Sunday, December 27, 2015

the horrible hanger

Last year around this time, I wrote a book and threw it up on the internet.  It could very well be the worst book ever written.  By "worst" I mean crude, obnoxious, disgusting, repugnant, revolting, putrid, vile, despicable and unrelentingly sickening.  No need to even consult a thesaurus.  Such a resource would never do the description adequate justice.

However, there's some good news!  A book this atrocious is free... of course. 

Spoiler Alert: I refuse to divulge the premise or content.  Let's just say that if the Steelers go on a playoff rampage, it will be promoted throughout social media like the Old Testament in a Southern Baptist church, like venomous snakes on the pulpit, like trickling blood stains on the cross...

Anyway, if you read the book, you'll discover that the Steelers Sideline Store at Heinz Field is not your only source for officially licensed NFL gear.  I came up with my own line of authentic merch!
But there's a big difference.  Just like the book, my shit's free.  Is it any wonder Art Rooney II hates my guts? 

Breaking News: It's the NFL. It's always about the money. Nothing more, nothing less.

So without further adieu, here's some of the featured items in my book AND an exclusive sneak-peak at something new, something different.  No... not a gift box of fruit syrups.  I've termed it "The Horrible Hanger."  But first, let's journey back in time Huey Lewis-style.

The Yinzer Yarmulke

The main character, a 5th grader named Sid from Squirrel Hill, proudly sports this holy headgear throughout the book.  Well, up until the 8th chapter when he has an unfortunate encounter with a holy priest in a Heinz Field restroom.

The Terrible Twirler 

In the event you forget your terrible towel, this nasty whipping device (comprised of 10 Steelers hemp key chains) makes for a fantastic substitute!  Just toss it in a 6"12"6" clear plastic bag and head on in.  Just make sure you adhere to the strict guidelines for stadium entry.  

The above link ^^^ represents one of the greatest moments in the history of post-9/11 television.

Let's see.  There's also the Terrible Turban, the Terrible Twat-Rag and the Black'n'Gold Burqa.  I'll refrain from those descriptions.  Sometimes it's best to leave a little bit to the imagination --- a woeful narrative the book refuses to adhere to.

However, I promised you the "Horrible Hanger."  And by the grace of God... here it is.

Behold the rich polyester history, in all its colorful glory.  Truth be told, most of these rags were "rescued" from the concrete and asphalt, in and around the the stadium.  And you probably thought the "horrible hanger" was a back alley abortion reference.

I made that contraption a couple weeks ago and it proudly sits in our basement.  It's currently open to ANYONE heading to the game.  Ideally, it will function as a lost and found or as a "give a penny/take a penny" at the cash register.  Towels are an integral part of spectator sports... except on the golf course, of course.  I once found a nice golf towel in the woods at Speidel (hole #8).  Score!  But when I showed it to my buddy, he gave me this look of consternation and said, "Saf, some guy probably used it to wipe his ass."  I gave it some thought and dropped it on the tee box.  Hopefully, twas not the end of that towelie's journey.  Definitely worthy of a GPS locator.

The irony here is this.  In 100+ games, I've NEVER taken a towel into the stadium.  I've smuggled in all kinds of beer, wine, food, recreational accessories, etc.  But never a towel.  

It's doubtful the Steelers will get a home playoff game.  They need to win 2 and have Cincy lose 2.  Possible but not probable.  And it's widely speculated that they're currently the hottest team, the one that nobody wants to encounter.  So here's the deal.  This year, I hit up all 8 home games as well as the 3, count 'em 3, preseason ones.  To properly honor the impending playoff run, I will provide a brief description of each.

Mad props to the Steelers marketing department... for the most boring, uninspired ticket design of the last decade.  Incidentally, the last time I went to every home game (2005), they ended up winning the Superbowl.  Could it be an omen?  A portent if you will.  Or could it signal the next 9/11 --- a dominipede?  Time will tell.  Time.


August 9: Steelers 3, Vikings 14

Hall of Fame Game in Canton.  Gigi and I took it to the streets.  I even blogged about my extensive travels from that weekend.

August 2:  Steelers 24, Packers 19

The day after my birthday.  Always cool to see Green Bay come to town.

September 3:  Steelers 6, Panthers 23

If memory serves me correctly, we left before the half. Why do they always close the preseason against Carolina?  A mystery I've never tried to unravel.


September 10: Steelers 43, 49ers 18

Trouncing victory.  I had a hunch it would be a blowout.  Largely based on the additional 3 days of rest following the Patriots Thursday night season opener.  Factor in the 1pm East Coast time for a visit from the west coast 49ers and you had all the elements for strong showing.  Classic bounceback game.  The only game I paid money for ($40).  Spent too much time preaching, not enough time searching.

October 1: Steelers 20, Ravens 23 (OT)

Killer night game.  Sponged some nachos off Mikey and Ellen beforehand at Mullen's.  Hung out with the Michael Vick dog protesters for a little bit.  Scored a few extras and sold them accordingly.  Usually, I don't mind getting beat by the Ravens as long as it's a tight game.

October 18: Steelers 25, Cardinals 13

We got all the breaks.  They dominated us (time of possession-wise).  Turnovers sodomized them.  I find it amusing how every year without fail, the Cardinals always acquire our cuts and castaways.

November 1: Steelers 10, Bengals 16

Now that one stung. 

November 8: Steelers 38, Raiders 35

Probably my favorite game of the year.  Absolute thriller.  Gigi wore her Raiders shirt. 

November 15: Steelers 30, Browns 9

Had a brief encounter with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.  Harassed him and his suited-ilk posse about the stampedes for the duration of their walk in between Gate C and Gate B.  One of his cronies said, "I hear what you're saying.  It's like shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater."  What an obliteration against the Brownies.  They truly are the definition of "hapless."  I like that Cleveland comedian who unleashes on behalf of all the season ticket holders.  Funny stuff.

If the Browns ever wish to rejoin us in the playoffs, they need to bring back Bernie Kosar or maybe Brian Sipe.  Worst case scenario, extend a helping hand to Trent Dildo.

December 6: Steelers 45, Colts 10

Tickets were everywhere.  Almost 10,000 no-shows.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  The Steelers have the greatest fans in the world... well, except for one trivial fact.  Thousands of them routinely skip the games.  They just don't show up, especially the night games.  Those that do attend often leave early during the 2nd half.  Guilty as charged that night --- we exited midway through the 4th, just before Antonio Brown had the punt return and straddled the goal post.  Good wine (Free Range Red).  Good time.

December 20: Steelers 34, Broncos 27

Toughest ticket of the season.  Didn't think we'd secure entry but Gigi managed to dig deep and score a couple freebies.  Down at the half 28-10, but I had this strange confidence we'd come back and take it.  Once again, good wine (Cocobon Red Blend).  Good time.

And now... it's time.

Time for the Ravens game.  Steelers are -10 on the road.  Usually I hate those big spreads but I got a pretty good feeling about today.  Time will tell.  Time.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Trump Might Get Whacked

As much as I despise that egomaniac, I do find Donald Trump to be somewhat of an iconic figure.  Probably because I admire his desire to shake up the system.  Something that's terribly needed in this era of political expediency, predictability and mediocrity.  A far cry from they way things used to be.

Anybody who runs for the presidency requires some degree of narcissism.  In all honesty, it should almost be a requirement for the highest office in the land.  Of course, Trump's smug, discombobulated arrogance takes it to a an entirely new level.  One of epic, unfathomable proportions. 

