Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Lee Elia Day

April 29, 1983

"Fuck those fuckin' fans who come out here and say they're Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you rippin' every fuckin' thing you do. I'll tell you one fuckin' thing, I hope we get fuckin' hotter than shit, just to stuff it up them 3,000 fuckin' people that show up every fuckin' day, because if they're the real Chicago fuckin' fans, they can kiss my fuckin' ass right downtown and PRINT IT.

"They're really, really behind you around here... my fuckin' ass. What the fuck am I supposed to do, go out there and let my fuckin' players get destroyed every day and be quiet about it? For the fuckin' nickel-dime people who turn up? The motherfuckers don't even work. That's why they're out at the fuckin' game. They oughta go out and get a fuckin' job and find out what it's like to go out and earn a fuckin' living. Eighty-five percent of the fuckin' world is working. The other fifteen percent come out here. A fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers. Rip them motherfuckers. Rip them fuckin' cocksuckers like the fuckin' players. We got guys bustin' their fuckin' ass, and them fuckin' people boo. And that's the Cubs? They talk about the great fuckin'
support the players get around here. I haven't seen it this fuckin' year. Everybody associated with this organization have been winners their whole fuckin' life. Everybody. And the credit is not given in that respect.

"Alright, they don't show because we're 5 and 14... and unfortunately, that's the criteria of them dumb 15 motherfuckin' percent that come out to day baseball. The other 85 percent are earning a living. I tell you, it'll take more than a 5 and 12 or 5 and 14 to destroy the makeup of this club. I guarantee you that. There's some fuckin' pros out there that wanna win. But you're stuck in a fuckin' stigma of the fuckin' Dodgers and the Phillies and the Cardinals and all that cheap shit. It's unbelievable. It really is. It's a disheartening fuckin' situation that we're in right now. Anybody who was associated with the Cub organization four or five years ago that came back and sees the multitude of progress that's been made will understand that if they're baseball people, that 5 and 14 doesn't negate all that work. We got 143 fuckin' games left.

"What I'm tryin' to say is don't rip them fuckin' guys out there. Rip me. If you wanna rip somebody, rip my fuckin' ass. But don't rip them fuckin' guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give. And right now they're tryin' to do more than God gave 'em, and that's why we make the simple mistakes. That's exactly why."

Thanks to this site for the preceding transscipt, but the really complete version is featured in the following YouTube construction. The part at the very end where he trails off saying "It's a tough National League East. It's a tough National League, period" is almost heartbreaking. Or it would be, if I could stop laughing.

And God bless you, Les Grobstein, for taping this.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

So what exactly do people cook in those things?

I was just over at looking at the product page for an enameled cast-iron dutch oven (a Le Creuset® knockoff), and the folks up by there helpfully provided this information for me:

Customers viewing this page may be interested in these Sponsored Links

Mulit-Panel Drug Test In home drug test - Cocaine, Meth, THC, Amphetamines - low prices

OK, bad spelling aside, I can well imagine that in-home drug enthusiasts might also be "mulit" enthusiasts ... but really, what the hell is wrong with this country?

That question is rhetorical.

Jim Bouton Announces 2007 Vintage Base Ball World Series

Vintage Base Ball Federation press release:



Westfield, MA, April 25, 2007 - Former Yankee pitcher and Ball Four author Jim Bouton, and MassMutual Financial Group, will stage the 1st annual Vintage Base Ball World Series, at Bullens Field in Westfield. The four-team double elimination tournament (August 16 through 19, 2007) will include clubs from the Northeast, Michigan, and California. The World Series will follow the Vintage Base Ball Northeast Regional Playoffs (July 20, 21 & 22 and July 27, 28 & 29), an eight- team single elimination tournament, also to be played in Westfield, and produced by Bouton’s Vintage Base Ball Federation, LLC, with help from the Babe Ruth League, Boys & Girls Club, and WOW.

Vintage base ball (originally two words) is a fast growing sport (250 clubs in 32 states) in which amateur players adhere to the rules, uniforms, and equipment of the game’s 19th century roots. Young men in baggy uniforms wield fat handle bats at “lemon peel” stitched balls that are caught with gloves no bigger than a man’s hand. And it’s a “gentleman’s game,” in which the umpire (there is only one) is always addressed as “Sir.”

