Saturday, October 12, 2019

Nurse The Hate Book Club and NFL Locks



Thanks to the miracle of Amazon, I have received the sixth and final volume of “My Struggle” by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausguard.  A 1200 page book, it is the final installment in what is essentially his autobiography, or maybe more accurately, his public diary.  I can summarize the book as this.  An introverted Scandinavian man has an ordinary life filled with the tiny defeats and occasional triumphs of the everyman.  In unflinching detail he recounts his shortcomings, mental torments and small slices of hope.  For the most part, nothing happens.  While I realize this is not the most resounding testimonial for a book, or in this case a series of books across 10,000+ pages, it is one of the most impactful reading experiences of my life.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  

I don’t know exactly how he pulls off the trick.  Like Seinfeld, it’s a show about nothing, but it’s done so well and is so universal that it resonates.  His awkward teenage years are the same as mine, but with interesting different Euro cultural differences.  He strives and fails, lost in consistent shame at his misdeeds that non one else has even noticed.  He allows you complete access into his life, and the voyeuristic draw is impossible to fight off.  The book was so successful in his home country of Norway that 25% of the population bought a copy.  Imagine if in every room you walked into that a quarter of the people gathered there knew the intimate details of your most embarrassing sexual experience.  His writing is a bravery (or self-destruction) that is unequaled in our time.  

These books are the Proust of the modern age.  Look, I know there are a shit ton of cat videos and new Netflix shows out there.  I am just a little voice gurgling out an endorsement.  There is an armada of distractions flying at you all day long.  I am just so eager to have someone else share in this cathartic experience I had in these books that I will risk leaning in with a whisper and suggest “Psst…. You should check this out.  Your life will be better if you do.”  Seriously.  

So let’s talk football…. We are are at the point of the season where the bookies are really dialing in.  They know who is good and who isn’t while the public is about two weeks behind.  The lines are getting razor sharp.  The NFL changes quickly.  The game is savage.  Teams that had a pencil thin advantage over another could lose it in an instant with a horrific injury that slides under the radar.  A team that was 13-3 could suddenly find themselves a 9-7 team because an unknown left guard went out.  I am looking at you LA Rams.

I am not sure why the Rams do not have to report Todd Gurley on the injury report.  The best and highest paid running back in the league suddenly disappears from the game plan and gets no touches.  Hey, nothing to see here.  Gurley was so dangerous and his speed required so much respect that he opened up the field for the rest of the offensive backs.  Now the clearly damaged goods Gurley is a mortal RB and the Rams are a “pretty good team”.  They don’t have a quality win this year and are hosting the 49ers, who appear to be the 2019 version of the “surprise buzzsaw team”.  Yet, the Rams are giving the 49ers 3?  Fuck, I will take that all day long.  I get the better team playing on what is essentially a neutral field and I get three?  Yes please.  San Francisco +3

Look, I’m on the Vikings.  Yes, Cousins is overpaid.  Yes, the team is struggling to define their identity.  Yes, the asshole receivers are all complaining and acting up.  Indeed, I do also believe in the Eagles.  But, in Zimmer We Trust.  Mike Zimmer is the coach with the highest percentage of covers in the NFL.  The team is home at 1pm, a spot where the oddly OCD Kurt Cousins wins 67% of the time.  Zimmer is 18-2 ATS versus non-division teams as a home favorite.  This is the type of game Zimmer’s Vikings cover.  I am on Minnesota -3.  

New Orleans is getting 1.5 at Jacksonville.  This freaks me out.  New Orleans is clearly the better team.  What does Vegas know that I don’t in trying to guide me into what seems like such a sure thing bet?  Anytime it seem like it’s too good to be true (see Monday Night’s Packers -4 over Detroit), I pull up short.  It’s like seeing a mountain of candy knowing goddamn well that an evil clown with an axe is going to pop out and chop off your dick.  You really want the candy, but there is that voice in your head that urgently argues “you want your dick more than that candy Bro”.  Fuck it.  I want the candy.  New Orleans +3


