Tuesday, May 17, 2011

tree progression

Well, there has been an intreeging turn of events. I spoke with Fuckface's grounds crew and they said they'd cut a path through my driveway and throw everything up on the hillside for $250. I was relatively pleased with this arrangement. Then, 20 minutes later they rang my door bell and said it would be an additional $350 to handle the debris and remainder of the trees on said property of Fuckface. They said it would have enraged him if they left the remaining trees and branches on his hillside. From their perspective, that does make a lot of sense. And while I could care less if my neighbor loathes, detests, despises and has great animosity for me... I wouldn't want to drive a wedge between his grounds crew and him. They get plenty of business from the subhuman.

So I was a little distressed. I decided to get a second opinion and revisit the cemetery. I had earlier met with the claims/risk manager for the company which represents the cemetery. Although very pleasant, he dismissed my concerns in an email claiming it was "an act of God." Now whether I believe in invisible overseers or not... that's largely irrelevant when it comes to a massive tree stump. Even though Jesus is supposed to appear on May 22, 2011 with this end of the world thing on the way, I doubt he'll have time to grind up Stumpy.

So I went back to the cemetery and this time spoke with the manager. We drove up and I showed him the carnage. He was incredibly receptive and seemed very interested in assisting. I think my demeanor may have played a role. I was very honest and forthright. I told him I didn't want to play semantics and deal with potential surveyors, let alone insurance carriers. I just told him it was a close call with 2 out of the 4 trees. He said he'd look into it and get back to me later this afternoon. He proclaimed, "If they were our trees, we'll take car of it." He sounded very reassuring, but I was still anxious and generally pessimistic.

Well, I got back from lunch and parked at the bottom of the hill. As I walked up the hill in the rain, I see a sedan sitting in the spot at the base of my driveway. I'm afraid to park underneath this tree that's hanging there. Honestly, it could go at anytime. Anyway, there these 2 guys standing in the rain. "Are you the one who owns the brown house?" Yep. "We're waiting on the boss. Looks like we'll be removing everything."

I'm blown away. "You mean the cemetery is going to take care of everything?" Yep.

Sure enough, the boss stopped up and we all hung out in the overhang of Fuckface's garage and chatted for a bit. They said they'll take care of everything tomorrow. Talk about ecstasy. I'm still a tiny bit guarded. I'll believe it when I see it, but at least for now, it would appear that I have been the recipient of a miracle.

It's odd how God works. First he unleashes agonizing wrath and venom in the form of a microburst. Then, his Catholic insurance rep, although very pleasant, dismisses my claim. Fuckface's maintenance crew gives me a reasonable offer but then has to tack on the cost of clearing "the yard of the enemy." So I go back to the cemetery people and get a much more rewarding response. So we'll see how it all transpires. I'd be shocked if things take a turn for the worse.

At least for now, it would appear as though the "Catholic" God is the correct choice. He seeks for you to undergo trials and tribulations with these natural disasters. I've always wondered which particular God is the right choice, as if inferior humans would have the ability to determine which one's correct. I suppose that's why the choice is usually made for you in advance via your parents and their parents and their parents and so on.

I refuse to pick and choose any of the god(s), but if I must, I'll trend toward a hybrid God - 50% of whatever the Chrisagii tell me to worship and the other 50% - straight Catholic. Sounds like this could work. I'll be sorry to see the trees go. As disruptive as they were, I'm sure it was a considerable source of anguish for Fuckface. Ohhh the pain he must have endured. Kind of reminds of the movie "The Passion of the Christ." I watched some of that movie - kind of exhausting. Fuckface's pain and agony, although purely mental, must be comparable to the physical suffering endured by Christ. And what's truly amusing... half of this analogy is for real.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I went to the annual CRRC (crick ranch recreational compound) clean-up yesterday. Mowed the entire place - A damn fine work out. Then, I zipped home and showered and headed back out. We went on a crick run from around 7-8:30pm or so. Anyway, as I was rounding the driveway (fuckface bend) around 10pm and I ran into this.

