Tag Archives: embarrassing

Spring Meet Opens @ Pimlico This Weekend

So, we wrote a whole big blog post last year about how we were going to put on our Sunday best and go to Pimlico and piss away a few bucks and fake-it rich. As it happened, we got called up last minute to help a friend move. We swore we’d get up to Old Hilltop the next week, and then one thing led to another and long story short, we never made it to the races at all last year.

Well, the Spring meet is here again, and this year, goddamn it, we’re off to the races. We suggest you check out some live racing too, any day except the Preakness. Don’t go to Preakness.

Kegasus, and by extension the Preakness itself, is an embarrassment to our city before the eyes of the nation.

The Preakness organizers have failed miserably in recent years, and this year they’ve more than outdone themselves with the God-awful, thoroughly embarrassing Kegasus campaign. We’ll say first off that we’re no big fan of Danny McBride or any of the white trash, delusional, substance abusing memes surrounding his characters. It was bad enough when Keystone Beer ripped him off entirely, but this rip-off of a ripoff with a horse twist is more watered down than Keystone Beer itself.

Unfortunately, the Jockey Club and their ad firm Elevation Ltd. have decided to make an ‘outside run’ at the highly prized 18-25 male demographic, and don’t mind alienating anyone and everyone who doesn’t fit that demo along the way. The funny thing is, they had those customers locked up in the BYOB days, and blew it all to hell by discontinuing that policy. We understand that they’re trying their hardest to divorce the Preakness from actual horse racing by making the infield a generic rock music-and-shitty-beer festival, but as we’ve already pointed out, there are hundreds of festivals in Baltimore every Summer. Frat boys don’t need Preakness as an excuse to get drunk outside.

The way we see it, the Jockey Club blew a golden opportunity last year when they came crawling back to 18-25 year old males. They should have followed the example of Churchill Downs and divided their infield into sections.

Note: this is not actually Pimlico.

Even a very simple division like this one would make a lot more sense than having a handful of random frat bros wandering dumbly from tent to tent looking for the shortest beer line. We would have liked to see them make the backstretch the collegiate/rock concert/ all you can drink area while reserving the third and fourth turns for the Media pavillion (to which tickets could also be sold, because that’s a lot of real estate. Make the clubhouse turn some sort of family friendly picnic-type area, and market tickets to church groups and the like, and make the home stretch and starting gate area some sort of liquor company sponsored glutton’s paradise with food trucks, tents set up by regional restaurants, mircrobrew beer gardens and the like. Sell passes to each section at different prices, with premium charges for “2 section” passes, and even an “all access infield” pass for people who want to see the bands and get the best fare and best views.

Is this a brilliant revolutionary idea? No. But it’s a good idea. It’s a workable idea. It’s an idea that would make us seriously consider buying Preakness tickets, and it took us about one minute to think of it. If the Maryland Jockey Club would trouble themselves to think seriously about the Preakness for one fucking minute, their sport and our tradition would both be better off.

As it is though, we’ll be watching our racing with the pensioners on the non-stakes days, Irishing up our coffee and going two across the board on a maiden.

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Filed under Baltimore Events, Festivals, Other

The Do’s and Don’ts of Christmas Lights

We’re forgoing any Christmas decorations this year. Call it an austerity measure. Call it Grinching. Call it (most accurately) laziness. With the amount of traveling we do every year, and not knowing when we’ll next be home for the holidays, it didn’t seem prudent to invest time, effort and money in decorations that may not see the house-front again for another 3 or 4 years, especially with no wife or children to share in their enjoyment.

With Christmas just 10 days away, we’re guessing that everyone who’s going to decorate already has, so we may be a bit late with this, but we’re certainly not too late to judge the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as Christmas lights in Baltimore go.

We’ve noticed that the vast majority of inner-city rowhouse dwellers are disinclined to decorate at all, and most will only bother with a tree if there’s a Santa-aged kid in the house. It pains us to admit that the County’s got it all over us as far as decorating goes, but no matter which side of the city line you’re on, you can’t go wrong if you’ll follow our advice to the letter.

This house on Peacock Lane in Portland is a masterpiece of taste and understatement. It's warm, welcoming, and wonderful.

Do: Use white lights. When you light your house, the idea is to show off the house not the lighting itself. Colored lights have a way of clashing with each other, and with the features of most houses. With white lights, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. They can be accented with small strands of red or green lights if you’re really craving a little color, but white effects the soft, warm glow that makes a home look most inviting in the dead of winter.

Do: Work with the symmetry of your house. If you’re going to light up the door, be sure to light up the full length window next to it. Any architectural features like gables or overhangs should be lit, otherwise you run the risk of an incomplete aesthetic. If you have an attached garage, that should be treated as part of the house as well.

Do: Understand that less is more. Resist the urge to compete with your neighbors or add just one more ‘finishing touch.’ Too many lights, wreaths, bows, etc. can go from festive to cluttered very quickly.

Do: Take note of what your neighbors and others are doing. If someone with a house style similar to yours gets it right, don’t be afraid to borrow some of their ideas. Just because you’ve always done it some specific way, doesn’t mean you can’t try something new this year.

Do: Place your tree in the front window. This isn’t mandatory, of course. Some people will want to set up their tree in a non-fronting room. If you’ve got the room and the right windows (bay windows, picture windows) placing the tree at the window will serve to bring the inside out a bit and make the whole effect that much more unified, cozy, and inviting.

Yes, there is actually someone's house under there.

Don’t: Buy any of those giant inflatable snowmen. Just look at the picture. Even with only one of those, your house is a considerable fraction of being that ugly. All those inflatables that light from the inside and require you to run an air compressor half the night are always, always, always tacky. The first Clark Griswold who ever bought one of those probably thought he was pretty clever, but now that Wal-Mart is moving them by the truckload in every town in America they look more ridiculous than ever.

Don’t:Put a bunch of wire statues all over the yard. All those little deer skeletons are junky and trite. One look at them and all we can think is “Welp, that’ll be in a landfill somewhere sooner or later.” That’s not the thought you want in your head at Christmas time. Also, along the same lines, we’d like to mention that we fully endorse natural wreaths and trees.

Don’t:Light deciduous trees. If you’ve got an evergreen, go ahead and light that. Most types of bushes and shrubs are good for lighting as well. Once they lose their leaves though, deciduous trees look dead and have no symmetry. Lights tend to look more like they’re tangled than neatly strung.

Finally Don’t: String all purple lights and football decorations. Christmas is supposed to be about the little baby Jesus. It’s not about the little baby Ray Lewis. Harbaugh, Reed, and Flacco are not the three wise men. The Yinzers in Pittsburgh may have a memorabilia-based economy, but as Baltimoreans, this kind of thing is beneath our dignity.

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Filed under Chop Rants!