Monday, August 30, 2010


Keeping up with this new found blogging policy...

I was on my way to Walmart today. Heading up 2 mile hill, the dreaded check engine light came on. For those who don't know, I've had all kinds of issues with the alternator. Got a new one about a year ago. And then another one a couple months ago. Maybe it has something to do with Autozone selling defective shit. I do not know. But I have heard multiple complaints regarding that company selling rebuilt alternators.

Anyway, I cut the power to everything and made it up and back ok. I took Rt. 40 just to be on the safe side. That engine light gives me a panic attack. Most people seem to fear death, a terrorist attack, plane crash... I think the only thing I actively fear is that God-damn engine light. It's like one of the biblical plagues - frogs, blood, locusts, engine light... I'll have Jake look at it again tonight. Pray for the Outback.

I did get a splint for my finger. It's relatively comfortable. According to my physician and occupational hand therapist (their names are Google and ehow), I have a condition known as Mallet finger. Basically the tip of my middle finger on my left hand is bending inward. There's really not a lot of pain or swelling, but I definitely fucked it up. It says you're supposed to wear the splint for 4 weeks. Should be fun. It's snug but not overly tight. I'm not looking forward to this. Fortunately I can still type.

But aside from the car and finger, here's some good news. The female cashier never charged me for a 30 pack of Milwaukee's Best Light and a case of Nestle water. She asked me how my day was going and I replied not well. I told her about my finger and the check engine light. As I was lamenting about my trials and tribulations, I think it must have distracted her because she never scanned the stuff in the cart. I did preface that despite my current anxiety, things weren't really that bad. I mean... you could live be living in flooded Pakistan, watched your home get swept away and just get diagnosed with malaria. I honestly think that's a good perspective to have. As I left Walmart I wondered if the dinging bell would sound. Fortunately, it didn't. So I made off with about $16.50 in free beer and water. I just casually glanced and nodded at the old Walmart greeter guy. I think he mumbled "thank you."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I will now try...

... to blog like a normal person.

When I take a cursory glance at most blogs, they seem to trend inward and somewhat mundane. Most people write about things that impact them directly. Family issues specifically regarding their children is always a major topic. That's understandable considering the pro-creation movement that has been "sweeping the planet." Many discuss personal projects - painting a room, cleaning the garage (I prefer the Mo Sizlak term "Car-Hole"), or some kind of arts and crafts adventure. Some are obsessed with their pets and the joy derived from picking up a pile of dogshit in a Walmart bag. This honestly isn't a rip on everyone. I've just always wanted to convey my thoughts on things that might interest an outsider. I'd like to think these ramblings might appeal to some anonymous dirtbag living in Trenton, NJ. Maybe somebody out there enjoys the godless tirades. Maybe they enjoy systemic disruptions and the specifics regarding the inevitable demise of our country.

Incidentally, I find it interesting when people say that the U.S. is in decline. It's my contention that the decline started in the 1960's. Too many people equate top tier wealth, opulence and mega-mansions (and don't forget stretch limos) with greatness. Truth be told, our country peaked when there was a solid middle class and plentiful decent jobs. When we actually built things and had real service industry. Not insurance gimmicks and late fees. When we didn't have an overtly imperialistic foreign policy. But again, I digress. This is supposed to be about trying a normal blog entry.

I think I broke my middle finger on my left hand yesterday. I was helping a friend move a queen size mattress and I never had a decent grip on the damn thing. Anyway, it was kind of wobbly going down the steps. And my finger got jammed into the wall. Sucked. The tip of my middle finger (some call it the perching finger) on my right hand was bent inward. We fashioned a temporary splint. What's crazy is the accompanying reaction I experienced. I started sweating profusely and felt really flush. Honestly, I started seeing spots and felt like I was going to throw up. I needed some sugar and carbonation, but I think the Coke Zero probably didn't help much. People suggested I go to Doctor's Urgent Care, but seriously, what the fuck are they going to do for a broken finger. Well, other than charge me $119.00 and make me sit in a waiting room for an hour and sign all kinds of gibberish self-pay documentation. Anyway, my finger is still fucked up as of this morning. So I made a new splint with a piece of black plastic, a tiny bit of a Crown Royal bag (for added comfort) and some scotch tape. This morning it's still pretty sore. Perhaps "broke" is too strong a word. Suffice to say, it's definitely fractured. I prefer the term "fucked up."

In other news, Gig and I went to see My Morning Jacket at Station Square Friday night. They've changed the naming rights on this place more times than the late Michael Jackson was aroused by young children. I.C. Light Amphitheater, Chevrolet Amphitheater... now it's Trib Total Media Amphitheater or something like that. Possibly the best concert I've seen all year and I've seen some serious sick-ass shows in 2010.

Last night though, I delved into a different concert experience. I strolled over to my old stomping grounds in Martins Ferry and went to the Steel City Bar & Grille. I like how they add the "e" on the end of the word "Grill" as if it's a fine dining establishment. The Toys, Tongue & Cheek and Kip Winger played outdoors. I hadn't been to this place in about 2 decades. Aside from a painfully slow and inept bartender, I had a pretty good time. It was a little on the loud side for my tastes, but it's always a deafening experience. At least it was outside. Both bands sounded great. There was a weird buzz when Kip Winger emerged. People began to surround and pester him. He's kind of on the diminutive side, probably 5'7" or so. I thought this was peculiar because back in the 80's hair metal days, they always made the singers seem larger than life. At 6 ft, I literally towered over the guy. At least he didn't have some mammoth perm. That would have stolen the show. I had planned on getting him to sign a jar of Skippy peanut butter for my friend Nicole. I wanted him to sign it "Kippy." But I lost interest after the broken finger incident earlier in the day.

My thoughts on Kip Winger are the following... it was unusually bad. Granted I only listened to two or three songs. Who the fuck really wants to listen to a super loud guy playing acoustic guitar? Well, I guess I'm the only one. Hardly a virtuoso, this guy and his songs just aren't that great. I know, all bout the negativity. Seriously, some of the crowd seemed truly trapped in a fugazi time warp. When you think about it, Martins Ferry and Bell-Dirty are like the towns that time has forgot. Time is the enemy. And it is a merciless foe. But the crowd of about 120 loved it all. The squeals of delight were caustic and had a deep, gruffer sound. Most attendees were chain-smoking and middle aged, so it had more of a muffled, gruntal quality rather than the American Idolesque pre-pubescent shrieks of celebratory joy.

And to top it off, they had a DUI checkpoint in the middle of Route 7. Those fucking pig bastards. Very mean-spirited place to set up a roadblock especially on a Saturday night. They do it about twice a year in that spot by the Bob Evans intersection. I only had a few beers and even made history by consuming not one, but TWO jello shots. Nonetheless, I zipped through town and avoided it. I wonder how many people, already down on their luck, impoverished and despondent, got ensnared in this pigpoint. Sounds about right, "Yeah, I was having the time of my life. Kip Winger was singing "She's Only Seventeen and this hottie was grinding up on my cock. Next thing you know, there's a cop sticking that fucking breathalyzer in my face. Dude, they ruined my life. If I only didn't chug that last Jagerbomb. Fuck." The irony - he only blew a .08.

It would appear that my effort to blog like a normal human being has failed. I'm gonna go run.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

red hat club

If you live in Wheeling, surely you've seen the group of a dozen little old ladies who gather together for lunch. I'm pretty sure they meet once or twice a week and they all wear stylish red hats. I'm not sure if they have some overriding social or political purpose. I think they're just old friends who enjoy each others company. Kudos!

Well, it got me to thinking. After I went running today, I felt a strange urge to steal a USA Today (mostly for the colorful sports section) and I like to read the gambling lines even though I don't bet on pro football anymore. I still like to pick the underdogs and try hypothetical parlays to see if I've "still got it." Regrettably, I don't think I ever had it in the first place. In any event, I went to the Hampton Inn hotel lobby across from the 19th Ho. They have a stack underneath the concierge table next to the main desk. Anyway, I couldn't help but notice that the complimentary continental breakfast was still going on. This surprised me because it was about 11:08am. Usually they close those things up around 10am unless it's the weekend. I couldn't help but notice the bountiful selection of fruit, bagels, muffins, cereal and an extensive array of beverages. It reminded me of that Cafe Burress public access commercial - "We have all kinds of drinks. We have coke, we have mountain dew, we have iced tea, we have sprite, we have root beer, we have diet coke, we have tea... Is there any thirst-quenching liquid this guy doesn't have? And he performs lunchtime karoake! Rumor has it he changes up the lyrics of Unchained Melody. "My darling... I hunger for your buffet."

