Monday, July 29, 2013

Nurse the Hate: The Unicorn Ad

Fuck Unicorn - w4m - 22 (nashville)
Ever since I was a little girl,

I've had fantasies about Unicorns.

I think they're very sexy (especially the spirally horn).

I would like to experiment with strap-ons,

meaning the guy would strap a dildo on his forehead and do me with it.

Please be real.
Location: nashville
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


Let’s proceed as if this is a real Craig’s List advertisement.  While it is tempting to wave your hand and suggest that this is someone’s idea of a joke (and a good one at that), I think we can agree that there are people out there with more exotic sexual tastes than our collective imaginations can conjure.  For example,  I have seen things on the Internet that my mind will not allow me to “un-see”.  When a friend sends you something called “Dad’s Birthday Party” as an email attachment, there is no reason to suspect that when you open it a short movie will play showing an obese woman shitting on the head of an elderly man while a midget looks on masturbating.  This burns in your skull forever, and is no way for my friends to demonstrate their friendship.  I question the moral fiber of many of my closest friends.  It's not really their fault though.  This stuff is out there.  The bottom line is that there are people out there with very specialized interests, and now thanks to the Internet they are but one mouse click away.  

The ad above is actually very well written.  It is direct and specific.  God bless the Internet.  What a curse to have that be “your thing” prior to this type of communication.  How on earth could a gal interested in having what we will now refer to as “unicorn sex” find that special someone?  The odds of finding a gent that was very interested in having sex with you via a forehead horn dildo has to be long if a lady is standing around a TGIFridays or some anonymous dance club.  How would one handle the vetting process exactly?  “Thanks sailor!  I would like a drink!  And since you asked, I’m an Aquarius and I do come here often.  Now let me ask you something…  How do you feel about unicorns?  I love unicorns.  I mean I really, really love unicorns.  Could you do me a favor, reach into this satchel, and try this mask on?”

Most men are shameless dogs that will do almost anything to have sex.  “You want me to do what?  (Two second pause) OK.  I’ll do that.”  Clearly though, this ad is meant to weed out the “put up with the unicorn dildo helmet” guys from the “really into the unicorn dildo helmet” ones.  This is an advertisement seeking out a kindred spirit.  She is looking for a fella that will blissfully walk around a Renaissance Faire all afternoon as a build up to “stable time” back at the apartment.  I picture a hurried return from the Renaissance Faire where she is excitedly getting the unicorn helmet out of its secret storage location under the bed while he fumbles with Jethro Tull and Yes CDs on the sound system for the perfect unicorn lovemaking soundtrack.   To find a partner like this is like finding a needle in a haystack.  It can’t be easy.

I’m assuming that men will respond to this ad, as men will respond to any request that ends with sex.  Hell, the guy that emailed this to me is probably drafting a response right now.  This means that the casting call will have quite a few auditions that just don’t “nail it”.  My question is this.  Does each prospective responder have to have their own unicorn dildo helmet, or is it provided by the woman?  By the way, I'm totally picturing a full unicorn mask with some kind of ultra creepy rubber dildo horn.  I think anyone that runs an ad like this will want to go all the way, don't you?  If the mask is provided by her, I would have to think that the first thought that each guy has while strapping in is “I wonder how many other dudes have had this thing on?”.  Let’s even assume that the unicorn head has been used exclusively in a female monogamous situation and not bandied about in some sort of wild unicorn head gang bang Renaissance Faire Gone Wild sort of scene.  I’m still imagining an item with a very odd scent and definitely an odd karma to it.  It would be something I would poke with a stick, not affix to my face.  Then again, I’m not into the whole unicorn scene, so maybe I’m not the best barometer of unicorn dildo helmet etiquette.

The one thing you can be sure of is that if one had the courage and curiosity to respond to this ad, the reward would be a story that would be a showstopper forever.   “So I’m really going at it at this point.  I’m almost ¾ horn in, ya know?  Next thing I know this guy in a Satyr outfit comes skipping in playing a pan flute with a boner sticking out of the fur of his costume.  But I’m real into what I’m doing ya know?  I’m making whinny sounds and braying like a horse because she digs that shit, right?  I hardly even notice what’s going on.  By the time I hear the sound of his hooves on the floorboards, I’m not even worried about him so much as the fat dude behind him with the open tunic that’s eating a turkey leg.  I’m worried he’s going to try and shove that turkey leg in my ass or something, so I’m freaking out.  Look man, I’m into the unicorn scene, but I’m no degenerate!  I’m not doing some Lord of the Rings group scene!  So I pull my horn out, and I try to split.  The problem is I can’t get the car keys outta the god damn unicorn suit, so I’m just sitting there stewing in the driveway until she gets her frock on and we can leave.  We were arguing all night and into the next day until we went to the bar-b-que at her Mom’s place on Sunday.  It was a fucked up weekend.”

I suppose we'll never know if this young lady finds her unicorn.  I hope she does.  It doesn't seem like too much to ask.  Well, as long as I'm not the one putting on the smelly unicorn mask and walking around the Renaissance Faire...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Leo's Solo Record

An exciting new album concept is coming closer to fruition.  For years we have discussed an idea of a Leo P. Love solo record.  Now, normally when one hears about a drummer threatening to make a solo record, it’s time to head for the hills.  I don’t know if you have listened to the Peter Criss solo record.  It was released when all the guys from Kiss simultaneously made solo albums.  Shiver me timbers.  The bottom line is when drummers write songs, bad things happen.  If you doubt me, listen to “That’s The Kind of Sugar Papa Likes” off of “Peter Criss”.  And before some Rush fan emerges from his basement to start up with the Neil Peart nonsense, stop it right there…  We are not going to have that conversation.

