Boil That Dust Speck!

NEW 91

"Oh, what a goofy work is man!"
- -The Tick


      This week, I have that rarest of occurances in the retail world, a three-day weekend, hooray! Next week, I get something less rare, a one-day weekend, boo. So I made myself a vow to squeeze every last iota of fun out of this weekend. And I started off by--going grocery shopping!
      And then I watched Roeper and Some Guy! It was the Bald Android for a second week, and, again, no thumbs were shown. And then I sorta ran out of things to do...
      Wait. That's what I do every damn Sunday! Maybe I dropped some fun iotas behind the couch...?
      I found some copies of the Rockville Reminder, a free and ad-filled local flyer that usually goes straight into the recycling. But since I found that it also has a crossword puzzle, I did that. And if you're thinking "This guy's life is so lame, he's doing crossword puzzles!" you're the one reading about him doing crossword puzzles, Professor of Lameness PhD. (Does insulting your readers get you more hits? I hope so, DOCTOR SMELLY!)
      But there was a review in it of an Indian restaurant near me, and like every other review of it I've read, it loved it. It's been there about ten years, and I've never gone. Which is pretty stupid, because when I say it's "near me," I walked to it.
      It's a half a mile and a beautiful day, so why not? And it was a walk full of WIN! All these years I've hiked state parks, staring at the ground looking for feathers for Byron to play with, and I found the most in the shortest time right outside my condo. Two were huge, one from a hawk and another a crow, and when presented to the little lunatic, he was ecstatic. I've no idea why he stops and meows loudly while playing with them, looking at nothing in particular, unless that's cat for "WHEE!"
      Most of the reason I've never been to the restaurant is that I'm too cheap to eat out. But it also has the least imaginative name for an Indian restaurant ever--quick, think of something famous in India! Yes, it's called the "Taj Mahal"! (Although if you said "Bollywood!" you get film geek points) It also resides in a tiny strip mall, and if it looks like a convenience store from outside, it's because it used to be one. Part of the reason I walked rather than called in an order is that the site doesn't explicitly say that the take-out menu is the same as the regular one, and also claims that the store is open on Mondays from 11 to 10, except that it's also closed Mondays. Maybe take-out came with a free side of "tire iron to the face." I think by now that might've turned up in the reviews, but why risk it?
      It was very nice inside, although small. There was seating for maybe a hundred, but it was only as wide as a Wah-Wah Food Mart (which it once was [do you know why Wah-Wah Food Marts never established themselves permanently in CT? Because they were called Wah-Wah, which sounds like a place where you go to whine about the price of your Slurpee]). It was dominated by a table with seating for eighteen. There was only a party of six when I got there, and I ordered the bread basket, because even someone who knows nothing about Indian cuisine like me knows that they make the good breads. I wandered outside while they made it, passing a pet salon with two signs reading "TURN AROUND: No Doggie Droppings Area Ends" which isn't anything I've seen before. Then I returned and sat for a few minutes while they finished my order, and the Indian party talked. I'm not one of those "It's AMURIKA, speak INGLITCH!!!" types. Maybe it comes from living in the state with the most Puerto Ricans that it doesn't bother me. Maybe it's because I'm not a racist retard. Getting pissed because someone who lives here doesn't perfectly speak your language, when you don't speak theirs at all, is like complaining about someone's spelling when you can't read. Maybe it comes from the fact that Spanish and Hindi sound quite melodious, whether I can speak it or not. I might want someone to speak English Only if they were German or Russian, as those languages are about as melodic as someone getting the Heimlich every other word. (I imagine that Germans and Russians think Americans talk like our vocal cords are in our noses)
      The bread basket had, let's see, (note to Taj Mahal: printing your menu in black ink on a dark red background makes people go blind) Garlic Naan, Aloo Naan, Gobi Naan, and Poori. The last is like a light, puffy version of fried dough, with the minor distinction that it's not disgusting. I ate it first, as it was on top (these were all flatbreads, and stacked in the carryout bag). The next was, I guess, Gobi Naan, as it has no description on the menu and was the only one topped with food and not stuffed. It was the size of a small pizza, and where in the Most Expensive State in the Union Excluding the One that's an Island could you get a small pizza and 3 other loaves of bread for $6.95? I am by no means a foodie, but this was great. Spicy and garlicky and also a bit sweet and fruity (made with yogurt, maybe?), and I'm glad that I asked for Medium Spice. It wasn't spicy on the lips (like bad buffalo wings), and only spicier on the tongue (like good Mexican), but it was super spicy in my stomach (like nothing I've had before). A nice, contented fire in the belly. Three hours later and I can still feel the seratonin flowing.
      I still have two and a half loaves to go. I should have admitted I was a n00b to Indian food and asked how one reheats these things. Do I put them in the oven and get them as shriveled and dried out as Cheney's soul, or do I microwave them and get them as soft and squishy as Bush's brain?
      Wow. After that last pair of metaphors, I'm no longer hungry!


      I'd have to say the dumbest thing I heard from a job applicant was the guy who started off with, "I know I'm really late, but I'm so hung over!" Points for honesty, but that was the end of the interview. I should add that it was 2 in the afternoon.

      Those naan loaves I bought yesterday were a fantastic bargain. They don't just taste great, they're so filling that I'll probably get 4 meals out of them. And I was able to find out how to reheat them, which I will recount here, as every other search result was for a CD titled "Reheated Naan and Curry":

      Thanks for those highly precise directions! It would probably take me a long time to reheat them in a cold oven!

      In other food news, due to the upcoming Beijing Olympics, restaurants in China will no longer be allowed to serve "The temple explodes the chicken cube."

      Movie last rented: Hellboy, which I saw in the theaters. It was the lone trailer on Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, for some reason. I believe that they had slightly different budgets. I'd recently been blown away by director/writer Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, so I decided to watch it again. I had the same reaction: lots of unf, umm I mean fun, but I'm pretty that typo is accurate, as probably someone says "UNF!" during the fight scenes. Looks great, and never descends into camp or self-parody even though it doesn't take itself that seriously (such as a battle with a slathering dimension-crossing demonspawn, in which Hellboy has to protect a box of adorable kittens). The finale could've been better. It's almost like there was a final scene that they forgot to film; the movie doesn't have an ending so much as it just ends. All four villians are defeated with a strange rapidity. Especially Kroenen, one of the weirdest villains ever, a combination of a century-old semi-alive Nazi and a Ginsu knife set, with dust for blood and a wind-up clockwork heart.
      But forget that. It's a great popcorn movie, and it has Evil Nazis, Cthulhu (acting under a different name), and KITTEHS. Also pancakes. And the DVD, for reasons as unknowable as the distant stars in the heavens, includes several Gerald McBoingBoing cartoons.
      There are a couple of DTV Hellboy cartoons available, voiced by the same actors, and a live-action sequel next year, apparently with del Toro helming again. Don't think I'm going to miss that!


      Hey, guess what came in the mail today!

      The Purple Monster isn't very purple, although he does seem to be a loyal Mary Kay customer. Note that the artist wisely left the hero out of the picture, because LINDA is in this! But will she be some flakey get-captured 1945 screamer, or Lindarr the Barbarian, Gutter of Henchmen, who we came to love in Manhunt?
      The Purple Monster Strikes, Chapter One, "The Man in the Meteor": It stars Roy "Captain Mephisto" Barcroft as the insidious and Prince-toned Purple Monster, Linda Stirling as LINDA!!! and some guy I really hope doesn't look like a member of the primate family for once, Dennis Moore. Also Monte Hale (no relation to Bobb Barker or Wink Martindall), Emmet Vogan (don't let him read poetry! Nothing's worse than Vogan poetry!) and Joe Whitehead. Don't squeeze Joe Whitehead, pus comes out. And, hey, there are 6 writers again! And two names I recognize from Manhunt, including Basil Dickey, inventor of the lightly-seasoned work pants. That's a good sign for some positive Linda headbutting. And one writer is named Lynn Perkins. Oh, that's right, women could have jobs then, the 1950s hadn't started yet. There's also Royal Cole, Old King's son.
      Waitaminnit--the hero is Dennis Moore?

      Shut up! This is a serial, not a botany lesson! Now, no false moves please! I want you to hand over all the lupins you've g--Excuse me.
      (dunks head in bucket of ice water, SPLASH)
      Don't worry, that will never happen again! I will not allow any lame Monty Python references in here ever again. Let that be a warning to you all! You move at your peril, for I have two pistols here. I know one of them isn't loaded any more, but the other one--
      (dunk, SPLASH)
      Ha ha! I completely made up that last part! We all know that there are no Gay Republicans!
      Meanwhile, back in the science fiction...An astronomer at Mount Palomar's mightiest 2-inch reflecting telescope watches a plummeting meteor cross the sky, or possibly a flicked cigarette butt. He phones Linda, who is idly flipping through a magazine and thinking "In Manhunt, I'd already killed twice my weight in henchmen at this point." She answers "Sheila Layton speaking." Why yes, Linda, you little mindreader! You are a Sheila I'd like to lay a ton of times! Her uncle Cyrus is the astronomer, and there's a "strange purple meteor, apparently from the direction of Mars" and, "according to my calculations," is ready to crash right outside his house. Those are some pretty quick calculations, given that he observed the thing for 2 whole seconds. Astronomers and their impatience! It's like that paleontologist who described a new species of dinosaur the size of a chicken he named "Extra-crispysaurus rex," based on a 30-second long excavation in a KFC dumpster. If Uncle Cyrus had waited another few seconds before racing after the meteor before it even hit the ground, he'd realize that it's not so much a meteor as it is


      some kind of interstellar dildo. Good thing you didn't hang around long enough to take a picture of it, Mr Not-Getting-The-Nobel-Prize. It makes a perfect one-point landing, on the part that violently explodes. All that's left is a pod, which opens and a guy in a stupid suit and carrying a purse jumps out and runs away. The pod then bursts into flames. Obviously, there is no OSHA on Mars.
      "Who are you?" asks Uncle Cyrus to the dorkily-dressed survivor. "My name would mean nothing to you! I come from the planet that you on Earth call Mars!" Cyrus says, "But you speak English, our language!" and not what I'd say, which would be more along the lines of "JESUS FUCKIN' A!!" The Martian pats his purse and says that "many years ago, we of Mars perfected the Distance Eliminator, which lets us see and hear all on Earth!" Here's the next thing you of Mars might want to perfect, Not Giving Things Dumb Names. Here, we of Earth call the "Distance Eliminator" "Illegal Wiretapping." Uncle Cyrus enthuses that he's working on a way to fly to Mars, but the Martian already knows. He's here to find out about it, as his rocket "has no way to return to Mars." was supposed to explode on contact? Yeah, that is a bit of a design flaw. If you want to make something that doesn't crash all of the time, maybe you of Mars should've picked a planet that Bill Gates doesn't live on...
      Cyrus' plan to get to Mars? A jet plane. To Mars. I'm no rocket scientist, and neither are these guys if they think jets don't need an atmosphere to get up into the Straight-O-Sphere. Don't they realize that a jet flight to Mars would be impossible, as they would completely run out of complimentary bags of peanuts before they arrived? And you just know that you'll get on a flight with a Neptunian baby that cries the whole way.
      Cyrus is so happy that his first date with the dreamy Martian is going so well that he shows him his jet plane plans. Even the Martian admits that it's superior to the designs of them of Mars, what with the landing gear not made from C4, and the cockpit that isn't made of fire. He's slightly impressed by the "anti-gravity device that insures a safe landing." Yes, you of Earth! This invention of yours that defies all the known laws of physics mildly intrigues me, but let us speak more of this...Pocket Fisherman to which your infomercials allude! Your so-called "Time Machine" may have its uses, but I desire to learn all Mankind knows about these scissors which can cut through pennies! Will we of Mars also truly receive this..."Shooter of Salads," as you call it, if we of Mars but call before midnight tonight?
      The Martian politely asks if these are the only copies of the plans, who else knows, what their names and home addresses are, if Cyrus lives alone, and is there a shovel and big bag of lime nearby? Have you a map of any roadsides where shallow graves might be dug? Just askin', Cy, just askin'! Also, does your species taste better once marinated, or can you be eaten with a log up your butt like a giant corn dog? We of Mars are merely curious, as we ate all those bags of peanuts on the way here. We're starvin' like Martian!
      Cy sighs, "This is the happiest day of my life!" Maybe so, but don't register your silverware pattern just yet, as the Martian says "It is also the LAST day of your life!" And if you freeze the video, you can see the exact moment his little heart breaks. They of Mars have long planned an invasion to enslave us of Earth, and kill everyone who resists! This dude is the Advance Guard, showing us his mighty power by exploding on landing. OOH, a one guy advance guard in an exploding spaceship with no way home, tuck me in and leave the light on tonight, Mommy! It's about as intimidating as hearing "My name is Bond. James Bond!" spoken by a fat guy with a mouth full of Twinkies in a stained purple sweatsuit driving a '75 Vega with a flat tire. Watcha gonna do, burp on me?
      Cyrus says "You're insane! You must've hurt your head in the crash! Let me get you a drink!" because the best thing to do when an insane Martian with a head injury declares that he wants to kill you is to get him drunk. Next, let him marry your sister, but be all sullen during the reception. That'll show him! The Martian says that the only thing that's stopped the invasion is that pesky explodey thing, but "If you think that America will stand by while you build a jet plane to invade us, you've come to the wrong country!" Yeah! Try Retardistan, or CantTieTheirOwnShoesland! They love being invaded and enslaved! Although there is the slight chance they'll just laugh increduously when you say you're going to use a jet plane in space. Why, you of Mars don't even wear shoes, how will you take them off at the boarding gate? But the Martian can kill people like Cyrus, and "enter your body and use it as I wish!" Man, he is a Republican senator! He has a capsule of "carbo-oxide gas," fatal to humans but quite tasty to Martians, and it puffs a bit of smoke and Cyrus is dead. Dude, and you were so close to being his favorite Martian.
      Cue Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore and Linda at the door. "Hellooo, Asskicking Calling!" The Martian hides his cosmetics case, as Mary Kay and Avon are sworn enemies. Then he drags Cyrus to a chair, Dennis bursts in, yells "STAND AND DELIVER!" and a short fistfight ensues. A fakey fistfight, as they sped the camera up. Dennis goes down after being hit with a handy breaky thing, and the Martian takes a whiff of carbo-oxide gas, which kills you and me of Earth, but makes Martians translucent like they were in a cheap matte effect. He sits down in the same chair as Cyrus and enters his body and NO not another serial with a transformation chair sequence! One thing I've already learned from serials, if the effect cost more than they spent for lunch, expect to see it every episode!
      Linda revives Dennis, who claims to have seen "a weird man in tights!" who pees with a wide stance. The posessed body of Cyrus claims that "The man in here said he was known as--The Purple Monster!" And you just know he spent that long trip in a metal coffin in an exploding spaceship coming up with that name. "The Green...Atrocity! No, that's not it. The Chartreuse Beast! Nah. Mauve Monster! Almost, but not quite. Red Sonja! YES! No, wait, I wear chain mail, but I left the bikini one at home. BURNT UMBER NAUGHTY REPUBLICAN! Tee-hee, that makes me giggle! No, I want FEAR from them of Earth! Black Death's Head! Yeah...yeah...Oh, wouldn't you just know? I left my Mary Kay sample case and all my black makeup on Phobos. Along with my Nine Inch Nails CDs. All I brought were these Prince albums...Wait, this look could work!"
      Lance--err, sorry, Dennis--says that somebody tried to blackmail Cyrus without saying over what, but they didn't tell Linda because she's just a girl and might worry her pretty little tiny speck of a head over it, and also leave Girl Germs and tampons everywhere. They also won't notify the police, as attempted murder just clogs up their weekends. Cyrus the Purple Monster hurries them away, and as soon as he's alone, he immediately finds the handwritten note threatening to kill him if he doesn't give Some Guy 50 large. Yeah, they didn't tell the cops about that, either. No way the flatfoots could trace a handwritten note with fingerprints on it! Why waste their valuable donut eating time when there's some highwayman stealing lupins on the loose!

      The note actually contains the words "YOU FAIL," although there is no picture of a LOLCat.
      After Lance--DENNIS and Linda leave, instantly some pudgy Rotarian with a gat walks in. It's the guy who wrote the note! Boy, good thing Cyrus didn't go to the police. Or lock his fucking doors. "No one plays tricks on Hodge Geerick and lives!" he mumbles, or something like it. Since "Hodge" is easier to type than "Mumbles," we'll call him Hodge. Sensing the need for an incompetent henchman along the lines of Mephisto's Skipper, Cyrus the disguised Purple offers him a job, after huffing some more Martian Scotch Guard and sitting in the transformation chair and changing back to the real Purple Monster, wowing him with his cheap matte effect. This is the second 1945 serial I've seen in which people are really impressed by someone sitting in a chair, so if you ever go back in time to kill Hitler or whatever, wear your best sittin' pants. It blows their minds.
      So desperate for a henchman that he pretends he doesn't notice that Hodge is more easily impressed than a toddler confronted by the "Got your nose!" trick, the Purple Monster explains his entire plot to him. "The $50,000 you wanted from Dr Layton will seem like pin money!" whatever THAT means. Must be some weird Martian saying, or maybe he's assuring Hodge that he can buy a new head! Geddit?? PIN? HEAD? Fuck you.
      They're going to test the "launching rocket," an integral part of the jet plane. Purple and Hodge decide to intercept it, with Purple in his Martian outfit as that wouldn't draw any attention. They knock on the door of the high security barn, and the tester asks "Who is it?" "Blargle!" says Mumbles, which I think means "Land Shark!" The tester, who is a terrible actor, opens the door and is TOTALLY TERRIFIED by the gun pointed in his face. He's scared expressionless! He blands his pants! "So this is your launching rocket!" says Purple. "I assume these fire the low caliber rockets!" I hate this technical jargon! "That's right." monotones the guy. "When the hand on the gauge reaches one hundred. The main rocket fires and the machine takes off." Jeez, this is the worst line delivery I've heard since
      Oh Jesus Fuck!
      It's SKIPPER!!!
      ohGodohGodohG--dunk, SPLASH.
      (rubs temples) No one told me SKIPPER was in this! Well--it's chapter one, he could die soon. We of Earth hope.
      Purple tells Skipper to call Dennis and tell him that the test of the rocket is postponed. Yes, the entire fate of the Earth is in--sob--Skipper's hands. Hey, I have a big tank of carbo-oxide gas, anyone want some? It'll kill you quicker! Skippy calls Dennis, and says "Why, everything is hunky-dory up here! I don't want to INVADE your privacy, but I have a MARS bar that you should eat before it turns PURPLE! Would it KILL you--or KILL MEEEEEEE!!!!!!--to ROCKET LAUNCH yourself over here?" And he taps out an SOS on the receiver. Dennis Moore immediately springs into action, so maybe Skipper tapped "I happen to know that this is the lupin express!" Dennis, who I should point out looks nothing like a shaved monkey and has a deep, resonant radio announcer voice, has at least one thing in common with Lance: When danger strikes, he brings Linda! She races after him, so confident that she doesn't even take her katana or sack of grenades. Ha ha, Purple Corpse! The LINDAPOCALYPSE this way comes!
      Skipper drones, "Now that I've done your dirty work. I suppose that you'll kill me anyway" in the same tone of voice you might use to say, "Oh, wait, this coupon's expired." Oh, phew! He's going to die in the first episode so we don't have to you fuckers! NO, Purple Stupidhead, he will NOT be of further use, just FUCKING KILL HI--Shit. Purple's not killing him. "You'll be of future use" blah blah blah. Yeah, Roy Barcroft, he makes you look like Olivier. So does this bookend. Can't you replace Skipper with this bookend? It's very nice!
      Why is Purple threatening Skippy with a 38 revolver? I suppose that Martians have ray guns, but when fired they shoot you in the balls. Shit. You send ONE guy in a spaceship that explodes when it lands, and think that he take over even though he has to borrow a gun. Look, America screwed it up when they invaded Iraq. This is like Iraq invading America! It's NOT GOING TO WORK, Mars! In fact, you haven't even learned the lesson Skipper should've learned--you left the door to the toolshed open! And now there's some guy with a gun, and behind him is a--LINDA! There isn't going to be enough left of you guys to fill a Hamper of Lunch!
      Inevitably, they counterattack and Linda...she...Linda! You can't kill someone by making him give you a PIGGY BACK RIDE! Look at her, she's--SEE? Now he just threw you off, and you're knocked out! Oh, Linda. I really had high hopes for you. Just, you know, don't get imperiled in some retarded way. Oh, she woke up, and she's back on the attack! And she NO, not the PIGGY BACK AGAIN!! That trick never works! And Hodge just throws you into the inexplicably Linda-sized cargo bay in the launcher! And you get knocked out again. Oh, c'mon, Linda! Kill at least ONE henchman! You don't even have to strangle him with his own intestines. Please? Just one, for me? And don't get blasted off into the Straight-O-Sphere.
      ...And the rocket starts to blast Linda into the Straight-O-Sphere. Note that the instruments had to be made simple enough that even a Skipper could understand them, so they were designed by Bob & Doug MacKenzie:


      There are about 47 shots of Linda sleeping in her Japanese coffin motel, although the sofisty-kated rocket backfires every other second. I don't know how she could sleep through that, and yet still stay awake when Skipper tries to act. The rocket hits "Take Off, eh?" status, and takes off through the roof. And explodes.

      Huh. Well. With 14 chapters to go, I assume that Linda survives. Unfortunately, I also assume that Skipper does, too. I really didn't expect the Walking Talking Stick to be in this one, so that's not a plus. And Linda may continue to be an object to be captured, and not the whirlwind of destruction we saw in Manhunt. We'll just have to watch and see, you hosers.
      Hey, wait, back bacon's done!





      I really don't care about cars, except when mine isn't running properly. As I said yesterday to a coworker, "The only car that impresses me is one that's paid for."
      But I do love Worst (Blank) Ever lists! And here's one that's all cars, including some that are so strange, they could be InExObs. And it's very funny: "I was in the audience at the Detroit auto show the day GM unveiled the Pontiac Aztek and I will never forget the gasp that audience made. Holy hell! This car could not have been more instantly hated if it had a Swastika tattoo on its forehead."


      My plan was to blog The Purple Monster Strikes every Sunday, but now that it's Sunday and also my only day off this week, screw that. I write those off of the top of my head as fast as I can, and they still take me more than 2 hours apiece. Although I will give you this look at two Purple Monsters, and ask: Separated at Birth?



      Singing in the Rain is getting a digital rerelease, produced by George Lucas. Purists will probably complain about it, as Donald O' shoots first.

      I've never accumulated debt due to one simple concept: Never confuse want with need. You want an iPhone, but you really only need food, shelter and clothing--or, in other words, a job, and a way to get to it. (And also cats. And the internet. But that's just me) It's nice to have things that you want, if they bring you pleasure that lasts longer than the act of buying them. But if you buy them thinking that they'll fill some imaginary void in your life, and then they don't, you should've just taken the money you bought them with and wiped your ass with it. At least then you'll save money on toilet paper.
      I think that I've progressed to the next step: Even if I can afford an expense, does that mean that I can justify the expense? I used to go to the Wendy's drive-thru on my lunch at work and buy something from the dollar menu, then I started bringing store-brand yogurt instead, saving me dimes on food and gas (and gaining about 10 minutes of time). I think that that saves my $3 a week. I changed my Netflix plan from 3 at a time to 2, since I rarely found the time to watch the third movie, and that's $4 a month. I changed my top highway speed from 75MPH to 70, and that's a gallon of gas a week, or (currently) $2.87. Okay, so that's--let's see--(gets out the calculator I got for free)--those 3 little things save me $354 a year!
      It's not that I can't afford $354. But how can I justify wasting it?
      I spent almost 4 grand on my car over the last year. People kept telling me to just buy a new one. But I wasn't flushing money away on a lemon, I was replacing things that wore out over 10 years. I'm expecting that they won't wear out for another 10 years. Sure, I could buy a used car for $4000. But how long would that car last? Not ten years, that's for sure.
      Here's an interesting article on Get Rich Slowly titled How To Feed Yourself For $15 a Week. Yes, there is ramen, mac'n'cheese and peanut butter. But it also contains some tips on not spending money on expenses you can afford but can't justify, when you can just spend less. For instance, it recommends using dry milk. I've never heard of this stuff, and I found out just as milk is expected to go to $5 a gallon in Connecticut. I was buying milk to use on my weekend in my tea, and then drinking the rest just to get rid of it before it got thick and stinky. I bought some powdered dry milk today and put it in my tea, and it’s great. I can’t drink tea without milk, and I always thought that my only other option was Cremora, which tastes how Ajax smells. The 5 quarts’ worth of dry milk should last me a LONG time, for the cost of less than 2 gallons of milk. I can AFFORD milk, but why should I buy it anymore? Even if the price doesn't go up, that's $170 I saved over a year.
      Hey, I'm half-Scots. Maybe frugality is genetic. But saving pennies adds up to saving dollars, and I'm saving over 25% of my weekly paycheck simply by not spending it. I'll never be rich, but even if I lose my job, it'll be a long time before I'm poor.


      The 12 Most Ridiculous Similes in Music History.

      Accidental discovery: Seawater can burn, and is being investigated as a possible replacement for oil.
      In completely unrelated news, the Bush administration today announced that Aquaman was behind 9/11, and that the Lost City of Atlantis has WMDs, which could strike America's shores at any time from their mobile Giant Seahorse launchers. Bush said, "We must act before the smoking speargun comes in the shape of a jellyfish cloud!" Several other peaceful democracies have joined him in the Coalition of the Willing, namely Latveria, Genosha, the Phantom Zone, and the underground empire of the Mole Man.


      Happy Patriot's Day! Oh, sorry, that greeting should be "Unhappy and Fearful for the rest of Your Life Patriot's Day!"
      That "holiday," a creation of Karl Rove, never really caught on like, say, Memorial Day. And it's interesting that the same people who insist on remembering the fallen of 6 years ago are never the ones who want to remember the greater number of Americans who have fallen in Iraq. Including the ones that fell today.

      Watched over my one-day weekend: Well, forget what I said about the Hellboy cartoons. Despite having del Toro as producer and all of the movie's talent as voices, it was just like every other superhero cartoon made in the last ten years: slickly-made explosions every second, nonexistant characterization, and (surprisingly, given the movie) utterly without a sense of humor.
      Also not very funny was The Lives of Others. Since it was about a secret policeman in communist East Germany, it wasn't meant to be. In the opening scene, the main character calmly describes an interrogation of an obviously innocent man, but the Kafkaesque reasoning of Communism declares that guilty people act innocent, and vice-versa. He's given the job of wiretapping a playwright and loyal subject, and isn't happy about it when he knows it's just so that a party hack can frame the man and force himself on the man's wife. The Stasi agent decides to pull a pair of wires and make the playwright's doorbell ring at a certain moment...and then begins to do things that put himself more at risk from his government than the couple.
      There are no car chases or explosions, but it's always interesting. Worth a look if you're in the mood for drama. And some damn ugly East German cars and fashions.

      Somehow, the conversation at work came around to me repeating advice my grandmother used to give me (and my mother, when she was young): "Never wear ripped underwear, because if you get run over by a car, the ambulance men will see it!" Even as a kid, that struck me as really odd--ambulance workers can refuse care to somebody based on their underwear? And the first thing that happens if I get hit by a car is that my pants fly off? It occured to me later in life that paramedics probably find worse things in the underwear of people hit by cars than a rip. They probably have regular conversations like "Wow, did this guy win the corn on the cob eating contest last night or what?"
      Then a coworker said that my grandma wouldn't have liked him much, as he never wears underwear. I said, "That's the second day in a row when I learned something about a coworker that I wished I hadn't!"
      "Why, what did you hear yesterday?"
      "Hey, Yolanda! What is it you do late at night in bed because you're too lazy?"
      "What? What are you talking about?"
      I repeated the question, but she was still confused by it and couldn't remember. "What did I say I do?
      "You piss in a fucking bucket?"
      And she happily admitted it. Again. My favorite part is that she "empties it every morning before it gets stinky." Because nothing smells like roses more than a bucket of urine.
      I think that the advice her grandmother gave her was "If it's yellow, let it mellow!"


      You may be thinking "I'm glad Bill never talks about Young's Syndrome anymore, since that must mean that it's gone away!" Or you may think "I'm glad Bill never talks about Young's Syndrome anymore, since I'm really don't want to hear about guy's random vomiting!" If you're in the second category, you'll want to stop reading.
      I've puked excatly once this year. I don't know if that means the Syndrome is gone for good, like the migraines that dominated 5 years of my life in my early 30s, or if it's just in remission, like it was for half of 2005. I don't even know what happened to me tonight.
      I had a slice of leftover naan, wrapped in foil and then wrapped in plastic and then put in a drawer in a 36 degree fridge. I heated it and it was delish. But it was a small piece and I was still hungry, so 15 minutes later I decided that since I was getting rid of leftovers, I might as well finish what little was left in the bag of Utz cheese popcorn. That wasn't delish and hadn't been since I bought it, but I bought and I was going to eat it even though I intend to never buy it again. There were only a few kernels at the bottom the bag, maybe a couple of tablespoonfuls.
      A minute after I ate that, I got a strong band of pain across my stomach. And I mean after a minute, about 60 seconds from feeling fine to nearly doubling over. My first thought was: did the naan go bad? But it happened immediately after the popcorn--was there something bad lying at the bottom of the bag? Second thought: the last time I had the naan was about an hour after having some popcorn on Saturday, and I woke up Sunday morning with pain in my stomach, but less intense. Some combination of the two? Third thought: At what point do I go to the emergency room? My grandmother would've been upset that there was no fourth thought, "And what will they think there about my underwear?"
      I can't say that the pain got worse, as it was awful the second it started. There was no position where it went away, although standing up was the worst; I had to hobble hunched over when walking like I was Igor looking for an abnormal brain. After about 15 minutes I started dry heaving, and then I took a pretty normal crap. But I still was miserable; Tums didn't take away the pain anymore than Advil did. Then, at the 30 minute mark, I violently puked up the popcorn, and a few minutes later, had terrible diarrhea that--sorry for the image--smelled a lot like the naan. And the pain stopped, and I gradually went back to feeling normal.
      I mention these gory details because, well--what the fuck? Obviously it something to do with the food, but such a dire reaction in a minute? (No, I've never had food allergies--believe me, that was researched thouroughly during the Syndrome years) It's really not worth a trip to the doctor if it doesn't come back, since I have a physical in 2 months anyway. I suppose it might go like that old Henny Youngman joke: "I went to the doctor and said 'Doc, it hurts when I do this!' and he said 'Well, don't do that anymore!'" Don't eat those, don't get sick. But it's weird--that sick that quick, then okay after emptying the bilge tanks.
      During the crisis, Byron played with feathers, while Kill Kill watched me intently, and followed me around. She's always known when something's wrong, and it seems to worry her. It took about an hour after it was over before she finally stopped staring. No wonder she was born with a coat the color of a nurse's uniform.



      30 Yearsof Very Stupid Monsters.


      Vacation! All I ever wanted! (Well, besides winning Lotto and going on Permanent Vacation) I took a vacation from posting, obviously.
      Yesterday I did a lot of nothing, partying like it was 1994 and playing Civilization II most of the day. I tempted fate by ordering some Indian takeout and thus threatening myself with a repeat of the recent infamous Naan/Utz-Puke/Shit debacle. I bought the most expensive thing on the menu, the Tandoori Mixed Grill, and a loaf of chicken roti. I had a $5 off coupon, and I'll get at least 4 meals from it--more, if you count the mountain of basmati rice that I didn't know was included--so that works out to about $4 a meal. I can justify that expense.
      There must've been some huge party coming at the restaurant. I was the only one there, but the tables were all laid out, complete with bowls of figs, and I counted half a dozen people working there, and that was outside of the kitchen. Like most bilingual Americans (but especially Indians), they talked in their birth tongue while effortlessly switching to English and back. And, like most Americans, seem to think that no one can hear you scream if it's into a cell phone. One young woman was in the parking lot, but I could hear her clearly at the back of the restaurant. Her angry conversation went "Something Hindi something something I feel like I'm talking to MYSELF!! Something Hindi something something a three-year-old!!!" See? Every nationality, race, creed, we're all the same: Give us a cell phone and we're jackasses.
      I watched a DVD of the TV show "Heroes." I don't watch a lot of TV. Actually, I watch no TV, and every few years I hear about something that's supposed to be all good 'n' stuff, so I rent it. Like Battlestar Galactica! Wow, that's was teh suck. And guess what! Maybe I should stop renting things that the Internet's Most Dangerous to Himself and Others Cartoonist likes.
      Phew, stinky it was! I always forget what this "TV," as you of Earth call it, is really like. I expect to see something like a lesser movie, but it's just TV. The writing is always awful, with truly improable dialogue that no one would ever speak coming from ridiculous characters. Hey, he's a precognitive suicidal heroin addict who also has the most popular comic book in THE WORLD, as you can find it on the tiniest of New York magazine stands. I would've thought that suicidal heroin junkies wouldn't be able to meet a publishing deadline, but what do I know? With that work ethic, maybe we should hire a few for the likker store! They must be more reliable than the Oxy junkies we've fired! The show also runs down every possible permutation of the female psyche from A to Aardvark, as the two girl lady chick leads are a cheerleader and a a stripper. Yep, that pretty much sums up the full gamut of that pesky ole female psyche! Hey Hollywood writer men guys: Madonna-Whore Complex much?
      I can see why everyone who likes the show's favorite character is the Japanese guy. He's the only one who didn't spend the two episodes I didn't finish watching whining all the time. I guess that the lesson we should learn from the other characters is that "With Great Power, comes Great Moping."

      Speaking of the only TV I watch, the unthinkable occured. Some Guy and Roeper had the Bald Android for the fourth week in a row. There has never been anyone on more than 2 weeks in a row. I think he's going to be Ebert's replacement, especially given the utter absence of thumbs up or down in that month. That may not seem significant to you, but I was watching this show when it was on PBS back in the late 70s. Back then, Siskel & Ebert gave reviews based on stars. When they got their own syndicated show, they changed it to Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down to differentiate it from their PBS show. While Ebert is writing reviews aplenty online, he may never speak again, which is a bit of a problem for a TV host. Expect your local affiliate to show "Roeper & Soulless Android" soon. No one...will esape the Robot Reviewer Holocaust!

