NEW 115

�Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.�
Mahatma Gandhi


      I guess I should just get resigned to Byron's mental illness being the new normal.
      He's been near the front window of the living room for 3 weeks now. Which is better than behind the bookcase, I guess. There are 2 Feliway diffusers going on at once in that room, but he still flips out if DJ falls into his field of vision. I don't know why. I gave up trying to find out why. He has food, water, and as of today, his own litter box. He meows and purrs when he sees me, is unfazed by Killsy, hisses-growls-snarls-snorts at DJ, his former best bud.
      My current plan? Let him sulk in his self-declared Gaza Strip of misanthropy/misfelinity until...I don't know. He becomes sane again? It would help if DJ didn't run up at him twice a day. But even the squirt gun isn't working on dissuading DJ on that front.
      KK is due for her own miserable trip to the vet in 2 weeks for her booster shots. Maybe seeing someone else going to the vet will cause Bubble Boy to rejoin the family. Or make it worse. Or develop mutant powers. I have no idea.


      Speaking of greedy oil companies...My condo's owners "Elite" "Management" are neither elite nor managing things. They charge us for heating oil every month, and refuse to let us use it from May 1st to September 30th. The hot water's on, but those 1st 2 weeks of May and last 2 of September, when it gets cold at night, there's no heat. Is that legal? To charge someone for a service that you refuse to supply?
      A few weeks ago, and clearly reading from a script, I was told that "We try to get the heat on as soon as it gets into the 40s at night."
      "It's been in the 40s for a week, and it's dropping into the 30s tonight!"
      "Umm...would you like to talk to [the maintenace guy who was no say over what Elite Management decides to deny]?"
      "No." click
      Well, it's been hittin' the 40s for 10 days, and it's 10 days into OCTOBER, and it still wasn't on when I got home. I called Elite Management:
      Operator, sounding like angry people had been calling her angrily for a while while they were angry: "I-I don't know! Hang on!" And I got a recording, probably from someone who was getting these calls. My message was exactly the same as above, except with more "?!?!"s at the end. CLICK! Man, remember when slamming a phone down on the receiver felt good? Now, all I could do was snap my clamshell phone shut really hard. How do you Smartphoners do it? Tap an icon with extra index fingering?
      I picture them as Wal-Mart execs: "Low pay, no benefits, they have to get food stamps to survive? They should be happy that they HAVE a job! Well, off onto my biggest of 14 yachts." We whine about heat! We should be glad there's a ROOF!
      So I put on my sweatshirt and flannel dorm pants. Then it got chillier, possibly because I don't know, the fucking Sun went down, so I put a tshirt on under the sweatshirt. Then, regular dorm pants under the flannel ones. I got up to put a second pair of socks on, but went to the bathroom to see hard it was to pee with 2 pairs of pants on (easy, but I'm glad I don't have to sit on a frigid seat to do it). And--hey, they finally fucking turned the heat on! WOW THANKS FOR LETTING ME HAVE WHAT I PAY $111 A MONTH FOR, SAMARITANS! There's a special place in Heaven for you! It's over a trap door to a place where the heat never goes off.


      ME: "Can I see your ID?" (looks at it; customer's picture could be of his younger brother) "Can I see something else with your name on it?"
      (sees credit card; laughs) "I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but do you have one that doesn't have your name handwritten on it?"


      Ugh, I actually have to work Sunday to cover someone else's vacation. Fair enough, but the only way I got through the pointless boredom of the last time was by sneaking upstairs to read (maybe I should get one of those smart phones, as browsing's what every other employee does right at the register). I was told that last Sunday, there were 2 customers an hour.
      Yeah, so worth being open on Sundays. Maybe down at the shoreline, or where the closest state border is New York, but in the upper tier of the state by Massachusetts--what a waste. Mass has lower liquor prices (for a complicated reason), no sales tax on booze, and gas is 25 cents a gallon less, so even that reason to not go there isn't there.
      I won't have time after work Sunday to watch a movie, so even Netflix benefits. So I rented something that will take me both of my days off to watch.

      SPOILER ALERT to the 15:

      If someone asked you to look at this picture, not knowing who was who, how would you answer the question "Who's the insufferable asshole here?"



      The fools! Beholden to their decrepit superstitions, compliant in their ignorance, even reveling in it. Stale and musty legends, I was the one who dared onwards past the fearfilled warnings, the ancient oaths. They intoned "BEWARE THE MASSIVE, VOLUMINOUS, NOXIOUS FILTH! IT WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL, DRIVE YOUR SENSES TO MADNESS!" I said "Cheese louise, stop yelling!" God, the guardians of the Old Ones, tone it down a notch! Oh, sorry, how about "Tone it down a horrific, indescribable, torturous, many-tentacled blah blah blah? That work for you, or do I need more adjectives?"
      I held the dreaded, rotting, blasphemous book in hands trembling, with brow sweating, with heart racing, probably shouldn't have had 9 Red Bulls first. I was the one who dared Fate! The depraved abominations they spoke of in darkling tones--who would believe it in this modern age of 1928, when the air is full of zeppelins and radio waves carry the very voice of Rudy Vallee through the aether? Not I, a man of science and of cold reason, for those are the very bee's knees of the future.
      I was the one who dared.
      I was the one that ignored the fools when they said:


      What eldritch horrors could lie within a simple DVD of Pink Lady? None to my mind, a mind as clear as a sunlit day free of gibbering, slathering, repulsive nightmares, I thought! As one does. Speak not of saying that you don't! He who refuted the thought, pooted the thought! The reference may be too esoteric for those who have not graduated Miskatonic U with full honors such as I, where "full honors" usually means "sane and with all limbs attached." It lies near Worcester, a dark and grim city cursed with a name that none from outside New England can pronounce! Like Gloucester, where the locals claim the mad fisherman of Dagon resides, he of the filets forever frozen in the feared freezers of forbidden Falmouth.
      I shall be the one who defeats the curse of the Jeffronomicon! I shall just press "open" on my mother's Victrola, she who died gibbering in an asylum--wait, did I use "gibbering" before? Maybe "drooling" instead?--and insert the 78 RPM disc, and laugh at the fools who believe that it can drive one mad!

      ...And that is where his journal ends. The rest is mainly the word "gibbering" and several indecipherable words repeated, mainly "DISCO" and "HOT TUB" and "FUCK THAT GUY JEFF!" In the book was tucked a crusted, ancient, mouldering, repulsive, century-old Netflix sleeve. What harm could come from pressing Play?

      A gargoyle beyond imagination! It spews its name like a crime, it is JEFF ALTMAN. He threatens us with Red Buttons and that vilest of names, one unspoken for centuries, it is--I dare not speak its name in such a sacred place as my condo!
      Already I find that the legends were lies! Pink Lady does NOT come out in kimonos and rip them off! They dress as robots, and do the dance the Robot! They lip-synch in a language unheard on our planet since the days of the Great Empire of Nippon, and robot samurai dancers join, their costumes making it impossible to tell if any are crossdressing, as they're all built like linebackers. There is much mist--perhaps they need it to manifest themselves on our sphere? Or to lull the future victims of their mad sacrifices in the audience into the stupor they're clearly all lulled about? Their baleful chanting, full of the maladorous pan pipes of the mad god Disco, finally ends, and their audience of slaves responds with applause, an applause that comes not from their unmoving hands.
      "Naow, we'd like to bring out our very special friend--JEFF ALTAMAN!" The "girls" went to a Disco, and the Altman says that they are Sagitarrians, not Leos, but "we can't pronounce that!" He makes them pronounce it. He's into Computer Dating, which the Girls think he means he dates computers. He likes the sea, realm of Dagon! Kei asks "Are you going to date Charlie the Tuna?" My mind curdles! Is it--it IS!--a reference to the foulest manifestation of black sorcery known to exist--the movie FOODFIGHT! Will Jeff's date be a fucking robot? Only in a world where humor has never existed--NOOO IT'S ROBBY THE ROBOT FROM FORBIDDEN PLANET!
      I shake the horror from my previously-mentioned curdled mind! The robot desires not fornification with the fleshy "Fast Pants" Jeff, preferring to watch Pink Lady and their guests Red Buttons, and--no! I shall not let the name escape my tongue, lest the demon escape its eternal imprisonment on the darkest moons of Pluto! Robot again refuses sex with the Jeff, saying that the she-bot "has a headache!" "Really?" says Jeff, the punchline crawling like maggots from a wound, "I though it'd be more of a FUSE-ache!" My mind! It reels! These are truly beings from the depths of eternity, ones which never evolved beyond crude appendages and with no such concept as "morality" or "humor"!
      Creaking from the weight of an eternity of the forgotten, shambling to our screen like a gimpy mummy, comes a skit about Johhny Carson's summer replacement. One is an anorexic Valley Girl, one is "a production clerk from the Sheriff Lobo show." And yet this abomination slimes across our cosmos! It sucks humor from the air as if it were the marrow from our very bones!
      Next, hospital surgery--if it was like a car wash! An automated assembly line of robotic trauma to the human body! Fear the robots, says the Jeffronomicon! Especially the ones on the show's writing staff!
      The special guest--NO! can it be? flutters my heart--wait, "flutters," not scary enough. Flaps my heart! You know, like an eldritch horror with bat wings. Eldritch horrors, man, they're the opposite of the bee's knees. It's Red Buttons, driven from the darkest pit of the Catskills! Cthulhu r'yleh oy vey! But he stands, old as the tides and just as unstoppable--he is not funny, but embarassment comes not, like the vicious, viscous ooze of the Jeff. Slouching towards Bethlehem, Jeff comes, in that beloved piece of not-medy, Art Nuvo. Who is this manifestation? Why does he appear in every show, like a boil in a plague region? There is no reason. There is only the infection. Art has an elephant. The elephant gets cranky. The skin of Art, worn like a ghoulish shroud by the Jeff, ends the skit by saying "This isn't funny!" Seven times. Repeating his hideous, screeching chant an eighth time would have made a sane man drop to the floor, rolling while he laughed, laughed the mad laugh of I don't know, some kind of rolling person on a floor.
      It's a roast of Lincoln, hosted by Jefferson Davis! This spirit, summoned from the dankest dungeons of the Hell that is the show's writing staff, jokes about how basketball players are all Negroes. Mary Todd Lincoln describes their sex life as "Foreplay was 7 years ago!" and brays a laugh, a laugh that echoes in the blistered ears of blighted burros. John Wilkes Booth. He has theater tickets for Abe, to--Oh. Got that one already? Wow. You are one gibbering, drooling genius. Abe "Hey Vern, It's Ernest" Lincoln says he freed the slaves because he was drunk. To Booth: "I hope at your next performance, you break a leg!" The spinning, the spinning grave! I hear it now, now and forever!
      Mei and Kie chant the dolorous hymn "MacArthur's Park," placating the malevolence that sleeps eternally in sunken R'yleh, by the cold plains where Nyarlathotep plays his hideous flute, the cold catacombs beneath the NBC studios in dread Rock'fell'a Center.
      BUT THEY FAIL! Summoned by the hideous, unpseakable nightmares of a million TV viewers, It rises! From Its cold tomb it shambles, its greasy and bloated head full of mad ego, It comes, and none can stop its implacable, irresitable march! It is he--finally he!--of whom I have dared not to speak! Its gaping maw, rows upon rows of sparkling sharp and capped teeth, it opens--it speaks!
      "It's --JEFF ALTMAN! I can't belie-ie-ie-ve I'm really here with--JEFF Alt-MA-A--AAN!" It coughs, violently, as if the very air of our world, the smell of humanity, causes it pain. It places a cigarette in its mouth--lights it with a Bic set on the highest flame, like a torch burning the innocents on a pyre--threatens to deport the Girls. To what Stygian hole, demon? To do what with their fair flesh?
      The sycophantic incubus Jeff sidles to its Master, and says "JERRY LEWIS is one of the Great Masters of Comedy!"
      The winds rise, the skies darken, thunder growls, a dog barks in the distance, crickets chirp! No, what was I thinking? I invoked the name! And the toady Jeff repeats the Name, as He repeats Jeff's, bonding them in a pact of ultimate evil and overacting. Will any mortal escape their mugging? They sublimate themselves into their darkest ritual, "FROINLAYVIN, OH LAY-DEE!" Then It sings. About voodoo. About witchcraft. Hijinks ensue. Spazzy hijinks--OF THE DAMNED. He is constantly frustrated by makeup, boom mikes, giant TV cameras that hem him in, just as it was in the circle of Hell he recently escaped. In the Universe of Jeff, there is no hope, there is no escape, only the unblinking eye of the camera, the cold fist of despair. The Lewis, humiliated by its very servants, retreats back into the realm of madness it escaped, never to inflict itself again upon the wretched masses of humanity it has so sorely preyed upon. Oh, would that some ray of light could cast its beam on such a sunless world of endless, ebon darkness!
      And he comes! A light of joy! ALICE COOPER! Singing "Clones"! Why does he look like he wants to kill himself? His shtick, or being on Pink Lady?
      Next, the gibbering drumming of the shuffling, shambling, grotesque, gangrenous, namby-pamby, flirtatious, succulent, lower sodium, gluten free, timorous, high-flying, deciduous, hirstute, dazzling...running out of adjectives here. Anyway, Jeff drums like he's in a band with something awful with adjectives in a drum solo. Yes, that really happened. Then, a closing medley. Of lip-synched disco songs. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," lure the succubi with their siren song. "Dancing Queen," come dance in the moonlight, you're the Dancing Queen, you will be sacrificed first. "If My Friends Could See Me Now," dancing dressed as marionnettes on literal strings, controlled by unseen forces above, puppeteers making you caper like clowns for the amusement of the audience, the jeering, barely-human audience, bobbing in unison like lemmings, if lemmings bob, I didn't research that.
      Do lemmings jump in hot tubs? For here is shirtless Jeff, stewing like the boiling souls in Hades in a soup of his own juices. "But Jeff--we do not think--you like--hot tub!" says Kei, wishing she had never seen the dim, flickering light of this benighted world, lit as if a candle was sputtering only to die, forever extinguished, with only a single last plume of black smoke to mark its existence.
      The headline on the newspaper is "SHARK SIGHTED IN LOCAL WATERS." Jeff does not believe the superstitions, the fusty old beliefs of the locals. As I did, once. Then a shark fin appears in the tub, and Jeff, gibbering pretty good, runs screaming. But the fin is merely attached to the head of Sumo Guy, a pallid, pale, pagan imitation of the carnivorous gods of yore that ate a man's soul, then picked their ochre-tinted fangs with his bones, then burped and loosened their belts. Belts of HORROR! You know, human skin belts with baby head buckles, made in China.
      With a strength born of desperation, I force the Jeffronomicon shut, but it fights me! Its evil Jerry Lewis face cover shrieks, "Oh, READ-DER! You can't with the SHUTTING, you CA-AN'T! FROINLAYVIN!" So I punches it in its stupid book cover face, it goes "OW! With the HITTING you now aaare? I don't LIKE you no mores, I'm thinking is what!"
      "Wait, foolish MOR-TAL! That's not the stick of the KRAZY GLUE, is it?! Oh, no, not the KA-RAZY GLUING OF MY PAGES with the TOGETHERS, I hate that!" But it is done! I try to bury it in the nearest unconsecrated cemetary, but apparently you need some kind of permit, and it won't fit down the toilet, so I banished it to the deepest pit of Hell, where none will ever find it! And the recycling truck took it away!
      As the truck leaves, a chill runs through my mind. There were only 5 episodes aired of Pink Lady & Cthulhu, and yet--the DVD claimed there were six. I hear it thumping now, like a heart buried beneath the floorboards, calling from beyond, from a veritable mountain of madness, gibbering, gibbering like a lemming in a hot tub, I will be back. None can shut the Jeffronomicon before the cold kiss of the grave. I see it now! I was the fool! I WAS THE F

      ...And there his blog post ends.

