Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Halloween

The second best Halloween I ever had was when I was 12 years old and went out dressed as the Grim Reaper.  My mother, who had the homemaking skills of a construction worker, somehow managed to stitch together a long black robe with a hood that was meant to accent the scary rubber skull mask I had chosen at Spencer’s after a long and painful deliberation.  I was as terrifying as a five foot kid in a disproportionately large skull mask could be.  It was with great confidence that I strode out to the front lawn to meet my friends.

Time is different when you are twelve.  The wait from the beginning of dusk until actual darkness seemed like two weeks.  My friends and I were all jacked up, over stimulated by the costumes sure, but more because of the great potential of Halloween that laid in front of us like a banquet.  Anything could happen.  We goofed around as we watched bewildered toddlers unsteadily walk up front steps, nervously peering back at their parents.  It must be odd to be a three year old, doing three year old things and minding your own business.  Suddenly, out of the blue, you are shoved into a pirate outfit and then marched around the neighborhood to ask strangers for candy.  Why today?  Does this mean you can ring doorbells on any day and demand food from the giants that live inside?  Walking is tough enough, much less in some movement restricting costume.  Then add into the mix being forced to carry a plastic pumpkin filled with mini Three Musketeers.  You can see the confusion on their faces.

Slowly and painfully night came down on our suburban world.  Why did that hour take a decade but the decade of my thirties take 28 minutes?  When you are 12, the goal is to get as much candy as possible, but also settle a few neighborhood scores.  You can engage in behavior on Halloween night that most fathers will laugh off.  You toss an egg at some kid on July 7th, you might get an asskicking back home.  On Halloween, you are just “a little rascal”.  My friends and I had a bit of a turf war with some kids in the neighborhood that bordered ours.  This was a time of movies like “Warriors”, “The Outsiders”, and all those 50s greaser knock offs.  We were all under the impression we were in some sort of gang, though in retrospect it would have been a gang primarily identified for mouthy sarcasm and decent grades in school.  I don’t remember any of us actually being involved in any violence or crime of any kind, with the exception of what would become a troubling history of mailbox destruction.

Being one of the eldest kids out on Trick Or Treat is about as close as a boy will be to “having the world by the balls” until he is a senior in high school.  Even then, there is no guarantee you’ll be at the cool lunch table.  It’s maybe one of your last times you can feel totally confident and in charge of your world.  Those kids over there?  Pfff.  Ten year olds.  Look at those pussies.  Still out with a parental chaperon.  Look at us.  Men in charge of our own agendas and destiny. 

It was late.  Really late.  We were one of the last groups of kids out.  It was probably all of nine o’clock, but it seemed late.  From around the bend we heard the approach of our arch nemesis and his crew.  We had carefully carried a dozen eggs with us all night, praying we would have this opportunity.  We hurriedly slunk off into the shadows of the nearby trees, armed ourselves and waited for what would be probably the best ambush of our young lives. 

I would like to point out that whenever you have this type of opportunity, there is always one kid that throws his egg too early.  That kid later becomes the guy that gets his whole squad killed in the jungle when he freaks out and starts shooting at the enemy before they reach the kill zone.  Robert was our guy that threw too early.  The egg landed way left of the targeted kids, and the noise caused them to stop.  That’s when everyone panicked and threw their eggs, all of them landing ridiculously off target.  Our arch nemesis immediately started up with the mocking yells and catcalls.  It was then that what may have been my greatest athletic achievement occurred.

I had held one egg back, and let it go with everything I had.  I don’t exactly have a cannon on my arm, but having spent most of all available free time playing backyard sports, I did have experience.  I think because it was so dark, none of them could see it coming.  I had thrown it above the weak driveway light coverage, so when it struck the boy in the middle of the forehead, he must have been stunned.  I will remember the sound of the impact for the rest of my life.  It was so satisfying.

We whooped in triumph and did what any self respecting 12 year old would do after landing a kill shot.  We ran home.  That Halloween was hard to beat.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Super Storm

Having nature and karma all collide at one time does produce fearsome results.  I had a pretty good idea that yesterday would be rough seas, but what a day.  Today is sirens, receding waters, and crawling out from the wreckage to see what’s left.  In the movies there would be a ray of sunshine and inspirational music to let you know “It’s all going to be OK”, but life is so seldom like the movies.  Instead it’s going to rain some more and life is probably going to be kinda fucked up, but what are you going to do? 

Today is one of the worst days for anyone that has to deal with the public.  Today, if you live anywhere on the right side of the US map, you will have to fill your entire day with “storm small talk”.  These storms with high winds are so less satisfying than blizzards, aren’t they?  You can’t engage in the one-upsmanship that is so important in major snowfalls.  “Oh, you had seven inches of snow at your place?  Well, we had nine with drifts over a foot!  Our youngest son froze his leg off!  We had to saw it off with Willard’s circular saw in the garage!”   

It’s impossible to stand by the water cooler and mention “it was windy as fuck” and have it make an impact.  Everyone can say it was “windy as fuck”.  And who has the time or resources to buy and install an anemometer?  (I will freely admit I had no idea what an anemometer was until I looked up “wind speed instrument” on The Google Machine.)  It would be great to calmly sip your coffee, and look up while casually mentioning “Oh, you had gusts of 64?  Yeah.  We had 71.  64 is still pretty strong though.”  Just think of the smug look of superiority you could give… 

The news coverage was as outstanding as I had hoped.  There must be some sort of playbook for how to handle these events.  Every media outlet looked the same.  You have to have someone with sporty rain gear standing next to something that has been destroyed by water, or will display great gusts of water spraying in the background.  That person will struggle against the elements providing clearly evident information like “it’s windy as fuck out here!” and then kick it back to the studio.  The studio anchor will then ask a clearly evident question like “What are authorities telling you about having people standing on the breakwall while 20 foot waves crash against it?”  While the anchor asks this question, the person struggling in the wind will nod knowingly as in “Yes, I understand what you are asking me and I am poised with the answer.”  They will then verbalize this evident answer into the shaking camera something along the lines of “Authorities are telling people not to get swept into the turbulent waters and drowning at this time because it is windy as fuck out here.”  It’s all very helpful. 

