Sunday, August 30, 2009

LAST HOUSE vs LAST HOUSE

The first "Last House on the Left" was one of the most appalling cinematic experiences I've ever had. Having viewed it at the age of 11, it haunted me for years afterwards. The brutal sexual nature of the crimes committed in it and  the lack of empathy or conscience displayed by the antagonists was hard to stomach. At any age.

Not to mention, despite being heralded by critics as a landmark horror film and a voice of it's time, it's poorly written, shot and acted. Wes Craven's debut film had many things wrong with it on many levels.

Despite all of this, I was curious to see the remake because of it's eye-popping trailer. It played to human emotion and a parentally innate sense of retribution. The basic outline of the plot is the same of both films. Two parents of a single child are in a vacation home in the middle of nowhere. The difference in the remake is the teenage daughter is missing a much adored older brother who died young.

The antagonists are as in the original, the ruthless Krug, played by "Deadwood" psycho Garret Dillahunt, who played the two most unsavory characters in that show's oeuvre, his wackjob bi-sexual playmate Sadie, his warped brother, and an infinitely frightened and confused son, Justin.

Teenage daughter Mari, her friend Paige, and this gang of creeps come together because Justin, seeking the companionship of the two young girls, shares some pot with them. Unfortunately for all, his crazy "family" returns to the reefer-reeking hotel room much earlier than anticipated.

Abduction, rape, and murder follow. Par for the course for the renegade criminal adults, but slowly driving Justin to the brink of insanity, for Justin's dead mother and Mari's lost brother seemed to prove a sweet and sad link between the two. At least before all hell breaks loose.

The violence in the remake retains the brutality of the original, but not thankfully, it's time consumption. There's only so much a psychically healthy viewer can take. It also thankfully does not retain the voyeuristic peeping-tom quality and almost snuff-film like feel. This is a plus. It's intense enough without making you feel like there's something a little too oddly real about it.

Another pleasant shift is the quality of the acting. All involved are excellent, whereas the original seemed amateurish and plagued by ridiculous dialogue. Dillahunt is outstanding, Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter, familiar to many, are awe-striking as the ragged and panicked parents. They invoke true empathy and are believable.

The cinematography is excellent as well. Beautiful shots of Mari swimming invoke a silent beauty and calm in a film when you know catastrophe will strike. The grainy pseudo-documentary feel of the original is replaced by bright and crisp visuals, shot with flattened color and light, which achieves and odd and unsettling effect. Excellent stuntwork aids the violent battles, and a greatly choreographed and shot crash scene feels real and achieves it's effect.

Musically, the score is above average for this fare, truly evoking an uncomfortable vibe. Kicking in at times with a "28 Days" style "fear rock" pulse.

The intensity here, as in the original, is not fun to watch, but it seems to enrage sympathy for the victims more.  This is more powerful than the original's hopeless and disgusted shock value.

And it pleasantly doesn't have that  "victims are as violent as the perpetrators" preachy rhetoric when retribution is attempted. As I've stated in an earlier blog, I've grown tired of that outlook, as I feel it's cynical and off-base. It's all about motivation.

This film, produced by the director of the original, is it's own movie in many ways.  Unlike most of the horror movie remakes, and I have been many, "Last House" is easily the best.

This "Last House" burns down the original.

THE ZOMBIE CAFE by Rob Will

In a burst of Halloween inspiration, here's a fresh poetry schmoetry



The dead feel alive here
Dancing off the dust,
Coffee and finger sandwiches,
Pie with stale crust

Oh the stories they tell,
From the days before the grave
Down at the zombie café

Reggie was a trader
Layla was his squeeze
Before the great depression
Made him take the leap

Walter stormed the beach
During the D-Day push
Now he’s eating the special
Brains with sour mush

Dug out of their graves
They have so much to say
Down at the Zombie Café

They all felt like the first time
Should have been the second time around
So they made a group decision
To claw their way out of the ground

Hanging out together
Jawing, shooting the breeze
Telling how it used to be
Back when folks still said “please”

Don’t disrespect them, now
They laid the path for you
Thank them and move on
Is exactly what you should do

For they don’t suffer fools
Or what they have to say
Down at the zombie cafe

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"BRETT FAVRE VS. TED THOMPSON", or "KRAMER vs. KRAMER II", or "THE GROWNUPS ARE TALKING"

When my inner monologue is angry it speaks with the voice of Colonel Sherman Potter of "MASH" fame. When I first started to get entrenched in the Brett Favre mambajamba that has been going on for nigh on 5 years now, I heard my psyche say "What a bunch of Horsehockey!!", or "What in the H-e double hockey sticks is going on here!?".
Then when the more sedate part of my mind stepped in, it was "Calm down, son, everything is gonna be fine."

