Before we get to today’s interview, I thought you might enjoy checking out this fun discussion at the A.V. Club about the worst Christmas songs. Also, soak in the football this weekend because your Cleatus the Football Robot Fan Fiction entries are due Monday at noon.
Michael Perry is an old friend of Zulkey.com. The author of Truck: A Love Story and Population:485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, the humorist has a new CD/download of his stories called The Clodhopper Monologues Live. Take a listen to two excerpts! Enjoy Perry, who I declare was agra-cool before that was a thing (and before I just made up that word.) You can find out much more about him here.
"Fooled by Phonics":
"Gonna Hafta Puller":
PS I have been delighted and astounded by the Cleatus Fan Fiction that's been rolling in.
Typically, WGN’s chief meteorologist Tom Skilling addresses reader questions with his famous cheery aplomb, but thanks to our newly-acquired mind-reading powers, we learn what he’s really thinking as he takes on weather-related queries.*
Dear Tom: What is Honolulu's annual precipitation? --Jimmy in Downers Grove
Hi Jimmy. I’m going to level with you: I’m not having a great day (I always get like this when the dewpoint really gets low) and I'm not really in the mood to take on questions like this that have nothing to do with Chicago. So, honestly, I don’t know. Three inches? Thirty inches? Something like that. Next question.
Dear Tom: I remember a snowfall on March 31-April 1, 1975. Can you fill me in on the details? --Marie in Glenview
For several seasons now I’ve been intrigued by Cleatus, the FOX football robot. If you watch football, I probably don’t need to explain who he is, but I will for those who don’t. When the NFL on FOX gets introduced or kicks out to a commercial, an animated robot pops up on the side of the screen, typically exhibiting some football-player-ish behavior. He’d jump up and down to get pumped up or would stride in place, pointing to the audience in a “Yeah, what’s up, we’re all awesome!” manner. Sometimes he’d play the electric guitar (although, suspiciously, there was no strap and it wasn’t plugged in.)
Originally I found Cleatus annoying. What does a robot have to do with football? And if he’s a robot, why does he need to get loosened up or showboat to the crowd? Sometimes he even nurses a hangover, on New Years Day. That doesn’t seem like robot-ish behavior.
In 1995, NPR created a brand new media beat and gave it to today’s interviewee, who covered it for six years from NPR's New York bureau in midtown Manhattan, until she was tapped by WNYC to help re-launch On The Media in 2001.
The program was reborn in January of 2001 and now has nearly one million weekly listeners and has since won quite a few awards by showing how the journalism sausage is made.
The Show-Off thinks she’s better than everyone, including the instructor. She obviously thinks she should be leading the class, but probably doesn’t want to get down in the dirt by teaching all the common people how to do the moves that they probably wouldn’t understand anyway. The Show-Off adds in the extra moves before the instructor shows them to anybody else and sometimes adds in extra moves of her own because the workout as-is just isnt enough for her. The Show-Off, when possible, will execute all moves while holding a ten pound dumbbell over her head. The Show-Off is frequently in front of you, blocking your view of the instructor and yourself.
The Poor Bastard
Isn't it kind of silly when news outlets provide Thanksgiving tips and tricks a day or two before Thanksgiving? I don't know anybody who hosts the meal who decides mere hours before the meal what they're going to make. My mom starts weeks ahead, for instance, baking her pumpkin bread and strawberry sparkle muffins and freezing them before the big meal.
That's why it's this week and not next week that I'll share with you her recipe for "The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie" (via a 1993 Bon Appétit.) Before this recipe came along, I could take or leave pumpkin pie. Pumpkin often tastes like old people food to me (and you know exactly what I'm talking about.) I think it's the bit of apricot preserves that makes this recipe come alive, and the beautiful crust doesn't hurt either.
My cousin Regina, who is the ultimate Thanksgiving fan in my family, is absolutely rabid for this pie. Each year my mom makes Regina her own pie to take home just because her one-woman fan club for this pie is so vocal. My mom doesn't do this for everyone, you know. Not even her own daughter. Ahem.