My goal today is to transcend the usual conversation.  No one really wants to hear about what your experience was in the storm.  God knows, no one wants to know about my real day.  What they really want is to tell you about themselves, or to hear a story so amazing they can tell it over and over again all day.  That is why I am going to tell everyone I come in contact with that I took my kayak out in the 15 foot swells yesterday afternoon, and worked my way from Edgewater Park on Cleveland’s Westside all the way over to the East 55th Street Pier.  That feat would have been roughly equivalent to have calmly paddled ashore on Normandy Beach during D-Day.  I will then tell everyone that I badly bruised my right side when I was thrust out of the water and up against the rocks of the breakwall, and lost my very expensive new paddle.  Looking back, I feel foolish for engaging in such risk taking behavior, but I suppose this nasty bruise and lost paddle will be my penance.  I think people will like that.  Gotta be better than the truth.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nurse The Hate: The End of Days

This must be the End of Days.  I have had 276 telemarketers call my house to talk to me about how I should vote.  It is impossible to look at a television without learning that Mitt Romney wants to kill old people, Barack Obama has somehow destroyed us all, and everyone and everything is Bad For America.  The sense of desperation from all the election participants hangs in the air with a sickening sweet smell.  People are somehow convinced that if The Other Guy wins, the nation will spiral down into chaos that will make the Dark Ages look like a fucking picnic.  Tales of hoarded gold and ammunition.  Wild stock market fluctuations without explanation.  Crazy stories about wide spread election fraud and vans filled with armed thugs.  Black helicopter sightings and drone planes.  Ohio is the key to this thing, and there is no such thing as “going too far” for either of these creeps. 

Now a monster SuperStorm is coming to destroy us all.  We will soon be washed out to sea on flotsam and jetsam, wailing at an unjust God that has wiped our old world clean.  We will be mumbling to ourselves tales of government controlled Weather Machines that have been used to keep us from voting for The Other Guy.  Sassy wind whipped weather girls will struggle to report the carnage while middle aged men will argue about what it all means safe and snug in the studio.  Far right religious nuts will argue this storm is the sign of an Angry God.  The far left will smugly cry “Global Warming!”  Somehow it will all be tied into The Election That Never Ends.

I am pretty confident that no matter who wins (and Obama is a 2-1 Vegas favorite BTW), your world will continue pretty much as it has up to this point.  Here in Ohio, they will pull up stakes, forget the drunken sailor promises they made to voters, and get back down to the business of skimming the fat from the land.  We will be forgotten.  Again.  Used up and discarded like the true fools we have always been.  We will have no benefit.  There will be no windfall of projects aimed at making our lives better.  No Skittles Rainbow in Cleveland.

It is clear that unless you want to meekly live out your days waiting for the oh-so-sweet release of death, you have to make things happen for yourself.  No one is coming to my rescue.  I know this.  The hand has been dealt.  No one cares. Everything you know is a lie.  Nothing is as it appears.  Swift decisive actions must be taken.  We’re running out of time.  Somehow none of this really matters. 

Here’s all that really matters.  The Giants won the Series. Again. And I had ‘em at 7-1.  See you suckers later.  My flight leaves shortly.         

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Bus

It’s cold and dark in the morning now.  The leaves are almost all off the trees.  The look and smell of the Fall always reminds me of college.  I went back to my old alma mater last weekend.  Sure enough, it looked like college.  Its odd going back to the place where you spent so much time in your early 20s and find it remarkably unchanged that much later.  Sure, the old Mom and Pop bars have been replaced by BW-Panini and Tipsy McStagger’s corporate macrobrew chicken wing bars, but otherwise it’s almost the same.  It’s hard to justify why I felt pissed off that the current group of students were relaxing comfortably at “my” old bar.  Who do they think they are?  Don’t they realize that this space is and always will be mine?  Isn’t it always 1988 and I’m swaggering around with a false sense of bravado?  Where the hell are my roommates?  Oh, they are at Bed, Bath, and Beyond getting a new shower curtain?  Oh… 

I drove past the house I lived in during my senior year and with the exception of a shabby siding job, it’s the same.  That’s probably bad news for the current students that live there now since it was a wreck twenty something years ago and probably should have been condemned.  College students will put up with most anything though.  Hell, I remember when we cut the back lawn for $30 off rent.  The lawn had become so overgrown that I was concerned that when we started the job the cheetah that must have been lurking in the tall grass would leap out and rip out my throat.  Instead of the shitty lawnmower the landlord provided us, he should have given us an old style scythe like we were harvesting wheat in 1920’s Russia. 

The upside to that particular lawn mowing job was when I found a bottle of pharmaceutical grade stimulants that had been discarded in the high grass.  Based on the wear on the plastic container, they must have been out there for a couple years, left there by one of the shady characters that used to come to a backyard bonfire from a former tenant.  It was a Friday afternoon when I found them, and quickly convinced two of my roommates that trying one of the pills out would be a good idea.  Only when you are 21 would you think it was a good idea to take a pill that you found in an old discarded bottle in your rental house backyard.  This is not the behavior of someone with a great deal of accumulated wisdom. 

The pill was remarkably effective, and we all got pretty jacked up.  It was agreed that it would be a great idea to buy a case of beer and listen to The Replacements latest record at great volume.  And away we go…. 

I recall with great clarity the decision to take the second pill.  This was when we were well into the beer, and were listening to the Dead Kennedy’s “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” at a volume that would make your eyes bleed.  The sun was down and we were committed.  By the time we made our way to Ray’s Place, our regular haunt, it had become impossible to stand still for more than four seconds.  We all had a lot to say, yet had no content whatsoever.   

“HeymanI’mgoonagowalkoverthereandseewhatisgoingon.Youwannagowithme?It’sgonnabegreat!”  The next thing you knew you walked around the bar with crazy electricity flying off your skull looking to engage with anyone stupid enough to make eye contact.  In retrospect we should have all been “put down” like filthy animals.  There was no hope, and it was probably Midnight.  Beer was having no discernable effect.  The tequila was like pouring water into sand, disappearing without a trace.   

