Wednesday, December 31, 2008

foosball move

Yesterday I had a blast from the past. In the late 1990's during my tenure at Oglebay Village, I had a neighbor on the opposite end of my 6 unit apt. complex. I'll refrain from mentioning his name due to the sensitive nature of this post. This moron would constantly be working on his broken down car. The car functioned for maybe 8 days out of an entire year. Not the most efficient way to spend ones time. But he'd always be out there tinkering with it. Oil stains reminiscent of the Caspian Sea were a constant eyesore. He would commit to battle with an abundance of cheap cat litter, but usually fail miserably. In fact, the car itself, was an assemblage of different parts. I think it was a Mitsubishi Eclipse.
This guy, let's call him Jambalaya, fell in love with an attractive neighbor, which infuriated her live-in boyfriend. Jambalaya (he's not black, but a rather diminutive, slightly elfish white man) would always try to get her attention. Whether it be trying to trying to strike up a conversation on the way to the laundry room or asking her for a stick of margarine.
Jambalaya's apartment was almost entirely barren with the exception of a few chairs, a 19" tv and a stereo system. He'd often crank up the stereo and pretty much annoy the living fuck out of everyone. The same kinds of tunes over and over. Stuff like AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long, Foghat - Slowride, and newer Aerosmith were his usual selections. You see.
Jambalaya would have occasional run-ins with the police. Basically, he would drunkenly call 911 about once a month threatening to kill himself. Then, he'd take a bunch of pills. The cops would show up but couldn't get in the apartment because the door was locked and he was passed out. Sometimes, they'd have to call the landlady and get her to open up the door. Regrettably, this became routine - kind of like Andy Dufrane getting prison raped in Shawshank Redemption. My neighbor Dunkle and I would refer to Jambalaya as "suicide man." In fact, most everyone would refer to him as suicide man. A bit morbid perhaps, but there was always some degree of confusion as to what exactly his name was. Kind of like not knowing whether a guy is named Ronald or Donald, so everyone calls him McDonalds.
Anyway, yesterday I was at a dive bar downtown and saw this moron out of the corner of my eye. It had been almost a decade. We did not make speak or even make eye contact but it did evoke an extremely fond memory. Allow me to take this stroll. I beg of you...
My neighbor Dunkle and I would play a great deal of foosball. We'd make up lots of names for a wide variety of shots (Longshanks, I-70, patent, Ching Wa, R&D, Stinkface, - the list is truly endless and many of these terms are still widely used to this day). One day, after a stunning come-from-behind victory, Dunkle began to dance around the foosball table while singing "Two suicide men go round the outside, round the outside." This was a particularly joyous song and dance - he ripped off the Eminem song that starts off "Two trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside." For a brief moment, I was overcome with emotion as we linked arms in some kind of Oglebay Village Boot, Scoot and Boogie Hoe-down. Ohh, we celebrated like liberated Iraqis witnessing the destruction of Saddam's statue.
Just goes to show you how precious life is and even if you don't think your life has any merit, you might not truly understand the impact you have on others. "Two suicide men go round the outside, round the outside." Indeed, they certainly do. From this day forth, whenever I eat Jambalaya, see a broken down Eclipse or hear that shitty Foghat song, I'll reflect on Suicide Man and think wonderful thoughts.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

