Saturday, May 25, 2013

thoughts on the Ogden Half-Marathon (Wheeling, WV - 2013)

This morning I ran the annual Ogden race (not the 20K, just the measly 5K).  Time was around 27 minutes.  About a minute slower than usual.  No big deal.

Of course I jogged the race "bandit" style.  For all you newbies out there, I suggest you read the FAQ.  Being a "race bandit" means you don't pay the entrance fee.  You just show up and run the damn thing.  Do not fret.  I don't engage in this behavior if the race is for a charitable cause, which most are.  But when the proceeds go to the Wheeling Jesuit University pedophile priest Catholic defense fund or something of that ilk... call me crazy, but I don't wish to contribute.

Sorry if this sounds as though I'm impugning the Nutting family (primary race sponsors with an estimated net worth exceeding 1 billion).  I just don't think they need my $30.  More on this later.

Anyway, I parked up near WVNCC and headed down to the starting point by the Intelligencia headquarters.  The first thing I noticed was the "safe zone."  Legions of Wheeling police, firefighters and the addition of ubiquitous McKeen Security guards.  Their collective duty was to protect the integrity of 14th Main and Market Streets no matter what the cost.  Safeguard that stank area (it always smells like a sewer), if necessary... with their lives.  Be on the lookout for baby strollers, knapsacks, purses and briefcases.  You don't see many briefcases on a Saturday morning.  But hey, I've got news for you.  Has anyone ever heard of a suitcase nuke?  Yep, all these precautionary measures are necessary because... Well... what if ???   

What if Moondog was to cast a suspicious, prolonged stare?
What if someone tampered with the Domino's Pizza portable heating units?
What if the Kenyan who won the race was related to a Nigerian leader of the anti-Chevron group MEND  (movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta)?  You see... he could be part of some Central African sleeper cell.  Those guys have especially deep cover because they run a lot and consequently don't get much sleep.

I could be admittedly naive when it comes to all this increased security.  These guys seem like they know what they're doing. 

Obviously, they have an unquestionable commitment to public safety.  And that commitment shalt not be challenged nor scrutinized.  To do so would demonstrate a marked lack of patriotism.

Like I was saying, maybe I'm not the keenest observer.  Maybe I don't know shit about the inner workings of the impenetrable safe-zone.  But it seemed to me like everyone was just standing around chit-chatting.  I began to contemplate the matter further... you can't have a "safe zone" without the word "safe."  And you cannot truly be "safe" without the word "saf."  At this precise moment I made a critical decision - that if I were to see a woman who "might" appear "supposedly" 7-8 months pregnant... that she was likely fetus-faking.  In reality, she was probably hiding some kind of homemade gunt-bomb.  If and when I saw a woman fitting this description, it would be necessary to tackle her to the asphalt and cry out for the nearest authorities (perhaps the FBI agent assigned to guarding the row of port-a-jons - the Wheeling field office bureau calls it "crapper-trapper death row").  Hey, we've all got to do our part.  Even though female gunt-bombers are the exception in the Ohio Valley, not the rule.  Still, better off safe than sorry.

A canine unit 4-legged police officer drug/bomb sniffing dog was the main attraction.  And boy, that German Shepherd was barking incessantly.  He almost seemed to steal the show from the master of ceremonies.  There's nothing wiser than bringing out the police dogs... because we all know that something horrible is bound to happen.  It could be at the Chili-cook off.  It might be the Italian Festival.  Whatever the occasion, just be sure to "release the hounds" ahead of time.

The safe zone had a problem - some of the orange plastic fencing was sagging.  It may have been stepped on.  And some of the barrels and barricades had been moved slightly so observers could get a better view of the race.  Suffice to say, all the bizarro, warped security procedures enacted for "the dangerous 48 hour looming threat period" had to suddenly take a back seat because Edna from Benwood wanted a hot cup of joe and Cassie from Beech Bottom felt the need to photobomb a group pic of the Iron-Men.* 

Need I remind you that EVIL is lurking.  And just who might commit these heinous acts?  Well, the evil-doers of course.  Makes sense I suppose (from the perspective of an 87 year old woman, knitting a blanket, watching reruns of Falcon Crest, who has lived her entire life in Triadelphia).

