Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

Soul Train Host Was Former Chicago Cop

November 1st, 2011 by Weber

Would you ever peg this man as having been on the Chicago P.D. ?

Me neither.

Here’s the story from IMDB:

Discovered by WVON Radio personality Ed Cobb. In the mid-1960s, Cobb while driving ran a traffic violation and was pulled over by Chicago Police officer Don Cornelius. While officer Cornelius was asking him the typical traffic stop questions, Cobb noticed his unique speaking voice and told him that he was in the wrong profession. Cobb suggested that Cornelius come down to the radio station and make a demo tape. Don took him up on it and was hired as an announcer.

And some comments on it from the Don himself:

No, no. Never happened. How I knew Roy, for the record, was that I grew up in a three-story building on St. Lawrence Avenue next to a three-story building he lived in for a time.

But he doesn’t deny being a Chicago cop . . . .

Goes to show you never can tell.

Posted in Weridness | 1 Comment »

Got my mime on my money & my money on my mime

October 4th, 2010 by Weber


Tried posting this seemingly simple question over on Yahoo!’s “Group Of The Living Dead,” a few weeks ago but it’s never appeared. So what, right? Their loss. Anyway, here it is:

If a mime became a zombie, would it moan at the living?


Posted in Weridness, Zombies | 2 Comments »

Immortal Words on Mortality

September 7th, 2010 by Weber

As reportedly said by playwright Tom Stopppard:

“I have a spasm of envy for the person that was killed by a falling bookcase, as long as it doesn’t happen prematurely. [It] would be a good way to go. You went when you were in a good frame of mind and you were doing something pleasant and interesting. A lot of people would say, ‘I would rather have a heart attack at the height of sexual passion.’ On the whole, I would prefer to be killed by a bookcase.”

Presumably, the case is full of books. Death By Empty Bookcase would seem to be pointless.

Can’t help but wonder what books Mr. Stoppard wouldprefer fill the homicidal shelves prior to their collapse?

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National Gelato Month?

May 19th, 2010 by Weber

image courtesy http://www.biteclubeats.com/gelato.jpg

Why didn’t anybody tell me it’s National Artisan Gelato Month?

Guess I’d have to be on one of the privacy-abusing social networking sites to get that kind of up-to-date info. Well, it’s a small price to pay for keeping my business mine and not fodder for trolls, sell-outs, busybodies, and data miners pimping my status to the advertising industry.

I may be behind the curve on this one, but I’ve still got twelve solid days left to enjoy the sweet, yummy goodness of artisan gelato. I like gelato. Not better than ice cream. Equally, I’d have to say.

If you had a scoop of gelato in one hand and a scoop if ice cream in another and asked me which one I wanted, I’d tell you, “Neither — because they’re all melty and gross and running down your arm. It’s a dessert, not a fetish. So get me a fresh one in a cone; I don’t care what.”

I bet jalapeno gelato is good. I’d like some of that.

Anyway, Here’s a list of artisan gelato joints in Chicago area — including Palazzolo’s and Caffe Gelato (make sure your speakers are off when you hit this site) — and a link to recent Chicago Tribune articles on artisan gelato and places to get it.

All of this artisan gelato action begs the question: how, exactly, did May become National Artisan Gelato Month? Seems like any chucklehead with half an agenda can get his own National Something Month. Take a look at the ones for May:

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
Mental Health Month
Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month
National Good Car Keeping Month
National Strawberry Month
National Chocolate Custard Month
Foot Health Month
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
National High Blood Pressure Month
National Hamburger Month
Arthritis Month
Better Sleep Month
Correct Posture Month
National Salad Month
Older Americans Month
National Barbecue Month
National Bike Month
National Mine Month
National Egg Month
National Artisan Gelato Month
National Asparagus Month
National Macaroon Day
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Share A Story month

National Chocolate Custard Month? Seriously? Why not a National High Fructose Corn Syrup Month? And how about whipping National Egg Month into a nice Bearnaise to drizzle over National Asparagus Month? Where’s National Steak & Crab Legs Month?

Not that I have the time for it, but now I’m pissed-off enough to start investigating how we got all these ridiculous National Months — I’m looking right at you, “Hug a Texas Chef Month.”

More on this as I find it. Meanwhile, here, for your viewing pleasure and possible outrage, is an expanded list of National Months by month. If you’re lucky, maybe your birthday falls during a really good one. My birthday’s in January, host to a bunch of sucky National Months such as:

Prune Breakfast Month
Fat Free Living Month
Dried Plum Breakfast Month (I’m flummoxed as to how this differs from Prune Breakfast Month. Any help here?)
National Fiber Focus Month
National Mail Order Gardening Month
National Eye Health Care

January is also National Egg Month. How did eggs get two National Months? Either the egg lobby is more powerful than we thought, or our elected public servants aren’t paying attention to the bills they vote on.

