Monday, February 11, 2019

The New Porn Blackmail Letter

From: Gmiller
Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2019 1:36 PM
To: Miller, Greg
Subject: gmiller : gregmiller

I am aware gregmiller is one of your passphrases. Lets get directly to point. None has paid me to investigate about you. You may not know me and you are most likely wondering why you are getting this e mail? 

You do have not one but two possibilities. We will check out these possibilities in details:

Very first alternative is to ignore this email message. in such a case, i most certainly will send your actual videotape to all your your personal contacts and thus just consider regarding the humiliation you experience. Not to mention should you be in a relationship, just how it can affect?

Number 2 solution will be to pay me $978. i will regard it as a donation. as a result, i will immediately delete your videotape. You can continue on your daily life like this never happened and you will not ever hear back again from me.

You will make the payment via Bi‌tco‌in (if you do not know this, search for 'how to buy b‌itcoi‌n' in Google search engine).

if you are looking at going to the authorities, anyway, this email can not be traced back to me. I have dealt with my moves. i am not attempting to demand so much, i just like to be compensated. mail if i don't get the ‌bi‌tco‌in‌, i will send out your video to all of your contacts including family members, coworkers, and so on. However, if i do get paid, i'll destroy the video immediately. If you want to have proof, reply with Yes! then i will certainly send your video recording to your 9 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, and thus do not waste my personal time & yours by responding to this e-mail.

From: Miller, Greg 
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2019 11:16 AM
Subject: gmiller : gregmiller

Good morning,

Imagine my surprise at finding this email this morning.  You were quite clever breaking into my computer like that and observing my online activities.  However, I believe that you might not have a full comprehension of the content I was viewing due, no doubt, to a cultural disconnect.  It appears that English might not be your first language, so I will give you a pass in regards to understanding the subtleties of the United States and our taste in cinema.  I can understand why you would think the film I was watching was X rated as your country might have a different set of standards in regards to a ratings system for content.  Let me assure you that what I was watching was considered to be, at worst, “erotic” and more likely “an art film”. 

You can certainly understand my reluctance to send you $978 just because I was swept up in the cinematic majesty of “Teen Babysitter Sluts and Bad Daddies IV”.  The incredible lighting techniques used by director Johnny Rod are perhaps his finest nod yet to the early work of Orson Welles.  I think you would agree that the mood of bleakness and social disconnect completely enveloped the first scene when our protagonist Kendra soulfully made love to Mr. Stevens with a detached professionalism to the delight of Mrs. Stevens secretly observing from the hallway.  The look that washes over Mrs. Stevens as the mix of pleasure and shame clouds her husband’s face while gloom hangs over the couch…  The final pan to Mr. Stevens black socks on his motionless feet?  I think you would agree that this is the work of a master at the very top of his craft. 

Now as opposed to you threatening to expose my refined taste in film, you would in fact be doing me a favor by allowing others to understand my true depth of interest in today’s auteurs of erotic expressionism.  I might be interested in bringing you on board as a “personal brand publicist” (at a handsome wage I might add) if you believe we can somehow “get the word out” and create large scale festival type events.  Most of my close friends already know I am a cinephile as we faithfully hold movie nights in my backyard on a large projection screen.  Last year’s deep dive into the “Naughty MILF” franchise was perhaps our most well attended event with well over 50 people debating the symbolism and easter eggs that appear time and again through the series of films.  I think if we could take that to a larger stage, we might really have something my friend.

Please let me know your interest in pursuing this project.  I would be looking at paying you a monthly consultation fee of $5000 per month.  For tax purposes I will need to make a direct deposit into your bank account, so please send me your current account number, PIN information, routing numbers and any other personal information to make this transfer of money into your account as swift as possible.

Looking forward to our new working relationship,


Friday, February 8, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Odd Thing About Gig Memories

I was surprised to discover a guy I work with used to be a touring musician.  I had no idea.  We both pull a chameleon at work and blend into the bland landscape.  He's older than me, so I didn't know what he meant by him saying "he used to play in bands".  Generally, when someone tells me they play(ed) in a band, it can turn out they had instruments briefly set up in their basement or played at a wedding once.  There is a stark difference in life experience between playing shitty punk rock bars to strangers that initially hate you and taking a shot at “Disco Inferno” at your cousin Trudy’s wedding while your family coos and takes video. 