The record idea we have is really pure genius.  It comes from years of sound checks and watching Leo’s burned out memory somehow dredge up obscure lyrics to oldies.  Our concept is we will place Leo into a studio and call out songs for him to play the drum parts for and sing.  Specifically, we will have him do Beatles songs by request.  He will play as much (or as little) or the song as he knows, and then will be quickly peppered with a new song.  So for example, consumers may enjoy a drums and vocals only cover of “Dear Prudence”, but it may only be 26 seconds.  It’s only what he can remember.  No second takes, and absolutely no practice beforehand to keep the session “pure”.

You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, but if he knows there is a session, he will listen to Beatles songs beforehand to prepare”.  Allow me to ease your mind.  There is no chance whatsoever that Leo will prepare in any way, even if you drove over to his house with a functioning stereo and every Beatles record on every available format.  This is a guy that has had every vehicle he has ever owned break down in spectacular fashion due to having done no regular maintenance.  I mean, he had a drive shaft fall out of a truck for Christ’s sake.  That doesn’t just happen without prior warning that something may be amiss.  This is a guy that forgot to pack his bass drum pedal, snare, and drum sticks for a European Tour.  This was an issue as all he needed to bring for the tour was bass drum pedal, snare, and sticks.  This is a man that has had a fifty pound roller fall out of his work truck onto his foot twice because he hasn’t secured it and let it roll loose.  When I asked him if he learned a lesson after the second time, he angrily yelled at me “I learned no lesson!  I LEARNED NO LESSON!”.  To reiterate, there is no chance he will prepare.

The interesting part of the record will not be the songs he forgets.  The really interesting ones will be the ones he remembers.   He has been to Dresden three times, a city called “the jewel of the Elbe” because of its striking museums and natural beauty.  He can’t recall having been there even with prompting.  At practice we will sometimes play an old song we haven’t played in a long time.  The rest of the band will notice he’s playing a different drum beat.  He will stubbornly say, “That’s the way I ALWAYS play it”.  When we bust out the actual recording of the song he played on with a different drum pattern than what he just played, he will counter with “Well, I’ll play it that way if you want, but that’s not how we have always done it” despite the irrefutable evidence to the contrary.  We have played with bands six or seven times, and he has no recollection.  Yet he once almost came to blows with a member of the Wolverton Brothers because the poor guy correctly told Leo we had never done a show together.  Leo would not waver, and insisted he had.  It was only after I figured out he had confused the Wolverton Brothers with the Gibson Brothers did the thing get sorted out.  It should be noted that we had never played a show with the Gibson Brothers either…

I see this record has having a limited commercial appeal.  I realize that not everyone will want to hang out on their deck and listen to Leo beat out the drums to “Fixing A Hole” while struggling through the second verse.  However, I think there is a real core group of real Leo fans that will treasure this record as much as I will.  Also since it will probably take an hour to record and mix on the fly, and maybe another two hours to come up with art work, I think we can make this thing happen.  The great news is that no matter what happens, it will definitely be better than “Peter Criss”. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Strangers In A Bar

I met him in Belize.  He was in his late 60s, but wiry and tough looking.  He had become a man that didn’t really have an age.  He was one of those guys.  He had been around awhile, knew a few things, and you wouldn’t fuck with him on a dare.  He seemed like a guy capable of immediate maximum violence, but age had softened that edge.  We talked while waiting for a bartender.  I bought him a drink. 

He was a master diver.  He showed me a weathered plastic ID card validating his claim.  We talked about diving.  I told him about the beginner’s dive I had done, and how excited I was about it.  He was enthusiastic.  I asked him about some of the craziest dives he had done.  He had been on over 5000.  He thought for a second and told me about a dive where he took his wife, a beginner at that point, where they had to dive through a wide cave so they could swim under schooling hammerhead sharks.  It was in some secret location that someone had to let you in on.  It wasn’t a spot for just anyone.  “You gotta make sure you don’t ascend too high though, cause the current will push you right into the middle of ‘em.”  I asked how big they were.  “Oh, the little ones are about 6 feet, and the real big ones are about 12-14 feet.  You don’t want to mess with them.  You gotta give them their space.”  His wife came over to tell me she had been terrified, but it had been worth it. 

She was from Los Angeles, or at least that’s what she told everyone.  She was one of those Southern California women because of constant plastic surgery; you couldn’t tell if she was 45 or 60.  She was thin, and had enough procedures done to her face that she didn’t look real anymore, almost like a Barbie.  Everyone looked at her, not so much because of her long striking hair and matching long legs, but rather because she didn’t look quite real.  It was as if a department store mannequin was walking around the bar.  It made everyone do a double take.

“Let’s get out of here.  We’ll go to AJ’s”.  We climbed on his golf cart, the primary form of transportation on the island.  His wife’s friend the masseuse was coming along.  Her boyfriend was playing in a reggae band at our destination.  I could tell the older guy didn’t like him very much.  It was a small place.  What are you going to do?  I asked how he wound up in Belize, and he said that they always liked it here and decided to move from LA full time a number of years back.  They had to watch their pennies to scratch out a life here.

We go to AJ’s.  It was a cement pad with a metal roof.  A 55-gallon drum was cut in half, and had been converted into a grill to roast chicken.  AJ was a Canadian expat that owned the bar.  The bar was little more than a shelf where he would pass out Belikin beers and shots of rum.  A few plastic tables were set out on the cement pad with the same ubiquitous plastic chairs you see anywhere.  I sat down at a table with the man.  The women went to the bar and listened to the “band”, the masseuse’s dreadlocked boyfriend singing and another guy playing keyboards to pre recorded drum tracks.

