Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hey, who spilled bubbly on the Hot Stove News?

One last post for 2008, but just a quickie, cuz I gotta take a post-work nap before heading over to a par-tay next door. But the Cubbies have been busy today, huh? Mark DeRosa traded to Cleveland for the standard "three guys nobody has heard of," where I guess he'll be joining good ole Kerry Wood (how we hate him). Aaron Miles picked up from the Cardinals to, I guess, fill DeRosa's (f)utility role. And it looks like Jason Marquis will be going to Colorado in exchange for Luis Vizcaino, which seems like a fairly even crap-pro-crappo deal to me.

OK. Here's wishing everyone a cup o' kindness and all that. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Year Out, Year In -- Auld Blog Syne

Here's my wrap-up on 2008:


Here's my forecast for 2009:

Gonna suck even worser.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Late Letter to Santa Claus

Well, since the temperature surged up into the 20s today, I organized a sortie outdoors to see how entombed my car was within a plow-induced igloo of frost. And the answer is lots. Lots entombed.

I took a snow shovel to the icy gift-wrapping surrounding my mighty 4-cylinder Japanese sleigh, and the shovel bounced off the rock-hard snow-mass twangily, and I tried again, several times, and then I started to sweat and exhibit signs of an impending heart attack, so I went back inside.

So I might be spending at least Christmas Eve, if not Christmas Day as well, here, in the apartment, with the kitty cats. Which I won't mind. Although the food situation here is not as good as it will be at the folks' house. I won't starve, but I'll be bored. Maybe I'll be able to move the car later on in the week, or over the weekend.

And maybe not. I'm just about fucking disgusted with the futility of owning a car in winter in this town.

But then if there's anything I'm overly excellent at, it's being fucking disgusted. At everything. All the time.

I'm not just colicky. I'm super duper extreme colicky. And even I find me irritating.

Anothing thing about me that I'm irritated by is, why do I waste so much time reading so many liberal blogs? Especially ones that spend most of their time and space bitching about whatever insane shit the asshole conservative blogs are yapping about?

I mean, I've done a great job of avoiding the pajamas people, whoever they are, and the little green footballs, and even the National Review Online. I've never even seen Ann Coulter on TV once, but every time she spews a vile turd of right-wing outrageousness, I end up reading all about it online. Feh and fooey.

I don't want to know. I know those people are nuts -- I have heard every single tired argument and slur spewed by ultra-conservatives, and they haven't changed in 20 years. Yes yes yes, poor people, unions, and minorities are responsible for every single problem in America, not to mention teh gheys.

Doesn't (what passes for) The Left have anything better to do than exchange endless fusillades with their counterparts on the alleged other side of the continuum?

Somebody must find it really fun to fire up The Tubes and find out what creepy, disgusting nonsense so-and-so has cooked up this morning, I dunno. But I don't.

So why do I keep visiting these (purportedly) lefty blogs?

Because I am an idiot.

Please, Santa, if you're reading this -- I've been a pretty good boy this year. I drank too much too often, and I engaged in lots and lots of sloth. But, really, my list of middle-aged sins for 2008 is rather boring. Which, in my opinion, counts as good.

So, Santa, can you bring me some sense this year? Can you drop me off a little sanity?

If so, I just wanted to let you know that I might be stuck here at CBRAT Central on Christmas morning, so if you can swing by in your magic flying chariot and check, I'd appreciate it vastly.

Thanking you in advance, Santa.


Stronger Than Dirt

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chestnuts suck, who don't think so?

Friend of the blog, Foojang, over by Portland, Oregon, writes as follows, and I respond as follows that, and that's what this post is, and it's too fucking cold for me to type anymore. Cheers.

Whelp, the weather has been mizherable here for over a week now,

Me and you both, Sahib. Today the warmest it got was -3. Fahrenheit.

I thought I had my xmas shopping done, but I realized tonight that I bought the same damn stuffed moose from the Swedish museum for the same damn person last year. So now I have to account for that error. I think I can juggle the "who gets what" and make it work. If not, I have to shop more, and .... fuck, I hate that.

Plus, it's supposed to snow like a fuckass on xmas eve, and I don't want to miss Italian beef sammitches for lunch that my mom is serving for the annual hectic mayhem thing with the deranged relatives.

My cousin _____ will be visiting on leave from Iraq, where he has been volunteering to go along on bomb defusing missions for extra money. So ... that's Sanity Claus for you, ho ho ho.

My sister's boyfriend _____ might sit it all out, because he's pouting. His _____ is in jail, and his _____ is a nut, and _____ is pouting because my sister's family is "perfect." Yeahhhhhh. The Mosses. Of Gurnee, Illinois. Perfect. I wasn't aware of that definition of the term. But anyway, _____ is having a major snit of self-pity, giving my sister the business about "You never had to live on wheels!" etc.

This is how the world ends. It's ending now. It fucking better be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't Touch That Stove; That Stove Is Hot -- Another Cubs Report

While everyone is exercising themselves over the transformation of Wrigley Field to hockey rink containing facility, Jim Hendry's Cubbies have signed speedy fast-ster Joey Gathright to a one-year, $800,000 deal. That pooping sound you hear is coming from Reed Johnson's pants.

And that's about as exciting as I can make that non-story.

Meanwhile, reporters report that the Chicago Hockey Blackhawks have the top attendance record this season in the National Irrelevant They Still Play Hockey? Professionally? League, improving from 29th out of 30 last season. Just goes to show what can happen when an unpopular owner goes the way of all flesh. Or what can happen when there's no place to go but up.

Hockey. I still have contusions and peculiarly warped limbs from my efforts to play at that game during my stupider, teenage years. And I still have the skates. I'm sure they still fit, although I haven't strapped them on in over a decade, and all signs point to that record remaining unbroken forever.

Stove is hot. Clear down range. Ken Williams? Your move. Been a long time since any White Sox news happened. And Darrin Jackson moving over to radio -- completing a media swap with Steve Stone -- doesn't count.

"We are confident Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson will partner to provide White Sox fans a solid broadcast experience," said Mitch Rosen, WSCR 670 AM program director.

A solid broadcast experience. Very well. For a medium consisting of intangible waves, that's something. Not sure what. But something.

Maybe he just means the tower will fall on us. That would be solid.

Stay tuned. The gas bill is paid up, the knobs have been taken off this sucker, and all burners are blue jets of awesome off-season baseball fascination.

Cue the theme song.

Hot stove news! Hot stove news! Hot! Stove! News!

Friday, December 12, 2008

'Tis STILL the season?!? Oh, Jaysus, what'd I do to deserve this?!?

As per allusions I've made over on another blog (no further hints here, Google stalkers), I like the Pogues and I like Kirsty MacColl.

Meanwhile, despite honest efforts to the contrary, I hate Christmas. But, still, here below is a confluence of the thrixt of em. Which turns out pretty nice on balance, even I have to admit.

By the way, did you know that if you add enough alcohol to a Swede you produce an Irishman? I think it's true, anyway. Apropos of nothing. Add more alcohol, and you just get a drunker Mick. Sorry. I don't control physics.

Well, I don't.

Anyway. The below-embeddenated number, "Fairy Tale of New York," is a favorite of mine, Christmas or no. In terms of "Christmas = yes," it is way, way up there. It's in my top three favorite Christmas songs, probably. I've never listed them, but I figure it's worth that grade.

There is also some personal history that goes with the song, but I'll not convert that to narrative for you at this time, but will save it for later. Amen.

