Saturday, September 30, 2017

Nurse the Hate: NFL Week 4

I am in one of those hotels with the sleek coffee bar/breakfast nook spot that charges you $17.75 for a fruit cup.  I know it’s better for my overall well-being than the $12.50 blueberry explosion muffin, but $17.75 is a lot of money for three grapes, two cantaloupe chunks and a whole bunch of honeydew melon.  Has there ever been anyone in history that prefers the honeydew melon, the celery of the fruit world, to any of the possible other fruits possible in the fruit cup?  The honeydew appears to exist solely to act as filler in all fruit salads.  I mean, when is the last time you saw anyone just sit down and dig into a honeydew melon?  “Hey Burt!  What you got for lunch today?  Is that an entire honeydew melon you lucky son of a bitch?”.  When have you seen a group of kids scream out “honeydew!” when asked what kind of ice cream they want?  Honeydew is the melon chunk you push away with your plastic fork so you can get to the solitary strawberry.   I consider the blueberry explosion muffin.  I do the right thing.  I pay the $17.75 for the plastic cup of honeydew with two (2) cantaloupe chunks and two (2) red grapes.

I am looking at the betting lines for this weekend and a few catch my eye.  Everyone has jumped off the New York Giants bandwagon.  Everyone.  What was being touted as a potential Super Bowl team is now 0-3 and the NY Media is climbing inside the ass of anyone in a Giant uniform and just hacking away with a pick axe.  The assumption is that the Giants will never win again.  Meanwhile, Tampa is getting all types of love after the team was featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”.  After watching that, I love Jameis Winston.  He might be the best guy of all time.  Love him.  We all do.  That’s why The Public is going to be all over Tampa.  While they zig, I’m going to zag.  I like the Giants this week +3.5.  

I like to bet Kansas City at home.  Even when the Chiefs sucked, they were a good bet at home.  There are three things to do in Kansas City.  There’s an incredible World War I museum.  There’s great barbeque.  Lastly, you can put on an ugly red jacket and get shitfaced on 16 oz cans of Bud Light while screaming at the Chiefs to rip someone’s femur out.  It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday I’m told.  KC has covered 13 of their last 15 games.  Do you know who has noticed?  No one because Alex Smith is QB and it is happening in the center of the country.  If this team was on the East Coast Michael Irvin would be laughing like a rabid jackal screaming about “Chief fever” while waving around a rubber tomahawk while all the other ex-athletes in their expensive suits would be shoveling praise on top of it.  The Redskins sort of suck.  Teams that sort of suck get handled at home by the Chiefs.  Kansas City -6.5

Baltimore is getting three at home against the Steelers.  The Public always reacts to what just happened, assuming that this will repeat itself over and over.  Baltimore got destroyed in London by Jacksonville.  Crushed.  Those London games are wacky.  You’ve got guys calling you “mate” every two seconds, cars driving on the wrong side of the road, tiny Euro showers, and those Euro sirens going “wah wuh wah wuh wah wuh” at all hours making you think some Islamic extremist is outside chopping people’s limbs off with a machete.  It’s hard to focus on Blake Bortles when all that shit is going on.  This is a divisional game that is always close.  This is one of those rivalry games that isn’t just TV generated hype.  These teams get up for this game.  14 of the last 19 games have been decided by 4 or less points.  Baltimore is tough at home.  Give me the Ravens at home +3.

Season record: 2-4   

Friday, September 29, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Whiskey Daredevils Back To The Studio

We are heading into the studio this weekend to work on the 13th Whiskey Daredevils full length.  It is hard to believe we have made 13 full length records.  Tack on the Cowslingers 9 full lengths, and this will be the 24th time that Leo and I have made a full length release together.  That is either a really great accomplishment or a sad testament to a couple guys that won’t give up no matter how much the world shits on them.  It might be both.