      Huh. Why's there a book in my recycling bin?


      Got home tonight to find Byron still in his new sovereign state of Bigfootistan. He'd knocked his water over, and it's a big, wide, heavy, bilious, squamous, impecunious, indescribabl--sorry, yesterday hasn't worn off yet--a microwave soup cup too big to easily spill. My guess was that DJ chased him again, and Big B knocked it over escaping.
      After the evening's wet food, DJ went off to the bathroom, and for the first time in 2 weeks, Byron raced into my lap! We had a 45 minute session of pets and purrs, without a redheaded stepchild in sight. Byron even curled up on his favorite old spot, the top of the printer. After warily watching DJ--who himself came into my lap, a literal arm's length from the Big Grey Crabapple--he accepted it and went to sleep. DJ continues to avoid B.
      I think that when DJ chased him, that cup of water spilled onto DJ's head. Thinking that Byron now has a squirt gun, in fact a SuperSoaker, he's now wary.
      But this whole month-long incident could've been avoided if DJ just gave the guy his personal space. It's not an optimal solution, but if it works, if things get better--man, I'll try anything at this point.


      This is the way Pink Lady ends. This is the way Jeff ends. Not with a bang, but with a wimpy post.
      I don't feel like putting any crazy effort into the "Lost Episode," the PL&J that was finished but never released when the show was cancelled after 5 airings. Ha ha! Guess what song just came up on my iPod? Ofra Haza's "Wish Me Luck". Yes, you do that.
      Is that animated bird that opens each episode a dove, as I've always assumed, or an albatross? Well, Special Guest Star is (AGAIN!) Sid Caesar doing his Screaming Jap-Jew impression that so resonated with everyone watching this show--draw your own conclusion.
      Great. The opening they've used all but last time, PL wears kimonos, rips them off revealing sex-ay glitter gowns, hentai is invented. Another thing the world needed? Disco version of "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch." Still can't lipsynch to a foreign language, but who can blame them? "You're tied to my apron strings!" they Karaoke, which I'm sure is a common phrase in Tokyo. The PL Dancers look about as excited to be there as the audience is, and the audience looks like the show was held at a mannequin convention.
      Jeff tells them "That song was BAAAD!" so language hilarity comes, much in the same way coffins come when cemeteries are flooded. Just floatin' there, dead. Jeff tries to get them to say a tongue twister with every word beginning with R, because, Rotsa Ruck, Pink Rady! They give him a Japanese one with every other letter the K sound, and this angers Sumo Guy. Or maybe because Jeff, yes he fucking did, does his Nixon impression again. "Don't hurt him!' yell PL, wishing the opposite and gaining some true applause.
      One of the guests is Byron Allen, so know I know how at least how one of my cats' names sounds in a Japanese accent, and no, Jeff, they don't call him "Bylon Arren."
      Reverend Jeff meets Reverend Mike, the black but equally greedy TV reverend (and based on Reverend Ike, for those of you who don't have some errant brain cell from the late 70s randomly bouncing around your skull to remind you). White reverend wants to take the rich guy to "the healing waters of Bel Air", black one to "Bubba's Barbecue Palace". Well, it could've been the Fried Chicken & Malt Liquor Shack, I suppose.
      Bobby Vinton sings a medley of his hits from 20 years ago, prior to when the British Invasion killed his kind of bland dreck. Reminder: this is the show that had Alice Cooper on last week, and Blondie twice. Was he the compromise choice between Lawrence Welk and the Dead Kennedys? He sings "Blue Velvet" as Dennis Hopper inhales gas from a mask screaming "MOMMY!" and cuts off ears; a midget comes in a dream sequence and talks backwards. An owl named "Bob" swoops down, kills him and wraps him in plastic. If they'd had a 7th show, it would be that hit single from the Lady in the Radiator.
      What would this show be without one last appearance by--ART NUVO, DISCOUNT ART DEALER! Cancelled anyways, is what. Art's going out of business. I'd say that it's a metaphor for the show being cancelled, but that's no subtext. It's about the show being cancelled. "I've been coming here every week! For you! I'll be back!" vows the unforgettable name that will triumph over the heavens, Jeff Altman. It has a certain "dance band on the Titanic" vibe. But with an added "Look for me on my reunion tour aboard the Lusitania!"
      Sid Caesar time. Christ. Again? Is he dressed like a goofy version of Japan and screams and mugs and is also Yiddish and cheap? Man, I'm glad I don't have to watch anymore of these. Rent 'em, see what I mean. As bad as they are, Sid is like month-old sushi. Here, the "joke" is that he has an American girlfriend, and he beats her. When one of his daughters tries to give her some food, he slaps it from her hand and says "In Japan, woman only eat what fall from man's bowl!" which I'm guessing is inaccurate. Screaming abuse, he forces her to feed him like a baby. And if you're thinking that this is presented as being horrible, Jeff and Hey Vern agree that "These Japanese customs aren't so bad!" And then the GF is totally thrilled when Papa-san gives her an engagement ring! And she immediately stops becoming an abused doormat, demanding such ridiculous Women's Lib radicalisms as asking to eat some food, and speaking in a Brooklyn/Bronx/Southern Belle accent (depending on the second), and how she wants all these expensive things, that bitch! So Sid immediately murders her. Strangles her violently to death in the kitchen, seen in silhouette. Comedy, people. COM MED EEEE!
      Why'd this show get cancelled again?
      Byron Allen does some standup, in which he's kinda funny, in a 1980 TV way--actually, pretty much the best PL segment since they performed "UFO." So of course it never got aired.
      More Beverly Hills humor! Starring Jeff doing oh fuck, really? Dragnet? Jesus, awful writing staff, did they shoot down your timely parody of Fibber McGee & Molly? Don't worry, the police chief is played by Red Buttons! Meaning this is a bit rejected from the last show, no doubt to make way for the comic stylings of Jerry Lew--I WILL NOT SPEAK THAT UNHOLY NAME! They're rich, these cops! They make PL jog into headquarters OH THE HILARITY. Mug shots are taken by a fashion photographer! The chief reads Variety! Their phone--has the world's first ring tone! It's just random dings, so, nice work with that joke, assholes. There's more (Prisoner: "My cell's hot tub isn't even redwood!") but a true weariness comes from watching these shows. That's not a joke. I really understand why I gave up an episode in when this was on the air. Even a teenager stoner can't take too much enjoyment from doomed flop sweat.
      Oh god no. Musical guest: Roy Orbison. He sings "Pretty Woman." "Mercy!" he sings, apparently begging for it. The PL Dancers slink up to him dressed in...seriously, no idea. At first I thought it was "like styles of the 20th century," and then "maybe the mid-1960s?" but no one has ever worn anything like this bizarre melange of random clothing unless they where standing in the shrapnel of an exploding Goodwill store.
      Next, Jeff is a tough cowboy and the girls wear karate clothes. PL karates a prop, and Jeff becomes gay. weary...
      As are even PL & J. In an adlibbed bit--first ever, I think--Jeff introduces a mystery guest with many factoids, such as how many languages he speaks. PL says "YES!" to everything he says, which means their awful catchphrase "Yes Yes Yes...No!" will now be used. "Who do you think he is?" Mie guesses his name as "the Pope" and Kei says "No. Oh! Sorry!" and it's actually not bad. Because for once, it's not scripted by the weathered old goblins of the writing staff, pounding their Lucky Strikes-yellowed mitts on an old IBM Selectric.
      It's Bobby Vinton! He speaks Polish with the dames, and Jeff marvels that they can speak it. Kei: "We sure don't speak English!" so, okay, not a bad one there, ancient scriptwriters, your first Manhattan's on me. Oh, you write for this show, so you're already on your fourth? I said I'd pay for your first, SUCKERS!
      Jeff sings! The audience empties out. Sid comes out and says "I'm going home, everyone else did!" HAHAHA, your show's been cancelled! And no one will see this ep for a third of a century!
      PL sings Disco "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Bobby comes out and they do some song I've never heard before, about a girl cheating on the guy, which is an odd choice for a trio. Sure, she's got "Him, him, him!" but you've got the 2 smoking babes at once. You're both cheating, but she's the one getting cheated out of an extra lover. And now, here's a request going out to the hideous Elder Gods wishing that the dominant species on Earth withers and dies before their invasion, "Johnny B. Goode, DISCO STYLE!!" PL & Bobby give all the hustle and boogie they got, and the audience--wait, are they dead? The audience is dead! They're just corpses propped up in their seats! Oh no--the flood at the cemetery! I was right the first time! They're the floaters, THEY'RE THE FLOATERS!! The engineers flash "GO GO GO" on the screen, like an old Batman episode! Does the audience care? Yes! They, too, want to go go go. Wait, they're already gone, and probably starting to stink up the place.
      Time for that final Hot Tub ending. The tub's being sold. The 3 interns get their spot in the tub, Jeff climbs in, Sumo Guy gets his first line ever, Jeff and Bobby say "Sayonara!" and sing "Blue on blue, now that we are through!" Mie and Kei say "Good night!" "KING OF THE WORLD!" yells Jeff as the ship slips beneath the waves.
      Bubbles come from the surface of the sea, the only hint that the ship ever existed before it disappeared beneath the surface, before it hit the bottom of the ocean's floor, forgotten, forever forgotten...

      The broken ship settles by an ancient fissure, torn open by an undersea volcano in ages long before man. A tentacle aeons old snakes out, slithering, searching. In the ship's ripped and broken hold, it finds the copy of the cursed Jeffronomicon. It curls around the forbidden book and pulls it deeper into its slimy grasp. Finally, thinks the mad god, finally I can return to the surface--as soon as the DVD rerelease!
      And the tortured face on the book hisses--"Nice...Laydee..."



      I made chicken for dinner with the radio playing over the computer. When I was done, I heard nosies from the computer: the click, ba-dump, pwing one only hears when doing things on the computer ("pwing" being my spelling of the "file has downloaded" sound on Windows). Who the hell's messing with my computer?! Wait, is this part of the music of India show? Some weird new kind of tabla playing? No, but yes. I figured out that the dj had left her mike on while she browsed and downloaded on the station's bandwidth. Which was confirmed when the last song ended, and a solid minute of dead air followed.
      Still not the worst I've heard. I was driving home one night during the request part of a commercial radio station, and while the music played, the dj took the calls. Not knowing that his mike was still on.
      "Hello, WDRC."
      "Yeah, hi, how are you?"
      "LISTEN! You ask for a request, I ask what it is, and you SAY ITS NAME, and THAT'S IT, GOT IT?"
      "We're gonna start again, OKAY?...Hello, WDRC."
      "I'd--like to make a request?"
      "Great! What song would you like?"
      And after that call ended, under the music you could hear the dj bitching about the idiots who call. The next caller got the exact same verbal treatment. Jeez, get a new job, dj. (If I he's who I think it was, 20 years later, he still djs at that station)


      It's lazy to link to a site everyone should check daily, but here's Cracked on The 4 Best Moments in the Worst Movies Ever Made. The first 2 are "Starship Troopers" and "Gymkata," and I guess I now have to watch the other 2.


      Yesterday I used a coupon to buy some hot wings from the proletariat's favorite, People's Choice Pizza Soviet! "Use your coupon to SMASH Fascist Capitalism! Delivery is free within 30 minutes, although delivery times are approximate, as we drive Moskvich and Trabant models only, and the occasional farm tractor."
      I asked for my sauce to be "Insanity." The hottest they have! I can tell when they do or don't give it to me, as last time they didn't. If after eating 3 wings, I have to stop for 10 minutes so that I can gasp, it's Insanity. Shitty hot wings taste hot on your lips, and that's it. I want them to open every capillary in my brain. I want it to burn in my mouth and my stomach! I don't want it to continue to burn in my dick after I pee, but that's what you get.

      Kill Kill's number came up in Vet Roulette. As usual, she drooled in fear. Unusually, she actually resisted the vet when he tried to weigh her. It took 2 attempts--on the first, she managed to reach out a paw and turn the electronic scale off. She's also at a healthy weight--12.25 lbs, when she was 14 a year ago-- I don't know if that's because of playing with the boys, or if DJ's spending more time playing with her now that one boy hates everybody. Mr Bigfoot Crabapple.
      The vet had no idea what to do about the Byron situation, besides (like me) hoping that maybe Killsy going to the vet might prompt him out of it. So far, no change. He saw her leave, but slept through her return. She always demands to be let out of the carrier at the bottom of the stairs of our third-floor condo, racing up the 3 flights in the same amount of seconds. But I'd reassembled the carrier with the door in backwards, and there was a mutual struggle to get it open. Then--FREEDOM, glorious freedom!
      Unlike Byron, she was back to normal after 5 minutes.
      I miss "normal."