One last thing, though. Next week, the 18th, will mark the eighth anniversary of the tragic death of Kirsty MacColl, who we'd all be better off having around now, if we'd have been so lucky.

Cubs Report: The Stove Is Cold, the Oven Is Slack. Peavy's Not Comin', and Cotts'll Be Back

Well, the whole report is pretty much in the title. No sense gilding the lily, as they say.

But the fact remains, it is deep, dark meteorological winter (if not astronomical same), and baseball, baseball is what I miss.

The other sports don't do it. I'm not against football, basketball, hockey, or mixed martial arts, but ... they don't do it. For one thing, you can't find a song about football like this one:

Harpo Marx - Take Me Out to the Ball Game

POSTSCRIPT: Yeah, I know I said no more YouTubes never, but ... one can't hurt. And rules were made to be broken. Especially the rules I make.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Omigod omigod omigod ... I hope it's ... YES!!! Blago arrested!!! Thank you, Santa!!!

I don't want to let the Funnest News Day Ever® go by without a post, but I'm too damn excited (I feel like a kid on Christmas morning) to sort out my thoughts coherently ... so I'll just re-purpose an email from me to my mom, who prompted me thusly earlier this afternoon:

> Your dad wants to know your reaction.

Well, I knew they were building a big case against him, but I'm surprised like everyone else about the extent of it, and the complete audacity of trying to blatantly sell the Senate seat.

The FBI's chief investigator on the case said that "even the most cynical agents were shocked," and I'm with them.

I took the day off, and I've been having fun watching all the coverage. I'm trying to guess who the pseudonyms in the complaint are -- Candidate 1 seems to be Valerie Jarrett. Candidate 6 is probably one of the Pritzkers. Speculation about Candidate 5 -- the one who allegedly offered half a million for the seat -- is that it's either Jesse Jr. or Emil Jones. My guess is Jones.

Another thing -- those Blagojeviches sure have filthy mouths. Every word word is "fuck." As in, "fuck him [Obama]," "fuck the Tribune and their Cubs deal," etc.

So far, Obama seems to have stayed out of the Senate appointment scandal, but there's a bunch of "pay-to-play" stuff in the complaint involving Tony Rezko. Now that Blagojevich is a caged animal, I would expect he will be looking to cut a deal and cough up whatever he has on Obama, if anything.

I really like the U.S. Attorney, Fitzgerald. He seems like a stand-up guy. I hope he has a chance to get Daley.

One more thing -- I'm almost certain that Rahm Emanuel is wrapped up in this somehow, but I'm not sure if he "dropped a dime" and tipped off the feds (Rahm seems to be "President Elect's Advisor A" in the complaint), or if he was the go-between on one of the proposed deals.

My personal guess right now is that he cooperated with the investigation. Blagojevich has very few friends, and I think Rahm was not happy that he was trying to push the Obama camp around.

Obama is already showing that he doesn't feel beholden to anyone he doesn't need anymore -- he had already pretty much turned his back on his former mentor, Emil Jones, because Jones is too much of a hot potato to have around -- too controversial and transparently sleazy.

Whatever anyone thinks about Obama, he has some remarkable skill at maneuvering in the Democratic Party. Five years ago, he was basically a nobody. The first time I heard of him was at a New Year's Eve party at the end of 2003. So I think he's got a lot of political smarts -- which is why I think he'd have Rahm help deep-six Blagojevich.

And that's also one reason why I think Candidate 5 is Emil Jones -- because the complaint says Obama didn't want Candidate 5, and Obama had made it known that he didn't want Jones in the job.

Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett -- Candidate 1 -- who seems to have withdrawn her name from consideration after it became clear that favors and/or money to the governor would be required.

It's all like a big mystery novel -- the biggest dream come true for politics junkies since Watergate. And I was too young to know what was going on back then.

OK, email over.

There are also strong arguments, based on the time-line, that Candidate 5 is Jesse Jackson Jr. And also a case to be made that Rahm Emanuel discussed a bribe arrangement with Blagojevich involving the setup of a 501(c)4 lobbying organization (backed by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) in exchange for Rahm's influence in selecting an interim replacement in the Illinois 5th Congressional District until a special election could be held. And ... probably many other bizarre and twisted cases.

Should keep us busy for a while.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stronger Than Dirt’s Coping Strategies for 2009: Your Guide to Surviving the End of Life as We Know It: Part One

Now that it’s become abundantly clear that we are either in a full-blown economic depression or about to be in one, I thought I’d throw together a few tips for living (reasonably) decently while mired in a state of poverty. I’ve had some experience with that, and I’ve taken plenty of notes. I’m neither rich nor poor at the moment, but I have always lived well within my means, as a matter of compulsion ... and because I knew this train wreck was coming.

And it is coming. Do I look like I’m kidding? OK, don’t answer that.

I’m not kidding. I mean, I’m trying to be funny, but I’m dead serious. So, in an effort to give back a little bit to the online community that has given me so, so much, here are the first three items in what I foresee as a continuing series. Although, if I get a lot of hits for these -- as I believe I should -- I might have to start charging for future installments. Because even poor-living gurus have got to get paid.

And here they are. The advices you’ve been waiting for.

STDPM’s First Three Preparedness Tips for the Imminent Catastrophe Threatening Your Doomed Asses and Your Doomed Asses’ Portfolios

1. Do your homework. Read (or re-read) some John Steinbeck novels. Or even watch the movie adaptations. I suggest Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men to start. They will generally orient you to the new bleak economic landscape and will help you grasp the awful reality of massive unemployment and the violent crackdowns that are sure to follow. Of course, in 2009, those crackdowns will be conducted by Blackwater mercenaries -- in severe cases, by the U.S. Army itself -- and resistance will be totally futile. Still, Steinbeck will prepare you for the abject helplessness, worthlessness, and despair that will dominate the zeitgeist next year, and probably indefinitely.

2. Get to know our friend, the cabbage. Cabbage is cheap and nutritious, and it keeps well. We’re going to be eating a lot of it in the coming months and years. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from salads to soups to side dishes to entrees. (I don’t know of any cabbage desserts off-hand, but ingenuity does tend to flower in hard times, so I could end up contributing a few to our national collective cookbook before we reach the other end of this fudgy tunnel.) You say you don’t like cabbage? Too fucking bad. The near future will be no time for picky eaters. Unless you are comfortable with starvation.

3. Make peace with your mom and dad. Or your inlaws, or your sons and daughters, depending on age and circumstance. Because many of us are going to be spending a lot more time with our ... ugh ... families after the shit hits what it's aimed at. Kids (even those of us in our early 40s) will be moving back in with the folks, or the folks will be moving in with the kids. This is really just a reversion to the way we used to live in this country as recently as a few generations ago -- actually, the way many people already do live. I made the mistake of generalizing. I’m talking about primarily white, middle-class, etc. etc. ... well, you know what I mean. Anyway, it’s a good news-bad news situation. The good news: Extended families will be back, along with all the mental health benefits that seem to accompany that arrangement. The bad news: Extended families will be back, along with all the mental illness that seems to accompany that arrangement.

Meta: Now With Extra Twittiness

Because we at CBRAT World HQ® are nothing if not way into last year's online fads, we've added "Twitter Updates" to the sidebar (below the "Previous Posts" and above the "Archives" listing). You can also click the link to get twitty with STD Pete Moss, should you so desire.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dahl downsized ... and not by Seattle Sutton

During my early adolescent years (right now being my "late, protracted, seemingly never gonna end" adolescence), which I'd peg roughly as 1979 through 1986 or so, I was an insane Coho-lipped follower of Chicago radio's El Jefe scumbag worm-meat idiot, Steve Dahl.