Well obviously I couldn't go much further. So I get out in the darkness and salvage my way to the top of the driveway. There was no electricity as the entire street was without power. Understandable because we got hit by a fucking microburst. So I chilled out, called it a night and listened to some music.

The power came back on at some point and I went outside to survey the damage the next morning.

And look at the sodomization of his hillside...

As you can imagine, he must be pissed. His maintenance crew showed up on Sunday afternoon to inspect every twig as well as the errant leafs that blew on his roof. But they left everything else in tact. So I did what I do. I called Captain Lee and asked for some advice. He zipped up and said the removal is probably going to run a few grand. Thus, it looks like a homeowners claim. BUTT, and that's a but with an extra "T," all the uprooted trees are very close to my property line with the cemetery.

So, I'm heading down to the cemetery office to see what they say. Hopefully, they'll clean up the mess (I doubt it). This is going to be a close call. I have a hunch it could produce mixed results. I'd rather have one entity take care of everything. So, we'll see what transpires.

What if it takes a while? I personally don't mind. I could always park in the cemetery or at the base of the driveway as we figure out who's responsible for what. BUT (with another capital "T" based on the fact that my neighbor is an anal retentive asshole, he's going to go insane. None of the trees and branches interfere with anything important, but I can imagine the hearty scowl and self-centered anguish he'll feel when he walks by the devastation. And to see my car surreptitiously parked so close to his driveway... it's going to give the mother fucker a heart attack.

Regardless, I'll head down to office tomorrow and have them come take a look-see. There's plenty of damage in the cemetery and through Wheeling Park as well. This was a really focused, narrow tornado path. I suppose I should be grateful nothing hit the house. Could have been ugly. I'm surmising that it could still get ugly if our past relationship provides an accurate barometer.

I almost forgot... Here's "Trunky!" "You gots plenty of junk in that trunk," says Lasquisha on the Maury Povich show.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Once, twice, three times a Gaga

G Mo invented a shot on the dome hockey table which has never been successful. A rare distinction. Actually, it has been done several times. But the "essence" of the shot has never been panned out. You're supposed to sing the phrase, "Once... Twice.... Three Times A Lady" Lionel Richie style AS you make the shot. It's virtually impossible as you would have to anticipate the first 2 blocked shots. And the puck would have to bounce directly back to the center each time. To have that type of heightened understanding of your opponent's capabilities, marked by your own failure is just too much. The advance knowledge of how specific dome shots play out is often difficult to envision. Well... unless I'm launching lasers and Bethlehem Temples with reckless abandon and tenacious resolve.

I surprised myself last night. Even someone as stoic as me is capable of experiencing the emotion of "surprise." I need to work on the spontaneity factor a little more. It seems the older I get, the less tolerance of I have for random acts of nonsense. So you're probably thinking, "Gee whiz, what happened to Saf last night?" I know that's what I'm thinking.

And the tendency to refer to oneself in the third person is NOT a recent trend! Although I've decided to jump on board in mid-2011, it goes way back. The two most important examples are Maury Povich (of course) and the great George Costanza (George likes his chicken spicy - maybe 1996?). Maury is far more indulgent with the obvious - "Call 1-800-MAURY" or "Log on! The new Maury website! It's Maur than you could ever imagine." Obviously it's not even close call. Can't Stand Ya wins in a landslide (comparable to Reagan over Carter - 1980).

There is this one person who refers to herself in the third person. It's Lady Gaga. Personally, I'm not a big fan. But I found myself mesmerized by the showmanship and choreography exhibited during her Madison Square Garden HBO special. It was hard to turn away. As far as the music goes, she basically just has an aggressive, updated Madonnna vibe. Good niche. But here's her real niche - even if you get ridiculed and feel depressed, just be yourself. Let's see, this applies to about everyone on the planet. She created an entirely new audience. And she makes sure to drive the point home incessantly before, during and at the end of every song. It's a simple message - the Glendale summer vacation native will make you feel good about yourself. This woman is the Lexapro-Prozac-Paxil of the music industry. She's basically a well-disguised pharmaceutical industry with not much relevant competition. No wonder she's such a success.