      Remember when I won a totally life-changing $1986 from Lotto? I decided that it was time to go crazy and splurge again! So I bought 2 bath towels! $15 worth! As the old ones were a bit old. OK, 26 years old, and one had a bit that I could see light through.
      This is how not to be poor: earn a little more than you can live on, and then don't spend the rest. And change your towels every quarter-century.

      For instance, as I have Sundays and Wednesdays off, I can get the Netflix 1-at-a-time plan, and still get 2 DVDs a week. That works out to a dollar a rental! Or a dollar's waste of time. Today's was Deus ex Machina 3. Well, that Iron Man 3 movie, but that should've been the name, as every fucking scene was "Now we're saved by a sudden appearance by an empty Iron Man armor!" In the last scene, it was more like Deus ex Machina 25. Or were there 50 Iron Men? A thousand? Who knows, who cares. Hey, did you know that rich white men are unstoppable while outside of their magic armor, but women and Negroes are totally, instantly stoppable while in them? That's actually a minor gripe in a movie that has the second most important role played by an "adorable" sitcom brat in a Dorothy Hamill-via-Bieber haircut. Hey, kid, you're so instantly likeable that George Lucas wants to you play baby Darth and a young Jar-Jar. Save yourself some time and enter drug rehab now.

      The early 70s Doctor Who was played in its most James Bondian style by the Third Doctor. "Double-O-Who? Jon Pertwee's secret life as a wartime agent." Like Christopher FUCKIN' Lee, he was a major badass during WWII. And if that "Double-O-Who" made you roll your eyes like I did--find out who recruited him.

      �Modern political religions may reject Christianity, but they cannot do without demonology. The Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Nazis all believed in vast conspiracies against them, as do radical Islamists today.�--from the 1986 book Turmoil in the Toy Box.


      Kevin and I went to see RiffTrax Live tonight. Night of the Living Dead, maybe you've heard of it. It was...okay. Lots of funny lines, but also jokes that fell flat both with our audience and the live one. By "fell flat" I mean no one laughed.
      Kev thought that their riff of The House on Haunted Hill was worse, but that also had 2 shorts, including the funniest short since "Circus on Ice," the bizarre "Grass." Another short too, I think. And of course, more goes on in NotLD than HoHH. Even if NotLD spends about half its length nailing boards on windows, at least it didn't have a 5 minute 360-degree pan around a fucking empty basement. Yeah, try riffing that.
      There was a rumor that there would be an Xmas show, which is a time of year when changing a retail work schedule is frowned upon. I was already expecting not to go, but what if they did Foodfight!? But, no, they ran a slide saying it was Santa Claus Conquers etc etc. What, again? So neither of us want to go. On the other hand, there was another slide announcing Doctor Who 3D, and we are going! Yes, Kev's only about 10 eps into the EighthTenth Doctor's series, but he's become enough of a fan to see it. He's afraid of being left in the dark by it, but since it picks up from a season I haven't seen, I'll be right there there in the dark with him. 3D Daleks, though!
      For once, we were among the first out the door when it ended (there are no credit cookies at RiffTrax, except for a code that you plug into their site and get maybe a picture or a non-downloadable song). Outside the theater, a guy yelled "Anyone leaving RiffTrax--CinematicTitanic is coming to the Calvin in Northampton!" Not sure why this guy was there--superfan, or paid by the rival faction? But, yes they are making another brief New England tour the 1st week of November: NH, Noho and Boston. I can't go (it's on a Saturday) but that's okay, as it's a movie we saw when they came to Hartford last year. Note that the difference between RiffTrax Live and Cinematic Titanic Live is that CT is truly live, right there in front of you on stage. Just in case those in our listening area might be interested.



      An interesting (if kind of long) podcast from Way of Cats about the Cat's Paw of Compassion. At the end, there's an anecdote about a guy with a loving cat with an odd name...Which I think leaves out the most important part, that she never left my side, never went to sleep, just stayed, holding my hand.


      What, I'm supposed to write something? Sorry, got nuthin'. So here's a reprise of the greatest song ever: Cheese Day in Monroe.
      And speaking of songs you can't get out of your head: Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu.




      You know what's always bothered me? �Aren�t you a little short for a stormtrooper?� Well, Princess, since he's wearing a full suit of body armor that fits perfectly, what does that mean? If he'd taken the helmet off first and she said �Aren�t you a little young for a stormtrooper� that would make sense. Or, �Aren�t you a little dewy for a stormtrooper?� because he was a moisture farmer you see. Saying �Aren�t you a little unemployable after these movies?� would've just been mean.
      And if water melts witches, how come no one in Wizard of Oz comments about how bad the Wicked Witch must stink after a lifetime of not bathing? She couldn't even wash her hands without them disintegrating. Was her skin green, or was she covered in mold? Like a slice of french toast that fell into the back of the fridge for 6 months? If you spit on her, would she get a little burn? Wouldn't she just burn up from the inside out because of her own spit? Does it never rain in Oz? I'm just saying that they must've had some sort of hydrologic cycle, or else how would the poppies grow? Is Oz like the Atacama Desert but with flowers, or did the Witch always carry an umbrella? Was her idea of a horror movie that Winnie the Pooh one with "Tut, tut, it looks like rain"?
      How about "Aren't you a little not a clone for a stormtrooper?" Aren't they all clones of Django Fett, or Dingo Stole My Baby Fett, or Dungheap Fett, or DANG But The Prequels Suck Fett, or whatever his name was?
      "You seen that new BT-16?"
      "Yeah, some of the other guys were telling me about it. They say it's quite a thing to see. OF COURSE I'VE FUCKING SEEN IT! I'm your CLONE! Hey, have you seen your dick? I can show it to you by taking my codpiece off!"
      "Don't get cocky, kid."
      " does the Wicked Witch pee?"
      "Shut up, I don't want to talk to me no more."
      "Sure, suit myself." (sings) "Come to Cheeese Day, come to CHEEEESE Day, come to Cheese Day in Monroe..."
      "DAMN IT, I thought I told me to SHUT UP!" (Stormtrooper shoots blaster at point blank range, somehow hits the same hand he's firing with)



      My Halloween costume is a crying teen/screaming college student yelling "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE BY NOT TASING HER BRO!" I'm going as YouTube 2007. I suppose that I could also dress as Maru and dive into a box.

      ...And as I finished typing that, snarls came from the other room. DJ was harassing Byron again. I picked up the squirt gun and said...Yeah, said what I said about my costume.
      I've pretty much decided "This is how things are now." I pulled out the last Feliway diffuser, although it has like a week's worth of juice left. If it hasn't worked in 6 weeks, why would it now? Pammy from Way of Cats read of our turmoil, and sent me a salve her husband has been working on. It's in a tin marked "Kitty Nerves." Smear a bit on one's pinky, spread it on a foreleg. Byron didn't mind the spreading, and smelled and licked it contentedly. Since this happened before the outburst mentioned earlier...Well, maybe it takes time to work. Maybe nothing will.

      Kevin's watching Doctor Who starting with the eps of the Eighth Tenth NINTH Doctor (I swear I proof these before uploading) and we're going to the "Day of the Doctor" thing next month. We might be both be going in blind. I thought that the 50th anniversary special would be stand-alone, but apparently it picks up from the end of the last episode. All I know is that--the Doctor gets Hurt in the John? Maybe I should've researched more.
      At any rate, I found this short but very accurate listing of the various Docs, A Whose Whom Of Doctor Who's to get him up to speed.

      Anybody remember the 1980s TV series Night Flight? I loved that! Here's 20 minutes of it from when it stopped using the amazing voice of Pat Prescott, whose enthusiatic dj delivery would bring even the stonedest of stoners back to semi-consciousness, and some 1985 iteration where she was replaced with live hosts, or as live as the canned hams of a blow-dried local Happy News Team could be. I was working for a living at that time, and thus not awake until 2AM. But this does give a "greatest hits" vibe of my favorite show from 3 decades ago.


      And now, I will watch Star Trek Into Darkness Title Without Punctuation. I'm sure that it will be REAL GOOD.


      If Doctor Who Had Been Created In America. That already has happened--It was that Fox TV movie about the Seventh Tenth Sally Forth EIGHTH Doctor. The one with the violence and the car chases. If Fox made that today, the Daleks would scream "LIB-ER-AL-IZE!!"

      And in news about other and stinkier sci-fi, Star Trek Into Dullness. I knew it wouldn't be good--every review hated it, and it came and went quickly at the theaters. And if it's bad enough to insult the intelligence of Americans...
      I wished I'd watched it on the computer, so that I could compare it to Save the Cat! It had every beat there, right down to "X happens at Y time." "Yet once you know the formula, the seams begin to show. Movies all start to seem the same, and many scenes start to feel forced and arbitrary, like screenplay Mad Libs. Why does Kirk get dressed down for irresponsibility by Admiral Pike early in Star Trek Into Darkness?" Well, that, and the fact that he's violated the Prime Directive by inexplicably plunging the Enterprise into a lake by what appears to be the only settlement on an alien world, as why else would Kirk be so concerned about a volcano killing the whole planet outside of "Screenwriter don't know how volcanoes work," and Spock goes into the volcano to put some Ice-9 in it and has to be transported out instead of transporting the stuff in from the Enterprise in orbit, and...whatever. Because "it's more exciting that way!" Know what else it is? More fucking stupid.
      "Save the Cat!" shows its flaw in this movie. It might work with a single protagonist, but this movie should've been called Star Kirk Into the Awesomeness of Kirk. He's the center of the movie. Everyone adores him and devotes their life to making him know how he's more important than they are--hell, the whole galaxy is only lit by the light he shines! Except for the bad guys, who are Bad because they oppose Kirk's desires. Does "Save the Cat" include a bit saying "Make your screenplay a total Mary Sue"? Maybe it might work better without a lead actor who has all the charisma of a blue-eyed fence post. Remember that other guy--what's his name, Spork?--he's kinda in the movie. As much as any other character is. But the black hole of Must Love the Kirk swallows them all whole, to a place where not even other characters can escape.
      And is it now a rule that every movie have a bad guy with a plot so insanely complicated and fine-tuned to what things other people do, that there's no way the plan could ever work? And also involve the villain being captured at just the right moment? This is at least the 4th movie (Skyfall, Avengers, Iron Man 3) in which I couldn't tell you what the bad guy was even trying to accomplish, or at least in a way that wasn't dependent on some byzantine labyrinth of utter coincidence, but this was the worst. What was Evil Starfleet commander doing? Possibly I was told, but was too busy not paying attention to this "everything happens all the time" bullshit. That's actually not exciting, it's boring. It's like WRITING IN ALL CAPS, YOU JUST TUNE IT OUT very quickly. Best review of a movie like this that's also like every other fucking blockbuster, another classic film that will stand as humanity's greatest achievement alongside the Apollo landings and a slobby guy just missing spilling his taco made of Doritos at the mall food court onto his TOTALLY favorite tshirt, Transformers 2: "It's like watching paint dry while being hit in the head with a frying pan."
      Plot: They took Star Tek II and threw out the good parts. And threw in stupid parts. Nobody in the making of this questioned the tribble "from the Mudd incident" and said "Wait, that wasn't Mudd!" Where was the 1920s gangster from the Nazi planet of Romans in tepees with green girls? Did the Abrams go "NO! YOU'RE the one remembering it wrong! Now, let's have sweet, brave Kirk the Mighty fight the Horta Gorn Wookiee Vampire Slayer! Stop him before he phones home, me!--err...Kirk!"
      Let us not forget the second most important character! You know who I mean! LENS FLAAAARE! Seriously, the fuck? EVERY fucking scene had Lens Flare, exciting new action hero that makes you shade your eyes in pain. Lens flare used to mean "CUT! Shoot the scene again, because our cameraman is an idiot!" In this movie, how many millions of dollars were spent adding lens flare? If someone had picked up a fucking slice of pumpernickel, it would blindingly flare. It just screams "You're watching a movie!" everytime it happens...not that this movie ever lets you think otherwise, but will the next crapfest, Star Kirk Into the One With Whales, have nonstop boom mikes waggling at the top of every shot? Maybe the key grip drinking a Mountain Dew in Chekov's lap?
      I give this movie one star, and that's on a scale that includes every star visible in the night sky.


      Killsy went to the vet last week, and I was assured that she wouldn't be back for 2 years. Byron and DJ go every 3 years, the vet said, because their shots are synched.
      And 10 days later they say she needs to go back! For distemper shots. I think that's the one they fine you for not getting, even if said friend never leaves the house.
      Well--fuck you! I'm calling them and demanding to know how they could miss her shots that close together, and why it's been only her that has had this problem, for 14 fucking years. I learned long ago to ask them, and they always say "No more shots this year." Are they getting her confused with some other cat? A cat also named KILL KILL?
      I just checked my receipt, and yeah, she already had it last week, and isn't due until 2015. WTF. I'll just keep the postcard they sent me and ignore every other one they send me in the next 2 years.
      Not their fault, as every all white cat is named "Fluffy" or "Snowball" or after 1960s cult movies.
      Hmm...on the card I'm Bill Young at 20C, on the receipt I'm Mr. Bill Young at 20 C. Computers are exactly smart enough to be really stupid.

      Hey, sure why not, let's run all the cool Who stuff I can between now and 11/25: 2 year old girl dresses up as all 11 Doctors.




      And how are things in the Arkham Asylum for Cats?


      Byron will let DJ get very close to him, sometimes inches away, without freaking out. Except when it's 2 hours later and he hisses and snorts when DJ enters the room 10 feet away.
      He's getting better, but he still won't leave that one tiny strip of the house. I've been giving him that Kitty Nerves salve from Way of Cats, but not consistently. Consistently enough that he looks forward to it, though; he hates having his feet touched, but a schmear of the salve on his foreleg he likes. He'll contentedly lick it off. So it certainly isn't hurting. Maybe he just needs time.

