Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wheeling Park Easter egg hunt

For the past few years, the local Vineyard church has sponsored a rousing Easter egg hunt over at Wheeling Park.  It's a site to behold.  Children of different age brackets storm the hillside in search of valuable plastic Walmart eggs.  Total attendance is somewhere in the neighborhood of a 750 kids and 1,000 adults.

A good friend of mine (and avid Flyers fan) has a revulsion toward eggs.  He claims, "Eggs come from the ass of a chicken and have the consistency of snot.  Why would you want to eat that?"  To which I respond, "Grow the fuck up!  They're a decent source of cheap protein.  And the Flyers suck."  We've had this exact conversation about 5-6 times over the past 20 years.

Because I reside on the adjacent hill, whenever they have a live concert or utilize amplified sound, I hear it loud and clear.  The music literally cascades into my house.  Last Sunday I was greeted with an ear-screeching rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail."  Followed by a droning blast of "Testing 1, 2, 3."  What a resourceful way to ring in the holiday season.

So I jogged over and ended up running into a few friends... some old, some new.  I extended everyone the obligatory "Happy Easter" and wished them well.  You're probably thinking... "Saf, I didn't know you liked Easter."  Well, not really.  But I do enjoy the yearly public service announcements that discourage parents from buying seasonal live rabbits and giving them to their kids as festive, temporary pets.  Then of course, come Monday, the animal is left to fend for itself on the mean streets of Triadelphia.  Now THAT is something I can rally around.

Anyway, back to the Easter egg hunt.  What took me aback was the heightened level of security.  For a dwindling, decaying town of elderly fuddie duddies, there's always this overwhelming police presence.  Seriously, in a town where the vast majority of the population looks like this...

... I flat out guarantee that Wheeling, West Virginia has the highest cop:citizen ratio in the United States.  It doesn't matter where you go.  Dance Dimensions, Wheeling Nailers hockey game, The Alpha, any steak fry or charity event, Wheeling Chili Cook-off, Italian Festival... there's always this enormous police presence admittedly preparing for violent demonstrations and civil unrest.

And the police chief has this bizarre inclination to stick his men (and one token female officer) anywhere he can.  Here's a few examples...

Hardees on National Road has always been the staple location, the defining "cop hangout."  At one time, this was the busiest Hardees in the entire United States.  In the mid 90's, Wheeling's own Amy Piko entered some kind of restaurant naming contest.  I think she won first prize and was awarded a check for $1,000.  No joke.  She submitted the name "Classic Cruisin' Hardees" and the crappy fast food corporate behemoth snatched it up.  That 2 burgers, 2 fries, 2 bucks deal had to be the absolutely most disgusting cuisine bargain of the 20th century.  The chicken McNugget pink slime fiasco pales in comparison.

Local cops gravitate toward Hardees much like Cambridge/Zanesville senior citizens venture to the Wheeling Island Casino.  It's this strange compulsion/phenomenon that exists only in Ohio County, WV.  It's almost like a rite of passage.  Just like the Hindus who travel great distances to bathe in the Ganges.  Just like Muslims performing the Hajj.  Our patrolling guardians take the I-70 Oglebay Park exit to secure the blessed bacon, egg and cheese biscuit.

They also stick a cop at the Ohio County Library.  This guy's visually approaching retirement.  He's the "Ssshuuushhhh" policeman.  Rest assured, he'll back up that "shooshie shoosh" with a hostile frown and a brief tap on his sidearm or taser.  He's also in charge of whisking out the homeless and making sure teens don't access porn on the internet.  His presence... formidable.  His girth... equally substantial.   

There once was a day when you could freely walk into the city county building to settle that $2.00 parking ticket.  No more!  You must submit to a TSA style, full body scan and temporarily relinquish all keys, sunglasses, belt buckles, perfume, lip gloss... basically, anything a Macgyver imposter could transform into a makeshift Molotov cocktail. 

Shortly after 9/11, in a patriotic attempt to visibly enhance the police state and set everyone's mind at ease, the city of Wheeling acquired this monstrosity.

