The Hundred-Wiseacre Wood

NEW 94

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
- -William James


      My cousin Liz the Corporate Lawyer was in town for a day (actually, barely 24 hours), and since she was staying with my Mom and has an expense account...Free dinner at Mill on the River, the local expensive place! Which is, you may be startled to hear, in an old mill on a river. The Podunk. "Podunk" is a generic term for "tiny backwater town," but this is where the Podunk Indians lived. Until whitey Pilgrim and his muskets came to town 400 years ago.
      I picked up Pat, the only sister I like, and we got there first. We got a window seat, overlooking the river. More of a stream, really. "Hey," I said, "is that a turtle? Yeah! A big one!" He was just hanging there in the middle of the river, and right as Pat asked "What's he holding on to?" he rolled over and the turtle he was fucking surfaced. Ms Turtle was done, but Mr Turtle wasn't, and kept trying to mount her as she scrambled away. Turtles can move quite fast when properly motivated, either by "Hey, honeypie, gimme some more sugar!" or "I have a headache!" I said "Here you get dinner and a show."
      I had the Several-Adjectives-Long-Description Duck, as I've never had duck. "Tastes just like chicken!" I said, although it really tasted like duck. WIth red stuff, which I eyed with great suspicion before remembering that they were cranberries and carmelized snow peas, and pretty good with duck.
      There was good conversation and reminiscences. And then 2 waitresses came up with 4 one-third-full glasses of champagne and a slice of cake with a candle in it: "Is someone here having a birthday?" Baffled, we said No, but they gave it to us anyway. Really good cake, too, chocolate strawberry Chambord, and we all had a few bites of it. Why did we get it unbidden? No idea, really. But the reservation was in the name of Young, and that's hardly an uncommon name. Maybe when we left someone was sitting there pissed, wondering what was taking the damn birthday cake so long to show up.
      Maybe the turtles sent it, since we saw the conception of their kids. I'd send them a cake, but do they even make them out of mealworms?


      AVG 7.5, my virus protection program, won't update after 2 more days. That renders it useless, so I downloaded the 8.01 version. Hey, it's free, like the birthday cake and champagne yesterday, so I have no reason to complain.
      Hey, if someone hands you a shoebox full of dog turds, the fact that it's free doesn't alter its basic dog-turdocity, now does it?
      Exciting things that AVG 8 does:      The AutoBookmarkFucker feature was driving me crazy, but it was the last that broke the deal. It wouldn't matter if you could just turn the damn thing off when you wanted to watch a video, but no, you have to uninstall it if you ever want to use YouTube ever again.
      So...anyone know of a good, free antivirus program? If AVG wants me to buy v.8 based on the free one, I can only assume that the paid one shoots lasers at me if I touch the keyboard.


      Sentences that are probably only heard within the confines of my condo's walls: "Ow! Did I just step on Ghidorah's tail? In the living room? It's in the living room now? Byron! Why do you hate King Ghidorah so much?"


      (The exact toy, in case you were wondering)




      One annoying thing about doing UpChuck is that I don't want to repeat myself, and yet Chuckles insists on it. Once again he continues his Quixotic quest to make the average American, who is making sacrifices in a collapsing economy with rising prices, feel sad for the most neglected and hurting of all of us, the poverty-stricken Oil Company CEOs. It's getting kinda suspicious, really.
      1: You are paying too much for gasoline because you drive an SUV, you fucking dope.
      2: Obama is president so it's his fault!
      3: Big Oil does not get taxed, as the Republican-controlled Congress refused to pass Windfall Profits legislation, which would surely be vetoed by Bush and the real president, Cheney, who--didn't they used to work in a gas station or Jiffy Lube? Something oil-related, I think.
      4: BIG GOV'T!!
      5: You giggle insanely and pour gas onto your children.
      6: Then WHY THE FUCK HAS GAS TRIPLED IN PRICE WITH BUSH AS PREZNIT AND REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING CONGRESS FOR 14 YEARS?! It's impossible! And it surely has nothing to do with the profits of Oil Companies going from "Ridiculous" to "Obscene," and the multi-million dollar bonuses they hand their CEOs and Boards of Directors every quarter.
      White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail: "Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years."
      Oh, sorry! That's not directly related to gas prices. But one can only imagine the money that would be saved if Bush's BIG GOV'T applied themselves to increasing MPG standards. Rather than filling the pockets of the oil companies that they'll get jobs with next year.
      Is it working, Chuck? Are you making average Americans feel the "Circle of Pain" billionaire oil company CEOs feel, as they try to find a job with a small enough commute that they can afford to drive to it? Are you getting paid by the oil companies, Chuck? Because you sure draw a lot of cartoons that say that average Americans are the greedy ones, and not the CEOs.

      Mr Scalzi has a much different take on the "White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail": "Henceforth, whenever mail, electronic or otherwise, delivers to me news I don’t wish to hear, or act upon, like the President of the United States, I shall simply not open it, and therefore, it won’t have happened. I’m kicking myself now about all the mortgage payments I have stupidly made over the years."



      Ah, the thick, sickly scent of HypocrAsay! Yesterday we were told that the worst thing BIG GOV'T could do was take money away from a giant corporation in the form of a windfall profits tax. Today we're told that the worse thing it can do is give them money. So why is taking money from corps bad and giving them money bad? Because they aren't giving money to the corporations! Here's an article titled Frank-Dodd Rescue Prolongs Housing Crisis by Deferring Defaults, which indicates that the authors don't have a high opinion of the bill:

      That sounds good for the person about to lose their home! Most of the article consists of giant corporations complaining that, somehow, this is bad. So they AREN'T making money off of this (one kind-hearted guy on the foreclosing side says "It's not the end of the world if people lose their homes." Think he's in danger of losing his?).
      We're still waiting for a cartoon by Chuckles about the $30B Bear-Stearns bailout, which really was all about giving money to a corporation to save them from their own incompetence. Why is that okay, but the Frank-Dodd bill bad? Because one is the project of the evil Demon-Rat Party! Here personified by Chuck's sudden bete noir, the insidious Dark Lord of the Senate, Dodd Vader! He is in eternal thrall to Darth Angelo, the dreaded fiend who gave him $2700 off his mortgage, and who is his Friend, and I mean he doesn't just really like him, he really, really likes him, I saw them talk for a minute in study hall and I think they texted each other during math, they are SO in love! Bear-Stearns? That's okay because it was done by the heroic Bush Skywalker and the Republican Alliance! IT'S COMPLETELY DIFF, DUH!!!
      Special Magic Touch to this utter and complete lie of a cartoon: A-Dodd Hitler putting people in sacks in order to drown them like so many unwanted kittens. This helps explain why no one thinks Chuck is sane anymore!
      The ability to destroy a planet is nothing compared to the power of the Batshit Side of the Force!


      One annoying thing about doing UpChuck is that I don't want to repeat myself, and yet Chuckles insists on it. Once again he continues his Quixotic quest to--
      GAH! I said that just TWO DAYS ago! See what I mean?


       I Googled the press conference in question:
      REPORTER: Senator Obama, do you favor drilling in America's--
      OBAMA: No. It will take too long! Next question.
      REPORTER: Senator Obama, about your position on the Iraq War--
      OBAMA: Your question is taking too long! Excuse me while I turn around and take my meth! MEDS! Take my meds! (turns around, does something, turns back and exhales smoke) YOU! Poop face! NEXT QUESTION!
      REPORTER: Senator Obama--
      OBAMA: YES! Did you not read my campaign material?! I am a SENATOR and my name is OBAMA! STOP WASTING MY TIME WITH THESE LONG DRAWN--OUT QUESTIONS! (begins running around the stage, screaming and flapping his arms)
      Of course it went like that! I got the transcript from FOX News!
      I've already given the reasons why drilling in America is a stop-gap at best, and pure delusion at worst, so instead, I'll run this Ben Sargent cartoon that I saw right before Chuck's:




      I've always laughed at the slogan on Idaho license plates: "FAMOUS POTATOES." What a great tourism board they have!
      Two or three times this week I heard a Connecticut tourism board ad on the store radio. It's work and I'm busy, it's an ad and I don't care, so I really haven't listened to it too closely. A woman lists a bunch of things to do in CT in a sing-song rhyming way, everything from operas to outlet malls. I did notice that the first couplet is "You can ride a roller coaster, or buy a toaster!"
      "Everyone in the car, kids! Guess where we're going this weekend!"
      (Kids yawn and look bored) "Lemme guess, Dad--Disney World. Again. Yeah, oh boy, it's Mickey, big whoop."
      "No, kids, we're going to--CONNECTICUT!"
      (Kids begin jumping up and down and squealing with excitement) "No WAY! We're gonna go to--THE TOASTER STORE?!"

      One last UpChuck for the week that was:


      Wow. You gotta give Chuckles credit. He says things that other right wingers are thinking, but aren't brave enough--or stupid enough--to say aloud. Here he flat out says that McSame can't run on the war, can't run on the economy, the only thing he can run on is racism. "Obama is black!" Seriously, what is the "...and?" implied there? What other purpose could pointing out he's black serve except racism? When Ned Lamont ran against the Bush-Kisser Lieberman in Connecticut two years ago, he didn't start screaming "He's a JEW!" as a reason to vote against him. And what would that have been besides anti-Semitism? From a Move On email I got yesterday:

      ...And that's one network's smears in only one month. I've said from the beginning, the whole campaign is going to be the racists trying to stir up racism while pretending to not be racist. At least Chuck comes right out and says that this is the only way Republicans can win (besides Diebold, of course). And I'm sure that Chuck would call this "calling a spade a spade."
      I do like the "No poking fun at ears!" jibe. So I guess I can't point out that one candidate has enough neck flab to supply a thousand-acre turkey farm with wattles for years.

      Trailer for the Bill Maher movie Religulous.


      Yesterday I heard on the news that the White House/Congress tax rebate checks actually seemed to be working. There was a small uptick in consumer spending, but there was also the highest amount of savings in this country in the last 50 years! America must've read my blog when I wasn't looking and done what I suggested. I guess on average, people splurged a bit but wisely saved the rest. That's what I intend to do, if you count "Using $100 of my $600 to cover the cost of gas" splurging. The rest will go into my high-interest ING savings account.
      Future tense, as I haven't received the rebate yet. I filed electronically, but didn't get it when everyone else did. I assume that that's because I split my refund between checking and savings, so they'll cut me a physical check. There's an IRS site that has a FAQ, but of course it doesn't cover my question. Better yet, it has a Rebate Calculator that won't tell you when you're getting your check, or even if you will; it just tells you if you've already received it. Thanks, but I can tell that from my mailbox. Typical BIG GOV'T! ineffeciency!
       Yesterday I got what seemed to be a lot of mail, but turned out to be less when I got it home. In it was my second letter from the IRS about the stimulus check. The first said that I'd get it, and this one said that I'd get it by 7/5. Typical BIG GOV'T! to send me a letter telling me that I hadn't received my check!
      Today I found that I did get more mail yesterday, as it was on the floor of the garage next to my car. On top was--oh, you guessed already. My rebate check. Typical BIG GOV'T! to send me a letter telling me that I hadn't received my check on the same day that I received my check!
      Also in the dropped mail the same day I got my $600 IRS tax rebate was my $800 Town of Vernon property tax bill. There goes the rebate! And, in typical SMALL GOV'T! fashion, I got it on 6/28 and it's due on 7/1. Fortunately, I have until 8/1 to pay before accruing interest. Well, I was going to call them tomorrow to find out where my tax bill was, anyway. Now I don't have t--Oh. This isn't the condo bill, this is $55 tax on the car. So, yes, I do have to call them about my bill.
      This is the type of minor government ineptitude that turns normal people into raving Chuck Asayophiles. Well, not normal people, stupid right wing ones, who scream about their tax bills and yet cheer on the half-trillion-dollar-and-counting Iraq Crusade.


