Friday, October 31, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Don't Hate the Spoils

After cashing in on my Phillies World Series pick at +125, I’m a cool 11-1 in my last 12. That’s sick, and I’m telling you right now it can’t keep going on forever. For those of you that haven’t jumped on this run, I pity you. As far as I can tell, this has been the only way to make money in the last 45 days in the United States (unless you are selling political advertising or involved in selling illegal diet medication of course). I am currently typing this in my new Villa in Antigua while having my back massaged by some Dutch expat ex-nanny who’s name is an impossible array of consonants like “Krjt” (I think), while some slender chain smoking Asian guy that only communicates by nodding is readying my speedboat. It’s been a good run. A real good run. Will this weekend be the end of a run? Who the hell knows! I’m doing the only smart thing and putting it all on the line. Let’s get out there and swing for the fences!

78% of the gambling community is on Navy -7 over Temple. Immediately, I think Temple is the way to go. When you think of Temple, two things come to mind…Bill Cosby and terrible football. This year is a little different as Temple is “kinda sucky” instead of “put a stop to this” bad. On top of that, Navy doesn’t beat anybody big. I can’t believe I am writing this, but I’m getting on Temple +7…Northwestern’s star running back busted his arm last week, and their QB’s hamstring is being held together with some kind of super glue/voodoo combination. When those two guys were out last week, it looked like some East Coast JV high school team trying to move the ball versus the 1985 Bears. I think Northwestern’s QB’s hammy snaps like a twig, and they get back to playing JV ball. Take Minnesota -6.5…How do I put this professionally? Florida has been beating the total fucking shit out of everybody unfortunate to take the field with them lately. Georgia, on the other hand, has looked pretty average of late. Take the momentum and the Gators -5.5…If you need some action on the 8pm game, get on Texas -3.5. Texas Tech scores like crazy, and they are a blast to watch. However, these guys are like the little brother to Texas. Texas Tech gets to recruit all the kids Texas doesn’t want. Does that make them hungry? Yes. Does that make them not as talented? Also, yes. I bet Texas Tech hangs tough through the first half, and loses in the 4th quarter.

As we have all learned together, the NFL is a horrible and savage beast. Up is down, down is up. Nothing ever makes sense, and everyone is wrong about everything. With that in mind, take Seattle +6.5 over Philly. Every single person you know is on the Eagles this week. Look out the window right now. See that old lady walking the dog? She’s got 2G’s on the Eagles, and probably tied it into the over like a goddamn amateur. Come Monday she’ll be trying to sell her wedding ring to cover the vig and get some action down on the late game to try and cover her nut. Don’t fall in with The Rubes. Take the apparently talent less and broken Seahawks + 6.5… I’m all over the Houston/Minnesota under 47. Minnesota is coming off a bye week. The week before the bye they got lit up for 48 by the Bears. (Yes, the Bears with Kyle Orton under center. Still seems like a misprint, doesn’t it?) Anyway, these guys have something to prove, and are at home. In the Dome, the under is 19-9-1 in the last 29 games. I expect a heavy running game, and a running clock. Hope someone can cover Andre Johnson, and take the under.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Greenskeeper

Once I was in Nashville killing time before a show with the Blue Moon Boys at this club called Wolfy’s. With five hours to kill, I set up camp at the bar, ordered some food and started up a conversation with the bartender. Now normally in these cases someone will tell you interesting attractions in town, where they grew up, that sort of thing. Not this guy. When I asked how long he worked there, he counters with “About 3 months man…I had to get out of town fast and landed this job. Get this…”

It turns out he had to leave the Birmingham AL area after a relationship gone horribly wrong. He met this girl that was part of a well established family in town. Her father ran the big car dealership or furniture store or real estate developing firm or some such shit. Dad was the big guy in town that always had his smiling picture in the paper while handing out over sized checks to tax deductible charity organizations. She was a nice girl. Fun girl. Apparently they liked to get really drunk on Jim Beam and 7-Up, and attempt to find new and exciting places to have sex. One night while they were abusing her father’s country club account, they decided to have sex on the 17th green. It was all good fun until the next morning around 9:30.

If this was a movie, you’d change scene to the bartender’s rental unit on the wrong side of the tracks. Picture a guy sprawled out on a twin bed sleeping with his mouth open with his dirty clothes strewn all over the place. I'm picturing that Frank Zappa poster with him on the toilet too. The door bell rings and the bartender doesn’t stir. The door bell keeps ringing, and the bartender guy eventually drags his hungover ass downstairs to see who exactly it is that won’t get the message and just go away. He opens the door and standing on his porch is an older guy he vaguely recognizes. “Are you John Doe?”


