Avoiding the Eyes of Others

NEW 3.3

"I don't see how you can write anything of value if you don't offend someone."
--Marvin Harris


One thing that I've found interesting about people (like me) who are interested in Japanese culture, be it movies or toys or music, is that we'd be the first to go insane if we WERE Japanese. I don't like living in even a small city, never mind an ant farm. How long could you stand stuff like this, from J-List?

One can't learn anything about Japan, it seems, without bumping into the
often-quoted-by-gaijin-who-are-experts-on-Japan phrase, "Deru kui wa
utareru." It means "the standing nail is driven" and refers to the Japanese
tendency of "hammering down" individuals who stand out too much, which is
one of the major reasons Japanese society looks so uniform from the
outside. In school, students are encouraged to get along, and anyone who is
unable to fit in with the larger group will find himself made to conform in
a variety of subtle or not-so-subtle ways.

A concept related to this is "Hito no me," which means "the eyes of others"
and refers to the silent, always-watching eyes of everyone around you,
looking at you to make sure you're not doing anything too far outside the
norm. I encountered this when I moved to a new neighborhood, back when I
was single. Trash day was Wednesday and Friday, and you had to put your
trash in the assigned place before 7 am on the morning they were to come
pick it up -- you could not put it out, say, the night before. Since
getting up at 7 am was a little early for me (I worked from 2 to 10 pm and
stayed up late), I tried "bending" their rules just a little, putting my
trash out at night very quietly. But in the end, the disapproving eyes of
all those living around me wore me down, and I conformed. I felt that the
power of all those eyes was far more powerful than, say, if they had a law
requiring me to put my trash out before 7 am. The concept of "hito no me"
is one of the most important reasons why Japan is the way it is.
Karl sends this petition for an action figure for an unjustly overlooked Star Wars character.

I guess that this page of WWII propaganda posters reworked for the Endless War with Terror is funny. I "guess" because the site has real problems displaying the larger images, and the smaller ones are nearly unreadable. Ahh, skip it, you'd just end up in a detention camp next year for clicking on it anyway.

Interesting article on the downside of a new Iraq War. It's from Fortune, so it's not like it's some leftist viewpoint (which is why it's interesting).

Man! I turned the calendar over to July and saw that I'd totally forgot that it's Canada Day! Here's Canoe.ca's A-Z(ed) of Canada! "P is for poutine; that uniquely Canadian concoction of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Loaded with fat and lacking any pretensions to healthy living, it's greeted with equal portions of relish and repulsion."


"Do you have Moorsheepa Cook white wine?" asked a customer with some indecipherable Euro accent today.
"Moorsheepa Cook white wine?" I asked.
"Yes! Moorsheepa Cook white wine!"
"Um, I've never heard of Moorsheepa Cook wine."
"No no no! Moorsheepa Cook white wine!"
It took a while but I finally figured out that he wanted "more cheaper white wine for cooking." I gave him a bottle of Sutter Home chardonnay.

So...hot...So...humid...Keyboard...moist and sweaty...
Fuck writing. Here's Villain Supply, a mildy amusing link I stole from the Yahoo Picks of the Week. If you were never a fan of 60s Spy-Fi in the Bond/UNCLE/Avengers vein, you won't care.
Back to sweating. You know that 70s rock group, Three Dog Night? They got the name from an Eskimo expression. If it got cold, you let a sled dog into the igloo to use its body warmth as a blanket. A "3 dog night" was the coldest of all. Here, we're having the opposite, Three Towel Days. I usually use 2 towels to dry off after the shower. Now I need 3, the last to mop up the sweat that just appears out of the ambient air. If I was on Tatooine, I could have had a great career as a moisture farm.

Oh yeah. This.

So. Ferd'nand's...Um, buying a dog bed because it's on sale, THEN decides to buy a dog? Who does that? And why does he have that shifty, sketchy look in the first panel? Why do the dogs look so unhappy when they see him? Don't puppies get excited when they see a potential owner? And who buys a dog based on how exactly it'll fit in the...
GAH! Was that first store a cookware store?!
The deleted next panel showed Ferd'nand buying Moorsheepa Cook Poodles white wine...
(alternate theories: thoughtviper&hotmail*com)


I didn't get even one alternate theory on Ferd'nand! You slackers!
Fortunately, I figured it out myself last night. The strip's accidentally been run backwards! And it's missing the captions with which it was originally published in Copenhagen. I've translated the captions from the original Denmarkish:

Hello to dogs! Which dog of you escaped my leash? Is it you, dogs of the window? Ah, it is you, here, Poochie, the dog!

OH! Poochie, the dog! You not try to runs away with this leash again! Where is collar of you? Collar looks more of tire rim to me!! Let us fetch! I throw flying plastic disc, but ignore it do you! Why, you fetch with not?! You dog of bad! To store that buys dog I sell you now for the buying of my money!

MAN: HA HA fool customer! You have not dog, but HUBCAP from old Lincoln Incontinental! Is piss-poor car! We however is having SALE on morons! Care for you to stand in the window?!
FERD'NAND: In shame I blush! I retreat with hubcap and use it for dish for cooking with Moorsheepa wine!

When I got home last night, Kill Kill raced past me out the open door into the common hallway, and leapt onto the window there. Yes, it was hot, like heat index of 105 hot, so she just wanted OUT. But that's the only window at the top of a 3-story stairwell, so it's actually hotter out there. I tried to coax her in by offering her Food (meaning Friskies Wet, from the fridge) and she meowed "PLEASE!" And didn't budge. "I'm not feeding you out here, honey. Please come inside and go out the back door." That 2-story window overlooks a courtyard that gets less than an hour a day of sun, so it really is cooler than in here. I took an hour to get her in here, and then back out.
So I came in through the back tonight. She had her cold food, then went out in the cool(er) back. After an hour she SCREAMED! I raced across the room, ran down the hall...And she was just staring at me. "Don't scare me like that!" I said as I petted her, probably giving her the impression that if she wants immediate pets, just SCREAM.
Then she screamed again--No, wait! It wasn't her at all! It's some stupid firework someone's launching that sounds like a screaming cat!
I'm suing them for emotional distress. I'll settle for $5 million.

Alien abductees!
I don't get these Aliens. If they want to keep their human-raping agenda secret, couldn't they just use their ultra-advanced Alien technology to knock people out when they take them, so they don't even know that they're being abducted? Yes, I know that a species that's mastered the physically impossible task of faster-than-light travel might have a really hard time whipping up something as advanced as CHLOROFORM.
But they need to abduct people to create their EVIL ALIEN-HUMAN CROSSBREEDS! The fuck? A human has 98% of the DNA of a chimp. Don't the Aliens have Alien chimps? I mean, the Wonder Twins had Gleek. Why would they travel to a planet with a species with NO shared DNA, by virtue of the whole "it evolved on another planet" thingie? And if they're so damned advanced, why do they need to abduct MILLIONS of people to harvest sperm and embryos? Couldn't they just open a sperm or egg donor bank? Wow, for highly advanced beings, Aliens are really stupid. The only thing they're any good at is abducting crazy people, and appearing in front of idiots who can't work a camera.

Speaking of idiots, they've closed Romer's Gap. Err, I don't mean that the scientists that had discovered the fossil of the first thing to walk on land 350 million years ago are idiots. Or Romer, who pointed out that there was a gap in the fossil record, with no fossils "that represented any sort of intermediate stage between the aquatic and terrestrial" forms.
The idiots are the Creationists. Fossil gaps are their big thing. The "theory" of Evolution is a theory in the same way that Gravity is a "theory'"--It doesn't mean that scientists aren't sure that it's true; that's what a "hypothesis" is. If I throw a rock in the air, no amount of prayer is gonna keep it from falling to earth, just as no amount of "Intelligent Design" (I.D.) bushwa is gonna disprove Evolution. They want every single blank in the "fossil gap" to be filled in before they give any credence to Evolution. You'd think that this latest finding would prove them wrong, but, oh no, that proves them right. How so? Say that there's a gap between fossil 1 and fossil 2. That proves that GOURD made the Universe!! But then, we find fossil 1.5, the direct, obvious link between 1 and 2. NOW the I.D.iots want to see fossils 1.25 and 1.75! And when those are found, why, that just makes more fossil gaps! "Where's fossil 1.0000015?!"
Yeah, well--where's God? Here's our proof--Where's yours?!


It's 96 degrees out, and 50 degrees in. In the refrigerator. That, my friends, is the textbook definition of Fuckin'-A Hot.
Poor Killsy. She's about as animated as my Bill the Cat plush.

Sorry. It's Too Darn Hot to even play a Cole Porter tune. Do the work to find cool links on your own. Or do what I'm doing, catching up with X-Entertainment. The McDonalds and Strawberry Shortcake essays are worth the read.


The heat wave finally broke late last night. Kill Kill was all conversation this morning. She'd been talkative during the heat, but that was all whines. This was more like "Good morning, mother! Lovely weather, if I do say so!" It was good to come home and see her running and playing. Hell, it was good to see her MOVE.
But the heat wasn't done with us. It still had one last stab left. The fridge got so warm that the milk spoiled. I didn't discover this until I swallowed two mouthfuls in my coffee. It was enough to make me mildly sick for a couple of hours. The Demon Coffee was also enough to distract me before leaving for work, and I forgot to put food in Kill Kill's bowl. She had about 15 pieces of kibble to last her 8&1/2 hours.
She had 1.5 pieces left when I got home and she wasn't hungrier than normal. She didn't eat much during the heat wave, so she probably filled up overnight.
Wow. I just told you about my cat's eating habits. And you actually read it!

Kill Kill's whatsbetter.com entry was retired last week. Reason: "too many cats." But there's never enough bimbos on whatsbetter!
Also strangely missing is David Gonterman. I didn't save that link, so I don't know what the reason was that it was retired. I mean, there couldn't possibly be someone so egotistical that he'd not only demand that it be taken down when he saw that the description was "Hack Cartoonist," but actually search for his name in the first place, now could there?
Heh. Heh. Heh.
(I just remembered that Negs had linked to the whatsbetter Gonterman...It was retired because it was "Lame." Well...yeah, but that was the point!)

More proof of Evolution: When fishermen throw the little fish back, fish will evolve to become smaller. Pretty obvious, when you think about it.

More proof Science rocks: Beer builds bones. Remember how Wonder Bread built "Strong Bodies Twelve Ways"? Build Strong Bodies with Twelve-Packs!


"Do I need to wear a shirt to come in here?" asked a guy with his shirt in his hand. "I'd prefer that you wore it," I said. This seemed to confuse him, then he said, "Well, I'm in here anyway." and he left his flabby gut hanging out. He bought a pint of, what else, cheap vodka.
"Mark St. John!" he said, extending his hand. I shook hands and said "Bill Y--" but I was only a bit player in the movie going on in his head. He cut me off and said, "I just got out of the service! 15 years Special Forces!" I was under the impression that it was hard to get into the Special Forces. He was five feet tall with a beer gut, and about as chiseled as a diaper bag full of Jello. Maybe the Navy SEALS are now hiring people shaped like seals.
"I hated it! My unit had 500 guys in it, and 498 were killed!" Uh-huh. That's probably more American soldiers than have died since before the Gulf War. Funny how they all came from the same unit. I must've missed that on the news. But I can see how he was one of the 0.4% that survived--The enemy probably mistook him for Danny DeVito, and they were all Taxi fans. "Guys hated it so much, they were committing suicide just to get out! One guy got into an F16 and pulled the ejection seat with the canopy down!" Maybe the 498 guys all committed suicide. Man, I really need to keep up on the news!
"I tried everything to get out of the service! I'd go to parade with Mickey Mouse ears on! My pants on backwards! But they didn't care, they wouldn't let me out!" Well, duh! Klinger dressed up as a woman, and he had to stay in the Korean War for 11 years! Plus, they wouldn't want to lose a valuable asset to our nation's security like you, G.I. Pudding Pop!
He never said how he did get out. Though he admitted "I'm having a lot of trouble adjusting to this society of ours!" Yes. I'd actually guessed that already. His example of this was a Pakistani convenience store clerk who wouldn't sell him a beer and a pack of smokes because he was short 21 cents on the bill. I'm sure the fact that you're nuttier than George Washington Carver's lab table had nothing to do with it.
From the parking lot, he said "Look out the window for a demonstration! I'm a fifth degree!" Meaning "Black Belt." Ohhh, dear, I thought. Here comes proof positive of our little world apart.
If I had a videocam, I'd have the web's top downloaded MPEG file for today. He did his magic ninja moves, spinning and thrusting his little gremlin arms while his pot wobbled. He looked like the Dancing Internet Baby having a seizure. I could tell that his mighty blows had the power of a Catholic schoolgirl's slap-fight. His "high kick" barely reached his belt buckle. The best part wasn't when he almost tripped over the curb, but the "fwish fwish!" noises he made, just like in Nintendo "Kung Fu." He'd learned all his moves--and sound effects--from watching a Jackie Chan movie.
Mark St. John, Super Green Beret.

Speaking of crazy people, here's the subliminal pornography of Chandler, Arizona municipal buildings. It's subliminal enough that even when Mr Crazy Webmaster draws the pR0n, you can't tell what it's supposed to be. Click on the eyeball to see more, but the fun ends quickly when Professor Batshit starts showing bad scans of old psychology textbooks.

Speaking of seeing things that aren't really there, remember when Hollywood saw enough talent in Vanilla Ice to star him in a movie?
The last I heard of Mr Vanilla was when he was the headliner for a 2000 New Years party. Admission was $5.

Speaking of bombs, every year our bustling metropolis capital city of Hartford (population: 37) has Riverfest, the 4th of Julyish thing. Every year I can see the fireworks from my front window, about 15 miles away.
(I say "about" instead of "exactly" as Mapquest refuses to acknowledge Vernon, CT, 06066. Well, I'm pretty sure Vernon exists, what with the me being here and all. However, Mapquest did offer me a free sample of Imodium with the tagline "If it's your vacation, why is diarrhea driving?" If diarrhea, a slimy rectal discharge, is driving my car, he'd better wipe down the steering wheel when he's done)
Actually, I used to be able to watch this from my front window. The maple tree has grown progressively huger over 15 years, so I now can only see it from the window in the common hallway. But the fireworks last for half an hour, and the maple's beautifully green for half a year. I tried to interest Kill Kill in it, picking her up and putting her in the window, but unless her special fireworks-viewing eye is in her butt, she decided to pass on the spectacle.
It's weird watching the fireworks from this far away; the explosions are the size of quarters and the crickets drown out the blast sounds. It's more like viewing a Hubble picture of a distant galaxy (for a second). But you don't have to deal with downtown traffic, and when the final, biggest exploder of them all becomes a little trail of fire followed by a nothing, you're not disappointed.
What happens to dud fireworks? They tell you to never pick up even a tiny firecracker, but these monsters that are shot from mortars and don't go boom...They've got to land somewhere. Hopefully not in an Afghan wedding.

"Imodium, an aluminum can and dryer lint - what do these three things have in common?" It's from Worst Case Scenarios: Travel with Heavy Product Placement edition. You need the Imodium, and I quote, "To control traveler's diarrhea, and to write SOS on rocks or concrete." Since Imodium is a little bitty pill that wouldn't work great as sidewalk chalk, I assume you "write" by not taking it...I shit you not! Or is it ShitOurSelf?

Just in case you ate some bad poutine.


Some notable quotables:

"I'd rather talk to a moron than a zealot." -- Johnnie Royale

"When you fight for me, you're fighting for all black people, dead and alive."-- Michael Jackson, zealous moron

From Xoverboard.com:
"When games like Unreal or Quake come out, there is a massive outcry among members of the Senate (not that I’ll name anyone specific… okay, he looks kind of like Droopy… and his name is Joe Lieberman. No more hints) about how these games are violent. These were the people that wanted to find out what games were on the computers of the killers at Columbine High School, to see if they inspired them to kill students. Now, apparently, not a single elected official in Washington raises a single eyebrow about a game, which, mind you, is very easy to access without any age-related failsafes- you download it for free off the Army’s website- that teaches one all the aspects of military tactics, including the use of various firearms, and that touts its realism as a key factor of enjoyable playing. In other words, a game that vividly and descriptively instructs children of all ages how to use a high-powered rifle is in no way dangerous or threatening, but games that teach you the intricate details of plasma-fusion energy cannons fired from the platforms you reach using your anti-grav boots are dangerous to our nation’s youth. Of course."
Couldn't tell you how the game is--it's such a popular download that I had to stand 2 hours in a virtual line of 600 people just to be allowed to download it, and it took 15 minutes to download only 1% of the file. I question how realistic it'll be. I probably won't be killing people with friendly fire, not asking and not telling, or even be allowed to get a tattoo. But if it sucks, I'll just turn up at roll call with Mickey Mouse ears on.

I'd rather play Ninja Burger, The RPG anyway.

Space Waitress linked to this great 4th of July tribute to--Canada!
Wow, this John Scalzi guy is my new regular read! Nearly as engaging a writer as Lileks, from what little I've seen, and also not a sneering Conservative jerk like Lileks can be. It's nice to read someone that I can actually agree with.
Lileks' 4th of July rant ends with him calling people who use Freedom of Speech or who want to improve America "fools." He also claims that America is "the greatest nation on earth in the history of the species," not because of the Bill of Rights, but because the supermarkets are so well-stocked. Eight kinds of ketchup!
I personally believe that there is no "greatest nation," but that there is one greatest national concept: Representative Democracy, with a Bill of Rights. America invented that, but that doesn't mean that I'd be just as happy with my country if it was New Zealand or Canada or any any other Western Democracy. And I'd be pointing out things in those countries that needed improvement, too, just like I do here.
There's always room for improvement. Guess that that makes me a "fool."

America's Army game download progress: 8% done after an hour and a quarter. I could've joined the Army in less time.


I went to Gay City park today, as I didn't get to go last week (my days off were Sunday and the 4th, when the place is mobbed and you have to pay to go in--Thanks, but I'd only pay to not have other people there), and I can't go next week (no weekdays off, as Jessica's wedding is on Saturday). It's a beautiful day, sunny and hot with little humidity, but I had the shortest stay there ever: elapsed round trip, 8 minutes. It looked like the yearly plague of insects wasn't going to occur this year, due to the crazy weather (drought, a month of torrential rain, drought). But, man, was I wrong. In four minutes I felt like I was one of those Guinness Book of Records beard-of-live-bees freaks. Not just skeeters in my ears and horseflies crawling on my head, but the worst insect of all: Flying Idiot Bugs. I don't know what these things are, but they hover an inch away from the bridge of your nose. That's it. They don't land and bite, they just hover until you kill them, which is pretty easy (I nailed 5 in 3 minutes). I think that they must be like that floaty glitter-ball alien from Star Trek that lived off of Hate. Except these live off of Mild Irritation. Live, but not for very long.
So I bailed and went to BIG!Lots. The best hair spritz I've ever bought is a brand called "Brilliant" that goes for 99 cents a bottle. They didn't have any. They did have one of those "things that're doomed to go straight to BIG!Lots," a hairspray called "Bland." It's like naming a deodorant "Ineffective," or a hair dye "Mousy."

Last night, I went to cook dinner--Oh, wait, I'm sorry--
Sorry, I forgot to use the flashback music. Last night, I went to cook dinner, and the same refrigerator that a few days ago got warm enough to spoil the milk was now cold enough to refreeze the chicken. But I want chicken! Wait! Tasty Chick! It's open again! I can go there! The punctuation store had a sale on exclamation points and I stocked up!!
Tasty Chick closed last November, but 6 weeks later a "Coming Soon The Original Tasty Chick" sign appeared in the window. Soon was a relative concept. There were people working there almost daily, but it didn't reopen until late June. This was odd, as it's not like they'd carted away the ovens and ripped all the plywood off the walls when they'd closed. Odder still, the 6 months-plus of work seemed to be new wallpaper. Which was ugly.
The only other changes were few, such as the removal of the pictures and press clippings that the previous owner, the Unoriginal Tasty Chick, had put up of his child actress daughter. They gave the place a nice family creepiness of the Joan Benet variety. She was on a national soap opera for a while. She could be seen, a few years older, helping out in the kitchen. Success hadn't gone to her head. Or, more likely, success had failed to sustain.
The other change was that there was no place to sit while you waited for your order, unless you counted a low, narrow windowsill. This sucks, as I was unable to call in my order (the phone number had changed), and TC ain't no sitting-under-the-heat-lamp-all-day KFC. They don't start your order until they get it, even if it's something as common as chicken nuggets. But TC nuggets aren't the chopped-formed-coagulated-extruded breaded poultry paste you get at Mickey Greasies, either; they're worth the wait.
A guy ahead of me picked up the take-out menu and asked "Can I have one of these?" Two girls in their very low teens were behind the counter (Original Tasty's daughters, no doubt). "That'll be $5!" said one. I ordered my nuggets, and the other said "We're all out of that! Just kidding!" I didn't get all Yoda on their asses, saying "Sarcasm a mighty weapon is, my young Tasti! Use not it lightly! For wit, no substitute sarcasm is! The fox brown quick the dog lazy jumped!"
I scrunched onto the windowsill. Outside of the wallpaper, everything was the same. The whiteboard with the secondary menu ("Pint of Gibs, $1.75"), and the main menu that was who-knows how ancient, a hand-painted board with the prices made from stick-on numbers of varying fonts. And the Dino Egg Machine, covered with Hanna-Barbera characters like Scrappy-Doo and Captain Caveman, meaning that it was a good 25 years old.
"FROM DINO, OF COURSE!" shrieks the lettering on the Egg Machine, while Dino laughs insanely and a mini-Dino hatches. I was under the impression that Dino was male. And the eggs are not from Dino, of course. They're from a brown plastic chicken that rotates and goes "BUCK BUCK!" when fed a quarter, and plotzes a plastic egg with an incredibly cheap Chinese-made toy inside. But the Egg Machine is an integral part of the TC experience, and if I have a quarter, I get an Egg. I got a dumb little plastic combination lock the size of a thumbnail. But left in the egg, Kill Kill will have fun batting it about and hearing it rattle.
I got there just in time; a line formed as soon as I sat down. A women came in with her 2 boys, one maybe 6 or 7, the other younger but old enough to not be still sucking on a pacifier. If he had more than one word in his vocabulary, I never heard it. He pointed at the Egg Machine and yelled, as best as one can yell with a plastic nipple in one's mouth, "EGGY!"
"Mommy doesn't have any quarters," Mommy said with an air of disinterest. "I'll get some when I pay." "EGGY!" said Eggbert, jamming the quarter-deposting-slider back and forth (okay, it's probably not called a "quarter-deposting-slider," but do you know the technical name yourself, Vending Machine Smartie? Ha! Didn't think so!!) "Don't do that, honey," said Mommy with renewed disinterest. This deterred Eggbert in exactly the same way UN sanctions deter Saddam Hussein from being a general asshole. "EGGY EGGY EGGY!" said the ovaphile as he repeatedly jammed the quarter-deposting-slider (or QDS, to professionals). "I don't want you to do that, honey," said Mommy. "EGGY EGGY!" agreed the yolk-crazed madman, and he stopped abusing the QDS. And began pounding on the Egg Machine's window. "Don't do that, honey," repeated Mommy as she downed an entire bottle of Prozac. "FUCKIN' EGGY EGGY EGGY!" shrieked Lil' Gollum as he went at the machine with a fire ax. "Cease and desist, for you're aggravating Mommy's lobotomy," said Mommy, wiping the involuntary drooling away. "EGGGGGYYYY!!!!" shrieked Yolky, as he sacrificed a passing virgin to the Elder God of Vending, Eggthulhu. "BLURK," said Mommy from her fetal position on the floor.
"Order up!" said the clerk, and I grabbed my nuggets. I also picked up my meal (haha! I am funny!). This was the point when Damien's mother waved a twenty at the clerk and asked, "Can I have some quarters? And a few yards of suture, as EGGY Boy's gnawed all his limbs off?"
Next time, Mommy, bring the quarters before Tasty Chicking.

Nuggets were proclaimed Very Good upon eating. I stupidly got the 9-piece Nugget Dinner with Fries and Coleslaw, having forgotten that 9 TC "nuggets" are about a breast-and-a-half of chicken. So I ended up with a bunch of fries that I'm going to attempt to reheat, but we all know that that trick never works. The reheated fries end up either limp like lo mein or burnt like fireplace matches. I guess that I can mix the Coleslaw in with some tuna and make something yummy, since I'm really no fan of Coleslaw or even his duet with his daughter, Natalie Coleslaw. There was also exactly one packet of ketchup:

That's...something. It's not fake retro, but a folded-in-on-itself fake retro meta-statement. It's not referencing the 50s, or even referencing Fonzie referencing the 50s in the 70s. It's a 00s reference of the 50s referenced by the 70s referencing a song from the 60s. To add another layer of strangeness, the song is about a guy who gets killed in a motorcycle crash, becoming a ketchup-like smear. Just what I want to squirt on my burger, symbolic hemoglobin.

Hey, guys, thinking of getting married? Don't.

Hmm. 12 minutes at 300 degrees reheats fries quite edibly (those of the crinkle-cut persuasion, anyway). And, oh yeah, just one link? How cheap of me!
John Scalzi's page, where I spent most of yesterday, pointed to The Diary Thing, which is also well worth your time.


Bill Young is...

...an American engine collector who lives in Japan.
...on a crusade to make sure everyone is as lucky as his daughter has been.
...known for movements that "topple over each other ...with the intensity and urgency of a white-water rapid"
...essentially married to the policies of Jerry Keller
...a Moderate Conservative. Click here for explanation. Click Here!
...the Northeast Region's Public Policy Chair. This site was created by FuzzyLu Multimedia for the Alliance For Community Media's Northeast Region.
...the most effective way to deliver these messages.
...a native Nevadan who grew up in Northern Nevada and attended the University of Nevada.
...by far the best loose-head prop in Australia.
...the Cowden Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Paul Keim's group.
...a scroller that makes some interesting scrollsaw clocks.
...the son of Gordon Young, a missionary in Burma also who did his best to portray a dim view of the Akha.
...particularly pleased to have snagged the endorsement of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Managers
...not as well known as he might be is that he clevotec! enormous energy
...a light-hearted conclusion to a really impressive Fringe debut
...regarded as the king of congressional pork.
...deliberately playing with my hair
...head of programming for KERA in Texas, one of the many PBS stations which broadcast Red Dwarf.
...a perennial rural-provincial and provincial wrestling powerhouse.
...bracing for a torrid initiation from France
...sure of these.
(...actually home sick with wretched July Disease, and doing Google games to distract me)
(Thanks, Vyn!)

"I am not a new-age freak," says the psychic who reads peoples' asses. (Thanks, Mark the Vet!)

Don't call Miss Cleo looking to see who stole your drug money.

I read comic books (all Marvel) until I was 14, and discovered science fiction. I ignored them until the early 80s, when I saw a friend's copy of "The Handbook to the Marvel Universe," which attempted to explain crazy superpowers in science-fictional terms. I bought a few issues of that, and that was that. Until the mid-80s, when another (female) friend leant me a copy of the X-Men. And I was hooked.
For a while, 6 or 7 years. Then comics began to really suck, and I gave up again. And 10 years later, that looks to be permanent.
...Which is a long way to get around to seeing "Onslaught" on whatsbetter.com. Looks like Magneto, one of my favorite characters back in both days, the 60s and the 80s. A quick Google turned up a micro-sized version of the Marvel Handbook. Wow. Times have changed. Iron Man looks really stupid now.
I'd rather read this encyclopedia than the actual comics. Here's a drinking game I devised just now, and I'm only up to "M" in the alphabet:

If you try to play this drinking game, use water and have the winner be the last person to have to pee. Otherwise, you'll be dead by the time you reach the letter "F."


I recovered enough to go to work today, but July Disease seems to worsen every year. It used to last 24 hours, this time it lasted 40.
Ever get a case of the game "Battleship" dropped on your head from a height of 12 feet? Six heavy, plastic boardgames will make you cry "Your Battleships sank ME!"
That happened to me when I was working/slaving at Kay Bee Toys. "LOOK OUT!" screamed the game dropper, but this was Xmas, and the storeroom was literally packed to the ceiling with a 3-foot-wide walkway, with a person both directly behind me and in front of me, and my arms were loaded with cases of other toys. There was nothing I could do in the next pair of seconds that would help. My only hope was that my number wasn't on that case of Battleship. But my number was "B-9!!"
Ever get a concussion? Well, I did, and that's what July Disease feels like. Nausea, dry heaves, general feel-like-crappiness, and the feeling that your brain's been scooped out and replaced with a can of refried beans. I still felt that way for the first few hours today, and not helped by getting very little sleep. When I got to work, I was dazed enough to wonder if I really was at work, or just dreaming that I was.

Regarding that link about why men shouldn't marry, Mark the Vet said: "I am divorced. My favorite advice with regards to marriage was, 'Skip marriage. Pick a woman at random and buy her a house.'"
Kirk is glad he married Mo, but here's all the craziness that they went through to get married. Jessica gets married in 10 days. Fingers of Bill: crossed.

The Onion's on vacation, and the A.V. Club's reruns. But I'd never read this 1997 interview with Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO before, and it's really funny. DEVO being fronted by--Johnny Rotten?!

NIMBY: "Not In My Neighborhood!"
Back in the early 90s, there was talk of storing radioactive waste in CT. One of the proposed towns was my native South Windsor, cul de sac central. It was for low-level hospital waste, all from chemotherapy. Of course, this radioactivity would lead to daily battles between Godzilla and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the sewers would be full of C.H.U.D, so my parents were opposed. I argued for it, in my recalcitrant way. I also argued that every town in America should have a nuclear waste dump in it. How long would nuclear reactors be tolerated then? (Tiny CT not only had 2 active nuclear reactors, but two of the oldest in the world)
"BE GREEN!" said the bumper stickers on the gas-guzzling local cars. "Better Active Today Than Radioactive Tomorrow!" Yeah, and what about tomorrow? When it's no longer a threat to your property values, you won't care. Activism ends when it's not your ass. But they ended up not building the chemotherapy dumps anywhere in CT.
Irony: A few years after this, my dad got cancer and needed chemo.
In the Ultimate NIMBY, there's Yucca Flats. Now we're safe! Haha, poor Nevada! YOU'RE the ones at risk for our stupid, dirty, useless atomic power plants!
How close will the trucks carrying the waste drive by YOUR house? 7.9 miles, in my case. I'm 25 miles from the nearest nuclear power relic. Think: When was the last time there was a nuclear accident in America? Answer: 1979; Three Mile Island. And when was the last time there was a tractor trailer crash up the road from you? Answer, for me:


Thanks to 5cott for pointing out that, despite what I said yesterday, "NIMBY" stands for "Not In My Back Yard", not "Neighborhood." That would've been NIMNH, which I think is that cartoon with the mice.

"While the Planeswalker was in her home world of Dominaria, this Llanowar Elf was her constant companion, a little folk who owes her life to the Planeswalker, saving her from an attack which killed the rest of her family, and has become her servant because of it, always at the wizard's beck and call or by her feet as she's sitting down."
Who is this, he who writes the Run-On Sentence Unparsable? He, who comes from beyond the Realm of Talent? He, who stinks out loud?
Yea verily yea, Gonterman has followed through with his threat to make a Magic: The Gathering "action" comic. (Side note: EVERY Davey-created link to the "beginning of the story" leads to the newest strip, except that one, which I found by random clicking. Irony Check: remember that he's decided that he's an L33t h4X0r now)
How did this happen? Did grimmoire.com not look at "Baka Breakers," which claimed to be about Magic:TG, but instead became a plotless acid trip to the center of the twisted recesses of the Gontermind? My guesses:

This is, to its credit, the only Gontercomic to ever NOT star Gonterman. It stars a 13-year-old girl, who (so far) has not declared herself to be a cartoonist in St. Louis. Though she does have a mullet. And sucks.
There's only 7 pages of suckage so far. I can't tell you how much it resembles M:TG, but I'll go out on a limb and say "Not much," as so far there's no cards and it's set in present-day America. Possibly a city in Midwestern America with a Giant Arch.
It was pointed out on the "Comments" page that Gontsy made the very minor error of calling his main character "Jamie" at some points and "Julie" at another. That's always a problem when you're used to naming every hero "Davey."
Whoo, for extra-special suck points beyond the call of doody, he's got an "occasional gag strip." What an odd description. It made me gag CONSTANTLY. It's supposed to be a "spoof" of Calvin & Hobbes. Oh, the honor Bill Watterson must feel at this moment!
And here the hilarity begins. I don't want to spoil the "joke," but let me ask you: Do you even CARE to try and translate that last panel? The critter's character design bears an uncanny resemblance to Fiona the Micro-Dragon from "Bruno the Bandit." That's another web comic that plays with anachronism in a fantasy setting, but to much better effect.
Note that that Bruno is from early 1999. Note that the artwork does not suck. Look at the latest strip to see that it's improved since then. Ever see a Calvin & Hobbes from 1991? It really looks primitive in comparison to his later work!
Now, look at any Gonterman from 1997. Now look at "Planeswalker." He's done THOUSANDS of drawings EVERY YEAR, maybe since he was a KID, and it's impossible in 2002 to see any improvement.
Just be thankful that Daveykins didn't dissect a frog in 7th grade with his teeth, and then decide to be a surgeon. "Nurse! Scapel! Homostick!--I mean, Heimleichostrobe!--Umm, that grabby thing! Sharpen my canines, Dr. Davey's GOING IN!!"

One of the (many) reasons I believe that there's life in the Universe, but not in UFOs, is that the UFO Aliens aren't all that alien. A Grey looks like a big human baby with wraparound sunglasses. Name ANY creature on Earth that looks more like a human than a Grey. The only reason an elephant doesn't look alien to us is because we've seen pictures of them all our lives. Otherwise, we'd be yelling Oh no! Babars from Space!
Aliens would evolve into something very unlike us. Check out this Alien Army of Clones from a science fiction story!

Okay. Just kidding. The "Aliens" are aphids.
With a life cycle a tad weirder and more imaginative than you ever saw on the "X-Files," though.

I posted an article about Modafinil, the drug that lets you (makes you?) stay awake for 40 hours at a time a while back. Here's a fascinating follow-up written while on the drug.
Me? I'd never use the stuff. I love sleep. I can see when it would have its uses to certain people. But like Ritalin and Prozac, this could be the next national "we'll find out the long-term side effects when the lawsuits do or don't start in a decade or two."

"Supersized bodies = dull minds." The key sentence here is "Thus, this column is a metaphor."


Mark St John, 15 year veteran of the US Special Forces and eighth degree Black Belt and little pudgy porkchop, made his first return visit today. Shirtless again, but grumpy and mumbly this time. He had a black eye, bruises all over his upper body, and a limp. And, no, I didn't ask. He was probably attacked by a 9th-degree Iraqi agent leading a mob of al Qaeda soldiers. Or, in his last demonstration of his Ninja skills, he fell down the stairs drunk.

From cruel.com, the worst toy ever. Take a look at that; there'll be more on the subject in this space either tomorrow or Sunday. Laziness infuses me tonight.

The best reviews are always of the worst movies!

This page is about...umm, Linux. Or something...


Forest fires are bad. Forest fires in lovely Canada are worse. Particulate atmospheric suspensions of Quebec forest fires are...umm, quite lovely, merci beaucoups.
Sunset of strawberry that turns to raspberry that turns to grape, with a cat purring to sleep as she's stroked...Very nice, indeed.

That Friskies CD is still in the player. Yes, I know that my liking it just represents my total conversion into a male Cat Lady. The songs are so generically titled, and the music so generic, period, that I'll bet that the Purina dog song CD has the same tracks. But it says that it's about cats, and that's good enough for me.
So there was no way that I wasn't going to buy The Cat Album after I'd read the Cool & Strange Music! review (scroll down to the scan). There are song samples on that first link, but damned if I could get any of them to play on my computer. I had to make do with some pics with lyrics of the kitties involved. (WARNING: there are heart-melting kittens! WARNING!)

"Sometimes I wonder if I can really love her
And is she mine for all her life
Sometimes it seems like I'm somehow married
Though I don't even have a wife"
Ah yes. The worst toy ever.
Yeah, what sick kid would own even ONE of these sadistic evil toys? The site jokes about how "maybe Jeffery Dahmer had these!" Any kid that owned even ONE of these twisted perversions MUST be FUCKED in the HEAD!
I had FIVE, thank you.
I got my first one for 2 reasons: Those horribly, horribly drawn ads were in my comic books, and caught my attention by their very incompetence, and the first kit I came across contained
a sabre-toothed rabbit!!
I saw that and just laughed and laughed. Sabre-toothed RABBIT! It would be a few more years before Monty Python introduced the world to another rabbit with a mean streak a mile wide. I probably would've saved my allowance and lawn-mowing money for better causes if it weren't for the instruction manual/mini-comic the thing came with.
The poorly-drawn comic book ad really makes the kits look tawdry and evil. Those ads may have been the real inspiration for the backlash. But the instructions were about as scary as the concept of a sabre-toothed rabbit. And VERY well drawn. I'm hardly an expert, but given that it was 1971, and it involved Vampirella, they look like they were drawn by no less a talent than 70s icon Frank Frazetta!
The mad scientist lab kits were made so that every other kit fit into the next, so I just kinda got sucked in. I ended up buying Dr Deadly just to complete the series. Never got any other figures, like the half-naked Vampirella or the three-quarters naked "Female Victim." I was unaware of BDSM 30 years ago.
All are gone now, as they fell into the category of "Things you would never throw away, but your parents, despite having much more storage space than you, decided to throw away without asking you if you wanted it first anyway" (this is a warning to you youngsters that read this--Your parents will ALWAYS throw it away if it has meaning to you, while keeping every last thing of theirs that will embarass you in later life). Although I do still have the sabre-tooth rabbit, its jar, and the rat that hangs off of it.
And all the instruction manuals. Here's the minicomic, and an excerpt from one of the manuals. (Long & slow if you have dialup like me)


Nothing for today, I'm afraid. Although the Mystery Artist of the Aurora Monster Scenes has been determined. Cut & pasted from the update to that page:

The Skateman link's funny, if you haven't read it yet. The letter page includes a reference to a comic dear to all our hearts.
Oh, and TV Guide names the worst shows in history. "There must be something about the name Jerry," begins the article, noting that they named Jerry Springer as the worst show, and in a separate list, Jerry Seinfeld as the best. Oddly, they don't extend the connection to the second-worst show of all time, involving a Jerry dear to all our hearts...
(And Pink Lady and Jeff!)
Well, that's all that I've got. Have a nice weekend.


Woo, here's less of an update than even yesterday. Hey, you're only getting anything thanks to Roger Clark: "I know you are out of the SHAWT thing, but here is a site from a guy who works at a local bookstore." First-class Primo SHAWTage!!


Sorry. I've had a poor week for linkage, and I'm not feeling creative enough to write anything of my own. Yeah, I suck. So all we gots is Corporatemofo's annotated version of Dumbya's Wall Street speech (you know--the one that's made the market crash all that much more during and since it):


Shouldn't that sign be in front of the White House?

I decided to use Jessica's wedding as an excuse to upgrade my digital camera. I would've done it a year ago, if the InExOb had lived. But it's just as well that I waited; a year in human terms is seven in technology years. The things just get better and cheaper.
I went to Circuit City on my break yesterday, wrote down the model numbers of every camera under $250, then Googled up me some info. A few reviews later and I was sold on the Kodak DX3600. It was described as idiot-proof, and my camera skills have been proof enough of what I am.
Best Buy was right across the street from Circuit City, so I stopped by today to compare prices. Four whole cents cheaper!! And only one teenaged clerk for the camera/phone/computer/peripherals department, and she had a customer. And she had to monitor the cooling rods in the nuclear reactor, too.
At Circuit City I got a joyless guy. Maybe he wasn't on commission, as most commission salespeople like $300 sales that take less than 5 minutes. But he must've been commission, as he knew all the accessories to push. All I wanted was the recharging/data transfer dock. He tried to sell me a memory card, because "There's only 8 megs of storage on the camera, so that means that you'd only get...[gears in brain try to mesh]...8 pictures on it."
Yeah. I don't know what part of that was the dumbest. That I'd want 1-meg sized jpegs on my site? That anyone would want a 1-meg picture of anything? That it took him that long to divide EIGHT by ONE?
Being a retail veteran, I cut him some slack and simply said that I'd wait and see if I needed one of them whatchamacallums, "mammary cords"? I could've been a jerk and told him that I'd done my homework, and the camera could hold 25 images at the highest quality.

I've mentioned before what a nice neighborhood the New Store is in. Our first regular customer was Leroy, who moved into the neighborhood the same day that we opened. He's one of those really laid-back, nice guys that can you can't picture getting mad. But he does.
Yesterday he was in his backyard and a panicky, shirtless guy ran into the yard. "What the fuck are you doing in my yard?!" yelled Leroy. "This is your yard?" answered the intruder. "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!" Leroy yelled as he shoved him into the bushes.
A little while later, he got a visit from the police. A misdemeanor charge of shoving the shirtless? No, the guy had just committed armed robbery at the gas station a hundred yards from here! Where I worked 20 years ago, by the way. And when I did, we'd drop every $50 worth of cash we got in the drawer into a safe in the floor. Great, you just stole enough cash to buy a carton of smokes. Fortunately for Leroy, his weapon was a BB gun.
(Note: I typed that at work; later, Leroy came in and said that, because this was at the store's closing time, the newspaper put the take at "between 200 and 300 dollars." WOW! Then it was worth it!)
His brilliant escape plan: Throw his shirt away to throw the police dogs off his trail! Of course, the dogs didn't have his scent until they sniffed the sweaty shirt. The dogs went straight to his house, where the cops found him at his kitchen table. Counting the money.
He'll most likely get a good 8 years in prison for that $250 he got with his BB gun.

More news from Manchester, CT's latest police blotter. Dolly Parton wigs CAN be used for Evil!

This year's Bulwer-Lytton Awards.

Only in Japan: Ox-tongue ice cream.

And you thought that Famous James had a hard time working at Borders...Ali Davis works in a porn store. They have a sticker that they put on the videos, and it ain't "Please Rewind." It's "LUBE WARNING." And, yeah, it's what you're thinking...
(If you read any of today's links, read that one. Funny, very well-written, and totally fascinating)

Speaking of Ali, Karl sends this page about the "classic" LP Muhammad Ali Vs Mr Tooth Decay. As good as it sounds. The highlights are the theme song (wherein Ali is accused of participating in all the events of the American Revolution--?!?) and the Fight Scene (Mr Tooth Decay has some bizarre foreign accent--DAMN FOREIGN TOOTH DECAYERS!).

Well, those links oughta make up for the last few days. Bon appetit, and don't bogart the squid ice cream!


From Randy "This is True" Cassingham's "Randy's Random" ML:
"There are 10 types of people in the world: those that understand binary, and those that don't."

Well, I was all excited about getting "The Cat Album," but if I'd been able to hear the song samples, I never would've bought it. I knew it was folky acoustic guitar, which I've never cared for. But the lyrics and the theme made me think that I'd like it--no, love it. It's not the lyrics; they're funny and real and very sincere. It's not the actual music, either; it's kinda catchy, and the lo-fi approach makes it more in tune with its personal subject matter, someone's love for his cat. But his voice! He's whiny and in some key I've never come across before. The guitar playing is more than competent, but WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE SQUEAKS?! His guitar constantly hits these terrible shrieking high notes--No, not notes; squeaks. They're really painful. One particularly loud one actually made me jump.
I smirked when I saw on his site that he's planning a "Cat Album Tribute" with the songs covered by other artists. That I might buy; the only real problem here is the performer. But I'm not buying unless I can get the song samples to work first.

Pretty amusing article on the coffee houses of Amsterdam, where no one goes to buy coffee, just toke up. "He switches the channel and I watch an entire episode of Cheers in Dutch. This does not strike me as a waste of time." And there's a white cat! And a mention of New Haven, here in CT! w00t! Just say No!

Why the Gummint's retarded "TIPS" squeal-on-your-terrorist-neighbors program will never work, based on what happened the LAST time they tried this, in the '60s.


Bill the Splut Factoid: I can only knot a tie if I'm facing a mirror, and not looking at my reflection.
The last time I was suit-and-tied was my father's funeral. At the time I wondered when the next time would be that I'd wear a suit, and thought: Jessica's wedding. Sure enough, a few days later, Jess told me that she was engaged. It was a sign of how much she'd changed since we'd first met that it was she who popped the question.
She used to be a doormat in a very bad relationship. She was with Charlie, who was total white trash. He was her first boyfriend, despite the fact that with her looks, she could have any guy she wanted. But she answered "No" when the doctor asked her if she was on any medication that time she had a bladder infection; stupid doctor should've pointed out to a teenager that "medication" included birth control pills. Jess is pro-choice, but her personal choice was to have Jacqueline. And it was a good choice; she's a great kid with a mother who deeply loves her. But it was a choice that meant she'd stay with Charlie.
Charlie is, was, and always will be, an asshole.
He was verbally abusive to her. I'm sorry, but Daddy should not be calling Mommy a "c**t" IN FRONT OF THEIR 4-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER. He never hurt her, but he was always going into rages and smashing her things. Those Snow Baby figurines her parents bought for her and Jacqueline, at $200 each? SMASH. The VCR? SMASH. All those dents and dings in Jessica's car? Charlie's fists and feet.
I fucking hated Charlie. Everyone hated Charlie. Jess would tell these stories, and I'd see everyone tell her that Charlie was an asshole. But that would just put her in the position of defending him. You can't get someone out of an abusive relationship by yelling at them.
There are other ways.
We worked together 20 hours a week, and I chose a new part-time job for myself. I wanted her away from Charlie as quick as possible, but I knew that "quick" was going to be relative. I had to bad-mouth him at every opportunity, but never let on that that's what I was doing. She had to make up her mind herself, or it wasn't going to happen. So I spent nine months subtly turning her against him. Not by any devious lying or anything. When she'd tell me these awful stories, I'd listen sympathetically and then shake my head. "It's too bad that your daughter has to be raised seeing stuff like that." Jessica is a natural chatterbox, but she'd be quiet for 5 or 10 minutes after that, thinking.
You'd think that you wouldn't have to build up the self-esteem of a woman as beautiful as Jess, but that's part of what makes her cool. She knows that her looks are her looks, and not her self. That attitude kept her from being a stuck-up bitch, but it also dragged her down. I took every chance I'd get to compliment her on her growing sense of independence.
It took a long time, but it worked. I have to give credit where credit is due; it wouldn't've worked if Charlie had stopped being an asshole. Thanks, Chuckles!
I feigned amazement when Jess swore me to secrecy and told about the guy she wanted to date: our co-worker Ron. Gosh, it was odd how I'd always talk about what a cool guy Ron was! Heh.
And today they were wed. Allow me to high-five myself.

Bill the Splut Factoid: I forgot which side of the aisle the bride's friends sit. But, hell, I was an integral part of getting Ron together with her, so whatever.
It was at Saint Bridget's, and it was the most Irish Catholic church this side of the Atlantic. I would've been creeped out if I'd gone there as a kid; under the stained glass were bas-relief statues in alcoves depicting the stations of the Cross. It started with "Jesus Condemned to Death," and had every fall, whipping, stabbing and nailing depicted. And it ended up not with the Resurrection, but with his corpse being tossed into a Roman dumpster. The symbol carved into the pulpit was a crown of thorns. Nice.
Jessica forgot every line that she was supposed to say. The priest had to feed her her lines. It was cute.
I'm writing in this weird interstice between wedding and reception. Maybe more later.

"The Cat Album" is much better on the second listen, now that I know what to expect. His voice is whiny, but in that Neil Young kind of way, so it's not so bad.
The song "Kitty Likes to Play With Her Mouse All Day" just came on, and guess who awoke from her nap, wandered in here, and requested a few tossed mice?


Too tired to type today.

The Portal of Evil Gonterman Forum. Link via a page I never read.

Interesting review of a book titled Into The Buzzsaw, about how the Free Press in America really isn't.

The Carl Comics, and MONKEY TOWN.

Well, I'm off to see this movie.


Kill Kill knows what needles are for.
She's been to the vet maybe 5 or 6 times in 3 years, but she knows she's at the vet while we're in the parking lot. And, man, she knows what a needle is, making a weird angry/scared sound at the sight of them. But not making a peep while getting her booster shots.
There was a big smelly dog with no tail in the waiting room. It panted and looked continually at KK. She kept her eyes on the giant from her carrier, making a low growly noise that I have never, ever heard before. I kept both my hands on the carrier while I sat on the bench, and if Mr Smelly No-Tail got too interested, he was getting a pair of Converse Hi-Tops in his face. But dogs know they're going to the vet, too, and all he wanted was what Killsy wanted: H-O-M-E.
She's 2 or 3 pounds overweight, and has developed a slight heart murmur, so guess who's on the Iams weight loss formula from now on.

Quick reviews:
Third time's the charm with The Cat Album. Ignore what I first said and go buy it. If nothing else, you can get strange looks from your co-workers when you sing "Ear Mites On The Run."

The odds of you seeing Monsoon Wedding are probably slim. Ebert reviewed it back in March, but it didn't make it here until yesterday. It was really entertaining. It's set in modern-day India, and it's a romantic comedy about--umm, a wedding. In the rain. Maybe you guessed that much.
It's an arranged wedding between a bride and groom who've never met. Of course, he's a traditionalist jerk, and she finally gets to marry her true love while he gets his comical comeuppance.
That'd be the mainstream Hollywood treatment. He's an ex-pat computer programmer from Dallas, and it was her idea for an arranged marriage, as her "true love" is married and stringing her along. And she's not even the focus of the film; the wedding is a setting for several other story lines. It's like an Altman film in that way.
The main character is her father, trying not to go crazy or too much into debt over the wedding. The most engaging storyline involves the wedding planner "King" Dubey, a fast-talker with a cel phone and a growing sadness over the fact that it's never his wedding--until he meets Alice, the family's maid. And there's a romance between an Aussie Indian and an Indian from America, and a clash between two family members over an old secret, and the son's wish to be a cook, and...well, there's a lot in one 2-hour movie. A GREAT soundtrack. And while it's a "comedy," there's seriousness and nothing happens that couldn't happen in Real Life. And, if you care to look for it, an underlying theme about the importance of family, and having the personal courage to say the things that you don't have to say, but really must.
It's the only movie I've ever been to that not one person left their seats, from teens to seniors, when the credits rolled. You're probably not lucky enough to have the range of art theaters that little Connecticut has, so look for it on video.

Long review, and not by me, but Christine Berkes. She actually admits that she paid money to see a movie she calls "Reign of my Ass":

You have nightmare more than good dream: The Hello Kitty Psychological Stress Test. And it's NOT A JOKE. My result was(Play it again, the weird questions change each time)

There are SANE PEOPLE IN THE GOVERNMENT! How did THAT happen? Dick Armey SPITs on TIPS. And there was much rejoicing.

There are crazy people in every government. Okay, that balances the last bit out. "Under pressure from their citizens, governments around the world are increasingly abandoning the hands-off attitude they initially had toward the Internet. They are now applying their laws far beyond their borders." Scary.



Remember that robbery-at-BB-gunpoint back on 7/18, where the idiot crook ran through Leroy's backyard before getting caught minutes later? Leroy had told me that it was a guy I'd probably recognize, as he lived in the neighborhood. I don't know about that, I said, I only know the people who shop here.
Looks like it'll be 8 to 12 years before I have any more funny stories about Mark St John, Super Green Beret Incompetent Thief.

Crack for cat lovers. What makes it is not just the cute pictures of the cats, but the accompanying stories. Even if a few seem a tad too neat--I mean, a cat caught his tail on fire, and he didn't notice? How could you not notice that you were on fire?

We've had some humid days this year, but yesterday was the worst yet. You shouldn't sweat just putting on your pants. Kill Kill had a body-wide mohawk.
A cold front was due to come through during the afternoon, dropping the temperature 25 degrees. And that meant: Giant-Ass Thunderstorms. And right around 330, the sky went black. To the northeast, I could see bolts crashing non-stop. Some were the kind that hit the ground, go back up, and come down the same jagged path again. This wasn't making me happy; I live northwest of here, in Vernon. Poor Killsy must be terrified. And I had a brief worry--The condo is at the top of a hill. What if it or a tree got hit, and caught on fire? Well, it was raining so hard I could barely see across the street. Maybe that'd put it out.
The storm lasted an hour, but it didn't stop raining. The radio reported that thousands were without power. They listed the affected towns, and Vernon wasn't one of them.
I came up to the intersection nearest my condo. The stoplight was out. I could see that my complex was dark. Great. And the brief worry flared up--At the foot of my driveway were fire trucks and cop cars blocking the road! But they were with the power company, and they were fixing the lines knocked down by the storm.
Power had been out for 4&1/2 hours already. That's a long time for where I live, as I'm on the same part of the power grid as the police station, the old folks home, and a National Guard combat engineer unit. They get their power back first. But I dug out the radio and the candles and the hurricane lamp that I keep ready for just such emergencies anyway. I made sure that the last two were out of the reach of curious cats.
What did people do in the days before electricity when it got dark? They went to bed. Me, I practiced such quaint olde-timey activites as transmitting my ScanTrack UPC scanner data and rewiring the back of the TV (Ah, so that's why the things been screwed up since I got rid of cable; this wire goes here, not there), and test the flash on that camera that I bought for Jessica's wedding (and forgot at home):

No light on the first, only the hurricane lamp's light in the second (the lamp is nearly invisible on the stereo).

And half an hour later, on came the lights.
Waitaminnit--I can see the outside lights of the building down the hill, but where's my power? VCRs and answering machines should be checking themselves, the stereo should come on, and every electronic device should be 12:00ing. This makes no sense.
I waited 15 minutes, then went outside. The whole neighborhood had power, but only two of the ten buildings in my complex. I called the after-hours number for the condo association. I got a call back from the property manager in minutes, which was impressive. Less so was his apparent inability to grasp what was going on. I had to tell him 3 times, no, it's not a unit without power, it's 8 buildings. The power company's gone, so obviously something's wrong on this end. "Are you on the board of directors?" Huh? No, I live here, and I'm the only one with the observational skills to notice that something's screwy.
Another hour goes by. No sign of an electrician. I pull out my diagram of the complex, trying to see if there's a main fusebox listed. Nope, but there's one a coupla units down. In my best Scooby Doo style, I go down there with my flashlight. Nothing seems to be tripped, although the puddle of water covering the floor doesn't bode too well. I was kind of hoping that the problem would be a handyman wearing a monster mask, but no such luck.
I was getting sick of the smell of the oil in the hurricane lamp, so I lit a candle and put it near the window so that the wax didn't smell. I hear the neighbors across the hall coming home, so I wave the flashlight into the hall and scare the crap out of them. Boo! I give them the phone number and suggest that they call; the more people they hear from, the quicker they'll do something about this.
I sit down in the computer room, and Kill Kill saunters in. She jumps in the window. And lays down on the candle. Which goes out with a *poof* and a cloud of burnt hair smoke. The cat's on fire! And she doesn't know it!
"GET DOWN!!" I shriek. She jumps down, and I shriek "COME BACK!" She runs away as I try to assess her damages. A big black singe on her outer fur, but not a mark below that.
The neighhbors pick now to knock on the door. The don't have any way to read the phone number I gave them, and they ask for a match. They must've wondered what all the yelling was, so I explained "Now it's my turn to freak out! The cat was on fire! She's okay she's okay [he says more to calm himself than them], but please call the guy before any more pets start burning!"
Naturally, the next instant my phone rings. It's the property manager again, again asking if this is a unit or the complex that has no power. He says he's sending out an electrician.
And so we wait, me and Smokey the Cat. Wait an hour and a half. And then two power company trucks, one a huge cherrypicker, rumble and wheeze up the hill, and park in front of my unit. A worker gets out and runs to the next unit over. It's good that they're finally here, but it's bad, as no doubt the electrician came and saw that the problem was more severe than flicking a tripped switch. So, like the people before electricity, I go to bed. Kill Kill the Extra-Crispy Cat joins me.
I hear voices from the living room at 4AM. It's some public radio talk show; the power had come back on after being out for 12 hours.
Excuse me, I have two days worth of mail to read now.

Good night from Bill the Splut and AsbestO the Fire-Eating Cat.


If I was still doing the InExOb, I'd be really mad right now. I saw a sign on the way to Jessie's wedding that I wanted to take a picture of, but couldn't, having forgotten the camera. I went back today, and the sign was gone. Well, you can figure out what inappropriate adjective made it memorable from the context (and the italics):

"DUDE! My 'rents are sending me to XTREME SUMMER BIBLE CAMP! That is SO RAD! I'll bring MAD SKILZ to my WITNESSING! I'll read Leviticus from a ragin' MOUNTAIN BIKE! I'll bungee-jump on a GIANT ROSARY! I'll be shreddin' on my skateboard until I get STIGMATA! There'll be a mosh pit where we bust out to Christian rock while self-flagellating with MAJOR 'TUDE! I'll get a full-body baptism in a lake of MOUNTAIN DEW!"
"Whoa, dude! I think it's called that cause it's like XTREMELY BORING."
"Dude. Bummer."

Some guy did an annoying article titled "7 things never to tell your customers." Annoying, in that they were the usual petty whines nonretail workers have. He added to it with the incredibly dumb "This is not my department" line. Look, try working in a department store. I started saying that line after abandoning trying to help people outside of the music/video department. I'd explain what department I worked in and warn them that I really don't know anything about TVs or washing machines, but I'd do my best. And soon, they'd get all pissed at my lack of knowledge about things I had no reason to know. The coda was always a snippy "Well, you don't know much of anything, do you?" "I know the music and video departments, that's why I work there," although I wanted to say, "I know how to be polite, you asshole. Sorry I tried to help a loser like like you. I won't make that mistake again."
At any rate, that same author got some email pointing out that the customer is usually wrong. And he listed 7 things customers shouldn't say. Of course, he condescendingly tells any retail readers what they should say in return, from his extensive lack of experience. Thanks, guy.

There's a new Mel Gibson movie coming out, Signs. It's about the unholy terror of crop circles. Those have been so proven to be hoaxes that it's like making a movie about the $250 Nieman-Marcus cookie recipe. Here's sci-fi writer Ben Bova on crop circles and the media.

Speaking of dumbasses, some local retards want to ban SATANIC! childrens' books of the Harry Potter stripe from the local library. "They also object to students taking a field trip to Salem, Mass., despite the fact that accused witches didn't exactly prosper in that place. If they were objecting to the deaths of innocent victims of hysteria and intolerance, you might be sympathetic; instead, they object that the students might become witches themselves from the bus trip. Does that happen a lot? I must have missed it."

What, "Intelligent Design" (which isn't intelligent) wasn't enough for the Right Wing? Now they're all about Sound Science, which is all about boosting the ultimate white meat, Political Pork.

Well, let's have a return to rationality with this USNews article on Evolution. Evo-Devo!!

"It almost gives you a good reason to name your kid something bland," Mr. Holtzman said. "You are doing them a good favor by doing that." Google vs privacy vs being named something painfully mayo like "Bill Young." Of course, they can still find me via the Splut handle.
Link via someone with a distinctive name who's smart enough to not use it online. And you won't hear her real one from me.


This is only a test of the GontAlert System. Had this been a real Gontermergency, the SCHOTZ would of hit the FAN and youd' alll be PHRACKED!!!
Weirdly-drawn square hats off to the Maestro! Planeswalker is on episode seven, and it's already infuckincomprehensible. Now what's funnier, his humor strip or his serious one? I'll go with the latter, as I have no idea what that unparsable last word balloon is supposed to mean in the former. Another near word-for-word homage to (ie, rip-off of) Calvin & Hobbes again? Maybe the "serious" strip is his homage/rip to/of Itchy & Scratchy, what with the buckets of blood and the smashed face. And I thought that Magic:TG was supposed to be a nonviolent game.
Daveykins earns his h4Xor sk177z again; every panel of Planeswalker opens in a new window with no "next" button, so you open a new window, read it, close it, go back to the menu, open another window, repeat until give up on the whole phrackin' process. Pure g3nius, that man. He's the X-10 Spy Camera pop-under ad of online cartooning!

Man, but a lot of online comics suck. That Gontermange looked even worse to me yesterday, as I'd looked at a pair of other online comics, namely this Bruno the Bandit, and this As If! beforehand. Look (if you can stand to) at the Gontermesses, and then look at each of those. These aren't just "people who can really draw," these are people with a great eye for dramatic compostion, perspective and storytelling. Take special note of As If!--Note the details, like the mascot on the banner, the girl on the guy's shoulders, the flowers on the dress. And those perfectly paced word balloons, and that cinematic sweep and zoom. Three characters, feeling three different emotions, and you can tell what two of them are feeling without a word of dialogue.
Do I care what happens next in Planeswalker? Only far enough to mock it. Do I want to know what's going on inside the heads of As If!'s characters? Damn straight.

I don't think that there's a single newspaper comic strip that you can't find online. If you aren't looking at any of these sites, here's a quick overview of the syndicate's sites and the comics that I read. If I don't list your favorite, believe me, it's on one of these sites.

Universal Press. Most of the heavy hitters.

United Media. Most of the rest of the big strips.King Features. Most of the remaining major strips, and all of the dinosaurs.I was going to finish up with a couple of obvious links, such as Salon's comics (ATC!), and an old friend and also a long-dead one, Pokey the Penguin. "If you've never read the strangest and funniest comic, check out Pokey!" I was going to say. It stopped updating over a year ago, but there's still an archive of 365 strips. BIF! NO! There are now 390 STRIPS! INDEED, Old Bean!! And so ends our adventure, as there is Pokey anew!


I got home, gave the cat her requisite noogies, and turned on Doug Newman's "Cat Album" CD. I fired up the computer (it's coal-burning), fed Kill Kill her most favorite of wet cat food, Friskies Turkey Dinner With Gravy. Unlike all her other faves, this is not only unstinky, but actually edible-looking to human eyes. Guess that I should stock up on it for my retirement years.
Emptied my Junk Mail folder in Hotmail, then deleted all the spam that made it into my Inbox despite the filters. Only two new messages were left, one titled "Re: CD Baby sale: DOUG NEWMAN: The Cat Album." Probably just them following up on my purchase, I thought, and so I didn't read the "From" line.
I've already given you my reasons why you should buy this CD. Here's another: Doug Newman is a nice guy! How do I know? The email was from him, offering me a free copy of the latest version of The Cat Album! I understand that my current copy is a CD-R with artwork run off of a home printer, and he admits that the only difference is a new version of one song and improved artwork. But I've never heard of an artist doing this before, and you know there's NO FUCKIN' WAY that any RIAA member megaconglomerate would ever do that. They'd rerelease the CD with a new version of a song alrighty, but they'd expect you to pay $18.99 list to get the damn thing.
I accepted his offer, and counter-offered to send him a check to cover his costs. It never hurts to be nice back to a nice guy. (Note: Don't go ordering the CD hoping that he'll send you a freebie. The "Re:" was an autoresponder from CD Baby to Doug, and it included the line "IMPORTANT: We now have 1 copies left in stock. PLEASE SEND MORE NOW!")
You [no, not YOU, person reading this, I mean a certain kind of person] can be as fashionably oh-so Po-Mo and sneer at a guy who records a sincere and sweet and funny tribute about his love for his kitty as much as you want. Not everything warrants sneering at in the name of proving yourself cooler than it. And doing anything to prove to somebody else that you're Cool just means that you suck.

The other email was from Jason Rock:

So...Gonterman's "Lamie and Welphare" is going to be a copy of another comic that's funny, then made into an inscrutable in-(non)-joke? Yeah, that seems like his style.

Karl of the daily changed walking gait submits an album titled "Songs about my Cats": "Aaron Funk sounds like the bully that beat up Doug Newman at recess." Aaron Funk sounds like he sticks forks in a blender for a pleasing musical backdrop. Try a few lo-fi samples of his fine work, and look at the picture of his cat on the page. The cats probably get that expression every time he turns on a piece of musical equipment.
(Killsy sleeps by the speakers when Newman's on; she demanded to go outside when I played Mr Funk)

A cartoon on How to smoke pot and get away with it, via the always-entertaining Alt-Log.

A sidebar I spotted on the...side of that comic's bar, Farting Robots and Shitting Ducks. "The first of a new, biweekly column on science from the author of The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace and Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars." Glad I saw this on its first appearance, as this is funny, arcane, and informative. My kind of science column! (And sign the damn Futurama petition after you're done--not likely to bring it back, but WTPhrack)

Doppelgangers, Guardian Angels, and Phantom Limbs.

And now, for the scary part of our show...
Ever order pizza and pay with a credit card? The FBI knows who you are. Oh, wait, it doesn't matter if you didn't:

Almost every citizen in America. George Orwell should've named that novel 2001.



Doug Newman remains cool, refusing my offer of a check to cover his costs. I know those costs are only a CD-R, postage, and his time, but still.

Apparently, sometime in the last month Zippy the Pinhead started posting the Sunday strips.

WWJD? Actually, What Does Jesus Do? Two thousand years of free time, you'd think He'd have a hobby or something. Apparently, He's busy stalking Oprah. Oh, those wacky Galileans!


Eh. Nothing much today.
I saw an ad in the paper for Cat's Meow Comics in the next town over. How depressing. There was virtually no stock in the store, despite all the stuff listed on the webpage. The owner at the counter had the forced chattiness of someone with a lot on his mind. Like mounting debt. Even the comics selection was limited. I bought a faux Beanie Baby (a little pink-nosed white cat! Bet that surprises you) and a page of "Futurama Pop-Out People," little stand-up cardboard cut-outs of the characters. It had the two cops, who are such minor characters that I didn't even realize that they had names. Why not Zap Brannigan and Kif? The background (one of two; I'll never find out what the other one is, as I don't plan to open it) included a New New York department store named "Alien Overlord & Taylor," and a dog chasing a cat--through the air, both wearing rocket packs.
I went to MEGADOLLAR, which kind of sounds like something that would fight Godzilla. They had the required USA Number One! flag-themed trinkets at the front of the store. And right behind that, on the main front endcap, framed pictures with Islamic themes, such as a picture of the Ka'aba. There's a juxtaposition I haven't seen since 9/10.
I bought my umpteenth electrical socket expander, which had this on the back:

God Bless America, and Mao Bless China's Industrious Prison Population! I kinda doubt that "package designed in U.S.A." claim, as we're told on the front that it "HOL DS3 CORDS." Unless Gonterman is their proofreader.
I also bought some fridge magnets (bet that surprises you), themed on a casino--roulette wheels, dice, cards, one-armed bandits. Just the thing to hold your "PAST DUE" and "FINAL NOTICE" letters on the fridge while you go down to the casino *just one more time*. And "SUPER FIGHTER Remote Control Air Combat Command (battery operated). With different modes, collect them all!"

Despite the heroic American and Russian fighter jets, these are not fighter jets. Or fighters. Or battery operated. They're wind-up helicopters. And the different modes are red and green. And they're piloted by...

The Richard Scarry Air Force!
"Huckle to Lowly Worm! Huckle to Lowly Worm! Bogey at 4 O'clock! DIVE! DIVE!"
"Dive? How?! Why am I even flying a fucking plane?! I have no arms! Just a foot!"
"Bananas Gorilla! Cover Lowly's ass!"
"AUUGGHH! He got me, that damn Kraut bastard! AAAUUUGGGHHH--"
"LOWLY! They got Lowly!"
"BWA HAH HAH! Now you vill ALL die! Today, Germany, tomorrow--BUSYTOWN!"
"BARON RUDOLPH VON FLUGEL! You'll PAY for this, or my name isn't MR FRUMBLE!" (pickle-shaped plane immediately slams into a barn and explodes)
'BWA HAH HAH! Ze pig is der inferior uff der Aryan Fox-Man!"
"OOK OOK!" Ratatatat!
"Bananas! Pull up! PULL UP!"
(BANANAS banana-shaped fighter takes heavy damage to the rear flaps and begins burning, leaving a yellow banana-y cloud)
"BASTARD! Try your NAZI CHUCKLE while you get KNOCKED-ZI by HUCKLE!" Ratatatat!
"Gott in Himmel, but that's a really lame one-liner. I am der SUPERIOR RACE! Der FOX-MAN!" Ratatatat! And BOOM BOOM! (he's got 20MM cannons, too!)
"I'm HIT!"
"HAH HAH, oh boy I love my job. And now--HELL COMES TO BUSYTOWN!"
"Didn't expect to see ME after the raid on the Ploesti Oil Fields, did you, von Flugel?!"
"ACH, NEIN! Oh, I'm dead. Todt on toast." BOOOOM!!
(The Richard Scair Force lands)
"I'm--I'm okay!"
"LOWLY! You're okay!"
"What, you got a dick in your ear? I just SAID that!"
(all laugh)
"You said it, Bananas! Hey, where's Mr Frumble?"
"Umm...he's around." (sets up a shack named "LOWLY WORM'S HOT HAM STEAKS TO GO")
"You know what, Hilda? This was the BEST AERIAL DOGFIGHT OF WORLD WAR TWO EVER!!"

On a more serious note: I've been comparing Bush since 9/11 to "1984" almost since it happened. Hey, it's not just me: George W. Bush channels George Orwell.


Spam, spam, spam, spam...
RED WHITE AND BLUE offers me a "Patriotice Discover Card." Patriotice...Is that star-spangled licorice?
Spam source: Mexico. "USA, NUMERO UNO! USA, NUMERO UNO!"

While using the scanner yesterday, I glanced at the 1956 calendar behind it. The picture is cool (a 50s babe wearing lipstick that looks like it was applied with a paint roller), but the real reason I bought it was because it was for "Bill's Package Store." It made me think of that poor guy at Cat's Meow Comics. That store was his lifelong dream--and the dream of his wife, the "Cat" part of the business plan. There were drawings for sale, obviously by a talented but preteen kid. Their kid? Was this store the kid's dream, too?
It saddens me when a small business fails, even if it was one of the many that I drove by at Grand Opening thinking, "That kind of store here? They're doomed." It sucks to fail at anything. But how does it feel to fail at your dream?
And out of the blue today, one of the owners asked me if I wanted to buy the New Store.
"Yeah, I've got like $7 on me," I said. But he wasn't joking! He was offering me the same deal he and his brother got at the start of their ownership. It's all paper; a kind of a mortgage. If it fails ("it" meaning "me"), they get it back.
Dunno. This is certainly the only chance I'll ever have to make enough money to eventually buy a house. But, while I can run a store without even blinking, there's a big difference between running a store and running a business. And the prospect of working 6 days a week with no vacations for 25-30 years doesn't exactly thrill me.
If the store was attached to a house, damn, I'd sign up in a second.

You know that "1984" link yesterday, which pointed out that novel's/Dumbya's insistence on Endless Undefined War? Bush declares War on the Entire World, enemies to be named later. "We owe it to our future to use our standing and our might and our wealth to define the 21st century as one which will be peaceful," he says, in his "Earth vs the Flying Bushes" invade-them-all speech.
"'It seems to be very contradictory to the last story they wrote, where someone somewhere very deep thought they knew something about something,' Fleischer added." No, he's not talking about Bush. Whatever the hell he's trying to say.

Omigod! If I owned a business, that'd mean I'd have to VOTE REPUBLICAN!!


And how was your holiday?
What do you mean, "What holiday"?! The most important national holiday in Splutopia! The highest of holy days in the Splutstianity calendar! That most frabjous and Spluttiest of days, the 31st of July! The day that the entire world changed!
The day the cat moved in!
Three years. I can't believe it.
I can still picture that beautiful moment...She'd been transported to the liquor store from the house of the two brothers that worked there, and fallen asleep. I hope she likes me, I thought, and then looked down to see that she'd awakened, walked past the two guys she'd literally spent every second of her life with, and planted her tiny paws on my foot and looked up. "What do we do next?" she seemed to ask.
And to think that I'd never believed in love at first sight before.

The "Left Behind" books. Interesting article, but it doesn't pursue its most interesting point: Do Ashcroft, Bush and Rumsfeld actually buy into this shit? What with their insistence that we invade Iraq, a country that these works of fiction use as the base of SATAN?
In the meantime, the chief UN weapons inspector says that Iraq "is unlikely to share those arms with terror groups like al-Qaida," which is the exact opposite of what Bush says. Someone's either very misinformed--or lying. In the meantime again, Dumbya's insisting that al Qaida is creating "Super cells," in which bin Laden sends a plucky crew of Fundamentalist nutballs into space on a home-made rocket, and they get caught in a cosmic ray storm, and they return to Earth with superpowers. The Fanatic Four!! Mr Plastic-explosive, with the power of exploding! (once) The Human Torch That Screams AAAAAAH!, with the power of bursting into flame! (once) The Invisible-to-Islamic-Society Girl, who hides under her burqa! (for centuries) And The Thing! (That Bush Hopes He Can Milk Until 2004) Funny how OUR OWN FBI says that al Qaida doesn't have the thousands of members that Dumbya claims, but "less than 200," including the ones already held at Gitmo. Someone's either very misinformed--or lying.
And Mr "I'm So Tough On Corporate Crime, Especially Crimes That Me & Dick Aren't Guilty Of" Bush started gutting the Corporate Crime bill within HOURS of signing it. Someone's either very misinformed--or fucking America up the ass.