text messaging

I know. I know. Saf, you've got to get on board. There's a technological revolution going on and you're not a part of it. It's not only informative, but it's so much fun! It's called texting! Yessssss!
A few days ago, I received about 6 text messages that all said the exact same thing - "MERRY CHRISTMAS." Aside from the fact that I'm hardcore atheist Jew, I have no idea what purpose this serves. Is it supposed to fill my heart with joy? The idea that someone took 20 seconds to type a standard, generic greeting and then hit the SEND ALL button. Am I supposed to reply to these things? Does it really help anyone if I type "GO STEELERS" and send it to everyone, including my ailing great aunt who's on a respirator in a nursing home in Chattanooga? Don't worry, no such person exists, but I think you get the drift.
I just don't get the excitement of it all. Why do people find this course of action so compelling? What do they hope to achieve? It's almost on the same level as those email chain letters - copy this message about a "mayonnaise angel" that miraculously appeared in my fucking ham'n'swiss sandwich. And lest you be condemned to eternal damnation if thou dost not send it to everyone in thy inbox. Fuck this shit.
What's even more comical is when there's a woman sitting alone in a bar frantically texting someone. They stare deep into the heart of their I-Phone and furiously hit every button conceivable in a desperate attempt to conceal the fact that they have no life. I know, it's crazy. They're trying to pretend that the weight of the world is upon their shoulders as they tediously text away. You'd better not even say hi. Human contact is of no relevance. They must finish the message. Everything depends on it. My mother must be kept fully apprised of how bad my cramps are. I need to tell my brother in Colorado that I'm so stuffed after eating 2 Big Macs.
So here's the deal. You might think it's harmless and fun to text everyone "HAPPY NEW YEAR" tomorrow at midnight. I'll have an instantaneous, lengthy response drafted, saved and ready to reply....

Fuck you, scum. The message you just sent is entirely devoid of human interest. Your attempt to generate false enthusiasm is typical of your desire to embrace AMATEUR NIGHT. Here's a New Years resolution for you. Stick that cell phone up your ass. Lemiwinks wants to text everyone...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Festival of Shit

For roughly a decade I lived in a sprawling apartment complex called Oglebay Village. For those unfamiliar with The Village, it is an extensive network of federally subsidized apartments (HUD) built during the Reagan administration. It's roughly 150 apartments on about 3 acres of very expensive land. It's actually surrounded by a 5 star Arnold Palmer golf course and in close proximity to Oglebay Park as well as some of the nicest houses in Wheeling. I don't have any statistics, but this place must be one of the nicest HUD developments in the entire United States.
During the winter months, Oglebay Park proudly welcomes every grandma imaginable for what they call "The Festival of Lights." People drive from distant locations like Zanesville, Cambridge and Akron just for the opportunity to sit in traffic for 4 hours and witness this spectacle. I can sum up the entire experience in one sentence - Granny and Pap Pap saw giant candy cane. Yep, that's about it.
Now here's the deal. About 3 nights a year, the place would be a total zoo. For some reason, everyone comes on the same day. Usually the nights before Thanksgiving and Christmas. The traffic creeps along at the pace of a Golden Girls reunion tv special. There'd always be a line of cars on rt. 88 turning into the Speidel golf club. I would take this opportunity to exact revenge. I'd come flying directly at them, nailing my horn and flashing my brights. Sometimes I'd even spray my windshield wiper fluid just to get the full effect. This must have been terrifying because they probably had no idea I was turning onto Pogues Run Road. I'm sure I spoiled many visits to Oglebay and probably made people come to question our town's moniker as "The Friendly City."
Saf, why would you hate the Festival of Lights? Well, a tour bus once ran me off the road and I blew a tire. I decided that someone would have to pay even though I had no way of knowing which tour bus company was responsible. So for an entire month I took down the name of every tour bus that I saw in Oglebay. I then sent a standardized letter to about 30 companies demanding restitution with a xeroxed copy of the bill for the tire. The result was a major success. 3 companies immediately zipped me off checks for $80. About 5 wanted me to call them and/or provide further details. And the rest just ignored me. $240 - not too shabby.
My old roommate Alex and I wanted to build our own lighting display. Hidden in the distance, it would be set on a timer and light up for about 5 seconds every hour. The message would be a simple one - FUCK YOU. That shit has the makings of a real urban legend. But, it lagged in the formative planning stages and never really got off the ground.
I guess I just don't like these giant Kmart inflatable Santa Clauses and plastic reindeer ensembles. Just doesn't do it for me. And in the words of Frank Costanza, "I find tinsel distracting." Back in the Village days, we hung an inverted Christmas tree from the ceiling and decorated it with beer cans. Now, that's what I call bad ass. The tip of the tree was about 1 inch from the floor. Perfect fit.
Aside from the fact that I have no holiday spirit, I think there's a bigger issue. I've just never been one to enjoy premeditated holiday enthusiasm. Perhaps if I was a fellatio recipient under the mistletoe. Perhaps.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