“Son, I’d really appreciate it if you picked up after yourself.”

Then from behind his back the older gentleman reveals a used condom pathetically draped on the end of a stick. With great distaste, he drops it at the feet of the bartender. It hits our hero like a ton of bricks. Shit! It’s the greenskeeper from the country club. He knows this because he now recalls with startling clarity how as a lark he and his girlfriend deposited the remains of their good time last night inside the 17th hole itself.

The greenskeeper starts walking to his pickup truck, and curiosity gets the best of our Boy. “Hey, how did you know it was me?”

The old man stops, turns around and reaches into his pocket. He says, “You lost your wallet.” as he tosses the wallet across the yard to the doorway.

Now that’s a really tough break. It’s an especially tough break as he was supposed to go on a cruise with the girlfriend and her parents later that week. Clearly the greenskeeper is going to have a word with her father. Dad's probably not going to be real excited about this turn of events.

Things unfold in a surprising way… Dad forbids The Girl to see him. The Girl cries and argues. Mom takes daughter’s side. Father yells at everybody. Mother and daughter decide to go on cruise with bartender anyway and leave Dad at home (or he decides he isn’t going…I don’t remember).

So the three of them hit the high seas and have the bond of the angry father uniting them. It’s all fun and games until on Day 2 when the wind kicks up, the sea gets rough, and his girlfriend gets horribly sea sick. With little choice the bartender goes to dinner with Mom. He is pleasantly surprised to have a good time. So much so that they decide to hit the ship’s casino after dinner. They play some craps, have some drinks, and win some money. Good times. In fact, they have such a good time that they decide to have a little nightcap in her cabin. That, of course, ends in him having sex with Mom and then passing out in bed with her.

The next morning the seas have calmed, and his girlfriend is surprised to find her boyfriend the bartender guy never came back to the room. She decides to ask her Mom if she’s seen him, opens up her Mom’s cabin and finds him in bed with her. As it was described to me, the scene was a little, shall we say, awkward. The best part was that they were only in Day 3 of a 7 Day Cruise.

The bartender spent the rest of the cruise with the Mom. The girlfriend fumed on deck. The cruise finally ended and the ship docked. The girl called her Dad. Our man packed up real quick, slunk off to Nashville to tend bar at Wolfy’s, and told me this story while I ate a club sandwich.

I wonder what that Mom looked like.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Your Bookie

This weekend might be the first horrible rainy weekend of the Fall, and you know what that means…action and lots of it. There are quite a few plays I like this weekend, so here’s where I’m leaning on a Friday afternoon.

This weekend the big game in these parts is the Penn State v Ohio State game where the winner will probably receive the honor of getting pounded by USC in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. I really like Penn State. A lot. 5 units a lot. Here’s why…Ohio State has shown in games against Florida, LSU, Michigan, and USC that that vaunted defense of theirs is very suspect against a spread offense filled with NFL caliber athletes. That’s exactly what Penn State brings to the table. Need more? Penn State is 6-1 ATS this year. Ohio State? Try 2-5. Get on the Shittany Lions… I hate to bet on Notre Dame. They are overexposed, and on top of that they somehow get less with more each and every season. Despite that, they face a really terrible Washington University team. I have seen these guys play twice, and they really blow. The added drama is they have Ty Willingham as coach (one of the many old ND coaches that was supposed to bring them back to glory but didn’t). Washington will fire Willingham at the end of the year for one main reason. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Not knowing what he’s doing is going to be a factor tomorrow. Take the Irish -10… I am going to keep going with Alabama until they show me a reason not to. They take on the always reliable “choke on the big game” Tennessee Vols this weekend at Tennessee. That Tennessee is only getting five seems like a trap game to me. The Vols are 3-4 SU and ATS. However, Bama is undefeated and 3-0 ATS on the road. They even killed these guys 41-17 last year. Despite the feeling it’s a trick, I’m going Bama for the win and cover.

