Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some Very Disturbing News

Folks, Pearl and I just stumbled upon a news story that ran in the Weatherford, Texas, Democrat last Wednesday (June 22). It reports that McKennon Wimberly was arrested  that afternoon for allegedly shooting a hitchhiker.

Of course, we don't know the whole story yet, but nothing about this sounds good to the Stockyard Queen. Let's hope the justice system in Weatherford gets this sorted out as quickly as possible. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Boneheaded and Bullheaded

So Pearl de Vere and the Stockyard Queen were sitting around last week, drinking beer and moaning about the sad state of the PBR and alternately accusing one another of being lazy bitches because neither of us has posted a thing on Turn Him Out! in weeks. Then practically in the same breath, we both confessed that we have been daunted by the fact that every time we start writing a post, we also start ranting because there is so much wrong with the way this season has been managed that we feel like screaming our heads off about ALL of it, straight off.

So the Stockyard Queen, being a masterful negotiator and pourer of oil on troubled waters, suggested that instead of trying to wrestle the whole bull pen of stampeding issues to the ground in one mega-session, we should try for a series of posts that deal with only one matter. And since the Stockyard Queen opened this Stockyard, and Pearl is to some degree just an innocent bystander who got dragged into the stompings, the Queen volunteered to go first. In the end, though, it took both of us to write this post, but at least that gives us both plausible deniability.

The Stockyard Queen, being nothing if not diplomatic, posits that two words will sum up her discontents with the PBR: boneheaded and bullheaded. It seems like that outfit repeatedly makes stupid moves and then compounds the carnage by insisting that 1) they were the right moves and 2) they aren't going to talk about it anymore and 3) furthermore, nobody else better talk about it either, OR ELSE. On top of that, Pearl and the Queen agree that every time they think the Powers That Be (whoever the hell they are--does anybody really know?) have pulled a stunt so outrageous that they cannot possibly top it, they outdo themselves, sometimes within a few hours or days so the last atrocity. 

SQ has already bitched about the sorry state of the broadcast schedule, and we know because we have heard it from the horse's mouth that many of our readers have lost interest in the PBR entirely because of it. 

Nevertheless, one thing you can always, always count on the PBR to do is to hide the fishhook in the pecan pie. It would be naïve to read a PBR press release and not suspect that when they announce something wonderful, they are usually covering up something horrible. We have to give them full points for trying to spin their bad news, but unfortunately, once people figure out that it really is bad news, the PBR folks would rather face a firing squad than admit it. The one exception we can think of, the extraordinarily defensive post in which they finally explained that they had been caught with their pants down when NBC Sports bought Versus and gave the PBR the boot, just proves the point. And oh, never mind that they had a whole year to think about what might happen. That's the boneheaded part.

Then the plot thickened--the PBR announced its new fan club, Posse, and of course they insisted that Posse would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and we should all just line up and shell out. It took roughly five seconds for the Divine Pearl to deduce that whatever good things Posse was offering members with one hand, it was taking away from the fanbase at large with the other, and we are just pretty damned sure that there are more fans than there are fan club members. 

So the story about Posse goes on forever, and there are a few new and improved features, but the big change for the rest of us who don't feel like shelling out for a membership is that the Live Event Center, which once was where you could go to find out what was happening during the events that weren't broadcast (in other words, most of them), now will only show scores and the leaderboard for free (although you do have to register to gain access). To see the video, hear the audio, see the Bull Stock Media photos, or even view the detailed scoring, you have to be at least a Tough member. This means that for all the events not shown on TV, you would have to pay at least $29.95 to have crappy streaming of Flint doing his same crappy stuff, or anything useful beyond the very basics of who scored and who is winning.

Basically, the LEC video is like being at an event, although they sometimes do interviews and other features. It's Clint and Brandon and Flint miked in, and a few cameras showing the rides. Some replays are shown, but not too much that requires post-editing. If you have a slow Internet connection, you're probably going to have a problem. It's not great resolution, so enlarging it makes it pixelated and icky, especially when you have something like a fast-spinning bull.

The detailed scoring breaks down the scores per judge for bull and rider. You won't know this with the basic scoring, which just shows rider and bull score.

Sometimes Bull Stock Media is the only way to know what's going on when the video crashes, since they usually post a photo of each ride and what the result of the ride was. You won't have this, either, unless you are a paying member.

Another fine new feature is that the LEC will now have a live chat board. Pearl and the Stockyard Queen frankly have no inkling about what the chat is, but we also can't imagine why anyone would want it. Will they moderate it? Can you imagine the fights if they don't? Can you imagine how useless it will be if they do?

So, just to overstate our point, we have less TV coverage, which nobody is happy about and which the folks in Pueblo must certainly have figured out by now. And yet they compound the problem because now we have to pay if we want to watch live streaming. Granted, some of it is stuff that we wouldn't have seen in past years (the first day of a three-day event), but some of it is stuff we would have seen before.

We are mystified as to how the Powers That Be think they can grow the sport when we suspect that most of the fanbase has Hughesnet, which can barely support streaming, and people would have to shell out for a higher TV package and for the ability to even try to see the video or anything useful on the LEC. And how many looky-loos are going to bother to register, and of those who do, how many will want to stick around to see basic scoring, the leaderboard, and some freaky chat?

This mess with the LEC is the bullheaded part. (We of course mean no offense to SQ's favorite players, the bulls themselves. When they use their heads, the outcome is nearly always spectacular, and sometimes terrifying.)

Or, to put it another way, friends and neighbors, if you want to see the definition of insanity acted out with unfailing regularity, just follow the PBR. We guarantee that you will see a bunch of fine folks doing the same (boneheaded and bullheaded) things over and over, and expecting the results to be different. We can pretty much guarantee it.