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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: News and Media D-Bags

CORRECTION: Julian Assange was originally listed as a nomination but I effed up. He was already nominated last year for the same thing so, thankfully a substitution was able to just slip in at the last moment. Thanks to Mark Madden for being a d-bag alternate.

Mark Madden – Get out of the kitchen fridge you fat d-bag
Unless you are unfamiliar with Madden’s career, there’s Wikipedia for that. Basically, he’s a shock jock who likes to hear himself talk. He got his ass whooped by Tank Abbot on WCW years ago, when he was a commentator. He has shown how much he hates Jerome Bettis which was basically Pittsburgh’s favorite son, save for that one fumble in the Indianapolis game in 2005.
And he took center stage this year shouting from the rooftops that he knew the whole Sandusky incident before the rest of the world did. Well, he didn’t. Sara Ganim wrote a piece of The Patriot News back in March that predates Mark Madden’s article from April. Madden just has a bigger following in the sports community and pointed the finger more on Penn State and Joe Paterno than Ganim did. But back to Mark Madden and his other 2011 idiocies.

Anyway, he got into a Twitter battle with some girl this month and basically said, “Get back in the kitchen”. Now, whether he knows his hockey stuff or sports for that matter is irrelevant. As a member of the media, social or otherwise, you need to conduct yourself in a manner that does not represent your employer in a bad light. And he does this with great aplomb.

Rupert Murdoch – Suddenly I heard a tapping on my phone
Ahh, Rupert, you were probably the most powerful person in the media world, more so than Howard Stern or Oprah Winfrey and now… you’re an even bigger d-bag than you were before Jonathan Pryce modeled his bad guy persona from Tomorrow Never Dies on you. Why? Because you are the CEO of News Corp. Your company, News of the World was hacking and tapping people’s phones, including a murder victim. The buck stops with you, no matter what. He was even requested to appear before parliament and declined to attend because he was unavailable. That takes balls. Who, in this country, could be so bold and powerful that he could be called before Congress to give evidence to an inquiry and decline because of a scheduling conflict? He, of course, attended the inquiry and said it was the ‘most humbling day of his life.’ I’m sure, as you sit atop your billions, you feel very humble while you let your company do these horrible deeds.

Old Spice – The company that smelled like success, now smells like old man
There was a brief moment in 2010 when Old Spice was cool. When Isaiah Mustafa appeared in a series of commercials dubbed, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”, the world was a buzz about this unknown man who suddenly was in the shower, then on a boat with diamonds and finally on a cow. More commercials followed and so did success for Mustafa who appeared on Chuck and as a police officer in Horrible Bosses.

Then, Old Spice switched it up and went with Fabio as their spokesperson. Everything grew cold and dark and the world became less of a happy place to live in among women who loved that Mustafa appeared in almost every commercial with nothing more than a towel, a six pack, and the hopes that gravity would somehow reverse itself.

Whether it was an intentional joke or Old Spice lived up to their name, Fabio muddled through his English and looked nothing like he did 20 years ago. The Internet went up in arms and a challenge was posted for title of the Old Spice Guy.

Problem was, did they really think we were dumb? This entire gimmick has cheapened the clever effects of the original ad campaign that blew up Mustafa’s star power. Now, it’s almost sad to see Fabio compete in a battle of sex appeal where he’s clearly bringing a pair of safety scissors to a bazooka fight. Old Spice continues to be the winner as new ads for Christmas showed up with Mustafa clearly back in control of the moniker of “Old Spice Guy”. Makes you wonder if they simply gave him a hiatus to go off and film a movie and some other roles with the intent to introduce then yank Fabio. The only one not in on the joke was perhaps Fabio.

In any case, because Old Spice used their social media and commercial prowess to pull off this dastardly deed, they land in the Media category as their business practices don’t exactly stink… as far as we know. Now look back at the list. We have one more.

Perez Hilton – From d-list celebrity to d-bag nominee for a second year
Bringing up the rear is a perpetual d-bag who is now a repeat nominee alongside Death and Roger Goodell which doesn’t say much for the company Death keeps, I guess. The biggest reason Hilton is on the list this year is because he’s a hypocrite. He slammed Roger Ebert’s tweet of “Friends don’t let Jackasses drink and drive” over the death of Ryan Dunn saying, “…This is somebody’s son, too soon Roger.” Eventually, Ebert recanted saying he had no idea whether or not Dunn was intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash… which was later found out to be the case. Dunn was indeed a jackass that claimed his life along with another because he was an idiot and drove 110 mph while intoxicated.

But back to Perez’s comments of Dunn being someone’s son. Perez had no trouble in posting photos all over his site of a then underage Miley Cyrus appearing to not be wearing underwear. Last I checked, Miley was somebody’s daughter, too and I believe that being under the age of 18 made it too soon to be exposing her like that. Granted, there were no charges for child pornography given that the photos were not of a sexual nature but he was a hypocrite, nonetheless.

And while we’re on the subject of people’s children, how he continually outed celebrities ranks up there with bullying. While he didn’t appear to out anyone this year, his tactics in the past speak volumes towards his hypocritical nature.

Being a part of the social media world gives you a voice. Your brain gives you the ability to know when to hold your tongue. The Internet gives us the ability to point out when you’re a hypocritical d-bag.

OK, enough debate, let’s pick a winner.

Mark Madden. You get the nod this time. Why? Well, because for one, I’ve never liked you. I refuse to listen The X on my way home from work, because I might just catch your bombastic idiotic mouth breathing voice in my ear. Now when you go on WDVE, to fill in for Mike Prisuta, you’re totally different, almost humorous. I’m still inclined to gouge out my ears with my car keys but it seems as if your demeanor changes when you are not playing the part of pompous wind bag on your own show.

Yet, playing the part doesn't mean tou get to be a d-bag to other people over Twitter, especially when it demeans women.  Just because a girl comments on sports does not mean she is clueless.  And it doesn't mean you can spout off your own misogynistic opinions and not think that it's a big deal to your employers.  You've already been fired twice for being an asshat.  Don't think you're immune because it's the X and you are who are.  If the X doesn't hope lose listeners over this then they're just as despicable, which is why I stopped listening to them back in the days of Alan Cox.  Bravo d-bag!  You've made it to the finals which will be posted next week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: D-Bags That Have Affected People

OK, this one is a bit of a potpourri of d-bags. I couldn’t find anyway else to slice it so these folks were d-bags to people’s lives and property.

And the nominees are:

Mother Nature - Never a more harsher mistress
2011 saw its share of natural disasters.  We had falling birds in January.  Dead fish on the shores. Dead crabs in England.  Then the biggie, an 8.9 magnitude Earthquake which caused a tsunami that devastated parts of Japan including a nuclear reactor.  Another Earthquake in Myanmar.  Tornadoes in my backyard, which spawned this..

We can joke about it but that's because no one was seriously injured, not like the 180 people in Alabama in April.  Then the Mississippi flooded its banks causing more destruction.  A volcano in Iceland blew its wad, grounding international air travel.  And the rest of the year was marked with more dead aquatic life, volcanoes and earthquakes.   Quite a year we had, eh?   Mother Nature;  don't piss her off.

Death - becomes a third place candidate
Death had a busy year it seems...

Here's a small list...
Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse, Joe Frazier, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Cooper, Jane Russell, Peter Falk, Harry Morgan, Cliff Robertson, Michael Gough, Frances Bay, Clairce Taylor, Patrice O’Neal, Pete Postlethwaite, Annette Charles, Jeff Conaway, Unlce Leo (Seinfeld) and Uncle Frank (Jimmy Kimmel), Sherwood Schwartz, Bubba Smith, Andy Whitfield, Duke Snider, Harmon Killbrew, Al Davis, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jack Lalane, Dan Wheldon, Mikey Welsh, Jerry Leiber, Pinetop Perkins, David Honeyboy Edwards, Paul Motian, Willie Big Eyes Smith, Heavy D, Jon Bon Jovi... no wait, he just had a headache, Jani Lane, Dobie Gray, Dolores Hope, Clarence Clemmons, Betty Ford, Geraldine Ferraro, Jack Kevorkian, 460 casualties in war on terror operations, All that and Andy Rooney

But for all the people Death took from us, he failed to take all of the people in the rapture, twice.  So, either Harold Camping is full of shit or Death was asleep at the wheel.   Guess which is more likely...

Vancouver Stanley Cup Rioters - Love among the chaos
It's never easy when your team loses the big game.  The Steelers found that out twice in 15 years when they lost their second Super Bowl out of eight appearances to the Green Bay Packers.  The Penguins were eliminated by Tampa Bay in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to Tampa Bay and by the end of it the underdog Vancouver Canucks were left to face off against Boston.    Vancouver lost.

However, when Pittsburgh wins a championship, we trash the city, burn couches and what not.   The South Side resembles a scene out of the remake of Dawn of the Dead with hundreds, if not thousands of people in the streets.  But Vancouver took the loss of the Stanley Cup finals a little too hard and basically destroyed Vancouver.  In the middle of it all, two people posed for a defining moment in the mess, kissing in the middle of the street behind baton wielding officers.  Ahh, amore. 

John Pike - I spray everyone I meet like that
TIME called 'The Protestor' their person of the year. Between the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, 2011 became the year of the angry citizen. 

