Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The $500 million dollar lottery question (11-28-12 Powerball Lotto Bucket List)

Every so often, I hear the question.  "Saf, what would you do if you won the lottery?"  Suffice to say, it pains the questioner when they find out I'm not interested in buying a ton of shit.  Oh boy... imagine the possibilities.  I could buy that 14th century decorative Torah.  This could help reinstall my Jew heritage.  It'd be the equivalent of immersing myself in the Dead Sea, like a frugal baptismal.  Or maybe I'd hire one of the Mitt Romney sons to perform sadomasochistic sexual acts on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Probably the smiling kid named Tagg.  He emailed me several times during the campaign.  Haven't heard from him lately.  I miss Tagg the most.

Seriously though, how would I spend the gobs of cash?  I like the idea of purchasing large amounts of utilitarian items.  Cases of bottled water, plenty of bleach, isopropyl rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, unflavored instant oatmeal... you know, the good stuff.

Alright, so I just found out I can still get a ticket.  I thought they did the drawing on Tuesday night.  I like the German version of this Simpson's clip.

But now it's $2.00 instead of a buck.  What a fucking gip.  Have the venerable lotto people no shame?  I could have bought a McDouble and a small fry (consisting of 14 french fries - they really screw you with that diminutive, flimsy wax paper container).  But nothing hurts more, nothing cuts like a knife, than buying an extra large fry - you get it and it's only 2/3 full.

Now that's a McHate crime.  Ain't got nuthin' on the fuckin' Hamburglar.

So what am I gonna do with the loot (of course, this is after the noble U.S. government and great state of West Virginia take their well-earned cut from my hard-earned lottery ticket purchase)?

Here's my "lotto-bucket" list in no particular order.

10) I would hire a group of trained Navy Seals to eradicate the stank groundhog that lives underneath my house.  They can wrap him in this Crown Royal blanket

and dump the carcass in the Ohio River.  I think we'll need a group that understands the value of asymmetric warfare.  The tactical challenges presented by this "Lex Luthor of groundhogs" are difficult to quantify.  Some intriguing lineage in his groundhog family tree.  Grandpappy Hog used to espouse themes of Ohio Valley domination.  And Grammy Hog was once charged with "treason" by the Department of HomeHog Security.   Her crime - she shat where she ate.

9) Next up, I would buy my neighbor's house.

Then, I would purchase the Cadillac of a local, elderly woman.  Yep, you know what's coming.  I would drive that car straight into the pool... and leave it there.       

8) Speaking of cars, "Saf, what kind of flashy, brand new car would you buy?  How about the hottest X666, Z69 super-turbo, quadro-powered Crossfire Hurricane?"  Honestly, I don't see this happening.  However, I would pay someone to fix the bumper on my 2001 Outback.  And we could fix Gigi's bumper on her '95 Civic.  We seem to have these non-desirable, but seemingly incurable bumper issues.  But honestly, I might finally buy a shitty golf cart.

7) This is a big one.  I would seek to eliminate any visible demonstration of the Christmas holiday within a surrounding 10-mile radius of my home.  How would I accomplish this feat?  Well, I'd go door to door and pay neighbors to remove their Christmas decorations.  Inflatable Walmart Santa Clauses would fetch a fitty, manger scenes bring in the Benjamin. 20 bucks a wreath sounds fair.  I would also buy up ALL the nearby presents and donate them to the undeserving children of Kenya.  Sensing an Obama gift-giving, global redistribution conspiracy, this would infuriate the local right wing churchies.

6)  I would also purchase every available Christmas tree and host a massive tree burning ceremony.  You've heard of book burnings.  Well this is kind of similar, except it's thousands of Christmas trees.  And I'd hire some of the finest musicians from out the crick.  Time to crank up a classic rendition of "Throw a-nudder tree on the fahr"

5)  I would purchase every available Steelers ticket I could get my hands on.  And I'd buy them in advance.  Yup, the two lamest words ever uttered by the humanoid species.  Then, I'd freely distribute them to every homeless individual in the city of Pittsburgh.  Ohh, the games people play.  It be gittin' all twisted up in da Burgh n'at!  Heinz Field be lookin' all krazy up in the hizzy!

4) I would hire my own team of dedicated "yuletide carollers."  But they'd only be allowed to sing Slayer songs.  "South of Heaven, Behind the Crooked Cross, Hell Awaits > The Antichrist...  you get the gist.  For some reason, I like the notion of everyone singing the lyrics acapella.  Think in terms of a Slayer barbershop quartet.  "Bastard sons begat their cunting daughters, promiscuous mothers with their incestuous fathers, ingrained souls condemned for all eternity..."

3) At my official press conference, I would only field questions regarding religion and politics.  You know how from time to time the public despises some douchebag who wins the lottery.  The arrogant asshole, the welfare queen, the white trash Nascar dumbshit, the guy who doesn't speak English, the guy who was already super-wealthy... Well, at my big press conference, I would only take questions concerning the two most ill-advised, divisive topics (religion and politics).  Afterwards, I would spend absurd amounts of money on television advertising.  The purpose of the ads - to lambast the lottery itself.  The absurdity of low-income monetary recycling would be exposed in great detail.  And I would openly ridicule anyone who engages in this mindlessly driven, government sponsored form of gambling.  How's that for an ongoing public relations nightmare?

