NEW 113

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact
that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
--George Bernard Shaw



      Sorry about the minimalist updates, but (shrug), I just really have nothing to say, people.




      The coworker who called out once because her garage door wouldn't close--not open, with the car stuck inside, but close--found a new and exciting excuse. She had to have 2 & 1/2 days off because someone at her 2nd job was going to have a baby. "Why?" I said. "Is she a midwife now?"
      But apparently I was the only one asking, because she got away with attending her cousin's birth. Yes, on day 2 her coworker magically became her "cousin." No doubt time travel was involved.
      And you might notice something there: Her 2nd job. She complains about not being able to pay her bills, whatever they are. She's 27 and lives at home, but I think she pays her mom some rent. As to her other expenses--she's 27 and doesn't have a driver's license yet, so car and insurance payments aren't a factor. And Job Two is at a little local pizza joint, where she gets tips. I don't know what she gets paid at Job One, but it's certainly a hell of a lot more than table scraps.
      The only other coworker with 2 jobs decided to be like the other, and announced that she was leaving an hour early. Her Job Two is a minimum wage late night shift at a gas station in, oh, I'd say the third worst part of Connecticut (It's not all suburbs and mansions here. We have the worst income disparity in the nation, and that leads to desperate people and crime).
      I don't get it. I've never had to work 2 jobs. In fact, I just took a pay cut to get another day off. But if I had to, I'd sure try to squeeze every extra hour out of the job that paid a living wage before I'd blow it off for some job that pays slave wages.
      Oh, and that pregnant "cousin"? Doctors decided she could wait a week to deliver. So, half her paycheck went goodbye for nothing. Maybe this type of financial thinking is why she needs 2 jobs. Me, I own my condo and am 2/3s away from paying off my 5 year car loan after 1 year.And I also just don't get the way some people are with money. But I also understand the difference between Want and Need. I think that after the car and the condo fee, my biggest expense is the cats. Because one needs cats!


      It's Comic Book Times!
      Stupid Comics delivers on its name with ALIEN SQUAD. Aliens are involved! In fact, everything is involved. Everything. Jesus gets nailed by Hilter Commie Snake Demons. Everything except...

      The 5 Most Insane Moments in Indian Comic Books. Included at the end is the reappearance of Indian Translation James Bond 007: SkyFall WordFail. Quote from Bond: "Let me tastefish, while the safe is blowing!" 007, that's sure what I'd do! Safe blows, "TASTEFISH! TAAAASTEFISH NOOOW!!" (safe blows, tastefisher flies towards camera in slo-mo, almost chokes on halibut)
      BOND: "That fishtaste almost gave me--a splitting HADDOCK!"
      DIRECTOR,: "CUT! It's tastefish, and it's a halibut. TAKE 19."
      BOND: "I'm killing you--FOR THE HALIBUT!"
      DIRECTOR, applauding, tears in his eyes: "Oscar time, people. OSCAR TIME NEXT YEAR! Is the catering table still open?"
      BOND: "'For the halibut'? I don't get it."


      Yesterday I rewatched a movie that, in a small way, changed my life as a kid: Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150. Yes, the title had that random apostrophe. Short for "Dalek is Invasion"? "Daleks [possessive] Invasion Earth"? "Title card maker who sucks' at languages'?"
      I didn't like science fiction as a kid. Science? Sure! I was living in the first and possibly last time in history that humans would kick dirt on the Moon. But most science fiction in the 1960s was just horror with test tubes. If I wanted to be scared, I could go to school and get beaten up.
      So I'm not sure why I watched it. I guess because I loved cartoons like Space Ghost, The Herculoids and Jonny Quest--heck, you could even consider Speed Racer a near-future sci-fi cartoon. Maybe that was why.
      I know why I kept watching it: DALEKS. Aliens in those days were guys with green facepaint and ping pong balls over their eyes. Daleks weren't just the first alien looking things I'd seen, but also the only alien acting ones--paranoid genocidal xenophobes with 2 answers to every problem: "Kill it now!" and "Kill it later!" Something about them stirred not fear in me, but revulsion, a righteous hatred against something evil, an evil that considered itself the ultimate good.
      Did it have something to do with my bullying? The fact that my parents were so in favor of civil rights for blacks, when right wingers considered that literally sinful in the eyes of God? That this was the same time, at age 8 or 9, I read a MAD magazine parody of "Hogan's Heroes" that ended with its sequel, "Buchenwald's Heroes"? I asked our babysitter's boyfriend what that was about, and he told me about concentration camps. "They were factories of death," and I pictured a conveyor belt with screaming victims strapped to it, while evil men attacked them with hammers and drills...not knowing that the truth was even worse.
      The Daleks were based on Terry Nation's childhood as a kid during the London blitz, and what he thought Nazis were like. And Invasion 2150 is the most overtly "Daleks are Space Nazis" Who story I've ever seen. It could've been called Nazis' Invasion Britain 1950. Fashions haven't changed in the 200 years since WWII; the same adverts hang on the bombed-out buildings. There's a Resistance, but there are also Dalek collaborators, so who do you trust? The Daleks' black-suited, mind-controlled once-human Robo-Men march in unison. The fucking Daleks--they're everywhere! The humans who aren't slave labor are starving. There is no hope against the unstoppable Master Species that has conquered the world.
      Of course there's hope! Doctor Who is here!
      And that's his name. He's a human with the surname Who with a "space and time machine" called the TARDIS. And the movie assumes you know everything, before breathlessly racing into its plot. Who is this Who? Who cares! Why is he taking his daughter and grandaughter to 2150 AD? Not answered! What is THAT THING?! It's a Dalek! What is it, why is it?! FUCK YOU! That's what you need to know about them! They're here to do a little light extermination. Of everybody.
      I think that's the other reason I watched this as a kid--what was going on? Well, Daleks bad, Earth doomed, that's it. Like a cartoon. The first Dalek seen drives out of the Thames, which was creepy and hinted at their powers. Possibly the camera shouldn't have lingered on it to the point where you could see it bobbing in the waves, like a clearly hollow shell with a very cold, wet and unfortunate extra inside.
      Sorry about all the grim Nazi stuff. This is also a fun movie, far better than the crapola that was it's predecessor, Dr Who and the Daleks, which was cheap and stupid and ignored both title characters and turned into a stupid sitcom. Any dumber, and it would've been "Gilligan's Skaro." There are tiny bits of comic relief, as a good guy infiltrates the Robo-Men, but otherwise--flat out action! And good effects for a 1966 movie. Sure, you can see the strings a couple of times on the Dalek mothership, but this was state of the art then. And the Dalek Master Plan is so dumb--okay, they're drilling into the Earth's core in order to destroy it and turn the planet into an interstellar spaceship that travels on exploding volcanoes WHAT?! which gets defeated by putting some planks of wood over a hole, sending their giant bomb to explode maybe a hundred whole yards away. And, yeah, there are a couple of times when you can explode a Dalek by pushing him into a wall, because they're apparently on the same castors your Lay-Z-Boy is (in the first movie, that was the climax. "Push Dalek Until Explode," and exactly as unexciting as that sounds. Can you imagine an action movie where the hero just pushes a terrorist against the wall, and he explodes? "Yippie-ki-yay, wallfucker!" RIPLEY: "Get away from her, you bitch!" Mildly elbows Alien Queen, BOOM. "My name is Inigo Montoya. I will now flick you with my finger." SPLORT. "Luke, Imperial stormtroopers! I--wait, they seem to kinda blow up by themselves." [NOTE: Actually believable result of a battle with stormtroopers])
      So I enjoyed my trip back to the movie that inspired my love of science fiction so long ago, and the memory of the next day, when every little boy who'd seen it ran around with one arm held like a gun, the other straight out in front of his face, screaming "EX-TERM-IN-ATE!"
      There was no third Doctor-named-Who movie. Too bad Terry Nation didn't team up with Terry Southern and write Dr Who or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cybermen.


      Discovery May Allow Scientists to Make Fuel from Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere. "The process is made possible by a unique microorganism called Pyrococcus furiosus, or 'rushing fireball,' which thrives by feeding on carbohydrates in the super-heated ocean waters near geothermal vents." So burning fossil fuel causes CO2 buildup and global warming, but the CO2 could be turned into non-fossil fuel that doesn't. If it works, awesome! Just hope Exxon and their greedy, short-sighted ilk don't try to kill it with their paid politicians.
      And if that last sentence sounded all hippy-dippy anti-corporatist pranoia, the next article on their main page is about how "Humans don't 'own' their own genes, the cellular chemicals that define who they are and what diseases they might be at risk for. Through more than 40,000 patents on DNA molecules, companies have essentially claimed the entire human genome for profit, report two researchers who analyzed the patents on human DNA." But don't worry! The US Supreme Court will be reviewing it soon. The "Corporations are People" court.


Pammy of Way of Cats posted this on FB: Customers Flee Wal-Mart Empty Shelves for Target, Costco. I commented that I worked for Lechmere, a very successful New England electronics & housewares chain. They got bought by Montgomery Ward, and the first thing our new corporate overlords did was cut payroll. As the boss of the music/video departments, I had 440 payroll hours for Xmas 93. After Monkey Ward took over, in 1994 I had 220. It was just us running registers, never being able to put product away. In 95 I had 110, but it didn't matter, after all the business MW drove away the Xmas before. And like with WalMart, the more less workers cost sales, the more they cut payroll. 1st Lechmere, then MW went bankrupt. I hope WM follows.
      I'll add that after Xmas 96, I had 60 hours of payroll--just me & 1 part timer. In a store that was open 83 hours a week...


      Yesterday I got my NetFlix DVD, Heat. It's 3 hours long?! I don't have time to watch that on a Wednesday! So I put it aside for Sunday and poked around Network Awesome.

      Here are a pair of hard-hitting anti-drug PSAs, one from the mid 80s and the other from the early 70s. WARNING: the subject matter may shock some viewers.

      Back in the 80s, they came up with the toys before they came up with the cartoons. Since I was a toy store manager then, I'd make a point to watch at least one episode of each new toy we got. The only ones I watched more than once were "Jem & The Holgrams," an MTV inspired one that I got a bit hooked on due to its soap opera continuity. Little did I know back then that a 9 year old girl who was the world's biggest Jem fan was in my store every Sunday. (10 years later I found out that her name was Jessica)
      The only other one I watched was GI Joe, because it was hilarious. For some reason this Network Awesome clip begins with part 2 of a 3 part episode, but that just increases the insanity, with its demented 1st episode synopsis. There is absolutely no part of this that isn't goofily retarded, starting with the infiltration of a Cobra base by Joes disguised in Cobra uniforms. One is a ninja wearing his weird full-face mask. The other wears a jaunty sailor's cap, and brings with him both a large dog and a wisecracking parrot. None of this arouses suspicion. Calling this an "episode" is accurate, as it seems like whoever wrote it was having one.