      Kill Kill and Byron sat next to each other looking out the window this morning, quite happy with their lives and each other's company. And guess what I did next! Yes, I took Killsy to the vet. Nothing like the nightmare that is a Byron visit, but still fun for nobody. It was over immediately and she was home. The vet said that her shots would make her sleepy, but she stayed awake for hours, like a kid who's been promised that she can watch the New Years Eve Ball drop at Times Square on TV. A really nasty-tempered kid, anyway. She hissed at me and Byron for hours. All she really needed to do was go to sleep and forget about it, but no, she had to hiss at everyone near her, while refusing to leave the damn room. Byron freaked out and began hissing back, but also seemed pretty unhappy about it, given his fear of abandonment. FINALLY she slept, and after 5 hours home she and her brother shared food from their bowl. Until she made a little swipe, just touching his whiskers, and he hissed with a wet, throaty sound like he was gargling from a garden hose. Near-deaf cats make odd sounds. Things seem to be back to normal now. And I don't have to cram her into the cat carrier for another visit for 2 more years.

      Yes, I know I said that I'd blog The Purple Monster Strikes. Maybe I'll get off my ass tomorrow.


      My father used to joke that "When I was a kid, I had to walk to school five miles, and it was uphill both ways, in 3 feet of snow, with only a baked potato for food and warmth!" I always thought that that was funny, especially the Potato Paradox (If you don't eat it, you'll die of starvation; if you do, you'll freeze to death).
      My dad had nothing on China. If your child's walk to school is like that, no wonder you don't give a shi-tzu about lead in toys.


      Do you like the Beatles? Then by Gourd do not listen to these MP3s! If you only have the time to not listen to one of them, do not listen to this one. It has been proven to cause ear cancer.

      Well, vacation's almost half over, and I really haven't done anything. I've been going to the state park, as every day has been incredibly beautiful. Sipping my tea before leaving, the NPR noon news headlines began with the most important story in the world--it must be, if they led with it--"Iran says that if Israel attacks them, they'll attack Israel!" I know that we must next attack Iran, as Iraq is a bucolic wonderland of frolicking children and amputees, so this is why this was "news." Apparently, if Iran the Barbarian attacked Israel first, Israel would only sigh dramatically and roll its eyes, just like any sovereign nation under attack would, and then talk smack about Iran behind its back to Cyprus and Turkey. Crazy Iranofascists! The only sane response to an attack from Israel would be for them to immediately invade Japan! Then hang their Emperor and let cellphone videos of the hanging leak to YouTube. That's what America would do, and we're a totally sane country!
      On the road to the park there's a sharp, blind curve that I hate. There should be an "Everything XING" sign there: Over the last 3 years, I've almost hit (or almost been hit by cars swerving to avoid) deer (twice), joggers (twice), and a flock of wild turkeys. There was only a downed clump of leaves there today, and if it wasn't centered between my tires, I might've run over it. Just before I passed it, I saw that the leaves had a head. A turtle! In the middle of the damn road! If I wasn't on a blind curve, I would've stopped and got it out of there, but then I might be the one who ended up as roadkill. A little further up there was something dead in the road, so I decided to turn around and see if I could save the turtle. The dead thing turned out to be a discarded work glove, but 3 cars and a truck raced by me, one after another. I expected to find turtle soup, but the little guy had already crossed the road on the opposite side. He hadn't made the shoulder, so I stopped and got out. He wasn't thrilled to see me, but he cringed much more every time a car went by. Guess turtles can move pretty quick, if properly motivated. I nudged his butt and he ran into the woods.
      Having successfully not killed an animal, I went to eat a dead one. Pretty much the only thing I planned to do this vacation was go to the Heart and Soul Cafe. I read a glowing review in a local paper right after seeing the food movie Ratatouille, and it's not far and the prices were reasonable, and even someone like me who considers eating more of a chore than a pleasure likes to dine out once in a while. It helped that I already knew where it was, in a professional building that was otherwise all medical offices. Location is key! (Spoken by a guy whose likker store used to be inbetween a chiropractor's and a place that printed maps of golf courses) It was, umm, intimate--8 tables with 4 chairs each. The 8 other diners were all late middle aged, and looked nothing like the customer on the web page, with its drawing of an anorexic supermodel glumly forcing herself to eat her daily meal of a single olive. (I'm skinny, but even a cartoon of me wouldn't be drawn so that it looked like my bones would snap in a stiff breeze) And then everyone else left, leaving me as the only customer. I ordered the "U Conn Carridge," a turkey and bacon sandwich, and I had to ask why it was named that. "He [the chef and owner] just thought it sounded nice." I was a bit disappointed when it arrived, as I expected a turkey cutlet, not sliced turkey, and only the bacon and the bread were warm, and it came with a handfull of chips (nachos?!) and the world's limpest pickle slice. It wasn't until I was halfway through that it dawned on me that the bread was damned good, obviously freshly-baked from scratch. People don't credit bread for what it adds to a sandwich. I ended up quite enjoying it, and it was filling as hell--I still haven't quite digested it almost 5 hours later. I might go again, except that their day off is my day off, so it may have to wait for my next vacation.
      On the other hand, you don't care, as you don't live in Connecticut and will never go.


      If you've ever thought "I wish I could make my living by writing!" here's what one guy has to go through for $55 a week.

      Recently seen: That Thing You Do! which was fun and entertaining and really not about anything, or worth thinking about after it was over, although I did have the song caught in my head. But I found myself thinking about The Fountain. It was a big budget bomb from last year, or maybe early this year; it came and went so quickly that I'm not sure. All the reviews, positive or negative, described it as "great-looking but made no sense." As I'm no fan of movies that are more style than substance, I wasn't planning on watching it. But curiousity got the best of me. It's about a medical researcher trying to find a cure for his dying wife, while 500 years ago, he's a Conquistador in South America trying to find the Biblical Tree of Life to save Queen Isabella--played by his wife--from the tortures of the Inquisition, and 500 years from now, he's flying through outer space with his wife, who's a tree, in a Snow Globe. You may see why people found it confusing.
      I just expected it to be good-looking gibberish, so I made no attempt to decode whatever meaning it had. But halfway through, the film flat-out tells you what the Conquistador scenes are. I blinked, thought "Wait...I get it!" And the movie made sense. I don't see why it didn't to people, especially professional film critics. Yes, there are too many layers you have to get through, but seriously, there's a (largely) coherent storyline. I can't explain my theory without discussing the whole plot, so I won't. I generally only spoil movies I don't think anyone should see, and this isn't one of them. If you've seen it and want my opinion on what happens, post it in the comments.
      If you want to see it, here's the key: The Conquistador sequences, as the film flatly states, are a story written by the wife for the husband, and it's an obvious allegory to what is happening in the Present. Those sequences are him reading the story. If the Past story isn't "really happening," then is the Future story true? Or is it, too, an allegory, for something that hasn't happened yet? While the story in the Present is true, that doesn't mean that it's objectively true: It's told from the viewpoint of the main character, and he's an unreliable narrator.
      It's a confusing movie only in the sense that it makes you think about what's going on. I know people who thought that Pulp Fiction was incomprehensible simply because it was a linear narrative told in a nonlinear fashion. Maybe critics approached it thinking that it was all a puzzle, like Memento, when the puzzle really isn't what it's about. What it's about is love, loss, grieving, and moving on without ever forgetting. I don't think that's too hard to understand..



      A short look at funny signs.
      Here's my fave:



      I love Toonpedia. It's a site with brief entries on comic strips and comic books, and as the years have gone by, it increasingly features the most obscure titles you've never heard of. Today I saw an article on "Space" Smith. One look at a single panel and I cried "Fletcher Hanks!" Not just because of his...well, let's be charitable and say "distinctive" art style, but "Space" Smith? Galaxy Jones would suck just as much as a name, but still be more imaginative, and not have those stupid quotemarks he puts around every character's nickname. A quick Googling turned up not only a "Space" Smith story, but one from Tabu, WIzard of the Jungle. Neither character made it into the recent Fletcher Hanks book, possibly as that was more interested in the "so bad they're hallucinogenic" type, and not the "so bad they're laughable" category.
      The site the stories were on is apparently some online magazine of early comic books. The scans aren't so great, but neither are the comics: usually drawn poorly and written worse (the opening line of a Shadow story is "One dark and stormy night"), by people making very short deadlines for very little money. One issue features Pyroman, and with a name like that, of course his powers are based on electricity. He looks like a bulked-up version of Reddy Kilowatt, and he battles the terrible scouge of rigged slot machines aimed at "stealing pennies and nickels from kids." Slot machines were once considered entertainment for children? And really, the worst crimelord in the city is stealing pennies? Is there another criminal mastermind stealing chewed gum out of people's mouths? This one stars Twilight and his parrot Snoopy. He originally fought crime with his canaries Garfield and Marmaduke, but one of Twilight's adventures took him into a mineshaft, and that was the end of them. Shit, who do you want on your side in a fight to the death anyway, a parrot or a fucking lame--ass canary? I wonder what Snoopy would've done if Twilight ever fought a pirate with a parrot on his shoulder named Fred Basset. I should note that Twilight has a costume that looks the least like any conception of "Twilight" you can mentally muster. It's not only orange, but instead of a cape, he has an animal tail coming out of his hood. It looks like he's wearing roadkill. I suppose that would frighten evildoers, because if I was at the grocery store and some guy with a dead squirrel on his head was there, I'd sure pick a different checkout line. I wonder what would happen if Twilight met Davey Crockett--trade haberdashery tips, maybe? Anyway, read that one. The plot makes NO sense, and finishes up with the most retarded denouement in comics history.
      There was also a story involving Captain Devildog, but it did not include his compatriots Corporal Twinkie and Major Little Debbie Zebra Cakes.
      But back to the Hanks: "Space" Smith fights some "strange creatures" on the planet Bloodu, who are just red guys with Dust Devil vacuum attachments for noses, possibly related to MST3K's "Pod People" ("Trumpy, you can do magic stuff!"). The Bloodu aliens want to take blood samples, so it's pretty good luck that "Space" didn't land on the planet Urineu, as I think Mr Hanks would be doing some jail time based on what's likely in his system. "Space" defeats them by grabbing one by its hose-nose and swinging it around, causing "Space"'s ship's-figurehead girlfriend to scream "'Space', 'Space'!" without opening her mouth. "Space" throws Trompy into a something, and shit blows up and Fletch realizes that he's halfway through the sixth page of a 6 page story and so it ends with silhouettes in postage stamp-sized panels. As always, Fletch has the featureless background of each panel in a different color.
      Tabu, the Jungle Wizard, another Hankstravaganza, stars one of those Tarzan-like heroes of Africa, a continent where apparently no actual Africans could do that shit. Tabu is actually just Hanks' other hero, Stardust the Space Wizard, in that he's some sadist with godlike powers. He got his powers from another Jungle Wizard, and check out that second panel and then compare it to this one, and tell me that 2 comic book writers weren't drinking from the same well of idiocy 25 years apart. The next page tells us how freakin' awesome Tabu is, given that he can run faster than Dik-Dik the antelope and leap higher than Spot-Spot the leopard, all the while telling the animals what failures they are, which is a very endearing trait. If I was the leopard, I'd kill Tabu in his sleep just for calling me "Spot-Spot." (Wait--see Spot-Spot? See Dik-Dik run? Run, Jane-Jane, run!) Tabu finds the scene of a poorly-drawn ruined village, and after sniffing the ground and saying "These are the freshest footprints! I can tell by the scent!" like he's some jungle Rachel Ray making a 30-minute meal out of feet, spends 7 pages torturing the bad guys responsible. First, he visits upon them "Jungle Torment." The endless parade of demented tortures would be creepily sadistic if not for the fact we see tiny little men in pith helmets crying lines like "My blood is on fire!" "This jungle mist! It's stranglingme!" "I can't stand my own shadow" and drawn like they're doing the hokey-pokey. And it goes on and on, with visitations of the plagues of the damned, such as the "gnat-storm," and the bad guys repeating every damn thing the captions say. It gets quite comical after a page or 2, especially with the repeated shots of the omnipotent madman Tabu peaking out from behind a tree like a naughty child. I like the last panel, in which the first Jungle Wizard, who Tabu lives with in his "hermit cave," grants him more power. Or cuts his head off and waves it around before drop-kicking it, it's hard to tell.
      There were apparently 33 issues of "All-Amazing Comics," but the last is from 5/03, and there doesn't seem to be a viable index. If you want to read more, try this search.


      Last day of vacation until next June. Sigh'n'stuff.
      I really didn't accomplish anything. Work is for busting your ass doing the jobs of 2 people---and that is what I do--and time off is for vegetating. I even rented a movie that I expected to suck, because I'm not wasting one of my 2 days off otherwise.
      I came across it years ago one afternoon on pre-cable TV. I'd heard it sucked, but there it was, and there I was watching it, slack-jawed. I turned it off after 30 minutes.
      I guess that it popped into to my head when I saw some reviews for Beyond the Universe. It's a new movie based entirely on Beatles songs. The reviews have been split between Love It and Hate It, not unlike those of The Fountain. I thought that it might be worth seeing, then I remembered that someone had tried the same trick before: 1978's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.
      It reinvented the Beatles for the disco age, replacing the moptops with the perm of Peter Frampton and the receding hairlines of the BeeGees. Peter was The Cute One, and the BeeGees were The Dull One, The Insipid One, and The Retarded Repeatedly-Pretends-To-Comically-Vomit One. WIth the George Martin role played by Robert Stigwood, who was the most wonderfully rich man in the world because of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It also starred Steve Martin, Earth Wind & Fire, Aerosmith, and that most beloved of every young hip person in 1978 over the age of 60, George Burns.
      It opens in World War One, and I hit a new personal best! I hated the movie after 90 seconds! Sgt. Pepper is America's secret weapon, a brass band that plays music that makes the Huns dance around. I guess that they had to set this in WWI and not WWII, because it would've seemed a mite odd if it involved happy dancing Nazis. (Note: Dancing pseudo-Nazis will turn up later) Sgt Pepper plays for the next several wars, making people dance like idots but somehow avoiding Viet Nam. George Burns narrates--there is no dialogue in the movie, possibly its only plus, because who wants to hear a BeeGee try to act? During an interminably long rendition of the title song, the original Pepper dies and is replaced with the aforementioned REALLY TALENTED 70'S PERFORMERS, and they are soo good that they're offered a big record contract before the song ends. Then Mr Kite--George Burns' character--briefly imagines himself as a Big Record Star himself, singing "Fixing a Hole." That's funny! Who wants to hear George Burns sing! That's just ridiculOHFUCK. He sings the whole Hole song!! Looking like he's about to die from walking up 2 stairs! I hit pause and another personal record: I had to stop the movie and wander around the room muttering and rubbing my temples, and it was paused at 11:34 minutes.
      The movie's just one long music video, but it's from the days before anyone invented music videos, so the videos are long and slow and dull. And not even videos, in the sense of the glory days of MTV: sometimes they just sing the song, and that's it. Christ. It was awful.
      At the 30-minute mark, it occured that they must've been inspired by Yellow Submarine from 10 years earlier. That movie was targeted at 2 age groups, kids who liked crazy cartoons and older kids on acid. They followed that demographic breakdown, except aimed their masterpiece at teens on pot, and kids so young that Fisher Price's Little People were still considered choking hazards. The kids, preverbal enough that their vocabulary consisted of "Mama! Dada!" but not "Dis sucks!" couldn't complain without it involving a diaper change. The older ones were assumed to be too stoned to leave their theater seats for anything but Milk Duds. I eventually became so bored that I decided to watch it the way nature, or at least Robert Stigwood, intended, and y'know, inhaled.
      And what a difference it made! I ignored 5 to 10 minute chunks of the movie like it was background radio, while I let my mind go wandering, where it will go. Everytime I roused myself to consciousness, the movie was the fucking stupidest thing ever. Still the fucking stupidest, but easier to not-watch. The plot had Mean Mr Mustard magically transforming Pepperland or whatever into Pottersville, he had 2 robot girlfriends who gave him rubdowns, it was this insightful parody of evil record companies as represented by Robert Stigwood I guess (at least Malcolm McLaren was honest enough to name his shit movie The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle), and...well, I just tried looking over the DVD chapters, and that's pretty much all I remember, besides the obvious wires on Flying Peter Frampton, Donald Pleasance's toupee, the endless parade of blandly performed Beatles classics done in a 1978 corporate-rock style, Mr Mustard turning the kids who love the rock and the roll into literal Boy Scouts who goosestep and give Nazi salutes at a Nuremburg Rally (Hey, Stigwood--SUBTLE MUCH?) and Billy Preston abruptly ending the movie with "Get Back," which turned the bad guys into nuns and priests and OH GOD make it stop and then it abruptly did. Okay, there was also Steve Martin's version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," which is actually funny and appears to have some of his improvisations worked into the choreography. And he puts on a Panama hat. Man, you are OLD if you remember when a Panama hat was part of his shtick.
      This clip of one song gives you an idea of the movie--and the entirety of the "plot," with the dreaded computer F.B.V. and its terrifying Chroma-Keyed orders in a font last seen on the "Banana Splits" TV show--and watching it will TOTALLY NOT KILL YOU SO DEAD THAT YOUR DEATHNESS GOES BACK IN TIME AND MAKES YOUR GRANDPARENTS EXPLODE AND THE EXPLOSION GOES BACK FURTHER AND DESTROYS ABE LINCOLN TOO. Well, I mean, it could, but if Lincoln were alive today, he'd probably want to explode anyway.
      I didn't watch this movie when it was in the theaters (which came out the same year as The Swarm, so don't get the idea that I knew how to pick 'em), because in '78 my idea of music was Pink Floyd and Brian Eno, Devo and the Talking Heads. But why didn't anyone tell me that if Mr Mustard put a video arcade in my town that I could have wild public sex?! You always find these things out too many decades late.

