Monday, March 30, 2009

soccer riot

There was a soccer riot over the weekend in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. I'm not sure if it was a riot. From what I've read, it sounds more like a crush or a stampede. Initial reports suggest 19 to 22 dead and about 132 wounded. Police may have contributed to the chaos by firing rounds of tear gas.
Why would I mention a newsreel blip like this, aside from my fascination with soccer riots and frenzied mobs? Well, all this happened BEFORE the game. Apparently, they decided to go ahead with the game (an African World Cup qualifying match). They were about halfway through the group qualifying stage (6th out of 10 games). Ivory Coast would eventually go on to win the game against Malawi 5-0.
I find this intriguing because I wonder if the game would have commenced if a similar tragedy had occurred in Europe or the United States. My conclusion - in Europe, I seriously doubt it. In the States, no way in hell. What about Central or South America? What's intriguing here is the barometer by which a country or culture measures the value of human life. Be sure to understand what I'm saying - I'm NOT suggesting that Africans have less regard for human life. I AM suggesting the possibility that when death and violence have become such an ingrained routine observance in normal day-to-day activity, a certain "desensitization" sets in.
When the great civilization of the United States crumbles, and trust me, it will eventually fall just like every other "great" empire, I wonder if a scenario like this could unfold on our turf. Remember, Ivory Coast authorities had the opportunity to delay or cancel the game. They opted to proceed. Perhaps they concluded that had they canceled the game, a riot of greater magnitude might transpire. It's hard to accurately judge what happened from a house in Wheeling, WV.
All of this just made me think of The Who concert in Cincinnati (1979 maybe) where people got crushed to death before the general admission show. I forget the death count - I think it was 10-20. I wonder if they went ahead with the concert. Not quite sure.

Monday, March 23, 2009


A good friend of mine once said, and I quote, "Greco's is the best Italian food from here to Pittsburgh." I responded with a vitriolic tirade marked with unabashed caustic venom. What the Fuck? Greco's? Are you fucking kidding me? Apparently he was not - his name is Doug. Truth be told, he's one of my favorite human beings on the planet. High praise indeed.
Well, I ate there today and it was pretty much as expected. Everyone at my table opted for the buffet, so I acquiesced and joined "the party."
The salad bar didn't have much in the way of credible toppings, unless you consider tapioca pudding an adequate garnish. It could be more of a space issue. There was an ample choice of 6 dressings, but you had to guess what they were. Perhaps a little sign that says "light ranch" might confuse the delicate palate of the Grecovites. I would suggest signs that read "white" for ranch and "yellow" for creamy Italian. This way a diner could walk back to the table and proudly extol, "Look ma, I put the yummy white on it! I'm gonna put yella on the next one, gramps!"
The pizza buffet was exceptionally disgusting. Simply stated, the pizza is not cooked sufficiently. What you're left with is a doughy spectacle of grief and despair. I just don't know. The mushrooms are straight out of a can - I think I can see the Pennsylvania Dutch label from orbit. They also offer these miniaturized pepperoni rolls. I don't think adjectives like gross or abysmal are applicable here. You must invoke horrific descriptions. For example, these pepperoni rolls taste like "the aftermath of tsunami" or "the unforgiving tribal hatred of the Hutus and Tutsis."
Come to think of it, I've had other bad experiences in that plaza. The True Value (or as I like to call it, False Value) people took 6 weeks to sharpen the blades on my lawn mower and then, when I went to pay the $5.00, they ridiculed me for being anti-Bush. There also was a stolen milk crate debacle back in the early 1990's, but I brought that one upon myself. There is one shining beacon of light... the dumpster behind Convenient. Yep, that is all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top 10 Sex Moves in Wheeling, WV

Pretend you're Bill Clinton. When your wife strips down, loudly proclaim, "Wow, that's a big dick!"

Ahhh... you're growing up. From the youthfully innocent "Try da feel ya" to the present day hardcore "Tri-dirty"

You must love anal because the Island is a real shithole.

Offering the hottest phone sex in town. While whacking off, call down and they'll answer "DICK...arlos"

When you finish and she goes to light up a cigarette, tell her, "No smoking, bitch. Only at the casino, Ho!"

Fuck her like Moondog. When you're done, just give her a blank stare. You don't need to talk to that bitch."

You're a minor league superstar worshipped by 11-year old girls. So fuck 'em all. Pedophiles Unite!

Meditate, eat some vegetarian slop and go Krishna Berzerker on that Hare pussy!

