Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Opening Day

Well, it’s Opening Day. When hope springs eternal. When every team can make the playoffs. When you haven’t received a horrific sunburn by falling asleep in the bleachers on a Sunday afternoon in July at a meaningless Indians v Royals game. It all gets started again today. It’s a long terrible journey. The Major League Baseball season is a Bataan Death March. Players are out in April with grisly injuries only to return in September for the pennant chase. The season is so long, even the players themselves get bored in August. That’s what makes betting win totals so frustrating. You can actually forget that you want the Mariners to lose a meaningless game in July to the A’s because you have them UNDER 70 wins for the season. You really have to focus. On an August night, you may recall the wager and think, “That’s right. I hate that fucker Jack Cust. He just hit an otherwise meaningless two run homer off Brandon Morrow? I hope he busts his fucking ankle crossing the plate.” That’s what baseball is all about.

The key to betting baseball is to understand a few basic principals. A horrible baseball team still wins over 40% of the time. No team is as bad as the public perceives them to be at any given time. That of course excludes the Chicago Cubs, who are in fact much worse than people believe them to be, no matter what season in baseball history we are talking about. I like to start out looking at terrible teams and see if they have been underestimated in their win totals. That brings us to the Cleveland Indians. This line opened at 74.4 wins, and his since plunged down to 71.5. Make no bones about it; the Indians are really going to blow. They have one legitimate semi power hitter, a bunch of no name guys in the starting rotation, and discount bin retreads. It’s damaged goods all around. They had the lowest attendance in the majors, and the team responded by re-signing Austin Kearns. 54 year old Orlando Cabrera passed his physical to become the everyday second baseman. Some guy named Jack Hanahan is starting at third. I’m not saying he’s under the radar as an MLB player, but he may have been the guy that snaked out your drain last winter. We’re not talking about a team that is “loaded” here. However, all they have to do is win 72 games. Hell, they won 75 games in 2010 and Sizemore/Cabrera were hurt all year. I like Cleveland OVER 71.5.

The Cincinnati Reds won 91 games last year with a team that finally played like it looked on paper. It was always perplexing how the Reds played around .500 ball with a team of highly touted studs. Take a look at that roster. These guys have plenty of big time players entering their prime like Votto, Bruce, Phillips, and Drew Stubbs. They also have a nice mix of veterans like Scott Rolen, Ramon Hernandez, and Edgar Renteria. The pitching staff is young, improving, and deep. Cordero is a real good closer. So why is the line set at only 86.5 wins? The way I see it, the Brewers and Cardinals injuries to their pitching staffs are going to cost them some wins early in the year. The Cubs will blow. The Astros will be worse. I feel fairly confident the Pirates haven’t put all the pieces together. I think the Reds win the Central and 90 games. Take Cincinnati OVER 86.5 wins.

Krusty has an advanced degree involving statistics and the analysis of the various information that gets shat out by questionnaires and surveys. This is a man that understands how to read data. This is also a guy that looked at simulations for the 2011 season, and says the Padres prediction in Vegas is dead wrong. Why he always has a shitty fantasy baseball team, I really couldn’t tell you. Actually, now that I think of it, Bobby (old Cowslingers guitar player) has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State and he can’t figure out a 20% tip on a dinner check. Maybe these degrees don’t mean anything. Maybe no one I hang out with knows anything. Maybe I don’t know anything. Some or all of this might be true. But what I do know is this… The San Diego Padres will win more than 75.5 games.

The general public, who we all know doesn’t know a damn thing, believes the Padres will suck because they lost Adrian Gonzalez to free agency. While this first baseman may have been their only legit offensive threat, a first baseman isn’t going to carry you all season. The Padres won 90 games last year with scores of 3-2, 2-1, and 1-0. That’s pitching, not a big hitting first baseman. Is this team going to swing 15 games the wrong way because of no Adrian Gonzalez? Krusty doesn’t think so, and neither do I. Take San Diego OVER 75.5.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Traffic

Sometimes when the light hits just right on a place, you remember something you thought was long gone. Then it hits you like it was yesterday. About five years ago I was driving home on I-90 during rush hour. Traffic was heavy and slow, like it always seems to be when the sun shines in driver's eyes. (Why is it traffic is slow when it is sunny, rainy, snowy, icy, and/or damp. The only conditions in which traffic moves swiftly is "overcast". Thank God it is always cloudy here.)

