Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wheeling Park Dance Revisited 2011

Having attended the Park Dance Revisited last night and the inaugural one from last year, I think I have a pretty good perspective. Not many people know this but I used to deejay the Park dances back in the summer of 1986. I would spin records downstairs and the WOMP FM guy would work the ballroom upstairs. Lacking any real scratching or mixing talent, I'd pretty much just play the hits of the day (stuff like Prince's "Kiss", Aerosmith/Run DMC's ill-advised, overplayed rendition of "Walk This Way" and Bananarama's "Venus" come to mind as they would evoke girlish shrieks of delight from the crowd). But I'd also play Judas Priest, Metallica, Dokken, etc. which would quickly drive most kids running for the steps. Yet I did have a small legion of devoted metalheads who praised my commitment to headbanging. I wouldn't say I was their superhero. Perhaps the equivalent of the androgynous male Wonder-Twin or their chimpanzee cohort is more like it.

The renewal of the Park Dance was a tremendous idea conjured up and executed by Tim Boudreau and several others. Considering it's a benefit for local veterans and a light-hearted social mixer for locals, I believe it to be a win-win. My only request is that a few of the old-timers hit the 9th hole of the Wheeling Puke golf course for sexual intercourse and illegal narcotics. That would add a vital new dimension to its soul. We could even station a modern day look-a-like of "Joe the Park Ranger" to scare off trespassers who would violate the sanctity of the woods.

Considering that there were around 1,500 people at this thing, they really need to host it INSIDE the White Palace. Yes, I realize they had a wedding booked for the upstairs ballroom, but the Park Commission needs to clear the inside for this one day. I would suggest throwing 80's music on the ice rink, 70's music on the main floor and 60's music in the upstairs. Have three separate dee jays and decorate each level accordingly. Since it's a benefit, I think you'd find 3 that are willing to provide their services for free. Maybe that guy named DJ TACO could enter the fray. Perhaps I could resume my career and be known as SONofSPIN or something relatively uninspired. Plus, each level would be like walking through an era. And you could have best costumes for each decade.

And you really need to lower the volume level accordingly. I must be the only one who finds it annoying that you have to scream at the top of your lungs to establish verbal contact. If it's too loud for me at age 41, I can't fathom how disturbing it is for people in their 60's. Seriously, this drives people AWAY from future events. The White Palace is an interesting structure. Why not use it? I'm sure the Park commission could withstand the revenue drop from one night.

Even though I didn't eat anything, the vendors looked decent. Jepsonian had a pulled pork sandwich which he described as "very meaty." And OMP fulfilled my dreams by consuming a Dickie's dog. An aptly named hot dog. My only suggestion would be to call it "Dickey's Diggetty Dog." I think this would appeal to Wheelingites far and wide, not to mention the re-burgeoning NASCAR populace. Maintaining a strict kosher diet isn't always easy as it steers me clear of such culinary delights. Perhaps if a rabbi were on hand to properly salt and bless the aforementioned meats, my views would change.

Speaking of rabbis, I usually adorn the pedophile tag on Catholic priests, but I recently had a revolting revelation of religilous shit that entered my head. I wonder if there's a subset of sadistic moils who garner sexual gratification from hearing the cries of a week old baby that gets circumcised. I went to one of those "ceremonies" when I was about 14 or 15. The kid was screaming at the top of his lungs as the moil hovers over him with a Ginsu and this deranged look of spiritual satisfaction. Meanwhile the parents are celebrating, drinking shots of some top shelf rye-whiskey. That bizarre contrast is something etched in my head for eternity. Not kewl.

Honestly though, I rarely eat anything at these types of vendor/county fair events. I'll usually go hungry and eat something later. Last night, I devoured the final slices of roast beef from the Jenn/Justin wedding around 2am.

The beer lines seemed to flow much better this year, even though I customarily don't drink draft beer. And if I do, it's never Bud or Bud Light. I prefer to bring my own bottled wine - this time it was a cheap merlot in the traditional Nestle's water bottle. Did i feel a pang of guilt when I crossed through the cardboard sign that read "Absolutely no alcohol beyond this point?" Well... not really. I did like the fact that someone chose to utilize the word "absolutely" though. I might use this in the future... "I want an absolutely free ticket." Makes a bolder statement and encourages some light banter.

