Same Shit, Different Decade

NEW 100

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
--Elbert Hubbard


      Yes, long-time readers, I've officially hit ONE HUNDRED PAGES of this drivel.
      I find it more amazing that I've been doing this for twelve and a half years, or a quarter of my entire life.

      And my new year's resolution is ...


      Probably the best decision I've made in the 12.5 years of this page was posting the Stupidest Things Ever Said calendars, as I can pretend to have daily content without actually creating any.
      And, yeah, I used to be funnier. Hey, smartass, YOU used to be...umm...YOUNGER! Like 5 years ago, you were over 1,800 days less old! Answer me that, smartypants!


      There's really nothing insightful about saying "The weatherman is always wrong! It's the only job where you get that much money for always being wrong!" That's not true. You'd get paid more for being even wronger by being a right-wing pundit on FOX.
      That said, the weatherman is always wrong! At least as far as snowstorms this season. Today we had the sixth in 4 weeks. The five (predicted as) major storms turned out to be minor, and the minor one turned out to be major, causing huge delays in the morning commute.
      I was really worried about my new at-work-at-8AM schedule due to winter weather. Driving home from work at 8 or 9PM is miserable enough, but usually there's no real traffic. Back in mid-October there was an early freeze (that the weathermen didn't predict) that gave me a 90-minute commute. That terrible morning snowstorm? My day off. Today's, while nowhere near how bad they said it would be, would've been a commute from hell...If I worked today. That's what's weird this year. I've dodged the bullet 6 times now. The snow ends before I leave, or starts after I do, or it snows for 6 hours before leaving but it's exactly warm enough that it doesn't even collect on the grass until after I'm home...
      Six times in a month is a lot of snow, even by New England standards. And we have 6 to 8 weeks of this crap left to go. Two years ago, if my car had spun out and not hit the guardrail in a snowstorm, 2 tractor-trailers and a bus would've smashed into me at 50MPH. Since then, I really don't like driving in the snow. Even less, dying in it.

      Snow day in the Young household!


      My gourd, where'd that giant snowbank come from?! Oh, wait--that's Killsy. And if you're thinking, "Wow! DJ's getting big!"--


      --you'd be right!


      (There's some forced perspective due to the camera angle; he really isn't the size of a freakin' jaguar)

      Ireland, land of (half of my) forebears, proves itself crazy again, and passes a draconianly ludicrous blasphemy law. Yeah, Eire, party like it's 1599!
      Of course, an Irish not-insane site has published 25 blasphemous quotes to test the potato-headed law. It contains the usual subjects (Hitchens and Dawkins, Carlin and Zappa), one "where'd that come from?" contender (Bjork dissing Bhuddism), and a few "Wait, WHO?!"s (the Pope, Muhammed, and Jeez, taking a break from appearing in people's food). Some of the later ones are kinda funny.


      Having talked about dodging the driving in winter bullet yesterday, today I got hit by it. Because it snowed yesterday. That's all; the roads were just wet, but apparently knowing that they were wet from melted snow and not rain dropped the top speed by 35MPH. Of course, I still don't understand why traffic slows to a crawl when there's a car parked completely off onto the shoulder, you know, just sitting there, not on fire or full of Nazis and dragging Indiana Jones by his bullwhip behind it. That's like slowing down because there's a streetlight there.

      I found an online coupon for a free Taco Bell "Fresca" taco from their "Drive-Thru Diet" menu. So it's a taco in a cup of bad diet soda? Eww! No, just a taco. I haven't had Taco Smell for maybe 7 or 8 years and I semi-craved it, so what the hey.
      The cashier seemed utterly baffled by my order, "a chicken Fresca taco and 2 regular beef crispy tacos," and it came in 2 seperate waves, also 2 bags. I got home and realized that they hadn't given me any sauce (not that I asked for any; they used to ask you) and (WARNING, INCOMING HILARIOUS PUN, SEEK SHELTER) it was more like a Fiasco taco, ha ha! (THE ALL-CLEAR HAS SOUNDED; IT IS SAFE TO LEAVE THE PUN SHELTERS) It was such a sloppy mess that I should've just asked them to dump the ingredients in my lap. And unless Taco Bell's chicken is dark brown (and it could be), I didn't get chicken. I think I got steak, and I think that their definition of "steak" is "Hey, what's left over on the slaughterhouse floor? You guys using that?" The regular tacos weren't that much less messy. This morning I wondered "What exactly is 'processed food'? Fast food, right? And you're not supposed to eat that." I've decided "processed food" is what your stomach tells you 2 hours after eating it, "Could you not do that again?" Well, it cured me of my Taco Bell craving. Permanently.



      There wasn't a surprise message on the answering machine this morning, so that meant that I was going to the Crack Bar and get together with that summit of beauty, wit and profanity, Mrs Jessica. Proof that I would make a terrible boyfriend: I commented on the rarity of her having her hair down, but it took me 2 hours to notice that she'd dyed it black.
      We had "Eggs in a basket," which involved 2 slices of toast with a hole filled with eggs in the middle. I finally learned to order my bacon "extra crispy," as otherwise it comes "extra greasy in a puddle of pig fat." We're the same height and weight and both have weird metabolisms. I ended up doggie bagging some of my food, as I don't need to eat a lot, while she's a bottomless pit who burns it off seemingly as she eats it.
      She gave me an unexpected Xmas present in Peanuts wrapping paper. It was from the baby section of a dollar store, and was a blanket with a flying robot on it. She likes to give me robots. Also, some gumball machine bucktoothed midget alien, some cat toys, and a cat. A white ceramic one lying in repose, and looking as beautiful as you-know-which of my kids.
      We talked mainly about her cat rescue work at the no-kill shelter. She saved a feral mom and her son, and mom basically had everything wrong with that she could have wrong with her--herpes virus, fleas, parasites, a weight of 3 pounds ("When I picked her up, I thought I was going to break her!"), a mouth full of rotted teeth and pus-filled sores, constipation beyond belief because her intestine was growing outside of her body...and she not only lived, she and her child are going to a feral save house in New York. She and her friend paid for all of her medical work out of pocket, and the poor cats still have to have all their teeth pulled.
      One of the feral colonies she "manages" (feeds and takes care of) is near the property of some societal leech. His parents gave him their house, which is an old Victorian that he's let go to such a level of crap that it'd probably be torn down when it's sold. He's on disability for his legs (and rides a Harley), and other aid programs. He has a dirt basement and that's where he lets his dog shit (he just covers it up with baking soda--enjoy your inevitable ringworm, pal). Oh, and he's classy enough that he steals the food Jess leaves out for the ferals for his own cats, and gives the ferals his microwave meal table scraps. Seriously, how knuckle-draggy to you have to be to steal from homeless cats? Is there not a nearby orphannge you could rob?
      She now has 4 cats, 5 if you count the semi-feral outdoor cat she takes care of. Her new boy is Ham, a polydactyl with TEN toes on EACH of his front paws! Byron is so jealous!
      Since we were at Cracker Barrel, she bought some 75%-off Xmas crap ornaments, passing on the Elvis ones, and some cat stickers. Then we went to our same old antique store. Digging through some costume jewelry, she asked me "What's a...skepter?" "Scepter," I said. "It's thing royalty holds. You're looking at the back, so it looks like a spoon." "I'm royalty," she said. "At least in my head!" She bought that, and also a nice crystal mermaid on a rock, and I think her total was $8.
      She tried on some funky old sunglasses.


      She's wearing a Malificent pin, but other than that, she was Nightmare Before Christmas themed: shirt, scarf, purse. I noticed that immediately upon meeting her, but didn't catch the black hair dye.
      We meant to check out a stone carving store we ran across at the Ren Fest last year, but they were open Thurs-Sun, so we ended it there. We both filled up our cars on gas at a station by the Crack Bar that has "WaCkY! Wednesdays 6 CENTS OFF!!" (that's how it was spelled), so it was about as cheap as you can get in overpriced southern New England, and went our seperate ways. I did find a use for the baby blanket she gave me, as a Victorian-era chair doily:


      The towel on the chair's seat is there because Byron likes to sleep there, and thus likes to barf there.

      The 2009 Darwin Awards. These are never really funny, due to the people actually dying, but they are an object lesson in "don't be willfully stupid."

      Not so much "funny" as "clever," Cracked on Video Game Zoology: How 5 8-Bit Characters Would Really Look.


      SHAWT: He's an old man who is dying by degrees from his alcoholism. He buys Jim Beam nips, but he buys at least a liter's worth of them a day from us, and who knows if he's buying from somewhere else? He also smokes a pack a day. And changes his clothes...never. Same clothes for the 2 years he's been coming in. In the summer, he ditches the hat and coat, but otherwise, exactly the same. His rank stink smells like he passes out in them every night. He has someone trim his beard and hair annually. But he makes sure he his combover is perfect. Ain't gonna get the ladies if they know you're balding!
      It's like choosing your food based on the colors it will leave when you vomit all over your shirt and leave it there to crust off.

      After all those years of "Cell phones cause TEH BRAINS CANCER!" guess what: Cell Phone Exposure May Protect Against and Reverse Alzheimer's Disease.



      I'd heard of some cut-up/collage band thing called "Beatlerape," but I never came across their stuff, even just to hear it, and thus forgot about it. Until today, in a WFMU piece that has 3 tracks. They also apparently had a thing about Star Trek, which is another plus in my book. Note: does not have a good beat, nor you can dance to it.

      The must-see movie of late 2010: Jackboots on Whitehall. No trailer yet, but it looks NUTS.



      SHAWT, or PIGIN (Person I'm Glad I'm Not): the guy who spent 2 and a half hours in the store scratching "instant win lose" tickets. Over one hundred of them, at $2 each. He did occasionally win--his $2 back.

      SHAWT(wenty years ago): I don't believe I have ever related the story of the only time in my retail career that I got revenge on an asshole customer.
      I was working at Sam Goody, a record store. 3 weeks after Christmas, I was asked by a man about 40, "Do you have that new song they play on WTIC? It's a dance song, something about love?" That was 100% of his information--he shrugged when I asked him for a song title or artist name. I was the classic rock/classical music/electronica guy, not the top 40 person, so I smiled and said "I don't listen to that station. Let me get Emma, she'd kn--" And he was instantly yelling at me, "You work in a RECORD STORE! You don't know?! This is ridiculous! What are you, STUPID?!"
      No, I'm not. I don't listen to every fucking possible radio station and MEMORIZE songs. I know a particular subset of music; that's why everyone comes to me about the things I know. Have you asked your insurance agent or mailman if they know the song? You're the guy who's heard it enough to want to buy it. If I'm stupid for not knowing, what does that make you?
      Emma got some more details from him--how it went, lyrics--and found his $1.99 cassingle. After paying, he purposely sought me out, as he wasn't done with me yet. In front of everyone, he began snarling again, ending with "If you worked for ME, I'd have you FIRED!" This after I had his question answered within a minute of him asking.
      As I've said before, if you act like an asshole to a retail person, all you become is today's asshole du jour. He became the pissed-off talk of the store, and Emma hated him the most. Because...he was one of us. His nametag said that he was the Manager of the Men's Department at G. Fox, the clothing store down the other end of the Buckland Mall. A fellow retail slave abusing another retail slave over nothing? Unthinkable!
      The thing retail employees always think when you scream "I'll get you FIRED!" is "And where do you work, so I can do the same to you?" Well, I did know where he worked. What he didn't know is that my parents had given me $300 of clothes from G. Fox for Xmas, with the tags attached, "in case you don't like them." In those days, Fox's policy was that if you had no receipt, but the tags were on, they'd send you a check 3 weeks later for the value. I abruptly decided, "I don't like any of these clothes." I brought them to Fox's men's department the next day, and guess who was working. His eyes opened wide in horror as I piled 3 Franklin's worth of returns on the counter, and didn't want to buy anything, just mail the check, please. I smiled and nodded at him. He was surely thinking "There goes my sales goal for the week--or the month!"
      I almost asked the guy doing the return, "Hey, do you have that shirt? It's by that designer? It has buttons?" But I realized that the manager was such a fucking asshole that he might take it out on another retail slave, so when I left I just said "THANK YOU!" as cheerfully and loudly as I could.
      Revenge is a dish best served clothed.

