Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Skafish, Cleaning Ladys, and Another Skafish: Chicago Media Tie-Ins Aplenty Post

Obertray Ederfay reports today:

Bobby Skafish, the 30-year veteran of Chicago rock radio, has been hired as weekend/fill-in host at WDRV-FM (97.1), the Bonneville International classic hits station known as the Drive.

And speaking of Skafish, which I guess we were, here's a "new" video from a 1994 in-store appearance by Chicago rock fabulosos The Cleaning Ladys, featuring a cameo by the other semi-famous Skafish, Skafish:

Note to Jim Skafish and The Cleaning Ladys: More videos! Please! Especially "When the Cubs Win the World Series."

While we're waiting for them to oblige, here's this classic:

The Cleaning Ladys - She Won't French Kiss

Monday, May 28, 2007

To the Bic Banana in the Sky

Just found out that Charles Nelson Reilly died a few days ago. Star of Broadway, TV game shows, Lidsville, commercials, X Files and Millennium, garish ascots, and crazy toupees, as well as survivor of the Hartford Circus Fire. Not necessarily in that order.

This text lifted blatantly and wholesale from "The Life of Reilly" website message board (because it's too good not to):

Today, I just got a call from Ray Arnett who had just heard from Rip Taylor and I was told about the passing of Charles Nelson Reilly yesterday. I wanted to share some of my memories with all of you.

Charles and I had met at Studio One, and again briefly when I was the Disc-Jockey at the Marlin Beach Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting career, and looked Charles up.

I was staying with friends on Wetherly Drive just off Beverly Drive in West Hollywood. Charles told me that he would pick me up one day to go to CBS Television City, and I was so excited. When I asked what kind of car he would be driving, he exclaimed, "A Mercedes of course! What else would I be driving silly?" He told me, " I will pick you up on the corner of Wetherly and Beverly and when I see you I will toot like crazy!"

Charles later loaned me the money in the 70's to rent my first apartment in Los Angeles. When I paid Charles back, he wrote me the nicest note which I framed and keep in my home until this day.

Charles also helped me study acting with Debbie Reynolds, and gave me advice along the way. I was always an entrepreneur and had a t-shirt business and made t-shirts for Charles to wear on "The Match Game". Charles used to take me there and I would sit back stage or join the director in the booth and I had a marvelous time.

One night he took me out on his boat, "Artichoke Hearts" and chased me all around the boat after having a few drinks. His toupee started to fall off, and I told him his hair was falling off - and he yelled - "how do you like that! you take a boy out on your yacht and he tells you his hair is slipping!" When he took us back into Marina Del Rey, he crashed the boat into the dock and yelled to his neighors who lived in their sailboat next to his slip, "Another Perfect Landing!!!!!" I made him a t-shirt that said on the front, "Another Perfect Landing" and on the back it read, "Charles Nelson Reilly Expert Marine Captain".

I used to paint on canvas and I painted a painting for Charles. I painted "Charlie" written in the style of the perfume logo "Charlie". He put hinges on it and hung it over his televison in his bedroom. The painting hid the TV in the wall. One night on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, he told Johnny about his robbery. It was the funniest story! He said he came home and the place was a mess, and that this didn't seem out of place because he was messy. Then he went into the toilet and noticed one of his toupee's in the toilet. "I don't care how drunk I get, I never store my hair in the toilet, Johnny!" The crowd roared, then he went on to say his stereo was stolen and some other items, "but you bastards didn't get the TV!!! My friend Don painted me a painting that hid the TV!" The crowd was in hysterics and I felt so honored.

He took me to meet Julie Harris in Santa Barbara to see the play he was directing, "The Belle of Amherst". I had a thrilling evening. We ended up going to a bar in town and we met an older gentleman with a much younger boy. The boy tells me that his sugar daddy owns a private jet, and wondered if Charles and I wanted to go flying with them. The boy proudly told me that one of his favorite things was to have the pilot turn the plane upside down and then everyone tries to catch the liquid that flew out of their drinks!!!! I was frightened to death over that prospect, and Charles at first accepted, but then asked that they not turn the plane over at seeing my horrified look of panic! He said, "Please don't turn the plane upside down, my hair will fall off!!!"

I last saw Charles in his one man show in North Hollywood. We talked a little bit, his last words to me were, "You still have your hair! and... I still have your 8x10 from when you were an actor...."