You're totally screwed. All the Viagra in the world can't repair your fucked up dick!

Fuck her in a port-a-jon at Jamboree in the Hills. Embrace the scent - It's known as the acrid stench of incest.

DISCLAIMER: If you're a Wheeling Bible Belter, I'm very sorry. You weren't supposed to see this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Top 10 Forgotten Bars of Wheeling

10. Mac's
Coach was the dickhead. Wonderful Wonderful.

9. The Study Hall
Great business model. Torch the place and collect the insurance.

8. Bud's Club
Home of the Bud Burger. Fuck That! Home of the heroin addict.

7. Office Lounge
Rest room to crowded? No problem - piss in the alley.

6. The Metro
Was it a metal bar? Was it a redneck bar? Was it a gay bar? No one really knew.

5. The Firehouse
Remember those two gay dudes that videotaped everyone smoking dope out back and sent the footage to WTOV9? Did you make the evening news?

4. My Club
Bad promotional ideas... C-section night, dental improvement night and "bring your daughter to work" night all failed miserably.

3. Captain Ed's Floating Lounge.
Sucked. Stank. Sunk.

2. Stormin' Norman's
This place was coked, err...uhhh, choked out of business. My bad.

1. The Eagle Inn
The original Wheeling meat market. 44 year old divorced mother of three - cinch in that pussy pillow. Tonight you will shine.

Monday, March 09, 2009

gate crashing

I've always been fascinated by the power of the mob. Whether it be soccer riots, political rallies or even a going out of business sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I get this strange sense of exhilaration when I see the potential for acts of hooliganism, looting and general destruction. There's just something wildly invigorating about watching the emergence of chaos.
Over the years, I've been swept up in a few mob scenes. My all-time favorite was the Deer Creek Grateful Dead riot in the summer of 1995. For those of you who missed it, about 8,000 fans unruly fans stormed the hillside of an ampitheatre in Noblesville, Indiana. I was among them. We ripped apart the wooden fence as cops unleashed the hounds and launched canisters of tear gas. Then, they called in about 100 cruisers from nearby Indianapolis while police helicopters hovered above the venue. Upon reflection, it was an unusual gate crashing. There was a group of about 20 hippies at the northern side of the parking lot that made the move towards the end of the first set. Very little coordination or planning went into this one. Then, suddenly the mob erupted and everyone charged. My point - it was an act of totally disorganized spontaneity.
I've always wondered if you could harness and better coordinate the power of the mob. In this day and age of instant communication via text messaging, the answer is... yes. Let's get hypothetical here but we'll stay well grounded in reality. U2 just announced their stadium tour for North America. They've decided to play only football stadiums. Two of the more obscure dates are for Charlottesville and Raleigh. These will be huge shows that draw in the 50,000 range. Since they're college oriented towns, I'd expect that demand will exceed supply on the ticket front. Plus, there will be the usual tailgating and an alcohol induced supercharged atmosphere. Let's say there's a website out there called Currently, no such site exists but what if there was such a forum. It would be an open forum where people could discuss upcoming concerts and sporting events all over the country. The site would also offer a small box where you could input your cell phone number. On the day of the event, just before show time, you could receive an instant message. This message would designate an exact time and place where a ticketless mob will congregate. Now I'm not a security professional or some bullshit rent-a-cop, but I'll tell you one thing - if 1,000 people without tickets suddenly convene right outside Gate D, a mob could instantly form and just push their way in. Whether or not you have a ticket becomes completely irrelevant if you get caught up in the "surge."
If I were going to attend an event, I'd certainly want to know when and where the chaos will emerge. My mindset - Hell, I'm on my way to the concert. I might as well check it out, maybe videotape the crush on my cell phone. Even if you somehow manage to mobilize a few security chumps, there's nothing that can be done. The power of the mob will ALWAYS win via strength in numbers. Hypothetically, you've got 50,000 people converging on the entry points. Suddenly, about 2,500 get the same text message. It's at Gate C, 7:37pm. That's all you need. And trust me, word will spread instantly. Unless, you're a total chickenshit or 7 months pregnant, who isn't going to zip over and check out the mob? Most rock bands like U2 aren't helping themselves with top ticket prices of $400 during a recession. That's just extra motivation.
You might ask, "Well Saf, why haven't we seen this shit go down?" The answer is simple, people have yet to comprehend the power of merging texting with large unruly throngs. I've seen it emerge on a much smaller level - when our local pigs have a surprise DUI checkpoint in Wheeling. You'll see a text go out and it informally makes the rounds. This is what I'd call defensive or preventative texting. You're trying to alert the populace and look out for your mutual friends. My idea of assembling the mob is simply more on the offensive side or as I like to call it "Takin' it to the streets."
Certain events really lend themselves to this idea. Obviously rock concerts, particularly metal and redneck country shows. Stadium style venues that aren't accustomed to dealing with large scale rock concert productions. Think about it - you're attending an all day Rock Festival in one of those mammoth European soccer stadiums. Who wouldn't want to be notified where the mob is going to instantly emerge? At the very least, it makes for some interesting discussion on the ride home. At some point, we will see this happen. I'm thinking by 2012. It's way more likely to become commonplace in South America and parts of Europe; then, eventually make its way to the United States in 2012 or so. I'd get more into the logistics, but I don't feel like talking about it anymore. Perhaps in my next blog...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fleetwood Mac / Mellon Arena