On Sunday I plan on getting down in the bunker with my giant HD and NFL Sunday ticket and getting after it. As we have learned about the NFL, you must bet against all logic and reason. OK, ready?... Take the Cleveland Browns +7. Yes, I realize that the Browns really suck, and never play well on the road. I am also aware they suspended Kellen Winslow for talking about some strange infection on his balls. Despite that, Jacksonville never really blows anyone out. Take the points and hope for the back door cover…The Miami Dolphins +1.5 vs Buffalo. Buffalo is 5-1, and looks like the class of the AFC East. I used to be a Bills season ticket holder. They never seem to play well in Miami. I don’t know if it’s the weather or what, but the Bills are always flat in southern Florida. This looks like a classic NFL mini upset. Take the Fish on the money line…Take a flier on the Carolina/Az over 43. Arizona is 11-4 on the over in their last 15.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Bad News

I received a text message out of the blue yesterday. "The 20 is now 19. Graham died in his sleep yesterday." Graham Lewis was a creative writing teacher from Eastern Illinois University, and resident of one of my favorite dysfunctional small towns in the nation, Charleston IL. He was a member of what we referred to as "The Twenty". This was a group of some of the craziest and most enthusiastic supporters of twisted up roots rock on the planet. Sometimes it wasn't always clear if they loved to party to the music, or if the music was just the excuse to get the party up to the next level. In the glory days of The Cowslingers, we used to marvel at the fact that people were outside tailgating before our shows. It was like they were getting ready for their version of The Big Game. As we crept through the small town looking for the club, people would give our van a cheer as they stood outside grilling up meat and knocking back 200 beers.

Graham was the loveable guy in the middle of the storm that was one of the tastemakers of the scene. He and his wife Kit's house is like a museum of artistic kitsch and cool, and would usually wind up being the after hours destination for The Twenty. Graham was the guy that had the coolest records/books/art, and was quick to share his enthusiasm for the works of the artists he admired. I loved to ask him about arcane blues records or obscure folk artists and get caught up in his fever for their ideas. He always seemed to have a wry smile and twinkle in his eye that gave away his love of being surrounded by like minded people, and the motley crew that had somehow come together in this little town. One of my most vivid memories of Graham is him dressed in a mexican wrestling mask wolfing down a pan of beans at 3:30am while about 40 people tripping on mushrooms swirled around him engaged in their own dramas. I was sitting next to what may be the wildest guy in Midwest Region, Tommy from Swampass, and pointed to Graham and said "Hey, check that out.". Now I thought that scene was an unusual sight, a rotund guy in a wrestling mask looking like a bear struggling to get honey from a jar.. Not in Charleston, IL. Tommy looks over and says, "Yeah, have you tried those? Kit's a great cook!".

I never heard anyone say a bad word about Graham, and I always looked forward to seeing him. At only 46 years old, clearly he died too young.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Jimmy the Greek

Jimmy the Greek can gnaw on my stinky ball sack. I remember when he used to sober up long enough to deliver his locks of the week that were on target about a third of the time. That guy was the worst. Here's a quick flashback to 1974... "Give the points with Steve Bartkowski and the Falcons. These guys are fired up and they should beat up on this no name Terry Bradshaw kid and the alleged Steel Curtain defense. People say the Steelers are on the rise, but I say it's all hype. They'll be lucky to win 6 games! Today is all Falcons! Bet the house on it!" Then the Steelers win by 34 points and he's on a 4:00 talking about how "James Harris and the Rams are a lock today!" before they lose to Billy Kilmer and the Skins by a field goal. (How about that for a trip to 1974?) He should have gotten the axe from CBS on lack of performance well before that ugly "blacks have an extra muscle in their leg" rant.

It's a New Age now. I am the greatest sports prognosticator of all time. I am a man that sees into the future with a startling clarity. I am going to get a man perm, buy a silver sharkskin suit, and start a 900 number with this rock solid information I provide. It's pure G-O-L-D. I am going to move to Reno, and set up my world headquarters. (I'd move to Vegas, but it seems like there's too much competition. Also, Reno seems more old school and a better fit with my new sharkskin suit lifestyle. I imagine I'll spend a lot of time making cell phone calls in diners to guys named "Rocky" and "Stan". I will also refer to waitresses as "Darling" with regularity.)

4-1 last week including a money line winner with the Raiders? You should be rolling around in a big stack of hundies in your tighty whities. You know why? This can't last much longer. I'm not going to keep it up, and I'll bankrupt you (and myself) by Thanksgiving! But let's swing for the fences now while we can!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Conspiracy

I got into this really bizarre conversation with what I thought to be reasonable person that kept referring to "the left wing media conspiracy". This is the concept that all media is controlled by a syndicate of left wing zealots that only want to bring down God and Country with an unholy mix of homosexual sex, paganism, welfare, and vegetarian food. I've worked in the media for 20 years, and let me tell you the horrible truth about the media. You know those dipshits you work with at your job? A different version of those same dipshits work in the media. It's amazing that the radio works when you turn it on in the morning. That local tv news show? The Hand of God must be at work for that earthshaking report on "Keeping Your Child Safe At The Playground" to have aired at 615am this morning.

