Primordial Soup: Now with Lemon!

NEW 89

"Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous?
And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in."
--Sam Harris


      Saw Casino Royale last night, and it featured neither Peter Lorre nor a cameo by Frankenstein. That's because it was the third filmed version; maybe you've heard of it.
      It was good. I'm really not equipped to say more, as my Netflixed and brand-new copy froze halfway through Chapter Five, and after a half-hour of trying to find a way to watch it, I just went with what the DVD wanted me to do: skip Chapter Five and watch Chapter Six.
      Chapter Five would be the one where Bond and M have their first conversation, and I assume that it laid out Bond's backstory, the interpersonal dynamics of their professional relationship, and the start of the plot. So I think I missed an important bit. I certainly missed the part where it was explained why the terrorist from al-Qite-Incomptenta wanted to blow up the big empty plane (hint to terrorists: don't put a blinky light that goes BOOP! every 2 seconds on your bomb).
      It was far better than any recent Bond, given how few of those I've seen. I'll read a positive review of one of those, and it'll be just like every other one from the last 20 years, an overlong and disinteresting mess with exactly enough plot to link the stunts and explosions, but exactly no more than that. (Interesting fact: Every critic and almost every 007 fan lists Goldfinger as the best Bond movie. How strange that it's also the one with the most coherent plot, and the only one ever made that's less than 2 hours long.)
      Surprisingly, it actually followed a lot of the book. The book is awful. IIRC, it's 120 pages long, and 40 pages of it are anticlimax--just Bond moping. But it followed it, especially the 2 abrupt and unexpected deaths. And also the torture scene. Now, THAT is where they lost me. They present torture as something only evil people do. Are they calling torture EVIL? How anti-American! They make Baby Jack Bauer cry.
      I wonder where they'll go with this. Are they planning to redo the books, in order? Will the next movie pick up the plot of the next book, and involve Bond versus "the organization" that was financing Le Chiffre? In the books, it was the early Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH (the name was short for "Death to Spies"), but if the movie was made 40 years ago, of course it would be SPECTRE. While cool and iconic for its time, it was the father of a thousand lame-ass bastard children of evil organizations with increasingly dumb acronyms for names (one of the offspring called itself E.V.I.L., which would pretty much be a giveaway when they were filing for status as an LLC). So, while it would be cool for about a minute, I really hope that if "the organization" reappears, it sure ain't SPECTRE. At least not as much that I hope it isn't THRUSH or KAOS or BIG"O" or F.E.A.R. or whoever it was that Inspector Gadget fought.
      I look forward to the next installment, assuming that they continue in this vein. This is the third time they've tried to "reinvent" the franchise as "realisitic"--one time, they decided to remake it in the image of "Die Hard," another series that's lasted for half a century. (Remember last year's Die Hard with an Awesome Combover?)


      Kirk found something on YouTube relating to the director of El Topo and posted it to the Comments, complete with transcript. Unfortunately, it fell during the change of the seasons and thus the change of the Newest. It got a bit lost.
      I hoped that he'd post it to his page, and he did. It follows the first part of his post, but that's interesting, too.


      Any time there's a link to something cool on bOING bOING--assuming that I should still spell it that way, as they stopped doing it a few years ago--Any time there's a link, it's gone when you get to it. A million other people cooler than you have already been there. If it's some limited-time thing, forget it.
      So I expected nothing when I clicked on a link about getting a drawing of your "hobo name" on a postcard. Not for free, but for $10. I've seen the guy's art before, and thought that this would definitely be worth ten bucks even to a poor guy like me, and who knows? Maybe someday it'll be the envy of the art world, framed on the wall with my original Mebbersons.
      But it's Boing Boing. Everyone will want one, and in 20 seconds, so why even try--hey wait, check out number eight! (Wait--I'm suddenly #9. "CrapHouse Craigie" was added in the last hour at #6. IT'S RIGGED! Of course, now I can say that I'm "Number Nine. Number Nine. Number Nine..." Maybe I'll be drawn like John Lennon)
      DAMMIT! I should've said, "BtS and his 2 cats!"
      Oh well. He's only doing 200, and the list is filling. And what a cool idea for struggling artists--200 postcards, and he gets $2,000. That's a lot of ramen.
      One can only wonder what he'll do with the non-information "Splut." It's usually seen in comic strips as a sound effect for a snowball hitting someone. I wouldn't want that.




      Amazon calls it "Super Saver Shipping" because "Constipated Snail Shipping" test-grouped poorly. They didn't mail me my stuff until a week after the release dates, and I didn't get Divalicious! until Thursday. I saved it for my lunch hour the next day, so that I didn't burn through it in one sitting. But Friday before work Kill Kill was being quite weird--normally when I get up, she's flopped on her back on the bathroom floor and waiting for a belly rub, or she's looking for her morning Fancy Feast. But she was nowhere to be found. When I got to work, it hit me that hiding and not eating means that a cat is sick. With the news about poisoned cat food in the air, I drove home to double check on her at lunch. She was curled up on my bedclothes with a wet nose and alert eyes, and while she seemed baffled by breakfast in bed, she ate the treats I gave her. Later, she was back to her normal demanding self, and all was right in my world.
      I read half of Divalicious! Saturday, and finished it today. While I'm not the ideal target audience for a comic about pop teen singers, I really loved it. The story had the right mix of comedy ("I MADE COOKIES!"), satire (the song lyrics are awful--"Email This Female," ugh--but no more ridiculous than anything Britney or Jessica have sung), corporate machinations and murderous side characters. And of course--the art! From realistic to wildly over-the-top (sometimes in the same panel), but always in service of the story. There's little bits of humorous detail in the corners, but when the point is the emotion, it's uncluttered and on target. I was always impressed by Mimi's 80s-themed comic As If! but it's astonishing how much better she's become.
      Best of all, it warrants more than one read. There's an overall plot that isn't apparent until it's nearing the final third. Downside: Ends on a cliffhanger. There had better be a second volume, or I will be sad.

      Via SteveM from the Comments, The Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels.

      In a similar vein, The Lamest Superheroes. Hey, it's "Arm Fall Off Boy"!
      It's DC-centric--the only Marvel character is Cypher, and I always thought that he was a sly commentary on the ridiculousness of the X-mutants. Every mutant has a power that only relates to hand-to-hand combat, except his: the ability to translate or decode anything. If that power actually existed, it'd be the only one ever that'd be useful in real life. Seriously, where's the mutant with superior hand-eye coordination and increda-vision who becomes a millionaire pro golfer? My vote for a stupid mutant would be the one-time appearance of "Fang Face," a woman (as it was a comic book, that means "young, skinny, boobs, hawt") who could turn into a dragon. Yeah. What gene causes that? Is there another hottie whose scrambled DNA turns her into Giant Three-Toed Sloth Face?
      They also list a character who's obviously meant to be a joke, and "Matter Eater Lad," but fail to point out that the lamest part of his story is that he came from a whole planet of people who ate rocks and fenceposts. It'd be like having a hero from Rome named "Italian Speaker Boy." Wait--that's Cypher, isn't it? Except lamer.

      I found the article from a hit to a particularly lame superhero on my site (hint: "magic monkeys"), and was amused enough to click on the TV section. Divalicious! mentioned a Disney-style show called "Hammy the Hamster," and there was a link to a real "Hammy the Hamster" show and OMGWTF I used to WATCH that! "Tales of the Riverbank" was a feature on whatever locally-made show preceded Captain Kangaroo on Hartford's channel 3 in the 60s! I LOVED IT. At the same time I was watching Space Ghost power-band the snot out of space villains, I was entranced by this live action little series about the gentle, sweet adventures of a rat, a hamster and a guinea pig. I said "And I thought that I was the only person in the world who remembered this!" only to discover that versions of it were made for 40 years. And that you can't find any DVDs of it, and that 90% of the sites mentioning it are by Gen-X slackers trying to make fun of it by using Richard Gere jokes. Making "sweet and gentle" entertaining is harder than falling back on a default of cynical nihilism, and the fact that the only thing cool thing in the world is you.

      Uh oh, that must mean it's time for me to make fun of something myself! It's that unbeloved new feature, "Reviewing the Guest Reviewer on Some-Guy & Roeper"! This week it's Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe. He wasn't bad, but, dude, if you're going to wear a tie, either knot it properly or take it off. Unfortunately, he couldn't defeat Roeper's annoying habit of talking over people. The only effective tactic is to let him blow hard and then smack him down. Wesley tried to talk over Roeper talking over him, so all the viewer heard was blahdiddyblah.
      Review of Thumb: When it was down, it bent out at an angle. This makes 2 out of 3 thumb-mutants on the show recently. But can he speak Italian?

      Of course, I forgot the New Rule of the Internet: If you can't find it, it's on YouTube. The Brit version of "Tales of the Riverbank" I assume, as I don't remember the one I saw having those accents. And, hmm, I think that Double-O Hamster might not be series canon.
      If guinea pigs in jeeps don't excite you, here's the Arrogant Worm's "History is Made by Stupid People" set to Dr Who visuals. Visuals that are so lame, your arm might fall off. But at least you'll get to hear the song that'll be the theme music to "How they'll judge the Bush Administration for decades to come."


      Bill the Splut, Hobo


      Sometime in the recent past, I heard a song. I should note that, once one passes 40 years of age, there's this sudden shift and everything becomes the recent past. Today I thought of something that happened 15 years ago, and realized that when I was 30, I never would've thought of age 15 as being "recent."
      At any rate, sometime in the recent past--probably 8 or so years ago, when the Internet was but a dewy flower--I heard Bay-hay Bee-Doll. It was a promo song for a JC Penney doll from the 60s. One can hear it here on WFMU's blog. As I want that to be on your computer screen when the police find your bloated corpse, so they don't blame me for your killing spree with a discotheque threshing machine/suicide by jamming Pop-Tarts up your anus until you suffocate by pooping out of your nose with a strawberry-sprinkle frosting.

      There's a really long Daily Kos post you can read here, but I'd like to clip this one paragraph:

      ...312 Millenia Later:
      It wasn't an 18-month hiatus at Gone and Forgotten, it was a build-up to The Five Other Identities of Superman! See, Jor-El builds a magical supa-scientific computer TV that shows him what the life of the baby he rockets into interstellar space would be like if he landed on planets other than Earth. And he's a superhero on every one! He even gets to be Batman! He's super even on planets where he has no powers, because "baby Kal-El gets adopted by a scientist who shoots him in the head with a magic ray gun and now Kal-El can run super-fast. PS – He runs so fast, he manages escape velocity and dies in space. I hope we've all learned something from this story."
      Y'know, if I made a supercomputer that decided that my rocket-baby's arrival on any planet had a 100% certainity of being adopted by a nutcase with ray guns and running into airless space...I'd think that my program had some serious bugs. I would've at least tested my grocery shopping list on it. "Okay, the TV says that I buy butter and cheese and then a dinosaur eats me by the Hungry Man dinners, but I'm okay because a kung-fu robot gives the T. Rex the Heimleich and he pukes me up, and I ride his vomit on a surfboard made of diamonds--what?! That's nuts! I don't buy Hungry Man!"
      The story doesn't say if Jor-El used it to check what happened to his kid on Earth, which is just as well, as the scenario probably played out as "Was shrunk into a Sea Monkey that wore red and blue underwear and fought plankton crime."
      While it's great to see GAF back in all its snarky glory, the page is odd--there are obvious links to images that don't work. (How obvious? Check the source code) But it's funnier than I ever will be.



      If you don't like the surreally brilliant comic strip (or the B-52s or, I guess, the Manhattan Transfer), you won't like th' Zippy th' Pinhead Theme Song. And then you won't be having fun yet. (With 2 extra songs from 2 decades ago, with lyrics made up entirely of Zippyisms--Life is a blur of Republicans and meat!)




      My career as a lab rat ended before it began. I was filling out the paperwork for the metabolic high lipids study, and it said that I could have no more than one drink a day. I could either lie, jeopardizing the study and potentially my health on their drugs, or just admit that I'd rather be boozin'. I suppose that makes me sound like an alcoholic, but if the study required me to sleep less than 8 hours a day, I would've turned it down then, too. I've been told not to leave the cat food bowl full all day, as the cats will graze on the chow. But it's one of their simple pleasures in life--if it's diet food and they aren't overweight, why should they stop? And me, I like beer.
      Plus, I know me, and my willpower is expended by the act of going to work and slaving my ass off while I'm there. I could cut my 4 beers a day down to 1, but it'd take mere days before I'd think "Hey, what harm could 2 do?" Which would be followed by 3, followed by 4, followed by a bottle of Bukoff in each fist and waking up in rehab next to a celebrity.
      While I was filling out the paperwork, I discovered that the bloodlettings were every 2 weeks, not every month as I thought. And I really don't enjoy that. I can't even watch the cats get shots. And is there anything more fun than when an incompetent tech finds your vein the same way that I try to bullseye a dart board? (If you want to play darts with me, wear protective headgear and move downwind. Into the next county)
      I had some blood taken today, which they haven't done since this whole rigamarole of shenanagins began. The doctor's new med student took it. But don't worry, the doc told him "Bill has great veins!" which is the weirdest compliment I've received since the dentist told my mom that I was his best patient at rinsing and spitting. Those aren't exactly the stuff of great bar pickup lines.
      In related news, my blood pressure is back to Perfect. For this I thank my work medical plan. Otherwise, I couldn't afford the meds, and would die of a heart attack or an aneuryism some day. Good thing we don't have that evil Socialized Medicine in this country or even poor people could afford it, getting their health off of the hard-working backs of America's undertaxed millionaires!

      I forgot to mention that I got my hobo postcard of the mud-wallowin' fat pig Bill the Splut on Saturday. The art is a bit dinged from being in the mail, but that's because it was in the mail. And it's not something he ran off of a printer; it's the real hand-drawn McCoy, pasted onto the postcard. If I turn it in the light, I can see exactly how he filled in the black of Bill's mouth.
      And keep checking his page for new hobos--they're funny and cool, and it's amazing how quickly he makes them, given the quality of the drawings and the concepts.

      Review the Guest Reviewer on Somebody & Roeper! Who was it? "My name is LeMire. James LeMire." And played by Daniel Craig.
      Actually, I don't know what her first name was--the VCR started a coupla minutes too late. But she knew her films. Oddly, Roeper did not talk over her. Was this because her opinions held as much weight as his, or because he plls his punchy lines when it's a female girl of the opposite sex, and thus not a worthy target of his manly jabs? Actually, it seemed as if they already knew each other, but I think that that would give greater reason to pounce on each other--it is only a movie, after all.
      Thumb: In the opposite of recent observation, it was normal in the Down position, but strangely tiny and pudgy when it was Up. ("Like my weiner! No wonder I don't date anymore! Thank you, folks, you've been great!")

      The Worst Rapper Names Ever. People would buy a CD by Toemaster B and Ghostface Kill-Killah before any of these guys, and those are the rapper names of my cats.


      Briefly, this weekend's DVDs:
      I rented for the second time and saw for the first time 1970's Catch-22. The first time Netflix sent it to me, I only received the sheet of paper you remove to mail it back; somewhere, the post office had the rest, and they naturally mailed the DVD back. And I had seen it more than once, back on broadcast TV like 25 or 30 years ago. I remembered only scraps of it, but somehow my memory recalled everything about it as I watched it. Except, weirdly, the ending.
      It's a dark comedy, and while I lost a bit from remembering it, it's worth renting now that we're again in a war that's unpopular with everyone in the country except the people running it.
      One of the first movies ever shown was a brief clip of a train heading towards the screen. The audience screamed and jumped away, thinking that they were about to be hit by this black&white, two-dimensional and silent train. Now we're so used to sights amazing that we just yawn and say, "Yeah, they can do anything with computers these days." For this movie about a WWII bomber squadron, they found a dozen actual working B25 bombers. And it's amazing to see something you know is real, and yet so impossible as a bunch of relics flying in perfect formation. There's a scene with the characters in the front of a bomber as seen from outside, with the squadron behind them, and after the movie I asked myself, "How did they do that?" (I guess the copilot was flying the thing, as I don't think that Art Garfunkel was)

       I got my Cool McCool set a coupla weeks ago (just in time for Catch-22 to get lost in transit), and as expected, I really like it. I knew that, as I have a pair old budget VHS tapes of it that I've watched annually for a dozen years now. And again, I don't recommend them to anyone but me. I have a big grin while I watch them, but this was my favorite cartoon series as a kitten, and your mileage definitately will vary.
      The same day McCool came out, the DVD set of Milton the Monster debuted. McCool's release was greeted with disdain on the few blogs that acknowledged its existence, but Milton was praised as a long-lost Holy Grail. I had only the vaguest of memories of it--I saw it and didn't like it. But I was only six! Maybe it is a lost grail of TV animation.
      Hey, your Grail sucks.
      It's not the worst mid-60s TV cartoon--the animation is better than, say, Hanna-Barbera, and there are mild chuckles to be found. But "not the worst mid-60s TV cartoon" is like this suppurating pustule on my foot--this one's only gangrenous enough that I'll lose my toe!
      60s TV cartoons, whether they were comedies or superhero action shows, had 3 episodes every 30 minutes. I assume that this was because it mimicked the 7-minute length of the old theatrical cartoons, and left handy spots for cramming in the ads. There would be a cartoon from the title character to begin and end the show, with one from a lesser light to fill in the middle. If you've ever seen the old Space Ghost cartoons, he had Dinoboy. I've always wondered if the filler was just filler, or something that could never hold a show of its own. Like Dinoboy. But Milton's show was odd. The title character turned up last in the rotation, and the losers controlled 2/3s of the show. Since Milton was copyrighted 1965, and everything else1964, they sure look like failed pilots crammed into the show that sold. These included Fearless Fly, who was basically Atom Ant with a secret identity and a villain who was a racist Chinese guy, although according to what were we constantly told, he was actually from Tibet. This, I think, is the only Tibetan supervillain. If I made one, I'd call him "the Dalai Hitler." Or the "DALI Hitler," because then he could have TWO weird mustaches and also melt clocks. To give you an idea of the show's level of sophistication, the bad guy's name was "Goo Fee." We're not watching Bullwinkle here, kids.
      Another filler was "Muggy-Doo, Boy Fox," an utterly generic character except for his retardo name. A name that the creator of the show had used as a comic book character a decade earlier, when he was "Muggy-Doo, Boy Cat." So the creator didn't think it was retardo, but his masterpiece. There was also "Flukey Luke," a cowboy I remember nothing about besides his racist Indian sidekick, and something I haven't seen yet, called "Stuffy Durma." Which sounds like a skin infection.
      I think I'll watch a bit more, just to find out what the fuck a "Stuffy Durma" is, but then it goes back to Netflix, and the rest of the Milton DVDs get deleted from my queue. I give it my highest recommendation, assuming that I'm that high, and that the rest of your evenings' plans were jabbing porcupines up your nose. Then, it might feel soothing.


      If you've been wondering since yesterday what the fuck a "Stuffy Durma" is, he's a happy hobo who inherits 10 million dollars, moves into a mansion where Some Guy (I missed his name) tries to make him a Gentleman, and misses his former life so much that when he sees a passing hobo, he sheds a single tear. And that's just in the credits!
      His cartoon consisted of an old hobo friend visiting his mansion, and Some Guy trying to shoo the bum away before the Bank President arrives. When the Bank President finally shows, why, in a totally not unpredictable plot twist, he's a former hobo himself! And he quits his job instantly and joins the other bum on the road. Watching from his mansion, Stuffy sheds a single tear.
      Well, that's certainly a novel concept for a cartoon, especially in 1965: end each episode with the main character longing for the sweet release that only death will bring. It's also the type of scenario that even a marginally bright six-year-old would question: Why can't Stuffy just leave and be a hobo? Couldn't he just give his millions away? How hard could that be? MC Hammer had no problem doing it. Or is Some Guy holding him prisoner? Then why not give him the millions, and hit the road?
      I wonder if the series continued in this depressing vein. Maybe later episodes were "Stuffy Durma Takes to Drink," "Stuffy Durma Found in Mansion with Dead Prostitute," and the final episode, "Stuffy Durma Hangs Himself in his Jail Cell While Awaiting Trial; Corpse Found Shedding Single Tear."
      The most interesting thing about the cartoon was that Stuffy, and almost every other person, looked like
      ..a 1965 version of every human John K would later draw in Ren and Stimpy.


      Traditions are for idiots, so tradition means that every state in the union submits its own Easter egg designs to the White House's annual search for WMDs in Iraq its egg hunt. I hoped that this year, every state would've submitted blinking LED displays of Aqua Teen Hunger Force's RAB-BOT giving Bush the finger. Instead, Connecticut submitted this:

      It looks like a Georgia O'Keeffe painting of half a pomegranate hit by a truck. I see pearls, lettuce, some blue stuff, and waaay in the misty background, a building...Looks like an old barn next to the Leaning Tower of Pizza Crusts. While I haven't visited every part of my state, I'm sure that there are no BULDINGS MADE OF CRUSTS. Not even pie crusts. The winters here are long and the summers hot; thus squirrels would've eaten them.
      Hmmm...the windows of the barn seem to have a red LED counting down to zero while going boop! --so, yeah, give it to him.

      Traditions are for idiots, but are we idiots when we give up traditions? How we learned to stop having fun, and getting the plague of depression in its place.

      Via The Null Device, who has his own thoughts on the idea.



      If you've ever seen a "SuperMarionation" TV show in your adult life, such as "Thunderbirds," or as I recently rented, to my eternal sorrow, "Supercar"--Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Superthunderstingcar is hilarious!



      Last night's movie: Children of Men. Very good. I'd say that it was set in a dystopian future, but when was the last time you saw a movie that was set in a future that wasn't dystopian? A Star Trek movie? It's a movie, it's set in the future, thus it's a dystopia. QED.
      No child has been born in 18 years, for reasons that are never given, nor, really, even needed. You could question the film's belief that this leads to terrorism, wars and police states--one could argue that once humanity becomes a non-renewable resource, people might be less likely to massacre one another, but then, there'd be no movie.
      It's an action thriller, but it's a smart one. The premise is cleverly told in only a few minutes in a newscast, but the backgrounds of the main characters are doled out slowly. The acting is understated, and the direction is stunning: incredibly long unbroken takes of complicated scenes. There's one scene where blood splatters onto the camera lens, and that's either going to strike you as cinema verite or, if you're like me, pull you out of the story briefly. Hey, why's this guy following the hero around with a camera?
      It did poorly in American theaters, maybe because of starkly imagined world, and--well, is that a happy ending or not? Not in strict Hollywood terms, but yes: note the last word you see written, and the first sounds you hear as the credits roll.

      Hey, it must be Monday, because here's the weekly Cracked link: The 5 Most Annoying Banner Ads On The Internet. "The first way to win your magical elf-made free prizes is 'skill' with 'click on the monkey/smiley/fucking thing' banners. I hate to break it to you, seat-warmer, but your ability to move a mouse and click it is NOT the unique skill, honed by years of hard work, that is about to start paying off for you. There are no olympic games in mouse mastery, no bling or ho's for cursor movers, and no fabulous cash prizes for outwitting a looping two second animation. Hitting the moving monkey is like successfully placing a CD in a toaster - quite easy to do and you're going to look stupid for expecting a reward."


      SHAWT: The customer who left his wallet in his coat, and then hung the coat up in a restaraunt, and then left the coat there.
      ...But not as stupid as the SHnotAWT: When he called his credit card company the next day to report it stolen, they found out that it his credit card had already been used. The guy who stole it used it his Verizon bill. At the store, with security cameras galore, and under his own name.
      Possibly he also used it to develop several rolls of film from his camera, pay for a professional portrait painting, get a new driver's license, and have a DNA test to see if he was Anna Nicole's baby daddy.

      Are you a reincarnated Atlantean prince, or do you just have a memory disorder? Hmm, I can't imagine which outcome is more likely! Obviously, you must be Cleopatra or Napoleon! Funny how no one who's reincarnated turns out to be "anonymous slob who died of smallpox 400 years ago."

      "Every day I get in the queue/To take the Magic Bus to you." Well, the bus to the fish'n'chips shop, anyway.
      The story doesn't mention the most interesting part of the story: that the Mystery Cat who takes the bus is all white with one eye blue and the other green, and thus has been deaf since birth. And he still knows the bus stops. I have all my 5 senses, but anyone who has had the misfortune to take the Boston T with me knows that I have the the same directional capability as a GPS made from twigs and bird dung.


      Since there's nothing going wrong with the Iraq-Afghanistan-War on Terror Wars, Bush now wants to appoint a "War Czar." Funny, I thought after all those times he screamed that he was the Commander in Chief and the Decider, that that was kinda his job. But now, "Help us, Obi-Czar! You're our only hope!"
      The "Drug Czar" Reagan appointed totally won us the Drug War, just as Carter's "Energy Czar" led to the 80 mile-per-thimbleful-of-Mazola cars we all drive today, free from the attacks of the legions of the Undead that Clinton's "Zombie Czar" George Romero saved us from.
      Exactly how did they hit on "Czar" as a title for "guy who will actually accomplish something"? Czar, Tzar, Csar, Tsar--As any crossword player will tell you, those are all names for the same job. And who was the last guy to hold the literal title? Tsar Nicholas. He and his family ended up in a mass grave, and the Commies took over his country for 70 years. Not exactly an exemplary record of accomplishment to recreate. So why not appoint a "War President of the Confederate States of America"? You'll still end up a big loser, but at least it's better than "War Fuehrer," where your retirement plan is a Luger in your mouth.
      The "Decided to Pass the Buck"er has asked several 4-star generals to take the post, and surprisingly, none of them want it. Maybe because they realize that the job title really is "War Czcapegoat"?


--in the San Bernadino Sun


      People have quoted Kurt Vonnegut a lot since he went to Heaven, but here's my favorite: "Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand."



      I'm going to break with tradition and review a movie before I've finished watching it: Minority Report.
      WHO SAID THIS WAS GOOD? This sucks!
      Holy Pope with a Band Saw, this is awful! It's like they threw out every even-numbered scene in the script in order to make it make less sense. Ooh, yeah, huge special effects budget, but the guys with jetpacks still look like they're on wires and the last movie I saw was The Iron Monkey, which had BETTER looking guys on wires. And they fly through people's ceilings/floors, shit, what do they make floors out of in 2054, crepe papiere? And it's supposed to be funny! There are all these "comic" scenes that just sit there on the screen and grin at you like the village idiot. Hey, Spielberg, slapstick isn't funny unless you're someone who has to have his chin wiped off while the attendant feeds you.
      Scene that just made me lose it in this ridiculous, overblown and boringly monochrome-gunmetal-cinematography festival for the slow-witted: Tom "Aliens Is Up My Ass!" Cruise "No, I Mean In REAL LIFE I think Aliens Is Up My Ass!!" Cruise lives in a total-surveillance society and is its most wanted criminal, and yet he breaks into the most heavily-guarded place in the country by waving his disemsocketed eyeball at an retina-scanning eyeball reader and it lets him in. WHAT? They don't change their security eyeball codes in the most heavily-guarded place in the country when the only guy with the code is Osama bin Cruise? Doesn't a company that fires employees change their passwords afterwords? We do that in retail! We can't even keep the same keys! No, he gets to waltz right in, and then, when surrounded by the police, how does he escape? No, I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, so don't read the next sentence if you still want to kill two and a half hours of your life:
      He flushes himself. Down a toilet.
      Okay, it's a very big toilet, but nonetheless. A toilet.
      Did I say "kill two and a half hours of your life"? I meant that in the "and bury it in a shallow roadside grave" kinda way. Go whittle a toothpick from a fallen redwood, it'd be a better waste of your time.
      Oh Jesus Fuck. Know what 2 minutes I saw after that? Tom is being chased through a mall by police, he stops in plain view in an open area, and then a guy selling balloons blocks the cops' field of vision, and he's INVISABOBBLE. It's--Jesus, ever see little kids thinking they're INVISABOBBLE just by closing their eyes? Here, IT WORKS. Man, if I ever commit MUR-DER, I so will make sure there's a Balloon Guy around when I escape.
      I just spent the next 20 minutes of this awful sack of pestulence wondering "Are my nose hairs too long? They feel too long. I should trim them?" because the movie's THAT FASCINATING and then Oh Gourd! The villain gives Tom's wife what they cleaned out of his desk. Some family photos and a paperweight from Niagra Falls? No. His gun. His LOADED GUN. And, yes, his SPARE EYEBALL! AHHH-HAHAHAHHAHA!!!! He kept his SPARE EYEBALL lying around, and they just GAVE IT AWAY! Just like how police today hand out the crack an addict got arrested with! And HIS GUN! And EYEBALL! AHHH-HAHAHAHAAA! Finally, Spielberg, a joke that's funny! Except that you meant it seriously!
      So don't rent it. Although, I have to admit--I still keep laughing about them giving his wife an eyeball in a Ziploc bag. What, couldn't they also have put his spleen in a box of Twinkies?

      "This Song Is In English! That's Important!"


      Maybe I was a little too into examinng my nose hairs, but after watching Minority Report, I have no idea why anyone did anything. Was there a reason Tom's kid disappeared? Why was he framed? Why was the preocog's mommy killed? Why did the Bad Guy do all or anything about all that? Since we're told it would mean the end of the PCU, and he didn't want the end of the PCU, why'd he set in motion this idiotic scheme in the first place, especially in an all-pervasive surveillance society that should've figured it out immediately? And where's Tom's eyeball now? With Xenu?

      And did I mention Get Rich Slowly before? I think I have. It's a good site for money-saving tips and financial security, no matter where you are on the financial spectrum. I'm on the "Never had any debt besides a mortgage, and that's gonna be gone in about 3 years" end of the spectrum. It's full of useful advice, whether you're trying to escape economic pressure through eating mac'n'cheese every night, or being eaten alive by that sub-prime mortgage that isn't the good idea it seemed.
      The same writer has another blog on another subject that's always fascinated me, Animal Intelligence. I remember growing up and hearing that "MAN is special, as he is the only animal that uses tools!" Then Jane Goodall came along and proved that chimps use tools. And so the goalposts shifted. "MAN is the only animal that can predict the future from the present! Animals live in a constant 'now'!" Well...then how does Fido now where the house is? Why does Kitty not think you're a stranger everytime she sees you? Every year, science finds out that we're not "the only animal" that does something. And the human chauvinists just keep pretending that "we're special," entirely because--well, MAN has to be! There's no possibility that we're just a different kind of animal! But it seems to me that we're not a better one, just a different one.
      I don't know if the site's author shares these beliefs of mine. The site's about how animals are smarter than we give them credit for. And that belief we share.



      Well, I had an interesting 24 hours. It started with chicken wings and ended with Spam. Well, maybe not interesting, but very time-consuming, and thus I'm not writing about it now.

      Wow, that "Stupidest Things Ever Said" quote for today was really weak. Here's one I've been seeing for months on a corporate site:

      Also, please do not eat gasoline. Here's why!