It's the infamous Department of Homeland Security Unified Command Center.  I don't know about you, but this thing really helps put my mind at ease.  I don't know how I was ever able to sleep at night.  It's reminiscent of that roving urban assault vehicle from the movie Stripes (1981).

I'm not sure of the price tag, but I imagine it easily exceeds a million bucks.  It's not money particularly well spent as it sits at the corner of 16th & Jacob St. in an abandoned gas station lot.  It moves from that spot about 2-3 times a year.  They trot it out as some kind of "defiant showpiece" when "needed."  You know, for something like the annual Ogden 20K distance race.  Just in case every runner decides to engage in a simultaneous human stampede and break into Wesbanco Arena a la the Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum Who concert circa 1979.    

Anyhoo, back to the Easter holiday festivities.  I thought it would be an interesting display if they brought out the "Mobile Terrorism Command Center" for the children's annual Wheeling Park Easter Egg hunt.  It could oversee the event and make sure things go according to plan.  Insuring the safety of our town's most valuable asset - our children.  Kind of like art mimicking reality... or vice-a-versa.  Think of it as an Easter offshoot.  A "resurrection" of indoctrination and societal compliance.  A real-world visual representation of the United States as it further declines into a police state.  You think I'm kidding.  I am not.  I think it would be well received by the masses. You could even hide some eggs in it.  Children could have their fingerprints taken too.  It would be a hoot.

Enough with the negativity.  Just for Easter... let's close this out with some good 'ol fashioned Eastern Ohio Chrisagii.  I couldn't find any Easter music, but I did find this Easter bunny-laden interview and related commentary.  Well... it's the best I could dig up.  It has this unusual "chinchilla" vibe.

It would appear that even the Chrisagii are not immune to local overzealous law enforcement.  Rumor has it there's some new city ordinance dealing with something referred to as "Bee Gee garb."

And now, since I've got you in the mood.  (Just like Emeril Lagasse used to say) "Let's Kick it up a Notch.  BAM!"  Here's some additional rabbit related music with bonus reindeer overtones.

Friday, March 22, 2013

billboarded in the butthole

I just saw this on facebook.

It made me think.  This story of betrayal needs to play itself out, preferably over a 4-6 week period.  I would suggest that "Michael" respond with a billboard message of his own.  Possible accusatory themes could include infidelity, parental abuse or neglect, alcohol and drug addiction, etc.  Hell, maybe the Jessica mistress could even chime in.  The back and forth would unfold like an outdoor, "limited info" Maury Povich lie detector test.  Can you even fathom the level of interest, twisted amusement/sick joy of local drivers? 

If I owned a billboard company, say Lamar for instance... and the local economy was in horrible condition.  I mean vastly worse than it is now.  To the point where billboard advertising suffered a severe, marked decline.  Well, instead of placing a bunch of those "You Ad Here" signs...

... I would shift my entire focus from business to regular people.  You've got to figure there are always some wealthy people (with expendable cash and reckless judgement) who are pissed off at their mates.  The more flamboyant the personalities, the better.  Billboard advertising could be an exceptional strategy for a lover's quarrel, particularly gay, transgendered, interracial and ones with a wide age differential. 

You always see those "Look who just turned 50!" or "So proud of our dumbshit kid that graduated from Wheeling Park High School !!!"  On second thought, perhaps the latter is a spectacular, celebratory achievement.  Some of us had to go to summer school.  But I digress.

My point is that the PRECEDENT is already there.

In the Elm Grove section of Wheeling, we had that infamous "car wash controversy."  This guy named Vincent Camastro wanted to construct a 4-bay car wash on this scalene triangle plot of Lumber Avenue.  The city denied his request.  Immediately following, someone (allegedly "connected" with the city) constructed a car wash facility on the adjacent property. 

Keep in mind, this whole brew-ha-ha erupted back in 1994.  For the love of Christ, it continues to the present day.  That's almost 2 fucking decades in the town where time stands still.   Let me put this in perspective.  Back then, there was no Arnold Palmer golf course.  The dentist office on Washington Avenue was selling tequila shots for 2 cents.  My friend, Bill Beaver was working "down by the Riverside."  Suffice to say, "time passing" in Wheeling is a notion met with absolute defiance.

