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catch-up, vol. 1: music.

The Wife and I had been bitching for weeks about the dearth of decent music coming to the Burgh this summer — and while we were busy griping, the schedule for the next couple of months suddenly became exceptionally busy.

I already talked about the Panic show at the Stan n’ Guy Theater (Where Everyone Loves The Show) on the 10th. What I didn’t mention — because I was too busy prepping for the vacation and writing about fun stuff at work — was that I also saw Keller Williams at Mr. Small’s a week later. I don’t have a setlist — and the tapers I talked to haven’t come through with an etree or archive posting yet — but among the highlights were a two-song Talking Heads suite — instrumental “Burning Down the House” into “Once in a Lifetime” — Help/Slip/Franklin’s, Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and the most awesomest version of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” of all time.

That was followed last night by Over the Rhine at Jesus University (actually Geneva College) in Beaver Falls. I own one OTR CD, and have always been aware of their Cowboy Junkies connection, but that was my first show, and I was blown away. It was held in what had to have been Geneva’s original gym, a tiny thing barely big enough for a full-size basketball court. Seated maybe 300 people. Acoustics were surprisingly good and the band was amazing. Karin Bergquist also had a little fun with the kids who attended, who, while enthusiastic, were simply not dancing, no matter what happened. She said at one point:

Did they say you couldn’t dance? (audience laughter) You know, neck dancing (demonstrates a head-bopping motion) is still OK, right? I mean, they’re only concerned about what happens from the waist down.

Great stuff.

The near future bodes well too. In May, Mr. Small’s will host the Derek Trucks Band and Disco Biscuits; in early June, Ween will play there as well. And then there’s the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which brings in simply ridiculously huge bands for free shows in Point State Park. In past years we’ve seen Wilco, the Junkies, Sonic Youth, moe., Buckwheat Zydeco, Gov’t Mule, Indigo Girls — a buncha great stuff. They can’t hold shows in the park this summer — it’s going through a renovation — but our entertainment writer says the Junkies are returning, along with Ozomatli and some other interesting bands I don’t remember off the top of my head.

Looks like I’m going to get my share after all.

***

A final music-related note for Mr. Burns: Your CDs came while we were in Florida, and they both kick ass. I’ve been catching up with a lot of things this week, including the discs you get in return; they’re burned and packaged, and they’ll be mailed Thursday. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.

dumb.


The Indians’ season opener is just a couple of hours away.

Ohio State plays for the men’s basketball national title tonight.

In the greater Pittsburgh area, it’s already 65 degrees under perfectly sunny skies.

Question: Could someone please tell me why in the hell I came to work today?

finally. four.

We’ve finally replaced that 1999 banner we had to take down.

We finally played one of our best games of the season to make it to the Final Four.

On a personal note, we may be looking at that national semi-final against Carolina I mentioned a few posts back. If UNC beats Georgetown tomorrow, it’ll be an interesting week in the Crappy household.

I’d say our loss to Wisconsin has been avenged in the Big Ten tournament. It could work out that we have the chance to make up for the other two.

And actually, that stuff doesn’t even matter that much to me at the moment. Just that one thing.

Finally. Back in the Final Four.

aggravation.

Crappitycrappitycrap.

Can’t watch the game. Pitt’s playing at the same time.

Can’t watch online. The CBS On-Demand video isn’t Mac compatible.

Can’t listen online. Ohio State network stations have to black out their streams and Ohio State’s streaming service isn’t Mac compatible.

Can’t really listen on the regular old radio. WKBN in Youngstown, the closest Ohio State network station, has to turn down its signal at night. I get Paul Keels mixed with some guy speaking Spanish.

I can’t even listen to the Westwood One broadcast. Pittsburgh’s ESPN Radio affiliate, which is carrying the games, has to turn down its signal at night as well.

At this moment, I hate nearly everyone. Except you, of course.

If you wanted to send me email updates, I’d really appreciate it.

HALFTIME: Uh. Yeah. Let’s not worry so much about those emails … The Creamsicles are up 49-32.