I had an original goal of when I got with The Cowslingers to play out on a stage once, just to say that I did it.  After I discovered that a) it was harder than it looked and b) really fun, I got hooked on it.  It also helped that I could write songs fairly easily.  Soon enough we were chasing the dragon of trying to make a good record.  With 24 releases with an average of 11 originals on each one, that means I have been involved with writing 250+ songs with the various deviants that have been members of The Cowslingers and Whiskey Daredevils.  Please note, they haven’t all been masterpieces.  In fact, there is a friend of mine that I run into once a year.  Each and every time I see him he says the same thing.  “How’s the band going?  Hey, what was the name of that one song?  Dirty Sanchez?  Yeah…  I never liked that one.  Do you still play that?”.

Look, with 250 songs, they can’t all be hits.  Cut me some slack.  It was 16 years ago when “Dirty Sanchez” came out.  I was playing 110 shows a year and working a “real” full time job.  I didn’t have time to sleep much less be relied upon to come up with album’s worth of material with a sliver of depth.  There were song ideas in the van that sounded amazing that didn’t come off exactly like we had hoped.  The drummer from Man or Astroman? talked some shit about “Hogtied” in an interview once too.  I am not saying he didn’t have a valid point about the song being annoying.  Give me a break.  It was the third song I ever wrote.  I didn’t know what I was doing. And I was trying to please The Chief with it.  I should have followed “my muse”, but I don’t think I had found “my muse” at that point.  Having a “muse” is sort of like having a really good hair stylist.  You can have a good one, and then suddenly they’re gone without warning.  It’s not easy to find a muse.  Look it up.

With the sheer repetition of writing and playing, I think we’ve gotten to be pretty decent at it.  Every once in a while, a really good one comes out and the basement comes to life.  Everyone will exchange glances when we finish it for the first time and someone will say “Hey…  That’s pretty good…” to which Leo will inevitably say “Yeah man, it’s great!  This next record is going to be our best one yet!”.  A secret insider tip about the Cowslingers/Daredevils in the studio…  After each take, Leo will say “Yeah!  That sounded perfect.  I know I didn’t make any mistakes…”  Then someone might say something like “I think it got a little wobbly on the corners”.  That’s when Leo will say “OK.  I will do it again.  I don’t know if I can do it any better than I just did…”  Then we do another take.  Chances are, it might be better.  We all sit on the couch in the control room and listen to it.  Everyone looks down at the floor absorbed in their own part listening for flaws.  There is a silence after the tape stops.  Leo will say “This record is going to be really good.  I think it’s our best one yet!”  That’s the key to it.  Tricking yourself into thinking the best is yet to come.

You know what?  This time, I think he might be right.  (insert winking smiley face emoji here)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Gutentag Herr Trump

Herr Trump has once again managed to divide the country on an issue so seemingly insignificant it is laughable, but that’s what he does.  Firmly nestled into the position of “Worst President of My Lifetime”, a title that I thought impossible to wrestle from George W., he never fails to shit in the nation’s punch bowl.  We have elected a man that has absolutely no interest in leading the nation.  Despite having an overwhelming majority in both House and Senate, the man is incapable of accomplishing anything of his agenda (or “evil schemes”… whichever you prefer).  For almost a decade the friggin' Republicans have been screaming about repealing Obamacare, and yet when the road is absolutely free of obstruction, no one can seem to lead an alternate plan through.  No infrastructure, no tax cuts, nothing.  Just arguing and inflammatory speech.  It’s unreal.

So last weekend while major disaster areas languished in Houston/South Florida/Puerto Rico, North Korea threatening nuclear war, Iran pissed off because of his name calling in the UN, and the upcoming healthcare vote, Trump decides to insert himself into a minor protest in the NFL about police brutality that finally seemed to be settling down.  Bam!  Once again, there’s a fire raging out of control of his own doing.  He’s like a girlfriend your buddy dates that only does terrible things, and when you ask why he stays with her, he sheepishly says “Oh, you just don’t understand her like I do.”  Well, it turns out I do.  I really do.

Why the president of the United States felt it necessary to dis-invite Steph Curry to the White House is astonishing.  I remember an incident like that in sixth grade involving a girl named Patti that was invited and then later dis-invited to a birthday party that was quite a scandal at Garwood Middle School.  Then again, we were also 12 years old.  Immediately following that incident, Trump calls out black players for protesting police brutality by kneeling during the anthem.  Trump was so excited to get the applause in Alabama in front of a few thousand zealots, he just went on a roll stopping just short of suggesting “those negroes need to behave”.  I thought he was a racist before, but I know he is now.

I spent the last few days reading arguments from The Other Side (as we all now apparently have to take sides and not just be for “The Good of the Country”).  Fox News has been running with some horseshit that it has nothing to do with race, just being “a good American”.  Fox is always quick to wave the flag and suggest that the checkers playing Trump is actually playing five dimensional chess.  To suggest that there is deeper meaning behind his actions is to imagine Trump having a depth he has never displayed.  The guy that talked about grabbing pussy on the bus is exactly what he appears to be at all times.  Trump took no umbrage at the white supremacy groups at Charlottesville.  His aides almost convinced him to do the right thing, but he just couldn’t do it, so he doubled back to say what he felt about those nice Nazis (as opposed to the bad Nazis?).  It is so far beyond what we have expected from the office of president to have someone protect Nazis and try to bully minorities that it is tempting to try and find a rationale beyond the obvious.  Yet, it is right in front of everyone.  The leader of the United States is a racist.

I am a big fan of “if it walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck”.  This is most definitely a duck.  Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.  This has been the theme of this latest Trump distraction as a wave of white guys with crew cuts have taken to the airwaves to speak in quivering voices about how a black football player is disrespecting America’s military by trying to get someone to notice that a large swath of the population keeps trying to tell the rest of us something.  The white crew cut guy immediately runs to “the heroes that fought and died for this flag” rhetoric while shaking his fist as he completely misses the point.  The flag is not a symbol of the military.  To make a protest in the proximity of the flag is not to be anti-military.  These are two completely separate issues you stupid cavemen.  The flag is a symbol representing the ideals of the nation (allegedly).  When a segment of this nation makes a gesture to get the rest of us to pay attention to the fact they don’t feel like part of this nation and no one is listening, maybe it is worth stopping to ask “Why would these men bring this type of criticism down on them by their own actions?  Maybe I should listen to what they have to say.  This might be important.”  Instead Mr. Patriot is so out of sorts that he concludes that “those people” are somehow disrespecting whatever family member of his ended up in the service.  

Here’s a quick question.  How many black people have you seen on media that have been more upset about the flag demonstration than police brutality in their communities?  I haven’t seen one yet.  Every single time I look at the TV it is a variation of the same angry white guy.  There are plenty of dog whistles in their language.  There is plenty of dancing close to the edge of what seems to be the bigger issue.  In the early 1960s, these NFL players would have been called “uppity”.  There is a scorn attached to the players as the so-called patriots always mention how much money the players earn as if they should forget any social conscience.  Just be happy "we" are paying "you" and quiet down.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing if they just came out with it?  Just get the Klan robes on and go all the way.  It feels like it is getting close.  When I ask anyone that isn’t white if they think Trump is a racist, I get the exact same expression on their faces.  It is always a variation of “Are you fucking kidding me?”  They know what racism looks like and they are stunned to see how much of the country is on board with that thinking.

These are divisive times.  We have someone that commands a pulpit that is focused on dividing the population so he can get attention and applause from his core.  Trump is exactly what appears to be.  He always has been.  It's "us" against "them" in this New America.          

