Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Bullshit Blizzard

I woke up this morning with the full expectation of seeing bodies stacked in New York, all hope lost, and a population reduced to cannibalism.  For a full 48 hours the media bludgeoned me with a non-stop barrage of breathless headlines.  The Biggest Blizzard In NYC History.  Record Snowfalls.  Two to Three Feet.  Complete closures of all forms of transportation just to try and minimalize death and mayhem.  Once the proverbial snowball started rolling, there was no stopping it.  The unquenchable thirst of the never ending news cycle made coverage take on increasingly hysterical tones and the overreaction of the population matched the rhetoric.  I especially enjoyed seeing footage of elderly women fighting over cans of soup at a New York grocery store yesterday afternoon.

This morning brought the realization that six to eight inches fell in New York.  Six to eight inches?  What the fuck…  A decent snowfall to be sure, but this certainly did not justify the closure of all roadways, subways, and airports.  The media then spent the morning reporting on lost revenue for the region due to all the closures (which they helped create in the first place) and took on the tone of “Phew!  What a close call!”.  This eerily matched the failure of last year’s “Snowmageddon” to transpire.  They used the same playbook last year as well, portraying all the residents they had terrified the previous day as being “lucky”.  Once again the boy has cried “wolf” and we have all taken the bait.

I don’t know how any of those assholes that spent yesterday warning NYC about impending doom can stand in front of a camera and pretend to offer any expertise.  What most of the population does not realize is that the vast majority of these people whipping the population into frenzy are C-students from broadcast schools, a curriculum about as challenging as cosmetology school.  To put it bluntly, the analysis of world events and current  dangers are being filtered for you by people that are as qualified to sort this information as “Krystal” the single mother chain smoking serial bad decision girl in tight pants that cuts your hair.  I mean, sure, there’s a few people that have some smarts, but how can anyone digesting this media be expected to know who knows something and who won a State Fair Beauty Contest and can read a teleprompter? 

Now the storm is going to hit New England.  The coverage will take on a much less hysterical tone as New England is used to getting hit crappy weather, but more importantly as all media is centered in New York, the media outlets won’t care as much.  For example, if NE Ohio gets six to eight inches of snow it would not even garner more than a “…and snowfall across Ohio…” brief mention.  When this same weather hits New York, it becomes a Category One Emergency.  “Don’t you understand?  This is happening to US!  IT’S REAL NOW!”. 

Most people that live in New York, or “The City” as it is commonly called, are under the impression that it is the only place on the planet with value.  They are positive of this as they spend 100% of their time in their local 10-12 block area and assure each other consistently how much vastly superior they are to “Flyover Country”.   While most of them live a lifestyle akin to an Urban Serf, laboring consistently to pay inflated rent for shithole apartments to allow them to theoretically attend unique cultural events that they won’t actually attend because they can’t afford it, they will all smugly let you know that they live in The City.  You are but a small furry animal.  They have evolved well beyond you.   

As I trudged around outside in the snow with the hounds and 10 degree temperatures, I thought of The City.  I thought, “what a bunch of pussies”.  I hope they had their hard fought cans of soup and are snuggled up in their roach infested shithole apartments and are watching CNN show their clear empty streets while the rest of us slide our way to our jobs like normal.  In theory we should line up some of these “journalists” that created this national slowdown and create a real media event, but public executions are so Spanish Inquisition and “out” this year. 

I’ll tell you this about the next “White Death Monster Fuck Storm”.  I will believe it when I see it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Bender

I've seen a lot of movies lately.  One of the things that has gone on in each one of these movies is the scene where the guy is down and out, sitting at the bar, looking down at a highball glass with just the remnants of some dangerous colored liquor in it.  The inference is that he has been there for quite some time ruminating in his problem and finding solutions in the quiet isolation of the dive bar.  In a couple of these movies the bartender has turned out to be a worldly sage, filled with wisdom dispensed at just the right moment.  The main character has an "a-ha" revelation thanks to the bartender, and whirls out of the bar after downing the last of his cheap scotch.  Problem solved.  This runs counter to my experience.  In my experience most bartenders in this scenario are dangerous losers that are like drowning swimmers, eager to drag you down to the bottom of the cruel sea.  If they were so smart, why would they be working somewhere earning $37 a shift?

