Sunday, January 25, 2009

t-shirt idea

If the Steelers don't beat the Cardinals in the Superbowl, I'll be sickened as will many of us. Granted, it would have been far worse losing to the Ravens in the AFC Championship but that's an argument for a different place. Anyway, assuming we're victorious (I think we'll win 34-17), I have devised a fantastic idea for a rogue t-shirt. I'm throwing it out there, in the hope that someone will take the initiative. Perhaps, I should be the one to do it. But truth be told, I think my t-shirt swinging days are over. Perhaps a few more Top 10's. Anyway here is the idea....

Basically, in the upper left front pocket area it reads...

Finally, a ring for the COCK

There's a full picture of a white rooster/bird/cock thing, with some black & gold feathering. You could use the circular 3-star STEELERS logo as the eye. Also, you might consider dressing him up in one of those bird/hen Steelers outfits that you see on those mother hen statues outside every modular home in Trailerdelphia

I'm assuming that a cock is a rooster, right? Hens and miscellaneous bird-chickens aren't my specialty. Even if you think the idea is obnoxious, you've got to appreciate the play on the word "cockring" and the fact that we already have a ring for the thumb. Isn't a cock the most plausible and realistic placement for the new ring? On the front, you might just go with "STEELERS WIN A COCKRING." I also like the idea of using BIG BEN in a light-hearted penile reference as well.

Anyway, I'm just throwing the basic premise out there. I'd love to see some guy swinging these shirts at the victory parade next week. I'm sure these renegade salesmen would appreciate me telling them, "Hey, this was my idea." You'd make a killing and they wouldn't grow stale or outdated for at least an entire year. Plenty of time to sell all summer.
Incidentally, I wouldn't mind going up to the parade. I missed the 2005/06 one. If anybody wants to go, let me know. If we lose, I'll just watch the Scottsdale trophy wife parade on the Rosie O'Donnell Network while simultaneously chewing on tin foil and self-sodomizing myself with a low-end mop. Either way, don't sweat it.

Just one last comment. As a veteran t-shirt retailer, I'm often disgusted buy the total lack of creativity in the rogue t-shirt market. And yes, I fully understand the target market (women ages 18-25, men ages 18-40, or basically anyone with a $10 bill). And I know it's a lot easier to just sell a mass market, generic design. But c'mon, we've got an Obama administration now. Maybe it's time for people to show some ingenuity and think outside the box. Fuck George W. Bush.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


