Friday, December 29, 2006

Just one more sharp-lookin' beard in heaven ...

Saddam's last word: "Ggghhhghghhhlghthththghhhh."

Something about a sled, I think.

But seriously folks. They had to wait for Ford to croak first before executing Saddam cuz the fool woulda pardoned him. Something about a long sartorial nightmare being over. Those blazers with too heavily padded shoulders ... weapons of fashion dysfunction.

This has been a confused mixture of a stereotypical neocon blogger character crossed with Mr. Blackwell's reaction to the execution of Saddam Hussein. Back to your regularly scheduled loud playing of bootleg mp3s and drinking of overpriced beer from the inaptly named "Buy/Low Liquors."

Paging Dr. Frood to the Men's Department

This is a post that should go in the "Celebrity Dreams" blog that Mr. Foojang started a few years ago, but since that never got off the ground, I'll put it here instead.

A few nights ago I dreamed that I was at a big picnic in a forested area in the summertime. It was warm, so I was wearing the standard-issue aging-hipsterino David Cross® cargo shorts and XL t-shirt, but later on in the evening there was going to be a sit-down dinner indoors, for some reason, so I was carrying around a pair of black houndstooth gabardine trousers.

Suddenly I felt a humanoid claw on my shoulder and heard a shrill southern voice exclaim, "Oh no! Those won't do a-tall!"

I spun around, and confronting me was a very perturbed Laura Bush. She snatched the pants from my hands and began scrutinizing them with the rigor of a Texas librarian.

"My word! Just look at these! Tsk! The cuffs are frayed, the hip pocket has a tear in it, and I can see right through both knees! Oh no no no, these pants are NOT acceptable!"

Luckily, the alarm clock rescued me at that time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Back reference

Here's a nice back reference to a post from last summer, about the Thorndale Beach Apartments.

While visiting Chicago, IL, this past August, I managed to hunt down the apartment and office buildings that were used as establishing shots on "The Bob Newhart Show" during the 1970s. Also found the statue that TV Land dedicated to Bob in 2004. A fun little excursion for this diehard fan. Shot on August 21, 2006.

Hi Bob! A Chicago Experience

Holiday Dispatch
from the Land of Always-Night

No, that's not the cover from an old pulp novel -- that's a foto taken earlier today from out my "sun room" window. This is Chicago in December. Actually, this is Chicago between November and April, pretty much. Giant mushrooms sprout from the sidewalks, battered by ice floes bearing hapless Artic adventure-tourists falling from the cornices ... Doc Savage mounting surveillance cameras on every flat surface. Yeah, it's gonna be a long winter.

Season's Affective Disorder Greetings to all my regular readers (how do you stay so regular at this time of year? bran fruitcake?) and random stumblers (special holiday shout-out to all "I Hate Meeces to Pieces" Googlers). I expect this will be the last post until xmas is over, and probably won't get any hits until then anyway, so, mazel tov, and I hope the Baby Jesus doesn't let you down again this year.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Joseph Barbera, RIP

Joseph Barbera, one half of the team behind such cartoon classics as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound, has died, aged 95.

All the obvious puns have been taken

As was pointed out to me via email earlier today, I have been "a little off my game" lately. It's true. Even the old familiar sight on the teevy of the SWAT team in action in my home town hasn't perked me up as it should. Although I did enjoy it.

Yeah, I'm talking about Bears defensive thug Tank Johnson's arrest last week in Gurnee on gun charges (six gats, zero FOID). Growing up in Gurnee, I got pretty used to living near various Bears (as well as certain mustachioed ex-head-coaches from certain Super Bowl Dos Equises) so nothing about that incident surprised me particularly much. But it was a nice touch to see helicopter shots of the subdivision across Rte. 132 from my old neighborhood, even if they mostly focused on Mr. Tank's (as Ma Moss is calling him) outsized McMansion wedged into a block mostly full of smallish aging ranch houses and split-levels, most of which did not feature several pit bulls living in the backyard. Although there were some nasty Dobermans around there that I occasionally ran across in the old days.

I said "familiar sight of the SWAT team" back up in the first graf. That's because Gurnee was a little bit more of a lively place in the early to mid 1980s than you might expect from a town of a few thousand brackish Northern Illinois–Southern Wisconsin-type persons. Village Hall called it "The Rural Community of the Future," which apparently was code for "Mayhem Central of Lake County of the Present (if you don't count Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion ... or Round Lake on a bad Friday in July, any July)."

Just to list a couple of the noteworthy examples, in 1984, one of my classmates burned the high school down in a fit of rage, and a year or two before that, a motorcycle gang leader deliberately blew up his house with himself and his old lady inside, after setting a shotgun booby trap at the front gate (which, luckily for the GFD first responders, didn't work). Another classmate was stabbed to death by a Reagan-discharged mental patient at McDonalds (OK, that happened in Waukegan, so maybe that doesn't count).