"Well, that's just local news...It's different at CNN!"

No, it isn't. Those same Rubes that worked on the local station got a job at CNN/MSNBC/Fox because somebody they used to work with got them in there. They have nicer stationary, and I assume a better men's room there, but it's the same basic drill as the local TV station. (By the way, a Shell station off the turnpike has better facilities than a couple radio stations where I used to work. Top 40 disc jockeys are some of the filthiest people on the planet. I would rather take a dump in the Buffalo Greyhound station than at Power 108's men's room circa 1992.) To suggest that these CNN/MSNBC/whatever news source people are having secret meetings to direct the domestic policy of the nation and form public opinion is laughable. Generally these people can barely order lunch.

The Locks: As expected, last weekend was a rough one after talking shit about how well I was doing. I piled on The Browns on both the points and money line, and rescued what could have been a real Black Sunday...This week, I like Oakland +3 over the Jets. 78% of the gambling community is on the Jets right now. As we all know, the Public is always wrong. Does Oakland look terrible? Yes. Do the Jets look good? Yes. Does it make any sense to take Oakland? No. But we're going to do it anyway because it's the NFL... Take a flier on Green Bay +1 at home. The Colts have looked shaky despite destroying Baltimore last week. I'll take the Pack at home... College plays include UTEP +17.5. Both teams are 3-0 in conference and that's too many points... Take Penn State -23 over Michigan. Penn State is the real deal, and Michigan really blows. A bunch of saps will jump on Michigan thinking about their glorious past, and that will keep the line reasonable... Everyone is talking about Missouri +6 over Texas, so I'd lean Texas if you need some action on that game. I wouldn't put the house on it though... Let's go Rays!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Don't Hate the Drum!

Scene asked me to write a quick article on a person/place/thing that I felt uniquely captured something worthwhile about Northeast Ohio, and I'll admit at first I was stumped. I didn't want to write about something obvious that had been written about 500 times like "Well, we have the Rock Hall, and blah blah blah..." or "Sokolowski's is a place where the real Cleveland eats." Once you knock out the most obvious landmarks, you're left with Applebee's and The Gap just like every other city on the map, aren't you? "The Crocker Park Mall is really great! There's a Sunglass Hut!"

Luckily for me, I went to my last Indians game of the year, froze my ass off, and noticed John Adams was still fired up as Rafael Betancourt s-l-o-w-l-y pitched the Indians 5 run lead away. O.K., it's not completely original. The dude has received plenty of press over the years, but I implore you. It's not like he's Big Dawg on network TV every week in a stupid rubber dog mask. Plus, there's 81 home games in a baseball season. Big Dawg gets all the love, and he only has to put on a rubber mask for 10 games a year (8 regular season + 2 pre season). He probably wouldn't have gotten fat if he would have lugged a giant drum to the upper deck 81 times a year.

I would probably feel differently about John if I had to sit next to him and his drum, but my seats are by the first base line, so I don't.

Here's what I wrote, (and The Scene actually printed)...

When your team is out of it, September baseball seems like a chore. Those tickets you bought last winter with the highest of expectations now loom on the calendar like a dentist's appointment. The other night I was at Progressive Field enduring the back stretch of Indian reliever Rafael Betancourt's season long flame out, and having the game unexpectedly stretch into extra innings. It was cold. The stadium was almost empty. Occasionally a vendor asked me if I wanted a lemon chill. (I didn't.)

As the game moved into the 12th inning and past midnight, I was almost alone in my section. It was when the Indians got a couple base runners on to hopefully put a stop to the madness that I noticed it. Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Well alright…John Adams is still here, and he wants a win!

