As Refreshing as an Ice-Cold Can of Coca-Cholera

NEW 4.4

"Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
--Henry James


      My 10 days of vacation got off to a roaring start, as I slept until 2PM and then gassed up the car. And that's it. But that's also exactly what I wanted to do, and that's what vacay's all about, yes?
      It's a drab, rainy day anyway, and tomorrow promises to be drearier and rainier. Dunno what I'm going to do tomorrow. Maybe something page-related. Dunno. One other thing I accomplished today was this. My old start page was's click-for-charity page, but that whole site vanished into the ether earlier this week. So I collected the links into a barebones format. It's nothing exciting, but it only takes (and costs) a couple of minutes to click through them all. So do it, damn you, every day.

       Why cats meow. Sadly, no explanation as to why Kill Kill says "brrriiIP!" when she jumps on the bed when I'm getting ready for work, and only then.

      Via Boing Boing--The UNH! Project, "A collection of guttural moans from comics." It's really, really funny, and proof that your page doesn't have be a big fancy hi-tech one to be great fun.

      Speaking of comics that elicit guttural groans...

      Where to start, where to start...Okay, I "get" the last panel, although I refuse to call it a "punchline." Okay, show of hands--Who has a life preserver in their house? I have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but I don't have a parachute by the Lay-Z-Boy or side-mounted airbags on the toilet.
      I don't expect realism from a comic with characters that have survived despite having no mouths with which to eat, but really, how damn quick did that one tiny leak fill up the basement? Why's Ferd just STANDING there? Can't he climb the stairs? Is he being held in place by a squid or something?
      The ultimate "What the hell's going on here?" question is... "!!! !!" The joke last panel is that Ferd Jr throws a life preserver rather than...WHAT?! What the hell does Ferdtard WANT him to do? Hand him his fuckin' chapeau? I realize that it's hard to communicate with no mouth, but what's the kid supposed to do? Point out the stairs Ferd could simply walk up and out? Get the Pool Shock? A rubber duckie? Call Jacques Cousteau? "I zaw zee mighty sea Ferd, calling out hees mighty cry of '!!! !!'" I DON'T GET STUPID FERD'NAND!!


      "Bill, you're on vacation! Where are those endlessly long posts about nothing that you usually crank out?" you ask. "They're ever so different from your usual very short posts about nothing!" Well, I do have a life, y'know. I have a very busy schedule of knocking shit to the floor to keep up with. Just now, I took a beer out of the fridge and knocked a bottle of milk to the floor, which, of course, exploded all over the place. Not the thing you want spilt when the weather's warm. A week ago, I went to get a beer and dropped that as soon as I opened it (and it was my first one, not the tenth). I grabbed a paper towel off the wall rack, which caused the entire rack to pop off and dump the contents of its top shelf onto the floor--

      --All of which were breakable. It was one of those moments where you just stand there cringing, afraid to look. But not a single thing broke. I would've been particularly bummed if the breakage was either the Aquarena mini-mug (looks like it's from the 1950s), or that oversized shotglass next to it (it has a crest representing Finland on one side, and another for Spain on the other...Huh? That's like a cup with Maine and Florida on it). And a few days before that, the Xmas lights that hang in the living room went dead, and I pulled on it to see if I could jiggle it back to life. That pulled a glass shelf atop the 7-foot-high CD case off, which OF COURSE was also holding many breakables. And none of those broke, not even the shelf. The shelf had its fall broken by

      my Spray Doc Sprayer, a bug killer that survived in one piece since 1966 until being guillotined.
      But I'll put my path of destruction on hold long enough to write.

      I meant to post yesterday, but yeah, I was sick again. I never get sick when the doctor's office is open and I'm motivated to call and make an appointment. Then the next day, I'm fine and think I'll stay that way. It did only last a few hours this time, even if it came from nowhere. "Huh, I feel kinda not goo--" and wham bam, dry heaves ma'am. Then the lovely Lily IMed me. Somehow the conversation turned from our mutual pummeled ribs to our weights, and I mentioned that mine was a bit lower than normal, "But I've been sick." "Thanks for reminding me!" said Bill's stomach. "Time for my gorge to rise and shine!" and Whoops, I did it again. But enough merry banter about vomit!

      Saturday, after causing a bookcase to fall out the window and onto several neighbors, I watched a couple of Goodies episodes, and then a movie I'd been saving up for quite a while, Adaptation. It made every critic's Best of 2002 list, and I was a big fan of Jonze and Kaufman's last mindfuck, Being John Malkovich. I love movies like that or Memento where you have no clue where the fim's going to go. All the reviews mentioned that there was a twist in the last 20 minutes that you'd never expect! And they were right. 90 minutes into it, I sure wasn't expecting it to start sucking. And I did kinda predict the twist, after one line is spoken in a bar. I thought, "I hope that this doesn't turn into a normal Hollywood movie," but it did. Ebert said that you could read the ending more than one way, and you can, but you can read any movie any which way if you put your mind to it. In one of Danny Peary's Cult Movie books, he wrote a 5 page essay detailing the subversive commentary on 1950s America, Cold War politics and the arms race that was the subtext of Plan 9 From Outer Space. In a later book, he mentioned how many angry letters he received from people "defending" the movie as just a piece of meaningless crap. Apparently, the letter-writers were so incensed that they didn't read the last sentence of the essay: "Just kidding."
      For some reason, Adaptation explained its title twice in the movie. One of the Goodie episodes never even mentioned its amusing title. (Christ! I just took a beer from the fridge, and it was so cold it partially froze. Meaning that as I popped it open, it sprayed beer all me. Maybe that's why I've been sick lately--it's my latent mutant power to wreck shit emerging) In the Goodies ep, the governments of the world find a way to solve all of the world's problems: At midnight on Christmas Eve, they're going to blow the whole world up (or so we're told by a radio voice that sounds suspiciously like that of Graeme the Mad Scientist Goodie). The name of the episode is "Earthanasia." Unfortunately, midnight is only 30 minutes away. Impressively, it looks like it was filmed in one half-hour take on one set, with a ticking clock visible on the wall. Bill the Irresponsible Goodie's plans to have one final 30 minutes of debauchery never materialize, largely due to Tim the Repressed Goodie's neurotic obsession with his bellybutton. Time runs out, and Graeme fearfully counts down the last few seconds before midnight, and then--nothing happens. "'The world blows up at midnight'!" laughs Graeme. "You should've seen the look on your faces!" Tim and Bill grin sheepishly as they realize they've been had, and ask in relief, "So...what did you do then?" "I set the clock ahead! Only about 30 seconds though." Then the world explodes when it really is midnight. Now there's a twist.

      Sunday I watched the last of the Goodies DVD. I went Googling, trying to de-bamboozle myself over the plot--What, men and women couldn't legally disco dance together in 1979 England?! All I could find were references to the show. One was a link to Jump the Shark, a site I'd heard of but never visited. TV and message boards, I'd thought, two drab tastes that taste uninteresting together. And there is a lot of wasted space there, unless you really want to know some semiliterate monkey's opinion on exactly when "Blossom" went downhill. Of course, that didn't stop me from reading the Goodies entry. Everybody had contradictory ideas on which season was the best or worst. Since I was in the "G" menu, I clicked on "Gilligan's Island." There had to be 300 entries there, and every other one pointed out that the show sucked because "They sure had a lot of clothes for a 3 hour tour!" and "The Professor could do anything except fix a boat!" Y'know, once the 100th person has said the exact same thing while acting like they're the first to discover a flaw in the Theory of Relativity, it gets old. Don't people read the other entries before they post? (No, which is why I generally don't like message boards and why you'll never see a Comments link here. Give some people the option to post immediately and anonymously, and you get garbage. Make them go the extra step of sending an email, and you get something better) I mean, I knew that stuff when I was watching it as a litle kid, but I also knew that I wasn't watching a documentary. It was just a goofy comedy. I enjoyed Superman, too, although I knew that if I took my glasses off, no one in the room was going to get confused and ask me, "Hey, stranger! Where'd Bill go?" Which got me to thinking about just plain bad TV shows, and how many were listed on the site. Turns out, they all were except the particular one I'd just thought of. Unfortunately, that got me thinking too much, and my brain refused to shut off and let me sleep. At one point, Kill Kill leapt off the bed to have a drink of water. I thought, Me, too! And then realized that she'd really gotten up to greet the rosy-fingered Dawn, and at this time of year, that's at 4:45AM. I do not wish to greet the rosy-fingered Dawn, Sam I Am, either from staying up late or awakening early. Hey, Dawn, let me greet you with a rosy finger! Guess which finger it is! (Insert "I only want to see the crack of Dawn--Wells!!" joke here)
      At any rate, my personal list of Worst TV Shows I Ever Saw, in chronological order:

