Monday, January 16, 2012

Pourtout Pancakes is returning soon...

Hey everybody, Pourtout Pancakes will be back very, very soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finally The Rock has come back to WWE...does it really matter?

So finally, The Rock has returned to WWE...

Video to watch: The Rock

Despite not working for a professional wrestling organization anymore, I still love the sport and follow it as much as I can.

It really started when I was a little kid and my grandparents used to watch the WWF every Saturday and treat it as if it was a real sport. If anyone even dared to say that the WWF, NWA or WCW was fake, they would get admonished greatly. Even to this day, some family members will never state that wrestling is fake.

You can say its acting, scripted, worked out, but don't call it fake. Those men and women are out there working hard out there and to call their art that is insulting.

I'm starting to sound like this guy...

Anyway, because of the influence of the family, I've taken professional wrestling more seriously than most other people really should. Even when I've gone periods of not watching it consistently, mainly my college years in the early 2000's, I still would find time to watch an episode of Raw, Nitro, Smackdown, ECW, etc.

Working for an actual wrestling organization made me watch the sport even more because it was part of the job to view the competition as well as your own work, but it helped me see the entire scope of the industry. This was good but it also took out some of the fun of being a fan and I looked at it as more of a business.

What does all of this have to do with The Rock's return?

For the first time in a long time, I felt like the fanboy that obsessed with the sport as a teenager.

When the arena lights went down and The Rock's theme music came on, I literally yelled out loud in my house and went off. It was an incredible moment that I didn't see coming.

With the internet age we're in, the difficulty of keeping a secret in wrestling is harder than ever. I'm sure there was a Web site or a few reporters who figured out that the guest host for Wrestlemania was going to be Rocky (one fan in the arena sitting behind the announce table had a sign for The Rock when he came out). However, it was great to finally be surprised for once.

I thought the actual promo was solid. I read a comment online that said The Rock looked rusty but I didn't see it. In fact, for someone who hasn't cut a long promo in that format in years, he did amazing. I thought the comments as Dwayne was a nice touch as well. His interaction with Michael Cole was funny as well, especially when you consider the history that both of those men have together. However, there were two things that I question from The Rock's promo.

1) Why was he so persistent in promising to never leave WWE again? The Rock kept saying that he was returning for good to the WWE but wouldn't say in what capacity. I have to believe that the acting career isn't over. Shoot, he's in the new movie in the Fast and Furious franchise that comes out this summer. The commercial was in the Super Bowl.

I don't think you're going to see The Rock lacing up his boots and trying to get the World Title. Why would The Rock put his body through the strains of being a wrestler when he can do just as well acting?

I think you're going to see The Rock on WWE television heavily for the next month promoting Wrestlemania but after the event, you may see him once every two to three months.

2) Why did he go off on John Cena? I understood him going after The Miz, the current WWE Champion. The Rock is a face, Miz is a heel, that's basic Wrestling 101 right there.

I'm not a fan of John Cena's character. Cena is a loyal to WWE and has been excellent for the company. In fact, Cena has been the biggest money maker for WWE the past seven years since The Rock left.

I was very surprised that WWE, mainly Vince McMahon, allowed The Rock to go after their cash cow like that in a public forum.

An amendment to that is that the Rock said all of his catchphrases during the promo but if you noticed, half of them were beeped out, which would have never happened in the mid to late 1990's or even the early 2000's.

The result of that is you have a generation of fans like myself who are frustrated about the censorship of the product and the representation of that has been Cena. Therefore, you have many fans who dislike Cena and I guess The Rock was trying to express that.

My final thought on this is that we've seen WWE bring back former stars in the past. I remember when Hulk Hogan returned for the first time in a long time years ago. I remember the reunion of the NWO in WWE. Outside of Randy Savage, Bruno Sanmartino and the Ultimate Warrior, we've seen every big name the WWE has ever had in its history, come back for one more run. However, the reality is that each of those returns produced a moment of glory and not much else. How will The Rock be different?

I've already had two friends tell me that they're coming to Wrestlemania in Atlanta just to see The Rock and seen numerous people online saying that they're now interested in the event.

I was going to order Wrestlemania on pay-per-view before The Rock's return but now I regret not having a ticket to go the actual event.

I think The Rock and WWE will be making a lot of money in the next few months.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Thoughts on the 2011 Grammy Awards

Time to give a general commentary on the Grammys that took place on Sunday night.

Music to listen to: I Know You Know/Smile Like That by Esperanza Spalding

-Justin Bieber fans need to fall back: Its one thing to want your favorite artist to win an award. Its another thing to hack into the Wikipedia page of the other artist who got the award and leave negative messages towards them.

That's what happened to Esperanza Spalding when she won the Grammy for Best New Artist over Bieber on Sunday.

First, the whole "new artist" concept is flawed. Spalding has released three solo albums. Drake has been featured on songs for at least three years but released his first full length album this past year. Florence & The Machine along with Mumford & Sons have released work as well. Bieber has even had some work that would make him not be considered a "new artist."