15:43, SECOND HALF: Perhaps I let my pessimism get the best of me. Let’s not be hasty here. Lead’s cut to seven points.

12:18: I hadn’t intended to spend my night live blogging, but I’ll be fucked if I’m going back in the living room to watch Pitt and screw around with the radio. Sitting at the computer seems to be working. 57-53. TV timeout. Getting another beer.

11:53: This timeout brought to you by Penn Marzen — crisp, refreshing … the beer that says, “I hate Rocky Top.” Or something like that.

11:45: Lewis makes two free throws but then fouls. Are we dealing with guys who normally referee junior high school games?

10:54: Seriously. We cut the lead to one, but Oden gets called for his fourth. Hunter also has four; Conley has three. There’s only one Creamsicle with more than two.

9:34, UT’s up two. I should clarify a couple of things. 1) I’m following the game via ESPN.com’s gamecast. 2) The refs must be the biggest candy-asses of all time — the foul calls, both ways, are constant. Maybe the game’s just that brutal, but jesus … enough already.

8:34, We’re up two. On free throws, naturally.

8:05. Up three on a Conley layup. Dispatch says he’s staying for another year. Mike? Could you mention something to your high school buddy about staying as well?

7:26, game’s tied at 68 after Lofton made a three for the Creamsicles. Whew. The Pitt-UCLA game is about over — only 31 seconds left — but I’M NOT GOING TO WATCH ON TV, no matter how bitchy I was earlier this evening.

Still 7:26. UT has more total fouls than we do, 19-15. Apparently the invasive officiating is going both ways.

6:58. Three-pointer by Jamar! Yessssss … we’re up 72-68.

5:51. They got a three of their own to cut our lead to one. This is making me nuts…

5:11. Tied at 74. We don’t want to start trading buckets here.

3:59. They’re up 77-74. We’re shooting free throws when the TV timeout is over. I’m almost ready for another beer.

Still 3:59. Pitt got waxed. But I’m not turning on the TV. Which means I’m an idiot.

Still 3:59. I’m just staring at the computer, waiting for something to happen. I also have to pee.

3:20. Oden made both free throws but they followed with a layup. But David Lighty makes a three to tie us at 79. I still have to pee.

2:40: UT takes a timeout. I’m gonna go pee now.

2:40, still in the timeout. I feel much better now, thanks.

2:40. If you’re a member at ESPN’s web page, it addresses you by name if you’re signed in. But the auto-refresh is screwing that up. I’ve gone from my real name — Uncle Crappy, of course — to Matt, Ryan and now Greg. None of these, as many of you know, are even vaguely close to being accurate.

2:30. Something happened, and then we called a timeout. ESPN’s holding out on me. Still 79-79.

1:57. “Greg” — no, “Ryan” — just got another beer. And we just traded threes. 82-82.

1:38. Up 84-82 on two Oden free throws.

1:18, same score. I’m now Kerri.

1:08. They made one of two free throws; we’re up 84-83 and Thad took a timeout. I’m still Kerri.

0:38. ESPN missed a bunch. Still up one, but a foul on Ronnie Lewis. They’ll be shooting free throws. Made one for the tie at 84 … Must have missed the second, foul on them.

0:06. We’re on the line … Conley made the first to tie at 84. They’ll have one more possession, and they’ll only need a two to win it.

0:06. Holyfuckingshit. Junior made the second to put us up one. UT timeout.

0:01. Arrgh!! What? ESPN said we rebounded a missed layup … game must be over…

FINAL. WE WIN 85-84. I’m going to watch TV for a second…

A couple minutes later: You’ve all seen this by now, but I just saw it as a replay for the first time … Junior misses his second free throw, they drive the length of the floor. Ramar Smith heads in for the winning layup but the Big Fella has hoofed it all the way back to block the shot. That’s a miracle, boys and girls, on an even bigger scale than the Xavier game. We were down 19 points in the first half … Oden had three fouls by halftime … and we came back and won that sonofabitch. I’m going to finish my beer and try to get some sleep … this is Jeff … no, John … no, Kerri saying good night.

that’s nice.


It’s not unusual for western Pennsylvania to be a bit behind the times. But in the case of the vernal equinox, we’re actually not lagging too much — only a month or so.

Here’s how I can tell:

* I can drive to and from work, music playing loudly, with the windows down. No shivering involved.

* Young’s Custard stand opened last weekend, and I’ve already had my first black raspberry cone.

* I got my 2006 Indians media guide in the mail.

* I can find any baseball on TV or the radio — OK, especially the radio — and be happy.

* My eyes are burning and my nose is running. Allergies aren’t exactly good things, but they come with the season.

* The skis are put away in the basement. The golf clubs are about to come upstairs.

* Rutabagas everywhere — like the one above, near Mansfield, Ohio — are sprouting leafy green things. I understand they’re called leaves.

a million six? jesus chri…

While I was neglecting Uncle Crappy last week, I failed to notice that I — we — had passed a milestone of sorts. Tonight, while checking the site’s stats, I found that Uncle Crappy had reached the 5,000 hits plateau. We’re at 5,073 as we speak.

While that figure would probably guarantee me membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it’s small potatoes in the blog world, where some of my favorites get 5,000 hits in a week. But for someone who started out essentially in a vacuum — if you’ll recall, I didn’t even tell anybody about this until I’d been doing it for a little more than a year — I think it’s pretty cool.

So here’s what we’re going to do. Y’all know about me, but what about you? The site meter package tells me a bunch of cool shit — like the time someone was directed to Uncle Crappy after doing a Google search for “I want a fucking weather-predicting owl” or the time I realized that someone with an IP address from the U.S. Department of Justice was reading my blog.

Not that I have anything to worry about. In the legal sense. Really.

But it also tells me more general stuff about when you read and from where, how you got here and how often you visit. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • My biggest month was last November (421 hits), and biggest week was the third week of that month (163). That tells me that I’m not the only one interested in the Michigan game.
  • I get the most hits between 11 p.m. and midnight (360), followed closely by midnight to 1 a.m. (340). You people need to go to bed; we’re not getting any younger, you know.
  • The biggest day of the week is Wednesday (981). The slowest days are Saturday (398) and Sunday (420). That’s good — Uncle Crappy doesn’t like to do much writing on weekends.
  • The overwhelming majority of you live in the United States (4,619). Next on the geographic list is Canada (133) and Switzerland (60). There was a time when Switzerland and Canada were neck-and-neck … this can only mean that Roy is slacking.
  • I’ve also received single hits from Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Finland, Hong Kong, Estonia, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Belgium, Iran, Netherlands Antilles, Luxembourg and Egypt. Christ, I’m not certian I could find Estonia or Uzbekistan on a map.
  • Most of you know where to find Uncle Crappy. Only 1,956 hits have come via referrals from other sites or searches. I should thank John, Kristi and Anne (wherever she is) for the large numbers of hits that are directed my way from their respective pages.
  • If you got here via a search, chances are good that you were looking for one of the words in the blog title (“crappy,” 142 hits; “uncle,” 106) or in K2’s Mystery Luv skis (63), which were in no way responsible for The Wife’s accident in Colorado. You also might have come here in response to my unfortunate, and completely accidental, reference to The Schnit Radio Show (16), which I still know nothing about. I’ve received 15 hits from people either looking for info about our esteemed Grandhog or who just don’t type well. My friend, Pulitzer-winner Joe Mahr, has generated a total of 10 hits, although I’m convinced that most came directly from him. There’s also interest in Ambridge, Upper Arlington, rutabagas, Phish, fucking (not sure if that’s reflective of my readers or my language) and Mitch Albom, he of substandard journalistic ethics. And five times, someone has found Uncle Crappy by typing “httpunclecrappyblogspotcom.” Geez, don’t you remember what your English teacher said? Punctuation counts, boys and girls.

As I said before, 5,000 hits feels pretty good. I couldn’t have done it without you. Actually I could have, but it would have taken much, much longer. Thanks for helping out.