When The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is A Line Bisecting Your Head

NEW 102

"So the universe is not quite as you thought it was.
You'd better rearrange your beliefs, then.
Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe."
--Isaac Asimov


      Thing a customer said that I found amusing: that he found our store "on the Google." Thing I find unamusing: the radio DJ I'm listening to, who has repeatedly referred to the first day of Summer as "midsummer." "Midsummer" would be the middle of summer in 6 weeks, dimwit.

      COWORKER, after looking at back of a credit card: "Can I see your ID?"
      CUSTOMER: "What? Why??"
      "Because you wrote on your card 'Ask for ID'."
      "What? This is ridiculous! I can't believe you're asking me for an ID!"
      "But it says--"
      "I know what it says! But this sale is under $11! You should only ask me if it's over $11!"
      "It doesn't say on the card that I should--"

      The computer speakers were only playing the left channel. I rebooted, and that didn't work. I plugged and replugged every wire on the speakers, and that didn't work. I went into every appropriate menu I could find on FIrefox, then every one I could find in Windows. Fail! I dragged out the speakers that the current ones replaced, and they had the same problem!
      Oh, GREAT, it's the computer! I went to Amazon and placed some new speakers in my cart, after much browsing. Then I thought: why would I have kept the old speakers if they were defective? I stuck a CD in the drive, and Media Player played both channels.
      Yeah, turns out that the last time I'd closed WinAmp, I'd unintentionally swiped the balance bar to the left. SHAHomeT.

      Your UTTERLY AWESOME LINK of the day: WFMU unearths a BIG collection of 1960s Jay "Bullwinkle" Ward music. Lots of recognizable bits, and much, much more that aren't. At least listen to "Moosylvania Anthem" and "U. of Moosylvania Fight Song." (Shouldn't that be the "Wossamotta U. Fight Song"?) There was a big publicity campaign for "Statehood for Moosylvania" in October 1962, including sending a delegation to the White House to meet with the president. Unfortunately, JFK couldn't meet with them, as it was interrupted by a little thing called the Cuban Missile Crisis, aka the Closest We Ever Got to World War 3.
      Actually, listen to all of it. It's all great, and frequently musically surprizing.


      "As Seen On TV: You're Doing It Wrong". A brief compilation of the disasters that happen when you don't own the products advertised on late night TV.

      I really wonder what the solutions to these "problems" were. Sure, tripping over a garden hose--Buy the HOSER, a $19.95 bungie cord that wraps around your errant lawn snake! (Or just put the damn thing away when you're done with it) I would assume that the solution to that personal horror we've all faced, burgers too big or small! was solved by BURGFECTION, 35 cents of plastic that was $19.95! (Or just don't, y'know, give your kid a burger bigger than his head, or your husband one that's the size of one of his balls) But what was the solution for dropping your iron on your foot? Antigravity? Massive metal-toed boots covered in protective foam, only $29.95 a month for a year? A trained, foot-running-over-and-covering masochistic armadillo, refunds not accepted? (Or maybe just not ironing drunk?) BUT WAIT--THERE'S MORE! Call before midnight tonight, and we'll include one of our older products that no one bought FREE!


      The floors have gotten too hairy even for my notoriously lax standards of cleanliness, and Sunday I'd already used the "It's too humid today" excuse card, so I apologized to Kill Kill. She immediately knew what I meant: it's time for the annual vacuuming! She bolted--to where, I'm not sure. DJ watched for a horrified second after it was turned on, then fled into a closet. Byron watched with mild interest.
      Once it was over, KIllsy reappeared far quicker than expected. Byron's reactions to noise--or, really, his lack of reaction--have emboldened her. Deej poked his head out before her, but came out later. It's only his second time seeing the Dread Vacuum in action.
      Glad I didn't put that off, I thought proudly. Two hours later, I wished I had put it off. I remembered that it was another of DJ's second times--seeing the vet! Would he be like Killsy, terrified but all "Let's just get this unpleasantness done with, shall we?" Or would he be like Byron, violently screaming "I'LL TAKE ALL YOU MOTHERFUCKERS WITH ME! SEE YOU IN VET OFFICE HELL!!"
      Outside of some plaintive meowing on the way, all went well. It actually went even better than a Kill Kill visit (he hasn't learned yet to go so inert that he can't be removed from the carrier. He also hasn't learned to go back in the carrier when it's done, although that means Next Stop: Home). Didn't even peep when poked with his rabies and FVRCP vaccines.
      Dr Aronson--who's been my vet since I was bringing guinea pigs to him in the 1980s, and knows all of my cats by name--answered some general questions that I think might be of interest to all pet owners. "My cat Byron..." I began, and he winced, as yeah, he knows them all by name. Jessica's husband's boy Bogart is a violent Byronic Man of Action at the vet, too, and her vet prescribes a single Valium to calm him enough to last through a checkup. That can work, he said, but there are better things to prescribe. "A Valium might not be strong enough." Yes, he knows my cats by name! And one's proclivities to violence! I asked him about the pet insurance they offer (they recently joined the VCA group) as compared to the ASPCA insurance I recently signed up for, and he truly said that while the one they offer is the oldest plan, all the big ones are very similar. I was expecting him to try to sell me on it, and he didn't. Remarkable! Another reason why I'd never change vets: mine tells the truth.
      Finally, I asked the hard one. The question I keep putting off asking, the one no one I've asked knows the answer to, but always wants an answer to: If it becomes time to put a pet to "sleep," does it have to happen at the vet, where they would die in terror, or could it happen at home? He said, "If we have enough time, yes. The time can come really quickly, or really slowly. Most times it happens quickly, like a day or two. If we have enough time, yes, we can send someone out. But it usually happens too quickly for that." Something to think about, should the unthinkable ever come.
      Next exciting thing: my first claim on my ASPCA pet insurance! Two things I've learned so far: they will not let you know if you've been approved after you sign up and begin payments. You have to remember to log in 2 weeks after you've applied, so keep their email in your inbox. Also, you can't download the claims PDF using Firefox, only Internet Exploder. You can scan or fax your form in, 2 things I can't do, so I'm mailing it in. You have 180 days to file. Mine goes out tomorrow.

      DJ's currently hiding...somewhere! I've no idea. He's in here somewhere, and if he wants some alone time after his crazy day, I intend not to infringe upon it. Meanwhile, if you need some time after your crazy day, here are Cat Lovers Photos, conveniently arranged by topic.

      Oh--Hello, DJ! He was in the bedroom. Now he's just checking out that everything is normal, while the stereo plays "The Look of Love." Apropos!


      Whew! Humid day! No fun if you're descended from the African desert cat!


      The courtyard window is a good place, if there's a cross breeze. If there isn't, linoleum or tile or a kitchen counter works, too. Hey, look at those lazy kitties; which one do you think is the biggest?
      Yes, Kill Kill takes up the most volume, followed by Byron (and his feet), and lastly Deej. But:
      At Byron's last weigh-in, he was 10 pounds. Killsy: 12.5. DJ, yesterday: 13.5. He's an eating machine, and entirely muscle.

      I'm a big user of Freebie sites, and not a big buyer of name brands. Store brands often are just as good. But I am a fan of a freebie I got, Viva paper towels, as they are awesome if you have a pukey cat like Byron. (Hmm...does he keep his slim figure via bulimia?) I got a pair of little fast-food sized squeeze packets of Kraft Flavored Mayo yesterday. Mayo is for tuna salad and nothing else IMO, but I put the Garlic & Herb on a flounder filet sandwich, and today the Chipotle on a turkey & bacon one, and damned if the mayo didn't make the sandwich! They could've sealed the deal with a coupon, but they didn't, so I'll wait for a sale. Dang tasty, though.



      Via Kitsplut, a funny cartoon. Although most of my conversations along these lines make me think they understand me more than I them...


      The trailer to Jackboots on Whitehall, the "England invaded by Nazis performed by Ken dolls" movie, has been released. It's amusing, but it's just a trailer, and it's hard to imagine a feature-length movie like this being anything but pretty retarded. It's already available as a "Save" on Netflix, and yes I will watch it.


      Weird juxtaposition of news headlines I saw next to each other yesterday: "Arsenic Water Killing 1 in 5 in Bangladesh" While in America, "Kellogg recalls 4 cereals for odor, off flavor."


      A customer won $685 from scratch tickets! Good money deal! Except that he bought one thousand dollars worth to lose 31.5% of his investment. And then bitterly complained about it, as if the state lottery is designed to lose money. If that was its purpose, why would the state have a lottery? Maybe he'll figure it out when he gets older.
      And he'd better figure it out quick, as he was clearly in his 80s. And dropped a grand on the day the Social Security checks come out.
      I asked the cashier why he did this, and she said "I guess it gives him and his wife something to do." To "do"? He stood there and watched HER scratch a THOUSAND DOLLARS WORTH OF TICKETS FOR HIM. What are they "doing," besides burning their money? They'd be better off using twenties as to wipe their asses--at least then they're saving on toilet paper.
      The people who start drinking at 8AM are actually less pathetic than the Lotto Losers. For a few bucks a day, they get drunk. They at least feel good for a while. Gambling addicts only feel good when they win, and the system is set up so that they don't. No company would stay in business if they sold a beer that once every 5 times you bought it, maybe it got you drunk. I wouldn't want to buy a pint of cheap vodka for breakfast, but if I did, I'd at least understand that the math was on my side.

      A Toho 60s classic is now available, even on Netflix! Latitude Zero! Full of American "stars" standing in the breadline, like Cotten and Romero. I love how the trailer says "The GREATEST SCIENTIFIC MINDS OF THE AGE" and shows Richard Jaeckel. You may remember him from such films as The Green Slime and Herbie Goes Bananas!


      Also, giant flying lion.


      (sarcastically) "Magic helmet...!"


      These Terrifying Jell-O Recipes aren't particularly terrifying. Numbers 6 and 7--seriously, the author's terrified of cottage cheese or fruit in Jell-O? Maybe worse things are in them, but you really don't need to scan the recipes if you make the scans unreadably small. The worst recipe is Number 11, and frankly, I've seen worse. "Guh-LUB!"

      ''Butterfly Effect' in the Brain Makes the Brain Intrinsically Unreliable.


      Firefox 3.0: you suck!
      I put off updating from 2.0 for as long as I could, which was when things simply stopped working using it. My biggest gripe is that it takes for-ev-er to load in XP. Like 5 to 10 minutes after launching. They update it frequently, yet "Make it load faster" never seems to be their priority.
      Today it loaded slower than usual. 15 minutes, 20 minutes...at the 25 minute mark, I'd only turned on a radio stream. Well, I don't know what the problem is here, I thought, but if I reboot, it should come up right away. Except it wouldn't reboot. Or turn off when I hit the power button. Okay, that happens sometimes, so I pulled the plug and restarted.
      And got "Virtual Memory Too Low" right from the restart, followed by error messages from every program that tried to load. One after another failed and closed. This was the point that I realized that I'd downloaded a free virus protection program from a trusted site. FUCK! Maybe IT was a virus! Trying to remove it led to even more problems. Such as--the uninstall NOT WORKING, now THERE'S a good sign! I rebooted again.
      Even worse! I didn't just get "Virtual Memory Too Low," I got "virtual memory gone," in a pathetic lowercase whimper. I tried to do nothing but delete the offending program, and this time, it deleted. I rebooted again, again, and put on shoes and grabbed my wallet and keys. Looks like a trip to Best Buy if I want to use a computer again! And now I'm on my NEW COMPUTER!
      My new old one. After that last reboot, everything's back to normal. That antivirus program is called "Panda Cloud Antivirus." The fact that the uninstall seems to have worked--I won't find out for sure until the next reboot--makes me think that it was some major incompatibility issue with my computer. Not that I'd ever download it again to find out.


      Wow, it already that time of year? The Annual Bulwer-Lytton Awards time of year?

      The customer's total came to $18.01. Before I'd finished ringing her up, she said "I'm taking some of these, okay?" and grabbed some mints. You're supposed to leave change for those, as it's a donation box for CHILDREN WITH CANCER, but it was too busy a holiday weekend for me to argue it. I just thought, No, not okay, you greedy asshole.
      ME: "That's $18.01." She handed me a twenty. So not only did she expect to steal candy from DYING CHILDREN, she expected the store to kick in her penny. I thought, you cheap piece of shit. But of course retained my cheerful retail exterior. Rule of Retail: Never let them know what you're thinking!
      I handed her the $2 back, saying the amount.
      HER, instantly outraged: "HEY! Where's my 99 cents?!"
      ME, confused: "What, you want 99 cents back?!"
      "YES! Who wouldn't want their 99 CENTS!"
      "But I gave you $2!"
      "I WANT MY 99 CENTS!"
      "OK, I'll give it to you, but you owe me a dollar." She handed it to me and I fished 99 cents out of the drawer.
      "Because I gave you the penny!"
      "Yes!! And I gave you $2 back. Do you want $2 or $1.99?!"
      "OH. I want $2."
      Yeah. A dollar for each of your brain cells. And did she apologize? Of course not! She suddenly began making happy small talk with another worker to cover for her worthless self. And walked out with candy she stole from dying children.


