Monday, November 30, 2009

Your Pain Is My Gain (Why I'm Thankful For the Pittsburgh Steelers)

I admit it. My football team is horrid from top to bottom. There is little joy in Brownstown these days so why am I smiling? It takes a special person to find pleasure in someone else's failure.

I am that person.

I've grown tired of talking heads carrying on about how the Pittsburgh Steelers have the best fans in football. They blather on about how they travel well, are knowledgeable, and support their team unconditionally.

And to that, kind sirs, I say horseshit.

The Steelers are 6-5, in second place in the AFC North, still in the playoff picture, and as much as it pains me to write, the defending Super Bowl champions. But it hasn't stopped some of their fans from going in to full meltdown mode. Here are some of the thread topics on a well-populated Steelers message board that warm my cold, cold, 1-10 heart.

- Hines Ward calling out Ben Roethlisberger (??)
- TOmlin dislikes Ben????
- Bruce Arians is a joke.
- O-line let down AGAIN
- The ref handed the Ravens the win
- This has now moved into the realm of a "crushing loss"
- Who still believes this defense is great?
- The Day It All Ended
- The paper curtain
- IKE was horrible tonight. Gay is always horrible.
- LeBeau can go
- Would Favre have played last night?
- defense is an embarrassment

And my personal favorite:
- I see the death spiral coming...

They didn't have their team taken from them. They aren't 0-12 vs their hated rivals since 2003. They aren't on their fourth (hopefully soon to be fifth) head coach in 10 seasons. They aren't near the bottom in every statistical category on both sides of the ball this year. They aren't 1-10.

So to every Pittsburgh Steelers fan throwing a fit i say:

WAH. Keep up the good work. Your tears fuel me. But keep in mind... could be worse... could be a Browns fan.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Potheads In My Lawn

My neighborhood is never lacking action. Living on the lower west side gives you a nice mix of eccentric elderly folks, alcohol-fueled college kids, and strung out crackheads looking to bash your face in for pocket change. Charming, no?

Over the last 12 months I have witnessed a violent drug shakedown in front of the apartment complex, had my car broken into, heard tales of the neighbor’s pit bulls chasing people down the alleyway like a live action Tom & Jerry cartoon, and do my best to not pay attention to the cop cars on nighttime stakeouts in the Shur-Fine parking lot. But on Wednesday my backyard was a full-fledged COPS episode.

The city police had picked up an unsavory gentleman a few blocks away and had him handcuffed in the back of their squad car (squad car? Am I from the 1920’s?). I don’t know why he was there…take your pick…drugs, ducking parking tickets, beating his girlfriend, not returning his copy of Into the Wild to a designated Redbox location in a reasonable amount of time. The officers must have left him unattended (or were trying to pick up 95.9FM on the radio…that shit always distracts me for a few minutes) and this upstanding citizen saw and opportunity to bolt from the scene. Handcuffed. He ran through the neighborhood and (lucky me!) decided to take refuge in my backyard.

Working in a newsroom has its perks…the weekly prostitute mugshot viewings, endless Anchorman jokes, enough “when I first started in the business” stories to fill Al Roker’s pants, the occasional news personality meltdown caught on tape… but you’re also the first to hear horrible news that sometimes include you, your family, or a little patch of dirt you call your backyard. And when the news first comes in it’s usually a little nugget of truth that turns into a boulder of a story, so when I heard “ZOMG THERE IS A SWAT TEAM WITH GUNS DRAWN SEARCHING FOR A FUGITIVE IN YOUR HOUSE” I was skeptical.

Turns out it wasn’t that far-fetched. This tax-paying, productive member of society ducked into the ‘hoods shared alleyway and curled up in to a ball along our fence like a potato bug hoping no one would see him. Amazingly it worked out pretty well at first. The police looked all through the neighborhood and didn’t see him. When the cops left our backyard area he thought the coast was clear so he scampered into my garage (yes, this sounds like a Charlie Chaplin short, but I assure you this happened).

My garage isn’t that big. It’s just large enough to house my car, a gas can, and (for reasons that even I am unaware of) a kitchen chair. It doesn’t make for a good hiding place unless you want to take a load off and chug poison.

Bad criminal hiding place or snapshot of the underground railroad?

Thanks to some eagle-eyed (busybody) neighbor he was spotted running in to the garage where the cops surrounded him. He surrendered after realizing my garage doesn’t contain any teleportation devices (Sucks, doesn’t it? Trust me I’ve already looked in there). The guy is back in custody and we’re free to go about our lower west side business until the next strung out manic fugitive decides to make a break for it.

Dude should consider himself lucky I wasn’t home at the time. He would have seen me crying like a little girl begging for mercy and gave himself up without a fight. Everyone knows blubbering sissies make terrible hostages.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Signs of Life (In Search of Souls In Search Of Something

I'll skip the normal excuses I spout for not posting more and the empty promises to do better in the future. I've been and will continue to be on tour.

If you know me (hell, even if you've just accidentally googled me once) you know the music of Our Lady Peace means a lot to me. I can't explain why but to me there is Our Lady Peace and then there is all other music. It's the one topic that I can't argue or debate rationally. It just is.

Cleveland, OH - August '03

The emotion and energy in their music s hard to capture with a tiny camera, but enjoy the clips and images I took from some recent shows. Their new album "Burn Burn" is available Tuesday, July 21st in stores and on iTunes. Song previews, tour dates, and merch can be had over at




I'll be attending and dragging friends to shows in Toronto and New York next week, then in Cleveland and (money willing) DC and Philadelphia in August.

Feel free to come along. Go ahead man, don't be shy. You need to know your friends.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Shamrock Shakes & Shenanigans (Dial 1-900-Megans-Law)

I'm not an easily disturbed guy. A few of the things that creep me out:

- Eyeball surgery on the Discovery Channel
- Headless department store mannequins
- Standup comedy featuring puppets
- Brand name goods at competitive prices (how do they do that?)
- The new Burger King commercial featuring a remix of Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back selling Spongebob toys in their BK Kid's Meals

Burger King's Baby Got Back commercial/acid trip

Someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to mash together a cartoon icon, fast food, a children's toy, a nightmare-inducing mascot, and a 90's rap song about juicy round asses into one 30 second commercial.

Since integrity and street cred are things of the past I have a few suggestions to continue the Old School/BK campaign if Burger King is listening. Might as well make an entire album.

1.) Straight Outta Croissan'wich (NWA)
1.) Strictly Biscuits (E.P.M.D.)
2.) Punks Jump Up To Get Big Fish (Brand Nubian)
3.) Welcome to the TendercrispDome (Public Enemy)
4.) Wild Wild Western Burger (Kool Moe Dee)
5.) We Want Cheezy (Tots) (Eazy-E)
6.) Milk Shaker (Wreckx-N-Effect)
7.) The Onion Ring Lover's in the House (Heavy D)
8.) Givin Up the Nappy Whopper (Ice Cube)
9.) Kick em in the TenderGrill (3rd Bass)
10.) Time 4 Sum Hash Browns (Redman)
11.) Bonita Applepie (A Tribe Called Quest)

Honestly, I'm just bitter Burger King jacked my karaoke jam. Couldn't they have just used a Tone-Loc song? I've heard if you throw a few french toast sticks his way he'd probably play ball.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On the Prowl - To Serve & Protect

This morning I had to be at work at the crack of 10 a.m. for a meeting. Usually my day doesn't begin until 12:30 so to me 10 a.m. might as well be 5 a.m.

I pulled out of the alleyway and noticed a city police car at a stop sign on the corner. My mind wandered trying to recall the last time I was pulled over and if all the points were cleared from my license as I waited at the next intersection for traffic to pass. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the officer speed up next to my car and do the "roll down your window, buddy" motion.

What is he going to nail me for? No seat belt? Broken tail light? Bound and gagged teen girl in the trunk (lucky guess on his part)? I rolled the window down and tried to look as innocent and white as possible (maybe he thought I was Mexican...should I flash my Polish Falcons membership?).

Him: "Hey, where'd you get that sticker at?"

Me: "ahhhh....what?

Him: "The Transformers decal in your window. I've been looking for one for the car."

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of riding in the Locomobile he was admiring this:

Back Seat of My Buick, Let's Swing an Episode

I'm not a bumper sticker guy by any means. This is the only piece of flair on my car besides an Autobot front plate that needs to be reattached. This is not the first time someone has chased me down to ask to ask me about it but it is the first time it was an officer of the law.

After I finished soiling myself (and casually slipping on my seat belt) I let him know that they can be had on eBay for a few bucks. I don't know if he wanted one for his own personal vehicle or if he wanted to pimp out the cop car, but if you see this protecting Erie... can thank me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Photo by Emily Bean

1.) Blog more often.

2.) Be punctual.

So how am I doing? Happy St. Patricks's Day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Old to the New (The Erie Bayhawks do the Wave)

It's been over 16 years since the Erie Wave folded and left town for good. Ten days later the entire World Basketball League went belly up and one of the founders was sentenced to prison for embezzling money. Not exactly a glorious end to minor league basketball in Erie.

They were only around for three seasons, but I loved the Erie Wave (and as a 12 year old I loved the Eriesistable cheerleaders too). The games were cheap and the talent that passed through the league was a nice mix of former college stars and soon-to-be NBA players (Tim Legler, Mario Elie, Delray Brooks, Rick Barry's kid Scooter, Boo Harvey, Keith Smart, John Starks). You can even trace my love jones for Canada back to the WBL. They played a bunch of Canadian teams from places like Calgary, Halifax, & Hamilton so I heard the Canadian National Anthem all the time.

Hell, for their last season my friend Greg and I were ballboys for the team. It was a volunteer gig but we got in for free and hung with the team. Personal highlights included rebounding for the Estonian National Team (7ft monsters who didn't speak a lick of English) and getting accidentally stomped in the crotch by Jamie Waller while sitting under the hoop during a televised game. Did I say highlights?

Unfortunate victims of 90's fad fashions...and you can see why God had to take my hair early.

I was crushed when they left town in 1992. Somewhere exists footage of myself and Greg outside of the Erie Wave offices pouring our little hearts out to a television crew about their demise. I spouted off about the politics of it all and how it was a travesty they were never given a fair chance to secure local funding. Remind me to find and destroy those tapes.

Cut to 16 years later when the NBA placed a developmental team here that is essentially a farm team for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Erie Bayhawks tipped off at the Tullio Arena for the first time on Thursday night. It was pretty surreal being there and it conjured up a lot of memories from the Erie Wave days.

The organization put on a pretty impressive show and the team is off to a good start. Hopefully the people of Erie will support the team and their stay here is longer than the three years the Wave existed.

Crowd prompting or a nice tribute to Erie's basketball past?

I'm looking forward to seeing as many games as I can and I wish the franchise success. When you're at a Bayhawks home game stop over and say hello. I'll be the guy sitting behind the home bench representing the Wave and yelling at the ballboys if they fold the warmup jerseys incorrectly.