In the summer of 2007, Ohio County health official Dr. Mercer banned cigarette smoking in all bars and restaurants with an important exemption for rooms with video lottery machines. This was quite the firestorm at the time. Many bar owners were hauled into court and fined for various violations. It has been over 2 years so I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the smoking ban.
Let me first say that I smoked cigarettes (Marlboro Lights) for almost 10 years of my life - basically 1990-2000. I'd usually smoke somewhere between 10-20 cigarettes per day. During that span, I quit on a few occasions - once for 3 months the other time for 7 months. Eventually I had enough of the nonsense so I quit cold turkey. No gum, no patches, no fucking yoga meditation, nothing. If you want to quit, just do it. I agree that the shit's addictive, but c'mon, do you really need a patch affixed to your left buttock or that disgusting nicotine laden gum? I also bet someone $100 that I wouldn't smoke a cigarette for 3 years. This helped a great deal because the thought of handing said person a hundred bucks was unacceptable. I'd sooner make a $100 donation to the Rush Limbaugh congressional fund.
The last time I smoked a cigarette was the day the Ravens beat the NY Giants in the Superbowl. Incidentally, if you wish to quit smoking, I think the best day to quit is the day after the Superbowl. Here's why - there's nothing going on for the next two months. After football season ends, there's very little to do. Without the heightened enjoyment of outdoor activities, it helps squelch the allure of cigarettes. And trust me, in Wheeling, absolutely nothing happens during February and half of March. By that time, 6 weeks have passed and the urge to smoke cancer sticks has faded.
Why did I quit? I think I felt guilty lying to my mother (she was under the impression I quit in the late 1990's). In fact, I had quit at the time but then started back up. The other reason was that it finally became apparent that cigarettes are disgusting (some more than others - for example, any Camel products are substantially more gross). Also, I've really come to view it as a white trash issue and didn't want to fall into that category. For me it was never really a health issue because I was still jogging around 3 miles a day. Aside from the addiction issue, I just plain enjoyed it. Seriously though, there's something truly disgusting about people that chain smoke, one after the other after the other. The worst is when a person huffs down a cigarette as quickly as possible due to the cold weather and then breathes near you. I think people should just walk away when chain-smoked-out-fucks invade your space. Maybe there could be some kind of universal signal. Perhaps you could pretend to take a puff off a fake cigarette and then walk away. I sometimes do this when I see some dumbshit smoking a cigarette in their vehicle and they just cut me off. I also knew this girl who would smoke while she ate dinner. In between each course, she'd light up. It was unusually obnoxious and disgusting. A decade later she wanted to be friends on facebook/myspace. My only ever personal friend denial, but it was largely for other reasons. I find her contemptuous.
I'm sorry if you're currently a smoker and find this post offensive. Honestly, some of my best friends smoke. I don't think they're white trash (perhaps a few). I'm speaking strictly of the habit itself. I'm sure my scotch/beer breath is proportionately disgusting as well. It just leaves a flagrantly bad impression when some moron burns me with a lit cigarette or breathes in my face.
I thought I'd offer a little background info so you can better gauge this post. Back to the smoking ban. The smoking ban, a decree from the HEALTH Department, has to be one of the most flawed, hypocritical and ironic legislative efforts I've ever seen. First and foremost, it is NOT a ban. Far from it. It merely redirects where smoking is deemed acceptable. Obviously, the Wheeling Island Casino could not defy the elderly chain smokers from which they derive a significant percentage of their yearly revenue. These IGT machines are half video/half idiot; hence, I'll refer to them as "vidiot" machines. I've never understood the fixation with these devices. What on earth compels people to endlessly funnel their social security checks into these things? Sure, I realize it's a high, but why can't people get a high from more conventional sources (drugs, alcohol, exercise, betting on football... anything but the vidiot machines)?
As I'm sure you know, every bar would soon be awarded a smoking exemption if they had a vidiot lottery room. I guess the health dept. has deemed cigarette smoking less harmful and not as offensive if confined to a side room that encourages mindless gambling. The irony - if you ever go inside one of these rooms, you're bombarded with smoke so thick you can barely see. Your eyes dry up and every part of your body stinks. Your clothing, hair and genitalia wreak of stale smoke. If smoking wasn't bad enough already... Hey, here's an idea, let us confine all those who embrace emphysema and crowd them in a closet-sized room while the endless din of the vidiot machines clamors away.
I'd say about 75% of the local bars enforce the smoking ban. 25% could care less. It usually depends on the scope of the menu and the mindset of the owner. If the owner smokes cigarettes, it's a smoking bar. But, if the bar does a substantial amount of business via their menu, they'll enforce the ban. If it's a dive bar, where the menu consists chips and peanuts, forget about it. And Wheeling has a sufficient number of dive bars. Hell, our city is well known for two major distinctions - The greatest number of churches per capita and the greatest number of neighborhood bars per capita. We also have impressive rates of morbid obesity, adult illiteracy, rampant incest and a significant soot problem.
In a sick kind of way, maybe the smoking "ban" is a good thing. Why not put all the smokers and vidiot junkies in the same room? It's almost like an optional system of modern day Wheeling apartheid. With increased familiarity, perhaps this subset of the population will embrace each other, procreate and pass on some kind of genetic code which seals their collective destiny. Regardless of the wheezing, coughing and gasping for air, they'll continue to press the vidiot buttons unabated and with ever increasing vigilance. I think it was King Longshanks in Braveheart that said, "See, you must find the goods in any situation."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Met Grill... it never ends

I occasionally write about my odd experiences at the Metropolitan Grill in downtown Wheeling restaurant. The food is usually fantastic. The atmosphere is pleasant although the place sometimes smells like a sewer (my friend Barb calls it sewery). The service covers the entire spectrum from exceptional to downright bizarre. By bizarre, I mean stuff like the waiter might ask you to buy him scratch off lottery tickets in lieu of a gratuity. The waitress might grab your napkin and blow her nose. The owner might be slamming tequila shots and suddenly run for the door to go puke outside. Yeah... stuff like that.
Well, today I celebrated the Steelers victory with two of my favorite lunchables, Heather and Sarah. I got this crabcake salad which was out of this world. Heather got some watery lobster bisque and a steak sandwich which she said was poor. Sarah got a sandwich and side salad and remained relatively guarded about the quality.
Our waitress didn't smile but was cordial and efficient.
So why am I writing about this? Nothing out of the ordinary here. Well, something did strike me as peculiar. Every day they have a half-sheet of paper which lists the specials. Each special has a brief description. I WISH I HAD A SCANNER so you could see the number of misspellings as well as the inconsistent and improper use of punctuation. It's so bad that I have decided to recreate it in its EXACT entirety. So, without further adieu...