These were just some of my many memories that I wanted to share with all of your friends on the site. I will miss you Charles, and many many thanks for everything you did for me. I am glad I got to thank you in person!


Don Blanton

Life of Reilly Teaser Trailer

[ADDENDUM - A note on CNR's MySpace page indicates the following about this movie:

For those of you who are asking to see the film, or for copies of the DVD for the film, we are releasing "Life of Reilly" in the fall. We had been waiting, hoping that Charles would recover so he could be part of the process of the release. This isn't going to happen, now. So we will put the film out later this year.

This answers a question I asked here back in March, and I'm glad the film is coming out (no pun intended), but it would have been cool if CNR could have been around and kicking to promote it. I would have loved to see him turn up on The Daily Show.]

Here's a CNR clip-fest for your enjoyment:

Bic Banana Ink Crayons Commercial

Another "Big Banana" Spot

Lidsville Theme

Call Her Mom

CNR as "Jose Chung"

Of course, most of us knew CNR from "Match Game." There are plenty of "Match Game" clips up, but embedding has been disabled for most of them, so it's up to you to go watch em if you're so inclined. Here is a search string to make that easy.

In re: "Match Game," this Metafilter commenter nails it (emphasis added, for emphasis):

By the way, as a kid I used to think something was wrong with me because I planned my entire day around watching Match Game after school. It was my secret, I didn't want anyone to know because I just knew they wouldn't understand. When I later read that the entire cast of the show was totally drunk for most of the tapings, it made sense. It always felt like I was watching a fun grown up party that I wasn't supposed to be awake for.

Just yesterday I was telling Friend of the Blog Patrick J. about how I would ride my bike home from the beach every day in the summer in the afternoon in time to catch "Match Game." Later on, when I was meeting the people in college who remain my friends today, it was always a sure sign of affinity when you made reference to that show and saw the light of recognition in their eyes. "Do I want another frozen gin lemonade? You bet your BLANK!"

To finish, here is a somewhat tangential clip, from "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir," with CNR kind of in the background, in character as Claymore Gregg (on the couch, sans toup') ... and featuring a nice performance by Harry Nilsson, so it's kind of a "favorites of CBRAT" mashup.

Harry Nilsson on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir - March 29, 1969

So long, Charles. Rest in "blank."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

News of the Snyde

The muchly-quoted-by-CBRAT (although he never writes to thank us) Robert Feder reports:

Chicago radio veteran Wendy Snyder has signed on as a full-time traffic reporter with Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services.

Which gives me an excuse to post this item finally available on that site that rhymes with Goo Lube:

Descendents - Wendy

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today's Get Out the O. Ball Vote Plea Today: WFMU's Sixty Second Song Remix Contest

Voting is underway for the "Sixty Second Song Remix Contest" on WFMU's Beware of the Blog, and good friend of CBRAT, Otis Ball, has risen to the challenge.

The premise of the contest is as follows:

[C]ompress a "known" song to 60 seconds or less.

One O. Ball's entry, More Than Half-Off-Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd), is an early contender for a prize -- but we (I say "we" because, after all, I am Otis Ball's fake manager) need your help.

So please vote. Vote here. Vote for Otis. You'll be glad you did. Not just because his remix deserves it, but because ... it is the right thing to do.

Voting ends Wednesday, May 23rd at 10pm, EDT.

Voting URL again:

Thank you. I am Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss and I approve this message.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Old Man and the Cockaroaches

It's a good thing I don't have any upstairs neighbor right now. The upstairs apartment is the only one in the building that directly adjoins mine on any plane, and the Bird Lady got booted, so I haven't had an upstairs neighbor for a few weeks.

I do have some unwanted co-tenants, though. Bugs. Cockroaches. Not a huge infestation, but, frankly, even one is too many. And there are more than one. Godot the Pest Control Man is supposed to come soon, but in the meantime, I'm getting a little roach crazy. On edge, to say the least. And the on-edge vocalizations from here in the Basement Unit lately are probably not things a neighbor wants to hear.

For example. Just now had to go get another beer (cuz my prior beer ran dry), and entering the kitchen, I grabbed my Swiffer dustmop, flipped on the lights, and slammed the Swiffer on the floor, yelling "Something's gonna die!!!"

No bugs. Got my beer.

This time.

