Dear Sir or Madman

NEW 90

"How can they say my life is not a success?
Have I not for more than sixty years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?"
- -Logan Pearsall Smith


      There's a DTV Futurama movie coming out at the end of the year. Bender's Big Score. I checked to see if Netflix had it.
      Last year, Netflix offered a prize of (puts pinky to lip) ONE MILLION DOLLARS to anyone who could improve their "Movies You'll Heart" feature. Which is a lot of money, coming from a company that can't even get their search feature to work. Searching for "Bender" led me to 93 movie matches, absolutely none of which led to "Bender" or even "Futurama." You'd think that you'd be told "No search matches" if there were no search matches, but no, instead there's 93, and all wrong. One lead to "Bonanza: Tales from the Ponderosa," which makes obvious sense if one is looking for a 30th century alcoholic cartoon robot. "Bonanza: Tales from the Ponderosa." See? A perfectly logical search result.
      However, that was the most logical result in the first twelve. Most of the higher matches were things like "The Art of Mexico: Vol. 2: The Painters" or Chinese ballet lessons. In fact, the number one match was for "The 2003 NFC Champion Carolina Panthers: Cardiac Cats." Yes, I can see how it got "Bender" out of that. Apparently their search engine was built by someone who was paid ONE THOUSAND PENNIES.


      Last watched: Bridge to Taribithia. I only watched it based on the positive reviews it received. And there's the irony--I enjoyed it so much less because of the reviews that caused me to watch it. When they reviewed, say, Monster House, the reviewers warned that it might be too much for younger kids, and just left it at that. But every review I saw actually came right out and said WHY lil' kids shouldn't see this movie. I'm not going to spill the beans, but how did these same people review Sixth Sense? Maybe they wrote "You shouldn't see this movie if your psychologist is dead!" Because their warning for this movie was almost as subtle. If I told you it and gave you 15 seconds, you'd figure out what happens, too. And it would completely change your experience watching it.
      What wouldn't change is the fact that it was very good, and so was the acting, considering that the principal actors are kids. Yes, even the toothless first grader was believable as a kid, and not just as a construct in a screenplay. I'm not sure why Disney marketed this as if it were Narnia 2, as the special effects are minimal and don't turn up until half the movie is over, and they exist only in the imaginations of the protagonists.
      It's rare that I stll think about a movie the day after I've seen it, and much rarer when it's a movie obstensibly for kids. It's nice to see one that isn't just "cartoon animals making references to year-old pop culture," but one that's more deeply felt than that.
      In fact, that would be my warning: "Your kids will want to talk about this movie afterwards." But, Ahhhh, who needs that shit?! Just hand them that DVD of Shrek that skips from all the PB&J fngerprints on it again!
      Here's a review that describes it better than I can. And which also leaves out the part where they find out what Soylent Green is made of.


      We have a customer who I call Dog Lady, and who calls me Cat Guy (you can probably figure out why we do this). Tonight, she'd had a salmon dinner at a very expensive restaurant, and brought her doggy bag to me, "For your cats." It was tightly sealed with a sticker, so I didn't look inside. It smelled a bit of citrus, so maybe the kids wouldn't want it. But I've gotta eat, too! I put it in my car so I didn't forget to take it home.
      But I did forget something: it was 95 frickin' degrees out, and my windows were rolled down so that I didn't saute before the AC came on. And the doggy (catty?) bag wasn't sealed as closely as I thought. When I got it home, 2 fat blue-green flies had already bellied up to the bar. One flew around my head, but I slammed the lid shut and took them to the toilet, where I gave the 2 of them an unceremonious Viking funeral.
      I'm really not an insectophobe, but flies? Filthy little guys, and, if not guys, ladies with a sac full of fetal maggots waiting to be laid somewhere. Good riddance! And then Killsy swung violently in the air, and her head swiveled to Byron, who began swatting in turn. Hey, guess that fly that went by head didn't conveniently go back into the container to get flushed! There were 3 flies! And thus began an epic battle. Well, I turned on all the lights in the room, whle the mobile radarsweepers kept their eyes on the skies. It buzzed us a few times, but it's damned hard to kill a fly without a weapon especially designed for the task. Eventually, Byron spotted it by the stove, and I smacked it down with a thin rolled-up magazine.
      Curses! I killed a tiny moth that was also in the house! The dread fly still lived!
      We kept up surveillance, until the thing flew exactly too close to me. Smack smack smack! and that was the end of our vermin infestation. I showed the corpse to the kids, keeping it close enough to sniff but too far to actual try and eat, and then tossed it in the toilet. Miss your friends? Don't worry; you'll be with them soon enough! Byron kept looking for another fly to catch for the next hour.
      And when that hour ended, it was time for me to pee and clean out the litter box. And--GAH! What is this LIVE FLY doing in my TOILET?! Waiter: It looks like the backstroke, sir! I guess that lame old joke had a kernel of truth, as Lazuras fly was lying on its back, kicking around and trying to get out. I dumped the caramelized cat turds onto it, and it just crawled over them like a Yukon lumberjack in a log-rolling contest. I guess that I should've commuted the sentence of something that had survived all that death, but, aforementioned hundreds of dieased maggotty progeny, and I didn't want to play Sarah Connor to a Terminator with compound eyes. So I flushed it.
      I'm afraid to look. I might lift the lid and see it wearing a tiny scuba suit and packing an eensy speargun. He'll shoot me in the throat, and I'll lie there crying "Help me-e-e-e! Help me-e-e-e!" until Vincent Price squishes me with a rock.

      I've actually read a couple of the dreamlike/utterly insane works of Fletcher Hanks, so damn skippy I just bought the book.


      I was behind one of those ridiculous giant pickup trucks that have more tires on the back axle than the driver has braincells. Ridiculous in suburban Connecticut; you aren't hauling your crops to the co-op, you just get it because--well, it had a bumper sticker that read "YEA ITS HUGE" If you have a truck with 4 back tires and still feel the need to buy that bumper sticker, maybe you should've just cut out a purchase and bought a sticker that says what everyone thinks you're saying: "My Dick is the Size of a Subatomic Particle." Or maybe, "I Have 2 Extra Tires to Match My 1 Extra Chromosome."

      Last night, I looked at the clock at 10PM and saw that it was 11. Maybe my missing time was because I was abducted by Aliens, or maybe yesterday was Daylight Lost Time, when you turn the clocks ahead an hour and don't get squat for it.
      Or maybe I was too busy chasing flies and seeing if there was anything on Amazon to add to my order ("Super Saver Shipping" is a brilliant con--I spent $12 in order to save $4). But I should've at least tried to find a link beyond Boing Boing about Fletcher Hanks' comics. Here's a nice one, with plenty of scans of his stories (and a goofy "cartoon" based on one).



      Hmm, I've seen that quote somewhere before, but I'm not sure where. One of Scalzi's Books of the Dumb maybe?

      I received my copy of the Fletcher Hanks book today, and boyohboy. I only read the first 2 stories, and they're as crazy as I'd thought they'd be. And the book's comic-book sized! That's important, as they look as weird as they read--the drawing is primitive, but it only adds to the odd effect.
      And then I put it down, as this is the inkiest-smelling book I've ever read in my life. When was it printed, 3 days ago? I know that reading Hank's work is like huffing industrial chemicals, but I wasn't expecting to have that experience first hand.


      Recently rented: a compilation with the grammatically innovative title of Cartoon Crazys Goes to War. It wasn't as bad as most collections of public domain cartoons are, as they at least had presentable copies (of the color ones--the few non-Private Snafu black&whites were in terrible condition). The toons were all from WWII. Some just lamely made ration card jokes that no one below the age of 75 would appreciate, but a lot of them had speaking roles for Hitler.
      When Turner first bought up all the pre-1950s Looney Tunes, they'd turn up on TNT. But then there were ridiculous complaints about them, and they were taken off the air. Because what could be worse than kids finding out that Nazis existed, and then be forced to see Bugs or Daffy kick their fucking fascist asses? What really got me is that TNT stopped showing these cartoons at Christmas time, when their kids' programming was filled with ads using Santa Claus. It's okay that kids believe in a fictional character who rewards Good Little Conformists, but don't let them hear about a real life authority figure who shows what happens when all you do is "just follow orders." He knows if you've been bad or good, and he decides what's bad and good and gasses the ones he decides are bad.
      (I remember reading a MAD magazine parody of one of my favorite shows as a kid, "Hogan's Heroes." It ended with the next logical show, a bunch of happy, shaven-headed Jews starring in "Buchenwald's Heroes." I didn't get the joke, and when I asked about it, someone introduced me to the concept of concentration camps. "They were factories of death!" And then I had nightmares of screaming, helpless people strapped to an assembly line, with Nazis waiting with drills and hammers as the line progressed downwards...)
      The cartoons involving the Japanese are probably best left buried. A careful viewing of these cartoons makes it clear that we're supposed to hate the Nazis, a specific subset of some (but not all) Germans, while the Dirty Japs are depicted as an identical hive-mind of little bucktoothed yellow insects to be exterminated. This is particularly evident in "Daffy the Commando," which has 2 German characters, one a Nazi and the other a poor draftee slob abused by the other. (That cartoon also has one of my favorite bits--the Nazi screams "HEIL HITLER!" when his path is crossed by a skunk. After a few beats, he realizes what he did, and then shrugs in a way that says, "Well, it was an honest mistake")
      There was one big surprise on this for me, "Hell Bent For Election." Never seen it, never even heard of it, despite it being directed by Chuck Jones. It wasn't for general exhibition; it was an AFL-CIO cartoon for FDR's 1944 campaign. Somebody actually ran against FDR in '44? What would you run on? "Let's stop winning the war against the most evil people ever, and let's bring the Depression back!" Sounds like something a delusional Bush supporter would say today about Democrats, I know. In fact, the cartoon uses the same slanders against Republicans opposed to "Roosevelt's War" as the right wing would use today against those opposed to Bush's War, warning about how "We're at WAR!" and even morphing their spokespuppet into Hitler. But every time I'd start to think "I guess O'Reilly and Coulter existed as Democrats 60 years ago," the cartoon would say what we were fighting for: a good working wage, the GI Bill, Social Security, and Business. Small business, to be protected against the Giant Corporations. Never saw a Bushie in favor of those things. The most remarkable thing is that the cartoon even shows the Republican agenda, here depicted as a train, dragging a shabby caboose marked "Jim Crow Laws." Democrats wanted civil rights even then--who knew? The Bush Cultists today only want to take away the Freedoms they so proclaim to love.
      I hoped that there'd be a YouTube of this cartoon, but I guess it's too obscure even for that, despite it being the first UPA cartoon. It's pretty much classic-era Jones for most of it, but then there's a dream sequence that's pure UPA minimalist madness. The minimalism was born of neccessity, as this was animated by people in their off-duty hours, and not in a studio but in an apartment (would that make it a studio apartment?) Of course, when UPA became an actual studio in the 1950s, the minimalism was born from cheapness. You can praise UPA for their innovative stylization, or you can hate them for doing to cartoons the opposite of what Star Wars did to Hollywood: Star Wars led to overbudgeted, underthought crap movies, and UPA led to no-budget, cheap-ass shit like Hanna-Barbera and then end of "good" cartoons.
      You can get it from Netflix, if it sounds interesting and you get a laff out of watching Hitler being beaten with a shovel.

      I once won $66 in the state lottery! The thrill lasted exactly long enough for me to calculate how much I'd probably spent on the lottery up to that point. I estimated about $75.
      When I was young, I once won a model truck from a local moving van company! It might be worth something today as an old promotional item. I was reading in my room a few years after I won it, and it rolled by itself off of a high shelf and smashed itself on a bookcase below. Rather than suffer the embarrassment of being won by me, it committed suicide.
      And that's all I've ever won. Until TODAY!! (third item down) Well, not today, a week ago. I check Thrilling Days of Yesterday every Sunday, and missed the announcement until this afternoon. And, after all these years online, I assumed that "send me your name & address" meant "email and made-uppy name."
      I won a DVD of what's said to be a very good serial, and a Twilight Zone radio episode featuring none other than Stan Freberg. That is Cool. Until, of course, the DVD bursts into flames in my player, rather than let itself be won by me.
      It's also amusing that I'm referred to as "one of the Back Bay Spluts," when a few months ago World O'Crap said I was of "the West Egg Spluts." Great Salon blog minds think alike.

      Best article I've read today, "Osama Bin Laden can suck my insouciance":


      The 25 Worst Band Names Ever. On Def Leppard: "unless you're a Mozart-level talent, there's simply no excuse for including a word in your band's name that means you can't hear sounds. You might as well just call yourself Terrible Music and save people the energy of mocking you." Apparently, they never heard of my 2 favoritest names, Leather Hymen and Anal Cunt. But maybe those should go on a list titled "Names of Bands That Will Never Be Signed by a Major Label."

      I generally don't link to anything too bloggo-incestuous, such as liberal sites making fun of right-wing columnists that no one reads except the liberal sites that make fun of them. Seriously--when was the last time you heard anybody opine outside of the web on what Michelle "NO I'M NOT NO IMMIGRANT!!" Malkin ever said? Show the picture of 2 skanky blond moron millionaire bimbos to the guys at work, and how many will immediately identify one as Paris, and have no idea who the shit-spouting man-handed hag with an Adam's apple is? (Note: If you know who the second one is from that description, you, like me, read too many liberal politcal blogs)
      One legend in the leftist blogosphere is Jonah Goldberg's eternally delayed book, "Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton." YES THAT'S THE PREMISE. 30 years ago in high school, I'd call people "Nazi Commies" purely because it made no sense. I was making a joke. This guy actually means it. His book was supposed to be published two years ago, but I guess he had a bit of trouble actually making the Mussolini-Clinton link, so the subtitle is now "The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods." Seriously--the Fuck? Not Kierkegaard to Costco? Not Schopenhauer to Shop-Rite? Not Wittgenstein to Wal-Mart? Not the Kwik-E-Mart and--uh, that philosopher with the name that begins with "Kw"? I'm thinking of Kwocrates, right? Franz Kwafka? No, wait, he wrote "The Kwastle," he's not a philosopher. I mean Kwiedreich Kwietzsche, certainly. He wrote "Also KWAK! Zarathustra." I think it involved a very large and powerful duck.
      At any rate, professional nepotist and Doughy Pantload Jonah's book gets
another rewrite right here. Don't worry; you won't need the advanced degree of philosphohicalessnesses that I know in my head brain. And I know the difference between Aristotle and Dana Plato! (HINT: One wrote "The Republickw." The other was a Roman gladiator who rode dinosaurs into battle) This is because, unlike most treatises of heady philosoff...Christ, that's hard to spell. Unlike most treatises of DEAD GUY THINKINGS you might have to read in school, this one uses LOLcats to make its points. Has Adam Smith ever been more clearly summarized? Possibly he was, when I gave that summer course "Dead Guy Thinkings as Performed by Puppets," but that's not a complaint on the site, that's because I'm a fucking genius. And I had all these puppets.


      Review the Reviewer: Roeper's guest was an Australian critic (yes, as always, I missed the name). He made a joke about her red velvet boots, and I said "And I hope that she gives them a nice visit upside your ass."
      She was actually pretty good and --astonishingly--not Local Happy Talk News Anchor Pretty. Only male critics can look normal! I liked the change from an American, as I always like to hear viewpoints from other countries. (This page only has about 20 readers now, but close to half of you are Damn Furriners) What we call "chick flicks," she called "big weepies." I wonder if Oz cinemas serve Vegemite sandwiches (NOTE: I have extensively researched Australian culture by listening to Men at Work LPs)
      So of course I was interested when she started her review of Sicko. Who wouldn't want to hear the opinion of another country on America's wretched health care system? And as soon as she started, wham, there's Richard Roeper talking over her, and he already reviewed the movie last week. Shut UP, Dick! If we had better health care in this country, maybe you could afford to have some reduction surgery done on your giant bloated head.

      Both my work schedule and personal preferences preclude seeing the movie I want to see right now, as I refuse to pay more than matinee prices for any movie, no matter how much I want to see it in a theater. And matinees when school's out...yeah, those are fucking awesome. Hey, lady, your 4-month old really appreciates this PG-13 movie! Could you, I dunno, pinch him with pliers so the people in the theater next door can also enjoy his unending caterwauling? Don't take Mr Colicky outside for a few minutes, he'll might miss some of the plot! And then he'll be confused for life, wondering what happened to Frodo.
      Since the movie I would've wanted to see was Ratatouille, I settled for Netflixing another CG flick about rodents, Flushed Away. And Aardman--I'm not watching anything else you do that doesn't have Wallace and Grommit in it. It was awful. I'm sure kids would like it, but I'm not a kid, and kids also like to eat bugs. It was just like the equally chickenshitty Chicken Run: When a scene begins, I could figure out how the next scenes would play out. Actually, it was worse, as now it was all non-(YAWN!)-stop excitement, because hair-raising escapes at the last minute are so not like watching an egg timer count down to *DING* It's interesting when there's no clear chance of a character's escape, and there's no interest when it just happens automatically. And if you think that I'm sneering at a kids' film, that's something kid films got from Hollywood's adult "thrill rides." There's nothing duller than a Bay and/or Bruckheimer explosion-a-minute movie, with every scene pitched at exactly the same note.
      Oh, wait, did I say "characters"? They're aren't any characters, just plot-drivers. Weirdest is the central plot point that the hero needs a family of other rats. Weird, as it pops out of nothingness two-thirds through the movie. Hmm, let's see: his only interaction with his kind is that one invades his home, flushes him into the sewer, then everyone tries to kill him for 90 minutes. Yes, that would certainly make me want to seek out the company of others. With an eensy-weensy rodental sniper rifle.
      I'm giving this more space than it needs, but there's also the design. Aardman clay critters look cool, but when they're transferred to CGI, there came this point when all I could focus on were the teeth. They show all their teeth when they speak. ALL of them, and the lipsyncing was not that great. And try that--talk with all your teeth exposed from your lips. UNNATURAL.
      But I think the biggest insult I can hurl at the film is that the only funny part of this "comedy" is...Christ, I hestitate to type it. But the funniest part...
      was a mime.
      (Sticks tongue out as he hangs himself with an invisible rope)




      I came across this offer for a customized tshirt based on my website. I'd buy that, if was substantially cheaper. The first one, that is, as the other ones are pathetic 1999-era pleas for attention. But that first shirt is unintentional post-irony in its finest distillate. Why not just buy a shirt that says "MY MOM READS IT!"
      (Actually, my mom doesn't)

      Irony! Well, let's just make that our theme for tonight. Today I was forced to listen to our manager the drunk rail about the "unprofessionalism" of a counterpart of his in our other store. Seems he was rude! (Drunky swears at everybody, even customers, all the time) threatening physical violence! (just ilke he does) and UNPROFESSIONAL! (see all above) This coming from the boss who fired 2 people last week (one of them for calling out of work to go to her just-killed-in-a-car-crash friend's wake) and told them by...posting a schedule with their names on it, but with no hours listed. He was hoping they'd just not come to work, with him not saying anything. He'll theaten to beat customers up because they bring back dirty deposit cans, but he can't tell a teenage girl to her face that she's been fired for deciding a funeral was more important than her 3-hour shift.
      Wait--is that irony, or just being a fucking asshole?

      It's still Friday here, but by the time you read this, it'll be 7-7-07, and you know what that means--JESUSFEAST is in full swing! Oops! Seriously, the a & s keys are close together, I meant to type "Jesusfest." Not an all-you-can-eat Jesus buffet of communion wafers.
      It's at the "Agricultural Fairgrounds," and it kinda bothered me that I have no idea where that is, despite living in this town for 20 years. So I checked their site for directions. It's conveniently located between the residential sprawl that's attached to Cemetary Road ("Welcome to Necroburbia!") and the bucolic countryside that is Industrial Park Road West. Fundies are instructed on places to park, and we are sadly told there's no longer a shuttle bus from the church to the Fest. Which is a whole 800 feet from the Fest. Oh no! The average American can't walk that far! If I was a Christian entrepreneur, I'd have $10 wheelbarrow rides from your car to the Fest. I'd charge $25 for the trip back, and I'd set my booth up right by the fried dough shack.
      I was startled the first time I saw their site and found the warning to not treat the Jesusfest volunteers like shit, just like they usually do to retail workers. Apparently, there's not much Christian kindness among the Christians! And while most of the directions are in the same typeface you're reading now, here's the finale, taken right from their source code:

      Whoa! (Or, as they would say, WHOA.!) Jesus hates the moneylenders so much, he prevents the moneySpenders from buying at the local retailers! And note the Wrath of God's Tow Trucks. Jeepers, the Fundies always claim that atheism would lead to totally amoral people breaking every law because the scum think that there's no Hell to punish them! Apparently there's no place in the Pits of Fire for lazy assholes who can't walk a few extra yards to praise the Lord and abuse the volunteers! Irony!
      Or are they just ass-Holies?


      Dick Cheney sings My Fair Lady. I believe his character's name is Eliza DooNothingyou'llEverFindOutAbout.

      Fave line of the day, as said by octogenarian comedian Mort Sahl: “I know George Bush. I’ve met him and spoke to him a number of times. He told me he had stopped drinking. When I asked him how he did it he said he was born again. I said, you were born again? WHY WOULD YOU COME BACK AS GEORGE BUSH???”


      While grocery shopping at Stop&Shop, I heard a woman haranguing not one but two employees. "SEE?" she barked. "Just like I TOLD you!" Both employees were uncomfortable so I bent an ear as I went past. She continued repeating that without me finding out exactly what she was so indignant about.
      I passed her a few minutes later, as she assaulted a cashier. "Maybe YOU know! Who makes Stop&Shop sausage?! Oh, you don't know either? That's my POINT!"
      Umm, lady, you don't want to KNOW who makes it, any more than you want to know what's in it. It's sausage. It's floor sweepings, rat feces and "specialty meats" wrapped in intestines. Does it matter who was behind the broom that pushed it all into the vat? The only way sausage could be worse is if it was made in the Peking No. 5 Cow Anus Rendering and Melamine Prison Factory. And if that's your worry--don't eat sausage.

      The True Story of how Valerie Plame was outed as CIA. It must be true, it's by Colin McEnroe!

