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NEW 79


"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on
or by imbeciles who really mean it."
--Samuel Clemens


1/01/05

      In this household, the only thing quieter than New Year's Eve is New Year's Day.

      Mr Scalzi, in his AOL-only incarnation, offers a Weekend Assignment: Make a resolution for your pets, and a resolution from your pets for you. Interesting idea.
      Kill Kill: Resolutions? How inane! Mother tells me that his boss, Bob the Angry Drunk, has resolved to quit imbibing while at work, to the wobbly tune of 8 bottles of Heineken a day. Oh, the laughter! Surely, if you could quit just like that, you'd--quit just like that! You wouldn't set this magical date of January First, you'd just quit now. Humans. They are silly creatures.
      For Mater, I resolve that he pay more attention to me, and not that grandstanding grey ragamuffin. I made this quite clear yesterday, when I was magnamoniously receiving pets and the clodhopping lackapate came stomping towards me. It may be unladylike to growl, but he treats me as no lady. Hopefully, my point has been made.
      For myself, I resolve nothing, for I am perfect.

      Byron: OKAY I GUESS I SHOULD NOT GAK ON THE CHAIR SO THAT MOMMY SITS IN IT. OR ON THE BED, SO MOMMY ALMOST ROLS INTO IT. OR THE CARPET. BUT YOIU KNOW, WHEN YOU GOTTA GAK, YOU GOTTA GAK!
      I RESOLVS TO BE LESS NAUGHTY, BUT MOMMY SAYS I HAVE MUCHLY IMPORVED BY NOT KNOCKING SHELFS OVER AND BREAKING HIS STUPID THINGS SO MAYBE I DONT RESOLVS THAT.
      I ALSO WONT BITE MY SISTER IN THE NECK SO MUCH. MAYBE.
      FOR THE MOMMY, I RESOLVS THAT HE GIVE ME ALL HIS FOODS. I'M STAAAARVING!! AND ALSO THAT HE FIND A WAY NOT TO GO TO WORK, HE IS GONE TOO LONG FOR MY TASTE!

      Bill the Splut: I resolve to not like Bush so much. That sounds doable.

      Always worth reading, Dave Barry's year-end review.

      After a long hiatus, comic book mocker Gone and Forgotten has updated.

      Cool link from bOING bOING, Concrete TV, short brainsplodin' video collages in the EBN vein. It's fun when you can recognize the source material.

      I entered a bill on Where's George? yesterday, and the bill had a link to Tip the Pizza Guy. It includes stories of deliveries. Excerpt from an atypical one:
      "Since the town had a rather storied history, there were lots of weird places to discover. Old plantation houses, which hadn't been painted since reconstruction, were sometimes still standing in the middle of the ghettos.A historical marker marked the old capital square, at which prisoners were executed and slaves were auctioned. The only bookstore in town was a joint called All Eyes On Egypt, run by the local UFO cult. There was a trailer that was also a sex toy shop, and one place called the Super Motel, which was a gross misuse of the word 'super.' It wasn't just a motel; it was also a liquor store that only accepted cash."

1/3

      I mentioned this link on the Comments, but not here: Donate to tsunami relief. Even if it's $5, it's $5 more than they have right now. And it's pretty clear that President Stingy isn't giving any more money. I mean, the government's here to make sure that rich white Christian corporatists get money, not dumb starving heathen brown people!

      2003 had the record for the latest in the year I walked in the woods (12/28); 2005 wins for the earliest (today). It was 55 degrees out (13 degrees for you furriners). Global Warming--It's Wonderful!

      And I finally finished my Christmas shopping! Out-of-state buddy Jessica and me don't exchange gifts until sometime in January. My gift is predictable--2 pounds of what she misses most about CT, Munson's penuche fudge (with white and greyish chocolate cats attached to the packages). It's predictable, but like my predictable Xmas gift of Mom's Home Cooking, always appreciated. I hope her husband Ron appreciated Book of the Dumb last year, as he's getting BotD2 this year. Her daughter gets money, like she needs any (Ron gave Jess a 2005 Jeep Cherokee for Xmas, so it's not like they're suffering).
      She also will get a copy of Doug Newman's The Cat Album. I'm no fan of acoustic guitar solos, but I love that CD. Yes yes yes, CATS, I'm biased. But there's real heart in it, and the songs range from the funny ("Ear Mites on the Run") to the touching ("Say Goodbye to Your Brother," as his cat's litter is given away). If you like cats, you'll like the album. You'll also like Doug, who sent me an email after I ordered it. He didn't think that sound quality was as good as it should be, so he's making a new one and sending it to me for free. It's a CDR, but still--when was the last time an artist on a "real" label did anything like that for you? How many have done it twice? Yep, he sent me a free copy of a version with extra mixes when I bought my first copy. Doug Newman: cool artist and all-around swell human being.
      "Penuche" is maple walnut fudge. I was going to link to that rather than describe it. Munson's factory outlet had their URL proudly displayed on the sign. I've always said that any business, no matter how small, should have its own site, even if it's buried on AOL or Geocities. All it needs to say is what you sell, what your hours are, and where you're located, and repeat the business name enough times that it's easy to Google. Munson's site does none of that. It's all Google ads--ads to their competitors! Maybe they just wanted to own the URL, but why advertize your placeholder? Don't these people know any 13-year-olds who could slap together a REAL site?
      Then, I went grocery shopping, gassed up the car and did the laundry. 2005 is my most productive year EVER! (based on an annual average productivity, while only counting the year so far)

      Thanks for the (False) Memories: the 2004 Falsies Awards. No, Britney Spears doesn't get an award for Most Cup Sizes in A 3-Year Period. It's about "news" stories planted by the government or corporations.

      "Jews for Sale! Come and get your red-hot JEWS for Sale!" Why buy? So the world ends! I note that local boy Jomentum Lieberman is involved--Democrat in name only, apparently Jew in name only, too. "Prizes are offered for Christians who pledge to buy Jews for Israel: 'As in a fund drive for public television...'" As for me, Armageddon outta here!

      Speaking of apocalypse, terrorism expert Richard Clarke takes a nightmarish look back from 9/11/2011.

      Sycophants of the Year: "Not Time magazine, though. Time lay with the president. Time big-time lay with the president. What was great about Sullivan's 'Year of the Insurgents' column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the 'Person of the Year' issue into contrast. Here's Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his "respectable" media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush's cock wedged firmly in its mouth."

      Jesus' General finds a lovely site for all your gift-buying needs! Oh, where was this page when I needed it for Kristmas! Especially that second-to-last shirt! (Shirt colors only available in Very White)

      On a lighter note, the continuing saga of the World's Largest Lava Lamp.

      For no real reason (except that Lilly and Mimi will like it), here's pictures of the top of my monitor (before Toemaster B knocks it down all over again), and that new rage sweeping the country, pussy-flavored beer.

      

      

1/4

      I was startled to discover today that the Reverend Billy James Hargis has died! Startled because I really wouldn't've considered that "news." In fact, Rev. Billy J's croaking even has international attention. If you know him at all, it's because he invented the "Televangelist gets caught in scandal" meme before it was popular. Or, like me, you know him from Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles. Noted is that the obit also uses the same quote I used on the InExOb. Well, it is memorable.
      I went to eBay looking for that pamphlet and didn't find it. I did pick up his Communist America: Must It Happen? for a dollar. Although I would answer the book's question with "Hey, I guess not!"

      I believe that I mentioned years ago that Erich "Chariots of the Gods" von Daniken was building a theme park based on his goofy theory that aliens created humans, and then stuck around to build the Pyramids and Stonehenge because NOTHING says "incredibly advanced alien science and technology" like a pile of fucking rocks. (Hey, aliens! It's called CEMENT, you might want to invent that now that you have your faster-than-light drives!) Seriously--if you discovered a stone age tribe in 2005, would you decide "What these people need isn't cholera vaccine, but some fucking rocks in piles, by gum! Let's get PILING!" or would you think "Wow...interesting smell. Let's give them the super-secret advanced hypertech we call 'the toilet'."
      This page is all cranky about this ridiculous pseudoscience being paraded around like it was the truth. Yes, they actually go into a "What about the CHILDREN?!" riff at one point. The terrible Theme Park of Unfounded Crazy Claims is terrible, despite its whole "being on the other side of the planet in Switzerland" location. So let's band together and fund our own theme park, this one not based on ludicrous, unscientific garbage! Ours will be based on Creationism!
      Because "INRI" is just Latin for "irony."

      Part of yesterday's laundry was a blanket. The one Byron gakked on, of course. It's the underblanket, so I piled the overblankets in a heap while I tucked the corners in. A cat decided to make a blanket fort from it. Can you guess which one?

