MTV — the M stands for “midlife crisis”

One of the signature pop culture channels of television is technically middle-aged, and judging from its ratings is desperately seeking attention like everybody else nearing their 40s by leasing a sports car and cyberstalking ex-girlfriends on Facebook.

MTV turned 35 years old this week. It hasn’t aged well, sort of like this guy. Or this one. I couldn’t tell you where it is on my satellite package. I know it still exists, kind of like MySpace. But the last thing I knew about anything or anyone from MTV was that some girl on a show called “Teen Mom” did pornography. I still don’t know her name, although I admit I remember some other stuff about her now.

The most annoying thing about MTV’s sudden disappearance from relevancy is that everybody from my generation knew it didn’t have to happen. We knew it. We didn’t like it. We begged them not to do it. MTV didn’t have to be as forgettable as pogs. It had the formula to constantly reinvent itself like Pokemon Go.

Because music always updates. Janet Jackson begat Beyoncé. Duran Duran begat New Kids on the Block begat Justin Timberlake. Public Enemy begat Lupe Fiasco or Pharoahe Monch. And so on.

Nobody has given a satisfactory explanation why MTV stopped playing music in the first damn place.

I want to give you a window into my youth. Outwardly, to my friends at San Gorgonio High School, many assumed I listened only to hard rock. I was a bit of a private sort, but I assume part of that was how I dressed — jeans and T-shirts. And to be honest, I would tell my friends that other genres of music sucked.

Only I was a fraud. When I went home, MTV opened my eyes and ears to all genres of music and I consumed it. Pop. Grunge. Hip-hop. Dance. And then, charlatan that I was, I would stash that music in my backpack right next to my rock collection, return to school and tell my friends that music sucked.

The channel also touched on social issues, as did the music. The videos the channel played included acts that we now refer to as from the LGBTQ community. I’m not saying my generation is responsible for civil tolerance of that community, but something had to start chipping away at that wall and I believe music was a sledgehammer.

Here’s the thing: I suspect many of my friends were quietly like me — claiming allegiance to music their friends liked and then watching everything they could on MTV. Recently, I’ve found some friends who were into rap privately liked metal. The homecoming queen of my high school saw Guns N Roses this week. (Maybe she did it to be a supportive wife, but possible that she knows the lyrics to “Welcome to the Jungle”? OK. I’ll take that bet.)

That makes me smile. It signals to me that all of the people I knew growing up had more in common than we cared to admit back then. Music was that link.

Over time, my generation knew what happened. The channel started to branch away from music videos into half-hour programs. They didn’t always stink. I loved “Jackass” and “Beavis and Butt-head,” but the times, they were a-changin.’

Reality TV killed the video star. It’s a bit of a complaint, but it’s definitely a regret.

I’m sure the men in suits who crunch the numbers thought it would be a profitable move, only it supercharged MTV into complete irrelevancy. Imagine if MTV had kept that original formula and we kept watching. To be honest, I probably would have. I love music that much. I want current hits on my iPhone as much as the stuff I enjoyed as a teen.

But instead, MTV shut me out and everyone else in the process. And it forged its own generation gap instead of bridging it.

The week in L.A. sports (7/29/16-8/4/16)

I would have had this earlier, but I was called in to work. So be it. I like talking sports. I love getting paid. There’s a clear difference…

Dodgers: Very little respect to the front office for finally getting a trade done before the non-waiver deadline on Monday. The primary swap was three minor leaguers for the top two players the Oakland A’s had to offer. Before we break down the trade, know that the Dodgers haven’t won a game since making the deal.

As for the trade, well … They brought in yet another injured starting pitcher (Rich Hill), because with Andrew Friedman’s way of thinking you can never have enough people under contract who are physically unable to compete. They also acquired a jolly good outfielder named Josh Reddick, in the process acknowledging that the deal is like the chemotherapy to rid themselves of their Puignoma.

Bottom line: yes, the rotation is in tatters, but it wouldn’t be in such a mess if Friedman hadn’t acquired so many injury-prone players in the first place.

