NEW 104

"One day, we will put it all behind,
We'll say, that was just another time,
We'll say, that was just another day on Earth."
--Brian Eno


      I woke up extremely early yesterday with a sore throat and half my nose blocked, and thought, Oh, great. For Christmas I got a cold. But it's the third or fourth time this month that I had that, then it went away within hours. Good thing it happened on a Saturday, when I can sleep in and drink tea before going to my job. Too bad it didn't happen on a Sunday, when I can just do nothing all day but drink tea. I had very fitful sleep, but I did sleep in, and then drank tea. I felt okay when I left for work, so all I had to do was take it easy, and my immune system would kick this bug out.
      Take it easy at work. During Christmas.
      It might've worked if I'd followed my own advice, and not run around putting cases of product on the shelves. Literally running, as the stockroom is on the second floor, and I'm in the habit of running up 2 steps at a time. After 3 hours, it was back. So I dialed down, but I still had 6 hours of walking the floor, stocking and helping customers.
      Of course, I woke up feeling worse this morning. Maybe I'll kick it over night. I hope so--I have to get up early 5 days in a row before another day off, which is also the next time I can sleep in. And "taking it easy" is off the options list, although it will eventually get so busy that I just stand behind the register all day.
      "Then call out sick!" What, are you sick in the head? Even during the slow times, if someone comes in sick, everyone says "You shoulda called out! Now we'll all get sick!" But if someone does call out, everyone says "That faker just wants a day off!" Lose/Lose.

      What's worse than a Christmas cold? Everything on this list!

      I did today finally get PhotoShop to work, after several weeks. By mashing buttons. "Right Click on Program and Run as Admin"? Really? It's a colossal pain so far--the windows don't appear on screen logically, and have to be dragged--but I guess I can finally have my own pictures on my own page again. Let's start with the oldest one, from 2 months ago exactly:




      Word for the day: crepuscular.
      I went to bed at 730PM yesterday, in order to get 11.5 hours of recovery-from-cold sleep. But I woke up at 2AM, and slept maybe a few minutes a time in a row after that. Even with DJ either snuggled beside me, or sleeping right on top of me. I didn't even start to nod off until 5AM.
      Two hours before dawn, when cats, crepuscular by nature, wake up. Every time I was about to drift off, scratch scratch scratch. Just stretchin' the ol' legs, but enough to awaken me every time. And I felt like crap.
      And then I went to work and put away almost 400! cases of booze, all by my lonesome, while also running the second register. And while I didn't fell good, I didn't feel that bad. And I sure think that I'll sleep tonight!

      Holy shit, but PhotoShop CS4 is the worst thing ever! I suppose that it's because it only opens in admin for me, but what does that admin have, a monitor 3 feet wide? No matter how big I size adjust the screen size, I can't see all of any of the windows. Pictures end up whatever size I don't think that they'll be. God, what a pain in the ass. Those of you who say "I like Bill's page, except for all the photos!" well, you're in luck. Things that used to take me 2 minutes now take me 20 each, so pics will now be much less frequent. Even if they are of cats.
      Killsy and DJ, kissing in a tree! Okay, a chair, and a chair invisible.


      After that slide of the common species felix domesticus, we now present an example of the rarely seen felix Pilobulos, native only to Connecticut.




      The Twelve Doctors of Christmas, a series of short stories beginning on Boxing Day. Twelve? Yes, there'll be "Doctors That Very Briefly Were, whether they appeared in spin-off material, commercial products, or straight-out parodies." No indication yet as to where the stories will appear. I'll link when they are. Assuming they suck not.


      Tiny French village will survive the end of the world in 2012 due to the end of the Mayan Calendar because it has a mountain that's an alien parking garage. Ha ha, yeah, that sounds ridiculous because I made part of it up! The part where I said "I made part of that up."

      Christmas is the hap, happiest time of the year! Wait, no, it's the dead, deadliest time of the year. And no one knows why.

      "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like: hallucinogenic reindeer piss. With a mini-bar!"

      For no reason, I was thinking of Mozart's death while making dinner. The latest theory I'd heard was trichinosis from undercooked pork. I was making tater tots, so no clue why this popped into my head. An hour later I read the article "Mozart�s 140 causes of death and 27 mental disorders":


      Oh Gourd, one more day to go. And I still have the cold. My voice has degraded to the point where customers on the other side of the register--i.e., about 3 feet away--can't understand my croak.

      I received a surprise package in the mail today. Return address: Omaha, Nebraska. Sailor Kitty!!! The KitSplut! Our Divine One!
      We'd mentioned her copying "Music to Splut By," a mix tape of Japanese pop music I'd made her--in 1998? Really? The tape had been played to a nub, so she recreated it via the internet, to good effect. Seriously, she found ultra-obscure stuff like P-Model, that Godzilla montage, and Salon Music, including the "Indecisive guy in Tokyo McDonalds choosing between a Strawberry or Banana Shake" bridge? Internet is the Amaze! At the end was "Napalm in the Morning, Shatneresque Reading" of a rant from one of her emails I recorded right on the tape, and, wow, yeah, the sound quality was not that great. Killsy kept looking at me, the speakers, and then back, as a garbled version of my voice came without me opening my mouth.
      There's a CD of "Obligatory Anime Music," but currently I'm listening to "PINK CAKE 2008." You may remember the Lime Girls from an old InExOb. Hmm, in the time it took me to track that link down, almost every track was by a female vocalist, so I took it as "music the Lime Girls might've performed," but the last 2 tracks are by males. Well, it was a good theory up until it wasn't.
      The best part was a fold-out Kitty Christmas thingie, a 3D Xmas card, and this, from a company called Kitschy Kats. You'll get immediately why she sent it, but look a little closer....


      KK. What are the odds?


      Phew! Another Xmas over. I was getting pretty burned out today, and my voice was a rasp. But two and a half days off!

      (The UPC on a bottle of the Danish liqueur Akvavit doesn't scan, and I have to look it up to ring it)
      CUSTOMER: I guess you don't sell a lot of that!
      ME: Not enough to keep up when the UPC changes. Actually, we sold a bottle just a few days ago.
      C: Well, it's the season. I can't imagine anyone drinking it at any other time of year.
      ME: What's it taste like?
      C: Anise-flavored. No one drinks it except as a tradition.
      ME: So it's like lu...lutekefisk?
      C, surprised: Lutefisk? Yeah, it's like that!
      ME: Rotting herring!
      C, laughing: Semi-rotting! And it's really cod.
      ME: Rotting cod? That's okay, then! I mean, rotting cod is fine!
      I looked it up, knowing that something about lutefisk impressed me as a food that makes me say "AAAAUUUGGGHH!!" Yes, it's semi-rotten, but this is prevented by being preparing it with lye. Y'know, the stuff serial killers dissolve bodies with?

      Even the classical radio stations will play Xmas music through tomorrow, much to my hatred. Glad I have 3 KitSplut CDs to help! But at least I'm prly done hearing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for another year.
      Since Mommy and, I assume, Daddy playing dress-up, don't know that their kid is watching them, is this some kind of weird kink they have? He's Santa, she's the Very Naughty Girl? Do they then bang among the presents under the tree? In the Spring, does Junior see Mommy Blowing the Easter Bunny? Or do they want their kid to see Mommy's adultery? Maybe it's not Daddy? So where's Daddy? Does the Boxing Day song go


      I hate it when YouTube videos spoil the punchline of a 30 second video in the embed still, or, like this one, in the title. Click this and maybe scroll down a skooch and try not to read the title.


      Boxing Day Bah Humbug! Tomorrow I have to drive through a 2-day snowstorm to get to work on what would be the slowest day of the year, no matter what the weather. More disappointments:

      Tor's Twelve Doctors of Xmas is not, as they said, stories about the Doctor, but essays on each actor. Not that there's a problem with that, but, y'know, "Product may not be as advertised." First Doctor, William "Bill the Doc" Hartnell.

      Roger Ebert presents At The Movies is available almost nationwide! And by "almost," I mean "NOT IN CONNECTICUT." There's still a month to go before launch, so there is hope.

      On the plus side, Cinematic Titanic's retake on Santa Claus Conquers the Martians succeeded. Not as funny as the MST3K version, but, hell, what would be?

      And I got my usual gift of Mom's Home Cooking. A firken* it weighed! I fit it all into the freezer only by virtue of my old Tetris skilz. There are 2 chicken pot pies--the size of pies. Apple pie sized. I hope my old toaster oven, which is all I've got, can cook them. I've got enough food to last until April. Which is my birthday, when I get another freezerfull.

      *Firken: the weight of a fully loaded churn of butter, courtesy of Barker's 1919 Almanac.

      Also, this.



      I set the alarm 15 minutes early because of the snowstorm. I wasted 2 minutes dragging my ass from bed, then wisely invested a minute greeting each cat in turn. So I left only 10 minutes early.
      I never topped 50MPH, but that's a pretty good speed. Traffic was nonexistant. I ended up being 5 minutes early to work on the slowest damn day of the year. Yeah, great.
      And that's it. The most "exciting" thing that happened was getting to work 5 minutes early in a snowstorm. If reading this was boring for you, imagine living it for 8 hours. And 5 minutes.



      At this time, 3 hours after sunset, the cats are asleep. In a rough circle, a few feet apart, clockwise from my chair. As we all do, Byron arose from slumber to rearrange himself and return to sleep. He, deaf but able, always scans the room first. "Kill Kill? Check. Mommy Man at computer? Check. Annoying Nut DJ, asleep? GOOD." Killsy and Deej awaken at the slight sound he makes, then they all silently slip back to sleep.
      Well, for a moment. As soon as I stopped typing, DJ went to Killsy, and they each gave each others' head a vigorous bathing. Then they retreated to their respective spots, again to sleep. Byron awoke as DJ walked by him, apparently wondering "Hey, I'm not missing anything inportant, right? Right." Then he tangled himself in one of his bigfooted knots of legs, and now they all sleep again.
      I love my cats.


      Ducklings. The best story you'll read today about geese.

      Video: The Beauty of Pixar


      Another year survived with my little family intact. Pretty much all one can ask for.

      Just because it's funny because it's stupid, doesn't make it not funny:


      Just because the stupidity of it makes it funny, doesn't make it not funny:


      Just because it's about a stupid trend, doesn't make it not funny:


      You may recall that there is credence to the theory that Byron's pappy was a bobcat. The strong jaw, the long rear haunches and legs and their remarkable leaping ability, the enormous feet, the near-deafness, all may all relate to his parentage. Mrs Jessica confirmed that she'd cared for half-bobcats in her shelter.
      Something I'm embarassed to say that I never noticed until just today: Byron's tail. Bobcats are named that because of their short, bobbed tails. His is of normal cat length and width--except for right at his butt. It's about 50% thinner than the rest of his tail, and only to the approximate length of a bobcat's little tail, with very close fur. Huh. Interesting, and another piece of the puzzle that is the history of our foundling.