      Do people give you advice on how to do your job? Unsolicited advice? Fucking stupid advice? I get it every so often in retail. From people who have never worked in retail, or in the very specific subsets of retail. Toy stores are not like record stores which are not like liquor stores. Funny thing is, no one says "Hey, have you guys ever tried this idea?" No, it's usually "ALL YOUR WINE SHOULD BE CHILLED!" in a tone of voice that implies the fact that we don't is killing the puppies who keep the Moon from crashing to Earth.
      "All the wine? But most reds are meant to be drunk at room temper--"
      "But--then we'd need either half as much wine, or twice as much store! They only way we could do it would be to set the thermostat at 38 degrees for the whole store--"
      I'll leave it to you to decide how much of that conversation I made up. (Pro Tip: not much. He was instantly psycho about all the wines being chilled. Good luck finding that store, buddy, at least in this dimension)
      "All your wines should be alphabetical! Why aren't they?!" Yeah, that makes sense. "Where's your box wines?" "Well, Almaden is over there, Franzia is there, Vella is waaay over there..." That complaint makes sense in a record store, but there I got complaints about the Crosby Stills Nash and Young CDs not being seperate from the Crosby Stills and Nash CDs. They'd be next to each other anyway!
      One I've had at every job I've ever worked: "YOUR PRICES SHOULD INCLUDE THE SALES TAX!!" Why? Seriously, why should they? If we did, people would say "I used to shop at that store, but then one day all their prices went up by 6.65%! This $11.99 bottle was $12.75 at their store! [to cashier] What do I owe you?" CASHIER: "12.75." "Wow, imagine how much it'd be at that other store!"
      Should we also include the gas you used driving here? And the calories of the food you burned and the cost of the shoe leather you wore out walking from your 11MPG Hummer? If you want to know how much the price is with sales tax, buy a pocket calculator and join the fucking 1980s.
      Why do you think you're an expert in a business you've never worked in? It'd be like me going up to a programmer and shrieking "YOU KNOW WHY YOUR SOFTWARE SUCKS? IT WON'T RUN ON MY COMMODORE 64! Why are you using C++?! Are you so dumb that you don't know BASIC?!"

      Speaking of the 80s, after a run of bad movies, I rented a decent one. Maybe it was because my expectations were low, but they weren't lower than I had going into Star Trek Taste the Kirk or Iron Man Also Saves the Cat. (Although I did have higher hopes for a Miyazaki I hadn't seen, Tales of Earthsea, which was the opposite of the former movies. Those were boring because things never stopped happening; this was boring because nothing ever happened. Unless you like sheep herding. In which case, it's an awesome date movie if you ever go out with a border collie).
      It was 1988's Killer Klowns From Outer Space. It's a parody of bad 1950s monster movies (Pro Tip: there are no good ones--well, Them! and the occasional Harryhausen one, but not much else). The best of this tiny subgenre is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but this was funny by pretending it was serious. Everyone played it pretty much straight, even The Most Assholey Police Chief Ever. People get wrapped in cotton candy cocoons by the Killer Klowns, who then eat them by using Crazy Straws. Possibly the only movie in which the climatic escape scene involves an oubliette that opens into a ball pit.v


      Drama at Work! Details maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, in betweentime, ain't we got a fun trailer for Star Wars, based on the blooper reel.




      Yeah, well, I suppose this cat leaping and catching in midair is cool. But once Killsy did that, but from the opposite direction, turning 180 from head to tail and turning 90 back to belly, then back upright, then hitting the ground running the opposite way and in 2 bounds smacking the toy mouse and proceeding to gut it. Too bad I wasn't filming it.

      It was Election Day, and I almost got voted off the island.
      Yesterday I immediately went to work putting a beer delivery away, thinking "Somebody must've called out, because the beer cooler looks like no one's been in it since I left 2 days ago." And I soon found out "D.'s been laid off."
      What the fuck? The store's Number 2 man? New Owner said "He was making too much money...$20 an hour!"
      I said "I'm making $16.65 an hour! Am I next?"
      " could be."
      Another reason given was that "Something's wrong with our core numbers," [Beware any sentence that involves non-language like "core numbers"] "we're taking in more product than we're selling." So...fired guy was stealing pallets of it? Leaving no evidence? Certainly nothing to do with the Real Owner, New Owner's dad, buying 40 cases of Halloween wine.
      No, Halloween wine was not I thing that I was aware of before 6 weeks ago, and I've been in the booze biz for 16 years. It's called "Haunted" and has glow in the dark labels of monsters and names like "Zombie Zin." Did it sell? Are you fucking kidding me, why would it?! It'll take at least 3 years to get rid of that shit, sold over progressive Octobers. We have Christmas themed wines from 2 Xmases ago. And that's just one example. Daddy buys all sorts of cheap, high-profit margin wines by the (literal) truckload. We always sit on them for months or years. Some have already gone bad, so no one will buy more than 1 bottle. I wonder how many people just stop shopping at our store, just as they would at a grocery store that sells expired chicken. And no matter how high the profit margin is, the margin is nothing if no one buys it.
      $20/hr, okay. Know who makes $30/hr? Yes, our old foe Drunken Toddler! Who does nothing that New Owner couldn't do by coming in at 8 instead of 9. There's a fucking wise investment.
      D. was the fine wine guy, who knew everything about every wine and could sell a $30 bottle. Who's doing all the things he used to do? Not fucking me! Outside of the fine wines, I run the entire floor, and nobody can even be bothered to go in the cooler and put a 6 pack on the shelf when I'm not there. And the lottery, the schedule, the wine tastings? Who'll do that now, the guy on the glow in the dark Zombie label?
      There's another full-timer who's 15-30 minutes late for work every day, is 15-30 minutes late coming back from lunch every day, who disappears into the bathroom inexplicably for 20 minutes at a time, is a former heroin addict, does nothing but play with her Stupidphone when she's on the floor...I'm sure she makes less than D., but at least you got your money's worth with him. Hell, he was scheduled 40 hours but came in early and worked about 8 for free. This hag is no bargain. She's like a car that never starts and you have to replace the oil filter monthly. Keep the better car, dump the junker.
      Me? Who knows. My schedule changed, but who knows how much. Now they say I'll get 3 days off a week, but have to work every 3rd Sunday. I guess. I already had to resched a dr's appointment, and I guess the Dr Who special is now off as I have to close every Monday. I can live with that. If they're not lying to me.
      They changed the alarm pad and everyone's codes. Except mine. Am I above suspicion, or is it "Eh, don't change his, he's fired after the holidays anyway." Am I paranoid? I was told that "We looked, and D. was the best choice to get rid off." So...It wouldn't be L., as his wife suddenly is working here, right after M. go fired. Like 2 days afterward, and right as the wife's unemployment ran out. Did L. engineer M.'s firing, bad mouthing her to new boss? He thinks that D.'s firing is because of DT's machinations. Which is an interesting way to think. The people you can trust the least are the people who trust others the least, so is he projecting his motives onto DT's? So, besides D., the only other choice would've been ME. D. worked 25 years as the town's chief engineer and retired with a pension, has a well-paid beard wife, and only worked because he's one of those "I could never retire" types. Me--my income is just me. So maybe they took mercy on my soul. Maybe they're just waiting until it's more convenient for them.
      And yet DT still steals 3 cases of Heineken a week and they're fine with that. What an awesome job I don't have. Soon, possibly literally.
      I think I'll go back and watch the kitty chase video again...


      Memo to self: apparently toasting slices of garlic bread leads to toaster oven grease fires.
      Kudos to self: remembering to grab a box of baking soda to fling at the fire, instantly putting it out!
      Memo to self: "Flinging" as opposed to "Fanning" the baking soda leads to a lot of baking soda in the toaster oven.
      A damp paper towel got up most of it, but I imagine that my food is going to have that je ne sais quoi taste of melted baking soda for a while.
      I remember a grease fire at my parents' when I was a teenager, and I instantly yanked open the cabinet door and--next to the baking soda was the baking powder. It was something with baking in its name! I grabbed the right one. Baking powder would've likely gone off like a midwestern grain silo explosion.

      And the job gets weirder, because when hasn't it. DT said that the fired mgr only wanted to work 12 hours a week after the holidays. So why didn't they cut him down to that now? It'd plug the biggest holes in the schedule that firing him left. Other mgr is still convinced that DT was behind it. Maybe DT needs the money because he's decided that, as he's dying of leukemia (slowly dying. Waaay too slowly for his coworkers, anyway) and mentions it all the time, maybe he's decided that being an ex-heroin addict isn't good enough. Off the methadone and back onto the horse! And that he framed the fired guy for it. Who the fuck knows? There's so much shady shit that we know about--2 sets of books, thousands of dollars of sales not rung up to pocket the sales tax, people paid under the table to avoid all sorts of taxes--who the fuck knows what's going on that we don't know about? All I know is that the asylum is run by the inmates. All it takes is 1 disgruntled employee, like the last 1 they fired, to drop a dime and the company goes down and a bunch of people have no jobs. Hey, don't look at me. I'd only do it if it somehow targeted only DT.
      And if you thought "Wait--exactly how many ex-heroin addicts work there?" it's 2. Hey, they're on methadone. Unless DT isn't. Better than when we had the 20 year old who DT kept cutting slack to, despite the fact I had some pretty hard evidence that he was shooting up in our bathroom. Bloody alcohol prep pads, and the whole "nodding off at the register" thing. You've got to have a pretty high tolerance for junkies to keep a current one on your payroll.
      DT and fired guy worked mornings, and alone for an hour or so per shift. And the other mgr--he closes every night he works, when there's no oversight, unless you count clueless part-timers staring at their phones all shift. The guy who worked as a bartender in this exact part of town for 30 years, and would know which bars would pay half-price for stolen booze? Like the owners of his old one, which reopened a year ago, just across the parking lot? The guy who has already blamed it on 3 different people?
      Methinks he doth protest too much.


      When a product changes its label design and screams "NEW AND IMPROVED!" it usually means "NOW! SMALLER SIZE FOR A HIGHER PRICE!" or "NEW! More carpet tacks since that explosion at the bolt factory next to our chicken farm!" or "NEW! It's made in China now, and we don't care what's in it anymore."
      Gourmet that I am, (it's pronounced "gar-MET"), tonight I was making dinner from "chicken that doesn't smell that bad yet" and every gourmand's (pronounced "gar-MET" with an 's) secret ingredient (pronounced "I'm a lazy bachelor") Shake 'N Bake, I noticed that their package had changed. "NEW! Great Taste." There's an obvious joke there--"NEW! We now only used it once to wipe our ass! If anyone's looking."
      The other sticker proudly said "NEW ALLERGAN INCLUDES WHEAT". Because, man, who doesn't want to ingest new allergens?! Have the next one contain NOW NEW! peanuts and asbestos! With added crispy crumbles of lead paint!

      Laid-off D. came to get his last check today. And I've never seen him happier.
      He was planning on cutting back his hours when he gets Social Security on 1/1/14, because his pension plus the job would put him in a higher tax bracket. He's always been a bit of a workaholic, but "I have no plans to work. I just stay at home with the dogs!" he said with clear enthusiasm. It might just be the only time he's ever just kicked back and relaxed. "I'll still be coming in [as a customer]. If it gets busy during the holidays, they might want me to work a few hours." He went upstairs to talk to DT, and I overheard them a minute later talking about how one of their cars has a leaky roof. I really didn't get the feeling that he left under a cloud, but that everyone was happy with the decision. Or that DT had framed him to cover his "renewed heroin habit" that someone imagined just yesterday.
      New Owner said when he told me that D. was gone that "More product is coming in than going out," but quickly clarified "Not that I'm accusing D. of anything!" One could interpret that 2 ways: "We have no proof" or "We're not accusing anyone of anything!" No one ever said anything about product magically disappearing from the store. It could be, as I've said, just the store's weird bookkeeping.
      No one said anything about product disappearing except L., the manager who was accusing everyone else of stealing. Interesting that it was his first thought.
      My last thought, before finally falling asleep very late after stewing about this subject all night: This is my last thought about it. There may be something shifty going on with L., but, eh, I just work there. I suppose that if he's trying to blame other people I'm next on his list, but we'll deal with that shoe when or if it drops.




      My new schedule began this week. I closed on a Monday! This is exciting news okay it really isn't. But I did the math and I think the last one I closed on that wasn't before a major holiday was over 21 years ago. It was just as I expected a Monday night to be: long, slow, boring. Now I have Tues/Weds off, which hasn't happened since 1997. When I had no cats, my webpage was less than 6 months old, and I had yet to work in a liquor store. Or likely known of anyone who's reading this now.
      A radio show I absolutely loved was WWUH's Afternoon Synthesis dj'd by Andy Taylor. I haven't heard more than a lunch break's worth in those 16 years, but now I can go back to hearing it in full every week! This is exciting news okay it really isn't for anyone but me.


      The 11 nations of North America and how they came to be, and why they have different ideas about guns. Interesting points made about assimilation into the area you live in; I'm as Scots-Irish as one can get, but I'm too Yankee to try to shoot you because I'm afraid you'll steal my sheep.


      Time to go to the people vet for a follow-up. Sitting in the waiting room, a silent TV told me all about the benefits of taking Abilify. Yep, that's the name. Possibly EnHancify was taken, and BeFunctional too. Maybe there's a Viagra imitator called Boner-Fides. Maybe there are a shitload of reasons to pass on it, I don't know. Even its corporate free trial site leads with "May cause suicide." Note that Abilify is legal, and marijuana isn't. "STONIFY may cause a sudden need for Cool Ranch Doritos, but you don't have any, oh fuck man seriously?, so you eat half a roll of flavored Tums."
      I got a flu shot, as I work with the great unwashed public, and not even being boiled alive in one's own sweat would keep our customers from crawling from the ICU to buy a bottle of Bukoff. It was given to me by a med student who looked like he was still in high school. I figured that he's already heard a lifetime's worth of Doogie Howser jokes, so I just asked "Will this give me the Autisms?" The doctor said "No more than you already have." And I mentioned this comic I saw today:




      An email I just got, from John F:      Greetings to one of the 15! Although the honorific is LTRotD (Long Time Reader of this Drivel. Wear it proudly!)            Whaaat? The url briefly says, then it switches to Scandinavian coats? Yeah, that's weird. One might even say inexplicable. But I suppose it could go to worse sites. I guess I should try and figure this out before it links to monkey pr0n sites.
      Any thoughts from the rest of the 15 as to what's going on there? I can't imagine this site getting them a lot of traffic from this site. Although it does the same thing if you Google thoughtviper. And also both the non-words on Bing. And Yahoo. WHAT DO YOU WANT OF ME, SWEDISH GOOSE DOWN MONGERS?

      At least Yahoo showed me this decade-old image of me and a then-sane cat:


      Stay away from my cats, Weirdo Swedes!



radio show host Stewart Clarkson, Hong Kong Radio 3



      Apparently the Swedish Pirates have turned my main page to "Microsoft VBScript compilation error '800a0400'
Expected statement/index.asp, line 4" which of course is gibberish to me. Every subpage is fine --obviously, as you're reading this. WTF? Guess I should ask Kirk...