So what was the highlight??? For me, it was the authentic 2002 Jamboree in the Hills purple wrist bands providing evidence of paid admission. I like the idea that someone, somewhere resurrected a stack of Jambo wristbands for the Park Dance. Seriously though, I give mad props to everyone who put in all the behind the scenes work. Fortunately, the weather was cooperative, but they really need to look into the possibility of using the actual White Palace. Isn't that what the park dances were all about? Well... except for the rival high school fights and the deflowering of virgins on the 9th hole. And did anyone see the two cops that wandered through the ice skating rink? Just how old were those guys? 18? 19? I do not know. They really should have parked that "OHIO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CENTRAL COMMAND STATION" monster RV outside the White Palace. Instead all we got was a limo parked near the steps. I was honestly tempted to pull up right behind the limo and pop the hatch of the SubarJew and commence my own tailgating. Why would I find this so appealing? Probably because most people would find it so upsetting.

Honestly though, did anyone see that nonsensical RV at the Italian Festival? What the fuck is that colossal monstrosity? What does it do? How much did it cost? What a fucking complete waste! The thought of Janet Napolitano lounging in the mid-section of that Winnebago gripping a wine-spritzer while some minion feeds her cheese and grapes is pretty revolting. I'm not sure what sickens me more, our beloved Homeland Security Director or the mammoth RV. It reminds me of the unstoppable "monster train" from that one Speed Racer episode. Napolitano just reminds me of a monster of gargoyle-like origins.

One last thought about the Park Dance revisited. For next year, I would suggest a flash mob afterwards in the Wheeling Park pool. If orchestrated properly, it would get national exposure. Wouldn't that be completely bad ass? You can't stop a crowd of 1,000+ (well, except maybe with help from the local Dept. of Homeland Security RV). And what if everyone dove in naked and started splashing all over the place? Dare to dream...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

U Tuesday

I originally had a concert a review in my head for last night's big show. Kind of lame, but kind of cool. Kind of weak, but kind of strong. Kind of pretentious, but kind of slick. Etc. blah. But it didn't turn out like that. I'll start from the beginning.

I zipped up to meet Gig for the big Heinz Field show last night. A 5 car accident at the Hazlett St. exit near McKnight had me a little worried as traffic came to a complete stop on 279N. But it picked up after 15 minutes or so... so no big deal. So armed with the obligatory water bottles filed with red and white wine (cab and chardonnay) we headed down to the PNC lot to hook up with some friends for some tailgating action. I have made the determination that any wine with the word "OAK" in the title is the maximum allowable expense ($4.00 to $5.00 range) for concert libation purposes. Especially since the consumption mode originated via one time-used Nestle plastic water bottle. Kudos to Walmart for 35 bottles for $4.35 or whatever they charge for the monster water package.

As always, I had my sign ready to go (I use the cardboard from the underside of the water - you see, Scalping Jew uses all of the components, much like his Indian ancestors used every part of the buffalo, just like his Apache ancestors). I used to say I was 1/10 Iriquois, but I'm pretty sure the Iriquois were more centrally located in the U.S. Apache sounds like the better tribe anyway. More belligerent and warlike. Jam on it!

Having paid a small fortune for tickets, our fellow tailgaters weren't too amused with my sign for this evening's festivities...


So Gig and I made a trek down to the main gate area on our usual quest for freebies. As I expected, tickets were everywhere.

A. It was an off night - a Tuesday.
B. They announced this concert and put the tickets on sale about 11 months ago. Way to build the hype, Bono.
C. And Pittsburgh just doesn't have the local attendance draw of the cities like Chicago and Boston for football stadium shows.

I expected a crowd of about 44,000 - about 2/3 full. The crowd ended up being much larger - I'd guess around 55,000. Heinz Field capacity is 65,500 and I think they added more seats this year. Not quite sure how many - I'll have to look into that.

Regardless, Gig got a free ticket from some drunk dude who dropped his cell phone. And about 1 minute later I asked this guy if he had any extras and he gave me a 500 level comp ticket. I also asked one other guy before this, but he probably was looking for cash. So we asked a grand total of 3 people and secured 2 free tickets. It took us about 9 minutes and a 1/2 mile of walking. I would call his minimal effort. We never even made it to the main gate. The sign never came into play so I left it sticking out of the bushes. In my dream world, someone else will find the sign and use it to secure freebies. Once again, visible evidence of my Indian/Jew ancestry.

We headed back to the tailgate which was mildly raging. Around 8pm, we headed down to the Gate A entrance and stood on some kind of "pool lifeguard - deer stand - people watcher" contraption. A perfect source of "elevation" - an omen of a song we'd hear later that night. To be honest, I checked the set list from the previous few nights. Ours was similar but not exact - I like the fact that they mix things up a little. Kind of surprising considering they must synchronize the lighting with impromptu song choices for this elaborate, futuristic stage show.

While up on our perch, we snagged 2 additional tickets for our some new found friends below (some guy walking his dog and some other "Guido sounding" dude with a large patch of expertly exposed chest hair in various states of growth. We suggested the one guy pretend to use his dog as a seeing eye dog, but I doubt he followed up on that suggestion. I suppose it could have worked. I think the ultimate achievement would be to get one of those St. Bernard dogs and fill up his dangling thermos (as in the old-school Bugs Bunny cartoons) with scotch or whiskey. Then, you have your drinks for the evening.

Truth be told, the last thing we needed was more drinks. So we snagged an empty block of seats on the lower level. The background David Bowie selection of "Major Tom" effortlessly segued into a surprisingly strong rendition of "Even Better Than The Real Thing." Then I think it was "The Fly", "Mysterious Ways" and maybe "I Will Follow" - very cool energy level. About 4 songs in, some of the people in our row showed up for their seats. There was still sufficient room but I was overcome with a tremendous sense of guilt for "stealing" the seats near them. So we walked to the top of the stadium and hung out in the end zone bleacher seats for most of the show. These were pretty decent because they offered the entire view, with the city skyline serving as a more visible backdrop. We eventually made our way back down to the first level for the last 10 tunes.

And the stage show was really impressive. I've seen some strong stadium presentations - Stones at PNC, Floyd at Three Rivers and other venues, the usual Kiss theatrics, but this one was really over the top without seeming obnoxious. And I've seen some elaborate productions in smaller venues, like Alice Cooper, King Diamond and that ilk. But this one was definitely near or at the top. U2 really gave the crowd their monies worth. Well, maybe if you weren't one of the suckers who paid $269 for the best seats. Ohhh, and I forgot, you also had to eat an additional 2 tickets because Uncle Ray blew all his money at the gambling parlor and Aunt Brittany couldn't find a babysitter on such short notice. Hey, she only had an 11 month heads up. Ouch! All in all, I'd have to say that U Tuesday was a "Good." And they even closed with a heartfelt rendition of "Bad." Sorry if you missed this one. Then again, it was wing night at the Alpha.

Honestly, the show wasn't just "good" - I'd rank it somewhere between "Very Good to Excellent." High praise indeed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This one guy at Jamboree

Has anyone encountered this guy at Jamboree?  He's some guy in his mid 20's wearing cut-off jeans drinking Budweiser cans.  He walks around trying to strike up a conversation with anyone who will give him the time of day.  I'll award him with the fictitious name of Tyler Austin.  Nothing beats a multiple redundant name based on cities in the great state of Texas.  I neglected to mention - his middle name is either Houston or Dallas.  Does it really matter? 

Anyway this guy needs to get something off his chest.  He's word about the "integrity" of Jamboree in the Hills.  He's tired of this new breed of pop country musicians.  Although only 24, he needs to convey his longing for all the old-timers.  You know, the good ol' days of country music.  When it was just a man and his guitar.  It was a time when a cowboy hat, meant something.  Just because you wear a cowboy hat doesn't mean you ever rode a bull.  "Where's Boxcar Willie?  Now that's real country music.  All this new breed of sugar-coated country performers is for high school girls and na't.  Damn-it! We need to put the "country" back in country music.  I'm tired of all the fancy videos and pretty boys! 

Tyler Austin, although he would never realize it, reminds me of 2 other types of subhumans from distinct backgrounds.  First and foremost, he reminds me of the born again dumbshit who's always clamoring that "we need to put the Christ back into Christmas!"  We've heard it all before.  There's hardly a shortage in them in the WV northern panhandle.  They yammer incessantly about the commercialization of their beloved holiday.  We need to get back to the bible and its teachings.  It's about so much more than the covering the living room floor with presents and singing songs about some florescent antelope.  I must now spontaneously recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing God Bless America before I tune in the old Nascar race.

Tyler Austin also reminds me of this guy at a bachelor party.  He's relatively bright guy, kind of a socially awkward nerd.  Hardly offensive though.  But this guy has a niche.  A strategy, if you will.  He's going to hit on the girls at the strip club.  We'll call him Xavier.  And the conversation goes something like this.

Xavier is sitting at the bar.  One of the relatively attractive dancers approaches Xavier.  She acts shy at first but slowly steps up the pressure.  As she starts grinding on him, asking if he wants a private lap dance, Xavier beckons, "Ohhh, you're soooo beautiful.  You know, you don't have to do this!"  the stripper doesn't know what to make of this.  All she wants is a $20 bill for a lap dance.  But he carries on, "Don't you know how degrading this is?  You can do sooo much better."  This back and forth carries on for a while, until the woman becomes thoroughly disgusted and gives up.  For the love of god, she's trying to make some cash and you're wasting her time.  This ain't a church bake sale, dumbass.

Tyler Austin, preacher man and Xavier all have one thing in common.  Someone needs to explain to them - "Hey man, you're really annoying the living fuck out everyone.  Stop using that same, tired refrain.  Try to come up with a new routinel.  Yes, I realize this material has worked for you in the past.  But it's not because people agree with you.  They just nod in accordance so you will shut the fuck up.  Hopefully, you'll just wander away.  You're just a splinter group of those people who only discuss the weather or why the damn guvmint's the problem."

Monday, July 11, 2011

jambo debate

 I'm debating whether or not to attend Jamboree in the Hills this year - aka the "Acrid Stench of Incest."  I might head out on Thursday for a little but am unusually indifferent.  I think the main idea is just to avoid Sunday (that's when the stench is particularly brutal).  Maybe I'll head out.  I do not know.  At this point, I do not care.

But I do have an intriguing idea.  I was considering posting a comment on facebook - preferably on Steve N's page.  It would read...

Eric Saferstein > Steve N

I can't believe that Wheeling Island Casino is accepting wagers on the "death count" at Jamboree in the Hills this year.  Apparently, they set the line at -1.5 bodies.  This is truly abhorrent.  You really need to look into this.

O-tay.  First the obvious admission.  There is no official "death count" although I do like the line of 1 1/2.  I think 1.5 is a pretty reasonable estimate.   Secondly, choosing Steve for this sick experiment is kind of brutal.  It's just that he has the broadest scope and seemingly largest base of local facebook friends.  Plus, he often likes to address controversial topics.  This would unfairly piss him off.

But of course this is complete nonsense.  Or is it?  Depending on how its phrased, I think a few people out there in internet land would fall for it.  Plus, I like the idea of condemning Jambo and the casino all in one post.  But here's the real crux of it.  Without fail, every year the WTOV9 broadcasters harp on and on about how flawlessly everything went at Jambo.  The cunt-tree performers were spectacular!  The production was immaculate!  The fans were rowdy but well-behaved!

Fuck all of this.  I think this thing's a compete disaster every year.  Why do they lie about it?  And why doesn't anyone ever challenge these falsehoods?  Here's the REAL tally of what transpired.

18 DUI's.
87 misdemeanor assault charges
17 felony assault charges
2 rapes
about a dozen unreported rapes
38 underage drinking citations
22 drug possession charges
20 indecent exposure charges (mostly urinating on hillsides, next to port-a-jons).

and there's a list of obstruction charges and tons of other shit that make the Wheeling Today section resemble a kindergarten picnic.  My point - things didn't go as smoothly as they claimed.  There's plenty of fall out from this drunken debauchery/festival of squalor.  Some peoples lives are completely devastated during the week long "escapade in excrement."  That's really what they should call it.

Regardless, I like the idea of a "death count" at Jambo.  I think 1.5 is a realistic estimate.  But I couldn't go through with the facebook posting experiment because that Rusty guy died last year.  I didn't know him that well but he seemed pleasant.  We'd usually do one of those brief acknowledgements (Hey, what's up? how's it going? etc.).  So I won't do it.  Although I do think it's a good idea because it broaches a wider discussion.  And that is the ugly truth of Jambo.  This shit is much more than drunken fun.  It often destroys lives.  Of course, that destruction could be deemed a good thing because it helps weed out the undesirables.   

More than just... Ohhh, we got so fucked up!  We had a blast.  Uncle Ray made a cooler out of a toilet on wheels.  It was so much fun.  This fat guy was offering free lap dances!  They kept on squirting Kayla in her boobies!  And Toby Keith rocked the house!  He got the audience singing during "I Love This Bar!"  He had them all yelling "I love this crowd" instead.  How clever.  Lest I forget, the endless sunburned displays of patriotism drenched in cheap beer.   

Like I'm saying, the above nonsense is just that.  Worthless blather.  However, plenty of horrific things do go down.  Think about it whenever the announcers say what a "great time everyone had."  Can't wait til next year.  We'll boot scoot boogie til the break of dawn.   As far as the death count this year... I'll take the OVER.  I'm guessing 2 fatalities.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

mindless heckling

I just went for a 2 1/2 mile run. Just as I was entering Wheeling Park, a school bus inscribed with the phrase "Laughlin County Schools" passed me by. This fat kid with a crew cut and glasses pokes his head out the window and yells "FAGGOT!" I'm guessing he was in 4th grade, maybe 5th. But it was definitely elementary school, not middle.

