Saturday, February 22, 2014

Billy Joel concert review - Pittsburgh, Consol Energy Center, 2-21-14


That's what the sign said.  I didn't bother to snap a picture.  We didn't even use it.  Ended up leaving it in a tree by the upper entrance.

Before heading to the show, we feasted on lukewarm homemade chicken pot pie.  The crust was exceptional.  Carrots... check.  The quantity of chicken was relatively minimal.  Potatoes were slightly undercooked, but that was a good thing.  The peas.  Ahh yes, the peas were omnipresent and bursting with country fresh flavor (Seinfeld).  But the consistency is what it's all about.  Do you hear what I am saying (South Park - Butters)?  And it was near perfect.

When I normally think of pot pies, my mind harkens back to those 50 cent Banquet pot pies.  My mother abhorred frozen dinners.  But for some reason I'll never be able to adequately comprehend or codify, she would let us eat those spherical Banquet concoctions.  These days I actually look at the nutritional information.  Yes - 48g of fat.  Hmmm, the sodium content disclaimer is labeled as "unrestricted."  I don't even know what the fuck that means.

So we ventured down to the arena in lightning-like fashion.  There's always a huge line of cars, but somehow, Gigi manages to bypass everything like a vehicular version of dodgeball.

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, Dodge!  Son, you're about as useful as a cock flavored lollipop!

Free parking as usual at the Church of Black Jesus.  If I ever renounce my skepticism, this will become my church.  And I will tithe the living shit out of it.

We scanned the crowd for extra tickets, but there was nothing.  And when I say nothing, I mean nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.  We ran into Scalper Tim and he agreed - the general assessment was very bleak.  But he did end the conversation on a high note.  "You guys will probably get in.  You guys always find a way in."  I humbly nodded in agreement.  But Consol was totally sold-out and there was zero action on the street.

30 seconds later, I spotted an older couple standing against the wall.  I engaged them.  They were a little hesitant, but then Gigi entered the fray and told the man he looked like Tom Bosley.  I shot her the sideways constipated owl look, wondering why on earth would she demean him with this Howie Cunningham fuddie-duddie-father-of-the-year innuendo?  But he didn't seem to mind in the slightest.  After some light banter, he admitted that he might have two extra tickets.  I knew it from the start (scalper's intuition).  Turns out they were from Irwin, PA and his son used to be the production manager for Bruce Springsteen.  Anyway, he had originally purchased tickets for the concert but was also gifted 2 by his daughter.  The alleged extra tickets were at will-call.

So I sent Gigimatic off to seal the deal.  He ended up handing over 2 print-out tickets.  Entirely free of course.  We looked at the receipt total:

Tickets:         2 x $156.00
Service Fee:  2 x $31.20
Delivery:             $15.00
Total:                   $389.40  

I normally say something like Blam! or Ka-Pow! or Sha-Zam! 
To make a long story short, I need to come up some new terminology.  Maybe Fig-Newton! or some kind of Wonder Twin slang (Wonder Jew Powers Activate) or maybe the Danno equivalent "Scotchy Scotch!"  For something of this magnitude, I just need to come up with new shit.

I've always liked Billy Joel.  Seriously, how can you not?  There's a few of his songs I could do without.  I never cared for his mid 80's acapella phase (Uptown Girl, For the Longest Time, that annoying jungle boogie song - In the Middle of the Night, blah, etc.).  But the majority of his stuff evokes much emotion.

Who among us has not heard the repeated jukebox version of "Piano Man" at the Alpha?  Over and over, again and again.  All the Wheeling Jesuit kids crooning in drunken unison, "making love to his tonic and gin."  Again and again, until you die or spontaneously vomit in the hallway restroom amid the acrid stench of incest.

So we went inside and hooked up with our friends Doug and Bridgette.  For some reason, I have this really peculiar eccentricity.  I always call girls named "Ingrid" by the wrong name.  I call them "Bridgette."  And the exact opposite is true.  I mistakenly think girls named "Bridgette" are actually named "Ingrid."  Fortunately, there's only 2 women where this problem surfaces (Josh's wife and Doug's wife).  But for the life of me, I just can't get a handle on the situation. 

So we went to the seats.  Upper Level 205 Row N.  Let me be blunt, I am not a fan of sitting in the properly assigned seats.  Seriously, it's a fucking rock concert.  Not the State of the Union.

Little did we know there was an opening act.  Some kind of American Idolesque, country boy.  Whoopity Doo fuckin dah.  His name was Gavin McGraw or something.  We looked at each other and decided our time was better spent in the concourse watching the concert-pigeons buy $42 t-shirts.  And to top it off, the t-shirts looked really ghetto.  Some kind of Picasso cubist crapulence.  I'll take the extra-medium, please.  Here's my Discover card.  

