Devilfish with Tartarus Sauce

NEW 101

"There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence."
--Henry Adams


      Long but interesting, Destination Subconscious: Cary Grant and LSD.


      In a dream last night, cross-dressing Kim Il Jung did a musical number extolling the wonderfulness of himself on North Korean TV, while I fought his machete-armed bodyguards. I was pretty cut up, but okay, while I massacred his bodyguards. I took mercy on his trained killer ninja panda bear. It wasn't his fault he'd been raised to do evil!

      Seen on the way to work, a truck painted thusly:
      BLSI Experiencing a New Level of Professionalism
      The professionalism was kinda degraded by the use of Comic Sans.


      Recently seen:
      MST3K, The Crawling Terror. Remember that giant tentacled eyeball that would race towards you in the opening credits? That you never actually saw in an episode? I assumed it was from the KTMA years. But it was actually from the pilot they did the Comedy Channel, and that's what this is. Like most of the first season, "not enough jokes." But interesting in the try-out way. They even did "And now for a word from our sponsors" blurbs before some commercial breaks.
      Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. This was pretty angsty for a show with really dumb monsters. Basically, guys who drool a lot. Enough that they can firehose their spit. The ending was particulary stupid (Nice way to inspire your granddaughter, lady!). Also, why the angst? The Doctor's going to DIE--no, wait, he'll just regenerate. Dying for him is like you or me getting a new job. No one likes doing it, but eventually you have to. And you go on. Unlike, for you and me, we don't, if we die. I hope the next series isn't all about taking itself too seriously.


      My car's MPG had dropped a bit over the last few months. I just realized that maybe it was because I hadn't changed the oil in...9500 miles?
      The last time I changed it, they gave me a window sticker that had my current mileage on it, so I learned to stop reading it. It's too bad that Economy Oil Change is only a local business--too bad for you, as they checked/did 16 things to my car in about 5 minutes. Always polite, but never chatty. They never high-pressure you like Jiffy Lube to replace stuff. "You might want to replace your PVC valve and air filter," the guy said, and I replied "This is the last oil change this car is ever going to have. I'm trading it in, in 6 months or a year." He smiled and said "It's not going to hurt anything if you don't. And if you're trading it in, why bother?" Jiffy Lube wouldn't have let me leave without buying a new filter. I did have the PVC valve replaced, as that's always been a problem with this car. Hopefully it'll boost my mileage some.
      And I wish I had some solid, recent news on when the Fit Hybrid comes out. If can get 0% financing, it doesn't really matter if it's in 5 months or a year. And if I were Honda, damn would I be pushing it out now! Toyota basically lost every market it dominated with the recall debacle, and their main one was the hybrid market. In my weekly 5 hours of commute, I see maybe 2 Fits, and about 40 Priuses. A Fit Hybrid would turn those numbers backwards.

      Thing that I recommend that no one ever do: join AARP. I have received zero benefits from my membership. Unless you like junk mail. I paid my dues 6 months ago, and immediately got a letter telling me to send them my dues. I got another 2 weeks later. A third, 2 weeks after that. A week ago I got a letter telling me to renew for next year--only 6 months early. Yeah, their revenue stream seems to depend on early-onset Alzheimers patients mailing them money for fees already paid.
      Apparently, even that's not good enough for these crooks. Today I got a mailing for my wife, Kay Young. I laughingly filled out a free joint membership for my wife when I signed up, and now SHE'S getting "give us money" mailings! So that my senile wife sends them checks, now that they realize I'm not giving them any more extra. I'm sure you've already figured it out: Kay, while she's a truly beautiful woman that I so dearly love, weighs 13 pounds and shits in a box. I should've also listed my "sons."
      Would it hurt my insurance if I listed their pre-existing conditions as "very large feet" for one, and for the other, "apparent insanity"?
      NOT ANY MORE, IT WOULDN'T! Health care reform isn't what anybody really wanted, but Thanks, Mr President. All the last guy accomplished was unending war, eternal debt and unstoppable climate change.


Fantastic Mr Fox was a pretty fantastic movie. Sweet, funny, and weird like a good dream. Old school stop motion, the kind where they don't bother hiding the rippling of the models' fur where their fingertips moved them. Heartily recommended.

      Also heartily recommended, this short page of images suggested by readers to a UK comics artist, The A To Z Of Awesomeness. Pretty comic bookcentric, with Star Wars/Trek and other nerd obsessions mixed in. And with titles like "D is for... Doctor Who Defeating Doctor Doom in a Deadly Disco Dance-Off!" and "H is for... Hagar the Horrible Hacking Hello Kitty in Half," how can it miss? I agree with the artist that M is probably the best, although G makes a good second place.


      Quarter of Republicans Think Obama May Be the Anti-Christ. And "23 percent say he wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers." Like Bush did? Are they for it or against it? Or are they just insane? (Yes.)



      I've had a pretty good run lately of pretty good movies. The Men Who Stare at Goats was the latest. A "more true than you'd think"-based story, it claims, about the US Army's secret psychic warfare ops unit. It plays that absurdity (which actually is true) against the grim absurdity of the Iraq invasion. It's deadpan funny, mainly due to the incredible cast (McGregor, Clooney, Spacey, The Abiding Dude). I didn't watch it assuming that it was a documentary, which helped in the "I'm so sure that happened" final act. But a totally fun, funny film that quietly raises serious questions, in a way that you won't notice until it's over.
      George Clooney: better as a self-proclaimed Jedi warrior, or as a stop-motion fox? Answer unclear, please ask again.

      Eye Pong.

      After slightly overcooking a veggie burger, I discovered that, yes, the new smoke alarms most definitely work. And I'm glad I got the ones with a shut-off button, and had already figured out beforehand the way to shut them off without a ladder (by using the bamboo backscratcher that Killsy loves) . Also, that the cats look to my behavior when the alarms go off. Saying "It's okay it's okay!" while running around turning off shrieking alarms kept them from running under the bed, where they would die if it was an actual fire. I hope "OH FUCK THE HOUSE IS THE FIRES OUT THE FRONT GO GO GO!!!!" will work, Gourd forbid it ever happens, and they'll run out the door.
      OTOH, the only cat who awoke from a deep sleep this morning when he smelled the opened tin of canned mackerel and went in search of it, was totally baffled by the 3 screaming alarms, 2 frightened cats, and my running around and poking at ceilings with a backscratcher. As Byron didn't hear anything, just saw the activity. In an emergency: Find the deaf cat first, as the hearing ones will be ready to leave immediately.


      The Boys have developed a new trick. When I got home today, the boom box had again been turned on by an errant cat foot stomp. This time, they'd actually managed to turn the Bass Boost on twice! And, as is becoming usual, one of them trod across the printer and turned it on, too.
      Then I panicked: the STOVE was on! Wait--no, it ain't! Not the broken oven, not the burners. Just the ON light was on.
      Not sure how to react. I unplug most appliances when not in use, but most of my appliances don't have to be dragged a meter across the floor to reach the plug. Is this like my car's eternally-on Check Engine light, something that doesn't actually do anything? The oven hasn't worked for years, anyway. I'll give it a few days.

      After the sublime The Men Who Stare at Goats (Spacey: "I'm Larry's Spirit Guide!" Clooney: "GLITTER EYES! [stares] Did you see it?"), I had enough time left over for another movie, so I opted for the ridiculous. Was it available on Netflix See It Now? Of course the worst movie of the last 10 years was!
      I read Ebert's review, or more actually disembowelment of the movie when it came out, and excitedly emailed Kev. "Here's our chance to see a soon-to-be-legendarily AWFUL movie in the theater!" But then I started reading other reviews, and noticed that no one said that it was the good kind of bad, just the bad bad. No reviewer laughed at it, just flat-out hated it. Nothing's worse than a boring movie, so I actively avoided it.
      And the reviews went like that for the decade since it came out. But, hell, why not. I started reading The Ultimate RAZZIE Guide to Movies, from the Golden Raspberry Awards people. It's a basically a listing of movies for your Mysting party, and it did include of couple of truly LOLworthy entries, suck as King Kong Lives and The Swarm (edit: I meant to say "such"), so...yeah, I finally broke down and watched Battefield Earth.
      Or is it Baffled-feel Earth? Netflix Play-Now is murky to begin with, and this is the movie that one critic said "the print looks like it was covered in mud," although I can think of a more apropos brown substance. It was like watching an audio book. I could figure out what was going on, but only from the dialog.
      It actually started off strong, with post apocalyptic, year 3000 hero Johnny Goodboy going off to fight his tribe's fearful Gods--and discovering that it's just a miniature golf course's dinosaur. He laughs at how ridiculous the idiot cult's made-up "God" was! Also, this movie was made by Scientologists, who apparently have no sense of self-irony.
      John Travolta stomps in, wearing dreads, 12-inch platform shoes, and has--umm, John, you got some (makes finger waves at nose) action going on there, you might wanna get a Kleenex--what? The long booger strings dangling from your nose are there because you want them there? Umm...Okay. I would've put in a single line of dialog, such as "It sucks that we Psychlos who have enslaved the Earthling rat-animals must stick these tubes up our alien schlanozzles so that we can breathe this putrid Earth rat-atmosphere!" which, amazingly, would not be out of place with the rest of the script.
      Travolta is terrible. Why does he read his lines that way, and in that voice? He's WOO SCARY! the big villain, but imagine if Darth Vader had been voiced by the guy who did 3CP0. Takes away from the terror, I think.
      I made it a whole hour into. Those reviews from 2000 were right. This is not enjoyable even on the Bad level.
      Amazing coincidence: The guy who wrote the screenplay today wrote an apology for it--after receiving the Razzie for the Decade's Worst Screenplay. The day after I tried to watch it. Weird.


      I made a delivery today, in the 3-day downpour, to an elderly couple. Their radio was playing the same classical music station that I'd programmed into the radio of the store's hateful piece-of-shit F150 truck. The husband walked over to their Bose radio to better hear a piece that had come on. To make small talk while the wife made out a check, I said "I like that piece, too! Who wrote it? Elgar, Holst? Sounds really English to me." After some thought, he barked out "CHOPIN!" and I succeeded in not laughing. Yeah, Chopin wrote band music in early 20th century England. Okay, I admit that I was wrong--it turned out to be Grainger, an early 20th century English composer who sometimes wrote band music.
      Hey, stop yawning! It'd be like asking if a song on the radio was by Wire or the Talking Heads or Devo, and having someone pausing before they yelled "It's BUDDY HOLLY!" Or whatever garbage you KIDS listen to today--the Britney, the Spice Girls, the Macarenas! All the popular groups!
      She tipped me $3, so I think I came out ahead.


      Thumbs Down news: After 35 years in one incarnation or another, my favorite TV show (AKA the only TV show that I ever watch) Siskel and Ebert At the Movies has been cancelled, ending in August. I like the bullshit claim that it's a "business decision," although the show lost money for all of the 24 years Disney owned it. That, and Disney claiming poverty. Has The Black Cauldron made its budget back yet? Treasure Planet sure as hell never will. Did they cost less than the quarter century of At The Movies? I doubt it.
      Thumbs Up news: Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies is in development. The Balcony will never close.
      Thumbs Sideways news: Another American version of Godzilla is in the works. The only Godzilla movie that I've never seen is the American one. Which I've never watched for the same reason I put off Pitiful-field Earth for a decade.
      I just checked Netflix's Watch Now feature, and Thumbs Up news! The American Godzilla isn't one of them! I can continue to never watch it!


      Last seen: The Invention of Lying. It started off pretty amusingly, set in a parallel earth where people are incapable of lying, and so say nothing but the brutal, honest truth all the time. The protagonist eventually invents lying, and since everyone else on the planet has never heard a lie, accepts every ludicrous thing that he says as the truth. He becomes very successful as an ad writer. But when his mother is dying, he comforts her that No, she doesn't die! She goes to the invisible man in the sky, who will give her a mansion! And inadvertantly invents religion. This is the funniest part of the movie, as he makes it all up on the fly, and everyone believes his utter bullshit.
      But then the satire goes away, and it becomes that latest Hollywood obsession, "unattractive, overweight, older man wins the love of a beautiful younger woman." Why is it never the other way around? I got that obsession Hollywood had in the 80s for "middle-aged man magically becomes young again," as it's otherwise called "Baby Boomer Hollywood guy hits his midlife crisis." I'm unclear on the current phase--justifying their trophy wife? Or bitter that, while they have a level of fame in the business, it didn't translate into a trophy wife? I'm guessing the latter in this case, as that's exactly what happens to the character, and maybe also had to the screenwriter. And the last half hour is all about that. Like there's any doubt that middle-aged, saggy, unattractive Ricky Gervais won't get the babe. And thus--well, predictable. But it was a funny movie, overall, and worth renting, if there's nothing else you want to watch (whoops, told the truth there!) I just wish that they'd gone run with the premise more than they did.
      The movie really needed a twist. Like another liar. Maybe the hunky boyfriend of Rick's love interest. Or, better, a woman exactly as good a liar as Ricky, and exactly as attractive.

      If you've ever had a kitten, you know the "OH GOURD FEED ME NAOOWW! I haven't eaten in A HALF HOUR!!" meow. I've only heard it in mono, but here it is in quadrophonic. Super teh qutes, and also may drive your kitties nuts, as it did poor, baffled DJ. I particularly liked the kitten who keeps popping out of the dryer.

      Via, of course.



      News that may only interest you if, like me, you have to buy a new car in the next year:
      "Honda Motor Co plans to roll out a gas-electric hybrid version of its Fit subcompact car in the autumn of 2010, about a year and a half ahead of the original schedule..."
      That's a bit dated, but Honda--despite what it claims on its own page--officially announced that they're bringing it out this year.
      And it has been seen in the wild: "Sources tell us that the packaging needs for the hybridís battery packs may hinder the functionality of the Fitís ďMagic SeatĒ, potentially killing some of the standard modelís utility. Any loss in packaging flexibility will likely be offset by the increased fuel-efficiency, rumored to be well north of 50mpg, with a price tag thatís expected to undercut Hondaís Insight Hybrid."
      Shit, I can deal with less room than a gas Fit, since it will still have more storage than the compact sedans I've been driving for a quarter century! And 50+ MPG? I can live with that!
      A lot is still up in the air. Some sites claim it'll cost "just over $15K," while this one says that it could be over $25K: "On the flip side, adding hybrid drive to the already petroleum-parsimonious Fit could make for a car with mileage figures in the upper-60-mpg range, which is itself a selling point for many, regardless of the price premium." I call bullshit--that's far more than the cost of the Civic Hybrid, or even the Insight, which has the engine system that the Fit will use. It's also the only site to list "upper-60MPG," although that's what first-gen Insights got.
      But, yeah baby, my next car may be available as soon as the fall. All I want then is 0% financing!