      

1/5

      I got my CD Baby copy of "The Cat Album" today. I looked at the track listing, and was happy to see that there were 5 new tracks. I wasn't happy when I saw the name of the last one--"Goodbye Kitty." "Oh please no" I said, and immediately played it. It was a new version of "Kitty Come Back," a song about his then-newly adopted stray disappearing for a few days. This years-newer version seemed more melancholy, and ended with what sounded like a stifled sob. I checked his site and...his kitty named Kitty was dead. Hit by a car. After only 2 and a half years.
      The sad part is that there's a song on the album that I never liked: "Free Kitty." It was about he always let her go outside. I shook my head every time I heard it--outdoor cats may be "free," but they never live that long. I would've lost Kill Kill 3 years ago, if she'd lived as briefly as Kitty.
      It's going to put a different cast on the CD every time I listen to it now.

      I'm relatively poor, but I buy Stupid Shit (see InExOb for details). If I was well off, I'd buy even stupider shit! If I was a billionaire, I'd buy Incredibly Stupid Shit!
      (If it's "self-sustaining," why does it have a staff of 60? To keep Pauly Shore in his cage?)

      I've prly said something about my cats' variegated purrs before, but not in a while.
      (Oops. The trackball's not to my right anymore, it's in my lap. My shoulder, elbow and wrist have had a lot a pain recently--bad trackball placement and carpal tunnel, or return of the arthritis I had at age 2? Guess we'll see)
      Killsy purrs even if she's not touched. If I say "Good girl! Good lil Kill Kill!" from across the room, she'll purr. Um, I guess. I can be inches from her face and not hear her. I really can only tell from her breathing and her facial expresssion (you with cats know what I mean).
      Byron has several levels of Purr, one of which I just figured out:

      Umm...that really wasn't that interesting, was it? Well, to heck with you, I typed it, I'M posting it, I'm going to bed now. And when I do, I'll go whheeezee...!

1/6

      SHAWT: "Earthquakes on the other side of the world, storms here at home! But are any of THEM sending US any money?! NO!"
      Tsunami that kills 150,000 = 6 inches of snow. Yeah, why isn't Indonesia giving us their SNOW PLOWS! Those ungrateful wretches with their f'ed-up standards of moral relativism!

      Got my first paycheck of the New Year. I've always been against Bush's tax cuts, claiming that they only truly benefited those who needed them the least, the rich. Well, thanks to Dubya, I got a raise! A sweet 38 cents! A week! That's like a whole extra twenty a YEAR! They say that it's an ill wind that blows no good, and I agree! Bush's tax cuts truly blow!

      I went to the grocery store after work because I'm stupid. They had a coupon worth $8 off a purchase of $50. Since I never spend more than $30, I left it at home. Since they had a 50% off sale on vitamins, and my supplies were low, I ended up spending over $60 on Monday. And, hey, 8 bucks is 8 bucks! That's like 5 months worth of my new raise!
      I also had to deposit my last 2 week's of paychecks (forgot to deposit last week's, and when I remembered, I decided that it wasn't worth two trips to the ATM and waited until today. Financial solvency--it is a good thing. Making more than lower middle class wages [PLUS--38 more cents a WEEK!!] would be better) Then, since I was there, went to buy the crazily delicious eggrolls I'd bought on sale Monday--oh, no! No eggrolls! I went to replenish the litter level, and oh, no! No Scoop Away No-Scent! (If you slept next to Byron's enormous litter-stankin' feet, you'd buy the unscented too). The only two items I wanted, and both were out of stock! I was baffled by the fact that all the Scoop Away varieties were on sale, but only one of the same company's Fresh Step. Well, it's clearly marked $3.99, so I guess it's $3.99.
      And of course it rings up on the self-serv register as $7.29. I flag down an employee, I say, "If it's not on sale, just take it off my bill. But you'd better take the sign down; someone's going to complain about it" in a friendly voice, and we go investigate, someone put the "SALE" sticker on the wrong item, I apologize that I didn't look at it closely enough ($2 off of 7.29 is not 3.99), and even point out which item the sticker should've gone on. We have a brief conversation about her electric litter box (?! She gave a brand name, but I didn't catch it), she deletes the item from my bill, as I don't want it if it's not really on sale.
      A normal customer's reaction: Shrieking "The LAW says you HAVE to give it to me for that price!" while heaping scorn and indignation over how INCOMPETENT you CROOKS are! (Actually, in CT, the LAW says that if it's obviously simple human error, you do not get it for that price) I could've done that...but then I'd be the SHAWT. I work in retail, and I'd rather be the anti-SHAWT.

      Just added to Byron's Big List of Purrs: a very deep, chesty "urf! urf!" It means, "I've just woken up, and I deem my world good."

      The yearly Wacky Warnings Awards." "In fifth place was a label on a nine- by three-inch bag of air used as packing material. It carries this warning: 'Do not use this product as a toy, pillow, or flotation device.'

      Cool comic sample: Copper's Maiden Voyage. If you want one reason to look at it, look here. A bit better in the native talent department than Daveykins, yes?

      And here it am: the Electric Litter Box. Looks like it involves the same highly-advanced technology that a Pocket Fisherman has.

1/9

      Animal Machines, early attempts at cyborgs. My favorite: the Tempest Prognosticator, a thunderstorm predictor that was powered entirely by leeches. And it worked!

      Men who love cats are chick magnets. Well...that's news to me!

1/10

      I emptied a Ziploc bag with cooked chicken in it and placed it on the counter. A certain eternally-hungry critter with enormous feet decided to poke his head in. And get it stuck there. But he's learned from his last encounter vis a vis bags and the heads stuck therein, and removed it just as the camera powered up. Darn it!

      It was time to get my car tested for emissions. I went to the car dealership that was closest, but their computer was being fixed by the state, they said go to our Mitsubishi dealership next door. "Next door" had no connector to their parking lot, and it meant taking a left on the busiest part of the busiest road in town, so it took me 5 minutes to drive 30 feet. And I failed the test! Something about misfiring spark plugs, but I felt like I'd been given an F at school. Good thing I have no one to show my report card to.
      Then I went grocery shopping. This was the same place that last week had the "sale sign on a product not on sale." I bought 8 items, and 2 didn't ring up on sale. The teenager running the self-serv robo-registers uncheerfully went to check, so it took me 5 minutes to stand there. With the outdated sales signs in her hands (2 DAYS after the sale ended? That's not how I ran any of my stores) and great surliness she fixed the problem. "Thank you" I said, to which she made no acknowledgement. Look, I've worked in retail longer than you've been alive, Missy, and I know what constitutes a rude customer. Customers who apologize for your store's mistakes aren't them. And a rude customer wouldn't have politely thanked you, he would've done that most obnoxious of things, saying to someone having a bad day "Have a nice day!" with the utmost of sarcasm.
      They have new competition across the street. Did they hire away all the good ones?

      Speaking of the hired help...
      You remember Craig the Liar, yes? The guy who made up a story about his brother dying so that he could get long weekends. He tried again to get his job back. Well...maybe you shouldn't've quit then, especially a week after your wife lost her job. That she'd had for a week. As a nurse, a position that fills about 80% of the want ads here. How'd she get fired? Came to work stoned. Y'know, don't care what you do when you're at home, but "health care professional at work listening to Phish and bogarting the Cheetos" isn't anyone I want fiddling with my inner workings. Someone who knows him told us "That's just how they are. If they want to get high all day on weed, or stay up until 4AM drinking, they just do it and then call out sick." Y'know...That was me. As an irresponsible punk kid. That wasn't me in my mid-30s with a mortgage, like them. Oh, they also have kids.
      The store seems to have a problem retaining good people. Or hiring them in the first place. Odd odd odd, as they start with $10/hour for full-timers, which is quite genorous for retail in this expensive state. Craig was replaced with Jared, who was thoughtful enough to give us his no-weeks notice as he was leaving on Xmas eve. He got a job at CVS. Which usually pays shit while treating you like it. I worked for the Melville Corporation before (Kay Bee Toys, the 70-hours-a-week-on-salary hell job), and they are aptly named. Working for them is like being strapped to a giant white whale, except this one lets you drown yourself.
      As luck would have it, Jared ran into Chris, one of his old co-workers at another liquor store. "I've been out of work for 3 months!" said Chris. "Are they hiring?" "Well," Jared said, "they don't know it yet, but yes." So we got a fully trained replacement in 1 day! In his second week, Chris didn't show up. Or call. Or pick up his phone. He'd Craiged us! We were all worried--was he in the hospital, with his parents by his side? No, he called the next day and said (try to follow the logic) "I had an asthma attack at 5AM. I woke up at 11, 3 hours after I was supposed to be at work. I thought I was fired, so I didn't call." Or answer the phone. So why call now? You get fired when you don't call and say "I overslept; I'll be in as soon as possible." And that day, part-timer Wes calls out because his wife is sick. Okay, when your kids are sick I can see. But your 55-year-old wife can't go potty by herself? Chris said that he'd come in if we needed him that day, and at 1:45 he said that he'd be in by 3. This was a good way to make up for what he did the day before. At 3, he calls to say that "I haven't had a shower yet," and he'll be in by 3:15. Apparently, it takes him over an hour to realize that he stinks. And he came in at 4. Looong shower, loooong shower. Baaad, baaad way to get redemption at work. One wonders how long it'll be before he quits or is fired.

      The Most Annoying Things of 2004.

      "Leave it to Fox News to make the tsunami story about Clinton."