Oh, where to begin. Let me first say that I didn't take honorable mention at the third grade grammar rodeo, but what the fuck is going on? The use of commas is completely mesmerizing. Sometimes there's a space, sometimes there isn't. My favorite is the use of the comma which precedes "OVER LINGUINI" as if to use this cataclysmic pause to enhance the level of excitement. I just find the total lack of "punctuation consistency" slightly amusing.
Onto the spelling issues. In an abbreviated menu, they somehow managed to misspell 7 words. Can you find them? Scroll all the way down if you want to cut to the chase. These are not simple typos. This guy must have been using his TRS-80 or some kind of Commodore Vic 20 knock off because there is no evidence of spell check.
The fact that he capitalized everything is a bit weak, but maybe he just likes the caps lock button on his computer. I'm a bit shocked the phone number wasn't listed as @#@-)&^@. That's 232-0762 in caps lock language.
If you wish to read about my other strange Met Grill experiences just do a search on my blog for Metropolitan Grill, Met Grill and/or words like bewildered and confusing. I'm sure the previous posts will surface.
As I said, feel free to scroll to the bottom...

MAMALADE - Marmalade (alright, omitting the "r" was probably an accident)
POMMEGRANATE - pomegranate (I'll give him a pass on this one)
SWEETOOTH - Sweettooth (unless he was trying to be intentionally cutesy)
TIRIMISU - tiramisu (how can a pastry chef not know how to spell this?)
GANOSH - ganache (kind of like soup... spelled "supe")
KENTUCKEY - Kentucky (I wonder if this dumbass has ever been to Road Island)
BOURBAN - bourbon (he should drink less of it)

I often use a little "grammarical license" - kind of like my own version of poetic license, but this was so atrocious I felt it warranted a blog. But like I said, the food is usually bad ass. Easily the best salads in a 45 mile radius of Wheeling.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Long ago, my mother admitted that she wanted to name me "Raphael." Fortunately, my father intervened and insisted on the more conventional "Eric." I can hardly fathom what it would have been like growing up as Ralph Saferstein. Or even worse, what about Rafe? What the fuck is that?
Not as though it's breaking news, but personal names have risen to a level of maximum absurdity over the past decade. I call it the "American Idol Phenomenon." Everybody thinks their child has the potential to be a celebrity these days. Perhaps if I name my daughter "Cinammon," someone will take heed. Wait a minute, that spelling is so mundane. How about we spell her name "Sinumen?" This way, she'll get even more attention. But what if they pronounce it wrong? Perhaps a trip to the medicine cabinet is in order and we'll just call her Mucinex?
The reason I call it the American Idol Phenomonen is that in a country of 300 million plus, it seems like every newborn has to be special. It's not enough that they're born healthy and exist. They must be prepared to enter some kind of talent or pageantry contest the immediate moment they exit the womb. We need to pierce Punta Kanta's ears and belly button. She'll be a superstar in no time and it will elevate our family to fame and fortune, or at least some marginal level of acceptance amongst the beanie baby collectors.
This morning, the health and human services people in New Jersey "repossessed" 2 children named Adolph Hitler and Jocelyn Aryan Nation. Not sure what their last name is. Not sure why they had to take custody of the children either - I don't think you can make that information immediately public. These were the same parents who wanted to get the name Adolf Hitler placed on the kid's birthday cake and the grocery store refused thus setting off a firestorm of controversy last month. I find it comical that parents across the nation will think this is hideous. Meanwhile, they yell at their son, "Jagermeister, finish your lima beans! "Somalia, don't tease your brother!"
The American Idol Phenomenon is very similar to the Maury Povich Paternity Testing Phenomenon. Both are heavily rooted in this "my child is so special, he/she could grow up to be the next President of the United States" concept. Despite the fact that mom is a corpulent stripper and daddy sells dime bags of oregano from the Burger King drive-thru. "Maury, look at my daughter! She's so special. That's my world. That's my life. She need to know who her daddy is. Salmonella need a daddy." I agree. Salmonella certainly does need a father figure. Even though her mother is testing the 8th man after the previous 7 were determined NOT to be the father. You see, it's my contention that just perhaps, just maybe - Salmonella will not become this famous celebrity. Salmonella will never be in a position to advance the existence of her parents. Maybe, just maybe, her parents are setting her up for a life of scorn and ridicule. Maybe Salmonella (her friends call her Sally; oops, wait a minute, spelled Sallee (porn-style spelling)), won't become the future Ambassador to Guam. Then again, it's possible that her neighbor will join the fad and name her son "Trichinosis" or "Trick" for short.
In retrospect, I fully realize that names like Jennifer, Sam, John, etc. are not hip enough in this day and age of instant fame and glitzing bling. And sure, I know - every child is a special gift from god and a wondrous bundle of shitting/urinating joy.
Ok, NOW I GET IT. One day it will be me on the grand stage. And in the case of precious baby Urethra... Eric, you are the father!" And even though I charge backstage demanding another paternity test, I really should have known all along - she had her father's cynical disposition. URETHRA, YOU IS MY EVERYTHING!"