There is something very romantic about the self destructive bender as portrayed in American cinema.  In the event the woman that is your true love crushes you in some manner, the key is to get very intoxicated at the sleaziest bar in the general area.  If Hollywood is correct, what will happen is that she will either come to fetch you professing her love or come tend to you in your home when you arrive there shattered at the end of the bender.  This is, of course, patently untrue.  I had a friend that used to firmly embrace this tactic, but in my memory the only thing that happened was that he got home really late and ordered pizzas.  Well, one time he went over to a woman named Rotten Rita's apartment and ejaculated inside of her and hoped she didn't get pregnant when her period was late that month.  Neither of those, especially the "Rotten Rita" scenario, are exactly what were promised by Hollywood.  He really should have known better.  Going over to "Rotten Rita's" can never end well.

I tried it one time.  My girlfriend at that time appeared to be 100% focused on playing with my emotions and seeing if she could crush my soul.  It was one of those situations where I would see her in the morning and it would be laughs and smiles.  At the end of the day despite no interaction in the previous eight hours, I would go to her apartment and find her crying in the dark saying things like "Why do you think I'm so sad?  Is it our relationship?".  At the time I took it personally, as I was fairly certain that I had somehow failed as a man.  Men like to fix things.  This was unfixable.  I now realize that she had some rather hefty mental health issues.  I just had drawn the short straw on the role of "male lead that meets tragic end" in the film she was producing.

Towards the bitter end of our time together I went to pick her up as we had agreed earlier that day.  She wasn't home.  I waited a reasonable amount of time.  As this was before everyone had Gordon Gekko cell phones, I called into her home answering machine to let her know I was pissed off about being blown off (and honestly really hurt and embarrassed).  I don't know what the hell happened but I must have hit my phone keypad somehow to trigger her machine to send the received messages out to me as if I had called in for them.  It was then I learned a guy named "Phil" had let her know he was running five minutes late but he would arrive well in time to whisk her out before my arrival.  Ha!  What a lark!  I loved how he laughed about it on the message.

I was quite out of sorts.  I did recall with vivid clarity that Page One of the Young Man's Playbook dictated that I needed to tie one on at the shittiest bar possible and sort some things out.  I did just that.  I sat on a ripped red fake leather stool at a horrible Lakewood bar called Sullivan's or Clancy's or something like that.  I had never been there before and never returned.  The only thing I remember with clarity is the men's room urinals stunk like decades of piss despite a heroic cracked urinal cake that offered a detergent smell over the top of the stench.  The bar had one of those peanut machines with a heat lamp on the lid for the 50 cent serving of nuts in a paper cup.  There was also a big jar of eggs floating in a sickly purple fluid.  I didn't order one, nor did any of the other three patrons.  I drank cheap draft beers and whiskey shots.  Old Crow as I recall.  I normally drank neither.

The plan went south fairly quickly.  The whiskey helped my emotions go from "self pity" to "indignant anger" in short order.  By around midnight I lurched to the payphone and left a horrible message on her machine.  It was really bad.  After sitting down and having another round, I hit the booth again and left another much worse message although I secretly hoped she was home, would pick up and the whole thing was some sort of mistake.  I was a complete mess by this point.  The bartender offered no sage advice.  He pretty much ignored me and spent most of his energy absentmindedly picking at a medium sized growth on his neck that was probably cancerous.

By this time I was feeling vindictive, and headed over to my version of Rotten Rita.  Honestly, she was a really nice girl that had unfortunately taken a shine to me in a very unfortunate time period for me.  Wrong place, wrong time.  The last thing she needed was a little visit from some guy that thought he was a lead in a B-movie at one in the morning.  I think my plan was that I would show up over there and present myself as some sort of victim.  She would immediately identify me as someone that had been wronged, and offer me comfort in her cozy apartment.  I was doing her a favor by dropping by unannounced at 1:00 am.  I would probably have acrobatic passionate love with her, evening the score with my girlfriend as well as providing earthly delights to this enamored young woman.  What a swell plan!

What actually happened was that I was greeted at the door like I had just emerged from a roadside disaster.  I believe her words to me after she had rubbed the sleep from her eyes were "Oh my God?  What's wrong with you?  Did you get in an accident?".  I babbled what I thought was some witty banter that resulted in her looking at me with a combination of pity and horror.  Very quickly she put me on her couch with a quilt and hoped I passed out, which I did in approximately 17 seconds.  I woke up the next day and slunk out of the apartment with a terrible hangover that could be described as crippling, but not before her friend arrived at the house to stare at me on the couch and hiss to my hostess "What is that loser doing here?" as they retreated to the bedroom.