Anyhoo, I was thinking that during this potential double dip recession, there's a universal interest in scrimping and saving. Everyone is looking for unique ways to cut corners and pinch pennies. I can feel the Jew-spirit in me slowly rising to the surface. Although I've never been a huge fan of breakfast, I really don't have anything against it. I like eggs (unless they're from fucking Hillendale Farms and contaminated with salmonella). Those egghead fucks had to go and ruin it for everyone. I threw out a carton I just bought from Walmart in the Highlands. Pure despair engulfed my soul as I tossed the Great Value brand kitchen bag into the Triadelphia Middle School dumpster. I wept for those eggs.

Anyway, I was delighted by the aforementioned freebie breakfast buffet at Hampton Inn. And a comfortable lounge area to boot. All the amenities - tv, newspaper, and ample parking. So here's my idea. Keeping in spirit with the Red Hat Club, I think we should all gather to sample the hotel cuisines on a regular basis. So here's the projected schedule...

All times 8:00am - 8:45am

Mondays - Alternate Holiday Inn Express (first and third Monday of the month) in Dallas Pike (second and fourth) with the Comfort Inn in Dallas Pike. Convenient location right off I-70 and right next to the Highlands if you need to do some shopping.

Tuesday - Super 8 motel in Elm Grove (to be honest, I'm not sure they spring for a buffet. I'll look into it. You know, fuck Super 8. Most likely, they don't have shit. The lobby usually consists of an attendant behind some steal bars). How about that brand new Marriot hotel they built up above the Bedways in Woodsdale? Oooooh, that's far better. That place looks sharp.

Wednesday - I'm thinking alternate the Best Western w/ the McLure downtown. A similar set-up to the Dallas Pike restaurants. But these hotels are both really ghetto and I'm willing to bet they've scaled back their offerings in an attempt to thwart the growing number of homeless and streetwalkers downtown. Last thing you need to see in the early morning hours is Nipsy wolfing down a muffin-top and leaving behind the stump.

Thursday - Does Oglebay or the Wheeling Island Racetrack Hotel offer a continental breakfast? They're pretty nice hotels so they might not want to take business away from their restaurants.

Friday - Definitely the Hampton Inn in Woodsdale. What better a way to celebrate a late Thursday night Tim Ullom at the 19th Ho. Bask in the 19th Glow the morning after.

My point - it would establish a nice trend for a free, nutritious breakfast. And you get a different crew of people every time. Kind of a light-hearted way for everyone to reconnect without the usual emphasis on alcohol and the strain of the bar scene/meat market mentality. Over the next week, I'll survey the scenes at all of them and fine tune the dates. Let's make this work.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

charges withdrawn

I was fascinated by the 2 simultaneous charges of rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I knew the shit was bogus and trumped up from the beginning based on how it was "leaked" through a Swedish tabloid on a Sunday (to gain maximum media coverage into the cusp of the next news cycle). Not to mention they put it out there on the heels of the follow-up purging of classified Afghanistan war documents. Isn't it odd how these two women (ages 20 & 30) were both raped in the same time frame? And if there ever was a guy who tries to keep a low profile and maintain secrecy concerning his physical whereabouts... Now he's out on the town (in northern rural Sweden raping and pillaging). Yeah, right.

Anyway, of course the prosecutor withdrew the charges and a judge promptly threw out the case. But by then, the damage was done. I'm not sure if it was our CIA. It's probably a bit naive to think they weren't aware of it on some level. Assange is pissing off a lot of countries so it could have been a number of European countries and their affiliated spy organizations. My point - multiple charges like this just don't materialize and then suddenly vanish.

I read an intriguing excerpt about concocting smear campaigns like this...

This is a classic CIA ploy (money, drugs or sex) money won't work on Assange, drugs won't work (can't find him) , that leaves sex.
Child Porn is too dangerous a play (it requires access, taints the organization more than a few agents would be repelled and a failure of backfire would be very bad ) so that leaves kink or false rape.
Kink does hold much stigma and is too hard to set up (he is not a politician) so a rape charge is is the best call. With it you can plant a bit of doubt, mess with his sex and personal life and if it backfires or fails like this did oh well. You still rattled his monkey tree.
Plus the resources are cheap and easy. One honey pot lure who need not even have ever met him.
Another advantage false rape claims are a rarely investigated, rarely prosecuted and even more rarely punished so even, worse case scenario, the asset was burned the consequences are very low.
Now I'd call this a push with a slight victory for Assange as it makes the US look like bad guys but it was well done in an old school meets modern media way.
How wikileaks will respond will be the interesting part I think.

Strong insight, would you not agree? I've never really explored the consequences of false pedophile claims. But this post offers great insight with regard to the "when the claims are proven false, it leaves an ugly trail" theory. And the fact that false rape charges are rarely investigated - another fine point. It just got me thinking about what constitutes an ultimate, foolproof smear campaign.

What Assange is doing with Wikileaks is truly epic. He's ushering in the new era of decentralization that I often yap about. An era where individuals and small groups can inflict massive damage and create horrific systemic disruptions. Assuming his mission is truthful, he'll ALWAYS be the winner. Unless he ends up dead or soon disappears. But he's pretty high profile to just suddenly vanish without a trace. Or is he? Godspeed Julian.

Monday, August 23, 2010

burn it all...

I'm thinking about resurrecting my annual post-labor day party. Friday, Sept. 10 would be a good day for it. There's a nationally televised WVU vs. Marshall game. I'm assuming they'll trounce, or at least be victorious over the stiff competition from the opener (Coastal Carolina). Where the fuck do they find these teams? I've heard of North, South, East and even West Carolina. For the record, I'm aware they're called Western Carolina. But Coastal??? Who the fuck are they? If they lose by a wide margin, does Coastal go postal?

In any event, there a pastor of some dumbshit church in Florida who seems pretty serious about having a national "burn the Quran" day. Hey, what a great way to honor the victims of 9/11. Yes! We will scorch the holy texts of the infidels! That'll show 'em we mean business. More importantly, now the whole world will witness our defiance. They'll see a good 'ol fashioned book burning! Only in the northern panhandle of Florida (and possibly central Mississippi and Eastern Alabama) could you make up this drivel.

Well, I won't be attending that event. However, feel free to bring the religious text of your choice to my party. We'll burn 'em all. Torah, Old Testament, New Testament, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, Book of Psalms... Doesn't matter me to me. I'm an equal opportunity loather of all the worlds' "great" religions. Bring pictures of your God(s). Any will do. They all seem the same to me. God of sun, god of moon, god of pepper, god of salt, book of mormon, book-mobile, lord of hosts, dark lord of the underworld, holy ghost, Casper the friendly ghost, goblin of hate, eye of newt (Gingrich), wing of bat, whatever the fuck you want. Just make sure it has some kind of heavenly or demonic connotation.

We'll throw it all in the fire. Maybe once and for all, we can make strides in renouncing all this religious silliness. I know. I know. Saf, why are you being so offensive? My faith is very important to me. Correction - your superstitions are very important to you.

Regardless, consider this your invite. Sounds inviting, doesn't it!

Friday, September 10
maybe follow it up with a 19th Ho. I don't mind if people leave. Gotta leave sometime, right? Unless your blocked in of course. And you will be blocked in... Wouldn't it be crazy if someone had a medical emergency and we couldn't get them to the hospital because everyone parked five or six cars deep?
Foosball, dome, byob, Go Mountaineers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

best concert sneak-ins

As promised, here are some of my all-time favorite concert freebie entrances. I'm not even going to bother with the countless metal shows at Bogarts in Cincinnati and Newports in Columbus. Suffice to say, I was friends with these 4 metalheads (Anthony aka Stone, Thrasher Mike, Steve and Cleve) who knew all the bands. They would actually write letters of praise and adoration to the bands. And more often than not, the bands would reciprocate with beer, marijuana and free backstage entry. We'd hang out with all these bands on a regular basis. I wish I had some of the old school metal t-shirts. I honestly don't know what happened to all of them. Not that I'd wear them these days, but I'm sure someone would want them. Many had faded signatures.
I'll lump all the less prominent metal bands together into one giant sneak-in, even though there was nothing "sneaky" or illegal about it.

Vio-Lence - probably the most underrated thrash band. Do yourself a favor and download Eternal Nightmare),
VoiVod - unique style, kind of like a psychotic trash
Metal Church - the only church I want to see. I liked the balding bass player with the bandanna.
Dark Angel - They sucked
Death - They sucked even more
King Diamond - met him w/o the makeup on. Probably the most famous satanist I know.
Armored Saint - saw a guy get karate kicked in the sternum and die from cardiac arrest; his assailant just disappeared into the crowd. I was about to be interviewed by the News and they bolted at the last possible second - sucked.
Flotsam & Jetsam - No Place for Disgrace is decent
Testament - how many times have I seen these guys. We even invoked the name of Chuck Billy last night at Nail City.
Exodus - Ricer did a flip off the stage, missed the crowd and nearly broke his back.
Forbidden - Chalice of Blood sums it up
Death Angel - Total bad asses, very cool to party with. Best cd is Frolic.
Overkill - I don't care what you say, fuck you.

