Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nurse the Hate: All Fans Are Not Created Equal

I watch a lot of baseball on TV. So what? It's not like I'm going to relax at night by betting on Dancing with the Stars (although I could if I wanted to, but that's not the point). Here I am watching the Indians (at +135) vs the Red Sox when I notice the people in the field suite. You know the one I am talking about? It's the super special field box that is right behind the plate, and is in about 85% of the telecast.

The issue tonight is that the Rubes sitting in there have gone beyond the normal "talking on cell phones and waving" distraction. For the past three innings they have held up different hand made signs saying "Hi Mary" and "Hi John" while talking and waving in a very animated fashion on their cell phone. What the fuck is there to talk about? They are in the entire left side of the screen. It's not like you can miss them. "OK! OK! Do you see me? I'm waving! Yes! I have a white hat on! Yes! That's me! Hi! Hi! H! Do you see me? You do? Isn't this great?". Now, instead of relaxing and watching the game, I am now trying to figure out how to flamethrower that field box like a German pillbox on Normandy Beach. All because of three or four Rubes... Every pitch to the plate, you can see them. Every pitch.

Why do they have to contact their friends at all? It's not like they don't know what each other looks like, right? "Holy Shit! I just saw Jane on TV at the game. She looks nothing like she does here at the office. It's incredible!" Is telling someone you went to a major league baseball game so unbelievable that the only way to corroborate the story is to have visual proof on a live broadcast? "Yes, I know we saw Jim at the game on the TV, but they're doing all kinds of things with special effects nowadays. I refuse to believe that he actually attended that Indians v Red Sox game in late April. It's just too tall of a tale for a man to believe."

Look, if you are going to sit in those seats, you have to act like you have been there before. What makes sitting there great is the casual indifference you have while watching the game. "Yes. I am sitting practically on the catcher. If I wanted to, I could take a few cuts next inning. I am also slightly bored because this is a regular thing with me. You will never know this experience because you are too insignificant to even imagine how wonderful this seating truly is. By the way, is the dessert cart here yet? ".

Act like you have been there before. If you ever had the chance to have sex with, let's say, Jessica Alba, it's probably not a good idea to yell out "OMIGOD! I can't believe I am fucking Jessica Alba!" while you are fucking Jessica Alba. Play it cool. You want Jessica Alba to think, "I don't know if I am pleasing Greg. Perhaps I should perform a sexual act that doesn't even have a name yet." Now, you've got something. You think Jessica Alba wants you waving and filming it on your cell phone saying, "It's almost in there. Yep...Yep...I've got it in there. Can you guys see this?". (Well, maybe she does. I don't know Ms. Alba personally, so I am making an educated guess.)

The problem all stems from the belief in the magic of television. The general population believes that if they can somehow get on TV, their lives will be magically transformed into something amazing. That is the only explanation for those crowds of overfed Midwestern housewives waiting in the cold of New York to try and appear on the background of a Today Show weather segment. For God's sake, you are in one of the most incredible cities on the planet, and you are going to spend a half day trying to get on camera for 3.7 seconds.

"How was New York Doris?"

"Oh! It was great! We got up at 4:00 in the morning to go stand in the 24 degree morning air so we could get our handmade sign saying 'Ridgeville Band Rules!' on the Today Show and wave excitedly into the camera! After that, it was lunch at TGI Fridays in Times Square, and over to the M&M World gift shop! What a city!"

Why all the effort to get on TV? It's just 4 seconds on one of 600 channels are churning out "content". It's no big deal. Relax. Enjoy what you are actually doing. OK...I am going to try to ignore the Rubes and their God Damn signs. Fuck... Now one of them is holding one up that says "James Rocks". That is the straw that has broken the camel's back. Unless that guy is close personal friends with James Hetfield, I am going to have to drive downtown and "take care of" this situation. I gotta go.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Indiana

One thing I consistently forget is how dull most of America is on an everyday basis. Take Indiana for example. Sure, you may get the occasional twister that blows the fuck out of a small town perched on God's forgotten tundra. Then you'll see the malnourished trailer park denizens breathlessly recount their harrowing escape from death for the camera men for hire out to shoot the made-for-TV calamity. That's real action out there. But other than that, it's mostly jacking off, watching IU basketball, and smoking discount cigarettes.