When I found out he had played with Alex Bevan, someone I knew that played “real” shows slightly before I crept into the scene, I suspected he was in the tribe.  When he told me of his doomed opening slot for The Clash in 1979, he had much respect.  Back then Ohio kids thought you had to spit on the performer to be as “punk” as the reports they had seen about this new dangerous music from New York and London.  What a drag to have punk poseurs from Chagrin Falls spit on you as you kill time as an obstacle before the big prize of The Clash.  Poor Bo Diddley played the second slot with union musicians that appeared to have bought “cool” clothes from JC Penney when they learned they had the gig.  I would guess that a union bass player used to playing Playhouse Square mixers and wedding receptions would have been uncomfortable being spat on prior to a band that was in combat boots waiting to play “I’m So Bored With The USA”.

We quickly moved onto the conversation all touring musicians have at one point or another.  “What’s the worst men’s room of any club you ever played?”  I was surprised by his answer of a now forgotten club that was next door to the old Peabody’s Café in Cleveland Hts.  The bathrooms were downstairs behind the area where the band played.  Patrons had to essentially walk through the band to get to the staircase.  The club had abandoned all pretense of cleaning the facilities and at this point also stopped replacing lightbulbs.  The stairs down were like something from a nightmare in Game of Thrones.  As a result, patrons began to creep as far down stairs as they dared in the increasing darkness until just pissing in the general direction of where they believed a toilet might be located.  This led to the unmistakable scent of human waste settling in around the area of the band as it wafted upstairs.  This indeed sounded grim, but that's not the worst.

I did not have to think long for my answer.  I thought of the terrifying CBGB’s men’s room, but like most pilgrims to that club, I missed the “glory days” of when Hilly’s dog used to shit everywhere.  To me, that men’s room was about as bad as when the Euclid Tavern would have plumbing issues.  Bad, certainly, but not the worst.  My mind drifted briefly to a club called Ronnie Ps in Pittsburgh where we played one cursed show with the Frampton Brothers.  Ronnie Ps was a club that was originally a men’s room and they decided to add on.  “Hey, we have a filthy toilet.  Let’s add on a club!”.  It was there Leo got bitten by a small flying gnat that gave him a stubborn raised skin infection that took months to heal.  As far as I know, he still has some sort of early strain of the Zika virus from that.

Ultimately though, the choice was easy.  The worst men’s room I know was Bernie’s Bagels, aka The Distillery in Columbus.  In the mid 80s as a college student, I used to stop in there for imported beers and bagel sandwiches.  It was a little gross, but as a college student, it was no dirtier than my rental house with my degenerate roommates.  By the time Bernies had solidified itself as the “small shitty punk rock room” of Ohio State, the staff had completely given up on maintaining a basic human level of function in that men’s room.  No doubt it was routinely destroyed by angry punk rock boys and drunk college students.  They didn’t install the indestructible prison toilets Kathy did at The Grog Shop.  They just gave up.

The last time I played Bernies was probably in the late 90s.  The Cowslingers played Bernies a bunch of times, and we almost always were terrible.  We just used to get too fucking drunk.  It would always be three bands with us playing last, which gave us too much time with the import beer cooler.  I think the general filth of the room left no other choice than “shitface drunk” to maintain the composure necessary to spend 5-6 hours in the space.   That last time we played there, I remember going to the men’s room to see no one had even attempted to clean the bathroom.  The toilet had tape across it meant to deter anyone from using it.  Unfortunately, this did not stop the previous patrons who had somehow the stomach to shit in it over and over, so much so that a small fecal mountain crested the top of the bowl.  The one working urinal had a broken beer glass in it where someone had thoughtfully vomited over the general area.  The other urinal had a hole punched in the bottom of it.  A film of mysterious liquid coated the floor of the area.  I backed out like I had chanced into an encounter with a mountain lion.  I went to the women’s, which was better, but not remarkably so.  It should also be noted I did not order a bagel or any other food item.