      In further WTFery, a guy came into the store and spent 30 minutes alternating between angrily denouncing a coworker and threatening to fight him while sucking up to everyone else in the store. I really didn't catch a lot of it, as it's hard to understand loud people who have no teeth, but it boiled down to said coworker, E., texting said gummer's girlfriend "Why are you dating that old crackhead?" Yeah, I know, typical workplace shenanigans, assuming you work in a fucking asylum.
      Me, I'd be more interested in how E got my GF's phone number in the first place. I kinda pasted together a theory from Mr I Can Only Eat Oatmeal when he said "I only deal with people I can benefit from! Right now, she's benefittin' me!" E's current "girlfriend" is 67. He's 35. He fucks grandmas. Because "they do things for him." I guess they both found the same sucker and wanted a ride on her gravy train, like remoras on a shark although I suppose that metaphor only works with remoras that like gravy and ride trains. (NOTE fix in rewrite)
      "Should I throw this nutjob out?" I thought. "Maybe lure him away by telling him that Rite Aid is giving away free dentures?" But he kept on a-babbling, not at all like a total crackhead. Maybe just a guy with that one remaining brain cell ping-ponging relentlessly through his empty skull. With eyes that were black. All pupil, no iris. Complete solar eclipse black, dilated like the massive Black Hole at the center of the galaxy, "the abyss stares back" black. He said that his GF buys things in stores to distract the workers while he shoplifts. That's...interesting to say in a retail establishment. There was no one in the store besides him and never more than 1 other (normal) person at a time, so he wasn't trying to distract us then, but I think I'll give the store a call tomorrow. If he does come in and start screaming, everyone's going to be paying attention to that, and none to any of the "boys from NYC" he mentioned.
      One baffled customer he tried to drag into his manic monolog he fist-bumped. As the customer left, we mutually rolled eyes and he muttered "Gonna make sure to wash that hand!" Then Gummo insisted on shaking my hand. I cut it off and boiled it.

11/19 is still an error page. Not sure what to do--wait another day and then talk to ReadyHosting, I guess. But you can still get to the subpages like this--What, you bookmarked the main page, not the Newest? sigh Better put a post on FaceBook that everyone will ignore. Okay, maybe Kirk & Kim will instantly reply and I'll have it fixed after a 30 minute phone call from a patient and amused-by-my-cluelessness techie. "Okay, it looks like you have a very basic front page, 'Some pictures, 'Bill the SplOOt's virtual home, The News..." "It's a 1997 page. I learned html then, and I'm not learning it again!" I did make sure that he was paid by the hour, not by the call. Given how Operators Standing By never know who's on the other end, except usually that it's a screaming maniac asshole, he was probably glad to just get an affable halfwit like me.
      And the page was robohacked, on 10/23 by Russians. For a redirect to a Swedish coat company? WTF. Things were simpler back in 1997! Them Roosians were probably using Compuserve to download the Napster to the MySpaces to steal my "Mr T Ate My Balls" page! Commies, you'll never get my Dancing Internet Baby gif!

      Things that will likely never sell in a consignment store: a 5 pack of men's thongs.
      And yet there it was. Along with 3 copies of the DVD Disco Worms. Not in the same section of the store, fortunately. Guy in used thong: "Stayin' alive, stayin' alive--DANCE for the people, my worm, dance!" As bad as that mental visual is, click the link to see worse.

      Nerd News!
      Monty Python to Reunite
      'Mystery Science Theater 3000' tradition Turkey Day is back! It will apparently run at this site on T-day, starting at noon EST. My favorite Thanksgiving ever was just staying home with a grocery store rotisserie turkey breast and the Turkey Day Marathon. I had to close Weds, open Fri, and my parents wanted everyone to drive to their place in Vermont. 3 hours at dinner, but with a 3 & half hour commute. If it'd just been me begging off, 20 years later I'd still be hearing about it. But my sister Pat & her husband had the same schedule, so we all stayed at home. I went to Lechmere on Black Friday relaxed and invigorated and ready for the next 6 weeks of retail battle.

      Bill the SplOOt! Just call me that now!


      Off to see Jessie Baby at one of 2 places we go to, doing the only thing we do, antiquing. At the Crack Bar she filled me in on her getting fired as a volunteer. Apparently that's a thing that can happen. It seemed kind of inevitable to me, given the stories she's told me about the no-kill shelter's director. She's a rageaholic for one, and not much of a director either. She doesn't even know the names of half of her volunteers. All their adoptions are through PetSmart, and they don't want to even talk to her. Everything goes through Jess. All the unpleasant work the director won't do--guess who ends up doing it. She told Jess to leave a feral caught in a Hav-A-Hart trap in there for a week. She refused to pay for a ringworm outbreak at the shelter, claiming that they didn't have the money. But the treasurer is J's husband, and he says money is missing. Jess makes beaded bracelets to sell to raise funds for the shelter. So where'd that $100 go? Oh, the director said she took it for cat food and litter. She's supposed to deposit the money and then write a check; she didn't. That tag sale for the shelter? No one knows where that money went, right at the same time she bought a brand new refrigerator for her home.
      And there's the ex-heroin addict/ex-prostitute with the husband on crack who's the director's favorite volunteer. Seems she went as far as to sign off to her parole officer that she was at the shelter a night when she wasn't. The volunteer has 25 cats at home--she just takes them from the shelter--but lives in an apartment where the town requires that no one have more than 2 pets. Not things you want connected in the media to the shelter when someone in the house inevitably gets arrested for any number of offenses.
      So J got a call from the director demanding her resignation and hanging up before she could say anything. Then she called J's husband, explaining she was only fired from one part of the shelter (wha?) and could he please still be the treasurer? That didn't go over as well as she barely-thought it would.
      Jess still does TNR work on her own dime. She kept 3 month-old feral kittens she was socializing that the D told her to "Just drop them at PetSmart" where they'd go right back to being feral. A friend of hers may start her own shelter, and Jess will work with her if she does. She even named it: "Whiskers & Mittens".

      Then, after much discussion about Byron's metal illness, antiquing! Jess bought an adorable baby doll.


      ...FROM HELL.
      She liked the freakishly short arms. I said "She's all 'I'm Talking Tina and I don't like you'!" It's for her Edgar Allan Poe themed room at her house, because of course she has one. She handed it to me at one point so she could draw a sword, because what else would she be doing. And there was a moment of revulsion when I held it and realized that it was warm. From Jess holding it, but still..."She's coming alive!" I handed it back and said "You can take Creepella now." As she paid for it, the old lady at the counter said "You're going to clean her up!" And Jess said "No, she's staying just like this!" and laughed. The lady looked worried.

      We went to the store we always go to, the first we ever went to in town--what, 12 years we've been going there? "We can see if that taxidermied bullfrog mariachi band is gone yet." Closed. Not even a "We've moved" sign, just gone. Gone with the bullfrog mariachi band.
      There was a new place up the road. I think it was warmer outside it than in, and it was 40 outside. I bought this:


      My camera's battery decided to die as I took the pic, but it says "Stolen From The IGLOO DRIVE-IN Route 30 Rockville Conn". That's almost my town! (I live in Vernon, but there were once 2 towns named Rockville and Vernon that got merged into Vernon-Rockville) All the info of the place I found was in the founder's obit. It opened in 1960 and was sold in 1979. I could've gone there back in the day. And of course nothing says "North Central Connecticut" like an Eskimo.
      There was another new store called "Famous Antiques Flea Market." Jess said "Then how come I've never heard of it?" But it's apparently famous for being closed 3 days a week, so we may never know.

      Well, I thought this was funny. Because I was there on the front lines, man! Disco Wars 1979




      France guy who found this page via "crossdressing girdle shitting"--congratulations on finding 2 & 1/2 words of that. Well, this post makes it "shitting" and not just "shit," so have fun finding it again. And I really hope you were looking for laundry tips.

      I have to work 1 Sunday a month. Of the other 3 people who alternate with me, 1 leaves Saturday at 630, the other 2 have Saturdays off. I'm the only 1 who closes every Saturday. Tonight after work I walked in my front door 12 hours before I have to walk back out of it to go back to work.
      It could be worse. I could have to work every Sunday, which almost happened. Or I could work at KMart. They have to work on Thanksgiving (which is also the start of Hannukah), 6 to 3. That's 6AM to 3AM. No one should work on a major holiday except emergency crews. Not so assholes can buy "Door Buster" specials on--WTF, the flyer doesn't even say on what! Just "Limited quantities, no rainchecks," so you're standing in line for some mystery items. Oh, wait--"Members Only." What, 1980s jackets? No, you have to be a member of some special KMart secret society. Does one join with a blood oath to kill any worker from Sears? Or get in with the secret magic sigal of a pentagram with a K, the 14-stage handshake, the dead daisy in one's right lapel, the practiced enigmatic look that says "I know what the Blue Light Special really is, and when does the sacrifice start?", the secret password "The turkey flies high at 2AM, guess what, turkey isn't what you're eating with your family today, maybe on your break you can force down an in-store boiled Nathan's hot dog." No, you do none of that. You become a member by going online. Why not have the Thankless-giving specials be ONLINE ONLY?
      This has become one fucked up country. Why complain that everything we buy is made in China, when this country is becoming China?



11/26      About a dozen years ago I got an email from a company in China, offering to sell me explosives for my mineral rights holdings. Something like that. I replied, and was suprised when they wrote back.How did they know about my mineral deposits, which are as extensive as they are nonexistant? I stopped writing after my third email.
      But every few years, I get another offer. Here's this year's:      Hey, Daisy, thanks behind! I hope your agents in German are not from the Gestapo. The email came with an attachment, possibly the aforementioned quotation please check, that I think I'll pass on downloading. I checked their website, and I can say without a doubt that they have a website. Sounds legit! And just in time for Christams!


      The internet mystery that has the world baffled: "For the past two years, a mysterious online organisation has been setting the world's finest code-breakers a series of seemingly unsolveable problems. But to what end? Welcome to the world of Cicada 3301."



      Thanksgiving was pretty good. I got to see a nephew I haven't seen in years on a holiday, because he works in a restaurant that's open on every single one. He finally had enough seniority to not work! However, favorite neice Cassie now works there, so I saw her for about 15 minutes before I had to leave. I saw the eldest nephew's fiancee drink a lot of Cosmos. 4 or 5, then a couple of glasses of wine. She went from talkative to overly friendly to "stumble and grumble" before dessert was served. Another nephew took a pic with his phone and my (80 year old) mom said "Are you sending your friend that picture?" He said "Yeah, it's Snap[something app], he's already got it!" She said "Oh, it sends pictures automatically?!" And fiancee mumble-sneered "Oh, it's called Snap, 'it sends pictures?'" Fiance left the room at this point.

      At work before, a newer hire asked "What's your favorite Drunken Toddler story?" It was too late and too busy for anyone to tell one, but I remembered one that was, well, a story, as it was told to me, from long ago and far away, in the store's old location, in the misty distance and over the many mountains, to the place across the same parking lot. Told by G, back before she became a crack whore (literally--LTRotDs may remember her master plan of supplementing her "blowing drug dealers" income by stealing scratch tickets, which worked for a whole month). Also present were Neil, the only guy that everyone who has met has hated more than DT, and B, a guy who was about an inch shorter than me but made of 3 of me, if all you kept was muscle.
      DT was foaming at the mouth. He would get so drunk on top of his many drugs (methadone, tranqs, legit meds) that little puddles of foam would form at the corners of his mouth. He always bragged about being a bar brawler back in the day. I can picture him in a sleazy dive, getting some vague idea of being offended by some other scumscucker, then waiting for him to get drunk and turn his back and then smashing a pool cue on the back of his head from behind. Even in his aging and infirm older years, in his mind he was still that ballbuster. He and B were jokingly taking swings at each other when B decided to end it by grabbing the taller DT under his shoulders and slamming him to the floor.
      WHAM! And thunk! when DT's skull as it hit the floor. And then...DT didn't move no more...
      This happened about 10 feet into the store, by the way. Now, there was this inert body laying there for any customer to see. DT wasn't moving! So of course they called 911!
      No, they all ran to seperate corners of the store, pretending that nothing had happened. Unconscious drunken druggie as a carpet, it must be Tuesday!
      After 5 or so minutes, DT was still cold on the ground. They walked up slowly. "Do you think he's knocked out?" asked G. "Nah," said Neil, "he's faking it! Hey, DT! HEY, DT! Cut it out! We know you're faking it!"
      Nothing happened. "C'mon, DT!" said G, as she nudged him with her foot. Like a kid poking a dead squirrel with a stick. "Stop faking!" and she kicked him in the ribs. Nothing happened, just drool pooling on the floor from the foam at the corners of his mouth.
      So then they called 911!
      Of course not! G rolled up her sleeve, said "There's only one way to tell for sure if a guy's faking it!" and grabbed his testicles, clenched, and yanked. Then they all jumped back!
      And nothing happened. So then they called 91--No, they ran to seperate corners of the store.
      They all returned, apparently thinking that they were in Stand By Me, wondering what to do besides debating the merits of cherry Pez. Then Andrej, the Dutch coworker, came out of the office where he'd been doing computer work. He saw the prostate, possibly dead body of his immediate boss lying on the floor in a pool of drool, and of course he called 9
      No, he said "I haff to go to our other store, I don't haff time to deal with zis sheet!" and stepped over the likely corpse, and walked out the door without looking back once.
      So then they cal
      Of course not! After another 5 minutes, the zombie rose, rubbed the back of his head, and stumbled back to his office.
      A couple of hours later, G asked DT about it. He said, "I was awake! I was faking it the whole time!"
      Moral to the story: Don't smash your skull in my store, because your coworkers have all the empathy of the linoleum they almost splattered your brains on. Or, more importantly, don't be a Drunken Toddler.

