Earth Vs. The Mechanically Seperated Chickens

NEW 74

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - -however slight- - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
- -William O. Douglas


      It's really hard to get myself interested in typing here anymore. And that's all it is. Not writing, typing.

      But anyway. Let me regale you with the uninteresting tale of my recent activities. Regale, regale. This would be easier if I'd actually done anything regaleworthy.
      I saw the second and third installments of the modern Gamera trilogy. I actually liked the first one, despite the memorable circumstances of the viewing. It was at the cinema at Real Art Ways, so I got to see it on something resembling a Real Screen. Unfortunately, a bunch of MST3K fans/assholes were there. They decided to do their own running commentary. That would've been okay if they'd all sat together up front and kept their voices down. Instead, they spread throughout this very small theater and yelled out their "jokes." I was with Kevin, and we do our own running commentaries on movies. At his house, not at a movie other people have paid to see. And another thing--we're funny. We come up with new lines. These crowd of too-cool-for-the-roomsters simply screamed out recycled MST lines that had next to nothing to do with the movie. It got to the point where I could predict what they'd yell--Oh, look, a scene on the ocean. "SKIP-PERRR! GILLIGAN!" "By now my lungs were bursting with air!" Look, a guy with horn-rimmed glasses--"LONESTAR!" One ass simply shouted "MEANWHILE...!" every time a scene changed. Every time! Which could be twice a minute! When they actually started making "Ah-so!" rascist Japanese accents, Kevin began screaming at them to shut up. "You're not in your fucking living room!" They quieted down, except for Mr "MEANWHILE...!" who kept barking out his one stolen line. Christ, what a natural wit.
      Gamera 1 had some interesting stuff in it. They really turned around the goofiest kaiju critter of the 60s. That crappy American Godzilla remake stole huge chunks of its script from it, and Toho's new Gojira films were totally rethought after it. Gamera 2 was...well, a Gamera movie. Bad monster comes, the army is helpless, Gamera arrives, the monster wounds Gamera and green blood squirts, Gamera disappears to recuperate, the army is helpless, Gamera comes back and kills the monster, movie ends. There was even a crowd of children cheering "Gamera, Defender of the Universe!"
      G3 was a bore, except for one scene. I'd always wondered (well, I'd wondered it while stoned in high school and college and was watching the 60s Godzilla/Gamera flicks) if you could make an actual, coherent science fiction universe set on an Earth attacked by giant monsters. The first monster battle in G3 began with no warning; a wounded Gyaos (a Rodan-like flying bat monster) plummets from the sky into Tokyo. Gamera and another Gyaos immediately follow. But, for once, the battle is seen from the perspective of the people on the ground, like the invasion of Iraq as told by ants. And the only thing worse than having a monster attack your city is having Gamera come to defend it and laying waste to everything around him. What happens when Gamera uses his fire breath to explode a Gyaos? Multi-ton chunks of flaming monster meat fall from the sky! It was a great set-piece, but you need more than 10 minutes of good material to make a movie.
      You'd think, given that it was the last of the trilogy, there'd be closure at the end. Hell, there wasn't even an end! While Gamera fights the main monster, we're told that the world is being attacked by Gyaos birds (and I mean "told"--people read TV news reports, and we're never actually shown anything). The movie "ends" with hundreds of them racing to Japan to battle the badly-wounded Gamera. And I mean ends. It ends right there, with no resolution. It's odd; the movie's just good enough that you can't really mock it, but such a missed opportunity that there's no reason to see it.
      Someday somebody will make a giant monster movie that'll actually be really good.

      I mentioned a while back that Byron compensates for his deafness by sleeping with his eyes open a smidge. Yesterday, he and his sister were sprawled out where the late afternoon sun hits the kitchen floor. His giant paws moved, his body and tail twitched. He was dreaming. With his eyes open wide enough that I could see the color of them. And it's called Rapid Eye Movement for a reason--I could see his pupils darting back and forth. But he stayed asleep, even when I walked over him more than once. Killsy awoke, had some kibble, then laid down next to him, extending her paws against his in that "holding hands" thing they do. Only that woke him up.

      I got the DVD megapacks I ordered, but the discs wouldn't play. Was it because they were cheap, crappy DVDs, or was it because I have a cheap, crappy DVD player? I took a disc to Best Buy and determined that it was the player. So I dug deep into my pockets and bought a new player for $40 (before rebate). I watched The Wild Women of Wongo, and discovered that it wasn't the movie I thought it was. I was thinking of Wild Women. They showed both on that old USA series "Reel Wild Cinema," how was I to know?
      It was pretty awful. You know that you're in trouble when a movie begins with narration. You know that you're in worse trouble when the narration is by Mother Nature. You're really knee-deep in suck when the narration vanishes, and you wish that it was back to explain what the hell's going on. Ten thousand years ago (when women wore makeup and men wore fur pants, despite living in Coral Gables, Florida), Mother Nature and Father Time (hey, you! Stop groaning!) made an island where the beautiful women lived with ugly men, and a few miles away, the handsome men lived with ugly women. I'll bet Mommy Nature is one of those people who plays The Sims by building houses with no doors so the people can't escape, then burns the house down. This primitive tribe of really horrible actors worships the Dragon God (an alligator, as this is Coral Gables, Florida). A Handsome Man comes from the only village on this island with a name more retarded than "Wonga" (he's from "Goona," about a mile southwest of "DipShitta"). The Wonga men all hate him because he "has women's skin!" Yes, he's prehistory's first Metrosexual. He wants Willy Wonga and his Oompa-Lumpies to come fight the Ape Men. They refuse, as he's too pretty. The Wonga Princess thinks he is TOO CUTE! They guys decide to kill him. The babes thwart this, but they let their Dragon God Totem (dead gator on a stick; $29.95 at the Coral Gables, Florida, Gift Shoppe) fall on the ground. So they must sacrifice one of themselves to a gator. Sure, whatever, makes sense. Princess Oona fights a gator, in what must be the longest gator-wrasslin' scene ever filmed involving a gator who's extremely dead. Like a solid 5 minutes of corpse-smacking. Then there's the longest scene of Wild Women Who Can't Dance Dancing While the High Priestess Repeatedly Shrieks "DANCE!!!!" scene ever. This is followed by the longest "Ape Men kidnap comely miss without actually moving her even one foot away" scenes ever filmed involving Ape Men that you'd think would look like some kind of fucking APE, now wouldn't you, rather than guys with sunblock on their noses (protect your skin while visiting sunny Coral Gables, Florida!). They fall into the mouth of a convenient gator and this somehow releases the chicks from their need to sacrifice themselves. They go home to sunny Wango Tango, but their ugly men are all gone! Destroyed by the not-very-apish Ape Men! They hang out there for a month before deciding to go to Goona. And at the instant that they leave, the men return. They spent a month searching for them, on this island the size of grocery store. They decide to go to Goona, too.
      And the Beautiful Women all marry the Handsome Men (after the world's longest sequence involving women capturing men and placing them in bondage), and the Ugly Men all marry the Ugly Women. Are the Handsome Men happy about this? One breaks down the fourth wall and winks at the camera. Then another does. One after another, they all do, ten times in a row. The Longest Winking Scene Ever.
      It's one of those movies with a running time of 75 minutes plus an eternity. And I didn't even mention the omniscient comedy-relief parrot that turns up every 5 minutes.
      Of course, even with the S&H, it cost me less than 50 cents a movie. But I think they probably owe me a nickel for this one.


      Why is the world such a mess? Blame the Monkeysphere! (The article is funny, although the science is sound)

      "What, indeed, are we to make of a war that is turned into a fantasy by those who started it?" (The article isn't funny, although the science is scary)

      "A number of Finnish conscripts have been excused their full term of military service because they are addicted to the Internet." Remember that excuse after Diebold's electronic voting manipulators steal the election for Bush and he brings back the draft to police his Empire, you 18-to-35-year-olds.


      Since only half of you reading this frequent the Comments and my own contributions on this subject have been extremely spare of late, I'm double-posting a cute cat pic from Marc. I wonder what button on the remote opens the drawer.