And aside from a few law-school-and-afterwards years in Champaign-Urbana when I couldn't pick up the signal (part of that time was the era of the amplitude modulation "Loop" on AM 1000 -- complete with Ed Schwartz overnights -- when I could tune it in, kind of weakly -- but when he was on FM, no way), I kept listening. There have been ups and downs (notable down: the ESPN 1000 phase, with Bruce Wolf, which was mostly a down because I was practicing law in Ottawa, Illinois, newly married, totally miserable, and catching only about 10 minutes of the show a day on the way to the second worst job I've ever had), but being generally nostalgic, I stuck with him. Sided with Dahl when Meier quit, bounced from station to station and time slot to time slot.

I lost a lot of enthusiasm during the moribund "Dave and Joy" years, but I thought the show picked up a lot of steam when Buzz Kilman took their place ... because Buzz Kilman is my personal hero. Guru, really. But I digress.

I've had problems with some of the twists and turns ... I was bummed when Wendy Snyder was fired, even though I got a ridiculous number of hits from blogging about it ... and I was never particularly interested in all the TV gadget coverage in latter years. But, by and large, some 20-plus years of listening was has been worth it. [Edit made because, dammit, he's not dead; just enduring another interruption in transmission.]

For one thing, Dahl is responsible for my cultivating interest in a bunch of fine songwriters, whose work I was aware of, but who I'd never have gotten to know as people so well without Dahl's show. Such as Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, and Jim Peterik. Not to mention Joe Walsh.

Same thing with comedians -- Andy Kaufman and John Belushi were frequent guests on Dahl's show ... and Dahl's show was where I first heard about Belushi's death. His interview with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas during their promotional tour for the "Bob and Doug" movie fit in perfectly with my SCTV fixation at the time.

Lately I've been more or less a casual listener, but in those "early adolescent" years, I was pretty well obsessed. I used to listen to the Steve & Garry show every day after school, from the moment I got home until sign-off at 7:00. I taped hours of the show on my crappy K-Mart tape machine, and listened to the tapes over and over. Celebrity Jeopardy (Ozzy Osbourne ... Marcus Palmer's "Omar Sadat" crack-up). Blues News. "Ayatollah" (and "We have no Chicken Kentucky!"). "Skylab." "Falklands."

In those WLS-FM (94.7) days, Steve & Garry were controversial for their irreverent, sometimes taste-questionable take on news events -- but, for me, the show was the first place I turned for much needed "coping through laughter" therapy when world tragedy struck. When the space shuttle blew up in 1986, Dahl was off the air at the time, between gigs, and I missed him.

When I say I was obsessed, I mean I was obsessed. When he and Garry did a remote broadcast from the "Snowshoe Saloon" at Six Flags Great America, I had a season pass to the park (just a couple miles down the road from my house), so I hung out and watched them do the entire show, like a miniature stalker. Still have my high school ID with Dahl's autograph on the back from that day.

I used to try to phone in a lot, but I could never get through. The show was hella popular then. It took effort. But I succeeded one time, on a Saturday -- Steve and Garry were still doing six days a week then -- when I was about 14. When I heard Dahl's voice on the other end, I felt a shock of realization that I didn't actually have anything to say, so I dived into my standard repertoire: bitching and moaning.

Me: Your station is so boring! I used to be an insomniac before I tuned in! You play the same songs over and over!

Dahl: Oh yeah? Well, we know something you don't--

Me: [interrupting] I'm surprised!

Dahl: You're a little smartass! Anyone ever tell you that? Now, just listen!

Me: OK.

Dahl: The reason we play those songs over and over is because the polar ice caps are expanding, and we're about to have another ice age. We're going to be buried under glaciers! Then there won't be any entertainment. Everything's going to be destroyed. The only thing to do for entertainment will be to sing songs ourselves. So we're doing you a service.

Me: [vague and twerpy protesting and scoffing]

Dahl (or Meier, I forget): OK, well, let's test you. Can you sing the Go-Gos, "Our Lips Are Sealed"?

Me: Yeah!

And I gave it a shot. I crooned most of the first verse before I screwed up. "See!" Dahl said. "You're not prepared yet!" And then they played the Go-Gos record. And after that, David Bowie & Queen's song, "Under Pressure," which Meier intro'd as "Under Glacier."

I have that on tape somewhere ... with a couple backup dubs, so I expect it still exists. Maybe I'll digitize it and find a way to post it ... if I can stand the embarrassment of my voice, which hadn't quite changed yet into the manly baritone it is today.

I played the tape later that evening for my mom, who still proudly tells people that "Steve Dahl called my son a smartass!"

Which is as good a punchline as any with which to wrap this up. Cuz CBS canned Dahl, and his last show was today. Heard it on the car radio on the way to the office this morning. He has a couple years left under contract, so he could be off the air for a while, but I know he'll be around in one medium or another, and I expect he'll be on the air again someday. Until then, thanks, Stever. Thanks muchly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

White Hot Sox Stove Report: The "Plus, He Can Throw Out Base-Stealers While Drinking a Glass of Water" Edition

Sox GM (the non-bankrupt kind) Ken Williams on catcher Tyler Flowers, who was just acquired in the "Javy Vazquez & Boone Logan to the Braves for four young guys nobody has ever heard of, plus an enormous feeling of relief that Javy and Boone are not pitching for the Sox anymore" trade that just happened:

"I've seen him now for seven or eight times in the Arizona Fall League. I think this guy is going to be an All-Star catcher."

Well, I'll give Williams credit for, as Joe Morgan would put it, "concetrating" on the relevant details.

Because all I can think of when I see the name Tyler Flowers is that both his names are the last names of has-been celebrity ventriloquists -- Willie Tyler (of Willie Tyler and Lester fame) and Wayland Flowers (the human -- and, alas, dead -- half of Wayland Flowers and Madam).

Totally distracting. And the creepiest Sox-and-ventriloquist connection since this.


Some of you ("you" meaning, in this case, literally, "people who are not me") may have heard of also-included-in-this-tradester, Brent Lillibridge, who has had some major league experience ... I guess.

Anyway, Tribune say:

Williams said that Brent Lillibridge will serve in a super-utility role that Pablo Ozuna performed for 3 1/2 years, but that Lillibridge had a bigger upside.

Uh, I think they left an "f" off of that compound adjective describing what Ozuna did.

Actually, I always liked Ozuna (much like Tessio always liked Mike Corleone), but business is business, so I couldn't let that easy joke go by.

Also ... heh heh, he said "bigger upside." Heh heh. Heh heh heh.

That one writes itself.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Today I am thankful for the elastic waistband

Oh ... my ... God ... I am fat and old.

Here I am, lounging around on a Saturday night, watching Peanuts movies on the Family Channel, and I had to change into my sweat pants because I've been overeating for a week.

Burrrrrp. Oh yeah ... that's better.

I got an early jump on Thanksgiving last weekend, cooking up such fare for Moss, myself, and I as roast chicken, mashed potatoes with horseradish and sour cream, Polish cabbage and egg noodles with more sour cream, shepherd's pie, a few ham and fried egg and swiss cheese sandwiches ... and then Thursday happened, with the shrimp cocktail, creamed pickled herring, and sardines and crackers before dinner (us Swedes ... that's how we roll -- obscenely piscinely) ... along with chips, dips, chips, salsa, and the occasional radish, scallion, baby carrot, and cherry tomato ... and then the standard turkey dinner with stuffing, gravy, potatoes, gravy, succotash, broccoli in cheese sauce, rolls and butter, candied yams, and cranberry sauce ... and thennn ... pumpkin pie and red velvet cake for dessert. Not to mention the beer and wine. Lots of beer and wine, all week long.