      The show that wasn't listed on Jump the Shark I've mentioned in the past. You kids today, with your DirecTVs and TiVos, who grew up in the 80s and never knew a time when there were less than 60 channels available! Why, when I was a kid in the 60s, we had FIVE channels! You complain that there's hundreds of channels and they're all showing the same thing? Of those 5, one was CBS, 2 were ABC, and the other 2 NBC! My grandparents lived in Summit, New Jersey, and we'd trek down to their townhouse apartment for Thanskgiving and Easter every year. It had its downsides. Grandma didn't cook like Mom, so we ate weird food. We had to double up to sleep in their twin beds, one of which was as soft as a brick floor and the other as firm as runny oatmeal. That bedroom had a Longines Symphonette radio that we could play, but we couldn't change the station. No grandchildren of theirs were going to have their minds warped by those crazy-haired Beatles weirdos! You can tap your toes to pure Muzak, young man! But there was one big thrill for me and my sisters--Independent TV! Channels 5, 9 and 11 didn't show network TV, they showed whatever the heck they pleased! Unfortunately, when we were visiting, they'd sleep on the rec room sofa bed, where their only TV was--And Grandpa would sleep until 9AM on Saturday mornings! We'd fret over the exotic cartoons we couldn't get to see before he woke up.
      My sisters were big fans of "Wonderama," channel 5's game show for kids. After that was over, I generally had the TV to myself, and I'd watch these really old (like from 5 years earlier) superhero cartoons. Everybody talked really fast and looked goofy, with these huge eyes. I don't know when I figured out that these were from Japan. There was this crazy little kid named Astroboy who had rockets in his feet. I remember him discovering why the Moon was covered in craters--That's the places where the Moon People had plucked their giant mushrooms from! That was just silly! I liked believable cartoons like Superman, Fantastic Four, Spiderman and "Spaaace--Ghoooost!!" Better was GIGANTOR! The apartment courtyard had a giant pine, with a space under it carpeted with needles that only I knew was there (never did figure out why different empty beer cans would turn up there every morning). I'd walk around under the tree, desperately trying to commit the really cool Gigantor theme song to memory. "He's Bigger than Big, Taller than Tall! Quicker than Quick, Stronger than Strong! Ready to fight for Right, against Wrong!" A dozen years later the Dickies would release a cover version of it, and I was able to sing along with it perfectly the first time.
      Then one Saturday, there was nothing interesting on the independents. I assume it was September, as channel 9 was showing boring baseball and I was flipping around the broadcast networks checking out the new season's cartoons. While Astroboy was a bit too goofy for me, I still enjoyed watching it. Hell, I couldn't tell the qualitative difference between the animation in a 1948 Bugs Bunny classic and Yogi Bear yet. But I knew poop when I saw it, and Super President--hey, it wasn't poop, it was PLOP! (Which, to me and my sisters, was a word for a really big and stinky poop) I knew from trick-or-treating that wearing a mask meant nothing; the neighbors would still recognize me. That I'd grant to Superman or Spiderman. But c'mon! He's the President of the United States, and no one recognizes him when he puts a hood on and calls himself "Super President"?! How long would Superman last if he called himself "Super Daily Planet Reporter"? "Hmm, he doesn't have red hair or breasts, that rules out Jimmy and Lois, and he's not called Super Daily Planet Editor Who Yells 'Great Caesar's Ghost!' A Lot...Whoever could he be? And this Super President fellow--Well, he could be the President of the Pawtucket Elks lodge or the Bone-A-Fide Dildo Company I suppose, but his voice sounds familiar..." When your cartoon can't get an 8 year old to suspend disbelief, yer screwed. I changed the channel 20 minutes into it.

      I was surprised that Jump the Shark had a listing for "Turn On." I was literally one of a handful of people who saw that. I was looking very forward to it, as I was a big fan of MAD magazine and I'd heard that there would be little animations by Sergio Aragones running along the screen, just like his little comics along the page borders in MAD. The rest of my family had no interest in watching it, so I was down in our rec room where the old B&W TV was exiled. It was 1969, and the number one show was also my favorite, and it was "Laugh-In." Turn On wasn't a ripoff, it was actually made by the same producer. I don't remember seeing any Aragones cartoons. Either I'd forgotten them as I squirmed irritatedly watching, or he bailed when he saw what he was getting into. I do remember something that I hope wasn't his contribution, little cartoon airplanes trailing banners much in the way Laugh-In would have a chroma-key crawl of text at the bottom of the screen (L-In joke my parents cracked up at but refused to explain to me: "A Rolling Stone gathers no moss because Mick Jagger's too busy trying to cop some grass"). One of Turn On's hilarious banner japes: "Israel Uber Alles." That startled me. Even at age 10, I knew that they were referring to Deustchland Uber Alles, the old German national anthem under the Nazis. My first thought was "What's funny about concentration camps?!" 35 years later, I still have no idea why that was supposed to be funny. The only other thing I remember is an endless "sketch" in which they filled the screen with the word "SEX" or "SEX!" or "SEX?" while Tim Conway mugged at the camera. That was it. In retrospect, maybe the joke was...Umm...that this is the only time anyone in America thought of Tim Conway and SEX at the same time?
      So why did so few people see it? It wasn't so bad that it was cancelled, it was so horrible it was cancelled after one episode, when half of the ABC affiliates refused to run it again. In Denver, they stopped showing it while it was still on the air. That, I believe, is a record.

      By the 70s, I'd pretty much decided that all TV sucked. There were books to read and movies to watch and records to listen to and woods to walk in. There were better things to do with my time. However, I did rediscover cartoons. The classics, like Warner Brothers or the old Fleischer Popeyes. Sometimes, if I was awake early enough on a Saturday, I'd watch what was there for a while. I'd also discovered a little thing called kitsch, the "it sucks but it's fun to make fun of" stuff. And there was plenty of tripe on the 70s SatAM schedule, as this was the time when every cartoon disappeared except for the absolute worst product of Hanna-Barbera. Anybody ever see "Fred and Barney Meet the Thing"? The Thing in question was the Thing of the Fantastic Four. He never went to Bedrock, so they really never did meet. Too bad. The evil crime spree of the Fruity Pebbles-addicted crackhead Barney must be stopped! The Thing could've yelled, "IT'S RUBBLIN' TIME!" However, like most of the Flintstone world, he was made of rocks, so maybe that was the connection. Except he wasn't Thing, he was a teenager who turned into the Thing. That was pretty stupid, but it's not the show I'm talking about. All these Personal Worsts for me are shows I saw once or only partially, but are forever burned into my memory, and I saw a few eps of the Thing on Cartoon Network a while back. No, I'm talking about Turbo Teen. Talk about Hanna-UnBarBearable. It was kinda like the Thing, in that he was a teenager who turned into...a car. Okay, I can turn into a giant orange rock man who can juggle cars, or I can turn into one of the cars he juggles--Which of us has a better chance against Doctor Doom? Maybe I do have super powers when I'm in my car, since I can drive at 100 miles an hour for hours on end without tiring while spewing poison gas out my rear end, and I can't do any of that without the car, except maybe one power if I eat at Taco Bell a lot. But do you get in your Civic and think, "Damn, I should go fight me some crime! Your reign of evil is over, Barney Rubble!" No, you do not. If you do, yes, you are a very crazy fuck. And Barney will have a dinosaur step on you. Not so powerful now, eh, CivicMan!
      The Hulk, you get him mad, and he changed form. Turbo Teen, you get him cold and he changed form. Or hot. His ethnically-diverse friend spilled a Coke on him at the drive-in, and the ice cubes changed him from a car to himself! Oh, my sides! Oh, the humanity! Sorry, this was so bad I never found out how Turbo Teen took a shower. Whether the water's cold or hot, he's going to turn into a 2-ton convertible in the bathroom and crash through the floor, causing more destruction to his parents' home than I do to mine in any given 20 minutes. They also ran the transformation scene every time they could, just to kill time. His teeth became all huge like those of some sort of hellacious Osmond, and they'd morph into the car's grill. Can you imagine how many times he'd change back, and have to brush dozens of squished bugs out of his teeth?
      I didn't make it through my one encounter with Turbo Teen. There was a scene in this 2-frames-per-second crapfest in which Turbo, as a human, talked to his girlfriend. H-B is famous for cutting corners in animation, so his girlfriend just stood there immobile the entire time Turbo talked. With her mouth hanging open and a look of disgust. Maybe she noticed the bugs in his teeth? Then why was her face only half normal width and deformed? I was staring with my mouth open too, as it sure looked like the background cel she was painted on had folded over, and the camera dude was in too much of a rush to fix it or even notice. "This is such a piece of PLOP!" I said, although I used the teenaged word for "plop."

      In the early 80s, I saw an ad for a new TV show that starred HOT! Japanese babes! But we don't really need to go over Pink Lady and Jeff again, do we? For those unfamiliar, here's the recap: at the time, the hottest man in TV was Fred Silverman. He cemented CBS' hold on the Nielsens with "All in the Family," "Mary Tyler Moore," and "The Waltons." Next, he switched networks and brought ABC out of last place and into first with other great intellectual classics of American culture as "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky and Hutch." NBC hired him next, and his infallible judgement led to a comedy variety show starring a comic who wasn't funny and 2 J-Pop singers no one in America had ever heard of and who also SPOKE NO ENGLISH. Mere mortals might consider those facts as drawbacks, but Fred had reached the point where the networks and himself were convinced that he was never wrong. Pink Lady read their lines phonetically ("Noaw, Jhef, we wuh sang ohr noo sohng!") , and Jeff was sort of the audience's translator. Except for the fact that you wanted to kill him. The show was "taped live before a studio audience," and they were obviously dubbing in canned laughter. I don't know which was worse, the fact that Pink Lady had no clue they sucked, or the fact that Jhef obviously did know, but didn't think that HE sucked. No, wait, I know what's worse--Jeff is still around, as Jeff Altman. Click on that for an animated gif that just sums up the hi-lar-i-ty of Altman. At least you get to see his swelled foo' haid explode!

