Friday, July 22, 2011

NFL Commish needs a vacation, or better comms people

Because it's timely and I'm an NFL fan (and season ticket holder), I'll weigh in here with something I think is important for anyone in a position of authority or happens to work in the communications realm.

If the ratified CBA the owners sent to the NFLPA yesterday was not exactly what the players union saw earlier in the week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped right in the poo less than 10 seconds into his media briefing yesterday.

Because the last thing I need is some kind of copyright gripe, the video is easy enough to find over on

Said Goodell, "... The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players..."

Whooooaaaaa, hold on a minute cowboy. Really?

There are two big problems with that. 1. As stated above, if what you (eventually) sent to the players was not exactly what they saw earlier in the week, then no, it was not fully negotiated with the players. And 2. If it had been negotiated with the players why would you make a statement that implied ratification by the NFLPA should be a foregone conclusion? Wouldn't a joint press conference with Demaurice Smith and the player representatives have made a lot more sense?

Maybe the commissioner, who is famous for his up at 5:00 a.m., done around midnight workdays, needs a vacation.

Now I'm thinking I might be setting myself up to be Sam "Ace" Rothstein in that car talking to Andy Stone about Nicky Santoro in "Casino," but I digress.

Nevertheless, this brings me back to a recurring theme in the communications realm lately. Who is writing this stuff? Doesn't anybody pay attention to detail anymore? Doesn't anyone understand the magnitude of their words, written or spoken, in the public realm?

I don't know or care who or what's to blame for this epidemic, but all the commissioner had to say was the following and there would have been no backlash.

"The clubs have  reached an agreement among themselves that they believe is in the best interest of all parties and will allow the NFL season to begin as early as Saturday morning. There are details within this agreement that still need to be reviewed by the players' association, but we believed this is the most expeditious way forward at this moment. It is possible additional negotiation may be required. We thank the players for their efforts in bringing these negotiations to their current state and look forward to concluding these matters in very short order."

Period. End of story. No ruffled feathers. Players, your move.

How hard was that?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Making peace with Neko Case

I’ve been promising this post for too long. And now that I’m on the mend and think I have the proper (read: non-reactionary) perspective, here goes.

Back in April, I saw my sixth or seventh live Neko Case show, this time at the venerable 40 Watt Club in Athens, Ga.

That I live in Atlanta wouldn’t seem to make a trip to Athens such a chore, but in reality, it was. That’s a long haul back on a school night even when there’s not any booze involved. Fortunately the set didn’t go a minute over what I’m certain was the contracted 90.

See what I did there?

Oh yeah, by the way, why the hell wasn’t there an Atlanta play as long as the crew in the neighborhood? Some “distance/radius” clause to which the promoter made the booking agent agree?  Bullsh*t. They could’ve done double the revenue with essentially zero travel by adding an Atlanta play with no harm done to the Athens sellout.

I knew exactly what I was getting into with this show: same crew, same material. I was holding out hope of the one percent possibility she’d get into some of the Furnace Room Lullaby and Blacklisted material. And perhaps that the cool 40 Watt vibe would elicit some, well, I don’t know what. Those are long odds and one would’ve been correct to bet the chalk.

Here’s the set list: “Things that scare me,” “Maybe sparrow,” “Fever,” “People got a lot of nerve,” “Pharaohs,” “Hold on, hold on,” New tune, “Margaret vs. Pauline,” “I’m an animal,” New tune “Calling card?,” “Fox confessor,” “Red tide,” “Polar nettles,” “The tigers have spoken,” “Middle cyclone,” “That teenage feeling,” “This tornado loves you,” “Vengeance is sleeping,” New tune “Friday night girl?,” “Don’t forget me,” “Knock loud.”

I could rant until I’m blue in the face about what a travesty it  is that the crew is traveling without a keyboard with so many tunes that necessitate it, especially “Vengeance is sleeping,” “Red tide,” and “Don’t forget me.” Or about the frequency with which Case and Rauhaus change instruments that it impedes the development of any kind of groove in the show, or about the redundant set list selection. Or about the start/stop that happened somewhere mid-show. Or about the sophomoric front-of-house sound engineer. But that’s not what this is about.

Then I realized what I wanted. And I’m as much to blame for not figuring it out sooner.

While later lamenting that there aren’t enough Sadies tunes on the jukebox at my local, I realized I don’t want to see another Neko Case show. What I want is to see Neko Case with the Sadies. Awesome on their own account, stuff like “Loretta,” “I’ll be around,” “Set out running,” “Soulful shade of blue…” THAT is what I want to hear live.

So, dear Ms. Case, I’d never begrudge an artist their commercial spoils, especially after years and years of toil for meager wages. You, however, earn no more ticket sales revenue from my wallet until you tour with the Sadies. And stop in Atlanta.

Respectfully, Pauly D.

P.S. There's only one audio channel on this here Youtube video, but here's a little Neko Case with the Sadies (and Rauhaus, too).