When the Barium Swallows Return to Decapistrano

NEW 4.5

There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson


      This month marks my Sixth Anniversary with a Career of Damaging Connecticut's Livers. Hoorah for job security. And, as it is Laborious Day, for the sixth one in a row I'll carry on my tradition of pointing out that the world hasn't ended since the last one. Of course, with the Bush junta doing its best to bring about Ragnarok, who's to say when the tradition ends?
      Speaking of predicting the future (and being wrong), it turns out that astrology is a big stanky load. "It is simplistic and highly selective and does not cover all of the research." You said it! Exactly how does a lump of rock a billion miles from here affect my personal life? Wait, oops, that quote was the reaction from a pro-astrology group! But what could be more simplistic than astrology? If you wrote a sci-fi novel set in a world where astrology actually worked, you'd come up with a world far different than the one we live in. Astrology would be a priority project for the Pentagon, and NASA would be the most heavily-funded government agency of all. Apollo wouldn't have been about landing a man on the Moon, it would've been about building the ultimate deep-space telescope on the Dark Side. The Cold War wouldn't have been about recruiting the greatest atomic scientists to America or the Soviet Union, but Sydney Omarr.
      Or would there even be any nations? If there were 6 billion people on Earth, but only 12 possible days that they could have, wouldn't the world consist not of states based on geography but of astrological signs? Every Aries or Virgo would have to be surrounded by their own "kind"--When something bad happened to one of the half billion with that sign, it'd happen to all of them. And the Aries Organization--or Church of Aries, or Transnation of Aries or whatever, would be using their own Hubbles and supercomputers to know not just that "tomorrow is a bad day to start new ventures," but that, say, January 19th, 2015 and October 3rd, 2085 would also be. And of course, everyone with the exact same birth date would throw a great party the day before the Stars said they were going to die. And why would they even try to avoid dying? The Stars are never wrong!
      If you didn't click on the link to the article, the pro-superstitious pantsload people do have a point about the study needing to be reproduced before accepting its results. But that'll be a while...the study ran for forty-five years. I think that if you can't prove something to be even remotely near a bus stop by the corner of This-Is-Something-Correct Street in half a century, it probably isn't. But I'm "simplistic" that way.

      Another anniversary: one month with two cats. It's strange; the household is either like yesterday morning, when we had 90 straight minutes of calamity as the kids chased each other rampagiously, or it's like it is now, silent while they snooze together. Almost together; they're on the bed, seperated by only inches now. If Byron could get it into his head that Kill Kill can be snuggled with as well as attacked, it'd be perfect. Currently, I'm the one filling that ecological niche. I get both the play and the purrs, the bites and the licks. And I get them in the same place when I'm in bed--on the mouth. Having 3 pounds of pouncing fur smash its curved claws into your mouth when you're asleep is no fun. Of course, when he decides to bathe me with his sandpaper tongue right on my lips is only marginally better.


      I've been using up the last of my vacation days, although you wouldn't know it by reading here. Things have been unexciting enough to post about, even by my notoriously lax standards of "What total strangers may find interesting." Shortened version:

      I've had better vacations, actually.

      Next movie I want to see: Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis fights a mummy.

      A whole bunch of super-cutesy Shockwave minigames. Probably easier to play if you don't have a multi-toed kitten curled up in one hand.


      As I said, I've had better vacations. the last day began with a blue screen on the computer and the words "IRQL not less or equal to" and "Restart." That led to a blank screen and a computer that did nothing but go "beeep" every few seconds. Just 2 weeks ago, I'd gone shopping for an emergency replacement computer, and this was my cue to get it. $300 for a refurbished Dell PIII/733mz. The last time I bought that configuration, it was top of the line. (If you're wondering why I just didn't use that old one, it was stripped into the current/now dead one) So I spent all of yesterday getting the new one up and running, and downloading and going through Google to rebuild my bookmarks. still don't have everything the way I want it--How do you get the Desktop and My Copmuter icons to show up in the Taskbar, again?--Oh, wait, THERE they are. And that's my excuse for not updating yesterday.
      My current excuse? DON'T CARE! I'm tired of this page. I have nothing interesting to say anymore. By which I mean, "Nothing to said in an interesting way." I'm BOR-INNNG. It began when I first started getting sick last spring, but why that's an excuse is as much a mystery as my illness. It's not like I'm sick all the time.
      And there's so many more interesting pages than mine. Like almost all of them, lately. Check out Izzlepaff (or at least check out this entry, wherein the narrator deals with idiocy from the other side of the liquor counter). And I can't even claim to have found it on my own! Man, I suck lately.


      Spotted at the SalvArmy: The "What Would Jesus Eat?" Diet. I imagine that it allows unlimited portions of loaves and fishes. Maybe you can eat all the food you want, as long as you transubstaniate it from thin air. Of course, that means you'll starve to death. But just wait three days, and you'll awake refreshed as a new, thinner you! Caution: Side effects of this diet may include bleeding from the hands and feet.
      And no, I'm not making the diet up.

      Speaking of religion--"Apocalypse NOW, please!"

      Speaking of "Please," it's the CHAWT! (Cute Humans At Work Today) A family with 4 little girls was in the DumpStore tonight. Co-worker Mike offered them lollipops, but "Only if you say the Magic Word!" Three of the girls chorused "PLEASE!" but the fourth wasn't paying attention. "What's the Magic Word?" asked her momma. She looked confused for a second, then said "Alakazam!" They got their lollipops, Mom said "And what's the next Magic Word?" Three daughters said "Thank you!" and fourth daughter, again not paying attention until prompted, said "Alakazoo!" Her sisters then said "Bibbity Bobbity Boo!"
      No, the Magic Word is "Bibbity Bobbity Bukoff!" "Put them together and what have you got? NO TEETH!"


      What a great day off! Beautiful weather at a time of year where you know you're nearing that last good day before the deep freeze begins; a walk in the woods; a home-cooked meal at my Mom's; the biweekly phone call with Jessica. Today could not have been better!
      And it was--in some ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.
      In this one, I awoke with a migraine, took a Vicuprofen and went back to sleep. Until 430PM. No walk in the woods. I took another Vicu and also a Nexium, and all I saw of the beautiful day was on the way to the bathroom to puke. I called my mother to postpone our dinner until next week, and went back to bed. No home cooking. I slept until after 9, and wondered why Jess didn't call at 9 like she was supposed to--Wait, when I hung up the phone, did I hang up the phone? No, it'd been broadcasting a busy signal for 5 hours. She did call back, so at least I had the phone call.
      It's funny how pets know when something's wrong. Byron hasn't seen me get real sick until today, and he kept following me into the bathroom. And climbing onto the toilet seat, so I was throwing up trying to keep him from falling in. The second time he heard me hacking he was in the other room, and meowed for me as he came running. He's never meowed except when he was playing before (and by "meow," even this one was a ferret banshee squeal). He stayed with me in bed the whole time, curled up and purring, or licking my lips and kneading my face with his big honkin' paws. That helped me feel better.

      A damn funny look at Dungeons & Dragons, 8-bit style.

      Is this how houses get haunted?