Amidst the chaos of the 'Occupy UC Davis' protests, a group of protesters were seated in an area and then Officer John Pike went down the line pepper spraying them in the eyes while mobile devices recorded the entire exchange.  Instantly, Pike gained Internet infamy as his image was 'shopped' into various works of art and pop culture moments.  Just goes to show you when the right protests they're called patriots.  When the left do it, they're called dirty drum circle hippies that need a good pepper spraying. 

And the winner is...
In my initial rundown of all the nominees I was very clear on who I was going to pick before I wrote up the posts.  It's not that I had a preconceived notion of who would win, but clearly the odds were heavily in favor of some more than others.  However, in this category I found it hard to determine a winner.

Death is always a safe bet because he tends to hurt everyone connected to those that have died.  My childhood gets wrecked every year and 2011 was no exception, especially with the losses like Harry Morgan, Peter Falk, Clarence Clemmons, and Bubba Smith.  The losses among soldiers trying to help protect us overseas is also a hard pill to swallow.   Death will always have a place on my all time d-bag list, to be published sometime around 2075, if he doesn't come calling for me sooner, but for now he's simply an acceptable evil in the world.   After all, 2011 also saw the death of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, and that guy whose name no one can spell over in Libya, so there are some acceptable losses.

The Occupy Movement has provided me with enough rage fodder to keep me going until 2013 but John Pike is merely one man and has affected one group of people.  He's obviously in worse shape off this list than on it, so while he carries a huge impact he's still just an idiot that abused his position of power.

I guess that means Mother Nature has to be the winner.  Why not the Vancouver rioters?  I feel bad for them.  Their team couldn't win the championship game for a sport their country invented.  I mean when was the last time a team won the World Series that wasn't in the United States?  1993.  The Toronto Blue Jays.  Coincidentally, 1993 was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. 

So, look for Mother Nature to be competing in the finals.

2011 D-Bag Awards: Business

If I could name them all and fit them on the ballet, I would. Simply put, they make up the 99% of the d-bags in this world, but alas I had to narrow it down to four. Here we go…

NetFlix – You’ve cornered the market on mail order DVD and streaming, now go screw it up.
NetFlix pretty much had all the cards. They brought down the biggest name in video stores, Blockbuster, they introduced online streaming of movies and were poised to own the market on video delivery services. What could possibly go wrong?

Well… in July the raised their prices in an attempt to separate the physical DVD business from the streaming one. Then in September they went one step further and decided to split off the DVD rental service into a new brand called Qwikster. They found out the Twitter handle, Qwikster, was already taken. The bad part was that the kid using Qwikster on Twitter was a bit of a weed smoker. Maybe they could have cut him a deal on Cheech and Chong films. Ultimately, they dropped the Qwikster idea and went back to being good ole NetFlix. Alas, the damage was done. Subscribers left, stocks dropped and the once shining company that lorded over the DVD rental service found themselves to be seen for what they were, greedy d-bags.
Bank of America – Working hard for your money.
BoA should just understand that they’re screwed. They are what’s wrong with the economy and the notion that capitalism will win out in the end. Every year they find themselves on “worst company” lists and 2011 was no exception.

2011 kicked off with indictments over wire fraud and antitrust conspiracies. Then they decided to start laying off people despite earning $6.2 billion in profits in the third quarter. But the biggest feather in their d-bag hat was the $5.00 ATM fee for Debit Card transactions which sparked outrage and led to people ‘breaking up’ with Bank of America on Bank Transfer Day. Their only defense, “We have a right to make a profit.” Fine, then we have a right to vote with our wallet.

Paypal – We Regretsy to inform you you’re doing it wrong.
Regretsy tried to do something nice. They tried to get donations to help children out this year at Christmas. For that, PayPal decided to do something douchey and tell Regretsy that they used to the wrong button for charitable donations. First they tacked on fees to the donations, then they informed Regretsy they had to refund the money to those who donated… oh wait, minus the fees that were affixed by PayPal. Then they wouldn’t release the funds and froze Helen Killer’s account, including her revenue for her book. Finally, they backed off and released the funds and apologized. Too little too late.

I am also feeling the loathe for PayPal when they recently forced one of the Print on Demand websites I use to start using a different form of payment to me which attaches fees of 2.9% plus $0.30 on payments to me. While no other PoD publisher has been affected it looks as if PayPal is going after the little guy on this one, and I don’t just mean me, I mean the PoD site.

The Retail Industry – It’s Black Friday Somewhere.
Every year the Christmas Creep begins in earnest a little earlier. Consumerist has scores of articles, with proof submitted by readers, of stores advertising holiday sales and products WAY before it’s even time to think about such things. However, this year, this shit just got real.

Thanksgiving is usually the last day before the holiday season really kicks into high gear. But stores thought it would be better to start their sales on Thanksgiving and even in the late hours of the night before. The unfortunate part was that in order to have a sale, you need a staff, and to get a staff you have to rain on somebody’s holiday.

And for all the trouble, the retail industry had record sales this year, along with a few incidences of violence among shoppers.

Listen up, retail industry, you cannot fix the economy just by offering your overly priced, slightly discounted made in China crap a day early. Americans wait until the last possible minute anyway. This shit with Black Friday has got to stop. Nobody wants to go out and get assaulted while picking up a $50 SONEE Blu-Ray Player that only plays discs in the Pacific Rim. So, stop it. Either make it safer or give up the ghost. No one gets hurt when people flood so much with orders that the site crashes. No innocent workers get trampled to death. Nobody has to stand out in the cold with a leftover turkey sandwich waiting for Best Buy to open to get a rain check for an iPad2.

The smartest thing this year was online retailers extending free shipping or shipping in general this year. There’s your new model for success. Deal with it d-bags.

OK, after that bit of cleansing, I’m ready to present this round’s winner… and it is:

Why them?
Because they grinched Christmas from kids in the quest for the almighty 2.9% plus $0.30.  This isn't just because I got burned.  Yes, BoA screwed a lot more people, but do we expect them to do any less?  NetFlix did an about face quickly when they realized their mistake and frankly, the Retail industry is a loss cause but PayPal went above and beyond douchebaggery in order to screw over someone trying to do something good.  And they did it all because of a wrong button?   Eff you. d-bags.  I'm moving to physical checks for my payments.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Sports as a Business

In this round we go beyond the one person involved with sports and directly attack the business end of sports.

So, let’s see…

The NBA – Caught with their Dirk out.
Not wanting to let the NFL have all the fun, the NBA decided to have a lockout lasting from July 1st through December 8th. While, the NFL’s lockout lasted just as long, (around five months) the NBA’s managed to cut the season short to a 66 game one. The biggest complaint, money.

What separates the NFL’s lockout from the NBA is that while the NFL was already perched to make more money, thanks to a huge TV deal, the NBA cried it was losing money to player salaries.

Come on, you had the most exciting story of the year. LeBron James shuns Cleveland to join the Miami Heat where there was a ball shortage and in the first year of playing there they reach the finals. LeBron was getting his wish. He joined a team that could bring home a trophy. Oh, but they didn’t. That’s right. The Mavericks showed them up and won 4-2. Oh, and they did it in Miami. Wow, that sucks huh? Your biggest story of the year became a joke because the team you probably hate to see win, did just that and wiped their Dirk all over your face. The man you can’t control, Mark Cuban, made a mockery of your league and I loved every minute of it. So, let’s have a lockout because YOU say you’re losing money.

The NFL – We’re all about player safety just as long as we make money.
The NFL had its own lockout this year after one of its Titanesque teams, The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. But, even before the lockout started, the NFL showed just how douchey it could be with the Super Bowl.

The debacle that was Dallas stadium and its mismanaging of seating and organization was laughable. It was almost as if nature conspired against them as an ice storm hit the area causing traffic accidents due to the fact that Texans just can’t handle snow and ice all that well.

Then the inconsistency of the debate during the lockout over, “We are all about player safety, but let’s have an 18 game regular season” made things even more ridiculous. You want player safety? Well, then why would you lobby for a chance to have players continue to pound and injure each other for another two weeks?

And of course, the board that hands out the punishments for helmet to helmet hits continually cannot be consistent in their judgment and punishment. Congratulations NFL, for all your posturing, the real reason you exist is to make gads of money for the owners and you continue to make a mockery of a once proud and rough and tumble sport.

The Pittsburgh Pirates - Hold On for one more season, things may go your way.
Where do I begin? The Pirates started off the year by saying that they could only increase the payroll if they could increase attendance. What appeared to be simple math became a cry of “Why aren’t you coming to the ball park?” Well, because after 18 years of sucking, you haven’t put out a decent team to root for.

That would all change if we could “Hold On” for one more day. And we did. We (not me, mind you) went to the ballpark and we cheered on our Buccos as they seemed to turn the corner. Soon, they were .500. Then they were in first place of the division. Then they had a winning streak. Then Jerry Meals shat all over us in Atlanta and the All Star Break came and then we slid down into the basement and ended the year under .500.

And to top it all off… they raised ticket prices for next year. Well, we kept our end of the bargain, now pony up some payroll and put together a winning team, douche bags.

PSU - If you're Happy and you know it, you're probably drinking too much Kool-Aid
Happy Valley, a serene and quiet agricultural town that just happens to hold the biggest secret in NCAA sports. Far beyond OSU’s players trading memorabilia for tats, far beyond Miami’s booster scandals, far beyond Cecil Newton trying to sell his son Cam to the highest bidding college, PSU held onto the biggest secret in all of collegiate sports.  It was one that brought down an empire.

