Saturday, September 28, 2019

NFL Week 4: A Stunning Crash To Earth?

I have been on such a roll with the NFL, yet I don't feel good about it.  I should be nude rolling around in my winnings while singing along to James Brown.  I'm not though.  Instead I'm regretting not having my entire 401K tied up in these wagers so I can calmly walk into work in a bathrobe on Monday to announce, "I'm sorry my robe has blown open my dear, but this is of little concern.  I just want to make you aware that as opposed to increasing shareholder value over in my cubicle, I am going to listen to Slayer and read the New York Times to see if this piece of shit con man president of ours is finally going to be put in shackles and led off like a diseased dog.  You enjoy yourself though. Oh, and can you get me some tea?"

I need to get very aggressive.  However, I am an insane 8-0 in the NFL this year.  This suggests I will launch an 0-8 spree today that brings me crashing to earth like Icarus.  Have no fear my intrepid adventurer.  I will press forward with the idea that it is better to roll with a trend than bet against it.  It's time to launch Operation Bathrobe!  Please note, I need you to trust me that I was on the Jets last week.  I was traveling and couldn't write.  Let's be honest.  No one brags about being on the Jets.

I am a big believer in betting against public perception.  That is about 75% of NFL betting.  Realizing what others think, and accepting that this is incorrect.  Think about all the assholes you see driving too slowly in the left lane in Buicks.  They think they have it all figured out.  Those are stupid fucking hillbillies.  Those same stupid fucking hillbillies think that the New York Football Giants have solved their problems by starting rookie QB Daniel Jones.  Yes that young man enjoyed a mythological start last week in leading the Giants to victory.  Yes, the Washington Redskins looked pathetic last week.  This is exactly what we look for in value.  A crappy team gives another crappy team too many points.  How do we make that even better?  Tease it with another team low in the public perception.

The Cleveland Browns were supposed to be awesome.  They aren't.  Of course they aren't.  They are the Browns.  It's what the Browns do.  They destroy dreams.  They leave their fans crying in the stands.  Every single NFL fan entered the season with the story line of "At last the Browns will be good" only to see the team look anemic at 1-2.  Perfect.  Let's jump on the Browns over an overrated Ravens team by teasing them up with the Redskins over the shitty Giants.

Washington +9/Cleveland +13

Before the season started I said the Dolphins would be terrible.  I could gloat about that right now, but instead I am going to bet on the Dolphins.  This seems like an awful idea, and it probably is.  Betting on terrible teams is playing with fire like autoerotic asphyxiation on a business trip.  Maybe it's a thrill, but the risk is not worth the reward.  Yet, I am going to take the Dolphins +15.5 over the Chargers not as a testament to the Dolphins but rather as fade on the Chargers.  LA has cluster injuries on the offensive line and two tight ends out, as well as WR Mike Williams.  I am not sure who is going to score for the Chargers.  Miami doesn't need to be good on Sunday, just try to compete  at home.  Is it too much to ask?  Maybe but I'm on Miami +15.5.

Season Record:  8-0


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Week 2

Last weekend was an aberration.  Not only did I go 3-0 on the posted picks, I won on the under on TH night as well.  The chance of going 4-0 in any week is almost none, much less in the wilderness of mirrors that is Week One of the NFL season.  It would be in my best interests to never gamble on another football game again.  It's like winning the lottery and insisting on being paid in lottery tickets.  I should walk away.  This is not what I am going to do though.

I am reminded of a trip I made to Vegas 117 years ago.  Two guys I sort of knew had worked themselves up in a lather playing roulette.  They had an absolute mountain of chips in front of them.  A crowd cheered them on, scantily clad hookers and local grifters smelling fresh blood in the water.  I wedged in to say hello and get a grasp on the situation.  Both of their eyes were crackling with the electricity and fever that only a monster winning gambling run can provide.  "Hey man!  What's up?  We are!  We are up 78 grand!!!".  I suggested they cash out when the worm began to turn.  They laughed in any face.  They were firmly convinced that they had somehow cracked the code of roulette and would now shovel all of the casino's money into duffel bags.  I was not so optimistic.  I went to bed.  It was about 230am.

