NEW 103

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth."
--Umberto Eco


      Vacation! I was hoping to get together with friends, but Kevin has midterms this week, and Jessica is understandably torn up over Majoriam's passing a few days ago. So, uneventful vacation ahead. That will no doubt be reported here in excrutiating detail.

      Today marks the second week of the new computer, and it's already acting weird. Or FireFox is. AdBlock worked perfectly for 4 days, then began letting ads through on every page. I can block them, but since every one has a different source code, it's the same as not blocking any.
      Yesterday, Java crashed while I wasn't even using the computer, and I discovered that YouTube embeds stopped working on every page, and by "every page," I mean "Stopped on, but not on Boing Boing" and "Stopped on Cute Overload, but not on the Cheezburger empire." And "But they all do on Explorer." I downloaded Java, that didn't do anything and why should it, so I downloaded Flash and that should've fixed it but Nooo. I can't think of anything else to...wait a tic.
      AHA! The 2 problems are related! AdBlock is blocking YouTube! Why? Maybe I accidentally clicked "block" on a YT embed, or maybe AdBlock is going screwier than I thought.
      Feeling excruciated yet?

      That last day before vacation can be excruti--umm, seem really long. So I was glad for a chance to get out of the store yesterday. Seeing the store truck loaded up with beer, booze and ice, a regular customer said "Someone's having a real shindig!" which is a phrase sadly missing from most conversations. "I don't know how much fun they'll be having," I said, "it's going to a funeral home."
      I had a printout from Bing Maps for directions. I glanced at the next step, which was "Get on I-91 South and get off at exit 35." I got on the highway and saw that the next exit was 34--but the exits go down in numbers southbound! WTF? I took the exit and glanced to the bottom of the directions, which said "SR-159 North (Windsor Avenue)." But...this exit was ON Windsor Avenue, why was I supposed to get off at exit 35 for? At least I had a rough idea of where I was. If the guy who gave me the printout had said "Know where Job Lots in Windsor is? Turn left." I would've been fine. I overshot Orchard Road, appropriately enough because the sign was covered by trees, and pulled an illegal u-turn. What, the funeral home's on a residential cul de sac, with huge old homes and rich enough that the turnaround island has a fountain? Wait, that house looks sorta funeral-homey, and has the right street number...and is advertised by a tiny bucket on the porch. The Hell?
      I began dropping off the booze by the tent for what I assume was a wake. "Oh. My. Gawd." said a funeral home lady. "Are those termites?" It was a big swarm of winged ants, anyway. "Bill will have a bird when he hears about this!" She then sprayed about half a can of bug spray at the swarm, and This Bill thought, "It's neurotoxin; they'll die as soon as it hits them, you don't have to drown them," and "Real good idea, spraying poison 2 feet from where you're setting up the bar. Trying to drum up some extra business from anyone who drinks today?"
      The place was right next to some eccentric's home. He had big metal sculptures made from scrap metal and junk everywhere. The one that caught my eye was a mutant Uncle Sam with a steamroller wheel for legs, holding a sign that said "Don't wee-wee yourselves, but I WON fair and square!" Since the sign was pointing not at the road but the funeral home, there must've been some complaint filed by them against his junk masterpieces. He responded to winning his day in court like an adult by putting "wee-wee" on a sign.
      Just before I left, I looked closer at the Bing directions. It told me to get on I-91 South using the least direct route, get off at exit 35, then get back on 91 North and immediately get off at exit 36 WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU BING.
      But I got paid to waste about 70 minutes the day before vacay and got both a $10 tip and an excrutiatingly detailed anecdote, so all was good.

      Today I went to the Coventry Farmers' Market for a week's worth of healthy food. As I got on the highway, I saw 2 cars pulled over in the breakdown lane, the drivers sitting in lawn chairs. You're 2 miles from a beautiful state park, and yet you chose to relax in the calm, bucolic splendor of the shoulder of I-84? Do you think you're in the park, having used directions from Bing?
      Half a mile up, a car and a large pickup were on the shoulder, with the 2 drivers standing in the truck's bed. And a quarter mile from there, three vehicles had pulled onto the shoulder, with all the passengers in lawn chairs, including the children. Half an hour later, they were gone. I would like to solve this mystery, but it seems that some things must remain as inexplicable as Super Green Beret.
      At the market, I bought raspberries, 2 types of Beltane Farm goat cheese, a chicken pot pie, and some more cheese, semisoft and slightly salty and a bargain at $18 a pound (I bought $7 worth). It was wincingly named "Udderly Delicious." The other choice had a similarly punny name, "Moo-velous" or something. I tried to find out what it was at their comically designed site, but, yeah, we sell cheese but we don't want to advertize it or nuthin', despite an enthusiastic picture of the guy who sold it to me holding cheese.
      Tune in tomorrow, when you'll get a minute-by-minute description of my visit to Best Buy for a cable!

      SarahPAC's Latest Republican Endorsements. Laugh all you want at the last one, but Connecticut's Senate race is between our Democratic attorney general and the Republican billionaire who runs World Wrestling Entertainment, so it's kind of accurate.


      A spindle of DVD-Rs costs twice as much as I thought, and an Easy Transfer Cable three times. And the cable may go back to Best Buy anyway, as I have to install software on the old computer for it to work. If it again boots up without recognizing the keyboard and mouse, the software will be uninstallable.

      What? Not enough excrutiating detail?
      Since I had to drive past the mall on the way home, I stopped in for the first time in 2 years or so. Leading economic indicators: Over a dozen shuttered storefronts, and the only store that had expanded was the dollar store. Although there were 2 Game Stops, both on the same floor and only half a mall apart.
      Tchotke stores seem to be doing well, selling stuff that's the opposite of necessity. A comics and collectables store was a damn mess. Hey, if I could keep a toy store organized during Christmas season, maybe you could at least pick up the broken stuff on your floor. Also, overpriced and Dr Who-less. Next door was Newbury Comics, which was well-ordered and had cardboard standups of Doctors Nine and Ten in the window. But even more overpriced; their Whophemera (I maded me a word!) dollies--sorry, "collectable action figures," were $30 to $40. Except for a 3-pack of Daleks, which, unless I read the tag wrong, were a mere $144.
      There was a wargaming store, which I decided that even I wasn't nerdy enough to enter, a Spencers Gifts, and the inevitable Hot Pockets Topic, still basing the bulk of its income stream on Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. I should make a tshirt that says "WWJSD?" I'd bet they'd sell it.
      There was a store called "Calendar Club." It sold boardgames and whatnot, but about 2/3s of its inventory was...calendars. I guess that it might've been seasonal, as I imagine their business drops off after the first week of January.
      Most interesting was the Oriental Gift Shop, which had multiple, battery-powered waving Lucky Cats in their window. The owner probably thought he was going to make a sale, as I was wearing my Hiraganu Man tshirt. And he almost had one, as they had "moving" pictures of waterfalls and beaches. I'm not sure if all of them made waterfall noises or not. If I had more wall, and electrical outlets, I would've bought one at $35. Who knows, maybe I will, if I have to go back to Best Buy.
      Surprisingly, I bought stuff. Unsurprisingly, at the dollar store. A replacement shower curtain (thank you, DJ and your claws!), a phone splitter to replace the one I bought 2 weeks ago and immediately lost (having bought a second, I fully expect to find the first within hours), a cheezy-looking cartoon DVD (Moon Madness, description: "When the astronomer Sirius sends Baron Munchausen to the Moon to discover the secret world of the Selenites, they find instead a bizarre and dangerous world!" Munchausen/HG Wells fanfic? I'd buy that for a dollar!), and--of course--a fridge magnet. "Do not disturb the dust it protects the furniture."
      Every section of the store was neatly categorized, but the the segues didn't work. The baby section became the electronics section, the pet section overlapped kitchenware. Things I would've bought in the InExOb days: a pair of glue traps. Did they have to not only out a cartoon mouse on the box, but anthropomorphize him to the point where he looked like Herman from those shitty Terrytoons, and also give him pants AND a shirt? Staring in terror at his foot, stuck in the glue that would kill him? "Not for households with small children." Why, because if they saw the box, they'd side with the mice? This actually isn't the worst example I've seen. One not only had humanized mice, but one was dead and the other hysterically sobbing in grief, screaming against the heartless monster of a god that would allow such suffering. If you want an anthropomorphized cartoon rodent on your cover, make him a filthy rat that looks like Stalin or something.
      Next to it was one with a photo of a field mouse on it, also not looking particularly menacing, and the other animal it was supposed to trap: a snake the size of a fucking rattler. Seriously, if your house is infested with snakes over 4 feet long, you might want to skip the glue trap and just burn the place down.
      A beautiful day--looks the whole week will be--so next, to the state park. Yeah, I know that I could've sat in a lawn chair on the shoulder of the highway, but I'm weird that way. I was the only person there not walking a dog. I hadn't eaten all day, unless you count the 4 cups of tea, so I ordered Indian, making sure this vacation that they gave me the $10 platter of kebabs and not the $25 one. Leading economic indicator: there's one of those evil and usurious check cashing places in their plaza. Bumper sticker seen: "WOMEN OF EARTH GIVE BACK YOUR BIRTH." What does THAT mean? Recycle your placenta?


      ME: I'd like a pu-pu platter.
      ME: No, for one. Make it a pu platter.
      Two-thirds of that conversation actually happened.
      Why do they always ask that, but then give out only one teabag and one fortune cookie? Are the 2 of us supposed to fight over them? Why 2 big containers of duck sauce, but also one little squeeze package? Does it go to whoever lost the teabag fight?

      Lili was kind enough to lend me a pair of CinematicTitanic DVDs, aka "Everybody from MST3K except Mike, the good Tom, and the gay Crow." Not as funny as my recent viewing of RiffTrax (aka "Nobody from MST3K except Mike, the good Tom, and the gay Crow"), but since I saw that in a theater with an enthusiastic audience, that just might be participation mystique. "Not as funny" in this context means "Still very dang funny!" Points are also given for picking a really obscure movie, "Danger on Tiki Island," starring the most Troy McClure-ish actor ever. Too bad you have to buy them, rather than rent them.

      Good news: looks like I'll be getting together with Jessie Baby this week after all! Good news, as I think this means she's feeling better.


      It seems to be a rule that every vacation needs one day that sucks, and I hope that today filled that.
      I felt kinda sick all day. Mild nausea, your name is pu-pu platter! Too much processed greasy shit at once, for a guy who normally eats yogurt and baby carrots. Even worse for Ms Killsy--time for to go to VET! She almost didn't go, as she slipped from my hands and ran all over the place. She must've been too upset to think of running under the bed--the 500-pound waterbed. It's not like I could move that out of the way. But catch her I did.
      The vet apologized for keeping us waiting. "We had a 5 week old kitten rescue come in this morning!" Doctor Aronson, just change your name to Doctor AWESOME already! My poor Honey Peanut--no, you shut up--had drooled all over the place in panic by this point. And growled! She never makes a noise at the vet, but I guess at 11 years, she's entered cranky old ladyhood.
      The 3 pounds she lost when DJ joined the family came back. Other than that, she was the picture of health. Good, as cranky old men need their cranky old ladies.





      Well, I guess I can't blame the pu-pu platter if I feel like crap today, too. What a waste of both 2 vacation days and perfect weather! On the other appendage, I don't feel so bad that I would've called out sick from work, just stayed there feeling miserable. I hope it passes, as I'm entering the "do stuff with human beings" part of vacation, antiquing with Jess tomorrow and having dinner with my Mom Saturday.
      Shit! It's that really old olive oil I added to the pesto, right? That I just ATE? Fuck. "Extra virgin" my ass, it's a filthy whore with STDs.


      I didn't feel perfect this morning, but I felt good enough, and after 4 months, I wasn't going to miss seeing Jessica. I felt better the closer I got to Putnam. And 75 minutes later, became overwhelmingly light-headed and nauseous, bad enough that Jess could tell just from how awful I looked. We sat down outside for 15 minutes, but I could tell I was just getting worse. 80 miles is a long drive home, and it was good that I left, as I really felt like shit by the time I got here.
      This just sucks. I hope my "Ate bad food" theory is correct. I don't need another Mysterious Malady like Young's Syndrome.

      Don't Kiss a Mustachioed Man: The Origins of 13 Weird Superstitions. The explanation of "carrots are good for your eyes" is not what you'd think.


      Wednesday: take Killsy to the vet, then a hike in the state park! Hike cut short. Feel weird.
      Thursday: Hike, return cable to Best Buy, POUTINE! Entire mission aborted.
      Friday: MRS JESSICA! and we all know how that turned out.
      Today: Two giant tag sales and a farmers' market I've never been to, then, dinner at Mom's!...Looked at the alarm clock at 3AM, said "Not happening."
      Pretty clearly can't be blamed on bad olive oil. Stomach virus picked up from someone at the vet? Let's hope I didn't give it to Jessie. And that it's gone by tomorrow. I can sit in my underwear in bed or at the computer and whiiine as much as I want on vacation, but that ain't gonna fly at work. As I say every time I get sick, "I'd rather be at home than at work, but I'd rather be at work feeling good than at home feeling bad."
      Thank you, cats, for doing your best to cheer me up. Especially DJ Loverboy, not afraid of my dry heaving noises in the bed enough to cuddle and purr.


      Thoughts on Sick:
      1: "Feeling better" and "feeling good" are mutually exclusive concepts.
      2: There are times when your best friend is indoor plumbing.
      3: "Sick as a dog" vs. "feeling like dogshit": which is worse? Break down into groups and discuss.
      4: That which does not kill you will probably make you wish it had anyway.


      I listened to the weather while brushing my teeth before going to work this morning. "It's supposed to rain all week," I thought. "Good thing I didn't have this weather on my vacation!" Then thought: What the fuck difference would it have made?
      I was 20 minutes late because of a nothing fender bender on 218--I didn't even see any damage--that backed 291 up until almost 84. Those numbers mean nothing to you, of course, so let's just say "about 8 fucking miles."
      Could my day get worse? But of course! I'm still sick. And got sicker by the strenous exertion of "walking around the store." I got bad enough that a co-worker told the boss to send me home. And a big delivery pulled up just as I sent her to lunch, and out of loyalty or idiocy I stayed to help put it away. As I have to unload either 300 or 400 cases of beer tomorrow (my math skills weren't at their peek), I left for the first time in years. Since I will be REALLY sick tomorrow after the deliveries.
      Then I got home and threw up. Huzzah! That may not sound like a victory to be celebrated, but I've basically had cheese with crackers or bread since Thursday, and it sure felt better than the dry heaving I've been doing. After I puked 10 times in 15 minutes, nearly tripping over a cat every time, I gave up and kept a puke bucket by me. Note that the bathroom is 20 feet away from where I'm typing now. Two of the cats abandoned the room--given which 2, I'd say it was because of the wretched retching noises.
      Man, but I want this to end. I'd go the doctor, but if it's not something that could be defeated by antibiotics, there'd be nothing for him to do about it. Except charge me the $30 deductible.