Don't look at me. I'm ... hideous. Grotesque.

OK, enough of that. I still have leftover turkey and potatoes and gravy to dispatch. Plus one last wedge of pie. And maybe I'll roast some broccoli to assuage the conscience. Or brussels sprouts. I have a bag of fresh brussels sprouts I haven't dented yet. Anyway, we're on a schedule here! No crumb must go uneaten this weekend! And no alcoholic beverage shall escape the filtering labors of my liver!

Yeah. So I crated up the cats and headed up north to the far far far north burbs for Thanksgiving, which was pretty calm and peaceful, and gluttonous. Well, not so peaceful for the cats, who were still sleeping off the excitement today. Mingus had spent a couple weeks up there recently, while Piper was convalescing, so he was right at home. "Hey! I know this place! Toys! Food! Attention! Goofy old fat white cat to chase! Yayyy!" Piper was more timid and 'fraidy. She spent most of the time hiding behind the couch, only venturing out to eat up the last of the summer catnip and dig up some houseplants.

But family harmony prevailed this year. For one thing, my dad and I discovered we share a rare political commonality, in that we both aren't crazy about Obama. For different reasons, of course, and to different degrees. My dad, being a right-winger, can't stand him. I, being lefty to the core, am merely unhappy with the rightward lurch he's taken since ... well ... since his Senate term started in 2005. And I suppose dad has more reason to be disgruntled than I do. He thinks his world has been turned upside down. Whereas I ... don't. Both divergent sides of that viewpoint coin being the nut of our respective discontents. But you take your commonality where you can find it. It beats the yelly "America: love it or leave it" lecture I used to routinely get as an argumentative youngster.

Ah, memories. And speaking of which, Family Channel showed "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" tonight, which I haven't seen since I don't remember when. But I remember the first time I saw it, which was sometime in 1970, at the no-longer-extant Waukegan Drive-In. It was the first movie my parents took me to see. Not a bad start.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CBRAT Meta Post: Now With Less Stuff Up Front

Firefox 3 continues to be the shittiest browser I've ever used ... and I continue to keep using it, because I like AdBlock Plus, mainly. And I refuse to touch IE. And too many pages won't load correctly in Opera. And Google has enough of my goddamn personal info without me using Chrome.

Anyway, Firefox 3 and embedded YouTube videos do not play together nice at all, at least on this computer, and I have gotten dead sick of waiting 15 minutes for the page to load every time I want to look at the blog. Seriously, every time I proofread a post, and every time I need to insert a fricking missing comma or misspelled word, I have to deal with this fucking browser locking up, and sometimes freezing completely.

So. First of all, I've limited the number of posts displaying on the front page to seven. It's archived weekly, so it should be easier to load bits of the archive, if for some reason you need to catch up on older ones.

Second ... I know this is going to break zillions of hearts out there ... no more YouTubes. They just work way too much like shit. And I have to put up with too much shit in other aspects of life to be willing to put up with it in a toy blog. I'll leave in the ones already embedded, but I have embedded my last YouTube vid here. Ever. From now on, if I really fucking want somebody to check out a vid, I'll paste in the url. But for the most part, this cocksucker is going to be limited to words, and the occasional still foto.

So ... welcome to the brave new audiovisual-less world, CBRAT-wise.

OK, that's all. See you on the other end of tomorrow's gluttony.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting a jump on trying not to hate Christmas this year

As dedicated CBRATsters know, I have issues with Xmas. Big, hairy ones. Big, scary ones. We won't get into the reasons right now, but I will say that it's a wet paper bag I'm always trying to fight my way out of, because I used to enjoy the season.

And the season it is, with the sparkly lights all over Clark Street in Andersonville and the shop displays fulla tinsel and GLBT/Communist-friendly, secularly flashy displays of all sorts. So ... for the nth year running, here goes ...

Let's go back to the early '80s ... probably 1982 or 1983.* That year, we traveled east to Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with relatives, which I don't think we did any year before or after. We stayed at my aunt Carolyn and uncle Clair's house, which was full of humanity, since they had five kids ... which ... arithmetic, arithmetic ... added up to 11 people in one house. Plus half a dozen or more other relatives visiting at practically any hour of the day or night. This was a strange world. I grew up in a cold, antiseptic, WASPish nuclear family environment, with tons of personal space and tons of distance between kin.

So this was not what I was used to.

But my dim memories of that Christmas are mostly pleasant, mainly because of one evening in that house, a few days into the trip, when we had all seemed to settle into the rhythm of the dynamic. Everybody milling about, doing their own thing. Very raucous, but somehow relaxed at the same time. It was one of the few "big family" moments I've ever enjoyed.

My favorite thing about that night was the hour or so I spent with my mom at the kitchen table, taking a cartooning lesson from her. I was always too clumsy and too easily frustrated to get much from her drawing lessons (I'm a fair doodler and that's about it), but I enjoyed the experience.

We were working on caricatures, and I said, "Draw David Bowie!" And damned if she didn't do an excellent job, a properly spacey profile from around the "Diamond Dogs" era. Without any reference -- from memory. That was impressive. I wish I had saved that drawing.

The other thing that I remember fondly about that same evening is pissing my uncle Dave off with my Dungeons and Dragons dice, which I'd actually dragged all the way out there. Dave is ... well, Dave is the black sheep uncle in my family, although he hadn't yet been fully ostracized at that time. Dave has had some longstanding drinking problems, and spawning random children across the hills and vales problems, too. Anyway, for some reason, I was showing my D&D dice to Dave, and he was particularly pissed off by the four-sided die. As in, the whole four-sided die concept.

"You can't roll that!" You have to imagine a thick, Allegheny Mountains accent, if you can. "How can you even roll that?!"

I tried to explain that you can still toss it in the air and generate a random number with it, but he just (dryly) spat a curse and headed wherever, for more booze, or, I dunno, annother incubator for his copious sperm.**

Yeah. So, ho ho ho and batten down the hatches, er, topsail the mistletoe there ye scurvy bosun, er ... whatever.

Holiday season. Here it comes. Let's pray we get through it again.

*Actually, come to think of it, this may well have been 1981, and it probably was a visit of over two weeks in duration. Because I distinctly recall watching a Muhammad Ali fight on TV at that place (I was and am a huge fan of his), and Wikipedia sez Ali fought (and lost to) Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981 -- Ali's last fight). Earlier Ali fights don't fit the date profiles of other visits, so ... could be.

**There, maybe that will raise my masculinity quotient. Easily that gets me to 63, 64%.

BONUS GEEK ANECDOTE: On that same trip, my dad had neglected to carry sufficient reading material. So, about midway in, I lent him a book I had with me, one of the "Elric of Melniboné" novels by Michael Moorcock. Which he read.

"Weird," was the gist of his review. "That book was really weird."

CBRAT: Now With 60% Masculinity

Have you heard of this thing, "GenderAnalyzer"? It's one of those "type the URL in the blank and click the button" doohickeys, and it purports to "[use] Artificial Intelligence to determine if a homepage is written by a man or woman."

The verdict on this here site:

We guess is written by a man (60%), however it's quite gender neutral.

Fair enough. I am a man, I guess. And I am quite gender neutral, in terms of the way I write. Isn't one supposed to be?

Also, I guess my knowledge of proper comma usage is superior to yours, Mr. and/or Ms. G.A. dot Com.

What of it?

(By the way, "DefensivenessAnalyzer" has not, to my knowledge, been invented. But, if it had, I'm guessing that CBRAT would garner a score of at least "75% defensive." And if you don't like that -- too fucking bad.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm losing ... I'm losing ... I'm losing ... I'm losing my Vitamin D

Actually, it's pretty sunny today (cold, but bright), which is good for my seasonal affective disorder, but it's annoying, in that it exposes just how lousy a housekeeper I am. If dust were Euros, I could retire. Have you ever tried to dust a ridiculously large number of stacks of CDs and DVDs and books leaning precariously (some stacks having already lost that fight with gravity and/or pet-related mayhem) all over your living room? Me neither. And the rug needs vacuuming, cuz I have two cats who seem to be practicing to be place-kickers for a feline sandlot football league. Goddamn litter everywhere. Which -- d'oh! -- I forgot to buy at over by The Jewels's this morning. I guess the current supply will hold out a little longer. Maybe I should feed the monsters some cheese. Constipate em up. I hope the judges of the Pet Owner Award of the Year don't read this blog.

Anyway ... I'm "telecommuting" today, and I have a stack of work right by my side here at CBRAT Central, but I'm taking a holiday week next week, so ... my "business before pleasure" ethic is facing a challenge at this particular moment.

While I'm at it, I want to go on record with the claim that I have been making jokes about pretending to be confused between Janet Napolitano and Johnette Napolitano for yeeears now, ever since Janet N. was attorney general of Arizona. That's 10 years, folks. Now that she's being considered for an Obama cabinet post, everyone (OK, two or three blogs and/or commenters thereon) thinks that joke is the heighth and breadth of wit. Anyway, of the potential appointments being bandied about, Janet Napolitano is probably the one I have the least to complain about, so far. And I always liked Johnette pretty well.

Concrete Blonde - Joey

Oh yeah, one last thing. It's flu season, people. Get your shots, and pound that good citrus. It's probably lame and passe (I think it's kinda limp-wristed myself, if you know what I mean), but if you need to put lime in your beer to get it, that's OK with me. This has been a public service message from Seattle Pilots manager, (Chicago's own) Joe Schultz. Joe adds, "Shitfuck. I've been dead for 12 years and I still have more sense than you idiots. Fuckshit."

Can - Vitamin C (truncated clip, unfortunately)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Just In: John McCain Confuses Self with Kim Basinger

Via HuffPo: John McCain: Jackson Browne Used Me

In other news:

The return of "Musical Commute Report"

During the drive to and from the upper upper lower upper north burbs over the last couple of weeks, I've heard this song about a dozen times on the Loyola U. station, and it's growing on me. It's muddy, it's poppy, and the (Brooklyn-based) band's name references weird creepy dead reclusive Chicago outsider artist Henry Darger:

Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hot Stove Report: Japanese League Edition

According to news reports, Japan could soon have its first female professional baseball player. The Kobe 9 Cruise, a franchise in a new independent league, has drafted 16-year-old Eri Yoshida, a knuckleball pitcher.

I don't know what the rate of success is for draftees in Japan, but I'm sure the washout rate is quite high, as it is in the United States. Still, given that it's a new league, maybe she will get a chance to play, and maybe she'll be the one that finally breaks the gender barrier.

Particularly (pathologically, even) obsessive/compulsive readers of this blog might recall that I mentioned in a post some time ago that, in 1986, shortly before his death, former White Sox owner Bill Veeck wrote in the epilogue to second edition of his autobiographical book, The Hustler's Handbook, that he foresaw the eventual shattering of said barrier:

There is ... one source of talent that has never been tapped: the female of the species. In 1980, I had a promotion worked out, secretly, with Coca-Cola to conduct a national hunt for the best of the female players, with the winners to be placed in the minor leagues and brought along like anybody else. It was not a stunt.

Although the female of the species lacks the upper-body strength to stand much of a chance in the competition for the power positions, young women are more than competitive when it comes to dexterity and agility. If everything had gone according to plan, we would have had a female playing second base in Chicago within three years and, unless I was off the mark, a pitcher with style and control within five.

Unfortunately, Veeck never got to carry through on the experiment, and subsequent owners have lacked his vision. Major League Baseball hasn't even been able to put women umpires on the field -- and that's a profession desperately in need of an increase in its talent pool.

But the drafting of Eri Yoshida represents a step forward, so maybe someday, maybe soon ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Meme Game ... Listy! Listy listy, bo bisty ... etc.

OK, although I haven't posted a post every day this month, I've been kind of inspired by Feral Mom's dedication to the whole "National Blog Post Month" concept (if that is its real name), and in connection with this post over by there, here, from me, to you, is the following "playing along with the whole 'getting to know you' meme burgoo" posting. Please to enjoy.

Three Things You Want To Do Before You Die:

1) Read every George Herriman "Krazy Kat" strip ever drawn
2) Take up art again and make something good
3) Take up fiction writing again and finish some goddamn thing

Three Names You Go By:

1) Moss
2) Dirt
3) STD

Three Physical Things You Like About Yourself:

1) Neckbeard! (Kyle Orton, woot!)
2) That one crazy eyebrow hair that grows about an inch a day
3) Third nipple

Three Parts Of Your Heritage:

1) English coal miners
2) Pennsylvania coal miners
3) South Dakota farmers

Three Things That Scare You:

1) Sarah Palin
2) Unemployment
3) Success

Three Of Your Everyday Essentials:

1) Beer
2) College/indie radio
3) Comix

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:

1) Captain Hand t-shirt
2) Gray jeans I found $12 in the pocket of this morning
3) Eyeglasses the cute little redheaded optician helped me pick

Three Of Your Favorite Bands/Musical Artists:

1) Cheap Trick
2) Ian Dury (with or without The Blockheads)
3) Charles Mingus

Three Of Your Favorite Songs (at the moment anyway):

1) M.I.A. - Paper Planes

2) Diesel - Sausalito Summernight

3) The Kings - This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide

Three Things You Want In A Relationship:

1) Someone to eat cheese with
2) No Republicans
3) Must love White Sox

Two Truths And A Lie (in no particular order):

1) Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear
2) If I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key
3) I know a lot of Bill Murray movie quotes

Three Things You Want To Do Really Badly Right Now:

1) Bong hits
2) Tina Fey
3) Pee

Three Careers You're Considering/You've Considered:

1) Tavern owner
2) Lighthouse keeper
3) Librarian

Three Places You Want To Go On Vacation:

1) The Painted Desert
2) Coconino County
3) Back to the Big Island, Hawaii

Three Pet Names You Like:

1) Toots
2) Cholly
3) Pally

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Girl:

1) My tits hurt when I drive on bumpy roads
2) I want you to use utensils and a napkin when I make you dinner
3) I want to tell you about my day long time, GI Joe

Three Ways That You Are Stereotypically A Boy:

1) Total slob
2) Loves the baseballs
3) Yes, I like boobs a lot; also, I like big butts and I cannot lie

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Fire Joe Morgan," RIP

Bummer. The folks over at "Fire Joe Morgan" have called it quits. They don't have time anymore, work and family, etc. and so forth. Oh well ... it was hilarious while it lasted. And it opens the door for me to provide their "making fun of bad sports writing and broadcasting" services, which I fully intend to do, with the spirit of ineptitude and half-assedness my dozen of regular readers have come to expect over the last 507 posts (and counting). That's right, folks, CBRAT is going nowhere. Fast!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hot Stove News: Calculating the Square Root by Performing Logarithmic Functions, While Multiplying Percentages Exponentially by Division Edition

As anyone who cares has no doubt already heard, the Sox dealt Nick "Swishy Knickers" Swisher today to the Yankees for some dudes no one has ever heard of. Chicagoland peroxide dealers are on 24-hour suicide watch. I'm not sure what the deal does for the Sox, exactly, but they didn't really have anyplace to put "Dirty Thirty," and, frankly, they already have more than enough joker-jester-trickster representation from Toby "If It's Funny Once It Must Be a Hundred Times as Funny the Hundredth Time" Hall.