2) Next up.  I'd hire every local mall store Santa and Jerry Garcia look-a-like.  That's right.  I'd put them all on the payroll.  Transport them to the newly refurbished Ohio Valley Mall.  Remember the Salem Witchcraft Trials of the late 17th century?  Well, I would line 'em all up and put 'em on trial for accused crimes of mall store pedophilia.

Let the record reflect that on Saturday, December 24 at 10:04 am, young child Ethan sat on Santa's lap.  GUILTY!  Let the record reflect that during the week leading up to Christmas, the defendant uttered the phrase "Ho-Ho-Ho."  It was directed at a group of young girls purchasing Miley Cyrus posters.  Attempted solicitation to engage in overseeing an underage prostitution ring.  If that one fails, just nail 'em on the conspiracy charge.  (conspiring to represent themselves as the real Santa Claus)  Either way, the verdict is in...

1) "Saf, how about shutting down the entire Oglebay Festival of Lights?"  Nahhh.  That's way too low-brow.  I'd execute a far more hate-driven operation.  I would pay individuals to feign "car break downs" at the most vulnerable traffic choke-points on route 88 and various other locations throughout the park.  You know that 4 hour long, bumper-to-bumper trek through a Christmas winter-wonder land.  Well... now it's 8 hours.  Enjoy.

Honorable Mention: I'd buy all the sugar cereals at every local grocery store for a period of one year.  Do you see this disgusting shit?

 I wish for the neighborhood children to experience sugar cereal deprivation for the duration of one calendar year.  The ultimate accrual of annual joy.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Steelers/Ravens (11-18-12) /

With a heightened sense of trepidation in the air, Gigi and I hit the Steelers/Ravens game Sunday night.  She was optimistic but I surmised our potential to score free tickets at about a 50/50 shot.  We took our spot on the very wobbly, but historic bench outside Gate A.  Every time I stand on that thing, I feel inclined to sing the Beach Boys.  And sure enough, Gigi will quietly sing along in a muted, guarded tone...

For those unfamiliar with the bench scene, there are two of them.  I prefer the bench closer to the Art Rooney statue.  I've named this particular bench, "Bench A-2."  The view from the other one was obstructed by a mobile dumpster.  That bench is appropriately named "Bench A-1."  Next time I'm down there, I'll bring a marker and christen the damn things.

Assigning naming rights to a bench or scribbling the word "cum" on a dumpster could be construed as a little less dramatic... but you get the drift.  

Well, we stood on that bench for about 25 minutes to no avail.  All of a sudden, there was a whirlwind of activity.  A man saw our sign and prepared to hand us a free print-out ticket.  Just as we were thanking him, this dude came out of nowhere and placed two tickets in my hand.  He-Bang!  He Bang!

The mysterious philanthropist bolted off in the distance before I could properly express my gratitude.  For a game of this magnitude, that was just way too fucking easy.

So we milled around for a bit and headed in just after the Steelers put up their first (and only) touchdown.  At halftime, there was a fantastic tribute to some hall-of-famers.

Incredibly cool.  Well, except for the fans on the 200 level who always scurry inside to the heated lounge area.  Fucking babies!  What an embarrassment.  Then again, you glance over to the main exit area and there are hoards of people streaming out of the stadium.  For the love of Allah, the score is 10-7 and it's the best regular season grudge match of the year.  And it's a nationally televised night game.  And it's only half-time.  Just what is it about these people?  I swear to god, they just don't do this in other NFL cities.

It got me to thinking.  Someone needs to do a sped-up time lapse video of everyone exiting the stadium from halftime onward.  Show the bodies in fast forward and run a real-time counter.  It would make for some fascinating discussion.  After all, Steeler Nation is comprised of the greatest fans in the world.  Yeah... right.

I know...  I know... Saf, why are you so obsessed with the behavioral habits and movement of the crowd?  Well, it's just one of those deals.  Do not fear.  I'm not going to say it.  Suffice to say... 



The other highlight of the evening...
Gig saw 2 "tickets" sitting on top of an orange barrel outside Stage AE.  They looked like this...

At first glance, they seemed like some kind of matchmaking promotional material for a dating website.  I threw them in my pocket and didn't give it much thought.

Rummaging through my pockets the next morning, I made a closer examination.  These fugazi tickets are actually a marketing tool for a brand new company based out of Pittsburgh. is a GPS mobile based app that connects last minute buyers and sellers in a twitter based chat room setting.  Really, it's no big thang.  It's just the greatest moment in the history of the techno-scalping revolution.  And this app has other wide-ranging possibilities.  What if some youthful, aspiring yinzer needs a shot of Jagermeister?  What if some tailgaters are running dangerously low on Yuengling (the Pittsburgh equivalent of gasoline)?  What if someone wants to unload 100 unofficially merchandised Steelers hemp key chains at a reduced cost?  What if a bum/street person (with an iphone) wants your leftover black'n'gold lobster ravioli from Jerome Bettis Grill?  Well, you'd find out that it has been removed from the menu.