list #3

Peanut Delight No Melt Suet - I've never been an aspiring ornithologist, but a few years ago my friend Ken turned me onto bird watching. I'm hardly an expert but I have developed a minor appreciated for our feathered friends. It's well worth the 30 bucks a year to throw out some bird seed. Plus, I get an occasional squirrel altercation. This suet is the best because it doesn't leave a filmy substance on your fingers. I have no interest in whether the birds prefer the suet that costs an extra 20 cents. They should appreciate my limited generosity during an economic recession.

Michelina's Budget Gourmet Angel Hair Pasta in Meat Sauce - This could possibly be the best frozen pasta. You can only get it at Reisbecks. For some reason they sell every variety at Krogers and Walmart with the exception of this one. Kind of ironic since it blows everything else away. 5 grams of fat - relatively healthy for one of those cheapo dollar pasta things.

Lone Star Beef Jerky - Hands down, the best beef jerky. Only available at the Claysville Exxon and well worth the trip. People eat some disgusting stuff when it comes to the realm of beef jerky. That Jack-Links stuff is atrocious despite having the best tv commercial of the year. The one where those guys are tormenting sasquatch on the golf course and then he assaults their golf cart. Hysterical. Slim Jim products are really disgusting and if you aren't feeling just a little embarrassed when you look into the eyes of the cashier as she scans the oily meatlike product, you have my deepest sympathies. How could a normal person emotionally rebound from something so traumatic, especially knowing that you brought this conundrum upon yourself? Honestly, we all have free will. We all make choices of our own volition. There's no reason to put yourself in a position like that. I can only envision one scenario where it would be marginally acceptable and that's if you suffer from some degree of mental retardation.

Water - I think the best brand of bottled water is Crystal Geyser. Nestle Pure Life, Roxane and Ice Mountain are decent choices as well. I'm unable to fathom why anyone would purchase Dasani. The stuff tastes like they added a ton of chemicals. I'm not sure what it is but you can really taste the iron. Perhaps it's some kind of zinc with just a hint of magnesium. I do not know.

...more consumer advice will be forthcoming.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

list #2

I can't believe I neglected to mention my other favorite soup. Oprah would frown. This Annie Chun Udon Soup Bowl is bad ass. You just need to add real meat (chicken, beef or shrimp) and vegetables (they encourage shitake mushrooms and bok choy - I concur). I'm also an admirer of the packaging. All the ingredients combine to create what the Japanese refer to as UMAMI - that ultimately delicious state when complex flavors attain perfection.

By the way, the reason I write these lists... it's called "for the betterment of fucking humanity." I truly believe that if you go to Walmart and purchase the Annie Chun Udon soup, your existence could dramatically improve or at the very least, be somewhat enhanced. That's why we're here. If you find this discourse uninformative, then in the words of a proud Wheeling Station wild teen, "Talk to wrist, because the fist is pissed!" Honestly though, I think if you go out and purchase all this shit, you'll become a better human being.

IZZE fortified (sparkling pomegranate) - This stuff is exorbitantly priced, but if you're willing to take the plunge, I will jump in as well. It's basically some kind of pomegranate fruit juice/tonic. Makes a great gin mix in absence of tonic. Add a wedge of lime, ho. I just decided to see where the stuff comes from - Boulder, Co. That about sums it up. Boulder is complete bad ass. Its only blemish is when Mork and Mindy had the giant adult baby. Unacceptable, but Izze helps.

Gotta go.


There's always a late surge of holiday shopping around this time, so here is a list of products and services I heartily endorse...

Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash (Refreshing clean mint) - Make sure to get the blue colored, not the green crap. Manufactured and distributed by Proctor & Gamble. They're headquartered in..... Cincinnati, Ohio.