The Vintage Playoffs and World Series will have a 19th century atmosphere, with period music, costumed actors, barbershop quartet, and hand-painted 1880s style billboards. Children wearing newsboy caps and suspenders will sell programs, and prizes will be awarded to fans judged best examples of 19th century manners and dress.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Media Consolidation Kills

Today's "The [Thursday] Papers" column by Steve Rhodes on the always-excellent Beachwood Reporter page is a must-read. Go to it.
It wasn't news to those of us who have been paying attention, but Bill Moyers' Buying the War on PBS last night was still enough to make me want to ring up Tony Peraica and lead a drunken midnight march on the Tribune, Sun-Times, and the local television stations for their role in leading this country to a historically tragic war. They have blood on their hands.

And they still haven't owned up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Language Peeve Cor(o)ner

When did "yeah" and "no" start to mean the same thing? As in, "Yeah, no, I agree," and "No, yeah, that's right." They're just rhythmic space fillers used in spastic and pointless small-talk .... Why don't people just grunt to fill space, instead of using words? E.g., "Ugh, phththphhh, I got your back, homey," or "Moop, twonk, my brain is a vacuum."

I think the "yeah no" phenomenon might be a symptom of some serious brain damage caused by trying to keep up with 16 layers of irony in every goddamn "Gen X"-and-recenter conversation. As in, "Yes I agree ... and maybe you thought I disagreed, but, no, in fact I agree, so, I say yes ... and maybe you think I'm kidding -- but no ... I really mean yes with the earnestness of a hundred yellow suns ... well, no, maybe not THAT much ... but yes anyway, to the ultimate topic of conversation -- and, no, I don't remember what that topic was" etc., except sped up to a frickin millisecond.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chicago Myths Busted #1 -- Wrinkly Fold

I've noticed that a large number of people around the country have bought into many myths about the city of Chicago -- for example, that it's especially windy. It's not definitively known what inspired the whole "Windy City" nickname bullshit ("bullshit" being my stock term for anything I have been tired of for multiple decades), but it isn't anywhere near the windiest city in the United States. If you want to know which one is ... well, if you're using Firefox, there's a little search box in the upper right corner of the browser.

But I digress. Let's move on to the first (and, the way things with this blog usually go, probably the last) installment of a new blog feature: "Chicago Myths Busted."

Today's myth: Busted: Wrigley Field Is Not a Shithole.

OK, maybe I should phrase that more delicately. How about, Busted: Wrigley Field Is a Shrine to Baseball.

You hear it all the time -- it's a beautiful setting for baseball; it's full of history; it's a shriiiiiiiine. Nope. All wrong.

OK, it is a shrine. Wrigley Field -- or, as I like to call it, Wrinkly Fold -- is a shrine to piss. Pee, urine, micturition, whatever you wanna call it. It's the piss capital of America. Piss that smells like stale beer, and stale beer that smells like piss. Visitors to Wrinkly Fold learn quickly -- don't try to walk too fast on the ramps, because piss-drenched concrete is slippery. And having an ass soaked with the collective piss of many strangers might make you fit right in at Wrinkly, but it ain't very comfortable.

It's a beautiful setting for baseball? There are so many sub-myths tied up in that sentence that I don't know where to begin. First of all, I can agree with the statement, if "beautiful" is taken to mean "crumbling, rusting, cramped, and dank." Ever sit far back in the grandstand, in the deepest, darkest coal mine of a dungeon in all of United States-based franchised played-for-money baseball? Behind a column? Yeah, nothing says "beautiful setting for baseball" like sitting in one of Wrinkly's many, many, many, many, many "obstructed view" seats.

And history? Good grief. Sure, it's been open for a long time, so I guess there's history to the place. History of abject failure. Yeah, you can bring your kids there and say, "That's right, kids -- this is the place where Steve Ontiveros and Mick Kelleher played. Badly." I'm sure they'll pause from their PSP game for about 0.000000001 second to drink that in.

I won't even get into how miserable an experience it is to get to the place if you're an out-of-towner (no parking, way off the major highways, etc.) because I don't like to encourage out-of-towners to come here. Stay where you are, subhumanurbanites!