I woke up around 7am with the familiar jet lag to East Coast travelers.  I jumped on the elevator to eat a horrific breakfast buffet at whatever the hotel diner type restaurant was called.  My guess is it was called "Raffles" or "Sandlewood Grille" (with the "e" at the end so you know it's klassy with a "k").  The roulette table was close to the elevator bank.  Sure as shit those two guys were still at that table.  The scene couldn't be any more different.  There was no cheering crowd.  Just the two of those guys with long faces and about $400 of chips.  While I slept a few hours they lost back a cool 78 large.  Ouch.

Now you would think I would learn a lesson from that, but I didn't.  I am going too swagger into this week with the same misplaced optimism which I carried into last week. To show you how delusional I am, my first selection is the Detroit Lions +2.5 at home versus the Chargers.  Betting on the Lions is usually as good of an idea as starting smoking in your 50s or cashing your 401k in at a strip club.  Yes, there will be some short term thrills but you will generally end up smashed on the rocks of life.  However, hear me out on this...  The Chargers have injuries.  Lots of injuries.  Their best offensive lineman, starting tight end, free safety, cornerback, their best receiver and top running back are all out.  I like betting against West Coast teams playing 1p East Coast start times, even against the Lions.  The Public will be all over the Chargers on this, which means you have to go Lions.  I know.  This is scary.  Ideally, hold out on this and see if you can get 3 points.  Detroit +2.5

The New Orleans Saints are a notoriously slow starting team.  They are 1-9 against the spread in the first two games of the season in the last 10 years.  After a "by the skin of their teeth" win over Houston last Monday, that against the spread mark is now 1-10.  Always bet with the trend, not against it.  This week they play a Rams team with a completely clean injury sheet at LA.  The Rams looked strong last week, especially in the second half.  I like the superior home team versus the road team on a short week.  The Public will be focused on the idea of "Revenge For Drew Brees and The Saints" after getting jobbed in the Playoffs last year.  Whatever.  Give me the better team at home.  LA Rams -2.5

Remember how I just told you I like betting against West Coast teams traveling East?  OK, forget that.  We are going to bet against the Bengals here.  We don't need the 49ers to win.  We just need them to hang in there.  I am not sure if 49er James Garoppolo is a legit NFL starting QB.  He looked shitty last week.  Making matters worse, the 49ers lost their starting RB.  I know none of this sounds good, but we are going to tease them.  We are going to take the six points to move through the 3, 4 and 7 number to get San Francisco +7.  Denver is getting 2.5 at home versus the Bears.  A couple of quick points.  The Bears offense looked awful because Mitch Trubisky looked like he wasn't very good at football.  I don't think he got good at football in the last week.  The Broncos have a good defense.  They have a much better defense than the Packers who totally shut down the Bears last week because, as we have noted, Mitch Trubisky isn't good at football.  The Broncos head coach was the Bears defensive coordinator last year.  I am thinking he might have a good idea at what Mitch isn't very good at besides just "football".  There is a wild rumor afoot that Mitch can't roll one direction and pass the ball accurately.  This is a problem in the NFL.  I am betting on a Von Miller led defensive front to make Mitch quite uncomfortable despite the rest disparity between the two teams.  Let's just keep it close fellas.  Denver at home +8.5?  Yes please.  SF +7/Denver +8.5

Season Record 3-0 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Shell Oil/True North Store Situation

Sept 11, 2019

Shell Oil/True North
10346 Brecksville Rd.
Brecksville, OH 44141


On August 9th I attempted to fill up my tank with gas at Store #362.  When I began to pump the gas, I was immediately sprayed as the connection from the hose to the nozzle acted like a gasoline sprinkler.  I thought to myself, “well this is certainly unpleasant and I would like to make it stop”.  I immediately moved to place the hose back on the cradle when the real fun began.  The hose then became completely disconnected from the nozzle and  began to spray gas all over myself, my car, and the immediate area.  I would describe myself as “soaked” in gasoline.  Please note, this is not my ideal end result when I visit one of your gas stations.

I entered the station and attempted to report the situation.  There was a line of customers waiting to buy the variety of delights you make available at your True North stores, so I can understand the trepidation of the clerk to address my situation of being drenched in gas and having a live gas hose spewing fuel on the pavement.  After all, the spicy jalapeno roller dog is a taste treat to say nothing of the refreshments abound from the fountain drink area.  One does not want to get between a hungry customer and their 99 cent chili cheese dog, eh?  However, I was surprised to announce “Hey, you’ve got a real problem out there!  You’ve got gas spilling all over the place!” and receive a “Huh?” in the tone of a Canadian goose from the clerk.  The key to the disconnect was the tone.  After I repeated the situation as well as pointing out I was soaked in gasoline, the clerk called out “Patty!” and ignored me to ring up the next customer.

