Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate December Football

I was shocked to receive a call from a friend of mine from Erie PA as he was driving to Browns Stadium to see the alleged NFL game between the Browns and Bengals today. The fact that these two teams are unworthy of even a moments attention should stand on its own as a reason to stay home. What is even more alarming is that he has brought his 5 year old son to sit in gale force winds with Neanderthals blinding drunk in frozen rubber dog masks. I considered calling Social Services and bring this to a stop, but then decided it would be a watershed learning experience for the Boy.

My plans are completely different. In moments I will drive downtown to record an AC/DC cover for a poorly considered 7 inch single. In about 28 minutes we will have it recorded and mixed. I will then be comfortably sitting in front of a fire watching all the entire NFL slate unfold before me like a menu of opportunity! Let's take a look, shall we?

* San Francisco has been playing like a real live mediocre NFL team since Mike Singletary took over and apparently scared the crap out of his players. Meanwhile the St Louis Rams have less talent than Fresno State, and play with no sense of urgency. Take San Francisco -4.5.

* This is a "must win" week for the Miami Dolphins as they go to Kansas City to play the lowly Chiefs. There are three things you need to focus on here. 1) Miami hasn't played a game in less than 62 degrees all year, and it's going to be cold and shitty in Kansas City today. 2) KC is a tough place to play. There is nothing to do in Kansas City except eat beef and watch the Chiefs. This is a big day out for a lot of fat guys. Look for Miami to have lots of stupid little drive killing penalties. 3) Miami, despite a good record, isn't very good. Take Kansas City with the 4 points.

* The Browns/Bengals game, as previously noted, is going to be a waste of time for those that have journeyed to the lakefront. That does not mean we cannot make something positive of this situation. The over/under opened at 35 and has dropped to 31.5. Yes, you have read that correctly. The Vegas books are begging you to take the over. They are assuming you will look past the fact that 65 mph winds are whipping off the lake. They are hoping you will forget that this is the worst QB match up since the NFL went with scabs during the strike season. Neither team scores in the best of conditions. Why are they going to light it up today? Take the under.

* Every time I turn on ESPN, I keep seeing the pitch about how the Seahawks are going to win the last home game for Mike Holmgren today against the Jets. Frankly, I don't think those players give a fuck about Mike Holmgren one way or the other. I would imagine they are self absorbed assholes like all professional athletes. However, this is a "must win" for the Jets, and that's gotten a lot of media play as well. Just because it's a "must win", doesn't mean the team in question is going to win. The Jets suck on the road, and especially on the West Coast. They lost to Oakland in Oakland for God's sake! Take a flier on Seattle with the 3.5 points.

* The Giants have looked really iffy the last month against some run of the mill opposition. The loss of Plaxico Burris has been huge. (Even though he is the stupidest mofo ever, he is a real problem for opposing defenses.) This week they have to play Carolina, and for some reason Carolina is getting 3.5. I love Carolina today. They are the real deal, and play the kin of football that wins games in December. They will run the ball in the gut early and late, and will wear out the Giants. The only way NY win this game is if Carolina fumbles it away in a horrible flurry of turnovers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Office Christmas Party

It's time for the dreaded Work Christmas Party. You know what that means...forced fun, chicken wings, and uncomfortable small talk. But the old Office Christmas Party just isn't what it used to be, is it? During "these tough economic times" (see how many times you hear that phrase in the next year or three), companies have jumped at the chance to eliminate throwing the working man a bone with a high class night out featuring a prime rib carving station, terrible cover band, and open bar at the Holiday Inn Rockside Ballroom. Those days are o-v-e-r. Now you're lucky if you get a couple pizzas and a shared 2 liter of Diet Mountain Dew in the bleak lunchroom.

We have entered headfirst into the second decade of our Glorious New Age of Total Correctness, where copious drinking, cigarette smoking, and interest in the opposite sex is Very Bad. These days if Joe from Shipping ties on one in view of anyone from his workplace, he's likely to find himself summoned into human resources for an extensive Q&A from a team of uptight professionals. He'll then reluctantly be sent off to an insurance plan approved Born Again Christian Rehab Center after the "lawyers from Corporate" decide that having him fired, blacklisted, and water boarded (while advisable) is not legal.

The worst part is, I think some of those parties were actually fun. Everyone from the office power structure met on the level playing field of a God awful reception area of a hotel, knocked back an ill advised number of drinks, and really told each other what was on their minds. It cleared the air, and provided great conversation for months afterwards. "Did you see Judy from Accounting dancing the lambada with Brad? OMIGOD!"

The last really great Office Christmas Party I went to was in the mid 1990s. I was working at a terrible radio station that was not afraid to have a good time. The party was on a Thursday night and very heavy drinking was not only encouraged, it was expected my management. The badge of honor was to get removed from the party in a wheelchair, and then somehow show up at 8:30 am at your desk the next day.

This particular year a woman on the sales staff went all out and showed up dressed to the nines. I'm talking ballroom gown with matching gloves that went to the elbow. She was certainly the Belle of the Ball, as most of the other ladies made snide comments while the guys checked her out. I didn't really think too much about her until I showed up to work the next morning with a crushing hangover. Most of the other people were there, when we noticed the Belle of the Ball was not. Extensive post game analysis of the party led to speculation that she had hooked up with our morning man at the time, a legendary DJ that was much older than her (and frankly, a bit down on his luck). It turns out the morning DJ had a room at the hotel, and public opinion leaned that the Belle of the Ball might have stayed with the DJ after a quick exit from the party. A fellow co-worker decided to take the bull by the horns, and call over to the hotel to find out if she was there via his speaker phone while everyone else from the office gathered around to listen in to the call. The call went like this:

Sales Guy: "Can I have the DJ's room please?


Belle: "Hello?"

Sales Guy: "What are you doing?"

Belle: (sexy voice) "Laying here thinking about you..."

Sales Guy: "Do you know who this is?"

Belle: "Sales Guy? Oh my god!"

Everyone in the office starts laughing like crazy into the speaker...

Sound of a phone being quickly dropped into the cradle on her end...


She wouldn't come back to work for two days, and the sales manager had to gently coax her back, promising it wasn't a big deal. Who would even remember after the weekend? Of course we were all 100% focused on it, and had taped a few promo head shots of the DJ onto her desk area. As I recall, she sat down quietly on her return, breathed a sigh of relief that no one had called her out as she walked in. It was then she noticed the pictures, and hissed "You Assholes!" before storming off into the women's room. Isn't that what the Holidays are all about? Isn't that why we get together and celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas? (The true meaning of Xmas is when Baby Santa was born, and was visited by the Three Wise Men on the North Pole as I recall...)

By the way, I'd like to say this story had a happy ending, but it got a little messy. As I understood it, the sales girl got pregnant, tried to sue the DJ for child support, but then her lawyer discovered the DJ had gotten a vasectomy years earlier. Maybe she had gone to another Christmas party that year, I don't know. I think she quit when the lawsuit went south. About 4 months later she was my waitress at a pizza place in Parma. I was uncomfortable, and left without ordering. Oh well, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate The King

OK, that's it. I've had my fill of LeBron James. It's bad enough to see a football field sized banner of LeBron in a Christlike pose on Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland with the phrase "We Are All Witnesses". Do I really need to see a giant sign every morning telling me that I am inferior? "Greg, behold LeBron and know that your role on this planet is not one of participation, but of passively watching this high school graduate successfully put a ball into a hoop 46% of the times he tries." Is that what I need at 8:17 am on a Tuesday? Really?

The thing that really put it over the top for me is this new Nike commercial. Watch it here and get back to me. I'll wait...

Let's first focus on the white powder. Look at me! I'm a magician! Abra fucking cadabra! If you did that stunt before going to bat in a MLB game, you would get half of your face caved in by a fastball. How about trying that before taking the field against the Baltimore Ravens? I would think Ray Lewis might be pissed. How's a busted knee for ya? Hey, but this is the NBA where style has always been more important than substance. (When I see that move, I always think about the sad sack janitor who has to clean up all that crap afterwards.)

Now let's take a closer look at the message of the spot itself. Nothing can begin until LeBron has cast forth his magic fairy dust. LeBron is not an equal participant in the game, but rather The Creator himself. The crowd breathlessly awaits the gift of life that LeBron bestows upon us after lovingly cradling it in his hands. LeBron is the Father of Life. While we hope to imitate this Mighty Creature, we are but children playing a role we cannot hope to understand. The elderly barber secretly puts powder on the neck of his much younger customer a la LeBron, but no one notices and celebrates his gesture as he is not LeBron (and therefore not worthy of our acknowledgement). We then move to a series of shots of common people using powder like children imitating the father. The young girl lets the powder fall on her, but there is no crowd screaming approval for her. The boy throws the chalk dust into the air in the classroom, but his classmates look on with no reaction. Despite the fact that they imitate LeBron, we are shown again and again, they are not LeBron. The commercial ends with all of the "little people" smiling, happy just to have some of the dust from O Mighty LeBron fall on their shoes and faces. LeBron smiles and runs away, clapping off more dust to presumably fall upon the lucky few.

And you wonder why he put a giant tattoo across his shoulders that says "The Chosen 1"? You think if a giant global corporation ran a TV campaign featuring you like that, you would have any confidence issues? Sure, it might be odd to be in a sales meeting and insist your sales manager refers to you as "The Chosen 1" and "King Greg", but I think they'd adjust eventually.

But is LeBron worthy of being our latest False God? Here's something to chew on... Last night 7.2% of the "Witnesses" in NE Ohio decided to watch the Cavs game. Meanwhile, "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" was viewed by 7.8% of the people in the viewing area. Am I out of line to suggest that Nike should get an agent down here to sign this pesky little reindeer to a deal today? Why did more people watch Rudolf than King James? I'll tell you why. That little reindeer has moxy! Let's get a giant banner up with two hooves and a light up red nose pointed up to the heavens that says "We Are All Witnesses". How about Rudolf pulling the sleigh in slow motion, shot in tasteful black and white, with the tag line "Just Do It"? Let's move some shoes!

Random Notes: Despite the fact that Manny Pacquiao is the best pound for pound fighter in the world, I am making a 180 on my original thought and picking De la Hoya. The fight is set at 147 lbs, and Manny is moving up two weight classes for this fight. That's just not something that happens successfully in the fight game. Oscar is now a promoter, and thinks like a businessman. This fight is a big win at the gate, and puts him at little risk fighting someone as small as Manny. They always say a good big man beats a good small man, and that looks like the case today. Oscar with a TKO in the middle rounds...84% of the public is on New England -6 over Seattle. I can think of no reason why the Seahawks stay within a touchdown, but I'm taking 'em! Take San Fran +3.5 too. 78% of the world is on the Jets...With so few college games, the lines are brutal this week. I like (don't love) Alabama +10 and UCLA +32.