So before Carnie Wilson launches her North American Geico Insurance tour or the big pharma/Pfizer pharmaceutical weight loss tour (fat lady sings reference), here's why I think Trump might end up dead... possibly with a bullet to the head.

1.  The good 'ol U.S. of A has a long history of political assassinations.  I won't bore you with the litany of corpses.  Let's just say it extends beyond those who hold office.  This grim reality even applies to those who seek office.  To quote that shitty Nicklebacking Creedish song... it's been a while.  It just seems like we're long overdue for a shocking, politically inspired death... don't cha think?  And I can assure you, it ain't gonna be George Pataki.

2.  Trump just had the finest medical doctor in all the land proclaim that if elected, "he would be the most physically fit, healthiest president in the history of our country."  I find it a bit odd that Trump could even locate or manufacture a med school graduate who'd be willing to say something so absurd.  Seriously, what about JFK?  Obama seemed pretty fit when he took office.  Even George Bush was in decent shape except for when he almost died from choking on a pretzel.  I'll willingly concede that Trump's in better shape than a hefty Taft or the frailest of them all, William Henry Harrison (he died in thirty days).  But is he the greatest presidential specimen of all time?  I doubt it.   Does this have anything to do with a potential case of regicide?  Not really.  Just thought it was amusingly weak.

3.  Bullying and insults can come back to haunt you.  In life, there are certain equalizers.  A hit of acid can turn a 350 lb. offensive lineman into a whining baby or a sniveling coward.  Contrarily, a bullet to the head has the same effect on a Navy Seal or an Olympic athlete.  Universal laws apply to everyone... except the cops.  Trump is not immune.  He might just piss off the wrong person at the wrong time.  Even Trump planes and helicopters, elevators and escalators are prone to mechanical failure.  It might not be a customary hit.

3.  When your appeal is highlighted by low income, Southern white Republican voters, it might eventually come back to bite you in the ass.  This particular fan base is NOT receptive to betrayal.  For example, if Trump took an actual policy position on something specific, say... restricting gun purchases for those on the DO NOT FLY list.  Well, it might seem like a sensible position to him, but to the legions of varmint hunters who gotta go kill Bambi at any cost whatsoever... well, maybe not.  The NRA is a lot like Anonymous.  They do not forgive.  They do not forget.  They'd probably be able to convince a markswoman of Sarah Palin's stature to "off" Trump.  If she was unwilling to commit, maybe they could ask Bristol's new baby girl "Sailor."  Seriously, I was hoping she might name the kid "Driver" or "Pilot."

Reminds me of the time I convinced this girl from Bellaire to name her newborn baby girl "Chlamydia."  Ohhh, that sweet uncorrupted immaculate virgin birth. 

4.  What if someone's out there who fancies himself as an astute political observer or future historical operative (based on watching Fox News 24/7 of course)?  Based on Rupert Murdoch-guided, scientific polling of the highest standards, somebody might get the impression that Cruz or Rubio would stand a better chance against Hillary... and take matters into their own hands.

These days, in the past few decades, it's become pretty reasonable to assume that if you attain the presidency, you could be in there for 8 years, not just 4.  That's grounded in recent historical precedent --- Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama.  Eight years of Hillary and her "disgusting lies" about the most critical issues of our time (Benghazi and the email server) might just be too much for someone to take.  It might push them over the edge.  After all, it's like killing baby Hitler.  You'd be doing humanity a favor. 

5.  Trumps finds himself in some pretty unusual physical locations.  All these massive crowds and gatherings of the finest people.  They're all huge.  So many wonderful admirers who care about great things.  Important problems that call for big solutions.  These are tough times that demand strong leaders.  Maybe I should consider writing with that style of adjectivial alliteration.  On second thought, it probably wouldn't suit me.

Now those throngs of trained minions might make for good photo-ops on television, but it's also more difficult to secure the perimeters.  And all of these really smart people seem to have one thing in common.  All Christian, all white, all conservative, all devout, all outspoken, all patriots.  If it's strictly a numbers game, I'm going to bet that eventually, one of these principled followers might crack.  Percentages don't bode well for political absolutists who engage in continual ad hominem attacks and vitriolic harangues. I'm sure the Secret Service would vouch for me on this one.

6.  Speaking of the Secret Service, lately they've been spreading themselves pretty thin.  I hear they're in the critical final planning stages, configuring the details of how best to protect Chelsea Clinton's newest fetus.  It's called Operation G-Kid.  Not too mention the Reagan kids, the Bush girls and others.  It's a pretty extensive list that just keeps on growing.  Meanwhile, the whole organization is mired in all kinds of weird scandals (the prostitution busts in Columbia, the multiple deranged characters who've jumped the fence at the White House, some agent is always hooked on dope or being bribed, more death threats on social media than one could possibly comprehend, etc.).  Their director Julia Pearson?  Didn't she just resign a couple months ago?  What happens when there's no figurehead to push Congress for those much needed extra billions?  Newsflash:  They don't get the requisite funding.  The money gets redirected to more noble causes --- Boeing, fracking, caring (for Dick Cheney's chronic heart condition, of course).

7.  Karma's a bitch.  What comes around, goes around.  Eventually, one of these illegal immigrants shows up.  You know, one of the Mexican rapists or murderous criminals.  They smoke drugs, commit acts of thievery and intentionally impregnate teenage girls to secure Obamacare and birthright citizenship.  Perhaps just one of these illegal millions on the cusp of deportation will feel like they got nothing left to lose.  Fuck!  It's Texas, Mexico, Texaco or bust.  Not the most palatable of choices.

Maybe it's one of those barbaric Muslims who chop off the heads of defenseless Christians.  Maybe, just maybe, someone with an allegiance to the caliphate takes offense to the United States bombing the "shit out of them."  Hey, it turns out that social media is the "biggest" recruiting tool of them all.  Our bombing raids, military bases and rampant imperialistic endeavors have nothing to do with why "they hate us."

And not only must we figure out a way to take our country back, we also need to take OUR internet back.  Because the internet is ours.  It belongs to all of us here in the United States.  Well, except for Al Gore.  He's a stupid loser who lost to Bush.  If only Gore had surrounded himself with smarter people, he would have won.  Gore couldn't even win his home state of Tennessee.  What an idiot!  Instead, we got Bush and he ended up giving us Iraq.  See!  Foreign policy isn't that hard to understand. The outcomes are akin to a reality tv game show.

8. Along that same line of reasoning, extreme stances on issues with no room for intellectual debate or compromise could come back to haunt you.  When you embrace that kind of nationalistic populism (like most fascist leaders --- Hitler, Mussolini, etc.) it's fraught with backlash. Quite simply, you become the face of every problem.  YOU physically become the target.  Much like a deer in headlights at the Oglebay Festival of Shite.

There's a little "unspeakable" irony here.  Trump, who continually claims that everyone loves him (an unattainable position for ANY high profile politician... might just find out the hard way... that somebody actually hated his guts).  Hell, it's the same reason people hate me.

9.  Trump likes to flaunt himself as the greatest, the smartest, the boldest, the most important, the most feared, the most respected.  Historically speaking, those who commit political assassinations also see themselves as "larger than life."  What better a way to achieve that 15 minutes of fame... which would likely extend far beyond the obligatory 15 minutes as they would logically portray themselves as having altered the course of the country... if not the trajectory of humanity.  