I think you get the picture. Some of these bands we paid for. Some we walked in the back. Some we used $3.00 Ticketmaster tickets for some kind of never-ending waltzing competition. I'm not going to even mention the big name bands. With the exception of Slayer, I don't think any of those were legitimate sneak-ins.

One of the best illegal entries was my first Dead show at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincy back in 1989. I bought a bunch of tickets at Lazarus Dept. store in downtown Dayton and sold them off on campus. Everyone said it was going to be one helluva party so me and wrestler Ed Montgomery went down and used some Amy Grant tickets. Using cheap tickets for bigger shows was just the norm back then. Usually, you'd pick out the old blind geezer who was ripping tickets. Sometimes, I'd even hand them upside-down. It worked every time. But this one time, our friend TJ handed the guy a wrong ticket for a Whitesnake/Kix concert. The guy looked up and said, "Hey stop right there buddy!" TJ just took off running through the halls. He spent the entire evening freaking out thinking he was going to get caught. In retrospect, it was some funny shit. Anyway, that one Dead show altered my perspective for the next two decades.

Another great freebie was the Pink Floyd show at the Horseshoe in Columbus back in 1994. It was their Division Bell tour. It was me, Wendy Wagner and Lisa Carpenter. We were listening to the show from outside and there was one security guy sitting in front of the cargo entrance. The next second I look up and hear Lisa yelling for us. She had zipped right in when he abandoned his post. Probably an ill-timed bathroom break. Lisa was already on the second level. You could have driven a semi through this briefly unattended gate. Me and Wendy fast walked our way in and hooked up with Carp. Several others saw us and strolled in too.

Another great one was a couple years ago. Me, Josh, Kelly and Crazy Kathy went to Columbus to see The Who at the Schottenstein Center. When I parked the car in a hotel garage, the attendant said, "That'll be $10.00." For some reason I responded, "How about $5.00, does that sound cool?" He sheepishly said "okay." After that, I had a good vibe. Who the hell haggles with a parking lot attendant? Truth be told, I could tell that he was going to pocket it. Perhaps a sixth sense from those years of working the lots in downtown Wheeling.
Anyway, tix were way overpriced and the opening act had already started. I looked at everyone, "Let's survey the scene and check out around the back." On the way, this young couple opened one of the side doors to smoke their cigarettes. The kid looked at me and softly inquired, "Do you guys want in here?" I responded calmly, "Yes. Yes we do." We all bolted in and high tailed it up the steps to the outdoor balcony. I remember triumphantly toasting the moment with some cans of Old Milwaukee that we took in. That sneak in saved us a shitload of cash, and Josh and I ended up in the front row on the side. I never found a ticket stub, but I did get a guitar pick that said Roger Daltrey on it. In retrospect, kind of odd since I've never seen him play a guitar. Reminiscent of Mick Jagger where he "fake-played" the guitar in one his videos during his 1985 solo stint.

How about the Slayer show at the Ice Garden in Belle Vernon. Me, Marklar (aka Vomitous) and Jepson cruised up. It was freezing cold out that night. We parked in the back and walked in the food service entrance. When I opened the door, there was just a bunch of older overweight women boiling hot dogs and shit. As I held the door and ushered the others in I exclaimed, "God-damn, its' fucking freezing out there!" A few of them briefly looked up and went right back to peeling potatoes or whatever.

And who could forget the final Deer Creek Dead show in 1995? We had tickets for the following night and were content to just hang outside by the lake. During the first set (Desolation Row) I saw a swarm of lanky hippies charge the hillside. I realized that all hell was going to break loose. I looked at Alex and said, "Let's roll!" I foolishly tossed a small cooler of beer over my head and started running. Then I thought to myself, why the fuck did I do that? I fought my way back through the sea of stank bodies and retrieved the mini-cooler. After we made our way in through the jagged torn up fence, I opened a luke-cold Keystone and took a big gulp. Very satisfying. There was a lot of negativity expressed toward the gate crashers. To all of you, I still say - go fuck yourselves.

The Devo concert from a few weeks ago was a trip and a half. Under my direction, me and Amy D. snuck around the side of the Celeste Center in Columbus. When we saw the backstage entrance, Amy looked at me and innocently asked, "Eric, what do you think is on the other side of that door?" I responded with something like, "I don't know. What do you think? Maybe the fiery pits of hell?" "Amy, just follow my lead. If anyone asks, tell them you need to use the bathroom." Ken - thanks for the ticket stub. Chris - thanks for driving. Great show, good time.

I already blogged about the Paul McCartney show from Wednesday night. I never really thought much about it until now. Gig and I had to be the first ever illegal entrants to the new Consol Energy Center. Hell, there was only about 100 people inside when we scooted in. They opened the gates about 30 minutes after. But my first McCartney sneak-in was in Cincy at Riverfront Coliseum in 1989. Me and this chick from Univ. of Dayton went down. I had a couple tickets but sold them for big bucks that night. She was pissed thinking we wouldn't be able to get in. I told her, "No problem, I do this all the time." She was petrified nervous but once again, the Ticketmaster tickets to the "Waltzing with the Stars" or whatever worked perfectly. On the way home, I couldn't understand why it was so dark out. "It's so dark out. What the fuck? I can't even see the headlights from the cars passing me by? What is this? This has to be some kind of anti-moonlight effect. It's fucking pitch black!" After 30 minutes, I realized the trunk on this guy Steve's Nissan Stanza was up. I had borrowed his car in return for a case of long-necked Budwesier bottles. Safe assumption to conclude that I was a little high at the time. Definitely one of my all-time favorite Top 5 shows.

Here's a good one. Danno and I are drinking at Nail City (why we were there, I have no idea. It's possibly the lamest, most annoying establishment in all of Wheeling. Nice building though). I looked at him and said, "Let's go see Kiss next door." He complains that he doesn't want to waste the cash. "No big deal, we'll just pretend we're smoking cigarettes on the outdoor veranda." Sure enough, not only did the worker open the door for me. He let me hold it open for everyone who was heading back in. It was so absurdly loud, we bolted after 3 or 4 songs. Not sure what year that was - I'm guessing maybe 2000 because I think it was around the time I finally kicked the nicotine habit.

In 1988 me, Jepson, Jason Neuhardt and that douchebag Shawn White snuck into a Megadeth show at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA. We all had tickets, but we did get to see the soundcheck which was pretty cool. Warlock and Sanctuary were the openers. I have vivid memories of Doro Pesch's blond hair flailing around on stage. The whole 90 minute ride home, Shawn White spoke on every aspect of her "massive titties." I still don't like that guy. But, I really dug the surprise "Set the World Afire" opener. I was positive Megadeth would open with "Wake Up Dead."

That brought to mind another soundcheck walk-in. I was hanging with the Sleeping Giants at Rosebuds in the Strip District. They were in the process of shooting some kind of bizarro video. Lots of makeup, flamboyant costumes and some very unusual imagery with a clock. They ignored my protests that everything they were doing seemed really weird. Tal said, "E, that's why you're chump and not in the video!" Secretly relieved, I wandered over to the Metropol. It was around 4pm and Cracker jumped off their tour bus and jammed out 4 tunes to a crowd of 6 people or so. Completely bad ass. I'll never forget these contrasting styles of "rock'n'roll." I tried to explain this to my friends - Sam and Steve (and even Doug) got kind of pissed at me. At that point, I knew Tal was already a lost cause. The others would figure it out a year or so later. I think the year was 1994.

One more. About 4 years ago or so, Me, Stollar, Jenn B. and some guy who was pretty annoying went to Hartwood Acres to see a band. I think it was Umphrey's McGee. I suggested we leave early and go to the Washington Wild Things ballpark to see the end of a Bob Dylan concert. This show had been underway for quite awhile. I led everyone up the cargo ramp and the next thing you know, we're all on the field. Personally, I don't care much for Dylan. I just wanted to see if we could get in for free. And the venue was directly on our route. It would have been lame not to try.