By closing time we had a line on an after hours party at some guy’s house that had an unusual affinity for Kenny Loggins and Peter Tosh.  These are two very odd musical bedfellows, and it made no sense to me why the music kept switching between terrible Loggins & Mussina tracks and equally terrible 1980s Peter Tosh songs with heavily condensed drums.  Two guys in flannel shirts argued in the kitchen about some nonsense.  Conversations stuttered and spun around without any point or understandable story line.  One lanky guy in a white undershirt was passed out in a chair with his mouth open, and his slack hand held a can of Black Label spilling slowly onto the floor.  There was one girl there and her name was Scrody Jody.  I don’t know if “Jody” was her actual last name.  We weren’t that close.  She was VERY close with some friends of mine though.   

It was quite the social event.  Attendees to this bleak little affair began to drop off like flies as we poured beer after beer into ourselves to little apparent effect.  This was a big surprise as it felt like it was really early.  Hell, it was only 4:30!  Where are you guys going?  The three of us stood alone in the living room, Kenny Loggins blasting out of a stereo.  It was maybe the worst After Hours Party ever.  That’s when I made another bad decision.     

The third pill had kicked in by the time we walked home.  We were hosting a “Homecoming Party” that day, and had six kegs buried in ice in our basement.  We knew a lot of people, and those people told a lot of other people that those fucked up guys in the ugly house on Vine Street were having a shitload of kegs tomorrow.  Our lack of preparation for this party cannot be overstated.  We had beer.  We had ice.  I think we had some cups.  We planned on starting early and keep it going as long as the beer held.  Knowing that people would start showing up around 11am or so, we decided we’d be OK if we could just get five hours of sleep.  We adjourned to our rooms.

You may be surprised to find that sleep does not come easily when you have ingested three horse sized pills that could have probably powered a small car.  I have no idea what these pills were, but this was a totally new experience.  I was completely awake, physically drained, and with no chance of sleep.  By the time I conceded my position, the sun had risen.  I walked downstairs from my attic lair and found the two other guys that had gone out with me already down there.  “Trouble sleeping Boys?” 

We decided there was only one thing to do.  We muscled one of the kegs from the basement up to the front porch and tapped it.  I recall we had five kegs of Blatz, the cheapest beer possible that was still a liquid that could still be considered “beer”, and one keg of Andecker.  Andecker was sort of like Saranac, and was the best beer this particular distributor had.  We tapped the Andecker on the gravel driveway, the dew glistening on the grass as the sun struggled to warm the morning.  It was 7:30.   

I don’t know how many people came to our house that early afternoon.  Seemingly the entire student body was there with a plastic cup.  I remember sitting on the roof looking down at the locusts that had descended on our world.  I can’t imagine how many cups of beer I had consumed by two in the afternoon.  Lack of sleep had created a soft hazy world view.  Everything was sluggish and smushy.  Nothing made sense.  I nodded my head a lot as people leaned in to talk to me, understanding nothing.  The kegs were kicked in an hour and 45 minutes.  By the time the double-decker bus pulled up in front of the house, it didn’t seem odd at all.  Why wouldn’t a stranger ask me to climb into a bus with no stated destination?  Of course.  Double-decker buses routinely drove down residential streets.  Let’s go for a ride…

I found myself with a group of strangers at the Kent State football game.  That’s when a moment of clarity kicked in.  Good Lord man!  Who are these people?  How are you getting home?  Is your home still standing?  It started to get dark.  What time was it?  As I walked down a completely unknown street, a solitary figure in a ridiculous outfit, the bus pulled up next to me.  "You need a ride?"  The driver smiled and handed me a cold bottle of beer as I climbed the stairs.  The bus was otherwise empty.  I asked him questions about who he was, and what he was doing there and received only oblique answers.  It was really unsettling.  He dropped me off, laughed, and drove away the gears audibly changing as he slowly gained speed down the street.

 The house was demolished.  Three strangers sat on the porch working on a twelve pack.  The outrageously loud stereo banged out Butthole Surfers.  All my friends were passed out like gunshot victims around the house.  Sleep was impossible.  I slunk on the porch and the strangers talked about the fortune to be made selling used auto parts in Costa Rica.  One of them “knew a guy”.  None of it made any sense.  It was 1:30 am Sunday when I went to bed.  I slept 15 hours.

 The next day I asked everyone about the double-decker bus.  Whose was it?  Who knew the driver?  No one knew what I was talking about.  Not only didn’t they know the guy, they never even saw a bus.  “What do you mean you never saw a bus?  It pulled up in front of the party!  Dude, you were on the bus with me…”  No one saw a bus.  That leaves the question of how I got out to the football stadium.  An even bigger question is who gave me that now empty bottle of Beck’s I left on the porch…  It really freaked me out.  I pitched the bottle of the remaining pills into the tall grass behind the house.

 I wasn’t sleepy when I was driving around Kent last week.  I’ll tell you this though.  If I was, I’d go look for that bottle of pills.  Those things fucking work. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Ravens

Every time I walk past a TV I see video of Ray Lewis doing that stupid dance of his in slow motion with the announcers intoning about "Life After Ray Lewis For The Ravens".  You would think the guy died, not torn his triceps.  Let's not lose our minds here.  Ray Lewis is a 37 year old linebacker.  The Ravens defense has been coasting on reputation for quite some time now.  That Super Bowl win was in 2000.  You remember 2000?  Our greatest manufactured fears were The Millenium Effect when all the computers were supposedly going to go awry and robots would rule the earth.  Wasn't Civilization as we knew it supposed to end?  I don't even think my microwave missed a step.  That was a looonnnngggg time ago.

Let's talk about the Ravens.  This Ravens team isn't a team that beats you 13-6.  They beat you 31-28.  They are 26th in team defense going into this week.  They give up about the same amount of yards as Carolina and Oakland.  Would you be freaking out if Rolondo McClain got hurt in Oakland?  Do you have any idea who Rolondo McClain is?  I didn't either until I looked him up on the Oakland depth chart and found out he was the middle linebacker.  In the Ravens game against Houston this week, I don't think anyone is stopping anyone.  This feels like a three point game to me, not seven and a half. Take Baltimore +7.5.

Despite not being very interested in the Green Bay Packers, I think I have seen every single one of their games.  The Network loves to put them on the national broadcast so we can all hear about the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field and how wonderful Packer fans are.  Yeah, those pasty fat fuckers pack themselves into their cold weather gear and get all worked up, don't they?.  It looks great on TV.  It looks like it always has while the breathless praise for Bret Favre transitioned smoothly into breathless praise for Aaron Rodgers.  The one thing I have noticed this year is something none of the announcers have mentioned.  The Packers aren't very good.  They are 3-3 and have only covered twice.  Both of their covers were when the opposing QB threw a shitload of interceptions.   The problem this week is Bradford hasn't been throwing interceptions for St Louis.

So this week The Pack goes to the not so hallowed turf of whatever corporation sponsors that awful looking dome they dropped downtown near the good looking baseball stadium in St Louis.  St Louis is about as low profile an NFL franchise as you can get.  I think know three players on the Rams.  Two if Marshall Faulk retired.  Is he still playing?  How about that Kurt Warner fella?  How's that silver haired wife of his?  I'm not even sure if the St Louis Rams games are even televised.  No casual bettor will drop a dime on St Louis.  If you listen carefully you can hear some twenty five year old guys that went to a bachelor party at the Mirage this weekend tell each other how much the Rams suck and the Pack are a lock.  One of those guys, the one in the Tapout t-shirt and tribal band tattoo is shuffling his flip flops to the counter to drop $100 on The Pack right now.  Not me.  I'm taking St Louis +5.

Current Record Against The Spread:  5-5



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Akron

Today there is no debating it.  It is Autumn.  Today I belong walking on a college campus with leaves crunching under my feet, morning beers under my belt, and a bunch of whipped up Rubes surrounding me as I sweat out some sort of heavy wager on a team that I have ambivalent feelings about at best.  Isn't that what college football is all about?  Walking with your girl to see young men you don't know inflict lifelong injuries onto each other for your recreational pleasure?  It's one of the things that made America great, along with Chex Mix, the El Camino, and the musical catalogue of Johnny Burnette.

I have been on a bit of a roll this week with winners in Oregon, Seattle, and Syracuse.  I won't take credit for those on my running total, for as far as you know I am making that shit up to try and appear like I know something.  I don't.  I really don't.  The only thing I know about is public perception, and how it is always wrong.  Not sometimes wrong.  It is always wrong.  Working in media has given me the privileged opportunity to see how little effort goes into reporting facts.  Most of what you see and hear are regurgitated press releases that have been issued by people that have an agenda.  You have to read between the lines.  Who has something to gain?  What is the angle?  Sports reporting is the male equivalent of US Magazine.  "Will Peyton Beat Brady?" is the same shit as "Will Jennifer Take Back Brad From Angelina?" but for dudes.  Why report facts when you can spin a narrative?  Frankly, a good story is better than the likely story, you know?

There are some really good games this week like West Vg v. Kansas State, Florida v South Carolina, and LSU v Texas A&M.  Let me go on record as saying I have absolutely no idea who is going to win any of those games.  I could go down the line and offer West Vg because they are at home and the Mountaineer faithful are going to be out of their minds, Florida because South Carolina is always second rate when push comes to shove, and LSU because most of those players are criminals and don't have anything else to focus on but breaking spines.  These are admittedly nothing but wild guesses.  Allow me to offer you a wild guess with a shred of thought to it.

I like Michigan State today +9.5 over Michigan.  It's very easy to dislike Michigan.  That's not so much because I am from Ohio.  I don't have any beef with the state of Michigan.  Heck, they make fine beer up there and the Lions never did me wrong.  They drive nice and fast there too.  No, I dislike the University of Michigan as their alumni have this smugness to them as if they are a more highly evolved breed.  I believe 40,000 or so people go to school there at any one time, so wipe that aloofness off your face there Bub.  You ain't that special.

Michigan State has always been the school in Michigan that you went to when you didn't get into Michigan.  (Places like Eastern Michigan and other directional schools have been erected for people that would have otherwise been relegated to Cosmetology School, delivering pizzas, or jacking off sailors on videotape for money.  Let's leave them out of it.)  I have always felt bad for Michigan State, because I have played shows in Lansing over the years and the people have always been A-OK.  They just get treated like second class citizens in the press to the darlings at U of M.  So what about Ann Arbor?  Ann Arbor has never booked us because we did not have dreadlocks and I haven't written any songs about "Jah" yet.  There are just too many rich kids pretending to be broke hippies for my taste.  Hey kid, if you can afford to jump into that Volvo, you can probably afford a bath.  Add into the mix an unpaid parking ticket that The People of Ann Arbor keep hassling me about, and I'm emotionally on the side of the Spartans.  

Both of these teams kind of suck.  Michigan State has once again started a season with promise and then lost backbreaking games.  It's what they do.  They have beaten Michigan the last four times these teams have met though.  That's not the way it's supposed to be.  Michigan is supposed to be the Powerhouse.  The story line in this game is "Michigan is back on track and looks to finally beat Michigan State".  It's like the State of Michigan wants to restore order.  I have no faith whatsoever that Michigan State will win this game.  I also could not care whatsoever when you get down to brass tacks.  The only thing that stands out to me is the Michigan State defense is pretty good, and that should keep them hanging around.  These guys all played with and against each other in high school.  I always like these kind of games to stay close.  Take Michigan State +9.5.  

I have no faith in Akron whatsoever.  I have no idea why anyone would go to school there.  Imagine a second rate school plopped down in a decaying shithole second rate town.  Are the kids that go to school there because they couldn't get into Toledo?  What, Cleveland State wasn't taking applications?  The only thing Akron does right is have a May Day party every year where local thugs march into off campus housing and beat the crap out of backward ballcap frat guys when the beer and drugs run out.  The soccer team is good.  Basketball is OK.   Football?  Well, they have some problems...

My well documented disbelief in the ability of coach Terry Bowden will not get in the way of my taking a rather shaky Zips as a seventeen point underdog today.  Akron is at home.  I don't know if this offers any advantage because I don't know if anyone goes to the games.  Most of the students probably went home to Barberton to have Mommy do their laundry instead of dressing up as a Zip (whatever that is) and jumping around in their new nearly empty football stadium.  Still, being at home is good in small time college football.  19 year olds get all out of sorts when they go out of town.  Ever see a school bus trip to New York?  Those kids get overstimulated.