      So anyway. Yesterday was the day I'd waited for for 6 months--I had tickets to see the Hartford engagement of the Monty Python musical Spamalot! After seeing it 2 years ago on Broadway, I wanted to see it again.
      Something I didn't want to see was the mandatory replacement of the fusebox in my condo. Something about these chicken-wired 30-year-old paint-peeling relics not "being up to code." It would save the condo association 10K in insurance! And cost us owners $669 each. I think that they added $3 just to make the number seem less satanic. They would send us a schedule of when the work would be done, and we didn't show when it was, that was another $330 in fines. They never sent me a schedule, even after I asked them to with my first payment (the bill, THAT they made sure we got). When I saw the electricians' van near my unit, I thought "I'd better call them tomorrow."
      That same day I got a call at work, and it was from Unpronounceabley-Named Electricians. Oh crap! They're at my condo and I'm 20 miles away! I just spent $330 on something lost in the mail! No, this was the scheduling call. My next day off was the same day as Spamalot, and it was scheduled for that morning. Morning for me, anyway, I work second shift and get up at 11AM, so it was for noon.
      Well, this kinda sucks, I thought. I was to spend all day waiting for them to show up and do the work, and then probably only have enough time to eat dinner and drive to pick up my date for the musical (who would be my mother, the only person who wanted to go. My friends can be lame at times). It doesn't seem like a day off if your actions are totally proscribed by outside events.
      I decided Tuesday night that dinner would be hot wings from People's Choice, the most Communistically-named pizza joint in town. 20 wings as take-out for only 6.99, comrade! Is best deals in all the collective! Available in 4 flavors of glory to the Motherland: Pathetic Bourgeoisie, Great Patriotic Wings, Hot to Trotsky, or Chernobyl! Served with Russian dressing and celery as easy to snap as the backbone of the capitalist oppressors! I am ordering over the phone to crush imperialism before leaving my collective farm and will pick up when I arrive in my soviet in my tractor! My tractor has a burned-out tail light, as my meager proletarian salary cannot afford even the merest of bulbs. Well, not really, it's the fact that lackeys of the running dogs at Ford gave me a manual that apparently went to Tractor Model B: "Open the back panel in the trunk and pull out the brake light." I puzzled over that, as the only way to remove said panel was to pop the plastic rivets holding it in place with a fucking tire iron. And there was no way to pull the light out. There were screws on the...there's probably a word for it, but "the entire outside back panel over the light" is accurate. But that didn't want to come off, and I'd already done some irreperable damage to the plastic rivet with the tire iron. I should ask that customer of ours who works for a garage and does work for my coworkers about it. Too bad I never see him, as he comes in when I'm never on the register.
      With a nice dinner of hot wings waiting to be picked up, I leave work. In glorious tractor! I wait at a crossing for the police car across the street to leave; he sits there, so I go first, and he follows me.
      ...and turns his lights on. Damn burnt-out tail light! But his first words are "Your car is listed as unregistered." What?! That's like my car insurance bill--I never delay sending the registration in, since if I wait, I'll forget and have a legally undrivable car! Did the bill from the DMV get lost in the mail? But it's been expired since 2/2005! That'd be TWO registrations that got lost in the mail! How does THAT happen? I hand him the usual paperwork, realizing that if this is true--having a job 20 miles from home is going to be difficult with no car. What if they impound the car? Let's see, I could walk home in...7 hours.
      He calls up a second car, one with a cop who does nothing but stand there and laugh. The first cop says that there's "No record of this car ever having been registered." With that, he hands me back my old registration. Oh awesome, my life is being written by Kafka now. Better not fall asleep, will wake up a cockroach. Fortunately, my car insurance has free towing. When it's made clear that my car is going nowhere, I lock it up and start to walk back to the store. There's a phone there. (No, I don't have one of those new-fangled cellular-telegraphers the kids today use to play their Edison wax cylinders and make Daugerrotypes.) "GET BACK IN YOUR VEHICLE, SIR!" barks suddenly-not-Laughing Cop, in a way that made me glad I'm not Walking While Black. I hear those tasers hurt after the first 27 times in a row. They've called a tow truck of their own, and it's going to take my 4-Wheeled Sole Source of Income there. And they're not leaving until it does. Fucking Cossacks!! And how am I going to get it towed? I have no cash on me beyond $12. I'm not going to get towed anywhere. I sit in the cold of my car, thinking that it appears no one's going to cut me a break tonight.
      The tow truck finally arrives, and--Holy shit, it bears the logo of the company that employs that regular customer I was going to ask about my tail light! I get out of my car and the driver says, "Hey, I know you!" I explain the situation--starting with "I have no money!"--and he tells me to get in his truck, "The heat's on." The first welcome news all day.
      Before we can leave, the first officer (who looks like a Ken doll) hands him another tow, for the same lame reason: a burned-out headlight and an expired reg. When we leave The Man, he lets me use his phone to call my insurance company, and I get connected to Bombay. "Don't tell them it's because of your registration; they'll charge you to tow your car." So I have to lie to this poor girl with the beautiful accent, wow, I feel so good about myself. I finally decide that I can't do it. Not because of my morals as much as the "My car just died!" lie isn't going anywhere once their tow driver turns the key in my ignition. The driver says, "I can tow you to Vernon, but it's $80 to load your car and $4.75 a mile. But...I could just drop you and the car somewhere, drive away, and how you get home is your business. You can pay me...$40 and a bottle of tequila."
      "Okay. What kind of tequila?"
      "1800?! You're letting me off easy! How about Cabo Wabo?"
      "I've always wanted to try that, but it was too expensive!"
      The barter system, comrades. The proletariat will defy the imperialists! And cost me not $200, but $75.
      He wanted to ditch in a commuter parking lot, but I was wary of that--it's just over the border with another town, and is used by cops as either a speed trap or a place to turn around. Was there a garage nearby where it would look like he was legitimately dropping me, so that I'd be the only member of the cell captured? Yes, near the Buckland Mall and, while on the way, sure enough there was a cop in the commuter lot. I waited in a McDonald's for a few minutes for him to escape, then I drove home. Very carefully.
      But not so carefully as to not tempt fate and get my GOD DAMN WINGS. "Hi, I ordered the wings an HOUR AND A HALF ago! I've been waiting for a tow truck since then."
      "Dude, they were old. I threw them out. They were..bad product. They're weren't good. You wouldn't'a wanted 'em. They, y'know, were old. Bad product. I can make you some fresh ones! You would'nt'a wanted them. I just threw them out. Like...5 minutes ago."
      Hmm. Comrade Dude, I thinks thou protests "bad product" too much. I think you ate the collective's chicken wings yourself. At People's Choice, they share all the work, and all the production! But I said, "Believe me--getting my wings tossed is the least bad thing that's happened to me tonight!"
      He made me a fresh box of 20. But there were 20, not the 22 I've come to expect. Comrade Dude, I shall report to the Party your laxness! Soon, you shall labor in the Siberian pizza mines!
      And so ended Tuesday, with a perfectly functional (except for a tail light) car that I couldn't drive. And here my tale pauses, for I have typed much and the hour is late. Perhaps tomorrow we shall bore you with Wednesday. I promise you, dear reader, that there will be electricians, fearful cats, trumpets in the streets, and that dreaded entity, the DMV!
      And Shrimpies.


      I heard some college kids in the store today saying "Happy Holiday!" What? They celebrate Hitler's birthday and the Columbine Massacre? What lunatics! Because I sure can't think of any other connotation a college student might find for the number "4 20."

      So anyway. Wednesday I set the alarm for the usual time, as the electricians are to arrive between noon and one, and so I can get a nice night's sleep. Then, at 830, my downstairs neighbors decide to build some furniture in their bedroom. And I guess build it from scratch, as along with the hammering, there's sawing. Who saws in their bedroom? Eventually some power tool was used, and poor Killsy ran and hid. Byron sawed, too--sawed wood, asleep and oblivious to the ruckus.
      I took a brief shower, in case they came early, and--wait, did someone just knock on the door? I toweled off quickly, looked out the window and saw--the van from Unpronounceabley-Named Electricians pulling away! I could run out and get their attention and avoid that $330 fine, but since I was nekkid, it might get me more attention than I wanted. The cops were already after me for my tail light, what would they do about my actual tail?
      At least I now had the name of Unpronounceabley-Named Electricians, so I looked up the number and called them. "Hello?" was the business-like answer. "Is this..." I tried to pronounce their name, "...Mo...Dung-O Electric?" Yeah, Bill, REAL close. That would be the name of a fertilizer company. "Want Mo' Dung? OH, you've come to the right plotz!" No, they weren't knocking on my door, they'd just noisily finished up in the unit below me. Which would explain the sawing. I guess. What, is the new electrical panel made of mahoganny? So I dressed, fed the kids, sat down for some Internet.
      And sat.
      The electrician arrived over an hour later, and started on the panel in the closet. "How long will this take?" I asked. "Three hours." That would be 4PM, and the DMV closes at 430--and is 25 minutes away. Like you can get anything done at the DMV in 5 minutes.
      Killsy was, of course, quite agitated by non-me humans in the house. When the second Mo-Dungan arrived, she gave me her "Should I be scared?!" look, and I responded with my look of "Yes, go hide under the waterbed," and so she did. Byron was interested when the first guy showed up. The last time a plumber was here, he so interested that he climbed in the guy's toolbag. (The plumber was a cat owner, and found that amusing) But a second guy! Even the Cat Without Fear was unsure of what to make of that development. He stayed by my chair, watching carefully over the giant mound of crap I'd had to pull out of the closet so that they could get in and work.
      And there we were. Sittin' in a chair, Kills hiding from the bangin' and a-sawin', Byron warily watching these invaders. The sawing was because they had to move the panel from inside the closet to inside the bedroom. They also had to do something with the plugs for the oven and the AC, but it was all a one person job. Except there were 2 people, as somebody made an appointment to get their unit done, and then blew it off. Man, if you can blow $330 for no reason, why can't you afford to live somewhere better? So the second guy did the plugs and helped out while waiting to see if the other appointment showed. Byron never got too close to them. Late in the project, he stood behind the computer, meaning he couldn't see them. He also couldn't hear them. Maybe he was trying to wish them away, in the same way a toddler thinks that he's invisible if he closes his eyes.
      But 2 Dungos meant that they'd be done in 3 hours! Possibly enough time to make it to the DMV! I called work to explain the car/Dung-O situation. My mom could bring me to the DMV if they finished early, and, if they didn't, take me after 2 the next day. My boss, drunk as usual, barked "Don't you have any friends that could take you before work?!" NO, outside of my retired, 74-year-old mother who works part-time at the library, all my friends have NORMAL JOBS, the kind where you're at work at 9AM. This was an enormous mental stumbling block to El Capo Drunko, who couldn't comprehend that maybe there was another business in the world that expected employees in on time. He also told me to just keep driving my expired car. Like a suspended license would get me to work that much faster.
      But--! They finished early, and my mother arrived exactly as they finished. I quickly turned some things back on, and dodged Killsy, who came out for about a second when she thought the Dung-Os had left, then ran under the bed when they returned to remove their trash. And things got a bit hectic: Where was Byron?! He vanished for 15 minutes, and I couldn't find him. He really had made himself invisible by closing his eyes! And you can't call a deaf cat. He turned up just as I was about to leave. The one thing I forgot to turn on before hurrying out the door: the radio. I've left the radio on for Killsy since she was a tiny peanut, so she had some soothing sounds. For the first time in 8 years, she didn't have that "Everything's normal" background sound.
      And so we raced to the DMV, with its legendary hour-long lines. I didn't even know if I could renew my registration there; in typical gummint fashion, the website told me to Call This Number, and the number told me to look at the website. My mother was unhappy that she'd forgotten to bring a book for the wait.
      The window said "registrations," so I went there. The clerk told me to "go wait between the 2 ropes" (vague directional shrug). There were a lot of ropes, some which led to a counter that DMVers were standing behind, and another that was unmanned. I came back 30 seconds later and politely said, "I'm not sure where I'm supposed to go. Under the white sign (points) or the red sign (points)?"
      You or I would've ended this with "The white sign," but "GO OVER THERE! DO YOU SEE ROPES? HOW MANY?!" I wanted to say "About EIGHT, you teenaged goateed little prick! Daddy got you this job, didn't he?"
      And a woman quickly came up and things went smoothly, she being neither a teenaged nepotist nor goateed. It cost me $90, but it would've cost me $75 to register normally, and since I missed 2 registrations, I guess I turned a profit. "By the way, your emissions test is expired." So that explains it: I'm not getting any mailings from the DMV. Why? Who knows, and who wants to spend the next 2 years trying to fix it? The new registration stickers go on the front window, not the back license plate, so I'll have that reminder for next time.
      Elapsed time at the DMV: about 10 minutes. A new world's record!
      So I went to mom's and we had dinner, shrimp with pasta and Shrimpies (it's like shrimp-covered garlic bread, and most delicious). Then we went to see Spamalot!
      There was a street performer outside, playing the trumpet. I hope that he did this as a side source of income, as he was quite good for the brief time we heard him. The block rang with his sound. It started to drizzle, and he segued into "Singin' In The Rain."
      Two years ago, I talked about the differences between Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the Broadway musical Spamalot. This time, I'll talk about the differences in the productions of the play. There were even differences between the Broadway version I saw and the Original Cast CD I bought afterwards--it doesn't make sense to have a character sing about how she'd never get a Tony award when she just had, so they adjusted that lyric. There weren't a lot of differences between the Broadway and off-Broadway, but here they are (as far as I noticed; it's been 2 years):

      I was surprised to see that Hartford was in the middle of the tour dates, given our proximity to Broadway (maybe they thought that most interested parties saw it already). But if you're in the West, away from the East Coast Elitists, there's a marginal chance it may pass near you. Or within several hundred or thousand miles. Those states out there are all bloated looking, and I can't quite grasp that in a state where people bitch about New York and Boston being a whole 2-hour drive away.
      When we left the theater, the trumpeter was still playing. I thought that if were him, I'd find a song from whatever musical was playing, and add that to my repetoire for its run. "Always Look On The Bright SIde of Life" would be a good choice for Spamalot. We switched to the other side of the street, where the car was parked, and he picked that moment to start playing "A Taste of Honey" by Herb Alpert. Damn, I loves me the Herb. If I'd been on that side of street, I woulda given him a dollar.
      I arrived home with a belated birthday gift from mom, a big freezer bag of her home cooking. Killsy was hiding under the coffee table, and stayed there when she got her Fancy Feast. I picked up the freezer bag, and she ran away from it. Maybe there were midget electricians with power tools inside! After 10 minutes, she came out and plopped down on the thermal blanket under my chair. I don't know how long she went without sleep since the Dungos arrived, but she didn't move more than an eyelid for 3 hours.
      She's been fine since. I wonder what she'll think tomorrow, when somebody comes to replace the sawed-out sheetrock in the bedroom by the new electric panel...


      A Saturday morning cartoon for Democrats, The Challenge of the Super-Duper Friends!

      A liberal political junkie and failed English major's dream come true, Colbert vs Penn in the Meta-Free-Phor-All.


      I didn't forget to do "Review the Guest Reviewer on Somebody & Roeper!" last week. It was AO Scott of the NY Times again. He's a good, knowledgable critic. He just needs to learn to outshout that big mouth Roeper.
      This week, the guest was Ted Nugent. He gave a trigger-finger down to every movie that didn't have enough guns or slaughtered animals. He liked Vacancy, but was disappointed that none of the victims were properly mounted by a taxidermist. When Roeper disagreed with him on In the Land of Women, the Nuge jumped him with a Buck knife and gutted him like a large mouth bass. He used Roeper's intestines to string his guitar, and played "Wango Tango" until he left the way he would've wanted--taken down by a SWAT team's sniper bullet to the head. Looked like a .50 caliber from the way it opened up his skull. Which was as hollow as a cheap chocolate Easter bunny's.
      I'm kidding! Like they'd have some puddin'-witted aging rock star as a movie critic! That'd be like having Ebert review a rock concert, or an oil change. Who wants to hear the opinion of someone with no expertise in the subject he was discussing? It was AO Scott again.
      No, wait, it was John Cougar Mellencamp. I guess that Boz Scaggs was unavailable.
      While John Large Feline Predator might be your go-to guy for insights into small towns and pink houses, none of his reviews mattered, and what if they did? I don't want some mush-mouthed inarticulate millionaire giving me movie reviews! I want to have a beer with him and have Diebold elect him President!
      John Discontinued Mercury Sedan Model gave a thumbs-up to every movie on the show, in the same way that teenagers never tire of Bruckheimer/Bey explosionfests. He compared Vacancy to Rear Window because "nothing happened" (?) also because, dunno, they both involved cameras maybe. He invoked Tennessee Williams twice, which came across as one too many attempts to seem intuhlechall. Maybe he should've broken it up by mentioning Tennessee Ernie John Ford, and his work on The Searchers.
      The most interestng thing that happened in this S.U.C.K. in the USA was Roeper, who jumped down John Creamy Nougat Center's throat like Ted Nugent after a raccoon, verbally rending him limb from limb until it hurt so bad! He grunted "Uh-huh" and then fell all over himself agreeing with Mr Rock Star in the exact way he doesn't with every movie critic who's smarter and more knowlegdable than he is, like AO Scott or, hmm, EBERT? Does Roeper give more deference to people dumber but more famous than he? Was he hoping to get invited to an aftershow party with a big bowl of cocaine and M&Ms with all the brown ones picked out, then bang some blue-eyed teenage groupie after claiming he's that guy in Franz Ferdinand, hoping she's too drugged up to notice he doesn't look like any of them? And then finding out that John Monthly Cramps fans are all as old as he is?
      I hope it doesn't sound like I have some enduring hatred for John Cooties Melonhead, because I don't. I just never had reason to notice before that he's a terrible movie reviewer, in much the same way that I'm a terrible singer and guitarist, and also that he has a name that's really easy to make dumb jokes about. Mr Mellencamp, stick to the rockin' and not the reviewin'. When Roeper gets desperate enough to cohost with a liquor store manager, I'll eat crow. Hopefully Sheryl Crow.
      REVIEW OF THUMB: Totally normal. You'd think that a rockstar's thumb would be as long as Gene Simmon's tongue, or at least shoot lasers and pyrotechnics.