And here's one of the dumber ones. Me, Alex and Mark went to a Rusted Root New Years show at the Civic Arena in 1996. I don't think it was called Mellon back then. Anyway, we all went over the rails onto the floor. The security guy saw me do it and made me go back. I would later do the same routine and he spotted me 30 minutes afterwards when I went to use the restroom. He just said, "You're coming with me." He then proceeded to escort me out the door. It was still early and quite cold out. I went up to the main entrance and started up a conversation with the security guard who was monitoring the outside smoking area. I made it appear as though I was picking up my kid sister and her friends. When he turned away, I saddled over the cement barrier and fast-walked back into the arena. This was really a dumbshit move. For if he saw me, he could have taken me down hard on the concrete. That would have ushered in a new year of absolute sucking. All to see the lame ass Rusted Soot. I think we should all call them Rusted Soot, not Root.

Every time I go to finish this blog, I keep remembering other sneak-ins. I've got a bunch of wristband removals and replacements from Jamboree in the Hills and some assorted All Good Festival shows in Masontown, WV. But that's enough for now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

getting Consoled

Getting "consoled" is the act of being placated. A consolation prize? I've seen them given out on The Price is Right. It's usually high end dishware and a years supply of laundry detergent. How quaint. Well, those definitions took on an entirely new meaning Wednesday night.

Gig and I hit up the brand new Consol Energy Center for the huge Paul McCartney opener. It was the first night of a totally sold-out two night stand. I had a hunch that there would be a slew of extra tickets on the street. I envisioned the sidewalks teeming with 50+ year old men and women trying to dispose of overpriced tickets for next to nothing. Ohhh, how I was severely mistaken. I'll start from the beginning.
I zipped up to her place around 3pm. I hadn't eaten anything all day and was a little out of sorts. Gig seemed a little off as well. She had some minor wardrobe dilemmas and without getting too descriptive, I had a mild degree of abdominal discomfort. We had some grilled salmon and a light vegetable salad which I scarfed down. I wanted to get to the venue on the early side. I figured traffic would be a bitch since there was a Pirates game that night as well. Gig assured me it would not be an issue. So we headed up the back way - down through Millvale, 28 South, Shadyside, Polish Hill, deep through "the hood" and parked directly above the now vacant Mellon arena.

We had some vintage wine-to-go in the form of indestructible water bottles. A little Banrock Station Cab (my personal cheapo favorite) and some Menage A Troi red table wine. Sounded good for general imbibing, all purpose no-nonsense high-end concert libation and ease of consumption.

It was around 6pm and the scene was pretty congested. Nothing in the way of extra tix. We ran into my favorite scalping brother Tim. He was hopeful but said things were kind of slow. Just not a whole lot of action. I had already figured that a Paul McCartney show doesn't exactly cry out "big walk-up crowd." Most of the crowd was impeccably dressed and appeared to be in their mid 50's. At age 40, I guess I was one of the rebellious youth.

We surveyed the scene and headed to the bottom entrance. There are only 3 entrances into the venue and it had a spattering of well-guarded employee entrances. Needless to say, it's a pretty secure building. Everything is computerized and state-of-the-art.
A woman in line complained to security, "People are dying out here. It's too hot." The crowd was eager but well behaved. As the sun beamed down, we walked to the box office area. All 5 windows were closed since there were no tickets for sale. We watched a few employees enter the lobby area. I noticed the door never completely shut but I was hesitant to just walk in. I knew we'd still need actual tickets. About a minute later a courtesy van pulled up curbside and about 16 men and 2 women jumped out. They looked like corporate brass. All suits and ties and the women looked sharp in their sundresses. One of them opened the door and began to usher the crew inside. I glanced at Gig - alright, this is it. Simply put, we joined the group and walked in with them. In the lobby area was about a dozen people lounging around on over-sized furniture. We both felt out of place. Gig stared intently into her cell phone and began to fake text. So we're both nervous as hell and we rehashed a prior conversation about Sir Paul's flight being delayed and how he probably doesn't fly coach on Southwest Air. I notice one of the suits having a large stack of tickets being scanned by an elderly female usher. I figured, THIS IS IT! The guy glances at the crew and asks, "You guys ready?" I nudge Gig and we walk along with them towards the elevator. We're both a little shaky but we just join in with the group. The first elevator fills up with about a dozen. No room left and I think to myself - sucked. But we were with the next group and within seconds, the other elevator lights up. I jostle us both forward and we stroll to the back of the second elevator. CHING! We is in! We get kind of shuffled to the back and we're on our way up - that's MOVIN' ON UP via fucking George Jefferson! Let me clarify - to a fucking deluxe apartment in the Burgh!

The elevator stops at the suite level. We get out and Gig says she has to use the restroom. I don't blame her as I nearly pissed myself as well. Not too mention the fact that we smuggled in 2 water bottles filled with red wine. Nice. Anyway, we reconnect and laugh like giddy schoolgirls for about 20 minutes. We watch the commoners/suckers enter through the main entrance. It's hard to keep a straight face. Then, I noticed a ballroom filled with our elevator crew. They were all from California University of Pennsylvania. We make some small talk with one her ex-broadcaster/construction friends for a bit and then do a lap around the suite level. Everything is pristine and all the workers are incredibly hospitable. Apparently, Mario Lemiuex walked right by me and I didn't even notice. I guess I was still a bit distracted.

Anyway, we decide to abandon the suite level and hit up the side of the stage. We find some seats on the absolute corner edge of the lower level. Then, two girls show up. We're in their seats. I confide with the usher girl that our seats are scattered (Yeah, right). We talk to the people around us and they seemed pretty cool. Much to our collective chagrin, another usher shows up and asks to see our tickets. She had obviously ratted us out. That's okay. We move to the opposite side of the stage and find some new seats in basically the same location.

Possibly, the all-time lamest effort at a "wave" takes place. This could rank as the saddest, most pathetic moment in the history of the new arena. I'd estimate that 1.3 sections participated for a grand total of 3 minutes. Weak. An hour late, around 8:30pm, the lights go out and the crowd erupts. Sir Paul comes on and launches through Rock Star into Jet. Everyone on the floor is on their feet. But just about everyone on both the lower and upper levels remained ardently seated. Except for about maybe 100 people, the crowd of 20,000 stayed seated as though it were a church service. I'm not talking inner city black church. I'm talking lame ass mainstream Presbyterian reserved shit. But we're up and committed for the duration. Since we're on the side, we weren't blocking anyone.

The concert was completely bad ass. McCartney is in rare form. Highlights for me were Jet, Somebody's Knockin (or whatever that song's called), Dance Tonight, Live and Let Die (great pyrotechnics), Back in the USSR, and the rarely heard Paperback Writer. As expected, it's a greatest hits Beatles/Wings/solo show. We finally finish our wine and go to snag some fresh beverages, but alas, the concessions are closed. That's cool though. During the second encore (keep in mind, he played almost 40 songs for about 2 1/2 hours), we zipped down to the some of the best seats in the house just off the main floor. As the confetti is launched and the show winds down, they take their bows and Paul calls out for a girl to join him on stage. She wants a tattoo of his autograph for which he's more than happy to oblige. Very poignant moment.

The show finally ends and the lights come on. As everyone makes a hasty exit, we just chilled out. I snag a ticket stub lying on the ground ($250 + 11.50 entertainment tax + $12 service charge). I figure, alright! We got a pretty good deal. We eventually bolted and Gig found a print-out ticket for her collection as well. I had earlier suggested she just carve out McCartney's face from some "no-meat/vegan promotional crap." After we made it outside we ran into "tattoo girl." she was still basking in the glow. I suppose we were too. What a fucking bad ass concert! I think it was the free mode of entry which really provided the exclamation point. Truth be told, it would have been a really tough ticket. Every seat was filled. I honestly thought it was going to be an easy one based on the ticket brokers buying up the whole arena and then they added an additional show. Wrong/Fail.

The entire experience forced me to arrive at one unmistakable conclusion. The more someone spends on tickets, the more completely fucking lame they are. I'm not suggesting everyone try to sneak in or snag tix on the street, but seriously, I think it's directly related to arrogance, laziness and bragging rights. Ooooohhhh, I spent $250 on great seats and another $200 on dinner and $25 on parking and bought a t-shirt for $50. Not too mention some gay-ass monster limo for a grand and drinks inside that cost another $100. Yeah, I know... I'm a Jew. Well, atheist Jew I suppose. But I think it just speaks to the overall arrogance and sense of entitlement from so many people in this country who equate wasting vast sums of money with how cool they think they're perceived. Let me explain - if you think like this, you're a complete douchebag. I've seen it so many times before.

Here's the truth. You spent $2,000 last night and told everyone you had the best time ever. Well guess what... we spent about $2.00 on gas and we're the ones who had the best time ever. I think my next blog will focus on some of my all-time favorite concert sneak-ins. There's some strong material.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Last night was the grassroots segment of Operation Pira-Technics. Four of us hit the outlying areas of the ball park and basically handed out the flier to anyone who would accept it. Considering the fact that I've constructed dozens of fliers in my life, I find it odd that I'm not sure if it's spelled "flier" or "flyer." I tried to upload the image but it's not in the proper format. No big deal though. I'll leave it up to your imagination.

