Ill-Gotten Brains

NEW 86

"If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture --
that is immortality enough for me."
- -Edward Abbey


      The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.      --racing commentator Murray Walker

      Hitler or Coulter? I missed only 3. (Hint for these kinds of quizzes: those who are literally Nazis have a better command of language--although some of Coulter's sentences have the same baroque structures of translated German)

      Congress votes itself its yearly pay raise, then shoots down the first increase in the minimum wage in 10 years. "The GOP has managed to repeatedly and shamelessly exploit the greatest weakness of the generally disengaged American electorate—the cognitive dissonance which allows them to concurrently hold the conflicting beliefs that our government can be trusted and all politicians are crooks."

      I guess that I'm officially Old. I've started complaining about how These Kids Today! are doing exactly the same things that I did at their age 25 years ago.
      "The old repeat themselves and the young have nothing to say. The boredom is mutual."--Jacques Bainville.
      But I'm middle aged! Where does that leave me? Repeating nothing?


     It's movie night!

      Rogue Helicopter Taunts Psycho

      GWB is in the White Hizzle! "Eh eh eh eh!"

      The Thief and the Cobbler as it was meant to be. Well, except for it being shown in 17 parts. I haven't watched this yet. I've seen the bastardized version, though, with its brilliance polluted with awful faux-Disney/Bluthness. I'll watch it over the weekend. I'm sure that it'll look spectacular in YouTubeVision.

      Kiss my shiny metal good news!!




      As part of my ongoing series, "reviews of Movies That Have Been Out Forever That You've Already Seen But I Just Got Around To," I watched Best in Show. It good! You rent! Even if it was about dogs and not DEEDLE DOOT DOO DEE DEE.


      A short, funny trailer for An Inconvenient Truth, starring Al Gore--and Bender.




      Yes, I barely update my page. Hey, you like my page so much, why don't you update it?


      I know that evolution is a fact and I like Guinness and I have no idea, no idea why this ad should make me drink their beer, even with the handy explanation. But it's cool!

      In fact very cool, but it flew by so quickly that I needed to find a description of the action.



      As mentioned previously, they're redoing the road I live off of. Yesterday they repaved it, which is an improvement over a dirt road. But for reasons inexplicable they left a gap several inches wide and, more importantly, several inches deep, between the end of the driveway and again at the start of the road. I found this out when BANG! I bottomed the car out on the way to work. And again, at the start of the road. Then the car made a sound I hadn't heard before. I pulled over just before I was about to get on the highway. A good idea, as I now had a profoundly flat tire. I went into the closest business and asked if there was a phone anywhere in the plaza that I could use. No, I was told very brusquely. So brusquely that you'd think that I'd asked the woman "Hey, you gotta dog I can fuck? I like my dogs small, by the way. Chihuahau, you got one of those?."
      I went to the next business, and hey guess what I could use their phone. I called work to tell them that I'd be late, then tried to fix the flat. I got the car jacked up before I discovered that the rim was mashed into the hubcap. So I called AAA, called work to say that it would take them an hour to arrive, then sat in the car and ate my lunchtime yogurt because, well, here's my lunch hour, sitting around waiting for Triple A. Then I leafed through a magazine, and wondered where I'd get the tire fixed.
      Hey, Professor Doctor Super Einstein Brain, how about at that Firestone right across the friggin' street?
      Fixed in less time than it would've taken AAA to arrive.


      I got up for a drink of water last night and, as part of my ongoing war with Gravity, managed to trip and fall face-first into the side of the bed. That's not as bad as it sounds, as the side of the bed is padded. The last time I tripped in the night, I made contact with the desk and was rewarded with a fractured rib.
      But my head was all smooshy today. Not a headache, just smooshy. Like it was filled with a balloon-like pressure. I took some ibuprofen. After the third one did nothing, I realized that I probably had a mild concussion. I took a vicuprofen (left over from the last collision, when I tried to swat a bug while standing on a swivel chair on wheels--not my greatest decision). But I'd already had a couple of beers, and so...w00oo...I needed me some lay-down time.

      Maybe it's the concussion and the drugs, but I found this very amusing: What would you do for a flying car?

      I find this very extremely mucho hard to believe (Killsy was in the room when I played it, and didn't react to it the way she does when she hears cat sounds), but here's some "talking" cats.
      Although when she was young, Killsy would say "AIOUT!" when she wanted to go "Out" into the common hallway. And when she'd meow at me for no reason, I'd ask "Do you know what you want? I don't know what you want. Do you know what do you want?" she'd look a bit sheepish and say quietly "ai yeow yo," which was a reasonable approximation of "I don't know."

      Far more unbelievable than talking cats are talking Republican senators. Why vote against Net Neutrality? Because the Internet is a series of tubes. "And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material." Dagnabbit, my tubes are clogged with those enormous, enormous ELECTRONS! Oh no, the Internets are gonna blow up like those newfangled horseless carriages! Quick, turn off the gas lamps and fetch me my buggy whip!


      Thinking more about the talking cats video...dogs can make 8 vocalizations, whereas cats can make over a hundred (check out the odd one this guy makes). And even Byron, who can just barely hear certain tones but who played with ferrets when he was a kitten, used to make an absolutely dead-on ferret-play yell. I guess if there's another species with the chance to create speech, it'd be the house cat.
      Unfortunately, every conversation will be about food and the condition of the litterbox and BIRD! BIRD! HOLY SHIT, DID YOU SEE THAT BIRD?!?!





      If you can still stand the sound of that village idiot's voice, here's Dumbya "singing" Sunday, Bloody Sunday.


      I check my counter stats for this page, generally to see if I get any odd search requests. I have 2 counters, and I've never figured out if one overcounts or the other undercounts, but they're never that far off. Until today. One said I had 364! visitors, whereas the other claimed only 75. My first thought was "Some major site found the InExOb or Super Green Beret again." But the first site maintained that almost all of the hits were from bookmarks, with a few from Comcast. The second site said that they were all from Comcast search. From people looking for christina.ricci houseplants. That was one of the Stupidest Things calendar quotes. Except...they all searched for "christinaDOTricci"? Why today, and why all at once? And only on Comcast? As we all know, "the internet is a series of tubes," so maybe a gerbil ran into the internets thinking it was a Habitrail, and pooped in it or something. I'm sorry that I don't know, but I'm no internets expert, not being a septugenarian Alaskan Republican senator who's insane.
      Does Christina's house have a lawn? Does she only think plants in houses are dirty, or does she think the same about plants near houses? I guess the entire world wanted to know the answer today.




      The Bush Pilot

      Man sues for $832M because--oh, you wouldn't believe me if I told you.

      Weekend Rental Report:
      (abruptly develops violent, diaphragm-slamming hiccups which don't end until vomiting. Thank you, Young's Syndrome. I was starting to wonder where you went)
      Invader Zim, disc one: Wow. Was THAT overrated. It didn't suck, it just held my interest. And if "holds my interest for 30 minutes" was a valid criterion, I'd watch TV all the time, instead of barely ever.
      Naked Lunch: Well, it held my interest. I can't say that it entertained me, although I suspect that "I enjoyed that entertaining Cronenberg feel-good film" is a phrase rarely uttered. When it ended, I thought "And I'm supposed to feel or think what now?" I like to be challenged by movies, but I think that there wasn't any It to Get in this one. Maybe I didn't mainline enough bug powder before watching.


      A few months ago at work there were some turkeys. Literal ones, big wild birds that strutted through the plaza as if they were shopping. It's an exurb town, next door to the state capital Hartford, and I work in the center of town. Just off of the busiest road in town where I spend my lunch, I've seen deer and bobcats. Today we had some new wildlife.
      There was a young black bear in a tree on store property.
      And a swarm of cops beneath the poor critter. Poor dumb critter--he'd been ear tagged, so he's already been through all this. But all the wild areas of Connecticut and being replaced with suburban sprawl and giant McMansions packed on tiny lots. Poor critter's gotta find somewhere to eat.
      And so began the hostage standoff. The bear, terrified, stayed in our tree while the cops and the fire department (in case he spontaneously combusted or something) surrounded him, waiting for the DEP people to come with their tranq rifle. And about a hundred locals gathered around the scene in our parking lot. There were so many that it got roped off with yellow crime scene tape. And they stayed there for 2 hours, waiting for something to happen. They didn't even leave when a sudden thunderstorm left them humid and sodden. Even the biggest TV station in the state sent a truck. (If you're thinking "Slow news day there!" I checked the site of the state's biggest newspaper. It didn't have the story up, but I assume that it will, as the latest headline for the town was, no shit, about the theme of this week's story time at the library)
      The Cunning Plan was to tranq the bear, and when he fell from the tree, he'd fall on a net full of inflated garbage bags. Now that is some cunning planning! They shot him once, and he climbed higher in the tree. They shot him again. Then they shot him again some more also. Then it was kinda depressing, as he clearly tried to hold onto the tree and consciousness at the same time, ripping great scars in the tree's bark as gravity and chemistry brought him down. He fell from about 20 feet, taking a branch with him, and landed on the net of bags. And immediately bounced out of it and landed on the road. Then they tranqed him again, with a needle on a telescoping rod. Eventually, they put him in the back of a pickup truck. Before it pulled away, they stupidly removed the yellow tape, and the crowd rushed forward to, I dunno, look at a doped-up young bear, but the cops flagged them back. Then they all left, hoping to watch the non-spectacle again on the local news.
      Poor guy was probably outside our store just because he wanted a 6 pack of Dundee's Honey Brown.