Today in Gravity City Today:
Crane Attractions, Crane Reactions

Chicago's enhanced gravitational field continues to work its eeeevil:

A crane accident at a downtown construction site today led to the evacuation of several buildings and forced the Chicago Transit Authority to reroute trains and buses.

The incident happened when a section of the street under the yellow crane collapsed, causing the massive piece of equipment to lean against the side of a nearby building.

Not only that, but the crane is anthropomorphic, to boot:

Authorities evacuated buildings near the scene as a precaution because it was unclear how the crane would react when workers try to upright it, officials said.

I'm guessing first it will feel surprised, then confused, then scared, then flattered, and maybe even a little bit intrigued, but will politely decline. Wait ... that's how it would react if another crane of its same gender approached it at a singles bar with an amorous advance.

"Hey, what's my motivation here? I mean, what makes this crane tick?"

And that is how the crane would consider its reaction if the crane were played by Mr. James Woods.

More jokes to be added later, if I can think of any more Simpsons jokes to steal.

BASEBALL POSTSCRIPT: Too disgusted to add further Cubs-Sox commentary at the moment. Boone Logan disgusts me. With a disgust that disgusts. I say put the yellow crane in tomorrow in relief of Massengill, or whoever is pitching for the Sox. Some rookie douche. Maybe the yellow crane can react to the presence of Derrek Lee as a pinch hitter in some other way than lobbing a cookie for a grand salami.

Friday, May 18, 2007

North Battles South for "Who's Crappier" Bragging Rights

It's "Crosstown Classic" weekend again ... which means, instead of two crappy ballgames to follow each day, just one. They should call it the "Bad Baseball Efficiency Series." This weekend could mark the very first time in over 130 years of baseball history that a team wins by a score of negative-3 to negative-6.

Other predictions:

•Lou Piniella's freakishly gigantic jaw explodes in a burst of pent-up rage, and Ozzie Guillen finally admits that even he has no idea what the hell he is saying when he attempts English.

•Michael Barrett receives a standing ovation when he punches Ryan Dempster in the face for no particular reason. Just kidding -- there are plenty of reasons.

•Paul Konerko hits into four quadruple-plays in a single at-bat, taking care of innings 2 through 6 and 1/3 of 7. Riots break out in the bleachers when the beer vendors declare "Last Call" at 1:37.

•Drunken louts from Sports Corner Bar and Murphy's Bleachers meet by chance on Sheffield Avenue, fall in love, mate, and produce a super-obnoxious hybrid strain of Uber-Lunkhead, who are dispatched to Iraq by the Bush administration, immediately causing the Sunni insurgents to pack up and move to Edison Park to get the hell away from the puking, screaming, urinating, backwards-baseball-hat-wearing, Dave-Matthews-listening infidel scourge. Sure, there's nothing to do in Edison Park, but, by Allah's beard ... these Cubs fans are worser than a bad case of sand fleas, even.

This thread to be continued ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gratification from the Land of SiteMeter Stats

Just when I was losing hope that I could retain interest in maintaining this narcissistic and futile blog, I see in the SiteMeter stats a hit that informs me that I have made the top Google results page for the search terms:

bucket of water to kill a gopher

... which brings one to this blogapaganza from a time when I was still trying to actually write:

Although it does rouse a slight disquiet, in re: ... is somebody really trying to research how to kill a gopher with a bucket of water? Animal cruelty concerns aside (albeit duly registered), what kind of techniques could be researchable to that end?

"Step 1. Place bucket of water in freezer. Step 2. Wait until water is frozen solid. Step 3. Bop gopher on the noggin. Step 4. Get your gopher pelt guy on the cell. Step 5. Reap profits."?

Look, pally. Leave the humble gopher alone. Carl Spackler learned it, I learned it, you're gonna learn it, too -- the hard way. The gopher is all right. Nobody worry bout he. Why you gotta give him a fight? Can't you just let him be?

Do what you like, doing it nat'rally. But if it's too easy, they're gonna disagree (they're gonna disagree). It's your life. And isn't it a mystery? If it's nobody's bus'ness ... It's everybody's game.

Gotta catch you later ... No, no, cannonball it right away ... Some Cinderella kid ...... Get it up and get you a job--

Dip dip dip dip dip dip dip dip.