      Recently rented: The Onion Movie. Ever read an Onion article where the headline is funny, and then you find yourself reading the entire article waiting for a second joke, but there isn't one? So you read another article, and it's funny for a few sentences, but then just drags on and on?
      That's this movie.
      In Bruges: "You can't sell horse tranquilizers to a midget!"
      Does the world need another dark comedy about hit men? Well, it needed this one. I remember my mother and sisters and me laughing in the line greeting people at my father's wake. We weren't laughing because the wake was funny, we were laughing at things that seemed funny because otherwise we'd be overwhelmed by the fact we we at his wake. That's what this movie is: laughing about tragedy and grim reality. It is far more funny than grim, and well worth the rental.
      It opens with the trailers for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Hellboy 2, so, it's a safe bet that they didn't know who to market this to.

      I was walking at 11PM on the path behind my condo. I've done this every summer for 21 years, and never come across another living soul. Or even a dead one! Tonight I heard a bike barreling down on me, so I raised my arms, dragged my feet audibly and yelled "I'm right here! I'm here on your right!" I assumed bike guy would just pedal by slowly, but he ground to a halt. "I thought you were a GHOST!" he said. "No," I said, "I'm alive!" His name was Eric, mine was Bill, and he was pretty drunk. He was 41, but he still believes in ghosts, no one ever walks this path at night, so maybe I was a ghost! and "My name is Eric!" all of which I learned in a very short span of time, like 3 minutes. I kept laughing in a jovial non-dead fashion, no, I'm alive, but he started going on repeatedly about me being a ghost or the Headless Horseman. REPEATEDLY. I tried to defuse the situtation by giving a "spooky ghost voice" speech about--umm, I really don't remember. I thought it was comically over the top, but then again I don't think that the ultimate proof of life-after-death will occur on a bike trail in Vernon, CT. "You're not the Headless Horseman?" he asked AGAIN. I knew he was drunk, but c'mon. "If I was headless, I couldn't talk, now could I?" I suggested like I was talking to someone who wasn't an average American "I do believe in spooks!" retard. "Good point, good point!" he said. "My name's Eric!" "Bill," I said for the second time in one of the longer 5 minutes of my life. "You're sure you're not the Headless Horseman?" And this was my WHAT THE FUCK moment. Does this drunken loony think I'm going to eat his soul, or is he about to beat the Devil out of me with his bike? Would my broken body be found the next day, strangled with a fanny pack full of Poland Spring bottles? And then, unbelievably, thankfully, for only the second time in 21 years, 2 other people turned onto the trail. "HI! HI GUYS!" he cried and waved. "Are you going up the trail?" Yes, they said, possibly confused at his panicky tone of voice. "ALL THE WAY? All the WAY?!" and he turned around and followed them, babbling something about ghosts. He seemed very eager to escape my presence.
      Shit. That dude thought I was a fucking ghost. With no head. Who could also talk. Wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt. In suburban Connecticut. On a bike trail. In the Twenty-First Fucking Century.
      Welcome to life in Ameri-duh.


      SHAWT: An obnoxious old man buying lottery tickets was told that his total was $32. Most people would've said "$32? It should only come to $26. There must be a mistake; let me check the tickets."
      Not this guy. He spent 5 minutes demanding that it had to be $26, because this little piece of cardboard he carries with his numbers on it said it was. We--this went from Yolanda and him, to Yolanda and Larry and him, to me, Yolanda, Larry and him in short order--kept telling him to tell us what the wrong numbers were, and we could cancel them. We all thought that he wanted to buy $32 worth of numbers for $26, as he kept repeating loudly that he only owed us $26.
      Then he started in with "What school did you go to?" and "I can see you ain't no good at figurin'!" and "What school did you go to?" and "You're not as smart as I thought you were!" and "What school did you go to?!" because, yes, he was that imaginative. He was one of those pathetic losers with no power over their empty lives, who know it and take it out on retail workers, because if they said the same things to their boss they'd be fired, to their wife, she'd just henpeck them worse, and to another customer in the store, they'd get their fucking shit-filled head cracked open in the parking lot. This bullshit could've been settled in one minute, but now had gone on for 15.
      Punchline (which, sadly, did not involve the douchebag getting punched until he was a police outline on the floor):
      YOLANDA: That'll be $28.
      DOUCHE (handing over cash): What school did you go to?!
      YOLANDA: This is only $25.
      DOUCHE: (stares blankly and finally shuts up)
      What school did he go to, the one where they don't teach you to count above 25?
      I hope that all the numbers he argued about and we then cancelled come in as winners tonight. Of course, none of his numbers will come in, and he'll have made an absolute ass of himself over $28 worth of scrap paper.
      I've said this before, retail shoppers: If you're an asshole, we all make fun of you when you leave. If you're a gaping asshole, you become a legend. Douche was a punchline for the rest of the evening, and he may well pass into the realm of Asshole Legend, the one where employees who didn't even work when you appeared make fun of you.



      Not unlike George M. Cohan, a Yankee Doodle Dandy born on the Fourth of July, Jesse Helms, a Nazi Doodie Dummy Racist-Homophobe, has died on the Fourth of July. Since one shouldn't speak ill of the dead, I will strike a positive note and say that it's good that he didn't die from being lynched and then dragged on a length of chain attached to the back bumper of a pickup truck, but instead died of syphillis he got from a goat.
      "Funeral arrangements were pending, the Helms center said." They're still trying to dig a grave wide enough for most of America to piss on.
      Gourdspeed you Jesse to the Afterlife, and say hello to Hitler for me when you get there!

      Chuck, are you fucking kidding me?! A whole week, and this tired old right wing claptrap is all you can give me?


      Wait, Chuck...weren't you just screaming about the Supreme Court allowing habeaus corpus again? Activist judges, that bugaboo of the right, are really only activist when they don't do what right wingers want.
      Since making it easier to get handguns will only make it easier for criminals to get handguns, isn't putting an "I have me a gun!" sign in your window only going to tell the Manson Family out there "It's a gunfight, so we'd better not bring knives when we burgle this guy! Better to shoot him first!" (The Straight Dope on whether or not citizen gun ownership prevents crime or not. Answer: Who knows? But at least one study says that handgun deaths went down in DC after the 1976 ban)


      "And he does all this under the media's radar!"
      Huh?? What news story is Chuck talking about? The number one news story for days, maybe? The one the media pundits and editorial pages still won't shut up about? The only flip-flop Obama's done so far? THAT little-reported story, Chuck?
      If you somehow missed it, Obama pledged that he would "aggresively pursue" using only public matching funds to run his campaign, if McCain would do the same. No presidential candidate since 1976 has opted out. He's the first, because he's the first to get so much money from small, personal donations that he doesn't need to. All the other candidates, Dem and Repub alike, found ways to game the system, such as the 527s, like the Swift Boat Veterans for Endlessly Repeating Utter Lies Until Stupid People Believe Them.
      Here FAIR points out:

      Excluding the "may be illegal" thing he's done, McCain has only had one flip-flop. He's changed each and every policy he had from his 2000 presidential run to match that of Dubya. That counts as one, right?



      "Excuse-bits," hah! Note to Mr Chuckle-head: There is more than one side in "supply and demand." If increasing supply leads to only a minimal increase, which it will, then you have to reduce demand. "The people" have already begun doing this. Think anybody buys SUVs anymore? Honda actually lost money last year, because they underestimated the demand for the Prius and the Fit! Expect Chuck to soon begin spreading the "Chinese Commies drilling for oil in AMERICAN WATERS!! with Cuban Commies" myth.

      Sorry. Today's UpChuck wasn't really funny, just cranky. It's the Fourth of July, I shouldn't be cranky! I've got a good reason to celebrate!
      Jesse Helms is dead!




      Uncle Funny Bunny and Chumpy, the Worst Comic Strip Ever.

      "You may remember him from such hits as Christmas Ape and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp, but how well do you remember Troy McClure’s other projects? Can you tell which of the following titles come from the filmography of Springfield’s favorite screen icon and which are the real-life dregs of IMDb?" I only got ten of the fifteen.


      "IT'S A GODDAMNED CRACKER!" Some guy is given a Communion wafer at a Catholic church, and doesn't eat it. And it's considered the crime of the century, complete with death threats against him. As the first comment on the post says, "Yeah, instead of keeping it (safe), he should just have ate it, chewed it, and pooped it. That's how you don't abuse a cracker!" (Note that as a lapsed Catholic, I'm allowed to make fun of my former dumb superstitions)

      This is cool: Pandora. Type in the name of an artist you like, and it creates a radio station that plays similiar artists. Add more names and it adds them to your station.
      It works, although not predictably. The first station I made was (of course) named Brian Eno. I thought that it would play music by, y'know, Brian Eno. It played deep ambient music, and while Brain One did both invent and name the ambient genre, it's not all that he did. I tried adding a song from his early vocal period, but Pandora just added "early 70s British glam songs" rather than his own works, so I deleted that tag.
      My Devo station worked right from the get-go, all 1975-1985 New Wave such as the Talking Heads and Oingo Boingo, and I fine tuned it by adding Wire, Bill Nelson and YMO. My most successful station is Future Sound of London, with The Orb, Art of Noise and Banco De Gaia; that really led to exactly the music I wanted to hear. So I have New Wave, Ambient and Trance personal radio stations all set up, to match whatever musical mood I'm in.
      I assume that you could create a station that played N'Sync and Pavarotti and Lawrence Welk and Billy Joel, if your desire to live is that weak.


      I've previously linked to The Way of Cats blog before, but only in a cursory fashion, and with a now-outdated link. I'll link to it again, as it's become one of my favorite blogs. It has several posts a week about cats, all well thought-out and interesting, and illustrated by their experiences with their personal three-cat Cast of Characters (the post that you should read first). Some of it is knowledge that I picked up by trial and error over 9 years, but I still find new ideas on the blog. It's clearly written by people with both a deep knowledge and a deeper love and respect for cats, and will appeal to any cat owner, whether new or veteran. Wish it was around when I'd first been owned by a cat.
      (Now, if they could just do something about that "white text on black with no preview" comment system...)


      First conversation I had at the store today:
      MARSHA: "You missed the (mumble)."
      ME: "The what?"
      "The store (mumble)."
      "The store's head?"
      "No, the store's pet. It was a weasel. It ran in, peed the floor, then ran out. Well, it peed the floor because Bob pinned it with a broom."
      "But some of our customers are weasels! Bob was just driving business away! Maybe it was just going to run up to the counter and squeak 'I wanna pint of Bukoff!'"

      Byron has his dreams. Every so often, I see when he has them, his legs and tail twitching as he chases or is chased by something. Twice I've seen him open his jaws wide while completely asleep, loudly chew the air, and then lick his lips. Maybe he dreamt he caught a whole tuna! And there's that famous proof of R.E.M., the time he had his eyes wide open while dreaming, with rapid eye movement galore.
      Today--after 9 years!--I finally saw Killsy dream. Laid on her back, she twitched tail and legs, once pretty violently. Then she awoke, looked at me, and went back to sleep as if nothing had happened. I guess that she knows that when she dreams, it's just a dream. Just like I do.
      A few days ago, Byron was crazy-dreaming, and as soon as he awoke, he stared intently under the footstool, and began stalking. Did his dream involve something under it? He pounced and stuck his head under, backed out, and began swatting at something in front of his face. I eventually figured out that it was just one of my 2-foot-long ponytail hairs, stuck on his head with a tiny bit of dust bunny on the end. I plucked it off of him, and wondered what prey he dreamt was under the little footstool...



      Weird Universe. If you're into the News of the Weird/Fortean Times kinda reporting, you'll like this.






