The Dose Dispatch, Volume 2: In case you missed it

Dose loyalists,

I am back to deliver the goods. While I cook up another South City Confession-which I hope you are enjoying-it’s time to drop a load of reading material on your brain on a middle of the week grinder.

What’s new? Joe Williams wasn’t remembered on National Joe Day by the very paper he bled for over 15 years, so I did. I said the Cards should sign a closer and they did. I waxed poetically about the good graces of Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina while providing game recaps for the first five Cardinals games. Each game tells a story after all, so I am trying to do “5 takeaways” for every single game.

Here are the links. Thank or hate me later. Continue reading “The Dose Dispatch, Volume 2: In case you missed it”

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The Dose Dispatch: In case you missed it

Previously on Dose of Buffa…

When I started DOB back in 2011, the idea was to create a corner of cyber space where I could unleash rants, venting about things that I needed to in order to keep from going to jail or getting into daily fights with strangers. Over the years, though, I’ve branched out and toned down the anger for  a number of sites, with KSDK News and St. Louis Game Time (both the website and paper) seeing the most action these days.

However, many of my early subscribers here aren’t on social media to receive the links, so I’ll try to come here once a week and provide some links. A “previously on the Dose” type of thing that will hopefully keep you up to date on what I’m writing about, thinking of, and putting together. There will be the occasional unfiltered rant that originates here. Things I can’t publish on other sites that only a handful of people care about. Outside of that, though, an email blast of links.

Let’s get started.  Continue reading “The Dose Dispatch: In case you missed it”

2016-2018: The story of my life on the radio

The rise and fall of my AM radio career.

“I’ll be back, in some form, but for the time being, goodnight St. Louis.”

On Friday, I signed off my weekly radio show, “A Dose of St. Louis”, for the final time. After just over three months and 14 shows, it was time to call it. Deciding to stop doing something that gives you pleasure is about as easy as saying no to fresh French fries at McDonald’s, but sometimes, it’s the wiser decision.

Why cut something so short? The answer is simple: AM radio is a brutal business to survive in. A place where making a buck and putting on a good show usually don’t run hand in hand. Like most true stories, going back to the beginning is important in grasping the entire scope of the story.

Jan. 12, 2016. A good man named Chris Denman messaged me on Facebook about coming on his CBS Sports radio show, “We Are Live”, to discuss the Rams departure from St. Louis as well as movies and the Cardinals/Blues. I was following comedian and actor Jay Mohr, and I had no idea what to expect. Why did he want me? Is this a joke? It all swirled around up there before I went on a little after 8 p.m. while I sat in my apartment in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

When I was done, I felt good, but as nervous as a visiting Giants fan in an Eagles bathroom. I chugged a beer, tried to sit down, and immediately threw on some music and paced around my apartment like an artist who just found a new audience, but didn’t know when his next show would be.

I was suddenly passionate about the radio-and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Up until then, I had done a handful of appearances on Rob Butler’s Jonesboro morning radio show, a few Cardinals podcasts, and a couple hits on ESPN’s Columbia, MO radio station, KTGR. In a way, I was everywhere except St. Louis, my hometown.  Continue reading “2016-2018: The story of my life on the radio”

Five Things I Know: Thrones envy; baseball misery; a car’s best friend

Hey! Do I have your attention? Let’s greet this despicable Monday with a few thoughts.

5. If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet, stop holding out. It’s worth the time. Fuck Walking Dead and Prison Break. GOT concluded season 7 last night and there are approximately 18 months until the eighth and final season, so get on it. The show’s storyline is so well written and multi-faceted that you leave every episode wanting more. Sword, wolves, dragons, sex, and utter brutality between humans wrapped around powerful character development. It’s like the medieval version of Sopranos with more fucking and killing. Do you like sword fights and action? Yes. How about sex and nudity? Yes. What about dragons burning everything in its wake? Whatever you desire, Thrones has it and tells a story that keeps you off balance and just enough in the dark.