In short, we all hate meeces to pieces, and the gophers, they can really wreck them some turfgrass, but please, please, let's think of the wider ramifications. Diplomacy is the answer. And if diplomacy don't work, try some bentgrass mixed with Kentucky blue and a touch of Southern California sinsemilla. It's a bit harsh, but it's got a hell of a kick.

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley had a stroke recently, but there is good news. AP reports:

Four days after suffering a stroke, Bo Diddley walked around the intensive-care unit at Creighton University Medical Center, and doctors were encouraged that the singer-songwriter-guitarist would be able to perform again, his manager said.

In the spirit of wishing him a full recovery, let's all enjoy this YouTube burgoo, which, clocking in at under 2 minutes, is almost a punk number. It's one of my favorite Bo Diddley songs.

Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover (1965)

I saw Bo Diddley play in Grant Park at the Chicago Blues Fest in 1986, and it was one of the most exciting performances I've ever witnessed. Chuck Berry and Keith Richards headlined that night, but Bo killed em. Killed. Definitely the best large-venue set I've ever spaz-bopped thru. Courtesy of Mayor Harold Washington, yes. The late and great.

More Diddley, becuz it don't cost nothin':

Bo Diddley (Checker 45) - Road Runner

Bo Diddley - Hey, Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley

And, for a chaser, here's some early Moody Blues, in maximum non-"Ride My See Saw" mode:

The Moody Blues - Bo Diddley

And here they are, just for fun, in maximum "Ride My See Saw" mode:

The Moody Blues - Ride My See Saw

And ... for a total swerve, here's a Bongwater tune from the same EP on which they covered "Ride My See Saw" ...

Bongwater - U.S.O.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blogpatross Around My Neck

Getting quiet around here. And it's my fault. Posting to resume someday, even if readership doesn't.

In the meantime ... what's happening? Frazzled as usual at CBRAT central. Trying to take care of a little bug problem in the kitchen, which I'd been blessedly spared of for the previous nine years. Uh, lessee ... the j_b is stressing me out lately, leaving me wrung like a damp rag at EOB. And not to mention, stuck with dumb office acronyms in my head ... like FYI, ETA, and BMHA (that last one is my own contribution to the genre -- bite my hairy ass). Uhh ... Tony Soprano killed Christopher the other day (oops! spoiler! sorry ...), and unlike the rest of the blogosphere, apparently, I won't miss him. And Falwell died ... and like much of the rest of the (left-wing -- the only wing worth knowing) blogosphere, I won't miss him, either.

And on that note of weak parallelism, I'm gonna move to the couch and watch "House."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Colicky Thought of the Day

People have been telling me since childhood that I complain too much, but I think I complain just right. I am the Baby Bear's porridge of complaining, dammit. And I really hate it that there are so many people who don't recognize that!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Baseball Status Report, In Case You Were Wondering

Welp, the stupid Cubs and stupid Sox both won tonight, so I guess I am granted with a double right to feel "good" tonight, or something. Or not.*

I don't really know the terms of my revisionist baseball fascination, to be honest. I say revisionist, because there were a lot of years in the 80s and 90s that I didn't pay much attention to baseball at all, or had at most a middling interest, and sometimes an outright disdaiiiiiiiiin, Mayor Harold Washingtone.

But increasingly for the last I dunno how many years, I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it and diversionary interest in the meaningless details, which I think is a sort of semi-harmless self-medication, in a way. I mean, I've got a surplus of undifferentiated energy to sink into something .... And they, the Cubs and Sox, play this certain dumb game 162 times a year, each, so that is 162 games times two ... plus whatever out of town teams I get interested in ... which is a sort of bonus.

This year I have some hopes for the Milwaukee Brewers, who, last time I checked, had the best record in MLB so far. Growing up exactly midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, I ended up with a fair amount of identification with that city, and I probably went to more Brewers games as a kid than Cubs or Sox games put together.

The Brewers had a really good year in 1982, and I went to some of their games that season. They made the World Series, even, although they lost it to the Cardinals, in seven games.

That was the first local-ish team in my life to get that far, so I was pretty into them. I remember after one of the games I went to, at the end, after the Brewers had won, we were heading for the exit, and some old man nearby proclaimed, to no one in particular, in a sort of staccato rhythm, "This is the god-damned team to beat!" That really cracked me up at the time, in a sense of it being a frickin funny exclamation point on that whole "you are now authorized to feel happy" thing with sporting events, when "your team" wins.