      Anyone do the online MST3K Turkey Day Marathon? It didn't work out well with my schedule. I was actually doing Thanksgiving during the most interesting part, the only 2 movies I'd never seen and one of my favorites, Cave Dwellers, the title of which I still mentally read as "Cavay Dwellers," a joke they make during the opening titles that are from another movie. I saw the last, Mitchell, which is a funny one. And also the end of the Joels and the beginning of the rather bleak Mike era. I saw the first two before leaving to watch competitive Cosmo drinking. They led off with Space Mutiny, really? Outside of the "BIFF THROBNECK!" jokes and the climatic battle to the death on Rascal scooters, there's not a lot to recommend that one. And then I Accuse My Parents. That and The Starfighters are the only eps that I never laughed or even smiled at. (Until the Sci-Fi Mike Era began) And they claimed people voted for these eps? Voting for I Accuse My Parents is like voting for strangers to come into your house and give you toe fungus, who wants that?
      C'mon, SHOUT! Factory, just negotiate some rights to the Godzilla ones already.




      It occured to me to write about comic strips again. Not in my old way of long mongraphs, but in bits a day. So I went back and looked up the other times I remember writing on the subject.
      The first was a rating system from 2002, back when I'd start a post with "Eh, not much to say today" and then go on a long tangent that somehow ended with the world's first, last and only "Richard Scarry fanfic set during World War Two." It happened on 7/26, because I have no permalinks because it's ALWAYS 1997 HERE, BABY! If your stature as a LTRotD began after 11 years ago, that page might be worth reading in its entirety. It includes the saga of Mark St John, the Least-Super Self-Proclaimed Green Beret.
      I'd change the ratings today. "Rhymes With Orange" and "Non Sequitur" hit their low spots, but recovered and are among my favorite reads today. "Dick Tracy" went down-the-drainy so bad that there was an unauthorized version on the web called "Plainclothes Squad." Although it starred a cop named "Dick Tracy," and basically was the Dick Tracy strip. So the comics syndicate hit them with a cease-and-desist order based on copyright infringement. Hell no! They fired the idiots churning out the daily and replaced them with the web guys. It's a much better strip today, and just as fucking insane as the old school strips (there's currently a villain called "Melies," who's a dwarf with the head of the Man in the Moon from Melies' old short. You just know that when he dies, he'll be weeping from the rocket shot into his eye).
      Comic strips that I read because they suck was the topic on 2/2/11. I now hope to write about comics that I read because they don't suck.


      She stormed into the store and her first words were "WHERE'S BILL?!"
      I'm right here, actually. She put a bottle of Bailey's Vanilla on the counter with a receipt. "I want to return this! I found it cheaper elsewhere, and HE--" she pointed at J, "--was EXTREMELY RUDE! And I'm telling DT about it Monday morning!"
      She kept on going, so I just did the refund. E said "But all he did was ask for your ID!" and she went off again. I told him "Hey, just let it go." and finished with her. She said "I'm telling DT about you, TOO, E!" as she spat out his name like she had accidentally eaten some dog food.
      I wasn't there for the original transaction, but everyone else said that J asked for her ID--I would've too, as she was born in 1984 and no one had ever seen her before--and she instantly went batshit, screaming as if she was just looking for a reason to scream. And she'd just bought the bottle 20 minutes earlier.
      She came in today at 8:40 AM with a written complaint against J, described as "unknown Caucasian male around 5' 5", which is odd because that'd make him shorter than me, and he's really 6' 2". But it mentioned me, named as Bill, as "professional and friendly" (I actually said nothing to her, knowing she'd just be all Nutzoid even more). E was also singled out for Worst Person Ever, and J was accused of "ripping my card from my hand and slamming it down on the counter." And that she's "been a regular customer for years, but complied by showing my ID." Not without a shitstorm from what I heard, and a third witness with no reason to lie said the same. She went nuts like she was looking for a reason to.
      That was today. On Saturday when it happened, all I could think was the first thought I had after her first 2 words: "How does she know my name?"
      How does she know everybody's name? How does she know what shifts DT and I work, to the point that she knew DT leaves at 9AM when New Owner comes in, so came in 20 minutes earlier than that, seeing one but missing another? When no one has ever seen her before?
      I told New Owner about this today, and he said "That sounds really sketchy." And then I said "She obviously had inside information. Could M be involved?" And the light bulb went off over his head. "That makes sense! I don't know why she'd do it, but it makes sense!"
      M was the one fired for taking 5 days off because of a scraped ankle, among other absences. I don't know what her motivation could be beyond petty revenge. But maybe, since this loonie came in when she somehow knew that DT would be there but not New Owner, and everything DT gets mad about is instantly reported to Real Owner, N.O.'s dad--some roundabout revenge? A dish best served Rube Goldberg style? Dad would get mad at his son (the one M blames for all her misfortunes) and fire the 2 guys he hired? Seems far-fetched, but not as far-fetched as some stranger knowing the names of everybody working and when their shifts are to a very precise degree.
      New Owner: "Can't she just grow up and put this place behind her?"
      Me: "Yeah, she's 27 and doesn't have a driver's license, I don't think 'growing up' is happening any time soon."

      As promised, "Comics Strips I Like That You May Never Have Heard Of!" or CSILTYMNHHO! Possibly my acronyms need work. They'll be done as they occur to me, and the link will be not to their greatest strip ever, but whatever's current.
      Today's: Basic Instructions. This is really funny, and the art is photorealistic! Because the "artist" takes photos of himself and his friends and runs them through a program that makes them look like line drawings. It's smart and funny and acerbic and nerdy, and run through the archives as far back as you can, because it's also addictive. Here's a recent one called How to Understand People Who Say They "Hate" Cats.

      25 Of The Worst Food Product Names To Ever Hit The Shelves. As bad as "Shrimp Flavored Crack" sounds, "Crack Flavored Shrimp" would be even worse.


      And today's Comic Of Note is Watch Your Head.
      I was taken with this strip from the first read, despite being as confused as hell. I suppose diving into Doonesbury would be like that--character-based humor with a boatload of characters. Or like jumping into a soap opera or telenovela or an X-Men comic or Game of Thrones in the middle. You figure out the general group dynamic, but who's this guy?
      Set in a college, there's the huckster Quincy, perpetually angry radical Omar, gangsta thug Jason, the infuriatingly vain and clueless Robin, newlyweds Dana and Kevin (the Canadian on an ice hockey scholarship), and the naive, nerdy, straight-A student Cory. I should point out that the strip is created by Cory Thomas, so naming the focal character "Cory" may have some significance.
      It's a gag-a-day strip, but it rewards patience, as the backstories are slowly played out. Womanizing Quincy is a preacher's son. Frowning Omar the black nationalist is the adopted son of an Asian man and Caucasian woman, and embarassed about it. Thug 4 Life Jason is a fake, the son of a billionaire, and also a sociopath. Robin is, somewhat inexplicably, Cory's ideal woman, despite being a generally awful person. Kevin was...the child star of Canada's version of "Small Wonder"?! He and his new wife Dana are the sanest people in the strip, possibly because they're still in college but trying to make ends meet on their own and in the real world. I noticed that she lost a lot of weight after they moved out on their own, and it hit me--because they're probably eating mac 'n' cheese and ramen 3 meals a day. These are not one-note characters. They can all act in surprising ways that are still very much in character. Like, I don't know, how real people do?
      I have my complaints about Watch Your Head, such as that squinty font he uses to pack in those wordy word balloons. And the fact that he introduced January, the most likeable character and the only one to snap Cory out of his Robin obsession, only to kill her. Off-panel, and never really explained, and with a startling lack of reaction among the other characters. It was oddly out of place. I had a friend and coworker get killed by a drunk driver, and everyone who knew her is still affected by her death to this day, 2 decades later.
      Anyway, well worth the read, but have patience. I think the link to today's strip works as an intro, because you're just dropped into the middle of a storyline.

      Much as I hate Xmas music...




      Since it's Wednesday, today's Comic I Like is two I like, on a page that updates on Wednesdays: Baltimore City Paper Comics. Ancient, moss-encrusted fogeys may remember City Paper when it had the proto-pre-Comics Curmudgeon column "Funny Paper", which is still linked there in the sidebar, despite having a last update of 2004. It's also the most frustrating of online comic hosters. Sometimes I have to click on the strip to enlarge it to a readable size, and sometimes that would work, sometimes it didn't, sometimes it just froze and WHY AM I DOING THAT ANYWAY? You want me to waste your bandwidth loading the same page more than once? And reloading when it doesn't work?
      But the website's problems have no more to do with the quality of the comics it has than the site has to do with Obamacare (and if you still believe the myth of the "liberal media", name another time when even NPR led its headlines off with weeks of "WEB SITE RUNS PRETTY SLOW").
      They are "Dirt Farm", which is very funny but also very dark. "Lulu Eightball", which is very, very funny and occasionally dark. And "Important Comics", which is how the fuck should I know? I'm sure whatever lifeform makes it will claim "It's Art!" but it looks like it was drawn by taking Instagrams of bacillii in a petri dish with words added from a sheet of paper one of the random monkeys typing Shakespeare crumpled up. Or "Daddy got my Art published in the paper he owns" or something.
      Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, and the bad one is worth reading just to keep your "Why IS this?!" reflex working.

      100 Basic Training Movies at Nerd Academy. I got an 84, but that's counting movies so bad I never finished watching them. The 14 I missed I don't consider worth my time, and those include E.T. and Jurassic Park. Yeah, I'm older than most of my readers. And it's clearly Just Some Guy's List of Movies He's Seen. My list would include Real Genius, Strange Brew, every Godzilla movie, and at least the acknowledgement that MST3K existed. I could go on all day (Avengers but not Pacific Rim? Avengers is mainstream, and thus about as nerdy as "Two and a Half Men"), but, again, Just Some Guy's List, and his opinion on what makes a nerd. Y'know, I think the inevitable "nerds AREN'T cool" backlash will come sooner than some people think.

      Scalzi's shopping guide for nerds (ignore previous sentence; nerd culture thrives!--for now). I told Jessica, and she immediately posted--to the wrong day's comments. Today's the day, not Monday! I started to write her, then thought "Maybe she knows what she's doing." She got in a fangirl-squee comment thanking Mr. Scalzi for opening his page so that others could post, and then today she posted a direct link to Marjoriam's Colony, where she sells her handcrafted polymer clay kitty figurines. I wish that she'd mentioned to sci-fi readers that her commisions have included custom-made Sailor Moon and Dr Who cats. But still, I shouldn't have doubted her. She got in 2 posts for her site, one linked and one not, without breaking any submission rules. Well played, Mrs J!


      Coworker E. came in with a surprise. A towel full of cat.
      "She was in the middle lane, at the road outside the [international] airport! I though she was a toy, then went 'Whoa!' and stopped. She was just lying there, not moving."
      He opened the blanket to show us--a cream tabby, clearly starved and missing half a tail from an old injury. And not feral--she immediately leaned in towards my hand. He took her to his cat-loving sister's house. When he came back to work, he said that she's in a room alone from the other cats and will go to the vet tomorrow, to check for disease and a microchip. "All she's done is eat non-stop!" You can expect updates as I get them.

      Today's comic: Rip Haywire, a parody of old action strips while still being an action strip. It's rebooted so many times that I really can't summarize it--at first it was chin-heavy, fist-fightin' Rip going against bad guys with his dog TNT "the anti-Lassie," with the help or hindrance of his very-bad-girl nemesis/BFF Cobra, then RJ came along, a boy sidekick trope since Batman and Robin 70 years ago, then RJ got aged to teenage, then kind of dropped out of the strip, Cobra was his enemy pirate queen, then G.U.N.S. vs S.K.U.L.L., then Breezy the good gf vs Cobra the evil gf, I kinda lost track.
      But! Where its continuity lags, it succeeds at being exciting in an action strip way, while still being a very funny parody of it. And it's probably the only strip that has multiple punchlines. Usually 2, sometimes 1 in each of the four panels.


      Bumper sticker seen on a beat-up compact car with the license plate "I-WRITE": "I'm writing a book. So far I have the page numbers done."

      Bob Cratchit: Whiny Ingrate: "But does Bob really have it so bad? After all, this was Victorian England, where children were thought of as a potential substitute for coal and people were thrown into debtor�s prison for taking a penny but not leaving a penny. This was an era where factories would work employees 25 hours a day thanks to a glitch in Greenwich Mean Time and people were oft paid in metal dross, which could then be exchanged for a whipping. Women were perceived as chattel, children were considered office supplies, and the working man was as expendable as the pandas factory owners would throw into the furnaces to fuel their elephant ivory polishing machines."
      Scrooge has been taxed enough already! Can�t the paupers see that he�s a job creator?

      Comical strippy thing: Web Comix. Not that long ago, it was called "yonkoma, or 4koma comics." Just Macros and LOLCats-style stuff with more than one panel. Then it literally changed overnight to emerge from its chrysalis as a host for many, many web comix. But generally the funniest ones. Definitely worth the quick daily read. Far more than any "legacy" strip. The ones like Blondie and Hi & Lois & Hagar that are being done beyond the grave, that will live undead forever, and always be as funny as a cold corpse mouldering.


      A coworker begged to leave the store to pick up a FedEx delivery that she missed, leaving only 2 people in the store for almost an hour, which is the bare minimum needed to run it. After she'd left for the day, I saw she'd left it on the counter. E. said "I ran out after her, and she said 'I'll get it tomorrow'." So--too important to wait, but not important enough to walk a few yards back to get.

      E rescued that cat in the road, and, well, here's the last update. He said he'd tried to give her to "6 or 7" places, but since he only named 2, I'd say that it was really a number lower than 3. The Humane Society wanted $150 to take her--which sounds like the Humane Society. The local no-kill sent him to a voice mail. So he called Animal Control, which suggested "leaving her where you found her." "But I found her in the road!" So unless she's microchipped, she's gone. Or worse--waiting in a cage for 2 days, until the euthanologist goes back to work Monday.

      Sequential Art of the Day: Retail. As someone who's worked in retail since birth, I identify with the subject. The creator worked in a department store in Massachusetts, and so the strip is set there. The store's called "Grumbel's", but I like to think that maybe he worked at my old dream job Lechmere, which became a nightmare when Internationally Known Incompetent Fuckwads Montgomery Ward bought it and turned it into a clone of their flailing, and then failing, and then bankrupt business model-for-disaster. What Monkey Ward did to a beloved 50-year-old chain could've only been worse if they'd filled it up with hydrogen and said "We're renaming Lechmere Hindenburg's!"
      The strip's for people who nod in rueful laughter at Not Always Right. There's continuity, but you can pretty much jump in at any time. The linked strip might need a bit of set-up: Stock boy Cooper builds sculptures out of boxes in the backroom. Otherwise, you can guess another reason I love this strip: at times, It's Nerdy!
      Did you know that I'm the top 2 Google results for "Internationally Known Incompetent Fuckwads"? I didn't!