      Slow news day? Our bear and our store were mentioned in the 5PM news. I'm now watching the BIGGEST TV STATION in CT's 11PM news, and these are the top stories, in order...
      Top story: House with 60 cats, all healthy.
      School summer reading book has TWO LINES about "sex and suicide," is banned by principal after TWO parents whined about it. Book is about the Holocaust. Maybe we should burn it!
      Man tasered in New Haven. For something. NO OTHER DETAILS.
      It rained today.
      1800 bags of heroin. Local TV math: 60 cats > 1800 bags of heroin.
      Restaraunt's lease expires.
      Online gamblers can't use credit cards--except, of course, for state lotteries. "Legislators don't consider this a priority," but obviously the station does.
      Mosquitoes not causing West Nile virus in state. Also: not turning into Megalon and fighting Godzilla.
      Bank robbery foiled when it doesn't happen.
      MTV's Real Life character arrested.
      Hey...didn't anything important happen today? Oh, yeah...couple hundred people killed by terrorists, but they're brown and not American, blah blah blah. Why's this so high up on the list of headlines? Surely there's something more important!
      And here it is: Car fire in San Jose, CA. Note: CT and CA are not very near each other. This is like "truck rollover in China."
      Coming up: "Wifebeater" tshirts are trying to change their name.
      If those are the HEADLINES, I don't think that they'll ever get to our bear.
      Coming up, again: "Wifebeater" tshirts change their name. Oh, the suspense! (It just says "This is not a wifebeater" on it. If Cheney wore a shirt that said "I'm not looting the treasury for my own gain," would that make it so?)

      Speaking of local bears (WORLD'S WORST SEGUE!), I've deliberately not talked about Joe Lieberman's reelection campaign. I find it fascinating, as I've hated the man since Bush declared him "my favorite Democrat" and kissed him after the 2005 State of the Union address (Lieberman's defense: "I didn't kiss back." I only wish that was a joke)
      Okay, that's not really true--I've ALWAYS hated Lieberman. Remember the 80s campaign to FIght the Worst Thing Ever (du jour), the naughty lyrics in rock songs? That was Holy Joe's doing (coupled with Tipper Gore!). He kissed Cheney's Dick in the 2000 VP debates, declared that complaining about Bush helps the "enemy," and his approval rating with CT Republicans is TWICE as high as his approval with Democrats. He's a sellout, he's an embarassment, he's a fucking Republican.
      So along came Ned Lamont. He's everything Joe isn't--he's a Connecticut Democrat. Lieberman responded with something I wish that I'd linked to back when it came out. It's simply the worst political ad ever made. Ignore, if you can, the fact that it's entirely full of utter lies and distortions about Lamont. It has animation worse than a Yogi Bear cartoon, and it's based on Yogi Bear! Supposedly, the guy that Lieberman defeated 18 years ago has sent Lamont out to avenge him. And--shit, just watch it. The final line "Bear cubs always do what they're told!" doesn't make any sense even in context, and given Joe's lapdog relationship to Bush, I don't know why they put it in. In fact, Lamont quickly made a radio ad saying that "I may be the underdog, but I won't roll over every time the Bush Cheney administration demands it." Then Joe simply made up even more crap about Ned, even forging a fake bumpersticker. Here's Lamont's response ad to compare to those ads--hmm, it's almost like he has a discernable sense of humor!
      Lieberman is scared so shitless that he's going to run in the Democratic primary--and if he loses, run as an independent. "I have priorities more important than the party," he sniffed. He'll run on the "Connecticut for Lieberman" nonparty, and the name should tell you all about his "priorities." Lieberman for Lieberman.
      At the start of my workweek, I saw all these new Lieberman signs on the main road to work. I thought it a bit odd that they all turned up simultaneously. Until my drive home, when I realized that only one of them was on someone's lawn. All the rest were planted on public property. Fake Connecticutters for Lieberman.
      While I was typing this and the TV blared, he ran another attack ad, again with the same lies. Yeah, Lamont voted with the Republicans. When he was on the board of selectman, and deciding stuff like where stop signs could go. Joe voted for the stuff that was "anti-Republican" when he knew it had no hope of being defeated.
      Oh yeah, odd that he doesn't mention that he was against the morning-after pill and for the "right" of doctors to refuse it based on their fundie religion because, again no shit, if you get raped in CT, there will probably be a hospital close enough that you drive to that will prescribe it. Rape victims love road trips!

      All that pointless shit, and was there one fucking mention of our fucking bear? NO. TV news sucks.
      And Joe? Stamping "I'm Not a Wifebeater!" on yourself doesn't make it so. You are a Republican.



      Department of minor victories:

      Kill Kill is famous for doing the same thing every day for months or years, and then stopping--for months or years, when she starts doing it again. Unfortunately, the latest was that she stopped sleeping in bed with me and Byron. She stopped 8 months ago. In fact, she hasn't even walked more than 2 feet into the bedroom in all that time. Why? Dunno.
      But today she jumped on the bed, thought briefly on sleeping right on me, then curled up next to me and snoozed. For half an hour. No idea if this is the start of a new trend, but I sure hope so.

      As inexplicable as Young's Syndrome is, July Disease is an even stranger mystery. Every year, for at least the last 10, a week or so after the 4th of July I get horribly sick. It's some weird allergy. I know that from the fact that Jessica got it the same day I did every year, and if it rains, it's an instant cure as the rain washes the pollen from the atmosphere. Jess stopped getting it when she moved. But that's the weird part--What plant dumps its pollen only once a year? What grows in central Connecticut that doesn't grow 50 miles north in central Massachussetts?
      Last year I thought that I wouldn't get it. It rained for the 3 days that it potentially happens. Then I woke up feeling like death, but I was in enough denial that I went to work anyway. It's raining, it's not July Disease! I went home 2 hours later, and found out how it had beaten the rain: there's a patch of woods near my condo, and they'd picked that morning to bulldoze it flat.
      It took until the spring to find out why they'd squashed it. They're ripping up my street (see above, "tire, destroyed by big gap in road"), and that's where they're keeping the construction/destruction equipment overnight. They've not only stripped away all the topsoil, they've literally steamrollered it. The earth is so compacted that no tree will grow there for 50 years. I've wondered ever since what this meant for July Disease--if smashing it made it worse, will leveling it make it better? And yes, yes it did. Apparently whatever caused it grew there. What, I don't know, although it did have the only willow tree in the area. I've never heard that willows have nasty pollen, but I need to ask Jess if there was a willow near where you lived before she moved.
      Minor victories, yes, but they're important to me.

      Our Prezdent love him some pig! Just ask him! Actually, don't ask him. He'll tell you. A lot. A real lot.

      Colbert on Lieberman and Lamont. (Although, for gourd's sake, the race is NOT ABOUT IRAQ AND NOTHING ELSE. It's about everything Joe hasn't done for this state, this party, this country since 2000. It's because Joe Lieberman is a Republican!)



      It's that dark and stormy time of year again--time for the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Awards. As always, some are hilarious and most just, in a way of speaking, kind of belligerantly smirkful and a bit copastetic, like the old Taco Bell chihuahua would be if he actually ate their food, and who might then say "Yo...I feel queero."

      And until November, it's always going to be the time of year on this page for making fun of Joe Lieberman. Get used to it.

      The Kill Kill Bot. Kinda creepy, if you ask me.




      I didn't take my regular hike through the woods today, as it was too hot and humid. But I found something that I usually only find in the woods, jammed into a crack in the curb when I went to get my mail: A feather! Byron's favorite toy!
      And he played with it not. Instead, he gnawed on it and carried it around in his mouth like a dog with a rawhide chew toy. However, he did play with his second favorite toy, a marshmallow Peep, and went Kitty Bonkers and raced around the room. For her part, Kill Kill has spent the last several hours just outside the door in the back hallway. In the heat and humidity. And the only reason I own an air conditioner is for the cats...

      The latest update on a guy who's proving that some people shouldn't win the lottery

      Deleted Nonsense from Wikipedia. Funny, weird, and very long. In fact, it may be the perfect thing to read while this cat picture thread on Fark never finishes loading...


      Kill Kill, the scaredy cat's scaredy cat, used to be scarediest of all when a thunderstorm came. At the first rumble, she'd hide under the bed, and not come out until 20 minutes after the last one. After a couple of years of me standing next to the bed persuading her in a sweet and calm voice that she had nothing to worry about the storms, she stopped hiding and began fearfully hiding under whatever chair I was in. But if there was a thunderstorm before I got home, she'd go back to cowering.
      Then Byron came along. She seemed to see that he wasn't scared of the storms (not realizing that it was because they were just light shows to him), and she ceased to get scared.
      Tonight, a huge cell opened up out of nowhere on my way home from work. A massive bolt crashed what must of been only yards from my condo. "I'll bet THAT scared my baby," I thought. And when I got home, she was perfectly calm. It continued to boom, and she paid it not the slightest attention. She was far more interested in sniffing the back of the chair she was lying on. When the next wave came in, she asked to go in the hallway, and she laid down and slept. She's still out there, peacefully ignoring the din of nature.

      Kevin sent me the video of Zuiikin' Girls, a Japanese show that combines aerobics with English lessons. That makes more sense than, say, gymnastics and stir-fry cooking lessons. And who apparently suffer under the Gilligan's Mary Ann Decree that they can't show their bellybuttons, and who have the skinniest arms you've ever seen that weren't mine. But they use a lot of English phrases that I rarely--hey wait, never--have used in real life. (Doesn't get really odd until about 90 seconds in, so you really don't need to pay that close attention to it until then)

      Wolcott on Bush's hand jive. Seriously--WTF is with this guy?

      And WTF is up with this? If you sent a "joke" anthrax death-threat letter to a major newspaper, would you expect to have it laughed off, or be thrown in jail where you belonged? Guess what happens when you're Ann Coulter. This country has become seriously fucked up. If the next headline you read isn't "Coulter Arrested by FBI," you'll see what the future of "democracy" looks like in this country.


      Something that keeps knocking at my brain: the Partridge Family cult.


      Entertaining (and brief) column from Jon Carrol: "English as spoken in India is not a mistranslation; it's a different dialect. Most written Indian English is made for domestic consumption, so it can follow rules that make intuitive sense to the audience."
      It's a lot more entertaining and lyrical than most English prose. And certainly more understandable than anything written in Gontermanese.


      The latest search from Google I got was "sleeping in bed." That's kinda like "eating with your mouth," isn't it?

      It's so sad, I just gotta laugh comic strips:
      Bush at the G8
      Another too real to be really funny cartoon.


      The Greatest Music Video EVER. Naturally, I'm predisposed to like a song with a title like that, but this backwards country needs more songs rockin' out to evolution. You'll have to watch the video more than once to catch all the refs. Favorite lyric: "Excorcize your demons with that monkey grin/Because we're gonna inherit the wind!" Brilliant!


      Hey, when did World War Three start? Apparently, sometime last week. I myself haven't heard the phrase uttered by anyone but insane media blowhards. And exactly which country is trying to conquer the world with their land armies?
      Second best bit from the once-reliable news source CNN, now bargain-basement FOX clone: "World War III seemed to be the stuff of video games, or comic books, or a Bob Dylan song from the '60s..." Yes. Back then, we didn't worry about terrorists blowing up a building, just the continuing threat of TOTAL GLOBAL NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION. Like in comic books! It was nothing! Kids' stuff! Dylan stuff!
      Third best bit: "...take comfort in this Internet posting: 'It ain't a World War until France surrenders.'" Because Germany won WWI.
      And the best best bit is: "BLITZER: It would be funny if it weren't all that serious, and it's very, very serious."
      Hey, Dr Frankenstupid, nice beard, but it's all Republican election year propaganda, and you tards fell for it. AGAIN. Does CNN still not get why no one watches it? The goons who want Bush propaganda watch FOX, and the rest of us gave up on you idiots when you started spouting it too.

      Byron likes to sleep on the tippy-top of the kitty condo. Usually, he splays his enormous feet over the edges in comic ways. Today, he somehow fell asleep in the Sphinx position--all feet down, but head in the air. How can you do that?


      Pretty bad picture (you'd think Photoshop would have a filter called "Make less Dark," but I can't find it). What you see here is Byron sleeping upright. He's not blinking his eyes or purring, he's dead asleep, and he stayed like that for 5 minutes. It'd be like you or me sleeping while standing in line. Which is a talent I sometimes wish that I had. Be useful at the DMV.


      Another year, another trip to the vet for the Small White. Well, the 14.6 pound White, so I guess she's not quite that small.
      She cut me as she writhed around, trying not to be put in the carrier, and it's hard to get your keys out of your left pocket with your right hand when you don't want to smear blood on your pants. She was very vocal in her complaining on the 2-mile trip to the vet. We waited and waited for the vet, and she did something she's never done--drooled. She even had a big spit bubble. The vet was one I've never seen before, young and eager, and she said that the drool was from being scared.
      She was supposed to get a cocktail of 3 vaccines. The vet found out that she was an indoor cat, and scratched the feline leukemia shot off the list. And it turned out that her distemper shot wasn't due for another year. She got her rabies shot, and didn't make a sound or even seem to react to it, but that's usually the way that plays out.
      Then I took her home, and I guess the shot she really needed was for plain old temper. She hissed loudly at Byron and me--hissed so meanly at Byron that he did something I've never seen him do, hiss back at her. She didn't take any swings at him, but he warily kept his distance. She's asleep in the window now; hopefully she'll awaken in a better mood.

      Here's the Byron picture from yesterday, fixed by Zefiel.


      A funny review of websites from 1996. At least they didn't have obnoxious Flash intros back then.


      Via Mimi, RiffTrax. Mike Nelson Mists movies, you download the audio to your iPod for 2 bucks, and play it along with the movie. It's not something that I'd ever use (I'd need to own an iPod first or, more accurately, have the slightest desire to own an iPod), but I mention it here as the first movie the beta site goes after is Road House, which is an unintentionally hilarious movie I'd recommend to anyone. It's no King Kong Lives, mind you, but worth the laugh.


      Ann Coulter on the BBC. It's not the smackdown that you really want to see. The announcer asks a few pointed questions, and she proves what a fake she is. She seems startled, right from the beginning, that there exists an interviewer who won't suck up to her. He asks a few no-nonsense questions, then just sits there and let's her make a flustered fool of herself, not even mocking her insistence that evil liberals are brainwashing children in public schools "6 hours a day, 12 days a week."

      Want to buy your own private island? The US Gummint is selling one. It's a bit of a fixer-upper--let it be known that "...all buildings had been removed...there were no functioning utilities or water supply, the runway was iffy, the golf course disintegrated, the seawall containing the nuclear waste dump was insufficient, and that nearest services of any kind are over 700 miles away."
      Umm...the thing to the what is insufficient? What should I do with this place? "If you purchase the island despite all that, your land deed 'will contain use restrictions because the atoll was used by the Defense Department for storage of chemical munitions and as a missile test site in the 1950's and 60's. The island can be used as a residence or vacation getaway.'"
      Oh! By the way! They also detonated nuclear bombs there. I think that I'd spend most of my vacation getting away from the giant mutated insects. But it'd make a nice Isle of Elba exile home for Bush and Cheney in 2008.


      I was going to write about something, but I completely forgot what it was. So instead--kitty pictures!

      Byron proving that, no matter how runty a little cat you are, you can still stretch out a yard.


      Kill Kill proving that, no matter how big a cat you are, you can still go all MC Escher and leave the audience thinking "And which end is up again?"


      (Hint: there's an ear in there).




      A huge storm crawled through Connecticut on Friday. Usually, a summer thunderstorm is over in 20 minutes; this one was still dumping rain on my job 2 hours later. I called home, and the answering machine didn't pick up. I had no power. I grabbed a bag of ice, so at least I could have a cold beer.
      I wasn't particularly worried. My home is on the same part of the electrical grid as a convalescent home. They have emergency generators, but they're a priority to the electric company and so we never have the power go off for more than 2 hours. I was amazed to look at my stopped analog clock and discover that the power had already been off for 4 hours! It didn't come back on for another 2. That's the second or third longest outage I've had in my 20 years living here.
      Years ago while defrosting the fridge, I accidentally pierced a tube and the coolant began leaking. I fixed it, more or actually less, with some sealant and tin foil. I've made sure never to defrost that part of the fridge since, so that the ice would help keep it sealed. But 6 hours of no power in 80 degree weather melted it as fast as global warming is shrinking Greenland. The next morning, it seemed warmer in the fridge than it had been the night before. It wasn't until I got home that I could be positive that it'd leaked out all of the remaining coolant, and it was now room temperature in there. That's the Inconvenient Truth.
      So now I have to get my fridge fixed, assuming that it can be fixed. It's at least 30 years old, and I assume that the coolant was Freon or some other CFC. Maybe it won't run on whatever they use these days. And a new one will cost at least $1500.
      It ran so warm after the last leakage, I bought a minifridge to use as a freezer. A good thing, or I'd be living on canned goods and takeout until it's fixed or replaced. And I won't find out when it'll be looked at until tomorrow, as all the service places are closed on Sundays.
      Before I left work yesterday, it rained and so I called the answering machine again. It didn't pick up. When I got home, I found that the jack was unplugged. When you have 2 cats who like to chase each other, it'll happen. I plugged it back in. And found that my DSL had disconnected. No matter how I hooked it up, it was either no DSL or no answering machine. I don't get it--I'm using the exact same setup I've used for the 10 years I've been online. What do I have to replace NOW?