      "Heh heh heh! Yes, kids, it's me, Count Floyd again! Let's see what we have coming up on this Saturday's Monster Chiller Horror Theater! OW-OW--OWOOOO!"
      "Okay, kids, Count Floyd's not going to lie to you. Last week's movie wasn't that scary. Count Floyd was...up late with a sick friend, and he didn't get to see it before he booked it. Hey, it was a Japanese movie from the '50s, and had a title that sounded like some monster Godzilla or Gamera would fight! Rashomon, what, that doesn't sound like a monster that gives you a really bad rash? Like the whole city of Tokyo gets the heartbreak of psoriasis? Look, I don't even know what the deal was with that movie! Did they write four scripts and not know which one to go with, so they filmed them all?
      "Well, don't you worry this week! One of the kids right here in our own peanut gallery recommended a film that's guaranteed to give your goosebumps the heebie-jeebies! I admit I haven't seen this one yet. I was...busy chasing a dog, to get some of the hair that bit me or something. But we have clips, and they're in 3-D! So you better get yourself some of Count Floyd's branded 3-D glasses before the show! They're only three dol...Nineteen. Only Nineteen Ninety-Five! These aren't those flimsy cardboard 3-D glasses, no, these are made out of high-impact, durable plastic! Hand-crafted by the finest 3-D optometrists in Malaysia. Make your checks out to Count Floyd, and send them in care of this TV station.
      "Okay, I think it's called The Creature From The Colorado Springs Gazette! The kid who recommended it says it...has something to do with Chuck. Chuckie! Oh, brrr, that killer doll monster! Oh, he was scary! He'd...scare the buttons right off your overalls, and then this little Cabbage Patch monster would come after you with a big barbecue fork in his pudgy hands or something, and you'd scream and run away, but the buttons were scared off your overalls, and they were around your ankles, so you'd just trip and fall and he'd fork you, fork you right in the behind, over and over! WHOA, woo-oo, scary!
      "Okay, let's all put our 3-D glasses on, and see what we got here. Oh, it'll be scary! If you're standing, you'd better sit down. If you're sitting down, then lay down. If you're laying--well, I dunno. Pray or something. Roll the clip, fellas!"




      "Umm. Okay. Woo, it's scary how...those horses must get hernias dragging those big blocks of metaphor around! I guess that's why the economy's so bad, because of all those climate change accords George W. Clayface there hasn't paid any attention to. Not Iraq or the mortgage crisis or tax cuts for the rich. Hey, kids, did you hear Clayface's parting words at that G8 summit? "Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter!” And 'he then punched the air while grinning widely.' Okay, kids, you gotta admit THAT'S scary. I bet he went to Crawford and drove a Ford 350 truck around the ranch for days while giving the atmosphere the one-finger salute, just to mess with everybody's head.
      "Okay, fellas, let's roll another clip!"


      "WHOA! Did you see that?! All those flies buzzing around that guy's head? He's some kind of zombie gunfighter! Remember when we showed Billy the Kid vs Dracula? Woo, brrr, scary! Now it's some undead Jesse James! He's even got that morgue toe-tag, but his name's so long that he has to wear it around his neck!
      "Okay, this must be an old movie, a really old one. You know, that 'cowardly darkie' thing kinda went out of style 60 years ago.
      "And there's Clayface again. His face has melted a bit more. He really should get out of the sun. It's clearly affecting his brain. Even the chicken black guy has the sense to hide when someone's shooting at you. Well, he's black, those people get shot at all the time, I'll bet the director of this movie thinks. You know what Gumby-face there should do? Threaten to bomb that zombie's ranch and kill everyone in it! Because if you want to make a paranoid less paranoid, you make them more paranoid, and they push out the other side of the Moebius strip all sane.
      "Oooh, kids, did you see how those flies just leapt right out of the screen in 3-D?! It's like you could practically smell the zombie! It's better than Doctor Tongue's 3-D House of Pancakes! And those bullets just leapt right out! Although I think one of the bullets was Photoshopped in. That just makes the zombie scarier! He knows Photoshop! Okay, fellas, roll another clip!"



      "Whoa, that'll...curdle the blood, lemme tell you. You'll have cottage cheese in your veins when...umm...Clones! CLONES! Oh, kids, BRRR! Clone wars, like the Star Wars you love so much! Maybe that's not Obama, but really an Obama mask worn by Jar-Jar the Binks! WOO-OO, everyone hates him! And he'll be out there, shaking your hand! And...possibly saying in his creepy voice, 'Hello, I'm Obama, I'm your friend, and not--A JAR-JAR CLONE IN A MASK! Come, my trusting fool, come see--THE LATEST PREQUEL!' Oh, don't tell Count Floyd your knees aren't jelly now!
      "Okay, the Count's kinda going against his better judgement now, but let's run one last clip."


      "WHOA! Bummer of an ending! They must've been killed by the zombie gunfighter Jar-Jar clones from the G8 Summit. I'd sure hate to be one of those Media-types who kept harping on this subject, like the Murdoch tabloids and FOX News and the Colorado Springs Gazette!
      "Well, it sure looks like we've got a scary show this week! Let's all give a big round of applause to the little kid who suggested it! C'mon and stand by Count Floyd's side, little Ed! Don't try sitting in my lap. You kids are all germ factories."

      Little Ed: "OH! This is like my luckiest of lucky days! Here I am, by Count Floyd my hero's side, looking as pretty as a picture, I must say!"
      "I'd run my fingers through your hair, but it appears to be 85% Valvoline. Hey, little Ed, why did you recommend this movie?"
      "Oh, that Chuck is a pain that's gonna linger! He's gone completely mental, I must say! I know it's considered bad form to show the monster before you see the movie, but here's Chuckie!"
      "Heh, that's nice, Ed, but we all know what he looks like. Like a My Little Buddy doll gone sour, or John McCain as a kid."
      "Far be it from me to contradict my very idol, who would be you, Count Floyd, but it's not the Chuckie you're thinking of!"


      "We're as DOOMED as DOOMED can be, ya know!"


      Remember those old science fiction stories set in the future, when humans had giant heads because of their super-evolved brains? You don't see those stories any more, as that's a cliche. The future's gonna be a dystopic wasteland, man! Which has also long since become a cliche.
      I remember laughing at an old "Outer Limits" episode back in high school, "The Sixth Finger." Scientists in a lab room evolve a guy to Giant Brainhood. It was silly because it assumed that evolution has a direct goal, like that parade with a monkey at one end and a modern human at the other. Ah, no. Evolution is adaptation to the environment, so the guy should've been evolved to be perfectly evolved to live in that one room. He would've evolved exactly enough legs to lift himself onto the toilet, and just enough arms to feed his face and flush. One assumes that he'd be pretty gourddamn stupid, too. I mean, they bring his food, just like a chicken or a cow. Those were intelligent animals once, but it was bred out of them. Chickens now are only smart enough to survive a factory farm until we need to eat them.
      Will Our Future Brains Be Smaller?
      What was that sixth finger for, anyway? Nose-picking?


      If I had a scanner, I'd prove it, but my old prediction that LOLCats would go mainstream was right. I saw a coupon for litter that featured a cat with (what a human would conceive as) a sarcastic look, with "Hey, Genius. Even you can see this is a good deal."
      One can only wonder how long it will take before we see McDonalds' ads with Ronald holding a cat, and barking "YES, you can has cheezeburger!"



      I saw a boat on the highway today. On a trailer, obviously. The boat's really stupid name: SEA-MENT. Okay, maybe if the guy owns a cement company, it's okay. Or he's Jed Clampett and owns a sea-ment pond. But it immediately made me think of a recent Dinosaur Comic and a boat named the "HMS Sinkytowne."
      It's pretty much inevitable that eventually some bunch of drunks at the pier are going to sneak up to the SEA-MENT in the dead of night and scratch the A and the T off.

      I put effort into the last UpChuck, and today he goes and does another of his cartoon dumps (and I do mean dumps) of insipid wingnuttery. So I'm going to do the opposite of last time, and dispose of the trash quickly.


      Hey Chuck: Who the fuck cares? NEXT!


      Wow, Chuckles really has it in for Dodd, huh? It's funny how I, a resident of the state he represents, never hears all the terrible news about Dodd Vader. He's drawn here looking extra E-VIL, doncha think? And please note, taxpayers: Chuck just called you all pigs!
      Well, let's Google "freddie mac bailout"...That was inconclusive. How about "freddie mac bailout federal"? "The Federal Reserve and the US Treasury have announced steps to shore up mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac..." Yeah, that's what I thought from reading the paper. It's Bush and also Bush that are bailing them out. Maybe "Dodd" has replaced "BIG GOV'T" as Chuckie's code for "things Bush does that I don't like"?
      Let's try "freddie mac bailout dodd": "In a news conference, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said one option under consideration was to permit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to borrow money directly from the Federal Reserve through its so-called discount window." Oh. That's just him commenting in his capacity as chairman of the committee. But he's the chairman! Just like Chairman Mao! He must have some E-VIL control over the "BIG GOV'T give money to failed company" things! Let's add Jabba the Dodd's henchman Salacious Frank to the search:
      "And even though lenders would take up to a 15 percent haircut on discounted loan values, and borrowers would have to give back a percentage of their future capital gains if home prices ever rise again, this would be the most sweeping housing-assistance plan in history. It could include as many as 2 million homeowners, and a big chunk would go to rescuing delinquent homeowners now in foreclosure."
      Dodd gammit! It's about that bill Dodd and Frank introduced to save average people from foreclosure! Chuck's AGAIN flat-out lying about it! What an asshole! And he'll just keep using the Rovian dirty trick of repeating a lie until people believe it. Scumbag. Yes, Asaywipe's now just going to blame everything Bush does on Congress. It's becoming almost pathological.


      Did I say "almost?"
      "Hey, Grandpa Chuck, where did your hemorrhoids come from?"
      "And the Devil, who made him?"
      "And where do you pull your 'facts' from?"


      TODAY: "Crude prices fell for a third consecutive day on Thursday amid evidence that the high cost of oil and gasoline was slowing U.S. demand. Crude prices have plummeted more than $10 a barrel over the previous two sessions, and were down nearly $1 in electronic trading on Thursday."
      While the bulk of the oil price increases are demand exceeding what OPEC wants to supply, did anyone else notice that OPEC only began cutting supply around the time that BushCo started threatening war with a second OPEC nation? It was almost like OPEC said, "We don't need to do you asshole Americans any more favors!" And whose fault is that?



      Dr Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, that supervillian musical by some guy named Whedon that everyone's going on about. You can't watch it online after 7/20. It is entertaining, but if you miss it it, it's not the be-all and end-all most sites make it out to be. Worth seeing but just entertaining, and really short. I imagine it'll turn up on Netflix soon enough. Best 2-word ending to anything, though.


      Just watched: Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs. It just came out, but unlike the first new movie there wasn't the month-long Netflix wait to get it. Unsurprisingly, it's because it's not very good. It was a satire of the polyamorous, except when it was in favor of it, except when it was against it. And also of the Rapture, complete with Heaven being run by an alien whose name was just letters removed from YHWH. Especially when the Army from Hell attacked, and except when it wasn't. It seemed like they hired 10 people to write the script, 5 on one subject and 5 on the other, and then combined the scripts without removing anything. They were clearly trying to make some kind of point, but what it was escaped me. Maybe I'm dense. Maybe their point never cleared the committee.
      Any nonsense is forgivable if it it's funny, but it wasn't. I laughed every 20 minutes or so. Not really worth the time I spent watching it.



