Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The News

* There was recently a Bill introduced in Ohio that would allow gun owners to bring concealed weapons into bars. Well, that certainly seems like a good idea. Why not combine the good times of tequila and the power of a 9mm pistol? It is incomprehensible to me how much juice the NRA has in this country. The "right to bear arms" thing in the Constitution was not referring to guys packing heat at BW-3 in case "somebody starts talking shit about me". And please don't even start that moronic "if they start to ban owning military grade assault weapons, next thing you know they won't allow me my rifle to go turkey huntin' with Grandpap" argument. No one wants to stop anyone from shooting turkeys. The goal is to make sure that the guy with the terrible tribal band tattoo and goatee doesn't start to wave an Uzi around at the bar after 17 draft beers to impress everyone with what a Big Man he is. I can't think of any situation at a bar that needs to have a gun introduced into it. Except maybe if the band at the club starts to play "Mustang Sally".

* You have a pretty good idea how popular the NFL is when all anyone can talk about is the NFL draft, and yet the entire season may not even happen. My favorite part of the draft is listening to Mel Kiper make proclamations with the assurance of a Greek God, yet he has even less idea of what he is talking about than most NFL executives. That dude is such a False God that if you look online for past proclamations you will find the record has been expunged. Seriously, I challenge you to find his past predictions. It's easy to always be an expert if you aren't held accountable for anything. I don't know if he has some hacker bully police out there or what, but there is no past with Mel Kiper. I did find a blog where someone had tacked an old "Big Board" from 2008 that told me that fat kid QB Brian Brohm from Louisville was "a polished passer in the Jim Kelly mold" and worthy of the #1 pick. If you waited it out until the #8 pick, you could have grabbed QB Andre' Woodson from KY, "big and mobile with a rocket arm". I think that guy just detailed my car. Nice fella. Too bad football didn't go as planned. Should've paid more attention in class I guess. None of these guys know anything. They are making educated guesses.

* The 2010-11 season NBA Playoffs have started, and they are expected to be completed in June of 2013. Even the first round are never ending seven game series with games happening every so often according to the whims of the TV schedule. It's hard to get all worked up about. It was nice to see LeBron James miss another clutch shot at the buzzer to lose to the Sixers last weekend. Seriously, will that guy ever actually win anything? If I was sitting at a poker table across from LeBron James, I am ALL IN. I could be sitting on a pair of threes, and he would come back with Jack high. I am so much more competitive than that guy, I know I could beat him in anything (with the exception of one-on-one basketball). You name it. Checkers, fishing, Scrabble, bowling, Battleship... Can you imagine the facial expressions he would make when I sunk his Battleship? It would be that combination of grief and a woman being in labor he likes to use so much with refs. I wonder if he uses a mouthguard while playing Battleship? I don't know. I do know that I can beat him in anything he chooses because he is, at the core, a loser.

* I wish there was more coverage on this Royal Wedding. I just don't feel as I have enough information. Is there any way we could devote even more media coverage? Four Networks broadcasting live just won't do it. I do understand though. For a certain kind of person, this is like a Super Bowl/World Series/Zeppelin Reunion Concert/handjob all rolled into one. I would imagine that if you are very excited about things like Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and ponies, this is the event for you. I hate weddings, so I am having a tough time getting excited about a wedding between two people I don't know in a country very far away whose residents seem to be comprised mostly of confrontational pasty drunks with horrible teeth. I suppose the Fairy Tale aspect of a wedding with no budgetary constraints is appealing to ladies that spend their entire lives believing they are Princesses that will have their Special Day too. However it can only lead to disappointment to compare the extravagance that will be on display with their future wedding of baked ziti in a foil tin, plastic ware, a DJ from "Soundtastic Entertainment Inc.", shiny men's rental tuxedo shoes, and their ex-roommate hooking up with "that guy from work" in the VFW Hall men's room stall. Look at it for what it is- a very well done tourist event.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Lottery

It has become increasingly apparent that there is no way to possibly stop working and actually enjoy any leisure in this modern American Economic Machine we have collectively built. While I have been a good boy and saved a percentage of my monthly income in my 401k, the only people that actually make any money are the ones that serve as "administrators" of the fund. Fees chip away at any real gains, while you still are the victim of perilous swings up and down in the markets which are being manipulated by Captains of Industry. The game is rigged. That fact is unavoidable. Your junior broker has been told by their upper management to place all their small fish like you in a stock or fund so the price will inflate. Then the firm's Big Fish can whisk the carpet out from underneath you at great profit when they sell out at the predetermined price. You are left with the loss, or modest gain, which is of course further cannibalized by the incomprehensible fees and "convenience charges". It's a fool's game.

Let's just say that you could somehow trip into a series of big wins. Let's say that you could get a nice little nest egg together. You could never just walk away. Not when there is iPhone 4 to buy. Or iPhone 5. Or 6. I spend something like $200 a month on sophisticated communications that ultimately boil down to there being several ways I can learn that Pete "likes" bacon on Facebook or Bruno is "hanging at Starbucks at 5th and St Clair". I may also receive a text message saying "you suck" from any one of a bunch of so called friends of mine. On the rare instance when someone uses their phone like an actual phone, they are usually killing time in an airport or long drive, and I am expected to entertain them much in the way radio DJs used to fill that role. Tell me something funny Funnyman. Is there really a reason for any of this? Is this technology actually making my life any better? Probably not, but yet here I am with my Verizon bill and seriously considering buying my third phone in the last 12 months. It all boils down to this: I have to keep earning so I can keep buying the stuff that helps me to earn so I can keep buying stuff. It's dizzying.

I either have to unplug from the society, which seems inconvenient, or get enough money together where I can jump off the gerbil wheel. It's obvious. The only real hope is winning the lottery. I have now resigned myself to understand that I need a 1 in 32 million shot to come in if I hope to ever get off of this consumer rollercoaster gone mad. The odds seem long, sure, but it's not impossible. You just have to believe and visualize it happening. Isn't that what sports psychologists say?

I think the real key in being a lottery winner is to set the tone early at the press conference. Most lottery winners are stupid hillbillies that have no idea what to do with the money once they get it. They will piss it away in a fever of spending on cigarette boats, monster trucks, garish houses with the interior design qualities of rap stars, and doomed business enterprise. They stand at the podium with their ceremonial over sized checks and smile goofily at their dumb luck of getting $322 million dollars. What are you going to do with the money? "Geez, I don't know, but I am quitting work tomorrow and buy a monster truck!" This is all wrong. Here's how you handle the press conference.

"Ladies and gentleman of the press, thank you for coming. I want to thank you all for being here to share in my good fortune at winning $322 million dollars in the Powerball lottery. I have pissed away thousands in income chasing this dream, and to see it finally realized gives me a chance to finally stand triumphantly above my detractors. You people are now nothing to me.

I would also like to announce I will not be quitting my job. Instead I have bought the business lock, stock, and barrel and would like to announce to everyone that I will be closing it immediately. I will be shutting it down for good, as we served no public good and most of the former employees there have not a shred of human decency. I will shutter the building and have it raised by demolitions experts by 5pm this afternoon. Good riddance.

Regarding the rest of the money... I will be placing most of it into three TOR-M1 9M330 mobile surface to air missile systems which I will be placing on my property in the Majestic Lakes subdivision. I have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of the airspace above my home being compromised, and I now have the capital necessary to confront this problem head on. This should provide me, at last, with some well needed peace of mind. I will now retire to my compound to finish work on my manifesto. Thank you all for coming. Good day to you."

So I face this Monday like most of you, head down and shoulders slumped. I am trying to resist the allure of iPhone 7, but it's hard. So very hard. Meanwhile, clutched in my sweaty hand is the lottery ticket. My last hope of getting out. My last hope of finishing the manifesto.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Zoo

I went to the Zoo last week. Alas, it wasn’t a pleasure trip, but strictly business. I like the Zoo. Who doesn’t? I wished I could have spent the afternoon strolling around watching lions sleep and orangutans throw feces around, but I was in the business of business conducting business with fellow business people. Heck, I even had dress shoes on. I was serious.

The weathered subcompact car sat pointed diagonally across three of the short term parking spaces at the Zoo. The woman stood about 10 feet away from the open passenger side window and spoke in an animated fashion to the unseen driver of the car. The woman was in her mid twenties, slightly overweight, and had that Appalachian/Eastern European genetic makeup that is so typical of Cleveland’s near Westside. She was pale and tired looking. She looked resigned to a future of single motherhood, long hours, poor wages, and unfulfilled dreams. There are about 300,000 women that look exactly like her in Northeast Ohio.

I pulled my car to the right of the rusty Geo, and continued the conversation I was having on the phone. I absentmindedly looked out the window at the woman speaking in an even more urgent fashion and noted her McDonald’s uniform, hands clasping her Golden Arch visor. Suddenly the driver whipped out of her side of the car, and practically ran over to the other woman. The driver looked very similar to the McDonald’s employee, but was maybe three years older and three years fatter. Her XL plain white t-shirt was faded and stained, and draped over her dumpy jeans. That’s when the both of them immediately started to trade punches.

I have seen a number of fistfights in my day. The ones that are the best are always where you least expect them to happen. The upscale restaurant. A church lobby. The Department of Motor Vehicles. Places that don’t have any bouncers or amped up security guards also have a bunch of people like me that have no interest in getting involved. It’s really a perfect storm. You end up with the fight continuing until the combatants are out of steam, or one of them kills the other. The entrance to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a great example of a place with little experience in breaking up adult women fistfights. And I was clearly not going to be the one to get involved.

I sat in my car calmly continuing the conversation I was having while these two hillbillies traded blows to the face. I believe the quote was “I’m going to fuck you up” when the McDonald’s girl started to roundhouse into the eye of the car’s driver. Meanwhile I just hoped they didn’t shove each other into my car. I had just had it washed for God’s sake. I could not have been any more detached from the situation. I was no more excited about watching this than if I would have been if I was watching a Rockford Files re-run while home sick with the flu.

After a strong 45 seconds of punching each other, an older man and polo shirt clad security kid ran across the parking lot and wedged in between the two, effectively ending the brawl. The thirty or so 7 year olds that were entering the Zoo stood open mouthed as three teacher’s aides struggled to minimize the psychic impact of seeing two potential mommies knocking heads like Manny Pacquiao and “Sugar” Shane Mosely on HBO Sports. You could almost see the wheels turn in these kids’ heads. “My God. If those mommies can get in a scrap, what about my mommy? How can she handle herself in a dust up? And that one lady had a McDonald’s uniform on… Does that mean if I don’t finish my Happy Meal next time, she’ll kick my little ass?” This was a day where those teachers would really over deliver on their paltry salary. How much would you pay someone to make sense of a World Gone Mad?

As I exited my car the two women struggled to be freed from the grasp of their respective security guard screaming recriminations. “She started it! She started it!” I glanced at the spectacle a mere two feet to my left, and walked by into the Zoo Administration entrance. Even thinking about it now, I can’t come up with a scenario in which I would have been moved to get involved. Maybe, and I mean maybe, I would have tried to do something if the one was hitting the other with something impressive like a tire iron or ice pick. Even then it would have been more of a suggestion as opposed to getting in there like a steroid fueled Nightclub Doorman. I might have stood to the side and said something along the lines of, “Excuse me, is this really necessary? Can you maybe stop? You’re really freaking out those kids. No? Well, OK then, but I don’t think this is a real good idea.”

In the end, I don’t know how those Zoo employees handled it. After everyone calmed down, you can’t just send them on their way. You have to handle it quietly like a casino in Vegas would handle it. Maybe they handcuffed them to hot water tanks in the Large Mammal Building and then threw them in with the polar bears after hours. That would explain if there was a soggy McDonald’s visor bobbing in the polar bear pool the next morning. The rusty Geo was driven to an auto wrecker and compacted. The kids? You think they’ll ever talk about it again? No way. Not after the teachers finished up with them. No matter how it ended up for the ladies and despite my initial lack of enthusiasm, it turned out that this was my favorite visit to the Zoo ever.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Facebook

Like most of you, I have a Facebook account. I originally got one just to see how it worked, and figure out if I could use it for any of my various evil endeavors. I don't really use it that much, and every time I spend more than 15 minutes on it, I find myself annoyed. It might just be my "friends", or in reality the 300 or so people I have in my data base that consist of my 16 real friends and 284 people I kinda know and impulsively accepted into my circle in a moment of weakness. You might have a totally different experience. What I find each time I log onto Facebook is:

* Pictures of what people ate- I don't know why people think you are interested in clicking onto a picture of a plate of eggs or pasta taken in terrible lighting with their Blackberry camera. "Holy Shit! You got to come over here! Take a look at this burger and cup of chili Pete ate 6 hours ago! I've never seen anything like it!" Unless you ate at The French Laundry or Charlie Trotters, I'm probably not interested in your dinner. No one else is either.

* Updates on kids- Look, I am friends with you, not your seven year old. I don't give a shit about what he said on the way to school this morning. Everyone probably has a friend like this. "This morning Liam said he thought Mr Jingles our dog looked like a lion. Then he asked why Mr Jingles wasn't in the zoo 'cause that's where lions are kept!" Hey, it sounds like your kid is borderline retarded to me. I wouldn't start spreading that bullshit that comes out of his mouth around. At a certain point the kid is going to have to find work, and if I am interviewing him, I'll be thinking "Isn't that the little dumbass that thought his dog was a lion?". Also, just because the grandparents chime in with a "That's so cute. We like this." post, doesn't mean everyone else does too. We don't. Fuck your kids. Oh, and if you post a picture of your kid instead of you, I am deleting you. I will cast you out of the inner circle forever.

* Passive aggressive posts- When I see a vague post like "Some people need to learn how to treat other people", I know that this person is fishing for a sympathetic ear to whatever mundane wrong has visited them. The poster hopes to receive a flurry of responses like "What's wrong Steve? That is SO UNFAIR! Hang in there!". Quit being such a pussy and airing your dirty laundry on the web. While six people responded to you with what you wanted to hear, the other 294 read it and said "What a pussy".

* Vague declarations- Once a week I see a woman post a variation of "I am a strong independent woman! If you can't handle it, then fuck you!". You know this is the aftermath of four glasses of wine and an evening ending argument. The Facebook post has become The Last Word in that argument. This type of post is exclusively the domain of women. The respondents are always other women that offer support as they know that they too may make this type of post one day and would like to receive similar support. My belief is that any guy that gives the "thumbs up" to this is strictly making a long shot attempt to position himself as a Sensitive Guy and possible partner for coitus. I always have to stop myself from stirring the pot when I see one of these. I really can't help myself. I just think about how wound up people would get if I commented in a horribly insensitive way. I saw one this week and thought about making the nuclear option comment of "Looks like someone might be close to their period". There is no return from that comment even if you are kidding around. Every woman you know will hear about it, tell every woman they know, and your relations with English speaking females in North America have ended. You gotta be careful out there on the web...

* Attached clips of youtube videos- Yes, you are a fan of some obscure band like Black Oak Arkansas or The Undertones. What does that mean to me? If I was into Black Oak Arkansas, I could go watch their videos on youtube myself. I really don't need you to send this grainy video footage to me. I have 500 TV channels, a mountain of books, and stacks of CDs. The last thing I need is more "content". Listen to your Black Oak Arkansas at home, and leave me alone with that shit. I could spend 10 hours a day clicking on the bullshit people send me. It's like frivolous direct mail. The only things I ever click on are terrible accident footage and bizarre sexual videos. If I have 3 minutes and can watch Black Oak Arkansas or three midget women shitting on a Japanese businessman, I go midget every time. That's not wrong, is it?

* So and so is "Single"- What better way of announcing to the world the end of a longtime relationship with someone once very special to you than a mass email? "To whom it may concern. My wife of seven years and I are now divorced. I am now available for intercourse. On a totally unrelated matter, I "like" that you are a strong independent woman."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Indianapolis

I was in Indianapolis last weekend, and it makes me think of what a city would look like if it was built by Target. If Indianapolis was a loaf of bread, it would be Wonder. I’m not suggesting that Indianapolis doesn’t have ethnic diversity, but I had salsa I could swear was ketchup with a green pepper chopped up into it. I was in a bar watching the Butler game, and all the women looked like they were presenting awards at the Country Music Awards later that night. The people are all really nice in that dazed faraway Born Again Christian way. They smiled at me and were polite, but I felt that at anytime I could be in danger of being thrown into a Christian Right Re-education Camp if they knew the way my mind worked. It’s not really “my kind of town”.

I think my feelings about Indianapolis start with their music scene, or lack thereof. The only bands I know that have had good shows in Indianapolis include The Why Store and presumably John Cougar Mellencamp. (I prefer to leave the “Cougar” in as a reminder of John’s selling out to The Man when he was sucking on chili dogs outside the Tastee Freeze.) Some guy told me about a blues club that was “world famous” called The Slippery Noodle. It appeared the blues bands that played last weekend included some guy in a Rastafarian beret, and another that played all Jimmy Buffet covers. Not exactly RL Burnside and Howlin Wolf…

I have tried to book a regular gig in Indy for years with the hopes of building an audience there. The Cowslingers and now Whiskey Daredevils have driven through Indianapolis for literally two decades to go to cities more interested in what we do. Clearly a city of this size must contain 150 people interested in the kind of music we play, but I cannot confirm this fact. The search for this magical club goes on, and another year slips by… It’s not just me either. Check out the Bottle Rockets song “Indianapolis” if you don’t believe me.

The best time I ever had in Indianapolis was when I went to see the Grateful Dead in the early 90s with a bunch of friends. The highlights included bungee jumping in the Deer Creek parking lot pre-show under the influence of a life threatening amount of intoxicants. My friend Jeff screamed like a seven year old girl during his entire 20 story descent. His knees were shaking afterwards like a WWI doughboy with “battle fatigue”. (Long time readers will remember Jeff as the high school boy that barfed on himself and his friends on a ski trip.) After the show, we oozed into a chain restaurant/bar by our hotel called the Bombay Bicycle Club. Think if Applebee’s pretended to be exotic like a British outpost in India, except it was in Indianapolis and had chunky thighed gals slinging Bud Light draft in tight black slacks.

There was a karaoke contest that night, and I endured listening to three women out of four consecutive contestants sing Bette Midler’s “The Rose”. I then freaked out, signed up, and sang Elvis’s “Little Sister”. I think I secured the win when I leaped on top of the bar for the verse/chorus after the guitar solo. One of the women complained that I "wasn't allowed" to leave the stage area with my wireless mic. I argued with her there were no written rules, and it wasn't my fault she "didn't rock". Man, was she pissed. She would have been really pissed if she knew I was a ringer. I won a bike. Well, not a bike, but a certificate for a bike.

I never got to use the certificate since we pulled out of town the next morning. Maybe I’m still sore at that town because it owes me a bike. Maybe I need to really go "Full Indianapolis" and go to the Indy 500 and pretend to care about open wheel racing for an afternoon. I could wear a Peyton Manning jersey and go with a girl with big hair and special jeans. I could punch someone in the face if they made a negative remark about Bobby Knight. Then we could drink macrobrew at a strip plaza bar, and head home to our prefabricated housing unit. Granted, that sounds like a good time. It's just not "my good time".

Good Advice: I had Butler -3 and UConn +2 on Saturday. Sorry I forgot to post the picks. I'd like to get Butler +4 tonight, but that damn line is stuck at 3. I may sit this one out if it doesn't go to 4.