It's odd that in all these years of playing music I never talk about the great nights like those Link Wray gigs, the first time selling out the Grog, nights at the Star Bar in Atlanta, whatever…  Whenever I meet other people that have spent time in the van, we never talk about brief moments of small victories.  The memorable nights are somehow the biggest disasters, the most spectacular fiascos.  For example, that gig we played with Willie Nelson was great.  I can’t remember that much about it.  I still remember the Distillery though with vivid clarity…

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Only Super Bowl Preview You Need

On January 14th, 1973 I got punched in the nose by a girl so hard I saw stars and bled all over the floor.  Allow me to explain.  I know the date as I went with my father to his co-worker’s house to watch the Miami Dolphins beat the crap out of the overmatched Redskins in Super Bowl VII.  It looked like the Redskins had some life when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian threw what still holds up as the meekest interception in league history for a pick six, but the Dolphins got right back to work grinding and won 14-7.  I was holding a towel to my embarrassed face for most of the 3rd quarter, but I still remember that.

As a six-year-old, I had limited experience with girls, notwithstanding a scandal when my parents discovered my neighbor Sandy and I naked in my closet of my bedroom as we inspected each other’s genitalia.  She, like me, was about six years old, so this was not like a Cinemax movie.  This was science.  I was equally as intrigued by her folds as she was with my cocktail frank sized penis.  I would have liked to have known at the time that this would be as close as I would get to female sex organs for well over the next decade.  One thing I do recall was Sandy’s mother freaking out as we emerged from the closet without pants and still in our shoes.  I think whenever a boy in black shoes/without pants pops out of a closet, it puts people on edge.  I don’t hold a grudge against Sandy’s mother.

After Sandy was placed in exile and never to be seen again, that left my interaction with females as almost exclusively as “being treated cruelly by classmates”.  My social value system at that time was largely guided by episodes of The Brady Bunch and playground justice.  None of my neighborhood pals had sisters.  It was all creepy little boys like me.  It was good for wiffleball, bad for long term social skills.  When I met my father’s co-worker’s daughter, this was like being thrown together with a cellmate in a foreign prison.  It was just us, and we were expected to play together.  “Hmm… I have heard of these strange creatures.  She will want to play with dolls or perhaps have a tea set according to the documentaries I have seen on television.”

It turned out that this young lady was quite the athlete.  The top floor of the house had a gym in it, outfitted well beyond what was normal at that time.  I remember wrestling mats, medicine balls, ropes, etc.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with her as she was “just a girl”.  Certainly, physical sports like wrestling or throwing stuff at each other was out of the question as she was “the delicate sex”.  She suggested we each put on one of the boxing gloves and spar with each other. “Nahh…” I tried to play it off like I had just knocked off a speed bag workout this morning training for a Joe Frazier fight.  She insisted.  “Nah…”  Then the gauntlet was thrown.  “What?  Are you chicken?”

This was akin to being asked if you were “a bitch” in the prison yard.  There was no way I would have my manhood judged in such a manner.  I put on one of the gloves.  There were two problems that immediately came to light.  1.  I had never boxed.  2.  What was I supposed to do?  I was taught by The Brady Bunch and probably my parents not to hit girls.  I started to consider my options when it happened.  Pow!  I got hit squarely in the nose with a crisp jab that would have drawn praise from Hector “Macho” Camacho.  My nose made a crunching sound.  I saw stars.  I reflexively had tears running out of my eyes.  I started to bleed.  That ended the boxing.  It probably took four seconds.  If I had a car, I would have driven home.  Instead there was more humiliation.  “Dad!  We were boxing and now he is crying and has a bloody nose!”  The Dads looked at me like I was a pussy.  I had my head tilted back by the other Dad as they stared at the Dolphins and drank Schlitz.  That is my earliest Super Bowl memory.

