"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."
When I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said that I was long past the point where I cared about getting anything. When you've worked retail as long as I have, Xmas isn't something you celebrate, it's something that you survive.
And it's good that I feel that way, or else this would've been The Worst Christmas Ever. Not the actual day; I had a great time with the family. The few gifts I got were a little less than stellar.
I did get a big pile of Mom's home cooking, and that's always welcome. And I got some cash, but it's enough to gas my car for a month, so no big deal. I received a very generous Amazon gift certificate...and there's nothing that I can think of that I want to buy. But it expires in 18 months, so I imagine I'll find a use for it before then.
Usually, Mom gives me a calendar, but this year, I found the perfect one ("365 Cats"), so I asked to not get one. And I didn't. I got 2. And the one I chose myself I like better, so those'll go to the Salvation Army. There were gourmet cat treats, which looked remarkably like those corn starch packing peanuts. And which were greeted with the same level of enthusiasm from my kids (I left them overnight by the food bowl, and some were eaten, so I guess that it's not a total waste).
But I did get the one thing I asked for, and it's something that I've wanted for years. This year, it was finally cheap enough ($30) for me to not feel greedy asking for it: A digital weather station and atomic clock. I was puzzled by the weather sensor; they usually have a wire that hangs out the window, so that it give you the conditions outside. Which is pretty much the point; it's generally going to be 72 and dry indoors. This one doesn't have the wire, so I currently know the temperature on my window sill and on the top of my monitor. I think that I can find a fix for that by unscrewing the battery compartment just enough to loop some strong string through it, and then position it so it's just outside the window.
But an atomic clock! It doesn't have a chunk of cesium in it; there's a government radio signal tied to the official atomic clock that updates the time every 10 minutes, so that it never needs adjustment, or to be changed for daylight savings. And...I can't get the damn signal! So I set it manually using the atomic clock website. But it's not the same.
But I do have all that awesome food! Which I'd be digging into right now, if I haven't been puking all day from Young's Syndrome. Dinner was a tangerine and a can of Ensure. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Fucking Christmas!
A coworker gave the kids a toy. It's a ball with a little feathered rod on it; wind it up, and the ball rocks around and the rod flutters the feathers.
There they are, trying to sniff the feathers and getting lightly smacked in the face by them. I predicted at work that "The feathers will last about 5 minutes!" Actually, it took 15 minutes for the first one to get torn off, and another 15 for them all to get stripped off. Can you guess who was responsible for that? I'm sure that you can. He dragged it around the room by the feathers until they popped off. Now, of course, they don't want to play with it.
Oh well. Merry Catsmas, Happy Hannukat, and Happy...umm...Katwanzaa. Or, as they say in Spanish, Fleas Gnaw-my-dog.
It's always been hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. It became exponentionally harder a few years ago, when I'd drag myself up to go to work, and see a cat or two on the bed open an eye, then close it again, clearly saying "Give us a buzz when breakfast is served." Damn, but I wish I was a cat! But then who would be the Mommy? Another human, praying that he or she too was a pampered housecat.
Well, it was even harder this morning. I knew that all the violent puking, pooping and snotting from yesterday was going to reoccur. I really wanted to call out sick, but that would look too much like "Three-Day Weekend."
So I dutifully dry-heaved up blood, fed the cats, and went the 20 miles to work. And found out that another coworker had announced on Saturday that she was taking a 3-day weekend whether anyone liked it or not, and called out fake-sick today. Another guy there really wanted to leave, too, but had to stay because she was gone. After some more spitting of blood, I finally ralphed the entirety of my stomach tract. And I sure wanted to leave...but no, someone was playing hooky. (The other guy was sick, I think, in the "hangover" way. Myself, I get to puke enough that I don't go looking for other ways to do it)
I just plowed on, doing my job and running to the bathroom every so often. I eventually was told to go home, despite the fact I wasn't whining about my condition (whining only makes me think about it more). So I left a whole 2 hours early. I wanted to leave 6.5 hours early, but, you know, some self-centered person had better things to do.
Interesting new Syndrome thing! If you dry-heave for 4 days in a row, your lungs really ache when you breathe, right at the source of the broken-capillary blood-spitting!
I actually thought Sunday that the reason my atomic clock didn't receive its radio signal was because they close the station on Xmas. Oh sure right! The clock's a guy punching the decay of the cesium atom into a keyboard every 10 minutes and hitting "Send." Not getting a signal on Monday proved it just couldn't get the signal.
I checked it today, and it's not only working, it reset itself to the correct time! Cesium atoms must take holidays off, and get a comp day when they fall on Sundays.
I link to this every year: The Onion AV Club's Least Essential Albums. And I'll keep linking to it, darn you! Until it isn't amusing. It's entertaining even when you have no idea who the "artists" are.
Awesome! It's the William Shatner DVD of the Month Club!
Like me, you probably just did a spit-take with a mouthful of Romulan ale. But no, relax, he doesn't star in them, he (allegedly) personally picks them out.
I'm sure that thousands of people are at this moment sending Billy Shats their $48, just so that they can mock the movies. I'm tempted to join the stampede, but I've never been much of a joiner. And also...well, I'm guessing that the movies are direct-to-DVD crapola. Of the 3 listed on the site, I've never heard of 1, the other is a Sci-Fi Channel "exclusive" (the same people who brought you "Mansquito!"), and the other is "Ginger Snaps." I've only seen 1 review of that, but it was a pretty bad one.
Why are only 3 movies listed? Because of this feature:
Interesting, if largely useless, Facts of Science. Exactly what would one do with a hypnotized chicken, anyway? Tell it to act like a human?
Interesting, if largely useless, 100 things we didn't know this time last year. Via the BBC, so it's Anglocentric to the extreme: "The man who was the voice of one of the original Daleks, Roy Skelton, also did the voices for George and Zippy in Rainbow." George AND Zippy?! No way!
My New Year's resolution: To update every day of 2006!
And you roll your eyes. How shall I, the laziest man on Mars, actually manage such a feat? One astounding for me, yet so easily done by bloggers who give half a poop? Easy! Through the miracle of Cut & Paste!
One of those calendars I was gifted was "The 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said." The 2006 edition, so, really, not the stupidest ever. There was a link and password to get it daily in your email. Why you would want it on your desk and your desktop simultaneously, I don't know, unless you were donating the physical calendar to the Salvation Army, like me. (I tried to drop it off today, but they were closed and surrounded by a locked 8-foot-high chainlink fence. Apparently, people steal from the SalvArmy drop box. Which pretty much defines the word "pathetic")
So here goes. Hopefully they'll be worth reading. If they ain't, who cares, I can pretend that I'm adding content.
You are a Ragdoll! You are known for your laid
back attitude. You are the ultimate in
low-maintenance. You'd rather hang out around
the house all day than seek adventure.
What breed of cat are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Well, I was hoping for Domestic Shorthair, but the quiz is very haircentric. And no one would describe me as short-haired.
I've heard of Ragdolls, but I didn't know anything about them, beyond their name coming from them lying in your arms all loose like that seemingly boneless cat in old Peanuts comics.
"Ann had very strict breeding policies, which other breeders had to follow in order to get the kittens registered as 'real' Ragdolls. In time Ann also started to make very strange, if not downright amusing claims. For example she said that Ragdolls had human or raccoon genes, they were immune to pain and fear and they were the last link between humans and space aliens!" Hey, that's my type o' kitty!
I watched a couple of well-reviewed documentaries over the weekend. I like docs about eccentrics and animals, so one about an eccentric animal lover, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, was ideal. Actually, it was boring. The birds have individual personalities, at least to the guy who feeds them daily for years. The only one who had more personality than "bites my ear when she wants more seed" was the only one in the flock from a different species. Beyond that--well, at the 2/3rds point I took a nap. Exactly how long can you watch a guy feed birdseed to parrots? You think that there's going to be an actual conflict (what they call in fiction a "plot") when the guy's threatened with homelessness and no one will care for the birds--he says "It's okay! The birds can take care of themselves!" And they do! So...who cares? I have no idea why this got so many good reviews. And by the end, all I could think of was how it must suck to live near a flock of parrots. Their endless shrieking makes the cacaphony of crows sound absolutely melodious.
A type of documentary I don't like is anything involving sports. But, again, I gave into the great reviews of Murderball, coming from sources as far apart in taste as Ebert and Hitch!'s Rod Lott. The sport is wheelchair rugby. “Mad Max wheelchairs,” as we’re told early. The rules: get 2 wheels over the goal line, and smash the fuck out of whoever else tries to do that. But the sport is secondary to the film. It’s really about the personality clash between 2--well, assholes, but no bigger assholes than any pro athletes are. One is an American, the other an ex-teammate who went over to coach their archrivals, Team Canada. An entire fictional movie could’ve been based on either of them. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s exciting, it’s inspiring, it’s depressing, all at once. There are fascinating “subplots” involving the Canadian coach’s young son, whose type-A dad wants to follow in his tiretracks (but who would rather play the viola), and the long-delayed reunion between the American player and his high school best friend, the guy who accidentally (but drunkenly) was responsible for his broken spine, with unexpected personal growth by the end. And they’re both contrasted with a young man newly stuck in a wheelchair. The only really upsetting part is actually very brief: At the end, the American team shows their stuff to an obviously broken-spirited group of recently maimed Iraq War soldiers, all very, very young. Bush will leave us with a very big pool of potential wheelchair rugby players...
So, I give it a very high rating. Okay, I’m a bit biased. If I’d had a different pediatrician, my juvenile rheumatoid arthritis might’ve left me in a chair. From age 2 until now, and until my death.
Happy New Years, 2000 BC! "The Festival of Drunkenness was not a social occasion for them," said Betsy Bryan, who led the dig. "People did not come to enjoy themselves. They drank to enter an altered state." Jeez, that's like every New Years party I ever went to.
Man, in the current "The President can spy on anyone because...um...err...he's the fuckin' PREZDINT, man!!" climate, it's unnerving to see a hit on my counter from the Pentagon. And from a Google search. My greatest amount of Google hits come from "animal fuckers" (oh, great, now I'll just get more! Let me make it "Animal fuckers? They're GRRREAT!" so I get hits from lunatics wanting to see Tony the Tiger butt-bang Count Chocula). Then I go to check the other counter, the one that actually gives the links to search requests, and it's offline. The Pentagon is after me! I check an hour later, and find that they were searching for "penn teller submarine trick secret".
What?! You can't find out what happened on a broadcast TV show 2 months ago? No wonder you halfwits thought that there were WMDs in Iraq! And, you know, here it is: They lifted the sub out of the water with 3 helicopters. Maybe now you can stop Googling, and get some fucking armor to the people DYING over there?!
Note to self: In future, check chair Byron sleeps on when I'm not home for big piles of pukieness before sitting.
I was never a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist. The most common theory always seemed to the most unlikely: "The Gummint kilt him!" I'd say that a president who was screwing Marilyn and smoking pot in the White House could've been brought down pretty easily by publicizing those facts in 1963. He would've spent the rest of his first term defending himself, and then lose the election to Goldwater or Nixon in 64. Remember, the biggest block to his election was that he was a Catholic, and was going to sign the USA over to the Pope (seriously, that's what the crazed rightwingers believed back then). The ridiculous claim that the CIA offed him because he was against the Viet Nam War--well, that's like claiming Lincoln was killed because he wanted to bring slavery back. It's not just untrue, it's nuts. And they killed him so that Johnson could escalate the war, and then just let him retire? Makes no sense.
I've always said (and by "always," I mean "for about 30 years") that the only believable conspiracy was if the Castro killed Kennedy. Why? Oh, that whole "invade his country and repeatedly try to assassinate him and nearly start World War III over the Cuban Missile Crisis" things. Why wouldn't he want to kill JFK? I soon discovered that liberal theorists wanted JFK to be killed by the government and not by Commies, and that conservatives, who would've wanted him killed by Commies, didn't want to believe he was killed by anyone but the Commie-loving Oswald. Myself, I went with the "lone crazy man" theory, and only posited my "Mad Castro" theory to shut up people with other, more illogical theories.
I've always thought that the real question was "Why did they cover up the assassination?" After the Russians backed down on the Missile Crisis, Castro wouldn't have trusted them. So the Cubans did it on their own. When JFK was killed, the US and USSR intelligence services would've figured it out pretty quick. I imagine the Soviets figured it out first. And if it was announced, on either side, that the Dirty Commies killed the President...global thermonuclear war would've occured within not weeks, but days or hours of the announcement. Would either side of the Iron Curtain have thought that avenging Kennedy's death would be worth giving over the rule of the planet to the radioactive cockroaches?
I'm sure we'll never know, but there's a new book that agrees with my half-baked theories. Although it apparently makes the weird claim that the story was covered up because the Democrats thought that it'd lose them the presidency, which happened anyway. While that's the type of thinking that embodies the Bush 2 years, I still hold that "mass extermination of all higher life forms" would be a bigger motivator.
Funny, until you think about the implications: Is Bush "clearing brush," or back on the bottle? "Ask yourself: how many people--not just among those you know or have heard of--in the history of the world have physically hurt themselves on a fucking pretzel? And that's not Michael Moore saying that. That's Bush, himself! He choked on a pretzel and wound up with a large bruise and a scrape on his left cheekbone, and a bruise on his lower lip.
"A Sunday morning, your teenage kid shows up at the breakfast table looking like that, and you believe that sorry ass story?"
My mother commented on the Pretzel Incident, referring to the fact that Bush said his dogs didn't react to it: "The only way a dog is going to ignore you falling to the floor and passing out is because it's seen it happen too many times to think it's unusual anymore."
Speaking of Dear Leader, this year's tax cut for everyone kicked in this paycheck--this year, I got a whole extra 48 cents a week! I'll bet that the owners of Wal-Mart got at least a dollar! Each!
Okay, Stupidest Calendar, you're just pulling things out of your ass now:
Game show host Bob Eubanks: Name a famous crustacean.
Man: Russell Crowe.
I guess I should've linked to this last night when I read it, as opposed to today, when it's kinda pointless. It's all over the web. At any rate, here's an interesting (and long) refutation of a best-selling "autobiography" that turned out to be either exagerrated or fake: A Million Litle Lies, the Man Who Conned Oprah. The fact that he initially shopped the book to publishers as fiction should've been the tip-off. Although if Oprah had seen the mugshot of this vicious drug addict, I think she herself might've been suspicious. He looks like the worst crime he ever committed was altering his golf scorecard.
Judging from the examples of his Writing, his worst Crime was needlessly Capitalizing random Words.
Job applicant: Does robbing one count?
I was cleaning, and something unusual happened (well...not as unusual as me cleaning, but still unusual). A beetle-like insect, about the size of a few grains of rice, scampered away. It was black and an iridescent color I didn't quite catch, as I couldn't catch it. It burrowed away from me.
The unusual part is that what I was cleaning was the litter box. It disappeared into the litter when I tried to scoop it up and throw it in the toilet, and after 3 minutes of pointlessly shifting after it, it was still in there. Down there. At the bottom of the litter, I assume.
What the hell lives in a litter box? And why would it? I can't imagine that there's a grand buffet going on down there. Maybe it lays its eggs in cat poop. But litter's a dessicant. Wouldn't the bug be unable to breathe, and the larvae be dried to husks as soon as they were born? (Which they won't be, unless they're born in the sewer system after I flush the dried shit) How does this bug live in Connecticut, which is hardly litter box-like in climate? Something that lives in sandy dessicant, maybe it'd thrive under the sands of the Great Salt Lake, but it's a long commute from Utah to Hartford.
What I need is a very, very small Paul Muad'Dib, to ride any sandworms that may try to spice up the litterbox.
I decided to have a tuna sandwich for dinner. Once that can opener cranks and that smell begans to waft, the kids will eagerly run over to me. And then they sat there, quietly and patiently, while I squeezed the tuna water into their bowls. No screaming or pawing my legs or simply jumping up on the kitchen counter and jamming a face in it like they do with every other human food they get. I placed both bowls on the floor, and they sniffed them as if enjoying the bouquet of a fine wine. Whoops, I thought, I put the bowls too close to the refrigerator door--it'll hit their butts when I get the mayonnaise. So I moved the bowls less than a foot. They both stood where they were, glancing at each other as if to say "What should we do?" They didn't move, unsure as to who, if either, should move lest the bowls become further from reach, until I gave them each a pet. They'll knock each other over for Fancy Feast sometimes, but they treated their favorite food as if it was a gift from God, worthy of the greatest respect, before they dared eat it.
Then they were like pigs at a trough, of course.
My webhost is going to migrate my site to a new server today, so if you're not reading this, that's why.
I got home tonight and fed the kids their wet food. Killsy, as is her wont, jumped on a nearby scratching box and licked her lips. Suddenly, as if saying "I forgot I had something to tell you!" she meowed quite urgently. Despite her seeming alarm, I asked if she wanted me to use the backscratcher on her. She glanced at it, then me, so I took it as a yes. She immediately ran to the bathroom. I tried to scratch her, but she kept walking in short, quick circles around my legs. Finally, she looked at the litter box and agitatedly "Meow-YEOW!"ed again. I took the cover off and scooped the nastiness out of it, although it was no dirtier than it is at the end of any workday before I've cleaned it. She started sniffing and poking at it with great wide eyes, and then I realized that both her cries were the same as her emergency "There's a BUG in here!" hunting call.
So she saw the litter box beetle, too.
I scooped and scooped, but the wretched thing must still have been buried in there. I think that I'll buy new litter tomorrow, before Litter Box Megalon makes his appearance. Killsy would make a poor Godzilla, although Byron might fill the role of Jet Jaguar.
It's not just Bush who's making the world hate America, it's Americans. Y'know, I'm always polite to help center people (and not just because of this classic site)--why would you want to piss off the person who could solve the problem that's the only reason YOU'RE CALLING THEM FOR?!
Booing Blue Cola—super brain panic
--Japanese brands of gum
If, for some reason unknown to the faculties of humankind, you've actually wanted to read the recipes in the InExOb The Ground Meat Cookbook, here's your chance. It even has it's own domain, meatbook.com!
(I have my own copy, and I have no idea why anyone felt the need to post this to the world)
Clowns are scary!
...Mind you, that painting in the back ain't exactly rocking me to sleep either.
Vomiting?! Look out world, I'm going to be a STAR! I'm ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille! (I'll be in the bathroom)
Young's Syndrome has become commonplace enough that this afternoon, while hunched over the toilet loudly and painfully turning my stomach inside out, I mentally prepared tomorrow's grocery list. "HOO-WAAALP paper towels ARRRGH cat litter BLEAAARGH shampoo, forgot shampoo last week BLORRGGHH..."
I watched Millions. It's a true crowd-pleasing ride for the whole family! There are so many smiles, it should be called "Smilellions"! You'll want to watch it Millions of times, so you should buy this DVD right now--as it doesn't cost MILLIONS!
Sorry about that.
But you really should give it a rent. A pair of young English kids find a bag with 2 million pounds in it, but the money is stolen, and soon the robber turns up to reclaim it. Sounds pretty predictable from that synopsis, but it never goes anywhere you expect it to. Both kids are precocious, the older one cynical and a bit avaricious, and the younger one a bit religious. Okay, he's so religious that he has regular visions of saints. But the child actors are utterly believable as kids. And it looks utterly gorgeous, with lots of inventive camerawork and lighting effects. And it's funny--not laugh-out-loud funny, but consistently amusing. It never hits a wrong note, and that's rare in even a really good movie. It's also endorsed by the patron saint of television.
If you were wondering why I was being more obnoxious than usual at the beginning of that last bit, read the 2005 Quote Whore Awards. These are the "film critics" who give overblown, overexcited positive reviews to even the most gourd-awful movies. Why? For money and free "press junkets" (ie, paid vacations). They're so shameless that not only will some give enthusiastic reviews to movies that every other critic despised, they'll gush glowingly over movies they haven't even seen. If you see a print ad for a movie and the "GREATEST EVER!" quote is in a font 32 times larger than the unreadable nanotype they use for the critic's name, don't go see it. That's just a whore quoting.
I watched the supposedly so-bad-it's-funny movie Road House last night. It was so bad, it was funny! Not a gut-buster like King Kong Lives, but so few bad movies are.
It reminded me very quickly of an internet Mary Sue fanfic, with its Hero so instantly beloved by the good guys and feared and hated by the no-redeeming-features-at-all bad guys. A fanfic written by a 14-year-old boy, with the tiniest grasp on how the real world works, and a belief that he can make his story seem gritty by gratuitously using as much profanity, violence and bouncing-boob nudity as he can. The profanity he got from his friends in the locker room, the violence from playing "Mortal Kombat" at the arcade (The Hero even has a finishing move, which is barehandedly ripping people's throats out...How do you do that, without 6-inch fingernails?), and the sexy sexxx from sneaking out of bed at 1AM to watch his parent's Cinemax.
It's just ridiculous--he's a world famous bouncer? How does that become world famous? But he is--"That's Dalton!" every good guy estactically sighs. He does get the shit beaten out of him, but only for seconds at a time. You can visualize his health bar filling up green at the top of the arcade game. In true Mary Sue style, he's not just the world's greatest bouncer (and too modest to say so--he lets everyone else stand around and praise him), he's also a philosophy major! Example of philosophy: "In a fight, nobody wins." Well, I guess that the guy whose throat you ripped out proves that, Socrates. He promises to clean up a bar so violent that the band hides behind chickenwire, and where they "sweep up the eyeballs after every night." It's a west Missouri town that makes Detroit look like Celebration, Florida. It has bloody mass fights nightly, is home to drug dealers, and the only beer is probably High Life (but in bottles--to add that touch of class, and to break over heads). Every bit of furniture gets smashed during the daily brawls, but I guess the overhead is low as all of it seems to be made of balsa wood. And he cleans it up to the point where the SuperRich jet down in their limos and tuxes and the place is entirely remodeled and even the chickenwire comes down, and he apparently does this in THREE WHOLE DAYS. And he has sex with the hot chick (who's a doctor, despite looking to be about 23 years old) within hours of meeting her, as he's so sensitive 'n' deep 'n' shit 'n' barely talks 'n' the writer's 14.
Oh, and she's the ex of the Evil Bad Guy. When Hero rents a room above a ramshackle barn in a run-down old horse farm, a hundred feet away is the palatial mansion of--Evil Bad Guy! EBG has the whole town in his pocket, and runs a protection racket. Not a very intelligent protection racket, given that there seems to be about 6 businesses in town, and he destroys 3 of them. Maybe he "owns the sheriff," but after the third act of total public destruction with witnesses (in one case, hundreds of cheering witnesses), and after the second building that he explodes...you'd think that the state police or the FBI would check in. No, he's that powerful! Not enough to get Hero arrested after the throat-ripping murder, however.
(If you're wondering why there were hundreds of cheering witnesses, it's because one of the bad guys drives, as his "Just gonna go down to the general store for some Red Man chaw, honey" vehicle, a fucking monster truck. And one of the good guys runs a car dealership; as to what happens next, connect your own dots)
I could keep going on, but anything else I could add was covered 17 years ago in Roger Ebert's review. Here's the IMDB list of Road House quotes, although almost every line in this crapfest will either make you laugh or shake your head in disbelief. They left out my favorite: "Do you think Evil Bad Guy did it?" "Does a hobbyhorse have a wooden dick?" I think that would depend on how perverted the local Toys R Us is...but in this town, yes, the horsey probably does. And Raggedy Ann likes to get drunk and topless.
Yesterday it was in the 30s; today, it hit the low 60s. Ahh, another lovely day of global warming! Enjoy it before the Tipping Point soon comes, and we enter the next Ice Age.
Yes, quite lovely. Well, there was also the torrential, flooding rain. Oh, and the 30-40MPH sustained winds with 60MPH gusts. Driving to work was like a game of dodgeball between the downed branches in the road. At one point, I saw everybody ahead of me hit their brakes, so I slowed down and squinted. I thought, "I don't see anything in the road--HOLY SHI--" WHAP!
There wasn't anything in the road. My windshield got hit, right at eye level, by a dangling power line. It went right over my roof, but, crimeny, that's an eyeopener I never hope to see again.
I have a habit of not linking to Cool Sites when I've seen them on either a)more than one site on the same day, or b)on popular reads like bOING bOING or Scalzi's By The Way. But not everybody reads those, and this is one of those sites so great that I've come to look forward to it every day: Cute Overload. No need to describe it further, except that it's much less "manufactured cuteness" like Hello Kitty, than it is widdle fuzzy aminals bein' all silly, yes day DO!!! Also good for you non-cat freaks who like the big smelly dumb dogs. As there are big smelly dumb dogs being cute, too.
My email is now billsplut*gmail.com. Not because of some inherent coolness in Google mail, but because fastmail now SUX. About 6 months ago, some evil eBay seller sold my email address to some PayPal phishers, who in turn sold it to the usual crop of viagra merchants and Nigerians. The spam filters are terrible--in fact, on the free version, there aren't any. So it's just a matter of me moving a few MLs I'm on before my fastmail account is gone, gone, gone.
I had an extra day off this week, as a month ago I lost a day off the week before Christmas. Nice timing--it was 55 degrees out. I went to the state park, expecting it to be a bog of mud from all the rain and snowmelt we've had. Squishy in parts, and with downed trees from the recent windstorm, but otherwise, quite fine. I was the only person there not wearing a winter coat. I know that it's January, but if it was 55 in September, you wouldn't wear one.
A little blonde girl, about 4, was with her enormously pregnant mother. The child carried a "walking stick," an amusingly thin branch that would've broken under even her minimal weight. She immediately asked me, "Is this your house?"
"No, but I sure wish it was! Wouldn't it be nice to have a house here, with all these woods to walk in?"
She pondered that, then sparkled "Yeah!" and went on her way, chattering nonstop.
As I'm sure we've all done, I dropped off a balky credit card machine at the UPS Store. My day off, but I was doing store work anyway (there's one just up the road from me, and dropping it off saved the store $10). I went next door to continue my vain search for a pet store that sells loose bird feathers. I went "awwww!" at the squeaky baby guinea pigs. I used to have piggies.
I made the least essential trip to the grocery store ever (Ben & Jerry's was on sale), and outside was a store worker doing the least essential chore ever, vaccuuming the sidewalk. With a shopvac, so he was on his knees pressing the hose over each lil bit of crap. Y'know, even if the store needed a pristine sidewalk, a push broom would've done the same job in 1% of the time. Maybe they were trying to get him to quit, so that they didn't have to fire him and pay him unemployment? (That happened to me 25 years ago--I was working a self-serv gas station, a new manager was hired, and he wanted to hire his do-nothing friend in my place. He made me sweep the parking lot. Actually, he had me sweep the breakdown lane of the busiest road in town. I did it, and the next day I was collecting unemployment. So I won. Shitty person to work for anyway)
Then I took Byron to the garage for some playtime. Kill Kill then finally dragged herself from the bed long enough to eat some aluminum foil. She then ran to bathroom and puked it up. She's so like her mother! Now, I think I'll watch a movie. Sure, it was an unexciting day. I like unexciting days. I hope my days remain excitement-free for as long as I live.
Well, besides excitement like Godzilla: Final Wars, the latest and supposedly last of the Mean Green's movie series. Each of the latest movies have all been reboots; a new writer and director keeps or disposes of as much continuity as they want, and come up with a new one. They've been, eh, okay, better than the series that started with Godzilla 1985, anyway. This one takes the track that none of them have taken, and the one that I definitely would've, had I been making them: assume EVERY Toho kaiju movie "is true." It starts with the 60s TohoScope title card, shows a wrecked maser tank, and then Godzilla--the 1954 Godzilla, with the lil' chihuahua ears--being attacked by the flying submarine/battleship Atragon. Fucking ATRAGON! Can we get more obscurely self-referential?
YES. Godzilla gets buried in Antartica, and we flash forward to an alternate future where the endless monster attacks have united the world under the UN for protection. A rather creepy UN, as all their clothes seem to have been bought at Fascist Bug. Then, Atragon fights Monda. You know, the big snake that went after Moscow in Destroy All Planets! Then it becomes clear that this IS Destroy All Planets, as every monster Toho ever used comes out of storage to destroy everywhere from Tokyo to New York to Sydney to Vancouver (which, oddly, does not get destroyed--did they cut that scene?), using every rubber suit they could find: stars like Rodan, Anguiras, the Peanut Twins, and "Who?"s like Gorasaurus, the floppy-eared Muppet King Caesar, that big lobster from Godzilla vs the Sea Monster, that grasshopper who I don't even think had a name...They even bring in Gorath. Which isn't a monster, it's a big flaming planet about to smack into the Earth. Dang, it's Trivial Pursuit: Toho Edition! And there's the usual alien bodysnatchers, who have invaded Earth for the most cliched of reasons and 30 minutes of aliens fighting human mutants a la The Matrix, and then you think "Hey, where'd them monsters go?" until you realize that Godzilla hasn't been seen since the first 5 minutes! Then Godzilla is freed to fight the aliens, and they send monsters, some of which (especially the copyright-infringing first one!) are too funny to name. And it's the best Japanese monster movie EVER, but then the last 40 minutes is one goddamn repetitive fistfight (starring a guy so channelling Sgt Slaughter that you want to bark "GO JOE!") and which just...never...ends. But when it ends, you get a totally goofy ending straight out of the 60s movies.
If you love you some kaiju, totally rent this. Just make sure that the pizza arrives right as Atragon crashes into the alien ship, as you really don't need to pay attention to what happens next.
I went to do the real grocery shopping today, and that same guy was using that same shop vac to vaccuum that same slab of sidewalk...Over the last couple of days I'd decided that, since he was not that far from the bottle return, maybe somebody dropped an empty bottle and he was getting the broken glass. But I was there today at the exact same time of day as Friday. Maybe it's performance art.
Don't buy life insurance from Life Partners Inc.
I talked to Jessica for the first time in a while (due to the cats pulling the phone card out of my answering machine a couple of months ago). She was excited about her new job.
"I'm transcribing records of mammograms!"
"That sounds kinda boring."
"I work 2 hours a day and it pays $40 an hour."
And she can work from home if she wants...How come I can't get a job like that?
I missed a week of Oddball Comics, and it turned out to be a great one: an old Superboy comic. The first 2 stories are ridiculous enough, with the lame explanation as to why flying disembodied arms are punching Superboy (although I suppose that it'd be hard to come up with a good reason), and another involving Mr Mxyplt...whatever. You know, the little elf with magic powers who could only be defeated by reading his unpronounceable name aloud backwards. And the moron did it every time! How do you not recognize a dozen letter nonsense word before you read it aloud? Wouldn't he just learn not to say any word Superboy/man writes? Especially if it begins with "K"? Sorry, but I read those comics when I was a little kid, and they insulted my intelligence even then.
But, woo! Check out that last story! It makes Tod Holton look like the Watchmen. The least retarded part is when Krypto the Superdog disguises his "secret identity" by putting on Clark Kent glasses. The description leaves out something that I read in that classic, The World's Worst Comics, which is the group's team cheer: "Big dog, big dog, BOW WOW WOW! We'll crush evil, NOW NOW NOW!" Yep. It's that good.
Speaking of bad comics, I've you've ever accidentally read "Dullard Fillmore," you'll appreciate Gipper the GOP Talking Points Duck.
Speaking of jokes...this is one...right? A joke, right? Say it ain't so, Boojie Boy!
Every year I link to the sardonic majesty of the Buffalo Beast's 50 Most Loathsome People in America. Viciously funny, because it's so accurate.
The main reason I'm dumping my fastmail.fm email is because of the daily (multiple times daily) PayPal phishing emails. I realize that if you send out a million emails and if only one person in a million is stupid enough to fall for it, you've made your money for the day. But, seriously--how much thought did this one take?
Not as funny as previous years, but still worth reading: the 101 dumbest moments in Business, 2005.
Model sues Spamalot over... well, I'm not really sure. I can say that I saw a picture like that when I after I left the play, although, like most people, I was more interested in the Killer Rabbit next to it. This one picture (that you'd have to crane your neck to see--I actually only saw it reflected in the 2nd floor windows of the restaurant across the street, Sardi's or something) has caused her "great anxiety of mind, humiliation and mortification," according to her lawsuit. Wow...she's quite sensitivious! For a model. Who's mortified by a Broadway show making millions. I wonder if this is THE most mortifying shoot she's ever done...excluding the ones she did for people who made thousands.
I was mortified when my mother picked the wrong door to stand at before the musical's opening! Sure, I could sue my mother--but she's not making millions! I sue PLANET EARTH for allowing a New York City to exist!! What with its tectonic platey moving and retreating Ice Age glaciers leaving weird little islands like Manhattan! And the Dutch and those Indians and that bunch of beads! And not leaving me ONE SINGLE LIVE DINOSAUR!
Mortified, I am. I'll settle for a few trillion dollars. Hey, Earth can afford that!
And I also want a Triceratops!
Didn't Bush say "They misunderestimated me!" first?
Russia plans to build a base on the Moon to mine Helium 3, which will create enough energy for the entire world, assuming that they want to share it with the oil-addicted parts of the planet.
Meanwhile, George Bush plans to waste billions on a 25-year-old unworkable "Star Wars defense" against terrorist ICBMs that don't exist.
Another one of those great year's-end lists that I annually link to, The Top 10 Project Censored News Stories of 2005. Warning: May make you very, very angry.
If you've read enough liberal blogs, you're at least dimly aware of conservative columnist/professional nepotist Jonah Goldberg, the "Doughy Pantload" who's all rah-rah for the Iraq Disaster, but who claimed he couldn't sign up and fight there because he's 35 and married with kids, boo-hoo. As no one who is currently serving/dying in Iraq is married and has kids.
His deep thinkings about stuffs reaches as far as how those dumb stupid people on the Titanic died because they were so stupidly dumb that they didn't throw heavy pieces of furniture overboard and sail home on them. Yeah, and it sounds like shit to an actual scientist, too. Even the part about how he thought that everyone should've just smeared themselves with lard.
I just watched a few episodes of Batman. No, not that one. Or that or that one, either. This was Batman's first screen appearance, in a 1943 serial.
I kind of like serials, although I don't seek them out. I was surprised to find out that this was on DVD. I heard about it as a kid and fan of the Batman TV show. While I don't remember where I heard about it, I know that it was when it was shown as "An Evening with Batman and Robin," the whole serial run as one 4-hour block. This happened in mid-60s New York at the hands of Andy Warhol; it launched "camp" (what today we'd call "so bad it's good" or "MST3K"), and then, somewhat indirectly, led to the campy TV show.
Old 40s serials are odd things. They're alternately funny and stupid and boring, although each episode is only 15-20 minutes long. This one was helped--if that's the word--by the baggy, cheap Batman suit and Robin's weird hair. There is no Batmobile, which actually makes a bit of sense. How hard could it be to find out who the guy is when he drives an enormous rocket-powered tank through the streets of a major city? Unfortunately, Alfred is a comic-relief buffoon, which means that he is never comic, and the only relief comes when he goes offscreen.
It's from WWII, so, yeah, we get some bonus racism, as the bad guy is a Dirty Jap. In the opening narration, we get this gem about a street called "Little Tokyo," as to why it's now utterly depopulated: because "a wise government rounded up all the shifty-eyed Japs" and threw a bunch of innocent people into internment camps. Interesting reflection on life in those times. The only business left on the street is a "Japanese Cave of Horrors," a thrill ride with wax dummies dressed as Nip soldiers pointing their guns at attractive white people. But it's really the secret HQ of DOCTOR DAKA, an evil Nip his own self! The irony! (And played by a man with the not-very-Japanese name of J. Carrol Naish, as all the real shifty-eyes were in camps, and who has the worst Asian accent ever. Worse than SCTV's Dave Thomas doing Yin Lee Tang, and who was trying to be awful)
I realize that there was a war on--a real war, one about the fate of humanity, rather than a big fake one designed to accentuate Halliburton's bottom line. But if there was a fictional movie about Iraq made today, I doubt that it would immediately involve "radium guns" and "electro-zombies." Dr Daka kidnaps some guy for some reason, who by Amazing Coincidence is the uncle of Bruce Wayne's secretary. Daka wears lots of pancake makeup, some fake eyebrows, and a lovely shade of lipstick, as I guess all Japs do. He commands his fearsome army of Electro-Zombies, who wear colanders on their heads and whose level of menace is a tad reduced by them all being paunchy men in their 50s. And the fact that Daka orders them around with what looks like a Mr Microphone. "I know what this party needs--Electro-Zombies! Hey, good lookin', we'll be back to zombify you LATER!"
There are lots of fight scenes, which is where the serials get boring. The fight choreography is clearly "Go punch each other," and that's it. When the script calls for you to be knocked out with one punch, you do; but it usually consists of everyone getting a punch to the face every second with no ill effects. And being beaten unconscious with a sap or monkey wrench? You'd think that it'd lead to brain damage, but no, you shake that off in just enough time to jump out of the way of the speeding train. The fights are so uncoordinated that in one, Batman flips his cape out of the way, but it instead flaps directly over his face. He flips the cape back, and it falls off. Of course, a second later it's attached again. The continuity is so bad that they show this again in the next episode.
And the bad guys want to get their radium gun back, but Batman has it, so he ingeniously decides to trap them by putting a lost&found notice about it in the paper. But the crafty Nip is too crafty for him--the notice says to arrive at 10PM, so he plans to arrive at 9! And Batman decides to arrive at 9, too! And there's another stumblebum fistfight with people tripping over the furniture. Then the bad guys drink sake (which is black), and one bad guy decides to loudly tell Daka that now he's a Patriotic American, so let him leave or he'll blast you full of holes! I, personally, would've announced my turncoating to the police or FBI, and not my evil Jap boss. Daka says that the former bad guy can now leave. "That's the kind of answer that fits the color of your skin!" says the guy (for you recently-joined bigots, that would be "yellow"), which is yet another thing I wouldn't say to my evil ex-employer. Especially while standing on the trapdoor to the gator pit.
Big change of tone: Remember the picture of the Iraq War's "Marlboro Man"? Who the right wing used as a heroic image of Bush The Magnificent's War?
Ever wonder what happened to him? It's what's going to happen to an entire generation of troops that so-called patriots are "supporting".
Three things I forgot to mention about "Batman 1943" yesterday:
1) It's called "the Bat's Cave." As you'd expect in a no-budget serial, it's made of papier mache. But it's also exactly one wall of papier mache, with a regular office desk in front of it. Oh, and the shadows of some fake bats on strings comically waved in front of some very bright lights.
2) When Batman leaves captured criminals for his friend on the police force,
Commissioner Gordon Captain Arnold, the crooks have little bat-shaped temporary tattoos on their foreheads. Actually, they look more like they're made of rubber, or possibly they're licorice, a delicious treat that's low in fat and high in fiber and sticks to foreheads with the application of a bit of spit. It's really odd. No one says "They have the Mark of the BAT!" or, in fact, even acknowledges their existence. Was this something that Batman did in his first few years of fictional existence?
3) The bad guy is named Doctor Daka, which is distracting, as the narrator calls him "Dr Daka" or "Daka" and he pronounces "Doctor" and "Daka" the same. Also, Daka's first name is the very Japanese sounding "Tito."
The Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (well...it sounds better than "Japs," doesn't it?) sends a sub with a package for Daka Doctor. It's a coffin with a dead body in it. "A body, yes," says Dr Detroit, "but dead, not so much!" This is actually imaginative: He has the ability to raise the dead for a brief moment, so the Hello Kitty part of the Axis Powers uses a corpse as a dead carrier pigeon. The cold soldier wakes up, and the suspense is unbearable--is he Dr Tito Daka's brother Jermaine? No, his uniform does not have colorful enough epaulets. He reanimates long enough to say that all the information they need is in a button on his uniform. So, couldn't they have just sent a box with some buttons in it?
As part of the backwards communications technology race between Japan and America, the Gummint sends an assignment to Bruce Wayne. Using the Bat Signal? The Bat Phone? No, the Bat Mail. They send him a letter, right to his mansion, as no time can be wasted so, hey, use the post office, they never deliver anything late. Wayne pours some caustic mix of boiling chemicals on it to read the invisible ink. Sort of like putting invisible ink on toilet paper, then peeing on it and reading it as it flushes.
Of course, both messages say "Go and get the Experimental Plane." The bad guy electro-zombies get there first, and "They steal it, but plain is...BATMAN!" Whuh? No, there's not a skip in the audio. The narrator meant to say "but on the plane is Batman!" but he fucked up and they didn't fix it. The plane crashes and explodes at the end of the chapter--so how did Batman escape this certain doom? Usually, he jumps out at the last minute. This time, he survives by the plane slamming into the ground and bursting into flames, killing everyone on board--except him. Yes, he survives by not dying.
Remember the submarine? It's chased by destroyers, so it escapes by sticking its periscope up right in front of them. When they're instantly spotted, the commander of this surprisingly roomy sub yells "CRASH DIVE!" which I guess he should've said in Japanese, as the only other crewmember surfaces the sub in front of a US ship that splatters it like
"Another disaster caused by THE BATMAN!" fumes Dr Daktari, although not really, it was the retards on his own sub.
A thing that probably would only amuse me was that every time the niece saw Robin in his civilian identity, she'd say "HI, DICK!" I started responding with "Hello yourself, asshole!" or "Yo, bitch!" or "MUTHAFUCKAAAAAH!" It takes so little to entertain me, I know.
Out of the blue comes some dumb hick who knows the kidnapped uncle of the niece who knows Bruce Wayne, and, why, he's just done found him this here radium mine! You know, the kind that makes the stuff Evil Asians use in their Radium Guns! It's very close to being a bit of a coincidence.
And, of course, Daka Daddy finds out, and there's fistfights, and Batman gets knocked unconscious on the floor of a chemical plant--oh, wait! They got Batman there by simply anonymously phoning up their stupid victim and telling him to meet them alone in the middle of nowhere. This arouses no suspicion, despite the fact that this is the THIRD time in SIX chapters that they've fooled some idiot secondary character this way. I expect the 2nd disc of the serial to involve Batman racing to a giant cannery and discovering that they have Prince Albert suffocating in a giant can, and then being attacked by several running refrigerators.
With Batman unconscious on the floor--yes, again, it happens at least once a chapter--the crooks yell "We'd better get out of here before THAT [points] liquid hitsTHIS [points] wire!" with said fuming acidic liquid inches away from the aforementioned exposed wire with sparks a-flying. Dude--less pointing, more running. The liquid hits the fan, explodes in flames, and the entire roof collapses directly on top of Batman.
How does he escape? The acid, the sparks, the explosion, the fire, the collapsing roof?
They all miss. Admit it. Your writers aren't even trying.
Well, it's February, the shortest month and the one that most people in New England pronounce as if they don't know how many Rs it has ("Feb'wry" is popular). And soon, the middle of the month will come, and with it, one of my fav'rite holidays! You know the one--
John Frum Day!
I've tried to restrain some of my more annoying posting obsessions. When was the last time I posted any news about Dawn Wells, or monkeys? A long time. You Mary Ann and chimp haters. But, hey, it's John Frum Day on the 15th, so here's this year's link to the inevitable Cargo Cult article, from this month's Smithsonian. The last line is the best.
Hey, howza bout that State of the Union speech! Freedom, terror, 9/11, ownership society/destroy some social program that helps people, liberty, everyone who can't goosestep just right's goin' to the secret prisons we don't have! I didn't hear it, but I'll bet I nailed the major points.
Since NPR was broadcasting the Dribbling Idiot's Voice-I-Can-No-Longer-Stand-To-Hear, I switched to WJMJ's evening classical program. They played a very fast piece, which was oddly punctuated by some very high-pitched, Minnie Mouse-on-helium vocals. While I've heard some modern classical pieces that use techniques like that, I've never heard anything like it on the Catholic Archdioscese station!
They're the last station in the state that still plays LPs. And when the ultra-soprano's notes above high C abruptly slowed down to a pitch that wasn't making dogs howl, it was obvious that they'd been playing this LP at 45RPM, not 33.
That's not so much a funny story as a cultural artifact: "And it may be the last time anyone ever hears that happen on the radio ever again."
The 100 Best First Lines from Novels. I've read exactly one. There are several that I started, and gave up on. Many...I've never even heard of. Some English major I turned out to be.
Spider-man, Dr. Moreau and a werewolf watch the State of the Union Address.
Also, if you have an opinion on salsa, please add it to the Comments. Yes, I know that there are more important things in the world to worry about. I just want some good salsa before Armageddon arrives.
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush’s response to the crises and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf. January 31, 1991, letter from Senator John Kerry to the same constituent
--January 31, 1991, letter from Senator John Kerry to the same constituent
"While you're wasting time considering context and relevant factors, lesser minds are beating you to the Submit button."
While I laughed at that, I would've thought that the Stupidest Things Ever Said Calendar (which, for the rest of the year, will be refered to as STESC) was directed at people who aren't stupid, and who already knew what country Ontario was in.
Speaking of calendars, I switched months on my 365 Cats calendar yesterday, and here are the first pictures for this month:
...The spitting images of the kids at 3-4 months. Note the amount of toes on the tabby!
I've no idea who the kitten they're looking at is supposed to be. Given the unplanned-except-by-the-Fates way both of my kids joined the family, I expect to find that one sleeping in my car tomorrow.
See? I haven't really posted in days. But with that calendar, there's a 10 second read here every day!
This weekend I saw Lord of War, which I recommend, although I can see why it tanked at the box office. What is it? It's a dark comedy or a drama or...well, it was very good, with an identifiable message. Okay, the message was "Gunrunning is bad," which I think even the NRA could get behind. Lots of stylish visuals, and the usual excellent Nicholas Cage performance.
I went over Kevin's to see House of Fury (I accidentally typed "House of Furry" first--man, I'm reading too much Gonterman), but since Netflix still hasn't sent me it, despite it being mailed Thursday from a city 20 miles away, we instead saw Mind Game. This 2004 anime was stylistically over-the-top, extremely imaginative and completely WTF?!?! It was like 2 entirely different movies, with a dozen short films stuck inside it, like some sort of demo reel. There's a realistic story about Yakuza loan sharks terrifying a diner, then the main character is killed, he meets God (who's an asshole), he returns to earth, fights the gangsters, then leads them on a car chase that ends in the belly of a whale. Just like Pinocchio, but better furnished inside. It was entertaining, but it only seemed to be about something--too much of it was Weird for the sake of Being Weird. Sorry that that's my review, but there's very little to be said about it. It's too visual. In fact, I'm not sure why I'm typing this--it's not like you're going to find it at Blockbuster. On the other hand, if you do see it, you'll see a movie the likes of which you've never seen before, and never will again.
Who killed Europe? Was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick? Was it Miss Scarlet with the monkey wrench in the SUV trunk? Was it Jean-Paul in Paris with the book on Existentialism? Or was it Reverend Robertson in the pulpit with his batshit?
He's an Undercover Kitten! She's a Robot Dinosaur! They fight crime! (well, the kitten does, anyway)
Strange work moment: A woman, mid-50s at least and looking kind of ex-hippie-ish, walked up to the register. "Hi!" I said, but she didn't reply, or look anywhere but at the counter. 'kay, whatever. I ring her up and she hands me her credit card. It's from the credit union of the Los Angeles Police Department. Normally, I'd ask her why she was in Connecticut, which is about as far from LA as you can get without drowning in the Atlantic. But she seemed untalkative, a trait I share, so I said nothing and swiped her card.
Then I began to sniff. Sniff sniff, I sniffed. Holy shit, someone's reeking of weed! And since I only have one customer, the one with a credit card from the LAPD...It was just strange, is all.
Awesome sunset picture. No, it's not from a video game or a Photoshop contest. It's real.
After all the "animal fucker" searches I get, it's nice to see good, old-fashioned morality: a hit from someone looking for porn with people.
Note that I'm on page 5 of the results, and it clearly states at the top of the page "Alert: Filtering has occurred in order to reduce direct exposure to sexually explicit content." And Dickie One-Hand was still clicking every link on the way. I think that a lot of people who search for porn aren't very smart.
Speaking of not very smart people, the store just got a cardboard standup of a NASCAR driver, who I will call Dale Earnhardt as that's the only NASCAR name I know. He could be Jimmy-Joe "Three-Teeth" MethOxy-Jones for all I know. We were also given a little POP display giving away NASCAR/Budweiser stickers for your car. I assume that they're meant to be shaped like a car hood (for our foreign readers, in your countries a "hood" is called a "bonnet" or a "pterodactyl"). I assume, as it's very much also shaped exactly like a pair of BVDs (what you in foreign countries call "knickers" or "styrofoam," unless they're adult diapers, which are called "Larry King"). You're supposed to put it on your car, to show your support for drinking Bud and driving 200 consecutive left-hand turns. Bud + Driving=...Hmm. Not a very smart thing to put on your car, really.
Of course, if you drink Bud and love NASCAR, hey, goin' out on a limb here, but I'll bet you put that sticker on your car because the DMV wouldn't authorize your vanity license plate, SHIT4BRANES. Me, if I wanted to look that retarded, I'd just hire someone to drive me around town in a short bus.
"This is the second worst snowstorm on record," said NOAA radio at 1PM. And that was said before it stopped snowing 5 hours later.
It looks like Vernon got 2 feet. At least it hit on a Sunday, a day that the majority of people don't have to work. And all the liquor stores are closed.
We weren't that busy yesterday. Usually there's panic buying before a big storm, but that happened on Friday. We had some major lines then, despite the fact that even the TV weathermen (who always overhype a storm, so you keep watching the TV weathermen) were saying that it wasn't going to start until Saturday afternoon. We smart people who listen to NOAA radio, which doesn't have to sell commercial airtime, knew that it wasn't really going to get bad until after midnight. And it didn't help the lines Friday that Powerball was a quarter billion dollars.
I remembered one thing I was glad about--Powerball used to have a "lump sum" payment option when you bought your ticket. I'm sure it still does. When the jackpot is $250M, it's really $500M. The states keep the other half before anyone wins. If you win in this state, they automatically take 33% in taxes. With lump sum, you get all your winnings at once, as opposed to a yearly check. But you only get half the money you'd get if it was paid by "annuity," over the course of years. So they keep half, then keep another half, then tax you 33%. If the lottery is a voluntary tax on people who can't do math, lump sum is for people who are lucky that they're able to put their shoes and socks on. And not in that order.
What sucked about lump sum was that you had to ask people which one they wanted. And most people had no idea what you were talking about, so you had to explain it, which just made it take all that longer. Imagine being stuck in a line at the grocery store where everyone needed to have the difference between "paper or plastic" explained.
I remember one time not asking, as most people who wanted lump sum would say so. I printed out an annuity ticket for one ancient sack of near-death, and he screamed at me, "Why should I have to tell you I want lump sum?! Of course I want it, I'm 82 years old!" If you're that old--what the hell are you buying Powerball for? What are you going to do with it if you win, buy a new hip?
"I WON! By cracky, I won! I'm getting me some platinum dentures, with a diamond in each tooth! The finest silkworms of China shall weave my Depends! I'll get a Rascal scooter with rims that keep spinning after it's stopped! My Ensure will be made with the blood of endangered tigers, and my Viagra hand-delivered by those hotties, the Golden Girls!
"Do you like my colostomy bag? It's Versace!"
The Corpse Bride is a very good movie and you should rent it.
That's my review. Hope you liked it.
A couple of Worth1000 Photoshop contests: Not Very Good Toys is pretty funny. If Canada Ruled the World is a nice concept, but 95% of the entries just lamely shape things like a maple leaf. Take off, eh! My 2 favorites are this one and that one. I guess that's all the time we have for today, eh? KOO LOO KOO KOO KOO KOO KOO!
A terrestrial, day-active animal, the woodchuck is a denizen of snowy climes.
Don't click if you don't get the joke from the title, but here's Lileks' The Bleak.
Today in Alternate History announced a Valentine's Day contest. I immediately knew what I wanted to write, but I decided not to submit it, as it was so far from the site's normal serious tone. I thought that there would be a lot of entries published, like their previous contests, but there was only one. Was it the only one accepted, or the only one submitted? If you read them all without knowing anything about the site, you'll easily pick it out...from it's unserious tone. At any rate, here's what I didn't submit (just quickly typed out now; it's been half-unformed in the back of my brain for over a month).
Sorry that this holiday wish is a day late--
Happy John Frum Day!!
Do you use a DVD-by-mail service other than Netflix? I'd like to hear about it, as I'm getting sick of Netflix. I send my movies back to a distribution center 3 towns away. So why did it take 3 DVDs, mailed on the same day, eight days to get there? And all at once? One or two, maybe, but all 3? That looks more like they pretended that they didn't get them when they really did.
And for the second time in 2 weeks, I've sent back discs on Tuesday, which were received on Wednesday or Thursday with new ones mailed out the same day, and yet I was told upfront that I wouldn't get them for 6 days. How does Netflix know that the post office will deliver them that slow? I suspect that it's because they aren't mailing them out when they say. And Netflix itself admits to throttling queues.
I'm not overly enthused of the idea of using Blockbuster, which is a company with an even worse reputation. There's GreenCine, but I don't know anyone who's ever tried them.
Why does Netflix say--and get away with saying--that they have "Unlimited Rentals," when they admit that they don't? Why do they do it after losing a class action suit over it? If you don't want someone to have 3 DVDs a week, SAY SO. Charge more for more rentals. I'm not going to pay for 3 rentals a week when I get 3 rentals every other week.
Oh, well. In a few years I suppose Netflix won't matter now that the Tipping Point has been reached. I should cancel my membership and use the money to stockpile food and water. (Note: Very Depressing but Must-Read Link)
I guess it's my week to be insulted. First, coworker Yolanda insists that a customer show me his pet ferret. He's known me for as long as I've worked there and we've always been friendly. But he gave me a fixed glare and said "I don't show them to people who aren't animal lovers. And Bill doesn't strike me as an animal lover." That is really insulting, and I have no idea where he got this bizarre brainwave. (Or why a guy in his 60s wears a Spiderman hat, and has a Spidey license plate) Yolanda assured him that I love animals, and I said that one of my cats played exclusively with ferrets as a kitten. So he showed my his...sugar glider, an animal that only Yolanda could confuse with a ferret (flying ferrets? Now, there's an animal I don't think that I'd love).
The next day, she saw an article about "Snow Slam," a multi-band local concert. "Oh, Bill, you'll want to see this! It's 8 different bands [actually, 22 bands], and they're all white!"
WTF? I'm now the store white supremacist? I have no idea where she got either of these ideas (that I love me the Whitey, or that I go to concerts, especially outside in the dead of winter). I immediately said, "Yeah, CrackerFest 2006! Honkeypalooza!!" And the blacks and whites in line all laughed.
I think I've been to a whole 8 or so concerts in my life. For the most part, it's because I didn't have any friends who liked the bands I liked, and if I dragged them to a concert I liked, I was obligated to go see someone they liked. Can you guess which was which from this list? For an easier challenge, guess which one was the WORST.
AH-HAHAHA!!! Yeah, Bush is one popular sumbitch, alrighty! Favorite part: The "Net" column.
I got it through Netflix. I try to have 3 DVDs here for the weekend, but the last 2 weekends I had 2, and this week, 1. Why am I paying for 3 at a time then? It used to take 3 days to turn these around, now it takes 6-10 days. Which, by AMAZING COINCIDENCE! started right as postage rates went up. I find it very interesting that it took them a week to receive Corpse Bride. I've suspected that they're lying about when they get the discs and when they ship them out, but they said that they got it today. President's Day. When there's no mail service.
Every Monday Byron and me go to the garage for some exploration and play. Every Monday I ask Killsy to come with us, and she never does. She's gone outside a few times when Byron's asleep, but it's always when it's cold, raining or snowing, and at 1AM. She tires of that quickly.
She did finally go to the garage. Again, when Byron was asleep (but not for long; he found us) and at night. I don't know if my neighbor with the expensive sports car turns the alarm on when she locks it in the garage overnight, but I'm sure a cat jumping on the hood would set it off. And wouldn't that be a nice thing to explain to the police at 130 in the morning. Fortunately, a car with a booming stereo picked that point to drive by, scaring Killsy enough that I could herd them both home. I've tried unsuccessfully for 2 weeks to get her to go down there when it's daylight.
Byron went to the garage today, and wanted out after only 15 minutes. When he went to sleep, guess who decided that she'd take a look around down there. Since 4PM is a much more acceptable time for shenanigans, we went. She poked around and explored in a slow and thoughtful way. I'd left the door open, because as soon as Byron woke up, he'd come looking for us. Looking and screaming. He's so terrifed of losing his family again. And it turned out that she only wants to be down there with me. Much hissing ensued. I got them home, and ever since it's been her wanting to go out with me, him going down the stairs and screaming his head off to go in the garage, her hissing at him, me bringing them home, her wanting to go out, scream, hiss, home...
Me and my bright ideas.
Entries from the Republican-English Dictionary
And if you thought, "What's up with Bush's newfound hating on our addiction to foreign oil?" then thought, "Oh, because he's trying to distract from the country-that-actually-HAD-connections-to-al Qaeda (besides our rilly great friends Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) getting control of our port security," you were right. And if your next thought was, "Well, why is he giving the rights to them?" and the next next thought was, "Ah! I wonder who the crony profiting is THIS time?" Well, you were right.
"Phnark?" you say? What, are you clueless? "The penultimate word on the list is "jizzlewax." It conveys utter angst, as in "I'm totally jizzlewaxed. I'd squash my head in a vice if I had one!"
Of course it's true! I used to read that paper all the time, when it was free at the drug store I managed. My favorite true story from that time: "I Was Healed By Bigfoot's Prayers."
That's gotta be the lowest-paying job in journalism, but also the most fun. You're the Onion for idiots. I've always imagined that their brainstorming sessions involve pizzas and a 30 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Your story gets published if you can crack enough other people up with it.
Notably, you can get 4 issues free, AND get a tshirt of--well, you might've already guessed. I may take them up on that offer...
Snarking on trashy Romance Novel Covers.
Apparently, the first law of winning the lottery is don't tell anyone that you did.
# Read the site carefully and then click on the USB Flash Drive Picture on the right hand side of the page.
# Answer the few simple Questions and a USB Flash Drive is on its way.
I answered "2" to the first question and "True" to the next three. Hopefully that's correct!
Interesting Koufax-nominated post, The proper reverence due those who have gone before
On a slightly less serious note, High Concept Comix Presents: Lincoln vs. Futuro.
Poor kitty! Worth the look for the picture alone. It would be nice if just once there could be a cat rescue story without the line, "It used up X of its 9 lives!"
Red rain could prove that aliens have landed, and it's not an X-Files episode.
I really wanted to post about a movie I saw yesterday. I wrote 2 sentences and gave up in the middle of the third. All you really need to know is that it's the sequel to For Y'ur Height Only, a Filipino James Bond spoof starring a midget. That movie, my friends, is a classic--I don't know how bad the original movie makers thought it was while making it, but the people who dubbed it made their opinions pretty clear. It was made for about as much as you paid for gas last month, but it was funny.
I got together with Kevin last night, and he'd already seen the movie I brought, Shaun of the Dead, and he'd promised his girlfriend that they'd watch together what he had, Walking with Monsters (it's not what it sounds like; it's a faux SFX "nature documentary" on prehistoric animals. I own 2 of the series' previous titles, Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts. Well worth the rental, if you like realistic animal docs and dinosaurs). Then he remembered that he'd just downloaded For Y'ur Height Only's sequel, The Amazing Kid.
It was bad. I thought that it was funny-bad, but Kev squirmed a lot through it. When I tried to write about it last night...well, it is pretty bad. There's really no plot, just a lot of random incidents. And there's a lot of "rock climbing, Joel," scenes of filler. It's the type of movie where when someone pushes an elevator button, you get to see him stand there, wait for the elevator, then get on the elevator, the doors close, and THEN the bad guys burst in--and they take the next elevator.
BUT! the hero is a 007ish midget! An ugly and acting-talent-free one, as well. There are lots of terribly uncoordinated kung-fu fights (as you'd expect, Weng-weng, our tiny hero with the Moe Howard hair, uses as his main attack the ancient martial art of nut-punching). There are car chases, and Weng-weng chases them on the smallest scooter ever seen: it's clearly from the PowerWheels collection with a max speed of about 10MPH, and with a farting-engine noise terribly dubbed in. The main bad guy is a terrorist who wears a KKK-ish hood with a snake on it. I immediately said, "It's Cobra Commander!" and YES, his organization turned out to be called Cobra. You expect him to be unmasked and revealed as one the good guys at the end, but no, he just disappears off of the plot. You'd also expect him to drive around in a vehicle more impressive than a '73 Ford Pinto, but he doesn't.
You know how bad guys in bad movies will sometimes laugh "BWA-HAHAHAHA!" at their own evilness? Well, if you're loving on that, here's your dream movie. The last half of it has a cumulative 10 minutes of bad guys hysterically laughing for no reason whatsoever. And all of it has the most unbelievably bad male fashions ever seen. I can't stress that enough. It's the leisure suit taken to the point of insanity; shirt collars run off to infinity, and the patterns look like tablecloths designed by schizophrenic mescalin eaters.
For Y'ur Height Only is easy to find on eBay, but it isn't always cheap. However, you can download for free (and legally! as it's in the public domain) The Amazing Kid here. Again, I found it very entertaining in an awful way, but Kev found it less enjoyable. Of course, he wanted the equal of the first classic Weng-weng, while I just expected it to bite. Invite a few like-minded MySTy friends, have some beverages on hand, crack wise and you may have a good time.
Oh, and the soundtrack has exactly 3 tracks, excluding the hilarious vocal bits. You'll immediately identify and despise the "haunting love theme to Weng-weng," and also the one that sounds exactly like the Pink Panther theme, except without the melody. Oh, and Weng-weng takes that eensy-weensy scooter, revs that sucker up to 11MPH, and becomes Evel Kmidget.
Some guy removes Garfield's thought balloons from his strips, and turns his owner Jon into a seeming lunatic. The "Jon goes Mad" series is funnier than the "Jon is a pathetic loser who talks to his cat all day" one. I have no idea why I find that one less funny. Killsy, Byron, do you know why? Do you?
FINE! BE THAT WAY! I'LL BE IN MY ROOM!! (slam!)
God: I've lost faith in Tony Blair.
I'm the number one Google result for "if you are reach versace colostomy bag". Contrary to the last article, not all of the human race is still evolving.
Via Negaduck, "Fatboy Slim + lots of kittens = overpoweringly cute music video."
Thought for the day:
"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."--Anne Lamott
The Mafia has fallen on hard times. Jeepers, that's too bad!
The Spies Have It.
Yes, another sweet cat story. Get used to it. I never come across cool monkey stories anymore.
I've linked to articles about the destruction of Easter Island before, and how much it looks like a microversion of industrialization and global warming. But new evidence makes it clear that it happened much earlier than previously thought. Humans came to an Eden, then immediately began destroying its resources to make those giant, vain, thick heads that Easter Island is famous for.
Sam Brownback, Senator for GOD, and his plans to remake America in his own image: "'Communists use cells as their basic structure,' declares a confidential Fellowship document titled 'Thoughts on a Core Group.' 'The mafia operates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four-man squad. Hitler, Lenin and many others understood the power of a small group of people.' Under Reagan, Fellowship cells quietly arranged meetings between administration officials and leaders of Salvadoran death squads, and helped funnel military support to Siad Barre, the brutal dictator of Somalia, who belonged to a prayer cell of American senators and generals."
Now that's being led by example! WWJD? The same things Hitler and the Mafia did!
A little late, but the distributor that sells Guinness, Harp and Killian's dropped off some St Patrick's Day promo POP (point-of-purchase) decorations. You can get $5 back from Guinness if you buy corned beef this month! A coworker originally read that not as "Get $5 back on corned beef by mail" but "Get $5 of corned beef by mail," which would probably not smell so good when you dug it out of the mailbox.
There was a package of what turned out to be a plastic Guinness banner. With only the first part sticking out of the bag, I thought "It's a--bib?!" And I wasn't crazy; everyone else thought that it looked like a bib, too. It brings new meaning to the term "sloppy drunk"!
That same distributor sells Coors, and we were given green shamrock-shaped Coors Light coasters. Because nothing says "Irish" like a guy named "Adolf."
I've meant to link to this 2-article series for a week, but keep forgetting. And it's about maintaining a healthy brain! Maybe I should read them closer.
How exercise helps the brain, and (if you click the part 2 link), how diet does. Key point: Stay Hungry.
A guy dressed in camo and muttering "It's snowing here" five times in a row would've made me worry about my safety 5 years ago--he's a psycho! Now I don't even look up--just another idiot with a Borg-like cellphone in his ear, saying nothing about nothing to someone else who also thinks about nothing, and who needs to be updated on his nothingness all of the time.
"The Perfection of the Alarming Mechanism"...I like that phrase.