      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince almost seemed like someone took a 700-page book and pared it down into a 2 1/2 hour movie. "Scene [gap] Scene [gap] Scene..."

      From 2002, Life On the Net in 2004. Ha ha! They were wrong! No, it was really a satire based on the legislation phone companies were desperate to pass back then. On the other hand, one of the oldest tropes of the internet has come to "life": Roxxxy the robotic girlfriend, with all the appropriate holes. "The anatomically-correct robot has an articulated skeleton that can move like a person but cannot walk or independently move its limbs." WOW, nothing's sexier than a parapalegic! She also looks like she's passed out, a plus for all you frat boys who didn't get the sorority sisters to chug enough Keystone Light. "She knows exactly what you like," Mr Hines said of Roxxxy, noting that Rocky will also come with personalities. "If you like Porsches, she likes Porsches. If you like soccer, she likes soccer." If you like having no friends and fucking plastic vaginas, she likes you having no friends.
      What, not creepy enough for ya?

      I...what? I'm fucking the personality of a dead man killed by terrorists? That...doesn't get me particularly hard...Or do you mean he just liked fucking blow-up dolls? want to fuck a thing that looks like a corpse, while thinking of a guy who is a corpse?
      If I get killed by terrorists (well, fundamentalist Muslims do hate alcohol; it could happen), umm, donate money to the ACLU or Humane Society in my memory, not base a fuckbot on me.


      "Couch potatoes beware: every hour of television watched per day may increase the risk of dying earlier from cardiovascular disease...While the study focused specifically on television watching, the findings suggest that any prolonged sedentary behavior, such as sitting at a desk or in front of a computer, may pose a risk to one's health."
      Yes, I'm sitting as I type this. One of the few pluses of retail is that I walk about a a mile and a half every hour at work.


      Yes, I didn't post the barest of anything yesterday. Too much Civ2 and the 2nd disc of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse--it just gets crazier as it goes along; highly recommended to all John K. fans. So to make up for it--KITTY PICS!!

            "In Soviet Russia, ceramic cat nuzzles CAT! And Thanos pokes CAT! And this is why Yakoff Smirnoff doesn't get GIGS anymore!"

      Pictures taken 5 seconds apart:
      When it comes to catnip, DJ is still an eater...

            ...AND a roller.

            I HAZ A BOX

            ...AND A BATHS.


            "Oh, deah! Such a display of passion! I must retire to mah fainting couch, which is this floor that hasn't been vacuumed since the Clinton administration! Oh, sigh!"

      A post on Way of Cats titled Why Do Cats Hide Things? made me remember a story once told here, but over a period of months. Here's the synopsis:



      Wow, that Dollar Tree cat wand was certainly worth a buck. Is this one's appeal based on the fact that the "fish" is 2/3rds cloth, with the middle a slice of the edible oil filter, loofah? Or the fact that the 3 pieces pivot seperately?
      Dunno, but it's so enticing, even Kill Kill plays with it. Tonight it was lying in front of the door, apparently dragged there by someone who wanted to have me use it as soon as I got home. I picked it up and DJ skipped a few steps before me, swatting at it, so I have my theory as to who put it there. Then all 3 cats formed a circle and attacked it in turn.
      Downside: it's a dollar, so the wand isn't going to last long (when it snaps, I'll try tying the rest to a bamboo backscratcher). And the cord has wrapped itself around the wrists of both Byron and DJ, Deej requiring aid in removing it, and Byron yanking it from my hand and freeing himself on his own. Bigfoot's wary of it now. He doesn't try to catch it, he tries to smack it away from him while dodging backward. Much in the way a human would attack a wasp with a newspaper, ready to leap to safety if the blow fails. He still enjoys it, just in a much different--and to me, more amusing--way.


      I've been planning to fix the old Geocities News posts--just a matter of cutting out some Geo-created trash code, and inserting a correct "back" link. But days off are for not being productive, and while I knew it wouldn't take a huge amount of time, it would be tedious. So it became something to do on my next day off for a few months.
      I got an email from someone who missed the Space Ghost mystings, so that motivated me to get started recreating (as best as possible) the old Vienna/9939 page. The Old News are up without the weird Geo crap, although I'm sure there are artifacts from the transfer. I really don't think the audience is there to justify me fine-tuning over a meg of text. My plan/overly optimistic hope is that I can put up a mysting once or twice a week. Those I will have to edit carefully. And never underestimate my ability to procrastinate.

      Many years ago, for lack of anything better to do, I channel surfed late at night. I came across...something. It was 4 heavily made-up floating heads lip-synching and mugging to some song. I was instantly transfixed--is this supposed to be funny? Because it isn't. Is it supposed to be weird? Because it isn't the good, creatively interesting kind of weird. Then it ended, and the screen cut to a guy at a desk. Oh, it's that Chevy Chase talk show! I thought. I hate this guy! The audience was deathly silent. Like me, they had no idea what they'd just watched was supposed to be. Chevy stuttered a nervous laugh, his brow glistening with perspiration. Wow, I thought, this is what flop sweat looks like! I thought that I should watch at least one of these shows, starring the least entertaining entertainer ever. Not now, of course. Later. But in a week, the show was gone.
      I haven't been following the to-do over Leno and O'Brian, although one gleams news about it against one's will. There's an interesting, if long, lesson about how late night history from 50 years ago is repeating itself. It focuses somewhat on Allen and Paar, but mainly on what's considered the worst talk show in TV history, The Jerry Lewis Show, AKA "the showbiz equivalent of being on The Hindenburg."


      From No Sympathy for the Devil: Jonathan Edwards' Fire and Brimstone      I felt the need to comment:



      Turned out that a hit my page got was just from a Google search for "thoughtviper." I haven't Googled the page in years. But there was this oddity:      Look, I admit that there's not always a lot of self-created content here of late. But I'm pretty sure I last updated yesterday, not 40 years ago.      Again with the 40 years! I was an early adopter of the personal web page, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't when I was ten and before the net actually existed. If you're implying that I can time travel, I can assure you that the last use I'd find for that is to go back and create Geocities.      Now you're just being insulting! And where did you grab that figure from?      What? I have ads? Where? I begin to doubt your website analysis, sir or madam.      AHH I'M LOSING MONEY WITH MY VANITY WEBSITE DESPITE ITS INVISIBLE ADS!!! Why did no one TELL me this?! GIVE ME MORE SUCH USEFUL DATA!!            I DO NOT COUNT "FECES EXCRETION RATE" AS "USEFUL DATA" YOU COPROPHILIC WEIRDO!
      And drink 7 gallons of--what? Wait--DO NOT ANSWER THAT, YOU FREAK!

      Feel free to put your url in, and learn how much your readers shit!


      'Survival of the Cutest' Proves Darwin Right.
      "This means, for instance, that a Collie has a skull shape that is more different from that of a Pekingese than the skull shape of the cat is from that of a walrus...Domestic dogs don't live in the wild so they don't have to run after things and kill them -- their food comes out of a tin and the toughest thing they'll ever have to chew is their owner's slippers. So they can get away with a lot of variation that would affect functions such as breathing and chewing and would therefore lead to their extinction."
      Yeah, breathing and chewing has become too hard for some dogs! Evolution of the dumbest. Yet more proof that CAT is the superior animal! You won't see them trying to eat Alpo with their nose while chewing air!
      "If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."--Mark Twain


      Just today I was thinking about how "hard" English is to learn, something I've heard since childhood. This was always said in a smug "WE learned the hardest language EVAH! DUMB FURRINERS!" sense. When I reached my teenage years, I realized that English was the de facto lingua franca of the modern world. (I used me some Latin there!) It can't be that hard, I thought, if so many non-native speakers use it.
      And yesterday I was thinking about "Newspeak," the super-simplified language from the novel 1984, created by a dictatorial government to destroy subtlety in language so that basic concepts become not shades of grey, but pure opposites (it's not "very bad," it's "doubleplus ungood"), and give opposite names to what the Government intends (like when Dubya's Big Brothers named a bill designed to create more pollution "The Clean Air Act," or how a conservative federal judge just decided that "corporate lobbyists" should be called "Free Speech practitioners," when their billions will be used to overwhelm the free speech of everyone else).
      In search of the world’s hardest language has examples of each.      I don't know if you'll think this a fascinating article or not, as I wasn't an English major because I found language boring.




      I have a vague recollection of watching the 1960s King Kong cartoon as a kitten. I ended up watching something else on Saturday mornings. Looking at the schedule, I was probably watching Frankenstein Jr, as it led into Space Ghost. Yes, kids, there was once a Beatles cartoon. It was a thousand times worse than you can imagine.
      King Kong wasn't that bad, having seen the video at the earlier link. It was basically a 60s Godzilla movie in 6 minutes. I wondered why I chose Frankenstein Jr over it, until Tom of T.H.U.M.B., the second part of the show, began. I recognized the title sequence immediately. It was a cartoon so bad that it insulted my intelligence. When I was seven.
      Seriously, try getting through it. It's of the "blundering slapstick detective" genre, but since it's 1966, he's a blundering spy. As even the greatest of peabrains could guess from the title, he's shrunken to Tom Thumb size. By a "shrinking laser beam ray gun" (pronounced "lay-ZAR" by the narrator who apparently had never heard the word out loud before). Apparently having not a single joke in their comedy left the producers of this crap feeling empty inside, so they jazzed things up with a bit of ching-chong Chinaman racism.

      OUCH! That was bad! King Kong's eps at least get points for having a macrocephalic evil scientist--he looks like he weighs 90 pounds, 75 of which is skull--named "Doctor Who." Apparently, the regeneration went badly.


      Which Doctor Are You?