      From the comments on yesterday's post, here's Lily:      And from Rabbit:


      "If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
      "As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration."
      Ever since the 2004 "election," which was "won" in the swing states with Diebold machines, I've wondered about people who look forward to January 2009 and Bush's departure. What makes you think he's going to leave? Why are you so sure that there will even be a presidential election next year?
      After all these years, you actually think that there's a depth that BushCo won't stoop to, or any power that they won't try to grab?
      You aren't paranoid when they really are out to get you. "You," in this case, meaning American Democracy.



      LTRoTD (Longtime Reader of This Drivel) Atomic Mystery Monster sends a YouTube video. If you aren't laughing in utter disbelief within 2 minutes, you've missed the reason why he told me about it.

      Sadly, it looks lke it'll be Some Guy and Roeper for a long time, if not forever. Roger Ebert writes:


      I used to read Customers Suck! for a while, until it became apparent that I could spend all day on the site, reading posts that tended to describe the same tales of woe. I should know--I retired my SHAWT feature when I found out that there is a finite number of ways you can describe the same customer stupidities. It eventually becomes like that same traffic light that you get stuck at on the drive home--annoying, but there's really nothing you can do about it but get annoyed. Today I brought a cranky customer who complained about how the wines were arranged to the Beringer white zinfandel, and thought "I'll bet she's one of those people who complains that the wines aren't in alphabetical order, rather than organized by country and subdivided by vinyard." No, she demanded to know why the wines weren't arranged by type, like white zinfandel. I said, "Because the people who want to find them by vinyard couldn't find them." I once had some idiot complain that the wines weren't arranged by vintage, as if everyone in the Whole World wanted them by year, even if they were the SAME WINES. If we had the space to "organize" the wines by every possible permutation, it'd be like the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Don't worry--it's only a half-mile walk to the wines arranged by the colors of their labels in Pantone order! To get across this yawning chasm full of snakes, just give me the whip...and watch out for Nazis."
      Do I have a point? YES, if I take my hat off! And also, Lavender Gray sends the shorter version, Customers Suck! The Comic Strip.


      Another one of those Cat Macro collections, here called Cat Memes so it sounds so totally different from all the others. It didn't get too far into "Seen that one already" territory for me until Page 7.

      You can get a FREE bag of Purina Naturals cat fude here, a generous fuckin' 6 whole ounces. I'll have to put 3 ounces each in seperate bowls, then get out of the way before I'm eaten with it. It's obviously marketed to people with more money than brains--if you cat over the links (well--one wouldn't mouse over them, would one?), you'll see that you can buy a book titled "Feng Shui For Your Cat." Where is the exactly most propitious spot on the carpet for the cat to puke?
      Their feng shit also recommends that you "Turn on your television while watching a program." So that explains why every show I watch is so boring! I should be turning it on first! Your first stop for TV use tips really should be ancient China.
      I wonder if this is why it takes me so long to get to work every day. Maybe pushing the car all the way is somehow wrong?


      Is there a reason celebrities give their kids retarded names like "Brooklyn," "Suri" or "Pax"? Are they so egocentric that giving them the surname "Cruise" or "Jolie" isn't enough to immediately identify them to their peers for the rest of their lives?
      Brooklyn Beckham? Was "Kick Me" Beckham too obvious?


      I ordered some wings from People's Choice. When I went to pick them up, I opened the screen door that was lying unattached inside the place 2 weeks ago, and heard an employee yelling "I'm the PRESIDENT, the VICE-PRESIDENT, and the SECRETARY OF--" and he stopped when I came in.
      No, this is the People's Choice of Glorious Socialist Pizza! You are the Head of the Party, the Commissar of the Soviet, and Comrade Leader of the Tractor Factory! Must I take my business to Pizza Maoist Hut for my leftist wings? They're just up the road, so it's not a long march, it's a great leap forward! Millions of them marched by my house recently, carrying placards that declared their wings to be "A Cultural Revolution--In Your Mouth!" It's lucky for you that I couldn't get into their parking lot, as it was blocked by a guy standing in front of a line of tanks.
      The guy screaming his titles heard me walk in, as the screen door is actually larger than the door frame, and it drags across the floor. Fine state-run Soviet architectural design, my comrades! It reminds me of my boyhood gulag.

      From N00B to Nerd: The 4 Stages of Life on the Internet.

      A week or so ago Cartoon Brew highlighted 3 classic stop-motion shorts, and I immediately recognized 2 of them without watching, despite not having seen them since I was a kid. I didn't post them here, as the first was more clever than funny. But today I saw the next 2, and they're as good as I remember. If it was just the stop-motion gimmick of guys driving invisible cars or riding nonexistant horses, that'd be the end of the joke. But they're really inventive in their parodies. I'll admit that "Sargeant Swell of the Mounties" is a bit too much of its time; it makes fun of the earlier stereotypes of Indians in Westerns, but does it with a pure 60s flamboyantly gay stereotype of its own. But even that is so absurd that I can cut it a bit of slack (yes, he puts his warpaint on with lipstick, but the cleverer joke is that he's using paint-by-numbers. Remember paint-by-numbers? Okay, so I'm older than you). And how did they do that stop-motion shit with guys flying through the air all Matrix-like? Just film some poor bastard doing jumps and flips hundreds of times, or somehow seamlessly edit it with the cameras of 40 years ago and a budget that was likely in the upper tens of dollars?

      Golly Gee Whiz! The classic and funny old documentary Gizmo is online!


      Happy MISSION ACCOMPLISHED Day! PEACE--It's Wonderful!

      This weekend's rentals were the remake of The Italian Job, which was okay, and Happy Feet, which I wanted to see because it was directed by the same guy who did the "Babe" movies (and the Mad Max films--there's a wide-ranging oeuvre). It was better than I thought, and, thankfully, free of the "lame pop culture ref" that stinks up so many CGI kids films. They go over the kids' heads today, but the refs will go over the adults' heads in a few years. Or make them cringe--"Yeah, Whassup!?!? That was so funny for about a week in 2000. I hope that they do a Lambada joke next!"
      I went to leave my rating on Netflix for Happy Feet, and was surprised to see that the rating was very low for such a recent and popular movie. I looked at some of the customer reviews, and hmm, there sure were a lot of one-star ratings from apparent conservatives decrying the movie's "political agenda" about "global warming" and how "man was the bad guy." Yeah, I remember some right-wing commentators going off on just that subject when the movie came out. That's a tad ironic--remember the last big flightless aquatic avian movie, March of the Penguins? That was the one that coincidentally came out during the anti-gay marriage amendment hysteria, and conservatives loved it because they said it "embraced traditional family values." Well, traditional penguin faily values, sure. Odd that a group of people who think that civilization reached its highest apex in the white suburban America of 1955 would think it so laudably "traditional" that as soon as a mother gives birth, she goes back to work, and the husband is left to stay at home and care for the child.
      "Global warming" is about as political an issue as, say, being against salmonella in your McNuggets--unless you believe what the Unsanitary Chicken Handling Corporation says. And it's odd that there were all those outraged reviews of the movie about cartoon penguins on that subject, as global warming is never mentioned in the movie. It's not even implied. There is a plot point about overfishing, but even then, man is not the bad guy. It's clearly presented as something the human race wasn't aware that it was doing, and when we are made aware, we immediately realize our mistake, make things right and deliver the happy ending.
      Is that irony? To hate on a movie because of its "political agenda" when you haven't even seen it? When you're doing it because Limbaugh or O'Reilly told you to hate it, based on disinformation and their own political agenda? No, that's not irony. That's why, since January 2001, "Republican" and "hypocrite" have become synonymous.
      So I gave it 5 stars. Netflix has a flaw in its rating system, as you don't have to actually rent a movie to pass judgement on it. It should; if you feel that strongly for or against a movie, then you should have to at least waste a rental on it before rating it. Not that I'm encouraging any Netflix members who read this to all give it 5 stars or anything. That would be just sinking to their level. Or would it be, "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the penguin"?
      (Actually, if there is any "bad guy" in the movie, it'd be the hidebound patriarchal penguin elders and their worship of a useless, calcified religion. That might have been seen that as an indictment of conservative Christianity, or any other fundamentalist religion. You'd expect that to be the rallying cry of the outraged conservatives. But then, they would've actually had to have watched the movie)
      Oh, and that whole "penguins have Leave it to Beaver-era family values" thing? That didn't pan out so great, either.


      Sure to be everywhere by the time you read this, Star Trek done like a CatMacro. WHUT?

      It's a good thing that the DEMONcrats couldn't override Bush's veto of the Iraq war funding bill with its timetable for withdrawal! Because if we left, the terrorists in the Iraq civil war would just follow us home to fight us here! Just like how that Defeatocrat Nixon surrendered in the Vietnamese civil war, and that Retreatipublican Lincoln ended the American Civil War, and then the Viet Cong and Confederates came and blew up Connecticut! Just think how safe we'd all be if we were still fighting those wars today, 35 to 140 years later! Support Our Troops, let them fight for all eternity!



--actual court testimony



      Latest interesting search used to find this page: "Photo Fuhrer hitler and ridiculous dung"


      Coolest thing I saw today: While hiking in the woods, a hawk swooped down about 15 feet from me and scrabbled its talons at something by a fallen tree, most likely a chipmunk. And missed. And then just sat there on the log, eyeing me like, hawk. If by "like a hawk" you mean looking at everything but me, until he fixed me with, eagle eye as if to say "WHAT? I didn't miss, I just didn't want that chipmunk! He was rabid or something!" It's the hawk version of a cat falling down and then licking its paws, which is the cat version of Pee Wee Herman crashing his bike and saying "I meant to do that!" which is the Pee Wee version of Oedipus Rex sleeping with your mom and saying "I thought she was my mom!" which is the Oedipus Rex version of a Russian nesting doll. Which is...

      On the weekend rental list: Mythbusters, which is a good example of not renting a TV show based on a cool sounding name. I was hoping for "Bullshit!" without the libertarian bullshit (why do Penn&Teller hate big government, but love giant corporations?). But Mythbusters busted that myth ejector seats. With the same 15 second clip from an Austin Powers movie run literally dozens of times in 45 minutes. 45 minutes being the point when I turned it off. Without the endless padding, it would've ended after 15 minutes. There was more repetition than a Sesame Street episode. Maybe I didn't see a true representative sample, but it's the only one on DVD, so I'll never know.
      Having given up without ever finding out the answer to the burning question of our day, the fucking Autistic Powers ejection seat (apparently they couldn't show any clips from Goldfinger, but they did have a toy car from that movie), I watched The Phantom, a movie that I had no idea existed until the Onion AV Club mentioned it. I started off not excited about it--way to jump on the Indiana Jones bandwagon 15 years late, dudes--but as it went on, the more I liked it. A large part of that was Treat Williams as the villain. Many is the review I've read that said "The actor had great fun playing the bad guy," but this was the first time the character seemed to be having fun being the bad guy. He was evil, but not so much a sociopath as a trust-fund frat boy with a sick sense of humor.
      Speaking of reviews, this week the guest on Somebody & Roeper was the Valley Girl again, who was on just last week. Well, she's better than John Mellencamp, I thought, and as if to prove it, the "movies currently in theaters" segment ran. Usually these are only seconds-long rehashes of previously reviewed movies, but this time they reran a Mellencamp review in its entirety, followed by one by AO Scott. Obviously, they had no guest reviewer this week; Valley Girl changed her clothes after last week's filming and they reviewed the only movies they had screeners of last week. It bodes ill for the show when they're doing reruns 2 or 3 weeks after the first airing.

      Here's a video of a cat giving birth, followed by the capering of her kittens 2 weeks later. And that's pretty much it, and it's 20 minutes long, so don't click if that doesn't sound interesting and cute. It's from 60 years ago and silent, and I think part of my enjoyment of it came from the serendipity of the music the classical station played as I watched: Khachaturian's Adagio Of Spartacus And Phrygia for the birth scenes, followed by Respighi's The Birds for the playful kittens. Yes, that last is for the wrong class of subphylum, but the music turned out to be perfect for the antics of bebeh kittehs being silly. You, you're on your own for a soundtrack.


      I went over to Kevin's yesterday. I brought the Glorious Hot-to-Trotsky Wings of the People's Choice Soviet and Pizza; he supplied the hammer and sickle. (Did you know that in a game of Paper Sickle Hammer paper always loses? Especially when the playing field is the other comrade's skull?) And then it was movie time!
      We have divergent tastes in cinema. His HD was filled with horror movies. And he had an entire binder of unwatched samurai movies. Since I was recently put to sleep, literally, by Yojimbo, that didn't thrill me either. "Here's one that looked really weird," he said, "and--wait, that's why I downloaded it! It looked goofy enough that you'd like it!"
      It was made by Toei in 1966. That means it was made by the same people and at the same time as the TV series "Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robot," later hacked into something resembling a not-movie under the title Voyage Into Space. If that doesn't ring any bells, at the same time they were making Gamera. And it was a kids' movie titled Watari the Ninja Boy.
      Add that together and what does it spell? TOTAL FREAKIN' NIPPONESE INSANITY.
      Watari is about 8 years old and has poorly-defined superpowers, and plenty of them: He can run supa-fast (on a treadmill behind back projection--this movie has a lot of blue screen), run up the sides of trees almost as if the camera was on its side, fling a giant ax on a rope at people, teleport, become physically immaterial so that weapons pass through him, use his "Transfiguration Art" to become a tree stump or a rose or some shit (this one was particularly vague), and oh-but-of-course, grow to giant size, puke a rainbow that others could use as a parallel bar and then crunch the rainbow in his massive gigantic little boy hands and create fistfulls of Skittles.
      No, I am not making that up.
      He fights an evil ninja who looked like David Bowie in his "Thin White Ninja" phase, and a bunch of weirdo level boss ninjas made of primary colors that also took the form of floating blue Krispy Kremes. One of his allies had the power to throw confetti, blow up a tree and then suicidally become a massive gopher-bomb.
      I'm kinda reaching the point where I wish I was making it up.
      There's one clip from it online, but the first half is so dark, you won't be able to tell what's going on (and the second half wasn't even in our version of the movie). Allow me to narrate: Watari does that ancient "It's only a cat!" bit, but for the first time in cinema history, he's right and wrong. It's a cat that becomes a giant and tries to eat him ("Whoa, this is the first time a pussy's ever tried to eat a man!"--Cheech Marin, It Came From Hollywood), and so Watari takes out a mirror and throws his axe at the cat's reflection (reason given? none) and he decapitates it. The giant cat then recapitates himself, but then dies and becomes a dead toy cat with a dart in him. Sure. Why the fuck not?
      As it's a children's movie from Toei, there are geysers of blood, in the best "Monty Python's Sam Peckinpaugh's 'Salad Days'" tradition, and a ninja preschool that has half its toddler killers-in-training killed in a landslide, and buried in a mass grave. This is followed by a Bollywood dance number.
      Well...Sorry you won't be able to see this. Because it's a gem of hysterical funny ninja boy goofiness, and rates up there with the best ot Toei's unintentional comedies.

      For some reason, this video was paied on YouTube with the Watari clip: Shoarma PAPA. Three tacos sing the praises of a giant turd on a rotisserie. You could easily find out what it's about with a Google, but I think it's better as another inscrutable bit of cultural diversity. Funny how that last line of dialogue so instantly translates into any Latinate tongue.
      A good thing that I checked before posting this, as the link I thought went to Watari turned out to be to yet another bunch of grainy old home videos of cute cats, none of which involve decapitation, recapitation, or any other as yet undiscovered form of capitation. Horribly, it does involve 80s hair rock.

      In a not-insane link, we sleep differently than we did before electric lights: Back then we had First Sleep and Second Sleep.


      I remember hearing repeatedly on NPR's news headlines that deaths in Iraq were down because of The Surge, at least according to the Bush-appointed General in charge of the Iraq war. It seemed odd, as the next report always seemed to be about 2 dozen Iraqis being killed by a truck bomb at a market, mosque, or funeral. Today, the General admitted that the number went down because they decided not to count the people killed by bombs. Which is like saying that traffic fatalities have been reduced to near zero, ever since we stopped counting the people killed by cars.
      On the plus side, he said that the adjusted numbers only went up "slightly," which I'm sure is a great comfort to the people only slightly killed.