I was told to fill out “the incident report”, which I did.  This was Store 362 on August 9th at 12:20pm.  The incident occurred on Pump #9.  I can provide a photo of the completed report upon request.  Here's the way I see it.  Your hose completely disconnected from the pump.  It ruined my clothes (A pair of Lucky Jeans, a Banana Republic button down shirt, a pair of slip on Chuck Taylors, and a ratty ass pair of boxer briefs).  It also soaked the side of my car, which I had to get detailed.  This included the interior of my car, which was also sprayed as the window was down when I started to pump the gas.  All told, I am out $544.49 with the combined replacement cost of the clothes and the auto detailing.  I did not include the cost of the boxer briefs which were, to be fair, in a condition I would call “bleak”.  Nothing looks more sad than a pair of old boxer briefs soaked in gasoline, let me tell you.

If you review the security tape, I think you will see not only the confirmation of the event as per this document but also a startling lack of urgency on the part of the employees considering it was reported a hose with gasoline was emptying into a full station of customers.  Oh well, I suppose one does not have the choice of Grade A potential employees at your typical Shell station.  Maybe you guys have a “priorities” webinar you could run for employees when you issue them those sporty smocks and name tags.  Just a thought.  "Things to do in order when a customer is soaked in gas due to our negligence.  1.  Address the customer's needs.  2.  Ring up the guy buying smokes and a Slim Jim."

I am very disappointed I have not received any feedback from your company.  It has been a month my friends.  I must warn you, I expect to be fully compensated for your negligence regarding this incident.  I am not going to take some sort of automated form letter combined with a $25 gift card.  I must insist on total compensation for my clothes and service for my automobile.  It has been a month without any response to the “incident report”.  I am hoping you take a moment and rectify this situation ASAP.  I am not going to let this go.


Greg Miller

Friday, September 6, 2019

Nurse the Hate: NFL Locks Week 1

I don’t care for Florida.  I have never cared for Florida.  Florida to me means eating subpar seafood at an overpriced restaurant named something annoying like “Captain McSwabby’s”.  Florida is always sitting underneath an air conditioner blowing 52 degree air on you like a jet engine despite having gone to significant effort to travel there FOR the heat.  Florida is a strip plaza with a nail salon, mobile phone store and beer store that only seems to sell Miller Lite and cigarettes.  Florida is poorly built homes ready to blow over at the first sign of a storm.  Florida is where all the silt of America goes to find refuge when they need to bug out of their own town.  It’s easy to root against Florida and especially Miami, a town of cheap disco culture and imminent violence. 

I am going to take “a position” on the Baltimore Ravens to cover over the Dolphins.  The Dolphins were not supposed to be very good.  Then, with a week prior to the season, they traded away their best tackle, a starting wide receiver and a starting linebacker for “picks”.  They have two QBs, Josh Rosen who they traded a #2 pick for, who could not beat out career journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is starting until he gets killed.  The offense is bereft of skilled position players, and I can’t ever recall having to use the word “bereft” in a sports post prior to this.  The Dolphins are deliberately tanking the season, which is unfortunate as it’s not like they will draft well next year anyway.  They look like a team that deserves strong consideration in taking an UNDER on their season win total of 4.5.  I’d like to remind you that Brandon Weedon won 6 games as an NFL starter, so that’s saying something.

Baltimore is going to contend to win the NFL North.  I’m not sure if Lamar Jackson will turn out to be their answer at QB, but he should be enough to score more than a touchdown difference over a Miami team that will be referred to as “the fucking Dolphins” by anyone in South Florida that is even paying attention.  This game will be a rumor more than an event witnessed by anyone in person.  Baltimore -6.5.     

