Friday, July 31, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate the X Games

The X Games are fucking stupid. No matter how much ESPN tries to pump that thing up as a “real” sporting event, it’s just a never ending parade of faceless slacker dudes doing the same basic tricks over and over and over. Hey, there’s a guy with tattoos doing a spin and jump on a skateboard. Wow. Never saw that before. Awesome. Hey look, there’s a guy doing a flip on a motorcycle. Again. Totally great. The problem is you cannot avoid the hype for this non event.

I had to laugh when I saw on ESPN a report of an “X Games memory” when some ragged looking kid I never heard of did some stupid looking shit on a skateboard. Meanwhile they had a breathless voiceover along the lines of “And who will ever forget in 2007 when Sean Mallory nailed a double slam in the quarters?”. You know who forgot? Everybody. In fact, no one watched it in the first place.

While ESPN tries to pretend that the X Games are the incredibly cool new sports of the future, and popular amongst the mysterious “product innovator” target audience, the bottom line is NO ONE watches this nonsense. Example… In 2008 in Cleveland the X Games did a .8 household rating. That means that not even one percent of the population of Northeast Ohio watched it. To put that into perspective, The Jimmy Fallon Show did a 1.2 rating last night, and that’s on at 1:00 in the morning. (Do you know anyone that has ever watched that? Seriously… Anyone?) Meanwhile, everywhere you look there’s yet another radical X Games promo counting down the time until this amazing contest begins.

Here’s the deal on the X Games. This whole thing is a scam to sell advertising sponsorships to corporate clients like Pepsi Co. Their desperation to appear youthful and relevant is the fear that got that this Bill of Goods sold through in corporate boardrooms. I’ll tell you right now, there was a 36 year old Mom Media Director that approved the horse choking sponsorship expenditure with the thought in her head “I seem to remember seeing those teenage boys at the Hot Topic. I think they like that skateboarding stuff. It’s just like those Mountain Dew ads! Let’s do it! We’ll sell lots of Mountain Dew!”.

Every time I see someone drinking Mountain Dew, it’s a big fat guy coming out of a KFC with a 64 oz Rainmaker Cup climbing into a beat to shit Ford Bronco. That dude isn’t flying over dirt pits on a motocross bike. Nor is he interested in watching that happen more than once at a county fair. He is interested in NFL Football, women’s breasts, fried foods, Kid Rock, and a nice satisfying bowel movement every morning after his Lucky Charms.

Fuck the X Games. When does football start?

Random Notes: I have made the conscious decision to abandon my hometown baseball team. While the Indians flamed out this year and began to deal away their real players (like always), I decided “That’s it. No more. I’ve had it.” The big question then becomes, what team do I jump on board with? First thing I considered was American League vs. National League. I think I would feel conflicted if the Indians played my new favorite team, so I went National League. I then decided I wanted a West Coast team. They start their games at 10 EST, which is very convenient for me. Then, I didn’t want to jump on board a team that has a history of winning like the Dodgers, and be a bandwagon jumper. However, I wanted someone with payroll so they could contend. I wanted someone who, if they did win, would be really excited about it. That’s why I am on board with my new Favorite Team, the San Francisco Giants. Tim Lincecum is bad ass, that fat round guy Sandoval is awesome, Brian Wilson is kind of a tool but OK, and there are lots of semi crappy old guys wandering around the diamond like Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand. An as an added bonus, they just traded for ex-Indian Ryan Garko to make my transition even easier! As a warning to all of you, I have already begun to use pronouns like “we” and “us” in reference to my Giants. For example, “I sure am glad we traded for Garko. He’ll give us that pop in the line up we need vs. lefties.” Let’s go Giants!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate West Virginia Strip Clubs

There are few places as desperate and lonely as a West Virginia strip club. I say this with the conviction of first hand experience. A number of years ago the band was playing a gig in West Virginia, and we had hours to kill before show time. Leo and Bobby were keen to stop at a horrible looking club on the way to Charleston to celebrate my birthday. Now this is a complete joke in itself as I’m not a big "strip club guy" at all, but the timing of my birthday was perfect to get those guys in the door.

Strip clubs have always depressed me. I know the dancer doesn’t like me. She knows she doesn’t like me. Yet, here we are pretending she finds me fascinating as long as I keep shoveling money into her crotch. I don’t like the hustle. It’s always left me slightly angry that some dopey stripper thinks she outsmarted me for my money, like I didn’t know what was going on. For that reason, I really haven’t been to a strip club more than 5 or 6 times (and strangely ALWAYS in the company of Leo).