      Speaking of 80s toys, remember this early InExOb? Guess what...


      I've read the online comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for at least 2 years. But it was only today that I bothered to click on the weekly video.
      OH GREAT, now EVERY right winger knows what liberals always talk about when they're with their friends!





      And how was your Yeaster? (Well, "He is risen!" is what everybody says, so he must've had a lot of yeast in him)

      Yes, thanks to the new and stupid CT liquor laws, the boozateria was open. Not for me, luckily. On the drive to sister Pat's house, I was surprized at how many other places were open. Is it someone's Easter tradition to have brunch at Taco Bell, then get an oil change at Jiffy Lube? All their garage doors were open with a car with an open hood in one. Since no one was working on the car, and 2 Lubers were standing in front of the place with the bored/irritated look of people uselessly working on a holiday, I don't think that anyone was doing any Jiffy Lube Easter egg hunts.
      Not much to report about my Easter. Highlights were a niece's boyfriend's recent graduation from Police Academy (I'm not sure if he was Steve Guttenberg or the Human Beat Box Guy there). He had a DVD of his 6 months of training, which involved mud wrestling--apparently, local police do not expect to jello wrestle--and him getting tastes of pepper spray to the face and a Tasering. "I'd rather get pepper sprayed 10 times than get Tasered once!" he said, so it may be a good idea that he got to know what it feels like before he starts adminstering the shots himself.
      Other highlight: a nephew in Carolina who decided to answer his phone while at a horse race. While in a Port-a-Potty. Said phone was dropped, and not into a horse. He did not go in and try to get it.
      My question to the group: "Would you try and retrieve it if it fell into a regular public toilet?" Answers were evenly split.
      It reminded me of a story, supposedly true, of an NFL player who dropped a quarter into a urinal. He stared at it for a few seconds, then dropped a hundred dollar bill in. "Why'd you do that?!" asked a teammate. He reached down and said "I ain't going in there for just a quarter!"


      In the category of "so bad it's good," Tobor the 8th Man. It's a 1964 Japanese cartoon, but it looks much older, compared to contemporary shows like "Astroboy" and "Gigantor." What it lacks in the fomer show's charm, and the latter's incredible body count, it makes up in pure WTF. And loses it with the worst American rescripting ever--was the whole series written over a weekend of coffee and greenies? You can look away from the screen and still know what's going on. It's like an old radio play. People tell you what they're doing as they're doing it. Seriously, it's like "The giant monster is breathing fire on me! I will jump away--whew, that was close!--and now--I'll punch it!" It's like an ESL lesson for very young Japanese children. Version for older Japanese kids, Akira: "I am riding a motorbike away from a mushroom cloud!"
      I know that you're going to look at the titles and want to see the first one, "Evil Jaw And The Devil Germs." I assume that Tokyo Kansas City, or whatever the midwestern American city that's depicted in the American-made titles is, Des Moines or Peoria maybe, gets attacked by a giant mutant alien gumline. "Oh, no! It's GINGIVITISAUR!" Sorry, but that 3 dot TV symbol by it means that ep's N/A.
      Next you will want to watch "The Return of Napoleon Bonaparte" because The Fuck?! Don't; it's too dark to see. Not that it matters--it's effectively a radio play. Plot: Not-America and Not-Soviet Union plan peace talks at hotel owned by Basically the Only Character Who Could be the Villain. Napoleon appears to try to rabble rouse them into war. This involves replacing the President's daughter with an exact robot duplicate, and using it to plunge into a pool of nitroglycerin outside the hotel. And by "pool," I mean he drained the hotel's Olympic-sized pool and filled it with nitro. When 8th man foils this, his next plan is to fire missiles at it that were in a statue the Hotel Manager just had built. 8th Man fucking lassos them, with a fucking lasso as previously implied. Turns out that Napoleon is a robot, too! Operated by--spoiler alert--THE HOTEL MANAGER! Seriously, asswipe--that's the best plan to blow up your own hotel you could come up with? Swimming pool full of nitro, but the trigger has to look like a world leader's daughter and jump in from the roof and also build a statue made of missiles and not just put some lasso-proof bombs in the minibars?
      Instead you should watch "The Monsterous Eeler," in which he describes in detail what he's going to do while wrestling a giant penis. Seriously--tentacle porn is not this tentacle porny!


      Two days ago, Roger Ebert wrote:      I read that yesterday. I always read his personal blog on Wednesdays.
      Today he died.
      LTRotD know how much I thought of him. Watching his show made me think more about movies than "I liked that one." He was brilliant reviewing movies he liked, and hilarious at ones he hated. "This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel! This movie isn't even below the bottom of the barrel! This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as barrels!" My favorite review of him came from Kevin: "He's the only movie critic who isn't full of himself."
      The Sun-Times obit.      John Scalzi on Ebert: "His Web essays have a sharp, bright but autumnal quality to them; the leaves were still on the trees but the colors were changing and the snap was in the air. It seemed to me Ebert wrote them with the joy of living while there is still life left. I loved these essays but they also made me sad. I knew as a reader they couldn�t last. And of course they didn�t."


      Top 25 Roger Ebert Quotes, pretty clearly done by somebody who was given a deadline yesterday. They skew recently and run pretty lame, although they inlcude the "barrels" quote. But where are gems like Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie--"It's like they threw away the game and filmed the box it came in!"

      A one-shot Cartoon Network special called "Off The Air". (Warning: autoplay) Apparently the random shorts have a theme. I have no acid trip idea what the animators had in acid trip common when making these.



      Roger Ebert's last review, To The Wonder, coincidentally both a summation of his view of movies and of life:      I hope the Sun Times keeps his movie review page going. Just a month ago, it began posting reviews by other critics, all no doubt as influenced by his love of movies as I was. Even if none of the new critics are likely to win a Pulitzer for their writing like he did. There's a review of a movie I hope he saw a screener of before the end, as Mr Ebert sure loved his movies about movies:      It proves that Kubrick made it because of his guilt over helping NASA fake the moon landings. "All work and no play" begins with "A11"! Can't you see it? "APOLLO 11!" Or are you one of the sheeple?

      Ahh, you kids today! With your dubsteps and the Gaga on the YouTubes! Back in MY day, we had the comic books written by old men who hated the teenagers and their "rocks and rolls," but still had to write them in a way that no teenager ever talked! So that the kids would buy them! Those stupid, smelly hippie kids and their love of the radical, crazy music of the Cowsills!
      The Who Whats, you say? They were the zowiest wow-wows back in the day! That's how the kids described their shlunky antics, they were the zooviest! No, Mr Harvey Comics Editor, that's exactly how the kids of 1970 today talk! My 18 year old daughter and her stupid hippie boyfriend tell me so, while giggling and smelling of something odd!
      While drawn in the best Richie Rich style, the comic also draws the Cowsill boys realistically. With their furry unibrows. The kids today, they love the unibrows! Also the acid trips; here's another page of psychedelic Cowsill "OH GOD OH GOD BAD TRIP!!" pop art. OH GOD THE UNIBROWS, THEY LOOK INTO MY SOUL AND FEED IT TO THEIR EYE HAIR Sorry! Anyway, here's my story about the Cowsills getting gang-banged by buxom miniskirted teenaged girls. For the kids! Can I have my paycheck? I need to buy a martini.




      I prefaced my comment on Weird Universe's post Zippy and Me, about a talk the blogger gave with Bill Griffith with "I hope the following links to Zippy strips don't get this flagged as spam." Hey, guess what happened next! (Hint: involves flags and lunchmeat)
      But, as someone who is averse to wasting typing, here's an altered version of that. Old news to you guys, but since it happened in 2002 and I've never gathered all the images together, maybe not familiar.

      Cats being attacked by ghosts.


      Obama was near my store yesterday! And here's the Hello, Me So Stupid story: Man With Pellet Rifle Arrested Near Presidential Motorcade Route. It had a scope and he was shootin' at stuff, and pointed it at a cop. "During the arraignment, prosecutor Mark Brodsky asked the judge to set bail at $100,000. The judge opted for $50,000, based largely on Stravinskas' criminal record, which includes convictions for larceny, failure to appear in court, drunk driving and violation of probation."
      He's white. Dubya was here in 2004, and followed much the same route through the blockaded town. Do you think if a black man had pointed even a popsicle stick in the same way then, he'd get get his bail reduced? Yeah, reduced by two dozen bullets. And his record would've been used in the "liberal media" to justify his death, much in the same way a black teen in this country can get "justifiably" murdered for carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles near an armed racist.


      I got a call on my answering machine from the ACLU. That was several bits of odd. Second bit: In 10 years of membership, I've never once had a call from them. It's always been by mail, snail or e. Third bit: The guy making the call apparently had never made a call from a charitable organization in his life. Or maybe used a phone in his life. Maybe before calling, you should read the script first. Fourth: I really have never pictured the voice of an ACLU caller as sounding like a dumbfuck white trash Texan, pausing to either spit out his chaw or take a shot of whiskey. Sixth, the longer pauses really sounded like he was covering the phone with his hand, with mumbles coming from someone coaching him on what to say. As he had trouble with big words like "Cibil Liberties." (I would've made that Fifth, except I assume the guy cain't count to them big numbers thet high) Second Sixth: It was about stopping Senate gun control legislation. Important enough for the ACLU to hire 2 people (Cletus and his English as a Second Language After Texan tutor) to call me, yet not important enough to send their millions of members a fucking email about. Almost as if this was NRA disinformation to con ACLU members into calling their senators and stop gun control legislation. Man, how I wish I knew a way to transfer my answering machine message to MP3, because--wow, you really have to hear this to disbelieve it! Seriously, Clem, take the damn possum leg out of your mouth before talking, and also wait till the call's over before fucking your sister!
      People who don't wear shirts with Confederate flags on them may be asking, "Hey, what was the First Bit?" It was caller ID'd as phone number 000-000-0000. That sure sounds legit!


      6 animals with pets of their own




      Hey, it's


      MR & MRS T

      On a lazy Sunday morning, Byron laid in the window in a cat mode best described as "95% offline." Not totally asleep, his eyes barely slits. Then he started and stared at something outside the window. I kind of caught it myself, and the first thing my brain said was "It's snowing?" Of course not! Must've been a bird. Super really all-white bird. Huh. Odd. Probably all that snow we had this winter.
      I went out to grab yesterday's mail, and--da fuq? There's scores of clumps of white...stuff...all over the ground! It's not snow, it must be...that makes no sense. And it's spread over about 30 feet.
      I'll get the mail. It's not snow, but--okay, I ain't touching it. I'll stab it with a twig. Yes, it is what I thought. A big clump of shredded cotton. Like someone opened a big bunch of aspirin containers and ran them through a leaf blower. What? Why? And just between these 2 buildings.
      I looked all around. I began looking in the air. Nothing on the roof, like some cotton chimney exploded. Then I saw--snow. A big piece of cotton snow drifting down. I watched it land, so that I'd not further question my sanity. What was this fall of cotton from the aether?
      Where's Charles Fort when you really need him?

