Monday, July 2, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Hate Erie

If you want to know what it was like in the United States in years past, you don’t need to invent a time machine. Just take a quick drive to Erie PA. You’ll see clothes and hair styles from days gone by with shocking regularity. For example, last time I was there I saw a guy in a mesh football jersey with coaches shorts. I saw a woman with hair teased up like she was going to go to a Ratt concert. And this was at about 6:30pm in a strip plaza parking lot. Don’t even think about the non ironic Members Only jacket with scary porn mustache I saw on the guy pumping gas into his Trans Am. (Maybe he had driven that Trans Am so fast he drove in from 1985. Who the hell knows…)

But Erie is more than a home to a disproportionate number of people trapped in the past. You can have a real good time in Erie. But you have to play it smart. If you make the wrong turn, you can be drinking a pitcher of Miller Lite, eating “Buoys” (a horrific creation Satan himself created of a breaded deep fried egg served with some sort of “dipping sauce”), and smoking packs of cigarettes with brain dead locals in some joint with a pool table and plenty of Bob Seger on the jukebox. Follow these rules, and you can enjoy a decent little town with some wonderfully eccentric free thinkers (if you know where to look). But be careful because there is only about 120-150 of these people in the entire city. The rest of them look roughly like Ron Ashton does now. But with really uncool clothes.

1) Visit Erie between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I cannot stress this enough. Erie is a very pleasant place in the summer. It is a terrible Hell Hole to even drive through from Nov 1-May 31st. It is cold, wet, nasty, inhospitable, and depressing. The only things to do are drink and smoke while wondering what the hell went wrong. In the summer? Hanging out on the water with a cool breeze wafting in from Canada? It’s friggin enchanting!

2) Drink Erie Brewing Company beer. This time of year the Presque Isle Pilsner is the way to go. Light and extremely quaffable, it has way more character than than the typical macro brew. If you’re feeling up to it, go for the Railbender Ale. It has 9% alcohol, so it can give you an attitude adjustment in short order. If for some reason you find yourself marooned there from Jan 1-April 15, turn to the Red Rider. That’s sort of like malt liquor for people that don’t live in a ghetto. I’m not sure what the alcohol content is, but I think it’s roughly that of a bottle of decent Puerto Rican rum. It’ll help you forget….

3) Stick close to the water. If you don't have a boat, rent one. There isn't much in the way of nightlife unless a good band is playing at The Beer Mug. Sure, there's always a chance to see cover/tribute bands in clubs with dart boards and NASCAR beer promo posters, but is that really any way to spend your leisure time? Of course not. Sitting on the beach with a big bonfire after a day of bobbing around in Lake Erie? Now you've got something...

4) When going out to eat, try to eat Italian cuisine from an independently owned restaurant. Erie has some pretty decent little Italian restaurants. Everything else in Erie is served deep fried in a plastic basket. I think if you ordered oatmeal, you'd get it deep fried in a nacho bowl. It is common in Erie restaurants to put french fries on top of salads. No shit, I am not making this up. Also, if possible, bring your own wine and pay a corkage fee. As far as I know, it is not possible to buy good wine from a public restaurant there. Unless you consider Black Opal to be good wine. If so, bon appetit.

5) Leave after 2 days (maximum). You have done it all. It's time to leave now.

Random Notes: Boy that new Stooges album sucks. Did Iggy put more than 10 minutes into the lyrics? When you are going to be compared to Raw Power, you might want to give it at least 50% or so...The NBA draft is the least compelling event ever...Any adult that goes to watch "The Transformers" movie should not be allowed to vote in any upcoming election (unless they are there to accompany a child aged 14 or under). How can anyone that chooses to spend their time going to see a movie based on a toy going to unravel the complexities of Iraq, social security, the environment, corporate lobbyists, etc.? And don't even start on me for being some kind of elitist. Let's say some guy comes up to you and says, "I went to see Transformers last night with my girlfriend, and I gotta tell ya, it kicked ass!". Would you put that person in charge of your savings account? Would you even put them in charge of buying a pizza? I didn't think so. Admit it. I'm on to something here...Underrated pitchers: Paul Byrd, Aaron Harang, Kelvim Escobar, Derek Lowe. Overrated pitchers: Jon Garland, Barry Zito, Curt Schilling, Scott Kazmir...I pussed out and stayed home instead of going to see Built To Spill in the Grog Shop tonight. As Bill Walton would say, "Terrible Decision!". If you don't put in an effort, life will pass you by...


At July 3, 2007 at 12:08:00 AM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Agreed. Your ATM was shut down. Since the Jays glory days of the early 90's, they have done nothing, but battle to be .500. That is all they will ever be.

Greg can you support our little theory that new managers seem to win their first game like 90% of the time at least. The sorry Reds seem like the 10%, but I am pretty certain they will take down Balco Bonds Giants. Principally, because I will not be there as they are 0'fer (0-5) with me in attendance, but I have seen 4 Griff dongs. Home Runs that is for all the wise-achers out there.

At July 3, 2007 at 9:41:00 PM EDT , Blogger Dave L. said...

Greg - I love your Erie post. It's dead on. I've had many of the same observations about Syracuse, my home town.
By the way, I'm sure you're enjoying your second of three Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary issues. If anyone can make 1967 seem boring and uneventful, it's Rolling Stone. Have they jumped the shark or what? Dave L.

At July 4, 2007 at 10:34:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

1) The Halladay ATM will be better than ever. Toronto going down the tubes will only help his odds. He'll still win 2/3rds of the time if healthy. Stay on the ATM.

2) The new manager theory seemed good until Seattle got the living crap kicked out of them by KC. When you give up 17 to the Royals, that's not good. At all. 3) Cincinnati is a terrible baseball team with a few good power hitters. The only way I would bet on those guys was if the opposing pitcher was injured and no one knew about it, or if Harang was on the mound. Or if they were playing the Pirates.
4) I was going to go crazy about that Rolling Stone issue, but what's the point? I already went crazy on that last issue they did. That magazine goes from being the fat guy in the letterman jacket talking about how his high school class in 1984 was the best football team ever to being the breathlessly excited soccer Mom that saw a B list celebrity at the mall.
5) It's July 4th, and I'm on the Twins with Santana at an absurdly low -121 vs the Yanks, and the Brewers even against the Pirates. I took two last night with the Tribe and BoSox.

At July 12, 2007 at 2:46:00 PM EDT , Blogger Dave in Buffalo said...

When is the I-90 construction project due to end in that little corner of PA, 2020? Every year some part of PA I-90 is down to one lane slowing down what should be an easy drive between Buf-Clev. I understand government work projects, but EVERY YEAR??

At June 23, 2008 at 6:33:00 PM EDT , Blogger eccentricvirgo said...

I am just reading your post now after being stuck in Erie for 3 weeks and will be until Thanksgiving (UGH!). I'm laughing at how dead on this is and I don't even understand how a LOCAL got me stuck in one of those bars with Bob Seger blaring! I have decided to spend most of my free time on PI enjoying the water since I'm not fond of the rest of the city (though I enjoy the library).


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