      I think SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is a waste of time and money. But as Carl Sagan said 30 years ago, it costs in a year as much as one attack helicopter, but which of the two could result in a total advance in human knowledge, and which would be obsolete in 20 years?
      Oh, I've no doubt that there is alien life; it'd be an awful waste of outer space if this dirtball held all of it. But I think SETI preassumes too much. There have been billions of species in Earth's lifetime, but only one uses technology. And the jury's still out on whether technology is a good thing. Sure, you're reading this on the web, but what's the biggest change technology ever wrought? The ability to exterminate ourselves intentionally with nuclear weapons. And the next big change was the ability to exterminate ourselves unintentionally through climate change.
      This reduces the odds that aliens will pick up our signals significantly, or we, theirs. SETI also assumes that aliens won't just have the technology we have, it assumes they'll use it exactly like us. What if their atmosphere doesn't allow radio waves to leave their planet? What if they don't develop radio, period? What if they do, but can't be bothered to run their own SETI? The whole idea of SETI isn't looking for aliens, it's all about looking for us.
      ...Which leads into 2 interesting articles. Why hasn't ET made contact yet? The scientist who created SETI and the famous "Drake Equation" (his name, coincidentally, is Drake!) adds his own, new limit to SETI: "The signals emanating from Earth most likely to reach distant civilisations are our TV broadcasts. But the switchover from analogue to digital television means "our voice" is being diminished." If aliens are so much like us they invent cable, the window for hearing their broadcasts drops to less than a century.
      And what if they're aren't like us? The face of first contact: What aliens look like . Well, might look like. Most interesting are the possible simple ones in our own solar system, like boulder-sized microbes with million-year lifespans on Titan, or glass-veined critters living in Hell, aka Venus, where it rains sulphuric acid all the time.
      I truly believe in alien life. I just don't believe it's transmitting its own version of "The Jay Leno Show" into the ether. And I fervently wish that it isn't.



      Line I keep hearing in a local radio ad; "Like the weather, variety is the spice of Life!" It's an ad for bread, and I do not understand it.
      Do they mean "Weather is the spice of Life!" or "Variety is the weather of Life!" or "Variety is the spice of Weather!"? None of those make any sense, certainly not in the "pertains to bread" sense. I guess the last one, well, okay, there is a lot of variety in New England's weather. For example, today's "40% chance of snow showers" now looks to be about 3 or 4 inches, which fell during both rush hours. For variety, it began right as I pulled into work, caused 75 accidents in the next hour, ended just before I left work in brilliant sunshine, then cranked right back up even worse during the afternoon commute 30 minutes after I got home. There was even a brief thundersnowstorm, something that I would've considered impossible. It affected me not, but for most people today, "Our weather's variety is the Shit of living here!"
      When we say "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes" we don't mean it in a positive sense. "Our bread is like the weather; great for one slice, then filled with our smelliest worker's spiciest pubic hairs the next!" is not that great a slogan.


      When I got home yesterday, the fishing pole toy was on the floor. Nothing unusual, but something looked a bit off, like there was something under the toy. But there were cats to greet and feed and Foxfire to launch, and it was forgotten for a long while.
      Eventually I looked closer--yes, there something under it, and when I picked it up, I yelled "BYRON!" No, he wasn't under it. But a big pile of cat puke was. It was in the 3-stage shape of his usual launched lunch: a nosecone of kibble swallowed, not chewed, with a booster rocket of semi-digested food at the base. But the middle was clearly the wet food that he'd turned his nose up at before I'd left. So it was Kill Kill? No, she wouldn't vomit on the carpet a foot from the linoleum; she only hurls on easily cleanable surfaces. (She usually runs for the bathroom, just like a human. Not heading to the toilet, but the tub, where clean-up is a simple matter of turning on the shower. Whether she does this because the bathroom's where the litterbox is, or because she learned it from me during my years of Young's Syndrome is a matter of debate) So, DJ then? He does eat like a pig, and would be the most likely candidate.
      But the thing is...did that cat toy fall completely at random, exactly covering up the ejecta, which, while highly unlikely, is possible. Or was it placed there to cover it up? I know, that's ridiculous, a cat being smart enough to do that! But drop a dime on the floor, then toss a quarter from 3 feet on it in an attempt to cover it could happen, but it most likely wouldn't. And actually, it'd be more like dropping a dime and then covering it with another random dime.
      There is a cat who feels horribly guilty over puking on the carpet, although she's never been scolded about it, just heard "BYRON!" when I have to clean up some used Friskies from the carpet. And her nickname is "the Einstein Cat"...
      Occam's Razor says "Just a Coincidence."

      "The results draw connections between the evolution of human language and biological organisms. Just as very distantly related organisms converge on evolutionary strategies in particular niches, languages may adapt to the social environments in which they are learned and used.
"English, for all its confusing spelling and exceptions -- if a baker bakes, what does a grocer do? -- has a relatively simple grammar," Lupyan said. "Verbs are easy to conjugate and nouns are mostly pluralized by adding 's.' In comparison, a West African language like Hausa has dozens of ways to make nouns plural and in many languages -- Turkish, Aymara, Ladakhi, Ainu -- verbs like 'to know' have to include information about the origin of the speaker's knowledge. This information is often conveyed using complex rules, which the most widely-spoken languages on earth like English and Mandarin lack."



      II suppose that I say this every year right about exactly now, but no matter how much the refund is, the hour it takes to do your taxes is as fun as a barrel of monkeys! A non-metaphoric barrel, with the monkeys screaming and clawing each other in desperation, then bursting from the barrel to viciously attack everything in their way, leaving you thrashing on the floor with your eyeballs ripped out and jaw broken and infected with rabies. But with a $700 refund!

      I never click on YouTubes when I'm given no reason to. That said,


      JUST DO COKE AND METH, kids! Bugs and Daffy say so! Uppers are for WINNERS!


      Word of the Day: Conjunctivitis! I think that may be what Killsy has. She's been winking her left eye a lot for 5 days. At first I just chuckled and said "Are you flirting with me?" But then I noticed Saturday that her eye was runny, and her eyelids swollen and red-rimmed. But it doesn't bother her. She doesn't overclean her eye, or even mind when I touch it. It doesn't bother her, but it bothers me.
      She's almost certainly going to the vet for my own peace of mind, but if you've had an experience with this, I'd like to know. Because she doesn't mind what's happened to her eye, but she sure hates the vet.


      My advice: keep a team of cat ladies on hand! Both Mrs Jessica and Linda in the Comments recommended waiting to see if Killsy's eye gets worse or better. Today, it seems better; still runny, but eyelids back to normal size. Lily and Linda warned that conjunctivitus is highly contagious; since neither of the boys have any symptoms, it was probably just a scratch or the result of a tussle with DJ. We'll see, but the prognosis right now looks good.

      Back in the Summer, Kevin sent me a "Join Facebook" email. And had several real-life friends do the same. This, of course, was because I adamantly refused to join next year's outdated social website, especially since the list of people from my past I want to catch with is a negative number. When I created the page, to my horror it listed as potential "friends" all the douchebags I went to high school with during the worst 4 years of my life. (As I once said on meeting one of the few people who didn't treat me like shit from high school just before the 10th reunion, "If I show up, hit the floor, because I probably have a sack of hand grenades.") That was enough for me; I deactivated the account.
      But then Imeem decided you needed a Facebook page to use it (as it was bought by Guess Who), and some freebies and activist sites require it, so I reactivated it. I went to shut it down, then realized...umm, I never bookmarked my own page. Ah, it's not going to hurt to leave it up for a couple of days until I figure it out. Who's going to find it?
      KitSplut, Queen and Creator of the SplutGlut, apparently used her splutter-sense and friended me. ("Verbing weirds nouns"--Calvin & Hobbes) As did Arica, whoever she is (Kitty: Is she Punkie, all grown up? Looks like her) So I just threw my hands in the air today, sent out a bunch of friendifying requesters from my email, and just let the MySpace Friendster next obsolete thing sit there. Feel free to send me a friend request, but also read the only posts on my wall (a wall! Just like in a public restroom!) and realize that I have no idea what the fucking thing is for, and will thus never use it.


      So, what would happen if a groundhog didn't see its shadow today? Six weeks minus one day of winter? Also: why does it always see its shadow? Is it because if it didn't, it would mean no more weeks of winter? Instant 60 degree temps? Because no, not in New England. Also also: who came up with this unbelievably supa-wicked-retahded tradition in the first place? A publicity-seeking woodchuck?
      "Well, I do have some fame from that 'How much wood would a woodchuck chuck' poem, but if I rebranded myself as a groundhog..."

      8 Amazing Stories of Ninja Failure is pretty funny, especially the first story, which really was amazing. Because it didn't just involve Connecticut, or my least favorite member of Congress, or my hometown, but the intersection I live a quarter-mile from! I asume that it happened on a Sunday, meaning that I was right in this chair surfing the tubes as it happened. And this was the first I'd heard of it.

      I've never mentioned here my utter contempt for monsters like Jenny McCarthy, who blame their kid's autism on vaccines, and have done everything they can to stop every child from being vaccinated because of this unreasonable obsession. 50 years ago when I was born, measles and polio and the fucking whooping cough were defeated. But these lunatics refuse to admit that hey, maybe autism is genetic (which I guess they take as a personal insult to their Perfect Genes, although that's not the case), so they find some insane thing to blame it on that isn't them. And because of their denial, kids are dying in increasing numbers from the diseases my parents didn't have to worry about me getting. Fucking whooping cough--in the 21st century, that's like dying from scurvy or a sabre-tooth tiger bite.
      The most frustrating thing is that it was all the doing of one guy, who used his falsified data to sell lots of books and speaking engagements. He became a millionaire, standing atop an evergrowing mountain of incredulous halfwits and dead babies. That bastard should be in jail. With untreated whooping cough.
      Is it all over now that he's been finally, completely discredited? Fuck no. It's the sunk-cost fallacy: these anti-vaxxer loons can never admit now that they were duped and they were wrong. They'll just keep on killing babies in the name of saving them. Unfortunately, it's called "herd immunity," meaning the more kids who are immunized, the less likely the deadly viruses can kill the rest. If it only killed their own spawn, well, heartless as it is to say, their viewpoints would die out in a generation. But weakening the herd immunity kills other people's babies.
      Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Jenny McCarthys. Immunize them and just let them grow up.


      Interesting: a true-or-false quiz that doesn't rate you on how right or wrong you are, but how much confidence you have in your answers. Meaning, 70% on a 100% true answer counts more than 100% on a false one.
      I was under the impression that it was timed, so I kinda rushed through it, although maybe I was 100% wrong about that. I got a 78, which it says is good, even though I got a LOT of them wrong. And got points for thinking that maybe I kinda was wrong.


      Well, I got nothing. Except that the weekly Indian music radio show just played Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo, which is always worth a listen.


      If the Real World was like Facebook.

      The Quotable Action Hero, a briefly-lived blog of not very good "Here's my snappy line while I kill you!" banter.

      I may watch the Super Bowl halftime show tomorrow! I hear that it's Doctor the Who performing "My Regeneration!"
      Oh. Wait. Okay, misunderstood.
      "After this excruciating meeting he received a large check for royalties, left and went to a bar and got completely drunk. In that bar he encountered Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, who thought very highly of Pete for paving the way for Punk rock music. Townshend was conflicted because he feared The Who had sold out."
      And your halftime show is: "A bit of 'Baba O'Riley' (CSI: New York), a bit of 'Pinball Wizard,' a bit of the close of 'Tommy,' a bit of 'Who Are You' (classic CSI:), and a bit of 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' (CSI: Miami). It works -- it's quite a saga," Townshend tells the mag.
      Hey, Petey--who the fuck are you?
      "I hope I die before I get old
      --enough that I can't pimp every cent from my music!"