I've already exchanged emails with the guy who created the website (Levi Benson).  I think we're going to hook up in the near future.  This could be interesting. 

Ravens  13
Steelers  10


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lincoln: rare movie review

Gig and I went to see Lincoln yesterday.  We hit a matinee showing ($6.50 per person - not bad).  I think that's a fair price to see a Speilberg movie that will likely win a few Oscars.  Just for the record, I almost never go to the movies.  I recall seeing the movie Alive back in 1993.  In 2010, we went to see Dinner with Schmucks featuring Office legend Steve Carrell.  Before that, I saw Donnie Brasco at the Ohio Valley Mall back in 1997.  That's a pretty big layover (13 years).  I'm not exaggerating.  I just normally don't enjoy going to the movies.  I'll occasionally watch them when they come out on HBO or Starz or whatever, but for the most part, I just don't possess that burning inclination to sit motionless in a movie theater for 2+ hours.  Usually there's some bozo throwing popcorn or some idiot teenager rolling Lemonheads down the aisle.  And I absolutely despise hearing collective laughter when the joke is unfunny.  And usually, the volume is too loud.  At age 42, just call me "quintessential grandpa."

So as I was saying, we went to check out Daniel Day Lewis.  Hard to go wrong with this guy.  In Gangs of New York he had a mind-blowing performance. 

I incorrectly assumed the movie would include some epic Civil War battlefield scenes.  But it mostly revolved around the power, or lack thereof, of the Emancipation Proclamation and the abolishment of slavery via the 13th Amendment.  Of course, the Confederacy vs. the Union served as an overriding macrocosm.  I also assumed that Lincoln's assassination would occupy a prominent part.  Wrong again.

I liked the fact that Speilberg concentrated more on the content and process, rather than the action and special effects.  Made for a more thought-provoking afternoon.  As expected, Lewis' portrayal of Abraham Lincoln was spectacular.  Great script too.  Well worth checking out.  Maybe I'll hit another movie... when I'm 64.

My parents once ate dinner with Speilberg in Los Angeles (or it may have been Phoenix).  I think it was for some kind of Israeli/Jew fund-raising event.  Not sure of the specifics.  When I pressed them for details, they admitted they just sat at his table.  I don't recall if they directly spoke to him.  I wonder if I've ever broken bread with anybody famous.  Through the years at Jambo, we were fed some modified gruel backstage.   So I guess that counts... sharing Salisbury steak with negro country music outsider Neal McCoy.  Yep, that's what it comes down to.  Now I can die with no regrets.   

We stopped by Coleman's Fish market in the late afternoon (2 fish, a seasoned fry and a lobster bisque).  As we were just about to leave, a disheveled man emerged from the restroom.  He walked over to us and with no introduction whatsoever, he asked, "Hey, are either of you Methodist?"  Gigi and I looked at each other with obvious consternation.  We replied, "Uhh, no."  Then, we made direct eye contact with the dude and realized that his chin was literally covered in blood.  Then he asks, "Ohh, I get it.  You guys are Catholic, right?  I laughingly respond, "Actually, I'm not anything."  This left him seemingly confused and without uttering another word, he walked away.  Gigi and I just looked at each other... what the fuck was that all about?  And why was he covered in blood?  Could this have been some kind of "Jesus Christ, Center Wheeling, flood of blood, fish market sit-down?"  In retrospect, I should have told him I was a vampire.

Speaking of vampires... back in 1994, I was bitten on the neck by a self-professed vampire.  No fucking joke.  I'm pretty sure his name was James.  Everyone called him Cha-Cha and he lived in Shadyside, Ohio  The actual biting took place in Wheeling at Mac's Club on Washington Avenue.  Fortunately, he didn't bite hard enough to draw blood.  When I asked him, "Dude, what the fuck are you doing?  Why did you bite me?" he responded, "Saf, I'm really sorry.  I just have this crazy vampire fetish and it's a full moon.  I then asked told him, "Well, why don't you bite a woman?  I'm not a good candidate for this vampire shit."  He replied, "I know... I know... I get really weird when it's a full moon.  It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman.  I'm sorry Saf."

Roughly 5 years would pass til our next encounter.  I ran into him and his very pregnant girlfriend (I think her name was Melony) on the Ohio State campus.  He wandered off in a stumbling, drunken haze.  I told his girlfriend about the '94 biting incident and she assured me that "he bites all kinds of people.  Yep, everyone gets bit at one point or another."  Apparently, if this constitutes normal behavior, I've been living underneath a rock.  What kind of planet are we living on?  And all this shit happened way before the TV Vampire idiots bled their way into the arteries of America. 