      John "Gorilla Rape" McCain keeps talking about how Obama lacks his "foreign policy expertise," because he'd never been to the Middle East. Now that Obama has, expect McBush to complain that Obama hasn't been there enough.
      I don't get it. There's been this like war going on in Iraq for a week or two, and yet McCain doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia. He thinks that Iraq shares a border with Pakistan, which it does, in the same way Canada shares one with Guatemala. But I really think that the question should be: Will foreign leaders be fooled by his combover? "Why, I believe that we must attack Iran befores it crosses its border into Hindu Japan, and I owe it all to the luxuriant not-baldiness of President McCain! Ohhh, if I could but run my fingers through his strandy locks!"
      That should be a question in any debate, given the bullshit questions they're already flinging at Obama. "Senator McCain, on your truthfulness: Are you bald, or does your hair just naturally grow sideways?" I can guarantee that at no point would he ever admit that he has a combover, right up to the point where he forgot the question and asked where his Metamucil was.


      "It's Just Another Day. Do Do Do Do Doo"


      "It's Just Another Day. Do Do Do Do Doo"



      "It's Just Another Daaaay!"

      (except for the calling out of work for the first time in years because of the food poisoning, and the vomiting and shitting, and when that seemed to stop crawling into bed and thinking "now I can sleep it off" immediately followed by the 2 hours of booming thunderstorms. Every time I fell asleep, BOOM CRASH BOOM! Once I remember being BOOMed awake all nearly dead and bitterly thinking "This is the greatest day in my LIFE! PRINCESS DIANA'S WEDDING!" The next time I awoke, I thought "What the hell did THAT mean?!") A certain white cat understood my distress, and slept by my feet all day. On her back, her feet in the air. And she IS NOT FAT, she's just lying down in away that makes her look like that in th picture so shut up oh gourd I want this day to END
      Do Do Do Do Do Doo!


      We can't fight climate change because it will cost too much, says Bushwa. And not fighting it might cost more, and forever.

      I'm glad I didn't spin off a new site for UpChuck. When I started, he was this over-the-top right wing self-parody. But some days he seems like some crazy old coot, mumbling over his Denny's breakfast special about how the CIA agents from Jupiter are making his nose hairs grow. Example: WTF is this?


      I've run this through my puzzler for 2 days now, and I have no idea what the deal is. If it's about some actual event, I couldn't tell you which. I guess...I guess it's Chuckle's undying hatred of BIG GOV'T. BIG GOV'T is not an unconstitutional total surveillance state run for the benefit of Halliburton, where habeaus corpus is a vice and torture a virtue, and dissent is the equivalent of treason. BIG GOV'T inspects your food, and sells you stinky fish anyway. Except...we don't buy our food from the GOV'T, and I learned a coupla days ago that bad food is really bad for you. I guess...I guess that Chuck's a Libertarian who loves Big Brother. Or an anarchist who loves corporations? WHO KNOWS? "Damn kids on my lawn, with their fish, the fish, ALWAYS THE FIIIISH! Nose hair, NOSE HAIR!! WHERE MAH SHOTGUN!!"


      "ARRRGH! Diplomacy BAD make Hulk Chuck head hurt! NEED MORE WAR! Muslimists get th' bomb, they use it on US! 'Cept Pakistan, who have dozens and gave the bomb-making info to Iran and Korth Norea. We can't wait for the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud, like we did LAST time! KILL the beard guys! Know where they got those beards? KNITTED FROM MAH NOSE HAIR!"


      "I HATE HOPE!!! DESPAIR IS ALL I GOT LEFT! Now that I have all this NOSE HAIR! Why won't the IRANS PEOPLE steal it ALL?! DON'T THEY NEED MORE BEARDS?!"


      "WHAT? Send troops to the country that actually HAD the 9/11 hijackers and Osama barack Soup Ladle?! CRAZY TALK, you dirty Negro groupies! The media's all DONKEY-HEADED BEAST MEN, just like my Granpa said if we allowed negroes to breed with our white wimmen! But don't the negro want to withdraw them troops...? Granpa Chuck needs his medicine. A fifth of Jim Beam and some Percocets, mmm, mmm, good...Makes me forget. Forget all about the...Why, I've forgotten already! My, but my inner nostrils feel luxuriously long and silky tonight!"




      For no reason, in the shower Saturday I thought "Remember before they replaced the boiler years ago, and every few months there'd be no hot water? Man, I'm glad those days are past! Of course, now that I just thought that, wanna bet...?" And you can probably guess how my morning today started. With EPIC FAIL, and me shivering in late July. I decided not to make the toll call to complain to the Condo Ass(ociation), and it was a good idea. "Is this building 6?" a guy from the oil company asked me as I was leaving. "Huh, I don't know! But if you're here about the 'no hot water,' this is the building!" "This is the building," he said.
      Even though it was my day off, I couldn't just put showering off until the heat came on. I had to go and expose my semi-naked body to strangers. Yes, another shift moonlighting as a pole dancer, with the strip club patrons howling "Which is the stripper, and which is the pole?!"
      No, actually. I have to get a...sonogram. I can never remember the other name. I always want to say "Sensurround," that lame 70s movie theater "experience" that was just really loud speakers and things that made your seat shake. ULTRASOUND! That's it, and believe it or not, I had to Google to remember the name. And--I'm going to have twins!
      Actually, my doctor is concerned that my liver is fucking up, and THAT'S NEVER GOOD. An ultrasound consists of lying around wearing a pair of giant paper towels for AN HOUR while they rub some goop-covered wand over the same part of your body, occasionally taking pictures which all look the same. Except for when they need color, and talk about your "twinkles." Nice fucking technical term there, medical science! I hope my spleen isn't infested with magical unicorns! Worst part: every of the several times they asked me to "push your belly all the way out." I weigh 125, there's only so far it can go! Like--exactly as far as it is now!
      I couldn't eat or even drink before the test. The food I didn't care about, but I was glad there was a water fountain right outside the office. Did you know that an ultraMan can tell if you have gas? Weird.
      For the first time since gas (not the kind ultrasound finds) got ultra-expensive, I was near my old job, The DumpStore, and BIG!Lots. And BIG!Lots was CLOSED. Probably because they lost my business. Epic Fail again! The hospital thrift store is closed on Mondays, fail! The Salvation Army was open, and I bought a black pocket tee for 49 cents. This is an undershirt, as I'm one of the few people in Connecticut who dresses in layers in late July, since I have to go into a 38-degree beer cooler every day. EPIC WIN! They also had a book I didn't buy, with a perfectly self-descriptive title:


      Wow. I just checked, and I could've bought that for 99 cents and sold it on Amazon for $17. EPIC $16 NET GROSS FAIL!
      Next I went to Dollar Tree and Stop & Shop, which I was planning to go to in my home town, but I was driving right by these. Bought the wrong thing at the grocery store, but the cashier gave me a dollar off from using the wrong coupon, and bought everything I needed at Dollar Tree, except for the main things I went for--I bought faux ZipLoc bags to take my faux Cheezits to work in, but forgot the Cheezits! But on the way back to the car, I found a seagull feather for Byron to play with. So, EPIC...Wash, I guess.
      Gas here was a nickel cheaper than at home! EPIC WI--hey, why are there 2 prices?! $4.07 is CASH ONLY?! Oh yeah, there in teeny-tiny letters! Ten cents more for credit, which I'm pumping! FAIL FAIL! Right up the street, I passed another station: $4.09? I'm not falling for that bullshit again! And, yes, as I drive past, the pumps have two prices! And credit is...$4.09. EPIC IRRITATION!
      To BJs! No, is not sex act, is warehouse club that I have temporary pass to. I bought 4 pounds of cheese for half what it would be at Stop & Shop. And there's a new DVD player there, which is the main reason I got the temp card, as my current one is/has always been a piece of shit. And it's $10 less than the only other one! And my tempcard expires on 9/08, and I ask the HAWWTTT* chick at customer service (*"hot" defined by me as barely five feet tall, skinny, glasses, prettier than me) says it expires at the end of September, not the beginning! EPIC not really worth shouting aboutness!
      Stop at the gas station by my house to top off the tank and it's...$4.09. It went down since the last time I drove by! EPIC waste of about 38 cents!
      And the oil company repairmen were still fixing the hot water. First thing after that I encountered: a big pile of Byron puke.
      But Byron loved his feather. And I just checked, and the water's hot. I think I'll take a real shower.


      About a month ago I "ran" a yellow light, and got a $124 ticket.
      Good thing I didn't do a hit and run! Know how much those things cost, not even counting what it does to your car's paint job?
      "Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a homeless man with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak’s windshield."
      Robert Novak is the "Prince of Darkness," so nicknamed even before he outed a CIA agent in charge of preventing terrorists from gaining WMDs. Yeah--that guy.
      Outing a CIA agent is treason. He got away with that, so what's a little hit-and-run for a millionaire Bushite neocon Republican piece of shit?
      Oh, and he's magically been diagnosed just now with a brain tumor. As his official excuse for almost killing someone, and then "not noticing" the victim ON HIS WINDSHIELD. I guess he's not officially a part of the Cheney Administration, and so he couldn't wait until January and the hundreds of presidential pardons from prosecution Bush will shit out.
      “I will be suspending my journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period,” Novak said."
      Yeah. "GOD" willing. The God of the "pay to win" American legal system, and the Republican/Corporate buddy system. Fuck you, Novakula. I hope you go jail with a bunch of--gasp!--"real" criminals. They'll "detail your Corvette," I'm sure. They'll make sure your face has the exact same dents that your hood does.
      (Just fantasizing! It won't even come to trial. He's rich, he's Republican, he'll pay fifty bucks and walk away laughing)


      I went to the mailbox to drop off my Netflix of 30 Days, season two, and decided, hey, it's not that humid out. I'll go for a walk. It was brief, as I was wearing sneakers but not socks, and Chuck Taylors are truly awesome blister-creating machines.
      On the way back, there was a kitten! A tuxedo cat maybe ten weeks old, certainly no more than 12. It looked at me, I said "Good kitty!" and it went back to playing with something. A leaf? No, a mouse! Leaping like a kangaroo! I've never seen a cat play with a mouse outside of a cartoon before!
      The kitten was right on its prey, but kept looking to me. When I gave "Good kitty! Get that mouse!" verbal approval, bang, it was right back on the mouse. He'd catch it, it'd get away, he'd catch it again. The mouse's only defense was to leap (like a kangaroo) at the cat. This didn't seem to bother the kitten, or even confuse it much. The mouse would run what seemed to be a long way to itself, but not to a kitten. The kitten would step on its tail and hold it down until it squirmed away. Then it would run around, only to get caught again and smacked. Mice don't so much go "Squeak!" as sound like a very small chipmunk when being battered about. I believe it was Voltaire who said something like "Anyone who believes the world was created by a loving God has never seen a cat play with a wounded mouse."
      Possibly you have noted that I lacked any real sympathy for the victim. Fuck you, Mickey and Jerry, mice are cute in an absolute sense, but disease-carrying vermin in your house are still only cute disease-carrying vermin. That's the only reason why we have the domestic cat.
      I didn't see how it ended (best guess: badly for the mouse) "Exciting! Exciting!" said someone coming from the condo. I thought maybe it was the kitten's owners, but instead some flabby, buzz-cut d00dz came down, ignoring me, cat and mouse. Direct quote: "Man, it'll be like, so great, so great! It's gonna be like great, so great! It'll be great! When we get there, it'll be like...[voice trailed off; but I think next word was probably 'great']" And I left the eternal drama of cat and mouse to play itself out in the shadows of a midsummer night.


      It's the second-most important holiday in Splutopia! Seven weeks after the kids' birthdays comes 7/31 (1999, when kitten Kill Kill moved in) and 8/1 (2004, when tiny Byron did)!
      Anniversary Days!


      "If Capcom got hold of the kits," an original Mebberson, courtesy of the Young Collection. Item not for sale.

      And here's a thing you can do in their honor: FreeKibbleKat. Answer a cat trivia question every day, and whether you're right or wrong, you donate food to shelters. Started by a 12-year-old.

      Overheard at work: "I haven't seen him since he passed away."
      "Well, I'd hope not! Haha!"
      "No, I see people I knew who died all the time."

      The world's oldest jokes. I said that they were old, not funny.


      It's Anniversary Days, remember? 8/1 is Byron's date for moving into the household, and initiating a "love/cut that shit out and leave me alone!" relationship with his big sister. So here's some more bits from the past.


      On loan from the Smithsplutian Instistute of Cat Art, an extremely rare Mebberson: "Pair of Individualized Cat Tags." Their exact use is unknown, and current theories hold that they may have been made from the lost technology that the Ancients called "Shrinky Dink."

      From the Lilly Beane wing of the museum, which is known for its collage work:



      While several volumes have been written of the exact nature of the "Jerry Van D" and "Pink Lady and Jeff" references, most modern scholars consider these icons to be minor gods that the Americans of the early 21st century worshipped. Given the spotty archaelogical record from this period, when the Americans vanished from the planet due to an overreliance on oil and a near-pathogical obsession with ignoring climate change, we can only assume that "Jerry" and "Pink Lady" were rival high priests of the dreaded "DUBYA," their mighty god of destruction and corrupt incompetence. Their once-mighty empire collapsed after M'CANE was appointed DUBYA's successor, by the demon DIEBOLD.
      It is believed that the cat borders were added by later generations, as wards against Evil and also cause they was so cutes.



      I don't know if this is another boring week for Chuck, or that I've become bored with him. I'm not going to even waste your time with the latest insipid "Offshore drilling will solve all our probs!" crapfest. In fact, while I could disprove every "point" in the following cartoons that Chuck pulls out his pointy head, I won't. Look it up youself, but trust me, the Obama ones are utter distortions and the first one is another who-the-fuck-knows puddle of drool. Let's instead focus on UpChuck's amazingly subtle and insightful propaganda.







      HEY, THERE'S A--kaff kaff, boy, is my throat sore from all that yelling--MST3K wiki. Not completely useful, as it doesn't seem to have an "obscure jokes" search, although the episodes have a section. Searches for "It is BALLOON!" or "She stole Mike's keyboard!" turn up nothing.
      (According to the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Mike had a girlfriend who stole his keyboard. How I eventually found out that the "BALLOON!" line came from an F Troop episode, I don't know)

      Soft Rock of the late 70s--early 80s, when music was really good.



      You've probably run across at least one article in the last few months about how China is cleaning up for the Olympics by fixing all their hilariously mistranslated signs, from public places to menus. I don't know the backstory to this fix, buy I'd guess that one entrepreneur had the good idea to run his restaraunt's Chinese name through an internet translator like Babelfish.

      Short and interesting Way of Cats post on cats who think enviromentally, vs ones who think symbolically. Maybe only interesting for the cat-owned, but it explains some things about my kids' behavior.

      The University of North Texas' Bruce Hall vs. The Phone Sex Tape Bandit


      A Guide to the Sleaziest (and Most Contradictory) Smears on the Dem Nominee. "Each election cycle, we're exposed to editorial-page tooth-gnashing about the media's relentless focus on political personalities over issues. While everyone is meant to make frowny-faces over this, for the GOP, it's the natural state of affairs. After all, its positions on the issues aren't going to win any elections: Help the rich get richer, ignore anyone who's hurt by economic downturns, deny people medical care, promote cultural division, and keep supporting a highly unpopular war. That's a whole lot of hard sells, right there; why go to the public with that when you can just accuse your opponent of being the Antichrist?"


      For those of you who work in retail like me, the customer is Not Always Right.


      On my lunch break, I went to Ocean State Job Lot to buy some dorm pants. I got a pair 2 years ago, and they're the most comfortable sleepwear ever. Except mine ripped along the seat--possibly my genetically inherited lack of an actual ass acted like a gravity well--so I needed a new pair. They had a rack of them way in the back, pretty clearly just the leftover pickin's from previous years. I wandered around, and grabbed some $2 Paul Newman microwave popcorn. There was something else I wanted to look at, but I couldn't remember what. I stared at the battery rack at the checkout, just looking for cheap 9 volts for the smoke detector, and passing on the AAs because I was pretty sure I had those. The elderly woman ahead of me said "Are you in line, Bill?" and I was startled to see one of our customers. "Go ahead of me," she said, "since that's all you've got!" I thanked her, and kept looking over the batteries. $12.88 for 2 dozen alkaline AAs, good price, but I need 9Vs. She joked about all the travel sizes at the checkout. "Who can afford to travel these days?" I said, "That's why they're at Job Lots!" I bought my popcorn and then remembered that thing I wanted: a hand-crank radio/flashlight. I have a little battery-powered radio, but it's a piece of crap and putting batteries in it in the dark is a bitch. Oh well. How often would I need something like that? I got back to work just before the massive waves of thunderstorms hit. I almost called home to see if the power was on (it is, if the answering machine picks up), but it was that office phone that I've never been able to get a dialtone on, so I didn't. And it was a long, very boring day, so I couldn't wait to get home, make some microwave popcorn, surf the net and not be BORED.
      Possibly you see where this is going.
      Yep, I got home and there was no power. The street that I could see from my condo, sure, but not me. And, according to my 1970s electric analog clock, off since 4:46. It was now 8:20. Power outages in my part of town rarely last longer than 2 or 3 hours. I spent the first half hour finding and lighting candles and the hurricane lamp, and putting batteries in that shitty battery-powered radio that uses 4 AAs--and I had 3. I took 1 battery from a remote. I called the power company, and they expected it to be back on at 11:30. Oh, hoo-ray. Good thing I had some cold chicken in the fridge to eat for dinner.
      Know what you can do by candlelight? NOTHING. Except stumble and apologize when the nearly invisible grey cat finds himself underfoot. You can't even read; I squinted by hurricane lamplight at the Job Lots flyer and at least discovered that the hand-crank radio only got weather bands. How boring would that get? But the real suspense was "Will everything still work when the power comes on, or did something electronic get fried? Like the modem?"
      Power popped on at 10PM exactly. The ADSL modem works (obviously!), but the answering machine needed to be plugged out and in several times before it functioned again.
      I had a bunch of things to write about tonight...but I just spent that time telling you why I have no time to write about them.


      I've been driving my car for a long time.


      Yes, I drove a lap around the parking lot to roll it over and take the picture.

      And now, SHAWTs! Technically, SHAWYesterdays.
      We have a very nice but also very old customer. How old? His doctor told him he couldn't drive a car any more, and he regretfully informed us that he wouldn't be shopping with us, as he could only take the senior shuttle bus which went to our competitor in the big shopping plaza. "Do you live in town? We deliver!" I said. And so he remains a customer.
      I called him to tell him that I was coming over immediately. I arrived at the sprawling retirement community and his apartment 20 minutes later and knocked. And I waited, as he's really old and moves very slowly. How old? He looks almost exactly like this:


      ..especially in the height department.
      After 5 minutes, I knocked again, louder. I peered through the blinds covering the tiny window by the door, and the lights were off. I noticed the framed print by the door. I don't know if he or the place picked it, but it depicted a young girl trying to reach a door knocker, but too short to. Not unlike him.
      After 5 more minutes, I knocked again, really loud. There was an alcove with chairs and tables with magazines on them just outside his door. Most of the magazines were the monthly title Antiques. Do the caretakers here deliberately fuck with their clients aging minds?
      Five minutes later, I propped an autolocking door open with a magazine rack to use their phone. He didn't pick up; his machine did. That's when I thought, This guy is old. How old? Old enough, maybe, to have dropped dead in the 20 minutes it took me to get here! So (5 minutes later) I called the front desk from his neighbor, who was passing by and was just as shriveled as Mr Moleman. He had a photo of himself and his wife from 1940 on his fridge. He was in uniform, just before America entered the maelstrom of WWII. And his wife was hot. Then the front desk picked up, and I told them the story. "Oh, Bob? He's right up front!"
      I exited the locking door and, yep, there he was, and I placed the box with his 2 bottles of whiskey and gallon jug of Carlo Rossi merlot in the basket of his walker. Lots of residents were there, and every one had a tiny plastic American flag. "We're having fun!" he said. "But I'm not sure what we're doing." Yes. I would've guessed that. You, in particular. And he tipped me, for my 25 minutes of waiting for him.
      Two whole dollars!
      Okay, that's just a forgetful old man, not a SHAWT. Here's the runner up for the day. He was returning a case of St Pauli Girl beer, because it was Bad. He'd reached this conclusion after drinking one mouthful from one bottle. Out of 24. He didn't try another, he didn't try one from the other 12 pack, no, it couldn't have been that one beer had a loose bottlecap, it was all bad. He turned a 12 pack over and pointed at a string of numbers under the sell-by date. "Is this a lot number?" Who knows? I'm not German. He then convinced himself that it was, and made us turn over 10 cases worth of beer. They were all the same number, so he got his money back and left empty-handed. And he buys so much St Pauli that he's the sole reason we had 10 cases. Nobody else has complained, but no one else buys it as often as he does. So we either get it all picked up based on his obsessive leap of logic, or just slowly sell it. The sell-by date is 2/09, so I guess we don't have to order it for a while.

      And the winner is...!
      "Do you have a bathroom?"
      (the only legal answer in a CT liquor store is "Not a public one." Seriously, it's a law. The state fears that people will buy booze, go into our bathroom, chug it, and drive home. It's by no means an unreasonable fear. I see empty pints in our trash can in the parking lot every time I empty it)
      "In the back," says a co-worker illegally, "the white door in the right corner."
      "In the BACK?"
      "Yes, on the right. The white door."
      (walking towards the back, and getting louder every step) "Which one? This one?" (walks towards black door on the left)
      "The white one on the right!"
      "THIS ONE?"
      "NO, on the right! The WHITE one!"
      "The one that says 'Employees Only'?"
      (both doors say "Employess Only")
      "YES! The WHITE one!"
      "The one that says 'Employees Only'?"
      "The one that says 'EMPOYEES ONLY'?"
      I was only an observer to all this, and I noticed that he not only was too stupid to know the difference between Right and Left, Black and White, he also was too stupid to know how to turn on the light or lock the door.
      And yes, I checked. He was also too stupid to flush. Lucky the seat was already up, otherwise he might've pissed on the wall.



      Interesting: The Top Ten Movie Grosses, adjusted for inflation. There are plenty of surprises: Number 8 is Dr. Zhivago? I'm almost 50, and I've never known anyone besides my parents who's seen that movie. Of course, in ten years people will say the same about #22, Forrest Gump.
      I've seen about 72 of the hundred, and almost none of them more than once. Numbers One and Five I remember only as being painful slogs. Cleopatra is on the list, and that was awful. I'd like to see the opposite of this list, one that isn't what the movies made, but what they cost. I checked a few years back, and, adjusted for inflation, Cleo cost a third of a billion dollars. No, seriously. It did. And sucked, too.
      Wait, here's that list, in 2006 dollars. From Wikipedia, so, yeah, boulder-sized grain of salt.

      I'm big on getting freebies through the web, but only if it's something I would actually use. I had no idea what was being given away on one site, although if I'd looked closer I would've seen that it was an "Introductory CD plus a 2-scoop sample of both the vanilla and chocolate Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder." But I clicked on the main page and discovered that it was all about B.A.L.A.N.C.E. Did you know that you should eat Nutrition, stuff like food? And drink Liquids, which I suppose is better than trying to drink solids or gases. WHO KNEW? My doctor tells me nothing!
      I link to it mainly because of the first one, B. I've never remembered to do that! No wonder I've been dead since birth!


      I skipped UpChuck last week. He has become tedious. It's always been talking points, but why refute them here? You know bullshit's the only language he speaks, too. It was the same old same old: The Media RIPS into McCain over his flip-flops, and praises Obama for the same! (no, they didn't, and no, they never will, and McCain 08 is the utter mirrored opposite of McCain 00) Obama played the race card! (no, McCain preemptively accused him of doing it, just so that they can be more racist in the weeks to come) McSame's latest Roviana is an ad saying that Hot white chix dig Obama aka HE GONNER FUCK YER WHITE WIMMEN! And if you're wondering why the ad keeps calling him "The One," it's dog whistle code that means Obama is the Antichrist. No, really. There was also McCain's ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton, and saying that we shouldn't vote for him because he's popular. WHUH? I'm sorry, but I thought that elections were won by the more popular candidate? We should vote for McCain because he's LESS popular?? Seriously, why make fun of Chuck's week-old talking points, when McCain's campaign already sounds like it's being written by the Onion? Check out today's:


      The "McCain's affair that the Media IMMEDIATELY IGNORED," you mean? And what's with Edwards' Pinocchio nose in the last panel? He's lying about the affair? So it didn't happen?? Or is it--a FACE-MOUNTED DILDO? Did he cheat on his wife--WITH HIS NOSE?
      I suppose that the not-candidate Edwards adultery is related to Obama's preacher or some shit, but the cartoon would make more sense if McCain slapped Edwards on the back and said, "Don't worry! I also cheated on my wife when she had cancer got her face and body fucked up in a car crash, except that I divorced her for a multi-millionaire who could finance my future! And you won't hear the Media ever bring THAT up! Even if I represent the self-proclaimed party of Personal Responsibility and Family Values!"
      I will give honorable mention to this next one, which is so "Crazy senile old man who can draw and thinks everything is the fault of faggy libruls and stinky furriners and teh ONE WORLD GUMMINT." Y'know, I used to draw cartoons of people I didn't like with flies buzzing around them, but it seemed a tad too obvious after the sixth grade.


      "SPIT SPIT SPIT!" Only two "SPITS!" would've confused the subtext, and four would've been overkill.


      (No, that's it. Today's Stupidest Things Ever Said email was a blank page. Hopefully they'll quote themselves in next year's calendar)

      "My baloney has a first name, it's C.H.U.C.K!"


      "My baloney has a second name, it's I.M.NEVER GOING TO HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT ENERGY PRICES EXCEPT TO SCREAM DRILL DRILL DRILL! And to really engage the youngsters under the age of 80, here's a pair of comedians even your parents have forgotten! Next week, I'll draw Greta Garbo's feet as a metaphor for something large! GET IT? It's really funny if you get it! Now, where's that damn nurse with my cod liver oil?! Last week's blue plate special of liver and onions with a bottle of Moxie ain't leaving my colon on its own, you know!"


      Um, what?
      What is he talking about? That one American who got stabbed a week or two ago? Russia, or Georgia, and/or their war? China itself? Enormous vultures, the one thing they left out of the $300M opening ceremonies? WTF?
      Wait, I think it is the giant vultures! Being 127 years old, the last movie that affected Chuck was The Giant Claw! This 50s atomic mutation film terrified anyone who suffered from gigantokermitophobia, the unreasoning fear of being attacked by a giant Muppet.


      No, Gonzo, NOOOOOO!
      It probably made Chuck fill his Depends (I think he was already wearing them back in 1957), so hold on to your sphincters before you dare watch the horrifical trailer! (Just don't watch the boring movie. I have, and all the best bits of the movie are there in the trailer)




      Oh, come on! What kind of fakey word is "gug"?

      Not as amusing as it could be, but here's LOLBush at teh Olympix.



      My Netflix review of the movie I just watched, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale:      I wrote that before the end titles, which are accompanied by the world's first heavy metal madrigal.



      SHAWT: A guy bought a case of beer, and demanded to know why he had to pay a deposit on the bottles, when he wasn't going to drink it in Connecticut. I thought he was joking. No, he said he could show me a picture of his other house in North Carolina. And he kept going on about it. "How am I going to get my money back?!" I said "You can bring the bottles back with you." He stared at me like this was the dumbest idea ever. He wanted to know who in the government he could complain to. Umm...nobody? It's like complaining that he had to pay sales tax, which you can never get back. And then he put the beer in the giant SUV he was going to drive to North Carolina.
      The deposit came to $1.20.


      Obama is the entire government of the United States, and responsible for things foreign countries do.


      Obama is the entire government of the United States, and responsible for things foreign countries do. What, don't you hear so good? I suppose you think Bush should've done more, but he gets embarassed bringing up the "No country has the right to invade a foreign nation for no other reason than oil." Plus, who'd do it, him and what army? Oh, and Europe brokered the fucking cease fire, Chuckles. What'd Bush and McCain do?
      UpChuck must be creaming his Depends over the thought of a new Cold War.



      Chuck cares about unions? Since when? From those infamous anti-union people at the AFL-CIO:

      Hey, Chuck! You're a fucking liar!

      Oh noes, not the nightmare of the dreaded FAIRNESS DOCTRINE! Surely this is a grave threat to those fine purveyors of the truth such as Rush Limbaugh, who threaten the Democrats with their killer job of convincing 29% of America that Bush isn't shit! How accurate is Chucklehead's dire warning? A few sentence fragments from the Wikipedia entry:

      Apparently, the Fairness Doctrine was not introduced by Nancy Pelosi, as in 1949 she was probably waiting for the TV to invent Howdy Doody, given that she was 9 years old. And it HASN'T EXISTED for 21 years, when it was killed by the Reagan Administration.
      Chuck, have you even read Orwell? The purpose of the Ministry of Truth in 1984 was to tell nothing but lies. They may have an opening for you!
      Here's a pop quiz for you, Chuck--which president's policies have these names and actual purposes?      Here's another: Match the 1984 slogan with what president's slogans:      


      I forget which MST3K ep had Joel and the bots making up fake titles for Mannix or some similiar old 60s/70s TV action show, and for that matter, any of their titles. They couldn't have been any dumber than these actual ones. I like these 2 from Kojak: "Deliver Us Some Evil" and "When You Hear the Beep, Drop Dead".

      Tonight, on a very special UpChuck, I'll let you spot the very obvious theme in this corker of a cartoon! Take your time! I'll just hum a quick little ditty to myself while you think about it.
      "In-a-gadda-da-vida, honey,
      Don't you know that I love you?
      In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby,
      Don't you know that I'll always be true?


      (Seventeen minutes later)
      ..."Oh, won't you come with me
      And take my hand?
      Oh, won't you come with me
      And walk this land?
      Please take my HA-A-AAAAND!"

      Was that enough time?
      Whaddya mean, "WTF?" It's as plain as the nose on the Sphinx! It's clearly about...that current event! The Olympic giant book climb relay! See? It says "Human Rights" on that guy's backpack! That represents Tibet! But, oh no, here's SCIENCE to test his DNA because...he's...doped himself with mountain goat genes! BUSTED! I don't follow the Olympics, but something like that happened, right?
      Okay, umm...Well, seperation of Church and State is bad, because it'd be easier to climb if the books marked "THE BIBLE" and "THE STATE" didn't have that big gap between....wait, the book says "SCIENCE." DNA seperates church and state, so we should get rid of...DNA...
      Okay, okay, I got it! "WHEN IS A PERSON A PERSON?" See, it must be some anti-abortion thing! Because the BIBLE says that birth begins at conception, and abortion is bad! And SCIENCE is GOOD, as it says that conception occurs "when the blastocyst successfully implants into the uterine wall...Pre-implantation embryos have a vast distance to travel, complex chemical cues to navigate, and a ticking biological clock to contend with within the bounds of the female reproductive cycle. Roughly 40% of all embryos don't survive the ordeal...Naturally, the 'life begins at conception' crowd takes issue with this definition." Well, maybe that's it, then. Of course, that has nothing to do with DNA, unless Chuck thinks it stands for "the Devil's Natural Advantage" or something. Oh, wait, the Bbile says nothing about abortion or when life is conceived. And 40% of the embryos don't make it? And of those that do, 15 to 50% end in miscarriages? If life begins at conception, doesn't that make God the ultimate abortionist? So THAT explains Chuck's fear of DNA! "CSI: Heaven" could use it as evidence to prove God is the killer of billions of potential babies! THAT FIEND!
      Hey, you know what? I have NO FUCKING CLUE EITHER. It could just as easily be read as "The only way to become a person and protect human rights is to overcome the bible. And once you have, you'll be glad there's seperation of church and state when you stand in awe of the power not of make-believe, but SCIENCE."
      ...By which I mean it makes so little sense that it could mean anything. It could really mean that Chuckles is just one fried synapse away from promising free binoculars to everyone on the East Coast.


      The radio station we play at work mentioned an online poll, and I thought that they'd mistakenly run the ad early. The question is Will Barack Obama's VP running mate help or hurt his chances of being elected President?
      The running mate he hasn't chosen yet? If he chooses Charles Manson, I'd say it'd hurt him. But since he hasn't chosen anybody, are the people voting for "Hurt" saying it'd help him if he chose nobody?

      For your weekend online viewing pleasure, lots of MST3K episodes. Bit heavy on the unfunny (ie, "Mike") years, but still.


      Okay, I thought that Obama's veep would be announced Sunday, not today. Which is either yesterday or 2 days ago to you reading this in your now. That poll did change itself today to "Will Barack Obama's VP running mate, Senator Joe Biden, help or hurt his campaign to be elected President?" And it's still has the exact results it did on Friday, roughly 55%-yes to 45%-no. I'm going out on a limb and guessing that the listening audience of the station (an Oldies station) has a 55/45 split between Democrats/Republicans, and they both voted whether or not he had a veep. What, I work second shift! I don't update at the crack of dawn!

      Speaking of about quarter to 4 this morning, after laying awake in bed since 130, I took a second diphenhydramine (Benadryl generic) to put me to sleep. I hate taking them at all, and two is even worse. Takes me an hour to fully wake up. I didn't fall asleep until sometime between 430 and 5AM. Then, while napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at
      BANG! BANG! BANG! THE SILL OF MY BEDROOM WINDOW A FOOT ABOVE MY HEAD, WITH A FUCKING CLAW HAMMER!!! Merely this and nothing more...than some construction worker, doing the "outside repair work" that supposed to have been finished TWO WEEKS AGO. AND AT EIGHT AM. "The outer windows will be finished--nevermore! Because, now, we start on the fucking gutters above your bedroom door! Also, BLAH BLAH BLAH I can't stop talking and yet I have nothing more to say than some idiot magpie to his co-workers chattering, chattering, above your BANG! BANG! BANG!"
      They did finally cease, and I went back to bed. And heard the BANG! just as I was about to take a draught of Nepenthe, every time. Eventually they stopped, and I scored me a whole nuther half-hour's sleep!
      When I finally left for work (25 minute commute, 9 hours work, 25 minute commute home) on less than 4 hours sleep, they were packing up and going home, too. To roost on their bust of Pallis, I guess.
      At least work flew by quickly, me being in a semi-coma most of the day, and continually making stupid mistakes due to my addled state. In fact, one might say--I felt quite PO'! Geddit? Po', meaning poor, and also Poe? YES I'M STILL FUCKING AWAKE AND THERE IS NO FUCKIN BALM IN GILEAD I checked, as Gilead's a part of Bolton, CT, the town next door to Vernon. Man, they should get a balm store already.



      I know Cracked is on my list of "sites I won't link to, because you should read them anyway." But I'll make an exception for 15 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped. Specifically number 14. Makes you wonder where they found that image...

      It must be a dark and stormy night, as it's the 28th Bulwer-Lytton Awards.

