Dislocated Jaws of Life

NEW 96

"To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting."
- - -E.E. Cummings


      Hey, could it snow some more? 16 inches over 3 days, that doesn't even bury the first floor!

      Two months ago, in warmer days, Jess and I went to the RenFest, and saw

      This would be how he did it. By, y'know, actually doing it.

      Just seen: Encounters at the End of the World, a documentary about Antarctica's Munro Base. A Werner Herzog documentary, so you know A) it'll be fascinating, B) look gorgeous, and C) Herzog's strange. I haven't seen a lot of Antarctic documentaries, but I'll put money down that this is the only one that immediately asks why the Lone Ranger wears a mask, why ants milk wood lice for sugar, and hey, why haven't chimps learned to ride goats, anyway? (The answers to these questions were, as far as I could tell, never addressed)
      The film is about astonishingly beautiful images of the severe continent and its wildlife, and the people who have chosen to live in this hell on Earth. You'd think that 6 months of endless sun, 6 months of endless night, and eternal endless cold would simply drive anybody nuts. Me and you, probably. But we didn't decide to live down there. "If you take everyone who isn't tied down," says one person, "they all tend to fall to the bottom of the planet." They're not crazy, but they're all oddball philosophers and thoughtful eccentrics. Even the guy who claims to be of Incan royal blood because of the length of his fingers, or the woman who can fold herself into a carry-on bag, seem very well-adjusted and happy. Even the guy who'd rather talk to penguins than Herzog. Of course, they're being filmed by Herzog, who early on complains about the "picture postcard perfect weather": "This was frustrating, because I loathe the Sun, both on my celluloid and my skin."
      Also, at the South Pole nobody cares what their fucking hair looks like. Nobody says it, but it becomes obvious after a while. Does that mean you never shower? Yuck! I'll stay in my mini-Arctic of Connnecticut.


      It was inevitable:Trek Into Time, a Doctor Who/Star Trek mashup. It's technically accomplished, but the storylines never merge as thoroughly as they should. And then it just ends. A Part 2 is promised next Easter.


      SOOHAWT (Strange Odor on a Human At Work Today): He overpoweringly smelled like what could only be described as "Ben Gay rubbed on Slim Jims." I don't want to know if this said something about his diet, or his sex life.


      If you work in retail, Christmas isn't a time to celebrate, it's a time to survive.
      And I did, without any real incident. Part of the joys of liquor store work is that, unlike all other retail, Xmas is not a quickly accelerating crescendo of madness from Thanksgiving on. It's almost all encompassed in just the few last days. To wit: our sales were $11K on the 22nd, $19K on the 23rd, and $28K today. The 26th will be next to nothing. People return gifts, but not when the gift is booze!
      We get people who only ever set foot in a liquor store at Xmas. We get people who ask for "pinot grigio" and are amazed that there are scores of them, not just one. This would be like going into a grocery store and asking for "Meat." I had one woman say "Oh, I can't remember the name of the wine!" and when I asked her what she remembered about it, she said "It's a wine you drink!" Well, let me steer you away from our cabernet shampoo. The rest of the conversation:
      ME: Is it sweet, is it dry...?
      HER: Oh, it's sweet.
      ME: Is it Manischewitz?
      HER: YES!
      I have no idea how I intuited that. Well, her accent was Jamaican, and they sure like their wine sweet, so maybe that was it.
      I was asked "Do you work here?" while: carrying a stepladder, carrying an unopened box of wine, opening a box of liquor with a razor knife, and stocking the shelf. Things, like you, I normally do whenever I shop.

      The store radio was on a station that went all-Xmas today. Which I HATES. (c.f. above, Xmas, only survival) And it's just different artists singing the same damn songs over and over. Hey, Little Drummer Boy! The kid's a few hours old, he did NOT just smile at you. He had gas. Also, seriously, WTF's your job? You just wander around with a drum? Is there a market for that? Shouldn't you be down at the bus terminal busking? Oh wait, nobody's going to give coins to some annoying little shit banging on a drum. Also--that's a proven way to help babies sleep. Bang on a fucking drum.
      Hey, Most Wonderful TIme of the Year guy, nobody roasts marshmallows and tells scary ghost stories on Xmas. You're thinking of your summer camp when you were 10. I'm surprised you don't think that at Xmas people also shoot off fireworks, have picnics and go to the beach.
      Hey, Let It Snow, you're leaving, but now you mention that you've brought corn for popping? You're just looking for any lame excuse not to leave and get laid, aren't you? And what do you usually bring corn for, waxing? Caulking?
      Hey, your grandma got run over by something? WOW, what a melodic voice you have! Not unlike that of an angel, after gargling some bleach. Here's how the line in your yearly icepick-in-the-ears tune should go: "Some people says there's no such thing as TORTURE, but after hearing this song, we believe!" Hey, could you also go stand in the street? In front of that tank? I want to give you all the joy of being run over that you give me every year!

      Also, if you wanted to see that Doctor Who/Star Trek mashup, there's a link might actually work. Sorry!


      I had a white Christmas Eve, given the 15 inches of snow on the ground. After yesterday's endless rain and 45 degree temps, I had a white Where the Snowplows Piled It Up. Otherwise, I had a Dead Grass Christmas.

      What Robert Ingersoll wanted for Xmas, 1897. And it's what we need today.

      Roger Ebert gives the gift of some of his favorite lines from his negative reviews. He left out one of my personal faves, on the Dungeons & Dragons movie: "It's like they threw out the game and photographed the box it came in."

      Know why there was "no room at the inn"? Because, so the story goes, the Romans had a census that required everyone to go back to the town they were born in. Huh?! Isn't the purpose of a census to know where people are now, not where they were born? If it was that important to them, wouldn't the Romans have kept detailed birth records instead? Rather than have the entire empire go traveling all at once to towns with overbooked Motel 6s and thousands of empty homes? Who ran the inn, if the workers were born somewhere else? Who fed them, for the same reason? Yes, there were a lot less people then, but the fastest form of travel was a damn chariot. It would've taken months to get home, then months to go back. Did they disband the army so that all the individual legionnaires could go home?
      I (no longer) believe in the bible, but if you do, fine by me. Just don't claim that it's the literal truth. If it was, it wouldn't give 2 contradictory versions of the creation story in 2 consecutive paragraphs. How can both versions be true when they're completely different? Are they both right and both wrong at the same time? Is this Schroedinger's Catechism?
      Thing that hit me around the 28th time I heard "The Little Drummer Boy" this week: What's the deal with the Magi? They're following yonder star, star of wonder star of night (because if they followed the star of day, it'd be the sun, and they'd have a looong westward trip ahead of them), and it takes them to this exact manger. It's the Messiah, the King of Kings! Even random underage percussionists understand that he is the Chosen One! So, here ya go, some gold and some stinky stuff, and--well, g'bye, Little Messiah. We may be three men wise enough to know this, but, whatever. We're not going to do anything about it. We'll just disappear from the story now. It's rather like Ma and Pa Kent finding a crashed alien rocket, and saying "Wow, that baby can lift cars! Well, I'm sure he'll be fine. Let's leave him here."
      Why does the origin story of Son-Man have such detail on his birth, then has nothing for the next 30 years? He was recognized as GOD ON EARTH REBORN, and then nobody cared? Superman got a show called "Smallville," and Jeez doesn't even get "Bethlehem," starring Messiahboy with Lana Magdelene and Lex Herod?


      My nomination for the Worst Music Video Ever, Doctor in Distress, shot in Down-the-Loo Vision, with every cheap video effect 1985 could muster.


      Scientific illiteracy all the rage among the glitterati. Highlight: Demi Moore's "highly trained medical leeches." Wow, they send them to med school for that?!



      Killsy and Byron had one of their usual play-fights, which always end with the older and thumbless cat kicking the other one's heinie. He ran away even before the inevitable ass-kicking, and I guess that she had some excess energy. As she crazily chased her own tail. HE does that, being a rescue kitten who never was around other cats until her. And she's never done that, in the 9.5 years she's lived here. And obviously, she learned it from watching him.

      Note to Nigerian spammers: It's basically 2009. People have figured it out. Maybe you'd have better luck if you didn't make your subject line "DESPERATE PLEA FROM NIGERIAN BANK."


      I read the freebie sites every day, although there's only about a 50% return rate on the ones I ask for. But I recently got 5 days worth of shampoo and conditioner and some Reddenbacher popcorn, so who's to complain? It only cost me a few seconds of form-filling-outing.
      Today I got something I'd forgotten I'd even asked for, but when half your orders get ignored, and they all take 6-12 weeks to arrive...why wouldn't have I forgotten? Fortunately, it was INTELECTOL. Not a badly-named computer from a 1950s movie, but a badly-named supplement to fortify my memory! Its claims:      Hey, notice anything? Well, if you'd been taking INTELECTOL, you would've! ASTERISKS!* Yes, they all go to a footnote saying that the FDA says that its claims are "unproven." Wait, I caught that before I took INTELECTOL. What's in this, anyway?
      "Vinpocetine, 10mg, from Periwinkle seed extract." WOW! Periwinkle seed extract?! I'd surely be skeptical if it came from any other member of the winkle family! Like...Funky Winkerbeanwinkle! That'd kill you from the cancer! And Bullwinkle, woo, he was rather dense.
      No, this can only make my memory better, what with all its asterisks! And they sent me a whopping 25 doses, to be taken twice a day, two at a time, and you guys DID remember that 25 doesn't divide evenly into 4, right? That's 6 doses, and one quarter-dose...You didn't remember that, did you?
      Did you remember that, after sending me 25 doses, you actually sent me...TWENTY THREE? I mean, you don't even remember that 23 is not the same number as 25?
      I've taken the half-dose, 2 pills. Unless they forgot that the correct dose is a number between "none" and "infinity." So far, all I remember is how dumb these guys are. But if I start misremembering the way that they do, don't be surprised if I start forgettng my own n
      Shit. What was I going to say? And...who am I again? Good thing I tattooed all this important information on my body, as a Memento...


      Our store's sales were down over Xmas season from last year, but not that far down. And that's with a shitty economy (than you, George, for all your deregulation!), a week less of post-Thanksgiving shopping, and 2 major snowstorms, one on the Friday before Xmas and another today, New Year's Eve. But most retail is doing far worse, so I remain cautiously optimistic over still having a job. Cautiously.
      Today's snow wasn't that bad. The light stuff that gives you quarter-mile visibility, but doesn't stick very much. It doubled my commute, but, eh, at no point was it life-threatening. Well, that idiot in the Sears van who ended up driving on the sidewalk, between trees and lampposts, maybe it threatened his. And on the way home, that maniac in a van marked EMERGENCY who came within an inch of sideswiping me, him too. Does it say "EMERGENCY" on your van because you cause them? Bad day to drive a van, I guess.

      I've said before here that I do believe that alien life exists (there's too many stars out there for it to not exist), but that flying saucers are a load of shit (is it really an "advanced" civilization if it flies trillions of miles over hundreds of years just to diddle the asses of weirdos, or appear to people too stupid to properly operate a camera? For at least the last sixty years?)
      Science fan that I am, I also shake my head at SETI. Like UFOs, it assumes that there aren't any aliens, just people on other worlds that think and act exactly like us. We have more in common with a mosquito or the most primitive virus than we would with aliens--we evolved together. Seriously, SETI just assumes that aliens have radios and listen to them. Do they do it in their Barcaloungers while drinking Bud?
      And how would we talk to them? One of the reasons I believe that there is intelligent alien life out there is because there's intelligent alien life right here: the Cetaceans. Whales and dolphins. They're from our planet, they're mammals, they live in a totally different environment than ours. If we can't talk to them, why do we think we can talk to Epsilon Eridani? If we could learn to talk to the Cetaceans, maybe I'll give a grudging thumbs-up to SETI.
      Holy shit! Maybe we can! "I have long held the belief that the dolphin brain, comparable in size with our own, has specialized in processing auditory data in much the same way that the human brain has specialized in processing visual data. Nature tends not to evolve brain mass without a need, so we must ask ourselves what dolphins do with all that brain capacity. The answer appears to lie in the development of brain systems that require huge auditory processing power. There is growing evidence that dolphins can take a sonic 'snap shot' of an object and send it to other dolphins, using sound as the transmission medium. We an therefore hypothesize that the dolphin's primary method of communication is picture based."
      I wonder if the dolphin hieroglyph for "human" is a picture of a giant asshole.


      Time to ring in the new and wring out the old fart like a dirty dishtowel! UPCHUCK '09!


      Huh, wow, oh boy, I sure have me some trouble caring about greedy rich idiot millionaires losing some money, really I do. I have the same amount of pity that I have for anybody who falls for the Nigerian scam. Which would be very little. If you lost money to that and you aren't rich, you at least get some sympathy. But rich people? Fuck them. Hey, you know what ignored warning I do care about?
      "We all know about the August 5, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that was titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S." However there were 40 warnings about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda from January, 2001, when Bush became the President, to the 9/11 attacks seven months later, according the new book "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation". President Bush and National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice chose to ignore them all! They didn't hold one high-level meeting about this overwhelming threat!" Funny how Chuckles has never complained about that.


      Of course, in the Manichean worldview of the right wing, you're a terrorist if you fire rockets that kill a dozen Israelis, but fully justified if you fire rockets that kill hundreds of not-Israelis. I understand this. If they're on "our side" they're freedom fighters, and if not, then they're terrrorists. Like how we had to invade Iraq because Saddam "gassed his own people" and had torture chambers, although when he was gassing his own people he was our ally against Iran so we didn't care, and now to win the war in Iraq we have to torture Iraqis. But where would Chuck's sympathies lie if a group of radical Jews were killing a few people in Iran, and Iran responded by killing humdreds of Israelis? Would he consider the Muslim government as blameless as he considers Israel? People like Chuck have no shades of grey in their tiny minds, and see everything as Good vs Evil, which is really defined as Us vs Them. Liberals think about things more, and see that evil is in what's done, not entirely in who does it. If Chuck was around 145 years ago, he'd be drawing cartoons about the Evil Lincoln and his brutalization of the Good slaveowners of the Confederacy, and not see anything ironic about it.
      Well, for Chuck, neither of those toons is that frothingly insane. I wonder what he thinks of Obama's plans to restart the economy? Something really rational, I betcha!


      Chuck's way to rebuld the economy? BUILD MORE NUKLAR WEAPONS!! IT'S THAT SIMPLE BECUZ OTHERWIZE...umm...WE ALL DIE! GOD TOLD ME SOOOO!!!!!! IZN'T THAT RITE, GOD?! (Chuck continues to talk to the neighbor's dog, Sam).


      I really shouldn't be giving tips to spammers, but here's one anyway: If you're going to send a spam titled Bonuses With JackRabbit: Pocket Rocket And "40 Mistakes Men Make In Bed" you'd probably get more suckers to read it if the first words in your subject line weren't [?? Probable Spam].

      Pretty funny and smart webcomic, Subnormality. Even if Nazis turn up a lot. And the Sphinx and Unpopular Halloween Costumes and also Unpopular Halloween Costumes. Or is that a plus? (The archive isn't so huge that you couldn't get through it relatively quickly)



      Looney Tunes New Years' Day Marathon: A Review and Some Stuff You Missed. The "Stuff You Missed" is the interesting part. They're still editing the hell out of old cartoons? I remember when that abruptly began happening. The classic Hillbilly Hare had a scene cut out when Bugs tied a double-barrelled shotgun into a bow, and it exploded into a hillbilly's face. Were they that seriously worried that children were going to tie double-barrelled shotguns into bows?
      I remember when the anti-"violence" in cartoons thing began around 1970, when I was still a kid. I read a criticism of the movement that correctly pointed out "Show a child a cartoon of Bugs Bunny being thrown off a roof, and they'll laugh. Show them a live-action film of a real rabbit being thrown off a roof, and they'll cry. They know there's a difference between real life and cartoons."
      Seriously, in 2009, they cut out the last shot of "Show Biz Bugs"? You remember: BUGS: "GREAT TRICK, Daffy!" DAFFY: "I know, I know, but I can only do it once!" Daffy ingests all manner of explosives chased with a gallon of gasoline, then swallows a match and explodes--AND DIES. Has any child ever become a suicide bomber because of this cartoon, and not from the lunatic, right-wing parts of his religion?
      I also remember when TNT's usual Xmas marathon of Looney Tunes seemed short--and I realized that they'd cut out any World War Two cartoon with Nazis. While there's always somebody who will be offended by something, how is showing Nazis getting their asses kicked going to offend anybody but, I dunno...NAZIS? Sure, tell children about Santy Claus, who rewards all good little conformists who act as society demands, but don't show them the downside of unquestioning obedience to societal norms. "Adolph, the dead-eyed fuhrer, had a very shiny gun; and if you ever saw it, you had better fucking run..."
      Well...this post's gone a bit astray. I actually only wanted to mention my favorite Looney Tune, Easter Yeggs. Yes, I know you don't remember it. Like my second favorite, Rebel Rabbit, it never got shown much on TV. Rebel Rabbit I can guess why, as it is about overthrowing the American government, even if for the least logical reason ever. But why doesn't anybody know about Easter Yeggs?
      I like it because Bugs is always at his best when fighting a superior foe with only his wits. Yeggs places him in such an implacably hostile universe that not only are little kids assholes (the 18-month-old thugling isn't sucking on a pacifier, it's a gun barrel), but even the Easter Bunny is a total bastard, conning Bugs into doing his yearly candy deliveries. And for once, Fudd isn't a wimp, but truly evil--"BANG! EASTER WABBIT STEW! BWA-HAHAHA!"
      Also--it's hilarious. Several lines of dialogue entered my regular vocabulary, such as "Viola! The trick, she is done!" and "It's the SUSPENSE that gets me!" and Elmer's truly non sequitur line about his hat. Back in my KB Toy days, I'd say "I WANNA EASTER EGG I WANNA EASTER EGG!" whenever there was a particularly huge screaming greedy brat tantrum in the store. There aren't too many things that actually alter the way I talk, but Easter Yeggs did it the most.


      A customer once walked up to the register and heard only the last sentence of a conversation I was having: "Move a chair, and they'll be upset about it for days!" She asked me, "You're talking about cats, right?"
      It makes sense. They're territorial predators, and they don't like any changes to their territory. (Unless it's an empty box!)
      Well, something had to change. The water dish was full every night when I went to bed, and bone-dry the next morning. Not because they drank that much, but because Byron, for reasons only he is in on, has to bitch-slap the bowl until water spills out before drinking. I have to keep the bowl in the bathtub for this reason. Then the next morning, when the fresh water goes in the empty bowl, they both want to drink, but if it's a work day, HELLO, I'm on a schedule here, get out of the shower, kids.
      So I decided to solve the problem by getting a bigger bowl. It holds twice as much water, and thus will empty out slower as it will be harder for Byron to smack it around. And it worked! This morning, it was still full of water!
      The exact same amount of water. Because they hadn't touched it.
      As soon as I went i nto the bathroom, they both jumped in the tub and glared at the bowl. Killsy began hissing and even growling at it, then taking her agression out on her befuddled brother. All because it was a different bowl, twice the size and clear plastic rather than brown plastic. Well, it seemed like a good idea. I put the old one back, and they both drank heartily. The territory was back to normal.
      Then I got my free-from-Homescan sleeping bag, and the giant territory-altering box it was shipped in has caused much delight.
      Cats. Go fig.

      "You know, it's easy to make fun of Bill O'Reilly. Incredibly, mind-bogglingly easy." (Warning: autoplaying video)


1/7      Researchers Create Car Parts From Coconuts.
      Wow. The Professor from Gilligan's Island was a GENIUS!


      Chuck luvs Bush, hates Paulsen. Chuck hated the $700B bank bailout, then ignored it, but always hated the auto bailout. W and Hank are apparently selling to the homeless, and I would assume that Chuck, as a conservative Christian, knows that Jesus said to "love the least of my brothers as you would me," so he hates the fucking homeless. Is he saying that the auto bailout means people left homeless by the Bush/Paulsen deregulation of the housing market will now buy cars? And Ford is jealous? Is this good? Is this bad? Is this WHAT THE FUCK?


      Well, some busy little bee did a lot of drawing for basically nothing. Depicting the Demon-rats as lazy fatasses probably would've worked better, Chuckles. Do they really need all that exercise to push pens? And isn't that what governement does, levy taxes and then spend the money? They can spend it wisely, on infrastructure, health care and defense. Or they can cut taxes to billionaires and waste the rest on bridges to nowhere, funding pointless wars, and cutting health care, from children to the troops they so claim to love.
      Which president cut the largest deficit in American history, created by Reagan and Bush I, and turned it into a surplus? And who was the one after that guy who, in ONE YEAR, turned it into a massive deficit? Who'll leave office with a deficit of 1.3 trillion dollars, THE WORST IN HISTORY? I remember that one of them was Republican, but I forget which!
      Whew! Imagine the amount of brush W musta cleared to get the exercise to do that!


      Wow, Chuck-for-brains, you said last week that this exact same plan was going to lead to GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR. Did you forget that? That's funny. I'd hope that I'd remember saying things like that. Now, you make it look pretty good. Expect unemployment to end when we hire all those right wing bloggers to scrutinize those Democrat scandals! All TWO!
      Wait, Blogo was immediately repudiated by Democrats, who demanded his resignation and refused to seat his choice, and Richardson immediately declined his post in the Obama administration. Much in the same way that Dick Cheney resigned, citing conflict of interest when it became obvious that he ordered the invasion of Iraq for the benefit of his stock in Halliburton, where he used to be CEO, and then Bush was impeached for lying to get us into that war. I had a wonderful dream, Auntie Em, and you were there, and you were--OHMIGAWD ITZ NOT A DREAM!!!
      Remember how Attorney General Ashcroft said "criticizing the President" was treason after 9/11? Which was followed by the outing a CIA agent, whose line of work was "preventing attacks on America by weapons of mass destruction," which somehow wasn't? It seems to me that there were more than two scandals over the Bush years, and they were more important than the Democrat's current two...
      Oh, yeah. A guy's been keeping track. I hope that you have a long time to read them, because the current Bush scandal list tally is at three hundred and fucking ninety-nine.
      Chuck has a very short, very selective, very fucking stupid memory of what's important. Bush may have destroyed America's military and economy, but at least he didn't get no blowjobby!


      What passes for humor in the right wing:


      HAW HAW HAW! Hey, why did the chicken cross the road in Ohio in 2004? So that Diebold could give Bush over 100% of the vote in multiple towns!
      What makes Chuck's joke funny is that Coleman--who was appointed to his term after Wellstone died, and thus got one vote--tried to keep the votes from being counted even ONCE! I can't say that I followed the recounts much, but I think that if there had be actual accusations of people voting twice, it would've made the news. But when Chuck doesn't have an argument, he just flat-out lies, like his hero, Karl Rove. I'm surprised he didn't make one last-ditch ACORN whine.
      And you'd think that a guy whose job is "cartoonist" would be able to tell an actual joke. Why does this need 4 panels, instead of one? Here's how Chuck would tell a joke:
      "I saw a psychiatrist. There are lots of psychiatrists in this state.
      "But seriously, ladies and germs, in this state, where we have lots of them, this psychiatrist says to me, 'You're crazy and also ugly!'
      "And this is because, in this state, the one with all the psychiatrists, including the one I went to, in this state--His office is in Saint Paul, near the, the--that building with the thing on the roof? Satellite dish, maybe? Anyway, seriously,folks,
      "I asked this psychiatrist for a second opnion, which you do when your don't like the first one, and his second opinion was that I was ALSO UGLY! You see, he counted my symptoms twice!!"
      And the elephant-headed man is angry. He's a SORE-LOSERMAN!

       Ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again through DNA research. They include Neanderthals, which seems a tad redundant while creatures like Chuck still knucklewalk the Earth.


      How to reduce Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Play Tetris.

      This is my second year with a Cat of the Day desk calendar. If you buy one, you get a free online one, which is from where those Stupidest Things Ever Said quotes come that have headed every post here for the the last few years. I wish I could post some of the Cat ones, as some are very cute and funny. Today's has a cat poking her head out of a box labeled "I've Been Adopted!" I'll bet it was her first look outside the box when getting home, given her expression, both startled and eager. Some of the pictures are so adorable, I keep them in hopes of sending them in the mail to people. Of course, the town water bill collector might wonder why he got it. Maybe I'll just look for excuses to mail people things!
      Anyway, I got mine for half off on eBay before the year even ended. They're already reasonably priced from Amazon Sellers, and probably even cheaper on eBay. And you get two calendars, the physical one, and one of any number of titles sent to your email.

      The Gaza blame game, a quick guide to what every side is doing wrong, and just keeps on doing, expecting a different result every time they do it.


      Much as I love the Page-A-Day calendars, from now on I'm striking out every time they say "actual." Are the ones where they don't say "actual" actually fake? It's like those people who say "literally" all the time.


      How the city hurts your brain. I hate, hate, hate cities and love greenery and the natural world. But most interesting to me is this idea: (emphasis added) "Natural settings, in contrast, don't require the same amount of cognitive effort. This idea is known as attention restoration theory, or ART, and it was first developed by Stephen Kaplan, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. While it's long been known that human attention is a scarce resource -- focusing in the morning makes it harder to focus in the afternoon -- Kaplan hypothesized that immersion in nature might have a restorative effect."
      It's a zero-sum game? You get 100 points of focus when you wake up, and if you spend 80 of them in the morning commute, you only have 20 points left to not crash into someone on the drive home? Interesting, but the main reason people believe bullshit is because it's interesting, not because it's actually true. The rest of the article makes sense. Although "City bad, country good!" may just appeal to me because it's bullshit that I'm predisposed to think is sensible.


      As I've done every for, what 5 years? Six? Here's the Buffalo Beast's Most Loathsome People. This year, apparently the entire country abruptly became aware of its existence, so don't be surprised if it doesn't load, or shuts down while you're going to another page.

      Recently watched: Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Much as I enjoyed the first, this was actually better. Lots of the visual imagination that director/writer del Toro showed in Pan's Labyrinth is on display, while still being both a fun comic book movie and fairy-tale nightmare, complete with tooth fairies (so-called because when they eat you alive, they start with your teeth).
      Two things surprised me: one was that del Toro came up with a creation even odder than the first movie's Kroenen, the century-old semi-dead Nazi martial artist with a clockwork heart and dust for blood. Krauss is, I guess, a really and most sincerely dead German, a ghostly ectoplasm in a containment suit, and also one of the good guys. The second was the visit to the troll city (located under a bridge, of course), which every review I read claimed was "clearly stolen from the Star Wars cantina scene." Ahh, NO, are you stupid? It's clearly stolen from the nightmarish hellscapes of medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch, as every character is drawn straight from his paintings, right down to the guy whose hat is a tiny city. How could they not get that? It's not like he's that obscure.
      I'll pay it my highest compliment tonight, and watch it a second time before sending it back. There are worse things you could do with 2 hours than rent it. Like eat other people's teeth.




      Recently not watched: Ratatouille for the third time. I was startled to see that it was available on Netflix's "Play It Now." But the sharpest CGI movie of last year was shown in their patented Blur-O-Vision, looking like a watercolor left out in the rain. Formless blobs of color moved vaguely over the screen; after 2 minutes I turned it off. Apparently it was only offered to make you rent the DVD.
      Aimlessly searching for something else on Play It Now, I settled on Surf's Up. This was a parody of documentaries about surfers. As a cartoon. With penguins. Penguins in California. And for kids.
      I guess it was a parody. Aren't parodies supposed to be funny? And about something most viewers are familiar with? I'll break the half-century mark in a few months, and I've never seen a surfing documentary. Have most modern 8-year-olds?
      The only reason that it starred penguins, I think, is because of its glacial pace. Again, this was for kids? Was it even a parody? It could've been a real human being surfer documentary with penguins CGI'd in. I gave up after 30 minutes.
      As I left for work this morning, I glanced down at a couple of DVD sets I bought months ago and could've watched. I think I'll pass on Play It Now for a while.



      I originally thought that the SHAWT should be the guy who whined for 5 minutes over the fact that the wine he was buying went up in price a whole dollar, then bought it anyway, and then dropped $20 on the fucking lottery. He would've got more value from that Jackson if he ate it. He would've saved on food.
      But instead I think it should be the (adult) son of a regular customer, who summoned Dad to his son's home to help with a crisis--his car doors wouldn't open! The high temp today was 17, and that had to mean something--maybe the electronic locks don't work when it gets that cold? Maybe the battery was dead, or the engine frozen?
      Dad eventually figured it out: Just maybe it was because...sonny boy went to the car wash today?

      Meant as a preelection song, but I just heard it today on the drive home, so here's Takin' it Back with Barack, Jack! 17% of Americans will hate it. HA HA HA! SEVENTEEN FUCKING PERCENT APPROVAL RATING!! As low as today's temperature! Is 17 also their IQ?

      Five Second Films. Some are hi-larious, some not...but each is only 5 seconds out of your day. Although they go by so fast, it's best to watch them twice to get the joke. Sometimes the joke you got the first time isn't the joke you didn't get until the second or third. Okay, so 10 seconds.


      "I'm not saying that I don't like the idea." said Rove. "In fact, I've frequently masturb--err, thought about it myself. But kill Obama at the inauguration? It'll be the most heavily guarded place on the planet!"
      "And thus the place they least suspect!" sneered Cheney. He clapped his hands, and a hidden bookcase revolved open. After a few corpses of Cheney's enemies tumbled out, a man stepped into the room, clad in the white lab coat and pointed white hood of Halliburton's R&D department, carrying something. "At your command, Imperious Leader." he said.
      "I have them say that because I like the original Cylons so much," said Cheney with a sneer. "What do you think that is, Karl?"
      "A bulletproof vest. Given the Presidential Seal and the added codpiece, quite obviously that of Dear Leader."
      "Correct!" said Cheney with an evil sneer. "Dear Useful Idiot will be wearing it at the coronation. Inauguration, sorry. After the last two, I can't get out of the habit of calling it that." He clapped his hands twice, and the Halliburton scientist threw a smoke bomb and disappeared.
      "Cough, cough!" coughed Rove in the smoke, coughing. "Just because they can do that, doesn't mean they have to. And what's so special about the vest? Besides the codpiece."
      "HA!" laughed Cheney with a gleeful sneer, which is impossible for any other human being to do. "The codpiece IS what's special! Notice its size!"
      "Well, Dubya's always been compensating for that."
      "Well, yes. That's the whole reason we could con him into invading Iraq. But it's actually made of a shaped-charge explosive! At the precise moment Obama lays his hand on the bible, it will explode, killing him, Biden, and of course, our beloved figurehead. Miraculously--and because it's a shaped charge--it will spare me any fate worse than getting Bush-bits all over my coat. I will then be whisked away in the Cheneycopter to an undisclosed location, from where I'll flood key government and military installations with my loyal legions of Blackwater mercenaries, declare martial law and appoint myself President for Life!"
      "My God!" gasped Rove. "Aren't you forgetting something?"
      "Hmm? Oh, yes--BWA-HAHAHAHAAA!"
      "Umm, no," whispered Karl, pointing over his shoulder, "him."
      "MISTER PRESIDENT!" Cheney angrily roared with a friendly grin, because his facial muscles work in a way different than a human's would. "I told you to always knock before entering my sulphurous domain!"
      "Mebbe you didn't hear me over your machination there," said Bush, jabbing a thumb at the screaming Afghani goatherd tied to the Auto-Waterboarder. "I want you to know that I've heard every word you said with your mouth and tongue."
      Cheney paled. Paled the Afghani by pouring bleach into the water. It was a nervous habit. "Well, George, why don't you tell us what you think about what you heard."
      "AWESOME! You said 'Go fuck yourself!' on the Senatorial floor! Heh heh heh! Imagine Dildo-illary Clesbian-ton saying that an' gettin' away with it! That's my new nickname for her. Made it up myselves!" His tiny eyes, shining like those of a ferret but with substantially less intelligence behind them, flitted about the room. "Still got them thumbscrews, eh, Dicky Dick? Hey, Turd Blossom! Didn't see you there, but then nothin' escapes mah steely-eyed seeing-balls. When's the baby due? Heh heh heh! Just kiddin', I say that cuz you're a fatso. Hey, Yank-My-Cheney, don't you should be gettin' you a new paperweight? Saddam's skull's gettin' a mite ripe there." After a few seconds spent distracted by a shiny button on his own jacket, Bush yelped "WOWSERS! Is that for me?! With an EXTRY-LARGE codpiece?!"
      "Yes," Cheney beamed/sneered--beered? Sneamed? These Earth languages, he thought, so woefully imprecise on sneers!--"Why don't you go in BARACK and CHANGE and HOPE that it fits? BWA-HAHAHA!"
      "I don't need to go in back! I'll do it right here! Just lemme lean over and take my pants off and rest my hand on yer bible here--"
      "DON'T PUT YOUR HAND ON THE BIBLE!" screamed Cheney, "Or take your pants o
      click whirrr went a pod in an undisclosed location. A door hissed open, and a Bechtel reanimator rushed to the hulking form within. Dripping with pseudo-amiotic fluids, Clone 187 stumbled into the light and opened his eyes for the first time. "Aww," said the reanimator with parental pride, "he has his father's sneer."


      Not bought at Dollar Tree today: an Easter candy that was a chocolate cross. Tasty, and yet so tasteful! It really needed a crunchy candy Christ imapled to its cocoalicious crossbeams.

      I buy Yogi Tea when I can find it cheap. It is good. Lately they've been adding dorky New Agey slogans to the tea bag's paper tag. I had two cups yesterday, one of green tea and the other of Earl Grey. The first tag nodded its sage head and intoned "Recognize that you are the truth."
      Really. So everyone else is a lie? If I decide that the neighbor's dog is the voice of god so I must do his bidding and become a serial killer, then I should, as I am the Truth? If my heart of hearts says that if I kill John Lennon, I'll become John Lennon, then I should? Since the next bag told me "Your head must bow to your heart," i.e., act without thinking, I guess so! Thanks, Yogi Tea! Be stalking you soon!

      As one makes history, the other enters its dustbin:




      Traffic going into work today was very light. A lot of people apparently took today off from work. Customers were much louder than usual, because they were happier than usual. Happier than they've seemed in...hmm, exactly 8 years.

      America throws Bush/Cheney the first Outnauguration Party.

      "Bad form, bad form here--that is not what I expected." Really? You didn't expect this, after our endless national nightmare, and his 17% approval rating? Did you expect him to be showered with "flowers and sweets," like you expected your imaginary Iraqis would when he destroyed their country?


       Oh, that's right, you couldn't pay attention to how he was destroying the USA, as you were too busy sucking his cock.


      Recently seen: Doctor Who, Tenth Season, Disc One. My last regular Who-watching ended in the 80s, when the local PBS station cancelled it during Doctor No-Not-Him-The-Other-Baker's run. This series picked up after 15 years of cancellation, and it was not what I expected.
      By which, of course, I mean it was AWESOME. I do expect likable actors and enjoyable scripts from the show. I also expect laughable special effects (the reason I first watched Who back in 1978 was coming across a random episode with the Loch Ness Monster attacking London, and laughing at the obvious hand puppet), long and rambling "oh, just get on with it!" multi-episode storylines, and screaming female companions who stood there and screamed (Peri was perilously HOT, but, shit, if I ran into Cybermen on a regular basis, I'd be more of a Leela, passing on the shrieking and just grabbing a knife and taking matters into my own stabby hands).
      The 3 episodes I saw were self-contained hours, with rather good CGI effects, exciting action, just enough humor. And ya gotta love you a Doctor whose very first line of dialogue is "RUN!" That's very good advice, in the Whoniverse.
      If you ever had a passing fancy for Dr Who, or even if you thought it was just a goofy show for Brit kids or Yankee stoners, check it out on Netflix.




      I haven't said much the last few days, because I don't have much to say. If you knew me IRL, you'd know me as a guy who talks only when he has something to say (as opposed to most people, who only talk when they have nothing to say).
      And today, I still have nothing to say. But here is a Ferd'nand comic that I can't figure out the joke to. Fuck, I can't figure out what's even supposed to be happening.

      Umm, what? Has the plane landed? Is he on the wrong one? In either case, then how did he get ON? Don't you have to have a ticket? Why'd they serve Ferd--and only Ferd--a meal? What's the bald guy pointing at with such glee? Why does Ferd get to keep the tray and cup? What Why ANYTHING?
      It does get points for being the only "joke" in history ever written about how delicious airline food is.



      Recent research has said that the greatest cause of aging is its greatest stress, which is oxidizing food, i.e., digesting it, due to the harmful effects of free radicals in the bloodstream. Studies showed that mice that were fed nutritious but low-calorie diets (meaning that they were always hungry) lived 25% longer than mice fed equally nutritious but filling meals.
      I read in a health magazine (hence no link) recently that maybe the negative effects of free radicals have been overrated, and today I read Eating Less May Not Extend Human Life: Caloric Restriction May Benefit Only Obese Mice.
      Huh. I thought that the "eat less, live longer" thing explained my family's metabolism: we've never eaten a lot, and we all look 10 years younger than we really are. But Science overrules anecdotal evidence. Maybe I really am just some kind of genetic freak.

      A vendor at work left some freebies last week, tshirts and bottle kozies branded with the Heineken Light label. The tshirts were long-sleeved, and I only have one that I wear to work all winter, so I could use another. Sadly, they were sized "Gigantism," so I had to pass (I said "Although I am looking for some clothes for my pet orangutang..."). I almost grabbed 2 of the bottle kozies (you slip the bottles into them to keep them cool), but I thought, One's enough; who else at home would use one, the cats?
      I placed it on the counter when I got home, and eventually Byron began sniffing the air. When one of your senses doesn't work, your brain fills the parts responsible for it with cells dedicated to your other, working ones. He's almost deaf, so his sense of smell is enhanced. He knew something was up there, smelling odd and foreign, but it clearly wasn't edible. So he eventually decided it wasn't worth the meager effort to jump up and see what it was.
      Later I put it on the floor. He gave it a few curious sniffs. Then Kill Kill came in, and immediately tackled it, hugged it, rolled in it, rubbed it across her face, and wrestled it for 10 minutes. Ah, yes. That weird obsession of hers for the smell of new vinyl, the one that manifests itself whenever I bring home new sneakers. So I did need one for the cats!
      I brought home a second one the next day. She sniffed, then ignored it. It briefly spent some time in a bag with part of my lunch, a couple of clementines, so maybe the citrus smell turned her off.
      I only pay cash for the laundry machines and my booze. I get my booze at cost, and it costs the store 35 cents simply to swipe a credit card, so they'd lose money every time we bought something. If I can use any coins I have, I do. I always have a pretty good idea of how much change is in the glass on the desk in the bedroom. I got home Saturday and saw a Byronic path of destruction on the desk (and on the floor). I dropped the change from my purchase that day into the glass, and noticed that it was missing coins. Not all the coins, as you would expect when a crazy bigfoot boy crashes into a glass, just some. 15 cents, to be exact. And the glass was upright, seemingly undisturbed. I found a nickel right outside it, but had to crawl around to find the dime under the desk .
      Umm, how? How did he selectively remove a dime and a nickel and leave the rest? Maybe he knocked the glass over just enough to spill 2 coins out, but not enough that the glass couldn't right itself afterwards? Jeez, but that seems rather a precise maneuver. I can see the 2 quarters staying in, as they're heavier and bigger, but why did the other nickel stay in?
      Remember, this is the boy who has been known to empty out the cutlery drawer by picking up metal spoons and forks with his thumbs, and throwing them on the floor just for fun. Are his mutant cat-thumbs dextrous enough that he can now pick up and throw dimes?
      Cat thumbs, vinyl obsessions, weird metabolisms. Is everyone in my household a genetic freak?


      Popularity is genetic.






      Whoa...for dinner tonight I had turkey burgers topped with hot curry AND fresh jalapeno slices, and I think my entire body is about to teleport to Dimension X.

      There's a movie theater across the parking lot from the store. It has 2 marquees, and neither of them list what's playing. Instead, it's what movies are coming up. It's like a restaurant putting up a Special of the Day sign for a Friday 3 months from now.
       They listed as an upcoming film Media Goes to Jail. Unless it's the story of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at Bush, I think there's a typo in there (otherwise, that title would've included ...And Was Tortured Until He Apologized). It is a typo--I haven't seen any of the movies, but I'm pretty sure it's the third film in a successful franchise. So it's a bit like a marquee announcing movies like Stare Trek: The Search for Spork, or Jews 3D or Lard on the Rungs: The Return of the Konk (you see, Aragorn fell off the slippery ladder and hit his head! I'm talking boffo box office returns here!)
      It took 3 weeks, but they fixed it. The corrected version was Medea Goes to Jail. So, the AGPD (Ancient Greece Police Dept) finally connected her with that perp Jason's Golden Fleece heist!
      It only took a whole month, but today they fixed it: Madea Goes to Jail. And they added a new title: Watchman. Thrill at the adventures of Rory Schack, retired senior working as a third-shift security guard at the scrapyard!



      Due to my endless plugging of my fave blog, The Way of Cats, I'm sure that everyone who had the tiniest shred of interest in it has long since bookmarked it. But I'll link again, not just because it's a well-written and thoughtful post (as they all are), but just to identify myself as the "valued commenter" who inspired it. I'm a bit needy that way.

      I'm also a bit needin' my tax refund. It should be over a grand. But I do my taxes online, and the printer cartridges I need to get hard copies are all worn out, so I ordered some refurbished ones from an Amazon seller. I opened one, and it gushed ink all over my hands. Fucking annoying! I then found out that while they claim to be compatible with my cartridges, they don't fit my printer. FUCKING annoying! The seller has a high rating, so we'll see what they can do for me.
      (This is why if you order something online with a credit card, it's best to do it at the start of a new billing cycle. If the seller wants to fuck with you, it gives you a month or more to dispute the charge on your card. And I've never had a credit card company side with the seller)

      I rush out the door on workdays, but linger forever in the house on my weekends. Weekends are for that perfect beverage of languid enjoyment, the cup of tea. I let my tea bags steep for 15 or 20 minutes for maximum taste, then heat the cup for 45 seconds. My first cup (of Red Rose) was perfectly heated. My second (green tea) was tepid. Huh. I put it in again, and it was perfect. My third (Earl Grey) was tepid. I put it in again, and it was cooler. I put it in again, and used a different setting, and it was cooler still. So I gulped my cold tea, and stuck a plastic container of water in and let it cook for half an hour.
      It was half an hour cooler. Viola! The microwave, she is done.
      I was pretty sanguine about the situation. The microwave was free, a housewarming gift from the 'rents. And it's 22 years old. And of course I can get another for free, using my Homescan points. I saw one in their gift catalog like a month ago.
      They update their catalog every 2 years. Guess when they last updated? A month ago today.
      Crap! I have to PAY for a new microwave?! Fucking ANNOYING!


      I had a reversal of the misfortunes of yesterday. I found that if I unplug the microwave, then plug it back in, it works. Not very well, and it's clearly just a delay of its inevitable death. But now I can wait for one to go on sale.
      I sent a polite email to the Amazon sellers that sent me the unworking printer cartridges, saying I'd mail them back if they could send me the correct ones. Surprisingly, as it was late Sunday night, they responded. There's a black plastic clip on them that looks like it's part of the cartridge, they said, but it's meant to be removed. That never occurred to me, despite the fact it's marked "Remove Before Use." Duh. I'm sure glad my email was polite, or I would've felt even stupider. I removed the clips (while wearing rubber gloves so as not get all inky again), and they fit. One didn't work, because of the leak, so they're sending me a replacement and not even requiring me to return the defective one. I'll put that up to superior customer service, although it may indicate the markup of refurbished cartridges as well. Oh, they also instantly refunded the $6 S&H charge for my trouble. Sophia Global is the name of the seller, and believe me, I'll certainly buy from them again.

      No, I haven't done UpChuck in a month. I was really hoping for some frothing insanity from him once Obama became prez, but he just hasn't been interesting. And I want to be funny, not just say "Um, no, that's a total lie!" for everything he says. For instance, he's blamed Obama for the falling stock market, as if it didn't start falling until Obama became president. This is a typical cartoon:


      But...401Ks went down because the stock market fell. The stock market fell because of the housing crisis. The housing crisis was created because of deregulation. How would putting back the safeguards that would've prevented the housing crisis make 401Ks worse? Um, no, that's a total lie!
      We do have some old-fashioned HypocrAsay:


      Oh no, don't help the cities and states or useless crap like Edumacation! Just like Republicans holding up the stimulus bill, Chuck's suddenly against deficit spending. After Bush took the biggest budget surplus in American history and turned it into the biggest deficit in American history in less than a year, and then kept topping THAT record 7 more years in a row, NOW they're worried about red ink. See any Republicans in that picture? They invented earmarks. They're holding up the stimulus bill to add even more, specifically corporate tax cuts, because they claim that tax cuts are the only thing that will fix the economy. If that were true, the economy would be IN THE BEST SHAPE IT'S EVER BEEN IN, given 2 Bush terms of rewarding the rich at the expense of everyone else. Republicans just don't seem to care about anything but looting the country and destroying it in the process.
      And Asay did a cartoon on the all-powerful Liberal Watchdog Media, which you may remember as the ones who backed the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, covered up 2 stolen presidential elections, applauded the gutting of the Constitution, defended torture and secret prisons, and...Christ, why go on? It's just the same lying shit he always spouts.
      He did have a couple of crazy ones.


      The horrifying danger caused by trees! Which must be surgically removed by fucking bulldozers but the Democrats so love the trees that they...hate the trees? They want to protect them so that they'll die anyway? I'm willing to bet that Chuckles lives on some huge Colorado ranch, paid for by his insane rantings on behalf of the corporations. Do you think it has trees? Did he clear-cut them? Or would he freak his shit out if the local government decided his PRIVATE PROPATEEZ had too much beetle kill, or rolling stone kill, and decided to bulldoze it for the safety of the neighborhood? Either scenario is equally likely. Because he's a hypocrite.
      This is the other crazy one:


      Umm...shit, where to begin? I guess with the fact that Chuck-for-Brains was one of the clowns who thought the best thing to do with Social Security was put it all in the stock market, which of course never goes down. (c.f. above: 401K) But...he thinks that people should have more babies just to shore up Social Security?! Note that he's against "Condoms, Abortion, Etc." I know he's a crazy fundamentalist (as if there's another kind of fundamentalist), but no one should have sex except to get preggers and FUND SOCIAL SECURITY?! Won't those children get old and onto SS too? Won't that overburden his mythical "National (Rationed) Health Care"? It's the ultimate pyramd scheme! And he's the one AGAINST "Social Engineering"?
      This Godwinizes the argument, but there were special medals the Nazis gave to women who had crazy amounts of children, because Hitler wanted cannon fodder for the army. If there's a way Chuck's insane argument is any different from that, I sure don't see it.
      That woman who last week gave birth to octuplets, bringing her personal Crazy-Cat-Lady-Except-They're-Human-Babies brood count to 14, she's Chuck's dream girl. A foetus factory.


      Okay, that last picture was funny. But I didn't make it. The rest of this post? NOT FUNNY. Bill tires of UpChuck!








      Wow, I haven't updated in a week. Of course, the most exciting thing to happen to me came today, when I tried to put some fuel line cleaner in my gas tank because I can't think of any other reason why my mileage keeps going down. "Squeeze Sides and Turn" were the instructions on the cap. Since this proved impossible, it should've added "While We Laugh at You." I ended up going home and opening it--with difficulty--with a pair of freakin' pliers. What requires this level of security? Is this really polonium-10? I knew that the final joke would be that the bottle would have a security seal under the unopenable bottle. And there was! It said "Easy-Open Seal."
      Yep, that was pretty much the week's highlight.



      Ooh, that monster Obama! Not letting the military torture innocent people in secret prisons any more! He's gone insane I tell you, INSANE!
      And his appointees, all of whom have immediately resigned when their inability to get a good CPA was discovered! I'll bet his choice to head FEMA isn't a former president of the Arabian Horse Breeders Society at all! His EPA chief probably actually likes the environment, and his FDA boss probably has some bizarre obsession with stopping Americans from eating poisonous food! Look at Clinton--in charge of foreign policy, and yet she has foreign ploicy experience! His corrupt vice president probably won't start a single war that will increase his stock dividends! The world's gone mad I tell you, MAD!


      MAD, I tell you! CHUCK wants newspapers to attack the gummint, which he declared to be treason from 9/11/01 right up till 1/20/09. And bailouts--BAH! They're all bad! Except the trillion dollar bank bailout, which no right wing cartoonist or Republican has even acknowledged the existence of. That was necessary, as it was about rich people becoming slightly less rich! Save jobs for people who--ugh!--work? WHO CARES? CUT TAXES and support corporate welfare! Jobs aren't important!
      I wonder when it'll hit Chuck that if the newspapers all close, he'll be unemployed.

      Last time I updated I said "This Godwinizes the argument, but there were special medals the Nazis gave to women who had crazy amounts of children, because Hitler wanted cannon fodder for the army. If there's a way Chuck's insane argument is any different from that, I sure don't see it."


      Woo-hoo! That's some prime asshattery! The Nazis were well known for their pro-choice policies! Just as well-known as Pelosi's public demands for involuntary abortions, forced sterilizations and even murdering women who have too many babies! FINALLY a voice of sanity in this crazy world!
      Congratulations, Chuckles, for inventing the Godwin Straw Man Argument! Remember: he said that every woman should be required to bring to term all babies so that Social Security remains solvent, and so that BIG GOV'T doesn't waste tax money on stupid crap like "Education"! Why do those kids need to know how to read and write? There won't be any newspapers, and those fast food cash registers where they'll be working all have pictures on the keypads anyway!


      The best ten-second read of the day, Your Next Internet Meme.


      Monday I got together with Kev and Meg. They now have a second dog! I forget the breed; I think Penny was a toy spaniel of some kind, looking like a mini version of a cocker spaniel. She had great big googly eyes of the "That's the money you could be saving with Geico" type. Sweet and friendly little puppy, if a little bit too into face-lickery for a cat person. They adopted her when some crazy rich lady gave her up. She buys expensive breeds--Penny cost $2,800!!--then tires of them, gives them away, and a month or two later buys another. In two years she's gone through $25,000 worth of pedigreed pooches. Jesus Christ, start buying expensive clothes or handbags instead--those aren't living, feeling beings, and I'm sure the Salvation Army would appreciate the donation.
      We went to the Wood'n Tap, a local almost-chain (3 stores) of pubs. The main parking lot was full, the back parking lot was full, the side street was full...We finally found a space, then left it, then came back again to it. I was going to request that we get a pizza if the wait was too long. There had to be a hundred cars there, so I was expecting a wait of 45 minutes. And they seated us right away, in a restaurant that looked like it'd hold 40 people. Perhaps they're building pubs using TARDIS specs now.
      I eated me some cow! I had a burger, and I almost never eat red meat. I would've chosen the turkey burger,except that its toppings included gravy and cranberries. Yeah, turkey, I get it. Why don't you also top it with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie while you're at it? And I was glad that I didn't, as Meg got it and it was super sloppy to eat.
      Then we retired to Dogville (as they've come to call their townhouse) and watched Slumdog Millionaire. Wow, that was great! Not a happy movie by any means, as it details about 12 years of a pair of brothers trying to survive poverty in India by any means they can. It's told as flashbacks while the main character plays "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Mumbai edition, and I'm surprised that they were allowed to use the name, as "WWtbaM?" comes off pretty badly. It's riveting, well-acted, well-written and well-shot. Even the few subtitles (most of the dialog is in English) are done in a clever way I haven't seen before. Kev downloaded an Oscar screener, but the DVD comes out next month.


      I had to read that one 3 times before I got it. That's always a good trait in a cartoonist! Academia awaits my 900-page treatise on Ferd'nand!
      There were 3 Republicans who voted for the stimulus package, so I guess these are them. And they're helping people commit SUICIDE! That's all the stimulus is! Well, I guess that's an improvement over the last time Chucklehead talked about it, when he claimed it would start a thermonuclear war!
      How the stimulus is worse than the equally large Bush bank bailout that went right into the CEOs' pockets is, as always, neither adressed nor acknowledged.



      Your Cell Phone Does Not Have a Cone of Silence:
      OUR STORE MANAGER: When did you go back to work there?...Oh, that was right after you got out of REHAB!...What?! No, don't worry! No one can hear me!
      Besides the 3 customers and 4 employees within a 10 foot radius, that was true.

      I knew I wasn't going to repeat the viewing experience of Slumdog Millionaire, but I decided to rent the movie that got me started on a longtime love: Doctor Who and the Daleks. I saw this as a kid on a Saturday TV matinee, and we ran around all weekend screaming "EX-TERM-IN-ATE!" while holding our arms out weird.
      I knew it was non-canon; he's not an alien called the Doctor, but a human surnamed Who. I decided to watch the trailer before I watched the movie, and groaned: oh, right, there were 2 movies. I saw the second one first, Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 (apparently not Netflixable). It should give you an idea of the popularity of everyone's favorite shrieking mutant psychopaths that they got billing over the Doctor. "Oh, wait," I said as the trailer ran, "this is that one where they defeat the Daleks by pushing them into walls." All we kids hated this movie. The Daleks are wusses! They kill exactly one good guy, and they don't even have disintegrators, they just blow smoke (literally) that usually makes you kind of woozy for a minute. Ooh, scary. And even the suits aren't that great--the trailer enthuses "SEE the Daleks in COLOUR!" but they don't even bother having the Dalek operators hold the damn eyestalks up. They droop, making it seem like half the Daleks are staring at the other's crotches. While the idea of Dalek sex is scary, it's the wrong kind of scary.
      It even dispensed with the classic BBC Radiophonic Workshop's Who theme, and instead had one that sounded like 1966 stripper music. Part of the Daleks' incredible technology were 3 lava lamps, which I thought was funny, imagining them screaming "YOU WILL NOT BOGART THAT JOINT! OBEY!! OBEY!!"
      Dr Who was played by Peter Cushing, an actor I've always liked, but with 2 exceptions. I still don't get why he played the Grand Moff Tarkin so bloodlessly. The other would be this role. The part is written so that Who is an "absent-minded professor," but so much so that he comes across as brain damaged. His companions are Susan, now a little girl (the Daleks' clever plan involves trapping their enemies by having her write them a note, which makes no sense at all), and some woman with a hairstyle that looks like a tumbleweed (she defeats a Dalek by smearing its eystalk with what looks like poop), and some second male lead who's an utter and complete dork. And this is the movie's real failing. It's played as a comedy! He pratfalls, walks into doors, sits on soft-centered candy, and it's about as funny as a screen door on a Cyberman. That's why this movie sat so poorly with us little kids. It was a 1960s sitcom!
      They should've just gone ahead and titled it "Petticoat Dalek," or "My Mother, The Kaled," or "I Dream of Genetically Engineered Freaks" or "Gilligan's Skaros." On that last one, Mary Ann would've defeated the invading Daleks with a coconut cream pie to the eyestalk.

      Via Lily in the Comments, the cat who loves showers. And a Persian, not a Bengal!


      Netflix finally decided to send me WALL-E. I checked to see how long it was, and Netflix told me "Why is This Recommended" with this list of kid films:

      I'm sure that some retarded parents took their toddlers to Dark Knight expecting to see the same thing that they saw on "Superfriends." And I know that the list is based on my ratings. I just think it's funny that some couple somewhere might have got a similar list, and rented There Will Be Blood and Children of Men and left them on loop in the DVD player in the back of their SUV while on a cross-country trip, kids staring at the two least PG-13 non-childhood-traumatizing movies I can imagine.


      For my fellow foot fetishists, here's Byron's back toes.


      Look at how far he can spread those toes! He's almost like a chimp with those near-prehensile digits. I can pick up a dropped sock with my feet, but it looks like he could pick up a pencil and sign a contract.

      The microwave died for good. On Thursday night, when I'd been in the KMart plaza after work to save me a drive to the grocery store on my day off, of course. It's funny how spoiled even a lower middle class working stiff like me is the developed world, that I couldn't imagine how people reheated food without it drying out before the microwave. But it lasted long enough for a sale to start.
      KMart had 2 types on sale for $89.99, one marked down from $150 and the other from $110. Research discovered that the cheaper one was, well, cheaper, and prone to early breakage and loose-fitting doors, while the more expensive one was more reliable. It was also bigger than I needed, more than twice the cubic footage. I don't know how the wattage compared, as the manual for the old one was so old they didn't specify (word also not used in that manual that turned up in the new one: microcomputer). It was from a time when microwaves weren't exotic tehnology, but they were very expensive. Expensive enough that the manual recommended writing the serial number down in case a burglur stole it. Expensive enough that they lasted 22 years; I doubt I'll get 5 out of the new one.
      I bought some 50% off Valentine's candy--why not?--and a bag of 9 Lives cat food because I had a free-or-$4-off coupon. The coupon took $5.19 off, and apparently this was a crisis that added 5 minutes to my stay in line. Last week, a bag of cat treats at Stop & Shop didn't ring up on sale, and the cashier just gave it to me free, to save herself the bother of walking 30 feet to look at the sign. KMart wanted that $1.20.
      The microwave was so big it had to sit on top of the cart rather than in it. What a nice day, I thought as I crossed the parking lot. Kinda cold, but with all this sun chunk! I hit a pothole with the front wheels of the cart and the microwave flipped out, hit its side and rolled onto its top. Great. I had the feeling I'd be back again the next day.
      It wouldn't fit in my trunk, but I squeezed it into the back seat. My next car will be a Honda Fit. You can fold the rear seats flat and get enough room to sleep there. Then for the first time I stopped at Aldi, the super-discount food store, as I needed sugar. And that's about all I'd buy there. Staples like that are so regulated that the cheapest one is legally no different than the name brands. I parked next to a smart car, the first I'd seen close up, and yes, they are tiny. Half the length of my compact sedan. And with a BIGGER TRUNK. I could've plopped the microwave in easily.
      Aldi has some closeouts, a la Big!Lots (click that link), but most of their stuff I wouldn't touch. Something as simple as stew had an ingredients list twice as long as you'd normally find on a can, with the back half all chemicals with names that use every letter of the alphabet at least twice, and a nutrition facts list that pretty much said "Won't kill you today." Yeah, I'm gettin' me some "Fine Feline" brand cat food. (I believe their slogan is "NOW! with extra melamine!")
      The place is popular because everything's so cheap, and they cut corners everywhere, not even taking credit cards. The woman behind must've been new to the place, too.
      WOMAN, astonished: What, don't you have bags?
      CASHIER: Yes, we have ones you can buy.
      WOMAN, her flabber totally gasted: BUY?!
      Lady, here they make you rent the shopping carts for a quarter. Be happy that they don't charge you extra for the paper the receipt's on.
      I opened the microwave slowly, because I had an assistant stomping over the box with his ginormous footies. On top was the glass cooking plate in perfect condition, despite the microwave's tumble to the asphalt. I basically no longer have a kitchen counter due to its size. The keypad had a ridiculous amount of buttons, and the rulebook--wait, "manual," I typed that mistaking its length for a D&D book--was 28 pages. Buttons had menus that opened into submenus and sub-submenus. To make sure it worked, I made a cup of Earl Grey tea. To heat it, I pressed AUTOCOOK then START, BEVERAGE then START, ONE CUP then START, and 75 seconds later had a steaming cup of molten lava. It sat for over 5 minutes before it was drinkable. The old microwave? I'd hit 44 seconds then START. Sextupling the amount of commands--with the rulebook in my hands all the time, and reading instructions scrolling along the display--NOT FASTER. There's even an extra step at the end to close your session and bring the clock back. And all the menus are like that. If I want to melt some margarine, I'll put it in a cup and hit 20 seconds. I don't need to go into MELT and choose BUTTER and then punch in my blood type and astrological sign.

      To end on a happy note, She Left Me For Jesus. To end on a depressing note, Climate Change Likely To Be More Devastating Than Experts Predicted. We'll meet Jesus all that much faster.


      I stuck Dr Who Season One Disc 5 into the DVD player and discovered that it really was Dr Who Season One Bonus Features. I rarely watch those, so I wasn't going to sit through 3 damn hours of them. I grabbed a DVD from Dollar Tree, "The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo." I thought from the cover art that it was some forgotten Japanese dubbed cartoon from the 60s, and I love me the obscure cartoons. But it turned out to be from 1975. And the cover was drawn by someone who'd never seen Captain Nemo. Mark Nemo, to be precise, one of those stalwart action heroes who crews his technologically advanced submarine with 2 little kids. The titles showed attacking giant squids and erupting volcanoes and the 3 of them running across a dock in silhouette (which is very easy to not animate) as the Foley guy bangs one pair of shoes on his desk and Boy Kid getting bukkake'd by a clam with a dopey "BOING!" sound effect, followed by Girl Kid giggling and Mark Nemo giving them with a "So, would you kids mind if I squirted something of my own on your faces?" look. Something laughable was coming up, I just knew it!
      The first episode began with the news that a pod of killer whales was going crazy. Okay, here we go, cue the mad scientist and his orca mind-control ray. Instead we were given several Interesting Facts about killer whales, and the source of their agitation was that one of them was pinned under a cable and about to drown. Then it ended, after only 5 minutes.
      Oh, I get it now! It was meant to be shown on local kids cartoon shows so as to get that minimum amount of FCC educational content!
      The next 2 cartoons also involved whales, the last, "Poachers of the Deep," involving illegal whale hunters after humpback whales. It ended with the Nautilus using her underwater laser (how does THAT work?) to fuse the evil ship's rudder so that it was stuck making an endless series of left-hand turns until the Coast Guard could capture them. And with Mark solemnly intoning "After today some humpbacks while never sing or dance again," with his child crew crying and 2 harpooned whale corpses at the bottom of the sea.
      WHOA, I thought, that would've fucked my shit up if I'd seen this as a kid. Hell, it's fucking my shit up now! I had to hit pause and walk around the room for a while. I became an enviromentalist as I grew up, but this 5 minutes would've made me grow up a lot faster, even if I'd seen it when it came out when I was 16. To this day I refuse to eat Chicken of the Sea tuna, as they were the American company that refused to go dolphin-safe until the government forced them to.
      I kept waiting for some non-PC moment from this 35 year old cartoon, but it never happened. It was free of anthropomorphism--sea creatures weren't "good" or "evil," and if they attacked, it was because they were curious or frightened or were--well, animals doing things because they're animals and that's what they do. They didn't even pass judgement on moray eels, and fuck, those things aren't exactly lovable.
      The animation was largely terrible, but I quickly ignored that over the stories. And there was somebody on the staff who animated the fuck out of eels. A dozen eels, turning and twisting every which way every second. You wouldn't see that amount of loving detail in a Hanna-Barbarity. When it wanted to be exciting, it actually was.
      Don't rush out and ransack every Dollar Tree trying to find your own copy. It's not a masterpiece but an interesting curiousity, but I sure got my buck's worth of entertainment from it. I wish that it had been more widely seen back then. Where would the enviromental movement be today, with a big chunk of forty-somethings who had this as a formative memory?

      I bought a bunch of used books for a quarter or 2 each early last fall. Here's some brief reviews, in the order they were read.
      A Canticle for Liebowitz: Wow, it really was all it was cracked up to be! Fascinating all the way through, despite the fact that things didn't happen very quickly. I'll probably read it again someday.
      The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy: It was relatively mastodonish in size, and every story was worth the read except the first. You'd think an editor would've buried that one in the middle. They were more "light" than "comic," although there were some big laughs in a few stories. "The Unpleasantness at the Baloney Club" was the funniest, but then again I'm one of the few people alive who LOL at a War of Jenkins's Ear joke.
      (You see, this Englishman named Jenkins claimed that the Spanish stole his ship, and also his ear, so a 4-year war was fought. Since it was fought in both Europe and South and North America, it could be called a world war. Over some dude's EAR. And if you think that was the stupidest idea for a war ever, you haven't heard of the War of the Oaken Bucket. Some guys from one medieval Italian city-state stole a bucket from another. And killed a few hundred people in the process, which led to thousands dying over a 12-year war. But it was a super good bucket! Yes, it was the only war in history fought for a reason from I Can Haz Cheezburger)
      The Captain from Connecticut: Very good, by that Horatio Hornblower guy. Also about a dumb war, the one of 1812. The author's very good at naval battles, even if you have no idea what the terminology means. Oddly, it just kinda ends without the climactic battle between the Americans and the British. In fact, the rival commanders end up as in-laws! Since it was written by an Englishman, maybe he couldn't bring himself to take it to its Hollywood-logical explosion-filled ending. Also, it was wrtten in 1941, a time when Britain and America needed to team up against a far more evil enemy. I speak, of course, of the NAZI REANIMATED EAR OF JENKINS! Armed with a very large bucket INDEED!
      Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History: This was good, but the author could've written funnier or betterer. It was also 300 pages long, although with a more conventional font it would've been half that page length.
      The Pure Product: Science fiction short stories by one author. Read 3, which were well-written, but boring. Gave up.
      The Guns of August: It's about the first month of another very, very stupid war, World War One. It should've been very, very dull, but it was very, very good. The author has an astonishingly way of concisely describing the people involved. A few sentences, and you feel you know them. And the millions of men on the march, the grand strategies plotted out over decades, are all nearly meaningless compared to the personalities, quirks, and idiotic decisons of the commanders.
      WWI might as well have been fought over an ear or a bucket. An assassination was the spark, but the real cause was that everybody wanted a war, a grand and glorious war that would last 6 weeks. And, except for the "grand and glorious" part, it might have. But every side did everything wrong. The French believed in cran, "guts," that they could win by being braver, which worked exactly as well as one might expect bayonette charges against heavy machine guns would. The Germans believed that they could surround Paris with a strong left wing, except they kept pulling troops away from it. They also believed that terror would win by making the world fear them, so they massacred civilians, burned cities to the ground, and then bragged to the world press about it (which, as it always has, just made the civilians fight them more and turn the whole world against Germany, a lesson they didn't learn when the next war they started came). The outnumbered Germans defeated the Russians in one battle largely due to one general who consistently disobeyed orders, and their bigger armies were defeated by the French largely due to one general who consistently disobeyed orders.
      The most interesting chapter involved 2 German warships trapped in the Mediterranean at the war's start. Vastly outnumbered by the British and French fleets, the Germans did what their enemies were sure that they'd do, then raced towards Turkey. Turkey hadn't sided with the Allies or the Central Powers, and the Allies didn't care. Britain built two battlecruisers for Turkey before the war, all paid for and with Turkish sailors ready to man them, but as soon as war broke out, England commandeered them, not even giving the Turks their money back. England deemed two battlecruisers more worth than they did a Turkish alliance. And how did the German ships get into neutral Turkey? They gave them their two ships. The flag of Turkey was raised over the ships, and each German sailor doffed his cap and replaced it with a fez. This didn't bring Turkey into the war, so after a few months, the German commander sailed out of port and shelled some Russian cities, forcing Turkey into the war. And set the course of the Middle East down the path it's still on today, 95 years later.
      Kenmore Model 63252 Microwave Oven Use and Care Guide: Overly long and confusing, too complicated. Wait for the movie instead.

      The world's biggest auction of Inexplicable Objects will soon begin.



      Cat nips owner's lung cancer.


      This guy's elaborate plan to defraud his own relatives by posing as a federal agent might've worked, if it hadn't been for that detail in the article's penultimate sentence. That would be a believable representative of the American government 6 weeks ago, but Bush isn't president anymore.

      Tonight, on a very special episode of UpChuck:


      Umm...RVs? While that may seem a bit of an odd choice even for a Chucklehead rant, Obama gave a speech about the stimulus plan at an RV plant. That makes it EEEVIIILLL! because Elkhart now has the dreaded TAINT OF OBAMA! Destroy the TAINT and all it touches! Expect a Chuck cartoon soon about we must stop breathing oxygen because B. HUSSEIN Obama breathes it, and True American Patriots should switch to breathing carbon monoxide.
      But my good friend Kevin works at an RV dealership! There's the teeniest, tiniest shred of a chance he knows more about it than Chuck does. Wondering what his opinion was, I gave mine:

      And Kev responded:      (looks through binoculars at Boulder, CO; sees the flare from Chuckie's tiny brain incendiarily detonating) Yes, I believe I find that I do!
      WAIT WAIT WAIT!!! Chuck followed this with a cartoon that was ACTUALLY ABOUT THE BUSH BANK BAILOUT! Yes, he actually ADMITS THAT IT HAPPENED! Since he hates hates HATES any Government Bailouts, it must be about how the banking bastards pocketed billions of the bailout in self-awarded bonuses, and have refused to do what the bailout was for--to give loans to people who will pay them off!


      ...Or not.
      Pity the poor, poor billionaire CEOs who wrecked the world economy through their greed and stupidity! Remember $4.25 a gallon gas only 6 months ago, when Chuck drew multiple cartoons about how the real victims were the oil company CEOs? Are they the readers he makes these things for? Does the Colorado Springs Gazette have a circulation of 500, printed on gold leaf with platinum ink and cost a thousand dollars an issue?

      And via Kev, Joe Rogan on Kelloggs and Michael Phelps.


      Continuing the trend of Kevin's guest post yesterday ("guest post" is Blogese for "Thanks for doing my work for me!"), I will continue to be shamefully lazy, and link to YouTube videos and even just link the posts they were ganked from! THAT, my friends, is laziness!

      "What," you cry, "you link to a post from Cute Overload, which every right-thinking person reads everyday? And it's AN AD?!" Yes! Obviously! Just did it! Are you not paying attention?
      It's an ad for...umm, a cell phone, or something. Why anyone would want to buy it except for their "Evil Hamster World Headquarters" is beyond me, unless you only buy things that make you laugh. You know what made me laugh a lot? "The Young Ones." Do you think I want to buy me a Vyvyan?

      Continuing to live without shame, here is another video, Carmina Burana, Alternate Lyrics, and to show my originality, I stole it from a completely different blog than the last one! Classical music fans will recognize the music quicker, but if you watched any faux-medieval-themed movies of the 80s (Conan the Barbarian, Excalibur), you've heard it many times before.




      8 Forgotten Kids Shows Sure to Give You Nightmares. Watch the Claymation Mark Twain, if nothing else.


      Yes, I know I haven't been the most gracious of hosts lately, leaving you barely more than the stale appetizers of Stupidest Things Ever Said quotes. So now--I'll give you some of my email!
      (No one makes you come here, you know)

      Somebody named "Boots Chris"--ha ha! Why doesn't he have a normal name, like one that ends in "Splut!"--started this so I blame him:

      ...And I ran out of pickle juice right about there, so I guess Boots Chris wins. (shakes fist against lightning-crashing night sky on mountain top) CURSE YOU, Boots Chris! You have won this round--but one day, your boots SHALL BE MINE!
      OW! FUCK! Hit by lightning! I really have to stop shaking my fist on this mountain top!

      That was yesterday. Today I got another email, from Shehtaaz:

      Hmm, 2 stumble-upons to a page 8 years dead in less than 2 days...What are the odds? Here's the picture:



      Sita Sings The Blues to air on PBS Saturday March 7th. Guess I'll have to figure out how to record from my DTV converter to my VCR with only an "out" connection before then.


      I work from noon to either 8 or 9PM. I'm absolutely nonfunctional before 930AM, so that's okay. One thing that sucks is that except for about a month in early summer, it's always dark when I leave. A year ago I was able to get my schedule changed so that I could leave one day a week at 6, so it's still light out during Daylight Savings Time.
      Not any more. They cut payroll due to the economy. I still work 40 hours a week--for now--but Wednesday was my last early night. I fully expected something to happen to screw it up, like someone calling out sick and forcing me to stay, or a huge late rush hour traffic jam, or a long line at the supermarket that I was hoping to run in and out of. But I got out 5 minutes earlier, saw the least amount of traffic I've ever seen on the drive home, and there was only 1 person ahead of me in line at Stop & Shop. When I got home, there was just enough twilight left that Byron started the excited meowing he only does when I get home before pitch darkness. The last time I'll hear that sound until June.
      I petted and fed the cats, opened a bottle of LongTrail Belgian White ale, and sat down to
      a dead internet connection. Yes, something happened to screw up the last early day I'll ever have.
      Turned the ADSL modem and computer on and off 3 times. I gave up and called AT&T support. The guy said that there was an outage, and it should be back up in 2 to 3 hours, that is, 9 or 10PM. I rewatched WALL-E while I waited (it's better the second time, actually).
      It wasn't back on at 9, it wasn't on at 10. I tried using dialup, connnecting at a blazing (for 1997) of 28.8kps, or over 300 times slower than DSL. You know what? That doesn't work anymore. All but the simplest of pages stopped loading. I eventually gave up and went to bed.
      And the 2 hour outage was still out at 11AM. And when I got home at 830PM.
      After a lovely 75 minutes on the phone with "John" (odd name for someone with that thick an Indian accent), who tried every damn thing he and his supervisor could think of, he spoke the worst words in the tech support language: "I'm issuing you a trouble ticket. Someone will be out to check your home phone line. There may be a charge." Oh, and make no outgoing calls for an hour, so I couldn't even check my damn mail.
      It's been an hour, and nobody has called. On the other hand, the internet light on the modem and the hard drive light on the computer have been flashing without me doing anything for about 45 minutes, and that internet light hasn't been on in 2 days. Since they don't want to send anybody out anymore than I want them to, maybe they're working on it remotely. But if they don't call real soon, fuck it, I'm dialing up and doing the bare minimum I can do online, like check my mail and upload this.


      The DSL guy never called, but there was a message on my answering machine when I got home from work. Was it the guy, giving me a number to call to set up an appointment? No, it was a recording telling me that "We ran a test, and everything is F-I-I-I-NE!" Fuck you, no, I still have no DSL and am still paying for a service I'm not getting. I keep calling trying to tell them this, but I get put on hold for insane amounts of time, and then I hang up. And go back to dialup.
      I don't get it. Yesterday I could have 2 windows open and have pages slowly load. Tonight, it's either one window or nothing. And after about 20 minutes of connnection, it slows to a--what's slower than a crawl? A corpse? And I have to reconnect. I seem to remember from my dialup days that weekends made all pages load slow. Umm, so, there are people using dialup because they choose to? Given that it costs me $45 a month for DSL...well, yeah, why wouldn't they? To save money in the W Recession.
      Now, if Al Gore had been selected President by the Supreme Court, not only would we be stopping global warming with our booming economy, we'd have wireless internet in our spleens.


      Interesting search query that found this page: "dislocation strategy in subtitling cartoon movie".

      Yesterday it hit me that when my old DSL modem died and I got a new one, I just plugged the old cables into it. Maybe one of those had failed? I swapped out what I could, and nothing happened. Hey, that phone line splitter, that's at least a dozen years old and cost $2, and wouldn't it be annoying if I called out the tech and that was the whole problem? So I switched every combination of wires around, but the internet light never came on. I put everything back the way it was, and now the DSL light was blinking red. I picked up the phone, and it worked. Maybe I'd unplugged the modem from the wall too many times, and it was trying to reconnect. Well, as long as I have the phone in my hand...
      I called AT&T again, and didn't get a long wait time. The call center woman knew already what my problem was, and said "Let me just run a quick check on your line." And then she gasped, and immediately made me the earliest possible appointment. This is because the DSL is red, I thought, and maybe I should tell her that it's because...Nah.
      I asked about a credit on my bill, as I'm paying for something I'm not using. And she said that I would get one, just call this number, say these magic words ("Billing" then "Agent" if you're wondering), which is good, but it would've been better if she'd volunteered the information, but I'm sure they're told not to by their corporate overlords.
      The earliest appointment was Monday, my only weekday off, so that was fine by me. It means I have to suffer through dialup for another day (I've been connected for over an hour, and have seen about as many pages as I normally would in 10 minutes), and I can't even do that on Monday, as I have to leave the phone line open for the guy to call. And there's a potential major snowstorm--sure, it's only fucking March--which hopefully won't cause him to cancel on me. But I have a strong feeling that if he shows up, nothing's going to be fixed. I think the time may have come to switch to a cable modem.
      Oh, that red DSL light--it was still red when I got off the phone, thought "It shouldn't take this long to connect," and found that I'd plugged the DSL into the phone socket. I wonder how much later my appointment would've been if I'd plugged it correctly.

      Sita Sings the Blues is available online. I guess. It's not like I can click on that link and find out, so don't tell me how it ends.


      It all comes back to me now, after over 6 years on broadband. Dialup is some weird zero-sum game; even if your connection speed never drops below 28.8kps, the speed that pages load can drop or rise. If there's a million points and a million people are playing, you each get one point. If half the players drop out, you get 2. Everyone plays on Friday and Saturday nights, so the connection speed crawls. Until about 11 to 1130PM, when people go to bed, and then it speeds up. For some reason, Sunday afternoon-on is always the best weekend day to connect. I couldn't connect to my charity donation sites to save my life this morning, but now, at 830PM, it's almost like I'm on DSL.
      Hopefully I won't get the chance to make any more observations on dialup after tomorrow. But the snowstorm now looks worse, so they may cancel and leave me to wait another week before they can come out and tell me that they can't figure out what's wrong.


      In the 12 years I've had a webpage, there's a chance I've told this story before, and if so, here it is again.
      Willimantic CT, 1979, college:
      ME: Hey, let's get the cats stoned! (exhales smoke in their direction)
      JOHN the LIZARD (so called because he was surnamed "Lizardo," just like the character in Buckaroo Banzaii would be): I don't think that's a good idea, man! We tried that in high school with a friend's pet mouse, and it was fucked up for life!
      ME: What? What did you do?
      J: We filled a glass with pot smoke, turned it upside down and put him in there for 5 minutes. He never even walked right again!
      ME (with jaw dropped): What?! When you want to get stoned, do you fill a room with pot smoke and breathe nothing but it for 5 minutes?!
      J: Umm...No.
      ME: Do you know what smoke inhalation is? You didn't get the mouse stoned, you gave it brain damage!
      J: Ohh...Well, let's get the cats stoned then! (we blew the smoke in front of them, they sniffed out of curiousity, they blinked in the slow "happy cat" manner, then went berserk. The little one ran up the wall and did backflips. Then they went to sleep for the rest of the day)
      Kind of a long leadup to this news story, about the way you should NOT get your cat high:
      "Schomaker told deputies 6-month-old Shadow was hyper and he was trying to calm her down. The contraption she had been stuffed inside was 12 inches by 6 inches."
      Ever try to get a cat in the carrier to take her to the vet? Imagine trying to SHOVE HER INTO A TINY SEALED STINKY HIPPIE BOX. Hint: WILL NOT CALM CAT DOWN.
      Fuck. How stoned was this guy?

      There are 2 types of people in this world ("People who say there are 2 types of people in the world, and people who don't," haha) when they enter my condo Splutopia: The ones who say "Wow, that's a lot of records! Wow, that's a lot of fridge magnets! Hey, look at that cat's big feet!" and the ones who think "My Gourd, this is a den of MADNESS! Don't look at anything--eye contact with the refrigerator will STEAL MY SOUL! And turn me into a MAGNET! Get out ASAP!"
      The AT&T tech was of the second category. This was probably not helped by the fact he came 2 hours earlier than I was told he would, so he woke me up. And was greeted at the door by a shambling zombie in a sweatshirt and dorm pants, unshaven and with Albert Einstein hair. He didn't look at anything except the computer screen and the modem light. When Byron cautiously sniffed his tool bag, he darted the mutant feline a glance not of amusement or annoyance but of "He's going to unleash his freakishly footed hellbeast on me! DON'T LOOK!"
      And guess what's kept me from having DSL for almost a week. "Wrong password." The hell?! I don't put in a password, the computer remembers it and connects me as soon as I turn it on! And when I told the Mumbai guy I spent 75 minutes with "I'm not sure this password is right, and I have 2 more I can try" he said "No, your password is perfect, it's taken it!" INEXPLICABLE.
      I then called to get a credit to my account, which took an exorbitant amount of time, but fuck I didn't care, I could be on the phone AND browse!
      When the tech arrived, Killsy ran and hid, of course. Even Byron was extremely cautious, spending almost all his time next to me. When the plumber was here a few years ago, Byron brazenly poked his grey nose into everything he did. Of course, as the plumber worked, he said "I wish I hadn't thrown all my LPs away! There was stuff I'll never find on CD!" and laughed when Byron poked into his tool kit "Just like one of my cats!" and said, "You said I wouldn't see your other cat, so who's that?" when she peeped into the bathroom. Maybe cats can also pick up the difference between people who think "Whoa, cool place!" and the "Dear Gourd, NO!!" types.


      Another Way of Cats post I sorta inspired (also Ernst from the Comments!): Is there a cat formula for multiple cats?
      Unfortunately, the Cats in Space spreadsheet doesn't seem to work right now, and you may have to highlight part of the text to read the post, if you're using Firefox and not hateful, memory-leaking Explorer.


      Seriously, WTF. The fourth coworker in 5 years at my job has been fired for stealing. And like all the others, he thought he'd discovered the perfect crime, and just kept doing it until he was caught. They ALWAYS get caught.
      His bit of criminal masterminding was to create fake keg and tap deposit returns, to the tune of $105 each. We give a copy of the receipt out when they're bought, telling college drunks to bring it back with the keg. They almost never do, but that's why we keep a receipt in the store. HMM, why was every return this guy did missing either copy? And, gee whiz, where's the actual fucking keg and tap? It's hard to miss a keg, especially on the security cameras all over the store. It's pretty easy to see someone open the cash drawer and take money out and stick it in his pocket, so he was "smart" enough to only do it the days when he did our banking, and he'd be taking money out anyway.
      "Smart"...man, what a dumbass. He stole this time on the day before his vacation. He stole last time after he was "sick" all weekend (not so sick that his car was gone from his house across the street from the store on Friday, and he turned up at the donut shop Saturday where one of his coworkers has a job. Blatantly lie much?). He owned up to stealing immediately, unlike all our other thieves whose first instinct was to blame someone else. And his reason for stealing?
      They were going to take his cable TV away.
      Dude, hint: GIVE UP CABLE THEN. You can't afford LOTS of things when you're FIRED. Saying "I need to steal before they take my TV away!" is like saying "I guess I'll have to resort to cannibalism, as Mommy isn't here to cut the crust off of my peanut butter and jelly sammich."
      And not just fired, fired in the Second Bush Recession. He'll be lucky to make $9 an hour flipping burgers. Enjoy your extended vacation, Dr Super Genius Brain.

      Recently watched:

       Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder: The last of the new DTV movies, and a C+. Not bad, not great, just like the first one. Of the 4, only Bender's Game is really worth seeing, and only Beast with a Billion Backs worth avoiding. Kinda sad, coming from one of my favorite series of all time.

      Religulious: I was a bit leery of renting this, even as a recovered Catholic and atheist for decades. It got some really bad reviews, although most of them were pretty obviously just of the "How dare he challenge the love my Giant Invisible Man in the Sky has for me!!!" variety. A lot complained about him making fun of religious people who had no idea what his movie was about. That's one of the reaons I stopped watching Penn & Teller's "Bullshit!" They'd interview the lamest spokespeople they could find on any subject they already decided that they hated, never telling them what show it was being done for, then edit the interviews down and sneeringly mock them in voiceover. If they were so convinced that they were right, why wouldn't they debate people to their faces? Too afraid that they'd say something they couldn't refute?
      Well, guess what. Religion is about lying to people, and that's what the reviewers did in this case. If you were going to interviewed by Bill Maher, wouldn't you try to find out something about his views? Like, he's the most vocal American atheist? Twice early in the movie, interviewees ask "What's this movie about again?" To Maher, standing right in front of them, and not Penn Jillette sneering on some studio mic months later. Maybe they didn't know what they were in for, but they sure as non-existant-Hell figured it out immediately. And he won most of his points face-to-face. His opponents had no real arguments to back up their views, so used were they to blind acceptance of their goofy ancient dogma.
      And if you find Maher funny, you'll find this very funny. Ignore the lying reviews, but if you believe in a literal, physical God, be prepared to be offended. Don't worry; some day I'll burn in Imaginary Hell while your Unprovable Invisible Friend saves you a seat in Flying Candyland.