I also recall this one-night stand (in all truth, it lasted a couple of days).  But anyway, we're in bed and this much younger girl bit my left nipple.  I forget my exact words but I basically informed her "Hey, I'm just not really into the sexual aspects of being bitten."  And she responded with the same general weirdo comment, "I just love to bite people.  I can't help myself.  Eric, I can't help it."  I then told her about my prior vampirical experience.  She explained how "it ain't no big deal."  Earlier, she had made a big production about her "alleged bi-sexuality."  Now I know nothing about the Draculated-werewolfer-vampish subculture.  But I think it's safe to say there seems to be a bisexual undercurrent.  At least, that's been my experience.  Granted, it's quite limited.  And for that, I am grateful.  Perhaps I should consider carrying a cross or wearing a garlic bulb necklace.  Normally, I'm not superstitious.  But I'd consider implementing "reasonable measures" to dissuade the Dracko-Whacko's.  Hopefully, they'll just stand down, or better yet, steer clear.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bandit racing, Erik Estrada encountering, Thai consuming, Who Consoling, Steeler Nation sucking kind of a weekend

Normally, I try to be concise with my post titles.  But not today.

Steelers defeat Chiefs in OT (16-13).  Big Ben injures shoulder.  These were the dominant headlines on Tuesday morning.  Well, I was in attendance and formulated a different headline...

Steeler Nation Sucks

Out of a potential 65,050 - Attendance: 57,644.  That's 7,406 no shows.  For a nationally televised Monday night game this borders on deplorable.  Yeah, I know it was raining and windy.  Big fucking deal.  I've been to tons of games where the elements were far worse.

And we came in with a winning record (5-3) at the season halfway mark.  The irony... had this game been played at Arrowhead Stadium, the venue would have been at full capacity til the end.  Instead, I glance over to the main exit outside Gate A.  People are literally streaming and funneling out of the stadium.  But this was at the end of the half, not the end of the game.  I couldn't take my eyes off the steady outflow.  Insane.  Steeler Nation is becoming a joke.  I know... they're the greatest fans ever.  But if you define "greatest fan" I think a technical definition or fundamental underlying description would have to be "someone who goes to the game and stays til the end."

Further irony - the game was an overtime thriller.  Perhaps a bit sloppy on the part of both teams, but exciting nonetheless.  If I had to guess, I'd say there were about 38,000 people in the stadium when Suisham kicked the game winner.  Again, what a fucking joke!  Giant chunks of yellow empty seats.  Row after row after row.

But I would like to thank G Max for the free ticket.  50 yard line seat, Section C.  I almost never sit in the C level.  The likely reason being a whopping $260 face value on the ticket.  Of course, its value in real-time was zero, maybe $20 tops.  And the climate-controlled Ford hospitality tent was bad ass.  Prime rib, decent wings, high end macaroni and cheese.   There must be a sneakily simple but sophisticated way to crash these tent parties.  Perhaps a good 'ol fashion corner tent lift-up is in order.  Or maybe some kind of Andy Dufresne Shawshank sewage-styled port-a-jon crawl through.  I do not know.

It was actually a pretty hectic, extensive weekend.

On Saturday morning, I ran the Wheeling Veterans 10K (6.4) race.  I narrowly beat my time from last year clocking in at 58:30.  Probably because the weather was perfect.  Mid to high 40's.  Crisp and cool.  I experienced some mild discomfort on Big Wheeling Hill but managed to tough it out.  No walking.  And to be honest, it's a pretty tough race (the majority of it's uphill).

I actually ran this race "bandit style."  That just means no entrance fee, no registration, no t-shirt, no official acknowledgement.  Very Forrest Gumpish if you think about it.  I just felt like running.

Those Paramount copyright bastards removed the real movie footage from the internet.  That's unfortunate.  It's one of the best scenes in the movie.  Though I do like the Flock of Seagulls musical substitution.  It's a smart fit.  Anyhoo, bandit running, or the act of being a race bandit, is the wave of the future.  Everybody's doing it.  From here on out, I'll refer to this phenomenon as "racing bandit noncompliance."  But Saf, what about our noble Veterans being jewed out of your $25 entrance fee?  You need to support the troops with that supplemental income.  I would counter - as long as we're spending about 6.7 billion dollars per month in Afghanistan, I'll maintain a strict adherence to bandit status.

Having finished the race, I hitched a ride back to the car.  Two overly-active dog licking stenched mammals Sanduskified me from the back hatch of a Land Rover.  Then, it was off to a quaint, low-pressure shower.

Alright, so I'm off to the Ohio Valley Mall to speak with Erik Estrada.  We have business to discuss.  But first, I ran into Karen D., her kids and an extended 3-child brood.  Then I saw Katie W. and her two kids.  But they weren't there for the Chipspanic Estrada Tostada.  They were there to meet Disney superstar Caroline Sunshine.

If that ain't the embodiment of sunshine, I don't know what is.

And let me tell you what.  The St. C. mall was brimming with excitement.  Even this mall cop was settling into a groove.  An almost rhythmic trance.

So glad that someone took the time to post this.  Obviously, standing in an hour-long line just to speak with Erik Estrada for 30 seconds is not part of a sane agenda.  So while he was having his photo taken off stage, I jumped into the fray.  I introduced myself and told him we have mutual friends (the Chrisagii).  He let out a reassuring, "Oh yeah, Brian and Shawn!  How are they doing?"