This game is interesting under the surface.  Northern Illinois has had some relatively high profile wins vs Kansas and Army with a close shave vs Iowa to start the year.  The Gambling Nation assumes they are Pretty Good.  Akron is uniformly assumed to be awful, which they are.  Make no mistake about it.  They totally suck.  But the question is, how bad do they suck?  Eighteen points suck?  Is that even a sentence?  The only team Akron has lost to my more than 17 is Tennessee.  I think we can all agree that Northern Illinois is not Tennessee.  Akron has been hanging in there in high scoring games, and that's what I like to see in a big underdog.  Northern Illinois does not have a great pass defense, and the one thing Akron can do is throw the ball.  I love this game as a nice cheap backdoor cover late.  Give me an otherwise meaningless touchdown pass with :43 on the clock to cut the Northern Illinois lead to 13.  Take Akron +17.

Current Record Against the Spread:  4-4

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Hospice

My grandmother was a glamorous woman in her youth, and matured into an attractive upper class Chicago housewife.  She was born in an age when women's goals were relegated to securing the right man and tending a respectable house.  She was always very pleasant to everyone she met, though slightly reserved probably from spending a life of biting her tongue in the company of my grandfather.  Still, she lived a life of privilege and by all outward appearances had everything a woman could want.  Successful businessman husband, three children, house in affluent Chicago suburb, and was by all accounts attractive and always stylishly dressed.

Like all people of means in colder climates, they moved to Florida after my grandfather's retirement.  The Big Lie of retirement did not spare him either, and he became debilitated by several horrifying strokes shortly after arriving in The Sunshine State.  My grandfather slowly passed away,  bedridden for years, left a shadowy whisper of who he had earlier been.  My grandmother spent a few more years afterwards in Florida, yet another widow looking for ways to manufacture a new identity and a sense of purpose.  As her health began to fail in her eighties, it was decided that my Aunt would care for her by her home in rural Wisconsin.  In short order she went from independent living to assisted living to hospice. 

As she approached the end of her life, my brother and I joined my father for what we knew would be our last visit with her.  I had not seen my grandmother in a few years.  She had become evasive as she aged, avoiding opportunities to see family members when they traveled near her home.  It was like she had become embarrassed that things had fallen apart from what had been such a carefully constructed outward appearance of The Good Life.  The last time I saw her she had been a dazed woman at her husband's funeral.  She seemed confused and disoriented.  Who could blame her?  Being his caretaker had been her full time job from the dinner parties of the 1940s through the assisted living care towards the end. 

The assisted living/hospice where she had been placed was a small facility.  It was like something from a John Irving novel, with eight to ten beds.  Most visits to assisted living facilities are built around the idea that the visitors pretend that nothing is odd to see Grandma looking frail as a little bird wilted in her bed.  You put on the brave face and speak extra enthusiastically "Hey grandma!  It's me!  It's Greg!  How's it going?"  The key is to offer that stupid unanswered question.  You never know for sure what the patient is hearing and understanding, but if they have any wits about them you know they must be thinking "How am I doing?  I look like a dusty old puppet and I don't have the strength to move my head.  How the hell do you think I'm doing Junior?"

I was gathering up my energy to ask whatever stupid question was going to pop out of my mouth as I ascended the stairs.  You can imagine my surprise to see on the first door to the right what looked to be a ninety year old man in an Indian headdress.  His eyes were closed and his mouth slacked open, withered arms placed at his sides.  It was obviously a pretty off kilter look for a facility like this.  Let me stress that he wasn't an American Indian.  He was some very elderly man probably named Carl.  What the fuck was he doing in a full Indian headdress?  I tried to work out a scenario that made sense as I walked down the hallway.  Looking back, that should have prepared me somewhat for seeing my grandmother.  Still, I was not in the correct mental place to walk in and see my little grandmother in a blue cowboy shirt and straw cowboy hat, eyes closed and head propped up on a mountain of pillows.  My Aunt, not behaving as if anything was unusual, tried to wake her.  "Mom!  Mom!  Look who's here!  Mom!"

Her eyes fluttered open and her head tilted back, her face showing fear.  She had no idea who we were.  Of course, it must have thrown her that her grandkids were also wearing faces filled with confusion as the woman they had always known as the stylish cosmopolitan maven had been replaced by a cowgirl.  Yippee-Ki-Hi-Oh!

It was explained to us it was "Western Day", and they dressed the poor patients as either cowboys or Indians.  I could not imagine any circumstance in which my grandmother would have previously dressed as a cowboy, but it wasn't like she had a say on it now.  Imagine sitting there in bed thinking "I feel like shit and now I'm being dressed to go to a hoedown?  I can't even walk.  How am I going to square dance?"  Thank God I didn't walk in during "Wizard of Oz Day" or "Allies and Axis Day".  Seeing my grandmother dressed in a Nazi SS Stormtrooper uniform would have been too much for my mind to bear.  Can you imagine walking into a hospice room to see your dying grandmother dressed as the Tin Man?  It really seems like a questionable policy on the part of the facility.  "Hi grandma!  It's me!  It's Greg!  Let me adjust your tin cap!  Do you have your little woodsman's axe?  Grandma?  Blink once if you know where the axe is..."

We had a brief awkward visit where I don't think my grandmother figured out who we were, though my Aunt graciously said that she did.  I don't think my Aunt wanted us to feel we traveled all those hours and miles for nothing.  She's a nice lady like that.  We left town after a quick lunch.  My grandmother died later that week.

The only thing worse than dying too young is dying too late.  If anyone reading this sees me dressed up in a wild costume in a hospice facility, help me out.  Don't let me go like that.  Unless I am in a cowboy shirt.  I may have worn that one on purpose.    

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate The NFL

I knew yesterday was bound to happen, yet I was powerless to stop it.  I knew nothing about Cal.  I knew even less about Texas Tech if that's possible.  Yet, I threw money on these games with the sheer confidence of a man that got lucky on a couple of baseball underdogs.  It was a cry for help, and not one of you stopped me.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  Now you have left me with one thing to do, and that's get after today's NFL games with such fervor that an intervention may need to be called.

The Browns are playing the Giants today in a game everyone in NE Ohio assumes will end in yet another humiliation for the Browns.  The Browns are 0-4 and have never seemed in danger of actually winning a game.  That being said, they only really got blown off the field by Buffalo.  It seems like a perfect game to take Cleveland +8 and chuckle knowingly as the Giants win by seven.  The line hasn't always been eight though.  The line opened up at Giants -13 and is now all the way down to -8.  I can't ever recall seeing an NFL line move five points unless a starting QB was decapitated in a horrible boating accident.  (Cue Richard Dreyfuss cleaning glasses saying, "Boating accident?  Boating accident!?!  That was no boating accident!")