We all must do our part to stop the EVIL.  And how do you prevent this evil?  Well, the only way I can surmise is to be extra-hyper-super vigilant.  It's the main reason I yell at people who are smoking cigarettes when they fill up their gas tanks.  Their secret plan is to blow up the Elm Grove Citgo - they call themselves the NWTSB (nicotine white trash suicide bombers).  First they pump 5 bucks.  Then they eat the Slim Jim.  Then, it's time to martyr yourself and cry-out Honey Boo-Boo (allah-akbar style). 

After an unusually ear-piercing national anthem AND the traditional non-secular prayer for everyone's safety including a reference to the inevitable return of Jesus Christ, we heard a loud bang.  But twas no ordinary cap gun.  This thing went...


It sounded a little like a Daisycutter bomb being dropped in Afghanistan.  Kind of ironic if you take into consideration the entire line of reasoning behind all the heightened security (Boston tragedy).

After finishing the race, I sensed a rare opportunity - to speak with a professional sports owner about the outdated status of stadium emergency evacuation protocol.  I approached Bob Nutting (Pirates owner), introduced myself and gave him a 5 minute overview of my concerns regarding the artificially generated stampede.  He was incredibly receptive and offered some observations about the recent Associated Press Twitter hack as well as some all-encompassing thoughts from a recent owners meeting.

I must say - the guy was so pleasant and unbecoming... I began to feel a slight sense of guilt for past occasions when I've lambasted the Buccos organization.  Specifically this flier I constructed and handed out a couple years ago...

But hey, you gotta have thick skin if you're a pro sports owner.  I'm sure he realizes this.  It's all part of the game.  Fans have a right to "boo" now, don't they?

Regardless, I told him I'd be in touch.  So I sent him an email just before I wrote this blog entry.  But it bounced back as undeliverable.  So I printed it out and will drop it in an old-school mail box this afternoon.

Mr. Nutting,

I had difficulty sending you an email - it bounced back undeliverable.

Thanks for taking a moment to speak with me the morning of the Ogden race.  I hope I didn't take you aback.  The content of the conversation requires an extreme degree of forwardness and I often talk too fast and try to cram in excessive details. 

My concerns about the "artificially generated stampede" revolve mostly around NFL and NCAA division I stadiums, but I'm sure you'd agree that the essence of the issue is a very generic one.  It will inevitably apply to baseball stadiums, race tracks, arena events, really any large gatherings in confined spaces.  Simply stated, the solution needs to be PROACTIVE, not reactive.  And further complicating the matter, mitigation is not an effective strategy.

You asked me about my perspective "or angle" regarding stadium emergency evacuation protocol.  The answer to that question might surprise you but it requires a real explanation.  I've spent over 2 years delving into this issue and have acquired a great deal of information that lies "under the radar."  I'd be honored to share my findings.

I've generally come to the conclusion that the answers I seek will not be found in the Wheeling/Pittsburgh area.  But then again, I've been surprised a few times during this journey. 

If you wish, I'd enjoy the opportunity of taking you to lunch and discussing the matter further.  But I'll leave this entirely in your hands.  It's a challenging issue to resolve and I don't wish to be a nuisance.


Eric Saferstein
Wheeling, WV


PS - I also have an unorthodox promotional idea for the Pirates organization, something that could bolster the spirit of the city and coincide with a pennant run after the all-star break.

I'm curious to see if he responds. Will he contact me or will my concerns be disregarded?  Any predictions?

Well... I'm off to Weirton to meet up with Gigi and our Raleigh friends.  Remember, it's Memorial Day weekend.  Be safe out there.  Aside from the seat belt checkpoints, drug checkpoints and DUI checkpoints, I think it's finally time for the Wheeling PD to step up their game.  I would humbly suggest bomb and IED checkpoints.  You could stagger them once a week outside the Alpha and Tony and Cleo's.  With all that EVIL lurking, this seems like a reasonable course of action.

 * - The Iron-Men is a group of about 20 old guys that have run every Wheeling distance race. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to END universal high school drug testing

When describing the war on drugs, you often hear the following two words.  Abject failure.  That's the consensus opinion assigned to the United States federal government and their never-ending obsession with narcotics. 