      The most ludicrous depictions of evolution in science fiction history. Star Trek turns up twice, Dr Who 3 times. As it's only works that specifically mention evolution, Star Wars doesn't make it. Where was that walrus-headed guy from, a planet that had an ocean floating 6 feet above the ground? I also wish that in the one representation of those 8 million or so stories where someone is "evolved" it pointed out that evolution doesn't inevitably lead humans to giant-headed superbrainiacs, it just adapts an organism to its environment. So if you shot your Magic Evolution Ray at a guy in a room, he'd turn into a guy who couldn't leave that room and survive. Put a TV in there, and he'd evolve a Lay-Z-Boy for legs, and arms just long enough to reach for a beer and Cheetos. And a brain of pudding. Meaning, evolving into a FOX News viewer.

      Psychologist Shows Why We 'Choke' and How to Avoid It: "In one study, researchers gave standardized tests to black and white students, both before and after President Obama was elected. Black test takers performed worse than white test takers before the election. Immediately after Obama's election, however, blacks' performance improved so much that their scores were nearly equal with whites. When black students can overcome the worries brought on by stereotypes, because they see someone like President Obama who directly counters myths about racial variation in intelligence, their performance improves."


      After the vomiting violence of yesterday, I actually felt better. I was able to eat some salmon with mayo (as were the kids). I woke up today and thought, "Here it goes again." But got better as the day went on, even with putting away 384 cases of beer (I counted). Very slowly, as I got winded easy. Once home, I was even able to eat a big messy omelette, cheese and onions sandwich. But I think whatever I had is gone.
      And replaced by an injured back. At least I have tomorrow off to (hopefully) recuperate. Again!

      Fatal Inventions, a short list of people killed by their own inventions. What, Jack Daniel invented the safe? The one real thing you should take from it is "Don't kick things."

      Douglas Coupland: New terms for new sensations. Among them:

      Anime Guy Goes On A Date:


      Today was only day not predicted to be rainy, and possibly the last day for 6-8 months with beautiful weather--so I decided to spend all day inside. After my week of health wonderfulness, why risk losing it?

      Like many a kid who grew up in the 1960s, when I grew up, I wanted to be an astronaut!
      Maybe I do again! World's first beer to be certified for space consumption will undergo tests in weightlessness to see its drinkability.


      Cheers to recuperating from Vacation Sick, and recouping some of my Vacation Losses! After returning that unneeded cable to Best Buy tomorrow, I'll have dinner with mom. And in 2 weeks, Jess and I get together with our now-annual visit to the Ren Fest, and hopefully 2 weeks after that, to a concert featuring her favorite work, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, on period instruments!

      She said she couldn't do the Ren Fest this weekend, but I would've advised against it anyway. The remains of Tropical Storm Whatsitsname passed over today, and the Fest's site gets nasty swampy after a lot of rain. I had to do a delivery to the Fish & Game Club today, which buys $750 to $1100 a month of booze from us. I tried calling twice during the monsoonest parts of the rain to postpone it, since it was predicted to get only worse. The cardboard boxes would get totally drenched and then fall apart in just the brief moments it would take me to load it onto the store truck. I may be the only person left who doesn't own a cell phone, but Game Club Guy must be the only cell owner whose phone doesn't let you leave a voice mail.
      Miraculously, the rain stopped just as it was time to load the truck! And immediately began again, as drizzle. I rushed to load it, and finished exactly as it began to pour again. What luck! And the Club's delivery entrance has a canopy over it!
      I'd never had any reason to inspect the canopy. It's really a deck. With half inch gaps between all the boards. It wasn't raining much less under it than it was outside it. I wasn't soaked, but I was still pretty wet. I got everything in in record time, and left.
      ...At the exact moment it stopped raining. Six hours later, it still hasn't rained.


      I left work 5 minutes late, but the Best Buy return took exactly as long as I guessed it would, so I was only 5 minutes late getting to my mom's for dinner. And she is an awesome cook! Pan-seared salmon, twice-baked potatoes, salad, roasted asparagus (for her--not my thing), and homemade brownies for dessert. Three hours later, I still don't have room in my stomach to try one (oh, we began with hors d'oeuvres). We talked about the family, the extended family, her job at the library, explaining distances in New England to people in states west of the Mississippi such as Missouri or California, yelled about politics (not at each other, as we're both very liberal). So, a good time. And I managed to remember that she lives in #34, not #43, as I thought the last time I was over when walked right through some stranger's wide open door, who was also grandmotherly and disinclined to pepper spray me and call 911. I must not look that threatening.
      Ms Killsy gave my hands a good sniff when I got home, then turned and hissed in anger. What, I can't see any other women now?
      Later, Byron made fart noises. No, he is not a boy in elementary school. When he grooms himself, he sometimes licks, chews and sucks his fur simultaneously, and it sounds like a wet fart. We aren't allowed in the finer restaurants anymore because of this.

      Bat Fellatio, Whale Snot Research Honored at Ig Nobel Awards.

      OMG--these brownies are great!



      Okay, I admit it. I disparage lottery players. And yet sometimes, I am one. At least on vacation, spending a dollar to fantasize for a few days that a permanent paid vacation might result. And I might continue to buy after vacation, until someone wins.
      Since the CT Lotto is currently $4M, I bought a quick-pick ticket today. "8-9-10-11!" said the clerk mysteriously as the ticket printed, "8-9-10-11!" He glanced at it before handing it to me. "Only got the 11!" I looked at the numbers and said "You also got the 8! Why haven't you won yet?" He smiled, shrugged, said "I'm a lucky guy." Whatever that meant.
      Even if only 8 and 11 are among the winning numbers (meaning: the ticket is worthless), it's going to be weird.

      Kirk does the 24 Hour Comic Challenge again this year. I was a big fan of Young Astronauts in Love, so I was eager to see what he came up with this time. Apparently, it's so far untitled, and is only part 1 of 4 pages of memories. I'll post the full link when there is one, but I suggest following it on his page as it unfolds.
      DUH, me. Yeah, there's a "Next" arrow.

      One net meme that will NEVER be played out for me: LOLCats! 29 Famous Quotes Translated into LOLCat

      Just in case you haven't hallucinated today, an early 30s Oswald cartoon.





      LTRotD will remember when little Killsy would swallow stray hairs from my ponytail, then poop them partly out, then run around screaming about the foot-long string of poop that would form around the hair in her butt, with me racing after her with a paper towel and trying to pull it out. She was smart enough to eventually understand what was happening, and then would just run from the litter box to me and make a squatting motion. Meaning, "Hey. Foot long poop string goin' on here." Damn, that was, I think, even before Byron. So it's been at least 7 years since it last happened.
      Looking for my attention, she just sauntered up with one of my hairs in her mouth. In just far enough that she couldn't get it out. So I gently removed it. And that was all she wanted. My Einstein Cat.

      One of my beer salesmen told me that his wife had the same gut bug I had. She was miserable for days, then it went away after the first time she violently and repeatedly puked. I'm still trying to do the things that I couldn't when I was sick. Dinner at Mom's, check. Cinematic Titanic with Kev, pending. Mrs Auntie Jess, Ren Faire agreed upon, but currently unscheduled; Vivaldi, Oh Yeah! Bought the tix yesterday, and we may actually be in the front row!
      And yeah, we're wearing our finest. The Skinny Red 1962 Tie will be BACK! Before the concert, we will be the best-dressed people at Cracker Barrel. Which, believe me, isn't saying much. Scrape the crusted Ensure stain off of your elastic-waisted senior pants, and you're the height of sophittycations.

      Hey, my home town got an actual mention from the actual Dave Barry! Not exactly razor-sharp.


      I was a bit surprised to get The Secret of Kells from Netflix, as I didn't think it was out for another week. And pleasantly surprised! The character animation was a tad Nickelodeonish, but other than that, wow. I didn't dislike a single second of it. And one of the main characters was--a cat! Not a cartoon cat, but a cat who acted like a cat--sometimes friendly, sometimes wary, always curious, once heroic. And the moral is "Being smart is better than being able to kill people," meaning that it obviously wasn't made in Hollywood.

      Internet-to-PeopleWhoAreNotIdiots Dictionary.



      'Happy Coffins' Make Funerals Less Grim "Take, for example, the design by a 30-year-old Martin Matera of the Czech Republic. His coffin resembles a pair of worn jeans, complete with button collection and beer bottle jutting from the rear pocket. A slogan on the lid exhorts mourners, 'Don't cry. I had a good life.'"
      I'm 51, and thus of the "I should make a will" age. But it's still vaguely thought out. Certainly, all my savings should go to whoever adopts any of my cats who survive me. Someone volunteered for that long before I thought about monetary renumeration, so she should get it. Possibly you can guess which cat-lover-extreme she is.
      But there would have to be money set aside for the disposal of my earthly remains; e.g., rotting corpse. This is why I need a will. First off, a living will. I ain't Terry-Schiavoing my vegetable corpus in a hospital for x years. I will not rage against the dying of the light, I will race towards it as soon as I know that I'm dying from (whatever horrible fatal disease). Quality of life > quantity of life.
      I don't want a tombstone. I don't want a gravesite. I don't even want a funeral. I'm an atheist. I'm a walking talking hunk'o'meat, and someday I'll just be meat. I've always said that "Those who die are still alive, as long as we remember them." What I want is a wake! I don't care if only 2 people show up for it--I'M FUCKING DEAD, I won't notice. Maybe leave a thousand dollars for that. If 2 people turn up, they can go to a brew pub, toast my memory, and pocket the rest. If there are more people, hey! Then give out door prizes! And take what you want from all my possessions! Hey, some of that crap would go for good money on eBay! Any that's left over--well, somebody's going to have to decide what to with it. I'll want a volunteer, but again: eBay! Or the Salvation Army, where someone else can buy it, then eBay it. If you feel guilty about the money: ASPCA or ACLU.
      No funeral. I won't be sad that I'm dead--I'm dead! So I don't want anyone else to be. No grave! No stone! I intend to cremate the remains of any of my cats that die. I will keep their ashes. And have mine mixed with theirs. Then tossed into the waterfall at Valley Falls State Park, Vernon CT. Prly not super legal, so put us in a coffee can or such, and discreetly dump us downstream. Then maybe you can go to Rein's Deli, on me. And tell stories about me, but only if the stories are interesting.
      In short: I want everyone who knows me to think first and ONLY of the cats. After that: "Bill's dead. Bill's free. So let's PAR-TAY!!!!"

      What would you want your funeral to be like? That's what the comments are for!


      One Minute racist:





      There's this stuff called "Joose," which is malt liquor with added guarana, taurine, caffeine, kerosone, jelly beans, Afro Sheen and possibly cancer. College kids like it. A regular beer is about 5% alkyhol, and ice beers 5.5%. This shit's 12%. They ain't drinking it from brandy snifters for the delicious taste.
      Of course, every beer distributor is pushing their own ripoff of Joose. No one buys those. Believe me, I've tried to. A new one is called Four Loko, and no, I don't know why it's called that, either. And, apparently, Joose is the ripoff of it, as it came out first, just in different markets. Since we sell a lot of Joose, I thought I might bring one flavor in to see what happens. Supposedly it sells well in NY and MA, where a lot of our college kids hail from. Saturday a college coed asked "Do you have Four Loko, or is that just a Massachusetts thing?" I thought to myself, "It just became a Connecticut thing." Today, their salesman came in, and I ordered 5 flavors, as that's how many would fit on the little in-door, suction-cupped rack he gave me.
      The saleman from the distributor that's carrying it gave me a couple of samples of it. The cranberry one wasn't bad. I tried the "blue raspberry" one (where are the blue raspberries in nature? Why don't they sell, dunno, green raspberry or burnt sienna raspberry flavors?), and it was awful. Gross aftertaste. But, y'know, free beer! So over the course of 75 minutes, I verrry slowly drank it. I realized that the prupose of the caffeine wasn't to keep you awake, it was to pump the alcohol all that much faster into your system. Yeah, felt pretty good! And a few hours later, all that added shit wore off and bam!, I had to take an early nap. "Shit," I thought as I woke up, "I just wasted an hour of a day off asleep!" And then I looked at the clock and no, I'd wasted 3 hours asleep. Which is why yesterday's post was so short.
      The saleman today gave me 5 samples of the flavors. I gave away 2 to coworkers, and kept the rest. I'm either a glutton for punishment, or just can't resist free anything.

      Solved: The Curse Of The Crying Boy, the pyrotechnic poltergeist painting that burns houses down. The solution is even more prosaic than you'd think.

      How the Deaf Have Super Vision: Cat Study Points to Brain Reorganization. Dude, I coulda told you everything that's in this article!


      One by one I'm doing the things that I had to cancel due to The Sick of my non-vacation. Today Kev and I got together for a Cinematic Titanic screening--THANK YOU to the pulchritudinous and rifftastic Liliana, for lending me the discs! "It's a kung fu-slash-blaxploitation movie," I said after we picked up our chicken tikke pizzas and cracked my bottle of Blue Point Old Howling Bastard barleywine, "called East Meets Watts--" and he was already nodding in his head in recognition! Yeah, he'd heard of it. He's watched untold numbers of movies in either of those genres, so, yeah. He hadn't seen it yet. He groaned simultaneously with the MST3K crew when he saw the director's name. In between laughing our gluteus muscles off at the riffs, he kept saying "This movie is AWFUL!" and coming from him about a kung fu movie, that's quite an insult. Of course, that just made it all the better to laugh at. I'd tell you to seek them out, but as far as I can tell, you have to buy them. For $15 bucks. You'd think that they'd Netflixable by now.
      Of course, we ended as we always do, screaming about Republicans and the insanity of American politics for 30 minutes. He was wearing a "Republican Crossing" road sign tshirt, which showed a ped running with bags of money. I asked, "That sign means 'speed up,' right?"
      Yes, a truly good day!


      Today was prly my last day off of the year that would be nice enough to go to the state park, so I...umm, did that. I'm a natural born writer, y'ever notice that?
      Today was also the prly the last day they were going to mow the condo lawn, and fuck that noise! Literally. Okay, you can't literally have intercourse with sound waves, but I hate that noise, so fuck it, and that's when I left, just before they started all noising up outside my window. Got to the state park just as they began mowing. Big, BIG mowing machine. Thankfully, they don't mow the woods, so it was mainly a distant drone.

      Hey, guess the what! I own a cell phone! Yes, I have finally joined the mid-1990s.
      Kev was switching to his wife's plan and ditching landline, so he gave me his old $15 phone. I think I switched it to me. Dialing 611 took me to "Alex," a customer service "representative" which is all in quotes because it was a robot. If I accomplished anything with AOLiza, it was to "upgrade" his plan from 18c/min-$5/month to 20c/min-$6.66/month. I couldn't get a human. So I logged into his old account and changed everything to my name and credit card. I owe him $27.60 for the money he'd accrued on the account, and maybe 18 to 20 cents more for testing the phone by calling my home number. The answering machine picked up, a whole room away, and I left a message. It didn't record. Odd. Guess I'll try again tmw from work.
      It's good timing. It's the yearly Ren Faire trip for me and Mrs Jessica this Sunday, and if you remember our last one--well, let's assume you don't. The World's Most Beautiful Narcoleptic was 30 minutes late, and a "sleep attack" while driving is a common way for people with her condition to be killed....Yeah, I was starting to think I'd killed her by asking her to drive to a stupid Ren thing. A cell phone call would've kept me from nearly stress-vomiting in worry. Flat tires, and knowing friends aren't dead--maybe these phones have a use after all.

      And remember: See if the other MST3K guys are coming to a theater near you in 2 weeks! House on Haunted Hill is 10/28!