      Cute Overload's cutest videos of 2010 All worth watching (except the Maru one, unless there was a surprise ending before I gave up on it). Includes the Loudly Meowing Kittens Want Foodz NAOW! and the Tap-Dancing Corgi.


      Byron's sleep is the stuff of legends! On this page, anyway.


      You've heard the stories: On a beautiful summer's day, he was lying in the window in the sun and staring at me, and I complimented him on his wise choice of perch--until I realized he was sleeping with his eyes wide open. There was the time I saw proof that dreaming truly is Rapid Eye Movement sleep, as his pupils darted around as he dreamt wide-eyed. The time he loudly chewed and licked his lips, dreaming about eating something delicious. The picture above, asleep while sitting straight up. I never mentioned the worst one. He was dreaming when I got home. Normally he wakes up as I walk by him, either from my scent or the vibrations of my footsteps. When he doesn't, I gently pet him awake. This time, he stayed asleep. So I petted him harder. No reaction. Then harder. WTF?! He's still asleep! OMG, is he unconscious?! I tried picking him up--tried, as 15 pounds of inert cat is hard to grip--and he STILL was asleep! Just before utter panic set in, poof. "Oh, hi Mommy. Why are Killsy and Deej gathered around so worried?" In high school, I once had a vivd dream that I was in my bed, paralyzed, when my mother tried to wake me. Half-awake, I just thought the dream hadn't ended yet. He must've been dreaming that I was petting him and picking him up.
      He sleeps more than the other cats, and they sleep a lot. Well, not so much today. DJ has just for the 4th time traipsed upon his bed (of nested beer boxes), given him a drive-by licking, and left.
      Last night, all but me were asleep. Bigfoot's feet and tail and ears twitched, as they do when he dreams vivdly. Then "YII!!" he shrieked, bolting upright. A nightmare! He startled his siblings awake, and they looked at me to make sure no emergency was happening, then at him with concern. They both walked over to him, getting an angry growl for their trouble. He usually looks to check where everyone is when he awakens, but this time he just kept staring at the open bedroom door. What did he dream came out of it? I'm guessing that late night a few years back, when a neighbor's dog burst in the open back hallway door where Byron was chilling, and chased him right into the condo!
      He didn't want any consoling from me, either. I tried to calm him with pets, but he bit my hand--not hard, but enough that I knew not to continue. He stayed alert for his imagined enemy. Then he cleaned his tail very thoroughly. Where the dog was closest that time. Then he gave himself a full, almost obsessive bath, like a human might take a long shower after something gross happened. He was still wary after 15 minutes. Then he finally went back to sleep.
      And began dreaming again, feet a-twitch. DJ walked over and briefly licked his face. He didn't awaken, just made a little happy stretch--DJ's kisses were now a part of his dream. A happy dream.

      Nothing "happens" in it, but here's an oddly compelling short film about NYC's Boxing Day blizzard.


      I admit that I'm baffled by a couple of things in this comic strip (Strippers? Directed by who?), but the last panel pretty much sums up January '97 for me.

      A high school English teacher once talked about forgotten words from our language that should be brought back. His example was "prog," meaning "someone who impolitely forces himself through a crowd."
      20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback.


      Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted
      On the other paw, cats are infamous for pretending that they're not sick when they are.


      I'd been planning to see Tron today for weeks. But I had so much crap that needed to be done pile up over the holidays that it would've been hard to squeeze into my schedule spending $15 to see a movie in murky 3D that only got okay reviews also seemed a bit pointless, thanks nice sentence Bill. So, errands it was.
      I did the dishes, started the laundry, then left for the new BIG!Lots that opened over the holidays. Certainly it was the cleanest, best-organized B!L I'd ever been in. My only goal was to buy 4 things, and any oddities that turned up. I got socks and canned fish, but wood glue and olives were completely absent. Okay, they had "whole" olives, which means "have fun chewing around the giant pit inside each one." There really isn't a reason to go there over Ocean State Job Lot or Dollar Tree, both of which are much closer to me. Kind of a disappointment.
      Next I went to the nearby Wendy's, as I had a coupon for a free serving of "Natural Cut" fries, the kind with the skin still on, which is the only nutritious part. I grabbed a small amount and ate them, and discovered that the new fires tasted and looked like a small bag of the old ones that had been left under the heat lamp so long that they were about a minute from being thrown in the garbage. I believe that's what I got, maybe deliberately, given the slight sneer on the server's face has she gave them to me. But the point was moot. As I took a right turn out of the drive-thru, the bag fell over and spilled the fries into the gap between the seat and the shift. I drove on the highway trying to grab dirty, soggy fires out from the crack. Free, but very disappointing. Don't worry, Wendy's, I won't waste my time spending money on you. That was your purpose in the free coupon, right? Driving away potential customers, and having them post it on the tubes?
      I went grocery shopping next, just for wet cat food and litter to dump on the World's "Greatest!" Cat Litter, in the litter box that continues to remain barely used. Also, stamps to mail out bills, and vitamins--they were running Buy One Get One Free sales on those every week, but those suddenly became so rare that I had to (quelle horreur!) pay full price for melatonin at KMart. But they allow returns 3 months after purchase, so I was going to buy the same one I bought from them, then return it. Of course, the grocery store was out of that size, so I had to get a raincheck, because boy I sure like spending my days off in line. Disappointing, as I have to do it all again, but, y'know, not very much. At least I got to go home without visiting KMart, arriving just as the dryer ended its cycle.
      And the cats were happy to see me back. No disappointments there! At least not as disappointing as reading this post was to you.


      SHAWT: Coworker from our other store called: "I couldn't read that fax you just sent. It was too light. You need to change your ink cartridge."

      I walked into the gigantic grocery store to deposit my paycheck, as it's gigantic enough to also house my bank. The little old lady ahead of me said, "Oh, dear!" I saw what she meant: for the first time I've ever been in there, every single shopping cart was gone, all of them in use. It wasn't like this yesterday!
      Oh, right. Panic buying ahead of the horrible snowstorm tomorrow! How bad is the Whitemare supposed to be? One or two FEET! Wait, I meant "inches." And this was at 315PM, when most people were still at work. My plan for tomorrow: if it's snowing when I get up, I won't shave. Shaves 3 minutes off the commute. That's all the extra time I'll need.

      Today I got a sample of "Crunk Juice," the latest caffeine-free replacement for Four Loko. So where did all of that banned high-octane, binge-fueling Four Loko booze/caffeine drink that was recalled go? Into your gas tank.


      Hitler-mocking dog enraged Nazis: Nazi expert: "Months before Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union, they had nothing better to do than to obsess about this dog."
      How ridiculous! All over a dog! I'm so glad that in this country Freedom fries our right wing long-form birth certificate doesn't get all secret Muslim worked up over health care is for profit, or else it's socialism meaningless bull! Ayers, ACORN, "god damn America" pastor--oh, wait, those are all too old. And only the A's...

      Speaking of clever dogs: Border Collie Comprehends Over 1,000 Object Names as Verbal Referents. "The authors demonstrated that their dog, Chaser, learned the names of 1,022 objects -- no upper limit is apparent -- they stopped training the dog after three years due to their time constraints, not because the dog could not learn more names." Animals are smarter than we think, especially ones bred over millenia to be human companions.

      I did the store's banking today. Because of the upcoming terrible blizzard, it took me 20 minutes just to reach the counter. Idiots were blowing their horns in the drive-thru, because, yeah, that'll work. I watched the tubes from the drive-thru come through, as there was nothing else for me to do. Every one was a deposit/withdrawal--the shit you could do in seconds at the ATM.
      As I was about to leave, some drive-thruer demanded "Why is the line of cars going around the building?!" Because--they're ahead of you? Doing what you're doing? As the teller said to me under his breath, "Y'know, when the drive-thru window at McDonalds gets too long, the smart people leave."
      Oh, the Whitemare! How bad is it so far? Lemme check!
      Nine hours after starting, it's a dusting. Instead of the horrible, horrifying 1 to 2 inches that was predicted. And now, tomorrow they say we get more snow than today! Hey, what is it that any number times zero equals again?


      An hour after sneering at the snow yesterday, it started in heavy enough to leave 4 inches in only 2 hours. Today's storm was described in only the vaguest of terms. "Beginning in the evening." So, when it's dark? So, somewhere between 430PM and 730AM? A report at 8PM said it would begin after midnight. It began right then, with an hour left before I could leave work. The wet, slimy snow covered the roads very quickly. I had to run a red light because, even though I was doing the speed limit, I realized as soon as I braked that I'd end up skidding to a stop in the middle of the intersection. At best!

      Fortunately, that was as dangerous as my day got. Seen this yet?
      I saw it last year, before today's terrorism, and I was sickened by it.
      "Free speech" is not sending out thinly-veiled dog whistles advocating violence to an audience you made hate-crazed and paranoid. It's not shouting "Someone should set this crowded theater on FIRE!" to an audience of pyromaniacs.
      Expect the "Liberal Media" to solemnly proclaim "This happened in a vacuum by a lone madman; no one on the Right is advocating violence." Imagine what they'd be shrieking if the gunman was Muslim.





      �Don't politicize this tragedy!� "Screw that. Now is the time to politicize the hell out of this situation. The people who are complaining are a mix of lefty marshmallows whose first reaction to the fulfillment of right-wing fantasies by a lunatic is to drop to their knees and beg forgiveness for thinking ill of people who paint bullseyes on their political opponents, and right wing cowards who are racing to their usual tactic of attacking their critics to shame them into silence. This is NOT the time to back down and suddenly find it embarrassing to point out that right-wing pundits make a living as professional goads to insanity."

      Invisible tanks. Because nothing says "invisible" like something that "weighs 62.5 tonnes, and runs a 1,200hp V12 diesel engine."
      "HEY! What's making that awful noise, and smashing down all those trees?!"
      "Probably a bird."
      "Oh, right. Nothing to worry about."

      Yes, it's an ad, but it's really clever.