      Did I ask you to sign this ACLU pledge yet? Prly. So this is for you who didn't.

      In news sure to take the dieting world by storm, Don't exercise and eat bacon, and you'll live longer. Makes sense to me!

      I've heard of this guy before. If you can stand the writer's puns, here's The Toilet Seat Art Museum. "'There's nothing inappropriate about remembering the Holocaust on a toilet seat,' Smith insisted."

      Let's all go to Missouri and dump our garbage along one special road!

      From the SalvArmy for $1.50: "Age of Empires II" (haven't checked yet to see if the disc has any, you know, instructions for playing) and the video...

      

      I saw the title on the spine first, and thought "People have that much trouble setting up their Christmas trees?!" But no, it's about falling from your Lay-Z-Boy in the sky while killing Gourd's creatures with your bow. Target audience: people who know Ted Nugent. And I suppose you want me to watch it now. Well, I'll watch the first, but not the second:

      

      Sure, there is lots of hunting excitement! Animals WERE hurt in the making of this video, and there were also several hunting accidents and falls from trees. But, MAN, that Margaret Hice is a hottie! She prly kills the bambis just by lookin' at em!
      Okay, this is already too much work. The VCR in the computer room got fussy, and had to be rewired. And, oh yeah, the remote's Play button doesn't work. No wonder I replaced this one.
      "Trai stand safety depainds ohn yew." Oh great, narrator with thick Suthun accent. Maybe I'm a biased New Englander, but when y'all got that thar accent, you gonna sound lak a retard even if'n you is Albert Einstein. "Ai aiquahls uM C squar'd!' "Yeah, whatever, Professor Clem. All I got from that was 'C.' That stands for what, Corn Likker?"
      (Note to readers of the Southern persuasion: You know how I hate the rednecks here. You hate the rednecks there. So this isn't about you, it's about the dumbasses that surround us both, so take no offense. Unless you're a hunter. In which case, feel free to take it personally)
      No more patois, I'll translate the rest into English. "Tree stands can be your most enjoyable experience in the woods [thousand-point buck standing unsuspecting under tree stand, strangely long pause] or it can be the most horrifying experience you've ever had." Forsyth County paramedics tote a hunter in a stretcher. He looks like the Road Runner got him to stand in the path of a steamroller, they look extremely unhorrified. Like it was staged or something!
      Enter LJ Smith, sitting on a tree stand 2 feet off the ground. Maybe he's hunting wabbits! He's been investigating tree stand accidents for 15 years, in what one would imagine isn't the most crowded field of academic study. He. Also has gone. To the Mark Spitz School. Of...reading from tele. Prompters.
      There are more accidents involving tree stands than firearms! Given that guns don't always go off when you fall to the ground with 16 cans of Busch in you, and yet a tree stand's still 30 feet off the ground when you've had only 12, this makes sense.
      Oh, how I wish I had a screencapper! While we look at ladder stands and seat stands (WHAT? There's more than one kind? Thet thar's too compy-cated! Oh, I'll flunk this test as surely as I did emissions!) we get a lovely shot of Cletus, ladder seat safety boy. Staring at the camera with undisguised hostility. "Y'all said I was the STAR of this! I'm just a bit player! I'm never sleeping with that producer again!" He's further humiliated by strapping a harness on a tree. "Bad tree! Welcome to Abu Guhraib! I shall now insert glowsticks into squirrrel butts!"
      "The Ladder Stand." intones Mr Narrator. And Number Two, The Larch. The Larch.
      Biggest advantage of the Ladder Stand: You could make it outta scrap you have layin' around. No, really, it sounds like a Jeff Foxworthy joke, but that's the big advantage. So then why aren't more Ladder Stands made out of rusted pick-up trucks on concrete blocks, Professor Clem?
      Downside to Ladder Stands: they're made of scrap. Yes, well, I see the problem here. That they're built by gun-crazy likkered-up dumbass rednecks might also be a factor. I mean, the Pyramids have lasted for millenia, but that beer can pyramid you made's only going to last until one of your 19 kids crawls into it, spilling it all over your Sons of the Confederacy pamphlets.
      You can buy a prefabricated metal tree stand. "This will come with an instruction booklet or pamphlet. This should be read front to back. It should be used when assembling the tree stand. This can be done at home, or in a park near your home, before taking it to the woods and using it." Yes, these are instructions for...using instructions. I wonder how many viewers turned the video off screaming "You mean I gotta READ?! I just wants to KILL!" I also wonder if by "park," they mean "trailer."
      Now ensues several minutes of utter boredom, highlighted by "Always attach your safety harness," which is illustrated by a solid MINUTE of Cletus attaching his beloved harness. Hey, I bought this thinking that it was about dipshit hunters falling off of tree stands! What a RIP! And then, Zen Master Woody drawls that we have completed all that we can learn about the Tree Ladder. Number One, The Tree Ladder.
      Hang-On Stands! Hang-On Stands! Hey, everybody gather round the TV, they're doing HANG-ON STANDS!
      The first thing you do is climb the tree, using "pojo poles an' clahmbing sticks." Pojo poles? Pojo? What the fuck's a pojo? Why am I clahmbing his pole? It just sounds rude to Pojo! Is he related to that monkey from the Power Puff Girls?
      More shots of Cletus staring at the tree. For a mental picture, he looks like me! Except with safety glasses and the thick black moustache that's normally seen on porn stars or state policemen. And he spends a lot more time than I do staring at tree trunks.
      Astonishingly, most tree stand accidents occur when dumbasses sit on then without screwing them in properly! Cletus shakes his a couple times with his scrawny, Bill-like hands before placing his full weight on it. Yes, it passes the 5-ounces of stress test, so we're ready to go! Tension builds--will Cletus fall? When he does, will he look like an accordian while "Beep beep!" is heard on a desert highway?
      Long boring part. It ends with the warning to never fall asleep while on a tree stand. Well, then don't watch this video up there! "Many hunters have fallen asleep, woke up, and then fallen when they tried to take a step." Wow. Hunters are pretty fucking stupid!
      "Now we're going to talk about climbing tree stands!" OMG WTF! Everyone to the TV, I mean it this time!
      "Most climbing tree stands come in boxes." No, they come in Paris Hilton. Jesus, is this astonishing information included so the retards don't think the BOX is the stand?
      Apparently so, as once again, we get instructions for using instructions "back to front." A second Cletus (he looks like Major Dad) reads them by running his finger over every line of type, and probably moving his lips as he does.
      "Some instruction sheets are 2-3 pages in length, while some are 20 or more!" FUCK THIS TREE SEAT SHIT! I want to shoot defensless animals, not sign up for Oprah's book club! And...oh my Gourd, Cletus 2 reads the instructions while HE'S MOVING HIS LIPS. Comedy gold, my friends, gold as solid as the Cletii's heads. Shockingly, it's added that some kits come with videos, and while they tell you to watch them back to front, they do not tell you how to operate a VCR. I guess if you're watching this, it can be taken as a given.
      The next several minutes are really dull. I think I'm going to fall asleep...ZZZZZ...Oh! I'm awake in a tree! I think I'll go for a walk! AUUUGGHH!! splat!
      Whatever kind of stand this is, you can anti-rappel up the tree using your feet to pull the lower one up. That's quite clever! If boring.
      "Some people are afraid of heights." Then why are they watching a video about climbing trees?
      "Don't climb rotted trees." Hey, thanks! How about this Ent, is that okay? "Not if you are an Orc."
      And so ends that. Now begins "Hunting with your TREE-LOUNGE"! It appears to be a tree ladder with a blanket and beverage holders--a veritable Barcalounger of the hunting GODS! This segment begins with music that's at the same time goofy (with a banjo) and heroic (with a synth)--it sounds like a combination of the soundtracks from Deliverance and Chariots of Fire. "Get down on all fours and RUN like an ENGLISHMAN!"
      While an innocent deer grazes, a frumpy old Maggie Hice aims her bow. Because it ain't fun killin' em if they don't suffer for a long time! Then the deer gets shot, and they repeat the same footage as the music (assuming that's what you'd call a banjo/Casio mix) swells. And saggy ole Maggie repeatedly high-fives herself as the deer bleeds to death in slow agony. Then she stands by the dead deer, wrestling his head around excitedly.
      No, you watch the rest.
      Hey, waitaminnit!
      Just wait a goddamn minute! I was promised REDNECKS FALLING FROM TREES! Where were my goddamn REDNECKS FALLING FROM TREES?!?!
      I hate you, LJ Smith!

1/11

      This is funny: Query Letters I Love. That's not a phrase I know either. "Query letters" are screenplay ideas. The ones here range from "Who'd watch THAT movie?" to "It's [famous movie] meets [famous movie] crossed with [famous movie]!" and stuff that can be typed using only 3 keys (the "w," the "t" and the "f"), like this:

      It takes a great imagination, or a head up an ass, to make your dreaded disease seagull herpes. Or have the only way to stop the internal bleeding from walking to be running. A lot!