Red brake lights started to flash ahead, and traffic came to almost a complete stop in the left lane. I looked ahead and saw the problem. In the highway median was a dog. He was trotting out on the grass in the median, a scraggly mongrel of a dog. Luckily for him, there were cement barriers that line the sides of the lanes, keeping him captive in the area between the east and west four lane highway. I have no idea how he got out there in the first place. Traffic was so heavy at rush hour, it was inconceivable that he somehow walked across traffic. Yet, there he was.

As the cars slowed to almost a complete stop, I looked at the dog and saw his predicament. Eventually he would come to a service gap in the barrier, and probably get hit by an oncoming car. I know if that was my dog, I wouldn't want someone to just drive by and leave him there. I pulled over with the idea of attaching him to a spare leash I had in my car, and hoped he had a collar and ID tag so I could take him home.

I pulled off the highway on the left ahead of the dog by about 75 yards, and hopped over the median into the grass with the leash. I started walking slowly back towards him, calling him. He looked at me nervously and picked up his trot towards the left. It was then I saw the great miscalculation I had made in not noticing the service gap between me and the dog. I foresaw what was going to happen, and stopped in my tracks, calling out to the dog to "Stay! Stay! Stay!". He darted out straight into the traffic with his head turned to his left, looking back at me.

One of the cars in the never ending stream hit him square in the shoulders and head, cartwheeling the dog's body back to the side of the road with a sickening thunk. I ran over to where he had been hit, knowing it was a mortal injury. The dog's legs were useless, his mouth open and panting when I saw the light go out of his eyes. Then his bladder emptied out onto the gravel. I knew it was my fault for stopping and trying to help. I had caused the exact thing I was trying to prevent. A woman that had pulled over after the dog had been hit started crying. A man asked if anyone knew who's dog it was. I turned around from the scene of the accident without saying anything to anyone, ashamed at what had happened. I got in my car without a word and drove home. I still feel crushing guilt to this day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate South By Southwest

I saw that the South By Southwest Festival just wrapped up in Austin. This was at one time the greatest unsigned band festival on the planet, and even now it stands as one of the best festivals for true music lovers and industry types. I could wax on about the Great Music Industry Crash, and how it was so much better In Our Day, but who really wants to read that? The digitization of music let the genie out of the bottle, and the old ways of doing business are dead and gone. The good news is that now anyone can put music out to the public. This of course brings up the bad news. Anyone can put out music to the public. Things change, so be it. Still, it would have been great to have been able to play this, or any year...

We last played it all the way back in 1998 when the music industry was somehow led to believe that roots rock would save their financial ass, and was The Next Big Thing. Ryan Adams from Whiskeytown was walking around at nighttime in aviator sunglasses with whispers that he had signed a deal that gave him an advance large enough to buy an SUV with fancy rims. Alejandro Escovedo and much of the old guard circled around the buzz bands hoping some of the magic would rub off on them and make them a hot commercial entity again. Meanwhile we were just happy to be there and hoped we could convince someone to give us enough money to put out “West Virginia Dog Track Boogie”.

The day before we played our “showcase”, we roamed around Austin checking out parties and other bands. It was pretty cool to stand next to Jimmie Dale Gilmore and talk to Mars from Liquid Soul about his tours with the Psychedelic Furs while knocking back free Lone Stars. It seemed odd that songs we had made up on my couch had enabled us to hang out with honest to God musicians as peers. I pretended not to recognize Sandra Bullock when she stood next to me. I hit all kinds of parties with Sasha, a guy that booked shows for us in Champaign IL and much of the Midwest looking for anyone that might be interested in what we were doing. Meanwhile Krusty, Bobby, and Leo head out with The Enabler, who was acting as our advisor and legal attaché.

The Enabler, being who he was, somehow convinced the guys it might be a good idea to really cut loose that night and “see what happens”. Leo, being who he was, ate a massive amount of mushrooms The Enabler had secured in some shady deal outside of an Ihop I believe. The boys went to a bar with a pool table and shot a game with some locals. Billiards is probably as interesting a way to spend an hour when you are under the influence of a crushing amount of hallucinogens as any other. Krusty and Bobby looked on from a nearby table nursing Shiner Bocks, when Ken noticed how the locals were interacting with Leo.

“Bob! Bob! Look! Those guys think Leo is retarded!” Leo’s behavior had been reduced to making gleeful shrieks of pleasure when he hit a shot. The noise was sort of an “EEhhhhhhheeeeeee!!!!!” that started from the gut and whooshed out with increasing volume. Meanwhile, the guys he was shooting pool with were saying things like, “That was very good Leo. Look at Leo. Leo made a good shot! Hooray for Leo!” in sing song tone you would use with a puppy or “special needs” child. Leo, of course, saw nothing strange in any of this, as he was probably wondering why the walls were melting.

The best part of this whole incident was that Bobby and Ken held onto it. They never confronted Leo with it until months later. I remember like it was yesterday. Leo was giving Bobby a hard time, and Bobby played the card he had been holding for so very long. “Oh yeah Lee? Hey, you remember when you shot pool with those guys in Austin? Those guys thought you were retarded!” Everything got quiet in the van for a few seconds as Leo considered this unexpected new information. “NO! No way Bob!” Leo don’t you remember how they talked to you? You remember how they clapped when you put one in? Leo considered it again. “Oh fuck! Oh fuck! They did think I was retarded!”

In a week or so Rolling Stone will run some sort of corporate sponsored SXSW recap. I’m sure it was great down there. I’ll bet a good time was had by all. But there is no way it was better than that time we went and played.

Advice: I went 4-4 in the last 2 days with the tournament putting me at 15-10 ATS overall. Today I have Florida on the money line, Arizona +4.5, and I teased Florida +.5 with Arizona +9.5. It's getting tricky now...

Advice: I took VCU +11 and the over 148 in the NC/KY game. Why not?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Tournament Locks Day 4

After spending Friday at the Quicken Loans Arena with Ohio State Guy, I am looking at another long day with him starting at 5pm. A curious thing about Ohio State Guy. He loves the nylon OSU pullover. Absolutely loves it. Every other person you see is wearing one. They must hand them out at the Bland Factory Outlet Stores off of I-71. They must match Ohio State Guy's pleated Dockers, golf shoes, and golden retriever. Ohio State Guy loves the high five, and screaming out "O!" in the hopes some other dope will yell out "H!". All Ohio State fans look roughly the same, and act in the herd mentality that is perfect at sporting events. Right now he is at Panini's, Harry Buffalo, or other charmless Sports Bar throwing back Bud Lights and talking about the OSU men's basketball team with an emphatic "we" as if he will be running out on the court at 5:15pm. It doesn't matter how many OSU fans are in the arena though. They would win big if they played on my neighbor's driveway. George Mason has no answer for what OSU brings inside. If they double, they'll get killed by one of three Buckeye outside shooters. OSU is the real deal in 2011. Take Ohio State -11.

Krusty, who is still reeling over a Pitt money line disaster, convinced me that Michigan will stay in the game against Duke. Normally I would not trust the advice of someone that had has entire world turned upside down in the span of 2.7 seconds. However, he did have the luxury of being home when he melted down, instead of being in a public place and having law enforcement called in to hit him with a taser. His logic is that Michigan has stayed close in almost every game they have played vs an elite opponent. They have too. Look it up. Sure, Duke was bad news before that freshman point guard kid hobbled out on the court Thursday and dropped 15 points on Hampton. Still, Michigan will keep it interesting. Sounds reasonable to me. Take Michigan +12.5.

I haven't seen Arizona play all season. I haven't seen more than 13 seconds of Texas. But I do know that Texas does have a tendency of playing to the level of their competition. Texas seems to rush out to a 12 point lead and then allow the other team to chip away until they get to within 4. Since the spread is 5.5, I will take Arizona +5.5.

I was sitting deep in the heart of the Indiana State section when they played Syracuse on Friday night. As expected, the Indiana State fan base was filled with folks with physical maladies, odd deformities, and weathered ballcaps. There's nothing like seeing a 40 year old woman that absolutely reeked of cigarette smoke knock her cane into her 4 year old. When the boy's mouth opened up to cry and revealed teeth like those from a 1700's English seahand, I said to myself, "Ah yes, so Indiana does have more than just RV Superstores. They also have a desperate need for quality affordable dental care." These were cornfed Midwestern salt of the earth folks that know what a hearty meal is all about. The Sycamore dance team had legs that would have been considered "husky" on a video on BET. It must have been devastating to drive from Terre Haute to see your team get absolutely fucking crushed by Syracuse. The good folks of Marquette will experience the same thing today. I love Syracuse -5. Yes, they lost to Marquette this year in Marquette. But I feel the ship has been righted. Things have changed. Answers have been found. Stay with me here and take Syracuse -5.

Current record: 10-6

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Tournament Locks Day 3

It's yet another embarrassment of riches spread before us today in the NCAA Tournament. While yesterday was a bit too up and down for my liking, the biggest plays of Marquette and the North Carolina OVER paved the way to another success. That leads us into today, where traditionally everyone will put too much emphasis on the last game and not enough on the body of work from a team. The games start to get tougher as we go, so today and Sunday may be our last chances at some truly heavy plays.

Kentucky is a school that recruits players that can't read. Not only do they actively try to bring players to their school that can't read English, they'll take "student athletes" that can't read even their native dialect. For example, this Fall while in I was in Lexington, the town was abuzz with the scheme that since Cam Newton pulled some crazy shit to play football in Auburn, perhaps they could do the same crazy shit with a 8 foot Turkish guy that looked to be about 32 years old. While they couldn't pull it off, and the Turk is headed to the NBA, the fact they were willing to try tells you everything you need to know about UK. It is win-at-all-costs. I would wager that my 3 month old basset hound can get a higher SAT score than the Kentucky starting five, and he's no genius. However, we must admit to ourselves that while these players cannot read or do even simple mathematics, they sure can play basketball.

The story being written by the national media is that the freshman heavy Kentucky team was nervous against Princeton in their first tournament game. Today, after they have rid themselves of these nerves in Game 1, they will be ready to demonstrate their God given abilities and destroy all comers. I dunno. I just think they are not quite as good as the recruiting hype yet. West Virginia has a bunch of guys that have been there before, and played a long season in the Big East. That's a brutal conference filled with elite players. It's not as if WVU hasn't played against talent all year. I think they are being disregarded with the "crazy hillbilly" factor nationally. I'll take West Virginia +3 and hope they don't let me down.

Speaking of win-at-all-costs, let's talk about Florida. Florida gets every blue chip athlete in the country, and why the hell not? The weather is good, and you'll play on TV every other day. If you are a dude that can't read and wants to play ball, why go anywhere else? There is no way in hell this team loses to UCLA today. Watch the pregame on this one. The Florida video will be of one of their recent National Champion teams cutting down the nets. The UCLA footage will be grainy footage of Kareem, Bill Walton, and guys with crazy sideburns celebrating 40 years ago. UCLA should have lost to a kinda crappy Michigan State team, but they hung on to get pasted here. I love Florida -5.

I think BYU is the biggest paper tiger in the tournament. This is a team that has not learned what it takes to win-at-all-costs. You cannot suspend your best rebounder for having sex with his girlfriend and expect to win. Heck, an Oregon University football player is probably robbing someone at gunpoint right now. Those guys know what it takes. Don't get me wrong, Gonzaga isn't going anywhere either, but BYU is Jimmer and a buncha guys. I think Jimmer will drop 50 on Gonzaga, but Gonzaga wins a close one. Please also note, I am not extremely confident on this one, but I plan to bet against BYU until it pays off. "Sex with his girlfriend"... Please! At Pitt they wouldn't have even suspended the kid if it was "sex with someone else's girlfriend with pistol pointed at head". I'll take Gonzaga straight up.

Speaking of Pitt, there's a win-at-all-costs tournament team. Sports Illustrated ran an article that revealed Pitt had more felons than any other NCAA program. Now that is a team I can get behind! Today they take on Butler, a bunch of pasty white dudes from Indiana. Butler will lose this game. They will get outmuscled under the boards. They will have extremely athletic heavily tattooed Pitt players fly by them to the hoop. Butler will look hopelessly outmatched. They will also somehow stay in the game with great execution of fundamentals and outside shooting. Pitt wins, but take Butler +8.

San Diego State is a legit team. Temple is not. Enough said. San Diego State -5.5.

Current record: 7-4

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Tournament Day 2 Locks

While a drunk guy in a plastic hat kept leaning into me, I clenched my fist with a "yes!" watching Temple win but failing to cover by a half point vs Penn State. The human wreckage and failed dreams of St Pat's all around me, I may have been the only truly happy soul at the bar. Well, for that brief moment at least. But let's not live in the past, shall we? Today will be a full day at the Quicken Loans Arena where Krusty and I will be attending all four games at center court.

So this morning your loser friends will be moaning about their brackets, failing to realize that NO ONE had Morehead State, when they should be concentrating on George Mason +1.5, Texas -10.5, Arizona -6, Marquette +2.5, North Carolina OVER 158.5, Illinois +2.5 and Washington -5.5. My heaviest plays of the day will be George Mason, as Villanova is in complete free fall once again at the worst time possible. Washington is rated as a damn good team by everyone but the betting public. Marquette might not be the best team from the Big East, but a pretty good team from the Big East will beat a team from a mid major conference. This might be too much action for you, but trust me, it will make the work day go by that much faster.

Current NCAA Tournament Record: 3-1

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Tournament Day 1 Locks

Most of your co-workers will gather around the water cooler and talk about their $10 brackets in the Good Ole Office Tournament Bracket Pool. Those people are God Damn Cowards. Real men step up and take advantage of this cornucopia of wagering available to them. This is a horn of plenty, and only a gutless turd wouldn't open up an offshore account immediately. You know that guy in shipping? I'll bet he can get some action down for you. They are practically giving money away! And on St. Patrick's Day no less! What could be better than wearing a plastic green derby watching an otherwise meaningless game while some shitty faux Irish band plays "Dirty Old Town"? You won't even mind that blonde with the sparkly shamrock on her face barfing on your shoes when some kid you never heard of hits a 3 pointer to cover a 2.5 point spread at the buzzer.

Here's all you need to know about tomorrow's action...

If you know me, you know I love the Mountaineers. I think I really grew to love WVU when their fan base traveled to Cleveland's Wolstein Center a few years back for the tournament and wound up sitting next to Princeton Fan. The Princeton fans may have had the good jobs and fancy houses, but they didn't have any rebounding from their team. They also had couches that would be easily set on fire by the junkyard dog Mountaineer fans. I think that betting public always underestimates WVU and thinks of them as crazy inbred hillbillies. This may be true, but those crazy inbred hillbillies can really kill you out at the perimeter. Clemson had to play their way in, and yet is getting only two points over a Big East tested WVU team? Clemson is also 1-5-2 vs Tournament teams this season. West Virginia -2 over Clemson is a gimme. This is my biggest play of the day.

I watch a lot of Horizon League basketball. As such, I have seen Butler play a lot this year, and am very familiar with this team. This is not a point of pride, but a matter of circumstance I might add. Some people turn to woodworking, masturbation, or The Good Book on a long winter's night. I turn to gambling on Horizon League basketball. It's a sad admission, but a sad admission that will pay off right now. Right now there are a bunch of dopes that got burned by betting against Butler last year in the tournament. They will step up this year and take Butler +2 to get their revenge despite the fact that the 2010-11 Butler Bulldogs have very little in common with the 2009-10 Butler Bulldogs. Butler blocks 1.6 shots a game, putting them 325th in the nation. (Quick... name 324 Division 1-A teams) Meanwhile Old Dominion gets almost all their points inside the 3 point line. Matt Howard of Butler may already have two fouls on him. I saw how Old Dominion handled Cleveland State earlier this year. They pounded it inside. That's what they will do to Butler too. Take Old Dominion -2.

Temple is down to 7 players after an injury to their center. He broke his right patella, and that can't be good for your chances of running up and down the court and jumping. Since John Chaney left Temple, they are 0-11 in tournament play. Penn State, on the other hand, has picked up momentum and went to the Big 10 Tournament Championship game. Temple played the 85th toughest schedule in the country. Penn State played the second toughest. Oh yeah, Penn State is getting 2.5. I wouldn't bet the house on it, but throw some love to Penn State +2.5.

Last minute update: Krusty loves the OVER in the Wisconsin v Belmont game. Belmont scores like crazy, but it is assumed Wisconsin is the better team. He believes it is a myth that the better team (Wisconsin) will control the pace. Take the over 126 and make a serious play. (Well, Krusty says so anyway...)

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Cover Up

I have often been accused of being cold hearted. Now while I am without question not an outwardly warm human being, I do have a certain amount of empathy. However, when I watch the never ending footage of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear power plant explosion, I can only think of one thing. Why did they edit out the footage of Rodan and/or Godzilla?

To suggest that this earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown is not the work of Rodan is laughable. Clearly the media has decided to edit out all Rodan footage to try and stave off the inevitable worldwide panic that would ensue. While this may be the “responsible” thing to do, is it really serving the public’s best interest? For example, if Godzilla and/or Ultra Man are coming to fight Rodan somewhere near Tokyo, I’d sure like to know. This would radically affect my evacuation plans if I’m a white medical mask wearing Japanese citizen. You ever see what happens to the little matchbox villages when those guys duke it out? Let’s just say I am glad I don’t own any rental properties out that way. While Godzilla may save the day, he also inflicts a shitload of collateral damage. Eh, it’s a glass half full or glass half empty thing I suppose…

I think we can all agree that this is the combination of natural disaster/man made crisis we have all been waiting for. Even as a young boy watching Ultra Man, I knew that this situation was completely unavoidable. All you ever have to do is watch the Godzilla movies of the late 60s and it is crystal clear. Anytime the Japanese people are enjoying a nice sunny day, it is only a matter of time before a prehistoric creature the size of a city will emerge from the depths of the Sea of Japan and haul out a can of whoop ass. The army will be assembled and fire off worthless ordinance towards the creature. Tanks will be swatted away like gnats. Jet planes will bounce harmlessly off Rodan. (The same thing happens every time, yet the armed forces always proceed with the exact same plan. Why?) At some point, when things look especially grim, Godzilla will arrive and fight the creature. Or maybe Ultra Man. I’m not sure who they need to call in on this one.

While Western journalists love to applaud themselves about how they serve the public trust, they have finally lost me. Their commitment to the truth is only a commitment of convenience and serving the whims of their corporate masters. The hours they have spent to photo shop out Rodan, Godzilla, and Ultra Man cannot be justified. This coverup will eventually be exposed by someone like Wiki Leaks, Weekly World News, or Grit. And when it is, let’s just say, I told you so.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Fear

They say the #1 fear of most people is public speaking. I have always found that odd as there is so much more to fear. The obvious thing that all people should fear is a chimp attack. That would be the #1 fear if we only had better education on that issue. That is obviously a breakdown of The System. However, most other fears are usually personal. Allow me to unburden myself and provide you a quick list of things I am truly afraid of…

A naked clown in my closet with an axe- I think I share the same thought in the back of my mind that most of us do when we open a closet door at night. Is there going to be a naked clown smiling holding a bloody axe on the other side of this door? I always feel like I have dodged a bullet when I discover it’s just my clothes waiting for me on the other side. One day that clown will be there, and when he is I will scream out like a 10 year old girl and wet myself. I’m not proud of that, but I feel like I should be honest.

Large spiders- Specifically I am afraid of a large spider biting my testicles and them swelling to the size of softballs. I then imagine going to an emergency room to find the only doctor is a young intern. He will be heavily sweating, and will look back and forth between a medical journal and my purple swollen testicles trying to figure out what to do. He would then say something like, “This may be a bit uncomfortable.” as he pierces the now throbbing skin with a knitting needle and releases a geyser of blood and pus. The fluid would be running down the plastic curtain of the examination room like rainwater. The nurse would faint dead away as the intern screams “Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!”

The Wiggles- I have friends with small children that watch those Wiggles DVDs. Those DVD are scarier to me than “The Shining”. First of all, I am greatly suspicious of a group of four men in uni color shirts that spend the majority of their time with children. And what’s with the one that is always falling asleep? Nodding off on a heroin run more like it… They also have a friend named “Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate”. That sounds like the kind of guy that would start to rub your neck from behind and whisper into your ear with rum breath “Let me show you how friendly a pirate I really am...” as you struggle to get away. That whole thing is a real bad scene.

Recurring dreams- I sometimes have a dream that repeats over and over where I am unprepared for a school exam, and I can’t even find the room where the test is being given no matter how I search. It plays in my head like a loop. I can be having the dream, while also realizing it is a dream, and still be unable to do anything but have it repeat in my head like a Seinfeld re-run. Why does that particular dream have to run over and over again instead of one recently where I was walking in California in a nice breeze? That is a moment I could stay in forever. Instead I am walking around in a campus vaguely like Kent State circa 1988 unable to find room 216.

* Hank III concert attendees- I don't know if you have ever seen Hank III, who is excellent by the way, but the people that come out to see him are terrifying. I attend most noteworthy American roots shows in the area, and I have to say, I have never seen the majority of people that came out to see Hank III the last time he was at the House of Blues. There was a guy with an entire tattooed face that had his 10 year old son. Plenty of men with eyes set too far apart in their heads like two legged hammerhead sharks. Angry drunken hillbillies with sullen chain smoking girlfriends. In every direction was someone vaguely off that was drinking a 16 oz can of domestic macrobrew and hoping to make eye contact so some sort of argument could ensue. Hell is probably a lot like that concert, but with a much much worse bathroom situation.

* Hotel room drinking glasses- I can sleep almost anywhere. (See "Nurse the Hate-Cheap Motels" re: Cuntlips Motor Lodge) Even though it is almost certain that less that 24 hours earlier a fat man was bound to this very bed and shat on by a leather clad dominatrix named "Misery", I can strike that from my mind. A crabs ridden plumbing supply salesman may have been spooning the pillow, his louse infested ass hair pressed against the same material where my face now rests. Not a problem. It never happened. I can distance myself from those events. However, there is no way for me to imagine that those drinking glasses with the cardboard toppers on them have been cleaned by anyone. That Guatemalan maid with trench mouth was probably sipping from it while watching "All My Children" when she cleaned up the feces filled linens from last night. Then she slipped the cardboard ring back over the glass and left it for you. Now, that's gross.

This begets the question... Which is scarier? Going to a Hank III concert with Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate, or having to give a speech in front of a naked clown and an angry chimp?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Cheap Motels

I have played a lot of shows in my life as a Daredevil/Cowslinger. If you figure we have played around an average of 70 shows a year since 1992, you are looking at 1300+ gigs in all sorts of weird circumstances. Someone just asked me last weekend where was the worst place we ever stayed after a show. Now this is a tricky question as we crashed out at all kinds of people's homes in the Early Days of Bitter Struggle in the early and mid 90s. That yielded way to the Later Days of Bitter Struggle where we find ourselves nestled in even now, but at least our experience has made us remember never to stay at a punk rock squat house, or college housing of any kind.

The worst hotel room we ever stayed in was (in my opinion) a twin smoking room at the Cutlips Motor Lodge in Charleston WV. Cutlips was a privately owned cheap motel right off of I-77 within striking distance of a Tudor's Biscuit World and "Coal: Clean Power" billboard. We always referred to it as "Cuntlips" as it was a name a little more reflective of the place's personality. It was inhabited nightly by truckers, adulterers on a budget, the mentally ill, and parolees. This would be my first choice as a location to drink a pint of well whiskey and severely beat my female companion with a belt until the police were called and I was killed in a barrage of gunfire. I'm sure dark shit like that happened all the time. You could smell it in the damp faded wallpaper. Cuntlips Motel had two types of rooms available: Smoking/Heavy Smoking. I remember sleeping with my head wrapped in my jeans, the day old pants being the best I could do for some sort of air filter. The room stunk so bad I couldn't sleep. We may have been in the Black Lung Suite. I don't recall.

However, I think the worst place we ever stayed was in Gainesville Florida. We had played a show at the Covered Dish with the Flat Duo Jets. I remember us playing OK despite the fact that Tony, our bass player at the time, had gotten crushed at a bar called The Brass Monkey on some sort of 2 for 1 Happy Hour downward spiral. I also remember this being maybe the best Flat Duo jets gig I ever saw. Those guys were in a weird place with each other, and I was sitting in the dressing room with them uncomfortably while they hashed out a few things. Then they went out there and ripped. They absolutely crushed. Dex and Crow had some friends in town, and after the gig they invited us to come over to a house for an after party/crash pad. Since we had absolutely no plan or idea of where a reasonably priced hotel was, we jumped at the idea.

The party was really weird. There was a guy that spent a great deal of time explaining how close we were to several of the Danny Rolling "Gainesville Ripper" murder sites. He was one of those guys that was a little too enthusiastic about all the grisly details. It was almost as if he was trying to hide how giddy he was about being so close to a heinous crime scene that included decapitations and mutilations. I remember how he was trying to suppress a grin as he shook his head talking about each individual murder. I also remember noting how eager I was for him to go home and not chop my head off before he left. He really creeped me out. Meanwhile, Dex was walking around soaking wet after taking a shower and not toweling off, roaming from room to room like a caged animal. The house itself was a small beat up Florida student house, probably 4 rooms in all. All I wanted was to go to sleep, but I realized I had no choice but to wait out the party in the main room. Ugh...

Slowly most of the remaining soldiers headed out onto the front porch to continue on their quest to finish the ungodly amount of Natural Light someone had provided. It had to be about 430am or so. I took my chance to claim some space in the only room that looked open for us to sleep in. It became evident I would only be able to sleep by sitting in a chair and extending my legs onto the cheap coffee table. After cramping up a couple times, I spotted some yard furniture cushions on the porch. I created a little bed with two of those on the hard wood floor and tried to get at least 4 hours sleep before we headed off to Jacksonville the next day. It must have been about 15 minutes later that I started to itch. And then itch some more. And then really itch. I looked on my arm and saw little fleas biting away, and realized the cushions were completely infested. I stood up scratching and brushing myself off like crazy, hoping to rid myself of the bugs. This would require more desperate measures. I headed to the bathroom to try and wash the fuckers off.

I was not prepared for what I would find in the bathroom. I was so focused on the bugs and the itching, it took me a second to understand what was going on when I flicked the light on. There must have been 30 or more cockroaches the size of gerbils that scrambled for shelter when I clicked that light on. They were huge, unlike any bugs I had ever seen. It was like the entire wall had skin that was moving. I stood there blinking my eyes trying to come to grips with this horrifying scene. I then turned around, dug the van keys out of somebody's jacket, and climbed into the back of the van. I slept for about an hour at an awkward angle on top of the gear.

It was about that time we adopted the policy of never staying at someone's house unless we knew them really well, or someone we trusted could vouch for them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Charlie Sheen

Without any question the most compelling news story of the last 20 years is this Charlie Sheen public meltdown. I can't keep my eyes off it, and I am guessing you can't either. It's not the fact that the most highly paid television actor in history is more out of control than a wicked combination of Keith Richards/Hunter S. Thompson/Bill Clinton. I think the best part of it is that people think to themselves, "Damn, I wish I could do that!". He is currently living the dream, and speaking frankly and insanely about it at the same time. It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

You just can't hate the guy. Normally an overpaid oversexed Hollywood Star would be the focal point of an angry Frankenstein mob. But this guy has a teflon shield to him. He destroys a hotel room and knocks around a prostitute with his kids sleeping 15 feet away on Xmas Eve. The next day he greets the press with a friendly "what's up guys?" and a wave. Nobody seems to get really angry with him. Even people he has done HORRIBLE things to speak of him in affectionate tones. It's unbelievable.

Seriously, who could have pulled the shit he has in the last few years and kept a job at Home Depot much less a job on the highest rated sitcom on broadcast? Conservative broadcast groups like CBS will hang you out to dry at just the slightest provocation. Those creeps that run these media corporations will crucify you in an instant. Any of those empty suit upper management types will do anything to insure they get a maximum year end bonus, and if they think some out of control actor on one of their programs may cost them $500, they'll have them quietly killed for the insurance money. Afterwards they will eat at Mr. Chow and sleep a deep satisfied sleep while their news division prepares a "news magazine" obituary special on the tragically deceased star with a tidy sponsorship fee from McDonalds. It's a cruel business. It's why it pays so well.

Yet, Charlie flames across the sky like the greatest comet any of us have ever seen. Will he be dead in the next 6 months? Sure, it seems impossible that he won't be, doesn't it? Yet, he seems to be doing exactly what he pleases as he pleases, and that strikes a chord in all of us. My God, if I could hold a press conference and refer to my "fists of flames" and my "tiger blood"... That dude looked straight into a 20/20 camera and said this about his daily life. "It's perfect. It's awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it's scary. People say it's lonely at the top, but I sure like the view."

What the hell will happen next? It's easily the best thing on TV right now. You put him in front of a TV camera and let him go. It is absolute ratings gold. I could watch him talk 24/7. Based on the heroic quantities of cocaine he is injesting, I would think he could talk for a week without pause. The thing that I find the most weird about the whole thing? At times, between the claims of his extraterrestrial brain and his "bi-winning!", come these odd moments where he makes sense. Granted, I can't imagine how out of control he would be to work with on the set. However, he was delivering the goods. The show was/is routinely "winning". His contract doesn't have a single mention of a conduct code (and how did the CBS lawyers let that happen by the way?). Everyone was making so much money, there had to be a way to keep the money train on the tracks. But that is all over now... Damn...

I have never seen one episode of Two and a Half Men. I probably never will. But I will tell you this. Charlie Sheen is my favorite TV actor of all time. He may look like a cracked out lunatic, but you know what that guy is doing right now? That's right. Winning.