Wednesday, May 31, 2006

White Sox Radio Drinking Game

Here's a fun one for you drunkards out there, and you know who you are -- Every time AM 670 ("The Score") play-by-play announcer Ed Farmer makes reference to his kidney transplant, that's one drink. And every time Ed makes a rambling patriotic statement, that's two. By 7th inning stretch, you won't be able to stand. Which is a good thing, from where I recline, cuz I prefer to stretch while lying down.

If you're keeping score for tonight's game, now underway, in the 2nd inning, Ed, during a digression about how he's dressed like Huey Lewis, said that he needs a new wardrobe, but does not need a new drug, because he has his autoimmune suppressors. So that's one drink.

And now, in the uhh I think 3rd inning (hard to keep track on radio), during a digression about actors-cum-politicians (heh), he threw out some praise for Ronald Reagan, opining that he did a lot of good things for this country. So that's two.


Play along, won't you?

POSTSCRIPT: Cubs fans, I would suggest taking a drink every time Ron Santo wails "AUUGGHHHH!!!" like a refugee from Charlie Brown's baseball team, but it would kill you.

Corporate Communications Corner

My suggestion for effective slide presentations is that the bullet points should be made of real bullets, and they should be pointed at whoever called the goddamn meeting.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Comix Corner: John P

There's a new (to me -- actually, it dates back to February) audio interview with the brilliant cartoonist John Porcellino available for download here ... his work has blown me away for almost 20 years now. I danced in and out of a pretty surprising collection of very talented and creative people floundering around DeKalb, Illinois, in the late 1980s (more on this to come in future posts, you can be sure), and John P is one of the few among the crowd who really has seemed to live up to his potential. And he just keeps going and going, thank goodness. The audio is pretty spotty (seems to be a recording of a phone interview) but I'll post the link in case any of the few regular readers who happen to know the guy from DeKalb days and elsewhere and elsewhen might be interested (Des? Steve? Glen? John, I already told you about it). Anyway, it's less than 7 minutes long, just a 6 meg file and change, so it's worth a shot if you're curious.

And John P has spruced up his website here. If you know him, and it's been a while since you've read King-Cat Comics, it's still happening, and it's still great. Be glad.

Hero and champion of self-publishing, ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for John Porcellino.

It's summertime summertime sum sum summertime


Now that I have completed the annual installation of the air conditioner in the living room window, let the evil hot season do its worst! I laugh derisively at heat and humidity! Or, rather, I cower from it indoors like a ... coward. But a comfortable one.

Now excuse me while I go stand in front of the cold wind for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's not today that the sky will fall on my head or that I will run out of alcohol

Comparative lyrics corner time.

Translation from crazy wacked out Belgian French to approximate English here of Plastic Bertrand's spoogetastic "Ca Plane Pour Moi"


I know you got that tune in your musical collection (maybe you have 8 versions, like ... uhh ... I didn't say nuthin). Play it and read along. You'll have fun.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone, I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde ... poor me, Israelite"

RIP, Desmond Dekker, 1941-2006.

A.J. fined for hitting Barrett's fist with his face

The Major League Baseball dissssssssciplinarian's office has issued penalties for last weekend's Cubs-Sox brawl, and as usual, neither the Sox fans nor the Cubs fans are happy. The Sox fans think Cubs catcher Michael Barrett should have gotten a 20-game suspension instead of 10, for instigating the whole thing. And the Cubs fans think ... Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (who was fined, not suspended) is a dick. Also, they think he's smelly and his feet's too big, and his piercing eyes are just captivating, although it's hard to focus on them when his ass is that high and tight. Clearly they have mixed feelings that confuse and confound them.

Sure, A.J. has a 'tude that could choke a donkey. It's called testicles, Cubs fans. Maybe you can pass a hat and see if you can raise enough money to buy a pair for your team.

(Jesus ... I can't tell if I'm writing "in character," or if I mean this crap. Oh well, what's the difference?)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Save the liver!

In a fit of inspired casting, it seems that Joan "Istanbul Not Comiskey Park" Cusack may be playing the part of Julia Child in a movie. Early reviews here at CBRAT are unanimous -- bone appetite!

And, for all you big fans of really early, early, pre-blog Colicky Baby Records and Tapes material ... or the zero to zero-point-five of you with really good memories, anyway ... maybe this will inspire me to finally start work on the long-awaited That Long Newspaper Spoon movie, "The Parsley Garnish Story" ... starring ... ?