Nah. Couldn’t be that.

Posted in Food, Weridness | Comments Off on National Gelato Month?

Password for “Kick-Ass and the Hopeless Stupidity of American Moviegoers”

May 10th, 2010 by Weber

think big copyright bradley weber

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a blog entry that is password protected but the writer gives away the password.


The reason is that the other post has some language and ideas that don’t exactly pass the “all ages” litmus test. It’s nothing too bad, just kind of shocking and a little more in-your-face than kids need to be reading. Adults, sure. Actually, it’s just the stuff adults should read and think about.

So, to make you responsible for your decision to read the article, it is accessible only by typing or pasting the following into the box:


This way, whoever reads it has done so actively. This way nobody can claim, “It was on my screen and I couldn’t look away in time to not have my feelings hurt.”



(p.s. — Since the next post down is password protected, there doesn’t seem to be a way for readers to add comments. If you’ve got something to say about the article, add the comments to this post. Yeah, it’s confusing, but if you’re reading this blog, you’re smart enough to figure it out. Right! bjw)

Posted in Editorials, Movies, Weridness | 1 Comment »

Protected: KICK-ASS and the Hopless Stupidity of American Moviegoers

May 10th, 2010 by Weber

[I’m warning you right now that this one has some language in it — language that, if you’re over the age of seven, you’ve probably said at least once today. And if you haven’t said it, then you’ve thought it or heard your parents say it, probably more than once today. But when they’re in print, words are suddenly different. Don’t ask me why. I’m a writer and I still don’t understand the physics of words (supposedly) having more meaning when they’re on the page. Anyway, if you’re under the age of 18 or easily offended, you’ll likely want to skip this one. Just sayin’. bjw]

Why so stupid?

There’s one in every crowd. The guy who hands you back the fast food garbage you dumped in the Home Depot parking lot. The guy who yells in the theater for you to put away your goddamned cell phone and watch the movie. The guy who whips a rock at your car because you just blew the stop sign while he was walking his kid across the street.

Like I said: There’s one in every crowd.

Usually, it’s me.


It’d been a long Sunday: the only worthwhile things being time spent with the wife and kid, pricing bookcases for the new office, and some barbeque and strange conversation at a friend’s house. After that, it was 8:30pm and I was at loose ends. The local Googolplex was showing KICK-ASS at 8:45. I snagged a twenty and headed out the door.

My cell phone and watch were left home on purpose, so I had no idea what time it was when the woman tried to sneak in with the little boy. This was right around the part where Kick-Ass first meets up with the Red Mist in the alley. The kid sits one over from me; she’s on his left. The kid is so small he’s practically swallowed by the seat.

I saw them come in, fresh from either DIARY OF A WIMPY KID or HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. The kid was oblivious. She was furtive, clearly new at trying to get away with something and failing hard. It makes no difference who you are; we’ve all done it, all failed to be invisible. Whether it’s your first crack at theater-hopping, shoplifting porn or buying that first box of condoms, we all act the same way and it’s easy to spot.

As God as my witness, I wanted to let it go.

Not that this woman needed to be Tased for sneaking into a movie. Hell, no. Except for under–paid theater managers and over–paid studio executives, nobody gives a shit about that kind of thing because whether anybody is in the theater or not, the movie still runs. So, as long as she stayed off her phone and the kid kept his yap shut, I would count myself among the careless nobodies.

But she brought this little, little kid to this particular movie. This stupid, stupid woman, whose knowledge of the film was likely gleaned from a fast glance at the movie poster, and this kid, no doubt tripping on Mountain Dew and Twizzler Bites, who is geeked to be up past his bedtime on a school night and sneaking into a superhero movie. And who could blame him?

The thing is, I know what’s coming. I’d never read the comics, but had seen enough reviews to know how bad it would be. That I paid ten bucks to see this piece of crap is my problem, my choice. But this kid, he doesn’t have a choice, doesn’t know he has a choice. Even if he did know, he’d still vote to stay. Because it’s a superhero movie.

And I think about the people I know –– personally know –– who let their five- and six- and seven-year-olds watch SPIDER–MAN 3, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and THE DARK KNIGHT, over and over and over. Especially THE DARK KNIGHT. Because to most parents, the line between THE INCREDIBLES and THE DARK KNIGHT doesn’t exist. Because they are superhero movies.

One of these days, I’m going hit my brakes while the wrong guy tailgates me. One of these days, I’ll tell the wrong woman “you’re welcome” when she fails to smile, make friendly eye contact, say “thank you” while I hold the door open for her. One of these days, I’m going to tell the wrong guy that if he and his buddies want to talk they should go to Denny’s –– otherwise they need to shut up and watch the movie. One of these days, I’m going to get slapped around, have a cigarette put out in my face, get stabbed. Get shot.

