Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Missing Kid Story

There is nothing the morning national news programs love more than a missing baby story. The details of the stories change, but they are always roughly the same. A fucked up hillbilly white couple calls the police to report their baby missing. “We put the baby to bed at 8pm. We didn’t leave the house. We woke up this morning, and the baby was gone! Poof!” After an exhaustive search, the police find nothing. Local news picks up on it, and depending on the marketability of the couple, the national media descends like jackals. Then the hillbillies go on TV…

I think we can agree that having your infant snatched would probably be much worse than someone ripping off your new flat screen TV. One may become distressed. I would offer the advice that opposed to talking to Matt Lauer and 20 million viewers, one should speak with someone privately. Someone like an attorney. With the exception of that couple of kooks in the Northwest that raised some kid they stole in a shed, has there ever been someone caught for stealing a baby without apparent motive?

I don’t know how many children are actually stolen, and what kind of an eBay demand there is for an entry titled “young hillbilly baby”. I also don’t know who these alleged bogeyman are that silently slip into lower class homes like ninjas to steal infants. Maybe there is a wild underground in the infant sales trade that I am completely unaware of… All I know is that almost every single one of these stories always seems to end the same way. The parents killed the kid somehow, and then figured the best way to cover it up was to draw national interest by reporting their adorable child as stolen by an international ring of hillbilly children thieves. It is the worst plan possible.

I do not understand why these couples agree to be grilled nationally by Matt Lauer daily. As soon as I see them awkwardly speculate on hardball questions for the hosts, I think “Guilty”. I think the excitement of being on TV so outweighs common sense that all caution is thrown to the wind. In America, there is no greater drug than fame. “You know what Honey Punch? I know we have to try and lay low but wouldn’t it be awesome to be on the set of the Today Show? Maybe we’ll get to meet Lady Gaga! They said they’ll even put us up in a hotel and we can order room service!” Then in exchange for a room service club sandwich, they get to answer questions like “People have speculated you might have had something to do with the disappearance of Baby Jessica. Exactly how involved were you in her disappearance and possible death?” Nothing like being tried in public prior to your inevitable real trial in a courtroom, eh? But you did get to be on TV!

The latest story is in Maine. The circumstances, of course, make no sense. Trista Reynolds, the mother of missing Baby Ayla, sat on the Today show set today and couldn’t have looked any more pleased. It looked like she was on a national media tour promoting a movie or book. You would have never guessed that she had a missing toddler. She was absolute ratings gold. What could be better than a fairly attractive young woman, fresh out of rehab, airing out her fucked up relationship dirty laundry? She was dishing on the couch like she was complaining to her loser friends at Applebee’s over jalapeno poppers. It was odd to say the least. However, it was great TV! When they got her in that tight closeup, while she implored the child’s father “to just talk to me”? The segment producer was doing a cartwheel down the hallway with glitter flying out of his/her ass screaming “Woooo!!!!! Woooo!!!!!”.

The baby’s father, presumably hitting the mattresses in some abandoned warehouse, is maintaining total radio silence. It’s a pretty tough situation for that guy. Let’s forget he probably has at least some idea of what happened. Imagine being that guy. It’s pretty crazy to think your white trash crazy alcoholic girlfriend is sitting on the Today Show talking shit about you. A few days ago she was leaving you crazy messages on your pre-paid shitty cell phone. Now she’s hitting the talk show circuit like a white trash Kardashion. Can you fucking imagine? You are probably being considered “Person of Interest #1” by the cops and the girlfriend is talking to anyone with a microphone blaming you. This should really be good TV as this develops. If Trista can get a good PR firm in the fold, and do a quick image makeover, she can probably score a reality show series deal. She is remarkably composed on the set. You really couldn’t cast anyone better. The key will be to get as much screen time as possible for her. By now, she must have “people” handling this.

I wonder if anyone will look for the kid in between TV bookings?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Gift Exchange

Once again I find myself trapped into the “White Elephant” Christmas gift exchange at work. This is an area fraught with perils that can end with you in lengthy training sessions regarding your understanding of diversity and/or harassment. For example, I worked at a radio station where a guy wrapped up a double headed dildo and left it under the tree. The random woman that unwrapped the three foot long rubber monster was not what one would call “laid back”, and immediately shot forth a flurry of legal paperwork that would have kept the Clinton Administration at bay for a decade. She was later fired for buying cigarettes with her company gas credit card, and the legal actions faded slowly into distant memory.

