My Morning in exile

Stuff I wrote while thinking of the best way to taunt the lead singer of a 1980s British synth-pop band (explained below) . . .

  • Matt Holliday’s “friend” says Holliday wants to be a New York Yankee. The “friend” lives in Canada. You wouldn’t know him.
  • Should the Sox trade Papelbon and install Bard as closer? Hell, ain’t my team. They can sign Willie Hernandez for all I care.
  • Is there any man more in demand so far this offseason than Manny Acta?
  • Would you believe Milton Bradley?
  • The best thing in the world would be to mic-up Ozzie Guillen for the World Series, give him a bunch of Budweiser, and just let him go on uninterrupted for three or four hours. That won’t happen, but this isn’t the worst consolation prize.
  • How would you like to be managed by your older brother? Since my brother is a manager at an In-N-Out Burger it would be kind of weird for me, but I suppose it would awkward on a major league ballclub too.
  • I’ve mentioned this before I think, but my In-N-Out managing brother’s longtime girlfriend was a childhood friend, and is still best friends with the wife of a guy named Andy McCluskey. McCluskey, some of you may know, is the lead singer for the band OMD of “If you leave” fame. The McCluskeys keep a house in San Diego and my brother is over there all the time, house sits for them them, babysits the kids, etc. When I first became aware of this several years ago I began taunting my brother — who was sort of dropping the OMD thing like it was some major social chit — over the moderate-at-best worldwide fame of his new friend and patron. I probably would have left it alone, but he set me off when he used the “hey, they’re really big in Europe and Japan” line. Since then, it’s been almost constant abuse. Things like “hey Curt, I gotta go; Howard Jones is on the other line, and it’s obviously a much more important call.” Or “So, like, is house sitting for Human League a promotion or is it considered a lateral move?” Most of the jokes were about him being a one-hit wonder. He told Andy about all of this. His response: “ask your brother what it’s like to work a job, because I’ll never have to know.” Damn McCluskey. He’s had me dead to rights on that one for about five years now.

    Anyway, I’m newly inspired to mock him — in a friendly fashion, mind you — because OMD is apparently going on some tour this winter with another John Hughes movie one-hit-wonder, Simple Minds. Curt is going to travel with them and, hell, I don’t know, get them towels or hair gel or white Zinfandel or Patrick Nagel paintings or whatever it is those 80s synth-poppers need to survive. I was thinking about flooding the official OMD website with questions about whether it was true that Hughes’ will finally freed them from servitude or whether it’s true that Oingo Boingo was going to be headlining or something, but his wife runs the site and she’s pretty good people.

    There’s no point to this except that if I’m slow blogging this afternoon it’s because I’m obsessed with trying to come up with new and inventive taunts for OMD. Which pretty much shows you how pathetic I am. Determined, but pathetic.

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    1. Mode:Theif and Lair said...

      John Hughes: Underrated comedy writer or most underrated comedy writer?

      Mr. Mom
      Sixteen Candles
      Breakfast Club (source of above movie quote)
      Weird Science
      Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
      The Great Outdoors
      Uncle Buck
      Home Alone
      (List incomplete, only some of my favorites)

    2. Mark said...

      “ask your brother what it’s like to work a job, because I’ll never have to know.”

      Wow, that was…harsh.

      Can I assume OMD is Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark? Because if so, I have at least (the absolute, literal least) heard of them, which puts me one up on most people.

      Oingo Boingo. Heh.

    3. APBA Guy said...

      A couple of random comments:

      - It’s possible the Yankees try to keep Damon 1-2 years as he has proven he can deliver in NY (and Boston), depending on price. At 35, he won’t be nearly as expensive long-term as Holliday, about whom questions remain after his Oakland stint and postseason this year. Despite fans who point to his non-April numbers in Oakland, the feeling here is that he played with significant lack of energy. Beane has been public in praising him for his effort and professionalism, but Beane’s actions, taking 3 very unproven minor leaguers for Holliday in July, speak louder. 

      - Bard faded in September to finish at 3.65 at age 24. Papelbon’s age 24 season with the Sox was 2005 in which his finish was 2.65. Theo is much closer to the clubhouse dynamics than we are, and to Pap’s “coachability” questions that came up this year. But it strikes me that Bard is far from a sure thing in the closer role. They may let Pap walk if they can keep Wagner as protection for Bard. But anyone who watched a lot of baseball last year couldn’t help but notice how much more easily Feliz delivered 100 mph than Bard. Is Bard going to be injury free with that delivery? Lots of questions there.

      - When Bradley was in Oakland he had a good year offensively, .817 OPS, but really blossomed when he was traded the next year to SD (1.004), and again the following year in TEX (.999). All were teams with lower expectations than the Cubs and far, far less media scrutiny. However, in every instance there were still clubhouse issues, though nothing like the ones in Chicago. He’ll be 32 next year, probably capable of some decent offense for 90-125 games. But the issues are guaranteed. What’s that worth these days? Most teams will take a $ 400k rookie or near rookie whose upside is TBD if they aren’t in the pennant race. If they are, then the media scrutiny increases, and the visibility of the Bradley clubhouse issues increases. So the amount a team is willing to spend on Bradley has to be small enough to throw out the window without pain. For contenders, that can be $5M/year.

    4. Craig Calcaterra said...

      I think the slam was said with a smile. At least I took it that way. My brother says he’s a good guy with a sharp wit. I like what I know of him.

      It is Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, I think everyone has heard that “If you leave” song from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack.

    5. Mark Armour said...

      I believe that I saw OMD in concert back in the day.  There were likely other bands involved.  I could see myself spending some time with him, talking about the 80s.

    6. Kevin S. said...

      In regards to the Bard/Papelbon thing, the only reason to trade Papelbon is if the Sox can get a player of higher value for him (shouldn’t be hard, given the infatuation with The Proven Closer most teams have).  For example, I saw a Werth-for-Papelbon rumor floating around somewhere.  I have no idea if there’s any truth to it, but it would be an easy win for Boston.

      That said, there’s no harm in having two really good relievers on your team, so I’m not quite sure what the rush to get Papelbon gone is.

    7. Greg Simons said...

      Andy’s response was perfect, especially in response to the numerous taunts from Craig.  I’d take OMD’s career and money over mine, that’s for sure.

      @APBA Guy – I’d have to say Brett Wallace is more than an “unproven minor leaguer;” he was the Cardinals’ top prospect.  Sure, it’s possible he might not turn into more than Daric Barton – part of another Cards-A’s deal – but he could be a strong, cheap hitter for Oakland for several years.  That and two pitchers seems like a pretty solid return for a player the A’s never would have kept.

    8. (Not That) Tom said...

      It’s a shame that OMD (and Simple Minds for that matter) are known more for their forays into cheesy sountrack-y 80s schlock instead of their earlier post-punk-influenced works.

    9. Michael said...

      Some would say that both OMD and Simple Minds started to blow by the time they had the songs in the Hughes movies. (Simple Minds already had a Greatest Hits album before “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”).

      Also, that Oingo Boingo guy seems to have done pretty well for himself…considering he scored about half the hit movies of the past 20 years, got nominated for Oscars, composed the theme for “The Simpsons,” etc. (search IMDB for Danny Elfman).

    10. Craig Calcaterra said...

      (Not That) Tom: I’ll grant you that, but the soundtrack-y 80s schlock bought the guy a really, really nice house on Coronado Island.

    11. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Michael—totally agree about Elfman. In fact, one of my taunts to McCluskey was that he wasn’t even the most successful John Hughes movie sellout of all time (Oingo Boingo: “Weird Science”).  He told me that may be true, but his John Hughes sellout song was better on its own merits.  Which is true.

    12. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

      Let’s see…

      How’s George Michael these days?

      How are you ever going to top “Dazzle Ships?”

      Aren’t pop stars supposed to be good-looking?

    13. MooseinOhio said...

      Re:  Papelbon – I think there may be factors above and beyond his pitching ability that may affect his tenure with the Red Sox:  money and attitude. 

      The Red Sox like to find a balance of big money players and low budget players and Bard certainly will be a much more affordable and controllable option and if he performs similarly to Paps allows them cost certainty for greater period of time.  This cost saving can be used to seek the big bat they need, resign Beckett or attract the replacement for Beckett. 

      As for attitude, Papelbon has been known to put his foot into management’s mouth and often draws the wrong kind of attention to the team.  Also, if continues his one-pitch love affair, which I perceive as an arrogance issue – at least partly, then his effectiveness will suffer.

      I have read rumors that the Red Sox may trade Papelbon to get talent in the minor league system, resign Wagner for a year to be the primary closer and let Bard develop as the 8th inning guy.  This would also free the Sox to move Bowden into a relief role as he may be maxing out down in Pawtucket. 

      Gotta love the Hot Stove and all the talk of possible trades/signings and since the Red Sox are out of the playoffs I have begun focusing more on what is happening in the kitchen more than the park.  Though I do think the Phillies-Yanks WS will be worth checking out and should be some good baseball.

      Re: Craig’s ‘Mocking Quest’ – don’t drop weight to fast or you’ll get a bloody nose, Shute is a monster and be mindful of contracting priapism as I heard it can be rather painful (at least that is what all the tv ads seem to indicate).

    14. (Not That) Tom said...

      “(Not That) Tom: I’ll grant you that, but the soundtrack-y 80s schlock bought the guy a really, really nice house on Coronado Island.”

      You’ll never find me begrudging an artist for their “selling out” moemt. As far as I’m concerned most deserve their (financial) due. Of course I also pretend like “Filthy Lucre Live” never happened, so there you have it.

    15. (Not That) Tom said...

      (Simple Minds already had a Greatest Hits album before “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”)

      To be fair, if you’re talking about “Celebration”, that was more of a repackaging of their older stuff than a proper greatest hits compilation.

    16. Jason B said...

      What’s an OMD/Simple Minds set list look like anyway?

      8:02 If you leave
      8:08 Don’t you (forget about me)
      8:15 If you leave (encore)
      8:22 Don’t you (forget about me) (encore)
      8:27 Back on the bus, thanks for comin’ out

      Are they playing stadiums? (stadia?) Arenas? Dive bars? Bar mitzvahs? State fairs? County fairs?

      Because honestly, I always wanted to see an iconic 80’s band and ride a fun ride, all in the same night.  What night would be more memorable than seeing Cutting Crew play live, followed by a ride on the Gravitron??  2 tickets, step right up and see Crowded House, then 2 more tickets will get you aboard the Tilt-o-whirl!

    17. Drew said...

      When you mention your brother getting them White Zinfandel or the like, all I can think of is the incomparable Del Preston:

      “So there, I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o’clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms; to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn’t go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head ‘round the door, and mentions there’s a little sweets shop on the edge of town. So – we go. And – it’s closed. So there’s me, and Keith Moon, and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweets shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they’ve got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopkeeper and his son… that’s a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really, but sure enough I got the M&Ms;, and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.”

      Remind your brother to bring a can of mace.

    18. (Not That) Tom said...

      I would pay good money to see Crowded House at a county fair*.

      Provided they have a stand that sells those frozen chocolate-covered bananas on a stick. Seriously the most underrated carny food ever…

      *Our county fair this year featured LeAnn Rimes. Man, how far has her career fallen?

    19. Clete6 said...

      Neither OMD nor Simple Minds is a one-hit wonder band, unless (in OMD’s case) you define one-hit wonder to be an artist that had only one Top Ten hit.  OMD had 4 Top 40 songs in the U.S., and Simple Minds had 5, including a #1 and a #3.

    20. Craig Calcaterra said...

      Clete: don’t harsh my buzz, man. I accused him of being a one-hit-wonder and he didn’t come back with the actual chart numbers (probably because I’m totally not worth his effort and he knows it; I’m just Curt’s dumbass little brother to him, and he’s right about that).

      Anyway, I’m going to presume that he waived the argument.

    21. Jason B said...


      Admittedly, when making my set list I wasn’t familiar with their other, slightly-less-popular tunes that may have also charted.  I was only like five or six at the time.  I was more concerned with Micro Machines n’ lego’s.  WHERE ARE ALL OF MY YELLOW 2×4 BRICKS?!?  I CAN’T FINISH THIS KICK-ASS STRUCTURE (read: crappy square enclosure with no roof) WITHOUT MORE YELLOW 2×4 BRICKS!!

    22. jwb said...

      it was a tossup between Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen, and U2 as to who would be the world’s next great band™.

      Substitute The Teardrop Explodes for Simple Minds and you have my dorm apartment in 1981. My vote was for the Mancunian druggies.

    23. Richard Dansky said...

      I stopped reading Q magazine largely because of their insane insistence on reminding the world /every issue/ that at one point, it was a tossup between Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen, and U2 as to who would be the world’s next great band(TM). Inevitably, this was followed up by a lengthy reminiscence as to how stonking awesome “The Cutter” was, until I finally snapped and started buying Mojo instead.

    24. JBerardi said...

      “Since my brother is a manager at an In-N-Out Burger it would be kind of weird for me.”

      Those are good burgers, Walter.

    25. AdrianK said...

      We had years of Simple Minds fouling up the charts over here in blighty – God I hated them. However, OMD were brilliant and their tour this year was fantastic.
      Best band ever to have a number one hit named after an atomic bomb.
      Its 8:15, and thats the time that its always been……..

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