And, in other non-exclusive news, the (for my tastes, much too gradual) purging of local professional athletes with girls' names continues, with the Cubs finally cutting loose Kerry "Carrie White" Wood after eleventy thousand dozen years of disappointment. And they acquired relief pitcher Kevin "I Don't Have Any Jokes for This Guy Yet" Gregg from the Miami Swordfish, who will probably close if Carlos "Nice Marmot" Marmol continues to succumb to, in his native tongue, "dee shpilkes" every time he's asked to play that role.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more hot "Hot Stove on Hot Stove" action, and watch for our soon-to-be-released no-holds-barred DVD, "Hot Stoves Gone Wild" -- you won't believe what these stoves will do for the camera! Hot!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"If I was P.F. Sloan, I'd say the Dow Jones can suck my bone, yeah!"

YouTube videos!

The "Republicans, one and all:
their tallywhackers are mighty small" Set

Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - I Hate Banks

P.F. Sloan - Eve of Destruction

DEVO - Secret Agent Man

The Fugs - Crystal Liaison

The Holy Modal Rounders - Boobs A Lot

Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - At The Freakers Ball

Jimmy Carl Black - Lonesome Cowboy Bert (from "200 Motels," feat. Phlorescent Leech & Eddie and various other Mothers)

Meanwhile, in the land of faulty analogies ...

Herein, the President of the United States is compared to a washed up, mulleted, pop-country one-hit-wonder:

Miley's dad wants Obama girls to help hype 'Hannah'

So many ironies in the following paragraph that it defies smartass remarking:

"They are kind of like me before I started my own career," the "Hannah" star said. "You are kind of put in it because their dad and because of my dad so I would want it to be normal and they could come hang out on the set with normal girls. I think that would be fun for them."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Here Now at This Time, in This Location: Global World Premiere on an International Basis of Uncle Tiny Tim's Rock Futon

Yesterday ... Somewhere deep below the Jersey swamps, in the subterranean HQ of SMonkey Enterprises (parent company of CBRAT), our Northeastern USA Vice President, One O Ball, marked the passage of another year on Earth, and then he shrugged. Another birthday in paradise, he said to no one in particular.

Today ... He woke up and made this -- the world premiere pilot number one episode of "Uncle Tiny Tim's Rock Futon" (featuring Super Karaoke Fun Time Band's pahfahmance of "American Band") -- which we now embed without further anything:

[Never mind -- apparently this video has been inadvertently deleted by its maker. Nothing to see here. Scroll down, folks.]

And there's more! In the form of this! Which consists of Black Stooges whomping on "I Wanna Be Your Dog"! Don't watch too closely or else you might not miss several cameos from a certain blogger.

Meanwhile ... we've been busy, too, in Chicago, at CBRAT Central Nerve Center. Among other things today, we installed a new electronic dart board, a new analog scratching post, and a new shower curtain, here being in the same room with mascots of the blog, Piper and Mingus.

That is all.

Wait -- one more thing. Get well, Neckbeard. Get well quick. We can't stand Sexy Rexy. From one (small "n") neckbeard to another (big "N") Neckbeard. Seriously. Get back in there. Walk it off! Rub some dirt on it! BEAR DOWN!!!

OK, now that's all. Back to the dart mines for me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

That was a short honeymoon

The incoming administration's chief of staff addresses "progressive" Democrats, letting them know, in no uncertain terms, what they can expect:

If you feel like dancing, here's this version. Same message, bouncier beat:

And, in case you took some acid ... well, you probably don't need to watch this. But the rest of us can watch it, so as to better understand your reality:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sox Fan in the (White) House

As his first act upon taking office, I would like President Obama to issue an executive order declaring that the shortened form "Sox" refers to, and only to, the WHITE Sox, and not the Red Sox. Henceforth and forever after. Amen.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Indian of the Group: RIP

Well, doggone it, this thing is turning into DeathBlog: 2008 lately. Maybe if Killy McGee up there would take a break, I could write about something else. Or ... maybe if I wrote about something else, Killy McGee would take a break up there. Kind of an awesome responsibility, come to think of it. But I digress.

Just found out today that original Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black (trademark quote: "I'm Jimmy Carl Black, and I'm the Indian of the group") died on November 1. He was a funny guy. I always liked him. But he says not to be sad, so, OK. I won't.

Here's a clip of Jimmy with Dr. Eugene Chadbourne performing Captain Beefheart's "Dropout Boogie" in Tokyo on June 6.

Also passing away on November 1 -- exotica music goddess, otherworldly Peruvian soprano Yma Sumac. Mang ... I didn't even know she was still alive. I used to enjoy getting baked and listening to her back in my "exotica" phase, in the early 1990s. Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Esquivel ... fantastic stuff. Here's a taste. If you like it, I suggest YouTube mining a little bit. Totally worth it, baked or not.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

You can't change time, man ... time changes you

At some point over the weekend, my age changed to a prime number. Which is apparently meaningful to some people I know, prime number ages, although I don't know why. Also, through no action or intention of my own, this morning I found myself awake an hour earlier than my clocks said it was, which just means that I have too much time to kill before wasting the afternoon watching the Bears game. Damn you, time! You suck! Who don't think so?

Who's up for a few videos?

I have the following itinerary in mind. Kind of a belated Halloween line-up. Bruce Springsteen has a new song, in which he appears to be channeling Captain Beefheart, minus most of the insanity. A clip from a French TV show from 1980 will illustrate what I mean. And, wrapping it up, a cover. OK, here we go.

Bruce Springsteen - A Night With The Jersey Devil

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Big Eyed Beans from Venus

GUGUG - Grow Fins (Melodica Version)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Take it easy, but take it

Of course I knew Studs Terkel had to die someday ... but I still kind of thought he never would. I'm not going to try to out-obit the world or anything, but I will say that Studs always made me grateful that my life-span overlapped his. He was a great historian, unparalleled broadcaster, and the essential Uptown citizen, but more than anything else, his spirit was amazingly infectious. I only saw him in person one time -- speaking at Bughouse Square five or six years ago -- but it was a great thrill, I say completely without irony. I'll miss him, but he will continue to be a big influence on how I try to navigate this crazy world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now baseball is over again.

Long ... take place ... baseball


Congratulations to the Philadelphia Diminutive Nicknames for winning the "World" Series.

Now here's a few YouTube videos.

First, here's one to describe my feelings about the 2008 Series in general:

Blondie - Rip Her to Shreds

And now here's a classic number by a fine musical artist from The City of Brotherly Love (and Racist Cheese Steak Vendors):

Todd Rundgren - You Cried Wolf

One from one of the best-known Philly Soul bands:

The O'Jays - For the Love of Money

More Philly Soul:

Teddy Pendergrass - Love T.K.O.

