Nick's Notes header Nick's Notes

  • What’s the weather like up there?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I like to stand in the studio.  I feel like I think better on my feet, both literally and figuratively.  I feel more alert and, in a weird way, more confident.  I can’t really explain that last one, but I’m certain that it has nothing to do with my actual height.  I’m not a tall fella.  My license lists me as 5’10”, but I am reminded every year at my annual physical that I ought to file that 5’10” under “yeah, you wish, Nick.”  At last measurement, I was 5’9 and somewhere between ¼ and ½.” 

    So yeah, long rambling short, no one would ever ask me how the weather is up where I’m standing.

    Normally I just stand on the floor…you know, like a person does.  But today, for some reason, I decided to stand on the base of my studio stool for a little bit.  It was incredible.  I felt so tall, so powerful, so much more aware of the horizon. 

    “I’m king of the world!  I’m stilts man!  I’m in the circus!” 

    Then I realized that the base of the stool is only about 5 inches off the ground.

    “I’m king of the world!  I’m stilts man!  I’m in the circus!  I’m...wait…6’3”?” 

    It’s so deflating to realize that plenty of people actually live in what I perceived to be extreme heights.  I am so jealous.  6’3” people: please help out all of us shorties when “Snowicane Eric” arrives later today.  You’ll know 5 inches before we do.  

  • The Super Bowl NMAted

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Next Media Animation (NMA) is a division of the Hong Kong based media conglomerate Next Media.  It is famous for its “based on actual events” style animated recreations of world headlines.  I always love when they put out videos on Western events like the Super Bowl.

    So...in case you missed the game:

    Thanks for the heads-up on the release, Z.

  • Does that make me a bad person?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    It never seems to work out this way:

    • In the midst of winter weather the likes of which we experienced yesterday, you’re taking your time on the roadways, traveling at a rate of speed at which you’re comfortable for the conditions.  In fact, everyone is pretty much doing 15mph in the 25mph zone…except for the dude behind you.  Mr. Impatient Man in his 4-wheel drive SUV doesn’t think it’s that bad out, can’t understand why you’re snailing it down Webster.  After riding your bumper for a half-mile, intermittently increasing and decreasing the distance between you, he angrily switches lanes and accelerates past.  A couple of blocks down the road you notice an SUV in the ditch.  Ha!  It’s the same guy.  Karma, baby!

    Like I said, unfortunately, it never seems to work out that way.  Those people never end up in the ditch.  Mr. Speedy Pants, who rides your rear at 6mph over the posted limit because he has to go 75 in the 65, never gets pulled over. 

    Well, yesterday, everything changed for me! 

    The above story is absolutely true, except for the ditch part.  Dude just temporarily lost control, spun into the curb, and gave his rear axle a solid little love tap.  I didn’t think to myself “Oh no, I hope he’s OK.”  I didn’t stop to lend a hand, to inquire.  In fact, I drove by, honked my horn, and gave a little wave, grinning from ear to ear.  It felt fantastic.

    Does that make me a bad person?

  • Manti Te’o, the musical

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    DJ Steve Porter started the whole YouTube phenomenon of mashing up of news audio and setting it to a hot electric beat.  “Press Hop” was its name:

    Since that went viral, there have been many attempts by others to replicate Porter’s genius.  Most have failed mightily, either in production or in writing…sometimes both.  But I’ll tell ya what – this group has emerged as a legitimate contender with their Manti Te’o offering.  It’s fantastic, especially the breakdown with Te’o’s dad at the 1:39 mark:  

     

  • Rockin’ the triple entendre

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Today’s discussion of the Winter X-Games prompted listener Tom to suggest that I YouTube cross country snowboarding. 

    “Cross country snowboarding is the next up & coming sport,” he wrote.

    Thank you for the recommendation, Tom.  I cannot stop laughing at the one-liners in this thing.  It’s one of the most creative YouTube videos I have ever seen.  It’s one of those that makes you go, “Dang, I wish I had thought of that.”

  • Blog wars!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I refuse to let Murphy monopolize the category of “gross rear-end video blog posts" - see his for the reference if you're not there.  You're move, Murph.  :) 

    I love the man vs. wild style of reality shows, but this dude, Bear Grylls, always struck me as a bit over-dramatic.  I mean, he did the stuff, and he is crazy knowledgeable, I give him that, but how brutal was his battle for survival when he was traveling with a camera crew?  I mean, in this video, for example, I don’t know that we had to let it get to this when there was a dingy full of camera men…I’m sure with bottles of water…floating alongside.