What I'm trying to say is that you can't take this award too seriously and the Bieber fans who see him losing the award as a terrible moment need to gain perspective.

-I should have seen Spalding winning from a mile away: I'm a big fan of her work and have been following her work for a few years. I just didn't think she would win but it's not as big of an upset as you would think.

Most of the voters for Grammy awards tend to be "traditionalist" in nature and that's really code for old people. They tend to go for artists who could be defined as true musicians, which means playing your own instruments on stage. They'll throw a bone to an artist like Lady Gaga for things like Pop Vocal but look at other artists that have dominated Grammy awards in the past. Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, etc. You get the idea.

When you look at the New Artists, here's what the majority of voters were thinking.

"I'm not going to vote for Justin Bieber because he's a pop star who dances and the only person who knows who he is may be my daughter. I've heard of Drake but he lacks the musicianship I like in my New Artist. I'm not familiar with Florence & The Machine. I've heard of Mumford & Sons but I've really liked the jazz works of Spalding and think she's a true talent who may be the best prodigy in her genre in a generation. She will get my vote."

That may not have been the thinking of every voter but enough of them had this thought to produce the result.

-Not knowing who the artist is shouldn't be your ultimate judgement on the quality of the work.

I know that I'm the exception to the rule for the majority of people because I know of many musical acts in nearly every genre out there. I've heard of Spalding. I'm very familiar with the work of Lady Antebellum. Heck, if I made a list of the top-10 albums of 2010, The Suburbs by Arcade Fire would have probably made the cut.

However, even if I didn't know who they were, that wouldn't give me the inclination to dismiss their work.

The biggest problem, actually there are two problems that are happening with commercial music today.

-The majority of music airplay on video channels and radio are pop and rap. Actually calling this a problem isn't correct because I'm a fan of Jay-Z, Eminem, Bruno Mars, Usher, Drake and Rihanna, all artists who had a big musical year in 2010 as far as airplay goes. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are hit or miss for me and as much crap as he gets, Bieber is OK by me. I really don't listen to his music much but its hard to avoid knowing of his songs if you follow music. I do respect his hustle though.

The problem with this is that genres such as alternative rock, country, jazz, dance, electronic, heavy metal, R&B, hard rock, punk, etc. aren't getting as much attention in the mainstream.

That's how you can have an Arcade Fire or Sterling win an award in the most public forum in music, the Grammys, and a majority of people not know who they are.

-We've become an IPod/Pandora society in relation to music. What's happened is that fans of groups such as Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Minus the Bear, Mars Volta, Maserati, Block Party and other groups of that ilk have said screw it to trying to listen to songs by those artists on the local rock or pop stations in their hometown and going online to get the music.

I can honestly tell you that I listen to 80% of my music from my own collections whether its a burned CD, ITunes downloads, Pandora internet radio, 10% goes to college radio stations and the other 10% goes to traditional radio stations. What this means is that I'm probably going to listen to a Black Angels song before Lady Gaga and I'm not alone.

When I was younger (back in the 1980's and early 1990's), you would listen to a station and literally hear Dr. Dre, Nirvana and Mariah Carey on the same show. Now, those are three different stations, two at the least. That's how I became a fan of all genres of music.

The country music interest came from living in Nashville for seven years. However, I've always argued that I would like country music even if I never lived there but it would be less likely if I stayed in the Northeast where I was born.

What's happening now is that people only seem to stick to their favorite genre or artists and are fiercely loyal to it at the detriment of acknowledging other works.

That's when you get supporters of artists such as Bieber or Lil Wayne who become downright hostile when you suggest that another artist may be better. Those are mainstream examples but I'm sure each of you can think of a musical act, known or not, that have these same supporters.

I'm on record as saying that The Mars Volta is not only my favorite group of the last 10 years but maybe in my lifetime and I'm sure that the majority of you don't know about the band. If I made the same statement about someone like U2, I would get some critiques but in the end you would listen to my argument more because that's a known group. If I make the same case for Volta, you would probably tell me to go back to my mother's basement and keep my indy/emo crap to myself.

What does this all mean?

It means that we're finding less diversification in the music choices of people, especially if there under 25 years old or older than 50 years old.

Therefore, we have things like Sunday night take place.

-Despite all of that, I enjoyed Eminem's album the most of the choices for that category. This doesn't mean that Arcade Fire's album was bad, in fact I liked it also.

-I'm over Will and Jada Smith's kids. I enjoy the acting of Will and Jada but I'm done with their darn kids. I don't want to see them in a movie, telling me what to do with my hair, rapping, all of it. Leave me alone.

-Mick Jagger has been and always will be awesome.

-If anyone should have beef about not winning an award in a category, its Cee-Lo Green. How does Fuck You not win Record of the Year?

-On that accord, how does Love the Way You Lie not win Song of the Year?

OK, those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Repost: Not Bitter on Valentine's Day? I Was Shocked Myself!

Here's a repost of my Blog entry from last Valentine's Day. I was going to do a new post but the emotions are the same this year. Enjoy...