These “forced fun” celebrations at any public company are now best remembered for their catering to the lowest common denominator. The lawyers sucked all the fun out of this event years ago. Now these “parties” are usually dry, have cafeteria style food in foil tins, and have tables full of people craning their necks to see if the boss has noticed how supportive they are being. One sad woman is usually walking around taking pictures, as this may be the only holiday gathering she will be invited to in this holiday season. “Say cheese!” Judy from accounting will then force a smile as she shovels a forkful of cold lasagna into her craw.

The “party” will then move to the gift exchange section, where people that have no inclination to normally buy each other gifts of any kind, will then offer up hastily wrapped gender neutral gifts. As there is always a ridiculously low budget placed for these exchanges, it is almost impossible to buy anything that anyone actually wants. Last year I got a fucking coaster set and TV remote caddy. What the fuck am I going to do with that? It is like someone gave me garbage to put into my car. It’s still in my trunk one full year later. Someone paid $18 for that horribly ugly useless piece of trash, when they would have been better off just slipping me a twenty. Or better yet, skip the whole farce.

The other move is the gift certificate. One time I got a gift certificate to Chi-Chis for $20. You couldn’t have paid me $20 to go to a Chi-Chi’s, much less have me willingly go in there to eat deep fried flash frozen lard. Or how about a $20 gift certificate to Home Depot? “Hey, thanks for the $20 towards a riding mower. That will really come in handy.” That is the move that shows such little thought put forth, you should just say “Fuck it man. Here’s $20. Blow it at the Track.”

I also hate lottery tickets. The lottery is a scam made to take money from the poor, and then send it back to them in “education” with plenty of middlemen taking their cut first. I would rather be seen mainlining heroin in a bus station than be seen scratching off a lottery ticket. I think people would think better of me with a spike in my arm than with silver flakes all over my sleeves. Nothing says “loser” like a stack of worthless scratch-offs. No one ever wins that shit. Don’t give them to me and stain me with your scent of failure.

I always go one way in those gift exchanges. Small pets. I have wrapped up fish bowls, gerbil habitats, and lizard terrariums. It’s like packaging up Unwanted Responsibility. There is no better moment than seeing some woman you barely know open up a gift wrapped box to discover that she is now responsible for a gerbil. You thought you were going to get a Starbucks mug and a $10 gift card, didn’t ya? Wham! Here’s a gerbil! The best part is that you can’t give it back, as no one knows who put it under the tree in the first place. Well, most people assume it’s me, but they can’t really prove it, so what are they going to do?

Have a Merry Passive Aggressive Christmas! Each and every one of us!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Elf On The Shelf

I must have been living in a fucking cave, because I just got hip to this “Elf On The Shelf” hustle. Several friends of mine have little kids that are completely out of control, almost like having a couple raccoons living in their home. They swear by this mass manufactured child mind control wonder product. To quickly review, The Elf On The Shelf is a plastic and fabric toy elf that was probably made in China by a bewildered political prisoner in shockingly deplorable conditions. It is then packaged with a book, which is read to the child, setting up the con that this rubber Elf has been adopted by the family, and has one task. This Elf is a snitch for Santa.

As a child, I can imagine the excitement about getting close to The Man himself, that asshole Santa (See “Hate Santa”). It’s like getting one heartbeat away from Elvis. You know the guy that knows the guy that makes all the magic happen. It seems intoxicating to be so close to greatness. To think that you will be building a personal relationship with an Elf that can take your direct message right to Santa himself is about as great a networking situation a six year old can find himself in. But after awhile it must sink in. You have willingly allowed Santa’s toadie into your home, and his sickening dead eyes will be staring at you, mercilessly logging all of your misdeeds and reporting straight back to the guy that controls your haul on Christmas morning.

The other thing that you have to keep your eye on is that the Elf moves every night, and is in a new spot every day. As the story goes, when the kid falls asleep, the Elf returns to the North Pole with a full report of what went on that day. He then goes back to the home in a different location to let the kid know "I told Santa everything that happened yesterday. Don't believe it? Yesterday I was on the bookcase. This morning I am on the mantle. How did that happen? Think about it Junior..." So, let’s recap. You are a six year old kid and when you go to sleep, a small creepy Elf with a never wavering sick smile is wandering your home. No matter how hard you try to stay awake to see the Elf move, you can never catch him. However, when you wake up, that little creep has somehow moved somewhere else in the house. And people wonder why kids have problems.