      Words I've never heard any human being speak: "I like my condo association."
      That said, I hate my condo association. They sent out a tree trimming service to the condo. Nothing wrong with that. The beautiful 40 year old maple outside of my front window has a few dead branches. Then I noticed that the trunk had 2 orange X's spraypainted on it. These weren't tree surgeons, they were tree euthanizers! Of the 4 maples in front of my building, 3 had been Xed for the axe. And the next day, they were gone.
      Reason given for this: none. But I already know what the reason will be. They cut down a row of hedges several years ago. Late that March, I thought, It's Spring, so why don't I hear the songbirds I've heard for 18 years? Oh, right--they lived in the hedges! Now we only hear the melodious, soothing caw of the crow. The hedges were on the side of a hill, and were what the people in one building saw out their back windows. Ever since, rather than nesting songbirds, they've seen what the condo ass decided to replace those awful shrubs with: mulch and stumps. And their reason for killing the hedges, given after the fact: "They were there for 30 years." Yes, that was the entire explanation. Those maples were here for 40, so I assume that will be the reason given for their destruction. Hey, the buildings have been here for 40 years, too! Better tear 'em down! If you're the parent of a member of the condo ass, you better get out of town if you're over 60 years old!
      What will they replace the stumps I know have in front yard with? Christ, I hope with nothing. The asses have no ideas about landscaping except periodically killing anything already there. I lived here for a decade before they cut down all the tall hedges by the front driveway, and I discovered that we had this 4 foot high manhole on a concrete base. Reason: "To make the front driveway more beautiful." Their big "improvement" was to make it look like the front yard contained the entrance to Hitler's bunker. They replaced teh big shrubs with little scrubby shrubs. That began immediately dying. Within months, they were all shriveled, brown husks. So it didn't just look like we had Hitler hiding beneath the lawn, it looked like the aftermath of the Battle of Berlin. What, no craters?
      In some sort of denial at the beauty of their tableaux (that blows), they left the dead shrubs there for over a year. Replaced those with a few skanky crabapple trees, about a third of which died. To be expected, surely, when your front lawn contains unexploded Soviet artillery shells and subterranean Nazi molemen. "WILKOMEN to Castle Wolfenstein!"
      They planted some kind of willowy weed thing by the mailboxes, which looked like a mutant kind of swamp grass. For a month, as they planted them in October, and they died as Autumn progressed. This was a secret, too. I wonder why?
      "Since there's confusion as to where the units are," they said in the newsletter, "we're having some signs made to indicate which units are in which buildings. They will be professionally made, and are very attractive." Wow! So proud of this change that they actually told us about it before it happened! "Professionally made"...Seeing the signs, is it now a profession to be in "junior high shop class"? Or make a living as a "senile grandpa twiddling in the basement"? And yet there's no such thing as a "professional sign painter"? Ugly as these things were--small metal signs on sticks, painted in a font called "I have cataracts"--amazingly, the arrows on every sign pointed to the right. Half of the buildings are, of course, on the left. It really is confusing to find a unit in my complex; no one has ever found mine on the first try, and I generally have to stand outside it and wave. But it really didn't help that half the signs had to be put in backwards, showing a side as blank as the condo association's brains.
      Much as I wish these idiots had just left the trees, I hope they just leave the stumps and stop there. "Everyone loves puppies! So we're going to fill giant glass domes with puppies, without food, water or air! It should be beautiful for years!
      "Well, please excuse us while we go blow up the Earth. Seriously, why are you still hanging on to that old thing after 4 billion years?"


Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included:      The scariest part of the article: it never says what the Pentagon wants to do with these things. Are they making the real world equivalent of Vonnegut's world-destroying Ice-nine?


      You really can be bored to death


      Some of these Photoshops are quite funny: Grossly Unnecessary Updates To Modern Products.

      Big ass snowstorm today! It Bill's day off! Lucks out again! Hopes stupid winter ends soon! And not talk like Hulk no more! ARRRGH! (throws tank at helicopter)

      Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl" played on the station at work yesterday, which brown-eyed woman Mrs Jessica considers to be Her Song. For no other reason, I thought of those long-gone days when she'd first moved out of state and we'd talk on the phone every week for a couple of hours. After I got home, guess who called me! That's right, Van Morrison! He sounded remarkably girlish.
      She went to visit her grandmother in Florida who was dying from cancer, and then a day or so later died. I've always described her life as a soap opera, but during the series of phone calls (her cell cutting out once, DJ hanging up my phone by sitting on it), it became obvious that at least this visit was the next indie dramedy Sundance award winner. Seriously, if I knew a screenwriter, I'd sit them both down to thrash out a script. It wouldn't take much work. It was Rachel Getting Married, except that the main character isn't the dysfunctional Kym, everyone else is. That might be the sticking point to the critics--you can imagine one character being a fuck-up, but the whole family except one?
      There was a whole story arc there. Nana's dying, and the vultures descend, not to mourn, but to pick over her possessions. All Jess wanted was a pair of dolls that were made for her. But knowing that she wanted them caused a feeding frenzy among her white trash relatives. It was all dollar signs to them; fuck the dead old lady, here's things that they could sell on eBay.
      The comedy would've been her flight down with her sister, the bobblehead. No, really; both me and her husband came up with this observation separately. Her Sis is hot at first glance--5 feet tall, thin, pretty face--but then it hits you that she's a bobblehead. Her head's larger than it should be in proportion to her body, and just as empty as doll's would be.
      "Feel that air!" sister said as the plane took off and she turned on the fan. Self-admitted germaphobe Jess pointed out that it's the air from the rest of the plane, regurgitated in your face. The pilot doesn't crack a window at 30 thousand feet. So newly paranoid Sis covered her face with a scarf for the entire flight. The woman next to her worked for Timberland, and was doing some advertising work on her laptop. Sis said "You should make your stuff look less urban-looking!" The Timberland person said that there really wasn't anything "urban" about hiking boots. Sis nodded, and said "You should make your stuff look less urban-looking!" Repeatedly.
      Sis, face covered in a scarf, got antsy, and began wandering the aisles and repeatedly going to the bathroom. Since her skin wasn't brown, she wasn't tasered by a sky marshal. The TSA: always looking for suspicious behaviour, except when it can't be bothered.
      There was more comedy involving Sis, such as meeting Grandma, in the hospital while she was a day away from dying from cancer, and saying "You look great!" Grandma rolled her eyes at that, and Jess said, "Nana--you look like hell!" Which got a laugh and a hug. Then Sis and Jess argued over this, on opposite sides of the dying women's bed, Nana in the middle yelling "Stop this!"
      The drama would be the rest of the movie. Jess is the only not-white trash member of the family. There was the in-law who introduced her friend 3 times in 15 minutes, as she was wasted. So was her evil uncle--named "JR," for you Dallas fans. He was the main scavenger. There was just too much drama over dead granny's possessions for me to even describe, so I won't. All Jess wanted was those dolls and a few miniature houses that her granmother had bought at the end of her life, just so that Jess could have them (the last one was delivered the day she died). But, no, that's possible meth money! She asked to be brought to a hotel, as she couldn't stand being with these scumbags any longer. No one would even drive her those few miles, so she said that her husband could fly down and take her, and JR began screaming about "YEAH, your RICH ASS HUSBAND!" which I think underscores the unspoken jealousy here.
      At the end, her mother packed up the 2 dolls that were all Jess wanted. As they were packing up to leave, JR saw the box with the dolls and Jessica's name on it. And kicked it as hard as he could. Her mother's boyfriend pounded the steering wheel and said, "I'll beat his ass if you want!" But mom said "We promised not to do that, remember?" Which should give you a good idea of the family dynamic. It ended so bad that he had the gun, mom held the clip, and another family member kept the bullets.
      The movie would only be what happened. The dolls were the catalyst, a representation of a grandmother's love for her granddaughter, enduring through the years, but so fragile and easily broken. Jess went to a nice hotel, and calmed herself by watching the dolphins play in the sea by it, a clear symbol of her free and intelligent spirit. (I alo suggested a shot of some crabs fighting over some beached seaweed, representing her relatives) And there was personal growth, as she and her mother have been estranged of late, but reconnected over the incident. They might be close again, as her mom is the only other sane person in that family.
      The resolution would be what happened. Those dolls her Nana wanted her to have since childhood, representing the love they shared--mom packed them so well that JR's vicious kick did nothing to them. Jess opens box; laughs; fade out; end credits roll


      I get the Stop & Shop grocery flyer in the mail on Thursdays.. This week is naturally heavy on sales for Valentine's Day. Such as flowers, candy, cards, mylar balloons, plush animals in gift baskets, and a sale on both K-Y and Astroglide. Nothing says lovin' like someone up you shovin'!

      The big ass snowstorm: Predicted, 10 to 14 inches. Reality: 1.7 inches. It wouldn't have affected my commute either way if I had worked. I almost feel ripped off.
      The only storm they've been right about all season was last week's huge mid-Atlantic one that we didn't get. But every time they've named a snowfall amount, it's ended up being the exact opposite. They're usually not wrong every single time.
      Their prediction for Monday is "light snow showers." OH GOURD IT'LL BE 42 FEET!

      The first thing Jessica brought up on that phone call was the newest addition at the shelter she volunteers at. A female feline. All white. Blue eyes. Deaf. And ready for adoption...!
      You can see the series of reasons she had for telling me about her. But, 3 cats, I'm maxed out. "My deaf cat is playing with a toy mouse right now," I said, and Byron immediately stopped and stared at me. Weird. I took the opportunity to ask her something about him. A year ago Kevin was over, and he hadn't seen Byron since he was tiny. "He looks like a wildcat!" he said. It really hadn't occured to me that, yes, he does. He has a strong lower jaw, rather Kirk Douglas in appearance. His rear haunches are massive, his back legs much longer than the other cats, and the muscles quite powerful. He loves to chase the laser dot straight up the wall, and when he does, his front paws reach at least 5 feet off the ground. DJ tries that, but he can only manage little bunny hops. Jess said Yes, the shelter has a cat who's part bobcat, so it's biologically possible. It would also explain other genetic anomalies, such as the deafness and the giant feet. Cats are superfecund, meaning that the litter can have more than one father. Maybe it was more than just the deafness that caused his mama cat to abandon him at 2 weeks.
      DJ tries to jump like Byron because he wants to be Byron. Bigfoot's been slower in accepting him than Killsy--mainly because a deaf cat does not appreciate being pounced from behind in his blind spot--but he's certainly getting there. A couple of weeks ago, DJ imitated Byron as TPB. Toilet Pet Boy. Byron can hear the shower, and when I get out, he jumps on the toilet seat lid for pets. DJ joined him, when only weeks before that would've meant growls and swats. Instead, B licked Deej's tail. He actually groomed another cat! That never happens!
      Another thing DJ has picked up from Byron is not drinking from the water bowl before smacking it around and watching the water splash out. This is why the water bowl is in the bathtub.
      DJ has stopped getting big. He's barely the size of Byron, and so he's that much smaller than Killsy, who isn't that big herself. And he's 11 months, so how much more growing time does he have? Six months, maybe? However, he is growing in the Unbelievable Cuteness category. He's the only cat who pets me. He curls up on his back in my lap for a belly rub, and reaches out his left paw to gently stroke my chin. Lately, when I'm getting ready for work in the bathroom, he gets on the sink, stands up on his hind legs, and reaches up to hug me. He puts his "arms" around my neck and rubs his cheeks on my beard. Maybe he lacks the jumping skilz of the wildcat, but he more than makes it up in love.
      Sorry, Jess. With these three cats, why do I need another?

