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.