Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shad the Gorilla

Against my better judgement, I am posting a picture of my older brother, Shad, also known as "my brilliant son the scientist" (by our parents), and "handsome hairy beast" (by gorilla girls everywhere he goes). Shad is a proper silverback gorilla who works in McMurdo Station on Ross Island in Antarctica. Before Antarctica, Shad lived outside of Glasgow, Scotland with his university sweetheart, a Scotsgorilla named Aoife McCullough. Charlotte is Shad's and Aoife's daughter, but Shad doesn't really know Charlotte all that well. They meet up once a year on the Galapagos Islands, because that's as far north as Shad will travel. Technically, Shad and Aoife are still mates, but they had a falling out some years ago and haven't seen each other since Charlotte was a toddler. Despite all of the storm and stress of Shad's marriage, he is still our parents' golden boy. However, I beat Shad at wrestling once a few years back, much to our parents' chagrin. Shad has been insisting on a rematch ever since, but I choose instead to rest on my laurels.

Shad the Gorilla, my older brother

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe

Last Saturday, I visited the Neighborhood of Make-Believe for the first time since I was fired from being the props-master on the set of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. First off, I said hello to my old friend Mr. McFeely and we had a good laugh remembering the silly stage pranks we'd pull to see if we could make Mr. Rogers throw a fit. (He never did, though later he said he credited me with the inspiration for the song, "What do you do with the mad that you feel?")

Mr. McFeely gave me his autograph. Then, while the other children were waiting in line to meet him, we had a spirited discussion about the state of the U.S. Postal system today. Soon after, my Landlady grabbed me by the arm and said, "Mr. McFeely is not responsible for domestic postage going up by 2 cents."

I spent some time with the Make-Believe royalty at the castle of King Friday the XIII. Lady Elaine Fairchild and I had always gotten along swimmingly, but King Friday and I often clashed. We smiled through gritted teeth, shook hands, and posed for the picture. Queen Sara was pleasant to me and offered me some snacks.

As I began to help myself to the array of treats, I distinctly heard King Friday mutter, "I hope he doesn't take all of the chocolate-chip muffins." My Landlady claimed that I had hallucinated the whole thing, but when I turned back, I saw King Friday shaking his fist at me. Hah! King Friday has no dominion over me.

I spent some time with Daniel Striped-Tiger at the clock. Daniel and I go way back. I knew him before he was tame. He often bit King Friday. Mr. Rogers did not approve, even though I pointed out that King Friday deserved it. It was around this time that Mr. Rogers told me that he didn't think I was happy as the props-master.

"Well, no," I said, "I want to be an actor on your show."

Mr. Rogers told me that there weren't any openings for gorillas on the show, but that he would keep me informed.* He then told me that he needed a new props-master, someone who would be calm around the children and not throw the shoes and sweaters at them in the audience. Mr. Rogers gave me a pretty decent severance package for that time, and sent me on my way. Soon after, I had a stint on Wonder Woman, but that spot wasn't the breakthrough role for which I had hoped. Anyway...

I took a spin on Lady Elaine's museum-go-round. I used to make myself sick on that thing. That day was no different.

I tried to soothe my poor, aching head with a glass of ginger-ale in Henrietta Pussycat's house, but when I had to lean out the window (I was sick, sick, sick), I got stuck. The Landlord had to rescue me. It was humiliating.

The trolley-ride back from the Land of Make-Believe was blissfully uneventful. The swaying of the trolley on the tracks made me woozy, but it was a short trip. I survived.

Even though the Neighborhood of Make-Believe was too small and tame for a gorilla,* I made a lot of friends with whom I kept in touch (not King Friday). When Mr. Rogers died, I cried like a baby.

*Years later, Mr. Rogers invited Koko to visit the set. Koko always gets the star treatment! It is Her Way.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Four Things: a Meme for the Masses

Here is a copy of the Brad’s Four Things Meme. I can't believe I'm doing such a silly, undignified activity as participating in a meme. It makes my fur stand on end. After I finish this post, I shall have to do the New York Times crossword puzzle using my fancy-dancy fountain pen in order to restore my dignity.