I was at that game with my best friend from that era, Jeff _____, and we lobbed that phrase back and forth for a long time as a sort of trope thing, like a "Wup wo, we gotta problem" or other example of that sort of bloo. "This is the god-damned team to beat!" in an old man voice.

The Brewers have been really horrible since that year. They've been a huge joke in MLB for quite a while, so I would be very happy to glom onto a successful year for that team.

Anyway, that's kind of tipping my cards away from my vest as far as baseball desires this year, although you of all people (and along with all people, really) don't care, so what the hell? At this point in the season, I stick with my pre-season prediction that the White Sox will finish in 4th place behind the Indians, Tigers, and Twins, in that order, and ahead of the Royals (which happens to be the current order in the standings today).

I also think the Cubs will end up in 4th place, although I forget where they are now. They might be in 2nd. They have an outside chance of finishing in 2nd, behind the Brewers, although no chance of getting the wildcard berth in the playoffs.

I don't think the Cubs are building up a team right now that has a chance of getting to the championships in the near future. Or the far future. I think the White Sox will contend in 2010, but no sooner.

But I'll probably watch most of the games anyway. Even when they're lousy, when they win that day, you get that temporary happiness cookie, just for caring.


* of course, this ambiguity is only because I am not a "true" Sox fan or Cubs fan. I have picked up and dropped loyalties for either at will for my whole life. Which means I am one of those true lepers of Chicago baseball-dom, the non-either nothing. This blog is Sox-fixated, to an extent, because I've always considered them cooler than the Cubs. And, come on, who could consider the Cubs cooler than anything? The Cubs were always your, "well, slow and steady wins the race, you know, and loyalty and true-heartedness wins out, and the Frog Prince, and the gnipgnop-au-go-go-au-rama shaboom." But the Sox were always the "Nah Nah, Hey Hey" beer and a shot, wooden-legged owner, exploding scoreboard, crazed random Vietnam vet giving you drunken incoherent life lectures between innings in the upper deck at Comiskey type of experience. The Sox weren't just bad in the late 70s, they were bad. I know I spent more time paying attention to the goddamn cuddly Cubbies, but the White Sox were sexy ... they were wicked. All the cool older brothers were into the Sox. Nowadays, I just love them both, and if that's wrong, baby, I don't wanna be right.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Those Wacky Headlines:
Inaugural Edition

> Pilot's chest pains land plane

Wow! Those are some talented chest pains! Don't need none of that stewardess calling out for volunteers to fly this bird home shit ... Never mind, the dang chest pains will handle it! That's right, baby, those chest pains shot down seven bogies over The Nam, before they lost their nerve and became the inspiration for the Robert Hays character in "Airplane!"

And this here enlarged prostate's gonna taxi this fucker straight to the gate! On-time arrival, beeyotch! Cuz it's gotta pee!!

Oh, snap! The medical conditions are doing it for themselves now!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday OCD Cont'd:
Two Songs Fulla Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeahyeahyeahyeah Yeahyeah Yeah Yeah

Devo - Uncontrollable Urge

The B-52's - Dance This Mess Around

Saturday YouTube Blogging:
New Wave Dystopia Edition

Tubeway Army - Are Friends Electric

Alice Cooper - Clones (We're All)

New Wave Schmenge

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Some material I should sell to Spike O'Dell*

Hey, it's been 15 years now since the L.A. riots. Do you think any of the home electronics that were stolen by looters are still in use? How long does a stereo last these days? Boy, I sure miss my old transistor radio. It was red and had a big dial on it. AM only. Hey, you could get stations from all over the country. Remember Dick Biondi? He sure was edgy. Or so we thought then. Innocent times, hey.

Now here's some idiot with the traffic report, and, hey, after that, we've got Lou Piniella on the phone to discuss the Cubs' outfield woes. Hey, stay tuned, and get those dialing fingers warmed up, because when you hear Lou say "the phrase that conveys (a free good or service to a randomly chosen person who has not supplied consideration for the benefit, thereby making this giveaway a legal prize promotion rather than illegal gambling)," the 720th caller gets to play center in today's game against the Astros. Hey, why not? Everybody else has.


(*this material also made available to Bob Sirott, except replace "some idiot with the traffic report" with "Max Armstrong with the daily agribiz rigamarole")