      John Scalzi loinked to an article that accused him of racism against White Straight Male Americans, surely the most martyr-ierest group in white male America, according to White Straight Male Americans, who have suffered through versions of the Holocaust and Slavery in their fat heads. He just linked to it, making little comment; the actual thing contains every word in the Universe four times. Scalzi compared it to the Unabomber Manifesto, due to its being the most coherent thing ever writted down, but only to the guy who wrote it. If you want to read it because you have a spare week, the link's up there. Here was my reaction:

      If that sounds like utter gibberish--go read the post that inspired it. Let me know how far you can slog through it before throwing up your hands and saying "Dude, you're NUTS, and you have NEVER suffered from 'racism' or even read this 'Orwell' you cite continually! Also--'Nazis in pig-tails'?!"
      Oh, wait! Duh!





      Yesterday, I went shopping just up the road. Dollar Tree, Stop & Shop, and KMart. At the last, I got a megapack of TP, melatonin, and black work jeans, which today took 30 minutes to become covered in white cat hair.
      3 hours later, my modem died. So I had to go back.
      "Where are your modems?"
      "Right over here--oh wait, we're sold out."
      "Thanks." Clerk leaves, I pick up a box and think, "This sure looks like a modem to me." Maybe he thought I wanted a Wi-Fi one, but he also was the only person I saw working the floor, so maybe he was covering the whole store and just didn't know. When I went to buy it, the cashiers couldn't figure out how to get the security harness off it and they asked him how, and he was running register. The electronics department had CNN playing quietly on the TVs. "Boston Marathon--oh, right. It's Patriots Day. I wonder what that big puff of smoke was."
      In the car, the classical radio station finished a somber piece. The DJ said he was going to continue to play music like that, due to the "bombing at the Boston Marathon." The what?!
      It took almost an hour to get the modem's "easy setup" to take, and I checked the news. No theories were given as to why it happened or who did it. At work today, of course everyone was "Muslims!" But their terrorist groups take credit for their atrocities quickly; if a bomb goes off in Israel, within hours a half-dozen different groups all claim that they did it. And their backpack bombs tend to be on the back of the guy who detonated it. Looks more to me right now like the Atlanta Olympics bombing, a lone religious nut (but Christian), or Oklahoma City, right wing nuts (hitting on Patriots Day against the East Coast Liberal Elite and the JFK library; also income tax day and the day Oklahoma City was bombed). Who knows. Find them and try them.
      For those not from New England, Patriots Day is a MA holiday where all schools and many private companies are closed. Shit! All of Jessica's family had it off! The odds against them being there are astronomical, and Google says no one of that surname was hurt, but I'll rest better when she answers my email about it.
      Note that the dust literally had not settled from the bomb when people, instead of running away in terror, ran towards to help the wounded, not caring if another bomb went off. Patriots Day showed the worst of humanity, and humanity at its best.

      Lighter stuff:
      The Most Ridiculous Tea Party Protest Signs.

      "You�ve brought luck to love/I�ve been hit by a truck in love."--poet Jennifer Aniston. The Absolute Worst Poems by Celebrities


      Google turned off its Marathon Bombing Person Locator today. ("First, do no evil. Next, don't do anything. Also, if China demands it, do all the evil they want") I wouldn't care, if I'd heard from Jess. Well, she is pretty bad at answering emails. I'll see if there's a list of the injured online.
      No. Maybe that's why Google turned it off. I should call her.
      Straight to voicemail. Well, that happens too. She'll call back.
      3 hours later: no email, no phone call, no list of victims. Oh god oh god. Calm down. Keep checking email.
      I called again. "Hello?" Since this post didn't begin with uncontrolled sobbing, you probably guessed already that her family's fine. They didn't go to the marathon. Her husband Ron, however, went to work. He had to show his badge to security at the parking lot, because he works in Boston.
      At the Marathon's starting line.
      The Marathon uses his parking lot for the runners, with just a few spaces left for employees. If the lunatic's purpose was to kill as many runners as possible, as opposed to civilians, that's where the bombs would've been. So she had a few frantic moments, calling to make sure he was okay.But they all are. She was shopping with her daughter, who yelled "HI BILL!" at her phone. Jess said "You're the only person who called to make sure we're okay!"
      I will ever be the Designated Worrier in every relationship.

      In lighter news that doesn't sound lighter, Mr Ebert's memorial service: Nudity, profanity, and music energize Roger Ebert�s raucous Chicago memorial. He went out the way he lived.



      Surgeon prescribes Brian Eno to patients


      The Boston bomber: Thousands of searchers, hundreds of vehicles, all that hi-tech equipment--and they couldn't find him a half a mile away from the shootout by following a trail of blood?
      Not that the guy who found him was the physical manifestation of Sherlock Holmes, either. "My boat's be busted into, and it's all bloody! I could call 911, but I'll just open the tarp and see if I can get my fool haid blowed off."
      "President Barack Obama said after the capture. 'The people of Boston refused to be intimidated.''' Shutting down a major city and its surrounding towns and sending an army in counts as not being intimidated? What would count, nuking it? We should just change our national motto from "E Puribus Unum" to "Continually Terror-Shitting Our Pants."

      But what if the Boston bombing was really A CONSPIRACY?! Like SANDY HOOK?! HAH EVER THINK OF THAT SHEEPLE
      The Conspiracy Theory Flowchart





      Nice, short summation in comics form of the anti-vaxxer nuttiness. The "scientist" who started it was exposed as a liar and conman within a year of his "paper" being published (although the comic leaves out that it only was published because of his 3 "co-authors," none of which had anything to do with the paper, and didn't even know him), and yet is still believed in many countries, especially the most gullible one (the USA: You're soaking it it!). Children are being "saved" from autism while dying of measles. It was revealed as a money-making scam years ago, and yet is still believed by such notable scientists as Pamela Anderson. That's the deal with conspiracy theories: any evidence or proof against something is automatically evidence/proof for it. It's all part of the conspiracy!
      �A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.�-- Mark Twain

      Who Said it: A Republican or an Insane Person? I thought that the Big Reveal was going to be that they were all Republicans! Until I recognized a quote from that German who ruined a perfectly good mustache. Unless it's a quote you've already heard, it really is hard to tell the difference! But I imagine that if there's a Republican version of this quiz, a quote like "We need background checks on gun buyers" sounds utterly mad.


      6 Best Toy Knockoffs. By best, of course, meaning the best in a way inexplicable.



      Byron sometimes makes that sound when bathing himself. Being deaf, he doesn't know that he does. DJ, the copycat, does not know that he's deaf and has learned to make that sound himself. When I move over in bed a bit, he makes a different sound, a soft, low moan-groan. I've been told that I make that sound while moving over in bed. Copycat.




      I wasn't there for it yesterday, but SHAWT:
      Right before closing--a popular time for shoplifters and underage drinkers to arrive, as they assume everyone's too interested in leaving (we are) to be aware of our surroundings (but oh, we are very aware)--a kid tries to buy. He looks like a teenager, and his picture doesn't match his ID. Usually, after we don't get a second form of ID, we say "We'll hold this while we call the police." Usually, they suddenly say "I'll be right back!" and run away.
      Sometimes they don't. Like when a frat brother lends his ID and says "I'll kill you if I don't get it back!" Then they can linger until the po-po come, and realize that we weren't kidding. In this case, he insisted to the cop that he was the guy on the license. So the cop called the guy whose name was on it. The phone was answered by his brother. He was not the guy standing in front of the cop. Why they just don't have the guy whose ID it is buy for them, I don't get that.
      Then the cop made the kid call his parents before he cuffed him and he had to post bail. "Hey, Dad? Can you spare a little of my $32,000 a year tuition up front?"
      The Future Leaders of America! Their motto: "It's Legal If You Can Get Away With It!"


      A little firsthand clarification about the underage bust I missed out on yesterday:
      It was the kid who suggested calling his brother, not the cops, so that he could...whisper "Tell them you're me" or something? Eternally baffling question from among liquor store workers: If your brother goes to the same damn college and is legal, why is HE not buying?
      Two huge cops turned up to interrogate/intimidate the kid. Sample dialogue:
      COP: How tall are you?
      KID: 5 7.
      COP: Your license says you're 5 9.
      KID: Umm...err...
      COP: How old were you in 2012?
      KID: 17.
      COP: How old were you in 2013?
      KID: 22.
      COP: Do you even know what year this is?
      Officer, give him a break! He's aged 5 years in 1 year, and shrunk! That'd drive anyone to drink.


      It's the Vernon Historical Society's booksale!
      Only bought 3, for $1 each. Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader, 600 pages of trivia. From Approximately Coast To Coast...It's the Bob and Ray Show, skits from their radio show. Handwritten inscription, to Peggy from John, Xmas 1983: "Please think of me while you're rolling." ROTFL, I really hope John meant.
      And a big coffee table book of Armored Fighting Vehicles, which I didn't even leaf through before buying. "Once a tank geek, always a tank geek" I thought. I should've leafed through it.
      For one, it has the definite smell of "sat in a musty basement for 6 years." Two, I looked to see if it had the Worst Tank Ever in it:
      And that's when I realized that it didn't have any tanks at all in it! APCs, self-propelled guns, armored cars, that stuff. Opening it randomly, I came across the Bison Concrete Armoured Vehicle, which I thought was manufactured by a company of that name. Yes it was, and yes, its armor was made of actual concrete. It was one of the desperate vehicles that England cobbled together early in WWII, when a Nazi invasion seemed imminent. They just poured concrete on civilian trucks and hoped that they didn't sink in the English mud. I imagine that they were as useful as a cinderblock with a machine gun on it.
      Which reminded me of this InExOb:      I could never find confirmation that the thing ever existed. And now I know why--it was named after Lord Beaverbrook, but it was called the "Beaverette." A quick Google image search proved that A) there are a lot of high school female sports teams with the unfortunate name of "the Beaverettes," and that B), there were a lot of different Beaverettes, as they were old cars transformed into sad, sad little weaponized soccer mom vehicles.


      Okay, I'm USA enough to see that and think "The driver is the gunner?!" before realizing that it's Britain, where the drive on the wrong side of the road. Then I thought "So the gunner only gets that little slit to aim his light machine gun through? How can he hit anything?" then I think "And the driver looks out of where? That tinier slit?! And he doesn't run down any of his fellow troops?"
      You might also think that a flagman walked ahead of it, waving a sign that said "PLEASE DON'T SHOOT OUR GIANT EXPOSED RADIATOR". But this was fixed with the Mark II:


      See? Apparently, a horizontally-aligned radiator does something something. Possibly it distracts from the gunner, who even has the look of "PLEASE NO SHOOT MY HEAD." Note that the armoring is only any protection if the Beaverette is running away. But only on the road; it'd sink otherwise.
      It had a crew of 3. Driver, gunner, and I guess a guy who prayed a lot.