      Eventually, they invented cable TV, just to put Fred Silverman out of business. I pretty much avoided bad TV, except for that one time...I was switching channels during a commercial break on something that wasn't holding my attention on Comedy Central late one night and landed on Fox. Four men had goofy makeup on as they were doing karaoke in front of a black backdrop that made them look like disembodied heads. It was some scat singing song. I froze like Turbo Teen's girlfriend. The FUCK? What is this--more importantly, WHY is this?! Is this supposed to be funny or something? It's just these guys in makeup making stupid faces--Wait, it's ONE guy making faces! Done four times! Someone put work into this on a COMPUTER! Dude, turn off your spell check and run the SHIT check, because there's gonna be big red underlining over this entire thing! Someone paid MONEY to MAKE this, and I haven't the slightest idea what reaction they want from me! And this goofball--he looks familiar--and not badly familiar, but familiarly BAD...
      Then it ended. The scene cut to a guy in a suit sitting at a desk. Sweating heavily. Looking terrified.
      Chevy Chase.
      The Chevy Chase Show. Umm, I'd heard something about him having a talk show, but I've always hated that smug, unfunny dork and so I ignored it. And here he was, at his talk show desk, dripping with flop sweat in front of a studio audience that was as stunned into silence as I was.
      For one tiny moment, the impossible happened: I felt sorry for Chevy Chase.
      It instantly passed and I changed the channel. The show was cancelled at the end of that week. "I'm Troy McClure, and you may remember me from such Fox Network Specials as 'Alien Nose Job' and 'The Five Fabulous Weeks of the Chevy Chase Show'!"

      There. Long and pointless. You should feel all sated now. I've covered the very worst TV shows I've ever seen. Unless they make a show starring this guy. I mean, those guys. No, wait--that guy.


      While I'm no stranger to posting about nothing, I'm now posting because I have nothing to do. Or say. So, ergo, this will suck.

      If it seems like I'm doing very little on my vacation, that's because...Oh, yeah. Because I haven't done anything yet. Kill Kill would disagree, as we've spent a lot of time just playin' and chillin'. Just now, we watched the sun set. Yep. Rip-roaring exciting post, now underway.
      I haven't really done anything, but that's not because I don't plan to! I've had awesome luck the last few vacations as far as the weather went. The 4-day weekend I took in March had the only decent weather in 6 months, and was immediately followed by no good weather for 6 weeks. Today wasn't perfect, but it

      Excuse me for a moment.
      (opens window, leans out of it) YEEEEAAARRGHH! I'm writing about the FUCKING WEATHER!! WOO, BILL'S A 24 HOUR PARTY PERSON! KILL ME NOW, BEFORE I POST AGAIN!! (shuts window, wipes drool from chin)
      Oh, and there go the neighbors again, dialing 911 on their cel phones. It's always something with those people.