Jobs I’ve Had
1) Musician
2) Chef
3) Actor
4) CEO

Movies I can Watch Over and Over

1) Liar Liar
2) Man in the Moon
3) Truman Show
4) Earth Girls Are Easy

Places I’ve Lived

1) Africa
2) Asia
3) Europe
4) Antarctica (as a summer intern, working for my brother Shad)

Places I’ve Vacationed
1) Memphis, Tennessee , USA
2) South Bend, Indiana ,USA (Go Fighting Irish!)
3) Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA (I don’t like to talk about this trip)
4) Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, USA

Favorite Dishes
1) Pomegranate salad with crème fraiche
2) Bananas Foster
3) Fried mozzarella sticks
4) Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches

Non-Blogger Sites I visit Daily

1) Homestar Runner (sound on)
2) The Motley Fool (A lot of people think this site is “so 1997,” but it’s still my favorite investing site)
3) Zombo (sound on)
4) New York Stock Exchange

Places I’d Like to Visit
1) Constantinople
2) Timbuktu
3) Troy
4) Nonny's house

People I’m Tagging For This Meme:
1) Monkey
2)Philip the Pun
3)My Landlord
4)The King

Update: By special request, here is a photo I found taken during my summer internship at McMurdo Station. It was a pretty rowdy summer. The emperor penguin you see on the right is named Forster. We still send each other postcards every now and then.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Mr. Pudding asked, ""What is a meme?" and then proceeded to tag me with one. It's a good thing he didn't ask my Landlady. She is wont to tell you something along the lines of, "It's a piece of information transferred from one person to another," and then give you example after example of notorious internet memes. These memes often strike the Landlady as much funnier than they actually are for the simple reason that by the time the memes gets to her, they're on their way out of popularity.

I, however, am of a more scholarly mind. For example, I have devoted much study to the meme subgenre called an Earworm, which is a song you can't get out of your head, even if you hate it. A month ago,the blogger Defective Yeti demonstrated just how powerful an Earworm can be. He risked everything, even his marriage, to pass along an Earworm so revoltingly powerful that even more terrible things would have happened had he remained silent.

What is your favorite Earworm? What is your least-favorite Earworm? I already know that Lady Hearteater has "Electric Avenue" stuck in her head. For over a year now, the Landlady has taken great delight in singing and dancing to a Romanian disco song that drives the Landlord up the wall. The cruelty never ends.

An earworm with the ending of I've Seen All Good People by Yes stuck in its head (or tail).

P.S. I'm up early on a Saturday morning (7 AM PST) because I'm on my way to the Land of Make-Believe. Updates will be posted later.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Birthday to My Landlord

Today is my Landlord's* birthday! This morning I got out my guitar and sang him a song I made up:

You're thirty-six years old today,
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
I'm impressed you don't have grey
Hair, hair, hair
(but sung to rhyme with "yeah, yeah,yeah").
Though you're a stickler for the rules,
Ooooh, oooh, oooh,
I still think you're pretty cool,
Shoooo, beeee, dooooo.

I wanted to sing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song, but AOL Time/Warner said they'd sue me if I didn't pay them $10k USD for the rights to use the song in a public setting. That would eat up all my profits and deplete the helicopter fund.

I also tried to make my Landlord a chocolate cake with coconut frosting, but for some reason, I had a bit of trouble with the dimensions of the bakeware:

I have learned my lesson: never attempt to cook or bake before I've had my first two cups of coffee. My Landlord has already discovered this universal truth... over and over. Of course, this lesson is a Catch-22, because before one has had two cups of coffee, one does not often have the mental capabilities of making reasonable decisions. My Landlady scoffs at this notion, but she's a milky-coffee one-cup-a-day kind of consumer.

*My Landlord drew the pictures.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I’m reading a fascinating account of a red-necktie wearing gorilla who, in the 1930’s, came to live with a human being named Gertie Lintz. The book is called Buddy, and it’s written and illustrated by William Joyce. Here is my favorite passage so far:

Buddy ate so much that Gertie and Bill bought him his own refrigerator. He loved bananas, grapes, and strawberry pie. For breakfast, he could eat a whole box of cereal, doughnuts by the dozen, entire loaves of bread, and gallons of apple juice and still be hungry.

The 1997 movie of the same name passed under my radar, but perhaps that was because at the time I was touring Europe and Asia with the cooking group, The Wildly Fantastic Chef Sisters. Of course, both the book and the movie dramatically underplay the cruel realities of what was going on with Buddy, his upbringing, his eventual career in the circus, and such. Reading accounts of gorillas brought into so-called “civilization” make me realize what a fortunate gorilla I really am. No one has ever made me do anything I didn’t want to do. As Pinkipod wrote in a blog entry I discovered while vanity-cruising Technorati,

You can't tell a big gorilla to attend an anger management class. You can only force it to take a chill pill (Chloroform)...

In the interest of fair disclosure, no one has ever, ever successfully gotten me to take a chill pill. Trying to get me to take any sort of medication, class on anger management or anything else behavior-modifying would be more harrowing (for you) than attempting to give the kitty a pill.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Huge Sale at Bradley Enterprises

Bradley Enterprises is having a SALE!

For a limited time only, all tee-shirts in the shop (plus the set of coasters) have reduced prices. The one condition of the sale is that if you actually buy a tee-shirt from Bradley Enterprises, you must send Brad the Gorilla a photograph of you wearing the shirt.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nonny's new clothes

Dear Nonny,

I don't know how to tell you this, so I'll just come straight out and say it: It's my fault that your arms have mysteriously gone missing.

I had the best of intentions. I wanted you to be able to try on the new Bradley Enterprises line of clothing (click on the tee-shirt icon on the left of this webpage). As pricey as these garments are, I wanted you to see how smashing you look in your new ensemble. After all, who can really put a price on beauty?

Somewhere, in all of the bustle of the preparations, I lost your arms.

I've made you a temporary replacement pair. I know they're not quite what you're used to, but look at it this way: each hand has five digits. That wasn't easy! Charlotte said you'd do fine with only four digits on each hand, but I said, "No, Charlotte, Nonny needs her thumbs." I was quite emphatic on that point.

Maybe with a flower in your hand and a crown upon your head, you won't notice the difference at all. Oh, yes, and I accidentally got rid of all the books in your office. I hope that placing you on the beach will help make up for it.

I know this is not what you had in mind, but if I may be so bold, I rather like your new arms. You have no idea what levels of flexibility are now at your fingertips (no pun intended). When you do yoga (proudly! wearing your new Brad the Gorilla garb), you will be the admiration of everyone. I'm sure of it.

Of course, there is some part of me that is worried that you're going to come after me and throttle me with those new arms of yours. Would you really do that to your friend Brad? The arms look good on you, I say. Also, you never know when super-elastic strength will come in handy (oh, there I go again).

New Fan Posters

The new Brad fan posters are here!

Some people may think that I am getting a swelled head from all of my fame and fortune.

This is true.

However, I am currently a glutton for Photoshop. Let me have my fun. It's all for a good cause. After I buy my helicopter, my Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas, and a baby grand piano for Lucia, the Landlord's Daughter, I shall give all my profits to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. I'll get other corporations to match the funds (i.e. if they don't cooperate, I'll jump up and down on their heads until they comply).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bradopoly Rules: the print-out edition

Remember Bradopoly? How could you forget? Now, in addition to the actual boardgame, I have created for you a convenient print-out sheet of the rules. Included on this rule sheet are unreasonable facsimiles of five new pewter tokens for the game: Elvis guitar, computer, ice-cream cone, banana, and gorilla.

Business Cards

Here's how it all started: Monkey showed us his scrapbook on his blog. I was wild with envy impressed, and realized I had to get on the ball to get my scrapbook together. I casually mentioned my 2005 calendar. Monkey was taken aback that his humans hadn't yet gotten together a calendar for him, but wondered if I business cards. Um, of course, I said, just close your eyes for a few minutes while I rummage around and find them. While Monkey had his eyes closed, I found one business card in the boytom of my suitcase, printed a moment ago in the early days of Bradley Enterprises. Monkey then pointed out that I needed my photo on the cards. After some fiddling and strumming, I designed a whole new set of business cards, and voila, here they are:

Monkey, it's your turn now. I want to see those business cards, and maybe even appliqued sweatshirts with "Please send bananas. Thank you." under the pictures. All kidding aside, I'm sure you would make a tidy sum selling Monkey's Deep Thoughts™ CafePress or Spreadshirt items. The folks at the mighty Folkmanis empire would probably throw a fit. No one has a sense of humor anymore!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Stand-In Wookie

As I was going through my box of scraps, trying to put a scrapbook together, I came across this old photo, circa 1976. It was taken during the time I was trying to break into the movies. Even though I was determined to make it as a gorilla actor, I was willing to branch out into other areas just in case the perfect role came along. That was how early on, I got to be the stand-in for Chewbacca in the film "Star Wars." The guy who played Chewbacca and I were on pretty good terms (the rumors that he kept threatening to rip my arms out of my sockets were overly exaggerated) but there was always some part of me that hoped he'd need to take a long nap, and then I'd actually get to star in the film.

One day, Chewbacca accidentally let the cranberry juice ferment in his sippy-bottle. Consequentially, he was royally ill for several days. They called me to come in and do his scenes. I was thrilled, but I had just put a pie in the oven. All throughout the shoot, I couldn't help but think about that pie and worry that someone was going to let it burn. I asked one of the tusken raiders to take the pie out in 45 minutes, but he or she must have been called to do another scene, because just as the cameras began rolling for the big shoot-out on Tatooine, one of the robots came running onto the set, flailing his arms and yelling, "Pie on fire! Pie on fire!"

George Lucas, the director, was furious with me. "I had been looking forward to that pie all day, and now you've ruined it. You've ruined my pie." He stormed off in a huff. I could understand, because it was, after all, a rhubarb-strawberry pie.

In short: I was "let go." They didn't pay me, but they said that if the movie ever made any money, I would get a free lunchbox. As it turned out, the movie did make some money. I got my lunchbox, and a few action figures besides. George Lucas never did get his rhubarb-strawberry pie, though. Poor guy. He should have stuck with the gorilla.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Book of Brad

I'm working on a scrapbook. I was seething with jealousy inspired by Monkey's scrapbooks, and realized that many of my great moments might be lost forever without proper documentation. So, I am working away on my visual memoirs, as it were. If you have any stories, poems or fond recollections of your friend Brad, please send them to me. Pictures are welcome, too. Send them to my email address and I'll consider them for inclusion in my forthcoming publication. As an example of what I'm working on, here's a page I made of some recent events:

Here is a page that documents events from a long, long time ago:

Hello... I'm Brad the Gorilla (a music mix)

Hi all. I’ve been busy making mixes on my iPod banana. I lent it to the Landlady for a few days, but now I’ve got it back, and I am not going to let it go again any time soon. Here is a playlist for you to add to your collections. The title of this mix is "Hello... I'm Brad the Gorilla."

Lyrics are linked whenever possible:

I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell-—Elvis Presley
Hey Food—Cookie Monster & the Beetles
Chocolate Milk-—ScribbleMonster & his Pals
Blueberry Pie—Bette Midler
You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)—The Go-Nuts
Man on the Moon-—R.E.M.
In the Jailhouse Now--Soggy Bottom Boys
Banana Splits (The Tra-la-la-song)--Dickies
Folsom Prison Blues-—Johnny Cash
Hello… I’m Johnny Cash—-Alabama 3 (link points the way to the video: be patient while it loads! Not that I'm ever patient, but you might be different...)
On My Way to Vegas-—Brian Tyler (from the Six String Samurai soundtrack)
Apeman--The Kinks

I expect lots of comments on this post. I didn't cut and paste all those lyric links for my own amusement. As Monkey often says, "Please send bananas," but forget about the "please" part. I'm tough. I'm gruff. In the entire history of the Brad the Gorilla blog, I have never, ever said "please."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Elvis is Everywhere

Loaf Me Tender

This hyperlinked version of the lyrics to Mojo Nixon's Elvis is Everywhere is dedicated to all of my loyal readers. There is a dead link in the hypertext for "perfect being", so here is my own contribution (wait to click on it until it's time):

...Elvis is a perfect being.
We are all moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness...

Thanks to Philip the Pun for telling me about the song. I'm sure by now he has long since regretted it.

I am a Pomegranate

You are a Pomegranate...unconventional, unique, and just a little bit tart...you know how to make a lasting impression and often do so with your zest for life...

What Kind of Fruit Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Playlist on the Bananaphone

I succumbed to the advertising. I now have a new iPod banana. I admit it: I was weak. But how could I resist such an ad? Now, I have all sorts of tunes right at my fingertips. Yes, it is a bit hard to figure out the fine points of using the buttons, and I think the good folks at Banana Computer, Inc. need to figure out a better keypad system for large-finger-tipped primates. Still, I look forward to keeping up with the other blogs and posting my own iPod banana playlist. Right now, I'm listening to a song called "You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)" by the Go-Nuts while I fold some origami. What a life!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Banana pudding tug of war

You may recall that, three months ago, I complained about the Grocery Outlet across the street. However, I have become more kindly disposed toward the store since I discovered the Kozy Shack* banana pudding. When I saw it, I got very excited. Yes, I know how to make banana pudding, but sometimes a person is in a hurry and can't bear to deal with all of the fiddly bits involved. However, I did pause to debate whether I should save one of the containers of pudding for later to make banana cream pie or the piña colada pudding (with real rum, of course), or whether I should just forgo the niceties and eat both containers in a go.

Then, Fred and Charlotte showed up. Guess what. They wanted banana pudding too. "Nothing doing," I said. "I carried this pudding home from the store all by myself, and I'm going to eat it all by myself." I was quite gruff about the matter, and Fred and Charlotte were cowed. I thought everything was settled, and when...

Lucia, the Landlord's daughter, came to the table. She was fierce. "You share," she said.

"No!" I cried.

A tug of war ensued.

I lost.

It pains me to admit this, but there is just no way a full-grown gorilla can compete with a toddler. To add insult to injury, she made me share the pudding with her parents. I felt like The Little Red Hen, I tell you (how's that for a folktale reference, Ms. Pudding-Purloining Landlady?). I found the pudding, I bought the pudding, I carried the pudding all the way home and I had to get my own spoon on top of everything else. Where does "sharing" come into the picture? I think the people who want me to share are always the ones who don't have pudding.

It's just not fair.

(Pssst, I still have another container left. Anybody want some?)

*They should be paying me for all of this advertising, those ungrateful louts.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Prep for Elvis Contest

Lucky for me, I got my Elvis outfit back from the drycleaners in time for the Invitationals tonight. I'm still going to have to arrange for some modifications, as I've gotten a bit plump from all the pudding I made over the holidays. Basically, my Landlady is going to have to stitch the costume onto me right before we go to the EMP.
I still need to choose a song. The polls didn't settle anything, because there was a tie between "Polk Salad Annie" and "I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell." I asked the Landlord to break the tie, and instead, he voted for "From a Jack to a King." He was no help at all whatsoever.

I'm going to go with "I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell," because of the banana peel reference. The song is better for my vocal range, anyway.

Still, part of me was looking forward to "Polk Salad Annie" because of the bit at the end with the backup singers:

Hey, hey, hey, yeah, yeah
(Chic a bon, chic a bon, chic a bon bon bon bon
Chic a bon, chic a bon, chic a bon bon bon bon).


Friday, January 06, 2006

Elvis Invitationals 2006

To my surprise, I have been invited to take part in the 2006 Elvis Invitationals. This is a yearly event in celebration of The King's birthday, which is January 8.

I must admit, I'm in a state of pleasant shock and disbelief. You see, I thought I had been banned from ever again taking part in the Invitationals. Now, I need to get my Elvis costume quickly to the drycleaners and back in time for the contest. I also need to figure out which song I'm going to sing. It's important to choose a song that fits my vocal range but that a dozen other Elvii aren't going to sing as well. I've been up practicing for most of the night, and I've got the choices down to three selections:

From a Jack to a King

I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell

Polk Salad Annie

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Elvis confections

Thanks to everyone who attempted to cheer me up. I was particularly appreciative of the Elvis cake:

The Elvis candy was great, too:

Passenger Pigeon

I know some of you think that the only things I write about are gorillas, bananas, and Elvis. Well, today, I'm going to surprise you. I'll bet you didn't know that I was a charter member of The Passenger Pigeon Society. As you know, the passenger pigeon species is extinct. There were once the most common birds in the world, and at one point, there may have been as many as 5 billion birds. Now, there are none. They were literally eaten into extinction by humans. You don't see pigeon pie on the menu much today, but before the 1900's, if you ate pigeon pie, you were probably eating passenger pigeon.

I am a vegetarian, but many other animals are not. Life subsists on life. However, when animals are hunted until they become endangered species (and then extinct) where is the interest for self-preservation? Humans shot all the passenger pigeons, and now there are no more passenger pigeons to shoot. If people were relying upon the meat from these birds for their livelihoods, then in essence, they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

At one point, there were 5 billion passenger pigeons. Now, there are none.

What hope is there for the gorillas?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Two short films: Bananas and Love

For your Monday morning amusement, here are two short films. The first film (a clip, really) is a classic, the second one is an "instant classic" (although there is no such thing).

Banana in My Ear

George Lucas in Love

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Banana Pudding

My Landlady gave me some banana pudding to help celebrate New Year's Eve. Everyone else went out to dinner and left me behind with Fred and Charlotte.

It was pretty easy to make the banana pudding, as it was, after all, from a box.

However, I was so put out at being left behind that I ate the whole bowl of pudding. Fred and Charlotte got really mad! In order to get them to stop spitting grape seeds at me, I decided to make them some banana pudding from scratch.

You may notice that the banana pudding recipe is remarkably similar to the chocolate pudding I made for Friday's Web:

3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk (lowfat okay)
1/4 cup of maple syrup or sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of banana extract
few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Mix cold milk and cornstarch together. Add sweetener and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to thicken and boil (bubbles break surface), turn off the heat, add the vanilla, banana extract and food coloring, and stir. Let the pudding cool until it is thick enough to eat. Sharing is optional.