My focus on Super Bowl Sunday is now entirely on gambling, drinking to excess, and eating too much.  It’s the American Dream.  I am not even betting on the game itself, but instead focusing on the myriad of parlays available.  The game is essentially a wilderness of mirrors with a series of strobe lights going off at every angle.  In theory the Rams are the better team.  They have better personnel, great coaching, and are now rolling into their prime.  But, what are you going to do?  Bet against Brady/Belichick?  I mean, gun to my head I bet on the Rams and take the points as they should probably be favored, but I’m not wading into those waters.  Somehow the Patriots will win and Tom Brady will holding that trophy up in the air trying to look surprised.

I am going to take UNDER 10.5 in the first quarter.  The Patriots have been in eight Super Bowls.  In those games they have scored a grand total of 3 points in the first quarter.  After losing Josh Gordon, they have become a “run first” team with short passes on crossing routes in long time consuming drives.  Even if they get the ball and score, I look for them to grind out clock.  Additionally, teams hit the first quarter jacked up on nerves.  No one wants to make “the big mistake”.  It takes a bit for the game to settle in.  I love the UNDER 10.5.

With that in mind, I will also take “No/Will either team score in the first five minutes” at -165.  The Rams when winning the toss have deferred the kick every time this season.  As the Patriots will likely dink and dunk, it will be tough to get down the field in less than 5 minutes.  What can kill me here is if some long snapper gets The Yips and hikes it over the punter’s head for a safety.  I don't want to be crazed screaming profanity at a long snapper or punter, but I will melt down if this scenario unfolds.  Still, at -165, I will take that chance.

I am also getting on the Under 1.5 yards for the shortest TD of the game.  The over under suggests that this game will have seven tuochdowns.  15% of all touchdowns are one yard.  Think of all the pass interference calls in the end zone placing the ball at the one.  The math suggests that this should be at -210, but I am in on this at -140.  This is what sports gambling is all about.  Grinding away at math looking for small values.           

When I look at the Patriots, I get confused as to who is going to be getting all of these Brady passes.  As usual, their receiving corps looks thin, especially with Gronk being the shadow of the player he once was.  Julian Edelman is "the guy".  That little ball of hate manages to get open on every big passing down.  The entire stadium knows he is getting the pass, but it doesn't seem to matter.  Since 2013, Edelman has averaged 12.4 targets per playoff game.  I don't see any reason for that to change on Sunday.  I am getting on the Edelman OVER 6.5 catches.

The fear is if Pap Pap gets into the hooch early and wanders into the comparative sports wagering lines.  I have a terrible vision of myself all boozed up madly clicking wagers like "Steph Curry total points -1.5 vs Patriots total points scored".  Or maybe "Shortest Field Goal -2.5 vs Jimmy Butler points from field".  At that point you might as well bet on "No...Will Adam Levine wear hat" or "Under... Gladys Knight national anthem time".  If anyone sees me by a laptop over the next 36 hours, please have a six year old girl snap a punch into my nose so I see stars and start crying.  Ultimately, that's what Super Bowl Sunday is all about.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Polar Vortex

As the polar vortex descends on us, I remember being a boy in Erie PA when a cold snap hit us there.  As I recall, the local weather forecast noted it would be “very cold”.  Then the news cut to local basketball highlights.  It was all of 22 seconds of coverage because A) we lived in Erie and B) it was January where C) one could reasonably expect it to be very cold for a few days.  It has now been a solid 36 hours of frantic media each attempting to outdo the other in a frenzy of doom laden predictions of frostbite and instant death to any poor soul that dares to wander outside in zero degrees.

I had gone to the grocery store last evening for one item I needed for a recipe.  There was a large crowd shopping with a palpable sense of nervous hysteria in the air.  Bundled up Moms quickly shoved carts filled with diet soda and frozen foods in an “every man for himself” attitude.  I stood calmly at the register as a senior citizen fumbled with her Giant Eagle Advantage Card, freaking out she wouldn’t receive gas card rewards for her needed purchase of a 12 pack of Diet Rite Cola, deli turkey, and pickles.  Such are the trials one will go through for a package of panko breadcrumbs.  I walked out to my car as shifty eyed customers hustled inside to buy juice boxes and pre-packaged muffins.  It was like Rapture Jr.