After a few Belikins, I asked again about how he wound up in Belize.  He used to do some work in the area, and would relax here.  He liked it.  He kept coming back.  He volunteered that his last ex-wife (there had been three) said he didn’t have an emotional center.  He didn’t know what that meant exactly, but told me that he understood why she left him.  “I have a lack of certain emotions I guess…”, he said while staring at his wife flirting at the bar.  “Now take her for instance.  We understand each other.  She has some needs, and I get that.  She feels like she has to fly back to LA every so often and see this guy for some things she needs.  I get that.  I don’t want to stop her happiness.  Understand?”  I nodded my head at the unexpected turn in conversation.  What choice did I have but to agree?  Was I going to clarify that his wife flew to LA to get fucked by some younger guy on a quarterly basis?  No way.

“I just always had an emotional detachment.  It’s why I was good at the work I did.”  What did you do?  “I did some government work.”  I pushed.  He had been in the Army.  He was a good shot.  One day two guys in black suits asked him if he would be interested in a job.  It seemed better than what he was doing so he agreed.  He spent the 60s and 70s shooting people from a great distance in Asia and then Central America.  He never really knew who they were.  They were just pictures in a folder. 

We talked for a while about Laos, Cambodia, and his old friends he had gone with through training.  There were 12.  Two KIA, three in psych wards, four suicides, one career guy, one missing, and him.  He said you were never closer with anyone than your partner.  They would be in a banana tree for days, looking at a guy through a scope, back at a picture, and back through the scope.  Was it him?  Was it?  Finally they would decide he was the target and blow out the back of that man’s skull at 900-1000 yards.  Afterwards all hell would break loose, and they would have to hide in the jungle until they could be extracted.  “It never really bothered me.  I figured if it wasn’t me, someone else was going to do it anyway.”  He looked off blankly in the distance.  The stories were crazy.  Horrible.  Interesting.  He didn’t care about them.  He wanted to tell me about the time in LA he and his wife had gone to a party at Beau Bridge’s house in a Dodge Viper.  That’s how you know the sniper shit was real.  Who is going to lie about Beau Bridges? 

We had another beer.  He was getting tired.  The masseuse was making a play to have a threesome.  No one was too interested.  It was her way of getting attention.  The band played “No Woman No Cry”.  It was terrible.  We finished the beers.  He drove us back.    Everyone said goodbye to one another.  It was a good night.  He drove down the dusty road, heading back to his place. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Your 401K

I have often thought about, daydreamed really, about the possibility of “taking charge of my finances” to avoid the long, slow death-by-a-thousand-cuts life in corporate America.  This rock and roll thing doesn’t pay well enough to afford the lifestyle to which I have grown accustomed.  Just like you probably, I answer to The Man.  It’s a real tightrope walk sometimes balancing what I like to do with what I have to do.  Shit, we all do it.  I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.

The Big Lie we have in our culture is that after a long life in servitude to some corporate concern, you will be rewarded by a long retirement spent strolling beaches and having intercourse with your surprisingly hot elderly wife in bathtubs placed strategically in the woods.  This is of course blatantly untrue, as if you somehow make it to retirement you will die a couple years later after having all that money you cobbled together siphoned off by the thieves in our health care industry.  The only blue wonder pill you will be taking is to ward off some kind of horrible cancer for another 45 days of low quality life.  There is no walk on the beach for you friend…  

Most of us that work towards this Utopian bathtub in the woods daydream have our money in either 401K accounts or mutual funds.  These accounts are headed up by men with a razor sharp vision of the past and a total inability to predict anything in the future.  I am totally convinced that 99.5% of persons involved in the financial industry have no better idea of what will happen tomorrow than either of my two basset hounds.  On top of that, my hounds react to reality faster than anyone in Finance.  When it’s raining, the hounds will come inside.  When Finance guys see it is raining, they say “It shouldn’t be raining.  It will stop soon.  In fact, this might not even be rain at all.”  When the markets are up and everyone is making money, Big Finance will congratulate themselves for how smart their decisions have turned out.  If the account is down, they attribute it all to a “bad market”. 

The sham of that industry is built around a special language they created to make it seem like they are doing incredibly complicated things that you are unqualified to even question, when in reality all they are doing is betting on football.  Instead of betting $5000 on a two team parlay of the Redskins +5 and Baltimore -3, they “diversified your interests in the energy sector and heavied up in communications”.  It would be refreshing to hear even one of these clowns say, “We bought Apple, because it seems like people like iPhones”.  Translation:  Dude!  Everyone is on the Skins!  They are going to roll this Sunday!  Let’s put your money on Washington!

My beef is with the bullshit fees and total lack of accountability.  They don’t know anything.  It is all lies.  “Your account is returning just a little below the S&P average after fees.  We would have been up, but who could have foreseen that China would influence the banking markets like that…”  You know who could have seen it?  You.  You are the one that gets paid the fee to see that shit.  Now, let’s substitute a few nouns.  “We would have been up for the weekend, but who could have known Dallas would kick that late field goal and cover?”

So what if we just cut out all those middlemen?  I don’t know anything about how the rise of the Euro will effect IBM’s Q3 profit, but I know that the Baltimore Orioles have been one of the best teams vs the spread after the All Star break in each of the last three years.  So what if I stopped worrying about how the mutual fund managers were ripping me off by using their fees and artificial market manipulations to benefit their mega firm’s top clients, and just took that dough and started betting baseball?  Would it really be any riskier than showing up at Shit Tech Inc. and helping the backslapping Golf Bros at Corporate skim a bigger fat bonus off the top while hoping my 401K moves up a click by accident?