Yeah, it will, but it will sting for a long time.

In the midst of this brouhaha between former Packer QB Favre and Green Bay GM Ted Thompson, are the fans. Caught in the drift like little children of a divorce. They sometimes look up, seeing heroes that are often not really there. They place players and management from professional sports on pedestals more commonly reserved for statesmen, or even deities.

When those "parents" can't coexist peacefully anymore, the humanity oozes out like so much grue.

When Favre was traded to the Jets last season he seemed to envision himself in New York like William "Braveheart" Wallace, crying "Freedom!!!", while back in Green Bay, Ted "King Longshanks" Thompson groaned in his deathbed.

Horsehockey.

Thompson, stubborn, never addressed the situation much, and didn't handle it well. The stern patriach, hiding his emotions. Keeping to himself.

It was obvious from the beginning, neither one liked being told what to do. Favre seemed to think he was the face and voice of the Green Bay Packers. Brett didn't want the Public Services contract Green Bay offered. Thompson didn't like Favre's behavior that he displayed when he didn't like any of the moves Ted made. The Mississippi River Boat Gambler even asked to be traded when the Moss deal didn't happen, I seem to remember.

Each one trying to force the other's hand.

16 glorious years. A love affair between a community and one man, who seemed to epitomize what being a Green Bay Packer was supposed to be. It could have been one of the all time great one team legacies. Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Brown. In less than 12 months, it was completely tarnished.

I heard J.A. Adande, a sports journalist I normally respect, as a panelist on ESPN's "Around the Horn" say that the Packers didn't want Favre last year. Really? I seem to remember McCarthy and Thompson, just prior to last season flying down to Mississippi in a last ditch effort to either find out his "final answer" or get him to change his mind. A vehement no was the response. The Packers customized their offense to Aaron Rodgers, and used two draft picks on Quarterbacks. Then #4 comes ambling back, "Hey guys, I changed my mind." That train left, Brett. And Adande, you're way off base.

Favre is now and has been coming off like a petulant child. When asked about his legacy, he says it's just that. HIS legacy. Has he ever mentioned Packer fans once outside of "If they're true Packer fans they'll understand....". Now he's telling us how to think. All through this, Thompson has been the quiet parent, not consoling, not making it worse. It's like a marriage where one spouse is acting like the last 20 years never happened. Now the farts on Don Beebe's helmet, the silly "Three Packerinos" video shorts with Chmura and Winters, the laughter on the sidelines, it all doesn't seem so quaint or even warm anymore. '

It's ash in the wind.



And guess what? It's the kids that end up getting hurt.

THE CUT OUT-BIN: Marathon Bar

I always purchased it when my sisters would take me down to the little village store we lived near, "The Superette". It tasted delicious, because it was two of the greatest things god created that didn't involve taking your pants off. It was 12" long, and was braided caramel and chocolate. Bang for your buck. The marathon Bar.

Friday, August 28, 2009

SACRELIGIOUS BLASPHEMY




It was just an arbitrary visit to the Kmart today. We're waiting for a prescription to be filled and browsing through the school supplies when I saw it. A folder, binder if you will, with those annoying Jonas Brothers emblazoned on it. It's not bad enough to have to stare at their pubescent faces again, but just below their picture were these words: "Let There Be Rock."

C'mon, you certainly didn't create Rock, let alone advance the science of it, and you've pilfered not only one of the great LP titles of all time, you've sullied the image associated with it. The dank blue image of what I feel is one of the best AC/DC, if not metal, records of all time. The album that debuted the AC/DC logo, the album that introduced "Whole Lotta Rosie". The album that was AC/DC saying, "Here we are, deal with us."