If left to my own devices, I think I could ramp up The Elf On The Shelf by ad libbing my way through the book/verbal contract. "Now Billy, the book continues and says"...every night I will go to the North Pole to tell Santa if little boys and girls have been good or bad. And if they have been bad, I will take my vengeance upon thee with swift merciless justice!!!". That will get their attention. Need to really get their attention? Let's say your child has been especially rambunctious one day. The move then would be to place a recently slaughtered chicken on the kid's bed in the morning. I would then cover the creepy Elf in blood, and leave him swinging on a string, looking down on the child and smiling. That bloody smiling Elf image is tough for a six year old to shake, knowing that if he acts up, a violent magic Elf may cut his throat from ear to ear.

I don't know if parents can be locked up for abusing children by using this horrible behavior modification device that was clearly designed by Nazi scientists in the early 1940s. I am not doubting its effectiveness, but rather wondering about the toll of the method. Parents seem to like it though. The monsters that manufacture these sell a shitload of them. Can it be stopped? Barnes and Noble are a powerful corporate force and can probably make dissenters "disappear" in unexplained auto accidents and boating mishaps. There's a lot of money at stake here. I'm just one man. All I know is that I'm glad I don't have to wake up every morning and wonder where a creepy Elf is and what exactly he told Santa about my degenerate activities.

Once again, fuck Santa and his legion of mind control toadies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate New York

When Bobby Latina joined The Cowslingers he was 15 years old. That’s a pretty young kid. His parents knew me because I had lived with his older brother at Kent State, and felt I was reasonably responsible and could be trusted with their son. This was actually a pretty good call, but there was no way they could have built in the “Leo Factor”. Still, Bob was able to build a reasonable path to adulthood balancing my twisted guardianship and Leo’s heroic substance abuse.

Bobby was very wide eyed when he was young. The first time he went with us to play New York, he asked us tons of questions prior to the gig. “In New York, are the clubs different? When you are in New York, are the girls better looking? People are really tough there, aren’t they? In New York, will people steal your gear if we don't stand next to it?” It was like we were going to a different planet. Let’s be honest, almost every douche bag musician from New York is from some small town East of the Mississippi and is walking around posing like they are in the Velvet Underground. Almost any sizable city around the size of Dayton has better bands than NYC.

Our bass player at the time was Tony Primiano. He was a really funny guy that loved fucking with Bobby. He loved to portray Bobby as a sharecropper kid, and his father as “Mr. Charlie”. (Even now, we refer to Joe Latina Sr. as “Mr. Charlie.”) Tony would tell Bobby wild stories of visits he had made to New York with members of The Walking Clampetts in the early 1990s. Bobby had New York envisioned as a combination of “The Godfather” and “Escape From New York”.

The first time we played New York was at a really good club called Brownies. It was in the East Village, and we were on a bill with the Devil Dogs and the Swingin’ Neckbreakers. Frankly, you couldn’t ask for a better night of rock music. On the drive up, Bobby was asking us all kinds of questions that in retrospect wouldn’t seem odd for a 15 year old traveling to The Big City for the first time. However, we were a bunch of twenty something wise asses and didn’t give him a straight answer on anything. The best thing was when Tony told Bobby the following. “Mr. Charlie… When you get to New York, don’t look like a kid. They call bathrooms in New York “glory holes”. So, if you want to go to the bathroom, ask people where the “glory hole” is.”

For those of you not educated in the more deviant sexual experiences available to you, allow me to explain a “glory hole”. It is a hole cut in a wall, generally a men’s room, where a man can insert his penis. On the other side of this wall, an unseen person will pleasure that man’s penis until the man ejaculates. I believe this is one of the most anonymous sexual encounters a man can have outside of Florida during Spring Break, or a Midwestern college during Homecoming weekend.

We pulled up outside of Brownies around 7p after an eight hour drive from Cleveland. I think Brownies was on Avenue A, in an area of town that was equally hipster nightclubs and scary yet-to-be-gentrified failing businesses. I drank a beer with Marisa Tormei in a shady joint there once. I didn’t even know who she was. She must have been feeling dangerous. It’s the way that neighborhood was back then.

New York is funny. Anytime you play a club in New York, it is important to note that the entire staff has turned over every two weeks for the last three years. The current employees are usually heavily tattooed, massively pierced, and they hate you. Literally, these people treat you with complete disdain. They are all struggling actors, musicians, and artists and are for the most part without a lick of talent. In this case, we walked in and a really muscular guy probably named something like “Horse” or “Pegasus” was wiping down the bar and scowling.

I remember seeing Bobby walking up to the bar. He was literally making a beeline as we started to load in our gear. I huffed and puffed while carrying Tony’s bass cabinet by when I overheard Bobby say to this bartender, “Hey! Where is the glory hole?”

The bartender was understandably put off balance by this question from a 15 year old boy. “What?”

“The glory hole? Where is your glory hole?”

The bartender made a noise like “Garumph!” and turned away. Bobby had no idea why this guy was reacting to him this way, turned and looked for a men’s room on his own. Tony almost fell over he was laughing so hard. He was literally crying. “HaHaHAHA!!! That little pervert is asking about a glory hole! What's wrong with that little freak? Hahahahahaha!!!!”

We played second of five bands that night. We got two encores. It was my favorite time we played in New York.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Gambling Jag

I have decided to go on a wild gambling jag this weekend. Now is the time of year Vegas has the odds so dialed in it is impossible to find an edge. Last night's MAC championship game line? Three and a half. Result of game? Favorite wins by three. I have no fucking idea how some guys in a windowless room in a Las Vegas industrial park know that Northern Illinois is three points better than Ohio University, but they do. I still maintain that there is a time machine someone hops into, because there is no visible reason why anyone would know that Northern Illinois is going to win that game by 3. I have a team of guys working a stock portfolio for me with allegedly the smartest minds in the financial world providing insight going over reams of information and raw data. These guys can't pick a winning stock if their life depended on it. Meanwhile, some guy named Roy in that Vegas industrial park knows Northern Illinois is going to win by three. It's time to look for value on the Big Board at the Mirage, because the stock market is a waste of time.

I spent most of late October and November getting my ass kicked in football. I have been very quietly watching games and lines. It has been a time of great soul searching and perhaps even clarity. I have accepted a couple of universal truths about myself in the last couple weeks. One of these is that I don't know what the hell I am talking about in regards to football. However, I do think I am very dialed into what the media and John Q. Public thinks about the various games. This is a very valuable skill to have in the first week of December.

The good news is that it is now about betting against public perception. It is all about picking sides of games where it seems an inconceivable outcome. A perfect example is taking Arizona +4.5 over Dallas. Arizona has not scored a touchdown since October. They are either starting Trent Dilfer at QB, or Kevin Kolb on a broken foot against a Dallas team that looks like the second best in the NFC. Even a casual observer knows Dallas will win this game by two touchdowns. Arizona should get their pricks pounded into the dirt. That's why I am taking Arizona +4.5.

Wisconsin is a battering ram of a team with cornfed boys of mammoth strength anchoring an offensive line that makes others quake in fear. I must have seen seven stories about how monstrous these guys are in the last two weeks. The Badgers were also top of mind last week after they destroyed Penn State, where the media hyenas continue to sift through the rubble of Happy Valley. Meanwhile Michigan State is universally regarded as a team ready to make good on their birthright, which is failing when opportunity is presented. They have to go up to Wisconsin, and play in one of the toughest stadiums in the nation against these big pasty monsters. There is no way they should even be in this game. That's why I am taking Michigan State +9.5.

Tim Tebow is the best story in the NFL right now. He is a nice guy that says and does the right things, yet 50% of the public hates his guts. Everyone says they hate thugs, but more people hate Tebow than hate The Dog Killer Mike Vick. Go figure. So this week Tebow and the rest of the Broncos go to Minnesota to play the Vikings. The Vikings made the national news this week for the first time all season when opportunistic washed up QB Donovan McNabb pretended he was a good guy and asked to leave the team so he could hop on a Playoff contender for a stretch run. Oh, maybe you saw a quick blurb on how their only legitimate player Adrian Peterson has an ankle injury so severe they are considering amputation? I will tell you this, every single Rube on the planet is going to take Denver +1.5. Why wouldn't they? Tebow, despite the fact he seems to have none of the tools necessary to succeed in the NFL, continues to win. Or he just happens to be playing QB for a team that is winning. Either way, John Q Public will be all over the Broncos with the points. That's why I am on Minnesota -1.5.