That means one of two things.  1)  The big money players jumped on Cleveland with the points, and all the Rubes money put together can't come close to canceling it out.  Ten guys put $10 million on Cleveland and Everyone Else together can't come close to equalling that. The books are desperately dropping the line so the guy at the Plumber's Convention at Bally's will say "The Giants won the Super Bowl last year.  Cleveland sucks.  This is easy money.  Gimme $50 on New York!"  2)  Or EVERYONE is on Cleveland and they need as much money as possible on the Giants to balance the books.  "Hal.  Have you seen the totals on this Cleveland/Giants game?  We better put some money on the Giants side, or the Boys Back Home are not going to be happy.  Drop it down to ten.  We did that already?  Jesus...  OK.  Drop it down to eight."

If EVERYONE is on one side, I'm on the other.  I'm guessing that the books got caught at 13, and now they are overcompensating with the eight.  I wouldn't be surprised to see big money trying to middle it.  Hell, I would.  Giants -8.

You really have to bet on this New England v Denver game.  Even if you are reading this and saying, "Damn.  I wish he posted another story about Leo shitting somewhere instead of this sports shit.".  Get excited.  It's the big Soap Opera game of the day.  Big stars meeting on the field of conquest.  Superlatives at every turn.  Lots of flowery compliments floating to all sides.  Words like "genius" used to describe guys that throw balls to other guys.  It's really the best.

If you have seen the pregame promos, you would be under the impression that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are playing one-on-one with each other as "Peyton Manning and the denver broncos take on Tom Brady...and the new england patriots."  You wouldn't even know that there are other guys on the teams.  Why is it whenever these Brady v Manning games happen, it always seems like Brady is home?  Do the Patriots actually play road games, or did the NFL decide that it was better for ratings if they played all their games at home since they knew the right camera angle to show owner Robert Kraft every ten minutes?  What's the over/under on when the announcing team mentions Kraft's wife died?  I think the Mirage has it listed at 11 minutes.

I'm not totally sold in on New England.  I know they will finish 11-5, win the division, and play a home playoff game vs Peyton Manning in January, but they don't have that "pound your prick into the dirt" thing they usually have.  They appear to be just a pretty good team.  Denver was a pretty good team last year when Jesus Christ was their QB, and they won games exclusively with great defense for 3.5 quarters and then Divine Intervention finished it off.  While not having Jesus on your team is a loss on the personnel side, Peyton Manning is still pretty good.  I think this game is decided by a late field goal, so I am taking Denver +6.5 despite the fact that there has already been a "roughing the passer" call on Denver because the wind whipped Brady's hair.  

Current Record Vs Spread:  4-4


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate College Football

I am feeling rather smug today after hitting both of the baseball underdogs yesterday.  This is a bad place to be mentally as the weather is expected to be cold and crappy all day.  I will be stuck indoors with nothing to do.  I'm like a six year old with a credit card.  Those winners on the dogs yesterday will lead me to believe that I am on some sort of predestined roll, and begin to throw large sums of money at college football teams that I probably can't even identify the mascot of, much less an individual player or team strength.  If I don't check myself, I might say "Colorado State can't put any pressure on the QB, and with Fresno's speed outside, no way they can stop Fresno from covering seven."  I don't know if a single part of that is true, but I'm telling you right now that's exactly the kind of shit talk you might get from me if I win these early games.

God help us all.

Every single person you know is on Boston College today.  That woman that just walked by with her little dog?  She's got a hundo on BC.  Probably has 50 on the over.  That kid on the BMX bike?  He has BC wheeled in on some kind of seven team play involving the OVER on the West Virginia/Texas game.  I don't blame any of them.  Army is fucking terrible.  Army lost to Stony Brook 23-3 last week at home.  I will have to look it up, but I think Stony Brook is a retirement community.  Army is 0-4 running an offense from 1952, and there is no hope in sight.  Granted, Boston College blows too.  They beat Maine, and lost to the three legitimate teams they played this season.  But still, they beat Maine, right?  That's gotta count for something.

I am going to go with my time proven method of counter selecting and take Army +7.  I would like to go on the record as saying this is like taking Poland +4 vs Germany in 1939.  I can offer no real reason why Army will win this game, or even hope to compete.  This is self destructive behavior on my part.  This line should be Boston College -11, but it isn't.  That means you have to go Army +7.   Gulp.

I don't really know anything about Oklahoma or Texas Tech.  I drove through Norman Oklahoma this Spring and it is a desolate plain utterly without charm.  It's probably a good place to buy a pickup truck or meet a gal with child birthin' hips named Kristin.  Oklahoma has always had a national identity as a football powerhouse, and that's always good when an underdog like Texas Tech is at home.  Guys like me that don't know anything but want a reason to feel dialed in to the Oklahoma game on ESPN will bet on Oklahoma because it's a team they have watched have past success.  "Oklahoma...  They're good.  Gimme fifty on them."

The home team in this game has won seven of the last eight.  The game today is in Texas Tech, and they are getting five.  Sounds good to me.  I don't know where the campus of Texas Tech is, but I bet it's a flat desolate plain where you can buy a used pickup truck and meet a nice blonde with birthin' hips named Brandi.  All things considered, I will take the five points and the home field.  Texas Tech +5.

UCLA is favored going into Cal by 2.5.  I don't know why it isn't more.  Cal is 1-4, and 1-4 against the spread with their only cover against Ohio State.  Let's be honest here, Ohio State and the rest of the Big 10 are not exactly the cream of the crop in college football this year.  Anyone from the Pac-10 should cover vs the Big 10.  That being said, I saw Cal play a couple of times this season and I wasn't what you would call "impressed".  In fact, I fell asleep on the couch with my mouth open one time, and the other I got distracted by a rerun of the movie "Rushmore".  This does point out that I am watching these games much less than in a "scout" capacity, but more as a "degenerate" role.  Still, you don't have to be an expert to watch Nickleback play several gigs to know that they suck.  Why do I have to watch five games of Cal?  You can just look at things sometimes and say "Hmm.  That's not very good, is it?"

