Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Early 5 Star Locks!!!

Here's a couple quick 5 Star Locks... (Alright...maybe a couple desperate grabs...)

Cleveland +5: As I have always said, the NFL is all about being contrary to the gambling public. Those giant casinos weren't built in Vegas because people know how to win. No my friends, these are built because people are generally losers. At this writing 81% of the public are on the Colts today. Why? Because the Browns have collapsed, Derek Anderson is going out there to over/under throw everybody, the Browns defense can't stop anybody, and the Colts have seemingly "kicked it in". Will the Browns win? No. Will the Colts cover five? Against all common sense, I'm taking the points.

Green Bay -3: Carolina keeps winning despite looking very sketchy. But here's some news you can use. Carolina is 2-5 ATS as a small underdog of 3.5 or less. Add into the mix the Panthers have lost 3 of their last 4 on the road, with the only win being a tight game vs the hapless Raiders. Meanwhile, the Pack is 12-5 as a favorite of 3 or less at home, and just crushed the Bears and Colts in their last two home games. The only thing that gives me pause is the short week after their MNF ass kicking by the Saints.

Bills/SF over 42: Both of these teams are questionable at best. However, San Fran does score points and more importantly they give up plenty. In their last 4 road games they've given up an average of 31 points. Seattle dropped 34 on them, and Philly somehow scored 40. That means Buffalo's shitty offense should get 28 points+ today. (Right?) You think San Fran can score two touchdowns today? I do. I'll take the over.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Thanksgiving

Let’s get ready to sit around all day tomorrow and answer awkward questions from our relatives “So when are you two going to have a baby?” or “Why did you ever break up with that wonderful (insert name of psychopath ex-girl/boyfriend here)?” come to mind. Don’t be caught out in the cold. You have to have a Game Plan. Here’s what I suggest…

Drink heavily. Start early and often with Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA or Erie Brewing Company Railbender. Announce your presence with authority. Switch over to red wine about 5pm, and knock back Nine North Wines “Hullabaloo” zin, Ridge “Lytton Springs” or if you are feeling particularly “randy” go full throttle with Martinelli’s Jackass Hill Zin with the whopping 17% alcohol content.
Gamble very heavily. These games will be atrocious. Tennessee is a very “physical” football team. That means the Lions are going to get “an asswhipping” in the early game. Here’s the rub… The only way to drown out your Aunt Sheila is to have action on that game. And a lot of it. That Dallas v Seattle game is no picnic at 4:00 either. Dallas should stomp on the Seahawks balls, and break out a bunch of embarrassing end zone dances while you try and choke down a hearty helping of Ambrosia that mysteriously appeared on your plate. By the time you start to lose control of your faculties, the Eagles and Cardinals game will be on like electronic wall paper. Take all the favorites for 2 units each, and tease all three favorites with 10 points for a four unit play. You are looking at Tennessee-1/Dallas -2.5/Arizona +13. Now you’re interested!

Quick aside…I was in the grocery store and overheard a clerk say “It’s been crazy today”. Is that, or is that not, the most overused phrase in the workplace? At a grocery store a 25% increase over the normal Tuesday evening customer base is not “crazy”. That is typical holiday volume. “Crazy” is if McCauley Caulkin came into the store on a unicycle blowing a monkey while a horde of angry Turks firebombed cars in the parking lot. Now that’s crazy. Let’s keep this shit straight.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Public Bathrooms

As I have long maintained, one of the largest shortcomings in the United States is the absolutely terrible conditions of public bathrooms. Playing in a traveling rock band has made me much more tolerant of facilities that normal human beings would recoil from in fear and horror. Please note that a number of years ago, I would never have taken a dump in a gas station. I would endure abdominal pain like a Japanese POW while waiting however long it was necessary for a "home game". Other people I know have never been that picky. Heck, after being on the road so long, our drummer Leo has descended into being a half step above a farm animal in his toilet requirements.

Let me tell you about a game I like to play with Leo. The game is that he will drink anything I buy him from a gas station (assuming that it is meant to be consumed as foodstuff, and is not something like wiper fluid). While getting gas at a Duke Gas Station somewhere in the bowels of Southern Ohio, I purchased an 16 oz off brand energy drink for Leo. As opposed to jacking him up, the drink appeared to have no effect as he fell asleep about 20 minutes later. It was then the real effect kicked in, as he announced we had to pull over immediately to the first bathroom facility available.

We stopped at the next exit at a really creepy gas station/Dairy Queen/motel/lounge. It being Saturday night, the rural residents of the community were stopping in for a peanut buster parfait as the perfect West Vg night cap. Couples and families appeared to be very pleased with themselves as they strolled around the convenience store merchandise while enjoying their treats. You know they care about you, the customer, because as soon as you walk into this multi headed service mecca, a large hand painted sign directs you to "Clean Restrooms". Leo immediately noted the sign and cut across the store in that half walk-half run that signifies a gastrointestinal crisis of the highest order. The strange thing about this bathroom was that it was set just off the store, with no buffer zone of any kind. You opened the door and POW! you were standing next to one of the largest arrays of pork rinds I have ever seen.

Me? I would have frozen up and not have been able to go. It was like taking a shit in a bucket squatting in the middle of the room behind a shower curtain. Leo? No problem. I'm not sure exactly what happened in there, but I did hear it described as "a Tour-de-Force of sound, smell, and sensory overload". Mothers grabbed their children and hustled them out of there like their children's innocence was at stake. (It was.) Grown men turned their heads from across the room in obvious concern. It was like someone had shot a can of beef stew out of a fire hose. It wasn't pretty. Leo himself commented afterwards, "It was all power...pure power."

Almost none of you reading this would have gone into that bathroom and done that. It was small, dirty, and very very public. Leo has become so ambivalent about these horrible bathrooms, it didn't faze him at all. It's all conditioning I suppose. Still, there are bathrooms even we won't dare enter. A normal human being walks into any of these bathrooms, and the vision of them etch into the brain like a murder scene. To enter into any of the following bathrooms is to face your darkest nightmares. I present this to you as a service...

In no particular order:

* Newark Airport late afternoon on a weekday, domestic terminal

* Shell Station, Bishop Rd in Willoughby OH

* Bernie's Bagels (aka The Distillery), Columbus OH

* Ronnie Ps, Pittsburgh PA

* Most Indiana truckstops (Don't take a chance at any of them if you can help it)

Random Notes: My masseuse and speedboat are gone as the NFL taught me a lesson like always. Still, it was a helluva run. I am optimistic about this Thanksgiving. Two games are horrible teams playing pretty good teams with big point spreads. In both of these games, go with the favorite. Dallas and Tennessee are not going to play poorly in front of the entire country. Additionally, the Lions are incapable of playing well under any circumstances. The Seahawks suck at home and are a complete car wreck on the road. While I normally do not advise this, I would take a look at a tease with the chalk on these games...I bought the latest Bob Dylan "Bootleg Series" release ("Tell Tale Signs" I think), and it's really great. When you hear about a bunch of Dylan outtakes from the late 80s to today, it's hard to get fired up. I was shocked at the quality level. If a new artist had released this, critics wouldn't be able to stop gushing praise...You know what else is really good? That "Vampire Weekend" CD. It's like if Tokyo Police Club embraced their inner East Coast college freshman. Wait, that sounds bad...A good read is "Smile When You Are Lying" by Chuck Thompson. It's a unblinking and opinionated look at travel and travel writing. If you like the way I write about terrible road catastrophes, you'll like this book...I recently looked at a Billboard Top 50 chart and knew what 4 of the artists even sounded like. That means I am either 1) really subversive and counter culture, or (probably more likely) 2) incredibly out of touch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Penny Jar

I was minding my own business the other day knocking back the obscenely priced Great Lakes Xmas Ale at a local pub ($10.99 a six pack retail) when I saw a true blast from the past. You know when you see someone years later from when you saw them last and they look like an Elvis Impersonator of themselves? The woman in question looked like she did in the mid 1990s except for the classic United States signs of female aging. These tell tale signs include A) hair that has been cut back from a previous wild length to the short asexual “mom cut”, B) an hourglass shape that has morphed more into a Mickey’s Bigmouth barrel, and C) the denim sweat pant type of Mom jean. These jeans may or may not have included an “elastic comfort panel” in the front of the pant.

The last time I had previously seen her I was standing around with a bunch of fellow douche bag media sales guys. We were probably drinking 30oz Bud Light drafts on trade from our respective radio stations. It was one of those events where a bunch of competing stations get together and lie to each other about how great things are going. “Hey!!! How’s it going over there at WFUK? Super!!!! Me too!!!! I‘m up 34% over last year! Kicking ass and taking names!” This is always the conversation even if you know for a fact they are hanging onto their jobs by their ball hairs and are getting their ass chewed out every 17 minutes by their boss that fancies himself as the low rent Midwestern Gordon Gekko.

So there I am (listening to someone tell me how GREAT they are) when one of them nudges me and says, “Hey, you know Penny over there?”. Now I know for a fact that this woman’s name is, let’s say, Mary. So I say, “Isn’t her name Mary?”…

As I get another 30oz draft and hope our tab hasn’t run out, he says “My buddy hooked up with her about six years ago at the Xmas party. They both live in Akron right? So he gives her a ride home back to her place. She’s got this shity little apartment, and they spend about 10 minutes looking at her etchings or whatever the fuck they were doing, and then they start going at it. The room is like fifteen feet by ten feet, so they fall onto her bed. She’s got this bed with one of those old style headboards, and it’s really rocking around. They are both so into it, neither one of them noticed that the jar she keeps her pennies in is almost falling off the edge of the headboard. Suddenly the jar falls off and bonks her in the head and she cries out. He starts laughing, cause you gotta admit, it’s funny, right? But she gets pissed and makes him get dressed and leave. Ever since then, we’ve called her Penny.”

True story.

Random Notes: I loved the Browns on Monday, and they took care of me with a winner. They are a really great underdog this year, but a horrible favorite. Don’t be surprised if the Texans kick the crap out of them this weekend with Rosenfels throwing for about 350 yards…I have had a few terrific wines lately. Check out a cheap little Australian shiraz called Mr. Riggs (about $15), the Hullaballoo Zin from Napa (about $25), and the 2006 Turley Dusi Ranch ($35). These are all full throttle big as kicking reds. Anyone of them will be a perfect wine for Turkey Day…Speaking of Turkey Day, who’s got the cajones to drop some dough on the Lions in the early game? Not me, and I haven’t even seen the number. I’m betting the over/under on that one…An actual copy of Guns N Roses “Chinese Democracy” is in my house right now. I haven’t listened to it yet. However, I’m sure it was well worth the 15 year wait, and will justify all those years of fucking around in the studio…A few friends of mine did a blind taste test with Pabst, Busch, and Miller High Life. Busch was the overwhelming winner (8 of 9 people), and High Life was the overwhelming loser (7 of 9 people). Who knew?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Bluetooth

Who the hell are all these people with the Bluetooth earphones think they are fooling? Are you trying to suggest that you are so important that you need to be in constant communication with the outside world? You can’t possibly miss a phone call? If that is true, why do most people that are rocking the Bluetooth also wear sweatpants at the same time? I don’t ever remember standing behind a dude wearing one of these and him answering his phone to say “Goddammit Stevens! Why didn’t you call me sooner? Good Christ Almighty! Sell 10,000 shares of Calpine Industries and drop it into that hedge fund so we can buy Exxon short! Call me when it’s done!” Usually the ear piece just sits in their head like they are an extra from Battlestar Galactica…

Places you will generally see people with earpieces in their skulls...1) Subway restaurants located inside gas stations 2) the line at the Post Office 3) Wal Mart parking lots. Not exactly the domain of "movers and shakers", no?

I think these guys wearing them think they are looking really important, and therefore more desirable to the opposite sex. Despite the fact they are wearing a sideways baseball cap, have a tattoo of a flaming skull on their neck, and untied basketball shoes, the look will somehow say, “That’s right Baby…I am such a high roller, I can’t risk being out of touch. You want to get close to The Dealmaker? You want to listen to me talk on the phone while you sit shotgun in my 1994 F-10 pickup truck? You like that? Oh yeah..."

The problem with that line of thinking is that I can’t ever recall seeing a man with an ear piece in his head with a woman. Ever. I’m not sure which is the less desirable look: The Ear Piece or The Utility Belt. You know The Utility Belt. It's when men think it's a great idea to clip their phone onto their belt via some cheap looking plastic case like they are some kind of Futuristic Electronic Handyman. The hardcore have multiple devices across their belt line like they are the cellphone John Rambo. Here’s the thing with the Utility Belt Look though… The Utility Belt is the almost exclusive domain of khaki pant white guy. It’s the middle age suburban gang version of baggy jeans and monstrously large white t shirt.

You put a 40 year old white guy into a button down collared shirt, and soft brown “business casual shoes” he almost reflexively reaches for the cell phone holder to clip onto his belt. It must have something to do with that stage of life when men have given up on looking contemporary, and focus almost completely on function. It's the look that says, “Yes, I look like the AV kid from my high school, but I’ve been married for so long I have stopped caring what anyone thinks of my appearance. I am NOT trying to impress anyone." It's the look that says, "Hey, who wants to go to Applebees for lunch? I've got a 50% off coupon for the artichoke dip appetizer. I still know how to party.”

Ultimately, it’s that whole communication thing that’s gotten out of control. Everyone needs to be in touch with everyone RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. Really, is there anything that important? I haven't said anything important on the phone in weeks. Months maybe.. Granted, if you were taken hostage by terrorists and thrown into a desert spider hole that just so fortunately happened to have strong signal coverage, you would wish you had that earpiece in. I'll give you that. But let's be realistic. Most people barely leave their homes. The most adventure almost everyone you know encounters is when they win a free lunch from those business card fishbowl contests by the cash register. (And they'll breathlessly tell the story over and over again if you give them even the slightest opportunity. I know a guy that's told me the same story six times about how he won lunch for four from Red Robin. He's so excited when he tells it, it's like he won the goddamn lottery. What's lunch for four at Red Robin? $25? Jesus... Is that even considered food?)

If you are one of these people walking around with this Bluetooth thing on, take it out. While you may think you look cutting edge and technologically savvy, I'd like to point out, you look like an even worse version of the picture above. That important call you might miss? It's one of your loser friends calling to tell you they won a free lunch at Chipotle.