      The history of the Beatles, as told by their yearly fan club Xmas 45s.


      Fired coworker M first words to J, the coworker someone tried to fire, were "I didn't set you up."
      No, the screaming woman who knew everybody's names and schedules just happened to be a friend who called her after her alleged traumatic shopping experience. Since there were only 20 minutes between sale and refund, she must have her on speed dial. And her "advice" must've been incredibly specific, as she knew to come in after New Owner had left Sat but before he came in on Mon, the latter being only a one hour window. So that it went to DT, who'd call New O's father Real O, who would then scream at him about it. Until I gave my side of the story, and Dad said "That's sounds really fishy".
      Revenge is a dish best served ineffectively petty!

      Jess said to keep a diary of Byron's behaviour when he does something other than sulk by himself, and there really hasn't been a need. The only exceptions in each week over the last month were:
      "Feed them all together!" she said. "They bond over that!" So I did, and Bigfoot glared and snarled at DJ, despite Deej being 8 feet away and totally ignoring him for his bowl of Friskies.
      I petted Byron on his Tower for 10 solid minutes, and he actually jumped down and ran to the computer room! Of course, DJ wanted to rush after him and ruin it, so I restrained him. Byron's extra toes made it as far as the kitchen linoleum, when he made a noise, then turned and ran back to his self-imposed exile, snarling at everyone involved. Although none of use were doing anything more "involved" than "existing".
      I picked Hermit the Crab up and took him to the recliner to watch a movie, and he ran back to Byronistan, somehow managing to make it without putting a paw on the ground.
      Then yesterday he was invisible. I only found him by following the growling. He was on THE FLOOR! Hiding behind the TV, under an old shelf. This lasted...not long. He raced back, screaming his anguish at the world.
      I tried just now with the petting at length, and he purred and turned into me and rubbed against me and purred and even accepted a kiss on the forehead, and then he snarled at the world in general and raked my hand. If his non-retractable claws were as sharp as a normal cat's, he would've gone to the bone. I went to wash my wound while Siouxsie sang "Fury Eyes" on iTunes with unintended accuracy.
      I think I may just accept that this is the way it's going to be.

      Custom bumper sticker makers Build-A-Sign have a 20% off sale that lasts through Xmas with free shipping--use coupon code 20everything.


      I love it when it snows! On my days off, like today! When I don't have to drive 35 miles in that shit!
      I'm kidding. I fucking hate snow. I hate the cold. So what do I do? Live in Connecticut and work in a beer cooler. Even the temperature in the store outside the cooler is set at an Eberneezerly 67F. 67 outside: shorts weather! Inside: Three layers of shirt!

      Once upon a time, the way to watch TV outside of your tiny viewing area was to wait until all the local stations went off the air between midnight and 1AM, and maybe pick up a broadcast as far away as New York City. An incredible distance of almost 100 miles! That's how I saw Robot Monster and Monster-A-Go-Go long before anyone ever believed those movies existed. On "Metromedia--New York--FIVE!" Yeah, I did it enough 30+ years ago to even remember Channel 5's jingle.
      Then came cable. Wow, I can now not-watch Canadian rules football on ESPN! This was the era that created "narrowcasting," the opposite of broadcasting: not trying to reach as big an audience as a network could, but specifically targeting niche groups. This led to today's channels such as the All-News That's Not Really News Network But We Have 24 Hours To Fill, and the All Cakes Baked by Screaming Assholes Channel. And also ones that modern people would find quaint. Such as a music video channel that showed actual music videos, a history channel that didn't believe that all human history was caused by Aliens, and a learning channel that didn't actively make you stupider for watching it. Hard to believe, I know! Did you know that humans once believed that vaccines made you safer from disease?! It was a different time.
      Narrowcasting spread to the comics page. The first I became aware of "Cathy," a strip about a single working woman who said "ACK!" and threw sweat blobs everywhere when considering a swimwear purchase. Said strip got published by a comics syndicate that her father coincidentally ran. It actually predated 80s cable, but became most successful at that time. Bill "Zippy the Pinhead" Griffith once described it as "Her art looks like she threw string on the floor and photocopied it!" Of course, the master of the clothing folds was merely jealous of her inability to draw anyone not looking moon-faced right at the audience, talking while looking out of the corners of their eyes. Try that sometime. Look away from anyone you're talking to, eyes fixed in the corners. It is actually possible to talk to someone that way, but you still can't see them and your eyeballs start hurting pretty quick. Also, people think you're psychotic.
      I really can't chronicle the narrowcasting of comics, as it came during the period where I worked so much I didn't have time or reason to get the newspaper, but before they were all available online. I remember a strip called "Adam," a bland office-based strip, that suddenly became "Adam@Home," featuring the cutting edge opposite of Cathy: a married guy who works from home and cares for the kids.
      Somewhere in there, when I'd visit my parents and could read the comics, came a strip that was pretty much just "Cathy, Except Married." (I think it wasn't in the Hartford Courant, but the east-of-the-river tabloid the Journal Inquirer. Which is known as either "the JI" or "the Urinal Inspirer," depending on how much you dislike it. Even Jess calls it that, and her mom works there). It was called "Sally Forth."
      My comics reading falls into these categories: It's Awesome! or It Fails Hilariously! or Why the Fuck Does This Still Exist?! The last two overlap. Hey, Blondie, it's been 80 fucking years, maybe get a joke beyond "Dagwood has a tapeworm that causes narcolepsy and crashing into the mailman"? Hey, look, today's 20 year old repeat of Archie has another "joke" where they replaced "beeper" with "cell phone"! But Cathy and Sally just fell into that zone where they weren't funny, or even funny ironically. (Seriously, read Archie long enough, and every "cell phone" has a ring tone of "BEEP BEEP BEEP" and no one actually uses them as phones)
      Somewhere along the line, I became aware of a humor site called Medium Large. It's funny! I've linked to it or the author's Smosh articles repeatedly. (But not Smosh itself--outside of him, it's like Cracked for people who flunked English) I eventually discovered that he writes the modern incarnation of Sally Forth.
      Did you click that link? It's what the strip is now: funny, true, and pop culture obsessed. Titular character Sally is kind of off to the sidelines, and husband Ted is generally in front. Having read Medium Large for months before the strip, he's clearly the author's avatar. Or, possibly, the only character in the comic strip aware that he's in a comic strip. Or insane, and believes he's the only person who's sure that he's in a comic strip.
      It's not the logical near-weirdness of Get Fuzzy or Monty, but like those strips, Sally Forth is one of the ones I look forward to the most every day.

      If you clicked the link to the Sally Forth strip, notice the cartoony but detailed art--in the last panel, the bowl of popcorn has only unpopped kernels--now go click the Medium Large link. Yes, Virginia, there was a horrible Pac-Man Xmas cartoon. And you can see it there. Unlike Monster-A-Go-Go, there's an internet now that proves some of things I've seen weren't fever dreams. But the holiday tradition on this page is--YES! CHRISTMAS IN TATTERTOWN! It's either the greatest anti-Xmas special ever, or an utterly incomprehensible fever dream. I think the difference all comes down to the simple phrase "Do you currently own a bong?"


      And the only Xmas special in which Santa screams "WA-HOO! I HAVEN'T HAD THIS MUCH FUN SINCE MiG ALLEY!"

      Do you like this new keyboard I'm using? Its bigger keys allow me to drivel at interminable length more efficiently!


      It's no Ebert's Worst Movies list, but we'll never see another of those, so here's the AV Club's 15 worst films of 2013. At least Ignatiy Vishnevetsky from the last iteration of "At the Movies" participates. And writes the funniest review, of Battle Of The Year.

      OK, so Medium Large's link to "Christmas in Pac-Land" didn't work. Here's one that looks like it works. I haven't watched it yet, so thank me later if it plays. Or, more likely, thank me if it doesn't. It's pretty dire.

      In my latest of the "Awesome Comic Strips You Haven't Heard Of," it's
      MWA-HAHAHA! You cringe, you cover your eyes, you shriek "You BASTARD! You BLOODY, BLOODY BASTARD! I'd forgotten that misbegotten, racist, crypto-fascist shithead! And now--YOU BRING HIM BACK! Oh, god, the memories, the MEMORIES! They flood back like a collapse of the Three Gorges Dam! You--bastard!" (dissolves into uncontrollable sobbing)
      Actually, I'd pretty much forgotten about him, too. He retired, either to his native right-wing madhouse of Colorado Springs, or back to the Stygian nightmare realm that spawned him in a forbidden ritual, where he plays games of Duck Dynasty-themed Monopoly with Cthulhu, Hitler, David Duke, and the malevolent redneck who invented the Billy Bass Singing Fish (who was also Cthulhu). But Something Awful also remembered, and started a mash-up of his old bile-filled ravings. It's very funny. So that's my comic link of the day: SA, keepin' the UpChuck-Hate alive!
      And let me do my part. Here's a link from 2008, the most UpChuck-centric era of this drivel, when he was the source for about a third of my posts. And, since I haven't done a repeat in a long time, here's my personal favorite UpChuck.





      "Heh heh heh! Yes, kids, it's me, Count Floyd again! Let's see what we have coming up on this Saturday's Monster Chiller Horror Theater! OW-OW--OWOOOO!"
      "Okay, kids, Count Floyd's not going to lie to you. Last week's movie wasn't that scary. Count Floyd was...up late with a sick friend, and he didn't get to see it before he booked it. Hey, it was a Japanese movie from the '50s, and had a title that sounded like some monster Godzilla or Gamera would fight! Rashomon, what, that doesn't sound like a monster that gives you a really bad rash? Like the whole city of Tokyo gets the heartbreak of psoriasis? Look, I don't even know what the deal was with that movie! Did they write four scripts and not know which one to go with, so they filmed them all?
      "Well, don't you worry this week! One of the kids right here in our own peanut gallery recommended a film that's guaranteed to give your goosebumps the heebie-jeebies! I admit I haven't seen this one yet. I was...busy chasing a dog, to get some of the hair that bit me or something. But we have clips, and they're in 3-D! So you better get yourself some of Count Floyd's branded 3-D glasses before the show! They're only three dol...Nineteen. Only Nineteen Ninety-Five! These aren't those flimsy cardboard 3-D glasses, no, these are made out of high-impact, durable plastic! Hand-crafted by the finest 3-D optometrists in Malaysia. Make your checks out to Count Floyd, and send them in care of this TV station.
      "Okay, I think it's called The Creature From The Colorado Springs Gazette! The kid who recommended it says it...has something to do with Chuck. Chuckie! Oh, brrr, that killer doll monster! Oh, he was scary! He'd...scare the buttons right off your overalls, and then this little Cabbage Patch monster would come after you with a big barbecue fork in his pudgy hands or something, and you'd scream and run away, but the buttons were scared off your overalls, and they were around your ankles, so you'd just trip and fall and he'd fork you, fork you right in the behind, over and over! WHOA, woo-oo, scary!
      "Okay, let's all put our 3-D glasses on, and see what we got here. Oh, it'll be scary! If you're standing, you'd better sit down. If you're sitting down, then lay down. If you're laying--well, I dunno. Pray or something. Roll the clip, fellas!"




      "Umm. Okay. Woo, it's scary how...those horses must get hernias dragging those big blocks of metaphor around! I guess that's why the economy's so bad, because of all those climate change accords George W. Clayface there hasn't paid any attention to. Not Iraq or the mortgage crisis or tax cuts for the rich. Hey, kids, did you hear Clayface's parting words at that G8 summit? "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter!" And 'he then punched the air while grinning widely.' Okay, kids, you gotta admit THAT'S scary. I bet he went to Crawford and drove a Ford 350 truck around the ranch for days while giving the atmosphere the one-finger salute, just to mess with everybody's head.
      "Okay, fellas, let's roll another clip!"


      "WHOA! Did you see that?! All those flies buzzing around that guy's head? He's some kind of zombie gunfighter! Remember when we showed Billy the Kid vs Dracula? Woo, brrr, scary! Now it's some undead Jesse James! He's even got that morgue toe-tag, but his name's so long that he has to wear it around his neck!
      "Okay, this must be an old movie, a really old one. You know, that 'cowardly darkie' thing kinda went out of style 60 years ago.
      "And there's Clayface again. His face has melted a bit more. He really should get out of the sun. It's clearly affecting his brain. Even the chicken black guy has the sense to hide when someone's shooting at you. Well, he's black, those people get shot at all the time, I'll bet the director of this movie thinks. You know what Gumby-face there should do? Threaten to bomb that zombie's ranch and kill everyone in it! Because if you want to make a paranoid less paranoid, you make them more paranoid, and they push out the other side of the Moebius strip all sane.
      "Oooh, kids, did you see how those flies just leapt right out of the screen in 3-D?! It's like you could practically smell the zombie! It's better than Doctor Tongue's 3-D House of Pancakes! And those bullets just leapt right out! Although I think one of the bullets was Photoshopped in. That just makes the zombie scarier! He knows Photoshop! Okay, fellas, roll another clip!"



      "Whoa, that'll...curdle the blood, lemme tell you. You'll have cottage cheese in your veins when...umm...Clones! CLONES! Oh, kids, BRRR! Clone wars, like the Star Wars you love so much! Maybe that's not Obama, but really an Obama mask worn by Jar-Jar the Binks! WOO-OO, everyone hates him! And he'll be out there, shaking your hand! And...possibly saying in his creepy voice, 'Hello, I'm Obama, I'm your friend, and not--A JAR-JAR CLONE IN A MASK! Come, my trusting fool, come see--THE LATEST PREQUEL!' Oh, don't tell Count Floyd your knees aren't jelly now!
      "Okay, the Count's kinda going against his better judgement now, but let's run one last clip."


      "WHOA! Bummer of an ending! They must've been killed by the zombie gunfighter Jar-Jar clones from the G8 Summit. I'd sure hate to be one of those Media-types who kept harping on this subject, like the Murdoch tabloids and FOX News and the Colorado Springs Gazette!
      "Well, it sure looks like we've got a scary show this week! Let's all give a big round of applause to the little kid who suggested it! C'mon and stand by Count Floyd's side, little Ed! Don't try sitting in my lap. You kids are all germ factories."

