Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's lamer than going to see Foreigner?

So what is lamer than going to see Foreigner? Many asked this epic question throughout the mid 1980's. These same people also wanted to "know what love is." Only a band with the soul and passion of Foreigner could properly lay the groundwork for such a timeless inquiry.

So me and Gig made our 1st trip to First Niagara Pavilion last evening. While Hurricane Irene was pummeling the East Coast, we sympathized with the plight of those in the path of its destruction. What better a way to commiserate than going to check out this triple classic gritty rocker - Night Ranger, Foreigner and Journey. Every year, Starlake throws out a crappy trio of bands. Steppenwolf, Bad Company and Foghat would be a prime example. Either way, a bunch of old school rockers load up the 'ol Chevy Malibu and head out route 22 on their way to Boogertown, PA. My point - you know how there's that one concert that's weaker than all the others during the course of the whole summer... Yep, that's the one we chose. Sometimes it's a low end "country music round up starring Sawyer Brown." Or maybe it's one of those 80's shows. You know... something like Human League, Heart and the B 52's. Either way, it doesn't matter "who the bands are." It's just a matter of "them being the bands."

We set out around 5:30pm and got stuck in 2 separate parkway accidents. When we finally made it to the exit, traffic was way backed up. So I planned on doing the drive-past, median-turn-around and opposite-direction slide in. You'd think everyone would do this. You would be completely wrong. Instead, the roughly 400 cars opted to not even use the other turning lane. So instead of waiting the customary hour in traffic, we slid into the lot (grass section) in less than 10 minutes. Not bad.

Fortunately, me and Gig already had tix for this show. That's right. We camped out at the South Hills Kaufman's ticket outlet the entire night. They went on sale back in March 2011. Of course this is true. We made s'mores in the parking lot that night over a makeshift grill. And I regaled others in the crowd with inspirational bible stories. We bundled together in a sleeping bag and nearly froze to death. But it was worth it. The second the tickets went on sale, I proudly stepped up to the counter and chimed, "2 lawn, please!"

In reality, Gig scored 2 freebies from a roadie on a golf cart. Good seats too - ahhh, the purity of comps. Section 4 Row J. Anyway, while tailgating earlier, I asked the crew next to us, "Do you know what's lamer than going to see Foreigner?" They looked puzzled. "Nope, what's that?" they asked. I responded, "Going to see Foreigner in a limo!" Sure enough it was a harbinger of things to come.

For I would run into Daryl at the top of the steps by the main entrance. Daryl's one of my old friends from the limo driving days. And of course he had a crew from Wheeling. Out of curiosity, I asked him who he had driven up. He responded with the name of a self-deluded, narcissistic Wheelingite... in essence, the perfect limo occupant. Fucking incredible! Talk about an omen. It was if I had seen the future. Sometimes I wonder about these clairvoyant aspects. Sometimes I fear them.

I neglected to mention the size of the crowd. I was way off with my predictions. I thought it would be less than 10,000. Turns out I underestimated the WDVE fan base. Much to my chagrin, there were probably about 16,000 last night. It was a fairly disciplined crowd. A few wife beaters and some tattered jeans. Everyone looked like they had just changed their oil (begrudgingly at the 7,000 mile mark).

So yeah, we skipped Night Ranger and snagged our freebie tickets midway through Foreigner. And we missed our hometown heroes, Tongue n' Cheek who opened the show on the side stage. I'm sure they "tore it up" and "lit a fire" under Starlake's ass. Maybe they "rocked the house" or "blitzed everyone's brains out." They might have "smoked out the crowd" or "crushed the beer cans." I'm sure facebook will fill me in. These guys have never had an off night. Each concert is "even more rocking" than the last one.

Journey wasn't that bad. The bass player looked kind of stoic. He had this "I'm condemned to my fate - this is the life I have chosen" kind of gaze. The little Asian Steve Perry knock off did a pretty good job singing. Hard to tell the difference. Lead guitarist Neil Schon's permed mullet was just as ebullient as it was in 1986. Remarkable plumage. The fans seemed mixed. Some were very receptive. Others trended motionless. This crowd wasn't exactly connaisseurs of the finer things in life. Well, except for maybe the limo crew. Perhaps they had champagne and caviar. Dare to dream. A far more likely scenario, their "fearless leader" treated them to DiCarlos afterwards. Maybe he surprised them with Jagerbombs on the way home. Way to go. He is an truly an inspiration... to the uninspired.

On the way out, Gig and I snagged about 24 bags of complimentary chips. We should have just taken a few of the boxes, but opted to demonstrate a modicum of mercy on our sole Starlake voyage of the year. There still are a couple more shows. Toby Keith is hosting the "Beef jerky, it's what's for dinner" tour and this atrocious band "Avenged Sevenfold" is headlining one of those pseudo-emo-homo-goth festivals. The Avenged Sevenfold group has to be the most annoying band I've ever come across. I saw a clip of them playing on HDTV a month ago. They left me with this feeling of indescribable hostility and intolerable rage. Perhaps I'll book a limo for it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rick Perry poem

My father sent me this poem he wrote about Rick Perry.

Candidate Rick Perry

Of all the presidential candidates I’d like to bury
None comes close to Governor Rick Perry.
Unwanted pregnancies, he has clearly stated
Must never for any reason be terminated.
He doesn’t believe in the ecology or conservation.
Health coverage in Texas is the worst in the nation.
He’s very religious, though his prayers are in vain
He encourages all Texans to keep praying for rain.
“Evolution is a myth”, he states with defiance.
He puts his faith in faith and never on science.
He’s a great fund raiser, lots of corporate backing,
His speeches are inspired when Obama he’s attacking.
His foreign exposure has not been extensive
But at least his haircuts look expensive.
If you liked George Bush and voted for him twice
You should vote for Rick Perry, the hell with my advice.


As expected, the poem is a winner. Well done.
But it got me to thinking, just who's the most revolting of the Republican contenders. All are so beholden to the religious right, it sickens me. And even if they're not diehard churchies, then they feign conversion a la Gingrich. Yeah, he had a religious awakening. Sure! He's about as authentic as his wife Calissa's smile.

Bachmann thinks (or used to think) you can convert gay people. Now when asked about it, all she can say is "I am running to be the president for all Americans, both gay and straight." This is what her team calls "staying on message."

Santorum is the probably the biggest pro-lifer of them all. I think he'd probably support generous visitation rights for men who raped and managed to conceive. Not only would the woman be forced to have the baby, she would have to submit to conjugal prison visits. It's not the child's fault! The rapist has rights too.

Palin - probably don't need to go there. This blog entry is a quickie.

Herman Cain - Surely a black man stands a credible chance of being nominated. Maybe he'll select a member of the Log Cabin Republicans as his Vice Presidential nominee. What kind of delusional mushrooms are on this guy's pizza pie?

Paul - Why is it that the only sensible one comes across like he's griping and disoriented.

T-Paw - he's out. What a personality though!

which leads me to Mitt Romney. I think the Repubs should embrace this new urban nickname thang. Why not call him M-Rom??? Sounds just like Enron. I think someone might pick up on this. He's the unemployed multi-millionaire guy who never wears a tie. The crowd loves this guy on the stump... "M-Rom, M-Rom, We Want M-Rom, We Want M-Rom!"

Huntsman - why did this guy run in the first place? Honestly, he seems well-suited for high office. Why didn't someone tell him, "Hey dude, nobody knows who the fuck you are. It's just an inconvenient truth."

Chris Christie - Boy are you fat! (Jackie Gleason - I never heard the original. I saw Tony B. do an impression on The Sopranos)

Alright, needed a break. I've got other more important things to finish writing.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oliver Luck goes down on Sodexo

Alright... if I didn't weigh in on Mountaineer Field's new drinking policy, my faithful readers (about a bakers dozen) are going to assume I've passed out cold. Things will be different this year. For the first time in its storied history, Milan Puskar Stadium (doesn't that name make you cringe, it sounds like some Vulcanesque IT guy at a Star Trek convention) will be SELLING beer INSIDE the stadium. Sounds cool, huh? Well, not really.

This season, Athletic Director Oliver Suck hath decreed that WVU is joining the 21st century. So they hired this company Sodexo to handle the sale and distribution of everyone's favorite beer, Bud and Bud Light ($7.00 a beer). If you do the math, this comes out to $65 per gallon. And people are pissed off about gas prices at $3.59/gallon. And Morgantown Brewing Co. will be offering superior handcrafted suds for $9.00 per beer. I refuse to the math on that one. But now I just sound like a cheap Jew. I can say this without fear of reprisal because my mother's vagina was indeed Jewish. All this extra income will amount to somewhere between 500 lodge and 1.2 million per season. Now those are numbers I can comprehend.

And they're going to hire an additional 500 employees to handle all that demand! With an emphasis on not letting things get out of hand, they're going to meticulously train these people in the skilled arts of spotting a drunk. Hmmm, I would say, "Welcome to Morgantown. Does moonshine count?"

But what totally sucks is the end of the halftime "pass-out" ticket era. This is the proudest WVU tradition of them all. The drunken charge back to the parking lot - Slam 2 beers, down a shot of cheap whiskey and smoke a doob.

In addition, Oliver Fuck has also instituted the new "High Five Rules." This could possibly be the gayest promotion in all the Big East (even worse than the endless Panther growls at Heinz Field wrapped around the James Taylor "Sweet Caroline" anthem). Maybe Oliver Luck will contract with that internet singing sensation Rebecca Black for a special Friday night appearance vs. UConn. Have that Huskie mascot dry hump, or perhaps fur bump, the living shit out of her. She could do her bit "Gotta get down on Friday!" on the 50 yard line WV logo. Mountaineer games will be the new "place to be" (George Costanza). It's where I see all my friends. And yeah, I know, we play the fighting insurance salesman from Connecticut on a Saturday. But the thought of her fornicating with the dog...
For logistical purposes, we'll put Rebecca Black in the spotlight of the Backyard Brawl. It's in WV this year and it actually does fall on a Friday. Stick her in there with the feline, catlike creature and go with a lesbian, bestiality theme. It's a win-win.

But I digress. The new and innovative high five rules include the following:

1) No smoking (as I alluded to earlier, pass the doobie on the left hand side). And what will become of the legions of "chaw-billies?" Technically speaking, these are the overalls-wearing, smokeless tobacco spitting subset of the population who carry around their spittoon emblazoned with a WV logo. Yep, 35% are female.

2) No cursing (Even the fire and brimstone preachers could feel the heat - words like "Hell" or "Damn" could result in someone ratting you out via text alert). What will happen to the historically eloquent "Eat Shit Pitt" rallying cry? If you need security, call 304-293-FANS or text AID to 94597. I would suggest specifically flooding them with public masturbation complaints.

3) No throwing foreign objects onto the field (The Iron Sheik would be rolling over in his grave - no more sinister "loading of the boot" while the referee is distracted by Classy Freddy Blassie). I loved it when Hug-A-Bear took the mic at the Pitt game last year (2-3-10). Someone should have turned that tirade into one of those internet rap spoofs.