      I checked, and three hours after Easter dinner with the family, I weigh 5 pounds more than I did this morning.


      After having seen Fantastic Mr Fox, or as the critics called it, "Wes Anderson for children," I decided to rent Wes Anderson for adults, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Really interesting for 20 minutes, painfully boring for 20 minutes. It was weird and odd and--something I wasn't getting. I decided to check the reviews on Netflix before shutting it off, and there was a negative review that unintentionally told me what I wasn't getting: "It's a comedy with no jokes." YES! I get it now! And I'm glad that I continued watching it, as it either got better, or I just understood where it was coming from.
      I really liked the fakely-named fish and the deliberately fake effects, including stop-motion. Is his stuff supposed to be like my dreams, super detailed with a forward-moving but pretty random plot? Are my dreams why I liked it? My dreams can get boring, too. I give it a Rent It, If So Motivated.

      "Yeah, dad?"
      "It's time we had a talk."
      (rolls eyes) "Okay."
      "It's about what you did in the bathroom."
      " the litter box?"
      "No, it's about--"
      "Because YOU fed me that Friskies Turkey and Cheese!"
      "No, son, it's about this morning."
      "And all that tissue paper."
      (embarassed) "I, uh, I don't know what you're talking about!"
      "DJ, DJ, it's natural. Everyone does it. At your age, you have to do it. It's your hormones."
      (DJ, silent)
      "It's know...could you be a little more discreet next time? And spill less on the floor? Because I'm the one who has to clean it all up!"

            "Sorry about the TP, dad."


      My upper left arm really ached today when I woke up today. Did I sleep on it weird? In the shower, I kept it under the warm water and thought, Of course this happens the day after a full physical, when the doctor ran down the whole list of "Anything wrong?" and I said "No" to everything!
      It took about 5 hours of my upper left arm hurting before I remembered that yesterday the doctor gave me a tetanus shot. And not in my right pinky toe.

      80s guys! Remember my new cassette boombox? I'm having trouble finding some of my favorite tapes, but I did find my most favoritiest: "Turbo." Named after some stickers I found vacuuming the floors at Kay Bee Toys and plastered on it, and what I listened to on the way home from my worst job. It began with the title theme from The Road Warrior, followed by Gary Numan's Tubeway Army's "Oh, Didn't I Say I Was Not One of You?" followed by Robert Fripp's "You Burn Me Up, I'm a Cigarette." I usually played a quiet tape on the commute in, but the workday would so piss me off that this was my angry, sing-along/scream-along drive home music.
      Turbo was gutted.
      The tape was pulled from the cassette. Normally, that means "throw it away," but this was Turbo! I kept it, in the back of the tapes, waiting for the day I had a reliable tapedeck again.
      Did you ever do this? Try to rewind your favorite tape back? I did it so much, I had a system:

      And today I recreated the 1980s. How 80s? Tenpole Tudor, "Swords of a Thousand Men." You are not weird for never having heard that song a thousand times. I am.
      Turbo hasn't hit the
      Wow. As I typed that, yes it did hit the chewed-up, rewound bit. It's gone from Tenpole Tudor to apparently playing the other side backwards. "Chip & Roll" by the Silicon Teens, I think
      Okay, back and forth, A side to B side and back, with the Temptation's "Ball of Confusion."
      Hmm. An interesting reunion with my favorite tape from 26 years ago.
      What? They've discovered "CD-R"s since then?! BALDERDASH and POOPYCOCK! The cassette has defeated the 8-track, and forever it shall remain the ruler of all recorded entertainment!
      Attack of the Molemen by the Dickies, followed by Strange Thing by the Buzzcocks! And side A ends with the Dr Who theme and shrieking murderous Daleks! Pure Bliss. Good mix tape job, me of 26 years ago!


      What's Wrong With This Picture? After my hike in the state park, in April in northern Connecticut a week into April, I came home to drink a Sam Adams' Winter Lager while it was 90 degrees out, about 35 degrees above normal.
      Answer: everything. Interesting how anytime it gets cold in the winter, dumbasses say "I guess there's no such thing as global warming!" but when it gets ridiculously warm, they say "Global warming! Keep it coming! LULZ!"
      "My doctors say I'm precancerous, but my insurance company says I'm not!" and then later, "Metastized? Keep that morphine drip coming, LULZ!"
      When the Gulf Stream stops and the next Ice Age begins, expect Rush Dimbulb's last broadcast before he freezes to death to include "Al Gore said it was global WARMING, but I'm FREEZING to death! EXPLAIN THAT, SCIENCE!"

      In Happy Mix Tape News, I found "Music to Save Civilization As We Know It By," the one that would be hardest to replicate. Well, I still own the records, but the new boombox only has a line out plug, so there would be no way to record them, even if...Well, I had a terrible habit of not listing what songs I put on a tape for myself, or even putting a name on the cassette. Back in those days, I just knew which song was which and what tape what. And it's all my 1960s spy-fi music LPs I bought used in the early 80s. Anything composed by Lalo Schifrin (Man From UNCLE, Mission: Impossible), Laurie Johnson (The Avengers, and no, not a woman, just had one of those awful old English male names like Leslie), or John Barry (scored a movie or two for that Connery fellow) is awesome. Especially the first two, who were scoring weekly TV shows.
      You could say that I was ahead of the Lounge Music revival by 15 years, but I wasn't. I didn't enjoy my spy music ironically, I enjoyed it because it was fuckin' GREAT. Not unlike Herb Alpert or Petula Clark. I was once asked by coworker Ron (the future Mr Jessica) "What are your guilty pleasures in music?" and I had to honestly answer, "None." Because I don't feel guilty listening to it.

      My biggest purchase of late is the boombox that I listening to right now. Well, if you exclude the bill I got from my colonoscopy 6 months ago. Seems it was only partially covered, so I owe $1400. USA! USA! USA! The 37th Greatest Health Care System in the WORLD, just below Cuba's! But Still SOCIALISM FREE AND THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS! Gourd forbid we live in the terrible hellhole called "Every other developed nation in the world!" GUMMINT KEEP YER JEW HANDS OFFEN MY MEDICARES!
      This is exactly the reason I live well below my means: I don't want to suck $1400 out of my savings, but I can, quite easily.
      This is because I know the difference between "need" and "want." I only buy wants after a long period of thinking about "Yes, but do I need this enough to justify buying it?" (Boombox: yes, after several years of self-debate) Needs I try to buy when things go crazy on sale and I have coupons. After shelter, clothing and cats, what do I need? YES! Internet access and a webpage! Wait, no, I meant Food. Today I reduced an $85 grocery bill to $53! The only thing I bought off sale without a coupon was cat litter. Okay, there's another need. However...


      ...this is what my freezer looks like. That's not product placement for Morningstar Farms, that's the only way I could arrange things so that the door closed. I couldn't have even done that, if not for all those years of playing Tetris.
      And you haven't seen the fridge or the cabinets. Okay, I admit it--I've replaced record/CD hoarding with food hoarding. I could not buy food for 6 months, and I bet I'd still have something to eat. And if the power ever goes out for a couple of days, dude, I am so fucked. How cheap it was when you bought it doesn't matter if you have to throw dripping, defrosted food in the trash.

      My boombox has a line out plug...theoretically, I could hook it to the computer, download Audacity, and turn tapes to CD-Rs. Because this spy music tape is FUCKING AWESOME. The liner notes would suck, though. "Here are the theme songs (sometimes twice in different versions), here's ACTION MUSIC! from a bunch of sources, this part is Dr No and sorry it's so different, here's Bond/Solo in foreign locales music, and we end with spy chill-out music!" would pretty much be it.



Two minutes of lame music is certainly worth this video.



Chris in the Comments says: "Hey Bill, "Pixels" is indeed a cool video, but I don't think the original had the lame music. Try this version."


      I haven't seen Kev in months, as he's working on topping off his old college credits and getting his 2-year degree. Mainly just so that he can say he has a degree, as that's been a ridiculous roadblock in his career search. He's had a dozen years arranging loans in his current job, but experience in your field doesn't count unless you have that Scrap of Magic Paper. He's taking courses in Nutrition and the Beatles. Umm, 2 different courses. It's not one that's about whether a diet of eggmen, piggies and the savoy truffle lead you to having all your teeth pulled out.
      Scott, who I haven't seen in many months, was also there. After a chicken tikke pizza, we watched Dogs in Space, a movie about the 1978 punk scene in Australia. It's one of Kev's fave movies. I knew going in that it had no plot, but man--did it have no plot. A big group of barely identifiable characters get drunk, stoned, loud, angry, play music, have sex, drive VW Beetles to clubs where people get drunk, stoned, loud, angry, etc. It was a "slice of life," as life has no plot. But it got tedious, as it was basically the same scene repeated for 90 minutes. But any movie is better around friends, especially ones you haven't seen for a while, so--WIN!



      SHAWT: A popular scam is claiming "My car ran out of gas! Can you lend me some money so I can drive home?" Some people make their living doing this, while toting around an empty gas can for effect. Of course, even if you're dumb enough to fall for it, a dollar would be enough gas to get anyone to a station to fill up--and if not, why were they driving without their wallet anyway? Can't drive without a license.
      SHAWTIER: A guy tried a new variant on this, outside the store: "I got out of my car, and someone jumped in and STOLE it! Give me ten dollars!"
      Umm...what? If my car was stolen, my first reaction would be to call the police. At our store, my next reaction would be to WALK to the police, given that the station is less than a half-mile away. Why would I ask for $10? To buy the car back? To replace my collection of little pine tree air fresheners? That's the stupidest scam in history! How stupid would you have to be to fall for it?
      SHAWTIEST: We only found out that this was going on because a woman came in, asking for change from a 20 to give the guy $10. Yes, she believed his fairy tale.
      The manager chased him off. I didn't find about it until it was over. If it'd been me, I would've gasped "Your car's been STOLEN? Let me dial 911! The police will be here in a minute! Wait, where ya going? The police station's THAT way!"


      I took a nap, and then I realized that it was just before the alarm was to go off! I raced around, as the radio was still on and playing through the computer, so I shut it down. Strangely, the DVD player was also on, and the DVD needed to go out today if I was to get another in time for my next day off, so I rushed to pack it up. I brushed my teeth and shaved while I listened to the weather radio, I thought, damn, it feels like I've had an hour's sleep! At least it's warm out, as the radio just said that it's 65 at 6AM--wait--or did they say 6PM?
      I looked out the west window, and the sun was setting. It felt like an hour's sleep because it was an hour's sleep. It was still Wednesday evening, not Thursday morning.
      *shrug* At least I shaved. That means I can sleep an extra 3 minutes tomorrow.


      "A cat can recognize a face faster and more efficiently than a supercomputer. That's one reason a feline brain is the model for a biologically-inspired computer project involving the University of Michigan."

      Trouble in Paradise: Why are Americans so credulous about heaven?



      Excerpt from the very brief Adventures of God:


      Star Wars Uncut, a remake done by 473 people in 15-second increments, in every possible style. Including Clutch Cargo. Not available as a finished film, but click on the trailer. Wacky! And want to see!


      "Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eleven years have I trained to be mellow. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained to be lazy! You are with the beans filled, the crazy beans! Always the chase the laser dot, always the ambush of siblings! Seriously, the up with that what was? All his life has he looked away... to the laser, to the pouncing, to the crazy beans! Never his mind on where he was, on the windowsill, looking at birds and chillaxing. Hmm, do you like getting poked with a stick by a crazy swamp Muppet? I'm poking you with a stick, I is are am! Hmph. Adventure. Excitement! A kitty craves not these things! You are..."
      "Master Killsa, I didn't catch that last bit."
      "Hmm! You are right, are you. zzzzz..."


"Take the Clinton Foundation's new climate quiz before Earth Day, April 22, and $2 will be donated toward the purchase of solar flashlights for Haitians living in camps, providing them with energy-efficient light and helping to enhance their safety and security." And it's only 10 questions.

      Interesting: "The opening sequence of James Bond film Goldfinger was inspired by a real mission carried out by MI6 during the Second World War and written into the script by an expert on secret wartime operations." Not the part with the head-duck, but when he whips off his scuba suit, and has a perfectly pressed tuxedo underneath, which was the part I always thought was ludicrous. Goldfinger is the best of the Bonds, not coincidentally because it was the only movie out of, what, 57? that clocked in under 2 hours, and was about "plot" and not "stunts." Assuming that you can see the explicit sexism of 1964 as a laughable relic of a still-not-yet bygone age.


      SHAWT: My boss, handing me a list: "Pull all this product for a delivery and put it behind the bar. We'll deliver today or tomorrow. Oh, the bags of ice? Don't pull those until you're going to make the delivery." Thanks for telling me, because otherwise I totally would've let the ice sit in a 70 degree store for 2 days. Hey, was I not supposed to pee all over the product? Well, then maybe you should've said something! Also, you said that "This new vodka should be hot!" so I set it on fire.

      Even LTRotD will need long memories to remember Mr Poopy Pants, my former co-worker/nemesis from my last job. "He's the one who took a massive dump in his pants at work, due to his alcoholism" may ring a bell.
      There's a beer salesman who worked at that job until just before Jessica and I did. Last fall, he told me that Poopy was finally fired by my old job, making him, I guess, an ex-ex-coworker. He'd collapsed into some seizure on the salesfloor. Jess, who has worked the admissions desk at the mental health wing of a hospital, guessed that it was the DTs. The salesman and I agreed that Poopie didn't get really bad until he got a part-time job at a dive bar, and started coming to work hungover, and, as I believe, became a cokehead again. Maybe the owners told him to stop drinking or be fired, and that lasted the day or two it took his twin addictions to overpower him. His job at the bar was now his only one.
      A while back my old employers built a fancy, huge new store. The salesman would always tell me, "You really should visit it, it's awesome!" But I never had a reason to go into the most retail-sprawliest part of central CT, given that I live 2 miles from the second-most retail-sprawliest part of central CT, so I never did. But now I have a coupon for a free trial membership at a warehouse club store nearby, so now, yeah, I have a reason. I guess I'll stop by in 2 weeks and say Hello to my old bosses. Especially as I don't have to worry about meeting Mr Poopy Pants there!
      5 minutes after thinking that, the radio played the news headlines: "[Town] firefighters acted quickly to extinguish a blaze at [Poopy's workplace] on Main Street last night. It's believed that the fire started when greasy rags were thrown behind a grill."
      Gee whiz, I snickered, who'd be dumb enough to do THAT?
      I don't know, but it's fun to speculate.