      Little Ed: "OH! This is like my luckiest of lucky days! Here I am, by Count Floyd my hero's side, looking as pretty as a picture, I must say!"
      "I'd run my fingers through your hair, but it appears to be 85% Valvoline. Hey, little Ed, why did you recommend this movie?"
      "Oh, that Chuck is a pain that's gonna linger! He's gone completely mental, I must say! I know it's considered bad form to show the monster before you see the movie, but here's Chuckie!"
      "Heh, that's nice, Ed, but we all know what he looks like. Like a My Little Buddy doll gone sour, or John McCain as a kid."
      "Far be it from me to contradict my very idol, who would be you, Count Floyd, but it's not the Chuckie you're thinking of!"


      "We're as DOOMED as DOOMED can be, ya know!"

      That particular New also had the guy who thought I was a ghost. A headless ghost. Who could still talk, and haunted the terrifying trails behind my suburban condo. It was a different time.


      DJ likes to hang out by the bathroom sink when I get ready in the morning. Today he laid down, then suddenly ran. There was toothpaste all over the sink. I thought "I hope he didn't get any on him!" But when I got within a foot of him, I said "Well, you certainly smell minty fresh."
      I tried cleaning it off with a damp towel and got stabbed for my trouble. He didn't like it when I tried cutting the sticky fur off. It's all over his left leg, this Crest crust. I kinda hoped that maybe he'd clean it off himself--catnip is a kind of mint! But I also wouldn't want to lick toothpaste. I also use toilet paper for my ass and not my tongue, but I guess it tastes worse to him than ass.
      I'd sure rather not be the one giving him a bath. Which I assume is what it's gonna be. But it's toothpaste! What do I use? I'd prefer to be murdered only once.

      I commented on the Cartoon Brew link that had that excellent copy of "Christmas in Tattertown" and then forgot that I had. I remembered and checked today, just to see how many times I was called a gay fagg looser!! And instead found this:

      I knew it! The parts of the story that are good are far too good for it to have been written in that incomprehensible way. Of course, that just makes me long for the "Christmas in Tattertown" that never was...
      And hate "Christmas Comes to Pac-Town" all the more. I'm not going to apologize for inflicting that on you, I'm going to apologizing for inflicting it on myself. I already knew how bad it was, watched it again anyway. Some things are so bad they're not good, they're just really, really bad.


      The "Stupidest Things" quote I get via daily email, so it's odd that it had a toothpaste named "Crust" turning up the day after DJ covered himself in toothpaste and I called it "Crest crust."
      Umm...DJ also just won the clotted lottery jackpot a lot!
      Maybe that will work, too.

      Don't know if it will last, but DJ was in my lap purring, and I was able to snip a lot of toothpastey fur off of him while sweetly saying "Let's get rid of this toothpaste!" and he seemed to get what I was doing and enjoyed it. I just need better scissors!


      If there's a snowstorm that's dropped a phenomenal amount of snow--say, 3 measly inches--and you decide that you can only do 15 MPH on the highway--why'd you leave your damn house? You needed Indian food that badly? I'll bet I was the only one out there who had to work until 9PM. Or at all.
      Here's what you should do: not block the passing lane while flashing your high beams for no discernible reason (do you think it'd be easier to drive if you're blinding people?), and once the weather clears, move the fuck out of New England, since you don't know how to drive here. Move someplace where it doesn't snow. The heart of the Sun might be a good spot for you.



      Billigt S�tt! Is that "Bill the Splut" in Swedish? Because that damn winter coat company has taken my main page hostage again, and that turns up in their title for it. Now I have to call my hosting service again, before the page gets Stockholm Syndrome.

      A customer's friend brought the beer, Blue Moon-wannabe Shock Top. Ten minutes after drinking one each, they were puking.
      Bought not from us, fortunately, but a competitor up the road. The 6 pack had a "born-on date" of March. It was probably good until July. He tried returning it, and was given a big runaround about how it couldn't possibly have gone bad, and finally was given a refund for the only beers he'd opened. And vomited. Meaning, the store was probably going to put the unopened ones back out for sale...
      If you're thinking "What cheap bastards!" I'm thinking "What the fuck?" My product goes out of code, the salesman picks it up immediately, we get full credit. Because Anheuser-Busch or Miller Coors does not want people buying bad beer. Most people will blame the beer, not the store, and never buy that brand again. I assume that they have the same saleman I have, and he finds that old crap faster than I do. If a surprise inspection from the manufacturer finds that your salespeople have let old beer sit in stores, they'll give your business to some other distributor. The Miller Coors standard is finding only 1.5% of outdated beer, which is far better odds than winning MegaMillions, although them finding that is kind of an anti-jackpot.
      I have beer that's out of code, but I left some of it on the salesfloor because who the hell buys it? I would've had it picked up last week, but the salesman's supervisor was covering his route, and I didn't want him to think he'd missed it, when we were just getting it out of the store bit-by-bit. Better move all that beer to a place where it'll never be seen!
      And the last Busch 20 pack was missing. Bought 2 days ago. It was delivered 6 months ago...
      We'll give a full refund to anyone who returns it. But we won't cover any hospital bills.

      Cat Domestication Traced to Chinese Farmers 5,300 Years Ago


      Are you feeling nostalgic? I am. Remember this? "If Capcom got hold of the kits"?


      It's Kill Kill and Byron! Note the amount of fingers on Byron. Note that Killsy has never looked SEX-AY-ER.

      Here's Baby Peanut Smush looking like a cat, and me and my scrawny, hairy arms and 80s haircut:


      From our old friend Mimi, back in the day.
      She didn't update My Junk Drawer for a long time, so I forgot to look. For like a year. Then in late October I looked, and dammit! She was at a con in NYC in early October! I could've totally gone down there and met her! Except--okay, not. I doubt I could've found anyone to go with me, and me myself would've ended up yelling "HEY! Am I near the Empire Statue of Liberty Building?!" in Yonkers.
      Yes, it's another roundabout Comics That Are Fuckin' Awesome! post! Mimi's "junk drawer" is anything but. I was amazed at how much her art had improved in a year. And that's improved from already fucking awesome. Those drawings for me, seen above? Those are a decade old! Disneyphiles will certainly love her current work (She works for Disney, I, um, think). But kaiju otakus will also love Welcome to Monster Island. I printed it out, because visiting Monster Island's on my bucket list.
      "OH! What is that sound that I hear? With my ears that are on my head?! OH! NO! MONSTAAAAH! Well, guess I can scratch that one off. AAAHHHH!"




      I had a nightmare. For me, these aren't "GAH being eaten by space crocodiles!" or whatever normal human nightmares are like. My dreams are so weird that I always know I'm dreaming. My nightmares are "trapped in a loop that could be real." My computer was hacked into uselessness by a fundamentalist Xtian site that unstoppabley ran a video condemning the modern world--realistic enough that I almost woke up enough to get out of bed and restart the computer to make sure, repeatedly. But, lucid dreamer that I am, I fixed on "how am I getting out of bed" and "saw" that I was floating out of it. And realized that the "modern world" was from circa 1973 ("The Web shows GIRLS IN BIKINIS!") and pushed myself truly awake. And found that DJ was snoozing happily, his head rested on mine. I settled back, and later he made little whimpering noises. DJ was also having a nightmare. I nuzzled him enough to just wake him, and he purred himself back to sleep, both of us free of bad dreams. At least for now.

      A woman asked for a half-pint of Jack Daniels for her son at Xmas. "I don't approve of drinking, and I won't do anything to encourage it!" she said, after buying a half-pint of Jack Daniels for her son. "Oh, wait! Do you have a good, cheap pinot noir?" Possibly she was going to not encourage drinking by beating people with the bottle. I should point out that she was well into her 70s, so her wayward drunk of a son is probably still in the youthful indiscretion years of his 50s.
      Another older lady asked if we had "Freixenet Extra Dry--NOT Brut! I've been to 3 places already!" I gave it to her, and she asked "Do you match Crazy Bruce's prices?" Who, the homeless guy who sells bottles of his own pee screaming "EX-TRAAA DR-YYYY! KILL THE STALIN TELEVISION MOONMEN!!"--oh, wait, that's an actual store. So she drove to a fourth place to save $2. Cheap gas in this state is $3.50+ a gallon, so do the math. Who's the Crazy one again?
      Me, I'm just waiting to see who in the store gets their ass kicked to the curb on New Years Day. My suspicion is it's me, being the guy after the $20 an hour/worked his ass off for 9 years guy who got canned, as I'm the $16.65 an hour/worked his ass off for 10 years guy. Maybe L. and his wife who replaced M. have another relative whose unemployment is running out.
      I wonder why I had a nightmare about having no control of the slightest aspect of my life last night...







      Chief O'Brian at Work.





      Yeah, really haven't been posting. Either too busy (I worked 51 hours this week, 56 if you add the commute, with my only day off the one we legally have to be closed on) or too stressed. See last mentioned reason for that, but also worrying if I still have a job. Some odd things have happened or been said when no one knew I could hear them. There are logical reasons for those. But there's always 2 reasons: "I'm being paranoid" and "No, I'm not." And the fact that the full-timer let go didn't find out until the end of his week's shift. The end, to the minute.
      But I did get my usual Xmas bonus, $100 in product and $300 in cash. Would they do that to a guy they're going to fire? I don't think so, but how should I know, I've never been fired by them.





      For the first time in at least 16 years, I have New Year's Eve off! It's the least of the holidays. People only buy what they'll consume that night, so it's a lot of people buying very little. But their night begins when ours is ending, so the last hour is busy. Possibly busier than New Owner thinks it'll be.
      But I don't give a shit! I won't be there! My current plan is to have some fruit salad by me after I smoke my one hit for the night, drink some cheap champagne, and watch some very old Merrie Melodies (like the hyperviolent "Bosko the Doughboy" posted yesterday. Adorable lil funny animals murdering each other in adorable lil ways). And try not to think about how much good or bad 2014 may or may not bring.


      Thing I didn't know: apparently, everyone who doesn't work retail has 12/31 off. Who knew Hogmanay was such a big deal? Guess Connecticut has a bigger Scots population than I knew.
      I went to BJ's Club to use up the very last day of my free membership, so maybe everyone else did. My old liquor store job, across the plaza, had its large parking lot filled at 11AM. On the other hand, the store closest to me had more cars in the employee section than in the customer part, so who knows what's going on today at my current job. (Also, who cares)
      Wal-Mart had a giant crane right in front of the doors. Wha'? Who ever heard of a Hel-Mart closing? So I looked it up, and found a Yelp review that said it was undergoing a remod. That was in June. They redid the whole store past Xmas? The rest of the reviews were, umm, less than kind. One-star screeds, some funny, some racist: "It's like going to the United Nations, no one speaks English!" referring to the customers. You choose your stores based on eavesdropping on conversations?
      This one was like something from the Stupidest Things Ever Said quote that starts my posts:      The grocery store was equally mobbed, but, like BJ's and unlike a Mall-Wart, I was able to grab my stuff quickly and get through the only open self-serve register, then bang right out the door. I don't think I'll leave the house tomorrow.

      Note to Czech guy who hit this page using the "Seznam screenshot-generator": Were you looking for a slide for a Power Point on "Some websites still think it's 1997"?


      From Facebook:



      I looked at a customer's credit card and thought "Glad I'm not a woman my parents decided to name Wilma." But she looked slightly older than me, and I'm older than The Flintstones, too. (Feel free to make a "Bill is older than cavemen!" joke, to which I will respond "Eh--It's a living!")
      Then I noticed her surname: Sicklick. Wilma was an upgrade.



      I've spent 5 weeks worrying about whether I was about to lose my job, based on overheard information that I wasn't supposed to overhear, or just being paranoid. There was no way to reality check it. Everyone would either know nothing, or pretend that they didn't. One thing I do know from the last 2 layoffs: It would either come at the last day of the workweek, like D's did, or the first day, as M's did, and after New Year's.
      Today was the last day of my workweek after New Year's. I might even get a clue before walking into work, if there were cars in the lot that normally wouldn't be there. Today, I saw the parking lot and
      fuck! L's red Ford Focus! If I have no job, he's the one that will have to close every Saturday! fuck!
      Wait--that's a different coworker's red Focus, parked in his usual spot for the only time in 9 years. Okay, that's a relief
      fuck! DT's car is still here! He's always been gone for 2 hours on Saturdays when I get in at 11! Why is HE here?!
      I didn't find out. He left, so obviously that had nothing to do with me. Five minutes after he left
      fuck! New Owner's father, Real Owner, is here, just like he was when they canned D! FUCK! I haven't seen him in the store for 3 months! He came in just before noon, probably thinking that's when I start work! And while I'm taking in a beer order! I'll have to wait until it's done before I find out if I'm fired! If a part-timer comes in at noon, that's it, I'm dead. And Real Owner's just hanging around upstairs with his son while I check the order in. He came down and said "What, you're not done yet?" like he wanted to get it over with as much as I did. Once the delivery was done, he pulled me aside and said
      fuck! No, wait--he told me to check the invoice to make sure we were billed at the right cost, as the same company had screwed up the pricing in his store. Then, he left.
      And why would he ask me that, if it was my last day? He'd save that for the person replacing me on Monday. And he said it without hostility. He used to be rather grim and negative to the employees at the store, as all his information about us was filtered through DT the Angry Drunk. Once his son took over, he really changed, and I assume it was because he was now getting the truth about us.
      fuck! Did I just spend 5 weeks raising my blood pressure and getting depressed over nothing but misheard signals? I sure as fuck hope so! I won't really know until Monday. But I think that, yes, I still have a job.
      ...And 5 minutes after Real Owner left, a part timer came in. If he'd come in 30 minutes earlier, and I would've hyperventilated to death.



--tech support call      Also still have a job. 5 weeks of worry, all for naught. Guess I won't complain about my job, now that I know how I felt when I thought I might lose it. And after a coworker was panicking that her car had been repo'ed. Well, who wouldn't? But most people don't ignore months of phone calls and throw out certified mail warning them of it. Problems go away by doing something about them, not ignoring them.

      "School of Fish" by Dreamfish was the last song one my iPod in my car, and the first one played by iTunes on my computer. What are the odds?! Seriously, Math is Hard, so I don't know. There are 15,500 songs on each. So were the odds 1 in 15,500? 1 in 31,000? 1 in 15,500 x 15,500, or 260 million, which is the odds of winning the MegaMillions jackpot?       


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