4) No "excessive" drinking. This begs the most obvious question, then why initiate beer sales in the first place? Can anyone other than an out-of-state college freshman girl (likely from Topeka, Kansas) actually get loaded by just consuming Bud Light draft. I believe the tolerance of West Virginians to be much higher than the national average. Note: I did not say we are tolerant. We merely have a higher tolerance.

5) And here's the best one - fans must show respect and follow the instructions of security personnel. I once saw this motorist get out of his vehicle and try to engage the traffic cop in a fist fight. And this was at 9am and we were playing a Division II team, Tallahassee State or something. He wouldn't let him go the wrong way down a one-way road or something. I'd be eager to see some of the training techniques in spotting drunken fans. Apparently, Sodexo employs "role-playing" sessions. Maybe I should get in the action.

"Listen up you inbred. You are an unfortunate by-product of an incestuous encounter! I can detect the acrid stench of incest emanating from your groin 50 yards away as I'm pissing in the mens restroom. You are urinally and fecally omniscient! I'm an atheist Jew god-damnit! You... you biblical reading, you abortion fearing... gun wielding scum. You piece of shit hunter. You kill not for sustenance, but for the sole pleasure of killing a defenseless buck, you fuck. Then, you eat at McDonalds. You... you piece of McShit! Outta my way asshole!"

In my mind, this constitutes effective role playing. Sodexo will likely want to hire me as an outside consultant. Seriously though, I would like to test the skill of an average Sodexo temp. I doubt they are truly skilled in the arts of (verbal) war. Never forget what happened to that dude in Braveheart. Longshanks threw his bitch ass out that castle window. Splat.

But alright, what are we gonna do about this new policy bullshit. I would suggest some WVU grad student construct one of those dumbass facebook pages. Call it "JUST SAY NO TO SODEXO." This is effective because...

A. It employs the weakest rhyme in the history of catchy slogans. Hey, that's all people have time for these days. We simply need to "like" things or use a predetermined "status" via status shuffle. Then, our "friends" will lavish us with praise because we were so clever. We chose to press the button that said "I'm such a hottie, I'm a naughty!!!"

B. It's an offshoot of Nancy Reagan's 1980's campaign which still to this day, has a spattering degree of "umphhh." They really need her to make a decrepit appearance at the RNC Convention this year in Tampon Bay. She's always been such an inspiration to the Michele Bachman/Sarah Palin ilk.

But here's the real purpose of the Just Say No To Sudexo facebook group - to throw down a complete boycott of the beer sales and force them to rescind their new beer policy. Here's how you do it.

A. The most obvious routine. You smuggle in your own beer. Liquor is vastly easier. You just pour it in dual ziplock bags (yellow and blue make green). Surreptitiously place the bag in the crotchetal region of your pants. Then, just go buy a coke and fill 'er up. Or I would suggest using the ol' wheel chair technique. Find an old one from Goodwill and use it on game day. Hide the beverages behind your back or on the underside. Back in the day, this was how the bootleggers used to sneak in large recording equipment. And I really like the "bootlegger" connotation considering the prevalence of moonshine in central WV.

B. Now this could be entertaining. How about flooding the security people and ushers with tampon, insulin or various emergency illness requests. They'll still let you in and out of the stadium, IF IT'S WARRANTED. This will work for me on opening day against Marshall because it's a Sunday. "Listen you bastard, I have to get to my car and find my Torah. God said I must praise the Sabbath and keep it holy. You will NOT discriminate against my Jew-ass, lest ye burn in hell." Maybe I could tell them I forgot my yarmulke. Has anyone ever walked into Mountaineer Field wearing that dumb ass shit? I might do it just for kicks. Yes, I am that sick.

C. Here's a cool one. Distribute fliers that say Sodexo financially supports a shadowy terrorist network. Have students hand these out next to the beer stands and outside the stadium. The trick is to make it convincing. Okay, maybe not the company, maybe the CEO has ties to some fringe, shadowy Pakistani movement. Don't go with the obvious Al Qaeda choice. I'll be happy to help with the content. The main goal here is to just discourage and intimidate anyone who goes up to the beer stand. This would be so fucking cool - if the stands don't produce revenue, they'll be removed next season and the Oliver Luck infidel's decision will be regarded as a national embarrassment. You know what? Come to think of it, skip the terrorist insinuation. Just say he's a big contributor to, or in bed with, the Mountaintop Mining Removal crowd. That would be far more effective. And way more credible.

D. Demand free beer. I used to do this at Starlake. You just snag a cup and go up to the stand. "Hey I don't mean to sound like a jerk but (brief pause)... but, this cop bumped into me and spilled my beer. He said, just go back to the stand and ask them for a refill. Tell them Jonathan Parker, Badge #167 said you'd give them a refill. (another brief pause) Is that cool?" Then give them a slight look of assertive despair. Make firm eye contact, but don't try to stare them down. Middle aged, male concession people are your best bet. It's easy once you get the delivery down. I did this a record 5 times at an Eagles concert at Starlake on 8-15-94 (yep, still have the ticket stub). I scalped the living fuck out that show.

The most vital aspect is to convey the following message. We are Mountaineer Fans. We are cooler and more rebellious than all other universities. When they said, "Hey, great news, we're going to sell you schmucks over-priced beer and you will gather like sheep preparing to be sodomized... WE FOUGHT BACK. We sent a stern message. We will not buy your beer. Instead, we will get drunker and louder than ever before. We will return to the couch burning era of the late 80's and early 90's. If you think that was bad, we will torch your beer stand. And we will smuggle in our own alcohol. Take your High Five Rules and methodically stick each one up your ass.

All this needs is a little coordination at the student level. I'll assist, just drop me a line. In the meantime, I'm still struggling to write something far more important. I just needed to take my mind off the heavy stuff.