      That's the adorable statuette the Divine KitSplut sent me. I sent that image to Mrs Jessica, who fell in love with it and wanted to know where the maker's website was. We decided to share our order from them--we both got keychains, and I got a fridge magnet of the KK cat. She called me last night (as I was about to go to bed) to tell me she'd received her order. The artist/owner sent her a personal note thanking her, waived the S&H cost, and even included 2 free mini-magnets! Amazingly, one is of a white cat like my Queen of the World, and the other a black cat, like her recently deceased, eternally adored Majoriam.
      So if you see something on that site you want, I can comfortably say you will not be disappointed.
      We have a date in a week, so that I can get my KK stuff. At the usual place, the Crack Bar in Sturbridge, MA. And she's discovered that there is a motherlode of antique stores just up the road from there!
      And maybe another date a week later. I was listening to the University of Hartford station's classical show, but not listening enough. I heard "Tuesday" and "free tickets" and decided not to call. Tuesdays I can do, but what if the concert was in Waterbury or New Haven? That's like a 45 minute drive, one way! (New Englanders drive only very limited distances, as our states are so tiny, but the drives mentally look so VAST on our teeny maps)
      It turned out to be at UConn, the last place we went to, which I found out when no one claimed the tix. So I called back and got a busy signal from the person who won them. The next day, they offered the tix again, but I missed that pair, too. But I won today! Third time lucky!
      If she can go. I asked when I won if I could donate them back to the station, a question that startled the DJ. She's still deciding. I'm not sure that I'd go by myself. The main work is Mahler's Fourth Symphony. There's Mozart and Weber, too, but when I think Mozart, I think "Sprightly!" When I think Mahler, I think "75+ minutes of clinical depression." Of course, I'm unfamiliar with his work because of its length; radio stations have to take breaks for their station IDs. And after decades of listening to classical music, I find it so fascinating to finally see it being performed. Eh. We either go or we don't.

      With DJ purring in my lap, not long after Byron did, I really wonder if the key step in the evolution of pets was the human hand. Not the fact that we could make spears or can openers. But that the first wolf or desert cat that was brave enough, or hungry enough, to walk up to a campfire soon discovered that our hands could pet them everywhere they couldn't. The first to get a repeated stroke down their head and neck and then realized, "These hairless things can do...THIS?! ...purrrr purrrr... Is there a place around here I can sleep?"


      Okay, this qualifies as a storm to worry about.
      It still doesn't justify panic buying--it'll be dug out tomorrow. But by the time I would've usually been at work, there looked to be a foot of snow that dropped overnight, with another foot before it ends. The governor highly recommended that everyone stay home, and the state traffic commissioner said that one could expect 20MPH as the top speed. Sounds rather optimistic to me, unless your car has bumper-mounted flamethrowers.
      The guy who does our plowing lives here, so we get great service. At 9AM he was snowblowing the sidewalks. Why bother, when there'll be 10 to 12 hours more of the storm? Oh, right--it'd be easier to plow a foot of snow twice than 2 feet once. He stopped just outside my window and left. To return home for a hot beverage? Nah, he'd already run out of gas.
      Awesome! Visibilty just cleared from an eighth of a mile to a quarter! I haven't a noise outside today that wasn't a snowplow or sirens. Wait, what?! A Pizza Time delivery?! They're half a mile away! Too dangerous for YOU to drive, but you're okay asking a total stranger to do it. For a pizza! I hope you tip that guy at least ten bucks, lazyass.

      Fred Phelps is planning on protesting at the funeral of the 9 year old girl murdered in Tucson. Does he think God Hates Little Girls? No, Fred Phelps is a con man. The article will make you hate that literal vulture even more.

      Hey, downstairs neighbors who take pride in flaunting all the condo rules! Remember when Byron got out last summer, because you left the common hallway doors propped open? I put up a nice, polite sign that said "Please leave doors shut! My cat got out!" And you immediately had the president of the condo assocaition call me, to complain that you could hear my cats walking on my floor? Two solutions: I, a condo owner, kill my cats. You, renters, move to somewhere where you don't live with someone above you. Neither happened! But then, from complaints not from me, the condo put up signs telling everyone that the common hallway doors have to left closed. You know, the woods behind us, with its raccoons and coyotes? Maybe not critters you want sniffing outside your front door. You eventually gave in, but only after months and I assume direct contact from the association. (Only other person who did this, and needed further incentive to stop: the Crazy Bitch who tried to run over Byron. Good company you keep)
      Why is it that so many people here have dogs, and yet you're the only ones who I never see with scoops or baggies? Are you why the condo put up all those signs threatening up to $200 fines for not scooping? I guess so, as 2 weeks later they put a handwritten post-it note about it right outside your door.
      It's been months since you woke me up at 6AM from the smell of the many cloves of garlic you were boiling for breakfast, so I guess somone else in the building complained about that. I was going to the condo over all your shit myself a month ago. My shower drain was fine that Monday, but backed up to my ankles the next day after 2 minutes. I went through this last year at about the same time. I poured bottles and bottles of drain opener down it to no avail. I bought a plumber's snake, which did nothing. I was about to call a plumber, as the water took 2 hours to drain and the tub's where the cats have their water bowl, when I saw it fill up with warm, soapy water after it'd drained. This had happened over 20 years ago: I called a plumber, explained it, and he said "That's not your drain. That's your downstairs' neighbors!" Long before you moved here, of course. But magically, the day I was going to call the condo and point out "They're renters. If the ruin the plumbing, they're just going to move and let it be the condo's owners problem," it drained! Oh, I see. You have visitors over Xmas. Otherwise, you would've let it go until you heard me screaming for an hour above you. Like you did last year. The day before Thanksgiving, when my tub looked like THIS:


      FULL OF BROWN LIQUID. Yes, I thought "They let their TOILET back up into my BATHTUB!" But no--it was some kind of gravy. Their tub was backed up because they were dumping FOOD WASTE down it. Um, the units do come with garbage disposals, ya know.
      Having finally written this all down, I think that I should contact their condo's owners. At any rate, apparently the frequent pleas we get to "Put your car in the garage or in the side lots so we can plow when it snows" are another dictum they don't care to pay attention to. Sure, their (oil-leaking) SUV is in the garage, but the Civic? Right outside their garage door.



      And that's from the plowing this morning. There's at least one more before tonight. Since no one else's car is like this, it's almost like the guy who plows (and lives here) is trying to bury it. Have fun going to work tomorrow!


      Yesterday's joke was on me this morning: my downstairs neighbor didn't dig his car out until late, so the plows ignored all the snow around it. So I had a 3 foot drift in front of my garage this morning. But it was powder, and I easily got through it. Still, y'know, what a great neighbor.


      As a lover of the music of the Beatles, let me share a truly wonderful cover!*


      *(sharer not responsible for clawed-out eyes and/or ears; resultant gibbering madness)

      Also, this:






      Quote of the day:
      If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.--Robert Braul

      In Tucson Shooting Fallout, Rightbloggers Find a New Public Enemy #1: Paul Krugman


Due to the holiday, there were no beer deliveries yesterday. I was sure that there wouldn't be any today, due to the coming icestorm. The deliveries would all come on my day off, Wednesday. So, much to my regret, I volunteered to cancel my plans for Weds and come in and work, taking today as my day off.
      I haven't seen Jessica in nearly 3 months! If I cancelled, well, maybe it'd be another 3 before we met again. I was going to take a hit for the team.
      There is no "I" in Team, but there is "meat." My suggestion wasn't just shot down by our (drunken, pill-popping, asshole) boss, he practically spat in my face for suggesting it. A few minutes after leaving the upstairs office, I had to go back up to the storeroom outside it. The boss was yelling into the phone to the store owner about what I said. Sorry that I put the store's best interests over my own, I thought. But don't worry! It will never happen again.
      As I left this morning, the freezing rain had started 5 hours earlier than predicted. I spent 50 minutes grinding into work on a 30 minute commute, only getting there 5 minutes late, due to the bad prediction. I called the beer companies, and Guess What! they weren't delivering. I rescheduled 2 of them for Thursday, but one distributor had already loaded their trucks--and not sent them out, WTF? So that was coming Weds, no matter what we wanted.
      And Of Course!, the boss said "GO HOME! Take today off and work Wednesday!" Yeah, a 100 minute commute with 10 minutes at work in between. That's losing TWO days off.
      You burned that bridge yesterday with that call to the owner, douche. "Sorry. I have plans."
      And 5 minutes later, he was screaming on the phone to the owner about me NOT doing what he TOLD ME NOT TO DO 24 hours earlier. And lying about it, claiming that all the beer companies were coming Weds.
      And hours later for me, and several Heinekens later for the boss, he decided that he could check in all those deliveries, despite that being such a crisis earlier. Yeah, I had the salesmen reschedule their deliveries so that I could have them re-reschedule them. And in 2 days, listen to you scream through your Heineken, Xanax, Vicodin, Percocet and methadone "I TOLD YOU TO HAVE THAT SHIT COME IN THURSDAY!!"
      Weather's supposed to be relatively nice tomorrow, so Guess What Again! Antiquing in Sturbridge with Jessie Baby. I'm glad the Drunken Toddler didn't accept my offer. And there will be no more offers forthcoming from me, ever. Every day I see more of the reasons why my predecessors turned to drink and drugs, and eventually began stealing. Dealing with a drunken, drugged insane person 40 hours a week can do that to you. If your will is weak. But My Kung Fu is Stronger!!

      News that may, like me, involve involuntary gagging: �Premium� Pet Food Marketed and Sold as �Complete and Balanced� Has Historically Contained Such Items as Euthanized Dogs and Cats


      After all that yesterday, Jess had to postpone our meeting. The snow/ice storm was far worse in eastern Mass than it was here. At 7AM, her daughter's school had a 2 hour delay, while they decided whether to open at all. We'll try again next Weds, hopefully with less workplace drama.

      Ebert: The best documentaries of 2010. Some good rental suggestions there.

      Cracked: Secondhand Nightmares: 10 Horrifying Thrift Store Finds. Somebody could make a briefly popular and minor website about weird found objects, I'd imagine.


      It's that time of the year again: Time for The Beast's 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2010.


      Oh boy, this piece of junk mail says that if I go to some seminar, I'll get a FREE NOTEBOOK COMPUTER!* And I have an invitation in my name!
      I didn't bother to see what the * meant before recycling the invitation. I'm guessing that long after the 4 to 6 hour pitch session for something, they'll check my ID against the invitation and say, "But the invitation is for 'Rgbill Young'! Sorry, no laptop!"
      I also recieved a free subscription to Mother Jones, the most liberal of all magazines, and another free sub to The National Review. Cover: "Obama: OUR SOCIALIST FUTURE." My mail needs some meds.


      Just minutes before leaving for work this AM, I thought "Hey, doesn't 'Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies' begin soon?"
      Yes, this weekend on your PBS station! Find if you can see it here. No online presence that I'm yet aware of.
      Luckily for me and my broken VCR, the broadcast starts at the same time my beloved Sunday morning ambient music radio program ends, when it's replaced with shrieking opera not-music. It'll be very easy for me to remember when it starts.


      I've always thought that the worst name for a band would be "To Be Announced." Even if you could build a following, your fans would be upset when the act turned out to be someone else.
      Ebert At The Movies went from being scheduled at 1PM today to "TBA." TBA turned out not be that rockin' band, but an informercial. On PBS! Lo, but how the mighty have fallen and prostituted themselves.
      Now, I guess it begins next week--for me, anyway, as there's a showing tomorrow when I'm at work. Kinda glad that I didn't remember it until yesterday, so that I only wasted 24 hours getting psyched about it.


      Not Fun: checking beer orders in when it's 5 degrees outside. Less Fun: being the beer delivery guy who's taking the stuff off the truck. At least I could duck into the store, whereas they got the comfort of ducking into the beer cooler. Where it was 33 degrees warmer. No wonder Teamsters get to retire after only 25 years in the union--just 5 months ago, it was 90 degrees with the same humidity, and a different kind of awful.




      Flying Dog beer 12 packs are back in stock, after a couple of months.


      That is the image from their flagship beer. It's by Ralph Steadman, who did the covers to Hunter Thompson's books. It is of a dog, flying. And puking. They also have a beer with a bitch in heat pissing, and another of some hideous mutant dog-flea spraying blood. For a product one is expected to put in one's mouth. Interesting choice! Well, McDonald's has an evil clown, so why not?
      The 12 packs were out of stock because they changed the packaging. Wikileaks has released the text of the conference call.
      FLYING DOG EXECUTIVE 1: "Whoa, 9AM comes so fast. I'm so hungover!"
      FDogX2: "Not me! I'm still drunk!"
      "Lucky dog!"
      "Ha ha ha hOUCH! It hurts to laugh. So...what are we talking about?"
      "New fuckin' package design OH YEAH!!"
      "Gah! Stop screaming! Right, right. So, it's, what, November? When would be a good time to roll it out? It'll be out of stock for at least 2 months."
      "DUH, bro! Right NOW! So maybe no one can buy it from Thanksgiving until after New Years Eve! I mean, who drinks beer then? I was at my 'rents house for winter break, and you know how they make frowny faces on drinking!"
      "What's that hangover remedy? Drink a bloody mary with a can of pork and beans in it? I hope so. It's all I got."
      "One of us is working! I got this super smart thing for the package. Is it great? IS IT NOT GREAT?!"
      "Oh. Sorry, dude. You hungover PUS-SY!"
      "OW. Was it eating...oysters or something? I think I got some oysters somewhere. So, is it?"
      "...Is what what?"
      "Is it great or what! Didn't you just say that?"
      "Um, no, don't answer that, it was one of those...rhetor--rheta--retardical questions. I'm gonna pop open this 4 Loko I've been saving! Lemme send you the graphic for the new 12 pack!"
      "WHOA! Dude! Umm...Is that it? You with a dildo on your nose? And me with--"
      "WHOA! Dude! No! Wrong folder! Tryin' again!"
      "Oh, yeah! The dog puking, and the flea/dog beast with the blood. Wait--I thought that there were 4 beers in it?"
      "I thought there were FOUR BEERS?!?!?"
      "Umm...I did put 'and 2 others' on it."
      "So, you know, 2 others."
      "No beer names? Just '2 others'?"
      "Uh, yeah, we got some new ones in the pipeline! 'Michael Vick's Very Bad Dog' IPA and 'Road Kill Puppy with Guts Exploding Out' Stout."
      "Dude...that is fucking repulsive!"
      "I KNOW!"
      "Send them out now! And send me some fuckin' oysters! And--wait, that picture in the first bunch! I've got a dick drawn on my face! You did that, asshole!"
      "'re at work..."
      "YES, I'm at w--(stops, looks in mirror)--you FUCKER FUCKER FUCKER!"

      "Religion in America is far more taboo than sex, drugs or Eddie [Izzard]'s cross-dressing," said one sympathetic critic. "It's regarded as deeply impolite to mention it. It starts fights."

      Crazy Japanese fun video:


      Via Kirk

      If it's real, this is the next movie I will watch eleventy billion times:




      So today is two Wednesdays in a row that I didn't see Jess because of the weather. I thought that we could make it, and since it's just started flurrying here at midafternoon, the same time we'd normally part, I was right. But there's always next week. If it doesn't fucking snow again.
      With nothing else to do, I went to the grocery sto--Oh. Wait. Snow storm, panic buyers. Cancel that. I went to PetSmart.
      I'd received a free sample of Wellness cat food, as well as several coupons. My kids loved it! I was happy to see that PetSmart had it on sale. As it was normally $12.99 for 2.15 pounds. That's...expensive. With coupons and the sale, it was $6.99, or still exorbinant for a miniscule amount of cat food. But since finding out that the "meat byproducts" in most pet food, from Friskies to Iams, has been revealed to include "euthanized pets"--call me squeamish, but I really don't think that cats and dogs should eat cats and dogs.
      Oddly, reaction to the dry food and treats has been kinda "meh." You know how people say "Food that's bad for you tastes good, and food that's good for you tastes bad!"? Bull. Garbage food only tastes good when you eat it all the time. The last time I had McDonalds "food," I puked it up. Once I was diagnosed with metabolic high blood pressure, I started eating healthier, and nothing tastes better to me now than oranges, almonds and yogurt. They'll get used to it.
      I hope.


      It's a post about the weather! Everyone blogs about the weather, but no one does anything about it!
      6 inches of snow ending by 6AM. And they were right! It did end when I got out of bed 15 minutes early. But it was 3 times as much snow as predicted. But if it's plowed, I'm going to work.
      Plowed everywhere but in front of my garage. The idiots who share my building all parked in front of theirs, so there was a huge drift in front of mine. Well, I'll just battering-ram through it like I've done all winter...
      I got stuck in the snow just a lousy inch away from the plowed part. I spent 30 minutes rocking back and forth, forward reverse forward, tried digging out the car with a neighbor's snow shovel (apparently someone at some point stole mine), all to no avail. And no answer at the store. But the snowplow guy attached a chain to my car, saying "I'm not liable if this does something bad," and towed me out.
      I heard a thumping noise after I drove off. What did that guy do to my car?! I pulled over before the highway and found that the belt on my trenchcoat had come loose, and was hanging out of the car door.
      Then I saw an accident. A tractor trailer had rear-ended a fuel tanker! many trucks are there lined up here? Oh, man, that's the entrance ramp to the other side of the highway! If it's backed up like this, I'm giving up.
      There were 3 or 4 other cars on the highway, but half a dozen huge trucks on the overpass. The next overpass was packed with 15 more. Oh, the state cops are pulling them off the road--there's a truck travel ban. Fine with me. I did 50MPH all the way to work. I woulod've been 15 inutes early if I'd cleared that 8 feet in my driveway.
      Ah, crap! The boss called out? That means that I could've called out, too, with no repercussions. In retrospect, I should've said "Fuck it," called out of work and called in for the free roadside service from my insurance company to tow me, and had an extra day off. Especially seeing that we didn't do enough business to pay even my salary, let alone that of everyone else who dug out and came in.
      And they're already talking snow for next Tuesday, meaning Jess will cancel on Wednesday. Fuck you, winter.

      Fun Indoor Activites Now That The Snow Will Keep You Housebound For The Next Fucking 50 Years




      I just watched Ebert Presents At the Movies. Apparently there is an online presence, with last week's episode, possibly unaired anywhere, as there was a brief reference to "the preseason show" today. Today's ep is already online, which is good. KMart has a decent VCR/DVD burner combo on sale this week, and it looked like I had no choice but to buy it. This ep was on Sunday, but the next pair are on Saturday when I'm at work. But if I can watch them online, maybe I can wait. I did just pay a $750 property tax bill. I could use a break from major expenses.
      Of course, my initial reaction is not to the reviews, but to the show in general. The new Siskel and Ebert are Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, and I cut & pasted both those names, one for an obvious reason. As they introduced themselves, I thought "Are they still in college?" Once they began, all they needed were plastic cups of Keystone Light and a lot of background noise to be a pair of film majors at a party, who met 90 minutes ago and were now crossing the line into the "God I'm in love and should slow down drinking because we'll be having sex soon!" phase. Seriously, they agree on a movie and he says "That's so sweet!" and she says "Yeah, that's so sweet!" Okay, they're young and somehow ended up on national TV, even it's PBS, so why shouldn't they like each other? But it was gushy. I need to see reviews of films one loves and the other hates. Gene and Roger became great friends over the years, but they were never funnier than when they disagreed. On the pre-show, I guess they disagreed on all the movies. But who saw that? "Ebert Presents dot com" is the url, and even Google didn't show me it last week.
      Mr E turned up in a review from "Roger's Office." Sadly, he was not voiced by that heralded software that would imitate his voice, but some bored guy. I could give a more effective reading from the back of a Friskies can. Only an hour before the show I read Ebert's print review of the same movie, and it was much better. Maybe I was mentally reading it in his voice, but even if I hadn't, this guy was ineffective. The Stephen Hawking voice box would've been more effective. As to the prosthetic jaw--thumb sideways.
      Next was Kartina Richardson, a film blogger, and again was remarkably young for a show that was always populated by people older than me until recent years. A nice idea and a clearly very intelligent woman, but she talked like a nervous blogger, undercutting her neo-Freudian analysis of The Black Swan. A great post to read, I'm sure, but not that great to hear being read nervously aloud.
      Overall: Thumbs Up! The new hosts were likable, and very knowledgeable about film. No Ben and Ben here, the banes of the reboot that killed the show. Not seasoned critics either, but they clearly are in love with their subject. And no doubt even more in love to be paid talking about it. The Office bit only needs a better reader for Ebert's prose, and if it's a different blogger a week, which I guess is apparently the idea, the blog segment should work out as they get over their on-air nervousness.
      I'm glad that there is once again a show of serious, educated, enthusiastic film criticism on the air, especially if Roger is behind it. Trivial bits, if this didn't already seem all trivia to you: Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky sitting in the original PBS "At the Movies" chairs, and while neither said "These are big seats to fill!" they seemed to think it; the end credits, with a clip of a 1976 review of Rocky, including the original hosts' original insane hair (Gene's Pancho Villa/pr0n star stache was amazing), and a final, brief animation for Roger's production company and OMG CARTOON KITTEH INCLUDEZD!! Good Luck and Long Run to you, Ebert Presents.
      And Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky: when that drunk frat boy screams "JAGER SHOTS!" and thrusts them in your faces--just demure and head back to whichever of your dorm rooms has a roommate about to pass out.