Last night was the tour opener for Fleetwood Mac at Mellon Arena. Why they chose Pittsburgh, I have no idea. Gigi and I met up with Nikki and Mike for dinner and drinks at Bigelow Grill at 6pm. I had never been there before and seriously doubt I'll return anytime soon. Gigi had this cauliflower oriented soup which was decent. Mike and Nikki both had fish and salad. I wasn't really hungry, so I opted for this wild mushroom and gorgonzola pizza appetizer. If they had decreased the amount of gorgonzola by 80%, it would have been decent. Suffice to say, it was not. The service ranged from mediocre to poor, but I was more interested in just chit-chatting before the show and having a couple beers.
Those 2 had purchased Igloo tickets so they were good to go. We briskly hiked to the arena in search of some cheap tickets. It was freezing cold and I didn't feel much like bartering. Cheap seats were $52 + service and the good seats were $150 + service charge. I found a guy right out front who had two extra in Section E. He wanted an even $100. I countered with 2 for $40. He dropped to $60, then $50. I kind of felt bad for him so I said, "Hey, let's meet in the middle at $45. This way we can all take away something positive from tonight." Bingo! That ordeal took about 35 seconds. And hey, we're in a recession. Right?
We zipped in and ventured to the side of the stage. We were about 20 rows up from the 3 background singers, directly below the widescreen. Great seats - I love standing on the side and we had the entire row to ourselves.
I've always been a fan of Fleetwood Mac. They're just an unusual collaboration of individuals. You've got Lindsay Buckingham who's kind of arrogantly talented, Stevie Nicks who's kind of mysterious and the drummer guy who provides a 70 year old foundation. Christie McVie isn't touring with them which kind of blows. She brings a very cool dimension to the band - kind of like a pleasant host of a casual, but sophisticated dinner party. Just for the record, there was an additional drummer, relatively hidden on the lower side of the stage. I think they needed a little extra ooomph for some of the songs. The kid did get to take a bow near the end so at least they gave him credit.
Pretty much a greatest hits show. Everyone sounded decent, nothing too outrageous or over-the-top. Highlights for me were The Chain, Rhiannon, and a great version of Gold Dust Woman. They closed out with Don't Stop and came back for Silver Springs. I liked the mellow closer. Kind of reminded me of when the Dead would close shows on a softer note. Quiet the crowd and send them home with a warm glow. After all, we'll rock it out later. The only low point was Lindsay Buckingham's mid 1980's solo material. Why he decided to include this stuff, I have no idea.
Halfway through the show, I noticed some open seats in the front row on the side, so we discreetly zipped down there and hung out. We invaded the space of an older mulleted gentleman who complained briefly and then took off for some other aisle seats. These were obviously unsold seats. I was hardly surprised that nobody was brave enough to move down. For the most part, the crowd was lame. Vast sections remained seated for the entire show. Well, until the end of course where people got up and suddenly acted jubilant. I know... I know... It's an older crowd, but come the fuck on!
Anyway, at the sound of the last note, we hit the restrooms and bolted to the car. We made it back to Gig's house in about 6 minutes. I'm just not accustomed to that. Usually it takes an hour to get back to Wheeling. No need to do any after-tailgating. It was freezing outside.
All in all, it was a great time/great show but totally paled in comparison to the Fleetwood Mac Starlake show of 1997. Now that one was a concert for the ages. Only one downer note - I didn't get to hear Edge of Seventeen (Stevie Nicks solo material), but she did play it at the 2001 Starlake show, so that is that. I've said it before and I'll say it one more time - I have no need for a Fleetwood Cadillac nor a Big Mac, but a combination of the two ain't bad.