NEW 104

"After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say 'I want to see the manager.'"
William S. Burroughs


      I went to see Alloy Orchestra perform a live soundtrack to the restored Metropolis yesterday with Kevin. I was hoping that his email was being facetious when he said "I can tell you all about my Accounting class and the anxiety medicine it's given me cause to take!"
      He wasn't. It was the first time in 3 months that we'd seen each other, as he's working full time while taking online classes full time. I kinda rolled my eyes internally a few months ago, when he complained about how he "only" got an A on a test. But his first accounting test got a D, and he needs to average at least a C or the whole course is wasted. Me, I would've aimed at being a C student and then be appointed President by the Supreme Court. He got stressed to the point where it was affecting both his mental and physical health. He got the lowest level anxiety scrip he could, and has gotten A-pluses since.
      We had less than an hour to chat before the concert/movie. The Real Art Ways theater holds maybe 150 people, but I'm glad we preordered our tickets, as it was sold out. We had good seats. Good and loud, as we were 5 rows away from the percussion section right to the side of us.
      It was the first time, after many attempts, that I saw all of Metropolis. Thanks to newly rediscovered footage, this version was only 5 minutes shy of the original 153-minute running time. Every version before a 2002 restoration of existing footage ran about 90 minutes. Cut an hour out of any 2&1/2 hour movie and it will become incomprehensible, especially when 2 of the main characters are played by the same actress in the same clothes. I'd always given up at the 45 minute mark.
      It was easy to tell where the newly found footage was, as it looked like shit (see above link), and the rest was flawless. Also not projected, but a BluRay running on a PlayStation. I'd never seen the 2002 version before now, but it made the story understandable, except for a bit here and there. I can see why they cut out the whole "Georgy 11811" subplot. Not because it wasn't interesting, not at all, but because a simple rewrite of the script could've removed it. Odder were the very short scenes they deemed unnecessary. Those 2 characters played by the same actress, you needed to remove the scene where Good Maria escapes to chase down Evil Robot Maria? You didn't need the 30 seconds of film where the Mad Scientist explains that he's using Robot Maria to destroy everything?
      You'd think that by now, they'd find a way to adjust the frame rate on silent movies so that they didn't have that overclocked speed. It was only noticeable when anyone ran, but it did change Robot Maria's sexy dance into an entertaining but goofy, coked-up one. Alloy did a great little tune for it. Hey, I'm not even talking about the main reason I went! You can watch the damn film from Netflix! They were awesome. One member kept looking at something, either a score or a monitor, and probably the latter, as the other 2 didn't use it, and keyboardist Roger (Mission of Burma, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) Miller was on the other side of the stage. It could've used a little less pounding of drums, in the opinion of someone 5 rows from them, but it always interesting. I think they were off matching the action on the screen once, and by a second. They got a standing ovation.
      And hopefully they'll be back soon. Or sooner than the last time we saw them, 11 years ago! A sold out show at a little venue like RAW will certainly be welcomed back by its owners.


      Sorry for that dangling url at the end of yesterday's post. I meant to tell you that Alloy Orchestra's site has a long video showing short clips of their scores and the movies. I uploaded it without hitting save. When I say "long video," I gave up after half an hour. They've scored a lot of films and shorts, like 85 or so over their 20 years of performing. Also, they're touring with Metropolis, soon reaching Arkansas, Maryland, and Chicago at the Ebert Film Festival.

      It was supposed to possibly snow this morning (again? AGAIN?!), so I shaved yesterday and set the alarm early, giving me an extra 5 minutes of time to get to work. I was not only asleep but dreaming (about cats) when the alarm went off, and of course it was as dry outside as a sandbox full of "DO NOT EAT" dessicant packages. I lost 5 minutes of deep sleep, but at least I could take an extra long shower!
      If I wanted hypothermia. The heat had gone off.
      Our condo management changed this year, and I searched for the fridge magnet they sent me with their phone number. It was the only magnet not on the fridge, still sitting in a stack of unshredded mail. I called them, but I've no idea when they sent someone to fix it, and just sat in my crotch funk all day at work. Because work isn't fun enough!
      (Yes, I know; whiny First Worlder. Half the world has no fresh water to drink, and we literally shit in ours)

      At work, on the same stupid morning drive radio show that claimed Katrina was caused by the moon being too close, the deejay asked "What's worse, a bad job or no job?" His cohost said what anyone would say, "How bad is the job?" "You're waffling!" he said. "What are you, a politician?" So she said "No job, I guess?" Later, he said "According to a study, having a stressful, low-paying, short-term job is worse emotionally than having no job."
      Cheese on Crows, REALLY? Having no job is better than a miserable shit job you know you're going to lose anyway? Are you a politician, withholding key information like "Okay, Iraq don't really have no WMDs! I guess maybe I should've pointed that out before the invasion."
      Hey, what's worse, eating a sandwich or starvation? "According to a study, eating a sandwich made of angry scorpions stuffed into a hornet's nest on rye, while you're on fire..."
      "What's worse, a shower in cold water, or no shower? According to a study from the No Shit Sherlock Institute of Well, DUH! if the shower is of sulphuric acid, and the no shower is because you've being eaten by a Komodo dragon in your tub--wait, they don't have any results from that study. Apparently they couldn't understand the responses over the agonized screaming."
      "What's worse, being at work, or being at work listening to this radio show? By a landslide, it's...umm...sorry, I'm not going to give you that answer."


      I got an exciting package in the mail today: MY BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS! Well, I didn't say it'd be exciting to you. I'm being forced to change health plans, and I don't know if I can get my meds as cheap from Cigna than I will from Oxford, known as the worst provider around.
      On the doorstep was another box--Halo! On Facebook a week ago I'd said that there was a great deal from them via FreeKibble: $20 for a bag of dry food, 4 small (Fancy Feast sized) cans of wet, and a bag o' treats. I opened the box, despite Byron's insistence on holding it closed, and gave them some wet. Ugh! Pate style! And yet not too stinky, and it actually came off the spoon easily. And--WTF, is that a carrot? "You don't have to eat your carrots," I said, remembering my childhood cocker spaniel Cinnamon. We'd give her mom's chili and she'd devour it, pausing only to expertly spit out the beans without a scratch on them. A close look at the label told me that yes, carrots, also about a dozen other vegetables. Sweet potatoes? "Thank I do you the cats for the eating of the YAMS you are the ingorging withs!" but by then they'd gobbled down even the carrots. Byron went from bowl to bowl, licking them clean.
      They liked the dry food, if a little less obsessively, what with their bellies full of mustard greens and zucchini. The treats were dehydrated chicken breast and looked like militia member survivalist jerky, and were meant for cats and dogs. Yeah, right! Cats don't eat dog food! And the pieces were huge, so I broke them up and they sniffed at them with concern. I tried a piece of one, and yuck, this is so dry that--wait, once the saliva moistens it, it tastes like fucking chicken breast! By this point, they'd gobbled theirs down, and got seconds.
      Sadly, the deal was for that one day. But there's a coupon for 2 free cans of wet food on the main site.
      Don't steal their treats. They do have an odd aftertaste.

      I swear that this is a total coincidence: the Way of Cats, best cat blog in the universe, just started offering their own catnip blend. Damn straight I just ordered some! (Note: $11.95 plus $2.60 S&H)


      A sign from Gourd: The Praying Yam of Struan


      Note to self: Yes, those chipotle black bean veggie burgers taste even better with hot sauce, jalapenos and red onions, but an inch-thick slice of red onion makes it just taste like red onions. Also: don't give the cats catnip using fingers that smell of onions and hot sauce. They will not enjoy it. However: DJ, the cat with fiery hair and a firecracker personality, will, eating everyone else's and bouncing off the walls even more than usual.

      Allegedly from the Indian movie Robot--yes, that one with the giant made of men--and since it's Bollywood, why not a music number? On Kilimanjaro, which is really Maachu Pichu, Peru? How many tanks of oxygen each do you think they gave the performers?




      I get my meds through Cigna TelDrug, and hope I can still can when my health care plan changes (against my will) to the dreaded nonpayers Oxford. TelDrug is a wee obsessive, sending repeated letters and phone messages when I'm due for a refill. And then sending more while they're processing it, and then more after I've received it.
      So I rolled my eyes when I saw the answering machine blinking when I got home today. I had to play the message twice to make sure I was hearing what I thought I was hearing.
      "If you have any questons about your prescription, such as [I won't bother to type the rest of it out as it went on for a good 30 seconds], please press 1 now. If you have no questions about your prescription, please press 2 now and say nothing at this time."
      Wait, what? Whether I was supposed to say nothing at the time, or say the phrase "Nothing at this time," WHY IS THAT AN OPTION? "Do something and say you're doing nothing," you needed that? They should've added "If you do not want to press any buttons, press 3 now. If you are dead, press 4. For alternate universes, press Infinity+1. If you have no buttons, press any button divided by zero. If you are hungry, eat the phone."



      The Mel Lyman Personality Cult Revisited


      Also in the "Stupidest Things Ever Said" category, today I got an email from Arm & Hammer celebrating Women's History Month. With coupons for cleaning supplies. "Well-behaved women rarely make history, but they do get the toilets shiny!"
      They would've sent out coupons for Black History Month, but they don't sell 40s of Colt 45 and watermelons.      My Way of Cats Royal Nip arrived today. I'll just post the email I sent to its creator, Pammy:      It's not cheap--my total for 3 little bags with S&H was $14.55. (She threw in a "Stinky Sock," a baby sock filled with a non-nip blend designed for kittens who haven't developed a taste for nip, but I think that was because I've been a tireless advocate for her site since it began) But, damn, this is ballistic catnip! Mrs Jessica's birthday present is getting this! Heck, I never got her anything for Xmas, maybe I'll just send it straight to her today.

      I donated to the pledge drive of my favorite radio station, WWUH. I was donating $50--hey, it is my favorite free-form station--and the premium was a pair of ambient sampler CDs. As I put 1 in the computer, I thought "Just what I need, more ambient CDs I won't replay." Then I realized that maybe I didn't need the HD radio I wanted for my upcoming Honda Fit--I could burn a bunch of CDs to a cheap MP3 player, and play them through its speakers. I looked on Amazon, and SHIT! Apple ones aren't cheap at all! Any opinions on the cheaper ones? I'm amazed that the shit brand Coby ones get good reviews. And I can get a 2 gig Coby free via Homescan, although I have no idea how much storage 2 gigs of CDs would be.
      I'm kinda leaning toward this used one. Must be good if it's that price!

      Things not good at their price: I just replaced the second CFL bulb in 2 months. Sure, they save energy and mitigate climate change. But they cost me a whole DOLLAR each! And that's the second to go dead in only SEVEN YEARS! Buy yourself one of them coal-fired bulbs instead. Maybe have your slave turn a crank to llight it, and give him an extra day off during Black History Month.
      He can use it to shine up your toilet!


      I didn't give the kids that weaponized catnip today, as I like to alternate between nip and treats--if you get it every day, it's not special, is it? I did buy a second bag for Mrs Jessica as a surprise. I see her in 8 days, but I got my batch in only 6, so I'm not too worried. Also, my description of the 3 bags yesterday as "small" is not very helpful. They're about 50% larger than a golf ball, and I gave the kids only a couple of pinches yesterday. It'll last a long time. Also, I asked Pammy about the fact that it says "Do not feed to cats" on the bag right after it says "food grade catnip." Her resopnse:      Cats are either rollers or eaters, and mine are eaters, so that's good to know.

      Kevin is an early adopter of new tech, having gotten an iPod like in 1987, so I asked him what he thought about the cheaper MP3 players. I didn't expect him to have much to say himself, but his wife Meg is more frugal, so maybe she had one. No she didn't. But he had an old 20GB iPod that he got for free, so would I want it? Problemo solvo, as they don't say in Spanish!


      I had to renew my driver's license soon, so I went today. Not to the DMV--the "D" stands for "Dreaded"--but to AAA, which is 20 miles closer and a hundred times faster. I was the only customer. In the 6 years since I last renewed, the fee had gone up to $68. I had on me $64. Luckily, they had an ATM. Unluckily, it decided to simulate the soporific torpor of the DMV experience by being the Slowest ATM Ever. I stood there for close to 5 minutes while it read "PROCESSING" and showed a tumbling midget .gif straight out of a 1996 Geocities site.
      For the first time, they told me to keep my old license. I have no more clue why that was than I do why they used to confiscate them before. It's going to expire, what could I do with it? Well, compare what I looked like in 2005 with what I looked like now. Hey, I'm wearing the same damn shirt, haha!, my beard's going totally white. Like I aged or some shit.

      On the way in, the car rolled over 150,000 miles. This is why we're getting a Honda Fit very soon. I was going to buy the Sport version, just to get the VSA gadget. This detects when you're going into a skid, and immediately compensates for it. The 2 big dents on the driver's side are from my last skid in a snowstorm, and if they weren't here, neither would I be. I would've spun out of control into the path of 2 tractor trailers and a bus doing about 50MPH. So, yeah, worth the extra $2K.
      I was happy to see online that in the base model 2011 Fits, the VSA is standard. The only differences between it and the Sport are stupid shit like "16 inch wheels instead of 15 inch, 6 speakers instead of 4, and hey here's some chrome on your exhaust pipe! Oh, and also 2 thousand American." Who cares? Yes, I have sadly entered that age where I won't be impressing chicks with my shiny exhaust pipe.

      Obligatory cat link: The world's loudest purrer.

      The next logical step in reality TV: The City Formerly Known as Munising.