One last thought. This idea could have a special place in my heart if it makes the national news. If we go 3-0 to start the season and LSU starts off 3-0, I've heard rumors that ESPN Gameday will make it's first ever televised showing in Mo-Town. This would be completely bad ass as one of MY systemic disruptions would get a national audience. I'm pretty sure we'll start 3-0. Holgorson is seeking to annihilate. This guy is not some Bill Stewart-inspired, cunt-tree bumpkin. I think we'll beat Marshall something like 37-7. Then, crush the living shit out of Norfolk State (maybe 63-10). Then come back to earth for the away game at Maryland. Maybe 34-20 or something.

LSU has a tough opener against Oregon, but they're at home. Tigers never lose in the bayou. Then, another home game against Northwestern State (I don't know exactly what the "state" version of Northwestern is). Then, a road game against Mississippi State. So LSU at WVU, night game, televised, inverted alcohol policy, etc. It all sounds about right. Plus, you get the vengeance angle from last years game.

Here's one final idea, this one being the most distasteful. I remember an internet sensation from a few years ago. It started near Pittsburgh. These kids would go through the McDonalds drive thru and purchase a McShake. After they paid for it, they'd throw it in the face of the drive thru worker while the window was still open. They'd always yell the same thing... "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" They'd film the shit and put in on youtube. It was completely insane. What if fans started lobbing beers at the Sodexo workers? Anytime someone lobs in a half-full beer, they yell "LET'S GO!" and the crowd in the background chants back "SODEXO!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Steagles preseason game, 8-18-11

Gigi and I hit the Steelers/Eagles preseason game last night. In typical fashion, we caught some Maury Povich paternity testing at 5pm. I was a little disappointed with Murree. Although it was a repeat, about half the results would be delayed until the following day. This is a game of pure Povich brinkmanship. He's trying to build you to the height of ecstasy and then magically carry you into to the weekend on some kind of "YOU ARE NOT ready for the weekend" bit. Yeah, I get it.

Gig has noticed that many of the larger women seem to wear an abundance of shiny clothes. Anything florescent or "housedressish" seems to be the wardrobe of choice. Hey, what better way to accentuate the curves on a 287 pounder. Ensconce her in a lime green moo moo! We surmised that Big Lots must have entered the fashion fray. What better way to introduce your line of apparel than teaming up with MoPo Productions. Think of it as the refurbished clothing business. For it is Maury who makes dreams come true. Whether it's putting morbidly obese babies on crash diets or transforming that nerdish high school girl into a famous porn star. Maury does it all. He's the Genghis Khan of daytime drama.

So we zipped down to the stadium. Weather was perfect, tailgating was semi-inspired. Of course it's only preseason, but it was the Eagles in town. I was expecting a little more hoopla and chicanery, but I'm always a little giddy around the stadium. Go figure. So we took our usual position. Standing on the bench outside Gate A. There were a few people with extras. Most wanted some compensation though and were willing to dine on expensive cardboard. Hey, you gotta eat it! Right?

We eventually snagged 2 freebies, but then decided to sell them for $20 a piece. Now it's about 7:45 (game starts at 8pm) and we don't have any tickets. But Gig came through and scored another 2. Kewl. As I'm finishing my wine, a couple in their 60's asks us if we have any tickets. They're allegedly in town from Charlotte and want to check out the action. They seemed pleasant, so we mutually decide to sell them for just another $40. Should have asked for way more as this couple seemed like wealthy pigeons, but I'm getting really soft in my old age. They seemed highly appreciative so we took the transaction as a gesture of good karma.

But now it's gametime and we don't have any tickets. Sure enough, Gig scores another freebie. I can't seem to get a break. Then the weirdest thing happened. This black guy asked us if we want to trade 2 for 1. I don't get it. Why would he want to give us 2 for 1? He explained his date backed out and he overheard our dilemma. How fucking cool is that? He didn't care about the seat - he just wanted to help us out. And I thought he had a scalping agenda... my WV heritage showing its true colors I suppose.

So we thank him and head in. The minute we walk through the entrance, Gig spots some money lying on the ground. She snatches it up. Ka-Plow! It's a $5.00 bill just lying there. Now we're up a grand total of $85.00 with a minimal expenditure of effort. But then, this father and his 10 year old son walk over and ask us if they have seen any money lying on the ground, "My son just lost some money!" Gig and I awkwardly freeze up for a second. Gig was just about to produce the cash and the two of them start laughing. "We saw you snag the cash off the ground. We're just messing with you!" was his reply. Then, we all busted out laughing. He was pretty convincing.

So we walked around the stadium and settled on some seats near the goal line in the corner level of the East end zone. The couple next to us was from Mt. Lebanon. The guy was originally from Belfast and had a super-thick Irish accent. He looked at me and said, "Ya can't sit here Boyo." I assumed that the seats were taken but he was actually referring to the Liverpool jersey I was wearing. The guy was just ripping on my attire. Apparently, he was a Manchester United fan. All in all, it was a pretty animated section with some 8 yr. old kid giving everyone in sight "Karate Kid (Part III) neck-chopping" massages throughout the second quarter.

We escalated up to the 500 level for the second half and ran into Bob and Missy T. They mentioned the doubleheader in Cincy in November. WVU at Cincy on Saturday / Steelers at Bungles on Sunday. Not a bad idea. I think I'll make a determination based more on the weather at crunchtime. Not as if I'd ever buy tix in advance anyway. Great concept though. I've never been to either stadium. When I think of people who know "how to roll" in Cincy, it's always about Dunkle aka The Wolf.