And you bubble gum, dime store Monkees, and that's an insult to the Monkees, come along an borrow it?

God.

Let there be Retribution.

VINYL DESTINATION 5: Revolver



I've heard John Lennon's own voice on "Anthology" stating that the live work done by the Beatles in their Cavern Club days in Liverpool and on the nightclub circuit in Hamburg, Germany was their best work, and sadly, was never recorded. Judging from the end result of the 1966 offering, "Revolver", I am apt to say, "That must have been some good shit."


Because "Revolver" is the bomb.

"Revolver" is in essence, the epitome of the transition album. Still carrying the sweet melodies and almost naivete of their early "bubble gum" work,("Good Day Sunshine", "I want to tell you", "Got to get you into my life"), it also injects a bit of angry cynicism with "Taxman", "She Said, She Said", and "Dr. Robert". Most importantly, the drug-related psychedelia which would be their forte during the last several Beatle records makes it's rookie appearances here with "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows".

Beside the obvious variety in the stylistic nature here, because it's apparent that there is something for every Beatles fan on this platter, is the eclectic nature of the lead vocals. Strong harmonies obviously not withstanding, George Harrison does lead vocal work on my favorite Fab4 track of all, "Taxman" and "I want to Tell You", Ringo Starr on "Yellow Submarine".

"Revolver" is straight up one of the best rock records ever recorded, and is the band, at least in my opinion, at the apex of their abilities as musicians and songwriters. This is because they were right in the maelstrom of what they were capable of doing, both in their past and what would be down the road.

I hold this record near and dear, because my on-air handle in my earliest broadcasting days was "Dr. Robert". Because it has "Taxman" and "Tomorrow Never Knows". Because, even though I'm not fully sure of what "she" is talking about on "She Said, She Said", Lennon and McCartney's harmonies evoke a melancholy but not unpleasant vibe.

And "Eleanor Rigby". Damn.

"Sgt. Pepper", "Rubber Soul", "The White Album" etc. etc., great records all, but for me "Revolver" is the Beatles in their absolute prime, and at the top of their game.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

THE NUCLEAR WARHEAD AND ME, Part Three



As Gorbachev took the reins in the USSR, bringing with Glasnost and the fall of the Berlin Wall, my fears began to abate. Not only did democracy start to needle it's way into the Parliament's political philosophy, but the Hammer & Sickle's strangelhold on the East began to weaken, as did the image of Russia as a shadow of looming devastation to the Americas. The Soviet Union's power over neighboring regions would begin to falter, a good sign for an adolescent fearing Mutually Assured Destruction, but bad news as those regions began to develop ideas of their own to use this madness for their personal agendas. That, however, is a story for another day.

As I aged, the nuclear ghost lessened it's rattling of chains, even though the occasional nightmare of mushroom clouds and flattened wastelands made guest appearances in my slumber. I moved on with my life, married, had a kid, but still held an interest, no so much a fear of the nuclear quandary.

I had a weird sort of philosophy brewing in my cerebrum that the more you know about something the less frightening it will become. I started by looking way back. I was entertained by finding out about the surreal atomic culture of the 1950's and 60's, wherein children were informed in the event of an atomic attack, climbing under your desk and putting your head between your knees would make you safe from an atomic blast. This was fully illustrated in the now infamous Civil Defense short, "Duck and Cover", complete with a catchy song reviewing the falsified steps to safety, and a mascot, "Bert the Turtle", adorned with a CD helmet, there to guide you through the path to annihilation avoidance. Simply preposterous and pure propaganda, the American public was lied to through and through for the purpose of calming the masses.


During that period, symbols of atomic horror were created. Countless movies were made about monsters that were spawned by radioactive exposure by the likes of schlockmeister William Castle, who made movie going that much more interesting with his gimmicks like vibrating chairs that accompanied the Vincent Price flick, "The Tingler", ghosts floating throught the theatres, and numerous other corny adornments added to the movie houses during the films theatrical runs. Giant ants, mutated spiders, and just plain indescribably laughable beasties created by atomic side effects and nuclear fallout graced the silver screen (and ran among the movie house attendees in Castle's pictures) to the joy of Saturday afternoon matinees attended by kiddies all across America. Movies also began to splash across cineplexes depicting alien invasions from all corners of the universe. It was no great secret that those alien invaders were meant to be stand-ins for the Russians as the Red Scare was fully underway.