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Finally, a concert review. Ahhh, where do you start with this one?
Three months ago they announced this show for Mellon Arena and I thought to myself - this could be the last "true" rock concert at the Igloo. I know, Fleetwood Mac is coming in March. And while I intend on going (they're opening their tour in Pittsburgh), it just isn't the same. This is AC/DC - one of the simply rawest major arena rock bands of all time. So yesterday was the big day and let me say it was relatively miserable. Heavy rains, flurries and high winds marred the majority of the day. Earlier, I had hosted a lunchable and we outlined our intentions to meet at the Alpha, 5:30 sharp.
I've seen AC/DC a few times before. One time w/ Cinderella, one time w/ White Lion (that atrocious hair band that sang "Wait, Wait, I Never Had A Chance to Love You") and another time with god knows who. This is of no relevance.
We met Kelly (a man) and his daughter and they would follow us up. Eventually, we'd lose them in the Burgh. So it was me, Heather, Gary K. and Sarah C. I really didn't want to drive this one but Gary didn't bring his Explorer and the thought of Heather driving terrified the living hell out of me. We get on the road and visibility was poor. Gary pleasantly informed me that the forecast was for 3 inches. I just had a bad feeling about this. By the time we hit Claysville, I voiced my concern. I started to think about the title of AC/DC's new cd... isn't it called Black Ice? The roads weren't that bad but I just kept thinking it's gonna get so much worse. Plus, people were driving really slow. Honestly, I was about 50/50 and seriously contemplating turning back. I asked everyone to take a vote and it got awkwardly silent. I knew what they were thinking, "What the fuck Grandpa Saf? Why must you be such a lame ass bitch? We're trying to go to a rock concert, not Sesame Street Live or some Yanni shit. Why have you foresaken us?" So I kept going. By the time we got to Little Washington, everything was substantially better.
I took a slightly non-circuitous path to the arena. Since none of us had tickets, I wanted to park in the lower lot near the main entrance and survey the scene. The lower lot was only accepting reserved parking. Fuck. At the last possible second (and I do mean last possible second), an oafish lot attendant wave me in. Talk about karma. Gary slipped me $20 for parking and I'm pretty sure I kept the change (6 bucks). Gary, if you ever read my blog (which I doubt), I owe you 6 bucks. I was just so excited about getting my usual spot.
Onto the quest for cheap tickets. They had been blabbing on the radio how this show was sold-out. But WDVE always says everything is sold-out. Over the years, I've learned that words like "sold-out", "gold-circle", "box seats", etc. blah don't mean shit. I walked over to Gate A and there was a man (I think it may have been Ohio County Commissioner David Simms) trying to get rid of 4 tickets for $160. Not a bad deal, considering they were Level A with a retail value of about $424. Jesus Christ - AC/DC tix are $106 a pop - that makes me sick. I could see this guy was a bit disillusioned. My goal was to snag 4 singles for $20 a piece, but there wasn't much action out front. 2 other women wanted $100, then $50. I ran into AJ and CHL. They had bought tix earlier for $45 a piece. Then, I saw the cops bitch at the David Simms lookalike and he moved off to the edge of the parking lot. BINGO. I approached him with 4 for a buck twenty and he acquiesced. To be honest, he was offering a great deal in the first place and I think he was just plain discouraged. Who knows how long he'd been standing there.
"Hope you guys brought your ear plugs" was a well-received comment as I got back to the car. We opted to skip the opening band (thank god). I still don't know who they were. Anyway, we hiked about 40 yards to the door and we're in. Not bad. Our seats were bad ass. Section A-11 about 5 rows off the floor. In my opinion, one section closer are the best seats in the arena. Not only were they all together, they were seats 1,2,3,4 on the aisle. Again, not bad. This is more important than usual if you're familiar with the typical AC/DC fan - Unkempt, cheap whiskey chain smoking breath, and generally loud and ugly.
Did I mention how they say everything is always sold-out and there's always a ton of seats. Well HELL to the f'in O, HELLO - this place was totally sold-out. Every seat to the top of the rafters was filled (probably 18,500 if anyone gives a damn).
Brian Johnson can still sing or well screech and Angus Young can still play. These guys have got be about 60. To be honest, my expectations were pretty low. But these guys fucking rocked it out. All the classics and a pretty good flow to the setlist. They closed with one of my all-time favorite rock songs - For Those About to Rock. I snuck a look at the setlist prior to the show. Couldn't help myself. We bolted for the car just as the cannons were firing.
Kelly called me and asked if we were still stuck in traffic. "We've been in this shit for about an hour." I replied, "No, we're at the Dallas Pike rest stop." I silently reflected, "And you paid over a hundred bucks a ticket for level E. Not bad."
As I said earlier, the last true rock concert at Mellon Arena. I can't wait for the new arena next year, but there's a ton of great memories wrapped up in the Igloo. I'll miss it.
Should have worn some ear plugs. My ears were buzzing when I hit the pillow.
AC/DC - you still rock and I will salute.