One of these days, I’m going to mind my own business.

I lean over the empty seat. I tell the lady, “You know this rated R, right?”

“Oh. It is?” she asks, and means it.


I turn to the kid. “Hey, pal. How old are you?”

He holds up four fingers, says he’s three. His eyes never leave the screen.

“He’s four,” she smiles.

I say, “Listen, lady. They already showed a little girl get shot in the chest by her father and it’s only going to get worse. You need to get him the hell out of here. Like, now.”

She says, “Oh,” and starts tugging a jacket on her mesmerized kid. “OK. Thanks.”

“You know the best way to thank me? Read the reviews before you take your kid to the movies. Because shit like this will fuck him up fast. Now beat it before they start having sex and chopping off heads.”

She hustled that kid out with a lot less furtive than she came in with.

One of these days, I’m going to Hell.

–– Chicago, May 2010

Posted in Editorials, Movies, Weridness | Comments Off on Protected: KICK-ASS and the Hopless Stupidity of American Moviegoers

Zombie crosswords and word finds

April 22nd, 2010 by Weber


Try to imagine your surprise that I belong to Yahoo!’s Group Of The Living Dead.

Jan Kozlowski is a fellow group member, writer, and compulsive creative type. Over at her site, she’s posted two new bits of zombie fun: a crossword puzzle and a word search.

Check ’em out here.

Posted in Gadgets and Toys, Kid's Stuff, Weridness, Zombies | Comments Off on Zombie crosswords and word finds

What is a Superhero? — take the survey

April 22nd, 2010 by Weber


Dr. Robin Rosenberg needs your help. She teaches and speaks about the psychological phenomena revealed by superheroes and has taught at MIT on “Superheroes and the Life Lessons They Teach Us.”

As part of her research she’s got an online survey asking people’s opinions about What is a Superhero?.

It’s got twelve questions and, if you don’t over-think them like I did, should take about seven minutes to finish.

Click on over and help her out. Do it.


Posted in Comics, Weridness | Comments Off on What is a Superhero? — take the survey

Eat Thy Neighbor (Book Review)

April 1st, 2010 by Weber


The cover of this book is from one of Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings which he painted on the interior walls of his house between 1819 and 1823. “Saturn Devouring His Son” is based on the Greek myth of the King of the Titans who ate his children from the fear that they would rise up and kill him. Which they eventually did anyway, making room for the Olympians. According to the Wikipedia entry, Peter Paul Reubens depicted the same story in the 1600s. Reubens’s painting is more classical, less cartoony, more horrifying.

It is the aspect of horror which is missing from Eat Thy Neighbor: A History Of Cannibalism. Not to say the book isn’t thick with sick and disturbing scenes. But the authors seem to delight in retelling these stories, accounting for every bizzaro detail, especially with the more recent and better documented cases.

Diehl and Donnelly start out all right: Part One (Cultural Cannibalism) is an even, intelligent, though somewhat light overview of one of the world’s last great taboos. But the deeper they slide into Part Two (Case Studies Of Taboo Breakers), the authors wind-up treating the subject matter like a couple of fifth-graders, recounting every gory detail and reveling it them. And with fifteen “case studies”, the gore and brutality goes on ad nauseum.

With a topic like this, you’re an idiot not to expect gore and brutality; they’re just part of the deal. But in this book, gore and brutality is all there is. It’s clear the authors editors lashed together newspaper accounts and some of what they saw on the History Channel, but bypassed weightier material such as court documents or psychology texts. At no point in the “case studies” do the authors pause for some much-needed analysis or discussion.

By the time they get around to their lame closing assessment of “The Future Of Cannibalism,” it’s too late for them to save their book from being considered anything but tasteless.

Steer clear of this one.

Posted in Book Reviews, Weridness | Comments Off on Eat Thy Neighbor (Book Review)

vampire analgesics may cause dryness

November 7th, 2008 by Weber


Special thanks to Webmaster MIKE for helping me reset the filters on my email account, thus reducing my daily spam intake from 300+ down to a manageable 60-ish.

Most of it was junk — the usual trolling for suckers interested in Canadian pharmaceuticals, Russian mail-order brides, on-line casinos, Rolex knock-offs and virus-laced software.

Found deep within the trash was this little gem from somebody calling himself “Young Ostaba”. There’s no way to know what he was trying to sell as Firefox blocked the image that had all the pertinent information.

What was left was this weird and almost lyrical jib-jab. While the non-sentences and mis-matched fragments tell no story they appear, somehow, to create meaning. Or maybe it’s the human brain trying to overlay meaning on something that has none.

Either way, it’s interesting. Best read aloud and with conviction, especially in front of some co-workers.

Subject: vampire analgesics may cause dryness of the mouth For temporary relief,

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