      Military Expert: The World Could Never Survive a Real 'Battle: Los Angeles': If aliens want all our cool stuff, instead of attacking, why don't they just do a reverse War of the Worlds on us?
      I think an alien invasion is very unlikely, for the same reason I think "UFOs" are unlikely: the idea doesn't just assume that there are aliens, it assumes that they use technology, it assumes that they've either found some impossible loophole in the "faster than light" part of Theory of Relativity or that they're willing to spend generations looking for planets with life to invade while ignoring uninhabitable ones, and it assumes that they aren't aliens, but critters that act exactly like humans do. There have been billions of species over billions of years on this mudball, and only one invented Technology. From the steam engine to the atom bomb only took a century, and global warming was invented as soon as the factory was. We invented a way to deliberately kill ourselves with technology quite quickly, and a way to unintendingly commit suicide right at the start. Who says technology leads to a sustainable civilization? Ours is fragile enough to utterly collapse at the slightest fracture.
      If I was this (nearly impossible) hypothetical Space Nazi race, I'd send in my distinctive-looking spaceships and blow up all the oil refineries. Immediately, the world's governments would have to decide how much fuel to keep for their weapons, and how much to use for food distribution. Within weeks, the social infrastructure would collapse; within 2 months, starvation would begin. I'd just keep my armada in orbit, regularly sending broadcasts of my horribly ugly alien monster face sneering "Soon, you all BEG to be our slaves! Except your children that we use for food! And as for your beautiful Earth women...MWUHAHAHA!"
      Then a completely different species of aliens, in their own more advanced and distinctively-different looking warships would arrive, blowing away the cruel invaders, the evil alien overlord's last words being "It's--THEM! The SAVIORS! NOOOO!" before exploding.
      "Our friends of Earth!" the Saviors' unconventional-looking but no way ugly leader would broadcast, "We have pursued these villainous scum across the Universe to save you! Now, we will help you rebuild!" And all the earthlings would cheer!
      ...Never suspecting that the first aliens were fake and their ships were robotically controlled by the second aliens, who were pretending to be the first aliens. Not suspecting until decades later, when someone first thought, "Hey...aren't we all slaves now? And where do half our babies disappear to?"


      I didn't mention this yesterday, but Jessica had her yearly physical, and the doctor found a lump in one of her breasts. Breast cancer runs in her family and has claimed victims, my father died of colon cancer 10 years ago, so I was worried all day. But big sigh of relief! It's nothing. I don't any details beyond that, but if it hadn't been caught soon, maybe it would've been dangerous.
      Me, I had perfect blood pressure all my life--until some genetic switch flipped on, and I had metabolic high blood pressure. I felt fine, but if I didn't know about it from my yearly physical and get treated for it, I could've fallen over dead from an aneurysm without warning anytime after.
      You do get a yearly physical, don't you? I found out that Kev has never had one, and he's 40. When I found out about Jess's, I sent him an email. This is for all of you who think "I don't need to see a doctor! feel fine!"      Just something to think about. While making an appointment for a physical.
      Oh, but maybe you shouldn't! A coworker today showed me a printout that said that honey and cinnamon cure all known diseases, including cancer. I just laughed, and he seemed astonished that I didn't believe this stupid crap he found on the internet. I kept my mouth shut and didn't ask him If somebody claimed that the ultimate cure-all was gravel and dog shit, would you eat it?


      One of the (very) few perks of my job is FREE BEER! I got a sample of Alimony Ale IPA. The slogan is "It's Irreconcilably Different!" I remember a decade or more ago when it first came out, brewed by a bitter divorcee with the slogan "A Very Bitter Ale." On the neck it says "Good beer, like true love, doesn't last long. Enjoy it while it lasts." Way to leverage your bitterness, divorced alimony paying guy!
      Since today "IPA" means "overly hopped to near undrinkableness," I decided on a way to thwart its sour and acrid taste. I ate jalapeno slices until my brain burned! And with every swig of Alimony Ale, it swept around my tongue and overpowered the taste of straight jalapenos with angry hops.
      Speaking as a liquor professional on the supply side of the chain, sales of overly-hopped, overly-bitter IPAs like this are dropping way off. Apparently people are realizing that they really don't need to sign their mouths up for Tongue Fight Club.

      Hey, let's play that old InExOb game, "Who Chose the Corporate Mascot?" See if you can pick out "Sacky" from this lineup!


       Okay, I've no idea whether or not he's named "Sacky," but any company that would use a "Hercules being suffocated in a plastic toga" design would certainly name him Sacky. Maybe "Sackercules." Especially one that sells worm bags.

      Shadow War of the Night Dragons! I can't wait to read this book, which was announced on 4/1!
      I would actually read that book.


      "Just let me prove to you now...EVERY Archie comics cover could be a set-up to a porn movie!"


      My birthday's this week, so I did something I always do in early April: I bought a Lotto ticket. Odds are 7.1 million to 1 against it happening, but it would be a nice birthday present to win "never have to go to work again."
      There are 2 places that sell lottery tickets in an easy walk from my condo. At the easiest, their 2 machines were down. That could be affecting just them, or every machine in the state. But the next easiest was 50 feet away, and their machine was up. The clerk was distracted and checking over the invoice the fuel truck driver gave her when I came up to the counter. I asked for a ticket, gave her a dollar, and she ran the ticket, then handed me back my dollar and readied to put the ticket in the register drawer. I asked "Isn't this supposed to work the other way around?"


      "Half my truck today has been Heineken 12 packs!" said the beer delivery guy. "Are you sure you only ordered one?"
      "I ordered 10. When they keyed it in, they must've not hit 0 hard enough, or entered 01."
      My favorite was at my last job: the order was for 5 Beck's 12 packs, and when I came to work, on the floor were 56 of them. "No one questioned this?" I asked. "Everyone thought '55 is too few, and 57 is too many'?"
      As the driver was leaving, I said "See you tomorrow with a load of Heineken."

      Somebody searched my page for "ergonomic issues backpain at work hispanic" and clicked on this image:


      Admittedly, the phrase "women with a lifetime of lower back pain" was near it on my page.

      Some website said "The Fox TV Doctor Who movie is coming to DVD! Now you can buy it, and complain how much you hate it again."
      I had only recently become aware of its existence, despite it coming out in 1996, when I still had cable and definitely would've watched it out of curiousity. Apparently, it's notorious for making the Doctor half-human. Is that worse than the British-made Doctor Who and the Daleks, which made the Doctor all human and surnamed "Who"? And sucked. The way to destroy a Dalek is to push it, because it'll roll around like it's on furniture casters, then crash into the nearest wall and immediately explode? Really? It can't possibly be worse than that. Maybe it could be worse if it was 2 people in a room, one asking "Doctor?" followed by the other saying "Who?" for 90 minutes, but that's about it.
      About the "half-human" thing: it's said 3 times by my count, the first time as the evil Master is scanning the Doctor remotely while he's frenching a woman he just met. I took it as a joke, and the next 2 times, it's said so archly that I don't think it was meant to be taken seriously (and there's no attempt at any explanation. It didn't even seem to figure in the plot).
      One thing I was surprised about when I heard of it, is that it's canon. In fact, the Eight Doctor was, in other media like novelizations and radio shows, the Doctor the longest, because there wouldn't be another series until 2005. And I was pleasantly surprised to see much of the first half hour starred Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor! And it picked up largely where the old BBC series ended, with the Master sentenced to death--permanent death, as he is a Time Lord, on the planet Skaro. Close listening finds "Exterminate!" briefly chanted.
      The Seventh's death is really harrowing--randomly shot by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and being killed by Earth doctors trying to save his life, but who ignore his insistence "I'm not human!" and write off his X-rays showing 2 hearts as a double image.
      It is Americanized, as anyone familiar with character guessed at "he's frenching a woman he just met." The Master looks like he stepped out of Terminator 2, and is played as "Me so EVIL!" by Eric Roberts that he becomes eye-rolling. Also: car chases, explosions, guns; all things that the British version eschewed. I always explain my love for the franchise with "Doctor Who outhinks his enemies, while the heroes of American sci-fi action shows are simply better at killing than the bad guys are." This Doctor kind of hits the midpoint.
      Overall, yeah, quite enjoyable. I wonder how a series would've turned out. Diminishing returns on the scripts, I would guess, as American writers would be hard pressed to not end every show in a shootout. And the 2 characters clearly meant as his companions--they just walk away at the end. Were they going to go with "new companions every week," or were those 2 coming back? Would the stories bounce through history, or stay in 2000 AD San Francisco? I really had a hard time picturing Daleks and Cybermen in this version (CYBERMAN, driving car: "The Doctor is escaping!" DALEK, in passenger seat: "Accelerate! AC-CEL-ER-ATE!") so who would be the villains?
      Well, we'll never know. But I think this is worth a watch, and not just as a curiousity for completists.

      The Time I Almost Got Pregnant By A Guy Who Pooped Crystals


      After watching a Dr Who movie one day and writing about it the next, I had an epic, two-part dream involving me in the Doctor's body, fighting aliens and then mad scientists in Victorian Britain.
      And I was in Colin Baker's Doctor's body. I feel kinda ripped off.

      WWII geeks have heard of the Werewolves, one of those brilliant plans that the Nazis came up with to win the war after the war was long lost. Hey, there were partisans in Russia and Yugoslavia fighting against the Nazis, surely there'd be Germans willing to fight after the Nazis lost! Well, nein, mein herr. No matter how bad things were for the partisans, they knew that somewhere, someone else was fighting the Nazis. Only total losers keep fighting for those who've totally lost (cf: modern NeoNazi movements).
      And also, the Werewolves' plans for establishing a Fourth Reich were...not super thought out. They pretty much involved poison.Killer sausages: How the Nazis plotted to fight back after losing the war.
      I like the belt buckle. Why wouldn't you put a gun between your solar plexus and your groin? The recoil will feel fine! Ohh, yeah, let me fire another 3 rounds!


      Well, for my birthday I didn't win Lotto. I did get to go antiquing in Putnam with Mrs Jessica, which is a close second. It's too late to type it up and fight with PhotoShop over the pictures, but I will do all that tomorrow. In the meantime, here's the best birthday card I got:



      Thank you, KitSplut!


      One of my boys meowed loudly this morning, and I opened a tired eye and
      HOLY SHIT I SHOULD'VE GOTTEN UP 15 MINUTES AGO! and flung myself from bed. Interesting to know that if I skip shaving, I can shower, dress, feed the cats and leave for work on time in only 15 hurried minutes.
      It's not that I didn't set the alarm; I did. I'd just forgotten that yesterday was one of the very rare days off when the alarm is set, and I didn't change the time back to a workday's awakening. As I wanted to make sure I was up in time to meet Jessica in Putnam. I was up before it went off. She soon IMed me to ask to meet 15 minutes later than planned. As we're talking Jess here, she was but-of-course 20 minutes later than that.
      It was a sunny day with highs in the mid-50s, so I decided to take the winter lining out of my coat (with Byron's supervision) and leave the Hat at home. Of course, this meant that it turned out to be in the 40s with a howling 35MPH wind. I missed the lining, but the hat I probably would've spent chasing down the road. Jess almost left her coat at home.
      Since she gave me so much stuff 6 weeks ago, including what she said were birthday gifts, I was surprised that she gave me another!


      Her little cat statues just keep getting better. I'm sure you know who's daintily licking her paw, who's the loverboy with the big heart, and who's holding an example of all the stuff he broke when he was a little hellion! All sitting in a distressed wooden frame she found somewhere.
      Speaking of distressed, so is the town of Putnam. Even more stores had closed. The uglier old brownstone storefronts were now covered with a thick plastic wrap printed with town photos, which was pretty much like painting a smiley face on a burned-out car. The giant 1820s-built Cargill Mill had someone in it, but also padlocks on the doors, as it's had for years. We walked across the river bridge and a guy rolled down his car window and yelled "We'll be open there soon!" A good sign.
      The businesses that have always thrived continued to, as far as we could tell. The little art gallery still called to me with that $450 lamp made of found metal and shaped like a robot-flown UFO, pulling a bug-eyed cow up with a tractor beam (I should've asked if I could take a photo). We both instantly fell in love with buttons and fridge magnets by fishcakes. Silly little monsters with nerdtastic sayings. I bought the magnets "I Write Stuff" and "I'm Weird," and the button "I ♥ Chaos Theory." She got all buttons: "I Take Pictures" and "I'm Dorky" for herself, and for her programmer husband Ron, "I Make Lists" and "I ♥ Prime Numbers." I was sorely tempted by "I Use Big Words" and "There They're Their I KNOW WHICH!"
      She's a local Connecticut artist, but hey, also on Etsy, too! We paid a buck for a button and $4 for magnets, so 10 buttons for $8 or 5 for $4, and 4 for $7 on round magnets (I got the slightly larger square ones) equals good money deal!
      I suggested that Jess should ask about having her Etsy figurines featured there. Much of the shop was on the pretentious Artiste side, but if they could go with goofy fishcake merchandise, why not her sweet and whimsical cats? Never hurts to ask. So she did. Hopefully, something will come from it. She keeps getting favorited by Etsy people, but no one buys anything. A shelf at Silver Circle couldn't hurt.
      We went to Jeremiah's Antiques, always a great place for great bargains. She bought a bunch of little things, like skeleton keys and some c.1985 Cabbage Patch Kids clip-ons, remember clip-ons? Little dolls with spring-loaded arms that you'd squeeze open to clip to your clothes? Me, I got a vintage 80s Tomy windup toy, a space shuttle with bay doors that open for a spacewalking astronaut and a windup metal prop plane, also a "Furry Pez," just as what sounds like. It was all white and female and I leave it to you to guess the species.
      Things we didn't buy:


      "This time you've gone too far, Angry Gorilla Head! Turn in your badge!" says their boss


