Thursday, March 27, 2014

Doobie Brothers 3-26-14: Wheeling, WV - Wesbanco Arena

Yesterday, I got the call.  "Metalmale here.  What do you think about this Doobie Brothers concert?  You going?"

"Yeah sure, let's meet up at Nail City around 6:25 p.m. and we'll survey the scene."

We both snagged some side-by-side parking spots in the Intelligencer lot.  I call this particular move the "DND."  Technically, it's referred to as the billion dollar "Dueling-Nutting-Dumpster" park job.

Not much luck in the early going.  One woman mocked us by eating her ticket.  Not exactly like this Florida crimestopper dude, but you get the drift.

Anyway, we pleaded our case to the legions of faithful 1970's holdouts.  "We need a free Doobie," I beckoned.  "Just one doobie.  Can anybody help us score a doobie?"  I was a tiny bit worried the Wheeling PD might pull up and see my sign.

What if I had to eat the sign?  What if I had to consume the evidence?  This thing was made of turgid cardboard.  It's not like eating a memo or a parking ticket.  I loathe the taste of cardboard, especially when it's pre-doobie on a Wednesday.

Eventually, a kindred soul gave us an extra.  Then, this woman gave us two more.  Sweet.  So now we actually had three doobies even though we only needed two doobies.  I tried to sell off the third but had no success.

There was a man standing on the corner with a backpack of high-end lighters.  Promotional giveaways for his store "Almost Heaven Hydroponics" --- a new gardening store next to the Big Lots in Bridgeport, Ohio.  He assured us that the business had nothing to do with marijuana.  Many questioned his veracity, but he held firm in the face of multiple grassy accusations.

So we skipped the opening act and had a beer at Nail City.  I watched in envy as a large man with a tremendous stomach sampled from the private buffet.  It was roughly the size of the American Dream Dusty Rhodes' midsection.

A thick layer of creamy white skin with a reddish hue emanated from under his t-shirt.  At one point, his gock lightly grazed a chicken finger.  A bowl of ranch dressing was dangerously close.  What if the gock had been dipped in ranch?  Would I call the health department on Nail City?  No.  Such activity is the norm at this place.  Nail City blows.

We finished our beers and headed over.  We ran into a few familiar faces, but for the most part, these people looked unfamiliar.  As expected, the place was pretty much deserted.  Out of a max crowd of around 8,500, I'd estimate the attendance around 1,800.  Maybe 2,000 tops.  Giant chunks of orange seats and missing swiss cheese-like holes on the floor.  I felt kinda bad for the Doobies.  The embarrassment wasn't  a shocker.  It was kinda anticipated.  They should have played the Capitol. 

Nonetheless, the Doobies strolled onto stage.  Oddly enough, for a band with that many players, you'd think they get rid of one of the drummers.  Still not sure why their band necessitated two drummers.  Maybe they were mimicking the Dead.  I do not know.

One highlight for me was a coagulation of miscellaneous coat hangers near the Nailers/Swing Club VIP club.

I demand a greater level of conformity and quality control from the Wheeling Civic Center staff in future coat hanging endeavors.  There's a reason nobody's willing to use this rack.  Just look at this amateurish display of filth.  Further evidence...

The pictures don't do it justice.

I toyed with the idea of turning it into a spectacle.  You know, coat hangers all fuckin' tangled up in dat shit.  All up in dat Wesbanco hizzy.  But just couldn't find the enthusiasm.  Probably would have gotten arrested because of some obscure statute - malicious, wanton rearrangement of tinny objects.

If you're a doobie fanatic, I'm pretty sure this was the set list.  I did a search.  I couldn't find the one from Wheeling, but they all look pretty much the same.
  1. (Kim Weston cover)
  2. (With Guy Allison Keyboard Solo)
  3. Encore:
I'll be honest.  They sounded pretty damn good.  Perfect volume, which is rare these days.  Most bands try to compensate their suckiness by shattering everyone's tympanic membranes.  And they had the right amount of energy.  Not too subdued and not too over-the-top.

And since I'm being honest, I should confess one important fact.  I really can't stand this band.  Maybe it was the "Jesus Is Just All Right" opener.  Maybe the fact that I've been forcibly fed their music on Eagle 107.5 for most of my adult life, much like the tubes stuck down the throats of Gitmo detainees.  I'm sure some of these terrorists still have actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of Bin Laden 13 years later (didn't our govt. claim he's dead?).  Maybe I've just grown tired of the swooning classic rock.

Foghat, Steppenwolf, Bad Company... who the fuck actually enjoys listening to this shit.  It's exhaustive.  Sometimes I literally jump out of a hot, pulsating shower and turn off my little clock radio.  I'm not joking.  This musical genre is that bad.