    WARNING: You’ll never think of England the same:

  • The Ray Lewis dilemma

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Wes Welker’s wife has added her name to the list of pro spouses who just can’t help themselves. You’d think she would have learned a lesson from Tom Brady’s lady, following last year’s Super Bowl loss.  After all, her hubby was one of the direct targets of Gisele’s little tantrum at the elevator:

    But alas, Anna Burns Welker could not refrain from weighing in, from saying what many (perhaps most) are thinking.  Following the Pats’ loss to Baltimore in the AFC Championship game, Anna posted the following to her Facebook page:

    "Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis' Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!"

    She has since deleted the post and issued an apology.  Perhaps genuine remorse, perhaps somebody “got to her” and forced her hand, I don’t know.  We may never know why she actually backed off, but the reaction of the majority appears to be “Go on girl!  Spit the truth!”  Then there are those in the “move on, it’s been 13 years and he has found God, turned his life around” camp. 

    Here’s the thing about it – the treatment of the Ray Lewis story is deeper than I think we want to acknowledge, at least the God part.  You can Google up the case in which Lewis was charged and ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing justice.  It is worth taking a look at as you formulate your opinion on him and his involvement. 

    So what are we to do once we form that opinion?  That’s where it gets interesting.  It’s actually a bit of a Christian dilemma.  If you’re not a Christian, well, then don’t sweat it.  But if you are, you’ve got to at least consider that Ray Lewis is a changed man…saw the light…has been converted.  After all, from saints to mere lay people, the Bible highlights the conversion of the worst of the worst, the slimiest of the slimy, the dirtiest of the dirty - Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, the tax collectors, the adulterer at the well, etc.  The lessons are two-fold: to demonstrate that nothing is unforgivable with God, and to provide a cautionary tale against judging those who have sinned. 

    I am irritated as all get out by the in-your-face antics of ol’ Ray Ray.  And just because he throws it in our faces and screams “Glory be to God” into every waiting microphone doesn’t mean he owns an eyelash of sincerity in his demonstrations.  We don’t have to believe Ray that he has seen the light.  There are plenty of shysters out there, playing us all for fools, understanding full well the weight of the sources to which they appeal.  We don’t have to believe him.  But we have to at least consider that his conversion is genuine.

  • Say what?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose (as if you’d get the chance to choose that, right?)?

    Last night, there was a contestant on American Idol – yes I do watch, and yes that was me under the electric blanket…I am not ashamed – who has 40% hearing loss in one ear and 20% in the other.  She was pretty good, actually, but it got me thinking about that. 

    As a guy who wears headphones for over two-thirds of my workday, I’m always worried that I’m going to lose my hearing. It’s not an all-encompassing, ever-present, paralyzing kind of worry, but it’s always in the back of my mind…and it freaks me out…because I would be terrible at reading lips.

    I know there’s sign language to consider, but I am always the guy who thinks the guy across the room is saying something completely different than what he is actually saying.  

    "Oh, Nick...you're just being dramatic," you're probably thinking.

    Oh yeah?  Go ahead and try to pretend that these guys aren't saying what the voiceover throws at ya:

     

     

  • I want to get to know you better

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Last week, we talked about songs that have proven the ruination of women’s names: Diana (“Dirty Diana”), Jenny (“867-5309”), Roxanne, Lola, etc.  The story never did distinguish between the impact on those presently in possession of the name, and the future trending of that name, but I think it’s safe to assume that both were impacted in some way.

    Today Murphy had a birthday shout out to an Iesha (I think the spelling is different for our Iesha), and instantly I thought of Another Bad Creation’s tune by that same name.  Unfortunately, judging by the in-studio and text react, I’m the only one who remembers either…well, Coach Wardle had my back on that one, so I guess there are two of us.

