Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007 From All Mixed Up Radio


All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Theyll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

If you've ever seen my house, you know it's not very big...a Cape Cod that we expanded (a bit) to be able to finally put all three kids in their own rooms. That said, my wife's entire family invaded in waves on Christmas Eve. The first two waves landed by 7 PM...the other two followed shortly thereafter. By the time all forces had landed, there were 14 of us who for some reason were all crammed into the kitchen.

Well they call Him by the prince of peace
And they call Him by the savior
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill His churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in Him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robbers den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Actually, I like my wife's family, so don't read anything into that. It's just a lot different from the quieter, smaller, more reserved Irish family I grew up in. That said, things were a bit subdued - 8-year old Riane came down with strep throat and a 102 degree fever late Sunday and shivered her way through the day. Needless to say, I didn't think she'd have any trouble going to sleep at night once the prescription medicine kicked in.

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Santa made his customary cell phone call around 8:35 PM Christmas Eve; seems he was somewhere over Brazil at the time. Based upon the length of the conversation he had with Riane, it's a wonder any of the kids in Brazil received any presents. He told my 6-year old son that he was bringing him an electric guitar. Sure wish someone had warned Dad about that.

2007 has been OK by Monaghan standards. Work is going both jobs. The Red Sox won yet another World Series title in my lifetime! More importantly, Daughter #1 has already been accepted at three colleges (my little baby is growing up!) and has grown into a strong, beautiful young woman. Daughter #2, strep throat and ear infection aside, is doing just fine, while Son #1 just spent the past 5 weeks playing in an indoor baseball league against 9 and 10 year old kids. He even made his pitching debut yesterday!

And if you're a regular listener/reader, you know how I feel about my wife. She is - bar none - the best thing to ever happen in my life. I like to think that I'm a better person for having married her.

I have to get back to work - about to leave the radio station for Job 2 - but let me leave you with this.

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus
Jackson Browne - "The Rebel Jesus"

I'm neither a heathen nor a pagan. But I do have a special place for the music of Jackson Browne in my heart and that song has always struck the part of me that gets overwhelmed - and just a bit stressed out - at this time of year. If you don't celebrate, or if you're not a believer, the Christmas season (which seems to begin earlier every year) can be an absolute onslaught on your senses. Look, I've been in retail; I know what this time of year means to many businesses. But there's a point at which you say "enough." And if you've reached that point, then those lyrics are for you.

Merry Christmas from the Monaghan family to you and yours.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Glen Burtnik Live On All Mixed Up

Glen Burtnik will be my guest on next Sunday's edition of All Mixed Up. You have a chance to win tickets to this exclusive, intimate performance this Sunday (December 9) beginning at 7 AM.

Glen's annual Christmas concert takes place on Saturday December 22 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Complete details on the concert can be found here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Daddy's Friend Dave

It was about a year ago. My friends Maury, Tim, Chris, Mark and I were playing a gig at the Rattlesnake Ranch Cafe in Denville. A woman walked in, and Maury and I remarked to each other how much she looked like our friend Pam Kaskeski.

The consensus was that it couldn't be Pam because she and her husband Dave and their kids live in Delaware and there was simply no way they would be in Denville NJ on this cold December night.

We were wrong.

Rattlesnake Lounge Surprise

Dave, his wife Pam, and Johnny & Karen Fecco (who came all the way from Knoxville TN!) showed up en masse that night, along with a number of friends from the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, in what turned out to be a kind of farewell for all of us. Dave's cancer had recently returned and while he was putting up a good front, we would eventually lose him in the spring of 2007.

But for a few hours on that late December night, we were all together. Laughing, singing, joking. And my kids (shown dancing with my Goddaughter in one of the pictures) were finally able to put a face to "Daddy's friend Dave" who they were praying for every night.

I miss you, Dave.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where'd I Put My Resume?

"Dad, can we move to Boston?" "Well I suppose we could, Matt?" "Yeah...and I'll just bring my friends with me!" Oh to be six again and think it's all that simple.

But the fact of the matter is, there's an opening in the Red Sox front office - Vice President of Public Affairs - that is quite similar to the job I held with the Newark Bears a few years ago.

Where'd I leave that resume...and when was the last time I updated the darn thing?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Alice's Restaurant" - What's the Big Deal?

Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.

"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"

Poor Arlo Guthrie. Don't get me wrong. I like Arlo. He's a part of American folk history, and honest-to-goodness he has recorded more than one song! His version of Steve Goodman's "City Of New Orleans" is among my favorite versions of the song. But for 364 days of the year, no one gives a rat's you-know-what about Arlo. Then, you get within a sniff of Thanksgiving and it's "What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'" You don't want to know how many phone calls radio stations get on this. One year when I was working Thanksgiving Day morning, I literally answered the phone with the times the song would be played that day. Not "hello," or "WNEW." Just the times that the song was being played. Kids are dying left and right in Iraq, we're spending BILLIONS of dollars a month over there, but dammit, we better get "Alice's Restaurant" on the air. Priorities, you know.

Mind you, this song - now 40 years old! - has ZERO significance in 2007. Wait - I take that back. Just like 40 years ago, we are mired in a war thousands of miles away in a place that I guarantee you many Americans couldn't find on a map if their lives depended up on it. But I digress. First, there's no longer a draft. Second, if you're not from the NYC area, you don't know the significance of Whitehall Street. And if you are under the age of fifty-freaking-two or three, there's an excellent chance you never went through a draft physical or won't understand many of the other dated references contained in the song.

One year, we had a program director at WNEW-FM who was trying to overhaul the station. He decided that we weren't going to play the song. This program director was an interesting sort of guy - no one had his home telephone number, which meant that if anything happened during off hours, no one had a means of getting in touch with him. So anyway, there's poor Ken Dashow on the air getting absolutely HAMMERED on the phone by listeners who are in a blind rage that a Thanksgiving is going to happen and WNEW-FM is not going to play this stupid song!

"It's tradition, man! How can you NOT play that song?!?!?!"

Long story short - Ken finally calls the station general manager at home who tells him to play the song. Wanna bet what went on behind the scenes on Monday morning when the PD and GM met in the hallway?

I'm all for tradition. We try to take the kids to the parade in New York every year. We gather as a family and tell stories and laugh. We tell each other how glad we are to have them in our lives. We don't need Arlo or anyone else playing in the background to make or break our holiday.

How's this for an idea - spend the $1.99 to download it to your IPOD and play the song non-stop.

So anyway, yes WDHA is playing "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving. 9 AM, noon and 6 PM. Far be it from us to mess with tradition.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hy Lit 1934-2007

If you listened to Philadelphia Top 40 AM radio at all in the 1960's, you should remember the name Hy Lit. Hyski, as he often referred to himself on the air, was to Philadelphia radio as any of the legendary WABC jocks were to New York City radio.

Along with afternoon jock Joe Niagra, Hy Lit (6-10 PM) was the pulse of Philadelphia, rocking on WIBG with ratings numbers that are still hard to comprehend (at his peak, I think Lit had something like a 40-share at night - he virtually owned the young adult audience in Philly!). Scott Muni and Murray the K here in New York always talked about their relationships with the Beatles, but Lit could go them one better. When the Beatles first came to Philadelphia in 1964, they stayed in Lit's home instead of at a hotel.

I can't even begin to tell you how many nights I listened to Hy Lit's show on a transistor radio tucked underneath my pillow. His signature close is still in my ears -

"Lookin up at the old clockarooni on the wall, it indicates its time for Hyski to split the scene and leave it clean...make way for the Frank X Feller record machine. What say we do it again, tomorrow night 6-10 in the the meantime, inbetween time, maintain your cool, don't be nobody's fool, live love laugh be happy, and go in peace...peace and freedom for all mankind."

Hy Lit passed away on Saturday November 17 from heart and kidney failure at Paoli Hospital in Pennsylvania. He and all those guys at Wibbage, as WIBG was called back then, were instrumental in creating a love of rock & roll and radio in me at a very early age.

Rock on, Hy Lit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Memo To Theo - Short & Sweet


Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Sox - World "Serious"

World "Serious." It's one of the last little-kid-isms my 6-year old son has left in his vocabulary, but it's so absolutely perfect in describing how fans feel when their team makes it to the championship game. In fact, my wife, oldest daughter and I have all told Matthew's 8-year old sister Riane that she is to stop correcting him on it. We're not too sure that she understands why, but so far she's willing to go along with the rest of us on this.