The people of Cleveland are in a state of mass bliss that has nestled into delusion involving the Browns.  The widespread belief is that the team is going to the Playoffs, and probably to the SuperBowl where they will run through the opposition like a buzzsaw.  Quick reminder...  This team had a losing record last year and their best quality win was either over a subpar Denver team or the tie to Pittsburgh.  Prize acquisition Odell Beckham has already been suggesting his hip isn't right and he's "never dealt with something like this" despite missing 14 games in the last two years.  The offensive line is such a mess that they made a trade with the woeful Buffalo Bills for a guard they were likely going to cut.  I think that guy is now starting.  The Browns are also 1-18-1 in their last 20 openers.  This week they are favored by 5.5 over the Tennessee Titans, only the second time this decade they have been favored by more than 5.  Maybe Lady Luck smiles on the Browns this year, but I'd rather assume the worst.  It's always been profitable when it comes to the Browns.  Tennessee +5.5   

I'm so giddy about football starting that I'm even going to make a teaser bet.  These are generally referred to as "sucker bets", so it's good to really embrace a season of NFL gambling right out of the gate with one of these.  I'm going to take Dallas -1 over the Giants.  I'm not sold on Dallas being a great team, but I am sold on them beating the Giants.  The Giants have the odor of a team that will be a disaster and have the New York media feasting on their carcass by October.  Eli will have been discarded like a used paper cup and that kid they drafted from Duke will be running for his life in front of the jeering crowd.  I am going to pair this up with Carolina +8.5 over the Rams.  Quick fact.  The loser of the Super Bowl is 3-16-1 against the spread in the opener over the last 20 years.  I should probably just take Carolina straight up, but losing this "sure thing" bet on the Dallas end will be more fun.  Dallas-1/Carolina +8.5  

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Nurse the Hate: A Memory From Chicago

The Daredevils/Cowslingers organization has had a long and relatively disastrous history in the city of Chicago.  We have always traveled there with the best laid plans, fully intending to bring the rock and roll to an excited audience, but usually found ourselves playing to small indifferent "crowds".  I had a real knack for booking us at exactly the moment when one of the city's sports franchises was on the precipice of a championship.  I think we played poorly attended gigs during Cubs Playoffs, Black Hawks Stanley Cup, and most notably the NBA Finals during the Michael Jordan era.  If we had a gig that we booked in March for a June Lounge Ax show, you could be damn sure that it would be on the same night the Bulls were about to clinch yet another NBA crown.  I would somehow forget what had happened the previous June and do the same thing year after year.  While the Mark Price era Cavs were frustrated at their inability to get past the Bulls, they could not have been as exasperated as we were getting dissed after a 6 hour drive in a crappy van with no place to park.  The Cavs flew home in style after losing in front of 20,000 people.  We drove home at 345am jacked up on gas station coffee and mini thins.

I remember one of those shows that seemed like a sure thing.  It was almost impossible to get into Lounge Ax, and the Cowslingers got booked onto a three band garage bill with a couple Estrus bands.  In theory, this show would have crushed as Estrus was very popular in Chicago at the time.  I want to say the Quadrajets were one of the bands, because I seem to recall Chet looking very sad as we realized that the seven of us in the bar would be about it on this Thursday night.  Everyone in the city was watching the Bulls in the NBA Finals.  It wasn't even a series clinching game where the mirage of people streaming into the room to celebrate a championship was something to cling to.  We were fucked.  No one was coming.  Essentially we had driven to Chicago to play a 45 minute set in front of the Quadrajets guys and the disinterested Lounge Ax bartenders.  It would have been easier just to have invited the Quadrajets over to our practice space in Lakewood.

Making matters worse at times like that are how little the employees of the club care.  There is NO ONE less engaged in independent rock than a hipster venue bartender, much less one from a major city like Chicago.  They have seen everyone and were unimpressed with them too.  Many of them likely refused to get beers for Pavement and Slint three years ago, so what makes you think you can just waltz over here and get a free Old Style Mr.  Fucking Cleveland Cowboy hat?  It puts you in your place pretty quickly getting attitude from some dude with a man bun that shares a shitty one bedroom apartment with three other guys and a ferret named "Riggs".

We played a forgettable set and then watched the next victims go up to take their medicine while we reversed roles.  As I recall we had two (2) fans that came to see us, a woman named Mickey that Krusty knew from OU and her male companion.  Mickey was most noteworthy for consistently peppering me with requests to "tape her down with masking tape to sheet metal and fuck her" and had made allusions to an adult incident with my brother while in college that she wished to pair with this vision to "get the other Miller brother".  I liked Mickey well enough from a distance but did not share in her enthusiasm for duct tape, sheet metal, and the frankly uncomfortable sounding combination of the two.  She seemed to be embracing a lifestyle that was a bit more extreme than my own and frankly she scared me a little bit.