"They're fine, " I reply.  "I just need 10 seconds of your time.  Actually, we all share some very deep concerns about a hypothetical national security issue.  I'd really like you to take a look at this (as i hand him my card)."   He nods in agreement, says "thank you," and places the card in his left-breast leathered pocket.  All the meanwhile, I'm being aggressively monitored by not one, but two mall security cops.  They were surveying my every move.  Is it me or did that mall cop remind you of "less androgynous Janet Napolitano?"  The whole thing had me recollecting a 1995 journey to the Columbus, Ohio DMV where this weirdo was "eying up my Marlboro Light as if it were a T-Bone steak."  For the faithful TSA is everywhere.  Live free or die.  Yeah, right.  Maybe in the granite state.  New Hampshire ain't the Ohio Valley.

In all honesty, just who exactly would venture to the mall for an Erik Estrada meet'n'greet?  The answer (and I'm not trying to sound callous or vindictive): it was predominantly mentally challenged individuals.  If you think about it rationally, it's a good fit.  There's music, cake and it's a relatively safe, enclosed environment.  So it's a decent way to kill off a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. 

All in all, I'd have to say the Estrada encounter was a bust.  But who knows for sure.  Maybe he'll read my book and be morally compelled to contact me.  I'd say the odds of this happening are about 1.4%.

So it's off to the Burgh to meet up with Gigi, Uncle Denny and Aunt Gloria.  They were in town to see Chicago at Heinz Hall.  We met up at Nikki's Thai on the North shore.  This place rocks... literally.  It's an echoing, rambunctious environment.  I opted for one of the Chef's specials and was quite pleased.

Fish Basil
$14.50 - Crispy tilapia fillets, stir-fried with garlic, basil, bell peppers, yellow onions, egg plant, green bean, bamboo slice, spicy basil sauce.

And we also got a cauldron of Tom Yum soup w/ chicken.  Highly recommended. Good stuff.  Freshness is the key. 

The following evening (Sunday night) we hit up The Who concert at Consol.  They were performing Quadrophenia in its entirety.  Not exactly my favorite album, but nothing to scoff at.  After all, it's The Who.  We had already acquired some free tickets from our Bell-Dirty connection. So we took a more lackadaisical approach to the evening.

We parked in our customary spot - Church of the Moors (black Jesus).  Then we met up with friends in a $5.00 gravel lot behind the arena.  Not bad - most of the surrounding lots are $15 or $20 and they're further off in the distance.  And this lot actually connects to the parking garage.  I think it's off Stephenson street.  Not a lot of taligating goin' on but that seemed to be a consistent theme throughout downtown.  The general mood just seemed very subdued.  I miss the rowdiness of the Igloo crowds.   

Much smaller crowd than I had anticipated.  About half of the 200 level was empty.  I'd estimate about 14,000 people showed up.  Gig, me and Josh snagged some great seats on the 100 level next to the stage.  I love these seats.  Plenty of elbow room except for an excitable older woman who flailed the night away.  Her moves pissed off this one dude in front us.  Out of all the empty seats in the arena, she chose to obstruct the hell out of his sight line.  For me, their interaction and especially his constant look of irritation and disgust was the highlight of the night.    

All in all, I'd say the concert was fair.  This was the 4th time I'd seen The Who and it was definitely their weakest show.  But I am glad it wasn't later in the tour when Daltrey's voice trends cracking.

My favorite Who concert was back in 1989 at Three Rivers Stadium.  And I saw the 2000 double-rainbow show at Starlake - very cool.  And of course, who could ever forget the Columbus, Ohio Schottenstein 2006 sneak-in?  I even got a guitar pick.

But yeah, all in all I'd say this was their weakest.  Still a good time though.

Finally, I rounded it all off with the aforementioned Monday Night Steelers game.  I headed down early with the intention of selling these key chain conglomerates.

They were manufactured in an Oglebay Village sweat shop environment back in 1996.  For the love of god (these days I prefer the black Jesus god - based entirely on free event parking), I've been holding onto this shit forever.  I refer to them as "Terrible Twirlers."  And my sales pitch includes the phrase "they make great stocking stuffers."  Just putting this in writing this brings me precipitously close to the edge of suicide.  Not kewl. 

If you'd like to purchase one, shoot me an email ( or leave a comment.  I'm in the process of negotiating with Dan Rooney, the Steelers organization and the official NFL merchandise people.  Yeah, right.  I sell them 1 for $20/ 2 for $30.  Like I said, Hanukkah (the Jewish Christmas) will soon be upon us.  The time to act impulsively is NOW.

One more thought about the game.  At the beginning, they paid homage to the military with a fireworks display, multiple F-16 flyover, veterans salute.  Everyone had a colored "placard" taped to their seat.  When held up, it looked like this...

Much like the Terrible Twirler, the picture doesn't do it justice.  But what was hysterical was the 5-step instructions on how to hold up a piece of paper.  It was my intention to blog about this, but at the end of the night, I forgot to grab my placard.  What a bummer.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Top 10 Obama/Romney election night observations:

Top 10 election night observations:

10) scrolling Fox News Alert:  Ohio is To Close Too Call

As Rob Halford would say, "Some heads are gonna roll" come Wednesday morning.