Down 3 games to 1 against a Cleveland Indians team that had dismantled the Yankees, I have to admit that the mood in the Monaghan household wasn't all that positive, although once Josh Beckett started to announce his presence with authority (to steal a line from Bull Durham), I started thinking that winning this thing might be possible after all.

This has been a terrific season so far. Among the highlights - just about any time Jacoby Ellsbury has been on base, holding off the Yankees, winning the division, steamrolling through the first round, and of course pulling out the pennant after being down 3-1 against a very good Cleveland team.

But the best part of the baseball year for me actually happened rather quietly during a mid-summer's day game in Fenway Park. My 17-year old daughter and I took in a game while looking at New England colleges. On a beautiful sun-drenched afternoon watching the Red Sox win, I turned to her and said, "This is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I love sharing this with you." She turned to me and said, "It's one of my favorite places, too. Thanks for taking me here."

Last night she and my wife surrounded me on the couch as Dustin Pedroia slammed a double off the Green Monster, Kevin Youkilis drove a ball high and deep into the Boston night off one of the Coke bottles in left, and Coco Crisp made another ESPN Web Gem catch to end the game. And as Jonathan Papelbon beckoned for Jason Varitek to "come to papa" in celebration of the 27th out, they were both telling me how much they wished they were at Fenway. But at that moment, sharing the experience of having my favorite baseball team in the World Series with two of the most important people in the world to me, there was no other place on earth I wanted to be.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

J.D. Drew - Better Late Than Never

He has a reputation for being soft. One Red Sox front office executive told a gathering of team fans earlier in the season that there was some concern that while he has all the tools to play baseball, J.D. Drew doesn't always appear to play with any passion.

Last night's first inning grand slam changes everything. EVERYTHING.

Oh, and guess who was supposed to be in Fenway Park last night for the festivities? I HATE when work gets in the way of having fun!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Of Fathers, Sons, Baseball and Healing

That little boy in the picture is my 6 1/2-year old son Matthew; the photo was taken this past Saturday on the Bronx campus of Fordham University at an alumni baseball event. Matthew is an absolute baseball junkie. He eats, breathes, sleeps and lives baseball. His first words in the morning are very often "Dad, did the Red Sox win last night?" When I told him earlier in the week that we were going to a baseball-related event at the school on Saturday he immediately wanted to know if he could wear his uniform and bring his bat and glove.

Just the idea alone that I was back at Fordham is probably cause for a raised eyebrow or two. I called the school "home" for five years but since graduating in the late 70's I have not exactly been the Poster Boy For Universitas Fordhamensis Alumni and in fact it was probably the first time I have been back on the campus in a decade. Suffice it to say that certain university policies both during and after my time as a student have not always met with my approval.

That said, there's always been a rather big connection between my family and Fordham. My Dad came home from the war and after working for Pennsylvania Power & Light for a few years enrolled in the school and graduated in 1954. A large number of cousins on both sides of my family went there as well. And truth be told, I brought Matthew's two older sisters along on Saturday with the hope that 17-year old Courtney would take one look at the campus (which has always been beautiful) and say, "Dad, I think I might like to go to college here."

Matthew knows little about Fordham other than it's in the Bronx near the zoo and both his Daddy and his grandfather went there. He is completely unaware of my rather tumultuous relationship with my own father while I was in college or the myriad of medical malfunctions my body was going through at the time (Doctor to me during my post-lottery military physical - "Son, don't worry about the draft. It would cost the Army too much to fix you up."). The surgical scars on my knee are visible but as you probably know from your own personal experiences, it's the invisible scars that often are more painful and take longer to heal.

So there Matthew and I were on Saturday - on the same field where my Dad and I, his only son, once walked around. "Want to have a catch, Dad?" I often wonder how many times I asked my Dad that question as a kid and now here was the spitting image of that man - albeit a miniature version - standing there asking the same question of me. I called my wife and told her that she wouldn't believe the range of emotions rushing through me while Matthew and I were working on his circle change (how many 6-year olds have a circle change?). And as he and I stood there on an exquisitely beautiful autumn Saturday afternoon playing catch ("Let's use a hard ball, Dad."), Fordham almost felt like home again.