During the intermission, we headed over to our usual stomping grounds - the best standing room in the house, the overhang of the Captain Morgan Club.  And of course we ran into Franco Harris' son Dok.  Needless to say, there was a healthy dose of stampede talk.  He gets it better than most.  He totally gets the catch-22 and uses all the right words (mitigation, asymmetric, discernible inevitability, malicious intent, etc.).

And if you're wondering what's going on in stampede world,  I'm writing an article for the Risk Assessment Management Society ( - 1,500 words).  But here's the bigger news, yesterday I woke up and checked my email.  There was a brief note from Seth Stone (Oliver Stone's son - yep, the director.  That's the one).   He has a program called  Streams on the internet - mostly conspiracy stuff.  Anyway, he asked what particular aspects of the artificially generated stampede I would be willing to discuss IF they chose to pursue it.  Let's just say I chose to respond.

And I'm going to churn out 2 more articles for the site.  One is an issue I have with the Event Safety Alliance and the other deals with the Paul Ryan response.  That's right.  Mitt Romney's 2012 VP running mate sent me a letter - he thinks I should take up the stampede issue with Wisconsin Governor Rick Walker.  So I did.  I'm still a little surprised he responded.  I'll give him credit - he has more guts than I thought.  I also got a response from another political heavyweight.  Retiring Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) who has been around since Watergate --- he thinks I should take my concerns to the California State Health Dept.  Hmmm, I suppose getting trampled to death is a relevant health issue.  After all, I could see how being crush asphyxiated is bad for one's health.  Worse than smoking I suppose.

Alright, the reason you're probably reading this is because you want to hear how the concert was.  I'll sum it up with a word that doesn't exist... ANTHEMIC.  Billy Joel is truly the consummate entertainer.

The highlight for me was the second song outta the gate - "Pressure."  This is one of the best number two songs in the history of live rock concerts.  It's up there with Iron Maiden's "Two Minutes 2 Midnight."  Everyone loves a great opener, but I'm always lit up by the second song.  For me, that's the one that defines the evening.

Definitely one of my favs.  Other highlights for me were "Allentown" and the theme to Bosom Buddies...

Pretty much the whole show.  Even the slower, mushified stuff was spectacular.  Ironically, I'm not a fan of his closing tune "Only the Good Die Young."  I prefer the Iron Maiden version.

And check it out... Gigi scored a copy of the setlist while me and Doc were jammering back and forth about the inevitable trajectory of humanity and technology.

He encored with "Big Shot" too.  But for some reason, it's not on the list.  But I will not stand in judgement.  For he is THE ENTERTAINER.  Well... let's just say he entertained the living fuck out of us last night.

And as for the couple from Irwin, you'll be getting a thank you note and some personalized hemp key chains in the mail.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#flipadistrict poem about David McKinley (R-WV) - 1st district

I wish to convey, some critical information
To all the citizens, of this once great nation

The mode of delivery, will be poetry and rhyme
About multiple disasters, transpiring in real time

Our First Amendment rights, offer excellent reach
For a writer and activist, with a commitment to preach

The subject is dangerous, but I cannot resist
It's all about a word, that doesn't currently exist

An act of pure evil, an incomprehensible deed
A cascade of terror, I've termed it... dominipede

Synthetic fear, minds of throngs sharply penetrated
Resulting in bodily crushes, that are artificially generated

Assaults relying heavily, on timing and information
coupled with herding instincts, and the risk of predation

A dependence on ignorance and a population adrift
New tactics of warfare, a generational shift

An untouchable issue, a test for humanity
designed to play off, our collective insanity

My representative knows all about it, but he's unwilling to share
He personally would not benefit, so why would he care?

I certainly have issues, with his lack of accountability
his moral standards, in the face of discernible inevitability

Our state has the politician, we surely must rid
His last name's McKinley, his first name's David

The first district of West Virginia, he currently rules
an ideal stomping ground, for his minions and fools

In all honesty, and with a certain merry candor
McKinley rose to power, largely through gerrymander

I really don't like him, or so it would seem
He's a hardcore conservative, a tea party wet dream

The only aspect, I'm unwilling to bash
Is his trademark distinction, that peculiar mustache

I applaud your contest, this whole "flip a district"
But outta the entire House, IT IS HIM WE MUST EVICT

And one last thought, upon which I'll delicately delve
The location was Pittsburgh, in two thousand and twelve

My girlfriend bought tickets, for our hero Bill Maher
With seats in the balcony, we watched from afar

It hurts me to say this, it takes all the courage I can muster
Bill... your stand-up that night, was really lackluster


Sunday, February 02, 2014

NFL related Sopranos memes

I made some minor improvements to the Chris Christie NFL meme.