I walked the bassets like normal this morning.  It was cold.  We did our thing.  The streets were completely deserted as if a neutron bomb had hit.  I speculated if I walked up to a neighbor’s house if I would be greeted by a crazed eyed, shotgun wielding madman.  “Get back!  Get back!  We don’t have any juice boxes!  Don’t make me shoot you!” He fires a warning shot in the air for emphasis as I calmly walk backwards while still facing him.  “Easy… Take it easy… We don’t want your juice boxes…”

I drove in with extremely light traffic.  Most everyone had been terrified into staying in their homes.  I was stunned to see almost deserted streets.  I had expected to see frozen corpses stacked like cord wood.  “Grandma is gone son.  Grab her feet.  Let’s put her out on the street.  Garbage men take her soon enough.  I expect we lose your mother tonight too.  They say it’s going down another three degrees today.  I hoped you’d never see a cold snap like this… At least not in my lifetime.  Now let’s go inside and kill your sister and make a stew out of her.  We’ll have her with some juice boxes.”

The issue isn’t the cold.  It’s too much communication.  When I was a kid there were three TV stations, a handful of radio stations and a newspaper.  There wasn’t the level of competition for people’s attention.  Now we have 275 TV stations, 22 radio stations, a newspaper, and an infinite number of websites all screaming at you.  Which are you likely to focus on?  “Cold Snap Hits Area For Three Days” or “Polar Vortex Brings Record Cold And Certain Death To Unprepared Populace”?  I get it.  Hell, I’m serving the masters that are part of The Problem.  It just doesn’t mean I have to like it.     

Friday, January 25, 2019

Nurse the Hate: One Perfect Ellipse

As a boy, he discovered his only true skill was being able to draw absolutely perfect ellipses.  Each one, regardless of scale, was pure perfection in its arch and proportion.  This won him a brief acclaim in a second-grade art class for perhaps 15 minutes one afternoon, but after that went unnoticed.  As his classmates matured, their various and more useful skills emerged.  While others excelled in mathematics or sports, he would quietly sit at his desk drawing ellipses in his notebook.  He did not feel cheated or shortchanged when he failed to develop excellence in other areas of life.  Each person is blessed to be gifted in one talent in their lifetime, and the ellipses was his.  There was no sense becoming upset about the lack of application for the talent.  It was better to just accept it and quietly wait for the opportunity to apply it.

He played Little League in the summer when he turned 10.  He was placed on a team christened the Mets.  An overage of late signups forced the creation of this new team.  These boys were mostly unathletic, being forced to play by disappointed fathers or domineering mothers.  The three men that ran the local league had a sense of humor about it, and named this “expansion” team the Mets, knowing full well the team’s doomed fate of being the league punching bag.  The team was coached by a well-intentioned father that knew almost nothing about baseball or sports in general but wanted “the boys to have fun”.   His name was Mr. Phillips (but call me Terry!) and he always wore very tight tennis shorts that seemed ill suited for athletic effort.  He was endlessly supportive but no real help whatsoever.  There was not one boy on the team with a shred of talent.  For six weeks, on Wednesday and Saturday late afternoons, the Mets would lose games ended by the mercy rule.  On the rare occasion when one of the Mets got on base, it was likely because they had been hit by the ball in the batter’s box, and that boy would sniffle back tears stranded on first.

There was a small wooden hut where the VFW manned a booth selling hot dogs and Cokes in waxed paper cups with shaved ice.  The ice would inevitably melt quickly, flattening the Coke.  On the small wooden bleachers wax paper cups would sag on the bottom as no one had ever finished their Coke before discarding it.  Parents and grandparents would sit in lawn chairs, with the more serious and competitive fathers standing along the backstop jawing at the umpire.  “That was a ball ump.  Open your eyes!”  The ump, Mr. Shannon, the day manager from the lumber yard, would stoically ignore the often-heated criticism just as he had seen umps do in the major leagues.  Most sons would dig into the batter’s box, glancing back at their fathers with embarrassment over their father’s behavior mixed with the apprehension of wanting to get a hit to earn praise.   The “ting!” of the ball hitting the aluminum bat.  “Attaboy Tommy!  Go for two!  Go for two!” 

His parents never attended the games as their work schedule interfered.  His mother asked if he wanted her to take the day off to attend one of his games.  He told her “no, that’s all right” as he didn’t want to seem like a baby, and then hoped she would insist, but she didn’t.  She went to work like she always did, leaving him a dollar for the team postgame trip for soft serve at The Dairy Twist.  His father would come home later in the evening and ask how the game went.  We lost.  “Well, you’ll get them next time.” 

It was late in the season.  The grass was brown in the July heat and crunched under foot.  Coach Phillips would move the boys around to play different positions.  “Every boy should get a chance!”  This would lead to complete pitching meltdowns and first basemen unable to record an out as they were afraid of the ball.  He was playing second base.  The pitcher seemed unable to throw a strike.  “Ball!”  Little kids played chase around the hot dog hut.  Older kids in uniforms warmed their arms up on the side of the diamond, preparing for their Pony League game.  They ignored the smaller kids as a show of dominance.  The pop of the mitt.  “Ball!”  He starred down at the dirt of the infield under his feet.  With the toe of his cleat he traced one perfect ellipse.       

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Nurse the Hate: Those Darn Covington Boys!

I have been fascinated by the Covington kids and their interaction with the Native American tribesman and the Black Israelites in Washington last weekend.  I really dove in on this thing, looking at various footage to try and get to the real core of the incident.  It’s not deciding if the rich Kentucky kids in Trump hats that got bussed in from the expensive private school are racists.  I think that sentence alone suggests what any reasonable person might conclude.  “Hmmm… if I didn’t know any better I would think some of those boys in that video are assholes…” 

In one of the videos, a boy with shockingly large breasts takes off his shirt to get crazy for “his boyz”.  You can tell he’s the “crazy” one of the group, the one overcompensating for the reality that he should be in his physical prime but instead has nice pointy breasts.  I believe he has a bright future of hazing other dudes in frats and sexual assaults of young girls in freshman dorms, but that’s only because I draw shockingly fast conclusions based on past experience.  If I’m right, I’m “wise”.  If I am wrong, it’s because he gets counseling. 

This kid gets all wound up and leads the boys in some sort of football cheer.  It’s pure gang mentality.  The boys are laughing it up because they have never considered anyone else’s point of view or been taught empathy.  Indians and blacks are to be laughed at.  MAGA motherfuckers!  We are in DC and the gang is all here!  Fuck you strange old Indian guy!  Let’s have a great laugh at things we don’t understand.  Afterwards, we can hop back on the safety of the bus and get buzzed on home to Mom and Dad.  Woo!  It’s clearly a video of asshole boys out of control.

Normally one would think the President of the United States would weigh in with something along the lines of “America and the great melting pot we have of cultures and blah blah blah…”  Not this guy.   “Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false - smeared by media.”  It is unbelievable how often our President goes out of his way to defend racism.  The guy doesn’t even take a pass on it.  He gets right in there with a variation of “good people on both sides” idea.  At no point does he suggest that the Native American kook with the drum was not to blame for getting mocked by a bunch of kids wearing his hats.  Nope.  He has once again made it out to be about him and suggest the “evil media” is contorting a clearly fucked up situation.  By the way, no collusion!  Don’t look into the light!

The real story for me is what is going on with the adult chaperones?  Is that mob of douche boys roaming around on their own?  I can’t ever remember an occasion of a school trip where we were not bludgeoned with threats for any behavior deemed even close to objectionable.  I especially enjoyed the clearly empty threats of “if you wander off from the group, you will NOT graduate this Spring!” (as if your previous four years of education would be voided because you bought a switchblade in a Montreal shop…  saying that for a friend by the way…  I have no idea where those knives came from…)  How in God’s name did an adult not come to their senses and suggest “Boys, perhaps we should not yell cheers at the Black Israelites as they are clearly unhinged.  I would also suggest we not mock the Native American as that is not in fashion at the moment.”.  This would suggest to me that perhaps a group of boys sent on a bus for an Anti Abortion march might have some other “alt right” ideas that get knocked around the old campfire back home courtesy of their “adult chaperones”.  Remember, it’s not a Klan hood, it’s a MAGA hat.  It’s not racism, it’s Alt Right.  See how nice it can clean up? 

It will all simmer down soon thanks to the crisis PR firm hired by the smirking boy’s parents that swooped in to save that smirking kid.  I am fairly certain that the Native American guy does not have a crisis PR firm.  He could probably use one though as at this point all the Fox News talking heads have already spun this thing into an opportunity for Rubes not to trust the media.  The key is to see want you want to see.  The media is trying to trick you into thinking those kids were acting like assholes.  Don’t be fooled by the obvious.  They’re just good boys.  And remember, if the media is lying about that, I’m sure it’s all lies about the historic corruption in the Trump Administration.  Yep.  Nothing to see here.  Let’s rid ourselves of “political correctness”, which used to be called “tolerance”.  It’s so dull.  America is becoming greater every single day.      

Friday, January 18, 2019

Nurse the Hate: Balling The Jack in Canada and an NFL Pick

A number of years ago the Daredevils played a Friday night gig in Buffalo.  I can't remember much about that show except that we spent the night with our friend Marty, who is always a too gracious host.  Marty makes a mean breakfast.  We were playing Erie the next night, so we had nothing but time on our hands.  I feel like I am imposing by just hanging around someone's house all day.  I mean, Marty's got a life, right?  I didn't want to just stare at him all day and say "What do you want to talk about now?  What do you think you might want to talk about later?" as the clock tick-tick-ticked on the wall.  Krusty was in the midst of one of his advanced degrees, so he needed to spend the afternoon doing a paper on whatever the hell one does in masters classes.  The rest of us had nothing to do.  I hit upon the idea of going to one of the casinos as a time killing adventure.

Let's be honest.  Buffalo is not exactly a top tourist destination in January.  I'm not sure if it was January, but I remembered that it was cold, so let's assume it was anytime between December-April.  Leo, Gary and I bundled up in the van and I drove us towards the general area of the casinos.  "Which side should we go on?  We should probably look at Niagara Falls right?"  The other two guys are no help whatsoever.  "I dunno.  It doesn't matter to me."  My thinking is since we are in "daytime adventure mode" that we will go to Canada.  Crossing international borders and gambling!  Good living!  "Well, the Falls look better on the Canadian side.  What do you say we go over there?"  The was a general grunt of agreement.

We entered the border crossing traffic lines.  This was before you needed a passport to go to Canada, so we just have to show driver's licenses.  I hand them to the Mountie.  Well, maybe it was a border employee, but it's better to assume that it was a Mountie.  That seems more exotic.  Anyway, the guy clicks our information into a computer.  "Any of you ever have any legal situations in Canada?"  Huh?  I tell the guy "no" and the other guys quip in from the back.  "No".  The Mountie frowns and tells us to pull over to the side and go in the building as he marches in with our IDs.  Now we are sitting in a crowded room filled primarily with Arabs.  About 20 minutes goes past and from behind the counter a tough looking cop yells across the room.  "Gary!  Who is Gary!".  Gary gives a slight hand raise and walks towards the cop.  Before he is even two steps, the cop begins to dress Gary down in front of the entire room.  "Godammit when someone asks you if you have ever had a legal situation in Canada you had better think twice about lying about that!  I don't know who you think you are but blah blah blah!"  Even I was wincing.  It was really bad.  It was like being screamed at by a really pissed off college football coach.  All the Arabs that were trapped here at the border looked at each other shaking their heads.  This man was the angriest Canadian I have ever seen.

It turned out that Gary had some vague traffic situation years earlier in Toronto that had been sort of resolved but maybe not completely resolved to The Nation of Canada's level of comfort.  We never got any more of the story than we heard the Canadian cop yell at him.  Gary was not the most forthcoming with basic information that would benefit the group.  The good thing was that they let us come in the country for the afternoon.  It is still unclear to this day why Gary didn't speak up when I asked "which side of the Falls" and say "Hey, let's not mess around with a border cross.  I have an unpaid traffic ticket."  I guess when he hit that next crossroad he thought maybe he'd get lucky when the border agent asked if any of us had ever had a legal situation?  It doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's what happened.  I still have no idea of the real story.  Regardless, now we were in Canada.  Let's go to a casino!

I had this idea of "balling the jack".  The concept is that you take all of your money that isn't absolutely essential and gamble it.  It's feast or famine.  I convinced the guys that we should take our money from the Buffalo gig, back out gas money to Erie, and then we gamble the rest of it on one roulette spin.  If we won, we would go out for the best meal we could buy in Erie.  If we lost, we'd have to eat gas station hoagies.  Let's add some drama to our afternoon.

We walked over to the roulette wheel.  Quick aside, a roulette wheel on a Saturday afternoon in Canada does not have the same looking crowd as in a James Bond film.  There were no beautiful women in sequin gowns saying playfully sexual things to us as we approached the table.  There was a fat guy in a mustache with a Bills knit cap on.  He looked like a walrus wearing those tennis shoes with velcro straps.  At no point did I attempt to order a martini "shaken not stirred".  I did get a comp Labatt Blue though.  It was served in a plastic cup as I recall.

There was one way to go on choosing between red or black for the big bet.  Leo.  If anyone could win a bet like this one it was Leo.  I have a theory that because Leo has such a good heart that the cosmos looks out for him when he does stupid shit.  Everything generally works out OK for Leo despite the obvious foresight most have of his impending disastrous next move.  "Yeah, I got this idea about riding a unicycle across the telephone line..."  Somehow he will land harmlessly in a shrub when he immediately falls from the second story from his unicycle.  It's just the way it works out.  I would like to go on record that he will likely win a major lottery prize before he dies.  He will also lose the ticket afterwards and never claim the prize, but he will at least win it.  I knew he would be our man for this wager.

Leo stared at the table.  He watched a few spins.  "OK.  Play black."  I took all of our cash (Cash plays!  Cash plays!) and placed it on black.  The clicking of the roulette wheel began to slow. Click, click,  "Black!  Black's a winner!".   Of course, Leo picked the winner.  The guy is absolute gold.  We get our chips slid across the felt to us and head directly to the cage to cash out.  It was time to leave Canada, take our money and eat the best meal we could find in Erie (which wound up being a sort of awful seafood meal at some joint down by the Public Dock).  The whole incident does provide a couple of life lessons though.  1.  Do not try to bullshit your way through Canadian customs.  2.  Sometimes a coin flip will come up a winner.  Don't overthink it.

I don't have a real clue as to who will win either conference championship game.  The Saints are at home with a crowd already wasted on cheap hurricanes and wearing plastic beads.  However, Brees clearly has some arm injury that will limit his game to dink-n-dunk passing.  The Rams are loaded, but Gurley's knees are being held together by prayers.  Does that mean Goff can carry the day?  Shit.  I have no idea. 

That leads me to the Kansas City v Patriots game.  It's in Kansas City where the weather is going to be "cold as shit".  Playing football in 12 degrees really sucks.  That is going to limit KC's ability to run deep routes, which means The Hoodie will come up with all sorts of wacky ass defensive tricks for Mahomes to deal with on Sunday.  The Patriots looked awesome last Sunday, absolutely unstoppable.  Will that translate to a repeat performance this week?  Shit.  I have no idea.  I do know this.  Of all 104 teams that made the Super Bowl, only 2 had a losing road record.  The Patriots went 3-5 on the road this year.  That is attention getting.  OK, I want some action.  I am on Kansas City -3 in a coin flip.  Well, unless Leo tells me "New England".