There is no reason why the Browns will win on Sunday.  They are 2-4 but with all the hype seem like they are 2-27.  They got their scrotums kicked in the dirt last Monday night so hard I wept (and by “wept”, I mean went to sleep peacefully with a winning betting ticket clutched in my hand like a baby’s rattle).  The Seahawks are 4-1 and seem like they are a buzzsaw like always, however I have not bought in.  They do not have a quality win.  This team is a mirage.  I think they are an 8-8 type team that had to fly across the country to play a team that just got horribly embarrassed on national TV.  I mean, for God’s sake, ESPN used the word “debacle” in their headline of the game.  This is what motivates violent young men not to make assholes of themselves again while wearing football gear.  I will take the Browns and the points at home.  Cleveland +1.5

Season Record:  9-3-1

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Locks and Basset Update


A quick update on the basset situation...  Ryver returned home without getting an operation.  There was not an option to do so.  She has a disc in her back badly degenerated and another issue further up the spinal column.  This is believed to be vascular, but who the hell knows.  The only thing left to do is see if she will heal up on her own as surgical options are off the table.  Her left rear leg is essentially useless right now and her back right leg is unsteady at best.  This has left me helping her along in a sling when she agrees to move at all.  She is stubborn and spent a day avoiding taking a piss, but finally relented.  There was a celebration afterwards much like I expect to celebrate watching the Bears score on Oakland.  More on that in a moment.

Ryver is a proud tough dog.  She doesn't seem to be in pain beyond a discomfort level she has grown accustomed to over the years.  I can't believe she has been so stoic with this back situation she has been shouldering quietly for years.  She is alert, wants her treats, and wags her tail.  The recovery, if it happens at all, will be slow.  The home care will be difficult, but this basset has earned every opportunity to heal.  I hope that this is the right decision and I dread the possibility of having to make a decision to put her down later.  I could use a break here.

Let's not let the health of one mouthy basset hound get in the way of the real issues.  I am, of course, talking about this week's NFL slate.  It isn't often when a team loses their #1 pick to injury, has that player replaced by Chase Daniels, and it is considered a good thing for the team.  That is precisely what I believe happened with the Bears.  Mitch Trubisky is not very good.  The Bears are unable (or unwilling) to run their total offensive playbook because Mitch cannot execute the plays, hasn't been able to learn them, or a combination thereof.  Despite this being a counterintuitive statement, I think the Bears are better today than they were with Trubisky.  Daniels has worked with this system and should be able to be an effective game manager.

The Bears are playing the Raiders.  The Raiders are coming off a big win this week against the Colts.  What do you think of when you think Raiders?  The Antonio Brown debacle?  The Burfict signing?  The Raiders are the anti-Patriots.  When I think of what the Patriots do after a win, I think they get focused on getting better.  When the Raiders win they all get Tuesday off and gift cards to Dave & Busters.  Knock on wood if you're with me men.  I see lots of pressure on the Raider QB and Mack spending most of his time hitting dudes in a "you never should have traded me" way.  I will take the Bears -5.5

There are a bunch of stats about how good Pittsburgh is in the underdog role.  There are also stats aplenty about how close Pittsburgh plays Baltimore, and the team getting points is the side to jump on.  I think this is all about how the Public still perceives the Ravens to have a great defense when in reality they have given up 500+ yards two weeks in a row.  The Public also believes that Lamar Jackson is a budding superstar, and the Steelers are doomed without Big Ben.  I like this spot for Pittsburgh to maybe even win outright, but I will just take the points here.  Pittsburgh +3 at Baltimore.

From the moment I looked at the NFL schedule, I saw the Browns losing to the 49ers on Monday night.  The 49ers are better than perception.  The Niners have a very good defensive line, which is not good as Little Baker Mayfield will have almost no protection up front with his weak Browns O-line.  This is the Browns fourth "big game" in a row, and probably the least important.  This just seems like a normal time for a lag.  East coast team flies west.  Their last three games have been Monday Night in NY, Sunday night at home vs the Rams, and then the big showdown against Baltimore last week.  Meanwhile the 49ers are coming off a bye, are 3-0, and have this as their first "big game" of the year.  I see this as a way for the 49ers to announce "we're back" while Cleveland will be challenged to summon the effort they had team wide last week.  San Francisco -4.