      Oh, like you're not going to click on a link titled Polish bear 'that fought Nazis' to be commemorated.


      Bad news: Cancer 'is purely man-made' say scientists after finding almost no trace of disease in Egyptian mummies.

      Better news--I guess...Study Confirms: Whatever Doesn't Kill Us Can Make Us Stronger


     Obscure Muppets Quiz. If you're like me, you'll keep saying "THESE are OBSCURE?!" because you're a Muppet geek. I got all except the one I knew I wouldn't. I saw The Dark Crystal once, circa 1985.

      About another obscure movie, 10 Things You Didn�t Know About The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda's original name? Buffy. BUFFY.

      "Halloween is coming, and that means it�s time for Hell Houses, those ugly little exhibits that conservative Christians use to try to scare the Hell out of people. Honest, they�re just trying to get people to think about the afterlife, or to realize that their decision to live the gay lifestyle will leave then broken and friendless."
      What I�d really like to do in response is to start a 'Real Life House.' Like the Hell Houses, it would use little vignettes of someone�s life. They�d be based on real people and real events. It�s wouldn�t be a direct rebuttal to the Hell House concept; instead it would be a way of showing that bad things happen even to good and Godly people. It would show people whom the conservative Christians could relate to who are in the middle of something that their upbringing simply couldn�t prepare them for."
      This was my entry:


      I don't have time tonight to write up my and Jessica's annual trip to the Renaissance Faire, but I will tomorrow or the next day. Then you will not get crappy pictures from my 8 year old camera, but from her birthday gift, a brand new super camera. It looks like you may never get a picture from my camera--my 1999 cracked copy of You-Know-Whatshop finally met an OS it didn't like. I got GIMP with a Save for Web feature, but it turned an 823K picture to a 712K one. If I don't have the time to write, I sure don't have the time (or need the frustration) of spending all night figuring out whether I'm doing it wrong, or it just doesn't work (I think it's the former).
      I wanted to post the only pic that came out good, one of the World's Most Beautiful Cat Rescuer wearing her "I ♥ Feral Cats" tshirt. Yesterday was National Feral Cats Day, and if you care to, you can donate as I did to Alley Cats Allies. While a worthy cause, you might want to wait. Soon, you can donate directly to her feral cats, when she sets up a site to sell her little handmade cat figurines and ornaments, with all profits going to support her colonies. They need lots of food (I gave her a bag and some cans today), and she brings them in for medical attention. It gets expensive. You won't just get to feel good for doing good, you'll get something solid, made by hand and from her heart.
      She did a T&R on 2 ferals just this morning. "Trap & release," after they're fixed. Out of her own pocket.


      I guess that we'll do what we did last year--describe the J & B Ren Faire Experiance, then show high-quality pictures of it when they arrive. Like you even care. Well, you could--these performers travel everywhere, so some day you might get to see them, too.
      Despite being 25 minutes from my town, the Hebron Fairgrounds has a totally different climate. Our first year, Jess and I were shivering in heavy coats, me wearing gloves, she a scarf; last year, we were stripping off clothes due to the heat. Outer layers of clothes, so guys, don't get too excited thinking about Jess, and ladies, stop thinking about me while dry-heaving.
      This year--sunny, temps in the 60s, but windy after the nor'easter that passed through the day before. Jess was wearing her "I ♥ Feral Cats" tshirt with a clingy red long sleeve shirt underneath and carried her short winter black coat; I had on a sweatshirt over my "Zoltan the Adequate' signed t. He was the guy who took Jess on stage last year.
      I asked her to call me on my NEW CELL PHONE!! if she was running more than 10 minutes late. She was pretty much exactly 10 minutes late, which is good time, considering that she had to get past a turned-over tractor trailer on the highway. She had called me, but my phone hadn't rung. I'd tested it by calling from my landline phone, and it vibrated and played some Ennio Morricone (as it was previously Kevin's phone, although with a ringtone that cool, why change it, even for Brian Eno?). She got vociemail. Kevin on his voicemail. I'm a cell neophyte and couldn't figure out why it was inert as a brick, or Killsy at the vet, and expert celler Jess couldn't get it to turn on. Emailing Kev, turns out that it'd lost its charge, despite being plugged in every day for 16 hours, except for the day before. Phones lose their charge after 23 hours? Cell phones suck!
      I had food for her ferals, who are surely less fussy than my kids, and a CD of Eno's Music for Films (1978 version, the correct one) my favorite album for the last 32 years. Coincidentally, she gave me 7 budget classical CDs.
      We stopped at Gay City State Park, as there was a tiny, ancient graveyard there, and she's into that. Only 6 graves, and with only 3 surnames, one of which was Gay. They must've been the original owners of the property that became the park.
      At the Faire, for once we remembered where we parked, as it was right at the near edge of the lot, so we didn't have to remember. After entering, "Excellent attire, sir!" said someone behind us. He said it twice before we realized that he was commenting on my shirt, and it was Zoltan the Adequate himself! He had his white and black pet rat with him, who sniffed eagerly at our hands, unless it was fearfully, from the smell of multiple cats. Zoltan did a bit of a double take--I'm sure he remembered Jess from last year more than me! "What's his name?" asked Jess of the rat. Zoltan turned him over and showed us the black spot over his crotch and said, "Oreo Balls!" Not missing a beat, Jess asked, "Do they taste good in milk?" He laughed, and said "I'll have to use that!"
      Unplanned, her mom and boyfriend? 2nd husband? (I'm unclear) were right at the start of the Faire. He's part of an extended family of foster children, and they were waiting for them. Jess gave them some quick recommendations of shows that they should see, and then we were on our seperate ways.
      We'd timed things poorly. There wasn't a show for over an hour, so we cruised the vendors. Starting with the food vendors, as I hadn't eaten all day, saving space in my tiny tummy for a Scotch egg! A hard-boiled egg rolled in ground sausage, then deep-fried! Not super healthy, but I only have one once a year! WHERE MY DAMN SCOTCH EGG, FAIRE?
      Nowhere. The 2 places that offered it the last 2 times had big strips of duct tape over parts of their menu. WTF? Are the eggs Health Code violations? Instead, Mrs Auntie Jessica bought some of those minidonuts she loved so much last year, and we shared.
      After browsing the shops (Jess bought an authentic Renaissance mood ring for her daughter), jousters clopped by on their magnificent chargers, great and dignified horses. One looked at us and said something that ended in "...that guy in the Zoltan tshirt." Given my total unremarkabillity, I imagine that it began with "Check out that smokin' hot babe with..."
      We suddenly had to get out of the way, as the Royal Parade went by. Horses and pikemen and ratcatchers and many of the performers. Jess tied my shirt with 2 of her own "Feral Cats" references from paraders. Funny how her chest gets so much male attention!
      Showtime! Finally. We saw Zoltan, but of course. It was the same show as last year, but interesting in a different way, as we saw the part where Jess was on stage from the audience. I really didn't catch that part, as I was trying to take terrible pictures of her. He picked yet another somewhat tall, thin brunette to perform with him, although much younger than Jess and also less radiant. My opinion may be biased. For his first bit, he chose a man--one of Jessica's inlaws! What are the odds?! But it was pretty much exactly the same show show we saw him do last year. We gave him a generous tip--this is how all the performers make their living. We both had $25 in singles, and spent it all on tipping our performers.
      Next: the Smee & Blogg, Singing Executioners show. Except it was now The Blogg Show. His explanation (in song) was that Smee was in Saw 6, but I think that was a joke. Their show was always G-rated cornball humor, but half the guys equalled half the humor.
      Next: Wonderfool, a guy with a bullwhip and fireating. He had his own patter that we'd seen the year before, but was better at improv. And last year, he'd said that he wanted someone to hold a target in their teeth so that he could bullwhip it in half. He picked out a little girl in the front row, and was startled that she actually came on stage. He sent her back after a few ad-libbed jokes. But this year, he had made it part of his routine, asking another young girl to come up on stage and doing some jokes he'd rehearsed before sending her back.
      So far, the only regret was that I didn't have NO SCOTCH EGG. And the fact that we were sitting in bleachers; my ancient back was going out. But then we saw what was always the highlight, "POPRAH!" featuring the Pope and the Cardinal, a totally adlibbed and raunchy show. One guy was clearly the Child Wrangler, jumping off the stage to rush out parents with little kids out of earshot. We saw him at 3 shows, always saying "I saving you years of therapy!" It's our favorite show. They almost swear as much as Jessica!
      My back was angry at me, so we stood up to watch contortionist Jayne Lee ("As seen on America's Got Talent!"). I wonder how many guys were thinking "She must be awesome in bed!" and how many realized "And if I wasn't, she could just clench a muscle and rip my dick right off!"
      We almost went to Zoltan's Weird Show, but we knew that it'd be the same as the last 2 year's shows (how many times can you see a guy a swallow a balloon?), so we went to the Wonderfool Improv Show. Well, it wasn't "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" but we weren't expecting it to be. The guy in the kilt was great, Wonderfool and the Queen of Hearts were very good, and the other 2...kinda sucked. Most of the jokes didn't work, but it was a lot of fun. When tipping time came, I had exactly 5 ones, and there were 5 performers, so there it went.
      Will we be there a fourth year? Hell yes.
      On the way to dinner, we were so engaged in conversation that I missed the turn home, and we ended up in horrible, horrible Glastonbury, with me not realizing it until I saw its mean streets of McMansions and million dollar suburban sprawl homes with Vote Republican, Deport Immigrants! signs on their immigrant-manicured lawns. After I regained my bearings, we then went to Rein's Deli for her pastrami reuben and my chic sal san. The line was insanely long, but she is nothing but resourceful, and found us a pair of stools at the tiny counter. We had a good view of the waitstaff, bringing out gigantic platters of food balanced on a single hand in an non-stop parade. Kev gets customers from all over New England and New York, and they all ask him "How do we get to Rein's?" As we left, Jess overheard some people going in, who were from a town north of her, 55 miles away. I wonder how many people know Vernon, CT, as nothing but as "where Rein's Deli is."
      In typical J & B fashion, we will meet again in 3 weeks for a concert. Then prly not meet again for another 4 months!


      Somebody went through 75 pages of photos looking for Vietnam Viper and decided to click on that pic of Byron on drugs. shrug

      I link to this page about a bad 80s monster movie only so that you can scroll to the bottom and listen to Bacharach & David's first song sale. I own the original 45. Warning: earworm!


      As a fan of free stuff from the web, today I cashed in a pair of coupons at the grocery store. One was for a tub of Cottonelle Fresh (ass) Wipes, value $2.69. The other was for a 24-count bottle of Advil (ingredients: 200mg of ibuprofen), value $3.99. Cost of a 40-count bottle of Dollar Tree 200mg of ibuprofen: $1.
      I used to manage a Rite Aid, and I learned 2 lessons there: never, ever work for Rite Aid, and the generic is always the same as the name brand, just cheaper. I hear ads on the radio for Advil, stating that "studies show that the active ingredient in Advil is better for body pain than the active ingredient in Tylenol." Well, yes, as Tylenol is only for headaches. If you've had it "work" on a headache, hello, placebo effect! Advil's claim is about the same as saying that it works better on body pain than eating potato chips or drinking bleach.


      I popped open a window after work today for a few hours, as isn't be warm enough to do so in the mornings when I leave at fucking dawn, and soon won't be to do it at any time. A while later, DJ was enraptured by something. Something moving. It was one of those odd, fiddle-shaped bugs that I don't know the name of. Big, but only by New England standards, as all bugs here have to either hibernate or die. 2 inches, light brown, long legs that are very angled, broad body, long neck, tiny head, long antenna. I shoo them from the store all the time, and the next day they're back. Maybe they think I'm a soft touch, and want to be my friend.
      I'll pass on that. I don't need a big bug in here, crawling on me while waiting to die as there's nothing in here it can eat. DJ settled down and watched it with deep fascination, not making any attempt to harm it. Byron and Killsy, despite encouragement, sat the experience out. Ahh, the days when the word "BUG!" made Killsy cry "WAAAAIR?!" as in "WHERE is it?!" before endless tracking followed by merciless death.
      It reached the point where bug needed to leave, so I picked up a bag and flicked the screen window to knock it off onto it, so that he could be flung safely out the window--did I call it "him" just now? Now you know why I do these things.
      First flick dropped it a bit, but not enough. A few harder flicks and it fell GAHH ON DJ'S HEAD GAAHH GET OFF GET OFF!!! and I flicked it out the window. DJ's reaction: "Hey, is something on my head? Oh, not any more? Okay."

      How 2 Pet a Kitteh.

      Seen on cars on the commute into work:
      You bought it at Babylon Honda? The WHorenda of Babylon? Where your payments are a low, low $666 a month?
      Also, there is no way to make an aging Acura Integra cool by getting a vanity plate that says "SKYWRP" and putting a huge Decepiticon decal on its body, unless your Mom's old car can actually teleport.


      What is that, Harris Polls? I earn enough points to get a $35 Amazon gift card sent to me by email--and it'll "come in 10 to 14 days by email"? Do you understand how email works? Or is that 10 to 14 business days?

      I got an offer for the History Channel's magazine. I have no idea why. But they would not only give me a subscription for $12 a year, but, if I scratched this lottery-style ticket with the coin they included, I might one of 3 prizes--or possibly all 3! I rolled my eyes, thinking , I'll win all 3. And, ta-da-snore, I did. A Civil War map (who cares?), a time and temperature clock (I can never have enough clocks!) and a $20 rebate on my gas. What? $20? Where's the catch? I mailed it in.
      The catch: It was $12 a year, but it was 2 years, so it was really $24. But still, good money deal, so I sent them $24.
      I got my stuff--except for the clock. The magazine was thin and full of ads, for redneck shit like Civil War crap (heavy on the side that lost), that militia favorite Buy Gold! (coins--the idiots who buy these don't realize that it's a federal offence to melt them down, and if things get so bad that you're melting down gold, canned foods and medicine are going to be worth far more than gold), and "The Patriot's Bible." With a camo cover, just like Jesus would've wanted. The ad said "Sometimes History does repeat itself," headlined with "Founding Fathers," picture of the signers of the Declaration and Jesus and the Apostles. Ah, yes, the "Americer was founded as a Christian nation!" lie again. The Founders were Deists. It goes Atheist-->Agnostic-->Deist, then through all the "Well, I go to church at Xmas" iterations before it ends up at Fundie Xtian Nutjob. Yes, they were such Funda-mental-ists that they created the first government to enact seperation of church and state into law. That's why Jefferson called Christianity "a vast dunghill." Because he loved dunghills!
      The articles were shallow, and sometimes so redneck as to be--shit, YEAH, I want to read about the history of NASCAR! Soon as I can find me some fag who can read it to me! Then I'll beat him up!
      I got a big package in the mail from them. It was a DVD. I didn't order this! The enclosure said that I could "preview" it, and if I wanted it, I could buy it for "$10 plus shipping and handling." They said it over and over, yet never defined "preview." Did it mean that I could watch it and send it back? Or would opening the DVD's plastic wrap count as "owning"? How much was the shipping and handling? $5, 10, 20? If it wasn't a scam, why didn't you ask me if I wanted it before mailing it out? I sent it back unopened. And I still hadn't been sent my clock! I decided that the magazine was not worth my time after the second issue.
      Next I got an EXCLUSIVE FOR A SELECT FEW OH YES AMAZINGLY YOU R 1 AFTER 2 MONTHS! to get a lifetime subscription. For only $28, "pay no dues ever again!" It normally costs $30 a month, but it was mine for only $28, pay no dues ever again--NO WAIT THERE'S MORE! A giant floorstand globe! A--shit, let me pull the flyer out--playing cards, magnifying glass, rosewood pen, letter opener, rosewood Citizen Kane keyring, reading light, replica WWII can opener, magazine holder, and a list of other benefits a total of 21 thingies long, VALUE OF $1,225!!!!
      For $28. Right. Oh, BTW, did I somehow not get the time and temperature clock? How careless of us, especially since we obviously know we didn't send it!
      "Pay no dues ever again" kept turning up, yet never once was it said "A one-time fee of $28." Do they stop charging you "dues" and start charging you "Membership fees"?
      Ah, Google! I found near the top a guy who had decided that "money got tight," and so decided to cancel his History Channel Lifetime Subscription. But, if he wasn't going to pay "any dues ever again," what was there to cancel? So, I assume that it isn't $30 a month, it's $28. A month. And--for life! He cancelled, and the History Channel not only ignored the cancellation, they set a collection agency after the guy! "And they never even sent me the can opener!" In fact, they didn't send him most of his "free gifts." It was recommended that he contact his state attorney general. Since it was business reply mail, I was going to send in my request for my DAMN FREE CLOCK, just to see what happens. But the envelope has "RUSH NEW LIFETIME MEMBER FRESH MEAT!" all over it. If they can redefine "no dues EVAR" to mean "dues FOREVER," they can define whatever they get in that envelope as me signing up.
      I'm going to send in my gas rebates, then cancel. If I can! It sounds like it may be easier to resign the Mafia than the History Channel. When they say "Lifetime," they seem to mean it the same as a life sentence.


