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Bonus Content, Lebron, and CUTE ANIMALS



For those of you who haven’t been with me since day one of the blog (you bandwagoners): here’s the truth: I’m a hockey writer by default.  I started out just…. blogging.  Stand-up comedy, animal pictures, football rants, and the occassional mention of a sport I sometimes followed, hockey.

Glenn, Bri, Mom and Jeff, hangin' out in AZ

Blogger Bourne was like Hockey Bourne - I loved me some stats.  I had thirty “views” my first day, and wanted the number to head up.  I checked progress religiously throughout the day as A) it was super-easy when I had a account and didn’t have to go through the whole Google Analytics rigamaroll and B) I was confined to the couch for a couple months thanks to my shattered face, and was f**king bored.

What I noticed was, every time I wrote about hockey, things kaboomed.  Ahhh– since I actually knew what the hell I was talking about on that topic, people were more inclined to care.  Noted.

And here we are today.  It’s just me, jumping around waving hockey sticks, wearing a helmet and visor, yelling “HockeyHockeyHockey!  HOCKEY!  HHOOCCKKEEEEEEY!”

On that note, it’s summertime, and you’re going to have to periodically deal with the fact that the roots of this blog are not fully planted in ice.  But don’t fret too much – if something puckportant comes up, I’ll still be here to jump on it.


A question:

Would you pay for bonus content?  As in, if I did a weekly video blog and a bi-weekly podcast, would you pay 3/4/5 dollars a month to listen/watch something like that?  (Potential podcast guests: Greg Wyshynski, Cabbie Richards from “Cabbie on the Street”, some player friends like Eric Nystrom, Charlie Kronschnabel, um… Clark Gillies and Bob Bourne?)

I personally know I refuse to pay for anything online.  Like, I followed the Islanders beat writer Katie Strang on Twitter this year, and refused to pay the $5 a month Newsday asks to read her blogs.  I figured if it was important news, I’d find out about it one way or the other.  So I understand if the answer is no. 

Please click this link and answer the poll so I can figure out if I should do that stuff for next season.  The “donate” button has helped (thanks to you generous readers), but doesn’t wield anything consistent.



Let’s talk Lebron.


First off, check out Bill Simmons great column for some context - Lebron has spurned three things for what Simmons thinks appears to be a cry for basketball help:  Home (Cleveland), “Global Icon” status (New York Knicks), and the best chance at winning (Chicago, in BS’s opinion).

So go ahead and read that if you feel like reading about his free agency decision from a more serious sports standpoint. 

But how about the human side of it?  What the f**k is this guy doing?  He’s letting some new agent DESTROY him… and he can’t see it?  His new agent’s name, by the way, is Maverick.  Neato. 

After the launch of his new website, the announcement of his ESPN show ”The Decision”, and the start-up of his twitter account, I thought I couldn’t take anymore.  Then he’s tweeting stuff like “submit a question to #lebrondecision for me to answer tonight”?  Now I KNOW I can’t take anymore. 

I really did like this guy before, but the whole transforming into a brand thing is nauseating.  Corporate-advised tweets?  I mean, c’mon, man…. 

Everything his camp has done has made it so Lebron HAS to win a title.  Anything less is Space-Shuttle-Challenger-level failure.  I don’t care what league you’re in, or what team you’re on, titles are NEVER a given.  Yes, basketball is the sport where the best team usually wins, for sure more than the other three big leagues, but with nine minimum-salary players, winning it all is no gimme.  Why pile onto your own pressure like this?

“KidCanada” tweeted a question for Lebron today: “Have you crossed over from regular villainy to cartoon super-villainy? #lebrondecision“  Fair question. 


If I were a gambler, I’d – wait, I am. ….. If I had the money to gamble, I’d put it all on Ilya signing today.  Don’t you think?  More than enough time has passed for him to figure out his choices.  Now that you know your options, pick one buddy.  We’re tiring of this. 

I recently lost a lot of weight, turned green, and grew spikes.


Tomorrow I head out to LA to meet with my producer/friend, first and foremost to get the Justin Bourne Hockey Show underway so we can get the pilot out, and try to have it on TV for next season.  I figure mentioning it on the blog and twitter is a great way to generate some buzz, and “groupthink” some ideas. 

What were your favourite things I’ve discussed in column/blog form over the past year?  What new ideas would you like to see me break down in a segment?  Basically it’ll be me, some highlights, some conversations, some demonstrations and possibly some beer tasting.  …In every segment.  And before the show.  Admit it, you’d watch that 1000% more often than ”frozen in time” games. 


And, while I’m reaching back to my blog roots, here’s one for all of you that write “stop with the animal pictures”.  









Hey look, it’s Chubbyguts Tyson!


45 Responses to “Bonus Content, Lebron, and CUTE ANIMALS”
  1. The Old Firm says:

    I’d love to be able to donate, but I’m a starving student at the moment. There’s certainly money to be made on the wild frontier that is the Internet, I hope you get your share because I love this blog.

  2. jtbourne says:

    Thanks dude… I’m thinking the podcast/video blog part of the site could generate a couple bucks. There’d be plenty of laughs and info there to make it worth people’s while too, I hope.

  3. KarenfromRochester says:

    Your blog would most likely be the ONLY one I ever paid something for! luv the animal pics by the way-SO much better than this Lebron cr*p. When is he going to start requiring people to genuflect and kiss his ring when he walks by? This is the reason I hate basketball (and to a certain extent) football so much, and why I love hockey so much. I know when we see the NHL players in the media, we aren’t seeing the entire personality, but at least what we DO see seems a lot more genuine than those other idiots!

  4. Nathan says:

    No question that I would not pay a dime for bonus content from your site (or from any website).

    I think if you concentrated on the Penguins specifically and had consistently exclusive player/coach/management interviews with them and visiting teams and laughs, I would definitely consider it. Otherwise I don’t feel like I would be missing anything.

    Also, a seperate bonus section may actually have a negative effect on my personal want to view your site, like I’d be a second class citizen type of thing.

    I’d love to shake that little paw of Tyson’s.

  5. jtbourne says:

    Nathan – thanks for the honest answer. It’s crazy how much we value our $5 on the internet, isn’t it? I’ll pay $25 to see an hour of stand-up at the Tempe Improv, or $10 for a two-hour movie, or $5 for a pint in Canada, but online? What’re you, nuts? I have a feeling our hesitance to pay for content online will slowly fade away. I’m already okay with spending money on iTunes, and at first I was like, UM, KAZAA, LIMEWIRE AND NAPSTER, THANKS.

    Karen – Thank you! I think I’d have to start out charging like three bucks a month tops, or just asking a buck to download the podcast on iTunes or something.

  6. kev says:

    I’m leaning towards not paying either. It would be like ESPN insider. There might be info I want to read, and it’s enticing seeing a sneak peek, but ultimately 5 minutes later I’ll forget about it.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Maverick Carter (and the rest of the entourage), Lebron’s childhood friend? So in essence, Lebron fired his old agent, and surrounded himself with his childhood friends to help him with his decisoin making?

  7. jtbourne says:

    Is surrounding yourself with people who won’t tell you “no” helping with decsion making?

    As for pay content, I WANT to argue for why it makes sense, there ARE arguments for why it makes sense, but unfortunately, I’m not willing to do it.

  8. kennedy says:

    I might pay for some content. Especially if it involved beer tastings/guzzling first – and then highlites and other discussions. Highlights seen through the lense of 5-6 microbrews – perhaps some from a new NHL city each week – would be worth the $$$.

  9. jtbourne says:

    kennedy – haha, i should just have a super white trash show where I punish PBR’s and verbally abuse every player in the NHL. Welcome to another edition of Drunk, Jealous and Angry, with your host, Justin Bourne.

  10. kennedy says:

    I’ll spring for the first case of PBR. Let me know where to ship it. There’ll probably be two or three missing.

  11. mark says:

    you pulled the hockey picture! I thought you looked cute in that pic with your flowing hair ;)

  12. Char says:

    ::overdoses on cuteness::

    What’s ESPN going to do to fill up air time after LeBron signs?

  13. jtbourne says:

    Since I was just putting up a random irrelevant picture for that paragraph, something about having that one up seemed to say “I think I’m really cool, check me out.”

  14. ms.conduct says:

    I’d only do it because I like you, Justin. Probably wouldn’t for any other site.

  15. jtbourne says:

    …and because you know I’m gonna talk shit about you on my podcasts, and you’d want to know what about each particular week.

  16. wychwood says:

    I’m torn. I probably wouldn’t pay for extra content? I don’t mind donate buttons and the like, and blogs that ask regular readers to chip in a little, but something about paywalls and paid-for content rather than, say, bonus swag or whatever grates on me.

    I think the micropayments thing is more likely to be successful as-and-when we reach a point of, like, one-click donation. Paypal is quite good; I’m already logged in, so it’s only a few clicks to give money, and I don’t have to fill out eleven million forms with all my personal details every time, which is a serious turn-off for me. But I think there’s the potential for a system where you do just click a “donate” button and bam, you gave $5 or whatever.

    Having said all that, I seriously love your blog, so I’ve just gone to donate a few quid. It’s only fair, given how much I’ve appreciated the entertainment here :)

  17. jtbourne says:

    wychwood – I usually send the people who donate a little thank you note via email, so I’ll just do it here – thanks so much man. Without donations this year I’d have been forced to get a REAL job aside from writing, so it is, directly, people like yourself who are giving me the chance to pursue the career I want. Thanks a kabillion, homie.

  18. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Eric Nystrom? New Wild player and Slap Shot Strip Teaser? That Eric Nystrom? (Thank you Ms. Conduct for the tweet link to the you tube video!) He seems like an entertaining personality…could be worth a few bucks a month. Lord knows I’ll be spending a lot more than that to watch him play.

    Most days your blog and blog comments are good entertainment. You’re the only blogger that I read everyday (almost). I think you are the only one I would be willing to pay for.

  19. Deirdre says:

    I’m not a starving student by a long shot, but I’m in a similar boat. Paying a set amount each month gets onto my budget…and adding anything to the budget is a no no. But when I hit the end of the month and there is something left over – I’m all in for sending it your way (or one of the other things I do online).

    I think bonus swag would be a better way to go than making your regular work a pay-to-play. In general I figure the blog is mostly a way to get your name out there so actual paying gigs will pop up. It’s one of the reasons I make a point to visit any of your off-site articles like/comment/forward/whatever they’re looking for.

    As for the TV show – if you could get players to actually answers those questions that always end up in cliche’ country that would be so totally worth watching. Even if it was after the fact it would be hilarious/educational/interesting to find out what they really thought. H*ll even what they thought of someone *else* doing something would be a new view.

    …and save “Drunk, Jealous and Angry” for your April Fools addition!

  20. The Franchise says:

    Two comments on paying,

    1) if you do keep it cheap and offer some other incentive (bourne blog tshirt?) and easy to pay

    2) if you do run the pay content keep it focused.

    Personally, I’d pay a few bucks if it was what I was looking for.

  21. Frank Rekas( says:

    Justin: I enjoy reading your blog and like the former player insight that you bring to the interweb! While I would say that yes I would pay for bonus content, you might get more mileage out of selling promotional “stuff”.
    T-shirts, mouse pads, your old hockey sticks! No, really t-shirts, and things like that might be an easier sell, then you’d be able to use the proceeds (read profits) for what you really want.

    My thought is, would someone rather pay $9.95 for a t-shirt, then $5.00 bucks for extra content. Or like “The Franchise” above me said, include the T-shirt in the pricing over a certain period. Sign up at $a few bucks a month anget this snazzy “T”.

    Don’t know if that helps, but either way, I’d pay.

  22. Sherry says:

    I would pay but agree with others:

    Make it easy
    Maybe swag would be a better way to go…
    Get thee to a television studio – pronto! (be sure and source Bucci for tips)

    Bottom line, I would like to do what I can to further your career – you have aptitude, talent, and happen to be knowledgeable about my favorite sport. Plus your non-hockey-related content is enjoyable as well.

  23. Sherry says:

    Oh and about Lebron – I could give a sh*t. The (sports) world has gone mad…

  24. Alix in SJ says:

    I didn’t vote (although I wanted to), mostly because my vote would’ve been ‘Maybe’. I really do enjoy your blog posts and articles (and make sure to hop over to whatever website is hosting them), but I rarely listen to podcasts or watch videos. I suppose I should use the [Donate] button more often. :)

    That said, the articles of yours I most enjoy are the ones where you’re talking about what it’s like to be a player, in the room, on the road, on the ice. The cold tub column was one of the most hilarious but also insightful things I’ve read.

  25. Dawn says:

    OK, I’m on Social Security, but I’ll pay the monthly fee if you’ll promise to get Billy Guerin ( you ARE close with him, are you not?) on your weekly video blog.
    And it’s not because he’s old too…he’s COOL!
    I’d donate routinely, but I believe my daughter ( The Profane Sherry, above) does that for us.
    Don’t ever quit! Can’t wait until September 22!

  26. Joe G. says:

    Justin, you may want to read up on how Adam Carolla has been developing his podcast. I’ve been listening to his for a while, and he talked a lot about how do you turn a podcast offered for free into something that makes money to pay the bills. He started to attract advertisers (since a shitload of people started to download the podcast), but did offer the occasional bonus programming that he charged a couple of bucks for. I’ve never paid for any of thise, but enough people have, in addition to the advertising revenue, which apparently has allowed him to start paying the people who work on the podcast with him. Of course he had a little bit of a head start from having a radio gig, TV show, etc., but it seemed like a pretty interesting case study into how to make money podcasting.