      And instead of that, you could always watch this nonthreatening but funny video about the wonderfulness of religion.


      Dr Who Dalek found in pond. Searchers found it from the pond's constant sounds of "EXbloopINgurgleNATE! pop pop pop"

      CUSTOMER, getting lottery numbers: 926 backup.
      ME, dealing with a noisy store and a mumbling lottery customer: I'm sorry...?
      CUST: 996, 296.
      CUST, after getting his tickets: NO, 996!
      ME: Huh? Oh, you meant "2 nines and a six"! I thought you were giving me a different number. (refunds $1 ticket with the number 296)
      Winning Play Three number: 926. Since he had 296 backup, it would've been worth $83.
      The moral of the story is not to buy every number that somebody punches in wrong. The moral is "Don't waste your money on lottery tickets." And I'll bet that from now on, that guy buys 296 every day for years, chasing that $83 prize that will never come up again.

      Origins of the Watchmen, a local freepaper article about Connecticut's connection to the (hopefully not horrible) movie, via a very bad comics company. "There's so much about Watchmen that is smart, original and well-constructed that it's difficult to mention it with Charlton, a Derby-based publisher whose comics were dumb, derivative and made quickly and cheaply throughout its 50 awkward years of existence."


      Well, this is good to know:
      What are your chances of getting a tapeworm?

      We have a new beer manager at work! Kind of an oddball, with his ponytail and Converse hightops with cat hair on them, but I think it can be said with confidence that he is neither a drug addict nor drunk whose addiction will cause him to steal, like the last two. He doesn't even want cable TV! After two disastrous choices in a row, apparently "hard-working, reliable and honest" seemed like better reasons to hire him rather than only "willing to go to work at 8AM."

      I shoulda also linked to this other, shorter, funnier Watchman article from that same local paper yesterday, Plastic and Rubbers, about the merchandising. Yes, rubbers.



      Continue to Save Yourself, Billions of Souls and Entire Nations

      I haven't done UpChuck for a while. Yes, I know that doesn't bother you. Here's his latest, which is on the same theme as every other one he's done recently. I post this one as it's the most...Chuckable.


      Not even 6 weeks in power, and the DEMON-RATS are already in control of everything! This is why Hitlery Clinton killed Vince Foster!!
      All of his recent comics have been about the theme "Obama is going to destroy the economy by TAXING RICH PEOPLE!" by taxing them at the same level that Clinton did. Did you know that until Dumbya was selected president, taxes on the rich under Clinton were the lowest ever? Back in the Eisenhower (R) years, there was a 90% tax bracket, and the American economy grew like it never had before or has since. But Chuckles did a comic on how raising taxes on the rich returning the tax rate on the rich to where it was the last time the economy was good is actually bad. Because all the rich people used their Bush tax cuts to fund soup kitchens. But under Obama, the billionaires will be too poor to do that. Apparently, my theory that everyone in Boulder Colorado Springs, CO is rich beyond human imagining is true, because Chuckles is scribbling one "Then let then eat cake!" comic after another. Even their convenience store clerks must make $250K per annum, because otherwise they'd pelt Asswipe to death with their stale slices of cake.
      Chuck's going (more) insane, but he's becoming the unfunny, one-note kind of insane, like some guy who blames "JEW BANKERS!!!!!" for everything, including why he got that flat tire after crashing it into the nail department of Home Depot.

      Recently viewed:
      Went over to Kev and Meg's Sunday. I ordered the C-5 from the Chinese restaraunt, when I meant to order the C-3. Meg walked the dogs, then put on rubber gloves to catch some nightcrawlers to feed to their fish. She announced that she won't be doing that again, as they tried to retreat to their holes and it was gross. After I left, Kev cut some up--still alive!--which he found even grosser, so it looks like any local nightcrawlers are safe from being fed to their fish for as long as they live there.
      Then we watched Timecrimes, a low-budget Spanish movie about a guy who goes back in time one whole hour, and fucks everything up, then goes back again to fix it, and makes it more fucked up...
      Near the end, you kinda knew where it was going, but it was a fun ride. And it must've been good, as we had a half-hour discussion about it afterwards. Meg wanted to know "when it began," which was a good question that makes little sense if you haven't seen the movie. We eventually agreed it started when that guy turned on the machine, which is no spoiler. Worth the rental, if you can find it and like intelligent time travel movies.

      "If My requests are not granted...various nations will be annihilated"

      Today I used a free admission coupon at Showcase Cinemas to see Watchmen. I guess I haven't been to the movies in awhile, as they stopped showing ads during the trailers. The 2 comedies shown both felt the need to assure me that, yes, there will be puke jokes! OH BOY ME WANT SEE! I yelled, pumping my fist into the air and also someone's esophagus. Actually, I just went "Hurm. Start movie now."
      I really avoided the reviews, and even rereading the comic (which I read once years ago on a CD-R Kev gave me, when it was out of print). Apparently they changed the ending, but they had to change something to make the thing come in under the five-hour minimum length that Terry Gilliam projected when he turned the directing job down.
      I actually wish that I knew nothing about the comic, because it was as faithful as it could be. Many scenes are panels from the comic. It's a beautiful-looking movie that's ugly in its heart, as dark as the series that inspired it. The casting was flawless. I wondered about Billy Crudup voicing Dr. Manhattan. I pictured the good doctor as having a deep, resonant voice, but Crudup's vocal work made Manhattan seem both that much more unworldly and yet still human. I didn't recognize any other names (except for Max Headroom). But they were uniformly great, especially rorsach, portrayed as an Anger-Filled Short Guy and also insane person. Rorshack is the linchpin that the movie turns on, but I'm glad they didn't clean him up and make him the hero.
      So maybe you should go see it.

      50 Reasons I Reject Evolution

      Oh, those bolded quotes? No, they weren't from some supervillain in Watchmen. They were from the latest/this week's demand for money sent by the kooks at Our Lady of Fatima. Yes, that's the Virgin Mary Herself threatening world destruction if I don't bow to her demands of earthly extortion. To which I say, Hurm.

      Ebert on Watchmen.


      One thing I didn't like about Watchmen: If you fell the main bad guy with a single bullet, don't slowly walk up to "the corpse" to "make sure he's dead." EMPTY THE REST OF THE MAGAZINE INTO HIS FUCKING FACE. Seriously, if I got attacked by, I dunno, a fucking raccoon that's what I'd do.



      How your mind works in dreams has always fascinated me. Last night in my dream I was being evicted from my free apartment, which was a bedroom shared by 2 other people and in a barn. In real life, I'd pay to not live like that. But my brain began trying to budget how I'd pay for an apartment, and accurately created the exact amount of money I could save to afford one. And it wasn't enough! A $600 a month apartment in Connecticut? It'd be a rat-trap! So I started thinking about other ways to save money, so that I could afford a decent roof over my head and
      the alarm went off. And I immediately realized that my brain wasn't taking into account that I've lived in this condo for 22 years, and I've been locked into $400 a month payments ever since. And $400 in 1987 is $800 today.
      Like everybody, I spend a lot of time thinking about the economy. That's where the dream came from, that's where the precise monetary figures came from. That's why I was being evicted by the owner of the last store I worked at. From a barn.
      I just got a promotion at work. You wouldn't think that my brain would be running sims of such nightmare scenarios as homelessness.

      For an article with such an awfully clunky name, 12 Bad Effects of Prohibition You Should Know, has some interesting points to make about the last time the government tried banning something.



--from The Joplin (Missouri) Globe.


      Too all-around feel-good to not link to, Kitty in the Couch.

      Good news for everybody who reads this page: High IQ Linked To Reduced Risk Of Death.



      Uncleverest spam subject line of the day" "Bomb Blast Kills Many in Your Town." Really. In Vernon? Hadn't noticed. I would've thought that incident would be a topic today I got together with the family for my mother's birthday. I won't say how old she is, although I will sing "76 trombones led the big parade!" And she looks 60. Well, when you're a family of mutants surnamed "Young," it happens.
      I met Maisie, sister Pat's new puppy. She's a "Golden Something," from a stray mother and probably that best of dog breeds, a mutt. Super friendly and belly-rub lovin' little pooch, with no apparent interest in table scraps. A good thing; she's the replacement for Shadow, a big guy who they had to put to sleep because he had some uncurable medical condition that caused him to eat. Eat things like broken glass, bits of the outside house, and the rip the door of off the refrigerator. It was put him down, or wait until he ate something that made them put him down while he was in agony. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was a necessary one.
      A decision I would've solved by getting a cat, but that's me.
      The food was delicious, especially the salmon cake appetizers. We can eat large amounts of food, and subsist on relatively little, and yet neither gain nor lose weight either way. We're mutants. Unfortunately, that's as close to a superpower as we get. The early-onset metabolic high blood pressure, I guess that's our kryptonite.
      Or maybe, for me, it's the fact that I got a terrible sore throat minutes after leaving, and at the 45 minute mark, really felt sick. 8 nieces and nephews will give you those things. Tomorrow I'll either wake up wonderfully refreshed and healthy, or be miserably sick. I have a doctor's appointment for a physical anyway, but if it's a cold, all he'll tell me is "Good luck with that."


      "Tomorrow I'll either wake up wonderfully refreshed and healthy, or be miserably sick." Too bad that I didn't get a choice.
      If there's ever a casting call for a piece of dogshit, I'll try out for it, as I know how it feels. I woke up in the middle of the night--7AM--with a wretched throat and utterly fatigued. I guess I fell asleep, as I dreamed, but all my dreams were about being sick. Yeah, that was one restfull night's slumber.
      My skin felt like lead and my bones like Jello. Sitting in a chair seemed like too much effort. I was going to go to work and then to my scheduled doctor's appointment. Just before I stepped into the shower I realized that that would be pretty stupid if I was contagious. So I told work I'd either be in or not be in, depending on what the doctor said.
      "Probably a virus," he said. "You shouldn't go to work today, but you can go tomorrow." I had him write me a note, which seems goofy at my age, but since I've had every Monday off for over a decade until this very week, I didn't want to seem like I was malingering.
      He gave me 2 scrips, but said that it might take me a week to shake this virus off. I went to CVS and waited FOR-EV-ARR (okay, 15 minutes which felt like 2 hours) for the scrips. One was for 600mg ibuprofen (and I still have a sore throat) and the other for a gargle (and I still have a sore throat). While waiting, I noticed the gift card display. They were still selling K-B Toys cards. Which is like selling Ottoman Empire cards, as they both ceased to exist a long time ago.
      The gargle said to gargle a teaspoon's worth, which seemed very small. It made me gag. I tried later, and I gagged again. Then I thought, umm, maybe I'm supposed to put a teaspoon of this into a glass of water first...And that stopped the gagging. And replaced it with dry heaving, the worst thing your body will do to you (LTR'sotD will remember my deep familiarity with vomiting from a few years back).
      And that's pretty much it. I told work I'd be in tomorrow, and said I'd work Wednesday to make up for today. I was supposed to meet Jessica that day for lunch, but I wouldn't want to infect her either. Sucks, really, getting sick.

      Via The Duck:


      Thanks for all the get-wells on the Comments page! I wasn't expecting that.
      This morning I felt better than yesterday, but anything short of rolling in broken glass and bleach would've felt better than yesterday. I was sent on a delivery almost as soon as I got in to work, to a retirement community that I go to dozens of times a year. I was so out of it that it took me a bit to realize, no, I'm driving in the opposite direction to the other retirement community we deliver to. I turned around and drove all around a sprawling apartment complex, then passed the strip mall and realized that I was driving in the right direction but on a road that wouldn't take me there. I ended up doing a circle around the store.
      I got to the community, overshot the parking lot, and then parked in the wrong spot, as the couple I was delivering to couldn't see me from their living room, and I need them to open the back door. So I went the wrong way 3 times.
      But I gradually got better over the day. I left an hour early in order to get to sleep an hour early, but this looks like a 48-hour bug, and I hope to wake up tomorrow feeling normal.
      Fortunately, it turned out that I wasn't contagious...at least not today. I'm glad the doctor recommended staying home yesterday, even if it screwed up my lunch with Jessica on what promises to be the best day of the year so far. We've rescheduled (April Fools day!), and I'm just glad that the virus seems that it's not going to last the week the doc said it could.


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