There are so many bad things to say about Wrinkly Fold that I'm running out of energy before I've extinguished even a fraction of them. Such as, the clubhouse conditions being so compact, antiquated, and generally crappy that I'm convinced the Cubs players forced to headquarter there will always be just plain too depressed to win many games. That would be evened out by the fact that the visitors' clubhouse is reported to be even worse (and is reputed to be, by far, the worst visitors' clubhouse anywhere, including Fallujah), but the Cubs have to spend 81 games a year there, which has gotta wear you down pretty bad.

Throw the limited number of night games (due to the yuppie schmucks dominating the vastly overrated, hellish, grotesquely Brueghelian surrounding neighborhood) into the mix, and you are well along the way to answering the question of why the Cubs will never, ever, ever, ever × infinity get to (let alone win) the World Series.

That answer -- they play in Wrinkly Fold.

(Related Myth: Cubs Fans Are the Greatest Fans in Baseball, or Are Even Remotely Tolerable. Busted! So totally, totally busted. More busted than Jayne Mansfield and Candy Samples combined. I don't have the time or energy today to fully debunk this one, but it's pretty self-evident. The most obvious proof of the mythitude of this myth being -- dey loves dem some Wrigley Field more than they love the Cubs. Because anyone who cares about that miserable, wretched, pathetic team at all would demand that whoever buys them next year build a real stadium, and turn Wrinkly into condos, a dog park, a bank, a housewares store, a federal penitentiary ... anything. Anything but the shittiest, pissiest, pukiest excuse for a ballpark in the known universe.)

POSTSCRIPT: Maybe this is old news (see Rick Morrissey's recent Tribune column on this very subject) and anybody who gives a shit has cried themselves out already. Or ... maybe I'm going to get some hostile commentary on this post. Which I guess I have asked for. Please! Hostile commentary! Want some!

Maybe in advance of that, I should clarify a couple things (which won't affect the hostility, I hope). First, I used to be a Cubs fan ... until the cumulative effect of 1984, 1989, and 2003 finished me off for good. Second, I used to enjoy going to Wrigley Field, until ... well, I still enjoy it. But then I have a high tolerance for rust, rubble, piss, discomfort, ignorance, and extremely horrific baseball. That may look like a smartass remark, but I really do. Doesn't make the rust, rubble, piss, discomfort, ignorance -- and especially the extremely horrific baseball -- go away.

All in all, it's my (two-part) position, and I'm sticking with it (both parts of it), that (1) Wrigley is very overrated (the dump wasn't exalted in the 1970s, I can tell you -- it was a cruel joke) and that (2) the Cubs are (gonna continue to be) going nowhere fast until they move.

Anyway, flame away. Chances are that if you even attempt to make a reasonable point, I'll agree with you. (Because I'm a semi-fictional character and don't really have any integrity to defend.) Hell, maybe I'll even reverse positions entirely. Myth Un-busted! Wrigley Field a hell of an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon! I mean, if I score any free or discount tix this season (god knows I can't afford to pay face value), I'll probably take that viewpoint ... temporarily. If I get enough Old Style in me, at least.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Late Late Friday Mingus Blogging

Charles Mingus - Flowers For A Lady (1974)

If you feel any good at all right now, play this, and you'll feel even better. It is really good.

Friday Food Bloggingggg

Baked tilapia fillet on a bed of fresh polenta (pureed sweet corn + butter) and topped with tomato & zucchini salsa. Steamed broccoli surrounding, duh. Kind of a mess of color, eh? Tasty, though.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There's still time to fit in a last-second flashback

Today is Bicycle Day -- anniversary of the first intentional LSD trip, taken by Albert Hofmann in 1943.


No guff.

If I'm lyin', I'm buyin'. Hell, I'll buy anyway. Just point me in the direction of the nearest parking lot of a Grateful Dead show. Or whatever unreasonable facsimile thereof that is available.

I'm not dropping any acid ... those days of my misspent youth are long, long past. But I would enjoy watching YOUR little mind melt. Heh heh.

Remember, grasshopper, the secret of a happy LSD experience is "set and setting."

Here's how that goes. You dropped acid, and then you set, and now you're setting. When you wake up tomorrow with sore joints and a tight jaw, and probably suffering from mild to moderate depression resulting from Vitamin B deficiency (I made that side effect up, but it sounds plausible, doesn't it?), you will have set. If you take two tabs, we might find room for the present pluperfect tense, subjunctive mood.