Grandpa's Oven Santa Fe Snack Mix - This stuff is totally hidden on the bottom shelf of Walmart in the snack aisle. You've really got to keep your eyes open or you'll never find it. Very spicy for an over-the-counter snack mix.

Kit & Kaboodle Original Medley cat food - Meowee loves this stuff and I can't stand the smell of canned animal food. The worst is that Mighty Dog shit - all varieties.

Exxon gasoline - I just don't trust the Kroger brand gas even though it might be the same. I don't like the idea of getting gas at Sheetz either (local ownership issues). Although I do love the fact that it's a total eyesore for the church across the street. This area could really use a high end Chevron, not that cruddy one near Rayland.

Don Lucianno Cabernet Sauvignon - This is, hands down, the best cheap wine I've ever come across. $3.76 a bottle at Walmart. Their merlot is good too. Far superior to the $2.99 Oak winery procucts. All those "oak" wines are all the fucking same - they just change the label. Red Oaks, Trinity Oaks, Five Oaks, Oak Glen, Oak Ass, Oak-kay.

Sierra Nevada Chileno Peppers - My compliments to Uncle Ben for turning me onto this stuff. These are the best peppers I've ever eaten. Not found locally so you've got to get them off the website ( Order them on your own. I put in an order with Ben and it took 3 months and even worse, he claimed several times I never paid for them. An exceptional degree of spice - you get the perfect variety of zing but not enough to cause heartburn which brings us to the ultimate over-the-counter miracle drug...

... which is Prilosec. I use to have insane heartburn. I'd pop an absurd amount of Rolaids back in my hey-day (sp?). I think it's even healed my corroded esophageal lining. F to the mother fuckin' A! Spend the extra dollar and get the name brand stuff, not the Equate/generic Omeprazole. There really is a difference.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale - Schweppes is a decent substitute. Do not buy Seagrams and under no circumstance whatsoever purchase the Varner's crap. Disgusting.

Cascade 2in1 Action Pacs with the power of DAWN (any scent is good, but I've recently gone with Cirtrs Breeze) - These little dishwashing pouches have revolutionized the dish cleansing process. Anybody who uses those large containers of dishwashing fluid is a complete fucking idiot. It's time to step into the 90's. Jenn D. gets all the credit for showing me the way.

Brummel and Brown - Kudos to Lee Stalnaker/Roberts. She told me to try it and my life was altered. Inevitably, irrevocably altered. There was a time in the early 90's where I used Parkay. I could still go back, but it would be a difficult transition.

Top Flite XL - I've never played well with anything Titliest. I love Slazenger but can't ever seem to find them. When golfers say the word "Noodle," I get mildly annoyed.

Walmart brand Ruby Red Grapefruit juice - This is the best juice on the market and it's attractively priced at $2.00. I'll never understand why anyone would pay extra for Ocean Spray which, aside from being overpriced, is way too fucking sweet.

Starbucks Columbian brand (medium) - Always a safe choice. Do not serve me any of that mocha or spiced faggot coffee whipped cream shit. I'm not of those emo coffee drinking fucks. I drink my coffee black. No half'n'half, no sugar, no mint, nothing.

Dove soap - These people really know how to make a great bar of soap. Not positive, but I assume it's another P&G product. My father is a retired dermatologist so this is of extra importance. Neutragena products SUCK. They leave you feeling sticky and slightly despondent. It feels like you were a car that just got poorly waxed.

Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup - the best of the chicken soup powdered ilk. Great hangover product because of the respectable salt concentration. If I'm going the canned route - it's all about Progresso Zesty Chicken Gumbo. Either way, you're a winner.

Coke - Never get it in a plastic bottle. Hard to fathom why, but Coke in a can just tastes better.

I'd also like to recommend the low fat versions of Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa and, Marzetti's Light Ranch Dip. Once again, one of those oddities. The regular, more fattening versions, just aren't as tasty.

Alright, I must go to the 19th Ho to watch the second half of the Steelers/Titans game.