Thanks, Matthew. Your grandfather would be so proud of you. I know that I am.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Putting Yankees/Red Sox Into Perspective

Columnist Jackie MacMullen had a great quote in this morning's Boston Globe -

"All of us. Let's be clear on this. When Boston loses to New York one time, it feels the same as getting swept in a four-game series by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It means at least three taunting text-messages from your obnoxious college friend in Brooklyn, at least one smug phone call from your dad, who grew up in Queens, and, to be sure, at least six dozen e-mails from Red Sox fans who are convinced this time the sky - including the Prudential, the John Hancock, and the Citgo sign - truly is falling."

That about sums it up I think.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Marshall Crenshaw Live On All Mixed Up - Win Tickets 9/16 and 9/23

Old friend Marshall Crenshaw will be my guest on an upcoming edition of All Mixed Up and starting this Sunday you will have a chance to win tickets to an exclusive, intimate taping which will take place on Wednesday September 26 at the Original Music School in Cedar Knolls. Be listening starting in the 7 AM hour for your chance to win. Marshall's latest CD is called What's In the Bag; his website is here.

Marshall has two NJ shows coming up - September 27 at the Stanhope House and October 6 at the Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands. Click on the above link to Marshall's website for full information on those shows...and make sure you're listening to All Mixed Up these next two Sundays for your chance to win.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Clay Buchholz

I was supposed to be in Fenway Park last night, but I had trouble reaching my ticket connection. Didn't miss anything...that is if you don't think throwing a no-hitter in your second Major League start is anything.

There's been a lot of talk (hype?) about young pitchers this season - the Yankees have three whom the fans are salivating over. Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are considered to be the future of the franchise. The Red Sox already have Jonathon Papelbon set as a dominant closer, Manny Delcarmen has pitched extraordinarily well out of the bullpen, and now rookie Clay Buchholz has thrown a no-hitter in just his second Major League start. Chamberlain's slider is absolutely filthy. Hughes started off great before an injury set him back a bit. And yesterday, Ian Kennedy looked very strong against a Tampa Bay lineup that had spanked Hughes around the night before. If they have any kind of poise, pitchers generally have an advantage the first time they face a team. The Orioles had never seen Buchholz's curve ball before, so they had no idea what the break of it looked like. He even fooled the plate umpire a couple of times.

Look what's happened to Hughes. Great start. A near no-hitter himself in his 2nd outing before getting hurt. Now, he's having some trouble getting people out. Why? Well for one, he's had enough outings that there's all kinds of video on him now. Plus, hitters like to talk to one another, so word's getting out. As great as Chamberlain has looked, remember that most teams are only getting one look at him in a series (think there's a message in "The Chamberlain Rules" that have been dictated to Joe Torre by the front office? They're probably scared to death that Torre will do to Chamberlain what he's done to other relievers - burn him out). It will be interesting to see what happens next season if the Yankees put Chamberlain in the starting rotation. Major League hitters make adjustments all the time; sometimes those adjustments happen game-to-game and sometimes they happen within the same game. Put Chamberlain on the mound for 7 innings every 5 days for a couple of months and see what the results are. I'm not saying that he won't do well. What I am saying is that 1) he won't be able to hit 100 consistently over the course of a game and 2) the hitters are going to make adjustments.

Look at Mariano Rivera - why are some teams able to handle him now? One is age is catching up to him and another is that the hitters know what his pitches do because they've seen him so often. Not that he isn't still very good most times and sometimes still dominant, but he's not the same as he was in the days when John Sterling dubbed him the Greatest Relief Pitcher Of All Time.

So while last night there was all kinds of talk on ESPN and Red Sox-related Internet forums about putting Buchholz in the starting rotation for the remainder of the season, keep in mind that he had a distinct advantage last night. Talk to me after he's gone through a half-dozen or so starts and the adjustments start.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So Where Were We?

With temperatures in the 50's and rain on August 21st it's more like October outside than the so-called dog days of summer, but the American League appears to have allowed the Yankees to creep right back into the pennant race - not just for the Wild Card but the Eastern Division pennant, too!

Two months ago the Yankees were in second place in the East with a 35-35 record, sitting 10 games behind the Red Sox. They were also 6 games out in the Wild Card race. Since then, they've gone 35-20 (.636 winning %) and cut the Eastern Division lead in half and shaved three games off the Wild Card lead (remember, it's the loss column that counts).