      Thing that needs to go away: Adding "-pocalypse" to words that aren't apocalyptic. Three times today I saw "snowpocalypse." Nothing's clever when everyone says it.


      Note to David with Car Title Loans in Columbia, Missouri: Maybe the best way to contact Karen Hargis is not by using the phone number she picked out from a phone book from the other side of the continent. What with Bill Young being not the rarest of names in the US of A.

      Dunno if this link will work--it may require a password, it may not--but here's ma belle amie Jessica's Flicker page of photos from her no-kill cat shelter. Highlight:

      That Hans Christian comment seemed not only logical, but downright obvious when I said it. We talked for a long time that night, and now I have no idea what it meant. Snow White, maybe?


      Last week at work I saw something that made me think "Huh, that's odd." I then forgot about it until it popped into my head this morning.
      Remember that self-admitted heroin addict we had working for us a few months back? HE STILL IS. Well, was, finally. He had got on a methadone program and began improving (Coworker: "But methadone is still bad!" Me: "Not as bad as heroin!"). The store manager is an ex-junkie who's been on methadone since...we don't know. He claims he used to work in a clinic, but we all know from customers that he visits the clinic weekly. This is why he kept giving the kid multiple second chances, as he saw himself in him.
      By "kid," I mean 19. Here's an amazing fact: Connecticut will put you on a free treatment program--when you're 21. They throw you off it unless you pay hundreds of dollars per session if you're younger. You'd think that it'd be the other way around. Why let a stupid teenager get hooked for life, and yet treat 40 year olds who've waited a couple of decades to do anything about their addiction? It's just insane to deny anyone willing to clean themselves up.
      Once off the program, he got worse. Much worse. He bought a van from another coworker, in good shape except for a few minor things he was told upfront about and could fix for a few hundred dollars. You can guess where those dollars went, and the van died after less than a year. He works one night a week in our other store 2 towns and many miles over, so he was allowed to use the company delivery truck to get there. Until he got pulled over for a busted taillight. In the worst part of Hartford, nowhere near his route home, at 1030 on a Saturday night. He was lucky he got a warning, as no doubt he'd just bought, was holding, and had shot up before leaving. And we're lucky the truck isn't in the impound lot.
      And that still didn't get him fired! There still was a heroin addict handling store cash! The register was always fucked up after he'd worked, either in some minor way or in a "We can't find the missing money" way. He'd been fired months ago from a job he'd had since he was 13, as was his mom at the same time. Fired by a business his family owned. He claimed to everyone that he had no idea why, but confessed to one coworker (the other, different ex-heroin addict!) that he'd stolen 3 grand from them. His family. She didn't tell anyone, which isn't right, but as she was also a cashier kept a close eye on him, so that she didn't get blamed if the stealing became major. There was no proof that he did steal, but he did fuck up a lot. And even more, once off the program.
      "Huh, that's odd," I thought when I saw the 2 opened packages of alcohol prep wipes in the bathroom trash can. It didn't click until today what they meant, as I saw them before he started going into the bathroom while wearing his coat, and then coming a bit of a sleepy-head.
      One pad for the vein, the second to clean the needle.
      Yes, he was shooting up IN THE STORE. His works were in his coat. He could barely do anything without nearly nodding off. I guess that was a mite too blatant, so he stopped. Instead, he started to come to work already high.
      That lasted a day. Our idiot, alcoholic manager finally fired him yesterday, all these months later.
      Today he was the topic du jour, of course. During a late night lull, 3 of us were shaking our heads over this whole sad affair. If he had only stayed on the methadone program! Then in walks a local cop. "Is Mike working tonight?" she asked. Um, no. "What's his last name? His address?" We answered in a stunned tone. I thought, "At least she wouldn't be asking us this if he was dead." Turned out that he'd walked out on a bill at a local restaurant, one so local they knew his name and where he worked, probably meaning in the same plaza. She was warned that he's a drug addict, but she registered no surprise at this news.
      Was he so addled that he thought that a dine-and-dash would be a good idea? Or is he trying to get arrested, and finally get state-sponsored treatment? If so, good for him. But quite fucked up, if that's the only way the he can afford it, and the only way the state will fund it.
      Remember: if the government spends money to help its citizens, that's socialism! If the government gives money to giant corporations, that's Free Enterprise!! Only in America. Or other corrupt, oligarchic countries.


      Contrary to popular belief, if you put that giant plastic container of leftover spaghetti sauce, brown rice and turkey meatballs in the microwave and set it on High without realizing that you left a metal fork in there, it will not spark, explode, or emit dangerous radiation that will reassemble your neurons so that your brain thinks "Hmm, yes, this Glenn Beck fellow's arguments seem quite in touch with reality!" Instead, the fork will draw all the heat from the food it was in, and you'll have to reheat it.

      Programmers will like this this post, as will normal people.

      Something Awful usually is, but once in a while they come up something awesome. Such as Exotic Pets For Sale.

      Well, it took a long while this year, but the Buffalo Beast's 50 Most Loathsome Americans is here. Hey, actual indie newspapers that are physically printed, who edits you? Both the Beast and my local Hartford Advocate don't seem to realize that HOARD and HORDE are two different words with two different meanings. What does "baby-hording" even mean? Saving up enough toddlers to invade Europe like the Mongols? Turn off the Microsoft spellcheck and just read it as written. In 5 years, you'll be printing they're, there and their as if the words had identical meanings.


      Do you want to vote for Jessica's multi-toed cat Ham to win a cute cat photo contest? Of course you do!
      Do you want to vote for Ham so that her no-kill shelter wins big bucks? Of course you do!
      Do you want every vote, even if he loses, to pay to spay and neuter stray pets? OF COURSE YOU DO!
      Do you want to donate a tax-deductible $5 to the Humane Society to do it?
      That's up to you, obviously. Just thought I'd put it out there. I sent $10.


      Credit where credit is due: the weatherhumans finally got snowstorm forecast kinda right! And I'm never getting up early ever again to drive to work in one. I left the house 10 minutes early, got to work 10 minutes early. Those who can telecommute apparently do. There was more traffic on the commute yesterday, which was a holiday.

      HEY THIS IS EXCITING! I had food for dinner!
      It's possibly the worst thing that I eat, my bacon and egg cheeseburger. Pretty much what it sounds like, but super-delish. Wait, did that make me sound gay? I'm not gay! I'm asexual! Umm, (deepens level of voice to Morning Zoo radio show host, or NASCAR announcer) "Pretty much what it sounds like, but MANLY and REPUBLICAN and MILDLY RETARDED! Also: ARRRGGHH!" (punches something)
      Ya swabs takes you a bacons ya duz, TOOT TOOT! Eh heheheh! (Oh wait, that's a Popeye voice. But still QUITE MANLY)
      Put bacon strips on some bread, put some cheese slices over that, put it in the toaster oven and toast. Sautee onions in a pan, then crack an egg over them, break the yolk, cover. Fry a burger. When the toast is done, put eggs on top of the cheese. Add tomato sauce. When burger is done, place on everything else, eat over something like Tupperware, as it may get drippy. DEE-LISH...I mean...EATING IT MADE ME PUNCH OUT FAGGOTS YAARRR or ask for their phone numbers AARRRGGHH ME MANLY MAN!!!!!
      Only the bacon is bad for you. But I use the precooked bacon (less grease and fat), multigrain bread, tomato sauce (the corn syrup free kind), free-range eggs (good cholesterol) with added omega-3, and turkey burgers. Feel free to leave out the onions, although for me that's what makes it. Maybe you could substitute spinach, then beat up people. If that's too MANLY, toot toot, add some Olive Oil! THAT WAS MY EXCUSE FOR A PUNCHLINE TO MY RECIPE, ALTHOUGH THOSE DON'T USUALLY HAVE ONE HOPE YOU LIKE IT! IF NOT, ARRRRGGGHHH


      Guess what! I now own my own home!
      Paid it off today. This reduces my average monthly expenses to $1,000. My net monthly pay: $2,000. So every year I work equals a year I won't have to. Obviously, events out of my control could change this, but I believe that I will be able to retire in 15 to 20 years.
      Probably closer to 20. I'm going to save the money that isn't going to my condo for a year, and then I'll have $5-6,000 to use as a down payment on a car. If I can get 0% financing, I'll just divide the remainder owed by the length of the financing. The reason I pick a year as the time to save up for a new car is because 2011 is when my next emissions test is due. Since I never fixed the EVAC (whatever that is), I won't pass the test, and thus won't be able to register my car (or legally drive!) until it's fixed. But I won't have to fix it if I don't own it. The plan, she is perfect!
      ...So of course I got a letter last week from the DMV claiming that I'm due for an emissions test in 6 weeks.
      I always keep my emissions results, and sure enough, the dimbulb at the testing center put the wrong year in for my next test. I imagine that the whole "You're Due" process is automated, so it didn't get caught. I sent the DMV an email detailing why I'm not due this year, so I should get out of it. And if I don't?      But I have a long list of viable options before that. I'm pretty much sold on the Honda Fit, especially as they've bumped the release of the Fit Hybrid up to this fall, and the expected price isn't much higher than a regular one. I don't like the hatchback look, but I'm tired of driving sedans that I can't fit anything into. I was also considering the Ford Focus (due as a hybrid in a couple of years, and since I've driven Mercury Tracers for 25 years, I would certainly consider its replacement). I was also interested in the Prius, but for some reason my ardor for Toyotas has chilled of late. I don't remember why; I sure wish I could recall!

      George Lucas asks David Lynch to direct "Jedi." He certainly couldn't have made it any worse! Unless the Ewoks were made of blue velvet. And the Emperor was an owl. And Vader a talking log. Wait, that would've actually been better!
      "Luke--I am your MOMMY! MOMMY!" (wheezes nitrous)


The Daily Squee is no Cute Overload. But cute animal pics are still pics of cute animals.


      Well, I thought I paid the damn mortgage off! Yesterday their online site said that I still owed the same amount on the loan, and the money that was supposed to come from checking was still there, while the money from savings was where?! Wednesday's seemingly simple task of "take money from here and here, and apply it to there" took a long time. The bank's young "Customer Service Manager"--sounds impressive, but I noticed that all 3 people working the counter had the same title on their nametags, so I think it must just mean "teller"--had great difficulty, repeatedly ripping up slips, apologizing and restarting. I was not confident.
      But they just switched my loan from some outside source back to themselves and totally redid their website, both in the same 2 days. Today everything matched up, except for my loan balance. I did think it odd that the amount ended in .00, as my payment was $400.80, which I paid off rounding to $1. Yes, I did not own my condo! I still owed
      ...$1.12. I think it's paid for now.