Friday, December 19, 2008

NFL playoff sheet

I have decided to do another NFL playoff football sheet this year. Basically you just track your winners through the brackets: 1 point for each correct wildcard: 2 points for divisional: 3 for championship: 4 for Superbowl. Superbowl point total is the tiebreaker, regardless of who plays (I know, not the most scientific, and it probably won't be needed anyway).
Make sure you understand the seeding if you pick an upset. It will all be spelled out on the sheet and I"m pretty observant about making sure nobody fucks it up.
5 buck entry fee. Winner take all. I'm predicting 38 entries which puts the payout at $190 - Just a guess. I only have a week to get it done, so it largely depends on who I run into.
I'd say about 60% the people who participate will enjoy the experience. About 25% will not even give a remote fuck. 10% will do it just so I leave them alone. 5% will make poor picks and annoyingly complain about the outcome to anyone who will listen regardless of the fact that it's only 5 bucks.
I haven't decided if I will participate. I probably will and offer a copy of my pics on my blog or for verification purposes.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

local holiday food advice

Way back when, this used to be a restaurant review blog. Over the course of three years, I've touched on a few topics - local dining, concert reviews, political observations and some religious bullshit. Well, in a special sonofsaf holiday tribute, I will harkin back to my earliest roots. People often approach me and say, "SAF, WHERE'S THE MEATLOAF? WE WANT IT NOW! SAF, THE MEATLOAF! FUCK!" Truth be told, I can't think of any place in Wheeling to order award-winning meatloaf. However, I thought to myself - Saf (that's actually how I silently refer to myself in my own head) - as I was saying, Saf, maybe you should make up a list of Wheeling culinary delights. That way, if someone wants to know where to get great cole slaw, I'll be able to acces the blog and say, "T.J's Sportsgarden is known for its famous cole slaw! It's deh-lish!" Yeah, like I would ever say anything so preposterous. Hell, I'm still encouraging people to puke in their popcorn machine. So anyway, without further adieu, here's the list...

I'll start with some of the more basics.

CHICKEN - I recently acquired salmonella poisoning, so I thought this would be the best place to start. The best chicken is easy to find. Go to Riesbeck's, the one in the Elm Grove Crossing Mall is good, but I imagine they're all the same. The one in St. C. is pretty nice. I'm not sure if anyone even goes to the one in deep Bridgeport. Riesbeck's has the best fried chicken in the area. Hands down. I don't know if it's because Grandma Riesbeck had a ghetto booty or what, but if ever asked to procure a bucket of fried chicken - it's off to Riesbeck's. Call ahead, asshole! They have superior grocery store brand chicken as well. Make sure you get Park Farms, not that Tyson nonsense and screw Roundy's brand or whatever they call themselves these days. As for frozen Banquet Fried TV Dinners - buy them if you're planning an extensive stay.... in an insane asylum. Disgusting.

STEAK - Where would I go get the best steak in the valley? Probably Outback, although Figaretti's serves up a great steak. Keep in mind, all these recommendations are based on a totality of factors, not just cost. If it was only about price, it's easy to just recommend the most expensive choice (this is actually a real mediculinary condition known as Lobsteritus; a tendency to order the most expensive item on the entire menu, generally the lobster). I try to take everything into consideration (atmosphere, service, cleanliness of the establishment, etc. blah).

SALAD - This one is way too easy. For a fantastic salad, there is only one option - The Metropolitan Grill. Sure, there's a potential for bizarre service and I once even saw some barefoot dumbshit in there, but all in all, you just can't get a better salad. All are freshly prepared and each deserves our praise and adulation. I've never ordered takeout but I'm imagine they've got it under control - a great way to avoid your typical shoeless West Virginia fuck.