OK. I was considering writing about some of my own personal experiences with Dr. Hofmann's problem child, but today was a print deadline day at my actual job, and ... you know how that excuse goes.

Maybe later tonight, I'll catch a second wind. I have a pretty good story about why sex and LSD don't go together as well as one might hope. There's a teaser for youse.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Possible Public Service Announcement

OK ... to the occasional certain Google queriers out there ... and you know who you are ... now, I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, but I'm going to go out on a limb and advise that you are probably better off NOT feeding edamame to your baby. At the very least, your baby can cultivate a taste for raw, young soybeans later in life, and will certainly feel no less privileged for the waiting. And maybe, in the meantime, not choke to death, or grow grotesque premature tits, or whatever other horrible I can make up off the top of my head.

Edamame + baby = No, is my position on the matter.

The Colickiest of Colicky Babies has spoke.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day One of the Post-Parrot Era

Cause for celebration here at CBRAT Central. The upstairs neighbor with the T. Rex-sized screaming macaw (and a crazy greek chorus of other unknown birds) was asked to leave by building management for having pets not allowed by the lease, and she moved out yesterday, taking the creatures with her. So I can scratch one irritant off the mile-long list.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Further proof that I've got too much time on my hands

I have just spent a few anxious minutes taking inventory of the contents of my freezer, mostly to check for things that have been in there for bordering on too long, because my life is so minimalistically empty that I have to manufacture problems like when to eat up the leftover beef stew and split pea soup from mid-to-late January (and -- way up at Difficulty Level "Very High" -- the couple of single-serving-size Ziploc® containers of chicken noodle soup I made and put away in case of colds I never got this winter -- my "Emergency Preparedness" chicken soup, in other words), all of which have about two decent weeks of freezer life in them before irreversible deterioration will have passed the threshold of unreasonableness.

That is, unless you go by my parents' definition of freezer life, which is forever. But I try not to let things go much beyond three months. I think mom and dad just throw stuff away when it converts into a solid block of undifferentiated ice crystal, like some kind of food fossil. Or not. They probably never throw anything out, like Debbie Reynolds in the Albert Brooks movie, "Mother."

Don't underestimate the challenge, though. Because it will get warmer, someday -- and probably it'll shoot up all of a sudden into the upper 80s. And split pea soup does not go well at all with hot weather. Then what? Huh? Then what? That stuff ain't gonna keep till autumn!

Like I said, I've got too much time on my hands. In the words of Mr. Tommy Shaw from Styx.

Maybe in the next post I'll tackle the pitfalls and heartbreaks of the crisper drawer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Goodbye Blue Monday

Squirt Preparation H® here

I don't really have anything substantive to add to the massive amount of obituary material on Kurt Vonnegut burgeoning webally today, but I wanted to post something. So, in lieu of a bunch of words gushing about how much I dug him and how big an influence he had on my dark sense of humor and secular humanist viewpoint and all that, here's something graphical from the first book of his that I read, a long time ago -- Breakfast of Champions -- still one of my favorites. Yup, that's right. It's a drawing of an asshole. I don't know if it's appropriate to the occasion or not, but I have never stopped cracking up when I think about this drawing, and I thank him for that gift. Which doesn't really parse ... thanking a dead humanist. But what the heck?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Three by Redbone

Hm, the corner street light is out at the moment. That's good, because I'm not dodging the shafts of glare bursting thru the blinds while I pointless up some blog. Although I suppose it's not so good for security. Oh well.

But I digress. The point of this post is to impose a few veddeos by the first rock band I remember being aware of -- Redbone. Not Leon ... the Native Merkin R&B group.

Why Redbone? Well, my mother, Ma Moss, is kind of ... I dunno how to put it ... an Indian freak. I guess you could call her an amateur Native American Studies scholar, of sorts ... but I think the truth is that she's besmitten by some kind of fetish. But let's not go there.

Anyway, from an early age ... I think you could call it "birth" ... I was indoctrinated into some twisted sort of suburban wannabe American Indian Movement ethos. And, to tie it up quickly, Redbone was part of that. Cuz Ma Moss had all their rekkids, and the likes of the following made sure that a young Stronger Than Dirt was pissed off about Wounded Knee before he even knew what it was:

Redbone - Wounded Knee

Redbone also had a strong Cajun identity. They had a pretty solid hit (charting higher in the UK but getting some attention over here) with this original number, which brought a little New Orleans swamp sound to the potlatch (although this was not on their album named "Potlatch," but now I'm tripping over my own metaphors):


Redbone - Witch Queen of New Orleans

The Redbone song I remember best is one of the first pop songs I can recall hearing on the radio and having around the house on LP when it was a hit. This one has been covered by a couple of artists in more recent years, and Cyndi Lauper quoted its chorus in a 1994 remake of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." It's probably their least "Indian" tune. And it was all over WLS and WCFL all the time for a while. From 1974:

Redbone - Come and Get Your Love

Friday, April 06, 2007

This Just In: Baseball Players Are Wussies

As you may have noticed, I like baseball. It reminds me of summer vacations and all that nice childhoody kinda crap. But the early weeks of the season always suck, because spring doesn't start in Chicago until ... never. And most Aprils I somehow find myself attending a game or two at Wrigley Field (er, "SMonkey Field" ... see below) -- which is, science tells us, the coldest place on earth. I have frozen my hiney off at a lot of ballgames, including a World Series game in Pittsburgh in 1979 at the second coldest place on earth, the now-non-extant Three Rivers Stadium. It's painful to endure winter weather for an outdoor summer sport.

But this is just ridiculous:

Friday's scheduled game between the White Sox and the Minnesota Twins has been postponed due to the extremely cold temperatures and winds in the weather forecast.

Aww ... widdle miwwionaiwes might get chiwwy and fweeze dem's widdle pee-pees.

OK, maybe management just figures nobody will show up and they'll lose a ton of money on lost beer sales and parking fees. Or maybe they just realized that the Sox have no pitching this season. It stands to reason -- although they'll never admit it. It wouldn't do to say, "Tonight's game postponed due to the high probability of severe sucking by the home team." This kind of candor could only lead to the inevitable late-September announcement, "Game canceled due to lack of interest."

Not that the Sox don't have any strengths in '07. Hell, they might win 8 or 10 games just from A.J. Pierzynski pretending to get hit by pitches.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"Stronger Than Dirt"

Jay and the Techniques

Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel ... The Investment Oppatoonity of a Lifetime!

Now it can be told. One O Ball and myself, Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss, have just won ownership of the Chicago Cubs in an eBay auction. Now we only have to come up with the money. I can toss in 400 bucks, and Otis has a collection of Dogfish Head bottlecaps and a DVD-R boot of the "Bill Zebub Collection" (Link NSFW). So ... who wants to invest? We're going to rename the ballpark "SMonkey® Field" and hire some strippers. Hell, whether or not we manage to buy the Cubs, we'll probably do that.

Leave a comment with an email address and I'll send instructions on how to "invest" through our SMonkeyPal® account.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two down ... 160 to go

Apparently the White Sox have overmisinterpreted the MLB rule that sez pitchers can blow into their hands on cold days, and have just decided to blow generally.

Bah ... I'm just disappointed that I almost had a real good "Gravity City" item today, but it didn't ... quite ... happen:

A "wind wall" dangled atop U.S. Cellular Field this morning after a weld broke loose in high winds, prompting police to close three blocks of West 35th Street to traffic near the ballpark.

But the damage wasn't expected to interfere with this afternoon's scheduled game between the White Sox and Cleveland Indians.

Yeah, good thing that game wasn't interfered with.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

This blog needs more bloggers

Cuz I got nothing at the moment. No energy, no inspiration, and especially no energy. Lately, after spending all day staring at a flickering screen and pecking away at a keyboard for a living, the idea of doing so some more for "fun" with any rigor or enthusiasm is feeling a little beyond me. Last year, I tried to give The Dez a password and license to blog, but he wisely declined. Or mercifully declined, depending on one's point of view. Or both. (I vote for both. I always vote for both, because I'm a "yes, whipped cream AND ice cream on my apple pie AND punkin pie, please" kind of guy. In other words, I'm fat.) Maybe I'll have to create a fake blogger profile in his name and start fictionalizing some Dez posts ... that'll show him.