      Game time! A pair of fun ones from the Choose Your Own Adventure type of play. In one, you're a British naval officer in the Napoleonic Wars (sort of). It's engrossing, as you feel like you're playing a real human being, although you may feel like less of one, once you realize how important floggings and hangings are. In another, you're a dragon, which is a lot more fun, as you aren't a human being, and you frequently eat them.
      I'm not sure if I "won" or not. In the Dragon game, I went into hibernation, as all dragons do, but with a hoard of gold and a kingdom under my rule. In the Navy game, I fought valiantly for king and country and died a hero's death, but I was dead. I think winning that one would involve retirement as an admiral. The Navy game involves a lot more memorization than I want in a casual game, and you only get one chance (as far as I saw, or lived) to level up. Enjoyable anyway, as the stories are well written.


It's in the mid-90s here! The condo faces due east/west, on top of a ridge. In the summer, the western part gets direct sunlight for almost 9 hours. The eastern part faces a sheltered courtyard that gets an hour of sunlight. The air that comes in is always cool. So where are the cats?
      In the hottest room of the house, of course! Bred from the Egyptian desert cat, very hot but very dry is the best weather possible.
      But it ain't gonna last. Humid is the forecast, so in went the air conditioner. Only a minor bloody gouge on my leg, when a TV fell on me. A TV lying on the floor. It hasn't been turned on in years, so maybe it sensed my disdain.



      Hey, it was 102 degrees yesterday, the all-time record! How come the useful idiots who always say "It was cold this winter, so global warming is a BIG AL GORE LIE!" never say every summer when the temperatures break the record, "Gee whiz, I guess I was wrong!" Is it the same reason that they never point out that the only "scientists" who claim climate change isn't happening are in the employ of oil companies, and/or are never climatologists? The people who actually are trained in that stuff? If a climatologist paid by RJ Reynolds said "Cigarettes don't cause cancer!" would you believe him? If a chiropractic said "Rabid badgers are your friends!" would you let him throw you in a big pit full of them? When he was getting a weekly check from RabidBadgerCorp?
      If you vote Republican, did you answer the last few questions "YES, OF COURSE!"? Good for you! Please jump in the pit.

      Geek Time! I linked to the first part of a Dr Who/Classic Trek mashup over a year ago. It said that Part Two would happen "next Easter," which I took as "next Easter," a year later, and not "this Easter," a month later. It's in 4 parts, a bit confusing in the middle, but with an unexpected ending. Trek Through TIme, Part One; links to the other parts included in the videos.

      Once upon a time (6 years ago), I wrote this review. Apparently while escaping the house while it was on fire after being attacked by Robot Hitler Space Whales, given the typos:

      It took me awhile, but I found out that it wasn't a parody of bad movies, it really was a bad movie, just hilarious. One of the "stars" has made a doc about it, The Best Worst Movie. Is it coming to a town near you? If you live in CO, CA, FL, Atlanta GA or Cambridge MA, maybe yes! Also, eventually Netflixable, but with no set release date.



      Americanized Doctor Who.


      HIM: "Do you have smaller sizes of Southern Comfort?
      ME: "Sure. We have pints, half pints, and quarter pints."
      "What size is a half pint?"
       (points to the one in the middle of the 3) "This size."
      "So, a quarter pint is bigger?"
      "No, it's half that size."
      "Oh...Okay! I want the...the one that's bigger than that."

      A quarter of my 18-mile commute is on one highway (that would make it smaller than half). They're milling and paving it, "milling" meaning grinding the old surface off the road, leaving the grooved pavement that everyone one loves to not drive on. The milling goes much faster than the paving, so you would think that after about 3 days of milling, they'd begin paving right behind that, so as to keep the traffic moving. They took 2 weeks to do the entire westbound side of I-291 before they started paving. You'd think that they'd put a single layer of asphalt down before going back and making the road perfect, starting from one end and finishing at the other, which shows why you don't work for the CT DOT. I suppose that there's a reason that they paved right after the milled onramp ended, then went backwards and did the beginning of the ramp. Or why they perfectly paved after that to about a mile, then skipped the next 3.5 miles to pave the other end. And then stopped doing any paving at all on 291-Westbound, and switched to 291-E, doing the onramp. And then skipping a third of a mile of milled road, then paving the next third, then skipping the next third, paving another third, skipping a tenth of a mile, then paving the next half mile. There must be a reason! Either the DOT decides where its giant paving machines will work next by a throw of the I Ching, or a toss of a 20-sided die using a chart in the D&D Monster Pavers' Manual, or, since they do this at night, spend all day getting drunk and daring each other to pave as incoherently as possible. Every day I drive to work wondering what new Dadaist paving creativity awaits me.

      It's been hazy, hot'n'humid for most of the week, and every day since Wednesday the forecast has claimed that "It will end tomorrow night," moving forward 24 hours the next day. The one forecast that didn't change was that today, Saturday, was going to have heavy downpours. And it did, right as I was leaving for work. I hastily removed the winter lining from my trenchcoat to the fascination of the boys, and drove from downpour to rain to showers to drizzle to nothing to downpours and rain and everything else repeatedly, all in the span of 25 minutes.
      And I discovered the latest avant-garde concept in cutting edge paving: overnight, they'd paved 291-W's shoulder. You know, the part NO ONE DRIVES ON? And they did it perfectly--see, they lay down one layer, then add several layers more. This meant the shoulder was 6 inches higher than the roadway. This also meant that the storm drains were. This meant that the grooved roads didn't drain and were under water, and I slowed way down once I started to hydroplane. On 291-E, someone was not so lucky, and a mile-long backup began where their car spun 180 and smashed ass-first into the guardrail, blocking a lane.
      But this weather had been predicted days ago, and yet they picked last night to block off the storm drains. Did the die roll say that they had to pave Chaotically Evil?


      I hope your day was as good as mine! But of course, it probably wasn't.
      Kevin (whose 40th birthday surprise party I couldn't go to, thanks to work, and I'm still stinging from that) and I went to see Kurosawa's Ran on Cinestudio's (reasonably) big screen: Cinerama shaped, although not Cinerama sized. I wanted to see it when it came out in 1985 after the Siskel & Ebert review, but this was the point that Kay Bee Toys became my job, and then my life (horrible, pathetic life of endless, grueling hours), so I never saw it. I wasn't going to miss my second chance.
      It's in rerelease in a new print, so it may come to an art theater near you. Assuming there are art theaters near you--in Connecticut, it's the type of thing we take for granted. The film was two hours and 40 minutes without a single wasted second; King Lear transported to medieval Japan. Gorgeous to look at, whether inside an austere room or in the sweep of battle. I never read King Lear, but I knew the gist: aging warlord unwisely splits his kingdom between his three daughters sons, all of whom hate each other, with only one who loves the crazy old man. Intrigue and plotting, shifting allegiances, old scores settled. It kept me guessing until the end as to what would happen.
      We went afterwards to a John Harvard's Brew Pub. I was surprised to see the parking lot 75% empty. And not pleasantly. I forget that the economy's bad everywhere but in my business, booze. We ordered some excellent brewed-on-premises beers. I ate a turkey/bacon/red onion/cheese wrap, as it only needed my other favorite food--wait, that was all of them. Kev chose a Gulf Coast Shrimp Pizza with a side of tarballs. Hey, if you like shrimp, get 'em now. BP will soon make a single one the cost of a lobster.
      We talked about pets and Republicans and alcoholics and the Beatles and 3D movies and shitty movie theaters and possibly another dozen topics. Just a movie and a meal, but what a fucking great day. I don't have a lot of friends, but quality always trumps quantity.
      Here's a thing we're going to do, if I can wrap my work schedule around it: RiffTrax Live! Reefer Madness. Not really live, but on a satellite feed as it's live MYSTed.


      Not-Stupid Quote of the Day, via Bad Astronomy:      I rushed out of work at 3 for my 3:15 doctor's appointment. One of the reasons I love my doc is that if the appointment's 3:15, I'm in the room by 3:16. I arrived precisely at 3:15. Because I didn't want him to wait.
      He's so good at appointments that I started to fidget at 3:23. Nobody was going out, and there were 3 patients ahead of me. Doesn't he always have a UConn med student to help him out? Oh, there the student was, behind the window, looking quite frustrated. Hmm.
      There was one time when it took 15 minutes for this doctor to see me, but that's once in a dozen years. At the 25 minute mark, I decided that once the 45 minute bell chimed, I was out of there. After 35 minutes, I got in. The tech said, "We have a med student. Normally they slow things down a little, but for some reason, things are slowing down a lot." I should've asked for his name, but it was probably "Dr. Nick".


      I'm sure that you want more news about the repaving of CT I-291!
      When we last left them, they were paving so randomly that it appeared to be based on a deep schizophrenia. Last night they paved, except for the overpasses, the entire fucking road. And went on to do a mile on the other side! I can't say that they've done more paving in one night than they've done in a month, because in one night they did five times what they've done in a month. Either the CT DOT reads this page, or somebody told the workers "Smoke breaks are only for cigarettes, not crack!"

      According to this guy, Babylon 5: believable. Doctor Who: not so much. Totally unbelievable: World War Two documentaries:

      The Invisible Gorilla Illusion.


      Apparently there's Facebook spam. I got a message a lot of other people have seen. Weirdly, I seem to be the only one getting one from "Jessica Marie," and I know a Jessica Marie (I may have mentioned her before).
      Got this in my email a week ago:      I wasn't sure that it was spam until I clicked the link to my page--the site in question was buried in an all-caps post "written" by Byron. "Rachel"'s page is apparently legit, except for the "back" button at the bottom. View the page source, and it's the biggest pop-up ad I've never seen, as I wasn't dumb enough to click it. Both the email and the Facebook message are some sort of Mad Lib spam, filling in your info into its blanks.

      I watched Latitude Zero from Netflix. AWESOME TOHO MADNESS. Flying submarines, underwater utopias, heroes and villains centuries old, a 1960s Batman feel, and a giant flying lion. Rare for Toho, not a single boring moment.

      "No one ever said it better than Osama bin Laden: 'When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.'"�Thomas Friedman, in the Times. Friedman quoting bin Laden is like, I dunno, some right wing moron quoting a dangerous fanatic or something. The article comes up with some other "No One Ever Said It Betters." Such as, "When people see a boiled ham (and by people I mean men), it�s rare that they think, Hey, great. But when they see prosciutto they�re, like, 'Awesome. I love that stuff.' And yet they�re both ham. By nature, we are drawn toward cured meats."

      Children's Cartoons Are Just Depressing


      Today I opened a case of Coastal Ridge Shiraz mags, and there were 4 bottles of shiraz and two of chard!! That's never happened in my 13 years of booze retail! Since it was taped shut, it was probably repacked, returned by some store that bought it on post, and returned it when it was off post, but didn't have a full case of shiraz, so they
      Wait, that's not interesting!
      At the last part of my commute home, on an offramp that goes up and curves around blindly, I was doing 55 and almost smashed into an earlier accident on the blindest part of the curve, complete with ambulances, tow trucks, and a cop car that SHOULD have been parked much further down the lane to warn cars away from it. I could've been the next person in an ambulance, or jail! But I wasn't. Umm. Not interesting either, really.
      ...There was a giant line of thunderstorms that made me turn off the computer. I did exactly what you are supposed to not, and watched it from a window. Big flashes and little booms, but enough to bother Ms Killsy. Byron, natch, was unbothered, while the Deej was confused from the conflicting signals from his feline role models. Bigfoot and I watched the most interesting part, the Wall of Water rushing in as the rain began. Here's a nice pic I took of Byron watching the torrential rain. It's interesting!!
      GAH!! The camera insists it's connected to the computer, the computer insists that it's not! IT'S ONLY ONE WIRE!! It's PLUGGED THE FUCK IN!
      I think I'm done with my interesting day.
      Wait, after much effort, I got it to work!


      That's...not so great. It wasn't taken at 2AM, I just forgot to turn the flash off. Well, at least he's kinda posed so that he looks like a cyborg.
      I really thought that my day was more interesting when I began this.


       Connecticut: Land of Steady Habits and Byzantine Liquor Laws. One of the many laws--besides, say, the one lets us sell cigarettes, but not cigarette lighters--says that we can't have public bathrooms. Because customers may buy booze and guzzle it in there. At my last job, we had a guy who'd buy 100 proof Southern Comfort nips and then say he needed to use the bathroom. And we'd let him; the law was more honored in the breach than the observance.
      We do the same thing. When we moved to our fancy new store, the first customer to ask to use our bathroom pissed on the floor and shit on the seat. So we stopped. Over time, we slid back, first for ex-employees, then delivery drivers, then parents with cross-legged little kids, then regulars. Now people just ignore the "Employees Only" sign and barge right in. And then we had an incident that made the store manager refuse to let anybody who isn't an employee use it. It's a pretty bad bathroom disaster, so cover your eyes before you read this: a driver was in there when he needed to pee. Our boss drinks 10 Heineken a day, so it was a personal crisis unheard of since Katrina. Outta the way, the levee's gonna break!
      SHAWT: He came wheezing up to the register, smacking his lips in that disgusting way toothless old alcoholics do. He's a regular, meaning he's there at 8AM when we unlock the doors, for his pint of Seagram's gin, then back at 4 for his pint of Seagram's gin, then again before we close for his last pint of Seagram's gin. And he's one of those customers we get to watch die by degrees.
      He demanded to see the manager. "I'm a regular [yeah, no shit], I'm here every day [and more!], and I bring other people in here!" Well, yes, the guy who you make buy you your 8AM pint, who himself only buys Lottery, as he isn't a sot. "There are other places I can go! I'm never shopping here again!" Because someone told him he couldn't use the restroom today! I told him that the boss wasn't there, and the No Bathroom rule was his. This went on for awhile, with both of us repeating the same thing. At some point, it sank into his addled brain that it wasn't working, so now the problem was "The girl was very rude! There are other places I can go! I'm never shopping here again!" After some more repetition, he concluded with "I'm never shopping here again!...Give me my regular." And I sold him a pint of Seagram's gin. Just to show him, I'm not writing about it!


      The tag from my bag of Yogi Bedtime Tea last night read: "If you unconsciously lead a conscious life, you will never be poor." WTF does THAT mean? I think it means "The people who write these tags use Yogi tea as bongwater."
      I've placed it on the fridge with a stumper from Salada I found over 30 years ago: "Accidents happen. That's why there are so many kinds of salad."

      I took a half-mile round trip walk to the gas station/mini-mart/Subway/Dunkin Donuts. No one was at the register, and then the clerk and the owner, both clearly agitated, raced up to the front. The girl ahead of me demanded to know why she couldn't pump any gas. "The circuit breaker went off, so we had to shut the pumps off--it's an emergency!" SHA-the gas station/mini-mart/Subway/Dunkin Donuts-WT snapped, "Why didn't you put any signs up saying I can't pump gas?!" The owner replied, "It's an emergency, we only just shut them off!" The next time my condo is on fire, I will angrily ask the fire department why they didn't put "Danger Wet Floor" signs out before turning on the hoses!
      "How do I know my credit card didn't get charged?!" The owner's English is excellent, but I'm sure that she still thinks in Hindi, answered "I don't know," as she was flustered. Meaning "Let me check," not "This is why there are so many kinds of unconscious salads," and checked as the girl--note that I do not refer to her as a "woman," as that implies a level of maturity--snarled "OOOOkay!" and stormed out. I thought, If you couldn't pump any gas because the pump has no power, how could you be charged, and if you were, wouldn't the only charge be for zero dollars? I left immediately after my purchase, and the girl was loudly complaining to her friend in the car about the whole thing, and NOW she had to get gas somewhere else!
      The nearest next gas station? Fifty feet away. What an EMERGENCY!
      Somebody needs a holiday in Cambodia.


      Someday I should buy that tshirt from the Onion that says "Kitten Thinks of Nothing but Murder All Day." It's true, if you think about it! Well, throw in snuggles and sleep and food--maybe really only 60% of the day.
      Miss Killsy, a delicate flower of womanhood, is well nicknamed the Mighty Fighty Bitey Hunter Cat. Someday she won't handily win ever cat battle, but even at 11 years old, DJ always loses and Byron's given up trying. She gained her title of Hunter Cat early, especially when there was a bug in the house. I'd say "BUG!!" (as opposed to "bug," a sweetly, softly said nickname of hers) and she'd spring into action, screaming "WHERE?!" No, really, she'd meow "WHAIIRRR?!" and wait for me to point at it. She hounded (catted?) many a beetle to death.
      Byron, obviously, didn't hear the word. But as a deaf cat, his eyesight is clearly better than his siblings'. He was the one to cry "BUG!!" to me! He even caught a housefly, that most irritating and yet unsmackable of pests! And then et it. Ew.
      But Killsy retired long before Byron was adopted. Byron will chase bugs but, now 7 years old but still svelte and made of muscles, eventually declines the chase. And so the citronella torch of Kill Bugs has been passed to the next generation.
      To DJ the Relentless! Any little flying thing will catch his immediate and undivided attention. Yesterday, he caught (and et. Ew) his second housefly. And did it the same way: chased relentlessly until it was cornered in a window. Smack! then snack. (Ew)
      Byron decided to follow up DJ's catch by one of his own. He fearlessly grabbed it off the kitchen counter, then dragged it to his lair! I thanked him and praised his vigilance and bravery, and then took back the bag of Shake & Bake.
      Today He of the Feets was purring in my lap, when the Deej decided to join us. Byron then leapt into action and took on The Most Dangerous Game: my thumb, after he launched himself offa me after DJ. His unretractable claws are dull, but not so dull as to not rip skin and draw blood. If DJ or Kill Kill had done the same thing. I'd be on my way to the emergency room, with a ZipLoc bag of thumb.


      "It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species -- 'the animal connection' -- played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years."


     Is Time Disappearing from the Universe? "Remember a little thing called the space-time continuum? Well what if the time part of the equation was literally running out? New evidence is suggesting that time is slowly disappearing from our universe, and will one day vanish completely. This radical theory may explain a cosmological mystery that has baffled scientists for years."

      Another cosmological mystery that has baffled scientists for years: People thought this guy was funny? And he still gets gigs? Gallagher Is a Paranoid, Right-Wing, Watermelon-Smashing Maniac. Some seriously cringeworthy "jokes" in that article.

      Paranoid, right-wing funny jokes in this video: "It's time for a Second American Revolution!"


      I'm surprised that it took me 3 months, almost to the day, to remember a favorite Dead Kennedys song that still has relevance since BP has "stopped" the leak:


      Or that it took me until today to realize that now April 20th now has a third negative connotation, after Columbine and Hitler's birthday.


      That guy on Saturday that said that he'd "never shop here again!" because we wouldn't let him piss on the floor of our bathroom has been true to his word. He hasn't once shopped here since then, not even once! He now sends someone else in to buy it for him.


      Exact logo on the back of the box truck was behind on the commute home: "Quality diamond tools we always around"
      Tarzan make diamond tools! Stick-on letters half the size of the logo and in a different color and font and than the rest and in all caps above the "we" read "ARE." Niiice save. Nothing says "Quality" like not proofreading your three word slogan before handing it off to the painters--and not being able to make them redo it, because it took you too long to notice after it was painted.

      Super Shrinks Psychoanalyze Superheroes: "Being a superhero has its perks, but caped crusaders like Spider-Man and Batman also can suffer from some super-sized mental problems."

      There was a very minor league Marvel villain named Madcap. While totally invulnerable, he was also batshit insane. He began as a deeply religious teenager, then was in an accident that killed his family and fellow parishioners. "His belief in a rational universe was swept away." And then he said: "GODS HATES FAGS!"
      What would happen if Madcap, insane religious fanatic, fought the Mighty Thor? Or psycho Fred Phelps fought ComiCon attendees?
This is what would happen! And some very funny signs! (Note: and not those same 2 pictures you've seen on every other site)


      "As the senior trader at �xecor, Brad made it very clear that no one � 'not even His Holiness, the Pope' � shall question his trades. After all, Brad makes complex trading decisions that no one else could possibly comprehend. Sometimes he buys high and sells low. Sometimes he holds in a decline. Sometimes he refuses to sell at any price. Brad works in mysterious ways, and if he said 'do it', then it better get done." And that would be how Brad, Asshole �xtrordinaire, ended up with 56 million pounds of coal delivered to his office. (True story, too, even if it includes such unlikely details as a futures security exchange named "WTFSE")


      I went to the Coventry Farmers' Market for the second time this year. I was undecided about all of yesterday, which, truth be told, was an inconveniently hot & humid day. ABC Radio news described it as "the record hottest day of the month, in the record hottest summer, in what so far is the record hottest year EVER!" NO GLOBAL WARMING THOUGH! That's fer Commies who don't believe what oil companies pay people to say!
      But I was craving a veggie samosa from the Indian booth, so I went. Turned out that the humidity didn't continue through today--hot, but really quite pleasant. (PLEASANT near-record hot days in the Summer?! NO GLOBAL WARMING!) The market had expanded! There were booths near the parking lot! I tried to buy some goat cheese, but it wasn't 11AM. Yes, they apparently enforce the opening time, despite the fact that the place was aswarm with people. I said that I'd be back when they could sell, but the Beltane Farms people looked despondent, as if they'd just lost a sale, due to some weird rule.
      I circled the booths, then walked to the main area. Where they were priming a cannon. Oh, right, it's "Colonial Muster and Reenactment" Day! Which cost 5 bucks, and had no vendors. So I turned around, and went to the fudge place. They wouldn't sell to me, either. But they did let me pick out my fudge. Then I saw a woman in a yellow shirt yell "It's okay to start now!" and passed this on to the vendors, and they sold me my fudge. Then the opening (cow) bell rang. I'd inadverantly caused them to sell to me at 10:59! Oh, the Irish Catholic in me says that I'm not getting into Heaven now!
      I wandered around a wall, almost getting run over by some douchebag in a Hummer-sized SUV (NO GLOBAL WARMING!). Also, No Indian booth! No delicious samosa! I bought blueberries and then goat cheese, being quickly rushed to the front of the line by Beltane Farms, happy to see me back to buy. Got some spreadable cheese, and I'm glad that I turned up at the particular moment, so that I knew that you open & squeeze it like toothpaste.
      Then I left. Samosa-less. Memo to myself: Skip Colonial Encampment Day next year.


      You may remember when part of my condo ass's "beautification" program was tearing down 40 year old maples, then ripping up the front yard so that it looked like a World War One battlefield. I sent that photo to Jessica, who responded, "I hope they planted grass seed!" I replied, "Yeah, I know they did. I saw the birds eating it."
      After 5 more days, the landscapers returned and placed hay over the the trenches. Did they plant more grass seed before doing it, as that's kinda the idea? Well, in my Flanders field, it ain't the poppies that are growing.


      Yep, just near-yard-high weeds. Sooo beautiful!!

      I like me some clocks! Here's a bunch of odd ones. I haven't checked, but I bet I could buy them at Archie McPhee's for the same price, if not lower. TWO Dali clocks, including one that has hands made of mustache. Most bizarre: "the entire clock is DRIVEN BY THE HAMSTER. The timing mechanism is INSIDE THE HAMSTER itself. Each minute, when it starts to run, it forces the wheel around, setting the clock in motion." Awesome! And would be in pieces the first time I left for work. There's no way you could have this clock and 3 cats and not end up with no clock.

      The Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Nice digs! Better than the kennel for a stay, I'm sure, but cats hate it when you move a dang chair, so I can't picture this going over as anything less stressful. Maybe it comes with entertainingly chaseable houseflies, as DJ is running down his third victim in 2 days. Faster, DJ! KILL! KILL!

      On the serious side: Die young, live fast: The evolution of an underclass. "Risk-taking makes evolutionary sense, when you're trapped in poverty. "Once you are in a situation where the expected healthy lifetime is short whatever you do, then there is less incentive to look after yourself. Investing a lot in your health in a bad environment is like spending a fortune on maintaining a car in a place where most cars get stolen anyway, says Nettle. It makes more sense to live in the moment and put your energies into reproduction now."


      It's a good idea to never burn your bridges when you leave a job. One coworker gave his notice recently. He's young, married, with a toddler, he needs money. He works 40 hours a week at a grocery store, but his 15 hours a week with us wasn't quite enough money, so got a second full time, third shift job at another grocery store. He had 8 hours between jobs, but not 8 consectutive hours. 80 hours a week.
      And he quickly gave his notice there, rather than drop dead from overwork. Of course we took him back. I did 65-82 hours a week at Kay Bee Toys when I was his age, and hated it. That was the one job I totally burned my bridges at, giving them 5 minutes notice, as I was never going to work for the Melville Corporation again.
      So, umm, why did my boss hire back that other guy he fired once? For constant tardiness, never doing anything but talk on his phone, frequently performing "job abandonment" (this is when you skip work and don't call in. In this state, even once means not only can we fire you, you can't collect unemployment after we do). We hired him for the same reason as the first time: nepotism. Second hand nepotism; he's the lazy, cocksure son of a bitch a guy big in the biggest liquor distributor in the state, good friends with the owner who once worked there. And he's been exactly the same as when we last fired him. As we fired him today, again for job abandonment. I knew I was in for a 12 hour day ((like at Kay Bee!) when he didn't answer his cell call from the manager. Recall that his day at "work" is spent on his phone. And neither did anyone else we called to see if they'd work in my place, surely also using caller ID. Sorry, girl who complains that she gets only a day and a half off a week; if you'd picked up, the deal was going to be "Work tonight, get the whole weekend off." Since her phone kept going to a voice mail under a name that wasn't her, I called a coworker on vacation to make sure the phone number was correct. Someone--I assume her son--answered screaming and swearing and babbling incoherently, then hung up. I got through to, I assume, the wife of the recent rehired guy, who was cadgy until I said that it was his other job, Did he want to work tonight? Then she was quite enthusiastic. He couldn't come in for an hour, as he taxiing someone somewhere, but, hey, he would be there, and I'd rather work until 530 than 8. And I get paid for it!
      Before leaving, I asked a young couple for their IDs. Hers was a passport with a state driver's license and a Hello Kitty credit card tucked inside it. I pointed at the credit card and said, "This picture doesn't look anything like you!"

      After getting home 90 minutes later than expected, boy o boy was I hoping for Firefox to become Firefucked! AGAIN! 2.0: awesome. 3.0: Microsoft designed this, right? It took 20 MINUTES for it to do anything, then another 10 to do nothing but hang, show blank screens, and (my favorite!) take my 4 open windows annd shuffle them around, making them disappear and moving the arond the tray, occasionally closing them entirely.
      I'm done, FireFuckers. Google Chrome is now my new browser. Sorry, Firefox 3. I only took youon because your father, Firefox 2, was such a great worker. You keep coming to work 30 minutes late; you don't do anything that I want you to do, and I really don't care for your attitude. You've burnt your bridges.

      I had this as a kid.


       Would it surprise to say that I loved it, only second to my Creepy Crawler Maker? (You could smash them and remake them as much as you wanted, but the plastic deformed a bit every time, so eventually your T. Rex's legs spread so much that it looked like he was taking a massive Cretaceous dump)


      This year there are elections for both governor and senator in this state. It's still primary season, so there are still plenty of candidates. I can give you the name of only two, the ones that are advertising like crazy, as they're both self-funded corporate billionaires. One started running ads last September, over a year before the elections. After the subprime mortgage fiasco destroyed the world's economies, and still during the BP spill, it's beyond my ken as to why anybody would be stupid enough to think that what America needs is more corporate billionaires running our government. But, well, "American" and "Stupid" go together like a lemonade made from high fructose corn syrup and antifreeze: terrible for you, but tastes so sweet going down!
      Yesterday I saw a sign for a guy running for governor I hadn't heard of: Oz Greibel. Oz Greibel? Wasn't he in the Mos Eisley cantina scene?
      I Googled and found his campaign ad. Apparently made by his 12 year old nephew, with no costs spared! as it cost nothing. His macrocephalic, baboon-armed, anorexic avatars argue his resume, which of course is entirely business experience, as (see above; subprime mortgages, BP, utter failure). Then the argument is won when one freakish mutant points out that Oz Greibel is "personable" and not that walrus man whose arm Obi-Wan chopped off. Then the ad ends, just before their skeletons collapse from the weight of all that water they're retaining in their foreheads.
      Democrat or Republican, these billionaire candidates always say the same things in their ads, like "Washington outsider," "not a career politician," "will shake things up," "not afraid to get his/her hands dirty," and "brings experience as a business leader." And the sap voters eat it up. And yet, how would those arguments work in any other context besides "Americans vote against their own interests"?
      *ding dong*, door opens
      "Hello! I hear you need heart surgery. I'm here to help you, the little guy!
      "Wait, you're selling heart surgery door-to-door? And how did you know I need heart surgery?
      "I overheard you at your doctor's office. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, so I was taking out his garbage."
      "Umm...dirty hands are not something I'm looking forward to from a heart surgeon."
      "Oh, I'm not a surgical insider! I've proven myself as a trash collector, not a career doctor! I want to shake up the medical establishment and be your surgeon!"
      "So...you hate career doctors, so you want to become one...?"
      "Yes! Or do you want to trust the precious heart in your stomach to some AMA fat cat, who wants to RAISE YOUR TAXES?"
      "My heart is in my stomach?!"
      "Sir, I have lifted more cans of putrid, rancid garbage than you've owned hearts! This makes me uniquely qualified to slit someone open with a hacksaw and determine which organs need to be cut!"
      "What, are you crazy?!"
      "YES. But also rich and quite personable."
      "That's good enough for me! Start the surgery! How badly could a rank, overconfident amateur do to something as simple as heart surgery?"
      (campaign ad, a week later)
      "It's time to send a message to career doctor insiders and shake things up with dirty hands! I can truthfully say that not a single person I've treated has complained about their heart surgeries!"
      Fast, low, mumbled voice in background: "Because they're all dead from having their stomachs removed."
      "I'm Arrgh Bumblefap, and I approve this message!" (leaves in AT-AT)



     Firefox 3 sucks ass! It takes forever to load, repeatedly locking up and sometimes crashing. After 2 days on the All-Google Chrome Diet, I can safely say that Chrome loads immediately! Then it locks up and continually crashes. I'd rather spend 20 to 45 minutes cursing "When will this fucker LOAD?!" than spend the same time spread out, wondering when it will next crash. So...Back to Daddy. I starting to think it may be something I'm doing (like launching Firefox before Windows is fully loaded), or--Gourd forbid--that my 4 year old computer is heading towards its end.

      I bought Purina One Sensitive Systems food, as the Boys love the One, and Byron is pukey. A digestive blend should help, so I filled the bowl with it.
      And I came home today to find the most massive pukage Byron has ever produced, and for the same-as-always reason: The back of the ejecta is unchewed kibble, meaning that it was swallowed whole before it was chewed. How ironic is that?
      Wait, is that ironic? It's more ironic than what I heard a radio DJ say recently: "Yesterday was the anniversary of the invention of the hamburger, and how ironic is it that today is National Chili Dog Day?!" Umm--not ironic AT ALL? That's not ironic. That's not even a coincidence. That's not even INTERESTING! Even Alanis Morrisette rolls her eyes! What possible scenario could lead to that being ironic?
      "EUREKA! I have invented the hamburger! Oh, I will stumble back in awe of my most amazing creation! It will replace all foods on buns! Also, any potential foods on buns!--AHH! I have stumbled backwards into the CHILI GRINDER, oh woe! Also--OUCH!"
      Next day: "I, the Mayor of America, find your new invention of the CHILI DOG to be worthy of a NATIONAL DAY! Pray, where is the owner of your fine establishment, so that I may laud him with praise?"
      New owner of Sweeney Todd's Chili Dogs, chewing: "Oh...he's here somewhere."
      I'm not sure if even that is ironic.

      The Thor movie will contain the Infinity Gauntlet. This implies that at some point, the Avengers movies will involve Thanos. For this, I am glad.


      So, it appears that my whole problem with Firefox was starting it when the computer seemed fully booted, when it really needed a few more minutes. So every time I ended up angry because it wasted 10-45 minutes not being usable, it was because I started it early to make it usable quicker. Does that count as ironic? It sure counts as unintentionally self-defeating.

      I'm sure you remember Byron's recent recreations of The Great Escape. Tonight I let him out into the back hallway that was the origin of his longest exploit. He raced out, followed by DJ, then by Killsy. They came back in reverse order very quickly, as they heard scratching and crashing, followed by angry howling. Byron had jumped up and fallen down. He howled even more angrily when he saw me. Why, yes, Byron--didn't you know that I let you out because they finally replaced that broken window you jumped out of? He stormed back in, swished his tail, and went to sleep. No more adventures for you, Bigfoot.

      This was to be my first long Facebook post, but it lets you type on and on and then tells you "The maximum status length is 420 characters, but it is 1402 characters long." Coulda stopped me a thousand earlier, ya know!
      So, I guess we'll save things like "Me ated cheez 2nite, made me farts" for Facebook, "the page for people who have about 3 times as much to say about anything as Twitterers. But not 4 times as much."
      Just did something I haven't in 2 years: taken a brisk midnight walk along the "Rail Trail" that runs in the strip of woods behind my condo. Flat and straight, it's easily walkable even late at night, being based on the old railroad line (from 1849 to 1950; I've found many rusted railroad spikes along it, and another length still has telegraph towers). Chirruping insects serenade you on beautiful nights like tonight. The best part of eastern CT is how close to nature you are, even in an overbuilt suburb like mine. I've only been interrupted twice in 2 decades out there late at night. Once by a skunk as startled as me; we both said "Dude--I'm cool if you are" and walked on unmolested. The other was by a drunken bicyclist, who was certain I was a ghost. Seriously, his only question on coming up on me in the dark was "ARE YOU A GHOST?!" I replied laughing, "WOO, yeah, I'm a GHOST! Woo! Ha ha ha!" He didn't laugh. He rode along side me, questioning me but still clearly thinking that I was a ghost, no matter how much I explained that I wasn't. I kept expecting him to get that, but he didn't, eventually pedaling away in a panic. My only regret is not deliberately fucking his head over even more. "WOO, I am the GHOST of RAILROADS PAST! How DARE ye use on my sacred grounds a foul, pagan BI-CYCLE! DAMNED ARE YE! A penny-farthing, sure, but a BIII-CYCLE?!?! Also, woo."


      Ebert reviews Best Worst Movie: "If the film didn't make much of an impression at the time, its rediscovery certainly did. The actors got standing ovations and started autographing photos, T-shirts and body parts at conventions. [Director] Fragasso himself, who looks very slightly like an embittered Fellini, attended revivals at the Nuart in Los Angeles and in Salt Lake City, and said his actors were morons then and are morons today. He adds that to make the worst film is as great an honor as making the best one."

      When Something Awful is funny, Something Awful is really funny: Gods for Sale classified ads.





      On the way to work, I saw a state police car race by on the opposite side of the highway, doing at least 85, siren screaming and lights ablaze. Wonder why he's in such a hurry, I thought, then idly noted how little traffic there was. Like it was a holiday, I thought.
      Off the highway, 2 more squad cars roared by, going the same direction. That first car was too far away for it to be connected, I thought.
      I thought.
      At work, the radio said that there was a workplace shooting--at Hartford Distributors, right off the highway. Our Bud distributor. Details were sketchy. But I work with their salesmen and drivers and office staff. You hear about these things happening somewhere else, but this was just up the road, involving people we've met. It was chilling. If it could happen at a distributor, it could happen to us.
      I knew from the timing that it had to be an employee; that's the shift change, when the loaders are leaving and the drivers and staff are arriving. The reports changed as details were released. Two injuries, gunman dead. Now two dead, gunman may have shot himself or allowed himself to be shot by police. Then 2 dead, seven injuries, one critical. Could someone I know be among the dead, like my salesman?
      We were hearing the latest update when the salesman walked in. Very shaken, puffy-eyed. He'd left early, so at least he was alive. He'd spoken on the phone with a salesman who had been there, and wasn't being allowed to leave while the police interviewed everyone. One of the dead was a guy I'd never met, but had always had pleasant dealings with over the phone. He said that the killer, after his first murders, told the receptionist, who is in a wheelchair, "You've already had a tough life, so you won't die today."
      It wasn't until I was about to leave that the full story emerged: Nine dead, including the murderer, who killed himself. The killer was a driver, and took at least 3 of his fellow Teamsters with him. One was Vic James. He was my favorite driver, always fast and organized and friendly. "James was planning to retire from Hartford Distributors this year after working for the company as a truck driver for 30 years. He planned to work around his home and tinker with an old car he had." I heard him talking to a coworker about just that only 2 weeks ago. He has grandchildren.
       Had grandchildren.
      Look, motherfucking worthless pieces of shit out there, if you're going to commit murder/suicide, skip the first step. You'll be just as dead either way. And the piece of shit was as sure as dead as soon as he started firing. Depending on your beliefs, right now he's either burning in hell, being reincarnated as a dung beetle, or just a decaying piece of meat on a coroner's slab, his being forever gone, leaving nothing behind but the hatred of his victims' families and the shame of his own family. They say you only live on in the memories of your friends and family, but he'll be the one that they never talk about.
      The HDI driver I had yesterday I'd never seen before, and as he was unloading, I thought, this guy must be new. Impossible to tell from the only picture released of the killer, an underlit and blurry Facebook image (likes: "Hoffman's Gun Center & Indoor Range"). I certainly could be wrong, but given the age and description...yeah, I think it might have been him yesterday, before hearing that he was "requested to resign." As they say, "he seemed like a nice guy," but if it was him, really a coiled spring ready to snap.


      Having seen a better picture of the killer today, yes, I did check in an order from him the day before the shootings.


      Today's Toles:


      I really don't want to talk about the shootings anymore, although the ripple effect of the event is affecting everything in my business. Things I deal with at work or personally don't always need to be discussed here. I will add some insider knowledge: the guy deliberately targeted certain people (PDF on his clearly long-planned rampage here), as he thought that they were ALL racists. Including that driver Vic, who our salesman told us, while the nutcase was being asked to resign, stood up for him and said that he should get a second chance.
      There is a lot of racism in this country, and it's become more overt than ever since Obama was elected. But Hartford 2010 isn't Selma 1963. There are ways to fight racism legally. And if "massacre" is anywhere on your list of options, you're just insane. I was bullied to the point of suicide attempts in middle and high school, but mass murder wasn't on my list.
      And I can already see how it's going to continue to affect my job: (worthless piece of)ShitAWT, without further comment: At our other store, a customer was extremely angry that he couldn't buy Bud Light Lime 18 packs can. Because the distributor is locked down after the mass murders. When informed of that, he replied "That's not my problem! What are YOU going to do about it?!"



