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The famed parking lot of the Moops had a chain up. Perhaps they were thinking the church lot would be overrun with rowdy Mountaineer tailgaters. Hillbillies urinating all over the anointed property.
Question: Is it ever acceptable to piss on church grounds?
Answer: Yes, if there's a sporting event or concert within a 1/4 mile proximity. From what I understand, that's the rule.
We saw this card table set up on the corner. Ka-Pow! Free pizza. A committed team from Pizza Hut was giving away promotional za (that's scrabble for pizza). There are limited times when it's okay to use the word "za." The Scary Spice woman would use the term zig a zig "za" at the conclusion of their hit song "Wannabe." This brings me to a bizarre observation a few of us made back in the mid 90's. At the 2:49 mark of that music video, there's this bizarre androgynous character in the background. Configured and dressed like a man, it shakes and gestures (hair flip) like a woman. We spent the better part of a day speculating on "what it was." Things grew a bit hostile when there was no consensus. Now I reflect back with almost 20 years of wisdom under my belt. I'm pretty sure it was a transgendered individual. For some reason, that possibility never occurred. Maybe nowadays, with a broader acceptance of the LGBT community under the Obama administration, these situations are easier to assess.
Hard to believe the Spice Girls rose to fame in 1996. That's over 15 fuckin' years ago. Where has the time gone? I actually watched some of the Spice Girls movie called "Spiceworld." From what I recollect, it was unusually bad. The five girls and their manager play some kind of endless hide'n'go seek game with the European paparazzi. Many people have asked me, "Saf, who's your least favorite Spice girl?" Hands down, it's Sporty Spice. In fact, I'll rank them from least to most offensive.
Baby, Red-headed cloved-woman whose name alludes me, Scary, Posh and Sporty.
Back to the free pizza. Any time a group of rogue Pizza Hut employees give away free food, they should be collectively labeled as "pizza butts." Think of it as a term of endearment in the competitive, overly saturated pizza market.
We were pretty much high'n'dry on the ticket quest. Tons of tickets but nobody seemed willing to give any away. Hard to figure. But there was plenty of action. We finally secured 2 freebies from this fast moving dude. His friends saw my sign and he did a quick hand-off. I tried to shake his hand and express some appreciation, but this guy wasn't seeking any accolades. Either way, Ka-Blam! 2 free $70 upper level tix. Section 234, Row N. We ventured to the seats and they were pretty high up. With the proximity to the overhead lighting, it had this dizzying, unbalancing effect. So we ventured to the lower level. Even though there were plenty of open seats, we should have been a little more aggressive. Instead, we were way too nonchalant. The usher sensed our lack of resolve and gave us a professional "scram, beat it, get lost" routine. So we watched the rest of the first half from the dry/wet bar concourse overhang. It's odd how they don't sell alcohol during NCAA tournament games. I understand when it's in a university setting. But c'mon, man! It's a neutral location, an older crowd and people have spent a shitload of money traveling to the game, accommodations, etc. You'd think they'd ease up a bit. No big deal though. Not like we enjoy spending 8 bucks for a luke-cold Bud Light draft. Instead we split a $4.50 Dr. Pepper. Huzzah.
So we snagged some seats behind the hoop and watched the rest of the debacle.
Gonzaga - 77
West Virginia - 54
With the exception of the 100 or so Gonzaga fans that made the trek from Spokane, Washington, the entire arena was lifeless. I have never seen such a despondent WVU crowd. No enthusiasm whatsoever. The arena had this morgue-like atmosphere. Well, except for Huggy Bear who took on the persona of a belligerent mortician. Seriously, what a disaster. Kind of figures that my first real exposure to March Madness was lackluster. I'm just not a big basketball fan. When I was a little kid, I always rooted for the Milwaukee Bucks (Sidney Moncrief, Alton Lister, etc.). I have no idea why they appealed to my 6th grade sensibilities.
I think back about last night and realize I should have been pulling for Gonzaga. You see... back in the Oglebay Village era, there was this youthful, exuberant whippersnapper named Dunkle. Dunkle lived for March Madness. He often spoke of GONZAGAAAA (invoking their name like Mel Gibson in Braveheart... FREEEEDOMMMM). I learned a lot from this man. He explained that when making your picks, you must acknowledge something called the "thug factor." You see... a team like Cincinnati is centered around thuggery. The players take on the disposition of the city. Rape, murder, pillage, plunder, and various rap around acts of beatdown. Whereas a team like Vermont is a bunch of tall, scraggly whiteys. When it comes to basketball, you go with the urban hoods any day of the week. Not the granola munching, bearded environmentalists. Dunkle also had an affinity for Xavier, although this had more to do with some kind of maniacal "chat room" identity. He would refer to himself as "Xavier guest" claiming it had this potential ethnic allure. Regardless, I took Xavier to win it all this year on my NCAA bracket. How's that for a long shot?
As the game concluded, most of the somber WV-logo clad Mountaineer fans exited their seats. Even the Mountaineer mascot seemed humiliated. A mammoth-bearded ginger. Maybe we need a celebrity like Seth Rogan to take his place. Maintain that same spirited outlook, but shoot for a more fuzzy, comedic approach. Having been trounced by 23 points, we need to try something new, something different (think venerable telemarketer Ted Robinson from my last blog as he pushed the fruit syrups).
We watched the OSU-Loyola warm ups. The arena finally got some decent energy going. Specifically, the OSU band and their mascot Brutus Buckeye.
It's tough to inspire passion and aggression among your fan base when your mascot is "rounded." It's always better to go with sharp edges, pointy talons, beaks... not something that reminds you of Ovaltine or bedtime cocoa. Whenever you see that Connecticut Huskies mascot walking around the endzone at Mountaineer Field, he just looks lost and confused. The fact that the score is 57-14 doesn't help matters either.
But the Brutus mascot was completely bad ass. Lots of defiant strutting and vintage Janet Jackson-like dance moves. Brutus was in control. Firm, proud buttocks (Monte Burns) with the energy of a zestfully clean soap commercial.
We stuck around for about 10 minutes and then decided to bolt. On our way out, a drunken under-21 Loyola fan was pitifully sobbing. She had just been ejected from the arena. Trying to beg and bargain with security, they were not going to relent. But it was all about the friend who accompanied her. He was totally fucking jacked. Seems like he was chosen to escort her out and make sure she was okay. He was pissed off. He screamed at the security (I hate you, you ruined my life), but much to his credit, no profanity in keeping with his loyal Jesuit background. He was the dutiful 19 year old babysitter.
Granted, two minor blunders. My sign should have said "Gonzaga has gonorrhea" and I should have commented when security frisked me. Have you seen the South Park season premiere? I think the TSA spoof on South Park Wednesday night set a new standard for humanity at large. Whenever anyone gets patted down at a Steelers game or Starlake concert, I think everyone standing in line needs to say, "Don't worry sir, they just needs to check yer asshole." This episode isn't the greatest, but at the 9:20 minute mark, the Toilet Safety Administration forges into uncharted (toilet) water in the scene at IHOP. Everyone needs to get on board with this, especially at the airport. I could actually envision some future incidents where TSA screeners hear the word "asshole" and go ballistic. Just another case of art mimicking reality.