Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scrabulous Withdrawal Syndrome? - We're here to help!

One of the neat things we get to do behind the scenes is stay up late at night, guzzle Diet Dr. Pepper, surf the net, stumble across pop culture stories the MSM in Winnipeg never gets to until it is waaaay too late, and brainstorm about how it relates to our audience.

Exhibit A: this online story about Facebook dropping a mega-popular application.

Scrabulous pulled from Facebook in US and Canada

Tue Jul 29, 7:17 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - The creators of online Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous said Tuesday they have pulled their application from US and Canadian Facebook pages due to a lawsuit filed by game-making giant Hasbro.

"This is an unfortunate event and not something that we are very pleased about, especially as Mattel has been pursuing the matter in Indian courts for the past few months," Scrabulous co-creator Rajat Agarwalla told AFP.

"We sincerely hope to bring our fans brighter news in the days to come." was launched by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla in India in 2005 and rocketed to popularity two years later after they released a version as a free "add-on" application for Facebook.

More than 500,000 people reportedly played the online word game daily on Facebook.

Facebook confirmed that Agarwalla and his brother disabled the Scrabulous application as a result of a legal demand from Hasbro, which owns the Scrabble trademark and copyright in the United States and Canada.

"We have had to restrict our fans in the USA and Canada from accessing the Scrabulous application on Facebook until further notice," Agarwalla said in an email exchange.

Hasbro on July 25 filed a lawsuit in US federal court against Scrabulous and sent a notice demanding Facebook remove the popular game from the hot social-networking website.

Toy and game manufacturers Hasbro and Mattel, which share ownership of the Scrabble trademark, asked Facebook in January to remove the renegade online version of its game from the website.


A game so popular that in and of itself, it has become a reference point about this generation. Exhibit B:

At the height of its television popularity in the late 1990s, "The X-Files" was one of those shows that, thanks to its intricate narratives, could generate endless Internet chatter about the smallest plot points, both real and imagined. Like modern-day Web surfers who play Scrabbulous at the expense of sleep, those "X-Files" aficionados were so eager for anything related to the show that they helped make 1998's first spinoff movie, "X-Files: Fight the Future," a minor hit, grossing nearly $84 million.

(John Van Horn, LA Times, July 23 -,0,6192739.story )

SO ... off goes the story in an email to Young Josh, our tech expert extra-ordinaire. Herein our email exchange, some verbiage reduced for clarity and good manners.

I haven't played it myself, but what I've heard from others (Rick the
Boss's status statements included) is that Scrabulous was much, much
better than what Hasbro put up in its place.
_ J

> I don't know anyone who didn't play that game religiously. It gave their #@* moldy old brand life with a new generation. I see the potential for a backlash as a tremendous risk and virtually inevitable. We should do a story about it.

Agreed. After it first hit big, I'd come into classes and people would
be taunting each other about their next Scrabulous move. It was huge.
It'll definitely be a good story for callers to comment on. Everyone (except me, because I'm a giant loser that way) has played it, everyone'll miss it, everyone will have something to say.

There's something to be said for the way Paramount worked with Star Trek fans to create a culture, instead of suing the +?^! out of them. And
these days, when almost everyone is trying to revive old brands and IP
instead of creating new ones, an opportunity like Hasbro had with
Scrabble/Scrabulous is a huge one. Too bad they squandered it.
_ J

> Hey I never played it either but even I have something to say about this.

We totally win at life, then. ;)
_ J

> Um, who owns the game of Life? We wouldn't want to be sued

Hahahaha! Nice. :P
I couldn't tell you -- I'm an atheist. ;)
_ J

> The way they act, so are Hasbro.

True enough!
_ J

And as I predicted, today's update from the International Herald Tribune:
Web fans fume over Scrabble-Scrabulous fight
By Heather Timmons
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Boycott Hasbro!"
The rallying cry started after fans of Scrabulous, an online knockoff of the classic board game Scrabble, woke up Tuesday to find that their game had been abruptly removed from, the social networking site.

To make matters worse, people who tried to download the official Hasbro version of Scrabble found that it did not work either. The authorized game had been the victim of "a malicious attack" Tuesday morning, its developer said - an attack that came right on the heels of the sudden disappearance of Scrabulous.