      Surely only the first in the upcoming waves of snarky secularists visiting the Creation Museum is the Buffalo Beast. You may know the Beast from the only consistently funny year-end list, The Year's Most Loathsome Americans. It always makes me bust a gut, or at least lose control of my bladder. And if you don't know them, their name is pretty much synonymous with "well-written," "hilarious," and "very wrong." They infiltrate the museum's opening day with the perfect human shield, a reporter pretending to be "developmentally disabled." Despite the article's title--Let There Be Retards--he's not retarded, he has "Asperger’s Syndrome by Proxy."

      It's hard to imagine anyone topping that visit, especially as their armed hired goons are going to be on the lookout now. Better wear a disguise, Scalzi!


      I had some ups and downs in my weekend movie viewing. The down would be finally seeing Gojira, the original Godzilla movie. It was far better than the Americanized version of the same film--in the same sense that it's also better to have a car run over your hand than over your head. It was interesting for the first 25 minutes, then became painfully boring for a half an hour, then interesting again for the rest of it. But really, the only interesting thing was the time it was made, just 10 years after the war. It's famous for having Gojira represent nuclear weapons, what with him being radioactive and all. But it probably meant more to the average Japanese from having their cities bombed with conventional weapons for years. The first sounds you hear are Gojira's footsteps--and they sound exactly like bombs falling in the near distance. The scene with Tokyo in flames was less likely to have been inspired by the A-bomb than the Tokyo fire raids, which killed much more people than the attack on Hiroshima did. And if Gojira really represented Fat Boy and Little Man, everyone would've died either instantly or from radiation (no one in the film dies of radiation), rather than having him depicted as a force rolling through the city, just like a wave of B29s passing overhead. The scenes seem to represent the methodical and sickening civilian deaths of any war, atomic or not. Most startling scene: A terrified mother cradles her tiny children under her arms, and sobs "We'll all be with [your dead] father soon!" And then they die. It was very depressing, but that was the point.
      And it was undercut by the stuff one associates with the goofy-era Godzillas. I don't expect flawless special effects from any 50-year-old movie, but, please, try a little harder. If you show the wreckage of a helicopter on the shore, put a weight in it so that it doesn't bob in the waves like the hollow plastic toy it is.
      And the science-minded will get a good laff out of the scene in which experts describe what's known about the Mean Green G to a government panel. One scientist is described as "the famous paleontologist," and I guess that he is, as he gets a loud round of applause! Despite the fact that he's really a shitty paleontologist, who says that Gojira is "from the Jurassic period, 2 million years ago!" Which is the same time as trilobites existed, although I think that every fan of prehistoric life knows that trilobites were around 2 million years and 6 months before the Jurassic, during the Cambrian Weeks. If we can get the Famous Paleontologist to say that Godzilla was on the Ark, he can get a job working at the Creation Museum.
      I should also note that when FP discovers that the trilobite is highly radioactive (and I mean highly, as his Geiger counter pings into the red) he takes the major precaution of putting it in a shoebox.
      There are worse monster movies you can rent, but there are far more entertaining ones, too.

      ...And here we break for intermission, and suggest Trailers from Hell (warning: audio, and loud) Old trailers with commentary from current directors, although why the commentaries are the default, I don't know. How do I know what they're commenting on if they don't let me see the trailer first? Opt for "Without Commentary" the first time you watch them. And possibly stay there, as the commentaries I've heard aren't exactly the stuff of legend.

      Hot and humid, so I decided against hiking in the woods and instead decided to see a matinee of Ratatouille. Which was a terrible idea. No matter how hot it is, never dress in shorts and go to a Showcase Cinema; you'll freeze your Dibs off.
      There were some trailers from hell (Underdog, Bratz: The Cross-Merchandising, and some big weepie I've forgotten the name of). The last trailer was for Pixar's release for next summer, Wal-E or something. An older kid said "That didn't tell you ANYthing!" He was a kid, and thus unfamiliar with the trailers before the last 15 years, in which you're not told the ENTIRE MOVIE'S PLOT in 3 minutes. I had just seen everything I needed to know about Underdog-doo, Bratz: Peer Pressure is Bad Unless It Makes You Buy Our Crap, and Cathy Zeta-Omega's Sister Dies, so those are off my must-(never)-see list.
      But the movie, Ratatouille, c'est magnifique! It's not the same director's The Iron Giant, which is my favorite "kids" movie, but also one of favorite movies, period. But it's the equal of The Incredibles. I don't think that it'll do the box office of that movie, due to the subject matter--as a kid, I was more interested in superheroes beating the crap out of each other than I was in French cuisine, and it's a cartoon, so that's who'll be seeing it. And there are no obvious celebrity "Look at ME!" voiceovers, no instantly dated pop culture non-jokes, no supposedly comic montages set to a song from the Oldies station. Sure, it looks fantastic. How many CGI cartoons don't? But you can almost feel the fur on the rats backs, and see every individual hair. And while they're cute, they act just like rats, and still are freaky-creepy when they swarm. There are frenetic chases that defy your eye to follow, but are never confusing. But it's by Brad Bird, and all that really matters are the characters.
      It's amazing what can be accomplished with a shrug of the shoulders, or a look in the eyes with a head slightly shaken in sad disappointment. There's a brief but pivotal scene when someone takes a bite of food--oh, didn't I say? It's about a gourmet chef who's a rat--and then a flashback that tells you everything about a food-loving character's backstory, and it lasts just a few seconds. And nothing the character does afterwards would make sense without that simple shot.
      Well, I just spent a few minutes trying to think anything negative to say, and, umm--Janeane Garofalo's accent is so heavy, I missed a joke. And, everyone said "Watch all the credits for the 2-D animation!" but you really only have to stay for about 3 minutes, then you can leave. And...possibly this movie will inspire children to take in filthy street rats as pets and make them chefs in French bistros, and also possibly eat garbage. "I think it was once a wrapper," INDEED!
      I give it a Thumbs Up! A thumb that I once used to kill a man!

      The music of the Bad Brains mixed with the GREATEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TEH TIMES.


      I got my Fabulous Prize from Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, the DVD of the 1945 serial Manhunt of Mystery Island. To paraphrase my friend Kevin, "I like the idea of watching old serials more than I like watching old serials." I'm mainly familiar with them from "Matinee at the Bijou" and MST3K. They usually have long dull spots, punctuated only by poorly-choreographed fistfights and the weekly cliffhanging end. The last one I saw was The Batman, which was amusingly bad for the first 7 chapters, then pretty dire after that. So I can't say that I had my hopes up for this one. But, you know, it was free.
      And it's pretty fucking great! It's a beautiful transfer, for one. And it's directed by FOUR guys and has SIX writers. And one of the writers is named "Basil Dickey," and one of the directors is "Yakima Canutt." With a creative team named by parents who have that much shrapnel in their brains, do you think that this will be sane?
      The main character is a guy in a horrifying checked suit bought at the "test pattern gone wrong" sale and who has a face like a monkey. He's investigating Professor Forrestsawter. Or Professor Forrestor (is he named Clayton Forrester?), no wait "Professor Forrest's Daughter"--in old serials, they talkedreallyfast. The Prof is gone, and someone has his Radiatomic Power Transmitter, which is the solution to the world oil shortage, and can make balsa toy Cessna models fly, using nothing but its radioatomicry and strings. But! He's the prisoner of CAPTAIN MEPHISTO, a 200-year-old pirate who is really one of 4 guys. He uses his "Transformation Chair" and "is able to change the molecular composition of his body to become the embodiment of the ancient pirate Mephisto." It changes his height, weight, skin tone, toenail length to look exactly like CAPTAIN MEPH--wait, that makes no sense. Why doesn't he use to make himself look exactly like the 1945 version of Bill Gates, and loot his own treasury? If you can make yourself look like a dead guy, why not make yourself look like Jesus, and take over the Vatican? Hey, wait--how the hell could anyone even TELL he's the duplicate of a guy who has been dead for 200 years? (Why? Because "Who's the disguised villain?" is a staple of old serials. His identity would be revealed in the last chapter. It's actually a clever way to make him an actor who looks nothing like Mephisto, making it harder to figure out who he "really" is)
      And it plays like self-parody. One of the earliest bits of dialogue, when the bad guys are looking in a remote alley for a guy named Harvey, is "He's either dead, or smarter than we think--HEY, there's Harvey now!" Possibly...Harvey is not that smart. He certainly becomes dead very quickly, right in front of our heroes. Our monkey-faced male lead and ProfessorForrestersDaughter react to this exactly with no emotion at all, and Chimpy pulls the Secret Documents from Harvey's cold, dead hands--and pulls and pulls, as apparently rigor mortis set in a week before Harvey died. Monkey Hero says that Harvey died with the "sap of the IJustmadeItUppy Vine on his shoe!" Which is only found on three islands! (How he found out this odd fact 60 years before Google, I don't know) One is North Island, one is Palm Island, and one is Mystery Island. "Which one would you go to?" he asks the policeman. "Mystery Island!" says the cop. Congratulations, you've just invented Scooby Doo. Maybe Mephisto should've named them "North Criminal Island," "Criminal Mastermind Headquarter Island," and "Nothing To See Here Island." And then blown a booger onto the map and named it "Radiatomic Power Transmitter Hidden Here on this Island that actually appears to be a no island at all, hey walk on it and see, cuz you won't sink none and drown." It could work!
      The first chapter is all I've seen, but it moves so quickly, it makes Raiders of the Lost Ark look like it was made by Merchant-Ivory. Here's the pirate! Here's the enslaved prof and his model plane machine! Wait, it also melts walls! Here's MonkeyMan to save the day, and crash over balsa wood furniture! Prof escapes through the hole in the wall, and then turns the machine on anyone who tries to follow! And it's a baddie, who somehow instantly realizes that it can be used as a death ray! And turns it on Monkey Face! Who jumps in a tub! A tub now burning because of the ray!
      *pant pant pant*
      I have no idea if this serial continues to be this frenetic and funny, as most serials packed all their crazy action into the first week to keep you coming back. But I am coming back!


      Chapter 2 of Manhunt of Mystery Island is titled "SATAN'S WEB," although it apparently doesn't refer to MySpace. It begins with Monkey-Boy's inevitable escape from the deadly Radiatomic Power Transmitter, which is described in this chapter's titles as the "Radium Vapor Emitter" for some odd reason that is possibly related to the script having 6 writers. It does emit a lot of vapor. And if it's radium, well, everyone in this serial succumbed to "Madame Curie Sickness" immediately afterwards.
      Monkey-Boy--oh, I can't keep calling him that, no matter how close the resemblance. His character's name is Lance Reardon, which would be a pretty good gay porn star name. Not as good as "Dick Waddington" or "Colin Cummings" or "Rex L. Meat-Thermometer," but pretty good. Attacked by the flamethrowing Radiatomic Radium Whatsit in a flaming dumpster, he escapes by turning it on its side. Then the Professor's Daughter, who is unfortunately named "Linda Stirling" (unfortunate for me, as there's nothing to make fun of there), bursts in and really saves his baking bacon by blasting the bad guy with her 38 revolver.
      Let me point out that Miss Stirling has for a second time in this serial tried to blow the bad guys away herself with a gun. And this in 1945. She's no wimpering female victim, she takes names and then writes their obits. She does quickly get taken captive a few minutes later, but she distracts the thugs, throws her jacket onto a chair as a clue, and then ties some thread to the back of the chair, and takes the spool with her, unwinding it behind her so that Our Hero Lance Unwittington can trace her. She's pretty much the living embodiment of that classic World War II poster, "WE CAN DO IT!"
      This gives Lance a reason to chase her with his big woodie (it's a paneled station wagon, you perv!), and a bad guy has about 3 seconds to set up a trap with a rope, and danged if Lance doesn't drive right into it--but not before diving out of his car before it sails over the cliff. That, of course, is the cliffhanger in about a billion serials, but in this one, it appears halfway through. And the effect of the car going over the cliff is...really good! Umm, it's getting harder and harder to make fun of something this entertaining. Okay, bad guy left a clue, as the rope is attached to a block and tackle labeled "SPONGE WAREHOUSE No. 5." I just KNEW that since 1945 Nickelodeon's been stockpiling all that SpongeBob crap!
      Captain Mephisto takes Linda and, no shit, waterboards her. I know Mephisto's secret identity! He's ALBERTO GONZALES! No wonder Mephisto is so evil--he knows that no matter what he does, there's a pardon waiting for him.
      Just as they're again about to use innovative interrogation techniques that fall short of organ failure, Lancelot Link Secret Chimp bursts in with his gun and loudly checked suit. Lance gets the rug pulled out from under him (literally!) and then there's another crazy fistfight, with everyone wearing hats so that you'll never suspect that the actors have been replaced with stuntmen. They beat each other silly in the sponge warehouse, which noticably contains no sponges, although there is a huge box prominently marked "I RADIO model 52-53 A." I guess the first version of the I POD was the size of a small fridge, and only picked up episodes of "Fibber McGee and Molly." Mephisto pulls out his little sword, and just as you think that he's going to cut the rope that sends Linda back into the briny deep, instead he accidentally trips the gear that dunks her like a spunky Lipton teabag into waters below. GAH! Not LINDA! She's beautiful and smart and kicks ass and my new imaginary girlfriend!! I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if she survives! (POTENTIAL SPOILER: She probably does)
      Dude, this is GREAT. I love this serial! Even if the hero has big flanged-out chimpy ears.


      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Three, "MURDER MACHINE." It must be hard to patent a Murder Machine. "But does it murder in a new way? I see that it chases people through the streets on its motorized pistons and then uses a large cannon to fire smothering pillows and then packages the victims into bags with rocks and throws them into a river, but that's nothing that I didn't do to my nagging wife--err, I mean, in 1815 Robert Fulton built a steam-powered one!"
      How does Linda escape drowning? Lance Chimpington grabs a gat and shoots at the bad guys (one is Mephisto, the other is...I dunno. He wears a captain's hat, so let's call him Skipper). He misses, but they run away, and Lance cranks her back up. That's it. I call lame.
      Linda and Lancelot confront the Council of Old Dorks, one of whom is presumably really CAPTAIN MEPHISTO, although there's a swarthy foreign butler, and, you know, the foreign butler could've done it. L & L confab on regaining the battery to the RadiumAtomo MaGuffin from the bottom of the lake. One would think that one would learn to never have a confab in a spooky old manse, as the eyes of a portrait on the wall open to reveal--no, wait, the visor on a knight's helmet on the wall cranks open, and an entire face sticks out to listen in. Seriously, it's less subtle than most drive-thru windows. "Evil criminal conspiracy, may I take your New World Order, please?"
      And only one guy on the island has a diving helmet! And bad guy gets there just before Lance, and there's another insane fistfight, totally demolishing the old coot's home. Well, it's all made of balsa, so it can't be that expensive to replace. HINT: If villainous scum intent on world domination are expected, best to not decorate with a giant harpoon! It misses the coot, but he draws his pistol and drives the bad guy off with a shot that completely misses. This is Skipper, the same guy that was driven off in the opening scene with another missed shot at point-blank range. Maybe these people should just carry firecrakers, as I think that it's the noise that scares the bad guys away. Shit, shoot some fireworks, and it'd be just like the Fourth of July, when all the neighborhood dogs hide under the bed!
      The "diving helmet" is the size of a trash can, and has enough dials and pipes on it to send anyone wearing it straight to the bottom--which is probably why in the next scene, Lance doesn't wear it, just pops out of the drink with it in his hands. And he also has the...deely-bob thingie! I forget what it was called, but Linda's dad, held in captivity by MEPHISTO, has invented some insane device that will make it asplode. Dad's quite talented when it comes to finding ways to turn his gadgets to Evil--why isn't he the villain? I'm sure that he'd stand in the way of Linda and me and our imaginary wedding! PRIEST: "And anyone who has any objection, speak now or forever hold your...WHAT THE FUCK! MY BIBLE'S GONNA BLOOOW!" KAPOW!!
      Dad's plan would make sense, since MEPHISTO's going to bring it to his locked prison lab. Soon as you hear that key in the lock, BLAMMO! But no, he turns it on right now, while Linda and Lance are sitting next to it during a boat chase. It has a handy dial that doesn't go into the red or to 11, but goes into the "DANGER ZONE." Man, if there's a way I DON'T want to die, it's any one that's scored to a Kenny Loggins song! Lance, chased by Skipper, pulls out his handy Winchester 76 and fires at Skipper. Skipper, chasing Lance, pulls out his handy Winchester 76 and fires back. They both miss. About 57 times. One for each variety of Heinz. This serial would be over if any person on any side had taken a shooting lesson.
      And then, Highway to the Danger Zone, Ride into the Danger Zone! their boat explodes. Yeah, nice going, DAD!
      (will be disappointed if all they do in next chapter is jump off the boat before explosion)


      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Four, "LETHAL CHAMBER." I'm gettin' too old for this chamber!
      Thankfully, Lance and Linda do not merely jump off their boat when it explodes. Lance, who is as smart as he doesn't look, realizes that a needle pinging into the "DANGER ZONE" will probably lead to a less than optimal result, and throws the Exploder Device at the guys pursuing them, and it's their boat that explodes. And I'm sorry that last night I gave the main henchman the nickname of Skipper, since he's dead, and he's not going to called "Skipper" at family reunions. Maybe I should've called him "Blown to Bits-ter."
      Mephisto soon figures out the Prof's perfidy, and threatens to bullwhip him unless he builds a new Whatever That Was That Just Exploded and Killed Everyone. And while you're at it, build a new Chernobyl and Bhopal! Just, y'know, not as EXPLODEY! A bad guy tells Mephisto--hey, WAIT, he's Skipper!--umm, Blown to Bits-ter! He says that Lance killed "some of our men," which I guess he had a pretty good view of, what with him BEING ONE OF THE TWO. I will go back to calling him "Skipper," as "Amazingly Reconstituted From His Individual Dismembered Meaty Bits" is a tad long. And Mephisto gets his to-do list in the wrong order, and rather than bullwhip the Prof, he bullwhips Skipper. Prof and his assistant help Skipper to a chair, and Skip says "That's what I get for having helped him for so long!" in the same bored, disinterested voice we all use after a brutal bullwhipping, or when we lose a penny. Skipper wishes he had "the money to get off this island!" Yes, never sign up for the CAPTAIN MEPHISTO Visa Sea Miles Card. Or, you know, have access to a powerful speedboat like the one you were just blown up on in the previous scene.
      The prof takes this wounded little bird under his arm, and shows him a picture of his daughter, asking Skipper if he knows her. Skip is smart enough to not say, "Yeah, I've tried to kill her 4 times already! Damn, but she's hard to drown!" He'll send a message to her for $5,000 (a mere $57K in 2007 money). And he takes the message to Mephisto, who's in the next room, and thus visible from Professor IM A BIG SHITHEAD, I GOT DARK MATTER FOR BRANEZZ DUH ME IZ NOT A VERY GOOD PROFESSOR AT ALL RLY!!!
      The intellectual fruit falls close to the genetic tree, and Prof's daughter Linda is winning at chess. And playing it against herself. She grins mightily as she sweeps all the pieces off the board and into her lap, not unlike a toddler niece who thinks that Scrabble is played by throwing the tiles on the floor. But she's floored herself when she gets the message from Professor Not-Very-Einstein. She rushes off to her doomed rendezvous.
      Lance "Chin of a Primate" Reardon figures out where she's going from fountain pen ink that's bled into the envelope, cries "IT'S A TRAP!" despite that there are no fish-headed admirals in sight, and races after her. He finds her car--and a pawn! Yes, Linda is dropping chess pieces as a trail, like she was Gretel. Since we last saw them going into her lap, I really don't want to think of where she was hiding them.
      Lance traces her all the way to a wine cellar--apparently she had a whole Franklin Mint Civil War Chess set secreted in her lap--where a bad guy is talking on a shortwave radio with Captain Mephisto, who is given the clever codename of "CM." That could stand for anything! "Crunchy Munchies!" "Crazy Muthafukkah!" "Crumbly Mumbly!" "Cat Meowing"--wait, that's what's happening now. Must pet Killsy. Okay, done. "C...something." Okay, it doesn't matter anyway, because as soon as the mysterious "CM" picks up, the guy says "CAPTAIN MEPHISTO!" It's like a Nazi spy calling in to "AH," then yelling "Hello, ADOLPH! Heil YOU!" Lance enters and barks "Put down that gun!" and when the baddie does, it goes off. Lance stares at it--apparently he didn't know guns made sounds--and the thug jumps him.
      And there ensues another insane fight scene, with lots of hitting on the heads with wine casks and spun-sugar wine bottles that go KISHH! when they break, and yet have no wine in them. Then Linda, still bound and gagged, writhes around on the floor until she grabs a gun and plugs the thug on the first try. YES, fire a gun at someone at point-blank range and you'll miss 800 times, but do it from the floor while still tied up, and PLINK! The little lady wins a stuffed animal!
      But Mephisto is on his way! In another remarkable move for 1945, Linda keeps the gun. And why not? If you've only got one person who can actually shoot somebody, let her keep it! But, she's a girl, so she has to escape while Lance looks for his own gun. She goes out the window via the ladder that we all have for our wine cellar windows, and Lance and CM trade shots at a range of 10 feet and miss. Me, I would've sent Lance out the window and let Linda drill CM. Cookie Monster realizes that there's only one way to win a gunfight--hope that your enemy is standing on a trap door! Down goes Lance into a narrow shaft, but it's a BAD mother--Shut your mouth! I'm just talkin' 'bout Narrow Shaft! Then we can dig it! This shaft doesn't go to Africa, it leads to a pit that Crafty Man just happens to have rigged up to a big dial that reads "GAS." And I mean Big Dial, with a pointy arrow counter like you'd see on the spinner from "The Game of Life." Seriously...who the fuck has one of those? Even a Criminal Mastermind like Crazy Mephisto, seriously, you just think that maybe someday you'll be battling some dude in a checked jacket in your wine cellar, so you build a trap door that you can fill with "GAS"? In case he happens, in course of said gun battle, to be standing on the trap door? And yet, you have a giant game show-sized dial on the wall, hoping he doesn't see it?
      You know what I would do? Learn to SHOOT A GUN FIRST. Maybe it's me, but that just seems to be a skill that would be that much more useful for a supervillain. Maybe even more useful than making a machine that turns you into a pirate! Or, I dunno, buy some hand grenades. Or a pack of rottweilers. Or anything else that isn't so trapdoor-specific.
      Well, it doesn't matter. Lance is dead from the gas. The serial ends here. The DVD claims that there's another 11 chapters, but since there's no way Lance can escape, it's probably all his funeral. Sad, really.