And lastest but not leastest, a band that brings to mind the following anecdote. Freshman year in high school, my "History of Western Thought" (honors history) teacher, Mr. "No Relation to William Jennings" Bryan was telling a story that ... as far as I can recall, had no point whatsoever. But it had something to do with what he considered to be the irrational price structure of pop culture ephemera, I guess. See, he was over by the Lakehurst Mall in Waukegan to get a birthday present for his son, who he always called, "The Kid," like he thought he was some kind of D-List Tribune columnist or something, like an incredibly impoverished man's lice's Eric Zorn. And he heads over to The Camelot there, the record store, cuz The Kid likes this pop group, "Oates and Hall." So, The Camelot's got two Oates and Hall cassette tapes on sales there, one for $8.99, and the other for $6.99. But -- get this -- they're BOTH Oates and Hall tapes. Which ... isn't that just irrational and totally nuts?

Anyway, as I was saying, lastest but not leastest, here's this:

Hall & Oates - Rich Girl

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where have all the rude ukulele boys gone? . . . and other ssstuff

Fourteen days have come and gone, and this afternoon Doctor The Vet took the staples out of Piper the cat's healed-up belly and removed the crazy cone from her head. The cat's head, I mean. If Doctor The Vet wore one of those things, I'm not so sure I'd trust her. But anyway ... the mood is predictably upbeat hereabouts this evening. Which calls for ... A little YouTube Video Juke Box action.

GUGUG - Blank Expression (Specials cover)

The Ethiopians - Train to Skaville

Toots & the Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number

Madness - Baggy Trousers

Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves

Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace - Herb Vendor

Skafish - Disgracing the Family Name

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deceased But Not Decreased: Rudy Ray Moore

Best known for his epochal character, Dolemite, comedian, godfather of rap, and super genius, Rudy Ray Moore has died at the age of 81.

If you don't know him, you should. There's a reasonably priced collection of his films available out there on DVD, so get to work. In the meantime, there's a recent interview at this site.

And for the audio-inclined, here's a recording of one of his most famous interpretations of an old, old story from African folklore, "The Signifying Monkey."

Rest in peace, Rudy Ray Moore, and don't take no shit from all them no business, insecure, rat soup eatin', junkyard motherfuckers in the afterlife, whatever it may be!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Self-Rebuttal on the Subject of Noisy Fans

Earlier today, I disparaged southern sports fans for making repetitive noises in a cretinous and irritating manner. After some reflection, I realize I was unfair, and I'm going to issue a rebuttal to myself in the form of a single photograph:

So ... to all southern sports fans, as well as all union locals of the International Brotherhood of Cow Bell Bangers, I apologize. It's way worser up north.

We Need Less Cowbell

Now that the World Series matchup has been set, it's time to pick a dog. Which is easy -- I'm rooting for the Phillies, and not just because expansion teams sicken me. I want the Rays to lose, if only because of that goddamn cowbell bullshit at that shitty excuse for a stadium they play in down there. What is it about southern sports fans and irritating, repetitive noises? Oh yeah, I forgot. They're cretins. Unfortunately, I think the Rays are going to demolish the Phillies in straight sets. At least it will be brief.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Belated Requiem

I should have posted this a while ago, when it would have been fresher, but it just occurred to me. Here's a repeat from 2006, the post titled "Not Quite a Sonnet." Even has an added dimension of faux-sense, with the "rays" reference in the fourth line. Heh heh. Oyyy.


The Pale Hose doth break my heart
with errant bat and faulty throw
Still's better to have soared so much
that solar rays do melt one's wings
than crawl around like Cub or such
and dine on soil with lowly things
We flew so high that none can ken
how bittersweet the landing's splay
But when snows transfix The Cell athwart
and Farmio plays golf all day
we'll wait for spring's warm winds to blow
to start again this futile art
this game for boys played by rich men
who poot perfume each time they fart

Levi Stubbs, RIP

Levi Stubbs, lead vocalist for the Four Tops, has died at age 72.

In honor of Mr. Stubbs, here's a live rendition of my favorite Four Tops tune.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Democrat, Heal Thyself

So I just read an entry on a librul blog (which shall remain name- and link-less) bitching out Preznit Bush for signing, on Monday, that ridiculous intellectual property remedy-enhancement law that, among other things, doubles fines for selling knockoff (counterfeit) products and creates a cabinet-level "Copyright Tsar" post.

But if you look up the Congressional vote tallies, guess what? The fucker passed UNANIMOUSLY in the Senate, and 381 to 41 in the House. Only 22 of the "nays" were Democrats (and that group did not include my congress critter, Jan "Just Lost STDPM's Vote" Schakowsky).*

I despise G-Dub as much as the rest of the 77% of the population who can't stand him, but he had a LOT of help with this one. And he's had a lot of help with pretty much every piece of crappy legislation he's signed. Much of that help coming from The Donkey Party. Even after they took ostensible "control" in 2006.

Yeah, I know you're all too busy being terrified of a Palin/McCain administration, yadda yadda yadda, to pick on the Democrats. Not me. I admit I'm less scared of an Obama admin than the probable alternative, but on at least two big issues -- intellectual property law and foreign policy (the latter of which I won't get into right now) -- the GOP and the Jackassery might as well be the same party. So I intend to continue to bitch about Democrats when they piss me off. Which, I'm sure, will be early and often.


*Dennis Kucinich voted "nay." Good old Dennis Kucinich.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Feline Update and Other Nuggets: Cat Slightly Happier, Owner Hanging in There

Waal, we outfitted the Piperoni with a more-comfy blue cloth cone, which she can use instead of the nasty plastic one, so long as she doesn't wrestle it off of her head. And she got the go-ahead from the vet for playing (as if she could be stopped), so here she is with her favorite toy.

In news of shameful personal weakness, the stress this week sort of caused to me to start smoking again. Bad human.

After all the excitement last night, I did manage to catch the end of the NL game. I'm not sure I care, but since I predicted a Phillies-Red Sox series back in early June, I have my prognosticatorial reputation at stake ... which, of course, is worth exactly nothing.

Here's an item of note: Now that the baseball off-season has commenced, at least locally, my favorite Chicago sports web comic strip artist has shifted back to festivities over by Smells Like Mascot. Leaves falling off the trees, unreasonable hopes for the Bears burgeoning, and Smells Like Mascot up and running. Yeah, it's fall.

And while I'm recommending stuff, if you haven't taken a look at the "Reel Geezers" movie reviews on YouTube, they're worth checking out. I won't go too deep into background, because you can find that out easily if you want, but the dude geezer, Lorenzo, wrote for the 1960s "Batman" TV series, so that might be some enticement. Anyway, to easify it for you, here's the latest installment, which I particularly enjoy. It's about political movies, and two excellent highlights include bashing of Frank Capra by Lorenzo and discussion of one of my all-time favorite flicks, "A Face in the Crowd," starring Andy Griffith.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bad Cat Craziness

Stressful week here at CBRAT HQ. "Rowdy Roddy" Piper the kitten has had a hard time with her incision from getting spayed last week, and has opened herself up a couple times. I thought she was over the worst of it, but tonight she busted herself again and started bleeding, so I ran her over to the emergency vet over by Clybourn and Belmont. They said she was healing inside OK but the outer skin layer was still not closing all the way, so they put in some staples and fitted her with one of those dreaded head cones. She is one miserable kitty cat at the moment, and having a ridiculous time trying to navigate around with that thing on. And her brother Mingus is hella confused. And I am exhausted.

Monday, October 06, 2008

And that's all she wrote ... but I think she's just pausing to put more toner in the printer

Thus ends the 2008 baseball season in Chicago.