Season Record:  8-2  


Friday, October 4, 2019

Nurse the Hate: A Basset In Distress



My basset hounds are getting older, approaching nine.  They have had the bumps and bruises of advancing age, ailments which have been mostly inconvenient.  I didn't think much of it when Ryver, the bossy sister and alpha of the pair, started to gimp a bit.  As someone getting older himself, I have been accepting that sometimes I will wake up feeling terrible. When I do I think, "My God, am I hungover.  What did I do last night?".  It is then my memory usually engages and I discover that I didn't do ANYTHING last night, I read a book and watched a mindless TV show.  I feel terrible just because that is evidently a joy of aging.  Thus, I feel empathy for Ryver as she and I gimp around the block.

When I got home yesterday, I discovered that Ryver was unwilling or unable to move her back leg.  She couldn't walk across the room and barked at me, her eyes saying "I can't move my leg.  I'm embarrassed but I need you to help me."  As an absurdly proud dog, perhaps too proud for a basset hound, I feel like I could read her expressive face, though I will admit that maybe I was projecting.  I tried to help her and discovered she was dragging her left leg limply.  This was well beyond being gimpy.  I rushed her to the vet.

My local vet checked her over.  He was alarmed.  He's a younger guy and has yet to develop that poker face necessary when delivering bad news.  I watched the telling exchange of glances between him and the tech as he explained how the dog had likely slipped a disc or maybe had a degenerartive condition.  This was well out of his abilities.  My only option was a referral to a specialist that did back surgeries or else it would be unlikely she would regain the use of her back legs.  This is terrible in the scenario of a human being, but for a dog, it's curtains.

It is amazing how quickly things can turn in life.  That morning I walked the bassets and we shuffled around our traditional morning walk, a routine that I find helps provide me a center.  It is a brief pause that offers a respite from the daily demands.  No matter how much quicker the outside world wants to pull you in, the basset hounds are going to take their goddamn time and sniff the hedges.  I like how they take their "job" seriously.  They look to me as a de-facto leader, which comes from being the provider of rides in the car and treats.  However, they give me more than I could ever give them.

Today Ryver is going to have surgery on her back, a procedure which the specialist said is "50-50".  I have beaten myself up over not noticing the severity of the basset's condition earlier.  Surely there was something I could have done, an indication I had missed.  They are dependent on me for everything.  It feels like my failure completely.  I am waiting for an outcome, one that I fear is going to be terrible.  The outcome already feels like it is going to be bad, but this is the time when the slim hope of the lucky coin flip can be used as a life raft.  I think about the basset in her unfamiliar surroundings, in pain, and in my mind wondering why I have abandoned her when she needs me the most.  She is a tough little dog.  I wish I could do something more.  I need her to be OK.      

Saturday, September 28, 2019

NFL Week 4: A Stunning Crash To Earth?



I have been on such a roll with the NFL, yet I don't feel good about it.  I should be nude rolling around in my winnings while singing along to James Brown.  I'm not though.  Instead I'm regretting not having my entire 401K tied up in these wagers so I can calmly walk into work in a bathrobe on Monday to announce, "I'm sorry my robe has blown open my dear, but this is of little concern.  I just want to make you aware that as opposed to increasing shareholder value over in my cubicle, I am going to listen to Slayer and read the New York Times to see if this piece of shit con man president of ours is finally going to be put in shackles and led off like a diseased dog.  You enjoy yourself though. Oh, and can you get me some tea?"

I need to get very aggressive.  However, I am an insane 8-0 in the NFL this year.  This suggests I will launch an 0-8 spree today that brings me crashing to earth like Icarus.  Have no fear my intrepid adventurer.  I will press forward with the idea that it is better to roll with a trend than bet against it.  It's time to launch Operation Bathrobe!  Please note, I need you to trust me that I was on the Jets last week.  I was traveling and couldn't write.  Let's be honest.  No one brags about being on the Jets.

I am a big believer in betting against public perception.  That is about 75% of NFL betting.  Realizing what others think, and accepting that this is incorrect.  Think about all the assholes you see driving too slowly in the left lane in Buicks.  They think they have it all figured out.  Those are stupid fucking hillbillies.  Those same stupid fucking hillbillies think that the New York Football Giants have solved their problems by starting rookie QB Daniel Jones.  Yes that young man enjoyed a mythological start last week in leading the Giants to victory.  Yes, the Washington Redskins looked pathetic last week.  This is exactly what we look for in value.  A crappy team gives another crappy team too many points.  How do we make that even better?  Tease it with another team low in the public perception.

The Cleveland Browns were supposed to be awesome.  They aren't.  Of course they aren't.  They are the Browns.  It's what the Browns do.  They destroy dreams.  They leave their fans crying in the stands.  Every single NFL fan entered the season with the story line of "At last the Browns will be good" only to see the team look anemic at 1-2.  Perfect.  Let's jump on the Browns over an overrated Ravens team by teasing them up with the Redskins over the shitty Giants.

Washington +9/Cleveland +13


Before the season started I said the Dolphins would be terrible.  I could gloat about that right now, but instead I am going to bet on the Dolphins.  This seems like an awful idea, and it probably is.  Betting on terrible teams is playing with fire like autoerotic asphyxiation on a business trip.  Maybe it's a thrill, but the risk is not worth the reward.  Yet, I am going to take the Dolphins +15.5 over the Chargers not as a testament to the Dolphins but rather as fade on the Chargers.  LA has cluster injuries on the offensive line and two tight ends out, as well as WR Mike Williams.  I am not sure who is going to score for the Chargers.  Miami doesn't need to be good on Sunday, just try to compete  at home.  Is it too much to ask?  Maybe but I'm on Miami +15.5.

Season Record:  8-0

        

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Week 2



Last weekend was an aberration.  Not only did I go 3-0 on the posted picks, I won on the under on TH night as well.  The chance of going 4-0 in any week is almost none, much less in the wilderness of mirrors that is Week One of the NFL season.  It would be in my best interests to never gamble on another football game again.  It's like winning the lottery and insisting on being paid in lottery tickets.  I should walk away.  This is not what I am going to do though.

I am reminded of a trip I made to Vegas 117 years ago.  Two guys I sort of knew had worked themselves up in a lather playing roulette.  They had an absolute mountain of chips in front of them.  A crowd cheered them on, scantily clad hookers and local grifters smelling fresh blood in the water.  I wedged in to say hello and get a grasp on the situation.  Both of their eyes were crackling with the electricity and fever that only a monster winning gambling run can provide.  "Hey man!  What's up?  We are!  We are up 78 grand!!!".  I suggested they cash out when the worm began to turn.  They laughed in any face.  They were firmly convinced that they had somehow cracked the code of roulette and would now shovel all of the casino's money into duffel bags.  I was not so optimistic.  I went to bed.  It was about 230am.

I woke up around 7am with the familiar jet lag to East Coast travelers.  I jumped on the elevator to eat a horrific breakfast buffet at whatever the hotel diner type restaurant was called.  My guess is it was called "Raffles" or "Sandlewood Grille" (with the "e" at the end so you know it's klassy with a "k").  The roulette table was close to the elevator bank.  Sure as shit those two guys were still at that table.  The scene couldn't be any more different.  There was no cheering crowd.  Just the two of those guys with long faces and about $400 of chips.  While I slept a few hours they lost back a cool 78 large.  Ouch.

Now you would think I would learn a lesson from that, but I didn't.  I am going too swagger into this week with the same misplaced optimism which I carried into last week. To show you how delusional I am, my first selection is the Detroit Lions +2.5 at home versus the Chargers.  Betting on the Lions is usually as good of an idea as starting smoking in your 50s or cashing your 401k in at a strip club.  Yes, there will be some short term thrills but you will generally end up smashed on the rocks of life.  However, hear me out on this...  The Chargers have injuries.  Lots of injuries.  Their best offensive lineman, starting tight end, free safety, cornerback, their best receiver and top running back are all out.  I like betting against West Coast teams playing 1p East Coast start times, even against the Lions.  The Public will be all over the Chargers on this, which means you have to go Lions.  I know.  This is scary.  Ideally, hold out on this and see if you can get 3 points.  Detroit +2.5

The New Orleans Saints are a notoriously slow starting team.  They are 1-9 against the spread in the first two games of the season in the last 10 years.  After a "by the skin of their teeth" win over Houston last Monday, that against the spread mark is now 1-10.  Always bet with the trend, not against it.  This week they play a Rams team with a completely clean injury sheet at LA.  The Rams looked strong last week, especially in the second half.  I like the superior home team versus the road team on a short week.  The Public will be focused on the idea of "Revenge For Drew Brees and The Saints" after getting jobbed in the Playoffs last year.  Whatever.  Give me the better team at home.  LA Rams -2.5

Remember how I just told you I like betting against West Coast teams traveling East?  OK, forget that.  We are going to bet against the Bengals here.  We don't need the 49ers to win.  We just need them to hang in there.  I am not sure if 49er James Garoppolo is a legit NFL starting QB.  He looked shitty last week.  Making matters worse, the 49ers lost their starting RB.  I know none of this sounds good, but we are going to tease them.  We are going to take the six points to move through the 3, 4 and 7 number to get San Francisco +7.  Denver is getting 2.5 at home versus the Bears.  A couple of quick points.  The Bears offense looked awful because Mitch Trubisky looked like he wasn't very good at football.  I don't think he got good at football in the last week.  The Broncos have a good defense.  They have a much better defense than the Packers who totally shut down the Bears last week because, as we have noted, Mitch Trubisky isn't good at football.  The Broncos head coach was the Bears defensive coordinator last year.  I am thinking he might have a good idea at what Mitch isn't very good at besides just "football".  There is a wild rumor afoot that Mitch can't roll one direction and pass the ball accurately.  This is a problem in the NFL.  I am betting on a Von Miller led defensive front to make Mitch quite uncomfortable despite the rest disparity between the two teams.  Let's just keep it close fellas.  Denver at home +8.5?  Yes please.  SF +7/Denver +8.5

Season Record 3-0 
      

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Shell Oil/True North Store Situation



Sept 11, 2019


Shell Oil/True North
10346 Brecksville Rd.
Brecksville, OH 44141

Greetings,

On August 9th I attempted to fill up my tank with gas at Store #362.  When I began to pump the gas, I was immediately sprayed as the connection from the hose to the nozzle acted like a gasoline sprinkler.  I thought to myself, “well this is certainly unpleasant and I would like to make it stop”.  I immediately moved to place the hose back on the cradle when the real fun began.  The hose then became completely disconnected from the nozzle and  began to spray gas all over myself, my car, and the immediate area.  I would describe myself as “soaked” in gasoline.  Please note, this is not my ideal end result when I visit one of your gas stations.

I entered the station and attempted to report the situation.  There was a line of customers waiting to buy the variety of delights you make available at your True North stores, so I can understand the trepidation of the clerk to address my situation of being drenched in gas and having a live gas hose spewing fuel on the pavement.  After all, the spicy jalapeno roller dog is a taste treat to say nothing of the refreshments abound from the fountain drink area.  One does not want to get between a hungry customer and their 99 cent chili cheese dog, eh?  However, I was surprised to announce “Hey, you’ve got a real problem out there!  You’ve got gas spilling all over the place!” and receive a “Huh?” in the tone of a Canadian goose from the clerk.  The key to the disconnect was the tone.  After I repeated the situation as well as pointing out I was soaked in gasoline, the clerk called out “Patty!” and ignored me to ring up the next customer.

I was told to fill out “the incident report”, which I did.  This was Store 362 on August 9th at 12:20pm.  The incident occurred on Pump #9.  I can provide a photo of the completed report upon request.  Here's the way I see it.  Your hose completely disconnected from the pump.  It ruined my clothes (A pair of Lucky Jeans, a Banana Republic button down shirt, a pair of slip on Chuck Taylors, and a ratty ass pair of boxer briefs).  It also soaked the side of my car, which I had to get detailed.  This included the interior of my car, which was also sprayed as the window was down when I started to pump the gas.  All told, I am out $544.49 with the combined replacement cost of the clothes and the auto detailing.  I did not include the cost of the boxer briefs which were, to be fair, in a condition I would call “bleak”.  Nothing looks more sad than a pair of old boxer briefs soaked in gasoline, let me tell you.

If you review the security tape, I think you will see not only the confirmation of the event as per this document but also a startling lack of urgency on the part of the employees considering it was reported a hose with gasoline was emptying into a full station of customers.  Oh well, I suppose one does not have the choice of Grade A potential employees at your typical Shell station.  Maybe you guys have a “priorities” webinar you could run for employees when you issue them those sporty smocks and name tags.  Just a thought.  "Things to do in order when a customer is soaked in gas due to our negligence.  1.  Address the customer's needs.  2.  Ring up the guy buying smokes and a Slim Jim."

I am very disappointed I have not received any feedback from your company.  It has been a month my friends.  I must warn you, I expect to be fully compensated for your negligence regarding this incident.  I am not going to take some sort of automated form letter combined with a $25 gift card.  I must insist on total compensation for my clothes and service for my automobile.  It has been a month without any response to the “incident report”.  I am hoping you take a moment and rectify this situation ASAP.  I am not going to let this go.

Sincerely,

Greg Miller

Friday, September 6, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Locks Week 1



I don’t care for Florida.  I have never cared for Florida.  Florida to me means eating subpar seafood at an overpriced restaurant named something annoying like “Captain McSwabby’s”.  Florida is always sitting underneath an air conditioner blowing 52 degree air on you like a jet engine despite having gone to significant effort to travel there FOR the heat.  Florida is a strip plaza with a nail salon, mobile phone store and beer store that only seems to sell Miller Lite and cigarettes.  Florida is poorly built homes ready to blow over at the first sign of a storm.  Florida is where all the silt of America goes to find refuge when they need to bug out of their own town.  It’s easy to root against Florida and especially Miami, a town of cheap disco culture and imminent violence. 

I am going to take “a position” on the Baltimore Ravens to cover over the Dolphins.  The Dolphins were not supposed to be very good.  Then, with a week prior to the season, they traded away their best tackle, a starting wide receiver and a starting linebacker for “picks”.  They have two QBs, Josh Rosen who they traded a #2 pick for, who could not beat out career journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is starting until he gets killed.  The offense is bereft of skilled position players, and I can’t ever recall having to use the word “bereft” in a sports post prior to this.  The Dolphins are deliberately tanking the season, which is unfortunate as it’s not like they will draft well next year anyway.  They look like a team that deserves strong consideration in taking an UNDER on their season win total of 4.5.  I’d like to remind you that Brandon Weedon won 6 games as an NFL starter, so that’s saying something.

Baltimore is going to contend to win the NFL North.  I’m not sure if Lamar Jackson will turn out to be their answer at QB, but he should be enough to score more than a touchdown difference over a Miami team that will be referred to as “the fucking Dolphins” by anyone in South Florida that is even paying attention.  This game will be a rumor more than an event witnessed by anyone in person.  Baltimore -6.5.     

The people of Cleveland are in a state of mass bliss that has nestled into delusion involving the Browns.  The widespread belief is that the team is going to the Playoffs, and probably to the SuperBowl where they will run through the opposition like a buzzsaw.  Quick reminder...  This team had a losing record last year and their best quality win was either over a subpar Denver team or the tie to Pittsburgh.  Prize acquisition Odell Beckham has already been suggesting his hip isn't right and he's "never dealt with something like this" despite missing 14 games in the last two years.  The offensive line is such a mess that they made a trade with the woeful Buffalo Bills for a guard they were likely going to cut.  I think that guy is now starting.  The Browns are also 1-18-1 in their last 20 openers.  This week they are favored by 5.5 over the Tennessee Titans, only the second time this decade they have been favored by more than 5.  Maybe Lady Luck smiles on the Browns this year, but I'd rather assume the worst.  It's always been profitable when it comes to the Browns.  Tennessee +5.5   

I'm so giddy about football starting that I'm even going to make a teaser bet.  These are generally referred to as "sucker bets", so it's good to really embrace a season of NFL gambling right out of the gate with one of these.  I'm going to take Dallas -1 over the Giants.  I'm not sold on Dallas being a great team, but I am sold on them beating the Giants.  The Giants have the odor of a team that will be a disaster and have the New York media feasting on their carcass by October.  Eli will have been discarded like a used paper cup and that kid they drafted from Duke will be running for his life in front of the jeering crowd.  I am going to pair this up with Carolina +8.5 over the Rams.  Quick fact.  The loser of the Super Bowl is 3-16-1 against the spread in the opener over the last 20 years.  I should probably just take Carolina straight up, but losing this "sure thing" bet on the Dallas end will be more fun.  Dallas-1/Carolina +8.5