      It was pretty much inevitable that the hilarious Superhero Speed-Dating video would have a sequel. Not as funny, but well here it is:




      Interesting coincidence about that Puma quote: My car has that thing that digitally displays a message from whatever radio station I'm listening to. For instance, the NPR one say "Classical, Jazz, News." The one I listened to tonight said "Tuestay Evening Msuic." Thnaks, that's good to konw.

      Google Earth hates bridges.


      It's the 10th anniversary of MISSION ACCOMPLISHED DAY! And when the evidence that America has a "liberal media bias" was disproved. Yeah, he landed a plane on an aircraft carrier. Suuuure. That's the hardest thing that a pilot can do, and it sure wasn't done perfectly on the very first try by a guy who spent his time in the Air National Guard flying a plane too obsolete to go to Viet Nam 30 years prior, inbetween partying and going AWOL. Everyone seems to forget that there was a different guy in the pilot's seat.
      A friend in high school was talking to a Navy recruiter and asked "What qualifications do you need to be a carrier pilot?" The recruiter asked "Can you walk on water? Then you're not qualified." Remember the time Dumbya choked on a pretzel while watching TV? That guy could barely walk across a floor.
      Amusingly, right after I read a bunch of fawning quotes over the Village Idiot's publicity stunt, iTunes played a song that I'd put the lyrics to on this page on that same day:


      "History is made by Stupid People."

      A Cartoon Tribute To Cats, And The Poets Who Loved Them.

      My vacation is in 10 days! I might go to the movies and watch explosions. There's Star Trek, and there's also Iron Man. Here's the trailer. I hope the film lives up to the special effects budget.





      I get freebies online when I can, so long as it isn't from, say, a charity. Religious organizations, Wal-Mart, tobacco companies--they have plenty of money and are evil in my view. I'd take the tires off their owner's BMWs if I could.
      From a chewing tobacco company, I got an actual stainless steel Thermos! Although I wondered what the hell I'd do with it. Then thought "I can keep my loose weed in it!" (Just Kidding! I keep my bagged weed in it)
      The chewing tobacco guys, proving that they have money to burn (money to chew?), on my birthday they send me something unbidden. Last year it was an engraved money clip. I've never used it, as a money clip is the fastest way to lose all your cash besides just wadding the bills up in your pocket. If you want to add "Or by spending it on WEED!" feel free, but I last bought mine last summer. This year they sent me...I have no idea. "The last tool you'll reach for at the end of the day," with an illustration of filthy hands doing...something. He's not grabbing his own tool, is he? Part of it is (I think) a bottle opener, and the other end of it is--a wrench marked "1/2." "I think I'll pop me a brewski and then tighten some bolts!" is not what I think when I get home (at least not the second part). Unless their cans of chaw need a wrench to open, I'm at a loss. And people who've managed liquor stores for over 15 years already have more bottle openers than they need.
      I wonder what level of uselessness next year's gift will be. A weathervane/gerbil sexing device maybe.

      I was checking in a beer shipment when I heard the cashier intercom the New Owner that he had a delivery. Where? I looked out and some guy had come in through the front door where we don't take deliveries, as a giant beer truck parked by the back door wasn't hint enough for him. Whev.
      After about 3 minutes, certainly no more than 4, the old white guy rages at me "ARE YOU THE GUY CHECKING ME IN?!"
      "No, I'm checking in this. Let me page him again for you."
      "THANK YOU!" he politely screamed.
      A whole 2 minutes passed, a timespan so long that a snail raced past a hamstrung turtle covered in molasses. The guy snatched the invoice from the cashier's hands, barked "I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!" and walked 20 seconds to me. In that time, newborn babies grew up, graduated college, died of old age. "ARE YOU GOING TO CHECK ME IN?! DON'T MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT THIS!"
      Mountains were worn down to rubble by the wind in the second it took me to say "Yeah, 'let's not make a big deal out of this'!" I signed the invoice and told him to have the cashier store-stamp it. Continents drifted into each other, raising new mountain ranges from the older rubble. He gave me a glare that I read as "Old white guy doesn't want to deal with the young black man." He stormed away. The beer driver, with a handtruck piled 10 high with 30 packs of Coors Light, was giving me a "What's his problem?" look and I rolled my eyes and said "Asshole!" and opened the cooler door to show him where I wanted him to
      WHAM! The asshole kicked the door, smashing a 30 pack and spraying beer everywhere. "YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN ASSHOLE!" shrieked the asshole. I went full Drunken Toddler on his ass, screaming "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY STORE!!" He wittily retorted "WITH PLEASURE!" and barged out. With his delivery, and a signed invoice. He could possibly take his vodka and pretend that I'd signed for it. The cashier said he began running to the back, as it sounded like a fistfight was about to start.
      I told the New Owner about it. He'd been in the store all along, but when he was told that he had a delivery, naturally assumed it was by the back door, and that it was my beer delivery. He said he didn't hear my call to him--possible, as that intercom has issues, and he frequently has iPod earbuds in. He called his dad, the Real Owner, as to what to do.
      No idea what did happen, but the RO came over an hour later. "Tell me exactly what happened," he said to me, "I think this may be the same guy I dealt with at my store 3 weeks ago." I repeated the story, feeling my face grow flush with anger. He said "That's the same guy. We ended up screaming and jabbing our fingers at each other, and I said the same thing you did: 'Get the fuck out of my store!' They're a real Mickey Mouse company. I'm thinking of filing assault charges, as it's the only way to get the owner's attention." Which is not as extreme as it sounds--if Asshole had kicked that heavy and metal cooler door a second earlier or later, it would've hit me or the beer driver.
      Suns were born, planets accreted from the debris, life formed and became extinct, the suns died, over the time elapsed from beginning to end of the incident. Over, like, the 6 to 8 minutes this whole thing took from start to finish. The guy couldn't wait that long? How many TVs has this rageaholic guy smashed because the commercials went on 30 seconds longer than he liked? Isn't the purpose of a business to sell things, not shriek and run out the door? It was like sitting down at a restaurant and the waiter, instead of asking "Do you need more time to order?" screams "WHAT DO YOU WANT?! I HAVEN'T GOT ALL DAY!" and then throwing your plates of food at you. "WHERE'S MY TIP, YOU ASSFUCKHEADS?!"


      Hey, Quote of the Day: Try telling that to a Republican politician.

      It turns out that the screaming asshole I dealt with was different from the screaming asshole the Real Owner dealt with in his store. This is endemic in every business: pay shitty wages, you'll get shitty workers. The worse ones are always from the same companies, no matter who they are. RO got a response from the company--due to threatening legal action--and of of course, the Asshole Involved had a totally different story. I was the villain, he was the Baby Jesus. We have witnesses and cameras, if he wants to go to the next level.
      RO: "I told him that I don't want any of his Waterbury trash delivering to my stores!" I would consider "Waterbury trash" to be many of their politicians (and those darn nuns who won't let anyone go to the ruins of Holy Land). Is this a CT thing? We barely have cities at all. Hartford has 100,000 people, less than most city blocks in NYC. We have Hartford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New Haven, Stamford...that's pretty much it, city-wise. But everyone who doesn't live in them sneers at them. NYC and Boston are idolized--"If only they were closer, there'd be something to DO!" What, 2 hours southwest or 90 minutes northeast is too long a drive? I like living in "boring" central CT just fine. I don't get bored. Farmers Markets to the east, art cinemas to the west, state parks all over the place. Museums and concerts everywhere! How long a drive is it to Fuck You Asshole Town, because maybe you whiners should go there.
      Although: to hell with angry ancient Waterbury-based delivery loons!



      Weatherunderground listed "Today's Temperature Extremes" and one was "Oxford: 140�F." Yeah, that would be considered extreme.

      Just days away from vacation! The first thing I'm gonna do is pay a guy to shove his finger up my ass! My yearly physical falls on the first Monday of vacation. Better than the 2nd one, which is my last day. But as Mrs Jessica once said, "Well, you know what I have to go through? Be glad that no one's shoving a wire brush up your dick!"
      I'll be seeing her, but sadly not Kev & Meg. He has finals that week. But he'll have no classes for 5 weeks. I'll see him after vacay.
      Today, Cinestudio sent me its flier of upcoming movies. I was surprised to see that, for once, the schedule started next week. The flier tells the post office that it's "Time Sensitive Material," but I always get it a week after the movies start. And I don't think that it's the USPS's fault. Nothing of interest playing on vacation, but--hey, Miyazaki's Spirited Away at the very end of it! I love that movie, and I can see it again on a huge Cinerama screen! Kev will totally go, and maybe Meg will t--Wait. Sunday the 21st?! They sent me a schedule that began in EARLY APRIL? Four WEEKS late?! What, they expect me to jump in my TARDIS to see it?

      So I'm not seeing that. What I did see was something that a coworker kept insisting that I should see, Silver Linings Playbook. That would be the bipolar guy, who decided to stop taking his meds and had a meltdown, ran off and ended up briefly in jail and then the hospital. I can see why he liked it. The main characters are bipolar and have decided to not take their meds, and had meltdowns.
      The New Owner saw it, and said "That's exactly what it's like to live with someone bipolar off his meds." His brother was. I've met him, but only when he was on, and I never would've guessed. One time that he was off, got the Delusions of Grandeur thing, realized exactly what was wrong with the world, yes yes that's exactly what, jumped in his car and drove to DC. He had to tell President Obama how to fix the world! The Secret Service arrested him at the White House. He was released after some phone calls from his parents and his doctor, and him being white and Jewish. Brown and Muslim would've ended differently.
      My favorite movies are the ones where I have no idea where they're going. I didn't know where Silver Linings Playbook was going from minute to minute, or even over seconds. The main characters aren't "Oh, those wacky mentally ill people!" but their behavior is unpredictable--but perfectly logical to themselves. I've yelled "DON'T BE SO STUPID!" at movies, but this was one where I shook my head and said, "You're not stupid. Your logic is stupid. Stop it; you're not stupid." But if you're bipolar and off your meds, you're the only logical person, the only sane person. In the world.
      The other characters, the "sane" ones, seem like high-functioning neurotics, such as the guy's superstitious, OCD father, convinced that his son is good luck for the Phillies. (He's played by an up-and-coming actor named DeNiro; I hope he gets more roles) My only complaint would be that in the last half hour, this realistic and unpredictable movie suddenly has a Hollywood Plot that is quite predictable. I said 25 years ago after watching The Breakfast Club, "I don't think that a lifetime of mental illness can be cured by a makeover."




      Due to people advising that "The Hunger Games is really good!" I watched it. I shall not be taking said people's advice again.
      I avoided it because the High Concept was too Low IQ. Who would want to watch 12 year olds kill each other? Assuming you like murder, wouldn't it be more interesting to watch adults do it? Which gets higher ratings: The Super Bowl, or Pop Warner Football? Sports is meaningless to me, but I think that a bunch of 300 pound gargoyles battling each other would be more interesting than betting which pee-wee team slips and falls down the least. The Roman gladiators didn't fight to the death for an obvious reason: the veteran gladiators would always win, and that's boring. It'd be like a soccer game where one side has a tank--only interesting once.
      As even a bad guy says "Why would this prevent rebellion?" The Nazis killed 10 civilians for every 1 of their soldiers civilians killed, spoiler: didn't work out very well for them. If you know you could killed at random, what's the use in not fighting back?
      So they randomly pick someone from their population of the cleanest, least-starved-looking dirty starving people ever seen, but you can volunteer and so why doesn't every District train someone as their champion and have them volunteer? We're stupidly told that the "better" Districts have schools that do just that. But all the well-fed and fit starving kids also have ninja skillz, whatever.
      And if it's supposed to be a satire on reality TV...the first clip we see from the show is someone hitting someone else over the head with a brick, which is exactly as subtle as the satire here. The first round involves half the players getting killed in 2 minutes? Dick Cheney has had more challenging "canned partridge" hunts. And why do the battlers form alliances? Yeah, I've never seen "Survivor," but I know that that was part of it. But they got voted off, so you needed alliances. If that show operated by the same laws, everyone would be trying to murder the others while they slept.
      And an alliance of the worst has a sleep-over! After Katpiss tries to escape, but the TV guys stop her not just by burning down a quarter of the forest, but by doing it with cannons that shoot fucking fireballs. Are these cannons all over the arena? If they want to keep her in the game alive, isn't this a little bit risky of her getting extra crispy? Couldn't they do the same thing a little more cheaply by building a fucking fence?
      And she runs exactly where they want her to, exactly as the Evil Posse passes right by, and she runs up a tree that no one else in this agrarian society is capable of climbing, right to that one branch where that other kid is hiding, which also happens to be right next to a hive of killer bees. Bad Guy TV, that is some remarkably precise planning you made there. Fence woulda worked too, just sayin'.
      I actually lost count of how many insane flaws of logic the Games stumbled through. But here's something I never heard of anyone else mentioning: Notice how few black people there are, even as extras? And then a black character dies, and then we see lots of them! And what do they instantly--instantly--do? Riot and loot. Because, Those People! They're All the Same, even in the future or alternate universes or movies made by white guys.
      Spoiler, as I don't care about giving away things about stuff I hate: Katpiss and Peeyu spend time talking about how to end the game, and (after the game's rules were changed, then changed back seconds later, then changed again) going all Romeo and Juliet at the end would've helped. It sure would've helped preventing the inevitable sequel.


      Thing I was thinking of doing on my vacation: Going to award-winning local eatery Cosmic Omelette. I was going to ask you, Dear Reader, which omelette you would choose from their menu, but WTF?! I tried every screen resolution and it's still written in a font Ant-Man couldn't read. "Zoom in" actually made it smaller. I can read it, if I take my glasses off and squint an inch from the screen until I burst a blood vessel in my eyes. I think I'll pass.
      I also could, but won't, go to Brian Eno's "77 Million" installation in NYC, so called because there are 77,000,000 possible variations of the music and digitally-displayed pictures played. I have the base music on a CD; quite soothing ambient music. I've seen clips of the art, and it's in the same sedate style.
      It will be held at, no shit, The Red Bull Music Academy. Because nothing says "contemplative" like several cans of RED BULL MOTHERFUCKER AHHHH AHHH
      I assume that a degree from the RBMA leads to jobs in speed metal and heart attacks.


      Three Greatest Words in the English Language: "I'M ON VACATION!"
      Three worst: "HORRIBLE BACK PAIN!"
      Yeah, that's how it's begun. Thanks, Byron.
      Three Awesome Words: Christopher FUCKIN' Lee!




      I imagine that you're wondering how Byron threw out my back.
      Every vacation, I buy 2 weeks worth of beer so that no one else has to. Friday I pushed back a stack of beer so that a driver could drop another stack. As soon as I stood up, I though "Oh, I did something to my back. Better take it easy today." And so I did, even though I had 320 cases of beer to put away. By myself. There were other people working--or "working"--but I had to do it all by myself. To give you an example of how evenly distibuted the store's work load is, to replace me this Saturday, they scheduled two people.
       I didn't take anything for the pain. If my back hurts at work, I want to be constantly reminded of it, so that I don't make it worse. When I was home, I took 4, then 2 more, ibuprofen. Didn't seem to do anything, but it didn't hurt that much anyway.
      Saturday I forgot about my back until I lifted a box. "Oh right, did something to my back. Better take it easy today." And so I did.
      And then--VACATION! I passed a litterbox and said "Byron!" Only he would have done it. How he done did it, I don't know. He managed to bunny-kick a pile of litter from a half-full box and then poop in it. I grabbed the dustpan, cleaned it up and
      "OH MY GOD!" The pain was terrible. It didn't stay that bad. It got worse. I took some ibuprofen. And took it. And took it...the pain passed into agony. I couldn't sit, walk or even lie down without crying out. The best I could do was lie flat on my back in bed. The pain moved to my left leg socket, where it felt like something had eaten into my bone marrow, and then started eating its way back out. I can't fall asleep on my back. But I did, around 5AM, from exhaustion.
      And awoke to more agony. The cats avoided me and my barks and screams of pain when I'd exert myself by doing things like "sitting down." So Mother's Day with the family changed to "all day in bed." It was worse pain then when I had a fractured rib.
      I almost went to the ER at 4AM, but I was pretty much out of mind by then. And, in the same amazing coincidence that happened the night I fractured my rib, I already had an appointment for my yearly physical today. I'd had about 40 ibuprofen in 36 hours--8 a day is the recommended maximum--so they passed on the blood test, as my blood was likely thinner than water. But I could walk and sit with minimal pain. I had to wait to check in, as some guy was there to make an appointment. In person? Hey, hepcat, it's called "a phone." They're the cat's pajamas! When you leave, try not to get run over by a Model T truck delivering blocks of ice!
      The doc said it was nothing permanent, and gave me a muscle relaxant. Which cost me $4.86 and worked just fine. Until DJ decided to race across my path and send me tumbling to grab a chair, which reactivated the pain. Boys-yes, you'll be in my will. But it'll be "adopted by Auntie Jess and live with strange people and cats," so maybe you should stop trying to kill me.

      Got from Amazon a CD of one of my favorite early 80s groups, Wall of Voodoo, compiling their first 2 albums. Yes, "Mexican Radio," but no. Their 1st LP was the better one. (At least one of you remembers their best song, "Back in Flesh," from Urgh! A Music War) Yes, like TMBG, I discovered them before they were cool (except that Wall of Voodoo was never cool). My inspiration for tracking them down came from this post, describing "Dark Continent" as a Perfect Album. I commented about the only time I ever saw them live.
      I also got a wind-up Dalek. "It patrols and moves its head!" PER-AM-BU-LATE!      


      I'm doing better, thank you for Sorry. Forgot what "sitting and crossing my legs" felt like just there.

      Programmers and engineers of a certain age often name 2 big early influences: the movie Tron, and Legos. Here's a thing I missed, only 2 years after my escape from Kay-Bee Toys: Computer Warriors. They were like the movie Tron crossed with a toy likeTransformers, if they transformed into...


      ...fucking electric pencil sharpeners.
      For some reason, no engineer or programmer has ever claimed these guys as their inspiration. Unless they drink a lot of Pepsi, or hated EVIL VIRUS SOCCER TROPHY. So up-to-the-date that the computer has the CD-ROM thing and also your radiator has dishes of water on them to humidify your Great Depression home. And the grocery list says "Get more mustard and sorbet". Aaand you're the one kid who wanted to turn into a can opener, because you were exactly the same size of your action figure.
      And that's the premise, you're a Computer Warrior as tall as your Luke Skywalker toy. Because every child wants to pretend that they're smaller than they already are.
      "Pencil Sharpener and Computer coming in 1990!" Yeah, I'll bet they did. Possibly not helped by the fact that the Bad Guy's motivation can be summed up by the repeated quote "EEEE-hee hee hee!" And the Good Guys could be summed up as "I'm so very constipated."


      I got an email titled "Get your ART beating!" which sounds like Calder dropping a mobile on your head, and then Seurat makes his point by punching you until your face looks like a Picasso and van Gogh cuts off your nose (he's trying something different now).
      No, it's the latest slogan from the Bushnell, Hartford's concert hall venue. I guess it tested better than "I'm going to rip out your ART and EAT IT!" or "Too much Taco Bell--I so gotta ART! Oh No! WET ART!"
      Not that Hartford doesn't have a thriving art scene, especially for a city whose main claim to art fame is Wallace Stevens (Poet by Night! Insurance Company Executive by Day!) and Samuel Clemens ("Visit the Mark Twain House, where he repeatedly went bankrupt!"). But to an old-timer like me, "Get your ART beating!" just reminds me of the early 80s, when the city's slogan was "The BEAT of HARTford!" I think I still have a bumper sticker I got (at Real Art Ways? or Capitol Records?) that read "The HEART of BEATford." If you don't see why that was funny, don't worry. It just means that you've never lived where the Big City was Beatford. Sign at city limits: "WE CLOSE AT 5."

      As vacations go, so far this one is certainly better than going to work.
      Today's plan was to go to Rock & Smoke, the new "tobacco supplies, wink wink" shop I pass every morning commute, and check out the consignment/thrift shop place in the same ratty little strip mall. (Its big anchor store is a NAPA) Then I'd go the park, for the first time since my back let me be relatively ambulatory again, then go to Rein's Deli. Rein's and the strip mall are right across the road from each other. But doing it in that order meant only right hand turns, and the first thing you learn living in this town is: Never take left turns on the 2 major roads. You will sit there waiting until you give up in frustration and gun into traffic like Mad Max.
      As soon as I left the house in mid-May, like every day this week, I walked into very early April. Cold and windy. So forget the park. The smoke shop is open every day except "Wednesday 5/15." Sure. Why not. Great.
      The consignment store was more consignment than thrift. Experienced Junk Store shoppers know that "consignment" means it's for sale by someone who remembers what they paid for it 20 years ago, and wants that money back! But the stuff wasn't overly expensive, and it certainly had the greatest concentration of cat-themed bric-a-brac I'd ever seen. Just not interesting ones. Although I am feeling a bit of non-buyer's remorse for at least not checking out the price of that Count Dooku figure. I don't have a Christopher FUCKIN! Lee figure. Maybe because only Lucas would give his character a name that sounds like what a toddler calls what he just filled his Huggies Pull-Ups with.
      There was also a Woody doll from Toy Story. Remember how the toys would come to life when no one was looking? This Woody was FOUR FEET TALL, with the same lidless staring eyes and emotionless fake smile. I wonder why someone took this from their kid's bedroom to sell. KID: "Can't sleep, Woody will eat me. Can't sleep, Woody will eat me..."
      Rein's was rewardingly uneventful. Bought a perfect chic sal san and a bucket of pickles. I hope to turn my vacation around tomorrow when I see Jess in Putnam, and giving her a Tub O' Dills will hopefully be a propitious offering.


      Not too many people would get an email titled "Obi-Wan Kenobi" and immediately think "There's no way that this is good news."
      It was from Jess, and I once got an email from her titled "Yoda." And this one had the same news: Obi-Wan was dead. Like Yoda, he was a gerbil.
      Did you just say "He was only a gerbil!"? Jess already got that reaction. That's really no different than telling someone a relative died and being told "He was only a human! It's not like there aren't 7 billion more!" And Obi was almost 3 & a half years old. That's a dang old gerbil! Like a 30 year old cat.
      As a feral cat colony manager, Jess sees a lot of death. But only a heartless person gets used to death, and heartless people don't dedicate themselves to saving cats. I was expecting her to cancel today's planned visit, but she didn't.
      Almost there when my cell rang. It was Jess; she'd had a migraine and overslept after it. Given the way this vacation has gone...No, she didn't cancel, she'd just be late.
      I'm sure her migraine was caused by yesterday's stress, so better for her that we did get together. She kept wiping the corners of her eyes as she talked about Obi, and Yoda before him. I couldn't have picked a better time, however unintentionally, to give her a bucket of Rein's pickles. I jokingly said "How long will this last you? 3 days?" She said "Yes...wait..." She apparently then factored her husband and daughter into the pickle equation. "Probably 2."
      Putnam is a mess. We don't remember how long we've been going there--13 years, maybe? Every year stores close. One whole corner of a block was now being demolished. "WARNING: LEAD CONTAMINATION. POISON. WEAR A MASK" read the sign. This was just across a 2 lane street with a busy outdoor cafe. Yeah, let's eat here! Could my meal have some extra asbestos?
      We went to Art(sy-fartsy) Gallery. For a mere $400, one could buy a large framed canvas that was completely blank except for the tiny word "fuck" written in pencil. It was titled: "fuck."
      Putnam used to have antique stores everywhere. Now there's 2. We walked into one, and I soon said "This place didn't used to smell like a flooded basement." She said "I think it was that guy in the front." And it was. We should've photo'd the hideous baby doll--old scary baby doll head, body of weird extremity-shaped cushions. Jess said "It looks like Boxing Helena!" Me: "Maybe they wanted to branch out, like the Muppets. 'Boxing Helena Babies'!" I have a vague feeling that no one in human history has ever had that conversation before.
      We then went to big antique store--wait, there are only 2 now. So, I guess we went to the other one. Huh. Another remarkable motherlode of Not Anything. There was a lamp that the sales tag described as "tacky," as if to appeal to us personally. It was a bottle of Bud Ice attached to a varnished wood base that said "FLORIDA" because which other state would it be? (Besides Texas) My new category of InExObs is "And where would I put this?" so, even at $12, I passed.
      Even the basement led to nothing we wanted. I did do our long-standing joke of me holding up some horrific piece of clothing and saying "This is you!" It was a Harley Davidson-labeled black leather microminiskirt, which is farther from Jessie's taste than Pluto is from the Sun. She laughed, then said "Not after that experience!" She was in a biker gang?! "No, that time I picked up that shirt and the moths flew out!" Oh, yeah, that was something! Moths from the whole damn rack, actually. That store was the first in this town to close (I wonder why), and is part of the demolition project. I wonder why. It only just hit me that if moths flew from elegant antique clothes, what was still crawling around in a biker chick miniskirt? Earwigs? Oh, you wish that it was only earwigs!
      Thing I almost bought: a plush alien puppet in a UFO. He was grasping his glow-in-the-dark joystick with both hands, right from his crotch."Mr Alien is very lonely," I said, and jerked my finger up inside him a couple of times. Had to be there, I guess. OK, no one's ever written that sentence before because it's just gross.
      Some parts of town are being reborn. A consignment shop, a bike store. Bike store on 2nd floor. Really? If someone buys one, do they just throw it out a window? Ahh, but here's our bookstore--NOOO! IT'S CLOSED! This sucks. So we had lunch.
      We agreed that maybe we should go to more towns than just the same two we've gone to since Clinton was Prez. She grabbed a map of Putnam that was...what the fuck? Everything was numbered, but 26 and 28 were on opposite sides of 80. 1 through 12--where are 6 & 11? The list isn't numerical or alphabetical?! It's broken down into further nonsensical categories--is it a "public place" or a "store" or maybe both? If it takes 2 pretty smart people 15 minutes to say "This makes no sense!" it's probably a horrible map. I'd try to find you the inevitable online version, but it'd make your computer explode.
      I was surprised that my phone worked earlier. It's had a lot of issues charging. She asked "Did you take out the battery and put it back in again?" I sagely nodded and said "The battery comes out?"
      She sagely rolled her eyes and, with effort, got the battery out, and handed me back my phone. I said "This...has cat hair in it. DJ hair, I think." How that was possible in a container so closed it took effort to open, I dunno, but we both blew cat hair off it. Seems to be charging fine now. This is one of those times where you think "MY tech skills are good, too! I got amazing scores on BurgerTime! Intellivision was the BEST gaming system!"
      She told me that she'd bought the BEST LAMP EVAR. It was a raven wearing a top hat. She told the friend with her, "If the raven's wearing glasses--I don't care how much he costs!" another sentence unspoken ever before. And he was wearing little glasses. And he cost ten whole dollars. If only I hadn't been unemployed when I saw that double-life size Elvis head lamp--the lamp was on the top of his macrocephalic coconut--I would've won the lamp coolness contest!
      We left, with hugs and "I love you!" and her with a bucket of dill pickles. First good day of vacay.
      Best thing we saw:


      Tag on it: "Dual use tool. Cut pipes--rob banks"


      I forget which Southern belle (Heather maybe?) I had an email exchange with, lo all those years ago, that involved me saying in a totally paraphrased way, "It must be great to live where it's green all the time!" To which she responded, "And it must be great to have a winter, so that the bugs in your house all die. Imagine how big they get with a 12-month summer."
      You've heard of the fire ant invasion of the south. They're nasty and vicious, at least if you're dumb enough to provoke them, or don't know one's near you and bitey. "When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," says a guy about their replacements, Crazy Ants. Of course, that's not what scientists call them. Scientists call them "Tawny crazy ants."

      9 Lessons Software Developers Can Learn From Brian Eno. "As I was watching a recent interview of Eno from the Red Bull Music Academy, it struck me how many of the things he said had relevance to software development - as I�m sure they do to most creative endeavours." And he is right. If you're a software developer or not, Eno has insights that could benefit anyone's lateral thinking.


      George Takei is the only person who can get a laugh out of me by saying "Oh, my!" He is now the only person who can get a laugh out of me by handwriting "Oh, my."      




      Pammy from Way of Cats has a podcast. Miss Killsy found her voice to be the most relaxing thing ever, purring her eyes to little slits yet never going to sleep, and not waking up until the podcast stopped. Reason enough to play it, for yourself and your cats.


      My vacations on my Classic Schedule were: 9 days off, but 5 workdays befor the next day off.
      My Crappy Schedule was: 8 days off, then get up at 7AM, fight the morning rush hour twice, then 1 day off.
      Shittiest Schedule: The same, except that on my first day back, I spent an hour in my car to cover the cashier's bathroom breaks.
      New & Improved Schedule: 9 days off, sleep in first day back, go home before the store closes, day off. Work 3 days, then get 2 days off. Nice!
      One may note that at no point in those schedules was "Rip the fuck out of back" included.
      My leg started going numb at some point last week, which I thought was a side effect of the muscle relaxant. Since it continued after I stopped taking it...No, not good. Since the pain returned after a day of not-really-strenuous work, and the numbness taking over my leg...Yes, time to go back to the doctor.
      I guess I won't know until the xrays come back, but the doctor said that it was either a slipped disc or, more likely, damage to the sciatic nerve. FUN IS. So she prescribed some steroids; 21 pills over 6 days. If you thought, as I did, "That doesn't divide evenly," it's 6 today, 5 tomorrow, etc, down to one. I took my first dose and said "Shrink, my gonads, SHRINK! I need to become enraged and punch a thing or two!" She also recommended physical therapy, but after reading my insurance booklet, I still don't know if it's covered or not. Can't they just print out "Do these exercises" for me? It's not like I don't have a ton of downtime at work. I could do them in the beer cooler and not even sweat!
      Looks like pushing one small stack of beer combined with Byron's bathroom eccentricities is going to give me some real Happy Back Fun Times.

      Hmm. The xrays can't tell if it's a nerve, but I have arthritis in my spine. Yay. Fun. Fun for the rest of my life.


      I woke up today thinking "This is the only time I've felt normal since my back went!"
      This lasted the minute it took me to walk from my car to the store's back. Then my leg went numb again. That just meant moving my car keys from the pocket of that leg. Just hours later, it meant pain every time I bent over slightly. It became near-incapaciting near the end of my shift. "Let other people put stuff away," I thought. But at my job, that doesn't happen. I do everything.
      "Methylprednisolone is also prescribed for nonpenetrating spinal cord injuries." I'd prefer that "prescribed for" was replaced with "works for."
      I scheduled physical therapy, but that won't start for 3 weeks. Is there really no pain reliever that they can give me?

      Inside envelope of a Netflix disc holds many wonders! Usually, "No one paid to see this movie, PLEASE RENT" (which sadly, was Speed Racer's fate. I still have that ad). Today, with Beavis and Butt-head Do America, it's "Remembering AMERICA'S HEROES." Movies recommended: Glory, about a black regiment in the Civil War but really about their white commander, because negroes, right?! Rescue Dawn, about a downed pilot in Viet Nam who was German and directed by a German. Full Metal Jacket, because...Platoon wasn't available? And The Hunt for Red October, starring a Scotsman as a traitorous Commie who talks like a Scotsman and who nearly starts WWIII. AMERICA'S HEROES!


      A sample of RiffTrax on Dr Who and the Daleks, a movie truly bad enough to deserve the ol' MST3ing.