So here I was, at The Electric Shack. The Electric Shack was a cinderblock bunker of a building with the crude logo hand painted in Day-Glo spraypaint. It was small, about the size of your average Subway location. The gravel parking lot showed one pickup truck here in the mid afternoon. We walked inside to check out the scene. It was horrific.

A too skinny looking biker chick awkwardly twirled around a makeshift pole while the male bartender stocked the coolers with cans of Busch beer. The only customer intently stared at the woman while I considered averting my eyes to stop the image from burning into my mind forever. Leo bought us beers, and we sat down at the wooden railing lining the dance area. The second, and only other dancer, emerged from behind a beaded curtain. She was heavy with a giant gap between her teeth. I think a Motley Crue song played on the jukebox as she clumsily tried to dance suggestively. She went to the floor in what I can only guess was an attempt at a Flashdance move, but it was as if she was struggling to stay on board a ship on the high seas.

Bobby and Leo tell her it’s my birthday when she approaches looking for tips. This is Big News, as she can sense a payday. “Do you want to go into the back room? Let me give you something fer yer birfday!” she hissed through her snaggle-toothed mouth. (Yeah, give me something like Chlamydia.) “God no!” I blurt out. We finish our beer and leave, amazed at what we had just experienced. Sure it was gross and sad, but it was also something not just everyone has seen. Sort of like seeing a unicorn.

The only reason I bring this ugly episode up at all is to pass along the best low rent strip club story I have ever heard. My story is bleak. Believe it or not, here's one that's even worse. This took place at a place a couple notches below The Electric Shack. The setting is Boone County, West Virginia. For those of you that have never been to Boone County, it’s barely part of the United States. It’s almost like another planet. It’s the home of Hasil Adkins, Jesco White, and The Amazing Delores just to name a few of the luminaries. It’s like a surreal version of the Dukes of Hazzard.

These two guys I know went to this strip club in Boone County that was two trailers cut into an “L” shape. We’re not talking about a Bob Vila “This Old House” style home remodel. This job was done low budget West Virginia style. Someone took a saw and cut holes in the metal and then dropped the trailers onto a dirt lot. The floor of the “club” was literally the dirt of the parking lot. It was a real ritzy joint if you get my drift.

The guys went to get beers and checked out the dancers. Within five minutes, one of the girls asked the guys if they wanted to go to “the back room”. The back room was the other trailer, separated from the main “club” by a blanket nailed above the crudely cut doorway. One of the guys immediately answers, “Yes!” and is taken to the back room. The dancer pulls down his pants and takes a rag from a plastic bucket filled with room temperature soapy water. She cleans off his cock and balls and asks what he wants. His answer is clearly not what the dancer is expecting.

He replies, “Well, I don’t have any money, but if you could wash my balls again I would really appreciate it.”

“Billy!” yells out the dancer.

Three seconds later a beefy redneck guy emerges in the back room. Our guy is standing there with his pants around his ankles when he is grabbed by the scruff of the neck. In seconds he is efficiently thrown out of the trailer and dumped sprawling into the parking lot, dust swirling as he hits the ground.

I think the guys went home after that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Michael Jackson

Does it seem odd to anyone else that after ten years of labeling Michael Jackson a pedophile that it has all been swept under the rug after his death? Each Network is trying to out gush the other on the social impact and import of Jackson, when it seems apparent to even the most casual onlooker that he was a washed up pop star. That was mentally ill. And liked to have inappropriate relationships with young boys.

You would have thought that it was the Kennedy assassination the way the spectacle has unfolded. Al Sharpton, wedging Jessie Jackson out for the coveted “black spiritual leader” role, attempted to build a case that Jackson’s popularity allowed Obama to get elected. Can you imagine if Obama had posed for a picture with Michael Jackson leading up to the election? That’s what you want if you are running for the leader of the free world all right… A nice picture of you standing next to Michael Jackson telling the world, “Yes, I am in favor of slumber parties with young boys and plastic surgery to turn yourself into The Joker!”

If Jackson wasn’t a kazillionaire, he would have been locked up years ago. Remember, he had been in show business since he was a little kid. He knew how to answer interview questions “correctly”. He had to have been coached into answering questions about his relationship with kids like “I love children, and would never have an inappropriate relationship with a child. Due to the degree of my celebrity, people try to misconstrue my relationship with children. I just have the financial resources to allow disadvantaged kids to have a great time at my Ranch under the supervision of their parents or guardians. There’s nothing going on here. It’s outrageous to even suggest it.”

Instead, he’s talking about slumber parties and how much he loves kids. He had the best public relations people in the world working for him, but he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t see anything wrong with what he was doing because he was mentally ill. You don’t pay off millions of dollars to families that had brought allegations of improprieties unless there is some truth to what they are saying. I’ve been at jobs where settlements were reached in sexual harassment cases, and you know what? Every single time the person in question was guilty as hell.

The thing this brings into focus is what America loves more than anything else. America loves celebrity. The way it works in the United States is like this. Step 1: The public makes you a giant star. They can’t get enough of you. You are wonderful. Step 2: The public looks for chinks in the armor. It’s time to tear you down. Step 3: You have been discarded and disgraced. You are the punch line of our jokes. Step 4: The comeback… the sweetest of all steps is The Comeback. It’s when the public fondly remembers why they loved you in the first place, and forgives your sins. (See Spears, Brittany for reference)

This particular Comeback is perfect for The Public as Michael can’t show up and start saying crazy shit. The persona can now be molded exactly how we want it to be for the next week. But look out! Starting late next week, I would look for the start of Step 2. We’re all going to want the ugly details of the past to come out into the harsh light of day. After that we can all ready ourselves for Step 4 and the inevitable Jacksons Tour…

Random Notes: I think we should gather up all the people that gathered at the Staple Center days before the funeral waving homemade signs and bus them out to “re-education camps” in the California desert. This may be a dangerous idea, but I remind you, these are dangerous times… The Steve McNair episode reminds all of us the simple rule of dating. It’s not “Don’t date crazy chicks.” but “Don’t date crazy chicks with guns.”…It’s a real drag that I bought advance tickets to 10 Indians games, and now I have to watch meaningless baseball. How does a team some picked for the World Series end up out of it by Memorial Day? The only good of it has been the windfall of cash in betting against them....Here’s some CDs I would buy if I were you: Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses “Roadhouse Sun”, and the Tarbox Ramblers (either of ‘em).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nurse the Hate: 4th of July

I feel a bit melancholy this July 4th. This is the first year in a very long time when I have not been armed to the teeth with powerful explosives. Isn't being buzzed up on domestic beer and lighting Chinese made fireworks what celebrating our nation's independence is all about? Didn't I read something in History of Civilization 2 about Ben Franklin inventing the roman candle? Was that him? No? George Washington maybe? Feeling a bit adrift this summer, I didn't plan ahead and now I find myself sitting on my deck considering exactly what I am to do today.

Looking around my homestead, I don't see any kids running around lighting stuff on fire. What the hell happened to this country? When I was 13, we blew up everything we could get away with from about mid June until the fireworks ran out. The explosions would start around the neighborhood slowly weeks before, and build to hearing firecrackers go off about every 14 seconds by the time you hit the 4th. It wasn't just me that was a pyromaniac. All my friends were. We would tire of lighting the fireworks as intended, and quickly "modified" them into even more impressive (and dangerous) versions. We used to have bottle rocket fights that reminded me of the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan".

These kids that live in my neighborhood? Pussies. They put on their little plastic helmets to ride their bikes. By the way, when did that start? In my entire childhood, I don't remember one kid getting seriously hurt on their bike. Hell, I saw some pretty damn good wipeouts over the years. Not one kid cracked his melon open and left their brains on the pavement. Scraped knee or two and back on the saddle was the rule. Yet, here are these little pansies with their bike helmets on while motorcycles thunder by with helmet-less riders. Gotta keep Junior safe...

Our fathers used to give us the fireworks, or we'd make someone's Dad drive us across to the Ohio border and buy for our buddies that had a Mom that ruled the roost. (All men like fireworks. Those that don't, I view with great suspicion.) Yet, these fathers of the kids living around me don't have the same sense of values that their fathers did. They have failed as men. Maybe it's up to me to reinstill the core values that made America great. Maybe it's up to me to blow up some mailboxes tonight, burn my fingers on a short wick, and tie multiple fireworks together into one spectacular dangerous fireball. Maybe it up to me to dress up like Uncle Sam and tilt a mortar so it drops it's payload onto a neighborhood bar-b-que leaving screams and sulfer smoke in its wake. I'll look for something that gives no clue to the actual payload. Something called "Golden Flower of Dragon" or "Lightning Sunshine America Explosion". That shit usually lights up good.

Look, I know what I'm doing. I'm the guy that thought it was a good idea to light an M-200 that had been inserted into a pinanta filled with cigarettes. Oh yeah, it was in a packed nightclub while we were playing when I lit it off. I'm also the guy that blew up a giant tub of peanut butter with an explosive so powerful that birds filled the trees the next morning gorging themselves on peanut butter smeared leaves. I'm a pro. I know what I am doing.

Maybe it's time for me to reclaim America.

Update: A whistler just passed dangerously close to my head. God Bless America!