      Note that it's past the edge of the table. It was 3 feet tall, not counting the horn.
      Feeling a mite peckish, we went to someplace special, our favorite restaurant, Someplace Special. It'd been completely redone since our last visit--a good sign, as they must be making money. The menu was also so completely changed--not as good a sign. It'd lost our favorite foods. She had a grilled cheese and I a hummus wrap, which had so little hummus that it was like billing a lightly seasoned turkey wrap as a "mayonaisse wrap." Delicious, though. And, at her insistence, the bill was on her, as it was my birthday.
      We went to our favorite place, the 4 story Antiques Marketplace, and were disappointed that we not only found nothing to buy on the main floors, but also nothing to snark on. Making fun of previous generations' tastes, that's the main point of antiquing!
      But the top floor and the basement are where the bargains are. I was startled to see a pair of 1950s lamps, because I own one of the same kind: a beautiful blue with a second light in the base. And, like mine, one had the base light burned out. There didn't seem to be a way for me to change the bulb, so I sadly put it in a closet. Only $49 for the pair, is not made of money. One is buying a car in a week. I spent $1.50 for a bar of "Lemon Verbeena Scented Soap, Made By © 1966 Jack and Jane Hicks, The Carolina Soap & Candle Makers, Southern Pines, North Carolina," purely because of the folk art stamped label, featuring a stylized cat and her litter of 5. And another $2 for something I needed, a letter opener. Of unknown age; it really could be from the 1950s on, and from "S. Thailand." Believe me, I will never say anything against North Thailand, but if want a really good letter opener, you really need to get one from South Thailand, they really know how to make a letter opener. Midwestern Thailand? Hey, a cousin of mine knew a guy who bought a letter opener from there, and it put the envelope right through his brain. Worst papercut ever.
      We trawled the basement, she still not having a found a single item worth her dollars. We found a rack of ties so ugly they made roadkill look sexy. From the 1960s, but not the supercool early 60s skinny tie era. At first we imagined Dad saying ", another tie with horses on it!" but we saw so many that maybe Dad liked them. I almost bought one with the symbol of the Connecticut State Senate on it, meaning, all these hideous things were worn on the floor of the state senate by a SENATOR! but, y'know, not skinny enough.
      She kept draggin' her feet, I kept hurrying her on. I hate being made to stay late at work by customers, and so hate doing it to others. The place closed at 5, and I had my stuff rung up at 4:50. And heard one worker giving another the schedule over the phone with the day ending at 6, so...Don't tell Jess. She came up with a metal matchstick holder box and a "bag of junk," as I described it. Forks, a "manatee ceiling fan pull," other oddities. A worker said "A bag of treasure!" with pride. "I know because I put it together!"
      Whipped by the wind, we hugged goodbye, and I headed the 35 miles home. Less than a quarter mile away from it, the police lights flashed in my rearview mirror.
      "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
      "Um, no, honestly, I really have no idea."
      "That stop sign on Vernon Summit--that wasn't quite a rolling stop you did there."
      "Oh, sorry! I really thought that I'd stopped..."
      Shit. And I only had 1 moving violation, and it's going to be taken off my record in only 3 months!
      He walked back to the car, my license and registration in his hand. "I'm only giving you a written warning. Make sure you drive safe now!"
      I wonder if he looked at my license and realized that it was my birthday.



      Yesterday I had my belated birthday dinner with my mom. The meal was what's become the usual, which was fine with me: hors' d'oeuvres of crab cakes and tartar sauce, then pan-seared marinated salmon fillet, twice-baked potato, side salad, and a dessert of little key lime tarts. All made by her, even the tartar sauce.
      Whoa! Killsy just bolted awake and leapt from her snoozing box. She next came over and sniffed me, then Byron, then DJ, and, relieved, is now readying to sleep again. Bad dream, I guess, or maybe a nightmare in which she lost her family.
      On my birthday and Xmas, she gives me food. (My mother, not Killsy. I dislike eating mouse) Every year the amount seems to expand. I barely fit it into the freezer. I'm not complaining. My idea of cooking is Hamburger Helper.
      We swapped retail worker horror stories (she works in a library), and she told me about a member of her domino game group (hey, she just turned 78. Did you expect it to be her breakdancing group? Unless you thought "Every time they dance, something breaks") who decided to pick a domino by saying "Eeny meeny miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe!" Which led to gasps from everyone else, and then an argument about it. "You say that word again in my house," Mom said, "and you will never come here again!" Of course, the bigot used the old "I've never been politically correct!" line that modern bigots use to make it seem like you're in the wrong, and that they're not bigots. C'mon, bigots, don't dance around it, just come right out and scream "I'M A FUCKING RACIST!" if you're so proud of it. Then, choke on your bile and die.
      We talked in baffled tones about how Connecticut is a stop on Charlie Sheen's �My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option� tour. Because--who would pay $75 to see THAT guy? I mean, yeah, some people read gossip rags and watch "Faces of Death" videos and slow down to stare at car crashes, but aren't even those scumsuckers realizing that there won't be any there there?
      His inaugural launch in Detroit went about how you'd expect. Badly.



      "Restart your computer to save changes," said my antivirus program AVG. So I did. And all it did was install a fucking "Moods" toolbar, change my homepage AND my default browser without asking. And you're my antivirus program?! Probably not for much longer, AVG!

      Kevin realized that his old 20Gig iPod is probably incompatable with the audio system of the new car I'm getting. It might work, but it wouldn't charge in the car and might have to play through the headphone jack--and not be controllable through the radio. That last is a deal-breaker. I drive in the AM rush hour, and I dare not take my eyes off the road for a second. But he also thought of an alternative: a thumb drive.
      And a 4Gig one I happened to have sitting around unused. I first just transfered a pair of CDs that had MP3s on them already, the download of Brian Eno's Small Craft on a Milk Sea that came with my box set, and Sailor Kitty's recreation of an old mix tape I made her, Music to Splut By. And I'd already used up a whole gig! Oh, right, the Eno one was 24 bit. I deleted that.
      After downloading AudioGrabber and some trial and error, I managed to get a bunch of CDs on it. I noticed that the first batch were about 3 times as big as M2SB, and decided that it was because I was ripping at 16 bit, and KitSplut had prly used 8 Bit. I've listened to that CD plenty of times, even on headphones, and never noticed a quality problem, so I ripped the rest at a lower rate, fitting about 15 CDs worth. Out of the drive's original 3.72GB space, at the end I had left a whole 164KB's worth. Not too bad.
      It would likely be cheaper for me to just get a bigger thumb drive if the iPod doesn't work well. It'll be nice to have my listening options be radio, CD, iPod or drive, rather than my current choices: AM or FM. Example: today I turned on 1 classical station and got hideous, agonizing opera; I switched to the other, staticky FM station and got an annoying pledge drive, the second the station's run in 2 months; and on AM, commercials. 3 choices, and I ended up turning the radio off. Seriously, Station Two, you couldn't hold off on your damn pledge drive until Wednesday?

      Had my yearly physical. As the doctor lubed up his rubber glove for the prostate exam, he said "3 fingers in, and we're all done!" I said, "Eh, just use the whole fist." He said "That's a much higher co-pay."
      I got a clean enough bill of health that the doctor said, "Whatever you're doing, keep on doing it." So right after, I did something I never do, and bought a bag of potato chips, for the first time in 2 years. Funny how I can slowly develop a craving for Bad Food over a few months, then indulge in it and realize quite quickly why I lost the craving for 2 years. My excellent health may be due to my body's dislike of crap food. And the bulk of what I bought were walnuts, almonds and olives, so lower that accusatory raised eyebrow.

      Astro-Lung: Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson to Duet With Astronaut on International Space Station



      All that was left in my decision to buy a Honda Fit today was the color. They'd found a "Celestial Blue Metallic," which sounds like a Yogi Tea flavor, but was my first choice. Based on never seeing it; I've spotted all the other colors of Fit in the wild, but not this one. And most of them are awful--so bright that Jessica referred to them as "crayon colors." All the better to show the dirt off.
      I left for Liberty Honda with my Google Map directions. I imagine every one of you reading this is already shaking their head. The directions depended on the streets having signs, and of course they didn't. I was pretty sure after 5 minutes that I needed to go one road to the left over. Five minutes later, I realized that I just should've kept going on the road I was on, looking for signs for I-91, which straddles the dealership. If I'd taken the longer way and gone on 91, I would've found it no problem. Instead, I found a maze of one way streets, dead ends, and multiple Closed for Construction roads. I became profoundly lost. I think the next time I'm going somewhere new, fuck Google, I'll buy a cheap GPS. Only 2 weeks ago I was baffled by Google when it had me taking an insane amount of turns to get to the AAA in the old Lechmere plaza I worked in (because they had me get off an exit early--the next exit drops you off directly and literally in front of it), while the map had it across the the Hooters.
      I eventually gave up and pulled into the lot of a Jamaican grocery and called Liberty Honda. See? Cell phones do have uses! When Honda asks me what my experience with my salesman, Eric Anderson, was, I can truly say that he went the extra mile for me. He drove out and guided me to the dealership, in my Fit. I was sold on the color as soon as I saw it.
      Outside of that mess, everything went smooth as silkworm excretion. Two hours of paperwork, of course, but that's how it goes. At one point he left and I noticed that the background music was "Through Being Cool" by DEVO. Followed by the Human League's "Fascination." It was some 80s alt thing--I later heard Siouxsie. My kinda dealership!
      Eric filled out most of the paperwork the business manager usually did, and she arrived near the end of the marathon of signing. She'd just come from her baby brother's swearing-in ceremony into the Army. The commandant told her before the ceremony, "This is your last chance to get even with him for everything he did when you were growing up." She said "Some pushups would be nice!" and as soon as he was sworn in, the commandant said "Drop and give me 40!" Her brother was stunned, and then told "SOLDIER! GIVE ME 40!" and he dropped and he did.
      Cars seem to change every 15 years, huh? (well, after 14 & 1/2 years and 150,482 miles, anyway) I remember back then being amazed that I could adjust the outside rearviews without opening the window. Now, on a base model of a not expensive entry-level car, I almost have power everything. And a USB port. Sadly, my drive only played one of the 15 CDs on it. Well, I was off to visit Kevin and thank him with a case of Unibraue Maudite for all the tech help he's given me recently. He'd figure it out.
      I handed him the beer and said "Beware of Romulans bearing gifts!" as we are pathetic geeks. The iPod he gave me works, sorta, through the Fit's headphone jack, as technology as long since moved past the old thing's plugs. The problem with the thumb drive was that I'd saved every track as a WAV. Hell, they played on my computer. So I have to put everything on there again, using iTunes. But there's plenty of stuff on the iPod he gave me, so no big rush. The drive I want because I can choose folders using the radio controls, and I can use the iPod on shuffle, as there's no damn way I'm taking my eyes off the road long enough to manually change albums.
      I have to read through the manuals before I've got everything down pat, but the Fit is an intuitive vehicle, lots of fun to drive, and it knows I'm stupid. There is a light that pops up when it needs servicing, telling you what type is needed, right down to tire pressure and rotation. I did something I normally don't and got the extended warranty, as I plan on driving this baby into the ground (as I told Eric, "A car is like a box of Kleenex. You don't throw it away until it's all used up.") and I'm a bit wary of my first all-computerized car's electronics. It wan't a lot more money, given the 0.9% financing. And after the trade-in money I got back on my nearly 15 year old used Mercury Tracer!
      $100. Sucker's only worth parts, but a) I knew that; and b) after almost 14 years of driving it, I surely can say that I truly got my money's worth out of that car.
      Looks like this (2nd color), if you're curious.

      The Geek Zodiak. I'm a Treasure Hunter. Excluding "greedy" and "adventurous," the personality traits match me! But of course, so do some of every sign. Because astrology is the bunk.




      Wait, what? There's a game based on Manos: The Hands of Fate?


      Jagermeister frequently comes prepacked with a pair of frosted shot glasses or a single pewter one, as it's only drunk as shots and also that overpriced. Now it comes with a "Stag's Head Pourer." Sorry, but this is the best image I could find online:
      If the stag was doing that into a toilet, it would pretty much sum up the Jagermeister drinking experience.


      There's a site where you can (allegedly) design and get for free your own bumper sticker. I decided to come up with a slogan for my beloved home state: "What Doesn't Suck? CONNECTICUT!" I should sell it to our tourism board. I think the current slogan is either "CONNECTICUT: Eh, You Could Do Worse" or "WE'RE NOT NEW JERSEY."

      "What's your carbon footprint?" calculator. I thought mine would be badly balanced towards my terrible commute and away from my "buy very little beyond food" lifestyle, but I ended up at 11. Remarkably good. Some of the questions are vague or even nearly unanswerable (do I eat 563 calories a day of red meat? How should I know?!), so just guesstimate or go with "average." I'm sure I was better than that guy I passed today, who was talking out his window while idling his Hummer on the shoulder.



      What Google image search might bring up this picture?

            How about "do you like heineken beer yum or getting shot in the brain if you see the cat in the hat um then gra"?
      If you're thinking that's some strange song lyric...No, Google says it ain't anything. At least not a thing anyone who hadn't drunk a few Heinekens and had a gunshot wound to the brain would come up with.


      For those interested in such things, the first released track fom Brian Eno's next album, due out July 4th.