POSTSCRIPT: Hey, quelle surprise googale, I'm in a Manuscript Collection. Are you in a Manuscript Collection? Yes? Well, me too!

Check it out.

Right there at teh U of Ioway, in Box 104: That Long Newspaper Spoon. DeKalb, IL. 6-11 (1991-93).

Take that, nonexistence!

Early Warning

David Yow's not dead?

No! David Yow's not dead, you are!

That's right, Scratch Acid are reuniting for the Hideout Block Party later this summer, as part of a 25th anniversary show for Touch & Go Records, which label was definitely one of the worser bad influences on my dumb young life, that's for sure.

Plus, the Didjits. The freakin' Didjits. Does that make you feel oooolllllldddd or what?

So I guess I'll have to start scrounging for victims companions to go to that event with me, cuz I don't wanna go alone.

One thing puzzles me, though. Someone seems missing from the bill. Can you guess who?

That's right -- no Half Slab. The band that David Yow famously declared to be "The worst band in the world" seems to be AWOL. Kevin? What's up? Come on! Make some calls!

Alderman proposes $20,000 pay hike, because he's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him!

I've only lived in this city for about 8 years. How the hell do the lifers put up with this shit?

CHICAGO (CBRAT News)--Aldermen would get a $20,000 pay increase under an ordinance introduced Wednesday by Ald. Stuart Smalley (51st Ward).

"I think we deserve it," asserted Smalley. "At least I know I deserve it ... I think my constituents think I am entitled to it."

Then he sighed that the Ann Sather cinnamon roll he was eating was probably just going to go straight to his hips, and asked the council for a voice vote on whether his ass looked fat in these pants.

The ayes had it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What fuggin year is it?

Haven't we endured this kind of assholery about a million times already? Do we have to go through this shit over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for the rest of our wretched lives? Can't the prigs just get out of Arlington Heights and move to fucking Indiana or Alabtucky or some other bastion of outdoor plumbing and sister-impregnating? Or at least move to Wheaton? Jesus Hemorrhoidal Christ.

7 deadly books? Talk of ban hits burbs

A northwest suburban high school board member seeks to ban seven books from classroom use because she thinks the profanity, depiction of graphic sex, and drug and abortion references in the literature are inappropriate for teenagers.

Leslie Pinney admits she only read passages of the controversial selections, including Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Toni Morrison's Beloved, which were on the American Library Association's 100 most challenged books list between 1990 and 2000.

... Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower ...

... Other books Pinney wants replaced are The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien; The Awakening by Kate Chopin; Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, and Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World.

Now that last one I can sorta understand. Nothing prods the swollen hormonality of teenagers straight over the edge of 17 into glistening, groping, legs-splayed fecundity quite like a tale of hot, steamy vegetable love.

Speaking of which, here's a steamy vegetable recipe you're going to love. Head to the local farmer's market just as soon as it gets going. Buy yourself a big bag of fresh peas. Remove peas from pods, steam for just a little while -- really just warm them up; you don't want to blast out the sweetness. Toss with a little bit of unsalted butter until it melts all over the peas, and, if you want, throw in a little chopped mint. Eat them all. It fuels the body and soul for a hard day of fighting ignorance and jerkitude.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bugger Oof!

Shame on you, Michael Barrett! The man is 94 years old!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Who's your Tiger?

Welly welly welly. Wellikers wellikers wellikers.

The White Sox have a rival in the Merkin League Central, it seems, and from as unlikely a place as M!ch!gan, no less.

Thanks to the red-hot Reds last night, and the uhh (what color is cold? blue!) Cubby-blue Cubs yesterday afternoon, the Sox and Tigers are knotted at the moment at 27 and 14, dual possessors of that ever-mercurial Best Record In Baseball.

The Deetroit-Cincinnatuh game tonight is up for grabs, I think. Give the Tigers the edge, if only because the Merkin League is generally better than the Nationalist-Imperialists.

But in just a few minutes here, Freddy "Boom Boom" Garcia faces Rich "Yet Another Rookie" Hill (0-3, 7.63 ERA) at the Joan Cusack and Byrne Piven Jr. Memorial Ballyards, so I like the Soxeses' chances. I like them a lot.

So, as Hawk Harrelson says, "Strap it on, grease it up, and hunker in your bunker" ... or something like that.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Never let me review books again

By way of initial disclaimer, let me first say that my capacity for literary criticism does not extend far beyond saying "It's pretty good" or "It sucks." Or the much more frequent, "It's sitting unread somewhere in the Texas A&M bonfire-sized pile of other books I bought and never got around to reading." But, nevertheless, here goes. Because, friends and "next blog" button clickers, I have met my annual fiction-reading quota for 2006. That's right, I read a whole novel -- and not one of the "graphic" variety. All words. And now I'm gonna tell you about it.

In the disturbingly prison-like Terminal Two at Toronto's Hoser G. McToque Intrenatiounal Aeropourt last week, I finally picked up a paperback copy of Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker-Prize-nominated 2005 novel, "Never Let Me Go," about sad British children who were cloned for the purpose of donating their vital organs to rich people.

It's pretty good.

It's Crosstown Classic Time: Two Public Service Announcements

Saving you two or three misguidedly googling Chicago American League Ball Club fans per day some time: This site does not contain an mp3 of the vintage White Sox theme song, "Go, Go-Go White Sox," just some tweaked lyrics in the sidebar. (Bonus time savers: Also, I do not know if Boone Logan has kids, or if Jim Thome is gay. But I'm guessing that if Boone Logan has kids, they are gay, or soon will be if their dad continues to stink up the mound so stinkily. Heh heh, I referred to a stinky mound.)

Saving you generally misguided Chicago National League Ball Club fans even more time: The Cubs suck. Give it up. Walter Matthau is dead, or else I'd suggest hiring him to take over as manager for the rest of the season. He could get Tatum O'Neal to be the fifth starter. But she still ain't wearing no cup.

POSTSCRIPT: I believe I have just set a CBRAT per-post record for rude oblique references to female genitalia (at, by my cunt count, two ... OK, make that three). Feral Mom, I'm taking your advice to heart.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Our recent attempt to solicit information on Duane Dow and "Local League Bowling" has been in vain so far, but CBRAT is now on the second google google in your noodle page for a search for "Duane Dow" ... so ... that's affecting the cyberspace for you.

It feels good to exist. When my black sharecropper daddy saw me off those years ago, he told me, "Find things to post about that haven't been covered much but that a few similarly interested people might find via the Google. That way you can drum up some interest."

Then he added, "Don't trust whitey!"

Heh, doing a little "The Jerk" thing there. Next time maybe I'll reference the "He hates these cans!" scene.

If there is a next time. Seriously, people, the hit count here is okay, but a flat growth curve is no good in today's economy.

Maybe I should do a Gene Scott and refuse to post anything new until I get ... money. Pay up, cheapskates! THIS WISDOM AIN'T FREE!!!

No! Not money. I was gonna say information on "Local League Bowling." But thinking about it now, I figure the likelihood of getting either is about the same.

So I'll continue posting whenever I think of anything dumb interesting or amusing to say. Or, failing that, every other day or so. Lord loves a working man!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Whither Duane, who loved bowling?

There must be somebody out there who knows -- is Duane Dow still hosting "Local League Bowling" on Chicago public access cable?

I sure hope so. I haven't caught the show in a couple years, and cable access schedules are ... well, pretty deficient ... and the dang ole Googler is no help either.

If you don't know of Duane, and you live in the Shuhcawguh cable market ... well, you can hardly be blamed. The lack of attention his show has gotten is one of the crying shames of local-TV history.

Because "Local League Bowling" is -- or was -- simply the greatest television show of all time.

Words can't really rise to the challenge of describing it, but the gist is that Duane traveled each week to a different alley and provided sporadic commentary on the goings-on there, peppered with frequent brief interviews and locally produced commercials for south-side beef joints, auto body shops, and shady real estate speculators ("We buy dilapidated properties!") ... which might sound quaintly kitschy, from that tepid synopsis, but I'm telling you, it was THE BEST.

"Oh, now here's a fine bowler! What's your name, darling? Where are you from? What's your average? How are the pins falling tonight? And now a word from Connie's Pizza in Bridgeport."

Duane also hosted -- or, I hope, still hosts -- a local 16-inch softball show, which I also love, but it didn't have quite the charm. Softball is a pretty ... recreational ... game, as well, but it doesn't quite have that ... je ne know what ... aspect that bowling does that suits a show like "Local League Bowling" in a way that nothing else could. That sitting around and drinking beer and laughing at gutter balls aspect. And pretty much every softball diamond looks more or less the same. Neighborhood bowling alleys cannot be beat for sheer beauty and variety.

So ... if anyone knows if the show is still being produced, please pass it on.

And if, God forbid, it is no longer being produced, I'd still like to know, so I can cremate it and, in accordance with what we think its dying wishes might well have been, commit its final mortal remains to the bosom of Lake Michigan, which it loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.