      "It's really cold in here," I thought from under the covers in bed early this morning. "Oh, right, should've shut the windows last ni--fuck!"
      You'd think after all this time, I would've remembered that my condo association, Elite Greedy Fucks Management LLC, turns the heat off between 5/1 and 9/30. And yet still charges us for it. It was 5 degrees colder in the condo over only 8 hours. I shut the windows, once I could convince myself to leave bed.
      I called them and left a cranky message, knowing that they'd do exactly nothing before Tuesday. It got to a "high" of 45 today, and overnight lows are to be lower than that for a week. I could've called the emergency number, but they made sure to tell me that it's a $20 fine unless they wave their snifters of brandy from their overstuffed ottomans and decide if it's an emergency. I was sure that if some combination of angry voicemails and emergency calls would come in, then maybe they might pull the Rolls over long enough for Sir Loadinpantsington to call it in before his game of croquet with Lady Muffy, sighing, "Really! These people! They have a home, they need heat, too? Can they not just microwave their filthy hands alongside with their Hot Pockets, or whatever the lower class does? James, take us to the indoor croquet arena--bit nippy out, you know."
      And then they'd do something. On Tuesday. Maybe.
      I had a back up plan--lots of clothes, mylar emergency blanket, sleeping bag. Find some way to go directly from "hot shower" to "instantly clothed"--well, that I didn't have. I don't own a wetsuit. I left for work with the thermostat set for "Heart of the Sun," in case the heat did come on.
      There's a longtime regular/ex-coworker who works for the state. I asked him what agency would handle a complaint about this. How can they charge us for 5 months of a service they refuse to provide? "Did you sign a contract?" Hell no. They just send letters of fiat telling us "It Is Hereby Declared: Fuck You!" He thought Housing, but he's going to get back to me after he goes back to work.
      Once home, it was Glen Frey Day--"The Heat is On!" Maybe because they had a lot of angry calls. Maybe because they realize that eventually, someone like me is going to get so pissed off over paying something for nothing that he goes to the government. And that time is now. As soon as I find out the proper state agency, it's on. And it'd be like 15 years of overcharging that they might have to pay back.

      For Memorial Day, Stop & Shop's flyer had a section labeled "Try 'em Grilled!" Next to the portabella mushrooms was a bag of potting soil. Sure, why not? They both taste like dirt anyway.

      "Who hears the whine of the blasphemous flutes of the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep?" cried Mommy. "Not me!" gibbered the child. "NOT...ME!!"

      What--no Pat Pending?!



      I expected yesterday to wake up in bed, and also in a sleeping bag with every inch of my flesh covered except my nostrils. Instead, I awoke above the covers with my socks off. I hadn't turned the heat down once it had come on.
      Then I wondered. I assume that Saturday their emergency number got many calls. E-number guy then called the property manager as to what should be done; prop-mgr checked the angry voice mails people like me left; called e-guy and told him to turn the heat on in 10 buildings, on a Saturday, on a holiday weekend, thus paying him overtime or double time; while, like me, everyone cranked their heat in the expectation that it would be turned off again. Knowing my condo ASSociation, they'll then pay him this week to turn it off in 10 buildings, and in 4 months, pay him to turn it all back on again.
      So how did turning the heat off make them money? What's the difference between "paying someone to turn the heat off," and "just hoping the heat doesn't come back on"? If they turned off the heat from 6/1 to 8/31, rather than 5/1 to 9/30, no one would notice. Now, they've got at least me complaining to the State about it. Which could end up costing them a lot.
      Ever hear the phrase "Penny wise but Pound foolish"? My condo Ass sure hasn't. They might find themselves having to use only 50 dollar bills to light their cigars made out of rolled-up Van Goghs.


      Yesterday was the day to put the AC in the window. Only 5 days after the temps were 30 degrees colder than normal, they were now going to 20 degrees hotter (insert inevitable comment from Fox News-watching coworker about how there's no climate change--Exxon says so!). I was more concerned about my back than anything else. I prepped the area as best as I could to prevent unneeded lifting. Part of the installation involves screwing the unit into the wood frame of the window, which took for-ev-ar. Killsy normally sees the AC going in and purrs, knowing that it means no humidity. This time, she ran into the other room. Once it was done, Byron stood in front of it. "Yeah, nice and cool, huh?" I said. He turned and gave an angry meow and ran to sulk with his big sister in the other room.
      I sat down and thought "Wow, it's really dark in here." Oh crap, I put it in the wrong window! The lack of screwholes after 12 years didn't tip me off. So I moved it again, and all was well. Cats know more than people think.


      There is currently a standoff between DJ and a not big/not small, flat, brown beetley thing capable of brief, clumsy flight. I think we have a cicada in the house.
      And now old Killsy jumped from her favorite box to stalk! Hey, cicada, if I can catch you before they do, I'll just throw you out the window, and you can burrow until 2030.





      Jeez, my meds. When I took the steroids and the muscle relaxant, it took forever to fall asleep, and then forever to wake up the next day. Sunday I crawled from bed at 1018 AM, then couldn't get to sleep until sometime around 3AM. Monday, I crawled from bed at 1018 AM, then took a nap at 6PM, that lasted until...1018 AM, exactly. 16 hours sleep. Odd.


      I keep checking the make-fun-of-comics site Gone & Forgotten monthly, despite the fact it hasn't updated since 2/12. Looks like I picked the right week to go back to sniffing glue: he's doing an update a day for June.

      Kev & I watched Rifftrax's take on Dr Who and the Daleks today over wings and pizza. I recommended it as a Who fan and "It's fucking terrible!" (In direct contrast with my first Who exposure as a child, its wildly different and vastly better sequel Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 AD) It was as awful as I remember when I reviewed it --okay, apparently that was in 2008. Here's that review:

      It was worth our $5 each to watch it. I remember when MST just did pop culture jokes, but this was filled with sci-fi refs, due to sci-fi's current mainstream acceptance. Funny riffs, of which I don't remember any, as they came too fast. Which was good, as about 2/3s of this alleged movie was "Rock climbing, Joel. Rock climbing" padding And that becomes painfully literal at one point. Why's it so hard to climb a hill with stairs?


      She called again.
      This was a regular customer who's going senile. She wanted a delivery now, despite it being the busiest hour of our week, just as she did the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend, which isn't just our busiest time of day, but one of our busiest times of the year. She couldn't have called, like, anytime earlier? She called yesterday around closing, so she already knew she wanted some wine.
      Of course, if something has to be done, it has to be done by me. She'd moved to a different part of her retirement community that I'd never been to. After several minutes of her telling me that it was "Talcott West, under the green awning, 433!" and me asking "Do you want 6 bottles of [wine brand]?" followed by her saying "Talcott West 433! 432. 432." I finally got an answer as to what she wanted me to deliver. Otherwise, she'd make me come back with what she wanted, and it was less than an hour before I left. She called during the start of rush hour, and it can take 10 minutes just to get through the first damn light at that time of day.
      I brought change for a $100 bill, as that's how she always pays. Entering under the green awning and after a lot of walking, I discovered that Talcott West only has units going up to 422. After more wandering, I found someone who worked there. "Who is this for?" she asked. "Mrs B." I said. "Ohh," she said, in the tone of "I feel your pain." She led me through their rat maze, because Mrs B wasn't in the nonexistant West 432, but Talcott Thistle Way 432. And trust me, it was a long walk. And Mrs B decided to pay with a credit card. As I don't carry a credit card machine around with me, I had to call it in to the store. Then Mrs B asked "Do you have a bottle opener?"
      What? A corkscrew? Why would I have a corkscrew on me? Flare gun, shark repellent, the complete works of Marcel Proust, sure! But, no...not a freakin' corkscrew. Do you need a llama sterilizer? Because I totally have a llama sterilizer in my pockets. I suggested that she ask the kitchen if she could borrow one, and she said "That's too far to walk." Maybe you should get a helper llama, huh?
      Then my guide had to help me back to the way out, which was another long walk. I remembered that I walk really fast at the end of it, as she was gasping for air. I still got lost, and had to ask for directions again. I got back to work less than 10 minutes before I was scheduled to leave. I told my sad tale of woe to my coworkers, and added "Don't be surprised if she calls wanting you to deliver a corkscrew."
      When I got home, my doctor's office left a message about my first physical therapy session. They called from the xray office's number, which was closed when I called back, and left a different number to call. Unless their operator has a really strident, high-pitched voice, it was for their fax. Can I give that number to Mrs B?


      To give you an example of the Nobel prize winners that I work with...
      The phone rang. The person answering said "Yes, I'm the owner."..."We close at 9."..."Umm--No?"..."I'm, um, wearing a blue and white striped golf shirt. Oh! Are you in the parking lot? I can come to the door and wave." (does so, to a police SUV parked on the other side of the parking lot)..."No, we're fine, somebody must've hit the silent alarm by mistake!"
      You can guess the first 2 questions, but the second was "Do you have a drive-thru?" which, of course, we don't, being a liquor store. The third was "What are you wearing?" because maybe the cop was a perv.
      There were at least 5 police vehicles lurking outside the building. You'd have to be pretty damn stupid or on a lot of drugs to try to rob a store that's about a fifth of a mile from the police station.
      The silent alarm button is recessed and at waist level, so you could only hit it "by mistake" if you put your leg on the shelf and leaned against it with your knee, which would only work if your knee was finger-shaped. Given that we have 2 new employees, one only 19 and nearest the button, he probably did what 2 other halfwits have done: "Hey wut this? Me press, not ask!" Three times makes us the Store Who Cried Wolf, so if we ever do need the cops, I hope that they don't just roll their eyes and go back to their donuts.
      We all had a laugh at it all. I assume that the "We are at gunpoint" answers would be to respond with non sequitur answers--a simple wrong "Yes" or "No" would work with any question, although if you felt brave enough, you could say "We close at 9--one one." But any thief is just going to yell "DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE!" in order to get out of there faster.
      4 hours later, we were leaving for the day. The alarm wouldn't set--it just read NOT RESPONDING, with no lights blinking. After 5 minutes, I told everyone else to leave, since there was no point in anyone but me figuring it out. But I stopped M, as my phone is dead and we had to tell someone the alarm wouldn't set. The employee phone numbers are on the closed computers, so I opened a phone book (remember those?) and found the number of the manager who usually deals with bizarre events. "Just lock up and leave," he said, having no idea what to do. Then M asked him "Maybe it has something to do with the silent alarm going off?" He didn't know about that, despite being in the store at the time, and everyone else laughing about it up front. "Oh!" she said. "The alarm company called and asked if I knew the password, and I said no." They--you--You just said "Nah" and hung up? You didn't ask any of the 3 managers there what the password was? Even the new kids would've asked somebody that! I could hear his audible sigh, saying "We have to call the alarm company to do that." I didn't know that either, but I would've asked somebody.
      I locked up and asked her if she had the PD's number. "Call them and say our alarm's off, and ask if they could just keep an eye on the store tonight." Yeah, I'll bet the PD loves our goofy shenanigans right now.


      Hey, my Kitty-A-Go-Go litter box review is excerpted by Way of Cats!