      Kev came over yesterday to drop off a cord for the old iPod he gave me--the computer refused to recognize the iPod, so I couldn't rip anything to it.
      About a year ago, Jessica came over. I was sure what order the cats would greet her in would be (loverboy DJ, fearless Byron, scaredy-cat Killsy). Instead, it was the exact opposite order, with DJ only sniffing at her legs. This time, Byron stood his ground, Killsy bolted to under the waterbed, and DJ was flustered, wondering which cat's example he should follow. He went with his sister's. Byron boldy accepted pets, and followed us around while we fiddled with iTunes, eager to give any assistence his thumbed paws might give.

      I heard this today on the radio--Warning, you may tear up:



      Wow, you sure can fit a LOT of music on an iPod, even a 20G 1st-gen one. I've multiple piles of CDs at my feet right now, as I've had for days, and I think I have at least a quarter of the drive left to fill. But where's my copy of "The Pink Opaque" by the Cocteau Twins?! Like I'll ever notice, as I play the iPod on shuffle an hour a day in the car on workdays. I wonder how long it'll take me to hear a song repeated.

      Latest Netflix: The Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds, which Netflix claims was on MST3K. Seems like their kind of thing, but it wasn't mine. A 70s Japanese kaiju movie, but by Toei, not Toho. And so the monsters take until the last 15 minutes to really show up. Boring! In fact, my only Note to Myself while watching was this:

      Not worth watching without professional commentary. Also: only ONE Dinosaur, and the Monster Bird was also a dinosaur! RIPOFF!

      Sad news: the actress who played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who has died. And she was only 11 years older than me! While Leela and Peri were much sexier, Sarah Jane would be the level-headed companion I'd want to have by my side. Far less likely to randomly stab than Leela, and less likely to just stand around screaming than Peri. Could I also trade in K-9 for FEE-Line, a cat-based robot? Or have as my companions a beautiful genius with platinum blonde hair, a small, deaf and slow to anger but big-fisted brawler, and for comic relief, a not particularly bright redheaded surfer dude?


Yesterday I said, "I play the iPod on shuffle an hour a day in the car on workdays. I wonder how long it'll take me to hear a song repeated."
      The answer came today: 4 songs in 10 minutes. The same 4 songs, and in the exact same order. Hmm...

      Belated Birthday Greetings to me from Liliana von Kalashnikov!


      How awesome is THAT! How many faces can you name? (A few are gimmies) I'll give you the key to the Easter eggs on...Jeez, I wonder what upcoming day I should choose to do that on? Anyway, feel free to comment in the...Jeez, is there a place here to do that?

      Unbelievable Cat-friendly House Design from Japan

      Possibly the least important mystery since the "licks required for a Tootsie Pop" question: "The same two men have been appearing as background characters or extras in all the DC and Marvel comics aimed at younger readers."


      Got this in Hotmail account, which I only have to screen spam from the freebies sites I visit:      SOUNDS LEGIT SIGN ME UP!

      Thing I didn't know until tonight FireFox had: a "Restore" button for your bookmarks, which can be very helpful when you have a half-bobcat who likes to half-stand on your lap while being petted while standing the other half and his ginormous foots on the keyboard, magically deleting your bookmark folders.

      Our longtime online buddy Lily is a big fan of Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor Who:


      To cheer her up after some recent and ongoing stress, Mrs Jessica made her Dr. Boo, named after a recently departed orange cat she raised:


      Not the best picture, but how awesome is that?! Note that she was even able to do the "???" sweater design, and complete with K-9! If you know who it is, it's instantly recognizable.
      Yes, she does commissions. Price will depend on the intricacy of the sculpt. In the meantime, however, if you've looked at her Etsy page and liked what you've seen, she's running a grand opening sale! Just enter the coupon code and get 15% off of any of her current pieces through 5/1.


      I'd ripped maybe 100 CDs to the iPod, and they were all at feet. I vowed to put them away yesterday, as I didn't want to recreate the time when I had several years' worth piled up on front of the CD player, and spent most of the day not only filing them, but removing extra disks from them. I had a bad habit of grabbing the last CD I'd listened to and sticking it into the 1 before it, leaving 2 CDs in 1 case. I could tell by the tiny difference in weight when I'd pick them up. As a pile piled up in a pile (there are reasons why I'm a former English major), I'd put them back in a pile the CD rack. When I got to the very end, there was a lonely, empty case--for my Eno Vocal Box Set Disk One, containing all his early stuff. None of which I have on CD otherwise. This is like saying "I found everything I'd thrown in the recycling except my winning Lotto ticket."
      As I filed everything away Sunday, I sighed that I kinda hoped, after 5 years since I'd lost it, that the 1 CD would've been in the CDs I'd ripped. That Eno CD would've been the first to go on the iPod. But I still spotted a few that I could squeeze on--Astrud Gilberto? Sure! Moog the Movie Soundtrack? I'd forgotten that I'd even owned this--Jean Jacques Perrey and Luke Vibert collaborate? Oh, hells yeah! And it's a double CD! Must be a lot of music in here!
      Indeed there was. 3 CDs. As the top 1 surprisingly slid into my lap, I found under it
      Ah, you guessed! A single CD's weight wasn't detectable in a double CD case. Welcome back, Best Music Ever!
      There's 0.08G of space left on the iPod, and I'll prly fill that with a stray song or 2.

      Had the usually great Easter feast with the family--ham, scalloped yams, mac & cheese, corn muffins with bits of peppers, strawberries with some leafy thing. Among the appetizers was beef tartar, AKA raw dead cow. I tried some out of curiousity. Only a teaspoon's worth on a cracker, but my colon vented its dislike of it all this morning.
      Somehow the conversation turned to roadkill, and not because of the raw meat on the table. I wondered what the deal was with rabbits--one will be 90% across a road, then see your car and double back the way it came, rather than just making a quick hop of 2 feet to safety. This morning there was a squirrel sitting in the middle of the driveway, staring off to the left. I slowed down from 20MPH to half that. I wondered if the squirrel was sick or something, as it didn't move, just sat there woolgathering when it should've been nut gathering. I turned to the right, expecting it to run to GAH! thunk went a tire. It ran off, but I'd clearly hit it, as it was running weird. I felt bad about it all day, but you know, it had 3 options: run left, sit there, or run under a moving car. Next time, I'll bear left, but of course then it'll be looking in the direction it had just left.


      Okay, let's go clockwise from upper left: Chicken Lady, O.P.P., Dawn Wells, the Not-Siskel, Zippy th' Pinhead, 0pen Road, "Let's youse and me pitch some woo!", YMO, the source of the name for my first cat (and, if I adopt another girl, her likely first name), Prince Valiant looking like he's about to cop a feel, Sodomy, The Best Music Ever, and if you have no idea who this guy is, you got here from a defective Googling.

      If Cartoons Are So Big, Why Don't They Pay?

      Speaking of comics, I might buy these Marvel Comics-based tees, if I could get a closer look at them (click on 1, and it regresses to the main page). The next release involves Gary Panter art?!

      Speaking of art, Jessica's running a grand opening sale on her cat figurines, but only through 5/1! Or did I say that already? It bears repeating. Or cats repeating! (Sorry)

      Speaking of lame segues, a longish but very interesting New Yorker article on how your brain senses time: yes, it does slow down during life-threatening situations, but why? The Maker of the Best Music Ever turns up at the end for the most interesting part.


--menu items in Madrid, Spain

      Does your Mom love cats? If she does, I know a place where you can get a truly one-of-a-kind gift on sale!


      Sale only runs through Sunday! And, yes, I will stop with the ads that Jess doesn't even know that I'm running. She makes Cool Stuff, just ask Lili!


      When Creationists are shown 2 clear fossil examples of evolution, they inevitably say "So here's Fossil 1 and Fossil 3. Where's Transitional Fossil 2?" When that's discovered, they say "Well, sure, but where are Fossils 1.5 and 2.5?" Eventually it becomes a demand to see Fossils 1.375 and 2.03975. Because facts and truth and actual reality are anithetical to their fantasy-based worldviews.
      So Obama has produced his "Long Form Birth Certificate," a string of words no one in the USA had ever uttered until 2008. Next, the racists patriots of the Right Wing will demand the Extra-Long Form Birth Certificate with Footnotes and Restored Uncut Director's Footage, and when that turns up, they'll just use "kerning" to insist that it's a forgery, just as Creationists insist G*D made fossils to test our faith.
      Seriously, I'll bet that every wingnut blog is already on their Situational Reality soapbox as I type. Because they can't just scream "THE SHERIFF IS A NI--"

      One thing I don't like about my Honda Fit is that anyone can see right into my "trunk," which I put in quotes as it's really just an extension of my backseat. So I bought a cargo cover on eBay, and with S&H it was about $70 less than it would've been with sales tax at the dealership. It came yesterday, to the fascination of the Boys, the utter indifference of our Queen, and my furrowed brow at the words on the box: "NO INSTRUCTIONS INSIDE." I'd assumed that it would just snap right in, and it does. But I had to screw in the snaps.
      I found the instructions online, and was doing fine up until Step One, "Use your finger to find the pre-drilled holes."
      Yeah, the eBay description said that this was for model years 2009-11, but it isn't, as damned if I could find the Magic Water. There was something analgous to a wall stud right where they should be under the fabric, but no holes. And screwing the snaps into the stud didn't work; too thick. So I put them in through the fabric. It doesn't weigh that much, so as long as I unsnap carefully, it shouldn't rip, and I'll only need to do that if I want to put the back seats down. But since there's no weight behind the snaps, it was truly hard to get the snaps to snap in. I did 3 of the 5 and gave up, as 30 minutes of leaning into a car trunk isn't that fun for one's back. But it looks like it should work. And I'm glad that I made my own cargo net out of a beer box and some heavy twine. Shut up, it took 2 minutes, it works and it was free!

      Hitchens starts out this article with "A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician. But try pointing this out when everybody is seemingly moist with excitement about the cake plans and gown schemes of the constitutional absurdity's designated mother-to-be." And it just gets better from there.


      Bonus Stupidest Thing Ever Said quote! From a CT legislator against medical marijuana who looks about 85 years old:
      �He smoked, he kept on smoking marijuana, just quite regularly and he felt good all the time, naturally,� explained Adinolfi. �And things progressed. His ear actually fell off. But marijuana kept him going ... and finally, in the end, because he refused to go for treatment, because he felt good and he felt comfortable, he died. � In this case, the marijuana helped him die.�
      The tragedy of yet another tragic marijuana induced ear-falling-off tragedy! Hey, CT state Rep. Al Adinolfi, WTF have you been smoking?

      My new car has been getting 34.7MPG. Good, as it's supposed to get an average of 31 and the Fit Hybrid is said to get 42MPG, but my 15 year old Escort clone got 33.5 regularly. So, good. Not good enough.
      Tuesday it got unseasonably hot & humid (because There's No Such Thing As Global Warming!®), so much so that I reached for to turn on the air conditioning...And it had been on the entire 2 weeks I'd owned the car, even when I was running the heat full blast. During the test drive, the salesman turned the fuel-eating AC on to show me where it was, and then forgot to turn it back off.
      I reset the MPG meter yesterday, and when I got home today it was an average of 38.5MPG, and had topped 40 on the commute in. Since my round trip commute is 35.4 miles--I can live with that. Glad I didn't get the hybrid! Your MPG depends more on how you drive than anything else. Accelerate gradually and coast to stops and you'll save a bundle o' bucks.


      I woke up hurting in my shoulders and lower back, no doubt from wrestling with the car's cargo cover 2 days ago. It never hurts when I'm doing these things. It hurts a day or 2 later.
      Why? I dunno. But I'd guess that since for most of humanity's existence working all your muscles didn't mean "It's swimsuit weather," it meant "FUCK THAT GIANT BEAST WANTS TO EAT ME RUN RUN RUN!" From an evolutionary view, it'd make sense that your muscles didn't add to all the stress they were already under, cramping and pumped with fatigue poisons, to say "Hey, I want us to slow down, too!" It'd make more sense if your body could hold that off for at least a day, when you were safely in a place where you could rub your sore muscles and recuperate. Or when it wouldn't matter, as a saber-toothed tiger was digesting you.

      One of the first CDs I put on the iPod was Doug Newman's "The Cat Album." Can you guess why? Well, kittehs, yeah, but I also love it. I bought it through CDBaby maybe 10 years ago, scoring the last copy they had in stock. Doug immediately sent me an email, explaining that it was the old version, and that he was sending me a CD of the new one. For free! A year or so later, he told me that it'd been updated again with extra songs, so--here's my other free CD!
      But when transferred to the iPod, the sound of the first CD was terrible. Oh wait, I thought--that's the one BYRON PEE'D ON. So I tried copy 2--oh, right, Byron clawed a big scratch on that one. Notably, the only other recorded media (besides VHS and 8-track tapes) that he destroyed in his Felinus Irae days was my Japanese import DVD of "Kiki's Delivery Service"--which also features a cat. Hmm! Deaf, but jealous!
      And the "The Cat Album" was on iTunes! I got 2 free ones so I can't complain about spending $9.99, and this had extra tracks, so there you go. I suppose Bigfoot will soon learn hacking skilz and delete it, so I made a backup.




      April 23rd: tiny scraps of green on a few sporadic trees.
      April 30th: green and yellow and burgundy leaves or white and pink blossoms on every one. The Green Bomb has exploded again!

      iPod users: Are iTunes not MP3s? I tried putting the classic "Music to Splut By" all-MP3 CD on mine every way I could think of, and it just wouldn't.
      BTW, since we're on tech support questions, how's Firefox 4 working out for those of you using it?