The backlash was instant. Bloggers denounced Hasbro, howls of protest flooded message boards, and new Facebook groups were created with names like "Down with Hasbro." Although some people spoke up to defend Hasbro's rights, most people jeered at the company, calling it everything from "short-sighted" to "technologically in the dark" to "despicable."

"You didn't have the smarts or initiative to come up with as good a product at the boys did, so your alternative is to mess with the superior product?" said one typical comment on Facebook. "Do you think that the thousands of folks who were enjoying this superior application will now come running to your inferior product? Hmmmm....

Hasbro, for its part, was keeping a stiff upper lip. It issued a statement Tuesday inviting fans to try out the "authentic" game of online Scrabble, introduced this month by Electronic Arts.

But on Tuesday, people who downloaded Electronic Arts' "Scrabble Beta" were greeted with a message that said, "We'll be back up shortly." On Tuesday afternoon, Electronic Arts said technical problems had caused the crash; by early evening the company said its game had "experienced a malicious attack this morning, resulting in the disabling of Scrabble on Facebook."

Scrabble Beta had attracted about 15,000 daily users and mixed reviews, including criticism from Facebook reviewers for its "pathetic" upload time. The companies said they were trying to address such issues.

We're offering support and counselling to all listeners suffering Scrabulous Withdrawal Syndrome, for the rest of this week, starting at 4 PM, just call 780-5425.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

CRTC revokes campus radio licence of 107.9 CJWV-FM

In an unprecedented decision -- and despite the pleadings of proposed savior David Asper not to invoke "the death penalty" at a June hearing --Harmony Broadcasting's 4 1/2 year long misadventure in campus radio was put to an end by the federal regulator today.

"Given the long and wilful history of non-compliance by this licensee, its misunderstanding of the Campus Radio Policy and the nature of its licence and the fact that the station has been off the air for a considerable time, the Commission is of the view that revocation is the only appropriate measure in this case." wrote the CRTC in Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-146.

Despite giving the dubious operation a reprieve with conditions (6 mandatory orders) after a September 2006 hearing, the CRTC ruled Harmony had afterwards breached:

"Regulations with respect to the submission of logger tapes on two occasions... non-compliance with Mandatory Order 2 and section 9(2) of the Regulations in that it did not file annual returns by the required date." (and found a) "failure to submit self assessment reports and music lists in response to a request by the Commission also represents non-compliance with Mandatory Order 2 and section 9(3) of the Regulations... By its non-compliance, the Commission considers that Harmony has failed in carrying out its obligations to listeners in Winnipeg."

And that wasn't all that bothered the Commissioners.

The Asper business plan itself, which was to include the ongoing and lucrative employment of the person responsible for the regulatory mess, did not find favour with the panel.

"The Commission further notes that, according to plans set out at the public hearing, Mr. (Franc) Capozzolo, who was the sole member of Harmony when the non-compliance occurred, would continue to play a prominent role in CJWV-FM as morning announcer. He also designed the course curriculum to be used under a new agreement with Robertson College...Mr. Capozzolo stated that it was "designed to appease or satiate the requirements of a campus radio licence." "

"Mr. Capozzolo’s statement, plus those made at the hearing regarding Harmony’s plans for operating the station in the future as well as the business plan filed after the hearing, suggest efforts to adapt a station with a commercial orientation to the regulatory framework for a campus/instructional station."

The CRTC noted that the station admitted having no students in 2006-2007, and had admitted in the '06 hearing that no students had ever been enrolled in a legally recognized course. Yet the development of new talent for the radio industry was the raison d'etre of the decision to renew the licence, after Harmony bought the licence in 2003.

Instead a commercial hip-hop format was instigated and many thousands of dollars in advertising was sold on that basis with nary a student broadcaster in sight. (Not to mention the ongoing dispute with a group from the visible minority community, who poured a hugh amount of money into harmony in 2004 on the premise they had a signed deal to be brought onto the Board and run the station).

Meanwhile a parade of employees had to appear before the federal Labour division to complain and get a legal Order for their owed wages to be finally paid, months and years later.