      I got Googled for "aspca dog daisy's creamery coventry ct" and I was on the first page. The only page. Even though it was just a random scramble of words, the 2nd hit was titled "NAKED-LESBIAN VIDEO," as if anyone needed proof that any web search will lead to porn.

      DJ's a good bedtime buddy. He only licks my face a little now, and rarely plops right over my face to literally suffocate me with his love. His bad habit: It's HIS bed! Kill Kill and Byron would be chased away at the moment they even walked through the bedroom door.
      Half-awake this morning, I felt a cat sneaking around the edges of the bed. It took me a while, but I eventually rolled over and saw Byron patrolling. With DJ right by my legs. DJ started to get up to chase Bigfoot, but said, Eh, and laid back down. Then Killsy jumped onto the bed, strolled a bit, and DJ did nothing. They prly were only in agreement that they wanted to wake me for their breakfast, but DJ's calm indicates that maybe someday, I'll get my dream: me and all the cats asleep together.


      I made my last trip of the year to the aspca dog Farmers' Market coventry ct today. No naked lesbians, as it was cold and breezy and I was the only one without a coat, as I am dumb. But I knew what I wanted, and wouldn't be there long.
      I had $6 in hand to buy a chicken pot pie, but a woman got there just before me and proceded to spend a good (for me, bad) 5 minutes debating whether to get a chicken or beef pot pie with her utterly indifferent husband. "The beef is made with Sam Adams ale," she said, reading the sign in front of her, while continually asking what price each size was, which was on the same sign. She finally decided on 4 small chicken pies, and then said "I'll pick them up later." So even after she left I had to wait, as the vendor put them aside. "That was an epic decision!" I said.
      My next stop was the fudge booth, and I was glad that woman wasn't there, as they have a couple dozen flavors. She'd be there until she died of exposure. I snagged 3 penuchi in little condiment sized containers, for Jess and her family. I spent all summer trying to coax her to the market; maybe a bribe will help for next year.
      Then to Beltane Farms for goat cheese: some dill & chive spread, and the awesome pumpkin chevre. "I'll give you some to try," he said, and I said "No, just sell it to me!" He got what I meant, laughed, said "Yeah, get it before it runs out!" They asked me where I was from, and then said they loved the Vernon Diner. I recommended Rein's Deli next door to it, and they had never been. There have to be tens of thousands of people in the Northeast who know of Vernon only because of Rein's, but not these local goatherds.
      I was running out of cash at this point. I bought some butter onion rolls for $3.50. Kinda wished I hadn't; they were chewy and so big and dense that I stopped halfway through one.
      I almost left without my favorite comfort food, the veggie samosa from the Indian booth. Like every other booth except the first, I was the only person in line. One would think that the pernultimate market of the year would be packed, but it was also as barely attended this time last year.

      There's one of those free weekly nearly-all-ads local papers that I pick up, really just for the crossword puzzle and the picture of an adoptable cat. Having had such a great time at the Hartford Symphony last May, I saw that there was a classical concert this afternoon, one of the very rare times I could go. There was one same time last Sunday, but I didn't feel like driving the 30 miles to UConn for it. I was willing to drive to this one--at the First Congregational Church a mile and a half away. Especially as it was baroque, with 2 flutes and a harpsichord. The first classical LP I ever bought was a flute and harpsichord one of Telemann music. It was also the debut concert of the Amici Baroque Players, 3 women, the leader a UConn music professor, with a meet-the artists reception after the performance.
      I'd never been to the church. Atheist, remember? I think it may have been the only non-Catholic church I've ever been in. What, no stained glasses of slaughtered saints? No Stations of the Cross, depicting Jeez being tortured and murdered? No giant crucifix with His sagging corpse nailed to it? What a depressing church Congregationalists have!
      Also, locked. I didn't know where I was supposed to go, and the front door wouldn't open. In hindsight, maybe only one of the 2 front doors was locked. I kept trying doors until I found an unlocked one, which led to a storage room full of donations for a tag sale. Did you know that there's a line of toys called "Bratz Educational"? What, do they teach you to be materialistic and hydrocephalic? It was a globe, with some interactive pointy wand. Press Saudi Arabia, and it says "In this country, you get stoned to death for dressing your 8 year old like a prostitute!" There was a tiny conference room ahead, but it appeared to be some kind of youth meeting about church services, and probably had bad acoustics anyway. I started to walk back to try the front door again, when I heard excited voices from the ladies' room. One said "It's our debut!" followed by a cheer. And a toilet flushing. I realized that the Amici Baroque Players would prly know where the Amici Baroque Players were playing baroquely, so I walked further down the hall and waited for them to exit. This took longer than I thought. Some girl in the youth meeting began eyeing me suspiciously down the hallway. Hey, I'm only hanging around outside a women's bathroom! Why's THAT so weird? When the artists finally appeared, I explained myself, and they said to follow them upstairs. "I guess I'm meeting the artists before the performance."
      I paid every cent I had to get in! Okay, it was $7, all I had left after the market. It was $5 for seniors, and I'm sure only one person paid $7. I was the youngest there by about 20 years, and I'm old! Maybe older than the performers were.
      I was wondering how they were going to split the $107 the concert raised from the 20 relics and one near-relic there, but it was for a scholarship fund in the name of the church's late choir director. I hope that they raise more money at other events, because the money from this wouldn't send even half a kid to DeVry.
      It was actually a harpsichord and not flutes, but a recorder and a traverso, a word I'd never encountered. A baroque era flute, valveless, sort of a more versatile recorder. The program included works by Handel, Uccelini, Telemann (yay!), Philidor, Bach, and Bach. Even with a lifetime of listening to classical music, 2 of those names made me go "Who?" I felt better when Dr. Hopkins, Flute Professor, said that Uccelini was new to her, too. The only piece I know I've heard was the first Bach, as it was from "The Well-Tempered Clavier." Stay away from the bad-tempered clavier, he's mean when he's drunk. Even the Telemann was new--well, as new as a guy dead in 1787 could produce. At the end of World War II, the Soviets looted a German music academy of all its works, then took them to Kiev and locked them in a vault, and then forgot about them. Raiders of the Lost Art. After the USSR had its "Dude, where's my Wall?" moment, they were returned. Probably all vodka stained.
      It wasn't a long concert, like 75 minutes, as baroque music isn't long. I have a CD of eight Boyce symphonies that's only 60 minutes long. But it was so enjoyable to hear such wonderful music, most of it for the first time, performed live and priced far less than a CD. Are baroque performers aware that they're sometimes subtly tapping their feet? I'll remember this concert for a long time, longer than almost every CD I own. And there's another concert in 3 weeks by a different ensemble! This may become a regular thing.
      Going to the concerts, I mean. Not hanging out in church basements outside the ladies room.

      Next film I want to see: "You need to have paid your dues to appreciate 'Modus Operandi.' Have you marinated in exploitation films? The cheap kind from the 60s and 70s, made by fly-by-night filmmakers on starvation budgets? Where you can almost sense them gasping as they try to accumulate enough footage to qualify as a feature? And where the female characters are wearing bikinis even in business offices?"

      Yes, it's cheating to link to Cracked, which is read by everyone. But I grant myself a pardon for those who don't, as it's their annual Halloween Costume article, this time titled: Sexy Costumes that Shouldn't Exist. Each costume gets worse than the previous, no matter how bad the previous one was.

      Via Linda, Jack Tripper the Amazing Eyeless Kitty. I once linked to an article here about another cat born eyeless, named Ping-Pong for the way he'd run around a room. His owner said "He's fine so long as we don't move any furniture."
      The host site looks pretty cool, too, for you cat-lovin' cats & kitties of the bipedal persuasion.

      Things I can do in Connecticut that you can't where you live: go to a baroque concert a few minutes away, then go home and eat some pumpkin goat cheese. In your face, rest of the world!


      The pumpkin chevre is already almost gone. I finished off that butter onion roll, and immediately ate another. Yesterday might not have been my last Farmers' Market visit of the year after all...

      The Rankest of the Rank: Meet the World's Smelliest Animals



      Yes, a dream.
      It was a pleasant one for a long while, about me working in a store selling (something), but I was in the break room with the manager. In the basement of an old multi-story brownstone, where all retail stores are. The security cam showed the bitter exboyfriend of the assistant manager who was running the upstairs store coming in with a golf bag. I pointed this out, but the manager said, "We don't have anything to worry about from him! She lives in the basement!" and I said "Aren't we in the basement?" And the ex pulled several weapons from the bag. I told her to dial 911. She did, but gave a ridicluous reason as to why she was calling--she didn't like the traffic or something.
      She abruptly said "BYE!" to 911 and hung up, as the madman walked down into the basement. His frightened exgirlfriend was marched ahead of him and his heavily armed buddy at gunpoint. I snapped at the manager as she hung up on 911, "Nice going, Jessica!" which was odd in that she was not at all my friend Jessica, just named the same. He had a suicide vest made of tiny dynamite sticks and Xmas lights that he was going to strap around me for his mass-media-ready spectacular murder-suicide, and
      I'm a lucid dreamer. I usually just let them go where they go without interference, but enough was enough. But I didn't do the Full Reset--that would be when I get up, pee, drink a glass of water, go back to bed, and then an entirely new dream begins. I just awoke, thought "I don't like this dream," and immediately fell back asleep.
      ...And it began from where it'd left off. This time, maybe from the keyword "Jessica," I now knew of his evil intentions, and also had 2 Glocks. He was a bit surprised, but only briefly. One bullet to the chest, one to the head. His cohort got off a shot from his 12 gauge, before he got 2 to the chest.
      I really don't like my violent dreams. I was being cheered as a savior by everyone else, especially his ex, but I was crushed with guilt: I'd killed 2 human beings. I went into immediate existential despair.
      The police came, thankfully, but unthankfully immediately threw me in a cell. But--everyone saw me save everyone from those psycho killer terrorists! I was strapped at the waist in a chair, and immediately subjected to insane psychological torture. My dreams are so weird and detailed in their weirdness that I can't describe how strange they were. I know at one point, I said "This is more absurd than Ionescu!" and at another image's visuals, "What, is it Klee now?" which bothered my torturers. I guess that they hated intellectuals. They kept trying to break me, but I just refused to even look at their images. I was given a wand with a cord, like the old NES Duck Hunt game, and confronted with images of taunting assholes on a screen. They clearly wanted me to shoot them like I shot the bastards who tried to kill my friends, and confess to something. I used the light at the end of the wand to look in the darkened corners of the prison room for ways to escape.
      Eventually, after endless utterly bizarre manufactured hallucinations, some official said over a giant TV screen "I've never seen anyone last this long! You can't be broken! I would trust state secrets to you!" Over and over.
      Dreams must hate that. Because then I woke up for the day. And DJ leapt into bed to lick my beard "Good Morning."


      Late October and 75 and humid in New England, while half the country gets hurricane force winds, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and snow?
      Climate Change, my ass! Totally freakish weather is just the new normal! Just ask Exxon!

      Twenty-First Century Stoic. I've held these views for 30 years. Didn't know that I was "Stoic."


      I got a package in the mail from the History Channel. Oh great, what's the new scam? But it was that clock that they "forgot" to send me. Prly still hoping I'll fall for the lifetime membership.

      RiffTrax's House on Haunted Hill was funny, but nowhere near as good as Reefer Madness was. Less attended screening as well; I suppose Reefer would bring in people outside of MST3K fandom. The fact the movie was utterly boring didn't help--those are hard to make fun of. The shorts were pretty hilarious, as they were quite bizarre. You can see one here, but it's odd that they post earlier, less polished versions of the ones performed on the simulcast.

      Linus writes his annual letter.


      I was yawning the last half hour of RiffTrax yesterday. Not because they weren't funny, but the movie...soooo boring. One of those 50s movies that were 75 minutes long, and could have been half the length without losing any of the vapor-thin plot. Also, it had passed my bedtime for a 7AM workday.
      I don't know how articulate I was on the drive back with Kev. Even he said the movie was making him drowsy--it was just people going into a room, leaving it, going back in, and endless pans of the fucking basement. Clever riffing vs widescreen visual boredom. I'd asked The Job if I could come in late today, and was allowed to come in a whole hour later, if I left an hour later. I wanted to be asleep by midnight, so that I could wake up at 8.
      I was sure I'd fall asleep an hour after being home at 10, but I ended up going to bed almost 4 hours later than usual at 1245, and woke up only 20 minutes later than usual. And, oddly, all 3 cats went into the bedroom at once. I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep for 30 minutes, especially with mewing cats. Since I would be working 9-5 rather than 8-4, I knew that traffic would be hell, so I got up, hoping to make it to work by 830. I skipped shaving, just to save 3 minutes.
      While the Friday AM commute is always the easiest, just as the Friday PM one is the worst, there wasn't any traffic anywhere. Was today a holiday I was unaware of? I hit work at 815. Which meant I could bail at 415, before the afternoon traffic jammed!
      And at 415--an amazingly easy commute. Again, did I miss a holiday?
      YES! October 29th is(was) NATIONAL CAT DAY! I think I should've had the whole day off, with pay! And treats and nip!

      I wasn't surprised that the image search result on my page for "eugenics cartoon" turned out to be a Chuck Asswipe panel. What surprises is me that my forgotten corner of the Intertubes is getting multiple hits for the last few days from what are prly raving loonies looking for the topic.


      Thanks to Lily in the Comments, the return of the old InExOb feature, DYKEWATCH!