(Photo by Jim Newberry for the Chicago Reader and stolen off the Internet because that's what the Internet is for. If Mr. Newberry objects to my using it, I'll delete it, but it's a great picture, so I hope he doesn't.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

This monkey is not angry, just disappointed

Fuck that. The monkey is angry, very angry. The monkey thinks we are, in fact, doomed, if this is at all accurate:
Poll: Most Americans Support NSA's Efforts

So Seenyore el Commandante Doblay-vay's approval ratings are down to 29 percent, but apparently not because Americans dislike being data-mined into the festering seas ... which they also probably don't mind are festering, and are probably mined, as well, not with data, but with louder forms of razza flazzim securiosity devices aimed more at blowing up vegetarians and other philosophical agents of terra than brothers-in-law of the Exxon Administration's favorite pet sheikhapoos (which is a cross-breed between a sheikh and a poodle, very trendy in certain places, but I digress).

The angry monkey can't even come up with real adjectives to express.

"Ookity ook!" he exclaims. "Yeeping fucking yeep!"

OK ... the monkey is having a hard time hiding the fact that he suspected this all along and is just fighting becoming resigned to the fact that sinking into a twisted Philip K. Dick novella's version of fascist klankaraklonkama is just fine with Average Ordinary Folksy Folks.

And he's only a monkey. His furious rants subside as quickly as they arise. But at least he knows what to get mad at. His human counterparts, on the other hand, are pissed as hell about $3 a gallon gas, and ... who knows what else.

Doblay-vay's bad numbers seem to be based on contemporary attention spans more than any actual rational reason to be unhappy with the administration. Americans are just tired of the guy ... because they tire easily. And, as George C. Scott scenery-chewingly said in Patton, "America will not tolerate a loser," or something like that, and the war blah blah blah .... Judging from how often I hear it said, without irony, "We should just kill em all and take the oil," Americans oppose that for the wrong reasons, too.

So forgive the monkey if he doesn't get much pleasure from The Decider's unpopularity. It doesn't really seem to mean very much.


Monkeys drink more alcohol when housed alone, and some like to end a long day in the lab with a boozy cocktail

"Ah, eekity screw it," the monkey says.

"Oop oop. It must be happy eek hour somewhere right oopity now. Let's get yeekity drunk. Yeep yeep."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

And We're Back

It's the little things about Canada that are weird. Like they don't call the candy Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, they call it Reese. Simply Reese. And they pronounce Chrysler with a z sound, like "Chryzler." Plus, them Canadians is all goofy, like walking stereotypes. They're all, like, vaguely dorky and goofy talking, like less-funny Kids in the Hall characters. All the men have bushy eyebrows and the women are very serious looking. All that politeness confused me. Aside from one teamster (there's a universality for you), nobody was hostile to me.

And the TV. I never didn't watch so much hockey on TV in my life. And they really have those little documentaries about animals, like "the noble Canadian beavre builds its dam, eh, and pronounces syllables different than beavers in the states. (repeat in French)"

Heh. Do me a favour, any neighbours to the north who read this, and don't take offence. I'm just joking, eh? You all seem very centred up there.

People often compare Toronto to Chicago, but aside from its also being located on a Great Lake, I didn't see it. They don't look or feel similar at all, in my opinion. The differences go both ways -- Toronto seemed a lot smaller and more civil and manageable than Chicago, but also kind of dingy and rinky dinky. That CN tower thing is ugly, and the Rogers Centre is kind of a nasty pile of dull concrete. Not that Chicago isn't filled with all sorts of brutality against aesthetics that I didn't see there. And a place can't possibly be like Chicago without a Walgreens on every goddamn corner. Which ... you decide if that's good or bad.

But mostly my trip was like something I would title, "Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss Stars in 'Elling's Canadian Vacation,'" except that it wasn't a vacation, it was a business trip. But the dialogue would go something like this:

Elling Moss: What's the point of having a hotel room if you have to leave it all the time? Let's just stay here and watch "House" on Buffalo's Fox affiliate. How nice of them to have American network TV!

Djirt Bjarne: But Elling Moss! We have to eat! I'm fucking hungry!

Elling Moss: We can order room service again, Djirt Bjarne. Only you have to call. You know I hate talking into those plastic devices.

Djirt Bjarne: All right, Elling Moss. We'll eat room service again. But I have to tell you, that was not the best fucking steak sandwich I have ever eaten.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yonge Street!!!