Lakers: Earlier today, the team’s pursuit of guard Russell Westbrook for next offseason ended. Yeah, Westbrook figured why wait 11 months to give Jim Buss the finger when he could do so today. Westbrook re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. A bench jockey for OKC took to Twitter to laugh at the Lakers, to which I would reply “You realize you’re no longer a title contender either, right? … Do you really want Kevin Durant to tweet what he thinks about you?”

Larry Nance Jr. apparently injured something and I don’t care much.

Clippers: The Los Angeles Times reports Paul Pierce spent $2.23 million on a residence in the area, which means he’s renting a closet in the back of a Whole Foods Market. Wakka wakka!

Galaxy: In securing a 1-1 result in Seattle on Sunday, the Galaxy pulled a remarkable little feat by not losing road games throughout Cascadia — Seattle (win and a draw), Portland (win) and Vancouver (win). For the uninitiated, it doesn’t sound like much. Portland is the defending league champs and the other two did reach the playoffs last year. Teams tend to mail their effort in when they travel in MLS. The Galaxy didn’t. Credit where it’s due.

Rams: I’m still genuinely thrilled that the Rams returned home. I honestly am. And then I recall they’re playing their first few seasons hereSigh.

Here’s an item to slide into your “no sh-t” file: ESPN wrote that in “position battles to watch for all 32 NFL teams,” it’s quarterback Case Keenum vs. No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m in such a foul mood, I get that way every time I see some asshat with “lipstick” tattooed on his neck. Sure, playa.

Kings: They sold one of their minor-league teams to a group of trust fund babies in Boston and the sooner I finish typing that, the better.

More proof why I don’t speak of writing in hushed, reverent tones


I’m cringing over parts of a trip to New York next week. An annual writers conference will be held at the swanky Midtown Hilton, which will be teeming with agents and publishers. I am looking forward to that. I make a decent in-person impression on people in a business setting. It’s probably the hat.

What always makes me shudder, though, is how writers see themselves — equal parts artist, megalomaniac and upraised martyr for bringing the world the gift of their glowing prose.

We’re not that important. Hell, I would argue we’re not important at all.

Above is the latest proof.

It kind of reminds me of when I was a young impressionable lad who wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Man, did I bust my behind when I went to San Gorgonio High School.. You name the event. I was often there, chasing items, interviewing, writing. My grades suffered because of it, but who cared? Man, I was a teenage champion of the First Amendment.

And then the big break, the sports editor of The San Bernardino County Sun noticed my work and asked me to write for the paper. I was getting paid to write for a daily newspaper. Back then, a good one.

So I went running home with the news.

Where my dad promptly slapped me silly because he wanted me to be a lumberjack.

After all, according to the rankings, it’s a better job than writer. Besides, my family had already invested a fortune in my future — the banjo lessons, overalls, flannel shirts, not to mention my lucky whittlin’ knife.

Dad was so pissed. He already purchased my Greyhound ticket to Eugene, Ore., the day after I graduated high school.

Little did I know how much Dad knew about the world. Teenage stubbornness, I guess. I mean, look at the list and note what’s not on it, which must mean it’s a better job. For example, crack whore is a better job than writer.

Suicide bomber has a brighter future than journalism, too.

Now that I think of it, part of me is hoping I run into a suicide bomber on my flight north next week.

At least that way, I won’t have to listen to a hotel full of crabby wordsmiths in search of their muse.

Just another reason to skip #thebiggames

Have you ever noticed that the Super Bowl never gets referred to as the Super Bowl outside of news broadcasts? You can get your new flatscreen in time for “the big game,” but not in time for “the Super Bowl.”

This is because the NFL, like a drug slinger on the corner of your street, knows we’re addicts to their product and can call the shots about how we talk about it. If the NFL wanted us only to speak about football under water in whale song, we would.

The league is known for the violence we cherish, and we hold that violence to our flabby bosoms closer than we do our children. The NFL is also known for, about two or three times a year, making petty decisions to protect its brand name. You can’t call anything related to the Super Bowl a Super Bowl anything unless you have licensed it with the NFL.