      I found out that it would cost so much to fix my crappy, 35-year-old fridge that I'd be better off buying a refurbished one. $279? I can afford that. So I measured the old one to compare to the new/old one. It would be a mite embarassing to make them drag it up 3 flights of stairs, only to discover that it wouldn't fit.
      Then I went to put some money on the debit card like thing we use for the laundry. Byron tried to follow me out, but I shooed him back in, and he cried at the door over the indignity. The laundry ATM didn't work. I know that there's another machine here, but my crappy condo association didn't know where (note: same association that didn't know where the main water shut-off valve was--when I asked "What would you do if the pipes burst?" their reply was, "Oh, that's never happened." Yeah, and there's never been a fire, so let's rip out all of the smoke alarms). Someone was supposedly coming to fix it, so the laundry didn't look like it was going to get done. And I'm down to less than a week's worth of clean underwear...
      I went to the Maytag place (Byron followed me out, and I shooed him back in, and he cried and scratched at the door behind me), and found out that No, you don't measure the fridge, you measure the space where the new fridge was going to go. And this one was inches taller than mine. So I didn't get the fridge, either.
      I bought the least amount of groceries ever, given that, you know, fridgeless in Seattle. Two bottles of pomegranate juice, some ice cream (I still have a freezer), some Fancy Feast (it was on sale, but won't get immediately used--the kids refuse to eat it warm), and a bag of ice. I have a vinyl cooler that I put the ice in, and then put it in a big plastic picnic cooler, and that keeps the juice (and the beer) nice and cold. I'm not giving up all of my creature comforts.
      I measured the floor-to-cabinet space of the fridge repeatedly. Both to be sure, and because I was using a cat toy. It's a mouse tied to a retractable tape measure, dating from when kitten Kill Kill insisted that I throw toy mice for her, even when I was on the toilet. I had 2 inches extra space! And they'd fixed the card thing, so I could do my laundry!
      So, back to the Maytag place (Byron followed me out, and I picked him up and threw him back in). Bought me a fridge to be delivered in a week. Got back home 20 minutes later, and Byron was STILL screaming. I switched the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and then held the door open for Byron to finally come down to the garage for his weekly adventure there.
      He stared at me like he had no idea what I wanted. This time, I shooed him out. An hour later, when he was back home and the laundry done, I got the mail and found a tiny feather. I dropped it from on high, and Byron caught right on his nose. But he couldn't get it off his nose for several minutes. It was comical. Then he ate it like it was candy.

      I watched 2 DVDs yesterday that've been on my see-list for years. Decades, in one case, as I've wanted to see it ever since I'd read about it in a book on science fiction movies 30 years ago. (The book was the first film criticism I'd seen that didn't dismiss sci-fi as kid's stuff. It was imaginately titled "Science Fiction Movies") The War Game was originally to be a 1964 BBC TV show, but it was considered to harrowing to be shown anywhere but in theaters. It became a minor sensation in America, too. It was a fake documentary on the effects of nuclear war. It started poorly, as they hadn't made any attempt to remaster it. The film stock was scratchy and had long moments of what looked like water damage. And the narration was appropriately dry, but full of outdated statistics on nuclear proliferation between the West and the Commies, so it started to look like something that had been effective 40 years ago, not now.
      Then the bombs dropped.
      Today we're so jaded that nothing shocks us, but for 40 years ago, this was pretty harsh stuff. Sobbing children with their eyes melted or covered in third degree burns. Doctors dividing their patients into 3 groups--if you were in group 3, you were too far gone for medical attention, and the most humane thing they could do for you was have the police put a bullet in your brain. Mass burnings of the corpses. Food riots. The buckets of wedding rings collected from the dead.
      We're used to "horror" movies with Freddy or Jason or Rob Zombie, but this represented true horror. The narrator calmly informed us that this is what happened in WWII, not just in Hiroshima, but in cities like Dresden and Tokyo that were immolated by conventional weapons. There are screaming mutilated dying children just like this today in Lebanon, Iraq, Darfur.
      It gets pretty hard to watch, even though it's only 50 minutes long. But it'll stay with you. I know it'll stay with me.
      The second feature on the disc is by the same writer/director, Culloden. I saw this before I'd heard of The War Game, but I never knew that they were by the same person. I tuned into PBS one night, expecting to see one of their tame documentaries on an 18th century battle between the English (boo!) and the Scots (my forebears, yay!). Instead, I got my first experience with the concept of "disembowelment."
      Odd as it may seem, I wasn't in the mood for Culloden right away, so I switched gears to another movie, one I've wanted to see for a mere 5 years. Switched gears? Switched realities. From a dark world of agony, to a bright sunny happy world of agony! The Apple! Would it live up (down) to its rep as "So bad it's good"?
      It certainly was bad. Truly awful MST3K bait. It was made in 1980, but set in the (say in booming "Duck Dodgers in the 25th&1/2 CENTURY!" voice) the far-flung future year of--1994! (If you missed that, don't worry--8 times in the first half hour they remind us that it's 1994). I don't know why they do that. Eventually, the year will catch up to your movie and it'll just make it look really stupid. We're only a decade away from when Blade Runner was set, but I'm not seeing any replicants getting licenses for their flying cars any time soon. What's wrong with "The near future!" or "30 years from now!" (My personal fave--Max Headroom being set "20 minutes into the future." Now that's clever) And it's really ridiculous when, in only 14 years, everything changes. People dress in spandex unitards with clear plastic flying wedges and glitter. Even lawyers dress with giant shoulder pads in their suits and goofy glasses that the 70s Elton John would've been embarassed by. Cars have all this crazy-ass crap randomly soldered onto them--extra lights and horns and giant green bulbous boobies on their roofs. The movie opens with a big production number, and even the saxophones are nutty wacky oddball! And the music? Sounds like something from 1980. Outdated 80, as IT IS DISCO.
      It's so ridiculous looking that it gets points right there. But it loses them very quickly. There are far too many musical numbers, like in a bad kiddie film, and they don't advance the plot and it doesn't matter that they don't, as half the lyrics are incomprehensinonsense. The plot is so minor that it really could be encapsulated in its entirety in a coloring book. "Look, the evil Bim Company!" "They won't let us sing!" "Oh, I am attracted by the hedonistic lifestyle of Bim, so I must dump you, boyfriend!"
      As you might guess from the title, there's an apple. A big ass apple the size of a pumpkin, and it represents Eve being tempted by the devil. Oh, there's all these Biblical references that would be cooler if they made any sense. The followers of Bim--whether it's a record company or a world dictatorship, who knows--that makes everyone wear "The Mark of BIM!" on their heads. And there's a hippie commune in 1994 sure why the hell not, and then there's like this battle of Armageddon, except that before it starts, God walks down on his stairway from Heaven and raptures all the hippy non-Bims away. Well okay, that's all fine and WHAT THE LIVING FUCK?!?!?! THAT MADE NO SENSE AT ALL!
      I dunno, it is a really bad, goofy movie, but I found it more annoying than anything else. Even with the repeated jokes about Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

      I've been following this blog for a coupla months, and deem it worthy: How To Write Screenplays. Badly. All the advice you need to break into Hollywood screenwriting, with plenty of tips and hints. Bad ones.

      In passing: It's another major holiday today! On 7/31/99, and then on 8/01/03, one furball and then another moved in with me. Happy anniversary, kids!


      Ha ha! Of course, that's only funny because Hilton believes in some ca-razy Hollywood fad religion! I wonder if next year they'll use Mel Gibson's deeply-held convictions on Christianity vis-a-vis Judaisism as a big joke?

      In related news, NBC has cancelled the miniseries that Gibson was going to make on the Holocaust. Which means that someone thought that it was a good idea in the first place. I hope that this doesn't threaten the plans of David Duke's son to make his series about the NAACP!

      I got to thinking about "setting your sci-fi in a year you actually name" after yesterday's ramblings about The Apple. And I remembered this--although I'll bet that half of you guys don't, as it was probably before you were born. Or even before your parents graduated high school: UFO! By the "Supermarionation" king and queen, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Even you yung'uns have heard your elders laugh about the goofy puppet shows "Thunderbirds" or "Captain Scarlet." UFO was live action. And, well, pretty goofy. These aliens were invading Earth in their lil spinning-top UFOs, and our secret defenders SHADO would send their "nuclear Interceptors" out from their Moon craters and blow them up, with the single big nuclear missile they were armed with (you can see this right at the end of the clip). I came across the series in syndication a few years after it was made, and even at the age of 12 it seemed incredibly stupid to me. The Aliens would get blown up 2 or 3 times an episode. It never seemed to occur to them that SHADO had exactly 3 Interceptors, each armed with a single-shot missile. And every single damn time, they sent exactly 3 UFOs. If just that ONE time, they'd sent four...Oh, and the Interceptors were based on the Moon. What, the aliens couldn't have flown on the side of the Earth that the Moon WASN'T ORBITING, just that one time?
      One time, the aliens tried to infiltrate Earth by sticking the brain of one of them into a cat's head. At the time, I laughed. Given how much bigger the human-sized aliens brains must be compared to the size of a cat's, wouldn't they have to cut a lot out before it fit? In retrospect, I think it explains a lot.
      Ahh...Why'd I bring this up again? Oh, yeah. There's some ridiculous (fumbles for word, finds there isn't one, makes one up) yearwronginess here. The Crapple was made in 1980, and set in 1994. UFO was made in 1970, and set in the amazing futuristic world of--oh, don't worry, like Apple, they'll make sure you know. And yeah, my first car looked exactly like that.
      The main reason I link to this? So I could hear for the first time in decades the second-coolest TV show theme ever! (First place goes to the theme from "The Avengers") It's so James Bond Goes to the 60s Rome Moon Lounge. And if you can't groove to visuals of a series you've never even heard of, here's the same theme with a Star Trek twist.
      And no, UFO never explained why the Moonbase was staffed exclusively by hot babes in spandex and purple wigs. And we LIKED it that way!

