Monday, October 31, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Ghost Story

A friend of mine went to school with someone that lived in an old farmhouse.  The house was one of the oldest in the community, built sometime in the early 1800s.  It had been updated over the years but retained its essential character.  The family had moved into it after moving to the area after years in New England.  The mother was very transfixed by colonial architecture and crafts.  A visit to the house was like falling into a Yankee Peddler warehouse.  It was very well done though and the family loved the traditional look and feel of the home.  There was only one real issue with the house.  They maintained it had ghosts.

I am a big fan of the idea of ghosts.  The idea of a time frozen apparition floating through the living room is interesting.  Who wouldn’t want some see-through hazy woman in an Elizabethan dress slowly passing through the room?  Ghosts are always distinguished figures from a gilded age.  Granted, it would be really disappointing if it were some white trash guy in overalls drinking a can of Stroh’s that passed through your walls.  Still, shouldn’t the law of averages dictate that some hillbilly ghosts are out there?  It’s always the sad and tragic figure when clothes were stylish.  No one has reported a ghost in a leisure suit that I am aware.  Over the years I have been exposed to numerous ghost stories and even requested “haunted” rooms at a hotel in New Orleans and Wilmington NC.  No dice.  I’ve never seen a ghost.  I still like the idea though.

So this farmhouse sat at the edge of town where it is still somewhat rural.  The family first became aware of the ghosts when they pulled into the driveway to see two children playing with dated toys in the front yard.  The boy had knickers on and the girl had a high collared dress that looked like a costume.  The kids would see the family pull in the driveway and then run off around the house with their toys.  This continued for months at random times with the same basic ritual.  They moved in a gliding type fashion that seemed odd to everyone.  It just felt “off” to everyone.  Still, the family thought it was just some weird neighbor family of home-schooled kooks.

Things ratcheted up to a new level when the lights kept going on and off in the hallway which was always preceded by a chill in the house.  The family called an electrician who found nothing wrong.  The lights continued to go on and off for no reason.  This is when they began to joke about the “ghosts” in the house.  Who left the light on?  Must have been the ghosts!  Ha-ha!  It was all a big lark until they started to see the children appear in the house running up and down the stairs.

I think if I was alone in the house as the teenage daughter was the first time it happened and two kids from the early 1900s appeared out of nowhere to run up the stairs in front of me I would either “freak the fuck out” or “really freak the fuck out”.  It would definitely be somewhere in that range.  She got past it somehow.  That’s when a funny thing happened.  The family just got used to it.  They even began to like it.  They would talk to the kid ghosts and tell them to knock it off when the lights started to flicker.  It was like they had cousins staying there that they got used to having around.  It had become so commonplace that they looked at it like someone would a temperamental toilet.  It was just more character in the house.  It was the ultimate Yankee Peddler purchase.

The only reason I know this story is my friend stayed there one night after a crazy beer fueled bender.  He stayed in the guest room, completely unaware of the story of the “ghosts”.  They had become such a part of the household, the family didn’t even really talk about them any longer. It had been going on for years.  My buddy was passed out.  He suddenly became aware of being really cold and woke up thinking about getting another blanket.  He opened his eyes and there standing at the end of the bed staring at him were the two kids.  He was startled obviously and said “Jesus!  You scared me!  What are you doing up?”.  He thought it was two kids that were houseguests.  “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”  They looked at him a second longer and then turned around and walked out of the room saying nothing.  He said it was just like having two kids in the room but dressed from 1906.  He went back to sleep thinking how odd the incident had been.  Why are those kids out of bed and in my room?

In the morning he woke up and asked about the kids that were staying there.  Everyone laughed and said “You met the kids!  They are our ghosts!” as you would if a cat had hopped on your bed in the middle of the night.  They filled him in on their history with the ghosts.  He was a little freaked out.  He ran the event over in his mind trying to remember all the details.  He became really obsessed by it.  He went back to the house a few times over the years.  Sometimes they would drink wine and try to talk to the kids on a ouiji board.  It never worked though.  He never saw them again.  I remember when he told me the story I didn’t believe it.  I still don’t.  I would have liked to have slept in that guest room though.           

Friday, October 28, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Fraud

I have been on quite a run with these NFL picks.  If you haven’t been gambling with me along the way you are nothing but a damn fool.  It should be noted that I was recently referred to as “a fraud” in a criticism which stung but was nonetheless accurate upon later reflection.  No one likes to be called a “fraud”, but dammit if it’s not essentially true.  Though this criticism wasn’t leveled at me in regards to my NFL knowledge specifically but rather in a more general way, it still applies when you really expose me to the harsh light of day.  I am essentially a grifter chameleon that gets by on a combination of smarts, charm, and pure luck.  While I might be a lost soul generally, all is not lost in the larger sense.  Let's find the silver lining here...  I think I could argue that these just might be the perfect attributes one looks for in a sports gambler.

I read a book once about a guy that decided to risk everything each week in an all-out attempt to make his life exciting.  The concept is “balling the jack”.  What he would do was gather up all of his available income after setting aside weekly rent and basic sustenance.  We are talking everything but money for the barest of necessities.  He would then bet a baseball game each Friday with everything he had left over.  All of it.  If he won it was steak dinners, women and single malt scotch.  If he lost it was ramen and waiting around until the next Friday.  This particular guy hit six in a row while taking the bets up accordingly and as a result was knocking back Lafite on Tuesday nights in August.  Of course, by September he had almost starved after a couple of ill-timed Red Sox bullpen collapses.  It’s a hell of a thing.  Yet, I do have the temperament for that sort of lifestyle.  

Now had I “balled the jack” in my own life I would have had an amazing run here in the second half of the year.  I would right now be relaxing in a European café looking at the NFL lines calmly stirring a small spoon in a tiny coffee cup while waiting to stroll the riverbank with my beloved and having my largest issue deciding on where to dine that evening.  “Dear?  Would you prefer the 1990?  It was such a more charming vintage…  No my sweet…  We cannot have the Leoville Barton unless the Saints cover over the Seahawks this Sunday.  Patience my dear.  Patience.”  I could be an international man of mystery funding my lifestyle with an offshore account completely dependent on the vagaries of NFL games.  What a sad coward I have been.  

So what do we do now?  Let’s begin again and go on a run.  Here’s a game flying under the radar.  Seattle played an entire extra quarter on defense last week.  No one remembers that as it was largely an unwatchable game that finished very late Sunday.  They played forever.  Teams coming off OT games invariably perform worse the following week.  That can leave the tank close to empty for Seattle, something one doesn’t want to do against the Saints with Brees in at QB.  The Saints can score essentially at will.  The Saints are at home and getting three.  They are really good at home, especially in the underdog role where they are 14-3 in their last 17 against the spread.  I love to take points at home, especially with Seattle rolling in after that long frustrating tie in division.  This seems like one of those games that will come down to the end with the team having the ball last that will win.  New Orleans +3.

I am going to load up on the Patriots this week over Buffalo.  Buffalo beat the crap out of New England on the road in the last game prior to Brady’s return.  That led to the usual Rex Ryan shit talk that I will 100% guarantee got in The Hoodie’s craw.  (Yes, The Hoodie has a “craw”.)  I don’t know when the last time the Patriots lost two games to someone in their division.  Who was QB?  Steve Grogan?  There is no way in hell I see the Patriots losing this game.  Rex Ryan can’t outcoach anyone much less Hoodie.  I’d get on the spread, but five is too many.  LeSean McCoy is out for Buffalo, but their defense is legit.  I’m just going to hope for the win and push all my chips into the middle of the table.  New England money line. 

Season Record:  13-5

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Nurse the Hate: WSET Level Four Fortified Wine Exam Prep Continues

My descent into fortified wines is complete.  While some would suggest that I have slipped into madness, I would counter and say I have become pure in my pursuit to understand Madeira and Port.  While other WSET Diploma students sniff around the edges of understanding these obscure and frankly unpopular fortified wines, I have plunged in with 100% commitment.  The last time madeira was popular in the United States was sometime around 1779.  While critics suggest that madeira was popular because it was the only wine that could be shipped across the ocean and not spoil during the 1700s, I wave that away with my hand.  It’s just a marketing and distribution issue.  We need to make it available in vending machines and taps.  Once people fully embrace madeira in the colonial manner I have, there is really no going back.  I see it passing Bud Light as America’s favorite alcoholic treat.

I realized that I couldn’t really get into the wines without truly getting them in context.  This is why I have sold all my cars and bought a cranky horse and rickety carriage.  Though my morning commute has now become 3.5 hours, I prefer the relaxed pace of clopping down the highway at 7 mph.  My neighbors are a bit upset that I continue to shovel out the stable into the storm drains, but I’ve never had a horse before and don’t know what to do with all the horseshit.  It’s much harder work than I first suspected and I have sweat through three (3) powdered wigs so far.  I’m going pure tri-corner hat now and reward myself at the end of the day with a pewter mug of bracingly acidic sercial madeira.  It really hits the spot.

I wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know that while on a Rainwater madeira bender last night I declared independence from Lorain County.  They should be receiving that parchment today.  I have some concern about police coming to see what the fuss is about, so I am trying to form a militia.  Many of my neighbors have firearms, but as I have gone completely in, I will only accept militia members if they have flintlocks.  This has been met with rather strong resistance.  In fact, my next door neighbor commented “if you and your gold buckled shoes don’t get off my fucking front porch I’m calling the cops!  Get rid of that horse too you fucking loon!”.  He even refused my offer of a nice mug of Bual Madeira.  I went back to my settlement with the conviction of a true patriot though.  History will prove me correct.

I will probably paddle out on the lake in my kayak later to keep my eye on the potential of French Canadian frigates entering my waters.  I think a nice 15 year malmsey will help keep me warm as I scan the horizon.  If the wind picks up it might be an issue.  I can’t get a life jacket over my colonial coat so if I wind up in the drink it will be a real situation.  It's not easy to swim in a waterlogged brass button coat and vest.  Obviously an overturned kayak will be a security issue as well as I can’t be expected to “keep my powder dry” to fire my pistol.  Maybe I can keep the flintlock pistol and gunpowder in the little waterproof hatch in the front.  I don't know if I can access it quickly enough.  I’m worried that if I am floating around out there nipping on a 20% alcohol madeira I also might not be at my best when engaging with the French Canadian naval forces.  Well, I must continue to prepare for my exam so I am drinking the madeira regardless.  I will engage the Canucks however I must with steely eyed resolve.

In a mere two weeks I will make my triumphant return to San Francisco to take this exam.  I am hoping I can find a place to buy a quill and ink for the exam as I don't want to jinx it by embracing technology prior to this.  I don't know where my beloved expensive pen is that I bought last time, but even if I find it I don't think Ben Franklin had spring technology in his writing instruments.  I will have to leave it at home.  Maybe I can train some falcons to fly out to my San Francisco inn of choice with a message I am seeking these tools of penmanship.  It really will get down to how quickly I can trap and train a wild falcon I suppose.  Maybe I can do that later today.  The key is that I stay in the moment and remain completely focused on my new madeira friendly lifestyle.  Tonight I return to the cask for more study, and perhaps if I have time, I will read The Good Book by my whale oil lamp.  I will not fail.  


Monday, October 24, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Wing Suit Idea

I was speaking to an associate of mine that was dropping off a charitable food contribution to a “senior high rise complex”.  These are some of the most monumentally grim places in America.  Forgotten senior citizens in small cell like apartments that smell like off brand disinfectant wander down to the lobby to stare out the window for visitors that aren’t coming.  Each day seamlessly blends into the next at God’s waiting room.  Nothing happens.  It is without question a worst case scenario for the end of the road assuming that we take “rocking back and forth in your own filth in an asylum” off the table. 

I have a vision of myself a couple of decades from now sitting in a urine scented chair by the door while a second rate ceiling speaker attempts to soothe residents with “music of their lives”, in this case The Pointer Sisters “Neutron Dance” or “Bust A Move” by Young MC.  I try to phase that out and instead listen to the music in my head as I stare out the window as my life’s savings are sucked dry by the facility.  I will attempt to engage anyone that walks into the place with what I think is witty banter.  It isn't though as I am damaged.  No one will really understand what I am talking about.  Other people's visitors will brush me off as quickly as possible as they only want to drop off a bundt cake to grandma and escape within 20 minutes.  I will eventually shuffle back to my room and wonder why I smell like onions and urine
This crystal clear vision is probably why I engage in risk taking activities like skydiving and shark diving.  It has to be better to be eaten by a shark in the near future than to wait around to have a stroke in the dayroom at “Sunset Towers”.  I figure since I wake up now thinking “how much longer can this go on?”, how much worse would I be in the future at Sunset Towers?  I can barely get myself across town to work at this point.  I would no doubt be spending my days at Sunset Towers trying to figure out how to drive my rascal into traffic and make it look like an accident.  Maybe I could convince someone there to drive me to a skydiving facility and have them toss me out at 35,000 feet as I try to figure out how a wing suit works.  “There you go old man!  No!  No!  Spread your arms!  Jesus!  No!”  The headline “Senior Citizen Torpedos Into Playground” is much more spectacular than “Friendless Man Dies In Squalid Apartment”.

I saw the Meat Puppets play on Saturday.  Those guys absolutely destroyed.  Holy crap were they great.  I saw them in 1985.  I saw them again when they opened up for Nirvana in 1994 maybe?  They have been doing it for 36 years.  That’s a long time to be in the van.  They played old stuff, new stuff, and traditional songs, each one with energy and a palpable sense of enthusiasm.  To see these guys delivering like that was really inspiring.  As most of their contemporaries are playing oldies sets frozen in 1986, these guys are still doing their inimitable psychedelic desert biker band thing while still pushing forward.  It made me want to not get eaten by that shark just yet and see what they do next.  I am buying that wing suit though just in case.   

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Halloween Pitchfork Incident

When I was six years old I went out for Halloween as The Devil.  I generally entered into Halloween with the idea that my costume would be much like those I saw in TV shows where The Brady Bunch or other TV family would go to a party in totally incredible outfits.  It never occurred to me that the reason they looked so scary in their skeleton or devil costumes were that a Hollywood make up and wardrobe team were throwing their complete attention into it.  I, on the other hand, had a five-dollar budget and whatever the discount store had in stock.  As a six year old I was convinced that the rubber mask and polyester cape I had purchased would enable me to look exactly like Lucifer himself.  I would strike fear into all those that gazed upon me.  The key was a two-foot long plastic pitchfork.  It was the piece de resistance.  I believed I was somewhat convincing in the role.  Instead I looked like an undersized six-year-old kid in an adult sized head mask.  A fixed expression, smiling, melon head, midget Lucifer just doesn’t pack the terror punch that I had anticipated, but I tried to live as optimistically as I could within this distorted reality.

My six-year-old friends were Christopher, Michael, and Billy.  I don’t know why it wasn’t “Chris”, “Mike” and Billy as it sounds like I was running around with a bunch of six-year-old interior decorators, but those were their names, OK?  Christopher wasn’t allowed to go trick or treat as his overprotective mother was completely convinced that he would get maimed on a doctored treat given out by some madman.  For whatever reason, the urban myth of kids having their mouths ripped open by razor blades inserted into apples was a known fact.  Though none of us could specifically name a kid that had that fate visit them, we all knew that the risk of having your tongue sliced off by an apple was about 50/50.  Christopher’s mother feared her son dying from a cold in 60-degree weather, so you can imagine the idea of him running around with jackoffs like us was completely out of the question.  Christopher would spend Halloween inside his plastic bubble.

Michael’s family was made up of 14 kids and two very tired looking parents.  His mother was nice and his father appeared only occasionally to administer quick fierce beatings to any child that broke a rule.  He then quickly went back into the shadows of his workshop where he would emerge only to inflict quick justice at the urging of the mother.  Michael was one of the younger kids, so by the time he rolled around to age six the parents had almost no real interest in what he was involved in.  They had given up.  As a result he was always a “hobo” or “pirate” on Halloween as the parents would never go buy costumes but urge him to do something with the mountains of hand-me-downs in the attic.  Michael’s costume, as a result, always sucked.

Billy, on the other hand, had a very artsy craftsy mother.  He would show up for Halloween and win all school costume contests without breaking a sweat as his mother was essentially the equal to a Hollywood big budget movie special effects department.  The year I was a half assed devil he was a knight in shining armor.  It was totally homemade and looked completely real.  His mother had custom made an outfit with painted family crest on his chest and feather protruding from the back of a helmet with adjustable face guard.  I have seen museum pieces for child princes that looked less convincing. I'm surprised she didn't rent him a stallion.

I felt pretty inferior next to Billy, but looking at Michael’s piece of shit hobo outfit I was able to feel like I was at least sort of scary.  I felt like we were a pretty intimidating crew swaggering around, though in retrospect three six year olds dressed as a midget devil, suit of armor and a drifter doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of men.  Yet being six years old, you don’t have a chance to feel like you have any power, so even the illusion of being something other than six is pretty great.  This was setting up to be one of the greatest nights in my six-year-old life.  The future was ours.

A quick note…  When I was a kid it was not unusual for three six year old kids in vision clouding costumes to walk around a neighborhood on Halloween by themselves at night.  On a normal day we would wake up in the morning, shovel cereal down our throats as quickly as possible to get outside exploring our world while constantly pushing the boundaries.  Things have changed in America.  In my neighborhood currently there are kids that might not have ever left their yards except on parent supervised group activities.  I never see kids running around making up their own fun.  Parents now believe that their children are always seconds away from being featured on cable news because they were abducted/eaten by an alligator.  When I was a kid we were like a pack of feral dogs.  No one had any idea of what we were doing or frankly cared.  It was a Golden Age.

So there we were, swaggering around getting candy and being generally badass.  I felt somewhat convinced I had frightened adults that had answered their doors to reveal a four foot tall vision of Lucifer in a polyester cape and Keds.  I stood menacingly with my two-foot plastic pitchfork, a true vision of eternal torment.  We had been out forever getting candy, which in retrospect must have been 35 minutes.  We knew we needed to maximize our candy haul in the remaining time.  This was when we made an ill-fated choice.  We decided to take a shortcut through the woods to get to the adjoining neighborhood.  Our thinking was that they would have better and more candy since this was an exotic location a block away.  This would have been my first foray into “the grass being greener” concept.

As I was walking in the ink black woods in an adult sized mask, I couldn’t see shit.  I think I looked through the nostril holes of the mask since my head was too small.  We formed a line down the path.  I was second in line behind Billy, he being the most familiar with this “short cut”.  Had I been more familiar with it I would have known about the small hill we had to traverse and wouldn’t have slipped and fallen.  I somersaulted down the treeline, banging off trees while clutching my pillowcase of candy with a death grip.  When I stopped rolling finally my mask had shifted around completely and acted like a hostage hood.  I took a quick inventory and figured I would have a couple bruises and bruised ego from Billy and Michael laughing at me.  Then it hit me…  My pitchfork!  Where was my pitchfork?  I panicked.  It was at that point one of my prized possessions and the key to my amazing costume!

I searched and searched in the darkness to no avail.  Billy and Michael kept moving.  “Come on!  Come on!”  Those bastards left me and kept going down the trail.  I heard their voices and footsteps get further away.  Now I had lost my friends.  My heart and mind raced.  I made the difficult choice and left my pitchfork behind and ran to try to catch them.  When I emerged from the woods I couldn’t see them anywhere.  They had been swallowed up by the chaos of kids trick or treating.  I was freaking out.  I lost it and began to cry inside my smiling Lucifer mask.

There can’t be anything more pathetic than a six year old sniffling inside a devil mask carrying a pillowcase of “fun sized” candy bars walking home alone in disgrace.  It was a long journey back.  My crying came in waves.  I had trouble seeing through the tears and mask eyeholes.  I was embarrassed I had lost my composure but as I struggled to get control back I would think of my precious plastic pitchfork lost forever in the woods and my complete abandonment by the alleged noble Knight and his hobo pal.  That would start the sniffling all over again.  It was a long lonely walk home. 

When I got home crying my parents wanted to know what was wrong.  “Did you slice your mouth open with a razor blade?  Check his mouth!” No…  No… I… I… I lost my pitchfork!  “You lost your pitchfork?  Is that all?  Don’t worry about it.”  There was a lack of empathy there that is somewhat understandable as that pitchfork was probably $1.29 and not very convincing.  Yet, it was a big deal to me.  My parents took my candy and inspected it, as we all knew that there was a 50/50 shot the candy was festooned with razor blades, amphetamines, and syringes.  I went up to my room in shame.

I woke up early the next morning and quickly scarfed down my cereal.  I ran out the door as quickly as possible to the woods to look for my pitchfork.  The leaves were wet with dew.  The smell of autumn decay had replaced the summer sweetness in the woods.  The hill I had fallen down seemed absurdly small compared to the perceived monumental tumble of the previous night.  I rooted around the general area.  There was no pitchfork.  It was gone.  I walked slowly home.  When I started up my driveway I saw Michael.  He was holding the pitchfork.  “Hey!  I found your pitchfork last night! Where did you go?”  Yes!  It was back!  I played it cool and intimated I went solo trick or treating for quite some time after they had probably gone to bed.  Lone wolf, that was me.  I certainly wasn’t crying like an infant.  I was doing TONS of cool shit without you two.  By the way, where did you guys go?

I took my pitchfork to the safest place I knew, the closet in my room.  It would make only one more appearance two years later in a poorly conceptualized demon outfit.  By this time I had grown which made the tiny pitchfork look like a small trident or oversized grilling tool.  After that Halloween debacle I placed it in the back of my closet where it remained until I packed for college and threw it and most of my childhood away.  Even then I felt a tinge of sadness tossing it.    

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Still Hate London NFL Games

The goddamn Browns backdoor covered their way to crushing my dreams last week.  I had quite a scheme worked out for an insanely expensive last minute series of flights to Jerez de la Frontera Espana involving a complicated series of travel options.  If the Browns had only kept their end of the bargain I would have done the following:  Gone by uber to the airport to fly to New York where I would have taken a ferry to Newark to grab a taxi to take the escalator to the shuttle bus to take another plane to Madrid where I would have taken another plane to Jerez to get a push trolley to get to a donkey to eventually take me to a lavishly appointed room in Olde Jerez.  From this point I would have collapsed in exhaustion and then later got all drunk up on sherry while stumbling around talking shit and eating jamon.  This was not to be.  Because of the Browns.  Sonofabitch.

This leaves me having a slow smoldering anger at the Browns.  The team is terrible, but not reliably “get their dicks pounded in the dirt” terrible.  They are more like “they’ll lose in the end like always” terrible.  This creates that uncomfortable scenario where you know they will lose, but by how much?  Will their opponent cover?  This week the Bengals are hosting the Browns giving 9.5 points.  Let’s be honest.  The Bengals have looked rather lackluster.  9.5 is a shit ton of points for the Bengals to cover.  They do really need a win this week.  I think the Browns are ready to give that to them.  I think the Browns are really ready to get blown out for once.  Terrelle Pryor is hurt and might not go.  That leaves the Browns with zero (0) reliable offensive weapons and a patchwork O-line.  Joe Haden, who might not actually play football any more but just get a check from the team, will be smiling on the sideline in wind pants.  That leaves “some guy” to cover AJ Green.  That’s not good.  I’m going to go to this well again.  Cincinnati -9.5

There’s another one of those damn London games this week.  Normally I would be all excited for early morning football as I eat my rashers and eggs portion of my Full Monty Fry Up.  (See what I did there?)  However the NFL has once again provided the sad sack Brits with another dud matchup by tossing the Rams in there.  This must be further payback for Brexit.  The Rams are America’s most boring team.  I can’t imagine English Roger and his mates will be excited to pound room temperature beers, run down to The Tube, buy a souvenier LA Rams soccer scarf, drunkenly call passing women “birds”, lament about not being able to see The Beatles at The Cavern Club, get some curry takeaway, watch the changing of the guard, use the words “bloody” and “brilliant”, get punchd in the face by strangers, and then watch Case Keenum and the Rams in the inevitable English rain.  Who would do this?  Roger’s no fool.  Maybe he will stay home with his mum.  (“I’m staying home with me mum”, says Roger.)  Maybe if those damn English fools didn’t leave the EU the NFL would send the Patriots or Cowboys.  Sorry lads.  Keep a chin up!  Here’s the Rams instead.  If I wake up early enough I will bet on the Giants.  If I don’t, I probably won’t even notice I missed the game.  It will be good to wait until Sunday morning to see if any Giants get arrested Saturday night.  Buyer beware.  Giants-3.

I am going to bet on the San Diego Chargers +6.5.  I watch the Chargers as often as I can.  I often look in the stands and think “I could see myself there wearing a light blue shirt really chilled out”.  I would like to yell out “Show me your thunderbolt!” at fellow fans.  Then we'd laugh and have a Tecate.  The Chargers find exciting ways to lose each week.  They are right there week after week, but still lose.  Charger fans shrug it off and go to the beach whereas if that happened here it would result in 50% more domestic violence arrests.  It’s hard to get upset at the Chargers when surf is up.  I see it like this.  Atlanta will shut down the Chargers almost non-existent running game, so both Rivers and Ryan will throw about 60 passes each.  This will be a game where they go back and forth.  I will take the Chargers with the points and count on them losing by three.  Then they will fly back to San Diego pretty relaxed while I count my Jerez money.

Current Record:  10-5         

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nurse the Hate: My Continued Treatment

October 18, 2016


  So much has happened since my last dispatch.  I continue to coalesce at the Rudolfinerhaus Clinic.  Frankly, there was little else that could have been done considering my condition.  The exhaustion I have been afflicted with is quite severe.  In fact, many of the physicians here suspect my case is the most serious they have yet come across.  They have admitted me with the intention of The Complete Treatment.  Dare I say, anything less might not have made an impact.  It's quite serious I'm afraid. 

  As you have no doubt read, The Treatment is quite regimented.  I will admit the taste of the porridge took some getting used to, but I have been lucky that my body has responded well.  I overheard Dr. Kummerling say to one of the orderlies gathering my sample that my bowel movements have improved since my check in six weeks ago.  No doubt the medications have helped in this regard.  At times I feel almost helpless as the nine pills and three enemas are administered each morning by the staff.

  I should mention that you should not be alarmed that this is not handwritten on my usual stationary.  I am dictating this letter to Thomas, my orderly, who will have it typed up by the staff.  I don’t know what I would do without Thomas.  I have grown quite accustomed to him reading me the daily papers and my correspondence as I sit in my wheelchair by the lake.  What a tonic to sit by the lake after my realignments from Nurse Kraus.  Though quite painful, I know I must trust these wonderful doctors.  They are quite well regarded by the society in Venice and much of Paris.   

  They say the Offenburg Spa will be a worthwhile addition to The Treatment, so I suspect they will transport me there to take the waters for the remainder of the month.  Mr. Burgess had been transported there just three weeks ago.  I believe I wrote you of him?  He is the Pacific Railway Man that had been driven quite mad by the winds in Mexico.  A good man Burgess...  We would take our cognac in the library after his crying fits had stopped.  I suspect he will never fully recover and even now is quite mad.  It will be good to see him again.  I hope he has not been placed permanently in the asylum in Leipzig.

  I will journey to Southampton as soon as I am well enough for the Atlantic crossing.  I have concern that my journey might be delayed as the only tickets for the train to the coast still available are in coach.  I cannot bear the suffering of traveling in anything but first class as my condition will not permit it.  As I alluded to, I am quite exhausted.  Thomas has assured me that he has many contacts at the railroad that might yet make my travel civilized enough for consideration.  Pray God if that materializes I will be home swiftly, in a mere two months.  Let mother know.  How she must worry.

  Your brother,

  G. Miller   


Monday, October 17, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate Dreams

I had a dream yesterday where I was a passenger on a bus driving down a bleak highway.  It was impossible to exit the bus except during the stops at specific stations.  Behind me out of view a woman with an English accent was speaking to a companion seated next to her regarding a man they had noticed trudging outside in the rain.  Her lilting voice peaked my curiosity so I looked out the window at the man.  I was the man.  I looked very tired and unsure of where I was going, just mindlessly walking.  I pulled the wire of the bus trying to get the driver to stop so I could help myself and get out of the rain.  The bell rang with increasing urgency but the driver didn’t flinch.  The bus just kept driving.  I watched myself disappear as we drove away.  

I don’t know why I had this Bergmanesque dream.  I don’t know what it means.  I am glad I wasn't playing chess with Death.  I'm not much of a chess player.  I do know that the only thing more boring to others than dreams is talking about your fantasy football team (which mine won yesterday by the way).  The only exception to that rule is if the person you tell the about the dream is a cast member in that dream, in which case they will find it fascinating.  As an aside, never tell someone that you had a dream about them dying unless you really want to mess with someone's mind.  Everyone becomes superstitious when you foretell their demise.

It would be a nice diversion to seek treatment with a psychoanalyst where the two of us would spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the content and potential meaning of my dreams.  I would definitely go to a Freudian.  I think that would be the most enjoyable and offer the least amount of possible benefit.  “So my mother was sitting in a rocking chair in a very revealing gown while knitting a sweater.  When I looked closer I noticed that the yarn she was using was actually coming from my father’s beard.  My father sat at her feet crying and naked with his beard acting like a spindle.  I knew the sweater was meant for me.  No one spoke.  Then I boarded the train and went into a long tunnel where my teeth promptly fell out.”  The doctor will take off his glasses and clean them carefully as he thoughtfully prepares his next utterance.  He places the spectacles back on his face.  He then makes lengthy notations in a notepad without even glancing at me.  “Interesting…” he says.  He then stares at me as I stare back for the next 18 minutes in silence.  The session ends.

I need to look into my health insurance plan for this type of coverage.  Maybe I can go to Austria for this therapy.  I will sit outside during the morning in a chair with a blanket across my legs while gazing at a distant white mountain top.  “Herr Miller?  Are you ready to take the waters?”  I nod yes and am placed in an antique wheelchair to be rolled into a severe white tiled spa where stern meaty armed women work me over with 1920s era medical equipment giving me forced hot spring enemas and agonizing massages.  Then will follow more analysis.  Then a bleak dinner of a watery porridge followed by silently sitting in a common room where an old phonograph plays Germanic marching band music.  Lights out at 8.  Never 8:01.  Always 8 on the dot.  After a month I will take an ocean liner back to The States.  I will smoke cigarettes and gaze forlornly at the cloudy horizon.  At dinner at the captain’s table I will sit mostly silently until someone breaks the ice.

I say my good man!  You’re a Yank I gather?  Back to the States?  “Yes.  I had the therapy at The Rudolfinerhaus.”  Taken the waters my good man?  That will put you back on the path!  Good man!  Chip chip!  I will then smile meekly and sip my gin, pausing to light my unfiltered cigarette.  “Excuse me all.  I’m afraid I must retire to my cabin.  I am suddenly overcome with exhaustion.  I wish to thank you all for a splendid evening.”  The other diners will exchange glances.  I push my chair in and walk away slowly.  That poor man. 

Or I could watch a little TV and just forget about it.       


Friday, October 14, 2016

Nurse the Hate: At The NFL Crossroads

I am prepared to make a deal with The Devil.  I stand now at the crossroads.  The soft hazy colors of dusk smear across the late afternoon autumn sky.  Without question I stand needing to go to the path on the right or left.  The Devil sits on his stump and asks me if I want to make a deal.  There is a great pile of money I can have if I make the right choice.  If I make that right choice I can do something very crazy that will theoretically make me happy.  I need the money to do it.  Without risk there is no reward.  Get busy living or get busy dying.  What’s it gonna be boy?  There is one catch.  I will have to follow his advice and bet on the Tennessee Titans.  Gulp.

I feel very confident that the Browns will lose to the Titans this week.  Last week the Browns managed to get two (2) different QBs seriously injured.  There are platoons that landed on Omaha Beach that took fewer casualties than the Browns QB room.  This week they plan on starting whichever guy they have under contract that has at least a cursory knowledge of the playbook and is still standing.  It is not exactly a harbinger of future success.  The plan as of today is to run Cody Kessler out there despite Kessler “hearing a funny crunching noise that freaked me out a little” in his chest last week.  Side note to Kessler.  Don’t say those types of honest things in future interviews.  The Browns claimed to have iced him down all week and have him ready to go.  Yeah, that ice does magic.  Good luck kid.

My fear is that the Titans do not exude professional excellence.  They also have to cover seven points.  The Titans are a team that rarely wins, and when they do it’s generally by a late kick barely getting over the crossbar.  At no point has a Titan fan in the last five years said confidently “Oh, they’ll win this game easily.  Chalk this one up.”  The Titans are a sad little team that is slowly getting to within sight of respectable.  The Browns are terrible.  I never bet on terrible teams and I also never bet on terrible teams on the road.  Let’s go Titans.  Tennessee -7.

The Public is very excited about the Raiders.  The NFL is better when the Raiders are good.  Who doesn’t like seeing grown men dressed like skeletons and pirates drunk and acting like assholes for a TV camera?  I know I sure do!  This week the Chiefs come into Oakland after getting their ass kicked a couple weeks ago on national TV by Pittsburgh.  This sets up a scenario that I absolutely love as a degenerate gambler.  1.  The Public has a one week old memory.  Whatever happened last week will continue to happen now until forever.  This means the Chiefs will HAVE TO lose to Oakland.  2.  The Chiefs are coming off a bye week which means they got their asses ripped by everyone at work, at home, and in the street about how badly they got embarrassed.  This river of shit flows down to the coaches where Andy Reid is 15-2 after a bye week.  That dude can coach.  He also gets Charles back healthy (allegedly) in the backfield.  I love Kansas City +2.

I really feel like the Jets plus the points is a winner.  Arizona has been playing so poorly and injuries are really mounting there.  However, there is no way I am going to throw my entire life into a tailspin by getting the negative karma of the New York Jets involved in my world.  The Jets are like that necklace I wore last year that got me sick and almost made my foot fall off with the secondary infection.  You just don’t mess with the dark arts and you don’t mess around with the New York Jets.  I need good things to happen for me, and you don’t get that with the New York Jets.  Even typing the team name out has brought unknown danger into my life.  For those of you really feeling like living on the edge, Jets +7.5.  Please note this is not an “official” selection and should only be used by those that feel high altitude skydiving or ice snowmobile racing is not risky enough.  I will only get involved in this if I am "chasing" and I pray to God that doesn't happen. 

Season Record:  9-4

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Parking Lot Story

Perspective is a very powerful thing.  What appears one way to one person might appear totally different to another.  It is all in the angle in which you are looking at it.  Take last weekend for example.  I pulled the van into a small parking lot in Canton.  A grizzled older gentleman in a day glo vest ambled over to commandeer the situation.  He had the unwavering authority of a parking lot supervisor.  He chewed his tobacco and leaned into the driver's side window.  "Whelp...  This van is too big.  It won't fit in here."  He stood back for a second to further appraise the situation.  He was 100% correct.  The van was clearly too long for any spaces in the cramped lot.  Then I threw him a curve ball.

"No.  It will fit.  It's just the angle you are looking at it."

This was a real brain teaser.  I said it without a trace of emotion, my face a total blank.  His face betrayed the confusion in his brain.  It by all rights appeared the van was 50-75% too large for this parking lot.  It shouldn't have even been a point of contention.  Yet the man behind the wheel showed the utmost confidence that this van would not only fit into any of the compact spots but would do so with ease.

"No.  This van is too large.  It's way too big."

I responded.  "We get that a lot.  It's actually not that big.  It will fit in here for sure.  It's the angle you are looking at it."

Once again the old man crinkled his brow.  He was confused.  How could this be?  Did this man in the van know something about the universe I didn't?  Has something this simple evaded me for all these years?  He stepped back to further appraise the situation.  "No.  I have a Bronco and my car is too big.  Yours is way larger than the Bronco."

The van is much larger than a Ford Bronco.  That is a simple fact.  Yet, I defended my point.  "No, it's actually much smaller.  See, you are just close to the van so it seems bigger.  Take a look at that truck way over there.  See how small it is.  That's actually the size of the van.  You're just so close to it that it seems large.  It's the angle."

He began to dig in.  "Well, you can't park here.  It just won't work."

He responded "Yeah... It's a hell of a thing."

We both then nodded out heads, sucked at our teeth and pondered the situation.  There was silence.  I spoke first.  "How about we unload right here.  After that I will move it back there.  You'll see what I mean about the angle then."

He nodded his head eager to be out of the situation.  "Yup.  That will be OK.  But you're still too big for this lot."

I confidently shook my head.  "No.  It's just the angle.  You'll see.  The van is actually too small for the four of us to even ride in it."

The concept of the van being too small to carry four people that were currently inside it was too much.  He began to walk away.  I threw it in park and started to unload with the band.  Life really is all about perspective and angles.  Some you can see and some you can't.  I don't know about chemical engineering, duck pin bowling, the complexities of women, or if life is controlled by fate or force of will.  I do know this though.  It's all in the angle in which you see it.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Baseball Playoff Memory

I am watching the baseball playoffs.  I have always really liked watching the baseball playoffs, though almost all the national TV ads now pummel viewers for erectile dysfunction drugs or mobile phone plans.  I have seen the Viagra ad where the woman says “I overpacked but my man knows exactly what to pack” about 31 times already this postseason.  (In case you are wondering, she packs five suitcases and he packs boners.)  I liked it better when I was a kid and sports ran only beer, razors, and car ads.  In those days men didn’t need to pack boners when they traveled I guess.  Maybe all the cell phone use is causing erectile dysfunction.  I don’t know.

I’m watching the Cubs handle my beloved Giants.  The last time I have a clear memory of the Giants losing in the Playoffs like this I watched Will Clark and Chili Davis struggle in a Game 7 vs the Cardinals on a snowy color TV in Kent.  As I recall I was hanging out watching the game with this guy named Todd from my radio production lab.  Todd was a good guy that really made a mistake going out to a bar with my friends and I.  We had so committed to pushing the limits of tequila consumption, normal humans couldn’t hope to keep up.  Ron Wood would have been hard pressed to hang out an entire night.  We were a bunch of out of control assholes.  We were out of control assholes before the tequila hit, so out of control assholes climbing into a El Toro bottle morphing into a bunch of LA Woman era Jim Morrisons wasn't good for anyone.

Todd wanted to be one of the gang, so he’s knocking back El Toro and Iron City drafts like a sailor.  It was a dive place called The Brass Rail, one of the only places that was showing the baseball game.  The Giants, with whom I had only a passing interest, lost.  This was when we made a poor decision.  Todd decided we needed to drive over to a girl named Jeannie’s house.  Jeannie was a nice normal girl that was involved in radio production with us.  I didn't know her very well, and frankly I don't think Todd did either.  As it was a Monday or Tuesday night, Jeannie was probably relaxing at home with her roommate totally oblivious to what was about to happen.  She was having a Monday and we were having a "Saturday Night After World War II Ended".  There was a bit of an imbalance.

I will say this plainly.  Todd should not have been driving.  I say this as someone that was very intoxicated but still recognized that the other guy was the drunk.  I felt like I was the reasonable one, which I probably was in comparison, but I would have been arrested on sight by any responsible law enforcement officer.  It was a different age then.  A DUI was something that was considered to be like a speeding ticket.  People used to joke around about how drunk they were behind the wheel the previous night.  “I had to close one eye because I was seeing double!  HAHAHA!”  It really wasn’t that odd.  Seriously.  "Don't let the cops see ya!"  Nudge nudge, wink wink.  I hopped in the car and off we went.

We closed in to the quiet neighborhood where Jeannie lived.  I had never been there before so I just took Todd’s word for it.  Todd's car was an old blue Chevy Nova that we called "old" before the idea of "vintage" became widespread.  I remember blasting Evan John’s “Vacationtime”.  The music was so loud I barely heard the sound of Todd's car sideswiping a parked car in front of our destination.  I did get tossed across the front seat though.  “Jesus!  HAHAHAHHAAHA!”  Todd was pretty relaxed about careening into a parked car and scraping the crap out of his.  The car he hit was a relatively new Honda Accord.  It was pretty bad.  “Dude!  Let’s go!”  I guess it wasn’t really an issue.  We'd sort out the car later.  We walked up to the door like nothing had happened.

BAM!  BAM!  BAM!  “Jeannie!!!”  The door opened and Jeannie stood there perplexed in flannel pajamas.  Todd started laughing and walked right in.  Well, I guess we are coming in for a visit…  She seemed pretty receptive if not curious as to why two guys she barely knew had shown up at her house.  We sat down in the living room, turned some music on, and rustled some beers from her fridge.  There was some half assed plan being hatched by Todd about going out for a late night breakfast and he somehow convinced Jeannie to go.  She told us she needed a quick shower and she’d be right down.  Todd and I sat there looking through her records when he suddenly popped his head up and said “Fuck it dude.  I’m going for it.”  Hmm?  What?

Todd bounded up the staircase and I heard him open the door to the bathroom where Jeannie had been showering for about five minutes.  Almost immediately I hear a women’s high pitched “Hey!!!”, some quick male mumbling and then giggling as the shower curtain was pulled back .  That son of a bitch!  He pulled it off.  He was in the shower with her.  Things became quiet in the bathroom except for the occasional thud of two bodies against the tile.  This is when I realized I was about three miles from my house and had no way back except a long walk.  Oh well, I would finish my beer and see how it played out.  This was when Jeannie's roommate woke up and came downstairs to see what the hell was going on.

As I had mentioned before, I was drinking very heavily at the time.  There were weekly adventures that required great effort to piece together.  It was a confusing time.  This is why I did not recognize the woman that came down the stairs in a sweatshirt with her hair pulled up.  "What are you doing here?  Who's in there with Jeannie?"  Oh, that's Todd.  Do you know Todd?  (The look on her face said she didn't.)  My name is Greg.  We are going to get something to eat.  Do you want to go?  "No I don't want to go!"  (She didn't want to go apparently.)  She stomped back up the stairs.  Jeez.  Relax.

This is when it should have struck me that this woman was familiar.  It didn't though.  It wasn't until Todd and Jeannie came downstairs all giggly that I learned that I had been speaking with Jeannie's roommate.  I learned about five minutes later her name was Emily.  I should have remembered it was Emily because about two weeks earlier I had met Emily at a bar downtown and had a really great conversation with her.  She was funny, smart, and really cute.  She understood my dark sense of humor which isn't always a given.  We walked out of the bar together to talk to each other in a better atmosphere.  We walked down past the river and the waterfall.  Between us, I thought I was going to trick her back to my lair and do terrible things to her.  Emily was a woman of some virtue however and didn't want to leap into a filthy bed with a strange man she had met about 37 minutes ago.  What a prude.

Emily gave me her number on a scrap piece of paper.  "I hope we can get to know each other better."  This was great.  I was really excited to have this woman be interested in me.  She was clearly better than I was and even now I have no idea why she would have any interest in me whatsoever.  I must have caught her in some sort of fallow period.  We said goodbye and I told her how much I was looking forward to seeing her again.  I carefully put the scrap of paper in my front right pocket and went back to join my friends at the bar after watching her drive away.  What a great night!

Of course, I lost that scrap of paper almost immediately.  I spent an hour the next morning looking in the same three places over and over again thinking that when I searched my jeans pockets the third time the paper would magically appear.  Jeans pocket.  Floor by the bed.  Table by the bed.  Repeat.  Nope.  It was gone.  I had no idea of her last name or any possible way to reach her.  I had blown it.

About a week later fortune smiled on me.  I was in the same bar and across the room I saw her.  She was pretending she didn't notice me.  I'm sure that she thought that I had blown her off, throwing her number in the garbage.  It was obvious she wasn't someone that surrendered her contact information readily.  As I mentioned, my friends and I were going on tequila benders on a regular basis.  This was another one of those times.  I lurched over to speak with Emily.  Things were quite chilly in the beginning as she didn't believe any of my claims of losing the paper.  I wouldn't have believed me either.  I was a mess.  I must have totally sent out the vibe of "asshole that will say anything to get your panties off".  (This wasn't necessarily that far from the truth by the way.)  She remained skeptical.  Being a young man inexperienced with certain social situations I didn't just come clean and tell her how much I liked her and had fucked up, but rather focused on her unfairly judging me on losing the number.  This did not help my cause.  That's when it came to a head.

"You don't even know my name."  That's absurd.  Of course I do.  (But I didn't!  I had somehow forgotten it.  In my tequila haze I was searching and searching and I had nothing.  It started with a vowel.  An "E" I think...  What girl's names start with "E"?  Think dammit!  Think!)  You could tell she was even pulling for me.  All I had to do was come up with her name and all would be washed under the bridge.  She even offered me a clue.  "Think Pink Floyd..."  (Pink Floyd?  Dammit!  She even has a cool clue to give me.  This one is a winner!  Come on!  Come on!)  I pretended I knew it.  I played it real cool.  Silly me.  How could I have forgotten?  In reality the Pink Floyd clue didn't help me at all.  It only confused me more.  I just kept searching my head for a likely women's name that started with "E".  It was put up or shut up time.  I looked at her expectant face.  Your name is Elizabeth.  "It's Emily!  As in "See Emily Play"?  You asshole!"  She walked away.  Her friends started to laugh at me while exchanging glances with each other.  It was a bit embarrassing.  OK, it was very embarrassing.  It was even an obscure early Pink Floyd clue too.  That made her even cooler.  Fuck.  I slunk away in shame.    

You would think I would have remembered Emily forever.  I remember that incident even now.  Yet I did not remember that incident when she walked down the stairs of her rental apartment to discover The Asshole somehow sitting in her living room that night.  Making matters worse, I did not recognize her at all much less call her by name.  "Why hello Emily!  What a coincidence to see you this evening!  Can I fetch you a brandy my dear?"  No.  That's not what happened.  I introduced myself to her as if it was the first time we had ever met.  In my defense she did have her hair up and was wearing glasses whereas she was dressed to be out at the bars on the other occasions when I saw her.  As Emily quickly scampered back upstairs that night, I wondered why this strange girl was acting so coldly towards me for no reason.  Who is that and why is she acting this way?

Todd, Jeannie and I climbed into the Nova to go to a diner.  We all got in on the driver's side as the passenger door no longer opened.  I was the only one concerned about the car situation.  Hey Jeannie?  Who's Honda Accord is that?  "Oh, that's Emily's."  Fuck.  That's her roommate's car.  This is bad.  Oh God.  Emily?  Wait...  You said your roommate's name was Emily?  (This was when it all hit me like a ton of bricks.)  THAT WAS EMILY!  Ummm...  Did she happen to tell you about a guy that...  "OH MY GOD!  You're The Asshole!"  Yes.  It's me.  The Asshole.  We sat at the diner.  I had a ham and cheese omelette with wheat toast.  I was deep in thought.  I tried to come up with a plan to turn this around while Todd and Jeannie acted goofy.  I had absolutely nothing.  I had even less when Emily woke up the next day and filed the police report of hit and run on Todd.  Todd made a grave error in hoping it would all sort of disappear in the morning.  As I recall Todd had to pay a large fine to the cops, $1800 in repairs, and didn't go out with my friends and I to the bars anymore.  I haven't seen him since.  I haven't seen Emily either.  I hope Emily's car turned out OK.  It's been a couple decades.  She probably traded it in by now.

I curbed the tequila after that.  That nihilism wasn't really getting me anywhere.  Emily would probably like me OK now.  I'd remember her name I'll bet.  I've come a long way!  Well, I never pulled out the win there.  The Giants pulled out the win tonight though.  Go Giants.  I sure do like playoff baseball.      


Friday, October 7, 2016

Nurse the Hate: NFL Locks?

I cannot explain my decision to place my hard earned dollars on the New York Jets last weekend.  I knew full well they would let me down as they always do.  There is something about the Jets/Mets axis that always leads to financial distress.  Do you think it was coincidence that the Mets ownership was almost completely undone by Bernie Madoff?  Hell, even in the 1970s the motto amongst the Queens gambling community was “Bet on Koose and you lose” in regards to journeyman pitcher Jerry Koosman.  It’s been an almost half century of heartbreak with those teams.  How has that lesson not been learned?

What is it about the human condition that leads to the inability to avoid certain disaster like gambling on the Jets?  Laying money down on the Jets is really no different than buying low lying riverside property, driving home after a whiskey bender, or falling for an erratic woman.  It is the desire to touch that hot stove to see how hot it really is that must drive us.  There is absolutely no difference between leaping off a mountain in a wing suit and dropping large sums of money on the Jets.  Both of these actions will guarantee a horrible end.  Maybe death can be cheated once or twice, but the temporary dodging of disaster is only illusion.  The Reaper will come.  I blame no one but myself for that Jets debacle. 

I have no doubt in my mind that the New England Patriots are going to beat the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Brady is back this week.  The Patriots were shutout last week against Buffalo.  The Pats are 40-6 after a loss.  They are 15-3 on the road after a loss.  It is almost completely inconceivable that the Patriots don’t win.  But will they cover???  The Browns are the Browns, suck, and will ever thus.  So it was written by The Lord on the third tablet which was dropped accidentally by Moses.  They were quite heavy.  Who can blame him?  Yet 11 points to a home team is a real dog choker of a number.  The Browns have shown the ability to just sort of hang around with teams.  That’s not what we are looking for here.

I would like to say though I think the way to go on the line is to take the Browns and the points, I just can’t do it.  I do not want to be sitting in a bar with a bunch of sad sack Browns fans cheering for a pointless cause.  I don’t want to be left hoping for a miracle back door cover on a meaningless Gary Barnidge touchdown late.  I don’t want to be a guy in a brown shirt saying things like “fucking Browns!” and “Somebody cover that guy!!!” as other losers like me slam their hands on the bar in anger.  This can only lead me to heavy Sunday drinking and an early evening filled with regrets.  I need to steer clear of that.

This leads me to tying the Patriots into a money line parlay.  I am going to do two of them.  I am going to get on Tennessee +3.5 over Miami.  For some reason I have seen Miami play three times this season.  I was trying to come up with an intelligent sounding way to say the Dolphins “fucking suck”, but nothing I jotted down was quite a succinct as that.  The Dolphins don’t appear that interested in winning games, which is a good thing because they lack plenty of talent at key positions.  Miami is 13-43 against the spread as a home favorite.  That’s because they “fucking suck”.  That should be an ugly close game decided by a field goal.  I won’t watch it.  Let me know what happens.  Tennessee +3.5/Pats Money line

I think I have bought in on the Eagles.  I think it is because of too much exposure to ESPN.  If you watch enough ESPN you have been told that Carson Wentz is better than Peyton Manning and Bret Favre combined after a mere three games.  It doesn’t even seem odd if you watch enough hype TV.  However the key to taking Philadelphia over Detroit is the “Detroit factor”.  If not for the Browns, America would be more concerned about the Lions and their continued failures.  Sometimes late at night when I worry about living in the pre-apocalypse Donald Trump landscape I try to focus on what I need to do before I’m riddled with nuclear fallout cancers and have resorted to cannibalism.  These things are 1. Dive with bull sharks, 2. Spend a night in an igloo, 3.  Bet against the Lions. 

The Lions seem really bad.  On top of that they have some sort of dark cloud floating over them.  Is it industrial waste?  The cremated remains of unpaid Motown session players?  Canadian chemtrails?  The souls of departed Lions fans?  I don’t know for sure, but the Lions lose in Brownsy ways all the time.  It has to be a drag to walk out of that Ford stadium after yet another soul crushing loss and then hoof it through the urban devastation of downtown Detroit.  It’s going to be especially tough this week after losing to the Eagles.  Pats/Eagles moneyline

Season Record:  8-3     

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate Lady Gaga at The 5 Spot

Friends of mine in Nashville brought me up to speed with the Lady Gaga “Dive Bar” concert at The 5 Spot last night.  I really like The 5 Spot, having played there a number of times and finding it the kind of venue that really caters to our little indie world with reasonably good sound and reasonably priced drinks.  It is the kind of place where you need to play well and the crowd recognizes it when you do.  It’s very talented people playing good music that is under the radar.

Lady Gaga is in the midst of some promo initiative to get her new record out.  I don’t understand what she is doing completely but it has something to do with a concept of her playing dress up as a struggling blue collar songstress named “Joanne”.  The marketing initiative is essentially her playing small venues and creating media events while pretending to be this character from the record.  Bud Light sponsors the shit out of it and she rolls in with literally truckloads of gear.  She plays the “dive bar” and then hits the road for the next one in these carefully calculated media events.

For two days Lady Gaga locked down The 5 Spot.  The plan was for her to have a “surprise” concert a la Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Tour.  This was the worst kept secret in America as I knew about it here in Cleveland and yet don’t give a shit about Lady Gaga.  About 150 people got inside to see her play a set on the second day.  Now when I say “set”, I actually mean 20 minutes.  The whole thing was streamed on some corporate concern and then she hopped in her recently purchased super special vintage Bronco with the “Joanne” vanity plate and roared off.  How very exciting.

Lady Gaga sucked Nashville and The 5 Spot like a parasite for indie cred.  She used the venue and the implied reverse endorsement of that entire scene to legitimize her new record.  She essentially bought the seedy credibility of the real artists that inhabit The 5 Spot to suggest that she as “Joanne” is the same.  Well, the same, but better with her $50 million dollars of PA equipment and sound gear she rolled into the venue.  Why do we have to pretend that her slumming around with folks in our scene legitimizes her Chris Gaines record?

What I would have preferred to see would have been her to roll in and play Derek Hoke’s regular Tuesday night at The 5 Spot.  As far as I can see, Tuesday is Derek’s.  Derek, a fabulous songwriter and performer, has painstakingly built a regular Tuesday night where other artists guest with him.  It’s loose and a real organic thing.  Lady Gaga should have turned up and played after Derek did his set with her new material.  That’s the real thing of what she is pretending to do on this “Dive Bar tour”.  Instead of having 12 guys on her crew quadruple check every aspect of sound for a day and half before a 20 minute set, why doesn’t she just get up there and let the house sound guy tweak his humble gear as best he can on the fly on her set before disappearing from the board to have a smoke out front?  That’s the real shit.  And 20 minutes?  How about at least 45 minutes of material sweetie?

The whole idea of “the dive bar” tour is pretty insulting.  However, let’s be honest.  Lady Gaga can buy a shit ton of lights and 12 fabulous gay male glitter dancers, but she can’t buy the real artistic soul of the artists that play The 5 Spot.  Only by renting it for two days can she clue her “little monsters” fan base into what is really going on.  If this was 1979 she would have rented CBGBs.  In 1985 it would have been the 40 Watt Club.  In 1995 The Crocodile.  Now she will finish up these “dive bars” by inevitably playing in other trendy cities iconic venues like Austin, Portland, and key media centers.  It is all so contrived and simultaneously stepping on the real artists that she is trying to bleed.  Hey, you gotta move units so I get it.  It doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

Nashville is the new Portland which was the new Brooklyn which was the new Seattle which was the new Austin which was the new Athens.  It must be odd for the old residents of East Nashville to see the fame chasers roll into their town for a stamp on their credibility badge.  It used to be a good secret.  A few years ago East Nashvillians were all parking for free eating in little local restaurants that didn’t know they were ironic and kitschy.  It was small and local and cool.  The very thing that made it great, humble yet talented people doing their own thing amidst long Southern traditions, is being swept away in a sea of knit caps and ironic mustaches.  Sorry folks.  When Lady Gaga uses you for her fan base, it’s sort of over.  See you in Asheville.  I’ll bring the soy lattes.