      The Werner Herzog documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly finally made it to the top of my Netflix queue. The DVD arrived as Little Dieter's DVD Ain't Gonna Play, due to a huge crack through it. Since Netflix punishes those who report broken discs, locking up their accounts until they complain, I wonder how long this one busted disc has bounced around the country. I decided to report it broken, and I guess Netflix has changed its policy, realizing that no one who breaks a disc is going to be the one that reports it, so they sent an immediate replacement. Obviously not so immediately that I could watch it the day I reported it, but enough so that I could this Sunday.
      Ah, but Kev wants to get together to watch some old, cheap Aliens rip-off he remembers from his misspent youth on Sunday! One expects takeout, good beer, and filmic mockery. But Dieter--not pronounced as if it's about someone on a diet, BTW; "Diet-er Needs to Fly" means he needs to pay for 2 seats--is only 75 minutes, so why not watch it before going to work today, as I have a spare 75 minutes?
      At the 15 minute mark, I realized, no, I do not have that much time--I have to clean the litter box, pack lunch, etc. so I really only had an hour. I put it in the computer, both to turn it off quick and pick it up when I got home.
      One might think that the 60 minute point of a 75 minute movie might be THE REALLY MOST INTERESTING, EXCITING PART, if one was smart enough to actually map it out. And I would never use as an excuse for getting to work 15 minutes late, "Sorry, the movie wasn't over."
      I still have that 15 minutes to finish. If I could hold off for 10 hours at work, I can wait at home.

      When I was a kid, there was this brief period one summer when some kids got the brilliant idea to go to the tall trees by the forest at dusk when the bats came out, and throw rocks at them. It stopped when it became clear that 1) the bats had no problem avoiding the rocks, 2) 8 year olds can't throw that high anyway, 3) when thrown straight up, the rocks come straight back down, and 4) it was a lot harder for a kid to avoid a falling rock in the dark.
      I soon found out that bats eat mosquitos, so, COOL! I liked them, even after that one time at a vacation cottage some family friends had, when a little brown bat got in during the night, more terrified than the kids that had just gone to bed were. The Hopkins' dad and father Young chased it with a tennis racket and a fishing net, and Mr Hopkins said "SHIT!" at one point, and my dad said "DON'T SWEAR!" Hopkins said, "What, you've never sworn?!" and dad said "I wouldn't swear in front of my kids if I was being MURDERED!" They eventually got the poor bat, and released it, but the next morning it was dead where they let it go.
      The current generation of New Englanders will never have tales to tell about little brown bats: "(T)he disease is spreading quickly across the northeastern U.S. and Canada and now affects seven bat species. If death rates and spread continue as they have over the past four years, this disease will likely lead to the regional extinction of the little brown myotis, previously one of the most common species in North America..."
      The state park up the road put up some bat houses a couple of years ago. A sign at the base says that you can "tell how many bats are present by the droppings below the houses." Every time I walk by it, I check. I've never seen any.
      "The researchers said it is possible the deadly fungus came from Europe from human trade or travel." Yet another nice job, Homo sapiens! "Sapiens," that means, what? "Stupid" maybe?


      Well, JLo, I hate thinking on Sundays myself! So Kevin and I watched Forbidden World.
      Not Forbidden Planet, mind you, but a Corman-produced Alien ripoff. Although both films had equally annoying electronic soundtracks. This one by Susan "Three-Fingers" Justin, as I named her during the opening credits, as she seemed incapable to coax more than that much sound from her keyboard at any single point.
      This really needs more infamy than it has! Dumb as a rock, terrible effects/sets/writing/acting/everything, but never dull. We laughed all the way through it! It begins with a totally incoherent Star Wars battle sequence, then it's killer mutants. Kev loved this movie at age 12, but he didn't remember one damn thing about it except the naked boobies. They do feature prominently, especially with 2 pairs on screen at a time--try to imagine a scifi monster movie where the men take a shower together. Actually, don't, at least with these men. The "hero" is one ugly dude with a smile like a lamprey eel's, so OF COURSE both hot babes get nekked with him as soon as they're alone. Of course the base is composed of hallways apparently made of spray painted takeout containers, of course the scientists don't want to kill the murderous monster because of "WE MUST SAVE ITZ FOR TEH SCIENCES!" because scientists are always the dumbest characters, of course the guy who smokes and coughs in every fucking scene turns out to have cancer--of the liver, of course there's scientifical exposition that makes no sense, of course the dumb girls want to talk to the monster who can type with its mind (since it's the far-future world of the year 3000, it's green text on a black screen--I kept expecting "You have been killed by a grue" to pop up) followed by tentacle pr0n, FAR FUTURE YEAR 3000 fashions (wifebeaters with padding), FAR FUTURE YEAR 3000 food (strawberry shortcake--WITH NO STRAWBERRIES, just strawberry sauce, which would double as the day-glo blood in every subsequent scene), lasers that don't just make ricochet noises but actually ricochet and kill you, that fucking one guy coughing AGAIN like it's the last scene of Camille or he's Doc Holiday in an OK Corral movie, computers that are just BLiMs (Blinky Light Machines), stupid hexagonal wall pads the size of your head that have important functions on them such as "LOCK" or "SEAL" or "ENTER CODE" or "COMM" that only need to be pressed to work and "COMM" turns the damn lights on, surgery that involves ripping organs out of a guy who really looks not to be in pain but saying "Yeahhh, keep massaging my prostate, baby!" and, of course, BOOBIES!
      And it stars Dawn Dunlop. I said during the opening credits "I really like her tires," not yet knowing that she had the acting ability of a tire. She was the unsung Pia Zadora of her age.
      In short, get this movie, some crappy hot wings and some good beer, a great and funny friend, and you'll have an excellent 90 minutes.

      From McEnroe: "from Jonathan Winters as insane talking beer mugs to Nichols and May in Narragansett commercials to the musically satisfying "Hey, Mabel, Black Label."


      Robots Created That Develop Emotions in Interaction With Humans. "The robots are capable of expressing anger, fear, sadness, happiness, excitement and pride and will demonstrate very visible distress if the caregiver fails to provide them comfort when confronted by a stressful situation". No POSSIBLE way this could backfire! Should we give them large caliber firearms while we're at it?

      That won't seem funny if robots actually DO get angry and kill us, amirite? People Think Immoral Behavior Is Funny -- But Only If It Also Seems Benign: "He points out a recent example, an internet video of a chain-smoking Indonesian toddler. 'When I was first told about that, I laughed, because it seems unreal�what parent would let their kids smoke cigarettes? The fact that the situation seemed unbelievable made it benign. Then when I saw the video of this kid smoking, it was no longer possible to laugh about it.'"


      Isn't it odd that gas prices went DOWN as soon as the BP oil spill began? And now that it seems that the leak is capped ("Nothing more to see here, move along, move along!"), at every pump, prices jumped 8 cents a gallon overnight Friday and all at the same time.
      What a totally random coincidence! It couldn't be that they lowered prices to make people less angry at the oil companies, then raised them again when it was "over", knowing that Americans have the attention span of gnats!

      Is there a topic more interesting to the people who read my page who are not from Connecticut (i.e., ALL OF YOU) than the Connecticut primaries? Of course there [fill in blank with word of your choosing]!
      I voted for Ned Lamont in the Senate primary when he ran against Lieberman, as I was voting against Lieberman. I possibly would've also voted for a very drunken manatee, or a swarm of bees, or even a particularly shiny piece of foil. (I should point out that Byron is currently using swats and bites to vote against his own tail) But Lamont, and Foley (also for governor) and McMahon (Senate) are all in the primary, and they're all self-funded corporate billionaires. Yeah, that's the problem with this country! Not enough corporate billionaire input! They can run this country like a business! Just like the subprime mortgage thing or the BP oil spill thing, they'll run things PERFECT! Or all 8 years of BushCo. Cut corporate taxes and regulation, and that leads to the Perfect Economy. What, it's a mess? CUT TAXES AND REGULATIONS MORE THEN IT BE FIXED! SHINY FOIL SAYS SO!
      Why would you even want to be governor right now? Whatever choice you make--cut services even more, or raise taxes on those poor, abused millionaires--you're going to be hated and serve one term. I wondered why Lamont kept refusing to debate Malloy, and when he did, there was Lamont's dirty laundry aired by Malloy, but what really sealed the deal for me was Lamont saying "CT hasn't earned the right to raise taxes!" and Malloy said "We can't keep anything off the table." CT also hasn't earned the right to expect pink unicorns to balance the budget, so I voted for Malloy.
      In the parking lot at the voting place there was a sign saying "75 FEET" noting the point where candidates can't post any signs. Parked one inch from the sign, the front fender almost touching it, was a truck towing a Statue of Liberty, with the name of the Republican candidate for...something, plastered over it. Polls opened at 6AM, and I wonder how long it had been taking up one of the closest spaces to the polling booths. Since even in a low turnout ballot like this the big issue outside the building was where to park, I wonder how many people the candidate lost by parking there? She also had a bumper sticker that said "STOP PELOSI NOW," whatever that meant, besides "I'm Republican, and thus haz the addled brains probs." "STOP SANDPAPER NOW" would have been almost as equally clear to me. Or "STOP NECTARINES LATER." "PAUSE THAT GERBIL WHO LOOK AT ME FUNNY ALL THE TIME YESTERDAY." "STOP CHILI PEPPERS, THEY BURN MY GUT." "NEVER STOP MONKEYS NO NOT NOW NEVER MONKEYS ARE SOOO KEWL." Wait, this was a Republican! Nothing as kewl as a monkey can permeate the thick masses of their cortexes! "OH I SO LUV RETARDED RABID RACIST ROTWILERS!" that'd be the bumper sticker.
      I also voted for Mary Glassman for Lt Governor (she was on Lamont's ticket, but she's the daughter-in--law of my next door neighbors/parents best friends during my teen years, so why not?), Merrill for Sec'y of State, and...Comptroller? No one told me that I was voting for comptroller! No one even told me what a comptroller IS! So I picked the one with the "party endorsed" star.
      The hardest part of voting was getting out of the parking lot. And, just beyond the 75 FOOT mark was a guy, waving and smiling. Glasses, beard, even long brown hippie hair, looking like me! The OTHER candidate for comptroller! Since he was here, maybe even a Vernon local? I briefly wished that I'd voted for him, but it hit me that he had positioned himself where people would only see him after they'd voted...


      "It's going to be a long night for Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont," said WNPR news yesterday. This was because the Democratic race for governor had Lamont up 20% 2 months ago, when he was the only one running ads. By the day before the primary--and after his only debate with Malloy--he was up 3%. A real nailbiter!
      I checked the results 40 minutes after the polls closed, and it was already called for Malloy. 58 to 42%! Sorry, Ned, maybe you shouldn't have built your whole campaign on "Jobs for CT" when you'd outsourced your CT business down to seven CT employees. I think the one prhase from the Malloy attack ads that worked: "CEO values are not good for Connecticut."
      The other corporate billionaire candidate, Tom Foley, won the Republican nomination. By 3%. Oz "These are not the votes you want" Greibel stole enough to give either guy a landslide, but he only ran because he ran out of clones to attack or something.
      Lamont may be a billionaire, but he cares about his supporters! That's why he's paid his campaign workers with gift cards, not actual money. Keep workin' those classy CEO values, Neddy.

      Ooh, pretty! Booze under a microscope.


      The die is cast! Byron goes to the vet next week!
      I picked up some knockout pills for him today, so that the visit includes minimal murder attempts. In typical American medicine fashion, I was sold (for $18.60) 2 pills, with a recommended dosage of 3/4 of a pill.
      I'm glad I asked about potential side effects, especially "How do I tell if it's an emergency?'' Apparently, the worst is to give him so much that he falls asleep, which will lead to him...falling asleep for a while. I'm glad that she told me that "His third eyelid might come up," because seeing THIS without warning, yeah, that would stress me out. Maybe the other pill-and-a-quarter is for me.



      SHAWT: If your errands consist of "Go to liquor store; drop friend off at Comcast to pay cable bill," you may want to do them in that order. That way, your friend will be in the minivan when you leave the kids in it. If you do it in the opposite order, you may not want to say to the cashier "Hurry up! I left my kids in the car!" All 7 kids. With the two youngest not in the legally-required car seats that you don't own. In the car that's unregistered. And with you driving under a suspended license. In a store across the street from the police station, because maybe, I know it's not that likely but just maybe, there's a guy in line who heard you talk about leqaving a bunch of kids in the car alone, and he just got off his shift as a cop. Because you just might find out that Friday the Thirteenth can be really unlucky!
      (Comment from the cop when he finally bought his booze, after the arrest and removal of the license plates from a van I hope has been towed away by now: "She wanted to be let off with a warning. But what if I did, and that van got T-boned on the way home? All those kids would die. Do you think I'd be able to sleep--for the rest of my life?")