It got me to thinking.  If there's one thing I know, it's the Sopranos.  With the unfortunate passing of James Gandolfini, I bet there would be ample interest in some Sopranos trivia as it relates to the National Football League.  So I made a bunch.  They're still a work in progress.  Disclaimer: if you don't know shit about the Sopranos, these won't make much sense.

The new stadium in Santa Clara is supposed to be bad ass.  I checked out the schematics.  It is.

I debated whether or not "lodge" should be replaced with "boxes of ziti," but it was just too much clutter and information.

Yep - the big shocker.  Vito's a fag.  His body was found at a hotel in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Cops said that Vito had a pool stick shoved up his ass.  I wonder if it was chalked.

Heaviest player in the NFL?  Fughetaboutit.  Gotta go with the Andy Reid substitution for Ginny Sac.

One of my favorite Soprano moments.  Paulie finally gets a taste of Italy, but he didn't care for the cuisine, particularly the octopus. 

Right before Janice threateningly puts a bullet in his sternum.  Richie puts down a "New Jersey Bride" magazine and warns her, "I'm in no mood."

I tried to put a comma after "Any Way You Want It," but the meme thingie wouldn't cooperate.

Christopher is worried that his life isn't going as planned.   He asks Big Pussy, "Where's my arc?"  He looks at Christopher and says, "You know who had an arc?  Noah."

I might make some more of these.  They're very addicting.

and back, by lackluster demand

Four, count 'em 4 more pseudo-relevant Super Bowl memes... courtesy of sonofsaf.

I think this one has viral potential...

This one does not.

And neither does this one...

But I like it.  Jerome is truly a victim of circumstance.  Too many Steelers already in the greater Akron area.

I doubt most people, other than knowledgeable NFL fans, have ever heard of NFL punter Ray Guy or Cardinals defensive back Aeneas Williams.  To be honest, I think this guy (not Ray Guy) should have been the first punter inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

That's what time it is!  Well... time it was I suppose.  He passed away in 2005.

Super Bowl Memes

It has been a bad couple of days.  I had a gas line rupture outside my house.  Fortunately, it didn't happen during that polar vortex shit.  My neighbors, "Feed Me Clothe Me Bathe Me," came to my temporary rescue with gourmet chili and 2 space heaters.  And of course, there's Gigi - coming to my permanent rescue 24/7.  Heart symbol.

The whole incident gave me a better appreciation for hot water.  And that's in addition to the ongoing on/off City of Wheeling water pressure issues.  I'm beginning to wonder if this could be the inevitable result of stampede-enlightenment-karma-backfire.  Say that 10x fast.

You wanna know something?  While voluntarily trapped in the cold house with a cold cat, I watched an HBO documentary about the brilliant Washington Post political cartoonist Herb Block.

I strongly recommend checking this out.  Really well done.  Very introspective, calmly inspiring, but at the same time, mind-numbingly powerful and passionate.  

It made me reflect on how quickly the world changes and how the sheeple continue to remain oblivious.  They never see the bigger themes... the black swans, if you will.  Instead, it's all about saving money on car insurance.  It's all about the weather.  Or worse, the latest news in the ongoing Justin Beiber saga.  Did forensics extract fingerprint evidence from the busted eggshells?  Will he be overshadowed by the Bruno Mars halftime show?  Will the White House address the deportation petition?  Sad.

Herb Block was a true visionary.  Watch the documentary and you'll quickly discover that this ONE man did more to shape U.S. government policy than a hundred members of Congress.  Hell, you could make a credible argument that he alone was responsible for balancing the entire legislative, executive and judicial branches.  Not a joke.

Anyway, I felt kind of despondent about some of the latest memes I've been expelling into the internet machine.  Herb would spend 12 hour days in an office, toiling and perfecting all these messages of incredible significance and consequence.  And then there's me... thinking about all the Super Bowl silliness.  I get a concept in my head, do a google image search and then visit a meme generating website named after building a cheeseburger.  And then I spend about 25-30 seconds arranging the font and layout.  What say you?  Sound familiar?  Yep... I'm just one of the sheep being led to the slaughter.

So without further adieu, here are some pretty decent ones.  I'm going to post the Peyton Manning one on facebook!  Maybe it'll get 7 likes.  The thought of Herb Block deservedly vomiting on me from the orbital heavens... now that's my kind of inspiration.

How about a break from the Superbowl?  Here's one for the cruise industry.

I'll be rooting for the Seahawks tonight.  But I just have a hard time fathoming a scenario where the Omaha-Brouhaha-Rock the Casbah-Ayatollah-Assholla doesn't win the Bacardi-Hearty-Lombardi-Party.

All things being equal, I hope the NFL poster boy gets a concussion.  More good karma is definitely on the way.