You know John. John is that guy that brings the drum to every Indians home game and has been banging out the same rally cry rhythm in the bleachers as long as I can remember. There has to be nights where he's thinking, "Shit, these guys are 10.5 games back. Maybe I ought to give the tickets to my brother in law, and stay home and watch Entourage.". But he shrugs it off, picks up the drum and goes to work. (Side note…It's got to be tough to get girls when you're dragging a drum everywhere. "Hey Baby, climb in back. The drum always sits shotgun." )

I don't really "know" John, but I like the idea of John. I can't think of anyone that symbolizes Northeast Ohio better than him. He shows up every day. His loyalty is unwavering. He is almost always disappointed, but he shrugs it off and comes back for more. He's just out there doing his thing. I like to think that his dedication will one day be rewarded with a championship. Even if it isn't, there's a certain dignity in the effort.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Mistakes

I was talking to someone about what happens when we go play shows. There is a great misperception about the perks of being in a small time indie rock band. It is always disappointing to people to find out that it’s not like a Bon Jovi video. For example, I can’t recall ever having a tour bus with poodle haired/leopard mini skirt clad ladies waiting for our return from the Mohawk Place stage. Maybe if we had made a real commitment to arena rock in the early 90s, that would have turned out differently… Usually what happens is we play a show, and end up in a dirty dressing room covered with stickers of bands you never heard of (unless of course you are a fan of Low Sunday Ghost Machine). We load out our gear around 2:30am while the bar staff yells at the stragglers to “get the fuck out“. But every once in awhile something interesting happens, and we can fall into some behavior that is considered “rock n roll”… Here’s a quick story that‘s our version of a “Behind the Music” episode.

A number of years back, we had a show at the Grog Shop. We played second on a three band bill. After we finished, we hung out in the packed club and knocked back some beers amongst everyone else watching the last band. An unnamed member of the band was approached by a couple of girls. “Hey, were you dancing with that other girl over there?”

“Huh? No…”

“Yes you were! What was her name?”


After this awkward introduction, this band member soon fell in with the ladies and proceeded to drink beer and hang out until the club closed. Afterwards, he joined them as they headed to Lakewood for a late night diner meal. “Why didn’t you admit you were dancing with that girl?”

“What girl?”

“The blonde with the leather jacket!”

This unnamed band member had no idea of what she was talking about. It didn’t add up. He was on stage, and then was standing at the bar. Not only was she confused as to who he actually was, in fact, he was pretty sure she had mistaken him for someone else entirely. Now the moral dilemma presented itself. Did he clarify with her that he wasn’t who she thought he was, or did he shut his mouth and ride it out?

Well, the decision was made and he kept his mouth shut. They left the diner, and soon he paired off with one of the girls. They slipped into her apartment, and quickly wound up in her bed. After discarding their clothes, she climbed on top of him and the sex began. Suddenly, a moment of clarity washed over her face as she rocked on top of him. “Hey, wait a minute. You’re not Bill, are you?”

He immediately replied.


She slowed down for a second, looked down at him, thought about it, and then continued until completion. They went to sleep, and he got up in the early morning and left quietly. He never saw her again. Try that on for size Bon Jovi!

This is known in band lore as “The Mistake”.

Random Notes: We are headed full force into the greatest doomsday scenario I could have ever imagined. Am I talking about the total worldwide economic collapse? Am I talking about the continued rise in radical Islam? No, I am talking about something much, much worse. The possibility of a Manny Ramirez led LA Dodgers taking on the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. You thought that this summer’s Bret Favre situation on ESPN was bad? That’s nothing compared to this three ring circus. Peter Gammons will somehow be pre empting all regular programming across all channels to provide minute to minute updates on Manny’s batting practice His giant white head will be like a 21st Century Max Headroom. It will be awful. It will be a bloodbath. There will be no way to avoid it. I think you’ll join me when I say “ Let’s go Rays!”… Dexter Romweber was really terrific at his Cleveland show a couple weeks ago. I bought a live CD he had put out for the tour called “It Feels Peculiar” that captured him with his sister Sarah on drums at a gig this summer. Really great stuff. If you can track it down, please do so…The MLB Playoffs have been like my own personal ATM machine. By saying this out loud, I have no chance of continuing this run, but I had to tell somebody…I’m watching the debate right now. Both of these guys are full of shit, but at least Obama seems bright. McCain seems like a guy that is always pissed off at his neighbors. “Fucking teenagers next door with their hippity hop music…” It’s not as clear cut like last election when you knew George Bush was a complete dumbfuck. Honestly, do you ever think about how a full 50% of this nation thinks it was a good idea to have him in charge? “Yep! I’m voting for that fuckup kid of George Seniors. He may have bankrupted a few companies, but it’s not like he can do it to the whole country!”... oh yeah, I like the Dodgers and the Red Sox to win their respected series.