      Hey, I saw The Devil Bat! And it did not involve a mad doctor. It was about Bela Lugosi, who was a mad cosmetologist. Like an evil version of Mary Kay! Well, more evil, anyway.

      And speaking of old movies...Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Five, "MEPHISTO'S TRAP."
      The opening caption says that Lance saved Linda. Ooh, LIAR! Linda saved HIM, with the only aimed gunshot so far! Is this evidence that in 1945, there was sexism?
      As you may remember, last time Lance, after heroically not-saving Linda, proceeded to not-intelligently stand on top of a trapdoor. In his favor, it should be pointed out that it didn't have a flashing neon sign marked "TRAPDOOR STAND HERE EINSTEIN." And Lance fell in, and Mephisto filled it up with "GAS," great grey clouds of it, and all hope was lost. Until Linda sticks her head in the window and opens fire on Mephisto, missing him by--well, she really didn't miss; the squib pops directly behind Mephisto's head, so apparently his conker's made out of sponge. Possibly he lives in a pineapple under the sea. Mephisto, realizing he's up against the only person on Planet Earth who can operate the new-fangled technology called "a pistol," scampers away wike a widdle bunny wabbit. He's sooo cuute when he scampers! that Linda forgets to shoot him while he's in clear view. She probably thought that it wasn't sporting.
      With her help, Lance crawls out of the GAS, which I guess isn't particularly fatal, given that he's breathed nothing but it for 3 minutes, and it's blowing all over the place. Maybe Mephisto justs squats on a pipe after every time he eats at Taco Bell. Linda says that "This is how he controls the GAS! I saw him operate it!" Which is kind of comical, as she's pointing at a giant prop-comic lever marked GAS. I also saw him operate PANTS, and they were held up by some sort of belt-like device! Lance tells her not to touch the GAS lever--GAS which is still filling the room, so maybe it's as deadly as potpourri or Renuzit--because he wants Mephisto's fingerprints. Which he obtains by very vigorously rubbing a handkerchief over the lever for 5 minutes. That'll rub 'em into the cloth real good!
      Having not-saved Linda a second time (although he does give her credit for his rescue), they confront the 4 brothers who could be Mephisto. Four fat, balding, old alcoholic dullards who are named Milton and...Bradley. Something. Maybe they're the Parker Brothers. They have interchangable personalities (ie, none whatsoever), and that's the only flaw in the "Who is really Mephisto?" game: Who cares? It's a game like Clue, where the only possible murderer is Aging Dullard in the Boring Room with a GAS. It's a serial, so of course there's no time to flesh out the idiosyncracies of four characters, but they could have at least one unappealing characteristic each. Colonel Picks-his-Nose-at-the Dinner-Table! Professor Kicks-Puppies! Mister Bigger-Drunk-than-the-Others! Carrot Top!
      Boy, are they proud of the "Transformation Chair" sequence. They show it twice every chapter. Since it involves a very loud factory fan that spit sparks, Lance should probably abandon the fingerprinting (since it changes his whole body, why would Mephisto's fingerprints stay the same?) and just perk up his ears. It sounds like a train full of fireworks derailing, and it's right behind a wall.
      Meanwhile, Lance dusts the doorknob (the doorknob? Where'd that come from?) for fingerprints by dumping a whole can of Gold Bond powder on the doorknob (the doorknob?), so if that doorknob has an irritating anal itch, it's free of it now. Skipper picks this particular moment to teleport in from Dimension X, and at gunpoint barks "I'LL take that KNOB!" which is possibly that first and last time that line's been used in the history of human speech. Cue director Yakima Canute and another hypercrazy fistfight! Oh, woe it is to be a piece of furniture in Yakko's World! Best bit: recognizing the only real threat, Skipper takes Linda out by throwing a chair right at the camera, which knocks her out despite it splintering into balsa shreds. Lance pummels the shit out of Skipper, but then decides to give Linda a massage. Yes, Lance, she's a hottie, but take her out to a movie first next time. Skipper takes this opportunity to pick up the phone, rip it out of the wall, and fling it at Lance, who gets knocked out when it hits his left lower shoulder blade. He's got a glass shoulder! Most Evil Scum would take this as a chance to kill them both, but Skipper could hold a gun to their heads and still shoot himself in the butt, so he runs away. With the Knob of God, of course.
      (Have you noticed that every time I've done a chapter of this serial, it gets longer? That's because this is great! You can make fun of any serial--or any movie, for that matter, if you were sociopathic enough. But most serials are fights punctuated by inept ennui. This one's just a pile of fun to watch! Trust me, the chair thrown at the lens seems like nothing, but it's a clever bit in a no-budget serial. It means somebody cared to make this the best it could be)
      Lance and Linda return to the wine cellar--no reason given, unless they're hoping to find some new knobs. Lance finds a secret door open by the wine press, so he goes in, while Linda stands point. Skip and a random gunsel follow them down, and despite outnumbering some skirt two to one, are smart enough to not mess with Linda. They hide. There's a sound, and Linda hides. And down comes--that guy! That fat old pasty doughy guy! No, not that one, the other one! NO, not him either! Milton! "He must be Captain Mephisto!" says Skipper. Uncle Miltie goes through the secret door, and Linda follows him while Skip and the gunsel follow her. Eventually Skipper and Gilligan open fire at point blank range, which means that Skipper blows off three of his own toes, and Gilligan shoots himself in the eyebrows. Then Lance nails Gilligan in the stomach, and tells Linda to guard him. As the guy writhes on the ground and bleeds to death like a gutshot deer. Skipper calls Milton "Captain Mephisto," and Milton the Monster gives a Dick Cheney double-chinned sneer, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. (My money's on all four of the Dullard Brothers being Mephisto, each in turn) Milton escapes, and Lance cleverly runs into the Giant Wine Press and--yes! Skipper locks him in and turns it on. This wine press looks more like the type of device junkyards use to turn SUVs into little cubes of metal. It also has a handy and goofy looking arrow on it to show its progress. And it grinds all the way to the bottom, making a sickening crunch not unlike the sound of a Lance-sized cockroach being squished.
      While there's no way Lance could've escaped being squished like a grape by a giant grape-squisher, once again he was smart enough to leave Linda outside Mephisto's Trap. She'll save him! And if she doesn't, I suggest you pass on the Chateau de Mephisto Claret '45. It has a definite overtone of crushed monkey-boy in the finish.


      A minor domestic problem and mystery has been solved. About a year ago, Byron started peeing everywhere. It had nothing to do with the litter box, which gets cleaned daily. He'd just whiz on anything on the floor. You'd think that "Don't let stuff lie around the floor" might solve that, but not when he was deliberately throwing things off of tables, just so that he could befoul them. At first, I put it to the sad truth of raising a (mostly) deaf cat: You can discipline a dog with a rolled-up newspaper, but the only way to discipline a cat is verbally, and a deaf one--well, you see the problem. But he clearly knew that he was doing wrong. I'd hold the latest copy of Urine Town in front of his nose, and he'd run away, without any actual punishment from me.
      And then he specialized on the carpet right inside the front door. When you live alone like me, the greatest thing about pets is that they're at the door to greet you when you get home. But I'd rather be greeted by a cat than a cat's stink. I tried sprinkling baking soda on the wee-ward islands, and letting it set for a few days until I vacuumed it up. That really didn't get rid of the stank, especially when he started peeing on the baking soda. It was sorta like that Brady Bunch science fair volcano.
      I figured out why he did it. I think. He started sleeping in front of the door, in the middle of a triangle formed by his debladderings. "This is BYRON'S PLACE!" I guess. Why he waited 4 years to start this, dunno. Kill Kill declared her own Bigfoot-free zones the day he moved in, and she never hosed the house. (Of course, Byron pukes anywhere the fancy strikes him, which is usually the carpet or the seat of my chair. Killsy runs to the bathroom and pukes in the tub, for easy cleaning)
      I knew that Carpet Fresh wasn't going to be enough, so I tried Arm & Hammer Litter Box Deodorizer. I sprinkled a tiny bit, and planned to vacuum it up the next day, but, WOOO that shit be strong! I had to suck it after 40 minutes or choke to death in a freshly scented cloud. And it worked! El Stencho del Footie-Senor was el gone-o (I speak Spanish fluently). And so far, he hasn't reloaded, and has slept in his personal Bermuda Triangle without complaint.

      Yesterday's movie: Death Race 2000, set in the far-off future of 7 years ago. I saw this 30 years ago at Oberlin, and thought that it was a hilarious satire on the way American pop culture was headed. Basically, it's NASCAR crossed with professional wrestling and the "Faces of Death" videos, although none of those existed like they do today in 1974. It's Wacky Races as a bloodsport. If you aren't old enough to remember Wacky Races, it was a cartoon, and so is this movie. A live action one, and produced by Roger Corman (but don't let that put you off it). In the future, America is a dictatorship with a president for life who keeps the proles in line with the ol' bread'n'circuses bit. Keep the people comfortable and entertained, and they won't care about what the government's doing to them. But there's an underground movement to take America back. It's fronted by "Thomasina Paine," and that's as subtle as the movie gets.
      It's over the top and that makes it funny, as any movie with main characters named Frankenstein or Matilda the Hun should be. And it's absurd! The villain is Mr President, who's suspended the Constitution, invaded foreign countries, takes lots of vacations, and wraps himself in the flag while giving lip service to patriotism. He's so desperate to deny that there's widespread oppostion to his policies, he blames the home-grown insurgency on--the FRENCH! That line got a huge laugh when I saw it in the theater in 1978. Can you imagine an America so blindly loyal to a corrupt regime that they'd believe France was their enemy? How absurd!
      And a guy who's been President for 30 years! There wasn't a backstory in the movie, but I guess that he stole an election or two, consolidated power through a spineless Congress (in this film, Congress is headed by the holy and President-worshipping "Bipartisan Deacon"), kept the people in line through fear for their safety against exaggerated enemies, and then he and his corrupt cronies refused to leave office when his 2 terms were up! That could NEVER happen in the real world!
      It's good gory goofy nihilistic fun. Watch it before January 2009, when it'll be banned.

      I'm listening to the "ecumenical station" right now, as there's nothing else on the radio I care to hear. They just ran a PSA about Jesus, as that's their thing (along with the only true Muzak you can tune in). And the guy just said that believing in Jesus is exactly the same as believing in the Tooth Fairy and Santa. And he meant it as a good thing. "If your parents told you that the Moon was made of green cheese, you would've believed it! That's called trust! Trust is faith! And that's what Jesus wants from us!"
      I am actually fucking speechless. I'm supposed to believe in the Invisible Man in the Sky who knows when I've been Bad or Good because of the Tooth Fairy. If I hadn't just heard this guy say it, I wouldn't believe it when someone else said it happened. So feel free to not believe me. (and, actually--no, I wouldn't believe my parents if they said the moon was made of green cheese. I remember seeing an Astroboy cartoon at about age 6, where it was discovered that the craters on the moon were from where giant rabbits plucked huge mushrooms. And if I was smart enough at 6 to--man, I give up. Speechless. Jesus left quarters under my pillow, and still believing the same made-up shit when I'm old enough to dress myself somehow makes me intelligent.)
      That makes even LESS sense than what this guy says, and he's not expecting me to take him seriously. No, I take that back--believing in God makes exactly the same sense as believing in Santa. I just can't believe that I heard this presented as a reasonable argument that I should.


      Well, we'll see what my new schedule (I work an hour later) means to my updating here. If it's an issue, it'll probably turn up as typos. With both cats have curled up in their respective favorite spots (Killsy in her Red Stripe beer box, Byron on the minifridge, and both quite lazy and satiated with their share of my dinner, a can of tuna), it's time to look at Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Six, "Harry Mephisto and the Deadly Halloween--" wait, that's not right. "OCEAN TOMB." When we last left Lance, he was in a wine press, being turned into a fine, checkered-suit merlot, and--WHAT? OCEAN? How much blood did they squeeze out of him?! What, is this "Saw '45: The Monkey-Boying"?
      The henchman who was bleeding to death last episode decides to recover, and try to kill his guard. Sorry, dude, but you're trying to get a drop on Linda. She plugs him with her roscoe toot sweet, drilling him a third asshole. Meanwhile in the wine press, Lance is getting reduced to his constituent Juicy Juices (new flavor: Cherry Chimpy!), but lo! there shall come a savior, and it is declared in the heavens that she will be a hot mama! Linda finds this big wire thing outside the wine press, and also a handy sledgehammer right next to it, makes several jumps of crystal clear logic, and breaks the wire. This causes the backdoor on the wine press to open. But she doesn't help Lance out of Mephisto's Trap. No, she drags him out by the shoulders! Really, I at least hope she makes him change the undies he's just soiled by himself.
      In every other serial I've ever seen--hell, just about any movie made before the 80s I've ever seen--the purpose of the female character in an adventure movie is to go "EEEEEK!!!!" a lot, until the hero rescues her. Hey, did you ever see that Tiny Toons episode, where Plucky and Hamton parody Batman and Robin? The sidekick has a big target painted on his chest, and is named "Hamton, the Boy Hostage." And with a change of gender, that describes pretty much every female in those movies. And yet, for some reason, way back in 1945, the sidekick doesn't just kick ass, she's the only, and I mean ONLY, reason the hero lives to eat breakfast the next morning. Man, if they'd given Linda a burp gun, a parachute, a plane over Berlin and half a reason to jump out of it, World War Two would've ended in 1942, with Hitler's one-balled nutsack on permamanent display in the Smithsonian.
      But there's no descrotuming today. Apparently Mephisto Melton (it seems his name is not Milton, but Melton, which is not so much a name as it is what I want my cheese to do on my burger) sends a message claiming that he let himself be captured, in order to find out the Real Mephisto's plans. Sure, I did that just last week. I suspected that SOMEone might've spit in my Taco Bell chulapa, so I hid myself in a boxcar of lettuce. I didn't catch the guy, but--umm, what does e. coli feel like?
      The rest of the geezers Lance and Linda suspect of being Mephisto ask to help, and they agree. If you're going to walk into a deadly nest of heavily armed criminals, I'd sure recruit a bunch of white-haired and wrinkly potbellies. I'd make them stand in the front, waving their arthritic arms in front of them. Tell them that they're Wal-Mart greeters and that they can get snack bar hot dogs at 50% off, and the human shields are there! Then they say "Good night" and good night and good night, it's like the end of an episode of "The Waltons"--and OH NOES one of them goes to the Transformation Chair to turn himself into MEPHISTO and also use up some screen time. I still don't get why it turns all his clothes into pirate gear, but Mephisto still needs to put on his pirate hat when done. Now we know that Tuna Melton is not Mephisto! He tells Skipper exactly that--Melton was trying to rescue Linda's dad and his crazy world-domineering invention (note: the heroic AARP patrol is gone as soon as it was introduced). Mephisto traps Linda and Lance at the Sponge Warehouse, and damn if the world doesn't need more movies set in sponge warehouses. Mephisto tells Linda, at gunpoint, that she's going to help "persuade" her father to help build that whatever-it-was. Classic dialogue:
      LINDA: You cold-blooded killer!
      MEPHISTO: I'm sorry, but in your case, that doesn't apply!
      NO SHIT. There was that first guy Mephisto's goons killed, and that explody-thing Lance threw at his henchmen, but otherwise LINDA'S KILLED EVERYONE ELSE WHO'S DEAD. She's stone cold and red hot. And there you are, Mephisto, calmly pointing your gat at her and expecting her to be your pawn. Yeah, don't shoot her! Tame the whirlwind, Captain! If you were a supervillain from the 60s, you'd do the same to 007. He sends her away under the eye of Skipper, and I think I'll just turn over this hourglass--Mephisto, I give you exactly to the start of the next chapter, and then you'll get hit in the face with Skipper's eye, and Linda will gut you with one of his sharpened femurs. Lance will sit back and watch, and when the carnage is done, ask for a Pudding Pop.
      Skipper leaves Linda alone and tied up in a motorboat, apparently forgetting the earlier scene wherein she shot a man in Reno while being bound and gagged on the floor. Lance attacks the bad guys by throwing a net over them (and himself, which is not very Linda-like). They respond with some ridiculous moves of their own--just because you can leap on to the top of a man-high filing cabinet and then fall off doesn't mean that you should. Fortunately, it is a sponge warehouse, so the boxes are full of shredded paper. That's how they make paper, right? They use sponges? If Stan Lee were here, he'd point at a box and yell "EXCELSIOR!"
      Mephisto escapes in a speedboat with Linda in bondage. Lance leaves Skipper a tattered wreck on the floor again (Skippy, my man--find another line of work). Mephisto, in his infinite retarded wisdom, has left another speedboat behind, and Lance gives pursuit. I should point out that, while most of the chase is back projection, there actually are speedboats. With real people in them. Including stuntmen who jump from one to another in mid-speed! And have fistfights! This is truly remarkable, not just for a movie made in 1945, but for any movie made in the next 30 years.
      Lance tackles Mephisto, they fall off the speeding speedboat, Linda wrestles with her ropes, and
      It crashes into splinters! Nice try, Mephisto! Yeah, that'll stop our Linda! And
      Linda's corpse sinks to the bottom of the sea.
      I have to go lie down now.


      "Hello, Liquor Store."
      "It's Bill. I can't come in today. I've ...lost someone very close to me."
      "Oh, that's terrible! Who was it?"
      "Linda? You've never said anything about her before. Was she a close relative?"
      "Sh-she's a character in a movie--"
      "...What? She's a--what?"

      I'll post more tomorrow, if I can find the strength to come out from under the covers..


      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter S
      Oh, Linda's dead! Who cares! WH CA-A-A-ARES?!
      Chapter Seven, "The Death Drop." A cough drop with cyanide? Thank you, Trade and Mark the Halls Brothers, and pass me a big box!
      Do we have to watch this again? The motorboat splinters, Linda's corpse falls into the ocean, Lance swims over, her corpse floats on the surface like a someone doing the Dead (Wo)Man's Float, Lance grabs her and
      No, really, I didn't. Jeez, what am I going to do with all these flowers I ordered. Not to mention the giant crates of "LINDA'S DEAD!!" black armbands I was going to sell online...
      While your mind reels from this incredibly unexpected development (no, not that Linda's alive--that Lance finally rescued HER), something even more astonishing happens. Lance and Linda are wearing the same clothes that they both almost drowned in, but the clothes are freshly laundered. Nothing like a good near-drowning to bring out that springtime freshness in your one ugly checkered suit, eh Lance! Meeting Mephisto's descendants, the AARP Commandos, Lance claims that Melton is dead. "Anybody we should send the stiff to? Anybody? Hey, pasty old man--no, not you, the other pasty old man--want a Melton? He's in a barrel full of brine, and he hasn't started stinking up the place yet!" The California Raisin-faces are startled at this news, and their servant, Guy of Indeterminate Ethnicity (Male Only)--let's just call him Gitmo, stands perfectly framed in front of the portrait of Mephisto. A hint that he's the villain? It's already been established that the Mephisto Machine changes your skin color, so why not? Of course, it's also been proven that it turns either old farts or skinny servants into macho fighting machines, so...Why do they care about whatever the hell it is they're all fighting over, anyway? Seriously, I couldn't take Gitmo in a fight, but I could use his machine to turn myself into a powerhouse! I could change myself into a male model who's wearing a $2000 suit and go pick up chix in bars! And if I got them pregnant, BAM! "Sure, run your DNA test! I think you'll find that I'm not the child's father, but a weenie little net geek!" This machine is a 14 year old boy's DREAM! Or girl's, for that matter. Could you get pregnant if you were using someone else's body, and then magically traded it in at the end of the night?
      Mephisto should mass market these machines! He'd be a billionaire! Of course, then people would be committing murders and changing back, and eventually some pyscho would pretend to be President and start a nuclear war, and we'd all be dead. Okay, maybe it's not quite the great idea I thought it'd be.
      But it'd still be better than being some potbellied old fart on an island who gets to play pirate dress-up.
      Mephisto tells Linda's dad that she and Lance are leaving the island, and they will DIE! Which is, umm, I thought that the whole reason Dad was working for you (and not actively trying to kill you, like in the first chapters) was that Linda was around. Mephisto's plan? To destroy Lance with a "hamper of lunch!" Direct quote, people. It's a pic-a-nic basket of DOOM! Oh, if only Ranger Smith had thought of this! How peaceful Jellystone Park would be! (Note: Gitmo is distracted by the phone, while an unknown assailant slips something into the "hamper of lunch." So maybe he isn't Mephisto. Also, his name is finally used, and it's "Ragu." Maybe the Something in the Hamper is a jar of cheap spaghetti sauce) Mephisto gloats: "Our celebrated criminologist is going to find his luncheon thoroughly indigestable!" and Skipper makes the forced, mild chuckle you do when your idiot boss makes what he thinks is a joke. Yeah, yuk it up, guys. Linda's back from the dead, and don't be surprised if she's using pickle slices like shuriken soon.
      Flying in a private plane, Linda has accessorized her only outfit with a smart little hat. Lance has added a Halloween mask of a stupid monkey--no, wait, I just haven't seen his face in profile before. There's a shot of the Hamper of Lunch, and then an xray view inside of a cloth, and then another xray view inside the cloth, and don't ever invite me on a pic-a-nic lunch for the rest of my life, as I will torment you with asking to see the inside of the Hamper of Lunch. It's a BOMB! With a clock, what appears to be an off-switch, and apparrently a volume control. Lance, quick, turn your lunch down from eleven! Oh, wait, apparently in 1945 dials only went up to Nine. I guess they couldn't count that high then. But something's throwing off the plane's compass. Mephisto, that beast! He's planted one of them fridge magnet bombs! Lance asks Linda if she has "A flashlight, or any other electronic gizmo in your purse!" Maybe she has an iPod made out of a giant lodestone. He then tells her to "check that lunch hamper!" HAMPER of LUNCH, Lance! It's not going to become a catchphrase unless you use it! Linda finds a bomb, and then just stares at it, as it clicks to Midnight in her immaculately manicured hands. For someone who almost gets killed a lot, she still finds the time to take care of her nails. Lance grabs it from her and throws it out the plane's open window. This is the second time he's successfully disposed of a bomb while Linda is flabbergasted. If this were an RPG, it's clear that Lance's main skill is "Throwing Explodey Things," while Linda ranks high in "Shooting" and "Rescuing that Dumbass Lance."
      Mephisto is so convinced that they're dead, he calls them on the radio. Skipper says "They don't have radios where THEY went!" and Mephisto looks at him with a "I tell the unfunny jokes!" glare. And...yes, Lance ANSWERS. Let Linda use the radio from now on, eh?
      Lance goes to a Curio Shop to find a map to Mystery Island, but Skipper has used his portable rocket sled to get there first. Curio Shop Man swats Skipper's gun from his hand, and gets knocked out with one punch. He spends the rest of the scene lying on his back and thinking about his paycheck. A fistfight ensues and--well, Curio Man, sure hope you have insurance! Priceless Medieval Tapestry, ripped up! Elizabethan coat-of-arms display, smashed on Skipper's head! Ancient Ethiopian assegai, thrown like a lawn dart! Cheap 1945 end table made of balsa, splintery! And if you are going to throw an irreplaceable 17th century Louis XIVth porcelain bust--hey, could you at least try to hit something other than the wall? Notably, if there's a bookcase in a scene, even if it's 6 feet off the floor, someone will end up on top of it and fall off, taking it with them.
      Skipper's henchman goes at Lance with a giant medieval putty-knife, but Lance shoots him, clearly ripping off that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Man, this whole serial rips EVERYTHING off of that movie! Skipper grabs an axe--for a curio shop, there's a lot of weapons--but Lance grabs a shield, and even throws it like Captain America. Except he misses, and smashes the Curio Shop's door.
      Having done 4 billion dollars worth of damage in the curio shop, Lance and Skipper discover that there's nothing left to club each other with besides a Pet Rock and some Beanie Babies, so they continue their antics in the hallway. Without any Ming vases to toss, Skipper runs to a fire extinguisher and grabs of those things. Lance beats him with the extinguisher, then Skippy throws Lance out of the 99th story window, and Lance magically grabs a firehose. On the way out the window. He falls 44 stories, then the hose stops him from falling further. Lucky grab, really. Or--IS IT? Seems that the Thing Skipper grabbed was a wrench that is used to...remove hoses from 99th story windows. In case firefighters needed to, oh I don't fucking even know anymore. This, apparently, would be the "Death Drop."
      At the bottom of Lance's skyscraper-long drop to the pavement? Linda, of course! I don't know how Lance will get out of this, but I'll bet it begins with an "L."
      Things are back to normal!

      I've started receiving Googles for this serial. Someone looked for "linda stirling fight scenes" and apparently looked a lot, as I was hit #93. Hit #92? Girls in Blindfolds, which mentions Linda among 357 other meticulously documented and carefully rated scenes. Of course, someone else found this by searching for "SpongeBob - intent look, tongue out," so there's room on the net for every bizarre obsession!
      Speaking of obsessions: Do you know what time it was when I started the DVD for this 15-minute chapter? Midnight. The time now? 135AM. Just to let you know that I don't have the time to do this every night after work is all.



      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Eight, "Bombs Away." Serials tend to peter out once they get halfway through their allotted 3 score and minus-45 (ie, 15 chapters). Let's hope that having "bomb" in the title isn't a hint of what's to come.
      When we last left Lance, he looked like a shaved monkey in a checked suit. No, wait, that's were we began with Lance. He was last seen plummetting off of the 99th floor of a skyscraper, while hanging on to a fire hose that Skipper was cutting off, in the least Freudian scene ever. Skipper drops a tubey-thing on Lance, which not only fails to dislodge him to his death, it makes a truly comical light "plunk" sound, like he was hoping to beat him to death with a small plastic bathroom trash bin. Skipper--you're not very good at henchmanning. Even you should see it by this point. When the hose reaches the end of its plummet at the 45th floor, it goes *ching,* very quietly. At street level, Linda's Hottie-Sense starts tingling, and she takes the express elevator up 45 floors in less time than it takes me type about i--See? She's already there! Must be that elevator with the rockets. Her solution is to toss Lance a different firehose, so that he can climb to safety.
      Skipper grabs his gun and heads for the elevator, going down. Forty-four floors below, Lance hands Linda the map they've gone through all this trouble to get, and takes the elevator up to battle Skipper, while Linda presses the down button and yeah I think we all see where this is going. "45th floor, men's suits, ladies lingerie, gorgeous hostages!"
      In the most unbelievable scene in the serial, Skipper somehow takes Linda to his ship without even once being disembowelled by a barette or strangled with a hair scrunchie. The radium vapor ray disintegrator, why not! That machine that can transform anyone into anything as long as it's a pirate, sure! Skippy the Mental Defective taking Linda hostage and living to tell the tale? Sorry, you've lost me.
      Lance appears aboard the ship instanteously. That elevator goes everywhere! Possibly it's made of glass by Wonka Industries. Skipper's henchman pulls a gun on Lance, but Lance shoots it out of his hand, which somehow kills him all very dead. Death by pinkie finger owie. Could it be cured by rushing in a team of medical specialists to apply emergency "kiss the boo-boo" surgery? We'll never know, as some loud banging noises are heard, and Linda, bound and gagged, emerges from inside the freighter. We don't get to see the room that she left, and it's just as well. It's probably wall-to-wall with henchmen she's freshly slaughtered. I mean, she's only tied up!
      And the map? It's time for Skipper's acting tour-de-force! When Linda appears, he's all "Oh fuck. HER. I'm so dead." When she says that he burned the map, he smirks. When told he's going to be turned over to the cops, he gets frightened. Not, I should mention, as frightened as he was when Linda returned.
      A sudden shift to "MYSTERY ISLAND," as the onscreen credit says, complete with a scenic view of the mansion and cheesy travelogue music, "where the clink of glasses mingles with the murmur of a million mosquitoes, where waterfalls of whisky wash away the worries of a world-weary Whicker, where gin and tonic jingle in a gyroscopic jubilee of something beginning with J." (I wrote that last part myself!!) Ragu wheels away the tea trolley while the remaining Possible Mephistos listen to one of those highly specific radio programs one normally only hears on Gilligan's Island. "The disappearance of Professor Forrester once again made news!" He's the runaway bride/missing pretty white woman of his generation! This must be Radio CNN. Sidney is in police custody--SIDNEY? Skipper's first name is SIDNEY?! The old farts exchange worried glances, although they may also be suffering from dyspepsia or having a difficult time with their bowel movements. Maybe they're embarassed for having outsourced their evil plot to an incompetent dork named Sidney. Seriously: Sidney Vader! Sidney Kruger! Sidney Lector! "Sidney the 13th!" Are you scared yet? One of them does exactly what any of us would do, hearing a newscast that doesn't involve just our hometown, but our home island, in fact, our actual home--he turns it off before it's done. How do they know that the next words aren't "Police have ruled out any members of the AARP, but have their eyes on their servant Ragu, as he's pret-ty swarthy!" Only one of this Geezerpalooza is angry, so--sigh--you know what that means! TRANSFORMATION CHAIR SEQUENCE, in its entirety.
      Mephisto is on his CB radio again. "This here's the Rubber Duck! Okay, I'm not dressed as a duck. Let me use my supa-secret code again: CM to FA! CM to FA!" Yeah, the allies broke the Nazi's Enigma code during the war, no way anyone will figure out who this "CM" calling from Mystery Island might be. And who's "FA," I wonder? "Flying Asshole"?
      Lance and Linda have Skipper strapped to a lie detector, and the machine says that Skipper answers only one question truthfully: "Is this scene interesting?" "NO!" Then it explodes. Wow, Skipper must've told a really BIG lie, like "I can act!" NO! It's some gunsel who shoots the lie detector and tries to free Skipper, despite being outnumbered 2 to 3, by Lance, an armed cop, and Linda--wait, add her, and it's more like 2 to 300. Tonight, Skipper dines in HELL! "THIS IS LINDAAAA!"
      Gunsel shoots the cop, but he doesn't die, since he's hit in the shoulder, not the gun. Linda holds her own against the gunsel (terminology: "gunsel" = "Manhunt on Mystery Island" as "redshirt" = "Star Trek"), while Lance and Skipper do what they do best, smash furniture. Why, you might think that they fight on top of dressers on purpose! The cop recovers enough to shoot at gunsel, but misses and hits a piece of wood, which makes a ricochet sound. Then he fires at Skipper, a guy who always finds discretion the better part of valor--meaning, he runs away a lot--but misses and hits another piece of ricocheting wood. And then Lance takes a shot at gunsel, and "He's Dead, Lance."
      Lance and Linda return to Mystery Island. Suddenly, a Cessna trainer plane swoops from the skies! Yes, it's FLYING ASSHOLE! Skipper--apparently FAA-rated for both light aircraft and bombers--begins dropping goofy hand grenades with fins on them, by tossing them randomly out the window. They hit within feet of our heroes' car, and Skipper is one damn fine pilot for a sailor who has yet to figure out how pistols work. After every pass, he does a full Immelman Turn. Watch him do loops and fancy spins, he's full of orange roll vitamins! And then, they get exploded.
      Of course, the next chapter is titled "FATAL FLOOD," so unless Skipper hit a water main, I think L and L will be back.


      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Nine, "Fatal Flood." And how do Lance and (more importantly) Linda escape Skipper's bombs? Skipper misses. That's all. Oh, Skipper. Henchmanning just isn't for you. You need a career change. Maybe enroll in night classes, and try to major in something other than Suckassery.
      After 8 chapters, you may have noticed a pattern: Skipper tries to kill Lance and/or Linda twice a chapter, and fails both times. Then he goes to Mephisto and hangs his head while the Captain says something like, "You incompetent fool! Once again your ineptitude has pushed back my plans due to your inept incompetence! You worthless ninny! Did your momma drop you on your head a lot? Well, she should have, you talentless goon! You could fuck up a baked potato! So, here's my new plan for you to kill them. See, you dig a giant gutter leading towards them, and then build this giant bowling ball..." Skipper's such a loser, I'm surprised that Mephisto doesn't give him a presidential medal of freedom. Heckuva job, Skippy!
      But I myself am a benighted lackapate! All this time, I've been watching the serial in the living room, hitting pause and walking to the computer room, writing about it, then walking back to watch more. And my computer has a DVD player in it! In my defense, I have only owned it since last Labor Day.
      And it turns out that the DVD player has a screencapper! So you no longer need to try and picture Lance as a shaved monkey in a bad checkered suit, when you can see for yourself that he is a shaved monkey in a bad checkered suit! In fact, here's my new girlfriend!


      Although you might prefer to see her in a more natural pose:


      And here's the rest of our dramatis personae. Mephisto:




      And, of course, Lance:


      And now, on with the show!

      Lance, while dodging his car through falling bombs: "Well, it looks like someone isn't happy to see us back on the island!" Linda replies "This is getting to be a regular Mephisto welcome!" in the same tone of mild annoyance you might use when finding out after leaving the drive-thru that Burger King did not in fact hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. I suppose that if you've been almost killed as many times as they have in the last 3 days, it's not that big a deal. Especially when you know that Skipper, the dundering nimcompoop, is behind it. But let's give Skipper's the benefit of the doubt, and call him "homicidially challenged."
      They meet the remaining Mystery Island old farts, one of whom they know is Mephisto, and have the type of calm and reasoned discussion one normally has with people who've repeatedly try to kill you. One of the geezers gets mad and storms off in the direction of the Transformation Chair, so he's the suspect du jour. Their servant Ragu appears, and I'm sorry to report that I heard his name wrong. He's actually "Ruga," the spaghetti sauce for the dyslexic. Then that knight's helmet on the wall opens up, and, as you can see,


      ...there's nothing about THAT that would draw suspicion! Lance and Linda whisper about the radium detector that they'll use to find her father and his awe-inspiring whatever-it-is thingie, and apparently sticking your nose through a wallhanging gives you super-hearing. They stroll down a dock near the least enticing vacation getaway destination ever, a few storage sheds at the bottom of sheer 100-foot cliffs. There are only 2 people on the dock, and of course one is Skipper. The other is a gunsel who hopefully has already made out his will. 3...2...1...FISTFIGHT! Linda stands back, protecting the radium detector and probably thinking that even Lance can handle Skipper and a dead man brawling. The gunsel takes a dive, and Linda throws a net over him, while Skipper attacks Lance with a lance, that same harpoon that he's used in like 5 other chapters. Incredibly, the gunsel manages to escape Linda's bondage (me, I wouldn't even WANT to, hubba hubba, wink wink!), and knocks her unconscious by pushing her. No, that's it, just a push. It's like Supergirl being defeated by some slob who thought about Kryptonite once.
      Lance leaps into the escaping gunsel's motorboat (and it looks like the stuntman playing him breaks his leg). Linda regains consciousness and pursues them in the other motorboat, because they rented 2 damn motorboats for this serial and damned if they aren't going to use them in every other chapter! Lance and the doomed guy wrestle with a gun, and the future corpse shoots the part of the motor labeled "WARNING: Do Not Shoot This. Boat Will Be Explodey." Gunsel drowns, or maybe explodes. Who cares? Lance has jumped into Linda's boat, and they proceed on their plan to fuck Mephisto's shit up.
      Back on the island, Mephisto says to the doddering slackwit Skipper, "So! They got away again!" Hey, SHERLOCK! There's something on the floor! I believe it's not excrement! Skipper mumbles something about not meaning to roll over Dad's car, and of course Mephisto gives him his three hundredth and second chance to redeem himself. At this point, he really should just soak Skipper in kerosene overnight, and then set him on fire with instructions to run off and give Lance a really big hug. No, Mephisto will fool the radium detector by having Skipper move the radium. Because Skipper is the kind of guy you really want to trust with MOVING DEADLY RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES AROUND. Yeah, give him some Tupperware to put it in. Skippy will forget to burp the seal on it. Why don't you first start with teaching him how to dress himself?
      After an informative lecture on how a radium detector works ("It's microtomic!" and has needles that point inward as they near radioactivity. As Lance explains this, the needles point inward, so I guess that if Lance and Linda get married at the end of the serial, they won't be having kids. At least none without 12 eyes) They use the radium detector--which is actually made by "Radium Detector Inc"!--to follow the trail of lost hair and pissed blood to a primitive cave, the type that has one of those automatically-closing, escape-preventing doors normally associated with Fatal Floods. "The radium should be right here!" Lance exclaims, noting the fact that his hair has started falling out and that his pee is full of blood.
      "It IS right here!" cackles Mephisto from a hole in the ceiling. "This cavern connects to an underground river that I use to dispose of my enemies!" How environmentally FIENDly! "Open the floodgates and drown the rats!" he sneers to Skipper, who apparently has found the one damn job he can do: flush a giant toilet! Oh, who's a BIG Skipper boy now, huh? Who's a big Skipper boy, using the potty! You are! You are!
      And--umm, well, that's what he does. The unfortunate color and texture of said torrent seems more like an exploding septic line than an underground river, unless the "river" is below Brooklyn. That might explain why Lance and Linda can outrun the oncoming gusher, even finding the time to seek an alternate route, as the turgid pewpies slow the flow. They get stuck at a tiny cave opening at the edge of a thousand-foot-tall cliff, and--wait, I thought that they were underground! Are they in the Sunken City of Atlantis now? The water wooshes them out, and we get an outside shot, which looks like nothing less than a granite asshole the day after eating waaay too much curry washed down with a dozen bottles of Taj Mahal or Kingfisher beer.
      Lance and Linda: violently diarrheaed to death. They didn't deserve it.



      Those were my first attempts at Macros yesterday, and I did them in the order posted. You can see the learning curve right there! The curve is more of a slight incline. There doesn't seem to be a way to include outlining in the Photoshop 5.5 text tool, so unless I'm missing something, I won't be able to do that. I just downloaded Gimpshop from this great collection of free downloads, so maybe I can find it there.

      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Ten, "The Sable Shroud." Lance and Linda, caught in a Biblically-proportioned flood of raw sewage, are blasted out of a cave a thousand feet above the ocean, and land in water about 6 feet deep. How do they survive? They do. That's it. They just do. Look, Manhunt, you're not even trying at this point. Six writers, and you couldn't have them fall into a passing steamer from the Fluffy Marshmallows Factory?
      After falling into the deep blue sea for about the fifth time in this serial, L & L are still wearing the same clothes. Aren't they all briny by now? You'd think that Lance would be pulling kelp out of his pockets for weeks. (Although you have to admire his incredible ability, even after being blown out of a mountain's colon at a hundred miles an hour by a million gallons of water, to keep his hat on.) Their clothes are springtime-fresh, despite having been under water long enough to collect barnacles, but the radium detector is kaput. There's no point in getting another, as Mephisto now knows to hide his nuclear pile from prying eyes. Does that sound dirty? Since in the last scene he was holding his radium by his pancreas, he probably not only has nuclear piles, but glow-in-the-dark hemorrhoids. L & L ponder as to exactly how Mephisto always knows what they're doing (HINT: discussing things in the room with wall-mounted knight's helmet/listening post probably doesn't help). And, in tonight's very special episode of Manhunt of Mystery Island, it's the TENTH CHAPTER RETROSPECTIVE EXTRAVAGANZA! Let's Remember When with Lance and Linda! Where were you back when the magic started, a whole 10 weeks ago?
      No, I'm not kidding. Almost all of this chapter is an extended flashback. What, did all six of the writers schedule their vacations for the same week, leaving only the film editor to hash out an episode?
      Linda reflects back to Chapter One, "Enter the Shaved Monkey," and even remembers her father and his buddy inventing the radium-Q36 explosive space modulator, despite that she wasn't there to remember it. She even remembers it better than her own dad remembers his lines, as he fixedly stares at an offscreen cue card. And that's all I'm going to say about that, as I already wrote about it. And it runs a good 5 minutes. Well, guess I'll go see what the cats are doing...
      ...They're sleeping. Well...they're cats. What's going on in the serial...Oh, ha ha! Remember when Lance escaped from the flamethrowing death ray by turning over a bathtub? Even then the escapes were kinda lame! Oh, those were the days! 12 days ago, actually. We were all so innocent then, weren't we?
      Lance ends his reverie, and Linda thinks. Possibly about killing Lance to shut him up. Or maybe there's a school of guppies in her hair. No, she's wondering if another old flabby man might be Mephisto, moving us all the way up to Chapter Two. Oh, man, this chapter's going to last longer than most movies. Because they're cats. Cats sleep a lot. Wish I was a cat! But then who'd get stuck being the one who has to go to work? Maybe we could take turns being the responsible human.
      I'm sorry. Now they're reflecting on Chapter Three. How time flies when you're paying no attention! Hey, remember the Kenny Loggins bomb?


      L & L run out of suspects, but I've noticed that in every one of their flashbacks--Ruga is there! So maybe he's Mephisto! Filthy immigrants! This is why we need a border fence around Mystery Island! These illegals are taking away all the good criminal mastermind jobs!
      Lance plans to reveal Mephisto by pretending that the radium detector still works, despite telling us a few minutes ago that a new one would be useless. The sneeringest of the possible honky Mephistos offers to put it in his man-sized safe. Mephisto is Dick Cheney, I knew it! Behind the vault's massive door is a cheap metal door, and past that, another cheap metal door. What is this, the opening to Get Smart? Don't turn around after the last door, Lance, it'll pinch your nose. And exactly why is hiding it in a vault that only the main suspects have access to suposed to accomplish? I just work here, folks, and sometimes that's more than the screenwriters do.
      Lance uses his Radio Shack 50-in-1 Electronic Experiments Kit to wire a light to the vault door. "Swell!" says Linda. "Now all we have to do is wait!" They cheerily walk offscreen to rip off their clothes, scattering seaweed and fiddler crabs everywhere, and have hot, briny sex! Well, that's what I'd do. With Linda, I mean.
      Instead, we next see them glaring at each other. Possibly Linda was disappointed by Lance's lance. Then the light turns on, which they instantly notice despite not looking at it. Anything to end an awkward moment, eh? Some dude's in the vault! Lance orders Linda to stay behind, always a good idea if you want to be rescued. Lance proves his stuff by jumping the miscreant and immediately getting defeated by having a curtain thrown over him. Christ, Lance. Did you go to Serial School with Skipper? If you did, were you out with a hangover the day they covered "There's always a giant fucking harpoon in every room 101"? Because there is! The villain jabs it into Lance with a sickening thud, and it sticks there. ShiskaLance.
      And there the episode ends. I hope we all learned a valuable lesson from this Very Special Episode of Manhunt of Mystery Island. Accent on the special.

      Scalzi has a new meme. And amen to that.


      Recently seen movies that do not involve transforming pirates:
      Disney's The Fox and the Hound, which I remember seeing a 2-thumbs-up review for on Siskel & Ebert (although I believe it was called "At the Movies" back then). I never got around to seeing it until now. Some of it was a bit too kid-aimed for me, with the songs and the "comic relief" that's never funny. And Paul Winchell doing that one damn voice he always did. I kept expecting the woodpecker to say "Scrubbing Bubbles, Scrubbing Bubbles!" But the songs, while unmemorable, at least existed to move the plot along rather than grind it to a halt. And the main story, it was actually kind of dark and depressing. If the movie had ended before the last 15 minutes, the moral would have been "Everyone who ever said they cared for you will abandon you, unless they actually try to kill you." But with that last 15 minutes, the moral becomes "Okay, if you almost die in a kamikaze attack trying to save the life of the old friend/now enemy who's been trying to kill you, he'll call a truce. If you go back to your own kind and stay there."
      I saw Hot Fuzz with Kevin, Scott and Eric. It comes out on DVD next week, but it was out in the UK last week, so that means it's potentially out everywhere. I really liked it, although opinion was mixed among the fans of Shaun of the Dead. I haven't watched many zombie movies (because zombies are only threatening when their victims can't outrun seniors in walkers), so I thought that SotD was the unfunnier one. I can pretty much get the jokes in a cop buddy movie (even though I haven't seen many of those, either--but the cliches from that kind of movie have penetrated every other action movie. Especially that "I have the attention span of gna--Sorry, was going to say 'Gnat," but SHINY THING OVER THERE!" direction style). Ridiculous violence, especially in the finale, in which a bajillion bullets are fired at close range, and one guy gets hit in the foot. Well worth the rental, and it's Netflixable as of Tuesday.

      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Eleven: "SATAN'S SHADOW." I've been going back and forth for 15 minutes, deciding whether or not I want to do this tonight. My current guesstimate is: "It's 1220, do nothing else and been done by 2AM." Then I went to my gmail account, and they had this inspirational quote: "The most effective way to do it, is to do it."--Amelia Earhart. YES! I'll do it!
      Although I'll bet the most effective way to fly across the Pacific is not to crash and die.
      Yes, Satan's Shadow, believe it when I see it. The last chapter was titled "Sable Shroud," and I didn't see any sable shroud. Sure, Lance gets a beach blanket thrown over him, and then stabbed with a giant lance, but it wasn't sable at all. Sable is black. At most, one could describe it as a Persian rug, or an embrodiered arras, certainly...not...
      A GIANT LANCE! That guy lanced Lance! Oh, the Morrisettian irony! Perhaps next, Linda will be attacked with a giant LIND--wait. That didn't work. Skipper could get stabbed with a...a MUDSKIPPER! Oh, just forget I even brought it up.
      The perp--who is pretty clearly the Mephisto Suspect who showed Lance the vault, despite wrapping a kerchief around his neck--HEY, maybe he could ironically SNEEZE himself to death! Get it? "Kerchief"? "KA-CHOO!"? After catching a cold when it rained on his wedding day? And fall on a thousand spoons, when he only needed...?
      Forget it.
      (checks clock) I'll bet that distraction just pushed my completion time up to 2:10AM.
      The perp is frightened away by a shadow. SATAN'S shadow? No, Linda's, and damn if I were in his penny loafers I'd be more a-scared of her than Satan. Lance is okay, as "the spear just missed him!" Linda and the rest of the Usual Mephisto Suspects (and let's just call them the UMS, to save me typing) drag him over to the comfy chair, and one of the UMS actually fluffs the throw pillow before they put him down. Aww, get him some bon-bons and a nightgown, then he'll be cozy. Get him a purse puppy and some cocaine, too, and the poor widdle baby'll be Paris Hilton.
      Yes, the missing UMS is the perp. He was only trying to...No! That rascal, Skipper the Menace, snaps a single wire and the house plunges into darkness. Linda screams! And I mean SCA-REEEEAMS. She's scared of the dark?! Then we see the men all wrestling pointlessly with each other, so maybe they all took this chance to grope her. Monkey Boy and 3 rest home rejects, believe me ladies, you could be Red Sonya and you'd scream, too. Just think of the cooties! The perp--who we'll call Armstrong, as that as is his name--escapes with Skipper.
      Or did he? The next day, he calls Lance to claim that he only tried to steal what he put in the vault to keep it from Mephisto. Shoplift at Wal-Mart tomorrow and use that as an excuse. Tell them that al Qaeda-in-Iraq was going to make IEDs out of those 30 boxes of Sudafed! (Note: your excuse will seem more believable if you twitch a lot, and pull a few of your grey, squishy tooths out of your head. Also mention a bullet point vis-a-vis "BUGS! re: up my legs, CRAWLING!")
      Lance thinks it may be a trap! So he decides to sneak up in his little convertible, which sounds like a modern crosstown bus with a broken muffler, but which only throws out twice as much exhaust. He fails to notice Skipper, who's hiding in the front garden. Well, Skip is hard to tell apart from a lawn gnome, and certainly just as threatening as a plastic flamingo. He runs to his car and radios "CM," and who tells him to sit there. This is possibly the best strategic decision "CM" has ever made, besides telling Skipper that he might draw less attention if he didn't walk around in that giant hat made of fruit! "CM"--what? It means "Captain Mephisto"?! DAMN, their code is indecipherable! I thought CM stood for Carmen Miranda! Skipper proves the wisdom of this decision by hanging up the radio, and missing the receiver twice. Forget the baked potato, this guy can fuck up hanging up the phone.

      Lance may be dumb, but he's not stupid: When he reaches the log cabin of the Unabomber Armstrong, he knocks on the front door (dumb!) but has a pistol in hand (smart!). Armstrong insists he has photos from his iPhone to prove that he isn't Mephisto, although Lance doesn't demand he explain why the living fuck Armstrong tried to stab him with a spear (DUMB!). Lance never puts his gun away (smart!) and then lets in Linda and her gun in (BRILLIANT! Armed Linda: Don't Go Out Without One!). Armstrong has to mix some chemicals in trays to make his photos (man, those old iPhones were primitive!). They turn off the lights to develop them, and Mephisto and Skipper drop in! After 11 chapters, they've finally realized Rule No. One: Knock Linda out first! Sadly, she's become incredibly easy to knock out. One push, and Good Night, Irene. Thus ensues the usual brawl. It's some log cabin out in the woods, so OF COURSE there's that same damned harpoon. And there's a bookcase loaded with volumes, probably Unabomber manifestos, turnip gardening tips and "Making Bombs From Wood for Dummies," all which topple onto Lance and Skipper, the two furniture-crawlingest guys on earth. Lance, that bureau was in Skipper's way, now you threw it over and he can punchificate you! Skipper, Skipper--don't expend the energy to pick up that chair and smash it on Lance! It's made of balsa! It all is! Haven't you learned by now? Never try to beat someone to death with anything that won't hold your own weight! Mephisto, instead of knocking over the shelves above the sink, can't you take the time to wonder why there's a box clearly marked "SHREDDED WHEAT" above it? Is that what Unabombers use for dishwashing detergent? And why does the rustic cabin have a fucking armoire filled with Franklin Mint commemorative plates? Do you even KNOW how much those 1945 "Gone With The Wind" ones would be worth today?
      It's clear that no one will ever win this fight, so Mephisto runs away. I'm sorry, but I just have to say this: PUSSY! Maybe he just ran away because there was nothing left to smash. Seriously, check out the debris field at their feet:


      Also notice Skipper attacking his enemy with the only piece of furniture left in the cabin, desperately hoping "THIS one must be made of particle board, it MUST!" You might try smiting him with jawbone of an ass, Skipper, but then how would you chew your food?
      Meanwhile, Lance chases Mephisto through some scenic walkway. There are cute bridges and rope-lined trails, and Mephisto, desperately without furniture, throws a Duraflame log at Lance (sound effect: plunk!). Then, he rolls a handy pile of either bocce balls or oranges at him (sound effect: rattle!). Then, apparently beyond being embarassed by even the dorkiest shit he does, throws a lobster trap he found at the top of a cliff (?!) at him. It goes crunch! although I'm not sure if that's the crunch of a baked Cheeto or a fried one. Either way, having a little wooden cage disintegrate into pieces doesn't stop Lance (try throwing a lobster trap with actual lobsters in it next time, that could work! But take the rubber bands off the claws first).
      Mephisto finally reaches the end of the scenic vista's hiking path. It's pretty clear that Lance has decided the best way to determine who's Mephisto is by a DNA test done by swabbing whatever paste of him is left on the field of boulders 200 feet below. In fear, Mephisto looks around for a new weapon. This crumpled McDonald's wrapper? Not enough heft! That Franklin Mint Wizard of Oz plate? Too collectable! These bunny slippers? Not pussy enough! This used Q-Tip? EWWW!!! That Franklin Mint Civil War Chess Set? Too many pieces missing! This giant harpoon? Already used it this chapter! This busted hamster ball? Well, it's no rotted-out lobster cage, but--hey! Maybe this fucking two-by-four? Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, this could be used to kill somebody, if properly applied to their skull! It's worth a shot! It's either that, or this bag of cotton balls! Sound effect: skull-crush!
      Amazingly, hitting someone with an actual weapon hurts them! Lance is hurt so bad that he doesn't just fall off the cliff, he turns into a poorly-stuffed dummy!
      Okay. No "sable shroud" last time, and no "Satan's shadow" this time. If the next chapter is titled "LINDA IN HER UNDIES," I'm going to get very excited, then probably very, very angry.
      Elapsed time, excluding any typos that I assuredly missed: it's now 2:50. Shit! I haven't even finished all my regular internet reads!
      Look. There's only 4 chapters left. You don't want me to do them as half-assed as I did tonight, do you? I don't. I'm enjoying blogging this, but I also enjoy SLEEPING. I'll finish this up on my weekends, Sunday and Monday. I know that it's a long time to wonder how Lance's straw-filled dummy survived, but I can assure you that he probably did. I read somewhere that he went on to become a very successful crash dummy.



      Killsy and Byron had their probable mutual birthday pass last month ("probable," as Bigfoot was a rescue kitten, and his birthday approximated. It definitely wasn't more than 24 hours in either direction). Now the big event comes--our anniversary! It's next Tuesday or Wednesday or tomorrow or the day after. She, the scaredy cat, arrived on Sat, 7/31/99, and he stomped his immense feet into our lives on Fri 8/1/03. Stupid Gregorian calendar! Is it July or August, Saturday or Friday--which came first, the chicken kitten or the legs?
      While I have to work those days, there'll still be a celebration. Tuna one day, turkey breast the next! Huzzah, y'know. I mention it because of this great Cheezburger macro. That's what Killsy thought 4 years ago, when the Monster came to town.

      I generally don't link to Sites That Are Everywhere, but here's the one about the nursing home cat who only comes to people about to die. No one knows why, although the article itself says "He's become part of the death ritual, along with lowered lights, aromatherapy, and gentle music...Either he wants to give comfort. Or he is just attracted to all the quiet activity that surrounds a patient close to dying." Well, that could be the answer right there, especially as the cat likes all the attention he gets when he does it.
      On the other hand...When my father died, I wrote this:

      She held her front paws on my hand, just like she was holding my hands. And every time I awoke, she was looking at me. She knew something was wrong...
      I know pets know when you're feeling bad. No, they're not psychic, that's childlike thinking. Why wouldn't they know you're upset? They depend on you, they love you, just like a concerned human friend. Kill Kill had known me all her life. She knew when everything went wrong. But why would a cat just descend on the dying people he never paid any other attention to before? It's something other than empathy.


      After all these decades of never winning anything, I won the DVD of Manhunt of Mystery Island. Which you possibly just might have noticed I enjoy. And now I've won again! I've won A NEW CAR!!!
      No, wait--a new calendar. Well, that's okay. I already have a car.

      Three weeks ago, I was putting away the Monthly Buy-Ins at the Liquor Store. Just a few years ago, we had to buy a month's worth of booze to get the good price. Now it's 2 or 3 month's worth. And our store does about $40-50,000 of business. A week. We buy a lot of booze at the end of the month.
      While I was in the upstairs storage room, waiting for the endless stream of liquor to come up the conveyor belt, I noticed a spider. She was on the outside of a 2nd story window, and another, much smaller, spider was in her web. My knowledge of spiders consists of "Radioactive ones let you beat people up, but your Uncle Ben gets killed and then you have to live with your Aunt Jemima" (or something), but even I knew that this must be some courtship dance. And the lil' spider did, running up and waving a few legs at her, then running back. It went on and on, and since I don't get paid to watch spiders mate, I never found out how it ended.
      The next day I found out that it ended well! For Mrs Spider, anyway, as Mr Spider was now a dessicated husk wrapped like a mummy in her web casting. The next day, he was tossed out of the web. And Mrs Spider was bigger.
      A few days later, she laid an egg and got smaller. And she caught a bug and et it.
      Then she got big again and laid another egg.
      Then the first egg hatched, and tiny, tiny golden microspiders clustered around the empty egg husk. My knowledge of spider birth consists of the last chapter of Charlotte's Web, so I expected them to grow little gossamer parachutes and depart for worlds unknown. While going "Wheee!" But they didn't. They just sat around the egg, day after day.
      Then she laid another egg. Three so far, two unhatched. She fixed up her web, making me wonder if little spiders don't leave until they catch something. Well, it'd have to be a very little something.
      And then she went away. I don't think she died, she just...went away. To make a new web, one closer to the ground. Did she build it so high up that her kids could fly away? Like in Charlotte's Web, the most accurate documentary of our time?
      Well, the weekend came, and when I was back at work, the minis were gone. It had been windy that weekend. Maybe that was what they were waiting for. It didn't matter, as the second egg had opened, and another crowd of arachnidettes were clustered around their old egg.
      Today, a pair of grasshopper/locust-y type bugs were hanging out by their web. They were either there to eat the spiderkids or make kids of their own. And Mr Locusty Thing did his dance, and I saw him wave his green weiner or ovipositer or whatever at Mrs Hopper, but I never saw them make the Insect With Two Backs. I had work to do. When I came back, Mr Hopper (all my knowledge of insects comes from A Bug Movie) as having a nice nosh. On the unhatched egg. After a bit of chewing, he suddenly hopped away from the egg and furiously wiped his mandibles. Possibly hs lunch had bit back. Maybe he was an herbivore, like a locust, and just wanted to eat the outside of the egg, and then, like you or me when eating a dumpling, reacted violently after finding out that it was filled with live spiders. Or maybe, since all my knowledge of locusts comes from watching Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, he was Lokar: "Spiders! GET THESE SPIDERS OFF MEEEE!!"
      He went away. The spiders stayed. So did Mrs Hopper. Was her romance a failure and she awaits a new suitor, or is she pregnant and planning to deposit her eggs right on the baby spiders?
      Then I saw, on a window inside the store, 2 smaller ladybug-like beetles making circles around a very large one. One of the suitors was kicked to the side by the other. Again, I never saw what happened, but they were both gone after a coupla hours.
      Look, bugs: Liquor stores are not where you go to find a mate. That's what insect singles bars are for! What, are we some exoskeletal meat market now?
      Readers: I will name the children after your suggestions! But you'll need a lot of names. Hundreds probably. And, of course, when you next hear a splat! on your windshield, it could be your little Johnny!


      It's good that I picked yesterday to describe the wildlife scene at work. Today, it was all over.
      I like spiders, because I don't like most bugs. Spiders eat bugs. So I had a rooting interest in web of baby spiders. When I got to work today, there was one big bug in the web, the egg sacs were gone and replaced with bits and pieces of debris, and there was no tiny mob of spiderettes. Obviously, some bug--probably the big one--had eaten them.
      Then I took a closer look. The bits and pieces were the corpses of two dozen fruit flies. The big bug was dead. A few minispiders remained, and for the first time, they were moving.
      Maybe I was right about them needing a meal before they lit off for their new lives. A swarm of flies must've blundered into the web, and been turned into Lunchables. Where the egg sacs went, that's a mystery. Possibly, given the grasshopper that tried to eat one yesterday before he got a facefull of angry arachnids, the sacs are actually created to be edible, and to be bait. That one big bug must've had a reason to wander into the nest, before it was overrun by tiny killers less than a hundredth its size.
      Tonight I also dealt with an asshole who insisted that we twice charged his debit card, although I proved that we didn't, which didn't stop him from screaming about it, and a drunken homeless asshole who got mad because I wouldn't give him free liquor. After leaving work, I had an opportunity to run one of them over, and I deliberately almost did. All that and more, on the next Mutual of Liquor Store's Wild Kingdom!


7/30      I saw a small wicker basket on the side of the road yesterday. Oh no! Maybe Homeland Security Chief Chertoff's "gut feeling" about renewed terrorism is right! But I didn't do my job as a True Patriot and call in the bomb squad. But what was I to do? I didn't see any brown people near it.
      On the other hand, there weren't any bombings in town, so maybe it was only an IED (Improvised Easter Decoration).

      I got a hit from a search for "she force herself to gas,and ask him to pee in her anus". Yeah, I know, I shouldn't make fun of people who can't speak English. Not when they come from backward and ignorant places like Asheville, North Carolina.

      The condo association (or, as I like to call them, "the condo ass") left a sign on our mailboxes. They're going to work on our chimneys this week, so "Please arrange your schedules accordingly." Okay, I guess that I won't walk on a fourth-story roof those days. I've lived here for 20 years, and I didn't even know we had chimneys. We don't have fireplaces, but I guess even oil heaters need chimneys. So I took a look. And there's one chimney per building, and guess whose bedroom it sits right on top of!
      So I guess I should arrange my schedule to not sleep those days. Though I'll climb up there with a shotgun if they start to sing "Chim-Chim-Cheree."

      I had a good reason for not looking at Manhunt of Mystery Island yesterday: IDFFLI. That's an Internet acronym I just invented that means "I DIDN'T FUCKING FEEL LIKE IT!" But today, IDFFLI! Um, that's the acronym with "DO" in place of "DIDN'T." Hmm, maybe IDFFLI will not achieve the popularity of LOL or STFU.
      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Twelve, "CAULDRON OF CREMATION." Ooh, nice title! Hopefully this one will actually involve a cauldron, as we were shorted on both our sable shrouds and our Satan the last two times.
      Last time, Mephisto destroyed some photographic evidence proving who he was, maybe him having dinner with the Loch Ness Monster and stiffing his waitperson for the evening, Bat Boy, on the tip. After ruthlessly trying to kill Lance with an egg carton, a rubber band ball, and his own deadly bellybutton lint, Mephisto cleverly decided to attack Lance with a club. He hit Lance so hard that Lance's bones turned to jelly, and he fell to his straw-filled dummy Doom. Fell the distance equivalent to stepping off of Maachu Picchu and hitting someone at the end of the burro ride at the floor of the Grand Canyon. Reaching the terminal velocity of a crashing jet fighter, Lance falls in a fishnet. You know, like they make the sexy stockings from. And, rather than passing right through, cut up into McLance nuggets, he pops out fresh as a daisy that just fell off a mountain after being beaten senseless. And his clothes are perfect. Say what you want about Monkey Boy's checkered suit. It may not be fashionable, but it's tougher than Kevlar. Mephisto responds by climbing higher (um, to where? Heaven?) and Lance runs away.
      Believe it or not, the battle between Skipper and that penultimate possible-Mephisto, Armstrong, is still going on. With every bit of anything in the cabin reduced to splinters, I guess now they're trying to toothpick each other to death. Of course, Armstrong is much older than Skipper, so he's someone Skipper is almost equal to. I'll bet Skippy hopes that the next battle takes place in a kindergarten. He'll fuck those toddlers up! And he can regain his strength during naptime. While Armstrong searches for some sawdust to beat Skippy with, Skipper has the brilliant idea to hit him with a piece of metal. Hey, wait, thinks Skipper: This metal has been forged into seperate machine-tooled pieces, and then assembled into a...GUN! Which is full of bullets! With no time to remove the bullets and throw them, he shoots Armstrong. Armstrong dies in a really moving scene--well, no, he dies with a good impression of someone who just smelled a fart. But it kills him, and you can't argue with results! Skipper runs away before Linda wakes up, but if I was the bad guy, I think that I would've tried shooting her, too. But I suppose she'd just catch the bullet in her teeth and spit it back, blowing out Skipper's duodenum. That would kill Skipper, although I would get to find out where the duodenum is. The foot, right?
      RUN, Skippy, run! Oh no, you ran right into Lance, who shoots at you with the gun he didn't have before. He either found it in the fishnet, or pulled it out of his duodenum (which is impossible! I never saw him take his shoes off!). So he runs back, and Linda's blasting away. Skipper takes shelter behind a car, and bullets ricochet off of the radiator, not something I'd normally consider bulletproof. Heck, it was World War II, the Japs could invade any minute so I guess everybody drove around in armored Studebakers. Not that it matters; every shot fired misses. Skipper's revolver runs out of bullets after firing 32 rounds, one for each flavor of Baskin-Robbins plus the weekly special. He does what he always does--when the gun clicks, he glares at it, then tries to fire it again and it clicks again, and he glares at it. I'm no NRA member, but I'm kinda sure that you can't get a gun to reload itself by giving it dirty looks. Then wouldn't the bumper sticker you see on redneck pickups say "Keep honking, I'm stinkeyeing my gun"? He escapes in the car. Mephisto watches, as he has climbed all the way to the top of the mountain and is thus near the bottom. Oh, I get it! It was a waterslide! Six Flags Over Mystery Island!
      Lance and Linda look at Armstrong's corpse. His arms aren't so strong, but his smell is, LOL! Well, that's what I would say, so STFU. Lance says, "Too bad he had to die to prove his innocence!" using the same tone you might use to say "Too bad he had to learn the hard way not to eat spaghetti in a white dress shirt."
      Skipper drives up the mountain and picks up Mephisto--wait, wasn't Mephisto just going down--and when did they build a road up to--? Nevermind. Mephisto says that Armstrong's death was necessary, but that leaves only two possible Mephisto candidates. What? The other one died in like Chapter Six! What, is he alive now--nevermind. The Radio-Atomic Transmitter! Mephisto will use it to control All World Commerce! because it radios atoms transmittedly--nevermind. Mephisto decides to force Linda's Dad into finishing it! Not that that's not what he's been trying to do all serial, but by gum he will now even morely!!
      Linda's Dad is carefully tuning the Radio-Atomic--oh, let's just call it the RAT, by banging a screwdriver into it with a hammer. No, he really is. That's how they built the Atom Bomb, you know. They hit it with rocks. But they were really good rocks. Linda's Dad tells him, "I am neither frightened nor impressed by your piratical swashbuckling!" YEAH! Mephisto doesn't even have a parrot on his shoulder! And how many times has he said "ARR!"? NONE! I was counting! "Then maybe THIS will impress you!" says Mephisto. And he puts on a pegleg and an eyepatch! No, wait, he says "You have TWO DAYS to complete this project!" ...Or? No, seriously. Or what? Captain Mental, this serial's in its third month. He's never going to finish the RAT. In fact, Dad gets so mad that he smashes the bit he's working with the primary tool of any electronics designer, a ball-peen hammer. "KILL HIM!" Mephisto barks, and Skipper reluctantly raises his revolver. The guy's a foot away, and at that range, Skipper will certainly shoot himself in the duodenum! "Wait! Death by shooting is too QUICK! We will devise another way to BLAH BLAH BLAH." Yeah, throw him off a cliff or into a wine press. Put him in a shaft and fill it with "GAS." Blow him up with a DANGER ZONE Hamper of Lunch! Shit, dude. I realize that they haven't invented James Bond movies yet, but that doesn't mean that you should! SHOOT HIM! FSHN!!! ("Fucking Shoot Him NOW," that's another net acronym I just coined)
      Mephisto shows his steely resolve to eventually do something by retreating to his room. That always works for 12-year-olds having arguments with their parents! Maybe he should've added "You can't tell me what to do!! I HATE YOU!" while slamming the door for effect. Mephisto has a plan: Kidnap Linda and bring her to her father. That's his Plan A. I assume Plan B was "Cover myself in Fancy Feast and kidnap all the hungry lions and tigers from the zoo!" Plan C was probably to gain superpowers by eating Poison. Poison, the band.
      Okay, I was wrong. There are two more possible Mephistos. Their characters are all depicted so differently that I can't understand how I forgot! They're all pasty personality-free old farts, but their hairlines recede totally differently! One has a phone message from someone who knows Mephisto's identity and--WHOA! Mephisto's hiding behind the flower pot! So it can't be ANY of the suspects unless (yawn) it's a guy in disguise. Lance races to shoot at Mephisto, then carefully puts on his hat so that we know that the stuntman's taking over his role. A car chase begins, assuming that those things the size of an average bodega are cars.
      A guy in a mask sneaks up behind Linda and overpowers her. Overpowers LINDA. With what? A thousand-gallon tank of chloroform? A robot dinosaur? The entire Russian Army? No. A bandana. A FUCKING BANDANA! And he's only holding one of her arms! Man, Linda with one free arm is like Rambo with 20 rocket launchers! Within 2 seconds she should be beating the guy to a pulp with his own ripped-out leg! She should be choking him by stuffing his duodenum down his lower stomach! But, NOOO, he's got a bandana! Thank god he doesn't have a scarf!
      Hey, did I tell you about the time I defeated vampire Frankenstein and zombie Wolfman and their horde of walking killer whale mummies with only a Hello Kitty sweatsock? BECAUSE I DID.
      Meanwhile, back at the car chase, Mephisto in his crosstown bus races away from Lance in his convertible Winnebago. Races right up the mountain he just climbed, descended, then climbed and descended, and now climbs. They stop, using up all the handicapped spots, and Lance confronts Mephisto by a big flaming pit. A cauldron, one might say, one useful for cremation. Or maybe Satan's in there, a chapter late. Lance is quickly captured by some guys who don't even have bandanas. Before they throw him into the Black Cauldron, along with Hen Wen and Gurgi (How's that for obscure? No, wait--"HTFO"?), Mephisto decides to explain his Evil Plan in detail. Dude, I SAID don't invent the Bond movie!! "You were purposely led here in order that [Linda] might be made prisoner!" which is a really brilliant piece of gloating, except that Lance lets it sink in for exactly no time at all, and then channels Linda and smashes everybody in the room to bloody mush. I guess. This is the first fight scene so poorly lit that only the SMACK! POW! BIFF!s are clues that they aren't doing the hokey-pokey. They certainly turn themselves about! It's so dark that I can only say that I kinda sorta think that Lance throws Mephisto into the cauldron of carbonization and movies Disney won't reissue, so I guess that removes that guy as a suspect. Then, after more impossible-to-follow dancing in the dark, you can't start a fire without a spark, Lance throws another guy in the cauldron. Or maybe Bruce Springsteen throws in that chick from Friends.
      Well, the chapter ends here, so I guess it wasn't Lance throwing some guy in a fedora in the cauldron, it was some guy in a fedora who looked like Lance throwing Lance and his fedora in. Good thing that he's not made of straw this week!


      Today is the eighth anniversary of Killsy moving in with me! (Unless it was Saturday, as previously noted) I tried to get some photos of the Kids. The first is of the Crazy Boy, acting unlike his usual self and sleeping.


      Well, he was asleep, until Kill Kill stormed through--that's her tail in front. He laid there, bewildered, while she went from her usual default Fuzzy Doorstop mode into Full-of-Beans insanity. I tried to get a picture of her as she squirmy-wormed...

      Yeah, there's some Pulitzer Prize photography. She did eventually settle down, and


      turned to meow at Byron at the last second.

      The always cool music blog of WFMU had an MP3 link today, to the Feelies flexidisc from 1979. Hey, I have that! I know where I got it--Capitol Records, in Hartford CT--but I don't recall how. They were either giving them away with purchases from Stiff Records, who I bought a lot of in those days, or they were selling them for a buck. It's a 4-song medley, and I liked the flexi even more than the actual album it was promoting. You'd like them if you liked Wire, Devo or the Talking Heads, although they don't sound like Wire, Devo or the Talking Heads. "Fa Ce-La" gets automatic points for the opening lyric "Get a message down to Darien, everything is alright!" as Darien is in Connecticut. Although it's in Fairfield County, which people here consider to not really be Connecticut, but a rich suburb of NYC. If your view of CT is a place full of rich, white, privileged assholes, you're thinking of Fairfield. Except for the poor parts. And the people who aren't assholes. Or white. Stereotypes are funny that way.

      If you like the ongoing review of Manhunt of Mystery Island, you'd like this review of another serial, The Adventures of Sir Galahad, starring an actor who played Superman and falls off of his horse. "Ulric's beard is the most impressive facial hair I've ever seen. It looks like a relief map of the Ukraine." WARNING: Not as sweary as this page; may be SFW.



      A coworker brought in some freshly-picked corn on the cob today. Byron was mildly interested in it, so I put the bag down where he could sniff it. Killsy immediately joined him, but was much more enthusiastic in her curiousity. It took me a while, but I figured out that she wasn't just curious--she was eating it. Eating the husk. She was so content that when Byron grew corn-bored--does that make him a corn borer?--and he jumped down to start playing with her twitching tail, she let him. She hasn't allowed that since he was a lil' kitten.
      When the corn was cooked, they lost all interest. Funny, as that's when I was most into it.
      I took some pics, but they all came out crappy. So, instead, here's Her Worship looking quite worshipable:

      And the Clown Prince must be having a good dream atop the mini fridge with the giant magnet--even in his sleep, he's giving it a thumb's up!

      When I started to boil the corn, I thought, "Wait, I haven't done this in years. Is it 5 minutes or 10? The Tubes will know!" And a Google search led to How To Cook Corn on the Cob dot com. It was the first link.'s about cooking corn on the cob! Pretty lame excuse for a domain name (and for content), but it's Google's first hit and whoever owns it gets income from the ads. So it's not really lame, it's kind of clever.
      Note: searches for "cook bacon" or "hard boiled eggs" do not lead to similar sites. Snag those domain names and here's your chance at web entrepreneurship!
      I'll bet is still available, too! Oh wait--some guy named Vicks just snagged it.

      The 2007 winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Awards.


      There's aYouTuber named Spockboy, and it may astonish you to discover that he does Star Trek parodies. There's a bunch of "Gag Reels" he's done on various episodes. All of them I found amusing (and short) enough to be worth watching, but my favorites are Shore Leave and The Immunity Syndrome, not least of which for the choices of music.

      I found out about Spockboy via Cartoon Brew, and yesterday they had the premiere of something I've been waiting for: Cartoon Dump. It's a look at the worst cartoons ever made, and I thought that it would like Mystery Science Theater 3000, what with the fact that one of the people doing it is from MST3K, "TV's Frank." And it was pretty dire. No MYSTing of the actual cartoon, just some framing skits that aren't just bad, they're so bad you feel sorry for the people doing them. And the cartoon was only funny up until the point it became clear that it was just some crappy old government-made thing for Phys Ed classes. Since it's the only the first of a weekly series, you could say that "They have nowhere to go but up!" Unless you've seen the Sci Fi Channel era MST3Ks, which every season kept finding new ways to hit bottom. But there's no reason to not give it a chance and watch it for a few weeks.




      I forgot to mention a coupla days ago a DDHAWT (Disgustedly Disfigured Human At Work Today). He had a wifebeater on to display his big biceps and his body art. It was about 150% the size of an index card, and said "GBGD" or something in letters over an inch wide. This would not be of note if it was a tattoo. Instead, the script was written in raised, massive scar tissue. How was it done? Branding? Everyone who saw it was repulsed, and said so--after he left the store, of course. Some prison or gang banger thing?
      30 years ago when piercing started to be seen among England's punks, I said that some day, when tattoos and piercings were too mainstream, people would start deliberately scarring themselves. Everybody thought that I was nuts. Not about the scarring, but that tattoos and piercings would ever be "mainstream."
      If you have a tattoo you regret, there's dermabrasion. What's this guy going to do, cut his fucking arm off and grow a new one?

      Life imitates the Onion: China tells Bhuddists to obtain government permission before they reincarnate.
      It'd be funnier if the self-proclaimed reincarnationees didn't "disappear" afterwards.

      Being Green is making global warming worse. Don't walk to the store--it's better for the environment if you drive! Why? Because the carbon you don't use by walking is more than offset by the carbon you use by replenishing the calories you just walked off by eating beef. I'm sure you just had the same reaction that I did: "And what if you don't eat beef?" I drastically cut my red meat intake 20 years ago, because I believed that you couldn't call yourself an environmentalist if you were contributing to Amazon deforestation and global warming by promoting the raising of cows for food. (This was back when talking about "global warming" was considered as insane as saying that "tens of millions of Americans will someday have tattoos in order to prove how 'individual' they are") What if most of your protein comes from poultry? It's too bad that the article starts out with that, as it ends with a list of ways that you may be harming the environment by using conventional wisdom to help it. I guess that you should choose plastic over paper.

      In other important news, Marvel Comics vs. Science: 5 of the Most Absurd Superhero Origins.

      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Thirteen, "BRIDGE TO ETERNITY." It's exit 3 off the highway. No, I said exit 3, exit 2 is the Bridge to Terabithia, and exit 4 is the Bridge over the River Kwai. If you've reached exit 5, you've gone a bridge too far. What, would it kill you to stop and ask for directions?
      Last time, in an inky blackness Lance or somebody else in a hat and suit fell into a blast furnace, instantly killing Lance! Or somebody else. All I know is that it wasn't Skipper, as the guy was wearing a Lance hat and suit, not a Skipper hat and sailor suit. So who is our side of blackened Cajun?
      It seems that the guy didn't so much fall in as deliberately on purpose with malice aforethought jump in, and just drop a few feet to the floor. While the fire rages in back projection, Lance hippity-hops in and captures--Skipper?! IT TOTALLY WAS NOT SKIPPER ON THE WAY IN! I call rip-off. And it wasn't Mephisto that "fell in the flames," but Higgins. No, I don't remember who he is, either. And "fell in the flames"? Since one just hops down onto a stage, I don't see how that would kill anybody anyway. But oh, pooor Professor Higgins! If only the rain in Spain had fallen on the flames! Wouldn't it be loverly if he survived? Instead, someone got him to the charnel house on time.
      After 13 flippin' chapters, Super Doctor Einstein Sherlock Brain Head Man Lance finds out that Mephisto uses a Transformation Chair to make himself all piratey'n'shit. How? Skipper tells him. They have quite the nice conversation at gunpoint, with Lance hoping to trade Skipper for Linda, "if you play ball with me." Skipper hopes it's not dodgeball, as the 4th graders are certain to kick his stinky butt.
      If you're wondering about the "trade for Linda" part, she was captured by a fucking bandana last time, which I guess is like Linda kryptonite.
      Meanwhile, back in New Dork City, Linda's dad AGAIN has the conversation about how he'll never complete the Super-Radio-Atomic Laser-Guided Smellovision DOOMdad for Mephisto. How many times is he going to have this conversation? How many times more before he realizes that every single time he has it, Mephisto's STANDING NEXT TO HIM? Dude, I would've learned before the first time it happened to look around the room before mouthing off. I have complaints about my boss, but it's not like I bark them to the world while sitting in his lap. But this time Mephisto has an ace up his sleeve, or at least a babe up his...wait, that didn't work. He has Linda! And she's restrained by--having her arms tied back! And not even with a bandana! And that...stops her?! Incontheevable! It's like stopping the Hulk by tying his shoelaces together.
      BANNER: You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. And wearing tight shoes.
      ARRRGGH! ME HULK NOW! Hulk no wear shoes, Hulk feet size of Mini-Coopers and smell like metric ton of old Fritos! ARRRGGHH!!! Hulk prefer Crocs. Now--Hulk have fun stormin' the castle! (excerpts from "The Princess Hulk," 1985)
      Linda seethes with anger as her pop agrees to finish his Nuklyar Missile Defense Shield and Pocket Fisherman. Dad is apparently most swayed by Mephisto's insistence that Lance is dead. Hey, didn't Lance declare Mephisto dead a scene ago? Maybe LANCE is Mephisto! Nah. Mephisto dresses like a pirate on the world's shittiest Mardi Gras float, but even that's a step above Lance's awful checkered suit. Mephisto goes to the Transformation Chair, and this serial would've lasted 3 episodes if they cut that same repetitive sequence out. Lance's plan is to drive around the island until someone calls him on the car's radio. As plans go, it's better than "sit on my 'rent's back deck, eatin' Doritos and smokin' a bone, hopin' Mephisto gets hit by a meteor," but not by much. It takes about 30 seconds for the plan to work. Mephisto is more than willing to trade Skipper for the incredibly hot mama he has in bondage, and I think that explains everything we need to know about Mephisto and Skippy's relationship. Skipper's an incompetent fuckup who's still trying to remember that guns work best when you point the part with the hole at the people you want to kill, but it's 1945 and Castro Street is decades in the future, and beggars can't be choosers. Skipper's not just a bottom, he's the bottom of the barrel. I think Mephisto could do better--just look at his fashion sense--but I guess that if you find that one guy who's willing to play "the Naughty Skipper and the Mean Old Pirate" every day, you stay with him.
      Mephisto orders Lance to go to the suspension bridge. Bridge, bridge...I seem to recall something about a bridge...Something bad...Ahh, whev, it probably wasn't important.
      Lance pulls up to the bridge, which is about as wide as the straps of Lindsay Lohan's shirt, and leaves Skipper in the car. Displaying a resourcefulness that he's exhibited never, Skipper writhes away from his ballgag.

      He forgets to turn his frown upside down. He looks less like Skipper than he does Thurston Howell the Third, realizing that no matter how long they're trapped on the island, Ginger and Mary Ann will never have sex with him, and he's stuck flaccidly putting it to Lovey, who is as sexy as a rosin bag.
      Apparently the gag was the only thing holding Skipper back, as without it he can wriggle his way to the front seat of the car and turn the radio on. With his nose. Possibly he wins a lot of bar bets with this talent. He still refers to Captain Mephisto as "CM" on the radio, because who'd figure that code out? Mephisto gags Linda and leaves. Look, the gag didn't work on Skipper Retardo, did it? Why would it work on Linda, a force of nature untamed? You dumb, Mephisto. You DAMN dumb. Why don't you tie her legs together with pipe cleaners while you're at it? You dumbass.
      Lance arrives at Mephisto's hideout, a comically goofy hillbilly shack straight out of Lil' Abner. Mephisto, master of subterfuge, hides behind the door, and Lance, shit of brains, waltzes right in. Mephisto could shoot him right now, but no! Turn around first! Ooh, Mephisto, you scalawag! Shooting him in the back! And POW! Mephisto reels! From a punch from our hero? No, Linda, bound and gagged, kicks a stool into his head! I SAID tie her feet, dumbass! He drops his gun, and when he reaches for it SPLAT! guess who gets a shapely foot smashed in his dumbass pirate fucking face? Dude! this serial would've lasted NO chapters if you'd only killed Linda first! She's not going to be your girlfriend, so stop deluding yourself and shoot her!
      Ho-hum, another fistfight. More busted furniture. SEEN IT. Only good part: they stumble into a Franklin stove, and it instantly disintegrates into its Ikea parts. No wonder you had 15 screws left over after building it! Of course, it builds to a raging inferno in half a second, while Lance and Mephisto knock over the bunk bed. I wonder who slept on the top bunk, Mephisto or Skipper. As the cabin is engulfed in flames, Lance saves Linda (that's a first!) and retrieves his gun. From the flaming maelstrom. Say what you want about Lance's lapses of judgement involving death traps, evil villains and checkered suits, you ain't grabbing no burning guns out of raging infernos and shooting them. Shit, I'd pick it up with BBQ tongs, dunk it in the toilet to cool it off, and then pick it up. Unless the toilet hadn't been flushed. Then I'd just stare at it. Man, I'd make an awful action hero. That's how Dirty Harry got his name. He was so tough, he wiped his ass with that .44 Magnum. "Do you feel lucky, punk? Did he just shoot 5 bullets or--oh , man. Wet fart. Let me just wipe a bit here and BANG! OH GOD MY COLON!"
      Lance frees Linda, and they escape the flaming Armageddony maelstromy infernoish--shit, I ran out of made-up adjectives. Damn you, Roget! Mephisto escapes across the spindly rope bridge, and Lance fires, his gun not even cooled off yet. Ka-PWING! the bullet ricochets off of the...wood? Is he shooting bullets, or just grapes? They chase Mephisto onto the bridge, and..."Bridge." I seem to remember something about a bridge...and I think it was bad...Nevermind. Lance fires, and hits Mephisto in the leg! It makes him stumble, then he races along the...bridge. Can't think of why that seems significant. Lance fires again, and hits Mephisto in the arm, and he keeps on going. Shit, he really IS shooting him with grapes! And not even the ones with seeds! Mephisto reaches the end of the bridge, and takes out his box cutter to saw the bridge down. Lance doesn't shoot, but at this point, do you blame him? Hopefully he can reload with some Bing cherries. Mephisto cuts through the twine holding the bridge, and Lance and Linda almost fall into the precipice. Then he cuts another bit of yarn! OH NO, Lance and Linda are dangling to their doom! Or, given how fakey they look, at least Ken and Barbie are. He then cuts another string, and they still don't fall. Linda even pivots away from the camera, so we don't even get a panty shot and HOW IS THAT FAIR?! He finally saws through the bridge's last Twizzler, and they fall to their DOOOM! Or possibly to Iceland, as that's exactly what a cloud behind them looks like:

      Land THERE, guys! Aim for Reykjavik! They have European health care and Bjork!!
      Next chapter: POWER DIVE TO DOOM, and unless they're diving into a sauna in Keflavik that's holding a Sugarcubes reunion...they are fucked.


      A coworker of 3 months didn't show for work for 3 days. He wouldn't answer his phone until the store manager called him from one that wasn't on his caller ID.
      Store Manager: "Why haven't you come to work?"
      COWORKER: "I'm in rehab."
      SM: "Why, are you on crack?!"
      CW: "Something like that."
      "Something like that..." Because there apparently are things more embarassing to go to rehab over than crack. What was it, baby brains? Adrenal glands from puppies that are still alive? Porn starring Rush Limbaugh?
      This is the third person to be fired for extreme substance abuse in 2 years! Although the first to be fired before being caught stealing. Man, I need to become a drug addicted thief, or I'll never fit in with the Cool Kids!


      Did you know that if you don't come to work without calling, that's called "job abandonment" and you can be fired? I did. I've fired people for that.
      Did you know that, after not showing to work for a coupla days, you say "I'm in rehab" your employer has to hold your job untl you get out, because they can't fire you for going into rehab? I didn't. Although I'll sure file that away for future use.


      I Netflixed The Tick vs Season Two, which came out Tuesday. Like the first box set, the 13 episodes aren't split evenly between the 2 discs. There are 8 on the first and 4 on the second. And, no, 8 plus 4 doesn't equal 13. Astute observation, old chum! Again, just like the the first set, one episode isn't included due to completely undisclosed reasons of "copyright infringement." The episode on the first was "The Tick vs the Mole-Men." I immediately wondered if the notoriously litigious Marvel Comics empire had stopped it. That would be just like them, despite what a cliched concept "Mole Men" was long before Marvel introduced their (multiple) underground races. I'm surprised that they haven't sued Canada for not paying royalties every time someone's attacked by a wolverine. This is the same company that copyrighted the word "superhero," and will sue the gamma rays out of anybody that dares to use it. (Except for DC, which somehow got a mutual copyright on the word. Y'know, in the same way that McDonalds and Burger King both sell the Big Mac, or how you can drive a Chrysler Mustang)
      And the episode this set's missing is "Alone Together," the parody of Galactus. HMM! What a coincidental trend! Is there some odd loophole in "fair use" that kept them from suing over Big Gun, the Punisher parody?
      Season Three is only 10 episodes long. Since "That Mustache Feeling" involves a guy who's a parody of Nick Fury, and the 2nd episode is "The Tick vs Dot and Neil's Wedding" and Marvel characters have gotten married, expect those to be gone too. The next set will be 5 discs, each including 4 minutes of one episode, "The Tick Extols the Virtues of Eternal Copyright."
      You might think that the owners of the Tick series would fight this ridiculous abuse of copyright, but the owners are Disney.
      I would like to point out that I just put the DVD in to see the first episode ("Little Wooden Boy!!"), and it's so Disney that it began with a trailer. For Underdog.


      The weather forecast for the next ten years: Scorching heat and light-to-heavy Armageddon.


      If it seems like all I do is sit around the house playing with the cats and watching movies...well, that's because I do. I put 200 miles a week on my ageing car, and although I'm lucky enough to live in the part of Connecticut that has the cheapest gas, I'm also unlucky enough to live in Connecticut, which has the most expensive gas in the USA, excluding that state that's in the middle of the Pacific. We also have the second highest electrical rates (after, again, a state in the middle of a fucking ocean). I'd be happy to leave the air conditioner off until I got home, but cats hate humidity. And when gas and electricity are expensive, so becomes everything else. And I have to pay for some stupid blood medicine just because "it will kill me if I don't." And it doesn't promise me immortality! I'm just putting off the inevitable! When I could be investing that money in black tar heroin! Ahh, sweet, sweet heroin.
      A coupla weeks ago, I saw a mention in a local free paper about a beer tasting, and not too far up the road from me. And it was on a Sunday! Everything else in the world happens on Saturdays, when I work from noon until nine. But the tasting lasted from 11AM to 2. I get out of bed at 11AM. If I wanted to see people drinking as soon as they got out of bed, I'd go to my job.
      This week I saw a mention of free roasted corn on the cob. From 11 to 2. Yes, the same place. It was a beautiful day, so I figured that it might be worth the drive. If there's a reward for living in southern New England, it's that month of dee-licious sweet corn. So I went to
the Coventry Farmer's Market. It's interesting that I can go from the suburban sprawl of Vernon to 2 towns over, and find myself in the middle of rural not-sprawl, where aluminum siding is something rich people have and there are hand-painted roadside signs that say "Perk up your Garden with MANURE." And that there's no town in Connecticut so rural that there won't be a Dunkin Donuts and an arena-sized CVS.
      I spent less time there than I spent driving there, and I'm counting the 5 minutes I spent waiting for my free roasted corn. The difference between roasted and boiled corn on the cob is that it's chewy, not crisp and really sticks to your ribs. No, not ribs, your teeth. Do not smile after eating the roasted corn! People will think you've just eaten the Yellow Pages. I had mine with lime and chipotle chili butter, as it sounded spicy, but it wasn't. Although it did have the ability to make a major stain on my shirt with only a drop. For the next 2 hours, I kept feeling oddly satisfied and thinking about that awesome butter. If the ears had been boiled as Gourd intended them to be, the Coventry police would've dragged me out a gutter hours later, drenched in butter and with teeth a solid raggedy yellow from masticated maize.
      It was a farmer's market, and it surprised me that there were all these farmers at the market. They sold locally grown fresh produce. Since my experience with vegetables is "turns furry or to liquid in the fridge," I only bought one thing. It will surprise no one who isn't reading this page after finding it from typing some random word explosion into Google that it was locally grown catnip.
      On the way back, I stopped at an antique store I used to frequent, back in the days when gas was cheap, and I had money to spend on goofy stuff and had one cat, and she didn't break everything. I wondered at what point you go from "lower middle class" to "poor." When you can't pay the monthly bills? I'm not at that point. But when the end of peak oil and gloal warming comes or the Chinese switch their trillions from dollars to Euros and then there's hyperinflation and the Greatest Depression, and the only way I can feed my cats is to shoot myself after marinating in tuna oil...Umm, let's worry about one thing at a time, okay? There wasn't anything I wanted to buy anyway. They had a nice presentation in one room. There were windows of bric-a-brac, covered in cobwebs. "Could I have a look at that antique withered mayfly?" The next window was all ceramic elephants, and a web with a giant live spider in it. "Can I see that one just below the black widow?" Elephants buried in cobwebs...Dubya's legacy.
      Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to visit my old store, The Liquor Zone. LTRotD may remember it from some of the earliest pics of Byron (the last pic contains an observation that really should've been my first clue that he was deaf). An old customer ran into me at my current job a few years back, and said that it'd been sold to someone who ran it just like I had. For two months. Then the shelves began to go bare. Two years later, the permittee is someone named "Patel." Two stores just up from my current job have been bought by Patels. It's either the Indian equivalent of Smith or Jones, or the same family is buying every damn falied liquor store in the state. It looked nice from the outside, as I didn't go in. It's Sunday, and CT liquor stores are closed, so if I went in, I'd need a brick.
      The kids loved their home-grown catnip. They licked it up with comically long tongues, then sat happily in the sun, doing nothing.
      And that was my Sunday off. Except for the "typing about it in a vain attempt to make it sound interesting" part.


      The Power of Marketing, or how to get people to think that Spam is "fresh" by slapping a parsley leaf in the logo.

      Manhunt of Mystery Island, Chapter Fourteen, "POWER DIVE TO DOOOOM." I added some extra Os to make it more dramatic.
      When we last left our intrepid heroes, Linda and Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp, they'd shot Mephisto twice before he cut through the suspension bridge (to eternity) they were on with his butterknife. "The Captain was here!" he doesn't sneer, "Always drink responsibly!" because Captain Morgan is always forced down by the responsible college freshmen. (Their newer slogan is "Put a little Captain in you!" which I'll bet the equally drunken sorority girl thinks while she's having sex with the frat boy) Linda and Lance, unfortunately, have a little Captain trying to kill them, and they fall to their DöööööM! which I spelled with umlauts this time as it's always scarier when you're being murdered by an 80s heavy metal band.
      And how does one survive a fall from the upper troposphere into a river less deep than the average plastic kiddie pool? To your D&&&&M?! which I spelled with ampersands this time because...umm, let's move on. You do it the same way you did when the giant sphincter cave wet-farted you out at 300 miles an hour a few episodes back. You splash, you swim away in water clearly shallow enough to stand in, and, if you're a well-dressed monkey-boy, you keep your hat on. Exactly the same way, as they even use the same footage they did in Chapter Nine.
      Lance and Linda, after having been nearly killed for 14 straight weeks now, are getting a tad pissed about it. They storm into Mystery Mansion and confront the only surviving suspects, Dumpy Old Guy, and his friend, Dumpy Old Guy. They shot the Captain in the arm, and he has a little lead inside him. Please shoot responsibly! Thus, anyone with a bullet hole in him is Mephisto! He was also shot in the leg, which should mean that anyone who's as mobile as Steven Hawking should be a suspect, but they leave that detail out. Dumpy Old Guy indignantly cries "I don't have to prove to anyone that I'm not a reincarnated pirate who goes around killing people!" I am so working that into every conversation I have from now on! Although I'll replace "killing" with "DOOMING" but with the Os replaced with smiley faces. I wouldn't want to freak people out. His friend and colleague, Dumpy Old Guy, adds "Or a murdering Jekyll and Hyde with the habits of a werewolf!" Or a stinky ol' mummy with the personal hygiene of an Elvis impersonator! (NOTE: This serial had six writers. Six! I think that for this scene, the 3 directors went around the room the writers were passed out in, and just kicked them until the least-drunk one woke up and staggered to the typewriter) Dumpy Old Guy shows his scar-free arm to Lance, and then Dumpy Old Guy shows his. It's like a methadone clinic at the nursing home! Meanwhile, that stupid knight mask on the wall opens up, and everyone's favorite kuckleknob Skipper shoves his face in.


      Some mysterious person transforms himself into Mephisto, as we have to see that same scene twice an episode. Mephisto brags about how confused they were when they saw he had no wound on his arm. Skipper says, "But I'm just as mixed-up as they are!" Skipper, buddy, the word you're looking for isn't "mixed-up" but "retarded." Mephisto says, "My dear Skipper! Can't you see that I LOVE YOU? This 'conquering the world' nonsense was but a ruse to win your heart!" and they embrace and then get married and open a popular seafood restaurant on Martha's Vineyard THE END. No, wait, that's how The Sopranos ended. Haha, how unbelievable would that be!
      Mephisto really says, "My dear Skipper! When I go through the transformation, the molecular arrangement of the blood corpuscles is soon changed, and any wound is healed immediately!" Well, that makes se
      --THE WHAT?
      You--you have this thing that REVERSES BULLET WOUNDS? And you use it to play PIRATE DRESS UP? Gee whiz, if memory serves, back in 1945, there was some thingamabob going involved bullet wounds, I'm sure, and began with "WW." "Wascally Wabbits"? No..."Weebles Wobble"? No...oh, I got it! WORLD WAR TWO. And you use this miracle machine in an attempt to steal the Nucleo-Radium Toaster Segway, and not make an automatic healer that has the only side effect of making you look like a pirate when you want it to? How many millions of lives could you have saved, and how many BILLIONS of dollars--and I mean 1945 dollars!--could you have legally made with this? What kind of fucking sociopath are you, Mephisto? Even Halliburton would've figured that out! I have lost ALL respect for you! And you know what? PIRATES DRESS LIKE FAGS, except WITH NO FASHION SENSE!!
      Well. I didn't want to say it, but I said it. And I'm glad. No. Look in the mirror! You're 38! Dressed like a pirate! Does that make you proud? And if it cures all wounds, what the hell's with that scar on your cheek? What about the wound you my heart?
      Meanwhile, back in the movie...Mephisto and Skipper go to the Old Fortress, which is on a scenic overlook of the ocean. On Martha's Vineyard, maybe? Linda's captured professor father has invented something. A "teletube." It says "UH-OH!" and carries a purse. There's also a television, which the professor calls "a television," which has a joystick. Before you can think "Oh boy, Centipede!!" we're told that the teletube needs to be attached to "the company plane." Oh boy, Time Pilot!! Mephisto naturally instructs Skipper to install it, much in the same way you might trust your car's brake job to a particularly dim badger by smearing raw meat on the pads.
      In the next room. Linda says, "There must be some way to find father! We know that Mephisto visits him, and so does Skipper!" Well, yes, there's that. And the fact that it's been established that they're in the next room, behind the stupid knight mask. "You've hit it!" exclaims Lance. "We also know Skipper's car! All we have to do is follow it!" It's already been established that the Skipmobile is like the Staten Island Ferry on wheels, except louder, so yeah, follow that. Or any dipshits wearing sailor man hats who walk around in public with pirates, there's that too. Maybe you could start your search on that island you're on, the one with 6 buildings and a population of the people in one mansion. Here's a sample question you might posit to the locals: "Mayhap you have seen a man dressed as Thurston Howell III and a pirate puttering down the road in the Exxon Valdez?" It may take a while, but it could jog someone's memory.
      "I'll take the car," says Lance, "you take the company plane!" Next shot: Skipper putting, in a strangely handy external hole, the teletube into the company plane. Then he drives off in his car, the Lusitania, and no one is the wiser. Until Professor Dad turns on the television, and it's reality TV: Linda's getting in the company plane! Before she can feel a fear factor and eat some worms, she takes off. Professor Dad refuses to operate the plane--oh, wait, I got it! Waaay back in Episode One, The Phantom Menace, Prof flew a little radio controlled plane! That's what they've been fighting over all this time! A drone plane! NOT a machine that cures fatal wounds while giving you a Halloween costume! Which is a good point for us to sit back and remember the classic words of George Bernard Shaw, "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!" FOURTEEN CHAPTERS, and it was all about flying a plane with a joystick?! Can't you wait until the 1980s and fucking buy Microsoft Flight Simulator?
      "Let ME operate the controls!" says Mephisto. "The worst I can do is crash it!" While that's a good summation of most people's first stabs at Flight Simulator, or Windows, it doesn't go over well with the guy whose daughter is flying the plane. (Let me desnark for a second, and point out that a female woman girl who is a lady is expertly flying a plane in a 1945 movie. When would there be another movie with such a capable and kick-ass heroine, 1978?)
      Dad takes control, using the TV camera that is now flying alongside the plane. It's a really good camera, OKAY?! Linda can't control the plane, and radios Lance. "I KNEW it!" says Lance about sending her up in the death trap. Lance would've said "I TOLD YOU SO!" to Mary Todd Lincoln after selling her those theater tickets. The serial takes great care to show that Lance hangs up his giant All-Day-Sucker car microphone in between calls to Linda, which is an interesting choice, as they don't bother with the rear projection showing his car apparently driving sideways.
      Despite all this, Linda spots Skipper's car--it's the only one in the parking lot with Leonard DiCaprio on the hood yelling "I'm KING OF THE WORLD!"--and Mephisto takes over the plane's controls. "It takes practice, you'll crash it!" pleads Dad, "And wipe out all my high scores!" Since Mephisto is a colossal dick, he decides to fly Linda so high that she'll pass out and, possibly, enter into a power dive of some kind, maybe even one of DOOM, which I spelled correctly but I want you to imagine is in the font of the old video game. He even shoots Dad's partner, a character so inconsequential I don't think I've mentioned him before, and he comically dies waving his arms around like he's the worst Charades player ever.
      Linda passes out, and in a scene that's truly exciting (I make the fun, but as I've said before, this is the best serial I've ever seen), Lance races to the fortress where she saw Skipper's Love Boat. He bursts in on Mephisto, and disarms him and Skipper instead of plugging the two bastards in between the eyes. He unties Dad, but looks away for half a second and FISTFIGHT! A brief one, as Skipper jams Lance into a harpoon! Oh, wait, for once in the serial, this room has no harpoon. Whew! Instead it's the joystick that controls Linda's plane OH FUCK THAT AIN'T GOOD! And Lance unintentionally puts it into the Power Dive of DUDE, She's So Dead. Linda wakes up just as the plane's about to crash, and she pulls it out of the Power Dive of DOO OH FUCK SHE DOESNT, SHE SCREAMS AND CRASHES IN A HUGE EXPLOSION AND FUCKING DIES AND I HATE YOU MEPHISTO STUPID PIRATE ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      There's one more chapter to go. And Linda had better not only be alive, but also riding a magic pony. That flies. And craps delicious toll house cookies.






      I usually drive 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. That's because when I was 16, a cop told me to. "The fine for driving 10 miles over the limit isn't worth the paperwork," he said, "and there'll always be somebody driving faster than that a minute later." And I guess it was true--I've driven past speed traps 10MPH too fast for decades, and the only times I've ever ended up with a speeding ticket were when I drove faster than that.
      Lately I found out that driving faster than 65 gives you a different monetary penalty. You use more gas, even in a small car like mine. I decided to try a maximum speed of 70, instead of 75, and I now get 10% better gas mileage! When you drive 200 miles a week to work, that adds up. And that's on top of my traditionally frugal gas useage (accelerate slowly, take your foot off the gas and coast before braking at stop lights). It's "only" saving me $2 or $3 a week, but over a year--well, if you found $150 lying on the ground, would you say "That's only $3 a week!" and leave it there?
      Which is a long way around to my drive to work today. A giant SUV raced by me at 85, maybe more. I only had enough time to read the vanity licence plate:
      "I WASTE"
      ...And proud of it!!



      Manhunt of Mystery Island, LAST CHAPTER (yes, that's how it's titled), "FATAL TRANSFORMATION." Which is a lot less lame than "FATAL GOBOT-IZATION" would be. Seriously--Rock Lords? Robots that turned into rocks? This is why there'll never be a 200 million dollar GoBots movie.
      Last week, Linda was in a plane that was performing a Power Dive to DOOM! Which I put in a blink tag, as that's the second scariest thing you'll see on the internet. Be thankfull that I didn't make it a pop-up ad with audio! She raced towards the ground, she screamed (for the first time in the serial), and the plane crashed into some trees and exploded. Bummer!
      This week, she opens her mouth to scream as the earth rushes up to greet her in the head, but Lance pops Skipper one in the kisser. Skippy goes down, pulling the power cord to the plane-crashing machine, thus giving the controls back to Linda. Are you rolling your eyes and saying "Oh, suuure he did!" now? Well, duct-tape your eyeballs before they roll right outta your head: Linda doesn't scream or crash the plane, she soars above the trees, so close that she knocks leaves off it. While I'm glad Linda survived--this is CHEATING! She screamed and crashed last episode! Was that supposed to be happening in some alternate universe, where Spock has a beard and it rains donuts?
      (Note: This serial has some pretty incredible special effects for 1945. I had to watch Linda's plane clipping the branches off the tree 3 times before I was sure that it was a miniature, and not a real plane.)
      Meanwhile, back at the melee, balsa furniture is busted at a prodigious rate. Lance pulls a gun out of his red baboon ass and opens fire on Mephisto and Skipper, who immediately run away. Lance could go and killify them, but Linda's dad Professor Whiny wants to be untied. Lance complies, as there's no way two crazed thugs might think to double back once he puts his gun in his back pocket. Dad calls Linda on the radio wireless thing the kids today all use, and you'd think that she'd be happy to finally know that he's okay. But she's exhausted from her ordeal. Or has just realized that he was kind of a drag before he was kidnapped. "Okay, Dad," she dramatically sighs, and you can hear her mentally adding "Whatever!"
      Linda takes the plane down in a Power Dive--to SAFETY! Dad's plan is to be taken prisoner by the dread pirate captain Mephisto--which may sound dangerous, but given his track record, it's like being taken prisoner by this icanhascheezburger LOLcat:


      At the mansion, Dad and Lance meet the only survivors of Mephisto's bloody rampage, Dumpy Old Guy and Dumpy Old Guy. One would think that after the amount of corpses, car crashes, bombings and plane crashes on this tiny island, the police might've shown up by now. But maybe Mystery Island doesn't have a donut shop. Dad guzzles the Dumpy Old Guys' free booze, and pretends that Linda is dead. Why? He has a teletube in his pocket! No, he's not just glad to see you, it's a remote TV camera. Is it the X10 spy camera? Christ, I hope not! Then it'd only show the inside of his pocket, and I really don't want to get that familiar with Dad's crotch. Instead, it shows him from across the room, in a way that's kinda...all "ignoring the actual laws of physics"-ey. It's in his pocket, but somehow bounces the image off the opposite wall and then back again? It's 1945, they didn't have cameras like that! They don't have cameras like that now! Know when they'll have cameras like that? NEVER!
      Dumpy Old Guy tells Dad, "I'll get you a stimulant ! You have a chill!" Oh no, he's getting him Viagra! He knows that's only a teletube in his pants! The other Dumpy Old Guy, Dumpy Old Guy, says "What you need is an aspirin!" Yeah, thanks, I've been held prisoner by a homicidal lunatic who dresses like he wants to be the next Muppet, my daughter's just barely escaped being killed for the fortieth time in 3 days, that Lance guy dresses like a red-assed baboon in a checkered suit, and y'know--maybe I want a stimulant a little more potent than a fuckin' Advil, pal. How about 20 tabs of E and a 50-gallon drum of Absolut Citron?
      As soon as they leave, we get yet another look at the knight's helmet on the wall, and Skipper looking out of it, and, crimeny, the directors really wanted to get the dollar's worth they spent on that. He grabs Dad at gunpoint, and Linda watches from her teletube vantage point, which is about 30 feet away and still not in her father's pants, thank god. Why, I remember Linda when she was just a glint in her father's teletube! Apparently, it also functions as a combined GPS and MapQuest, as Linda says "He's taken a right-hand turn onto Unknown Street! 500 feet until turn! 400 feet until turn! 399 feet until turn! Press button, at bottom of portrait, for secret doorway! 397 feet until secret lab! Take next left!" Lance tells Linda to fly the company plane to the mansion, because that worked so great 5 minutes ago, while he leaps out of his car and runs up the stairs. And...oh GOD, not the transformation sequence again!! Christ, I hope it really is deadly this time, because after seeing it 25 times it's certainly deadly dull. Lance surprises Skipper, and is in turn surprised by Mephisto, so PILLOW FIGHT! Oh, how the feathers fly and the fake furniture breaks! Lance gets kicked in the face, but it doesn't phase him, because seriously, have you seen his face? Mephisto grabs a handy saber, which is odd, as every other episode has involved a handy harpoon. Lance fights him off with a chair, but then Skipper knocks him down with a vase to the head! Lance falls but instantly recovers, as he is no stranger to vicious blows to the skull since the obstetrician dropped him on his head during delivery and good his brains be ever since then the jelly monkeys Margaret bowling pin! He pulls the rug out from under Mephisto, and I mean that literally, and then takes another 400 blows directly to the fucking face, slamming his brain to the back of the room and that never slowed down anybody with their brutal fly pies and Truffaut rickshaw jelly monkeys beret croissants! Then he fights Mephisto in a balsa sword duel to the DEATH his brain is fine for good now! JELLY MONKEYS!
      Lance and Mephisto continue their swordplay, despite all the brains Lance is leaking, until Skipper FINALLY finds the room's harpoon and throws it at Lance. Who dodges it in the same way that you'd dodge...well, I don't know. Something deadly that you dodge every day at work without any real fear of it hurting you. Like I dodge college kids with fake IDs, yeah! Harpoons are just part of Lance's workweek. When he applies for a job, he asks "Is there harpoon insurance?" Well, ask for "Being hit with a tiny piece of ceramics" insurance next time, Lance, as somehow Mephisto manages to beat him into submission with a Precious Moments figurine.
      Skipper wants to kill Lance with a --I have no idea what he's using, it looks like a giant can opener. But NO! Mephisto has a much more crafty and retarded plan! He'll turn Lance into Mephisto, as apparently the Transformation Chair only turns people into identical Mephistos, or Rock Lords. Then he'll send him out to be killed, or even Cy-Killed, and yes I'll stop with the GoBot jokes now, and pretend to capture him in his secret identity as Dumpy Old Guy! Then he'll eat some more paste.
      Actually, his stated plan is to "Dress him in my costume!" first, so there will be this point where Mephisto and Lance will both be naked and one will be dressing the other and LA LA LA I CAN'T HEEEAR ME!!
      I'm sorry. I had to run out of the room and dunk my head in a bucket of ice water. Linda, gun in hand, has raced to the scene. She opens the door, notices something is wrong, and then realizes that there's a harpoon stuck in it. Hilariously, her reaction is "Shit! Another harpoon! We need to spray for those!" and she ignores it. Meanwhile, some guy dressed as Mephisto groggily wakes up in the Transformation Chair, stumbles into the room, and Linda, clearly thinking "You're not gonna throw a harpoon at me! I'm sicka that shit!" shoots the pirate right in the middle of his dead man's chest. Despite surviving multiple previous shootings, Mephisto goes down like a sack of doubloons. To quote Die Hard: "Yo-ho-HO, motherfucker!"
      In walks Dumpy Old Guy and Oh My GAWD that was LANCE she shot or some shit!! Linda becomes worried--"Look at this room, there's been a fight!" Why do you think that? The fact that it looks like a balsa wood scrap yard? "Something's happened to Lance! Something dreadful!" What, besides his moms having sex with a gorilla? Or him being so poor, he can only afford that one checkered suit? Unless he looks like a monkey in a checkered suit that also randomly explodes, I'm not sure what you're driving at.
      And who should walk in now but a monkey in a checkered suit! Lance is ALIVE and I know that you're yawning in a vague feeling of relief! Seems that after he was beaten unconscious, he woke up and beat Mephisto unconscious, possibly using a set of Franklin Mint Elvis plates, leaving Captain Morgan to wander around drunkenly and get gutshot by Linda. So, after all this time, we find out that Mephisto was really Dumpy Old Guy! WOW! And all this time, I had my money on Dumpy Old Guy! Shows what I know!
      Dumpy Old Guy gives Dad a document that "hands over all of Mystery Island's vast deposits of radium-bearing pitchblende!" Dad says, "Thank you, Dumpy Old Guy! This assures the success of my radioatomic power transmitter!' assures that you've all spent the entire serial standing on a RADIOACTIVE PILE OF DEATH, and that you'll all be pissing blood and losing hair in clumps soon. This makes Linda scream! Although I suppose that it'll be edited out of this episode, too. But it's not the thought of a lingering death from radiation poisoning that makes her scream--it's the servant, coming out from the secret passageway with a mop! He was cleaning the secret passageway! That thing must be full of spider webs. You know, everyone wants a secret passageway, but who ever thinks about the upkeep? They all laugh, and Lance turns to Linda and tenderly says "Jelly monkey."
      And, yes, that's it. Manhunt of Mystery Island, she is over.


      I don't know if anyone cares, but the end of Manhunt of Mystery Island isn't the end of my blogging of serials. I'll do at least one more, if I can get it cheap enough on eBay. It's a serial I was tempted to buy when I worked at Sam Goody 15 years ago, mainly based on the goofy title. I looked it up on IMDB, and was pleasantly surprised by a number of coincidences between it and Manhunt. Since I don't own it yet, that's all I'll say, except that there's one thing it's not said to have in common with Manhunt: It sucks. Which makes it all the better for my purposes.
      Manhunt, as I've said before, was really very good, for a serial. The direction was solid, the acting competent (excluding Skipper, unless he thought that he was in a zombie movie). Linda's role was remarkable, as she was a woman who killed more bad guys than anyone else, and the serial would've ended at Chapter One if not for her continual successes re: Lance's bacon and fires. And it was presented without comment. There wasn't a single scene where somebody said "But a woman can't do that!" and she then proved them wrong. No, she just proved them wrong.
      Why was she not allowed to be short? Because she clearly was. She wore these huge wedge-shaped clogs throughout the movie. They weren't girly-girl high heels, as she spent most of the serial running around, so they must've only been because she was short. Was it just easier to frame the shots in the rushed production if she was nearly as tall as Baboon Boy? I'm guessing she was in the 5'2" or so range, and Lance was average for the time, like 5'7" or 9". That's not a huge height difference. I wonder why it was worth the bother of making her those special Birkenstocks. So, big deal, she's like Dawn Wells short--and that's not short, that's just HOT!
      There was the utter and complete ridiculousness of the plot. Why would you invent a machine that only makes you a pirate, and one specific pirate to boot? Say you were going to rob a bank. Would you dress as a pirate? If you follow sites that list dumb news stories, like Obscurestore, This Is True or News of the Weird, you've heard of the recent crook who tried to disguise himself by duct-taping tree branches to his head, or the one who tried duct-taping duct tape to his head (which makes me think of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and the early scene where he Scotch tapes his face and goes "AUUGHH!" to the bathroom mirror). Do you think that those disguises made them harder to catch, or easier? Do you think that dressing as a gay pirate would make it harder for them to be caught? I originally thought that since all the suspects were direct descendants of Mephisto, maybe it was some Atavism Machine that worked via ancestry. Doesn't explain why they wanted to turn Lance into Mephisto, though. Of course, the whole reason they were even using this deranged technology was to get their hands on a device that remotely controls planes, although how you could rule the world with that was never explained. Most schemes to conquer the planet don't sound like they came from the Hobby section of Radio Shack. Why not invade with an RC scale model of a monster truck?
      I didn't get much feedback on Manhunt, so if anyone found it a waste of their reading time (and thus my typing time), please say so. These things will cost me money now. I was hoping to get another free one from the same guy who gave me Manhunt, Ivan at TDoY, as he had another giveaway. I didn't get it. As Ivan said:I sabotaged my chances by blogging it! Insult to injury, those people clicked through the first time he linked to me, and then never again. I didn't even gain any readers.


      Back in my Geocities days, I needed storage for a Jen White MySTing. I gave it a front page, as Geo required those. It was some blather supposedly by a guy in the Eastern European country of Yamsylvania, a country that had nothing going for it except for its sweet potatoes. Pretty goofy to think that Eastern Europeans would have that high a regard for its tubers!
      "You've won the Super Bowl! What are you going to do?"
      "I'm going to--POTATOLAND!"
      It's a Small Spud After All.

      I haven't done a Review the Reviewer post on Somebody and Roeper in a bit. My money's on Ebert's replacement being--ta-daaah!--the guy who got Siskel's job at the Chicago Tribune, if for no other reason than they don't have to fly him in every week. I'm sure that's how Roeper got the job, what with him not even being a film critic and all. It was a travesty of justice, much in the same way I've never been made the coach of the Swedish Bikini Team.
      There was a Rex Reedy kinda guy a coupla weeks ago. When he started talking, he waved his right wrist in front of the camera--hey, that's a really expensive watch! I thought. Then he gave first Thumbs Up, and, hey. Expensive watch you got there. Then I kept noticing his watch. I keep mine on my left wrist, but I dunno, maybe lefties keep theirs on the right, facing the camera. Hmm, I also keep my watch under my shirt sleeve, not out of both it and my suit jacket. And there it is again! Dude--you sure love you some watch, huh? It's almost like you wanted it to be front 'n' center all the time. Dude--you're freakin' me out. I was half-expectinng to hear the news story "Richard Roeper has been found strangled with a Rolex. A costumed supervillian calling himself 'The TIMEKEEPER' has claimed responsibility. Roeper's show will now be taken over by a recent guest host. His watch is really nice."
      This week's show began with Roeper saying, "In the seat opposite me isn't Roger Ebert, but he has something in common with him, and it's not his shoes!" It immediately struck me as a weird thing to say, especially as Roeper has had to face years of comments saying that he's not fit to fill Siskel's shoes. My next thought was that it'd be even weirder if the guest host was a fat old guy with glasses, probably see where I'm going with this. The other thing they had in common was "They both have won the Pulitzer Prize!" I've grown to not hate Roeper like I used to, but the only prize he's got a shot at is the Crackerjack. At least he didn't add "One thing Roger doesn't have in common with him is a jaw!!"
      I liked the guy. He was very articulate and quick, although at the start, he didn't look at Roeper or the camera when responding, but at some vague spot 10 feet away hovering above the floor. He stopped doing it after the first break, so maybe the director said something to him.
      I wouldn't mind him becoming the New Guy, but again, I think they'll think about their budget and go with the guy who takes a taxi to the studio and not a 727. He's okay, as he's at least an actual film critic, but for the show to go from 2 great critics to a great critic and some dude with minimal experience in film, to an okay critic and the guy who for years hated all anime for the deeply-thought-out, love-of-the-cinematic-arts opinion "I don't like how big they draw their eyes"...
      But who else is there to watch? Michael Medved?



      I entered a $1 bill I found at work into, and here was the last person to do so's comment:

"It seems to be like about 20 years old.
Not to used.
I go it from at the post mall.
A girl gave it to me.
It has no holes or cuts.
It looks like all the other bills"

      Sheer poetry.

      Sign you are the mother of a toddler: While shopping in a liquor store with your 2-year-old in tow, you find out if there's a bathroom you can use by asking "Is there a potty?"

      I won the auction for the next serial!
      I paid $12.49 including shipping, which is not bad for a 2-disc set. I assume, anyway; the seller has a 100% rating for 852 auctions, so the DVDs can't suck that badly.
      I paid for it after 20 minutes of trying to pay for it. PayPal claimed "This account has been permanently locked with a $0.00 USD balance. All information associated with this account has been blocked from the PayPal system and cannot be registered with another account." What does that mean? It didn't say, nor list a way to find out. After some finagling, I was able to pay using a different credit card and my old Hotmail address. And I was waiting for Hotmail to time my account out, due to the unbelievable amount of spam they let through. No matter how many times I flagged emails beginning with "Confirmation dept." as spam, they always let them through. Guess that now I'm stuck with logging in once a month forever if I want to use PayPal.
      The serial? As I mentioned, I remembered it from its goofy title, and then found out a few similarities between it and Manhunt on Mystery Island:


      I don't know when I'll get it--hopefully by Labor Day. And I'll do it weekly, just like serials were meant to be watched.
      Unfortunately, it doesn't have the same writers or directors, so we'll have to see if Linda's portrayed as another ass-kicking henchman-destroyer, or if she just screams a lot. The serial doesn't have a very good reputation.
      Which is surprising, as it's titled The Purple Monster Strikes. Does it star Cookie Monster's healthier cousin, the one who only eats eggplant?


      A couple of funny webtoons from the earlier years of the net, by This Modern World's Tom Tomorrow. The first will be of special interest if you're an Ed Wood fan, the second if you're a fan of the 60's version of Batman.


      Just read: The Ignorant Armies by E. M. Halliday, published originally in 1958. It's about a little known incident, when the American army invaded Russia and fought a war to destroy Communism. Your initial reaction to that may be the same as mine was: "When we did what?!" Yes, Amercan soldiers once killed, and were killed by, Soviets on Russian soil.
      It began at the end of World War One. Large quantities of Allied arms and ammo had been sent to aid Russia before the Bolshevik revolution, and these would surely fall into the hands of the Germans! Somehow; it really wasn't clear that the Commies wanted to join the Germans, since the revolution had largely been inspired by Russia's disastrous defeats at the hands of the Germans. But the British were convinced of this, and also wanted to reopen the eastern front against Germany to draw their troops from France. An Allied expeditionary force was created to seize the far northern Russian port of Archangel. American president Wilson agreed to send a few thousand American soldiers to protect the supplies and the local population from the Bolsheviks, and do nothing else.
      Unfortunately, they were under the command of a British general and the American ambassador, both of whom were obsessed with destroying the less-than-year-old Communist regime. They ignored Wilson's orders, and planned on marching on Moscow and overthrowing the Reds. That they believed they could accomplish with five thousand troops in 3 months what Germany had failed to do with a million men in three years should give you an idea of how insane the expedition was from the start. That, and the fact that the invasion came in mid September--it gets a bit cold in the Arctic Circle that time of year. But that's why they sent a green American regiment from Michigan, as it gets cold there, too, in the winter! Although I think that Detroit in January doesn't get 3 hours of daylight, or have the temperatures drop to 30 below zero for months.
      There were almost as many British troops as American, but the Brits hunkered down in Archangel and left the fighting to the Yanks, some battle-hardened French units, and a single company of Canadian artillery (who were the decisive factor in every successful battle). But it was the British who were in charge. It wasn't exactly like hiring Michael Vicks as your pet sitter, but the British weren't risking the lives of their men with their impossible plan. They went to war with the free army they had. And why did they think that it would work? Because...sigh...we'd be greeted as liberators, and the average Russian secretly hated the Commies and would embrace democracy. They form an anti-Soviet army, bust the Bolshies, and spread democracy throughout Russia.
      No one knew what the mission really was. The reasons for intervention kept changing. Supposedly they were to reopen a front against the Germans, but the first really brutal battle was called "The Battle of Armistice Day," because it happened on 11/11/1918, the day WWI ended. And that didn't stop the Neocons--sorry, the British--from insisting that the krauts were behind the Russian revolution. One officer claimed as proof the Germans were masterminding it was that the Commies knew how to use machine guns, much in the way that Bush claims that IEDs must be made in Iran, because Iraqis are too fucking stupid to make them. Despite them being "months away" from a mushroom cloud over New York before the war. Another British officer insisted that all the Soviet commanders were Germans who looked and dressed and spoke Russian to the point where they were indistinguishable from actual Russians, not unlike "Al Qaeda in Iraq."
      The Brits didn't find the local government anti-Bolshie enough for their tastes, so they overthrew it and stuck in a guy who hadn't been in Russia for years, so they even had their own Ahmed Chalabi. However, the coup went over so poorly with the locals--why, it almost seemed as if the invaders didn't care what the people of the country wanted!--that they had to de-coup the next day, with the ship taking the ex-mayor to exile turning around and bringing him back. But he was more interested in proclaiming proclamations than ruling, and so the British ran everything anyway. They and their troops stayed in their version of the Green Zone in "gala Archangel," with its Tsarist aristocracy throwing expensive balls and letting the Americans, French and Canadians fight the war, while they trained a local Russian force to sigh take over at some vague point in the future. The Allies would stand down as the White Russians stood up!
      But incompetence abounds. The Americans are sent to northern Russia, and their equipment is sent to France. Their winter boots have no soles, so any march in the packed snows means falling down a lot. They get snowshoes, but when used in the powdery snow of north Russia they sink the wearers waist-deep in the Big Snowy. The rations they're given are meant for troops that sit in forts all day, not soldiers forced to march in subzero cold with full packs, and malnutrition sets in, while huge quantities of supplies end up on the black market in Archangel. The American commanders tend to be cowardly desk jockeys who run when combat starts, and can't even be bothered to show up at their troops' funerals. The British, with a few exceptions, are incompetent. One grand attack fails because a column of troops never gets the order to move--their commander is passed out drunk most of the time. All it needs is Halliburton. Or a Surge! Oh, wait, there was one! At the very end, as the French begin to mutiny, and American morale is so low over a war without purpose that they might join them, a "rescue expedition" is formed from a British volunteer army. Their only purpose is to relieve the fighting troops long enough that they can escape Russia! Eight thousand sign up, not knowing that the real reason is to replace the Americans on Moscow and destroy the Commies. AGAIN. Because if it didn't work with 4000 men, it's bound to succeed with 8000! And it doesn't. (Mastermind of this brilliant stroke of non-genius: Winston Churchill) When popular opinion in England turns against that lie, retreat from Russia finally happens. The British, to their credit, offer to take up to 16,000 White Russians out with them. The commander of the pro-Tsarist army that the British created responds by ordering that any male between the ages of 19 and 54 who tries to will be shot. He needs those draftees for his own march on Moscow. When the Allies finally abandon Archangel, his army goes off to battle--and promptly deserts, either to the Reds or just to run home and pretend they never were involved with the Allies. And when the city is about to fall to the Soviets, who's on the last boat out? That Tsarist general and all the loyal cronies that supported the occupation. It's like that photo of the last helicopter out of Saigon in 1975, with the American onboard punching a Vietnamese guy trying to get on in the face. What will the last picture from Baghdad look like, when we finally admit that we started a war we couldn't win?
      Remember, this was written in 1958. My copy is a reprinting from 1964. I wonder when that year it was published, before or after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the full entry of America into the Vietnam War. Given the amount of copies available on Amazon, it might've been seen as a cautionary tale even then.
      The book is very good. It's not a dry recititation of statistics, but a fascinating account, told from first-hand interviews. There's a lot of detail of how it was to live and fight in this extremely hostile environment. I found the chapter "The Way It Was" to be the most interesting, as it simply and evocatively described life for the soldiers and the Russian peasants they lived with and befriended. Unlike Vietnam or Iraq, this was a war fought by uniformed soldiers with front lines, and not an insurgency. The Americans were quite well-liked by the Russians, as opposed to the Brits, who issued a manual on dealing with the locals that described them as having the mental and emotional faculties of toddlers, and the Bolshies as ravening, subhuman beast-men. (The British commander described their attitude to the "foreigners," without any irony, as "kindly contempt")
      There are also amusing moments in the book, as the author has a dry sense of the absurdity of it all. A bloody battle looks like it will end in a massacre if reinforcements don't arrive, but communications with Archangel are so bad they don't know if the message got through--and when they get a reply, at the height of the bloodshed, it's a peevish demand that the troops provide a receipt for a dozen scarves. A guy straight out of a comic opera appears, claiming to be the leader of a new republic of Russia he made up, and insists on giving the British commander a fake medal. Two weary American soldiers sit down on a snow-covered log, and it's that aforementioned drunken British officer, passed out in the snow.
      The author says that he won't express an opinion on whether the mission was a good idea or bad, but it's pretty obvious what he thinks: American soldiers fought bravely against impossible odds in the harshest environment humans can tolerate, but too many people died in a meaningless war that accomplished nothing, except to delay the inevitable end result of a civl war in a country that was no threat to us--until we invaded. Americans may not know about the war, but the Soviets never forgot, and never forgave. The Cold War didn't begin in 1945, it began in 1918. While the end result was the collapse of Communism 70 years later, there was a long period where it could've ended in thermonuclear war. It poisoned our relations with our greatest enemy for generations. What whirlwind will we reap from Iraq?
      Almost the only British officer in the war who gains respect is the replacement commander, the aptly-named General Ironside. He removed incompetent commanders, ran the occupation fairly and with respect to the Russians, visited the front at great personal peril, and withdrew the weary troops to safety in what could've been a bloody rout. After this misbegotten war, he was sent to another failed imperialist occupation against another unwilling population. "It seems that I have become a specialist in retreat," he said ruefully, and withdrew those troops from an unwinnable war.
      In Iran.
      Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.--George Santayana


      Byron was rescued at the tender age of 2 weeks and taken to Bolton Vet. Five weeks later, he joined my household. At 6 months, he went in for his neutering. For boys, that's usually snip-snip and now you go home. But he had an undescended testicle, so they had to cut him open, and they kept him overnight. It was the second time is his life that he woke up in a cage at Bolton Vet with his family gone, and that freaked him out. He's afraid of almost nothing except seperation. It took him 2 years before he'd even sleep in a room alone from either me or Kill Kill. And he decided that "go to vet = never see family ever again." When he went to the vet 3 years ago, he tried to kill everyone in the room, starting with me.
      And guess where he went today. I hoped that after 3 years he'd have forgotten what the vet was, or at least remembered that he went home after 30 minutes.
      No such luck. As soon as I opened the car door to go in, he started growling. Then he started hissing. The vet tech's worried first words were, "Has Byron gotten any calmer since last time?" I really hope that they still don't remember him from 3 years ago, and they were just looking at his chart (KIllsy's chart prly has a big smiley face on it; his, a skull and crossbones). He began to go insane when I loosened the cat carrier's lid, swiping at me and yelling. When the vet came in, the bloodcurdling howling began. "The last vet to see him recommended tranquilizers," said the current vet, and that's really not something you need to tell when they can't do it. She wanted to "tank" him and then keep him overnight and oh FUCK no, he's not staying overnight at the vet. EVER AGAIN.
      She ended up just giving him the shots he was due for. I pointed out that the postcard they sent me said he needed a--hang on, it's a lot of random consonants--"FVRCPC-1 year" shot, while Killsy's card said she was getting the 3 year. I've dreaded this visit for 3 years, and sure as hell don't want him to go through it any earlier than he needs to. And we won't, at least until 2010. And I'm sure that it will be just as horrible, horrible then as it was today.
      When he got home, I let him out of the carrier at the bottom of the stairs, and just like Killsy, he ran up 3 flights in about as many seconds. Inside, she always goes from room to room, apparently to make sure none of the furniture has been stolen, then eats, then sleeps. Byron paused a few seconds inside the door, then ate right way. Then he played, including taking some time to bat shut the door on the carrier. "Stupid carrier! I HATE YOU!!" Although everything was clearly right in his little world, it was 3 hours before he napped.
      I'm very glad that I have 3 years before I have to worry about "tanked and staying overnight" question.

      This week on Review the Guest Reviewer and Roeper, it's the return of THE BALD ANDROID. Too perfect in look and speech, never fazed by the yappings of the pathetic Hu-Man, as shaved bald as Yul Brynner's CowBot in WestWorld, where absolutely nothing can go wrong! go wrong! go wrong!...
      Man, I don't like this guy. I kept waiting for him to drop his human guise and pop his false eyes from his head and shoot lasers, while Transforming into Cineasteous Prime, using the fat rendered from his Hu-Man victims to wax his forehead.
      Noticably missing from this week's show: thumbs. Yes, the show's trademark was gone. Not a single thumb was shown, up or down. Is it because--BALD ANDROIDS HAVE NO THUMBS? Does it disturb their sleep, and their dreams of electrically shorn sheep?

      Speaking of reviews, my decidely human thumb (GO SAPIENS!!) is up for The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. It's a parody of old 50s sci-fi movies, and perfectly treads that line between satire and loving tribute. There's no way that they could get so much right about the genre without enjoying it enough to watch those old movies. If you aren't familiar with those films, you may not get the jokes. At one point, there are several random shots of squirrels. You'll either scratch your head or laugh, knowing it's a nod at the tendency of the no-budget movies of the time to insert stock footage of animals. There's another shot of a special effect (although, in this case, it's more of a "Special Ed-fect," if you get the gist of my nub) of a spaceship landing. The heroes comment on it, and the effect starts back earlier than the last shot of it ended. You'll get it, or you won't. Just like the deliberately wooden dialogue that no human would ever speak outside of a 50s sci-fi movie:

      (More like that on IMDB)
      The plot is about a 3-way race to find a meteor of Atmospherium, equally useful for Science (you'll hear that word more times in this film than in your entire previous life put together) as it is for alien rocket ship fuel or, I dunno, reviving lost skeletons. That are telepathic, and I wish that more people saw this movie, so that I could intone "NOW I SLEEP!" like the skeleton does when he wants a conversation to end.
      There's a deadly mutant monster with a soft spot for blondes, an animal transformed into a black-leotarded femme fatale--actually, not from an animal, but from 4 seperate woodchucks--who growls "Rowr!" phonetically a lot. My favorite are the aliens, who have advanced so far beyond our puny Earth science that they've effectively become idiots. If you or I, with our mighty technology, were transported 200 years into the past and told to run the cotton gin or spinning wheel, we'd be flummoxed. Just like how the aliens don't know what "stairs" are, and are stymied when the doors don't open automatically because on their planet, Marva, which is the planet from which they came from, they've evolved beyond doorknobs.
      The Netflix rating was right in the middle, meaning that for every person who loved it, there was another who hated it. My non-android thumbs-up is based on the fact I got the joke, and if you haven't seen a lot of 50s monster movies, you may want to skip it. The trailer can be seen here in a tiny window, so that you may make up your feeble mortal mind!
      As an alternative, rent The Lookout. It made a lot of critics' years-best lists, despite making no money. It was also very good, although not very funny.
      Now I sleep!








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