      Imminent Second Attack: YEAR THREE! It's SO imminential that the info's 4 years old! I hear that the terra-ists is gonna kill the A-TEAM next! Or the SMURFS! "Now, round about this time, that ole al-Qaeda was readyin' to be attackin' them Duke boys..."
      I'd like to know how many Average Americans have figured out that the Terra Alerts are just another example of Bush's lies, lies, lies. Funny how the last 2 warnings came immediately before and after the Democratic Convention! WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!
      Pretty good, actually. While you prly won't want to read all of it, here's a history of terra alerts, and the events just before them. Events which looked bad for the Bushitters. The sheer number of "imminent second attack" lies should make it clear that these scum will use any excuse to politicize a tragedy.
      I first started getting a bad smell from the "patriots" right after 9/11. Remember how, as clearer data came in, the death toll from the WTC horror kept getting lower? And the Wrong Wing bloggers got pissed off about it? They wanted those higher numbers of dead Americans to stay there. They were the only people in the world who weren't relieved to know that, as horrible as it was, at least not as many Americans died as was initially thought.
      Well, okay. They weren't the only ones. Al Qaeda was probably pretty pissed too.

      Some researchers at "UnNamed Place" (hmmm....) have worked out a formula for the scariest movies. And by formula, UnNamed Place means "(es+u+cs+t) squared +s+ (tl+f)/2 + (a+dr+fs)/n + sin x - 1," as defined in the article. Y'okay, I'll take your word for it. Math and horror movies were never my strong suits.


      Spotted on some commercial vehicles during the commute:
      Owner: The Mull Brothers. Slogan: "Don't Mull Around. Call Mull Around." Hey, Martin! I didn't catch what their business was. If it was heating cider, they could throw another line in there.
      Owner: A plumbing company. Slogan: "We arrive on time and smell good, too!" Well, those are good attributes, but I'm really more concerned about how low your pants ride.

      Winged Cat “From Hell” Put to Death in Central Russia. With picture, but most Russian news sites seem to be the Cyrillic version of the Weekly World News. Who would win in a fight, HellCat or BatBoy?


      I'm going to be more lame than usual, and steal a link from the "This Is True" ML. And who the hell keeps cooking bacon at 11PM here at the condo? Seriously, it smells like they've got a pig roast going on for the last few days. Maybe longer; I've only had the screen windows opened for a few days. It's August, but it's only in the 60s! This is the first summer that I've ever seen in CT where we haven't hit 90 yet. Remember: Global Warming won't make the weather hotter, it'll make it go insane first. Oh, now Byron wants to play with the laser pointer again. It's like his life. Chase the Dot! Wait, now he doesn't. Maybe the bacon-makin' is driving him to confusion. Hey, Atkins Dude! You really think a pound of bacon at 11PM every day is the high road to health? Two words: Cardiac Arrest!
      Possibly I got a mite off subject there.
      Back to our program, already in progress. The Museum of Obscure Patents. Why, some of these could be called inexplicable! Such as the laser aiming device for slingshots, or the Ballistic Missile-Proof Vest. Not bulletproof, mind you, a SCUD and Tomahawk cruise missile-proof vest. Quote: "It is definitely the most ingenious patent strategy of all time. After all, how could you prove that this invention doesn't work? How many test engineers would be up for donning the body armor and having a ballistic missile fired at them? Even if the invention worked, it would only seem to protect the body enough to allow the test dummy to become an organ donor." There's also the "Incinerating Commode," which I hope is never built near a Taco Bell. flush--BOOOM!!
      If these people wanted to make something useful, how about a bacon de-smellificator?

8/8      I went antiquing today. I almost grabbed my camera, but decided that I didn't want to drag it around with me. You know I'm only mentioning it because it turned out to be a mistake. To what should my wandering eyes appear but a Big Boy:

      Not that Big Boy, but a HUGE Boy, about 10 or 12 feet tall from foot to pompadour. He wasn't in the best of shape. His burger was in a state of decay and his painted skin was peeling, showing a sickly green color underneath. He looked less than a Big Boy than a Large Leper.
      I'd save Big Boy for last. It was nice to see a store open in Putnam. An entire side of Main Street was condemned a year ago, closing many shops. I passed on the "Man From U.N.C.L.E." boardgame (old games are risky to buy, even for only $9; you never can tell how many pieces are missing. I once gave KitSplut a "Battlestar Galactica" game that was intact--except for the instructions). I did buy something not very antique. The tag described it as "Frame," so maybe that was the old part. But the picture succinctly sums up one of my prime philosophies:

      Other Not Very Antiques I saw for sale: a vintage Palm Pilot folding keyboard, and a Victorian-era DVD/VCR combo.
      The Biggest Boy was at a 200-year-old mill. It'd been an antiques store for years, but then sadly closed. It was a lovely old antique itself, overlooking the river. All of the buildings in town are old, but frequently a bit cramped and dark. This was spacious, with lots of windows and sunshine. Everything outside the building was huge, too, and when I went inside...Well, it was clear why they were using an old mill. Everything inside was huge. It wasn't a question of how much the stuff cost, but a question of where you'd put it. Sure, here's your own personal phone booth. What the hell would you do with it? It was like walking into the old version of the Batcave. All it needed was the World's Largest Penny.
      I've no idea how much they wanted for Large Lad. But if I had a house and not a condo, I'd buy that sucker if even I had to get a second mortgage! I'd place at the edge of my lawn by the roadside so that everyone could see! Soon, my neighbors would be thanking me! "Bill the Splut, ever since you got that Big Boy, our neighborhood property taxes have gone WAY down! I was afraid that I'd never sell my house at $250K, but I'm sure that I can get rid of it now that it's worth 85!"

      Can anyone explain a thing I've seen in my hit counter? I get linked from places that don't link to me. I'll get, say, a hit from Since one would never get "a" hit from fark, and there isn't a link when I check there, where'd it come from? Once I got a hit from an Australian newspaper article. Hmm? Turned out that it was an article about Nick Cave that I'd emailed to Kevin earlier that week.
      Today, I got a hit from a site's hit counter. This person looked at my page because his hit counter (the same one I use) said that he got a hit from me. And there's no link to him on this page, and no link to me from his. Curious!
      But interesting! It's the page of a bad movie festival called Schlocktoberfest. I don't know if any of you live near Long Beach, Mississipi, but I wish I did! Check out that schedule! They even have THE greatest movie of all time, Voyage Into Space. I'm sure that I've mentioned it before, although never in detail. This is one movie I could never do a Trick Lobster review of...I'm too much in awe of it. It's better than Plan 9. It's like the best dream you ever had, except that it makes less sense. It was hacked out of a dubbed Japanese TV series involving a boy and his giant robot, Giant Robot. They fight the most insane monsters: Giant Hairy Flying Eyeball! Rhino that makes it Lightly Snow! Giant Bowling Ball! Head of a Dog, Body of a Weight-lifter, Hair of a Rastafarian, Stomach with a Train Station in it!
      It's full of gratuitous stupidty. Why does bad guy Spider keep pushing his sunglasses up his nose? Couldn't they give him a better-fitting pair? Why do the machine guns have barrels so big that they look like they could shoot Irish potatoes? Sure, the Unicorn agents wear yellow plastic jumpsuits with helmets with a little antenna on them and their salute is raising their hands and snapping their fingers, but that's normal stupidity! Having the snapping noise replaced with a slide whistle going "tweeeEEET!" now that's GRATUITOUS stupidity!
      Like Plan 9, there isn't a dull moment, and there's so much insanity per second of screen time that every time I rewatch this movie, I find something new to laugh at. And I've been watching this movie for 20 years!
      Unfortunately, it's impossible to find. It wasn't a "real" movie, just something cobbled together from TV for TV.
      Hey, wait! Here's a guy on eBay selling all 26 original TV eps WITH Voyage for only $20 total! Well, I ordered mine, before I wear my videotape out. I'm willing to bet that this is one of those recurring Buy-It-Nows, so maybe you want to wait and see how my deal turns out. But if you love crazy 60s Japanese kaiju nuttiness, this is the ne plus ultra Holy Grail. Or maybe I could...
      Nevermind. I don't own a DVD burner. Yet.


      HOLY SHOTZ!!!! Last night, I had a dream starring Daveykins Gonterman!
      Seriously. I assume this came from me checking every day for 2 weeks to see if Nitwit gets her coffee refill. Davey was living in my parents' house in the 70s (despite everyone involved being our current ages). Since my 3 sisters were still there, I assume he must've been living in the basement (tres apropos, ne c'est pas?). He looked like a live-action version of his old cartoon avatar: Pudgy, mulletted, and wearing that weird box-shaped ball cap. He wanted me to read his latest opus, a thick manuscript of Sailor Moon fanfic (starring him, of course). I read a page, and it was terrible. He wanted me to read the whole thing, and I decided to pretend to get a phone call as an excuse to stop reading. I did this by somehow making the phone ring with someone on the other end. They spoke gibberish, but I pretended that this was someone telling me to go to sleep. Sort of a reverse wake-up call. DVK demanded to know how great his story was, with a big smug smirk on his face. I lied and said that it was good, but his syntax needed work, and that he changed tense in a sentence. All I really wanted was to not read any more. Davey's face went (sfx: SMIRK REPLACED WITH ANRGY FROWN!!!). It was 3AM, so I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Suddenly, (sfx: HACK CARTOONIST BATHROM DOOR POWNDING!!) I braced myself against the door while he screamed about how if I couldn't recognize his genius, I should be robotocized. Suddenly, (sfx: POWNDING STOP!!) and (SPRAY PIANTING NOISE!) I opened the door, and in the seconds since he'd stopped pounding, he'd defaced my bedroom with the worst grafitti imaginable: He'd covered the walls of my bedroom with a SONIC FANFIC!!! (starring him!) I shrieked and threw myself at him and mopped the floor with him. He begged for mercy, and I abruptly stopped, saying that Cinnamon (our cocker spaniel) was so upset over his beating that she was crying. And she was, but it was because she was able to read the fanfic...

      Speaking of crap, I watched another DVD from that "GREATEST" Sci-Fi Megapack. It was titled Planet Attacks, a name that makes it sound like one of those late-70s Italian Star Wars rips. Or an 80s teen sex comedy called Moon Moons. I think it was originally called Mars Attacks, and I know that it was a condensed version of the 1938 Buck Rogers serial. If I had to reduce a 3-hour serial to a length of 65! minutes, my choices would be to either cut out the cliffhangers, or cut out the plot. Apparently, there's a third option, which is "Cut them both out!" So there's nothing but dialogue that's meaningless without context, and no action. Except for endless shots of the spaceships. Here's a way too polite computer rendering of one. Imagine it made of cardboard and held up with strings, making a noise like an electric razor with smoke flying up out the rear, while sparks fall down at the same time. Oh, and with space not a black starfield, but blue as the sky outside. With clouds. Because space has clouds.
      Movie has boring. It stared off okay, with Buck and his little sidekick Butt Buddy's dirigable being caught in a polar avalanche. The blimp gets buried under snow and they go into suspended animation for 500 years, yes that seems so utterly possible, because their cargo is "Nirvano gas." Something smells like Teen Spirit, Taco Bell and heroin!! And then--Cripes, no real clue. The movie was so cut down that there were scenes that lasted a whole second. This movie didn't just put me to sleep after 50 minutes, it put me into suspended animation--I suddenly woke up at 3AM, in bed with my clothes on with no memory of going there. With the DVD still on pause.

      I'm not going to search for a link to the Annie Jacobsen "Terror in the Skies" article. You know exactly what I'm talking about, and if you don't, short version: Conservative columnist goes on plane. Swarthy Middle Eastern A-rabs come on board with a McDonald's bag. They talk to each other. They go to the bathroom. Annie panics and causes other passengers (the good white Christian ones, OF COURSE!) to also panic, thinking that "they're building a bomb!" This idea comes from Annie reading an Ann Coulter book. I'm not clear how one "builds a bomb" without using some material that they don't allow on planes. "You bring the nitro, I'll bring the glycerine," maybe? "I'll take a ton of fertiliser on as carry-on, you bring a case of 30W motor oil"? At any rate, the Wrong Wing bloggers went all paranoid over this--It was a dry run for TERRA! Why can't we keep swarthy A-rabs offen our planes?!
      I will link to the punchline to the story, which also has more details: Salon's
Ask the Pilot has 3 articles on it. Punchline: There were air marshals onboard that flight, and the person that they were most worried about was Annie!
      Wow, that was a lot of set-up for the inevitable satire.

      Cartoon Network fans: Hockey Chicken Freed! Includes Space Ghost playing poker with said poultry.

      Overheard on the radio: "Love is like eating mushrooms--You never know if it's the right thing until it's too late."--Ira Gershwin.

      A look at the "October Surprise" BushCo might be cooking up--and a look at the "SURPRISE! ON YOU! ON YOUR HEADS!" that have derailed the Dumbya re-election campaign so far. As I always say--"Of course Bush'll lose the election. Thing is, he lost the last one."

      HellCat's revenge for his murder?

      Nonhypothetical question: If you found out that those old shares of bank stock you forgot about have to either be traded in for shares of the bank that bought it, or cashed out to the tune of about $3500, which would you do? Since the last time I remember hearing about my shares they were worth half that, and it's not like it's money that I ever think about, I'm leaning towards receiving new shares. On the other hand, I have all the financial acumen of a soft-shelled crab.


      At play with firm's clone kittens

      Alien message 'may be in our DNA'

      I've discovered that if you toast an English muffin, fry up some turkey bacon, and then place it on cheese slices and microwave it, it is the WORLD'S GREATEST SAMMITCH in the HISTORY OF SAMMITCHES.
      I would type more, but I cannot. I can only roll on the floor gargling "mmm, SAMMITCH! SAMMITCH, MMMM!!!!"


      Ummm...Where am I again?
      Bad Night's Sleep. Like 4 hours. It's now 13 hours since I woke up. Job with Drunken Drug-Addict Boss! Job--IN PERIL? Who knows--Boss is Drunken Drug Addict! STRESS! Brain...Crashing! Try my best before collapsing on floor. Garbled is the next!


      "So it is hardly surprising that there is indeed a proven correlation between how knowledgeable an American is about foreign affairs, and how much television they watch. Sadly, it is an inverse correlation. Such is the power of the small screen: It actually seems to absorb information from viewers, so they become less informed the more they watch."

      Canada! "Nice, polite, calm, reserved, chock full of common sense and living next to us – what a fate. For them, it's like having the Simpsons for next-door neighbors. A few years ago, during the height of our national meltdown over Monica Lewinsky, a host on the Canadian Broadcasting Co.'s evening news program began an interview by gingerly asking me, 'So, having another of your little psychodramas down there, eh?'"

      From beyond the grave, The Winged HellCat continues his war against the Humans. GO TEAM HELLCAT!

      Wakboth from sunny Finland tells us of a friend who's started a meme with tshirts: "We've Turned The Corner!". Trust Dumbya's handlers to forget that "We've turned the Corner" sounds just like the slogan the only other Retardlican President to lose as many jobs as he has, Herbert Hoover, back in the Depression. His slogan was "Prosperity is just around the Corner!" Dr Demento, one of those many little things that formed my mind, once played a 1932 novelty song. In it, the Proud Republican bragged, "Prosperity is just around the corner!" And a Voice of Reason quietly asked, "Did you just say coroner?"
      Note that those are NOT CafePress. They're...reasonably priced! Hmmm! I haven't actually looked at the pricing and terms of service yet. But if you might be interested in any shirts or stickers, let me know. I wouldn't be looking to make any money on them.
      If I did, my first choices would be the classics: Kill Kill Cat and Mouse, and Byron Cat and Mouse. I'd buy those shirts! But there is the slight possibilty that I'm biased.


      I'll take the deafening silence of your reaction to the idea of me having a Junk Shop as a sign that I shouldn't.

      Byron abrupty went from demanding playtime with the laser pointer to demanding that he go out and roam the condo's common hallway. I'll admit that one of the things that people told me about deaf cats is true: My GOURD, but does he scream. I assume that it's the only way he can hear himself. The first half-dozen times he let go with his siren, me and Kill Kill both raced to see if he'd broken a leg or was on fire. Usually, we'd find him staring at a blank wall, screaming something at it that only he understood.
      This week, he changed his tune. Well, not literally his tune, which still sounds like a bloodcurdling "AAAAIIIIIOOOUU!" Instead of placing his paw gently on my arm and looking at me with a cute "Please, can we play with the laser?" look, he'd howl to be let out in the hallway, as soon as I got home. Then he'd scare the crap out of the neighbors. They twice opened their door, and there he was, staring at them. He's not intrinsically frightening in and of himself, but if I opened my door and there was a cat staring at me, I'd be startled, too.
      Why does he do this? Dunno, Copper! I think that he's figured out that they have a bird. I have no idea what kind; I haven't seen it. I've heard it chirp during the day. Kill Kill certainly knows it's there. She doesn't care. Byron sniffs the bottom of their front door obsessively. I guess birds smell, although I can't say that I've ever noticed. So my neighbors not only get the surprise of a cat on their doorstep, but they get a cat that says "Helllllo! May I eat your pet?"
      And he won't move when he sees them. The boy is fearless. (NOTE: "NO FEAR" = "NO SENSE" in my book) They're nice people; they've tried to pet him and said that it doesn't bother them. But it bothers me.
      Today he shrieked his horrible banshee wail and I let him out, just to shut him up. And what does the lil' dickens do? Start howling again, demanding that the NEIGHBORS let him in, so that he can eat their bird! He got a stern lecture as I carried him inside (yes, I know he didn't hear it) about "How would WE feel if a big dog was barking outside OUR door to come in and eat YOU?!" Shit, if that happened, if I didn't buy a gun I'd sure buy some pepper spray. And complain to the condo association.
      Guess who is never going out into the front hallway again. And getting lots of encouragement to chase the pointer.



      Well, I don't know what's going on. The page has been up for seconds and then down for hours for 2 days. And apparently, it's just my page, as Negs' page that uses the same host is up. And when mine IS up, I can't FTP to it!
      Wait, now it's up. Prly for a minute or two. This is the first day ever that this page has received no hits at all. C'mon, I don't suck that bad! Don't I?

      Bill the Splut Presents--TALES of the COMMON HALLWAY!
      This is what the doorstep of my downstairs neighbor looks like:

      Is she on vacation? Well, yes, if you mean permanent vacation. She moved out in May.
      The owners of that condo rent it out to college students. They, of course, would normally be the worst people to have as neighbors. But the owners have made it clear to everyone who's rented for the last 10 years that this is a nice, quiet condo, and they want it to stay that way. But when the semester ends, the boarders leave. Someone should be moving in soon enough. I thought that they were moving in when the Journal Inquirer began appearing at their doorstep. (Coincidentally, that's the paper that my best buddy Jessica's Mom works at. It's such a tabloid rag that its nickname is the "Urinal Inspirer") But that was over a month ago. Why would you pay for a paper that just piles up outside the door? Once a week, the owners come and recycle it all. College starts soon--is someone moving in or not? A Mystery! Where are those Meddling Kids when you need them?

      And now, a Common Hallway Tale of TERROR!
      --izing the other neighbors! When we last checked in, Byron, hungry for the other neighbors' bird, was sca-REAMing to be let into their condo. I refused to even let him out. He shrieked and shrieked at the door, then became angry and destructive, jumping onto shelves and knocking things off them, just like he knows he shouldn't. Then he decided to take his frustrations out on Kill Kill. That I had no problem with:

      ...As she KICKS ASS. It's like a battle between a lithe judo master and a Sumo wrestler. Big Guy roll over, Skinny Guy go down! She has the advantage of body mass over him.
      She's not fat, mind you. When some female cats get fixed, a muscle goes lax and they get what looks like a beer belly. Just loose skin, not fat. One vet told me that when his girl got that, he gave her a tummy tuck. A few months later, the stitches gave way, and was back to a saggy tummy. The guy did cosmetic surgery on his cat. While it does detract from Killsy's supermodel looks, it's also amusing to watch her from behind when she walks fast. Wobble wobble goes the tummy, like she swallowed a nest of Weebles.

      The Kids yesterday, when they weren't eating each other's heads:

      8/ 23 16
      Negaduck confirmed my (and StevenM's) suspicions about my page's status vis-a-vis hers on the same server: It's August, when my registration expires every 2 years (exactly long enough to forget about it), and I didn't get the notice to renew my reg. I still had an old email addy on my profile. One so old that I couldn't even identify it. (I should've asked "Give me a hint, like what letter it begins with." If the customer serv rep had said "I" I would've yelled "INEXOB!")
      They took my credit card number, and if you're reading this, I'm online. If you can read this and my site isn't up, please lay off of the peyote.

      Scrabbling up some old bills, I discovered that I was missing a rebate check. Hey, that's MY $4! Also unaccounted for were the business cards telling me when Byron & Killsy's next vet appointments were. Eventually, I found them all. Glancing at Byron's appointment, I thought "Oh no! It's not next week, it's tomorrow! Good thing I found these in time!"
      It rained today, so I couldn't go to Valley Falls State Park. Stupid hurricane! The park is mine! Since that construction project that closed it until late September apparently ended a month ago. Yep, they smashed their dang culvert 2 months early, but they've left the park closed "Cuz that's what it says on the requisition" or some shit. It's like something from Gilliam's Brazil.
      So I started the laundry (nothing but exciting news on my page! Did you miss it? GET THIS: Some socks came out of the dryer all rolled into balls!!) and got groceries. Byron went after the bananas I put on top of the fridge--He went after them so frequently that I had to put them on the floor before he fell and hurt himself. Kill Kill also gave the nanners a close nasal inspection. My cats got this banana thing going on. Last time I had a banana, Byron grabbed the peel and played with it for half an hour.
      He also dug a huge rip in the carpet by the door that leads to the bird across the Hallway that he wants to eat. Yes, Byron, you are so going to tunnel under that door. Have you been watching "Hogan's Heroes"? If you have, then you must realize that your plan cannot succeed without a really short Frenchman, and me repeatedly shouting "I know NUT-ZING!"
      Then B-Toes went into the cat carrier. He protested, but not as violently as KK usually does. She ran away, afraid that she might go in next. He settled down and was well-behaved as we drove the mile-plus to the vet. When he got inside, he simply sat quietly in the carrier. He'd never been to this place before, and hadn't seen the inside of a vet's in a year. Then, he yelled when the needle went in. Otherwise, he was a perfect model of (terrifed) decorum, just like Kill Kill.
      But he started making little hisses. This was weird! He's never hissed or growled, not even when KK was doing it to him. Then he started making low growls. Huh.
      There was a delay getting him in. The receptionist/tech was on the phone about her cat (was the cat pregnant?). And then there was a problem with Byron's appointment. It really WAS next week! I asked, "This isn't the 23rd?" despite having mailed out a bunch of checks YESTERDAY with "8/15" on them. A giant hand came from the sky and pointed at me with "LOSER!" written on it in 35 languages, some of them translated into Poodle. Dogs that speak Sanskrit laughed at me!
      But they had an opening. Just then, right now. So we filled out some paperwork, and in we went.
      Byron kept hissing and growling. The Happiest Cat in the World, angry! I opened the carrier. He sat there, cranky. Then the tech and the vet came in. And he began SCA-REAMING. Swiping his paws, hissing. I was shocked. I held my hand up in front of him, slowly so he could sniff me and realize things were fine. He leapt viciously, fangs biting and claws flying! He cut me and I bled! What the hell?!
      He was a MONSTER. He bit and clawed and growled and shrieked. The tech went to get the elbow-length welding gloves and a blanket to hold him while the vet held the carrier vertically. Gravity's always enough to get Kill Kill out. But it wasn't as effective with a cat who has thumbs. He grabbed the corners of the carrier with his kung-fu grip and stayed inside.
      We took apart the carrier. He wasn't going out the front, so the only way was to disassemble the damn thing. He was so horribly biting and clawing that they had to put this awful mask on his face--It covered his eyes and mouth and had a little hole at the end so that he could breathe. When the needles went in, he didn't react. Every other thing, he howled as only a deaf cat can howl (I called him "Byron the Siren"). Clip his nails or put a stethoscope on his chest, SCREAM FIGHT BITE HOWL!! I just stood there in a mix of shock and horror. THIS is BYRON?!
      When he went back into the carrier (after I reassembled it), he was...better. You know, "Hannibal Lecter with a muzzle" better. Once we got out into reception area, he improved a thousand per cent. The vet carried on what would've been a "normal" visit, "What food do you give him, etc," what would've been a normal visit if my CAT was normal. The receptionist asked how much he weighed--Somehow, in the exploding cataclysm, we never quite got a chance to figure that out. If we had, prly his weight and THREE OF MY FINGERS.
      And when we got home? Utterly normal. Nice little boy. Until Killsy gave him the once over: Since he was in that towel and had a mask over his face, a mask that had prly been over the scent-glands in the cheeks of who-knows-how-many cats, he smelled like NOT BYRON. So she welcomed the exhausted boy home with hisses and repeated swats to the head. CHRIST! He's been through enough today! If you want to sniff something, here's some bananas! I gave him some vigorous cheek-rubs to bring out his normal scent. And she calmed down.
      What an awful day. On the plus side: Cat vaccines these days only need to be updated every 3 years. Maybe things will calm down by 2007.

      When will you read this? I dunno. Hopefully, when you do, these links won't be past the expiration date, even if they're from a pair of well-known bloggy bloggers.

      I'd be happy to stop mentioning Annie Jerkyhead's non-experience with non-hijackers if she'd only SHUT UP ABOUT IT. But she won't, and this Pandagon post is funny (even most of the comments, although the trolls are beginning to crawl in)
      If Annie had heard one of the band members whistling "Over the Rainbow," she would've expected them to take over the plane and use the contrails to spell out "SURRENDER DOROTHY."

      Yglesias looks at The Brains Thing.



      What, that's it? Ferd'nand turns off the light, smokes his bong, falls down and breaks it? Tsk tsk, Mik. What happened to the classic days of Ferd'nian inexplicable japery?


      The site came back up at noon. Why noon, I don't know. I paid with my Visa, and when I buy groceries with the card it's not like they make me wait 24 hours to give me my food.
      How long do they wait though? I bought this yesterday at Stop & Shop:

      Mmm, YUMMY! And on sale! I'll bet yer all with the salivating now, just like Byron was when I took the picture!
      Then I took a closer look:


      You still want it? You can have it. A few days in the mail won't make much of a difference at this point.
      Now I know why it was on sale. Maybe they mean not 10/2003, but 10/03/2004? I suppose I could eat it to find out, then sue them. But it's not like I need to go looking for stomach problems these days.

      Conceptual Artist to Genetically Engineer God in Laboratory.

      Athens, Shmathens! The Ferret Olympics! And kick-fighting robots! (That last with a slow-loading but amusing video--Overconfidence is never a virtue)

      For those who don't follow the Comments...
      Marc points out the latest Cat Town story. It has SMELLY DOGS!
      As If! Goes to Wizard World! There's lots of As If!eriffic art!

      Byron is currently dragging the first banana peel of the season across the floor...


      I had a thought yesterday about Byron's odd behaviour at the vet.
      I might've been wrong in comparing his behaviour at his last set of shots with this one. Then, he explored the office like any 3-month-old kitten might. When the vet came in, he shrieked when the needle bit, but was otherwise well-behaved. Maybe I should'nt have thought about that, but his last actual visit to the vet. He went in to get neutered, but there was a complication and he had to stay overnight. When I came to retrieve him the next day, I could hear him HOWLING as they brought the carrier to me. He stopped the second he saw me and ran to the edge of it, pawing "Hello" at me. One of the people who brought him said that "He's been yelling like that." without elaboration. Since when? Since he went in the carrier, or since he woke up? It didn't occur to me then to wonder why it took 2 people to get him in the carrier.
      Monday, after all his screaming and fisticuffs ended and he was back in the carrier, now calmed down and ready to go home, the vet said, "It looks like you got your cat back!" Meaning Byron the Normal, not Siren the Tasmanian Devil. But why was he back to normal?
      Cats remember their kittenhoods for a long time. When he got fixed, he went to sleep and woke up at Bolton Vet, alone with his family gone. Just like when he was 2 weeks old. Maybe he was afraid that he was lost and alone again. Maybe that's what his fear at the vet's was--Not that he was getting some shots, but that I was going to abandon him there, never to see his Mommy and Sister again; left cold hungry alone scared a second time. I don't know if cats have the same primal fears as humans do, but what child could imagine a worse nightmare?
      3 years until his next set of shots. And they can't come late enough.

      Seen on the drive home: An ice cream truck with the name of "Melly's." Except that there was a penguin directly in front of the name, a copyright-infringing replica of the old cartoon character "Chilly Willy." He was standing in the shape of an "S" like a forgotten member of the Village People doing "YMCA." This made the name look like "SMELLY'S."
      The word "CAUTION" was in big letters on the truck. Usually, this means "Look out for children." But since it was half an hour after sunset and SMELLY didn't have any of his lights on, maybe it meant "Look Out, Children!" Death Ice Cream Truck for Cuties!
      As I pulling into my complex, our usual ice cream man was there. His lights were on. But I'm not sure if I'd want my kids paying to put things in their mouths handed from the man in the "Ding Dong Car." "CAUTION: Licking my Ding Dongs Encouraged."

      The Top Ten Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pictures of All Time. KISS was designed to look cool to 10 year olds 30 years ago. It couldn't possibly be possible to look even more retarded today, now could it?!32
      "32" added by Byron stomping the keyboard. Byron, safely at home with his family, and full of his usual mischief. Huzzah!


      Thunderstorms roared through our little state yesterday, almost knocking the power out at the Liquor Store. One did rip down some power lines not far up the road from us, leaving our biggest competitor blacked out. We found this out from the customers who had left them. Boo hoo, sorry you lost power, thanks for the free money!
      I got off the highway a mile and a half from the condo and the power was out. Oh Please No. Then, a half a mile away, I saw light! Hooray for Me! I turned onto my street and AW HELL. Power gone.
      Taking care not to trod upon the felines (I have a miniflashlight on my keychain, and fortunately, I always keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency < /foghorn leghorn >), I found the candles and the hurricane lamp and lit it UP! 19th century style. The power never goes off for long here. I'm on the same part of grid that the police and fire stations and the old folk's home are. And the storms went through 4 hours ago. I checked an analog clock and--7:30?! An HOUR ago?! Some rogue cell must've crashed through only Vernon then.
      A blackout is a nice change of pace for about 90 minutes. Then--well, Abe Lincoln notwithstanding, but a candle designed for Halloween pumpkins isn't enough light to read by. And believe me, I tried. And what to eat? I couldn't cook anything. I had a meal of strawberries and bananas and beer. The cats, of course, loved the low light. But even Byron needed 5 minutes of rest after every 10 of play--no power, no AC, plenty of humidity. It was like living in Iraq, but without the car bombs or M1 tanks.
      I went for a walk in the woods in the blackness. It's a graded path, so it's easy. Damn old folk's home has a generator now! That just adds to the time it takes the power to come back on! I thought of sabotaging it so that they'd need power before all the Jell-O with grapes in it went bad, and almost did it, because even if I was caught, hey, the jail prly had power! But would I have net access? A thorny question, so I passed. And I'm pretty unsure if I even have bolt cutters and a ski mask.
      So no update yesterday. I finally seem to have got my groove back as far as updating and writing/not just typing, and either I've no power with which to use the Pookie, or I don't have a page actually there that I can post to. Rotten luck.

      SHAWT: "You don't sell t-shirts, do you?"
      This is a liquor store--Of course we do! They're right between the steel-belted radials and the blasting caps!

      "Umm, about this prescription you just filled?"
      "It says 'May cause drowsiness. ONLY use while driving at high speeds, using heavy machinery for fun, and while lying on top of table saws.'"
      "Yes, that's right."
      "The side effects include 'vomiting the liver, headaches with lots of blood from the nose, possible sexual dysfunction, here defined as dick falling off or pussy sealing shut.'"
      "Oh, yeah. You need to be careful about that. If that's for your wife, you know, no Kotex."
      "Umm...This was supposed to be Zyrtec for my allergies."
      "Yes, right, it is."
      "These aren't Zyrtec! They're thumbtacks coated with wasabi, fire ants and Drano!"
       "You did ask for the generic."
      "And the label says 'Take 50 an hour with a glass of boiling battery acid! Until DEAD!'"
      "Are you sure that you've come to the right store? That's the standard here at the--"


      Like most Photoshop contests (and the picture above isn't one; that's a real photo), this is hit or miss. But there are some gems in the World O' Cats.

      Speaking of cats, the Cat Cafe. Christ, what a nightmare that must be! And note to Eartha Kitt: DON'T EAT THAT PUSSY!

      Would you, could you, eat it in a box? Ultra-Weird Seussian extortion case.

      Believe it or not, there is a way to make the Bible seem even more retarded.

      For those of you who still read not the Comments--What's wrong with you? Splinters in the brain? And here's Mimi's MySTing of that rather disturbing Daveykins thing. Okay, latest disturbing thing.


      The lovely Mrs Jessica and I went antiquing in Putnam today. The second time in 2 weeks for me, but only the second time in--what, four months?--for us together as friends.
      A beautiful day and a great time, of course. We talk every coupla weeks on the phone, but see each other so rarely since she moved. One of our regrets is that an exterminator went out of business, and took with it its mascot, the Giant Ant:

      On the way, we spotted Willington Pest Control, and--

      --the Giant Ant had babies!

      Here's that Big Boy statue I mentioned last time.

      And a close-up of his leprosy.

      Lookin' good, Hamburger Leper! Hey, how come the bacon on my cheeseburger is fleshy pink? Wait--THAT'S NOT BACON!!!!!

      I bought a "Pet Screw," a rip-off of the late 70s "Pet Rock" fad. It was a SCREW! Oh ho ho! The real comedy came about an hour after I got home, when I realized that my pet Screw was sitting in a locked cabinet at the last store we visited, and the key to that cabinet was in my pocket. It's a 90 minute round trip to pick up something that only paid $3 for (and it's a screw in a cage), so I guess I'll email them about what happens next.

      Jessica bought a purse, because she always finds some crazy bargain on one 30 to 40 years old. And, yes, she actually does have a closet that's just purses. What a girly girl. I had to pass on something that fulfilled several collecting obsessions, a white cat ash tray that was a little house with an operable chimney that said "Do Not Smoke Here!" despite its overall ashtrayness. Awesome, but not at $12.50, and not when it'd just get packed away until Byron stops smashing things. (Note: I collect odd ashtrays because smoking seems so odd. Disgusting habit; I've never done it myself. Well...not cigarettes, I mean. I did go to high school in the late 70s).

      I ended with a couple of old kids' ragazines, a 1978 "New Krofft Supershow" and another from 1984. At $3, it was pretty much a done deal with the cover.

      HOT DOG! Oh, yes! Bubbles says you should nibble my cocktail weenie!
      But who's that guy? It says "Michael Jackson," but there's a picture of a black man! Who still has a nose!

      The article likes to use exclamation points! A whole lot of them! Last paragraph, in its entirety:

      Hey guess what Mikey, we figured that out a long time ago.

      If you could possibly want even more 1984ness, the next article is about break dancing. "Rosey Rose is a dancer whose real name is Roseanne Hoare." Wow, I have no clue as to why she'd change her name from THAT. Did her parents think that Harlotte O'Cumdumpster was too ethnic-sounding?
      She's making a how-to video on breakdancing, and yes, HOT DOG is just a big ad. Here's Rosie:

      Hey, the Queen from Alien wants her teeth back! And, in shot 2, more proof that the Cooler your clothes are Now, the more retarded they'll look in 20 years.      

      ...And then work the following ten at McDonalds.
      There actually were professional break dancers? I'm sure there were in 1984. And that the market for that particular skill-set dried up in 1984 and-a-half.
      There are instructions for Moonwalking, which I will gladly scan for anybody who cares.

      Next segment: "When Animals Play." The kids today, they only get the "When Pets Attack!" The world, it's gone all nuts!!

      Next page: Fill out "The Answer Box Contest" questionnaire and you could win "great lunchboxes from the nice people at the Thermos Company. The lunchboxes have pictures of Rainbow Brite, the Chipmunks, the A-Team, Cabbage Patch Kids, or Fraggle Rock on them."

      "The Punchline." The awful old jokes that typically turn up in kids rags. Well, why not? Maybe they haven't heard them yet. Only 1984 one: "What's the best kind of water to use in a water bed?" "SPRING water!" Of course, they also would've accepted "BONG water!"
      One joke was submitted by "Rebecca Giles, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan." Seriously, Canada--"Moose Jaw," WTF? Good thing you didn't first come up on that town from the other end!

      Next, SATURDAY SUPERCADE! Yes, an attempt to turn arcade games into SatAM cartoons. By Ruby Spears, the animators who were so pathetic that their career goal was to try to be Hanna-Barbera. That's like a sewer wanting to be a toilet. While one certainly could've made a cartoon based on Pitfall...c'mon, Frogger?! Q*bert? Whose friends "Q*tee and Q*ball and other nosers keep things cool at Q*berg High School!" Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Space Ace, and even Kangaroo. "HOT DOG thinks: 'Kangaroo' will be a real knockout!" BILL THE SPLUT thinks: HOT DOG will believe anything! Oh look, HOT DOG! The Wing'ed Victory of Samothrace is flying off with your leg warmers and Olivia Newton-John LPs! Hey--MADE YA LOOK!

      "The Great Lunchbag Mystery," a story I have not read except for the ending. "I'm not saying robbing lunchboxes is right. I'm saying that I'm glad I don't know who the thief was, because I still have to go to school with him." Niiice moral. Maybe the bullies that the teachers ignore will eventually stop beating the shit out of you! It could happen! In your later life, replace "robbing lunchboxes" with "raping a neighbor" and it's just as morally just! Keep your head down! If it's not happening to YOU, then it's not your problem!

      In an UNBELIEVABLE! COINCIDENCE!! the next 2 pages are about LUNCHBOXES! From the good folks at Thermos! The A-Team, Knight Rider, the Care Bears and Smurf. Just "Smurf." Resistance is Futile! You Will All Become One With Smurf! It will be sooo Smurfy!


      Wow, Cory Doctorow looks nothing like I pictured him!


      Why's he keep calling Ann Droid (HO HO! I just got that!) "Tick"? She's not blue and yelling "SPOON!"
      According to the connect-the-dots that made up the scene previous to this, the "Giant Martian Monster" was a raccoon eating a can of beans. Martian beans, I assume. The "Earth kids" were never shown. Although we do get a pair of robotic Peeping Turings snuggling in the foreground. "Oh, Calculon!"

      And finally--as if any more 1984ocity was needed--the lead stories for the next issue are the Cabbage Patch Kids, He-Man ("Toys to TV!"), and "Meet the kids from Charles in Charge!" Oh, must I? I have to go clean my parachute pants!

      Obligatory Photoshop Contest Warning considered given. Godzilla in classic movies.

      When John Scalzi said he accidentally deleted all his bookmarks, I thought, how do you even do that? Well, I guess that there's a BUTTON THAT DOES IT FUCKIN FOR YA WHEN YOU AIN'T AWARE YER EVEN DOIN' IT, cuz GUESS WHAT! Crimeny! Does anyone know a faster way of replacing them besides finding the old floppy with a decade's worth of links, cherry-picking through History, or just remembering them?
      Crimeny. I swear, the older I get, the stupider I get.


      I remembered that I have a old floppy that had my bookmarks on it. I rummaged through about 20 discs, all of which were carefully labeled. Labeled "Try AOL Free!" or "Computer Bits & Bytes Software Catalog on Disc." I found repeated copies of my bookmarks! My 1997 bookmarks. A funfest of 404s! I guess the disc with my newer ones wasn't in the upper strata of my junk heap. So I fired up EMERGACOMP! and imported them from there, added the ones missing, and made a new copy.
      I wonder how long it'll take me to lose that.

      I usually keep the Gontermania on the Comments, but I just found out about a site that shows some of his older stuff that even he's since figured out should never see the light of day and deleted from the web. With MyStie-type comments, and it also has other bad net-art besides DVK.
      After not seeing it for 2 years, I was...well, I guess "pleased" isn't the word, but I see that my original assessment of FoxFire still is true:


      I came home to Byon limping badly. It was like one leg had a roller skate attatched. Now he's better. Please disregard this paragraph. Or any panic on my end.
      (I figured he wasn't that hurt when he kept insisting on playing. Ah-ha, little boy, I know what to do! Aim the laser pointer at the ceiling, and you'll just sit there and stare until your leg gets better!)

      Hey, my store was on the local news! Three stations, in fact. There was a press conference involving the town's mayor and police chief (the former a woman whose last name is, and this is no joke, "Hard"). It was about the real source of underage drinking, and, no, not fake IDs. Kids getting their legal-age friends to buy or simply doing what I did: Sneaking it from their parent's liquor cabinets. (The secret was to take a little from a lot of bottles--The 'rents wouldn't notice, it would taste awful, but it'd get you drunk! Like pukey drunk. This led to my first hangover at 15, and didn't touch alkyhol again until it was legal. Then I got more hangovers, until I REALLY learned my lesson: Buzz is good, tonight's drunk is tomorrow's misery)
      By AMAZING COINCIDENCE, this study is funded by the liquor industry! I guess the official slogan is "It ain't our fault your kids are drunks!" So far, I've only seen the report from FOX "News," who would be expected to report whatever businessmen would say without question. FOX also didn't make the actual scheduled press conference. Instead, they found out the CBS and NBC channels had already been there, and wanted us to pretend that it was happening again. FAIR and BALANCED!
      At store level, our big fear was that they'd interview our drunken boss Bob on camera. Fortunately, he skipped the morning shoot, and waited until they'd left before he'd chugged his first Heineken of the day. But he was rarin' to go when FOX showed up. Off camera, thank Gourd. But he still turned up in their report: "Customers at [Place Name] Liquors will be getting these cards [about the program] in all their purchases," said the reporter. Well, that's [FOX] news to us that work there! It was just something he blurted drunkingly out. Be lookin' for them cards in allll your bags, kids.
      It's not like the liquor industry's assertion doesn't make sense from my own experience. At my old job, we had a mother who bought booze for her kids. She let them drink as soon as they were in high school. Meaning, age 14. And she let them get every piercing and tattoo that they (thought that) they wanted (this week). Her girls under the age of 14--like in the 9-13 range--were allowed to dye their hair any color and dress like sluts.
      Maybe she was letting the younger group express themselves. But the drinking till drunking? Sorry, your brain ain't gonna develop the right way if it's boozed up in 9th grade. Her oldest was the oldest in her class: an 18-year-old 9th grader. She was held back for 4 years, then thrown out of high school when she flunked again. She was last seen riddled with metal studs, working fast food, and, as she undoubtedly would be for a very long time, living with mom. Her mom, the enabler.

      Probably only of interest to those who find language itself interesting, "During the late 1930s, amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf posed the theory that language can determine the nature and content of thought. But are there concepts in one culture that people of another culture simply cannot understand because their language has no words for it?" This is something I've wondered about ever since reading 1984. Big Brother's NewSpeak was a deliberate attempt to denude language to the point where words had no real meaning. If "freedom" was no longer a word, how could people understand the concept?
      Of course, they couldn't just ban the word "freedom" flat out. First, they subverted its meaning. "Freedom is Slavery!" It isn't. But attach "Freedom" to enough things that do not, never have, and never will mean "freedom," then you can destroy its base meaning, and eventually the concept itself.
      Freedom means renaming fries. Freedom means the PATRIOT Act. Freedom means that no one should use their Constitutional Rights. Freedom means calling anyone who does a Traitor. Now THEM, it's THEM that hate our freedom! They want to kill us and establish their theocracy! But OUR Theocracy is Freedom! Not that hard to make that link after all, is it?
      Err--None of that was in the actual link. Just went off for a bit. Sorry!

      "The easy way out": Josh Marshall on the politics of physical bravery and moral cowardice.


      Sorry. Nothing going here. I think Byron's sick. Something minor; his nose is warm and dry, and he doesn't want to play. Just sleep'n'eat. That he's eating is good, and also that there's nothing in the litterbox that might warn of something more important. But we're keeping an eye on him. I need him.

      I made a brief comment on Big Picnic about a topic involving beer. And they think that it's kewl that I work in a likker store. heartfelt siiiiigh One bets that they've never heard the word "Bukoff" before.


      "Here come some Normals. They look like Normal...Hawaiians."
      Sorry. Listening to my Bonzo Dog Band CDs. "We are Normal and we want our Freedom!"

      I went antiquing again this weekend, to a place I've visited for a decade without buying anything. One of those overpriced shops. A customer walked by with a pair of old books clutched close. That made me think of something I hadn't thought of in years: Freddy the Pig!
      Freddy had a series of books that I read as a kid. I never owned any, I just kept taking them out of the library. Repeatedly. (Except for "Freddy Goes to the North Pole"--I could buy a talking pig, but a talking pig and Santa Claus?! That's just nuts!)
      A few years ago, I remembered Freddy. At least some of his books must be online, I thought. And they were, briefly, before somebody sued them back down. And I say "someone" because the books were in Copyright Hell. No one had been really sure who owned them for about 20 years. So not only were they not online, they hadn't been in print for 20 years. Well, okay--there's always eBay! And there were books available, if you were willing to spend $25-50 each for them. Freddy the Pig moved onto the lower reaches of my wish list.
      And not 5 minutes later, I came across a booth filled with books, and--well, what else! A FREDDY book! "Freddy and the Ignormus"! For $8!!
      How weird that it was so cheap in a place that was so overpriced! Of course I bought it. As soon as I got home, I checked online to see if I got a bargain, on the same site I'd checked years ago. In the years since I last looked, the dispute had been settled and ALL the Freddy books have been reprinted! My hardcover was about twice the price of a used paperback, but less than half that of a reprinted hardcover. So I found a good deal.
      I decided to read a chapter to see if it was a good read, or a good read to an 8-year-old. And I read 75 pages. Now I remember why I loved these: They're children's books that don't talk down to the audience. The language isn't overly complicated, but it's not retarded, either. And while the characters are anthropomorphic animals, they're characters, written with depth, humor and motivations. They're better written than the characters in any hundred movies at the Macroplex.
      I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but I want to go back and keep reading it. It's a page turner! I haven't been this interested in a book since Kavilier & Klay and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. And that's praise, and I'm not kidding.

      For $6, I bought "MAD About the Sixties." This is a thick, lush, trade paperback compilation of old MAD magazine articles from 1960-69. Freddy and MAD overlapped in my life, and MAD won out, before it lost to the National Lampoon, when MAD stopped being funny and NatLamp was, before it stopped and it lost out to sci-fi and Tolkien. It's weird how I can never remember the name of somebody I've met repeatedly, but can still remember exact panels from '68 MADs.

      "I mention Jesus Christ only because John Ashcroft frequently likens himself to the simple carpenter from Nazareth who died for our sins. In his autobiography, Ashcroft reveals a messianic complex seldom found outside a locked ward, characterizing each of his career disappointments as 'crucifixions.' On rare occasions when things go well, his father, an Assembly of God cultist, or someone equally demented is always on hand to smear a little Crisco on his forehead, as was done for the prophets in biblical times."

      That is all. Back to Freddy and his struggle with the Ignormus. It might be a struggle with the Ignoramus, if Ashcroft was a character.

      KitSplut sent me one of them email fwds. It's funny, thus I print it here:

      Freddy update: "'You needn't look at me,' said the rooster truculently."
      TRUCULENTLY! In a kid's book! Holy poop, I just discovered why I loved this series as a child. Because I've always loved language. And good writing!


      I saw a good movie today: Hero. It's a wire-fu martial arts extravaganza that's deliberately trying to best Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I think it succeeded in that. It's the most expensive movie ever made in China. That's a plus in most ways, and a minus in another (I'll just say that I figured out the ending as soon as I figured out the plot. When you make a movie with the cooperation of a monolithic dictatorship, there are things you can't let happen).
      This is not a "I'll wait for the DVD" type of movie. If you're cheap like me, just go to a matinee. This really needs to be seen on the big screen. Every scene, in fact, nearly every shot, is astonishing. Brutally beautiful landscapes. Brilliant use of color and dust. Massive armies that in a Western film would be CGI, but here they're alarmingly vast numbers of people. And lots of arrows! Crimeny, are there arrows.
      Of course, there are the crazy fight scenes. My brain is used to "They did that with computers!" so it's amazing to see actual human beings twirl and spin with a precision beyond ballet. The fights are gorgeous, not just from the amazing choreography, but for the sets on which they're fought. Raindrops glitter like jewels and break like glass. Satin tapestries whirl and fall. Dead leaves spin in vortexes. Warriors dance across the surface of a lake. Tens of thousands of arrows bite down.
      Yes, the moral of the movie's pretty wrong. And it's a feel-good funfest in the same way that Tiger/Dragon was, if you get my drift. But you'll have a great time getting there.

      Atlas Shrugged. Well, Brainless did, anyway.

      Byron went into a frenzy last night, pounding on the window with his monstrous paws. Was he defending his turf from a beetle? A random raccoon? A saucerful of Grey Aliens? It's kinda hard to tell from the picture, but he fought the good fight against the home invader:

      Thank you for saving us from that bird poop on the window! Byron, Hero!


      John Scalzi's writing a new book about sci-fi films. He asked for comments on what were the most important films in the genre--they didn't have to be good, but very influential. At the time I found the thread, it already had 180 comments. He has a popular page, but that's huge. As I read through them, I noticed a trend--they were giving him what he didn't ask for. My own comments:

      As I went through my daily links, I found what I think was the problem: bOING bOING linking to him with a title that said he wanted the greatest sci-fi movies. Although the link description explained that he wanted "the most significant," as always, the Web is full of people who comment before they read what they're commenting on. Dumbasses.
      Holy shit, I checked just now and some retard suggested HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN!! What the fuck is WRONG with these people?!

      Sodomy the Lawn Gnome, the presidential candidate of the Inexplicable Party in 2000, has been yearnin' for a new butt-buddy. And he's found his new Bambi! Yeah, Soddy! Do to HIM what we correctly predicted back then that he'd do to US!

      A big-nosed red furry shark surfaces. No, really. And it's not a new Muppet character.

      Dumb Canadians hijack a truck with 50,000 cans of beer. Dumb because the second language on the can is Spanish, not French. So they can't bootleg them in Canada or cross the border with them without getting caught. What are they gonna do, drink them all themselves?
      Well, maybe that was their PLAN! Does anyone know the exact whereabouts of Bob & Doug MacKenzie these days?

      Awesome comic with a long name: A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage is Irreversible. One of the very few webtoons that you need to look at more than you read. Seriously gorgeous!


      Yes, I'm too lazy right now to start a new month's new New.

      Today's Freudian Slip I Really Don't Want Explained: When "Tiny Dancer" stopped playing on the radio, the DJ referred to it as "Elton John, 'Tiny Penis.'"

      "Dave [the owner] wants to talk to you!" barked Bob.
      "What'd I do?" I asked. (Why do I have that immediate guilty conscience when I've done nothing wrong? Oh, right, I was raised Catholic!)
      "Nah, nah, nothing you did. He wants to talk to you about hiring that guy you worked with."
      "JASON?!?!" I screamed. That'd be "MISTER POOPIE PANTS?!?!?" to you L-TRotD (and you're very L-T if you can decode that).
      "Wait--yeah, yeah that was his name, Jason."
      "His name should be POISON!" I said. "You do NOT want to hire him!" And I started into my reasons why, when Dave walked in. And the conversation continued.
      Dave really grilled me. No, I said, I never had PROOF that he was boosting bottles out the back of the store to sell to the sleazy bar he worked at in order to support his cocaine habit. But I did see many, many obvious drug deals go down. On store property. And he had vicious mood swings, high to low, laughing to violently abusive. "But the salesmen all tell me he's a hard worker!" Yes, when he's in the MAIN store, where he's under constant scrutiny (videocams cover ever square inch of the store; the owners have no problem with getting on the PA and yelling "GET BACK TO WORK!") Oh, and his "work ethic" when not being watched--If any of us were in the back of the store doing actual work while he leaned on the register counter doing nothing and a customer came up, he'd scream "YOU'VE GOT A CUSTOMER!" and refuse to ring them up. He was on a power trip--He didn't delegate, he'd make co-workers do what he knew they didn't want to do. Just to piss us off. He really got off on that, n some perverse fashion. I finally and accurately summed him with "If it's more of an effort to be an asshole than it is to be a nice, normal person, he'd always make that extra effort."
      I found myself flabbergasted at one point--"I'm not a negative person, but this is really the only co-worker I've ever had that I can't think of anything positive to say about!" Afterwards, I did think of "Works well under constant video surveillance."
      I ran down all the reasons why we never caught him stealing. The owners were the only ones who could do a physical inventory of the store, or check the alarm logs. I did everything short of saying "You're being robbed by a cokehead!" but they never followed through. Poopie was their blind spot.
      I don't think that I made the truly effective case that I could've, if I'd been given any warning that this discussion was going to take place. But guess who is NOT my co-worker again! I LOVE MY JOB!
      How close was that bullet dodged? Bob said, "Yeah, I talked to him for 4 minutes--I didn't like the guy. Dave liked him, but when he asked what I thought, I said he was a bullshitter."
      "WHAT?! You MET him?!"
      "Yeah, he was here for an interview yesterday."
      My old bosses were selling "The New Store." I guess that Poopie was working both there and in the main store. I don't get why that meant that they had to get rid of him--Last I heard, he was working the cooler in the Main Store. There's usually both a full-timer and a part-timer or 2 covering that position. It's brutal, nonstop work. Besides me and 1 other person, in my 6 years there I'd never known anyone to last more than 2 months in that job. You don't even want to take a lunch; 30 minutes off, and you've got 2 hours worth of work waiting for you. No matter how slow the rest of the store is, no one ever gives you a hand. So why were they eliminating his position? Or, more accurately, just him? I guess that "nonstop work" and "lazy asshole" don't combine well.
      At the end of my interrogation, Dave said something that I didn't know. Poopie had left the new owners of the DumpStore because "he didn't like them," according to my in-store source. He was traded for her (more-motivated) brother, but it was strange--nobody in retail does trades like that a few days before Thanksgiving! We wait until after New Years. Turns out that it wasn't as voluntary as Poopie made it seem. The new owners, who HAD done that physical inventory, found that they were missing product! As if someome was boosting it out the back door and selling it to a sleazy bar! They, like me, were sure who had done it, but couldn't prove it.
      "What?! You MET him?!"
      "Yeah, he was here yesterday for an interview. I said that I remembered you saying something about him stealing for a bar to support his coke habit last year when he last tried to get a job here."
      Shit! If Bob hadn't said that, Dave never would've talked to me! Poopie was that close to working with me! AGAIN. It was only Bob remembering an old conversation that stopped it.
      Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer, but stay FAR, FAR AWAY, big dickhead!

      Short and amusing article on visitors to the Retardlican Convention.


      "He gave me the finger! He flipped me off!" shrieked a customer in the parking lot. "You can do that to my GRANDMA, but not me! To my GRANDMA, you can give the finger! BUT NOT ME!!!"
      "I guess she doesn't like her grandma very much," I said.

      Tomorrow I go to a family reunion! I wasn't expecting to actually get the Saturday before Labor Day off from work (it's the last boozey holiday before Thanksgiving), but I managed to split the difference. I'll work half a day, then leave for Stratford. I could make it there in an hour.
      Now I need to leave 10 minutes earlier than that. My mother wants to drive us down. Bill! you say, You're making your 71-year-old mother drive YOU? Fuck yeah! Me driving her means that she'll be making melodramatic GASPS! while histrionically waving her hands in fear. "That car could've HIT us!" Yeah, if I slammed the brakes to a dead stop while splaying it across both lanes, sure he could've, that car a half-mile away doing 45. If he kept doing 45 and didn't stop.
      The last time I drove Mom anywhere, she said "Slow down! You're going too fast!" I said, "Mom, I'm doing 35. That's not fast. And I'm doing exactly the same speed as the car in front of me. Which is a hearse."
      We were in a funeral procession.


      ME GONNA BE RICH! Who knew that Nigeria was a part of China?!
      And I sent a response:      I was in along line at the bank with the store's deposit. The guy in front of me had a spider on his shirt. Not a big one, but a muscular one. I'm a spider-plus guy. Spiders eat the other bugs! So maybe this one was keeping flies off of his neck. And what was I to do? It's not like he sneezed and I could say "Gesundheit!" I'd have to scream "SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER!" and start slapping him about the head and shoulders. Prly wouldn't go over all that well, what with being in a bank and all.
      It crawled up his shoulders and onto his shirt collar. It paused. Then it made a cat-like jump onto his curly hair. And just crawled right in and disappeared.
      I don't know. It would've seemed odd to tap a total stranger on the shoulder and say, "You gots spider hair!" So I did nothing. But what the hell--maybe it was radioactive, and right now, he has the powers of a radioactive spider! Y'know, vomiting, hair loss, dying, those powers.
      Weird Al could've used that spider.


General Comments for 8/04: