Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

Official hiatus

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I know I've been scarce as it is, but this is just a note to say that TUC is on hiatus while I attend to some personal business. Hopefully I will be able to return, sooner rather than later.

Talk soon and yeah hey,


It's Lanny McDonald's fault

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You're wondering what happened to the 100th column, right?

Well, when news came out that the father of Pretty Boy Jesse Palmer was willing to pay Horn Chen $100,000 for the rights to the Rough Riders' name and logo, I pretty much snapped. Bill Palmer, if you'll remember, is part of the U.S. investment group that's looking to bring back football to Ottawa. And being the glutton for punishment that Palmer is, he thinks that traditional sentiment and pop culture mockery are more important than wiping the slate clean.

The Citizen reported that Chen will be selling the "R" logo, along with the name. But I don't see how he couldn't throw in the Lanny McDonald emblem as a freebie. I mean, if you're going to bugger things up right from the get-go, you might as well make it somewhat amusing.

It's...The List

Friday, August 11, 2006

All right, I promised you a list to coincide with my 100th column. A bit of history, a ton of non-sequiturs and other little tidbits I have picked up in these past two years.

Firstly, a bit of background for those of you who don't know how I got here...

When I was 19 or 20 (so long ago now that I can't remember), The Driver and I were out, and he had turned on what was then known as OSR 1200 (currently The Team). Someone was being interviewed, and it was a person I was familiar with. His name was Greg Hetson -- a guitarist for Bad Religion. As the interview concluded, Fugazi began to play, and then the program went to commercial.

I was pleased as all hell, because I thought I had discovered a punk radio program. But it wasn't. It was Jim Rome. That's how I found him. From there began several years of me calling his program and dabbling in some other forms of media, including radio and television (both of which weren't for me).

In early 2004, the Sun had taken on a female "writer" whom I took issue with, because it was obvious that she was employed due to her pulchritude, which was highly ironic given the medium she chose. I had no issue with her using her assets, but this wasn't the place for it. I wrote the editor and expressed my displeasure. He remembered me from the radio. Long story short, he gave me a job, and I've spent the last two years trying to piss people off every Sunday.

(Aside: Greg Hetson and I have since met several times -- he's always good for some choice L.A. Kings dirt whenever we cross paths.)

Which brings me to my first point:

- I knew before I entered this business that some of the bands I loved were close friends with NHL players. These bands are a plethora of interesting info, and love to talk. Some of my best sources for elite players in the league are in punk rock bands.

- It seems silly, but the thing I like most about this business is coming up with ideas in the most inane, private moments of my everyday life. I could be having a shower at 2 am and think to myself, "The Leafs should trade Mats Sundin." Then I sit in my office, write it all out (100% of the time in pajamas), and a couple of days later, I'm getting emails from all over the globe about it. It's very cool to me.

- The things I like the least: Off-topic readers (a piece about Antoine Vermette suddenly turns into a pro-Leafs rant in my inbox), plagiarism and the press box.

- About the press box (a.k.a. Butterknife Row): Yes, it's a free seat. It's also high school revisited. But they do have hot chocolate...with marshmallows. I'll always make one before an overtime starts.

- The Driver does the best freaking Patricia Boal imitation ever. I'd rate it 5 Boo Boo avatars.

- My two favourite entry draft moments from last year: 1) Coming out of the washroom and nearly running Gary Bettman over. I wasn't wearing heels, and I towered over him. 2) Having a good chat with Marc Staal at a media meet-and-greet, only to be interrupted by one of the most respected insiders at TSN. Anyone else would've been thrilled to talk to this person. Staal looked completely crestfallen.

- I yell over top of TSN's The Reporters like Bill O'Reilly. Every facet of that show makes me want to peel off my skin and throw it against a wall.

- I don't really tend to read too many blogs, even now. When your content and word count is unrestricted, it becomes a bit much for me. A lot of them are WAY too detailed for my tastes. Usually I'll just check them out when I'm looking for quick hits.

- I also don't read a great deal of other opinion work. I like to check out what others are saying, but there's only a handful of media that can truly captivate me on a regular basis -- all of whom are American.

- No matter what anyone says, I will continue to support the Lynx for as long as they are here. Ray Pecor is a quality owner with the patience of a saint.

- Sometimes I regret what I said about Sidney Crosby; sometimes I don't. I'd just like for him to mature, which would allow my opinion to change.

- The most neglected feeder league into the NHL from a Canadian media standpoint right now is in my opinion, the NCAA. As more and more American players are drafted from U.S. colleges, it seems extremely obvious to me that the coverage should increase, beyond the weekly blurbs and monthly interviews. This is a bandwagon that I want to get on, ASAP.

- Harsh or not, it's my belief that listening to the majority of Ottawa sports radio could qualify as a murder defense.

- We all come down so hard on hockey players for giving inane interviews. Marcus Allen-esque news flash: If you actually put some time and effort into creating interesting questions, even the most stoic NHLers will open up. Any beat writer/journalist/media hack that opens up their questioning with, "Talk about..." should have their credentials revoked. This must be taught in J-School somewhere, because I sure as hell would never consider doing it.

There's more, but it's hypocritical for me to complain about word counts, only to go off on a Larry King-type tangent. More later? We'll see.

From the AHL website:

"The Milwaukee Admirals unveiled their new logo, home and road jerseys, and a new color scheme featuring black, silver, and ice blue today at a party at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage on the Summerfest Grounds.

“We are extremely excited to reveal our new look,” said Admirals owner and CEO Harris Turer. “This is a new era for the Milwaukee Admirals and we want to start it off in a tremendous way on the 1st. We are thrilled to share this big night with all of our fans and sponsors.”

The logo, which was designed by Joe Locker of YES MEN, a Milwaukee ad agency, features an Admiral of a ghost ship with the tag line, “Never Say Die.” The logo and slogan come with quite an interesting story that traces the origin of the new logo, which, as it turns out isn’t new at all.

The Admirals (sic) new logo is actually an aged version of the team’s logo from the late 1970’s, a short young lad who was lost in the waters of Lake Michigan back after the 1981 season and was recently found. The only thing that managed to keep him alive all these years was his fighting spirit. In fact, after one of his legs fell off, he used it as a hockey stick to hone his skills.

After over 25 years of being underwater, the red white and blue uniform had faded to the black, silver, and ice blue, and had turned his fresh young face into a skull. Despite all of his changes, his fighting spirit never wavered and that relentless spirit and tireless work ethic have given us our new battle cry: Never Say Die!"

100th column

Monday, August 07, 2006

(Aside -- this is the most amusing magazine cover I've seen in a while.)

This upcoming Sunday will be my 100th column. (Yes I know, a hundred too many.) Anyway, I was thinking of doing something different for it. Maybe a list format, maybe something else? I know I'll definitely try and do a list on the blog of things I've learned/encountered in the past two years.

So what do you guys think?