Where Oh Where Is McCrabass?

Contrary to what you read on the bathroom stalls, I am alive and well. I’ve just been a titch busy.

A tasty gem of a tome has been tossed into my lap by my pal, Andrew Huff, over at Gaper’s Block. I can’t give details at the moment, but when it’s done, y’all will be the first to know.

Also, I’m getting my act together and taking it on the podcast road–so to speak. It’ll be based on my blog and other topics that interest both the host (me) and the various co-hosts I’ve tapped to help me out (Charlie Meyerson, Monroe Anderson, Andrew Huff, Ranjit Souri & others to be named when I get up the courage to ask them). Due to the monumental amount of time that has passed since I’ve dealt with anything audio-wise, I’m in the process of educating my gin-soaked noggin regarding the equipment needed to make this whole thing a success. Word on the street is this podcast could be some sort of underground sensation with my handful of readers.

Why am I doing a podcast, you ask? Well, I’m bored, out of work, and have grown weary of trying to count my freckles. Oh and I have lots to say. I’m not looking to make money, I’m looking to have fun.

This is Chicago, after all, and there’s lots going on here–and elsewhere–to talk about. Especially if the news continues along these lines.

See you soon!

 

 

A Little of This, A Little of That…

Major rant coming on, then the news!

First, a word about blogging, blogs and their readers. While I love reading the blogs I subscribe to (they’re all so good in their own ways), I hate the arrogance that some folks on WP have with regards to allowing people to ‘like’ a post and subscribe to a blog. Some WP bloggers have disabled both options for reasons that I don’t quite understand, but I’m slowly beginning to see that it’s ego run amok. The author is forcing you to comment on a post you like instead of pressing the ‘like’ button–which to me–is classic passive-aggressive behavior. This is becoming more popular for some reason, and I’ve noticed that at least half of the blogs I subscribe to are starting to do this. It’s such a pain in the ass that I’m going to stop reading the blogs that I can’t participate with in the way I desire.

Why wouldn’t the author of a blog want readers to like a post they’ve worked tirelessly on? Why have the only option for subscribing to a blog via email? See, that shit drives me nuts. I don’t like clogging up my email with alerts from WP–even though I only do that for a select few. I like having all of my subscriptions in one place–in my WP Reader. Maybe this is done by some WordPressers because their worlds don’t exist much outside of WordPress and this is their way of controlling things. I don’t know. All I know is it’s so gauche, and I’m growing weary of it.

<<<END RANT>>>

It’s been some time since I’ve done a news round-up. Why? Well, the news has been a major doggie-downer as of late so the thought of writing about it was causing me to feel like I was going through heroin withdrawal. I’m not a huge fan of vomiting, writhing on the floor and soiling my knickers uncontrollably. If that’s your thing, then hey, knock yerself out.

But, I’m holding off on having those things happen to me until I’m at least 90 years old.

On to the news.

Have a piece of schadenfreude pie, Joe Francis.

Apparently, Mr. “Girls Gone Wild” and all-around douchebag, has his knickers in a bunch because someone stole his iPad that contained a sex tape that he made with his gal pal! Francis is quite steamed about it because the thief is currently shopping said sex tape around to the highest bidder. Waah waah waah!

Joe Francis and his co-star. (photo courtesy of LAist.com)

Joe Francis and his co-star. (photo courtesy of LAist.com)

Francis is the emotionally retarded chap who made underage titty flashing the new thing to aspire to for so many girls who consider “cracker” to be a term of endearment and who frequent spring break getaways like South Padre Island, Ft. Liquordale, and the like. Oh, and he’s been in trouble with the law–he doesn’t like to pay taxes, can’t comprehend the meaning of ‘consent’ and doesn’t quite seem to glean what ‘underage’ means exactly–just to name a few. Oh for fun, get on the google machine and type in ‘Steve Wynn vs. Joe Francis’ and you’ll read some of the best unintentional comic material ever.

 

Question: What comes with an $800 sex toy?

Also, I hate it when this happens. See folks, this is why I keep my sex toys in a locked box in my panic room.