    I feel it’s my duty to post this, not in an effort to convert or to create a new generation of ABC fans, but to understand.  After all, we who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it:

    How badly must those background harmonizers feel about themselves?  First of all, background vocalists all have pretty solid voices, they're just lacking in some other department - maybe "pretty solid" is as high as their talent ascends; maybe they lack star power.  I mean, there’s a reason that they’re background singers, but they’ve gotta be thinkin’ to themselves, “Really?  These clowns?  I’m singing background harmony for these goofs?  And my lyrics are what?  Monkey bars?  Nintendo?  Cereal?   Wow.“

  • You’ve won! Now what?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo: http://www.missamerica.org/

    Did you know we crowned a new Miss America last Saturday night?  Yeah, me neither.  In fact, I didn’t find out until this morning at about 5:02.  Shame on me for being so out of touch, right?  Or maybe I (and many others) have a legitimate defense.  First of all - Packers game.  There was that.  But then there's this: what exactly is the importance of Miss America? 

    That sounds callous as heck, but if ever we had the opportunity to learn her impact, it was this past 12 months when one of our own, Laura Kaeppeler, owned the crown.  12 months, and I still have no idea.

    I know it’s a scholarship competition.  I know it’s got an interview portion, a talent portion, a lifestyle (swimsuit competition) segment, and then the evening wear deal…I think we all know how it works, but once she wins, then what? 

    Perhaps I’m simply soured by the 738 pageants that seem to exist, but I just don’t get why we’re still putting this out there.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for the contestants to be involved in something that could net them money for education.  I am not railing on the contestants at all.  It’s out there.  Go get it!  Compete.  It’s great for the platforms that they can advance – Hagan’s is stopping child sexual abuse. 

    Perhaps the question is better posed in this manner: is the Miss America crown still the position of power that it once was, or seemingly once was? 

  • Answer me this, BBWAA

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Failing to induct a single candidate of the 2012 MLB Hall of Fame class, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America assumed the most egomaniacal position in the history of sports. 

    “Not in our game,” their collective decision screams.  And it infuriates me to the point of laughter.

    Let’s start here: I am a baseball nut…I love the game, respect the game, and tirelessly root for the game.  I think the statistics of the game of baseball tell a more complete story of a player’s overall effectiveness than any other professional discourse.  But I am so exhausted with the sacred treatment of baseball’s stat line.

    Major League Baseball statistics often prove as much a sign of the times as legitimate measurements. 

    Baseball’s history book (and HOF) is filled with men who played when African Americans could not – men who played when Hispanics could not.  Strike shortened seasons, growth to a 162-game season, the dead ball era, World Wars – just a few snapshots in time.  Oh yeah, and then there’s this not-so-little fact: EVERY BALLPARK HAS DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS! 

    I’m pretty sure the 315 foot porch in County Stadium’s left field helped to boost a few Brewers’ home run totals.  I’m sure the lack of foul ball room at Wrigley Field has kept a few hitters alive at the plate over the years.  Venues are labeled “hitter’s or pitcher’s parks” based on the decided statistical advantage afforded that respective side, but let’s not talk about that.  Imagine if Candlestick was 105 yards this weekend when the Pack arrived to take on San Fran.

    Moving on (‘cause I could keep going on that forever), BBWAA…please explain to me what you believe to be a performance enhancer.  Okay, ‘roids and HGH…obvious.  But what about the dudes who popped uppers back in the day?  The guys who took a cortisone injection just so they could get on the field that day?  What about the dude who burns one in the parking lot because it helps him relax at the plate?  How do we handle drugs that, at present, are not banned, but later we discover that they are indeed giving guys an edge and they are subsequently banned?  Complicate the mere questions with the broad brush of association with which you have painted dudes like Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza – not linked to anything but guilty because their fellow ballplayers have been pinched.  And then there’s the case of guy like Ryan Braun.  Wanna go there BBWAA?  What about a kid who might take something his rookie year, gets nailed, learns a valuable lesson and proceeds to put up 3,100 hits over the next 18 years…cleanly.  Is he not worthy?  Do his stats not count? 

    The most laughable aspect of their collective decision is this, however: the BBWAA made clear that PED perception does nothing to boost the accomplishments of those perceived clean.  The guys who are close to their standards (whatever that means) are no more impressive in the BBWAA’s eyes, despite the fact that they have judged the playing field unlevel.  Outstanding job, as always, BBWAA.  

  • Why camera angles matter

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    My man Feldy shot over this link to one of the funniest websites I have ever seen.  I cannot stop laughing at these innocently intended photos that have gone horribly wrong:

    CLICK HERE