      At this point, I don't want to hear the political ads even for the people I'm voting for.
      It's been particularly bad in CT this year, as the Republican candidates for governor and senator are near-billionaires, and spending giant piles of their own money. At least I think a Republican is running for governor--I don't know what his TV ads are like, but his radio ads and mailings don't even say his name on the radio, and say "Paid for by Tom Foley for Governor" in the tiniest font possible on the mailings. Reasons to vote against his rival, but not a word as to why anyone should vote for Foley. I suppose if my resume's main items were "Dubya lackey" and "Bought a textile factory in order to close it, fire thousands of workers, paid himself $20M to do it," I'd pretend that I didn't exist, either.
      His radio ad, which I hear in an endless loop at work, is odd in itself. Why lead off with "Dan Malloy, in his 14 years as mayor of Stamford" when you're saying "He was elected 7 times"? Wow, Stamford must've really hated him! I realize that if the average American wasn't a drooling retard, there wouldn't be anyone but millionaires voting Republican, but, c'mon.
      And Linda McMahon, the World Wrestling CEO. She's spending a mere $50 million to become Senator. She's becoming desperate. "Just as you think that the Senate race can't get any crazier," she says in one of her many new ads, "it, well, gets crazier!" She then attacks her opponent for not doing or explaining what she's never done or explained. Most bizarre: She's not going to be the dreaded Career Politician! She'll just do it for 12 years. Do something full time nonstop for a dozen years, that's not a career, that's, like, a hobby. She'll be a scrapbooking politician.
      Did you know--oh, please sit down, it's a most disturbing revelation--that Senators get pay and health benefits when elected? That's "how they get out of touch with the needs of real people." Not Linda! She's going to refuse any government salary or benefits for the next 12 years. Just like the average billionaire American can afford to do! Half of this country lives paycheck to paycheck, and couldn't lose their pay for 12 days.
      She's running to accomplish her "agenda." What is her agenda? She has yet to say. Early in her campaign, it was to "create jobs by cutting corporate taxes," which oddly was removed from her ads pretty quickly. She's dropped way behind in the polls--not that that means anything--by talking about herself. Yet the governor's race, Malloy vs Mystery Man X, is only 5 points apart. If the Repubs lose this one, next time they'll run a broken Teddy Ruxpin doll, or possibly a doughnut. Everyone loves doughnuts! Especially drooling retards!


      The 2010 Fashion SWAT Horror-ween Frightober Kid's Kostume Spooktacular.

      "OW OW--OWOOOO!"


      "Hey, kids, it's me, Count Floyd again! You want to be scared this Halloween? Watch THIS, and try not to think that 2010's the 1950s all over again!"




      "The lampshade that drives its owners mad: Strange truth behind 20th century's most disturbing object." If you cringe at the name "Ilse Koch," you already know what it's made of.


      Brian Eno's latest album Small Craft on a Milk Sea is, IMO, his best work in 15 years. Not that there was anything wrong with 2005's Another Day on Earth; this is just better.

      Fans of Sahara-dry British humor might like this long interview with Eno by Dick Flash of Pork magazine, who gives the worst interview ever. Possibly the latest in a long stream of horrible interviews of Brain One, as Dick Flash looks...a bit like...really, just a bit like...Brian Eno in a wig and glasses. The interview does have some amazing insights into the 1970s British music scene. Such as "Ian Drury. Great limp."


      The news headlines should read "America Goes Back to Abusive Boyfriend; Sure That This Time, He'll Change."

      I wasted far too much time today playing an old favorite from my Tandy HX's 5&1/4 floppy collection of games, Lords of Conquest. A Risk ripoff so simple you can play it and figure out the rules as you go along. Short version: Try to get one of every resource type at the start, horses and weapons add combat bonuses and horses can move 2 areas and also carry weapons, cities double production in adjacent areas, you can win by building enough cities or gobbling up enough of your enemy's resources, that's pretty much it.
      Downside to the online version: it's almost impossible to find the Iron and Coal resources at the outset due to the color scheme, and it sometimes ends the game rather randomly, and at other times makes it drag out a dozen or more turns after it's over, and sometimes it's over after the first turn. Still, it's free retro gaming fun, and a long game is 5 minutes.



      Well, I can't show it to you. Unless you want a GIANT WOODY in your face! That would certainly shock and awe you!
      A few years ago, I started using Freebie sites, where you can get free stuff online. I've had free deodorant for almost 4 years! Somewhere early along the line, I don't remember how, I got myself involved with Fatima freebies.
      I don't even know how it's pronounced. Fa-TEE-ma, or FAT-i-ma? Anyway, they're this Catholic sect that claims that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before some preschoolers and told them the future. They periodically declare Christ's return and the End of the World. So far, as you might guess, their predictions have a 100% failure rate.
      But they send me mailings constantly, begging, nearly demanding my money. So they sent me my Blessed Wood. Which, all praise to Jesus, is a scrap of balsam glued to cardboard, and thinner than a fingernail. Man, I was hoping for a sliver of the True Cross!
      I'm supposed to sign it. Which side, the "wood" or the wood pulp? And mail it to Washington for a "pro-life" giant cross. Of balsam and cardboard. Hopefully the base will be made of particle board, in case the wind kicks up to 5 MPH that day, as otherwise the guys carrying it will be whisked away like a cheap model airplane.
      Oh, and a magazine titled "CRUSADE." I haven't sent these people who claim to read God's mind a dime, and yet they seem to have a bottomless pit of money to spend on their mailings. Let's take a flip through it, shall we?
      Inside page: Send us $99 for this baby Jesus Precious Momentsy thing! How big is it? NO MAN CAN SAY! Or at least they don't. Send them your money!
      Page 4--they count the cover as page 1--is little news items. First: Gays in the military are all rapists. Next, in order: Cell phones and the Internet cause brain damage. "99% of NIGGER!! R&B music is soft porn." "Zut alors! French Demand Decency," defined as "wearing shirts." Those crazy French! They don't say anything about PANTS! "Legal Guns Deter Crime, according to the Gun Owners of America." Hey, I just brainstormed an idea for the military to stop them gay rapey fag lesbos! GIVE THEM GUNS!! Thank you, Nobel Prize Committee for the award! "Down with Crosses, Up with a Mosque." No, it's about the HATEFILLED ACLU! who would support these sleazy religious bigots in court, and no, not about the Ground Zero not-mosq AAAAAAAAaSZWAS SORRY, i JUST RIPPED THE FUCKING okay, there we go, ripped the fucking caps lock key off my new keyboard, as I inevitably do with all keyboards. Why isn't it banished to the far reaches of the keyboard, like above ESC?
      First big article: "The Legitimacy and Necessity of Just and Proportional Inequalities Among the Social Classes." "You poor stay poor, and we rich will stay rich!" No, seriously. Their infallible source for their argument? "Pope Pius XII, 1944." Yes, the pro-Nazi pope.
      Next, "The Flight of Happiness," about how "Money is not intrinsically evil, but it will cause unhappiness if we rely exclusively on it." Um, what? You keep demanding that I fill your bottomless money pit, tell me that rich people deserve to be rich, try to get me to buy a fucking Jesus dolly, now you tell me that money doesn't mean anythi--Oh! It's because I should send all my money to you. To thank you for my Blessed Piece of Scrapwood.
      "America Says No to the 9/11 Mosque." Yeah, that turned up anyway.
      Next: Homosexual "Marriage": WHO SOUNDED THE RETREAT? No, I didn't put the caps lock key back, that's how it's spelled. CERTAINLY there will be an article condemning GAY FAG PRIESTS RAPING CHILDREN soon!
      Next: "Caravan of Blessed Francisco of Fatima." Seven young, attractive men pimp for Fatima! Not in San Francisco, of course! That'd be GAY FAG LESBO!
      Pray on your rosaries, and also to St Michael! Because that totally works! That's why all the atheists like me are dead! Also, all them faggos raping our Super Green Berets! FATIMA SAYS: "Gay sex is WRONG unless it's a love between a priest and a choirboy."
      "Fatima Apostolate DOWN UNDER." AHHH--HAHHAHAHA!! Oh, wait, they mean Australia. Say, look at those clean-cut, very young males! drool! WAIT! Don't judge me! I was thinking of a Vegemite sandwich! Me and those young men--in a sandwich...mmm, papal approval....Fatima likes!
      "America Needs Fatima on Facebook." But...but...the Intertubes cause brain damage! You just told me that! Oh, handsome young man, comfort me while you go Down Under!
      "Fatima Visits the "Last Frontier." Where, Vulcan? Romulus? The Klingon Homeworld, as even I'm not enough of a nerd to remember its name? No, Alaska! I can see the Pope from here! It's "full of dirt roads", and it's "one of the least religious states of the union." Based on what data, Data? Lack of Catholics? Pagan Inuits? Worshippers of the Almighty Retard, Saint Sarah of Doncha'know?
      "TEXANS REJECT SOCIALISM." Umm, sorry Fatima, but you so mispelled "Reality" there. I'm not more than skimming it, as I need my braincells--but "Robbing from the rich to give to the poor is wrong." And, yes, the Rich robbing the Poor is A-OK! It's one of those utter bullshit articles where the triumphant White Male Christian Republican invents a straw woman to mercilessly destroy in his imagination. He's against equality. Women are inferior. "At this point, the woman's facial muscles quivered in anger and she stormed away...which only underscored the the need to oppose socialism in America, as communism and socialism are ideologically identical." Yes, I would certainly be as afraid of living in Western Europe as I would be of living in Stalinist Russia. Or under the Kaiser! Or the Merovingian Dynasty! The pharoahs! Gorilla Grodd, or Doctor Doom! One of them not-existing-now-or-ever things! Definition of "socialism?" Gay Fag Dyke Marriage. YOU WILL WORSHIP THE BALSAM SCRAP AS GOD!!
      Ehh, some article next about a Viet Nam vet. Surprisingly, not Lt. Calley. "I had to kill them all! None of them gooks had rosaries!"
      Dang, is it over yet? No, Catholic professor reinstated after being fired for saying HEY GUESS WHAT YOU WON'T SEE THIS TWIST COMING, (hellooo, caps lock!) IT'S LIKE AN EARLY M. KNIGHT SHYAMALAN MOVIE, fired because he hates gay fag lesbos!!! "Homosexual vice," to be more accurate. I scent a "caught with a choirboy" scandal in a certain closeted professor's future!
       And it finally ends with a demand that you leave all your money to Fatima in your will. I'm kinda getting conflicting messages regarding how you regard money, FatHeadima.


      I like Daylight Savings Time. I like the extra hour of light in the Summer, and I like an extra hour's sleep once a year. What I don't like is resetting the clocks. I have 5 in the house and 1 in the car I rely on, and of course a watch. I'm both down 1 clock (the VCR died) and up 1 this year. That'd be the History Channel cheap piece of Sino-crap, which I've found has become useful. I went to change it tonight, and Mode made it go from civilian to military time, Set made it go from Farenheit to Celsius, Alarm turned on the alarm, but didn't turn it off! WTF? I spent a fruitless half hour trying to find the meager instructions--if I can't turn the alarm off, it's going in the garbage.
      When I did find them, you know how you turn the alarm off? The same way you set the time--take the batteries out. You're kidding me, right?
      Most annoying: yesterday I found a notice by my front door that they're turning the power off Monday. So I get to set my electric clocks tonight, and then again in 2 days.


      More Happy Harry here, but be warned: it autoplays. To one I've linked to here before, the brilliant Saturday Morning Cartoon Watchmen. (Or just click on the ones at the end of the clip) I recommend "Johnny Depp in Burtonland," as there seem to be a lot of Burton fans reading this page.


      I hate the work schedule I've had for the last 18 months. Yes, happy to have a job & etc, but I'm a night person, and getting up at 7AM 4 days a week just means that I'm tired all the time, and leaving work once a week at my now-normal bedtime guarantees that my internal clock will never reset. It also adds 40 unpaid minutes to my workweek, due to the morning commute, longer if it even just drizzles. The worst part is that after 15 years, I don't get 2 days off in a row anymore. Instead of Sunday/Monday off, it's Sunday-then-Wednesday. When there is no weekend, it feels like the workweek never ends.
      But for once I was glad that I have to work tomorrow. They're shutting the power off, and what could I do on a day off with no electricity? I couldn't even shower, unless I wanted to do it in ice water. I can't even play the emergency solar radio, as the only noncommercial station it picks up is the bland Catholic/EZ-Oldies one. I do have that Sony boombox and a bunch of D batteries, so I guess that'd be it. No internet, no DVDs, no heat, no refrigerator. No fun! (Well, except for cats, but they sleep a lot)
      And guess what! It's going to SNOW tomorrow (ALREADY?!?!?), so my commute will be hell, and I'll have to get up even earlier. And the power will be turned off "unless there's rain or bad weather." And it's going to rain Tuesday. So one can only assume that the power will be shut off the next nice day, WEDNESDAY.
      If I had my old schedule, I wouldn't much care that the power would be off until 2PM. I'd just sleep until noon as usual, make myself vaguely presentable, and do some errands. But I can't sleep past 9-930AM now. If I'm lucky, and I rarely am, maybe they'll postpone the electrical work until Thursday. Otherwise, I'm suddenly glad that my To-Do List that's been UnDone since May is still open. And that I have a lot of D batteries...


      Well, they were right about the "snow" part of the forecast, but not about the "rain through tomorrow" part. The forecast changed to no rain Tuesday. This filled me with hope that the electrical work would be done tomorrow. But now (they currently say) it will rain Tues. And WEDNESDAY! So that could push the power outage to the end of the week. I hopety-hope-hope-hope.
      Tomorrow, if all goes as planned: Vivaldi's Four Seasons at UConn's Jorgensen with ma belle amie, Mrs Auntie Jessica! Followed by Philip Glass' American Four Seasons. She's the one with narcolepsy, but we may both fall asleep during that.

      I'll bet by now you've heard of "the McDonalds burger that NEVER ROTS." Is it true? Yes, and no.


      A Tea Party candidate's book about Obama stealing Christmas. With the help of his friends, Stalin and Mao. Yep. The author's sane.