We left early in the 3rd period. Steelers looked good. Philly looked like my neighbor Fuckface... a pile of shit. On the way out, I found a dollar bill lying on the ground. I was in ecstasy. That brought our total winnings to $86.00. Well, minus $8.00 for a Coors Light. So I guess it was a grand total of $78.00. And we snagged an army green nap sack on the way out. We found it amidst a pile of confiscated bags.

When we got back home, Gig threw the live feed up on the computer. At the end of the game, Heinz Field was still rocking. Yep, I'd say there were a total of 1,378 out of 65,050. I'm going to check what the real attendance actually was. I'm guessing it was 61,600.

Steelers 24
Eagles 14

All in all, a fun night. Fortunately this game wasn't well-suited for an A.G.S.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alice Cooper w/ special guest Batboy (8-12-11)

Yep, me and Gig went to see one of her long time heroes last night... Alice Cooper. Last year we saw him at a minor league ballpark in Eastlake, Ohio as we were coming back from Cedar Point. And it was very cool. I googled him this morning because I was wondering how old the guy is. The answer is 63 years of age. But what's really impressive is his "tour strength." If you check out the dates, he plays tons of those monster festivals in Europe. But aside from playing for 100,000+ on several nights back to back, he comes back to the states and plays these small and midsize venues, old school theaters and modern casinos. Secondary markets like Scranton, Syracuse, Toledo, etc. I have the utmost respect for this guy because, and I know this sounds gay, he honestly cares about his fans. He's the true definition of rock and roll, even though he doesn't really sing. It's more like he's making these repeated snarling declarations with an occasional grunt or growl.

His band consists of consummate professionals. In a weird way, they reminded me of Paul McCartney's band. Totally different style but they all seem to understand their respective roles. I really dig the 1980's hollow metal drum sound. The bass player is fucking loaded with attitude. The one rhythm guitarist had this "gay biker/Rob Halford" motif which I thought was a little bit peculiar. And of course, Alice was at the top of his game. All the usual theatrics and the sound was exceptional. Stage A&E probably has the best sound of any outdoor venue I've ever been to. I can't think of any place better. It was a little bit loud, but it was one of those times when the volume level made sense. Usually it's just loud for the sake of being loud. As usual, we skipped the opening act and strolled in on the cusp of crunchtime for the opener - Gig's favorite song "Black Widow." As luck would have it, they closed with my favorite - "Elected."

Before the show, we snagged some beef pad thai and spring rolls to go with our wine and Amstel Lights. Great stuff from Nicky's Kitchen on the North Side. I highly recommend grabbing takeout from there. I know, I know, you only want to get Primanti's. Not much of a tailgating presence which I thought was kind of surprising considering it was a crowd of seasoned, veteran concertgoers. And it was refreshing to see plenty of younger kids dressed up to the hilt, adorned with face paint and spikes. But these are kids that actually love rock'n'roll, not those moronic, emo-vampirical, gothic, wannabe douchebags with their overpriced t-shirts their mom bought for them at JC Penney's. Hey, she thought it looked cool because "it's the style these days."

So we rocked it out and bolted back to Reserve township. We conked out before midnight. So much for rocking til the break of dawn. But then it happened. At 6:45 am, I awake to Gigi hysterically screaming her brains out running around the bedroom naked. She's in frantic convulsions trying to put on a nightgown. "Eric, HELP! There's a bird in the room! HELP ME!

But it's not a bird, It's a FUCKING BAT and it's flying back and forth. It nearly misses the ceiling fan. It may have gotten clipped. My first reaction was to cowardly cover myself with the blanket. I figured if the window was open, it would just fly away. Gig runs downstairs to get the cats. Maybe Tyson or Cooper will offer assistance. Nope. Their reaction was to "tuck tail and run" back to the basement. You'd think they'd at least be interested in all this ruckus. You would think wrong.

So there's a moment of brief calm as I get up. The bat has seemingly disappeared. Hopefully, it flew out the window. WRONG. I nudge the bedroom door and it's on the floor twitching around between the door and a large cushion. Gigi starts yelling for me to kill it. She runs down the stairs and grabs a broom and hands it to me. Then, she runs out of the room and shuts the door behind me!

This was my moment of truth. It's just me, BroomHilda vs. Batboy in an ill-timed bedroom brawl. I wouldn't recommend purchasing this if it ever shows up on pay-per-view. So I took the broom and mercilessly started beating the hell out of it. The bat really never stood much of a chance. I think I slammed the base of the broom (where the bristles unite to form that solid part) upon the bat about 14 times in 2.6 seconds. Each crushing blow delivered with maximum impact. The sweeping fury was executed with such force, I somehow managed to slightly dislocate my left thumb. But hey, it was a major adrenalin rush and I wasn't leaving anything to chance. Following the bat beat, beat bash, broom down, there was a small puddle of blood which stained the carpet.

Comparisons have already been made to the Navy Seals night time commando raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottobad. Would I wrap up the remains of batboy in a ceremonial shroud, bow my head in a gesture of respect, say the appropriate prayer and dump him in the Allegheny? Nope. I broomed him into a cardboard box and Gig skiddishly threw a tall kitchen bag around it. Then, it was temporarily taken to the basement. About 10 minutes later, she grabbed the bag and said she was going to throw it in the WPXI dumpster. As for the stained carpet, the flood of blood was treated with a heavy dose of Renuzit or the OxyClean stuff.

All the meanwhile, I had a pretty bad hangover. My headache got much worse when I got back home. So I went to Riesbeck's and bought a container of "Our Family" Ibuprofen. I gulped down 3 pills and walked around the parking lot a few times in a complete daze. I resembled something like a disheveled zombie. It got me to thinking about all the weird coincidences of last night/this morning.