Bravo to Spain for taking a stand on dog poop scofflaws. You know, in Chicago, I think we should have the option of smearing the dog feces on the owners OR smearing them on a Cubs/Sox/Hawks/Bears/Bulls jersey in front of the owner. It all depends on which team the owner supports, and the messier the poop, the better. That’ll never happen since our sleazoid of a mayor is too busy engaging in a circle jerk with no-bid city contractors and parking meters companies.

This made me smile. China Eastern Airlines is getting all of their flight attendants trained in the ancient Chinese secret art of Kung Fu, as a way to protect themselves against hijackers. Tis a noble effort and I had no idea CEA was a target for hijackers. I do hope they’ll channel the surprisingly un-Chinese looking Kwai Chang Caine whilst unloading a high-kick to a hijacker’s noggin.

(courtesy retroland.com)

(courtesy retroland.com)

However, I have a sinking feeling it’ll be more like this:

As for the ear worm, you’re welcome.

 

Now What?

I’m back.. sort of. I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks–job rejections and weird personal stuff–good, bad and sad–have sidelined me for a bit.

Y’all ain’t rid of me yet, though. You’ll see soon enough.

First, some fun. Ahem.

Feast yer peepers at this impressive hunk of man-meat, then check out Mickey Rourke.

Mickey-Rourke-Russia7

Question: When did he start looking like my dead great-grandmother?

Then, I found this.

maninspeedoI think the meaning of life is in this photo. I’ve figure it out, now let’s see what you can conjure up.

In the meantime, I’m in the early stages of developing a podcast of sorts with a few of my pals here in the Windy City, and well, beyond too. Since there ain’t shit in this town for work for a fab gal like myself, I gotta find other ways to fill my days that don’t entail booze, men, hooch and free Internet porn. I’ve got a damn fine brain and wicked sense of humor, I might as well put the two to good use. I also have smart, witty friends who I know would love to join in the fun.

So, please feel free to send me topic ideas and if you want to be a guest, well, we can discuss that too.

 

 

The Balcony is Closed

It’s been a while, I know, and I was all ready to write about something I came across earlier in the week.

However, I feel the need to pay tribute to someone who’s work meant a great deal to me–Roger Ebert–who died today after a long battle with cancer.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

His death saddens me tremendously because he was a huge voice, not only in film criticism, but in life in general. His prose and wit were unmatched (except by his late-partner in crime, Gene Siskel), and there isn’t a film critic today who comes close to his abilities. He knew how to read a film, then discuss it in a way that wasn’t condescending or obnoxious.

Ebert was a writer, first and foremost, and that made him so good at his job. His love of film just added to that talent.

As most I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the Chicago area, so watching Siskel & Ebert, and eventually just Ebert, was required of all Illinois citizens. Also, we had to read their columns to learn how to write criticism, and well, how to write in general. After Siskel died, Ebert was the only critic I paid attention to. Sure, Kenneth Turan, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis are fine, but…meh…their work doesn’t compare to Ebert’s.

I’ve met Ebert a few times and each meeting, he was kind, gracious and witty. The most memorable was years ago when I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin. My father had the same lawyer as Siskel and Ebert, and said lawyer had an open house at his fab, newly rehabbed greystone in one of Chicago’s tonier neighborhoods. I was an obnoxious, know-it-all film student who became quite verklempt when I heard my father say, “Oh Mr. Ebert, I’d like you to meet my darling daughter, Julia. She’s a film student at Wisconsin, and will be graduating in a few weeks. Hey, any advice you can give her would be GREAT! THANKS!”

Aaaand, my dad disappeared toward the bar.

Thanks, dad.

Great.

This guy is gonna eviscerate me, test me on my knowledge and I’m gonna, like, dieeeee. Imagine my surprise when the exact opposite happened. Ebert and I spent the next hour or so discussing Kurosawa and how important his films are to not only the film world, but to the world in general. We discussed other film makers as well, but I believe that Ebert was touched by the fact that someone so young with an odd hairstyle, dug someone like Kurosawa. Siskel eventually tagged in and the two of us discussed Truffaut for another hour or so.

Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

I could go on and on about Ebert, but I won’t. I do suggest reading his past columns and his essays on contemporary American life. He had a lot to say and the world will feel this tremendous loss for years.