      Byron had his second trip to the vet for his second set of shots. He was well-behaved on the drive over and as he poked around the examination room, but after a visit by an employee or two wearing scrubs, he began to tremble. It wasn't as horrific as I feared, although he sure hit one hell of a high C when that second needle went in. He was calm again once he went in the carrier and we waited to be processed, getting the usual comments on his giant feet from people. Halfway home, he started SCA-REAMING. It was as close to an actual cat cry that he's made. And he just wouldn't stop until we got home. Like Kill Kill, he poked around the house, making sure that everything was still there, then chowed down and fell asleep.
      "He's had a rough day," I told the clerk as she finished up his paperwork, "he just had his shots, and his day started with him chasing a gnat in the bathroom and falling into the toilet bowl." And not just any toilet--one that had clumped litter dumped into it (it flushes better if the clumps sit in there a while). So he wasn't just wet, he was bathed in a soup of litter and cat peepee. I did my best to towel him off, but he wouldn't stand for more than a few seconds of that. Should I give him a bath? I've never actually had to give a cat a bath, despite the irony that "falling in a toilet bowl" would be more of the type of thing kitten Kill Kill would've done than him. He's Mr Playful, knocking toys across the floor, whereas she was Dora the Explorer, always poking in places where she shouldn't have. Until today.
      Okay, he had a little bath just now in the bathroom sink in warm water and a tiny bit of baby shampoo. Kill Kill has a real mad on about the way he smells. She keeps sniffing him, hissing more loudly than the first day he arrived, and really giving him some hostile swats. Hey, guess what, he hates baths! He hates being toweled off! Bad day to be Byron, I guess.
      Oh yeah: The DumpStore is getting sold, and I'm not sure if I still have a job. Bad day to be Bill.

      Sign Move On's FCC petition against media consolidation. This is the final nail in Clear Channel's coffin.


      It's in the air, for you and me"

      Actually, it's in the Splut's guts.

      Label on the bottle of Barium suspension: "Pleasant tasting." My Gourd, I could so go for a radioactive Barium Slurpie right now.
      After sitting in a waiting room with only 1 magazine newer than last spring, I got to swallow a metallic distillation in a "pleasant" suspension and get repeatedly X-rayed so that the Barium did some radioactive glowing dance inside me. Up, down, all around, dozens of times. And I got to drink Barium suspension in many exciting ways! One big swallow! Three quick swallows! Hold your breath, don't hold your breath! Relax, breathe normally! In a box with a fox! With Fizzy Lifting Drinks! And, oh my, how they fizzily lift! If they wanted to know why I was getting the X-rays, they got an eyeful. Or a stomachful, a batch of Barium barfed into a bucket, the type of violent horking that leaves me teary-eyed and shaking. The X-ray man left the room for the 3 minutes that episode took--the tech said, "Some doctors don't like to be near sick people!" Well, that's in their job description, but it's not like I cotton to hanging out with idiot drunks, and look where I work. And I got to keep taking swallows of fucking scrumpdillyishous Barium after el vomito grande. Why--now, it's even MORE pleasantly tasting! Make me a banana split, except the banana is Barium and the ice cream is mint chocolate Barium chip and top it with Barium Whip and put a Barium cherryium on top! HOW PLEASANT!!!
      They gave me a handout telling me that Barium usually causes constipation. That's because the human body SOOO loves to store its puke-a-riffic alkaline-earth metals in a rich, tasty broth! In rare instances, it causes diarrhea. Guess what! I'm rare! And it looked like I'd spent the last 6 weeks living on Milk of Magnesia and egg yolks! I was told to "drink a lot of fluids, to flush it out of your system," a fine thing to tell a guy working in a liquor store now that the Octoberfest beers are out. I doubted that the owners would buy "But it wash *hic* doctor's ordershs!" as an excuse to crack open a 12 pack of Otter Creek. Next time on the toilet maybe I wasn't so rare, as...Apparently, Barium is a heavy element, and, well, I won't be regaining my appetite for chunks of white chocolate anytime soon.

      I don't get it! I ate some weird element and was bombarded with radiation! How much different am I from Spiderman? Shouldn't I be gaining superpowers beyond the weirdly-tinted poop?

      This is the City! Once a proud metropolis, it now cowers in the fear of crime! But there is a new figure in town--A fighter of crime who cowers not, and bitch-slaps a lot! Born of a strange experiment involving radiation and the bizarre, other-wordly, yet pleasant-tasting element of Barium, this new hero uses his powers for Truth, Justice and triple-coupon days at the supermarket!
      Faster than a hurling bolus! More powerful than a speeding acid reflux! Able to projectile vomit over a tall building in a single barf! It's--THE VOMITEER!
      Aided by his trusty sidekicks, the beautiful Wonder Kills and the spazzy Ferret Boy, he fights a never-ending battle to keep both crime and his gorge where they belong--down, and from rising! In that order!

      (Scene: The Vomiteer Cave, which is actually a suburban garage. The VomitPhone rings)
      VOMITEER: Faithful and aged butler Alfred, could you pick that up for me?
      ALFRED: Fuck no!
      VOMITEER: It's only called the VomitPhone. It doesn't really vomit.
      ALFRED: Yes, Master Bill. Hello--
      (SFX: BLAAARRGHH!!!)
      VOMITEER: AH-HAHAHAHA! Of COURSE it vomits! It's a VomitPhone, what else would it do! Gourd, but senile people are funny when they forget things!
      ALFRED: ENOUGH of this fol-de-rol and hey-nonny-non! I QUIT!
      VOMITEER: Jeez, right now? Even if we're having Jello today?
      ALFRED: Are you trying to distract me? With what? Jello? JELLO! Is it lime with grapes in it? When do we have Jello?!
      VOMITEER: Just as soon as you make it, old chum!
      ALFRED: Fiddle-dee-dee! I do believe I shall make Jello! Lime, and with grapes!
      VOMITEER: Alfred?
      ALFRED: Yes, Master Bill?
      VOMITEER: Could you answer the phone?
      ALFRED: Why, certainly, Master Bi-(BLAARRGGHH!!)
      VOMITEER: AHHHH-HAHAHA! (takes phone, wipes it off) Yes, Commisioner?
      COMMISIONER: Vomiteer! We need your help! Dr Deconstructionist is at the library!
      VOMITEER: He's finding concrete experience more valid than abstract ideas and, therefore, refuting any attempts to produce a history, or a truth? While I find the theories of Dr Deconstructionist and his ilk to be but facile attempts to squeeze yet another year out of grad school, I don't really see how I'm needed.
      COMMISIONER: He's moved beyond mere theory and is now physically deconstructing the actual library building with a GIANT ROBOTIC BACKHOE!
      VOMITEER: "Giant"--It's a word loaded with cultural baggage. Amongst the Pygmies, a "giant" backhoe would stand about four feet tall--
      COMMISSIONER: It's TEN STORIES HIGH, you goddamn superpowered mutant ex-English major!
      VOMITEER: And the library's only--FIVE STORIES! Okay, I'll concede the definition of "giant" for the rest of this argument. WONDER KILLS! FERRET BOY! TO THE '97 MERCURY TRACERMOBILE!
      DR DECONSTRUCTIONIST: BWAH-HAHAHA! I'm bringing the multiplicities and contingencies of human experience that necessarily bring knowledge down to the local and specific level--namely, STREET LEVEL!! With a big backhoe!
      VOMITEER: You've done enough intellectual and property damage today, Doctor! I'd say that--THE DOCTOR IS OUT!
      DR D: SO! My old nememesis, The Vomiteer! And you brought your little sidekicks, too! Where's their litter box? AH-HAHAHA!
      VOMITEER: In the back of the Tracer! And, soon you'll feel like cat poop, my old--Wait. What did you call me?
      DR D: Umm..Nemesis.
      VOMITEER: No, you pretty clearly called me your "nememesis."
      DR D: No, I didn't! Okay, I did! Because...you...spread the MEME of NEMESIS! NEMEMESIS! I coined that just now! Let me write that down, I have a paper due soon...Okay, got it. MY MINIONS! ATTACK THESE COSTUMED FOOLS!
      VOMITEER: Send in your henchmen, you coward! Maybe they have the stomach to face the VOMITEER!
      MINION: That's derogatory!
      FEMALE MINION: And sexist!
      VOMITEER: Huh? What?
      MINION: We're MINIONS! Not henchmen! Or henchwomen! Henchmen are bottom of the barrel supervillain thugs! MINIONS have 401Ks and full medical!
      VOMITEER: Huh. Do you have full dental, too?
      MINION: No, we'd have to be union for that. The Archcriminal and Sinister Mastermind Local 415, they have dental.
      (SOCK! POW! SMACK!)
      VOMITEER: Just teaching you the benefits of a strong union, my bicuspidly-challenged friend. WONDER KILLS! Use your POWER!
      WONDER KILLS: Super-Cuteness Disarming Attack! NOW!!
      MINIONS: Why, we'll murderize that cat! That little cape-wearing all-white freak! That dumb, stupid...itty kittsie-witsie! OOH, who's da bad lil' furry-fur? Is it doo? It IS doo, widdle kitty itty bitty pretty, yes, doo IS!
      VOMITEER: FERRET BOY! While they're distracted! BERSERKER MODE!
      DR D: WHAT?! My minions! DAMN! I just paid all their medical, too! But no matter! Your sidekicks won't help you when my masterpiece of EVIL, the Super-robot Magnetronical Electro Giga-watt Murderiffic Annihilaton, attacks! SEE! One tiny blast from its--Hey, where'd ya go?
      VOMITEER: In back. While you were busy introducing your thingie, I pulled its plug.
      DR D: DAMMIT! I need to give these things shorter names!
      VOMITEER: You could just call it by an acronym.
      DR D: It's...it's really...it's really not my greatest acronym.
      VOMITEER: What? S...M...E...G...Oh, yeah. I don't know, people might still be afraid to be touched by it.
      DR D: That is neither fish nor fowl, apples or oranges, Aristotle or Dana Plato! I still have a few tricks up my sleeve--or should I say, MY NOSE?!

      VOMITEER: Dude...That is the second-worst superpower EVER. And now--MEET THE FIRST WORST! PROJECTILE VOMITING--PROJECT!! HOOO--WAAAALLLP!!!
      DR D: GAHHHHHH!!! A flood of BARIUM, THREE DAY OLD PIZZA AND MILK OF MAGNESIA!!! Also, a grape in lime Jello. I SURRENDER!
      VOMITEER (winking): There's something to be said for the worst superpower ever! Say, sexy young female girl library aide whose life I just saved from certain deconstruction through projectile vomiting--How about a kiss for your hero?
      (Wonder Kills and Ferret Boy laugh, while The Vomiteer shrugs and wipes his mouth)

      But is this TRULY the worst superpower?! Buy next month's issue, when the VOMITEER faces his greatest challenge! A monstrous villain created in the darkest bowels of the Taco Bell headquarters! The Malevolent Master of Fatal Flatulence, WINDBREAKER! You won't want to "pass" on this "gas" of a story, an epic we just had to title--"FOR WHOM THE CHEESE CUTS!"

      Well...wasn't that sophomoric. As to the job thing, apparently I still have one. Where and with WHO is the question. Details to follow, assuming I get any.
      Whoever I work for, they better have full medical. Because I'm jonesing for some pancakes covered in Barium. MMMM, silicate metals!!!


      Egg Yolk, then White Chocolate, and today, again thanks to the Ongoing Wonder that is Barium--PUMPKIN ORANGE colored poop! It's like I have a Sherwin Williams down there! I cover the World!!

      9/11 is, of course, what appears to be the new Government-Mandated Day to Get Depressed. Think about the murdered, not the utterly incompetent failed attempts of your (s)elected leader's to fight the "war" on "terrism."
      Jon Carroll on the price to be paid, Brian Eno on the new standard of propaganda. And August Pollak says it all. With few words.
      What, you're depressed? It's 9/11! That's what you're supposed to feel! It's the new holiday, the Anti-Thanksgiving! Why doesn't Dumbya just declare it "Fear-dreading" and get it over with? All hail Dear Leader!


      So the Owners are selling the Dumpstore. Good for them. When the grocery store in the plaza is having violent carjackings and stabbings in broad daylight, it's time to move out. The people buying it got the package deal--the store, and a certain co-worker who soils his undies. Their loss.
      And my loss? The plan was to close the DumpStore and open a new one immediately afterwards. An enemy liquor store close to the new location fought it in 2 different zoning commisions, and it fell through. And now, the owners had two managers too many.
      They talked the new guys into taking on one of us, and she's quite happy, as she may get moved to one of their other stores, which would be a very short commute for her. And, of course, that means she doesn't work with Poopy Pants. Me, I became redundant. Trust me, I understand it and it's too detailed to go into here. And they could've just been like a giant corporation and thrown me out into the street, saying "Write if you find work!" Instead, they talked to a friend with his own chain of stores and, rather than me finding a job, they found a job for me. The interview was more them trying to sell me on them than it was me trying to convince them to hire me (I have really good references from both the owners and many of the salesmen my new boss works with).
      Minor pay cut for 6 months, which I couldn't argue over. I'm an unknown quantity to them, and I was already making good (for retail) money. And I can't exactly argue financial hardship. I get a good vibe off of the new place. Many of the people working there have been there for years, if not more than a decade. The biggest downside, so far, is the extra commute, but that's only ten more minutes.
      We'll see. I've worked for some of the WORST retailers in America, and I have a good sense of what's a "bad job." I can tough most anything out. And there's the very strong possibility that when that new store finally does get built, that I'll be asked to come back.
      Worst retailers I've worked for: Kay Bee Toys, Rite Aid, Montgomery Ward. The Monkey Ward drove itself into the grave it deserved to rot in, but avoid the other two if at all possible.

      I placed an order with American Science & Surplus--yes, their acronym is A.S.S.--and it came today. (I use their catalog, although they have an online store) They're like a mail order BIG!Lots, except infinitely odder (WAIT! My new place of employment is NOWHERE NEAR A BIG!LOTS!! Oh woe!!). I needed a new LED keychain light, and of course, it was pretty obvious that I also needed a 3-pack of Archie McPhee "Devil [rubber] Duckies" (3 for 95 cents!), a "Jumpin' Monkey" (rubber and on an elastic; it scared both cats), and of course I had to place an order for a--No, wait, can't say what. Last winter I missed a yearly tradition of sending an Xmas/birthday gift to someone who reads this, so I must remain silent. I did finally break down and order the "Consumer Surprise Box." "Mystery Boxes of stuff like what you see in the catalog. Maybe we had a little left but not enough to continue the listing. Maybe we only got a few as part of an odd lot. Maybe we just lost some, and just found them in our warehouse." Or, maybe, just maybe, "crap we couldn't give away--but we still found a sneaky way to SELL!" What did I get? The Kids eagerly helped me search through the contents of the box; Kill Kill taking over the "sniffing everything" duties while Byron handled the "attack it!!" end. Here's what I got for $10:

      Overall usefulness of the Consumer Surprise Box: LOW.
      Fun in opening it: Pretty high. But not $10 worth.
      Fucking StarCom!! Jesus!!


      I've one week left at Old Job, and it's the week that Poopy Pants uses up his vacation time. I bid a tearful farewell to him Saturday night: "See ya!" and I locked the door thinking, "Never again for the rest of my life!" Good luck with the new owners--maybe they'll too ignore your stealing to pay for your coke habit!

      If you're familiar with Kraftwerk, you'll find this pretty funny--an attempt by some technoGoths to update the sunny album "Computer World" into a dark and depressing take with new lyrics. The joke is that it's not a joke. The title track is a hoot, if you know the source material. Excerpt:

Fairly smart, but can't compete
In the playground you are weak
Of hopes and dreams, you are bereft
Only one place now is left

Loneliness!  Despair!  Suspicion!  Masturbation!
Star Trek!  Coffee!  Pink Floyd!  Doooom!
Computer world

Computer shop in Alphington
Think they're buying weekend fun
Can't install, want refund
      Maybe everybody assumes that everybody reads bOING bOING, but I was surprised when I didn't see a hundred links to Our Top Ten Outsider Videos. Some of these are only okay (ya see, the homemade music video is funny because the singer's middle-aged, fat and ugly! Ho boy!), but others are hysterical. Check out Orson "I will drink no wine before its time--Am I awake? Okay, it's time!" Welles' sloppy drunk ad; the Winnebago CEO who seems like a swell fellow to work for; Anna Nicole's acting inability; and the self-help guru with the fakest and most baby-eatingest smile you can imagine. Sadly, there's no compilation tape for sale, just these brief snippets.

      Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Broadway Musical.


      Today was my shortest shift of my last week of work at the current liquor chain. That was okay, as it was a gorgeous late summer's day and it gave me time to hike the state park. It was not okay, as it was at the New Store and all the longer days are at the DumpStore. Where the days seem long even when they're short.
      I basically cleaned out my desk at the New, taking personal property that I'd leant the place: a $30 radio, the book Everything Wine, and a crappy old mousepad, which I actually need, since my trackball died last week. Since the one question I didn't ask my new employers was "Is there an employee discount?" I bought $100 of booze at cost. Genesee Cream Ale, Lion stout, Otter Creek Octoberfest, Tanqueray, Cuervo, Blackstone merlot, Lindeman's Framboise. That'll last me a long, long time. And I took an actual souvenir, the tiny bit of copper pipe that burst and flooded the store last year. I just wanted something physical to take from there; my time there was the best job I've ever had.

      An article on extremophiles, organisms that thrive in the most inhospitable parts of Earth, like boiling sulfur. It's pretty clear that if life starts, it's damned hard to kill it off, so if these microbes can live in unearthly environments, they may live in environments off the Earth. Most interesting is the mysterious lake under Vostok Station and two miles of ice in Antartica, that's been a sealed-off microenvironment for 300 million years. Gotta wonder what's swimming around down there.


      EWWW! Poopy Pants came into the DumpStore today! TWICE! And I thought that I'd never see that thieving coke-addled bastard again! First, he brought in $2.40 in empty bottles, as he was that desperate for cash, and probably none of which he actually paid for in the first place. He got the deposit he didn't pay, so he was PAID to steal them! Then he was back cashing one of his gutter-living friends' unemployment checks. There's nothing wrong with collecting unemployment, but damned if he doesn't have a LOT of "friends" who don't work for a living. And the friend's name was, no shit--Bender. Quel apropos, as most likely that a bender was what the $210 was going to finance. (A thousand years in the future, knowing who disgraces his name, a robot with a shiny metal ass hangs his head in shame)
      And Poopie shook my hand! EWWWW! How do I know that it wasn't his ass-scratching hand?! Needless to say, I wiped my hand on my pants while walking to the bathroom to wash it.

      A funny Xoverboard cartoon, which actually gains points from being inspired by a Kids in the Hall sketch. And August's artwork is actually becoming...not horrible. Characters recognizable as human beings, even! Well, not the rabid one, but when was she last a human being?
      "Dead-enders, foreign terrorists and criminal gangs"? Average Iraqis hate our guts. Fucking duh. I remember the argument with the store's owners before the Invasion--"What, you think we're going to lose the war?!" "NO, I think we're going to lose the PEACE!" We killed 100,000 of them in the first war, we killed who knows how many, at least another 100K, with 12 years of sanctions, and now we're going to invade them over bullshit reasons and the objections of the WHOLE FUCKING WORLD--Why are they going to think of us as liberators? The Commies did nothing real to us, but if the Soviets had invaded America in the 80s, would you think that they were "liberating" us? Yeah, "Saddam Loyalists," blah blah blah. They hated him so much they wanted us to invade, but now they love him so much that they kill our soldiers. When they kill American-collaborating Iraqi policemen, bomb the UN, and drop grenades on Americans protecting a children's hospital from looters... Yeah. It's Saddam loyalists. That's why Iraqis let the murderers get away. Does anyone really think that this isn't going to end up with us bailing and letting the UN run Iraq? Let's do it now, and save that many more American lives. Since it's going to happen in the end anyway. Unless we let it get so bad that the UN doesn't want to dirty its hands with it. Did the UN step into Viet Nam?
      The article ends with this astonishing bit of "information": "More than 70 American military personnel have been killed by hostile fire in Iraq since May 1, when the administration declared an end to major combat operations."
      Yes, I would agree that "nearly 200 dead" is MORE THAN 70.
      Every time you see a "number" of "Americans killed in Iraq," look for the qualifiers that reduce the actual number. "Since May 1st" is the latest one; apparently, if you died April 30th or earlier, you don't count. And it's always "dead" and never "casualties"--Wounded would add 1200 to the count, and that's the CentCom undercounting. "Wounded" of course isn't so bad. He's not dead, he's just 20 years old with both his legs blown off! He'll get better!
      Usually they report undercounted deaths by calling them "combat deaths." Seems a pretty cut and dried distinction, but it isn't. Only recently they refused to count people who'd been fatally wounded in Iraq, but didn't actually die from those wounds until after they were airlifted from Iraq. So, "combat deaths in Iraq" excluded "Shot by Iraqis, but didn't die in Iraq, technically." They now include that, but they still leave out "friendly fire." So the number they give you excludes "Died in Iraq, but not actually shot by Iraqis." They also exclude "accidents." Haven't you wondered why so many Americans were being killed in car crashes in Iraq? They're in Humvees in the fucking desert, why are these crashes happening? Oh, they were racing away under heavy fire from ambushes! So we excluded "Killed by Iraquis, in Iraq, but by bullets hitting their CARS and not their BODIES." They also exclude the deaths by the heat or pneumonia or suicide. So, we only count "deaths caused by only Iraqi bullets hitting only their bodies but not their vehicles where they physically die in Iraq," and ignore the fact that maybe these people wouldn't have died of heat or pneumonia or suicide or car crashes or friendly fire or anything else if FUCKING BUSH HADN'T SENT THEM TO IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE.


      You don't really give much of a thought to "Nature's Fury" until times like tonight, when the winds of "downgraded to tropical storm" Isabel 500 miles to the south makes the windows rattle and the cats nervous...
      (Well, a cat. Nothing perturbs Byron)

      To follow my rabid raving yesterday, here's a column on Iraq by a Nam vet. The last sentence will make you laugh, then it'll sink in and make you just as angry as he is.      

      And that's all I have. Except that this came in the mail from an eBay auction today:


      I've bitched to anyone who'll sit still long enough about Wal-Mart trying to move into town. I hate Wal-Mart on principle, but I hate them even more for trying to put a store here--5 minutes from another Wal-Mart! Are there really people saying, "Oh, I'd sure dig on going to Hel-Mart, but woe betide me, they're exactly 5 minutes too far away"? The site would be next to protected wetlands, but don't let us worry our tiny heads over it, as a study said that there would be no effect whatsoever on the wetlands (that study was financed by Wal-Mart).
      But I bitch even more about Walgreens. They're building a store right at the nearest intersection by my condo, a lot that has been woods the nearly 20 years I've lived here. The town bought the woods behind it and made it a park, but now that park will abut Walgreen's parking lot and become a dumpster for the store's litter. And this new construction ignores all the empty retail space that already exists on the same road. And it's a mile north of a CVS and a grocery store with a pharmacy, and a mile south of a CVS and a grocery store with a pharmacy. How neccesary was it to kill a hundred trees for this damned place? I vow to never shop there ever never, just because of that!
      Today there was a new sign where the trees no longer grow: "7000 sq. ft. Retail Space Available." The first thing I did when I got to work was tell an owner about it, and by coincidence, he was planning on coming to my town to scout locations for a new store this Sunday anyway.
      It's iffy. If it makes the "Thousand feet between liquor stores" law, it'll make it by yards. But let me indulge my magical fantasy of going back to work with my current employers, and having a 60-second commute. "I'm going on my break. Call me at home if the register gets a line, and I'll be there in 60 seconds!" And one of the part-timers will be the 1966 Dawn Wells, and I'll bang her in the stockroom!
      Okay, so I got a bit carried away with my dreaming. Dreaming is free, as Blondie said. And the 1977 Deborah Harry would be my other part-timer! Badda-BANG!
      It's a huge long shot, to be sure. But maybe sometime in the next few months, I'll be praising Gourd that he put a Walgreens across the way.

      What happens when you give kids Sharpies and ask them to draw their reactions to hearing Radiohead. Tain't purty.


      Sign by the long-closed 1950s movie theater near the DumpStore:

      And I did, stage left.
      It wasn't exactly a tearful departure--I fully expect to be back some day, whether it's 6 months or a year-plus. I even got a bit of farewell SHAWTery, when a severely underage guy claimed that he didn't have his ID: "You can't just take my word?" Yeah, your word and some Barium will get me a bucketful of my lunch.
      And, bloody hell, I may STILL have Mr Poopy Pants in my future! We heard that he was rejected by the DumpStore's new owners. We immediately thought of a co-worker who'd been working for them for the last few weeks, and who (like every other human being on the planet, except our current owners) hates his drunken, coke-snorting, thieving colon. Poopie treated him like shit even more than he treated most people that way. Had he told the new owners the truth about him? What reason did the new owners give for not wanting him? Was it that he's a lazy asshole, or that he's possibly stealing to pay for his coke habit? Was this the end of him?
      No. They saw how much he was making, and assumed that he was salaried and working 50 hours a week. Fuck, he's scheduled for 40 hours, but if he "works" 25 I'd be surprised. He refused their job offer, so they gave it to another co-worker. And Poopie was pissed.
      Why was he pissed about working 40 hours a week for the current owners? The guy they took is the Big Store's CB. "Cooler Bitch." The average career of a CB is 1 or 2 months. In the 6 years I've worked here, there's only been 2 CB's who've lasted longer than that: the guy they're taking, and me. You just never stop moving. You fill the 2 coolers, you put out hundreds of cases of beer several times a week, you do the mountains of stinking empties daily, you make thousands of pounds of ice a week, you drag 170-lb kegs of beer out to the parking lot and have to lift them into customers cars (even if you're me, and only weigh 130 lbs). It's pretty brutal, but you get so that you don't want to take a break, because no one else is going to do your work for that half-hour, and in that 30 minutes an hour's worth of work could pile up.
      That's why Poopie's mad. He has to work for a living for once, and work damned hard. He'll always be supervised by the owners--no disappearing for an hour on end, no continual cig breaks, no watching TV on the clock. Oh--and no stealing. And that's going to be the biggest problem he'll have. If he stops stealing, he'll have to stop snorting. He may implode, and I'll be back working there sooner than I thought.
      Karmic Payback--It's Schadenfreudelicious!!!

      Every time for months that I've tried to take a picture of the BIG!Lots Carousel Thing, it was always facing the wrong way. I had one last chance Saturday, and of course it was facing the wrong way. So I gave up and took the picture anyway.

      It's...an elephant in the front, and a fish in the back, and it's wearing a hat. Personally, I think that this is what Jerry Van Dyke's sperm looks like.
      And that may very likely be the last reference to BIG!Lots you ever see here.

      How about some Byron pictures to start off your work week?


      My first day at New Job was...good. Utterly uneventful. Seems like a nice place to work, once I get over those "new job" jitters. Spend 6 years at a job, and you don't even think about what's expected of you, you just do it and do it right. I hate those weeks of uncertainty that you have when you start anew. I actually slept pretty poorly the night before, although I wasn't (consciously) thinking about the new job. And that was with the help of a little grey kitten snuggling up next to me. Usually, cats act like sleeping pills, but possibly Byron's insistence on not just snuggling but shoving his enitre body over my nostrils didn't help.
      I bought some new clothes for my new job. Some nice velourish shirts (maybe made from skinned Velveteen Rabbits--okay, no, they're 100% polyester) that were 50% off, a new pair of khakis, and a new pair of Converses. The khakis got a big rip right under the zipper the first time I wore them, which was my first day of work. When I got the Converses, I was happy that I found the last pair of 7&1/2 black Converse High-Tops in the store! When I got them home, I discovered that I'd bought the last pair of 7&1/2 black Converse High-Tops box in the store--inside the box, the sneakers were size 9s. Clown shoes compared to my delicate tootsies.
      It's "lower working class," and not the "dregs of society" I'd get at the Dumpstore. Lots o' Lotto, unfortunately. It's not a bad neighborhood, but it is bad enough that we have to take the shopping carts and even a rubber mat into the store at night so that they don't get stolen. Why get one of them fancy Persian rugs, when you can deck your living room out with a fine industrial rubber mat?
      The store opened in 1988, and they're still using the same register program. And the program's older than 1988! It even thinks the year is 1982. No, literally, that's what year it prints on the receipts. It's in DOS. The monitor looks like a 5.25 diskette running Zork. But without the fancy graphics.

      "The Revision Thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies."


      When I got up yesterday, I turned Public Radio on as usual. There were not playing classical music as usual, but President George Dumbya Can't Read More Than Twelve Words In A Row Off The Teleprompter Bush's speech at the UN. While I brushed my teeth, he said:
      "Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: (TELEPROMPTER PAUSE) between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos; (TELEPROMPTER PAUSE) between those who work for peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of gangsters."
      I had a (TOOTHBRUSHING PAUSE) while I thought, BUSH is saying this to the UN about IRAQ? "Peaceful change" means "Invasion"? "Order" means "Chaos"? "Ignorance" means "Strength"?
      20 years ago, everybody sneered about how wrong Orwell was about his novel 1984. If you've actually read it, it's clear that he only got the year wrong.
      Another Bush line I liked was "The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction." No, there weren't any direct links to that vaguely defined word "terror" like they claimed before the invasion. Now, he was cultivating terror.
      SADDAM: Oh, Osama! How good of you to show up for tea! Care for a cucumber sandwich? Pray tell of your plan to blow the shi--Oh, pardon my language! I meant to say, dear fellow, do inform me of your hopes to 'explode the excrement upwards' of sky-scrapers across the pond in the States! Oh, dear chap, do have a doily for your cup. Have you seen my 'Tea Trolley of Mass Amusement'? It truly has the Mother of all cosies! Care for a scone? Buttered with ANTHRAX and SMALLPOX? My greengrocer supplies the freshest!'

      Here's a long, hundred question personality test that will tell you if you're either fit to be One with our Star Brothers and Sisters, or that you're not a deluded New Age dipshit. While I am a fan of cats and eating shrimp (in fact, we all ate shrimp tonight. Tiny Byron pushed sensitive Killsy out of the way for the second course, so I gave her her own second course of shrimp in the hallway), I flunked. Maybe it was because I don't like tapioca?
      Aliens like tapioca?! As my grandfather would always ask, "Is that small pearl tapioca, or large?" Whatever the answer was, he wanted the other. It was just his excuse for not eating tapioca, but who knows what type the Aliens like.


      Lilly took that StarQuiz from yesterday, and nails it:

      Could this be real? Note that the url's question isn't phrased "Is this real?" No, it isn't. But could it be, if Dumbya's poll numbers continue to sink? How hard will they try to fix the 2004 election? The Diebold touchpad/easily-hacked/no paper trail voting machines are already in trouble. I don't think even Karl Rove is this evil, but be sure that they'll try every damn evil trick they can, and the corporate-owned mass media will follow in lockstep. That's the point of the movie: Start thinking about how low they will go now, because they will.

      Nice cat story. I was thinking of getting my two indoor cats microchipped, but damn! A recovery rate of 9%?! I'll just keep them indoors.
      9%?! looks like something a comic strip character would say while swearing. "BEETLE BAILEY! You 9%?!ing sack of 9%?!! Guess where you're going next! 9%?!ING IRAQ!"

      Byron, while very active and otherwise healthy, sneezes a lot and wheezes sometimes. Is he allergic to people dander? Fellow Cat-owned readers: Is this a cause for concern or not? Send email to thoughtviper9%?!fastmail9%?!fm


       "How to ruin a great army? See Donald Rumsfeld"


      By my New Job, there once was a store called Mr Amazing. Natives of central Connecticut will remember it as "Railroad Salvage without rats living in it." Like Railroad Sewage, there were at least 3 locations and they also specialized in buyouts and odd lots. Unlike them, they were clean and, if something failed to sell, they actually marked it down. I bought lots of cool weird crap there over the years, including an Inexob or two. Unfortunately, their habit of marking the unsold products down proved my undoing in one case. They had a door mat that said WELCOME on one side and GO AWAY on the other. Guess which side I intended to leave facing up. But this was a mat, not a rug. It was made of freakin' woven grass, like a bunch of compacted hulu skirts or a really huge fiber-rich shredded wheat. The price never went down, and all 3 stores finally closed.
      It'd be the perfect place for a BIG!Lots, but unfortunately, Dollar Dreams took it over. For all my ragging on Jerry Van over the years, B!L is an awesome store. All closeouts, so you can get great bargains on "real" products. Dollar Dreams is more of a showcase for the latest masterpieces from China's prison population. B!L sells things for a dollar that are worth more, while DD sells things for a dollar that are worth a dime.
      Disney is infamous for tracking down and destroying anything remotely copyright-infringing--why don't they know about Dollar Dreams? They had "Minnie Mickey" items with blatantly stolen graphics on them, and not a (c) Disney anywhere. They looked legit, but they had slogans like "The fond remembrance will last forever in your heart." More grammatically correct than half of my sentences, but not really "something Disney would put on a kids' product"-sounding. They did the same thing with Spiderman. He appeared both on Spidey-themed stuff, and on "Soldier Fighter," which was a pair of movie-Batman knockoffs armed with rayguns. The one I bought was "Intending Super Power CHAMPION," a ring-toss game that rips off Ultraman. There's a photo of Ultra Seven right there on the package, and some supadeformed cartoons of Ultraman and Battra playing ring-toss, but the real selling point was on the stick you toss those rings over: Ultra Seven socking Godzilla in the jaw! Well, the left canine tooth, as the Photoshop job wasn't that great. ITEM NO.:368 informs us

      Umberto Eco on Fascism. Did you know that the textbook definition of Fascism is a "corporate state," ie, a country run like a business? What's surprised me the most about the article was the date of publication--1995. Right up until the end, I thought that he was talking about the attitudes of a more recent government.

      A DeadJournal with only two links, but both are good especially as one is to me. Well, sorta. It describes a meeting between two pets much more tumultuous (and funnier!) than that of Killsy Cat and Byron Boy.


      Huh. Steal a link from Eschaton to a Macedonian site, and suddenly I get hits from Macedonia. Yes, I'm a geek, and I get off on hits from distant lands (about a million years ago, like up till 1998, the old Geocities page had a list of every country or weird place that I saw a hit from). I mean, I have readers in Skopje! That's just a cool looking word. I don't know if the hits were backtracking my link, or if they came from Razvigor, a Macedonian blog. And I don't care. I'm a GEEK!
      (Okay, it's kinda like a cartoon I saw in one of my Dad's 1960s Playboys: A guy is welcoming a woman into his apartment, saying "You don't know how excited I am to meet a girl from Cyprus!" And over his bed is a world map, with a pushpin in every country except Cyprus)

      Hey, guess what. NO, I'm not sticking shishkabob up my nose, c'mon, a GOOD guess! Yes, the New Computer is off and I'm back on the Old Pookie. Yesterday I brought the sickly dead thing to It's daddy Kevin, who built it. As predicted by Saint Gally, it was bad RAM. There was a dead male sheep in there! HAW HAW. Kevin stuck in a spare stick he had, and then I had my first experience with this X-Box thing the kids today are so crazy about. Back in MY day, we had the ATARI! And we LIKED it! And so did he--a huge collection of every game ever for the 2600, the Intellivision, the Colecovision, Nintendos of varying types, the Neo Geo, the Saturn and various Genesises (Genesi?), etc etc. Yes, he could've also got ROMs and an emulator for the Virtua Boy, but since he'd experienced that little gem back when we worked at Lechmere, he passed. (Here's a home emulator for the Virtua Boy: Beat your fucking head against the wall while rubbing bleach in your eyes; it'll give you the same effect as playing it for 5 minutes) By "everything," it even had Atari's "Kool Aid Man." It also had a bunch of shitty ROM hacks, like the Super Mario Brothers version of Eraserhead. Umm, yeah, Mario didn't have a hat, but he didn't have Henry's hair, either. The clouds were grey, the ground was a checkerboard like in the apartment hallway, and when he hit a power-up, it wasn't a mushroom, but a big E! For Eraserhead! WOW, you put a lot of not work into this! Cut 'em up just like regular chickens!
      Then we played "Hit & Run," which is "Grand Theft Auto" as performed by the Simpsons. Pretty entertaining, and also very antisocial. You get points for running over pedestrians.
      For some reason, I had a craving to watch Goldfinger, the best James Bond movie. An entertaining flick, with the added level of 40-year-old sexism. Also unintentionally funny was the world's first Power Point presentation, when Goldfinger shows a bunch of Mafiosos his plan to rob Fort Knox and twists a lot of analog knobs like on your grandpa's stereo. And I figured out that something I always thought was a glitch really wasn't: Why did Goldfinger go through all the trouble of telling the hoods about it if he was just going to kill them all anyway? There was a series of reaction shots that made it clear that he only decided to kill them because one paisano wanted out. It's there, but you only catch it in retrospect. Just like the only skin-crawling part of the movie, when apparently Pussy Galore (okay, the second skin-crawly moment, after her name) decides to rat out Goldfinger because Bond...rapes her?! If you look at earlier parts of the movie, she doesn't know exactly what Goldfinger's planning, and 007 must tell her offscreen (since it would ruin the ending if he told her onscreen). Her real motive is not wanting to murder 40,000 people. Of course, in the book, he really does rape her. See, she'd been raped by her uncle, and that turned her into a Lesbian, but being raped by a non-relative "cured" her of that terrible disease! SURE, MAKES SENSE TO ME. Ian Fleming was one fucked-up writer, kids. Avoid him.
      Tonight, I think I'll watch Thunderball, the next movie in the series. I remember it as having a plot driven entirely by utter coincidence. Example: Bond hitchhikes, and is immediately picked up by a top SPECTRE agent. How does he know? Why, she's wearing a ring with a SPECTRE logo, of course! You know, how like those guys who hit the WTC were all wearing "Abercrombie & Osama Flight School" sweatshirts?

      Today...feh. Errand running. I called CVS to refill my Nexium prescription, because I really love that metallic taste it gives my mouth (MOLTAR: "I don't have a tongue. I have an oblong titanium slat."). Then I took out the garbage, watched a cement truck doing...something over in the next complex; moving Jimmy Hoffa around or something. Then, let's see--Went to the Post Office to mail out a "Cheer Up" Care package to a certain Splut Prime and send out my order for the As If! comic book. Went to the SalvArmy and bought a ceramic candle holder, featuring a trio of grey tabby kittens looking into a mirror. Went to Best Buy to buy new RAM ($30 after rebate, 256M), returned the mis-sized Converses at Bob's, went for a walk in the state park. That wasn't really an errand, but an imperative: the leaves have begun to fall, and 6 months of greenless misery awaits. It showered a bit as I was leaving, and I watched the tiny ripples of rain dapple the pond.
      Illegally passed an old fart doing 25MPH and went to K-Mart to return those khakis with the Insta-Rip Crotch (TM), then went to the ubermarket to buy fresh fruit and seafood and to use the ATM. The guy using it had at least a half a dozen ATM receipts in his hand, so I figured that he was just about done with it. No, he was a retard. The screen said "You have insufficient funds for this withdrawal," and he went into withdrawal, talking aloud about "This fucking machine! First I do a fast 50, then mumble mumble it says this, this fucking machine, mumble left my tin foil hat at home, HAARP is making it rain on my parade, oogeddy boogedy, oblong titanium slat..." and I left. K-Mart gave me cash back for the pants with Xtra-Fly (TM), I think I'll leave before the guy decides that I'm an abnormally pink grey alien and beats me with his bag of plums.
      In & out of CVS (Weekly World News cover story: "Alien Endorses Arnold for Governor"), sat for a while as an old fartess waited for every car in the world to go by as a middle-aged woman next to her repeatedly and spastically waved her hand by her face. Fanning herself? Swatting flies? Oblong slat? Dunno. Gassed the vehicle, AGAIN (the New Job's commute is only 5 minutes longer than the DumpStore's, but it's literally twice the distance). Fed and petted the cats. Scanned all my crap with my Nielsen scanner, or actually, hand-keyed it. Then I transmitted my info to Nielsen and called them about my malfunctioning scanner. Send up the old one, they said, we'll send you a new one. Copied my sleek, stripped-down version of bookmarks to a floppy to import onto the old computer's dishevelled mess of randomly collected links. Dismantled Old Pookie and put in the new RAM. I don't get it; it works as slowly as it did with one stick. It can only go in one way and I put it in the right slat slot, what's the prob?
      Plopped down in front of Pookie to surf the world, and realized that the only thing I'd been planning to do today since last week was defrost the fridge. Screw that. I'm busied out.

      Poopie Pants. I can't believe I'm still talking about Poopie Pants.
      Everyone hates him (or should I say "hated"? I don't work there anymore). He's a drunk, an asshole, a thief, an asshole, a cokehead, a moody asshole, lazy, an egomaniac on a power trip, and as smart as a titanium slat. Everyone hated him, except for the 2 guys who signed the paychecks.
      No one has ever understood what they see in him. It's not like they haven't had a decade's worth of feedback on him. But they let him rent an owner's condo for much less than his mortgage, back when he was pushing 30 and still living with his mother. They gave him a car, back when he hadn't had one for years (He decided that the $15 a year for an oil change was better spent snorted, and he drove it until it had so little oil that the engine died--and he left it on Mom's lawn, still paying taxes on it, but never fixing it. He walked 45 minutes to work through a couple of New England winters rather than fix it, as that money needed to be nasally injected as well). They forced him to get his first checking account (remember: in his late 20s) and his first credit card, in order for him to establish credit (his first purchase on the card: $80 worth of booze). He overextended himself on the card and overdrew on his checking; he got phone calls at work from angry creditors and they still let him handle cash. Which disappeared from the registers pretty often. He ran IOUs from the coin box and kited checks at work. He takes 45 minute lunches and 15 minutes worth of cigarette breaks every hour--In an 8 hour shift, he's on break for 2&1/2 hours. And his "work" is disappearing into the beer cooler for hours on end. Drinking.
      Why did they keep him on? In 6 years, neither me nor anyone else figured that out. One of the owners once admitted that they were "bad kids" up until high school, and that they felt the Poopie deserved a second chance, just like someone had given them. Sure, they're now upstanding citizens and successful businessmen, and they take good care of their employees.
      And how did he pay them back? Me and the other manager spent all year trying to prove our strong suspicion that he was stealing product and reselling it to the sleazy bar where he works part time. But the store security camera VCR was broken, and the owners wouldn't look at the inventory or the alarm logs. That's where our proof would be.
      Why do I bring this up? You probably think that this guy's in my past. Well, I thought so, too. As mentioned a week or so ago, he's back working for the owners and not the people who bought the DumpStore. If they open a third store as they plan, there's a chance that I could be working with the asshole again. Part of the reason I got my New Job was because of a liquor salesman who's good friends with my new boss, and also friends with my old ones. I don't know what he said, but I understand that he gave me glowing references. The salesman was in the store the end of last week, and I thanked him for the help he gave me on my resume.
      After talking to the salesman, my new manager came in and laughed about something that I had to ask him 3 times to clarify, as I just couldn't fucking believe it: Poopie is looking for a new job. But he has a job! I cried. He's working as Cooler Bitch in...the Main...Store...
      He's planning on quitting before CHRISTMAS in order to not have to work for a living. After all they've done for him over the last ten years.
      In fact, he was trying to get that same salesman to find him work at MY NEW JOB. Yeah, THAT'S gonna happen! That cancre on the lip of humanity ain't setting foot anyplace where I can't slam the door on his toes. (Okay, maybe that would've read better as "bunion on the tootsies" and not "cancre") Even if you've never worked retail, if you've walked into a store between Thanksgiving and Xmas, you must realize that there is no bigger "FUCK YOU" that a retail worker, especially a manager, can give a job than to leave them before the Holidays. "After all they've done for him!" I said in amazement to Jessica. I could see her shaking her head on the other end of the phone. "Does it really surprise you?" she said, "At this point, how can it? This is Jason we're talking about." Yes, it does surprise me, even with a cokehead. I guess that's why I don't act that way. I believe in the Social Contract. I believe in the Golden Rule.
      Then again, I'm not a cokehead! He was actually brain-deady/cokehead-egotistical enough to ask that salesman, who's just as close friends with my old bosses as my new one. There's no fuckin' way he didn't pass that information on. Poopie thought that he was going to have to work hard this Christmas, so he's looking for another job? Sorry, Diaper Boy, ain't no company on Gourd's Green Earth that's going to pay a high school dropout $600 a week to do nothing. Okay, there was one, but you just fucked up that little dream job, didn't you? My old bosses can't fire him for looking for another job, but they sure as hell can ride his ass into the pavement. Afraid of hard work? Worst nightmare time, Poopie--worst nightmare. And welcome to it. You've earned it.


      Kill Kill, like most cats, likes water only one way: in a dish. If Byron spills some and she steps in it, she shakes her feet all about and does the hokey-pokey to get rid of it.
      Byron, like a few cats, has a different opinion. He sits outside the open shower door and watches the water fall on me, and when I get out, he hugs my leg and licks the water off. Killsy freaks when even a drop falls from my wet ponytail onto her, but Byron doesn't care. He's learned to jump up to the bathroom sink, and if I turn the faucet on just a bit, he'll happily bat the water for ten minutes. Doesn't even care if he sticks his head under it.
      This morning, I turned the shower on and left the door open, so that Byron could watch the water while I pulled the ponytail elastic out of my hair. I heard a crash and felt something wet and fast race past my leg. Yep. He'd jumped in. And jumped right back out, super-soaked.
      He wasn't happy, but he wasn't any the worse for wear, either. So he got a week's worth of tongue baths in 2 seconds; he'll be okay. It got me to thinking about the ways that Kill Kill and Byron differ.
      Byron is fearless, and Killsy is a scaredy cat. Not because she runs away from him, even though he's a third her size (she used to run away from me, as she likes being chased). Four years ago Small White stepped on the top of the oven as a turkey was roasting; it wasn't hot enough to hurt her, but it scared her. To this day, she runs away when I open the oven. Byron runs right over, and I've had to lock him in the bedroom to keep him from jumping into an open oven set at 500 degrees.
      Besides turkey, shrimp and tuna juice, Kill Kill doesn't care for people food, doesn't care when I'm eating. Now, I have to eat standing up so that The Boy isn't jumping on me and sticking his face in my dinner. He eats things like fried chicken, which isn't too odd. But he also eats any flavor of ice cream, sharp cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes and corn (if there's butter on it. But he doesn't just lick the butter, he eats the corn). And he'll just stay there, being a pest, even if he doesn't want to eat something like yogurt, fruit or tacos. He'll even keep sticking his nose into Taco Bell Fire sauce. And if I do finish eating something he likes, he'll try to lick it off my lips.
      Kill Kill has many a meow, each with its own single use. There's the growl/low scream she only uses when the vet needles her; the FOOOD! cry; the "I want to go out in the hallway!" request (which really does sound like "OUT!"); "briiip", which is only said when she jumps on the bed while I get dressed; and a whole series of calls she made as a kitten that she doesn't anymore (like the angry/sad "Stay home!" noise when I'd go to work, or such oddities as "Ack ack!" "epff" and "Pffft." Byron purrs, and that's it for cat sounds. Everything else is a high-pitched ferret squeal, and "everything else" includes maybe 3 sounds.
      When he purrs, he purrs. It's really loud, and if he's lying in bed with me, I can feel him vibrate like a cheap motel's Magic Fingers. Killsy purrs so quietly that I can be right next to her head and barely hear it. I've learned to recognize it by the look on her face and the way she breathes. Byron also has a weird wheezing noise sometimes, usually after he's stopped playing and is about to purr himself asleep. I'm not sure if it's wheezing from playing (which would indicate health problems), or some pre-purr noise, like the way Kill Kill breathes when purring.
      Byron loves to play, and so does she. But she wants interaction, with a multitude of different toys of different types and different flight characteristics used. He, for the obvious reason of being raised outside of a litter, is quite happy to play by himself, chasing toys or his tail or his shadow. Kill Kill never had a "favorite" toy, not preferring any one of the dozens of mice or flyers or shooters she'd make me throw every night before she'd deign to attack one, Byron has a favorite. A Ziplock baggie. He loves that damn ripped old baggie. And I've got a box more of them when that one dies.
      He's Mr Playful, while kitten Kills was Dora the Explorer. It took Byron nearly two months to jump in the shower, and it took Killsy 2 weeks; he didn't climb onto the keyboard until a month went by, and she did it on her second day. He only just today decided to investigate the fridge, and that was only to look for food (today was the day I gave up putting her diet Iams out. If he keeps eating it, he'll be a runt. If she eats his, she'll just get fat for a while, and right now, she's trimmer than ever, due to the exercise he's giving her). Yet she went in for the sheer joy of discovery. I was seriously worried that I'd get up late one night for a drink of water, and not notice the tiny white furball that snuck in there before I closed the door.
      He's of average intelligence. Killsy, as I've said more than once, is the Einstein Cat. I figured this out when she was only months old. Earning her nickname "Underfootnik," she got her tail stepped on a lot. What a scream she'd let out! Soon, when I was very carefully walking when carrying grocery bags or other obstructions to my vision, I'd hear shorter, less agitated versions of that cry. I'd jump, but she wouldn't. One day, I happened to be looking down when she did it--she wasn't saying, "You stepped on my tail!" She was saying, "Look out, you're almost about to step on my tail!" She did it when my feet got to close to her. She understood cause and effect. She was 3 months old. Byron's that age, and he still attacks moving images on the TV screen or monitor. Not for long; he gets no reaction from the TV, so he sits back and wathes for a while, then goes to sleep. He's not dumb, but he does it every time the TV's on or if the computer monitor catches his eye. KK looked at the TV once, batted it for about 10 seconds, then sat back. Hmmm, she thought, then jumped off the recliner and walked around the back of the TV. Discovering that the moving things weren't behind the TV, she wandered away and has never looked at it again. This happened when she was 9 weeks old. Remember how she runs away from the oven? She actually runs away from oven mitts, as she knows that those I only use when I'm about to open a hot oven. If I'm not wearing them, she's not worried.
      We now have TWO litter boxes. Not because we have two cats, but because ONE of them needs one box to pee in, and a different one to poop in. (Hint: it's the cat who, if human, would always leave the toilet seat up)
      I'm sure there's more differences that don't immediately leap to mind, but that's enough for now.

      Simultaneously idiotic and funny, let's SEE EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING DOWN IN CAAAAAAT TOOOOOOOWN.

      Neither idiotic or funny, Against School.