I'd say I had about a 94% acceptance rate. The vast majority of people will accept anything you hand them as long as you have a positive expression and make a seemingly innocent comment. I would have assumed it was a coupon or some religious crap. Of course it was straight comical propaganda instead. I spoke with a few people who gave it a cursory glance and they seemed pleasantly surprised/amused.

So... did the entire crowd sing the new version of "Take Me Out to the Pirates?" I seriously doubt it. Perhaps a spattering of drunks deep along the third base line. It figures that they would score a bunch of runs in the 6th inning and distance themselves right before the 7th inning stretch. Maybe it's an omen. They had a fucking 7 game losing streak and then right at "crunch" time, the Pirates woke up and came through in what seems a concerted effort to destroy my mission.

To be honest, the real effort takes place today as all the relevant media outlets will receive the propaganda (both the letter and the flier). I just need one or two sportscasters to take up the cause. Will any of them? Maybe. This one's a tough call. I'm admittedly a little too biased. I think I'll get some feedback, but not the groundswell of support for a national audience via ESPN. Then again, you never know.

Personally, my interest in the whole thing has diminished more rapidly than I anticipated. I woke up to the Newt Gingrich comments about the ground zero mosque. Everyone is so shocked, but he got what he wanted. He has distinguished himself from the pack. The scary part of it - I know he didn't misspeak. This is all part of a ploy to portray himself as the leading front runner of the Republican party. He'll definitely get his headlines. I'm curious to see where he goes with this. Once you go down that road, it's difficult to scale back. Then again, who are we really talking about when the shit hits the fan??? We're talking about conservative farmers in rural Iowa and hardcore churchies in South Carolina. In New Hampshire, the more conservative intellectual base would probably trend Gingrich. Maybe Newt thinks the mosque controversy will have dissipated by then. He's probably right - going for the cheap headlines and publicity. I wouldn't be surprised to see if his next comment down the road is something like... "Sure, I think Sarah Palin is a great leader and a visionary, I just don't think she's electable in a general election for President." Watch for it. Mitt Romney will remain silent the whole time. The guy just doesn't have the balls to jump into the fire. If he did, he'd come off as phony and awkward. I still think Newt will get annihilated on the adultery issue, especially since he voted to impeach Clinton over the stained dress debacle. Maybe he'll give one of those Jerry Falwell "Forgive me, I have sinned" speeches. That would be a trip. Kind of like a watershed moment similar to the Obama speech on racism. I hope Newt doesn't break down and cry. I'm just not ready for it. Maybe if I have a couple years to prepare for the emotional onslaught.

I just got to thinking. Let's say hypothetically that Israel bombs Iran's nuclear facilities. Most political pundits think this is a realistic course of action int he Middle East. I tend to agree with them based mostly on Netanyahu's hawkish position and the past precedent when the took out Saddam's facilities back in the 1980's. And don't forget how they quietly disposed of Syria's intentions a year ago. That was a masterful operation. It got ONLY one fucking day of media exposure. Unbelievable! You can't play it much better than that.

My whole point behind bringing up the Israel-Iran confrontation is that it ramps up anti-Muslim sentiment in the states around election time. Maybe Newt thinks he can score points with the Jews over Obama. Not a bad strategy. My point is this - Gingrich knows what he's doing. His comments, albeit incendiary, are carefully crafted. It's all part of a larger strategy. I think he made a conscience decision to get involved emotionally. He purposely decided to eschew his conservative principles of constitutional property rights (not really an issue that resonates with most Americans as they generally take it for granted), and set off on a course to engage and inspire the primary voters. For Newt to really gain a foothold in a presidential election he needs to be viewed as having some passion, not just an intellectual speaker behind a podium. He knows this. And so do his staffers.

apple pie incident

Most people aren't familiar with Carl Levin (D). He's a senator from Michigan that serve as a Chairperson on the Armed Services Committee. It's a pretty powerful foreign policy position. Anyway, some woman hit him in in the face with an apple pie yesterday at a deli in Michigan.

I guess her overriding point was that the Democratic wing of the party is just as culpable for the war crimes in Iraq/Afghanistan as the Republican party. And that point is a pretty valid one when you strip out all the rhetoric.

Of course I do not condone using pastry as a misdemeanor assault weapon. However, I think it would have been acceptable fodder for the "politikill" website. I'd like to think that people would be a little more creative in their attempts to mock and ridicule. But I'm forced to realize that most people aren't really that inspired. Well, unless you're talking about adding yarn-like dreaded hair extensions to a sock puppet. Most just don't like to think outside the box. It's asking a little too much.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

low-tech aerial drones

Here's an amusing and well edited video of a low-tech aerial drone. It's definitely worth checking out...

Amusing??? Of course. But does anyone see the potential for absolute chaos? How long will it be until some politician or third world dictator is giving a speech and one of these things comes flying in with an IED or pseudo-grenade strapped to it. I'm sure the Secret Service is prepared for something like this? I'm not even remotely an expert, but I know they have all kinds of sophisticated radio frequency jamming equipment. But what about Senators and members of the House. They often make pep rally speeches at crowded county fairs.

Think about less treacherous applications. Such a stunt would be the perfect premise for my "" website. Can you even remotely fathom the nonstop mainstream media coverage? What if Newt Gingrich is giving a presidential stump speech and this mini-airplane thing comes flying in with a banner that reads "I cheated on my wife" - POWWWW! Now you saw that golfer in the video. What if you use my scenario on Tiger Woods at a PGA event? Hell, you can stash this shit in a cooler. What if an NFL kicker is trying to win the game in the final seconds and you direct one at his feet at the end of the game. Seriously, I could write a book with the endless possibilities for system disruptions. I like the banner idea the most, probably because of my obsession with using MESSAGE as a tool of warfare and means of change. All of a sudden you don't need to spend $10,000 for the private Cessna guy flying high in the sky.

But 4th generation warfare... I suppose that's how my mind works. Always looking for the most nefarious outcome or sinister plot. But seriously, how soon will it be until Lindsay Lohan or some other drugged-out celebrity is walking out of rehab and one of these remote controlled drones hits her in the head. Doink! That would leave quite a bruise right before her stroll down the red carpet. I think the initial targets will be celebrities or despised CEO's (doesn't BP's ex-CEO Tony Hayward come to mind or whoever the "scumbag" of the month is). But how far into our future will these aerial devices be used for carrying out individual DECENTRALIZED attacks. This technology is available all over the planet. Any kid can operate one of these things. It hardly require years of tests and training.

And this shit is absurdly cheap technology. For less than $1,000 you can make get your instant 15 minutes of fame. And it certainly sets the precedent for future misdemeanor assaults. What if someone equips one of these hovercraft gismos with biological or chemical weapons? That might sound a bit sci-fi conspiratorial, but seriously, what about a simple tranquilizer dart filled with who knows what. Kind of like a poor man's drone.

Seems to me like it's the next logical step in 4th generation warfare - where individuals exert greater personal influence and take greater control of the battlefield. All those expenditures on allegiance, indoctrination and chain of command. Kind of outdated in this day and age, don't you think? The Abu Gharaib torture scandal comes to mind, and for the love of Allah, that message exposure was largely unintentional. We've already seen it in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hell, they've already adapted and constructed stripped down versions of IED's which don't require any remote controlled technology. This sounds like it would be right up there alley. I wonder if we're entering an era where a wholesale store in the U.S. could be convicted of treasonous activity for shipping these things to Baghdad. That is how our lumbering government functions. Go after the individual rather than willingly accept the precedent. Kind of reminds me of the archaic music industry going after evil-downloaders. Same thing is true with Wikileaks. The fucking cat's already out of the bag. If you squash or imprison the Wikileaks CEO, another man or woman will step up. It's odd how institutions have so much difficulty accepting precedent.

And for the record, the Wikileaks CEO Julian Assange (I think that's his name) is a worldwide hero. Make no mistake whatsoever, he has quickly established precedent and ushered in a new era. While our government makes inane attempts to control the message - THIS GUY IS THE FUCKING MESSAGE. No wonder our military apparatus hates this guy. He has come along out of nowhere and exposed the generational warfare gap of our ENTIRE defense department. OUCH! Regardless of whether or not lives are put in danger, as long as the material is TRUTHFUL, he'll ALWAYS win. How does our government and military respond and react? The answer is simple... it cannot. Well wait a minute, they can most certainly respond. With billions upon billions of dollars as this guy hits the "enter" button on a laptop. Whose side do you think will win?