      There is no time clock at work; we just get paid for what we were scheduled. Thus, there's a coworker who is always late, anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes daily, as she knows she'll only get docked if our (drunken) manager notices. Yesterday she hadn't turned up an hour into work. No goddamn way I was staying late if she called out! I had to run home, eat dinner, change clothes, pick up Jess and race to UConn for our concert. Turned out she had car trouble, so the problem was moot.
      I got home to find a package from the UK waiting for me, Brian Eno's latest album. It only cost me $450. Because he's been my favorite artist since I was 18, and it was the super-duper limited-to-250-copies-worldwide box set, with a one-of-a-kind lithograph by, and signed by, Brain One himself, with other bells and whistles. After the third of a century of great enjoyment he has given me, I didn't mind tossing him some cash, especially as I've regretted earlier opportunities for owning something like this from him. I didn't open it, as I already knew the album was his best work since The Shutov Assembly 18 years ago (not that I have any objections to the more recent Another Day on Earth and the somewhat maligned The Drop). I knew this because while I waited for my handmade box set, I was emailed a high quality .wav of the album over a week ago. Plus, I had more immediate musical concerns.
      Since we agreed to go formal to any classical concerts, I put on my only pair of dress pants. With difficulty. The pants are 25 years old, when I had a 28-inch waist, and hadn't bloated up to 29 inches. I noticed something was in the back pocket--but I never wear these! Old pay stubs?! From 7/02--oh, right. Saturdays were payday for me then; I must've deposited my check on the way to Jessica's wedding.
      I didn't take my cell phone, as I was picking Auntie Jessie up at her inlaws house, only a mile from my condo. She'd have her phone if anything went wrong on the way to the concert. On the short drive over, I realized I knew the address (kinda; her emails use this tiny, squiggly font), but I'd only been there once. Six months ago, in the daytime, with her giving directions. What a rat maze! I drove around and around, streets growing off of streets that split into other little streets. It should have a sign in front, "This is a Fractally-Generated Community." So I drove home to recheck the address and grab my cell, but turned into a lane I hadn't found the first time, and I was there. I'd met her inlaws once, like 12 or 13 years ago, when their son wasn't even Jessica's boyfriend, just a coworker. I wondered what they thought of this guy taking their daughter-in-law out for the evening, but they greeted me as if I was an old friend. As she said on her Flickr page, "Bill and I have been friends for years. I met him at the package store where I met Ron. Bill is the reason I opened up my eyes from an awful situation and said 'how about Ron'?" Yeah, I did succeed in my 9-month passive-agressive stealth campaign to break her up with her abusive white trash boyfriend. As we were leaving, Mr Lesniak said "I feel like both my children are leaving! Have fun, my kids!" which struck me as odd. But she's been nicknamed "Auntie" ever since Killsy came along. Since Killsy's my daughter, the woman I consider my sister is obviously her aunt. Maybe she describes me to her inlaws as her brother. Today was the day I finally realized something: when Jess says "my mother and my father," she means her parents. When she says "Mom and Dad," she means her inlaws. They're devout Catholics, and were quite against their son dating a (say in scary voice) "unwed mother!"--until they met her. It only took about 2 months for them to fall in love with her and her daughter.
      We talked mainly about cats on the drive in. Her Paul, the feral that lived in a little house in their backyard and would scream when she'd take him inside during cold weather less than a year ago, is now a happy housecat! She has the touch.
      Of course, there was no way UConn's famous Jorgensen Theater wouldn't have signs leading to it, unless it didn't. And the Google Maps directions helped, listing it as being on a road it wasn't. Those directions also insisted that I get off the highway 3 exits early and drive parallel to it the whole way, which I ignored because online maps suck ass. The Jorgensen didn't even have a sign in front of it. Despite the efforts of 2 people without a sense of direction, and my second time driving around a rat maze, we found it.
      We walked into the spacious lobby, which was largely devoid of anyone but bartenders. I asked a non-bartender if they were seating for the concert yet, and was told "I don't think so." Jess shared some phone pictures with me--of cats, and her daughter Jacqueline, who at age 15 has clearly inherited her mother's Total Babe Gene. It occured to me that I said "concert" when I should've said "Pre-concert talk," and asked someone else. It was downstairs. "You'd think they'd have a sign!" said Jess as we raced down the stairs, and I said "They don't even have a sign for the building."
      We settled into some awful, uncomfy folding chairs. At the front of the room: a big sign asking us to donate to get seats named after us. Clever marketing. We were pleased to see a much more age-diverse group at this talk than the one we attended for the Hartford Symphony. It was the first talk in a year; the old lecturer had died suddenly, and they had a moratorium out of respect. New speaker: conductor Michael Lankester, a name I was surprised to recognize. He was quite good, imparting a lot of fascinating details about the upcoming program, infused with a lot of dry British wit. He praised the choice of program, Vivaldi's Four Seasons paired with Philip Glass' new work, The American Four Seasons. He read from The Book of Classical Lists, "There was a poll in 1984 as to the top five works American audiences considered the most boring. Number one is 'Vivaldi's Four Seasons'...Number Five is 'Anything by Philip Glass.' So this is not the first time these two composers have been grouped together."
      I don't know why more people don't go to the pre-concert talks. He was witty and unpretentious, and showed, on the piano, how Vivaldi, Bach and Glass really weren't that dissimilar. It really adds to the enjoyment of the music to get background from such a knowledgable expert. He did run a little late, as the lobby lights were flickering on and off while giving the "Get in your seats now" chime, but we were seated just a few minutes before it began. The Jorgensen's online seating map is confusing (apparently that applies to all online maps), and we were very pleased to discover that our $30 seats put us quite literally front and center, mere feet from the stage.
      The Venice Baroque Orchestra--and Venetian they were, as they all had very Italian names--took their positions, and right up front was a guy with a crazy lute. It had 12 strings and 2 necks, one of which could be fingered, one of which was used for bass notes. Soloist and leader Robert McDuffie, not a name I recognize, although such a talent that I no doubt have heard him on the radio, entered to great applause. And they launched into Vivaldi on period instruments.
      The "Number One Most Boring Classical Piece"? Then Americans are stupid. It was blistering. You don't appreciate how complex classical music can be until you've seen it live, and with such utter joy and enthusiasm! The performers exchanged smiles and looks of glee as they played, clearly in love with the music and each others' playing. The lutist and lead cello kicked out the jams, baroque motherfuckers! At one point McDuffie quietly said to the cellist after a movement ended "Bravo, bravo, bravo," with honest admiration. At the end of the piece, the audience leapt its feet, and responded with equal appreciation.
      Philip Glass, well, who knew how that was going to be. This was the piece's first world tour, and as a near-ex-fan of Glass, I can say that a lot of Philip Glass sounds like an awful lot of Philip Glass. The American Four Seasons was commisioned by McDuffie, and I was willing to give anything a chance. Stagehands removed the lutist's chair and the harpischord from the Vivaldi work from the stage, and it had its lid closed during the performance and only played during the loudest parts and was thus inaudbile so why was it even there anyway and what was your point there Vivaldi, and was replaced by a synthesizer. The woman next to me, who had friends sitting behind her, turned to them and said, "They took our mandolin player away!" and then, "There's no harpischord in this." To which her friend replied "We noticed." As it started, she told her husband what the work was (didn't he know?), "It's Philip Glass' American Four Seasons!" [points to part of program where it says "b. 1937" next to his name] "He wrote it in 1937!" Yeah, on his 1937 synthesizer. It ran on coal.
      It was all one movement, starting slowly and, hate to say, rather boringly. Glancing around, I could see that the audience was in agreement. But if you've ever seen the movie that made me seek Glass out, Koyaanisqatsi, a film that would be unwatchable without his soundtrack, if there's one thing Glass can do, it's build to a jaw-dropping frenzy of power and brio. The strings sawed at their instruments, and McDuffie fingered his violin in a way one would not think humanly possible. He looked to be in actual pain at one point, but, hey, he commisioned it. And I hereby recant my assertion that recent Glass is dull: We all again leapt to our feet at the end, and the applause thundered.
      Jess and I got our money's worth, as did everyone else.

      I carefully opened my Brian Eno box set of Small Craft On A Milk Sea this morning. Beautiful package, and I was surprised to discover that not only did I have one of only 250 sets in the world, I had the only one that didn't come with the CD. I got the bonus track CD, but there was nothing where the album should be. Yes, I have a DVD with my download burned, but I didn't pay $450 to get the partial set. I sent a polite email to Bleep Records in Britain, who answered and forwarded it to Warp Records, and I got an apology and a replacement CD mailed out from Warp. In the course of 30 minutes. That, my friends, is Customer Service. They've got my business forever now! Or at least until the world ends!

      American Economic Collapse due to greedy corporations and the government they own? Climate Change that could lead to a new Ice Age, billions of dead and the near-extinction of humanity? "Eh," says America. But now a "Global Chocolate Crisis Looms!" NOW we'll get off our fat asses and act! As this threatens our asses' fatness!


      After posting yesterday, I got the mail, and another package, this time from Amazon. A cordless phone, as my old phone is literally falling to pieces, and I have to sit on the waterbed to make a call. Waterbeds are not for sitting in. Your center of gravity shifts, you're on your back, you're sooo's suddenly tomorrow!
      It came without a cover for the battery. What? It's not shipped with it on the phone? The hell? Yesterday was my day for "Getting Things That Were Missing Things." OTH, the phone, and the 2011 Cat-A-Day Calendar, were bought with a free gift certificate, so I think I can deal a missing piece of plastic.

      Since there are LTRotD that have had close personal experience with classical music professionals: At one point during the Glass piece yesterday, something small flew off the first cellist, seemingly from his right hand, and landed sliently on the floor. He tried to drag it back with his bow, which made a rather loud clunky noise during a quiet violin solo, at least to us sitting a few feet away, so he stopped. I assume that he grabbed it when attention was directed from him, as there was nothing on the floor when I remembered to look again. From the way in fell, it clearly didn't have a lot of weight; to me, it looked it was made of thick cloth, to Jess, as if made of cork. It couldn't have been in his hand, the way he was fingering. Something analgous to the cloth one violinist had wrapped around his neck? Inquiring concert newbie minds want to know!


      I've been waiting all week to see if the planned power outage that didn't happen Monday gets rescheduled. So far it hasn't, which is good news. It's mid-November, and the temps are already dropping below freezing every night. We have oil heat, but the burners are electric. If it's some routine maintenance thing, let it wait until Spring.

      Well, let me paste a link here and then clean the litter bofsst

And now it's 11/13

...And that was when the power went out. I grabbed the little LED flashlight by the computer, lit the hurricane lamp, turned on the emergency radio/flashlight and went to call the outage in to the electric company--the sooner they hear, the quicker it's back on. I picked up my brand new cordless phone--oh, it doesn't work when the power's out? But there's a battery! I know, I can feel its heat as there's no battery cover! But I hadn't thrown my old phone away, so I called it in.
      The emergency radio only had enough juice to play the radio, not the flashlight. So I dug the candles out while it played an NPR interview with Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens. (The linked article has a big mistake in it--"[Art Spiegelman]" had nothing to do with the Pee-Wee's Playhouse design. It was Gary Panter, as stated in the radio interview) Since that would be about the only talk radio I was willing to listen to, as I'm a nerd don't you know, and I couldn't find any stations playing what I wanted to hear, so in the Sony boombox the D batteries went. After much trepidation. "Push Here" didn't open the compartment, and it wasn't until I pried it open with a screwdriver that I saw it'd been held shut with a thick, black piece of tape, invisible in the candlelight.
      I put my shoes and coat on and went outside to see what had happened. There had been a lot of sirens, both police and fire department. Maybe someone had hit a pole OH MY GOD A HOUSE IS ON FIRE!! Lots of smoke and flames visible over the treetops! And in the direction of Kev and Meg's condo, a quarter mile away!
      I got closer, and realized it was a trick of perspective: it was much closer than their place. But I called them (from my cell phone! Those are new, those things! To me) and verified that, no, they were not on fire, and in fact didn't know that there was one. I eventually figured out that it was a transformer fire (DAMN YOU MICHAEL BAY WHAT DID OPTIMUS EVER DO TO YOU!!), which turned out to be correct. And I went to bed, to be awakened at 3AM when the power came back on. Eight hours to put out a fire and get the power on, that's actually quite impressive.
      My aging answering machine has a quirk: when the power comes back on, it will only come back on itself if it's unplugged and replugged. And today it didn't, after multiple tries. It has passed this mortal (electrical) coil. Good thing that just this week I made sure to save money by buying a new phone without an answering machine! But the phone has a voice mail. If it plays aloud, I don't need an answering machine. I called it from work, and, I dunno, it either takes more than a dozen rings to pick up, or I need to configure it first.
      I just tried the machine for the last time, and beeep! it works again! Answering Machine, your name is now Lazarus.
      The cats thought the whole event was a nice change of pace.


      I went to my second classical concert in less than a week today. I don't have a problem! I can stop anytime I want!
      It was the West End String Quartet, another local group performing at the church a mile from my home. If you remember our last episode, I wasn't able to get in the front doors, and ended up by the bathroom. This worked out for me this time, since I went straight to the bathroom, as I forgot to drain before leaving home. A bulletin board in the hallway pictured a drawing of a very happy purple gorilla in a spacesuit, apparently a giant as he was holding a phallic rocket ship. I'd be religious again if that was what we worshipped! "Oh Great Grape Ape who art in Space, Hallowed be thy Beagley-Beagley!"
      The West End String Quartet was 2 violins, a cello, a viola, and according to the handout, 2 members who majored in Suzuki Pedagogy. I did not know you could major in that. I did not know that it existed. Is it like Suzuki Method Acting?
      The sun was directly in my eyes in the first pew I sat in, so I went back a few. As I sat down, the old man sitting behind me announced loudly "I've got a pencil, and it's a long one!" Ahh, maybe I should move to another seat? Then his wife proudly said she found 2 short pencils. Umm, sure. You keep doing that. Whatever it is.
      There are shelves in the back of each pew to hold hymnals and bibles, which also have pencil holders and sharpeners. There are also slots between the holes the pencils are stored in, about the size of a notepad. There are no notepads, so why are there pencils? They talked of nothing but pencils, long and short and how many, for the next 5 minutes. I eventually realized, as the wife moved down the pew declaring her pencil count, that they must be fishing pencils out of the notepad slots. They say that before you retire, you should have a hobby, and I guess pencil rescue was theirs.
      The first work was a Mozart quartet. People who say "Classical music is boring!" well, this is what they mean. Perfectly suitable as background music, and probably written by Mozart as such, but rather dull as something to actively listen to and watch. (I admit I may have had the bar raised after the Four-by-Four Seasons concert) The old guy behind me immediately went to sleep. He wasn't here for the music. He was here to save the pencils!
      The performers here were much younger than the Amici Baroque at the last. The notes to the performance were read by a woman who tended to end her sentences like this? and did a deeper voice when she read some lines from a letter by Mozart. She introduced the next piece, by Dohnanyi? and sat it out, as it was a trio. A sprightly one, and a better choice, IMO, to lead out the concert. The guy behind me, awakened by the applause from the last work, went back to sleep, with his mouth agape and legs stretched out across the pew, no doubt to dream of happy rescued pencils. But he was applauding with the rest of us when it ended, his wife way down the row from him.
      The final work was half of a Brahms quartet--yep, just half, as they only had an hour. It hit me that the guy behind me might not have been sleeping. Maybe his way of enjoying the music was to close his eyes and sprawl the hell out of that pew. Wouldn't be my first way to tell the performers "I like your music." I skipped the reception after the concert, but I hope that he presented them each with a bouquet of pencils. "I only picked the long ones!"


      DJ just plopped into my lap for a pet session. Killsy came up and meowed for attention. "I'm sorry," I said, "but I have a cat in my lap . If you were in my lap and he wanted me, he'd have to wait, too." And DJ jumped down. They then groomed each other's face and legs for 2 minutes. She didn't want me, she wanted him!
      He grooms his siblings, he grooms me. I've seen Killsy groom Byron a few times, but only a few times in 7 years. He doesn't groom anyone, no doubt due to not having any contact with his own species from age 2 to 7 weeks. Yesterday, as I went to the shower, DJ was licking B's forehead. When I got out, Byron was--grooming KIllsy! Unheard of! I guess Don Juan Loverboy's affectionate personality is contagious, even to a half-bobcat bigfoot.