  27. LeafFan says:

    Hey Justin,

    Recent reader and first time commenter (yay). Just thought I’d say you’re doing a great job on this blog! Great writing, good insights and good jokes! Along with Down Goes Brown (who showed me your hilarity) you are my second favorite blog to read on the interwebs Please bear in mind you’re only second because DGB shares my leaf-doom…so it’s a good thing for you, really.

    Anyways, being one of my favorite bloggers, I would definitely shell out the monthly fee to see you do a podcast. You write great and I can only sense you have great comedic timing that comes across better spoken then written (unless you do like 20 drafts per post). The guest feature sounds awesome too, especially since you seem to have in’s with your old ECHL/AHL buddies + Cabbie!

    I always turn to your old posts for the insight into the psyche of a former hockey player. While I’m sure you miss it, don’t sweat it too much as if you had gone into hockey full time, we would all be missing out on one great writer.

    Unless you got famous and kept writing, in which case my point is moot. Alas, great site, keep writing funny posts and I’ll be here reading them!

    P.S: moar leaf stories imo

  28. Madeleine says:

    Ok before I get to my thoughts on paying/your TV show, who the hell says stop with the animal pictures?! Ignore them!

    I would be willing to pay for content, because I really like your blog and I trust you aren’t some sketchy dude just trying to steal my money (hey, I’m a student, I don’t have that much!). I’m more inclined to give random donations or pay for particular podcasts rather than monthly, but if it was cheap I would do monthly.

    1. Could you somehow set it up so the paid for stuff was released for free sometime later? This might help eliminate that second class feeling some non-paying readers may feel.
    2. Player interviews. Personally, I love hearing what the players have to say, and I think you have a unique standpoint in that you can talk to them as a peer, not a reporter. So I would encourage this for both the bonus stuff and the show.
    3. Why not combine these two ideas? Instead of having an actual TV show, you could have a web based show that people would have to subscribe to. This keeps the blog seperate, gives you a chance to make a show, and if you keep the awesome aspects of your blog (humour, insight, stories) I think people would subscribe to it. And then you could do DVD releases! Yeah, I would definitely pay for a show.

    Either that or just start modelling, you’d make some money :)

    And I agree with LeafFan, more Leaf stories!!

  29. Miriam says:

    I’m pretty much with everyone else on the paying for extra stuff…but I would be more likely to purchase a podcast every now and then if they were available. “DJA with JB” has a certain ring to it, don’t ya think? :-P

    So is Chubbyguts Tyson stupid cute or what? Whatever happened to that Scottish Fold you wanted? (By the way, they get pretty ugly when they get older. Well, in my opinion anyway). And, of course, the last picture is the cutest. :-D

  30. jtbourne says:

    First, to everyone – thanks so much for the suggestions, you guys are killing it. Funny, right… I mean, how many sites are readers suggesting ways they could pay for things? Appreciate your help.

    Miriam – Yes, chubbyguts is adorable. We couldn’t afford a full Scottish Fold ($500+ for a purebred), so we got a half-Scottish Fold/half-American Shorthair. Most of their ears fold, but his didn’t, so we got him for 75 bucks. We LOVE him. Males are supposed to be between 9-15 lbs. He’s not yet 10 months old, and is 13.8 lbs as of a few days ago. BEAST. That pic doesn’t do him justice. I’ll work another or ten up soon.

  31. Miriam says:

    You can tell by the paws that he’s a beast! Just be careful he doesn’t get too, too fat! Cats get diabetes pretty easily and, though it’s easy to treat, it’s a pain to get it regulated sometimes. (Sorry, I never leave work at work. It always comes home with me somehow or another. I just like to see healthy pets is all.) :-)

    And I have to say, though I love you for all your hockey stuff, I love it even more when you go off on tangents about everyday things like politics or dumb pop culture stuff. You have a way of finding a great balance between the hockey stuff and the everyday stuff and it makes this blog really quite enjoyable (and usually good for a few laughs too!).

  32. mikeB says:

    I will not pay. But I will attempt to find the videos/podcasts online (won’t try hard, but will try), because thats when you know you’ve hit the bigs. People are stealing from you, not paying for your content.

    I enjoy it. I read, I comment. Its a nice and informal hockey chat. With the bonus of interactivity with the writer. You don’t get that.

  33. LeafFan says:

    So what’s your take on Lebron going to Miami JT (Bourny? too soon for a noobie?)?