4. We will never have enough time. I work two jobs, take care of a house, try to stay in shape, and have a family. All I hear is just relax and take a moment for yourself. Well, when I do that, who is doing my laundry and cleaning my house? Who cleans up the dog piss on my couch? Am I showing enough attention to myself and loved ones? The next day after a mental cleanse is never easy. It’s not even noon and I’ve already gotten my kid to school late and screwed up the side mirror on my car. There’s never enough time in life to do what needs to be done for you and everyone else. All we can do is try as hard as we can to get enough done. Today I need to drive to make money, write to stay sane, and also work out a bit. And be a good husband and father. There’s never enough time and I feel like I’m letting people down constantly.

*I also have to find time to watch TV shows. Can I buy a few hours of time? Bribe a clock? Persuade a day to slow down? Serious answers only.

3. Up and down baseball seasons are hard to cover. The Cardinals can’t decide if they want to drift away or flourish, so as a writer, I’m constantly juggling moods. “They’re shit”, “All they need is this”, and “Give Peace a chance” have all made appearances. Fans hate you if you’re too positive and grill you when the negativity sets in. Here’s my unfiltered: Calm the fuck down. Let’s all take a minute. More often than not, fans and writers will be disappointed. Until MLB becomes the Oscars and 8-10 teams can win the award the big prize.

PS: Get your shit together, Cardinals. To quote a man named Red, get busy living or get busy dying. I’m tired, Boss.

2. Give me a movie about troubled writers trapped in a love quarrel in the beauty of New York with a great cast, and I’m all over it. I don’t care if it’s preachy or self-indulgent. I’m yours. That’s why “The Only Living Boy in New York” gets my vote. Also, Jeff Bridges is amazing in the movie. Still underrated as an actor. More than the dude. Watch this and last year’s “Hell or High Water”.

1. Drive your cars carefully. My car was new a few months ago and now it feels like it was put through a Fast and Furious film shoot. The descent is real and taking your car to a shop turns us into little kids scared at the amount of punishment it will receive. Drive slower. Be careful. Take care of your most important friend.

One more thing: Conor McGregor acquitted himself well against the best of the best in Floyd Mayweather Jr., but know one thing: the boxer toyed with Conor for seven rounds before picking off the tiring MMA champ. It wasn’t as close as some made it seem. It wasn’t a brutal stoppage either. In the end, I imagine Conor whispered to Floyd, “what took you so damn long?!”

Boxing is a sweet wonderful science. No one can step in and be great. That said, Conor did well.

Song I’m listening to: Tony Crown covering “Fly Like An Eagle”.

Show I’m watching and liking: Ozark.

That’s all. I need more coffee.

Comment, share, and react accordingly.

-DLB

Here’s What I Know, Volume #8: Mud race compassion, Eastwood, puck dances, baseball, and moving

A ragtag grouping of thoughts from my head this week.

Good afternoon, folks. As Monday steams towards its rugged finish, allow me to touch on a few things that are rattling around the brain at the moment. The reason you aren’t reading this on KSDK News or St. Louis Game Time is simple: I can’t say fuck. In other words, I can’t talk like we all do away from the desk or outside the safe zone. Sure, most of this could be edited down into a family site friendly message, but why not come back on occasion to the place where it all began, and spit a few words out. Let’s run now.

The top ten things that I know this week: (First, a shot of Clint Eastwood for shits and grins)

Image result for unforgiven

  1. Semi-Trucks and their drivers are assholes. When my son sees one on the highway, he thinks it’s Optimus Prime on a St. Louis mission. I am wondering why he or she is eating in my fucking lane and trying to run me off the road. Optimus wouldn’t do that, but Billy Joe Bob Frank sure likes to hog two lanes at once. Smaller trucks on city streets aren’t nicer; they change lanes at will and have zero fucks to give about the rules of the road. This isn’t shitting on ALL truck drivers. It’s shitting on most of them. Be better.
  2. Nashville Predators fans have created a funky dance that is sweeping the na…..or better parts of Tennessee. Everybody else is just shooting them odd looks and wondering what they hell they are doing. I like team passion and all, but if I saw a person this on the street, I’d hit them with a cinder block. Try screaming obnoxiously instead. Same effect.
  3. Speaking of Clint Eastwood, there isn’t better Western movie out there than Unforgiven. Eastwood’s done a few of these good man with a guilty heart routines, but his directorial Oscar winning effort is so strong and resonates twenty years later. William Munny is a composite of every Eastwood loner with a gun, and even better constructed. Here’s a guy who didn’t want anything else to do other than tend to his farm animals, look angry, and drink black coffee over his dead wife’s grave. Then he took a job, got on a horse, lost some friends, and picked up a shotgun again. The Rocky angle is undeniable with this story. Eastwood’s Munny walks into the bar for the first time and gets his ass kicked by Gene Hackman’s Little Bill. The next time, he kills every bastard inside the room. Classic Clint. Watch for yourself and try not to feel a surge of lightning through your balls.
  4. Last night, four people were killed in St. Louis via gunshot wounds. Four people who got up Sunday thinking everything would be okay and realized at the last second that it wasn’t. I didn’t know either of these people, but it’s still a sad day in the city to see four more violent deaths. Maybe a couple of them were assholes; maybe they were good honest hard working people. St. Louis is becoming a dangerous place.
  5. For the second time in a year, The Buffa house is on the market. The Mardel home is for sale, and this time it’s looking better, so come buy the damn thing please. No, we aren’t leaving the city. It’s merely time to upgrade and add a few extra rooms. Perhaps a backyard patio. Selling a house is like selling a car or product. You tell people it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, even though you no longer want a part of it. A family comes by and asks a few questions, and you answer. All you want to do is break even or perhaps net a positive to put down on the next house to lessen the loan. You don’t really own anything in life. You pay a bank to allow you to own it on paper. We will buy another house, and life will go on. Can you tell my wife is doing the house hunting? Stimulating actions…
  6. I love baseball, and I also hate it. My second wife is relentless in its nature, and demands more from a soul than any sport. Football happens once a week, so it’s like having your ass kicked once every seven days, so there’s relief periods. Hockey is 2-3 times per week, and is so fast and adrenaline-packed that half the time, a tough loss feels the same as a narrow victory. Baseball is every single day, and up to eight months a year. Open dates are breath-catchers before the next game arrives. Players do well, play like shit, and do well again. Narratives change. Writers are called morons (only half-true) and try to come up with interesting story ideas. The Cardinals started 3-9, then went 18-6, and now have gone 1-4 since. There’s 3/4 of a season left. Anything can happen, and that’s good with “oh shit” mixed in. I don’t pray, but I’ll accept them and whiskey for my future troubles.
  7. Speaking of the Cardinals, can we all stop being so fucking sensitive? The Cardinals twitter account put out a message hyping Mother’s Day and a ring giveaway, and produced a message that’s been spread around like wildfire for decades: women like jewelry. Sometimes, women like jewelry and baseball, but there was enough of a fuss that the tweet was deleted and the Cards released an apology. AN APOLOGY for offending the women who love baseball so much, they simply couldn’t fucking handle a quirky tweet. Let’s all just crawl back into our fucking caves so we aren’t offended. Was it a good tweet? No. The Cards twitter person swung and fouled the pitch off the ankle, but did it require an uproar? No. People have grown so vulnerable, and sometimes my sorry ass falls into that group. It may be a birth defect or something. All I know is if the Cardinals promote Father’s Day with a beard trimmer giveaway or a set of barbecue tools, nobody should get offended. There are worse things happening in the world. All lives matter, but all feelings most certainly don’t.
  8. Kingdom begins its final season on May 31, and if I haven’t told you this is the BEST SHOW on television right now, let me say it again. No show hits harder than Byron Balasco’s Kingdom. As much about what fighters face outside the ring as they do inside of it, the show creates sizzling human drama and makes you an addict of the sport at the same time. The devotion of the cast and the writing put this series above and beyond 99% of other programs. No time travel or special effects needed. Just dirty whiskey glasses, cauliflower ears, broken hearts, handwrap, and enough rage to fill a Washington D.C. Starbucks. Frank Grillo’s Alvey Kulina is someone you never quite get a handle on, and watch Jonathan Tucker go every which way but loose as Jay Kulina. Kiele Sanchez burns bright as Lisa Prince, the matriarch of Navy Street. Balasco plants seeds for dramatic eruption early in seasons. And there’s fighting. Watch it. No excuses. Turn off Netflix. Turn up Kingdom.
  9. I’ll write more about this for KSDK, but I competed in the Battlegrounds Mud Race in Cedar Lake on Saturday. 3.2 miles of military designed obstacles made to test the human spirit and grind your body into a sharpened thread of flesh. I got beat up doing it, and I am in good shape. It had me down in parts and riding high in others. I looked like Arnold at the end of Predator halfway through, and I loved it. Here’s my biggest takeaway: the compassion shown by regular people towards others. If someone couldn’t climb over a post or make it up the rope, someone else reached out and helped. No matter how fucked up and violent this world gets, I still see signs of compassion and grace between human beings. Salute to those brave souls. Every single day is a push towards the light.
  10. Finally, I am becoming a huge wine drinker. Thanks Meme and Rachel. I have sucked down more dry red in the past few weeks, but my drug of berry harvested choice these days is Pinot Grigio: a clear yet tasty wine that will topple you over if you allow it. Oh baby, it will. I watched a great boxing flick called Chuck last week, and I had four glasses of Pinot Grigio before. After I left the theater, I still felt it. And it wasn’t overpowering at all. The haze was sublime, and I felt like I had something to offer. Sorry, beer and whiskey. Wine is here to stay, so make room.

Continue reading “Here’s What I Know, Volume #8: Mud race compassion, Eastwood, puck dances, baseball, and moving”

Here’s What I Know, Volume 7: The end of Chucky Cheese, Unbreakable 2, Kingdom BS, and Big Mac hate 

Chucky Cheese needs to die. With no offense to the poor fellow who roams around in that fucking suit, the establishment is an absolute shit hole. Imagine a place where the bottom of the human species barrel hangs out, and then think lower. 

Hold on. Fuck the guy who wears the suit; the asshat was outside Vin’s school, and for the last four days, the kid has been dying to go there. Every day, it’s the same mantra: when are we going to Chucky Cheese? I’d rather spend one hour explaining hockey to Donald Trump. Anyway…we went Saturday night. 

An hour into the CC Hell Dive, I see a little girl wandering around the gaming area. I assume her mother is coming back. I wait. And wait some more. No one comes around, so I ask a worker. He tells me that the invisible code stamped on our hand doesn’t allow a party to leave separately. Thanks, but kidnappers will find a way. 

10 minutes later, a woman comes and grabs the little girl, and walks back to a birthday party. While I don’t hit women, I felt like paying a woman to deck her. 

You see, I’m an overprotective parent. There’s enough nasty things happening in the world that I will skimp on every area of my life, but parenting. I’m a fucking secret service agent every time Vin and I travel outside the house. He doesn’t leave my sight. 

There’s only been 219 kids that have disappeared from the St. Louis city area since 2010. No thanks. Be better, mysterious woman who was busy eating shitty pizza and forgot where her kid was. 

*I don’t mind a good rainstorm, but St. Louis has been pissed on for four straight days. The past 48 hours have crept towards monsoon territory, and there’s some flash flood warnings. When you go downstairs and see water in the basement, and you know why, it really sucks. Please stop raining. 

The cooler weather can stay though. 

*Baseball is a bastard. Other sports hit you intermediately over the course of a few months. Baseball kicks you in the neck during the first month. 

Example: the Cards started the season with a 3-9 stretch. Doom fell over the audience. Worst start ever! It’s done! Cancel the season! 

Fast forward to today’s rainout, and the Cards have won 9 of 11 for a record of 12-11. I predict a 5-5 future, because this team has no defense and run the bases like a bunch of first graders. Still, it’s important to give the team a little more time. 

My first bird checkup comes near the seven week mark of the season when the Cards welcome the Cubs back to Busch. 

*Why Him is a terrible movie that funny man Keegan-Michael Key somehow makes watchable. Check out the underrated comedy, Keanu. 

*How excited am I about the Unbreakable sequel? The balls are tingling. M. Night didn’t give a shit back then, and set the tone for the Superhero Genre before DC and Marvel started their engines. 

*Love or hate The Fast and Furious films, but there was an actual demand for more films. Nobody wanted another Pirates of The Caribbean adventure. I don’t even think Johnny Depp wanted another one, but who turns down 25 million dollars and top billing. 

*The Blues are proof that a regular season is anything but regular. They were lost in January, and open up action in Game 3 against Nashville this afternoon for a chance to go up 2-1 in an effort to reach the Conference Finals. All it took was a slew of coaching changes, a roster shakeup, and a goalie resurrection. And Jori Lehtera off the top line. Thanks Mike Yeo. And to think people hated bringing you into the fold. Idiots. 

*My son is approaching six years of age. What in the ass happened? He used to be this football sized stomach surgery survivor and now he’s a four foot tall beast with a personality and ambition. Five years ago today, he went to his first baseball game. Now he hands me the remote and loves Adam Wainwright. 

**I don’t need to tell him how bad Adam Wainwright looks on the mound. No need to dampen a kid’s hero by telling him the claws aren’t exactly coming out all the way these days. (hey Beyersdorfer!)

*Nothing is official yet, but I can say there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing me on the radio again soon. After spending the past four weeks off the radio after my departure from 590, I’ve collected my breath and taken the time to find out what it is I want to do. At a certain point in life, you need to develop a niche. I’ve found it. More news to come. 

*I’ll rant a little more about this very soon, but Direct TV and Endemol Studios canceling Frank Grillo’s MMA drama series-Kingdom-after three seasons is absolute bullshit. Why stop something with so much story left to tell? Why shut down a warehouse with more space to fill? As Alvey Kulina would say, “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” MMA fan or not, you had to appreciate this show’s drive. Byron Balasco’s masterpiece explored the mind of a fighter better than any film or TV series ever could or will. Grillo was born to play Alvey. It’s extremely rare for an actor to roam so freely and find so much in a character. You should watch it. 

Oh wait, there’s no real way for you to find it. The first season was on ITunes, but isn’t. The first season is on DVD and the second might be. It’s not on Netflix or Hulu. The third and Final season starts in a month. 

Fuck! 

*What would live sporting venues do if they couldn’t sell alcohol? I rarely spend the 9 dollars to sip a watered down beer at Busch or Scottrade, but damn there’s so much beer sold at every event. What if there was none? How popular would sports be?

*Red wine is my new crush. Beer and whiskey just don’t always do it. A bottle of dry red takes the edge right off. 

*I couldn’t care less about the NFL draft or the upcoming season. I was losing interest before the Rams left, but when they departed, my need to watch the sport died on the spot. The league doesn’t care about former players health or current players for that matter, so why give it my time. 

The NBA sucks too. Natural sleep meds. 

*Who is my favorite comic book character? Frank Castle’s Punisher. He’s the original Avenger. 

*I don’t give a shit if Mark McGwire used steroids, and I wouldn’t trade a second of the 1998 season. He made mistakes, but so did hundreds of other baseball players, so why smash one guy because he had success. I don’t expect people to agree with me here, but I take solace in the fact that Mac didn’t lie under oath (looking at you Rafael) and left the game before he was told to leave. When his knee was shot, Mac walked away from a two year deal worth a lot of money. He rescued Cardinal baseball and the sport itself with that miraculous run. I won’t get on my moral horse and crucify him. Let him into the Cards HOF. He’s earned it. 

That’s all I got. I’ve typed all of this by hand on my iPhone, and frankly my hands are tired. 

For all my regular coverage, check out KSDK News and St. Louis Game Time. 

This stream of consciousness is closing up. 

17 years later: The Fast and Furious franchise engine remains strong

A mixture of casting, locations, identity recognition, and stunt heaven.

When it comes to sequels and legit cinematic franchises, the name of the game is domestic and international gross. Worldwide figures, ladies and gentlemen. Over its first weekend, The Fate of the Furious-the eighth film in the movie franchise-broke the record for the largest global opening at 532 million. After four days, the film has doubled its massive budget, and is well on its way to a billion dollar gross.

How is it  still doing this after eight films? Casting, directing, stunts, and knowing what your identity and key audience is. In other words, you keep replacing the engine and wheels, and assemble body work on the car. Let me break it down further.

Back in 2007, the Fast and Furious franchise was on fumes. Vin Diesel, the star of the original, had bolted after the first film, and the second and third film were trash and didn’t make great money at the box office. Luckily, Diesel was brought in for a cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift that signified his return to the franchise as star and producer. The team was back together, and the magic relaunched. Continue reading “17 years later: The Fast and Furious franchise engine remains strong”