From a marketing standpoint, this is pure genius. Ka-Ching. And from what I've seen, her ticket prices are through the roof. Plus, she thrives off all the merchandising with the very susceptible gay male populous. Bingo. And the mainstream female population who are never content. Don't forget about them with the never-ending thirst for positive reinforcement. That's a lot more cash extraction potential than relying on cold veggie burrito sales from destitute hippies.

I always thought Lady Gaga had a "darker" personality. Kind of like a female Marilyn Manson. Not even close. I guess I got the wrong impression because of the red meat outfit and occasional smearing of blood on her arms and torso. She knows way better - stick with a modern day "Up With People" vibe. But most importantly, take it straight to the cash register.

All in all, she puts on one hell of a show. I'll give her the "e" for effort award. Would I ever go to one of her concerts? Doubtful. Would I go up and scalp? Yep. The thought of usurping money from her the Gaga machine would definitely buoy my spirits. And though I don't take pride in ripping anyone off, there is this weird satisfaction in exposing those who are inherently gullible. These people are always the followers, never the leaders. And they're very easy to quantify.

Kiddie shows, like Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers, N Sync are the best. Then would come the trendy "gay" acts, like No Doubt, GaGa and that whole ilk. Next up would be the emo-bands which sicken me to the depths of my soul. Nauseating bands like All American Rejects and Bowling For Soup. And how about, the religious inspired rock bands like Creed and misc. American Idol dumbshits that go the gospel route. Rounding out the list are the dreaded pop-country performers. This is the correct pecking order for greater success in future concert scalping endeavors. I doubt anyone has ever compiled a list.

These days, most scalpers just wear a laminated seating chart around their neck as they hoist their "Need Tickets/Selling Tickets" sign. For them, it's just about the quick monetary turnaround. I had multiple encounters with this one guy at Starlake. He was a disheveled white guy in his late 40's. I actually referred to him as "dirty white boy." Despite seeing me all the time, he couldn't get it through his head that I had no interest in buying his tickets. A complete fool who really degraded the profession with all its subtle nuances. And he'd approach me with that dim-witted look and mutter the same exact question. "Hey, you need a ticket? Got lawn here." It's kind of depressing. When I go to a concert or sporting event, the vast majority of scalpers have absolutely zero interest in advanced "scalping theory." Maybe I could teach a class at the collegiate level. Scalping 401 & 402. Has a nice ring to it. I'm only saying... it would be nice to see others kick it up a notch. But it will never happen. I'm the one who must adapt. My expectations are simply too high. "Ohhh Saffy, when will you ever learn?"

Then again, I do recollect this one shining moment where my protege Amanda stepped it up. It was a Starlake show - I believe it was either the "Fake Fest II" concert in 2002 or the 2003 Poison show. The Burgettstown cops have this guy cuffed. Blood streaming down his face. Amanda asks the cop, "Hey, is he going to the concert?" The cop quickly replies, "Nope, he's going to jail." Amanda further inquires, "Can I have his ticket?" The cop, "Well, that would be up to him." The bloody guy chimes in, "Yeah you can have it but I can't get to it. It's in my back pocket. My hands are cuffed."

Amanda walks behind him and snags the ticket. There's an urban legend that she just said one word as she extracted the "golden ticket." I believe it was "Yoink." This bold move earns you an "A" grade in Scalping 402. It was just one of those defining moments where "student becomes teacher." *

* - This is the quote used by the reformed villain Sato in Karate Kid Part II. Near the end of the movie, when Danielson asks Sato if they can have the Bone Dance in its proper historic setting (the temple), Sato looks at Danielson and Mr. Mayagi, pauses briefly and proclaims, "Your student become my teacher."