      The 10 Best Animated Movies for (Traumatizing) Kids

      The $503,000 eBay Typo.


      The first day back to work after vacation is always the hardest. Although I found that if the boss says "I never appreciate how much work you do until you're not here!" and gives you a 10% raise, it cushions the blow.

      A coworker just got a new car. "This is the first car I've owned that wasn't a piece of shit!" he enthused. Since he's leasing it, he's really owning it as much as he does his apartment building, and when the lease is up, he'll have to pay for every ding in the doors.
      While I was on vacation, the truck emptying the store dumpster backed over his car, and I mean over, not into. They crushed the hood of his '08 Mitsubishi Galant. Two weeks after he got it. It could've been worse; the car's still drivable, and if I worked that day, it would've been my car they hit, crushing the trunk and probably pulverizing the rear windshield. That would've been far worse. That would've happened to me!

      Netflix has a "Watch Instantly" feature that I've never paid any attention to. I assumed that it counted against your rentals, and thanks, I'd rather watch them on a TV from the recliner than on my computer monitor an arm's length away. It turned out that you get as many hours to play as you spend dollars on your plan--my 2-at-a-time plan for $14 gets me 14 hours of viewing. They kept insisting that the collection of weird old stop-motion Starewitch shorts The Cameraman's Revenge wasn't released yet, despite having come out years ago. It popped up as a downloadable feature, and since it's really old B&W shorts that would look shitty however I watched them, I tried the service.
      I had to use Explorer, but it downloaded quickly and their barebones player worked. It allowed me to rewind and rewatch the film, although there's no way to tell if downloading and watching use the same amount of hours, and the rewind didn't seem to do anything until the movie was half over (not half downloaded, but half watched). And it was a good way to watch The Cameraman's Revenge, as the movie wasn't that great. The first half put me to sleep, and I mean that I went and had a nap. "Frogland" is a great short and the whole reason that I became interested in Starewitch, but I've already seen it enough to not need to see it again. The stop-motion work was very impressive, especially as the earliest shorts were from 1913, but the stories were uninteresting. And they involved bugs. They moved all 6 arms and legs, but they were obviously dead bugs with wire arms and legs, so unless you wanted to see the genesis of the old MTV thing "Joe's Apartment," just historical curiosities.
      I really wanted it to see "The Mascot," which I've only been able to see fragments of. While it's meant as kids' short, it is 100-octane nightmare fuel. It was Bosch for Babies. It had a plot, but not much of one, just one freaky image after another. It was from 1933, and the next was a 1958 Christmassy Rudolphesque number about ice skating rabbits and bears and sentient snowmen. But it kept getting weirder, starting around the time the snowman offered up a sno-cone made not only from his own icy flesh, but scooped straight off of his ass. The witnesses to this sniff the cone and refuse to eat it, but the sneaky rabbit sneaks up and eats it all. And then looks nauseous. Yes, pretty much the stuff of Nickelodeon these days, but to see a "Tastes Like Ass" joke from 50 years ago is really weird.
      So half of it is worth watching, and if you have a Netflix account, it won't cost you anything.






      I haven't been posting because I don't fuckin feel like postin! Is that math simple enough for you? If not, Fuck You!! And, in a related story, Your Love is Like Nuclear Waste!!!
      (I added extra !s to show how teh mad I is)

      Watched this lazy weekend: Android & Roeper, and let's just face it, that's the show's name now. I want to see movie reviews, but now I have to get them from 2 dweebs I don't like and whose opinions I don't trust. To make it even worse, it's like the world's 2 biggest egos finally found the only other ego in the world they love almost as much as their own. Since the show can't be called "Ebert & Roeper" anymore, I suggest "Smug & Smugger."

      I saw Dr Strange, and boy am I done with modern superhero cartoons. They're all the same, trying to mime Hollywood Blockbusters, but only those of the Bay/Bruckheimer persuasion, with just enough charaterization and plot to thread together the explosions. And they take themselves waaay too seriously. Which is odd; you'd think that they'd try to emulate Hollywood movies like Ohh I Dunno, Spiderman or something that actually had superheroes. This was so stinky that it sucked at the 2 minute mark: A magical hellbeast is attacking New York CIty, so some sorcerer dude decides to change the weather to hide it (after it only becomes visible because he made it not-invisible, try and figure that logic out). Does he conjure up some fog? No, he sticks a TORNADO on top of it as it runs through MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. Yeah, who'd notice that. If that sounds very retarded, they keep putting tornadoes on top of monsters throughout the movie. New Yorkers are jaded, so I guess that they'll just get used to daily tornadoes on fucking Wall Street. Once the first few dozen or so gyro vendors and guys selling fake Rolexes burst through the 44th story windows.
      I don't even know why it had to involve magic. Outside of the tornadoes, the only use for it is to make swords and stab monsters to death like it was a Hong Kong wire-fu flick. Shit, if I was Sorceror Supreme, I'd make me a magickal M1 tank and just blow them demons away with a 125mm shell! Then I'd make me a Burrito Supreme.
      I Mysted the movie for about half of it, then got tapped out and sat in sullen silence until it ended. No more superhero cartoons for me. Just superhero movies, which are more like cartoons (and comic books) anyway.
      After that experience, I went for some real Mysting and watched The Film Crew. That's the latest incarnation of MST3K, just without puppets. It was semi-free on Netflix's Watch Instantly thing, which was good because there's no way I'd waste a rental on those guys' recent spotty reputations. It wasn't a classic, and the host segments were so half-assed I'm surprised that they bothered to do them, but it was far better than most of the Sci-Fi Channel eps. It even had a bit of philosophy: "Life's just a turd that we all have to smear on our heads."


      I have a weather radio in the bathroom, and I check the forecast while I get ready for work. The NOAA station doesn't have an announcer as such. They type the forecast into a voice synthesizer program and it says it in a Stephen Hawkingesque voice. It has a few bugs--it doesn't have every word in the database, even ones of 3 letters, so it isn't called Cape Cod, it's Cape C.O.D.
      I guess that they didn't proofread what they put into it this morning, as it said 5 times that the forecast for Saturday through Monday would have "Wind Chill Factors of 120 degrees below." Guess I should wear a sweater.



      On the way to work I passed a truck from some beverage company, its sides advertising a product I've never heard of. Since I'm in the business, I checked it out. Of course, even from a distance its theme of skulls said "XTREEEEME!!!" rip-off of Red Bull. All the ripoffs have these gnarly and rad names like MONSTER 'n' shit, as they really aren't marketed at anybody over the age of 20. These were called FREEK. An "Evil Energy Beverage." The flavors were PSYKO, RAGE, SKITZO, and SUGAR-FREE MANIAC. Oh no, run away! Here come the knife-wielding raging skitzo psykos LO-CARB JASON, NO TRANS FATS FREDDY KREUGER, and noooo! I've been trapped by NO-CAL DIET MICHAEL MEYERS!! Oh, there's some zombies, but by definition they're definitely PRESERVATIVE FREE.
      Is there a website with obnoxious Flash and audio? If there wasn't, it wouldn't be INSANELY MENTALLY ILL! Each flavor has its own brain-damaged personality, and despite every one having the exact same ingredients, they're gender-specific. So if you buy MANIAC, you're a total girl.
      If you really want to be an EVIL energy beverage, why not name them HITLAR, STALYN and POLL POTT? You could say that they were distilled from Blackwater.
      Wait, wait--there's no step up to the next level except a clinically insane beverage named MENTALLY ILLIN'. 102mg of caffeine and 200mg of Lithium in every can! Should I buy HI-FUNKTIONING NEWROTIC or get XTREME!! with PSYKOSEKSUAL MADMAN? One can of it and you hear voices, but after three, you axe-murder your grandparents and violate their corpses! It's XXXXTREEEEME, BRO!!!!!


      The 2007 Ig Noble Awards.


      I was printing out internet grocery coupons when I saw one for "Boudreaux’s Butt Paste®". FINALLY! After 12 years of the net, they find a cure for FOTFLMAO Syndrome! All these years, I've been using tape.


      Meet the Neocons.


      You spend all week working your ass off, thinking of the weekend and doing that you want to do. Then the workweek finally ends, and you get a weekend that makes you wish you were working. It was nothing particularly awful. It's just that if I went to work, I could've been paid to have exactly as little fun.
      A few months ago, I had some minor work done on the car, namely replacing the entire engine. It leaked power steering fluid, as the dingleberries at the garage didn't hook it up correctly. They fixed it for free. But over the last 4 months, once again it kept getting harder and harder to steer. I threw cat litter on the garage floor, but there didn't seem to be a leak. I finally popped the hood and found out that the dingleberries hadn't screwed the top completely down onto the fluid reservoir. Between the heat of the engine and summer, the fluid evaporated. I went to Auto Zone, hoping to save 60 or so cents on fluid there, instead of buying it at the grocery store I was going to next. There was only one person in line, fortunately. The cashier was ringing him up, while making a personal phone call (I assume; I've never had a store-related call that included me saying "Why did he scream at her?" and I hope that I never do). She was also flipping through several sheets of paper. She finished the sale verrrry slooowly, and continued to talk and flip. The customer was simply waiting for his receipt and the stuff he'd paid for, and she continued to make him wait. And me wait. And wait. At the exact moment I reached the state of "Fuck this shit" a second cashier unhappily walked up. When I'm on register, I never try to be anyone's new best friend, but I say "Can I help you?" or "Hi!" He just looked at me in the same way one looks at a squished squirrel in the road. He didn't even tell me the total of my sale. I left with my steering fluid, opened the hood, added it, made sure the top was screwed down properly, and then the guy ahead of me in line walked out of the store. He'd spent all that time waiting for his receipt. Thanks, Auto Zone. There's a point where the time you spend isn't worth the dimes you save, and I'll shop somewhere else now. On the other hand, at least the cashier didn't beat me with a crowbar.
      I also was just about to write about the shitty movie I rented, and how the weather and my disrupted sleep ruined my plans for Columbus Day, but the main irritant of my weekend, trying to burn a functional disc of classical music which I have now done TEN TIMES IN A ROW and has just failed again, AGAIN! and there are 10 worthless CDRs in the trash so fuck this shit. It's just becoming wallowing in my minor irritants, and I'm not writing about them amusingly. Again, Big Plus to weekend: Not hit with crowbar. Everything else: minor.

      To end on an upbeat note, I was planning on going somewhere today (but didn't), so I cleared out any pics on my camera before not-going. Amazingly, they were all of the cats, as seen from my computer chair!


      The Cats in "Rechargen R LAZRS" mode. Cats love the boxes. Note the unused box in the foreground. It's the box from work, a Beck's cuckoo clock. On the hour, a leetle bottle of beer comes out of a door. And cuckoos. If you hear your beer doing that, best to stop drinking and lay down for a while. Only minutes later, Killsy decided the new box was her version of heaven.


      ...And there's the same "box" 2 weeks later. The scraps were once part of it. Kill Kill ripped it to shreds, but became upset when I tried to remove what was left of it.


      My big source of frustration yesterday was my 50 free downloads from eMusic. Not eMusic itself; that worked perfectly. Burning the music burned my ass. There are 3 ways to do it on my computer. iTunes was the easiest, just drag-click-burn. Burn a CDR with 5 minutes of dead air in most tracks, and no way to find out that it was doing it until playback, throw CDR in trash. Windows Media Player made actual listenable copies, but it took me half an hour every disc, as the non-instructions were wrong, and I had to left- and right-click in ways that weren't just counterintuitive, but so nearly random that they bordered on the surreal. RealPlayer looked like a cross between the 2, except that it, as far as I could tell, didn't actually do anything.
      I still have 5 downloads left before I cancel, and of course I was only using it to cancel it. I'm not spending money just to keep getting so frustrated I have to take a nap (which is what I do when I start to get angry). I'm not even planning on using the remaining downloads.

      Latest rentals: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. A week ago, I said that I was giving up on stupid superhero cartoons. Maybe I need to give up on superhero movies, period. This was by no means as dire as Dr Strange, but neither is an impacted wisdom tooth. Superhero cartoons suffer from a lack of humor, and this movie suffered from an overload of it. It was Superhero Sitcom! The Torch's touch swaps his powers with his teammates, making the Thing's clothes burn a teeny bit! He touches the Invisible Hot Chick, and her clothes burn entirely off an' she's all naked in public! Yes, it wasn't just aimed at 12 year old boys, it apparently was written by one. Remember how you used to think that you had a good rough idea of how adulthood worked, and then when you entered that world, realized that you didn't? That's how this was written, like it was by someone who knew adults existed, but wasn't one yet.
      Again, not awful, just not good. I never saw the original movie--it looked like it infringed on Roger Corman's original vision--but as Silver Surfer fan, I wanted to see this. He was a special effect, but not that great a one. He had minimal dialogue, probably because it might cost too much to CG. Maybe they should've brought back SynchroVox and done him with Clutch Cargo lips. Galactus was brilliantly (by which I mean "cheaply") reimagined as a big cloud that destroyed planets with what looked like mozarella sticks that had been in the back of the fridge way too long. SPOILER ALERT!: The Surfer decides to kill Galactus because of ann epiphany that must've occured offscreen as I don't recall it, and he does it by flying into the heart of moldy mozarella and blowing up. Wow--that was easy!
      Suckiest part: VICTOR VON DOOM, SHOE SALESMAN! They cast the least threatening guy ever in the role. I've been accosted by more threatening Jehovah's Witnesses. They even called him "Victor" instead of "Dr Doom," because...I'm not sure. Just call him "Vicky" if that's where you're going.
      Other rental, and you're either going to want to rent it immediately, or immediately yawn: Cap'n Crunch and Friends. Fun Fact: The commercials were created before the actual cereal was, in all its "fills in every space in your teeth while scraping the gums behind your incisors raw" glory. It's a collection of old Jay "Bullwinkle" Ward commercials, and the title screen claims that it's "complete." Well, it's only an hour long and jumps around through several decades, so it's "complete" in the same way I've seen every breed of dog because I read "Marmaduke" once. It's not even an hour of the Cap'n; a third is him, another third Bullwinkle ads, and the rest Quake and Quisp. That was a pair of "rival" cereals, one featuring a burly he-man miner and the other a spastic alien, with one aimed at the mesomorphs and another at the nerds. I remember Quisp stopped being made before Quake, but a decade ago Quisp was the one they brought back as a Boomer nostalgia item (I have a box of that version). At one point Quake was transformed from a Hulk-like guy to what can only be described as a Flamboyant Caped Cowboy from el Rancho FAAAABULOUS!!! which isn't a marketing decision they'd make today. Today, they'd make him the spokestoon for Creationist'Os.
      The whole disc looked like shit. It was apparently somebody's VCR collection, and one ad is repeated in that single hour (involving a free offer for Matchbox cars that "normally cost over 50 cents!" I wonder what those would sell for today). If you didn't decide to rent this as soon as you found out about it, you don't ever need to see it. But for Jay Ward fans, it has all those familiar voice talents, and the writing's just as funny as any Bullwinkle or George of the Jungle ep. Except for cereal.




      You know that you're at the retirement community when you're making a delivery of some wine, and another business is delivering oxygen.
      They fill a big portable tank from the truck, then I assume that they take it in and fill their customers' smaller tanks one by one. Now there's a depressing job! "Hello, Mr Methuselah! Time for your daily oxygen delivery--oh, wait. You're dead. I'll alert management before you start to stink. Well--[grabs mask] that's just more oxygen for me!" [inhales]
      It's also a comment on both how advanced modern civilization is, and also how fragile. There are people who need this service and companies that deliver it, but it's air. What would happen to them if a carelessly tossed match burned the oxygen factory down? They'd die, not from starvation or disease, but because they couldn't breathe "regular" air.

      Possibly you're not as interested in animal intelligence as I am. So you may want to skip this short article about how baboons think. On the other thumbless hand, the first page ends with a unintentionally funny quote about how the British monarchy thinks like baboons.


      Many years ago, I rang up a customer and glanced at her credit card: "What a cool last name!" She smiled and said "I wish that the DMV thought so! I've been trying for years to get a vanity plate with my name, but they refuse because they say it's a swear!" I told her about a vanity plate I'd seen more than once, COPUL 8 (say it out loud).
      A few years later, I read an article on vanity plates, and they mentioned the guy with COPUL 8. He told of being followed by a woman who kept flashing her headlights at him. He finally pulled over, not knowing what to expect--and guess who it was. She wanted to know how he got away with his plate, when they wouldn't let her use her own last name.
      I toyed with the idea of putting a 5 letter word on a vanity plate. No, not SPLUT, but BLANK. A nice bit of the surreal, I think. But those plates were $60 a year last I checked, and there are better uses for that money.
      I just checked--they're $90 every year now. And someone ahead of me today used that money to get themselves DEF LPD. Okay, maybe his name is DeFranco LePompadour. Most likely, it means..."Def Leppard." Shit, dude, unless you're in the band, that's pretty pathetic. Did you get it because WHITSNAK was already taken?
      Oh, the name of that woman that the DMV considered to be obscene?


