I Get My Kicks Above the Waistline, Sunshine!

NEW 5.0

And you can act real rude and totally removed,
And I can act like an imbecile.
--Men Without Hats


      Horrifying Realization: There are people who do their Christmas shopping at BIG!Lots.
      This was extra annoying because 95% of my Xmas shopping was done last week. Me, I was just there for cheap shaving cream, shampoo and cranberry juice. Two out of three ain't bad; I grabbed a bottle of conditioner instead of shampoo by mistake. 88 cents wasted! I also got Bullwinkle chocolates. Just regular milk chocolate, but with Rocky and Boris and Natasha on them, and the Bullwinkle pieces double-sized to accommodate the antlers.
      Seen not at BIG!Lots, although it belonged there: A festive holiday-themed 6-pack of Chapstick. "Chapstick?! THANKS, Santa!" The package also functions as an ornament and a picture frame. Said picture would go between Santa's legs. HO HO HO, you hoes! Bad Santa indeed!

      Old Hickory's Weblog is a good political one. The entries are short (it's an AOL blog, so he has no choice about that), but they're very frequent. They tend to be carefully thought-out and serious, but he has a recurring feature called "Chuckie Watch," in which he fact-checks the political blog by...Cheesus, am I really about to type this name?...Charlie Daniels. To me, getting your political insights from former Slim Jims pitchman Charlie Daniels is like using Ted Nugent as your vet. Today's Chuckie Watch isn't deep or anything, but it is funny. I wish that Hickory would collect all the Watches on one page, as they are entertaining reads.

      You guys seem to be enjoying the new toy, so let's keep the comment thinggie going until I get tired of it.

      When I said that I wanted to use it sparingly, I meant I wanted to use it in place of those times when I ask for emailed comments. I don't want trolls (See this month's top-of-page quote), I don't want spam, and to be perfectly frank or even Nathan's famous hot dog, I don't want to have to answer comments every day. There. I've said it and I'm proud. Plus, no one, NO ONE, wants to talk about monkeys! That is SO WRONG.
      I guess that we'll test it to destruction with one of my usual screaming fits about politics.
      What is the deal with the Samarra battle? CENTCOM says we killed 54, all of them Baathists. The Iraqis say it was 6, all of them civilians. CENTCOM says that is was a coordinated ambush with machine guns and RPGs being fired from everywhere, the Iraqis say that the Americans just started blasting away. I'm sure that the truth is somewhere in the middle, but...DAMN, that's a lot of middle.
      The tactics of the Iraqis so far have been to attack in small numbers at a distance and run away. They kill one or two Americans, but none of them get caught or killed. That's the really frustrating thing. Now, all of a sudden, dozens of them attack at once with some pretty heavy weaponry at point-blank range while under cover, and 54 of them die but only 5 Americans get "slightly wounded"? How is that possible? If those are their new tactics, it's a pretty safe bet that they won't use them again. If this happens again, it's CENTCOM that's changed tactics.
      And what's with the wildly different body counts? If one side felt the need to exaggerate, you'd think that it'd be the Iraqis, to make us look worse. And CENTCOM's making the bizarre claim that "the differing casualty figures were due to insurgents carrying away their dead following the shoot-out." So, now's there's 2 guys to carry away each of the dead and go hide them somewhere. How many trucks did they have to cart them away? How did we miss that while it was happening? Now we've got, what, 200, 500, a thousand insurgents in the attack, and they still got their asses handed to them and we have 5 "slightly wounded"? And if they did cart 90% of their dead away, where did we get this very precise number of 54? And how we were able to be sure that they were all Fedayeen?
      I really don't know what to think here. If we killed 54 of the bastards who were making Americans die, so much the better. If we killed 9 civilians for Wolfowitz's fantasy league geopolitics, that's very bad. My biggest fear before the invasion even started was that a bunch of frightened, frustrated, demoralized kids stuck in a no-win situation might freak out at the wrong point over the wrong thing and blast a bunch of innocents. Happened a lot during Viet Nam. Except now, it happens not in a distant jungle village but under a global microscope.
      Why would CENTCOM exaggerate the body count? After all the attacks on the international presence in Iraq over the last few days (here's a good site for daily updates), they were under pressure to "show results." Maybe they just went in thinking that they'd find insurgents, then a shot was fired by somebody and things went crazy. And that's never good. When the Shi'ite mullahs say, "Jihad!" things are going to get really bad. Up till now, they've been happy to let the Baathists and Sunnis be their catspaws and die. But if we really are killing the wrong people, they could make their move.
      But they think that Bush will cut and run before they have to do that. I do too. Sometime next summer, just before the Republican Convention, Bush will pull us out, declare "No, Mission Really Accomplished This Time," and he'll hope that when Iraq descends into Bosnia-style chaos, the average Ameriduhian won't care. Because it won't be the Americans who are dying now.
      I'm just being the Devil's Advocate here. But CENTCOM has more reason to lie in this instance than an Iraqi hospital would. During the war, Saddam had "Comical Ali" to create his magic fairy castles in the sky. Now we have our own bunch of serial liars.


      The saddest day of the year: Putting the removable winter liner for the trenchcoat back in. I meant to do it last night, given today's promised high temps in the 20s and 20-45MPH winds. Forgot. Meant to bring it to work to do there; forgot. Froze a lot when I had to do outside stuff. Did it tonight. Took a mere FIFTY MINUTES. The bottom teeth of the zipper are missing, so I just kept trying and trying until the zipper made a noise that can only be described as "The zipper's zipping! THE ZIPPER'S FINALLY ZIPPING!!" which sounds like a triumphant fanfare after the better worse part of an hour. The fly on your jeans does every time you go to the bathroom. You just don't notice, until it takes 50 minutes to do it.
      Fortunately, I had help.

      With the coat successfully weighted down, my other helper attacked the coattails vigorously. "You're not the boss of us!" said Byron. When that didn't work, he switched to attacking the pony tail of me. Not sure what he was exactly trying to accomplish there, really. But I guess it didn't hurt. Well, besides me.
      I don't have a picture of his assistance, but here's one of his feet.


      Is this what happened in Samarra? It seems both legit, and to take both sides accounts at face value and combine them. The "it started with one guy with an RPG" explains why a lot of Iraqis (might've) died, but it doesn't explain why they all hung around to get killed by a superior force. Unless they decided to all be "martyrs," and that's not a good sign for either side. That just means more attacks, more bodies. That's why Palestine is such a peaceful place after the last 20 years.

      What country are we living in again?

      Well, that was depressing. Here's some more cat pictures! It's that long-awaited Kill Kill/Byron two-shot! Here in beautiful BagLand, the kitty theme park made of bags! And 10 seconds later.

      "You can be a social conservative in the U.S. without being a wacko. Not in Canada."
      Look, Canada! I sell Yukon Jack and Molsons EVERY DAY! I'm like a goodwill ambassador here! Please let me immigrate! I'll even work the fish mines in your fictitious "city" of Moncton!

      Today we had flurries and a wind chill of freakin' SEVEN, so it was less like New England in December than July in Canada, when their mighty teams of sled bears tow the threshers to harvest their also mighty crop of poutine. Then, the hardy German-Canadiennes boil the poutine down into Yukon Jack for export, and for domestic consumption, they turn the rest into their hardy "fleece-lined toques with napalm" to warm their heads during the dark, cold month of August. Next, they start preparing the less-attractive looking poutine remnants into plutonium long-johns for the deadly cold month of September, which is just before winter begins. Then, as all Ameriduhians know, they go into hibernation, their cheeks stuffed with acorns and I dunno, something like baguettes and schnitzel, courtesy of the Quebecois, who speak "le German." And then they--Hmm. Seems my ass has nothing left to pull out of it! Let this be a segue (a German word!) for a summer rerun! Because, it's like summer in Moncton when it's 20 degrees in New Eng...Fuck. Damn ass-pulling is failing me again. Here it is anyway. From way, WAY back, so way back it's one of the first things I ever put up on my Geocities page...

      And six years later...TOLD YA SO!!!


      The SHAWT? Forget that! Here's the STIDT--The Stupidest Thing I Did Today!
      Byron came up for some attention, and I petted him and scratched his cheeks. I said, "I love you, little boy!" then had a brief twinge when I realized that he was never going to hear those words. No, it's not sappy--I say The Three Words to Kill Kill, and she squints her eyes and purrs. Then he gave me a playful little bite on the sleeve, and I said, "Hey! How would you like it if I bit you, huh?" and held up one of his giant paws and fake-bit it.
      Guess What! Cat litter tastes like it smells!

      The comments thing--What's not to like?! So, for now anyway, here's the deal:
      There'll be a month-long general comments link at the bottom of the page/end of the newest. If I want specific comments on any one subject, I'll put a different icon under that subject.
      As we're still in the beta phase here, I'll just pile on a bunch of links for today, and let the monthly comments run. Comment on today's under the new icon, or continue the general thread in the monthly. Do what you wanna do, go where you wanna go.

       Corporate Motherfucker on bad albums. I can declaim on bad movies for a long time, but bad albums...There's no "let's make fun of this" usually, just "Make this STOP!" So I don't listen more than once. The only album on the list I actually own is Todd Rundgren's "No World Order." It didn't seem that bad to me, that one time I listened to it 10 years ago. I prly would've played it a second time, except that he repeatedly decided that this was his chance to be a rap artist. Yeah, thanks, I was hoping you'd try that. You and fuckin' Paul McCartney, you got the street in yo blood, yo! Here was also your big chance to see MC WonderBread with his head shaved and I was joking with the "MC WonderBread."
      The album was actually credited to "TR-1." Crimeny. My cats have better rap names than that!

      The Bush Background Generator! As fun as the Church Sign Generator, but it's Flash. So you can only link to your juvenile creations. Mine: a campaign button and The Economy.

      Scary link of the day: What's in store for 2004? Maybe we should just stop doing innocent stuff like joking about Bush...

      So, umm, expound on the above in the next link as a test with your Bush BG links or bad albums, or continue with general comments in the monthly one below it.

      Yes, I "get" the "joke." I got that joke when I was 5 and Jed Clampett made it about Elly Mae's biscuits. Why I use this as the link will be clear from the comments title.


      Snow late tomorrow. Eee-yuck. And I had such high hopes for a mild winter.
      The indoor/outdoor thermometer I bought last spring worked just fine until this week's severe cold snap. Hey, it was $4.50. Current temp readings for Vernon CT, indoor/outdoor: IN: 69.6F. OUT: 144.1F. Better not leave the milk in the car, it might spoil after the bottle melts!
      With woods behind the condo, I can tell when a snowstorm is coming: Kill Kill screams at the ceiling. Fieldmice climb into the attic, and she can hear them. Tonight she's been crazy with yelling and jumping on the countertops to stare at the ceiling. But it's not like I'm hammering a hole in the stucco so that they can tumble down into her food dish.

      Conversation underway as they reached the register:

      Man, did I sleep good last night. The Kids tag-teamed; Byron went to sleep with me first; then Kays, then B, then both of them. That just leads to delicious dream-filled sleep. And my dreams are crazy. One was so good and so plotted that I awoke (sorta) and jotted stuff down so that I could remember it. If it hadn't been a work night, I just would've plopped myself at the keyboard and let it flow (that's how the non-classic tale of Simmons came to be).
      Twas not to be. Too many dreams after that. Here are my notes. Maybe you can reconstruct my rilly good dream from them:

      The Turkey House.

      It's A Very Betty Bowers Christmas!

      So what happened in Samarra--really? "Everything about the Americans' account of the battle - the number and nature of the Iraqi casualties, and the circumstances under which they occurred - appears to be a lie." Note that CENTCOM now claims that there were 60 attackers, with 54 killed and one captured. And so all the dead insurgents' corpses were carried away by five guys.

      **siigh** Off to the comments. Not that I'm complaining--you guys are putting some fine stuff in there (and scroll up to yesterday's Ferd strip for some great comments from Neg, A Duck). And the News' hit counts are way up! Although that's prly just a fluke of some kind. At any rate, comments are here to stay. Until they don't, of course.


      It was to snow later today, so I was dreading the drive home. Shoulda worried about the drive in.
      A pickup ahead of me had a thing, some sort of black plastic thing, fly out of its bed and arc over above my car. The car behind me swerved to avoid it smashing into its windshield. Then a few miles later, a tire rolled merrily along the road on its own path to destiny, and another pickup pulled over to salvage what had flown from its bed.
      The message here would be "Buy a Damn Cap for your Pickup Truck's Damn Bed!" Except that the thing I saw seconds before all of this, on the shoulder and obviously hit repeatedly, was a cap that had blown off of a pickup truck into traffic.
      Buy a damn sedan.

      The snow started at 7PM, and it was already getting treacherous when I left at 8. Not so bad that I wasn't doing 65MPH most of the way. After 19.5 miles, only the last .5 was really bad. I nearly slid into a Pizza Dude, then barely made it up the hill to my home. Inside, I saw a car and a truck fail to make it up the hill, and I only saw them as I happened to be standing by the front window. (The trick is to drop gears and floor it up the hill, while praying that no one's coming down the hill while you do it, as you wander all over the place)
      After a bit, I let The Kids out into the common hallway. I propped the door open with an 8-track (yes, I have enough 8-tracks to use some as doorstops and others as cat toys). Killsy wandered back in after a while. Then I heard someone knocking on the neighbors' door. Damn. Byron was still out there. Then I heard, "Umm--Excuse me? Anyone home?"
      I went to the door and my downstairs neighbor and 2 of her friends were there. With Byron. With Byron cradled like a baby in her female friend's arms. "Is this your kitty? He got out!"
      "I let him out!" I said, then realizing exactly how stupid that sounded. My Gourd! He opened the door and stuck an 8-track of the "Bubbling Brown Sugar" Broadway show in the jamb!! BAD boy! No more opposable thumbs for YOU!
      They all cooed over his gigantical feets and how friendly he was. I mentioned that he was deaf, as that's a thing I want people who find Toe-Money to realize. "All our cats run around out here!" said the neighbor, who has a wooden sign on her door that says "An Attack Cat Lives Here!" and the cat is white. I said, "And they all run away from each other!" I thanked them for keeping an eye out for my boy.
      To be honest, I'm a LOT more content with KK being a scaredy cat than I am with Byron having no prob with TOTAL STRANGERS picking him up and carrying him around. On the other, that'll be a plus when he's microchipped. If he's scared and lost, the little deaf boy will rely on the kindness of strangers. And there are more kind people than cruel.
      When he came back in, Killsy was NOT happy. She sniffed him, and then hissed, then hissed more, then hissed very nastily, then began smacking him! She never hits him! And she just kept doing it, even growling. Obviously, it was because he'd been handled by Other People. But...Why was she so mad at him? Jealousy over his attention? Or was she like a mother, saying "Don't you EVER talk to strangers!" Given that when she finally calmed down, she sniffed him one last time where he was the most touched (his butt) and then licked the offending area, I guess it was the latter. Good girl. Good cat mommy.


      It's still snowing out there. I obviously survived the 40-mile round trip to work and back, but that's because I had Magic Cat Wishes protecting me. "If I don't make it home, there won't be anyone to fill your bowl or empty your box!"
      I needed it. Snowstorms mean that Wild Card Traffic Laws come into effect. You can create your own laws, but don't tell anyone what card you're playing until you use it. The standard ones are: Stop signs are optional, and every color of a stoplight means "GO." Roads have as many lanes as you want them to; a 2-lane road can be 1 to 3 lanes, even simultaneously. If you own an SUV, you are Immortal, so you should drive that way--remember, an SUV is not for getting you home safer, but faster! SUVs can also warp the space-time continuum, so you do 60 on a residential street and yet stop sooner than on a summer's day! Conversely, if the highway is plowed, you should still drive 25 on it. If you go faster, the snowflakes will become like bullets and smash your windshield! Why, yes, it is worth risking your children's lives to go out with them in a blizzard to buy that one bottle of wine you could've bought yesterday or Monday! And remember that at the end of the day, you get bonus points subtracted for every time you change lanes while using your signals, but get them added for every time you slam on your brakes!

      We closed a few minutes early, as it was muy dead. The classical station introduced Beethoven's Ghost Sonata with a list of various phrases using the word "ghost." The DJ began with "You've got Space Ghost, you've got..." Maybe someday they'll announce Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as "Also Brak ZorakTansutra." Okay, that was lame, sorry.

      Simple but effective Iraq animation.

      Jesus' General goes to a Pansy Division concert.

      The 20 Most Annoying Conservatives of 2003. Manages to ref Bender, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Voltron and Poochie. Damn funny.


      On Thanksgiving, niece Cassie drew a picture of a white cat for me. I told her that she should draw a grey one too next time. There was a birthday party for a niece and a nephew today, and she handed me this family portrait:


      A hacking cough. Dry heaves. Diarrhea! Vomiting! Ladies and germs, let's have a round of applause for the triumphal return of Young's Syndrome!
      Kill me. Please.

      At least the worst of it waited for me to finish my errands. I saw someone running a snowblower, which isn't that odd after a 36-hour Nor'Easter. What caught my attention was the fact that the snow was blowing almost straight into the air, and landing on a piled wall of white that was taller than he was. Sure, we got over a foot, but how could a driveway's worth pile up that high?
      He was plowing his lawn. It was like the living embodiment of a Ferd'nand comic.

      One of my errands was finally figuring out what to get Jessica for Xmas. Her daughter loves gift certificates, especially the online type that can be cashed in at dozens of different places (she likes budgeting, which is kinda odd in a first grader). But getting one for Jess, part of a household with a siz-figure income...If she wants it, she can buy it. I'm not going to say what it is, beyond "She'll squeal in delight." So I actually made an Xmas purchase in the real world. A tale from Skot on why he dislikes meatspace shopping.

      This is already starting to spread through the Web, but it's not like I have anything else anyway. Best Photos of the Year. Has a lot of cute animal pictures, although one might not be that cute if you're a trout.


      One of my yearly favorites, The Onion's Least Essential Albums of the Year.


      Since I have to get up early that day anyway, 12/22 will find me watching LOTR: Return of the King at the bargain matinee, and Byron getting his testiclectomy.
      He 'll come home a few hours later, but I'll need the mental distraction. Jessie's husband's cat almost died--wait, would've died--if he hadn't been home the day after Bogart was spayed. He had an undiagnosed heart defect that the anathesia worsened. I'll be keeping a close on my own B-boy that night.

      And speaking of Jessica, you'd be seeing some excellent photos if the scanner worked. (It doesn't. It's dead. I give up. Funny how every CVS in America will turn jpegs into prints these days, but none will scan actual photos [and if I'm wrong, let me know in the comments]). Very early pics of Byron, held in turn by Jess (looking gorgeous), her daughter Jacqueline (looking adorable, if unable to hold a kitten correctly), and me (not looking like a lawn gnome for once), with backgrounds of my...interesting choices of home decor here in Splutopia. But, well...Sorry. Me no scanner, you no see.
      By "early" pics, I mean that she took these back in August when he was but a sprout. She sent me the photos from last Xmas in May. That's Our Jessie!

      And that's it! Sorry, all I got. Y'know, there's generally somebody saying something about somewhat in the comments, so maybe go there.


      It's Xmas, so our store is full of junk. POP (point of purchase) junk, all sorts of signage junk. An Absolut sign shaped like a box of Christmas ornaments (with BL [blinky lights]), a Jim Beam bottle (spins), a Disaronno Amoretto 4-sided banner (looks like it came from the Ren Faire), a sign that's supposed to look like a house topped with snow and a giant Crown Royal bottle (BL), a Seagram's VO sign with giant faux Xmas lights (that are BL), a big Xmas tree-ish tribute to "Jim Beam brands" (BL, spins), a Captain Morgan display that's supposed to look like 3 houses with plastic bottles of Capt. Moron going down the chimney, then up the chimney (BL, looks more like some sex toy for horny triplets), and a Seagram 7 sign that doesn't do one damn thing, but displays cartoon young adult drunks in a style that really looks like it's done by the same guy who designed Professor Utonium from the Power Puff Girls. So that's what Ingredient X was! BOOZE!
      I don't know who was responsible for the cutouts of Santa's elves. They're probably generic decorations, but they look weird cavorting on stacks of Dewar's and Freixenet. Are they filled with the festive spirit, or just ass-falling drunk? One elf is careening madly in a toy wagon, with a teddy bear that either looks terrified or has a teddy bear skull face. Drunk-drivin' elves! Vehicular ho-ho-homicide!
      A poster for Seagram's VO (a whiskey that's pronounced "V.O." not "vo," for those of you who don't work in packies. Which would be all of you) has the slogan, "They Love a Challenge. They Drink VO. It's What Men Do." What an odd slogan. That might make sense if the line was "They Chug Liquid Plumber. It's What Fucktards Do." Why should it be a challenge to drink your product? It's like McDonalds plugging their artery bombs with the line, "We Love to See You Double Over!" or "McDonalds! I'm Lovin' It! But I'm a Masochist! Whip Me HARDER, Mayor McCheese!"
      Other possible VO slogans:

      To be honest, I went to their site (annoying Flash intro and required registration, so I won't waste your time with a link), and the key line is "It's What Men Do." Their other taglines are things like "They Buy The Most Expensive Equipment for a Sport They Can't Play" and "They Remember Scores, But Forget Anniversaries." Wow. VO drinking men are purdy dang stoopit. Where's "They Only Leave the Seat Down When They're Drunk and Pissing"?
      VO: The drink for men who can't spell "VO."

      The Not All Americans Are Stupid quiz. My result:

      There's a timer bar, but you don't get a higher score by answering faster, so take your time. I didn't, and how embarassing that one of the two questions I missed was the only one a failed English major should get! (Hmm, maybe that explains the "failed' part) Of course, one question was so Bill-biased that it was a Mulligan for me. Crimeny, I know who NZ's PM is, like I wouldn't get the question they actually asked.

      Post your quiz results on the comments, or your VO/other bad slogan ideas on the comments, o'course. Or follow the latest thread, and post suggestions to mess with the Google sidebar ads.


      The All-Comics Entry!

      The Holy Shit! Link of the Day: The Picture of Everything. Not exactly the greatest artwork here, but the detail is...Well, you just have to look. It's all pop-culture refs. If you click down enough levels, you get a mouse-over character key. I just picked one random segment to click through, and I'll bet that this is the only time that the Village People have been depicted standing next to Edie Segdwick standing next to Racer X standing next to Mrs Butterworth.
      Looks like another Nor'Easter this weekend, and I know where I'll be spending my shut-in time.

      YES, OKAY, I never did follow through on my promise on doing more Super Green Beret MySTings. I just came across a site on obscure comics that has an entry on our boy Tod Holton. It seems that it's based entirely on one story in SGB#2, as it lists Tod's mortal enemy as "Simba the Lion God." Hakuna Matata, Tard Holton! Umm, I do believe that the Viet Congses and Pseudo-Castro and (when he time-travels) Lord Cornwallis and HITLER were among his more prominent enemies. And they don't even mention his most deadliest of evilness-doers, "Vietnamese Woman with a Pot." Hitler didn't even scratch Super Greenie, but V.W.w/aP. almost killed him.
      So when I get a new scanner, a possible new project could be the Ultimate Super Green Beret FAQ. There'd be synopsies of the stories with scans. Nothing on the level of the classic, but it'd be something to do that I might actually finish for once. (Yeah, and I'll wrap up that Gymkata review any year now. But it's not like I get paid to do this shit, y'know. Or not do)
      And if you have any questions for the FAQ, you know where they go. No, the Comments link, not there!

      Kiru Banzai started a comic strip, "Roxy, Comic Book Superhero" back in the summer that I linked to, but then it ended and she stopped talking about it on her LJ, so I figured that she was using my own particular web work ethic. She recently started updating pretty regularly. I found out when I got a hit from the comics page, and guess what! I'm her "favorite nonfictional character"! There's a ref to me involving a soda machine, but the joke makes no sense if you don't know what's going on, so here's the link to the first comic. It doesn't take that long to read, it looks cool and it's real fun, so just DAMN DO IT.
      (At press time, there's a big "dead image link" block at the top of the first several strips. No idea what that is, but it's not a part of the comic, so you're not missing anything. Just page down and keep reading.)

N'kay, not all comics. Byron got a delay on his appointment with the melon-baller, and I got a delay on seeing LOTR (thanks for nuthin', Mr Job!). Some of the pre-hype: How did Tolkein come up with the languages of Middle Earth? (Although the article doesn't note that the languages came first, and there would've been no trilogy without them). And, with spoilers for you who haven't read it, Many Endings. Spoiler for those who have read it: If I'm reading this right, there's no Christopher FUCKIN' Lee in the you-know-where that was on the very last of the zillion pages. That's the part of the book where I just screamed "ENOUGH already!"


      Downside to condo living: when the neighbors cook something that stinks. In the winter, when you can't open the windows. What are they making, Skunk Cabbage boiled in 3-In-1 Oil with a big side of Hippo Fart?

      The store radio was playing Christmas music today. I tastefully suggested that a good name for Karen Carpenter's Christmas album would've been "Have Yourselves a Merry Little Anorexmas."

      In Your Dreams, a series of articles on my favorite pastime. I haven't read all of them, and they're kind of inconsistent. I liked the one on lucid dreaming, which I do all the time. I consider dreams to be a free trip to the best cinema in the Universe, so I usually go with the flow and experience it as an interactive movie. The only thing I've never been able to accomplish is to realize that I'm only dreaming about my teeth falling out. I wake up convinced that I've lost them, then find them with my tongue, still attached to my jaw. I was surprised to discover that "lost or crumbling teeth" dreams are among the 12 most common dreams! But then I realized that I've never had half the dreams that are "common." Where are the dreams about the City On Stilts, the Highway that Goes Through People's Houses, or the various evolutionary stages of the Mall of Earth?

      I got excited about the eBay auction of a Dawn Wells doll, but then I found out that it wasn't inflatable.

      Not a very good likeness from the neck up. But from the neck down...Halter top, short-shorts and check out them legs! Ooh, MAMA! Pass the baby lotion and paper towels! Time to make some coconut cream pie, wink wink!

      The old guy started complaining that "I'm a vet!" by the French wine. "I hate them for what they did to us!"
      I was at work, he was a customer, so I did the Nod&Smile. He was disappointed when I told him that his Special Magic War to Make the Bad Men Go Back to the Phantom Zone did not reduce the sale of French wine, oh those evil Frogs. While I did the Nod&Smile, I thought "So, hundreds of American dead and thousands of maimed and wounded in a war for NOTHING!! that's okay by you? DAMN them Frenchies for trying to STOP Americans from dying--for NOTHING! Hey, guess what? When Bush goes AWOL in Iraq next summer in the hope that the voters won't care when it's Iraqis and not Americans dying during his re-election campaign, what wine will you boycott then?"
      Same tune, different orchestra: I wanted to see what you message you got if you aced the "Not All Americans Are Stupid!" quiz. "Congratulations, Good Work" maybe? After 5 tries (the questions change a lot) and a score never less than 17 out of 20, it said:

      If you start the quiz saying you're not an American and ace it, you get:      And that's the least polite they are to non-Americans. On lower scores, they praise your knowledge; on lower American scores, they insult your lack of knowledge. A miserable 8 out of 20 gets a non-American: "This is not a good score, but it is at least better than the average American would do. Try to watch less American television, and read more." If you ID yourself as American, with the same score you're told "You scored about the same as the average 10-year old in any country other than America [any country? Even Liberia, Eritrea, Uzbekistan or Myanamar? Boy, they sure learned a lot about Botticelli while they were STARVING and getting SHOT!]. Your understanding of the world and its history is very poor. It is unlikely that you form many opinions of your own, and when you do, you probably soon bow to peer pressure. However, all is not lost - read a few books, visit some other countries, and you could one day become a reasoning human being."
      If you make sure that you get every answer wrong as a non-American (or, let's face it, a not-British person, as that's who this quiz is really aimed at)--      Seems the test writers could learn a bit about "bigotry and false national pride" by looking in the mirror. Not all Americans are stupid, but they really want to think that we are.
      Note to World: We are not all Dubya. Imagine what America would be like if we were.
      And what kind of question is "What year last century [sic] did the Spanish Civil War occur?" Hey, Einstein, 1936 is the "year last century" it started, but it ran through 1939. And no, I didn't look that up. I knew that already, hard as it is for you to want to believe. I'm American, I don't have any books to with the for of looking up! Except when it am in TVGuide! And I really doubt that there is any country, including the UK, where the average person knows which Bronte sister wrote Jane Eyre.
      PS: I do.


      Another 2-day Nor'Easter, but it coincides exactly with my days off this time, so I don't care. I slept in. Fortunately, Byron seems to have outgrown his phase of refusing to allow Killsy to sleep with us. I'd like to know what the deal is with his new phase, the one where he goes into one corner of the living room and screams at the wall. When Kays and I come out to see what the problem is, he stops and walks calmly away. I think he's reacting to the light that comes from one of the laval lamps. Umm, lava lamp, I meant. Know what'd be gross? Larval lamps! They'd be full of colorful maggots!
      I seem to be wandering here.
      So, I get up and turn on the local classical station, WNPR. No music, just talking heads. The last time that happened, a beautiful September day became one of tragedy, horror, rage. It took me a while to figure out what had happened that day, something about multiple plane crashes. This time I heard "...how this will affect the Iraqi resistance remains to be seen--" and I changed stations. "Huh, guess they caught Saddam," I thought, and checked Google News.
      In a hole!! Ah-hahahaha! That's funny on so many levels. Nice mug shot, too. He looks like Tom Hanks in Castaway if he'd been rescued 50 years too late. Gone was the contemptuous sneer of the megalomaniac, and instead was the feeble, confused look in the eyes that makes him look like he should be pushing a shopping cart full of trash bags. This is the big threat to World Peace?
      Good riddance, of course. Now we'll get an answer to one thing. All the reasons we went to war have turned out to be wrong or lies, all the things we were told would happen after the invasion turned out to be wrong or lies, now we'll see how accurate the stories about the occupation will be. "The resistance are all die-hard Saddam loyalists!" Well, they said that the resistance would crumble when we killed his sons, Queasy and Odious, remember? Were they fighting to bring back the Butcher of Baghdad, or are they fighting to drive out Bush? Here's where we find out. But it already looks bad, with a car bombing that led survivors to chant "God is great, America is the enemy of God." Here's an early analysis of the capture.
      My first reaction to the capture of the Bag Lady of Baghdad was "Ehh." If it had been Osama? I would've pumped my fist in the air, yelled "YEAH! GOTCHA, BASTARD!" followed probably by my eyes tearing up, thinking about all the lives lost in that pile of twisted debris in Manhattan. And I would've been forced to admit, "Bush did something right."
      I'd like that to happen, but it should've happened 2 years ago. Somewhere, that bastard is laughing at us.

      Larry King is a credulous dimbulb. Here's some amusing moments from a call-in show he did with serial liar--I mean, cold reader--I mean, utter fraud--no, wait, umm...psychic Sylvia Browne. It's amusing how she says something insane, Larry fawns over it, and they ignore the caller. Such as the caller from Japan who is told that her mother is dead. Despite all evidence to the contrary.


      One good thing about the day after a snowstorm is that there's no line at the supermarket or gas station.
      I could've sprayed myself head-to-toe in PAM cooking spray Saturday and still not to have been able to squeeze into either place. The gas station I've never understood; I spend as little time as possible driving in the snow. It might make sense to gas up if you had to drive during the storm. But it fell Sunday afternoon through about 3AM, when driving is at its most optional. And it still would only make sense if you lived in central Montana or the Rockies and not DAMN SUBURBAN CONNECTICUT. The most distant, godforsaken part of the state can't be more than an hour's walk from anywhere except the middle of a state park, and what the hell would you doing in there during a blizzard?
      The grocery store rush, as I've observed before, is for the sole purpose of buying milk, bread and eggs. As it has been scientifically proven that the human body can exist indefinitely on a diet of French toast. And gasoline.

      I have a weather radio. Before the invention of cable and the Weather Channel, my Grandma thought that this was the greatest gift that I or anyone else had ever given her. I gave her one of those Radio Shack models that turns itself on whenever there's an alert. I bought a knock-off for myself a while back, as I gotta admit that that was a cool feature. On my model, "alert" was defined as "every 5 minutes," and with it warning me that the weather would be sunny and 70 tomorrow. It went off every time they updated the forecast. I gave up on it quick. It was scaring the crap out of me and the cat everytime it went off.
      When my previous employers opened the New Store, I took it with me as the store radio. It couldn't pick up anything without static, so it got replaced. I put it in the bathroom so that while I brushed my teeth, I could hear the weather and then switch to an FM station for music. This worked for a few months, but the last week or so it's started to pick up 90.5, and 90.3, and 90.7, all at the same time. Today I got to hear the dance mix of Mozart, "Car Talk" and a college station playing hip-hop. The thing's so quirky that I'd get a stronger signal from any of the three stations based on whether I was leaning left, right, or bending over. Oh, and the only weather band that comes in clear enough to understand is the maritime forecast. Avast, ye lubbers, ARRR! Tis fine weather fer piratin'! Ay, Polly? "Squawk!"
      Yes, I bought it at Big Lots.
      Ha ha! I just wrote about a stupid radio, and you actually read it! Ha ha h--Wait, it takes longer to type than to read. Crap. Guess you win!

      The 2003 GOOF (Greatly Overexposed and Overhyped Fool) Awards, via my less favored half of Ebert & Roeper. Entertaining, as far as I knew who he was talking about. Don't follow pop culture all that much, really. I have no clue who the winners actually are. They do sound like goofs, though.

      "Ummm.... could you repeat that, please?" Feel free to keep scrolling down the rest of the posts. August is on a roll lately. Well, not literally on a bun with melted cheese, although there is cheese and...Oh, you know what I mean.

      This is to where the level of intellectual discourse in this country has sunk: A neo-con compares Iraq to a children's fairy tale, "The Little Red Hen."

      Thanks for your high appraisal of my intelligence! Thanks for putting that in widdle tiny wordies that I can understand! Thanks for assuming that I'm retarded! If I was to pick a nursery story about the reconstruction of Iraq, it'd be Humpty Dumpty. All the king's men ain't putting the Middle East back in any shape except "anarchy" any time in our lifetimes, kids.      Well, yes, but what would the Very Hungry Caterpillar have to say?
      Tonight's bedtime story brought to you by Halliburton.


      Pragmatic optimist that I am, I thought yesterday that "Any day that starts with a $193 speeding ticket can't get any worse!"
      So I was wrong. We will now pretend that yesterday never happened.

      And, well...That's pretty much all I have today. Except for a more serious look at the Little Red Hen theory than I wrote. "On the other hand, if you insist on being dominant, if you want to call all the shots and make all the decisions, that freedom of action also comes with a price tag. It will be your troops who die, your taxpayers who foot the entire bill. When you make a mistake, you are responsible for cleaning it up."

      Well, not all. This should keep you busy for a while. Like me, it may keep you busy with the damn registration process, despite the fact I already had a password. (If it makes you change it, go to the above link, don't try to log in from the screen you're on) It's MoveOn's long-awaited Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest. They've had hundred of entries, and you get to vote on their effectiveness. The winner gets broadcast nationwide. You get shown them randomly, but I'm hoping that the registration doesn't allow repeats. I want to see them all.
      (Wait, there's 1,017 of them? And some are really bad? Maybe I don't want to see them ALL, but it still is a relief compared to the corporate-owned mass media reporting Dear Leader's every fart like it was the voice of Moses)

      Okay, I did a thingie in the Comments, inspired by canary's recommendation of Things Horny Christian Teens Should "Do" Instead of "IT".


      I actually made a list of SHAWTy type work incidents today. Apparently I had some psychic KICK ME sign on my back all day. I also have absolutely no inclination to type them up. They were annoying, but in retrospect not all that funny. (tosses list into recycling bin)
      On returning home, in the mail I received a request for a donation from...The Vernon Police Union! WHAT, the $193 ticket from the speed trap wasn't enough?! I wondered first if this was some really bad timing on their part. Then I wondered if this was not a coincidence, but something they send out to everyone who gets a big fine. Here in CT the State Police have a thing called "The Hundred Club." You get a big plaque to attach to your rear bumper that says you'll donate $100 to the family of a State Policeman every time one of their officers dies. Supposedly, this is a "Get Out of Tickets Free Card." And, yes, donate more than $10 to the Vernon cops and they send you a sticker to put "proudly on your rear window." Note that those are parts of your car a cop sees when he's pulling you over.
      The letter was addressed to "Resident," so I guess it was a coincidence. Or that sophisticated a scam.
      Also in the mail, and a thousand times more welcome, an Xmas card from Lilly Joe. To describe it would be to ruin it, to scan it devine. But...Then we'd need a scanner. A working one.
      In our biweekly phone call, Jessica said that she hadn't had time to read her email on the subject, but she still had those Byron & Us pics in digital format and she'll send them. Well, yes, but if she doesn't have time to read her email, and the pics were taken in August and sent in a Christmas card...
      "There's one last thing I can try to get the scanner working," I said. Which was downloading XP-compatible drivers. Then, grasping at straws, I tried hooking the scanner up to the old, dead printer. Hey, it worked when they were connected, right? I had the avid help of Kill Kill, sniffing every connection. Are you seeing links to scans right now? Huh? What does that tell you of the success of that project?
      So, umm...That's it. I need a scanner, but I'm not setting foot in any retail establishments until at least the end of Xmas vacation.

      Things could be worse. I could be working in a liquor store in Japan.


      The clock radio started barking Beethoven at me this morning. I'm still so tired! I thought and reached to hit the Off button. And then I noticed two things: the alarm went off 70 minutes early, and Byron was standing next to it. He'd hit the On button and was obliviously unaware that any sound was being made.

      On the subject of loud music, when I got home I heard a neighbor blasting the stereo. Pretty unusual in our quiet condo. More unusual was that I was hearing it while in my garage, a floor below. It turned out to be the guy under my next door neighbors. They regularly return to Slovakia for weeks or months at a time, especially during the winter. So he was just exploiting his freedom to blast the stereo without really bothering anyone.
      On the other hand, he was blasting country music. That's one of the few forms of music I just cannot take for even seconds. I think that the most unbearable music ever would be a Country Rap Opera named "History of the Accordion," starring Celine Dion.

      Connecticut rarely makes the news, so I was surprised last week when CNN's headline radio news mentioned our venal, lying, corrupt, corporate-owned Republican governor (I guess I could've just said "Republican"! Ha ha!). Seems he's become an international star now that he's said that he won't resign because he's sure that GOD has chosen him. He also praises our troops for capturing Saddam (and that has what to do with your using of state funds to renovate your summer house how?). Not that, y'know, any of the troops involved were from, y'know, CT. Wow, simultaneously wrapping himself in the Flag and invoking God to distract from his cronyism and lying? I should've just said "Republican"!
      I like how the UK-authored article refers to CT as "strait-laced" and "haughty," as if the Puritans still ran things. It's one of the most liberal states in the Union, my English friends. (Of course, there's a furniture chain here that regularly runs radio ads featuring an "Englishman" who says "simply smashing!" and "JOLLY GOOD SHOW!" using an accent that I doubt has been spoken over there by anybody since Edwardian times, if ever)
      The most shocking thing to me is that Governor Rowland actually did the "JAY-SUS has picked me!" thang. Here, "Moderate Republican" means "Conservative," and moderates don't do that.

      Not of interest to anyone outside of this state, but I like CT Political Watch, a blog I just discovered via our corrupt, lying...You Know What! governor. If nothing else, they have Joe Lieberman paper dolls! (Key: As the most Republican of Democrats, he's a slave to the corporations, eager to scrub America clean of offensive culture and music, and a "Snowbird," a rich, aging New Englander who spends his winters in Florida--in Joe's case, to raise plenty of campaign funds from the retirees who "voted" for Buchanan in 2000)

      Huh. I failed to save the link last night and can't find it now. And I guess that it doesn't matter now--Ralph Nader announced possibly running for President again yesterday, but today, he says he'll sit it out if Dean (and I assume also Clark) wins the nomination.
      The link was "Send a comment on what you think about a Nader 2004 candidacy to Nader." And I did:

      Programming note for people who (unlike me) get cable: Kaiju Big Battel, MTV, Sat 12/27 2AM. Let me know how good it is (or isn't).


      All 16 pages of The Doom Comic Book. And it is just as stupid as the brief excerpts shown before. "This book contains graphic violence!" warns the cover, which features a hundred feet of uncoiled intestines and brains flying out of an exploding head. Violence? Really?
      Almost every line of dialogue is along the lines of "Rip and tear out your guts! You are huge! That means you have huge guts! Rip and tear!" It's like a criminally insane version of Super Green Beret--Hell, this makes Tod Holton look like The Watchmen. Shit, this makes a food-stained McDonalds placemat seem like Tolstoy.

      HELL IN A CLOUD OVER THE MIDWESTERN U.S. PROOF that ALIENS are in league with SATAN is found by running a picture of a CLOUD through PHOTOSHOP a million times and it's in the MIDWEST or more accurately KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON, which is about as "MID" WEST as HAWAII is.

      The incredible detail in these pictures of Satan and 52 foot tall lizards eating human legs are really...astonishing. You need to see one of these carefully notated pictures to know what I mean. Or you could just stare at a random patch of your carpet for a bit. If a picture's worth a thousand words, this PROOF is worth...I dunno, 14 words. 17 tops.
      (Via the good ol' Psychoceramics ML, where someone once pithily said, "The invention of the Internet was the worse thing that could have ever happened to the mentally ill.")


      I took a shower and then filled the tub and took a bath. Byron decided that this was the Most Amazing Thing he'd ever seen, at least since the last Most Amazing Thing a day or so ago. He peered over the edge of the tub, he batted at the water, he climbed along the edge of the tub. The last time he did that, he discovered that no matter how sharp your claws are or how many extra you have, cat paws and ceramic don't play well together. And he fell into the shower. You'd think that he might remember that, but SPLOOOSH!! His lower half went under.
      He did remember a bit. True to his fearless nature, he didn't panic like he did last time and just get wetter. He stood waist-deep and hung on to the faucet, pondering his next move outta there. I boosted him up and over the edge of the tub, none the worse for wear. Just wetter.

      Warning: Dream description.
      It was one of those long, wandery ones that start in one place and end in something totally different. First, I was trying out my new Robotic Trout down at the lake. It was just like a regular trout, except that it was 15 feet long. Actually, it was still like a regular trout, as they were also 15 feet long (but only as wide as a regular trout). It fooled all the other fish, and also that other apparently common Connecticut lake dweller, the pygmy hippo. Everyone climbed on to the high wooden observation platform to watch, but one extra person was too much weight and it collapsed. We all fell in the lake, but I pulled my glasses off in mid-fall so I wouldn't lose them.
      My mother dived in to save a woman with a baby in a stroller, despite the water being only knee-deep. The woman thanked her, and chatted away as her baby in the stroller drowned. I protested, but they both said, "Oh, the baby's already dead!" The baby was waving her arms, so I knew that she wasn't. I lifted her out of the water, and she became a beautiful teenager randomly hitting the keys of a Casio keyboard. Instead of being glad that her baby/teenager was saved, the woman complained, "It'd be better if she played an actual tune!"
      Everybody else (not real people I know, all people made up by my brain) went to a fancy restaurant to celebrate. Everyone backstabbed every person who wasn't there yet, and as they arrived, argued with them. I got sick of it and left. I met 2 female friends in the lobby, and we went outside. And I slipped into an alternate reality.
      I have these dreams every so often. I switch places with the Me of this other reality. Everybody knows who I am, but I don't. I don't know the first thing about this new reality, but I have to pretend I'm not disorientated and know exactly who this Me is supposed to be. This time, I quickly discovered that I was now in the Soviet States of America. I found this out by looking at a bank, which had Communist symbols all over it, as well as a picture of the legendary General Ayuhev. His name and picture were everywhere; common enough that I remembered the name upon awakening.
      All I knew was that I was an alternate Bill the Splut (Bill the Soviet?). The next big chunk of the dream was me finding out who I was supposed to be without being detected as a fraud and thrown in the gulag. It took a while, but I somehow figured out in exacting detail--and complete vagueness--what had happened. In this reality, when Lenin died, it was General Ayuhev who took power, not Stalin. Stalin became the head of the secret police but otherwise dropped from history. Instead of Russia's 1930s being a decade of Stalinist purges and the murder of millions, General Ayuhev modernized the Soviet Union, bringing it up to par with the West. Alarmed by this, Hitler invaded Poland in 1937, and the USSR immediately after. But the Russians were more advanced than the Germans, and quickly began defeating them. The British and the French became alarmed by the Commies' progress and joined Hitler in the fight. (That's less unlikely than it sounds; I've detailed this before in what historically happened during the Winter War between Finland and Stalin. Right after the busted image link in the 6/6 entry, if you're interested) And they lost. Exactly what happened between 1940 and 2003 as far as America was concerned, that I never found out. Apparently there was no Russian invasion, somebody just decided to make us a Brezhnev-era Soviet military dictatorship.
      My dreams are like movies. They'd never get the Oscar for Best Screenplay, but they'd sure grab the award for Best Set Design. Every tiny detail of the Soviet States of America was there, down to the designs of the coins and the crappy little Commie-style shitbox cars we drove (although SovAm seemed to have a much higher standard of living than the Russians have ever enjoyed). I turned out to be a Colonel in the Red Army of America. I was respected and well-known, especially since I'd been a child star in a "Little Rascals"-style series of movies made in the 1930s (which would make me 75 years old minimum rather than my current age, but it's a dream and illogic happens). I was being wooed for favor by the Mafia (which had its own specific name that I've forgotten), by beggars who turned out to be members of the anti-Government resistance, by beggars who were pretending to be members of the resistance but who were really the secret police, by the corrupt local government, and by the decadent upper class of Party insiders. Yep. Soviet style it was.
      The secret police scientists cut and injected my arm with something that made it turn a copper color from elbow to wrist. They were planning to dye my whole body this color when I went on my secret mission to Egypt "to blend in with the locals," although no human being in our reality has that skin color. I spent the rest of the dream trying to find out what that mission was, and how to get the hell back to my reality, and wondering if I should do the standard alt-reality thing and aid the resistance in overthrowing the government--although no one seemed really unhappy about American Communism except them.
      While rich in detail, it was thin on plot. I just kept wandering Commieland without ever finding what the mission was or what I should do. It just kinda fizzled away.
      As to General Ayuhev, he was mentioned so frequently that I Googled the name. He doesn't exist. In fact, the word doesn't exist, outside of a hit on a website in a language I've never seen before:

      This is where the clever closing remark goes. But instead, I'll just let it fizzle away...


       I watched a really awful movie last night, Sextette starring Mae West. I'd like to go off on it, but my brain has rejected memories of this movie like your body would reject a badly transplanted liver. But what would your brain do with a movie where the first words you hear are "Hello, I'm Regis Philbin!"
      It's a "musical" "comedy" about Miss Marlo Manners, the biggest star in the world, the most beloved star in the world, and the sexiest-to-the-triple-XXXiest woman in the world! Crowds follow her wherever she goes, bringing signs declaring their undying love for her! Moviemakers fall all over themselves to get her to star in their pictures! Her ex-lovers and ex-husbands would do anything for a night in the sack with her again! She's played by Mae West, and it's pretty obvious that Marlo is Mae West. Who wrote this pitifully sycophantic suck-up to Mae? Who, in 1978, could possibly be so delusionally devoted to and obsessed with a woman who'd ceased being a star in the 1930s?
      "Based on a Play by Mae West." Yes, it's her love letter to herself.
      Mae West was not an actress. She was just Mae West. She did double-entendre "sexy" lines while doing this hair-primp and sashay walk. I've seen her in 1940's My Little Chickadee with WC Fields, basically a movie where they took turns on the screen, and it's amazing how stilted her scenes are, and how fresh his still seem in comparison. But here she was 40 years later, exchanging witticisms such as:
      LORD BARRINGTON: We English are known for our stiff upper lips!
      MAE WEST: Well...That's a start!
      You see? She's REALLY talking about his PENIS! And limp as that joke is, when you're watching you don't think "That wasn't funny!" you're thinking "She's EIGHTY-EIGHT GODDAMN YEARS OLD! Great grandma is talking about that guy's WEINIE!! I need to barf now."
      That's the whole problem with this "musical" "comedy." She's THE sexxxiest woman EVAR, but she's being lusted after by guys 40 to 70 years younger than her. The stink of necrophilia only gets worse when you realize that Mae would die less than 2 years later.
      It's only a "musical" if your favorite singers are Dom DeLuise and Timothy Dalton. It's only a "comedy" if...SPLARRRGHHHFFF!!!!!!!!!
      Sorry, thought about the comedy and head all explody.
      You'd better like double entendres, especially D-Es that Mae is recycling from 50 years before. 75 years before if you're watching it in 2003. I'd give an example, but my brain threw them all up. Another classic comedy moment is when a lookalike for then President Jimmy Carter eats peanuts and says "Rosalynn was right! These people are nuts!" WOO-HOO, dang dowdy doo-wah! IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE HE'S REALLY EATING LEGUMES!
      And what was faux-Carter doing here? Ah yes, the "plot." Marlo's going on her honeymoon with her 6th husband, Timothy Dalton, in the same hotel where all the world's leaders are having a summit about some damn thing, and one of the leaders is "Sexy Alexei," her former husband who's a Russian diplomat (Tony Curtis). Also, her former husband the movie director is having screen tests for his next movie here (Ringo Starr, in his "scary beard" phase). And another ex, tanned Mafioso George Hamilton, is also there! It's a setup for wacky screwball suckiness! Oh, and if that's not nearly enough ridiculous coincidences, Marlo's dictating her memoirs into a cassette tape, all of which happen to involve every single person there, including ones I haven't named. And the cassette gets lost! And baked into a cake! And thrown out a window, where it's speared by a javelin thrown by the "US Athletic Team" that also happens to be visiting this same hotel, where it ends up on their trampoline until it magically pops into the mouth of a gargoyle outside the hotel. Yes, that's enough plot to fill a 93 minute movie. And the cassette's pink, just like the ones that came with Jem and the Holograms dolls!
      But it's all about Mae, Center of the Universe. No matter how much the cinematographer plays with the lighting, no matter how much they soft-focus the camera, no matter how much Vaseline they smear on the lenses, no matter how much makeup Madam Tussaud trowels onto Mae's weatherbeaten visage like Mary Kay's aluminum siding, she still looks like it's a model shoot of the living dead. When she does her "sexy" sashay she looks like the hip replacement hasn't quite taken. But move she does little. Musical numbers tend to occur around her, rather than involve her. Sometimes she's leaning on someone's arm as they lead her doddering potato-shaped body out of shot. There's a very odd number with Dom DeLuise, in which he sings something horribly inappropriate like "Baby Face," and he dances around a cardboard cut-out of Mae. Possibly she was kept off the set that day by her lumbago?
      The true musical lowpoint comes early, when Mae and Timothy Dalton sing the Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together." By "sing" I mean "talk the lyrics." Now, let me confess a guilty pleasure. I like that song. I like the Captain & Tennille, in the sense of how they seem as people. There will never be a VH-1 special on them. They've stayed a very happily married couple, quite content with their minor fame. Love really did keep them together.
      The key lines of that song were always "Young and beautiful, someday your looks will be gone. When the others turn you off, who'll be turning you on?" How many pop songs talk about getting old together? Even as a teenager, that struck me as the ultimate in romance. But in the movie, it's turned into "Young and beautiful, your looks will never be gone." Not only does this destroy the song, it's yet another horrifying glimpse into Mae's unending Weekend at Bernice's: "Your looks will never be gone, as long as the embalmer's around."
      How old was she? An anecdote I found from Timothy Dalton:

      There is one good performance in the film, by another person giving their last performance before they died: "Dress Designer." The role was clearly written for "flaming fruity fag stereotype," as that's a big source of the "humor" in this "comedy." "This dress is so beautiful, I'd wear it myself! In fact, I have!" But this and every other line was instead delivered with manic, insane, scenery-chewing and wall-climbing dementia. It was almost as if the actor was crazy out of his head on drugs!
      The actor was the Who's drummer, Keith Moon. Draw your own conclusions.


      I got a Where's George? bill today. Y'know, you type the serial number into the website and it tells you where it came from. Sometimes there are comments on the bill. The most detailed I ever saw mentioned that they were using it to buy lunch. This $5 bill had this comment:

      The User Profile of the guy who wrote that turned up this:      Hmm, interesting idea. Wish I'd thought of it.
      He's entered 11,000 bills. Hopefully, they weren't all bad days.
      And I wonder about Irene.

      Possibly this would only fascinate an English major with an interest in computers and literary history (ie, me), but here's an article on stylometry, a way to uncover the identity of a book's author via math. They use it on the greatest of all literary controversies: Was Shakespeare the author of his plays? The answer looks to be yes--except for the ones he stole from Marlowe.


      I was going to take tonight off, since what type of loser would look at this page on Christmas!! HAHAHA--
      Oops. I didn't mean you, of course! Umm.


      All I want for Christmas is what Santa's got in that pipe!


      Yeah, okay, that is SO funny. WTF? Seriously, WTF? And in panel 2, exactly how many horse tranquilizers has Ferd Jr taken?

      Kill Bill Santa, Part One and Part Two. I thought that Part One was funny enough to link before I saw Part Two, with its sound effect and deer getting the Sodomy treatment, complete with quote from that InExOb. What a totally weird coincidence. There's a science truism called the "Law of Very Large Numbers"--No matter how unlikely an event is to occur, given enough time, it will happen. Someday, even "Family Circus" will use that sound effect. Hopefully, like here, it will involve the lopping of heads.
      "Who decapitated Dolly and PJ?!"
      "NOT ME!"

      Sean Hannity, Wrong Wing Conservative Ass Monkey, has just released a book entitled "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism." You read that Right, Osama and Saddam are E-VIL because they're such LIBERALS. Why, I can just picture them drinking vanilla chai and plotting to massacre the infidel dogs and also funding universal health care!
      Fark supplies better covers for his book. Even if (like me) you don't know much more about the guy than his name, stanky politics, and, needless, commas, in his book titles, some of these are hilarious.

      Oh, and as we athiests like to say--
      Have a Merry Whateverness.


      My usual Xmas gift is a big box of Mom's home cookin'. I reached for the box today, and she said she didn't have time to make anything yet. So what was in the big box? A duster-style coat to replace my aging Salvation Army-bought grey trenchcoat. "It's black and has a removable lining," Mom said. I thought that was an odd thing to say, then asked, "Did I possibly ask for this while under heavy sedation?" Yes, I did, back when I had my endoscopy.
      Other gifts: Cat Fridge Magnet Poetry, cat toys, catnip and a "Boogie Mat," a nip-filled mat. Kill Kill was not particularly filled with the holiday spirit, as she immediately took it over and smacked Byron every time he came near it. She rolled on it and scratched and licked it, while he got enough of a whiff that he's been demolishing toys for the last hour.
       I got a Visa gift card and a Best Buy gift certificate, a calendar with glow-in-the-dark Moon phases and 2 books. One was Scalzi's Book of the Dumb, which was a perfect choice for my tastes in the sense that I'd already bought a copy. That'll be regifted. The other one was 505 Unbelievably Stupid Web P@ges. "Maybe your site is in there!" someone joked. "I don't think that it's that well-known," I said. My Mom opened it up to a random page, and read off 2 of the sites: Urinal.net, and Idaho License Plates. She didn't read the name of the one nestled between them.
      Okay, don't tell me you wouldn't have done this: I checked the index and yelled, "Hey! I'm IN here!" Yep, right next to Urinal.net was the Inexplicable Object of the Week. Number 35 out of 505.

      That's what he does in his book--Be stupid. Given the url--a site mirror that I never authorized or even knew about--I'd say he just picked it from a collection of "weird" sites. A third of the top (bottom?) 35 sites are taken from that one altervistas collection. I'm willing to bet that he didn't look at many more InExObs than the 3 he mentions, all from the earliest weeks of the site. And I admit that those were the lame ones. I find it hard to believe anybody read Super Green Beret or the Happy Meal Toys ones and they made no impression. Other sites he lists I'd be surprised if he even looked at, period. He mentions the Pizzas of Japan website, and yet his description really sounds like he's never seen it. There seems to be filler in here, just to get that magic 505 in.
      I mean, really--the InExOb is in the top 5% of stupid web sites? Of course, our 17-year-old author has his own site, or more accurately, he's registered an url for $14.95 and left a blank page.
      On the other hand, my 15 minutes of web fame refuses to end.


      Cuuute! Shopcat.com, a site featuring cats that "work" in various stores. You'd have to have a heart of ferroconcrete not to grin like a goof at some of these.


      Monday is Byron's big day at the vet. Be sure to beam Happy Thoughts towards central CT for him.

      Maybe this is the right link, as the site is now getting too much traffic right now for me to be sure, but here's GameSpot's Worst-Of List for 2003. Be sure to watch the video for the winner of Flat-Out Worst Game. The narration is amusing, but the game is so stunningly awful that it doesn't need any description beyond its own gameplay.


      I got up at the ungourdly hour of 8!A!!M!!! to take Byron to the vet. He's been in that carrier twice in his life, but boy does he already hate it. I hate it, too. All I've been thinking about is how Jessie's husband's kitten almost died from complications from the anaesthesia. Ron saved Bogart because he happened to be home the day after the surgery, and he could see that something was wrong. I have to work tomorrow; in fact, I was lucky to get today off, given that 12/31 is the last killer holiday until Memorial Day. In terms of customer count, it's the holiday in the booze biz.
      When they handed me the waiver for the anaesthesia, I paused and felt sick, knowing that I could be signing his death warrant. He screamed out his "I'm scared!" yowl as the vet took him away. Trust me, it's bloodcurdling. Deaf cats can be very loud, and it sounds like he's caught in a bear trap (I heard it twice yesterday: once when he knocked the 8-track tape ["Fabulous" by the Stylistics] away from its position as a door stop when he was "outside" in the common hallway. Not surprisingly, he doesn't like feeling lost or abandoned. Earlier I heard it when I left to get gas and buy milk, and came home minutes later hearing him screaming from inside. He'd knocked over a box and it fell and turned on a fan. I'm not sure why that was so scary, but it was a good thing that I got back soon. The neighbors might've thought that he was being eaten by a hungry hippo or something).
      When I returned home, Kill Kill asked a confused "Oww??" "He's at the vet, honey. He'll be home later."
      Since I was up the crack of dawn and needed hours of distraction, I left to see LOTR: Return of the King at exactly 10:15. When I got home 5 hours later, there was a message on my answering machine time-stamped at 10:16: There was a problem with the surgery. "One of his testicles didn't descend, so we had to go in through the abdomen. We'll need to keep him overnight for observation." Part of me was terrified, part of me relieved--complications are bad, but although I'll be at work, he'll be watched over the whole time. I've decided to take advantage of this and not pick him up until after work. He won't be happy waiting that long, but I rather have him unhappy and well, rather than at home and--You know.
      When Kill Kill awoke, she poked around a bit, then sat in front of me and cried. And cried. She was demanding something. After exhausting all options--food, pets, play, catnip--there's only one thing left she could want. "YEEOW! Where's my brother?!" She must miss the little toe-boy, even if her favorite game is "Chase me!" and his favorite is "I bite your head!" We'll find out tomorrow, when he comes home and she greets him either with kisses or hisses.
      I miss him too.

      As for LOTR: ROTK, I was ROTFL! Okay, I wasn't. That was a joke, even if it didn't greatly resemble one. Everyone has reviewed it, so I won't, at least not beyond "Movie good!" A few nitpickings (no important spoilers):

      Two years to the day since it was posted, and Kiru's advice to Middle Earth is still funny.

      After the movie--3 hours and 45 minutes later, as it started 10 minutes late, and there was the requisite 15 minutes of ads and trailers for loud movies--wait, I'm getting ahead of myself--I wanted to point out that the "It never ends!" complaint about LOTR: WTF? really wasn't true--there was about 20 minutes of loose ends, but they never felt needless--or broke up the flow of the movie like -- does to this sentence, which truly--never--will--end. (Oh, wait--it did--just then) At any rate, I went hiking in the woods. Yep, in late December. It was 57 degrees out. Unfortunately, the other thing out was a chainsaw. Park department Leatherfaces cutting down trees. Not as bucolic as one might want. But those trees were certainly useless. It's not like global warming's going on! It's not like that at this time of year in New England

      you expect snow!

      The 10 Dumbest Quotes of 2003, and you can vote for the dumbest.


      Jessica and Shelley with their cats, and Kevin with his dogs, all had the same reaction when they found out I was taking Byron to Bolton Vet: "I took my pet there once, and I never will again!"
      I'm quite happy with Kill Kill's vets, Animal Wellness Center, which is only a mile plus from here. The reason I'm using Bolton Vet for him is only because I adopted him from there. A flat $65 adoption fee took care of all his shots and his neutering. That's about $300 in pet care.
      I haven't had any problems with them, besides the day I went to sign the adoption papers and got a behind the scenes glance at the place. Byron's foster mother, a volunteer there, went to find the right person to give me the paperwork and left me in back where the animals were operated on and housed. A big dog was barking repeatedly, and every time it did, a worker there screamed "SHUT UP!" Since the dog was barking because hey DUH it was frightened, that really helped. What was upsetting was the anger in the guy's voice. I used to work at Kay Bee Toys, and I balled my fists many times in frustrated rage as I watched parents try to calm a crying baby by screaming at or even hitting it.
      What would happen if Byron woke up and began his terrified "I'm scared" cry, and that guy was still there? Maybe I shouldn't wait until after work to pick him up. I set the alarm 90 minutes early.
      But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of leaving there while I was at work? What if he got sick? So I decided to split the difference and pick him up in the late afternoon while on my lunch break.
      There was some confusion on their part as to whether or not I'd left the carrier there, so I guessed that that was why it was taking so long to bring him to the pick-up desk. While I waited, a family was reunited with a black dog with a bandage on his leg. A stranger walked up to pet him and was told, "Be careful, he might get startled when you pet him." "He can see me!" said the man. "No, he can't," said the woman. "He's blind." The day before when I dropped him off, the vet tech had said "You can hear me!" to Byron. "No, he can't," I said...
      What was the big delay? Finally they brought the carrier out, with "BYRON" YOUNG and a case number taped to it. "Sorry, I had to towel the dirty litter off of him!" said the tech. Do the what? Yesterday when I was in the shower, I thought that the toilet was overflowing, because I could hear the downstairs neighbor pounding the ceiling. No, that was Byron, pounding any trace of litter of off his paws. Why would such an obsessively clean cat have "dirty litter" on his body?
      I gleefully held the carrier to my face and smiled "Hello, buddy!" And I thought, hoo WEE, this carrier stinks! Was he so scared he pee'd in it? In the back was a towel, on the top were twigs of some sort. Twigs?
      I hustled him home, finally free of the fear that something bad might happen. Byron began violently biting and clawing the bars of the carrier, so hard that I had to keep an arm on it to prevent him from knocking it off the seat and onto the car floor. He began screaming his meow, too. We were both glad to get him out of the carrier. I opened it at the bottom of the common hallway. Kill Kill runs up the 3 flights of stairs in an instant when she's freed. He just seemed to relax and look around. Well, I had to get back to work, and that smelly carrier wasn't going anywhere but the garage, so I lifted him up and carried him like a baby up the stairs. "Urf!" said Byron, his favorite happy noise.
      It was time for some wet food to celebrate! I called Kill Kill from the bedroom, eager to see what her reaction to Byron's return would be. She glanced at him, trotted up, and then stopped dead. She sniffed his butt and hissed. And hissed again. Then growled. And kept growling, something she's never done to anyone but the vet. She even ate her food with the rhythym chew, swallow, growl, chew. When the food was gone, she began swatting him. Hard, using her claws. She never does that, and when she does swing gently at him, it's because he's doing something to her. All he was doing now was standing there. Yesterday when I thought that she was asking "Where's Byron?" was she really saying "And he's not coming back, right?" I reached out to calm her, and she sniffed my hand and growled at me. Repeatedly. What the hell?!
      I had to leave. I turned the carrier over in the garage, and out fell the rank towel and bunch of...twigs. Smooth grey twigs. Some kind of litter. A kind that didn't look like it would clump. On the drive back to work, I decided that it wasn't him she hated but that stink on him. Why did he need dirty litter cleaned off him? Was he in a cage with a litter box, or in a cage that was a litter box? Were other cats peeing in the same litter? Or on him? Most likely, it was the towel. They wiped him with a towel that they'd used on other cats. Kill Kill doesn't mind his smell--hell, they use the same litter box! I'm not a vet, but that seems a pretty basic idea: "Don't smear animals with the scents of other animals, and then throw the dirty towels in the carrier so it sits on their butts." As to Killsy's growling at me, she was growling at my right hand. The one that supported his butt on the climb up the stairs.
      But it couldn't last. Byron would smell himself, give himself a good bath, and all would be well.
      When I got home, before I even turned the lights on, I heard an angry growl from Kill Kill, followed by a high-pitched squeal from Byron, who ran right up to me. He only makes that sound when he wants something, like food. What he wanted now was protection.
      She was still growling, hissing and smacking him whenever he got anywhere near her. She even snagged his ear with her claws and dragged his head to the floor. She got a brief time-out locked in the bedroom, but then went right back at it. When she did, I hissed and made swatting motions back at her, which really startled her. Several lectures followed (calm and well-reasoned; even if she doesn't understand the words, you don't get anywhere with a cat by yelling at her). This is totally unlike her. She wasn't like this even when he first came here!
      He was super snuggly tonight. He's a lap kitty, but he's never rubbed his cheeks all over my face before. Maybe he was just relieved to be home, given his seperation anxieties. Maybe he was afraid of her. At one point, he wandered over to her, she growled and swatted, and he walked back to my feet and flopped down, looking very sad and rejected.
      In the time that it's taken to type this, she had a nap and came out of the bedroom in a seemingly better mood. She's glaring at him, but there's no violence. My hands are completely covered with whatever smell she doesn't like, and she's not hissing at me, either. Now he's hiding in a box, and she's giving him her normal, clawless, playful little swipes. This is really weird. Hopefully the peace continues. I'm giving her plenty of praise to let her know that she's doing the right thing.
      I still think it's that towel and twiggy litter. Byron may smell like a different cat to Killsy, while he may only notice after his ordeal that everything else smells like home. But with Byron now a castrato, my ties to Bolton Vet are ended. As Siouxsie sang, "This is the last string severed."

      I don't know how much credence to give this (we'll see if other newspapers pick it up), but if there's any truth in this story about our new friend Libya and al Qaeda, Bush should be impeached. "America is safer since we invaded that terrorist-supporting, WMD-owning Iraq," my ass.
      Here's another example of how Ashcroft is "protecting" us from terrorists: Sure, they described themselves as fundamentalist terrorists and had a massive cache of weapons and even a cyanide bomb--but that's not the issue. They're the wrong kind of fundamentalist terrorists, from a marketing perspective.