Ticket Fees Are Bullshit

The New York Mets are playing a home game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, April the 28th. There are plenty of good seats available, but I’m not interested in those. Good seats at a ballgame are a luxury that my friends and I cannot afford. Nosebleeds have been the order of the day for all but rare occasions in my sportsgoing life. Good seats are reserved for rare gifts from corporate contacts or semi-retired acquaintances ready to rip through their retirement funds. The most expensive ticket I’ve ever bought was for a Yankees/Indians matchup at the Stadium last year for sixty-five bucks...in the upper deck. A similar seat in the new stadium goes for twice that amount, now. But this article isn’t a rant about the high price of seats at sporting events. It’s about fees. Continue reading “Ticket Fees Are Bullshit”

In The City: The Subway Touch Rule

Never touch anything in a subway station. Never lean on a column, sit on a bench, or, God forbid, do a pull-up from a rafter. Subway stations have been coated with a hundred years of filth. Brake dust, rust, flakes of lead paint, rotten food, rain water drained from the street, dog piss, rat piss, human piss, vomit, all kinds of fecal matter from all kinds of sources. There’s no reason to believe the rare occasions when things are sprayed and scrubbed down that everything is cleansed. Even the smell of the air, a truly unique odor, tells one all they need to know about the tunnels. In the cars, it’s different. There are three options. Sit on a dirty seat, a thin layer of clothes between you and the plastic; hold onto a metal bar; or surf, holding nothing and risking falling on the floor, which is just as bad as lying on the track bed in some cars. In fact, the ideal situation would be to ride the subway in a deep sea diving suit which, upon exiting, is dipped in gasoline and set on fire.

Ron Asheton

Everyone who loves rock and roll has an opinion about the best album ever recorded. Is it Electric Ladyland, Who’s Next, Led Zeppelin’s fourth, Abbey Road, something else? The arguments one way or another are endless, and fill a damn large percentage of late night bar talk. Every music magazine one could think of has lists all over their web pages. Top 100 albums ever, best 500 songs, best punk albums, folk albums, classic rock albums, alternative albums, ’60s albums, ’90s albums, all coming out the wazoo. For me, all the history of modern music, rock, blues, jazz, coalesced and circulated in a massive storm over a recording studio in Los Angeles in May 1970. For two weeks The Stooges channeled all the hectic and destructive energy of loud music and put it on tape. The result was Fun House. Continue reading “Ron Asheton”

In the City – The Rice Box Rule

When living in the city, never buy rice from the corner store if it comes packaged in a cardboard box. There is no liner in the box, and you can’t see inside. The rice just sits in there, snug against the smooth, brown sidewalls, in an imperfect seal. After you pour out a cup into some boiling water and all sorts of brown stuff floats to the top, that’s when you realize that at some point between harvesting, processing, packaging, and sitting on a shelf, your box of rice became infested with bugs. Rice in a plastic bag mitigates this problem. Look in the bag, check for bugs. No bugs? Buy the bag, and store in the freezer.

How to Kill a Bar

Dave Sim, creator and writer of the cult comic Cerebus, despite going completely around the bend in recent years, once wrote something very sensible. “Never fall in love with a bar.” This is good advice. Hang around one place long enough, and that bar a person has come to spend so much time in will do the unthinkable. It will change. Favorite staff will leave, choosing to get on with their lives rather than spend their nights feeding the regulars drinks. (Who can blame them? Spending too much time in a bar is bad for a person’s health. Working in one is just no way to live.) The owner will get it in his head to remodel this or that, making everything clean, polished, and prefab. Maybe they will even install windows in the front where there were none before (A truly seismic shift. Depending on how one feels, this is akin either to a facelift, or a horribly disfiguring car accident.). The point is, to a person in love with a bar, any small change can feel like a betrayal. Months or years have been spent acclimating to a bar’s very specific atmosphere. It becomes the reason to go to that particular spot, and when it changes, the process has to begin again. Eventually, change accumulates to the point where a person has been abandoned by their bar, and they have to seek out someplace new. Continue reading “How to Kill a Bar”

Chlorine Stings the Eyes

The pool at the Tallmadge YWCA was divided into three sections when the kids from the summer day camp had their afternoon swims. The shallow end, the middle, and the deep end. There were about thirty of us, maybe more, six and seven year olds all the way up to fourteen year olds — teenagers who walked among us like gods. All morning long we were packed into a room at the top of a bleak set of stairs and locked in, doing who knows what. I don’t remember. Board games. Activities. But every afternoon, if we weren’t off somewhere on a field trip, it was down to the pool, after lunch had been given an appropriate time to settle, of course. Continue reading “Chlorine Stings the Eyes”

Bright Light, Big Valley

Excessive weather must be experienced firsthand to understand the true abstractness of the phenomena. Using words to describe the urgency of such moments is difficult, especially in conveying the thin line our psyches walk, knowing that bad decisions, or merely being unprepared, could lead to disaster. What we call normal becomes so through repetition, and does not just encompass things we do, places we see, people we meet, etc. It’s also the environment in which we live. Quick shifts that push the boundaries of our experiences with that environment can leave a person stunned, if only momentarily. Continue reading “Bright Light, Big Valley”

Death of a Journalist

October 20, 2007 to January 4, 2008. In that span of time, not one article was posted on Missile Test. The previous three months leading up to that hiatus had been prolific ones in the life of the site. Seventeen articles posted from July 18 to October 20, an average of more than one a week. In 2006, my output for the site was dismal. Only sixteen articles. Using that as my guide, during the summer I made a decision to step up production, with the goal of posting a minimum of fifty-two articles a year. For me, that was an ambitious goal. In the life of the site, there had never been a year that maintained enough consistency to guarantee that many postings, but I had seemed to hit a stride in the last few months. Quality was as uneven as ever. After all, I am working without an editorial staff to slap me when I’m being foolish, but that’s neither here nor there. Continue reading “Death of a Journalist”

Sports Do Not Matter

The reverberations from the Mitchell Report released last month will be felt for some time in professional baseball. One of the most prolific offensive eras in baseball history, one in which personal performance soared and the records associated with it fell, has now been tainted. In a sport that maintains a direct connection to its century-long history through its statistics, its holy numbers, anything which could damage the validity of those numbers threatens the very integrity of the sport. The report contained few surprises, but it set forth in writing just how widespread the use of performance-enhancing drugs had become in the major leagues. Most compellingly, the report named names. Continue reading “Sports Do Not Matter”