So we bolted about the 6th song in.  While walking to our cars, some hulking weirdo emerged from the darkness.  "Hey, Big Dog!  Big Dog, wait a minute!"  For the love of fucking christ, some downtown douchebag was trying to bum money from us.  We purposely kept our back to him.  Additional chants of "Big Dog."  I finally spoke up, "We do not wish to participate.  We do not want to talk to you."  He mumbled a final lamenting "Big Dog" and turned back.

We hit the Grindhouse for open mic night and were regaled with the most haunting rendition of Neil Diamond's Cracklin Rosie.  "Play it now, play it now, play it now."  I actually liked it.  Metalmale didn't care for the guy's voice.  In culinary terms, I'd describe it as crushed ice on a bed of plain white rice.  The most stoic, straightforward, bland expressionless voice I've ever heard in my life.  But that in itself, is cause for some degree of merit. 

Suffice to say, here's how I ranked the evening in descending order.

1) Play it now.  
2) Coat hangers (hopefully none were used to perform Eoff Street, back alley abortions)
3) Doobie Brothers
4) Big Dog

All in all, not bad for a Wheeling Wednseday.  I've had worse.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dayton - Michigan State - Wisconsin - Mercer

I'm making my picks for the final four.  Albeit, a tad late.

In the South, I'm going with streaking Dayton.  Mostly for sentimental reasons, if they go the distance I could envision a quick road trip.

In the East, gotta go with Michigan State.  Not only did Obama pick 'em, but the future President of the NCAA will be Lou Anna K. Simon (the would-be first ever female NCAA President - my pick to succeed Mark Emmert).  She's the current leader of Michigan State University (the one with the nerve to author an official response to my concerns about outdated emergency evacuation protocol, AFTER HAVING DELETED a portion of the initial email I sent her).  So yeah, gotta root for the Spartans.  Maybe if they win the championship, it will cast a light upon her egregious behavior.

And if you believe in the nobility of Lou Anna Simon, I'd like to sell you the Wheeling Suspension Bridge.  I don't have the actual deed... but back in 1991 I was walking across the bridge around 2am and some kid stuck his head out of the moon roof of a Honda Accord and threw a full can of Busch Light Draft at me.  It hit me in the shoulder leaving a slight bruise.  He yelled, "Fuck youuuu!"  So even though I don't have the necessary paperwork, there is a sentimental attachment, the validity of which shalt not be questioned.

In the West, I'll take Wisconsin.  I've always been a big Badgers fan, particularly of their football team.  Camp Randall Stadium was home to a minor human stampede.  In 1993, fans stormed the field after a 13-10 upset over Michigan leaving about 70 people injured, 6 of them critically, no fatalities.  Google it - my shit comes up.

In the "Midwest" region, I'll take the Mercer Bears from the deep South --- Macon, Georgia to be precise.  I like Macon purely because it rhymes with bacon.  Few cities rhyme with non-kosher meat.  Although the little town of Piney Fork, Ohio loosely rhymes with briny pork.  I once asked for directions out that way.  A toothless, puzzled yokel stared me down, "Youz in the foothills of Piney Fork."

After Mercer put the beatdown on Duke, you just have to pull for 'em.  I'll even overlook the explicit religious fervor of their born-again head coach. 

So my Final Four is Dayton vs. Michigan State and Wisconsin vs. Mercer.

Now I'll venture back into a dimension of quasi-realism and take Michigan State vs. Wisconsin in the final.

And I'm gonna go with MSU, strictly on the basis that it could expose the evil-doings of their Janet Napolitano-resembling President, Lou Anna K. Simon.  May she rot in hell.

Alright, one more meme since UConn advanced yesterday over Villanova.

A fitting tribute to Warren Buffett's extremely generous billion dollar bracket challenge.  There's no need to worry.  Even if he had lost, he had taken out an insurance policy through his shell company - Berkshire Hathaway.  What a businessman!  I saw the last odds of a perfect bracket at 1 in 9.2 quantillion.

That's the equivalent of getting struck by lightning twice in your lifetime, in the exact same spot, while having an orgy with the cast members of the Golden Girls on both occasions.  And yes, that includes the corpse of Estelle Getty (Sophia) thus implying multiple incidents of illegal grave extraction and necrophilia.

Go Spartans.  Woot!  Woot!

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness Memes

Alright, here's a couple NCAA opening round memes.  One from Thursday and one from Friday.

