I Was a Hyperintelligent Ambulatory Fungus for the SSI

NEW 99

"I can't see the lines I used to think I could read between."
- -Brian Eno, Golden Hours


      A longish interview with the author of Fiasco. I was trying to find out if he had a blog that include the films released since the book's 2004 publication, but instead found that he's written over a hundred books, most apparently as exhaustively researched as Fiasco, so he doesn't have the time to write for free.
      Things I learned from Fiasco about how to make a bloated, overbudget box-office disaster:
      1) Hire a Big Name Star noted for what Hollywood calls "perfectionism" and reality calls "egomaniacal, procrastinating meddler in all the film's aspects." It helps if his name begins with "W" or "K" and ends with either "arren Beatty" or "evin Costner." Cast said star in a role they really weren't meant to play, like Beatty as an irresistable hunk who's in his 60s and showing it, or Liz Taylor as the freakin' Queen of Egypt.
      2) Make it a musical. Seriously, The Sound of Music was the biggest hit of 1965 and every other musical after it bombed, but that shouldn't stop you. Make them well into the 80s!
      3) Keep hiring those overpaid stars! Let their salary be half the budget! Madonna, she was in a movie in which she basically played Madonna, of course she can believably play a virginal 1930s missionary! She sang that song "Like a Virgin," and has had the missionary position with half of the entertainment world!
      4), and most importantly: Don't have an actual finished script before you start production. Hire a script doctor for a million bucks, then hire another one when your finicky star whines about the script, then goes and gets drunk or starts fistfights in public. Start building your sets without knowing if they'll be used in the unwritten movie for milliions, then tear them down and build them again!
      5) Use "Pay or Play" for your big stars, so that they get their ridiculous salaries whether or not a second of film is exposed. Conversely, pay everyone else only if and when the film is finished. This way the studio will refuse to end the production via the "Sunk Cost Fallacy" of paying stars not to act, and the rest of the crew will force the movie to its terrible end, just so that they can get their multimillion-dollar slice of the money pie.
      If you have tried all these proven methods, but are afraid that your movie won't bomb hard enough, try these last few hints: Involve the Mafia! Involve Scientologists! Involve a director who'll keep the film in postproduction for months, even though you know that she once edited a film of hers for 10 years! Involve a decison to shoot not in a studio, but somewhere where it rains all the time, or in an inaccessable part of the deep woods, or the burning desert, or smack dab in the middle of the ocean! And if all else seems doomed to succeed, involve Warren Beatty!


      "Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of a “special edition” New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from an official City report.
      "Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the paper has been created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as a wake-up call to action on climate change. It appears one day before a UN summit where Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will push 100 world leaders to make serious commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Ban has said that the world has “less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet,” adding that Copenhagen is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
      "Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts."
      The Paper, and its comics section. What, no Mallard Fillmore?

      The Science Knowledge Quiz: Are you more science-savvy than the average American? Since I received 100% on a test that's either multiple choice or T/F with really easy questions, and yet still scored higher than 90% of America, I think the question should be more properly framed as "Are You Less of a Drooling Lackapate than the Average American?" To the Americans who scored 50% or lower: you do know that when you put your shoes and socks on, they don't go on in that order, right?
      Note that there are no questions even remotely like "Is the Earth more than 6,000 years old?" or "Does the Sun revolve around the Earth?" as that would offend the GAWD lovers. And I suppose a similar test could be given based on an American's knowledge of reality TV, and I'd certainly fall into the "dumber than 10%" of Americans percentile.


      Those of you who remember my stint at the DumpStore recall that it was white trash heaven. Or hell.
      It's legal in CT for kids to drink, as long as the booze is bought by and consumed with their parents. Why? Got me. Maybe because of religious reasons, like sacrificial wine at Catholic mass. We had one regular customer, a mom who bought booze for her children all the time. I mean, vodka and beer, for kids to drink, and we couldn't do a damn thing about it. Well, I don't think it was for all the kids. The 10 year old girl seemed only allowed to swear and die her hair 5 different shades of crazy. But who am I to pass judgement? I make my kids shit in a box! WIthout the risk of raising children who will one day need to be Responsible Adults and Have Jobs and Drive Cars, what's wrong with a multicolored haired 10 year old who swears like a sailor in public?
      Her 14 year old high school freshman, yeah, momma let her get drunk all the time. I know because she'd help pick out the booze, and her baby sister would say "Why the fuck can't I drink?!" "No," mother would say, "you're too young."
      I remember Jessica and I talking with the family one sunny summer's day. It seemed that the freshman, covered in tattoos and piercings, was going to be thrown out of high school if she didn't advance to the next grade this year.
      Interesting article: Adolescent Alcohol Expsoure May Lead To Long-term Risky Decision Making: "Picture this: A bunch of adolescent rats walk into a bar and start consuming Jell-O shots. Lots of them."
      The drunken freshman was going to be thrown out of high school because next year she was going to be 20. Yes. 5 years as a freshman, 5 years of getting drunk with mommy...
      I don't need any drunken rats to prove that article's hypothesis.


      Thing I don't know why I got in the mail: a Nasco Farm & Ranch catalog, "The World's Largest Selection of Unique Livestock Products!" I have no idea what to do with this--while I do live with animals, the catalog doesn't have a single product that one could use to herd cats.
      If you think I'm going to blog funny things about it--it's fucking 300 pages long, and I don't have that many cow jokes in me. I flipped through it exactly 3 times over about 10 seconds. The first thing I saw was a tractor-shaped weathervane. The next was a steel clamp under "Cattle Supplies." I hope it's for the neck, not the udders, although both are kind of scary. Next I found "GOAT SPECULUM." And I'll bet you just thought of that .jpeg you wish you've never seen, either! And right under it was "Sheep/Goat Artificial Vagina," and it is used exactly for what you think it would be.
      Okay, I might blog it a little.

      Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine "Perimeter," AKA "Dead Hand."

      Oh, and the Soviets didn't tell anyone. If that sounds right out of Dr. Strangelove and the insane General Jack D. Ripper, check out this sidebar:      We'll show those damn Commies not to mess with our manly essences!

      If you thought the "Dogs playing Poker" painting was cheezy and stupid, check out someone's Republican Presidents playing Poker:


      We can't see the face of Abe, the Republican president the GOP currently finds embarassing, but it sure looks like a drunken Dubya just screamed "Hey, we got a nigger for president! Happy you freed the porch monkeys NOW?!"
      Bush the First and Ford just look embarassed, while Nixon yuks it up (he's holding 5 aces and an FBI file on everyone else), and Reagan is too senile to get the joke, while he raises by 5 Dulcolax tablets.
      Hey, Republican artist man, I know the reason why you show Lincoln from the same viewpoint that John Wilkes Booth had. But are you sure you want the others in the picture? Dwight "Beware the Military-Industrial Complex!" Eisenhower, and Teddy "Bust the TRUSTS!" Roosevelt? The guy who warned against BIG GOV'T giving money to corrupt military contractors and giant corporations who would start wars for profit, and the president who actually fought the hardest against them?
      Maybe Teddy's reaching down for his Big Stick, and going to start smashing a few thick skulls in, starting with Tricky Dick. Maybe Dwight's about to ask them if they've noticed his polo shirt and rainbow belt and yell "I WON D-DAY, AND I'M GAY!" Lincoln will pull out his axe and go after W, screaming "Now I'm the Great logHEADsplitter!" Then Reagan will call out as the mucho blood and very little brains fly, "Mommy, I made a poopy in my paaants!"
      Meanwhile, Herbert Hoover looks in from outside, wondering "But MY recession wasn't that much worse than Dubya's! Why can't I come in and play?"


      Having seen Waterworld and its only redeeming feature, an insane Dennis Hopper performance (I type that assuming that there may exist another kind), I rented Super Mario Brothers. While a box office bomb among critics and audiences alike, I've actually had this movie recommended to me, even by Commenters. And I really liked it! Maybe it was just that same synergy of "low expectations" and "I was in the right mood" that made me like Tank Girl. Maybe it was because the movie was fast, funny, a tad dark, and actually made sense. In the sense of its plot. I could follow it. Nothing makes me hate a movie faster than finding myself screaming "WHAT is going ON?!" at the screen. Seriously, when the least bizarre part of a movie is Dennis Hopper's performance as a video game character that evolved from dinosaurs...!
      (This just out: the movie's de-evolution ray wouldn't work, something every fan of Devo regrets)

      Cat Circus! Note that the smartest cats are all white. hmmm... Coincidence, or universal fact?


      A music video, as mechanically "sung" by one of my personal heroes:




      I really don't comment on pages not written by friends. The only exceptions are Way of Cats (for a long time, I was the only commenter; it annoyed me that it seemed like no one else new that that awesome resource existed, and damned if I wasn't going to give Pammy feedback and encouragement), and Duck 'n' Cover, devoted to mocking the awful comic strip Dullard Failmore. Err, "Mallard Fillmore." I quickly tossed off a pastiche that became the "Comment of the Week Time Before a Better One Comes Along." Backstory: When Disney announced that they were buying Marvel Comics, many political cartoonists did a quick panel about it, usually something like giving Spiderman Mickey ears or such. Almost all of them seemed like they did it because Marvel comic books were a big, early influence on them becoming professional cartoonists--they drew the panels as an excuse to draw their favorite characters.
      Mallard just got around to commenting on it--he always runs 3 weeks behind the news cycle--and spent a friggin' WEEK whining about it. If you do not read Dullard, oh how I envy you! (but he's pretty easy on the blood pressure compared to the insane racist fascist Chuck Asswipe) He was complaining about...no one really knows. I guess that Disney would make the Hulk all gay or shit. Eventually, he switched topics and I demanded WHAT ABOUT THE HULK?!?!?      Astute LTReadersOTD may remember that I did this once before and long ago:      I should try to make this the next net meme! LOLShakespeare!

      Okay, maybe I spent too much time today commenting on Duck and Cover... But I had fun doing it!


      Memo to self: Saturday night is bad night to comment endlessly, as one gets home that night the same time one usually goes to bed, and brain may get so fired up that it doesn't shut down until 430AM! Then cats will scream for breakfast at 10AM, and in the case of the dreaded Byron Siren, "scream" is an understatement.


      Just watched: Battle for Terra, the other big CGI bomb of the year. Like...you know, that other one, named, umm name, what is its--Dayglo? Lego? Leggo My Eggo? Whatever that boring crapfest was called. Like it, it was set on an alien world, where the aliens talked like white Americans. And also acted like them, which may have been the point.
      It was said that the movie did poorly because "Humans are the bad guys." And they are, in the nearly exact same way that they were in WALL-E. We've destroyed the Earth, so we venture into space. Unlike WALL-E, we don't wait for Earth to heal (because we blowed it up REAL good! and literally), we go find the next nearest planet. Too bad it's already occupied! By cute, hang-gliding aliens who act like they're as human as us!
      Meaning: also assholes whose first reaction is war, not negotiation.
      The only dumb part of the movie is that the best option for both sides is evident almost immediately. But this movie doesn't make humans or aliens the bad guys, it makes "stupidity and blind hatred of the other" the bad guy. The main plot is about a human pilot who crashlands on the alien planet and is saved by a native--yeah, you can kinda guess where that plot goes. Or can you?
      I can see why this movie bombed, beyond the usual "Americans won't watch 'cartoons' not made by Disney/Pixar, and all 'cartoons' are for widdle kids." Both sides in the movie are right, both sides are desperate, both sides have a climatic battle that makes every collection of pixels killed seem as a life gone. This movie makes you think. It's dark, and, really, there is no comic relief--the "cute robot" functions more as the movie's conscience. That's what killed it at the box office. Americans like their "cartoons" full of dumb spectacle and dumber comedy. American Anime will find its niche some day.


      Well, I got nothin'.
      So, if you didn't click on my second round of commenting on Duck and Cover, here's the cut&paste.

      Backstory: Commenter Tog wrote:

      I went with that, right after some right wing racist nutjob began blathering about "racism is on the rise!" (defined as black people existing--sorry, the site has no permalinks to individual comments), so I incorporated his drooling rage, and came up with the following. Well, they thought it was funny.


      As previously mentioned, I lurvs the Sleep. 9 to 10 or even 11 hours a day...no wonder I have such an affinity for cats. A thing I don't have--the desire to slowly die from Alzheimer's, losing my grip on reality in bits and pieces.
      "'What makes it exciting for me is that it shows that chronic sleep loss, in the long run, changes the brain in ways that may contribute to disease.' A vicious cycle could result if sleep loss leads to Alzheimer’s disease and the disease leads to more sleep loss, he says."
      Good news for me and everyone else who sleeps in!


      100% how I feel about THAT shit. Like pirates and ninjas--give it a rest, already. Like an eternal rest.

      WOMAN COMIC: "What do you call the useless skin around a twat!"
      A bitingly concise, self-referential meta-comment on misogyny? Or an unintentionally revealing throwaway "joke" that sums up a movie?
      No, and yes, I did watch Showgirls last night. A movie so choad that there were "Showgirls parties" thrown, according to Fiasco. I've been to bad movie parties before, and one of the main reason that they're fun is that the movie is less of a reason than the party. You mock the film, but you drink the beer and eat the food and talk with your friends and, oh yeah, watch the movie in bits 'n' pieces, and tear it into smaller bits 'n' pieces. That's what makes it fun!
      But when you watch them alone...
      A bad sign was checking "How much more of this shit before it ends?" and I was only 20 minutes in. I have no idea how many naked tits I'd seen by that point. Enough that they had already become boring. This movie was so bad that THE TITS WERE BORING.
      The thing I remember most is that the "smart girl" from "Saved by the Bell" ate her a cheeseburger. No, I am not kidding. This, the first mainstream NC-17 movie, and that's it. And I think remember it because the cheeseburger had more personality. But that Miami Vice guy had more zit scars than the black male lead's character had motivation, and the white male lead had far more Hitler hairdo than that! BOOOBS!
      I gave up at the 50% mark. BOOOBS! I think that was the whole point of the script. Boring, boring booobs. And misogyny. I'll watch it again, if I can teach the cats to riff. We'll have nip and milk and Fancy Feast! But I'll throw out the first of the boys who says "So--this is a PUSSY PARTY?!"

      Why they'll take your guns from your cold, dead hands: "In a first-of its-kind study, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun."


      In Darwin's 200th birthday year, the Voyage of the Beagle done as a daily blog. A 24 year old living in 1833, so there might be some non-PC bits--such as a "post" about the "savage Fuegans" who loot every member of the expedition they can grab, and "today's" post, England takes the Falkland Islands:      No prob; won't be a war over those stupid rocks for at least 150 years.

      Another comment of mine from Duck and Cover, about another Dullard Failmore strip, by the only political cartoonist who runs 3 weeks behind the news cycle. He's from the school of right wing thought, screaming "THEY'RE PLAYING THE RACE CARD!" every time Republicans say something racist, before anybody actually accuses them of racism. "Methinks he doth protest too much!"




      The explanation for this photo of a man in handcuffs and my friend Jessica's ass will have to wait until tomorrow.


      Ma belle amie Jessica Marie, resplendent in her furry Jack Skellington hat and Cinderella purse, was 30 minutes late. A minute after getting in my car she asked, "Can you wake me in 20 minutes? The gift of narcolepsy." And flick she was out like a light. Not the most auspicious start to our second annual visit to the Renaissance Faire.
      With her narcolepsy, she has to take these naps (20 minutes long, not 15, not 25), but she popped up awake exactly at the 20 minute mark. Amazing. She took some meds, then offered me a piece of Vermont maple sugar candy. I don't know if you can get these outside of New England, but traditionally they're shaped like a maple farmer. She gave me his head. "I'm putting this on my page! 'Jessica gave me head! My dream has finally come true!'" After eating it, I said "Jess gave me head, and it was sweeet!" Naturally, she next gave me his hand, and we continued on in the same very mature way, and she thought that it was funny that I was going to blog it.
      We were accosted greeted before we entered the Faire by a guy with the inevitable apparently required bad English accent, who informed us that it was the day, dear lord and lady, of the "Babes in Bodices" contest. I said that if Jess competed, she'd win not just the first prize, but first through tenth. She ordered me not to blog that--"But the part about you giving me head is okay?!"
      (Note to Jess: GUESS WHAT I JUST DID)
      Wiser from last year's experience, where we wandered aimlessly towards any loud sound, we sat down and figured out which shows to see. The shows overlap, but if we saw X at 130, we could see Y at 215 and Z at 300...Jess wanted to see the marionette show, but it just didn't fit into our schedule. You really need a couple of days to see everything.
      Our first stop was an act that wasn't there last year (or we'd missed), "The WonderFool's Death-Defying Show." Bullwhips, balancing and fire-eating, but it's not so much about what the performers do but how they present it, and their patter and jokes. He was really funny. This year we came prepared: I bought $50 in singles that we split in order to tip the acts. He was funny enough that I gave him $4.
      We wandered a bit, looking at the shops (or should that be "shoppes"?). I got a Scotch egg again (hard-boiled egg rolled in ground sausage and deep-fried--yum-MAY!) and Jess got a dozen donut holes, made on the spot by this hilarious automated little fryer that dropped them 2 at a time into a bowl. They were good, too!
      We went to "The Pope & Cardinal Sing-A-Long" to eat, but we were seated where the acoustics were bad, and it was G-rated, so we left when it was time to make animal noises. After her traumatic visit to the other ladies' room (flush toilets in the main one, hole-in-a-board chemical ones here), we went to Smee & Blogg, favorites from last time. The show this time was short (but they had 3 different shows a day), but the audience was packed. Last year's weather was cold, damp and windy; this year's was sunny, beautiful and full of bees. Yellowjackets, which in the New England autumn get aggressive and dangerous. They were everywhere, crawling on Jess' donut bag and six! greedily explored the lemonade of the biker chick in front of us. As a kid, I was playing in the loose stone wall in the driveway with my plastic dinosaurs when I was stung by 5 angry yellowjackets, the type of thing that sticks in one's memory for decades, so I watched them warily.
      Next: Zoltan the Adequate. He has 2 shows, a geek one that we went to last year, and an "adequate" one that we'd caught only the end of last year. (While we waited for the show to start, Jess realized that she'd been stung by a yellowjacket--in the small of her back, through 2 layers of shirts. She remembered a brief pain, and now it was itching). Zoltan was more fire-eating and magic tricks, but, again, it's all in the delivery. He called up a guy for a card trick that didn't work (a running gag throughout the act, and of course it paid off at the end). He needed a woman for his next trick and yes you guessed it, he picked Jessica! If I was a magician, I'd pick the smokingly-hottest babe in the audience, too!


      Yes, once she got called onstage, I realized that I had no idea how to use the zoom on my camera. Terrible as that picture is, it's one of only 2 that aren't beyond terrible.
      Although her heart was pounding wth near stage fright, with that beaming smile and infectious laugh, how could a performer find a better choice? The trick involved her holding a cloth while Zoltan put on some real-looking but trick handcuffs. He asked her to introduce herself with "Speak directly into my nipples!" meaning the clip-on mike he was wearing. He'd done the same joke with the man, but after she leaned in and said "Jessica!" he leaned in and said "I'm Zoltan!" to her chest. She laughed, as there's nothing new to her about guys talking to there.
      Her first assignment was to place as many clothespins on his face--ears, nose, lips, cheeks--as she could in 1 minute. She missed the previous record by only 2. The Main trick was just a big joke--he'd take a hand out from under the cloth to point--but he managed to work his hands in a way that she had to step over his arms, which led to the asswards pic from yesterday. "TAKE THE PICTURE NOW!" he yelled at me, and as I did I yelled back "Look for the video on YouTube!" He came up to me to show me the handcuffs (after twice removing a hand from them) and asked me "Is there ANY POSSIBLE WAY that I could escape these?" "POSSIBLY!" I said, to which he replied, "You really haven't been paying attention, have you?"
      When she exited the stage, she had several people compliment her with "Good job, Jessica!" When the show ended, I bought a Zoltan tshirt, which he autographed. Since his website indicates that he performs in Ontario and the Connecticut RenFest, I doubt that it will worth more than a memory--but what a memory!
      We caught the end of "Babes in Bodices"--at her insistence, as pasty-skinned, overweight Goth girls aren't my D-cup of tea. There were a dozen contestants, and I personally found only the lone willowy blonde attractive. The rest of them were--"see above description." Part of the presentation was each girl leaning forward to show off their cleavage, and my A-cupped cutie had nothing to show. The next "babe"--well, as Jessica, an almost Barbie-proportioned woman said, "If everything jiggles when you're just walking--!!" We left almost immediately, and I found out that Jess has some issues with me liking blondes. We later heard that there was a limbo contest, and the winner "popped out of her bodice." I told Jess that, Nah, you don't need to compete in that next year.
      We next saw Jayna Lee, who Jess remembered from last year because she "has a name like a porn star." As she was 5 feet tall and a contortionist--well, she could've pursued that line of work, but she performed on stilts and a trapeze and was funny and cute and amazing.
      Jess bought a pendant with a compartment. Maybe she was sold when the saleswoman said that the compartment could be "used for emergency meds." She didn't get her FREE fairy wishing stone, so we went back to claim it. She picked one that looked like a waterdrop.
      We went to last year's fave, the NC-17 rated "POPRAH Show!" It was funny, but not quite as good as last year's. Was this because last year it had a smaller audience? We were in the nosebleed seats this year. Since it's all improv, maybe they were just a bit off this year, in an audience of maybe 50+. You'd think that in this Internet Age, when they asked "Who knows what a Dirty Sanchez is?" more than 2 people would raise their hands. OH, LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW TOO.
      Next, and last: "Zoltan's Weird Show." Wherein Zoltan sticks hatpins through his arm, lies on a bed of nails and gets a cinderblock smashed on his chest, etc. This was the same show we'd seen last year, but still worth it the second time. Before it began, I saw some little girls staring in terror at a yellowjacket crawling on the straw of their lemonade (Pro Tip: Don't get the lemonade during yellowjacket season!). Zoltan spotted it, said "Don't move," carefully aimed his thumb and forefinger, paused and flick! sent the bee spiralling to the ground. "It's DEAD!" gasped an amazed girl, as Zoltan walked away wordlessly. Fucking total ninja move!
      When we went to tip him, he said to Jessie, "Jessica, you were lovely..." and something I caught, but also didn't quite catch. Jess had already turned her head, so she missed it completely.
      And we left. Or tried to--like last year, we'd forgotten where I'd parked. When Jess spotted it, for the second time that day we did our "Dysfunctional Couple" routine, pretending to argue and freaking out a little girl (we'd already gotten a "Why is she with that asshole?!" look from a woman at the first Zoltan show). On the drive back, Jess vented about her unpaid career as the treasurer and trustee at her condo ass-ociation, then she asked "84 East, don't you want to go that way?" "What, we're not going to Rein's Deli, like we said?" "Oh...right." Because of her narcolepsy, she carries a notebook, not only to remind her what to do, but to remind her what she's done, as she forgets things.
      Like last year, I had a chic sal sandwich, she had (after 10 donut holes!) 2 pickles, an overstuffed corned beef Reuben, and a plate of real fries, the kind with the skin still on them. She may have Barbie's build, but she eats like a Hungry Hungry Hippo who hasn't seen a marble in months. After much joking, she mentioned how our relationship has changed over the years, how we used to insist on seperate checks and tell people waiting on us that "We're not dating! We're just friends!" but now, we don't care. I told her what I'm pretty sure Zoltan said that last time: "Jessica, you were lovely. And I'm sorry you're married." Not to ME, she isn't! I'm a happy, crazy cat man! Plus, gentlemen prefer BLONDES!
      (I said that just to piss her off when she reads this. Don't worry, Jessie Baby, only YOU give me sweet head!!)