      The Oldies Station plays at work, as it's the least annoying to the majority of people. Today was the anniversary of the death of Elvis, so we heard a lot of the King.
      Do you remember what you were doing when you heard that the King died on his throne? And by "thone" I mean, "had a heart attack while taking a shit." I sure do! I was angry and upset! In those pre-cable days, late night TV was the only way I could see a Marx Brothers' movie I hadn't seen before that night, and the bastard had to die on THAT day, so Metromedia New York 5 switched their schedule to all Elvis movies! DAMN IT! Fat old drug addict couldn't have waited and died the next day?!
      Today the radio station kept running a clip of an eulogy a DJ had made at the time, claiming that "for Elvis, there was no generational gap." His music's appeal ran from the 50s to "the teenagers of 1977." Yeah, I was a teenager in 1977, and NO. He was your parents' music. I was passing around the joint while listening to prog rock. Wooo, man, Pink Floyd is so wicked! Wait, is the station playin' Disco, man? Shut that shit off! Got any Genesis LPs? What do you mean, "Who's that?" Oh, okay, ELO, sure, okay, put that on. Ever hear of the Talking Heads, or DEVO? Reeeeally good, dude...
      Hey, how about some ELVIS! Ha ha ha! Yeah, then maybe some MANILOW next! We can fill the bong with Geritol!
      The funniest thing about Elvis' death was that we didn't know that he was on so muchly more drugs than we ever had been.

      Kev, on Facebook, sent me the awful news: the comic strip Cathy will soon be no more. I responded:


      Everything's set up for tomorrow's drama, when Bigfoot goes to the vet. I wrapped Byron's mickey finn in foil, crushed it with the bottom of a spoon, and placed it in a carefully marked bowl to be mixed with tuna juice tomorrow. I just have to remember which bowl I marked, so that the wrong cat doesn't get the knock-out drops. "The saucerful of sedative's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!" Or is it the other way round?

      Why A Brush With Death Triggers The Slow-Mo Effect.

      SHAWT, reading from a hand-printed note: "It's called...umm, Jasmine? You got Jasmine?"
      ME: "No, nothing by that name. What is it? Wine, beer, liquor?"
      "Sweet tea vodka. It's spelled 'Jasmine'! J-E-R-E-M...something."
      "Jeremiah? Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea? We have that." (takes him over to it, points to the bottles)
      "Hmm...I don't know. It's spelled Jasmine--well, you look at it."
      The note says, in very clear handwriting, "Jeremiah Sweet Tea."
      Need I say that his internal debate continued another 3 minutes?


      This is my cat.


      This is my cat on drugs.


      There's the third eyelid. Like all cats when really scared, he drooled, thus explaining why there's Pink Stuff stuck to his lower lip.
      The Pink Stuff, I assume, is the sedative. I mixed the powdered pill with a whole can's worth of tuna juice, as Jessica does when she wants to dope up Bogart. Maybe the reason her vet gives her a Valium is because, unlike acepromazine, it has no taste. Byron took 3 licks, then refused to have any more. Maybe this is why they gave me 2 pills. I needed to come up with a Plan B, or cancel his appointment until I could think of one.
      I came up with one. I have a little oral syringe; I could grind up the next dose, dilute with the water from the syringe, draw it back in and ambush the poor guy, forcing open his jaws and squirting it in. I'd only get one chance.
      For reasons I don't grasp, the syringe would only take in half the water it squirted out. I gave up after several attempts and forged ahead. It didn't go over well, but it did go down his throat. But it was only half the dose...
      After only 20 minutes, he was staggering. But he fought it every step of the way, refusing to sleep or even do less than usual. He jumped to the window and then back, stumbling all the way.
      Time finally came to take him to the vet. He didn't fight being put in the carrier, and uttered not a peep on the drive there. Good sign. When we entered the building, he growled: bad sign! He was down, but definitely not out. He did his best to fight his way through the fog of drugs. The tech had to hold him down with Byron-proof gloves, and he howled and hissed. He got as good an examination as he's had since he was neutered 7! years ago, and took his shots, but he sure wasn't pleased. But he was better than he'd been every other time. If he'd had the full dose, he might've been better (memo to myself: Put whole dose in syringe before the water, draw in about half a hypo's worth, let sit overnight in fridge to dissolve, then shoot the drugs in his mouth). There was firm agreement all around that he really doesn't need to come back until his shots expire in 3 years.
      There was an office cat on the way in to the examination room. The tech said, "Of course she doesn't move!" When we came out, MAN, did she move, running as far from the enraged, wasted Byron as she could. As she rang me up, the receptionist asked "Is there anything else you need?" "Yeah," I said, "We need to go home. And I need a drink!"
      Once home, the vet assured me, Byron would sleep all afternoon. It took him 2 hours to even try. And so far, he's sleeping 15 minutes at a time, then wakes up, stumbles around to make sure he's really home, then falls back asleep for another 15. He hasn't had a good day.

      During the drive home, I saw something I noticed years ago, and once noticed, never becomes un-noticeable: There is a near 100% correlation between convertible sports cars and drivers who are middle-aged and bald. The midlife crisis look in this case was not lessened by the vanity plate "SPD BUGY."



      I just got back from the RiffTrax simulcast at the theater. It was HILARIOUS! It was a Mysting of Reefer Madness, complete with shorts. One short was about craftmaking with grass--the lawn kind, not the reefer kind--that was mind boggling in its weirdness; another was an awful 1930 cartoon about funny animals going to the North Pole, a couple of cartoons by Lowtax of Something Awful animating his 5 year old daughter's strange little stories, and the first can be seen here (with a somewhat different commentary than the show had), warning about the dangers of cleaning your clothes with gasoline. It includes a clip DEVO fans will remember from the "Beautiful World" video. The jokes began before the show even started--they ran fake movie facts while playing songs they wrote about bad movies (one of which can be heard at the above link).
      I have no idea if they're planning on putting the show on DVD or not, but there's another one coming up on October 27th, The House on Haunted Hill. I'll be there, if at all possible, and if it comes near you, I recommend that you so the same. However, there is a taped rebroadcast of tonight's show coming around this Tuesday, but I assume it's at the same venues as tonight's. Enter your zip code to find out.

      Most US students think Beethoven is a dog. This is not so much that they're stupid as "a reminder to faculty at the university that references quickly become dated...'There are 25- and 26-year-olds that tell us they feel old when they read the list,' Nief said."


      I'm going to buy every CD by this new ambient artist! 35 minutes of crashing waves of ethereal bliss, like the Cocteau Twins mixed by Brian Eno!
      Wait, what? It's a pop song slowed down 800 times? And a Justin Bieber song?! Well, okay, I'd buy an album of Bieber songs like this.

      Embarassing admission about yesterday's RiffTrax show: There were a few jokes I didn't get, all of them along the lines of "This guy looks like some OTHER guy!" I don't watch TV or listen to pop radio (except for Ambient Bieber!), so those went way over (or maybe under) my head.
      I'd recently seen Casablanca for the first time, and during Reefer Madness Bill said "I hope Humphrey Bogart doesn't turn up, because you what he'll do to all their joints!" Everyone but me laughed, as I tried to triangulate that with "Of all the gin joints in the world, she had to come into mine!" I got it an hour later. AND I WASN'T EVEN STONED.





      I was late to work yesterday. Okay, 90 seconds late. I hate that! So I left a little earlier today. Okay, 2 minutes earlier. I want to be exactly on time.
      I was about to change lanes on I-84 when the pickup in front of me hit his brakes, sticking me in the same laneWHAM!! What the fuck?! I looked in the mirror to see what I'd just slammed into--something big and black that didn't move after I'd hit it. I would've missed it if that truck hadn't hit his brakes. Then came the unfortunately familiar sound of a tire deflating to nothing. I pulled over, joining 4 other cars with flats.
      I tried a can of Fix-A-Flat, but it just foamed out the other side of the tire. I needed to call my boss to tell him I'd be late, and to call my insurance company's free roadside assistance number. I don't have a cell phone. Rather than start trying to change my tire now, I walked a mile along the shoulder, past the other drivers on their cell phones (why didn't I ask if they could call for me? When you're self-reliant and have lived alone for half your life, certain things just don't occur to you right away, they occur half a mile later).
      There is a remarkable amount of trash on the shoulders of major highways. Also, headless possum skeletons. I made it a McDonalds and asked if there was a payphone nearby. People reacted as if I was speaking in Martian, and a conversation ensued behind the counter as to what exactly this "Morse Code Victrola Coin Phone-a-maton" was. "There's one over there," said one of them, vaguely pointing across the very busy street. "Over where?" I asked. "Over there."
      Well, no, not really, at all. I went into one of the few other businesses open at 7:50AM, the FedEx place. As an old guy with glasses and a ponytail, I was relieved to see the only employee was a young guy with glasses and a chest-length goatee. Brothers in annoying-to-others hair choices! He offered me the store phone, and I called my boss and the insurance company. I explained to the road service guy that I was the last person in America who didn't own a cell phoe, and he laughed and said that he was too, having cancelled his expensive contract. Someone would be there in an hour, maybe less.
      And I walked back, to see almost all the other flat-tired cars gone (because THEY had CELL PHONES), and a State Trooper driving towards my car. I started running before he--I don't know, put a red "abandoned car" sticker on my old Mercury or destroyed it with photon torpedoes, whatever they do. He pulled over--head shaved bald, and thus of a different camp of annoying hair--asked me if I had a good spare, and told me that the state provides a free tire changing service. The state guy pulled up, and we had a brief conversation about cell phones (or lack thereof), and he offered me his state one to call back to work. Bang, zip, he was done in like 2 minutes. Seven cars, he said in his East European accent, got flats from that same thing, a trailer hitch that had fallen off of the back of a semi. And there was an accident, when someone's tire just blew and they lost control. Most of us got off easy.
      Driving away on one of those bicycle tires that they give you as a spare the last 20 years, I saw him waving me down in the rearview. I backed up thinking that the fake tire was on fire or something, but he just held up his cell. "I lost my personal phone last week, and now I almost left this one on the shoulder! My boss wouldn't be happy with me!" I laughed and said, "That's one of the reasons I don't have a cell!" Although, yeah, now I think I should get one of those prepaid ones.
      I only got to work 45 minutes late. Pretty good, all things considered; I had worse time when a tire blew across the street from a Firestone Tire Center (because I had them replace it). I dropped my car off at the garage everyone at the store does business with, over 7 hours before I had to leave work. They'd be done long before then.

      SHAWT: Well, SHAWTs. The stupid, sullen "helper" from a liquor company who responded to being told to put cases of booze on our conveyor belt, snarled "That's not my job!" was told Yes, it is, you may not be a Teamster, but that's in the contract of the Teamster who's your supervisor and standing right next to you, and he snapped "What, you haven't had enough HDIs?!" Meaning...the massacre of Teamsters not 3 weeks ago. My boss is easy to angry, but I have to side with him when he blew up: "I KNEW those people! They were my FRIENDS! YOU HAVE NO FEELINGS, YOU HAVE NO HEART!" After a series of phone calls, the jerk was brought back and apoligized--it was his "little joke"--but I'm surprised that, as a temp, they let him keep his job. He could've been arrested for what he implied.
      Next SHAWT, please! My boss! He's decided that we have a $10 minimum on charges. This will last until we either lose customers, or we get a customer smart enough to know that a quick call to Visa, MasterCard or Discover will end the practice immediately--they'll call us back and say, Guess What? Your business can no longer accept our credit cards! Fucking McDonald's takes credit cards now, and businesses that put limits on cards will go the way of the payphone "over there."
      Me, to SHAWT, who may be the reason why we do this--he does multiple card purchases a day, for piddling amounts: "We have a $10 minimum on cards now."
      SHAWT, who we hadn't seen in a week because he was in the hospital, as we can tell by all the hospital ID bands strapped to him, and YES we were his first stop after being released from there, "WHAT? You can't do that! It's not like there's a sign saying that!"
      I point to the sign, inches from his face, saying just that.
      "SIGN? Like I'm going to look for a SIGN!"
      The fact you're dying from alcoholism? Ignore that sign, I guess you ignore them all.

      Stupid morning radio host who doesn't know what irony means, AGAIN: HOST: We're eating Pez, and, ironically, the next song we'll play is named after the flavor! CHERRY!
      CO-HOST: The next song is "Strawberry Letter 22."
      HOST:...well, they're both the same color.
      "IRONICALLY," the store's delivery truck had a near flat tire today, so I brought it over at 1PM. My car? "We just got the tires; we'll start work on it soon!" Two hours later, I called up and was told "We just got the tires; we'll start work on it soon!" How IRONIC! "Will it be done by 4 [when I leave work]?" "Let me ask." She gave the phone to the mechanic, who said "We just got the tires; we're working on it now!" Hmm. Good thing I called, as they obviously weren't going to start until I called.
      I was dropped off there at 4, and hey, guess what! They started, then stopped! The rim was all dented, so they had to order a used one, it'll be here tmw! So I drove home on a damn training wheel at 55MPH. And my left side mirror, the one held on by Krazy Glue, fell off and was left dangling by the wires after that big jolt. I knew it would happen someday, as Krazy Glue holds until it doesn't. Of course, it had to happen halfway through the trip home, on the highway.
      I'm off tomorrow, so the mirror gets attached with J-B Weld. And I may go to KMart for a cheap, prepaid cell phone. Any recommendations?


      The car sat in the garage today, as the less I drive on the training wheel, the better. Also, I couldn't move it, due to the time the other repair needs to set. I hope that I reattached the rearview with J-B Weld, propping it up to set overnight with the tools at hand: 2 strips of packing tape, a Weber charcoal grill, and a can of peeled tomatoes. Shut UP, it looks like it's working.


      Yeah, don't leave packing tape on your black rearview mirror for a few months. It don't look so good when you take it off.

      Running joke between me and Mrs Jessica since she watched Twin Peaks for the first time: "Owls are assholes." Her words. And reinforced when I discovered a tshirt with that slogan. She didn't buy it, as "it's not available in a fitted version," whatever that means, prly something about her girl parts I bet.
      At any rate, even she might like Hungover Owls. Because owls are assholes.



      The comic strip "Mutts" is a wonderful, sweet comic. And when it does its "Shelter Stories," so touching. Try to watch these cute, funny, touching 15 second cartoons without tearing up, in the good way. Never buy a pet--adopt.


      COWORKER: What's wrong?
      S: I locked my keys in my car!
      C: Is that your car?
      S: YES!
      C: There's someone in it.
      S: Oh, right!
      I'm surprised that she didn't yell "OMIGOD! HE'S LOCKED IN!"



      Two and a half hours, the hard drive grinding all the while, and I've been able to do about 10 minutes of internet. The eMachine's 4th birthday is exactly a week from today, but I think it's time to junk it. It's also my car's 14th birthday, and yet it runs damn great.
      I just got a window complaining about Flash 10 not running in a movie and I'M NOT RUNNING ANY MOVIES. Once I get it running, I'll just leave the computer on until Weds and then buy a new one--
      15 minutes of surfing in THREE hours, I haven't even read my SIX email messages, and now the THIRD reboot! AARRGH!
      Fuck, I'll just upload this post. If it works. The only thing keeping me from throwing the computer in the driveway and repeatedly running it over is that I just replaced a flat tire.


      After an EXTREMELY frustrating yesterday, I decided to solve the computer's booting problem by leaving it on until I buy a new one. I came home and petted and talked to the Kids, then saw that the damn hard drive light was still on! The computer worked, but it took 15 minutes for it to work the way that it should. And the damn light hasn't gone off since then.
      2 weeks ago I'd decided to replace the old thing, for once, before it died. I'd already chosen my next eMachine. I was hoping to get free shipping from Amazon and also pay no sales tax, but Best Buy has it on sale this week, so even with tax, it'll be $70 less. It'll sit in the box until my vacation, when I can move the files--for once--at a reasonable pace, rather than losing everything on the HD.
      Is there a way to move files from a dying computer to a new one without copying to a CD-R, like just hooking them up together with USB cables? Yes, I am so butt-ignorant that I ask that.

      Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds. I HAVE FOUND IMMORTALITY!



      Byron's going to be disappointed when he discovers that I didn't spend $309 to buy him a pillow.

      I planned my day based on how right hand turns I'd take. If you lived off of the busiest road in town, you'd do the same; left turns against 4 lanes of traffic are difficult. I went to a gas station that I hadn't visited in 15 years. Back then it was a Thornton's. Even then I'd been warned off them, by a coworker from upstate New York. "Their gas is the cheapest because it's cheap gas," she said. "There's so much water in it that it froze our gaslines every winter." The one time I went there was the last time I went there. This was not only in the days where you couldn't pay at the pump, you could pump before paying. I handed my credit card to the clerk and thought Holy shit, they're using a first generation credit card machine from 10 years ago! Nobody uses those anymore! After several increasingly violent and angry swipes of my card, the clerk exploded, "Your card won't WORK! Is it FUCKING STOLEN?!"
      "Why, yes, my good man! I robbed it from a varlet, forsooth!" I didn't say. I said "NO IT ISN'T!" when I should've said "What's your name, and the phone number of your corporate headquarters?" But no, it was all the fault of my card, NOT the ancient and most likely refurbished shitbox machine they were using. Luckily, I had enough cash on me to pay for it. I left, never came back, and made sure everyone knew the story. Amazingly, they stayed open for another decade. And always with a gigantic "NOW HIRING" sign in the window, a sure sign of it being a terrible place to work.
      They got replaced by a Gulf a year ago, which closed after 2 weeks, and reopened as a Cumberland Farms. Wow, those still exist? Since I needed gas and it was a right turn in and another out, I stopped by today. Now they have Pay at the Pump! I swiped my card and the pump said "COMM DOWN SALE CANCELLED." At least they're consistent! And so am I. I'm never stopping there ever again, no matter who owns it.
      Next stop, as it involved 2 right turns: Dollar Tree! To get a few things for myself, but also to give Jessica a grab bag of dollar store junk when we next meet. Sorry, but there was nothing worthy of an InExOb, not even one of the really lame ones.

      My Best Buy trip took about as long as it would for me to type about it, even with a refusal of the service plan added in. The idea was to break the new computer in over my vacation week in 18 days, but the return window on computers is 14 days. I have Sunday and Monday off for once, so that gives me a couple of days to be frustrated without a time constraint. Assuming Byron will stop sleeping on it. He'll be disappointed when it's gone.
      The other cats, on this hot & humid day, have found their own spots to chill in.


      Killsy, imitating the little ceramic white kitty.


      DJ, in the cool tub, with the water bowl at paw.


      He'll be very, very disappointed.
      I guess that I can leave him the box.

      Very long but interesting article on Sarah Palin, the North Star: "This spring and summer I traveled to Alaska and followed Palin�s road show through four midwestern states, speaking with whomever I could induce to talk under whatever conditions of anonymity they imposed�political strategists, longtime Palin friends and political associates, hotel staff, shopkeepers and hairstylists, and high-school friends of the Palin children. There�s a long and detailed version of what they had to say, but there�s also a short and simple one: anywhere you peel back the skin of Sarah Palin�s life, a sad and moldering strangeness lies beneath."


5 big-budget sci-fi films that actually got their science right. Gets a thumbs-up from me for a positive mention of The Fountain, an unrecognized great film.

      Speaking of science fiction, Charles Darwin's ecological experiment on Ascension isle, the world's first terraforming experiment.

      Risk of Marijuana's 'Gateway Effect' Overblown, New Research Shows. "Well, Duh!" says everyone who ever smoked it.


      No panic buying all week.. But the same people in Connecticut who yawned at today's possible hurricane will freak out 2 months from now when they hear a prediction of a half an inch of snow.


      This morning before leaving the house I thought "Why is it that when someone at work says 'You missed all the excitement at work last night!' it always turns out to be something like 'The upstairs printer died'? But if something exciting does happen, they never say that, they just tell you what happened?" Exciting in the sense of, oh I don't know, "6 squad cars and half a dozen guns-out policemen surrounding the building, while the other half dozen storms through the building, looking for hostages or a crazed gunman like the guy who shot up HDI last month," maybe? Because some idiot employee didn't ask "Hey, what's this thing do?" before deciding to find out what the silent alarm button was for by pressing it? Because that was the excitement that I missed last night. Sorry I missed it, having a blog.

      College is back in session, and this was the first party weekend. So, Keystone Light kegs, WOOO! Why they're obsessed with that particular brand of shit beer is beyond me. But after we'd hauled 3 165-lb half kegs out the back door and waited and waited, one frat boy asked me "Where's Vic?" the money guy. "He's up front," I said. "I have to talk to him!" he said. And texted, rather than walk the 20 feet to use his talky throat voice.

      With college back in session, every year we ask the beer salesmen for schwag to give away to either last year's good customers, or the new ones who drop enough coin. All I asked for was posters, the cheapest of the cheap promos, but always in demand in dorm rooms. Two companies gave us nothing. Not "very little," mind you. One salesman went and kept pestering the POS (Point of Sale) manager for whatever he wasn't using, as we were the only store that even asked this year. Eventually the POS guy relented, and dragged out some years-old stuff. Stuff like actual LIGHT-UP SIGNS. Little light-up backbar Coors Light bottles, sure, but also huge and expensive shit--yard long rolling signs, "bubblers" (when lit, they look like beer bubbles are going up the sign), even two very costly signs with programmable LED ticker tapes. Those we kept; my suggestion was that we use them as in-store ads for our beer and wine tastings. From a liquor distributor, we got 2 big sets meant for Jagermeister tastings, with shirts and coasters and bar towels and bright orange buckets, which are for icing down bottles. I called them "barf buckets," and if you remember your college experiences with Jager, that's much more accurate. The guys we gave them to (and it's always guys buying the bulk booze) loved them. I told the new group, This stuff will be gone soon, so if you have any friends who want to spend some money, send 'em in quick! as that's the whole idea.
      The beer managers, Larry and the guy with the ponytail, were told to help ourselves to the pile, as it was a BIG pile. Me, I took a pair of light-up barbacks for beers I actually drink, a big, handsome acrylic Saranac one and a small Modelo Especial one with Mayan accents (okay, I drink Negra Modelo, not the Corona-ish Especial, but close enough). I'm now wearing a very nice short sleeve, button down black Jager shirt, which in 90 minutes has been carefully adorned by The Boys wth as much cat hair as they could shed.
      Of course, I still haven't figured out where I'm going to put that Genesee Beer clock I was so estactic about buying 2 months ago...
      I don't need to buy a bigger house, I just need to buy more wall.

      See? That's much more exciting than police storming the building!


      Yesterday a coworker asked (between police raids) what I had planned for the Labor Day weekend. "Screaming and swearing," I said.
      Yes, it's time to set up the new computer! Frustration ahoy! With the old one still running, I took it out of the box for the first time. At the bottom was a wide cardboard folder with the narrow warranty in it. That's it? No manual besides the quick start sheet? I went online and found that it's on the computer. While it does say that in very missable print in the last line on the start up sheet, who the hell would know that? eMachines are meant as first computers, but I've had a desktop in the house since 1988, and still thought that I hadn't been given a manual. What's the folder for? Why didn't they just slip the warranty into the start up sheet? How come you can brush your hair, but you can't comb your teeth?
      I turned off the old computer and fired up the new one. It's half the size of the old one, and so quiet it's creepy. My next frustration was discovering that it only had one phone jack. The wall jack is in another room, so now I have no way to run my phone through the computer (maybe a splitter would work). Other than that, bang! I had an internet connection. I consider Win7 to be damned ugly, and also weird, and its mother dresses it funny, but I assume that I'll get used to it. I launched Exploder just long enough to download my nemesis Firefox 3. Bang! up and running. I was happy to see that there's some program on the computer to transfer files from one PC to another, but I wasn't going to bother with that at the moment, so I began downloading the minimal programs I need. Next frustration: I didn't write down what I needed to get the FTP client connected! (SPOILER ALERT: If you can read this, I eventually did)
      So I switched back to the old computer. When I'd turned it off for the first time in a week, I got the usual "Click Here to Close Program Now" windows. And one I'd never seen before, titled with the squares and squiggles one gets from a foreign character set. Since I haven't downloaded any trusted content from Kazakstan or Nigeria or Latveria, this was not good. After a reboot, CHKDSK ran for the first time ever, something to do with the NTFS files. Everything came up running fine! Except for the mouse and keyboard. Well, at least that's happened before! Unplug, put back in, reboot. Three times. Old computer now inert mass.
      So back to the future computer, downloaded pretty much all I need for basic functioning (at least after a ridiculously long argument with the Readyhosting password screen; seems that no matter how garbled your password is, it's only "strong" as long as it's mainly numbers). At least the HD on the old one works, so one way or another I can get the stuff I need off it. I hope.


      I give Win7 a semi-thumbs up so far. Firefox loads instantly, but clicking on a digital radio WinAmp link doesn't automatically launch WinAmp. It immediately recognized the printer, yet made me go through hoops to print a damn coupon. It doesn't recognize the camera. Also not a total fan of the taskbar, as I have at least 4 Firefox windows open, but I have to click twice to see what they are.
      But I did just jump right in without running the tour first. There may be solutions to all this that I just don't know about.
      Windows OSes seem like Star Trek movies; they alternate between good and awful. Win95, 98 and XP: good! 2000, ME, Vista: directed by Shatner! I'm still baffled by the fact that my multi-millions business still uses 2000 as an OS. It crashes itself and can't use any damn program from the last 10 years. Spend the $89 or whatever to upgrade already!

      Memo to myself: do not buy the "short-dated" goat cheese at the Farmers' Market. Delicious on Friday, covered entirely in mold Monday. The 2 bucks I saved by buying it doesn't cover the 3 bucks worth I'm throwing out. I'd better eat the blueberries before they get fuzzier than the cats.
      DJ, wtf are you eating?! Something you got out of the nonfunctioning oven that I use for storage that I was just in, I bet! Give it to me--tail of a fantail shrimp? How did that get in there? GAH, it must be from the pu-pu platter I bought--IN MAY. How did that get in there?!?! God, if you want to eat that badly--and I do mean badly--here, have some goat cheese.