      Latest odd search request: "movie related to car impounded with bum in trunk"

      Occupational hazard: Our new store (well, 2&1/2 years new at this point) was made with used shelves. Some random price stickers and a "Matchbox Cars" shelf insert indicate that they were from my longest and worst of jobs, Kay Bee Toys. In fact, I believe that they're actually from the store I used to manage, which moved and did a remod only a couple of months before we did the same to our store. And I don't like that. It's as if I'm being stalked by inanimate objects.
      Some were used enough that they have forward-leaning dents in the front, which isn't a problem when it causes a Matchbox car falls a few inches to the carpet, but it is when a bottle falls to the tile. Even when you haven't touched the bottle, just jostled the shelf enough to make it fall. With my catlike reflexes, I grabbed the bottle at the exact point when it shattered. Broken glass opened my finger up while it got bathed in stinging alcohol. Fortunately, the emergency room's Amputation Squad was ready with a bandsaw, and now I can play Frodo Nine-Fingers in the community theater's production of "Lord of the RIngs, The Musical."
      It was a pretty big bleedy gash, but a bandaid seems to have worked. I'm not planning on taking it off any time soon to find out, though. And the alcohol it was soaked in was 190 proof grain, so it was sterilized at the same time it was cut.
      Spilled grain alcohol smells exactly like rubbing alcohol, and evaporates almost immediately on the floor. If, y'know, you were wondering about that. It also cleaned the floor really good, just like bleach! So make sure you pour some down your throat; it'll get them tonsils all shiny and possibly dissolved.




      Latest search term: "three toed john lennon." I think they were looking for the cover of "Abbey Road" with a sloth in the lead.


      Memo to self: Maybe there's a reason I never installed that addictive decade-old program Civilization II on this computer until today. Giving myself access to this again would be like me handing out free samples of heroin at the doors of the methadone clinic.
      Although I am only 3 weeks from vacation. It's an effective time-eater when there actually is time to be eaten.

      I've successfully switched from light bulbs to compact flourescents. The grocery store had them on sale for 10 for $10! and I downloaded 4 $1-off coupons! And when I went to buy mine, they had exactly one stinkin' bulb.
      I got a rain check, and went to the store 6 times in 3 weeks, and they never restocked. Once I saw a woman glaring at the empty bulb displays, and she no doubt was sitting on a rain check herself. I bet myself that they'd be back in stock as soon as the coupons expired. And they were! I grabbed 5 of them, as they were all 60 watters and not 75s. Okay POP MATH QUIZ!, if they were 10 for $1, how much should 5 cost? That's right, $20! At least that's what the clerk redeeming the rain check claimed. I spent 10 minutes calmly explaining that they were a dollar a bulb, not a dollar off a bulb. She just did not understand the math. I finally got her down to $2 a bulb and called it quits, before I started with "What's 5 times 1? Is it 20?" That's the best price I'll get, and since they last 5 years (longer in this darkness-loving household), so I can continue the argument in 2012.

      I rented disc 1 of the Roger Ramjet box set. An easy sell for me, as I've loved that show since childhood. If you like Bullwinkle, you'd probably like this, too: it's very limited animation with very funny voice work and clever writing. And even the animation's not that bad; the team of 5 guys put in lots of funny throwaway bits. Sadly, it's missing 36 episodes. They're only 5 minutes long, they couldn't fit another dozen each onto the 3 discs? I wasn't expecting any DVD extras, but they leave out the bumpers before and after the commercials (to Bullwinkle fans, that would be like leaving out the "Nothin' up my sleeve!" bits), and they really left out the only DVD feature it needed: A way to watch the eps without hearing that cheese grater of a theme song (meaning, it's cheezy and its grating) every time. It runs before and after every episode, and takes up almost 90 seconds of the 5 minutes. If that doesn't sound like a lot, you haven't heard the song. As we rephrased it on the playground lo those many years ago, "Roger Ramjet, hero of our nation! The only thing that's wrong with him is mental retardation!"
      Me, I bought the DVD after an hour of watching. For you, here are the inevitable YouTube samples. Well, I think it's a funny show.

      The United States is a very young country, but the lower Connecticut Valley is the oldest part. In the sense of "settled by European colonists," of course; I suppose the literally oldest settled part is in western Alaska, where the Bering Strait land bridge existed millenia ago.
      There are only a few old houses that have survived here and there in this oldest part of the country, most of them having been destroyed for newer construction over the last two centuries, but there are other reminders of the region's age. Every day I drive past a tiny cemetary filled with the dead of 200 years ago (right between Auto Zone and the CVS) . There's another just 2 miles from my condo. Today I came across a third.
      The oldest grave was from 1796, and the newest was an addition to a family plot from 1899, but almost all were dated from 1810 to 1825. It's ironic that gravestones are meant to immortalize the deceased, when many are so weathered that the names of the interred have been erased by sun and rain. What always amazes me is that these people died so old. 200 years ago, people lived into their 80s? I guess that it's just the nature of the gravestones. You lived that long, you got a big one engraved with your age and death year, and possibly an inscription. If you croaked at 35, your family could only afford a tiny one with your name and nothing else.
      There was also the other end of life's equation. Your stone said you died at 86, or it said you died as a child. I can only wonder about the heartbreak surrounding the teenager dead "of the smallpox," or the triplets, the three girls who died at the ages of 11 to 23 days old. What of all the other children? Were these the graves only of people whose families could afford to bury them in the cemetary, when everyone else ended up in the backyard, or the unmarked graves of the potter's field?
      They had a different view of death then. A family would have a dozen children, simply because most of them would be dead before puberty, and the mother would eventually die in childbirth. The people in this graveyard were the lucky ones, the ones whose families could afford a plot and a stone. But even then, the inscriptions didn't read like today's obituaries. They never said anything about the deceased. They generally read, as one did, "Man, Hear thy Doom/Thou Shalt Surely Die." Patty Olcott died on April 5th, 1790, and the inscription on her stone read:

It's kind of hard to picture a preacher today giving a eulogy mentioning "greedy worms."
      One of our long-time customers recently and unexpectedly died. He was one of those "I hate going to the doctor!" types. Yeah, well, I hate going to work, but I'd hate homelessness even more. I don't like going to the doctor or paying for my stupid blood pressure meds, but I'm pretty sure I'd hate suddenly realizing "OH SHIT IM DEAD" as the aneurysm explodes in my brain. He didn't go to the doctor, and when he finally did, he found out he had hepatitis-C. He was given 24 hours to live when his liver shut down. He was gone in twelve. He was 50 years old.
      On the same page of his obituary was the one of a teenaged girl. It listed the major highlights of a life ended tragically young, and it was that she "loved shopping at the mall and the character Sponge Bob."
      Today it's considered notable that you loved a cartoon character. 200 years ago, your stone said "YOU'RE NEXT, worm chow!" I'd like to derive some meaning from that, but I can't think of any. Dude, I'm an athiest. When I'm dead, it's not going to matter to me whether greedy worms win or I'm remembered for loving Space Ghost. I'll be dead. What matters to me is right now. I want to die believing that if I didn't make the world a better place for being born in it, at least I didn't make it any worse.


      Latest search: "lemon fuck strips." Is that like those Dentine breath strips, or is that 2nd word a verb?

      Today I dropped my pants to go to the bathroom at work, and immediately wondered "Where did that scab on my leg come from?"
      "And why does it have legs?"
      I touched it, and the legs moved. It was a tick. I shuffled, pants around my ankles, to the medicine cabinet and took out the needle-nosed tweezers. I intended to remove the entire lil' bloodsucker, but he didn't want to leave the all-Bill-you-can-eat buffet, and was torn to pieces. Odd survival instinct, that you'd rather die than just find lunch somewhere else.
      And my next thought was that I just don't live in the worst part of the continent for Lyme Disease, I live in the state where the town the disease was named after is located. The CDC website confirmed that, yeah, it probably was a deer tick, the only species that carries the disease. I read up on the symptoms, which surprisingly did not include "a sudden desire to drink the blood of the living" or "becoming a nigh-invulnerable superhero wearing a blue costume and racing across city rooftops yelling 'SPOON!'" I called my doctor's office and verified what the CDC said: You want to get treatment as soon as you're sure you have Lyme's, but until you're sure you have it, there's no point in getting treatment. Deer ticks don't necessarily have the disease, as it depends on their previous hosts. If I was its first meal, I'm safe. So I get to wait and see what symptoms I get, if any.
      So far, old chum, I have none. I am a Food Pyramid of Justice! I fight crime with 8-12 servings of vegetable justice, and 1 to 2 daily servings of meaty vengeance and dairy! Also, can I stab this cocktail straw into your jugular? I'm sooo thirsty right now, I could drain a horse!


      Latest search, from the Philippines: "i want to see a female taking a shower without underwear." Wow. You guys in Manila don't get many pron sites, do you?


      Speaking of bad movies, 3 minutes worth of scenes from the worst ever. Well, not really. They seem pretty 80scentric, and include Troll 2, which I took to be a deliberately bad parody of 80s Gremlins-inspired "horror." Though the shark is REALLY SCARY, and could win every hot dog eating contest ever.

      Similarly, the Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest was underwhelming. The top 3 are worth a look, the rest, not so much.


      I went to the doctor to have my tick bite looked at. And I have 24 hours to live!
      Plus 30 to 50 years, give or take. A false alarm. A tick needs at least 48 hours of bloodsucking to infect you, and My Little Friend was picked up a maximum of 24 hours earlier. That was when I was walking in the long grass of the cemetary, more interested in epitaphs involving "greedy worms eating my skin" than any invertebrates that might be looking to do the same to me. I was wearing long pants, hightops and athletic socks, so it had a ways to crawl for dinner. It's possible that it only made it to the table 2 hours before I spotted it, given that it wasn't the slightest bit engorged and didn't exhibit any of my hemoglobin when I tore it to shreds with the tweezers. My "bullseye rash" was the result of me ripping a live tick from my leg (I wondered why it didn't expand like a Lyme Disease rash would). Keep an eye on the bite, he said, but I'm almost certainly safe. So, while early treatment is good, killing the fucker responsible early is even better.
      Since I was there anyway, we did the routine followup for my blood problems that was scheduled for 2 weeks from now. Everything's good, including my last blood test. "The Triglide's really working!" he said. Well, yes and no. I had a card for Triglide that was worth $20 off of each scrip for 6 months. The first time I used it, I had to wait a WEEK while the pharmacy figured out how to use it. The next time, I had to wait 30 minutes while they tried to figure out how to use it again. The next time, I waited 20 minutes for them to not figure out how to use it, and then was told that their new software wouldn't let them. That was the last time I used the pharmacy at Stop'N'Shop. And the last time I used Triglide. My doc gave me a bunch of free samples of Triglide and also Antara, which was the same thing under a different name. That last came with a card of its own, to be used when the samples ran out.
      I activated the card the Sunday I gave CVS the prescription. On Monday, I waited a real long time, and they said that the card wasn't activated--come back in a day. I waited 2 days, came back, and waited over 20 minutes to be told that I needed to activate the card. "Again?" I groaned. When I got home I called the card's number again. And was told that it was activated.
      I'm not all that much into conspircay theories, except when they involve Huge Evil Greedy Corporations, and I think that Big Pharma is the greediest and evilest. My personal experience so far is that they give you these cards to make you think that you're saving money on their nongeneric scrips, but have set them up so that you get so frustrated, you don't use them. And then pay them full price.
      I asked him for a generic that at least worked sorta kinda like the brand names. And he gave me one. It doesn't play nice with other meds, but I'm only on blood pressure meds, and not the chemical stew most people with my problems have to take. My problems are metabolic rather than from diabetes and obesity., this is boring even me. KIDS: Get generic meds and don't play with ticks, and WOOF! take a bite out of crime! Now you know, and "knowing is half the battle!" GO JOE!
      (And when you're reduced to name-checking the 80s to end an entry, it just tells everyone that you have no punchline. Thanks, Synergy!)
      I don't have any links tonight, but I'll bet you could find some awesome ones by Googling "Snorks."


      Weeks ago I told myself "Remember to mention the 18th when it comes!" and then completely forgot about it when the actual day arrived. And what was significant to me about Friday? It was the tenth anniversary of my web page. That's not just 70 in dog years, that's the Cambrian Period in Net Years. My page was like a trilobite, right at the start of the Explosion. And foraging at the bottom, where it's stayed till this day.
      But still--older than your page, 90% of the Web. And, in celebration, it will continue to look EXACTLY THE SAME AS IT HAS FOR A DECADE.

      And why not flash back to an earlier epoch 10 years before, with the cartoon that actually Made Cartoons Cool Again, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. Still crazy funny, although the shock value of actually seeing something like these on SatAM TV has been blunted by the followers in its wake. Produced by Bakshi, and featuring some guy named John Krickafasomething. Best when it makes fun of other cartoons, such as the Chipmunks or Batman, and "Don't Touch That Dial" which covers most of the rest. So where's the DVD box set?!

      Since I'm back to name-checking 80s cartoons--forget the Snorks, yesterday I shoulda just linked to this.


      In Which Colin McEnroe Is Killed By Massed Monkeys.


      Recent rentals, both rented because of the universally good reviews, rather than any desire to see the movie otherwise: The Queen, which was very good, despite being about the monarchy's botched response to Princess Di becoming Princess Dead. It'd be hard for me to think of anything celeb-death as interesting, but this was fascinating from the very first scene, and that involved Liz having her portrait painted. Yes, it was interesting even when it literally was about watching paint dry.
      Stranger Than Fiction also sounded awful: Will Ferrell as a guy whose life becomes taken over by an author writing a book with him as the main character who dies in the end. SNL alumni and movies go together like popcorn and 30-weight motor oil: Looks okay with a cursory glance, but you'll spit out the first mouthful of sheer nasty-bad. I only know him from Elf, which is the closest thing to a seasonal favorite as this Xmas-hater will ever find, and "More Cowbell." Why are comedians cast in noncomedies? I wonder how many people left the theater in disgust at the end of Beautiful Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, complaining that Jim Carrey "didn't do 'Let me ASS you a question' even ONCE!" This movie was a low-key comedy for the first hour, with Ferrell playing it not just straight but repressed. But the second half was a bittersweet meditation on mortality and destiny, and finally finding joy only to risk losing it. And it was as perfectly directed as it was acted. One of the first shots is of a guy brushing his teeth, from the POV of inside his mouth. And it was a style that went away before it became just a gimmick. A really good and very smart movie, and I'll have to see it again.

      Since I'm reviewing movies in my own half-assed way, let's segue into Review the Guest Reviewer on Some Guy & Roeper time! It was Whatsisname, the guy who took over Siskel's job at the Tribune. The first time he was on, he didn't have any screen presence. He's no Siskel, and no Ebert, but at least he's no Roeper. He was much better this time, even giving a nicely obscure joke: "It's like [Kelsey Grammer] went to the Nose Store and said, 'I'd like the Lee J. Cobb!'"

      ...And then let's use that as a segue to news you may find disinteresting, although I don't: Mr Ebert is finally posting reviews again. I'm sure that his televised days are over, but his columns were always better anyway.

      Great Moments in Gratuitous Sci-Fi Nudity isn't that great, but I post it because it has the weirdest typo I've ever seen. No, not the fact that the closing paragraph is also the opening one, but that apparently someone did a Search&Replace and removed the letters "RN." But only those letters, and in only that order. And replaced "rn" with " ". And it turns up--sorry, "tus" up--more than you'd think. Twice people wanting sexy time are referred to as being "hoy."

      Who'll be President when Bush's term expires? As I've said before, what makes you think he's planning on leaving? "This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include 'localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.'” Jeez, ya think that there may be some convenient "big emergency" between September 2008 and January '09?


      Holy Pope with a Bandsaw! Once again, I must rend my garments and wear a hair shirt, because I work Saturdays, and I'll miss when Jesusfest CT comes to town! Seriously--would it kill these people to have it just ONCE on a Sunday?!
      Oh. Right. They do that other thing then.

