Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

The Real Truth About Imus August 27, 2007

Imus needs to Swallow His Pride

A kind reader named Charles wrote a great response to my last Imus article. As I started to write a reply, I decided that his thoughts deserved much more than a snappy paragraph.

Until now, I have simply been reporting the news as it is reported on the A.P. wire, various news reports, my email and discussion boards. Where Imus will land is anybody’s guess at this point. Buckley Radio, like WABC-AM and Citadel, is just another educated guess. Conventional wisdom tells us that many radio operations executive are sitting and dreaming of a way to get Imus on board.

The reality of the situation is that Imus, all sides considered, is a ticking time bomb for many reasons. That is why Imus needs to swallow his pride and do whatever it takes to get back on the air.



Imus’ Return Continues to Unfold August 26, 2007

Where Will Imus Land?

According to several sources, radio industry analyst Brian Maloney says that embattled radio personality Don Imus may likely land on WOR-AM in New York City as a replacement for Donna Hanover, the ex-wife of presidential hopeful Rudy Guiliani. From there, he could be syndicated nationally once again.

Hanover is co-host on a morning drive show that currently ranks a distant third in the New York market that Imus dominated for years. Frequent rumors had Imus joining WABC-AM, but those rumors have been denied by WABC management. Maloney believes that WABC and Citadel Radio will not dump its successful team of Curtis and Kuby who own the current #1 morning slot in New York.

Any return to radio is unlikely to include Imus’ former sidekick Bernard McGuirk, the one who started the questionable exchange that led to Imus’ termination by CBS Radio.



Dont Look Back and No Direction Home

More Insight about the King and Queen in Don McLean’s American Pie

While searching Netflix last week, I found two fims about Bob Dylan’s career. The first was Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (Dont {sic} as spelled on the DVD) and the second was No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (part 1). As part of my never-ending quest to offer plausible interpretations to Don McLean’s American Pie, I felt that I had to see these two films.

No Direction Home is a very good, two-part documentary about Dylan, directed by Martin Scorcese, with an incredible number of sound and video rarities (including some awesome performance footage from legendary artists). The commentaries will simply melt anyone with more than a passing interest in the history of rock and roll. So far, I have only seen part one and will take a look at part two later this week.

Dont Look Back is a sometimes silly and often irreverent look at Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in Great Britain. There are some memorable moments including verbal sparring by Bob Dylan and great live concert footage.

While there weren’t any earth-shattering discoveries in the films, there may be some interesting metaphors to be found in Woody Guthrie, Odetta Holmes, listening booths at record stores and Royal Albert Hall. To see what I think, visit my American Pie News and Updates Page.


Rangers Say “NO!” to Peca August 22, 2007

Sather Ignores Ultimatum by Peca’s Agent

Free agent Michael Peca has signed a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets for one year pending a medical examination. Statements by Peca and Don Meehan over the last two weeks indicated that Peca was close to signing with the New York Rangers. However, when Rangers’ president and general manager Glen Sather did not respond to an ultimatum issued by Meehan on Tuesday, Peca signed with Columbus.

Michael Peca’s interest in playing for the Rangers became a circus because Meehan and Peca negotiated in the media. John Dellapina and The Daily News acted as a pipeline for Peca and Meehan to the Garden Faithful. They tried to make a deal happen that apparently had no value to the Rangers’ management.

It is likely that there was a major deal-breaker somewhere in this whole process. Meehan’s ultimatum certainly didn’t make things pleasant, and ultimatums usually are the act of a bully or the result of desperation. While it is “admirable” that Peca wanted inside the Rangers’ Pearly Gates, trying to blast open the door likely was not the best approach.



Rutgers’ Star Kia Vaughn Sues Imus, CBS, CBS Radio, MSNBC and others August 21, 2007

The Backlash from the Imus-CBS Settlement Begins

Al Sharpton Still Cannot Shut His Mouth!

As it has been widely reported through the media in the last few days, Rutger’s basketball player has filed a defamation of character lawsuit against radio host Don Imus, sidekick Bernard McGuirk and CBS Radio for the “nappy-headed ho” comments made last April. According to USA Today, the lawsuit was filed hours after the settlement between Imus and CBS Radio was announced.

The suit claims that Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments. According to attorney Richard Ancowitz, the lawsuit is “basically about vindicating my client’s good name. This is not a situation she ever asked for, and she would love to turn the clock back. But unfortunately she can’t, because of what Don Imus said on April 4.”

Ancowitz speaks with forked tongue, people. This lawsuit is only about one thing: MONEY!



Just Say “NO!” to Peca & Meehan

Meehan Issues an Ultimatum to the Rangers

According to TSN, which quotes John Dellapina of the The Daily News, Michael Peca’s agent has issued an ultimatum to Glen Sather, New York Rangers President and General Manager. “We’re probably going to force the issue by (today),” Don Meehan told the New York Post. “If I can’t reach him (today), we’ll just go our separate way.”

Michael Peca, 32, an NHL journeyman who has played with five different teams and is coming of an injury-shortened season, is at the center of an amazing media blitz by Meehan to stir up interest. Peca has also made himself highly visible in the press as he fights to find a team willing to take a chance on him next season. He remains one of several high-profile free agents who have been unable to find a taker.

So far, nobody is jumping through hoops to sign Peca. At 32 and following a broken leg last season, there is too much speculation that Peca is a high-risk signing at the salary he might command. There is little doubt that Meehan, agent to many NHL players, is probably trying to inflate Peca’s value by creating an artificial bidding war.



The Sunday Sports Section August 19, 2007

NBA Scandal, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Michael Vick, Rick Tocchet, NHL Jerseys, Michael Peca

Under normal conditions, my interest in sports ranges from my deep fanaticism for the New York Rangers (and contempt for the other New York area hockey teams) to a long-lived loyalty for the Yankees and then to a fleeting interest in the New York Jets. However, the ridiculous sports news over the last few days makes me wonder how people can listen to sports talk radio for more than 20 minutes without developing a brain aneurism.

The sports pages in recent days reads more like a cross between a police blotter, a scandal sheet and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Without covering every arrest (Jose Offerman and his baseball bat attack), the NFL (National Felony League) and every non-news feature article, let’s look more closely at seven ongoing sports stories.

The NBA Betting Scandal

According to ESPN, former NBA official Tim Donaghy will reportedly give federal prosecutors information implicating twenty (20!) other referees in gambling activities as a part of his cooperation with government officials. Donaghy, who pleaded guilty on Thursday, Aug. 16, and was released on $250,000 bond, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.

Law and Order taught all of us about the value of uncorroborated accomplice testimony in a conspiracy, but this scandal serves as one more reason to turn off the NBA. The millions of dollars are thrown around the NBA as a result of exorbitant ticket prices, marketing agreements and television contracts,even though the NBA also has the smallest roster of any of the five major team sports in America. The resulting greed in the NBA is not only understandable, it is expected. The refs might as well grab their piece of the pie.