron Sheik has transcended to the level of an Aristotle or 16th Century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes—thinkers who not only defined what is knowable, but the very nature of knowledge itself. The Iron Sheik first won the WWF (now WWE) world championship on December 26, 1983 at Madison Square Garden in New York in front of a sold-out crowd.

10/08/12

Permalink 11:40:53 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 1031 words, 15045 views English (US)
Categories: Politics, Wrestling, Television, Hulk Hogan Sex Tape

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape isn't snug; it's downright stiff

Hulk Hogan Blown Up
Hulk Hogan is totally blown up after only a few minutes of work. He obviously doesn’t deserve his pay-out from whatever money mark booked this abortion of a sex tape.

There’s a bitter indie wrestler inside of all of us, and that bitter indie worker has a stinging criticism of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape…

Hulk Hogan used to be an inspiration. I mean, his work rate always sucked, but the Hulkster could work a crowd. You can’t take that away from him. He could just cup his hand to his ear and draw the fans in. When he tore his red and yellow Hulkamania shirt off his massive back, we knew who this man was. But after watching Hogan’s disrespect the business during his latest sex tape, I’m not sure I know this Hulkster anymore.

I mean he totally just mails it in. He just casually removes his shirt and pants instead of ripping them to shreds. He doesn’t face the camera and go into a pose down to work the marks. And when the wife of his best friend wraps her lips around his penis to get him hard, he doesn’t even bother to sell the move, to purse his lips and fling the sweat from his wisps of fried hair. He even takes the time to answer his cellphone mid-fallatio. And when he gets on the phone, he could’ve given the fans what they paid for and cut a mad promo about his 24-inch pythons like he did back in the day on “Saturday Night’s Main Event,” but he can’t even do that.

The only reason Hogan is even in this sex tape is because of backroom politics—the kind of Kevin Nash/Hogan/NWO era backstabbing and influence mongering that are keeping talented indie workers out of the bedrooms of their best friends’ wives right now. Hogan is now a cancer in the locker room and the bedroom!

Now when I defended my Solano County Maximum Carnage Hardcore Championship at Nü Star Pro Wrestling’s Gymnasium Arena Wars In Your Face: Total Extreems 2 at the Deer Valley High School Multipurpose Auditorium in Antioch, CA, I left everything in the ring in a way that the Hulkster hasn’t in decades. But even with my gut-wrenching performance in my no-rulz-barred, falls-count-everywhere title defense against Johnny Supremes, I still had something left in the tank later that night when I found myself back in the studio apartment of one Tammy Lynne Trinity, the former girlfriend and ex-valet of my former tag-team partner, the Alameda Assassin.

I have to tell you that the air in that tiny room with a small kitchenette in the Buchanan Gardens Apartments that night was freakin’ electric man. She had just downed a couple of shots of Jager and was halfway through a cold bottle of Smirnoff Ice, but I could tell that she was still at the top of her game. She was dangerous.

Now somebody like Hogan would’ve just seen a second-hand futon that me and Alameda hauled in off the side of the Capistrano Street, but to me this was the squared circle, and that Section 8 apartment was Madison Square Garden. Did I just stand there and let her do the work the way that Hogan did? No. I had Slipknot’s “Disasterpiece” all cued up. I stood on her sofa and flexed every muscle in my arms and neck as hard as I could to let Tammy Lynne and the fans know that I meant business in there—that the same guy who fought to retain his title after being slammed on a bed of thumbtacks in front of a capacity crowd of at least 98 people was going to give it his all.

And once me and Tammy Lynne Trinity locked up, we told a story in there. That’s what you have to do if you want to be successful in this business—you have to work with your partner to tell a story. Hogan just laid there, letting his celebrity do the work for him. Tammy and I traded positions. The fans were totally on edge, thinking I was going to finish when she got on top of me in a reverse cowgirl with her back facing me, and started to grind it, but then I reversed it by rolling her up into a legit doggy style with her face driven into this California Splash Water Park throw pillow that she scored in Pleasanton when she was a kid.

And I could’ve taken it home right there, just like Hogan did, but I didn’t. If there’s one other thing that you have to do in this business, you have to build up to it. So just like I did in the ring that same night, I hit the Cloverleaf Spinebuster, my patented finishing move. Tammy took the move perfectly. She totally put me over in there, which was the right thing to do. Tammy gave back to the business that made her.

Sometimes it’s all about cardiovascular conditioning, so I know to stay away from the fast food, the Jack in the Box. I mostly stick to eating the Buffalo Chicken Ranch Melt at Subway and wash it down with an Orange Dream Machine Smoothie from Jamba Juice. From the three comments on my vid on YouPorn, I know the fans appreciate my total commitment to athleticism. But do I get a shot at the WWE or TNA? Do I get screen grabs of my sex vid posted on The Dirt or Gawker?!? No way. It’s the politics of this business. No matter how past his prime Hogan gets, he’ll always be on top–even when he’s on the bottom. But I’ll tell you this: I’m still the Solano County Maximum Carnage Hardcore Champion. And the only way you’ll take this strap away from me is at Nü Star Pro’s Slaughter in the Stadium: No Return Back next month at the Flamingo Banquet Hall in Vallejo. Be there.

Special thanks to Shane “Doc Atrocity” Hanson and Holzfeuer for ideas and inspiration.

09/24/12

Permalink 12:49:08 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 562 words, 19646 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

Dragging Dr. Seuss Through Birther Paranoia

Conservatives crap all over the Cat in the Hat

I may have found the most twisted piece of conservative propaganda print matter out there. I know this is saying a lot with those Nancy Pelosi hunting licenses and the targets with Al Gore’s face in them that you can get at gun shows, but some Tea Party hobbits went and published this 55-page fake version of Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat.”

I almost have to hand it to the knuckle-draggers who put this thing out. At first glance, it does look like a Dr. Seuss book until you realize that the mischievous feline of your childhood has been replaced with a racist caricature of Obama wearing a Soviet fur cap with a sickle and hammer on it.

“I know you are poor/And the outlook’s not sunny/But we can have fun/With others people’s (sic) money!”, Dehumanized-Soviet-Obama says on page seven as he looks like he’s climbing through a window. (I think it’s actually supposed to be a TV set from the MSNBC logo in the corner there.) Also, that thing he’s carrying is a teleprompter. I couldn’t figure out what that phonebook on the end of a T-square thing was until I noticed that he reads from it sometimes. Conservatives are really hung up on the whole teleprompter thing.

Things even weirder when you realize that the fish in the bowl that lectures everyone on debt and death panels is supposed to be Glenn Beck, whom this little ball of birther hatred is dedicated to. Checking out the website ObamaParody.com, it looks like they’ve revised newer editions to have Mitt Romney in the fishbowl instead. “A lone fish stands in the way of this fate/Can he wake up the voters before it’s too late?”, it reads with a Mitt-fish-thing popping out of a teapot to scowl at the Obama-cat-thing.

This whole demented fever dream is the product of Loren Spivak, the self-proclaimed “Free Market Warrior.” The art direction is credited to Patrick Fields, but it doesn’t look like he did the actual drawings that make up the bulk of this book. Tucked away on the page of publishing info, underneath a “please don’t sue me” disclaimer saying that this is “a work of parody,” is an acknowledgement that reads, “Leandro Martins Moraes: Illustration.” Sure Martins Moraes’ style is akin to psychotic doodles that an overzealous prosecutor would use to convict some stoner kids of murder without any physical evidence, but shouldn’t he still get a little credit here? I guess Spivak and Fields figure that they’re the job creators, and the Latinos that they rope into drawing insipid agitprop should just self-deport already.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid show up as “Dem 1” and “Dem 2” and tear up the constitution. The Obama-Cat bows to Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez while Osama bin Laden beats on Hosni Mubarak, who is wearing an “Egypt <3 USA” shirt. By the end of the book, Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss and Franklin Roosevelt are so fed up with Obama’s extreme leftism that they start waving around a Tea Party flag. This book was printed in China. A really nice old man handing me a copy of this book at the California Republican Convention in Burlingame way back in February, but I must’ve blocked it out of memory all this time.

09/04/12

Permalink 10:37:09 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 297 words, 13059 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

National Review Goes Full Nazi in Making the Case for Romney

Romney Nazi
Which one is the Nazi propaganda poster and which one is the the cover of the National Review with Romney and Ryan on it? It’s damned hard to tell.

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton got in some hot water over the weekend for comparing the Republicans’ messaging strategy to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ “big lie"–you know, the one that becomes true if you repeat it often enough. Of course, the Republican outrage machine was, well, outraged. Burton issued a measured apology. Etc. Etc.

But it gets really hard to say that the GOP isn’t taking a page from Goebbels’ playbook when the late William F. Buckley’s old rag, “The National Review,” chooses a cover like this for their big Romney/Ryan issue….

Not only did the cover editors of “The National Review take a bite of any old Nazi propaganda poster, but they took the one from the cover of “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” by Steven Luckert and Susan Bachrach, a book that you can order from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

I guess Mitt’s stronger than any brown shirt though because he can hold up his gigantic flag with only one arm while carrying a bunch of rolled-up propaganda posters in the other. The Nazi stormtrooper needs both hands to hold his banner aloft. Also, it’s nice they added Paul Ryan carrying his high school year book or an old school family photo album back there. It gives the “National Review’s” take on this classic a homey touch of Americana. Maybe the next issue of “The National Review” will feature Romney wearing a suit of armor and carrying the flag while riding Rafalca. Maybe “National Review” hired the graphic designer who used to work for the Meat Council

08/15/12

Permalink 10:38:55 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 915 words, 23040 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

The Melk Man with Feet of Clay

The Melk Men, a costume wearing group of fans of suspended Giants slugger Melky Cabrera, had fans of their own. (Photo courtesy of Ali Meza.)

The first time that Giants fans paid any real attention to Melky Cabrera, he was on the Atlanta Braves. It was the bottom of the ninth of the 2010 National League Division Series, the first round of the playoffs. The Giants led the game by a score of 3-2. Brian Wilson, San Francisco’s beardy closer, had walked two men, putting potential game-winning run on base. Melky came up to the plate with two outs. A single could tie the game, or maybe even win it if the ball fell in just the right place.

Cabrera wasn’t yet the hit machine that he would be two years later. He grounded out to third, bringing the Braves’ season to a close. The Giants won the game, advanced to the next round of the playoffs, and eventually won their first World Series since the team moved to San Francisco in the 1950s.

Following the loss, the Braves released Cabrera. The Kansas City Royals scooped him up for the 2011 season where he showed a marked improvement Despite his .305 average and 18 home runs that year, the Royals still traded Melky to San Francisco in the off-season. Once he was wearing Giants orange and black in 2012, Melky became more than just an up-and-coming outfielder with a little bit of promise. He was a phenomenon.

He racked up a league-leading 159 hits as if he were the second coming of Tony Gwynn. He tied and broke obscure team records once held by the great Willie Mays. Melky was the 2012 All-Star Game MVP, an award that came with a trophy and a bitchin’ Camaro. We, the Giants fans, cheered him on like he was Will “The Thrill” Clark, and Melky soon collected catch phrases along with searing line drives.

The Melkman delivers.

Got Melk?

Today just before noon, we learned that the Melk was full of hormones—enough to land Cabrera a 50-game suspension, and end his season as the Giants are struggling with the hated Dodgers to hold onto first place.

We had seen this before as Barry Bonds’ skull expanded like he was the Incredible Hulk. This wasn’t natural, but we still worshipped him from the bleacher seats anyway. Jose Canseco, the Typhoid Mary of Major League Baseball steroid use, played for the A’s on the other side of the Bay. BALCO, the company that supplied Bonds and several others with the juice, was housed in a nondescript office in Burlingame. By 2012, we should’ve known better, but we didn’t.

Just five years after Bonds played his last game in San Francisco, we wanted to believe that the Melk was organic; that this previously lackluster player could go from zero-to-hero. It seemed as if the entire population of the Bay Area logged into Major League Baseball’s website to vote over-and-over again to get Melky into the All-Star Game in July, and it worked. Melky’s virtual coattails also pulled catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo “Kung-Fu Panda” Sandoval into the starting lineup of this year’s National League All-Star team. This pissed off New York Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson, who was reduced to tweeting his outrage. San Francisco Giants fans felt good about this. We had the ballpark that was walking distance from Twitter’s HQ. New media had beaten old media.

So when Melky hit his homerun and won that MVP trophy, we felt like we were a part of his triumph and vindication because we had all come together to put him there.

Melky was a meme. He was virtual, viral, crowd-sourced, and community-driven.

The grassroots effort to rally Bay Area baseball fans to put Melky on the All-Star team was led by the Melk Men, a group of fans that showed up to AT&T Park dressed in old-timey milkman attire with white hats and orange bowties. The Melk Men did a dance called the Melkshake that looked like Axl Rose’s stage gyrations if the Guns N’ Roses singer were completely cartilaginous. The Melk Men became as big a phenomenon as Melky himself. They were interviewed by ESPN and the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Giants radio announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow lauded their extra effort, and got especially excited when the the Melk Maids joined the Melk Men in the stands. Even Melky himself took notice. After his triumph at the All-Star Game, Melky even took the time to thank the Melk Men for helping him get the votes he needed to get there. This humility on the part of the All-Star made San Francisco love him even more.

The Melk Men used cosplay to express their fandom in a way that wasn’t all that different from how Trekkies dress like Klingons at “Star Trek” conventions–only the Melk Men’s idol was one of flesh, blood and shortcomings. Trekkies never have to worry about if Michael Dorn is taking acting-enhancing drugs, but Melky’s art takes place in real time. His actions may not only keep the Giants from getting to the postseason this year, but will also taint the team if they do. We are now left to wonder if Melky—a player who existed as much in cyberspace as he did on the playing field–would’ve been an All-Star without the added testosterone, but we probably already know the answer.

02/26/12

Permalink 12:31:51 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 213 words, 7214 views English (US)
Categories: Appearances

Cain + Gingrich = Caingrich

I was able to get some decent shots of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich as they were making their way out of the California Republican Convention yesterday. Please appreciate that I don’t have one of those long-assed lenses (nor would I know how to use one if I did), so I had to get real close to Newt to get these shots of him.

Click here for my report on Newt’s new obsession with algae (he said the word ten times) and how he talks kind of like the Robot Monster.

Herman Cain
Young and old alike miss Herman Cain in this race as much as I do (along with Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewert, Bill Maher and just about everyone else with a pulse).

Herman Cain
Herman Cain at his most Herman Cain.

Herman Cain in Burligame
More of the Cain Train. Oh how I miss the Cain Train.

Newt Gingrich in Burlingame
Newt Gingrich probably talking about algae. This man loves algae.

Newt Gingrich
Come on Newt! Smile for the camera! Newt: “I am smiling.” Um, maybe you shouldn’t smile. Note: you can see Calista Gingrich’s helmet of hair behind his right shoulder. I should’ve tried to get a shot of her, but I realized that Herman Cain hadn’t left the building.

Soviet Cat in the Hat
Okay, this thing needs it’s own blog post, but I haven’t “read” it yet.

:: Next Page >>

Beer, Blood and Piecemeal.

The rock and reading odyssey of a 300-pound hulk.

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