9) With less than 1% of the vote counted, we can put Alabama in the Romney column.

Yeah, no shit.

8) Will Mitt follow in the footsteps of Al Gore and grow a beard?

I doubt it.

7) Political action committee, "People Loving Money" exceeds Romney's fundraising expectations.

6) Consequently, voting bloc "Mormons for Obama" significantly under-performs.

5) Karl Rove had a nervous breakdown and lost his last 47 follicles of hair.

4) No Donald Trump commentary.  Praise the lord.

3) Chuck Todd should legally change his name to Chuck God.

2) I take back the Trump comment.  He tweeted the following...
Donald Trump -- "He (Obama) lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!"

Apparently, nobody told Trump that California is on the west coast and would swing the popular vote.  Rather than admit he was in error, he just deleted the tweet.  Way to go, douchebag.

1) All those "Foundation for a Better Life" and "I'm Your neighbor and I'm a Mormon" commercials will just quietly disappear. 

Could Erik Estrada prevent the next 9/11?

Erik Estrada will be signing autographs for the grand reopening of the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  He'll be on hand this Saturday, November 10 from 11:30 am - 2 pm.

He's pointing right atcha... and guess what?  He's spot on.  Wheeling Intelligencer writer, Joselyn King, wrote an excellent article about all this.  I even left a note in the comment section...



Oct-25-12 8:54 AM

The notion of Erik Estrada presiding over the grand re-opening of the Ohio Valley Mall is in a word... EPIC. I'm going to ask him to sign the small of my back for my newest tattoo. An "ESTRADA" tramp stamp would be all the rage.

2 Agrees | 0 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

The Ohio Valley Mall (which usually resembles a catatonic ghost town) just got a Maury Povich styled makeover.  Think of it as a "geek to chic" transformation.  Apparently, they refurbished one of the entrances, added some carpeting and installed 4 skylights.

And Estrada, aka Ponch, won't be the only performer at the ribbon cutting ceremony.  There's gonna be a balloon artist, a magician, Thor, Spiderman and some other celebrities.  And when I use the term "other celebrities," I really mean it.  Actress Caroline Sunshine and her companion Kenton Duty will be appearing as well.  I had to do some internet research to find out exactly who these two are.  Apparently, they have a tv show on the Disney Channel called "Shake it Up."

Looks like they may have been on Dancing with the Stars.  Incidentally, the boy bears a striking resemblance to my neighbor (baby Jake).  For those living under a rock, Estrada was on some kind of Spanish knockoff version Dancing with the Stars.  Yes, it's true. 

I'm not exactly sure what that's all about.  But on some level, I believe it to be relevant.  It just has to be.  Everything depends on it.

So here's the dealio.  When I first heard of the Estrada appearance, I felt inclined to attend.  But I didn't really have an interest in meeting the CHiP's star.  Instead, I wanted to meet the people who have this burning desire to meet Erik Estrada.  I wanted to ask them about their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their aspirations.  I wanted to see the joy on their faces or gauge their disappointment.  I wanted to hear if the event met with their expectations.  Even better yet, what if he failed them miserably and left behind an emotionally shattered trail of elderly mall walkers.  Perhaps I could pose as a rogue Ohio Valley Mall employee conducting consumer research.  Perhaps not.

This is where the story takes a bizarre twist.  As many of you know, I'm friends with twin brothers, Brian and Shawn Chrisagis, a pseudo-contemporary Christian singing/performance duo from Eastern Ohio.  They perform regularly at area churches, regional holy crusades and such.  I actually wrote them lyrical content for a future song (about the stampedes, of course).  We discussed the possiblity back in June of 2012.  This is not a joke.  I have proof.  Here's the lyrics.  Honestly, it's some pretty damn good shit.  It's entitled, "Don't Cell Your Soul."  Great play on words.

 Don't Cell Your Soul


Think... before you run.
Search in your heart, not on your phone.

Don't sell your soul,
for the sole use of a cell.

Sure enough you tripped and fell
then you find yourself burning in hell

We're from small towns, but have important stuff to say.
Regarding life and the games people play

We had a friend who lived in Wheeling
He was never one you'd see kneeling

He didn't believe in god, it was his only confession
But we gave him a chance and he made an impression

These viral blitzkriegs and artificially generated stampedes.
Not blessings from god, these are man made deeds.


All we ask is that you listen.
To the truth that you've been missin'.

Don't fall for a malicious hoax that leaves you without breath
You could wind up crush asphyxiated or even trampled to death

There's a lesson to be learned in the face of this tragedy.
And it's a teachable moment for all of humanity

Don't place blind faith in those who are supposed to protect you.
The media, the government... look for something new.