      SHAWT: They wanted a keg of Keystone Light, never the choice of the smarter set. They wanted to pay with a check, but 1 girl had no ID, which was a moot point, as the 1 writing the check was underage. They later brought in a friend with another check--from a frat house. So we had no way of knowing if it was his check or account, and we don't take 2nd party checks anyway, so how would we know if he'd stolen the check, and when the hell did fraternities start getting checking accounts?! I've worked by a university for 7.5 years, and I've never been handed a check from 1 before.
      "Looks like someone's going to Massachusetts tomorrow," said the girl ruefully. Not as ruefully as she'll be when Mass shoots them down, too. Kegs should not be impulse buys.

      Yesterday, just like this time last year, I won free tickets to see the Hartford Symphony! Hopefully, like last year, Mrs Jessica can free her schedule and we can go again.


      Along with the detonation of the Green Bomb, this time of year brings the annual Vernon Historical Society book sale. I could've gone after work on the 2nd day (and the 1st day you didn't have to pay $5 just to walk in the door--even I'm not that much of a bibliophile), but then I'd have nothing to do on my day off. There was still plenty to choose from. Too much, as there were books piled on books piled on books. And stuff miscategorized, of course. Astronomy books were in both science and science fiction. The inevitable full, unread-looking set of Left Behind books was also in sci fi, but that works, as there was no Worst Books Ever Written category.
      Carl Sagan isn't sci fi, unless it's Contact, but I found a nice hardcover of Broca's Brain there. Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction by Brian Aldiss is something I read and reread in paperback years ago, but I think it may be among the books Byron pulled off the shelf and peed on, so I justified spending a 2nd dollar in my lifetime on it. Richard Armour's It All Started With Stones and Clubs belonged in humor, not "WWII History," but I was grab to grab that, too. Near it was some paranoid, alarmist screed from 1939, about the imagined coming war between America and Hitler, written before WWII had started. Oh sure, Mr Crazy, and I suppose we'll get attacked by Japan, too!
      All the hardcovers were recently decommissioned library books in nice plastic dust jackets. The only paperback I bought was kinda beat up, but it was also the only I walked in there hoping to find: Dragonflight, the 1st of Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. I'd recently read the 1st chapter in short story anthology, and really hoped to pick it up at the beginning, and there it was, in its 50 cent glory!
      As always, I'll go again next Sunday for the half off sale. I spent a ridiculous $3.50 there today!

      Nothing really happens, but I like the writing: Ah, Paris: Impassioned Over Coffee.

      Not even sure what it's about, but I like the writing: Beepmasters.

      My store gets bottled water from Staples, Nestea branded, because it's the only water in CT that doesn't have a 5c bottle deposit on it. Possibly there's a loophole in the law, as it's made in CT. I left a bag of maybe 100 of them out for tomorrow's recycling. Somebody has already stolen it! Have fun finding a store dumb enough to give you $5 on a bag of nothing!
      And if you can--it'll be $5 of crushed plastic to them, and it'll still be recycled.


      So we killed, rather than captured, Osama and threw his corpse into the ocean. That'll prove to those 9/11 Truthers that it really happened! And all the crazy Islamists will certainly not make him a martyr! Because they repealed the law of unintended consequences, right? Like when in the 1980s the CIA trained that Saudi guy in terrorism so that he could attack the Soviets in Afghanistan, I forget his name...but the initials were "ObL." THAT WORKED OUT WELL.

      Today was not my favorite day to get an image search from Saudi Arabia. And have it be this:


      But Saudi Arabia, being a fundamentalist Muslim country, the image search that found it was for "hot lick breast vagina." ...yes, stay VERY far away from my kids!!

      And now it can be revealed! Yes, along with


      Doctor Boo, there was another Jessica sculpt out there. To our beloved Kitsplut, who I originally knew as Sailor Kitty:


      Check out the detailing: the bow, the jewels, the ruffles in the skirt. She had to be sitting down, as Sailor Moon has twiglike legs. Jess does awesome work.


      Think about this before you buy your next Apple product.


      I discovered a rule of the net early on: Every month that a site doesn't update, it increases the odds that it will go dark by 33%. At 2 months, it's 66%; at 3, 99%, and then it stays there. Which means that there's a 1% chance that it will update at some point.
      I'm a bookmark hoarder. I never throw them away, just move them further down the queue, and every year or so, check 'em again.
      Rule that proves the exception: Abbie the Cat Has a Posse has twice updated since I last looked, as has Cat Town, here, on prog rock, and again here, on the Trial of the Century. THERE ARE CAT COMEDIES INVOLVED HERE, so you must the clicking do.

      Who killed bin Laden? THE POPE! Specifically, the dead pope. Haha, religious nuts are funny! Except when they're crashing airplanes or raping kids because G*D told them to. Okay, they're not funny and I hate them.


      (okay, I edited one of the names. It was originally "GUILLERMO," which is funny for a different reason)

      I got this English-accented robocall on my machine:
      "Hello. This is a message for Hello.This is a message for William Young. Hello. This is a message for William Young. Hello.This is a message for William Young. William Young. William Young.
      "My number is 877-495-0499. If you are not the person I am asking for William Young, please hang up or disconnect now. If you are William Young, William Young, My number is 877-495-0499..."
      Yeah, it went on like that for another minute before I disconnected.
      There's a guy named William Young (William Young) who has been giving my phone number to his creditors. It's not that rare a name--Google says "About 3,060,000 results." It's been going on for a year, each with a different collection agency. This is the 4th. It's not affecting my credit score, as he's not me, so who cares? Hey, collection agencies, you're pretty stupid if you don't simply match up Evil William Young's phone number with his billing address. You can do it with that Googley thing I mentioned earlier.
      And Mirror Universe William Young, where I assume you don't have a beard, I really doubt your Cunning Plan will work. The 1st 3 of your credit agencies stopped calling me. These guys seemed to have stopped, as promised, when I disconnected. Maybe you should give them a number in Mexico, and claim you're Guillermo Joven.


      Just a few months ago the state legislature nearly forced all CT liquor sotres to be open on Sundays, because "We're losing business to Massachusetts." Well, sure, but only in border toiwns, and not because Mass stores are open Sunday, but because they have no sales tax on booze, and far less built-in taxes. It was only narrowly defeated, largely due to the package stores. We know it make us any more money--being open Sundays made Mass stores less money, as the sales just spread out, and now they had higher overhead.
      So these same assclowns just decided to raise the sales tax to 6.35% and slap a 20% excise tax on all alcohol. Smart going! They just guaranteed that every package within 20 minutes of the border will go out of business. My store's twice that travel time, and I'll bet we see an impact, too.
      Raise taxes on the billionaires and corporations that are in state? That's crazy talk, that'll hurt business! There was actual crying at the legislature from the rich about the new yacht tax. YACHT. TAX.
      America proceeds on to its state of utter kleptocracy.


      The oldies station we have on at work has a "Just For Mom Weekend" going. How imaginative! The idea is for people to call in song requests and dedications, but most people have better things to do on a May weekend, so they got maybe 1 an hour.
      But they still ran the bumpers pushing it every 15 minutes. So you'd think you'd get a Song for Mom, and they'd play "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)." Well, maybe somebody's mom conceived you after a personal ad hookup while cheating on her boyfriend, but the overall effect of "Songs about Moms" and "Now here's 'The Spy Who Loved Me'" got surreal. That Doors song that includes the lyric "Wanna be her daddy"--Um, I want to be own own grandfather? The song they kicked the weekend off with was "Killer Queen," which would imply a pretty fucked up childhood. Not as fucked up as the 1st 1 I heard today, which included a lyric about "every time I make love to you..." EWW!
      Tied for the best worst: "Superfly," about a pimp WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL MY MOTHER?! and "Ode To Billie Joe," which is about a teenager committing suicide after throwing her self-aborted fetus off a bridge. Happy Mother's Day!!
      I'm surprised that they didn't play "Aqualung."


      I went to the half-off sale at the Historical Society's book sale, remembering an author I should've looked for last week: Michael Chabon. Plowing through the many boxes of the letter C, I found a lot of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy and Agatha Christie, but not what I was looking for. And a young guy standing on a chair, taking endless photos of the books lined up in strawberry boxes. Why was he doing it? No man can say! As I didn't ask.
      I left empty handed, strangely having passed on that book of Anne Geddes photos with text by Pulitzer Prize winner Celine Dion, and saw that wow, my new car looked a lot better before yesterday's rain plastered it with yellow pollen. I cleaned the windows and mirrors, as the golden splooge was thick enough to impede safe driving. I have heard of the "washes for cars," but I know not of their provenance.
      Other than its new goldenrod-glittered hue, if you're thinking of getting a new car, dude, HONDA FIT! I adore the thing. Power everything (except the seats, but who adjusts those more than once?), quiet as churchmouse on mute, fun to drive (assuming you're on a road; results may vary when driving on erupting volcanoes), plenty of audio choices, plenty of storage space, and the manual says I should get an average 31MPG, but I'm getting 38.5!
      Downsides: the armrest's much lower than I'd like, and the only way to open the trunk is with the remote. What do I do when the battery dies? Buy another battery. But what if I've locked my wallet--IN THE TRUNK? Fold the back seats down and crawl in, I guess.
      Also the trunk isn't a trunk, it's the extension of the back seat. I can hear stuff moving around back there. I created a cargo net from some old twine, an easy (and free) fix. And people can see in your trunk if you don't buy a cargo cover, but I've detailed that annoyingly enough previously. Also: pull the car way into the garage before opening the trunk, as it's like 4 feet of door and almost smacked me in the jaw the first time I popped it open.
      *shrugs* That's the extent of the downside. The Fit is reasonably priced and awesome.

      THEY don't want YOU to know: BATH SALTS are a SAFE DRUG

      "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old�s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."--Kung Fu Monkey
      If I may dare to add to the observation made by someone cool enough to have "Monkey" in their nom du web, both books were said to be unfilmable. The one that wasn't, of course, involved orcs.


      Happy (cat) Mother's Day! Me, I'm off to watch Dr Who: The Cartoon. My expectations are dialed waaay down for this experience.



      "Make it so!--not!": Star Trek NOT Involved In Bin Laden Mission.

      If you're wondering what a Doctor Who cartoon is like, it's all kind of..."therey-wherey." (People who got that attempt at a joke: one, maybe less) It was cool, except when it was lame, and unfortunately the lame won over. The animation was amazing, if it was a 1999 Flash web cartoon. Y'know, where the eyes and mouth move, but the face doesn't? Moving figures just sort of boinged along like South Park cutouts. The animators--and I am being most gracious in describing them as thus--could only be arsed to do 2 tiny bits of rotoscoping, which just made them jarring. The 3 hours of plot was great, except that it was 45 minutes long. Every time it started to get interesting, it was "Hello, I'm Professor Exposition!" and there'd be 2 minutes of Guy Says Who He Is and Why He's Here, blah blah, then dies. "Show, don't say!" Even I know that.
      Worth seeing if you're a fan of both cartoons and the Doctor, but otherwise, pretty meh. Even the voice talent seemed like they were thinking less about their lines than what they would have at tea.



      The truth about near-death experiences. Funny how dreams can seem as real as NDEs, but nobody thinks that their dreams are real.



      There's a big antiques show 3 times a year in Brimfield, MA, just up the road from Sturbridge, where Jessica & I frequently shop. We'd never been until today.
      As usual, we had brunch at the Cracker Barrel, then headed over. We knew it was big--Jess says it backs traffic up to the highway on the weekend, or about 5 miles. But it was BIG. We passed a church offering $3 parking, but it was a mile away, so we looked for more parking. And looked. And looked. People were renting out $8 spaces on their front lawns. Every lot was full, despite the thing opening just a couple of hours earlier. It was "Jess & Bill Weather" (crappy and the opposite of the forecast), but the place was already teeming. The only parking lot open had a guy waving a red flag and who claimed that he had no idea how much it cost to park there. Translation: a lot! As any veteran antiquer/tag sale shopper knows, no price means overpriced. (When we later saw the sign inside for it, it listed no price, making it very likely the price went up as the days went on, or even the hours. So the guy literally waving a red flag was figuratively waving a red flag) So we went back to the church.
      We passed the HOOYA Restaurant with the Jiggity Liquor Store in back, and I'm glad I don't work in a place named "Jiggity." We started at the first tent, and marveled at our selection! Dirty and if it wasn't overpriced, it was because it wan't priced. It was like a really big tag sale, but not tag sale priced.
       We were amazed that the place just...huge. Just tent after tent, sprawling everywhere. How huge? I checked their site when I got home:      "All over the world," don't know about that, but there was a guy from Alabama, and almost all the dealers' vehicles had out of state plates. No wonder it lasts 5 days! There must be people who book hotel rooms and go for days. And if you're going to travel from Tennessee to Mass, of course you'll overprice your stuff. We saw a sign at one booth, instructing that it's goods would positively not be open for sale until after dawn. To other dealers yesterday, meaning that they must have a day of selling to each other, and then marking it all up even further.
      It was too big. So much to see that after a couple of hours, we weren't really seeing it. We just kinda glossed over it all. We heard one dealer on his cell, complaining about the weather and how few people had shown up. FEW? We had to walk a mile to park!
      We bought little. We're bargain hunters, but bargains were few and far between. She collects DisneyWorld postcards, and found one of the Haunted Mansion. When we went to Putnam she spent a crazy amount of time looking for postcards, so I kinda hoped that I could stand in front of the Florida box to prevent her seeing it, but too late. I said "See you in an hour, Jess!"
      I bought something. A Dawn Wells doll!


      I'll bet that you were expecting it to be inflatable. That's the best picture I could take, and no, it doesn't look too much like her. And when did Mary Ann dress in baggy clothes, rather than half-naked? (In the 1977 Filmation cartoon is when)
      At one point, a vendor complimented Jess on her footwear. I said "These boots are made for bloggin'!" and snapped a shot:


      Yes, those are kids' bandaids all over them. The type of thing only she would think to do. This was after she told me how she'd gone to the post office, and a female clerk there said, "Everytime you come in, I suck in my stomach, straighten my spine and throw back my shoulders! You have such great posture!" which is a weird compliment to get from anybody. Yeah, she's someone's Posture Pal!


      At the very last shop--well, the last we went to, as we weren't doing all 6000--She found some tiny ceramic cats and a lttle plastic Mickey Mouse. She asked how much Mickey was, because, yeah, they weren't priced. The vendor thought for a second and said "A dollar!" She held up the tiny cats, and he said "Those are 2 for a dollar!" YES! She poked around a bit, and found some Swarovski Crystal earrings. $10! Later when she looked at the price tag on the back, it read $126. Maybe they were knockoffs pinned to an original tag, but she already owns a pair, so would prly be able to tell.
      We agreed that her score made the trip worthwhile, and we had fun, but we also agreed that once was enough. We won't be Brimfielding again. Even if they have things like this:


      You are not happy, you are whacked out on the goofballs! And that's not how you spell "DJ."

      Never bring a knife to a cat fight.






      Who Watches the WatchPonies?



      ...and...ZERO! Houston, we have liftoff for VACATION!
      And of course it's supposed to rain all week. At least I'm not going to work, and if I have to hike Valley Falls park in the rain, I have my coat and hat, I'll do it.

      And here is my last post about work for 8&1/2 days:
      I came out the beer cooler Thurs morning to see a coworker collapsed on the floor, sobbing hysterically into her phone. Her mother had a heart attack at work! Her brother raced to St Francis Hospital, but kept getting different answers as to where she was. We sent her home as soon as someone else could take her there. She's 26 yet doesn't have a driver's license, and for once, this was a good thing. Driving while in hysterics is bad.
      After a tense 90 minutes of wondering if her mom was okay (she's a long-time town schoolteacher, not much older than I am, and we all know and like her), she called back. A coworker had dialed 911, while her mother said it was nothing to worry about. If she'd called any later, she'd be DEAD. Scary shit! She's a diabetic and a chain smoker, pretty much making her like a smoker who makes her own napalm.
      Yesterday, I was told by a different coworker that the attack was no big deal--just the warning shot. I wondered why the story had changed so much, but she wasn't there to ask, as she was staying at her mother's bedside.
      She came to work today. The doctor told her mom that he white-lied to her. He wanted to make sure she was stabilized before telling her she had a massive heart attack, and almost certainly had major heart damage. Any second attack would kill her.
      Her mom got a wake-up call, and claims she'll never smoke again. But I've seen people on oxygen tanks buy cigarettes. And I hope her daughter had her own wake-up call: she can't live with her mother forever. Get a license and prepare for true adulthood.
      Moral of the story: Don't smoke and watch your health! You never know what can come, and how it will change the lives for the people you leave behind.


Cats in Tanks from Whitehouse Post on Vimeo.

      I'm the only person who recognized the music. It's from another movie featuring tanks--in fact, tanks named after cats, which is I suppose is why they used it. Also would've been better if it ended with a cat walking in slo-mo from an explosion.

      Artificial Grammar Reveals Inborn Language Sense:



      Obviously, I took a vacation from here yesterday. This was partly because I did something I'd been waiting to do--drink one of those now-illegal Four Loko samples. Banned because they're 12% alcohol and loaded with caffeine, taurine, guarana, benzene, cocaine, bat guano, and paint thinner. If there was a negative effect, I wanted the next day off to recover.
      I didn't feel crazy or anything, but I could tell it was in my system after only 5 minutes. It took me maybe 75 minutes to drink it, as I'm relatively sane. After 3 hours, I was overwhelmingly tired and went to bed for the night. So I thought, as I woke up 3 hours later with the booze slept off but the caffeine still in full force. I was in bed for good after 3 more hours, and slept in late. I was awake, then I wasn't, then I was, then I wasn't again! Yeah, good thing they banned this totally insane drink! It turned me into a wild man!
      Beforehand, I got some take-out from the Indian place, Utsav. It's a small place, and was almost full of customers taking part in their giant lunch buffet. About 2/3s of them were Indian, with all the women in saris. You know the food is spot-on authentic when it's loved by people from the ethnicity it claims to be from; man, this is a terrible sentence. Let me put it this way: Not that I go there often, but I don't think I've ever seen a Hispanic person eating at Taco Bell.

      For some reason, I put Disney's Treasure Planet in my Netflix queue. I'd forgotten this movie even existed, given what a bomb it was. (When a movie does terrible at the box office, it's called a "bomb." When it does great, it's called a "blockbuster." And yet the word "blockbuster" was coined to describe a really huge bomb. How did it get the current meaning? And when did it switch meanings to "highly profitable motion picture" from "device designed to kill as many civilians as possible"? Dead people rarely go to the movies. It's like saying "Star Wars was a huge box office Holocaust!")
      Why was it a bomb? It was a terrible idea for a cartoon. Pitch session: "It's Treasure Island--in space!" [No, really, that was the working title]
      "Oh, so it's like Star Wars? That was a box office Hiroshima!"
      "You kidding me? This'll make Star Wars look like it was only the Bataan Death March! We're talking bubonic plague level profits!"
      "So, they fly around in spaceships?"
      "Yes and no. Actually, a lot more No. They're in sailing ships that fly through space, which has air. And they have rocket engines!"
      "...Why would they need sails if they had rocke--"
      "Also, they're pirates and British naval commanders and aliens, and the less human they look, the more evil they are!"
      "Good, good! Kids love to hate The Other!"
      "We're gonna focus group the hell out of this! Single mom! Hunky, rebellious teen hero! Cute alien sidekick that adds nothing to the plot! Bumbling, incompetent scientist, because everyone knows smart people are useless! Comic-relief robot voiced by Martin Short, doing a Jerry Lewis-Woody Allen-Billy Crystal impression, because Jews are funny! We're going to get out our copy of 'Kids' Movie Mad Libs' and fill in ALL the usual blanks!"
      I'm making it sound far worse that it is. It was entertaining, if overly focus-grouped. The hero had what could only be called a flying snowboard/skateboard, which is pretty lame. And there was really no reason to set it in space when everything is otherwise the same as if it'd been set at sea. Seriously, flintlock laser blasters? I hit Pause about 30 seconds in to rub my temples and groan "Space Kidettes." That was a worse-than-usual Hanna Barbera 60s cartoon I used to see on CN or such, also set in Space with Space Pirates. One didn't have a sundae with a cherry on top, no, one had a space sundae with a Moon cherry on it, because cherries grow on the fucking Moon. The pirates would say "Shiver me astro-timbers!" There's a lot of that here, such as giving the hero the middle name "Pleiades," as "Uranus" would've just been hard to believe. It was fun, even if it wasn't a box office Total Extermination of the Entire Human Race Forever.

      Today was cold and raining, so I went to Stop&Shop to buy cat food for finicky Byron and return some C vitamins I'd bought. Turned out I'd really needed calcium.So, swap out the wrong ones for the right ones, and Done! Actually, a lot more No. It took 2 people, twenty minutes, and an uncountable series of "UR DOIN IT RONG" beeps from the register to do, while some Lottery Loser glared at me as if I was the one who couldn't run a simple transaction. The 2nd S&S worker's undisguised exasperated contempt for her mentally deficient coworker indicated that this happens a lot. "Okay, you're all set," said Ms Oblivious after charging me for the calcium. "Don't I get a refund for the C I returned?" I asked. It took a good 5 seconds for the 20-watt light bulb over her head to go on. "Oh...right..." It would've taken about 15 seconds to do this exchange at my job. So, SHAS&ST.


      I thought that this vacation would be remembered as The One I Didn't Do Anything On As It Rained Every Day. It looks more like it'll be the one Not Remembered At All Because Of How Much I Slept.
      Tomorrow I see Kev and the next day Jess, so hopefully I can break this Sleep/Rain cycle of Non-Event.

      SPLUT - the boardgame. I prefer to think of its "trolls throwing rocks" as "monkeys hurling yams."


      Hey, vacation weather, can you suck more?
      Yesterday it finally stopped raining long enough for me to go the state park up the road. Mud I was expecting, but not flood. The brook had overflown its banks and was now running down parts of the trail.
      Later I went to what used to be a John Harvard's Brew Pub. It was going to be closed, but some of the employees bought it and renamed it...Tully-something. Something Irish that we forgot after every time we heard it. Very good food and on-premises brewed beer, but expensive. $11 for a burger and onion rings? There were only 6 rings on my plate, but I had 3 of them wrapped up as takeout, as they were huge.
      Back at his place, we watched a truly terrible movie, The Oozing Skull. I know, you'd think with a title like that, it'd be a masterpiece. It was a Cinematic Titanic show, and as always, they found a truly obscure, unbelievably shitty movie. It looks like it was being made up as they shot it. But as bad as it was, the riffing wasn't that great, and the host segments painfully unfunny. It was bad enough that I left as soon as it ended, as I could barely keep my eyes open.
      At least, I thought it was the movie. I got to my car and began violently dry heaving. Luckily I live just 2 minutes away, as I began puking as soon as I got home. Fuck, I thought, am I sick like I was on my last vacation? But I wasn't emptying my stomach, just throwing up mouthfuls and feeling a tiny bit better after I did, so it must've been something I ate. The onion rings. The last time I had deep-fried batter it made me sick.
      One by one, the cats came into the bathroom. It seemed not "Hey, what're you doing?" so much as "Are you okay?" Byron was first, head-butting me, which he never does outside of my lap. Then DJ, then Killsy.
      I was in and out of the bathroom for more than an hour. The boys went to sleep quickly, but Killsy fake slept. She sat in her favorite box facing me, her eyes slits but never closed, watching over me. When things calmed down a bit, I thanked her for her concern, but she didn't need to worry, and could go to sleep. Only then did she curl up, close her eyes and sleep. When she saw me cry after the phone call telling me my father had died, she laid in bed with me, front paws on my arm as if holding hands, and never slept. She's an amazing girl.
      I still feel not good, which is bad news as I'm going to a Hartford Symphony concert with Jessica in a couple of hours. Hopefully things will work out.

      Stereotype Threat: "The bottom line is if you get folks into the lab and prime them about the minority group they're in, they tend to behave consistent with the stereotype. With Asian women, if you bring them in and say, 'Oh, you're a chick, you can't do math,' they tend to do lousy. But if you say, 'Oh, you're an Asian,' they do well."


      A week into my vacation, and the SUN SORTA KINDA CAME OUT! While I was traipsing through the mud at Valley Falls park, too! At least I had 1 nice day before the world ends tomorrow!

      The end of the world starts on the 21 May � well, perhaps


      Interesting that if you think the Rapture comes this weekend, you should be mocked as a deluded lunatic, but if you know it will happen in your lifetime, you're a mainstream American Protestant.

      My condition upgraded to "feeling suboptimal, but not awful" an hour before picking Jessica up for our concert. We left late, as her daughter had a doctor's appointment that couldn't be quickly rescheduled. That was part of the reason I picked Rein's Deli as our spot to eat; they're famous for turning the tables over quickly. Or infamous--I remember a local newspaper columnist whining about how the waitress tried to hustle him out of there, despite the fact that he said that he was there during their busiest time, with a line out the door, and he was there for for 2 hours, and proudly showed his displeasure by leaving no tip. I was quite happy to see the angry letters he got for that column. As they probably wouldn't have printed the one I wrote in my head:

      (The funny part is that the writer's byline included a photo of himself, so I'm sure he got a little "extra" in his next meal at Rein's)
      I hadn't eaten in 24 hours, but I had half a chicken salad sandwich--by no means heavy fare, but I didn't want to push it. She was the one who ended up with an unhappy tummy, because I wanted to get to the concert on time and "made her" eat too fast (nothing to do with her meal being a giant pastrami Reuben and 4 pickles).
      Even ShortTRotD will remember that last booth at the Brimfield antique show, where Jess bought $126 Swavorski earrings for $10. We were all Been there, Done that about not going again, but I kept thinking about that place. Why was it the only booth that felt the need to display its show permit? It was $30; multiply that by 6000 dealers. Wait--it was the only booth not on town property, but someone's front lawn. Maybe they owned the house and were doing a tag sale for friends ("You--you sold my earrings for TEN BUCKS?!?"). The place right across from it, on town land, was huge. Why wouldn't the town charge by the square foot? Or for being at the front of the sale? People were willing to pay $5 more for parking just to not walk 10 minutes. Who's to say that if we hadn't driven all the way to the end, every booth had cheap stuff?
      Unknown to us at the time, a friend of Jess had a daughter selling her hand-made furniture there, down the other end. All my deductions turned out correct. The daughter was both thrilled that she sold out all her stuff in 2 days, and also somewhat disappointed, as she had to rent the space for 6 days. That town must make hundreds of thousands of dollars of that show. It may be their biggest source of income. Jess has books on Massachusetts, and one says that Brimfield's self-chosen nickname is "A Podunk Town." Was it outside their comfort zone to just call it "East Bumfuck"?
      BTW, that Mickey Mouse figurine that she bought for a dollar? She found it in her outdated old Disney collectables book. It was worth $600. Back when it was published. Today...?
      Yeah, we're going again.

      Unlike last year's free Hartford Symphony tickets, this time they were a pair, not just one. We arrived a bit late, as the preconcert talk had already begun. Like last time, the selections were thematically similar: the first work was semi-obscure (here, Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes), followed by a world premiere work by a local composer (University of Hartford's Stephen Gryc's Harmonia Mundi), ending with the inevitable crowd-pleasing warhorse (Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, which was either my first or second classical record purchase when I was 14). Conductor Edward Cumming spoke with the Gryc, who pointed out the unusual structure of his concerto: 4, not 3, movements, with the loud and firey movement (titled--um, "Fire") third, and the longest, slowest, quietest movement being the last. Cumming: "So, if you have to cough--" Gryc: "--DON'T. Seriously, I'll be in the audience, taking names."
      Gryc (since you're wondering, pronounced "Gritch") wanted his parents to buy him a piano--at age 3. Instead, they got an item that in 1952 probably cost about as much: a TV. Programming then was beat-up old prints of movies and cartoons from the 30s and 40s, with the soundtracks so worn that were barely listenable. One local station came up with "Cartoon Concert," playing shitty old Bosko toons with the soundtrack simply removed and replaced with a classical record. (Okay, he didn't say "shitty Bosko toons," but "shitty" and "Bosko" go together like...well, "shitty" and "Bosko") "They'd play entire Beethoven symphonies--sure, it'd take 4 or 5 cartoons to play," but it was his introduction to classical music. I'm sure every lover of classical music reading this was introduced to it by Bugs Bunny. I still can't hear the overture to The Barber of Seville without singing "Now, you're nice and clean! Though your face looks like it may have gone t'rough a ma-chine..." (Everyone except the lucky 2 with parents who played in orchestras, shut up, you 2!)
      When it was time for the concert to start, everyone filed to their assigned seats. Except a couple in our row who decided, eh, too far away, let's steal someone else's seats! They got thrown out when the aging people who paid for those seats arrived. This happened twice. They prly came to the concert after hogging a table for 2 hours at Rein's Deli.
      We were younger than about 95% of the audience. Sure, she's 33, so why not? But I'm 52. It was kinda like an InExOb.
      Nothing will top that Vivaldi concert we went to, but it was free and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Except for the guy who skipped the preconcert talk and coughed his fool head off during the quiet part of the Gryc piece which was its WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCE, thanks for the ruining, or that dork behind us who apparently decided the quietest part of the Britten piece was a good time to wrap fish in newspaper or build a life-size origami swan, so loud was his paper-crinkling. Only our third concert, and we've already perfected our "old person turn & glare."
      It's always amazing just to watch it being done. Or how all these different elements could be composed in someone's head to sound just as they do. Tchaikovksy decided "What this loud, giant climax needs is--a triangle! Played exactly thus!"
      It doesn't look like there are concerts we're interested in for the rest of this season, unless I win tickets on my September vacation. But next year, Carmina Burana and we are there! We may even take in a pops concert, as one is John Williams music, and the other based on Sir Paul McCartney.
      I brought my camera, but sorry, no pictures, as we ran late. A side-by-side would've been nice, as we were almost wearing the exact same pants. She looked better in hers.

      The 43 best obnoxious responses to misspellings on Facebook.




      Just to note: I'm not posting that because I'm Takei! I'm totally Doohan only chicks!




      It wasn't meant to be "No Content Week" here on the blog, but so far, it is.


      I remember an old Playboy cartoon. One boy says to another, "The way I see it, if you don't masturbate, you go crazy."
      The Dangers Of Touching Yourself, illustrations from an 1830 book full of "facts." Masturbation makes you hunchbacked, gives you poxy skin, but apparently cures you of those between stages. The continuity isn't good.
      How does that work? Your wiener reacts differently when your semen doesn't go into a vagina? In fact, your entire nervous system does? Does the vulva secrete some exotic chemical that tells you that if you're not exploding into only it, you DIE? If it does, couldn't you just buy some used panties and rub 'em on? I think that there would be a big market for that, if kept you from the yank-pox. Conversely, in the days of torture and violent capital punishment, why didn't they wank a convicted felon to a horrible, slow death? Does your body only allow someone else to wrangle your wangle? Then how do you survive HOLDING IT TO PEE? Oh, right, the magic-vag juice. So your girlfriend could handjob you to death?
      Everyone's wishing I'd kept "No Content Week" going now, I bet.


      This is why posting here has been minimal: It's normal on your 1st day back to work after vacation to think, Ugh, I don't want to be here. It isn't, 8 days later, to feel trapped and hopeless and full of angst. It's not that stressful a job, and I'm not sure if it's the job, or just a desire to not have work for a living anymore, or what. Vague existential dread of...something.
      And don't say "You're lucky you have a job!" In a month, the state of CT requires us to raise all our prices 20%. That's huge. My job is close enough to a major highway to Massachusetts, where liquor doesn't even have a sales tax, that it will affect us. And cheaper gas. We'll lose a lot of business. Maybe enough to affect my employment. Certainly every liquor store within a 20 minute drive of the border will go out of business.
      Our only hope is that last year Mass put a sales tax on booze, and they lost so much business to New Hampshire that they repealed it 3 months later. The craziest part is, this tax was passed by the same legislature that we had to fight red in tooth and claw to stop them when they insisted that package stores needed to be open on Sundays because "we're losing business to Mass." Business will drop like a gutshot deer, and maybe they'll fix it before too much damage is done. Maybe my job will reduce everyone's hours rather than lay anybody off and replace full-timers with benefits with teenaged part-timers.
      Like I need even that! I just bought a car, dropping $7300 on the down payment, and then had to pay another $500 in insurance. I guess if I wanted collision, I should've gone with a lower deductible. And there was this odd chemical odor coming from the refrigerator a week ago, just as the weather got hot and the temperature inside it went up. And I mean way up; it was 55 degrees inside it when I got home Saturday. And the odor has become a stench. Open the door for 2 seconds, and you can smell it 6 feet away instantly. I guess it's leaking coolant, but why and from where, I don't know. I close the opened wet cat food with (seemingly) airtight plastic lids, but the day after, the kids won't eat it until it's set out for hours. Byron, whose sense of smell is enhanced due to his deafness, won't eat it at all. I've been getting bottled water from work, as I sure don't want to be drinking coolant. So now I have to buy a new fridge. I sure as hell won't make the mistake I did when my 20 year old one died, and buy a refurbished one from the Vernon Maytag store. It never worked right, the people were rude, and I see that Sears just had a sale for a brand new one that cost only $100 more. It's not a crisis by any means, just one more annoyance. I also turned the old minifridge on, so that my frozen food stays actually frozen, and put the AC in the window, much to the delight and relief of the cats. But that also means that my next electric bill will be higher.
      Well, I do feel better having vented my whiny-ass self. Thanks for letting me kvetch! In lighter news--cats! Back when I got my new car and his old iPod, Kevin came over to help with some problems with it. When Jessica came over a year ago, they approached her in order of intelligence, with DJ uncertain what to do, he being the dumbes--er, the one never held as a kitten by her. Kev walked in, and Killsy bolted under the bed. Byron the Cat Without Fear stood his ground, clearly asking "Hey, who are you?" Poor DJ did that "run in 2 directions at once" thing cats do, uncertain which of his role models to follow. He went under the bed.
      Which was unusual. If Byron's doing it, he's doing it. Even when there's no need to. "DJ, Byron's deaf, and so he doesn't know that when he bathes himself, he's making fart noises with his mouth. You don't have to do that." DJ: "Duh, ok, Mommy Man! lick lick mouth fart lick lick faaart..."

      Yesterday I cheered myself up by watching one of those ridiculous 1980s "Just Say No!" cartoons, this one the usual over-the-top demonizing of the perils of cocaine. Even as a drug user of the late 70s/early 80s, I wanted nothing to do with the Demon Flake. And I had it offered to me. Wasn't interested in anything that addictive, y'know? Maybe you've heard of this cartoon. It's called Scarface.
      Was it supposed to be a dark comedy or an insane melodrama like the old film it was inspired by? What made it a cult film? I thought it was because it was so gangsta, but Tony Montana's a fucking idiot. And why cast the major Cuban roles with non-Hispanics? Tony's boss suffers particularly from Accent Drift. And it's amusing, but it's so dumb that it's funny. About the only believable part was "snorting mountains of coke makes you goofy." Is it a cult movie because of the same way, I dunno, Mommie Dearest was? The goofiness? I wear with pride my Plan Nine From Outer Space tshirt, but I see a lot more grown men wearing "Let Me Show You My Little Friend" shirts. Is it from M203 envy? And that whole incest gangsta.
      Well, that's more than I've typed in the last week combined. Excuse me now while I move everything in my "freezer" into an actual freezer.

      One last thing: via Linda via Ebert, a truly awesome bit of choreography.




      I wrote about my job dislike yesterday and felt better. Today I had a pretty good day at work, too! Venting always helps.
      I also wrote about the failing fridge and today, it got cooler inside. No doubt because of the AC being on. But also...the chemical stink went away. Just like that. So, I guess it wasn't coolant, because then it wouldn't work at all. Then what was it? Strange.
      I would now like to complain that I haven't won the Lotto jackpot.


      Sunday I took the air conditioner out from under a pair of boxes that sit on it during the colder months. Ms. Killsy immediately jumped on it and meowed. I think she was sayin "ABOUT TIME! It's been hot and humid for days!" And then she just sat there. For 20 minutes.
      Once she jumped down, I struggled it into the window and turned it on. The boys both plopped down right in front of it, enjoying the cool, dry air. Kays instead jumped into a box. "That's just going to make you feel hotter!" I said. She didn't respond. Well...she's a cat.
      Today a cold front came through, and the heat and humidity went with it. I turned the AC off. And Killsy, in her box, purred as loudly as she ever has. For a continuous 20 minutes. I guess Sunday she wasn't saying "Hooray!" she was saying "Not this noisy thing again! It ran all last summer!"

      On the off-chance you haven't seen the cutest cat video ever...




      The sun shone bright as I left work yesterday. 10 minutes later, I looked in the rearview mirror and behind me were dark and roiling clouds. By the time I got home, it was almost pitch black. And there was a tornado watch on.
      My town didn't get anything after that. I checked the radar online and holy fuck! Massachusetts had a giant storm. It ran from the New Hampshire border down to Connecticut, about 60 miles, and was just as wide. It was going east, and I pointed the map and said "That's where Jessica lives."
      Three Dead After Springfield MA Tornado: "At least three people are dead. A West Springfield mother died as she shielded her child in a bathtub."
      The story says that the kid was 15, and that's not just the age of her daughter, that's exactly the thing she'd do for her. She doesn't live anywhere near West Springfield, which is cold comfort, knowing some teenager has to spend the rest of their life dealing one way or the other with "My mom died for me."
      Jess and family are fine, as is the feral cat colony she manages. Notably, the 2nd and weaker tornado hit our habitual meeting place of word on how bad it was hit. The news is understandably dominated by the loss of life and $100 million in damage in Springfield. Text the Red Cross at 90999 to give a $10 donation, as I did, whether to help the victims of Mass or the Midwest tornadoes.

      This would explain a lot:




      Babies are smarter than you think.
      ...And so are cats, referencing that "kitten has bad dream" video I linked to.




      I spent Saturday at work lifting heavy cases of box wine and Carlo Rossi jugs and rolling out kegs that weigh 60 pounds more than me without incident. During the night, I got up to pee and GAAAH somehow threw my back out.
      But today's the first Sunday of June, and damned if I'm not going to the first day of the Coventry Farmer's Market! With 2 cups of tea and 1200 milligrams of ibuprofen in me.
      Sign for a local niche business seen on the way: "Hire-A-Goat".
      I parked in the farthest lot, unlike everyone else. We're pasty fat lazy Americans, we're not going to walk 200 feet on a beautiful late spring day! Why else did G*D create cars?
      It was mobbed, of course. With hayrides and a cow and alpacas and goats but no indication of how much it cost to rent any of them. According to their email, there were several new booths, but all I saw was the taco cart. And I wanted me some handmade hummus! Oh well, I got most of my faves: Morning Glory Farms garlic butter rolls, Beltane goat cheese (one soft, one a new "Spanish-style" hard cheese), passed on Cato Farms cheese, as the line was ridiculous, so instead I stood in a different ridiculously long line to get scones. They didn't have those crazy good bacon & cheese ones, and they were my least satisfying purchase--my Scots Nana did not glaze her scones or make them from corn meal! They were more like flat, triangular corn muffins. I'm glad that I only bought 2. But I had the always-excellent veggie samosa from the Indian booth to finish off my visit.
      I got there just as they opened, and glad I did. 30 minutes later, there was a traffic jam getting in. To the closest parking lot, of course! It's too beautiful not to drive!
      I wonder how much a goat rental costs. I have all these tin cans I want to get rid of..





The Colbert Report
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      I was going to hike the park today, but after a week of perfect weather, my day off had the exact amount of humidity to make that undoable. It's always more humid in the woods, and for reasons unknown, that's what causes swarms of flesh-eating insects to appear.
      So instead, the big plan was to use a free membership coupon at BJ's Wholesale Club. I also needed a few things from Dollar Tree, and since I'd be driving right by it, why not?
      BJ's was uneventful, with the clerk robotically reciting the "we have a special on memberships this month" speech (they always have a special this month). Why bother? I get a free 2 month membership offer once or twice a year. I bought some granola bars, DVD-Rs, passed on the trail mix that Mrs Jessica loves (soy nuts + Bill =farting), and 2 of those Perdue chicken breast in a bag packages. Kinda more packaging than I'd like to throw in a landfill, but throw 'em in the freezer, and they keep forever. And still better than something I bought maybe 20 years ago, a Campbell's Soup & Sandwich. It was a styrofoam cup in a bag with a sandwich in a bag that were both in a different bag that was in a box in a bag that was in another bag. And it didn't taste good. As all the money to make it was (literally) wrapped up in packaging.
      I drove by the grand opening of the Sonic Drive-In, long noted in the mists of myth and legend and old emails to Kitsplut when she was in Missouri. Apparently there is some odd subset of Americans who go insane at the thought of some new junk food chain opening here. There was an hour wait to get into CT's first Krispy Kreme for a week. (I think it's closed now) And the same for the Red Robin. The Sonic had not just huge lines and half a dozen signs saying "TURN HERE TO SONIC" or "NO LEFT TURN TO SONIC" or "CECI N'EST PAS UNE WAY TO LE SONIQUE", but people doing traffic control, organizing rows of cars into "Drive-In" and "Patio" and "STALLS" seriously, called Stalls like one might herd stupid sheep into, and they were in the parking lot of the abandoned Mobil station next to it. OH BOY GREASY FOOD AND IDLING MY SUV IN AN ABANDONED GAS STATION ON A HOT, HUMID DAY WHAT A WONDERFUL LIFE I HAS
      Merde! "CECI N'EST PAS UNE WAY TO LE SONIQUE" doesn't make sense in this context! I blame Time Dilation.
      For some reason, on the way there I was thinking of something I'd got from a freebies site, the Geocentric Bible. Y'know, not only does the Sun orbit the Earth, the Eath is the literal Center of the Universe. Their proof? It's in the Bible! ARGUMENT WON. They sent me an update a week ago (and here it is, THE LESSER LIGHT). I opened it at random to that chapter, and because the moons of Jupiter are "mere points of light," and light travels 186,000 MPS, the distance to the end of the universe, or "the stars farthest out at 'the end of heaven' (Isaiah 13:5), is perhaps about 400-800 million miles." So Neptune, Pluto, the Oort Cloud, the entire rest of the observable universe, is...I dunno. A painted backdrop? And then he segues into how "Time Dilation" proves that neither Evolution or Creationsim can ever be proven, and yeah, this dude in Kansas considers Creationists to be wild-eyed near-atheist liberals, since they don't accept the obvious fact that the Earth is the Center of the Universe, just like that dude in Kansas thinks he is. IT'S IN A BOOK, THAT MAKES IT TRUE! Just like ents and orcs are.
      During the 5 minute drive back, my mind wandered (and lo, how it tends to wander) to last night's dinner, fake crab. Or "a blend of Alaskan pollock and crab" or "surimi," depending on where you looked at the label. It can't be both! Oh, I just checked, yes it can. Surimi isn't a fish, it's fish ground to a paste. I was thinking that surimi was like "orange roughy." Remember the first time you saw that fish on a menu, and said "Why have I never heard of this fishie before?" That's because as overfishing began and regular foodfish depletion continued, they had to drag up more and more fish no one had ever eaten before. And they had to rename them. "Orange roughy" was an early example, so it got kind of a weak name. Orange Roughy sounds to me like a flavor of Metamucil. So what was the roughy's original name?
      Now, exactly what would cause a fisherman to name his catch "Slimehead'? Possibly because it secretes something on its head? OH BOY it's making its own tartar sauce! NOM NOM
      Eventually we'll be eating "finless tuna," and it'll be the new name for lampeys and hagfish.
      I went to Dollar Tree first, but due to Time Dilation, I report it last. As I turned into TriCity Plaza, site of that Kay Bee Toys that was my crucible, there were union workers carrying signs that began with "THIS IS NOT A STRIKE."


      Something about a non-union shop there, which I would assume was the Cost Cutter. Sadly, they did not wear bowler hats with apples floating in front of their faces. Sadder still, I didn't think to honk my horn and give them the thumbs up for solidarity. You got a 40 hour workweek with bennies and vacation? Thank the unions, even if you never belonged to one.
      Just grabbing a few things at $Tree, but I made my usual pathetic sojourn into the toy aisle. Face it, I'm just not going to get those last 2 Speed Racer Hot Wheels without eBay. I saw a really detailed looking WWII warplane, and it was...a Stuka? "Hey, kids, here's your favorite Nazi dive bomber!" I picked it up to see what other models they had--maybe a P-38 Lightning!--but was Stukas all the way down. 7 different fucking Stukas. Way to maximize that one model with different paint jobs, dude! Too strange to not buy for a dollar.
      A few rows down: something also from "CAN.DO Pocket Army," a German Panther tank. Holy shit, is this one going to be--yes, 7 different models of the Panzer IV. Gotta catch'em all! (And take several to Nuremburg) I bought that, too, picking the "Berlin, 1945" model, as any poor German sap in that thing didn't fight for the 13 Year Reich very long. The Stuka was one of the later anti tank versions, with cannons strapped to the wings after the war had long been lost by the Bad Guys. The Stukas were from 1939 to 1944. There was no Battle of Britain era Stuka, as the only accurate version would have to be on fire and plummeting earthward with a soundchip shrieking "GOTT IN HIMMEL AAUUGGHH!!!"
      I took a closer look at the pictures of the other models on the back when I got home. The Panthers didn't change much besides paint jobs, but yeah, those were very different Stukas. Complete with production stats of the actual weapons: my Stuka--damn, but "my Stuka" is a weird thing to say--represented 25% of all versions, while the Panther turned out to be not what I thought it was, but "9.PzDiv, Western Front, 1944-45, late production, 16%," meaning "prly killed Americans during the Bulge." Copyright 2003, so not Hong Kong dollar store crap, but a quality Hong Kong-made closesout, not unlike those Speed Racer Hot Wheels. I didn't check the pricing on the website, but they clearly sell very high-end model kits. I wonder how much these miniatures retailed for, 8 years ago. I'm almost tempted to back and buy more, just for the weirdness.
      Time Dilation! That chapter from the Geocentric Bible also includes the acute observation (or is it "a cute , but dumb, observation"?): "The words 'solar system' are not mentioned in scripture...Neither is the word 'galaxy'." QUID PRO QUO! or COGNITO ERGO SUMTHING! or whatever Latin phrase that proves what he's saying! Yeah, and neither does the Babble have the words "kangaroo," "wombat" or "Tyrannosaurous Rex," but you think that they were all on the Ark. It also doesn't include the words "personal hygeine" or "wipes his ass after poopies" or "pees after unzipping," so I'll just go with you also not believing those phrases.
      Then I showered, woke up this morning, then I went to bed last night
      STUPID TIME DILATION! Cut it the heck out!!


      (Shouldn't he have prayed for Colon's colon?)

      Jessica took a trip to the lesser of the Massachusetts tornadoes, the one that hit the Sturbridge area, one of our favorite haunts. Mostly cleaned up after 5 days, but still plenty of destruction. I'm not sure if you can see her Flickr stream without her permission, but here's the link and the description: a homemade sign in the hardest hit area reading "Mailbox 1, Tornado 0".
      You won't need any permission to see the new items on her Etsy page of cat figurines. I think this is her best yet, cute and funny and sweet.

      Speaking of violent weather and cats, we were warned for days about a giant line of thunderstorms likely to march to the sea yesterday. I got home before they began, my new car safely in the garage. Black became the clouds, and wary of last week's tornadoes, I turned the computer off and also unplugged the phone line. It turned out not to be that big a deal. Storms frequently lose strength when they have to cross the cooler air over the Connecticut River. It was rainy, boomy, but even Killsy was only on DefCon 4, just lying under my chair. Byron and I watched the rain for a while; DJ was aware of the storm, but barely interested.
      My job is on the other side of the river. When I neared it today, I noticed the extra leafy green detritus and debris scattered about, and knew that it had been hit a little worse than Vernon. In our parking lot, a pair of squad cars had pulled over a pickup. Two cops? The perp must've been DWB (Driving While Black). Oddly, our store's back door was open.
      And then I saw the rest of the trucks. A massive 50-year-old oak tree had collapsed onto the store. A few feet to the right, and it would've taken out all the upper windows.
      The cop cars blocked off the road while 8 town vehicles with 20 guys removed the giant tree. My boss may be a crazy drunk at times, but I will grant him this: I rolled my eyes when he spent last week complaining about that one tree's limbs overhanging our property, and insisting that the town trim them, as it was on their property. "The town doesn't have the money to do that," sniffed the local bureaucrat. Bet it cost them a smidge more to remove the entire thing today than the trimming would've cost. And when they were all gone, the town sent a different truck and 2 guys just to wrap yellow Caution tape around the stump. Because, stumps! They can ambush you something fierce.
      The boss sent a coworker with a camera out to take pictures, and I thought "She's gonna milk this assignment." And she did, not coming in until after an hour, with the boss fuming. I can see why we need photos of the fallen tree for insurance purposes--it punched a hole in our roof--but she also took pics of every stage of them cutting the tree into pieces. They aren't going to give us extra money for the firewood porn.
      While waiting for her to return, the radio traffic report said that "Route 83 in Vernon is blocked by a fallen tree by Loveland Hills," which is about half a mile north of me. So I got a bit more storm than I thought we did.

      I have a feeling that a Cracked writer came across an old InExOb before writing The 6 Most Ill-Conceived Weapons Ever Built, but there's more info there than you'd ever expect on the Bob Semple tank and the Explosive Poo Device Mark I. I am probably one of the few people in the world who instantly ID'ed the Puckle Gun in the header graphic. THE PUCKLE GUN WAS GENIUS besides the square bullets thing.

      I meant to post this yesterday, but, man...I totally forgot...
      (Connecticut) House gives final legislative approval to marijuana decriminalization bill. Not prosecuting buyers saves the state a little money in legal fees and jail occupancy. The first state to legalize it and tax it will make a LOT of money.


      Older white customer, in front of other customers, and 2 coworkers who are black: Do you sell Rheingold beer?
      Marsha: Yes, it's in the cooler.
      Customer: How about Knickerbocker?
      M: I've never heard of that.
      C: How about you?
      Everton: Yeah, I've heard of it, but we don't carry it.
      C: I'm going to make a beer called Niggerbocker, and sell it in Harlem! HAW HAW!
      E (physically restraining M from going around the counter and punching the guy's lungs in): You need to leave the store, NOW.
      Other customer: Yeah, leave, or I'm calling the police!
      ...And the SHAWT was utterly amazed that his hi-larious joke/vile racial slur went unappreciated, and that he wasn't going to be served.
      And if by some fluke a Republican reads this and thinks, "Sure, it's okay when blacks use that word, but not when I do!" yes, it is okay when they do. I sometimes will say "God, how stupid am I!" when I make a simple mistake. When someone else says "God, how stupid are you?" over something simple, yes, I have a totally different reaction.
      Hey, white boy, how about old white trash like you buying "Crackerbocker"? "Motherfuckingnazibocker"? "The beer with a head that tastes like shit, for people who are shitheads!" Oh, right, that'd be awful and "reverse racism," the only kind of racism you're offended by, because it's directed at you.





      Look at this CT guy's sand castle! JUST LOOK AT IT

      CUSTOMER: Give me a nip of red label Bacardi.
      ME, who in 14 years in this business has never heard of it: Red label Bacardi?
      C: Yeah, the white one.
      ME, holding up nip with all white labels: This one?
      C: Yeah, red label.
      Well, at least he didn't ask for Knickerbocker...

      All technology is new and baffling at some point.




      Right after getting home, I heard a familiar if very unwlecome sound: Byron puking. Wait, Byron's over there! And DJ's here--oh, no! Por Killsy! She usually tries to run for the bathroom when she has to hurl, but she was doing it right by thye cat tree, right on--wait, isn't that a thing I bought at Dollar Tree?
      The Panther tank. Well, I certainly agree with Kill Kill's opinion of Nazis. "They're great--for me to PUKE ON!"

      It's so hard to keep this smile off my face: Kitteh, hamster ball, perfect soundtrack.




      Amy Mebberson--possibly better known to LTRotD as commenter Mimi--gets a nice write-up in Comics Alliance, with some wonderful examples of her commissions.

      Prolonged TV Viewing Linked to Increased Risk of Type Two Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease. Well, duh. But does it also include the net? The net is reading, a much more mentally stimulating activity than staring at the boob tube, but you're still sitting on your ass, doing nothing physically.

      I scribble notes here after posting sometimes, in order to write them up properly the next day. I'll just leave this one as scribbled:



      Hey, who would start a conversation this way?
      Is that the tantrum of an obnoxious 2 year old spoiled brat, or a 63 year old manager of a liquor store shrieking at the store's owner/his boss?
      I leave it to you to decide.
      After they shut the office door, I really didn't want to hear any more. But my boss screamed "I've never stolen anything from you! NEVER!" which is pretty much damning yourself with faint praise. Especially as I'm sure the owner brought up the fact that he drinks 3 cases of Heineken a week for free, and no doubt had his usual Friday case of it in his trunk. "Never" redefined here as "continually."
      Gee whiz, I sure love this awesome job of mine.



      A really funny Stupid Comics this week. If you're wondering about the 2 part Wiccan thing mentioned at the start, it's here. Awesome first date dialog from it, not all that paraphrased: GUY: "I'm a pagan and have many guns!" GAL: "Me too!" GUY: "And...I have herpes." GAL: "Well, umm...SO DO I! AWESOME THAT WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!"
      So how come I have no luck using "I HAVE GUNS! AND HERPES, TOO!" as a pickup line?

      Lame as it is to link to Stupid Comics, it's all that lamer still to link to Something Awful. But Livestock's classified ads are almost always funny, if sometimes in the "wrong" way, and frequently function as complete short stories made from only 2 or 3 sentence fragments.


      For no real reason I checked Netflix, and 3 of Best/Worst Awful/ly Hilarious Movies Ever are available, or will be: King Kong Lives at some as-yet-unset time; Gymkata now; and The Swarm right now, as it's playable online. Read my old Trick Lobster reviews after watching and you'll see that I wasn't exaggerating much about them at all!




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