      Lulu Eightball:

      Business intelligence for burglars: "Imagine, if you will, a criminal business intelligence service, much like the ones serving marketers, only specialising in selling leads on potential targets to burglars...Of course, the real rich pickings are in walled gardens such as Facebook, where people have a sense of security and post their real names, locations and photos; while this is not public, a criminal site could harvest it by using malware (in which case, it'd get not just the details of the owner of the infected PC, but of all their friends)"

      Roger Ebert, despite multiple operations for his cancer, still reviews multiple movies every week. He started a blog less than 2 years ago, which I've linked to repeatedly, as it's always interesting, and frequently not about movies.
      Roger Ebert is dying. "But now everything he says must be written, either first on his laptop and funneled through speakers or, as he usually prefers, on some kind of paper. His new life is lived through Times New Roman and chicken scratch. So many words, so much writing — it's like a kind of explosion is taking place on the second floor of his brownstone. It's not the food or the drink he worries about anymore — I went thru a period when I obsessed about root beer + Steak + Shake malts, he writes on a blue Post-it note — but how many more words he can get out in the time he has left. In this living room, lined with thousands more books, words are the single most valuable thing in the world. They are gold bricks. Here idle chatter doesn't exist; that would be like lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills. Here there are only sentences and paragraphs divided by section breaks. Every word has meaning.
      "Even the simplest expressions take on higher power here. Now his thumbs have become more than a trademark; they're an essential means for Ebert to communicate. He falls into a coughing fit, but he gives his thumbs-up, meaning he's okay. Thumbs-down would have meant he needed someone to call his full-time nurse, Millie, a spectral presence in the house."
      Even if you're disinterested in the man, read that article. We should all be so strong in the face of adversity.


      Another great comic from Subnormality. Yes, lots of words, but that's what it is: illustrated short stories, that rarely go where you think they're going, and are always amusing, sometimes poignant, often amazing. You should read this weekly, if you don't already.


      Recently viewed movies, briefly:

      Reservoir Dogs : Finally saw it. Like all Tarentino, overrated.

      9: I'm old enough to remember when one might say of a sci-fi film, "The effects weren't very good, but the story was great!" No one says that anymore. The effects are always amazing, and the story seen-it, who-cares. This looked great, but was completely predictable plot-wise. Except for the parts that didn't make any sense. As always, The Machines decide to kill all humans. And, apparently, every form of life, even ludicrous six-inch-high burlap humunculi. They're the only "living" things. I guess after killing the humans, they went after the pets and then the birds and then the insects, and also all the plant life. I can only assume that they'll go after the amoebas next. Why? Because they're The Machines, and that's what they always do in every movie since The Terminator. They kill the humans with 5 story high monsterbots, yet go after the ridiculous tiny ragdolls with a robot the size of a small terrier, rather than just use the monsterbots to stomp the city block that they live in. If they're that determined to Destroy All Life, why didn't they just flood the planet with radiation, or dip it in Clorox?
      Of course, I didn't question Skynet's insistence on human depopulation, as I only start questioning things like that in movies that are so boring that my mind begins to wander. And it's "boring" in that sense of the last 15 years of Hollywood Product, in that stuff HAPPENS! ALL! THE! TIME! but you've seen it so many times in so many big-on-budget, low-on-creativity movies that it's like watching an endless stream of NASCAR crashes or controlled building demolitions. Interesting for a minute, not for 90 minutes.

      The Best of Dudley Do-Right: Vol. 1: I've been a fan of Jay Ward cartoons since I was a kid, loving them for one reason then, and other reasons as a teenager and then adult. I consider Rocky and Bullwinkle to be the greatest TV cartoon ever, and the greatest part of it was Do-Right. Fans, rejoice! Despite having watched the show with a near-obsession, there were 2 cartoons in the 90 minutes that I'd never seen before! Well, maybe as a kid in the 60s, but not since. The first was the long-banned "Stokey the Bear" (who doesn't prevent forest fires, but starts them). All the cartoons are still really funny, existing in their own strange little old-movies Canada.
      But why did Netflix not have Vol. II? A trip to Amazon told me: there ain't no such beast. It came out 5 years ago, with a Best of Peabody I and a Fractured Fairy Tales I, and that was it. Not enough sales? Maybe they should've released it as The Complete Dudley Do-Right, and more people would've bought it. I love The Tick, but both series discs are missing episodes, so why buy them only to have them all released later? If there was a complete Space Ghost Coast to Coast set, I'd buy in a Zorak blink.

      Murderball : My second time watching this awsome doc. Highly recommended.

      RiffTrax: Plan 9 from Outer Space and MST3K: Soultaker: Why do I keep renting the Mike Years, when they always turn out to have like 2 laughs in them? Cause I'm a dickweed.

      Monty Python: Almost the Truth: The motherlode for Python fans! I put off renting it because I thought that it'd be boring. It wasn't, although nonfans would do best to avoid it. It covers the Pythons from birth right up to Spamalot.
      It covered the Python film no one talks about, And Now For Something Completely Different, which was restaged skits from the first season. The director--who'd never done a comedy--was staggering drunk by noon of every shoot. I have a fond memory of seeing this in a community college AV room, run on a crappy projector with an even crappier print (the film was commercially released to theaters a few years before, to little business, as nobody but me knew who Python was. I'd seen them on a summer replacement show that featured comedy skits from various European TV shows. One was their Dead Parrot Sketch). My friend and I were the only ones in the audience who'd seen the show on its initial brief run on PBS (before they ran it all the damn time). Everyone else was seeing the skits for the first time, and loved it. Then the broken, pasted-together film skipped over Hitler's punchline in "The Killer Joke" skit--HITLER in subtitles, from real Triumph of the Will footage of the Nuremburg Rally: "My dog has no nose!" NAZI: "How does he smell?--break; skip!--and everyone groaned. So I finished it: "AWFUL!"
      Know what else is awful? Yep, this movie. And it's all the director's fault. The Pythons simply line up in the exact same spots they did in the TV show, and rather than film it like the show, he jumped between characters in a way that utterly destroys any timing. Even the incredibly simple joke of the Flasher skit (we see him from the back as he flashes women, then he turns and flashes us, and we see what's been shocking all his victims is a sign around his neck that says "BOO!") is ruined. The tiny sign is placed in the flasher's crotch, but your eyes naturally go to the center of the screen, like it was on TV--and the camera stays on this shot for less than a second. The entire audience was baffled.
      It's a free download on Netflix, but it's only worth watching to see how some of the funniest and most influential sketch comedy ever done is completely destroyed by one drunken director.


      From a article on Cracked, a footnote that links to the 1942 Nazi movie about the Titanic. "I'm the FUERHER OF THE WORLD!"


      DJ FTW! Yes, he succeeded where no cat has done before! He became the first cat to be SO underfootnik that he tripped me. I went flat on my face on the floor. Kind of to the left, as that's where the minor cuts and abrasions ended up. But also rather flat, as I bent my glasses. So, kudos to you, Young Deej! And may you never do it again. Ow!

      I have a lot of arguments against UFOs visiting Earth, but the main is: no one's disproved the Theory of Relativity. There's no "warp speed" or "hyperspace," and the speed of light is the speed limit. So it's utterly insane to think that aliens would spend decades crawling to Earth at just-below the speed of light, in order to probe human asses, make crop circles, appear only to people who can't operate a camera, and "find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one's ever going to believe and them strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennae on their head and making beep beep noises. Rather childish really."
      Hey guess what: Starship pilots: speed kills, especially warp speed: "The problem lies with Einstein's special theory of relativity. It transforms the thin wisp of hydrogen gas that permeates interstellar space into an intense radiation beam that would kill humans within seconds and destroy the spacecraft's electronic instruments."

      A coupla years ago I commented here:

      Yesterday I got an email:      Wow. Every time that I think Michael Medved can't possibly sink any lower in my estimation, he creates a new definition as to where the barrel's bottom is. And I've had this opinion since I first became aware of his existence.
      Ever see that column he did a few years ago, saying that blacks should be grateful for being taken as slaves because otherwise, today they'd be living in Africa, and that place is awful? Unbelievable. That's like saying that Jews should be grateful for Hitler, since they got Israel out the Holocaust.
      What a worthless piece of shit Medved is. I hope Medved becomes a slave--literally, and not just to his bloated, ugly ego.
      Hey, Mikey! The kid from today's Ferd'nand has something to say to you!



      Aww, crap. I really do have to bring my car to Emissions Testing. Because of the DMV failing to notify me of that fact for 2 years, when I mysteriously dropped off their database. Well, on to Step 2, seeing if my check engine light went off because the engine's okay, or because the bulb burned out.

      I'll keep on talking about the snow predictions, since I have been anyway lately. We were to get 4 to 8 inches of snow yesterday morning. Then, 4 to 8 in the afternoon. Then, 4 to 8 overnight. I looked out the window this morning and asked, "What, of rain?"
      I checked online, and we were still getting 4 to 8, despite the fact that the temps were never to leave the upper 30s. Over the next 3 hours, it became 3 to 5, then an inch, and finally they accepted reality and said "rain."
      Then it stopped raining.
      Aaand it's supposed to snow until Sunday. Yeah, whevs.

      Bravely braving the blizzard, I went to gas the car and get my FREE Harbor Freight flashlight because there's one up the road--you're on your own finding out if you're near one. Next door to that: Dollar Tree. I got Dark Chocolate Raisinets, but they were out of the dried cranberries they usually have. I got a tube of Stax, the Lay's version of Pringles, and I recommend you don't (thicker and saltier than Pringles, which I rarely eat anyway. And why is it that every unhealthy snack food tells you that it has "ZERO Trans Fats"? When the FDA says that "zero" means "under 1%"? THAT'S NOT ZERO, FDA) I also got another of those fish cat-wand toys, as a bit of the wand broke off the previous one, so the rest of it is doomed. I cruised the toy aisles to find something to annoy Jessica with the next time we meet, and bought some bling temporary tattoos. I was pretty much sold when I saw that one was a life-sized wristwatch (diamond-encrusted), and the fact that the tattos were backwards, as they should be, being press-ons, except for the dollar signs, which means they'll go on backwards. And the one that said "HI DOLLAH," which was backwards, so my brain briefly read it as "DOLLAH HO."
      But first I found some figures from the AstroBoy movie. You know--the AstroBoy movie! It was a big hit in an alternate universe! "Collect Them All!" they said, and I did, since there were four. They'll join my Speed Racer Hot Wheels in my collection of Bomb Movie Toys. Unlike the Hot Wheels, which were unsold to retailers from Mattel, these were all beat up in a way that they couldn't be for so recent a Dollar Tree purchase. Meaning, they came from retailer stores and were returned. I suppose that lowers their collectability, but like the Hot Wheels, if they were MIB, it'd be probably nil anyway. I haven't seen the movie--who did?--but I didn't open one up to see if it was true to the movie's only famous line: ASTROBOY: "I have machine guns--IN MY BUTT?!"

      I only linked to that "Michael Medved loves him some SLAVERY!" column yesterday to prove that it exists. I hope you didn't actually try to read it. If you did, like me, I assume your eyes glazed over at his first "point," which is "SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION" in all caps. Because something people did in the FUCKING BRONZE AGE makes it okay. Not unlike, say, human sacrifice! That's the real solution to this "Global Warming" nonsense! Throw more virgins into volcanoes to appease the Hotness Gods! Hey, umm, what were the Jews in ancient Egypt again? Town Hall columnists? And, believe it or not, it actually goes downhill from there.
      Here's an easier way to read it: pre-MYSTed by Sadly, No!.

      S,N! loses points for not saying this about that: "5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION." America merits special credit for being the LAST Western Democracy to BAN slavery, and the only one who only did it BECAUSE THE SLAVE-OWNERS LOST A FUCKING BRUTAL, BLOODY WAR, the ONLY FUCKING WAR ever fought to END FUCKING SLAVERY. And then, of course, there were little meaningless things like "sharecroppers" and "Jim Crow" which continued slavery as best as it legally could be. America finally, truly abolished slavery almost a HUNDRED YEARS AFTER THE FUCKING CIVIL WAR. Like, FIFTY YEARS AGO. And why do you so LOVE SLAVERY, Dead in the Head Medved? Where's that column lovin' up the Tsarist pograms, or Soviet antisemitism? And those wonderful Nazis who gave you Israel by virtue of LOSING A FUCKING BRUTAL, BLOODY WAR?


      This is the best lip-synching I've ever seen done by someone who isn't a Thunderbirds Are Go! marionette:


      America's first War on Drugs, Prohibition, went exactly as well as the current one is doing; i.e., pretty damn awful. Organized crime used the ban to gain money and power, while people drank more, because it was illegal. The government's reaction was to admit that their program was a disaster, and quickly ended it.
      Ha ha! Of course not! The government put poison in the liquor, killing at least ten thousand people. Because that's so much better than letting them get drunk! Thank GAWD America has moved on from such insane, pointless punishments!
      "Utah just became the first state in the U.S. to criminalize miscarriage and punish women for having or seeking an illegal abortion. Utah's "Criminal Miscarriage" law:
* expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
* removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
* treats women as presumptive criminals and leaves them open to criminal prosecution."

      As a break, here's a link that won't fill you with seething rage: Really dumb newspaper headlines.



WE SERVED LUNCH.--sign at a Manila restaurant



      Since I don't have anything else to post about, here's the latest Recently Watched.
      RiffTrax: Best of RiffTrax Shorts: Vol. 1 Man, they couldn't screw up MST3K's bread and and butter, a bunch of shorts, could they? They could. Goodbye, RiffSux, goodbye.
      Something Doctor Who-related on Wikipedia led to Sapphire & Steel, a late 70s ITV attempt to ape the show. It starred David McCallum ("The Man from UNCLE") and Joanna Lumley ("The New Avengers," "AbFab"). The budget must've been even lower than Who's, given that it had about 3 sets and used "time travel" to explain the period costumes gathering dust in the wardrobe. At 3 episodes, it was great! But it was 6 eps, and so had glacial plotting and a lot of padding. Maybe it got better. But I'm not going to find out.
      Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: I don't recall reading any bad reviews of this, or any really positive ones. But I had the most consistent, sustained laughter at this movie since, well, I don't know. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, maybe, which this movie has no resemblance to, besides its scientist hero. I'd have to watch it again to verify what I started to think as I watched it: Is it the first, subtle parody of the big-budget CGI cartoon comedy? The hero is a brilliant inventor of not very good things (the "Remote TV," which changes channels by walking up to you so you can hit the button. Then breaks down the door and runs away). He invents a way that their island nation ("Located on the map under the 'A' in 'Atlantic Ocean'") can eat something other than sardines: make it rain cheeseburgers. And every other food.
      I liked the way it inverted the already established cliches of the recently invented big-budget CGI cartoon comedy. The beautiful, smart, plucky heroine? She's a TV weathergirl, and has to act stupid for the stupid audience. The nerd hero does that "But you're...BEAUTIFUL!" transformation scene only after she puts on glasses and puts her hair in a bun. The sentimental scenes involve his sardine-fishing father Dad relating his sage advice in inexplicable sardine-fishing metaphors. The Cute Animal is a talking monkey, who's--well, a monkey that talks, and says "HUNGRY!" a lot, as he's just a damn monkey. The villain is the island's mayor, who can be read as a metaphor for America's obesity epidemic or as a global warming denier--or just a dumb guy who really likes eating too much. Or all of the above. (His last line is perfect) And the "Inevitable Thrill Ride with Shots-That-Last-A-Second Action-Packed Finale" is probably the only one to involve an allergic reaction to peanuts.
      Of course, I went into this without high expectations, and what did I just do? Raise yours. But it's worth a rental. And I'll sure rent it again. Bonus: Mr. T.

      Facebook! WTF? Some LTRofTD sent me a Friendy-thingie. Then I find out Aldo sent me some other stuff but who knows when he sent it, and Lily sent me a valentine on, like, Valentine's Day. Y'know, a MONTH ago, hey thanks, Facebook. Why doesn't this stupid thing tell me when to look at it? I looked at it YESTERDAY! And I didn't see this stuff. Is there a link I can go to? That tells me the stuff every other web thing has told me for YEARS?
      Because--I really don't get why you kids today like the Facebook. It's pure shite, as far as I can tell.
      Oh, okay. It's WAY OVER THERE. Awesome. But it doesn't tell me when someone puts something there? WOW, this is super duper better than that email program I used BACK IN 1997! Maybe Facebork can crawl up to that level of tech in some future decade. Man, but I hate this Farcebook. Please pretend my page doesn't exist, because I'm pretty sure that I'm done with it. (Until I figure it out...)




      One sentence review: Miyazaki's Ponyo is really only okay, but it's his weirdest, and it's a children's movie.


      Headline you don't see that often: Police Seek One-Eyed Burglar Dressed As Woman.


      AutoZone couldn't tell me why my Check Engine light went off 3 weeks ago, as they can only check it if it's on. So as I drove to work today I decided, vis a vis the emissions test, "I'll take it in, and if it passes, it passes, if it doesn't, then I won't follow through on it." And at that exact moment, my check engine light came back on.
      If you've wondered why I haven't posted much, it's because that is absolutely the most interesting thing that's happened to me all week.


      Another unexciting day in the life, but at least it was productive. Scrubbed out a litter box, threw out the used litter, took out the recycling, gassed the car, came back home within minutes. It's funny how Kitten Einstein figured out, at age 8 weeks, when it was a work day or a day off for me by my pants. Black jeans meant work, and me gone for hours, and her moping and complaining before I left. But if I put on khakis, sweet relief, knowing that if I left, I'd be back very soon. The boys have never figured this out; me leaving at all means that I'm gone for like forever. But they get so surprised and excited when I come home minutes later, especially Byron.
      The most productive thing I did--potentially life-saving, in fact--involved the most productive thing I've ever bought. A Radio Shack battery tester, purchased maybe 25 years ago. So old that it was made in that other China, Taiwan. My Sonic electric screwdriver didn't work, and I checked the batteries rather than throw them away. Two of the 4 were perfect, 2 were dead. Without the tester, I wonder how many times I would've replaced the 9 volt in the equally-old smoke detector before I realized that it wasn't the batteries, but the detector that had died. I got a 3-pack of highly rated Kidde smoke detectors from Amazon for $20, and put them all up today. To much consternation from the boys, while the Queen of the World calmly observed from a distance.
      I felt worried over the few days it took me to get the detectors, despite who-knows how many months of cow-like complacency trusting in an ancient and completely dead one.

      Today was the first Beautiful Day of 2010. Killsy and DJ celebrated by sunning by the open window.


      Byron celebrated by


      BECOMING A FLOATING DISEMBODIED CAT HEAD AAAHH!!! Just because it's a nice day, young man, it doesn't mean that you can manifest demonically!


      I saw something today I hadn't seen before.
      Back in my record prerecorded media store days, a regular customer was someone who came in a couple of times a month. In my liquor store days, a regular became someone who came in a couple of times a day. Now that I work in the mornings, a regular is someone who comes every couple of hours.
      They're waiting at the door at 8 AM, or come in soon after. Always the same people: the 2 women who buy multiple single-serving glasses of wine; the men in suits who buy a pint of vodka for the commute to work (and return later for the pint for the commute home), the buyers of nips who are unemployed. We have more than one who was told, "Stop coming to work drunk, or be fired!" and actually chose being fired. Ever see The Lost Weekend? Me neither. But I do know that the key scene is when William Holden, a freelance writer, pawns his typewriter to buy a bottle of booze. Without that typewriter, he'll never sell another piece, and never be able to buy another bottle of booze. He doesn't care; today's drunk is all that matters. Same as these people. Like the guy who had his license suspended for DUI, drove to a bar afterwards and parked next to a police car. Me, given the circumstances, would've driven to another bar, or just stayed home. Turned out it the car was driven by the cop who gave him the DUI. And he drives to the store every day, just as he did today, even though he's been caught enough times since that episode that he has to go to trial. And he knows he's going to jail, for 90 to 120 days. AND YET HE DROVE HERE TO BUY BOOZE TO TELL US THAT. He didn't just choose booze over a paycheck, he chose booze over jail.
      And yet, no, that is not the something today that I hadn't seen before. He was waiting in the parking lot before we opened. I put my lunch in the beer cooler, then unlocked the door. He rushed to the register as best as he could. He was shaking, every part of his body, just below the level of a siezure. Holy shit, I thought, so that's what the DTs looks like. That I had never seen before.
      "A puh-puh-pie uh-uh-uh Pu'uh!" he stammered.
      I started reaching for the Paul Masson brandy, but then realized that maybe it wasn't what he wanted. "I'm sorry, a pint of what?" Note that I got "I want a pint" out of what he'd gasped.
      Asking the third time is when it gets embarassing. "I'm sorry, of what?"
      "Of Popov?" Well, of course. The first thing I learned in the booze biz is that the cheapest and most addictive of liquors is vodka. As I rang it up and as he feverishly, spasmingly handed me crumpled bills I thought, Are you sure all you want is a pint? If I hadn't had to ring up the next AM Alky, I would've followed him to the door, and no doubt seen him chug that pint in one long gulp.
      Hey, I like drinking, too! But not as much as I like living.
      Am I an enabler? I don't make these people buy booze. Some of them I don't even want to buy booze. But I also can't not make them buy booze. Funny thing: I can cut someone off if they're obviously drunk, but I can't cut them off if they're obviously dying. Funny. Yeah, real funny.
      Another difference from the booze store and the record store: At a record store, if a customer stops coming back, it isn't because he listened himself to death.


      My favorite columnist since I stopped reading Lileks when he went batshit insane 7 years ago (when he became one of those "MUST--DESTROY--IRAQ!--AND ALL AMERICANS WHO STAND IN OUR WAY!" guys), John Carroll, wrote an article about his all-cats household may be getting a dog:      Buuuulllshiiit, cry I! I left a comment (the first) pointing out the bleeding obvious:      I've nothing against dogs (as long as it's other people who own them), just this "uncondtional love" crap. Unconditional love is what a well-programmed robot would give you. Why do dog owners say it so much? Because it's too much work to pay attention to a pet when you can just ignore it? And why is the phrase "barking mad" and not "meowing mad" again?
      Note: while writing that, I twice stopped. Once to give Killsy her "scritchies" with the bamboo back scratcher, and again to give everyone catnip. They love it when I do that. I have not tried the headkicking, and have no plans to do so.



      You...haven't actually seen the movie, have you, UpChuck? "War is a drug"?
      I'm surprised by this. Not the automatic "LUV THE TROOPS!" stuff, but that this would've gone the other way if, say, she'd directed Avatar, which seems to be giving wrong-wingers inexplicable fits. Then, he'd be screaming "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION HOLLYWEIRD gives SOME FEMINIST the Oscar just to make her the FIRST WOMAN to win BEST DIRECTOR!"
      FREEDOM ISN'T FREE! You really haven't seen the movie, have you, UpChuck?
      Also, in an utter non sequitur, except that when Chuck was in college 45 years ago, it was the HIPPIES who got laid, not him! Seriously, look at those guys. Reeeal 2010 looking. And protesting that THINGS THAT COST MONEY AREN'T FREE! Umm, what? What do these things have to do with each other? 60s hippies should be ashamed that the Oscars said that a movie was good, and either go into massive debt, or drop out? Y'know, Chuck, you're a run-down old geezer. I suppose that you don't care that if tuition gets too high, then there will be less people going to medical school, and then there'll be less doctors, because, hey! you'll be dead by then anyway! But that's how you think about everything, from climate change to the unending Iraq War to the ongoing collapse of the economy due to deregulation. Chuck says "FUCK my grandkids! Those ungrateful bastards still haven't sent me a thank you card for those editions of 'Atlas Shrugged' I sent them 10 Christmases ago!"
      War is a drug, old man. And apparently for you, so is stupidity.

      May I take a moment to point out "honoring the troops"? It started as "Support the Troops--while they DIE in an unwinnable war based on lies that makes terrorism MORE likely, bankrupts the economy and I don't even care enough to 'support' them that I'd ruin my bumper with a sticker, so here's a dollar store Made-in-China magnet that I'll let fade into unreadability, because I SO SUPPORT THEM just don't give them any benefits when they get back, as I may have to pay more taxes and UGH! don't show me pictures of them missing limbs EWWWW! because FREEDOM TO VOTE (on American Idol) ISN'T FREE!" And now it's pure "WORSHIP the Troops!" GE is running ads on the radio pointing out that they employ lots of vets. And...? No one else does? And that's the whole commercial?
      It's crossing over from "support" and "patriotism" into "militarism." Which is endemic to dictatorships. Such as the last century's worst, those of Stalin, Mao and Godwin. In Iran, Myanamar and North Korea, the citizens all support the troops, too. Or they'll be shot. Here, you'll just be shouted down and called a traitor. Which has the death penalty. Just saying, it's getting odd.

      This Ripley's Believe It or Not! comic is defying my attempts to copy it, but the text is all you need anyway:

      Wow. Really. Well, I'll have to put that in the "I believe it" category. 50 year old Bill Young has yearly breathed some of all the air on the planet since 1960! BELIEVE IT--or not!
      This is all it takes to get into Ripley's? No one else EVER has listened to an album more than that many times in a row? Stoners from my generation listened to "Dark Side of the Moon" daily for longer than that. I listened to Brian Eno's "Music for Films" 3 times a day, from 1978 to 1985. Which means I listened to it over 7500 times. Over my lifetime, dunno, probably 15000. Is the point that it was Judas Priest? I couldn't listen to them once.
      Ripley's was my first introduction to skeptical thinking. My uncle Bob had a collection that I read, maybe age 9, which included a picture of a ching-chong Chinaman with a big smile and a lit candle sticking straight up from the center of his forehead. According to the text, it was set in a hole. Drilled in his forehead. "EWW!" was my reaction. But, darned if the guy wasn't happy about it! His job was to guide people through the streets via his literal headlight.
      I kept thinking about it. First thought: Wouldn't the wax get in his eyes? Then: Or the flame set his hair on fire? Next: How does he light it, or know when it goes out? Does he carry a mirror? Wait, it sticks straight up? How'd they drill that hole? It should stick straight out like a unicorn's horn. Wait wait wait! IN HIS HEAD? Shouldn't he be leaking brains?
      Yeah, it was bullshit. I didn't know that the early Ripley's filled itself with that. Of course, my first reaction today would be "And this is superior to a candleholder how?" and dismiss it.

      I went to the Salvation Army today. To buy a cassette player, believe it or not. The parking lot was full, and the line about 10 people long. Oh, yeah. It's Wednesday.
      That's senior discount day most places, so it's always a good day to avoid stores. Even worse, at the SA it's now everybody discount day.
      After 2010's first hike in the state park, I got groceries, successfully turning a $68 bill into a $38 one through judicious use of coupons and sales. One clerk said to another as I bagged, "The police and the paramedics are here!" The other clerk said, in a tone of disinterest, "Yeah, I saw them. Must be down the other side of the store." The first said "Probably a senior having a seizure!"
      The second shrugged, said "Well, it is a Wednesday." and went back to work.



      I hate imprecision in language. An ad on local radio is about paying for your senior parent's long-term care--"Because they'd rather give all their money to YOU [instead of a nursing home]," which is a rather greedy, self-centered approach to the subject. "NO ONE milks my parents to keep them alive! They're MY cash cow! Say, Mom, feel like dying anytime soon? Sonny needs a new sports car!"
      Besides the extremely mercenary approach of the ad (is it worth noting that it's voiced by the station's most Republican and wingnuttiest announcer, the one who thinks Obama was born in Kenya?), it contains the copy "Don't let senior care take away the home your parents have literally slaved all their lives to own! Because they'd rather give all their money to YOU!"
      Emphasis in the ad. They "literally slaved all their lives" to buy a house? They literally were sold into bondage, worked for no pay and for all their lives, to own something, despite the fact that they couldn't, as property can't own property? Literally? Were they whipped and beaten and the women raped? To own a house? That they can't?
      "Headlight"? Part of a car. Literal headlight? Ripley's Chinese man with a hole drilled in his forehead to hold a candle to light the way. See the difference? I hate it when people literally don't know what "literally" means.

      Godzilla Haiku, which is just what it sounds like. Only 3 very short pages--so short, I literally don't know why it isn't one page.
      Well, time to clean the cat boxes! Litter-ly!


      Wow! That's one major rain and wind storm going on out there! WInds 25 to 40 MPH, blowing right against the windows to the Main Room (meaning the one with the computer). Killsy has lived here on the top of the hill long enough to take it with equanimaty; DJ is alternately fascinated and startled; even Byron can apparently hear it. But then they all realize it isn't getting in more than the cracks in the windows, and go back to their normal activities. Until the wind screams some more!


      ...As normal as it gets here, anyway.




      KitSplut sent me this relic from...I don't know when. I think I kinda remember the conversation: she said something about a local grocery store chain called "Gerbes," and I said "That sounds like gerbil herpes." Don't worry, the cartoon I drew isn't just SFW, it's almost SFCU (Safe For Cute Overload). And I used my Crayola 64 to color it!


      I'm a "Buy what you need, not what you want" kinda guy. But I also just paid off my condo, so, hey! Why not some wants!
      Which turned out to be very little. The Mighty Mouse DVD set that I'd eventually rent enough times to pay for it. A "Melvin the Monster" comic book collection. A laser pointer to replace the busted one--wait, that IS a Need, with two crazy dot-chasing boy cats. And a boom box.
      I briefly thought about buying an old cassette player at the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but after having shopped for one, I decided that it'd be better to buy one new from Amazon that I could return if it didn't work. Rather than someone else's "As Is" 25-year-old junker.
      I did some research, and picked a Sony CFD-G505, for $92. It was supposed to be delivered today, but it wasn't at the door at 430PM. I checked again an hour later. The postman may ring twice, but the FedEx guy apparently just drops stuff there and runs away, like it's a flaming bag of dog poop. There it is--WHAT THE HELL?! THAT giant thing's my boom box?! Either that, or FedEx is smuggling midgets!


      That's the box it came in, the box it was shipped in, and Byron. One could fit a lot of Byrons in those boxes, if one was so suicidally inclined to actually try.


      The boys looking at the packaging it came in. Just the part that wrapped the boombox. The boombox is...large.


      Killsy, deciding that she wants nothing to do with all this excitement. She will investigate later.


      ....And there it is. Yes, the bass boost is called "Xplod." I hope that it does not Xplod.
      So far, I like just peachy-keen-ariffic. I put in a truly ancient early-80s normal-bias tape (Teruo Nakamura, "Rising Sun"), and it sounds perfect. You can play with the settings via the remote in a way more satisfying than a graphic equalizer. But the real proof will be if the cassette player continues to work this well. As that's the only reason I bought it.

      The American Dream: To be famous at anything. No matter how stupid or eventually fatal. I'm sure her young daughter will be proud of her when she dies from cardiac arrest, her feet amputated from severe diabetes.

3/16      DREAM ON, REV.

--Minister Thomas Dixon, Jr., in 1893


      Happy Saint My Great-great-etc Grandpa had to Flee Ireland after He Exploded Eight English Tax Detectives with Gunpowder Bombs Day! As we call it here.

      In a way related to the day, to which I didn't relate until after I'd started cooking it, I found out that the grocery store sells baking potatoes individually. Since I am one of those guys who could fuck up a baked potato, one is what I bought. And it came out quite delicious! I had it with no-trans fats margarine. Which reminded me of that brief Clancy Brothers' tune I liked to play from my mom's record as a kid (and whch apparently does not exist as a video or MP3):

      That was the funniest song in the world when I was eight. Of course, being 8 in 2010 is like being 14 in 1967. A 2010 8 year old would yawn "He didn't say even one fuck?"

      Being half-Irish, I felt no need to wear green today (I wore my Animal Rescue Site shirt instead). But being a bachelor, I haven't changed my underwear in a few months, and it's gettin' a mite green...That counts, right?

      Netflix just told me that they're sending me BOTH Astro Boy AND Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars! Out of the goodness of their hearts! Of course, today they sent me NEITHER, but there are some new MST3Ks available on Watch Now, so I can see those instead! And then bitch about them, as they're from the Mike Years.
      I retract that. The mail came almost 2 hours late today (time the mailman spent at the Postal Pub with a pint?) . I received Astro Boy, that cartoon about Elroy Jetson, and a free sample of Olay Body Wash (I sent away for that? I must've thought it was shampoo) with a "Tear Here" sticker. It was the length of the bottle and listed the ingredients, all "I lost count at 25" of them. Assuming that you count,as Olay does, "acrylonitrile/methychoroisothiazolinone/I ain't typing any more of THAT, as it goes on for another hundred letters" as one ingredient. And a sweet "Thank You for donating to the Humane Society" card from the startlingly beautiful Mrs Jessica, which you didn't get because YOU didn't donate! (As is your right)

      Full of potato, I'm posting And thus to the only movie in history to include the line "I've got machine guns--IN MY BUTT?!"


      Astro Boy really wasn't that bad, once it decided whether or not it was going to be an action movie or an action-comedy. Maybe somebody said "Wait--he has ASS GUNS? Comedy!" But if you want it to be a comedy, Jiminy Christ, don't cast mopey Nicholas Cage as voice talent. It detracts. Points to villain Donald Sutherland performing as Dubya.

      Happy birthday today to DJ Loverboy! Yes, a whole year old! He's now a cat, not a kitten. Although, like Byron Bigfoot, I think he'll be a kitten for a long time to come...




      I always thought that Kit Kats were the awesomest candy, but I think that I'll pass on them, given the dead-great-apery.

      Fact: if you lose one of your major senses--say, hearing--your brain rewires to make your other senses more powerful.
      Byron's sight is far better than the other cats. He frequently has his mouth open just a tiny bit, as cats have extra olfactory sensors in their tongues, and it helps their sense of smell.
      I sleep with a towel over my eyes and ears, so to cut the unneeded sensory stimulation out. Sometimes Byron sleeps with a giant paw over his nose and mouth. Same thing, I think.