It was not my proudest moment.

My experience with the "Finding Solace At The Shitty Bar" can't be that singular.  I can't ever recall anyone that I know personally that has said, "Yeah, I was really having some issues with Sheila, but then I really tied one on down at The Brass Rail.  Next thing you know, we just worked it all out.  It was good to really knock back all that whiskey before really digging into those problems."  It's not that I don't believe in movies.  They have taught me that teenagers having sex anywhere will be killed by axe murderers.  If an unattractive girl takes off her glasses, she will become the prettiest girl in the room.  Her hair will also fall down and be revealed to by a shimmering mane.  That's tied into the glasses somehow I guess.  In war, any company of soldiers will have a country boy that is God Fearing yet a crack shot/killing machine.  There will also be an older Sargent that won't even notice exploding bombs and gunfire all around him as if he wore Teflon, yet he will be killed at the very end of any key battle.  Any old man that appears crotchety actually possesses a heart of gold that is usually revealed only to children or crying young women.  These are universal truths I can believe.  These are all facts.  It's the productive bender I fear may be fiction.  It's hard to know what to believe anymore.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nurse the Hate: NFL Conference Championships

Allow me to be perfectly frank.  I have no idea what is about to transpire in either of these NFL Playoff games.  Sometimes I really feel like the future is a certainty, and while maybe a few small details have yet to reveal themselves, the outcome is pre-determined.  For example, I know The Will of The Gods will never allow a Cleveland team to win a championship, or maybe even a game of consequence in my lifetime.  I know that when you are at your job and a new compensation plan is revealed with the statement “This is going to be good for you”, it never is…  When you ask a woman what is wrong, and she says, “I don’t know” you can be certain she knows EXACTLY what is bothering her.  There is a sense in those situations of being a master at a chessboard, being able to see several moves ahead.  This is not one of those situations.

This Green Bay/Seattle game is all smoke and mirrors.  Aaron Rodgers looked like absolute shit in the first half of the game last week.  God knows what kind of wonder juice they shot into his leg to allow him to scamper around like a playful deer in the second half.  Does that mean that this week the Packers training staff has enough wonder juice to get him through the whole game?  How much of this information on his injury is actually misinformation?  It makes my head want to explode.

Seattle never loses at home.  Well, they lost to Dallas at home.  But let’s forget about that.  Let’s focus in on those smug salmon eating fucks dressed in their ugly Seahawk gear feeling good about themselves because of how loud that stadium gets in the constant downpours and doom laden clouds.  That and the whole “the Seahawks are back and will never lose again” rhetoric has pushed the line up to Green Bay +8.  Eight!  The Aaron Rodgers led Packers have NEVER been an eight point dog.  Ever!  It seems impossible that Seattle can cover eight.  It cannot happen.

That is exactly why I am taking Seattle -8 (God help me).  I am going to hope that Green Bay being 1-10-1 as underdogs against the spread continues.  The Seahawks are 25-2 at home in their last 27.  I have to think that Vegas giving Green Bay 8 is only a way to get every Rube on the planet on the wrong side.  Seattle -8

This late game is considered to be just a road bump for the Evil Empire of New England before their glitzy showdown with whoever wins the NFC.  My gut says that both home teams will win today, which of course means the home teams will split the games.  In theory I should go for the “feast or famine” concept and take Indy with the points to be on either the right or wrong side of a home/away winner split.  I just can’t see Indianapolis winning two playoffs games in a row on the road.  They have sucked on the road forever, and beating an old gimpy Peyton Manning doesn’t change that overnight.  Sonofabith.  I’m taking the other home team and guaranteeing giving away the juice.  New England -6.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nurse the Hate: The NFL and The Information Age

I have been looking for some kind of edge on these NFL games this afternoon and have been adrift on the Internet.  Information.  Misinformation.  Disinformation.  It is all available to me right now.  It is sort of amazing to think about the sheer amount of information that is available to any individual on the planet.  All of the world’s advances in sciences and art are just one simple click away.  Yet, instead of discovering the latest findings on cancer, trying to understand radical Islam, or reading a translated text of a Russian novelist, I am scouring the web looking for a shred of genuine info on Aaron Rodgers calf and keep getting sidetracked by puppy videos. 