      Well, off to Kev and Meg's for Movie Night. Here's what we'll be watching. No, I have no idea either.
      Okay, I'm back. If you want to know what the movie was about, the entire plot is here. It still does not EXPLAIN WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED. It really can only be described, as Kev said: "Don't take the brown acid." They're all cats in Japan except that it's Italy, and there is a LOT of walking, with every step on screen, and a truly amazing amount of blank-eyed staring. It was 165 minute movie, and I'd say about half of it was the main characters staring and saying nothing. You could almost hear the drool dripping from their open mouths and puddling in their laps. Oh, and all there was all this bizarre Christian imagery, and the Titanic sank and they saw Dead People, and it smelled like apples, and walnuts were mined from the fossilized skeleton of a giant cow. The only thing that kept it from being completely boring was wondering what the heck was going on, a question that was never really answered. Well, that and the fact that we made merciless fun of it.
      I give it my highest not-recommendation. We almost turned it off, but we did not let it defeat us. At the end, I gave the screen the finger and said "FUCK YOU, MOVIE! WE WON!"




      Another weak week for UpChuck. I'm glad I never spun this off to another blog, as it gives me an excuse to ignore his latest examples of necrotic equine sadism. The first of two "DRILL DRILL DRILL!" cartoons this week assures us that drilling for oil is TEH AWESUM, and drilling for natural gas is TEH SUX0R. Why? A Republican wants to do one, and a Democrat wants to do the other. Also, owning stock is Bad. Maybe someday he'll do a cartoon about the Iraq War, Halliburton, and Cheney's stocks.
      Here's the other of his DRILL! battered expired ponies:


      It says something about the intelligence of your audience when you draw a pie hovering in the sky, and then feel compelled to tell that it's "a pie-in-the-sky." Possibly Chuck should assure them that, generally, pastries do not actually atmospherically levitate, and thus it is a metaphor for something impossible. Of course, 90 years ago, Charles Asay, Esquire, would've drawn such a cartoon about the folly of men cavorting in "flying machines," or the utter impossibility of the Model T replacing his buggy. (But Charles' buggy wouldn't move anyway, him having beaten the horse to death)
      And speaking of making Seabiscuit into glue sticks and then stamping on them, in another cartoon once again we get the lie that the Dodd/Frank foreclosure bill is about bailing out the lenders. But this time he claims its purpose is to take your house away. Without the tiniest molecule of irony, this is meant to be Chuck's devastating reply to the "McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns" thing. I'm sure McSame tosses and turns every night, not knowing which of his wife's mansions is going to be foreclosed on. Way to speak to the people, Chuck!


      I sense a rightwing cartoonist really, REALLY pissed off that he can't spend the next 2 months to 4 years making blowjob jokes! He could've pushed the intern comedy into a third decade! And kept drawing Hillary as a scowling old man, exactly as she doesn't look like in real life. And exactly how McCain does. I'm sure he'll hold McCain's veep candidate to the same standard. (l'lI defer to Wolcott's opinion on those guys'n'gals)


      McCain announced his vice presidential candidate today. And it's MICHAEL PALIN from MONTY PYTHON! Wow, there's an upset! There'll be some car-door slamming in the streets of Kensington tonight!--oh, wait. It's Michael's Alaskan sister or something.
      Hey, UpChuck! Remember what you said about Obama's veep choice? Well, Magic Underwear Romney got 4.5 million primary votes, and I Heart Huckabee got 4.2 million. Sarah Palin got NONE (most likely because she didn't run). So we can expect that cartoon of yours mocking McCain's choice by Tuesday, right?

      Attention, arachnid-Americans: I don't mind having a spider set up house/web in the corner between the wall and the bathtub every spring. In the warm weather the bathroom gets bugs, mainly tiny beetles and even smaller gnats. Eat 'em up! I'll even catch the first few and drop them in your web to help you get yourself established.
      But after Labor Day the bugs end, and it's time for the spiders to move on. That's on, not in. Suddenly tonight, they're everywhere, in all sizes.
      To the spiders that moved into webs abandoned by spiders that starved to death: do you really think that's a good location? To the spider that built a web between the wall and the cat food dish: you're fucking kidding me, right? And spider that built a web inside the bathroom trash can where the dirty kitty litter gets dumped twice a day: MAN, but are you in for an unpleasant end to your evening.




      "My cat unplugged my alarm clock" is believable, if you have one of my cats. Yes, that one.
      "I forgot to come back to work after lunch"? We had a guy, who was either late or out "sick" every single week he worked for us, use this one: "I can't come back to work. I got too drunk on my lunch break." And after that, he kept his job. He didn't work his scheduled hours even one week over 9 months, and yet he worked there until he was caught stealing to support his Oxy habit. He got away with it that long because my boss drinks 8 to 12 Heinekens a day.

      "This plan is so crazy, it just might work!" Latest idea to stop global warming: the backwash from robotic ghost ships.

      I was scanning a schedule from one of the area art cinemas (yes, art cinemas plural. It's pretty much impossible to live in the Hartford CT area and not get a chance to see every obscure little movie), and saw that they were showing Hellboy 2. Okay, it's a university cinema, and they show a lot of different movies, most of which aren't worth my time. That distracted me enough to miss that they were showing The Fall until a few days before the screening. Months ago The Fall began its limited run in Hartford, then disappeared after a single weekend, before I even knew what it was.
      It's by the director/writer/producer/etc guy who did The Cell, a movie that didn't do that well at the box office--its dream/nightmare imagery was too weird for most people, but too stapled to a standard serial killer movie to cross over into the art crowd. He's a director of commercials, and has an eye for vibrant, striking images. He filmed The Fall's main sequences quickly, then spent millions of his own money and years of his own time filming the additional scenes when he could. He found seas of orange desert sands, fantasy castles in the middle of lakes, and a staircase straight out of MC Escher. And there is no CGI. They're all real places.
      The Fall is a story told by one hospital patient, an injured Hollywood stuntman, to another, a little immigrant girl. She's an astonishingly natural actress, despite being 5 years old. He tells the story, she supplies the movie's visuals--he calls a character an Indian, meaning squaws and wigwams, but she pictures the Sikh she works with in the orange grove back home. To this rapt child, the storyteller spins a tale of derring-do and kidnapped noblewomen and masked bandits and--it kinda sounds like The Princess Bride, huh?
      No. The Princess Bride was about the story being told, not the story the narrator isn't trying to tell, but which works its way into the narrative anyway. He's telling the little girl an exciting story for his own reasons, and if you're paying attention, one of the first words you hear describing the storyteller is...well, pay attention.
      It's all grand adventure for most of the movie, and when it darkens at the end, it does so because of the characters, not from some cheap narrative trick. It's a visually brilliant, realistically acted and ultimately life-affirming movie, a mix of both colorful fantasy and believable reality, and I will see it again.
      And if you're thinking "Great, Bill's recommending yet another movie that's impossible to see"--you can rent it starting next Tuesday.


      Mesdames et messieurs, peuvent présent d'I la merveille et la gloire qui est--

      Yes, our long national nightmare is over! Chez Ben is closed or closes early on my days off, but I had a rare Tuesday off and woke up early enough that I might be able to eat a Brown Gloppy Pile.
      It's a tiny place, with two dining rooms. I stopped in the first and there were a couple of big burly guys waiting for their orders. Right after I sat down, a couple entered--a Québécois couple. And that, mes amis, pretty much proved Chez Ben's bona fides right there. After I ordered my small poutine and vanilla milkshake, the only waitress brought the big guys their large, non non non, huge poutines with peas and chicken. One guy said "Hold my calls!" The French couple ordered a small poutine and a whole meat pie, and 2 slices of meat pie as a side or Jesus who knows. Hopefully the whole was take out. The waitress placed the poutine order only as "a small," just as she did mine. Not "a small poutine," a "small." Sacre bleu and Fond du Lac! I found the only place in Connecticut where the average order is for poutine! I suppose that the large chicken and peas variant is called a "large with."
      How did it taste? I don't know. How does a slice of FUCK YEAH!! taste? And every bite got better, as the cheese got meltier and the fries got soggier and mmm, gravier. Food, to me, is usually just something to eat because you have to eat something. This didn't just taste good, it felt awesome after I'd eaten it. For an hour. And five hours later, I'm still happily digesting it. It was worth the months of wait. The vanilla shake was good, too.
      The waitress sat down and talked to the Canadiennes for a bit, and then the cook, an elderly little stump of a woman, paid them a visit too. She was also of the Québécois persuasion. I don't think I'll partake of the guedille (described as egg salad and veggies on a hot dog roll) or the creton, because I'm pretty sure my doctor recommended that I don't let headcheese into my body. But on those rare occasions where their schedule syncs up with mine, oh, enfer oui, POUTINE!

      One to add to the list of rare webtoons that are actually funny, Basic Instructions



      HEY KIDS! It's time for your favorite funnyman, that gigglesome goofball, that wacky wingnut, that Bozo of the Batshit, UpChuckles the Clown! Better put on a straitjacket, because your sides are about to split!!


      "Ha ha ha ha" indeedy! A home run? That's how the Democrats greeted McSimpleton's veep choice all right, laughing and screaming "PALIN! PALIN!" Oh, wait, those are supposed to be Republicans. Umm...they were slightly less enthused.
      Hey, Conservative Base! Chuck just depicted you as small and square and a doormat that everyone walks on and as smart as a bag filled with dirt! And also, apparently crazed on cocaine. Freebasing, most likely!
      That was Chuckles' first cartoon of the week (they're dated, but he always uploads them all at once later in the week). Let's go to the next day, and see exactly where that out-of-the-park homerun landed!


      HAHAHAHA! All working mothers have pregnant teenage daughters! Because--I don't know! Ask UpChuckles the Clown! Maybe he's letting out a little too much of what contempt he has for the have-sex-out-of-wedlock kids! Chuckles didn't have sex out of marriage! Not in high school, nope! Not in--sigh--college! Not with any woman he went out with--sob!--over all those years! And then he got married, and his wife would only have sex in marriage to procreate, that frigid bi--err, fine upright Christian woman! CHUCK HAS NO PROBLEMS WITH THAT! If he had PROBLEMS, he'd be obsessively forcing his morality ON TO OTHERS! THOSE LITTLE SLUUUUTS!
      (If you're thinking I'm reading something that isn't there into the cartoon--Imagine if Palin the Younger wasn't pregnant. And one of Obama or Biden's teenaged relatives was. And I mean like the step-daughter of a third cousin. Think he'd simply nod and smile? Fuck, it'd be all FOX would talk about until Election Day)
      Look at the facial expressions--Other Daughter is only surprised for one panel, then she's waving and smiling and thinking, "Good thing my mom will never teach me anything about sex besides 'Don't have it'! Maybe before I'm out of high school, I'll be lucky enough to get pregnant by another high schooler, paraded on a stage before the entire world with him, and then quickly pushed into a shotgun marriage to protect my mom's political career! That'd be AWESOME!" Notably, Dad and brother continue to be shocked, and brother even steals a frightened glance at her. Is he wondering if it's his baby? No, not in the incest sense. Brother only had the "Abstinence for Jesus" training too, and worries that the Kleenex he masturbated into and flushed down the toilet, maybe the sperms swam out and up his sister's butt? No one's told him that couldn't happen!
      No idea what's with dad. The way McCain's groping his wife after her inexplicable veep nomination, he may be wondering exactly whose baby he's holding. After all--it is fat, bald and cranky...
      Or maybe he's just remembered how Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms. Or maybe he's starting to worry about that bugeyed and fanged guy just above his shoulder. Who is that, Nosferatu? I can picture him as a NeoCon.


      THAT'S WHAT THEY DID! While the DEMON-RATS drank like frat boys, the Republicans completely cancelled their entire convention to go to...Somewhere. The Dems are so happy, even Mr Sun smiles down on them! The GOP, after cursing the terrible luck of Katrina's anniversary coinciding with another NoLa hurricane, morosely put on some rubber gloves and began digging mass graves. This time they're prepared for 1800 deaths! You'd think that they'd be filling sandbags, but we've already seen that their Base is a bag of sand.
      Actually, they spent that day partying. Remember what McCain and Bush really did during Katrina?