The Russians took the lead in the space race by launching the satellite Sputnik into orbit above the Earth, leading Americans to believe the Red Menace was now watching us from space. Impending doom was indeed on the way. The Russians also conveniently began placing nuclear missiles in Fidel Castro's Cuba, well within striking distance of the southern United States. This era was well documented by the film, "Matinee", an early 90's Joe Dante masterpiece that took place in Florida during this terror-filled period. This was a time where adolescents dealt with nightmares very similar to my own, shuddering in front of the late Walter Cronkite's revelations and JFK's reassurances, yet still found time and good humor to have awkward sexual awakenings and attend the cheesy films like the ones mentioned above. John Goodman was fantastic as the Castle-esque character, pawning his cinematic wares and capitalizing on the growing paranoia.

As fun and silly as "Matinee" could be, the scene where the young teen lead wakes up one early morning, opens the front door and is greeted by a detonating atom bomb, instead of the morning milkman delivery. I exploded with goose pimples during tht scene, and still shudder slightly at it, as I've had that dream myself.

TO BE CONTINUED....

A PLEASANT STORM ON THE LAMBEAU HORIZON?



Does anyone get the sneaking suspicion that as the eyes of the NFL media and it's expansive fandom are fixated on The Minnesota Vikings and one Brett Favre, that Mike McCarthy and defensive genius Dom Capers are quietly creating a monster in Green Bay? I know it's the pre-season, and early in it, but I don't remember the last time a training camp Green Bay team looked this crisp, aggressive, and like they're having fun, since the Holmgren era. We'll see what happens, but right now, I'm feeling pretty good about things. Guardedly optimistic. But it's building.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE NUCLEAR WARHEAD AND ME, Part Two



Media quickly jumped upon the cold war saber-rattling by creating movies such as "Special Bulletin" and "The Day After"

The latter was aired in 1983, and followed by telephone numbers for the express purpose of contacting counselors to help you deal with the 3 hours of terror you had just taken in. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, refused to let me watch the film. Having dodged that bullet, I was nonetheless filled in by my many junior high classmates and teachers that had observed the grim spectacle of the ABC Sunday Night Movie. Somehow, it wasn't much better than not watching the movie myself. Some 20 years later, I finally saw the picture on the SCI-FI Channel, (ironically, there's nothing science fiction about it) of all places, and it still, despite the lack of strong visual effects and the presence of Steve Guttenberg, packs one hell of a punch.

In the 11th Grade, my Russian History Teacher, a cool cat named Mr. Mueller, showed us a documentary film depicting the possible end results of the ugly parlance between Us and Them. My classmates and I witnessed not only the unholy crushing of souls and their property, but were given insights into possible survival techniques. We watched tests of bomb shelters, and ways to avoid becoming dust and a shadow burned into the concrete where you were standing, should you be unfortunate enough to be within the rather expansive reach of an atomic detonation.

But the film asked a bleak and depressing question. Should you get to your shelter and have sufficient uncontaminated food, water, and air to subsist on for a couple of weeks, what would there be for you to exit your cellar door to witness? It was a question that caused a couple of nights of uneasy slumber. The Shadow continued to stand behind my mindset through my late teens.

Another horrific side-effect of a nuclear occurrence was the inevitable reaction of those that were aware of an oncoming onslaught. At 17 I took in the little know sucker punch of a movie, "Miracle Mile", wherein downtown Los Angeles erupts into cataclysmic rioting. Those who were sound enough of mind to get away from the potential target city were trapped in endless coiled snakes of traffic jams. Those who lost their reasoning participated in violent social unrest of the worst sort. The last half hour of this movie also anchored itself into my mental recesses.

Nuclear paranoia may have been the birthplace of my anxiety disorder.

TO BE CONTINUED......

THE BREWERS AND THE DEFLATING BALLOON

"I can feel it coming in the air tonight"---Phil Collins.