A. All the blood, guts and gore from the Alice Cooper concert
B. The irony that they've been filming the new Batman movie all over Pittsburgh and it's constant coverage on the news.
C. I felt like and resembled one of those zombies from the show last night.
D. One of my all-time favorite scenes from The Office was when Dwight went after the bat and traps it inside a garbage bag along with Meredith's head. Her shrieking reminded of Gigi's screams. Dwight's heroism somewhat mirrored my own.

As if the bat every stood a chance. It was much like Munich, with the Jews doing the asskicking. That anti-semitic Hezbollah winged bat should have thought twice before he declared war on a hungover West Virginian atheist Jew.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wheeling phenomena

Yesterday I read an old note on the facebook page of this guy Larry C. He shares an ignominious distinction. He's probably the closest approximation to an Ohio version of myself. He generally shares my "take" on East Ohio and Northern WV. But he resides on the other side of the Ohio River. He spoke of "the way of things" in East Ohio and made a list of 15 observations. He took more of the obvious stuff - DiCarlos Pizza, wings, excessive tattoos & piercings, Jamboree, the weather, Ford vs. Chevy debate via Calvin urinating on one or the other, etc.

So in keeping with that same spirit, here are some Wheeling area anecdotes and observations...

1) Whenever a new restaurant opens up, everyone must be there for the grand opening. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. It's imperative that you be the first one to experience this epic new cuisine. The waiting line loops around the building. The parking lot is exceeding capacity, but it's now or never. The irony is that it's always one of those chain restaurants - usually a Red Lobster, Olive Garden or Applebees (I believe their spokesperson used to be John Corbett).

And another aside along these same lines... Why is it that when locals travel outside the area, say Chicago or Philadelphia... When they select a restaurant, it's usually that same type of mid-range establishment (Olive Garden or Chi Chi's). We came all the way to Indianapolis for the Indy 500... so naturally, we decided to hit up Cracker Barrel.

2) Having severe problems with non-traffic related issues. If you're from Wheeling, you find it unacceptable or very disconcerting to go through an additional rotation of green/yellow/red light. How on earth could this have happened? Why was I stuck at the stoplight for a full extra cycle? There must be a reason and I want answers! Something doesn't make sense. There must be a problem with the electrical or maybe it's the Department of Highways fault. Or maybe people around here just don't know how to drive. Something has gone horribly wrong. And I will voice my complaints about this particular traffic light to all my friends at church bingo. After all, they dealt with this same atrocity/traffic injustice on the way here.

3) A fascination with all things Texas, despite never having been there. Northern panhandle residents are obsessed with the state of Texas for reasons unknown.

A. They must name their male children after cities in Texas (Austin, Tyler, Dallas or Houston) or even worse, a combination of those aforementioned names.

B. They must dine at any Texas themed "Roadhouse" restaurant which offer "humongous" portions. And they revel in the novelty of discarding peanut shells on the floor. For some reason, this excites the locals to no end. They also enjoy it when the waitress introduces herself and writes her name on the paper towel using a crayon. No matter how many times it happens, it's always a seemingly unique jubilant experience. Forgive the poor service. It's okay. Our waitress was busy with the other employees... line dancing the night away.

C. And some must express their die hard love and support for the Dallas Cowboys, usually because they have issues with a Steelers fan, likely a close relative. It's how they secretly manifest their disgust for cousin Billy, not because he slept with my wife... it's because he likes dem Stillers. The odd thing about all this - they've never been to Texas and don't know a soul that even lives there. Most likely the farthest West they've ever been is Indy (you know, for the big race).

D. And of course the cowboy hat wearing phenomenon exhibited during mid-July at Jamboree in the Hills. Other than this one week, the hat stays in the closet year round.

4) There seems to be this odd fascination with bad 90's music. It doesn't matter the band. Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms, Collective Soul, the band that plays that atrocious "It's good, good, good, good" song. As long as the lyrics are bad, and the song is overplayed and the melody is something you can annoyingly hum in a long line at Krogers. And the other prerequisite, local cougars must aggressively charge the dance floor. This is their time to shine. It is their American Idol moment, a moment of hedonism. They will bask in the glow of Friday night as their ex has the kids for the weekend.

5) The greatest game in the world is... Cornhole. We refuse to call it by its other name... Beanbag Toss. Only southwestern PA folk use that terminology. In these parts, it's Cornhole. Most locals believe this game to be worthy of Olympic status. And they take tremendous care in hand-crafting and designing the wooden boards. One is WVU, the other usually says "SHIT" cleverly disguised as the PITT logo. That's some down-home creativity.

6) The ultimate honeymoon destination of choice is a Caribbean resort, preferably Aruba or for the more flamboyant newlyweds... Jamaica. And we will not leave the confines of the hotel. It's far too dangerous. Women are routinely raped by the locals. Men are fearful of being sodomized. It's strictly airport > hotel room > hotel bar > hotel beachfront and back to the airport. We had such a wonderful time despite the fact that we never ventured from this 1/4 square mile vacation hot spot. Our only experience with the local culture was getting ripped off by the cab driver on the way back to the airport.

7) We must let the world know (usually via facebook) if we venture outside the confines of Wheeling. Any trip to Pittsburgh or Columbus is deemed newsworthy. For some reason, it usually involves a trip to Ikea or Kennywood and a sandwich at Primanti's. God forbid you go to Cedar Point or board an airplane. All must be immediately notified of your heroic journey. You have indeed achieved the status of world traveler. Let no one doubt your brazen spirit and vehicular navigation skills. You survived the big city and lived to tell about it.

8) Ahh, the Festival of Lights. Despite the fact that this ordeal runs nonstop for 6 months, there are only 2 viable options, you must go the night before Thanksgiving or the night before Christmas. Sure enough, this coincides with the only time traffic is backed all the way into the Wheeling Tunnel. But you must load up the Dodge Minivan with all the children and relatives. You must embrace the spirit of the season. It takes you 5 hours to get through the whole display, but it was well worth it. The florescent, blinking nose of Rudolph alone was well worth the $20 suggested donation. In retrospect, you were admittedly too eager to impress your out-of-town relatives with your charitable generosity, supporting the noble holiday efforts of the Oglebay Park Commission.

9) All John Corbett sightings must be spoken of immediately via every communication device (payphone, text, internet, make a sign and stand on the corner). It is more than your duty. It is a moral obligation. Everyone must know that I saw this famous Wheelingite at Exxon or the Alpha. I must know that he purchased a bag of Munchos or was drinking an Amstel Light. And I must tell every living soul. Rest assured, we will all sleep well tonight after having been sufficiently briefed on all that is Corbett.

10) There must always be an incessant number of reoccurring DUI Checkpoints at every hundreth block on National Road. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday... Fulton, Woodsdale, Elm Grove, Tri-Dirty... 7-12am, 8-1am, 10-3am... Does it really matter? Oddly enough, no one has ever been caught in one of these valiant sting operations. But it's the goal of every resident to spread fear and paranoia. It's some kind of anti-DUI-awareness, anti-cop-awareness campaign. And the best part... if you wish, an alternative route will be provided. But your decision to take it results in getting pulled over by some "alternate-universe, rogue, cleverly hidden" cop car . If you hadn't been scared shitless, they would have just waived you on through.

11) It's the obligation of any local dee jay or musician to play as loudly as humanly possible. If the people in attendance are not screaming at the top of their lungs, you have failed to provide an enjoyable atmosphere. When your head hits the pillow, if your ears are not ringing, the entertainment has been an abysmal, abject failure. We the locals need it amplified to the next level. I love it loud. Which brings me to the irony of #12...

12) We must sit in complete silence on our front porches and... just stare. Chain smoking cigarettes is widely encouraged. And it's also permissible to drink cheap, domestic canned beer. But of the utmost importance... ABSOLUTELY NO TALKING (with 2 minor exceptions... if a family member has been charged with a felony or misdemeanor and/or a family member just discovered she's pregnant or has decided to file for divorce).

13) There seems to be an unusual per capita number of weirdos with gaping holes in their earlobes. Yes, tattoos and piercings were part of the last forgotten Bush/Cheney decade. We need more youth with frisbee-sized disc openings in the ears. It's a matter of great pride and distinction. The bigger the hole, the more superior your act of rebellion. Do not bother expressing yourself through athletics or academics. Earlobe hole girth is all that matters.

14) When devising plans for a picnic lunch or park outing, quantity is of paramount importance. Variety is scoffed at. Why grill chicken or fish? It's all about the amount. We need MORE burgers, MORE hot dogs, MORE macaroni salad, MORE cheesy poofs. This will make it intrinsically better. We will never run out of average picnic food. This will make it a great day. We will have an endless supply of food. And this will make it much more fun.

15) We must wrap our entire identity around a specific brand of domestic beer. Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Rolling Rock and... drumroll please... the newest other possibility is now Yuengling. We have waited so long for the Yuengling to cometh.  And now it hath arrived. Choose from only these selections, lest ye be labeled as a "fag beer" drinker.

Honorable mention: You must play the gambling machines in the back of the bar. The enclosed, smoke filled room will not be a deterrent. You must feed your social security check into the machine. Cherry, lemon, orange, starfuit, mango... these colorful representations of fruit are a source of inspiration. Ricky's college fund will be secure. The $5.00 bill I inserted will magically turn into $362.00. Then I cash-out at $80.00. And I will buy the entire bar Jagerbombs and be regarded as a hero. Little Ricky's educational dreams will take a backseat, until my triumphant return (tomorrow evening).

Sunday, August 07, 2011

2011 Debbie Green 5K... the Welling Smelling

I think I've ran the past four Debbie Green 5K's. This year the course was a little different. Some light uphill action during the first mile and then it flattened out. The humidity was pretty rough, but I did the thing in 26:46 (8:38/mile pace). I'm relatively content with that.

First, let me praise the people who put this thing on. They do a tremendous job. People have absolutely no idea how difficult it is to coordinate all the logistics. I checked out the website, the coverage on WTRF and WTOV and of course I read the article from this morning's Wheeling Intelligencer. They seemed to focus on the "sights" and "sounds" of the race. I'm going to take this opportunity to focus on the "smells." I've often heard the term "Wheeling Feeling." I will now introduce a a new term which is unlikely to gain traction. Let's drop the "h" and the "e" and add an "l"... whaddayaget??? The "Welling Smelling."

Just before the start I opted to line up in the front, just off to the right. Last time I got caught up in some flailing walkers and nearly tripped over a bunch of kids who decide to engage in an all out sprint for the first 1/4 mile. This yearly problem could easily be averted if you stagger the people into 3 separate groups. Runners, competitive walkers and then walkers. Regardless, it was pretty congested near the start line. A slight hint of B.O. wafted through the crowd. I'd define this particular scent as "elderly shirtless male with a slight hint of armpit and sternum."

So we rounded through the maze of the Wheeling business district (mostly parking lots and law offices). As we passed the police station, I could detect the faint smell of pork. Yeah I know... the pig reference is kind of weak, but I represent the only race entrant with the following perspective... strict kosher, self-hating, devout atheist, circumcised Jew.