I'm not interested in debating the pros and cons of "illegal" drug use.  It all depends on how you view the issue.  From the perspective of public safety and prison overcrowding?  From the personal standpoint of someone who lost a family member to the perils of addiction?  Maybe you're concerned about U.S. border enforcement and weighing the benchmarks of supply and demand.  Maybe you think possession of more than 2 pounds of marijuana deserves the death penalty.  Like I said, I'm not interested in those discussions.

Here's what I'm thinking about.  We've seen an enormous uptick in public high school drug testing.  Most of it stems from a desire to participate in athletics or extracurricular activities.  Ohhh, you want to play football???  Well that's super fantastic... but we'll NEED a urine sample to make sure you conform to the community and the school board's expectations of what constitutes a fine, upstanding young man or woman.

Okay I get it.  But the testing has become way more prevalent because anytime you introduce $$$ into the equation, you can pretty much guarantee that any moral objections will be quickly silenced.  After all, there's money to be made god-damnit!  And in many high schools, it's evolving beyond sports.  You want to join the Chess Club... give us your piss.  You want to bake some special brownies for Home Ec... marijuana better not be one of the ingredients.  Driver's Ed??? You gotta piss before you buckle up.

The problem with universal drug testing is not only its draconian nature, it's also the application.  Who will be tested and under what circumstances.  Why shouldn't every member of the United States Congress have to submit to random drug testing?  They write the drug laws.  Shouldn't the same standard apply to them.   Hey, maybe some of them could volunteer and try to lead by example.  Personally, I like the idea of Mitch McConnell pissing in a little Dixie cup.  It makes me happy for reasons I cannot adequately codify or quantify.  What about Sonya Sotomayer?  I'd like to become more familiar with the content of her Latino urine.  How about the Big O?  Shouldn't he be tested after having retroactively confessed to smoking pot, snorting blow and who knows what else.  Isn't the president supposed to lead by example?

I'm starting to go off topic a little.  So let me lay it on the line...
Drug testing has become such an intrinsically volatile issue because it involves fundamental human rights.  After all, why should kids be coerced, and in some cases required, to submit to these hair follicle and urine tests.

I think what's needed here is one of those epic, shining youtube moments that goes viral and reshapes the entire debate.  I say that if you want our urine, we're gonna give it to you.

So here's the deal, here's my idea, picture this.  On a Friday night in Galveston, Texas, the local high school football team is charging onto the field for the big game.  That crappy "Let's get it Started" song is playing over the pa.  For some reason, the game's a huge rivalry.  Everyone in town is gonna be there.  All the football players form a straight line, remove their helmets, place their hands over their hearts... just as the glee club strikes the opening chord of the national anthem.

Ohh say can you see, by the dawn's early light...

At this defining moment in time, all the football players whip out their dicks and simultaneously start pissing on the field... DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.  How's that for some pregame footage?  Can you fathom the complete outrage, disgust and disbelief?  Fox News producers would experience multiple coronaries.

If you decide to kick it up an extra notch, how about adding an additional element of Roseanne-ittude Barr into the equation.

Afterwards, have the quarterback issue the following statement.  "Well, they kept insisting on having our urine.  So we decided they can have it!"  It's simplicity at its finest.  Give 'em what they want.  What a brutal video this would be - guaranteed to reek chaos and instantly spark a national debate.

What a slap in the face to every veteran who has ever served.  Or is it?  Could this be the modern day equivalent of the signing of the Declaration of Independence?  I can't say for certain, but I think John Hancock would approve.  He does have the word "cock" in his last name.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Maybe other high school and college kids would follow their lead.  Who knows, maybe even the pros? 

The problem would be finding a true leader within a team of sports-indoctrinated young males.  And it would take an enormous abundance of collective courage.  Like the Scots led by William Wallace.

In the aftermath, I think it would be very difficult for a high school to collectively discipline ALL of the kids.  Strength in numbers is always where it's at.  The kids could refuse to play until drug testing policy is rescinded.  The school could be forced to consider halting the season or eliminating the entire program.  I'm sure the town folk wouldn't be too hip with that prospect.  Public sentiment would soon turn against the school board.  That's how you win the an argument against mandatory drug testing- you shift the debate.  Instead of hating on the depraved high school kids, you malign the bureaucratic school board that has to interfere with our children's personal lives.  How dare that hoity-toity board of governance superimpose their authority and define precisely what constitutes being a good parent?  Aren't you completely sick of the nanny-state U.S. federal government?  I know I am.