If I were to go back into time and meet the great minds of the past, Da Vinci let’s say, and announce “In the future, all men will carry a small device in their hands that can instantly access all information known to man.  Within moments, any question that you have can be answered!”.  It would be staggering.  He would look at me and say, “With this incredible device, certainly man has eradicated war, pestilence, and disease!  This amazing device makes you an intellectual giant while I am but a mule in comparison!”. 

I would then stare at him blank faced as I don’t speak Italian, but let’s assume I do.  I would then have to sheepishly admit, “Well, we haven’t done any of that, but check out this video of this rad skateboard wreck.  Oh, and here’s a video of a movie star fucking some other movie star!  You want to set up a Facebook page?”.  It would be pretty embarrassing.  How much time and potential can a man waste in one lifetime?  I should be finding a cure for arthritis instead of clicking on Reverend Horton Heat videos.  It’s better just to push that from my mind.  There’s football to gamble on today…

Break down the stats any way that you’d like.  The Dallas at Green Bay game is a real toss up.  Dallas is 8-0 on the road.  Green Bay is 8-0 at home.  Aaron Rodgers has thrown 36 touchdowns and no interceptions at Lambeau.  Can that even be right?  Here’s what I am thinking…  Dallas shouldn’t even be here.  If not for the Lions getting all Lion on the Cowboys last week, we’d be talking about that thug Suh and wondering if he was just going to outright attack a member of the opposing team with a battle axe.  However, the Cowboys won that game last week and now Tony Romo can relax and go out and throw a back breaking interception this week instead of last week.

I cannot visualize Dallas going into 16 degree Green Bay and coming out with a win.  I can’t remember a Dallas team ever playing well in the snow and the cold.  Sure, the guys on the team are from all around the country, but a fella gets used to loving in a good climate.  Krusty freaks out anytime he has to wear a jacket now, and he even spends half his time here instead of Austin TX.  You think the Cowboys are going to be just fine doing that macho “I ain’t wearing no sleeves” thing in northern Wisconsin in January?  Is Demarco Murray going to run the ball well with his broken hand getting hit in the cold?  How many painkillers can Dallas fly up there?  I just don’t see it.  Dallas is a mirage.  I’m on Green Bay even if Rodgers comes out on a rascal scooter.  Green Bay -5.

You know where else it’s tough to win on the road?  Denver.  You know who sucks on the road no matter where they play?  Indianapolis.  Since the Andrew Luck era has started in Indy, they are only 14-12 on the road.  That counts plenty of games against their shitty division too.  Denver appears a little shaky.  I do not see them winning in New England next week if they advance.  However, they are absolute beasts at home.  I could trot out a bunch of stats to back this loudmouth claim up, but I do not want to spend the time necessary to find those.  Not with all the arthritis work I am going to need to get done.  Money is coming in fast on Denver.  I am going to wait for the bounce back before kickoff to take Denver -8.

Current Playoff Record:  2-4

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nurse the Hate: The Swiss Load Out

This morning I woke up way too early after being stuck at the club last night waiting for Leo to pack up his kit.  As the guy that drives the van, I can't go anywhere until the slowest member of the band has put their gear into the cases and have them ready to be loaded.  Leo hit me last night with a fierce "Swiss Load Out".  This is a term that we adopted after a show in a little town in Switzerland (the same where we went to the "Whiskey Tek" and our song "Just The Thing" was set into motion).  The band that opened for us was a local band.  I remember them being young guys that sounded kinda like Silverchair, or what I probably think Silverchair sounds like since I don't really know for certain.  They were pretty good, and the crowd was not exactly fired up but they were at least polite in their response.

After their set ended, they broke a cardinal rule of playing a rock show.  Instead of removing their gear from the stage and allowing us to set up while they broke down out of our way, they instead stood around on the stage talking to their friends that walked up.  So we stood around and watched the clock tick.  Then they made a move that was legendary by not only not moving their gear, but going outside to smoke a cigarette.  I'm telling you, it was 45 minutes before we could even begin to set up.  This is very unlike the cold logical Swiss.  There is a reason they make watches there.  The Swiss expect shit to be on time.  We could only assume that this was some sort of passive aggressive turf war on the openers part. It was, without question, effective.  Thus, the "Swiss Load Out" was born...

So last night, Leo hits me with a Swiss Load Out.  That hurts coming from one of your own guys.  The end result was that I wound up getting home much later than planned, and didn't get the sleep necessary to try and figure these NFL games out.  I'm flying on instinct on these games.  That's not good.  Heck, Krusty sent me a text trumpeting his picks as "locks of the year", and that is based on his taking the inferior looking team.  On the surface, that seems like a doomed strategy, but it's probably about as good as anything I am about to unveil.

Today, I am taking a clearly inferior Ravens team.  This is not so much because Krusty took them.  He doesn't know anything either.  It's more that I talked myself into it after noting that the Ravens are 9-3 on the road in the playoffs against the spread.  Meanwhile, New England is 3-10 against the spread in their last 13 playoff games.  I think if you speak with anyone that is a mild sports fan, and they believe it is inconceivable that the Patriots lose in any circumstance.  That's how Vegas makes money.  They take advantage of the gaps between the perception of The Public and the reality.  I don't know how, but I'm on Baltimore +7.

All week long I have had a sneaking suspicion that Carolina is going to stay in this Seattle game.  I do not think they will win this game.  In fact, if the game starts out all wrong for them, like a couple of first quarter turnovers and a 14-0 deficit, it could really get out of hand.  There will be plenty of annoying camera shots of smug Seattle residents laughing it up.  I don't need to see that or yet another shot of the fish being tossed around the Pike Market.  Yes, you throw fish to each other.  It's swell.  Then I have to watch Carolina get killed by 30?  I am hoping for another outcome.  If the Panthers can survive that initial wave and just sort of hang around, those 11 points they are getting are too many.  Seattle has scored less than 20 points in 5 of their last 7 games, and I have to think they'll need 24 to cover an 11 point spread.  Carolina has been playing really good defense down the stretch.  I am going to bet that this will continue.  Give me the points.  Gulp.  Carolina +11.5.

Playoff record:  1-3

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nurse the Hate: New Year's Resolutions

I have been reading a James Salter memoir.  I love Salter’s writing.  His direct prose is humbling to me as I tap this out like an ape.  With just a phrase he can evoke a European café, the smell of coffee, the shade of pearl on the hexagonal tiles, and a wisp of dark hair across inquisitive eyes.  A couple of sentences are like a photograph that is instantly understood.  He has a rare gift.  His books really place me in a reflective state.  There is a certain tone to them that is very comfortable.  This particular book is a sketchbook of his life to this point.

Salter graduated West Point.  The following years he spent as a fighter pilot, seeing action in Korea, and being active in a time that allowed him to go from propeller planes to the first jets that shattered the sound barrier.  Asia.  Europe.  Northern Africa.  He saw some things.  To read about him spending days after his air force service befriended by the literary giants of his time, gathered in Paris cafes, New York taverns… That’s not a bad way to spend a decade.  To read a memoir like that can be downright depressing.  While I read about his having lunch with Redford discussing the screenplay he had written, I am thinking about how I was sloshing across a sloppy parking lot to walk into a drug store.  While Salter no doubt had to pick up sinus medication from time to time, I can't recall having a lunch set up with Ryan Gosling to discuss my story ideas for his next film on my current calendar.  It can be deflating reading that damn thing, especially this time of year.

The first of the year is all about setting goals.  Change.  Positive change.  The difficult part comes in being realistic.  For example, I think it might be a bit much to set a goal of "Writing Greatest American Novel and Live In Europe with Muse".  While I am 100% on board with the idea of sipping a tiny coffee while reading my glowing reviews in "the papers" as a bored female companion that is in my thrall looks on, this seems very unlikely.  First of all, no one reads anything in today's world.  I can't recall the last time anyone in the last six months recommended a book to me.  (Though I will admit, the last recommendation I received of a Murakami book was directly on target.)  Second of all, I'm way too abrasive to exist in the cafe culture, much less have anyone "in my thrall".  There is no way I could keep a single muse much less a cult of believers in my sway.  Maybe I could be like a sarcastic Hemingway without all the fist fighting.  I don't know.  I have to work that out.  As of now, that goal is on the shelf.

I like to try and set up a few attainable goals each year.  I did it last year, and it was a success.  For me the key is to go public with it.  The sheer fear of public failure to attain the goal is enough to keep me motivated.  I do not want to be laughed at.  Well, at least knowingly.  If I throw something out there, I will do everything in my power to do it.  I don't want to be one of those people that always talk about the amazing things they are going to do, but when push comes to shove, nothing actually happens.  What can be more sad than someone with something eminently achievable like "going to Mexico" that they just can't seem to do?  "Well, work was really busy..."  While often said, the following is still true.  No one ever wished on their deathbed they had gone to work more often...

I have recently embraced doing things that I find scary.  My reasoning on this is twofold.  First, I don't think there are enough experiences in my day to day life that qualify as "scary" with the exception of exposure to corporate speak like "maximizing our brand" and vague notions of the business "making a pivot".  It is very easy to slide into a comfortable rut where expected event slides into expected event.  When I nudged my legs out of the airplane to skydive last year, I couldn't recall too many episodes that compared in my recent past.  Staring down 18,000 feet to the ground with the cold air whipping your legs is attention getting.  It's a real wake up call.  Secondly, I like the idea of placing myself into a situation that makes me uncomfortable.  What is the furthest extreme I can take myself so I can see if I will follow through?  What are my limits?  Can I exceed them?

I really wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona as this would give me an excuse to hang out at a party in Spain as well as do something crazy.  Unfortunately, my cranky achilles and stark realization of my lack of foot speed has made that unlikely.  The vision of me being gored and shown on CNN every 20 minutes for a week is not only a possibility, it is a probablilty.  I think having my spleen punctured would be bad, but the dodgy health care I would receive in the Pamplona hospital would be much worse.  I don't want to spend the next ten years "emptying out my bag" anytime I go to the bathroom.  I suppose I would get used to it after a couple of years, but I don't think I want to be known as "that guy with the bag" to strangers.  Unless I mend my achilles, Pamplona is out.

I thought about my interest in scuba diving and decided to push that further.  There are two goals that I have for myself in 2015 that I will accomplish.  I will dive on an honest to God shipwreck.  I am not going to paddle around some little boat that was purposely sunk in the ocean for tourists.  I want something that was a real functioning ship that went down in some sort of horrible circumstance.  I want to swim through cargo holds and cabins.  I want to place myself in some sketchy situation where I have to keep it together or freak out entirely.  I'd like there to be an eel involved.  An eel seems like a key to a good shipwreck.  The idea of being down 100 feet in a scary dark cargo hold is pretty exciting to me.  Maybe I'll even dive it at night with a weak flashlight.

I have discovered a group of people that dive with Great White Sharks.  Please note that I do not have a death wish as this diving does not take place outside of a shark cage.  I do not want to be eaten by a wild animal.  Great whites fully grown are 2500 pounds, about as big across as a VW Bug, and 18-25 feet long.  That is an immense beast.  Frankly, it's a sea monster.  The only place I will ever be able to see this fascinating sea monster is in the wild, as they do not survive in aquariums.  That means I will have to jump into the ocean with these sea monsters when they gather to feed on sea lions around a cluster of small bird shit covered islands in the Pacific.  I've been in the water with 6-8 foot sharks and it is intimidating.  I can't even imagine what this will be like.  However, I'm in.  I'm doing it.  My fear on this is more centered on getting seasick on the way out and having rugged dudes with Popeye arms adorned with enormous dive watches pointing at me and laughing.  I have no business being out there with these guys, but I would like to give the impression I do for at least the ride out to the dive site.

I have decided to further my wine expertise.  Though you wouldn't know by looking at me, I probably know more about wine than almost anyone you know, unless you hang out with Robert Parker.  Yet, I still know almost nothing.  Wine is one of the most magical things on our planet.  Simple grapes are smashed and with time this juice becomes a magical potion that tastes like a million things other than grape juice.  Understanding wine is really about paying attention.  A good wine is food for the mind and body.  A great wine tastes like nothing else but itself.  Wine allows you to taste a particular place and a particular time.   I have tasted a wine from 1787 that was owned by Napoleon.  Wrap your head around that.  I drank an agricultural product that was grown in a time when the fastest way to transport something was on a sailboat.  George Washington didn't start his first term until two years after that wine was made.  Wine allows the drinker to consume time and place.  It is a living thing.  It is for all intents and purposes, a miracle.