I used to go to University of Dayton.  I recall when they went to the Elite 8 back in 1989.  The student housing section went ballistic.  I'll never forget the Phi Beta Alpha frat guys on Kiefaber Avenue hauling a couch into the middle of the road.  There were a ton of fires that night all throughout the ghetto (that's the "term of endearment" used to describe the miscellaneous homes of the miscreants).

Best news of all, Duke has been eliminated by Mercer.  No... not Mercer County, PA.  Gigi and I were wondering where the hell the Mercer Bears are from.  We probably should have been able to figure it out by the tone and tenor of their head coach.  "Our prayers have been answered!"  "Thank the Lord, praise his name!"  Ugghhh.

The Bears hail from Macon, Georgia.  Go figure.

But I don't mind, the Blue Devils have been relocated back to hell.  Their demise reminds me of this clip from Braveheart.  It's when the whole crowd starts chanting MERCY.  Then of course, the executioner dude chops up Mel Gibson into more pieces than the jigsaw puzzle currently scattered throughout my kitchen table.

I like this meme better --- superior viral potential.  The other one has too much info.  Or go with this one.  Tough choice.


This third one is decent too.  As someone who doesn't care much for college hoops, I say FUCK IT.  I'm jumping on the Mercer bandwagon.

This one's predictably low brow.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ukraine crisis... through the eyes of Seinfeld

Gigi asked me yesterday, "Eric, what's really going on in the Ukraine?"

Well, it's kind of complex.  The country has entered into a volatile, unstable period.  Most of the western region feels the economic tug of the European Union.  But the political power structure and Eastern territories are closely allied with Russia.  So you obviously have the elements for a protracted conflict.  Factor in the economic interests (gas and oil) and foreseeable inflationary issues.  Uprisings and civil war might seem inevitable.

The Ukranian prime minister, "Arseniy Yatsenyuk " whom most Americans probably know as the "Artist Formerly Known as Beet Borscht," has either fled the country or is in hiding.

Echoes of the cold war, but think of it as a new Food Network TV show --- SOUP WARS.  Hot vs. Cold.  Salty vs. Spicy.  Creamy cum-like vs. Brothy urinary.

Think of Arseniy as Arsenio Hall, But let's call him Arsenio Hell, in soup-Nazi form.  A cold, red-blooded Eastern European dictator but he's white (signified by the tasty dollop of sour cream).  And although he might be a ruthless bastard, Arseniy (with a "y") is vastly less annoying than this resurgent, over-hyped douchebag.

Now I can die.

Formerly imprisoned female Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, is rallying the protesters but doesn't want to assume the leadership vacuum.  When it comes to War and Peace, she could take some advice from Elaine Benes.

"War, what is it good for?  Absolutely Nuthin!  Say it Again!"

Naturally, Putin is sending in military forces to "stabilize" the situation in the Crimean region.  So Obama has issued a stern warning.  But it's hard to take Obama seriously since he was responsible for the surge of troops in Afghanistan.  Think of it like this --- what if Russia decided to invade and occupy Uruguay?  How would that make us feel?  Would it make you go hmmm?  Hey, at least Russia and Ukraine are neighbors.

Here's the deal.  Putin can do basically anything he wants.  And he knows it.  He doesn't have to worry about achieving a grand consensus, political bargaining or external coalition building.  If I had to place a bet on it, my hunch is that Ukraine will be splintered and carved up in the near future --- with the Eastern part aligning themselves with Russia.  But I don't think it will be an all-out war.  I think Putin will accomplish his mission without wide scale bloodshed.  All that KGB training will pay off.  He's more of a tactical, behind-the-scenes, bloodless coup kinda guy.  Instead of Bush who was kind of an in-your-face, wild'n'crazy guy (Steve Martin - no video necessary).

There is one thing we take great comfort in.  And that's knowing how the average American is staying abreast of the unfolding turmoil.  I can prove it - here's the pecking order in level of importance.

1) The potential for a full-blown civil war in the Ukraine.
2) Who wins best supporting male actor at the Oscars (gotta be Jared Leto, transvestite guy in Dallas Buyer's Club)
3) The Flying Tomato Shaun White - Freckled Ginger Hipster Doobie Disappoints in Olympic Snowboarding.

Sensing the undying thirst for knowledge regarding the rich history the Ukraine, we must truly embrace their culture and tumultuous traditions.  And as Americans, here's our best path forward!  A brief 1 minute video tutorial followed by 2 summary memes.  That should be sufficient.

Onto the memes.  They're originals but feel free to steal them if the yearning doth arise.

Now you know all you need to know.  On second thought... oh, what the hell?  How about an obligatory shout-out?


There you go.  That feels much better.