How'd they do it? Some of it is the law of averages. With ARod, Jeter and Posada all having career years, and a payroll over $200 million the Yankees simply weren't as bad as they may have looked at times before the All Star Break. The Red Sox - as good as they are - also weren't going to play .700 ball for an entire season. Injuries, slumps, the Gagne Mess - all of that contributed to an evening-up of things in the Eastern Division.

Some random thoughts -
  • Phil Hughes is very good, but let's not make room for him in Monument Park just yet.
  • Joba Chamberlain has a filthy slider, but I still think that at least part of his success here in the very early days of his Major League career is due to the fact that he's only pitching one inning at a time, and so far not on back-to-back days. Major League hitters make adjustments on pitchers all the time. Why do you think the Red Sox have been able to handle Mariano the past few years? Because these two teams play each other 19 times every season. Let's see what happens with Joba after he's been through the league a few times.
  • Tim Wakefield should get 7 more starts this season and has a chance to win 20 games for the first time in his career.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman did an amazing job of rebuilding the bullpen.
  • The Mets have a combined 13 games remaining against the Phillies and Braves. And Pedro is having some difficulty getting hitters out in A ball.
  • To read some of the comments from readers of The Boston Globe, you'd never know that the Red Sox still have the best record in baseball. Terry Francona must be doing something right.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome Back, Jon Lester

On the surface, this would seem to be about a baseball player coming back off the disabled list and playing in the Major Leagues again. But it's so much more than that.

Eleven months ago to the very date (Aug 23, 2006) Boston Red rookie pitcher Jon Lester walked off the mound in California in a game against the Angels. Lester had been wracked up pretty badly in a game versus the Yankees five days earlier in Fenway Park. It was revealed shortly after the Yankee game that Lester had been involved in a minor traffic accident on the way to the ballpark. He was still OK enough to pitch against the Angels and even won that game. However when he realized that the post-accident pain in his lower back wasn't going away he went for some tests and found out some devastating news - he had cancer.

When you're 22 years old as Jon Lester was at the time, you tend to have a feeling of invincibility. It's the nature of being in your early 20's. And though the doctors told him it was a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma when you hear someone tell you that you have cancer, your entire world changes.

It's an insidious disease that sooner or later touches everyone of us. You may be battling cancer yourself at this moment. I lost a very close friend in early May to lung cancer. Three members of my immediate family have all successfully beaten cancer.

Tonight in Cleveland, 11 months to the date of his last Major League appearance, Jon Lester will take the mound for the Red Sox once again. For anyone who is fighting cancer, take a moment today to rejoice because Jon Lester is living proof that cancer can be beaten. This really isn't about baseball. It's about life.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Song List This Week?

Nah. No one's reading it here anyway. They're all over at

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Songs I Played Sunday July 8, 2007

Lawyers should not attempt to tinker with technology.... Ever.


Opening Theme - "Signe" by Eric Clapton

Please Be With Me - Eric Clapton
Diamond In the Rough - Shawn Colvin
If You Could Read My Mind - Don McLean
How To Save A Life - Fray

Be On Your Way - Lee Alexander
The Man - Pete Yorn
Box Of Rain - Grateful Dead
8:05 - Moby Grape
Two - Ryan Adams
Brooklyn - Steely Dan

Are You Alright? - Lucinda Williams
Save It For Later - Pete Townshend
The Fever - Bruce Springsteen

Perfectly - Judd & Maggie
Best You Ever Had - Joe Colledge
Sway - Rolling Stones
The Door - Keb' Mo'
Everything But You - Glen Phillips
Nightswimming - R.E.M


You're All I Have - Snow Patrol
Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band
Driven To Tears - Police
Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley & the Wailers

If I Broke the Record - Dave Potts
Our Country - John Mellencamp
It Must Have Happened - Mary Chapin Carpenter

On A Night Like This - Bob Dylan
One Headlight -
Feelin' To Know - Poco
Full Moon Nights In Pine View Heights - Trailer Park Troubadours
Rebels - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
You Make It Easy - Golden Smog
Teacher Teacher - Rockpile
Mr. Soul - Rush
Dream Big - Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand

Beauty Of A Broken Heart - Page McConnell
Times Like These - Foo Fighters
Two Hearts - Ryan Adams
Harvest Moon - Neil Young

Ain't Wastin' Time No More - Allman Brothers Band
Follow You Down - Gin Blossoms
Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison
Calling All Angels - Train

Closing Theme - "Take Five" by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Thanks for listening this morning. Enjoy the All Star Game.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Songs I Played Sunday July 1, 2007

Here is a list of the songs I played this morning.

Opening Theme - "Signe" by Eric Clapton

Happiness - Weepies
Help Me - Joni Mitchell
These Things - Tim O'Reagan
Bandit - Neil Young

Goodnight Rose - Ryan Adams *
Human - Pretenders
The Door Into Summer - Monkees
O Mary Don't You Weep - Bruce Springsteen
Is This Love - Bob Marley & the Wailers
Perfectly - Judd & Maggie

Two - Ryan Adams *
Sing My Songs To Me/For Everyman - Jackson Browne
Kiss From Eve - Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus Of Dreams

For Us - Pete Yorn
Forget Her - Jeff Buckley
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Sun Also Sets - Ryan Adams*
Crush - Dave Matthews Band


This Is Us - Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
Undeniably Human - Phil Roy
Before This Time - Ollabelle
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen - Santana

Rip Off - Ryan Adams *
Everything But You - Glen Phillips
Almost Hear You Sigh - Rolling Stones
Missing You - John Waite & Alison Krauss

Full Moon Nights in Pine View Heights - Trailer Park Troubadours
Times Like These - Foo Fighters
Shinin' Brightly - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Two Hearts - Ryan Adams *
Dance Tonight - Paul McCartney
Two Steps Behind - Def Leppard
You Are All I Have - Snow Patrol
House We Used To Live In - Smithereens
It Must Have Happened - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Vahevala - Loggins & Messina
Happy - Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
The Picture - Son Volt
Two Lights In the Nighttime - Bonnie Raitt

If I Broke the Record - Dave Potts
Seven Turns - Allman Brothers Band
Water Song - Hot Tuna

Closing Theme - "Take Five" by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

* from the new CD Easy Tiger now available

Thanks for listening this morning. Have a great Fourth!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another Month Gone By And....

So where were we? On May 21st the Red Sox were 30-14 with a 9-game lead in the loss column over the Yankees who were still floundering at 20-23. Since then? Boston has gone 16-11; New York has gone 15-11. And that means that virtually nothing has changed.

I suppose I should be nervous about Curt Schilling missing two starts with God-only-knows-what bothering his shoulder, but then I keep seeing Julian Tavarez go out and do what he did last night - 7 shutout innings against Atlanta. No one will ever confuse Tavarez with the Second Coming Of Cy Young, but consider this - while Tavarez is now 5-4 with a 4.50 ERA, he's unbeaten in his last seven starts and has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his 13 starts.

A month ago there was talk of Joe Torre losing his job. Thankfully, that nonsense appears to have stopped. But some of the other nonsense hasn't. Jason Giambi has been called to the principal's office to talk about steroids, Johnny Damon - less than two years into his deal with the Yankees - is an increasing defensive liability, and Miguel Cairo who is terrific off the bench simply isn't an everyday player anymore.

71 games in the book. 10 to get to the half-way mark. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What A Difference A Month Makes

Just a short month ago, the Yankees were in third place in the American League East, trailing the Red Sox by three games. Since then, Boston has gone 19-8 while the Yankees have gone 11-15, leaving New York still in third place, but now 10 games out in the loss column (it's still too early to call it the "all important loss column").

What have we learned as Major League Baseball hits the quarter pole? Well for one, it was a huge mistake for the Yankees to have Carl Pavano as one of the cornerstones of their pitching staff. For another, this Yankees team is playing old. Giambi (who apparently has more steroid issues to deal with), Damon (his body is breaking down at an alarming rate) and Abreu just aren't getting it done. Whatever lightning Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano caught in a bottle last year seems to have disappeared (have you ever seen a player bounce a throw off his foot before as Cano did over the weekend against the Mets?), and I'm still not convinced that Mariano Rivera is OK.

That said, keep this in mind - the Red Sox just aren't this good. Julian Tavarez winning 2-1? Kason Gabbard? Throw him through the league a couple of times and let me know what the results are.

Realistically, though, the Yankees have to take at least two of these three games for a couple of reasons. One is to possibly save their manager's job. Two is to remind some Red Sox fans that division races aren't won in May.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New Logo For My Sunday Morning Radio Show

How do you like it? I had been tossing some ideas around for awhile, but couldn't come up with anything I really liked. Thanks to Tom Hackett who put this together using some baseball team I happen to root for as the theme.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Clear Eyes...Full Hearts...Can't Lose!

While still waiting for word on what NBC plans to do with Friday Night Lights, the critically acclaimed TV series that has had a tough time in the ratings battles, I thought I'd share with you the original halftime speech Coach Taylor made to the players during the season finale a couple of weeks ago. This is slightly different from the version that actually aired on that episode.

Imagine a locker room full of young, impressionable high school athletes facing the biggest collective challenge of their young lives at that very moment. And imagine the thoughts racing through the mind of a 40-something coach trying to give them the incentive to not give up despite what the scoreboard says.

“Every man’s going to lose a battle in his life. But what makes him a man is in the midst of those battles, he does not lose himself.

“His pride and character cannot be reflected on a scoreboard. When Jason Street went down in the first game of the season, everybody wrote us off. Everybody. We did not quit.

“It happens deep inside the human heart, gentlemen. When you look to the guy next to you, and you realize that no matter how difficult things are going to get out there, that he can trust you and you can trust him -- that there is no quit, that you’re going to fight out there to the bitter end – we call that clear eyes, don’t we?

“When you give everything that you’ve got, and then you realize you gave a little bit more that you didn’t even know you had, that you selflessly sacrificed for that guy next to you, we call that full hearts.

“Y’all are winners. There are no losers on that field today. This battle is not over. So let’s hear it one more time, together.

“Clear eyes. Full hearts.
Can’t lose!”

NBC is expected to make an announcement concerning the future of this show within the next few weeks. In a television world populated with one lowest-common-denominator show after another, there has to be a place for a program as well done as Friday Night Lights.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Sox - Yankees...17 More Of These?

First things first - no team in the history of Major League Baseball has ever won a pennant in April. Well, OK, there was that 1984 Detroit Tigers team that started the season 35-5 and kind of ran away and hid from everybody else. But you get the idea.

So excuse me if I'm not overly excited about the Red Sox having a two-game lead over the Yankees on April 21st. It's simply too long a season to get all that worked up over anything that happens in April. Injuries, trades...there's a good chance that the teams you saw on the field last night will be a lot different come August.

That said, you just KNOW that I was crowing a little bit last night watching Mariano Rivera implode against the bottom third of the Red Sox lineup. If manager Joe Torre has a flaw, it's the improper use of his bullpen. We're not even through the month of April yet and his relievers are already overused. And just think - these two teams play each other a total of 18 times this season!

Manny can lose the dreadlocks anytime now.
Roger Clemens will be in the Yankee rotation by Memorial Day.
ARod will eventually cool off and the Yankee "faithful" will start booing the best player in the game once again.
Despite the moaning of Mets fans on WFAN, David Wright will start hitting for power again (had to throw a Mets reference in).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Coach Pitch Baseball - Diary Of A Dad's Loss Of Sanity

Between playing or coaching, I have been involved in baseball for 44 years. I've had all differents kinds of experiences from staring off into space during my own Little League games to a free-agent tryout with the Yankees to a front office job with a minor league team. One of the two jobs I have right now involves teaching kids how to play baseball. I've also been a successful coach at the high school level. But nothing - absolutely nothing - could have prepared me for the experience that is called "head coach for a coach-pitch baseball team."

Take this past Saturday for example. At one point in the middle of the game, my second baseman was crouching down in the catcher's position, my right fielder was writing his name in the dirt (his spelling was perfect, BTW), my shortstop - one of the top three players on the field - threw the ball to first base once-twice-three times underhand (!), and my pitcher was rolling around in the dirt. So yes, that was me standing in short right field wondering exactly what I had gotten myself into.

Is it a bit exasperating? Well sure. But it's also a lot of fun and more rewarding than I thought it would be going in. There's nothing like the look on a little kid's face when he swings at the pitch and actually hits the darn thing. And for the parents of that child, it's an indescribable joy as they watch their son or daughter sprint (okay, maybe jog is a better word) to first base. My own son couldn't wait for this season - "It'll be real baseball, Matt. No more T-ball. Coach pitch is the just the start." Of course, he wants to know if when he gets to "kid pitch" the players then pitch to the coaches, so some of the finer points of the game are still beyond his grasp. I can tell you this - nothing...and I mean NOTHING...comes close to describing the rush of emotions when my son comes up to the plate to hit against me. He smiles at me; I smile back. And then I make a motion with my glove to let him know that a "fastball" is coming. He "digs in" even deeper in the batter's box. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything in the world. And I don't think he would, either.

As for the team's performance so far, we're 0-2. Our starting pitcher (that would be me) may have to come to the realization that when 6-year olds start taking you deep it may be time to consider hanging the spikes up. Something tells me that when the Yankees start the process of looking for Joe Torre's replacement I won't be on the short list.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Friday Night Lights - Television's Best Show - Are You Watching It?

Haven't seen the movie; haven't read the book. But I am totally enthralled with NBC's "Friday Night Lights" which airs on Wednesday evenings.

I initially got into the show because during the first couple of episodes I saw, I was able to relate to the character of Coach Taylor who not only has to deal with his players, but also the pressure that comes from the parents and team boosters. I have coached baseball at every level from T-ball through high school and if you've ever coached a team that has any kind of competitive edge to it, you know what some parents can be like.

However, the more I watched the show the more I realized that it's the character development that really makes "FNL" shine. The actors playing the high school students (and yes, I realize that only one main character is actually played by a teenager - all the others are in their 20's) bring a sensitivity to their characters that allows these fictional teens to almost come to life, and actually treats teenagers with a sense of respect. And the interaction between Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor) and Connie Britton (Mrs. Coach as some of the kids call her) is one of the best husband-wife portrayals on television these days. One TV columnist offered that the show could easily be subtitled "Scenes From Inside A Marriage." Britton, in fact, may be the best thing about the program. The dialogue between her character and both her on-screen daughter and husband are funny, poignant, realistic and emotional. A recent episode dealing with 15-year old Julie wrestling with the decision of whether to have sex with her football-player boyfriend contained a scene in which Britton gave an Emmy-winning performance.

You don't have to like football to appreciate "Friday Night Lights." You just have to like intelligent television.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Glen Phillips Interview/Performance On All Mixed Up Sunday March 11

The interview with Glen Phillips, along with his stunning performances, will be on All Mixed Up this Sunday morning March 11 in the 8AM hour.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Glen Phillips Live On All Mixed Up - Win Tickets Sunday 2/25

Glen Phillips, lead singer and songwriter with Toad the Wet Sprocket and a solo artist as well, will be my guest on an upcoming edition of All Mixed Up and you will have a chance to win tickets to this exclusive taping this Sunday morning.

Be listening starting in the 7 AM hour for your chance to win. Glen's latest CD is called Mr. Lemons; his website is here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The High Holy Days Are Upon Us!

And not a moment too soon I might add. They are - in chronological order -

February 13 - Pitchers and catchers report
March 1 - First day of spring (unofficial); Red Sox first Spring Training game
March 10 - Morris County St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 16 - Matthew's birthday
March 17 - St. Patrick's Day
March 20 - First day of spring (official)
April 1 - 2007 Major League Baseball Opening Day
April 10 - Red Sox Home Opener

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

On Waking Up At 4:15 AM

OK, let's get one thing very clear - I am NOT a morning person. It can take me hours to become something approaching civil when the alarm goes off. So what exactly was I thinking when I agreed to do the morning show at WDHA when management at the radio station approached me with the offer last May?

My wife is what you might call "terminally perky." She can have a pounding migraine and come bouncing into the house with a big smile on her face, laughing with the kids. She's better known as the "anti-Jim" among people who know the two of us well.

So anyway, it's up at that ridiculous hour and off to two different, full-time jobs before getting home somewhere between 8 and 9 o'clock at night. Hey, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Is This Thing On?

Blog? Me? Well now that's kind of bizarre. I mean I have a website and message board just for the radio show. I even have a MySpace page (much to the shock of my 17-year old). So what's up with this?

Call it my inquisitive nature; call it my "no one will see this anyway so why not" phase. Call it just another excuse to waste time on the Internet.