Music to listen to: Lila's Dance by The Mahavishnu Orchestra

So Valentine's Day was on Sunday and it was the first one in a few years that I was bitter that I was single. I think this is for several reasons.

First, I think that people, especially women are finally catching on to the overrated “holiday” and I use that term loosely. You shouldn't have to wait until February 14th to express your love to your girlfriend, it should be a daily event. Plus, I've said this since I've been a little kid, you should be insulted if your boyfriend treats you well on only one day of the year. So this has been an improvement. You're still going to have the few that take the day TOO seriously, but its ok.

Second, I really think that the economy has had a major effect on the “holiday.” People are struggling to pay bills and are literally losing their jobs, so the concept of spending thousands on a gift is a lot for us these days.

Third, on a direct personal level, I've gone through a complete reevaluation of my life and I'm not happy where I'm at professionally and personally, more the former than the latter. I'll get into that distinction at another time, but the point is that I've been more concerned about things like how I'm going to pay rent and what I want from my career in the next five years than worry about my dating situation.

Fourth, I've been single every single Valentine's Day in my life, literally. Even back in elementary school and junior high when you would just pick someone of the opposite sex and keep it moving, I never did that. I even broke down about it at 16 years old, will never forget it.

I was coming home on the subway and I saw at least five couples my age looking happy and exchanging gifts. Women were carrying flowers and candy, men were appreciating the affection and I was there staring at them, giving them the patented mean look. It was based on envy and when I got home, I started to cry because of my feeling of lonliness. I balled my eyes out for nearly an hour.

What does all of that mean? If the same thing happens for nearly 30 years on the same date in an annual basis, why get mad at it? I'm going to be single, most likely for the rest of my life, and I've accepted that. No need for tears.

Fifth, being single on this “holiday” saves money and I take pride in my thriftiness with my finances. You can call me cheap, I don't care.

Finally, the “holiday” does focus on love within dating relationships, but it does promote the concept of love in general and who can hate on that?

Before you can find happiness in your life, you have to appreciate the happiness that others are experienceing in their lives. Instead of having jealousy for people who are in loving relationships, I should acknowledge and approve of it. Love is hard to find and not all of us will feel it in our lives.

Plus, your time will come. It may not be soon and it may not be in the form that you expect. I may not come across a loving relationship with a girlfriend or wife until I'm 80 or I may meet her tomorrow, or even worse, maybe I've already experienced it and didn't understand it. Maybe my true love will be a dog I'll purchase next year. Either way, it will happen for me.

So, I wasn't bitter on Valentine's Day and it felt good.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Reflections

Time for some Reflections

Music to listen to: Where I End and You Begin by Radiohead

Its been another long spell since I've written on Pourtout Pancakes. Its strange that when I was my most active personally and professionally, having a full-time job, going to graduate school at night, dating, etc. I wrote on the Blong consistently. Now, even when not having full-time work, I'm spuratic with my posts.

There are two main reasons. First, I've been focusing on The Sports Inquirer. Second, I didn't want to write about the same stuff each week. A normal post would be about me applying for jobs, going on an interview, two if I'm lucky, not even getting a call back, being lonely in Georgia because while I love my family and enjoy my time with them, I'm a sports professional and should be working at a game in some form. How it kills me to watch sports on television, especially college contests involving Belmont and Vandy and missing the heck out of Nashville. How I'm in the worst financial state I've even been in my life and I'm 29. How I've finally reached the point where I want to start a family and struggling with my dating life.

No one wants to read about those things consistently on a Blog.

However, I've learned that despite this being the roughest patch of my professional life, I have to improve my grind. If I want to reach my professional goals, I have to dedicate completly to my work. Every moment should be dedicated to something that helps grow my brand.

That means writing more posts and not watching reality television. The more time I commit to writing will make me a better writer for my eventual sports business magazine.

It means doing a physical workout instead of searching odd topics on Google. This will not only keep me healthy and increase my lifetime, it will make me look better when I'm on television providing my analysis of said sports issues.

I see people like Darren Rovell, Peter King, Jay Glazer, Jason Whitlock and numerous others and their work ethic is much better than mines and that disturbs me because I can be at their level, maybe even better but I've been wasting my time feeling bad about the cards I've been dealt.

I was released from a job that I really, really liked. Didn't deserve to be let go in my opinion but that's not going to be the first time this has happened or will happen. I have to move on.

I had to leave Nashville, which bummed me out but I didn't want to leave the first time. I didn't want to leave Charleston when I lived there. When I eventually move out away from where I'm currently at, Kennesaw, Ga. I'll be sad to leave here also. I'm probably not going to live in Nashville again, loved my time there, miss my friends there, but I have to move on.

I'm not going to start that family I'm interested in having for a few years. I want to achieve things that are going to take several years to gain. There's no need to have a mental scoreboard comparing how many of my friends have reached the benchmarks of top job, marriage and children in comparison to myself. Not only does this waste time but everyone's journey is different so let them live their lives.

So the final message of this post for myself is to improve my work ethic and try to enjoy this journey of life.