"You didn't even try....How does that feel?"--Buddy Revell, "Three O'Clock High"

It's been disheartening to watch to say the least. Back a few weeks, I was thinking with Milwaukee only being out of first by a mere 4 or 5 games, that with the impending schedule of "less than noteworthy opponents" they could make some hay.

Mmmph.

This parade of less than stellar opponents has proceeded to rack up hits at a dizzying pace, pitch like Sandy Koufax at times, and as a result the Brewers have been losing series to the likes of the Pirates, Nationals, and Padres. Management is however more my issue with this ball club. The same things that were wrong with the Brewers before the season started are what's wrong with them now. Somehow for the first couple of months they overachieved. A combination of coming back to earth, and a couple of injuries had them treading water.

But beginning to drown. And management retracted their hand.

Ryan Braun called it and took flak for it, but when you're right, you're right. The trade deadline came and went and the Brewers walked away with Claudio Vargas. I hear hibbidy-jibbidy about how GM Doug Melvin was in on "something big". We didn't need something big, we just needed help. Then the waivers names started piling in. They passed on Carl Pavano, did a half-ass on Doug Davis. Now the Cardinals, who had me biting my fists when they went out and got what they need in Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday, have bolstered an already solid staff with John Smoltz.

The Brewers have picked up Jesus Colome, a dude with an ERA of close to 8. Then they got David Weathers who has proceeded to get crushed. We needed starting help, not washed up bullpen arms. They sent JJ Hardy to the minors and ended the 3 year long experiment with Bill Hall. And replaced them with an unseasoned "can't miss" and an 8 year journeyman named Jason Bourgeios.

Don't tell me management didn't give up on the season at the trading deadline. I don't buy it. Just like they weren't buying. We didn't need Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, but 2nd or even 3rd tier starters would have been better than sending Carlos Villanueva and Mike Burns out there as sacrificial lambs. That futility ends up spilling over to The Gallardos and the rest is downhill.

Here's how bad it's been. Can you tell me the last time "Hell's Bells" rang?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

THE DODGERS & SPOILED NATURE


"We don't want the same situation as last year in the playoffs, when Philly threw at Manny and we didn't retaliate," Martin added, referring to last fall's NL championship series against the Phillies. "We don't want to be known as a team that doesn't have each other's backs."--Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.



OK, let me get this straight. You were pusses against Philly last year when it counted most. Chris Smith, who most baseball fans have no idea of who he is,(that fact not helped by his generically innocuous name) barely SCRAPES Manny Ramirez, the steroid queen. The Dodgers, with 2 out and a 36 run lead have a man warming up, and the guy on the mound, Guillermo Mota, drills Prince. If you want to play the whole "He did it first" game, Hiroki Kuroda hit Frank Catalanotta in the 2nd inning.

Russell Martin, as he so eloquently stated, feels the team did this to make a point. So the Milwaukee Brewers are supposed to turn into marshmallows and martyr themselves for your cause, because you douched out last year when conflict presented itself? At the hands of a different team no less? How presumptuous and pampered can a team be? Typical west coast sports attitude.

If I'm Milwaukee, I'm going down swinging in the last of 3 games, and the final matchup with L.A. of the season. Fielder was wrong to go after the Dodgers in the locker room, I'll grant that, but who do the Dodgers think they are, just expecting some team to take a fall so they can flex some nonexistent muscle?

Should of taken care of your business last year, because if all is right with the world, the Brewers will take care of theirs tonight. I don't know about you, but the last person I want charging me is Prince Fielder

VINYL DESTINATION 4: The Blue Oyster Cult

"The Blue Oyster Cult were American psychos who emerged fully formed and full-blooded on a wave of scintillating imagery" --Dave Thomson, "I Hate New Music"


"Dont Fear the Reaper" is one of the penultimate songs of my youth. From the moment when I first heard Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's signature riff (which I'm having a whale of a time playing myself, damn rigid fingers) to the time when my brother-in-law and I sat up for an hour after he completed his third shift week trying to interpret the lyrics from listening closely to my sisters ancient Panasonic tape recorder. But it isn't the album it came from, "Agents of Fortune", it's their late 70's romantic masterpiece I need to speak on here, "Spectres".

It opens with the apocalyptic waffle-stomper "Godzilla", a riff as memorable as any, (this one I can play, with relative ease), and a seminal rock chop. The riff begins a fun tune that finishes in typical BOC fashion, with seriousness. The reprised lyric, "History shows again and again, how nature points out the folly of man.". It's a message echoed by the 1954 Inishiro Honda film of the same name that inspired it. Nukes are bad. Radiation is a monster.

"I Love the Night" is a great piece of rock and roll storytelling about a heartbroken chap having late night hook-ups with a mysterious "Lady in White". It's beautiful layered harmonies provide a nice apex for a mid-tempo ballad. Very cool stuff.

This LP actually provides a few glimpses into off-kilter romance and obsession.

"Going thru the Motions" an Eric Bloom track co-written with Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter, speaks in a melancholy yet whimsical way of an ill-conceived relationship that is somehow fondly remembered when viewed through the sandy glass of time. A sad-feeling verse leads to an almost doo-wopish chorus complete with hand claps and piano. It's actually catchy.

"Nosferatu" tells the legend of Dracula in the guise of F.W. Murnau's German expressionistic horror film of the same name. Instead of ending with the stake through the heart, it climaxes with the dread vampire dying because he "stayed too long in her room." He's a victim of the sun and it's light, and his own love.
Simple yet beautiful piano scales accompanied by Buck Dharma's guitar provide a gorgeous backdrop for the story.
The fate of the Demeter never sounded so lovely.

There are other rockers here besides "Godzilla" however. "R.U. Ready 2 Rock" is a great fist-pumping concert opener, and "The Golden Age of Leather" is a ripping rythym line over a lengthy lyric about Excalibur-style battles taking place on motorcycles in a distant future that somehow feels like the past.

Weird, huh?

That's what BOC does best. "Spectres" is exhibit A.

Do your own deliberation and give it a listen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

IT WAS A GRAND OLD GAME

Growing up in the early 80's, my first exposure to baseball was the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, a team of blue collar, long-haired, crush-em and ask questions later beasts with a local who had a wooden leg as the manager. I loved it. It had mystique then, and has it even more now.

Observe, if available:
http://www.amazon.com/Harveys-Wallbangers-1982-Milwaukee-Brewers/dp/B000MX7TY0


Oh, how it's twisted since then. Like everything else I've taken in since my brother Dan, God bless 'im, introduced me to the grand old game, I inhaled it's history. I've read dozens of books on baseball lore and biographies, memorized stats from bubble gum cards, and absorbed World Series highlight films as if it were my lifeblood. I take a look at current tv shows like the ones being run on FSN where they clean up old home videos of the glory years, watch MLB TV retrospectives, and can't help but feeling as if something's missing.

I can't quite put my finger on it. Money has made the game ill. It's dying. The era I grew up watching the Brewers, there were million dollar ballplayers, but they were the ultra-elite. Today's "common" ballplayers are millionaires, and the elite are performance-enhancer taking liars. Don't insult me or the game by comparing HGH to the "greenies" ballplayers took back in the day for alertness purposes on road trips. The logic doesn't match up.
Guys like Mays, Aaron, Mantle, and Maris got by on batspeed and natural strength. They weren't much bigger than I am, and quite often smoked cigarettes and even imbibed on occasion

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that behavior. My point is the numbers produced by these people today on ridiculous foreign substances aren't that much greater than what was accomplished by "normal human beings".

Attitudes. Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens are more often referred to as a-holes than nice guys. It's a sad state of affairs considering their considerable gifts. Yes, there were jerks back in the day, but the buttface to nice guy ratios is tilted much more significantly in the negative direction these days.

I carried baseball cards, bound by a rubber band, in my back pocket. Now they're stored in airtight, sealed containers, and little kids get trampled by adults for that expensive autograph, and in culmination, memorabilia has become a cottage industry.