In less than a month, the 2008 election season in the USA will also end ... I hope to God. (Or, in lieu of belief in God by me, a reasonable facsimile thereof -- such as, my big red lamp. Make it stop, Big Red Lamp! I beseech thee!)

Shortly after that, the despised and dreaded ... ugh ... holiday season. Which, painful as it is, will end on January 1. Which is not really all that far away.

And a little over a month after that ... Spring Training 2009 begins. Why, it might as well be tomorrow.

In the words of Frank Zappa, the torture never stops.

POSTSCRIPT: Yeah, I'm probably going to watch the rest of the playoff seriesesez, because I almost always do. And, to some surprise, I am finding that I dislike the Angels even more than the Red Sox, which I couldn't have guessed prior to about five minutes ago, when I caught myself hoping the Carmines will finish them off tonight. I was under the impression that the Red Sox were my least favorite team (they bug me even more than the Yankees -- at least since 2004). I must be favoring them because I predicted in early June that they'd be facing the Phillies in the World Series. And getting a prediction right is more important than maintaining a good hate. Although if that is the World Series match-up, it's going to be awfully difficult to pick a team to root for. It'll be like some kind of giant Obnoxious-Off.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

If I were a Cubs fan, I would blame Eddie Vedder

If this doesn't stop the City of Chicago from holding downtown rallies after the Cubs clinch the division (that is, if they ever do again -- and I hereby predict it will be a few years before they do), nothing will. I can understand why they would want to celebrate before having actually won anything -- because otherwise they might assuredly, absolutely, inevitably will never get to celebrate at all. But it's just bad form.

Also, Lou Piniella is an idiot for more reasons than can be summarized here, even in bulleted-list format, but he's an especially idiotic idiot for allowing the team to get cold after the clinch. That never pays off.

Or maybe Of course they were doomed anyway. Alfonso Soriano's entire career history is marked by post-seasons in which he was in dire need of the Heimlich Maneuver. But then I can't stand him even when he's playing well.

Dempster panicked, the infield wet their pinstripes, A-Ram looked even more than usual like he was about to cry at any second (which I didn't think possible), and Fukudome ... makes me really glad I'm not a Cubs fan.

But seriously, so does that Eddie Vedder song. That song is twelve kinds of shit on a stick, deep-fried, coated in sprinkles, dipped in tinkle, and served up with a puke-bag full of awful.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Into the Valley of Death rode the 25-man playoff roster ...

Is it looking good?


Are we crying about it?


Screw disappointment and frustration. Let's rock.

Stiff Little Fingers - Alternative Ulster

Minutemen - Little Man With a Gun in His Hand

Tar - Goethe

Red Aunts - Roller Derby Queen

Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Runaway

Naked City - Victims of Torture

TheWrathofZod - Ka Mate (Haka)

That will teach them to get born with dirty parts

So I dropped off the kitty kats, Piper and Mingus, over by the animal hospital this morning for their wiggly-bit fix-jobs and New World Order homeland security chip implants. While they're Out of the Office, I'm going to take advantage of the lack of tornadic feline maelstromity to straighten up a few things ... so that they can dismantle them again when they come home tomorrow.

In that connection, here, in no particular order and for no particular reason, is a list of paperback books Pipey and Mingey have knocked off of my cheap orange metal bookcase over the last few weeks, and that I haven't bothered to pick up until now:

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
  • Our Gang - Philip Roth
  • Radical Lawyers - Jonathan Black, editor
  • My Secret Life - Anonymous
  • Inside the Third Reich - Albert Speer
  • Teenage Runaway - John Benton
  • The Way of the Bull - Leo Buscaglia
  • The Social Contract - Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Sincerely, Ronald Reagan - Helene von Damm, editor
  • Babbitt - Sinclair Lewis
  • Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego - Sigmund Freud
  • War and Peace (abridged version) - Leo Tolstoy
  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge - Carlos Castaneda
  • Masters of Deceit - J. Edgar Hoover
  • Myra Breckenridge - Gore Vidal
  • Beyond Cloak and Dagger - Inside the CIA - Miles Copeland

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ooh, here it comes ... Wait, no, no, that's not what we ordered!

To all my fellow lefties who are rubbing your palms together like greedy monkeys and limbering up your eyeballs for viewing the drubbing of the century delivered to Sarah Palin in the VP debate ... be careful. Learn something from the hapless Cubs fans.

You're setting yourselves up for a terrible shock. Joe Biden is Ryan Dempster. Hell, at times, Joe Biden is Neal Cotts. (I won't go so far as to say he's Bobby Howry. Hyperbole is hyperbole, but that would just be ridiculous.)

At any rate, be prepared for the possibility that you will wake up tomorrow extremely depressed and dejected.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Game 163 Coming Up

Oy gevalt! I can hardly wait. That exclamation is in honor of Steve Stone, who had to leave the radio booth around the midpoint of yesterday's game against the Tigers due to the sounding of the shofar. So, presumably, Chris Rongey will be subbing for him tonight, which is suboptimal, but it will still be better than listening to the audio on TBS ... ugh.

I hope the Sox win, of course, just because -- but also because I hope I haven't heard the last of Stone and Farmer on AM 670. They made a great team this season. Stone will do fine alongside Hawk on TV, and DJ or whoever else replaces Stone on the radio will be all right, I'm sure, but it won't be the same great combo as The Pony and Farmio.

OK. About an hour to go. Get yer black threads on and let's win it.

UPDATE: 6:30 pm: My bad. I guess it's past sundown, so the holiday obligations are over. Anyway, Stoney is on the air. Which starts things off right, from my perspective.

UPDATE: 9:00 pm: That was an awesome catch by Brian Anderson. Wowie wow wow. Onward to Tampa.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Blargasso Sea

Hey, here's some unexpected news that is quite decent, I must say. Back-in-the-day ("day" in this case meaning late '90s) acquaintance of the blogger Michael "Professor of Dangeral Studies" Bérubé has resumed blogging at his blog. And he's as blabby as ever.

No word on a potential Nastybake reunion, although I gather that the non-Bérubé members of that band are scattered at various arctic research stations. But we can dream.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Also Off Topic: Curtain Closing, Too, as You No Doubt Have Heard, on The House That Stein Wrecked

And my nominee for "Number One Yankee Stadium Moment" is the following, which is only better for being fictional.

It's the Great Smoke-Off immortalized by Shel Silverstein (born in Chicago, September 25, 1930 ... and I'm remedying things by noting that anniversary almost two days late, yes) between Pearley Sweetcake (D-California) and The Calistoga Kid (D-New York).

Here's a verbal taste. Then the video embedation.

See the dealers and their ladies
Wearing turquoise lace and leather
See the narcos and the closet smokers
Puffin all together
From the teenies who smoke legal
To the ones who've done some time
To the old man who smoked reefer
Back before it was a crime

And the grand old house that Ruth built
Is filled with the smoke and cries
Of fifty thousand screaming heads
All stoned out of their minds
And they play the national anthem
And the crowd lets out a roar
As the spotlight hits The Kid and Pearl
Ready for their smokin' war

Shel Silverstein - The Great Smoke Off

Off Topic: Curtain Soon to Close on Shea Stadium; Nobody Cares

OK, I can't help but razz this a little bit -- I just read over on the Mets' website that fans have voted Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 World Series as the "Number One Shea Stadium Moment," or words to that effect. I can't argue against that being a huge baseball event, and very memorable ... but isn't it kind of weird that the biggest thing to happen for Mets fans at their home park was an error by an opposing player? Wouldn't you rather have it be something great that, like, a Met did there?