This post really reflects the entire decentralization movement that is rapidly overtaking society at large. I always "drone" (weak pun) on and on about the inevitability of decentralization. When the Social Security, the food stamps and the government assistance stops flooding in or trends intermittent, where will people look for help? The answer is obvious - your neighbors, your churches, your gangs, your community centers, your co-ops, your friends... Life in those big city, massive apartment complexes could get interesting. I'd like to see a group of 500 people revolt against a high-rise landowner. One owner against 500 renters. Who do you think will win that confrontation? Now I'm just rambling. I'm going running.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

McDonald's Happy Meal Systempunkt

I just came up with a bizarre idea for a litigious lawsuit that could prove financially rewarding. The next time you go to a McDonald's, order a happy meal. When the McCashier asks, "Is the toy for a boy or a girl," angrily respond, "My child is transgendered! How dare you be so insensitive!" Then you file your defamation lawsuit (preferably in West Virginia). I know a handful a lawyers who would be salivating, looking for a quick out-of-court settlement.

At the moment, Mickey D's is currently under harsh pressure form the government to eliminate toys from all happy meals. They claim it promotes childhood obesity. I suppose that's a reasonable assessment, but seriously... C'mon, how much big brother do we really need in our lives. And to be honest, those kids are all going to turn into fat, annoying punks regardless of whether they eat the happy meal or not. Like they're really going to have a side salad w/ low-fat balsamic.

McDonald's wants to avoid any scrutiny with the current happy meal controversy. The last thing they'd want is some kind of lawsuit which stresses themes of hermaphrodites and the potential for cross dressing accusations. Is Ronald McDonald secretly a woman? He does tend to over-apply the makeup. What of Grimace? His sexual exploration is not a topic I feel comfortable discussing. I once saw Hamburglar stealing some condoms at the Rite Aid next door for an upcoming conjugal visit at the Northern Regional Jail.

Of course the best possibility is to be working in concert with the cashier. When the order takes place, the droopy eyed, tattooed skater kid behind the register could say something like, "What??? You mean your kid has a dick and a pussy? Can I see it? Errr uhhh, them?" All that shit is videotaped. It's not as though losing his summer McJob is going to be the end of his life. Hell, you could swing him 5% of the settlement for his trouble. A quick 25K settlement - that's a little over a grand.

Personally, I almost always get the happy meal. I get it about once every 48 days, whenever I have craving for french fries. Regardless of your nutritional objections to McDonald's, those fries kick ass. The 28 fries they give you in that diminutive paper vortex is just barely enough to satiate my desire.

And id anyone see that crazed woman in the McDonald's drive thru in Ohio. She freaked out and tried to jump through the window and attack the employee. Ended up bashing the window in. Her problem was that she wanted chicken McNuggets, but they were only serving breakfast. It's my contention that her reaction was for the most part reasonable. Really, would you really have a McGriddle or a McNugget. The steroid-infused caged chicken just tastes better.

In case you missed it, here's the McRampage...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Altering the Pirates

On Thursday night, Gig and I went to a Pirates/Rockies game. Nice night, great time. And they even won (even though we bolted in the top of the 8th). This is relevant because if they win the next 37 out of 39 games, they might make the playoffs. Joke, humor, blah.

But of VASTLY greater importance, I thought of a killer idea. When they were singing the classic "Take me out to the Ballgame" song during the 7th inning stretch, I thought to myself, this song has extreme potential for a throng of fans pulling off a "major league" sysytempunkt. Why not get the entire crowd to sing a different version?

Fans are dissatisfied with the current ownership and almost 2 decades of losing seasons. Wait a god-damn-cotton-pickin' West Virginia minute! I know the people that own this franchise. They run it like they run their newspapers - the only concern is to make money, or in the absolute worst case scenario, break even. These people will never go above and beyond regarding the Pirates. Don't expect them to embrace the recent Bill Gates-Warren Buffett donate-half-your-money-to-charity plan. That's okay, it's their prerogative. And I'll even being willing to extend "mad props" for their local goodwill efforts. But to be blunt, they're just not overly concerned with winning and losing. It's probably something they quietly joke about. It all boils down to money. No real passion, blah.

My point - as long as they own the team, the Pirates will almost certainly not venture into the post season. The larger point, or "BALL-Point (pen)" if you will... they have zero interest in accumulating the necessary talent to win the division because it would violate their core principles. It's ONLY about the money. Winning or embracing a zest for life will always be a distant second on the priority list. It could even be on the tertiary list. I think maintaining fiscal sanity during the hot dog launch comes in second. A Nutting marketing rep was recently quoted, "We've got to make cutbacks. Last game an extra 3 dogs went sailing into vacant sections of the upper deck. Those dogs were launched in vain." My neighbor Fuckface has a similar approach to life. Professional sport owners that have this outlook should NOT be in charge. They're far better suited to run insurance companies and freight-oriented tariff shit, not major sports franchises. Parking lots come to mind as well.

So what's the plan, Stan? Well, with the assistance of a few others (they shall remain nameless to protect their identities), I have created the first ever ANTI "Take me out to the Ballgame" song! Now the trick is to get everyone in PNC Park to stand up and sing it during the 7th inning stretch. And as God (or Allah, if you prefer) is my witness, they will be singing this song by late August.

I will print out 10,000 copies of this song at Wheeling Jesuit University and hand them out at an upcoming game in late August. Even better, we'll soon encourage people to spread it virally via their facebook accounts. Of course, all major media organizations will be notified. It's just the right thing to do. Alright, without further adieu, HERE IT IS! I'm exceptionally proud of it. This metallic lead-in will help get you in the mood.

Stand up and shout! (RIP - Ronnie James)
and to a lesser extent...
Shout it Out Loud! (Kiss)

(in accordance with the tempo of the classic "Take me out to the Ballgame")

Take me out to the Pirates
Where the hell is the crowd?
Why doesn't Bob Nutting give a damn?
He won't spend money to fill up the stands
so we'll root, root root for the Steelers
Cuz football's not far away
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
at the old ball game

Pretty catchy, huh.? Ohhh the temerity! Ohhh, the effrontery. Ohhh, the chutzpah (shout out to Squirrel Hill Pirates fans w/ yarmulkes on at the game - Hey, here's an idea - leave the damn mini-turban at home, it's a ballgame for Christ sake. God can't help your team win. Save it for the synagogue. Chuck Billy would chime in with a hearty "PREACH!"), the raging impudence... Anyway, I think you've garnered my inference.

Maybe your average Pirates fan can do more than boo or cheer. Maybe they could actually shame the ownership to the point where they sell the team. POW! I'm sorry that wasn't strong enough. How about FUCKING KA-POW! There, that sounds better.

ESPN Sportscenter will be loving this footage. I've been yapping on and on about system disruptions for a couple years now. This one's got some true pizazz, almost bordering into the realm of a sparkling Liza Minelli. The funny thing is... This one is so strong, yet trivial. And of course I love my Steelers, but I really don't care for the Pirates (or, baseball for that matter). But I do love the ballpark. Life is replete with so much irony.

I still need to finish the call to arms. It's just a 5-10 sentence preamble where I explain the rationale and try to incite the masses (on your average Tuesday night, that's about 7,600 at PNC Park). Once again, once the song takes hold, the Nuttings will have few options. And here are those options...

A. Sell the team in a desperate attempt to stave off greater humiliation (ouch, that hurts).

B. Stop playing the song in the 7th inning (this is the cowardly option and one I would most likely expect). But you could still get fans to sing it without the usual teleprompting. Everyone knows it comes at the top of the 7th.

C. Or they could actually be shamed into voluntarily spending greater sums of money for real free agent talent. Digging deep into the Nutting coffers, or in this case, those little rubbery change purse things that have a vaginal orifice opening-type-feel. This is the least likely possibility.

Maybe I'll put it in the form of a challenge, kind of like a Preamble to the Constitiution from the Yinzers. "We the fans, In an attempt to secure a more perfect team and hold ownership accountable, blah, etc. I think that's the rout I'll take. That's definitely the way! I just thought of it. Alright, I need to print out the preamble and figure out the wording. This is going to be SO FUCKING BAD ASS. You know I'm excited because I almost never use the bold font and I've done it repeatedly. Stay tuned for further pertinent system disruption oriented follow-up material...

Friday, August 06, 2010


I wrote this a couple days ago and saved it in the Text Edit thing. I haven't been home much lately but electricity was restored about 9pm tonight (about 56 hours later). People bitch and complain about being without electricity for a few hours. Think about Baghdad - that's a city we invaded and occupied 7 years ago. Just trying to put things in perspective. And it's a lot hotter there...