      One of those really long, but interesting, WFMU looks at old show biz personalities. I remember the article's subject from early 70s cartoons. He was the guy who said "Ooh! Ooh!" a lot--in fact, it was his whole shtick. Apparently, he was a real asshole. King of Slobs: The Life of Joe E. Ross

      I got stuck in my driveway again yesterday, this time from all the ice that built up from icicle drip from the front eaves. My back eaves have 6 foot icicles. They're growing a foot a day.
      Recycling is something we should all do. So after throwing some ice melt over the parts of the sheet I have to walk on, I threw over the parts my tires have to traverse old, but clean, cat litter. Will it work? Dunno, Copper! (that's a personal joke between me and myself) I wish that I hadn't thrown out that "World's Best WORST Cat Litter," just so that I could've used it for tire traction. Gourd knows the cats weren't using it for its expressed purpose.

      Yeah, from Boing Boing, but still.




      "The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it." --Patrick Young (no relation)
      To add to that: I've noticed that people always complain that "The weatherman is always wrong!" and yet they defend the forecast from "their" weatherman as if it was their own.



      All my life, I've enjoyed "Things that are funny because they're so bad and/or stupid." I think it started with the first media I really loved, comic strips.
      I was a child of the 1960s. For every Peanuts, there was a Ferd'nand. And a Henry. I'd read them and think, "I guess that's the punchline. It's in the last panel." You Kids Today, you have no idea what the comics page owes to Sparky Schulz. Trudeau, Watterson, Larson, they all cited Peanuts as the strip that inspired them to make their own. And every artist inspired by Doonesbury, Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side owes Chuck a debt, too.
      But I still read the polar opposite. Not Garfield or Ziggy, gourd forbid. Life's too short to read cranked-out, bland garbage that only exists to sell ancillary merchandise. I do read strips that used to be good, like For Better or Worse, or even great, like Funky Winkerbean, that have since become the writer's descent down the rabbit hole of neuroses and personal obsessions. And, well, ones that are just pure crap.
      HENRY! Why do you still exist? I crown thee with the title of Third Worst Strip Still Around. Okay, so you run repeats from 50-60 years ago, a time when apparently the House UnAmerican Activities Committe decided that it was Commie to run comic strips that were actually "comic." When "Punchline" meant "Strip is Now Over," with either Henry dusting off his hands, or a bystander witnessing Henry's banal non-antics jumping backwards in shock. Know who else likes jokes that are actually funny? STALIN that's the who!!
      Second Worst: Mallard Fillmore, best read with a chaser of Duck and Cover. Yeah, he's "the right wing answer to Doonesbury's existence." Funded via wingnut welfare from Murdoch, it's Doonesbury's opposite. Doonesbury is center-left-wing, funny, well-drawn, well-written, with almost all its humor coming from its characters. Dullard Failmore is the exact opposite, all righty: scribbled art, incoherent writing, hypocritical in the extreme, and at it's heart, just the pissings of a bitter old paranoid alcoholic who hates everybody and everything. I'd hate this strip if it was liberal! (Seriously, liberal political cartoonist Pat Oliphant, hang it up; you're getting old and crazy) I mean...WTF is this about?


      In one strip, we learn that "artist" Bruce Tinsley hates the media, baby boomers, their prostates, the Beatles, and Martin Luther King. Also, drawing. And he just came off of a week of saying that the real victims of the Tucson massacre are Palin and other conservatives, because his imaginary bete noir, the Liberal Media (that keeps publishing him), are "blaming" them. That 9 year old girl who was murdered? Not worth mentioning! And then he ended the week with a strip accusing liberals of "playing politics with a tragedy." Self-awareness is not an American right winger trait. He's only a step away from a strip that's just a duck crotch with "ARRRGH HATE! MALLARD HATE!" scrawled on it.
      Henry sucks, making Ferd'nand look like a post-modernist masterpiece. Mallard is an active force for evil, making the world a worse place, one strip at a time. But what's my personal choice for the Plan Nine of Comics, one which is simultaneously so boring and inept and full of itself that it becomes unintentional comedy? DICK!
      I read 3 adventure strips. Prince Valiant is so awesome that I could weep with joy, reading its intricate, lo-fi storytelling. The Phantom, the comic world's first costumed superhero, is another brilliant piece of storytelling. One of Vonnegut's rules of writing is that every sentence should advance either characterization or plot; every Phantom strip is an example of that rule. It's currently in the middle of a year-long story arc: the believably evil terrorist Chaatu kidnapped the Phantom's wife, then blew up the building that she was in, killing hundreds, then threw her into prison in a corrupt, facist nation to make the Phantom think she was dead, and to torment his wife for the rest of her life. We're in the "implacable revenge of the Phantom" stage now, but believe me, it's been a harrowing trip. It's like Girl Genius--I can't wait for the next strip! Something's always happening!
      DICK! Tracy? Nothing happens at all.
      The current storyline: DICK! (okay, I'll stop) has to transport a serial killer based on Hannibal Lecter--way to keep up on those pop culture trends, Dick--from one prison to another. The Storm of the Century begins, preventing Dick from calling headquarters. The squad car sinks in a lake, forcing Dick and his prisoner to walk to shelter. The serial killer repeatedly tells Dick he wants to kill him.
      That sounds like something is happening? That's what's happened in FIVE FUCKING MONTHS. The "walk in the storm to shelter" took a month by itself. They then spent a week talking about walking up the stairs. Did they? Dunno, copper! They couldn't be bothered showing that. Every strip is a recap of the previous one, except when it's a recap of the entire 5 months. Typical strip:

      FOR FIVE MONTHS. Don't believe me? Go to the link and check back through the archives. And Yes, the Serial Killer does Laugh Evilly every time, and it's painfully, hilariously obvious that Dick will eventually take the chains off the guy who has been promising to murderize him since September. Probably in April. Precisely 40 pounds of chains, which I know because I think I've seen that phrase more in 5 months than I've heard my own name.
      May Beckett forgive the blasphemy, but the Godot-wading-through-molasses plot isn't the only absurd thing about the strip. It's the art. Henry has no mouth, but he has a tongue. Mallard Fillmore is all about thrusting a duck crotch in your face. And Dick?


      That's a mask Mordred is wearing. I'm not sure how he can change his eyes through whatever those goggles are. But--DICK'S WIDDLE HAND! AH-HAHAHA! Who dramatically points their finger from their ear? It looks like a midget is in his backpack, picking out Dick's earwax! And getting it all over Dick's head! And this isn't unusual. The last "story," involving a rich guy who gave away money to poor people, which was illegal for some reason I never understood, ended with a month of police, FBI, ATF, and CIA agents posing as homeless people standing around and declaiming that they were from the police, FBI, ATF, and CIA, while the bad guy's wife held a teensy-weensy gun in her itty-bitty hand right by her ear, for a solid 2 weeks.
      DICK TRACY! Mallard makes the world sadder. Henry makes the world less happy. You, like Ed Wood, make the world more...Dick Tracier. Keep up the incredibly terrible work!


      I didn't have to work during yesterday's ice storm, and I wouldn't have gone in if I had to. This morning, the commute was sluggish as soon as I got on the highway. I did 40 on I-84, 20 on I-291, then 5 to zero when I got off the highways. I just slumped in my seat, as getting angry wouldn't get me to work any faster. Finally I saw what was causing a 5 mile backup: the town I work in, as usual, did the shittiest plowing job imaginable, and because of that, there was a car stuck in the middle of a lane. The cop car pulled away from it, leaving it there. Are you kidding me?! THIS is what made my 35 minute commute take 80 minutes? The car's been there for an HOUR?! Tow the fucker, don't leave it!
      The Job has pretty much crossed over the line to Hateful. I lost my shit when I got to work, screaming to my coworker about the commute and "I get a paycheck, that's the only positive thing about this job!" Her day hadn't started any better. She starts her mom's car to warm it up, but Mom left it in gear, so she went right into the wall of her garage. And she lost it, sobbing and apologizing. Her mother came in later to check on her, saying "I told her, it's just an accident! You're okay, who cares about the car?" She lost it for the same reason I did: The Job, or to be truthful, THE BOSS. No wonder everyone else who has had to work the morning shift has turned to booze and drugs and stealing to support those habits.
      I took out the trash when I got home, and realized that I'd overloaded the store brand bag. It exploded in the common hallway and worse, so did the smaller bag inside it--full of stinky used cat litter. I spent 20 minutes sweeping it up. And not bothered by it. Accidents happen! Two of my neighbors walked by--"Don'y buy the cheap garbage bags!" I said to the first, and she laughed. The next one said, referring to the dangerous amount of ice in the condo driveway, "At least we won't slip and slide!" and I laughed. "If it had happened outside," I said, "it'd be an improvement!"
      Seriously, if my nerves get frayed to the point of exploding because of a bad commute, but my spirits remain high after 20 minutes of sweeping up cat litter into a dustpan inches from my face--I'm going to snap at work and be fired someday. Soon. I can't take that place anymore, but where would I ever go? All it is is a paycheck, but it's a paycheck. Lotto, take me away!

      �If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.�--Carl Sagan.
      Carl Sagan and his Fully Armed Spaceship of the Imagination


      The supermarket has a weekly sale on Italian bread, 99 cents, and a whole roast chicken, $5. The bread will last for weeks, as I eat it a slice at a time on days off out of the freezer, and the chicken's good for 2 meals. The Kids got their wet food, but then they stopped. Byron clearly has a much stronger sense of smell than the others, as being deaf rewires the brain, and he kept patrolling for that delicious chicken. Kays and Deej followed his lead. They all had plenty when it was time for my meal, although DJ seems to have difficulty processing that People Food can be Cat Food. They had some playtime, then catnip, then naps, then playtime, now naps, while I listen to my Indian music radio show.
      I say this more for my benefit than your information. My job is so drained of anything pleasant that it's now nothing but a paycheck--but this is where that paycheck goes. To the pure, quiet bliss that is a happy home.
      (Not to spoil the Zen, but also that asshole drunken cocksucker of a boss is on vacation next week! That also helps)


      Quick quiz of your beer knowledge, courtesy of a SHAWT!
      "Since Stella D'oro bought Budweiser, I only buy American beer! Why should my money go to Germany?" (answers below!)

      Whoa, check out this insanely trippy video!


      It looks like something from the hippy-dippy Sixties, but it's not.

      Answer to the quick quiz:
      Stella Artois bought Anheuser-Busch. Stella D'oro makes breadsticks.
      They're in Belgium, not Germany, but technically his answer would've been correct between 1914-18 and 1940-44. I'm sure that's what he meant about not giving his money to an Italian-American breadstick company.



      Yesterday I decided to either do my taxes or go to the farmers' market. Since I had a to-do list of other tedious stuff to-do, I went with the market.
      I'd been putting it off. What would they be selling in the winter, root vegetables? But their email mentioned "a savory Scottish Butter Scone made with Highland Thistle bacon and Cato Corner Farmstead cheese." Man, I haven't had scones since my Scots Nana passed away! She'd give me a big bag of them, and usually just to me, as I'm the only tea drinker in the family. I doubted they'd be as good as Nana's. And maybe I could buy a yam!
      (And if you're thinking "Bill Young? Yeah, that's a real Scottish sounding surname," she was Lowland Scots, and her children the first born outside of the old country. And she, like my mother's Irish parents, vehemently denied that we were tainted with even the slightest drop of English blood)
      Since it's "Worst Winter EVAR" with over 6 feet of snow sullenly glowering on the ground--every time I drive through the trench that's the condo driveway, I hear Alec Guinness whisper "Use the Force!"--the market's indoors, at Coventry High School. It's a longer, and duller, drive than to the Nathan Hale Homestead where the summer market's held. I was disappointed immediately. A third, maybe only a quarter of the summer vendors were there. My imagined bag of scones was a scone, $3 each, as they were quite large. And came in a bag tied shut with a festive tag, in case I was buying it as a Valentine's gift or something. I bought some of the same cheese that was baked into it, and that was it. Yes, there wasn't a single yam to be had.
      That wasn't really worth the trip, I thought, as I took a right out of the parking lot to go home. After less than a mile, I realized that I hadn't seen any of the homes I was passing--oh, I should've gone left, then right. I doubled back.
       After less than a mile, I realized that I hadn't seen any of the homes I was passing the second time--WTF? I turned in the direction of where I'd most likely turned wrong again, and ended up on Rte. 44. I made an instant and instinctual guess as to which way to turn, which was completely correct, if you assume I did the exact opposite. 44 leads home, so I should've just figured out which way was east and gone that way. But I wasn't turning around now; after 2 "I'll just turn around" wrong guesses, the next would certainly lead to a world where the Nazis won the war and rode evil dinosaurs and there had never been scones.
      The street sign said that if I kept going straight, I'd be at UConn, and if I went left, I'd be in South Willington, and if I turned right, I'd be in "..." Because the snow was piled that high. Using logic, for once, I decided that South Willington was likely south of Willington, and "..." was probably "Wormhole to Bizarro Glasgow with Also No Scones." And I turned up immediately near a recognizable building: the Mansfield Correctional Facility. Sounds so much nicer than "prison," don't you agree?
      How that single wrong right turn left me 10 miles from home, I don't know. But I guess that Dennis Miller is proof that turning to the right is always a bad idea.
      Once home, I ate my scone, having been on the road for 3 days without food or beer. Due to its mix of scone and bacon and cheese, it was light and dense, crumbly and chewy, and totally worth $3. Not worth going back to the winter market, though, unless I take that wrong turn that puts me at the Battle of Culloden with a squadron of X-Wings. Hopefully they'll still be selling them in May, when the balmy late Spring breezes will mean only 4 feet of snow on the ground.

      Just watched: Catfish, based on Kev & Meg's recommendation. It's a doc about people who connect on the net after he's sent a painting based on a photo of his by an 8 year old girl, and that's all I knew going in, and that's all you need to know. I admit it's odd that the focus, an obviously intelligent NYC dance photographer, takes a while to ask the most obvious question. And the unasked question is "Why him?" All is answered, including the title, and not how you might expect it to be.




      I LOVE the story of Baldie-locks and the Two Bears, but I always had it wrong! I thought that it was 28 children!




      It took a dang month, but I finally met Jessie baby at the Crack Bar in Disturbridge, Mass. We opened the menus and, as always, closed them again, as we always get the same thing, "Eggs in a Basket" (actually, in a slice of toast, although eating a wicker basket probably would have lots of fiber).
      She was upset about losing one of her ferals, a barn cat. Especially as one of her co-rescuers put the obviously very sick boy--got into antifreeze, most likely--in a cat carrier and left him to die alone. He was meowing, which cats only do to humans, so he wanted human help. Sad.
      Mixed news on Pinky, one of her succesful rescues. Good news in that she found a happy home with Jess' mom, where she is beloved; the other news being that she's develped into a Byron-level Kitten of Mass Destruction. She'll grow out of it, one smashed thing at a time.
      We did some shopping in the Cracker Barrel gift shop. She bough a UConn Huskies neon sign from the clearance section for her husband's birthday, and some candy, including a pack of Bazooka Joe gum. It's actually really bad, just a wad of sugar that becomes flavorless after 3 minutes of chewing, and the comics are just as lame, but updated so that they're lamely about texting. I got a pair of windup toys, a performing seal and a dancing robot called a "Noggin Bop." She tried on a goofy Mad Hatteresque bunny hat:

            I tried on an Australian-style outback hat. Amazingly, it fit, unlike most hats on my macrocephalic coconut. I've actually wanted one of those since I saw one as a kid, but decided that I looked like a big enough dork as it is. She, who has an actual fashion sense, said it looked great, so after some thought, I bought it. It was also on clearance, and only $14. "You call that a knoife?"

            "THIS is a knoife!"
      I had no idea when I'd wear it, but out in the cold and wind, I discovered when. Surprisingly, it wasn't until the drive home that I started singing "EEEEmanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable..."
      Next, antiquing. Yes, big shockeroo right there. She was looking for tiny things to attach cats to, so she bought a little shoe and a mini troll doll and some Hallmark toys. She picked up a doll dressed as a British policeman and read the tag: "It's called 'Black Bobbie.' As opposed to White Bobbie." "Or Oriental Bobbie," I said, "or Malibu Bobbie!"
      I got a little pewter Viking warrior, an early 60s ashtray that says "Thank You from Birdseye Frosted Foods," because what else goes with a smoke like some frozen peas? Wait, "frosted" foods? Were they like Frosted Flakes, except made from broccoli? And a button that said "Nixon's had it!" which I thought was a Watergate-era play on his reelection slogan, "Nixon's the one!" until it was being rung up. It really said "Nixon's had ITT!" I get it, as ITT is the archetypal Evil Corporation, but I also don't get it. Both our bills came to less than $10.
      We checked out another antique store, without finding anything we wanted--well, I found a framed 1870s ad with a stoned-looking cat and a bottle of "Eclectric Oil," but I'm seriously running out of wall to hang things on.
      There was a really awesome clock store, another of our shared fetishes. Huge and ornate grandfather clocks, just plain enormous wall clocks, cool contemporary ones, even a minimalist one that marked the time with an inner gear that the outer part with the time revolved around. Pure clock porn. But again, no room on my walls. My last awesome clock find was a Genesee Cream Ale one I found with her, as I'm always looking for paraphenalia of my favorite beer.
      We hit up a plaza with multiple uninteresting stores, although I did almost buy a little $4 "I Love Cats" statue, but Jessica said she knew of the company, so that was the second thing I bought based on her recommendation. There was also an "Antique Fabrics Place," which I was against entering, but she insisted. Entry was through the leather shop, and as we went in I realized that, in my black duster and outback hat, I looked like its ideal customer. But it was one of those rare occasions when Jess had to admit that I was right.
      But that's nothing! Before leaving the Crack Bar, she gave me a big bunch of stuff! The magnets and keychain I'd ordered through her from Kitschy Katz--the magnets are lovely and very strong, and the keychain is absolutely gorgeous. I paid her for my share. But she also gave me combined Xmas and upcoming birthday presents. A little papercraft robot, an Asian Good Luck Cat figurine (gold, left paw raised), and something wrapped that I decided was a sex toy--but as soon as I realized that it was a wooden beer tap, I saw that it was an 70s Genesee Cream Ale one! Awesome! She had something else in her car--yes, the gifts kept coming. A big framed poster or such--no, it's a bar mirror, and for Genesee Light Beer! How does she find this stuff?! And finally--

            My old camera doesn't do it justice, but it's beautiful and she made that. Except for the purse--that's why she bought a shoe for cats to fit in. Everything else is by her. Okay, not the rock base; that was made by the Earth's sedimentary process. The eyes have pinhole pupils, the whiskers are wire, and I thought that the arms were articulated at first. Very, very nice work.
      Her original plan was to have a website, but on my recommendation, she's going to Etsy. I'll let you know when she does it. Looking at similiar work on Etsy, she thinks she could sell them for $30, but is aiming more for $20. just occured to me that she asked for photos of my kids to make a personalized trio for me. Maybe she'll do commissions!
      When I got home, Byron stared with the biggest eyes ever at The Hat. Just wouldn't take his eyes off of it. Crikey!



     Good news! Temperatures are going to soon warm up to the balmy mid-30s, and then next week, they may hit 45 or even 50!
      But I just bought a HAT! If it gets warm, how do I justify wearing my HAT?!

      Bill O�Reilly�s Tidal Skepticism Launches �You Can�t Explain That� Meme


      There are holidays that people outside of the Booze Biz think are big selling days, but aren't. Such as New Years Eve and the Superbowl, unless you're in the biz and also a drunken idiot (guess who I'm referring to here). There are holidays that traditionally add up to little business, like Easter. No one ever goes to Grandma's and yells "Hey, granny, let's get SHITFACED WOOO!" Another is Valentine's Day.
      Or it was. When the economy began tanking 4 years ago, we actually saw an upsurge in VD business. People were forgoing the dinner at a fancy restaurant for a fancy dinner at home, and there was a nice (and profitable!) uptick in fine wine sales. A meal and a bottle or 2 of excellent wine at home costs as much as 1 bottle of wine in a restaurant.
      Not this year! Back to a normal Saturday. Which is good--it means the economy really is improving.


      Know what I miss? Form 1040. Yes, it took like 6 weeks to get your refund before efile, but it didn't feel like it took you the same amount of time to fill it out.
      I wasn't using the "free" efile tax service I last used. Turned out that when I clicked on "Free File," it sent me to an interminable maze that took twice the time a paper filing would, only to announce at the very end, "Hey, you owe us $30!" The idea being by that point you'd sunk so much irritated time into doing it that you just gave up and gave them the money.
      TurboTax has been advertising nonstop about their free efile, and SHIT I don't even want to detail it, except their "GPS Filing" must stand for "Getting People who am Stupid to use our Filing." Yeah, my 1040EZ took an hour when the physical form would've taken 10 minutes, and at the end, TurboThug's all "Where my 30 dollars, bitch?" Fuck THAT, so I went to the IRS site and found a company that did 1040EZ for-reals free.
      Which ALSO took an infinite amount of time to plod through what I could do with a piece of paper and a calculator in 10 minutes. And my refund was...$54 less than TurboTax. So if I paid for it, I'd be $30 behind, but $24 ahead. So I went back and paid TT.
      Next: inevitable refusal by the IRS to process my refund, leading me to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. I think I'll file my state tax return on a day that isn't today. I've had enough for now.