      Fuck this. I'm pathetic. Proof? Here's the rundown of my day:
      Went to park. Day: cloudy; Park: no people. People bad, so park good!
      Went to Taco Bell for first time in years. Told drive-thru clone service No, I would not like a chicken enchilada bowl today. Clue to Taco Bell: Your food already brings the word "bowl" to mind, as in "what I'll be sitting on all day tomorrow." Got 3 tacos (crunchy), which was very healthy, as they had the whole food pyramid: Ground cow, ground corn, iceberg lettuce, cheeses of various colors, teenaged cook's spittle. Iceberg lettuce is called that because it's really a form of water stabilized between the "water" and "ice" phases in a crunchy "berg" phase, and also has the exact same nutritional value of water or ice. Really, you could get more nutrition from eating the felt they make Muppets from. And what I wouldn't do right now for a big steaming bowl of Kermits!
      Followed that up with most of a Haagen Daz pint of Mint Chip. Daily cholesterol and fat: 4 billion per cent. Look, I'm 5" 7' and weigh 125. I don't worry about fat on vacation. I also have 42 extra MILES of arteries, so I don't worry about cholesterol! Or this strange constriction in my chest and pain in my left arm!
      Looked for some mindless entertainment, and played the Beastmaster DVD Kevin loaned me. Only got the first half of what I was looking for. Somebody, mail me some wisecracking robots to help me through this! He's like Conan the Bore-arian. Made it through the part where Beefmaster falls into quicksand IN THE DESERT, sorry, I'm an expert on quicksand, and it only appears on Gilligan's Island, and he's rescued by the comical ferrets who threw him in the quicksand in the first place and he rescues the ferrets after THEY fall in, and he names one "Bobo," and in a fit of genius that almost explodes BeatMaster Flash's bowl-cutted head, names the other one..."DODO!" Woo, get more ferrets! Then you can say "I dub thee FRODO! You, in the leather harness, I name you DILDO!" Then he shoves them in his pants. "I dub me RICHARD GERE!" Then there's a waterfall, no wait, there was a "panther," although they couldn't afford a panther so it's a tiger with it's cheek hair trimmed and sorta kinda painted black but not really very well, and I'm sure glad MY job's not painting tigers! Bet there's high turnover there. Then there's a waterfall, and the movie's sooo lame that as soon as you say "Waterfall means here come the nekkid chicks!" there come some nekkid chicks! Then there's this hilarious scene where the hero, aided by his animal frat brothers, comically attempts to rape the heroine. Hee-YUK!
      WHAT?! Am I making this movie sound funny?! It sucks! Cripes, you and your whining, I'll finish it. That, and I want to hand it BACK to Kevin tomorrow. Okay, here goes. World's Fastest Trick Lobster.
      Then the hero (named "Dar," which I guess is ancient Cimmerian for "DUH") goes to these guys, and they have a head in a big soup-pot but it isn't cooked too well, then there's a dwarf because no good movie is dwarf-free, and he gets eaten by the guys and then they piss Nickelodeon Slime (TM). They look like Destro from GI Joe if he was dressed like a bat. THAT'S SCARY! So scary, Dar's penis retracts into his sack. Ferrets! Ferrets retract into his sack. Sack on his belt. His ferret-keeping sack. Hmm, ferrets, sack? I'll bet he has a hacky-sack in that sack, and a rainbow knitted hat, and that Dar's quest is to follow Phish on tour! And then Doy's falcon--oh, yeah, he's got a falcon, he's the BEASTMASTER so why wouldn't he, lands and boy, wouldn't ya know it? The Destro-headed dwarf-eating bat people worship a giant falcon god! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! Worse than winning Powerball, but far better than this movie improving.
      Then Dork wakes up next to the city of evil where there's this religion that consists pretty much entirely of throwing children into a flaming pit. They're ripped and torn from their parent's arms! Why? Because the bad guy Mayax is played by Rip Torn! With a Silly Putty fake nose that changes shape every scene. Dar sends his falcon to rescue one kid, and the falcon flies away with the kid despite the kid being about 150 times heavier than the bird. This is accomplished by an amazing special effect called "animation that makes the kid look like a soggy Kleenex." And the girl he tried to rape looks on in fascination. No, wait, she's played by Tanya Roberts from Charlie's Angels, so she looks on in "Turbo Teen's Girlfriend's slack-jawedness." Later, he goes into the town and says to a man, "I've got something for you!" and grabs his sack. It's the kid his herniated falcon saved! In his big, manly sack! The man says that he'll give Dar "Whatever you want!" and Dar winks at the little blond boy and says "I'll be back later!" Oh, that's awesome. He's a rapist AND a member of NAMBLA.
      Oh, wait. Forgot to mention: This city is where Dar's parents are. Mayax...did something or other to them. Sorry, all I can really remember is that he stole Dar when he was a fetus by magically teleporting the unborn Dar into a cow's uterus. Well, I can safely say that THAT'S not something you see in every movie.
      Okay, I'll cut Beastie Boy some slack here. There's a cool part. Mayax gives one of his evil monks a ring to find Dar, and it opens up into a human eye! Then, a monk runs away chased by the tiger--err, totally a panther I mean, and panther falls in a tiger trap. You know, the leaves on the pit thing. But then this big guy and this little boy come along and knock the monk into the pit and he gets et. Not really sure who dug the tiger pit from the context, really. And they become friends, as the other 2 have big quarterstaffs and are probably in NAMBLA too. The man waves his big long pole at Dar, who pulls his steel-hard sword from its scabbard to wiggle back. They all team together to move a giant log that they're lifting between their legs into the pit to save the tiganther. As Freud said as he sucked on his big cigar, "Sometimes a giant log held between the legs of 2 men and a nubile young boy and jammed into a tight hole is really just a giant log held between the legs of 2 men and a nubile young boy. Hey, can I show you pictures of my mom naked? She's really HOT! Want a cigar?"
      Oh, and the kid's the cousin of the girl Doink tried to doink, and he's allowed to wear anything that the ferrets have stolen and he picks--the eyeball ring! We spent 50 bucks on that effect, and we're gettin' our money's worth! And Tanya Roberts the kid's cousin is being taken to be sacrificed--about 300 miles from the city in the Dakota Badlands, from what I can tell. The big guy, who I'll now call Big Guy for sake of clarity, asks "What are they wearing?" That would be my first question too. There's a bunch of babes in white, and evil monks wearing red shirts. That's appropriate. The red shirts are quickly dispatched except for the ones taken prisoner and put on the getaway vehicle. Which is a raft that's connected to the dock by a rope you have to pull on to make it move. GOOD CHOICE. More redshirts appear and shoot arrows, and "We have to lighten the load!" and by crazy chance, the captured monks are all chained to an anchor, which tanya kicks off and they drown in a hilarious mass murder joke. Oh, and since they didn't rescue the rest of the babes and the redshirt monks control the shore, I guess that they get hilariously murdered offscreen also. They escape by cutting the rope on the raft and...Christ. I don't know. They're on a damn raft with guys with crossbows shooting at them, and there's no way to propel the raft, but they escape anyway. Off the lake and directly back onto the Dakota Badlands. One of those desert lakes. With ferries. And then they take a hayride!
      A hayride--TO DOOM!!
      They get into the city of evil on this hayride of doom, and jump out and the eyeball ring sees all, and Mayax, who I think has a sister named Tampax, lets them in because there's NO FRICKIN' WAY that they'll survive the cleverly named Death Guards! This is an army of guys in cages, or several guys in cages with bondage gear gloves and one mask with glowing Jawa eyes that try to reach out and touch someone while going "ARRGGHH!" so you know how really scary it is, especially when Dar finds an unmarked rusty lever that closes the retractable screen awning on their cages. Then Tanya slips through a secret passageway in the fakest looking wall since Bride of the Monster while Dar and NAMBLA boy watch how the cleverly named Death Guards are made: You take a normal guy, strap him to a slab, and stick a Gummy Worm into his ear. NOT making this up, folks, not making this up. Dar sends the ferrets, Kiki and Popo, down on a string to steal some keys for no reason explained, and the monks are distracted by the ferrets and the stench of patchouli and...I dunno, I guess if you want to make a Death Guard, strap him down better, because he goes "AAAARRGGHH!" being a cleverly named Death Guard and all, and he slaughters the monks and cuts the string the 2 ferrets are on. Dar pulls the entire string up and is amazed, SHOCKED! to discover that once he's pulled this shoelace up 2 stories that it now weighs as much as a shoelace without any ferrets on it! JESUS! You couldn't tell it had no ferrets on it? If the fact that 2 wriggling ferrets now weighed as much as a SHOE STRING didn't tip you off, wasn't the complete lack of FERRET STINK a damn clue?!
      Then the Death Guard, who is quite cleverly named, as Horrifying School Crossing Guard wouldn't be frightening, chases the ferrets. And the heroes find Tanya's father, who has no eyeballs which grosses Dar out so he ties a filthy cloth over them so he doesn't have to see them. Then they escape under this giant skull pinata, but Dar can't leave without his "little friends." Is NAMBLA having a field trip here? No, he means the ferrets. They lead the Death Guard right to them as they climb from an 80-story high window (in a dungeon?!) on a rope, and DG tries to cut the rope and drop them to their smashy deaths. But the falcon comes and claws DG's gimp leather headgear which causes him to just kinda jump right out the window. And the rope breaks, and Dar and Tanya fall 79 stories to--the hay cart! Huzzah! 3 feet of hay in a wooden wagon broke their falls! Lucky they landed on their heads.
      Is this over yet? No? CRAP. Speaking of which, what's the big escape plan? The falcon carries the ferrets, Pogo and Mofo, to the top of the city's gate. They chew on the ropes that are about 900 times thicker than their heads (or about 1,800 times less thick that the scriptwriter's). As Death Guards run up, a normal, not-death guard on top of the gate grabs a ferret, Tinky-Winky, I think, by the neck and raises his sword to hack him up. Then the other ferret, Mrs Bobbitt, bites the guard on the tinky-winky and he screams "AAARRGGHH!" and does he throw his sword down? No, he swings sword 3 feet to the left of Ferret Bueller and cuts the rope. This causes the gate to open, the hayride escapes, and Dar cuts a different rope, which of course causes the gate to come down and crush the Death Guards. Sorry, I meant Dead Guards. And the ferrets, Wu-Tang and Puff Daddy, leap from the top of the gate about 400 feet, almost like I dunno, they were toy ferrets thrown real hard.
      Then, No Eye Balls Man gives a very inspiring speech that causes all the characters to look either sad or bored, don't know which emotion they were feeling but I have my own opinion. Then he calls Dar Williams a bad singer and also "A FREAK!" after he saved his eyeballless ass mind you, which is more than Dar Williams ever did for me, and are there really that many Ls in "eyeballless"? I guess that's not a word. At any rate, No Eyeballs man tells Dar to "Crawl back into a hole with your animals!" and to show HIM who's boss, Dar crawls off with his animals and cries. Cries. He FUCKING CRIES. Umm, Dar? CUT HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF!! You're the BEASTMASTER, baby! You don't take orders from Oedipus Wretch there! OOH, is Dar cwyin' now? And I thought that the giant painted tiger was this film's biggest pussy!
      BTW, did you figure out who No Eyeballs is? I know you're getting a pretty cursory run through the plot here, but think. For exactly one second. Time's up! YEP, right the first time, my friend! He's Dar's father! He's Daddy Dar! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! In a movie like this, the are a million to one FOR.
      Big Guy puts a hot stick in the Eye Ring that sees their every move. Finally. Like after 10 scenes. Rip Torn knows their plan to attack, but No Eyes is too "blind" to "see" that the attack will "blind" them with "science!" DEFEAT! I meant defeat there. Wow, there's a whole "eye" theme running through this! Here's another: "EYE"--don't like this movie!!
      Then Hay Cart Man appears to tell Darren all about the attack that the movie couldn't afford to depict. Everyone was killed, except for the main characters, and they're about to be sacrificed. GAH! The movie's rewound to the beginning! Please, everyone, if you want to survive, crawl back into a hole with your animals!
      There wasn't enough room in the hole I crawled into, and some chipmunks threw me out. You'll be sorry when Beastmaster gets here! AND HERE HE IS! Wow, you'd think that there'd be guards at the human sacrifice this time. You'd think that that gate would be closed. You'd think that maybe you'd tell someone "Look out for large dyed tigers." You'd think that in the cart marked "Special Delivery: Prisoners for the Human Sacrifice" that has chains hanging on it that the prisoners would be chained with chains, and not tied with ropes made of Hartz Mountain Ferret Treat Strips (TM). You'd think that when you tied Big Guy and NAMBLA Boy up with edible ferret strips, that...Well, dunno what, but they escape and rip off their sackcloths and Big Guy's wearing studded leather bondage gear and Boy's wearing...umm...just a loincloth...You'd think that SOMEONE IN THIS MOVIE NEEDS HIS MEDS.
      You'd think that bad guys wouldn't die just because Dar waved a sword in the general vicinity of their bodies, like in a 3 foot radius, that they wouldn't magically fall over dead, but they do. And Rip Torn, he gets ripped and torn and dies, except he doesn't, and he pulls the knife from his tummy-tum and tries to stab Dar, and...
      Babalu the ferret, he flies through the air, pretty clearly hurled by a the movie's official ferret hurler, and then flies some more looking pretty unhappy about it, and he lands on Rip and eats his throat. And they fall into the flaming pit of flames. Dar reaches to grab him about a minute too late, and as Dar realizes that he can't save Pookie-Poo, Dar says "D'OH!" (I've been waiting all review to say that!!) Then he picks up Other Ferret by the neck, and it looks like he's going to toss him into the pit, too--"Hey, anyone ever have ferret-flavored Bar-B-Cue? It's just like mesquite, except gamier!" But he doesn't. And then, Beastmaster ends! Whew! Thank Gourd that that thing's over! Hey, Kill Kill! Can I paint you black? Oh, c'mon, it'll be fun--
      NOOOO! IT'S NOT OVERRR!!!!!!!!!!!!
      The...whatever their names are, they've been referring to them all movie, and I've narrowed the pronunciation down to "The Jungs" or "The Judds." I don't know which is worse, early psychoanalytic theorists or country singers. Maybe they're the Jubs, but I don't have a joke for that. They're evil barbarian soldiers on horses. Oh, they're going to be fought with tar. Repeat: With a pit filled with tar. Man, this movie has a lot of pits in it. Pit of quicksand, pit of fire, same pit of fire, Dar's armpits--Why, this movie's the pi--Oh. Saw that one coming, did you?
      OMIGOD! That was SO SCARY! Windows crashed, and I thought that it didn't save this! WHEW!
      Okay, like the Jujubes killed Dar's adopted family at the beginning of the movie, so I guess that this is closure. NOT. Rip Torn was their boss, they haven't been seen since then, so who cares about these guys now? Since we haven't seen them since the first 10 minutes, who even remembers? Only the scriptwriter. So they're back. The main villian's dead! Who cares about these guys? It's like Star Wars ending with Luke killing Darth Vader, and then the Grand Moff Tarkin prances up to him, threatening him with a laser grapefruit spoon. And, blah blah blah, the tar pit's the kind of tar pit that explodes and bursts into flame, but that doesn't kill the Junks, and blah blah blah, swordfights, blah blah blah Dar throws the falcon medallion that he was given by a door prize by the Destro-headed bat-boys to the falcon, and the Destros come and eat the Jubs, despite the Jubs not being dwarves, I guess that the Destros have never actually SEEN a falcon before if they hand those medallions out that easily, and were they really so close that they got there that fast? Hey, the Judds were all riding horses, and he's the BEASTMASTER! I thought he talked to the animals, squeaked and squawked with the animals! Couldn't Dr Darlittle just told them to throw their riders? And why would Destros with bat wings worship a bird anyway, and not, say, Cobra Commander in a tutu--ARRRR! END, movie, END!
      And it does. Boy and Dar are brothers, except that they technically didn't share the same mother, what with Dar being born from a cow and shit. That means one or the other is king, losing concentration here. Boy climbs the human sacrificing pyramid, still in his loin cloth, revealing more of his ass than I really wanted to see, and Big Guy being told by Dar that Boy has "The best right hand any man could want!" And Big Guy is suuure happy to hear that.
      Dar climbs to the highest point of this far-off distant land of fantasy (the Dakota Badlands) with his tiger/panther who must be thinking "I'm a TIGER! I'm not from Dakota, I'm from INDIA! I'm dying of THIRST! And you make a really sucky Calvin! WAIT! Cats get moisture from the MEAT of their PREY! Hey, Dar--Mind I if I marinate you lightly?"
      And Tanya appears on the top of this 8,000 foot precipice and kisses Dar so passionately that his pouch explodes with baby ferrets. Really.
      Did I say that this would be FAST?! It's 1AM! I'm FTPing this up, and YOU can proofread it!
      Dammit. Remind me to never talk about the weather again.


      You've probably deduced that I've been taking a vacation from this page, too. Just really don't have anything interesting to say. I had plans for the last 2 days, both of which were cancelled because I slept too late. Well, there's still a chance that I can do them before I go back to work on Tuesday.

      I did do something Wednesday. Me and Kevin went to the Quadrangle, a group of 4 museums in Springfield, MA. Pretty cool, actually, even if we budgeted out time wrong and didn't get into one of the museums. I'd never been there, so I thought that there wasn't much more to the place than what was listed on their web page. But that turned out just to be the limited-time exhibitions, and there was a lot more there in the permanent exihibits. One building was all things collected by some wealthy Victorian. Lots of Chinese pottery, a full room of Japanese Samurai weapons and armor, and giant plaster castings of classic sculpture. Those were interesting, especially since Victorian taste required that these reproductions of Renaissance works caused everyone's crotch to get covered by a fig leaf. There was a display about ancient Egypt which had a lot of filler in it. There was a mummy, of course, one which had been kicking around for a while. They had a flier advertising its tour in 1823, which included a poem that managed to rhyme "mummy" with "dummy."
      What made me want to go there was for the Burgess Shale. I'd found a newspaper at work that was 5 days old. I almost threw it out, but decided to flip through it first. I imagine I was the only reader to turn a page and immediately yell the name of a critter pictured. The Burgess Shale is a half-billion year old fossil, caused when an underwater landslide swept tens of thousands of ancient lifeforms off to their deaths. Then, there was only breathable oxygen in the shallows of the seas, and the critters were deposited in an area where nothing could live, so there were no scavengers or even bacteria to eat the remains. All the soft tissues were preserved, and due to the way the silt slowly fell on them, it's possible to slice the shale layer by layer and get a perfect 3D representation of them. The Burgess Shale is one of the reasons that I don't believe that Earth is being visited by aliens--there's absolutely no animal on Earth that looks more like a human than a Grey Alien. How's that possible, when they evolved on another planet? The creatures in the Burgess Shale are more fucked-up and alien looking than you can imagine. For instance, the one that was pictured in that newspaper has the actual scientific name of Hallucigenea:

      Until recently, scientists didn't know which end was up on this thing, and they still don't know which end is the head. It took a century before they even thought to ask the question of why they kept finding the fossils of 3 different animals all in the same place--a crustacean, a jellyfish, and 2 shrimp. It was because they were really all parts of ONE animal; a lobster-like body, a jellyfish-shaped mouth, and 2 shrimpish grasping arms.
      Here's a good intro to the Burgess bestiary.
      Another cool exhibit was "Reigning Cats and Dogs," artwork involving pets. Kevin has 2 dogs, Huckleberry and Fiona, and I think that I may've mentioned at some point that I have a cat I'm quite fond of. Some of the works were pretty lamely connected to the theme, with a tiny dog in the corner that you had to find Where's-Waldo style. Highlight was definitely "My Wife's Lovers," a 19th century painting of 42 of the artist's wife's cats. It was huge, about 8 feet high and 25 feet long. And most of the cats were Persians, so the majority of them were white. Unfortunately, despite having my camera on me, it didn't occur to me to take a picture of it.
      Some guy came up to me and said that "If people think you work here, they think you're me, TODD!" because he had a ponytail. Otherwise, we didn't look remotely alike. Kinda weird. When we were leaving, having run out of time without going into the Dr Seuss museum, we saw Todd. I wanted to stop and say, "It was weird; everywhere I went, people wouldn't make eye contact and would walk away from me fast!"

      While I did go back and make a few clarifications to the Beastmaster review, Christine B pointed out that I'd said that No Eyeballs Man was both Tanya and Dar's father, and they were getin' it on at the end of the movie. Oops! That's what I get for typing so fast. They are not brother and sister. They are cousins. There, isn't that less icky? Look for the upcoming sequel, Beastmaster Does Appalachia.


      I usually only get one Saturday off a year. The way vacation worked out this year, I had two in a row. Remind me to have NO MORE SATURDAYS OFF EVER. Apparently, Mr Mullet-headed Dirtbag downstairs has his own Saturday Thing, which is fiddling with his MIGHTY MUSCLE CAR all day and then for the last hour before sunset revving said manly, muscular, mulletted moronmobile Mustang's engine as loudly as possible for every alternate 5 minutes. Vroom, Vroom! It's loud, that means it's manly! Vroom, vroom! Does it leave the garage? No. Apparently it's not quite THAT manly. Maybe the garage represents the zipper of his pants, and he's not quite proud enough of his huge V8 that he wants to parade it through the streets, waving it around for all to see just yet.
      I don't get it. Owning a big expensive car that never leaves the garage is about as useful as...uhh...A big expensive car that never leaves the garage, I guess. It's like buying a house and not living in it, just coming over once a week to blast the central air and heating. "DUDE! Imagine how comfortable this house'd be if I LIVED in it!!"
      I don't actually know if he has a mullet. Physically. He certainly has a spiritual mullet, and a NASCAR tattoo on his soul.

      We're on day 8 of the vacation, and so far we've had 2 beautiful days, 2 okay days, and 4 rained-all-day days. This was another day that I had plans for--VROOM, VROOM! goes the big car outside my window!--but the rain cancelled that. Just as well, I slept until 3PM anyway. VROOM, VROOM! And it never leaves the garage! Mmm, how full of carbon monoxide that garage must be. Breathe deeply, oh acolytes of the Mulletted God! It is the Incense of Enlightenment! See how lightened your head feels as you suck it in? Clever how you have the exhaust pipes facing the back of the garage, the better to saturate your ping pong ball sized brains! Chant to raise the Elder Ones, N'yarlathotep and Click and Clack, using the NecroMustangicom! Ph’Earnhardt inglw’nafh CthMullet'hu R’lyeh WWFgah’NASCAR fhtagn!
      Forgot what I was talking about.
      Speaking of muscle cars, I went to Tasty Chick to get a bunch of hot wings today. How good wings be? I ordered 20; someone else was there ordering 200. And Holy Shit! I'm guilty of an unfair generalization! The Mulleteer just drove his Mustang out of the garage! And right back in. He drove like 100 feet, round trip. Probably used no more than 2 gallons of gas. Meanwhile, back at Tasty Chick, I put a quarter in the EGGY EGGY EGGY! machine, and got a ring. It's a smiley face, but unlike most smiley faces, it's not yellow but bright lavender. And it's a smiley foot. That I don't get either. But if I'd had an extra $3950 when I was there, I could've bought either 15,800 more smiley foot rings or a used hearse. "Rides & Drives Exc; Nobody Ever Complained." Possibly Tasty Chick hasn't given much thought to the idea of permanently parking a hearse in front of their restaurant. Why not put a sign in the window, "For sale, Stomach Pump, Works Great!"

      I had a...semi-successful completion of an eBay auction. I'd been harassing Kevin for years to make me a copy of one of history's greatest movies, For Y'or Height Only, starring Filipino midget Weng Weng. I was only semi-successful in the sense that the video transfer is SHIT (I should've guessed when after the auction, the seller told me that she'd only leave me feedback after I'd left feedback for her. I gave up doing that years ago, as it's either a form of blackmail to get you to leave positive feedback or an indication they won't leave you any. As a buyer, once I pay, my job's done. Leave me positive feedback when you get my money or expect none). But this is a great, insane "movie." I'll have to go with Kevin's theory that this really isn't a movie, but a crappy Phillipines TV show hacked up into a movie-like sequence. The "plot" is about the scientist behind the "M-Bomb" being kidnapped, but he disappears 5 minutes into the movie and doesn't return until the last 10. The rest of it I'd describe as garbled lunatic nonsense, but I don't want to make it sound that coherent.
      It's Lobster-proof enough that I think I'll just do a straight transcript, assuming that the old VCR will work with the computer room's 1985 TV once I get the new VCR on Monday. There's really nothing that I could really add to its surreal appeal. For example, here's a scene that begins at a meeting of Mr Giant's bad guys:

      Who's Lola? I left nothing out, even if that seemed to jump around a bit, and that's one of the more coherent moments in this stream-of-unconsciousness. There's a pretty big leap of faith involved in this movie's suspension of disbelief--Hell, it's more of an antigravity of disbelief. Every hot chick is into supa-sexy Weng Weng and also can karate chop any dozen bad guys, and this guy the size of a 4-year-old wipes out a good hundred guys, mainly by punching them in the gonads or shooting them with his specially-made midget gun. And there's the fact that Weng Weng isn't just a midget, but the most Gourd-fugly midget ever to scamper the Earth. And that insane dialogue. And don't forget the jetpack! There's a pretty goofy RA video of scenes from the movie, but believe me, it's not half as goofy as the movie. "OH, my little head!"


      I'm Not going to say that my vacation Entailed any Real Defining theme that You could sum up in one adjective (hey, boys'n'girls! Did you find the secret message?). What I didn't do Saturday was go to a (believe it or not) Baroque classical music concert and Bar-B-Q. Called "Brandon Burgers." GEDDIT! Bach wrote the Brandenburg Concertos! So why's it called "Brandon Burgers"? The name of the orchestra's artistic director is Margaret Irwin-Brandon! It's a nested pun! A metapun! Help, help, I'm being punished! Oh ho!
      The concert was only $5, and the cookout $20. Not because the food was that expensive, but because it was a fundraiser for the Arcadia Players. As much as I'd haved loved to have attended the charity cake auction held by noted celeb and "Hollywood actress, Sirena Irwin (voice of SpongeBob’s mom)," I thought that I'd just do the concert. Until it poured all day. I wasn't sure if the concert was indoors or not, and driving 45 miles each way in a downpour on a highway with Massachusetts drivers didn't appeal to me.
      Yesterday, to continue the theme (nerd!), I went to Dinosaur State Park. Not to be confused with any major Hollywood movies of the recent past, although with "JURASSIC" slapped over all their promotional stuff, I'd guess that they wouldn't mind if you did. I'd been to this once when it first opened, when I was a kid who'd been telling everyone who asked what he wanted to be when he grew up since he was 6 hey nice friggin syntax here Bill, and I'd say "a paleontologist." That's a guy who digs up dinosaur bones, which struck me as amazingly exciting back then, but in reality probably is less fun day-to-day than bagging groceries. The Dino Park is a bunch of dinosaur tracks that were uncovered by an excavation crew. I was terribly upset a year later when the inflatable dome that covered them went all Hindenburgy and collapsed. Oh, the Jurassic-anity! The tracks survived, of course; after 200 million years, having a balloon deflate on you isn't all that big a deal.
      The main interest I've had over the park in recent years is the sign on the highway exit, which reads:

      which, for an obvious reason, came close to being an InExOb (I finally did use it, but as to whether that ever sees the light of day depends on how funny a different web site thinks it is). I'd like to say that I enjoyed the park as much as I did when I was a kid, but I didn't. All the kids that were there sure did, though. I did utilize the gift shop, buying a big fridge magnet and a fist-sized trilobite fossil. 500 million years ago trilobites ruled the Earth, until they perished in one of the many mass extinctions that have hit the Earth over the billenia. The one that killed the dinosaurs is called "The K-T Boundary Extinction." In this household, the great mass extinction is also called K-T: "Kitten Time!" Four years ago a tiny white furball ruled the Earth, and she would spend her days walking on the shelves and bookcases, batting things to the floor, until the mighty B. Rex would return from work and hear a *crunch* on the floor where something shouldn't be there to get crunched. I had a fingernail-sized trilobite fossil that I used to look at, amazed that it went from something alive 500 million years ago to something in my house. Then something broken in half when I stepped on it. Other items that became extinct were a Godzilla-shaped lamp and Baby, which was a little baby doll with its head replaced with a candy-filled head of "Baby," from the forgotten Disney movie about dinosaurs. Yes, our K-T extinction targeted dinosaurs, too.
      There was an arboretum of plants that were the descendants of Jurassic flora. I took a walk through there, immediately saying "Hmm, where does that trail go?" I was surprised to discover that there were several miles of deeply-wooded hiking trails! Also deeply swampy, but Swarming Carnivourous Insect Season doesn't start for another 2 weeks. But it was a mess in there. All the parks are mudpits thanks to the regular rain we've had all year. I got mud splattered all over my pants as well as the Converses that had been in the washing machine the day before. Converses have these inexplicable eyelets on the sides that have no apparent purpose except to let water in. But I'll take nice woodland mud over the time I stepped in a very deep puddle in Manhattan--Gourd knows what was in THAT bacterial stew. (Not helped by Scott saying "New York City in the rain! Add water, and it makes its own gravy!") Unlike most CT state hiking trails, they didn't just put some flat stones along the path. You can jump from rock to rock without getting wet, and it's perfectly safe! (That's called "foreshadowing"!)
      The trail eventually looped right out of the Dinosaur Park, and into some other, stranger park. Long parallel rows of trees flanked empty, mowed lawns; one section was left to grow fallow with weeds. What type of park was this? I had to walk all the way out of it, as there was a chainlink fence blocking me from the Dino Park. There was a sign at the entrance--Ahh, it's the State Veteran's Cemetary, Home and Hospital. All they need is a maternity ward for army brats, and the vets could spend their entire life cycle in there!
      This vacation is going to be known less for the nerdiness than the sleepiness. I got about 12 hours every drab, rainy day. Today, I went back to Valley Falls Park for the last day before work begins again. I largely had the place to myself--if the sun's not out, people just don't go there--but again, the ground was soup in parts. I had to take large detours in the parts of the trail where there weren't enough rocks to jump on. I was carefully making sure not to trample any vegetation as I hopped, when I pushed off on a rock that was too slimy to gain purchase on. Boy, that mud's sure a lot squishier when you're walking on it than it is when you're falling on your face in it. (Although I still imagine the sound I made when I hit was "splut!") My latest encounter in my ongoing War with Gravity left me with mud on my face and knees and a ding over my right eye. I looked up and saw that it could've been worse: There was a stump right in front of me with a sharp spine of wood sticking straight up. If it'd been 6 inches closer, that stake would've been forcibly introduced to my left temple. One Shisk-a-Bill, comin' right up. I stood and grasped my side, grunting "Oof, my ribs!" then "GAAH!! MY RIB!" I'd fallen on my left side, but if I'd fallen on my right, the dreaded McRib of Doom would've snapped like a snappy thing. Mainly, like my Gourddamn rib did back in March. I wiped the mud off my glasses, walked a few steps and took the glasses off to wipe them again. Shit! That's not crud, that's 2 vertical gouges deep into the lens. Which, if I didn't have plastic lenses, could've been in my freakin' cornea. They're directly over my pupil, but they're strangely more noticable from the outside than from my vantage point. Since I'll be working right next door to an eyeglass place in a coupla days, I guess that I can focus past the scratches until then. Still, what did one slimy rock just cost me in lens replacement money?
      Then, I went to Nieman-Marcus, as only the finest of goods ever exchanges overpriced splendor with my mitts! Okay, okay, I've already had the injury, might as well add the insult: I went to K-Mart.
      (Sidebar: The announcer on the classical station just referred to a "horno de caccio" or some such extinct instrument as a "porno de caccio." Hey, Luigi! Don't-a catchio Mario with his porno, mama mia! If he'd said "porno di Caprio," I'd be puking. Wait! I just said it! PUUUKE!)
      I needed black jeans for work (K-Mart brand, $12.99) and a replacement for the cargo pants I was wearing that got all muddified (Joe Boxer brand, as I now realize that my life has been a shallow lie devoid of happiness-giving brand names and also pants with 8-ball designs on the insides and also these zippers on the cuffs, you can unzip them and the cuffs become sorta like bell bottoms or some shit! WOW! And to think I've wasted my life with non-bell-bottomable pants cuffs. They're like Transformer pants! "Ro(bell)bot(tom)s in Disguise!" And there's 2 pockets that you can only fit a pen in, and one has a clasp so you can lock in your really GOOD pen so it doesn't get lost, the other's for your everyday pen I guess, or maybe the clasping one is for your marijuana pot doobie joint, I don't know. Wait, that explains the bell bottoms! I can yell "SUPERPANTS CUFFS--FLAIR!" and transform myself into an approximation of a raver kid! "Say, fellow raver kid, could you sell me some Ecstasy? I have a few pesky brain cells that are still working!" Now I'm cool! The babes, wait, I hear them flocking to me now! Flock, flock! Okay, I bought them because of the sign that said "CLEARANCE $17"). And I bought an answering machine. Yep, it's 1983 in our household! The old one didn't work--actually, it worse than didn't work; it'd say "Leave a message" then not take it. Answering machines used to be a requirement in the days before I got on the state no-call list. I never got less than 3 telemarketing calls a day. The old machine had the incredibly annoying "functions" of saving every message even if it was just a dial tone from a telemarketer's hang-up; not allowing me to delete a dial tone without playing it back in its entirety; going "BOOP!" every other minute until I played back the message, which is great fun when you're sleeping and already heard that the call was a dial tone; and had a time/date stamp that was based on the Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle and just made up times at random. (Oh, did I mention that I got it from a store that begins with B and ends in !Lots?) I waited to replace it now that I don't get telemarketing calls (go to Google and type: [your state] "no call list" if you get them). Then "The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!" as Steve Martin once said. There's another William A Young in town (I've gotten his mail), but now there's only one in the phone book. In the few hours since I hooked the machine up, Bill the Not-A-Splut has gotten 2 calls, and the new machine hasn't recorded the dial tones. I'll have to test it from work tomorrow to see how it does with actual messages. I am a mite suspicious of this one's time/date stamp--"It's Monday, 4:29PM, 2003." Well, yeah, but what phase of the Moon is it?
      And now it Huh. I ended on the climax of my K-Mart purchases. I should've ended with my head stuck on a stump. "And I had to walk back to camp holding my BRAINS in! Crows kept swooping and picking pieces off my magilla oblonguttos! Oh, if only I could've scared them off with pants with adjustable cuffs!!"

      Kiru has started a comic strip! Who knew? (Well, you, now)

      Flash-based search engine? Type in your best-known screen name (ie, thoughtviper) and see what happens...


      COOL! Kirk gets on the front page of boing boing! With his laser sloths!


      Lordy, one of those nights where I want to post, but don't want to write. But one cannot post without writing! A conundrum wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a fish. PHEWW, what is that, herring?!

      A recent convert to Tod Holton, Super Green Piece of Shit Comic Book, with the easily pronounced name of m4a1sirs, points out: "I was amazed that you didn't make a reference to "Tod" actually talking out of his ass, though..." Huh. I never noticed that! Of course, the whole comic book is basically someone talking out of their ass. And drawing and coloring and lettering from their asses, too.

      You may have noticed the utter lack of politics on this site lately. There are many, many sites far more suited to covering that than I am. Possibly I'll give you a link list of the ones I frequent soon. If you read Atrios, you're familiar with his "Torture Wolf Blitzer" via his joke CNN poll. Atrios had a link last week to a REAL poll, Harris Online. I signed up and was accepted to participate; I don't know if they take everyone who applies, or if they're looking to fill holes in their demographics, so I can't predict if they'll take you. But this is a real national poll, and it ain't gonna make the world worse if Liberals finally get their voices heard there. So sign up, if you've ever grumbled about Dumbya's "approval rating by the vidiots who get their news from Fox's polls." And start changing those numbers.
      (And drop me a line at billsplut # if they sign you on, too)


      Jenna in Hawaii writes:

      Exactly where besides their bodies would the tattoos be? Orbiting around their heads?
      It took several days before Harris emailed me with a confirmation code. I sure didn't get to go to any X-TREME MIDDLEAGED FART ZONE, where we'd be asked about our favorite CDs and their interest rates. "Five years and only 2.5%?! Man, I remember when their CDs ROCKED!"

      Another short entry, as I'm sick AGAIN, and after 2 straight days of rain, I really can't blame it on pollen. Or any other theories I might have. It didn't happen until I was driving home from work--a 12-minute window--so it matches the "comes from nowhere" symptom. Oh, and the vomiting. I'm going to make an appointment tomorrow for next week, hopefully Monday. I made a different appointment today, as it's become booster shots and check-up time for the Small White. Initially they offered me this Monday, but I had to say "Not this Monday! It's her birthday!!" Yes, she isn't going to know that, but I would. The odds are only 2 out of 7 that her birthday will fall on one of my days off, and there's no way I'm doing anything but giving her what she'd want--me at home most of the day. The woman at the vet said "I wouldn't schedule my cats that day, either!" Which is one of the reasons I take Killsy to the Animal Wellness Center. They get it.

      As a way to pretend that I'm putting content here, these are the "political" sites I read daily. I'm probably not telling anyone anything they don't know about already, but here they are. Not in any order beyond how they fell in my bookmarks.


      "I can't find the Moon!" I said to the Sun. The Sun looked up from her tower, only to go back to sleep.
      Today is the Sun's birthday, so all give a nod to the East Coast and wish the center of my tiny universe a "Happy Birthday, Kill Kill!"
      She got a brand new litter box. Actually, I gave ME a brand new litter box, as the old one had just recently developed a massive case of Cat Pee Stink. Windows were flung open and Glade Neutralizer sprayed, but more drastic measures were required. I know that it's the equivalent of your parents giving you pants on your birthday, so I also got her a tiny radio controlled car. From BIG!Lots for $4.99 (where they already have some Christmas crap on the shelves), as I wasn't sure what her reaction to it would be. She was amazed, then scared, then curious. She did that cat "I'm going to somehow smack this weird thing with my paw--without actually touching it!" wave-the-paw thing. She jumped every time it'd start moving again. She made her decision between valor and discretion and watched from atop a low box on the floor. In her astonishingly smart Einstein-who-eats-Bugs way, she somehow deduced that I was controlling it with the remote. That upset her. She began crying and rubbing her face against my leg. She stopped when I put it all away, especially the remote. She curled up in her favorite sleeping box and purred with incredible volume. If she's this jealous of a plastic toy, it's a good thing that her present wasn't another kitten.

      Her greatest present, in her mind, was that the birthday she's unaware of fell on my day off. I wasn't gone more than 3 hours today. I'm glad that it wasn't yesterday, as I slept until 2, was sick, went to bed at 9. Another glad tiding was that her birthday didn't involve a trip to the vet. I'm the one who went to the doctor today. And there's nothing like describing your bizarre symptoms and having the doc describe it as "a stumper." "You're suffering from what we doctors don't have a name for yet!" Great, I've got E. HENRY THRIPSHAW'S DISEASE! I'll sell the film rights! He decided to assume that it was allergies, but imported that guess with the same weight that Theory #2 might be crickets nesting in my bladder. In my Sickest Year Ever, another $40 in prescriptions: Zyrtek (for allergies; "May cause drowsiness or lycanthropy, do not use while driving or near silver bullets") and generic Phenergan (for nausea; "May cause drowsiness or Random Head Explodification Syndrome, do not drive without bringing a squeegee for the windshield"). The last comforted me, at least. They gave me that as a kid, when I had such severe hayfever that I was a walking snot. "Really," said Doc, in the tone of "Well, in the 60s they gave pregnant women Thalidomide and dipped candy apples with DDT."
      Since I was on the Mall Side of Town anyway, I did one of those things that I meant to do on vacation but never did. I went shopping. I went to a store called "The Final Markdown" (Wasn't that a hair metal song? No, wait--it was Laibach!). Sort of a B!L for gifts and party stuff. With the wind chimes, desk clocks with ceramic squirrels, Darth Maul's Head Rubik's Cubes and "Aussie Wood Chip Collector's Sets" (for your barbie, mates--although how one could simultaneously collect and burn something went past me), there were LAVA LAMPS! One of a pair of old (really old) ladies said, "Oh, remember those? I never cared for those." "Oh," said the other, leaning on her shopping cart for leg support, "I thought that they were kind of pretty! I hear that if you do like them, you really like them!" Damn straight! thought Bill, as he bought Lava Lamp #5. Hell, $10, what's not to like? I finally broke with tradition, and bought a "Wizard" model. Unlike a regular Lava Lamp, which are shaped like...well, Lava Lamps, these are conical. Like a really slimmed down Dalek. Daleka Flockheart.
      Then I went to Best Buy to replace the VCR. Hell, JVC stereo 4-head with SVHS capability for $70, paid for with an Xmas gift certificate, can't be bad. I was amazed that I actually transferred the old Sony to the computer room without a problem. It's now the Trick Lobster machine (And feel free to remind me that I don't have an excuse not to get back on that now). The new one also wasn't that hard to set up. I even can switch between VCR and DVD and Super Joy with the greatest of ease! Before, I had to swap plugs back and forth. And then jiggle the plugs to get sound and video. And then again.
      Wow...I really thought that if I sat myself down in front of the computer and typed, I could force out an interesting entry. Sorry. I also bought the Spirited Away DVD at last, so I guess I'll go watch that. Now that the everything's back to normal on the entertainment center--I found the PVC Gonzo Muppet figure and 20-year-old Gonzo plush from the floor behind it, and placed them with on top of the new VCR. I was confused when I lost my lunar globe model for a while. But I eventually found the Moon.


      Well, yesterday's proclamations of success didn't work out as planned:
      The DVD/VCR coexistence lasted exactly as long as it took to convince me that it had actually happened. Now, we're back to plugging and unplugging and plug-jiggling. That's what I get for buying Y-adaptors at the dollar store.
      Kill Kill also didn't care for her new litterbox. Apparently, rancid cat pee stink was her recently accomplished work-in-progress. She sat outside the bathroom watching it for about 20 minutes before actually going in it, and then going in it. She ran out of it like a bat out of hell or Meatloaf when the all-you-can-eat buffet ends, looking back at it to make sure that some unknown other cat might be lurking inside. Maybe she thought that the RC car she also dislikes might use it, leaking battery acid everywhere.
      My fifth Lava Lamp immediately became my fourth. My first, 15-year-old one picked the new one's arrival as the time to go to Lava Heaven. It ceased to...Laviate, I guess is the word, just heating up the lava enough that it tumbles around the bottom of the lamp, levitating only a few inches.
      Spirited Away, at least, was still good. And Killsy liked her bowl of tuna water.

      I meant to link this a few days ago--I'm always up for a good article on how TV is Bad. This one describes how television is destroying the culture and safety of Bhutan after only 4 years. Bhutan is not what's in a cigarette lighter; it's the country that a famous fictional nation was based on. Yes, TV is killing Shangri-La. And believe it or not, one of the things that's doing it is Beastmaster.


      Mr Poopy Pants and a co-worker were having a discussion about the Food Pyramid. Because it recommends "2-3 Servings" ("serving" meaning only a few ounces) of "Beef, Pork, Poultry or Fish," it means that you should eat 2-3 meals of beef, pork, poultry AND fish every day, so all those Big Macs and McNuggets that he eats daily are health food. Obviously, "Fats and Oils" are at the top of the Pyramid because they're the pinnacles of nutritional goodness.

      Via She of the Infinite Splutness:

Magic Number7
JobSerial Killer
TemperamentSweet Natured
Likely To WinThe Respect Of My Colleagues
Me - In A WordDull
Brought to you by MemeJack

      (Although "billsplut" and my only real LJ name, "monkeymaniac," gave me the more accurate ratings of Job: "Most Hated Person - Ever" and Sexual: "Just Say No."


      For no reason, I decided to check out one of my old favorite Comic Book Resources columns, Gail Simone's "You'll All Be Sorry!" which ceased existence 2 years ago. And it's back, as of this April! It hasn't updated in 2 weeks, so maybe it's not staying. I did like the unexpected Live Journal of a comic book character.


      New Zealand weather forecasters predict a 100% chance of...



      We've been dealing with the central CT beer delivery strike for most of the week. That article makes it sound like the drivers are whiners who don't want to unload any more cases than they do now; it doesn't point out that they've been working without a contract for 2 years over this issue. Yes, they get good pay and benefits already, but if they could find people who'd do this work for $10 an hour, they'd be paying people $10 an hour to do it. It's like when people who complain about how much garbagemen get paid--How much would they have to pay you for you to be a garbageman?
      They have stops like our stores, where they just wheel the stuff in to the ground floor and they're done. They have many other stops, especially supermarkets that get an entire truck's worth several times a week, where everything has to be unloaded into a basement. Pick up a 30 pack of Bud sometime and imagine dragging 400 of those in by yourself--and down a flight of stairs to the store's basement. They are small liquor stores with narrow staircases, and one guy stands at the top and throws 30s down to a guy who catches them. Yeah, they can retire after 25 years of work, but for the same reason that football players retire early: Any longer, and their bodies ain't gonna work like they used to.
      The strike caught management and we retailers off guard. The timing is obvious: It's just before the 4th of July, which is a 3-day weekend this year. The distributors didn't have the time to hire scabs, and so we had to rent U-Hauls and go get our beer by ourselves. Through the picket lines. Mr Poopy Pants was drafted to drive some of the runs, and he was greeted with calls of "SCAB!" and "SHITHEAD!" and so forth. Me, I would've smiled and waved back as I drove by. Poopy waved, but he only waved with one finger. He was immediately pulled over by the police and given a written warning for making a threat.
      One of the owners, the one who deals with all the beer deliverymen, ran the picket lines himself. On the way in, the drivers stopped screaming and just turned their backs. Hell, they know we're not scabs. We're the reason these guys have jobs! On the way out, he was stopped right in front of them. They looked at the ground, until one of them said, "Hey, how's it goin'!" He told me, "They recognized me. They know I'm not there to take their jobs." I said, "Since they all hate Poopy, I'll bet that they swore at him because they recognized him, too!" The reason that I would've smiled and waved isn't just because I'm sympathetic to their side of the issue, but because I'm not so stupid as to think that I'll never see these guys after the strike...