We played a couple shows in Illinois this weekend, which meant the mind numbing drive across Indiana. The highlight of I-70 is when you hit Indianapolis, because you know you've killed half the drive. It's a brutal drive with almost nothing to kill the tedium of flat land and billboards advertising RVs and discount candles. (Side note: Since when did the sheer expense of candles become such an issue that people had to drive to rural candle outlet centers? Are there Indiana birthday cakes with no candles because, "Godammit, that stock market collapse has made it impossible for us to afford NaNa's candles for her 75th birthday cake! I'll see you in Hell Wall Street elite!".)

We pulled into an exit for the all important gas/piss/snack stop when I overheard a twenty something girl say to her friend "I look soooo funny in these red socks! I look sooooo funny in these red socks." Let me be the one to point out, she looked indistinguishable from any other plain 23 year old girl except she had these red anklet socks slightly emerging from her white tennis shoes. I would never have noticed them. You wouldn't have either. Despite this, she once again said "I look soooo funny in these socks." (OK honey. I get it. The socks are kinda wacky. I didn't notice them, but for you, you're out there "getting after it". Fine.)

I don't know why these things irritate me, but they do. I stood there pumping gas for a few minutes thinking about why this was irritating me, and wondering if I had an anger management issue. (I do.) Over my shoulder I hear the same voice saying, "I look sooo funny." I felt like pulling out the gas nozzle, spraying her with 89 test, and flicking a lit match. "Hahahahaha!!!!! Now you look FUNNY! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" Clearly Indiana was getting the best of me.

Can you imagine living in that town, driving around in a pathetic Pontiac Sunfire with your best friend who discusses the only issue that has captured her fancy, the color of her socks? It's not like the town is big enough where you just have to go to the right party and meet a new pal that is down with Proust, Rolling Stones bootlegs, and the undeniable glory of 1989 Bordeaux and Pacific Coast IPA. Nope. That's it right there. Talking about red socks. As the great Indiana resident John (Cougar) Mellencamp said, "Ain't that America, for you and me.".

Side note: I am becoming increasingly convinced that Al Davis is running the Raiders in a direct imitation of the way Idi Amin ruled Uganda. But with less brutal killings. That would be a real tough sell if you were in corporate sales there. "We feel terrific about the kid we drafted #1 that everyone else had in the third round in their draft board. Mister Davis feels that he's the second coming of Cliff Branch. It will all make sense when his manifesto comes out. Now...Can we renew your luxury suite for $250,000?"... Would you buy a used car from Mel Kiper? I wouldn't... Roy Halladay continues to be "The Canadian ATM machine". Until he proves otherwise, I am staying on board with Roy until he loses a few in a row. That guy is a witch... A really great reissue is Nick Lowe's "Jesus of Cool". I loved that record when I was introduced to it in the mid 80s, and I love it now. The Yep Roc reissue has an extra ten tracks from the era on it that show how great Lowe was at that Elvis Costello and the Attractions hyper smart pub rock. If I could ever understand what Costello was singing, I might be praising a "Armed Forces" reissue, but I can't, so it' "Jesus of Cool". ...If I were you, I'd get the new Gourds record "Haymaker", "The Best of Charlie Picket and the Eggs" on Bloodshot, and the book "The Devil's Teeth" by Susan Casey...The NBA Playoffs will never end.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate the New Kid

The other day I saw a kid that had just moved in to my neighborhood climb on his new school bus for the first time. Is there anything worse than being 10 years old and being "the new kid"? To a ten year old, anyone from a different school district is unbelievably exotic. You could be from 3000 yards into the next school district, and the other kids regard you if you had just stepped foot off of the Galapagos Islands.

When I was eight my family moved from the Philadelphia area into Erie PA. I want to be perfectly clear. Despite the fact that I was coming from a major East Coast city, I was not exactly the epitome of hip. In fact, I was stuck in a bit of an "awkward phase" that I just recently got out of in my mid-thirties. That being said, Erie was (and I assume still is) about 7 years behind the rest of the country in acceptance of new fashions and trends. This was the mid 1970s, and when I moved into town I had the same basic hair as my friends in Philly. It was long, and cut into some vague version of a Dutch Boy cut. Thank God I was eight, because there was no way I would have been able to get any action with that lid, let me tell you.

I walked into my new school and was surprised to find that every boy in the school had that quaint Opie Taylor haircut that I had only ever seen on black and white Andy Griffith show reruns. Every kid in that fucking school looked like an old educational film from 1963. I, on the other hand, was looked like as if Sly Stone had just enrolled at Chestnut Elementary. I spent the first 3 hours of school that day answering the question "Are you a girl or a boy?". It kind of went like this... A group of girls would huddle up, look at me and giggle. One of them would be sent over as some kind of scouting party while the other girls looked on. She would then ask The Question while the other girls looked on. I would answer "uh...I'm a boy..." and then they would all explode with laughter.

After a few hours, I was then ushered off with the rest of the boys to gym class in the stale smelling activity room/school play staging area. No one talked to me as we walked in single file down the strange hallways. My old school was one of those failed 70s experiments in "open classrooms" where you could look at three different classes going on if you scored the right seat. It was all about an educational experience man... A lot of action, and young female teachers in short skirts. As I recall one of my reading teachers was banging the Eagles QB at the time Roman Gabriel. Well, she didn't tell us she was "banging" him, but my adult mind can draw some conclusions from some of the stories she told us. At my old school, my teacher knew the biggest celebrity any of us could have imagined (save one of the Brady Bunch kids of course). Meanwhile, this school must have been built with New Deal money in 1933, smelled like a urinal cake, and all the teachers looked like Aunt Bea.

When we got to the "gym", two of the biggest boys were named captains and told to pick teams. I, of course, was picked last amidst the snickering of the other boys. One kid said, "I don't want the hippie on my team." Shit. It wasn't like I was in bell bottoms bumming change or smoking weed. I just had a more current haircut for Christ sakes. The gym teacher then rolled out 6 or 7 red rubber balls, and we played battle ball for an hour. I remember this because the entire 3rd grade threw balls exclusively at me until I was out for six consecutive games. Then they tried to hit me again while I stood by myself with the other kids that had been knocked out. All and all, it was a great first day at school.

When I saw that kid climb onto the bus last week, his parents both stood in the driveway and waved excited goodbyes, oblivious to the fact they had just sent him into the heart of the lion's den. The other kids on the bus stared at his parents, pretending that these uncool old people were unlike anything they knew first hand. "Me? I hold down a two bedroom place over by the lake. I don't have parents. Who is this little pussy getting on the bus with parents?" The parents may have been overjoyed and optimistic about starting their New Life. I knew what was really going down, and gave that kid the nod. Good luck brother, and God be with you. Have a good first day at your new school.

Random Notes: I was really excited about the Somali Pirates taking over that boat until I learned none of them had a peg leg or an eyepatch. Still, I was actually pretty jealous of their career path. Pirates in 2009? Kickass! Then they all got gunned down by Navy Seals, and I cooled on becoming a pirate... I just picked up a live Byrds CD from 1968 that's super cool. It's when Clarence White was playing guitar during a period of pretty spotty studio albums. However, this live show is great. It sounds loose, but totally rocking. Highly recommended to those that doubt the Byrds as a live band...If you are an Indians fan, you should be VERY concerned about the starting pitching. Pavano is a disaster. Lee and Carmona look shaky. Reyes looks pretty good, but the bad news is that he's your number 5. Who knows what dreck they will call up from AAA? As many have said before, you can't win a pennant in April, but you sure can lose one...It's April 13th and Milton Bradley is already hurt...A few beers./wines you should get involved with right away: Founder's Breakfast Stout (thicker than motor oil and full of coffee and chocolate), Dogfish 60 Minute IPA (one of the best IPAs around), Four Vines Zin (peppery like a Zin should be), and Plumpjack Syrah (all the velvet fruit of Napa with the upfront brawn of a good syrah)...Take the Cavs at +175 to win the NBA Championship. This team is locked in, and LeBron won't be denied. I can't wait to riot downtown and burn some overturned cars!