      I guess I'll have to go with speculation again, as this BBC link with the totally awesome "DALEKS--TO VICTORY!" WWII poster won't let me see the clips from the Dr Who ep it's advertising. Daleks go back in time to fight on England's side during the Battle of Britain? Even a single Dalek would turn the tide! the Daleks. Damn, but the new series looks "fantastic!" As does the mini-poster, once printed out. Mine's hanging on the wall.


      I got some free samples in the mail yesterday. They were supplements, and I had to choose 2 when ordering them. I take calcium twice a day, so the first was an easy choice. The second...hmm, nothing here I super need. So how about "IBS (Ideal Bowel Support) 299v"? I wasn't told on the order form what was in them. The calcium turned out to be the usual; magnesium, zinc, D, etc., while IBS299v contained lactobacillus plantarum in a dosage of "10 Billion Live Organisms." Gut bacteria. Well, that's part of the reason I eat live culture yogurt. So I tried one of the 8 supplied.
      Within 5 minutes, I had the worst case of hiccups in my life. Hiccups are usually just annoying, but these were actually painful. Fortunately, they stopped after 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they stopped because of vomiting so violent that it gave me a nosebleed. My body decided it really didn't want any l. plantarum. At least it was free. And I hope that l. plantarum thrives at the bottom of landfills, because that's where it's going!

      Today I hiked in the state park. I found a post-it in the middle of the trail that read "Bring spredder for Helen's Dog Poop."
      I went to Dollar Tree. Thing I would not have expected to see there: bagels. Thing I will never buy again there: bagels. So bad that they almost were like IBS299v. At least they were only a dollar. Except that the receipt shows that they charged me twice. And I hope that Harvest Pride bagels like becoming bird poop, because that's what they'll eventually be!
      I bought some food (as opposed to what the bagels were), some bathroom stuff (hairbrush, shampoo, Goody brand ponytail holders), some crossword puzzle books, Renuzit (thanks for peeing on the carpets still, Bigfoot), and a fruit paring knife, as my box cutter isn't working too good as an orange peeler. And, since I'm scheduled to meet Jessica next week, some dumb shit. A giant ant, because of the giant ant we used to see on our way to the antique store, and a clucking plucked chicken toy, because--well, look at the damned thing:


      Squeezing it scared the bejesus out of DJ. The receipt shows that they charged me not for it, balancing out the bagels. It's probably equally as edible. She's also getting some "bling" fake tattoos, a slim hardcover titled Mystic Cats, and some painkillers. Part of the joke is that we buy each other not just the dumbest, but the cheapest crap. Those last were free samples that I didn't know I couldn't use until I got them (one is Tylenol-based, which won't work on me, and the other can't be used if you take heart medication). No, I will not be giving her the remaining IBS299v.

      "Global warming? But it still gets cold in the winter, HAW HAW!"
      Global Temperatures Push March 2010 to Hottest March on Record: "Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January -- March period on record."

      Today's mail included something far better than yesterday's l. plantarum: the triply-hand-signed, notarized document that says "Yeah, dude! YOU TOTALLY TRULY OWN YOUR HOME!"
      It "hereby certifies that the following described mortgage is paid in full and satisfied..." Yes. Very satisfied.


      As Ernst Bitterman said in the comments, "IBS299v is clearly some kind of weaponized culture CLEARLY LABELLED as giving you Irritable Bowel Syndrome."
      And you can GET YOUR OWN! Right here. "Simply fill out the form below to receive a sample of one of our most popular and effective supplements." I don't know about popular, but it sure was effective as an emetic! Slip 'em into the coffee of people you really dislike!



      Looking over the freebie sites today, I saw one offering "BumPits." Ah, what? Something that makes your armpits smell like a bum? If it means a hobo rubs himself under my arms, no wonder it's free!
      Then I saw the accompanying picture, and realized it was something I'd seen on a similiar site yesterday: "Bumpits," some hair....thing. "As Seen on TV!" so it MUST be good! Just like, you know, Bill O'Reilly. He'll rub on you and make your pits smell insane.

      Recently viewed: It kinda crept up my Netflix queue surreptitiously, like a quietly stalking cat, but I found myself watching Popeye. Not the cartoons, the 1980 movie based on them. I'd added it after I read Fiasco, as it was one of the few movies I'd seen in the book. And I distantly remembered as it not being that bad.
      And it wasn't, except when it was. It started terribly, and that was the main reason it bombed: it was a musical. The last movie musical to make a fortune, or even just turn a profit, was My Fair Lady in 1964, and yet Hollywood kept attempting a comeback for the format. In 1980, when Popeye was released, a musical would be like making a breakdancing movie in 2000, or a Spice Girls movie today. And what kills it at the start are the terrible songs. There are 2 in a row to start the film, and you can't understand half of the lyrics of either. And there are plenty of songs, none of which you will be humming as you exit the theater. You won't be humming them as they're performed. They won't even register on the song-y part of your brain. The spongey part with the Mad Cow Syndrome, maybe.
      It does get better as it goes along. Shelley Duvall's impersonation owns Olive Oyl, and not just physically (and I feel kinda sorry for her that it does). Robin Williams makes an entertaining Popeye, although why you would cast him in a role famous in cartoons for the voice actor's adlibbing, and give it to one of the great adlibbers, and then, as far as I could tell, not let him adlib......Hmm. Odd decision there, but it was his first movie. And yet its an Altman movie, known for adlibbing...Odd.
      One guesses that Wimpy, the funniest character in both the strip and the 30s Fleischer toons, simply went by default to a friend of director Altman's, and only because he was fat. He's dead weight in every scene, but thankfully he's not in it a lot.
      It's not terrible, it's not great; it gets better, but never gets as good as it really should.
      Sweetwater, the rickety-looking town they built as the film's set, was one of the things that sent it over budget. It still stands on the shore of a remote part of Malta, as a tourist attraction. Its local fame has far outlasted that of the film.


      Kitteh Roulette. Pretty much what it sounds like; random cute cat videos.

      I got a search hit for "tartarus suace" (sic). HA HA, tartarus sauce, I'm so clever that I was the first hit! I totally coined that phrase!
      Second hit: "Can you get your fish styx with tartarus sauce? Or must you eat them plain?"
      Daaaamn. "Fish styx." That's brilliant. It's your win, other internet person.

      Best compliment I've had in years: "Bill, you are truly a cultured and intelligent goofball!"--Negaduck
      Yeah, but some OTHER guy came up with "fish styx"!
      Damn it!




      The answering machine never went off this morning! That means that I'd be having breakfast at the Crack(er) Bar(rel) with Mrs Jessica!
      Good thing that I decided to get up early and drink some tea and check my email. She'd written me last night, at 925PM, or about 10 minutes after I'd gone to bed. As she sarcastically calls it, her "Gift of Narcolepsy" had pummeled her. Maybe next Wednesday.
      Disappointed as I am to not see my Most Favorite Person for the first time in 4 dang months, I'm much more upset that she gets so sick. She's the sweetest, kindest person you could ever meet, and yet her life just seems to dump shit all over her.

      Via another favorite person, Lily, to cheer her up I sent her an I Can Has Cheezburger related site, ComiXed. The comics range from the funny to the WTF? to, as they say in Boston, "the wicked retahded." I know Jessie has lived too long in Massachusetts, as she twice in 1 short email used the adjective "wicked." Hopefully, she hasn't lived there long enough that she passes cars on the right during rush hour at 80MPH in the breakdown lane. (That's not hyperbole; that once happened to me on the Pike to Boston about 100 yards from a toll booth, where the driver almost caused a multi-car pileup in order to gain 5 car lengths. There's a good reason why the rest of New England refers to Bay State drivers as "Massholes")

      Searching Netflix for the legendarily awful 1934 movie Maniac, I came across this:

      Yeah, that also sounds insanely awful, but I'll pass. Although it does have a title that's close to World's Worst, falling only behind Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid.


      I left for work 5 minutes early, so I was only 30 minutes late.
      That's because it took me 40 minutes to drive 2 miles. If I'd left 10 minutes early, there's a chance that I would've been 10 minutes early to work. I guessing that would've been just before the accident that caused the backup occured. A pickup truck, on its roof, perpendicular to the highway. Not another car near it. How does that happen? Since it was at the part of the highway where the speed drops from 75MPH to 35MPH after an onramp, I guess some retard was blasting along, texting or something, and then had to STOP NOW!!!! or actually, slow down a hundred feet earlier than he did. Then it was whiz, screech, flip over, smash! Which segues into...
      I...think I get this site's logic. If you're stupid enough to text while driving, it's from genetics, so your parents are also stupid enough that they think they can stop you by giving you Thumb Socks, and not before you throw them away with a "Whatever!" and roll dad's pickup. Free if you're under 25! Or if your parents are over 25. The fact that's in the offer gives you a clue as to how smart the people behind this campaign are--i.e., exactly as smart as people who text and drive are. I ordered some simply because of how--what's the word I'm looking for here--inexplicable they seem.


      Feel-good story of the day: Superhero Electron Boy defeats evil villains, despite terminal cancer.

      Grimly hilarious but NOT feel good video of the day--hey, I was raised Catholic, but I got better. And didn't rape any kids. Note: uses the F word at least twice.

     least twice a second.

      A trailer that's worth it just for the 50s B-movie clips:


      ...and how its about how the most scientifically advanced nation on the planet is quite happily becoming the stupidest.



      The Kids have ASCPA pet insurance now. About $22 a month per cat, as I got the 2nd lowest tier (accident/illness; it's kind of hard picturing an accident, unless the next time DJ trips me, I land on one of his siblings). Get 'em insured while they're healthy, I'm thinking. Especially as the Divine Ms K is going to be 11 in a month.

      The kittehs are melted asleep from the heat, and I'm wearing cargo shorts with no shirt. It's 87 dang degrees in early May! But IT STILL GETS COLD IN DA WINTERS HAW HAW NO GLOBAL WARMING! Rush, Glennnn and Exxon say so! Why would oil companies and the sock puppets in their employ LIE?

      Old article but new to me: The Ten Stupidest Utopias!

      "Perfect societies," some imagined and some actually attempted, from ancient Greece to Nueva Germania to suburban America to libertarian asteroids, and why they would all be great places to (not) live in. Interesting stuff.


      I went to bed feeling just fine, and an hour early, as I hadn't slept that great the night before. Then the unseasonably hot weather added unseasonable high humidity, and I woke up repeatedly throughout the night. I felt crappy in the morning, but I would've been fine if it wasn't the first of the month and I had to spend the next several hours putting away over 200 cases of beer, and over 50 cases of booze. I thought, I'll bet eating yogurt for lunch will make me feel better. You can take a wild stab at what wasn't in my lunchbag.

      Attention fans of VERY bad movies: Netflix the DVD double feature (by movie preservationists Kino!) of two films that make Ed Wood look like Hitchcock, Narcotic and Maniac. Or click those links and watch them for free online. Vintage early 1930s sleaze, presented as "educational" and even "based on a true story," which is clearly a lie.
      "As the odds corkscrew tells us, Narcotic was 'presented inside the certitude which the open might maybe shift in to watchful to the glorious try to relieved the creation of recovering addiction.' The movie itself is the carnal engage in to the creation of contemptible pleasures . It tells us the fairy-tale of Dr . William G . Davies, an barbarous snake-oil salesman who set out to his line of commercial operation since the earnest illness tyro ."
      Well, that's how the "plot summary" at the Narcotic download site begins. Hey, Babelfish much? It's the story of the slow descent into drug addiction by a doctor. Well, yes and no. It seems like a 4 hour miniseries cut down to an hour, with multiple scenes missing between scenes. Sometimes minutes go by, apparently sometimes years, without warning. The doctor works for free, but the bills pile up. You'd think, "Hey, why not charge your patients then?" but he decides that the solution instead is to smoke opium, despite being warned by his friend Gee Wu, an aphorism-spouting Chinese sage (read: "White guy with eyeliner," so white that I'm surprised he's not named Gee Whiz) that only Asians can bang the gong around, due to their inherent willpower. Uh-huh. For reasons barely explained, the doctor decides to become a snake oil salesman. We're not told what's in said oil. If it had been, say, a narcotic, the scenes might be something other than an easily filmed distraction, as he sells it to offscreen crowds.
      The longest scene involves a drug-fueled orgy, where the good doctor and friends snort coke, shoot smack, and one particularly decadent partier smokes a joint (like a cigar, puffing and Clintonly not inhaling). While this mix would kill most people, they all act like they've had a glass of champagne on an empty stomach. The filmmakers and actors really did their research here. Oh, and then eventually he dies or something, I really don't remember.
      As hilarious as Narcotic was, Maniac, baby, that's the real hard stuff! It's presented as "educational," with screen titles describing what current psychological disorder the maniac is currently demonstrating. Such as--reanimating the dead! Wow, true cinťma vťritť.
      There are actually 2 Maniacs, the reanimator and his assistant, a "master of disguise." Maniac 1 keeps a beating heart in a jar, looking nothing like a heart, and decides to shoot Maniac 2 to see if implanting it works, HAHAHAHAHAHHH!!!! There is a lot of Evil Laughter in this movie. M2 steals M1's gun, plugs him, and disguises himself as him.
      The actors don't just eat the scenery, they then proceed to vomit it. M2 (or was it M1? The movie is confusing) injects a guy with a serum to cure his schizophrenia, and he proceeds to writhe and scream "OH! Stealing through my body! Creeping though my veins! Pouring in my blood! OH, DARTS OF FIRE IN MY BRAIN! STABBING ME! I CAN'T STAND IT! I WON'T!" Then he gets even more Skinny Guy Goes Nutzoid, and kills the reanimated suicide victim as she zombiely walks into the scene. Well, rekills.
      There is a pointless scene involving a bunch of stupid girls in their lingerie, because, heck, why not?
      If you've heard of this movie before, it's because of the "FIRE IN MY BRAIN!" quote, or the next one. There are fights between cats and a cat and a dog, and in both cases you can see they're fighting because they're tied together. Yes, animals were hurt in the making of this film. Not graphically; they're fighting because they clearly don't want to be tied together, and can't gut the director. But, being a maniac and all, M2 decides that M1's black cat is giving him the Evil Eye, and so he rips the eye out. And eats it. "Why, it's not unlike an oyster. Or a GRAPE! BAHHAHAHA!!! But, the gleam is gone!" And then he chews it quite solemnly, noting the accents of tuna and traces of litter in the finish.
      Since there was no CGI back in 1934, you'd think that this would be quite gruesome. No, it's actually very humane and totally hilarious. The cat is black; the cat the "eye" is "torn from" is a grey tabby. Who's already missing an eye, and who looks at the camera utterly baffled as to why somebody held a fakey eye in front of its empty socket.
      I can't vouch for the quality of the free downloads. Even the Kino print has its messed-up bits. But the double feature's less than 2 hours long, and the only times you won't be laughing are the times you'll be staring in disbelief and confusion at how entertainingly awful it is.