10.  How about all that extemporaneous speaking?  Personally, I find it refreshing.  It's his one redeeming quality.  But eventually, something bad slips out.  Even worse than what slipped out during Hillary's bathroom break!  Now if you're The Donald, a deity with the sculpted mane of a Greek god like Zeus or Thor or whatever, you don't EVER walk things back.  If anything, when you say something particularly obnoxious, you just double down and fully commit.  You dig an even deeper hole.  It's his bizarre brand of presidential infallibility.  It's even more resolute than Catholic papal doctrine.  This might play well to a base of zealot extremists, but not the vast majority of moderate voters who realize the world is a complex place with shades of nuance on just about every issue.

*** BONE-US for Extra Credit ***  Most important, Trump's pissing off all these establishment people behind the scenes who benefit from maintaining their stranglehold with the 2 party political system.  The candidates running for office aren't the only people who've got a say in how things work.  I honestly don't think he realizes this.  He lives in this gold-plated vacuum with a diamond encrusted handle.  Sucking up all that grime and filth, not to mention naivete and ignorance.

It makes me wonder, what if Trump got the nomination but felt he was getting a "raw deal."  And then abandoned the Republican party?  He decided that everyone was just too stupid and inept and they were sinking his campaign.  Maybe a dash of paranoia --- Reince Preibus is actively trying to ruin my chance at the presidency... because he doesn't like me.  Such a publicity seeking stunt would appeal to his bipolar, twisted sense of urgency.  Plus, it's the perfect plan when he needs to bail.  That's if he finds himself losing out which I suspect would happen in a head-on match-up against Hillary (she'd win ALL 50 states).  In fact, I think it's exactly what would occur.  His ego would never allow for an honorable Romney-esque defeat.  It's just not how he thinks.  And it's definitely not how he acts.  Can anyone on this earth even fathom the concept of a Trump concession speech?  How would that go?  I should have won but the voters were just too stupid.  I hope you all go broke and your children starve to death.

All I'm sayin' is this.  If you make a deliberate, conscious decision to disrupt the powers that be... I don't care of you're a DemoCRIPP or a ReBLOODlican, bad things just seem to happen.  Our system can only handle so much antagonistic shit before the system itself retaliates.

The problem with Trump is that he'd never go quietly.  He'd seemingly take everyone down with him.   A blame game of immeasurable consequence.  Trust me, I don't envision Trump devoted to the notion of Omerta or even some lesser code of fiscal silence.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Jeb Bush Rebound Strategy

Obviously, the entire world now knows that Donald Trump is willing to ban "Muslim travel" into the United States.  At least until, "we get the problem figured out."

Since Jeb (by nature) is a weak politician.  I am going to tell him EXACTLY what he needs to say.  This is assuming Trump does not clarify his statement or "walk it back."

"To any registered Republican primary voter --- if you are seriously considering casting a ballot for Donald Trump, please do NOT even consider voting for me.  I do NOT want your vote.  I'd rather lose the presidency than know my winning votes came from people who share Donald Trump's vision and ideology.  It's just not who I am or what I'm about.  It's not what my country's about."

This is Jeb's big opportunity to get back in the race.  He'll likely condemn Trump's comments but HE NEEDS TO GO THE EXTRA MILE.  Will he take it to the limit?  No way.  Too cautious and predictable.  Doesn't have the guts. 

Jeb could take it one step further and tell people that he'd rather Hillary be president... as opposed to Trump.  This part would really be walking a fine line, but it would definitely make Jeb the de facto anti-Trump candidate.  Jeb needs to define himself from an OFFENSIVE posture rather than a defensive position.  Why am I the only person who gets this stuff?  These morons spend millions on consultants and polling... and still don't git it.

Funny how Jeb will spend more money than all the other Republican candidates combined.  But doesn't have the intuitive sense of when to strike or fight back.  Just doesn't get it. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

King Diamond Returns to Stage AE, 11-23-15

For someone who has led an incredibly sheltered life, I've had the unusual distinction of seeing King Diamond live in concert six times.  That's right.  Six!  As in 666 mutha fucka.

Back in 1989-90, on the cusp of high school/college days, I saw him three times.  Once at the South Hills Theater in Pittsburgh and then twice at Bogart's in Cincinnati.  During the final show, I witnessed this guy die right in front of me.  He got "karate kicked" in the chest.  And it wasn't by this arrogant prick ---

Seriously, who the hell does this guy think he is?  Was his honor so thoroughly decimated that it was necessary to slice the throat of innocent geisha-girl Kumiko (as if he was a barbaric ISIS terrorist from Ramadi)?  Please don't ask me how I knew the correct spelling of her name.

Fortunately, Danielson was able to get the best of him with a well-timed, dexterously administered honkkkk!

Hey, he learned it from the master.

I could've given you the 4 second Mayagi honk-clip.  I mean, I found the abbreviated version.  And to be honest, it's usually preferable from a blogging perspective.  But there's so much to be learned from observing his "passive defense, avoidance technique."  And then just when you think Mr. Mayagi is going to kill this heartless bastard, he pulls off that enduring/endearing honky schnozer.  Shazam!

If you wish to read about the harrowing death at Bogart's, it's in my odd-oh biography.

Now if Mr. Mayagi is the king of karate, then I shalt proclaim King Diamond as the king of satanic heavy metal.  I believe that's a fair analogy.  Ozzy, Ronnie James, that Ghoul with no name... they all pale in comparison.  None of them are fit to hold King Diamond's jock (strap).

Hey, King is getting up there.  I checked.  He's 59.  But if you ask me, he doesn't look a day over 45 (my age).

So here's what you may or may not find interesting.  I basically took a 25-year break from indulging in K.D.  Really didn't have much of a say in the matter.  He pretty much stopped touring in the United States.  Then, out of nowhere, he comes to Pittsburgh 3 times in the span of a year.  Two shows at Stage AE and he also played runner-up to Slayer at one of those all-day metal mayhem festivals.  Now that's a helluva lotta King Diamond.  It's the televised entertainment equivalent of being repeatedly drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.

So I skipped the opener and went to Bettis Grille (mainly to piss but then thought I'd kill some time).  Had a 10 buck Dewars and a 10 buck chicken quesadilla appetizer.  Both were stellar.

I won't delve into an exhaustive review of the concert or the pregame.  For those who care... yes, I did sneak a plastic water bottle of red wine into the venue.  It's just too easy.  I gotta be honest --- when I don't sneak it in, I kinda feel like a failure.  Even if I was teetotaler (always hated that word), I'd still do it.  I will now share my top-secret methodology.  Before heading in, surreptitiously place the bottle beside the metal fence on the perimeter of the outdoor smoking area.  Enter the venue.  Go immediately to the outdoor patio and embrace the legions of tobacco exhaling filth.  Retrieve bottle.  If confronted by the dutiful Stage AE staff, just pretend you have a physical disability.

As I was saying, there will be no laborious concert review.  It's King Diamond.  You either get his operatic, growling brand of "Scandinavian satanism" or you don't.   There ain't much of a middle ground.

However, some brief observations:

1.  Much smaller crowd than last year.  I'd say about 1,200 instead of the somewhere in the range of 2,200.

2.  I enjoyed this show significantly more than last time.  Of course, he performed the Abigail LP in its entirety, so we got to hear some hidden gems (particularly The 7th Day of July 1777 and Abigail).

3. Gained a new appreciation for lead guitarist Andy LaRocque.

 Is it just me or does this guy bear a striking resemblance to Dwight Schrute?

 4. Ran into the venerable Ted Cromwell and his buddy.  Demonstrated my famed "garbage can, VIP-cordoning-off technique."  But it wasn't really necessary due to the sparse crowd.  Now this is one I refuse to share with the general public.  Regardless, it's pretty much self-explanatory.

So if you can get past the bizarre concert narratives (harassment of an elderly grandma, disposal of an aborted fetus, various accessories being skull-fucked and so on), King Diamond is easily one of the more musically viable acts on the metal continuum.   Back in the late 80's, you really couldn't compare him to anything.  But in a strange way, the quality of the music reminds me of Ratt, Dokken, etc.  Some of the superior bands that played second fiddle to Aunt Jovi, Motley Crud, etc.  Different and distinct genres... but the songs remain the same.       

Anyway, the highlight of the night came for me at the conclusion of the show.  I asked the sound guy if I could have a copy of the set list.  And lo and behold... he bestowed upon me this sacred text.  

Now here's a thought.  Put all future set lists into some kind of Dead Sea Scroll format... on parchment paper or lamb scrotum or whatever.  Now THAT would make for a concert memento.  Bonus point if it has a stain of blood, maybe part of a pre-concert ritualistic slaughter. 

Out of all the setlists I've snagged, this one ranks pretty close to the top.  Seriously, you can't do much better than... wheelchair in / wheelchair out, goat up / goat down, coffin in / coffin out. 

Fuckin' "GOAT UP, GOAT DOWN."  Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Republican debate(s)

Thoughts from this evening's Fox Business Channel debate.  I'll do each one.

Bobby Jindal: focused but desperate, grasping for straws against the lesser candidates.  "Vishnu slim-jim" appearance doesn't make for a strong bullying quotient.

Chris Christie: WTF was he talking about... how he was "going to prosecute" Hillary?  FOX is saying he won the early debate.  Christie was a hefty dose of blathering rhetoric. 

Mike Huckabee:  Great "yellin" quip from the wannabe pastor-in-chief.  Easily his best moment.

Marco Rubio:  This cat's memorization skills remind me of a zombified Palin on steroids.  I'm starting to think he might scare me the most.  That's saying something.  The most relevant, credible threat to the executive branch of the United States.

John Kasich: Stood out.  The wildcard winner of the debate.  Going after Trump on immigration was his defining moment.  Barring something bizarre, Kasich might just be the litmus test for a rational Republican presidential choice.  Although I'm pretty sure he's jockeying for the VP slot. 

Ben Carson:  disoriented, stunted by the bright lights.  Seemed hesitant and awkward.  I doubt it would impact his position in Iowa.  Probably didn't help elsewhere.

Trump: Obnoxious.  Triumphant.  Fared well enough.  Likely stayed on top.  If Trump wanted to destroy Rubio he should make an off-handed comment, "Markie, they way you memorize these lines is really freaking me out."

Jeb:  Not good.  Seems tall-oafish-dwarfish.  There's good and there's not good.  Jeb is not good.

Lindsey Graham: honorable mention.  Would have expressed vitriolic hatred toward ISIS remnants in the mountainous regions of Kurdistan.  Instead... nothing.

Pataki:  honorable mention? I do not honor him.  I do not trust him.  Ironic, because he's the only social liberal... er ehh, mainstream Republican candidate.

Ted Cruz:  Can't stand this guy.  But his debate was strong.  Presence, demeanor, resilience.... check.  A little tiresome for my taste.  Odd... because I'm a bit passionate and long-winded as well.

Carly Fiorina: likely continued her decline.  Reminded me of a female Rubio, but less mesmerizing.

Rand Paul:  Really starting to marginalize and erode his father's brand.  Not his fault.  He's just not good enough.  No room left in the GOP for fiscal isolationism.

Friday, November 06, 2015

religious money

Ever see one of these fugazi hundred dollar bills?  You notice it lying on the ground and think, "Holy shit!  Dinner and drinks are on me tonight, bizatch!"

Then, you pick it up, take a close look and are utterly deflated beyond comprehension.

Last week at the Steelers game, there was a corpulent bearded individual (not male) distributing them outside the Hyatt.  She had a stack roughly the size of a mini-promotional box of Cheez-Its.  I glared at her with contempt as I eagerly accepted the "bill."  After all, twas a gift from God.  Or in this case... a gift from hag.

It reminded me of a journey Mark and I took to Mardi Gras back in 1995.  We drove it straight through (Wheeling to N'Awlins).  Took about 18 hours or so.  Nothing like an eight hour haul through Mississippi and Alabama.  If anything, it makes you really appreciate the magical journey of Gump.

For those who've never attended any action in the Big Easy, the amount of crap lying on the ground is unquantifiable.  Beads, trinkets, candy, made-in-China gizmos, etc.  Pamphlets, brochures, confetti, coupons, and of course, religious money.  It's largely a result of the never-ending stream of parades and their accompanying "throws."  Everyone on the floats tosses knickknacks to the legions of trained minions.  And they swarm and literally gobble up the shit like gnats on a rotting turkey carcass.

It's the truth!  I saw a hulking granny lunge out of her wheelchair.  Comparable to stealing second base, she sprung head-first toward a sewer grate in a desperate attempt to gather up some Dollar Store plastic gadget.  Risking life and limb, this elderly woman had no qualms about throwing elbows.  Retrieval of the worthless refuse was her #1 priority.

At the parade, I had an involved conversation with this college kid from Tulane.  We talked at length about the abundance of "religious money" all over the place.  Our discussion centered around a lone topic --- Why was Mardi Gras such an inviting target for spiritual propaganda?

Here was his line of reasoning.  Many people go to Mardi Gras with the intention of escaping their problems.  It's like a socially acceptable hangout where depravity is commonplace... similar to heroin junkies in a crack house or crusted whores in a rural brothel.  These people are, by definition, victims of their own destiny.

For instance, take a 19 yr. old man named Joe.  Joe and his frat buddies caught a cheap flight from Newark.  While his gang napped at the hotel, Joe was intent on getting a head-start.  So he caught a cab and hit up the casino in nearby Biloxi.  Joe might have been accustomed to winning the annual poker tournament at the Phi Beta Alpha house, but he didn't fare so well against the blackjack dealer at the Golden Nugget.  Broke and despondent, he hitchhikes back to the hotel.  His buddies take pity and treat him to the $14.99 all-you-can-eat crab leg buffet.

Rejuvenated, Joe maxes out his credit card limit and treats his buddies to a live sex show featuring Anal Lana (the human sexual palindrome), multiple gerbils and a stunning finale with an imported Ugandan warthog.  The conclusion is best left to your imagination.  They make a hasty retreat toward the exit and take it to the streets.  Just as he's regaining a smidgeon of composure, someone lowers a beer bong from a second floor balcony.  The crowd screeches, "Chug! Chug! Chug!"  Joe fails to notice that instead of cheap beer, someone's pouring in a bottle of 151.  So, in the span of 7 seconds, his blood alcohol level transitions for .19 to .43.

Shortly before midnight, Joe finds himself separated from his crew, lying face down in a garbage strewn alleyway just off Bourbon Street.  Covered in his own shellfish-infused vomit and having been the unwelcome recipient of a golden shower, things aren't looking good.  Four hours pass and Joe slowly regains consciousness.  He staggers to his feet and wonders, "How on earth did I end up like this?    

Penniless and desperately in need of a bath and cold ginger ale,  Joe spots a $100 bill on the ground.  His heart starts racing and pulse starts palpitating.  Thank God!  Praise the Lord!  His dreams have temporarily been answered.  There is indeed a higher power!

But the money isn't real.  It's counterfeit.  For the love of Christ, it's a ticket to heaven.  Holy currency Batman!

At this point, Joe is in a dire predicament bordering on suicide.  He's completely lost (mentally, physically and emotionally).  He's weeping uncontrollably and snot is running down his nose (kudos to Blue Oyster Cult for sharing that vivid imagery).  Needless to say, Joe has hit rock bottom.

Now there's one thing everyone knows.  When you've reached the lowest of the low, there can be only ONE definitive answer.  Fortunately, it's the easiest solution of them all.  One that requires zero effort.  Zero intellect.  Zero perseverance.  Zero wisdom.  Zero analysis.  It's called the God solution.  The ultimate way to rebound from anything bad.  Blame all your problems on the devil.  Exit the darkness and walk in the shadow of light.  Is it any wonder this shit sells?

So here's my take.  Let's make it easier for the masses to fall in line.  Let's take that deception to the next level.  How you ask?  Well... Papa Saffy is here to help.

Remember the "religious money?"  Well, let's take that currency and make it a little more convincing!  Whaddya say?

Let's use those origami skills and tweak the appearance of that Jesus cash.  BEHOLD!  Err uhh, behold the fold.

Ouch!  That legal tender just became way more credible.

Now the final piece of the puzzle.  As any good realtor will concede... everything hinges on location.  Location, location, location.  So where should we stash this cash?  Well, I have an answer which is heavily grounded in the mindset of a blog I wrote this summer.  CONDOM DOG, BABY!

Question:  What are we gonna do with all these dressed up prophylactic wieners?
Answer:  Place them in random, heaping piles of vomit.  

It's the same premise for "religious money."  But instead of the aforementioned barf-a-rooni destination, let's try urinals and toilets.  Let's make it a real awakening.  A challenging adventure.  Hey, I just think if you're gonna invoke the god solution, you gotta pay a price.  There should be some cost, right?  After all, nothing else on the planet earth is free.  So why does everyone get a pass when it comes to religious awakenings?  Even the fabled Chrisagii know one thing for sure.  God doesn't pay for your ticket to ride.   

You wanna know something.  I should rescind that last observation.  There is ONE thing that's completely free --- heightened situational awareness and common sense, public safety information for large crowds (especially NFL stadiums).


Oops.  I almost forgot.  That information comes at a cost.  Not money, you moronic bozo.  The price is life and limb.  Pain and suffering.  Broken bones and shattered kneecaps.   Learn the truth about what the federal government and private industry are unwilling to divulge.  C'mon, help an atheist jew brother out.  Preferably before I suffer the same fate as our buddy Joe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Democratic presidential primary debate (10-13-15)

I wrote about the Republican debate.  So I might as well offer some thoughts on the Democrats.  I'll keep it simple and just proffer a blathering of adjectives.

Lincoln Chafee --- sheepish, disjointed, unpolished, Aspergers, frantic, awkward, aloof, erratic, out-of-place

Jim Webb --- honorable, whiny, distant, confusingly hurried, coneheaded, stilted, numb-skulled, boorish

Bernie Sanders --- frank, forceful, gesticulative, mild chutzpah, naturally aggravated, reasonable, practical, honest

Martin O'Malley --- principled, small, irrelevant, scripted, cautiously predictable

Hillary Clinton --- focused, steady, strong, tempered, consistent, measured spontaneity

I also came up with a title for my new book.  It's about tickets.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

the house

Could the purchase and restoration of one house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania... prevent the next 9/11? 

Like many other couples, Gigi and I have been searching for that perfect home.  And we finally found it!  It's a three story Old Style house on the city's scenic North Shore.

As if downtown Pittsburgh isn't a memorable sight.  Walk out the front door and prepare yourself for spectacular views of the Point State Park fountain and the upper tier of Heinz Field.  Behold the confluence of not one, not two, but three rivers.  Bridges galore and more interstates, interchanges and intersections than you could possibly fathom.  In keeping with that sentiment, you can even hop in your car and make the quickie trek to Intercourse, PA.  Afternoon delight.

Unfortunately, the house is currently vacant and in need of a complete restoration. It precariously sits between a dusty warehouse and a Taco Bell.  A short walk to the Rivers Casino and you'll likely gamble away next month's mortgage payment.  A rusted guardrail separates the house from the Allegheny Police Headquarters.  Now let's throw in a few panhandlers, some occasional gunfire, a ton of cigarette butts and the perpetual screeching of the train tracks. 

Trust me.  Aside from the notion of Bill Cosby purchasing some quaaludes in the backyard alley, this ain't the Huxtable residence. 

Suffice to say, the house is admittedly different. 

So if we did buy this place, how on earth would it prevent an asymmetric national security disaster?  Now that statement requires a little bit of explaining.

You see... we want to turn this house into the AGSAF Museum.  AGSAF stands for Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation.

Now you're probably wondering, "what the hell is this guy talking about?"

Okay, here's the deal.  On game day, every NFL stadium has 50,000 - 100,000 active cellular devices.  Considering the current state of wireless hyper-connectivity in every venue, the time has finally come to tell fans the truth. 

People have a fundamental right to know...

that if they are in a large, confined crowd and receive an evacuation order
 and/or panic-inducing information from their cell phone or mobile device...

it's almost certainly a malicious hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede.

If a stadium emergency evacuation is deemed absolutely necessary, incident command uses the public address system in tandem with the video monitors.  Because it's imperative to deliver a clear, unified, all-encompassing directive.  You do NOT use cell phones to evacuate large, confined crowds.  You do not play texting games with mega-throngs.  That's just not how it works.

Sounds pretty simple and straightforward.  Regrettably, nobody's allowed to talk about this generic safety issue for a variety of reasons: plausible deniability, foreseeable litigation and the lose-lose proposition.  But there's an even bigger dilemma.  Acknowledging the problem raises the notion of killing people without conventional weaponry.  A terrifying precedent in the realm of generational warfare.  It's the prospect of weaponizing a human stampede --- a black swan event that would irreparably alter the course of humanity.

I know all of this sounds really scary and even a bit conspiratorial.  However, it's actually quite simple.  It all boils down to the modern, technological equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And just for the record, it's probably not one stampede.  It's likely in the range of 8-10 stampedes. 

Obviously, this is not an acceptable outcome.

So that's where we come in.  What better a location to break ground on the first museum of its kind?  Directly in the shadow of Heinz Field.  An arsenal of wisdom and knowledge dedicated exclusively toward the prevention of the next possible 9/11 --- a dominipede (multiple, simultaneous human stampedes likely impacting the NFL 1 o'clock slate of games).

And it would provide the ideal setting for my book signings:

Sonofsaf: odd oh biography is an autobiography.  Go figure!  A lifetime collection of comically debilitating short stories circa 1970-2011.  You'll find the circumcised perspective of an atheist Jew from West Virginia to be both uplifting and traumatic.  Joy and pain.  Sunshine and rain. 

His heartfelt observations on a wide array of topics: art, labor, leisure and music will take your breath away.  His thoughts on people, politics, religion and sports will leave you gasping for air.  His ominous predictions will suck the life right outta yer lungs.

For Christ sake, enough with the innuendo.  The book's about an undiscussable national security issue --- artificially generated stampedes.  Give it a shot.  If anything, it's free.

Dominipede: Book of Fear is the explicit prediction of an unfathomable future event.  An incomprehensible disaster surpassing the scope and magnitude of 9/11.

The entire NFL 1 o'clock slate of games will be impacted.  But it was all just a malicious hoax.  Everything was based on a lie.  Society will be transformed.  Everything will change.