It remains to be seen what further investigations or sanctions may arise from the operation of a non-profit licence as what was by all evidence, a sole proprietorship by the "sole member".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our Special Tribute to Frank Goodish/Bruiser Brody

I want to thank today's guests:

Larry Matysik, author of Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel (and also
Wrestling at the Chase, which features Brody on the cover), and Dan Denton, who told a hilarious story about being a rookie wrestler that got on Brody's good side and took a memorable road trip with Brody for Tony Condello's WFWA promotion (and ribbed aspiring comedian Ted Stevens right out of the business).

Frank was raised in Detroit, a hugh Tigers fan who played some minor league football and got a tryout with Vince Lombardi's Washington Redskins in 1970, and played for $7200 for the Edmonton Eskimos in 1971. Life as a sportswriter in San Antonio could not satisfy the wanderlust in Goodish's heart, and a chance meeting with fellow footballer turned wrestler Joe "Ivan Putski" Bednarski opned the door for the 6'6", 300 plus pound dynamo.

His intense crazed style made him a headliner with and against all the top international stars of the era - Bruno Sammartino, Cowboy Bill Watts, Harley Race, Ric Flair, The Von Erichs, The Freebirds, Jerry Lawler, Dick the Bruiser, and especially his battles in Japan against Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki made him a revered sports figure in that culture to this day.

Winnipeg fans caught only a glimpse of Brody in 1984 and 86 but his wild interviews and full-out brawling style on TV shows from ESPN, Montreal, Texas, Kansas City and Georgia made him the hottest independant star in the world at a time when the WWF was taking over.

The maverick, Bruiser Brody, stood on his own.

Some links online to his legacy in and out of the ring:

A fabulous interview with a newscaster about his philosophy of the business:

Crowd hysteria in Japan:

Against the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta in Tokyo:

Music video tribute:

Brody interviewed by the great Gord Solie on TBS:

Brody and Kerry Von Erich againsy Freebirds Hayes and Gordy at the height of the glory days of World Class wrestling from the Sportatorium in Dallas:

St Louis Wrestling vs Nicolai Volkoff with Matysik calling the action:

Brutalizing a very green Leon White (aka Vader) in the AWA:

Lex Luger running from Brody in a Miami cage match gone bad:

Frank Goodish was mercilessly shanked in a locker room shower in a cowardly attack at Bayamon Stadium on July 16 1988, -- and in the perverse world of Puerto Rican justice, it was ruled self-defence after the witnesses and even Brody's widow were not informed of the trial until after it concluded. Frank left behind his wife Barbara and a son Geoff whom he adored.

Seven years ago while living in Los Angeles and seeing how the legend of Brody was influential even on young luchadores, I wrote a story that was based on a new wrestler from Vancouver who dared utter a question to an incredulous Denton and next heard the clarion call for a 'shoot':

"Who's Bruiser Brody?? Stop the Van!"
by Marty Goldstein (originally published on 2001-07-14 and slightly edited for TGCTS blog)
Original at:

Respect for the Past

It was my first day on the road with ECCW, July 22, 1999. The vets from Winnipeg, myself, Dirty Dan Denton, and our old buddy EZ Rider, were regaling the young boys from ECCW about what the Winnipeg territory was like in the 80's with Tony Condello's WFWA.

After manouvering his way in 1986 to get into the Winnipeg Arena after years of being frozen out by Verne Gagne, Tony booked a lot of outside talent into his main events and undercard trying to boost his product by having the local guys get the rub, as Dave Meltzer says.

It was quite a mix of musclebound Eddie Sharkey trainees from Minneapolis, newer guys like Denton, Winnipeg warhorses like Bill Cody, and a main event straight out of Kansas City. Bulldog Bob Brown (and just wait for the column about him) had brought in his current fued from the Central States to main event, against a former AWA headliner. Even with weak TV, the indy card drew 2200 fans, all eager for the return of "King Kong" Bruiser Brody.

Denton was telling the story about riding with Brown's opponent to Brandon, 2 hours west of Winnipeg, for a show after the Arena card. A voice shot up and Disco Fury actually said " WHO'S BRUISER BRODY?"