Anyhoo, Camastro erected a sign in the triangulated crossfire zone.  I found a couple pics on the internet. 

The second one is a tad blurry - here's the content...

"Dear President Obama,

I need your help. The city of Wheeling is corrupt. We have corrupt city officials, corrupt courts, corrupt judges. I have been retaliated against for trying to expose this corruption. Over the years our newspaper and television stations have betrayed us by not reporting the corruption. We are told only what they want us to hear. There are two sets of laws. One for us and one for them and their friends.
Backroom deals. Judges ignore the rule of law. Our Constitution and Justice mean nothing to them. They are traitors to our country.

Mr President, you cannot beat city hall when judges protect a corrupt city. I was stopped from presenting evidence to a grand jury against corrupt city officials and ordered by a judge, who stormed in during the proceedings, to shut up or I would be arrested.

My civil rights have been violated. My rights today, yours tomorrow. Where is the FBI, where is the Department of Justice? Our Governor, Senators, and Congressmen have ignored my plea for help. They are the biggest hypocrites. They are part of the problem of corruption.

I am fighting corruption alone and I am losing. I need your help. I can't believe this is happening to me in America."
All in all, I like the message.  He states his case with passion and precision.  Though it's difficult to read the whole thing when driving by.  Over the years, it has been defaced, vandalized and I think someone once tore it down.  So he threw up a few more billboards with the identical message.  I've seen them in downtown Wheeling, Center Wheeling and Elm Grove.  Hey... let's give this guy credit for "stirring up the shit-storm" in a town that's not only scared shitless, but also, generally devoid of substantive shit.  If I was at one of those city council meetings, I would stand up and deliver a stinging filibuster...  Wheeling, shame on you.  Your stool is looser than your moral conduct.  You have no fecality!  I repeat... zero fecal fortitude!  (I'd ramble on longer than Rand Paul and/or Robert Plant).

As the car wash conspiracy approaches its 20th anniversary, it might finally be time to let the whole thing subside.  An elderly bo-toxed man once said, you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

K-Rog knows what I'm talkin' about.

Personally, I prefer the renegade billboard approach.  Does anyone recall this local fiasco from the mid 90's?  Allegedly, a bitter female ex-lover spray painted "(name omitted) RAPED MY SON" 

I won't name names on this one.

And oh yeah... she wrote it on the wall of the vacant, old Krogers (in Wheeling, we add the "s") in Woodsdale late one Saturday night.  Sure enough, the entire population was collectively mortified as they walked to St. Mike's for church that Sunday morning.  And the guy's name was insanely recognizable.  Brilliantly evil.  As if the rape insinuations weren't bad enough.  How about we throw in an extra allegation of gay child molestation?  Catholic church hierarchy - eat your heart out!

Finally, my point to all of this... as the United States ultimately joins the list of "once mighty, great civilizations in the dust bowl of world history" you'll likely see more of these billboard scenarios play themselves out.  When people realize they cannot depend on the U.S. government, they'll likely seek help from local sources.  Family, friends, neighbors, churches, gangs, etc.  Anywhere they can find utility and "resilience."  The power vacuum will trend back to the states, cities and most important, local small town communities.

I've always thought this.  That when the U.S. collapses... the mayors, city councilpersons, sheriffs, and law enforcement in general, will begin to wield an awesome amount of power.  Think in terms of Bloomberg in NYC with his recent anti-big-gulp-pop and hidden cigarettes campaigns.  Think about Rahm Emanuel.  Wouldn't conventional wisdom tell you that being the #1 cabinet adviser to the POTUS is bigger than being mayor of Chicago?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I think my sister-in-law Sandy is friends with Rahm Emanuel's brother - he's the Ari Gold character portrayed on HBO's entourage.  No kidding. 

A substantial marketing shift (from the corporate sector to the individual) in the billboard industry seems like a reasonable assumption.  I honestly believe you'll see more of this crap as people try to exert influence and harness control.  It's happening right now.  As of yet, it just hasn't reach that definitive, "boiling" point.  But we're definitely getting there.  And it's even consistent with the socioeconomic trash-movement fixation.

So this one's for my friend "Hostile Golfer."  A strong opener from the Vet.  I've said it before and I'll say it til I die, 1989 was the best year for the Dead.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Is the Maury Povich show a modern day concentration camp?

I always had a hunch that Maury Povich was Jewish.  His mannerisms, his behavior, his schnoz... to be honest, he often reminds me of myself.  So I googled him and sure enough, he's the son of Ethyl Friedman and Shirley Povich.  I find it odd when men are named Shirley.  It's that old Airplane conundrum.

Twas not a lesbian couple that created the zygotic, embryonic emperor of the daytime talk show circuit.  In fact, his father was a sportswriter for the Washington Post.  See... this just goes to show that you can learn something of exceedingly minimal value every day.

Of course Maury is known for one thing above all else.  And that's paternity tests.  We've all seen the hurling of accusations and the celebratory dance moves.  We've all witnessed the pain and sorrow... and the jubilation and exultation. 

I'd like to take a moment and focus on the people.  Because it is the sum of these individual parts that constitute "Maury's essence."  Rest assured, without all these human beings and all their intrinsically fascinating tales of good lovin' gone bad, there would not be a Maury.  No stories to be told = no Maury.  No miracle babies = no gifts from god.  And that equation would not bode well for a god fearing, Christian nation.  Cuz in the 1950's, we left it to Beaver.  But nowadays, we leave it to Maury.  And rightly so.

Saf, what the fuck are you blathering about?  And why on earth would you equate the holocaust with The Maury Show?  Incidentally, I prefer to omit the "The" from the title.  This is consistent with how he used to refer to himself (from an omniscient perspective).  He used to speak with this beaming pride... "Come to Maury Show."  Am I the only one who finds this peculiar? 

Having watched Schindler's List, we should all be cognizant that names are critical to the human experience.  I believe it was Joseph Stalin who said, "One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic."  Ironic that he would be responsible for the death of about 43 million, give or take a mil. 

Do you see what I'm inferring?  On the Maury show, there's just this endless parade of low-end humanity.  People whose sole purpose for existence is geared toward nothing but reckless procreation.  With every 7 minutes comes a new and vibrant story.  A baby momma and an alleged baby daddy.  Such is the cycle of life.  Long lists of names and corresponding social security numbers.  Don't kid yourself.  You're nothing more than a name and a number.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  You're just not as special as you or your parents think you are. 

And I know this sounds crazy, but the names bear a striking resemblance to the war torn European regions of the 1940's.  You'd think residents of a HUD development in Chicago would bear little resemblance to the names of concentration camps.  You would be mistaken.  Each forced labor camp or extermination facility had a unique name and location.  Just like Maury.

I'll steer clear of the German camps.  Instead, let's look at some of the other Eastern bloc countries.

In Lithuania, there was Volary.  On Maury, there's Unari (which is actually a divine mix of elf and unicorn, although I doubt that was the mother's intention).

In Yugoslavia there was Danica, Kruscica and Banjica.  On Maury, there's Latisha, Shianta and Rashanda.

My personal favorite - in Poland there was Schmolz.  On Maury, there was a baby named Snoog (not a joke).  What a kind gesture for a mother to name her 6th born son "Snoog."  I'm guessing she was a Snoop Dogg fan and combined the two names.  Hell, even Snoop changed his name to Snoop Lion.  He's on some kind of Jamaican Rastafarian kick these days.  Good for him.

In Estonia, there was Vavara.  In France, Tendrara.  On Maury, we have Uniqua (pronounced you-knee-kwuh) and Sheberta.  Personally, I like the name Sheberta.  Think of it as in-between course mini orange sherbet.  Maybe there's a future for some kind of sorbet at McDonalds.  If everyone were to share an entree, say 20 piece Chicken McNuggets, McRib sans bun, filet o' fish (again with no bun)... well, it loosely resembles an upscale tasting menu. 

Trust me, this goes way beyond the urban African American culture.  It extends deep into the land of the whitey.  West Virginia Northern Panhandle - I'm lookin' straight atcha. 

As I've been saying, all babies are precious.  So much so, that I named my daughter "Precious."  It could have been worse.  I almost spelled it Preshuss.  I just didn't want her to be confused with that doggie in Silence of the Lambs.

Every baby is a gift from God.  In fact, rumor has it that one infant was named "Bay-Bee."  That's right.  Just in case you're overwhelmed by the joys of parenting and forget the actual newborn status.  

I also like the new breed of names that represent states of existence.  Of course, you have the ingenious "Heaven" and backwards spelled "Neveah."  The latter is VERY popular.  Although, doesn't the name itself imply the exact opposite.  That being hell.  This does make sense, because in all likelihood, Neveah will be condemned to a hellish existence.

Treasure, Virginity, Innocence, Tolerance, Eternity and even Pubescence.  These names have more of a caucasian-trash feel.  Saffy like.  Sometimes, I physically ache for a Mulva.  Dare to dream.

Even better are the compound names... Liberty Bell and Eternal Flame are fine examples.  If you wish, feel free to throw in a hyphen (Vas-Deferens has a nice Jeffrey Dahmer-Swedish vibe).  Gang Banger has a nice ring to it.  Perfect for a thuggish, matronly adviser to the adult entertainment industry.

If you're a morbidly corpulent black woman, how about you try an apostrophe?  It will distinguish your kid from all the others.  Why go with Tanisha when you have the legal opportunity to name the child Ta'anisha?  All these new, culturally urban prefixes... La, Sha, Ja, Mo, Ka.  Perhaps the day will come when all the surnames become one.  They'll merge into a unilateral name of triumph... Lashamokita.  Sounds like a tasty caffeinated beverage served aboard public transit.

I recall this one baby on Maury.  His name was "King James."  When the customary backstage photo was displayed on the widescreen, the mother gazed proudly and stated,  "Yeah, that's my baby Murray.  That's right.  I crowned him king.  Yeah Murray."  From a Povich historical perspective, I believe this to be a shining moment.

Does anyone remember when Prince became the "Artist formerly known as the Treble Clef / Symbol of Love".

I'm surprised this never caught on.  Because if you're allowed to use an apostrophe, the possibilities are endless.  There's all kinds of symbols out there and if the current climate of parenthood is any indication, now could be the time for the "Prince trend" to reemerge.

+enta is Placenta

%iah = Percentia
% illah  = Percentilla

=itty becomes Equality

*ia is Asteriskia

/inka = Slashinka (sounds like Treblinka, a well known Polish concentration camp)

$ondra could be Cashondra

It's just a matter of time before someone latches onto this concept.  The precedent was established long ago.

How about using the infamous heart symbol?  ♥ E Stu.  That turns into one of those eccentric compound names... Hearty Stew.  As a fan of vegetables and non-kosher meats, this one has an inexplicable panache that could be attributed to a Pittsburgh Jewish yinzer fatso.  Oy-vey.  The days of "the Bubby" ended long ago.  Maybe the Jews and the blacks will soon unite.  And on that sacred day, Yarmulka will become Yummika.  Can you tell that I'm prepping a batch of matzoh ball soup for the Pens-Fleyers game tomorrow night?  Not just those mundane Jew balls.  I'm gonna throw in some chicken, celery, carrots, parsnips and an onion.  Parsnips?  Damn straight.  It will be yummika.

So Saf... what puts you at the forefront of this "unique name" movement.  You don't have any children.  For the love of Allah, you've never even changed a diaper!
But here's what you don't know.  I've already been there, done that.  Back in 2005, I NEARLY persuaded a girl from Bellaire, Ohio to name her baby girl "Chlamydia."  Can one even begin to fathom the glory?  Chlamydia from Bell-Dirty.  Perhaps one day.  One day.     

This ain't some urban legend "Lemonjello / Orangejello" bullshit myth.  Chlamydia could've been the real deal.  I was closer than the 49ers winning a 6th Superbowl.  Viva Le Steelers!