      I'd come across the phrase "Trader Horn" in old 1930s movies, and was vaguely aware that there was a movie about him, but didn't realize that there was a Trader Horn, and the making of the movie was more action-packed than the actual movie.

      To wash the Trader Horn images from your brain, a brief visit to the guinea pig's closest, and marginally larger, relative at the Capybara Spa.





      Note to the Guardian: You also can't extract information through torture, just false confessions. That's why dictatorships like it so much.

      Sign spotted in the window of the gas/minimart, and at what point do you decide "I'm ain't ever eating THAT!" "Cheesy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Roller Bite NO BUN REQUIRED" For me, it's the indecipherable phrase "roller bite."

      Long time friend of this page Mimi had one of her rare open commission events, and I took advantage. I wanted to have her do a portrait of DJ, so that I could add it to the lower right corner of her wonderful artwork of Killsy and Byron Bigfoot:


      (Sorry; Google is failing me, so I went with the only other pic I could find without going through all of my 2005 archives) She said she'd do it for free! Well, I can't pass up an offer like that! So I did pass. I was expecting to pay, so I asked her if she had any favorite charities, and $20 to the Oregon Humane Society later, she did this:


      It's caricature, so he's drawn as a bit of a butterball, although he's solid muscle in real life. He's so orange that if he was a black pudding, even the white bits would be orange! SORRY NO ONE GOT THAT. No one should. I am the only person in the world who immediately thought that upon viewing.
      Mentally picturing it in the corner of the KK/B pic, yes, the color is perfect--note that tiniest of green at the point where the 2 works would intersect. And what an expert Mimi is at displaying personality with just the simplest of lines! In the corner of the pic, he'll look just like he's about to mischeviously pounce into the scene, just like he always does at home. Oh, wait, that's why he looks pudgy--he's preparing to pounce! Awesome!


      My first attempt at cooking a yam was sweet potato fries, and it wasn't any resounding success--I put too much olive oil on them, which made them less than crispy--but they did feel good, both while eating and while they sat in stomach.
      Yes, that's 100% of all I have to say today. MERRY THE YAMS TO YOU, INTERNET OF FRIEND!!!


      Hey, ignorant, gullible dipshits that sneered "There's no such thing as global warming!" every time it's snowed:
      In CT in mid February, it's 60 degrees and we're currently getting A THUNDERSTORM.
      Maybe you should listen to the climate scientists, and not Exxon-Mobil?


      Hey, it's my customers when we're closed!




      The Good News: Marjoriam's Colony, Jessica's Etsy site for selling her cat sculptures, is up and running! She spends a lot of her own money managing her feral colonies. Food, catch & release spay & neuterings, vet visits for the really sick kitties, it really adds up. So she's trying to offset her costs by selling her art. If you're a cat lover or know one, take a look! Her stuff is very cute and whimsical, and all of it one of a kind. Pieces are $20-25.

      Not Good News: I turned off a DVD yesterday, then abruptly awoke an hour later in my chair, somehow falling asleep. That never happens, and I felt weird. And had diarrhea. I took some loperamide for that, then decided to go to sleep early (as if I hadn't already).
      A customer regularly gives us stuff from a local, small farm dairy, and I'd taken a bottle of milk home with me. Good, I thought; this'll calm my gut and help me sleep. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have drunk the whole quart in 2 chugs. I went to sleep.
      For about 2 or 3 hours, then tossed and turned another 2 or 3, then around 3AM got up to dry heave, then puke, then shit, despite the loperamide. Why?
      I wish I hadn't asked that question. Ever have your body be so exhausted that you can't keep your eyes open, but can't sleep because your brain won't shut the fuck up? I kept running an endless mental loop, trying to figure out why I was sick. Was it the milk? The only information was on the bottle cap, and it didn't say if it was pasteurized or not. The last time I had even a glass of milk was 7 years ago, but can you develop lactose intolerance late in life? My symptoms were the same. But that can't be right--I eat yogurt every day. Wait, that egg? I'd had a hard-boiled egg that had begun to get squishy. It smelled okay, but after eating 3 bites, I decided that the texture and taste were way off, and threw it out.
      The only thing you become less likely to do the harder you try is to fall asleep. 2 hours before the alarm was to go off I knew that I wasn't falling asleep before it did. I call out not when I'm sick, but when I doubt that I can safely drive a car to work and back. And it was snowing. There would be no business because of the weather, and no deliveries because of the holiday, so what was the point of blearily driving in half awake? If I'd been able to go back to sleep, I would've made it in. But I only slept for the 15 minutes before the alarm went off.
      After 3 1/2 hours sleep after that, I felt like crap all day, and I still don't know why it happened. Thanks to the cats for the attention they gave me, especially DJ, who spent most of my laying in bed curled up on me purring. Now tomorrow I get to go and take shit for calling out sick on what will probably be the deadest day of the year. At least I'm not dead because of it.

      But remember: Marjoriam's Colony is up!
      Addenda: I suggested via email that Jess mention in her profile that the money was being used for her feral work, and she responded

      If you have any questions about her artwork, feel free to email me or ask in the Comments, and I'll pass them on to Jess. The Etsy site was my suggestion, and I want to do what I can to make it work for her.




      Too tired yesterday to post. Despite my 10&1/2 hours of sleep--it wasn't enough to balance my deficit. And just too weary to say, yep! I got shit for calling out sick for the first time in what, 3 years? "He PLANNED it!" barked Number Two Douchebag the OCD C-I-D-G-Man, to Number One Douchebag, El Drunko. Yes, on Saturday, when the weather forecast said "24 hours of snow Sunday to Monday" without saying if we'd get an inch or a foot, I told a coworker that if I couldn't come in because of the weather, please ask these 2 salesmen about their end-of-month buy-ins. Which turned into my NEFARIOUS PLOT. Mwah-ha ha ha. Because, SHYEAH, in this economy, I'm not only going to do something that could get me FIRED, I'm going to FUCKING ANNOUNCE IT FIRST. No, if I was that dumb, I'd still be smart enough to say nothing, and just call the salesmen on Tuesday for the information, which I had to do anyway.
      Apparently, I'm Number Three in line for store manager and the Throne of Douche. I'd quit before I took it, but if I did, I'd put a plaque on my desk that says "THE D-BAG STOPS HERE."
      (I should point out that upon my explanation, Number One realized that I was sick, based on my exhausted, half-open and horribly blooodshot eyes)
      I slept for over 12 hours today, only getting up because A) I didn't want to sleep in so late that I couldn't get to sleep on time tonight, B) I had some Stuff to do, and C) Mr DJ politely requested my presence at breakfast.
      The Stuff was just buying Wellness cat food at PetSmart, comparing the prices for same at the feed store Agway (it's more expensive there), and poking around Dollar Tree, BIG!Lots and Toys 'R' Us, since they're in the same plaza. T'R'U had clearance prices on those action figures from that recent unsuccessful movie...Wow. No idea. It was that unsuccessful, I guess. Not Clash of the Titans, although there were plenty of those. Also, a Hannibal Lecter dollie. A wonderful addition to your child's Easter basket, I'm sure. Throw in a toy lamb and name it Clarice!
      As I left a clerk by the door said either "Good bye" or "Have a good day!" I paused, then said that useless phrase one uses in these baffled occasions, "...You too!" A few steps later, I was out the door, and realized that she'd said "G'Day!" The first public reaction to the Hat. I suppose I should come up with a Witty and Pleasant Rejoinder for the next time that happens. Not being actually Australian, I suppose it'd be something idiotic, like...umm. Well, it was a toy store, so maybe "Throw a Barbie on the barbie!" or something oh please kill me before I pun again!



      10 Animated Films Criterion Should Covet.
      I agree with the choices that I've seen, but I think that's it a bit early to place the still-in-release The Illusionist over The Triplets of Bellevue. And as much as I love them both, I would still place Princess Mononoke just a teensy bit above Spirited Away.


      Archie: The Motion Picture.





      SHAWT: Do you direct porno films?
      ME: No, I star in them.
      COWORKER 1, to SHAWT, pointing at me: Haven't you heard of "Five Dollar Foot Long"?
      SHAWT: Everytime I see an old white guy with a ponytail, I think he's a porno director!
      ME: You spend a lot of time with pornographers?
      SHAWT: uhh...No. (later, as he's leaving) Keep up that good porn!
      Of course, after he left, we said the things we would've said, if he wasn't a customer.
      CW 2: Did you see the one I made with your girl?
      CW 1: Hey, you're Mr ATM!
      ME: Aren't you the guy who does incest porn with his grandmother?

      My cell phone requires a $15 boost every 3 months, and that money just sits there if not used. And it isn't being. There's currently $70 extra.
      However, I can give it away through SMS donations! Is there a charity on this VERY LONG list you'd like me to give to? Most are $5, and I'll give until $70 has been given. In the very slim chance you want to donate to, say, Glenn Beck's Colledge for Teabaggery Colledge Studies and Weaponry Studies for Studies Colledge, I will donate to its polar opposite. Offer valid only until Sunday 3/6/2011!
      Apply in the comments or via email, and adding the phone number is required. If I don't know your name, don't bother; I ain't doing it for friends of friends. Unless you want to introduce yourself by name & location--there are people whose names I don't know who read the page, but whose locations I might remember from my hit counter. This is for regular readers, not the whole world.


      Okay, I know where the junk mail came from. I signed up for a free "magazine" called Life Extension, thinking that it was like Remedy magazine or the Real Age ezine, both fine health publications, despite the first being Big Pharma ads in a magazine suspension, and the second heavily involving Dr Oz. But they're very informative about easy preventative health steps.
      Life Extension turned out to be the opposite: "Buy our ridiculously overpriced, scientifically unproven supplements and LIVE FOREVER! No, really, forever. The Singularity will download my brain into an immortal robot body if I take enough pills, WAAAH, I am 50 but still mentally 6 years old and can't comprehend my mortality, so I'll pretend that I will live forever through magic."
      And I got junk mail from Suspended Animation, Inc. Hey, Walt Disney and Ted Williams! Skooch over, we need to fit another frozen severed head in here!
      It's too bad the website doesn't have a picture of their planned facility "Timeship," as it looks like a bad matte painting from an 80s fantasy movie. Really, it's going to have a central pyramid with multiple towers topped with giant crystal balls? Really? I doubt that it will stop either the Beastmaster or Red Sonja from storming your castle.
      Hey, where is their "conference," that it could find a bunch of rich but old but also gullible dimwits to pay to go to it? Fort Lauderdale. Man, Spring Break must be hell when you're 80 and pissing your Depends over the fact that the world may longer be blessed by your physical existence.

      Seriously, ONE PERSON took me up on the free money for charity?! Is it that none of you have charities, or even pet causes? Only $60 left before the Honey Pot is closed!