I leave you with two things–one of my fave Ebert’s quotes, and a Sneak Previews/Siskel & Ebert episode where the two critics discuss the disturbing trend of violence toward women in films.

“’Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” —Roger Ebert

And the clips–

Plus, a bonus out-take bit with Gene. Classic.

RIP, Roger. The City of Big Shoulders won’t be the same without you.

Damn.

“Second don’t count!”

Tomorrow, I will once again join the muckraking force and cover the corruption trial of Cook County Commissioner William Beavers.

William Beavers (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

William Beavers (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

Now, if you’ve been reading my blogs through the years AND if you pay any attention to politics in this country, you understand that Illinois politics–especially Chicago and Cook County politics–are a blood sport. We currently have two former-governors in prison, and if you’re an Illinois pol and aren’t either under investigation at some point in your career OR haven’t spent time in the pokey for something you did whilst in office, well, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. You’re a disappointment to the rich history that is the Illinois political carnival.

Freak show is more like it, come to think of it.

Back to Beavers, I interviewed him years ago after the whole John Stroger/Forrest Claypool Democratic primary showdown for the Cook County President election in 2006. See, Stroger stroked-out during the last days of the campaign and it’s alleged that his campaign kept it secret until the last possible second. Of course they did. Duh.  That’s the Chicago way.

So, when Stroger was declared non-compis mentis, many felt that the runner-up, Claypool, should’ve been handed the wheel to go head-to-head with the Republican challenger, Tony Peraica. Even though Claypool lost to Stroger in the primary, the Cook County Democratic Party endorsed Stroger’s spawn, Todd Stroger, to run against Peraica.

Forrest Claypool

Forrest Claypool

Seriously–that’s like handing the casinos over to Fredo Corleone and telling him to have at it.

Anyhoo, I was in grad school during this whole Cook County President kerfuffle and had the dubious honor of interviewing Commissioner Beavers–who also happened to sucking the teat of the Stroger clan–about what was going on. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Commissioner Beavers–Now that John Stroger is basically circling the drain, doesn’t it seem fair to put the second place finisher–Claypool–up against Peraica?

Beavers: Huh? What’s that now? The second place finisher? Fair?? You kiddin’ me?? Well, lemme tell you something honey, SECOND DON’T COUNT!

There endeth the interview.

The Toddler won, which made for some fun times in Cook County. Seriously. A roasting pan would have done a better job at running Cook County than Todd did.

Starting tomorrow, check out gapersblock.com for my tales from the crypt that is the Dirksen Federal Court Building.

 

 

All Is Right With the World Again

Really, Jules? How can you say this–especially after you experienced a quick & painful hiccup in your non-existent career yesterday?

iggy_pop_and_the_stooges-hollywood_palladium_ACY6879

Well, here’s why.

From Rolling Stone.

Iggy Pop and the Stooges Ready New Album for April Release

‘Ready to Die’ features guitarist James Williamson, drummer Scott Asheton

Now, this makes me smile.

See, my three readers, 2013 was starting to look like yet another shitty year for McCrabass until I heard this news. I saw Iggy a long time ago in LA and it was quite the show–he was loud, crude-as-fuck and just plain out of control. It was one of the best times I’ve ever experienced standing up. I mean, I almost tossed my granny knickers at him, but was afraid he’d put them on and they’d be too big. He’s alluring in an ugly-sexy kinda way–if that makes any sense.

So, when I heard my favorite skanky, blue-eyed boy & the Stooges were releasing an album–some 40 years after the last one with James Williamson and Scott Asheton–I did a slow nod and muttered to my empty living room “Niiiice.” Yeah, very un-Iggy-esque but I gave up heroin before I even started and my leathers are being repaired.

IggyPopStooges

Iggy Pop and the Stooges are ready with a new record, Ready to Die, which will mark the first time Pop has worked with guitarist James Williamson and drummer Scott Asheton on a full album since their 1973 classic Raw Power. As he’s done since the Stooges’ 2003 reunion, Mike Watt will fill in for the late Ron Asheton on bass. It’ll be Iggy and the Stooges’ first album since 2007’s The Weirdness, which was the last to feature Ron Asheton. Ready to Die is due April 30th on Fat Possum Records.