This lifestyle choice was later confirmed when she talked Leo and Bobby into going with her and her companion to "a private club" where she planned on putting on some type of show.  The last thing I wanted to do was lose these guys and try to find them somewhere seedy in Chicago at 2am.  We decided that Mickey would leave to go home and change into her "outfit" and would then come back to lead us to the club.  We had planned to do the overnight drive back to Cleveland, so we would make a stop at the club on our way out of town.  This seemed like a reasonable compromise.  We still get back to Ohio somehow and at least we have some kind of adventure on this otherwise bust of a trip.

Mickey came back at about 1a with her companion.  She was in a leather get up hidden underneath a trench coat.  She went into her Japanese subcompact car to lead the way, the van following in increasingly more industrialized streets.  We finally stopped at a loading dock in an industrial park.  At the end of the dock was a door painted green.  Mickey is all leathered up and her guy looks like some fetish enthusiast.  I am in a pair of combat cargo shorts, a white t-shirt, Chuck Taylors and an Indians baseball cap.  I suspected I might not fit in unless the interior of the club was a J. Crew ad.

Mickey gave the secret door knock, and a doorman slid open a peephole to check us out.  "Hey Mickey."  The door opened and we were led inside.  It was a large open area with various implements and staging areas for bondage and S&M "scenarios".  TVs were posted on the walls playing videos of people tied up and being spanked.  In the middle of the room a man was tied down onto a rack and being swatted by a woman using a riding crop.  A couple guys were sitting very close, intently taking in the action.  They were VERY into it.  A few other people milled around in leather gear.  Tarantino could have shot a scene in here.  The door buzzed and a conservative looking mother walked in carrying a duffel bag.  She walked into a changing area in the back and emerged minutes later in a cop uniform with her breasts cut out of it.  The mirrored sunglasses were a nice touch.  Meanwhile I am just sort of standing around in a t-shirt and shorts looking like I wandered in from a Cubs game.

I started to realize that I was getting tired.  If I was going to be able to make this drive home, I would need some coffee.  There was a little snack bar area in the back so I thought about asking someone if they had coffee.  I hesitated when the bartender emerged from behind a curtain.  He had a shaved head, no shirt and some sort of leather straps went across his chest.  If I had to guess his name, my guess would have been "Horse".  "Can I help you?"  Umm... well...  Do you have any coffee back there?  "Oh yes!  I'm sorry but I'll have to make you a fresh pot.  I have regular but there's a really nice Hazelnut!  Which one would you prefer?  It's no trouble!"  He couldn't have been nicer.  I hung out with Horse and made small talk while the coffee brewed.  What a pleasant guy.

When I sauntered back across the complex I found something I wasn't expecting.  Leo was tied across the "X" rack while Mickey was preparing to hit him with whips.  A group of about 15 people began to assemble around the rack to witness the show.  12 of these people had a sexual electricity crackling off of them, getting more intense as the show came closer to beginning.  The other three were the Cowslingers and we were struggling to hold back uncontrollable laughter.  We had different expectations for what was about to happen.  I had to hand it to the folks that were into that scene, they didn't let three guys laughing so hard they were crying get in the way of their satisfaction when Leo let out a "Ohhhh!!!!" when Mickey really smacked him a good one.  I wish I had taken a photo to use as the cover of a 45.

After a bit more of watching Leo get whipped and getting a headache I laughed so hard, Leo convinced Mickey to let the tables get turned.  Mickey got tied down by her boyfriend and asked Leo if he wanted to user her implements.  Leo, going truly Old School, decided just to spank her bare handed.  Mickey's boyfriend was sort of skinny and squirrely.  I do not think he was able to deliver a bare handed spanking with the same authority as an adult male drummer of a country punk band.  Even the crowd of enthusiasts let out a little gasp when he connected with a real "smack!" as Mickey let out a dramatic whimper.  Leo was a hit.  Making matters worse I think his crowd was about twice as big as our earlier set at Lounge Ax.

We wrapped it up soon after that.  I got a refill of the hazelnut coffee from Horse.  The staff of the club thanked us for coming and invited us back next time we came in the area.  The lady cop waved goodbye.  Mickey gave Leo a hug and thanked him for putting on a good show.  We piled into the van and made the drive into the black night of the Turnpike back to Ohio.  Looking back, I think it was our best Chicago show of that decade.