Last night was relatively amusing. I was talking to my buddy Ken and he says, "You should really go see Devo. C'mon, what else you gonna do on a Wednesday in Wheeling?" I thought about it for 2 minutes and was in. So an hour later there's 4 of us en route to the Ohio State Fair. They were scheduled to play at a venue I was completely unfamiliar with, the Celeste Center. Anyway, it's me, Ken, and AJ being escorted by the fearless CHL. By the time we got to the 77N split, we got pelted by a 20 minute microburst. I was sitting in the back and couldn't see shit. I take that back. I could faintly see the flashing tail lights from the rig directly in front of us. Just continuous swaths of rain pouring sideways. The vast majority of cars had pulled over or off the highway. My point - I've been in some heavy downpours. I'm not sure exactly where this one ranked but it had to be in the top three.

As the tsunami of rain finally subsided, the weather vastly improved. Like every moron has ever said, "Ohhhh, we needed that rain. It really cooled things off." So Chris does a drive-by of the venue just to reaffirm it's structural location, and lo and behold, it's actually about a 1/4 mile within the confines of the state fair. I'm immediately thinking - come hell or high water (I've never used that expression in my entire life until now), under no circumstances whatsoever will I be paying money to see this concert. So we hit this bar on High Street about 5 minutes away to meet up with the indomitable Amy D. It's called the Surly Girl. Intriguing name. Anyway, Amy arrives, we drink some high end Bell's on tap and everyone grabs some food. I had this spicy quesadilla appetizer which was really strong. On the way out you couldn't help but notice the abundance of short-haired, stern-faced women. The realization that it was a lesbian bar suddenly became apparent. In retrospect, it would have been better if AJ had mistakenly hit on some of the dykish brutes. Alas, he never did.

So we head to the vehicle, but AJ has absconded with the keys and disappeared. Chris seems impatient and wants to get to the venue. 20 minutes late, AJ emerges from the distance and we set out back to the fairgrounds. So I rode with Amy and we park in the main lot. We go up to the main gate and it's 5 bucks admittance. No way I'm paying that. I just basically sidestepped all the state troopers and ticket people. "I'm just here for the concert." As if that somehow disqualifies me from the regular protocol. Alright, worked so far - dodged the cover charge. So we walk to the venue and it's basically a super-sized version of a building that eerily resembles Camelots (the phony Zien's in Elm Grove). It's a giant warehouse/gymnaisum. No way I'm I paying to see this. I actually walked inside to will call and then abruptly turned around and headed back outside. The other guys pick up and/or purchased their tickets. Like I said, it's only 30 bucks but I'm adamant. No way in hell am I paying for this thing. It's a fair deal to see one of the most intriguing bands of my lifetime, but it's just the principle of the issue.

Me and Amy take a walk around the periphery and slide through a makeshift barrier in the back. There's the usual buses and equipment. I test 2 doors. Locked. Fail. Locked. Fail. Then we see the area marked "Backstage." Amy seems a bit nervous and apprehensive. "If we get busted, just use the line - we were looking for the bathroom." "Alright, we're heading in. Stay focused. Be resolute, but not overly determined. I'm going to turn this knob. Exactly what we will encounter on the other side I do not know." So I open the door and we walk right thorugh the band area. There's basically 4 or 5 state troopers and a bunch of roadies milling about. We just walked through the place like we owned it. Strong.

So we meet up with the others and share stories of the heroic journey. Truth be told, I'd hardly call this a trek through the Taliban controlled mountain ranges of Waziristan . Nonetheless, it was definitely exhilirating. So we're in. We snag some seats in the handicapped area on the right front side of the stage. 15 minutes later the lights go out and the band comes on. The place is strangely empty. I'd say about 2,200 out of 5,000. But the energy level is there. I jump to my feet, "Alright everybody up!" Later on, I would be scolded for saying this. But in hindsight, it was a valid point. 2 of the guys in our area were in wheelchairs. I rarely divulge specific details of a concert (band behavior and set list), but Devo totally rocked. Killer video footage on the wide screens and they sounded crisp and clear. Great choreographed dance moves from these old-timers. Lots of smiles in the crowd. They even had a woman in a booth who "signed" the whole show for those who were deaf/hearing impaired. Kind of cool - it made you feel like you were at a political rally. Perhaps we were and didn't know it.

I briefly thought of the heralded concept of de-evolution. For me, it was all about sneaking in the back. I suppose that fits in with the conceptual nature of the band. At the end of the concert, the lead singer through out tons of bouncy balls. I managed to snag one but gave it to the caretaker of the guy in the wheelchair. It was instinctual because, deep down, I really do have a heart. But then I was kind of bummed because it could have served as my ticket stub/memento for the bedroom wall. Seconds later, the guy got a ball and gave it to me. Sweet. Regardless, Ken would later give me his ticket stub - very cool. We're all wieners.

Anyway, these guys insisted on hitting not one, not two, but THREE bars in downtown Columbus before heading back. Being the one who usually drives, I have a tendency to sympathize with the plight of the driver. Especially in light of the long 2+ hour ride home. Pittsburgh, not a big deal. But Cap City is an entirely different animal and the I-70 shot kind of lulls you to sleep. I think it has something to do with that early progression of Wheeling signs (Wheeling 112, Wheeling 109, Wheeling 104, Wheeling 99). I bailed on the urgency of the last bar and just crashed in the car. Fortunately, they opted not to close down the bar. We left Columbus somewhere around 1:30 am. Chris didn't seem to mind. Personally, I think it would have been advantageous to get on the road for a bit and break up the trip. I've always been a firm believer in compartmentalizing the ride home if it's one of the Cleveland-Columbus-Indy-DC treks. So we hit a Denny's near Zanesville. Denny's has had their problems with racial discrimination in the past, but that wasn't much of an issue as I devoured a mediocre breakfast skillet.

Chris eventually pulls in. The clock on the dashboard said 4 something. "See, just like I said. We'd be back around 4." My sincerest salutations to a strong driving performance. Anyway, I'm driving back to my house and there's debris everywhere. Virtually nothing in the way of street lights. As I head up the driveway, I notice that fuckface's car isn't in his garage. Hmmm, that's odd. I had to get out and clear some branches but there's no visible damage to the house. Of course, the power's out, and I choose to crash out. So I woke up around 9am and wrote this thing even though the internet is offline. Power is still out. I walked out on the deck and my upside down hanging garden has been annihilated. Buckets of dirt all over the yard with a scattering of tomatoes. This storm wreaked havoc. Then I notice Fuckface's Lincoln off to my left. That fucker parked his car in the cemetery and traversed my property. I should have put up a sign on his fence that said, "No Losers Allowed." Too late, his car is gone.

Anyhoo, I finally get to cross Devo off my list. I'm hoping they reschedule the canceled Pittsburgh show. It's kind of poetic - they canceled that "Rain or Shine" show because of rain. Personally, I though the weather pattern last night was vastly more devastating. No shows - TFE was out there but we never ran into him. Dunkle said he'd stop out if we got a hotel room. No offense, but bunking down with that crew was not on my to-do list. Hopefully, the power comes back on soon. I'm going to walk or run a few miles and sweat out the toxins. Upcoming 5K this Saturday night.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

mosque at ground zero

You know what I find completely fascinating. The "debate" concerning the building of a $100,000,000 mosque and Islamic community center "near" ground zero. My perspective is different from most because I find the construction of ALL houses of worship completely revolting. Nothing makes me more disgusted than promoting belief in gods, ghosts and goblins in this day and age. Time wasted. Energy wasted. Money wasted.

Despite my utter contempt for all religions and cults (I've always been amused that people are readily able to distinguish between the two), I think the building of a mosque near ground zero is a demonstration of greatness and tolerance. First off, if they own the land, they can build whatever they want. But wait, it offends the sensibilities of Sarah Palin. Wait a minute, I love just about everything Sarah Palin finds offensive. BUT, I swear this issue is a winner for Republicans, Sarah Palin and Fox News. It resonates in the swing states. I haven't seen any reliable polling, but I'm guessing around here it would go 75% against, 25% for.

Bluntly stated, the majority of Americans have no interest in constitutional law. If this group of Muslims own the land and want to build a mosque, it's completely their right as long as they follow Manhattan zoning laws and associated building regulations. Case closed. I hate it when locals yap about "freedom." Freedom to do what? Just throwing out a question - "When is the last time you exercised this freedom you speak of?" Did you engage in a protest? Did you write a letter to the editor? Did you voice your concerns at a city council meeting? Your typical Wheelingite associates personal freedom with the right to:

A. Go to a Pirates game and buy the "all you can eat" tickets
B. Get a bunch of gullible Young Life kids to hand out bottled water at the Washington Ave./National Road intersection.
C. Choose from a variety of 50 different types of mustard at Riesbeck's.
D. Affixing your American flag bumper sticker to your Toyota Tundra pick-up truck.