    As a raptors fan I’m sad to see Bosh go, but I do wish him well (a la Halladay with the Jays) and hope he wins a championship. At the same time, I don’t agree with the 3 best players going into free agency meeting up to “talk about their options”…

    I can appreciate the “we want to win a championship” but at the same time, I’m just upset Bosh left! It’s not like Crosby, Miller, Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane, Ovechkin, etc…all join forces when they hit free agency for cheap to win the stanley cup consecutively…

    Those teams are for the olympics or the all star games…not regular season games 82 games+playoffs yearly!

  34. Meg Jarrell says:

    I TOTALLY wanna see a “Money Board” skit. Make it happen!

  35. MattyJ says:

    I wouldn’t pay to subscribe to bonus content mainly because that’s just not how I roll on the Internet. Been burned too many times by subscribing to things I get bored of. I’m more of a ‘Hey that’s cool, and it’s only 99 cents …’ so I’ll buy it. I’d hate to pay for a month where all the bonus content is interviews with Maple Leafs. Ungh. But if I see a link for ‘JT Interviews Bruce Shoebottom’ I couldn’t press that 99 cent button fast enough.

    Some things I’d like to see in a hockey themed TV show:

    Interviews and/or ‘day in the life’ segments with non-players (equipment managers, officials, trainers, ice crew.)

    Equipment reviews or segments about new technology.

    Panel discussions with multiple people at one time (ala Off the Record.)

  36. lew says:

    I’d possibly be more apt to pay a small fee for yearly access instead of a little monthly pull from my bank account. I say possibly, because I read your stuff at work and at work most video/streaming media is blocked. I doubt I would log in at home to just to watch a video or listen to a podcast.

    As for your show, it would be cool if you kept some of the personality of this blog in there. Random stuff here and there, goofy animal videos. etc. Though the general public might find not find that appealing. I like the above suggestion of “day in the life” segments. I also like the idea of equipment reviews, but legally that seems like it might get into hot water fast! But if the companies sent you freebies to review you could always auction/contest them off.

    Good luck Mr. Bourne.

  37. Doogs says:

    That’s Bob Lefsetz, noted music industry mucky muck. He has great insight not only into music, but for you at this point, the business behind it.

    Huh? Music? Hockey? That must involve a mullet or two, right? Well, yes, but in this case not necessarily.

    You’re a blogger and delivering content on this intertube medium. Music is going the same way. In other words, you and music are nothing more than content for consumers. So, how do you navigate those waters? How do you turn this from a hobby to a business? I really think you can take a lot of what he writes about and apply it to your situation, I think.

  38. Pete says:

    referencing one of your brilliant observations, i’d much rather pay for some of your content than spend $7 on a friggin’ razor, so ring it up.

    in all seriousness, i come here predominantly for your hockey talk and the different insight it provides. if this videoblog offered more of this (and fine, cat videos i suppose) i’d pay for it. maybe we’ll find out what poor colin campbell said to your old man…..

  39. Travelchic59 says:

    It would be great if you could get one of your paying gigs to sponsor this blog similar to what Botta did with Fanhouse. As for paying for web content – I’m torn. I have yet to pay for it, but don’t think I would have a problem especially if it’s content I really want to read/see. And you’re definitely one of my everyday must read blogs.

    Still loving the animal pictures – call me a sucker for a cute face.

  40. I think the thought of paying for something many have gotten for free up to this point changes things considerably.

    Justin, you have a great blog and always have a high quality of content, writing, etc… Asking people to pay for additional Bourne material heightens expectations. It’s been my experience that when expectations change, they usually result in people not liking it.

  41. john says:

    sure I’d pay five bucks a month to read your site, even without bonus content. What is that…15 cents a day…more or less? 60 bucks a year or so? Quite the bargain if you ask me.

    There are some good ideas in the above comments, pay for specific podcasts and such. How bout just an option where readers can pay 5 bucks (or so) per month just to support the blog? You do it via credit card, it is a recurring charge…cancel anytime you want. That kind of thing.

    Public radio like NPR or WBAI does that and it works out fine for them. You have a lot of followers man, having a recurring “support the blog” option is like asking if your readers can spot you one pint of beer per month for content that is very entertaining and specific to their likes. I would like to think that the majority of your readers would buy you one pint of beer per month in appreciation of your writing.

  42. Adam says:

    As someone who hates paying for news on the Internet….. I would pay you. Just cause I know your story and think you are an awesome writer. Unfortunately I don’t speak for everyone.

  43. crushasaurus says:

    If I had money, bro. If I had money…

  44. yurbud says:

    Be careful trying to put up a paywall.
    This is 2 years old, so maybe things have changed. But I don’t think they have.

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