Immediately there was loud noise from the vets and silence from the ECCW locals. I was aghast. EZ, a mild mannered fellow,was in shock. Denton was apoplectic. "Who's Bruiser Brody?? STOP THE VAN!!". In BC, a call to stop the van is a prelude to a roadside shoot. Fury was whiter than usual, which says something. Luckily the van did not stop.

Instead of a shoot, there was a Brody seminar in the yellow van all the way to Chilliwak. ECCW's young crew learned in a hurry who Bruiser Brody was.

Remembering a Legend

Before I recount how Brody and Denton met, allow me to explain why the legend of Bruiser Brody should be required learning for anyone claiming to be a pro wrestler or involved in the industry.

Frank Goodish was a former offensive guard for the Edmonton Eskimos and had worked as a sportswriter in his native San Antonio. He had a life outside the ring. He was 6'4", 285 lbs. and agile like a cat. His wrestling skills were quite good and he was in many ways the forefather of the modern brawling. He worked struggling indys and Japan with equal 100% effort.

His interviews in territories he cared about (not the AWA) were infused with emotion and intelligence. Everyone believed "King Kong" Bruiser Frank Brody was the toughest SOB in wrestling. He cared about protecting the drawing power of the business. No one was better in cage matches. He stood up to stupid booking and promoters.

Brody put Dick the Bruiser's head through a locker in Indianapolis over a payoff dispute in 1981. His walking out and switching offices in Japan shook up the wrestling culture there and made him an icon to fans. In Texas he made the Von Erichs learn how to work or else. He caused a riot in the Winnipeg Arena in 1984 with Abdullah as his partner against The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke that resulted in the AWA being banned for a month, despite Verne's years of goodwill.
In Kansas City and Canada in 1986 he made Bulldog Bob Brown look like a million bucks (Canadian funds, of course, but still...). He embarassed Lex Lugar by refusing to sell for the rookie monster in Miami, and walked out of the cage on him. On some episodes of TSN Pro Wrestling Plus in 1987 Brody had bouts in Georgia, New England, Texas and Puerto Rico, it was like Ed Whelan was hosting the Brody Hour. Frank was the epitome of an independant wrestler.

A cowardly booker stabbed him to death in a locker room in Puerto Rico on July 16/88. The fear of retribution kept other wrestlers from testifying at the murder trial, and a corrupt justice system allowed his jealous killer to walk.

Making Friends and Terrorizing a Mark

Denton met Brody the night before (well,2 AM the morning of)the Arena show, in the hotel hallway. Denton was carrying a case of beer, while wearing the dress of a girl who was skinny dipping in the Airliner Hotel pool. Brody opened his door, saw the rib in progress and invited Dan in.

After watching Denton's semi-main tag match, Brody offered to take Dan to Texas later that fall "to go beat up some Von Erichs". The next day, they rode together to Brandon with Condello's TV announcer of the day, Ted Stevens, a mark if there ever was one.

Stevens was an idiot savant, an aspiring comic who did the best AWA impressions ever. He had Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund down pat. Unfortunately that was about it for his act. Not at all qualified to do TV play by play,(Condello hadn't figured that out), he was qualified to chauffeur Brody, because he had a car. Ted Steven's markish joy at hauling around Brody was soon squashed.

His car karoake and mimicry of AWA TV moments of the past wore on Brody's nerves. Brody decided to rattle Stevens and began clipping his toenails right there travelling down the TransCanada Highway. Denton watched from the backseat while Stevens, who lived a quite polite life with his mother, took a torrent of abuse from a real heel.

After the show, Stevens was ordered to stop across the street at the off sale. Denton bought Canada's most powerful beer by volume, Extra Old Stock, a foul brew if there ever was one. Stevens, a law abiding square, was stunned when, as his car hit the highway back to Winnipeg, Brody and Denton started to consume the barley based beverage. The abuse Disco Fury took from us in the van was nothing compared to the humiliation Brody heaped on a guy who figured renting a tux qualified him to be in the business.