      I can't believe that I've "had internet" for 15 years, and only just now decided to look for this:


      "What an amazing escape!"


      CHARITY PROJECT NOW ON HOLD for technical reasons.
      Nobody seems to be accepting the donations! I'll figure it out somehow. Deadline has been extended to "When I've donated $70."

      The nightmare that will be Canada, 2000AD!

      Oscar bait, 2012:




      It's Time to Play 'Sheen, Beck, or Qaddafi?'
      "Clearly, February was a peerless month in the history of unhinged rants. Between Charlie Sheen, Glenn Beck, and Muammar Qaddafi, it was difficult just to keep track of who was saying which unintelligible thing at any given time. Really difficult, in fact. To demonstrate just what a struggle it is to distinguish between the mad ramblings of an entertainer, a despot, and a newsman another entertainer, we�ve put together this quiz. If you get them all right, you are some kind of savant."
      I got 7 out of 15.

      The Donation Project's status: Um...Okay. I guess I'll find out if the donations went through in...June?



      Some cool new cat-themed items, including vases, available at Marjoriam's Colony!

      "Blood group incompatibility between Henry VIII and his wives could have driven the Tudor king's reproductive woes, and a genetic condition related to his suspected blood group could also explain Henry's dramatic mid-life transformation into a physically and mentally-impaired tyrant who executed two of his wives."
      Left out of the article: And who introduced Protestantism into the English speaking world just so that he could get a divorce, and thus all the centuries of war and hatred and murder and bigotry that have ensued until this day. THANKS, crazy diseased king!



      Who decided to go to the Coventry Winter Farmers' Market today?


      ME, comrade!
      A good decision, as it turned out to be the last one of the season. There were only 2 weeks between the last summer one and the first winter, but it'll be 3 months before the next summer market. It was sure to be busy, so I wanted to get there right as it started at 11, before things sold out. And I also wanted to go up the road to UConn, and see a gallery of Soviet propaganda posters and cartoons, because, y'know, who wouldn't? Unfortunately, the gallery opened at 1PM, leaving me with an hour of doing nothing inbetween events. So I left an hour later, looking to buy me one of those fine, big scones that I got last time. Or two! Wait, three, and freeze a couple for special occasions!
      ...And they were sold out of scones. Sold out of everything, in fact, said the young baker with the cauliflower ear. So at other booths, I got a bag of garlic butter rolls--6 for 50 cents more than a single scone--and half a pound-plus of Dutch farmstead cheese. Not exactly as successful as I would've liked, but I did find a nickel in the parking lot!
      The Google directions to UConn actually paralelled the way I went the last time I went to the market, when I got lost. And I got lost again. I came to a major intersection looking for a right onto N. Eagleville Rd, but the intersection had no signs, just route numbers. I drove past part of the UConn campus, then very past it, still with no idea of what road I was on. But Eagleville is that way, not this, so I doubled back. N. Eagleville Rd was on my left, so I cursed the directions and headed in the right direction, eventually realizing that if I'd stayed on that first route, it would've eventually connected to N Eagleville anyway.
      I drove up the road the gallery was on, but all the big blue university signs named every building but the one I wanted. At least I knew approximately where it was, as I had the street number, so I parked a damn mile away and trudged through the wind and warm rain--thank you, the Hat! you were a wise purchase. Turned out that there was no big blue sign, but a small one advertising the coffee shop in the same building. With also no parking. I think this is why I so seldom see fat college students: they have to walk a mile for everywhere.
      The gallery was fascinating, if propaganda fascinates you. Go read the article linked above, which the local alt-weekly made its cover story, likely because putting a big Lenin on the cover will attract attention. You can see the entire collection here chronologically, and in fact see more than twice what I saw, as the Benton gallery isn't large. Some of it is alien to our eyes, coming from a different culture inventing itself as it went along. Some is creepy, especially as Stalin begins to take over the iconography. If someone claims Stalin among atheists, no, he established himself as God. Some of it is stirring, as who can't relate to smashing Hitler? Weirdly, "the swastika=German militarism=VERY BAD" turns up as early as 1920. And some of the pieces directed at American racism are shockingly on target, such as The Democracy of Mr. Lynch. And the art continues from the 1960s into the 80s, with barbed and uncomfortable attacks on the corrupt military-industrial complex that's bankrupting our nation to this day. It's uncomfortable to look at propaganda from a brutal dictatorship and think, "They were actually kind of on the money with this observation."


      SHAWT: A salesman who I overheard saying "I want you to get a look at 'em before you see 'em." What's in your box, Schroedinger?

      Want superconductivity? Just add booze!


      If you like old cartoons, you may know the name Carl Stalling, who adapted the music of Raymond Scott for many a Looney Tune. And thus you may like odd music.
      These Raymond Scott remixes count as odd music. Odd music, but enjoyable, not annoying or even distracting, except for that one track.

      If you want something enjoyable but distracting, here's that golden oldie from 2008, Go, Speed Racer, GO!









      I believe I wrote a SHAWT about a customer who regularly buys a thousand dollars of lottery scratch tickets at a time, and then makes us scan them to see if they're winners, then buys another $1000 worth, complaining that he never gets any big winners. Which, basically, is the whole point of the lottery.
      Back before I worked at my current job, they had another lottery high roller (and continual loser) who always said that if she won big, she'd treat all the employees with cash. She won $100,000 in the Powerball! And never set foot in the store again.
      The previously mentioned guy bought his usual wad of $10 tickets, and hit for $200,000! He came back and asked us what the store got out of that--1%, or $2,000. He vowed to give the employees that much. And yesterday he did--$200 to all 10 employees.
      I retroactively change his designation to S(uper-nice)HAWT.
      I wonder if we'll get one of those "We Had a $200,000 Winner!" signs for the window. About 25 years ago before I got into the biz, I went to a local liquor store, saw the enormous line, and was about to leave when a worker at an abandoned counter said, "I can help you here. That's the lottery line."
      "Oh, yeah," I said, "I saw the 'We Had a Million Dollar Winner' sign in your window. Everyone must think your machine's 'lucky' now."
      He nodded. "The weird thing is, we lost a lot of our regular customers because they think our machine's 'used up' its luck."
      Well, I lucked out! There's another $200 to the down payment on my Honda Fit next month.

      Inception, in a minute:





"Cheer up. Stop worrying. Don�t work so hard. Good advice for a long life? As it turns out, no. In a groundbreaking study of personality as a predictor of longevity, University of California, Riverside researchers found just the opposite."



      Uninterested in posting the last few days; sorry.

      I'm going to see Alloy Orchestra perform a live score to the restored version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis Saturday. According to Google and my surprise, this is only the second time I've seen them in 11 years. Here, go read about the Years Ancient. I may be ancient before I post anything major again.


      I really don't feel like updating, as nothing of interest has happened, but if I don't, I know that I'll just stop completely. So, here are some random acts of unkindness (to you reading them).

      Today I went grocery shopping for groceries at the shop, and because it'd been 2 weeks, I had a lot of groceries that I'd shopped for. About 4 dozen items, paid through the self-serv robo-register. Around item #45, a red onion, the register froze. So I had to go to another register and scan everything again oh Gourd, why did I think anyone would find that interesting.

      At Dollar Tree I saw a bag of cat food, so I bought it--no, wait, I bought some plastic lids for their cat food, because fuck me if I buy dollar store food! (for anyone but me--and those were olives) Five of the first 6 ingredients contained the word "meal," and 2 of them were "corn" and "soy," because cats sure need THOSE. The other word was "fat." I went to the grocery store and bought Iams for Ms Killsy instead, which was among the groceries I bought. At the store.

      Back in my involuntary shudder Kay Bee Toys days, we sold Poopatroopers, which today sounds like a porn site. They were tiny plastic men that you threw in the air, and they came down on little parachutes. I always showed any new hires the one who was fearfully grabbing his crotch with both hands, because Yeah, that trooper was poopin'. At Dollar Tree I got RADical SKY, which was basically the same thing. Except their RADical faces all looked RADically constipated. These were for my boys, who love to attack bird feathers dropped from on high. But the little parachute men weren't little enough, and they dropped like pieces of plastic rock. They got some attention, but then I realized: for cat toys, I bought something with choking string? Why don't I just soak them in antifreeze first?

      Hey, Daylight Savings, amirite? I had some free samples of Tilt, a 12% alcohol fizzy lifting drink, so on Saturday I drank a Tilt Blue--that's the flavor, apparently it's just "blue" flavored--because the last one I had on a Saturday night, I went to bed an hour early. Which I did, and then laid there for an hour before sleeping. On Sunday, after waking an hour later than usual (or the same time, if it wasn't Daylight Savings Time), I went to the bathroom, and my poop was a remarkable shade of Smurf.

      Well, I typed. TMI?

      Time for that time on this page where this page has a link! About time! And about Time! Time Travel is theoretically possible--if you're a Higgs singlet. SPOILER: No, you are not. On the plus side, neither are Daleks!

      From Jessica:

There is a chance that you've heard of the comic.


      I roll my eyes at holidays. Yeah, like humans need another reason act like identical robots! But I realized that half-Irish me had already planned to eat Irish soda bread and a potato for dinner, so I got a Guinness draught to wash it down with, then used a gunpowder bomb to explode 3 English tax collectors and the bridge they were standing on. Wait, wait--that last part wasn't me, that was why the Torphy side of the family had to emigrate during the Potato Famine*, great-great-etc-grandfather's little side career of either heroic freedom fighting or horrific terrorist massacres, depending on whom you're rooting for.
      I apologize to any English readers. Unless your ancestors were tax collectors during the Famine, in which case, SOD OFF YOU BUGGERS! Or is it "Bug off you sodders"? Sorry, I don't know, as on this side of the pond we speak English correctamundo.

      Useful, but stressful if used: an A-to-Zed of cat sickness symptoms. Bookmark it as I did--you may really, really need it someday.



      Radio deejay this morning: "Tomorrow's the SUPERMOON! It'll be closer to Earth than it has been in 18 years! Some scientists say that it causes natural disasters!" FOX News and the Daily Mail say so, and they never exaggerate!
      No, scientists don't say that. Dipshits say that. If it happens every 18 years, shouldn't the Earth be a smouldering husk by now?
      Then he said--mind you, he's one of those guys who every time it gets cold in the winter says "There's no global warming!" and every time it gets freakishly warm, as it did today (71 in New England in mid-March?!), he never mentions it. Then he said, "The last time the moon got this close, it was the Katrina year!" WHOA! I thought it was 2011, but if it happens every 18 years, it must be 2023!! I'm Splut van Winkle! And don't touch my winkle. It's so old now, it could fall off!


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