      Last year, the Renaissance Faire moved from the northeasternmost part of the state (literally--to the north, Massachusetts; to the east, Rhode Island) to Hebron, less that half an hour's drive. Jessica wanted to go, but it rained and we fell back on Plan B. This year, for some reason, she didn't want to go at all. Since I pretty much do everything on my own, dammit, why wait another year for other people to decide to do it! I was to go last Monday, but I woke up at 545AM, over 5 hours earlier than normal, and couldn't go back to sleep until after 830, waking up at noon and feeling too crappy to go.
      So I went today. The weather was sunny with a stiff breeze when I left home. When I arrived at the fairgrounds, it was completely overcast, with a howling wind and an unpleasant windchill. I was directed to my parking spot by a juggler dressed in period clothes, including a jerkin, a Robin Hood hat, sunglasses and a cell phone. I had a great time! For half an hour. It was billed as "continuous entertainment," but there were 15 to 30 minute gaps between events, and nothing else to do but shop at kiosks. I am not a shopping person, even if it is for such essentials as jerkins, Robin Hood hats, and studded war clubs. And I was damn cold by now. Cursing my stupidity in not bringing a coat, I left without even having eaten some fried dough or a Scotch egg.
      It was a big disappointment, made all the worse from realizing that some things really aren't all that enjoyable alone. And Jess, she's a shopper; she would've loved it. And as if to rub it in, 15 minutes away from the place the sun burst through and the wind died down.
      But I'd go again, only next time with proper attire and a friend.
      To salvage the day, I went to Taj Mahal and bought some delicious murgh ka tikke. I lazily left the container on the counter, sure that there'd be no cat so insane as to stick a nose into a plate of Indian spices and a few onions. I forgot that only one of my cats can be described as "sane."

      Speaking of crazy animals, check out this video showing that "squirrel-proofing" is impossible. At least if the trap's designed by Rube Goldberg.

      He is a pundit, and so can you: Colbert writes a New York Times column.

      "By now, it's clear that 'We don't torture' is going to be George Bush's equivalent to 'I am not a crook' or 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'--an embarrassingly transparent, obviously untrue statement that the speaker never would have even made in the first place if he hadn't been obligated to deny something that everybody had already figured out was the case." Well worth the read.


      The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World. And they aren't kidding! If you think haggis is on the list, they left it out because it wasn't terrifying enough.

      The Grief That Made 'Peanuts' Good, a review of the new Schulz biography by some guy who I think did some comic strip.

      The Back of the Bible. "But keep in mind, the Bible's as thick as a phone book. For every chapter about Jesus wind-sprinting across a lake to tell you how much he loves kittens, there's another with God making a smoking peasant fireball because they sacrificed a goat to Him with the wrong knife."


       I don't know if anyone gets any good video recommendations, or warnings against bad ones, when I quickly review my Netflix choices of the weekend, but it gives me something to type about.
      This weekend: two movies that have much in common, Muppets From Space and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. See? They both begin with M!
      When I fist heard of Muppets, I misread it as maybe a Pigs In SPAAACE! movie. Instead, it was about Gonzo, my favorite felt puppet. But the reviews weren't kind, and I completely forgot about it until a week ago.
      Unfortunately, the reviews were correct. It was fun for 20 minutes, and won points for using some of the "Muppets Tonight" show characters, but it got kinda lame and wasn't funny.
      Metallica was one of those documentaries that the critics love. They said it was interesting even if the subject didn't seem that way to you, like Murderball or Grizzly Man, both true classics that I'd recommend to anyone. Unfortunately, the reviews were wrong. There was no real conflict, and not even the schadenfreude of these whiny-ass millionaires/cases of arrested development complaining about how beset with demons they were. It would've been better if they had more scenes like the one with the guy they kicked out of the band, mewling like a toddler over how hard it was for him to only be the second-biggest selling metal band. Documentaries, I think, need someone you could root for or against, (even if, like Grizzly Man, it's the same guy) and all they had was this psychologist, getting $40K a month to babysit these bedwetters while being seemingly held together by only age spots and Grecian Formula. Like another acclaimed doc, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, it was BORING. So dull that I turned it off 10 minutes from the ending, and that's the worst review you can give any movie.

      But it was probably better than the TWO TV series Lucas is basing on Star Wars. Does this guy ever read his reviews, or just his bank statements? What type of fucking idiot actually thinks that a guy who's utterly, irredeemably sucked for 30 years is finally going to become okay again? (Empire doesn't count; he neither wrote nor directed it) The article contains this line: "They will also mark the first time Lucas has gone live-action with his Star Wars universe outside the big screen world."
      Those who do not remember George Lucas are doomed to repeat him.

      Kirk points us to the logical sucessor to Sugar-Free Maniak, POWERTHIRST!!!!!!!! That prly needed more !!!s.


      Only 2 weeks to Halloween, and my family unit has already decided what to go as! Byron will be Sasquatch, Killsy will go as the only thing more frightening than a black cat, the Ghost of a Black Cat, and I'm going as a Misanthrope.
      Best part: None of us have to buy costumes!

      If you've ever thought "I'd like to see the Arrogant Worms' song 'Me Like Hockey!' done to visuals from 'Fullmetal Alchemist!'--well, here you go.



      The Most Curious Canned Goods Found Online. This may be a follow-up to the Most Terrifying Foods list, or just a reimagining of it (ie, kind of a ripoff). There are duck foetuses boiled in the egg as finger food, but it's no where near as awful. They even have haggis. C'mon, I'm Scots, but listing haggis is just lame. But you can order these online! The perfect Xmas gifts for the foodie on your list that you don't particularly like.



      I got home from work last night, and there was a huge RV with a cop car next to it. I assumed that the RV was being told that it was parked illegally, please move along or I'll have to write you a ticket. Less than a minute later, it left. I didn't see it, as I was pulling into my garage, but I could hear the behemoth rumble around the complex.
      There was something illegal going on. A murder.
      Someone came home, found a guy dead on the floor, and police quickly arrested a "friend." That's pretty much all the details right now, vague as they are. Not really scary to me; it's not like that nationally publicized home invasion we had a few months back. THAT was scary because it happened to rich suburban white people! Kill a family in inner city Bridgeport, ahh who cares. Those people are basically animals. We don't care about them because we're not animals!
      But I'm animal enough to have had a tiny bit of disappointment when I found out that the victim wasn't the hag who tried to kill Byron.

      Another beautiful late June day today, so I--wait, it's late October. Dammit! This wouldn't be happening if they hadn't given Gore that Nobel Peace Oscar! So I read an article about Connecticut cheeses, and realized that I might get some at the Coventry Farmer's Market. And Beltran Farms was there, with goat cheese. I had a delicious sample and then bought a package. That's rare for me, with my frugality. I had some when I got home and loved it, then wondered exactly how much I'd bought for $7. A quarter pound. Yes, it's $28 a pound. Suddenly, it seemed less delicious. I wondered if this was the most expensive thing I've bought by weight that wasn't illegal. Then I realized that the locally-grown catnip that the kids love so much cost me $1.50 for a quarter ounce. Or so the package says; as someone who was in high school and college in the late 70s, it doesn't look like no quarter ounce to me. If it is, the nip's, what, $64 a pound? But it looks more like .025 of an ounce which would, my frugal mind says Don't Think Any Further. The woman I bought it from joked that it would "go great with that cheese!" which would be the most expensive food I've ever eaten.
      I stopped at an old graveyard on the way back. It was strange. It was a square, about 50 yards to a side, with the oldest graves at the road, newer ones further in, and about a fifth of it empty. The earliest grave was from 1730, the newest from 2003. After over a quarter of a millenium, it's not full? How exclusive is this club?
      One of the earliest went on and on about the woman's laft will and teftament (as they spelled their S's back then), and ended not just with a variant on the poem I saw earlier this year at another graveyard, the one about worms eating your flesh--I guess that that was a popular sentiment then--but the phrase "The Liberal Soul Will Grow Fat." I guess in Liberal Heaven, Paul Wellstone and FDR are handing out donuts. I'll take a dozen chocolate glazed, Mr President.


      Several great suggestions on what not to go as this Halloween.

      I don't think that most amazing thing about this creature is that it's the only vertebrate hermaphrodite and can make itself pregnant. I don't even think that it's the fact that it's a fish that can live, not just out of the water, but in a tree for months. I think that it's amazing that they totally wasted the name "mangrove killfish" on something 2 inches long! It's got "man" and "KILL" right in the name! It should be five feet long, and only leave the trees to lunge down and rip a hole in your neck, burrow through your esophagous and eat your kidneys while you're still alive! THAT is a mangrove killfish!
      Two inches long?! What's it do, nibble your bum? All right, boys, fish stew tonight--ARRRRGGHH! That fishie's dynamite!

      Just watched: An insightful glimpse into the lives of average suburban youth, whose lives are touched when they bond over an old car that then turns into a robot and OMIGAWD SHIT BLOWS UP!!!!
      It was Transformers. I think that the screenplay was based on an Edith Wharton novel. Or maybe a fanfic written by a teenager who huffed a lot of paint and liked to kill ants with a hammer; it's hard to tell.
      I'm not sure why I broke down and watched a Michael Bay movie. Maybe it was because I've been using "Michael Bay" as a name for what I hate about movies, and felt guilty because I'd never actually seen one. And I found out why people like him: it was loud, crazy, exciting, and didn't require more than a brainstem to understand. It's TV with a budget of $150M. And as I've always said about TV: "It doesn't just require no thinking, it rewards it." In fact, thinking about any part of the movie destroys it. I kept feeling like I was blanking out during it--"What just happened?" I'd ask. Or "What did THAT mean?! Oh, it meant nothing, I guess." Then came the final half hour, which was just one long battle, and it made no sense whatsoever at all. This is a movie made for kids who were raised by parking them in front of a TV set and watching Teletubbies: OOH! Bright shiny loud, and it moves! This isn't a negative review--I didn't find it boring for one second. But then neither would a 2 year old, and for the same reasons.




      The cutest animal pictures you'll see today that don't involve cats.


      Wow, the internet can do anything! Even
describe your past life!      Umm, no I don't remember. But it must've been nice to live in New Zealand!

      The Sun goes up, the Moon goes Down; the Leaves are Green, the Leaves are Brown, but all I do now is Dick Around. With fake band. No, the human one, not the naked cello-playing cats.




      What's that mean? Well, this quiz claims to tell you if you have Asperger's. And man, I totally flunked! I got a 48, and I'm "neurotypical"! I'm not a misunderstood genius asshole at all! Now I'll never be an internet cool kid!
      Asperger's, aka Internet Disease aka Assholer's Syndrome, has the amazing effect of making you both an angsted-out misunderstood genius and gives you an excuse for being a socially maladjusted jerk. Somehow, being borderline autistic is a badge of honor in some corners of the Tubes. But, nooo, that's been stolen from me now! I don't have a serious debilitating mental condition! Now I have to accept responsibility for my own actions!
      Man. I want me a condition that I can use for an excuse for why I'm an antisocial weird guy! And I want mine to have a better name!
      "Christopher Walken Syndrome"! YES! Just like the InterTube hordes who've declared themselves to have Assholer's, I have self-diagnosed myself into UTTER COOLNESS!
      You could also call it "Mad Cowbell Disease," but that's a bit oblique.


      Kill Kill, The Divine Miss K, has had since kittenhood some obvious traits: a regal beauty, a patience beyond compare with her frequently deranged little brother, the brain power that earned her the nickname "Einstein Cat" as soon as she moved in, and her insistence in doing the same thing every day for months or years--until she abruptly stops doing it. For months or years, and then starting it up again, for months or years. The last thing she stopped doing was sleeping with me. She hasn't done it in months or y--You got the picture. And she's started again. She uses me as a body pillow, and I have sweet dreams, frequently involving the cat curled up on me.
      But it's enough of renewed sensation that if she curls up on me, I don't want to get out of bed. She did it a record 5 times last night, the second-to-last time being just when I was about to get out of bed. So I slept in. Until 130.
      Since it was cold out, I had no plans for today besides getting the mail, getting gas for the car, and maybe buying some hot wings at People's Choice Pizza Soviet. I idly thought about how the mail comes very late every day; never earlier than 345 and frequently later. But once a month, at random, it comes hours earlier, and every time it's when I have a Netflix DVD to send out in order to grab a Tuesday new release. And I end up getting my mail picked up the next day, and not getting the DVD. And as I went out to get the mail, there the mailman was. I gave him my outgoing mail and got my handfull of junk mail. If I'd left the house 3 minutes later, he would've been gone! Good timing! (Although the DVD out tomorrow is Spiderman 3, and given my experiences with superhero movies lately, it may turn out to be bad timing)
      After an afternoon of deciding to get wings or just gas, I decided on both, and waited until I was hungry. I got gas first. I don't remember the last time I saw a "gas station" in this state, meaning, a place that sells just gas. They're either repair places too, or they're these all-in-one stops. They used to have convenience stores attached, but now they all have several other stores jammed in. The closest one has gas, a minimart, a Subway and a Dunkin Donuts squeezed into one building, despite the fact that there are 2 Dunkins and Subways each within 2 miles.
      Gas here has gone up 20 cents in less than a week, and goes up every day. I grumbled, but what are you gonna do? The pump said REMOVE NOZZLE CHOOSE FUEL TYPE. Huh, that's odd. I thought that I had to pay first. But I followed the instructions, and the pump stopped at exactly $10. Apparently someone pulled up, paid for their gas, and then went inside and got donuts or grinders. Possibly a grinder made out of donuts. I should note that, in Connecticut, one buys them at Subway, but they're grinders, not subs. In other parts of the country, they're called hoagies, po'boys, blimps, Terrestial-Format Nutrition Delivery Systems (at NASA), or that-which-is-edible-yet-inexplicably-not-a-potato (in Idaho). They were so multitasked, that they returned to their car and drove it away without pumping. Giving me $10 of gas. Thank you, anonymous dope!
      And the timing was almost entirely because Killsy slept on top of me this morning.

      I remember many years ago seeing a TV segment about photo shoots of food, and how they made the food look purty. The food had to stand up to hot photo lights for hours, so it was altered. If you actually ate that delicious-looking food, you'd either vomit or die. Those bubbles that make the coffee look freshly poured? Dishwashing liquid! That gleam on the vegetables? Sprayed with glycerine! That mouth-wateringly browned roast turkey? Furniture varnish!
      Ya still hungry? Here's what fast food looks like in an ad, and in person.
      The same site also has a funny bit on a disgusting Wendy's burger called "The Baconator." Yes, name your fat-laden artery bomb after a remorseless robotic killing machine! It'd be like the Big Mac being renamed the "McHitler." "What to have for lunch? Here's your hunger's Final Solution!" And can I have a geno-side order of Deep-Fried Stalin Lard on the side, and a Chicken Pol Pot Pie with that?

      Cool news for dinosaur fanatics like me: Burrowing dinos that cared for their young. Unfortunately, "The dinosaur's broad hips suggest that it could have braced itself in a wide stance while burrowing." Wide stance? I guess it was also a Republican..


      Recently watched: Meet the Robinsons. I saw the first trailer and thought it looked awful. Then I saw some clips on not-Ebert & Roeper, and they were pretty funny. I even toyed with the idea of seeing it as a 3D feature in the theaters.
      I wondered if I'd made a mistake during the first, slow 10 minutes. But that was clearly there just as a contrast to how batshit the movie became at minute 11. It was very funny, and devoid of instantly-dated pop culture refs, distracting celebrity voiceovers (there's only one celeb voice, and it's totally apropos and amusing) and montages set to songs from the Oldies Station. The soundtrack was, in fact, the first Danny Elfman I've heard that didn't sound like Elfman has for 20 years. And the humor didn't have that mean-spiritedness that ruins too many comedies.
      Another plus: It's set in a shiny bright future of flying cars, robots, and endless invention. Yes, I know, that cliche. Hey, name another movie with flying cars! No, the Jetsons was a cartoon, not a movie, and a parody of that cliche. Hey, I'll bet the only movie with flying cars you can remember is Blade Runner! Oh, what a happy future that foretold! No, and while it is a great movie, it's the cliche now. Every version of the future is a grimy, ugly dystopia, and has been for a quarter of a century. Sci-fi is supposed to show you things that you've never seen before, and I've seen that in every fucking movie ever since. No wonder nobody has any hope that the future will be a better place anymore--they've been deluged with images that it'll just be worse than today. A self-fufilling prophecy? So it was nice to see a version of the future that didn't make you want to kill yourself before it happens.
      Next: Fracture. Very intelligent acting in a very dumb movie. Anthony Hopkins kills his wife, confesses to doing it, and the big mystery is why he did it! Well...NO. Since the first thing we see is her cheating on him with the same homicide detective who will (unbelievably) be assigned to arrest Hopkins, I think we can guess why he set it up. And do police negotiators really go into armed stand-offs without wearing a wire, or even anybody in earshot? And--sorry, spoiler alert for a movie that's about as spoiled as raw hamburger left on the back porch for 3 days--when Super Criminal Mastermind Hopkins gets away with it, he simply describes the entire crime and his reasons for doing it to the state prosecutor who failed to get him convicted, while never thinking that the entire fucking police force is standing right outside the door listening? And that is by no means an exaggeration, that's what happens. It's like ending the movie by him falling into a swimming pool of tuna juice, at the exact same time that the doors of the cat shelter next door fall down. No, actually, that would be better, and funnier.
      Oh! Sorry! Didn't mean to spoil it! Now you can't waste 2-plus hours of your life watching it! Oh dear!


