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)