      I left the grocery store after work to a suddenly dark and stormy night day, with violent gusts of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in the Stop & Shop parking lot that our scene lies). Thunderstorm!
      You may remember the 3 perfectly healthy trees that my condo ass cut down. I didn't add that they left one of the four standing. In insult to injury fashion, I can't look out my front window and see a lovely maple, but the hag who tried to run over Byron can.
      Not any more! Half the damn tree had fallen right into where her drunken boyfriend usually parks. His car wasn't there, so, tragically, no lives were lost.
      It was a very poor quality schedenfreude. Now there are no trees. Within 90 minutes, they'd hacked it up, leaving a stump. And when I opened the refrigerator door--damn, why is it wet? Why is it 20 degrees warmer inside than it should be?! I bought this damned thing just 4 years ago! I rebooted it (I unplugged it) and moved stuff that might've been blocking the air circulation. And I warmed up (down?) the minifridge just in case, but it's very mini, and isn't going to hold much. If the freezer stays below freezing, I should be okay until another damn fridge. Not a "refurbished" one this time, if it'll last 4 years and then die with no warning. It's not that I can't afford it, it's just like I could afford to pay the surprise! $1400 my insurance didn't cover on my colonscopy. I just don't want to.
      I have no sympathy for people who won't save money, just spend it. I feel sorry for people who can't save money, because of all their unavoidable "real" bills (mortgages, student loans, health care, kids). Somewhere in "the richest country in the world," some poor family's fridge died today too, and they're heartbroken as to how to pay for even a refurbished one.


      I was awakened this morning by Byron jumping on the desk in the bedroom, landing on the spiral notebook and sliding on it like Marty McFly on his skateboard, sending everything else on the desk to the floor--keys, wallet, box cutter, nail clippers, pens, every damned thing.
      Maybe because it's May Fifth! Cinco de Mayo! In Mexico, it's the day of the year to celebrate independence! In the USA, it's the day of the year when the average citizen has finished their fifth full jar of mayo.
      For me, it was "Finally See Mrs Jessica Day"! We met, as usual, at the Crack Pot (her this-week's name for the Cracker Barrel). I gave her that bag of cheap stoopit stuff, as previously mentioned. She said she would name her giant ant "Anthony." Feel free to groan, too.
      Inevitably, the conversation went everywhere, from proper nutrition (while we were eating our so-healthy Cracker Barrel meals!) to her awful narcolepsy to lighter stuff. We both had the same meal, except that I took part of mine home, and hers had a plate-sized blueberry pancake and she ate it all. Except for a one-bite decorative slice of orange. I asked her why she didn't eat it, she joked "That would just be gluttony!" And maybe you didn't almost squirt coffee out of your nose over my story about Mr Poopie Pants' bar catching fire because some idiot threw greasy rags behind a grill, but she did. She knew the guy, too.
      In the gift shop, hideous country music a-playing, the kinds you uses to romance yer cousin, she bought some Razzles (that candy/gum stuff) and something she thankfully didn't know about until now. And--damn, but it pains me to type this, because she knows NOW--a "Mr Bill" doll. An effusive employee, whose job I assume is to chat up the gift store customers, went on and on about her brother, named William, but we call him Bill, but his coworkers call him Will, he bought one and put it in his work locker, his locker at work, and he loves it and shows it to all his co
      BAM! I smashed her flat and yelled "OH NOOO, MRS STUPID CRACKER BARREL DUMBASS!" in my imagination. It's illegal to actually do it.
      I bought a Sky Bar, a type of candy I bought as a kid, and a cat clock. It makes a different cat meow on the hour. Killsy and the Deej have so far found it quite baffling.
      We went to our fave antique store, snarking and wisecracking all the way. We spent an inordinate amount of time at the same booth that we always spend an inordinate amount of time at, as it's basically a huge, cheaply-priced junk drawer. In a box of pins, I found my purchase, one that said "EARTH DAY, EVERY DAY." One of a kind! Until I found another one. Jess grabbed that. They were each a whole dollar. And cost us 60 cents each! They were on sale!
      Our next stop was the antique store we'd spotted too late the last time we were here (for it is in Sturbridge, MA that our scene lies). We pulled over to the ancient brick ex-factory building with the giant ANTIQUES sign on it. Then I noticed a tiny printed paper on the door: "Moved Across the Street." Looking across the town's busiest street, she asked before leaving "Is there anything we'd else we'd like here?" I shrugged, "Do you need any guns?" "I don't even want to look at any!" she said, carefully trying not to hit the redneck and his 6 year old boy goin' into that thar store.
      The store was in another converted factory building, huge and mazelike. We later discovered that there were multiple entrances on 3 levels, so, less mazelike if you knew where you were going (like the Subway). We passed some old, very large and long sofas, and I said that with all the pictures we'd taken together over the years, we'd never done one with both of us in the same shot. I tried using the close up function on my rather dated camera, but all that did was let you count our pores. So I tried it at a normal setting, three times. Most could've been titled "Beauty and the Beast." They also show how, in the sunnier months, I don't tan so much as redden, and my smile shows why I don't smile, thanks to being given the antibiotic tetracyclene when I was two. This one came out best, I think:


      Although we did fail at Bunny Ears.
      I'm going to post that on Facebook saying "LOOK @ MY HAWT NU GF!!! She's, umm, from Canada, that's why you've never seen her b4."
      We went to the antique store, and the first thing we saw was an awesome, beautiful mirrored curio cabinet. I lifted the tag and gasped "It's $50!" Everything we saw was priced about 75% lower than any other store would've demanded--one piece of furniture was $400, and in Putnam, it would've easily been a thousand more! I ended up buying this wooden cigar box:




      I've put all the stuff/every damned thing that Byron repeatedly has smashed to the floor in it. And moved it to where he won't slam into it, the side of the desk where my stuff wouldn't have ended up on the floor when he jumps, but behind his landing pad. Yeah, I coul've found a long, overly rectangular box somewhere, but could I find one that was emblazoned with "FACTORY THROW-OUTS"?


      It worked out that Jess cancelled last week. Not that I want her being sick, of course. When her narcolepsy really kicks in, she gets all of the symptoms of the flu. But last Weds was the worst day weatherwise of the week, and this Weds was the best. I heard a waterfall behind the old building that housed the antique store, and we went to investigate. I looked for the old mill works that must have been built by it, finding only vague remnants of 19th century industry, while she found wild honeysuckle roses. "Insert the 'males do this, women do that' thing here."
      We wandered about the building, looking for a clue as to what the factory originally did. All I found was an easier entrance to Subway. Jess pointed and cried, "They're open!"
      It was a place that makes garden gnomes and lawn jockeys and stone benches and stuff. They had some cool stuff, but I turned away from the "Pet Memorials" display, as I'm not ready to think about that yet, but Jess gave it a long look. She asked the owner if there were volume discounts. For the no-kill cat shelter she works at. For the ones who die. They want to give them individual markers. The owner said yes. I said nothing, thinking How many will she need?
      The owner, and maker or caster of almost everything, gave us quite the lecture about everything we even glanced at. He was exactly what you'd expect an artisan to be; enthusiastic about his craft, nerdy about it, and, crimeny, Jess just wants to buy a $4 dragon! He also directed almost all of his nonstop commentary at me, in laser-focused eye contact, only rarely glancing at Jess. This was the first time that's ever happened. Oh, wait--I know a guy who never used to look hot women in the eye, too, because, you know, jeez, then she'll know I find her attractive, and--oh, jeez, then what do I do?! No hot babe wants an ugly guy like ME looking at her! What if she talks to me? Just don't look at her!
      Maybe someday I'll tell you that guy's name. And how he likes having platonic friendships with hot, smart women.
      Jess gave me something, too. A hand-framed fridge magnet! Except that the magnet kept falling of it. It's too fragile to place on a fridge that boys jump on every day. The magnet would someday fall off, and the content would break. I took a lot of pics, but it's just too small. It's about the size of a quarter. This is as good a pic as I can get:


      One of the mummified lizards Jess found behind her Florida grandmom's furniture, in a handsome, hand-made frame. It's on the monitor now, safe from little cats. And too, too cool.


      Winter in New England is no fun. But, in early May, there's nothing like the sound of a breeze starting the clatter and whirring of maple leaf seeds as they flutter to the ground.


      Damned if I wasn't getting out of work on time today, and, really, is it that so much to ask? I had a hot man-date with Kevin. And I got out a wee tad early.
      And got home after I was supposed to be at his place, 25 minutes late, due to a traffic jam. I fed the cats and fled the cats.
      Kev and I had dinner at the Wood'n'Tap, a nice pub in town. We chose to eat on the patio, as it was a beautiful day. If we'd known it overlooked the busiest intersection in town, we would've stayed inside. I told the waitress, "I'll have a Blue--" FRAAAPPP went a passing Harley "--Point Toasted Lager."
      I passed on seeing Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the theaters, and regretted that decision 5 minutes into the DVD. I really wanted to see his Alice in Wonderland, especially as Jessica had given it a rave review, but the local megaplex refused to show it in anything but 3D. This decade's revival of 3D, which I've no doubt will go the way of every 3D fad over the last 60 years. But a nearby college's nice old Cinerama-screen theater was showing it. It even has an awesome old style curtain over the screen that rises as the movie begins. I'm really glad I didn't see it in 3D!
      Kinda not so glad that I saw it at all.
      Alice is now in her early 20s, and thinks of Wonderland as just a weird dream. That's a good setup for a reimagining. But that assumes imagination to begin with. I can easily picture the pitch session: "Alice in Wonderland characters--in a Lord of the Rings movie!" It was utterly predictable every step of the way, with a handful of lines from the books thrown in. And repeated endlessly. It was played completely seriously, when it should've been lighter and weirder. It was more creepy than weird. As Kev said, "Who was it made for?" Too creepy for kids, too predictably plotted for me. The screen lit up whenever Depp was there, but you can't build a movie around that.
      Burton has a real Star Trek movie thing; every other one is good, the next one is bad. Ed Wood, then Mars Attacks; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then Planet of the Apes. Okay, maybe my chronology is wrong. But this is one of the "next" movies.


      Working in a store that sells lottery tickets, I constantly hear people reading yesterday's results and exclaiming, "My number is 1977, and it came out 1976! I was so close!"
      No, you weren't. Since you have get all 4 numbers right--and, depending on how you play them, sometimes in exact order--you weren't close at all. 1977 is as close to 1976 as it is to any other number between 0000 and 9999. And yet they never see this "near miss" as a reason to quit wasting their money, but always push on, more determined than before. Baffling.
      Not any more: Problem Gamblers Provoked by 'Near Misses' to Gamble More. "In particular, the authors detected strong responses in the midbrain, an area associated with addiction that is packed with dopamine-releasing brain cells."



      Sorry, but this is all I got: 9 Toilets You Don't Want to Use.


      DJ loves him some lovin'! He likes to walk around the sink, getting pets while I brush my teeth and shave in the AM. Today he lost his balance, fell, and to stop himself, jammed his claws into the nearest object. Which was my crotch.
      Good thing I was wearing my tightie whities, as the 2 gaping holes went into the BVDs and not me. Otherwise, I'd be typing from the hospital.

      While I can find many a website insisting that the Honda Fit Hybrid is out in the fall, I can find nothing official. It's frustrating, as the registration for the old Mercury Tracer is due next April, but I can't register it if it doesn't pass emissions, and it won't pass emissions with the Check Engine light on. The light went off around the same time that the DMV ordered me to go to emissions, but I thought that I could get out of it, but I didn't, and the time it took them to tell me was long enough that as I decided "I should just bring the car in while the Check Engine light's off," I looked down and flick it was back on.
      Yesterday it went unflick. The last time it turned off, it took 3 weeks to come back on. The first time, it took 30 miles, or 1 commute. So I grabbed the emissions letter and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't come back on before I got to the testing station today.
      "I've never seen a '95 or earlier Escort or Tracer fail!" said the cheerful Meineke emissions guy. I said, "Mine's a '97, so, get ready." "NAH!" he said. "After '96, we just plug 'em in, bang, DONE!"
      And bang. Done. I passed! If the Fit Hybrid is late, I can now wait until 2012 or even 2013, if I want to skip the next emissions test. Awesome. He's right--I've been driving Escorts for 25 years, and you can't kill them. Cheap and reliable. Of course, they don't make them anymore. The Focus replaced it, and damned if I wouldn't be buying a Focus hybrid if they made one. Well, they are, but not until at least 2012. And now, I may be able to get one...

      My drunken boss decided to engage me, in one of those abrupt conversational shifts that drunks have (along the lines of "I LOVE YOU MAAAN!" followed 20 minutes later by "I KILL YOU, MOTHERFUCKER AAAH!"), in a discussion of "Telsa" and his conflict with Alexander Graham Bell over AC vs DC current. Right after I said "I think you mean Edison," we talked further about geniuses. I offered Mozart, who composed symphonies when he was 5. My snockered boss screamed "AND DEAF!" I said, "I think you mean Beethoven."
      Surprisingly, he did not shriek "WHILE INVENTING THE IPOD AND KILLING ROBOT HITLER SPACE WHALE!!" Instead, he admitted "I've had a few," and wandered off, talking to himself.
      Have I mentioned that I'm on vacation next week? And how OH MY GOURD, how much I need one?


      With vacation coming up, I decided to spread the joy and give the cats "day off special fuds," the better wet food they only get when I don't have to work. Fancy feast 24 packs were on sale, and I had a coupon. I hadn't bought that in years! The kids'll love it!
      One didn't, turning a nose up at both flavors I offered. Who? The guy who once did THIS:


      I pulled "ROBOT HITLER SPACE WHALE" out of my colon, but this morning I thought, "Given the fucked-up wonder that is the net, I wonder what Google Image Search would turn up..."


      Well, though it is a Hilter whale in space, it's not robotic. But the Kitten Bombers make up for that. Proof that no matter how insane an idea you can come up with, someone else has one that's at least 75% as insane.


      Plans for my vacation include hiking in the nearby state park every good day. The forecast currently thinks that there will be one good day. Wow. That's super.
      But I also plan on getting together with Kev and Scott, drink beer, eat chicken tikke pizza or whatever, and watch a movie on Kev's giant-ass TV. Fritz Lang's M, restored BluRay version, so 2/3s of the TV screen will be blank. And go antiquing in Putnam with Mrs Jessica, for the first time in...dunno, 2 years? Will The Creepy Guy still be there? And, abruptly, go to the symphony. WWUH offered a free pair of tix to an awesome Hartford Symphony Orchestra concert, and I won them! Jess once told me how much she wanted to, at least once, see a symphony orchestra, just like I want to. So I emailed her. If she can't go, I'll go solo. And have a spare seat to put my coat on.


      The symphony concert is really a bigger deal than I let on yesterday. The conversation Jess and I had once was about how dressing nice and going to the symphony was something we'd wanted to do all our lives. That was 11 years ago--you'd think we would've followed up on that, but we didn't. Too expensive.
      When I asked her if she wanted to go, her emailed response was, and here it is its entirety:      The dressing up thing...she'll look like a billion bucks, but I haven't had reason to buy a dress shirt since the 80s. I think I still have one in the "shirt is one color, the collar a different one" style. And all my early-60s vintage ties, when men were men and ties were SKINNY, the way they should be! Hopefully I can slap together a halfway decent ensemble. Although the Converses stay. I hope that I pull off the "eccentric millionaire" look, although I suppose that people will think "A guy that homely must be a billionaire to snag a trophy wife like that!"
      ...Which bothers me. That woman could have any man in the world she wanted, and she's only had two boyfriends: The white trash guy I did my best to break her up with, and the nerd I did my best to fix her up with. Jess and Ron are married because they love each other, not because of his money or her looks, and when they met, he was making $8.50 an hour. I can kinda laugh at it when people think we're married, as we are quite happily not. But I've seen that reaction when we're together, and that view cheapens our relationship, just as it does their marriage.

      We probably exchanged 15 emails last night, although they weren't all about the concert. She sent me one titled "What did you do today?" She did this:

      And I wouldn't post that without a picture (and it only looks like the tabby is casting 3 shadows):


      Lucky kitties! They have a new chance at life now, one of love and not of constant fear.

      The World's Luckiest Man, who survived 7 deaths and then won the lottery: "...he was thrown out of a plane on his first and only flight when a door flew open. This time 19 people died but he was thrown clear of the crash and landed in a haystack."


      V A C A T I O N ! And if all goes as planned, one of epic win.


      And when it's not epic win, it's not epic win.
      I had 2 big plans for Vacation, Day One: thoroughly clean the litter boxes, and buy an "Utsav Platter" from Utsav, the Indian restaurant. The boxes were no problem. Ordering the take out went thus:      Wow, it does? You don't have replicators like all the other restaurants in the Federation? Cancel my cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot, then!
      It's only half a mile or such, so I walked, buying a Lotto ticket on the way. Yes, I realize that Lotto's just a voluntary tax on people who can't do math--I sell them, remember?--but every vacation I buy one, just to harbor the fantasy that it could be my ticket to permanent vacation. When I got to Utsav, there was a big bag of food waiting. Too big.
      It wasn't the Utsav Platter, but the Tandoori Mixed Platter. Utsav Platter: $10.95. Mixed Platter: $23.00.
      Okay, I did think when I hung up the phone "Was it that guy's first day on the job?" but I did agree to the Tandoori Platter. So I bought it. I'll eat it eventually.
      I guess. It looked like twice as much meat, but not really, as some of it was bone-in, and there was also a baked-or-something giant tomato half and a cauliflower taking up space in there. Wow, my 2 least favorite veggies. If you're wondering, baked cauliflower tastes like regular cauliflower, i.e., like solidified library paste. There was also vindaloo sauce, which I can use as a marinade, maybe chopping the unloved veggies fine and tossing in, as I'm loathe to waste food. (Fun Fact: the average American household wastes 40% of their food annually! Not being an average American, today I threw out 2 microwave pizzas from the freezer that had passed their expiration date in March. Of 2006. Hey, they were 89 cents each, that can add up to real money!)
      I eat super healthy 50 weeks a year, but not on vacations! I just hope I don't have a similar translation problem tomorrow, when I call Panda Palace for a pu-pu platter, and get the Brak's Special Pu Pu PU platter!
      (Side note: that was the first link on Google--hey, I know her! And also the guy at the second link!)

      Well, it coulda been worse. I coulda gone to a terrible faux-Mexican place:

      Izzle Pfaff! updates irregularly, but, man, is he always worth the wait.

      GeekSoap. Just like it sounds like.


      Vacation, Day 2: Another beautiful day, so a hike in the state park. Then I ordered a pu-pu platter. I was told that it would be ready in 10 minutes--yes, yet another lame restauarant that takes time to make the food, rather than just simply transmutating the elements--so I walked, as it's that close. I walked in at the precise moment my food was placed on the counter.
      And like yesterday, my order was wrong! It was General Tso's Chicken, and included parts of an actual dead general. I almost choked on his monocle! Or maybe they even gypped me on that, and gave me Colonel Klink's Chicken.

      A series of increasingly inexplicable Pepsi ads from the 1940s. The artist, Soglow, was a big deal back in the day, so I guess that's why they paid him to draw ads like this:




      You know how the phrase "beauty contest" has come to mean "something utterly meaningless"? Apparently, not if you hate a Lebanese Muslim for becoming Miss USA:      ...And good thing the winner wasn't of German heritage, and then didn't personally apologize for causing the Holocaust! Wait..."Schlussel," that name sounds kinda...


      One expects at least 1 crappy, cold, rainy day while on vacation, and today is it. Not a big deal; this is why one plans a day to do indoor stuff.
      For the first time in almost 2 years--POUTINE! at Chez Ben. While mine was made, the sole waitress, who was of the "calls everyone Hon" variety, chatted up the regulars, who slipped from English to Quebecois effortlessly. They now offer poutine (pronounced "poutin," I learned) in different styles: Philly, Italienne, and American; avec shaved steak, meat spaghetti sauce, and hamburger, respectively. Thanks, but a "small regular" is more than enough food for me. Too much, really, as I couldn't quite make it to the bottom of the bowl. Delicious, of course. 4 hours later, and it's still not digested. Pretty dense food.
      I was originally planning on stopping by the nearby Honda dealership to find out when the Fit Hybrid was really truly coming out. But, having passed Emissions, the urgency has passed. Speaking of which, flick, the Check Engine light came on the drive in. So it lasted only a week. I was happy not just that I'd passed, but had done so during the 60 day window I had. Until I got a bill in the mail. The 60 days is for a free retest if you fail; you only have 30 days to get the first test done. I brought my car in as early as possible. At the 34 day mark.
      I was planning on visiting my old place of employment, as I was going to the BJ's Warehouse Club next door, but at the last minute--nah. Just as well; if the parking lot is that full on a Wednesday lunchtime, it's never not-busy. So I just went to BJ's, and I'd tell you a funny story about that, except that I don't have one. Well, I did see a handmade sign taped to a lamppost advertising "AWESOME LABORER FOR HIRE!" He probably builds Stonehenges with his mind. And that's pretty much all I've got today.

      Well, okay, there's this excerpt from an email that I just sent Jessie Baby:



      Hey, wanna see a couple of hot chicks?


      The ever-splendiferous Jessie Baby and I went antiquing in Putnam for the first time since...unknown. I tried Googling my page, but the most recent I could find was late 2006. Hard to believe that I actually failed to mention here one of our visits, but she thinks last summer, I think maybe 2 years ago. Who knows, who cares, we were there.


      That's the guy behind her and the giant chicken made from scrap metal, also made of scrap (and a grill, which he's holding above the ground). The chef's hat made from an old air conditioning vent was a clever touch.
      This was in the old mill that had housed a large antique store back in the day. Back in the day before the economy went sour--hmm, that's when we went, both 2 years and 1 year ago, and each time we went, a new bunch of stores had closed. Almost all of one city block was condemned, shuttering some of our favorite stores. We dreaded what the town looked like now.
      It was the first time that we'd gone on a weekday, when it was sure to be even more of a ghost town. But the place was crazy busy! People everywhere, which first annoyed us, as we expected to have the place to ourselves. Then we noticed that the condemned block was finally being rebuilt! More businesses had closed, but they'd been replaced by new ones! Our favorite restaurant had an outdoor patio! The empty train station now had a restaurant (named "Jessica's"!), and the bike shop, formally in a basement, now had a giant store there! The overpriced antique store was a cafe and bakery! For once, the New Agey store Cosmic Cat was actually open! And vacuuming their polished rocks, so, sadly, we could finally go in, but their store cat, sweet attention-demanding Phantom, was hiding. Dang.
      We went to a new art gallery, and were quite taken by all the works done by local artists, particularly the guy who used found metal to make awesome robot statues, lamps, and--sigh !--clocks. I do love me some crazy clocks. I should've asked if I could take a picture, but thought of it too late. Jess grabbed a business card, but unfortunately the website is sparse on details. Maybe the guy's name is John Warren, but as anybody named "Bill Young" can tell you, some names are unGoogable. I guess I'll email them and ask. And why did I not instantly buy one of his pieces if I was so enamored? $250 to $375 takes a lot of enamoring time.
      We usually find an unspoken theme when we're there. Oddly repeating themes that turn up, but we were hard pressed to find one. Pictures of horrifying babies? Paintings of shrieking, snot-nosed babies did turn up a lot, and why would you want to stare at THAT on your wall? To remind you to use birth control? Prly the longest theme was "Bill bumps into something; it wobbles, threatening to fall and break, and Bill, after a dozen years working in liquor stores where everything is breakable, LOUDLY GASPS!"
      Possibly the theme was started when we first met, and she handed me a postcard of a classic WWI poster ("Gee, I wish I were a man!"). We went to Jeremiah's Antiques, a fave spot, due to its many booths and frequent bargains. They had a booth of old toys, such as a wind up Walking Clown, all smiling and jolly on the box, while the toy was of an ANGRY CLOWN, waving his fists as he raced to kill your motherfucking kiddie ass, and an equally psycho looking "Pistol Packing Duck." You do not Fuck with Pistol Packing Duck! Remember that "Factory Throw-Outs" cigar box I bought 2 weeks ago? Well, for one it's worked out awesome. When I grab my keys and such on the way to work, Byron snarls and swipes at me. Not anymore! He hasn't made the connection yet. And there was a less-cool-than-mine cigar seconds box there. Cardboard, not wood, so inferior to mine. However, it did include these instructions for use of the cigars: "HOLE IN HEAD JUST LITE" Later we saw one much lamer, and in much, much worse shape than the one I bought. Mine: $27. This shit box: $85.
      Jess started flipping through things in the ephemera room, so I did too, when I saw the 4/$1 beer coasters. Would there be a Genesee one? Please? No.


      Nothing says "HAPPY" like ORTLIEB! Lieb them orts! Gibbons, the favorite beer among the lesser apes! Ballantine! Drink a 6 pack and ALL the babes in the dingy 1960s bar will look like her! Stegmaier: Making chipmunks drunk since 1857 RING-A-DING-DING! and OH CHRIST THEY STILL MAKE WEBSITES THAT LOOK LIKE THAT?!
      There was a book called "HIMMLER NAZI SPIDERMAN." Did he get bit by a radioactive Gobbels? "With great power comes the ability to start horrifying genocides"? Well, it was a cheaply made "book" from 1942 and cost $32, so I can't answer that question--oh, wait, I can. Google! No, wait, I can't, just prove it exists. I guess that they just called him Nazi Spider Man. Who was Nazi Hulk? Goering, or was he just a Nazi bulk? Later, we saw a weird little wooden statue of somebody. "It looks like Bush!" I said, then squinted at the tag. "HITLER? It doesn't look like Hitler!" Jess said, "Oh, then it is Bush!" and I cracked up.
      (Hmm. That's odd. Haven't seen Byron since he went out the back hallway with DJ)
      She started flipping through postcards, so I did, and found a couple of $1 Connecticut ones. Full state maps in tiny form. Looked like they were drawn in the early 60s; I liked how where my home town is located was a drawing labeled "Sweet Potatoes." I live in YAMSYLVANIA!
      (Umm...Byron? He must be somewhere)
      We went to the expensive floor of the big store, and found little of interest. We left to have lunch before continuing. Our old place had been completely remodeled and turned into a pub. Another nice sign! Except...the only employee we could see was the bartender. Jess had pointed out that there were a lot more people on the patios of the other places just across the street than there were outside our place. Inside, a table of old ladies and a bunch of drunks bellied up to the bar at 2PM. So we went across the street, were astonished by the limited menu, and had overpriced burgers.
      The back hallway--the window is busted! Just a few tiny frames, and way above the floor, but wide enough for a wiry half-bobcat with amazing jumping skills to--wait, are those claw marks on the frame?!
      It's night time! There are coyotes out there at night! There's that psycho bitch who tried to run him over out there! Grab a flashlight!
      ...And look WHERE? He could be anywhere! Just keep looking! The garage is open, and someone's car has the doors and trunk open! He's been in that garage, he's been bold enough to jump in people's cars! NO! KEEP LOOKING!
      By the woods, where the coyotes are? By the pool? WHERE?!
      "Are you missing a cat?" she asked. OH GOD YES. "I heard my dog barking, and he only does that when a strange cat is outside!" And there he was, my strange cat. Phew! I thanked her, almost hysterically. He was standing one building's worth of units down from my condo. How hard could it be to get him back?
      He jumped under a bush. And stayed there. AND STAYED THERE. I wish that I'd thought to grab the treats along with the flashlight. Or a voice recorder, as I proceeded to give the longest "Please come out from under that bush" improv ever. He wouldn't budge. He just wailed his dislike for being under a bush outside. He quickly developed an audience. First, a Siamese kitten, then DJ, then 2 other cats. Maybe being the obvious object of such feline derision only made things worse, but he gradually walked out from under the bush to about 6 inches away. It seemed like progress, except he just kept wailing. I wasn't anywhere near him the whole time, trying to coax him out. Then he jumped back UNDER THAT FUCKING BUSH.
      "Drastic times require drastic measures," I finally said, taking off my shirt, "and this is a good shirt, too." And I threw it over him, hoping to bundle him up in it. He bolted, screaming. But he bolted in the right direction, towards home. I had already propped the door open with a rock, so I went in, and he slowly, glacially followed me in, creeping up the stairs about as fast as kudzu (which is fast for a plant, but he's a cat). Both Killsy and DJ greeted him with angry hisses, as if to say "DUMBASS! WTF were you thinking?!" But after all that stress--it took 75 minutes to get him home--everyone is relieved, and collapsed in sleep.
      Hey, guess which cat isn't going in the back hallway again?
      ALL OF THEM.

      I seem to have lost my train of thought.
      Oh, umm, Jess and I had lunch, I think that's where we left off. We went back to the big antiques store...hey, kids, it's pretty much all anticlimax after that Byron adventure!--Damn, I'm actually having difficulty remembering what happened now, after that. We...oh, we went to the top floor, the lurking zone of THE CREEPY GUY, the obviously gay man who glares at Jess with an obvious and dark hatred. But he was not there. Maybe he only stalks on weekends. Another thing that we didn't see was the Doll House. It was huge, primitively handmade and ugly, and cost $1500 the first few times we saw it. It was down to $495 the last time. Aparrently either some lunatic finally bought it, or the seller realized that it was going to be taking up half a room of space forever for a second decade.
      Christ. Only Byron would think that jumping out a tiny window into no-cats-land was a good idea. Christ. Not because he's dumb, as he isn't, but damn, he's brazen.
      Okay, I'm kinda losing the thread here. Jess, as always, looked at all the cheap old purses, but couldn't find one she wanted. "It's hard to find a different one when you already have so many!" she said, or something like that. There are fucking coyotes out there, Byron! I said, "Yeah, it's like me and clocks!" Continuing my Connecticut themed items theme, I found an early 60s metal tray that was yet another map of the state, but which included my town of Vernon, sans yams. Also, located nowhere near where it actually is.


      I also later bought a couple of CT magnets, one of the state flag and one that is the thickest, best quality magnet I've ever bought in a lifetime of buying magnets. And to prove its New England bona fides, on the back it says "Fabrique en Canada."
      We went to the store's bargain basement, where they had a ton of old metal beer trays. A Genesee tray? Of course not. We had other places to go and time was running out, as Putnam basically shuts down at 5PM. Then I turned a corner and said, "Jessica, guess what I just found!"


      That is not a clock that I already own. Now, if I can only find a bit of spare wall to hang it on...
      But that $17.50 clock, awesome as it is, not as awesome as this:


      My bigfoot boy is home.


      I think I understand why Byron was acting so afraid of me last night. You may remember his second-to-last adventure outside, when I started to decide that he needed no more adventures. No, not the crazy bitch trying to run him over. It was his 3 weeks earlier expedition into the woods, when I grabbed him to keep him from going deeper, and he shrieked as never before and clawed my face off. When I finally got him inside, I discovered that he had a thorn in his paw, and I must've jammed it further in when I picked him up. He prly still remembers that.
      He's done almost nothing but sleep since last night. It was prly more stressful for him than it was me.

      If you clicked on that clawed face pic above, you'd probably like a nice picture of a beautiful woman to clear it away!


      Maybe I can find one!
      "Make a funny face!" said Jess, and I said "Bunny ears!" and she got the worst of that one. It's from 2 weeks ago; she's slow at sending me the pics she takes.


      That's better! And for those of you who don't like pretty girls, here's a middle aged man.


      My plans on seeing a movie with Kevin didn't pan out. He's getting the inside of his condo painted, by a guy who is cheap, very good but takes for-ev-er. So I instead met him and his wife Meg at the Wood-N-Tap pub for dinner. Good food, great beer on tap, and a tableful of bimbos and guidos near us to snicker at. Unfortunately, he's back to taking courses online to complete his degree starting now, so it could be 2 months before I see them again...


      If I get to typing about the Hartford Symphony concert now, I'll be in bed late, and I really don't want that on the night before my first day back to work. So I'll just leave you with visual proof that Jess and I clean up real purdy, and those of you sick of seeing pics of us can breathe easier, as these are the last for who knows how long.


      I dropped to one knee to take her pic; she bent at the waist. Nice forced-perspective angle that makes me look a macrocephalic, Jessie. Well--maybe that's why she liked her Jem and the Holograms dolls.

      If you want something else to keep you busy, I saw a Mike-era MST3K which was actually kinda funny. It included a ref that made no sense, so I googled, and found a gigantic set of pages of reference explanations. Not always right, but they are helpful.


      Hey, guess what Byron wants to do! Go out the back hallway! How cute! How very, very unlikely.

      Jess and I arrived with plenty of time before the concert, as many strangely dressed young girls of many ages walked in or out of the theater. It was quite bizarre. Jess said that there must be some very large dance competition going on. In a somewhat rueful voice. (I found out later that her toddler daughter had been briefly in such a program)
      Worst case scenarioer that I am, I was waiting for something to go wrong with the tickets. The ticket booth guy said through his speaker, "Usually, they're here by now. I don't know why they aren't. They should be here in 45 minutes." The pre-concert talk was to begin in 45 minutes! So we had a nice fresh fruit salad and shot our usual breeze while we waited.
      With 15 minutes left, we tried again. And my tickets were there! Hoorah! I opened the envelope and found out, no, my ticket was here. Singular.
      So, a third trip, again to a different window. The woman checked her computer behind her glass window, while we discussed our options. One of us could watch the first half while the other waited outside, and then the other could go in! But the woman said "BZZZAT grik grik bzzzz--ite you a pass, okaclik clik?" The arts are really in trouble when they don't have the money to replace the shorted speaker system.
      We went into the Belding Auditorium, the smaller of the Bushnell Theater's many stages. The lobby was huge! Just like the richly appointed, beautiful wooden smaller lobby we'd just been in--which was used while waiting outside the bathrooms. Arts funding wasn't always like it is now. I bought a Hartford Symphony Orchestra fridge magnet. I hope I didn't shock you with that confession.
      We were almost the first people in, her resplendent in her shimmering white summer dress, and me, as her husband Ron put it when I picked her up, "Rockin' the skinny tie!" (From 1962, when Men were Men and Ties were an inch wide and 4 feet long; courtesy Kevin's grandfather)
      We were first amused, then mildly bothered at the age of the people who shuffled in after us, replacement hip joints popping and bottles of emergency meds a-rattling. I'm not young anymore, just surnamed Young, but I was younger than the next youngest audience member by about 15 to 20 years. When your audience is literally dying off, it does not paint a good future for the symphony. And we dragged our asses for over a decade before finally coming here...
      The conductor, Edward Cumming, and arranger of the new piece on the program, came out. Why would you miss the pre-concert lecture, especially when one work is largely his? But the theater was nearly empty. Not a good sign. And the talk was great. The newly arranged Ives piece, he said, was a hit with the opening night audience. The Friday night audience, "HATED it. Lots of coughing. Like this: [coughs loudly, and long]. I call that 'passive agressive criticism'."
      Low point: despite the warnings, some dolt had her cell phone on, fumbled forever in her voluminous bag to find it, then loudly said "I can't talk, I'm at the concert!" (bonus link: Why overhearing mobile phone conversations is so annoying)
      The talk ended, and everybody flooded out. Well, leaked out, as they didn't move too darn fast. Speaking of leaking, I realized that drinking 4 cups of tea that morning wasn't that great an idea in retrospect, so I went to the men's room, barely avoiding being trampled by herds of garishly outfitted tweener girls racing to or from their statewide dance-off in a nearby theater. Embarassingly, I had to ask an ancient old timer how to use the gol-danged faucet. "You wave your hands at this gadget here," he said of a sensor in the sink. He prly went on to make fun of me on his Twitter feed.
      Then people began filing back in. The same old people at first (First ad you saw in the program: for a retirement home). But then it began to fill up, largely an older crowd, but also kids aged elementary school to college, the older ones clearly there because they wanted to be. And really fill up; it wasn't a huge venue, but it was 80% filled by the start of the concert. A good sign for the future of the arts.
      Jess said, "Wake me up if I fall asleep," re her narcolepsy. "How will I know? Will you hit your head on the seat in front of you?" "No, you won't be able to tell; I'll just nod off sitting up." I joked "If you do, I can put on my blog 'Jessica finally slept with me'!" but was left with the baffling non sequitur instruction on how I was supposed to wake her up, when I wouldn't be able to tell if she was asleep. I kept checking her during the concert.
      The conductor and 6 musicians walked in. Without a word, they performed Martinu's La Revue de Cuisine, a ballet score for dancing kitchen implements. I've been listening to classical for over 35 years, and I'd never come across the piece. Very entertaining; the violinist did everything damn thing that you could do with a violin, including pizzicato, bowing, tapping it, while the pianist practically fell off her bench, one with her percussive beat. I finally realized that, as much as I like listening to classical music, it's truly amazing to watch!
      After a beg for money from the HSO's director--the symphony's not dead, but it ain't doing so well in an anti-intellectual country like this one (those are my words, not hers). After a long pause, the conductor came out. Then the soloist, violinist Karina Canellakis, came out. A stunning, willowy blonde, 28 and already considered a virtuoso, in a gorgeous floor-length white gown. "She's so beautiful!" Jess said. "Yes," I agreed. "She's the second most beautiful woman in the room."
      I've noticed that over the last 20 years, female soloists keep getting hotter. Lookism has apparently invaded even the orchestra. They are amazing musicians, but does one lead to another? Average looking but talented, you get encouragement from your teachers, but you're a "band nerd." Smokin', you're that "hot babe who can play the fiddle" and get encouragement from all the guys who normally think the best music ever made comes from Limp Bizkit. And before you say "...And Jessica?" I kept my distance from her the first 2 weeks I worked with her, fully aware that the vast majority of "hot babes" are really, really ugly human beings.
      The Ives piece began, again without comment. Why do people skip the talk before? I always knew that Ives was a musical iconoclast, but until the talk, I didn't know it was because he was a millionaire, and didn't give a good god-damn what people thought of his compositions. As amazing as one small piece is to see, the full orchestra was even more amazing, the soloist's fingers flying like fire, the military precision of the orchestra. At one point the brass section left--if you'd hadn't heard the talk, you wouldn't know that Ives liked off-stage music, so they played behind a wall. Some douchebags did start coughing loudly, and longly, and y'know? The acoustics are so good that the music, or the hacking, really resound. And it kept coming from the same 2 places. If the asshole was behind me, I would've opened my wallet and said "Here's a dollar; either buy a box of cough drops or get the fuck out of the theater!" Polite applause greeted the end, although we thought Cumming's arragement, The Sonata Set by Ives, was beautiful.
      Intermission came. We'd put off buying tickets because "$35 for seats? What if we don't like it?" but we agreed to do this at least once a year. And pay for it!
      The theater filled again for the familar pieces, the first Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, a short piece, also featuring the astonishing soloist. And then she left, so straight into another old warhorse, Stravinsky's 1919 version of the Firebird suite. We thought that it'd be fun to see pieces that we'd heard so many times. We were wrong. They were amazing. The amazing part is seeing things happen that you weren't aware you were hearing, such as a seconds long bit by the cellos backing the violins. And every performer got totally into it, even the guy who did the oddball percussion, like a brief use of the tambourine or triangle. The conductor was hopping off the podium at one point, and then accidentally dropped his baton, but went on conducting anyway. The finale almost brought tears to my eyes.
      After the standing ovation, we sat both awed and excited in our seats. Okay, we were also waiting for the Geritol crowd to shuffle out. Jess told me that she'd studied viola in elementary school, but her parents couldn't afford to buy an instrument for her later lessons, so that ended that. She's currently trying to learn the piano. I did not know that.
      In the empty lobby, Jess bought a pair of 2/$5 CDs; not by the HSO, sadly. We were asked "Are you coming back?" I said that I'd won free tickets from WWUH, but we were certainly coming back, and paying this time. And I guess that's why they give away free tickets, as the people behind the table became very excited, one shaking my hand, and both handing us programs for the upcoming season. They've won us over. I think Jess might've been also won over by the painted plastic cow in the lobby, which prominently featured the Bushnell's staging of her favorite movie, Hairspray.
      After dinner at Rein's Deli, where people kept glancing at us because we were the only ones dressed to the nines, we went back place. For a very intimate evening, with Jessica softly cooing and gently stroking my
      cats. She hadn't met DJ yet. I perfectly predicted what would happen: DJ would come up to her first, Byron would be next, and maybe, maybe, then Killsy would grace Jess with her presence. And I perfectly predicted my cats' names.
      All 3 ran up at the sound of the front door opening (note to Byron: thanks for picking yesterday to fucking pee the carpet while I was gone). Byron stopped dead in his bigfooted tracks, DJ ran away, tail all puffed out, and the Queen of the World confidently sauntered under the coffee table right up to her Auntie Jessie.


      Jess sweetly said to my baby "She's so beautiful!" "Yes," I agreed. "And for once, you're the second most beautiful woman in the room."
      DJ kept darting back and forth, always away, even when it was me, while Byron strode confidently forward, and accepted head scritchies. Killsy purred her head off. DJ crawled up to her, sorta sniffed her, but always ran when I moved. It may be that the only other human female he's known was his foster mom--did he think Jess was his new one, there to take him away? Byron briefly hissed and walked away, but I think that was because Deej was acting so odd. Killsy continued to purr, and if you can hear her purr without placing an ear on her chest, she's VERY happy.
      I took Jess to her inlaw's house, amazingly just a mile from my condo, and sadly, as she was staying there for the funeral of their friend. And it's always struck me odd that the 2 people least likely to read this are my real life friends Jess and Kev. But she did read it recently, and complained that I'd left something off from our last Crack Bar trip. Apparently, I'm the Smithsonian curator of the archives of our tomfoolery. So, here it is, since she'll prly read this entry, too:


      As I was putting the envelope that held the HSO concert tix in the recycling, I noticed that it listed "NO.: 1". Meaning that when the DJ gave away a pair of tickets to 2 callers, it was only a pair. One each! I've never heard of a radio station giving away a single ticket. It's a good thing that the theater wasn't full, especially in our section, or we would've had to buy another ticket. Maybe with us sitting in different sections!

      I didn't get the feeling that any of my coworkers missed me while I was on vacation--and the feeling is mutual--but the beer salesmen sure did. They had to deal with my boss, and they all told me how glad they were that I was back. One asked the other guy who deals with the beer cooler, "What, is he drunk, or on drugs?" Answer: YES. About 10 Heineken a day, to supplement his tranquilizers and methadone, and he's also a rageaholic. The lesser of the things I missed about work while on vacay was the commute; can you guess which was the major?

      Mobile phone number 0888 888 888 is suspended after every user assigned to it DIES says the headline, exercising tremendous restraint by leaving off the "!!!!!!"s at the end. They take from the tale that the number means DEATH. I take from it: "Don't be a Bulgarian drug lord with lots of enemies."


      It's 95 degrees today! I do not so much have cats, as I do furry puddles. But it still snows in the winter, so global warming blah blah blah, offshore oil drilling is safe, blah blah, we still can win our wars in the Middle East, blah.

      When I started the car to go to the state park today, the radio played the last movement of Stravinsky's Firebird, which I'd just heard the HSO play on Sunday. I was sorry that I'd missed the first 20 minutes of it, then thought, Feh, what a lifeless performance! Well, duh, as I'm not seeing it performed live. I hope that seeing it that way hasn't spoiled the piece for me now. But if seeing it live does that, may I live to see every favorite piece performed live!

      As a lucid dreamer, I found this article interesting: Video Gamers Can Control Dreams, Study Suggests.


      The Drunken Boss called me at home on my day off yesterday. Some people had bought out our Seagram's wine coolers! Well, that happens, especially on holiday weekends. There are people who only buy during the holidays, so they're impossible to predict. No, I didn't order any; they weren't posted (for those not in the CT liquor biz, that means "they cost more this month"), so he decided to order them anyway. Yeah, okay; go ahead and add them to the order I made, it's your money. "Also, our Corona 12 packs are almost gone!" Okay, order those too.
      And, sigh, yes, he was complaining that I didn't order any Corona to come in today. We had plenty when I wrote the order. But I wasn't there yesterday. If they'd correctly predicted the weather--not "90," but "record high temps of 100," I prly would've ordered some. But, I pointed out, you did an order yesterday, told me that we were low, so why didn't you order them? Since he can never admit that he was wrong, he flustered, lectured me on buying, then admitted that I buy pretty precisely, so that the bills can be paid on time. shrug

      For some odd reason talking about my chemically-influenced boss leads me to link to this article about a famous Renaissance painting: Botticelli's Venus and Mars 'high on drugs'

      I got called to the phone today--quite unusual at work.
      "William Young?"
      "Of x address?"
      "This is the condo association."
      "We're grinding the stumps today. Do you have any cars out in the front lane?"
      (GASP WHEEZE THX FOR THE HEART ATTACK) "No, I only have one car, and I'm at work."
      "Do you know who owns the cars there?"
      Crimeny, I'm supposed to know what beer we have in stock when I'm at home, now I'm supposed to know what cars are in the driveway when I'm not? Wait, let me look out the window, it's only 17.6 miles away...Nope! Darn this curvature of the Earth! Should I go up to the second floor and try again?
      "Do you know who owns them?"
      WTF, am I the only one who gave you his work number? Can you not, I dunno, knock on their doors? Was I the only one you called about the Two Days of Stump Grinding Festival yesterday? But I told them who I thought owned 2 of the cars, except I left 4 hours ago, so why would I know if they were there? If they are, fuck, let their cars get hit by flying stumps!
      I arrived today, and of the 4 stumps to be grinded, they'd done exactly one. Was it because Stump Grinders LLC was blocked from the rest by parked cars?
      The only groundeded stump was the one in front of my condo. was the only unblocked one. Why did you call me again?

      I checked Amazon for Hartford Symphony CDs. Most are OOP, but you still buy them. If you want to buy a used one for $40 to $125!
      There are copies of an unused one that starts at 40 cents. They share it with the Czech Philharmonic, who do Bolero. The HSO does Carmina Burana, which they have performed repeatedly throughout the years. It was the concert I almost went to, when it fell on my vacation 3 or 4 years ago. So I bought that.
      Don't worry. The next most expensive copy is a penny more.


      I guess that everybody got the message about the stump grinding fest, as there were no cars parked along the side of the lot. The amount of ground stumps still stands at One.

      On the way back from a delivery to the Catholic Seminary--which our boss, with unintended hilarity, always writes on the bill as the "Semenary"--I saw a sign by a house being painted. Contractors put those by the roadside to advertise that they're trusted enough to do business. I guess the phone number had changed, as they'd taped a piece of paper over it and written in the new one. Which had completely faded. If only there was some other way for painters to change the number on a sign...Maybe taken the new number and welded it on? I'm not sure, but there must be some way.
      An employee who's been out for months because she broke her leg in multiple places after falling off a pool table one Saturday night (alcohol is believed to have been involved) came in. I mentioned my vacation, she asked what I'd done, and the concert I went to on Sunday, she'd been to on Thursday! Her parents have had season tickets since she was 6. She wasn't as enthusiastic about the new piece as Jess and I had been. But she might be more jaded than a couple of newbies.
      On the drive home, I found that someone had smashed into my car. In the last 75 minutes since I did that delivery. The only damage was that the passenger side rearview mirror was hanging on only by a few wires. It's now held on by packing tape; hopefully it'll still be on tomorrow. Damned if I'm not buying duct tape to secure it before I put any more money into that car.


      Very busy, but not insane, Memorial Day at the likker store. No one yelled "MOMMY! MOOMMYYY!!!"
      And yet, let us hoist a toast of "PABST BLUE RIBBON!!" to the late Dennis Hopper. May he rule the Koopas still.



      Thing I didn't need to see: The old hag who tried to run over Byron, in a bathing suit. BARF.
      Or maybe I did. She's fat, old, ugly, and I'm only 2 of those things! Plus, she was using a cane. And lives on the third floor. My wish for her after The Incident was that she steered her car to drive over a cat, the cat easily escaped, she lost control and smashed into a tree, paralyzing herself from the neck down, forever to lay in bed, wondering if trying to kill cats was really worth it.
      I saw her as it was a beautiful day, but I don't spend holidays hiking Valley Falls park. Too crowded. So I decided to check out a new shop withing walking distance, Smoker's Paradise. Hard to believe that one could make a living at that these days, as less and less people smoke. Tobacco, I mean. And, of course, that was what I was really wondering: Was that all it was? Cigars and cigarettes? Well, they wouldn't have mailed me a coupon that was good for "20% off Lighters, Cigar Cutters, Humidors and Hookahs" then. Yes, a big display case of glass pipes. But no bongs. Is that legally considered only "drug paraphenalia," as if you're going to smoke pipe tobacco out of a glass pipe or hookah. Nothing was priced, and I didn't ask. I may be back, as it's unlikely to thrive.
      There was also only one guy there. The owner, I assume. My likker store is open 78 hours a week, or about 6 hours a week more than regular retail (and yet, people still are bangin' on the door at 9PM Saturday--try leaving your house 5 minutes earlier, dimbulb). This place is open 81 hours a week, and I'll bet that it's only the owner. And he was open on Memorial Day. Even in my despised Kay Bee Toys manager days, I might put in those kind of hours once a year, at Xmas.
      Byron was mad when he saw me leave, as he has never understood that I act and dress differently on work days. I wear black jeans and a dress shirt to work, not shorts and a Plan 9 from Outer Space tshirt. I walked up to the third floor, not using a cane, and basking in the schaedenfreude of that bitch's laments. Is it bad karma to think this? was what I thought as I passed the second floor door that my neighbors leave propped open, and opened my front door
      Did you know that the fastest human sprint speed ever was 26.75MPH? Did you know that a domestic cat can easily hit 30MPH? Possibly more if his feet are huge? I DO NOW. I chased him across the second floor deck one way--towards the only other open door, the one propped open BY THE HAG. At least I knew she wasn't home. Byron turned expertly at the end, and we ran the other way, towards the open door to my building. And he 180ed again, but this time, when he got to the end of the deck, he went down the stairs. Since running wasn't doing me any good, and he could prly feel me stomping towards him though the floorboards, I went to a brisk walk. He could've run anywhere in that brief time, but instead he was sitting just under the stairs. What did Jess recommend after I told her of his last Adventure? "Grab him by the scruff of the neck!" BANG, gotcha! Screaming and trying to claw me, but I gotcha by the scruff! What else did she say? "Then wrap him in your shirt!" Ah yes. With the shirt I'm still wearing. I did the right steps, just in the wrong order. I tried to pick him up anyway.


      That...could've gone better. My right arm is equally as bloody, just less dramatic-looking, but actually worse, as his deepest cut there was right over the veins on the underside of my wrist--thank Gourd his unretractable claws are so blunt, otherwise, I'd have a BP-level gusher of blood.
      So I let him go, he bolted, I took my shirt off, I caught him, he howled, he went home, he went to sleep, I put up a sign that said "PLEASE KEEP DOOR SHUT My cat got out!"
      Yes. Bad karma. And on the exact fifth anniversary of the day The Hag tried to kill him, Memorial Day 2005.

      10 Controversial Billboards. My personal fave apparently took its inspiration from that Python bit with the undertaker: "Are you nervy, irritable, depressed, tired of life? [winks] Keep it up!" Or have a cat like Byron!



      I guess my downstairs neighbors didn't like me putting a "PLEASE KEEP DOOR SHUT" sign on the door Mr Bigfoot escaped through. They called their landlord, he called the condo association president, he called me, I called back and got his wife, and he called me again. It seems that they hear noises on their ceiling as if--batten your fuckin' hatches, this is amazing--as if I was walking on my floor!
      I was 19 and unwise to the ways of the world the very first time I moved out of my parents' house, but even then I decided to never live below somebody. And yet, every few years I get a downstairs neighbor who apparently was rented the place under the assumption that the wall-crawling Spider-Man lived above them. Also, "They hear noises like someone dropped something." Yes. As I have cats. They chase each other, and they jump off of counters. Not continually, as they're cats, and thus spend 2/3s of their days asleep.
      I said that I'd explain it to them, but since the sign said "My cat got out!" I don't see what information I could add. And since they didn't talk to me first--fuck you. I suppose that I could complain about their stinky food (who eats that much garlic for breakfast?), or supply photographic proof that they were pouring grease down the bathtub drain, as on Thanksgiving Eve my tub filled up with FUCKING GRAVY.


      I think that's a tad more obnoxious than a 10 pound cat occasionally hitting the floor.

      And I was awakened this morning by my idiot boss, calling me to ask if I had any beer deliveries coming in. I had every beer company deliver yesterday, so YES I FUCKING DO. NOT. And this was the day after the store owner told me to never order beer, just have the salesmen do it. After also telling me to never put the beer away, have the delivery drivers do it. And also also saying "We spend too much on payroll in this store!" Ahh...who's payroll exactly are you planning to cut, since you have just taken my entire job away? I couldn't ask him, since if I was to go, he wouldn't say. I waited until the store manager, well into his cups, was leaving. Drunks don't think well on their feet, given how they stagger on them so. His surprised look and reassuring words makes me think it's unlikely, and the fact that they've never had reason to complain about my work before underlines it. It's just that the one criticism I've never had at a job is "You work too hard! Please do less!"

      I couldn't fall back to sleep after the pointless wake-up call, but it was just as well: it's STUMP GRINDING DAY! My prediction came true: if they cut down 4 beautiful 40-year maple trees, they'd be replaced with dinky, pathetic tree-feebs that will prly never get any bigger. Way to go, idiot Condo Ass! Cat jumps from counter: CRISIS! Gorgeous trees--OPPORTUNITY! To needlessly spend money and make the place look WORSE! Their PRIORITIES: huh, whut? Duuuh....

      My attempt to attach the rearview mirror with packing tape worked exacly as well as I expected, i.e., until it rained. Sadly, that was the next time I drove my car. And I was in it when it started to rain, and saw it droop down, like a metaphor involving having an erection and then seeing a picture of Insane Clown Posse or something. I retaped it, and that lasted 50 feet. I thought that some Bondo would work, but Auto Zone said, "Well, maybe the fiberglass resin. Bondo cracks when there's vibration, but that may work. For a while. Maybe. [shrug]" Well, I ain't spending $15.07 on a can of "Maybe." I guess that I may have to get this fixed for real. But I found some Crazy Glue, stuck a piece of wood under the mirror to brace it, and used a different pattern of tape, one with more overhead support. I let it set for 2 hours, and it seems to be very stur
     BIGFOOT HOUDINI! I left the front door open just a crack, but he pulled it open with his mighty thumbs, then muscled his way through the side door to the garage! I should call up the Condo Ass president and demand that he do something about my cat! And then I can thank them for the magnificent tree that replaced the 40-year maple!




      I used a coupon for some free goat cheese at Stop & Shop yesterday, and dang, was it good! Here's your cheat code to get your own free cheese: go here, and when asked for a UPC, put in 07055170053. They'll mail you a coupon.

      Best astronomy-related college prank ever.

      Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Marvel Universe* (*But Were Afraid to Ask Stan Lee). Funny if you didn't read the comics. Funnier if you did, and mouse over the pics.

      Apparently the Liquor Fairy visited our store, and sent us a case of 100 proof Stolinichya pints, since nobody says that they ordered it. The bottles were filthy, and I noticed that the battered, water-damaged box they came in said "MADE IN USSR." As there hasn't been a USSR in 20 years...yeah, they're that old. I guess that the distributor found the case behind Lenin's Tomb.
      Yes, I bought one. They were employee-priced at 99 cents! It tastes okay. Hopefully I don't spend all of tomorrow writhing on the bathroom floor from a shot of decades-old Soviet antifreeze.

      I couldíve told you this: Coffee is BULLSHIT. ďThe stimulatory effects of caffeine may be nothing more than an illusion, according to new research that shows there is no real benefit to be gained from the habitual morning cup of coffee.Ē



      For about 10 days I've had a very minor ache, generally located in my right inner ear, but sometimes I can feel it in the back right corner of my tongue. It's a "take a couple of ibuprofen, ask during next month's doctor visit" kind of thing. Today I took advantage of the closer mirror and better lighting that the store bathroom has over mine, and stuck a flashlight in to see if there was a sore on my tongue. Thankfully, there wasn't! So I stuck my finger in to see if I could feel something that I didn't see, and I did.
      Apparently, it's my wisom tooth. There's even pointy tooth enamel pushing through my gum. I could see it with the flashlight. And I could see that that corner of my mouth was much larger than the other three. Not swollen per se, just like there was a tooth in there.
      This is interesting because when I was 18, I had all four wisdom teeth pulled.
      Trust me, that's an operation you don't forget. I remember obsessively sticking my tongue into each gaping hole many times a day until they healed. I also remember a Guiness Book of World Records on "third dentition," rare but well-documented cases where one gets a second set of adult teeth after the baby ones. (I suppose that another wisdom tooth would technically be a second dentition) Googling turned up information about "supernumerary teeth," usually meaning, say, 8 wisdom teeth rather than four. And apparently, yes it is possible to regrow a wisdom tooth.
      I guess I'll have to find out from a professional. Hopefully not from a dentist, as my insurance doesn't cover that. The fact I have a partial eruption, i.e., a wisdom tooth protruding out of the gum, usually means extraction. But if requires 4 Dollar Tree ibuprofen a day to control, I'm good with that.
      Annoyingly, the enamel is white. I was given the antibiotic tetracyclene when I was 2, before anyone knew that if you got it before your adult teeth came in, when they did it looked like your brushed daily with chewing tobacco juice. And no dentist can make them white again. I suppose it'd be painful, but I might welcome a full third dentition if they came out white.



      Everfresh pineapple juice is delivered in a cardboard tray wrapped in strong plastic. I picked up it up and, no, not so strong; the plastic tore and the whole case flipped over and dropped upside down to the floor of the beer cooler. And stopped, 6 inches above the floor. It fell onto a 6 pack. Phew, I thought, that was lucky! and I picked it up. A bottle of Sam Adams Boston Lager was stuck in the plastic wrap, and before I could do anything, it fell out and kisssh!! Not so lucky. But I'd rather mop up a bottle than a whole case.

      There's a customer who drinks those little single-serving bottles of wine at a rate of--hmm, (does math)--about 3 cases of the big bottles a week, because of "her friends." You'd think that she'd tell her "friends" to buy their own, especially as she needs us to deliver her booze to her since she broke her foot (I WONDER HOW!). Yolanda is her delivery girl, but she forgot on Saturday. And received multiple phone calls from her on Sunday, when all the CT liquor stores are closed. What, was Yoyo supposed to drive to Massachusetts to get it for her? Couldn't her "friends" do that for her?
      "Because of you," I joked, "she had to spend a whole weekend sober!" And then I remembered that the movie I saw on my weekend was The Lost Weekend.
      It's that iconic 1945 movie, the first Hollywood one to venture the thought that, "Hey, maybe all drunks aren't cute and funny, and most are pathetic and unlikeable!" But it was still a movie from 1945, so much of dialogue was overwritten, and, naturally, the antihero didn't have a single beautiful woman who'd do anything for him. Instead, he had two. Yeah, that's believable. Well, okay, the Incredibly Rich Beautiful Woman went on in real life to marry Ronnie Reagan, so maybe she had very bad taste in men.
      But the movie worked, especially in the scenes where it became obvious how desperate the character was to get liquor, including lying and stealing, and hiding his hoard from the long-suffering brother who boards the unemployed and unemployable bum. "I know I hid a bottle somewhere!" he says after awakening from last night's binge, "but where?" Lying hungover on the floor, he sees the sunlight glistening off the bottle of cheap whiskey like a shining jewel, beckoning him with the beautiful promise of another day of oblivion...
      Yeah, it's dated. It could be remade as a comedy with just a minor shift in tone, especially given its near-ridiculous Happy Ending ("I'll NEVER DRINK AGAIN! Not after that single weekend of me stealing, lying, stealing, a trip to the sanitarium--Wow, was it really only a weekend? I'm going to write me a book, and INCREDIBLY RICH and BEAUTIFUL DARLING, I LOVE YOU!" [Apparently, the book ends with him plotting to kill Incredibly Rich Darling's maid for the key to the liquor cabinet]) But it works. I wanted to see it after a year of working the dawn shift, when the real alkies line up to buy the same thing that they buy every day, either on the way to work, or to begin their latest day of unemployment after being fired for coming to work drunk. Two Smirnoff Vanilla nips guy, 4 Jim Beam Nips guy (both of whom turn up every hour or two until 8PM, as this is the entirety of their lives), Fifth of Absolut guy (always first in the door every morning, sometimes visibly shaking), 4 pack of Sutter Home wine woman (dressed for the office, never says a word, not even to answer "Hello," never makes eye contact), Peter, with his Pint of Popov for the drive in to work, and another pint for the drive home from work at 3PM...some of them are waiting in their cars for us to open. Just like the character in The Lost Weekend does at his bar, walking in at the first second the door is unlocked, and sipping that first shot of booze from the glass while it's still sitting on the bar, as his hands are shaking too much to pick it up and he doesn't want to spill some of the sweet, sweet nectar of life.

      Heaven or Hell: Which Would be Worse?



      I've noticed that my new wisdom tooth only hurts when--okay, it doesn't hurt, my inner ear and lower tongue do--when I chew, and especially when I swallow. But I feel no pain when I wake up, just 2 or 3 hours later, and it eventually goes away after I get home from work. Or six hours later today, on my day off. The only difference between the 2 is that I spend the night sleeping and most of my day off/time after work sitting, whereas on a work day, I'm constantly walking. It only began to hurt today after 2 hours of walking, and went away quick. Odd. Maybe if started walking on my knuckles...?

      I had a busy day, but nothing you'd want chronicled in detail. I went to one of the town's mulitple 200+ year old cemeteries, to make sure the directions I gave Jessica are correct. She's fascinated by the many Revolutionary War-era cemeteries in New England, and I've always found them interesting myself. Saddest grave: a double tombstone for a daughter aged 10, and a son aged 2, dead just 3 weeks apart. Since there's a stone in the same cemetery that says "died of the smallpox," I can imagine what happened. I can barely imagine the parents' grief.
      Too overcast and cold to hike Valley Falls park, so I went to Dollar Tree--yeah, truly the next best thing. I bought a pair of kitchen scissors and a LOT of ibuprofen, thanks to the new horror movie, The Wisdom Tooth Returns. When I got home, I saw that the scissors were made by "Royal Norfolk Cutlery." Sure they were! I flipped them over and saw the inevitable "Made in China." Which made me wonder about all that ibuprofen. There wasn't one word on it as to where it was made, just who distributed it. They're right here in Connecticut, in Bridgeport! At "480 Barnum Ave." As in P.T. "There's a sucker born every minute" Barnum. Reassuring!
      Then groceries, gas, KMart. I needed antifreeze for the leaky car, and found that they had J-B Weld, which was raved about by a couple of the L-word commenters Lily and Lisa (it's the letter that their names begin with--why, what did you think I meant?). I'd picked it up and put down last week. The Krazy Glue still holds the mirror on, but you know Krazy Glue: when it stops working, it does it all at once. Supposedly J-B Weld works forever. And it well might. If your product is barely adequate, you update the packaging continuously. J-B's package uses clip-art from Nixon's first term.
      At the grocery store, I bought--it pains me to type this, as the name sounds like a skit from MST3K or SNL--"PotatOH!" Does one bite give you the O face? Well, I hope! But all it claims to do is give "Baked potato taste in the microwave!" I had a baking potato in the cupboard, but forgot about it for a month. And you know what that means.


      I've pretty much lost my title of Internet Funny Person when I can't come up with a joke caption for 2 cats playing with an eye-filled tater.


      A woman who lives the film Momento for real.


      Iams cat food has a new line, ProActive. I got a free can in the mail, with a BOGO coupon. The kids love it! Even fussy Byron. He doesn't just clean his plate, he cleans the other cats' plates when they're done. And Stop & Shop keeps giving me "79 cents off 3 cans" coupons, so, good money deal. I bought some Wednesday, and gave it to them after work today. Killsy knows the word "Iams," and when she hears it, she brightens up and comes running--well, nonchalantly strolling, as the Queen of the World can't be seen being that excited. Until the bowl's in front of her, anyway.
      And after I fed them, I saw this on the AVMA Pet Food Safety Recall site:      And you can imagine my rush to the fridge. And, phew! We're safe.
      The recalled food lacks thiamine. Lack of that will eventually harm your cat's health, but it's not like it's deadly Chinese melamine. This voluntary recall actually builds my trust in Iams. And in the AVMA.


      I was excited to receive an invitation to Kevin's surprise 40th birthday party. Forty! That means I've been friends with him for almost half his life, longer than I've been friends with anyone, ever! I was less thrilled when I saw that it was to be held today. The only other person who can close Saturday nights started vacation today. Almost any other Saturday I could've gone. So, technically, it's his fault for being born the wrong week.
      I tried calling him early in the festivities, so I at least could yell "SURPRISE!" a little late, but the phone went right to voice mail. Instead, some night soon I'll yell "SURPRISE!" after breaking into his bedroom at 4AM.

      I'll have been friends with Mrs Jessica for half her life, too, when she's 40 in 8 years. In the meantime, she and her daughter Jacqueline rescued another little kitten. And I mean little:



      Byron was abandoned by his mother and rescued at that age.

      Furry Wisdom: The Meanings of Animal Idioms. Don't think I'll be using the phrase "raining cats and dogs" again anytime soon.

      "Every Apartment I've Ever Lived In"


      My regrown wisdom tooth doesn't hurt anymore. That's good news. But it's embarassing to realize that the pain was caused by teething. At least I didn't have to chew on any Mickey-shaped rubber rings.

      An overcast day, but the weather was nice enough for my first trip this year to the Coventry Farmers' Market. It was packed, as it always is. I bought a big loaf of garlic parmesan bread from Morning Glory Handmade, a little tub of penuchi walnut fudge from--umm, the fudge place you think I'd know the name of by now, and Beltane Farms dill chevre and French farmstead goat cheese. You can make hard cheese from goat's milk? Who knew? Apparently it's a fall product, made and then aged, "because of how the milk comes out that time of year." Huh. I thought that it came from udders. I had a brief conversation about 1950s monster movies with the guy at the booth, due to my Plan 9 From Outer Space tshirt. I left him with a recommendation that he Netflix The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, as the more you know of 50s sci-fi movies, the funnier it is. I finished up with a delicious samosa from the Indian food booth--man, them things rock! This year, they had a list of ingredients, and I think the reason that it tastes so awesome is because it includes some unnamed "dried fruit."
      The bread is chewy and tasty, but was a bit dense to eat so soon after the samosa. And it was missing something, and I knew what: Snooty Foods garlic butter, the main reason I went to the market. Given that their website is dead, I guess that I won't be buying that again, ever.

      Last night, the work radio station (25 years ago, I listened to WDRC-FM for pleasure. Now I hear it at work, and work's all it reminds me of) had a brief special on the music of Carole King and James Taylor. The DJ noted that King wrote "Up On The Roof" and later did her own version, and said, "Ironically, James Taylor recorded his own cover of it." Wait, "ironically"? In what Alanis Morrissettian universe is THAT ironic? It's not even a coincidence! Taylor was married to King!
      Now, say James Taylor was performing "Up On The Roof" while on a rooftop to a covention of roofers, and said "I love me some roofs, because they're so safe!" and at the "I've found a paradise that's trouble-free" line, the roof collapsed because of shoddy building materials and left them all in a pair of dumps of rubble that'd been freed, THAT, maybe, would be ironic. If the guy who designed the roof had been slipped some roofies.

      Via Kitsplut, BRONTE ACTION FIGURES!!


      Every other website host uses Sunday after midnight to shut down to do their maintenance. ReadyHosting uses Sunday afternoon. I find that annoying.

      Thing the garlic parmesan bread I bought yesterday really needed: goat cheese! Hey, that worked out just fine!

      11 Things the Bible Bans, But You Do Anyway.

      Book owners have smarter kids:
      "According to USA Today, another study, to be published later this year in the journal Reading Psychology, found that simply giving low-income children 12 books (of their own choosing) on the first day of summer vacation "may be as effective as summer school" in preventing "summer slide" -- the degree to which lower-income students slip behind their more affluent peers academically every year...
"Perhaps the most intriguing part of the USA Today article comes at the very end, where one Chicago schoolteacher tells the reporter that the importance of getting books into the house "seems so simple, but parents see it differently." They're as "excited" as their kids are when the books come in the door. It's not that the parents are hostile or even indifferent to books. Most likely, books and reading feel like the privilege and practice of an unfamiliar world: a resource that's out there somewhere, but not entirely accessible."

      Joke no one reading this will get: "Vernon, Conn. (WTNH) - An Amston, Conn. man who was appearing at Rockville Superior Court to face larceny charges allegedly got drunk and broke into cars outside court...Police say he bought a bottle of vodka during the court lunch break, drank it in front of the court and became intoxicated. He was seen trying to get into vehicles in front of the court and finally broke into one, stealing a cell phone and keys."


      Good comic, but I don't get why "unpromotable" is the adjective.

      DON'T EVEN CLICK ON THIS weird Russian snack-ad cartoon involving Godzilla vs the Statue of Liberty! There are 35 others! Like potato chips, YOU CAN'T STOP! Neo vs Skywalker! Frodo vs Potter! Jones vs Croft! Beetlejuice vs Skellington! Madonna vs Spears! Frankenstein vs D'Artagnan! Like snack crackers, you can never have just one!


      June should all know what that means!


      Byron's seven years old!


      Killsy's 11!
      Or, in cat years, he's 42, and she's 60! A very spry 60. She'd be that white-haired woman with an iPod you see jogging past you in every morning.

      I went to the Citgo minimart by my home, and on the counter was a sign hand-written on lined notebook paper:
System Down
Please pay in side
I take care you in haier
      What, you'll take care of me in an air conditioner? Sounds cramped.
      Outside of the novel spelling and grammar, the sign was obviously for the gas pumps, which were not in thaier.

      In the state park I saw a doe, a deer, a female deer. She watched me me until I was about 20 feet away, then leapt into the underbrush. It's amazing how something the size of a pony can leap into densely-packed undergrowth and run through it, without making the slightest sound.

      I've mentioned the condo ass's attempts to "beautify" the front yard by killing the 40 year old maples. We recently got a newsletter claiming that they were "diseased." When Jessica was here, she pointed at the giant tree trunk lying in the yard and said, "But they were! Look at how hollow that one is!" And I replied, "That's the one they DIDN'T cut down!"
      This is what the view from my front window looks like right now:


      If I want to throw a party with a theme of World War One trench warfare, I'm SET!

      The official site of Tvigle, the Russian snack food that made those "VS" cartoons. Much higher quality than YouTube, but in Russian, so you're on your own figuring out who's who. Sure, that's the Hulk, and that's the "This is SPAAAARTA!" guy, but who are they fighting?
      Oh, the Hulk's fighting Jafar! Here's the account of the YouTuber uploading the videos. The official site has almost double the videos, but here at least you know who's who. Okay, I don't know who these Ronaldo and Ronaldinho guys are, but I know how futbol matches work, so here's their World Cup cartoon. In related news, about every fifth site I've visited today felt the need to use the word "vuvuzela," and I want them to stop already.


      Just so you know, my World War One Trench Warfare Party will be BYOGM. Bring Your Own Gas Mask. Don't worry, there'll be plenty of free mustard! Also, I found a party store that rents corpse-eating rats by the hour.

      Do you know kids who love cartoon movies about talking animals who go on exciting adventures, narrowly escaping the bad guys? Sure you do! That's half the movies made for kids! Well, here's a lighthearted romp that they will talk about for years! Maybe longer! While waking up in the middle of the night! The Plague Dogs! AKA, "All Dogs Go To Hell."
      I enjoyed--wait, wrong word--was entertained glad I watched...
      Okay, it was the bleakest animated movie I've ever seen. I think it can be summed up by the first line of the closing song, "I don't feel no pain no more." This is not because the dogs were adopted by a loving couple. As an ASPCA member, I can endorse its message. Not all movies have to be escapism that makes you feel all rosy about the world--even cartoon ones.

      On the lighter side, via Mrs Jessica, something I'd never come across: a Flickr set called 365 Days of Stormtroopers. Very creative uses for the person's little dollies. Sorry, I meant "ACTION FIGURES."