Emotional Reactions

I got a phone call around 2 AM from a friend at a major Canadian newspaper, who saw the story of Brody's murder on the wire. I had no idea how to break the news to Denton, but I called him in Vancouver at Stan Miller's house, and tried to tell him the news. After 8 years around the business, it was my most difficult conversation. Dan was crestfallen. He wrote a column about that call for a Surrey newspaper.

In that era, wrestling never made mainstream headlines. Never. A mass media that had never heard of Frank Goodish, reported his murder but had no idea how deeply his death affected his fans and co-workers, not just in North America but worldwide.

Seven days later I was at Memorial Hall in Kansas City to do colour for WWA's second to last TV taping. Bob Geigel, as old and tough as anyone left in the business, was in tears trying to explain to the locker room what happened in Puerto Rico to Brody, and how much Brody meant to his office and the wrestling industry. Mike George, Tommy Gilbert, ref Sonny Meyers, announcer Jay French, the whole crew was shaken.

In a tough, cruel business, Brody stood out as a performer and as a man. He died too young, with many more crowds to thrill and young wrestlers to befriend, leaving behind a loving wife and son.

That is who Bruiser Brody was.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This week is loaded with guest interviews

A quick note about this week's line-up.

* Today we're looking at the opposite side of the Rapid Transit Coalition lobby after their ridiculous publicity stunt last week mesmorized the zombies who populate Winnipeg newsrooms into thinking they were making "news".

Dallas Hansen and Jim Jaworski of TRU (Transit Riders Union) Winnipeg will explain why a subway/metro system has never gotten a fair examination in the MSM and how the costs and benefits measure up to Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail Transit, flying carpets, or whatever else is being suggested to modernize public transportation in the city.

* On Thursday downtown businesswoman Ari Driver will join us in-studio. Her first person account of dealing with the prosecution of a gun-wielding robber and a series of break-ins will open a lot of eyes about the NDP "justice" system.

And as usual Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports will join us to forecast the Bombers set-to against the BC Lions.

* Friday we will be joined by Alberta community leader Dan Kroffat.
A former Stampede Wrestling champion in the 70's, Dan has worked to defend the rights of beef farmers, create awareness of the housing crisis in the booming Alberta economy, and to sound the alarm about the erosion of the middle class in Canada. He's one of the most insightful and articulate guests about Canadian society we've had (and I'm sure some wrestling history will come up as well.)

* JUST CONFIRMED: Next Tuesday July 15th @ 4 PM - Mayor Sam Katz

* On Monday, I referenced an article in Vancouver Magazine that was originated by our friend Brian Howell, whose stark portraits accompany a story by Jonathan Graham, Life After Death. It's about how the families of murder victims in BC have founded a lobby group and are forcing legislative changes to punish criminals and assist survivors. It's a great read and the time is coming where the same backlash may well develop in Manitoba.

Thanks for your feedback ( and calls (780-5425). And don't forget our summer bonus replays, every Monday-Thursday night at 11 PM.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Today: 20th anniversary tribute to wrestling stars killed in Nfld. crash/more 511 from Kenny

A short week but one of our busiest, as Councillor Mike Pagtakhan was in studio for over 80 minutes on Wednesday, discussing and debating the proposed Blue Bomber stadium/waterpark/hotel/infrastructure renewal of South Point Douglas put forward by David Asper.

Mike said he would work to ensure residents of the Point (just like residents near Health Sciences Centre in that expansion) would be compensated on the basis of "a home for a home" if they are expropriated or forced to move.

He also stated that all residents of North and South Point Douglas, not just Aboriginals, should have equal opportunity at any jobs or training that comes out of the plan, and also speculated that sewer renewal alone to accomodate the Asper plan might cost $50 million. At some point, Mike said, there is a number that is too big for taxpayers, but the plan is worth a serious evaluation.

He would like to see the principles of an upscale, forward thinking revitalization enacted, and promised that any community consultation would be well advertised and residents will be notified by direct mail drop.

Today: Spirited Kenny has more of his 511 Emergency Warning system fiasco report and the stonewalling he is getting at the hands of government bureaucrats who won't provide even basic information;

More on the Taman inquiry and witness evidence that East St. Paul police at the scene of the accident that killed Crystal Taman knew the driver of the truck that rammed into her, was a city cop who had been up all night drinking;

and a special tribute to 3 wrestlers who died 20 years ago today when their van crashed in Lewisporte, Nfld.