      Just now, the latest household mystery: Why is the carpet by the AC so wet?
      If it's the AC, I don't see how. There's newspaper stuffed under it, and that's dry. The wall under it is dry. Nothing but the carpet is wet, and wet carpet means mildew stink. Is the AC overflow magically running down an exterior brick wall in 100 degree heat and managing to seep back in?
      No idea, so I went out the back door to see if there were any clues. I can't say that I found any. Because when I left the door behind me ajar, it went
      My first thought: Oh no you didn't, you little bastard! But yes, BYRON HAD LOCKED ME OUT.
      I panicked a bit--I didn't have my keys, they're inside, all the windows are closed to keep the AC in! Little BASTARD! Then I had me a MacGyver moment, and went to the car, got in the trunk through the back seat, grabbed a tire iron with intent to either pry open the front window or smash it in. I climbed on the awning 2 stories above the parking lot at 1AM (not that any of the neighbors might find THAT suspicious) and discovered, in a true good news/bad news moment, that it was incredibly easy to jimmy open my window with the first tool at hand.
      And Byron was still at the back door, screaming "I WANT TO GO OUT TOOOOO!"
      "YOU!!!" I said, and made angry gestures. Futile, of course. He doesn't know what he did. I guess that I should get a third house key made, one to keep in the car.
      On the plus side, I guess I can consider burgalury as a fall-back skill.

      And suspicion over the Great Wet Spot has shifted back to Byron, given that it smells like CAT PEE. I just put the old litter box near it. Whether it's him or not, it's gonna get all mildew-stinky. Shit, it's already stinky. I'm looking to rent a wet-vac and buy some Carpet Fresh tomorrow, but any suggestions are welcome.


      Thanks to the commenters with their cat-pee-stink-removing remedies. Now if I could only get him to stop peeing, things would be fine.

      In vino veritas: Is Mel Gibson anti-Semitic? Of course not! And here's proof from his movie career.

      "Lt Ellis Gets Dressed!" popped up every time I finished watching the UFO theme, so I finally watched it. Something I'd forgotten about the show's opening credits before yesterday were the close-ups of the breasts and butts. I guess that they were shooting for a market a little older than that of Thunderbirds. It's very tame, but I love the wacka-ka-chow porno version of the theme they use (about 50 seconds in).
      If I had any musical talent, I'd record an entire album of sci-fi themes gone porn. Like the themes to Star Trek (UHURA: "Ensign Rand, could you help me out of my miniskirt?") or Buck Rogers (WILMA DEERING: "Twiki, could you help me out of my spandex unitard?" TWIKI: "Beeda beeda beeda beeda boner!"), and the Star Wars Imperial March (DARTH VADER: "The lack of proper ventilation on this battle station disturbs me! It is sooo hot!!" [strips off armor as "bah dunh dah dunh wack-a chack-a chow" plays]).


      In the Connecticut Democratic primary, it's become obvious that Lieberman's going to lose. The only remaining question is how low will Joe go? Hiring Republicans to scream and abuse nonagenarians at Lamont photo ops today, but there's still 5 days to go...Limbo lower, Joe!

      Okay, "yearwronginess" wasn't a very evocative or even sane word. I think that "retrofuture anachronism" is a better descriptor of "setting your sci-fi thing in a named year which eventually passes and everything looks so much dumber than if you'd just said 'In the Future'."
      Since almost nobody had ever heard of "UFO," I laughed at myself when I remembered a retrofuture anachronistic TV show that not only most of you have at least heard of, but was also made by G&S Anderson. And it not only included the year in the title, the opening sequence included the month and the day. Woulda seemed even weirder if the big disaster had happened 2 days earlier, don't ya think? (Note: the theme song bites, and the YouTube file plays WAY too loud, so turn your speakers down unless you want everyone at work to know you're watching a truly dopey TV show)
      Remember the episode when the Moon was attacked by a flood of shaving cream from a giant floating space brain? Yeah. That was good.






      I was really hoping for a 60/40 blowout and tomorrow's papers screaming LAMONT LANDSLIDE! But, to actually cement the stereotype, Joe is "Sore Loserman" and will run as an independent. Independent from anyone but his fuck-buddy Bush, that is. I guess that all those Republicans that became Democrats this month did it only to vote for the only non-Democrat running for the Democratic Senate seat.
      Polls show that Lamont and Lieberman are tied in a 3-way race...because Joe Blow-Bush is taking votes from the Republican candidate. Which should tell you all you need to know about him.
      We'll see what happens next. Clinton has already said that he'd support the Democratic candidate. Will the pressure from the Republicans to keep Loserman in the race be greater than the efforts of REAL Democrats to get him to admit defeat? Lieberman's supporters include well-known "moderates" like himself, such as Hannity, Malkin, Limbaugh and Coulter. Francisco Franco, still valiantly holding onto death, was unavailable for comment.

      I'm too lazy to find a link to a story that became old this morning (okay, here's one), but Lieberman's website crashed and he blamed it all on Lamont and his army of hackers. Of course, the TV networks ran this story without taking even a second to verify it. It turns out that LIEberman, with his multimillion dollar campaign funded by lobbyists and Republicans, was using a webhost that cost $15 a month. Yes, you read that number correctly. And it went down on election day! That's unpossible! I guess that he should've gone with Geocities.

      Live blogging from the Lieberman bunker, via Jesus' General.

      To skip local politics for a bit, the best and worst sci-fi opening sequences, with video. I guess that they never heard of the best, UFO.

      Oh, and I sent Lamont another $20. If you're from CT, and aren't planning on kissing Bush, I suggest you do the same.


      One thing that has apparently escaped every political commentator about yesterday's Lamont win: It completely refutes the most central and sacred of Republican tenets over the last six years. "Who would you rather have a beer with?"
      I never quite grasped how that particular bizarre reasoning ever gained any traction, but the Bushies also believe that unicorns died out because they were late for the Ark. Why would I want a beer with Bush, a proven violent alcoholic? He'd have a few, get belligerant, then accuse you of being like his old man after you sneezed in a way that he thought you said "stem cells," and then he'd beat you with his bottle until the Secret Service took you away on a permanent vacation in the boiling pots of our ally and stalwart defender of Stalinism Democracy, Uzbekistan.
      No, wait--that metaphor only makes sense if the beer was with Bush. Why anyone would want to have a beer with Lieberman? Joe would simply rock his barstool and whine how his wife Connecticut left him for a younger man, how she could NEVER give him the love he deserved for being her husband of 18 years. She wanted him to stand up to their abusive, drunken neighbor who threw his trash over the fence into their yard, but Joe would go over and wax the guy's SUV for him. "Bitch has NO gratitude! I bought her flowers 3 years ago when her sub base might've been closed, didn't I?! It's like she wants attention all the time!"
      I think I could have a beer with Ned Lamont without worrying about him either trying to kill me or pick my pocket. Or going on a self-pitying crying jag about the woman who left him, that fucking bitch who threw him over for the democratic process.


      A beer with Lieberman:

      Sorry to keep going on about it, but here's the Daliy Show on Joe.

      I think there were more disturbing ones on the InExOb, but here's the 10 Creepiest Advertising Icons.
      I have a doll of number one! They seem unaware of the fact that he was originally marketed as "CP," in order to rip off a then-recent movie hit "ET." Yeah, they look nothing alike. CP was made from one of their generic cake molds, much in the same way that "Fudgy the Whale" was morphed into Santa every December--despite the fact that Fudgy's tail became a Satanic-looking forked Santa hat.
      CP became famous enough in the 80s that my parents bought one ironically for a family gathering. And it was the worst ice cream cake we'd ever had. Even after defrosting for hours in the fridge, it was nearly uncuttable. And the ice cream cone nose was stale.

      This doesn't even get the "SHAWT Nice Try Award":
      Teenaged-looking pretty girl is asked for ID. She hands over an out-of-state and very fakey college ID.
      ME: Do you have a driver's license?
      HER: I just lost it!
      ME (thinking "How oddly convenient"): I'm sorry, but no ID, no service.
      HER (thinking quickly, although not quickly enough to make it seem like she's not making it up, flashing pretty white girl winning smile): It's for my grandmother!
      Well...send Granny in then. But since she's buying a half-gallon of Jim Beam, maybe she's passed out on the floor of the retirement home. When it finally became clear that we weren't going to sell, she said, "Well, then I'll just go buy it in the ghetto!"
      Thanks! I was wondering if you could possibly sink any lower in my estimation. Hey, when you get to Hartford, ask the store if you can get the "ghetto discount for rich honkies" and tell them that Stop & Shop has watermelon on sale. That'll work. For me.


Ridiculous! The only true answer to the question is "FUCKING JOOZ!!!"

      Someone found the page looking for "Glitter phrases for friends blog 4." Sorry about the slight, glitter blog 3!

      Do NOT click on this! It's a medley of catchy and incredibly dumb old net memes. Don't click, because you'll just keep wanting to play it again. It's brilliant.
      It also has links to the originals, which is great if you have no idea what they're singing about. "Ducks Live on the Moon" and "Badgers Badgers Badgers"? Those went under my radar. And I'm kinda glad that they did.
      I'm disappointed that they left out "The Terrible Secret of Space" and the Animutations guy, but maybe they were focusing on the less talented ones.

      Speaking, singing, or things vaguely like them, like how a "car" and a "car crash" are related, apparently Paris Hilton has an album out. "Hilton has been quick to point out that singing is a vocation for which she is eminently skilled. 'I know music,' she reassured the Sunday Times children's section. 'I hear it every single day.'
      "While this obviously gives Hilton a massive advantage over those who have never heard any music and thus believe it to be a variety of cheese, there remains the nagging suspicion that this might not represent sufficient qualification for a career as a singer, in much the same way as knowing what a child is does not fully equip you for a career as a consultant paediatrician."


      I had a productive walk in the woods behind my condo today--three feathers found! I gave the biggest to Byron, and he did his usual. Fought it, carried it in his mouth to another room, fought it, carried it back into the first room, etc etc.
      I gave a smaller one to Killsy. She sniffed it with great interest for several minutes--then fell asleep on it. Tomorrow I'll give that one to Byron. Feathers aren't easy to find, so I'm rationing them.

      The store got a free sample of some likker last week. That's hardly unusual, but this was Champale. They make that stuff still? It was a joke even before I was old enough to drink. I first heard of it on "Sanford & Son," where it was one of Fred's favorite drinks, along with the fortified wine Ripple. He liked to mix the 2, calling it "Champipple."
      Champale is this allegedly champagne-tasting beverage made from malt liquor. It did taste (kinda sorta but not really) like champagne. Funny aftertaste that's stuck with me for hours.
      It's also giving me a buzz that's staying with me, so I guess I should write about Retrofest before I fall asleep. I Netflixed Gigantor, Ultraman and the Brak Show (umm, not really sure how that last one made it to the top of my queue; it was supposed to be the most certainly awful Supermarionation show Supercar). I've only watched 2 episodes of Gigantor so far, but I really like them. But I like old Japanese cartoons, even the smellier ones. The animation is weird, as it ranges from nonexistant to rubbery to detailed in the course of seconds. But it can also just get plain get freaky, such as a POV shot from inside the villain's mouth. Sometimes you'll be surprised by Tex Avery-like full-body spit takes, or a Fleischeresque anthropomorphism.
      The plot, of course, is manifestly insane: "Dr Katzmeow" is trying to conquer the world by taking over Antarctica, which apparently has a population of tens of thousands. Well, had a population--the show has a pretty big body count for a show aimed at kids. Early on, Gigantor (who's "taller than tall," although he fluctuates between 12 and 50 feet) fights...robot penguins with machine gun nipples. Then "Dick Strong," a hero, is lost, and a good minute consists of the characters yelling "DICK! DICK!" in the snow. What's not to love?
      And the end credits assure us that it's "Based on characters created by MITSUTERO YOKOYAMA and MARY SHELLEY." Who, of course, was the author of Gigantor, or the Modern Prometheus.


      Gypsy Curse turns Supreme Court into Liberals

      Hiking in the woods today, I found a great big ol' hawk feather! Score! Later, I collected a dozen blue jay feathers! MAXIMUM SCORE! They were scattered over a very small area, so I assume that a hawk, maybe the one whose wing feather I found, had grabbed him and et him all up in a tree right over the trail.
      And who's decided that feathers are sooo 8/13? Yeah, it's Mr Can't Get Any More Spoiled. I think I'll just give him rocks for a while.

      Another story about how you might be better off not winning lotto.


      Funny, but "being between the legs of a Bush" pretty much describes Lieberman's problems.

      ...And, they already had their Chirstmas stuff out for sale!
      Umm, wait, I blew that. That was supposed to be the punchline, but I put the "Xmas starts earlier every year!" bit in first.
      Ho ho ho!-hum. Eventually, once the Xmas clearance crap sells off in January, the Christmas shop will open just after Valentine's.
      I only became aware of the store in question when I got a flyer in the mail. Grand Opening Tuesday Morning! I searched every square inch of the flyer, as it looked like an upscale Big!Lots, but its name was nowhere to be found. There was a map there, and it was 5 minutes away, but what was the name? Viral marketing may work on the web, but it makes no sense in real life.
      I was driving by the plaza this No-Name Lots! was in yesterday, and stopped in. The name of the store opening Tuesday morning was Tuesday Morning. Dang, but that's a retarded name. It almost beats the retardiest name I've ever seen, "Yesterday's Pizza."
      And guess is an upscale Big!Lots. Featured item: 15 inch LCD TVs with NBA logos. For $200. And everything else was B!Lots type mechancrap, except twice the price. Nice business model. I expect to drive by them some Tuesday morning soon and find them closed..


      From bOING bOING, and thus eveywhere by now, Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown. BB thinks it's inspired by Taxi Driver, but it looks to me as if the source was Python's "Sam Peckinpaugh's 'Salad Days'."

      An interview with Joe Lieberman's ego.


      After posting last night, I spent the last day of an unexpected 3-day weekend over at Kevin's. He grilled us a couple of juicy steaks on his gas grill, which was significant for 2 reasons: It was the first steak I'd eaten in about 5 years, and between 1990 and 2 months ago, he was a vegetarian. He says that it was because it was the only lifestyle choice he'd made at 21 that he still didn't question. I'm sure that's true, but, ah, there may be a slight connection between the end of the messy divorce from the vegetarian and the start of a relationship with a meat-eater.
      At any rate, he recommended LinkaGoGo, an online bookmarks saver, which would've saved me a lot of aggravation over the last 10 days. Of course, so would've saving my bookmarks to a CDR instead of a floppy. But you could use both and have 2 sources of backup.
      I haven't tried that yet, but I took one look at his free sitecounter and immediately put it on this page. You can get your own one by clicking on the StatCounter at the bottom of this page. I've been using 2 different ones, as neither gave me what I wanted by themselves. Set up yours and go to "Recent Visitor Activity," and it gives you info on every possible thing you could want to know on one page--and the free version clocks the last hundred hits.

      Table reserved for WILLIAM YOUNG and guest
      William, learn how to make money online using eBay, Yahoo, Google, MSN
      and others at this FREE Conference!
      FREE! Business Organizer A $39.99 Value!
      This FREE Premier Dining Package is valued at over $120
      FREE Lunch or dinner!
      FREE Business Organizer!
      FREE Admission for two!
      And much more!

      WOO! All those FREE! goodies and random capitalization sounds almost too good to be true!
      It was on its way to the recycling bin when I noticed that the dates fall over my vacation. Mayhap I shall go to this "90 minute seminar" after all. As my guest, I shall find one of skid row's finest. Surely he'll appreciate a free meal. And a business organizer.
      It's recommended by not one but two Vice Presidents of...of...umm, well, it says "Internet Income Training" on the front top of the letter--yes, this is snail mail, not spam--well, spam, maybe, but it has a physical form--and "Internet Marketing Conference" on the back bottom of the letter. Huh. There doesn't seem to be any agreement on the name of this company, on the same piece of paper.
      It's nice paper, though! It's really slick!
      Vice President One is named C. Rex Sanders. VP2 is named C. Kevin Oliver. Man, if it's going to involve people with the first name "C," couldn't at least one of them be C. Martin "Voice of Zorak" Croker?
      If your parents gave you a sucky enough first name that you shortened it to an initial, why wouldn't you just drop the initial and go with the middle name? Going by a first initial is like a combover--nobody notices a bald guy, but a combover just draws attention to itself. Especially when the name you prefer is Rex. Were your parents really hoping for a dog? Do you have a brother named Fido?
      And then people just wonder what the initial stands for: Cocksucker? Cholera? Cooties? Chia Pet? Cavid Casslehoff? Cexplosive Chiarrhea? Combover?
      Seriously, I'd change the first initial to T. Then I'd be T. Rex Sanders! I'd sound like I eat Kentucky Fried HUMANS!
      Interestingly enough, this is what you get when you Google "C. Rex Sanders." Don't bother to click; you get squat. Almost as if--it's a fake name!
      I've got a couple of weeks to make up my mind. I assume that they're waving the carrot of a free East Hartford Holiday Inn dinner of rubber chicken and some slave-labor-made craptastic "business organizer" (it comes with a pencil!!!) in order to stick me out of some money. But the thing smells so rank that I think that after the free glass of water at the start of the meal, I'd wake up in a bathtub full of ice.
      What would you do?
      Actually, you'd do what I just did, and Google the other VP, C. Wayne Gacy, and find this. Yep. Scam-o-rama.

      Hey, waitaminnit! Who sold these sleazeballs my home address?



      Okay, this is the second day in a row that I've received a Google hit for "white people eh eh eh eh eh black people doot doot doot." I assme that it's some retarded pop song or retarded net meme or something RETARDED, but you can stop looking now, as that's all you're going to find here about it.
      (Not that I don't know how they found it here--the "eh eh eh" is from the rappin' Dubya video, and "doot doot doot" is from the Cat-Town theme song. It's just that Googling that is so, umm what's the word--retarded?)
      BTW, I was on Google's 46th page of results, out of 2,390. Well, points for OCDish searching, crazy eh eh eh doot doot doot guy.

      If you're a fan of Half-Life, Kev has the original 1998 soundtrack as a download.


      In the Comments, Kisplut--our Queen of the Collective, the Splut Prime--mentioned an oldie but goodie: the eBay feedback from andy46477. It's one insane ("Not sure, but I think you peed on the stuff you sent. My dog keeps smelling it") and funny (some of which only make sense if you read the username--to a user named notoes: "Tony Two Toes! We went to school together! You stepped on a landmine! Remember?") non sequitur ("I know where you have sand.") after another ("Ugliness runs in my family. And out, apparently. My poo don't look right.").
      The cumulative effect is hysterical. My question today is the same as it was when I linked to this many a year ago: How did he do it? Many are posted during the same minute. Did he prewrite them? Was there a whole group posting these? Like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, the world may never know.


      Christian Pirate Puppet Rap Video. Highlight: the "dancing" by the 2 whitest guys in the world.


      Netflix recommended a movie based on my rentals. It was The War in Space, a 1977 Toho movie I've never even heard of, which sparked my curiousity. I most certainly remember another quick Japanese rip-off of Star Wars that came out at the end of 77, Message From Space. That was a funny and goofily insane movie fromm Toho's rival Toei, and if you've seen it, you remember it. It's the one with the good guy spaceships that looked like sailing ships, and the bad guy ones had fur on them (umm, dunno why--but it is cold in space). Don't recall it? It's the one with the glowing flying walnuts. Yeah. THAT one.
      I wasn't sure what to expect--would it be a laff-fest like Message, or was there a very good reason why I'd never heard of it? And, yeah--it sucked.
      It was 90 minutes, but it took me almost twice that time to watch it, as I kept hitting pause and finding better things to do. Like watching mildew grow on the shower grout. When the aliens blow the fuck out of every major city, you'd think that that would be a big special effects moment--and the movie just played the destruction in the background, over a superimposed submarine. I don't even know who was on the sub, maybe this guy Jimmy they kept talking about, although he later arrived in a Phantom jet, so I guess not. I wondered at this point if this was recycled footage, and IMDB said Yes. I also wondered why the ship looked so much like Atragon, right down to the big drill in the front. They reused the model.
      Quite boring. The only unintentionally funny parts are only okay: The bad guy space ship had a front shaped like a giant tiger head with a beak for a mouth. At one point, the heroes discover that it's an air vent. An air vent? In space? That's definitely a bug, not a feature. Especially when yeah, it's one of those movie "air vents," the ones that are always big enough to crawl in, and never have fans or anythinng else in them that might make them function as air vents. This does get points for Most Comfortable Air Vent Ever, as they're tall and wide enough for people to walk through them standing up and three abreast. Next we see the feet of a bad guy on patrol. And his shoes have adorable curled-up toes. They're like jackboots for happy little elves.
      And, well, that's pretty much all I remember (oh, they did foresee Return of the Jedi by having the girl get captured and put into leather bondage gear and held on a chain by a monster. Although he looked like a carpet with bull horns, and not a big slug)
      It ends when the one bad guy space ship crashes and blows up the entire planet Venus. And I mean ends; the movie sinply stops. Possibly because that if Venus really did blow, huge pieces of it would be impacting the Earth for next million years, repeatedly destroying any life bigger than bacteria and pretty much writing off any chance of a happy ending.
      Sadly, while you can Netflix this sorry crap, you can't rent Message From Space. Or even buy it.



      Video time!

      Star Trek and the Holy Grail

      Almost as funny: Burger Chef and Jeff, 1974.
      There was a Burger Chef in my college town of Oberlin, OH back in '78, a time that surely encompassed the height of the Munchies Era. And yet, it never seemed to have a lot of business...But take a look at the unappetizingly-presented food here, and I think we can guess why Burger Chef has gone the way of the dinosaurs.
      What's better? The adverb/adjective/random wordsmash "INCREDABURGERLY!" or the news that "We still sell them ready to eat!" As opposed to McDonalds, where they hand you a bun and a chainsaw and give you directions to the nearest slaughterhouse. Or is it Burger Chef's serial-killer fake laugh?


      Hairstyles of the RIch and Congressional.




--premier of Alberta (Canada) Ralph Klein


      By the way, I'm on vacation. It hasn't come up because so far, my greatest accomplishment has been sleeping 24 hours over the course of 36. I love sleep!
      I watched something Netflix kept recommending to me, Cat Soup. I assume that was because I'd rented anime, particularly the Miyazaki-produced The Cat Returns. I was a mite leery of it--it only had 3 stars, and the description said that it was "surreal" and "equal parts marvelous and distressing." It turned out to be only 33 minutes long! Something that short I wouldn't waste a rental on.
      About 3 minutes into it, it became clear that the best part of it was that it was short. It was "surreal," as in "no plot or story and made no sense." I don't mind "challenging" films, so long as they add up to something. As Ebert has said, "When anything can happen, who cares what happens?" And there was a bizarre fascination with bloodily vivisecting people and animals--I think that happened 6 times. Yeah, that might fall under "distressing." It's one of those things where the only question eventually becomes "And who was this thing made for?"
      Then I followed it up with the MST3K version of The Giant Spider Invasion, which only proves that no matter how bad and funny a movie is, The Mike Years can still make it suck.

      Here's some video clips from The Physics of Superheroes PowerPoint. The guy is as nerdy looking as you'd expect, but he's also quite funny. I wish could see the whole presentation, not just a few clips.

      What your musical tastes tell about your personality. People who like rap are more likely to commit a crime, huh, who saw that coming? You can take part in the study by filling out this survey. It's Anglocentric, and mentions many musical styles I've never heard of, let alone heard. And I spent 6 years working in record stores. It gets points for seperating classical music into different genres, but loses them when ambient and trance are lumped under the umbrella "Dance/Electronica."

      Reason We Invaded Iraq du Jour: Rummy the Dummy says it's because if we hadn't, gas prices would be high. What? I remember more than one rightwing coworker claim before the invasion, "Do you know how cheap gas will be when we win?" It was $3.20 a gallon a month ago.
      Rumsfeld also claims that Iraq would've used all those windfall profits to help Iran build nuclear weapons. Goodness gracious, yes! Why wouldn't they want their MORTAL ENEMY to be able to nuke Baghdad? It's no different than how Israel is giving suitcase nukes to Hamas! It's just good strategic thinkafication!


      ARRRGH! No, it's not because of "talk like a pirate day"--I have jury selection tomorrow! What a GREAT VACATION!
      Actually, it was supposed to happen a day after my last vacation ended, but fuck that. If I have to work until 830PM, and then be there by 830AM--no. So I moved it to the middle of this vacation, so that I might at least have a shot at 8 hours sleep.
      And they tell you to be there at 830, but that's crap. You hand in a form and then sit there while Good Morning America or some other garbage plays on the TV. They don't actually do anything until 9, so I'm arriving at 855. And then all you get is a stupid video, and then you just sit around for a couple of hours. Then they send you to lunch. Then you sit around as they painfully call one potential juror at a time. Alphabetically. My last name is Young.
      And they pick you for selection randomly. MY ASS THEY DO. This is the SIXTH TIME in TWELVE YEARS they've called me. That's not random.
      My appearances since 1994:
      Face it--there's no damn way I'm getting lucky six times in a row. This is the time my luck runs out. I wonder what bullshit my job will pull if I get selected; I wouldn't be surprised if they demand that I come to work after jury duty for 3 hours a day. This sucks, pretty much.