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Wheeling Nailer pride

This one's a strange post. I was at the local Long John Silvers extension hut Friday night. Some see eerie similarities between this dungeon and where Gomer Pyle used to live. I agree... ours is a little more rusted with more of an emphasis on disorder, especially pertaining to the dumpster out back. Specific details - about 30 people total. Maybe a half dozen in the poker room. I do not know. I refuse to venture into the gambling/smoking room of death. It's around 10:45pm.

It was me, teacher woman, Crosby's mom and dude. We're lined up at the bar, right where Al usually sits. I sensed the presence of a few Wheeling Nailers. Some of the guys seemed to flaunt a minor league hockey attitude. This crew seemed to show up in tandem with their girlfriends. It was as if they spontaneously emerged from the carpet. From whence did they originate? Definitely an influx of younger people with this tinge of Friday night arrogance.

All of a sudden this guy right next to me (I'm sitting next to the end seat) starts yelling. "Hey, you mother fucker, you didn't think I'd find you!" For a VERY split second, I thought he was talking to me. He was loud - totally calling this guy out. Then I realized he was pissed off at this other kid standing near the edge of the bar. I'm feeling a slight sense of relief cuz who knows how many people on this planet I've pissed off. And this guy had a ripped Jersey Shore thing going on. Sporting a bunch of barbed wire and demon tattoos. And wearing a tight shirt usually worn by one of two factions (obsessed body builders and exuberant followers of Lady Gaga). And he was loud. And I'm talking loud - the entire bar was temporarily silenced.

Then he specifically yells, "I just got back from Afgahnistan, I'll fucking kill you." The other guy stammered, "I ain't scared of you." The response - "Then let's go outside." There was some back and forth - mostly intimidation from Jersey Shore. He was jacked. Amid the threats, the one guy eventually filtered back into the vidiot room. I'm guessing Jersey Shore guy's hostility was about losing his girlfriend to the other guy (probably during his deployment). And if it's the girl who was in the bar, she was definitely a hottie. The bartender quickly got things under control and cashed out/kicked out Jersey Shore. Things resumed back to the customary 19th Ho-like routine.

I finished my beer and left. As I exited, the Jersey Shore guy was still wandering around outside. Whether anything went down, I do not know. But I do know that it was an awkwardly tense situation. It fascinated me how Jersey Shore launched into the mention of returning from Afghanistan... as if to imply to the entire bar, "If you got a problem with my actions, you've got a problem with the United States military." Very brash. Most likely testosterone fueled behavior he learned while serving our country. And yes, I completely understand the imperative for training our soldiers to exhibit an aggressive disposition. Act with authority, control the situation and sort out the problems later. Trust me, I get it.

But I wonder how often stuff like this goes unreported as just "bar fights." With these multiple deployments come the likely shattered romances, cheating, etc. These kids come back warped enough as it is and then must rapidly adjust their train of thought in small towns across the U.S. And so many of those who serve originate from rural communities. The military keeps records on the cost of everything imaginable - suicide rates, marriage and divorce, physical and mental injuries, every milligram of oxycontin, etc. But I seriously doubt any real studies have been done about the consequences and fallout from situations like the one I just described. And I wonder how many times paternity questions have arisen - truly some ugly shit. Not the Maury Povich nonsense with people named Pancake, Cupcake or Baby Cakes. This ain't your ordinary scorned Boo. And with the advent of instantaneous communication in times of war, it's even more problematic. I can't envision a worse scenario. Getting dumped and then being shot at, all in the same day. Just something to consider.

I just don't see the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan getting "accustomed" to our presence. Call me naive, but I can't see the similarities with Germany, Vietnam, etc. Probably because so much of the hostility falls along deeply ingrained religious attitudes and societal behavior. The underlying tenets of these 2 current wars (I'm not even going to touch Libya) involve more insidious elements. Corporate greed, infidel occupation and exploitation of the "holy" lands, our history of condoning and perpetuating corrupt dictatorial regimes... And oh yeah, I neglected to mention the fundamental issue of a nationalistic call to war based mostly on lies, or at the very least, cherry picking the evidence and blurring the lines of truth.