      Kitten Kill Kill started getting called the Einstein Cat at a very early age, around the time she understood what meant "day off for human" and what meant "noooo, you not go to works!!!" First it was shoes. She'd untie one as I was tying the other; I once tied each shoe 3 times before I could leave. Then it was brushing my teeth: if the first thing I do is that, I'm going to work; if the first is turn on the computer and then brush, day off yay! Then she understood that I wear black jeans to work, khakis on days off (yay!).
      Strangely, smart as he has to be to counter the deafness, He of the Feet has never figured this out. If I leave the house for less than 30 minutes, Byron runs up and meows his utter amazement on my early return. This is most of his talking. He goes briiip? when gently awakened, or sca-REAMS when he wants something very badly. Or is trying to kill the vet.
      Ms Killsy generally makes not a peep, after a very chatty childhood. Then, we'd have long conversations. About what, I don't know. My favorite was about just that: She kept meowing various sounds, and I said "I don't know what you want. I'll bet you don't know what you want. What do you want?" and she said, sheepishly and looking aside, "Aye oh ohhh." "'I don't know'? That's what I thought." Now she only makes a tiny meow when she finds her dry food bowl getting low. If she wants something else, such as pets she just s-t-a-r-e-s until I become aware of her.
      DJ's the talker currently. Especially right after I've gotten out of the shower. Funniest is anytime I sneeze--he jumps up and runs around, meowing something like "Ay arr ee ack eee eeee, ack arr!" But never at me or his stepsiblings. At the air, as if sneezes pop in from Dimension X. Maybe they do; I'm starting to think that's where he found that fantail shrimp piece.


      The work radio station has a daily contest; you can win concert tickets by knowing the lyrics to an old song.
      DJ: "Okay, this one is so easy that you could answer it even if you've never heard the song! Finish these lyrics: 'Liar, liar...' That's it! I need 3 more words!"
      DJ, a few minutes later: "Okay, you're the first caller! Finish these lyrics: 'Liar, liar...'"
      CALLER: "Your pants are on fire!"
      "No, I only need 3 words. Try again!"
       "Your pants are on fire!"
      "No, 3 words only. Try again."
      "Your pants are."
      "'Your pants are.' No, that's not it. Do you want another guess?"
      "Your pants...onfire."
      "Try again some other time, okay?"
      DJ plays "Liar, Liar" by the Castaways, then says "That was the Castaways, with 'Your Pants Are.'"

      Required reading in my high school--at least at my level--included 1984 and Brave New World. I decided that the Third World was going the way of Orwell's book, and the Western Democracies-plus-Japan were going the way of Huxley's.
      This link apparently thinks so too. I kinda agree with most of what it says, except for the part that thinks the whole world is America.


      I get up at 7AM on most workdays, and I sleep until 9-930 on the other days. Like today. Today a gigantic thunderstorm blew through, directly over the house, at 7AM. It was brief, but loud as artillery fire. I wasn't going to sleep after that, so I got up to see if the cats were upset. Killsy ran up to me, meowing--for breakfast. She used to hide under the bed until 20 minutes after a storm's end, until she saw that Byron wasn't bothered by them. Why would he? He can't hear them. But Byron was the only cat who ran up and looked nervously at me, then out the window, then back. Was it so loud that even he heard it?
      Or perhaps he was warning me of what the ill wind blew in: HOUSEFLIES! Normally in the summer, I might see 1 or 2 a month. I've lost count of how many have been in here since the storm. And you know how hard it is to kill the winged rats; take a a swing, and they just escape with ease and buzz throughout the house. Not these little shiteating dipshits! I killed one in the shower. Whap! I couldn't believe that I actually hit a fly in the air, and the stupid thing kept right near me. I hit it again, and down the drain it drowned. I've killed at least twenty since the onset of Fly War One. And they're not even "in" the house; they're all hanging out in the windows, trying to escape. I corner them in the window with a piece of toilet paper and squish them without more than 3 attempts. And these aren't slow, old flies dying from old age, they're all sizes, and thus ages. Why are they here? Why are they so easy to kill? Something to do with the storm, I guess, but what? I may live in Connecticut, but not in an Amityville movie!
      Once I saw how many flies were in the windows, I shut the indoor ones. And the ones in there are dropping like--some kind of flying insect that drops dead. If I start seeing dead birds along the road tomorrow and dead squirrels the next, I'm really going to start worrying. Glad that I washed my hands after every fly I killed today..



      As we come to another somber 9/11, the "holiday" right wingers love best and jerk off to most, please read A Brief Note Regarding Hallowed Ground (Updated with Startling Photo Evidence). I am not resposible for your head splodin'.

      "At The Movies" is BACK, BITCHES! "Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies," a weekly half-hour film review program, was announced today by its producers, Chaz and Roger Ebert. The program continues the 35-year-old run of a reviewing format first introduced by Gene Siskel and Ebert and later by Ebert and Richard Roeper." Although watching the demo reel clip, I'll need some time to acclimate to the new format and hosts. Just so long as they're aren't two peole named Ben...

      Via Aldo:



      2012: Totally ridiculously over-the-top disaster movie, or a self-parody of a totally ridiculously over-the-top disaster movie? At the 90 minute mark, I went with the former. When I realized I had another HOUR to slog through, the latter.
      If you watch it, as I did, expecting a bad, funny movie, it's okay. As it goes on an hour longer than it should, apparently so it can hit every single $100 million dollar CGI disaster movie cliche ever, sometimes twice. It's so stupid that it continually forgets what happened in the previous scene. Right at the start, when the family gets taken prisoners by the US Army at Yellowstone National Park--then moves around freely in every scene after that; the Army disappears so instantly, why even introduce them? And if the plot had no coincidences, there would be no plot at all. Bad movie fans will laugh through every part, except the parts where they're screaming "Shut UP, end the scene, we GOT it already!" at the screen.
      It wears out its welcome around the 90 minute mark, or exactly the point when I checked the timer and said "FUCK there's a whole HOUR left?!" But it remains monumentaly stupid throughout. Is it making fun of "every escape happens at the exact last second" cliche, or is it clutching it to its heaving bosom? And the "Horrible disasters only hit easily recognizable national monuments" cliche? There's a point where six and a half BILLION humans have died, along with all other life on Earth as a tidal wave swamps the Himalayas, and the tiny remaing fraction of humanity, maybe a thousand, cheers and applauds as the hero and his family of 3 and a pug survive in a "feel-good" ending. With apparently nothing but a giraffe and a rhino to eat and possibly a pug and nothing else, as the movie is pretty damn adamant about you not forgetting about that fucking giraffe. Yes, it is THAT bad.
      Intentionally bad or unintentionally bad? All I know is that it was overlong, and bad, but I laughed at points I'm not sure that they meant as funny. It having CGI stunts that wouldn't be out of place in a Looney Tune cartoon only made the distinction more confusing.


      I went to Ocean State Job Lot after work. It's like my old haunt BIG!Lots, except bigger and more oceany. They so specialize in closeouts that even the bags are from bankrupt chains. I found a great sense of schandenfreude in that their latest bags are from my least favorite job, Kay Bee Toys.

      Once home, I found 2 surprises in the mailbox. One was a rebate check for $60 that I'd ceased expecting. Since it's so much work to get the UPC off of a liquor bottle, many rebates now only require a receipt. And receipts are easy to acquire if you work the register in a liquor store. (Hey, it's not stealing--SOMEbody bought the bottle) The rebate people miskeyed my zip code to that of a town 15 miles from here, the USPS sent it back to them, they fixed it, I got me 60 simoleans.
      Much bigger and better surprise: Big Box of Stuff from Lilliana von Kalashnikov! Inside:
      That big SCTV history by member Dave Thomas. I have a used Second City book with a chapter on SCTV that I have yet to even crack, as SCTV is the only part of the history that I care about, so this will be read.
      2 loaned DVDs of Cinematic Titanic, the people from MST3K that aren't in RiffTrax. Just in time for next week's vacation!
      A stuffed giant cat head--white with blue eyes, and with the BIG!Lots price tag still on it. A little ceramic cat with a Post-It saying "I think of this as perhaps commemorating the exact moment you brought DJ home--"WHAT?! ANOTHER ONE?!" The cat is white with blue eyes and a look of utter horror, which indeed was her reaction to another BOY. Why do white cat figures so frequently have blue eyes, even the non-Persians? S'okay by me; The Queen of the World had blue eyes until she was 3 months old (then they became gold, then yellow, then gold, then a gorgeous light green, which they've stayed).
      A Xerox of a chapter from a book, Pull Me Up, a memoir by a journalist who worked in my area and covered stories in Vernon, my town.
      A couple of very belated birthday cards, each featuring cats of the white persuasion, one in an envelope with fuzzy monkey stickers!
      Also, 2 copies of the "Midweek Gold Mine," a free paper in unread condition that I assume was only included as packing material, although I found a Rite Aid flyer (my second worst job!) that will be a hoot at work: the back page is entirely booze, which should cause cognitive dissonance.
      Lila, you are made of 100% awesome!

      Really, really LTRoTD--I mean, back to the first few months of the Geocities page--will understand why I rolled my eyes at Gummi bears laced with LSD a new trend. Suuure they are. Preschoolers love acid trips!

      Video games actually not bad for you.





      About 10 years ago Jessica introduced me to Majoriam, her "musclehead," a big, friendly black cat. He walked over for a pet as soon as he saw me, and I said as I stroked him, "He has muscles in his head!" "I told you!" she laughed.
      He was then a largely outdoor cat of both obvious and dubious ownership, who wandered into Jess' backyard one day and stayed for a bit. He apparently went from household to household, as he was friendly and well fed. He was a tough guy. He had muscles everywhere. Scars and scratches and a nicked ear, too, from many a battle. He had no collar or microchip, and the vet could only estimate his age. Usually they go by teeth, but his teeth were weird--apparently, he'd even survived being hit by a car! He eventually decided that he would be Jessie's first all-her-own cat, and was even persuaded to live inside. He loved everybody. A big bruiser but also a sweet lapcat. I didn't think to wash my hands after that first meeting, and did I ever hear from Miss Killsy when I got home! I tried to pet her, but she yanked her head away to sniff me. And for the first time ever, hissed at me. Lipstick on my collar! I washed up every time after that, but for years afterward I got the sniff test every night.
      He's been her daughter Jacque's cat, too, since she was, what, four? He led to her boyfriend Ron getting Bogart, his first cat, and when they moved in together, both boys became fast friends. And the cats continued to come; Samson and double-pawed Ham, all his friends. He isn't so sure about Paul, the semi-stray that lives in a box in their yard, who only comes in during the coldest winter days and isn't happy about being inside. But eventually Paul will make the same decison he made, and he'll be his friend, too.
      I'm terrified whenever my cats need anaesthesia. After Major was neutered, he began breathing strangely. Jess called Bolton Vet, just up the road and with a 24-hour emergency service, but, Sorry! only for pets "registered" with them. So she raced half an hour to a place in West Hartford that saved his life, in the nick of time. The walls of his heart were too thick, and the anaesthesia triggered a...I forget the word. A heart attack, basically. He had to go on medication for the rest of his life, and he takes it without complaint. He has too big a heart. Well, I could've told you that!
      I just got an email from Jess. Major's heart is failing, and so are his kidneys. They've spent thousands of dollars on that boy, so I know that it was no easy decision. I think you know what decision I mean. I immediately sent her a reply and my deepest sympathy. Then I turned to Killsy, curled up in a box near my feet, and told her the sad news. I looked at the clock. "He'll be gone in an hour and a half."
      And realized how horrible that was. The old "Would you like to know the date and time of your death" question--I'd always answered "Sure, why not?" But no, it's awful. To know when your best friend has to have that final kindness done...I don't want to write here anymore today.
      Send a peaceful thought to that sweet musclehead Majoriam. And if you have pets, give them extra love. Remember the kindnesses they do you, as someday, that is all any of us are: memories. Memories in the hearts of those who loved us.



      Most of the beer racks we get are cheap, and frequently cardboard. But every once in a while, a big account like ours that moves a lot of a particular product will get a really well-made rack for it.
      With a big Jamaican customer base, we sell a lot of Guinness stout. As the merchandizer brought in the new rack, even at a distance I could tell that it was awesome, and made of wood, not particle board. As a lover of fine retail furniture, I blurted out "NICE RACK!"
      And immediately realized that if the merchandizer had been a woman rather than a man, I'd be apologizing. "No, I didn't mean your rack is nice! It's just that that rack is so ni--not that your rack isn't ni--I'll just shut up now."

      SteamBirds, an entertaining little fighter plane game. Turn-based, so you can leave it in an open window and go do something more productive. I've only done 7 of the scenarios, and they seem easy: your tactic is to maneuver behind the enemy planes, where they can't shoot you and you get bonus attacks. Certainly a better use of your wasted time than Farmville.


      Bonehead of the Day. Not actually daily. Kind of a boneheaded name.


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