Columns » John Brummett

Hogaholics in need of voltage

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Our hogaholism has blown completely out of control. We need to check ourselves into a padded room and let loose substantial voltage anytime anybody utters “Houston” or “Frank” or “Mitch” or “Gus.”

Even the sportswriting and sportscasting apologists and propagandists, the typewriter jocks and microphone jocks, the guys who feed the addiction, are at each other’s throats.

There’s this radio person, Barrett’s his name, Rona, I think. His stock in trade is a classic baritone and an ability to stretch it out and cover minutes of air time without actually saying anything.
But Rona sure enough said something the other night. He went off — and I flat-dab mean went off — on the sports editor of the Little Rock newspaper, a guy who has made a darned fine living writing though he’s not always real adept at it.

This guy, Wally, no last name required, has found much-deserved happiness as Larry to Tommy Smith’s Moe and David Bazzel’s Curly on a morning radio show.

Rona waxed indignant on the air that Wally reportedly had gone to a civic club and said that he’d call anyone a liar who quoted him on it, but that the problem in Fayetteville was between Reggie and Gus, or a matter of Reggie against Gus. That’s Red Herring and Gus Malazahn, or something like that.

Such a pronouncement was “unconscionable,” Rona intoned gravely, especially considering the audacity of a newspaper sports editor to presume to say something in public and keep it off the record.

I called Wally. I’ve been knowing him since that day I threw his first attempt at a sports article in the trash, or so he recalls. I don’t get to see him so much anymore since I no longer work at the Little Rock paper. Sometimes in those days he’d walk to my desk and I’d look down from my chair and ask what he wanted.

“It’s about half-right,” Wally said of Rona’s rant.

Yeah, he said that, or something like it, Wally admitted, but, heck, he’d written it days before. And, yeah, Wally said, he frequently uses that throw-away line about calling a liar anyone who quoted him, but he only for does it as a shtick, especially in this case, considering that he was saying something he’d already published in his column.

And gotten royally chewed out over the phone by Houston Dale, insiders are saying.

Indeed, Houston Dale appears to be on a bit of a tear lately himself. The typewriter and microphone jocks are talking amongst themselves about how David Bazzel, designated Houston Dale defender against Bruce James’ wholly unprecedented truth-telling on a Sunday night television sports talk show, got a text message the other day from Houston Dale. It supposedly asked, “Who won that game?”

That would be the one against a Mormon intramural squad that the Hogs narrowly outscored, if you can call that winning.

Houston Dale is entitled to be peevish. Frank Broyles has successfully mismanaged things to this point: Houston Dale’s job is on the line unless he wins at the same time he’s under orders not to coach the team but let a high school guy do it.

Then there’s a prehistoric-sounding thing called Otis, or Otus. He’s either a dead cat or a live person. I’m never sure. He, or it, writes not quite as well as Wally and grunts on the radio about how great our recruits are, meaning the ones that chose us over Alabama-Birmingham.

He, or it, is in some kind of a public fuss-fight with Tommy Smith, Wally’s radio partner who, last I knew, was inviting women to come to his radio booth and bare their breasts, which a good number of them were perfectly willing to do.

Oh, well, it’s no worse than showing your rear end, which is what everyone else is doing.

A prediction: The Hogs will beat Vanderbilt handily today, and everything will be better, but only for a few days. A hogaholic is never recovered, and seldom even recovering.

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