PIZZA - It's borderline retarded to get into the never-ending "which Dicarlos is the best" debate for a few reasons. First, there pizza just really isn't that great. It's more of a novelty, kind of like Moondog Food. I grew up on the stuff and it's certainly edible but then again, so is a saltine slathered with tomato paste, sprinkled with mozz-a-mate. I'd probably say the best pizza is that Everything Pizza from DeFelice or the gourmet spinach pizza from Pizza Outlet/Vella's or whatever they call the place near the old GC Murphy building. You're probably thinking - didn't Defelice win the Best Pizza in the World competition a few years ago. Yep, they have the newspaper article on the wall. Not surprisingly, it from the Wheeling Intelligencer (an award winning publication in its own right). I'm still not sure if this Best Pizza in the Universe competition was properly sanctioned, but I have no proof otherwise. I would not go to Pizza Hut, but if you must, don't go to the one in Bridgeport. It's ALWAYS totally deserted. I was once exiting the Pizza Hut in Elm Grove and there was this older woman leaning against my Jeep Cherokee. She was eating some kind of fucking ham salad sandwich. There's maybe 4 cars in a 50 spot parking lot and she's eating her lunch on my car. Anyway, I looked at my buddy and said check this out. I hit the panic button and the horn starts blaring. She lurched forward and her sandwich went sailing. The horns on those Jeeps are LOUD. She looked at us and gave me the finger. I just calmly got in my car and drove off. And if you ever financially support Dominos Pizza in anyway whatsoever, thou shalt be gang raped by Al-Quada terrorists or at the very least, Taliban hardliners.

This is called getting back to the basics, or some might even say, takin' it to the streets. I'll be back soon with a rousing, invigorating discussion on some of the following: Ribs, fresh fruit (specifically fresh fucking pineapple), meatball subs, Chinese food and possibly salty snacks and/or chewing gum.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

food poisoning

God only knows why I would write about this. I got hit with a severe case of food poisoning on Wednesday afternoon. I had forgotten what it felt like. Last time I came down with this shit, I was in Ecuador with my mother roughly ten years ago. I ate some kind of luke-cold fish appetizer while en route back to Quito. Needless to say, I was down for the count. I'll spare everyone the intimate details. Fortunately, it occurred at the end of the trip. Though it did make for miserable return to the states.
Well, a decade later, I got hit again. I was at my favorite watering hole Tuesday evening and ordered the chicken portabella to go. I absolutely devoured the whole thing when I got home. I was a bit intoxicated, but from what I can recall it tasted fine. Basically, it consisted of a side of broccoli, rice pilaf and chicken with a layer of provolone and portabella. I order this stuff (or a corned beef reuben) on a regular basis. In retrospect, it was probably a poor idea to order chicken so close to Thanksgiving. I doubt many people are ordering chicken after stuffing their faces with turkey for the past week. My bad. I did add some pine nuts to the rice, but I can't fathom that having any impact whatsoever. I would later see these same pine nuts as I projectile vomited on a few different occasions. I also ate a small amount of pasta salad Wednesday afternoon, but I don't think that had impact either. I refuse to discuss the other aspect of the food poisoning (has to be salmonella), but it required about 22 brief trips to the restroom. I think you get the point.
A few observations about my ordeal. First of all, Meowee was a pillar of strength. She followed me to the bathroom all night. I think she new something was terribly wrong and wanted to lend me her support. Another observation - food poisoning is probably one of the best excuses to give an employer when you're trying to get out of work. It's a temporary ailment which is difficult to verify and usually does not require a doctors visit. In this day and age with cellphone video technology, it's easy to document the adverse reactions (shitting and puking). Now I realize nobody of normal, sound mind would want to see this stuff unfold, but if you were being questioned by your employer and they doubted your veracity - well, there you go. Here's the proof. Let's roll the videotape. It would certainly lend credence to any future sick days. I'm not advocating this course of action. I just think it's an interesting angle considering the prevalence and ease of cellular technology.
Finally, food poisoning totally sucks. Though I did drop a couple of pounds, I wouldn't recommend it as a credible way to lose weight. I haven't eaten anything whatsoever (except the side of pasta salad) in about 30 hours. I made some coffee but only had a cup. The stuff is just too acidic. Right now I'm having some black tea, compliments of Bendy. I'm still experiencing some residual affects but, by and large, I feel way better. I think I'll eat some crackers in a few hours.