And trust me, those images of college kids from Georgetown celebrating the killing of Bin Laden like they just won the NCAA final four will not soon be forgotten. I take that back. Our country will forget about it in no time. Hey, Animal Kingdom just won the Kentucky Derby and Bristol Palin is pregnant again (at least, I hope she is). If it's a girl, I hope she names her "Tundra" - has that independent Alaskan flair. If it's a boy, I'm praying for "Anchor" (as in Anchorage).

Speaking of Anchorage, if the Wheeling Nailers somehow manage to defeat the infidels from Kalamazoo, they must journey to Alaska for the finals. How badly would that suck? These minor league hockey guys beat the hell out of each other and don't get paid shit. Then how about a 3 day bus ride into the state that gave us Sarah Palin. It's not like they're gonna be boarding the team 747 emblazoned with the Wheeling Nailers/horror movie face mask logo on the side of it. That's what our team really needs - a corporate jet. Could you imagine the intimidation factor when it sets down at Ohio County airport? As they're greeted by a throng of 12 year old girls, screaming for autographs and clamoring for cell phone pictures. Dare to dream.

Yesterday, I was sitting on the steps outside Wesbanco arena watching the crowd filter in. A cavalcade of individuals in all shapes and sizes, adorned with vintage Thunderbird jerseys and perhaps a stray curtain-like garment. It's always about that one woman decked out in a Wheeling Nailers moo moo. She has this biblical air of Babylonian royalty. We'll call her Zelda. I beg of you team Nailers - fight for the honor of Zelda. When you enter into battle... embrace the sound of victory (Zelda's gruff, nicotine laden voice emitting a hoarse "Let's Go Nailers" chant). In your mind, evoke the image of glory (Zelda's quivering gunt, mysteriously shifting inside the nether regions of said moo moo). It moves like clockwork, as if it were sand in an hourglass. These are the days of our lives.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bin Laden photo

Two weeks after 9/11, me and three crazies went to the inaugural opening of Heinz Field for the delayed first regular season home game. We beat Cincy 16-7, and yes I'm pretty good at remembering final scores. The tickets were given to us by an oil man. It was a subdued crowd for the most part. This was the game where George Bush Jr. came on the wide screen at halftime to inform the country of the initial bombing runs in Afghanistan. I stood for the whole speech. I think a couple people said "sit down." I barely heard them. My honest recollection - I thought Bush did a good job with the speech. This was the year that Heinz Field had the largest wide screen on the planet (for like 3 months or something). Then the same company sold them to three other pro stadiums. The entire Bush speech just seemed brief and very surreal.

Anyway, in the parking lot before the game some guy solicited me. He was selling these large pins. They had a picture of Calvin (from the Calvin/Hobbes cartoon) pissing on Osama Bin Laden's head. And it read


Needless to say, I snatched it up for $3.00. He was selling them 2 for $5.00 but all I needed was one. I ended up taping it to the dome hockey game along with other historically dome-related stuff. And believe it or not, there's a picture of former Nailers coach John Brophy (an older man with a head of white hair) beside the picture of Bin Laden. I have absolutely no idea why I had any hostility toward our hometown hockey teams' management. Either way, this pin was bad ass. A major solo sales commitment for the historic opening day. Very commendable. I thanked this fearless lanky pinheadish dude, praised him and sent him on his way.

So present day - I find this stalling of the Osama death photo really intriguing. Just how many do they release? Obviously the whole thing's on video, or at least the most critical shit. Trust me - they were running all the time, definitely during the "ceremonial bathing of his ass and the shroud covering of yet another lanky asshole in a shroud."

I recall a brief interview on the local station immediately following 9/11. I'm pretty sure it was WTRF. Anyway they asked this guy coming out of the Benwood Kroger, "Excuse me sir, what are your thoughts on Osama Bin Laden?" This gruff dude barks into the camera, "Hey, he's a real asshole!" Of course they beeped out the "asshole" part but if you were even just a tiny bit observant, you would have figured out what he said. My point here is that I'm on safe ground when referring to Bin Laden as an ass.