Place your trust in god, you'll find a place to belong
Now would you kindly help us, and sing this song (or sing along)

And you thought I was joking... I rarely joke about the stampedes.  It really isn't a laughing matter.  So I hurriedly wrote the song and arranged a meeting.  Oddly enough, I met with them in a bar (The Owl's Nest which I'm supposedly banned from, but that's another story).  We talked about the song and the stampede concept for about a half hour.  At the time, they seemed interested in the undertaking.  But those two seem overly receptive to just about anything I utter.  So I said to myself, we'll take a wait-and-see approach.

Since then, about six months have passed.  On the cusp of the Erik Estrada visit, I decided to do some light research for this blog.  I went to the official Erik Estrada website (hard to believe there are unofficial Erik Estrada fan sites, but such things do exist).  I checked out his bio, charitable endeavors, etc.  But it was the page for the "Estrada Fan Club" that caught my eye.  I thought to myself... how much does it cost?  What are the perks?  Could it help expedite a personal meeting?   You know what I'm talkin' about... Estrada in the flesh.

But like I said, here's the text that caught my attention.  Read it carefully.

"I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."

~ Love, Erik & Nanette Estrada



Mail club forms & payment to:

Now wait just one fuckin' cotton pickin' minute!  Estrada lives in Los Angeles.  So why is the "Erik Estrada Fan Club" based out of Yorkville, Ohio.  Could it be true?  Again, I pose the question.  Could it be?  

The answer is a resounding YES!  103 Sinclair Avenue in Yorkville, Ohio is the home of the Chrisagis Brothers.  It's where the Chrisagii eat, sleep, shit, piss, pray, repent, etc.

The Chrisagis Brothers are physically running the Erik Estrada Fan Club out of their tiny residence.  I doubt the home properly adheres to city zoning ordinances but that's totally irrelevant.  What I've accidentally stumbled upon is the shocker of the century.   Is it a conspiracy?  Or is it just some mere cosmic coincidence?

I will soon have these answers and so much more.  I'm going to pitch the "artificially generated stampedes" to Erik Estrada.  This Saturday afternoon, I will attempt to convince Estrada to take action.  Much like he did on CHiP's... but this time it's concerning the biggest hypothetical, unknown national security threat currently facing the United States of America.  Sounds like the perfect way to resurrect his investigative career in law enforcement... or then again, he might end up on a federal watch list as an enemy of the state.  Would make for some great, chronologically generational irony.  Personally, I'd like to see Estrada butt heads with Janet Napolitano during a second Obama term. This would be a good thing.  But that's just me.  A side note - Kudos to Barack Obama!  Seriously, Mitt Romney would have been atrocious.


Looks like UFC 117.  Estrada has taken full guard.  Estrada with some impressive ground and pound.  Uh no, he's going for the choke.  Janet Napolitano has just been put to sleep.  Good night.

In any event, maybe Ponch could use his magical influence and further encourage the Chrisagii to put my song "Don't Cell Your Soul" on their upcoming album.  Let's do this shit!

I love the irony to all of this.  Could a West Virginian, atheist Jew team up with Erik Estrada and some zany evangelical Christian singers from right across the Ohio River and play a pivotal role in uncovering the truth behind the next 9/11?  Sounds about right.  Either way, it'll make for an intriguing follow-up blog. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

2012 election reflections from Wheeling, West Virginia (Ohio County)

I don't think about it too often.  But lately, I've been traveling through swing state Appalachia.  Wheeling, West Virginia, St. Clairsville, Ohio, Pittsburgh, PA.  Let's see.  Eastern Ohio and Western, PA.  Pretty much ground zero for today's election.  Romney's even making a last ditch appearance in Pittsburgh.  I think it's purely for the nationwide optics.  But I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Everywhere I look, I see the same signs...

These signs are very effective, but also incredibly disingenuous.  Has it ever occurred to ANYONE that the "war on coal" is simply the result of a natural gas glut.  Not to mention the increased oil demand from China, India and everywhere else.  This "War on Coal" snippet is easily rebuked.  I'm amazed the Obama team just lets them get away with this narrow discourse.  When one sector of the energy market surges or takes a hit, the other sectors generally respond inversely.  Maybe there isn't a war.  Maybe it's just the good 'ol Republican capitalistic marketplace at work.  If Obama somehow loses this thing, I'd say these signs played a significant role.  They are real.  They are tangible.  And they are everywhere.

I also think Obama's team should have been relentless on the pro-choice issue.  They did a half-hearted job with it.  Trust me, abortion being outlawed in cases of rape and incest is not a mainstream position.  On the flip side, I'm surprised Romney didn't gripe more about gay marriage.  It's a net winner, especially with older voters in the swing states. 

So the big 2012 election has finally arrived...

Bill the Butcher is right!  It is election day.  Incidentally, Daniel Day Lewis is one of the best, low profile actors in all of Hollywood.  I never go the movies.  Lincoln could prove an exception. Anyhoo, here's my thoughts...

If I were part of the inner Romney circle (which I'm not), here's what I'd have done.  I would have constructed a last minute, negative political commercial.  Hitting him hard over the Benghazi incident.  Showing a split screen of him at a Beyonce/Jay Z fundraiser the following evening + rebels dragging our dead Libyan ambassador through the streets.  Then, I'd show another split screen of him jetting off on the campaign trail after a quick photo-op + desperate people, huddled in blankets in Hoboken and Staten Island.