As you probably saw in the last round, Jerry Sandusky took the prize as the biggest d-bag in sports personas.  After all, how could he not?  In any case, PSU facilitated the biggest cover up, potentially.  The President, the Athletic Director, the VP (who oversaw campus police), and even the one person who answered to no one, Joe Paterno.  None of them did what was right.  They only did what was required. 

If we teach our children anything about integrity and morals, it should be that when you see or hear of someone being harmed, whether or not you can verify it at that moment, you do something.  You follow up.  You take action.  This was about children and innocence and a lifetime of repercussions that would follow.   Just kicking the can down the road was akin to getting in line behind Jerry in that shower.

And for that, the mystique and invulnerability of PSU is now gone and hopefully, justice will be served.  Do not weep for your king, because your king did not do what was right.

With that, I think it's clear that PSU wins this round.  Drink up douchebags.  The Kool-Aid is just fine.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Help My Bro Get His Christmas Wish

We interrupt the annual d-bag list to swing the pendulum 180 degrees. This is for a good cause.
My family.

OK, I don’t talk much about them, for their own sake. Why bring them down to my level, right? But, in all seriousness, it’s about time that nice guys finish first.

My brother is a Jeep man. With a name like ours, the odds that we have fully functional vehicles at all times is a myth. From the time we learned to drive, we had hand me down vehicles. My brother drove a Ford Grenada that had seen better days and had a paint job that was the equivalent of an Ugly Camouflage Christmas Sweater. He drove a Plymouth Horizon that was bequeathed from our Aunt. He drove a Buick Regal that had gone the same route.

When he graduated college, the first thing he did when he got a good job was buy a brand new Eagle Talon. Eventually, it got old and needed replaced. Soon, he was back to driving second hand vehicles but made sure his wife had a new one. Soon, he was able to buy a Wrangler Unlimited but at stock configuration. He’s never really been able to customize it the way he really wanted to, so that he could enjoy it to its fullest.

Well, his wife has nominated him for the Rough Country Suspensions Christmas Giveaway and if you could go and comment or like their video share it around, whatever, and help him get his Christmas wish it would be awesome.

Find Denise Puskar’s video and LIKE IT SO HARD!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Sports People

In the wide world of sports, there are many d-bags. There’s something about a sports environment that leads to over privileged people making a mockery of their place as a role model to young people who look to them as a way to live their lives.

In 2011, sports in general, took a lot of self inflicted hits over the way the machine has run for decades. However, that machine is run by people and people operate it. To that end, here are the biggest d-bags of the sports world for 2011.

But first, I need to tell you about my friend.  I apologize for interrupting this awards list for such stuff but I couldn't sit idly by and see this happen to someone I care about.  You see, my friend has been unlucky in finding that perfect someone over the last year.   They were in a pretty decent relationship for six years with a guy named Dave.   Dave wasn't the most perfect person in the world and he was kind of an underachiever but he was a decent guy and you could count on him to be there if you needed him.  Unfortunately, it never seemed like Dave was ever going to rise to the occasion and seal the deal, so they parted ways.

But when it seemed like my friend was going to be without someone, they found another guy two weeks later, named Michael.  Actually, another friend introduced them.  Now, Michael appeared to be a great guy.   We never heard anything bad about him.  He came highly recommended by our mutual friend that did the introducing. What we didn't know was that he had a problem.   Unfortunately, that problem became public when Michael was arrested for domestic violence in late December last year.  My friend quickly cut ties with Michael and our mutual friend apologized for the whole thing. 

Well, not to worry, I guess, because my friend found a new guy, Todd,  introduced to them by the same guy that introduced them to Michael.  You can surely understand how leery we were of this new guy.   He was an older gentleman and he liked to talk.  He would talk about he had all these great plans for the future.  He spoke of integrity.   Of course, we didn't trust this guy, but it seemed like everything would be OK.  For almost a year they were together and it was a little bit rough.   There would be problems and Todd would constantly say, "There's nothing wrong with our relationship, it must be you."  He was constantly throwing my friend under the bus when things didn't go right.  We could all see the cracks showing, but he insisted he was in the relationship for the long haul.

Then, sadly, he just took off for Arizona.  Said, he had found his dream partner and wanted to be closer to his family that he had out there.  Yet, he never spoke of having any family out there.  My friend was floored.  They found out in the worst way.  Todd didn't even have the guts to tell them to their face.  He simply texted he was leaving and that was it.  All that talk of commitment and integrity was for show and he was only really interested in money.  What a jerk?

Now my friend is alone again and they were supposed to go to this big party down in Alabama next month and have no one to take them.  I think Todd's good friend is going to take them, but I don't think he'll hang around for very long afterwards.

So, on behalf of my friend, 'Eff you Todd Graham.  The only high octane thing you had was that bus waiting to take you out of town.  The same high octane bus you constantly threw your quarterback under."   It's just too bad you did this so late or you could have made the official list of d-bags for 2011.

Now back to the list.

Jim Tressel – Tit for Tat OSU.
As the head coach of The Buckeyes, Jim Tressel, had an impressive overall record of 94-22. He also had a record of playing fast and loose with the rules of collegiate sports long before he wore the scarlet and gray.

Even though he had been cleared of wrong doing in the past, he continued to see collegiate football as above the law. In 2011, he came under fire when some of his players accepted payment, in the form of tattoos, for memorabilia from their collegiate achievements. While the players received suspensions and Tressel offered to fall on the same sword, it became apparent that his knowledge of this incident as well as others, in the past, showed a pattern of abuse of the rules. Tressel resigned and the University went into self imposed probation and vacated their 2010 season record.

Tressel bounced back, sort of, as he took a position with the Indianapolis Colts. Although, considering how their season has been without QB Peyton Manning on the field, he ended up on the short end of the stick. Still, if he’s still on the staff next year, he could find himself on a winning team if the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes favors the Colts come draft time.

As clean as Tressel may appear in all his doings, preaching about doing the right thing and being a good student athlete, his real life just goes to show that there are rules for student athletes and there are rules for everyone else. No matter how you slice it, he’s a hypocrite and a d-bag.

Jerry Sandusky – Former PSU coach and alleged child rapist.
Out in Happy Valley, there is a bubble that surrounds the entire community. They have their rules, their own lives, and their own sense of entitlement that supersedes all others. We call it, “Drinking the PSU Kool-Aid.”

But that bubble burst when authorities began investigating allegations that former defensive coordinator and founder of The Second Mile organization, Jerry Sandusky, had sexually abused kids on campus property. Soon, Camelot crumbled and people, very important people, like Joe Paterno lost their jobs over the scandal that rocked Happy Valley.

Now, of course, Sandusky, is innocent until proven guilty. However, when you go on national television and take 16 seconds to answer ‘No’ to the question of, ‘Are you sexually attracted to young boys’, reasonable doubt becomes harder to find.

Of course, it doesn’t help when your defense attorney tells people to call a gay phone sex service if they think his client is guilty. If the Ohio State University scandal peeled back a layer of the underbelly of corruption in collegiate sports, the Sandusky scandal aims to rip it to the bone.

In the end, the only silver lining is that perhaps this shines a better light on how we put too much importance on the business of collegiate sports as a money maker and not enough on how we are supposed to be mentoring young people into better adults.

Jerry Meals – He says it’s safe to run with scissors.
Imagine living in a city where winning seasons is not just a wish but an expectation. You have a top notch football team that has won more championships than any other team in the league and you have a high performance hockey team that has arguably the greatest player in the world among their ranks. Then you have a baseball team that has a 19 year losing record and reality comes crashing down.

Then imagine that in 2011, the dark clouds over PNC park appear to vanish and the bright rays of winning come shining down on the field as The Pittsburgh Pirates began to win more games than they lose. Of course, they go back and forth between being under .500 and over, but for the most part, the Pirate Ship seems to have been righted after so many bad years.

Then, on July 26th, 2011, one of the longest baseball games ever takes place. In the wee hours of the morning, during the 19th inning, the umpire makes a horrendous call that costs your underdog team a win and starts the downward spiral back into a place where they end up having delusions of mediocrity.

When Jerry Meals called Julio Lugo safe at home, it sparked a firestorm among Pirates fans. Meals and his family became the target of death threats. The league even admitted that Meals was wrong but that was too late. If only Meals would have watched the jumbotron and seen how wrong he was he could have reversed the call and even though the game could have gone on a couple more hours, his world would have been spared. But nope, he was a d-bag and now there are shirts like this… (Shameless Plug)
Jerry Meals Says It's Safe

Roger Goodell – The Commissioner has no clothes.
Anyone who reads the blog, here, knows at least two things. I can’t write and I hate Roger Goodell. The writing thing could probably be helped but the Roger Goodell thing is eternal. I don’t care that he’s brought the NFL and its teams’ owners more money than any other commissioner. I don’t care that he has rallied a call for player safety. He’s a d-bag and will always be a d-bag in my book. In fact, I may just rename the awards to the Roger Goodell award just to show my ire over this man.

I won’t get into the debate over whether he’s targeting the Steelers on any given Sunday. I won’t even argue his continued punishment of the Steelers because in all likelihood, they did the deeds they were punished for. My continued railing against Goodell comes over his incapacity for consistency in doling out of punishments.

Ben Roethlisberger was given a six game suspension for allegedly (never charged) assaulting a woman in Milledgeville, GA. It was reduced to four and the Steelers ended up 3-1 without their star QB and even made it to the Super Bowl. But Albert Haynesworth gropes a waitress and pleaded no contest to the accusation. Haynesworth is a repeat offender off the field with his alleged conduct including traffic violations and battery which make him more of a threat to society than Roethlisberger and he receives no punishment, no suspension, and no fines over this waitress incident. That alone causes Goodell to make this list and with the latest punishment handed on James Harrison, he nearly takes the bracket.

But still, in the scheme of things, there can be only one overall biggest d-bag among sports people and that is…

Jerry Sandusky

I don’t think I need to justify my decision with anything other than, if what happened is true and he even used Second Mile as a way to pimp kids to high paying pedophiles then he deserves to burn for eternity after serving life in prison.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Celebrities

The celebrity category. Sometimes when you’re famous for something you forget that the door swings both ways. Just ask Mel Gibson. And whether you wreck your expensive car or spout off against police while they arrest you for DUI, it doesn’t matter how big you may be, because the fall is just as meteoric and hurts a hell of a lot more when you hit the Earth.

In this bracket, few late entries did not make it into the mix like Alec Baldwin, who got booted off of a flight for playing Words With Friends on his mobile device, when he was clearly asked not to. Now, is it possible that mobile devices do not interfere with airplane electronics? Sure. After all, they were on the ground when the incident occurred, so the likelihood that the plane would explode because Alec played the word, ‘Incendiary’ is minimal. However, the flight crew asked you to stop and you didn’t. You are no more special than my schmuck ass back in coach with the crying babies. Get over it, you rude little pig. Frankly, I was a bit pissed at American Airlines for halting Alec because I was just about to beat his ass with the word, ‘entitled’.

Also, missing the cut was Ashton Kutcher, who managed to miss a spot after putting on a stellar display of d-baggery this fall. He made comments on Twitter about the Jerry Sandusky scandal, nailed the wrong chick or at least did it without Demi involved, and he’s pretty much tanking Two and a Half Men into the sea below the balcony on Charlie Sheen’s old place. However, we only had space for more and they are just as douchey as Kelso and Donaghy .

Chris Brown – Didn’t hit Rihanna this year, but a GMA dressing room window seeks a PFA.
Chris made a name for him in music, but his stupidity has made him more infamous. So infamous that when asked about the whole restraining order situation with Rihanna he became violent and trashed his dressing room after his auto-tune heavy performance of ‘Yeah 3x’. He threw a chair at a window then stormed out shirtless. Then he tweeted up a firestorm about praising Charlie Sheen while bashing him. Well, in the case of bashing him, GMA simply brought up a preapproved topic, by Brown. And as far as Charlie Sheen… we’ll get to that.

Let’s face it, Chris. You’re an angry man. Even if you release a new album, the two year old domestic abuse stuff will follow you around. We like to see how you handle stuff, that’s why we ask you about it. We want to gauge your response and see if you’ll freak out again. Oops. We we’re right. Get over yourself d-bag. You hit a woman. You endured being a exposed to your mom’s abuse by her boyfriend. You learned nothing. Try again in 2012.

Charlie Sheen – Vatican Assassin From Mars Powered By Winning Tiger Blood.
Charlie Sheen was never the A List star Tom Cruise is. Sure, he had some great movies. But for every Platoon or Wall Street, there were five The Arrival or Terminal Velocity films. However, he found success on the small screen taking over for Michael J. Fox on Spin City and then turned his outrageous life into a goldmine of material on Two and a Half Men. So, what went wrong in 2011 that lands him on our list?

Well, after entering rehab for the third time in 12 months, the production of the show had to be shut down. Then, CBS cancelled the remaining episodes of the season after Sheen made derogatory remarks about show creator. He fired back demanding a 50% raise on the already highest paid salary in television because he felt underpaid compared to what the show was pulling in as far as revenue. CBS then fired him putting the show’s future in limbo. He then went on tour and became a viral sensation thanks to a few choice interviews as people gawked and wondered, “Is he high or is he a genius?”

A little of column A and a little of column B. First off, if Sheen is completely sober through all of this then he’s nuts. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you… see Robert Downey Jr. Yeah, RDJ pissed me off for being a bit of a douche when he wouldn’t talk to Jimmy Kimmel’s crew after Iron Man exploded his star power, but he has been smart about his reacceptance into Hollywood. Sheen just reloaded and went 'Hobo with a Shotgun' on them.

It also didn’t help that he was shacked up with two pornstars, sorry, his goddesses, and had his kids run around in that environment. Although, his ex was just as bad of a role model for the kids. He might have made enough from his tour to live comfortably for awhile and seeing Ashton Kutcher tank Two and Half Men in his place shows that in the battle over his ability to be replaced, he’s ‘Winning’ but he’s still a d-bag for screwing all this up in the first place. And that is the torpedo of truth, armed and ready.

Lindsay Lohan – From Disney to Lockup to Centerfold
Should anyone be surprised at how Lindsay Lohan turned out? She took the Disney path to stardom, turned in a few performances of note as an adult and then bottomed out in a bottle. She’s been to rehab, jail, India, jail, rehab, jail… and was she in jail? Oh yeah, that’s right, every time she’s gone to jail, she’s been back out because she’s a non-violent offender. Well, so what?

In February, she stole a necklace, but served house arrest. Then, she failed a random drug test but no additional punishment was given. She screwed up again and had her probation revoked. She ended being sentenced to 30 days in jail of which she spent 5 hours. So, clearly there is no reason to think she’ll stay on the straight and narrow, because every time she gets put in jail, she’s back out.

So, she’s on the list because she continually mocks the justice system and gets rewarded for it. She also ruined what most men would call an excellent chance to finally see all the goods. She’s in Playboy and from the cover photo, she looks bad. She hasn’t looked good in a long time, but the effects of her lifestyle has taken its toll.

Brett Ratner – Heisting is for f**s
He’s a bit brash and a pompous jerk. Not just when he’s playing himself on Entourage, mind you. But he managed to screw up what could have been a great Oscar telecast by going on Howard Stern and saying that ‘Rehearsal is for f**s.” That won’t win you any points in Hollywood.

Really, what he said is no more than what teens say out on the playground and if you take that too seriously, you need to grow a thicker skin. Yet, he did do a stupid thing and for that he’s a d-bag. He had a chance to make the Oscars bearable after the ridiculous James Franco debacle this past year. He screwed the pooch on that. Thankfully, Billy Crystal came out of hosting retirement to save the day.

And the winner is…

Chris Brown

He just doesn’t get it. He should talk about the Rihanna thing. He should talk about so much that he hurts from the experience, because in the end, you cannot ignore the actions just because you release another album. You are an auto tuned d-bag.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Wannabe Celebrities

In this category, folks who have made a lasting d-bag impact on the Internet or those who have tried to become a celebrity for lack of a better reason than to land themselves in the lineup of the nominations here will duke it out for a chance to go bags deep against the other bracket winners.

In the past I have been a little more creative in my color commentary on the fight but have opted to keep it simple and save us all a little time. So, without further adieu, here we go.

The Kardashians – 21st Century Television and Pop Culture’s Answer to The Brady Bunch.
First up, we have The Kardashians, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloesquatch… er Khloe. This trifecta of fame whores have kept some glued to their inane brain droppings through their reality show, Keep Up With the Kardashians, & <****> Take <*>, and <*>, or any other derivative their crap. Also, Rob has participated on Dancing With The Stars and even outlasted his older sister which is a testament of how the non-K named Kardashians and Jenners are trying to get away from these other no talent ass clowns. Who are simply famous because their father once got a former football star and actor acquitted of murder.

This year brought a new wrinkle as Kim married and divorced Kris Humpries (There’s that K, again) faster than it takes me to call and get an appointment with my PCP. Truly, the Kardashians are a shining example of why same sex marriage is something that is so dangerous it needs to be neuralyzed from our minds. /sarcasm

They are truly one big collective hot mess of a d-bag. K?

Brooke Mueller – The Fighting Coke Head.
Remember when Brooke had Charlie arrested for assaulting her on Christmas Day? Remember when we all looked at Charlie Sheen and thought he was the one on drugs and out of control? Remember when Brooke snatched little Bob and Max from Sheen’s goddess den of winning and we all thought, “Now that’s the sign of a good mother!”? Remember when we read how Brooke can’t stay off the blow and stop punching people and we realized we may be wrong?

Brooke can’t seem to stay away from Aspen and all the white powder up there. She filed a restraining order against Sheen and had their children physically removed from his custody because she felt he was insane. Now, even though Charlie looks to still be out there on Mars as a Vatican Assassin, the cracks in Brooke’s case appear to be crumbling as she just got busted for assault and drug possession. Somebody gives those kids to Emilio before she does something really stupid.

Michael “The Situation Sorrentino – More Situation than Comedy.
The Jersey Shore refuses to go away, no matter how many times we ask them to not come home. Personally, I love to watch this video from the 0:03 second mark and then just keep clicking there so Snooki gets her poof knocked off again and again and again.

However, this isn’t about Snooki. This is about little Mikey. You know the guy who was brought in to roast Donald Trump? Well, he didn’t so hot.

Sounds like The Situation was more of a bomb threat. Jeff Ross gave him the biggest laugh of the night which was basically a shot how much he sucked. Truthfully, I could watch the rest of the bit. He made some nonsensical, “I banged a hot chick on a pile of money…” joke and after the crickets stopped chirping I flipped back to Snooki being punched repeatedly.

Seriously, the Kardashians should sue this guy for copyrighting their success model which basically has less steps than the Underwear Gnome’s plan and 100% more success. Why do we reward this kind of behavior with multimillion dollar television deals, book deals, and more? Because marketing and network execs laugh at these people all the way to the bank. They know they have no talent and yet they know we have no standards when it comes to entertainment. As long as we keep watching, these people will have an outlet to be d-bags.

Courtney Stodden – Wannabe Celebrity with the fakest looking real boobs on a 40 year old high school bride.
Doug Hutchison was never an A-list actor. He had a small role in The X-Files and then he played a larger one on LOST. In the Green Mile, he was the bastard guard who didn’t soak the sponge before they threw the switch on Mr. Noodle.

But now, at age 51, Doug has taken on a new role. He married 16 year old Courtney Stodden. Now, you may wonder, “Am I on some time travelling, moving, decanter of light island where it’s OK to marry a minor?” Nope, this isn’t the island. This is Vegas. I don’t know which is harder to believe, a mother willing to sign a consent form allowing the marriage of her 16 year old daughter to a 51 year old or that this 16 year old is really 16. Have you seen her?

So, this year has been a real whirlwind courtship as she got kicked out of a pumpkin patch for dry humping her husband in front of kids while wearing daisy dukes and pretty much letting the girls fall out. She did an anti-bullying ad which told kids to stay true to themselves… um, OK, so we should not follow your example of changing who we are? She had a mammogram of her chest to prove she was natural and she shopped around a reality show for her and her hubby. As much as it pains me to say this, she succeeded.

She is a hot mess that can’t sing to save her life and probably is going to become more famous than her husband. He, of course recently pulled out of a movie because his character, an older director, has a sexual relationship with a teenage pop star in his movie. I think he realized the joke and decided that he didn’t need to parody his real life, potentially ruining an already horrible movie idea. At least she’ll be able to go see the movie without an adult when it comes out.

When this all comes crashing down around them, I will say, “Buck up, Courtney. It’ll get better. Not much, but it will.” With that I leave you with this, “

And for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the winner of this bracket is:

The Kardashians

Why them?

I wanted to give the round to a different Courtney. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to giving her anymore publicity, Mmmmhmmmmm. The Kardashians come at you with sheer numbers. Besides, the whole farce of a marriage between Kim and Kris makes them that much more despicable. At least Doug and Courtney have made it past 180 days of marriage, more than twice that of Kim and Kris. I can only hope Doug gets crowned prom king on their anniversary.
What’s next?

The Kardashian’s have a bit of a wait before they square off with the other 7 winners from the other rounds. Up next is the Celebrity bracket.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 D-Bag Awards: Nominations

It’s that time of the year again. It’s the 2011 Mongo, Angry! Mongo Smash! D-Bag Awards. This is the round up of all the best d-bags of the year which culminates in the presenting of the Golden D-bag Award (fictional, of course) to one not so proud recipient.

Last year, it was almost in the bag for the Grim Reaper, himself but BP pulled ahead thanks to an environmental disaster and all around mucking up of the aftermath. Still, Death shows he’s a competitor as he comes back for another year as a probable finalist. While BP fires only a single d-bag worthy shot with a claim that Halliburton destroyed evidence from the Gulf Oil Spill. Nice try BP, but we’ll hope you can do more to represent your place in d-bag history next year.
So, here are the categories and the nominees. Each post will be a basic rehash of reasons why they are nominated culminating in a declaration of the winner. The winner from each bracket will go on to face each other in a battle royale for d-b supremacy.

Wannabe Celebrity (Reality D-bags) – In this category, folks who have made a lasting d-bag impact on the Internet or those who have tried to become a celebrity for lack of a better reason than to land themselves in the lineup of the nominations here will duke it out for a chance to go bags deep against the other bracket winners.

And the nominees are:
  • Courtney Stodden
  • The Kardashians
  • Brooke Mueller
  • Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino

Celebrity – They’re famous for being infamous across movies, television, and music. Pop Culture will cry in a corner for years to come.

And the nominees are:
  • Chris Brown
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Brett Ratner

Business – If I could name them all and fit them on the ballet, I would. Simply put, they make up the 99% of the d-bags in this world, but alas I had to narrow it down to four.

And the nominees are:
  • NetFlix
  • Bank of America
  • PayPal
  • Retail Industry

Sports as a Business – The individuals are pretty bad. However, the companies and brands behind them are simply baggerific.

And the nominees are:
  • The NBA
  • The NFL
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates
  • PSU

Sports People – These folks made a name for themselves being douchebags in the realm of sports.

And the nominees are:
  • Jim Tressel
  • Jerry Sandusky
  • Jerry Meals
  • Roger Goodell

D-bags That Have Affected People - OK, this one is a bit of a potpourri of d-bags. I couldn’t find anyway else to slice it so these folks were d-bags to people’s lives and property.

And the nominees are:
  • Mother Nature
  • Death
  • Vancouver Stanley Cup Rioters
  • John Pike

News/Media D-Bags - These D-Bags are a part of the fabric of our culture.   They haunt the Internet, the checkout aisles, our televisions, and our phone conversations.

And the nominees are:
  • Julian Assange Mark Madden
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Old Spice
  • Perez Hilton
Update: Mark Madden was substituted in for Julian Assange who was originally nominated last year for the Wikileaks scandal.  My bad. 

 Let's get ready to rumble!

Friday, December 2, 2011

12 Days Of Christmas Giveaway 2011

Just a quick post. I’m participating in a huge kick ass giveaway over at The Tee Gazette. Last year there were 12 days with 12 shirt brands. Each day someone won a free shirt and stocking stuffer from the different brands.

This year, the field of participants has expanded 400%, so each day someone wins four shirts plus they are entered into a drawing at the end. Jump on over to The Tee Gazette and enter. You can enter each day, just be sure to follow the rules.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway 2011
My day is 12/2/2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WUMF: November Edition

Turkey Day is done and now we turn the corner into December and the downhill avalanche of the holiday season hill, which will inevitably lead to a crash at the bottom on January 2nd. How about another edition of WUMF (What’s Up My Friends)?

It’s Never Pleurisy
I started off this WUMF post with an update about my health, but it blew up into a larger story, so I shelved it for a separate post. Stay tuned. Needless to say, it’s not Pleurisy, though it feels like it.

I haven't shaved my mustache and goat this whole month and I'm sooo looking forward to tomorrow.   OK, so I'm not officially registered anywhere and I do have a goatee, but my face is hideous enough without the facial hair let alone with only a mustache.  The goat gives it some saving grace.   In any case, I did it, just to do it.

Now, back in 1994, I did a play at Pitt where I couldn't shave at all and had a full beard.  Nothing Kiesel worthy or even Dan Haggerty but it served its purpose.  I was so happy to shave it, then, too.

On the back nine of my 30s, my facial hair bears the brunt of my gray hair, more so than on top.  I like to keep it stubbly as much as possible.

Flea Bag Hotel
In addition to being sick, one of my cats has an upper respiratory infection so we took her to the vet. Turns out, not only did she have a URI, she has fleas as do the other three cats. So, on my day off yesterday which should have had me trying to recuperate from being sick, I was running around all over the house spraying Knockout E.S. and doing laundry and trying to just rid ourselves of the issue without resorting to napalming the house. My chest is killing me and after bending over and picking up stuff and moving around I was at the point where I couldn’t breathe or move last night.

My wife, God love her, is an animal lover and hates to see the strays from our neighborhood, mostly a product of our neighbor’s doing, go hungry. She buys, [read: I buy] the cheap Value Time cat food and puts it out. Well, apparently, they are all flea ridden and hitched a ride into our house. Our cats do not step foot outside, are all fixed, and are basically fat and lazy, much like their owner.

Radio Traffic Reports
Someone needs to get these folks some real time traffic, or at least a bookmark to Google traffic cams on their computer. Every day, I used to getting stuck in traffic around the Wilkinsburg exit on 376 East, heading into Pittsburgh. Every day, coming home I get stuck around the Forbes Oakland exit on 376 East heading out of Pittsburgh. Every once in awhile, if there is talk of huge accidents, I will take an alternate route. Although, a slight bump in the backend of a vehicle sets off a world of fail chain reaction causing air traffic over Pittsburgh to grind to a halt so the pilots can rubberneck.

However, when I hear the traffic report say that traffic is building normally and I immediately have to slam on the breaks because they neglect to mention that an accident in the Sq, Hill Tunnel has caused a backup of cars all the way to the ramp before Churchill, I feel a little stabby.

Pittsburgh DJs and traffic correspondents on WDVE and 93.7 The Fan, before you go onto to do your update, pull up a Google cam of the Parkways and just take a look at the various cameras to see where traffic is really jammed at. That way, us Walking Dead Club commuters won’t be late for work. Or at least, answer the phone when I call to bitch about your incompetence, instead of fast tracking a some Italian guy who calls in to say that he loves, “Felize Navidad” because he’s Italian. WTF?!?!

12 Days of Christmas Part 2
Last year, I participated in a giveaway hosted by some of my design friends. They gave away 12 shirts and 12 stocking stuffer items to 12 folks. Well, this year they are at it again and it starts tomorrow with 48 brands involved as well as other fantastic prizes. Click the link above to go see the official announcement. I have a post up on my Store blog and will do some tweeting to promote it. Follow me at @AngryMongo to keep up with the fun.

D-bag of the Year Awards
I haven’t put the final list together but really there is no question who should win. I won’t give it away but unless something happens in the next two weeks to change things, it should be a landslide. However, I’ll still bore you with the details over a couple of posts coming in December.

That’s it. Rub dirt in it and take a lap folks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegas Baby: Part 4 - Let it Ride

We’ve talked travel. We’ve talked lodging. We’ve talked eating. NOW, comes the biggie. This is what Vegas is all about. Gambling.

OK, I am no big gambler by any means. I rarely stop by anything more than a $5.00 Black Jack table and the penny slots are where you will find me on a casino floor. That being said, there is something alluring about the idea of hitting it big in Vegas.

You hear the sounds, you see the lights. Is it any wonder that the digital sounds of someone cashing out or winning is slightly louder than anything else. You usually do not hear a sound when you do not hit any lines on a slot machine.

Working for four years in Amusement Park environments teaches you a lot about the art of the sell. You want to draw in people so you emphasize a big win, no matter how mundane or impossible it be to actually win.

I have been to six casinos in my life. Two in Niagara Falls, The Rivers in Pittsburgh and now The Mirage, The Bellagio, and The Venetian. Out of all of them, I actually prefer Pittsburgh. That sounds biased being in my area but if your sole purpose for going to Las Vegas, beyond shows, food, experience, or sightseeing, is to gamble then don’t go. Go to a place more local to you. When I went to The Rivers after it first opened all they had was slot machines and it was still fun. When they introduced table games in the last year or so, I was excited because I like a good game of Black Jack.

Still, I was a just a bit disappointed at the lack of actual tables on the casino floor and the fact that the casino only covered one level. The ones in Niagara Falls had a couple. This was in 2004. They had one level that was smoking and one, non smoking.

But, going to Vegas, my expectations were high in the amount of actual tables and variety of machines and the number of available floors to gamble on and after visiting all three of those afore mentioned casinos, I saw no distinct difference in actual gambling experience.

In fact, I found the offerings of slot machines to be very repetitive. I saw the same machines over and over again, throughout the Mirage floor. It makes it easy for someone to find the machine they like, but I spent a lot of time going over the floor looking to find ones that I enjoyed and kept seeing the same stupid ones. In the end, I kept coming back to the same one, which was a plus to the casino for dragging me into that world of fail since I spent close to $50 on it. 

It was right next to the restrooms and the Cirque du Soleil ‘Beatles’ Love show. There were times that you could really go up a lot if you could get the ‘Battle for Gotham’ bonus which is a four part race that is AI Controlled that racks up bonus credits for you. I think the most I ever got was around $30 and I ended up putting that back into the machine anyway. I found a video of it from a different casino on YouTube. It’s very fun.

The Dark Knight Slot Machine

Granted, in that video, the player bet probably the max bet which would have been like $0.80 and multiplied 12 times which is $9.60. But the payout was 213.36 so, that was good. I usually did the $0.80 single multiplier and on very rare occasions did I splurge and do 2x multipliers. I’m such a cheap ass.

Yep, I only ended up gambling $120 and I lost all of that. I gained a little back playing an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade slot machine in the airport before our flight home. Then I lost it again.

Now, once again, I should stress that I only went to three casinos, on the strip and didn’t venture downtown, but you’d think that it would be a better experience in the newer area.

So, in all, if you have a casino near where you live and have some grand scheme of going to Vegas to hit it big… stay home. Save the money you would have blown on travel and do something else with it. Go to the local joint and spend the original gambling fund there. Might as well help your area over someone else’s, right?

Also, decide how much you actually want to spend on gambling and don’t go beyond that. If you go up, fine. If you can remove your original amount and just gamble on the house money, do so. That way, when you eventually lose it all, you end up even. This is not the economy to be losing your shirt in.

Next up is my monthly WUMF post and then some final thoughts on Vegas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vegas Baby: Part 3 - What Happens In Vegas Stays in the Colon

Whenever you mention Vegas to someone, the first thought in their head is gambling. Usually, the second or third thought is the food, more specifically, the buffets. As I lead you by the brain and tasted buds through the Vegas experience, remember, I only stayed in the Strip. I did not venture downtown.

I can tell you, right now, the notion that you can gamble big and eat big on little money is long gone. There are plenty of places to dine inside the Mirage and I took advantage of three of them. Of course, there is a Starbucks. I’m sure there is one in most every Casino in Vegas. There is also the standard buffet, called Cravings. There is a frozen yogurt place, which was neat. They have B.B King’s Blues Club for some great pork and music. There is also a Carnegie’s Deli, like the one in New York. And finally, we sampled some of the room service provided by the Mirage.

On our first night, we checked into the hotel and went down to B.B. King’s, We had already missed the buffet which closed. The Blues Club was shrouded in darkness and looked much like a Ruby Tuesday’s or other chain restaurant. The difference is the wall art which is mostly Rhythm and Blues giants like Muddy Waters or Clapton. Looking over the menu, we both got BBQ pulled pork. I went the sandwich route, while my wife went with the full meal. Food was excellent.

After eating we were treated to a live performance by a band called PJ Barth. I was unfamiliar with the band and the lead singer/guitarist was this skinny little white dude who looked like a kid who dressed up as Stevie Ray Vaughn for Halloween. He was accompanied by a bassist and drummer and that was all he needed. Here’s a video of him doing an awesome cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing

The next morning… well around 10 or 11 am, we went to eat lunch at The Carnegie Deli. Now, I’ve never been there but I hear Bowser from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzarelli eat there together.
Looking over the menu I can tell you one thing, they like their tongue. Every other item on the menu had tongue in it. We stayed away from that and went for a club sandwich, which we shared. Why? It was about a foot tall. They must have used a pound of turkey and a pound of bacon. I ended up making three sandwiches out of it. But it was yummy.

That night we went to the buffet, geared up for some great eating. I was thoroughly unimpressed with Cravings. It had a sort of Art Deco cafeteria look to it. The offerings were a bit meager. The crab legs were split down the middle. That must be a Vegas thing because the Bellagio was the same way. I’ve never seen crab legs done like that. You’d think it would be easier to eat them that way but it was not. Whatever those things, that run down the middle of a crab leg, are called they held onto the meat with a deathlike grip.

We should have started with dessert because that was the best part of it. Everything else was a bit off and the choices were a bit weird. For what it cost to eat there, $30 bucks a piece, I tried to make up for it with desserts and crab legs.

The next day, our last full day, we tried room service for breakfast. We both ordered a triple breakfast combo consisting of waffles, pancakes, and French toast. Now before you say, “Ooh, have another, fatty” realize that for the total cost of $22.00 each, we got a single plate with three silver dollar pancakes, an equally sized waffle which looked to be ripped from the other three mini waffles in an Eggo pack, and a block of French toast the size of a pack of cigarettes. All of this was drizzled over by fruit compote. That was room service. While it was pretty good tasting, the idea that, for $40.00, I can take my wife, kid, and father-in-law to Cheddar’s in Wheeling and have a Monte Cristo, a burger, a shrimp platter, a grilled cheese, two sodas, a chocolate milk, and two draft beers makes me a bit queasy.

That afternoon we had the Blizz frozen yogurt snack, which was nice. You grab a cup, fill it with various flavors, add toppings and spend like $0.50 an ounce. It was pretty good for getting frozen yogurt. I think it ended up being like $12 all said and done.

However, that night I was bound and determined to eat a good buffet dinner in Vegas. We walked from the Mirage down to the Bellagio so I could see the fountains. We decided to eat there with a little apprehension at dropping another $60.00 for crap food.

Mission accomplished. The buffet was much, much better, though they do their crab legs the same way. But I found what I really liked which was the four or five different pasta dishes that were just phenomenal. I was ready for a nap after that.

After all of that eating I realized we spent a hell of a lot of money, just on food. In fact, we spent more money on food that we did on gambling. Hey, why not? At least I get something for my money with the food. I can’t enjoy losing $120 on slots and blackjack, but I’ll have this fat forever.

And for all that, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Vegas of old, with the cheap prime rib buffets and free drinks, is either a myth or was ruined by something else. Everything there costs money. Now, had I dropped a grand in the casino, they might have comped me a meal or two but you’re basically spending that money anyways. Hell, a 32 oz. Diet Coke, by the pool was $8.00. WTF!?!?

Although, directly across the street from the Mirage was both a Denny’s and a McDonald’s. But that would have been wrong. That’s like going to China and eating at a Manchu Wok or going to Manhattan and getting pizza at a Sbarro. You just don’t do that shit.

Next up, gambling and the Vegas experience.

Vegas Baby: Part 2 - Room With a View

I’m taking you on the tour of Vegas through the point of view of the angry traveler. We talked about flying and we talked about checking in, too. Let’s talk about the accommodations.

OK, so getting into the hotel was half of the fun, right? Now, that I’m checked into the Mirage, what is there to do?

Well, first of all, the room was pretty nice. The furnishings were sort of modern but not extremely cold. The room was pretty big with a nice desk for the computer that sort of came out from the wall so you could see the TV. The bathroom was rather nice with a huge mirror with these very bright lights around it. It didn’t lie to you whatsoever. 

There was a mini fridge which I didn’t dare bump for fear it would spit something out at me, charging me a gazillion dollars for a small bag of raisins or something.

Now, our room was facing the pool which was kind of nice. We could see Caesar’s directly across from us, Harrah’s to our left and way down towards the mountains, I could make out The Rio, which made for a real nice sunset picture.

Oh, and the funny thing about our room was that not only did it face the main pool, it also faced the dolphin habitat and BARE. If you don’t know what BARE is, it’s exactly what you think it is. The Mirage has a secluded pool area that is geared towards those wishing to go topless. I believe women get in for free and men have to pay. Not sure what the purpose of that is. So, the idea is to get women to take off their tops and get men to pay money to come ogle them. What other reason is there?

Unfortunately, the weather was a bit nippy and windy so nobody wanted to be brave. Believe me, my wife kept saying, “nobody’s there.” She seemed more interested in looking than I was. I guess because it’s something we’ve never been exposed to. (No pun intended.)

The only real issue I had with the room was that it was so far from everything. If the argument for hotels in Vegas is that the restrict the amount of amenities you have in the room which forces you to go to the casino then I counter with, “Fine, don’t put it so effing far away, then.” I had a couple of issues with room keys that caused me multiple trips to the front desk which was down the long ass hall, down the elevator, through the casino, through the jungle dome thingy, and over to the desk. If they wanted me to leave my room, they would have simply made the commute easier. I will say that after feeling cooped up and bored in my room made me want to just go gamble to waste time. Point to Vegas, this round.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegas Baby: Part 1 - First Impressions

I’m splitting these posts up because there is just way too much to discuss. Your brains will be mush and eyes will be crossed and I will lose half of my readership which will leave me with 2 ¼ readers. So, deal with it.

As I said before, I was supposed to go to Las Vegas on business but that the conference had been cancelled. Since I already had charged the room and airfare to my credit card and had not submitted an expense for them, I merely decided… with the help of my wife, to just continue to go to Las Vegas as a sort of second honeymoon. Our first one was wrought the black death as my wife was seriously ill while we were in Niagara Falls in November of 2004.

We always said we’d have a “real” honeymoon but after two years of being married we were blessed with a child and things just sort of got put on hold. Spontaneity has never been our forte as we’ve experienced nothing but trouble in the past on various trips. Still, it was an adventure to be had. My wife had never flown and neither of us had ever been to Vegas.

After our flight we arrived at LAS we made plans to get to The Mirage. I was planning to rent a car as my original itinerary was solely based in The Mirage. A shuttle or taxi would be sufficient.

Shuttle from LAS to The Mirage = $7.00 each. / $14 for both and it takes about 45 minutes to get there, depending on how many stops.

Taxi from the airport = Less than $20 and you get there a hell of a lot quicker.

Is the shuttle cheaper? Yes. Look, if you have no problem standing outside the airport for an hour waiting for the right shuttle to show up, save the $5.00. However, if you’ve just gotten done travelling for five hours and want to GET THERE, take a cab. In the end, you’ll be better off spending the extra money.

Now, all my built up expectations of Las Vegas were generated by the Ocean’s movies, the television show Las Vegas, and the old 70s show Vega$. I had no concept of geography. I basically thought that Las Vegas was this big huge city out in the desert that was wall to wall casinos and hookers. You could basically walk from one end to other and see it all. I had no idea that there was a downtown area (Old Las Vegas in my mind) where places like the Freemont Street Experience and the Golden Nugget resided along with one of the more iconic figures, Vegas Vic… the cowboy who looks to be hitchhiking. This is separate from “The Strip” which is where places like The Mirage, The Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, New York New York, The Luxor, Treasure Island, MGM Grand. These are the more opulent casinos and hotels. I had no clue.

So, on to the Mirage. From the outside The Mirage doesn’t have any other discernible features that set apart. Caesar’s has the whole Roman motif, The Bellagio has the fountain, The Luxor is the pyramid, etc. Once you get closer, though, you see that the Mirage has this huge rock formation out front that serves as a nightly Volcano show, which is cool.

I found this on YouTube because my own video was lame.

Once you walk into The Mirage you have the check in desk to your right, some of the casino floor to your left and directly ahead is a dome with a wooden bridge and various flora and waterfalls which was very pretty.

After checking in we had to drag ourselves and luggage (one rolling bag, one purse, one laptop bag) through the casino towards the middle of the hotel where the elevators were located. The amount of traffic on a Tuesday evening was ridiculous. There were people everywhere. Old, young, kids, adults alike just jamming the pathways through the bleep bloop of slot machines with their digital clinking of credits being paid out, the sporadic cheers from a craps table, and occasional song playing over the loud speakers.

When we finally reached the elevators we were whooped. I was so looking forward to just falling face first on the bed. But first, we had to get to our room, 20123. You step off of the elevator and enter one of the three wings of the guest room floors. The design of the interior was a perspective Inception mind screw. The hallway looked longer than it actually was and it was still a hell of a walk.

Talk about perspective

Next time, we’ll discuss the finer points of Mongo in hotel rooms and, later, the food which is what the real attraction for me to Las Vegas was.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Harry Potter Collection on Blu-Ray

OK, so I didn't get LOST for Christmas last year.   And, it doesn't look like I'll be getting it this year as my wife and I are desperately in need of new appliances and some furniture. 

I've been hesitating on buying some DVDs because Blu-Ray is slowly creeping its way into my home.  I also didn't want to just go out and buy the Harry Potter films or other epic sequel sagas because eventually, once their done, they will release all of the films in one packaging.  And, from what I remember, the first editions of Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets were rather scant of good extras and contained rather juvenile remote based games for kids.  But looking at that collection, now on Blu-Ray, I think I may have to just wait a little longer.  It appears that this is mainly just the eight movies and not much of the special features I would love to see. 

However, if you love the films and don't care about the extras, the Blu-Ray set is around $80.00 from Amazon.  The DVD set is around $50.  Soooo, if your kids are asking for the movies or say a brand new PS3 game, the DVDs are a bit cheaper than say Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shed No Tears For Your King. The PSU Scandal

Let's face it.  I am not going to be able to get to my Vegas trip without at least venting a little about the Penn State scandal.  I can't ignore it.  It can't be unseen.  So, here's my thoughts, for what it's worth.

I'm appalled.  Simply and utterly appalled.  And, unfortunately, a lot of my post will be about the one person who stands out more than everyone involved, Joe Paterno.  He shouldn't.  The case is against Sandusky.  Sandusky is the monster.  Everyone else simply enabled him to do what he did.  And lionizing Parterno or vilifying him does nothing to help ease the victims' pain and suffering.  They are truly lost in all of this media circus.

I did not go to PSU.  I was a Pitt grad.  Now, before you flame me for making this a Pitt vs. PSU thing, understand this.  I hold no loyalty to Pitt athletics.  I hold no loyalty to college athletics at all.  In fact, I am disgusted by the entire entity known as the NCAA.  They are a corporation who makes money off of collegiate athletics.  Pure and simple.  Regardless of whether they uphold standards of morals or values about sportsmanship or whatever, above all, they are in business to make money.  If not, they wouldn't be licensing all of their gear with the logos and player likenesses to EA sports or other profitable venues. 

That being said, what happened last year at OSU... and chew on this, I will never refer to OSU as THE Ohio State University.  Once again, it's not a Pitt thing, it's just simple pretentiousness.  I don't care if it says "THE" in the logo, the charter, whatever document you want to march out.  It's Ohio State University or OSU.  End of THE story.  Anyway, that whole debacle last year over player compensation, lying, whatever, just proves that the NCAA is just as corrupt as any other corporation that is greedy.   They mete out punishments when it's clear that everyone knows there is something wrong but clearly they hold the business in a higher regard than the well being of the student athletes because if they didn't, these scandals wouldn't take place and there would be stiffer punishment and reform for the programs.  Better regulation.  Better watchdogs.  They know it's there, but as long as it doesn't disrupt the business of making money or tarnish the brand, they turn a blind eye.

Back to PSU.  I don't need to rehash the story.  I don't want to.  We all know what happened and if you don't, go read the presentment to the grand jury.  You can find it here as well as everywhere else.  Quite simply, this was an incident that was swept under the rug when it could have been exposed before any others were hurt.

Mike McQueary walked into a shower and saw an act.  He then reported it to Joe Paterno.  Sometime later, he was then called into the offices of Curley and Schultz and explained what he saw.  Police were never involved.  The incident was dropped and Sandusky was merely relieved of his locker room keys and the incident was reported to Second Mile, the charity or 'farm team' for Sandusky's prospects in his monstrous acts.

Now, whether McQueary is lying in what he told Curley and Paterno or whether Curley and Paterno were lying about what they were told is irrelevant.  The fact that some kind of indecent and inappropriate acts were taking place between an educator/administrator/adult and a child on University property requires, at the bare minimum to be reported to REAL police, not campus cops.  REAL POLICE.  911 POLICE.

Not to mention that as a witness to the events, McQueary should have been compelled to stop the act when he witnessed it.  There was a recognition between the perpetrator, victim and witness.  After all of this went away, there were times when McQueary and Sandusky were present at the same place and same time, and with children involved.  How do you hold your tongue, let alone your lunch?

Now, onto Paterno.  He is not guilty of breaking any laws?  I posed that as a question because I do not know for sure.  He broke 'God's' law, if you want to call it that.  He took his stance on integrity and morality that he spewed so much in his 41 years as coach and threw it on the ground, stomped it, pissed all over it, then spat on it.   He failed a child and so many more.   To say that he reported it to his superiors is convenient when it suited him.  Any other time, Paterno has been the perceived boss.   When his boss, Curley, went to his house to tell him it was time to go, as head coach, Paterno showed him the door.  Who would fire Joe Paterno?  Apparently, when it comes to disciplining Joe, he has no boss.  When it comes to reporting a heinous crime against a child, he has superiors. 

And the culpability goes on up to Spanier and even the University because they levelled a ban on Sandusky from campus facilities that was considered, unenforceable.  Well, why did you want to ban him?  Because he didn't turn off the lights?  Because he burped in public?  No, because he did something wrong.  He did something worthy of being banned from campus.  Yet, you let him back on campus and around children.  Why?  Because you didn't involve the police.  Why didn't you involve the police?  It would tarnish the program.  It would tarnish the reputation of the brand.  It would tarnish your King, who was friends of 30 plus years with the predator.  What other reason would you have to not involve police?

Athletics and University appearance should not be held above the safety of children.  If so, then what kind of message are you sending your prospective, current, and alum students?  We want you to grow and learn and feel safe in our environment but if anything happens, don't tarnish the school, regardless of how bad you get hurt.

And to not fire Paterno who has systematically proven that he holds too much power would have been another slap in the face of those victims.  Joe should have resigned immediately and not said, "Oh, I'll retire after the season."   Do the right thing.  You are the face of the school and the program.  No one other person holds as much influence.  You are the King.  You screwed up.  Own the fire.

"But he did his job."  Did he?  If you see someone's house on fire you call the fire department, right?  Do you ignore the sounds of someone in distress?  The difference is that McQueary and company weren't in a fire situation that could have caused them physical harm and more work for the fire department.  A little boy was being assaulted.  A little boy saw your eyes look right at him and you turned and left.  Everyone pushed it up the chain of command yet not one person thought to take care of the victim.  They left it up to the system and this child is forever lost.

Paterno IS culpable.  His fame, his legacy and his contributions over the years do not outweigh the obligation to protect the innocence of a child in his house.   And if you think that he did all he could have done ask yourself one thing, what if McQueary told Joe that there was a kid in the showers with Sandusky and his last name was Paterno.  Do you think Joe would have been fine with just telling his 'boss'?  Do you think he would have personally gone down there?   Do you think he'd be OK with McQueary just saying, "Joe, it was your son I saw, so I left and told my Dad and he said I should tell you." 

Make that kid's last name any of the people involved: 
McQueary.  Would he have left them in the shower?
Curely.  Would he have been fine with finding out a whole two days later and simply barring Sandusky from campus?
The last name of any student/alum who cheers for Joe, on his lawn, or thinks that Joe did enough and now is flipping cars and vandalizing news vans at State College in outrage over Paterno's firing.

Put any of those names on the victim and ask how they would have reacted.  It would tell a different story.  Any child that is being harmed or abused or assaulted or victimized becomes your child.  In the world of education and development, you are a parent in the sense that you are obligated to do everything in the best interests of a child whether he/she is yours or not.

So, do not shed tears for your King, because he shed none for you when you needed him.  He simply did the bare minimum.  We Are Ashamed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

US Scareways and the City of Brotherly Meh

We arrived at the airport around 11:15 for our 2:35 flight to Philly. We walked in the front door of LAS and that’s where the problems started. The check in kiosk right inside the door was hard to use because it would not take my card. After a few tries, I moved to another machine and checked my wife and I in and printed out boarding passes. We then headed over to check our bag at the US Airways desk. Some older blond lady, named Michelle, started barking at all of us to use the kiosks to check in. I held up my boarding passes and bag receipt and she dismissed that, saying simply, “Use the kiosk to check in.” I said, “But we…” “USE THE KIOSK TO CHECK IN” This burned my ass. I walked over to the kiosk and started to go through the motions. It was the exact same process I just did.

As Michelle barked at a group of foreign travelers, not well versed in English, repeatedly telling them to “USE THE KIOSK” I became a little incensed. “What if we used the kiosk over there to check in?”

“Well, you need to use this one for your bag.” She sniped.

“What if it printed me a receipt?” I sniped back.

“You need to use this one.” She chirped.


“Because THAT one (pointing towards door) doesn’t print the sticker on THAT side of the counter (pointing at the counter).”

“Why didn’t you say THAT, first?” I said and then asked why the hell do they let people check in over there.

Then, as she walked away I said, “Someone needs to learn some customer service skills.”

After that issue, we moved into the security line, which did not require a backscatter search, simply a metal detector search. Honestly, what’s the point of having backscatter machines at only certain airports? I would figure Vegas would be a bigger hub for travel than Pittsburgh. In any case, we were through. Now, we play the waiting game.

After winning back $20 from an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade slot machine near our departure gate we were informed that our flight was delayed. This reduced our already slim connection time from 30 minutes.

We boarded and departed around 3:07. This was after we taxied all the way to the other side of the airport. Now, we were in the air with a four and a half hour flight. We didn’t have the option of choosing two seats together. It was three or nothing. I was on the aisle and my wife was in the middle. Originally, there was supposed to be this older lady in the window seat but she claimed she did not want to sit next to the bathroom, which our seats were in front of, and made another guy in her row move. So, my wife was stuck next to a 61 year old grizzled Vietnam Vet retiree from New Jersey who had a case of Tourette’s and a gaping wound on his right arm which shared space with my wife’s left.

Of course then it became a four hour conversation about everything from the country to the construction company he worked for which also employed Franco Harris in the 70s. He said Franco had a very high pitched voice and was pretty worthless because he knew he was going to be making a lot of money in the NFL. He had a lot of opinions and a couple of off color remarks about hookers in Vegas. “Oh, that’s just grandpa.”

The flight crew was a bit cold and unfeeling and while they did pass out two rounds of complimentary drinks, of which Grizzled Vet had four bottles of vodka to go with his two cans of cranberry soda, there were no snacks unless you were willing to pay $5.00 for a bag of peanuts.

Also, while the captain was able to communicate to us the score of Game 7 of the World Series, no one had any information about connecting flights, whether they were on time or not. Apparently, the tower could only get ESPN and not a schedule of other flights.

Around 10:10PM, I walked back to the flight attendants to ask them about the other flights and they repeated that they did not have any information about the anything else other than the fact that we were still 30 minutes out and there would be a representative on the ground waiting to discuss our options. “Uh oh.” My wife and I began to make plans to either wait it out or get a rental car, at the airline’s expense, and drive the five and a half hours to Pittsburgh.

As we sat and wondered, worrying about our chances of making it from our landing gate to our departure gate inside the ever shrinking window of time, we received another update from the World Series game. I became even more angry at the lack of empathy or “owning the fire” as the customer service text books will tell you.

We landed right around 10:39, giving us about five minutes to deplane and race to the gate. By a stroke of luck, our landing gate had changed from a different terminal all together to seven gates over. Things were looking up a little. The flight crew came on and said that the ground was aware of our lateness and that there would be someone there to help. In the meantime, she asked passengers that did not have a connecting flight or a shortened connection time to stay out of the aisle and let the rest of us go. At that point, everyone stood up. So much for the City of Brotherly Love.

I was a bit of a prick to some folks who just meandered out in the aisle, enforcing the idea that I now had three minutes to run seven gates. Eventually, we got off and there was a Pamplona themed running of the passengers to the various gates. As I rounded the corner towards Gate 8, I saw the trailing line of people that gave me some hope. We were going to make it. My wife was nowhere in sight. Apparently, she stayed behind to talk with the representative at the other gate. I would do what I could to hold up the flight, but she better get her butt moving.

I got to the desk and noticed some of the people from our previous flight standing in line. They didn’t look happy. I looked out the window and saw no plane sitting at the gate. My heart sank. “Did we miss it?” I asked. One guy who was there with his family said, “It isn’t here yet.”

Unbelievable. I worried. I became unruly towards other passengers in my way. I RAN! I never run anymore. All for nothing because the flight scheduled for an 10:45 departure was going to be another two hours late. One of the other passengers said, “Oh, you didn’t know. It’s kind of an understood thing. The US Airways flight from Philly to Pittsburgh is never on time.”

At this point, my wife came walking up the hall, looking distraught that I was kind of just standing there. I told her the news and she was visibly upset. And to make matters worse, all of the nearby shops had closed down for the night. We hadn’t eaten in almost 12 hours and here we were stuck in Philly for another two.

It was the lesser of two evils I guess. Still, had the damn flight crew been more concerned about their passengers who were travelling, instead of those who were baseball fans then maybe we could have been more cordial to the other folks lollygagging in the aisle. They stood there, yanking on their stuck luggage that had become lodged in the overhead bins because the flight attendants slam them in there in order to get the lid closed. Not to mention half of the people who had luggage stowed in the overheads were miles away from their seats because you sort of just look for open space because there is never room for three pieces of luggage up top.

In all the airports I’ve been in over the years, Philly ranks at the very bottom. It’s dilapidated, crumbling, dirty and the staff just don’t really care. I attempted to plug in my wife’s laptop and let some friends know we were alive but stuck. After locating an open outlet, finding it with no power and trying several others at a different gate, I was able to finally charge up my battery that had been depleted from usage on the plane.

On the flights to Atlanta and Vegas, the Delta gates had various stands in between the rows of seats with outlets available. Once again, Delta gets it. Most people travel with electronic devices and need to plug in once in awhile during layovers.

I will never fly US Airways again, never. Their planes reminded me of old emergency rooms or the elementary school nurse’s office. The old and worn material covering the seats looked uncomfortable and somewhat icky. The flight crew was drab and zombielike in there demeanor. The amount of “warm and fuzzy” customer service experiences have diminished in the 20 years since my first flight on a plane, which was with US Air back in the early 90s.

Everyone raves about Southwest but I’d rather go Delta and I’d rather have a nonstop flight and never have to go through Philly International Airport ever again.

Next up, I'll give you my assessment of Las Vegas itself and why I'll never order room service from the Mirage again.

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