Life in the Breakdown Lane

NEW 75

"Since we can't by definition understand life and the world, we might as well choose a useful way of pretending to."
--Roger Ebert


      I went to my aunt & uncle's 25th anniversary/uncle's 75th birthday/our family reunion dinner yesterday. I had a great time. It's funny how you can not see family for 10 to 20 years and then pick up right where you left off, as if no time had passed. Our side of the family and my uncle's never met until one summer on Cape Cod. We all immediately hit it off, and we kids were particularly sad when those 2 weeks ended. Later, they would move from Michigan to the far side of Connecticut, so we began to see them more often. Then their kids went into a diaspora, splitting up all over the country. (As for the Young kids--my mom and 3 sisters all live in the town we grew up in, while I'm in the next town, only 2 miles from the border) It was interesting to see our Cape Cod meeting revisited in the next generation--all the little kids immediately became friends. Excluding, of course, the 2 high schoolers, who were too cool for the room and decided to not enjoy themselves. Their loss.
      There was assigned seating, but half of us didn't know. So I got to sit with my favorite neice and nephew, my favorite sister, and my favorite cousin. Liz is now a big attorney, and no longer looks like Jody Foster. More of a blonde Jamie Lee Curtis. Since there are people who assume hot chick=stupid bimbo, and she works defending people from sexual harassment suits, maybe the look change was deliberate.
      She has a gorgeous and sweet 4-year-old who looks like a mini-me of her. Thanks to her, I'm now the only adult in both families with no offspring. On the other hand, I'm also the only adult male with long hair, and from the way things look, soon to be the only one WITH hair.
      It was a very nice catered affair, poolside at the Ramada. Maybe the pool had something to do with the water that kept appearing under our table. Maybe we just got a defective table--I had a chipped cup, Liz's daughter didn't get her meal until after she complained, the decorative centerpiece's candle flopped onto one side and stayed there, despite a waitress sticking her hand in and trying to right it and getting hot wax all over herself for her trouble. I suppose that if she'd caught fire, she could've jumped in the pool.
      The DJ didn't suck, but I'm not much interested in dancing (though my Pips moves turned out to be intact). Someone requested for my aunt & uncle that Kenny Rogers' song, "Through the Years." "That was mom and dad's song!" said my sister Pat, so I got up to ask mom to dance. Good thing, as she had a "No, not that song look" on her face. I understand that she was crying. Hopefully not because I'm such a bad slow dancer.
      Everyone who wanted a doggie bag had to sign a "food waiver," saying that they couldn't sue Ramada after they ate food that had gone bad in their car. I'm sure there's a story behind that. "Oh, I'm sure this shrimp is fine! We only left it in the car for 8 hours! C'mon kids, dig in!"

      Someone just hit this page by Googling the nonword "Thoughtviper." Meaning that they already knew of the site.
      Googled from Baghdad.
      Interesting. I wonder why.


      This is really funny: Rebranding Dick Cheney.

      That was funny because it was good. This is funny because it isn't: MP3s from the 60s LP My Father the Pop Singer. I listened to all of them, but most people won't have the stomach. In fact, all the tracks fade out after about 90 seconds, indicating that the recording studio didn't, either. My fave is the utterly melody-free version of Dominique. If you don't recognize that song from the SInging Nun, try to listen to I Want To Hold Your Hand or a song I wouldn't think it was possible to screw up, as it only has one lyric.


       I used up almost the last of my 2004 vacation time with a day off. I planned on doing something I'd been looking forward to, and something I'd been dreading.
      I got up at 730AM, aka the crack of dawn, something I never do voluntarily. If you're scoffing at the idea of 730 being early, I work second shift and usually get up at 11. Think of your daily alarm setting, subtract 2 and a half hours, then try and get me to believe that you wouldn't want to get up at that time.
      I wasn't doing it because I wanted to; this was the thing I'd been dreading. It was Kill Kill's vet visit to get her teeth cleaned. She needed to be there early so that that could knock her out with drugs. (Hey, would you want to stick your fingers into an awake cat's jaws to scrub her fangs?) The vet expected no problems, but said that she had gingivitis. "But that can be taken care of. What do you feed her?
      "Oh...umm, well, that's as good a food as you can get for tooth care. We'll give you this special toothpaste that you'll have to rub in her mouth twice a week..."
      Oh, YES! What a slice of heaven THAT'S gonna be! More likely ending in several slices of ME on the floor!
      But it's that, or someday she starts getting her teeth pulled. I'll try. It won't work, but I'll try.

      Since I was up early anyway, I chose today as my chance to check out a state park I'd never been to, Dunham Pond. It had been written up in the local paper months back. It had woods and hills, a scenic overlook, a cemetary with unmarked graves with an obelisk. I made it there without much trouble, just overshooting the entrance. Odd. State parks always have signs telling you that they're there. I drove down the road, which was residential. The only signs I saw said "PRIVATE PROPERTY" and "NO TRESPASSING." Was I at the right place?
      Eventually, I saw a sign that said "TRAIL PARKING 200 FEET," and 50 feet later a pair of signs:
      TRAIL PARKING -->                        <--TRAIL PARKING
      with enough parking space between them for two cars. I started down what seemed to be the trail, but the first 50 feet turned out to be shared with someone's driveway.
      The trail led through the backyards of (at least) million-dollar homes. There was an abandoned tennis court in the middle of a clearing. Eventually, the houses were replaced with that friendly and welcoming sight, an inches-apart pair of barbed-wire fences. Umm, okay.
      It ran parallel to the path, then veered to the right in a meadow. A meadow without a path. Well, there was grass that was a bit trampled, but deer could've done that. Lacking a Yellow Brick Road, I decided to "Follow the Rusty Barb Wire!" That eventually connected with the trail. Or a trail, given that it ended up in someone's backyard.
      I didn't come here for backyards, like any normal person, I wanted unmarked graves! (Wait, that came out wrong)
      So I followed it back, and found another semi-trail of trampled meadow weeds. I followed that until it did become the real trail. I knew it was because there were broken beer bottles. I followed that for quite a while. I saw a sign ahead, and I thought that it might say "Scenic Overlook." No, it said "To White Oak Road" and ran down a steep hill. That could only lead to an unscenic underlook, so I kept on following the main trail. That led to...somebody's backyard! The backyard of what looked to be a two million dollar home (this is Connecticut; we got 'em). So I backtracked again, and decided to follow the White Oak trail. It wasn't as steep as it initially looked. It zig-zagged down the hillside. It led to...Take a GUESS! Although this merely looked like a half-million dollar house. Oh no, I'm in the ghetto! Better run before a cracker in a Hummer does a drive-by on a Viagra dealer!
      I followed a different trail back, at this point pretty positve that there weren't no scenic overlook and that the only way I'd find an unmarked grave was if I kept walking until I starved to death and it was mine. Eventually, i came upon a sigh that said "TO D'TOWN" or "DiTOWN" or something. I didn't know what it meant and I never found out. It just looped back the original trail. But this meant I was leaving this crappy park, and that was all I wanted now.
      I saw some more litter on the way back. A Pepsi can. A pull-tab Pepsi can. When did they stop making those, 25 years ago? I took a closer look at the beer bottles I'd seen earlier. The labels were completely gone, and they were next to a completely rusted pull-tab can and a crushed Cumberland Farms plastic cup. I tried to see if there was a copyright date on the cup, but it was now part of the ground. There hasn't been a Cumberland Farms in CT for 15 years, and their heyday was the 70s. I don't think that this park gets a lot of traffic. Maybe millionaires toodle through on their solid gold Segways, but that's about it.

      I got home in time to listen to my favorite radio DJ, the guy I used to listen to twice a week, but now get to hear 3 or 4 times a year. Then I just killed time until it was Kill Kill time, and I went to pick her up.
      She was not happy. I paid my bill (if you're wondering what it costs to get a cat's teeth cleaned: $260.18. I wonder if I wandered into the backyard of my vet earlier).
      And it wasn't over yet. She hissed at me (for the first time in her life), hissed and growled and Byron, and he hissed back (for the first time in his life). And, let's see--it's been going on for 4 hours. She was still all drugged up, as was obvious from her stumbling walk with her body about 3 inches from the floor. She's a mean drunk. The hissing won't stop, and it's not like me and Byron are doing anything to her. He gave up and just laid down submissively, but she kept coming at him. It got so damn bad that I finally shooed her into the bedroom and shut the door. If she'll just SLEEP this bender off she'll be better.
      Well, she's been quiet for half an hour, and now she's clawing at the bedroom door. Let's test our theory.
      Maybe she didn't sleep. Gourd,it's looking to be a long night.
      I can't wait till it's time for her toothpaste!

      The Ten Most Hated Men in Rock

      Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher. I'd totally buy this if it wasn't $15--for 10 minutes of movie. (Flash trailer my dumb computer won't let me watch here)


      After Killsy's last bit of...temperment, I gave up. "I've been up a long time," I thought. "Maybe if I took a nap, she'd take one, too. Yeah! I'll lead by example!" So I laid down in bed, and she immediately jumped onto her corner of it and went sleeps.
      I woke up 45 minutes later, and so did she. She was a mite groggy, but otherwise her usual pleasant self. I was right! All she needed was a nap! Unfortunately, I now was groggier than her, and went back to bed. And slept for 14 hours with a pair of happy cats-- finally! happy cats--beside me.

      Would you change your name if it was "Morron"? BEFORE you had kids?

      Someone left their keys at the Lotto machine. Craig asked the people in line, "Are these yours?"
      Countdown to inevitable joke begins!
      Little old lady: "Oh no, those aren't mine!"
      Old man behind her:
      Old man: "Well, HE WON'T GET FAR WITHOUT THEM!"
      Ah. Ha. Ha. Ha. After all my years of retail, I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a "joke" that EVERY person says EVERY time some keys get left on the counter, even when it's their own keys. Maybe it's some prayer to Yale, the Key God. But whenever keys are left, it's always said. And always with a big, Dubya smirk that says "I am SO witty!"
      Guess what. Ya tain't.
      Back to the subject: Once The Witty Old Man dispensed with Mandatory Comic Jape 4,129, he looked at the keys and said, "That's happened to me many times! Sometimes you just forget! Well, I hope you find the guy who lost them!" And he left.
      And 3 minutes later came back. These were his keys. Which he was asked were his, which he had directly looked at. And HE DIDN'T GO FAR WITHOUT THEM!
      I can see how this has happened to him "many times."

      I'm the top Google hit for "in the film gattaca how ids triumph and human spirit shown"! I guess that film classes are already looking for term papers!


      In Japan, they're making beer from peas!
      That's funny. I always thought that it was the other way around, and beer made pees.

      The article's a bit sparse on details, but a Superman comic is going to be written by John Cleese. "YES, Lois, I'm saving the world! I'm saving it NOW! How can I keep saving it if you keep YELLING at me?!" Haha! I watched Fawlty Towers once!


      She's Lost Control Again, a really awful music video for a UK sex shop. It's funny for one reason.


      September, the Last Good Month of the Year, taunted me with a beautiful day. "Not too many more of these coming!" it smugged. But I hate going hiking on Sundays. There's always all these people there. I wanted to do something, but I always do the same somethings. Then I had a thought: The Air Museum!
      No, it does not have giant jars of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. There's an airplane museum half an hour from here. That's been there for 35 years. Why I've never been, I don't know. I did miss its former heyday, before 1978 when a rare Connecticut tornado turned 26 of 30 vintage planes into the Air Crash Museum. But I like planes. Land vehicles, ehh, who cares. They had all sorts of "first one ever made" planes, and lots of "only surviving models," like the ones pictured here. And what did I take a picture of?


      The Zero-Gravity Toilet!


      You can't make instructions any clearer than that.
      They had lotsa cool stuff, if you're into hardware. I came to the conclusion: Planes are big. One room was just a B-29 bomber. It was large. Civilian airliners are big, but you just walk on from the concourse, you rarely stand next to one and understand how enormous they are. I went into the civilian wing first, where the planes can be big (Hey, a DC-3!), but they're nothing compared to the military ones. There was a WWII Corsair fighter next to a B-25 bomber. I expect a bomber to be big, but the single-engine fighter next to it wasn't even half its size. The engine alone was the size of my car.
      I like blimps, biplanes and autogyros. I like biplanes from reading Peanuts in the 60s, when Snoopy fought the Red Baron. I like autogyros because of the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, where 007 flies one with so much weaponry that in reality, it never would've left the ground. That love was reinforced when my favorite action movie, The Road Warrior, came out. I'm not really sure why I like blimps and zeppelins, except that they seem like something make-believe. Know what I want? A blimp that I can fly my autogyro off of!
      Other interests: An Apollo space suit and a rocket engine, as I still have my 60s-kid fascination with Space Exploration. A missile that was launched from B-52s with an H-bomb warhead...One mistaken launch 40 years ago, and the cockroaches would be ruling the Earth today. Melted bits of the Hindenburg, and an account of "The Millionaire's Cruise," when the cream of America's industrial elite were taken on a zeppelin cruise over Connecticut to inspire investment in a big gas-bag with swastikas on it. Was Halliburton there? An A-10 Warthog, which really is the fucking ugliest plane you ever saw. On display with it was its 30MM depleted-uranium cannon. These things creep me out; there's an ANG detatchment outfitted with A-10s based at the airport next door, and they practice by making fake strafing runs on civilian cars. I've been "targeted" half a dozen times over the years by them. And a plane built in 1912 by a teenager in a barn. It could hop more than fly, but, jeez, when did you or I last build an airplane? There was a whole room dedicated to the most ballsy fliers of WWII, the Flying Tigers, who went to China to defend them from Imperial Japan's better-equipped air force. Before America was even in the war! They were volunteers, but they left the Army and Air Corps with the promise that when they left China, they'd immediately rejoin their units with the same rank and pay. That's a "pre-emptive war" I can support, since the damn war had already started, and it was against the REAL Axis of Evil. I suspect that as the election nears and his poll numbers continue to dwindle, Bush will claim that Saddam not only had links with al Qaeda, but the Nazis. He didn't have WMD, but he had a Wayback Machine! That exhibit had a list of rules from a Chinese hotel, which included "No gambling, whorses [sic] or opium smoking."
      Here's an insignia from a WWII Civilian Air Patrol plane:


      A Nazi U-boat hurries away from a big chicken that's excreting bombs onto them. No wonder the chicken's saying "OUCH!"
      If you're wondering how intimidating the actual aircraft looked...


      ...not very! It's like someone connected a boat to a plane and forgot the part that went in the middle.
      At the gift shop, I bought a fridge magnet. I doubt you're surprised.

      Obesity ranked by State. The scary thing is, you'd expect at least one state's number to go down. Instead, in 10 years every state has almost doubled.


      I went to Valley Falls park again. Usually in the warmer months, that's a given. But I was BUSTED! the last two times I went. I'd tried sneaking past a group of contractors, but did it too brazenly and they told me to leave. I then found a different way into the park that would've snuck me in, if I hadn't already blown my cover. But it was unpleasantly humid from whatever hurricane hit Florida then, so it was just as well.
      I tried using that alternate path on Labor Day, but because it was Labor Day, John Law was patrolling the park. A forest ranger, who was pretty laid back about finding me trespassing. I'm guessing that "Forest Ranger for Vernon" would rank low on the Stressful Jobs list. Damn, why didn't I ever think of that career path? I'm sure it pays shit, but you're in the woods alone. Damn!
      I heard noises from the park as I approached. Mister Ranger had said that they were going to start the real work on the park this week, so this was it. According to the sign, they were pacing the work around "the life-cycle of the brook trout." I snuck up the sneaky path, and looked over scenically from the Scenic Overlook. I hope that the trout are now all in the brook, as a solitary and painfully noisy pump was draining the pond.
      I made it through the park, always wary of Ranger Smith jumping out again and accusing me of stealing pic-a-nic baskets.

      Then--in the usual roller coaster excitement that is my near-life, I went to the new dollar store. I made the mistake of going on Labor Day last week, unaware that it had just opened. Sorry, I ain't standing in that line to buy 2 $1 CDs. Of course, those CDs were gone this week, despite their pretty niche-level of appeal (Bill Laswell, and Lounge). I bought an "electro-trance communique" mixed by dj subliminal. It was not worth it.
      In the toy dept., there was a Ninja sword, carefully labeled with a black-clad Ninja and the one word "SWORD." Probably in the zero-tolerance world of modern America, there was a fear that this 6 inches of wobbly plastic could possibly construed as a weapon. So it was colored shocking pink. And looked like it was from that new show on NBC (Ninja Bushido Company), "Queer Eye for the Samurai!" But doesn't bright pink clash with basic black?
      Then--WHOA! hold on to your seats, I bought GROCERIES! Those Perdue Chicken Ready-Mades or whatever that I made fun of last month had their prices jacked up again. They're easy to use, given the "no cooking" thing, and the cats love it when they get bits of them, but at $5 for 10 oz they're just not worth it anymore. The self-serv registers told me that my two packs rang up as $5.49 each. Dammit, I don't want to go to customer service for a dollar! I thought as I lugged the groceries to the car. WAIT! If groceries ring up wrong in this state, you get them FREE! So I went back, and they were actually quite affordable at Zero Dollars and No Cents. Not that I'll ever buy them again.


      Note to those hoping to get a glamorous job in the Booze Biz:
      If we tell you 3 times in a week that "We'll get back to you," and we don't--take the hint!
      If every time you come in to our liquor store you are stumbly drunk, including the times you want a job interview--take the hint!
      It will not erase your cumulative hint-untaking if, at the end of each of these failed job searches, you leave with a pint of Bukoff.
      Topic for the Comments: Everyone knows what I do for a living. What do you do?

      Freaks of Nurture

      What If We Hadn't Invaded Iraq?

      al-Qaeda: The Brand Name

      If you were thinking of buying the Reefer Madness DVD because of the Mike Nelson commentary, save your $9. Or just rent it, and be less disappointed.

      Here's something I'll bet you didn't know: Today is International Kinky Boots Day! It's on the calendar, right here...Whoops. Seems I've lost that calendar. I'll surely find it in the time it takes you to listen to Kinky Boots again! Sexy Little School Girls!! DOOT DOOT!


      Chris points out an invention that might alleviate some of the pain of my vet visits:

      "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment."

      Chilling in its calm detatchment, the opening paragraph of HG Wells' War of the Worlds.

      I was a big fan of the book, and also a fan (in a lesser way) of the 1953 movie. It had the greatest special effects of any movie until 2001. It was also kind of wacky, with George Pal's fundie Catholic ideas suffusing it. Apparently, the Martians were killed by GOD, but not because billions of humans had died. He only got off his Lay-Z-Deity lounge chair to do anything when the Martians blew out a church window.
      The movie was never remade because everyone knew the ending: The Martians get colds and die. But I read the book. The ending's nearly an ironic footnote--all that horrific bloodshed, and they just died of the flu. The real story isn't how the bad guys die, but how the main character simply survives. And he doesn't do it by being a hero. The key passage is when he's trying to hide from the Martians, with a preacher who's been driven insane by the carnage of the invasion. It comes to a choice of letting the preacher shriek about God, or bashing his head in with a rock. "Our Hero" doesn't take the choice you'd think that he would in 1898, or in modern fiction. He bashes the holy guy's skull in. And it established what Wells meant: We're no better than the "beasts that perish" or the "inferior humans" when it comes to personal survival.
      Or are we worse? The novel was inspired by what England was doing in Tasmania: Deliberately exterminating the "inferior humans." (The last Tasmanian they killed was actually stuffed and put on display in a museum) Wells was disgusted by this, and thought: And what if someone did that to England?
      I've always wanted to see a movie made that was faithful to the book. Oh, hooray! There's going to be a new version made! Except that it's by Speilberg. And set in the modern day. And starring Tom Hanks.
      I have nothing against Tom Hanks, or even Speilberg. But do you think any preachers will get their heads smashed in in this version? Do you think that it'll just be another FX-filled, empty calories Hollywood Blockbuster?
      Too late, Stevie! There's a Brit movie coming out that's as loyal to the novel as Jackson's Lord of the Rings was to its source material. And damned if I'm not excited about it!


      There's a college up the road from us, so that usually means tons of funs dealing with fake IDs and the underaged. And selling shitloads of Keystone Light 30 packs. Today, I overheard a pair of college-aged buyers. They were deciding whether to get Guinness in 6-pack bottles, or in the 8-pack can. Laboring to figure out how much they needed to buy, she said, "4 times 8 is 24!"
      Man, I hope that she's not going to the college! 4 times 8 is her IQ.

      Repetitive Stress Syndrome: Load of Shit?
      Not saying that I agree. But our government recognizes RSS, yet still refuses to admit that there's Gulf War Syndrome, despite the symptoms being identical to exposure to depleted uranium ammunition. Interestingly different standards of proof.

      I've seen the light! Starboard View ("We're Right Because We're Correct") has convinced me to go Conservative!
      (The comments seem to show that some people don't get it)


      I'm looking forward very much thank you to the Monday matinee of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Not least of all because Roger Ebert thinks so highly of it. His full review is on his new webpage, which is much niftier looking than his Chicago Sun-Times one, although it does have the same material. And a LOT more--It seems to have everything he's written for them since they started his site. Including (as far as I can tell) even the stuff he makes you PAY for, the stuff he's made books from, such as The Great Films and the always funny Little Movie Glossary! And every CS-T review he's done since 1967! I randomly searched one of my fave movies, 1968's The President's Analyst, and damned if the review wasn't there. With 4 stars.
      What an awesome movie resource!

      "What have Bush and his neoconservative team really accomplished? They toppled Saddam Hussein, America now militarily threatens both the Shia government in Iran and the secular one in Syria, the House of Saud is crumbling and we have removed American troops from Saudi Arabian territory.
      "These achievements match word for word the oft-stated goals of the Wahhabist Sunni radical Osama bin Ladin."

      As the (kitten) twig is bent, the (cat) tree will lean. Hey, where my damn Converses go?!

      I hate rude customers too, but I wouldn't actually have them killed!

      Mah na mah na. Fuck you, MAH NA MAH NA!!


      The Rumsfeld Samurai Marionette: "The Neo-Samurai tradition is based on the Bulshito code, wherein the Neo-Samurai will have other people fight to the death to preserve his honor."


      I saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow at a matinee today. Ebert enthused over it, giving it 4 stars; his counterpart Roeper said it needed a rewrite.
      Wow...I agree with Roeper! As Kevin once said, "I feel guilty when Roeper's opinion is the same as mine!" But he got it right. The visuals are jaw-dropping, and the story weak. It was trying to recreate the serials of the 30s, but it didn't need to get THAT part right. Law and Paltrow are just...bad. The script has them creating "chemistry" by fighting all the time. ALL the time, throughout the entire movie. It's like a pair of prepubescents working out this "attraction to the opposite sex" thing by razzing and punching each other. I really got the feeling that the actors didn't like each other by the movie's end, and I'm sure that that wasn't the plan.
      But this is a positive review. It looked GREAT. The set-pieces were astonishing--Giant robots stomping through New York City, an aerial race between the skyscapers of Manhattan, the Amphibious Squadron, the Island of Dr Moreau Totenkopf. It went over the top, and just kept going over that top. I think that they went a wee bit too far in that regard. It was like they were trying to jam in every 1930's pulp sci-fi idea that they could. I wished that had kept to the retro-future look more. Hey, Totenkopf has apparently done what every physicist since Einstein couldn't, and discovered antigravity! Couldn't they have stuck with the "lots of propellers" view from those days? The robots at the end looked suspiciously like Maximillian from Disney's aptly-named stinkeroo The Black Hole. I would've prefered that they looked more like authentic 30s views of the World of Tomorrow like this, and had more ships that looked like that.
      But I quibble. This is one of the few movies that you wouldn't want to see on video, as it would probably bring out the flaws more than the strengths. It's no Raiders of the Lost Ark, but what is? It's good brainless fun with some incredible visuals.
      I lucked out and got to see the trailer for the next movie I'll probably see, Pixar's The Incredibles (although not that trailer; a better one).

      Those 2 illustrations linked to earlier came from a site that had a 1939 interview with the artist, Frank Paul. SCat WoT was based as much on the old sci-fi pulps of the Gernsback era as it was the movie serials. Paul (about half-way down, titled "Bogeyman") gives his view:

      I recommend that interview, as it's all in that vein.

      Remember "Baghdad Bob," aka "Comical Ali"? The Iraqi (dis)Information Minister who, during the Invasion, kept pretending that everything was okaley-doakaley?
      Baghdad Bush. The highlights are the quotes from Bob that sound like everything Dumbya's said recently.

      Kitten rescue! Happy ending and cute pic!


      "Can I see your ID?"
      "I didn't bring it. You guys sold to me last time, so I didn't think I'd need it."
      Yes, we wait on 300 people a day, of course we remember after seeing you ONCE. Say, isn't there a college up the road? That's full of underage drinkers?
      Other Guy: "I've got my state ID!"
      Second. Worst. ID. EVER. Well, yes, state IDs in CT are blue. You sure nailed that down! Do they have no info on the back, no holograms, and look like...what the hell does this thing look like? Yes, there's a picture, a birth date, an expiration date--But why is yours the only one where they seem to have been plotzed on the card randomly by a blind dyslexic chimp, nowhere near where they're supposed to be? And why is the signature
      (Sorry, laughing here)
      --is the signature done in MAGIC MARKER?! OOH, did you leave your Cwayola 64 at daycare?
      (Worst ID EVER was the one with the high school yearbook minipic laminated onto cardboard and written with a typewriter, in case you forgot)

      This is everywhere, but in case this is the only page you read I pity you!!! Um, I mean, here's Naked Wookiees and broken R2-D2s.

      Who would win in a fair fight: Bear or Pekinese?

      I'm a fan of real-life historical mysteries. Sorry about what you saw at the movies, but they know who Beethoven's Immortal Beloved was, and who killed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and they weren't who the movies said.
      They found a lock of Beethoven's hair and ran it through forensics. His suffering began with mood swings, followed by deafness, insanity, death. His hair had a massive amount of an element in it, one which his doctor had recommended him taking in a powdered form--lead. Back in those days they still tried to save your life by having leeches suck you dry, or by placing dead pigeons by your feet to "draw the bad humours out." Beethoven's doctor prescribed lead poisoning.
      Mozart's demise is less clear. He didn't die because Salieri put on a mask, pretended to be Poppa Mozart and went "BOO!" His symptoms indicated that he either died because of an epidemic sweeping Vienna at the time, or because of a letter he wrote to his wife, dated 6 weeks before his death: "What do I smell? ... pork cutlets! Che Gusto (What a delicious taste). I eat to your health!" Well, to hers, but maybe not his. It takes 50 days for trichinosis to kill you with the same symptoms...
      So how did the greatest ace of WWI get downed by Snoopy some Canuck? Maybe the Red Baron's earlier head trauma did him in.

Autumn. Stupid Dumb Autumn.

      Her: "I want the small bottle of Smirnoff vodka."
      I reach for the quarter-pint.
      "No, not that one!"
      So I reach for the half-pint.
      "No, not THAT one! The BIG one!"
      My mistake. The big smallest one.

      Russ Meyers has died. He wrote/directed/produced a film called Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! However, he did not make one called Beyond the Valley of the UltraByrons.
      A very entertaining tribute from a co-conspirator, Roger Ebert.

      Every so often, I Google "Super Green Beret" to see what comes up. I found an article that doesn't refer to the InExOb at all, looking at the Five Worst Comics Ever. How bad are they? Tod Holton comes in at five!
      It starts off comic-geekily, then gets into some truly obscure and downright evil comics (like a WWII pro-Nazi one done in Occupied France).

      "Sin Berlin's creator, Michael Kuehn, told 90 designers to 'think of things the world has never seen.' Chanel hand grenades anyone?"

      Sitting around bored with a friend or two? Create your own amputee's "phantom limb"! Without, you know, actually sawing any limbs off or going to Iraq.


      I hope my Sunday visit to Block Island goes okay. First it was a Monday visit, but the ferry I'm taking stopped making nonweekend runs, right after I reserved a rental car for Monday. I called them after work to change the reservation, leaving a message on their machine and asking them to call back with a confirmation. Which they didn't.
      And I have 2 contradictory sets of directions to the ferry: The one the ferry gives, and the one MapQuest gives. Although MapQuest seems to have eliminated the "turn onto Unknown Street" feature, they apparently give directions based on the shortest distance, rather than the shortest time. When I thought that I'd be driving to my family reunion on my own, it told me to ignore I-291, a road I can do 75MPH on, and instead recommended that I drive the stop sign speckled backroads through 4 towns parallel to 291. I think I'll start a site called "BlimpQuest," which gives you driving instructions for your car, while assuming you're in a dirigible. Oh, the inanity!

      Why does GoogleNews give so many links to right wing fringe sites? SOULLESS ROBOTS! No, not Bill O'Reilly personally.

      Don't leave a fan on in a room with closed windows! Your body temperature will drop 2 degrees, and you'll die of hypothermia! Or, umm, the oxygen will get sucked to the ceiling. Something like that. Don't worry about it if you don't live in Korea, though.

      The Finnish Army was onto something: There really is Internet Withdrawal. Hell, I coulda told them that.


      For those who don't peruse the Comments or visit the links therein, I highly recommend Bitterman Goes to Korea.


      Although there seemed to be plenty of open seats, I decided to reserve a space online on the ferry to Block Island for my trip tomorrow. I very carefully read the "No Refunds" page, looking for the words "You must print out a copy of your receipt." I have a printer, but not an ink cartridge for it. They don't make them anymore, and I really don't care--if I printed stuff out frequently, or ever, I'd get a working one. With that warning absent from the page, I clicked through.
      And let's all guess what it said in the confirmation email! ARRRGGHH!
      I have my ID, the reservation number, the credit card I paid for it with. The email said "IMPORTANT" and not "MANDATORY," so hopefully I'm not dicked. If they actually give me shit about it, I'll buy a ticket. And immediately dispute the charge on my credit card. Hopefully, they'll be forgiving, because otherwise, they'll lose anyway.

      3 Saturdays ago, co-worker Craig came to work very upset. His brother had been clubbing in Hartford the night before, and as he was getting in his truck to drive home, Pow Pow Pow! Somebody opened fire on him! He took 2 bullets and was rushed to the hospital. It didn't look like he was going to make it, and Craig asked to leave work. No problem. Good luck to your brother.
      That Monday, he said that his brother's condition had stabilized. They had got one of the bullets out. But the other was still lodged in his spine, and he had no feeling below his neck. Life in a wheelchair has always been a potential reality for me, as I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age 2. I went into the hospital for 6 weeks, a huge percentage of my lifetime to that point. They slit my knees open and stuck tubes in to draw out the fluids building up inside. While I'm mildly squeamish about shots, I get really freaked over the opposite. I should give blood, as I have the second rarest type, B negative. But still I really have a problem about fluids being sucked OUT of me.
      I was the first major case for my pediatrician, Dr Breer. He threw himself into my case, and I left the hospital with only giant scars on my knees. Another kid, the same age with same problem but with a different doctor, entered the hospital right after me. He left, 2 years old, in a chair.
      I'll probably end my life in one. Both grandmothers had arthritis, one quite severe. I've spent a lifetime thinking about that concept, and I can deal with being paralysed below the waist. Above? Thanks, but KILL ME if that happens. Because I'll have no use of my hands, and I won't be able to do it myself.
      They took Craig's brother to a hospital in Boston. They were able to get the other bullet out. He was able to feel below his legs! He was going to be okay.
      Yesterday, Craig got a phone call. His mother was with his brother in the hospital. He was now able to sit up and talk and laugh. She went to get some breakfast, and when she came back, he was unconscious. With blood in his IV and drooling from his mouth. His recent movements had opened his stitches, and he was bleeding internally. They rushed him into surgery. They seemed to patch him up, but he lapsed into a coma.
      Craig asked to leave early to visit him, and got the approval. I assured him that his brother was probably okay--he'd lost a lot of blood and it was just the anaesthia that knocked him out. I got knocked out from what they gave me from my endoscopy, and that's a nothing procedure. But I also kept my mouth shut. When my father dying from cancer, we all rushed to his side. When he was sick with cancer, we didn't. What could we do? What could Craig do, besides stand by his bed, being frustrated?
      Gina had her Saturday schedule changed to come in 2 hours early, so she hoped to leave 2 hours early. If Craig called out because of her brother, she couldn't. She didn't have a problem with that, given the emergency nature of Craig's nonattendance. She wondered aloud whether or not he'd show up Saturday. "Of course he won't," I said. "He hasn't worked his scheduled hours for months." Last Saturday, I fully expected him to be fired for what he did. He'd said he'd be "late," then never showed. But they kept him on, as they had no replacement for him (if you're wondering who his replacement was supposed to be--it was POOPIE PANTS! Lesser of two evils, thanks to me!).
      He called out today. Later on, a store employee for 8 years who's now a regular customer came in, and took Gina aside. He and Craig had become friends, and he told her of a visit to Craig's house he'd had last week.
      Craig was inside; the ex-employee was talking to another of Craig's brothers. They were fixing a scooter the brother had recently bought. "So," he asked, "how's your brother?"
      Pause. "What do you mean?"
      "Your brother, the one who was shot. How is he?"
      "He's dead."
      "What?! He died?! When did this happen?!"
      "Several years ago."
      "What?! No, no, your brother who was just shot! The one in the hospital, the one who's a truck driver!"
      "I'M the truck driver! HE died 10 years ago!"

      It's all a lie.

      Why? As I said, Craig's not a big fan of working his hours. For the last 2 & 1/2 months, he either hasn't worked his hours, or tried to get out of them. The first time he called out sick, he called out Saturday and Monday. His days off are--Sunday and Tuesday! He came in that Tuesday to buy booze. For someone who'd been sick for 3 entire days from a bad case of "I don't know what it was," he sure seemed to be in perfect health. Not run down from half a week of the flu.
      He tried to call out the next 3 Mondays. He had a "bad back" (Bob, the manager, tore a disc and gets cortizone shots directly into his spinal column from a 3-foot needle, so that met on deaf ears). He "broke his glasses," but he broke them on Saturday. Why didn't he fix them on Sunday? Why did he claim to me that he didn't have spare glasses, then let slip a few hours later that he did?
      2 Wednesdays ago, he called 5 minutes before work to say "I'm in traffic court; I'll be late." Wow--surprise traffic court party! Bob growled, "Traffic court's out after 3PM, so at least he won't be that late." When we called him at 430, he was at home, and had decided that it was up us to tell him that he was still needed at work, and not for him to tell us that he was blowing work off for the rest of the day. Bob went to pick him up, and told him to never do it again.
      Possibly Craig took that as "Never again this week." Last Saturday he called, again just before he was to be at work, and said he'd be late: "My basement is flooded." Well, yes, Hurricane Ivan is overhead; everyone's basement is flooded. "I'll be in by 4, guaranteed!" At 530 we called him, and were told by a family member that "He'd left for work a while ago." He never showed. He later claimed that "They turned the water off, so I had to evacuate [!] my family to my cousin's house." Wow--Your family must take a lot of showers, as they couldn't wait TWO HOURS for their "evacuation." But if they were being evacuated...How were they home to tell us you were on your way to work? When you weren't? Somebody's lying here. Repeatedly.
      Both incidents are "job abandonment." It doesn't matter if you've worked for a company all your life with spotless attendance, that one day that you decide to not go to work without telling your employers is your last. The Labor Board won't try to get you your job back, and if you get unemployment, when your employer contests it, you'll get worse than the measly crumbs unemployment benefits pay: You'll have to pay them all back.
      Hmmm...And wasn't it odd that no one saw a report on the shooting on the news or in the paper? Hartford's the capital, but there are probably city blocks in NYC with larger populations. Voilence isn't that common, so how did a shooting not get reported by the news or the papers?
      Guess who walked through the door 5 minutes before closing? Craig, telling us how his brother's still dead for years in a coma, how his family's all in Boston, his mother's so distraught, how bad his brother looks. After he left, Gina shook her head and said, "It's so hard to believe he's just making it up!"
      But he's not making it up, I said. The only lie is the changing of the date. He's telling us what happened to the brother that died a decade ago. That's why the story is so convincing and coherent. And he's using that tragedy to give himself...long weekends.
      That's the part I don't understand. I wouldn't want to relive my father's death from cancer just to get time off of work. I wouldn't want to relive it if it meant winning Powerball.

      I don't know if I'll update tomorrow, given the Block Island trip. I may not want to, if there is no trip. Oh, also, I may not as my entire family is the hospital in a freak flying saucer crash. And both the cats slipped on Gummi Bears, and so they're in traction. In Spain! Need a month off of work to go to Spain with the cats. Yes. Yes indeedy. The hospital's near the beach. Sun's good for the cats.


      It could've been worse. A seagull could've pecked my eyes out.
      Block Island was no disaster, but it was a disappointment. My Cunning Plan was to rent a car at Aldo's (chosen because the only other car rental place on the island didn't answer their phone), and drive all over the island to the nature trails and other scenery. Then, I'd ditch the car and hang around downtown, where all the shops and restaurants are, then leave on the 7PM high-speed ferry. In fact, that plan's not cunning, it's gourddamn brilliant!
      After I'd reserved my car (my choices? A Mustang convertible or a Prowler. Me, I wanted a Civic. I settled with the Prowler), I hung up the phone and realized "Shit! I forgot to ask them where they are!" But I had their address, so I went to Mapquest. Huh! It's like a mile from the harbor. How odd. So I zoomed in and out to make sure it was where it was, and there it was, right there on the screen.
      I got up with a half hour extra allotted for when I hit New London. That would give me plenty of leeway, in case I got lost or had a huge argument at the ticket counter because I hadn't printed out the receipt. And I somehow left the house 10 minutes late.
      I have no idea where that missing time went. Possibly aliens abducted me, said "What an inferior specimen! I ain't dirtying my anal probes on his skinny ass!" and sent me right back. Now I had 20 minutes leeway. But the website screamed that every passenger had to be on board with ticket in hand 10 minutes before departure, NO EXCEPTIONS!!
      Of course I got lost, thanks to New London's quaint seaside tradition of not putting up street signs. So, with 4 minutes before the deadline, I ran from the parking garage. "Go the other way, it's faster!" yelled a helpful stranger waiting for Amtrak. You know, for a guy who walks 10 miles a day at work, I can't run for shit. I stumbled up to the ticket window, right at the 10 minute cut-off and with the ferry already packed. I gave them my reservation number--and that was it. No argument. Then I turned and saw the line. The people on the ferry were arriving, not departing. When did they finally let people on, tickets in hand? 4 minutes before departure. No Exceptions!
      The catamaran was underattended. Nooo problem; solitude is my best friend. (After the cats) I got a window seat and watched the scenery. Lots of boats, as it was a gorgeous, gorgeous day. And a submarine. New London is home to America's largest nuclear sub base, but this was docked by an industrial site. Possibly that of a Bond villain.
      It was like riding a bus. A big, extremely noisy bus that hit a lot of speed bumps. One passenger spent the trip face down, but it didn't bother my delicate tummy. The wake flew high by the window, constantly turning into instantaneous rainbows.
      As soon as Rhode Island began to end, something on the opposite side appeared. Block Island? But we're supposed to spend a lot of the trip on the open sea!--oh, that's right. My family always used to leave from the Rhode Island port. It added 3 hours to the round trip, and it's the reason I haven't visited Block Island for so many decades. My sisters all got seasick, so we took the extra drive to cut down on the time on the waves. Of course, it was a wide, fat boat in the open ocean and not the calmer waters of Long Island Sound, so it probably just made my sisters all that more vomitous.
      I debarked with a huge smile: I'm on Block Island! I went through the busy harbor area to get my car at Aldo's. I had a free map, but it was understandably tourista, and didn't show the road Aldo's was on. I cut across Coast Guard Beach, the place my family always went to, passing a washed-up and rusty lobster trap. I picked up the road at the beach station, and walked to Aldo's.
      And walked.
      And walked.
      Fucking walked until I said, "Nobody's putting a CAR RENTAL place 2 MILES from the harbor!" Yes, kids--MAPQUEST SUCKS. It imagined a road where it wasn't. In hindsight, I should've turned around and walked back to the harbor and tried to find Aldo's. But I was already most of the way to the place I was planning on going to first, and I walk 10 miles a day at work, so let's save us $90 and go by shank's mare!
      Clay Head Trail, despite the name, is quite lovely and at no point was I attacked by a Golem. You know, A GOLEM! Oh, screw you and your normal sense of humor! It led to The Maze, a series of interlocking trails that runs high above the beach.


      Looking south. The blocky grey-shingled things in the distance on the far right horizon are homes, McMansions that are jammed together on tiny lots. Judging from the real estate listings in the local paper, these little boxes on cramped lots go for about $2 million each.


      Looking north. The blue line on the horizon is Rhode Island. I'm about 200 feet above the beach.


      There was a long stand of strange looking dead trees, arranged single file, many covered with equally dead vines.

      It was a geat hike, but I soon realized something: Yes, I walk 10 miles a day at work. But over the course of 8 hours, not 3, and not hiking up beach cliffs. And I walked back, my legs aching and my feet starting to hurt. I heard the roar of the sea beside me, the sigh of the seaborne wind in front of me, and the incessant whine of the mopeds everywhere. For once, I really regretted never having learned to ride a bike. At one point, a pair of mopedal half-wits stopped to take a picture of a cow. Because THEY'RE SO FUCKING RARE IN NEW ENGLAND! It's like taking a picture of a squirrel. She wanted the cow to look up, apparently not realizing that this exotic zoo animal is A COW, which are uninterested in much more than anything besides cud and farting. And this particular one has probably seen its share of suburbanites, and was ignoring them out of sheer spite. "HEY, MOO-COW!" yelled he. And yelled and yelled and yelled, and tooted his tiny moped horn toot toot! And it just went on. "HEY, MOO-COW!" toot toot!I walked past and said aloud, "Hey, retard!" but their helmeted heads heard me not. Later, there was a cacophony of tiny toots, as a motorcycle gang--sorry, moped gang went by. "You honked at THEM!" she yelled as they whirred behind me at 30MPH. "No, THEY honked ME first!" "NO, they DIDN'T!" and so on and so on. Hey! Have I ever mentioned before that I think that the average human is a moron?
      I got an interesting lesson in Block Island roadside litter. Bud cans, a pen, half of a Volkswagen car mat, a wire coathanger, and a set of pink plastic vampire teeth.
      I reached the beachhouse and bought a Gatorade for $2.50. It was the best buy, as the Poland Spring water pints that we sell at the likker store for 59c are also $2.50 here. Then I had to make a decision: I could shop and eat and wait for the 7PM ferry, or I could leave right now on the 4PM, having done nothing more than hike one trail. While I could easily waste 3 hours downtown (although it would've been easier if I'd grabbed the book of Lafferty short stories I had in the car, but didn't in my mad dash to the ferry). But the real question was...did I really want to spend 3 more hours walking?
      And so that ended my adventure, with the majority of the plans unaccomplished. The 4PM ferry must be the most popular one; it was packed with stupid humans, and I ended up between a group of snotty, loud, airheaded teens who said "DUDE!" and "NO WAY!" a lot (from Glastonbury, and, if all of you were from central CT, I wouldn't have needed to say anything but "Glastonbury teens" to characterize them), and a developmentally disabled boy who spent a lot of time moaning, screaming, and especially drooling, while his sisters ran amuck, yelling, hanging off ship fixtures and sticking their hands into the trash cans. It was a fun trip.
      On the ship, I thought that maybe I should've just stayed on the island and had dinner to rest my legs. Until I stood up. Ouch.
      On the way home, I got stuck in a Sunday traffic jam, apparently caused by the two Suns. The one in the sky, as we were facing due west and it was setting, making it impossible to see very far. I almost missed my exit because I couldn't read the damn signs until I was under them. The other Sun was Mohegan Sun, the giant casino that was supplying all the extra traffic. When I got out of my car over an hour later, I hurt even more than I did when I got off the boat.
      And today, I hurt even more than that! So what did I do? Went to the park and hiked the woods for a few miles. Yeah, by the time that was over, it felt like Fat Tony's paisanos had worked over my lower extremities with a lawn grader. But I'm a month from Too Cold to Do Anything Outside, so it was worth it.
      I posted some Phrack Whore news on the Comments, and the Google ads were all for Block Island. Including a place right off the harbor that rents economy cars. The place that DIDN'T ANSWER THEIR PHONE. Well, I know where to go next time. And there will be a next time.

      Ever wonder how Skippy brand peanut butter got its name? Via chunky-style unadulterated EVIL.

      Certain foods increase your psychic powers! It's ironically appropriate that the most powerful is cheese.


      When Craig came in last Saturday, he said that his brother would be in a coma "for a few days." I predicted that he only said it to build up an excuse for not coming in Monday. For indeed, is their any greater way to honor your dead brother's memory than by taking a 4-day weekend?
      I was wrong. He realized that "I need the day off because he's still in a coma" might not be effective enough. So he called out Monday by saying,
      "My brother has 24 hours to live!"
      Maybe his brother was going to stage another miraculous recovery before relapsing again, just in time for the weekend. Maybe Craig was going for the big prize--Brother sick Monday, dies Tuesday or Wednesday, state-mandated 3 paid days off for funeral and grieving. NINE day weekend! Brother could be resurrected as Zombie, to cause more long weekends, spent trying to break him of his brains-addiction.
      Bob knew that it was all a lie, but didn't say so. "No. You take time off every week. Either you come to work today, or you're fired."
      "I can't deal with this anymore! I got too much on my mind! I got too many problems to deal with! I QUIT!"
      Sure. I can't think of any problem that can't be instantly improved by simply HAVING NO INCOME.
      His wife is unemployed. He has kids by her, and child support by another woman. He just bought a house! He has a car he can't drive because he doesn't have the $500 that would get it insured and registered. I can see how less money would solve those problems! (Although he always budgeted $20 a day for his lottery numbers! Winning any one of those numbers would net him--$41.50. That's not "winning," that's "offsetting 2 days of flushing money away")
      I really don't get it. We all assume that he did it just because he's so lazy, he's expecting to collect unemployment. He'll lie, of course. Probably he'll say that he was fired because we wouldn't let him go to his brother's funeral. But the only thing worse than having to live off of only unemployment for a few months is having to pay every cent back when we dispute it. If he's going to use that excuse, all we have to do is ask for some, any, proof that his brother was actually in the hospital. Since he couldn't even tell us the hospital's name ("Bay...State? Bay...Side?" Maybe it's--Bay...Watch? Yeah, the hospital where the nurses wear bikinis! Paging Dr Hasselhoff!), he's going to have a hard time winning his case. Maybe he'll be smart and not file. But it's hard to imagine a 35-year-old, no matter how lazy, to bolt with no idea where the money's coming from with all those responsibilities.
      Although the first thing he wanted from us was a signed letter saying that he didn't work for us anymore, so he could get out of paying the child support.
      During the First Bush Recession, I was unemployed for 18 months. Nothin' eases the mind like not knowing if you can afford to eat next month! Or when it becomes a choice between homelessness and suicide! Why anyone would voluntarily enter that state is beyond me. Especially with multiple kids and a mortgage, and with that car you can't drive that has, as of today, a "For Sale" sign on it.

      Tony "Baldrick" Robinson takes on History's Worst Jobs. It includes my--ahh, "favorite," Henry the Eighth's asswiper. By which I mean "Ass. Wiper."

      FIERY LUST OF STINKY SEX SICKO! An article from the Wall Street Journal.


      It took a year and a half, but finally! Byron gave Kill Kill a lick on the head. Sibling love at last!
      And half a second later, he tried to eat her whiskers. And that went over well.

      I may be repeating myself, but Byron loves his laser pointer. He stands up on his hind legs, places his paw on my arm and asks, with enormous and pleading eyes, "Toy, please?" to start play. Then he races and chases, and jumps when it's flashed on the walls. He's reached about five-foot-five in his jumps. Very impressive for such a small cat! After many battles with the little red dot, he lies down to rest. And if I turn the pointer off, he raises his head instantly and wants to know where it's gone. He's like a toddler with a favorite teddy bear. Teddy must always be near.
      I wonder why. Is it because he became lost from his brothers and sisters at such an early age? Does it remind him of that 2 weeks in the litter, when there was always someone ready to play with him? And the weeks after, alone but for the ferrets, never playing with another cat before he met his new sister, Kill Kill?
      Cats. Every one comes with its own mysteries.

      I hate to be the one who breaks this news...but...
      Craig's brother has died.
      He came in today to tell us that. And to buy some lottery tickets. Even after Death, Life goes on! And so does Lotto!
      Since this brother is dead--very, very dead, for years--I assume that he's trying to build backstory for his claim to the Labor Board that he was fired because we wouldn't let him go to the funeral. He was asked where the funeral was, so that we could send a tribute--"Oh, he's being shipped to North Carolina for his funeral." Yes...his whole family is in CT, so why not? The lost city of Atlantis is surely too wet. This is more evidence for my theory that he was planning to take the whole week off because of this "tragedy."
      I'll eat my words if, by some freakish quirk, it turns out that this murder did happen. Oh, he also claimed that his brother's killer had been caught by the police--since the actual shooting never made the news or the papers, it'll be interesting to see if this does. Hartford may be the capitol of Connecticut, but there are city blocks in New York City with greater populations. Things like this make the front pages here.
      Please tune in tomorrow, for the next episode of our soap opera, The Craig and the Restless.


      Craig came in yesterday and asked for his job back. It just keeps getting weirder...
      He also claimed (to Bob), that only his mother was going to his brother's funeral in North Carolina, and that he died from a collapsed lung. 2 days earlier, he had had a lung removed "because of the bullet." Despite him saying that both bullets had been removed weeks ago.
      Literally minutes later, he told Gina that all of his family was going to NC for the funeral, and he died when his lungs collapsed and he was breathing from a machine, but his mother decided to pull the plug and let him die. After THREE DAYS? I'd have thought that that would be a decision that you'd agonize over for months or years. Not as if you'd decided that your McDonalds' fries were soggy, so you threw them out the car window.

      And I thought that I had crabby customers.

      Oooh, someone alert Alanis Morrisette! This is worse than rain on your wedding day!

      Clay rabbit figurine fails to fight with "Hooligan Rabbit" cartoon. Sure. Why would he?

       The 2004 Ignoble Awards.


      The best pic from an inconsistent Photoshop contest about chihuahuas recruiting an army of cats to battle rats.

      As I write this, Byron is learning the hard way that, no matter how much determination they have and how hard they try, cats can't catch houseflies. But he never wavers! He presses on! It's hard work! We can't change leadership during our winning campaign against pesky bugs, we must not flip-flop! We have to stay the course, and keep doing the exact same thing that never worked before!

      Fafnir's Driving with Donald.

      I didn't watch the debates (remembering the horror with which I heard Gore go **SIIIGH* every 30 seconds), but now I wish I had! Here's some funny bits for those of you who also didn't watch.

      The Debate in Pictures.

      World'O'Crap looks at the Republican Spin.

      Bush make funny face!

      From the Comments, what was Bush writing on his notepad?


      By far the most entertaining thing that I've read all day, Who would win in a fight? A wasp or a (Jet) Wolf?


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