      Gourd, but I am SO SICK of updating this. Even with the search requests for "sexy thing's that can be done my using." I guess that they ran out of room before telling me WHAT they were using, but maybe that's not all that bad a thing.

      Update to a study I've mentioned before: Cats only meow for people. Dogs only have about 8 different vocalizations, while cats have more than a hundred...Which they only use on people, and not other cats. It's been proven that human brains are hardwired to react to the cries of babies and can rate their urgency by their sound, just like they do with the cats in this study. I wonder if cats evolved to tailor their cries over the millenia to take advantage of something already present in our minds?


      I should've added that when I say I'm sick of updating this, I'm also just plain sick. When it seems that I don't have the energy to update, it's because I literally don't have the energy. The nausea that my doctor described as "a stumper" is apparently not an allergy. The Zyrtec does nothing. Yesterday, the Phenergan also did nothing for the nausea, and I spent many hours in total misery. Did you know that when you vomit Coke, this thick black stuff comes up that slowly drifts to the bottom of the toilet? I think it's the caramel coloring. I'm discovering all sorts of interesting facts about my gastrointestinal system lately.

      SHAWT: A guy asked me, "Do you sell Massachusetts lottery tickets?" Does Connecticut raise tax revenue for Massachusetts? Does the Pepsi factory have a Coke machine? Does the Pope convert Italians to Judaism? Do you have a brain? NO. "We don't sell Lotto here," I said, keeping the message simple. Him: "You used to!" Yeah, 4 years ago, but not for other states. "Not any more." Him: "Oh. You don't happen to know the winning Mass Millions number, do you?" Dude, the fucking Rain Man would've thought that was a stupid question! Yeah, and I have every zip code in America memorized, and those don't change twice a week! That's like me randomly stopping people on the street and asking them what my phone number is.

      Which is funnier, this fake one or the accidentally leaked real one?

      About 20 years ago, I came up with an idea for a comic book called "Lady DIE!" Driven insane by the pressures of being part of the Royal Family, Princess Diana became a crusading and murderous superhero, aided by Ronald reagan's former co-star, Bonzo the Chimp. Nothing but a few doodles came of it, but apparently I was ahead of my time. Minus the talking mutant chimp, that is.


      I have a really weird work schedule this week. 3 days off! But still 40 hours! Which means 3 11-hour shifts. Two are behind me now, and I have tomorrow off. Normally, I'd go to a state park. But Sunday I shut my windows because a 55 degree breeze was blowing in here, and on Tuesday I shut the windows so I could use the air conditioner. It's been 95 (in temperature, and very close to that in humidity) since then. So I don't know what I'm going to do with the free time tomorrow. Maybe leave the air conditioned house and drive my air conditioned car to the air conditioned stores in CT's antique district.

      I was without home A/C until this year. Kill Kill spent most of last Summer as a furry puddle on the kitchen floor. Last Spring, it became hot immediately, stayed that way, and air conditioners disappeared from the stores permanently by late May. This year has been rainy and cold and A/C units are cheap. Killsy is much happier.
      But it's been brutal all week. I feel sorry for people who can't afford the $95 to buy one. And my jaw cracked me in the crotch when I read today's Whatever:

      ...And several readers of the Whatever not only ponied up, but complained that they couldn't contribute to him. Yes, as I've said before, the Bleat was the spark that started The News back in '99. But...
      Mrs Lileks was an assistant attorney general for the state of Minnesota. Pardon my Swedish, but BOO FUCKIN' HOO. How long is she going to be out of job? Think the Lilekses will qualify for food stamps? Will they have to move out of their house, which from how he's described it, would sell in Connecticut for at least $500K? Will they be feeding Gnat Jasper's dog food, so desperate are they? I pray to Gourd that the reason Lileks' Tip Jar isn't taking donations is because he knows he doesn't need the money, and was wise enough to turn it off.
      Everytime there's a heat wave, you read about senior citizens dying because their Social Security isn't enough for them to afford air conditioning. And I'm supposed to cry because Lileks may not be able to rip to his iPod as frequently? THIS is some people's idea of a charity case?!
      And let me tell you the reason why I stopped reading The Bleat: The year before the drumbeat to invade Iraq because of (fill in WMD or any other fake reason escept the wet dreams of PNAC here), Lileks would always talk about how he wasn't going to have anything to do with this writer, that actor, this singer because they dared to question our Great Leader. Not reading his columns anymore! Not watching his movies or her TV shows! Deleting Sarah Machlachlan's songs from the iPod! They're gullible idiotarians and traitors to the State! It hit the point where I just decided to follow his lead and stop reading his crap. Write about your kid, your day, pop culture, anything but your dittohead politics. I'll just stop reading your column, since you obviously don't care if I'm declared persona non grata by Ashcroft. I put Lileks on my own "French Boycott" back in early March. Haven't read him since.
      Is this petty spite? Ask yourself: If Martin Sheen or Janeane Garafolo had lost their jobs because of their antiwar views, would Lileks have written a Bleat gleefully sneering about the "justice" of that?
      Fuck yeah.
      Boo fuckin' hoo. I'll bet that I could live for months on what Bush just gave him in the tax cut. I can't buy lunch on what I'll get.
      But I'll still do something. I'm inspired by that tale of woe. I just dropped a Grant on Howard Dean, and I think I'll move on to becoming a card-carrying member. And I'm not stopping there. Remember that car accident a while back? I got a check for $2K to fix it, but I know a mechanic that did it for $800. It's not like I was expecting the money anyway...


      Last night I had a mild attack of Bill Young's Disease, as Science has officially named my mystery illness. This morning, at the start of an 11-hour shift, I took my anti-nausea meds and promptly horked them back out. After emptying my tummy, it kicked back in & out. Mmm, nothin' like having the bile sucked from your liver and into your mouth! No fuckin' way am I putting up with THIS, thought I, and almost called to say I was leaving work. But I decided to give it until 2PM so that co-worker Shelley didn't get stuck working 12 hours to cover me. And then I got okay again. So okay that, when I visited BIG!Lots, I didn't puke when they played Michael Bolton on the Muzak--and interrupted him for a commercial voiced by Jerry Van Dyke!

      A coupla years ago I linked to the story of how the human race's rise of dominance seems to have come from one genetic fluke, the mutation that allowed humans to speak. While extremely beneficial mutations like that can spread throughout a specie's genepool like wildfire, I always wondered how it could've happened in the relative eyeblink of geological time that is the last 50,000 years. What happened to all the speechless but otherwise normal humans? Surely having a mate who could speak would grant huge survival benefits, and speechlessness would be more common than it is. Possible answer: Like the dinosaurs, humans were hit with a mass extinction, and we were reduced to a global population of 2,000 only 70,000 years ago. The language gene could've flashed into existence as a result of the stress our species was under, and with such a small human population, everyone could've been bred with it in a relatively quick time. Those are 2 very short articles that I'd like to see expanded into a book...


      Went antiquing in Putnam today. On the way, I passed a Fung Wah bus (direct service from Boston's Chinatown to New York's Chinatown; there's a niche market) and someone's pet llama. In a book store I bought this fridge magnet. I found a little Maneki Neko bank, that being the "Beckoning Cat" good luck icon favored in Japan. I got it for 25% off, which seemed like a deal until Kill Kill refused to have her photo taken with it and I Googled up an image--of the exact same item for $2 less (even if you don't click that, you can probably guess what color the cat is). I saw a framed 1830s map of Rhode Island and thought, I'd buy that if it was a map of Connecticut. A few minutes later, I saw a 1799 map of CT, nicely framed and matted and a bargain at $54. Well, a bargain in the sense that I've wanted an antique map of either CT or Vernon for 15 years, and they generally go for about $40 more without a frame. The map's so old that CT doesn't have the Notch cut out of it on the Massachussetts border (even in Colonial times it was called "Taxachussetts;" 3 towns seceded from Mass to CT because of high taxes, and eventually we gave Mass a lake on the border as partial compensation).
      I also bought a comic book, "Zody the Mod Rob." It's not Super Green Beret stupid, but it's still stupid. Apparently, someone decided that what the Kids Today (in 1970) really needed was a faux Archie with a sidekick who's an astrologist hippie robot. That's why Zody is "mod!" Which is a word that meant nothing to me as a kid back then, or to anyone else. It's one of those "middle-aged guys try to write for the youth market" things from that time, where the slang and clothes of their "hip" kids were about 15 years out of date--even the adults all dress like it's 1955, going to the movies wearing 3-piece suits and hats. A scientist invents a thinking cap that only works if you have the sign of Aquarius, and then it makes you a clairvoyant genius capable of building a robot from scratch, but not so clairvoyant a genius that you realize that it's going to become one lame-ass character. Zody shouts lines like "I'M-WITH-YOU,-BUDDY-BOY! LET'S-MAKE-THE-SCENE! I'M-TUNED-IN! I'M-AN-AQUARIAN-AND-READY-TO-TURN-ON!" lettered just like that. It is the only place you'll ever find that a key plot point is "an accidental MOUSE BOMB!" followed by dialogue like "FLASH! ROBOT-TEACHES-CREATIVE-DANCE!" For reasons unfathomable, this was the only issue of Zody.
      There's also an ad for some lovely artwork, assuming starving, diseased, miserable stray kittens are what you like on your walls.