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Afternoon Fellini Film

It hurt her feelings when she was not invited to the party.  She would not have gone, but still it hurt not to be asked at all.  She had received a dozen previous invitations, all of which she had refused.   She generally pretended some sort of dismissive moral superiority as to why she did not attend these functions, but in reality it was that they always made her uncomfortable.  She never knew quite what to say and hated the gossipy chatter of the group.  Still, she had always counted on being invited as being part of the more popular clique.  This was a blow to her ego. 

She sat in the coffee house and discussed it with Derrick.  Derrick had been her boyfriend but had morphed into the role of best friend.  When she realized her relationship with Derrick was not based on attraction but on companionship, she was able to skillfully slide Derrick into best friend status.  Derrick, always compliant, accepted his changing role without incident.  "If you think that's best."  She hated this lack of passion in him when he was her boyfriend, but she adored it as a best friend.  He was steady and loyal.  

Derrick always appeared to be thinking of something else when you were speaking to him.  It was as if you were constantly interrupting him in another thought he was having.  "Can you believe they didn't even invite me to the party?"  What's that?  Oh yes. Well, perhaps because you have never accepted their invitations before, they thought they should stop asking you?"  Derrick frowned slightly while briefly looking at his coffee, and then stared back at her.  His low motor could be infuriating at times.  "Whether I would have accepted or not, it doesn't mean they STILL should not of invited me!"  She was irritated that Derrick didn't immediately tell her she was right.  She was always right.  He knew what she was looking for in him.  Derrick took a sip of his coffee and squinted as if to demonstrate he was thinking hard about the matter.  Yes, you're probably right.    

Derrick was an expert in pre-war French literature, art house films, chamber music, distillation techniques of absinthe and could make what was reported to be an excellent beef brisket . He had not exhibited a demonstrable feeling in well over five years.  She had been with him a couple years prior when he found out his grandmother had passed away.  It was morning.  His mobile buzzed on the night table.  "Yes?  Yes.  OK.  Thank you for telling me.  Yes.  Goodbye."  He placed the phone back on the table.  She rolled over in bed towards him.  Who was that?  "My cousin.  He called to tell me my grandmother died."  I'm so sorry.  "Oh, Thank you.  She had been ill."  They lay silently for moments.  She stroked his arm in a comforting fashion waiting for him to continue.  He seemed not to notice until slowly moving her onto her stomach.  He hoisted her hips back to him and nudged himself into her.  She saw him in the mirror as he fucked her from behind while staring at the wall with a blank expression.  He came with a little exhale, paused momentarily and then hopped off the bed.  "Well, I suppose I should go to my parents.  I'm going to hop in the shower.  Can you start the coffee?"

It was then she had made the decision to end their romance.  When he emerged from the shower 15 minutes later in his fussy button down shirt to sip his coffee standing by the sink, she weighed if she still needed him in her life in some fashion.  She had invested so much time into their relationship.  Derrick set his coffee cup in the sink and announced "I will stop at my parents house now, and then meet you at the cinema at two."  He was so pragmatic.  Thoughtful too.  He knew she would feel awkward in the emotions of his family and had spared her making that trip.  That was it.  This was when she decided she could maintain a friendship with him.  She smiled slightly at the thought of the new arrangement.  Yes, that would be perfect.  She enjoyed having someone dependable who would go with her to try new restaurants and agree with her opinions.

Derrick squinted again and looked out the window.  People trudged by doing their weekend tasks.  "Do you want to go to the Fellini screening at the university tonight?  It's an original print as I understand it."  She hated Fellini and was still upset about the lack of invitation to the party last night.  She was annoyed at herself for caring about those people at all.  Derrick stared at her blankly waiting for her response.  He gave no indication if he cared if she accepted his invitation or not.  She decided she would remove all of those that had slighted her with this party incident from her world.  She would not be put in that uncomfortable position again.  She would also go to the movies with Derrick.  The crisis was passing.  She was back in control.  "Yes, I will go but you know I hate Fellini."  Derrick gave a slight nod as he furrowed his brow looking out the window.