It's all about what it's worth today. Not how it matters.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

WHY I HATE THE CUBS (and most of the haves in the major leagues)



"See, this is the kind of thing, quite honestly right now, that makes you want to see this Chicago Cubs team lose. .. [F]ar and away, the most obnoxious fans in baseball, in this league, are those who follow this team right here. ... You simply root against them. I've said all winter — they talk about this team winning the division — and my comment is, they won't win it because, at the end of the day, they still are the Chicago Cubs, and they will figure out a way to screw this whole thing up." --Marty Brenneman, legendary Cincinatti Reds Broadcaster

After sitting by idly and watching the rich get richer yesterday, (i.e. Red Sox get Victor Martinez, White Sox get Jake Peavey, Cubs get Doug Grabow and Gorzelanny), I decided to vent. My therapist says it's a good idea. "Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light"--Dylan Thomas.

Here's why the Cubs suck, have sucked, and always will suck.

1. There rich North Shore moron fans come up here in droves and take over Miller Park. Yeah, partial blame should be given to the locals for not buying up all the tickets ourselves, but it's not merely the space-occupying that annoys the Brewer faithful as much as it is Cubs fans complete sanctimonious obnoxiousness. The holier-than-thou Crapitude where they act like they have the world coming to them because they've been losing for the last 100 years.

Try not sucking.

Illinois Cub fans, let me share a few things with you:

2. The Brewers payroll is less than half of your bonus babies, and they have won more playoff games in the last two years combined than the Cubs, yet the Brewers didn't even make the post-season in 2007. Can I get an LOL?

3. Your players are jabronies. Nobody admires their flyballs more than Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez, and this is coming from a fan of the team Ryan Braun plays for. (And yes, I loved every second of it when the Hebrew Hammer cadillacked a little when he took Dempster over the right field wall at Miller after getting donked in the head with a slider two innings earlier. One good turn deserves another.) Soriano couldn't play his way out of a wet paper bag in left field, lollygags like a tee-baller out there after he kicks one, and his batting stance looks like a futile attempt at a painful bowel movement.
Ramirez postures like an overgrown heavyweight champion after he homers, and if it was off the walk-off variety, he dances around the bags. Soriano, as well. Jeez, act like you've been there before. And the pundits criticize the Brewers for their "arrogance"?
And Zambrano. Where do I start? He's a borderline psycho who creepily wandered out onto the field during a Matt Young/Derrek Lee dustup (Yes, the classic brawl where Lee took a poke and quickly flitted away Carmelo-style behind his aging manager) with his removed belt in his hands, grinning like an undertaker. Wow. Oddly, despite the fact that it was recorded in HD by several sports nets, no action was taken by the league. He was what, changing his pants?

4. There are no Bears in Illinos, let alone Cubs.

5. Question: If Chicago is so awesome, why do you people buy up all of rural Wisconsin?

6. Wrigley Field fans still have to pee in troughs. It's 2009. Who built your bathrooms, Charles Ingalls Construction?

7. Your fans launch trash and debris at outfielders of the opposing team (Braun, jealous of a real right fielder?) WHILE THE BALL IS IN PLAY. Holy Cow, indeed.

8. Again with the rich get richer theme. Did you notice how the bulk of your team is made up of free agents from other organizations, but most of our guys came from the AAA Nashville Sounds Brewers farm club. Must be nice to BUY a team. But it hasn't gotten you much farther than us anyways.

9. Lou Piniella. I've read several books by former teammates of his, namely Sparky Lyle and Jim Bouton, and the tomes display what a bloomin nut this guy was. Now they didn't use the terminology, but their description of events paints the picture. He was beyond gifted as a hitter, they didn't call him "Sweet" Lou for nothing, sure as hell wasn't his personality. He's about as cuddly as a porcupine. Where Ken Macha seems like a kindly old uncle, Lou comes off as Macha's annoying alcoholic neighbor. It's been illustrated that he's been known to beat inanimate objects with other inanimate objects, and umpires shoes have a nasty habit of getting dirty when Lou's around.

The fact that he's still in the big leagues is a testament to his managing ability. I begrudgingly admit that fact, just as I'll begrudgingly admit that, just like the Chicago Bears, I need to hate the Cubs. It is what keeps my Brewer fanblood moving.

I think my shrink would appreciate that admission.

Chicago, I need you.

Damn it.