      On my doorstep today was an enomous plastic mailing bag. I made sure that it was adressed to me, as the only thing I was expecting was a replacement for the missing CD from my Brian Eno box set. It also weighed too much for that.
      Inside was a padded mailing envelope. Inside that was something wrapped in cardboard. Inside that was the Eno CD, and--oh no! They sent me the bonus track CD, too! I just wanted the missing one! Then I looked closer at the first CD--no, it was a double CD from various artists on their label, thown in for free! And the second was the Eno. Wow. They didn't have to do that! Okay, it was one of those "artists cover tunes by other artists in totally different styles than the original," so maybe it sold poorly. But still. Nice gesture.
      The box set's CD part had an unexplained folder pocket with nothing in it. I though that maybe it would have liner notes or such, but online photos of it showed it empty, so I didn't ask Bleep about it. It occured to me that I'd never looked inside it--maybe the booklet had sunk down into it. And there was something in it!
      THE CD.
      During shipment, it had somehow freed itself from its holder and migrated to the pocket. Most people would go "Hey, free CD! Sweet!" But I choked back my embarrassment and immediately emailed them, asking if they wanted it back. If they can be so good to me, I intend to be just as good to them. Not that this explains why that damn pocket is there in the first place...

      Real life Young's Syndrome--except horribly worse. I didn't have it that bad, but the fact that it took them so long to diagnose her makes me wonder if a weaker version is what I suffered from.


      The Meek shall inherit the Earth, and the Sheep shall inherit the Shire.


      On the way to the post office today, I saw a blocked-off mailbox. I assume it was a mailbox, as that's where it was located. On the way back, I realized why it looked so weird: the transformer fire that took my power out happened here, just a dozen feet from someone's front door, and the all-plastic mailbox had melted. It's probably what Salvador Dali's mailbox looked like.

      Being in the business, of course Four Loko, the high alcohol-high caffeine drink is a part of our conversations. Our governor felt the need to publicly soil her diapers over it, and HDI agreed to stop selling it, and the national spotlight is so intense that Four Loko is taking the caffeine out. But leaving it at 12% alcohol, or about 5 beers or a bottle of wine a can.
      What liquor professionals agree is, What's the point? It's terrrible to binge drink Four Loko, but okay to binge drink Keystone Light? I can also tell you what the decision means: a weekend rampage this weekend by college kids buying up all we have, followed by them switching to Joose, which is just a copy of Loko, and when that gets withdrawn from the market, they'll go right back to what they were drinking before Loko: Red Bull and vodka, which, depending how you mix it, can be 5 times as strong as Loko. It's not a question of a product, it's a question of human stupidty. You can't legislate stupidity away, because if you could, people wouldn't watch reality TV, drink corn syrup, and vote Republican.
      Anyway, via Kirk, Mistakes I�ve Made: Drinking Four Loko. Which pretty much is my experience, having had samples to drink. "Blue Raspberry" does have the worst aftertaste imaginable that doesn't activate the gag reflex, and the only way to drink any of the flavors is slowly. Don't guzzle a can and then do vodka shots, because then you will end up in the emergency room. As students do every year, from Red Bull and vodka. But I guess that's not new enough to scare old people. In reverse order, Old People of Today have been up in arms over gay marriage, the internet, gangsta rap, heavy metal music, pot smoking, hippies, the freakin' Beatles, lame 50s rock, comic books, Commies. Somehow, all those things survived, as did American Civilization. But I suppose that if we could survive the deadly horror of Coke and Pop Rocks, we can survive anything.

      Sure, it starts with "A series of vending machines that use facial recognition technology to recommend to customers what they want to drink has been introduced in Japan," but then it's a Skynet Cola machine recommending "TRY A NICE REFRESHING 'MOUNTAIN DEW ARSENIC RUSH,' PATHETIC FLESHLING, YOUR REIGN IS DONE."


      When I left work Tuesday afternoon, there was about 8 cases of Four Loko in the cooler. When I got in this morning, about 2 cases. When I left at 3, 1 case. It'll all be gone before I get in tomorrow.
      Hey, CT's Governor Rell, thanks for the free advertising! You did demand that Four Loko's copycat Joose stop shipping, too--could you give another speech, kinda punching the Joose angle up a bit more? It'll sell once the Loko is gone and we tell people that it's the same shit, but we need you to give it that "outlaw" tag. I want to clear that out, so that I can bring in Tilt, which is Four Loko/Joose without the caffeine. They will dominate the market next. But when you hate on Joose, could you just roll your eyes a wee bit, and mention Tilt? You're a Republican, you know your whole shtick is faux outrage while letting corporations make millions on misery!




      Thing everyone predicted: a run of the last of the Four Loko, bought by the college students that it was so loudly banned from. Well, predicted by everyone except apparently the people who banned it, the state government. All we had left was Joose, Loko's redheaded stepchild, the exact same stuff but not named endlessly in the headlines. It might take us months to sell the off-brand binge drink. But I was told to take all the Joose off the shelves RIGHT NOW because "They're sending the COPS around!" To do what? We were told we couldn't get any more of it, not told we couldn't sell what we had. Of course, this came from my boss, the Drunken Toddler who Poops his Diaper Over Everything, so how much hyperbole his sodden brain self-created is unknown. I was told to pull it all 5 minutes before the end of my shift, and I did so. It took me 5 minutes to do it, so after making sure the register lines were moving, I left. I cease to care once 4PM rolls around.
      I'll find out tomorrow what did/didn't happen. I admit that I will be sorry if I missed a Prohibition Raid, with G-men smashing big barrels of Joose open with fireaxes to drain into the sewers!


      It took me 5 minutes to pull the dreaded JOOSE yesterday because I did it as half-assedly as possible. If the five beer boxes I haphazrdly put the cans in didn't fall over, that was good enough for 5 minutes before the end of my shift. By case 4, they were leaning way over, so I just turned #5 sideways so that it hit beer cooler wall. The Leaning Tower of Blackout. Looking much like someone halfway through their firsy can of it.
      The distributor will do a pickup on it, giving us full credit, so my first plan for today was to organize it by flavor so that the inventory stayed straight. I went to the far corner of the cooler, but the Joose wasn't there. Or in the upstairs stockroom. Or where we normally put the pickups. Or in the back supply room. It was all in the upstairs office. *shrug*
      I jokingly asked the guy who closed last night, "Did the Joose Police come yesterday?" Yes, they had! A pair of cops came in with a letter from the state, saying that the FDA had embargoed every alcohol-plus-caffeine drink, and it was illegal for us to sell it, as it was "adulterated." We were to keep in in our "secure, lockable storage areas" for the time being. That could only be the office.
      I have 2 unopened sample cans of Four Loko. Could I sell them on eBay as "collectibles"? So far, no one's trying, but people with empties are trying to sell them that way, along with any and all promo materials. And "Four Loko RIP" tshirts. Funniest: can kozies that make it look like you're drinking a Loko. Police will find that hilarious!
      Is it okay for me to drink mine? Or is that illegal, too? Man, if I ever buy weed again, I'm firing one up, popping a Loko, and doing something else illegal! I may do it in my underwear!
      Although it is a big relief to know that by banning Four Loko, no one will ever get alcohol poisoning ever again! Thanks, FDA! You saved us all from something that killed nobody, after only a week! It was a couple of years before you pulled the diet drug Fen-phen! After 7 million users found out about its minor side effects, such as death!



      "You got my Four Loko, right?" I said to the driver from the company that distributed it until Thursday. Turns out that any Loko they had, they couldn't send back, but had to destroy. And, yes, pour down into the public water supply. Isn't that an environmental hazard? Who wants angry, drunk sewer gators punching through manholes, all hopped up on the Loko?


      Today the store got Tilt, which is Four Loko without the caffeine, same proof, half an ounce more liquid for 50 cents a can less. If someone wants to recreate the Loko Experience, all they need to do is buy a can of Red Bull. Good job, FDA!

      ME (at the end of a sale, to a very pleasant and friendly older woman): Have a happy holiday!
      CUSTOMER furrows her brow, and glares at me in a clear "What did you just say to me?!" way.
      ME: ...Have a happy holiday!
      CUSTOMER'S brows knit further, says with hostility: What do you mean?
      ME: You know...Thanksgiving.
      CUSTOMER says "Oh. Yes." and walks away.
      What, was she beaten with a drumstick as a child?


      UFO incident could be result of poison berries ... and Dr Who


      I thought that everyone hated the sound of a car alarm going off. But someone doesn't: One went off just outside the house, and Byron heard it. He looked up, listened, and walked towards it. When it stopped, he raced back into the room, apparently mad that it had stopped.

      Forget turducken: "It serves 125, takes eight hours to cook and is stuffed with 12 different birds...He stuffed an 18lb turkey with a goose, duck, mallard, guinea fowl, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon and woodcock..."

      I used to have ambivalent feelings about Thanksgiving. I love turkey more than any food, but having worked all my life in retail, it was like the day before the invasion of Normandy. Every day after it was going to get worse for a month. The best Thanksgiving I had as an adult: Although 4 families lived in CT, my parents were living in Vermont, and rather than them coming down here, we were all expected to go up there. A 3 1/2 hour round trip, with barely that amount of time spent there. But one Thanksgiving, one of my sisters and her husband and I all had to work late Wednesday and be back at work early Friday, so we bailed. If it had been just me, I know I never would've heard the end of it. I bought a grocery store rotisserie turkey breast and watched this all day:


      It was the best Turkey Day ever! I got to bed on time, and woke up refreshed and ready to face the onslaught.
      The booze biz is different. It's not the building crescendo of chaos that is other retail; all the action occurs the day before any holiday. Yesterday was nuts, but Black Friday will be peaceful, and it'll stay that way until Xmas Eve. For 13 years, I've fully enjoyed Thanksgiving, even though I have to work the 2 days after.
      I like the drive to my sister Sue's for the holiday, as I go through the big retail sprawl between my home and hers. It's somehow reassuring to know that, in this ridiculous Open 24/7 Modern World, so many people have the day off. Well, not that cop car I passed, fortunately at the speed limit, as I'm sure he'd be cranky enough to give a ticket to anyone not working. Almost everything was closed. Even one of the many gas/minimarts. Although not the Dunkin Donuts--why were they open?
      A pair of double tragedies: Denny's was open. I have no problem with a Thanksgiving alone, but most people would, and the only thing worse than being alone would be being alone and eating at Denny's. "Give me the Turkey Grand Slam--and a box of kleenex *sob*" I saw that the plaza where my old Lechmere once stood (and where I worked that Best Thanksgiving) now had a BIG!Lots! Having a grand opening! And--OPEN! Worse than dinner at Denny's, working at BIG!Lots and working Thanksgiving, with Jerry Van Dyke's horrific gargoyle face leering from every endcap around you.


      Dark meat turkey isn't that great, and cheap ramen is worse. And yet, add one to the other, and it's awesome.
      Dark meat turkey is that great if you're Byron. His siblings turn their noses up at anything but white meat, but he loves it, especially with some skin still on. I once saw a family of bobcats tracking wild turkeys, so maybe his half-bobcat heritage comes out when he gets it.
      I went grocery shopping, and so got home just after dark and didn't turn on the light, then almost fell when I stepped on a clementine box (there for cat stairs and scratching purposes). I turned the light on and found that I was lucky--Byron had opened a cabinet door inches away and pulled a drawer full out, right at shin length. The Man with the Thumbs is he.
      Later, DJ leapt onto the top of the fridge, a trick he learned from Byron. And promptly, proudly, opened a cabinet door. They've been "partners in crime" for a long time, but now it may be Byron's Fagin to DJ's Artful Dodger...


      Funny thing: Fake Science. Currently 16 pages, and I'm glad I found out before it became 160.

      The work radio plays an Oldies station that has a special focusing on a different artist every Saturday. Tonight's was on Bob Dylan. It's no original observation to point out that his abilities as a songwriter are greater than his as a singer. I can never hear Dylan without thinking of a '60s parody I first heard 30 years ago, and the only one that doesn't make fun of his singing, but his writing. Also harmonicas.

      Via Lili, MST3K fans may be interested in the sale at Cinematic Titanic this weekend; DVDs $10 instead of $15.


      Yes, there are contemporaneous comic books that make Super Green Beret look good. Such as Captain Marvel. No, not that one. No, not THAT one, either! It'd be the best/worst thing ever, if only his battle cry of "SPLIT!" used a different vowel.

      Why are humans getting fatter? Better question, why are mammals in general getting fatter? "Some were laboratory research animals -- monkeys, chimpanzees and rodents. Some were feral rats caught in the alleys of Baltimore. A veterinary hospital in New Jersey provided records on domestic pets -- dogs and cats. There was one constant. All 24 sets had seen overall weight gain in the population over time. Twenty-three of the 24 had seen an increase in the percentage of obese individuals in the group.".


      Thought for the Day, from P.Z. Myers:      Live your life as if it's the only one you have. Because it is.


      Went over to Kevin's for a meal and a movie, as Kev has plenty of time, him being on unemployment. Not unemployed, just on unemployment (Thanksgiving through New years is a very slow time in the RV business; he makes more money on unemployment than he'd make in sales). The dinner was pot roast from his crock pot--very tasty, and something I doubt I'd had since I moved out of my parents' house. We had plenty of movies to choose from, but we narrowed it done to either Cinematic Titanic or RiffTrax. When I saw he had RT's version of The Day After Tomorrow, I talked about the unintentional laff riot that was the same director/writer's 2012, so we went with that.
      This was one of the downloadable RTs that you synced up with a DVD player, that some enterprising internetter had added to the actual movie. Kev pointed out that this was harder than it sounded, as the movie audio's volume dipped everytime the 2 riffed on it. Yes, just 2, Bill and Kevin--hey, wait! I just noticed that!--as Mike sat it out.
      Wow, what an awful movie! Big budget boredom. And so ludicrous. It's about how global warming will cause a new ice age, which is true, but done in such a moronic, unbelievable way that I had to wonder if the film was funded by Exxon to discredit Al Gore. There were the usual CGI disasters--laughably huge Tokyo hail the size of basketballs, ridiculously giant Los Angeles tornadoes that of course destroy famous monuments, a tsunami that drowns New York, and the earth enters a New Ice Age. Over the course of a few days. How cold does it get? Why, so cold that you freeze solid if you go outside for a few seconds. No, literally freeze solid, like a sci-fi freeze-ray gun. Unless, of course, you are a named character, then you can go outside just fine. There was the infamous scene where the characters outrun the cold, which sounds less retarded than it was. This is because the space station said that there was this storm that covered the entire northern hemisphere, and in its eye, the temperature dropped 10 degrees--a second. So, after 10 seconds, it would be 100 degrees colder. It's SCIENCE! And the tops of the NYC skscrapers ice up, and the heroes run in snowshoes, and escape the cold at the Last Minute Of Course, by closing a door. Cold can't get through doors.
      Bill and Kevin gave it their best, but Kev and Bill didn't. The movie was so bad that we kept having random conversations about other stuff. It didn't matter that we paid no attention to the movie, as it made no sense whether we paid attention or not. Kev said more than once that it wasn't the fault of RiffTrax--can you imagine having to watch this crud once, let alone the multiple times they must've subjected themselves to it?
      Funniest part went unnoticed by the riffers: the end credit "Based on part of a book by Art Bell and Whitley Streiber." And probably the sanest part!