Best of all was what happened during my sophomore year in high school. Briefly, what happened was that some nutjob living across the street snapped and robbed a drugstore at gunpoint and holed up at home with some weapons and stolen drugs and started telling the cops he was going to do some shooting at the school. So we got to go on the 1982 version of "crisis lockdown" ... which consisted, for me, of sitting around in German class all afternoon, looking out the window, watching the SWAT team assemble in the teachers' parking lot. Which was, I gotta say, as hella cool as it sounds. Long story short, they stormed the house (which I didn't get to see cuz it was around the corner from that classroom), and it turned out the nut had already offed himself. The end.

That's not the only "cops with big guns and body armor" story I have from my high school years, but I think I'll save the other one for some other post, if it ever becomes topically relevant (aka, tangentially related to a current news event).

The moral of the story, though, if there is one: Quit acting so righteously and indignantly shocked, Gurneeians. You can't spell "Gurnee" without GUN, after all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas is canceled ... no Baby Jesus this year

OK ... the experiment of not hating Christmas is officially over, due to the existence of this. Non-hatred of life itself is now at serious risk, in fact.

!!!WARNING!!! Sheer evil follows. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances watch this video as far as the point where Santa appears to be going into labor in his sleigh. Mother Mary and Joseph. If this blog had a "safe word," I would call it right now.

Mike Love - Santa's Going to Kokomo

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gravity City: Item 1: "Dodge the Thick Goop"

Like I said the other day, stuff falls off of stuff a lot in Chicago. For example, today's Sun-Times contains an account of the following:

Seven pedestrians were injured Wednesday afternoon in the Loop when wet concrete fell from the 24th floor of a construction site to the street, according to police and firefighters.

Firefighters? Wow, flaming wet concrete! Get Ronny Howard on the horn -- it's time for a sequel to "Backdraft." Not sure what to call it, though.


"Cotton Candy 2"?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Writer's Blockhead

Man, I am an uptight person. I'm always obsessing over the food inventory in my freezer, refrigerator, cupboards, etc. If there's too much, then I worry about using it up. Then when I start to use it up, I worry that it's running too low. If I have a bunch of leftovers, I worry about eating them before they go bad. If there aren't any leftovers, I worry about not having any. It's like a George Jetson machine, the crazy thing of not stopping.

I just spent several minutes thinking about something I could cook "ahead" for dinner tomorrow or the next day, just so my refrigerator is fuller, because there's almost nothing on the bottom shelf and it was making me nervous. Finally I just put some bottled water on the top shelf and displaced some stuff from up there to the lower shelves, to thereby provide for the illusion of population.

I'm not even kidding. I'm completely insane. This is just one of many ways that insanity exhibits itself when I'm trying to quit smoking for about the 6th time in the last 60 days. When I'm smoking, I just squint my eyes and say "fffffffuuuuck yyyeeewwwwww" to the kitchen, in between coughing fits.

INSIDE BLOGBALL: By the way, as if I needed a further excuse for the paltry recent posts on this left-headed step-monkey of a blog, I spent several hours last weekend cleaning evil malware from my computer, which I apparently came into on MySpace or YouTube or both. Due to lingering skittishness (as well as plain sickness of staring at the flickering screen, expecting it to break down again), I'm still using this machine at a reduced level of obsessiveness from usual, so the various Previously Promised Multi-Part Posts are getting delayed even more. Plus, how can I write when my parmagiano-reggiano cheese supply is down to zero, and I'm almost out of sliced chicken and multi-grain bread? Not to mention when I got half a head of romaine lettuce that ain't getting any younger, and four mixed-berry yogurts I gotta eat between now and next Monday or they'll turn into pumpkins? Kitchen management for one is a full goddamn time job, muthfuck. I apologize to no one.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What poopery ... it's hubris, that's what it is ... bloggogance gone wild

No energy or inspiration for a real post, so here's these.

Adhesive solution for NASA. You know how Space Shuttle tiles are always falling off? I think I have a solution. Egg Beaters. Because that fake shit has to be the stickiest substance ever created by mad scientists. Even if you use canola oil in a teflon-coated pan, you can't get it clean, even if you soak it in the sink half the fucking evening. I think it's made of horse hooves, space-age polymers, and boogers from teh planet Krypton. It only serves you right for eating fake eggs. Life's too short to eat fake eggs. Hell, life's too short, period, so I guess if eating fake eggs makes it feel longer, it might be worth it. And if you could eat Egg Beaters during a four-hour delay at Newark Airport, you would feel goddamned immortal.

The eighties. There's eighties nostalgia, and then there's eighties nostalgia. Eighties nostalgia for me is this video of Bongwater with Screaming Jay Hawkins. Maybe this was actually in 1990 or even 1991. Anyway, close enough. Screaming Jay Hawkins at Biddy Mulligan's in Chicago was probably the best show I have ever attended. Unbe-goobledy-leevable. Lynda Barry was there. You could ask her if you don't believe me. And here he is prefacing Bongwater covering a Roky Erickson tune.

More Screaming Jay, dammit. From the same TV show.