As we ran up Chapline St., I detected a slight hint of cheap beer emanating from the breath of a flabby man seated on an apartment stoop. Somehow he was able to force feed himself a bag of Cheetos while simultaneously clutching a 7/11 Monster Gulp of Mountain Dew. As he launched into a spattering of errant applause, I witnessed actual particles of orange dust floating near his face. Each micron of artificial snack dust appeared timelessly suspended in mid-air, somehow in defiance of the laws of conventional gravity.

As we began the brief downhill descent onto Main street, I could see the Wheeling Intelligencer building in my sights. As I approached the Nutting fortress... KABOOM, it hit me. The first encounter with belligerent sewage. This one's the rough equivalent of the scent found in Morristown, Ohio on the final day of Jamboreee in the Hills. Yes, it's commonly referred to as the "acrid stench of incest" - shit, beer, piss, vomit, with just the slightest hint of tampon. It crushes you with this take no prisoners attitude. It begs the following question... What did the repeated homosexual prison rapes of Andy Dufrane in the Shawshank Redemption actually smell like? Well... look no further than the main entrance to the Wheeling Intelligencer.

As we ventured into Center Wheeling, I could see the 2 mile marker. We passed through the central market area and I smelled the notorious "Coleman's Alley." It's that tiny midway alley where the fish market employees travel back and forth. Hauling massive buckets filled with batter, these hair-netted women are metaphorically forced to "walk the plank." As the Pittsburgh Pirates descend into a potential 10 game losing streak, the best I can stammer is a lifeless "arrrggghhh." This scent reminds me of "the bottom of leaky kitchen trash can." Yes, inexpensive tall kitchen bag has failed yet again. It was only meant to serve as a trash bag for the discarded junk mail in a business office wastepaper basket. But some evil marketing executive decided to up the ante. Hence, it's improperly labeled as a "tall kitchen bag." And it desperately needs hosed out. At the bottom of the trash can is a combination of mildew, raw meat fat, dead insect and Ken's Ranch dressing surrounded by a tiny puddle of congealed merlot.

By now, I'm working up a good sweat. My shirt is soaked and I'm admittedly compounding this olfactory dilemma. As I round the corner by Lowes, I think I've died and gone to Jew heaven. I can finally see the light. It's glimmering in the distance. But alas! Lo and behold! It ain't Jesus Christ who wants to take my hand. Instead it's the Wheeling Sewage Treatment Plant and they want to take my shit! Yes, I've seen Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and his river of chocolate. But this is Wheeling and our blessed river consists of poop, sludge, murky diarrhea and Chesapeake Energy fracking chemicals. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's good and there's not good. This is not good. It's reminiscent of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, where a million Muslims discard all their worldly possession (specifically deodorant, which the application of seems historically frowned upon by Muslims and Hindus for reasons I will never be able to accurately codify or quantify) and travel to the holy Temple Mount. This is where the stampedes take place. A thousand or so of the world's holiest, wealthiest Muslims, seeking eternal peace, calm and tranquility. Instead, they end up in twisted piles of human wreckage, the result of severe compression and crush asphyxiation. The lucky ones are trampled to death. Alright, this is getting a bit severe. I should probably tone it down. But hey, it's the internet, right? I've seen and read stuff that's far worse. Probably not from a Wheeling Feeling perspective though. Unless it's that "Wrath" buffoon who always posts on the Intelligencer website. To be honest, some of his comments are meaningful. I just can't stand the "to the far right of Palin" ideological take.

Suddenly, a group of hookers emerge from an alley near the remains of the My Club. They reek of inexpensive perfume and cheap vodka. Nope, not Popov. It originates from the shelf below. It's just a generic bottle named "Vodka Alcohol." Their youthful pimp smells like Mexican dirt weed. He casually glances at me without making eye contact. He points at his squadron of crack whores and nonchalantly says, "Hey man, you want some of this? Ten for a hand job, twenty for a blow. Can't BEAT 'dem prices on a Saturday night."

Alright! I've finished the race and gulp down an ice cold water and refreshing Pepsi. I'm exhausted yet satisfied. I zip to my car and grab a fresh shirt. I'm heading into the Wheeling Civic Center for some grub, compliments of Undo's and Dominos Pizza. They did a fantastic job with the set-up and execution. The lines were long, but they flowed effortlessly. But it was the final stench that took me aback. I was unprepared for something I'd call "Frigid B.O." I think they turned the thermostat to maximum Celsius aka the never-before utilized setting of "Top of Mt. Everest." It was like 2,000 human flavored perspiration popsicles. It did feel good though. It just didn't smell that great. Not sure how this problem could be addressed, unless you force everyone to strip down and hose them off with a soapy brush... You know, like the "smell Gestapo" in that episode of Seinfeld when everyone ends up smelling like B.O. from the valet parker. It wasn't B.O. It was B.B.O. It was Beyond B.O.

So I gather my plate of food and "Sherpa Saffy" makes his final journey... the steps of Wesbanco Arena (for some reason I think it's amusing they bought the naming rights). I wanted it to be the Wheeling Intelligencer, but I suspect it wasn't part of their business model. I just like the idea of saying, "Hey, let's go catch a Nailers game at "The Wheeling Intelligencer & The Wheeling New Register Arena!" Reminds me of the HSBC Arena in Buffalo. If you didn't already know, that one stands for "Hong Kong Shanghai Bank of China Arena." Kudos on the acquisition of those naming rights. I'm sure your company made out on that one. Banks these days are such noble, venerable institutions.

Regardless, it was a great race. Great cause. Fantastic job. I just wanted to offer my unusual take. Will I run it next year? Of course! I like the course!