Come to think of it.  Maybe it should be Steubenville's Big Red team.  Hell, they've already got a stellar reputation for gang rape.  Mass public urination would seem to be a step in a kinder, gentler direction... instead of this >>>

If anyone wants to run with the scenario I outlined, you can take all the credit.  I don't mind.  But if anyone uses the name "Francis Scott Pee"...  well, that's where I draw the line.  That shit is mine.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

poly-spam or polyspam

I still get a slew of emails from Barack Obama and his team.  I even get the occasional one from Mitt Romney.  Maybe it's just me, but could there be anything worse than a guy worth about a half billion asking you to make a $10 donation to the remnants of his political campaign?  Political spam is an art form in its own right.    

But lately, my sonofsaf blog has been on the receiving end of what I originally thought was "low-end" spam.  I get a lot of these annoyingly bizarre, broken-English, declarative statements.   The first time you read them, you're likely to think they're just poorly written, commercially unsound marketing blather. 

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Engaging a personal an accident lawyer seems per difficult task, nevertheless it is not.
That will agreement an agreeable and as well as cordial client-lawyer bond.

Look into my blog :: agencja detektywistyczna
1:53 AM

"That will agreement an aggreable and as well as" - Seriously, a phrase like that could not have been written by accident.  It's intentionally designed to annoy and frustrate the reader.  It's specifically created to convey a sense of irritation.  Logically speaking, if I read a continued refrain of comments like that, I would generally tend to steer clear of a particular blog.

This is where it gets kind of interesting.

I'm not trying to sound paranoid or come across as an egomaniac, but if I wanted to make a blogger appear non-credible, this is a tactic I would use.  I would never engage them about content (agreeing or disagreeing) - instead, I would throw their blog to the wolves (in this case it's the "automated bot hounds.")  These comments strike me as a far worse fate than the repeated Viagra or mortgage refinance offers.    
Here's another...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dust mounds and rock n roll piles may as well indicate the attendance
of a cesspool. Design it ( space and then begin, step by
walk to live this task.

Here is my web-site ... ochrona obiektów lublin
12:33 PM

Notice the strange sounding Ukrainian, Eastern bloc name or website.  And as is customary, the purposely incoherent, frustratingly crafted message.  If you click on the links, it usually takes you to where Borat hailed from (Kazakhstan) or some former subdivision of the Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...
I've disagree that a good dog can and not enjoy a the hour training night. What should you do if you along with the decision brewer?

Anonymous said...
Look, can you try to ask any more using this eye drop solution?
Many insurance companies offer supplemental health insurance policies for Medicare.

 Anonymous said...
When needed, reflective coating in many cases can
also be had been given. Check the items periodically and never blend it
with other rusted pieces of art.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Each offers a major unique, historical attract and plenty
for things to see and do.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It is better to put a backyard dog pen on a surface that copies your pet's lavatory area. Why these are biodegradable and cause no deterioration to the the harmony of nature.

These above spam comments are all taken from my most recent entry about Bengazi.
Every statement is this annoying gibberish designed to steal or divert your attention away from engaging in a meaningful comment section.  Once again, these messages have no legitimate commercial value. 

Here's my point - if the United States government had a problem with someone expressing his/her First Amendment rights in the content of a blog, I strongly suspect they would sign you up for a hefty dose of this new brand of spam.  I've even given it a name - "poly-spam."

Go Pens - Game 4 tonight.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thoughts on Bengazi and the evolution of future political scandal

I don't think I've ever chimed in on Bengazi.  I carefully watched the news, or lack thereof, as the 2012 Obama/Romney election unfolded.  I knew the same thing back then.  It has become more apparent these days.  There was so much more to this than meets the eye. 

Fox News did its best to bring Bengazi to the forefront.  But I think they focused on the wrong aspect of the "intentional cover-up."  How Ambassador Susan Rice purposely obscured the facts and blamed the attacks on cartoon depictions of Allah.  They kept churning away about how it was certainly an act of terrorism, but the Obama administration is afraid to use the words "Muslim" and "terrorist" in the same sentence.  They wish to treat everything as a criminal matter.  At the time, the Fox narrative was atrociously limited (to its eventual detriment).  They kept blathering about the Trump's birther nonsense and Obama's secret socialist plan to bankrupt the country (despite the rising stock market and an increasing gap between CEO /worker compensation).  In many ways, they were still hooked on the 2008 vision.