Anyway, much to my surprise, the bus comes to a complete stop. I see the fat kid immediately raise the window. I zip around to the bus driver side and engage the bus driver.

Driver: "What did he yell at you?"
Me: "Hey, let me on the bus. I want to talk to him. It'll be great. I assure you he'll never yell out the window again."
Driver: "I can't let you on the bus. I'll get fired. So what was it he said?"
Me: "I can't give you specifics on that. C'mon just let me on the bus. I won't do anything bad. I just want to have a word with him.
Driver: I can't. What did he say?"
Me: "Well, I just can't rat him out. Let's just say he made a derogatory remark that wasn't profane."
Driver: "That's what I thought."

I was really bummed he wouldn't me on the bus. My shirt was on the verge of getting a little sweaty. Could you imagine the fear in this kid's heart as I make the slow walk down the aisle to the end of the bus?

Honestly, I wasn't even remotely upset. I thought the whole incident was kind of comical. My initial idea was to lecture him on his first amendment rights. I was going to explain that his behavior was similar to that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Personally though, I enjoyed the experience and while I cannot condone his actions, I'd let him know that others might be very offended. I also wanted to ask the kid how he inferred from my appearance (shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes) that I was gay. Maybe I was running like a pansy, you know - in a manner which incorporates "gay frolicking." I don't think so, but it's possible.
Hey, I just ran that 5 mile "Freedom" race on Monday, July 4th. I remember my time as 46:02. Basically 9 minute and change miles. As I crossed the finish line, I even yelled "FRREEEEDOMMMMM" like my favorite anti-semite Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart.

And one other observation. I might be way off base. He may have yelled "MAGGOT" but I seriously doubt it. I would have vastly preferred the term "Maggot." As if I was a side of beef running through the hot sun covered in a swath of gnats. But it sounded like "Faggot" to me (98% sure). I imagine the bus driver disciplined the punk, but I really don't care either way.

Maybe I had it coming. A couple weeks ago I flipped off this maroon F-150 pickup truck at the Washington PA I-70/79 split. This asshole was driving like a maniac, weaving in and out of cars, and then of course had to slam on his brakes because of the traffic in front of him. So I gave him the finger and a look of disgust.

This fucking idiot veers off at the last possible second. In my rear view mirror I see the dust kicked up and him charging towards me. This piece of shit got right on my ass and starts swerving at me, forcing me off the road (not the median, the rumble strip lane on the right side). Seriously, it was either go off the road or he would have hit me.

He grinds to a complete stop, angling me in against the guard rail. He starts screaming at me from the drivers seat. A terrified grandfather is sitting in the passenger seat (the passenger looked like Bill Cosby's dad from the Cosby show). And there was a little black girl in the back seat poking her head out. She looked like a lighter version of "Rudy Huxtable" from the same show.

Anyway, this guy is just screaming his head off. "Fuck you! I'll kill you next time mother fucker! Fuck You!" Stuff of this nature for about 8 seconds. I'm just blown away that he came to a dead stop in the middle of the slow lane. The back part of the truck is sticking out into the interstate. Could have easily been an accident as this is a highly traveled section of I-70.

Then he simply pulled away and got off at the next exit. I was still a little in shock. Not really scared, just more in disbelief. I've had a few encounters with road rage, but nothing like this. He was intent on using his car as a weapon. It never dawned on me to call 911. Maybe I should have afterwards and reported him. I didn't get the plate number, but it was an Ohio plate. Oh well, so be it.

What's crazier is I never flip people off on the road. Occasionally, I'll give them the "you really shouldn't be allowed to operate a motor vehicle" look of admonishment. However, a couple years ago I did flip off a stretch of vehicles at the same intersection. Now that is some crazy irony. It was the entire Pitt Panthers entourage on their way to Mo-Town for the backyard brawl. They had been hogging up both lanes with a police escort. And it wasn't just one bus. It was more like 3 buses, 6 vans and a few police cruisers with their lights flashing. So I sped past with my middle finger outstretched, proudly out the window for the entire dozen or so vehicles. And I got all of them, knowing full well they'll all be taking I-79 South at the split. That's the only time I've ever been so bold as to flip off the pigs. And I must say, this momentous perching was flipping spectacular.

So I probably deserved it as everything kind of came full circle. Ahhh, the balance of life.