You need to merge that condescending Obama smile and his stilted dance moves with images of suffering Americans and foreign aggressors.  Hit him where it really hurts. 

I would have gone overboard with the split screen images.  Totally fair game with inadequate time to respond.  It might have been just enough to foster the sufficient resentment.  But I doubt Mitt Romney's team had enough creative vision and rapid response assessment to figure this out. I envision Mitt runs his campaign like a poll driven, "dictatorial bureaucracy."  If you're trying to portray yourself as a scrappy underdog, this ain't a recipe for success.  Instead, he closes with the "oh beautiful, spacious, amber waves of grain" refrain.  Mitt, sorry to break the news....  Independents are usually cynical when exposed to that nonsense.
So Saf, I guess you're voting for Obama again.  WRONG.

I've decided to vote for the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.  Our country must break this 2 party death grip.  The only way... some of those fringe parties (Libertarian, Constitution, Green, etc.) need to reach that 5% threshold to get the federal matching funds.  And they needs to be real parties with grassroots activism, not just wealthy egomaniacs (Trump, Adelson, etc.) or people with good intentions like Ross Perot. 

Honestly though, If I lived in Ohio or Pennsylvania, I'd vote for Obama/Biden.  The Obama ticket is definitely the lesser of two evils.  Whereas, Romney/Ryan is the definition of evil, arrogance and ambivalence.  However, I live in northern, WV and our state is a solid shade of Romney red.  So I've decided to maximize the power of my vote and go with Johnson.

And this Gary Johnson guy is a complete bad ass.  2 term, respected Republican governor of New Mexico.  Screwed out of the debates for the likes of Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann.  Would it have killed Fox News and the Republican party to have someone with a different perspective in those zany, right-wing primary debates?  Yes, I believe it would have.  He speaks out against the war on drugs.  He wants a substantive overhaul of a draconian prison system which jails a greater percentage of its citizens than any civilized country on the planet.  It's a modern version of slavery.  He opposes an imbecilic, interventionist, nation building foreign policy.  He's a man who created REAL construction jobs, instead of Romney who disposed of them.  In other words, he created real prosperity, not just paper money at the expense of the middle class.  Johnson also brings a wealth of knowledge regarding border state immigration issues.  He's a consistent Ironman competitor.  Then, he breaks his leg.  So what better an idea than to climb Mt. Everest?

So if you reside in WV or a state that has already been predetermined, I'd encourage a vote for a gutsy visionary like Gary Johnson.  Over the past 2 years, Obama has kind of let me down in these two areas.  As far as Romney goes, he has neither "guts" nor "vision."  I do give him credit for relentlessly campaigning for the last 8 years.  He knows how to accept and spend those campaign donations.  At least he got that part right.  Funny how he only spent about $500,000 (out of his vast personal 300+ million dollar fortune) on his own campaign.  But... I believe he does want the job.  Of course, he also wants a car elevator.  What Mitt wants, Mitt usually gets.  But can he buy the presidency???  That's a toughie.

I also think Obama should have pushed the following argument.  Do you want someone who's a BOSS or do the American people want a LEADER?  The word "boss" or "owner" carries negative implications.  The word "leader" implies movement and progress.  And I do give the Obama team credit for devising a strong, overriding campaign theme... FORWARD

One final thought.  There are virtually no Obama signs or bumper stickers in Wheeling.  There are a few Romney/Ryan ones here and there, but nothing noteworthy.  I still see more "W" bumper stickers.  Come to think of it, I'd be reluctant to put up an Obama yard sign, especially if I lived on a busy roadway.  You're virtually begging to be a victim of senseless vandalism.

Oh yeah, and the empty chairs are out in a few places.  You'd think that Clint Eastwood routine at the RNC would have been a source of humiliation and embarrassment.  Wrongo.  Not around here.  Wealthy West Virginia Republicans tend to truly embrace the Fox News propaganda machine and general themes of "dumbshitedness."  They're unmatched.  It's almost as though this recessive strain of hillbilly blood seeps through their arteries. 

Alright, enough blabbering.  I'm off to perform my civic duty. 

My advice isn't too popular these days, but I'm specifically pushing for the following candidates:

Erikka Storch - (R) House of Delegates
Tom Burgoyne - (D) Sheriff
Joe Manchin - (D) Senate
Patty Levenson - (R) Commissioner
Letitia Chafin - (D) WV Supreme Court
Brian Savilla - (R) Secretary of State (he's going to lose by a wide margin)
Sue Thorn - (D) House of Representatives (she's going to lose by an even wider margin)

Saf, what about the WV gubernatorial race?  Yeah, what about it?  Tomblin or Maloney?  I'd rather choose between vegan pastrami and kosher spam.  Perhaps, I'll take my own "break the gridlock" advice and cast a vote for the Mountain party.   Odd that I'd still be undecided with regard to my choice for governor while I'm consistently adamant about my choice for dog catcher.