Adrian Adonis (former AWA/WWF tag team champion), Pat Kelly (the Kelly Twins, famous for an Oh Henry commercial) and tour promoter Dave "Bearman" McKigney were killed when Kelly's brother Mike swerved to avoid a moose and crashed off of a causeway. McKigney's son -- who was about 12 at the time -- was in the ring truck following the van and witnessed the scene. His mother had been killed only years before when one of their wrestling bears escaped the cage and attacked her.

In tribute to the Bearman -- who fought an utterly corrupt Ontario Boxing and Wrestling Commission to keep the Canadian barnstorming wrestling troupe tradition alive, and the tale of his struggle in the book Drawing Heat by Professor Jim Freedman inspired me to try my hand at promoting pro wrestling -- we present this clip from 1980.

Folk singer Syvia Tyson hosted a CBC TV story about regional wrestling in Ontario and McKigney was prominently featured.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The 511

The July 31 2006 News Release headline reads as follows;

‘Environment Canada Welcomes 511 Weather and Travel Information Service.’

The promise is to provide up-to-date information to travelers about road and weather conditions so that they can make knowledgeable decisions about their travel plans. Since Environment Canada is moving quickly towards implementing this 511 service, it will be rolled out in 2007.

So if you were to phone 511 right now you would get the up-to-date information about the weather right?


It is hard to imagine that almost two years after this press release, there is still nothing. Environment Canada is very tight-lipped about the whole matter. Inquires about the most basic of information about the 511 service, are replied with:

“Environment Canada is working both within and with other government departments on both the technical and financial requirements of such a service. Environment Canada has been working with Industry Canada and Public Safety Canada and the 511 system will be designed to be compatible with any future National Public Alerting System.”

This, however, was only after about two weeks of “back and forth”. This is also quite a different story then what they first told me. Before the email from which the above paragraph is quoted, I was told only Environment Canada was working on the 511 system, but was examining the technical aspects. The press release stated that Environment Canada was going to be working with, of course, private and government agencies like Transport Canada, and provincial and territorial governments. It seems like when you’re talking weather, and you’re working with multiple levels of government your deadlines will not get met.

The National Public Alerting system will not be alerting anyone until maybe 2010, and has only been in development for about 10 years. To even find out who is working on updating the 511 service is impossible, or at least Environment Canada isn’t telling me.

Does 2010 seem acceptable considering it was suppose to be useable in 2007? And is it ok that they have provided the public with no explanations for the delay aside from examining technical requirements? Technical requirements that could easily be resolved by phoning the United States of America where they already have this service available for their citizens, as stated in the press release.

Just what would be the ‘financial requirements’ for updating the already available highway conditions that anyone can now obtain from calling 511, to include vital weather conditions? I don’t know, but if it has taken over a year of counting, the bill is going to be huge.

Once you know what type of hardware and software are required, along with staffing needs, the financial requires should be a breeze. Then you have a two-week bidding period for equipment suppliers, installers, trainers, and building space. Since Winnipeg is the center of North America, and is the most logical place for server banks that might be required for holding all the recorded phone messages, it would make sense for the majority of the hardware and software to be set up here. We have lots of vacant building space downtown that I’m sure center venture would kindly show the Feds.

Then while the equipment is being installed, start some on-the-job training with the new federal employees that will be paid salaries according to union scale.

Maybe I missed something, a meeting perhaps. I always forget about the inter-government lunch meetings, dinner meetings, all on the taxpayer dime.

On a serious note, I would suggest you do two things.

1) Get a weather radio and set it up.
2) Go to get, and start getting prepared.

Because it is becoming more and more apparent that the even though more then 50% of our total incomes goes to the government, they are incapable of doing anything more than using this warning system, and emergency preparedness for anything more then political posturing.

And they refuse to be honest with us about what the delays are.

Again, another story that is only be taken seriously on The Great Canadian Talk Show, only 92.9 Kick FM.

Happy Canada Day!