      A new business opened in the plaza behind the store. It's a Mailboxes Etc kind of place. Its name is Goin' Postal! One would assume that their customer service isn't the best. "We're faster than a speeding bullet! And if you piss us off, you'd better be, too!"
      I think I'll start a pizza delivery place called Jeffrey Dahmer's Ready-to-Eat. "Where you're the menu!"


      "Elephant on acid, dog head grafts and a seesaw to revive the dead". Ten very strange scientific experiments. I'm pretty unclear as to why you'd even attempt the first one--"Shoot a bullet filled with a massive overdose of LSD into an elephant; result: Elephants die from massive overdoses of LSD." It's kind of hard imagining an everyday use for that knowledge. Maybe if you were Hunter Thompson, interviewing Tarzan for your book "Fear and Loathing in Lesotho," and you were attacked by a rogue elephant, and you had to defend yourself with typical household objects, which in Thompson's case would be LSD and guns...but otherwise, not really.

      Minor point: Fixed that page-hijacking bug on the Auto-Click for Charity page caused by that one charity not paying its rent.


      Quote of the Day: "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."--George Bernard Shaw

      An awesome video, 100 Numbers in 100 Films. It's a simple concept that could've had a lame execution: Count down from 100 to 1 using film clips. The amazing thing is that it was done using recognizable movies. I think I could name at least 40 of them. See how many you get!

      WFMU has a post on bad disco music. But all disco was bad! I hated disco! It was stupid and lame and in a single year, it went from a single John Revolta movie to take over every band everywhere and all of popular culture. Grease was set in 1950s, but the movie version had a disco scene. The TV show Buck Rogers was set in the 25th century, but had roller disco. Disco albums were released by such unlikely soures as the Rolling Stones, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Mickey Mouse, and Sesame Street. In college, there was a group discussion of what songs would never be discofied. Since they'd already done Disco I Love Lucy and even Disco Close Encounters, it wasn't an illogical exercise. We voted "Purple Haze" as the second least likely, but I had the winner by acclimation: "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." You can imagine my delight/horror 12 years later, when I bought (for 49 cents) Hot R.S.'s album that was almost entirely versions of that song.
      I still have the picture I clipped from the local paper on the 1979 "DEATH TO DISCO" rally held at a football stadium in Ohio. Until today, I never knew that it had a theme song.
      My favorite antidisco song has always been one that was also the best disco song ever: "I don't know the name of the girl I brought home, but the face was familiar--She's a Disco Clone!"


      Killsy wanted to Go Out. This means the common hallway, of course, not the big dangerous outside world. She and Byron spent a brief time out the back door, then she wanted to go out the front. We're not supposed to let pets off of leashes in the hallway, but it's 1AM. Who'll know?
      I stopped him as he chased Killsy into the bathroom, and screamed "YOU FUCKING DOG!!" like it was some holy canine exorism chant. "GET OUT!" and I held open the back door--which had the chain on it, since it was the front door they went out of, and Cerebus had come in through. I herded him towards the front, but then Killsy ran from the bathroom to the bedroom, and he decided that OH YAH ME KILLZ DAT and ran after her. I screamed, and so did his owner, outside in the hall. "Please go this way!" I said and pointed him to the front door. Yes, one should always be polite to home invaders who try to murder your kids. I got him out, and said to the owner--okay, almost sobbed in hysterics, "I'm SO sorry! I'm so sorry!" and then he smacked the dog in anger, and I said "OH NO, DON'T! DON'T!"
      Hyperventilating and with a heartbeat that probably cancelled out my last 3 months of blood pressure medication, I shut the door and looked for the kids. Byron was invisible, but Killsy came up to me in the bedroom after a few minutes, before running off to hide again. I found Byron behind the computer. It's been half an hour, and she's still under the bed, and he's still behind the computer. I think Go Out time is cancelled now and forever...even if the neighbors were the ones who didn't have a pet on a leash.

      A lighter look at pets after that nightmare, The True History of LOLCats. Very revealing, with interviews with cat experts.



      I went over to Kevin's yesterday to eat late-season barbecue and watch a movie. Kev had 3 obscure downloads to choose from; we went with The Legend of Sirius, made by Sanrio Film. Yes, that Sanrio, the Hello Kitty people. Before they found more profit in making mouthless mutant felines and their branded sex devices, they made high quality anime features. Here's the Japanese trailer, in typical YouTube Murk-O-Vision. You can see that the female/fire characters are variants on Tinkerbell, and the main male characters are obviously animated as Peter Pan and a Lost Boy. The guys are supposed to be underwater, but they "fly" rather than swim. Over underwater mountains, through underwater clouds, and even past an underwater waterfall, and I'm unclear on how the physics of that work.
      Story: Fire and Water once lived together as One, narrated over a drawing of a naked man and woman cuddling in the afterglow. "They were brother and sister." Umm...okay. Not many children's movies open with both nudity and incest. But the Wind God was jealous (and possibly only a second cousin), so he started a war between the FIre Goddess and the Water God. He was defeated, by having an Eternal Flame set by the Fire Goddess to calm the seas, and having his eyeball ripped out and placed on a handy chain by the Water God. But they never made up, and ever since, Fire and Water live in their own realms, with all contact between the 2 forbidden.
      Our main characters are the Prince of Water, Sirius, and Malta, an island off of Italy. No, wait, a Princess of Fire. He has a "comical" sidekick, part merman and part unicorn, who "comically" pulls random stuff out of his hair, in a clear homage to the oeuvre of Captain Caveman. She has a "comical" sidekick who 50% of the time refers to herself in the 3rd person, although her name is Bialy. Kev: "I had one of those at the deli this morning!" Me, refering to her onscreen groping of her friend, "Did it also rub itself all over your crotch?" Yeah, it's hot sprite-on-sprite action!
      Sirius is given the Eyeball, and told that if the evil Wind God ever regains it, he'll become alive again and destroy everything. "One eyeball to rule them all, and in the briney bind them!" is the idea. But Sirius goes where Sauro--err, the Wind God lies, into the Forbidden Zone which is not a movie involving Oingo Boingo and Herve Villechaise THANK GOURD. And he meets Malta, keeping the Eternal Flame alit. And falls in lust at first sight. Well, why wouldn't he? Her kingdom is composed entirely of female Tinkerbells, and his has his dad God, him, his obnoxious comic relief, and anthropomorphic fish. This is the only Sanrio-ish part of the film--the fish usually have clown noses, or are some made-up species like the fish that are bunny heads that swim by their ears, or puppy heads with the bodies of sperm. Or the villain, who looks like Barney left in the back of the fridge too long. And drools and yells and is supposed to be funny and goofy. This isn't Miyazaki here, folks. It's more like lame Disney mixed with bad Bluth. But how many good animated films came out of 1981?
      They meet at the Eternal Flame, and opposites attract, and what's more opposite than fire and water? There's more silliness, and of course their mutual sidekicks are jealous of their crush. Eventually Malta decides that Their Love Can Never Be, but then the Giant Turtle of Expostion rears his weirdly Jimmy Durante-shaped head, and plows into 10 minutes of Giant Turtle Exposition: It seems that the Fire and Water Gods were brother and sister, and lovers, and they had 2 kids. GUESS WHO THEY ARE! Hint: they've spent the last hour sucking face. Malta and Sirius aren't just the products of incest, they're its new exporters! And you got squicked thinking about the Luke/Leia kiss in Empire! Guess what--Sirius and Malta aren't. To them, "I've been fucking my inbred sibling?!" doesn't seem at all bizarre, or even notable.
      And let's take a moment here to note that this was a recent Japanese DVD with the 1980s soundtrack from the American VHS dubbed in. Whoever released this in the USA did NOT decide to rewrite it into something less kinky. They released a videotape of it, just like this. Probably in Appalachia.
      Exposition Turtle tells them about the Hills of Elysius, where flowers grow during solar eclipses that go past the Sun and take whoever is with them to a star where Fire and Water can live together. They grow through interstellar space, sure why not. The eclipse happens every 90 years, and (turtle checks his eclipse watch) gosh, the last one was 89 years, 360 days ago! WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Then Evil Barney turns up and threatens to turn Sirius in to the Water God because he's dating a hot (literally) chick, and then Barney will be king! Apparently, this is one of those monarchies where primogeniture not only doesn't apply to the ruler's own children, but to those outside the same species. Expo-Turtle plods off to stop Barney, and after 10 freakinn' minutes of narration can't wait 2 seconds to answer the question 'Where are the Hills of Elysius?" Maybe he was afraid of the next question, "How fucked-up will our children be after all this inbreeding?"
      Then the Eternal Flame's warranty runs out, apparantly due to all the time Corsica--sorry, Sardinia--MALTA--spent listening to the turtle drone on. Heroically deciding to run the fuck away, she and her soggy beau run off to find the Hills of Elysia. Bialy decides to pretend to be the flame by committing suicide. Y'know what's missing from kids' films these days? There just aren't enough scenes of self-immolation, that's what. Her noble sacrifice works for literally 20 seconds. The Fire Goddess and her unending Dolly Parton wig race to the scene with the Tinkerbell SWAT team, just as the Water God rises up, having been given the word by Barney that Sirius has been dating outside his own Elemental. They are both grounded for life! In this case, actually thrown in prisons for life.
      Until now, the movie was goofy. But you gotta throw some drama at the kids, right? A little scare? A shift in tone? My earliest movie memory was a matinee of Sleeping Beauty in Manchester, CT. Maleficent turned into a dragon, and it scared the daylights out of me! But everything worked out in the end.
      Malta escapes her prison because an inexplicable trio of cherubs, not seen before in the movie and then never again, appear and do a silly dance (to the tune of the Can-Can). This mesmerizes her guards, and she walks out of her jail cell (in retrospect, I'll bet that they wished that they'd given it a door). So bewitched by this terpsichorean fucktardery are the guards, that they don't notice when Malta yells "THANKS LITTLE FRIENDS!" a yard behind their heads.
      Not so lucky is Young Einstein--wait, that's not Sirius, that's Yahoo Serious. His comic relief sidekick Bibble tries a bunch of underwater shtick to get him out: A whale bashes its head against the bars, an octopus tries to pull the bars out, a sawfish saws at them and his blade falls apart, a blowfish blows up inside and explodes into a skeleton. Then Bibble is told by Barney that he can bust Sirius and his satellite radio out of stir by simply taking the Eyeball of the Wind God, and giving it to the Wind God. Bibble asks, Won't the Wind God kill the fuck out of everybody? Barney answers Yes, but the total and complete destruction could blow up your friend's cell! Bibble says Yeah, that makes sense! It's like when you lock your keys in your car, so you set off a hydrogen bomb! The blast will certainly blow open the doors, or you won't care because you'll be reduced to your constituent molecules! Makes sense to me!
      After some more hilarious hijinks involving getting Barney drunk on wine that flows underwater, Bibble stands at the precipice of the Forbidden Zone. He has second thoughts about reawakening the Wind God, possibly remembering the carnage that ensued when he invoked Cthulhu to open that pickle jar. But the Wind God senses the presense of the One Ring, I mean Eyeball, and sucks him into a vortex. Along with Barney. And every adorable, cutesy, happy lil cartoon fishie in the ocean. And fucking kills them all.
      Yes. A little scare. A shift in tone. A cartoon genocide.
      Hey, remember halfway through 101 Dalmations, when Cruella skinned the puppies alive and then wore their bloody fur for the next half of the movie? Boy, that was kinda scary! What? That didn't happen? "Emotionally scarring and horrifically traumatic," what're you talking about?
      Where were we? Ah, yes, Exterminating Nemo. Well, with every bad Wind God blows some good! Every single character under the sea is sleeping with the fishes now (except that they're all fish), but the massive seaquakes and tidal waves the Wind God used to kill everybody actually do break down the walls of Sirius's prison. It's the End of the World, but you can't make an omelet without breaking a few seals of the Apocalypse! Sirius finds Bibble under rubble, and Bibble dies of his wounds. But not before plucking the unicorn horn from his forehead. Apparently he disassembles for easy storage. I believe that this is the point when I said "This cartoon is like the scene where Bambi's mother is shot, every 5 minutes!"
      Malta has spent her escape wandering aimlessly along the seashore, screaming "SIRIUS!" and searching for the Hills of Elysium. When the Wind God attacks, the ground beneath her explosively grows upwards--hey, she's on the Hills of Guess What! Huge fiddleheads grow, disgorge their floating bubble seeds to the sky, and die in seconds. What an interesting life cycle those plants have: wait 90 years to germinate, then immediatly die. She gets encased by a big crystal like a bug in amber, no it's not explained, and then the crystal turns into a cocoon with her inside. Did little Japanese kids see this and say, "Sure, that makes sense"?
      Since she had her time wandering aimlessly shouting her lover/sibling's name, it's Sirius' turn now. He naturally wanders randomly to her exact location. She's since hatched out her cocoon, complete with pink-nippled titiies, since this is a kids' film and also to appeal to its true audience, guys who think incest is hawtt. But she refuses him, as the eclipse is over (he checks eclipse watch: "90 years and 5 minutes?! Fuck! That Daylight Savings change always messes me up! That and, you know, ARMAGEDDON.") He walks blindly into the sun, fatal to Watery dweebs like himself. She has a sudden change of heart, screaming "Go back! The sun will kill you! Didn't you see the last scene of Nosferatu?!" but, you know, not actually doing anything about it, what with her abiltiy to fly and save him. He dies.
      She decides that she will join him in suicide. It's your First Little Golden Book of Romeo and Juliet! She dives into the sea, fatal to her kind, but a giant hand raises them both from the depths. It's the Water God! They're alive
      No. They're dead. The Water God flings them into interstellar space so that they may go to that star where fire and water live together, which in this movie probably means that their frozen corpses endlessly circle a dying sun. And this would be the point that I said "This movie makes me yearn for the cheerful happy ending of Akira."
      Wow. Words can't describe how abruptly this changed tone from "light hearted fantasy" to "the black pit of despair." It'd be like a Scooby Do episode where the scary man in the mask is Leatherface, and he kills them with a chainsaw. For an hour. "Zoinks! My arm's cut off!" "RUH-ROH! RI've reen risemboweled!" No, wait--that happening to Scoob would be kinda cool.

      An unwritten rule of the Tubes seems to be that every month a site doesn't update, there's a 33% chance that it will never update again. After 1 month, it's unlikely that it will. After 2, very unlikely. After 3, forget it. But there's a 1% chance that it will, expiring at month 6.
      At 5.5 months, I sadly gave up on the Matinee at the Bijou blog. Sadly, because I really wanted that show to come back on the air. It was supposed to return to PBS in 2007, but if they couldn't even maintain a blog...
      You may have guessed that this is going towards good news. Yes, at the 5.6 month point, they started a new blog! Even better, they just added a mini-Bijou of the week on YouTube. It updates on Wednesdays, so I'm a bit behind on last week's. It's all shorts, none of them more than 9 minutes. From last week's, my fave bits are Deviled Hams, mainly for that second number. It's as much contortionism as dancing. And there's a crazy Dr Pepper lobby ad that's all UPA-ish and surreal. I'm pretty psyched for their next offerings, and the hope that they'll be (as they now say) back on TV in 2008.


      Spiderman 3 wasn't the suck-fest I feared it would be, but it wasn't anything special, either. It looked like they discovered that the studio have given them a budget big enough to make S3, S4 and S5, so they said, "Let's make all of them at once!" There were too many characters and too much stuff going on. They'd focus on one aspect of the script, then abandon to focus on another, then go to the third one...
      They really should've used the black suit/Venom story in another film dedicated to that storyline. It's so abbreviated as to become ridiculous, especially when the worst things the (utterly unexplained) alien symbiote (that came from a meteor that landed in Central Park with no one noticing) makes Peter do is eeeevil things like strut, dance in public and (laughably!) give him the same haircut as Hitler. It's not a bad movie, but you're fine if you never see it.



      Recently not-watched: Prehistoric Park, "from the same people who brought you the Walking with Dinosaurs trilogy." True enough, although it would've been more accurate to say "...and then followed it up with that obnoxious Chased by Dinosaurs retardorama."
      I'd recommend the Walking with Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Beasts/Monsters trilogy to anyone (except for with Cavemen, which was terrible, and in fact came before Monsters, so I guess that they've removed that one from canon). The effects--a combination of CG and animatronics--are great, but what makes it work is the script. It's done as a regular nature documentary, focusing on the latest theories of how dinosaurs (or synapsids or yard-wide spiders, depending on the series) acted. That turns the effects invisible. You just forget that you're watching a fake documentary.
      Chased by Dinosaurs, as you might guess from the dumb title, featured some English version of Steve Irwin running around a green screen pretending to be scared. The first time I stuck Park in the player, I saw him and yelled "Oh fuck no, HIM?!" and put in Spiderman 3. But then I decided, How bad can it be?
      I will admit, the Me under the age of 11 would've loved this shit. And that's what it is, I assume: shit for kids who got bored during the WwD trilogy. While "used dino DNA to bring them back to life for a park" would be more believable, it would also get them sued. So they have a time tunnel, which apparently they've used for every single useful purpose one could possibly use a time machine for, and go back to stock a zoo with dinos. I think "stocking the zoo" was the last priority above "Gimme the time machine, I need to go back 20 minutes and find out where I left my keys."
      There's no big controversy over whether that meteor impact killed the dinsoaurs any more. The question is whether or not it did it immediately, or whether it was just one of a series of contributing factors that may have hastened their end. The fossil record can tell you the difference between a million years and ten thousand, but it can't tell you the difference between ten thousand years and a day. But here they use the time tunnel to go back to the week before everything blows up. Look: If you wanted to find out what life in Pompeii was like, would you go back to August 24th, 79 AD, or sometime in 78? In the case of the K-T event, you could go back a million years and still have things exactly the same. But--not dramatic enough! So they go the week before. And they show something no one has ever seen on screen before--a battle between a T. rex and a triceratops! Well, a battle not seen in every fucking movie with stop-motion dinosaurs from 1914's The Lost World to One Million Years B.C. As to the realism--do predators stalking prey really run up right in front of their lunch, then sca-ream at their potential victims for 5 minutes before they do anything? What finally made me give up on this 3-show disc was the T. rex sca-reaming every single time it was shown. Every single time. Is there some new scientific evidence that this was how they breathed? Inhale, SCREAMhale?
      The effects weren't good. I don't know if all the effects in these shows have been like this, or if they only become noticably cheezy when constantly intercut with live-action actors. Likeliest is that the effects here are just cheap, as they were frequently out of focus. But it was made for 8-year-olds, I guess, or adults who are pretty fucking stupid.
      When I was 8, I'd gone from the "I want to be a Fireman when I grow up" phase through the "Astronaut!" phase, and my parents loved to have other adults ask me what I wanted to be, as I'd say "A Paleontologist!" So, maybe kids will like this. It may excite them about dinosaurs, but it won't teach them a damn thing about anything.


      Byron has some strange ability to sense when it's about half an hour before I get out of bed. He uses that time to stampede around the house at mach 5, usually ending up on the desk in the bedroom. About 10 minutes after this routine this morning, he was still lying on the desk. And on my glasses! I moved him, they weren't there. I turned on the light, saw their fuzzy, indistinct outline on the floor and said "These had better not be bro--" And a lens was popped out.
      I dug into the old glasses. I don't have a true spare pair, just whatever pair I last replaced. The dorky late-80s glasses that became hideously unfashionable a few years later? No. The most recent-to-my-current-scrip ones? I had those tinted into sunglasses; no way I could drive at night when they're on. So that leaves this pair!
      I called work to tell them I'd be late (only excuse worse than "The dog ate my homework" is "The cat broke my glasses") and went to Sears, who've always repaired my specs for free, even if I didn't get them there. If I'd have arrived 5 seconds earlier, I wouldn't've spent 10 minutes to be waited on. The old lady in front of me--who was so in front of me, I couldn't race ahead of her and claim first spot in line--was picking up her new ones. Fine. Then some obnoxious person cut in front of me and interrupted her, wanting to have the clerk check her files. The overly-happy clerk knew I was next, but instead helped the Rude Lady, since "I'm already on the computer." Yeah, I should have said "I just want to drop these off, and I'm late for work!" but when you work in retail, you lose the ability to be rude to other retailers. The Rude Lady wanted a refund on some glasses she'd paid for and never picked up, despite having no receipt. The clerk couldn't find any record of the transaction. "Was it more than 2 years ago?" Yes! "Our records don't go back past 2 years." And of course it continued from there. The fuck? "I wanna refund on something I can't even prove exists"? Nice scam, lady.
      So I got to work 18 minutes late instead of 8. And, like an idiot rushing to work, didn't simply stay when she told me that the repair would be done in 10 to 15 minutes. So I had to drive all the way back, discovering that although the mall is 5 miles closer to work than my home, it takes 5 minutes longer each way because of the traffic and endless stoplights. And they couldn't fix them. I made an appointment for an eye exam. I may have new glasses in a week.
      The pair of spare glasses I'd grabbed turned out to be the only glasses that I didn't replace because my scrip changed, they were the ones I stopped using because they were physically damaging me. They have that "change to sunglasses" feature, except that technology was gen-1 when I got them 25 years ago, and they weigh so much, they might as well have been forged out of pig iron. They made the skin on the bridge of my nose ulcerate back then. And every 15 minutes I wore them, I had to take them off for 5, and I'm effectively blind without glasses. And you know that feeling you get as you start to trip? The scrip was so old, I felt like that with every step.
      So I'm currently wearing my busted glasses. With the lens held in with scotch tape. Because that doesn't make you look like a dork.

      An Eddie Izzard routine set to Star Wars Legos.


      Via Ernst in the Comments, Free Rice. Guess the meaning of a word, and give Free Rice to the hungry. I found it fun and addictive, and it does a lot more for the world than another damn game of Minesweeper.


      The Glamorous Life of a Secret Agent


      On Saturday, a coworker informed me that we had vision coverage on our insurance! I went to Sears the next day for my exam and new glasses, and the optometrist said that last week Cigna downgraded their coverage, and I can't use it at a retail place like Sears anymore. News to me. Cigna had sent me something a few weeks ago, but it was that typical mailing with a cover letter mentioning "changes to your account status," and a thick booklet with pictures of happy, beautiful people clearly thinking about anything but insurance, with no hint as to where in the booklet you could find said status changes. Maybe it's in this chapter here--Ooh, a puppy!
      He gave me 30% off, but I think that was just him. And I've got another week of wearing glasses held together with scotch tape.

      Kev and I were scheduled to see some wacky, cheap-ass Russian space movie yesterday, but he came across Tekkon Kinkreet as a download. He sent me the trailer. Shit, which one would you have watched?
      We were going to watch it just because it looked great, and he has the widescreen HD TV to do it justice. But it was much more than a pretty face--it's an awesome anime. It was written and directed by Americans, but it's purely Japanese. The characters have really stylized animation, while the backgrounds are...indescribable. I immediately thought of my dreams, with their riots of exploding color and intricate detail. The backgrounds were detailed beyond belief, sometimes for shots that are only two seconds long.
      The story was great, too. A pair of orphans protect their turf in Treasure Town, a slum and industrial wasteland, from other kids, Yakuza, and a green-lipped creep who wants to tear it all down for an amusement park best described as the Unhappiest Place on Earth. But there really is no way to describe the plot or the movie. If the trailer interests you (which gives no real hint of the lush detail that goes into every shot, due to its inherent YouTubery), it's surprisingly available on Netflix.

      Scalzi goes to the Creation Museum.


      The Most Baffling Toys. I have so wanted a GOD-JESUS for years! And it's odd that nobody else ever came across Baby Organ. I want that more than anything!


      We had a big bunch of promo junk dumped in the store a month or 2 ago. It was supposed to go to the customers, and most of it did (except for that cuckoo clock with the chirping Beck's beer bottle I snagged, ha ha!). Now we have this residue of stuff no one wants, even for free. Like a bag of bright yellow Miller High Life bar cloths, the things that bartenders use to wipe moisture off the bar. I checked one out, and found out that it was quite silky, and useful as a lens cleaner. I left one on the desk in the bedroom.
      Byron always leaps onto the desk while I'm dressing in the morning, and today he landed on the bar cloth. He skidded out of control and ended up on the floor (feet first, of course). Without a pause, he knew what did it. He stood on his back legs, snagged the cloth with his claw, and flung it to the floor. Then he jumped up--but didn't try to get on the desk. "What'd you do that for?" I asked, and he jumped on the bed and eyeballed the desk. He was trying to see if there was anything else he could slip on. Then he jumped on it.
      Killlsy stopped sleeping with me in the summer. She always does things for months or years, then stops doing them. For months or years, then does them again for months or years. She started sleeping with me every day again last month. Then she stopped, after only a few weeks. I wondered why she hadn't been in bed for 3 days, then I realized: I usually get out of bed at some point in the morning to pee or get a drink of water, and she's always right by the bedroom door. That's when I mumble half-awake, "Come to bed, honey. Come go sleep; come take a nap." And seconds later she's in the bed, curling up against me. The last 3 days, I never got out of bed, and I never said those words.
      She needs to be invited to come to bed now. Such a refined young lady!
      My cats are weirdly smart. They're also smartly weird.

      While it was mentioned at the start of the essay, I should've pointed out that the "Scalzi at the Creation Museum" page had a seperate flickr collection of photos he took while there, along with snarky commentary. And Scalzi's announced a LOLCreashun captioning contest. Some of these are pretty funny, but like all these LOLthingamabobs, they can be spotty. One entry does get points from me as having what I think may be the first LOL to use a joke about the Ultimate Nullifier.

      Semi-related: I forgot to tape the Nova special "Judgement Day," about the "Intelligent Design" trial in Kansas. Science nerd net buzz says that it was great. But it's supposed to be online on Friday.



      /></a><p><small>Get a <a href=Cash Advance

      FUCK YA! Im a GENYUS!

      Hmm, waitaminnit...that's for the main url. The page you're reading now?


Get a Cash Advance

      WHAT?! This page is IMPECUNIOUS and SQUAMOUS! It has always been impecunious and squamous, it wil always be impecunious and squamous, it will GO TO ITS GRAVE being impecun--
      Oh. Apparently that means "penniless and scaly." Well, I spelled it right! Can your damn third grader do that?!
      Since my main page has about as many polysyllabic words as the average book of matches, and any prepubescents reading The News are either very well-read or clicked because I made a Sponge Bob joke once, I'd say that this is highly suspect. And very possibly directed at people too dumb to edit their HTML to exclude the "Get a Cash Advance!!" link. And has preschool-age readers too dumb to not know that a "cash advance" is only something for retards. Impecunious and squamous retards!

      I would buy this candy for everyone on my gift-giving list, if only the name had "..." after the second-to-last word, and "!!!" after the next.


      True Fact: Before they were called Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, they were "Nathan's Squamous Hot Dogs." When they realized that no one wanted to put scaly weiners in their mouths, they changed the name to the one we know today, thus staving off bankruptcy before they became impecunious.


      Nine Inch Noels.

      The Story of Sodom and Gomorrah. A: funny! B: same as described in the bible. Which makes it funnier!

      Cool blog I just became aware of, the Museum of Hoaxes.




      Every time I go to work, I pass a Jiffy Lube. It's the same one that several years ago had a letter fall off their sign, for months making them the "iffy Lube." Not a name that inspired great confidence.
      I wonder how their business is going. They frequently send out the mechanics to stand at the edge of the road holding signs saying "$10 Off NOW," as apparently oil changes are a big impulse buy. It must suck to have to do that, out in the summer heat or the winter cold. Today they decided to make it less humiliating, by making the mechanics wear plastic hats shaped like roast turkeys.
      I don't know if there's a causal relationship here, but there's another sign that's always up at the iffy Lube: "Now Hiring."

      For your Thanksgiving turkey, WFMU has put up both editions of Rhino's World's Worst Records, both of which I own on vinyl. I suppose that fact does not surprise you.
      Some of them are Dr Demento-ish parodies that require a memory of the song they're parodying, like "I Like," or "Kazooed on Klassics," "Fudd on the Hill," "I Wanna be Your Dog" (by Iggy and the Three Stooges), or (for you not-fans of David Lee Roth) "Just a Big Ego." But Napolean XIV's "Split-Level Head" is awesome just on its own.
      On the other hand, "Fluffy" will make you want to set fire to your head.


--restaurant flyer (thanks to Chuck Buell)

      The first article I read about global warming was about 25 years ago. A scientist was asked, "So, you're saying that the icecaps will melt, drowning the coastlines while everything else turns to desert?" No, the scientist said. "Weather is a very complex machine, and the most likely short-term effect will be that the weather goes crazy."
      So why does this guy have a job?


      No, not because he draws like he's holding the pen in his left nostril, when he's right-nostriled. It's because that every 2 weeks for 6 months of the year, he runs the exact same brilliant observation that global warming's not happening, because it gets cold in the winter. That's like saying that you'll never die because so far you haven't. It's not just wrong, it shows a profound ignorance of the subject you think you're an expert on.
      After I saw that cartoon, I immediately checked the current temperature. On Thanksgiving in northern Connecticut, it was 64 degrees out. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be half that. Oh, and 2 days ago, we had an inch of snow. Almost like the weather's going crazy, huh?
      I remember in February, a radio announcer making the same "proof" that there's no such thing as climate change because Buffalo had just got 8 feet of snow in a few days. Umm, even in Buffalo that's not normal. That's crazy. And I noticed a week later, when the temps hit 50 here, almost twice normal, he didn't make any comments about global warming. I wonder why?

      In honor of Thanksgiving, Again with the Comics is highlighting comic book supervillains who are real turkeys. Including what is probably the only villain based on Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Another site has a different list of the lamest supervillains. Including Typeface, a guy who writes fonts on his face and hits people with giant letters. Not really up there with Darkseid and Thanos.


      I saw the headline "Company: Woman Used Drugs With Cartoon Characters" and thought that it was the return of that old canard, "Blotter Acid with cartoons on it being given away at playgrounds to get kids hooked!" I blogged about that a while ago--a real long time ago, in fact, on 8/28/97, a time before most of you were even born.
      But I was wrong. It's about a company that tried to fire an employee not because she used drugs with cartoon characters on them, but because she used drugs with cartoon characters. Like Porky Pig. "Want to snort some c-cocai--c-cocai--c-cocai--some glue?"

      Just in time for the holiday feeding frenzy, an exciting new gift idea! DO WANT!



      Applied Creationism Science

      Fascinating MeFi thread on a subject dear to my heart (and mind), Do animals think? I like how someone brings up the fact that gorillas can be taught sign language, then someone else says that the "only HUMANS are smart!" people keep shifting the goalposts as to what constitutes intelligence--and someone immediately claims that humans are better because we use written language. Sign language doesn't count! And when gorillas begin to write, these same human chauvinists will say SURE, but where are the gorilla Shakespeares? And when some great ape pens Much Ado About Bananas...well, um, okay, yes, but his handwriting is terrible! And that goalpost will keep moving. When a monkey invents the iPod, they'll say "I'll believe that humans are the same (but different) as every other animal when chimps land a baboon on the Moon!" And then, when the Monkey Flag flies in the vacuum of the Mare Tranquillitatis...



      One of those examples of the cure almost being worse than the disease.

      Ever since I heard that if the War of 1812 had gone on just a bit longer, New England (led by Connecticut) would've seceded from the United States, I've wondered how North America would've turned out. It surely wouldn't've been one big country. Most likely a bunch of small ones, like Europe.
      Balkanized America shows such an alternate universe. The conceit is that every secession or attempt at one suceeded, which is dubious. (It's unlikely, given their neighbors, that any of the Native American enclaves would've survived for long). But it's fun as a graphic representation of an alternate reality.


      A week living in the Mall of America:      Oh, man! I thought that I was the only guy who linked to! Now bOING bOING's on it. And you know what that means: soon everybody will link to it, it'll get really popular like the Onion, and then it will start getting lame. Like the Onion.
      That said, here's The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses. Number 2 is one I love to quote, mainly because nobody believes that shit about bears eating children because they made fun of a guy's baldness. Help, it's the Hair Bear Bunch!


      Animal Intelligence: Dogs Can Classify Complex Photos In Categories Like Humans Do. Dunno. The study makes it sound like "dogs like pictures of dogs." Although it does make the important point that "the experiment cannot tell us whether they recognized the dog pictures as actual dogs." My cats are disinterested even in mirrors. That thing inside it may look and move like a cat, but it doesn't smell like one. They know it's not real.





      Jeez, why didn't anybody tell me that there's a second Nora the Piano Playing Cat video?

      34 Unconvincing Arguments for God.

      This is either awesome or incredibly dull: A complete 1970 episode of Laugh-In. Awesome if, like me, it was your favorite show when you were 10. Dull if you've never seen the show, as this is the meta-Laugh-In episode. I have a clear memory of it; it was a "sweeps week" show that promised Tyrone the Dirty Old Man proposing to Gladys, a dance called The Farkel, and a Soviet version of Luagh-In (along the lines of SCTV's "Three C P One" episode). Unfortunately, unless you have a clear memory of the show, it's incomprehensible. There's no explanation of who Tyrone and Galdys are, who Fred Farkel and his illegitmate brood of clones are, or what the self-parody in Moscow is about. But it was the number one show in the USA back then, so they didn't need to explain. I found it a nostalgia trip both hilarious and a bit baffling, as it refers to stuff I didn't understand when I was 10. And I was a bit surprised at how many drug jokes they got away with back then.

      Beware Of Pat Sajak, And Blimps. It's about celebrity endorsements of political candidates (and blimps). If you don't want to read it, here's what I thought was the funniest bit:


      The 10 Most Ridiculous Inventions Ever Patented, with the top spots reserved for things you can't imagine being patentable.

      Only in America: Police break up fight at K-Mart. The reason? Word got out that a computer glitch would qualify anyone for a credit card. Yes, a near-riot over the chance to accrue even more revolving debt. Imagine if they started giving away free Chapter 11 filings!


      The grocery store went from "sales" to "everyday low pricing." This is good, as you don't have to wait for a sale to buy something. This is bad, because the sale prices were lower.
      Since I buy the better cat food, I've been buying based on coupons. I had one for a new brand, called "The Good Life." It's the cat version of Lucky Charms, with the kibble differently shaped, colored and flavored (I assume--I'm not planning a taste test to find out). Unfortunately, it only comes in one style, and that style isn't "diet." And when Kill Kill goes without diet food for a month...Well, she was not so much of a cat, as she was--

      --a BLANCMANGE!!

      Weird: this page has received a coupla dozen hits from Google image searches since yesterday. And there were a few from the USA, a couple each from Britain and Russia, but the rest just ping-ponged across the globe: Hits from Oz, Venezuela, Latvia, South Africa, Croatia, Taiwan, every continent except Antartica. And Munro Station is probably working on it right now. Extra super weird: they were all searching simultaneously for the same image.


      Which isn't even originally from this page, but from some obscure newspaper, the Guardian.
      While trying to figure out what was going on late last night, I came across something amazing: My cat was on
I can has! Indirectly. In a comment thread.


      Made by someone named Skrolnik, who obviously reads this page, as they knew the name of the page and the cat.

      Once a week, I read all the political cartoons on GoComics. My new fave among the right-wing dingbats is Chuck Asay. All his comics are nicely laid-out and drawn, and his opinions are like that fake right-wing cartoonist on The Onion. Every one is the Straw Man Argument, in which he loudly attacks the words he puts in Democrat's mouths. For instance, what do you think caused the current housing crisis? Lenders and borrowers believing in an eternal housing bubble? Greedy corporations operating under the least regulation they've experienced since the age of the robber barons? Hey, commie, get Lenin's cock out of your mouth and think again!


      YES! It may have just imploded this year, but the 1980s DEMONCRAPS are responsible! It's all really about how they want to make trial lawyers rich! Because they're suing...somebody...over this! Why, it's just like how those Chinese-made toys with the date-rape drugs in them aren't the fault of Bush's FDA refusing to test most imports--it's because the DemoRATS are in the pocket of Big Stomach Pump!
      Seriously, he's just like the Onion guy. Note the labels: Asay is in favor of predatory lending and discrimination. Oh, how his hand must have trembled, trying so hard to not draw the evil borrowers as dirty nigras. THAT'S the cause of the housing crisis! Femocrats refused to let the poor, poor giant corporations to refuse to give out loans 25 YEARS AGO to darkies who would just default on their loans, having spent the money on whores, crack and grits. And now the d-EMO-crats whine that the broken and abused giant corporations can't foreclose on the same people and sell their homes and keep both the money that they paid into their usurious loans and the money from the foreclosure! Think about the CHILDREN! Of billionaires who may have to reduce the size of their kids' trust funds!
      And, this happening? Are Democratic congressmen suing lenders to stop this? Just to make Trial Lawyers (who are awful creatures, totally unlike corporate lawyers) rich? I know that I'm just a liberal traitor whose greatest regret is that Karl Marx is too dead to ram me up the ass every minute of the day, but this guy clearly comes out on the side of discrimination and predatory lending. Irony is dead. At least as dead as Asay's conscience.
      And here's another recent gem:


      Wait...umm, again, is this happening anywhere but inside Asay's fever-wracked cherry pit of a brain? Are churches going bankrupt because of pedophile lawsuits (from Trial Lawyers!)? Last I checked, the Archdiocese of Boston was still there, and that pretty much proves the umplumbable depths of the Vatican's pockets. Wasn't the point of the billion dollar lawsuits the fact that the Vatican covered up the molestation and moved the priests to new parishes, to prey again? Was there some news story that I missed, about a child-raping teacher that the entire community either supported or shrugged off? And isn't he really complaining not about mentors ass-fucking little boys, but an imagined hypocrisy that it's only considered bad if the religious do it? Is Asay just plain nuts?
      I have a feeling that you haven't seen the last of my new favorite conservative dung beetle. Pushing, pushing, always pushing his big ball of shit.



      A fanfic comic, The Ten Doctors. Sketches, really, although the few finished bits of art look nice. Scroll down for those, along with notes that help the Who-lapsed like me follow it a bit more clearly (the Sontarans took over Gallifrey, and Skaro blew up? The things you miss when you don't get cable). Also: LONG. 80 pages, so far. I still haven't finished the existing ones.

      Oh, those silly internet quizzes! Take "Which Muppet Am I?" and you're always Fozzie and never Gonzo. They never give you the result you hope for. I took The Which Major U.S. City Are You? Test, hoping for Boston and dreading finding out that I'm Cleveland. And what result did I get?


Your Score: HARTFORD!

You scored 20% Style, 36% Climate, and 45% Culture!

You are Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford, located at the end of the navigable portion of the Connecticut River, was settled in 1623 as a Dutch trading post. In 1636, a group of English settlers left Massachusetts and formed a colony here. The settlers made peace with the local Algonquin Indians, who called the town Saukiog, and renamed it after Hertford, England. Shaped by the social and economic forces which gave rise to industrial growth in America, Hartford grew and prospered as successive waves of immigrants came to work, build and settle in the community. This ethnic and cultural diversity continues to be a prominent part of Hartford's heritage and one of the city's greatest assets. Hartford also became an important cultural and communications center. The nations oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, was founded in 1844. Supported by prominent benefactors like J.P. Morgan, the museum grew to become one of the top ten art museums in the country. Authors like Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe were drawn to the area, because, as Twain said "of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief."

You have landed yourself in a more laid back city because you are not fond of typical city crowds and city folk, but would probably be happier in a smaller town. You also don't mind the change in seasons, even though you prefer more sunshine and warm weather to the opposite. You probably enjoy a good film or art show every now and then, but more often than not, you just like to kick back and enjoy the outdoors and nature. You could stand to be a bit more open-minded because it would make you all the more well-rounded. Hartford fits you alright, although you'd probably do well in the countryside, too, far from the hustle, bustle, and stress of the city.

Link: The Which Major U.S. City Are You? Test written by weeredII
      Holy shit! That's not just my geographic location, that's pretty much me! Except for that "be more open-minded" crack. I'm a scientist, baby, and my mind's open to any new idea that has reproducible evidence. There's a point where you can be too open-minded, i.e. believing every load of shit someone peddles. Keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.


      Via Kirk, it's The Superest, superheroes in an amusing kind of rock-paper-scissors battle. You have to start from the bottom and work up, if you want it to make sense.





      It's Monday, so it's time to link to Cracked!
      The 9 Most Unnecessary Greatest Hits Albums of All Time. One would think that the top spot would go to Bruce Willis' "Bruno" phase, given that he made 2 albums--but has 4 "Best Of"s.
      A Brief History of the Sitcom. There's a clear factual error here: It wasn't in the 80s that the "wife is smarter than the husband" trope was introduced. I remember as a kid in the late 60s reading (in TV Guide, I think) a definition of a sitcom being "A show where the wife is smarter than the husband, the kids are smarter than the wife, and the family dog is smarter than the kids." I think it was in a review of one of the worst shows ever made, Me and the Chimp, and they added "And here's a show where the monkey is smarter than the people who produced it."


      "If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day." --John A. Wheeler
      Those are words to live by; it was pretty much the raison d'etre of the InExOb. And I found something strange today: an online comic that's actually funny! The Book of Biff. It has a huge backlog of strips, and so far, they're all worth a smile, a chuckle, or a big laff. And the backlog is a good thing--the more of the artist's odd universe you see, the funnier it becomes. Here's a few from 3 weeks in October, when I started to get the rhythym of the strip:
      And it updates 5 days a week.

      Speaking of funny, Perhaps I Should Call Them "Ratjamas".



      I got up this morning to go to work, and found out that the snow that was supposed to start at 3PM had already begun. Probably in the last few minutes. No big deal; I'll get to work on time. I left the house half an hour later, and 20 minutes after that, I'd managed to drive two whole miles. If the road leading to the interstate was crawling, it could only mean that the highway was a parking lot. It would take me at least 2 hours to get to work, and who knows how much longer to get back, after things had gotten even worse. And so for the first time in my life, I decided to call out of work because of snow.
      Not owning a cell phone meant that I had to drive home to call in, and that meant another 15 minutes (including 5 minutes watching a stoplight change 3 times, as the SUV in front of me just spun its wheels every time it tried to move through it). I told my boss, the only person besides me to live a good distance from the store, to leave work immediately, and let the people who live 5 minutes away run it. His "Yeah, right" tone makes me wonder if he did. One of my sisters with an equal amount of distance from her job took 4 hours to get home...
      I felt guilty about calling out. For about an hour, when I realized that if I had gone to work, I'd still be trying to get to work.

      An article that answers two questions I've always had: Does time slow in crisis? and Why did time seem to move so slowly when you were a kid, but so fast as you grew older?

      The always amusing Wacky Warning Labels Awards, which itself never includes the unfunny warning "We're really against you suing the giant evil uncaring corporations that make these labels a requisite in the first place."

      Speaking of bad labeling (and worse segues), a 60s comic book ad. The goofy descriptions seem to be written not in "Engrish," but by someone who can't write the language he's spoken since birth.

      A brilliantly simple solution to prevent terrorism on Britain's tubes.

      Oh My Gawd--A horrible ad image for horrible Hotmail:
      Kill me, kill me now.


      What are the most hated Christmas songs? All I Want for Christmas Is Not To Hear That Song. The answer will (not) surprise you.
      I personally think the worst Xmas song is any parody of "The 12 Days of Christmas," in that they always go on forever and make you hear their attempts at comedy over and over. Certainly the worst of the worst version is one that's making the blog rounds, and I link to it only because we're on the subject. Seriously, don't watch it for more than seconds, unless you need to induce vomiting.
      Oh, and the fucking Chipmunks. That's also the worst. But at least no one's felt the need to make an unfunny parody of that one, too.
      Why is "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music even considered a Christmas song? I think that they mention presents at one point, and whiskers on kittens are great year round, but does anybody actually sit down to a yuletide meal of weinerschnitzel and noodles? And what's with that Andy Williams song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"? (Having worked in retail all of my life--NO IT IS NOT) "There'll be marshmallows for toasting and scary ghost stories"? Who does that? I think Andy has indulged in the egg nog a wee bit much, and is remembering a summer camping trip. I'm surprised it doesn't mention the holiday tradition of caroling "Trick or Treat!" to get a basket full of colored eggs and green beer.
      And here's a collection of Xmas music you're not sick to death of yet, because you never heard any of it before. There's even a version of the classic carol "Santa Dog" that I've never heard before. All together now: "Santa Dog's a Jesus Foetus!"

      Miller Brewing has had surprising success with "Chill," a beer flavored with lime and salt. Sounds disgusting to me, but that's how some people drink their Corona. Not to be outdone, Anheuser-Busch has come out with a combination of Bud Light, lime, salt, and


      If you're unfamiliar with that beverage, it's a combination of the juices of the tomato and the clam, something that was NEVER MEANT TO BE JUICED. Yes, yes, people make Bloody Marys with that bilge, but they don't mix it with beer. What's the purpose of this, to add an exciting new hue to your morning vomit?
      On the "Who Picked the Corporate Mascot?" end of liquor, here's Zardetto prosecco's:


      Generally speaking, seeing a deranged drunken dwarf running around with a giant peppermint-stick dildo is considered a reason to never drink again.
      Perhaps the two brands could merge, and show a dwarf and a dildo and a red clam and OH GOD I WANT TO DIE NOW, IF IT WILL MAKE THE IMAGE GO AWAY


      From the guy who makes the comics of Ferd'nand seem comprehensible, UpChuck Asay:


      Yes, the Republicans are being forced to talk about their religions by the Liberal Media! They are Mormons and Evangelicals and that well-established religion, "Pro-Life." Funny how Guilani isn't pictured! Because I guess Catholicism doesn't count, although an iron ball labeled "I <3 911" would be a better descriptor.
      I think it seems more like the Republicans are talking about their ancient boogeyman superstitions because they WON'T SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT. Romney said that Religion = Freedom, Freedom = Religion, period. It was supposed to be his "JFK Speech," but Kennnedy's speech was about how his religion wouldn't affect his presidency at all. Romney said it was going to be the only thing that would influence his presidency, despite that pro-gay-marriagey stuff when he wanted to be president of the most liberal state in the country. Ask Huckabee what time it is at 10 of 2, and he'd say "It's OUR LORD JESUS ON THE CROSS, plus a minute. The second hand's on a stigmata." Except for McCain the Lifer, they're all convinced that WWJD? would be torture.
      Wolcott says it better than me, but Wolcott could fart the Blue Danube waltz and it'd sound better than anything I could say.

      You'll prly guess where this video is going by the title, George W. in It's A Blunderful Life, but it's funny anyway.

      Martin Scorsese films a long-lost snippet of a Hitchcock script! Okay, it's really a booze ad, but it's worth it.

      Funny thing about this page--the people who read it are always smarter, funnier and more thoughtful than me. Yes, I read the Comments, so it includes you. Latest case in point: I got a hit from I Regret Nothing. Not a blog I would've been aware of besides the hit, and which claims that Bill the Splut "talks goo-goo talk at his cats." No, really, I don't. I talk to my cats as if they were rational human beings, even the largely deaf one. This is mainly because my cats are more rational than most human beings I'm forced to talk to every day.
      She has a post about a man talking to a goose that is both funny, sweet, and a bit sad. And thoughtful and well-written.


      It Came Upon A Midnight Weird: A Cavalcade of Bad Nativities. How many bad ones can there be? Here's part one.



      Well, it's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year again! When all of the "Best/Worst/Et Cetera-ist of the Year Lists" come out!
      And I post them like crazy! And here's the first two, and they're--only okay!
      Weirdest work stories of the year. From CNN, so what's "weird" about it is that there isn't a single link to the actual stories.
      The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business is always a reliable yok-fest, but so far I'm a quarter through it and it's kinda okay. Just not as good as it usually is. And seriously, what the hell is OJ Simpson in there for? Or any of the other stuff that doesn't relate to business, like the gym with naked workout Sundays? You're not really trying this year, guys.
      UPDATE: Okay, after a bunch of other things that had nothing to do with business, they just went off on Phil Spector's hair and Keith Richards snorting his fathers cremains. Don't read this list; it's just random bullshit.

      I love me the Time Travel, so I was interested in Chrononauts, a card game. The best part on its site are the explanations for some of the odder Jonbar Hinges, such as "Why Would a Zeppelin Factory Stop the Korean War?" Because I also love me some blimps.

      This is unrelated to anything above, but I would just like to go on record as being the first person to say that something I never, ever want to see in a blog post NEVER EVER AGAIN is "A. Phrase. With. Periods. After. Every. Fucking. Word." Because it's MOTHER. TERESA. FUCKING ANNOYING.


--actual call to a computer tech-support line


      My Intertube connection went down, so I rebooted. My DSL connection keeps saying "destination is not reachable," so I'm on dialup (24kps!!). Oh, and rebooting somehow erased all my bookmarks. Y'know, I was just forced to spend $250 on glasses, and then forced to spend a grand on my fucking car, so "forced to buy a new modem and/or computer" really isn't on my Christmas wish list.


      I fixed my bookmarks by loading them off of the CD-RW I update them to (Foghorn Leghorn, after being exploded into nakedness: "Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency."), and fixed the connection problem by clicking on an old connection that isn't even supposed to work, and no, I don't understand why that worked either.

      We haven't had a SHAWT (Stupid Human At Work Today) for many, many months, but this here's a good'un.
      In the midst of the Xmas madness, co-worker Yolanda rang up a woman with a lot of booze. She boxed it up, then tried to get it to fit in her shopping cart. It really wouldn't, so Yolie said "Here, take your purse, [FORESHADOWING!] and I'll put this box here, and I'll help you out." I know this happened, as I witnessed it. When they left the store, the customer told her that she didn't need any help putting it in her car, so Yolanda returned to the store.
      15 minutes later, we got a phone call from her SCA-REAMING about how "Some jackass stole my purse!" after she drove away with it still in the cart. Being an average modern American, she lives by the rule "Everything bad that happens to me is someone's fault, but never my own." Ya see, it was our fault because Yolanda didn't stand by her car to remind her to take her purse a second time.
      What really makes this special is that she then said that she didn't know which of her twenty! credit cards were in her purse, so she didn't know which ones to cancel, and...that this had happened to her 2 days ago at Wal-Mart. Man, exactly how many times can you be double-dog-dared to lick the frozen lamppost before you realize that the problem doesn't lie with the post?
      S(est)HAWThis year.

      The first of the year-end lists worth reading, The Top Ten Stupidest Criminals.

      Semi-listy: Top Medical Myths.

      Working Class Cats. Yeah, NYC-centric, but like any reader of this page ain't clickin' that.


      Big Fat Whale with a comic on winning the War on Christmas.

      Interesting: a cat litter that changes color when they're sick and need to see the vet. Not so interesting: it ain't cheap! Note that they don't tell you how much it weighs, and it looks to be only about a liter. There are instructions, but they just say "use all the time," which indicates that they're more into selling their product than actual feline health. If it was something that you could add every few months to check for problems, that'd be fine, and I'd buy it. Maybe you can, but that's not what they say.


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