I keep reading a lot of West Coast press about this being a "trap game" for UCLA.  That seems like a smoke screen to me.  It's a planted story by either the UCLA coaches to get their kids attention, or it's from the sports books trying to get some money on Cal.  UCLA is 4-1 against the spread, and I think they cover a field goal here.  UCLA -2.5  

Current Record Vs. Spread:  3-2

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Pumpkin Beer

Once again proving that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I assembled as many pumpkin beers as I could to try and get a handle on them.  Which of the zillion seasonal beers are any good?  The problem was I managed to buy 19 different ones, and then set out to sample them all in one sitting.  I’ll give you my tasting notes, but 19 are way too many to try at once, so proceed with caution.  I tried to focus in as best I could, but the tasting notes are as subjective as hell.  If you brewed any of these and have a problem with what I said, I will fight you.  Or we could try your beer again and I will have a totally different opinion and love your beer.  Who knows?  This is what I thought last night...

Arcadia “Jaw Jacker”-  This is pretty damn good.  I’m not a huge fan of Arcadia generally, but this may be related to the time I was there when some guy that claimed to be a partner at Arcadia tried to sell me on some awful blues song he had written.  It’s not easy to enjoy a beer when the most Caucasian guy you have ever seen is trying to sing clunky blues lyrics acapella pretending he is Blind Willie Chitlin from Mississippi.  Putting that terrible experience aside, this is well balanced with a nutmeg open and almost a whiskey finish. 

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin-  As you probably know, Blue Moon is owned by Coors.  Coors is America’s worst macro brewery that tries to sell that Coors Light shit as the “coldest” beer, as if every moron can’t see through the fact that you can make any beer any temperature you want.  “No!  Bartender!  Better put down that Bud Light and give me the Coors Light instead.  That Coors Light is probably much colder and therefore delicious.”  This is like a thin piece of pumpkin pie and not awful.  It’s just not interesting.  If this was a band, it would be Foreigner. 

Buckeye Brewing Pumpkin Dead-  For lack of better terminology, this had a lot of bass notes.  This beer was like going over to a Stoner rock band’s house for Thanksgiving.  They may have some pumpkin pie for you, but it’s served to you with a cigarette butt in it by a guy with missing teeth.  It’s like he’s saying, “Enjoy the beer Fuckface.”. 

Buffalo Bill’s Original Pumpkin Ale-  This claims to be the first pumpkin ale, but that is probably the same thing as the 500 bars that claim to have served the first chicken wing.  Let’s just assume they have been doing it for awhile.  This one is very light and playful, if that makes sense.  One of the few Pumpkin Ales I could imagine having more than one of, it’s got an orange zest flavor that makes it pop.  I could see drinking this and watching those guys in the Flaming Lips do their thing. 

Dogfish Head Punkin- This beer isn’t fucking around.  The cinnamon hits you hard early and then it gives way to a heavy clove taste.  These guys at Dogfish make plenty of heavy flavor beers, so you can’t be surprised at how assertive this tastes.  That clove thing threw me.  This is like a wiseass hipster with a beard that smokes clove cigarettes and hates every band except Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. He’s sure he’s the bastion of taste and everyone respects him, but at the end of the night goes home to jack off in a sock looking at underwear ads.  What does that makes the beer?  Interesting and a little perverted?  Is that a compliment? 

Heavy Seas “The Great Pumpkin”- This thing is heavy duty.  It’s almost liquor.  When I drink this, I think of showing up uninvited at a biker party where they smash a giant jack-o-lantern over my head.  The last thing I hear before the concussion leaves me unconscious is distorted Black Oak Arkansas coming from an old boom box. 

Hoppin Frog Double Pumpkin- This is very polite.  There is an unripe pumpkin quality to it and the spices are restrained.  It’s OK but a little disappointing.  I really like Hoppin Frog’s beers, so I expected more.  It’s like when you got a copy of Reverend Horton Heat’s “Liquor In The Front" and thought it was going to be like “Full On Gospel Sounds” but instead it was “Liquor In The Front”. 

Ithaca Country Pumpkin- Ithaca has lots and lots and lots of hippies.  Hippies do a couple of things pretty well.  They are good at making pot pipes out of found objects and good at making beer.  I don’t know what the hell happened in this case.  The flavor profile is OK, but there’s too little carbonation.  “Dude!  I think the air is getting out of the bottle!”  This is Pumpkin Stroh’s.  Maybe the guys that make it aren’t hippies.  Maybe they used to sell office equipment.    

New Holland Ichabod-  This beer was swampy.  Lots of cinnamon and not enough ginger/nutmeg flavors for my taste.  I bet there was a bunch of dudes with beards standing around brew tanks and everyone pussed out when the head brew master said “What do you think?”.  Hey man…  You remember how Steve flipped out last year when I said the IPA wasn’t hoppy enough?  I’m not saying shit about this…  We’ll be making the Xmas Ale in a month.  I’m keeping my mouth shut until then. 

Brooklyn Brewing “Post Road Pumpkin”-  This just flat out smelled good.  It has really good balance and isn’t heavy.  I got to the end of the glass and I wanted more, and I can’t say that about most of these.  This beer was like being at a Cramps show, they end their set, and you look around thinking, “Damn!  That’s it?  There’s no more?”.   

Rivertown Pumpkin-  There is a ton of molasses in this flavor profile, which made it unique amongst these beers.  When I taste molasses, I think “old timey” like Jerry Garcia playing in a jug band.  Unfortunately when I drank this I also wrote in my notes “…there’s so much molasses, it’s like you ate out someone’s grandma…”.  I don’t think the brewery is likely to put that quote on their website, but it’s honest.  Well, it’s the first thing I thought of anyway. 

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin-  This had the darkest color of all of them.  It tastes kinda macro, with a thin processed mouth feel.  Still, it is balanced and tastes like it is supposed to taste.  You drink it and think “Yep.  That’s a pumpkin ale all right.” and that’s sort of it.  I’m not too sure that to think of Sam Adams.  It seems like I should always like their beer more than I do.   

Saranac Pumpkin Ale-  This is another big hippie brand.  If you go to Western NY, the folks love their Saranac.  I think this is because Saranac got into the micro/craft beer game really early.  The problem is their beer just can’t hang with the Big Boys.  This is OK.  It has the spicy autumn feel, but I didn’t get very excited.  I went to see Phish one time.  People were very excited.  I couldn’t figure it out.  I left after their first set.  No one seemed to mind.  Like Phish, Saranac will do fine without me.  

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale-  I bought this in Indiana where they guy at the beverage store was all jacked up about this brewery.  He was also jacked up about the Cleveland Browns, so I took his opinion with a grain of salt.  However, I have a newfound respect for that poorly dressed gentleman with the copious amount of ear hair.  This beer is terrific.  This tastes like Thanksgiving.  It reminds me of when I saw The Blasters play.  It immediately raised the bar on the whole damn thing. 

Shipyard Pumpkin Ale-  This is pretty light on the stereotypical flavors.  It’s more like pumpkin zest ale instead of pumpkin ale.  I had pretty high expectations for this and was disappointed.  Imagine you went to a rock show on a Friday night and hoped Jack White was going to blow your head off, and instead Bon Iver shuffled out.

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin-  And then I tried this…  This is smooth, tough, and assured.  All the flavors are amped up, and the alcohol content is too.  You knock back a couple of these, you’ll probably end up in a wheelchair.  The Shipyard Pumpkin Ale is Iggy Pop on his “Blah Blah Blah” album and this is The Stooges “Fun House”.  Blah Blah Blah is OK, but why listen to that when you have Fun House? 

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale-  I looked at my notes and uncomfortably noticed I had written “…really herbal musky like a hippie chick’s two day old panties.  I can imagine gagging pulling them down while her Siamese cat looked on impassively”.  I would like to take a moment to say that I have never had that experience, and it takes quite a flavor for that to be projected into my mind.  This was not my favorite beer of the evening. 

Southern Tier Pumking-  This is a warm friendly hug.  It’s a big piece of pumpkin pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  It’s dessert in a glass, and it’s really good.  When I was 17 and interested in tricking cheerleaders out of their sweaters, this would have been a very effective tool.  “Yes my dear… drink deeply.  This elixir is just like candy.  Pay no attention to the 8.6% alcohol content.  Yessss.   Yessssss…. Now step into this van.”  You know, who am I kidding?  We had Bartles & James wine coolers and that didn’t help me either.  Chloroform wouldn’t have even helped.  I just had to outgrow that awkward stage, and with luck 2013 is the year I do just that!        

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin-  This has a reddish color with plenty of dark flavors.  It’s just not very reminiscent of autumn or pumpkins.  I had just had the super sweet Pumking from Southern Tier, and this style is so dramatically different it probably didn’t show as well as it normally would have.  I did get this image of a goateed goth guy in a creepy leather outfit picking his teeth with a long pinkie fingernail asking me detailed questions about where I lived.  Every time I would try to change the subject, he just pressed on wanting to know about what kind of locks I had, a security system, and so on.  I knew he would be waiting to hurt me one night, and like a bad dream I couldn't get away.  Is it possible for pumpkin ale to be evil?

My top three were Schlafly, Southern Tier, and Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin.  I figure if you are drinking a specialty beer like this, you may as well go all the way.  These all had sweetness but ultimately you felt like you wanted more than 4 oz of them.  The Schlafly comes in traditional six packs of 12 oz bottles, while the Pumking and Smashed Pumpkin are both 22 oz pricey single serve bottles.  Drink up Cheese.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Hate Six Flags

We were driving in the van past Six Flags Amusement Park, woefully late to a show in Lexington KY.  I mentioned how many years prior I had gotten shockingly intoxicated in the Park and tossed an entire prize hut of stuffed animals into a pond by “The Beast” rollercoaster.  The soggy giant stuffed bears floated lazily across the pond, children pointing and yelling for some sort of explanation from their disgusted parents.  It was a terrible episode where I had lost all ability to function in polite society.  Parents shielded their eyes from the carnage. 

When Johnny, my compatriot, threw up after riding some horrible rollercoaster, we hadn’t even reached close to rock bottom.  We later burned every piece of plastic lawn furniture we came across in the campground we shared with other unlucky vacationers, black smoke rising like a toxic warning to all to stay away from the area.  The next day we were crippled by hangovers that would have killed normal men.  We collapsed in a parking area by the park and broasted in the sun like rotisserie chickens.  It was not my finest hour.

“I shit myself there.”

Excuse me?

“Yeah.  I shit myself there.” Leo said.

That’s the thing with having Leo around.  Whenever you think you have a really fucked up story, he just casually tosses out having shit himself.  Despite having driven around with him for a decade at that point, I had no idea the man had shit himself at this Family Fun Center.  Then again, I had never specifically asked him about “After Prom” in his senior year of High School.

Leo then told us about how he had traveled to King’s Island after prom, though I do not recall his going to Prom itself.  He and his friend Kevin, later christened “Dusty” for a sexual dry spell that lasted through most of his twenties, shared a discount hotel near the amusement park.  They spent the day at the park without much incident, but when they decided to make a visit to the liquor store to buy a fifth things got a little confusing.  So confusing that when Leo woke up in the morning, he was sleeping covered in his own excrement.  I like to think of that famous scene in the Godfather when the guy wakes up with the horse head in the bed.

While Dusty left the room to collect his thoughts, Leo went to the shower to try and regain some control over his world.  He recounted, with unflinching detail, having to pick out larger pieces of fecal matter that would not go down the drain, and then tossing them in the toilet.  It may not be rock bottom, but for an eighteen year old it had to be pretty damn close. 

Now this is where Leo really gets you.  While you sit back and try to visualize that horror, he then casually says, “The second time I shit myself was in Florida…” 

I beg your pardon.  The second time?  Another terrible story from the same period in his life unwinds.  He and his brother get into a drinking contest with a bottle of vodka.  He beats his brother in arm wrestling for the first time ever.  Celebration ensues.  The way the vodka flowed, it must have been like when the Russians took Berlin.  Once again he wakes up in a hotel room bed like the guy from the Godfather.  I like to think of it as a Motel 6, so that way whenever I hear that “We’ll leave the light on for ya” commercial, I think of a motel bed with so much shit on it you would think they kept goats in the room.  As I recall, this time he threw the sheets away in the dumpster, sort of like you would if you committed a terrible crime.  (Which he had in a way)

I don’t know if Leo ever shit himself again.  I’ll tell you this though.  I’m going to ask.