There's a rainbow in Toronto
Where the colicky bloggers are bold
They always get a potfull
But they never get a pot of gold

"Toronto?! Are there jobs there, Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss? Bloggin' jobs?"

"Sure there are, nameless questioner! Lots o' bloggin' jobs! And colicky whinin' jobs too!"

"But ... in your case, that's the same thing, isn't it, eh?"

"Shut up, you straw-man hoser!"

Hey Nicki, get Vickie
You said to call you up
If I was feelin' colllll-icky
Hey little Donna,
Still wanna?
You said to ring you up
If I was in Toronna

That's right, CBRAT is going on a brief hiatus for a few days for a road trip! Wooooo! Garth and Gord and Fiona and Alice and Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss are headed north of the border.

So no posts for about a week. Talk to you hosers then.

I saw the worst minds of chicagoland destroyed by cubsness

Who says poetry sucks is dead? This post from the Cubs fan message board is unparalleled geniosity:

I'm sick of

by "tellthetruthboytellthetruth"

these kool aid drinkers saying ..i can see dusty resting's freaken may 5th.....only player that should need a blow would be your catcher........dusty will do anything to get neifi in..give any excuse and kool aid drinkers will #### it right down......

Preach on, daddyo.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Governor Hair Remains Useless, Fibby

Bob Feder reports in his Sun-Times column today:

Construction could be halted today on Chicago's half-finished Museum of Broadcast Communications because of the state's failure to deliver $3 million in promised funding.


Bruce DuMont, founder and president of the museum, blamed the snafu on Gov. Blagojevich for not releasing funds previously budgeted for the fiscal year ending 2006 and approved for the project.

You gotta hand it to our Chief Airhead. He may be as stupid as a shoe tree, but he's managed to break just about every promise he's made in his political career, and to botch every single thing he touches. Except for that coif. Snazzy!

I'll stop short of hoping that he gets convicted of massive criminality like the last goobernur, though, and goes to prison. A better punishment would be to make him live in Springfield for the rest of his life. Ouch!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hands Across the Water

Today while I was picking up some printouts from the laser printer, a co-worker asked me how good my World War II history knowledge was, which I thought was an interesting question, so I said, "Hit or miss. Why?"

He wanted to know what was the origin of the phrase, "Hands across the water," specifically whether it was a slogan employed during the war, to promote aid for Great Britain during the Blitz, or whether it referred to a post-war economic aid program.

The only thing I knew for sure about the phrase was that I remembered it from the lyrics to "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," the Paul McCartney song. That song came out in 1971, and my mom bought the 45, and I used to make her play it for me a lot. It might have been the first pop single I was aware of, certainly one of the first. I was 3, going on 4. My mom was 30, which is, of course, 8 years younger than I am now, today. So I didn't know anything about WWII in connection to that phrase, but I knew it made me feel old. Or behind schedule, or something. Pushing 40 and living like a bum, a waggabon, as Krazy Kat would say. At one time of indeterminate protraction in my deluded life, I believed I was on some kind of regular person's trajectory, toward the whole fambly man schmeer ... not that I'd trade places with some parallel-universe self. For one thing, I'd probably (still) have a goatee in that reality. Seriously folks, if this is all there is, I'll take it, and all that stuff. But I can't help wondering sometimes if there aren't some rites of passage I called in sick for at some point.

Or else maybe, like Herriman's "Krazy Kat" supporting character, Bum Bill Bee, I'm just a pilgrim on the road to nowhere. A really lazy and self-obsessed one.

Going on Twenty Years Later, Bill Buckner Still Can't Catch a Break

Which makes sense, given his inability to field routine grounders, heh heh.

This thing is going around the net like things do, so everybody probably knows about it already, but I'm posting about it anyway because I was a big fan of Billy Buckner when he was a Cub, about fifty million years ago. I've always felt somewhat sorry for the guy for making that error and getting so many death threats for it, which is easy for me to say, cuz I am no Boston fan by any means.

So what it is is, some dude used an old Nintendo video game to re-create the 10th inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series between the Mets and BoSox -- pixelly featuring Buckner's famous klutzery -- which of course was much more significant for East Coast fans than us midwesternators here at CBRAT, but it's pretty entertaining anyway, if you've got broadband and a few spare minutes, and you are a nerd. It also includes the classic Vin Scully play-by-play audio, which is pretty nifty. Or not. I'm a baseball geek, so my judgment is suspect.

Click hyah for YouTube link