You'll be left permanently exasperated.  Is it real?  Is it fiction?  Could it happen?  Will it happen?  When will it happen?  History and humanity will judge the author.  But should they?  You decide.

A few months ago I wrote a book.  Soon after, I became the most reviled Steelers fan in the history of mankind. 

The Immaculate Rejection is the disheartening game day tale of a Pittsburgh 5th grader wishing to improve stadium safety.  An overly optimistic Jewish boy from Squirrel Hill tries to shed light on an undiscussable subject --- the prospect of an artificially generated stampede at Heinz Field.  But nobody wants to listen.  Sid and Miss Priddy find things quickly spiraling out of control, resulting in what many will come to view as the next 9/11.  Based on a true story... and a black swan.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several billionaire owners want this book "removed" from the internet but cannot acknowledge its existence.  Quite the conundrum.  Making matters worse, the book is free.

So whadda ya think?  Let's fix up this house, stave off disaster and help make the world a better place.  Also, we need more room for the dome hockey and foosball table. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cleveland > Akron > Canton

Normally, the journey from Cleveland to Akron to Canton takes about an hour on I-77.  However, my recent expedition lasted a little bit longer.  4 days to be precise.  With a trip back to Pittsburgh thrown in the mix.  Again, again and again.

I managed to hit up 3 high profile events.  None of which are remotely connected in the slightest way whatsoever.  In less than a span of 100 hours, I was exposed to some of the most heavily diverse segments of the population one could conceivably fathom.  Such was the case from a Northeast Ohio population perspective. 

Thursday night was the inaugural Republican Presidential debate on Fox.  Sensing the political buzz and convenient proximity of Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, I felt physically compelled to scope it out.  Hey, what better a location to harass some high profile human beings about my asymmetric national security issue.  Some were willing to speak.  Others were unwilling to talk.  Most would prefer to ignore or avoid me.  So let me pose this question.  Do you honestly think I care about the emotional predicaments of ANY of the 17 Republican presidential candidates?  No.  Newsflash: I neither give a flying fuck, nor a liquefied shit nay a mineralized piss.

Anyone who takes an interest in my ramblings, knows about my concerns regarding obsolete emergency evacuation protocol for large, confined crowds.  I tend not to keep it a secret.  In fact, for the past month or so, I've been spamming the fuck out of every presidential prospect's facebook page.  Democrats too.  Although I derive far greater satisfaction from assaulting the aspiring Republicans. 

Five of them have even blocked me from their pages (Carson, Huckabee, Kasich, Santorum and Pataki).  I must confess --- each time I see one block me, I actually get goosebumps.  It's a distinction I carry with tremendous pride.  Hell, in my mind, it's a noteworthy component of the electronic paper trail that will someday be a part of history.  That's assuming my predictions about the next 9/11 are generally accurate, of course.

If you don't follow politics, scroll down a bit.

I'm just going to focus on my personal highlight reel.  Now here's what that really means.  I see someone in the distance and go pester them.  I try to be polite yet stern.  Focused but not annoying.  Pleasant, succinct and unrelenting.  Let's just say it's a delicate balance.

I made it to Cleveland around 3pm and headed straight into the action.  Sensing the utter futility in acquiring a ticket (I didn't even bother to try), I focused more on crowd observation.  Technically speaking, tickets really weren't "available."  A limited number of 4,500 had been allotted a while back to Republican donors and party representatives.  Suffice to say, I'm not on this list.  I'd be more likely to find myself on Schindler's list in a 70 year pre-embryonic stage.  Regardless, I'm sure the Republican party would have my zygotic back.  Huzzah.  

I ran into all kinds of people that fateful night.  But for me personally, these ones stood apart from the rest.

First up was this guy.  He's running for president!

Originally, I thought it was Jean-Luc Picard from the Starship Enterprise.  But it's actually K. Ross Newland from Rockford, Illinois.  We spoke for a bit and exchanged "platforms."  His main theme was mostly about putting "Christ back into our country."  You know, lap dancing with Jesus. Miscellaneous lordy lovin' and such.  I suggested he team up with our very own Chrisagis Brothers. Maybe persuade them to do his campaign speech intro music.  I did explain the risk factors though... the prospect of being overshadowed as well as the chortling laughter and vivacious crotch shots.

He had other positions too.  Enhanced border security, liveable wages and fair taxation.  Unfortunately, you won't be seeing him on the debate stage anytime soon.  In all honesty, I doubt I'd vote for him (due to the religious crap), but I will tell you something... he's definitely a "man of the people."  I give him credit.

Next up.  Debbie Wasserman Shultz --- the Chair of the Democratic Party.  My mom's a big fan. 

She was doing some "rebuttal" interviews for CNN.  She was pleasant but pretty busy.  Dressed to impress as well.  Wearing an extremely form-fitting black and white dress.  Let's just say... for a diminutive white gal... baby got back!  Her junk in the trunk would be the envy of any salvage operation.  She referred me to one of her aides.  Fellow Floridian Sean Bartlett.  He was incredibly engaging.  Totally understood my concerns and asked a few relevant questions and made some decent observations.  I emailed him as promised, but won't be holding my breath waiting for a reply.

Watched this woman for a while at the Fox News tent.

She's outstanding.  Former press secretary for George Bush.  I've always had a lot of respect for Dana Perino.  Stealth, professional delivery.

The pace was slowly picking up.  This dashing young man below was chatting with someone and asked me to snap their picture.

I kindly obliged, "No problem at all, but you'll have to listen to my concerns about stadium safety."

Yep, it was former CNN and now Fox News O'Reilly substitute Juan Williams.  Now this is one sharp dressed man.  As I introduced my material, he said (and I quote), "Yeah, I've actually heard about this issue.  I've personally never researched the subject but I totally see the problem.  And I understand why none of the candidates would want to have anything to do with it."  Now that got my heart pumping.  He was incredibly authentic.  Considering the setting, I can't fathom any reason he would possibly lie.  And he totally got the catch-22.  Just as my journo-man crush began to consume my stampeding groin, he informed me that he needed to get inside the arena.  But he assured me he'd look into the matter further.

Gigi called me and told me I should find the MSNBC crew who were doing extensive live coverage nearby.  They had a pretty big crowd.  Enthusiastic too.  Great set up. I snagged a free Hardball w/ Chris Matthews t-shirt for my woman.  She thinks he should run for PA governor.  I concur.  I'd take it one step further and say... POTUS.

All kinds of celebrity journalists were offering commentary and rotating insight.  Totally fascinating to watch the producers and the back and forth with New York.  The way they shuffled the speakers, never missing a beat.  I planted myself next to the monitors for the entire debate.  During the course of the evening, I was literally plastered all over the MSNBC telecast.  Don't fret.  I wasn't one of those waving imbeciles or screeching jerk-offs.  Rest assured, I worry about the herd.  But I'm not a part of the herd.

Around 11pm, I was milling about and encountered this dude... who looked like a lady.

Totally blew my mind.  What the fuck was Steven Tyler doing in Cleveland at the corner of East 4th and Huron?  He was surrounded by a posse of 3 women and 1 other guy.  They were walking away from the action.  So naturally, I followed and started to engage him.  The guy he was with tried to brush me off, but Steven Tyler CAME TO MY DEFENSE.  "Let the man talk," he said.  "Walk with us."  As I explained the stampede issue and how he could essentially play a "Bob Barker-esque" role in preventing a future catastrophe, he started to get where I was coming from.  It took him a while but he started to understand what I was yapping about.  The blond girl in the crew stared at me intently.  She said, "Holy shit, my friends and I have talked about this stuff.  You think it's going to be "a hack," don't you?"  I explained how there were numerous ways to create an artificially generated stampede.