The Houston Texans held workouts to sign their 4th QB of the season. Jake Delomme and Jeff Garcia were the two players under consideration. No, I am not making that up. Although it would be just as believable if I had written "Vinnie Testeverde and Gary Danielson are under consideration". It's really a shame that the Texans have had to resort to Jake Delomme, a QB so bad that even the Browns said "Ehhh... I don't think so." Delomme isn't starting. Some other guy is. I don't really know who. I don't even care. All I know is everyone keeps talking about how the Texans are done. That's why I am on Houston +2.5 at home.

I am going to really step up on these games. If I win this weekend, it will be a very nice holiday season for those of you on my Christmas list. If I lose? I will probably spend Sunday evening in a continuing downward spiral of hopelessness and alcohol fueled despair. Either way, I think I will be getting a head start on the true spirit of The Holidays. And it will provide a much needed distraction from putting up a Xmas tree.

Oh yeah. Fuck Santa.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Santa Claus

As the Christmas specials wash over prime time viewing like a nostalgic wave, I have come to an inevitable conclusion. Santa Claus is a dick. Now before you rush to his defense, can I offer the following evidence?

In “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”, Santa is a hard ass Bear Bryant of a guy evaluating the incoming crop of reindeer prospects. Despite Rudolf’s superior performance at the trials, he bails on him the second he notices Rudolf’s red nose. He even busts his father’s balls. Rudolf is excommunicated and sent out into the Arctic. He isn't sent to boarding school. He is sent out to the roughest elements on the planet. "See you later Rudolf. Ha! Ha! Ha!" The door slams and Santa forgets all about this young deer. He never gives him a second thought. Rudolf is literally gone for years. Then, when things are at their bleakest, he slithers back to Rudolf for some help. No apology. It’s just, “Rudolf with your nose so bright, etc etc etc”. Who the fuck else were they gonna get in that storm? Rudolf sacks up, leads the team, while Santa gets the glory with all of his “Ho Ho Ho” bullshit. Afterwards Rudolf gets shoved into a barn while Santa knocks back some cognac next to a roaring fire. Thanks for the ride Rudolf. Now fuck you, and back into your stall.

What about “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”? Kris Kringle is an orphaned kid raised by elves. He splits when he becomes a strapping lad, immediately hooks up with the hottest chick in Sombertown, Miss Jessica. The going gets tough when the Burgermeister, a cross between Idi Amin and an alcoholic Danny Devito, trips on a toy and runs Santa out of town. Miss Jessica has to chase Kringle all over the planet before finding him in the woods with the “Winter Warlock”, clearly a Canadian based coke dealer. Kringle grows a beard, changes his name to Santa, drags Miss Jessica up to the North Pole after he dupes her into marriage, and then puts on 125 pounds/grows a beard. “Hey baby… Scratch my back fat, will ya?” Meanwhile Jessica, now Mrs. Claus, is stuck in the arctic with a bunch of Elves for company while Santa gallivants around the globe on his “magic sleigh”. You ever hang out with a bunch of Elves? They are total assholes. Remember those dicky Elves that ran the toy shop in Rudolf?

Finally in “The Year Without a Santa Claus”, Santa comes down with a cold, hears some second hand shit about his approval rating going down. Does he rally, and put in 100% effort to get back on top? Nope. He pulls the plug like a Prima Donna. “Christmas is cancelled.” Who the fuck does he think he is? He pulls some Axl Rose bullshit because he’s just not feeling it? Hey man, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus here. You can’t cancel it. It’s not yours to cancel asshole. He winds up sulking in his North Pole mansion and letting two elves get busted by some Southern cops. One of the reindeer almost dies in the heat. Does he give a shit? No way. Dude is laying around in his underwear, deep into a bottle of rum watching “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. Not until he gets a letter from a little girl sufficiently licking his ass does he get off the couch and work the one day a year he is contractually committed to.

Fuck Santa.