There is a flimsy sanctioning body in the world of wine that recognizes levels of knowlege through testing with ascending difficulties.  It seems to me to be somewhat less organized than the governing bodies of boxing, but like boxing I'm not sure who can assume the right to be in charge.  I zipped through two levels of this last year, and this year I will knock out the third level and make strides in level four.  If achieved, this would provide the illusion that I am a qualified professional in the world of wine, but well short of being an expert among experts.   

The end result of this will be that I can bore anyone at parties, restaurants, or wine shops by speaking ad naseum about things like Burgundy vineyard soil contents, Italian appellation system regulations, the unexpected ascension of New World malbec, and the lamentable loss of "true" Spanish Rioja.  No one will care about this but me.  No one.  It is not lost on me that this is a continuation of stereotypical male collecting behavior from matchbox cars to baseball cards to records to wine.  It could be worse.  I could be involved in Civil War recreations.  Does anyone really want to hear me complain about the lack of authenticity of the tents at a Gettysburg recreation?  (Though is it really that different than complaining about the levels of oak in top tier California chardonnay?)

I want to record a completely fucked up country record with the Whiskey Daredevils.  We have always played with the stereotypes of genre and attempted to mash together ideas and styles that are "not allowed" by the defenders of whatever subculture police are on duty.  I think we can take this to a further extreme by embracing the pillars of "real" country and pounding in our screwed up ideas of what sounds good.  I want to take traditional American themes to a place we have not done before.  I have to really come up with some good ideas for the songs, and I will cautiously admit to having a half dozen good new ones in motion now.  At this point I have absolutely no interest in catering to an audience outside of the good people that allow us to do what we do currently, and honestly I have no idea of what people want to hear anyway.  I don't think they know either.  We will just do our thing and hopefully someone else likes it too.  We do what we do.

I will come up with more ridiculous things to do as I go.  For now, these are my focus.  You may read this and think "what a tremendous waste of time".  That might be true, but at least I am doing something.   If I don't pull these off, please refer to me as "Mr. Shit Talk" and be as demeaning as you please.  However, be ready as I will come back at you and ask "What exactly are you doing?".

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Wild Card Weekend Day 2

The Detroit v Dallas game is all bad.  Two teams with no idea of how to win a playoff game go head to head in a duel to see which can disappoint their bitter fan bases more.  It's a real Clash of the Titans.  Dallas fans have, for the most part, convinced themselves that they are about to embark on a magical ride to the Super Bowl, though in reality one of those criminals on the Lions defensive line is just one Tony Romo snapped vertebrae away from allowing the Cowboys to go Full Weeden and implode for all of America's viewing pleasure.

Let's just get this out there... The Lions completely blow on the road.  They are 1-11 as a road underdog.  The Lions have a long and storied history of going out and losing the games they are supposed to, keeping the NFL status quo in check.  The one thing that can be counted on is the Lions losing in the Playoffs, in the unbelievably remote chance that they got there in the first place.  The last time I remember the Lions even being in the playoffs I was wearing those steel toed hiking boots that every kid in my school clunked around in during the winter.  I think that was 1956.  The year Elvis was King.  I'm not sure.  I have to look it up.  You get the idea though.  It's been a long time.

I just can't get a vision in my head of the Lions winning this game.  Looking at the game results, the Lions haven't beaten a good team since Green Bay in September.  People thought the Bears were good in September.  There was a belief that the Browns might make the Playoffs.  That seems like a gilded age now, does it not?  Meanwhile Dallas has been scoring at will the entire month of December.  There's no way I am taking the Lions on the road. Even if I lose, I will defend this selection to the bitter end. Despite Dallas enjoying no real home field advantage, I'm on Dallas -6.

Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton are right now, at this moment, planning on how they will take the reins of destiny and destroy their team's chances.  Marvin Lewis is 0-5 straight up and 0-5 against the spread in the Playoffs.  This speaks of what Marvin Lewis brings to the table in a big game.  I don't know anyone I have spoken to, especially from Ohio, that thinks the Bengals will win this game, despite having superior talent on their roster.  Please note, it's not as if the Colts are that great.  They just got crushed by Dallas 42-7 a couple weeks ago.  The Colts get their ass kicked every single time they play a good team.  New England dropped 42 on them.  Pittsburgh scored 51.  The Colts are not a good football team.  Yet, popular wisdom says the Colts win and cover easily.