Injustice. Nobody gives enough credit to the damn Sherpas, and it pisses me off. These rich asswipe "adventure tourists" are paying $50,000 a pop to be guided to the summit of Everest, and, meanwhile, the Sherpas are bounding up and down the goddamn mountain, pounding in fixed ropes and hanging ladders for these "North Face" catalog models, and they don't even get to take a cell phone video up there. It's like, "Hey, they have a genetic advantage and their bodies create more red blood cells and they like carrying backpacks full of bottled oxygen," like they're an alien species, so it doesn't count. Tenzing Norgay, bitch! OK, maybe I have been misapplying my college-educated "critical thinking" skills to this Discovery TV series. Or maybe not.

Kramer in Nepal. "You're all a buncha Sherpas! That's what you are! Fifty years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary woulda had you upside down, with a cerebral edema shoved up your ass! You Sherpas! Oh, does that word scare you? SHERPAS! SHERPAS! SHERPAS!"

Andy Dick in Nepal. "Well, I think you're justa bag of pooey old gay Sherpas, too! My nose itches. No, inside."

Gravity City. Moving over to the flattest part of the world, I have an idea for a new running feature for this blog: Gravity City. Because it's pretty obvious that the force of gravity is greater in Chicago than anywhere else. Maybe that's why it's so flat. You can tell the gravity is stronger here because things are always falling off the buildings. I started paying attention to this phenomenon several years ago, and I think it's time to start documenting them in blog form. That should give me a lot of posts, because winter is the "heads up" season in Chicago. Every time the temperature gets up to around freezing, thousands of citizens are buried for weeks under mounds of ice and snow cascading off of skyscrapers like the Grim Reaper's Slushee machine. But it's not just a winter thing -- windows, scaffolding, terracotta tiles, folding chairs, sock monkeys, lame rock star poop, Batman, corrugated cardboard, wooden decks, department store mannequins, foie gras, bound and annotated volumes of Tom Dreesen jokes, bound and gagged Orca whales, counterfeit DVDs, smelt, and circus peanuts are just a few of the things that fall from Chicago buildings on a daily basis. So stay browsed.

Friday, December 01, 2006

All I want is what I have coming to me! All I want is my fair share!

So, yeah, it definitely looks like Christmastime today in Chicago. Due to the snow, I mean. And here at CBRAT Central, I've been trying to get a little bit into the Christmas spirit this year, for a change.

I used to like Christmas a lot. I was into the lights, the decorations, all of it. Even the music. But then I got somewhat soured on the whole holiday that one time, when during the first act of the annual ritual viewing of my favorite TV special of all time (and perhaps my favorite thing in any category entirely), the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, my wife kinda dumped me. If turning toward me while sitting on her end of the couch and announcing that she wanted a divorce could be construed as "dumping."

But, shit, that was 10 fucking years ago. (That's 1996, for you math-impaired people out there.) I'm pretty sick and tired of being grouchy and stuff at Christmas.

When I got rendered single and moved to Chicago in 1997, I complained to my friend John R. that I was having a hard time "getting over it." He said to me, "Shit, STDPM, it's going to take you 10 years to get over that." Now John is gone, before the 10 years is even up.

Wow, that's kind of a bummer turn this post has taken. But my point remains. Ten years of being the Charlie Browniest guy I know has been more than enough. So that's my modest goal for this December -- to stop hating Christmas.

Hah! Good luck to me.

Anyway, I'm off to a pretty good start, breaking out the Vince Guaraldi "A Charlie Brown Christmas" record and thinking about how all the dust in my pigpen of an apartment might have been dirt that was once trod upon by Nebuchadnezzar. Sort of makes you want to treat me with a little more respect, doesn't it?

Now you say, "You're an absolute mess!"

Then I say, "On the contrary, I didn't think I looked that good!"

And that's what Christmas is all about.

This post has been brought to you by Dolly Madison. Bartender! Cupcakes and Zingers, all around!

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown!

Today's Snowy Day in Chicagoland Radio Personality News Today: Grobber Gets Work

El media gossip jefe Roberto Feder (from Fort Lee, New Jersey) writes:

Veteran sportscaster Les Grobstein joins Len Ackerman and "Packer" Dave Rusch as hosts of "Pro Football Showdown" at noon Sunday on NextMedia Group north suburban news/talk WKRS-AM (1220).

The three-hour show, formerly called "Bears-Packers Showdown," is syndicated by SRN Broadcasting & Marketing, based in north suburban Lake Bluff.

So, the Grobber (best loved for recording former Cubs manager Lee Elia's 1983 profanity-marbled rantcapade for posteriority) has finally been hired. Albeit, by a Waukegan AM station that my mother used to call "Doubleyou Kiss R Ass" ... but work is work, right? Although you probably don't get fringe benefits for three hours a week.

Good move on the name change of the show, however. Especially considering that the former name would only make sense for two weeks a year. But ... are they sure they really want to conduct a radio talk show about pro football ... during the precise time-slot the Bears games are usually scheduled?

Ah, who gives a crap about football anyway? Only three months till Spring Training!