After a few minutes, they said they had to "skedaddle" and wished me well.  I later found out that he was there for the Hall of Fame game (more on that later).  Aerosmith was performing at the televised ceremonies and had a follow-up concert at the Covelli Center in Youngstown.  I had zero knowledge of any of this which made the accidental run-in very kewl.  Seriously, a happen-chance meeting with Steven Tyler after the inaugural Republican primary debate.  I'd have never seen that one comin' in a million years.  It felt odd to literally tower over a celebrity.  He couldn't be much taller than 5'6" or so.  And thin as a rail.

Now for a big one.

This man stepped off the Hardball stage.  I think he's second to last in the polls (behind former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore).  Obviously in the mix hoping for a VP slot.

Yep.  Former 3 term governor of New York, George Pataki.  Naturally, I went in for the swift kill (with a little more guts than that asshole who killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe).  Think in terms of being on the prowl.  I asked him directly in front of a dozen people if he'd take 30 seconds to hear my concerns about a potential asymmetric national security issue that could conceivably rival 9/11.  He tried to turn away and pivot but I followed explaining how nobody's willing to acknowledge the downside of wireless hyper-connectivity in every NFL stadium.  That got everyone's attention.

Consummate politician.  He didn't utter a word but gave me this hazed gaze.  Like a deer stuck in headlights.  Pataki had trouble processing the fact that some street-person-nobody would attempt to "rain on his parade."  Hmmm, sounds pretty consistent with the Republican bigwigs.  Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure he knew about my material.  After all, his campaign team went through the trouble to block me from commenting on their facebook page.  Considering I never curse or engage in ad hominem attacks, banning someone strikes me as pretty outside the norm.  Pataki routinely gets about 40 replies when he posts a comment.  Very miniscule social media presence.  Not like Donald Trump with tens of thousands of bloodthirsty, menstruating commentators weighing in.  Anyway, one of his aides played the role of "running interference" and tried to "absorb" the interrogation.  I actually ended up speaking to him for a good bit and he had a pretty decent grasp regarding my concerns.

A little while passed and I ran into Chip Englander.

Now who the hell is this?  Excellent question.  It's Rand Paul's campaign manager.  And he was a complete douchebag asshole.  Totally petulant and unresponsive.  At first, I assumed it was because his man Rand had an "off" night in the debate.  I later learned that several of Rand's campaign staff just came under FBI indictments for basically taking bribes, multiple payments of $8,000.  Seems like someone high up in the Justice Department doesn't wish to "stand with Rand."

Although there were several others, these two were my last major victims of the evening.

At least I got to finish on a high note.  Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman.  Love the former.  Admire the latter.  Nearing 1:30am, both were physically exhausted so I kept it brief.  Chris pointedly asked me if anyone else is concerned about this issue.  I replied, "plenty."  Then he asked if anyone else had written about "this artificially generated stampede thing."  I explained that I was the only one.  He playfully smiled back with a light smirk.  Still, he promised he'd look into it.  Now I love Chris Matthews, but once again, I won't be holding my breath.

All in all, it was a scintillating night.  I blew off plenty of steam and got my point across to the best of my ability.  Will any of it matter?  Of course not.  But that's okay.  I got to say my peace.  And I wasn't even bullied by the Cleveland SWAT unit or the rooftop snipers.  Seriously, the military presence was outrageous.  What were they expecting anyway?  An urban uprising from a bunch of 70 year old Caucasian grannies from Tyler, Texas and Juniper, Florida?  What about all those neo-con policy wonk upstarts?  Gimme a fuckin' break.

Anyway, mission accomplished.  So it was around 2am and I decided to head down to Blossom Amphitheater in Akron for a Phish concert later that night.  But I get near the general area and all the hotels rooms are booked because there's a PGA event at the Firestone course.  I found a hotel but they wanted $250 for the night.  Blah.  So I tried to sleep in my car.  After a half hour of tossing around, I just couldn't crash.  So I went back to the Burgh.

Next morning I hooked up with the duo of Maximum Joy in Wheeling.  Ahh, a chauffeured ride to the Phish concert.  I'm not going to explain what a Phish show is.  For reference purposes, we'll just call it a big party.

Snagged a ticket for $40 off a guy who just paid $45 at the box office window.  Hardly the deal of a lifetime, but it gave me just enough satisfaction.  I'll provide three random excerpts.
  • Met a confused, disoriented girl from Connecticut who couldn't find her way back to the car.  She asked me, "Do you know where I'm supposed to be?"  I once asked a similar question at Nelson Ledges (about 30 minutes up the road) back in 1998.  Triggered an amusing memory.
  • Bought a really limp grilled cheese sandwich after the show.  Lamest, nonexistent grill marks in the history of any Phish lot.  Shame on the girl who sold it to me.  You know who you are.  Instead of advertising "yummy grilled cheese," she should have been yelling "American cheese food on discount Wonder."
  • Phish encored with Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times."  I honestly prefer the cover done by Nuclear Assault.  A little raw, but worthy of a quick glance.

So onto the finale.  Gigi and I hit the NFL Hall of Fame game on Sunday.  We skipped the 76 turnpike and decided to take the back-way because the weather was so pleasant.  Plus it's the same time.  Slightly over 2 hours.  Mostly route 30W through most of PA and OH.

We didn't enter the actual Hall of Fame.  Thirty bucks to stand in a 2 hour line waiting for an autograph.  We also didn't play punt, pass or kick in the virtual Fun Zone.  Blaring, distorted speakers churning out Sweet Child O' Mine on endless repeat.  No $250 NFL official jersey.  No $10 Bud Light drafts.  No $5 hot dog.  We didn't spend a dime.  We're definitely not the NFL prototype consumers.

We snagged a couple freebie tickets though.  A special thanks to our friends --- you know who you you are.

Note the "exposed cat ass" magnet in between the helmets.  We call this "frig-worthy" in honor of Elaine Benes and those she deems "sponge-worthy."

Our seats were in different locations.  Technically speaking, one of them wasn't a seat.  Twas an all-access pass.  So we grabbed some "obstructed view seats" next to a cameraman on the last row of the upper level.  Best seats in Fawcett Stadium.  Nothing's worse than those old-school high school bleacher seats... when the person tromps midway through the aisle and has the spot next to you... and they weigh close to the 400 lb. range.  We watched this scenario unfold and felt horrible for all involved.

We saw the parachutists.  We saw the towels.  We saw the flyover.  We saw the pyrotechnics.  We saw the polar bear.  We saw the marching band.  We saw enough and bolted at the end of the third period.

On the way out, we scored a "stack" of NFL sticker books (30 in total).  As Gigi would say, these will make excellent "stocking stuffers" for when Santa makes his annual Sewickley sojourn.

I was a little taken aback by the NFL's gimmicky generosity.  But I figured they'd make nice little throw-away gifts to our friends with grade school kids.  I even reflected... what an uplifting parting gift for those who made the trek to Canton.  Maybe the NFL really does care about its fans!

Today, I opened the sticker book.  They give you 10 "free" stickers.  And then ask you to mail a check or money order for additional packets.  So here's the reality.  Each team has about 14 stickers.  Each sticker costs 20 cents.  That's $2.80 per team.  If you wish to fill the book, that's 32 teams.  For a grand total of $89.60 + $2.00 s/h = $91.60.

Then I found some additional "hidden" sticker add-ons.  Ones representing the draft, Superbowl 50 and various Hall of Fame inductees.  And last but not least, there was a page devoted exclusively to Roger Goodell's cock and balls.  I don't know about you but I would most certainly pay .20 for a sticker of Goodell's circumcised prick.  I'd even be willing to get a tattoo of his ass... on my ass!

This brought the total number of stickers to 476.  That increased the total to $95.20 + s/h.  Obviously, the goal here was to keep everything just under the $100 mark.  C'mon Man!  I nearly projectile vomited into an officially licensed NFL commode.

Could I have possibly been more naive.  What a fucking racket!  Kind of like their new special deal for college kids --- half off the NFL DirecTV package.  So instead of $199 for all those dorm rooms and frat houses, you get every game for $100.  What better a way to promote frugality and collegiate indoctrination.

I'd be curious to see how much the NFL grossed from this Hall of Fame rubbish.  Back in the day, we went to a couple of them.  49ers vs. the Patriots and Browns vs. Cowboys.  There was little fanfare or pomp and circumstance.  For the most part, it was just the season kickoff.  Now it has evolved into a hoopie vacation-land and carnie-like money grab on steroids.

Is it any wonder I'm the most hated person in the history of the NFL?   In no particular order....

Franco Harris and the Steelers loathe me ---

Heinz Field security harbors extreme animosity ---

Stan Kroenke (Rams owner) detests me ---

Tom Benson (Saints owner who I understand is senile) might hate my guts ---

Roger Goodell and the billionaire owners despise me ---

NFL security can't stand me ---

Superhero Tom Brady has an aversion ---

Even wife beater Ray Rice finds me repugnant ---

The NFL WiFi installers have intense disdain ---

The Super Bowl planners and Department of Homeland Security feel extreme acrimony as well ---

And the human race would prefer I never existed ---


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jane's Addiction and the Black Swan

A quarter of a century ago, I attended one of my all-time favorite concerts.  Jane's Addiction played to a packed house at the University of Duquesne's A.J. Palumbo Center on the Ritual de lo Habitual tour.  Around 5,000 people crammed into a basketball gymnasium.  That was 1991 and I was 21 years old.

Fortunately, whoever ripped my ticket left behind the latter part of the band's name.  Hey, information can be addicting.  Information spawns addiction.  At least for me it does.  If you disagree with that sentiment, you need not continue reading.  The remainder of this blog will be of little interest.

When entering a venue, they used to pat you down and rip your ticket.  Now they "wand you" and scan the ticket.  I remember when fans would beg the usher to just rip a tiny corner of the ticket.  I'll assume they wanted to preserve the evidence for their scrapbook.  Guilty as charged.

How times have changed.  Just learning about the event itself is different.  Back then, you stumbled across a flyer stapled to a telephone pole.  Or maybe you saw an ad in the Pittsburgh City Paper.  Nowadays, you do a google search and receive the details in 2-3 seconds.  Modes of communication have changed as well.  In 1991, there were pay phones everywhere.  You'd deposit a dime or a quarter.  These days, everyone (regardless of income level) has a cell phone.  Since 1998, the world has changed markedly.  Personalized transmission of information and wireless mobile devices are the wildcard.  And narcissism is the ticket.  Everyone participates but few seem willing to speculate about the consequences. Even fewer realize the role they play.

Everyone has a mobile device.  Perhaps it's already attached to your face.  Someday, I imagine it will be embedded in your body.  There was a hysterical episode of Shark Tank where this "futuristic weirdo" had a proposal to surgically implant a Blue Tooth-like device in your ear.  He may have seemed a little off but I don't think his vision was that far off.  If you seriously consider the reliance on pacemakers, artificial limbs, boob implants... I can see where he was heading.

Here's the Jane's Addiction set list from that memorable night in 1991:

Now here I sit, almost 25 years later, having just attended another Jane's Addiction concert.  Gigi and I hit the July 10 show at Stage AE.  I'd estimate an outdoor crowd around 3,500 or so.

Gigi snagged an official set list.  Score!

They performed Nothing Shocking in its entirety.  Killer stuff.  Great concert opener: Up the Beach > Ocean Size.

I attended a couple other Jane shows along the way.  Cleopatra Carmen, me and a few others hit up the Perry Ferrell solo project (Porno for Pyros) at I.C. Light Amphitheater back in 1993.  It was the same night "Fugazi" exposed himself to me in an alley by the Metropol in the Strip District.  They also headlined the 2003 Lollapalooza concert at Starlake.  Saw that one too.  They played Starlake again in 2009 w/ Nine Inch Nails, but I missed that one.  Not sure what stopped me.  Through it all, I've maintained an admittedly steadfast addiction and infatuation with all things Jane.

While I don't personally know the man, Perry Ferrell and I have much in common.  Not the bisexuality.  Not the dreadlocks.  But rather, the creativity and vision.  That's right.  I'm comparing myself to a rock icon.  Given, that's a lot of audacity.  But with one major difference.  My shit's more important.

Back in the early 90's, Ferrell conceptualized the entire premise of Lollapalooza.  This is a much bigger deal than you'd think.  At the time, there were plenty of music festivals, but nobody dared bring together all the different genres.  Ferrell pushed the envelope with this societal experiment.  The rap crowd, the country crowd, the indie crowd, the metal crowd.  Hey, why not try it?  The answer --- because nobody had the courage to embrace the unpredictability... the prophetic notion of taking a risk.

A few years back, I borrowed the "palooza" monicker for my own idea... SOAKAPALOOZA.  It was all about Westboro Baptist church payback.  Whenever the Topekafucks show up, you simultaneously announce an all-out water balloon fight to coincide with the festivities.  You also arm everyone with Super Soakers.  Fill 'em up with cheap beer.  May I recommend a keg of Natural Ice?  Everyone gets drenched in the crossfire.  Ohh, the outlandish hilarity of fun and games.  Eventually, the video footage goes viral and those intolerant Kansan bastards get a dose of their own righteous medicine.  Hint: It's called being a copycat.  I wrote about it in the Religion chapter of my odd oh biography.

Those same assholes just announced they're going to "protest" the funerals of the recent movie theater shootings in Louisiana.  What the fuck.  It will never end unless regular people step up their game.  Unless society chooses to be proactive as opposed to reactive.  I know.  I know.  Don't give them the publicity.  That's how they thrive.  It's what they crave.  You're playing right into their hands.

Newsflash:  The WBC follows the same model as the current asinine freakshow leading the polls for the Republican presidential nomination.  Trumpapalooza. 

Yeah, Soakapalooza was amusing.  It never really panned out, but I know it has anarchistic merit.

Anyway, this blog isn't about my recollections of Soakapalooza.  It's about the creation of words and concepts that have yet to emerge.  Picture yourself back in 1980.  Before words like "internet."  Before concepts like "cyberspace."  The same rules apply directly to my shit.  Words like "dominipede."  Concepts like an "artificially generated stampede."  They just haven't happened... yet.

I can assure you of something.  This stuff was around well before it just seemingly happened.  The vast majority of mankind just has difficulty envisioning the future.  It's always about celebrating events of the past.  Holidays, birthdays, baptisms, circumcisions, tombstones, the list goes on.  Few are willing to write about "that which is yet to come."  Because if they try, it becomes fictional or conspiratorial or delusional.   With one major exception --- the return of Jeebus... of course. 

I humbly give you the definition of a "black swan" - an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.   If there was ever a term that's google-worthyTrust me, try "black swan."