This is how most people in these parts embrace their constitutional rights. Sorry, had to get that off my chest. But here's the real dilemma I have with Sarah Palin, aka the queen douchebagette...

She doesn't want a mosque "near" ground zero. Well ok. Would someone please ask her, "Well, how far away is acceptable?" 3 blocks, 4 blocks, a quarter mile, a mile, in any one of the five burrows (Sarah, can you name them without looking at your hand - for the record - Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island). Someone please ask her what the appropriate definition of "near" is? Wait a minute, she only takes questions from the "news" when they've gone through an exhaustive screening process. God, I hate this woman. And would someone ask her, "Sarah, how many mosques are there currently in New York City?" Back to the hand - "102" she proudly proclaims!* See, she's all over this controversial issue.

But like I said, this issue is a winner for her. She'd be wise to jump all over it. The talking points are easily memorized. Her trained minions love their freedom, but oddly enough can't discern between the 10 Commandments and the Declaration of Independence.

Here's what I believe... The ultimate tribute to the victims of 9/11 would be to construct a community center that promotes secular humanism, agnosticism and atheism. If only Sarah Palin had the "cajones" to understand this. Seriously, when's the last time a group of crazed atheists hijacked a plane and used it as a 500,000 lb. cruise missile.

* - I honestly don't know how many mosques are in NYC, but I'm sure there are plenty.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 or

Here's the early ideas for my website designed to alter the course of democracy in the United States. If it were even a slight success, it could have a profound impact on generations to come. Keep in mind, these are just a spattering of ideas and ramblings. Not the most cohesive stuff, I pasted most of it from some stuff I jotted down earlier today.

Premise - Construct a political website designed to encourage individuals to upload videos that mock, ridicule and destroy the credibility of high profile/elitist politicians.

Here are some commonly accepted notions:

Attaining high level political office in the United States is impossible for the poor and/or middle class.

It was the intention of the founding fathers that anyone (butcher, baker, candlestick maker) could run for office, so that not just the elite and extreme upper class would run the country. Despite the fact that they were wealthy landowners, they were repulsed by the aristocracy.

The current campaign finance system and corporate lobbying system is broken. The majority of politicians are easily compromised. They are bought and sold.

The Democratic and Republican establishments are basically the same with the exception of divergent approaches to some hot button social issues (abortion, fags, prayer in school, etc).

Outside party candidates have extreme difficulty because the system is inherently stacked against them. They generally have less money and are often discarded by major corporate donors.

You often hear, "throw all the bums out." But that's simply not realistic due to the inability to weed out the establishment candidates.

Unless you have extreme personal wealth, you probably don't stand a chance. Should the fact that you have unlimited monetary resources, make you a better candidate? Just because you can spend millions on advertising and consultants - does this make you a knowledgeable candidate with superior ideas. Of course not.

Develop a youtube based website for every national politician in Congress. The objective being to allow for open-sourced video footage of candidates caught in compromising positions, being mocked and/or ridiculed. This would discredit their campaign. It would be based on trying to destroy a political campaign for a statistically insignificant fraction of the cost. For incumbents it could be based on the excessive amount of money spent in the previous election cycle.

Recent erosion of campaign financing laws have further loosened corporate and individual donations to PACS and politicians. The Supreme Court ruled that it's more of a free speech issue. Well, here's a different type of free speech.

Eventually, the laws of balance must apply to hyper-capitalist style U.S. democracy. This could encourage a sustained backlash against entrenched and super-elite.

So, let's start a website which incorporates the monetary incentive to pummel the wealthiest politicians that spend the most during the course of their campaign.

Develop a reasonable monetary percentage table and request documentation of the expenses. Food, gas, poster board, air horn, kazoos, marker, banner, etc.

For President - spend 1/1,000,000 of the
For Senate - spend 1/500,000
For Governor - spend 1/100,000
For House of Rep. spend 1/10,000
possibly high profile mayors

Develop a different percentage for big time races and candidates. Sometimes, the House of Reps in critical districts become very expensive campaigns.

The objective - the more money a candidate spends and receives through fund raising, the more inclined people will be to discredit them. You could even turn it into a contest and possibly offer financial rewards for the person who does the best job. Think about it - Potential for the first ever ANTI-PAC! Donations would be accepted and go to the producer of the most successful video on a monthly basis. Theoretically, the website could be monetarily self perpetuating through donations from people who are concerned with the stagnant nature of political officeholders in our nation's capitol. Once a major candidate (let's say... uhhhh.... Sarah Palin, for instance) is destroyed and cut at the knees, interest in the sight should increase exponentially. Kind of like a political paparazzi website with a noble cause. Feed heavily off the major news media, youtube fixation and a country that celebrates instant fame, notoriety and footage that seeks to shock, marginalize and discredit major officeholders and office seekers.

The website must be completely bi-partisan. No allegiance toward any political party, but extra credit would be received for attempts on the wealthiest, most entrenched politicians.

The videos must feature live footage of the candidate and the accompanying "stunt." You can't just be some douchebag on the corner with an "Abortion Kills" sign (Sheetz idiot every Wednesday in Woodsdale).

The ultimate goal is to break the political gridlock in Washington DC and the abuses inflicted by the utter dominance of the 2 party system.

The goal is a worthy one that should have great appeal in the recent age of youtube. It would particularly be embraced by the tea baggers who are disgusted with big government and are seeking REAL change. This would promote real and actual change by encouraging people to take action against life-long politicians.

In the future, I'll lay down very simple, specific scenarios which could be executed and destroy the political aspirations of some of the wealthiest, most entrenched politicians on both sides of the aisle.

...more to come. Trust me. I think I'm onto something.

Monday, August 02, 2010

facebook birthday analysis

I turned 40 yesterday. I suppose this is a milestone. Many people wished me a happy birthday. So rather than simply send out a collective, "Thanks for the birthday acknowledgment," let's try something different. I will now provide an incredibly objective analysis of all the birthday wishes via facebook. I have a unique perspective for this because I have never requested a friend on facebook. As clearly stated in my profile, "I cannot request your friendship because the fear of rejection is too great." I think I may have buckled about 3-4 times when dealt with one of those friend suggestion requests - they make you feel kind of guilty.

So let's do this...

I currently have 225 friends.

There are probably about 3 that I've NEVER met, and sometimes I have difficulty ascertaining the identities of people that I've known for decades. So let's break this down...

A grand total of 54 individuals wished me a happy birthday. That's 24% of my personal facebook community.

The vast majority of messages (92%) were one sentence - "Happy Birthday, SAF" or something to that affect.

2 of them added an additional "F" to my last name (this doesn't bother me but works better if you call me "Saffy").

65% of the messages were from females.

35% were from men.

To the best of my knowledge, I have no friends that are transgendered.

Now you're probably asking the question, "What the fuck is wrong with him? Why can't he be normal and just do the obligatory - "Hey everyone, thanks for the birthday wishes" routine. Well, here's the reason. Try to bear with me. I am NOT trying to sound conceited. Based on my aforementioned facebook friend policy, I think it's safe to assume that most friends on my list like me, or at least to some extent, tolerate me. After all, THEY made the request. This puts me in a unique position. Wouldn't it be safe to assume that a 24% birthday response is a pretty strong barometer of one's popularity? Let me clarify this position. I think it's a decent barometer for a 40 year old male. After all, the younger populace seems more inclined to send messages with reckless abandon.

I enjoyed the recent South Park episode that exposed the nonsensical value of having over 1,000 friends. Unless you're trying to engage in self-promotion, who the hell really knows thousands of people? Sheer volume is a poor method to gauge popularity. However, percentages are far less likely to be misleading. So my point to all this nonsense - If you're one of these diehard facebook people, I think it's statistically reasonable to say that a 24% birthday response is what people should be setting their sights on.

The real irony of this - I never celebrate my birthday. In fact, I don't celebrate any of the major holidays. I desperately try to treat each day with an unflinchingly standard approach. Not too high, not too low. It's because I hate to feign excitement or generate false enthusiasm. Perhaps this explains my contempt for the granddaddy of them all - New Years Eve (amateur night). You'll never see me standing in the middle of the dance floor embracing the confetti, stomping the balloons and blowing multiple kazoos.

OK, so my point to all this Mr. T inspired gibber gabber. Four decades of life is nothing to casually dismiss. Aside from the 24% benchmark which I honestly believe has some degree of credibility, I'm going to make an unprecedented birthday resolution. There are few of you out there in the cyberworld, and even more in the real world that I'd like to get know better. In the near future, you might be getting a call or an email. Watch for it. After all, you can never have enough friends. Well... unless you're my neighbor.