Monday, November 1, 2010

Vox in the Box (24): Talking to myself about Terry Pluto, Politics and other P.S.*

* (Pertinent Shit)

















Q: So what's your beef with Terry?
A: I have no beef. I like Terry, especially his weekly appearances on More Sports and Les Levine. I've read False Start, The Franchise and Tall Tales. Not spectacular books, but enjoyable, easy reads.

Q: But you're messing around with this format to mock him?
A: Terry isn't a very good columnist.

Q: What??? He's a nine-time Ohio Sportswriter of the Year. If I recall, you would often buy The Akron Beacon Journal in the early 90s just to read his articles.
A: That is true. I liked his positivity and affection for the Cavs. Also, his straight-forward approach, tinged with homerism, was a nice change from Bud Shaw and Peter Brown on WKNR.

Q: Well now he's at The Plain Dealer, and you don't have to waste your money on the ABJ...
A: (interrupts) The problem is that Terry doesn't write anymore. I'm not sure if he ever did. He talks to himself, scribbles in his notebook, and makes a bunch of painfully obvious observations. Counting off a few unrelated statements about a certain subject is not a column. It's a fucking outline. He might as well use bullet points.

Q: That's harsh. You do realize you're in the minority?
A: When am I not in the minority?

Q: You can't answer a question with a question!
A: That was rhetorical, bra. Look, I respect Terry as a journalist. He builds relationships with coaches and players, then digs out the story. But he's lazy now. I sat next to the press table at an important Cavs playoff game a few years ago, and he left at halftime. Granted, that was one instance- but the proof is in his work. "Terry's Talkin'"- that's a joke. It's not insightful or provocative. It's written for third graders. Also, I'm not interested in his pieces about Case, Mount Union, high schools, minor leagues, etc. If you want to cover the small time stuff, go write for The News Herald or something.

Q: What about his faith columns?
A: Those aren't as bad, but they're extremely trite. Simplistic.

Q: That's Terry's style.
A: And his style is vacuous.

Q: Do you think the emergence of the internet had anything to do with the decline in Terry's work?
A: You have no class. Besides, I don't even believe in that type of addiction. Hasn't affected my writing!

Q: Speaking of your writing...you've taken some heat for Vox's Top 100 Rock Artists.
A: Please don't use the word "Heat." As Simmons noted in his mailbag, LeBron is now taking mental notes. Watch out.

Q: How do you think the Heat will do this season? Championship?
A: Without Wade, the Heat are no better than any Cavs playoff team LeBron played on. Even with Wade (and he never plays a full season), winning the title will be a difficult task with no power-post presence. I'll take the field.

Q: What about LeBron down low?
A: Unstoppable. But, despite being the most gifted ballplayer in NBA history, LeBron is still very immature. He wants to be a distributor and/or gun threes. That's fine; he'll be successful in whatever he does on the floor more often than not. But I'm interested in seeing 35-year old LeBron. He'll be using his strength down low to dominate, and his skills will be even more magnified since he won't be able to rely solely on his physical gifts. I love seeing a former NBA superstar turn into a crafty veteran and win games with his head. Yes, in ten years (or in the fabulous new Nike ad), LeBron will looking at his own mortality in the mirror. Only when a man sees his flaws can he truly capitalize on his strengths (Eek, that sounded like one of those dreaded self-help books). My guess is he'll win a boatload of championships then. Right around 2020. And it won't be in Miami. Or Cleveland. Probably the Lakers or Knicks. Or the new Las Vegas expansion team owned by Mark Zuckerberg and coached by Mike Krzyzewski.

Q: You're sounding as diplomatic as Brian Windhorst.
A: And I'm glad Windy got paid. Our loss, but I'd have done the same thing. If BuffaloSportsTorture.com or SanDiegoSportsTorture.com wants to quadruple my salary, I'm gone. I'll be good in both markets. Either I head north to the Sundowner or south to Tijuana. They like you, it's guaranteed (if you watch the clip, go right to the 8:00-minute mark).

Q: You don't have to be strong for me. Just admit you're still hurting from The Decision.
A: OK, I am hurting. Some days are better than others, but, if I'm honest with myself...I haven't recovered. Connie Schultz wrote life went on in Cleveland after LeBron left, but she hasn't loved this team the way we have. She hopped on the wagon when we drafted him, like most Clevelanders. They have no memory of bad basketball. I'm scared of what I'll feel a month into the season.

Q: How will the Cavs do?
A: I don't know, but get on my back. I'm excited to savor every regular season victory again- the way we did the mid-90s. Four days in April, my friends, Give me those four days in April.

Q: Stop! They're better off tanking and rebuilding.
A: Eff that. Stern won't let us win the lottery again anyways. And, even if we do- that doesn't equate to a championship. LeBron exceeded expectations, and we still only advanced past the second round TWICE in his 7 years. So coach, Byron, coach. Shame he's here one year too late. Accountability and Mike Brown were never synonyms.

Q: Let's do some rapid-fire election-day questioning, now.
A: OK, but hurry up. The SciFi channel is about to show Wrath of Khan again.

Q: Strickland or Kasich?
A: Neither. Both candidates made me absolutely sick with negative TV ads. Strickland didn't lose 400,000 jobs. That's just bullocks. And I hate defending Kasich, but his "Wall Street schemes" involved trying to make money for his employer. God forbid anybody makes any money nowadays, right Ted?

Q: You're still upset with Ted from when he decided against "Dancers for Democracy?"
A: Come on, this is a family column.

Q: You do realize that Kasich is pretty friendly with Bono?
A: Yes, I'm the one that told you that.

Q: And Kasich loves Radiohead, particularly the underrated Kid A album...
A: Where are you going with this? I'm not voting for Kasich. From an ideological perspective, he's cut from the same cloth as George Bush and Jesse Helms.

Q: So vote for Strickland.
A: Not after seeing him fight dirty. The only thing worse than legislating morality, is legislating fear. Ted- if you want to criticize Kasich for being pro life, pro gun, pro death penalty and opposing medical marijuana and same-sex marriage, well I'm down with that! In fact, I'll offer my lifelong devotion to the first democratic candidate that truly calls out a social conservative. But the only mud Strickland's slinging is Kasich's association with Lehman Bros.

Q: Is not voting the answer? You'll have no voice.
A: Not voting is my voice. It's a cliche, but it's true.

Q: Tell us what you really think-
A: I think you should have to pass a test before you're allowed to vote.

Q: An IQ test? That's fascist!
A: No, not an IQ test. An easy Political Science 101 exam. I don't care if you're smart or where your beliefs fall. But you should have a fundamental grasp of government, as well as each candidate's stance on important issues. If you don't know the basics, you are committing an injustice every time you step into that booth.

Q: How about Cuyahoga County Executive?
A: I'm undecided.

Q: Matt Dolan?
A: I'm willing to occasionally vote Republican, but it would have to be a pretty special circumstance. Dolan's not special.

Q: Mayor Fitzgerald?
A: Um, does Ed even know the east side exists? He doesn't have a sign in sight. Not one. Also, he voted against the creation of the very position he seeks. So, no thanks.

Q: Ken Lanci?
A: (Silence)

Q: You're not honestly thinking of voting for Lanci?
A: No, but at least he's new blood for a supposedly new government. As I said in Vox Lox: Corruption in Cuyahoga County, it wasn't the political machine that was broken. It was the people running it. That's why I voted against the charter two years ago.

Q: Well then who?
A: I'm going to write in Mark from Norton Furniture. If he's willing to finance any jobber that walks into his store, well then perhaps he'll open up the credit markets and capitalism's wheels will miraculously spin freely in Cleveland.

Q: And Bill Mason?
A: You know I'm no fan of Mason. In fact, I genuinely dislike him, but the PD is jobbing him now. The crap the FBI is investigating has been going on since the beginning of time. If you want to target Mason's hiring practices, then you have to prosecute every "political ally" hire from a government official. And if you do that, you'll have 100% corruption. Shut it down, PD. Shut it down, FBI.

Q: Who is hotter: your neighbor or her boyfriend?
A: Now that's a great question. They're both pretty hot. She's an ice queen. He's more flirtatious. Remind me to delete this, should we ever become facebook friends with them.

Q: Concussions?
A: The NFL has a problem, for sure. They can't legislate mid-season, but they can't continue to watch their playmakers take defenseless hits. There are no good answers, and all I know is no son of mine will play football. I suffered a concussion on December 4th, 2000. One of the scariest moments of my life. I didn't know what day or year it was, and had no recollection of how I'd come to that point in time. About a month ago, I had my second concussion after an MPBL collision. That was far less severe, and I didn't know it then...but the doctor said a concussion is to blame for the neck pain and earaches that have plagued me recently. Once you've had one bad concussion, you are much more susceptible to future head trauma.

Q: The NFL has bigger problems than concussions...
A: That's true; a work stoppage in 2011 seems inevitable now.

Q: What's your take?
A: I support the players. It's the owners wanting to renegotiate, but they won't open up their books. The league is a cash cow, and yet there are no guaranteed contracts.

Q: Heard you won the Super Lotto saturday night?
A: Yep. I hit three of six numbers. It paid $2.

Q: I would laugh, but at least that's a $1 net profit. You must be down a small fortune from the horrendous football picks you release weekly on this blog.
A: I went 3-1 yesterday.

Q: Spare us. Your selections have been an embarrassment to you and CST, so far.
A: Agreed. I almost quit last week. I've been on losing streaks before, but nothing close to what's happened this NFL season.

Q: And what does the NFL stand for?
A: Nice Fucking Lines!

Q: How about New Fucking Leadership?
A: Needed in Dallas and Minnesota, no doubt. Don't get me started on how much jack Wade Phillips has cost me over the years. And Brad Childress, letting Favre cock-block Minnesota in the NFC Championship game.

Q: Boardwalk Empire?
A: Brilliant. The Sopranos in the 1920s.

Q: Bored to Death?
A: A triumphant second season. Kevin Bacon, to boot.

Q: Eastbound & Down?
A: Disappointing. Looking forward to season three, and Kenny Powers leaving Mexico.

Q: Give us a Random Top Ten, before we split. Your Top 10 All-Time HBO Shows?
A: 1. Sopranos
2. Six Feet Under
3. Carnivale
4. Entourage
5. The Mind of the Married Man
6. Big Love
7. The Wire
8. Lucky Louie
9. In Treatment
10. The Comeback

And that doesn't even include BE, B2D and EB&D. I also liked Tell Me You Love Me, John From Cincinnati, Oz, Sex & the City (occassionally...sshhhhh), Hung, and, of couse, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Essentially, I willingly consume anything HBO puts in front of my face with the exception of Flight of the Concords.

Q: Almost forgot- new U2 album in early 2011!
A: Heaven knows, I need it more than ever. But I'm not holding my breath for this record. As I said in Vox 23, the band has a complacent, almost monotonous vibe these days. Hard to fathom it'll be 20 years since Achtung Baby.

Q: Take us home, SamVox...
A: (clears throat)

To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel
On your knees, boy!


I move in mysterious ways in the box.
Parting is...inevitable