      From the site:
      Mark your calendar for 7-7-7!
      777?! But that's the Mark of the guy who lives across the street and a few houses up from the BEAST!
      * Dress casually but modestly.
      Why do I have the feeling that this is directed at young female Jezebels-in-training, and not middle-aged bald guys 50 pounds overweight wearing 20-year-old Stryper shirts that are 3 sizes too small?
      * Bring hats, suntan lotion, bug spray, and umbrella just in case.
      In case of plagues. Rains of frogs or blood, locusts, sun standing still at midday, you never know. Also: Best to leave the first-born at home, unless you bring a door with a mark on it with you. God's not really that big a fan of children.
      * Stay as long as you wish. You may also come, leave, and return anytime.
      Not valid in case of Rapture.
      * No smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages allowed.
      WHA-A-AT? Okay, now I'm glad I'm missing it. I was totally stoked for smoking some beverages!
      * Please be patient and gracious with us. We're an all-volunteer group with a passion to serve the Lord. We're not perfect, that's for certain! Please withhold your frustration and refrain from criticizing our volunteers during JesusFest. They've been working tirelessly for weeks and months, and they would appreciate a word of encouragement, not discouragement!
      Well, that sounds quite sensible. In fact, it sounds like I'd be treating others the way I'd want them to treat m--
      WHAT? There's a problem with fundie Christians treating other fundie Christians as if they were their inferiors? "Christian charity" stops when it means anybody else? Even your fellow nutjobs--er, believers? Well, I guess that the lemmings in the back of the line start to complain when the ones at the front aren't jumping fast enough.
      Participants in JesusFest 2007 do so at their own risk. Please watch your children
      I WARNED YOU ABOUT GOD AND KIDS! God hates kids. Tell your Veggie Tales-loving fruit of your Looms loins not to make fun of any bald guys they see. Tolland County's rural enough that there's probably a she-bear or two out there.
      And here's the actual picture that they use to put the "FUN" in "JESUSFEST"! (Wait--there's no "fun" in "Jesusfest"--oh, wait, yeah, got it)


      Pic 1: Try your hand at the Dunk the Gay Athiest Babykiller Liberal Tank, which is right next to the Glory Hole! It'll keep your pitching arm in practice for next year's replacement for the Dunk Tank, "Stone the Adulterer"!
      Pic 2: Listen to the Christian "rock" stylings of The 12 Apostles Minus 7, as they perform "Buy U A Drank of Non-Alcoholic Communion Wine (Jeezy Snappin')"! Unless, of course, that sounds too "Catholic." We only like real Christians, who would be Baptists. If you're Baptist, then as the kids say, "ROCK the ON!"
      Pic 3: And here is their audience, Rockin' the On. They Rock casually, yet modestly. HINT: If you want to get into the front row, wear a lot of pink. Unless you're male. Then Jesusfest Security will sow your fields with salt. Actually, that would be "with assault."
      And with acts like this, is it any wonder that the most popular destination at Jesusfest is an ice cream truck at the side of the parking lot? Get in line early for this favorite attraction!
      Don't want to stand in line? There's never a wait at the Union Church table! Let's find out what's so special here by asking the big hulking man who--AUUGGHH! His HEAD FELL OFF! It's right there, under the table! Umm...why don't YOU find out what's so special there.
      Is there anything that says "outdoor fun" like "directly inhaling massive amounts of diesel fumes"? You can spare the rod when Carbo-Monoxo the Particulate Polluter Tractor makes your disrespectful offspring fall into a deep and restfull sleep! (NOTE: Participants in JesusFest 2007 do so at their own risk. Please watch your children, and pick them up where they fall.)
      There's never a line at Snack Bar! This is because Jareth and Job from Jesusfest Security beat up anyone who might cut in on them hitting on that wanton Fried Dough Girl.
      And nothing will fill your spawn with love of the LORD like playing fake basketball on the Fisher-Price hoops behind the storage shed! Don't worry, this year we've cleaned up any used syringes we found back there. You'll hear your children cry "JESUS CHRIST!" in praise! They'll shout "JESUS! This was supposed to be better than Six Flags?!" repeatedly! And if they say it in a way disrespectful to THE LORD, well, they're behind the storage shed. We don't know what's going on back there, wink wink! (Rods sold seperately)

      On second thought--I can't go to Jesusfest, but somehow I don't think that I'll actually miss it.

      Remember how the newly-arrived humans in North America killed off all the megafauna? Well, maybe they had help from the giant comet that exploded at the same time, killing the mammoths and the humans and also melting the ice caps, leading to a thousand-year ice age.
      Phew! Glad we don't have to worry about extreme climate change happening in our lifetimes! Then, we might be the next mammoths!
      Or humans.



      Latest search: "the droop of the atomic bomb in japan was the good choice". Are you saying that Truman bombed Hiroshima because he didn't have any Viagra?

      Which is a good enough segue into I IZ ALL OVAR TEH NETS, BUT I IZ HERES ANYWAY: LOLPresidents.


      I notice from other blogs that apparently, some big movie came out 30 years ago today.
      I remember seeing the one-sheet poster for it, months earlier at Showcase Cinemas in East Hartford:      "Oh, that sounds good," I sneered.
      Back then, there really weren't too many good science fiction films. I saw lots of sci-fi movies from their heyday, the 50s and 60s, but they were generally really awful drive-in movie fodder. There were a few gems, like 5 Million Years to Earth and 2001. The last good one I'd seen was Silent Running. The serious ones were the good ones, and the rest were just drivel. Since Star Wars was clearly going to be a drive-in movie, it was equally as clearly going to suck. Maybe it's significant that I remember that poster, but not the movie I went to see.
      I didn't see it the day it came out, a Friday, but several of my friends did and raved about it. So I saw it on the following Tuesday afternoon at a matinee at the UA Theater East.

      (That's their sign, a few years back, long after they'd closed)
      And the movie was GREAT. It was exciting and fun and not totally retarded, and at the exact point where C3PO takes his oil bath
      ...a thunderstorm shut the power down. A universal groan escaped the audience. After 10 minutes, we were told that we'd be given free passes for a future show. I was back on Thursday. Because it was so great that I knew that everyone else would be back on Wednesday.
      Star Wars invented the "Hollywood Blockbuster" category. It's hard to imagine now, when we're bombarded with trailers and shitty Happy Meal crap months before a movie opens, that it took about 3 weeks of word-of-mouth to turn it into the first Blockbuster. Well, the second, but you didn't see parents taking their toddlers to see Jaws, or giving them toys "with real ROBERT SHAW CHEWING ACTION!" But that one-two punch of 1975/77 ruined movies forever. Instead of letting filmmakers create million-dollar movies that made ten million dollars, Hollywood now wanted to make $10 million movies that made $100 million. And, umm, most of them didn't. (Krull, anyone?) Thirty years later, the summers are filled with $100 million examples of really awful drive-in movie fodder. HOO-WEE, lookit that shit on the screen blow up!! Thanks, Mr Lucas, for exactly 2 really awesome movies. But no thanks for every film with a bloated SFX budget and no actual script, just shit blowin' up, blowin' up real good. Indirect thanks for Armageddon and The Avengers and The Wild, Wild West, and all those big-budget monstrosities that no one can name, because no one ever saw them. And all the crap that Hollywood will continue to try to flush down our eyes.
      I suppose that Lucas could claim "But I didn't mean to!" But that doesn't excuse Return of the Jedi and Howard the Duck, now does it?.


      I was on my lunch today, sitting in a car
      (A car, not my car. My car had been acting odd for months, so I brought it to a garage to see what was wrong with it. There was a mechanical description, which to my nonmechanical mind was a speech that went like that Far Side cartoon: "Blah blah blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah GINGER keep driving this and you'll destroy the engine GINGER." So I was in the company's balky old Taurus station wagon, which they were kind enough to let me use. As I couldn't get to work any other way)
      sitting in a car, reading in the same wooded cul-de-sac that I've seen wild turkeys, bobcat moms with their kittens, and deer. I finished this month's Funny Times, and decided that rather continue reading, I'd just sit back and enjoy the late spring weather before I plunged back into the abyss that is Memorial Day weekend at a likker store.
      There in the gap between the window and the door was a little beetle, running frantically towards the windshield. When it hit it, it ran back just as furiously. I watched it play ping pong with itself for a while, then thought of picking it up and tossing it back to nature. Wait, I thought, what if it's one of those bugs that bite? Then it suddenly stopped, and raised a leg. A familiar sort of leg...
      I took my glasses off for a closer look. Yes, I've seen that kind of leg before. Like 10 days ago. On MY leg. It was another fucking deer tick.
      I put it into the cap of my empty water bottle and screwed the lid tight. scrunch
      What's the deal? It was fast , but in half an hour this thing climbed up a car, just to eat me? And this is the second in 10 days! What, am I wearing tick perfume or something?


      Strange Maps is a site about...well, you're not stupid.
      One of the latest is The First, False Map of the ‘True North’. And if that sounds like the title of a great short story, check out the next 6 paragraphs:      While the article is fascinating, the whole-cloth story based on it that wasn't written would've been better.


      Here's a bonus Stupidest Thing Ever Said:

...Because who among us doesn't have a life-long regret that our father wasn't Dick Cheney? What child wouldn't want to curl up in his lizard-like lap? Besides the ones afraid of being eaten.
      BTW, wasn't homosexuality declared a "choice," according to conservatives not so long ago? And frequently blamed by them on "bad parenting"? Funny how that talking point disappeared a coupla years ago.

      For Memorial Day, Connecticut's Iraq War dead. You've got the day off; you can spend 5 minutes watching a respectful slideshow. And as you watch, remember that the state of Connecticut has a population far less than that of most major American cities. It represents a little over 1% of America's population. Every time you see a name, there's a hundred other American names not listed.
      And right now, there are more names being added.

      But let us forget about the dead, and remember who has suffered the most because of the Iraq war. And there's your third Stupidest Thing Ever Said for today.


      The Solar System's initial makeup had a lot to do with a nearby sun going nova. Since the scientist reporting it is surnamed "Bizzarro," it's just lucky that he Earth isn't shaped like a cube.

      Cleanliness is nest to Deadliness: Man dies from cleaning his house too much. If that's the case, I shall live FOREVER.

      I'm migrating everything from Hotmail to Gmail. Shotmail has no spam filters at all, even the ones you flag as spam dozens of times. One of the the emails I wanted is from BIG!Lots, and it included this at the top:

Product  	                                         Price  Elsewhere  Savings
Crystal Geyser Water 16.9 oz 24 pack 	$4.00 	$5.49 	         $0.49
      Nice math, dudes.

      I spent my 3-day weekend stressing over the car--I found out today that it seems it just needs a little thing called A NEW ENGINE. And because of another thing. Maybe I no longer have that "JOB" thinggie all you kids talk about. Why? Because I did something illegal! Hey, wait--because I DIDN'T do something illegal. There will either be plenty of details on that soon--and a letter to the Connecticut Liquor Commission, if I can get the time to print out an illegal sale before I'm fired for what someone else did. Or, if I'm still employed, it will never be mentioned here again.


      ...And I am still gainfully employed.
      As stated yesterday, I'm not going into the details. No matter how entertaining they may be! Let's just say that if you, no matter how close a friend you are with the owner, break the liquor laws and then try to get someone fired just because your buddy-boy overheard me agreeing with another coworker's assessment of you ("I hate that asshole!" she said)--well, trying to get me fired by lying isn't exactly going to disprove your Hateful Assholery to the rest of the coworkers, eh? Especially if you base it on the claim that I closed the store 10 minutes early on a holiday weekend. You see, the registers have a thing called a "clock." There's another of these exotic hi-tech devices built into the alarm panel. HUH WHO KNEW!
      Hey guess teh whats, dude--now the store manager and the owner know you're a liar, too.
      Although I will relate a brief story about the perp. He's one of those "egomaniacs with little to be egotistic about " mid-20s guys. There's a Reasonably Hot Young Chick coworker, and he once said, "I'd hit on her, but...she has an annoying laugh." Which is true, it's such a yodel that she should try out for Ricola ads. But the real reason was probably more like "I'd hit on her, but she would knee me in the balls." Me, I'd date Lindsay Lohan, but she doesn't live in central Connecticut! If she moved to New Haven, well, maybe, but that's a 90 minute commute!

      Get Rich Slowly has 23 tips to improve your gas mileage. I always "Whatevered" the "don't speed" recommendation. Until I started driving the store's Easter Island head on wheels station wagon and had to replace the gas I used. Driving 20 miles at 65 instead of 75 used a lot less. Obviously my little sedan won't see as big a savings, but doing 10 miles an hour less added a whole minute to my commute.

      This link isn't about saving gas, but saving your life: How To Drive Like A Cop. Except for the "which saves more gas, keeping windows open or AC running?" argument. I ended that back before I had a car with AC--my much-shorter ponytail of a dozen years ago flew into my eye and blinded me, while I was doing 65 during late rush hour. I started wearing my "car hat" to keep it behind me (and it was this one). As the article says, "Fully raised is preferable over fully lowered because it's far better to hit your head against the raised side glass than, say, the brush guard of the SUV that T-boned you in the door."
      Though I suppose that you'd save a LOT of gas if you were dead.


      When Kill Kill was little, she loved chasing any bugs that got inside. I'd say "BUG!" and she'd cry "WHYAARR!" Which not only sounded just like "Where?!?!" but she also meant it, too. "Where's the BUG?!?!" I'd point at the invader--always one of those little white moths that get inside in the warmer months--and she'd relentlessly hunt it down. And eat it. With that wide-open-mouth and flapping-tongue-action that cats have when they taste TRIUMPH! and also a bug that tastes weird and gross but they eat it anyway. In some way that says "To the victor cat belongs the spoils, even if it tastes kinda spoiled."
      That was a long time ago. Killsy can't be bothered anymore. The Insane Boy fills the bug-eating ecological niche now. Today, when a moth made its way into our food chain, I pointed "BUG!" and Byron saw it. But for some reason, it was Killsy who made the move. She was filled with a half a decade's pent up fury, and not only energetically chased down the thing before Byron could act, she smashed it flat. (But didn't eat it--I guess she remembers how they taste).
      And thus enthused much praising of the Mighty Fighty Biter Cat's return to glory, and even a few treats to encourage her to do it again. Basked in the glory, she did, like the Warrior Princess she once was.
      And Byron spent the next 20 minutes staring off the edge of the bookcase, at the same spot where Killsy destroyed her prey. But the Bug was Gone and Smashed, and forlornly sulk he did, over his lost chance at insectoidal victory.
      Don't worry, buddy. There will be more flappy bug things, and you'll get your chance again. Maybe you could start on those tiny black beetles that keep turning up?


      Remember my post of 5/27, about the map of North Pole, and the Pole's Big Hole?
      "A U.S. scientist and a small band of believers are planning a journey to the Canadian Arctic for what they call "the greatest geological expedition in history."
      "Are they searching for Arctic oil reserves? Documenting evidence of climate change?
      "Not quite. They're looking for a fog-shrouded hole in the Arctic Ocean that leads -- they say -- to the centre of the Earth, where an unknown civilization is lurking inside the hollow core of the planet."
      Yeah. He's A Scientist. Has that word been redefined as "A Dipshit" since I last looked?
      Have fun poking around in Earth's asshole, Dr Genius!


      All of this useless information I have crammed into my skull, and, when given a perfectly good excuse to use it, I forget. Today at work I thought, "I link to a story about the Hollow Earth, and don't comment on the 'unknown civilization is lurking inside' aspect?"
      I became aware of the Hollow Earthers from a book I read in high school, and while I could imagine such a nutty theory being given credence in the Olde Days, I was astonished to find out that people still believed it. There are also people who believe the earth is flat, and about a third of Americans today think that the sun revolves around the earth. It was an eye-opener and brain-widener for me--I was very religious then, but, shit, the sun does NOT do that, and the earth is NOT either of those shapes. I discovered this at the same time I was reading the bible for the first time. C'mon, Flood, Genesis, no one really believes this stuff is literally true! Then I hit Leviticus and realized that the people who claim it is literally true are lying to themselves. They don't think that they're going to hell because they wore a poly-cotton blend or ate seafood, but there it is. It's right there in the bible. They just picked and chose what to believe, and I was doing the same thing.
      Well, okay, that was a tad paranthetical. Back to the 'unknown civilization is lurking inside' aspect: Seriously, Dr Genius expects to find Pellucidar and the Vril-ya up the Earth's butt?
      And there were these other guys who were all into that "Earth is hollow like a cheap chocolate Easter bunny" idea, too. They were called "the Nazis." They thought that there was this magic race of superpoweredful Aryans living there, like bugs in the Earth's ass. I don't think there's anything to the legends that The Crazy Moustache Man sent U-boats to the Arctic to find the Hole and get the Vril-ya to help them win the war, but, y'know, these were the Nazis. They believed a lot of, umm, "interesting shit."
      This is on the "Dopey" and not the "Horrifyingly Psychopathic" end of things that they really truly believed, but still. I wouldn't base any "scientific" expeditions on anything that those spittle-flecked insaniacs thought made sense. Or, anyone who thinks those ideas made sense. What's next? Nazi SETI?


      We're going on a Journey to the Center of the Earth, bitches!


      Physical proof that LOLCats have been around for almost a century.

      “To know what you know is [the mark] of consciousness, the last stand for human exceptionalism. Now, however, this claim is on the rocks as both animals and machines show signs that they can engage in self-reflection.”


      When we last left my car, it needed a new engine. The engine would arrive Wednesday and the car would be ready on Thursday.
      On Thursday, oh, no, the engine's on the truck that just pulled up. It'll be ready on Friday.
      On Friday, no, the engine wasn't on that truck, it'll be on the one coming today. It'll be ready Monday.
      My job was kind enough to allow me to use the store car, a fine piece of station wagonry that guzzles gas and leaks oil and has a radio that stays on when you turn the car off, but resets the volume to zero. It's better than nothing, but of course, I'm on vacation this week. They weren't going to let me take it for 8 days--in fact, the store manager wanted me to come to work on my vacation, and 3 hours earlier than usual, to make a delivery in it. He eventually admitted that a case of wine and 3 bottles of liquor didn't really need a tractor trailer. And I'd already made arrangements to have my friend Kev give me a ride. I was going to drop the store's car off and just sit at home until they fixed my car, then I'd figure out a way to pick it up. Because I had a very strong feeling that it wouldn't be ready on Monday.
      Hey, guess what! It's Monday, and it's not ready! Was the engine accidentally shipped to the Lost City of Atlantis? No, that might make sense. Here's the actual reason I was given:      I paused, then said "Uh-huh." But I thought "I don't even know what that's supposed to MEAN!" Rain? Were they driving cars made out of paper? It was like he was reading some Surrealist Garage Excuse Generator. When I call tomorrow, I expect to be told one of the following:      This is the last time I take my car to a place with a sign over the bay doors reading "Ne c'est pas une Garage."
      But after TEN DAYS of having my car, they finally offered me a loaner. I ran to it because you know, all this rain, and sat down and realized "This is MY car!" A Ford Escort, but a Mercury Tracer's the same thing with a few differences in the bodywork. And despite it having the same dashboard layout as the car I've driven for 10 years, after only 10 days in another car I tried to shift into reverse by turning on the windshield wipers.
      Any bets as to how quickly my car gets done, now that I have THEIR car? When they call tomorrow, I'll say "Yeah, I could bring it back today, but pancakes made the Pentagon a gerbil. Y'know, all this prune of dog barf!"
      (Actually...No, I won't call tomorrow. I'll wait for them to call me, and then drive their car in when I'm darned good and ready. Because of all this air we're having)

      Night at the Creationist Museum. "I mean, Bible Cow is good, but it don't come close to Bible Dinosaurs!"


      The only thing I had planned to do over vacation was go to a Ween concert. That's a band I really, really loved. For one album, 15 years ago. Kevin is still into them--I didn't even know they still existed. But it's been one thing after another--the car, work weirdness, y'know all this rain--so I kept forgetting to buy a ticket. But my thought was always "It's not like a Ween concert's going to be sold out!"
      I went to get buy my ticket online today, and you can probably guess where this is going. SOLD OUT. FUCK! This is why I have so few friends--I'm not very good at it.
      But it turned out that Kev didn't try to buy his ticket until yesterday, and he found out the same thing. Seriously--WEEN is that popular? Or do they tour as often as the Beatles?
      And so ends the Only Thing I Was Going To Do On Vacation.

      Well, the only thing besides watch DVDs, anyway. On the recently-viewed list, and the list is all over the place thematically:
      John Carpenter's They Live--oh, wait, sorry, that's John Carpenter's John Carpenter's They Live. Oh no, there are live carpenters in my john! WHAT ARE THEY BUILDING?!
      They're building an 80s Carpenter movie, is what. Great to look at, but so flimsily constructed. Capitalist aliens infiltrate the earth, apparently just to make a buck (and one of them is Ronald Reagan) and only Rowdy Roddy Piper knows the truth. It was fun, excluding when the 2 male leads beat the crap out of each other in an interminably long 5 minute scene that could've been left out without changing the film at all. And, of course, John Carpenter movie, so if you think about it for a second it all falls apart. What was the female character's motivation in any scene? Why did Snake Pliskin rip up the tape at the end of Escape From New York, when we've been repeatedly told that that would lead to World War 3? Why, when the Thing in John Carpenter's John Carpenter's The Thing knows it can just wait until the rescue party to arrive, it runs up and gets dynamited? Truly, these are questions that only future generations of cinephiles exploring his oeuvre will ever be able to answer.
      And it has an unhappy ending. The greedy and uncaring aliens that were in charge of the country 20 years ago still are today.
      I watched "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat," a cartoon from a decade ago I'd never heard of. It was clearly influenced by the early 1930s cartoons of Fleischer and Iwerks, with it's "everything's alive, and everything's insane" cartooning. But not as clearly influenced as it was by Bakshi's Mighty Mouse and John Kricfalusi's cartoon about that cat that looked like a pig and that dog that looked like a mosquito. After 2 cartoons, it became clear that it was amusing, not funny, and weird for the sake of being weird. And influenced by massive amounts of chemical stimulants. I'll finish watching it when 4:20 comes around.
      I took out the Felix DVD and placed it next to a giant-sized bag of Fritos and a large pizza with everything, and put in The Saddest Music in the World. I almost saw this in the art theaters 3 years ago when it came out, based on Ebert's loving review. Then I saw other reviews, and it was clearly a movie that everybody either immediately loved within 15 minutes, or wanted to kill and dance on its grave. Was its stylistic choice of "looks like a print from an old movie worn out from years of projecting" just a gimmick?
      No, it wasn't. It used all the old tricks of silent movies and pre-Hays Code talkies, but in brilliant new ways. It was both homage and improvement and--look, if the words "Hays Code" mean nothing to you, stop reading, you won't get it. They overcranked the camera, had scenes with sound effects "dubbed in," had perfect 30s fonts for the titles and perfect 30s movie archetypes played by perfect 30s faux-actors, people who actually looked like the actors did then. There are even soundless "Technicolor reels."
      But it's not all technique. The story is engaging, and set in Winnipeg, "four times voted the Saddest City in the World by the London Times." A place of eternal night and snow, and a nightclub featuring the contest for the Saddest Music in the World, with contestants from all over the world. And despite that, it's funny. A wry and dry humor, infused with sadness, but it's--well, for want of a better word, I'll invent one: It's a melodramedy. Everyone--everyone--is connected by a tragic incident and related to each other. The plot is over the top, but really, it's no more so than any of the "shit-blows-up-for-2-hours" crapfests currently playing at the macroplex. And if that's the kind of movie you like, don't rent this one. The more old movies you've seen--and loved--the more you'll like this one. If you've seen any movie where everyone wore hats and at least one person said, "Gee, that'd be swell!" just before a musical number...well, here you go.

      Gee, remember those bygone days of 1997, when everyone had a "Mr T Ate My Balls" page? That was swell! In fact, I had to take some hydrocortizone to make the swelling go down. I guess that 2007 is the Year of the LOL(fill-in-the-blank)s! Here's one for old people like me, LOL80sBands. Next meme for me: LOL-AARP.


      I watched "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat" in the way nature intended, and it was very entertaining. You don't have to rent it, as basically the whole DVD is online.

      What the World Eats, a photo spread of families and a week's worth of their food. Guess which countries eat the least amount of fresh fruits, vegetables and grain, and the most prepackaged junk food? HINT: It's the countries that can most easily buy fresh fruits, vegetables and grain.

      Despite what I said yesterday, I did have another thing I wanted to do on vacation. The oddly-named warehouse club BJ's opened nearby, and sent me a free pass. I figured I'd check it out. I can always use cat food and litter, right?
      The place is a monstrosity. They didn't just pull down a building to make it, they flattened an entire plaza, one that had a grocery store, a Rickel's, a post office and even the biggest liquor store for towns around (and my former employer). Every endcap had a BJer standing at a "Try this food!" sampler. And I mean standing--when you grand-open any retail store, you overhire to replace the people who'll immediately quit. And if they don't, you give them jobs that will make them quit. None of the people manning the food samplers asked me if I wanted to try their exotic taste temptations, such as Thomases English Muffins. They just stood there, wondering which of them would be unemployed first.
      The smallest bag of cat food was 20 pounds. The smallest box of litter was 30.
      It's hard to gauge how much you're saving when you'd be buying enough to last for months. And even if you needed the 60-count crate of Eggo waffles...if you have a freezer that's as big as a boxcar and a house that can store a pallet of Charmin, why do you need to shop here? Can't your fucking butler do it?
      I left without buying anything. Although, if in the next month I need to buy a god damn gallon of pickles, I know where to go. Unforunately, I forgot to ask how much the b.j.'s cost, or how hot the chix giving them were.
      And so let me ask again: Guess which countries eat the least amount of fresh fruits, vegetables and grain, and the most prepackaged junk food? And how many have BJs?

      Latest searches:
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      I'm guessing that'd be "none at all." Although this is probably the only search that will ever include me, Colin McEnroe, and Lileks right near each other in the results.
      who were the actors in thetv sow called the wild wild west
      I don't care if she's a big fat pig! That's a terrible name to give a sow! Why don't you just call her "Battlefield Earth," HUH!
      And get those actors out of her! There's now way they're enjoying that!!


      I see gazebos drive along the road all the time.
      Not by themselves, but on wide-load flatbed trucks going to the gazebo-sellers the next town over. Poor saps buy them there, thinking that that's where they're built. But as I, and any other Bob & Ray fan knows, they really come from the Gazebo Forests of New Jersey.
      I also pay no attention to the giant car transports that are loaded with golf carts. They're strikingly odd the first few times, but after 20 years? Eh. There's a place up the road that--I don't know, has something to do with golf carts. It's in the same plaza as People's Choice, "Where the Proles Go to Eat Gloriously Soviet." There's a liquor store down the other end, and a big fat guy was driving a golf cart back to work with his Miller Lite 18 pack. Hey, Laziest Man on Earth, maybe you could buy a not-lite beer if you walked a distance that's less than I walk to my mailbox.

      I get a flier-sized magazine called "Horizons" every month. It's just a slim batch of local ads and non-stories to fill up the spaces between the ads. This month, next to "Downtown Association Announces New Board of Directors" and "Chicken Divan Dinner," is "Nuggets to Live By: 'The Rag Doll'." I don't know if this odd inclusion has anything to do with the same issue's 2-page article on, and full-page color ad paid by, JesusFest 2007. But I know that if I had me one of them "blogs" you kids talk about where you have to have a title for every post, this one's would be "Petzel Logic":

      For, yes, it is G*D that gives us our homes, cars and possessions. He has blessed us so that we live in a country where people like you and me--well, people like me--can throw perfectly good things in the trash! Those are His blessings to you and me! (Possibly not you) And homeless people? God hates those fuckers! People who have to ride the bus? They're on the Crosstown straight to HELL! Didn't buy a new cell phone, just because your current one isn't kewl enough? Jesus DIED for your Verizons!
      Oh, it makes we weepy inside. That there are all these poor people in this country who are proving Him wrong! Ooh, does your malnourished child want a sweet rag doll? Too damn bad, Poory! GOD told me not to bring it to the Goodwill! YES GOD TALKS TO ME THRU TRASH CANS THAT IS SO NORMAL BECAUSE I'M NOT A CRAZY HOMELESS PERSON! If a smelly homeless guy gave me a sermon that "Our Lady of the Dumpster" told him through her magic voice, I'd call the police on my cell phone! (It's the newest and coolest one! It comes with a "Empathy Meter," and it says I'm off the CHART!! I took my old phone and threw it at a poor child from my SUV. I'm sure she appreciated getting beaned by it. She can eat the pieces)

      ...And no sooner than I finished ranting on that, I saw this from Wolcott:

      Well, I'll grant her a point: she did say that she had no dignity.

      We won't be going to see the Ween concert, so Kev and I are going to huff Scotch Guard and watch Daimajin. He said it was some 1966 Toho movie I might not've seen, but that's unpossible! Unless it's that one with the giant statue that comes to life.
      Holy shinto! It is!
      I'm sure it will be very not good. And not in the "make fun of it" not-good way. I didn't want to read about it online, but I'll bet that it's an historical drama until the last 10 minutes, when the big statue comes to life.
      But he included an IMDB link that eventually led to Toho Kingdom. This is possibly the most insanely detailed page I've ever seen on the subject. My link goes to only one page there, which obsessively lists every single toy tank a Toho kaiju ever stomped on, or model-jet-on-wires its ever swatted from the skies. It's written in a nice "Engrish" style, obviously by someone who loves the sound and cadence of poorly-translated Japanese. And any page that acknowledges the existence of "Space Hunter Nebula M" has my respect. Godzilla first! He whispers in my ear whenever trash cans are near!
"Godzilla would rage
If he could see
He'd turn the page
For you and me."

--Godzilla vs the Smog Monster
      Godzilla is the friend of children. He would've taken the rag doll to the Salvation Army.
      And stomped every house on the way. But how's that different than G*D and His tsunamis and Katrinas?




      And so the vacation winds down. Nothing special happened over it. Except for not going to work, and that's always special.
      Friday I went to the brew pub with Kevin, had a good meal and some better beer, then saw Daimajin. It was as expected, an historical drama until the big stone statue got its rocks off and stomped everybody at the end, but we had fun making fun of it.
      Saturday I went to a book sale at the Volcano Church. It was lame. The only close-to-nearing-the-corner-of-interesting and not-suck-ass was the book "Musical Appreciation Using the Victrola," copyright 1923, from the "Victor Talking Machine Company." It's amusing that there actually was a name for the phongraph even more dated than "Victrola." Think of how confused people get from computers, 80 years ago Victor probably lost sales to people who thought, "Oh, let's not get us a Talking Machine! Let us purchase the one that can play the wax cylinders with people singing!"
      Today I bought a very small amount of groceries. The only important thing was cat fud, and I'd just received a coupon from Iams for $10 off a 4-lb bag. But 4 pounds costs $6, and 8 pounds $14. So of course I bought the big bag, although I'm not sure how I'll fill their bowl from a bag that big. Scoop it out, I guess.
      When I got home--it was open! Not accidentally ripped a bit, no, someone went through the considerable effort of opening an Iams bag properly and completely. And then what did they do? Fill it with Chinese melamine? There's no way I'm feeding this to the kids, I thought, and went to return it.
      Do you know what I don't do when I go to the grocery store? Bring goceries there. And come to a complete stop at the end of a steep hill.
      What the hell was THAT? Oh, shit, the bag of Iams fell off the back seat and--wow, it smells like Iams in here.
      There was 5 pounds of cat food on the floor of the car. Which, I may note, IS NOT MY CAR.
      Stop & Shop took the bag back, even without my offer to "Bring you the rest of the cat food, if you give me a dustpan." And I got to spend a big chunk of my last full day of vacay sweeping cat food off of the floor of somebody else's car. That really wasn't on my "to-do" list for the week.
      Today I discovered that Kill Kill does two things that I thought only Byron did: sleep with her eyes open, and dream with her eyes open. She twitched and quivered like he does, eyes darting, whiskers flattening, but unlike he does, her ears moved. I've seen him chew in his dreams, meaning he must taste in his dreams, so I guess she hears in hers. I went to another room an hour later, and he was dreaming himself. I went back, and she was twitchily dreaming again. Which is...odd. I've never seen her do it in 8 years, now I've seen it in 2 hours.
      Me, I've been dreaming of not having to go back to work tomorrow.

      Five years ago I posted an mp3 download from the sadly defunct Cool & Strange Music! Magazine's "Thrift Store Project." It's not the best of this type of comp--I think that award still goes to Andy & Pat's Groovy Cosmic Love Hour Record Collections. But you can't dowload those for free anymore. But you can download The TSP, and more importantly, not download it--you can listen to individual tracks. I personally endorse playing Cheeseday in Monroe at full blast from your cubicle on Monday morning. See if you can get your workmates to yodel along!
      You can also stream The Silly Beatles tracks if you want, but I don't recommend it. "[Listen low quality]" is an understatement. And it took me 2 lo-fi songs' worth of playing time to download the zip file, and start playing the hi-quality tracks.
      I collected weird cover versions for about 25 years, but there's only 3 songs on this I've ever heard before, and 2 are from "Golden Throats." A splendid time is guaranteed for all! Except for the one or two that might make you want to stick your brain under a drill press. Then you may have wished you bought one of those machines that can only play Talking.


      Over the weekend, still driving someone else's car, I felt kinda guilty. Yes, they did say that they'd call me when it was done, but it'd been a week. It must've been done by now. The garage is near my job, but my job's not near me. It's a 40 mile round trip.
      But because today was my last day of vacation, that meant I had to go to work and close the store. So I called the garage and they said, "Yeah, we just finished." After having my car for two and a half weeks. Didn't feel so bad about not calling earlier then. So not bad, I didn't even gas up the loaner.
      I wanted to make sure that the new engine wasn't the underpowered one that was in my nearly-identical loaner car, but I drove home in a titanic thunderstorm. It rained so hard that I pulled over for 5 minutes, and I've never pulled over because of weather in my life. And then...the "Check Engine" light came on. WHAT AN AWESOME SIGN OF GOOD MECHANICKING THAT AM.

      The Top 10 Christian Tourist Traps. And yes, I drove by the Giant Glow-in-the-Dark Cross in Waterbury, CT many times. I never knew that there was anything under it, let alone a Playskool-sized version of the Holy Land. When I did become of aware of it, the Dreaded Nuns had taken over, and they wouldn't let anyone in who didn't seem worshipful. Why letting people in to snicker at it was worse than letting it turn to a garbage- and graffitti-filled junk pile is best left to the good sisters.
      And if you're not interested in reading about these, at least check one's inspiring kids' gift shoppe. There's the "Ark of the Covenant Game," which unfortunately sounds like dominoes and does not involve bullwhips or Gestapo agents getting their faces melted off. However, you can play with your talking Jesus and Mary dolls! Although I'm not sure what you'd play. I suppose that little good Christian girls would play "tea party with loaves and fishes," while little boys would use Him to beat up other kids' Pokemons or COBRA figures. So I hope that Talking Mary's voice chip includes "More tea and fishes, Miss Barbie? Math is Hard!" and Talking Jesus says "Inri Inri Inri!" Or at least "GO JOE--HOVAH!"
      Another fun figure is "Daniel and the Lion":

      Daniel is played by

      Grampy from the old Betty Boop cartoons. But Grampy won't need his Thinking Cap. It's pretty easy to figure out a way to escape a den of lions when that's the lion. I've seen more threatening Shar-pei. Not only does he have one whole tooth, he looks like he's wacked out on meth. Given that the gift shoppe is in the rural south, maybe they just wanted the kids to think that the lion looked like a family member.
      I'M KIDDING. Southern readers, I didn't mean it looked like on of your family members! Just one of your neighbors.
      You can also buy your kids an "Authentic QUILL PEN!" and a "Make Your Own PAPYRUS!" kit, in case they're really tired of every birthday being about gift-wrapped boxes of underwear and Jack Chick tracts. Give them these, and look at their eyes light up! With a holy fire!
      Also, don't get your hopes up--it's the "Tabernacle Making Model," not the "Tentacle Making Model." It will not let you play with Jesus' new buddy, Cthuhlu.
      And I sure wouldn't want anybody buying me a " Nativity Magnet Set." Oh no, that would be all blasphemous 'n' shit.
      Plus there's no room left on my fridge. And that's as Jesusy as it can get--"No room at the Fridge! Try the steel manger!"
      (Ahh...I'm not trying to make this page all make-fun-of-Xtians, really. I only write about what wanders my way, and that's been the stuff wandering lately. Trust me, I would've written about the Scooter's Grill ad I got in the mail today, if I had a scanner or the web had an image. Their motto is "Burgers as big as your head!" and their mascot is a guy with a burger for a head. And he's way more disturbing than Mayor McCheese. His slogan says "Yes, EAT MY HEAD!" but his eyes say "Me Zombie Burger. Me eat you from inside out! Is BURGER VENGEANCE at last!" He's the poster boy for mad cow-inspired not-hamburger eating)

      Hey, look! The Best (And Worst) Star Trek Movies of All Time! Not Jesusy at all! Well, except for the one where Shatner beats up God. Seriously--why DOES God need a starship? Good point, Shatner! Try reading that line next time in front of a mirror!



Remember my mention of the "Burgers as big as your head!" mascot? I found his picture.

      OH BOY I'll bet you're hungry NOW!
      GAH! The staring eyes! The condiments and purple (purple?!) burger for a mouth, complete with lolling tongue! The hat held on by an olive on a stake! The belly that shakes when he (evilly) laughs like a bowl full of tomato aspic! All from the realm of nightmare, but the worst part is--the pink, fleshy bun-head! "EAT MY CAUCASIAN HEAD!"
      Second worse: the unibrow.
      And what is he pointing at? The phrase "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MEAT!" which he says while fixedly staring at your head. Is that tongue merely lolling, or is he licking his purple-beefed lips in anticipation?



      SHAWT: The cheap guy who bought a keg of Keystone Light, and was so cheap he wouldn't pay the refundable $75 deposit for a tap. I fully expect to see the headline "MAN DROWNED IN BEER GUSHER AFTER OPENING KEG WITH HAMMER AND CHISEL" by Monday.



      It's Father's Day! Which doesn't apply to me, unless you count cats. And here's a more important holiday--yesterday was their mutual birthday! And you know what that means...CAT PICTURES!


      Byron all loungey and "I'm ready for my LOLCat macro now, Mr DeMille!"


      I bought (for 50% off) a thing called a "Crinkle Bag." It was supposed to be something cats would crawl into and use as a hidey-hole. Here is Kill Kill's butt, and the one and only time it ever got used for the intended purpose. I should point out that these images that have been sitting in my camera for months. Immediately after this picture was taken, Killsy, and then Byron, crinkled the bag flat. No matter how many times I puffed it back into a tunnel shape, they've just stomped it back down. (Note: at the right is a giant foot waiting his turn to smash the bag down)

      Sometimes I wonder, why does my DVD player skip?


      Oh. Possibly, this is related to cat hair.


      "WHUH? Why for you disturbs me slumbers with the eject button?! I was having this awesome dream where I shedded over the entire world."


      There's a stupid superbarky Jack Russell terrier across the hall. Once the cats were in the hallway, and the neighbors let him out NOT on a leash, and he tried to eat them. Kill Kill rushed in the door and knocked the doorstop away. The door closed and Byron was outside with this monster for a few seconds, before I ran up and let him in. Inside, he ran back and forth at top speed for about 10 minutes, and when he sorta settled down, he just kept looking in fear at the door. Maybe Stupid Dog could get in!!!! That was months ago, but neither of them have evinced the slightest desire to go outside in the hallway since.
      I don't know what provoked the dog. Possibly it had something to do with Killsy knowing that he was stuck behind a door, and his barking wouldn't open it, no matter how much she strutted right in front of it? Or when they bought this weird iron doormat thing? It looks more like something you'd use to beat someone to death with, and then strain their corpse through the holes in order to make it more dumpsterable. The first day they had it--not long before the time the dog tried to eat them--Killsy went out, and then spent an hour listening to the dog yap behind the door while she rubbed her ass on it. You can't hear the barking, but that's her doing just that.
      I don't know if Killsy suffers fools. But she clearly likes to make fools suffer.


      One more for you fans of big feet.

      If you're wondering, he's four and she's eight. Amazing, really. It still seems like they both moved in yesterday, and that they've been here since before I was born.


Well, thanks to Zefiel, the LOLs didn't take long...






      That last one would be funnier if I didn't just spend the last 90 minutes trying to get my shitty $30 DVD player to play the last 15 minutes of a movie. It has nothing to do with cat hair; it's just a shitty $30 DVD player. Let's not even get into the $2100 car engine, and how it leaks coolant and groans like it's dying every time I take a turn. Maybe I should just put all my money in a pile and set it on fire. That'd be more efficient.


      What's been happening on "Not-Ebert and Roeper"? I thought you'd never ask! Especially since you haven't.
      Last week it was Valley Girl, but I guess I need a new name for her? Cuz she doesn't talk with that cadence anymore? And junk?
      It was one of those "Best and Worst So Far" episodes, so I almost turned it off. Those are usually just repeats of reviews from a coupla months ago. But this time, they were all new reviews of current movies, so that was okay. Even if ex-Valley Girl defended Eddie "I was talented in 1985" Murphy's Norbit. Which I haven't seen, so I can't say it definitely sucked Pluto Nash's spaceship, but as the saying goes--"You don't have to go to the Arctic to know that it's cold."
      This week, it was--well, I missed his name, but he was from some HDTV site. And I think that he was, too. He was perfect in his looks and diction, and spoke so unspontaneously and yet cleverly that I think he was a CGI creation. He didn't just look like some guy's Second Life avatar, he talked like he was the ultimate winner of the Turing Test. I kept waiting for his hologram to flicker, or for him to start speaking in Korean until white-suited techs ran out to adjust his voice chip. Possibly the show's production company, Buena Vista aka Disney, has found the ultimate use for its Animatronics by replacing Ebert with a crit-bot from Beyond the Uncanny Valley of the Dolls.

      I replaced my balky $30 DVD player with a, umm, $30 DVD player. This one is a Memorex, the company still coasting on its reputation from a 25 year old TV commercial, but I guess that makes it more of a brand name than my old one, which was made by CyberHome. (That's where Roeper's new co-host lives! It's near his virtual coffee shop and movie reviewing stand in Second Life) I turned it on, and its LCD screen said "hELL0." Hey, hell0 to you, 2! And then it said "PS OFF." What? First it's Hello, and then it's "PISS OFF"?! I don't foresee a pleasant relationship in our future, model number MVD2023!
      The old one is still here, as the only region-free hack I could find online for the new one required a "donation" of L1.49. Look, crazy English hackers, there is no money that's spelled "L", especially all squiggly and with a line through it! SPEAK ENGLISH, ENGLISHMEN!! And from what I know about the current worth of the dollar (or $, which is an S with a line through it and must be real money because my keyboard has a symbol for it), that's like 1.49 in your pounds, which is like 200 rolls of toilet paper, several boxes of 9mm ammo, and 3 month's worth of canned goods in Survivalist America. Thank YOU, Limey, but when the Terrists follow our troops home from Iraq, I know which will be the better investment! (In fact, since Bush keeps telling us that the terrists will follow us home when we leave Iraq--Why do we keep lettin' our troops come home?! The troops will be all "Dad, he followed me home! Can we keep Osama?" and Dad will be all "Okay, son, but you have to clean up after his bombings!" We can't have that! So, shouldn't we be sending the wounded troops to Greenland, so the terrists follow them there, and freeze to death and some junk? I mean, Greenland or Walter Reed, which would the troops less like to be sent to? And the dead troops that come home, maybe we could bury them in a huge pit, so the terrists following them fall in. Then we'd be all shooty at them. A win-win! JUST A THOUGHT, DUBYA!)

      Despite the new DVD player's rudeness, it let me play the rest of the movie I was trying to finish last night. It was a recommendation from Chris, a reader in Canada (which is another place we could let the terrists follow us to--I mean, it's just Greenland with Tim Horton's, and it ain't like dead furriners is as important as dead Americans!! Especially if they allow people to speak the Devil's Language, French!). It was Man of the Century, and it was very good. And odd. The main character was from the 1920s, except he was in 1999. And--well, that was it. He chainsmoked, he would only let his girlfriend kiss him on the cheek, he had a story for his newspaper that would be a panic, it was the bee knees! And he talked all Ben Hechtian and H.L. Menckenish, brother, in a breathless perfect patter of 20s slang. He slapped tough guys and lechs around, and I mean slapped. It actually wouldn't have worked for a second, if not for the main character/screenwriter's dialogue and delivery.
      There's no explanation for the hero's stuck-in-time personality, except that his mother seems just as stuck in the Edwardian Age. And while almost everyone else is in 1999, there are other characters who seem to exist equally in a silent comedy. And that's the fun. While The Saddest Music in the World was a very dry and subtle comedy, this is a screwball one. I like how the hero is paired with a villain who's the angriest man in the world, and can't complete a sentence without one "FUCK!!" in it. About the only disappointment for me was when the hero is forced to type a news story on a typewriter with a broken K. The bad and angry guy screams "THEN DON'T USE 'K'!" but the hero doesn't say, "But then I can't type your favorite word! F--U--C--Gee whiz, pally, I'm stuck!"
      It's Netflixable. Not-NOT-Ebert's review is here.


      It's funny how the cats know that if I'm cutting up celery, that means I'm making tuna salad, and they sure know what that means.

      Some babies are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Me, I believe I was born with a sarcastic smirk on my mouth. That may be why I love bad reviews of bad things. I remember certain funny lines for years or decades.
      In the 19th century, a critic described a new Tschaikovsky piece as "music that stinks in the ear." Even in Russia, that was cold.
      A review by someone whose name I can't recall referred to a bloated Hollywood epic as "a 3-hour challenge to the bladder." And ever since, any time I hear about a really long movie, that's the first thing that I think.
      Roger Ebert saw the film version of Dungeons & Dragons and said, "It's like they threw away the game and photographed the box it came in."
      Ebert and his late partner Gene Siskel went to a press screening of an awful movie called Little Indian, Big City, and the entire third reel of the movie was missing. When the movie's publicist apologized for the error, Siskel yelled "If the third reel is the legendary lost footage from Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons, this movie would still suck!''
      Even Michael Medved, a critic who has earned scorn himself in the last 2 decades, once wrote some funny books on bad movies. The chapter on terrible silent movies was titled "Silent...But Deadly."
      But the one that has stuck with me the longest was a pithy review of The Doors album "American Dream" from a 1979 issue of Punk magazine, which I now reproduce in full, typo and all:

      Direct and to the point.
      Yesterday I watched the critically acclaimed movie Sin City, and I wish some of the critics quoted above had something to say about it, because all I have is
      Who said this was good?!?!! THIS STINKS!!!
      It was called Sin City because Retards with Guns was too obvious. Amazing how something so violent could also be so fucking boring. And confusing and pretentious and goddamn stupid, and hey, could we have some even mumblier narration over people whose acting looks like severe constipation? Oh, yeah, "It looked real good!" Yes, and so does Lindsay Lohan, but you won't see me spending 2 hours watching her shave her pits.
      I'd watch half an hour, barking invective at the screen, then turn it off and pace the floor for another 30 minutes. Then I'd do it again. Oddly, my new $30 DVD player does not seem to have what my $30 DVD player from 5 years ago had, which is the ability to restart the movie from where I'd last paused it. After the second hour--between the Ninja Hookers and the Death of CANNIBAL FRODO (who watched himself being eaten by wolves with the same bored look that I had watching the movie), it reset to the main menu. I took this as a sign to just stop watching. It joins Cherry 2000 and Neophites [sic] and Neon Lights on the very short list of movies so bad that even I couldn't finish them. I guess my review is "You win. I give up."

      In better DVD news, The Tick vs. Season Two comes out in 6 weeks.


Summer      Pharyngula is a blog I read for the science and athiesm, but I stay for the writing. He gets tagged with an internet meme today, which are usually quite perfunctorily and dully done on most blogs. But he responds with 8 random recollections that are perfect moments in time.
      Me, I can't remember anything about my youth. I have only tiny fragments from the first 10 years of my life, and to make it weirder, I realized that when I was 14.


      I know that I've seen that quote on Computer Stupidities.

      What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

      NC-17? I don't think that they know what that means. It's not for language, NC-17 is for Naughty Sex done in an artistic way, because XTRME VIOLENCE is only an R. Consensual Sex=EVIL; Torture presented as Entertainment (such as Hostel or Saw or Abu Ghraib) =Two Ripped-Off Thumbs Up!
      And here are the Bad Words they cite me as using:
    *  kill (17x)
    * dead (15x)
    * shit (13x)
    * death (9x)
    * fuck (8x)
    * hell (7x)
    * ass (6x)
    * crap (5x)
    * suck (4x)
    * shitty (3x)
    * asshole (2x)
    * cannibal (1x)

      Crap is NC-17?
      That's for the News, which you're reading now. The main page got a G, with the only naughtiness being "* kill (2x)" which referred to a small white cat.


      Roger Ebert can't talk, but at least he's back writing. Movie Answer Man and the Little Movie Glossary have returned. Even if the first question to the answer man seems a might suspect, coming as it does from a "Joseph Ebert, Chicago."


General Comments for Spring 07: