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.