Alright, now try and pivot toward present day. Now would be an excellent time to resurrect the "Calvin/Hobbs piss on Osama's head" pin. But this time, I would use the actual photo the White House is going to release. And I'm not makin' any pins. I'm not into the pin movement. Except for the 1950's political race. Eisenhower made "I LIKE IKE" pins. Nice. But I gotta go with the standard t-shirt. It would be a bold statement. Calvin performing a purposefully lofted golden shower on the remains of Bin Laden's head.

Hell... they gotta officially put out a ton of photographic evidence and material at some point. I think the "delay" is just Obama wanting to sit on it and calm things out. Wise strategy because say something (like a recent Moroccan bombing) goes down, the narrative suddenly shifts. Inevitable at some point but I think the better move is to stall for a while. Shows a calm strength.

I'll likely never make a stack of these shirts and sell them. Well, maybe "never" is a bit final. Let's say I'm about 8% I'll do 50. Not good either way. But my overriding point - I would likely sell them at Starlake shows. I'm thinking anything Skynyrd with an equal emphasis on Toby Keith. Rounding out the three, the Journey, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner gig. A surprising exhibition of classic rock rounding out the triple shot! But tt's really about reclaiming that majestic sales pitch and unique presentation of his anti-Osama pin. Seems like everything (eventually) came full circle with Bin Laden. Hopefully not for the original seller of that Osama pin.

Oh yeah, and what about the bit of him living in the mansion in Abbottabad. For something like 6 years??? That's completely insane. How much credence could that possibly have? And the other thing... there's a down side to waiting on the release of the photos > it opens all this shit up to claims of video manipulation. This will likely all end up as monster conspiracy fodder, unless you release everything. Certainly some aspects could compromise national security. It's a tough one. You pretty much have to EVENTUALLY put out more shit to placate the whackos, then more photos and excerpts, and always additional footage. I think Obama knows this and he wants the fullest disclosure possible. That's what's causing him concern. Because it's eventually all going to come out in the wash Tommy Hilfeger style.

There must be objections rolling in from his top people. It's a rough dilemma. Especially the funeral part where they weigh him down and ditch him in the Indian Ocean (which I thought was an outstanding idea - I never thought much about how the military would dispose of Bin Laden's body). I figured "capture and trial" would never sell as a viable option. Either administration would never be able to live it down. A trial was an ultimate loser issue. Nothing politically advantageous can be derived from it.

And I just thought of something else - kids, adults, grandmothers et al will use the kill shot as their cell phone screen savers. The thought that an entire generation of school kids could be warped/haunted by this photo. I might hire a good legal team and sue the administration for releasing this photo that's giving me nightmares. I could claim - "hey I'm the biggest Obama fan and I hath been totally forsaken." Should sell well in these parts. Very contemporary, lofty religious nonsense. I've seen it through the ages. Some might say I've studied it all "up in here, up in here." - DMX style).

And I recall this pro wrestler named AL Snow - he had this female wigged mannequin head he would proudly/psychotically wave in the air. It looked a little bit like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Courtney Love. Very heroin chic with a classic twist of Americana. After a week's courtship, he attached the head to a wooden pole and called it "Moppy." He professed his love for the mop and I do believe they got married in the ring. The wedding ceremony had all kinds of shit. He made out with the mop, first dance, and I think there was a limbo scene at the end where some scantily clad female wrestlers went as low as they could go). Upon returning from the honeymoon, some bullies accosted them back stage and held him down while they threw Moppy in a portable wood chipper (which just happened to be an indoor arena). Al Snow wept. As they cut to commercial he's clutching the discarded head and crying "Moppy!" "Moppy!" in this alarmingly tearful yet inquisitive/sorrowful manner.

This whole bizarre performance could also be used to embellish my civil complaint in an Obama administration. Just an added touch. As security struggles with me, "I yell "Osama!" "Osama!" in that same Al Snowesque fashion. You'd have to really sell it though. Make Maury Povich my bitch. Long overdue and a proper way to honor his move from Manhattan to Stamford, Ct.