      I managed to go to bed at the ridiculously early hour of 11PM last night. I was in bed for nine hours, but I didn't sleep for nine. I kept waking up, or being woken up, as the cats somehow emptied the food bowl twice in a few hours. I spent the last 15 minutes just lying there, waiting for the alarm.
      Some things had changed since the last time I'd been to jury selection. They don't seat you from 830 to 9, but now only until 845. I was there at 850. I had to be escorted to the selection room, and the woman in charge was already speaking to the juror pool. My escort said, "It might be too late, and we'll have to rescedule you." NO! I don't want to go through all this again just because I was 5 minutes late!
      But the judge had yet to speak, so I signed in. Alphabetically, and since they hadn't called Fuzzy Zoeller, you can guess where my name was.
      I watched the incredibly boring videos they show beforehand, absorbing nothing except the realization that Red Bull doesn't wake me up. Why we needed to know how judges are appointed I don't know. "People think all judges are white men in their 60s, but that's just a stereotype." Fascinating, really. Our judge was going to be late, as he was in a "judges meeting," probably with his ethnically-diverse 20something colleagues, so the widescreen TV was set to CNN. I started reading a copy of Science News. I put it down when there was an interview with the innocent Canadian who was basically kidnapped under American orders and shipped to Syria to be tortured for 10 months. The woman in charge (WIC) immediately channel-surfed to Regis and Whatshername. But the judge soon arrived. He was a white man in his 60s. As judges always do, he pointedly said that "my job needs me" is not a valid excuse to avoid jury duty.
      Most of us went downstairs for a swearing-in and preliminary hearing. Anyone who'd filled out a form requesting to be excused stayed behind, and I wish I knew what they had written, as none of them would be there when we returned.
      Another thing that had changed: they don't call names in alphabetical order anymore. I was the 3rd person to be called to say "Here!" and stand up (and the first person who could follow simple instructions--the 1st stood and said nothing, the 2nd said "Here" and sat back down). When we were all standing, we were sworn in. "So help me God"--yeah, that really doesn't apply in my case. Does that mean athiests can lie?
      The case was a civil one; a woman was suing in a slip-and-fall accident. It happened 4 years ago, which should tell you all you need to know about that right to a swift trial we get in the Constitution. They read off the names of people involved, including every partner in each law firm. My brother-in-law the lawyer's name wasn't mentioned, darn the luck. Two woman stayed behind to say why they felt they should be excused. As the rest of us were herded out, I thought "Should I have mentioned that one thing...?"
      Back to the selection room. I returned to Science News, until the Today show had a news report on the Dusquene shootings. I watched that for about 30 seconds, when the bailiff changed the channel. What, they can only show TV I'm not interested in? (Later, I realized that both times they changed stations was when something legal-related was on) This time we got something neutral, the Travel Channel, with a stunning look at luxury RVs. It began with a vintage Slipstream trailer tricked out for a Celebrity--the guy who "starred in the hit movie The Rocketeer." Umm, I liked that movie, but it was by no means a hit, and wasn't that 15 years ago anyway? This is the best "celebrity" you can find? (However, it was stunning--in the same way a tranqilizer dart is) Expecting from experience to have a looong wait before they started voir dire, I finished SN and started on A Confederacy of Dunces.
      But they started calling people immediately. Voir dire is when the lawyers for each side interview you to see if you'd make an acceptable juror. The 3 times I've had to sit waiting, I've never been called in, so far all I know your worthiness is based on your karaoke skills or Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
      The first person they called had a last name beginning with M, so at least there was a chance I wouldn't be there for 8 hours before they told me to go home. She and the next person called were in there 10 or 15 minutes each, dunno, really, as ACoD turned out to be a really entertaining book from the first paragraph. The next person called was "William A. Young."
      The voir dire: the 2nd word is pronounced "deer," not "dire," so I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. Instead of a comfy chair, I was in a tiny room with a tinier table. One thing I didn't expect was that, along with the lawyers, the plaintiff was there, as was the defendant. TWO! Two things I didn't expect! And they were seated right next to each other. And, mmm mmm, you could feel them radiating 4 years of pent-up good vibrations at each other. They each glared at me with obvious hostility.
      I was asked if I felt there was any reason that I shouldn't be chosen. I said "I know that the judge said your job wasn't a factor, but I'm on vacation this week, and 3 people had to work 6 days with a total store overtime of 32 hours." Which is true; what I didn't say was that if I'd written the schedule, everyone would've worked 5 days with a total of 10 hours OT. I was asked if that what something I'd be distracted by during the trial. "It's the only thing I'm thinking about now." Then I brought up that One Thing: "I don't know if this is relevant, but my boss at work is suing someone over a slip-and-fall. I have no connection with the case, but all I've heard is his side of the story." Which is true; what I didn't say was that my 1st question to the plaintiff would be if when she fell, she had a 12 pack of Heineken and a Valium in her, too,
      "Okay, you're excused."
      Huh? Just like that? I wasn't in there even 3 minutes! She circled the "4" on a slip of paper and stapled it to my juror form, whatever that meant. The WIC was as startled as I was that my voir dire ended so quickly. Why, they hadn't even had time to strap me to the (dish) rack! As I was on paid vacation, I didn't get my $20. But I am going to get the "Get Out of Jury Duty Free" form, and be safe from this when they inevitably call me again in 2 years. Not only was I lucky enough to get out of jury duty for the 6th time in a row, I've already gotten out of the 7th.
      Total elapsed time: 2 hours, 9 minutes.
      I went home and paced the floor in amazement at my latest escape for an hour; it didn't seem real. Then I took a celebratory hike in the woods. When I stopped at the minimart to get some milk, I bought a Lotto ticket. Although I assume that my allotment of luck has run out for the time being.

      When I first got home, Byron was sitting up in the front window, staring wide-eyed and fixedly at a point in the distance. Oh, wait, no he wasn't--he was asleep sitting up with his eyes open. Never seen him do both at the same time before. When he awoke, I invited him to explore the garage with me, and tried my best to get Killsy to come, too. I gave up after she hissed at me.
      Byron spent 75 minutes down there before I got so bored that him picked up and carried him screeching into the common hallway (he was the one screeching). I got him upstairs, and Kill Kill popped out into the hallway. Maybe now she wanted to try the garage? She stopped halfway down, so I went outside to get the mail and zip she was out the door. After the attempt at vehicular homicide on Byron, I don't want either of them out there. She clearly had decided that she was Dora the Explorer, but after 5 minutes I got her back inside. She still wouldn't go into the nice safe garage. While we'd been out, Byron had come outside, knocking the propped-open door shut in the process. Fortunately, this time he hadn't locked it. I still didn't have the mail, so I snuck out as he tried to follow me. He was screaming at the door when I got back, wanting to go into the damn garage again. Sorry, that invitation is closed for today.
      Back home, Killsy went uncharacteristically bonkers, running around and jumping on things. Byron decided to climb on a rack of dishes (filled with glasses) and used those thumbs to pop the cabinet door open. He then proceeded to climb in there and fling the tub of catnip to the floor. Jeez, all you had to was ask. I gave them some, which they both ate. I wish I'd grabbed the camera, as KK made a ridiculous anteater face while she lapped it up with her tongue. When Byron was done, he opened the cabinet again, so I gave them more nip. He ignored it; he just wanted to open the cabinet a third time. I was only able to finally calm them down with a documentary on luxury RVs. Actually, they continued to act crazy, until I had a dinner of tuna salad and gave them all the tuna water. Comfort food puts them to sleep.

      Presidential Thunderdome: Dubya vs FDR.

      The type of story that brings a smile to your face and a lump to your throat: Siblings seperated 65 years ago by the Holocaust reunited. And it's further proof that the Internet is the greatest thing ever.

      The complete article from (of all magazines) GQ is linked to at the end, but maybe only people from Connecticut will want to read it. For the rest of you, here's excerpts from it, on Lieberman's truly inept campaign.

Hmm. I updated yesterday, but I seemed to have forgotten the newest jump tag.
      The 2006 Stupidity Awards.
      I spent the Last Day of Summer at Gillette Castle. Sorry, forgot the camera. Here's a nice series of photos, if you're interested. And here's a Zippy strip I linked to a few months back:


      Ha ha! No we won't.
      And it was a beautiful day to go, plenty of sun and Orb-like Little Fluffy Clouds. It was smaller than I imagined it. But it was gorgeous, a crazy structure made of local rocks and cement, and lavishly appointed on the inside. It cost a million dollars to make in 1912-19, but was willed to family members who couldn't afford the property tax, and sold to the state for $30K in 1942 (in modern dollars, it would cost $20 miilion to build, and then was sold for $335,000, or what a good-sized house on an acre of land sells for in this insanely expensive state).
      William Gillette became rich performing as Sherlock Holmes on the stage, and this was his modest retirement bungalow. He was also its architect. The intricately-carved doors all had complex wooden locks more suited to a puzzle box than a house, and features designed to accomodate his cats. He never had less than 12 a time. I like this guy!
      And what a site. It's on a commanding view Beside The Great Tidal River (the translation of the Mohegan Indian word "Quinnehtukqut," aka "Connecticut," don'tcha know). After the tour, I followed a trail down to the Connecticut River. Despite living here for 47 years, I think that this is the first time that I've ever been on the shore of it. I found a souvenir for Byron, a waterfowl feather. Maybe he and Killsy would've preferred what I found next, a freshly dead catfish. The gentle waters were full of minnows and something that looked exactly like earthworms, but couldn't be, as they weren't drowning.
      At the gift shop I bought a dandy snowglobe and a beanbag of one of Gillette's favorite cats, a girl who was all white.
      I thought that it would take me about 45 minutes to get there, but it was 55 minutes, and I got stuck in an early traffic jam and almost ran out of gas...Umm, this isn't a very interesting post, is it? Well, I had fun.


General Comments for Summer 06: