Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can make me feel a real sense of melancholy with some of the empty chairs around me. It feels wrong to not have certain people at the table. However, isn’t it really about having the glass half full? Isn’t it really about focusing in on all the positives on what is clearly the best American holiday? All you really have to do on Thanksgiving is hang out, drink, eat, and watch football. There is football from Noon until 11pm, and with three of the four games projecting to be pretty good, there is some serious wagering to be done.

Each year Krusty and I put together what we refer to as a “galaxy of wagers” on Thanksgiving. The key is to have so much action going you are not even clear if you are finishing out ahead as you sit there in a stupor. My personal favorite is the three team NFL teaser, a bet that looks like a sure thing, but is almost impossible to win. This year I will be taking Detroit +12.5/Dallas -1/San Francisco +9. I will lose this bet, and I deserve to do so. It is a Sucker Bet made only by degenerates and lowlifes. Still, it pays out at $360 for $200, so you’d be crazy not to play it, no? (Note, this is the sign of a degenerate.)

I called Krusty for the word on the big Texas v Texas A&M game. He contends that 7.5 is too many points to give in the last game of this 100 year + rivalry. So if you are going to take Texas +7.5 you pretty much also have to take the Dallas Cowboys -7. These are two bets that go together, like cowboy hats and concealed weapons. Like border patrols and aviator sunglasses. Like Roky Erickson and Junior Brown. Like Houston and breast implants.

I am going to take Detroit +6.5. Not because I think they will win. Not because I think they will hang close. Not because I like the city, because I don't. I hate Eminem, Motown, the Insane Clown Posse, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, and the Detroit Tigers/Red Wings. Is it because I actually like the Lions? No, it's because this is the first time the Lions have actually been interesting since football was broadcast in HD. I really want to root for the Lions, and I will be pretty focused with some jack on the line.

If you are in this deep, you should go all the way. Take San Francisco +3. They have a good D and the Ravens have the scent of a loser on them. Want to really get after it? How about "longest TD of the game under 53.5 yards in the GB/Det game"? I also like Aaron Rogers OVER 24.5 completions in the game. How about Charles Woodson intercepting a pass at +300? He'll have to be on Johnson and you know they'll try to force it in there. Why not? Take the Lions to WIN the toss. And while you're at it, why not Ndamukong Suh OVER 3.5 tackles?

The point is to be slightly confused after each play if something that just happened was good or bad for you financially. Isn't that really what the holidays are all about?

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Godfather

It was evident 45 minutes before I became the Godfather that I might not have been the best choice. The Whiskey Daredevils had played an outdoor festival the night before the baptism, and I had drunk a heroic quantity of Southern Tier beer. Still, I am a gamer, and I arrived at the household 45 minutes before baptism kickoff with my church clothes safely tucked into the van. I took a shower and realized I had forgotten a dress shirt and shoes. I’m not really sure how I fucked that up, but I knew I wouldn’t be permitted to stand in front of the congregation in a Daredevils cowboy gig shirt and boots. (This would have made for memorable photos later, but the mother is a tad “traditional”.)

I had to borrow a shirt from my buddy (a size too large) and shoes (a size too small). The shoes were not my style, and may have been made by Buster Brown. As I stood up for the ceremony, I had an old feeling wash over me like I was ten and had been dressed poorly by my mother. If you see pictures from that day, you would ask yourself, “Why can’t that man take the time to find a shirt that fits? Does a man his age still wear hand-me-downs from an older brother?”

It was a rough start. I feel I have grown into the role nicely though. The Boy is coming to Thanksgiving this weekend with his family. The Boy is five now, and I haven't been called in to make any big moves. Let's face it, from age 1-5, how much input do you need from a guy like me? But what if I have to really step up? I have to be ready. I need to be prepared. If, God forbid, something were to happen to The Boy’s parents, I have created a five step plan I will immediately enact to insure the lad turns into a well rounded functional member of society.

Step 1: I will immediately take The Boy out of any athletic travel leagues. If he wants to play football, basketball, or baseball, that’s fine. I will begrudgingly allow soccer. We’re not traveling more than twenty (20) minutes away for him to get a game. He’s five and it is already clear he is not going pro at anything where he needs a sports agent. I’m sure he can get a good game up with kids his own age within the surrounding area of my home. Neither of us needs the hassle of driving great distances so he can kinda suck on the field of athletic competiton. Also, if he doesn’t want to play or participate in adult organized activities, more power to him. Adults that run those leagues are always chasing some unfulfilled dream of athletic glory themselves. It’s good to distance oneself from these types of people early on life.

Step 2: I will teach The Boy the concept of the left lane. As I drive America’s highways, I see failure of parenting everywhere. Where were the role models for these people clogging our highways? How did their parents fail them during their driver’s education years? A four lane highway has not been set up for you to drive in whichever lane you feel the vibe coming from. No friend, the left lane is for passing. If you are going 126 mph, but The Boy and I are coming behind you at 127 mph, you better move the fuck over. And if I pass you to the right, and The Boy and I see you are staring straight ahead with your mouth open oblivious to what is going in your mirror, I will teach The Boy road rage. He will learn to weave a tapestry of profanity that will hang in the air like a cumulonimbus cloud on a windless day.

Step 3: I will teach The Boy the basic skill of understanding point spreads. Five year olds can be pretty annoying. But a five year old that can pick winners against the spread? Well, that’s a five year old I can get behind! The Boy’s older brother lost his only dollar to me last year when he took the Browns minus the points at home vs the Panthers. When the Browns didn’t cover, that little punk refused to pay me, feigning not understanding the cover. Listen, I don’t care if you are seven, you gotta pay up. I’m still waiting for that dollar. If his father wasn’t such a close friend, I would have torched that kid’s Big Wheel just to send a message.

Step 4: I will allow and encourage The Boy to listen to the same crappy music his friends are listening to. It is a key communal experience in a young person’s life. There will come a point however when I will quietly walk up to him with copies of Johnny Cash “The Complete Sun Sessions”, Black Flag “Damaged”, Bob Dylan “Highway 61 Revisited”, Rolling Stones “Let It Bleed”, Link Wray “The Original Rumble”, and “Here Are The Ultimate Sonics”. He will be instructed to listen to these, and only these, for 40 days. This musical fast will be the watershed experience he will need for a lifetime of good taste.

Step Five: I will give the kid a "guaranteed blue print" for success. Stay in school despite there being no apparent use for learning “The Canterbury Tales”, the area of a rhombus, how to dissect a frog, or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. School teaches you the basic skill of being able to sit motionless in a room listening to someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they are talking about, but you maintain apparent interest. This will be invaluable in business and adult life in general. Do what you say you are going to do. People like to know they can depend on someone. The 80/20 rule applies in everything. 80% of the people are completely inept. The other 20% keep the wheels on the rails for the remaining 80%. This applies at Lube Stop as well as The Cleveland Clinic. You have to exercise. Don’t smoke. Eat things that came from the ground, not a box. Be honest in your dealings, and assume others are honest with you. When they aren’t, assume they never will be honest again. Avoid trendy clothes. Those pictures will come back to haunt you. Wear a condom, because she’s probably been around a helluva lot more than she admits to and with some dirtbags too. Don’t skimp on cheese, wine, beer, shoes, or art. Enjoy the trip, because you don’t know how long it will last.

I clearly have this situation under control. Now I just have to nervously wait out the next 13 years so I can get out from under this thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Browns Fan Black Friday Guide

I’m not leaving my house on “Black Friday” to go shopping. This is not due to an aversion to crowds, but is more indicative of the fact that I am averse to being surrounded by Rubes. The General Public believes if they go spend all of their disposable income on the day after Thanksgiving, they will be rewarded with ungodly values on items like singing fish wall plaques, soon to be out of date DVD players, and off brand smart phones. This is a Fool’s Game.

The true Holiday Veteran shopper knows to hang low, and use the untamed power of the World Wide Intrawebs to secure that perfect holiday gift for that Browns fan on their Xmas list. I like you and I want to help you. I want you to be completely relaxed this Thanksgiving Eve, and focused on the shockingly amateur NFL Network broadcast of the Ravens game. I want you to know that your holiday shopping needs are but one click away. Browns fans, rejoice! For a mere $36 you can get your hands on probably the jersey of the most hated QB in recent Browns history, Jeff Garcia. An ugly footnote in the Browns ongoing QB Carousel, he was the guy NE Ohio loved to hate. In the short year he was here, Garcia was accused of being gay, nabbed a Playboy Centerfold, made a kazillion dollars, and posted a QB rating of 0.0 against the Cowboys. I wonder if he would whisper into the ear of the Playboy chick “See, I’m not gay!” when he mounted her from behind? Who knows… Anyway, Jeff got the last laugh and here’s the perfect commerative from the days when the team was sure they would get someone good off the old scrap heap. Relive the unexplainable early hope and crushing reality of the 1999 Browns season with this signed Terry Kirby photograph. Kirby led the Browns with 452 yards rushing on what may have been one of the worst NFL teams ever assembled. At $21, this is a real value for folks that want to ask themselves “What were we thinking?” at every glance. There are still plenty of these William Green jerseys floating around a decade after the Browns made him their number one pick and assumed franchise player. This one, sure to light up any room in the festive orange, is only $25 and XXL. This is absolutely perfect for the “husky” boy on your list. Green washed out after one good year. Ah, but what a ride! He got caught for marijuana twice, fathered a child with a woman that was not his wife, got stabbed (somewhat understandably) by his wife, and got a DUI while wearing only one shoe and one sock. Maybe my favorite Brown. The least expensive Browns jersey currently available on Ebay is this Braylon Edwards jersey. It’s $1.99. You can’t buy a tube of toothpaste for $1.99. There are homeless guys in rags that are shuffling along 30th and Euclid that would say “Fuck that!” if you offered them this shirt for nothing. How a young man could so quickly turn an entire region of the country against him is really shocking if you think about it. Edwards was always under the impression that he was going to get to be post career Michael Irvin just by showing up. He forgot to become a Hall of Famer and to not drop passes thrown to him. Catching passes is apparently looked upon favorably by teams paying great sums of money to wide receivers. Not catching passes and shooting your mouth off all the time about how great you are doesn’t play too well. Why is this jersey $1.99? Here’s why… I was at the Key Club at the Quicken Loans Arena, an area under the stands that is a VIP eat n’ drink for Cavs games. Braylon Edwards was there fixing a plate. He needed a roll, and some schlub like me was standing near them. He offered Edwards a roll. Edwards accepted this man’s kind gesture. The guy said, “If I throw it to you, you won’t drop it, will you?” True story. Who wouldn’t find unbridled joy on Xmas morning finding this Quincy Morgan jersey under the tree? Morgan flamed out with the Browns, and probably reached a high point for me when he made a statement about himself in third person after dropping a game changing 4th down pass. “I’m just going to go out and keep playing Quincy Morgan football.” Quincy Morgan Football proved to be dropping passes in key situations. He was quickly traded mid season for Antonio Bryant, a guy the Cowboys hated enough to trade despite the fact they literally had no healthy receivers and Morgan totally sucked. The times may have changed, yet this jersey lives on! And at $25, what better way to say “Happy Holiday!”?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Turkey Bowl

One Thanksgiving tradition I will not be taking part in is the “Turkey Bowl”. For those of you not in the know, a Turkey Bowl is where a large group of men well past their physical prime play tackle football on Thanksgiving morning much like they would have at age 12. The difference is now that instead of being 74 pounds and used to slamming into other 5 foot tall kids, the participants are now 200 pounds and have not engaged in an activity more strenuous than walking out of their SUV to get a Meat N Cheese Bowl at KFC.

Many feel that by putting on their play pants and going to the old field, the years will slip away and they will recapture their glory days of age 15-18. Those were the days. When a fella had a Toyota Celica with an Alpine cassette deck that could belt out “Back In Black” any time he wanted. When a guy got a sticker on his helmet for snapping a collarbone on a kid from 22 minutes down the road in a different color helmet. When the word spread that Randy got a fake ID that worked, and a guy could score a six pack of Michelob if he could get $5.00 to Randy by 6th period lunch. When a guy could be sure he would be able to wriggle his fingers into some previously unknown cotton panties if the team pulled out a “W” on Friday night.

This is only an illusion.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I am now a brittle old man, capable of shattering like a crystal knick-knack on even the slightest contact. My left arm feels like it might fall off, and that’s probably because I dared to do 11 pullups two days ago. My back was howling for two days after raking leaves. How do you think I would feel if an overweight man ran into me at full speed? Good Lord, I’d end up in the hospital with a feeding tube.

Many will heed the siren song of the Turkey Bowl. There will be broken bones, pulled hamstrings, and wounded pride. How much of an asshole will you feel like with an arm in a cast for the next 8 weeks thanks to a hit from a guy that’s a Quality Control Manager? It’s not like you are scoring the winning TD in Super Bowl XXV and taking a hit from Jack “The Assassin” Tatum. It’s some guy you went to school with 22 years ago that has male pattern baldness, a company car, and a wife named Meg with a chunky ass.

Football is a young man’s game. I have accepted the fact that I need to be relaxing comfortably by a fire, sipping a fine Bordeaux, while heavily leveraged on the action displayed on my gigantic television set. While some of you fools will be limping around your house Thanksgiving Day after doing irreparable damage to your body, I will be referring to the Lions as “soft” while splayed out on my couch like Cleopatra.

You will be receiving that call this week. “C’mon man. Everybody is playing.” Nope. Not me. I’m going out on top. Like a suburban Barry Sanders.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Camping

I was very intoxicated the first time I fired a shotgun. That’s a sentence that usually begins a story that ends with “and that’s how I wound up here in prison”. In this case, it was just part of one of my last ill-advised forays into the world of “camping”. I hate camping, and I am not sure why anyone would ever want to go camping. Most camping I have been associated with is a group of people that go party in the woods and can’t possibly operate their motor vehicles to get home to their warm snuggly beds. This I understand. It’s a weird mix of “social responsibility” and “cry for help”.

One of the last times I went camping with a bunch of dudes I lived with, and a collection of girls that chose to hang out with degenerates like ourselves. Two of the guys were pretty hardcore into camping. They had a bunch of gear, and things like special hiking boots and utility knives. In comparison, I owned a knife that had a bottle opener and corkscrew. My only boots were Doc Martens. But if one of these guys was Grizzly Fucking Adams and knew what he was doing, I’d go.

The day before was spent in preparations. We gathered as much alcohol as we could carry. That was priority number one. Food and shelter factored into the equation somewhere after that. I think we had a couple of flashlights too. It was like the first 20 minutes of any number of teenage slasher movies. We were ill equipped, and heading actually pretty far off into the middle of nowhere. If this was a movie, I would have been the guy that died really early with an arrow in the neck after I lost the group while taking a leak.

I was like an alcohol sherpa, lugging a giant cooler of beer and backpack with whiskey deep into the woods. We set up our camp close to a ledge that overlooked a stream. It was actually picturesque. I would have preferred erecting a Marriott there, but when in Rome. The Grizzly Fucking Adams guy had brought a shotgun and skeet shooting crap. After drinking 113 beers, we left our now assembled camp, and walked to a clearing to shoot skeet. That probably violated every rule of gun safety there is in the rulebook. Drunken amateurs carrying loaded weapons across uneven terrain to learn how to shoot guns. Excellent.

Even if I hadn’t been cripplingly drunk, I don’t know if I would have hit anything. The realization that the petite girl with the loaded shotgun waving it around was probably drunker than me didn’t help steady my nerves either. After blasting a number of rounds into the air and watching the clay pigeons float harmlessly into the distant grass, we went back to camp. Darkness fell quickly, and we scrambled to get firewood together.

The big mistake was even bringing whiskey into the woods. That is clear now. I don’t remember a lot of what happened that night, but this I recall with a vivid clarity. 1) Grizzly Fucking Adams got really drunk and fell off the ledge with a scream. He broke his arm. 2) Bad weather came in. 3) My tent collapsed. 4) The girl I had tricked into going into my tent left shortly after the tent collapse. 5) My back felt like I was in a terrible car crash after sleeping on rocky uneven ground.

There is no worse hangover than the one in the morning in the woods where you have to pack a bunch of shit up. The area we camped in looked like chimps had destroyed it. Garbage was everywhere. The August sun was already blazing hot. Bugs crawled in and out of my ears. The bottled water floated in the standing water of the melted ice, luke warm. We quietly picked up after ourselves and trudged back to the cars, the distance seeming three times as long as the spirited walk into the woods yesterday.

I climbed into the back seat of my buddy’s Ford Escort, already scorching hot from the direct sun. I leaned my head against the window and hoped for a quick merciful death. There was no mercy that day. The drive home took forever.

I just saw a Jeep ad that showed a family living it up camping in the woods. Say what you want about the positioning of the Jeep as a desirable form of transportation. I know that car is an unreliable piece of shit that will break your heart like a small town Prom Queen. What really pissed me off was that company pretending that camping was fun. That is a God Damn lie. Camping isn’t fun. It’s a prison sentence.

P.S. I like Cincinnati today +3 over Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh and Baltimore beat the crap out of each other last week. Home dog +3? I'll do that.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Penn State

If you would have told me two years ago that both Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno would be out as head coaches, I would not have believed you. Tressel I could maybe buy, as that guy was clearly as clean as a greasy used car dealer with a coke habit. You knew that something crooked was gonna stick to him as he looked incredulously at the cameras in his sweater vest. But Paterno? I would have assumed that if he wasn't coaching, he must have collapsed and melted into the earth, then cast upwards towards the heavens like a Greek Myth. This is the craziest sports story since Tiger Woods.

A guy like Paterno could get through almost any scandal. At Penn State, he isn't so much as a "beloved character" as he is some sort of deity. He is Penn State, a giant educational factory that rakes in a kazillion dollars in tuition as they sell another kazillion dollars of merchandise at Dick's Sporting Goods. By the way, how would you like to be the district manager of Dick's Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh, sitting on 14 tons of Penn State gear you bought for the holiday sales. Good luck getting rid of that. You'll see Penn State shirts showing up on Haitian refugees in about 90 days. Watch CNN closely. "Honey, look! That little crying woman covered with flies loves PSU. WE ARE! PENN STATE!"

But even Paterno couldn't weather a storm like this one. I think a good PR firm could have gotten him past almost anything, including but not limited to:

A) Photos surface of Joe in full Nazi regalia complete with a painted on Hitler mustache. In a prepared statement, the coach refers to the old pictures as "from another time" and the mustache as "a Chaplin, not a Hitler". At the ensuing press conference, Joe notes he "regrets the incident" and also that season ticket packages are on sale.

B) Larry Flynt announces he will be publishing a full photo spread of Paterno in a leather corset while being spanked by a group of Korean transsexuals dressed as Wizard of Oz characters. Paterno first struggles to recall if the incident in question ever occurred, then explaining it as "a time of experimentation when I was a young man in my seventies". At the ensuing press conference, Joe notes he "regrets the incident" and also that season ticket packages are on sale.

C) A massive dog fighting ring is uncovered at Paterno's modest ranch house in State College. Dog corpses are stacked like cord wood by the mailbox on garbage day. Paterno and his spokespeople claim that "dog fighting is in the culture of the Brooklyn born man". At the ensuing press conference, Joe notes he "regrets the incident" and also that season ticket packages are on sale.

Paterno will be forever stained by this, and that's awful. He's a man in his mid eighties that really appears to have tried to do the right thing most of the time in the seedy world of his occupation. Most pimps wouldn't take a job in big time college football as the landscape is just too morally corrupt. But wow, did he blow it on this one. If you hear that someone in the inner circle of Penn State Football has been fucking ten year olds in the ass in the shower, I think you may have to do more than mention it to your higher up. My understanding is that a graduate assistant walked in on Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a ten year old boy in the Penn State lockeroom shower. The next day, he went to Paterno with the information. Can you imagine what that conversation would have been like for that graduate assistant when he told Joe that he saw his buddy of 40+ years having anal intercourse with a ten year old. "Umm, Mr. Paterno? Mr. Paterno? Hi... Um... Yeah, you probably don't know me, but um... Yeah, ah... Well, I was here at the locker room last night and I think, I mean, I could be wrong, but Um... I think I saw Mr. Sandusky... um... Well, I'm pretty sure I saw Mr. Sandusky... Ahh....". Meanwhile Paterno is staring at you with his giant glasses.

Have you ever tried to clearly explain something to someone in their mid-eighties? I listened to a guy I know spend 25 minutes explaining to his ninety year old mother that her clock radio was running five minutes ahead, and his wife was indeed qualified to make the necessary adjustments to get her back on the correct time. Try explaining to a guy in his eighties that whole Jerry Sandusky situation. I think you would probably stay away from phrases like "fucking some kid in the ass" and instead go into more ambiguous choices like "inappropriately touching" or "fondling". You have to wonder what kind of language they used with Joe to make him understand what a couple of janitors and the grad assistant witnessed. For instance, when I hear a word like "fondle", I'm not positive I know what that means. It sounds like something associated with kittens and lambs, doesn't it? It's like a laundry detergent word. "New Tide Pure, now with extra Fondle!" That's a word that sort of pussyfoots around the issue, isn't it?

Here's two sentences. Which one captures the depth of wrongdoing? 1) Jerry Sandusky was seen by a janitor fondling an 11 year old boy. 2) Jerry Sandusky was seen by a janitor blowing an 11 year old boy in the shower. I think we can all agree #2 is more accurate and a little more powerful. Either way you decide to go about it, I would think it would get any one's attention though. You would probably make it some sort of priority to address this scene when the reality sunk in. Certainly beyond mentioning it to someone else in the chain of command and then getting back to scheming on how to beat the Iowa zone blitz. "Hey Bob, Jerry was fucking some kid in the shower last night. You wanna look into that? I gotta go break down some game film. Later!"

So what have we learned after this whole sordid incident? 1) Joe Paterno was either an old man that maybe didn't understand the depth of what was going on, or a little too focused on keeping the football program in a positive light. 2) If you see a grown man spending an inordinate amount of time with young boys, words like "fondling" are going to get thrown around in the future. 3) If you are on a budget this winter, there will be plenty of great opportunities to buy heavily discounted Penn State sweatshirts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Bar Tab

The Cowslingers played a show in Nashville with the Blue Moon Boys at a place called Wolfy’s on Broadway. Broadway is the main tourist strip where bars have bands all day/night bashing out country classics and playing for tips. These bands playing for tips are made up of ringers that come from all over the country with the hopes of landing a gig in Shania Twain’s backing band, and are generally the best musicians you have ever seen. During the day they hope to be playing a session somewhere. If they can't, they sit in on gigs like this. These guys are always really good. Insanely good. Kenny Taylor from the Blue Moon Boys and Bobby Latina watched some fat guy in a baseball cap at Robert’s Western World that they said was maybe the best guitar player they had ever seen. They had no idea who he was. That was at 4:15pm on a Saturday.

Why Wolfy’s thought it was a good idea to have a punky rockabilly band and a scruffy cowpunk band like us wasn’t really clear, but I always liked Nashville, so I was all in. We walked around the tourist traps, tried on Elvis sunglasses, and gazed at instruments for sale so expensive even Garth Brooks would have winced. The best part of the Broadway area is staring at the various hillbillies that have driven into town for a drunken trip to their Mecca, each one of them hoping to spend quality time with Reba or one of the Judds. Although Reba may pretend to want to be with “the people”, the country music social contract does not allow her to be honest and say, “Get the fuck away from my Escalade you scary hillbilly. I’m going home to my 5500 square foot house and getting a massage from my in house servant Ku-Tran”. You have as much chance at hanging with Reba in Nashville as Jennifer Anniston swinging by your squalid apartment to give you oral pleasure. These people live on a different planet than you or I.

Mainstream country music is funny that way. They like to pretend that you might run into any of their chart topping country stars at a Wal-Mart. The illusion that is sold to the un-savvy public is that the difference between artist and consumer is slight. We’re all good folk just trying to get by. The stars are not allowed to distance themselves from the public, not allowed to drive foreign cars, and for God’s sake don’t pretend to be above the audience. “It is such a pleasure to go out on the road and play music for everyone in this great nation. To feel the power of God come through the crowd is amazing. There are so many great towns in America, but I must admit I love home cooking. I love coming home and tasting my Mama’s biscuits.” Meanwhile, Reba is knocking back a 1969 Domaine Romanee Conti after working out with her strength coach and consulting her personal chef. Even the Rubes must know this in their hearts, but they choose not to believe. “The willing suspension of disbelief” I believe it is called…

So there’s a bunch of Rubes wandering around Nashville knocking back Miller Lites, and we’re waiting to play. It was a Saturday night, and we were driving back to Cleveland after the gig. I’m sure I had committed to being at one of my then girlfriend’s never ending string of family get-togethers where I would struggle to stay awake while the other men watched golf. Let me tell you friend, it’s not easy to watch golf in a darkened finished basement when you spent 230a-1030a driving a van back from Tennessee. It would always be the same endgame. I would fall asleep with my mouth open, as her father and uncles wondered why she was wasting her time with me. (This is a question that has yet to be answered I might add.)

We had created a bar tab at the club, and I know we all had a few beers. OK, probably quite a few beers. The only thing I remember about the gig was making a rather distasteful remark about all the Pentecostal women in town for some conference on presumably guilt or private suffering. That didn’t play nearly as well as I thought it would. Eh, what are you going to do? We played the set, broke down our gear, and threw our stuff in the van. The Blue Moon Boys got ready to play, and we clowned around with Nic and Kenny before leaving. We split right as they headed up to play, looking forward to our next gig together. Those guys were the best rockabilly band of that era, hands down. The added bonus was we all liked hanging out together. We tried to do gigs as often as possible. We drove home without incident, and I probably fell asleep in a basement later on Sunday.

I remember calling Kenny afterwards to try and set up some shows. I could never seem to get in touch. Some time passed. Probably a year and a half. We were all doing a lot of traveling, playing the same circuit. We’d see their name on an upcoming flier, or see they had played the club a few weeks prior. I think it was at the Star Bar in Atlanta where a bartender said, “Man, the Blue Moon Boys are pissed at you, huh?” I had no idea what he was talking about.

It turned out that none of us had paid the bar tab in Nashville. Three of us had eaten meals. We all had 6-8 beers. After the show, the guy that owned Wolfy’s had an unpleasant exchange with the Blue Moon Boys and they had to pick up the bill. It was probably about $50, but to guys like us in the mid 1990s, that was a big hit in the wallet. Now, if Kenny had called me the next day and said, “Hey motherfucker! You stuck us with the fucking bar tab!” I would have sent him the cash that day. However, I had no idea we had even done that. Instead they were pissed and we were blissfully unaware.

After I learned of our slight, I called Kenny to repair the breach. He was fine after I explained, but told me how they had shit talked us all though the Southeast. He laughed about it, and I started to understand why I was having trouble getting booked in Alabama and Georgia. So if you ever wondered why you didn’t see the Cowslingers and Blue Moon Boys play for a period of time in the 90s, that’s why.