Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Handyman

I am unable to repair or install anything. The big problem is a complete lack of interest in reading directions, with my complete lack of aptitude coming in close second. As soon as I see toggle bolt A connects to upper mounting plate slot C, I'm pretty much checked out for the evening. I don't understand how anything fits together, or works mechanically. Because of this, I am usually held up to be less of a man by snide observers. Look, it's not my fault. My father knew even less about building stuff than I do. While other kids had father son wood shop, we cut the lawn and watched football. As a born and bred suburbanite, I cut a lawn like a motherfucker. If the mower breaks down? Well, better buy a goat cause that's the only way that grass is going to be cut.

I had big plans to install a under range microwave, assuming that the new GE Profile would slip snugly into the old GE Profile bracket. Of course, I didn't take into account that things never work out like you would hope they would, and I'm left with the only option available. Call my old roommate, and wait for his arrival by listening to my iPod screaming out of the stereo. The Flying Burrito Brothers live show I'm listening to? Now that's something I know about... Stick to what you do best.

While I wait, I have decided to construct a list of CDs you may have never heard of but you should go buy immediately. These are all probably sitting on those $5 shaggy dog bins at your local CD trade in shops. (Let's see that hammerhead kid at HH Gregg do that, huh?)

1) The Bottle Rockets "The Brooklyn Side": How this didn't become a major hit record in the early 90s, I'll never know. Brian Henneman's songwriting is top notch, and the playing is assured yet still sloppy enough to rock. There's five or six songs on this everyone should be able to hum in their heads with the familiarity of something like "Aqualung". A crime those guys didn't put this out in 1972. We'd be looking at ads for their boxed set in Best Buy circulars now.

2) Psyclone Rangers "Feel Nice": I may be the only person that actually bought this record, but it's badass. This band quietly put out two records, and I know almost nothing about them. It's like if you combine the good parts of the Stooges, Birthday Party and Murder City Devils. Slightly disturbing lyrics and mean guitars. What's not to like?

3) The Backsliders "Live in Raleigh": We played with these guys a few times, and always marveled at how crisp they were. The later studio records sounded like they may have been reaching for a "hit", but that first 7 song live EP really captured what I liked best about them. It's the rock country combo that all those pussy bands from California attempted and failed at in the early 70s. Great originals and inspired cover choices.

4) Johnny Hickman "The Great Decline": I think this guy is one of the best guitar players going in rock. He can wail, play quiet soulful passages, and writes great hooks. As a member of Cracker, he usually gets a song or two per album. This is a full record of stuff, and the best of which now make Cracker sets on a usual basis. The Great Decline/San Bernadino Boy/Friends make the CD a must have on their own.

5) Evan John and the H Bombs "Rolling Through the Night": This is the best modern rockabilly record of all time. It's not retro. The lyrics are fucked up, and Johns guitar playing is unhinged. I have listened to this every few months for the last 20 years. Anytime you put this on, people always ask "Who is that?". It's that good. As an aside, he never put out anything within spitting distance of being this good again.

6) Tarbox Ramblers "Tarbox Ramblers" If you eliminate all the stuff you don't like about blues bands and are left with just the core of the genre, this is it. Michael Tarbox is an awesome slide player, and the songs are choice. Definitely for fans of RL Burnside, T Model Ford, Black Keys, etc. This could have been recorded in 1955 or 2005.

7) Blue Moon Boys "Sticks and Stones" Nic Roulette and Kenny Taylor made this the best American rockabilly band of the 90s. This record captures their live energy and shows off Kenny's chops in a restrained studio setting. The arrangements are really inspired, and the band is right on. Good songs played by a band that was airtight.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Bad Ideas On Thanksgiving

Even from the first moment it flashed in my head, it seemed like a mistake. Yet, even knowing that this plan will only lead to teeth gnashing, frayed nerves, and screaming nonsensical profanity at the television, I plan on moving ahead with it. I will yell out something like, "You motherfucking fuck fucks!!!" at the Detroit Lions, frightening the dog. While everyone else slips into a post meal coma, I will probably be muttering "Fucking shit squirrel monkey assfucker shit lickers..." at the Denver Broncos. I accept this. It is my fate. Yes, I am taking all the underdogs today.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. No hollow gift exchanges. No awkward office parties. You don't have to tip the garbage men. All you have to do is cook up a bird, open wine, chill beer, and watch football. It's utterly perfect. So why complicate it with putting hard earned money on the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders? Perhaps I have begun a spectacular self destructive death spiral. If so, this day will be noted as "Day One".

But hear me out... The Lion are awful. We all know this. But at home, they haven't been blown out of the building. Green Bay is 3-7 vs double digit spreads. Their defense is spotty, and they lost two guys from their defensive backfield. I'm thinking the Lions can stay within 12.

And what about the Cowboys? They haven't been able to score for the last 2 weeks. Meanwhile the Raiders have finally put the JaMarcus Russell debacle to rest, and have discovered they can stay in games when Russell doesn't turn the ball over deep in their own territory 3 times a game. I think the Raiders can stay within 13.5.

The Broncos look like everyone expected them to after the mirage of the 6-0 start went away. They've dropped 4 straight, and look shitty. Chris Simms may start at QB despite the fact the last time he played as a starter was when it looked like buying a rental property in South Florida was a good investment. Yet, let's not lose sight of the fact that the Giants are totally overrated like all teams from New York always are. Too much national media is based there. Too much content to fill. Denver at home is tough. Plus they're getting 6? OK, I'm in.

That's when it hit me. Why not really go for it? How about tying it all in with a 3 team teaser? Ladies and gents, I present to you the worst idea of all time: Detroit +21, Oakland +22.5, and Denver +15. It sounds so perfect, how can it lose? Buckle up...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Tattoo Story

A guy I worked with told me the story of a tattoo his father got. In the late 60s his Dad was in the Navy serving in Vietnam. He and his buddies go on leave in Japan and get absolutely shitfaced. (Don't all Navy stories start like this?) The guys somehow get back to their ship and wake up the next morning with tattoos. He looks down and discovers that above his nipples he has had tattooed "sweet" on the right and "sour" on the left. (Printed, not script. I asked.)

His father gets out of the Navy, becomes Born Again, and lives in Kentucky. Now, no matter how hot it gets in the Summer, he never removes his shirt in fear of exposing his ink. 95 degrees and doing yard work? Shirt stays on. Church picnic at the lake? No thanks! Don't feel like swimming today. Personally, I think Jesus would be OK with the humor of it, but as you know, my credentials in religious matters are spotty at best. The big question for me was, why not just get it removed? "He's too Goddamn cheap!".

The moral of the story? Maybe it's "Don't get a jokey tattoo". Maybe it's "Don't become Born Again". I'm going to think about it and get back to you...

Locks of the weekend: I am shocked that Penn State is only giving three to Michigan State. These are the late season games Penn State usually wins to insure some big money Bowl Game appearance. Meanwhile Michigan State is my most hated team in NCAA Football, as I never know what they're going to do on any given week. Let's go with Penn State -3 to buck the possibility of Mich St coming up big. In their hearts, those guys are losers...I think Oregon is going to kick the crap out of Arizona tonight. Oregon is for real. That's a double digit cover... I don't think the Giants will lose yet another game. Despite the fact they have looked fairly awful, they should still handle the Falcons (minus Michael Turner) at home. I don't know if they cover though. Take NYG on the money line... I never thought I'd be taking the Lions and giving points, but I am. The Browns are the worst pro football team I have ever seen, and I remember the expansion era Tampa Bay Bucs. It seems impossible the Browns can score on anyone at any time. There will need to be such a bizarre confluence of events for Cleveland to put more than 17 on the board, I can't imagine it. They would need a combination of interceptions for touchdowns, blocked punts, kickoff returns, and maybe an earthquake to make that happen. I'm on Detroit -3.5... I don't have any tangible reason to think so, but take a flier on Kansas City +10 vs Pittsburgh. The Steelers win, but they never really win big. KC plays well at home, and they have been improving week to week. What the hell? How else can you stay interested in that game?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Rock N Roll

In the late 80s I remember going to see fIREHOSE at a couple club dates and thinking how successful those guys were, and how awesome it must be to be a “rock star” at even such a small level. Of course, what I didn’t know is those guys were careening around the country in a rickety cargo van trying to find people’s houses to crash out at because they didn’t have enough money to get a decent hotel. I assumed these guys put out real records that people I knew listened to, so it should be assumed they were living a more modest version of a Bon Jovi video.

I bring up fIREHOSE because the Whiskey Daredevils are like rock n roll catfish swimming around in even deeper depths than the relative boom days of 1987 and fIREHOSE. For example, here’s how Leo spent his Saturday/Sunday. After a long night of snoring keeping all of us up in our cramped hotel room (one room for four guys), he showered and poked around the lobby for free food. When that failed to materialize, he went into our first gas station stop and bought a “breakfast pizza”, a “Little Dude”, and a Vitamin Water. The breakfast pizza was a slab of dough with fake eggs, cheese, and processed sausage that had been sitting bleakly under a warming light. The “Little Dude” was a Chunky candy bar sized piece of sausage that required no refrigeration, and looked like something you would shove up someone’s ass. Leo inhaled the questionable meal, smoked some weed, talked shit for 20 minutes, and fell back asleep for the 5 hour drive to Champaign IL. I think he was awake for 45 minutes total on Saturday morning/afternoon.

We had an opening slot for Heavy Trash (who are really good and a fun bunch of guys by the way). The downside of this is that you get paid about 1/3rd or less of what the headliner makes. The upside is that you finish your set, and get to hang out drinking while watching the other band with no worries about having to get up and perform in public. As you can imagine, Leo moved in on the complimentary Pabst like a hawk. I don’t know how many he knocked back, but I would imagine it was a heroic quantity.

The only reason I tell you this is to set the stage for what indie rock n roll is really all about. It’s Sunday, and Leo is in his familiar sleeping position in the van as we hurtle across the bleak Eastern Indiana/Western Ohio landscape. His stomach is a little dicey, but he’s been here before and can sleep it off. The decision is made to pull off at one of the horrible fast food restaurants off the highway. To make things interesting we decide to make a game out of it. First we debated if Leo should choose the restaurant randomly from his laying down position below the window line of the van. Example: “Take a left and pull into the third restaurant on the right.” This was decided against because we would have the distinct possibility of pulling into a Hardee’s, and we’d rather go hungry than eat at Hardee’s.

Then we decided that Leo would order a combo meal by random number from wherever we chose, and would eat that no matter what it was. While some people assume Leo is always eating catered food from backstage, the usual deal is that he scrapes by on whatever cheap eats he can find on the highway. This is budget rock n roll. The Squirrel makes a strong case for KFC, and we pull in. Leo says, “OK…I’ll take a #3 combo meal with a Coke. And give me whatever sauce is available for a #3 too.”

As we walk in to the small town KFC/Taco Bell combo fast food hut, I scan the board for the #3 combo. I think we were in Plainfield Indiana. I shit you not; the #3 combo in this particular KFC is a “Livers and Gizzards Combo meal”. I couldn’t believe it. This KFC not only sold gizzards, but had it as the #3 combo? Where the hell were we? How the hell could a mainstream fast food restaurant be selling chicken livers and gizzards, and have it make economic sense? No matter, the plan is the plan and I order the “Livers and Gizzards Combo” for my little buddy lying on the van bench.

I will freely admit, Leo was more than a little disappointed when the plastic platter of grayish nuggets was revealed as his lunch. “What the fuck? Jesus…OK…OK…I can do this.” Slowly but surely Leo worked his way through the breaded nuggets, complaining once in awhile about “the taste of iron”. Then he then did what he always does, and passed back out asleep. It was about 35 minutes later when I heard the voice behind me. “Do you guys have a plastic bag up there? I think I’m going to throw up these gizzards.” Ken assured Leo that we would have to gas up shortly, and if he could hold off for a couple minutes he could compose himself in some legitimate restroom facilities. “OK…I’ll try….”

Still in the middle of nowhere, we pulled into “Gas Station”. It’s not a Shell or BP. It’s “Gas Station”. Leo unsteadily walked towards the building to find a hopefully clean restroom. The first sign that things might not be ideal was when he was pointed to one of two port a johns located across the gas station parking lot. I saw Leo walk inside the blue booth, and quickly come back out seemingly shaken. Imagine if you will, you are hung over and have a stomach full of chicken livers and gizzards. Now imagine that when you walk into the port a john you discover a giant mound of human feces has crested the bowl. Wet paper sits on top of the shit mound, and a thin slime of water sloshes on the plastic floor. How he didn’t start immediately barfing, I’ll never know.

Leo begged us to drive him down the road to another “Gas Station” with what had to be better facilities. He disappeared inside the cinderblock building for 20 minutes or so, and emerged seemingly refreshed. “Yeah, it was bad in there too…real bad…but I made a little nest out of toilet paper and took a shit. After I flushed and got ready to leave, and I gagged a little bit and threw up, but all that came out was foam.”

That’s what rock n roll is really like.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Best News Story Ever?

The news can be a depressing read. Kids getting shot. Babies on fire. The business section. Every once in a great while a story comes through that reminds us all how great print journalism can be. With that in mind, I present the following:

East TN man found asleep in ditch with rifle, moonshineASSOCIATED PRESS •

November 12, 2009

ATHENS, Tenn. — When Ricky Butler went to sleep on a rural, East Tennessee roadside, he didn't have to worry about comfort but apparently he was feeling insecure.

McMinn County deputies found the 31-year-old Decatur man sleeping on his back in a roadside ditch, with a loaded rifle on his chest and an almost empty jar of moonshine in the bib of his overalls.

Butler told deputies who woke him up Sunday that he didn't know where he was. He also told them the jar had been full.
Deputies said Butler also had a machete and hand-rolled cigarettes believed to be marijuana.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate This Guy

There are many people to fear. The crackhead talking to himself walking straight towards you with his electric eyes staring at your watch. The drunk ex-football player that keeps asking everyone around him "what did you say to me?'. The overly enthusiastic woman walking four dogs she talks to in baby voices. The guy I saw last weekend that could best be described as West Virginia Anthony Kiedis Werewolf. However, is anything more terrifying than "wacky bumper sticker" person?

I become very cautious when I see a car plastered with stickers saying things like "My Child is an Honor Student at Starfleet Academy", "Caution! I Drive Like You Do!", and "My Other Car Is A Broom". This car is almost always a sub compact in poor condition. The driver is almost always wearing glasses and looks like they escaped from Comic-Con. There is never just one wacky sticker, but usually the whole back end of the car is plastered. They drive around all day in the left lane being passively aggressively witty and smug. It's like those dorks from marching band that created their own peer group after they were ostracized from general population at high school. While they may have been "out of control" in their herd of shut ins, the rest of society knew something just wasn't quite right with these folks.

The worst thing you can do is comment on any of these stickers. This is the sweet heroin they desire. The attention that has been so elusive for so very long. Notice me. I am special. It is I that posted this anti establishment sign at my cubicle in the human resource department saying "You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps!". Or perhaps the piece de resistance of the photo of the kitten hanging on the tree limb by its paws with the text "Just Hang In There Baby!".

I don't think I would mind if these people didn't have that misdirected sense of intellectual superiority. (Leave that to me you little dingo fucks.) When I see some balding guy with black ironic nerd glasses in his 96 Dodge Neon with his "Please Stop Staring At My Car's Butt"sticker, I want to force him off the road and throw him in the Black Lips tour van for a couple weeks. I think that's how pirates used to get crew members in their day. "Oh yeah! You think you're crazy? How about two weeks of no sleep, 55 gallons of booze, 27 random pills, and random outbursts of violence? That'll fix ya, you little shit squirrel."

I guess that's part of the problem of allowing these wacky stickers. You just can't throw people in pirate ships anymore (or their modern equivalent).

News You Can Use: I would highly suggest getting a 2004 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Les Ruchots. It is relatively inexpensive confirmation (again) of why Burgundy is clearly the best place on the planet to grow pinot noir. Most American pinots are syrupy high alcohol berry candy drinks or bland lifeless juice. Why fuck around? Get Burgundy if you are going to drink pinot. It's going to cost more, but it's well worth it... If you want to get sick to your stomach, read the self congratulatory article in Rolling Stone about the sham of a concert they did at the Garden for the Hall of Fame anniversary. A bunch of flabby artists well beyond even the scent of their prime slapped each other on their asses and told each other how great they are while most of them haven't even attempted anything interesting in decades. Meanwhile they all did the show in NY instead of Cleveland since God knows they wouldn't want to stray too far from their comfy NY condos and teams of public relations reps. It was all the usual cast of characters like David Crosby,Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Taylor, the E Street Band, and the biggest drama queen of all, Bono. That whole thing was a publicity grab for Rolling Stone Magazine and the participating artists in an attempt to try and make them seem vital once again. In most cases, these artists hadn't done anything of note in 25 years. I thought punk rock got rid of their bloated corpses years ago. Well, guess not...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate Bad Calls

Well, after one of the worst calls of all time late in the Bama/LSU game, Bama did not turn the ball over to LSU on a clear interception. It turns out home field advantage is very real. I then started blankly at the screen as Bama then kicked a covering field goal and gave me a 2-3 day.

The plan was strong. The plan was good. The plan didn't work...

That leaves us looking at the wilderness of mirrors that is the NFL. I am taking a good look at the Houston Texans +9 against the Colts today. Houston usually sticks with Indy, even when Indy really lit it up every week about 5 years ago. The Colts are not the same Harrison/Wayne/Clark/James team that the General Public seems to remember so fondly. These Colts don't drop 35 on you. They win games 24-20, 21-13, 17-14. I think nine is too many. But then again, I don't know what the hell I am talking about.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Yet Another College Football Saturday

I have made a miraculous recovery from my head cold, and am now focused on winning some serious jack today in college football wagering. While it may be true that I am still suffering from the lingering effects of a massive NyQuil jag, I think my judgement is true. My reasoning is sound. Of course, this may not result in any victories as most of you have been able to bear witness to my testicle crushing losses in October. Will I end up screaming obscenities at overrated ego boy Terrelle Pryor in the 4th quarter of today's Penn State v Ohio State game? Probably. But isn't that part of the pageantry of college football? Yelling at some kid you don't know 700 miles away because he can't keep his team within 5 points of another team of punks you don't know either?

Let's look at today's card like the stock market. I believe there is a lot of value in some underdogs today. Teams like Western Michigan with 20.5 points against a real shitbird of a Michigan State team. Michigan State is bigger, stronger, faster, and probably smarter than the directional Michigan boys. Despite the overwhelming superiority on paper, Michigan State will probably win a white knuckle game in East Lansing. Take Western Michigan +20.5.

Iowa is a team that finds a way to win. When things look bleak, they somehow pull off that victory at the end. They just don't win by more than 15 points. Iowa is 9-0, but have only won 3 games by more than 10 all year. I think they are looking ahead to Ohio State next week, and don't cover. Take Northwestern +15.

Speaking of Ohio State, they head to Penn State today in a nationally televised game sure to be on your crummy little TV at home. Penn State allegedly hasn't beaten anybody. But when you take a closer look, you realize, "Hey, Penn State hasn't beaten anybody!". Ohio State hasn't beaten anybody either, but they lost to USC in a close game whereas Penn State got handled easily by Iowa at home. Both teams have obnoxious fan bases. Both teams have boring uniforms. This game should be close. Tressel wears a sweater vest, is from Youngstown, and knows how to keep inside the number for the boys back home. I'll take Ohio State +5.

LSU goes to Alabama today to decide the fate of the SEC. While it is very annoying that every self satisfied Southern football fan goes on and on and on and on about how great SEC football is, the problem is that they do have a point. (It's the smugness that always gets me down.) Alabama is a monster of a defensive football team. Teams do not score easily on the Tide. LSU is also a very good defensive football team. Florida scored 13 on 'em. Georgia? 13. This should be a low scoring tight game. I don't see either team winning by two scores. I'll take 7.5 points and LSU.

The biggest game on the board today must be the Kent State at Akron game for the coveted Wagon Wheel. I would imagine when every member of both teams played games in the backyard as kids, they dreamt that one day they would take part in the struggle to win the mighty Wagon Wheel. "Daddy, tell the story again... About the time you saw Kent win the Wagon Wheel at the Rubber Bowl!" In this clearly made up story, the founder of Akron U got a wheel of his carriage stuck in the mud in what became Kent State University. Now, this very wagon wheel is awarded to the winner of this meeting of Giants of the Gridiron. Why the wagon wheel trophy looks like something someone got at Cracker Barrel in 1987, I don't know. The important part is to take Kent -3.5. Akron is the worst college football team in the country with some two bit freshman at QB that is facing one of the best pass rushes in the nation.

Let's all enjoy some gaming, shall we?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Head Cold

I have a skull crushing cold. Soon, I will feel the warm friendly hand of NyQuil. I will have vivid dreams that I will remember with startling clarity. I will float around in a strange haze. But before I slip into the abyss, a few quick items....

1) How is it possible that the Cleveland serial killer was not found out prior to his killing 11+ people? He buried several bodies in the back yard of a small inner city lot. When I lived in a duplex like that, I knew when my neighbors were taking a dump, much less dropping a 150lb body in a hole. They must have thought, "Hey, that convicted rapist who moved in next door sure does love his gardening! Even now at 4:45 am he's getting a jump on it. Look at him dig! Sure, he's got a checkered past, but what a work ethic! Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get his extra zucchini!" How did no one notice the creepy guy digging holes in the backyard or tossing corpses under the front porch? Neighbors did call about the smell, but I suppose when you live here in NE Ohio your first thought is "sewage", not "horribly decayed human remains". Odd...

2) The Browns owner Randy Lerner met with two crackpot end zone fans that wanted to stage a protest and get other fans to not sit in their seats thereby making the team look bad on nationally televised Monday night football. (Of course, the team will do that all by themselves. They WILL NOT need help to look bad.) He sat down with these two guys for two hours. Two hours with these Rubes? During the same week, Mr. Lerner also declined to meet with Plain Dealer sports reporters, but instead answered questions via email with no follow up questions allowed. If you were to get really out of your head on peyote and imagine the worst top executive in the NFL, you couldn't come up with that.

3) I think it must be a sign of my age, but I absolutely hate every song on the Top 40 charts. Why does everyone have to use that vocal effect Cher used on her last dance hit? Why are lyric writers unable to specifically say what they are trying to convey instead of using phrases like "kicking it" or "tripping"? As far as I can tell, "kicking it" can mean hanging out, relaxing, going out to eat, going for a walk, going for a drive, or almost any other activity. So in a Top 40 song, if the female vocal says she is "kicking it" with the male, that can mean she either went to McDonald's with the guy or they smoked meth and fired shotguns at imaginary birds, right? And if he was "tripping", it can mean he was confused, upset, or he flew into a rage and chopped up her family with an axe and buried them in his backyard (as we do in Cleveland when we are "tripping").

I think I'm just too old to understand. Or it might be that I still don't understand the dolts in the dance club culture. Never have, perhaps I never will.

4) I love Halloween. People cut loose and get to be whatever they want. It's great to see large groups of people with their inhibitions dropped away. However, the truly brave take that concept to heart and walk around Wal Mart in a Superman costume in mid-March for no particular reason. Those are the people I like to hang out with...

5) I won 5 of 6 World Series Games. That means I will now return to my ass kicking in football.