      There's been a lot of roadkill on my drive into work. Yet none on the same roads going the opposite direction. A skunk, a raccoon, what I...guess was a woodchuck, given how little was left of it, a pile of brown-furred gore in the middle of the road. Five in all, and saddest, a kitten. No more than DJ's age, and swap his orange for the other's black, with the same coloration. I didn't see a collar, but at 65 MPH, it's hard to be sure that it was a stray.
      Somebody might read this and say, "Why do you care? You eat meat!" With the exception of the Scotch egg yesterday, yes, I do, but not mammals. I refused to eat veal as a kid when I found out what it was. In my teens, I learned that pigs are smarter than dogs or cats, and I wouldn't eat a dog or a cat, would I? In my 20s, I realized that you can't say you're pro-environment and eat beef, with the global warming one-two punch of cattle methane (cow farts) and the deforestation of the rain forests for grazing land. So I eat poultry and fish. I like mammals. I'm a mammal, too!
      This morning we almost had some storekill. In the upstairs stockroom was a chipmunk, huddled in a ball. It must've run in when the back door was left open to bring the cardboard out to the recycling dumpster. It was alive, but not happy and barely conscious. It must've been exhausted--rodents need to eat a lot due to their metabolisms, and it wouldn't find anything to drink inside (except booze--maybe it was hungover?). I scooped it into an empty 30 pack and it didn't protest.
      I gently put the box outside, then tossed a few almonds from my lunch in there. Not that I know chipmunks eat almonds, especially salted ones. I left it alone until we had a delivery. It was splayed with limbs akimbo on the bottom of the box. With an almond in it's mouth.
      An hour later there was another delivery. The squirt was sitting more normally, and was alert, but didn't look scared of me. The almonds each had a tiny nibble, so maybe it didn't like the salt. An hour later it was gone. My good deed for the day.
      Of course, if I'd seen it get caught and eaten by that stray cat, I would've said "GOOD KITTY!" Moral of our story: Umm, there isn't one that I'm aware of. "People don't need to eat mammals, let the other mammals do it" maybe?


      I believe I've typed enough the last 2 days to just cruise on YouTubes today.


      The local free paper has a review of the RenFest on the same day we were there. She clearly didn't see a single show, which is KIND OF THE WHOLE IDEA. The "small trapeze area" was only for one show, and taken down as soon as it was over. I assume that she was only there long enough to eat her turkey leg.
      We saw 2 of the people pictured, the Dragon Ice Cream guy, who's a vendor there (we saw him do a spontaneous little dance with a truly enraptured girl of about age 3), and the Gargoyle. At the POPRAH! Show, they asked for disgusting dirty jokes, and they called the Gargoyle "Satan." His contribution was that one from Showgirls ("What do you call that useless piece of skin..."), and the audience met the "punchline" with total silence, followed by grumbling. "Hey!" said the Pope. "He's SATAN, what do you expect?!"
      Oh, I suppose that you want some of those dirty jokes. Fair warning: they were disgusting.
      "How can you tell when your sister has her period? Your father's dick tastes funny!"
      "Why did the two choirboys stick their dicks in a snowbank? Because the priest likes to have a couple of cold ones after Mass!"
      I'd say "Sorry!" but nobody made you read those jokes except you!



      We catered a big surprise party, and among my assigned tasks is Delivery Boy, so I brought the booze there (fine with me; occassionally I get a tip, and if I don't, I'm stilll being paid not to be in the store). I was given simple directions, but as I thought to myself as I drove away in the store's immense F150 pickup, "Never underestimate my ability to get lost."
      But I didn't; I just overshot as the house's street number wasn't easily visible. I was asked by a woman calling to the road "Are you the food guy, the music guy, the--OH! The beer guy!" "The most important guy!" I replied, while their big dumb dog jumped on me.
      I ran $800 worth of liquor on a handtruck, across the back lawn and down a small hill. At the end, I put the handtruck in the bed of the pickup, and got a $20 tip!
      That ought to cover the dry cleaning for the dog shit on my shirt.
      (It was on the handtruck's tire when I lifted it into the pickup. They were having the party in the same yard, but they couldn't sweep for feces before the surprise party? Maybe squishing through piles of fecal coliform bacteria was the surprise)



      A movie review that turns immediately into a review of something else: Love Happens, unfortunately:      Jessica just sent me a metric shitload of pics from our Ren Fest visit. Here's a few, demonstrating the shows we saw. Okay, it's a week late. So feel free to not look at them.


      Wonder Fool joked about "taking an eye out" with his bullwhip, specifically pointing out a little girl in the audience. He jokingly asked her to come on stage for a dangerous trick, and she did, clueless that it was a joke. The audience loved her.


      Smee and Blogg, singing executioners.


      The banner at the Zoltan the Adequate show where Jess got called up on stage. This is the same image on the tshirt I bought.


      Before her trapeze act, Jayna Lee walked around on stilts. Here she's giving directions.


      The cast of the POPRAH! Show!
      "Wow, Bill, a bunch of people sitting in chairs! Warn me before you show such excitement next time!"
      Here's your warning: BABES IN BODICES!


      Yes, the one in front is part of the contest, waggling her assets at the judges. By assets I mean "pale, flabby udders." My faves were the skinny blonde and the tiny elf-like brunette at the far right. I have nothing against overweight people, but I have issues with a "beauty contest" where the only aim is to see whose tits fall out.

      And the most frightening image of all:


      My GQ pose!


      The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate . A strange article on the Large Hadron Collider published in the NY Times:      Umm...okay. Nature abhors the Hitler bastardon, time travels to kill self. Wasn't this like in eight Star Trek: NG episodes?



      In the mornings before I leave for work, the cats get wet food. I crouch on the floor and take it from the bottom shelf of the fridge to put in their bowls, so I keep a spoon down there. This morning I grabbed it and "EWWWW!! Byron!" The handle had VOMIT on it! I steadied myself on a nearby box that cats like to jump on and "AAAHHHH!!! BYRON!!" THAT had even MORE puke on it!
      Killsy and DJ ran away at the first yell of disgust, while the perp, Byron Barfer Boy, sat there perplexed. "Where's the others, and where's my food?" I feed him, he barfs, I clean it, I feed him, he barfs...The Circle of Life.
      "A day that starts with sticking your hands in cat sick twice can only get better," I thought hopefully. And it did, thanks to Book Sale Finder. I never would've known about the sale at the library a quarter-mile from my job otherwise. I picked up Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You), list price $26.99 and clearly in unread condition, for a buck. A slab of a coffee table book, The Second City, $45 list and read and a little dinged-up but $3, because of 2 included CDs. I bought it on the basis on a chapter on SCTV. A little digest-sized hardcover called The World's Worst Weapons, no list price but only a dollar, and after having loved My Tank is Fight!, bought without me even looking inside. And a good thing; the first article I saw while flipping through it was for the AK47. The most common weapon in the world for 60 years can't be that bad. But it had something I recognized on the cover, the "Wind Wagon," or "What happens when you ask an aircraft maunfacturer to make a tank."


      Yes, they stuck an aircraft engine on the back to power it that didn't really work that well because it's not like they sold automobile engines, KA-CHING! And yes, that engine was rather easy to shootificate to pieces. But not if you were driving towards the enemy! If you take a closer look at it, you'll see that the front has a Model-T type radiator. One bullet through that and the Wind Wagon didn't move like the wind, but like a sitting duck.
      It's over 300 pages long, but with only 3 or 4 paragraphs of text per weapon. I was pleased to see that it included a couple of my personal favorites, such as the Atomic Bazooka and the Pigeon-Shit Bomb, and the Soviet Dog-Bomb (In WWII, commies trained dogs to associate food with the undersides of tanks, then let them loose with bombs attached in an assault on the Germans. Turned out that the dogs associated food with the undersides of Soviet tanks...)


      We had an endless winter in Connecticut, followed by a cold spring, followed by a cold summer, and today, 3 fucking weeks into autumn, it snowed.
      It should be 65F outside! No climate change, my frozen ass!

      "They sent us 2 bottles, when they meant to send us 1." Did you understand that, or do you need me to repeat it FOUR MORE TIMES? If you don't, then you're not my boss!
      "He's really hard to communicate with after NINE BEERS," I thought after checking how many empties he'd left. And at that second he put Empty #10 in the box, then ran downstairs to the cooler for Full One #11.
      And then I had to explain even more very simple shit to him, over and over. I ended up speaking to him, with his badly slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, like he was a toddler. "You need to transfer THREE bottles of THIS, and ONE of THIS. NO, THREE of THIS, and ONE of THIS!" Over and over. I fought the urge to push him away from the computer and say "Let me do it." When it was finally time for me to leave after talking to his wall, I mumbled to a coworker, "After that, I need 11 beers!"
      Then I went home. And he phoned me, babbling something about a Heineken 12 pack. I don't know what it was about beyond "something." I'll try to figure out what it was about tomorrow, hopefully before he's on his second 6-pack.
      I like my job, but there are things about my job that I don't like.
      No, wait--not "things."




      The thing about work I dislike (as opposed to "people") is the commute. It's 35 miles round trip, or an hour a day in the car. By changing how I drive, I managed to boost my average MPG from 26 to 33, even 36 MPG. I gas up every week, although I now could do it every other week. And so I decided, Why not? Gas keeps going down in price anyway at this time of year anyway.
      You're way ahead of me already, aren't you? Yep, gas went up 12 cents a gallon since my last fillup. My plan was to take advantage of my grocery store's gas rewards program, and save 20c a gallon. My gas gauge isn't very accurate, so I was nervous about running it so low, but I figured that I'd make it.
      Our "Early December in Mid October" weather disagreed. It rained and even snowed yesterday, and this morning, black ice formed on the bridges. The first storm is always the worst storm, and idiots spun out. It took me an hour to drive FIVE MILES. I checked the traffic reports for an alternate route, but every road in every direction was no different. And then the car's Low Fuel light came on.
      Fuck, that means less than a gallon was left! After frenzied mental debate, I pulled off the highway and gassed up. And was pissed to discover that the light comes on at 1.25 gallons, enough for the entire round trip commute!
      Got to work an hour late, but my boss had been caught in the same disaster, so he knew it wasn't my fault. I volunteered to stay an hour late, as the dummy who writes the schedule had only put himself on to cover the store for an hour, so I guess it worked out.
      I despise winter driving. I really hope that this isn't a harbinger of the next 5 months.

      Well, that wasn't very interesting! Here's a scrap of an email I sent to Kevin about the next movie night:


      "You can teach an old dog new tricks, say UCLA scientists who found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web." Not going to do you or me any more good than it's already done, but you may want to pass it on to your aging antecedents. (And then they can email you daily with "KENYAN COMMIE OBAMA REALY HITLERS GRANDSSON!!!! PROOF IS IN THE CHOCALATE PUDDING!!")

      Zefiel in the Comments:


      I went to the state park for what may or may not be the last time this year. I got it in my tiny head that I could finally get that "CHECK COOLANT" light to turn off by adding antifreeze there, as it's too dark in my garage to do it without spilling. It occured to me as I hiked that "I'll bet that it's iilegal to work on your car in the parking lot of a state park." So I stopped at the convenience store just up from my condo to do it. It's prly legal to do at a gas station.
      A guy came out of the convenience store, chatted briefly with another, then one said "See you later!" and drove off. The remaining man I'd classify as a white, late 50s blue collar worker. He leaned against the wall, and when someone walked into their car, he said, "Can you spare any change, sir?"
      The man asked was flustered, and I was, too. This isn't something that you see in suburbia. Is the economy this bad?
      The guy mumbled "No" and put his stuff in his car. "Wait, sir!" said the mendicant, and he proceeded to scrape a blob of dried bird shit off the guy's hood with his fingernails.
      I would guess that the economy is this bad.

       I was hoping Netflix would send me either Monsters vs. Aliens or Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, but those are both "Very Long Wait." I assumed that I wouldn't get the next new release, but there it was in my mailbox: Transformers: Return of the Fallen Moviegoer's IQ. I rented the last Transformer movie and found it to be the most like watching a movie very, very stoned without actually being stoned. This new one began with cavemen with pointed sticks fighting Alien Space-Travelling Giant Caveman Robots with pointed sticks. Think about that.
      Now, like 30 seconds later, the Transformers have united in the 21st century with Doctor Who and U.N.I.T. an international (meaning: American) strike force. And their sleeve patches read "If I tell you, I have to kill you." Just like that douchebag at work has "quipped," thinking he's hi-larious every fucking time he's said that for THE LAST TEN YEARS. Except less grammaticallsy.
      Wow, that's really retar...I mean, NONSTOP THRILL RIDE ahead!! With Giant Robot Cavemen. There'd better be Dinobots next!