Bengazi fascinates me.  Not from a terrorism perspective.  After all, shit happens.  But to accuse Hillary of incompetence and lack of oversight... that's a specious stretch.  Seriously, is Hillary Clinton ultimately responsible for the financial security and physical safety of each ambassador outpost in every country on the planet.  I don't think that's reasonable.  Any Secretary of State has enough on their plate. Whenever your opponents volley the accusation, "He/she isn't doing the job" or "Look how much money that's costing the taxpayers" - it's almost always baseless non sequitur shit.

What I think is fascinating about Bengazi is not the "Obama administration vs. the terrorists" narrative, it's the power of the Secretary of State's office vs. our own CIA.  At the time, I'm pretty sure the CIA had no director.  John Brennan didn't take over until recently.  Hillary is a keen observer to DC administration infighting.  She knew the bigger story line and how it all might unfold.

I think that's the real story.  The executive branch is upset about the loss of their ambassador.  The CIA is pissed because they're ultimately being blamed for a lack of timely intelligence.  As a result, naturally our military response OODA loop would be compromised.  Everybody is blaming everybody within the monster bureaucracy.  But it all must be kept hush hush.  It's all maintained internally until Obama can scrape through a tight election. 

This is where the REAL scandal was.  Fox News and to a lesser extent, Mitt Romney, missed the boat.  They could have sowed the seeds of contention if they cornered Hillary.  But she went on sabbatical with a well-timed blood clot.  And Obama was just too strong, too confident.  Repubs could have ripped apart factions in the administration and it might have imploded internally.  Never forget Sun Tzu's "Art of War" - avoid confrontation at all costs IF you can get the enemy to destroy itself.  Always divide and conquer from WITHIN.  Then again, I doubt they read much about military theory at Fox News headquarters.

Romney should have torn into Obama and raised all these questions, but he's just not politically sharp enough.  Not his fault though... other than Gingrich, who really tested him in the primaries?  Tim Pawlenty (MN - douchebag) ?  Michele Bachmann (Minnesota douchebaguette) ??  Rick Perry ???  Oh yeah, he did challenge Perry.  A $10,000 bet waged by an upstanding  Mormon.  For the love of Joseph Smith!!!  Even when Romney did pounce, Obama was masterful.  I remember that exact debate moment when Obama menacingly waved his finger at Romney - "that's not what we do."

MS. CROWLEY: Because we're closing in, I want to still get a lot of people in. I want to ask you something, Mr. President, and then have the governor just quickly. Your secretary of state, as I'm sure you know, has said that she takes full responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Does the buck stop with your secretary of state as far as what went on here?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I'm the president. And I'm always responsible. And that's why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I did (sic).
The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror. And I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.

And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president. That's not what I do as commander in chief

I doubt Romney's advisers really cared too much.  They knew they'd get paid regardless.  Just the mere notion of Mitt Romney having a separate political team devoted to out-of-the-box thinking or asymmetric strategies is borderline ludicrous.  Well, except the Foundation for a Better Life - mainstream normalization of the ideal Mormon.  I covered that in a previous blog.

Bengazi must have driven the Fox News people to the brink of insanity.  They have this golden ticket perfectly coinciding election.  It's pure AU, but they don't know how to use it.  And the higher-ups won't budge from the previously established "Obama's soft on terror" narratives.  Even though the general consensus is that Obama has been a hawk on foreign policy (doubling down in Afghanistan and infinitely expanding drones, wiretapping, etc.).  Obama played the national security card quite well.  But seriously, where could the liberals have gone?  Ted Kucinich?  Ralph Nader?  

Bengazi makes me better understand the "identity" of future political scandal.  From the left wing or the right.  It really doesn't matter.  Although the right wing uses it ad nauseum thanks to Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Hannity, etc.  The future of scandal is... endless refrain.  Use the same word tirelessly.  The facts don't matter.  Low information voters associate unique words with scandal.  Just hammer it home endlessly.  Again, again, again.  Barrack HUSSEIN Obama, Palin is an IDIOT, add the word "gate" to just about anything.  The key is repetition at all costs.  The facts don't matter anymore.  A greater number of Americans are heading down the low-info road.  Rather than observe and analyze, they're far more likely to align themselves with a specific politician, obnoxious newscaster or adhere to a particular media organization's brand.  Just because it's so much easier.  It's a dangerous precedent when things get confusing or controversial.  During a prolonged economic crisis, you could end up with multiple Hitlers.

Rather than explore the facts (which are always confusing and usually lie somewhere in the middle of an irresolvable grey zone), just repeat the same words incessantly.  It helps if the word itself sounds unusual (Bengazi, Solyndra, etc.) because that gives it a mysterious flare/negative connotation.

It's sad.  Because it's in keeping with the idiocracy of the United States.  I rarely promote movies, but this one wasn't that bad.  Very forward thinking.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Soundgarden review - May 12, 2013, Stage AE - Pittsburgh

I have mixed emotions regarding last night's Soundgarden show at Stage AE.   I cannot remember the reason but I missed the 1992 Lollapalooza show at Starlake.  You know, the one with Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden.  Not quite sure where I was.  I imagine I was out and about following the Grateful Dead.  It's a matter of conjecture I do not wish to fully explore.  Suffice to say, I've never seen Soundgarden.  And they're easily one of my top 10 favs.  I've never done a legit Top 10 list.  Maybe at the end of this post I'll have that figured out.  Oooh, to be an innocent blog reader... the building literary orgasmic anticipation. 

Anyhoo, Gig and I hit up the show last night.  She scored a couple freebies in advance so we weren't too concerned about getting there early.  Plus, it was unseasonably cold.  I didn't check the weather but there was a frost warning.  Weathering Heights Sons of Bitches.   I imagine it dipped down to the low 40's.  Kind of windy too.  But then again, I've dealt with considerably worse through the years.  There were a few Steelers games where my genitals fully retracted into my abdomen/spleen.  Not kewl.

I had noticed there was no opening band listed.  Kind of peculiar since the gates opened at 6:30pm.  But I was adamant about not seeing the set list.  So I had Gigi take a look.  We came to the conclusion that there would NOT be an opener.  Therefore, we had to bust ass and get our buttocks down to the lot formerly known as Gold Lot 2.  But we're too cheap, so we parked on the North Side and hoofed it on down.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare.

We saw this creepy rock'n'roller dude looking through a tiny hole in the fence.  I suppose he was hoping to catch a glance of his heroes.  His motives may have been true, but he was gradually evolving into this "yinzer, hipster peeping tom."

Another guy, considerably cooler than greasy, peeping tom, was playing an upright bass right outside the main entrance.  I think he probably made about $15 or so.  Surprisingly, I've never encountered this roving street artist.  Watch for him in the future.  He was decent.

It was an old school crowd.  Lots of unshaven playoff beards.  A good omen as they're preparing to announce the dates for the Ottawa-Pens series.  I'd still have rather played the Rangers, but it is what it is.  They have a game 7 tonight against the Caps.  Huzzah.

Speaking of beards... I have unilaterally decreed that this guitar dude (Kim Thayil) shalt be the bearded benchmark by which all beards shalt be judged.

Last night I think I figured out why Soundgarden took a 16+ year hiatus.  Let me say that I think they are the #2 band of the early 90's.  Pearl Jam gets the top ranking of course.  All the others pale in comparison.  Alice in Chains, Chili Peppers, etc???  Gimme a fucking break.  I'd put Jane's Addiction at a close #3.

These guys are brilliant songwriters and musicians.  BUTT... (and that's an outstanding bubble butt from the waitress at the St. Clarisville Steak'n'Shake), I don't think they ever bother rehearsing.  Some of their tunes are a little intricate for never being played.  I think this is why Matt Cameron (drummer) prefers to play with Pearl Jam.  Soundgarden just isn't as cohesive a unit.  I don't think they "care" as much.  It's part of their charm though.  That dark, foreboding, awkward, grungy, super bass heavy, piercing sound.

But what about how the show actually "sounded" ???  I don't known what it was last night.  Several of the songs had this crazy, muffled, "warbling" sound.  It sounded like the concert was recorded on a taped over TDK D90.  Left underneath a passenger car seat in the middle of August.  You clean out the car and discover the tape - it's cleverly marked "Sound-Gardenia Mix."  The damn tape is sticky from a spilled can of Busch Light draft.  Do you see what I'm getting at?  Do you garner my inference?  I think their mixing board guys were tripping their brains out.  Something just wasn't right.  It's a complete shame because this is one of the only shows I was truly looking forward to.  Still, I'm not going to bitch.  They completely rock your brains out.  But like I said, something just wasn't right from a technical standpoint.

As an avid bootleg collector of rock from the early 90's, I was always bitterly disappointed with the lack of quality Soundgarden shows.  I'd kill for a decent boot from the Superunknown tour, but there just ain't any out there.  It's commonly thought that their head sound guy from back in the day... well... to put it delicately... he sucked.  I wonder if it's still the same dude.

Tangent - I knew this one peculiar sound guy named Chuck who worked for a local band that shall remain nameless (Sleeping Giants).  This one night, we're at a Pittsburgh bar after hours and he regales the table with a story of his sexual exploits.  But this was no ordinary Penthouse forum story.  Chuck told of us of this strange proclivity - having sex with fruit.  You see... he would go out and purchase a large melon.  Apparently a ripe honeydew was the ultimate choice.  Then, he would meticulously carve a hole in said melon.  You'd think the story's over... but no, it has just begun.  Next, he would insert handfuls of slightly cooked warm Ramen Noodles.  According to him, this made the texture "just right."  Of course, at that shining moment it's off to the races.  I've heard of people having sex with multiple inanimate objects.  But never fruit.  Makes you second guess the post Jimmy Buffett show-consumption of that vodka infused watermelon.  I call that Parrot-head justice.

Back to the saner topic at hand.  Highlights for me were definitely the opener "Incessant Mace", "Burden in my Hand", and a song I never thought I'd hear live... "4th of July" - made for a killer closer.  They seemed to focus on the newer material which I'm unfamiliar with, but I'll forgive 'em.

  1. Encore:
Although stilted and disjointed, Soundgarden blew everyone away.  Even though the sound "warbled" beyond the boundaries of normalcy, they were easily worth the price of admission... especially since the show was free.  Long concert - kicked in around the 2 hour mark with this bizarre, never-ending bass feedback loop that droned on longer than the war in Afghanistan.

And here it is... Sonofsaf's top rock bands.
In relatively suggestive, but no particular order...

Pearl Jam
Grateful Dead (only 1985-1990)
Led Zeppelin
Pink Floyd
Beatles (& solo McCartney)
Slayer (RIP Jeff Hanneman)
Foo Fighters
Ratt (not kidding)
My Morning Jacket

into the lesser stratosphere with even less restrictive protocol...

Marilyn Manson
The Who
Rolling Stones
Death Angel
Fleetwood Mac
Beastie Boys

honorable mention: Duran Duran, Live, Filter, Nirvana, on it goes...

Remember, it's an all-inclusive list.  Certain stuff appeals to you at different times in your life.  For example, I was a big Duran Duran fan when I was gay.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Runnin' down a dream

Many of my friends are aware that I'm deeply concerned about the potential for human stampedes related to outdated stadium emergency evacuation protocol.  I know... it's something that concerns everyone round deez parts.

It's a touchy subject but I'm in the process of launching an "awareness foundation" designed to bring attention to this matter.  At some point I imagine I'll come under scrutiny and wish I hadn't been so vigilant.  Regardless, it's the path I have chosen and I won't back down. 

Yesterday morning I emailed my superior brother a pic of the finished logo and asked for his input.  He has been instrumental in guiding me and has a keen understanding of the issues that surround the artificially generated stampede.

In the logo, there's a phrase which embodies the mission statement.  I'd love to share the pic but I'm not gonna do it.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.  Just wouldn't be prudent... at this juncture (Dana Carvey impersonating George Bush Sr.).

So yesterday, I decided to change the script.  We had a mild disagreement regarding the caption reflecting the mission statement.  Originally, I wanted it to be "discussing the indiscussible."  But he thought "undiscussable" was the better term.  Of course, it made me rethink everything and try to devise an all-new encapsulating phrase. 

Last night, I had this crazy dream which echoed the thoughts swirling in my head.  I was back in the Oglebay Village apartment complex.  I spent about 10 years of my life (1992-2001) in a single bedroom apartment.  In my dream, the main office had this giant staircase.  Not the case in the real Oglebay Village "chamber of judgement."  The late Carol the Cunt, our ultimate landlord and overseer, would often make me beg for forgiveness.  I'd literally have to repent for my sins (handing out matches on Halloween, parking violations, disrupting the sanctity of the neighborhood - repeatedly kicking a soccer ball into a defenseless dumpster, disturbing the peace, unsanctioned pets, espousing acts of satanism, housing 5 people in a 1-bedroom apartment, etc.).  My complaint file was the size of the Book of Job.  Remember Job (Cliff Clavin - Cheers).

Anyway, about 20 people were crowded near the top of this massive staircase.  I was in the middle of the fray.  A giant, ginger woman with a completely bandaged leg was near the front.  She bore a striking resemblance to a 40 year old version of Honey Boo Boo.

But her entire left leg was covered in bandages.  Some of the gauze was bloody and stapled.  This woman desperately needed to get to the bottom but was incapable of walking.  And because of the girth factor, she was far too heavy to be offered assistance.

So she began in a seated position carefully trying to slowly "butt-descend" each individual step.  But the momentum was too great.  She began to succumb to inertia.  She cried out in terror reminiscent of the anguished oink of pigman (Kramer).

I needed to act quickly or she would surely perish in this massive free fallin' spectacle.
Somehow, I managed to thrust myself in front of her.  As the Village and Station residents screamed in the background, I became sandwiched... fully engulfed between her legs and gunt.  (I've often thought that an ideal name for a Led Zeppelin cover band is Trampled Under Gunt.  Now here I was... fulfilling this gritty, musical prophecy).  We were both utterly helpless in a dual stairwell stampede.

I figure it's curtains for the "Saffy-Boo-Boo hurling entity."  We'll surely be killed when we impact the cement wall.  Suddenly, Al Roker (the fat version... and no I'm not kidding) appears out of nowhere and brazenly jumps in front of us.  Roker had this incredibly warm smile.

He had no fear of death.  He burst into song...

... with the exact same vocal inflection of Mighty Mouse.

Suddenly,  Saffy Boo-Boo slams into Roker.  But he was completely unfazed.  He defiantly stood his ground.  The Boo-Boo component... her tears of pain quickly morphed into cries of relief.  At this harrowing, epic moment in time, I thought I was going to be squished to death.  Turns out I didn't feel a thing!  The collective blubber of both gock and gunt actually saved my life.  The crowd of Villagers and Stationites erupts in jubilant celebration.  I surveyed this one face in the crowd.  In the movie Braveheart, does anyone remember when Mel Gibson gets tortured at the end (racked, roped, castrated and eventually chopped into pieces)?  ROPE !!! The executioner wraps the rope around his head.  William Wallace looks out at the crowd.  He makes eye contact with this little boy who has this expression of calm exasperation.  Then, he gets hoisted in the air.  I looked out too, just as he did.  And I saw some young diaper-clad infant.  This kid... we'll assign him the name Ethan.  Well, Ethan gave me that same damn look of humble despair.   Not sure how any of that translates, but that's what happened.

At this moment, I wake from my dream.  Others would probably term it a nightmare.  But I was overcome with this strange, glowing sense of calm.  And it came to me... instead of the paradox "discussing the indiscussible" I'm going to use the phrase "staring down the future"

I love the symbolism.  The manner in which it incorporates the notion of "staring down the barrel of a shotgun (or the barrel of a cell phone)."  More importantly it implies the consensus motion of the last decade... everyone staring downward into their cell phones.  Take an objective look around you.  The entire population is staring down, almost as if they're bowing their heads in prayer.  This never happened until the past 15 years.  It's an entirely new phenomenon.  Nobody looks up anymore.  There's no BALANCE.  If you don't believe me, place your trust in the late Pat Morita.  The world needs balance.

During the last 9/11, everyone looked UP to see the planes crash into buildings.  This time, they'll likely be looking down into their phones right before the implosion of total chaos.  They will look down right before they look up.

And another thing... "staring down" implies focusing on something that is imminent or unavoidable.  The enemy, tragedy, bankruptcy, etc.  Trying to eradicate a future disaster BEFORE it happens.  That's what I'm talkin' about.

What's really crazy is that I usually forget my dreams.  Obviously, this one had some powerful significance.  It sent me scurrying to the kitchen where I jotted down the words "staring down."
So that's that.  And I hope you enjoyed the subtle Tom Petty references.  He's coming to Consol Energy Center on June 20.