      Has anybody besides Lili had a problem reaching this page since I put up that (now deleted) MP3 link a week ago? It looked okay on this end, but that link required me to log in to hear it--I thought that was the worst that could happen, but maybe it shut the page down?
      Note: if there is no update for more than a day, something's wrong. Like, no exaggeration, the "Bill has died" kind of wrong. Please let me know. And if I don't respond, call the authorities.



      Screaming and swearing at retail workers only makes us work slower from spite, and all the other customers hate you.
      To the person in Las Vegas who found my page with this search, what the fuck was the original god damn price of the stupid teddy ruxpin doll in 1985--I'm pretty sure that Google works the same way.

      One of the more interesting articles about Real-Life Superheroes Could Be Defending Your City While You Sleep:

      Speaking of sleep, here's "Film Sleepy": Filmmaker Produces First Film Designed to Put You to Sleep. Watch The Day After Tomorrow sometime! Oh, wait, that was too loud to sleep through, like when the garbage truck comes at 5AM. Except that movie was more like the garbage truck making a delivery.

      I have no image editing software at the moment, so you'll have to click the link to see what I mean--or not. Ocean State Job Lot, a closeout place, has Star Trek toys from last year's movie, and while that's a movie I didn't sleep through, I can see it not selling toys to kids (just nerds). But this one inhabits such a special place of "That's why it's at the clearance store" that I may buy it: The Starfleet Command Mission Utility Belt (in the top right corner)--"Become Kirk or Spock & play 8 interactive missions!" You get one guess as to the color of the shirt Lil' Kirky's wearing. Play 8 very brief interactive missions!


      More amusing than the show's been for years, How They Make Aqua Teen Hunger Force:




      BYITCH JUICZE, about some recent something.

      Music from the Great Mall:




      I brought the recycling bin in, and as usual, it received feline attention. Smells like the forbidden outdoors!
      As I was doling out their beloved wet food, they ignored it. The recycling box was the focus. Especially one corner. To the point where Byron, already perched on it, loudly and viciously swiped at his beloved sister for daring to sniff it while he did. Twice. Even DJ ran away.
      I assume some other critter pissed on it, but wow, never seen that kind of behaviour before. All in that one corner. And when I moved the box to its usual spot, right by their dry food bowls--it was totally ignored. Weird.

      Long, but Mr & Mrs Randy Quaid live in an interesting little world. Of course, millions of others do so, but they're not semi-barely-famous, and their psychoses are thus unworthy of note.


      A white woman in her late 50s, handing me the twenty she's going to pay me with: You aren't going to give me dirty, wrinkly bills back in change? Like you people ALWAYS do?
      ME, jokingly, as I think she's insane: Well, we don't screen the money we get!
      HER: I know what you give me! FILTHY LOTTERY MONEY!
      (Standing right next to her is a regular, a black woman with scratch tickets. She has a bemused look)
      I hand her her change and say "Thank you." She examines every bill with a critical eye, gives me a dirty look, then leaves.
      COWORKER: I'm glad you rang her up; I don't think I can take that anymore!
      Yes, she's done this before, the first time declaiming "You should take this money to the bank and have them SHRED IT! That's their job! I used to work in a bank!"
      Yes, "used to." I wonder why they let you go.
      Hey, you could avoid that whole "filthy money" thing by, y'know, USING A CREDIT CARD. But then, what would you have to complain about?


      As we were heading to the concert a month to the day ago, we passed Tasty Chick and Jessica said "I should take a picture of their sign before they take it down." And yesterday, after 50 years, they took it down.
      I emailed her immediately, and her response began "SHIT! Are you kidding me! I went to take a picture last weekend, my camera battery died so it wouldn't let me take it!"


      I've lived 24 years a quarter mile from that sign. At this time of year, I could see it through the leafless tree limbs from my front window. It's already weird to drive by and not see it.
      Especially as there's no clue as to why they removed it. The closed restaurant is available for lease, but there's no sign of any other activity. And they only took away the Tasty Chick graphic, not remove the physical sign.


      The hexagon frame and the "chicken--seafood" sign below it are still there as of this morning, as is the pic I use on my index page for the News, on the building's side.


      Which I find amusing, as it says "NEW" and yet is so faded and "introduces" a brand that became popular in the 1970s. The sign's prly that old.
      Here's a picture of the sign near the end of Tasty Chick's days open, apparently taken during a landslide. That "Let Us Cater" slug was on there forever. Sadly, none of these show the best part of the sign, a close-up of Tasty him/herself: It's racing in a Tasty Chick tshirt--yes, you could buy those, and they were bright yellow with the logo and TasTY CHicK on them, and no, I didn't--saying "MMMMM" in apparent cannabilistic glee, with its tongue hanging out. Awesome, it was. Really wish I'd bought a shirt.
      I don't even recall how long ago they closed, but it was sudden. Around the time my friend Kevin moved just up the road, and right around the time he stopped being a vegetarian, so he never got to eat at the BEST fast food restaurant I've ever seen. Jessica ate there all the time as a kid--he father worked there for a while. Losing the Tasty Chick sign is bad, but losing Tasty Chick the restaurant was far worse.
      LTRotD will certainly remember this, but here it is again:

      Wow, that was only an excerpt from one day's post! And just days after the most amazing SHAWT ever, Mark St. John, self-described Special Forces op/actual petty larcenist! Man, I wrote a lot, and a lot funnier, back in those days. I also had more than 30 minutes a day more free time due to a very short commute, and the one, very laid back cat. Still, I wrote more then in a month than I do now in three.
      Also: when searching Google Images for "Tasty Chick," it's best to turn on Safe Search. Unless you're looking for pictures of girls ramming bananas up their asses.

      I'm a real Bah, Humbug! kind of guy, having spent my whole adult life in retail. But even I call "Where's your Christmas spirit?" to this: 'Naughty' joke gets Santa Claus fired from Macy's. Warning: joke is NSFW (Not Safe For Whiny-ass titty babies)

      "Television's favourite Time Lord could not exist without his trusty sonic screwdriver, as it's proved priceless in defeating Daleks and keeping the Tardis in check. Now Doctor Who's famous cure-all gadget could become a reality for DIY-ers across the world, say engineers."


      The store owner's Ford F-150 pickup then became his son's truck to drive to college, then became the store's delivery vehicle once it became shitty enough. Its quality is usually not a big deal, as it only goes a few miles within town. But since it gets so little use, it failed emissions testing; if something doesn't get driven enough, the emissions don't burn off and it fails. Then it can't be registered, then we can't legally drive it.
      So I was told to drive the old boat for an hour on the highway and take it to emissions testing. Well, I had nothing better to do. And I was being paid! Also, today was payday, and I would be driving right by my bank, so I could stop and deposit my check. It wasn't what I was told to do, but, hey, who'd notice?
      The Check Brakes light came on immediately after starting. But they worked fine. I thought "Good thing I brought my cell phone, as this fucker could break down on the highway. Hey, since the brake light came on, I could die in this thing today!" Which, actually, is something that I think everytime I'm behind its wheel.
      I deposited my check and headed for the highway and what the fuck?! The brakes now only worked when I pinned the pedal to the floor! And even then, just barely! Oh, fuck no way am I driving this on the highway! I turned around and took it to the garage.
      If I hadn't stopped to get my check, I probably wouldn't have found out that I had no brakes until I was doing 65MPH on I-91, and crashing into the back of a tractor trailer.


      The deathtrap truck was returned, brakelines repaired, to the store 30 minutes before the end of my shift, and I was ordered to take it to emissions. The guy from the garage who was dropping it off said "Why didn't he tell me that? I woulda brought it right over!" as emissions is literally across the street. But also half a mile away from the store, so I brought it in.
      "How long is the wait for emissions?" I asked, because if it was longer than 30 minutes, fuck this shit. I don't get paid for the time I actually work, just what it says on the schedule. "Immediately!" said the guy, so I settled in a chair with Tyra Banks blaring on the TV, and one magazine on the table: Pregnancy. Not really what one would expect in a Midas Muffler shop.
      And immediate it was! The F-(for F U!!)150 was backed in, and they were done in less than a minute! Because it failed. SUPERfailed--rejected because the electronic odometer didn't work. So I drove it back to work.
      I overheard our store manager say on the phone earlier in the day, "I don't get mad!" I mentally added, "--except over everything." And he predictably went Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid, dragged me back to the truck, saying "The odometer works if you hit it hard enough!" What a finely-tuned piece of equipment we own! He then proceeded to pound the dashboard with his fist, and then a rolled-up copy of the Beverage Journal, until the odometer came on. "GET OVER THERE! NOW! DON'T TURN IT OFF!"
      I drove about 50 feet before the odometer went blank. I pulled over and reached behind the seat and grabbed--hey, is this a claw hammer? A HAMMER? REALLY?!--and began smashing the dashboard. (With the handle, despite how much more I would've liked to have used the other end) It blinked back on, and, yes, it passed emissions, and more importantly, YES I LEFT STUPID WORK MORE OR LESS ON TIME. Without being made dead by the store's personal Killdozer.

      Speaking of death, here's something that fills me with Christmas joy!


      Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends: the fucking Store Truck Emissions Test Saga!
      The state charges $20 for the test. If you pass or if you fail, it costs $20; retests of failed vehicles cost nothing, if done quickly enough. The first time the truck went, the garage took it, and emissions couldn't get a read from the truck's computer. The second was yesterday's first fail--neither time did they run the test, so, no charge. As they charge by the test, not by the not-test. Simple concept, yes? I was hustled out the door yesterday so quickly the first time that I had to use my own money, which they gave back. The second time of The Crisis--and let me point out that failing emissions only matters when you go to register your vehicle, and the F(ail!)-150 had just been registered, so it wouldn't matter for 2 more years, by which time that piece of shit will have long since collapsed into its constituent rusty molecules--I told the boss, aka The Drunken Toddler, that I was taking $20 from the register, and since he was standing right there, he saw me. And screamed. Along with being an angry drunk, he is also so vain that he refuses to admit that he needs a hearing aid, so he screams all the time. (If you say something to him, even from 5 feet away, he screams "HAH?!" It sounds like we have a deranged Canadian goose in the store) He screamed, right in front of a big line of customers, "WE ALREADY PAID!!!" "No, you didn't," I said. This was the fifth time in 2 days we'd had this argument, and each time previous, I told him to call the garage and they'd tell him we hadn't.
      When I got back, I was ready to do a paid-out for the $20 and give him the receipt. But all 3 registers were being used with a big pre-Xmas line, so I left the receipt with Dave, the manager just above me. I knew if I brought it up to the Toddler's office, the PO would never get done. As he was very drunk, even for him.
      (Since you're wondering anyway: he's been friends with the owner for 40 years, so that's why he has a job. Any other job would fire him after the first week)
      I came in today, the Toddler's day off, and Dave asked me what happened with emissions. Seems the register came up $20 short, and Toddler blamed ME for it. Because he had given me $20 for the test.
      Whoa, what? All he had given me was an argument! Dave did the paid-out about 45 minutes after the argument, but Drunky-Drunk had already made up a new story in his booze-sodden, spongy brain. Both Dave, Larry the other manager, and I independently came up with the same scenario: Toddler took $20 from the register after I left (my personal theory: as soon as I left, he called the garage to prove himself right about whether we had paid or not, as he's one of those egomaniacs who can never believe that they're wrong, and then he found out otherwise), stuck it in his pocket, and fucking immediately forgot. He immediately forgot that he hadn't paid me, after all.
      How drunk was he? Here's a few examples!      So how drunk was he? Super-Spectactular Ultra-Toddler Amazo-Drunko!
      I have no idea what insanity I'll walk into on Monday, or much care. I have 2 witnesses who saw what I did yesterday, and what he said when I did it. We also have a security camera, so I'll tell Todd to rewind to 3:35 Fri to see if I take money from the register while he takes money from the register and hands it to me. But I expect him to put his work pants on Monday and find the $20, or to have completely forgotten about the whole thing. And say "HAH?!"
      Part of the reason that I think that $30 rum failed: It's called "Tommy Bahama." Isn't that the show on between Hannah Montana and Dora the Explorer?


      Archie Gets Married and Goes to Hell.

      Dinosaur Will Survive After Droid Takes Over.


      The Greatest Crisis in Living Memory, the Store Truck Emissions Test? It was not mentioned today. Obviously, "someone" found the $20 in his pants and decided that saying something would be an admission that he's a drunken fool.


      Had chicken tikke pizza and saw a Cinematic Titanic with Kev & Meg: Doomsday Machine. CT gets points for not just doing super-obscure movies, but also ones that should never have seen the light of day. Incredibly long stretches of just nothing happened in this alleged film. But the ending is truly amazing! I mean, you just sit there with your mouth agape in shock. Hint: the ending of Monster-A-Go-Go was less lame. And like that semi-movie--well, from IMDB:      Every time the space ship is shown, it's a completely different shape. Okay, they show a Saturn V take off and then it's a 1950s needle with fins, fine. But then it becomes a rotating space wheel. "Amateur film maker" is an understatement.

      Good kitty! Quick-thinking cat saves house from fire... by opening the window

      Bad kitty! I got a coupon for a free bag of something that modestly named itself "The World's Best Cat Litter." Well, sorta free; I still have to spend a stamp to get a rebate that doesn't include sales tax. Still, so a buck for litter, not bad, eh?
      Ten dollars for 8 pounds of litter? Arm & Hammer is like $7 for 14 pounds. But it is the world's best--for making cats avoid the box it's in. Or for inspiring them to shit right outside the box in protest. Oh, we hold our hats on high for you, World's Shittiest Litter!
      I tried pouring a layer of the regular litter on it, but just now, Killsy went in the other box. What other products does this company make, "Used Motor Oil, the World's Best Sandwich Condiment"? "Broken Glass, the World's Best Teething Toy"? "Krazy Glue, the World's Best Anal Lube"?


      From Kevin, via the IMDB entry on Doomsday Machine:      Interesting! One of the more fascinating books I've read was Fiasco, about the movies Hollywood spent the most on, that made the least back. I wish someone would write a book about the exact opposite, the stories of the no-budget movies. If you've seen the movie Ed Wood you know that there are amazing tales out there, just waiting to be told. The Creeping Terror was a con job, bilking a whole town out of it's life savings by a guy and his "wife," a 15 year old runaway. I have Best Worst Movie waiting in Netflix, about Troll 2. What stories are there behind Manos: The Hands of Fate, They Saved Hitler's Brain, Monster-A-Go-Go? The book could be chapters just on various bad filmmakers. I have a book on Roger Corman. I've no doubt that there's a Herschel Gordon Lewis book out there. What about Ray Dennis Steckler? What was it like to grind out a 1960s Godzilla movie, or an 80s dead teenager slasher movie or horny teenager sex comedy?
      The memories of the people whom made these forgettable kitsch classics are fading, and they grow old and will soon die. I'd love to read that book.

      I was working 48 hour weeks when kitten Killsy came into my life. Two 8 hour shifts, followed by 2 10 hour shifts, then a 12 hour Saturday. After just a month of her here, I slumped into my chair on a Saturday, and she cried for playtime. "Honey!" I sighed. "I've worked 12 hours, I'm tired, all I want to do is update my webpage, and--" She sweetly gave just a single meow. And I realized, "Someday, 20 years from now, this kitten will be gone from my life. And I don't think I'll look back and say 'I wish that I'd spent more of our time together typing'." And I got down on the floor and played.
      So this funny thing never happened. Well--not much of it!