      McCain: What you say !!
      W: New Orleans have no chance to survive make your cake and eat it too


      HAHAHAHA!!! That guy's so fucking dumb, he thinks nine billion dollars a month in Iraq is a bargain, but he doesn't want to pay any taxes to reduce the cost of his own HEALTH CARE! And he thinks the damn dirty nigger is gonna reach outta the TV and steal his wallet! HAAAAA-HAHAHA!!!!
      A sacred ritual Chuckles does every time he makes a cartoon is to stand up! Because when you're sitting down, how can you pull shit this retarded out of your ass?
      Seriously. He must've been bleeding pretty badly after yanking this out:


      "Me new friend yours, me BASEY! Sack of dirt that DANCES! ME EGGSITED!! WHEE LOOKA ME I BASEY! ME SMART AS SACK OF DIRT! Oopsy, Basey make a lil' poo-poo!"
      HAHHAHA! If all my base are belong to you, UpChuckles, YOU CAN KEEP 'EM.



      The last time I went to Ocean State Job Lot, I bought some Paul Newman microwave popcorn on clearance and ignored the batteries. That night, I didn't eat any popcorn as I had no power. Also, no batteries. I've since fixed that situation. I went yesterday (to buy the rest of the fat-free, salt-free, taste-free popcorn--it's worth $2 once you get used to the fact the popcorn only tastes like popcorn), and they had a display in front of batteries, flashlights, plastic ponchos, and other storm-related items. Tropical storm Hannah was due to hit the next day. They had a hand-cranked radio, something I've thought of buying. Made by Radio Shack for Totes, the umbrella people, and only $8, so I bought it.
      The radio said "One minute of cranking equals 30 minutes of power!" That was true, although backwards. It didn't matter if you cranked it for 3 minutes or 40, you got 1 minute of radio, and another minute of fading into static and silence. I boxed it back up to return next week. Good thing the power hadn't gone out!
      Yep. Pretty much, you got it. I'm bad at foreshadowing, aren't I?
      The power went off at 11AM, 3 minutes before the alarm was to go off, and woke me up. (How? I have a white-noise radio to drown out sounds so I can sleep better; it stopped) This was puzzling. Hannah wasn't here yet! And wouldn't be for about 7 hours, as it turned out. Someone must've hit a utility pole.
      The shower still worked, so I wasn't too concerned. And with every power crew in the state already on alert for the storm, it'd be back on long before I got home. I wouldn't need no cranky hand-cranked radio.
      I really only mention it because as soon as the power went off, Killsy came agitatedly running and meowing into the bedroom, immediately followed by Byron. Not because the white noise was gone; that happens every morning. I imagine she heard the fridge stop running, and deaf Byron simply followed her. Before I left the house, I gave them their morning wet food. Byron slurped his up, while she sniffed at hers and then refused to touch it. Since it was from a newly-opened can, that was really odd. It was gone when I got home, and she was more than happy to eat it again. Obviously, she skipped breakfast because she was upset that the power was off.
      Why? Nothing different really happens here when the power goes out; if it's night, I light candles and put batteries in a radio. During the day, I just do the radio. But she's a cat, and she loves nothing more than Routine. Even the familiar sound of the fridge stopping disrupts the routine.
      And, 12 hours exactly after it went off this morning and just before I sat down to type, the power browned out for a second, rebooting the computer. I'd barely said "WTF?" before she got agitated. And then it did it again, rebooting the computer and turning a minor clock or two off. She became more upset. As I reset the clocks, the computer started, making its familiar sounds. She was fine again. Everything was back to normal. And that was all she needed.



      It took over a week, but somebody besides me finally noted that there's only one Palin who should be in the race.




      Today the Republican-skewing oldies station we play at work "remembered 9/11." Funny, they haven't done that since--oh yeah, 2004, the last time there was a presidential election coming up. Funny, that.
      All they'd do was run a "it's 9/11" bumper and then play a song by Americans. They put that much thought into it. That much and exactly no more, as I heard the grim intoning of the "Today we Remember" bumper, and it was followed by "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys. WTF? "And she'll have fun fun fun until al Qaeda takes the Towers away"? Nice memorial, assholes.

      All this campaign, the McCain camp has sneered at how Obama claims to be "Change," when the only thing that really matters is "Experience!" That's the most important thing! Then Palin was named vice president, and guess what's the new most important thing?


      The first time I tried to change a tire at 16, I jacked the car up--a 1973 Ford Maverick, believe it or not, and not this 1940 Studebaker McCain's working on. That's what you do when you've got a flat, right? Jack it up? To my frustration, I soon learned that jacking the car up is what you do after you loosen the lugnuts on the tire, not before. Otherwise, the wheels keep spinning and you go nowhere. And that, my friends, is how Chuck perfectly shows the McCain idea of "Change."
      And what's now the absolute worst thing a candidate can have?


      1: SDI? You mean the multi-billion-dollar boondoggle of corporate welfare that STILL doesn't work after TWENTY-FIVE YEARS? The one that doesn't work in Pentagon tests even when they know both where and when the missile's coming, and it has a GPS beacon for a warhead? THAT quarter-century (and counting!) colossal waste of money?
      2: The Nicagaruan death squads? The ones that Saint Ronald called "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers"? We all remember Ben "Nun-Raper" Franklin! And when George Washington crossed the Delaware to fill mass graves with children! "I cannot tell a lie--I chopped their hands off!"
      3: The surge that "worked" because the US government is paying tens of millions of dollars a month in bribes to keep the Iraqi militias from attacking us? There's no way THAT could ever come back and bite us in the ass, like how it did when we funded the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or how the CIA trained that bin Laden guy to be a terrorist! THAT COULD NEVER FUCKING HAPPEN A SECOND TIME.
      4: News flash: Iraq WAS in de facto partition after the first Gulf War, when the No-Fly Zone kept Saddam out of the Kurdish areas. And today, thanks to the ethnic cleansing and the neocon's stupidity, it's heading there again. Southern Iraq already might as well be in Iran. Hey, everybody who knew anything about Iraq's internal structure knew that before the fucking invasion began! And every Bushie in favor of invading didn't! Believe me, I had enough arguments with those willfully stupid yahoos to know!
      So...Biden's not a retard then? And the person most likely to become president when the Oldest Fart Ever Elected drops dead is? While I'm sure that Chuck finds that reassuring, I don't. The religious right is already drooling over that cartoon's first panel. But they're picturing McCain as the moose...



      Now and for the rest of my life, when something good happens or something bad doesn't happen, I intend to say not "Thank God!" but "Thank Oscar F. Nagler III!"

      Just call me Ripper Shook: The Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator.

      Wordsplosion, bad signs which have grammar or spelling's. Funnyer than it should.



      Recently watched: Cats: The Movie. Certainly the perfect cinema pour moi, mais oui?
      I didn't have my hopes up for it. Direct to DVD, for one, and with Look Who's Talking-style voiceovers for the cats. But at least one of the voices was by an actor with a recognizable name, Jeremy Sisto (no relation). It looked like it was a bunch of cute cat videos strung together, like some YouTubes from, but I love those!
      Then it began with title credits obviously made with the same cheapo program that one titles one's YouTube videos with, and I thought, "Oh crap. This is not a movie."
      And it wasn't. Somebody simply took their home videocam and followed a local bunch of cats--and dogs and birds and that most exotic and fascinating of wildlife, fucking squirrels--in their LA neighborhood around for a coupla days, and then wrote a lame story around the footage. It has one of those cheezy soundtracks of the "I know this unemployed guy who owns a synthesizer!" type.
      Personally, I like my cats, or any other animal, undubbed. I like animals that act like animals, and not have retarded "personalities" overlaid onto them. And I'd like them to do something more interesting than climb onto a bulldozer. TWICE.
      There was some kind of plot, I guess, involving a catnapper on rollerblades. She catnaps our hero about 30 seconds after she's first mentioned, and described as "only grabbing cats who don't have collars! They're strays!" And, quite literally a fucking minute later, she's upset because she grabbed a cat with no collar, because that means he's only a stray. It's the attention paid to the details that really makes this one work.
      How bad was this movie about cats that I, Bill the Splut, Insanely-Obsessed Lover of Cats, ME, turned it off halfway through? Halfway through was only 35 minutes. That is BAD, cats and kittens. That is very bad. It may be liked by really, really young children, or very, very stupid children, the kinds who are so small and/or stupid that they can't be trusted with actual live animals bigger than an ant. Or a rock. Give them a rock and tell them it's a cat. If they believe you, they're the audience for this.
      I should point out that the only voice of a black actor I heard was used for a crow. At least Dumbo has the excuse of being made 70 years ago.



      11 Cat Hoaxes, although there's only six. Includes the usual suspects. I remember my first visit to Bonsai Kitties coming from a mailing list, demanding that we sign a petition to STOP the HORROR! I looked at the page for about 10 seconds and said "...And they poop how? People think this is real?" I had the same reaction to the World's Biggest Cat, which was clearly more in the running for the award for the World's Most Obvious Photoshop.

      And speaking of cats...Miss Killsy was banned from going out in my condo's front common hallway until yesterday. The neighbors bought a small palm tree, and very expensive looking one, given the pot and the river stones in the soil. Kill Kill just sniffed at it. Although I have the brownest of thumbs, even I know that you need a southern exposure for maximum sunlight, and the hallway has one window that faces due west. The tree died very quickly. I thought that they would try bringing it inside their condo and placing it in the center of the 4 west-facing windows before they let it die. But I've never found a plant that grows in that light except spider plants, such as the one kitten Killsy killed, or the subsequent one that kitten Byron killed.
      They replaced it with a low light plant, and that's when Kays was banned from the hallway: Apparently, it was quite the tasty. After she ate half of a leaf, in she stayed. Not that it matters; nibbles or not, the thing's going to die anyway. I guess I just thought that it was a low light plant. Instead, it's just very low to the ground, and gets almost no light.
      Now that she can't be blamed for its demise by using it as her salad bar, I let her out. She came back in, full of meows. Something was wrong! "What's Byron doing now?" I sighed as she led me down the stairs. But he hadn't left the house. She led me to shoes. The new downstairs neighbors leave their shoes outside the door. They're Laotian, so maybe that's a thing they do. I suppose she was saying "Look! There's shoes here! What's up with that?!" But she's so much the Einstein Cat, that she might've been saying "SHOE THIEVES could steal these! Shall I alert the authorities, or just set up a security camera?"
      Good thing that I didn't let her out Sunday. They had a party, and there were 15 pairs of sandals outside. Killsy might've started dusting for prints.

      Byron loves when I make turkey burgers, because he gets the goop. It's that grey stuff that oozes out; turkey fat and juice, I assume. Today I made curry burgers, and with more curry than I intended (I spilled the powder all over the cheese). They came out super-curryish, very very hot. But he not only ate the goop after I finished my cooking, he licked the pan. He likes hot curry.
      I have a cat who worries about Laotian shoes, and a cat who eats Indian. And that's no hoax.


      My $15 answering machine has a rudimentary Caller ID function. It won't save the number, but it will announce it just before it takes a message. It won't take calls with number blocked. However, it will announce "Unknown Caller" and take the message. I have no idea how "Unknown Caller" differs from a blocked call.
      Can you get phishing scams on your phone? Twice I've come home to messages offering me reduced interest rates on my card, but I have to reply today! Click One Now! I find this odd, as      Hmmm...I'll bet that if I had pressed 1, the robot immediately would've asked me to punch in my card number. I'm sure that it would've then truly changed my monthly cost!
      I wish I'd been home when I got these calls. Since it would be easy to trace anyone leaving a real number, would they have been an "Unknown Caller"? Does that mean "From some country outside of yours"? Nigeria or some former Soviet Republic maybe?

      And as a change of pace from all the comics you see here that were made by a right-wing pinhead, here's one from Zippy the Pinhead.






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