      The first Transformers movie was loud, stupid, confusing, but never boring. Transformers: Retards of the Fallen was loud, stupid, confusing, and SUCKED. I'd like to give you a point-by-point review, but it was SO boring inbetween the explodey bits (which themselves became tedious), that I neither want to nor can. The worst review I can give any movie is how my brain deletes it from my memory as I'm watching it. I expected it to be a movie made for 12 year old boys, but not one made by 12 year old boys, with all the misogyny and half-formed vague ideas on how the world works that implies. And I mean a commitee of 12 year old boys.
      Exploder kid: "DUDE! Shit blows up all KERRRSSHH! and like, buildings fall down, and the army all goes pow-pow-pow!! with these helicopters, and like the giant robot smashes them, like KARAAANGG!"
      Horny kid: "And then this totally hot chick wants to totally fuck the hero! And all her friends are hot, and want to do guys just like us!"
      Verisimilitude kid: "And then they go to college, and there's like a hacker dude and they have SO MUCH WEED that they openly sell it to the guy's MOM and she gets TOTALLY HIGH! Then we have these robots who are SO like the black people that I've never met except by listening to rap, and they won't be portrayed as if they were morons AT ALL!"
      Exploder kid: "And then--ROBOTS EXPLODE SHIT!" (Mutual high five!) "I think there may be some beer in the Bud empties my dad left in the recycling! PAR-TY!"
      It was exactly like the first movie, except fucking awful. The review that made me want to see it actually put it more perfectly than I thought: "It's like watching paint dry while being hit in the head with a frying pan!"




      I swore that I was done with the Coventry Farmer's Market this year after my last disappointing visit, when I found almost nothing I went there for. Then I got the email that today was the last one of year. And the weather was as good as it'll get for 6 months, a cloudless, gemlike sky with an autumn wind and still warm, so I decided to go.
      About the only thing I got that I wanted last time was a vegetable samosa from the Indian food booth, so I made sure to bring a bottle of water to have with it. And also to be there when the market opened, as the last market of the year was sure to be packed. I didn't bother to attempt parking in the always-overflowing lot, but it turned out to be only about a fifth full. Still, there were plenty of patrons, but ZOMG KITTEHS!!! The adoption agency Kitty Angels was setting up cages with adorable (if bewildered) kittens! OMG OMG!!! "Maybe you should take one home!" said a volunteer. "I just adopted one recently," I said while wanting to take them all. "Get another! He'll need a friend!" "I have 3 cats; I'm maxed out!" She laughed. "The ones with 3 or 4 cats are the only ones who always stop here!" Some other male made some comment about "a crazy cat lady." It seemed joking from the context, but both she and I glared at the guy. Why are there no "crazy dog people"? Walking around in the middle of a freezing winter night with a baggie on your hand to pick up steaming shit to place in another bag as if it's as precious as gold, that's sane behaviour?
      The next thing I noticed was that the Indian booth was gone. Great. Is this going to be even less successful than the last visit? (No: already there had been kittens) But while there were lots of people, there wasn't a line to be found, and, amazingly, I not only got everything that I couldn't get last time and then some. For instance, I bought some pears. "Bartlett or Bosc?" asked the farmer. "Bartlett!" I said, trying not to add a "Well, duh!" at the end.
      I asked Beltane Farms what styles of goat cheese they had, and while 10 types were quickly rattled off, I only heard the first: "Did you say pumpkin?" I didn't get to try it, as he only had a few left, but they've never steered me wrong. I had some when home, and yeah, delish; pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon in a chevre spread, but subtle.
      I got my Dutch farmstead cheese at another stand (HIM: "that'll be $8.75." I handed him $10.75. A long pause ensues, HIM looking everywhere but at me. "Umm," says him, noticing that I'm looking nowhere but at him, "how much did I say?" "8.75," say I, and he finally gave me my $2 change, glancing nowhere except sideways at the owner standing next to him, who is glaring nowhere but right back at him), my fudge (pumpkin cheesecake and penuche walnut flavors), and my SnootyFoods garlic herb butter. Two containers, one to freeze. That stuff's awesome on chicken. As always, I tried the Five Fruit Chutney, and finally decided, yeah, why not? She told me the price, then possibly mistook my thinking "But would this work on the crackers I have at home?" for "Is it worth $6.50?" and offered it me to for $5. Sold! And delicious on the crackers I have.
      And finally I impulse-bought some cranberry walnut harvest bread, which is chewy and hearty just like a fall New England bread should be. Then I left the marke--ZOMG!! KITTEHS!!!
      One woman was enthusing over a marmalade kitten, and, hoping that she'd adopt him, I said "Orange tabbies have the best personalities!" "I know!" she said. "And look at his name! Mandarin! Isn't that perfect?!" I agreed, looked at a few other kittens, and then left Mandarin with someone who might just now be his new parent.
      It was very worth going to the market this time.


      There are 4 people with the title "manager" in my store. It's not like every other retail environment I've worked in--there's a "store owner," then the next tiers aren't "assistant manager" then "floor manager" then "key holder," there's just "manager." But there's an upsoken hierarchy. Somehow I've always been what could be called (but isn't), "the third manager."
      And I have no prob with that. That leaves 2 filters before the customers get to me. Unlike most retail, angry and stupid customers in a booze store are rare. And me being the tertiary manager, I rarely get them. However...
      ...I still have to deal with the Primary and Secondary managers.
      The bank called, requesting that we get our (truly huge and slow-to-count) banking done before 1PM, as they're shorthanded after that. Sure, I said, see you around noon! At noon: PRIMARY: "NO! You can't do the deposit NOW! Do it TOMORROW!" (If you think I'm exaggerating the caps-lock voice--NO, I'M NOT, HE SCREAMS A LOT AS HE'S DRUNK AND REFUSES TO ADMIT HE'S OLD ENOUGH FOR A HEARING AID) (My impression of him is when someone asks me something, to just yell what he always does: "HAH?!?!" I got that scream a foot from my fucking ear today) And he had me go help him find some wine bottles. His fucking store, can't find some wine bottles without a native guide. And he told me to fish out the ones, fives and tens from the deposits, so that I didn't have to go to the bank. This took about the same amount of time it would've taken to go the bank in the first place.
      And then Secondary Manager arrived, a totally anal-retentive to the point of OCD behaviour guy, and we always go to the bank on Mondays, so "NOT go BANK?!?! OH MY GOURD!! CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS LIQUOR STORE!!!!" So now I HADZ!! to go the fucking bank NOWZ if not YESTERDAYZ!! Which I did. I do get paid by the hour, after all.
      Just before closing time at the bank, I was greeted with a look of horror. "Didn't you get the phone call?" the head teller asked. I gave her the a brief version of "Yes, but...Primary said No, other freaker-outer said Yes" but didn't say "The phone call came from--INSIDE THE PACKY!" Luckily, I didn't form any giant line of impatient dimwits who don't know how to use an ATM. (Seriously, every time I've held up a bank line with store deposits, the line groans and exhales dramatically, then walks to the teller with simple deposits and withdrawls they could've done at the ATM. Know how much time I spend in a bank line that isn't work related? NONE. I use the FUCKING ATM, Groaner Exhaley jerk! I understand that it IS a new technology--for 1982, but maybe you should try it some century)
      Two filters of managers, and I still get all their dumb.



      There's a product called "Perdue Short Cuts," which is precooked turkey and chicken strips. When they go Buy One/Get One I buy and freeze them. Once a month when I'm too lazy to cook I eat them, and it's always a grand festival for the kids! They get lots of turkey! Apparently enough of a festival that Killsy and Deej, the hearing cats, have learned the sound of the box's glue being opened. And do they come a-runnin'!
      I only mention this dull fact because Byron has learned that "2 cats go a-runnin'" means that he should follow them. Well, obviously! you say. But he's also in the front window waiting for me to come home. On the days when I get home at 430PM. Not the one day I get home at 330, or the one night at 930. How hyped up are his other senses since he has no hearing? I wonder what will happen when daylight savings ends.


      Why for the pretty kitty hide in the box?


      Oh, that's why! Next question: how? She squeezed her 12 pounds through that little slot. When DJ realized that she'd created an impregnable bunker, he stood on top. And then she bolted out of a smaller slot, leaving him startled--but still on top of the box. It's like some cat version of the "pull the tablecloth" trick.
      And, yes: DJ is that big.

      Good news! The Bakshi/Kricfalusi Mighty Mouse cartoon is coming to DVD! Not super cheap at $29, but I'll add it to my wish list. Note: the first few eps are comparatively normal; then they start into what was one of the funniest, wierdest cartoons I've seen. Yes, it will have the "controversial" "coke-sniffing" bit. As labeled by the lunatic behind the "Satanic backwards-masking" hysteria of the late 80s. You know, the aptly-named Reverend Wildmon, who claimed that there were Satanic verses in the theme song to fucking Mr. Ed. "Oh, Satan is Lord, of course, of course! And no one defies the Lord of the Flies, of course!"
      ...Which led me to search for the most insane Xmas special ever, Bakshi's Christmas in Tattertown, a bizarre anti-Xmas special inspired by the weirder early 1930s cartoons. I watched this in 1988, and thought it was hilarious! I taped it the next year, and found it incomprehensible. "Why?" I thought, and watched it a month later. HILARIOUS AGAIN! And totally coherent! I watched it the next year and, again...the hell? Then I watched it a fifth time and realized...umm, it's the worst thing in the world unless you're stoned, then it's the greatest.
      And after much searching, Christmas in Tattertown. Looks like it was taken off of a 20 year old video tape--maybe mine, as I've never found it. And I can't vouch for my opinion 2 decades later, as I'm not...currently prepared to see it right now. And this did lead directly to Cool World. Which, you know, wasn't all that cool.


      Having watched Christmas in Tattertown, my first guess was that it was originally an hour long, then cut down to half its length, thus leading to its incomprehensibility. Then I realized that this is Bakshi, and, well, you know.
      The 60s Bakshi Spiderman cartoons on Marvel.com have hit that point where his studio couldn't keep up, so they churned out bizarre, drug-fueled freakouts involving wizards and abstract backgrounds and Spidey webbing around, even if his webs went straight into the air with nothing for them to stick to. The one I saw last week was set on an island for half the ep, then on an asteroid, which was the same place as the island. So maybe Bakshi wrote an hour's worth of script in his head for Tattertown, then only thought that he'd used it.


      Movietime at Kev & Meg's Sunday! There are two choices, both of which which look good, but for very different reasons. One looks good, the other BAD good.
      I think I've made my decision. Which would you choose, based on these truly awesome-for-opposite-reasons trailers?
      Sleep Dealer
      Yes, I know you people, and you all want me to watch THAT one. Yes, THAT one.


      Halloween doesn't fall on Saturdays often, but the store is damn busy when it does. With a college up the road, lots of kegs of cheap, awful beer (Keystone Light) get bought. Some kids were in costume. One came up to the register dressed as a superhero.
      ME: Can I see your ID?
      HIM: You're carding Captain America?
      ME (looks at ID): Hey, this doesn't say "Steve Rogers"!
      HIM (to friend, who didn't think people would get his costume): AHA! See? You see?!
      ME: Geek cred!
      HIM: What's Bucky's name?
      ME: Bucky...Barnes. I liked him better when he was dead.
      He wasn't wearing the hood or carrying a shield, but I recognized the costume from across the store and from the back. Yep, I'm a nerd.

      I (used to, before the recession) give a chunk of my meager wages to charity. I wonder how much money the charities would have if they didn't send out fat envelopes of begging to every person who gave to Amnesty International 15 years ago. I get several a week, and most get donated to the recycling bin.
      One today caught my eye as I'd never seen a cadge from them before: "International Rescue Committee." International Rescue? The "Thunderbirds are GO!" guys? Shit, Scott Tracy, you need money, sell a fucking spaceship. Tighten your pursestrings! (This would be funny because they're marionettes! Yep, fuckin' nerd)
      No, they are "Leading Refugees from Harm to Home." It was heading into the recycling when I caught a blurb on the front from their spokesmodel, Colin Powell.
      Wait--Colin Powell? His quote on the envelope is "What makes IRC special in my mind is that...it goes to--and stays in--places no one wants to be in."
      LIke where, Afghanistan? Or Iraq, which you lied about in front of the United Nations in order to start an illegal, immoral war to boost Cheney's Halliburton stock? The two wars that you helped start, thus making you personally responsible for creating millions of refugees? Why'd they pick you? Was Kissinger too busy at his charity for bombed Cambodians?
      Hey, Colin, you're rich, why don't you do the donating. Just don't donate your heart or brain; refugees will take what they can get, but don't need things that tiny.
      Next: Dick Cheney donates a million pieces of buckshot to the Save America's Faces campaign!


      Movie night at Kev & Meg's! Kev went to the store for some ingredients for his fresh, homemade salsa. He had trouble finding them, as they were all over the store. Finally back in his car, he realized that we were supposed to meet at 430, and it was 505! He'd spent 2 hours in the store! He raced home, wondering why I hadn't called him...until he remembered that Daily Savings Time ended yesterday. Good thing he didn't have to work today.
      As I was getting in my car, I discovered that it had been egged at work yesterday. Not on the paint, where it would stay forever, but on the rear windshield. It looks like I can get it off with windshield washer fluid and the ice scraper (note: yes, I could, and rather easily). Not that I'm planning on owning this car for more than another year anyway.
      We agreed to get Indian food, but I remembered that, for some unknown reason, they close the kitchen between 230 and 5, and it was 440 (540 on Kevin's clock). He called them and discovered that "The chef is late," and they wouldn't reopen until 545. And then it'd be another 20 minutes until they fixed our food. So we called the pizza place in the same plaza. Kev got the red bliss potato pizza, and I got Indian, my beloved chicken tikke pizza. We picked up our food, after generally hyperventilating over Republicans blocking government health care, and specifically over our douchebag senator/walking punchline Joe Lieberman. This is the only "Democrat" that will filibuster with the owned-by-the-insurance-companies Reublicans against health care, even though free government health care from birth to age 25 was the cornerstone of his laughable 2004 presidential bid.
      We got back to his house, and I opened the box, thought, Wow, those are really weird looking red potatoes, then opened the other. THOSE were potatoes. I went back to my pizza, and it was bacon and huge strips of red pepper. So we called the place and they were super apologetic. I brought the pizza back (it was someone else's order--they placed it on the heat tray, then took it away, maybe because they were planning on giving it to the guy that ordered it, and didn't want me to know. Doubtless a violation of the health code, but it's not like I did anything to it except look at it) and got me a hot and fresh chicken tikke, woo!
      Meg was left entirely out of the last part of this loop, arriving home to find one pizza, with a knife and 2 open beers sitting on the counter, but no one home. She thought that maybe one of us had sliced a finger off. Maybe it was the Rapture! The Atheist Rapture! Man, wouldn't that be a burn to the fundies' asses!
      The movie was Sleep Dealer. (Yes, I'm sure you were hoping it was Frogs) Wow, it was excellent. Yeah, we've all seen movies set in a dystopian USA. This was set in Mexico, trying to survive in the shadow of the dystopia. A full border wall with gun-cams has sealed off the countries, and the most popular American show is "DRONES!" in which Predators locate "the bad guys, and blow them up!" Memo, the main character, lives in a village, starving since a dam was built on the US side, keeping all the fresh water from Mexico. Note: not science fiction, but what's really happening. That's what's great about the movie--nothing is a big jump from today, just a logical extrapolation of current trends. DRONES! is reallly no different than COPS, except that they kill people. They've just moved from judging their unwilling subjects as "they're all guilty!" to being the executioners as well. There is no heavy-handed politicizing in this movie, but it's not like modern Americans care when our drones blow up Afghan wedding parties. Again, everything seems like it could be real, given enough time.
      Blogging? Get "nodes" installed into your nervous system, and sell your memories. Migrant workers? Give them nodes and let them work for a pittance using networked machines a continent away, whether picking oranges in Florida or building skyscrapers in San Diego. "It's the American Dream!" says the Mexican boss, "All of the work with none of the workers!" And it's not about the perfectly crafted and believable near-future world, but the people living in it. Really worth watching if you don't mind subtitles (or, obviously, speak Spanish), and it's Netflixable.
      Weird but appropriate bit in the credits: the special effects in this Mexican movie were outsourced to India.
      Question, if anyone cares to comment: Do any of you ever rent movies based on my little reviews? If you did, did you like the movie? Feel free to call me out on recommending Speed Racer.





      Hey, it's been a slow week here. I could've done an "I work with unbelievable idiots" post Monday, but I knew the venting would've only made me madder.
      But a guy came in today trying to return for the deposit two 40oz bottles with the labels peeled off. A whole dime's worth. What's more ridiculous than driving your car to a store to get a shiny dime? My boss began arguing over with the guy over a dime, so, yeah, there's that (see above; "idiots, unbelievable").
      BOSS (actually chasing him across the store after I said I'd take it. Me being the ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THE FUCKING EMPTIES HERE, it's sooo below everyone else, including, yes, said Boss): I don't want it if it's from somebody's GARBAGE!
      GUY: It's not from somebody's GARBAGE! It's from the RECYCLING!
      Cuz, yeah, only bums steal from dumpsters! He then got his return--a dime--and proceeded to buy $10 in lottery tickets.
      Stealing from garbage? DISGUSTING! Stealing from a recycling bin? DOUBLE recycling! A good investment! Buying a hundred dimes worth of (losing) lottery tickets: the best investment!

      Byron and DJ function as friends, the little guy always absorbed in whatever activity Bigfoot is doing, and they get along great when doing that. But they don't play. They never have. Byron growls at the first hint of it, and DJ collapses to the floor in submission. Killsy and Deej have had their problems, but now they play all the time--and I mean play. She'll start it, and they'll bat at each like they sorta mean it, but not really, then stop in mid-battle to wash themselves, then kinda start again. This is the exact opposite of what I had intended. DJ and B-Boy were supposed to be the buddies, leaving sweet Killsy to her reveries. But...whatever works.
      It struck me today that maybe they know that Byron is deaf, while he doesn't (how could he?), and they both do hear, so that's why they hang out? Killsy knows he's deaf--if she wants his attention, she'll gently tap him. DJ may have not figured it out. I dunno. Just a theory. One I have no real way of testing, except to see how things pan out over time.

      Forget Mother Mary coming to me in a grilled cheese sandwich, beholdest thou the sacred image of SAINT RINGO of LIVERPOOL in a water droplet! Although all we've got is a photograph. Or maybe it's Saint George, as He foretold the Lotus Leaf before his martyrdom. As you will learn from the article's last line, my sweet Lord Jesus was very busy appearing somewhere more important. And you know it don't come Jeezy.


      Today at work I wondered if I was wrong about the Byron/DJ play dynamic--maybe, like Killsy when B-boy was the only other cat, it was all just a ruse, something performed only when I was present to see it? And, almost on cue, Byron began chasing DJ today, and it was clearly just play. Maybe Toemaster B loves the new kid, but is still a tad jealous of his younger brother around Mom.

      This is not the weirdest search request I've ever had, but it breaks the record at the longest:
      3 guys check into a hotel. They each pay $10 for the night and head upstairs. The manager realizes they overpaid (it's only $25) so he gives the bell-boy $5 and tells him to give it
      And I was Google's first hit. From entirely random words, of course. Was he looking for the punchline to a joke that he knew all the other words for?




      Recent empirical evidence indicates that, yes, Byron loves him the DJ. Deej has been seen grooming him, and yesterday, they were in the "holding four hands" position (facing each other in a mirror image, all 4 paws touching).
      The best decision I ever made was getting a cat. The second best decision: getting more cats.

      Connecticut loves its road dedications. Route 9 is the "African-American Veterans Memorial Highway" or the "Jewish-American Veterans Memorial Highway," depending on whether you're going north or south. Even local governments get into renaming stretches of the federal highway system that pass through their town. There's a bridge over I-384 named after Brian Aselton, for some reason. I spotted a sign on another bridge, but only read it today: the "South Windsor Patriotic Commission Memorial Bridge." "Memorial"? The entire Patriotic Commission was killed? That's what "memorial" means, right? As in "Memorial Day"?
      Of course I Googled, and found out that the SWPC is "an ad hoc patriotic committee to organize such activities as Memorial Day and Veterans Day remembrances." And their first act was to name a bridge, not after the town's war dead, but after themselves. Maybe it's a memorial to their brain cells.

      Recently seen: Monsters vs Aliens. It's CGI, but while it's no Pixar
      Why do reviews always say that? They never say "While it's hand-drawn animation, Filmation's He-Man is no Fantasia" or "While it's on film, Scary Movie 4 is no Citizen Kane."
      I really enjoyed it. Like the underrated Meet the Robinsons, it gets the Pixar part right: who cares about the CGI if the story sucks? And they didn't go the Shrek route, with overobvious slumming celebrity voices or jokes based on an ad campaign no one would remember a year later. It was funny, it was exciting, the injokes were all about the movies it parodied (like Mothra, or the giant syringe from The Amazing Colossal Man). I give it my highest rating: "Movie that I want to see again someday."

      KitSplut watches TV.

      The Milford Animal Shelter is no-kill, and ma belle amie Jessica volunteers there. Give them a vote and they could win some much-needed funds. It wouldn't kill ya to vote, would it? It certainly won't kill any animals!


      Why America Is Finally Ready for Doctor Who.

      Jessica's no-kill shelter only gets one vote per person. If you've voted already, THANK YOU! If you haven't, it doesn't take a lot of time. Vote once here!


      I awoke with a headache. While it's been a long time since my "two-day-long migraine" days, I err on the side of caution and take ibuprofen at the first sign of a headache. I decided to take one of those stupid prescription pills I was dumb enough to buy (they're 600mg. I don't recall how much I paid for them at CVS, but they're the equilavent of 3 Dollar Tree ibuprofen, and I'm sure that they didn't cost a dollar).
      I wasn't quite awake yet. The pills weren't in the medicine chest, so that meant they were in the fridge. I glanced at the label on the bottle, and, yep, ibuprofen. I took one, and the headache went bye-bye very quickly. Then I began to feel very weird. Like I was on drugs!
      I fished the empty bottle out of the recycling, and realized that:      I don't know why it felt like I had a concussion, but I'm sure glad it happened on my day off, as I really didn't want to get behind the wheel of my car. So I alternated between petting Byron or DJ in my lap and playing Civilization II. Next time I'd better be careful not to grab that sheet of blotter acid!

      "Return Armistice Day. Even at the expense of taking it off the Federal calendar and creating a Veterans' Day somewhere else, if Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, and the individual services' days aren't enough to amortize our bunting expenses.
      "Return it to the solemn remembrance of The Great War and all who died, on both sides. Let us have one day to remember the horror, the futility, the enormity of War, and the human vanity which tries to cover the suffering with Glory, and swears in the aftermath it will never make the same mistakes again."


Germans in the Woods from Rauch Brothers on Vimeo.



      While I firmly believe that there is life on other planets, I'm sure that there are no "aliens" visiting our planet. Sorry, but there's no such thing as "hyperdrive." Nothing can go faster than the spped of light, for all the made-up "warp" and "tachyon" drives out there in sci-fi land. That means aliens are supposed to travel for 20 years, just to make crop circles, didlle people's asses, and only get photographed by idiots who can't focus a camera? And then there's relativity's whole "40 year round trip that takes a million years" thing. Do alien planets sell t-shirts that say "I went on a voyage that aged me 40 years while my planet aged a million years, and all I got was a stinky finger"?
      The other reason is this: shyeah, aliens look like people. Why do you never hear about truly weird aliens? Like boneworms, which are native to our planet?
      We may discover alien life someday, but it will be from Earth-based telescopes, and not from "Forth Kid" (as the movie theater in my plaza decided it was titled for 3 weeks. Hey, are we that sure that there's intelligent life here?)


      While most recent search hits are for images of either "republican presidents" or "jessica's ass," surely the most depressing of all must be the one that found this page while looking for "sheep vagina pics."


      Motherfuckin' me, I left the "new" tag open on THREE DAYS worth of updates! Don't worry, it went to the wrong spot, but I also haven't really updated in 3 days, so you missed nothing.

      I was in a rush when I went to the grocery store after work, but a big table marked "HALLOWEEN CANDY 75% OFF" always catches my attention. Hey, Almond Joys! The first thing I saw was bags and bags of "CHEWY COLLECTION." Obviously for the great-grandparents to hand out, as it was Bit-O-Honeys, Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and something else that I'd already stopped caring about enough to identify. Either Teaberry Gum or birch tree bark. Man, even as a candy-hungry kid, I was throwing out the Mary Janes back in 1966! It should've come with a roll of toilet paper and a big bar of soap, just to complete the cycle.
      No, wait--it was Teaberry, and also Black Jack gum! In a sense, it's brilliant--you'll be cleaning up your yard the first time you hand this crap out, but the trick-or-treaters will never come back again.

      Possibly interesting, as I haven't watched them yet: 2 BBC docs, one about early 80s synth music, and one on Krautrock.

      Seriously, "Squirrel Nut Zippers"? Who named that candy? "Well, it has nuts. And squirrels, they like the nuts. Jeez, I really need to pee--and I'm gonna do it right into the candy mixer. Adds flavor." zzziip "La dee da, la dee da...need third word for name, la dee da..." zzziip "...BY GEORGE, I'VE GOT IT!"


      I'm sure that no one who reads this page is concerned about the END of the WORLD in 2012 exclamation point. Those Mayans sure weren't very good about predicting the end of the Mayan world 400 years ago, were they? (Hint to Mayans: It involves Spaniards, guns, horses, smallpox)
      I actually did not realize how fucking stupid and far-afield the 2012 "predictions" were, and they're detailed here. The world will end because of the Winter Solstice? Umm, I'm pr-etty sure that winter has come at least once without the Himalayas being flooded. Maybe even as recently as last year.
      Remember when the world was gonna end via Y2K? Or from Nostradumbass in 1999? Or how everything would be super-duper perfect after 1988's Harmonic Convergence? And how it all was completely 100% correct, beyond the minor detail that they NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED?
      Yeah, whevs. If there was actually any solid evidence for the end of the world, I'd believe in this crap. My "Cat of the Day" desk calendar says
      OH FUCKING SHIT it ends on DECEMBER 31ST!!!! Oh god oh god! We're DEAD! World DESTROYED! Because THERE'S NO PAGES FOR JANUARY!!!
      Sure, there's a thing about "the 2011 Cat of the Day calendar," but that's because NASA WON'T TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT INVISIBLE ROGUE PLANET NIBIRU! Or the truth about--THE END OF THE CAT CALENDAR IN 2010!!! TELL US THE TRUTH NASA!!!!
      Oh, wait--the calendar says that "the deadline for submissions is Feb, 2010." That's an extra 2 months!
      Pheww! I need that time! I really wanted to repaint the condo before the Sun swallows us. Or maybe lose some weight, that kind of thing. You know, in a month or two. No rush. It's not like the world ends tomorrow!


      Today I was to have brunch with the gorgeous and brilliant Mrs Jessica at the Crack Bar (add "-er" and "-rel" to that; it's just what we call it). I left the answering machine on in case she needed to cancel due to her narcolepsy acting up again.
      I was awakened by the machine. Half-awakened, anyway. As always, the white-noise machine was also on, so all I caught was her voice and the words "cancel" and "throwing up." Poor kid, I thought, and tried to go back to sleep.
      An hour of fitful near-sleep later, I played the message back. Her voice was trembling and cracking with emotion--her beloved cat Majoriam is very, very sick again, throwing up and unable to hold any food down. She was rushing him to the vet. She ended with "You call me, I'll call you later," indicating how upset she was. I thought that if she called back, it was a good sign, but if she didn't...
      That was at 7AM, and she hasn't called back.
      I left an email with a "don't write back if you can't" provisio. Poor, sweet Majoriam's a big musclehead who's everybody's lap cat, and just an all-around wonderful, friendly guy, who's been with Jess through good times and bad. And like any beloved pet, not "an animal," but like your own child. He's had a lot of health problems recently, but --please, big boy, pull through once again. You are loved.

      An article to help pass the time while worrying: I'd like you to meet your best friend, another in Ebert's recent series on the fringe-hangers he's met over the years. This time, the ultimate gatecrasher.
      Also, apparently The Venture Brothers is online with new eps. If my fucking ftp client wasn't refusing my password and readyhosting would send me a new one, you'd know, too! What a shitty day this has been.


      I checked my email one last time before bed last night, and Jess had written back. She says that Majoriam is as okay as he can be, but...he'd had "an x-ray, lab work, ultrasound, EEG, and some fluids." While "The results came back that thankfully he is not in heart failure, his heart sounds good. (Well, good for his heart)." The walls of Major's heart are too thick, and the walls of her husband Ron's cat, Bogart, are too thin. They've spent thousands of dollars on the poor guys this year alone. Fortunately, they can afford it, something most Americans can't do when the child is a human, GOD PRAISE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES!! GOD DAMN THAT SOCIALIST MEDICINE! that has worked for decades in every other Western democracy.
      And Major's not clean and free just yet--she's awaiting more test results. "We are going to get the lab results back tomorrow, the dr wants to keep an eye on his kidneys and liver. If this third dose of antibiotics does not work than we will have to discuss another procedure that is extremely risky with his heart condition."
      Majoriam's no older than Kill Kill! I haven't seen Big Boy in 3 years, but damn, do I ever want to hear that he's alive and happy, and purring in the lap of Jessie's daughter Jacqueline.
      And there's always that horrible thought, "What if my cats got sick?" I can't afford thousands of dollars repeatedly, and yet I can't afford to lose any of them. At what dollar amount do you have to choke on your pain and say "Sorry, but this is the end"?

      Look, I'm not trying to write depressing posts. But life happens. Here's the best I can do to cheer things up, a Google search for my page. I think the funny part isn't so much "I don't think that word means what you think it means" so much as, dude, at what point did it take you to figure out that it didn't?
      "Results 541 - 550 of about 955,000 for what animal has the largest virginal"
      IDIOT! Humans are the only animals that have harpsichords!
      (People who got that joke: me)

      Cheerful news update!: Majoriam's still doing (relatively) great, although test results still await. Interesting hint from the mother of 2 sickly boys, and duly noted: "Major is okay. I have him eating meat baby food. He likes it. I don't know if you have ever tried that, but if the kids ever give you a hard time eating due to not feeling well, warm up a little meat baby food. It's always a good thing to have in the house."


      AARP started begging me to join them when I turned 49. Apparently 50 is the new 65.
      My mother said to join them, but I really couldn't find any reason to on their site, or even from her. So I sent in my $16 check for a year's worth of "get-off-my-lawnery." Maybe it would at least stop them from mailing me twice a month.
      It didn't. "I've joined AARP" is apparently the new "AARP demands I join AARP every other week." They even sent me begs after they cashed my check, and for over a month. Gee whillikers, Mr Science...are they actually hoping seniors with impaired memories will think, "Jiminy Christmas! I sure thought I sent them a chunk of my Social Security check, but I guess I didn't!" and send them money every 2 weeks for 2 months?
      What have I got from them? A cheap "magazine," of the Parade Sunday supplement crap newsprint kind. And an offer to get a better car insurance rate! All I have to do is apply online, and I'll get a FREE clock/calculator (made in China)! I applied, and the rate was $400 a year more than my current one. And I never got the fucking clock/calculator!
      3 months later, and guess what I just got? An offer from AARP to get a better car insurance rate! All I have to do is apply online, and I'll get a FREE clock/calculator (made in a Chinese prison)!
      Jessica's mention of baby food for ailing cats reminded me of something from their crappy magazine, The 50 Biggest Flops Ever. Apparently they're stealing the "somethingest comedy list" idea from Cracked.com. (Well...only old people now remember Cracked, the magazine) It's an amusing waste of a few minutes, as mainstream comedy lists tend to be, but a couple of items kind of stood out from "The Bay of Pigs" and "The Edsel." And those two turned out to have been taken from a 2007 CNN article, Funky Fries and other foods that flopped. Nos. 1 & 8, specifically. Especially #8, "Gerber Singles."
      This wasn't aimed at parents who didn't have twins, but at people in their 20s. Who lived alone. Who would spoon their food from the same tiny jars Gerber made for babies. And who wouldn't think, "Maybe the reason I don't have a girl/boyfriend is because I'm hunched over with a spoon, eating fucking baby food from a jar."


Many thanks to Lily for the picture that answers the musical question, "What would happen if Kill Kill and Byron had a baby?"

      More feline fun, from--well, you'll figure out from whom, as I like the title he gives his post.


      I finally decided to stop putting it off and see how hard replacing all the old Geocities News posts would be. Not very, and they (seem to be) all there. Unfortunately, they reproduce the Geo Experience a bit too much, as they have a big blank space where the old sidebar banner ads would go. Fortunately, this is just a matter of cutting out some garbage code Geo put on the pages, and the results clean up real purdy. (Oh, like you didn't think the first page to get fixed wouldn't be the one on the day that changed my life) I'll plug at it a few minutes a day, then I guess I've no excuse left not to get the Sisto Files back online.
      It occured to me as I was figuring out how to get it to work that I've been writing my own HTML for 12 and a half years. Or one-quarter of my entire life. And years ago blogging software made it a skill that currently ranks up there with knowing how to build a butter churn.


      Unexpectedly, unloading 200 cases of wine and liquor and 500 cases of beer makes one very tired. G'night, all!



      I hate my new morning schedule (and if I haven't gotten used to it after 8 months, I never will), but this is the first holiday eve in 12 years that I've been able to leave before closing. I think that my brain just might explode if I can leave at 4PM on Christmas Eve.

      A new thing that I hate: Finding a beloved old 80s floppy disc PC game online, like Road War Europa or Star Command, downloading it, and then discovering that the Save Game function doesn't work. Yeah, lemme just leave the computer on 24/7 for the 2 or 3 weeks it'll take me to finish the game. A free download that costs me $20 in electricity every time I play it isn't really free.


      Short commentary from Brain One on The death of uncool:      All I want for Xmas is a Bazooka Vespa.


      For 13 years, today was the unleashing of Retail Hell on Earth for me. 6 weeks of increasing business, and unbelievably increasing numbers of angry, psychotic assholes--oh, wait, I mean "Xmas shoppers." But for the last 12 years...ahh, BOOZE! The business, I mean. A storm of sales the day before what I call it, ThanksForMeNotWorkingInAToyStoreAnymoreday, then relative peace and quiet afterwards (but it's not dead; those visiting relatives are hanging around all weekend, and it's not like anyone wants to face them sober). Then it's only slightly busy until Xmas Eve, when it's Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid all over again.
      Today I restocked the floor and cooler while the evil, evil radio played Xmas songs. And of course--the first Xmas ad! It was Santa, orgasming over Hood egg nog. But I was immediately distracted by the fact Santa was voiced by Don Kennedy. Space Ghost C2C fans will recognize that name as the voice of Tansut, who was fat but not very jolly. He bitched and he whined like a bowl full of jelly! I only heard it once, but I sure hope that they play this ad over and over. Or have him recreate A Space Ghost Christmas. "Try Hood egg nog, click click click, gabba hey gabba gabba hey!"


      SHAWT: There's a town newspaper, a weekly only 8 pages long, that is given away free in the store. I picked it up in an idle moment today (there are plenty of those after a major holiday), and saw a front page article on Black Friday. 2 women were pictured shopping, so I looked at the background to see if it was in a liquor store. Wasn't, so I put it down. I'm shallow that way.
      A bit later, a coworker held up the front page to a regular customer and said "My 15 minutes of fame!" Yes, she was one of the women! The customer said "I'm keeping this!" And then added lavisciously "But I won't tell you what I'm going do with it!" He heavily implied that he was going to be reading with one hand.
      Okay, that's more of a CHAWT. Creepy Human At Work Today.

      In one of my many dreams last night, the United States had been conquered from within by some vile dictatorship in a Second Civil War. They had the entire country under their bootheels, with the exception of New England. A Cold War now existed, a false peace while both sides built up their forces for the final battle between tyranny and freedom--literally, as The Enemy had brought back slavery. New England was hopelessly outnumbered, and the front line was Connecticut. The final battle would be swift, and we would be massacred.
      I wasn't in the military, but I and a half-dozen others were going across the enemy lines into Long Island to recon. The Enemy was gearing up for the last attack. We were given some of the highly sophisticated Enemy firearms that had inexplicably fallen into the hands of Connecticut's forces. With surprising ease for a war zone, we crossed the border into Long Island on foot (it was connected to land somehow--look, it's a dream). After several bizarre non sequitur adventures (it's a dream), we were met by a seemingly insane Enemy soldier who knew who we were, and wanted to defect. Before we could get any info from him, his spandex pants swelled up from giant hemorrhoids, his face began to bubble like his skin was boiling, and his head burst like a water balloon. This attracted the attention of his fellow soldiers, as one might guess.
      I wasted a lot of ammo from my hi-tech handgun on the first one, so when he fell, I grabbed his submachine gun and sprayed the oncoming troops. Literally, as it was a squirt gun. I switched to my gun and shot the rest quite easily, as they were moving slowly and randomly in the open and not firing back. I reloaded and realized that they were also armed with toy guns, or even dinner forks. Baffled, our side stopped shooting, and suddenly our enemies all got really bad hemorrhoids, and then their heads exploded. One was staggering around and began bragging about how great he felt, and showed us his arm. He was on drugs, and I don't mean that he showed us his needle marks, but a big IV bottle taped to his arm, a bright yellow liquid being pumped continuously into his bloodstream. It looked like power steering fluid. Since the drug didn't have a name beyond "Zip!" (with "!" in the name), maybe it was power steering fluid. Maybe those Russian air force pilots stationed in Siberia who drink the windshield washer fluid from their MiGs are onto something after all.
      Oh, and his ass and face swelled, and POP! "Zip!" was an instantly addictive drug that had only been around for a month, and after a month, you died spectacularly. Everyone in the Enemy's army was using it. All around us, they needed O-shaped pillows to sit for a few seconds, then their heads exploded. The Enemy instantly developed a gun that shot Zip! in syringes at people, and we were the closest people. We all dodged their attacks, and in their addled state, the enemy soldiers all decided "If I'm going to die, I'm taking SOMEONE with me!" and began dosing their own side.
      We stood there, not really sure what to do, when suddenly a hologram appeared in the air, a warning from a New England doctor. "We've discovered the reason for these Zip! deaths. DO NOT put Zip! in a slow IV drip! The bottle should be injected all at once directly into the carotid artery or jugular vein!" All the newly infected enemy did this immediately, and instead of dying in a month, 5 seconds later, KABLAM! Head fireworks display! Like human dominoes, they were falling dead from where we stood to the horizon! Connecticut troops rushed past us across the border, and within days the Enemy's dictatorship, its armies either unarmed, already dead or currently head-explodey, had been overthrown!
      Zip! was so addictive and so expensive that the Enemy army's soldiers paid with whatever the drug dealers would take--and the dealers were very happy to trade Zip! for their advanced weapons. The reason the border was so easy for us to cross was because the drug dealers were in New England, and that's why we were armed with Enemy weapons, while they only had realistic-looking toys or dinner forks. Because the drug had been created in New England to kill them, as there was no other way to defeat the Enemy...Yankee ingenuity at its most ferocious.



      Hey, a bunch of B-movies online! The list includes The Horror of Party Beach, possibly the only rock'n'roll horror beach movie filmed on the sunny shores of Connecticut (I'm kidding! The sun never came out during the shooting). But among the laughable stuff there lie rarities, such as Fiend Without a Face (the one with the leaping disembodied brains) and that one with the one-eyeballed blob from the old MST3K intro, and actual good movies, like Dark Star and Carnival of Souls. I haven't watched any to verify the quality yet, but I will.


      Byron was getting pets in my lap when DJ attacked a plastic bag. And Byron heard it. He even did a double take to echolocate it. Then he went, "Eh, whevs."
      I know that he hears the shower and similarly pitched sounds. But what else does he hear, that a seemingly rare event like "I HEARD that!" is written off with a shrug?


      Mrs Jessica sends this warning about bad cat food: If you live in the South or along the East Coast, "Diamond Pet Foods recalled certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball cat food". It's not on the level of the Chinese cat food with melamine nightmare, but forewarned is forearmed.

      A Government Pension That's Lasted 271 Years. So compound interest means they're rich, oui? Non. But they could've been...


      Old and good friend of this blog Kirk is running a "Javadent Calendar" of little webtoys.

      Body language? How about Foot Language? Apparently your feet tell more about you than you think, including when you're lying, or whether a woman likes a man (because, ladies, you unconsciously...umm...spread your feet, and let's not pursue that any further). Of course, this isn't remarkably useful knowledge, unless you want to be known as "That person won't break eye-to-foot contact."

      Ebert on the antiscience fundies of the right and left:

      With Carl Sagan dead too early, and The Amazing Randi ready to die old, will Ebert become the new public voice of skepticism? I hope so. Penn & Teller are knee-jerk Randians; everything BIG GOV'T says is a lie, but everything GIANT CORPORATIONS say is the Gospel Truth. Bill Maher stands behind Science, except when it's about medicine, then he demands that you let your children die from measles. Because "non-tradtional" (i.e., "doesn't work") non-medicine is better. If he gets the flu, does he check his chi, and if he gets cancer, how long will he stick with coffee enemas?
      The sad thing is that if Ebert becomes the Voice of Reason--he can't speak, due to his jaw surgery. (And I hope he fixes that repeated text block at the end of his article) Maybe Myers and Plait and their blogs can be the next.


      It is so nice to live in a country where you can studiously and deliberately ignore everything about a celebrity's fender bender, and yet still get every tiny detail through some sort of cultural osmosis! Good thing the media never talks about some vague and meaningless shit like two endless and unwinnable wars draining our lives and treasury! Cuz that shit would be BORING! TELL ME MORE ABOUT TEH FIRE HYDRANT DAMMIT!!!!


      We had a snowstorm today, of the "forecast changes every 2 hours" variety. It turned out to be nothing, as far as my commute went. It rained and snowed for over 6 hours before it got cold enough for the snow to collect even on the grass.
      But by the store, it was the town Xmas light display's inaugural afternoon. And there were horse and buggy rides! I saw one plod dejectedly past us, the riders huddled shivering in their hooded winter coats in the 34 degree rain/snow mix. Even the horses looked miserable. Enjoy the ride! The pneumonia's on us!

      After reading a comment from Literary Equivalent last night--who lost a beloved cat to the horrifying Chinese melamine nightmare that killed so many, so needlessly--I decided that there had to be a blog that listed pet food alerts. And if not, why not?
      The first one I found answered both questions:

      There's nothing else beyond 2007. That was the last post.
      I didn't read the comments there. I assume that the "too painful" part was reading and responding to others and their heartbreaking experiences. I found other food recall blogs that started in 2007, promising to update on all recalls, which then also abruptly ended in exhaustion a few months later.
      It reminded me of the Gulf War veteran who decided to post a link to the obituary of every soldier who was killed in Iraq, beginning right with the illegal and immoral war's start. At first, I tried reading the linked obits, then I just read their names, then just the titles of the posts, then I simply had to stop. So did the site's creator, who cited the crippling depression of tallying the lost lives of so many, young and old, men and women. After a couple of years, he quit. It would take a pretty tough soul to keep on doing a site about needless, pointless, preventable deaths.
      Or a medical professional, and a site with no comments. The American Veterinary Medical Association's pet food recall site would be that. It literally covers even chicken feed. It's clinically detached, just links, but updates as the incidents occur--they listed the Premium Edge recall over 2 months ago. I'm going to check it triweekly, and pass on any alerts here, giving you the basics (brand, and the region affected), so you can act quickly. These pet poisonings are happening too often, and will continue to happen, as we all try to live through the no-regulation-of-corporations-ever Bush legacy.


      I received my first search from Amazon shopping last night. It was for "farmgoat cage for truck bed." I assume that that'd be different from a "feralgoat cage for truck passenger seat," as that would probably need spikes on it or something.
      The search was from Lufkin, Texas. "Lufkin"--that sounds like a stuffed toy from the 80s that competed with Care Bears and Popples. Being from Texas, they came with widdle fuzzy-wuzzy gun racks and a whole lotta cute racial prejudice.


      If you've ever wondered what the cats did when you were away, here's the answer.




      SHAWT: I did a delivery today to an elderly customer that included cigarettes. She met me at the door--with the tubes to her oxygen tank still in her nose.


      I don't know if there are any dog owners reading this, but Choo Hooves, Doggie Delight, Dentley’s, Pork Tasteez and Pet Carousel Recalls Beef Hoof Products and Pigs Ears Because of Salmonella Risk. Proof that the AVMA Alert site updates constantly and consistently.

      In substantially lighter pet news, BoozeCats. The captions are what makes it.


      SHAWT: A young man brings to the register 4 gift packs of Jagermeister--unusual already--a 30 pack of Red Dog beer (our cheapest), and 2 big bottles of Dubra vodka (our cheapest). Yolanda asks him for ID. "Umm, this doesn't look like you. Do you have anything else with your name on it?" Why, no, he doesn't. She refuses the sale, and we put all his crap back. He leaves in a small, new blue car with 3 other guys in it.
      Within minutes, a young man brings to the register 4 gift packs of Jagermeister, a 30 pack of Red Dog beer, and 2 big bottles of Dubra vodka, and makes a point of not going to Yolanda. Unusual again! Larry asks him for ID. "This license is all cut up," he says, which is what bouncers in some bars do to fake IDs--cut 'em and hand 'em back. "Do you have anything else with your name on it?" Why, no, he doesn't. He refuses the sale, and we put all his crap back. He leaves in a small, new blue car with 3 other guys in it.
      30 minutes later, a young man asks Kevin where the "Jagermeister gift sets are" and grabs 4 of them...This has now become usual. His ID says that he's 26, and it looks like it could be his older brother's, he has no other ID, and he's nervous. "What's your zip code?" asks Kevin, an old booze store trick (they might memorize the street and town, but not the zip). "It's...it's..." He refuses the sale, small blue car, blah blah blah.
      How fucking stupid do you have to be to do the same store and try the same trick with the same product 3 times in an hour? I felt left out. Where was that fourth guy? Was he 12, and could only offer me as ID his junior high hall pass?
      (But I did refuse a kid with an expired, out-of-state license, as those are always fake, so at least I disappointed one teenager. We ended the day with a girl whose ID either clearly wasn't her, or she'd gained about a hundred pounds since the photo was taken. No, she didn't have another ID either. "I'll be right back," she said, which always means "I won't." I said, "Where's she going? To work out at the gym?")

      Hey, comic strip time!
      Atheist Holiday Traditions
      Shango the Atomic Cowgirl


      I went over to Kev & Meg's today for a movie and a pizza, with me supplying the beer (as I get it for cost--it was local favorite Thomas Hooker's Nor'easter, and the food from local fave Wooster Street Pizza, if you care. And you don't, since you're unlikely to have either outside of Connecticut). First we watched the latest Wallace & Gromit short, A Matter of Loaf and Death. It was good, but I was disappointed to see that they totally stole the entire "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!" scene from the 1966 Batman movie.
      We then saw the new release, Star Trek IV. It's truly believable story involved a spaceship made by whales, who I guess have hands and can smelt metal underwater, unless they used their flippers to mold it out of whale poo, who come to Earth because the whales here stopped singing to them through the vacuum of outer space, and try to find said whales by vaporizing the oceans, possibly hoping to drain them until they can see the whales flopping around on the dry ocean floor, which of course can only be solved by time travel, duh!
      Sounds kinda dumb when you put it that way, doesn't it?
      Sure, the plot's ridiculous, but it's a fun movie. Meg came back with the pizza and we took an intermission, Kev and me both singing "I hate you! And I berate you!" You know, the scene on the bus with the punk rocker with the boombox who Spock pinches. Here's the song, uncut. And here's the story behind the song and "Thatcher Kirk". I think you'll get a laugh at the "punk rock" the studio originally wanted on the boombox.



      Coincidal to that, the laser pointer died today, but that's why we keep a backup. Byron and DJ chased the new one's dot around; Ms Killsy is only interested in watching them. It came with a few extra "fashionable tips." The first one I tried made an amazingly detailed Capricorn figure, while the next two were a poor representation of a pair of hearts, and a really poor representation of...something. Held one way, it was sort of an ice cream cone; turned upside down, Santa's least happy elf. Held sideways, < :.) Not a clue, really. The other said "SOS," just in case you desperately need help from a person across the room but don't feel like yelling.
      It was made in China. Thank you, Beijing, for putting a big DANGER on the pointer above the text too small to read without a magnifying glass. But I have one, and it said:      Strictly forbid shining on WHAT? I hope not "floors."
      Under that I was carefully told (gets out magnifying glass again):      Wow, my eyes hurt from reading that tiny print. But at least I know that it's 21 CFR part 1040, 10 with 1040, now.

      Add a few teabags and screams of "BIRTH CERTIFICATE MUSLIM HITLER COMMIE ARRRGHH!!" and this 1970s Pogo strip is two take care of very 2009.


      SHA(someone else's)WT:
      VERY LITTLE, VERY OLD LADY at Dollar Tree: Do you have batteries for garage door openers?
      CLERK: What size are they?
      VERY OLD LADY: Garage door opener size.
      And I did it a second time: I walked away at the point a dollar store conversation would get interesting. I need to eavesdrop more. But they caught up with me in another aisle.
      OTHER WORKER: Hey, what's up?
      FIRST WORKER: Nothing, I'm just showing this lady where the batteries are.
      LADY: HERE? With the COOKIES?
      Lady, to get from one part of the store to another requires walking. He ain't gonna teleport you there.

      Yesterday the answering machine had a 3PM robocall on it: "Do you think that GUMMINT MONEY should be used to fund ABORTION?!?!"
      Oh, fuck you, whore of the insurance industry! Because that's who pays you to do this. I wish I'd been home to answer it, but who is at that time of day? Retired people, who'd freak out if the robocall asked them "Do you think that GUMMINT MONEY should be used to fund LONG HAIR ON MEN, and WOMEN WEARING PANTS?!"
      Who else is home at that time? Retail managers who have Wednesdays off! They called again today, and I grabbed the phone and said "YES, I DO!" And the robot did excactly what I knew it would do: It hung up. If I'd said "NOOOOO! THEY IS JESUS'S SPECIAL MAGICAL SNOWFLAKES! Until they're born, then FUCK THOSE WELFARE BABIES!! You're 2 days old, GET A JOB!" it would've told me to call my congressman and ask, nay, DEMAND, that he vote against every health care reform bill that he sees! Because the Insurance Industry has actually run radio ads telling me to just that--vote down any health care reform. They've become that blatant, and that desperate. What, isn't having Blow Lieberman sucking your cock not enough?

      Those fellers at CRACKED don't seem to cotton to Glennn Beckkk, the Christmas sweaty guy: "Beck lathers himself up over the loss of the good old days when Russia was a radar blip from nuking us, hot dogs only cost a smile, black people weren't sensitive about mistreatment, and everyone felt as great as they did the day after 9/11. The next time you feel like a jerk, do a quick check: Have you invoked the specter of 3000 dead human beings to boost your audience? No? Then you have more class than Glenn Beck, and possibly more class than a syphilis-scabbed ballsack." And that's probably the least funny line.

      Ghosts, masturbation and weird findings, a year-end compilation of odd news items. Do you see dead people? Then lay off the coffee.


      Hitler is not alive and well and living in Argentina.


      I can pack out an order of 400 cases of beer in short order--in more relatable terms, those 400 cases cost the store $8,000, in a single day. But I don't pack out quite so qickly at this time of year, when I have to also cover the registers. It took most of the day, and then the liquor and wine orders came in. While thankfully small, they too took a long time to put away.
      Wait...there isn't an actual point to my little work story. Except that after all that work, I'll sleep well tonight! And awake only to descend back into the retail Xmaelstrom again tomorrow for more fun.

      From LTRotD Linda, a widget with pet food safety news. Thank you, Ducks!

      "Xmaelstrom"--Google tells me that I have just coined a new word. And, for those of you who've never worked retail at Xmas, an INCREDIBLY APT ONE.


      You know that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas when you see a Christmas tree on the highway. On the highway, lying there right in the middle of the road. Since there wasn't much traffic, I'd think that whoever lost it ("But I tied it with string to the luggage rack! The good string!") would've noticed it flying off, and stopped to drag it to the shoulder. Instead, they got home and said "HEY KIDS! It's time to setup the...umm...Oh. Damn."
      Another 2 miles up the same road, and there was a bale of hay smashed on the shoulder. So their life-sized manger scene got ruined, too!


      Good news for comic strip fans: the Seattle PI today expanded its comics page a metric boatload. My favorite strip was always Prince Valiant, but I haven't been able to read it for many years, after the King Features site went subscriber-only. Sorry, I'm poor enough that I won't pay $15 a year for something that vanishes from a website a month later. But now I can read it for free! I find it amusing that the PI menu currently calls it "Price Valiant," like the name of some dollar store. As it was the price that kept me from reading it.



      Well, I'm baffled. The phone worked on Thursday, but yesterday, it didn't. Completely dead; not even a dial tone. But the ADSL worked fine. Well, it's an old phone and already has demonstrated problems, and I really only use it to call Nielsen HomeScan. So I put in an order for a new free phone from Nielsen, using my member points.
      I called home from work this morning to see if the answering machine picked up. And got a busy signal. Umm, what?
      Tonight it was the same thing: dead phone, working DSL. Until the DSL went down. Twice. We've a problem now, Houston. I plugged the phone into the wall, and it worked perfectly, as long as all the DSL periphinalia was disconnected. So I kerjiggered every wire, replaced every part I had a redundant one for, plugged everything in every possible combination of phone, DSL and answering machine, and AHA! It was the DSL/phone splitter!
      For a few seconds. Then everything stopped working again, and I went through the "replug everything in every combination like it's a Rubik's cube" thing again. Well, I didn't replace everything, as I don't have 50 feet of phone line lying around.
      And I'm back where I started. The DSL works, but the phone only works when plugged into the wall. I guess that I'll have to call AT&T customer service (via Mumbai) at some point, because outside of getting some new wall plug, I'm lost here. I can make everything work, just not work conveniently, so it's not a big worry.


      It occured to me at work that I don't have 50 feet of phone line from the computer to the wall. I have 30 feet plus 20 feet with a connector right in the cat racetrack from one room to another. I could check half the line by plugging the phone into the connector; whether it worked or didn't, it was the other side of the line that was to blame. And I found about 20 feet of phone line in a box, so I could fix it either way.
      And the phone worked. So it was the line from the computer to the connector that was bad. Except...plugged back into the computer, now the phone works. The hell? It didn't minutes earlier. Wait, that's it? The only thing I needed to do was plug and unplug the phone from the connector? Seriously?
      Don't know, don't care. Maybe the whole thing was because of a problem on the phone company's end. Don't know, don't care, so long as it works. Of course, I did order a new phone/answering machine combo, while I still have a functional answering machine and two working phones...

      Who cares about my phoneline woes? Time for something important: The Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010


      CUSTOMER: Can I have $25 worth of $2 scratch tickets?
      ME, smiling: Umm...
      CUSTOMER: (pauses, laughs) It's been a long day!

      Santa’s Sleigh: Researcher Explains Science of Christmas Magic. Actually kind of funny:

      I'd just like to point out that this is the first Xmas eve that I haven't had to work until store closing since 1984. A quarter of a century ago.
      And how does it feel? Frustrating! My job is to fill the shelves, but I had no choice but to be on register all day. Running register just doesn't feel like "real work" to me any more. (On the other hand, it's also amazingly less exhausting. Maybe that's why it bothers me--I didn't feel like collapsing when I got home today)

      "We three cats of Orient are, looking for nip here and afar...Well, okay, not that far. Just here. Hey, what is this shit, myrrh? WHERE'S OUR DAMN NIP?!"



      Christmas leftovers:
      A M.O.D.O.K. Holiday Special.
      Of snowness and of sleeves: 15 strange holiday songs that deserve to be Christmas classics. Includes a playlist. After 30 years of collecting weird Xmas music, I've only heard 3 of the songs. Believe me, that means they're obscure.
      My second favorite "Christmas" song after "Santa Dog" is Mr. Yankovic's Christmas at Ground Zero.


      "Saying Grace" seems to have gone out of fashion with my family. Pete always said it, but lately he hasn't, and no one's stepped up to the dinner plate. There was some confusion over this yesterday, so I said grace:
      "Good food, Good meat, Good God, Let's eat!" Hey, the veggies were already getting cold! Someone had to be proactive.
      Latecomers to the table asked if we should wait for grace (why? Does Jesus make you choke on a green bean if you don't?), so I said "Let us all thank He who has blessed us with this feast today, Santa Claus..." My sister Sue interrupted, "I think we should quit while we're ahead!" and I continued "...And that other invisible man with a beard in the sky no one has ever seen!"
      (sister Sue did actually choke violently on dessert later. Odd of God to pick on her, and not the atheist sitting across from her)

      My family's not super religious--the other overt atheist is a Republican corporate lawyer--so I didn't need to play Atheist Bingo with them. Although I do regularly play it with people who I mention my religious nonorientation to. "Not having a reason to live" is my fave, as it means that the only reason you have to live is go to Candyland when life ends. That's not a reason to live, that's a reason to die.

      Wow, I ate way too much. Nobody in the family is remotely overweight, but damn, do we make too much food. And eat it. If they could bottle the Young Family's metabolism, America would slim down quickly. Although I'm glad that they don't, as I assume it would be made from me.
      It was dessert that did it. After all the other food, oh wait! THREE desserts each, in little cups! Well, they looked little, but ow. So much sugar.
      If I may touch again on a semi-regular topic here, Calorie Restriction: Scientists Take Important Step Toward 'Fountain of Youth'. Latest research: it's not so much calories, as glucose/sugars.

      I've mentioned before how weird the 1967 Spiderman cartoons became. So weird that the network refused to show the final episode "Dementia 5." Bakshi's studio couldn't keep up wih the demand, so they kept looping the same crap animation, and it was the 60s, maaan, so they were taking lots of drugs. And it shows in Cold Storage, which mentions "the side effect of hallucinations!" early on, and then it's a baad trip! Spidey goes to the future, which is New York in ruins, plagued by the horrors of post-apocalyptic cavemen, dinosaurs, and endless loops of the same crap animation. Check out that 5 seconds of future cavemen drumming on pots while a guy who looks like a cross between Abe Lincoln and Flava-Flav screams. Oh, you think I'm joking about that! And I am. Abe-a-Flav and Bang on a Drum are there alright. For 5 seconds. And for EVERY SUBSEQUENT OTHER MINUTE. Oh, and Spidey's being crushed by a mastodon's trunk, and the only way he can defeat it is--Well, picture the eyes on Spiderman's mask, right? He terrifies the mastodon by growing a pupil in his left eye.
      It's like you can see the parts that were written on acid, and the parts that were written the next day while merely high.


      Dorkiest Mechs of 3025, another entertaining WTF, D&D? from Zach & Steve.


      Do you know what putting away 809 cases of beer feels like? It feels like bedtime. G'night!


      Best movie of the year: District 9.
      Yes, Hollywood, you can have a sci-fi actioner with a brain in its head, as proved by many Star Trek movies, but certainly not by the enjoyable but rather dumb reboot.
      An alien spaceship becomes stuck on Earth, and, pointedly, over South Africa. Humans seize the ship to remove the aliens and steal their advanced weaponry, throw the aliens into camps without any way to live, and then sneer at how "animalistic" the aliens are. They're the intelligent life everyone on Earth feels free to be bigoted against. Sadly, you grow to think that, yeah, this is exactly how the scenario would play out, given our species' track record. Nothing that humans do to aliens in this movie isn't something that's we're doing to other humans right now in the real world.
      It's kind of a grim movie, as you know that what we're being shown is just humans treating "the other" the same way they always have. Humans are universally cruel or condescending, laughing at how the aliens love cat food, but never grasping that it's because they have nothing else to eat. I hesitate to call the main character a "hero." He's a bigoted bureaucrat and a coward, thrust into a role he didn't want, and would gladly give up. And more than once, he does.
      But don't let that put you off it. It's always fascinating, and while some critics disliked the action-packed finale, it's the only thing that you want to happen by that point, and it flows logically from the plot.
      Best movie I saw all year. I can imagine people who won't like it. Do you think that the Iraq Invasion, torture at Gitmo and a border wall with Mexico are all super-awesome ideas, and that Obama is a Muslim? You won't like it. It could make your brain start working! Go watch your DVD collection of 24 again.
      You humans that still have a shred of humanity? Watch it ASAP. I think my review makes the movie seem like a downer, but it's anything but. You won't identify with most of the humans, but you will with the aliens, and cheer their struggle against oppression and racism. If you have any humanity.

      Lighting Can Influence How Wine Tastes. I find that the back seat of a pitch-dark car is the best way to savor a fine bottle of Boone's Farm.