The Bengals can be a really good team.  They beat Denver a couple weeks ago.  They beat Baltimore twice.  They won most of the games they were supposed to win.  Of course, they also lost to Pittsburgh twice, and New England killed them.  Hell, the Browns went to Cincinnati and waxed them.  Oh, they also lost to Indy in Indy 27-0.  So, which team shows up?  Which team shows up in a high profile game where the Bengals have been 3-14 against the spread?  

Sometimes I feel like punishing myself.  You know those religious nuts that whip themselves while in a frenzy of prayer?  Taking the Bengals today is like submitting one's self to a Gambler's Opus Dei, performing self financial flagellation in full view of the shaking heads of the rest of the herd.  There is really no way to explain with any real logic at what I am about to do.  It's insane.  I only wish someone out there could find me, and bring the key to unlock me from this horrible prison I have placed myself in.  Where are you?  Someone please help me.  Cincinnati +3.5

Playoff Record 1-1

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nurse the Hate: WIld Card Weekend

This is without question my favorite NFL weekend of the year, Wild Card Weekend.  Each year I host a party where many of my degenerate friends come over to drink heavily and gamble on games that will ultimately mean nothing when the victors are destroyed next week by vastly superior teams.  My guest list is not complete today as there is one gaping hole for me personally.  No matter.  I will persevere.  Today in the immortal words of Bill Walton we watch “men battle for the ultimate prize”.  (Bill Walton also once said “he’s riding the quasar!!!”, and I don’t know what it means beyond being very, very excited about something that someone had just done.  I’ve never “ridden the quasar”, but maybe one day I will…  Frankly, if ever there was a guy that could identify someone that just “rode the quasar” it’s Bill Walton.  He did a bunch of acid with the Grateful Dead at the Great Pyramids for God’s sake! You think he doesn’t know about “riding a quasar”?)

Arizona heads into Carolina for the first game, and even hardcore NFL fans will have difficulty identifying more than two players on the field between those lackluster teams.  Neither one of these teams has any chance whatsoever at winning the Super Bowl.  This is a game to identify someone for Seattle to kick the fuck out of next week. Here are your options…  1)  Take Arizona with the injury depleted defense and third string QB on the road or 2) take Carolina at home despite their losing record and hope that them winning their last four games against shitty teams means “they’re hot”.  This is sort of like betting on Boston College vs Pitt.  It’s understanding that they are both sorta crappy teams and talking yourself into one side despite having no real concrete reasons.

I’m taking Carolina.  My thought is that it’s tough to run on Carolina, and I can’t see AZ quarterback Charles Nelson Riley going in there and throwing the ball around.  Carolina has outgained their opponents in their last 6 games, and won the last 4.  Meanwhile the wheels have come off for Arizona after Palmer got hurt, going 2-4 in their last 6.  I have little confidence taking Carolina -6.

The Baltimore at Pittsburgh game is a Wilderness of Mirrors.  Nine of the last 13 games between these two teams have been decided by three points or less.  With the way these teams have played down the stretch, the knee jerk reaction is to take Pittsburgh.  However, will Playoff Joe Flacco take the field for Baltimore and somehow enable this shitty team with the long legacy of carpet bagging, putting up statues of murderers (allegedly) and wife beaters (now I saw that video, that’s not allegedly) to go on a run?  I hope not.  I prefer Throw The Ball All Over The Field Joe Flacco and watching those ugly purple uniforms pack it in.

Le’Veon (is that a real name?) Bell is out for Pittsburgh with a hyper extended knee, which means he will never walk normally again so Pittsburgh signed malcontent backup running back Ben Tate.  Could that guy have possibly learned the offense in the 20 minutes he’s been a Steeler?  The good news for Pittsburgh is that no one on Baltimore can cover Antonio Brown, who has run up 234 yards against the Ravens in two games.  The even better news for Pittsburgh are the guys that couldn’t cover Brown before are hurt, and the guys that weren’t as good as the hurt guys will now have to try and cover him.  One more thing, Road team has only covered 12 of the last 33 meetings of these teams.  Good enough for me.  Pittsburgh -3.

Bonus:  Only 4 of the last 23 Balt/Pitt games have combined for more than 43 points.  It’s supposed to be rainy and crappy weather in Pittsburgh too.  UNDER 43.5.