The United States Olympic Committee feels likewise. Be on the lookout for the upcoming … Ahem … “Running, Jumping, Throwing, Sweating Event in Brazil.” Because if you go to social media and hashtag things such as “teamUSA” or “Rio2016,” the USOC say you are infringing on a trademark.

And you can get sued.

According to The Guardian:

“One of these letters, written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird and obtained by ESPN, states: ‘Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts. This restriction includes the use of USOC’s trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.'”

When I first read this, my gut reaction was to blame Roger Goodell and he didn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

Consider that I have no products for sale that mentions … Uh… the summer games that were originally held in Greece with nude sexually agreeable young men. I’m still an author. I sell books. It’s possible that if I tweet about Michael Phelps getting the Zika virus, I could get sued.

It’s a jerk move by the USOC, but fortunately it’s not one that I have to worry much about.

Because I don’t “need” to watch rhythmic gymnastics. I need to watch football. Hell, if I want to watch the world compete, I’ll even choose soccer first because overseas, they call it “football.” Good enough for me, Jacques.

So the USOC can enjoy swatting away all the mosquitos it can while poring over my social media feeds. Because the only way I’m watching that crap, let alone post or tweet about it, is if ISIS strikes.

Because that would be violent. And I’m addicted to violence.

It’s #NationalGirlfriendDay, because they don’t make enough demands as it is

Happy Monday. If you’re like me, you’re a little hung over.

I sat in the parking lot of the Burger King in Sanford, Fla., desperately searching Twitter to see if the Dodgers finally realized a pitching rotation of one and an underperforming outfield isn’t going to cut it and upgrade the team with a trade. Of course, they didn’t. After all, the Dodgers only paid their player personnel guy $35 million. What did they expect him to do, work?

So blockbuster trades to end a 28-year World Series drought, no. But on the plus side, it’s #NationalGirlfriendDay.

It’s a plus because I don’t have a girlfriend.

Seriously, what does that say about women who are in relationships that they would choose a Monday as a day where they should be celebrated? Women ain’t stupid. They know damn well everybody is in a mood that borders between light misery and talk-me-down-off-the-bridge. So stupid? No. 

But needy? Apparently.

It’s not that’s hate women. Not at all. I’ve worked under the counsel of female supervisors. As a comedian, I told jokes with funny women. I write books and desperately need the advice of women, because if you walk through a Barnes & Noble, they’re full of ’em.

But special? After all of these special days, months, etc., that encourage us all to contemplate alleged “female superiority,” I think it’s time to admit that woman aren’t that special. Not in America. Not anymore. If you keep creating special days, it adds up to one ordinary existence.

Women have “days” in abundance for them. We already know about Valentine’s Day. Who are you kidding? Men aren’t Valentines. Moreover, if you were too stupid to wear a rubber, your girlfriend also gets her due on Mother’s Day.

There’s a Women’s History Month in March, which is California’s latest silly attempt to think that anyone will pay attention to a cause for an entire month. There’s even an International Women’s Day, which to be real, I don’t have a problem with because the United Nations every so often needs to remind Pakistan and China to cool it.

At least all of these other special days — unlike #NationalGirlfriendDay — come at times where a man can at least get come to grips with the start of another work week. This is why a bigender commission of social media experts specifically chose WomanCrushWednesday — or #WCW to those ahead-of-the-curve types like me call it. By the time Wednesday rolls around, most of us are in a better mood. A couple of free days are ahead. How optimistic! Maybe I will run into Selena Gomez.

So anyway, I took a moment and ran the numbers of “special” times of year and we have 86 days every single year that are designed to make women feel good about themselves — and that’s before adding #NationalGirlfriendDay. We spend almost one-fourth of the year flogging ourselves over how great women are.

And that doesn’t include the percentage of time I spend hating myself for being Irish.

So hell no, today isn’t #NationalGirlfriendDay. It’s #MLBTradeDeadline day.

I await to be thoroughly disappointed again, Dodgers.