      Something that sounds like it's from a bad movie: Project Pluto. This was a Cold War weapon that would deafen you, irradiate you, then fry you just by passing overhead. And that's what it'd do as it passed over America's allies. The plane's nuclear engine was so deadly that, after it dropped it's h-bombs, they were just going to fly it around in circles over Russia. (Becomes boring technical details about halfway through--except for the part well into the program, when someone points out that, Hey, since this thing leaves a radioactive wasteland wherever it goes...Where will the hundreds of test-flights be held?)

1/12

      Snowstorm yesterday, 60 degrees tomorrow.
      If that's not random enough, here's a bunch of links:

      Get Ready for the Largest Demolition Derby on the Planet as an iceberg the size of Long Island slams into Antarctica. Too bad that it wasn't the size of the usual "big things" determiner, the size of Connecticut. I like the little animation.

      Red meat newly linked to colorectal cancer. Kind of a "Well, duh" for me, as my father died of that 4 years ago. Long before that, I'd limited my bloody beef intake to once every few months. The reason I link to the article is this: "Mary Young, a registered dietitian who is executive director of nutrition for the National Cattleman's Beef Association, said the new findings should be interpreted with caution..."
      A different Mary Young, one not employed as a professional liar and also my mother, might beg to differ.

      Via Wagner, the cutest cat pic evar. Third cutest, if you're including any of Killsy Kamushka and Byron Bigfoot.

      Izzle Pfaff creates some drag queen names. Because he can.

      2004: The Year in Random Crap. You've heard some of these news stories before, but not all.

      New political blog read: Hellblazer.

1/13

      The snow ended at midnight, but yesterday they didn't plow the condo parking area until 1030AM, a half hour before the alarm was to go off. So I lost a half hour's sleep. Ah, but today I was scheduled to go to work an hour later, and I'd make up the sleep then!
      ...And at 1030Am the WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!ing began. More WHAM! than at the George Michael Museum. They'd replaced the gutters almost a month ago; what they forgot last time and were hammering in this time I don't know. But it was right outside the window. And I lost 90 minutes sleep.
      This led to a Level Two Scaredy-Cat Alert. Level One is Kill Kill hides under the coffee table (minor emergencies like food being taken from a hot oven, or Byron knocking over something noisy); Level Two is hiding under the armchair (with just her face peeping out); Level Three is hiding under the waterbed for half an hour (saved for Armageddon events like me vacuuming).
      Somehow the Byronic Man of Action, although konked out cold asleep by my side in bed, became aware of this (there is some evidence that the deaf boy can hear certain sounds). With his usual fearlessness, he went to observe this accroachment on his territory. He twice came back to bed, where I was lying awake (and unhappy about that) on my back. That always means "Climb on the Mommy-surrogate's chest and get pets." Not this time. He twice came to sniff at me and nudge me so that I knew these interlopers were outside. Good watchcat!
      Killsy wasn't so afraid that she wouldn't eat her morning wet food. Although she did it from under her Armchair Bunker.

      Links? Sorry, all I have is further evidence that the Gummint really was involved in a cover-up of UFO sightings: because they actually were sightings of secret spyplanes.

1/14

      Man, there's nothing like greeting a new day by reaching for your car keys and loose change, and finding them covered in fresh cat puke!
      Nothing! Thank Gourd.

      Phrase you don't hear every day: I'm helping a customer out by carrying her purchase to put in her car, and she says "Wait, I need to move the big Nutcracker head."
      (She's a director for the Hartford Ballet)

      NOT Kendra found the cover to a pamphlet mentioned recently here:

      

      WHAT?! It wasn't written by Billy James Hargis?! There's no reason for me to have thought otherwise--It's not like I'd ever heard the name before I saw this. And all the obits mentioned it as his work. Did someone else write it, and he stole the credit? The mystery deepens! Maybe Billy Jim was the Walrus!

      Nodding Dog in Distress, or emergency calls (that weren't) to the British SPCA. A bit Anglocentric--what's a "conker"?

      The Museum of Bad Album Covers. I wonder why the guy from Remember Your'e Swede is carrying an ax and a bag of rat poison. Run, kids, run! He remembers that he's a Swedish psycho!

1/17

      Sense of Duty post. I really would rather just veg out and play Civilization II for the 10th year in a row.

      And that last sentence describes most of my weekend, if you added "sleep enormously" to my lack of activities. I accomplished much today--I left the house! No, really, I LEFT the actual HOUSE! My plans were to transfer my old IRA to a bank one, and spend my Xmas gift certificates in the Mall Area. That plan lasted until about Tuesday of last week, when I realized that my day off was MLK Day. The bank would be closed, and school would be out and the Mall jammed.
      So I went grocery shopping, and that was jammed, too. Screaming or whining kids everywhere. At the robo-register, for the third time in a row, something on sale rang up full price. I didn't ask the surly attendant to fix it this time, as she was the same surly and quick-to-anger attendant who was there last time. She was busy barking at an old man who had some other store's ad in his hand, "YOU didn't say you had some other ad, NOW I have to ring all AGAIN!" Rather than deal with Judge Dredd, I went straight to the customer service desk. It rang up a whooole dollar less than it was priced, and that meant I got an $8 turkey breast for freeee.
      And, yes--that's as interesting as my entire day got. Except for conquering the Japanese, the Greeks, and the Chinese in CIv II!

      "Autotrophs: new kind of humans appears who neither drink nor eat: It is not ruled out that they will replace us at a new evolution stage." If it's in Pravda, it must be true!!

      Screw the wheel, they've invented the Tweel.

      The Seven Deadly Sins votive candles.

      "I'm going to STALIN LAND!" Man, I wish that there was a HitlerWorld! That would put the FUN in FASCISM!

1/18

      SHAWT: A woman with a well-dressed man buys (what else) Bukoff, as she launches into an incoherent babble that can be summed up in one sentence: "I'm glad it's [me being the "it"] not that short black-haired girl with the black sports car, that crackhead who I hate because of the shoe store." Now do every variation on a theme you can with that. Just remix every word for 5 damn minutes. I...guess she meant Gina, who's a super-friendly and cool person. Except, I guess, at the "shoe store." And I can only say that if there was a black-haired crackhead woman in the store right then, it wasn't Gina. It was this babbling, glassy-eyed nutjob.
      She stumbled from the register and I noticed that, under her winter coat, she was wearing a bathrobe, PJs, and slippers. In 5 degree weather.

      I subscribe to Funny Times, despite the fact that I'm sure that I could find 90% of their content online if I wanted. For instance, this month's issue has Dave Barry's Year in Review linked here a couple of weeks back, and News of the Weird. One regular feature is "Rosygram." This month there was a funny article about stupid questions asked to Australia prior to their Olympics. I was about 3 questions into before I said, "My, but this smacks of an email forward." And yes, that link is nearly word-for-word the same article. And it's only 1 of of very many versions, each of which is slightly or very different from the others.
      Ditto for the next (also funny) part of the "article," Wal-Mart Wines. Okay, the byline is "Collected by M. D. Rosenberg," not "created by." But Funny Times pays for work they publish. Need a quick buck? Start collecting those stupid email forwards your second cousin insists on sending you, and sell them to Funny Times!

      The Kids are doing that thing my parent's cocker spaniel would do this time of year: demand to go out (in the common hallway, in this case), realize it's waaay too cold out there, and run back in. To whine to go out again.

1/19

      Compare and Contrast:

      Part 2 of the game: Identify the lying, incompetent, delusional e-vil alien!

1/20

      Before I went to bed last night, I checked the weather. "Much warmer tomorrow!" it said. "With highs in the mid-20s!"
      And the sad part was that it was true.

      Not the most exciting link, but possibly a profitable one: A free 4lb bag of Purina ONE Cat Food. (Sorry, puppy people; there was a dog food offer, but it expired)

      The Dreamachine. Years ago I read about this. I don't remember where (the in-house Sam Goody magazine, maybe?), but it was over 15 years ago. I actually used some instructions to try and make my own. Since this involved a candle, a turntable, and an empty toilet paper roll with holes in it, it worked exactly as well as you'd think it wouldn't. Even at $500, I might actually buy one...if not for the Byron Factor, and the amount of seconds that would elapse before it was destroyed.

      Thing from work I forgot to bring home and scan: A bumper sticker from a wine distributor that read, "I'm Voting For the FAT BASTARD." I said, "I'd put that on my car if it said 'Fatheaded Bastard' and had a picture of Bush!"

1/21

      SHAWT #1: A guy who was banging on the door after we closed, insisting that "I called and a woman said that you'd stay open until I got here, for my Marty Rossi wine! She was going to keep it at the counter for me!"
      Okay...well, the phone hadn't rung all night. I think the phone would've been noticed, as we were short-staffed and the store was crazy busy as everyone was panic-buying because of the upcoming blizzard. Yolanda worked tonight, but she'd left for home at this point. And if she'd been asked for "Marty Rossi wine," she would've asked me or Dave about it. Given that there is no Marty Rossi. Did he mean Martini & Rossi spumante? Carlo Rossi's half-Jewish cousin's jug wine? And, if this wine of myth and legend had actually existed, she'd have put it at said counter. And as to "stay open past closing," when we don't get PAID for that--well, I imagine her only response would've been "HELL no!"
      I wonder what store he really called.
      SHAWT #2: Some asshole was so distracted by this guy's nonsense that he didn't properly batch out the credit card machine, and that meant we had to stay an extra 5 minutes while it did! Yeah, DUMBASS, I'm looking at YOU!! (stabs finger at mirror)

      Here's one woman who can listen to the "I gave birth to my baby in the back of a cab!" stories and trump them. On the other hand, maybe she won't, given the high "I'm a fucking tard" nature of her story. What, were they out of bungie cords at the bridge that day?

      It's possible to train cats to use the litter box, so why not other pets? Must use a lot of water to flush, however.

      Stock up on the O'Douls: nonalcoholic beer may prevent cancer. Side effects include burps, excessive urination, wet farts, and not actually catching a buzz. And drinking O'Douls.

1/22

      Kill Kill has always had her habits. She'll do the same thing every day for months or years--then abruptly stop doing them. For months or years, then start doing them again for months or years. Recently, she'd started sleeping in the bed again. Just in the last 2 weeks, she started doing something that she hadn't done for so long, I'd forgotten she'd ever done it: when I get out of bed, she races into the bathroom and plops on her back for a nice, purry bellyrub. I'm glad she's doing that again.
      Last night in bed, she did a whole bunch of unusual things:

      And the strangest thing I saw in bed last night, something that I've given up all hope on ever seeing: Byron woke up, sauntered over to Killsy's corner of the bed, and plopped down. She immediately gave him a tongue bath. That's not only never happened, I thought that it was IMPOSSIBLE. But it was so matter-of-fact, I guess that it's been happening for a long time, and Byron just didn't want me to know.
      It only took an extra 5 minutes to get home. The snow's coming down in mighty amounts, but's the powdery kind that doesn't collect on the highways easily. I'm nice and snug and home an hour early as we closed early. The cats have had their pets, their food, their nip, their play. They both sleep soundly. It can blizzard all it wants. We're home, we're happy.
      Thank you, Magic Cat Wish.

1/24

      The Buffalo Beast's annual Most Loathsome People, always notable for its creative vitriol (Toby Keith is described as an "ambulatory hamburger").

      Cat Town gives a moving tribute to the passing of Jerry Orbach. And by "moving," I mean "absurd."

      Our friend Mimi of As If! fame has a great and manga-esque new comic up: Pop Star!

1/25

      I, myself, have nothing. However, this review turned up in the Hitch! ML of something I hope to be seeing soon:

1/26

      I don't know who the bozo was who came up with this "frozen water falling from the sky" crap, but I've had my fill.
      And when those huge snow plows are out dumping dirt on the frozen sky-water, making snud (that unholy marriage between snow and dirt that's better than driving in snow, but exactly the same as driving in 4 inches of mud), couldn't they also, y'know, PLOW?

      Quote of the Day:
      "Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine." --Dick Cheney. After saying that, he went into a boisterous rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."

      I found a better link to that free Purina coupon, one that includes dogs.

      Hmm. I wanted to link to a Hartford Advocate article, but they still have last week's print version online. Which reminded me of a good article they had last week, Porn: The Other Hollywood. Check out that third picture! (Miss Killsy always does nude scenes, whether tasteful or not. In fact, she's pretty much nekked 24/7)

      Today's Evil Monkey news. Ahh, these kids today, you tell them that the way to rob a store is with pantyhose on your head, but NO, they gotta dress like Monchichi!

      COOL! "A self-styled god, Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. Over the years, successive generations of his creatures have evolved into increasingly complex animals that walk by flapping wings in response to the wind, discerning obstacles in their path through feelers and even hammering themselves into the sand on sensing an approaching storm." Made out of sophisticated computers? No. Plastic tubing.

      Thing that I just said to Byron, as he sniffs the floor looking for food, and that has probably never been uttered by any human since the Dawn of Speech: "Cheese isn't something that just spontaneously creates itself on the floor!"

1/27

      If you can stomach your anger, here's The 10 Worst Corporations of 2004. Made even worse by the fact that they don't use the same companies as they did last year--Yes, Halliburton gets a pass.
      "Nine McWane employees have lost their lives in workplace accidents since 1995. More than 4,600 injuries were recorded among the company's 5,000 employees." Ahh, big deal, that's only 92% of their staff! Don't jail those guys until they injure or kill 93% of their workforce! The private sector always has the best interests of society in their minds! That's why we should privatize--err, personalize--Social Security!
      I heard the beginning of All Things Considered on NPR today. They led off with younger people wanting Social Security privati--err, personalized. One said "The private sector will always do better than a government account!" Next upcoming story: "A look at the aftermath of WorldCom's collapse." Yeah. Ask WorldCom's employees about their great private sector pensions, you dipshit.

      "North Korea appears to have bought a complete nuclear weapon from either Pakistan or a former Soviet Union state, a South Korean newspaper said on Thursday quoting a source in Washington."
      Phew! Good thing their bombs came from our beloved friend and ally Pakistan, and not those evil Iranians! We'd be plastering Tehran with daisy cutters as we speak if they did it! Since it's the highly democratic Pakistan (democracies can vote with coup d'etats, y'know!), these bombs must be the ones that explode freedom! And leave a blast crater of liberty and radiate massive, flesh-searing amounts of Christian love, while raining a fallout of delicious Butterfinger Bites!
      Thank God (who Bush says "speaks through me") that these weapons of mass deliciousness are owned by the highly sane government of North Korea! I mean, why go to war with them? Is there oil anywhere but in Kim Illin' Dong's pompadour? Even those peace-loving hippie fags aren't going to wear a shirt that says "NO BLOOD FOR KIMCHI"!
      I guess, in this case, we can wait for the smoking gun to come in the shape of a mushroom cloud. Or the shape of a xenpohobic, paranoid North Korean's pompadour.

1/30

      Okay, this is a couple of days old, but it's all I've got. Apologies for those who've seen it already.

      What would you wear to a funeral? How about a funeral for, say, a hundred thousand dead? I'm guessing a very somber formal black ensemble, with understated accessories.
      Now, let's play Where's Waldo! Except you're not looking for Waldo, you're looking for a big Dick. And guess where the big Dick is hiding!








      

      Did you find Dick? (hint: he's in the front row) And--he's at AUSCHWITZ! I guess he thought there'd be a snowball fight after the memorial! Dibs on the snowfort by the crematoria! HA! Nailed Chirac in the head by the mass grave!
      And if you think that's bad, there are details you can't see: "Cheney stood out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood. It is embroidered with his name. It reminded one of the way in which children's clothes are inscribed with their names before they are sent away to camp. And indeed, the vice president looked like an awkward boy amid the well-dressed adults."
      And, oh yeah, he wore galoshes and a knit cap that said "STAFF 2001" on it. Since wearing his Air Jordans and "FUCK OFF!" ballcap would've disrespected the dead.
      Good thing that the ceremony didn't take place in the summer, or he would've worn his boxers, flip-flops and "Kiss Me I'm Fascist" tshirt.
      I suppose that it's wrong of me to accuse our Dear Leaders of insensitivity to anyone who isn't a white male Fundamentalist billionaire. I mean, they're also very aware of the suffering of mere millionaires! And they support the troops!

      Oh, and I suppose you say that they could've used the money for the party to instead armor the Humvees or pay for the troops' prosthetics or reinstate all the pay and benefits they've cut in the last 4 years! Don't you understand? They support the troops! The same way a man loves his wife, and drunkenly beats her into unconsciousness every night.

1/31

      The True Stella Awards for 2004.

2/01

      Via Zefiel, cutest kitten pic of the week:

      

      Crap 80s Computer Games that really didn't exist. There's plenty of broken image links and jokes that are obscure (it's English) or--well, just crap, but the funny ones make up for it.

      Today I heard on the news that Iraqi insurgents had captured an American soldier and were threatening to cut off his head! Then make him wear Barbie's dress, before the dog chewed him and he got put in the microwave!! Fortunately, he escaped using his kung-fu grip!

      Steve Sack looks at Right-Wing America's crisis du jour, the alleged sexuality of Sponge Bob, with this cartoon.

2/2

      Holy Jesus Christ in a Frying Pan!!
      No, really, Holy Jesus Christ in a Frying Pan.
      Y'know, eventually someone is going to "see" Jesus in their just-wiped toilet paper. What will theologists make of THAT?

2/3

      Bob, the Drunken Boss, always blames any mistakes on the cash register on everybody else. I, myself, am to blame any time the coin box comes up short. This is because I take a coin order THAT SOMEONE ELSE COUNTED physically to the bank. It turns out that Bob, the Drunken Boss, never actually counts the coin box. Every retail job I've worked over the last 25 years has demanded that the coin box be counted every morning. Bob, tDB, doesn't count it even if the register is over. So a simple mistake like "We needed change and it was crazy busy, I must've bought the wrong amount" is simply ignored. Because--he's a DRUNK!
      But it's never HIS fault. Funny--every time he goes on vacation for a week, everything balances. For a whole week. As soon as he comes back, the registers are short or over all the time. Except on Saturdays, when he doesn't work. Huh! Why, one might jump to the conclusion that the money was being handled by, I dunno, a DRUNK!
      Today, he frreaked out: his deposit slip from his bank showed that his account was $19,000 short! He raced over to his bank. Was it identity theft? Was it that deal he'd made with that Nigerian dictator's wife?
      He'd picked up a deposit slip a customer had dropped on the floor and stuck it in his pocket, and 2 hours later, looked at it and decided that it was HIS. Despite the differing account numbers and wildly different bank balances. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from a different bank.
      Was it the 8 Heinekens he'd had? And this is the guy who blames us when the register's wrong.

      "The grateful people of Sri Lanka would like to make a humble request to all those who have offered succor to its devastated tsunami victims: Please, no more ski jackets, moisturizing gel or Viagra." (Get ready to hit the Back button, as it'll jump you to a subscription form)

      I dunno. I got one of those questionnaire things from Jessica yesterday, and this seemed funnier yesterday than it seems today. But even I get tired of my lazy ass never putting up anything original anymore, so here it is:

2/6

      My neighbors across the hall have a puppy. They told me, as they know I let the cats out in the common hallway, and they've had many encounters with the Cat Without Fear, Byron. Usually, he's trying to get into their condo to eat their other pet, a bird. They said that they'd take her out the back way when it was potty time, but they wanted to let me know that there was a dog about.
      Killsy and Byron were out a couple of nights ago. I heard the stampede of one cat's feet, and Kill Kill ran up to me with That Look in her eyes, the one that means "There're people out there!" And the next thing I heard was barking. I ran down three flights of stairs as fast as I could. At the bottom, the puppy was straining at her leash. Her tail was wagging, and they were friendly barks. I think she was saying, "So you're one of the things that leaves those interesting scents out here! Let's play!"
      Byron stood astride the stairs, utterly unfazed by this just-bigger-than-him critter. I prodded him upstairs, and every time we reached a landing, he'd turn and stare the dog down. Outside our door, he refused to come in, ready to make his stand to protect the homeland. I had to scoop him up and bring him inside.
      Bravest. Cat. EVER.
      He's also been going outside. Not the hallway, the outside outside. Carefully chaperoned, of course. Fortunately, his trademark fearlessness is less evident, and he stays on the 2nd floor deck. He really doesn't want to step in the snow. His first couple of times, he not only never left my side, he kept close enough that he was always touching me. In the spring, I'm buying a cat harness. I'm not taking him anywhere but the condo grounds, as there are no large dogs here. When we came back from our second trip, the one he loudly demanded (I'm well aware that I may be creating a monster by letting him outside with me like this), Killsy "greeted" us with a severe hissyfit. Was she mad because she didn't get to go outside? Well, I did repeatedly ask her to come out, and left the door propped open in case she wanted to join us. Turned out that she'd knocked the doorstop out and locked herself outside. Well, don't blame us for something you did! I get enough of that from my drunken boss Bob at work.

      A fascinating and funny conversation between two geniuses who totally changed their fields of art: Alan Moore interviews Brian Eno.

2/7

      I'll leave out the less-fulfilling moments of my day (STILL trying to get my car to pass emissions, AFTER it was "fixed") and just go onto the kitty part.

      

      Byron had another closely-supervised visit outside today. He decided that the most interesting thing in history ever was a neighbor's air conditioner. He just wouldn't stop sniffing it. It would truly suck, I thought, if the people who own this came home right now! And HEY GUESS WHAT! Fortunately, I've spoken to them before, and explained "Just walking the cat! I don't know why he's so interested in your air conditioner!" The woman said, "Oh, she probably smells our kitties!" The big tall male with braided ponytail and the Harley grumbled, "He's probably thinking, 'Here's a good place to SPRAY!'" Ha ha, I force-laughed. And of course Byron didn't spray. Or walk away from their damned AC for another ten minutes. Remember--he's the one without fear.
      And then we spent a long time investigating the stone wall at the end of the parking lot. Real long time. I tried to interest him in the only big swath of grass, one which had been accidentally cleared by a snowplow (it was 50 degrees, but there's still 3 feet of snow on the ground). He wasn't interested in that, as he's very wary of the snow. He chased a tiny curl of a dead leaf that was rolling across the lot like a miniature tumbleweed. It was funny; every time he got his nose up to it, the breeze would pick up just enough to make it roll away from him. I expected Daredevil the Cat to smash it, but one time it rolled back onto his nose, and he ran away. Dogs, people, everything else that he should be afraid of doesn't faze his courage--but a little brown piece of leaf did!
      This was when he suddenly spotted a parked van. One with Harley stickers on it, yes their van. They'd already come out of their condo to "get the mail" (ie, make sure he hadn't pissed on their AC), so I ran to grab him. "Let's get our mail!" I said, but he got all squirmy and I put him down. I walked towards the mailbox--several small steps for a man, but an Odyssey for a lil' cat--when he turned and bolted for the forbidden van. You're NOT going under any cars, Buster! The only plus of his deafness is that I can run up behind him and grab him without him knowing I'm pounding after him. He was shooed into the common hallway, I got the mail, he made his trademarked shrieking of the Byron Siren for a while, then collapsed and went to sleep.
      Despite repeated offers, Killsy declined leaving the house with us. She's too scaredy to do so. Or just too smart.

      

      >Jacques Cousteau< "Here we zee the strainge Great White Cat. She roams ze open sea, which as we see is really very feelthy, eating plankton in her mighty bowl. When she is old enough, she sheds her mighty skin like eet was really old brie from ze back of ze fridge. Zis skin, too, becomes ze food of the Iams plankton, closing ze circle of life."
      (She rolled onto some Xmas tissue paper that's been used as a toy, and the winter static attached it to her fur. It was another 10 minutes before she noticed it. Yes, cats have the same problem that humans do when they get toilet paper stuck on their shoe)

      Hey, guess what happens when you refreeze Tofu Pups, then boil them! You get something that looks like...

      

      ...Umm.

      Or...
      Guy at the Smithsonian Morphological Pathology Exhibit: "Hey! Who took four inches out of the Dillinger jar?!"

2/8

      I might have to pass on my lunch of a Wendy's Caesar side salad and get a Burger King kid's meal: they come with handheld games based on ancient Activision Atari games. Notably, "Kaboom!" no longer involves a criminal dropping bombs, but a clumsy and/or drunk and insane BK employee dropping burgers. It's another example of "After 9/11, everything changed--for the lamer!" mindset, which I can understand. Why you'd make a game based on crack-addicted, food-sloppin' deranged tards who work for you...no, sorry, not following the logic. And while the mechanics of the games required every moving object to be black is understandable...maybe making the tard a black guy might juuuust possibly backfire on them. Why not change the "guy" to a machine of some kind? Okay, I guess that if the "We'll change the BOMBS into our heart-chokin' fat-laden ARTERY BOMBS, the ones that make your heart go KABOOM!" idea seemed okay, heck, why not? I'm asking for this one with my nuggets and chocolate milk, before the predictable outrage makes it a rarity!
      KABOOM! and Barnstormer were great games. Grand Prix was okay, Tennis, eh, never played any sports games. There are other Activision mini-handhelds available commercially (like on Amazon), but the only great game those have is River Raid. When will someone come out with a handheld that has the true beauties, like Robot Tank and Megamania? And wouldn't the most obviously tubular idea be to simply skip Atari, and make Intellivision's Burgertime?

      Follow-up to the race to create anti-allergenic kitties posted here long ago. (like a few months ago, but that's long in net-time)

      Marijuana makes blood rush to your head, and that's bad! The study looked at "light and moderate users - who usually smoked an average of 11 and 44 joints per week, respectively". 11?! That's...LIGHT? It also found that there were negative effects from people who were "heavy" users--ie, on the level of "50 joints every day." FIFTY?! WHOA, dude! Like, I bet if you watched 50 "Friends" repeats a day, it'd also fuck up your brain!
      Let me remember, teenager of the late 70s that I was...Back then, an ounce meant 40 joints. Bob Marley smoked an ounce a day. Bob Marley died of brain cancer. And he smoked LESS than 50 a day. And that was the old weak-ass pot of old, not that "one hit of skunk and might as well just go to bed, as you ain't gonna move for the rest of the night" shit of today that I'm afraid to be in the same room as people smoking it.
      Light is a quarter-ounce a week? I'd like to see their idea of "light" alcohol usage. I see people who buy a gallon of cheap wine or cheap liquor or a 30 pack of beer EVERY DAY. Are they "light" users? Or are they addicts?
      I suppose that their next study will demonstrate that "heroin gives you unattractive arms."

2/10

      The snow started yesterday evening, dropping 3 inches by the time I left work, and it still hasn't stopped. I had to drive 3 times in heavy, wet, skidding snow. They say we'll have a foot when it's over!
      Or...that's what they said yesterday. It started as rain, but they were right about the foot of snow. Well, it turned out that they were off a bit. By a foot. In fact, it rained so much, that this was the first snow storm that actually left several inches less snow on the ground after it ended than before it started.

      Byron pretty much likes to be in the same room with me or Killsy. That's not surprising, as he got lost from his litter when he was only a baby. Kill Kill is more independent. He goes to bed when I do and gets up when the alarm goes off; she's in-and-out of the bed, splitting her time between there and her pillow in the living room. But about once a month, Byron will leave the bed to sleep on my computer chair.
      Last night was one of those nights. He was so asleep, his eyes were closed! (A rarity for the deaf boy) I asked Killsy to come from her pillow and sleep with me. And she came to bed, using me as her bed.
      I awoke at one point, and heard Byron jump off the chair in the next room, then eat some kibble. I drifted back to sleep.
      But not for long. He SCA-REAMED. "AAAIIOOOOW! AAAIIOOOOW!" Since he never meows, just SCA-REAMS, I thought Oh what's he want now and stayed in bed. Kill Kill immediately bolted and ran to him. He shrieked, "AAAIIOOOW! AAAIIOWwirrrt???" as she met him. He became silent, then jumped on the bed by me and purred.
      And it hit me: He'd awakened and looked for me and Killsy. When he didn't find us right away, his worst and greatest fear, "seperated from my family again," kicked in and he panicked. And Kill Kill knew exactly what he meant, and raced to comfort and reassure him.
      It's likely that she's heard that cry of loneliness and fear before. I'm pretty easy to find, but when I'm not home, she'll sleep in hidden spots like the bathtub or under the armchair. He can't find her, he gets scared, and then she rushes to find and calm him.
      I wonder...is their relationship "sister and brother" or "mother and child"? She dearly loves him, and is always maternal to him. While he tends to steal the stage on this page with his boundless goofiness and crazy energy, she's the true star. She's a gentle, kind, loving, attentive girl. She always seems to know what everyone else is feeling. She's the heart of our little family.
      (I'm the brains. Byron's the funny bone)

      Wow, who could've predicted THIS? (besides anyone with a BRAIN years ago) North Korea has NUKES because they think that's the only way to protect themselves from crazy countries that blow off the UN and every international treaty to invade countries that "look at us funny!"
      Once again, we can wait for "the smoking gun to come in the shape of a mushroom cloud," even though it IS a mushroom cloud, as North Korea has nothing Dickhead Cheney's business buddies want to steal.
      A look from the NYTimes at the only country whose Eternal Leader is eternally dead. Yeah, we can expect reasonable diplomacy from THESE guys. Especially now that they have The Bomb.

2/11

      Shots from the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide movie, done by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The Vogons look great. Marvin looks like shit. Like he's the spawn of every cheap "cute robot" ripoff of R2D2 from 1978 to 1982. He looks like he'd say "Beeda beeda beeda, Buck!" given half the opportunity.

2/14

      Yesterday I saw In the Realms of the Unreal, a film about Henry Darger. He was a janitor and recluse who created 10-foot-wide paintings and a 15,000 page novel about "The Child Slave Rebellion." It's fortunate that his landlords were accepting of his privacy and also artists themsleves. His work is beautiful, except when it's disturbing, except when it's brutally cruel. But they recognized it as art, whereas most people would've thought "What's with this lunatic who keeps drawing naked little girls with penises?" and trashed it all.
      It was fascinating from beginning to end. I may be biased. I've wondered about Darger ever since I first heard about him, over 20 years ago in Art Spiegelman's art magazine RAW, best known now for the original publication of his "Maus." The Darger article seemed so deranged that I first I thought that it was an elaborate joke. In a nice bit of synchronicity, I saw it at Real Art Ways, the Hartford arts center founded around the same time as RAW, and which, of course, is also called RAW.
      I usually wouldn't recommend seeing a documentary, especially a digitally-filmed one, in a theater over waiting to see it on DVD. But wow, it was worth seeing there. The details in his giant panoramas of death, destruction and frolicking lil' girls really come forward.
      I still don't know what to feel about the story. I feel sad for Darger, not because he was so isolated from the world (his neighbors can't even agree on how his last name is pronounced), as he wanted to be isolated from the world. But he was that saddest of creatures, the self-tormented devout Catholic, worshipping God and fearing him simultaneously. But I also was in awe of his output, and his strange imagination, one both full of fear and fearlessness at the same time. But there really is no "meaning" that we could take from his life. There's no reason we can take from anyone's life. Nobody knows what anyone else really thinks and feels. As Henry's landlord says, "Just because there are questions, it doesn't mean that there are answers."

      On a slightly lower scale of cinematic endeavor, I also saw Bowanga Bowanga, White Sirens of Africa. This was a 1951...thing about--well, not bowangas, whatever those are. It was the hoary old chestnut (or should that read "whorey"?) about a lost tribe of super-hot Amazon babes in Africa, and the dumb natives who're scared of them, and the strapping white male members (ahem) who woo them into a state of horny bowangalessness. But no! It turned that old trope on its head! Only 2 or 3 were hot Amazons; the rest ranged from "average" to "eww, skanky!" And the male leads got bitch-slapped into submissiveness, and anytime one of the hotties went after them for HOTT BOWANGA WANGING, they acted like 7-year-olds with a "NO GIRLZ ALOUD" clubhouse. Or gay, given their penchant for shirtlessness and grabbing each other. Some screenwriter's working out his 50s-repressed fantasies here!
      There was funny stuff here, but it's one of those "65 minutes long but drags" kinda movies. The first half was mainly our heroes traipsing through Bryce Canyon and pointing out-of-shot at stock footage. Really stupid stock footage. It never matched the environment the characters were in. It was all shot silent, and if they added sound effects, they were of crickets chirping while a herd of zebra stampeded soundlessly through a river. And they frequently weren't of African fauna--man, but they love to show orangutans! Like every five minutes. At one point, there's a moose. When one of the dumb, scaredy natives (they kept that part of the cliche intact) yelled "OOLAMA!" and pointed offscreen, I thought he'd said "Ooh--LLAMA!" and expected to see footage from the Peruvian Andes of a quadruped that'd spit at them, just like I wanted to do.
      Instead, he was pointing at a Bowangan, or Oolama as they're called. Amazons in skimpy costumes from the darkest depths of the jungle/Bryce Canyon, so primitive that they shave their pits and bikini zones and have lots of lipstick. We're treated to an utterly pointless flashback to a character's first encounter with the Oompaloompas. Wearing a safari suit and pith helmet, he thinks back to when he was 8 years old and wearing a Grranimals safari suit and Sponge Bob pith helmet. His Gilligan-style hut is under attack by stock footage! His friends, a little black boy and a statuesque Hispanic woman in a leopard-print bathing suit run inside, while a leopard attacks, probably mad about the bathing suit. Then, a boa constrictor "climbs" through the roof (by climbs I mean "is lowered by hand, and boa's not too happy about it"). We're told that the leopard "jumps on the roof" while stock footage shows a leopard sitting on a branch. The snake is dropped by the clumsy stagehand, and the leopard crawls through a hole in the hut. By which I mean, is "shoved in unwillingly by a guy whose hands you can totally see." "We ran to the roof" where the leopard and snake were, and then he makes sure his pet bunny is okay and his father comes home and he's drunk and mad that his kid wasn't eaten by a cat and makes him drop the bunny and then the kid sees an Oolama, and Oh MAMA! she's standing there. And standing there and standing there, and I don't remember, the father might die but I do remember the bunny got away and THAT'S ALL THERE WAS TO THE FLASHBACK. Connection to the rest of the movie? None. Let us never speak of the flashback again!
      (Except to note that it was filmed without sound, as are other chunks of this movie)
      The heroes--Flashback Man, Gay Stud, and Italian Comic Relief Man (meaning: everytime he opens his mouth, there's a relief from comedy)--soldier on. They carry supplies in the type of boxes one normally sees being used to transport engine blocks, although they clearly weigh nothing. They climb a sheer cliff with great difficulty, and just when you think "What happened to their comically-oversized packing crates?" the crates are lying at the top, apparently having climbed up by themselves.
      They get captured by the babes (and the rest who aren't babes). Where did these honky chicks come from? Why, the Goths and Vandals went to Africa after invading Rome! So then why aren't they all dressed in black, listening to the Cure while smashing car windows? And, ahh...since there's no men, and they're all in their 20s, who were their parents? Are they 1500 years old?...okay, this makes no sense. There's a brief mention of other "white men," seen in yet another silent movie, and they're all the queen's boy toys. Wow, that should lead to an incest-free breeding population. Oh, and they sorta speak English: "You white man! You STRONG white man! Others weak! We give to Fire God!" We never see the Fire God, and since volcanoes are as common in Africa as llamas, maybe the Fire God's a flaming moose.
      There's jealousy among the women (par for the course in this kind of movie), but the stoic (GAY), courageous (GAY!!) homosexu--heroes of the movie stave off their moist advances, even Comic Relief Man, who is thrown over the shoulder of the HOTTEST AMAZON EVER--imagine Dawn Wells as a blonde, except shorter, skinnier and with ENORMOUS HOOT--er, a history of lower back pain. If there's one indelible image from this crapfest, it's her bouncing around after the little (GAY!!!) loser. Oops, sorry--lemme grab a napkin and take care of this drool.
      Then, INEVITABLY, an Amazon (the next hottest blonde) falls for the only hetero in the group. They all escape, thanks to the giant packing crates (remember those?). And what were they carrying all that time in those 3 giant boxes? Water? Food? Medicine? Moose repellent? No, the one thing that anyone would bring on a cruel and brutal trek across the unexplored and unforgiving African volcano region: firecrackers. They weren't trying to bring civilization to the savages, they wanted to bring--MARDI GRAS! And the triumphant quartet strides off into the distance of Bryce Canyon, singing "La la la la la!" arm-in-arm. Hetero - Amazon- Gay Comic Relief - Gay Stud arm-in-arm, just like that.
      I, for one, would like to tip my pith helmet at such a celebration of diversity. And to trade places with the idiot Comic Relief Guy. Me and the little blonde would be bowanging-bowanging each other to this day. Ooooh, llama!

      Speaking of hotties, I got that DVD after resubbing to Netflix. I also decided to check out something that I'd suspected for years, ever since TNT began rerunning a TV series I used to watch as a kid. I'd laugh at how bad they were now that I was an adult, but I'd also watch them for a hottie. Yeah, you guessed--Gilligan's Island and Dawn Wells.
      I watched and rewatched one episode "Beauty is as Beauty Does" (the one with the beauty contest, for those who used to watch the show as a kid). I was sure that I'd found something that no Mary Ann scholar had ever discovered: despite her announced hatred of "nude" Photoshops of her, she actually once did a nude shot. On national TV. In 1965!!
      I know you don't believe me, and I couldn't prove it without some sort of screencap software. But 19 minutes into that episode, she's dancing and does a pirouette. Her microminiskirt lifts as she turns her back. And she ain't wearing panties. Or a body suit or pantyhose. I knew I couldn't be sure of this until the ep was on DVD and I could zoom in, but--well, butt. In fact, more than butt, pubes. For all of America to see, on a show aimed at children, back in the Swingin' Sixties.
      "But she's Mary Ann!" you cry. "She's all sweet and innocent!" Sure, Mary Ann was, but this is Dawn. I saw a documentary on the show once, and she ended her segment by saying how people always think she's as naive and uspoiled as Mary Ann. "But I'm in my fifth marriage!" She had a running joke with the show's crewmembers about how much they'd pay to see her naked. Did you also know she's an NRA gun nut? There's a difference between an actor and the role.
      Why would she do it? Joke to the crew? Jealous of Ginger being the "sexy one"? Dunno, as she's the one who did it. And who cares? This is like the Holy Grail of the Dawn Wells obsessed!
      Ahh--could you pass me another napkin?

      If anyone is still reading this, rather than showering: a second pet cat has been cloned from the grave. And the rates have dropped from $50K to $32K.

      A man's brain is inexplicably shrinking, with scary MRI.

      I went to PetsMart (or PetSmart or whatever) in that first circle of Hell, The Mall Area, to spend some Xmas gift certificates on a cat harness for Byron. They had none! So I bought 2 bags of Iams and some organic catnip and it cost me 11 cents. See You Soon! it said on the out door, and Not bloody likely! I said in return.
      We had another chilly adventure in the outside world (Killsy was profusely invited, but she doen't like adventures). I wanted to take him in the backyard, but there was a diseased-looking blackbird stiffly sticking its claws skyward in death, so, umm, hey Byron! Let's go the opposite way! And it began to lightly snow, and he chased and pounced the snowflakes and was confused when his prey vanished when caught.

2/15

      

      Being half-Scots (on my father's side, despite the WASPy surname of "Young"), I've always thought that "If it's not Scottish, it's CRRRAP!" However, here's some Scottish CRRRRAP! Did you know that Jerusalem is in Scotland? Or that Jesus was Scots? Or at least his head is? Or that some people consider haggis to be food?

      "I'm having the strangest feeling of--Deja Vu!" I've had some pretty intense feelings of deja vu, but my second thought is always "Did that happen--or did I dream it?" And here's science's answer.

      Remember when anti-war people like you and me claimed that an invasion of Iraq would lead to a collapse of the military and a resuming of the draft? "I'm having the strangest feeling of--Deja Vu!" I'm sure that every chickenhawk who supports this war of convenience will have no problem with their Hummer-driving suburban kids getting drafted to die for Halliburton's bottom line, rather than those dirty smelly icky brown and black poor people!

2/16

      Hitchhiker's Guide trailer. Umm. Okay.

2/17

      A progress report on my plans to see "Spamalot," the Broadway musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail: My mom tried to get tickets to it from Merril Lynch (Merril Lynch sells Broadway tickets?), and they wanted $201 each. Yes, $200 wasn't enough, they wanted $201. She then went to Filene's (Filene's sells Broadway tickets?) but they didn't have any for Spamalot. So Mom--who is 71 and was totally baffled by the Internets just 2 years ago--checked an online site that's offering them for $100. Now she's going to call up Merril Lynch (who apparently sell Broadway tickets!) and demand to know why they're overcharging.
      GO MOM! If you've ever wondered where I get my aggresively Liberal politics from, it's from the 'rents. He was Democratic Town Chairman for South Windsor in the 70s, and she was always right by his side, fighting for our rights, everybody's rights. I'm so glad that I was raised by Johnson Democrats from the Civil Rights years. Prejudice and bigotry are inherited, but I was always taught the opposite: People who are "different" from us are still Us. Hatred is a hereditary mind-borne disease. That's what's passed down from generation to generation. My parents passed their bigotry down to me. And like them, I've always been bigoted against bigots.

      A rip-off vanity publisher gets outed, claims that they're "real" publishers, then gets hoaxed by some professional writers. Trust me, if nothing else, read page one of the hilariously awful work they submitted to see if the publishing pimps would accept it. It's better than any recent Bulwer-Lytton Award or Write like Harry Stephen Keeler contest. In fact, I'd buy that book!

      How much will you lose in benefits under Bush's Gut Socail Security Plan? Click and find out!

       "The fish were blind, but now they see." A very entertaining article listing The Top Ten Vestigial Organs. If you've ever wondered why you have wisdom teeth, an appendix and that stupid coccyx you just fell on, here's why. (Short answer: It's called evolution, and it's not a theory, it''s a fact. Eat it, Biblical Literalist Godfreaks!)

      BTW, did you know that Kill Kill's nickname "Kamushka" is an actual word in Polish? Me neither, until I got a search from Google Poland.
      I hope it means "cute."

2/18

      I wonder what the Kids do when I'm not home. Oh, I can see what Byron does. Today, he knocked the wrist-rest off the keyboard before tackling the speakers. Not just knocking over a computer one, but also one of the stereo's speakers, even managing to pull the wires out of the back. When it's damage, that I can see.
      I wonder what he and his sister do that I don't see. I've mentioned here that I've recently see her do things I never see when I'm at home, such as grooming him or running to reassure him when he's frightened. Tonight, she was having a nice bath when he decided to go bonkers, chasing his laser pointer Dot. He rampaged close to her personal space, and she abruptly stood up, waited for the exact moment, and then batted a toy mouse at ballistic speed right into his path, hitting his feet. He stopped, regarded the mouse, then remembered the Dot. It was so deliberate on her part, I can only wonder how often she does this when he's pestering her when I'm not home. It wouldn't be enough to stop his Dot obsession, but it might be enough to stop him from biting her head.

2/21

      Ah, yes, updating. It is an interesting concept.

      Star Wars Junk. And it is junk. I remember selling this crap back when I started working at Kay Bee Toys. Although most of it didn't sell until it hit the 4/$1 price point.
      Every big license in those days had key chains. How many keys does the average 6-year-old have?

      Scientist caught forging fossils, and there's no intelligence behind "Intelligent Design." Common theme? Science makes mistakes, but admits and then corrects them; Creationists make huge mistakes but keep claiming that the mistakes are the truth.

      Ebert's Unwritten Rules of the Oscars.

2/22

      I'm giving The News a rest. Try again in March. (There's always something going on in the comments, of course)

2/23

      As they said in the 70s, Eatin' ain't Cheatin' and Linkin' ain't Writin'.

      Hey, I just like Pizza Guy stories. Minneapolis' finest declaim on what's gotta be an occasionally well-paying, but otherwise super-duper crappy job.

      What killed the dinosaurs this week? Mold. You mean, 65 million years ago they had my refrigerator?

      Just don't expect much from me for the rest of this month.

2/25

      the Oscar nominees for best short. There are worse ways to waste an hour. We'll all have our opinions, and in mine, "Ryan" is best, followed by "Guard Dog" and "7:35 de la Manana" (watch it a second time, and it all makes perfect sense). "Gopher Broke" looks like something Pixar made, then wiped their butts with and flushed. "Little Terrorist" is the longest, and but-of-course, the only one without a single frame of interest. Skip it and only waste 40 minutes.

      Who's hot and who's a naked mole rat? Vote on the world's ugliest animals. (But if they're so ugly, how come they get hot animal sex from their own species?)
      

      


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