      10 episodes that take you inside the weird world of The Kids In The Hall. I need to rent these, since I got rid of cable over 10 years ago. I laughed at the mere mention of "Rod Torfulson�s Armada (Featuring Herman Menderchuck)."


      I briefly mentioned my cell phone charging woes last month. It charged, then wouldn't. I was about to order a new phone when I decided to plug it into a diiferent outlet. Then it charged. Why? Everything else on that same power strip worked fine.
      Then Jess and I got the cat hair off the battery, and it worked just fine again. Until it didn't, not charging at all. So I ordered a new battery for it, and, with a shrug, tried plugging it into a different plug on the same power strip. And this morning it was powered up again.
      Any theories? While "possessed by Tesla's ghost!" counts as a theory, I'd prefer something a bit more evidence-based.



      I had my first session of physical therapy today, and--well, that's about it about that. Just some basic exercises I need to repeatedly do. One is just something I've always done when I have a back problem. Just put my hands at my lower back, flex backwards. I can do that all day at work! The other involves laying facedown on the floor. Given the condition of the floors at work...I think I'll do that one at home.
      She told me that "You may feel more pain after this session." Right now, I feel better! Of course, that doesn't mean that tomorrow I may still be able to walk.


      Since my back went, the worst part of the day is getting out of bed. The meds have worn off by then, and I have to form every position my body hates. Not this morning! It hurt, but not much.
      Pretty remarkable after only a day. I have 2 simple exercises to do. One, I put my hands at the base of my spine and bend backwards 10 times. Two, I lie face down for 2 minutes, prop myself up on my elbows for 2, then do push ups without raising my legs. The first I can do at work continually. The second--eww, you know what liquor store floors are like?! Years of spilled booze and the dirt of the deliveries from filthy distributors. I'm not touching those floors! And I'm barely doing it at home. It's boring. And the first is doing just fine. When the PT told me to do it, I realized that I'd been doing it all my life whenever I had back strain.
      The real test comes tomorrow--Delivery Day.


      My deliveries came late today, so I did my back-bend exercise about 5 times an hour, for 4 hours. Then I put away 100 cases of beer by myself (thanks for the not-help, coworkers!) with no pain whatsoever. I may have a different opinion tomorrow, but, for something that I was very skeptical about, PT sure seems to be working amazingly. I cancelled the follow-up appointment with my doctor, as I have another 2 days later with the physical therapist.

      On an unrelated note besides general elation, I accidentally gave the cats waaay too much of the only catnip you should buy. Byron unexpectedly rolled around in the few scraps he didn't eat, then was all "I can SEE the music! I can TASTE the colors! Ooh, look at the PRETTY BIRDS only I see!" He's currently about 10 minutes into ecstatically cleaning every strand of his fur. Probably to get every last bit of nip he rolled in.



      Father's Day, a day off, and the birthdays of Killsy and Byron! That doesn't happen very often!
      (Actually, it happened 5 years ago; I just didn't notice)
      So I spent my day the way my kids like best: I stayed home. Except for the hour I was gone to the farmer's market. I was hoping that Father's Day would shorten the lines, but nothing less than rain or an attack by MechaGodzilla would ever cut the lines down there. Got some Cato cheese and some pastries from a place I've never caught the name of, although their slogan is Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. which I guess is from the Godfather. Then one short line at Beltane Farms--apparently put the word "goat" before the word "cheese," and no one wants it. More for me, FOOLS!
      After all the rain we've had, the place was basically a mud wrestling pit. Also: dogs. I don't have anything against them, except when it's really crowded and they move exactly as stupidly as the person holding the leash. Better: the rabbit on a leash!
      The cats have been super mellow today. Because I put the Feliway diffusor in last night. Not for any birthdays, but because a little redheaded boy goes to the vet tomorrow for his booster shots, and I don't want a recreation of last year's World War Cat.


      Head first or butt first?
      That is the question, when trying to get a cat into the hated carrier. Carrier=Vet. So hated that quietly opening the gate on the carrier sent Killsy into retreat.
      Head first: they see the opening, and splay their paws to prevent them going in. Butt first, they may see a chance to escape before the door's closed. This is why I keep the carrier's opening pointing to the heavens: gravity becomes my ally. DJ went in butt first, and made 4 attempts to escape before finding himself in Kitty Sing Sing. He meowed sadly on the 5 minute drive to VCA Animal Hospital of Vernon, which I think is a cat prisoner's version of mournfully playing the blues on a harmonica in his cell.
      But Deej is the best of the cats at the vet. He didn't enjoy himself, but he caused no fuss, shots and bloodwork both. The vet was amused to hear that DJ stood for Don Juan. I'd never met Doctor Bednar before, but like all VCA Vernon vets, he clearly loved animals. At least until he meets Byron, aka Murdertron 3000.
      Aaand speaking of which...Killsy gave a hiss at DJ once he was home, then was fine. But Byron apparently remembered who started World War Cat, when DJ was the Germans. Lots of hissing and angry growls, followed by his retreat behind his personal Maginot Line, under a metal plant stand that ceased that function once Byron killed every plant on it. DJ kept trying, trying to be friends again. Then smartly gave up to sleep in the bedroom. B himself now sleeps in the window under the fan, hopefully soaking up all the Feliway his crabby brain needs.

      At the end of his life, Mr Ebert gave extra preference to movies he'd always given preference to: Ones that gave him something he'd never seen before. One of his last reviews was of Cloud Atlas. He liked it, but when even he implies that a movie with 5 separate stories spread over 500 years is incomprehensible, or at least have no real connection to each other...Well, I thought, just look at it, don't try to figure it out.
      How did I miss that it's the first movie the Wachowskis have done since Speed Racer?! I love that movie! I was expecting Cloud Atlas to be as inscrutable as The Fountain, which needed actual work to decode. But it wasn't even as hard to follow as that part of Speed Racer where it's all flashbacks, then in real time, then a narrated flash-forward. All 5 stories are linear, and when one cuts from one, it cuts to the same dramatic point in another. There might be 10 seconds in 1850, followed by 5 in 1973, then 10 minutes in either the dystopian or post-apocalyptic futures, but because of the editing and direction, I wasn't lost for a second. And more importantly: I was never bored. It was basically a very different action picture.
      And there is very clearly a theme: There will always be those who oppress, but there will always be those who defy the oppression. And sometimes--and it may take a long time--there will be one or two who make a difference.
      Downside: some of the dialogue is hard to hear, not helped by a main character who has a strong Korean accent. Or that the far future people talk in a weird neo-Appalachian dialect one might expect from English speakers long disconnected from any others. You always get the gist of the conversation from the words, but mainly from the body language and inflection.
      So, yeah, if you don't like stupid movies that expect that the audience is also stupid, rent this.

      After watching a stupid movie, churned out by a Bay or a Ratner or some form of Emmerlich, you may need some toilet paper. Here's some free TP! I ordered a roll, wondering if it was made from actual newspaper. Not in the "recycled" way, but in the "we rolled actual newspapers." Oh, silly me! It's real TP! With ADS ON IT. Because nothing puts "quality business" into a consumer's mind as well as "I just wiped my ass with your LLC."
      It told me "If you opted for a free ad design in addition to the sample, we'll send your information to our design team and deliver you an advertisement that can knock the crap out of your competition!" Yeah, you'll be flush with success and sell a shitload of your end product!


--whiskey label, China



6/21      Okay, okay! I'll write something! Something interesting!
      It was humid! I turned the AC on!
      Well, the cats found it interesting.
      Remember the sadly-now-senile customer who sent me all over the retirement community a coupla weeks ago? She called the New Owner at 630 and asked "Could you get that delivery here by 7?"
      So she called the next day very early. OF COURSE I was the one to do the delivery, because I do everything. "What's your phone number?" I asked.
      "No, your phone number."
      "No, the number that we can call you with, from the store!"
      Thankfully, she gave me her actual address this time, rather than whatever part of Rivendell or Gorgemghast she dreamed she was in. I told her I'd come later, when other people came in. I put her 6 bottles of "that wine I get" in a box.
      And 10 minutes later, she called. "I want to cancel that order!" "Cancel it?" "YES!" click Since Drunken Toddler answered both her earlier calls, I wonder what that sack of shit had said. On the other hand--I crumpled up the paper with her address and phone number and threw it away.
      I didn't put her order away, because...Yes, 6 hours later, "Can you bring that order over now?"
      And she tipped me $5. Since she paid by credit card, I could've tipped myself $100, and she wouldn't have noticed. A guy who works there once told me "You know what you need to retire there? Two and a half million dollars" and he wasn't saying it like he was joking.


      Working in a store that sells lottery tickets, I have a low opinion of people who buy them, and epecially of a government that sells them. I used to call it "a voluntary tax on people who can't do math." Now it's more of "legal crack for poor people." If they once won what they spend on the lottery daily, they'd be thrilled. Instead, they tend to be miserable. If you had daily proof that you were a loser (sorry, I meant what the lottery calls them: "non-winners"), that would start to turn your heart cold.
      Before I sold lottery, I thought that the main players would be young people (as they're stupid) and that they'd play Lotto or Powerball (the games where a jackpot means "Never have to work again!"). No, it's almost entirely people over 50 that play. And play not the big jackpot games, but the dreaded Daily Numbers. If you hit that Play 3 number's 1 in-a-1000 chance, you could get a whole $41.50! And they play and play--we have a guy who buys $75 worth of daily numbers twice a day. I have no idea where he gets the money. It sure isn't from his winnings.
      Me, I do play the 7 million-to-one CT Lotto. (Powerball is 175 million-to-one, I think) But not all the time. I always play around my birthday, as "Never have to work again!" would make a nice present, and on vacations, as it could turn out to be a permanent vacation. Otherwise, it depends on how much I hate my job. I don't think I'm really getting a chance to win as much as spending a dollar to fantasize about yelling "Here are my keys I quit FUCK YOU!" to the Drunken Toddler. But with him barely in the picture, and 3 days off a week...Not so much.
      My biggest win? Over 20 years ago. $67! I asked myself how much I'd spent since I started buying Lotto...more than $67 over the years.
      Now that the weather's nice, I sometimes take a quick walk around the block on lunch. For no particular reason, I went into the convenience store and bought a Lotto ticket for Friday's drawing. No one won the jackpot, and I didn't bother to see what my numbers were until I got home. I usually get 1 number, sometimes 2, both of which are worth 0. I'm still mad at myself for that time 2 years ago that I lost a 3-number ticket. That was a $2 not-loser! I got 5 this time.
      Before taxes. Not that it matters; 2K isn't going to change my life. It'll just go into the retirement fund.
      If I'd had just one number more? $2.1 million. I got that close to "Never have to work again!"




      Woo, rough night. Young's Syndrome always is. Assuming that's what it is; this time I really feel nauseous.
      Stay tuned for your up-to-the-minute puking news!       


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