So what if I just made one enormous wager?  What if I just scanned the data day in and day out and waited for that one perfect game where a shit Orioles team started a journeyman pitcher like Freddy Garcia against somebody like Boston?  Garcia is at the tail end of a sketchy career, but maybe he just happens to match up extremely well against the meat of the Boston lineup, and performs especially well vs these guys at home where the Green Monster isn’t a factor?  As stupid as it sounds, that is probably a better bet than taking the Fidelity Mid Cap Value Fund.  You take Baltimore with Garcia on the hill, not only do you get no fees like with a 401K, the bookie will pay you 20 cents on the dollar on top of the original wager because you were on the underdog!  So instead of slogging into work and having your soul slowly drained from you for the next two + decades, it will all be decided in 3-4 hours.  No fussing.  That's it.  You either totally win or totally lose.  If you win the bet, then you never go back.  You never answer the phone if they call.  You put on a pair of shorts, go outside, and read a book in the sun.  If you lose?  Hell, you were on track to go there for the next 25 years anyway.  What’s the difference?  You’ll just leave a mountain of medical debt to be written off by The State when you get that horrible disease a year after retiring.

The big question is if I have the stones to make this type of move.  This is the sort of thing that seems too easy.  Certainly The Gods would not allow me just to parachute out like that just because I know the White Sox can’t hit junkball pitching or that Kyle Kendrick owns the Mets, would they?  Every movie I have ever seen has taught me that I will have the monster wager almost won, when a little known player will come off the bench for the other team and hit a dream crushing home run.  I will be left weeping and smoking cigarettes on a payphone outside of a bar in Brooklyn.  I don’t know why I will be in Brooklyn, it’s just that this type of thing always seems to happen in Brooklyn.

That next day at work would be a tough go.  I would be a complete slave to my Corporate Overlords.  I would need to learn that deep gut laugh to let rip when the boss says something that isn’t funny, but he thinks is.  “Hehehehehe!  Good one Phil!”  There would be longer hours spent generating reports no one would ever read.  The permanent smile on my face would become more of a grimace.  Still, I think that as I dissolved into the rubber sheets at the charity hospital years later I would think, “I took my shot.  I almost got out.  Goddammit, I took my shot.”

Anyone got a line on that Orioles game tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nurse the Hate: James Salter

I have been reading a novel recommended to me called “A Sport and A Pastime” by James Salter.  I have no idea how I have never heard of this guy before now.  The novel was published in 1967, so my peer group has clearly failed me in this case.  His writing is so precise and spot-on it feels embarrassing to even attempt to convey a thought in this insignificant blog.  His writing makes me feel like a child.  To make an awkward comparison, it is like being in a second rate band and playing a Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan cover, then turning to the audience and offer up your own weak original for an unavoidable comparison.  “Hey everybody!  That’s the way it is supposed to be done!  Now, enjoy my failed attempt as you lose interest and drift off to the men’s room!”.  I will admit to feeling total envy for what appears to be effortless writing on his part. 

That dirty sonofabitch.

In this particular novel he writes about the almost impossible subject of romantic and sexual attraction.  There is no other subject butchered worse than this in literature.  “As his stiff manliness thrusted into her fleshy door to pleasure, he knew at that moment there was a God and she was his angel.  He exploded into her as she gasped his name.”  Look, I’ve never read that exactly, but I have read something close to it 116,789 times.  Almost anytime sex comes up in a novel, I read it and think “That has nothing in common with my experience.  Either I’m doing it wrong, or I’m going with the flow a little better than the protagonist. Did he really just refer to her breasts as heaving and her flesh as forbidden?”

Salter is so dead-on with the variance of emotions and desire.  The unique combination of utter intimacy with the very real contrast of the mystery of the opposite sex that somehow only increases the hunger for that person.  The subtle unspoken shifts between a couple by just a glance or change in vocal tone.  The mind’s inability to intellectualize past a need that is primal and pure.  This novel is a tour de force, a lesson in what is possible with a subject so universal and ultimately ordinary.  It’s humbling to read.

As I continue to attempt to become a better writer through sheer force of will and repetition, I realize I will never reach that type of summit.  While it is somewhat depressing to realize that my own limitations make it impossible to be amongst the very best, I suppose the personal reward and effort make the pursuit worthwhile.  Ultimately it makes little difference.  No one I came in contact with today knows who Donald Ray Pollack or James Salter are anyway.  The good news is that they all know Honey Boo Boo. Me?  I’m going to try and figure out who James Salter is, and maybe along the way figure myself out a little too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Justin Bieber

For some bizarre reason, I have had a number of people speak with me about Justin Beiber recently.  I generally spend no time thinking about Justin Bieber as he is just another in a long line of young boys with good haircuts and a ruthless management team.  Whenever I see a picture of him I reflexively think, “What a douche!”, but I don’t really care about him one way of the other.  Well, until I started thinking about him this week.  Now I find myself actively hoping that he will pick up the pace of his spectacular public downfall into drug addiction, misery, and shame.  This really says more about my shortcomings than Master Bieber, but I am being honest here.  Taking potshots at this 19 year old is really easy, but I can't help myself. 

First things first…  There have always been Teen Idols.  Always.  From David Cassidy came Leif Garret who may have fathered some of the New Kids on the Block with Tiffany who were replaced by Backstreet Boys who were made irrelevant by N’Sync who lost out to Brittany Spears who flamed out to Mandy Moore who was stunned to see MIley Cyrus move in who got replaced by Bieber.  It’s a cruel ride where some 14 year olds who have never been told “no” by their stage mothers and get replaced by even worse human beings, Big Time Talent Management.  At the end of it the Teen Idol is 22, convinced they are important recording artists and can’t figure out why no one wants to take their picture anymore.  Well, unless they are doing cocaine with porn stars in Vegas.  Then lots of people want to take their picture for TMZ.

You have to feel badly for Bieber in one respect.  Every single person he knows is trying to take advantage of him for his or her own personal gain.  His most trusted inner circle is bleeding him dry.  At a certain point, the merry-go-round ride is over and the inner circle will drop him like a bad habit.  Beiber will be wondering why he can’t buy a mink basketball court anymore.  That money is gone, but the lifestyle he has come to understand as “adulthood” has a long way ahead. He has lived his entire life from age 13 on being told “Yes!” on almost any of his whims.  He is the oldest, most damaged age 19 you can imagine, and yet has almost no real experiences that will help him in later life.  What does a future punch line do with the rest of his life when he has been used up of relevance at age 21?  Biebs will have 50 years left and nothing to do.

Yet, all of that does not quite forgive his almost unparalleled douchiness.  I challenge you to find a photograph of that kid from the last year or so and not unconsciously clench your fist.  He is truly a person that would benefit from being punched in the face by a grown man.  The social experiment of “teen idol” has taken what appeared to be a good kid and turned him into a monster. I know people involved in Big Rock Tours.  When you are openly called “a little shit” by the crew, and unfavorably compared to Neil Diamond, Madonna, and Diana Ross in your behavior, where do you go from there?  How does a 19-year-old Canadian kid become a bigger pain in the ass than Madonna?  I mean, we’re talking about Madonna here!  This is a woman that demands NBA locker room showers are carpeted for her.  A woman that demands that the dressing room toilets are all replaced with brand new toilets so her royal ass will not rest on anything mere mortals have used.  He’s worse than that?  Hell, Bill Hader from SNL said in an interview on Howard Stern that Bieber was the biggest pain in the ass guest EVER on SNL.  Damn…

The thing that many of us here in the world of indie rock are having trouble with is understanding why this young man has maintained his popularity.  For example, why does this kid dress in outfits that people ruthlessly ridiculed Vanilla Ice for two decades ago?  Is that Vanilla Ice look now “retro” like Docksiders and Wayfarer sunglasses?  Do I need to buy an enormous baseball hat for my head too?  He is such is wispy little boy the tattoos, giant hats and gold chains make him look like he is playing dress up out of Uncle Tupac’s closet. Why do so many 13-year-old girls think, “He is the hottest guy out there”?  If that kid showed up at their school, they would have to think “What a douchebag!”, right?  There is no one crueler than a pack of 12-year-old girls.  How have they not turned on this kid yet?  How are more people not creeped out that this 19 year old spends his every waking minute smoking weed and checking out 14-year-old chicks?  If Bieber’s family wasn’t generating so much revenue on this thing somebody would poke their heads up out of the piles of money like a gopher and mention, “this might be unhealthy for The Lad”.    

They have all come and they have all gone.  The one thing we can feel comfortable in knowing is that his clock has almost struck midnight.  Payback is going to be a bitch for that little asshole.  There will be fuzzy pictures in supermarket tabloids.  He will be the punch line for Late Night monologue jokes where even dopes from Nebraska "get it", laugh and say "Hahaha!  Justin Bieber!  Hahahaha!".   Some nice car wrecks are coming.  Small fender benders where he has to explain how those drugs got under the seat.  Ummmm....   With luck will come appearances on Celebrity Rehab, and tearful appearances on talk shows where he tries to explain those awful outfits.    

Now we wait…   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Running With The Bulls

I have made the terrible decision to attempt to attend the San Fermin Festival in 2014.  This drunken disaster is better known to Americans as “The Running of the Bulls”.  Hemingway made it famous in “The Sun Also Rises” in 1959 and really messed it up for the poor residents of the area, who had been getting drunk and disorderly there since the Middle Ages.  In the good old days, a bunch of Basques rounded up cattle, had a fair, and got really rowdy like Basques are wont to do.  It was a good party that was a locals thing.  Well, back in the 1500s it was anyway…  Things started to ramp up in the 1600s with the first mention of asshole foreigners, but it was that damn Hemingway book that brought in the Eurotrash Bro crowd.  I don’t know what the Eurotrash Bro Crowd looked like in 1959, but I’m pretty sure they spent their days much like the current Bro crowd focused on drinking and sexual assaults.  They probably just didn’t wear white knockoff Wayfarer sunglasses.

The festival seems like almost everything I hate.  It is wildly overcrowded.  Carnies will be attempting to rip you off at every turn.  I can’t even begin to imagine the price gouging.  The nearest clean bathroom is probably in Bilbao.  Every drunk asshole from Great Britain will want to fight or barf on anyone in their path.  There will be nowhere to sleep.  There is nowhere to park.  Transportation will be unavailable and unreliable.  Everything will be a hassle.  I will dislike every tourist I come in contact with, especially the backpacking Americans.  Yet, I am drawn to see it for myself like getting a real eyeful after a horrific traffic accident.

The Festival runs from July 6th at Noon until July 14th.  There are several key events.  The first is on July 7th, the Saint Fermin procession where dour religious guys are dressed up in their best garb and they parade around.  I assume everyone else takes pictures of them with their iphones.  On a weekday close to the procession is something called “Struendo”, or The Roar.  The idea is that way too many people go to the main plaza and make as much noise as they can for about six hours with drums, whistles, horns, and that kind of shit.  It seems like an event geared towards bringing out the inner six year old in all of us.  There are also these Giants and Big Heads parades, which seem like a Spanish version of Mardi Gras parades.  This all leads up to the daily “Running of the Bulls”.

The Running of the Bulls seems like a very poorly conceived event for me.  I am a slow runner.  I don’t do well in crowds.  I don’t speak Spanish.  I am afraid of being gored in the nut sack.  These are all very real concerns for participating in this.  The problem is that I already know I will be filled to the gills with Rioja and will get caught up in the fever of the thing.  There is no doubt that I will find myself running in white pants from a 1000 pound pissed off bull, and will be the guy that gets gored and hauled off under the watchful eye of the international news crews.  It’s like it already happened.

Today I will spring this terrible idea on Leo, who will probably agree to participate without giving it a second thought.  If there is one person that you need along for a descent into this type of madness, it is Leo.  Leo’s agreement with this debacle will be the confirmation on the degree of poor judgement I have in this undertaking.  Generally, if Leo thinks something is a good idea, it is an absolutely terrible idea.  That doesn’t matter.  It feels like this bus has already left the station.  I have decided.  It’s now about finding a local “fixer”, someone that is our kind of people on “the inside”.  We’ll need someone that can introduce us to the right unsavory element.

While the festival wraps up this Sunday, I will open a bottle of Rameriz de Ganuza I have stowed away.  I will be making plans.  Terrible, terrible plans.         

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Chris Perez

This might be my favorite “guy that gets busted for weed and goes to court” photograph of all time.  Most of you probably have no idea that the guy in the photograph is Indians closer Chris Perez.  In what would appear to have been an “Eastbound and Down” Kenny Powers script idea, Perez decided to have a package of marijuana sent to his home sourced from his landlord.  The landlord, an interesting unsavory character in his own right, got out of the mortgage business after I assume making a few hundred predatory loans that all defaulted, and got into one of the only businesses more shady, a California medical marijuana dispensary.  I had read that he had been arrested in LA after being caught stuffing bricks of cocaine into a car that was being shuttled back to Ohio, but maybe he got out of that somehow.  Regardless, he mailed a big package of pot to Perez.  The good news is that they also had a foolproof scheme to keep themselves out of trouble.  Perez and his wife (I assume the tiny little blonde on the left) had it sent to the house in their dog’s name.

I would imagine that this foolproof plan came to fruition only after smoking up and thinking it through.  I have this image of a Kid Rock album playing in the background when the inspiration came like a lightning bolt.  “We could have it shipped to Brody.  Totally!  They can’t arrest a dog Bro!  We could be like, “Hey man… I don’t know what the dog has shipped to him.  I was like, on the road when this got sent.  How do I know what the dog is doing when I’m trying to blow my deuce past Miggy Cabrera? ”  Brody wouldn’t say anything, would you Boy!  C’mere Boy!  Who’s a good boy?  Who’s a good boy?”  Then there would be lots of laughing, perhaps some knuckle bumps, and the rich feeling of satisfaction that you have beaten “The Man”.

The real killer is when you have to show up in Rocky River court and explain, in the cold harsh light of day, why you thought it was a good idea to mail yourself weed via your dog Brody.  I went to that court once for a traffic ticket I was fighting, and I saw a guy get thrown in The Clink for falling asleep and snoring in the courtroom.  Note, that is probably not a good way to endear yourself to the man that will determine your punishment for your crime against society in the next 45 minutes or so to be snoring with your mouth open while he conducts business.  It also didn’t help my confidence as I was getting psyched up for my own private courtroom drama to see that dude pulled outta there.  I just kept having a vision of being hauled away yelling out random legal terms.  “Habeas corpus!  Brown vs. Board of Education! Continuance!”      

I lost that traffic ticket argument.  I don’t think Perez is going to get the “W” in this one either.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Uncle Joe


My Uncle Joe died in a small room in the sixth floor of this building in Cincinnati in 1995.  It was an efficiency apartment he had rented monthly, a typical flophouse type arrangement.  By the time the body was discovered, he had been dead for some time.  It was only by the odor emanating from the room that anyone noticed he was gone.  The official paperwork notes “the eyes and face have been eaten away by maggots.  Teeth were not present.”.  He was 66.  I had never met him.

Joe Miller is the family enigma.  The eldest brother of my father, he left his comfortable home in Scarsdale NY soon after high school and essentially vanished.  As kids, my cousins and I were all fascinated by the Uncle that had disappeared.  As an adult, I became more fascinated by the fact that none of his siblings seemed to have even the slightest curiosity as to his fate.  They had foggy recollections about a letter to their mother after he was discharged from the Army.  In the early 1960s he may have been to his brother’s wedding.  No one could agree on that point, and no photos exist.  No one had anything to say about him, good or bad.  It was like trying to remember a guy that you worked with briefly.  “What was that guy’s name that used to always eat the bologna sandwiches?”  He was a shadow.

My father’s generation never tried to find Joe, or if they did, they never spoke of it to me.  While I would like to think they were upset with him for vanishing and then held a lifelong grudge, I think it is more likely that they felt that if he didn’t want to be found, it would be rude for them to intrude.  The whole thing was very odd.  While I was curious as well, my curiosity can’t hold a torch to my cousin John.  John is the one that always asked questions, and eventually hired a private detective that found the shreds of Joe’s life.  There was an Army discharge after service in Germany.  A residence in Santa Monica.  Long gaps of nothing on The Grid.  No social security.  No visits to VA Health Care.  It appeared he was scraping out some hard scrabble existence for decades.  No marriage, no kids.  A sudden move to Cincinnati in the 1990s.  None of it really made any sense.

The only photographs of Joe as a child show a grim faced serious kid.  These handful of black and white pictures show a boy that doesn’t seem at ease.  I’ve never seen a photo of him as an adult.  All kinds of theories are bandied about in this family parlor game.  Joe was mentally ill.  Joe was a homosexual and became estranged from his Catholic conservative parents.   Joe had a falling out with his father over something dark and terrible.  We’ll never know.

There were no personal effects in the room he died in.  No clues.  Five empty pop cans and $231 in his wallet.  I had played shows about three miles from his room, totally unaware that the legendary Uncle Joe was so close.  The surrounding area of where he spent his final days was classic urban decay.  Dirty men pick through garbage looking for anything of value.  Joe was probably one of those men.  Who knows, I may have even seen him while I drove by, wondering “How does someone end up like that?”

I was in Cincinnati last week.  I drove to see the building where he had died.  It was pouring rain.  I looked up to the sixth floor and counted over to where I figured his room was located.  I took the picture.  I felt nothing.    

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Toot's

I almost ate at a shithole called Toot’s outside of King’s Island.  This was a moment of last resort.  Nothing was open.  There were no other options at places that provided food on an actual plate.  Food had become an issue of survival.  There was the very real scenario unfolding of my withered corpse being discovered on the side of I-71.  Even in these most dire of circumstances, I couldn’t follow through with placing an order at Toot’s.  Broken men ate food out of red plastic baskets.  Families sat in silence staring at each other.  The room smelled like urine and mold.  Pasty dim witted waitresses walked back and forth ignoring all the customers and accomplishing nothing. All 27 TVs showed an ESPN talk show with the volume off.  It was too awful.  I couldn’t do it.  I felt like Marlin Brando in Apocalypse Now.  The horror, the horror…

One of my least favorite types of restaurants is the “American Casual Fun-Timery” restaurant like Fridays, Dick’s Last Resort, Joe’s Crab Shack, etc.  Let me begin this diatribe by noting that I will admit to being a food snob.  I have eaten at some of America’s great restaurants and enjoyed the crap out of the experience.  The French Laundry, Chez Francois, Le Cirque, Emeril’s Delmonico, Picasso, Aqua, Lola, Restaurant August, Babbo, Terra, and on.  I put a real effort into eating well.  Good food is not a treat, it should be a regular part of life.  Let me also clarify, good food does not have to mean expensive food.  One of the best meals I ever had was a simple pasta in a humble neighborhood restaurant in Rome.  Why eat scary preservative laden bullshit?  There are other options.  There is no reason to eat at Subway unless your only other option for staying alive is Hardee’s.  (I would rather go hungry than eat at Hardee’s.)

When one is forced to eat at a fast food joint, there is an expectation that the food will be kind of shitty in exchange for the convenience of service.  Though the product in the white paper bag doesn’t even vaguely resemble the picture above the counter, it is difficult to make too big of a fuss when the meal costs $3.99 out the door.  For example, the food at Taco Bell looks like a wonderful Mexican culinary experience on the TV ads while any burrito I’ve ever actually been served there looks like a used diaper.  This is the implied arrangement with a .99 cent food item.

The American Casual Fun-Timery restaurant is another matter entirely.  They present themselves as actual restaurants, complete with waitresses and actual plates.  In most cases, they don’t really cook anything at these “restaurants”, but just re-heat bulk products that have been shipped in already prepared nestled in plastic bags.  Who knows where and when this food was actually cooked.  Somewhere there is a factory with a giant tub of clam chowder being shot through tubes into plastic and then flash frozen.  The delicious taste of New England courtesy of a factory in Des Moines Iowa, shipped to you after a stop at a wholesale warehouse out by the airport.  Dig in.

My real beef with these places is the fake “fun”.  When did it become necessary to tack up faux retro signage with no real meaning to suggest things are about to get wild?  “Helen, I’m not going to eat at Tipsy McStagger’s unless I see an old metal gas station sign, fake wooden beach sign, and a local sports team memento.  How can I be sure that I will properly enjoy their boneless Jack Daniels branded ribs if I don’t see that kind of fun on the horizon?”  It’s unsettling.  Every one of these places looks exactly the same.  Was there an agreement made by a restaurant trade association that if you served chicken wings and/or fried appetizer platters, you must also pretend to be “wacky” while doing so?  Is there a place in the United States where one can eat shitty deep fried food and not be offered a drink like a “Funtini” while a Jimmy Buffet song drones on in the background?

The second you walk into one of these joints you can assume the following things:

1)       The bathrooms will be filthy.  This is due to the fact that they criminally underpay potential employees.  If it’s tough to get servers hired, can you imagine the potential labor pool for dudes to clean bathrooms and do dishes?  I would imagine you are relegated to strictly felons and drifters.  I always find it odd that the bathrooms look like bus stations when they don’t do any real bar volume.  With no shitfaced young male clientele, what is causing the problems with urine flow and aim around the toilets?  I expect a scary bathroom on Bourbon Street.  I don’t expect one at a place where 9 dudes are picking at onion rings drinking iced tea.

2)      There will be the really stupid “wild” signs posted up to indicate that this is a place of fun and irreverence.  “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps”, “Free beer tomorrow”, and “Tipping is not a city in China” are amongst my personal favorites.  Oh the hilarity.  I like to think about the district manager that made the decisions on which of these mass produced signs would help make this location a retail giant.  Somewhere, right now, in an industrial park off a highway in Indiana, there is a man hunched over a computer ordering signs like “Beer: It’s What Is For Breakfast” while also wondering if he has leaned into the beer wholesalers hard enough for branded table tents and umbrellas. If that isn’t the organic birthplace of fun, I don’t know what is!

3)      The servers will all have the vacant look of prisoners.  They have lost all hope and in an effort to make ends meet were forced to take this job schlepping plates of deep fried quesadilla rings, bacon loaf, and quadruple cheese nacho fiesta salads to the Great Unwashed.  One will never see the same server twice in these places as they are all actively looking for something (anything) with more upside.  These people don’t know anything about food or drink.  They will be unable to answer any question you have, no matter how elementary.  Whoa be to you if you ask “What kind of craft beer do you have?”.   The answer will undoubtedly be “Welllllll…. We have Yuengling and Killians?” with the lift at the end to indicate they don’t really know what craft beer is and if the beers they just mentioned are even available.

4)      The food will be slightly below mediocre.  That’s where they get you.  It’s never truly awful, as they didn’t really cook any of it.  Since they are just reheating, someone along the corporate line did make sure what they served appeared to be suitable for human consumption.  There is really little difference in having a microwave dinner.  The key difference is that when you have finished this meal, you will feel slightly nauseous, bloated, and ashamed as if you just drank nine beers and had intercourse with a carnival ride operator in a portajohn.  

5)      The music will be absolutely terrible, a predictable playlist of “fun” songs.  I challenge you to sit at a bar at one of these hellholes and not hear “Sunglasses At Night” or “Born To Be Wild” while you sip a tall Miller Lite out of a thick plastic cup.  This music was also probably cleared by that Indiana district manager before he drove home in his Ford Focus while listening to the local Adult Contemporary radio station.  These are places designed with people that have no taste, which is of course the only thing worse than bad taste.

The only way to stop the spread of these bleak eateries is to eat local.  Go to individually owned restaurants that serve food they actually cook on premise.  Real food isn’t a privilege, it’s a right.  No matter where you live there are people working hard right now trying to make interesting food that they are proud of.  They are slogging along in their own version of indie rock, with small groups of “fans” fighting a battle of indifference.  I’m on board.  Then again, I have just returned from “Toots” by King’s Island, where you can look The Beast right in his unblinking eye.     

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Fireworks

As the mortar left the shell, it was painfully obvious that the trajectory would make an impact with the oncoming car.  While this would be bad, in fact, probably “really bad”, the real fear was that it would skip under the oncoming car and explode under the gas tank.  As anyone that has even a cursory interest in such television shows as The A-Team or Starsky and Hutch knows, an explosion under a car will result in that car’s gas tank exploding as well, and probably in slow motion.  These were all outcomes that we did not foresee when we modified the “Brilliant Dragon Flower of Sunshine” specialty mortar shell only moments before.

I had traveled to Erie, my old hometown with Mr. Kissel, a fellow pyromaniac that also enjoyed bringing chaos and a certain unpredictability to normally sedate holiday get togethers.  I had hit a real fork in the road at this time, as most of my friends had really begun to “slow down” as they say, and I had alarmingly begun to “speed up”.  I believed at the time that most boundaries were self assessed (which I also believe now) and they were all foolish and unnecessary (which I no longer believe after some rather disastrous incidents requiring written explanations and monetary compensation).  There are times you are at the exact right place at the right time.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in real life.

It was the Fourth of July.  We had been at a party earlier of some friends who had recently married.  This was the first time the new Bride really had a chance to understand who she was married to, and from my vantage point it chilled her to the bone.  In what would be a watershed event not only in their marriage, but also in many friendships, she weeded out the desirables and the undersirables amongst his peer group for future gatherings.  I did not make the cut.  Strangely enough, neither did Mr. Kissel. 

It may have been when we blew up their plastic Xmas decorations as horrified children looked on.  It may have been when her husband insisted on shooting the homemade cannon, the explosion causing a flame the size of a Volkswagen with a report that was heard at the State Police barracks nearly 12 miles away.   In my mind it was the site of her husband slinking off into the woods when the State Police cruiser crunched down the gravel road of their neighborhood.  As the searchlight scanned the woods, we elected to hop into a relative stranger’s truck to go to “another party down the road”.  Surely, they could sort this out without our input…

I had begun to amass some financial independence, and with that came some real options when it came to celebrating our Nation’s Birthday.  I had a relationship with a Fireworks Store, in particular with a man named “Sleepy” that managed one in Sandusky.  Like all good clerks in the fireworks game, Sleepy was missing teeth, a finger, and a coherent speech pattern.  If I had to guess, I would think he lived in New Orleans in the off-season, probably washing dishes and dealing meth.  I had an arrangement with Sleepy where I took care of him, and he let me fill my trunk with anything I wanted from the shelves.  It was a beautiful arrangement.

The problem becomes with anything that is free, you soon start to tire of it.  It has lost its value because you can always get more without any real sacrifice.  Soon, lighting off “Uncle Sam Fire Show Commando” wasn’t fun as just a normal firework.  What would happen if you cut the tube in half?  What about if you taped that onto that?  What if we doubled the gunpowder in those?  Imagine any cautionary fireworks video you have ever seen, but then double it and add a couple cases of Canadian beer.  As the evening drug on, I became known as “Dr. Von Braun” with Mr. Kissel always nearby to light the wick and compliment me on my handiwork.  It was, of course, madness.

There was no real “party” at the second location.  There were five people, all of them horribly intoxicated.  A second rate stereo blasted “Highway To Hell” with the distorted speakers breaking up.  Julie, the wife of our host, went inside the rented townhouse, the screen door broken and left dangling on a  hinge.  The ill-fated mortar we had launched skipped under the oncoming vehicle, bounced underneath and exploded in a sea of red, yellow, and orange with screaming whistles in every direction like frightened birds.  The car never even slowed.  Maybe they were unaware of how close they had come to exploding in slow motion, or perhaps they had sized up the situation as they careened by and realized a confrontation would have resolved nothing. 

Kissel and I looked at each other with a look of “Holy shit!  That was almost really, really bad.”  It was only a split second later when I saw it out of the corner of my eye.  He must have been “inspired” by the near disaster he had just witnessed.  It’s hard to even guess at his motivation.  But it happened.  That was when one of the other party guests calmly launched the “Apocalypse Tomorrow Beauty Swan” rocket, aiming it perfectly into the open doorway of the town home.  The red of the explosion looked very out of place in the modest living room.  I remember seeing Julie’s silhouette as she dove for cover from the living room into the kitchen.

It was maybe the best 4th of July ever.