I don’t like to wish my life away, but April 30th can’t come soon enough. That’s kind of sad–I’m sliding down Crap Mountain again and I’m looking forward to an album release like I’m some sort of love-struck teenie bopper.

I need a do-over.

 

 

Natty Dreadlocks + McCrabass = Employment?

One of the amazing things about employment–mainly the people I know who have jobs–is how easy they seem to not only get jobs–but how they seem to move effortlessly from one high paying job to the next.

I guess most of these folks are deserving of these jobs and I’m happy for them (well not really), but what is glaringly obvious in this city is employers keep pulling from the same talent pool.

What creases me is these employers around these parts are not real keen on taking chances on folks who may have the drive, the will to work their asses off and the smarts to do a good job, but not the honor of having a name or an ‘in’, or comparable experience but not the exact experience.

This isn’t working for me. I find the media world in Chicago to be impenetrable, unless timing is on your side and you have a pocketful of great connections. It reminds me of the nepotism that permeates Hollywood, but with people who need to know something about all subjects, not just about making movies.

Call me crazy, but that myopic attitude doesn’t bode well for the future of media in this town.

Let’s take a gander at what has been polluting my RSS feed lately. There has been so much good stuff, but this one really caught my attention.

Man’s Hair Shaved Off And Stolen At Party, Dreadlock Thefts Rise In South Africa

Now, I understand that there are women in India who sell their beautiful, jet-black locks so that broads here in the US can have secksy long hair, but dreadlocks? I mean, aren’t hard-core dreads made out of shit, dirt (hair, natch) and other glue-like substances that cause the follicles to stick together?

Maybe it’s a ‘black thing’? I dunno. Perhaps this article from News One can explain it best, because White Girl Pearl here is at a loss.

Man’s Hair Shaved Off And Stolen At Party, Dreadlock Thefts Rise In South Africa

“Zimbabwean Mutsa Modonko experienced the epitome of a bad hair day when he was partying at a Johannesburg, South Africa, nightclub. After 10 years of growing his dreadlocks, friends at the party found him passed out with his head cleanly shaven, and according to Johannesburg’s Times Live, stealing dreadlocks is becoming a growing trend.”

Zimbabwean.. Zimbabwean.. say that word 10 times fast whilst drunk and speaking with a Cockney drawl. Then, do it again but this time in Pig Latin. It’s super fun!

“Natural hair and dreadlocks are huge business in South Africa.  The locks can be sold as hair extensions and can typically go for as much as $275, depending on the length.  As a matter of fact, the demand for the matted locks is so high that patrons often will not even question where the hair came from.”

Oh no, why would anyone want to question a product that is about to be sewn into their noggin? Hmm..this is kinda like a Brazilian waxologist who uses recycled muslin strips that are filled with a week’s worth of pubes. You’re welcome for that image, by the way.

“Hairstylist John Wushe, who owns a Johannesburg salon told Times Live, “They are becoming very popular. On a busy day we get about 10 people [wanting] to extend their hair.”

The stolen hair can be weaved on to the head of a male or female, whereas before, synthetic hair had been used for eons. The typical weaving-in process can take up to two hours and can be woven on to the head using a crochet hook or needle and thread.  A stylist can charge up to about $170 to weave in the dreadlocks.

(courtesy of BlackPlanetNext.com)

(courtesy of BlackPlanetNext.com)

Although there appears to be numerous dreadlocks thefts, according to Johannesburg police, they have thus far received only one such report that came through last year.  Johannesburg police spokesman Captain John Maluleka told Times Live his department encourages residents to file police reports over such hair thefts, but he thinks their hesitation can be attributed to just sheer embarrassment.

In most of the cases, dreadlock thieves are zeroing in on the fairer sex, and according to Randburg hairstylist Lebo Masimong, he says, it is because women appear to be easier targets, “You are an easy target if you walk around the CBD (central business district) and your hair is loose. They don’t care about your money or fancy phone. They are only after your hair.”

What this story fails to tell us is how these thieves get the dreads–do they knock victims down then start shaving? Do they drug them then start shaving away? What kind of equipment do they use? Is there a middleman? Are they incorporated? What other bennies do they get? What are the hours? Are there promotions? Exactly what IS a promotion in this particular field?

I gotta know because I need a job and this might be a whole new thing for me.