NEW 116

�Answer so no one knows what you just said.�
Ron Mael of Sparks, Angst in My Pants


      Today was to be the start of my austerity program, if it turned out that I had no job. But I didn't not have a job! So maybe I could spend some money?


      Potential unemployment coincided with "stuff I kinda need" time, like drain opener, shoes without holes, and pajama bottoms without crotch-to-knee rips. All of which I'd consider luxuries, if jobless. But apparently I'm jobful! So I went to Dollar Tree and splurged on drain opener! Also junk food and toothpaste. I guess those kind of go together.
      Next, the consignment store to check out their used CDs. I bought some "nature sounds with cheezy 90s new age music" ones. "Imagine the unspoiled beauty of the German Alps where a gently flowing mountain spring finds its way. The occasional sound of a herd of grazing cattle and their cow bells make you feel like you are actually there. Not Subliminal." Whew! Thanks for that last bit! I was afraid that I'd think I was a cow! But why didn't you add "It's really a guy in a Canadian studio stepping on dead leaves for 60 minutes, while a brick sits on an old Casio keyboard"? I've never heard a CD that more truly cried out for "MORE COWBELL." I put it into iTunes, and was told that "Alpine Serenity (now with extra Leaf Crunching)" was really titled "Ore No Sora Anthem Non Stop 60 Minutes by Dub Master X." Whoever typed it into iTunes was obviously driven mad by leaf-crunching.
      Rein's Deli, motherfuckers! Chick sal san on wheat w/let, with a bunch of SKY BARS added to my purchase! Fuck. No Sky Bars to be had. My celebration shave been ruined! Er, "celebrations have been". I don't celebrate by shaving.
      Next, the exciting world of KMART! Time to buy me some exotic, elaborate, existential PJ bottoms! And they're 50% off! In price; my current ones were 50% off in the "covering the crotch to knee area." I'm wearing them now, ladies, and they're super comfy and warm. Hope that they also don't get ripped open by my massive ding-dong okay, me accidentally sticking my leg through the pee-hole part. I hope that doesn't dissuade you of my sexiness, ladi oh wait, it already did. Probably lost you at "KMart PJ bottoms."
      Then, buying groceries! What could be more exciting! Nothing could be, except not buying groceries! I bought a lot of cat food, then also some different cat food, then some cat treats, and also some 9 volt batteries. Is there some unbreakable universal law that smoke detectors can only make the low-battery chirp when you're asleep at 4AM? At least they waited until grocery day to do so.
      Then I pumped gas, in 6 degree weather with 20MPH winds. It was 60 degrees yesterday. No climate change weirdness happening, because Exxon-Mobil says so!
      Once home, I truly wasted money on Amazon. Not on the replacement for the shoes-with-holes (I like shoes without holes when it's 6 degrees), but on Feliway, in the vain if not completely retarded hope that it might return our mighty Toe Master B to relative sanity.

      Satanic Temple unveils 7-foot goat-headed Baphomet statue for Oklahoma Capitol


      World War Wasn�t, about a comic book from the 1980s, or the second era besides the 50s of "We're gonna die in a nuclear war started by old white men scared about Commies but mainly about how floppy their withered penises are getting so they'll use big, hard ICBMs as substitutes." I left a comment at the end.


      Jess spent most of her holidays puking, so I sent her this song:


      And if you're sick of Xmas music...apropos anyway.


      After 2 days of pain from my months-dormant enemy arthritis of the spine, it was Dinner at Mom's! Good conversation, but some bad news--her nice apartment in a 62-or-older complex may raise its prices to the point that she can't afford to live there. She said that it went from "being owned by a family that was friendly and open" to new buyers who are "24 year olds just graduated from business school." Models of corporate America--they have the empathy of rattlesnakes. One neighbor left for 6 weeks, explained that she wouldn't be there to fill out some paperwork, and got home to an eviction notice. Not over missed payments--over paperwork a couple of weeks late.
      Mom made beef stew, which, like anything she's ever made, was delicious. Well, 2 exceptions. One would be about 30 years ago, the quiche lorraine, which I refused to eat after 2 bites. Everyone said "You're such a picky eater!" but then slowly began putting down their forks. Even she did. Dad said "Give it to the dog." We did, and Cinnamon devoured it. Then they left to go next door. I called over to say "The dog threw up the quiche lorraine." I admit to a feeling of vindication.
      The other was--beef stew! It was my dad's favorite dish growing up. His mother said "He likes it with some flour added!" For the first meal after they were married, Mom made it. "I like it! It's really good!" said Dad as Mom sobbed "No it isn't! It isn't!" She'd added so much flour that it was like glue. Mom said today "It was white!" not a color normally associated with beef stew. She also thinks that it was Dad's favorite growing up because, outside of authentic Scots scones, it was the only thing his mother could make that was reasonably edible. (and Mom's stew has greatly improved over 55 years)

      I got both the Feliway and the Converse hightops today. Time will tell whether the first was a good investment Byron-wise, but my decaying shoes splashed slush into my socks twice today, so goodbye to the old Chucks. Killsy, as always, went ecstatic over their new vinyl smell, rubbing her face all over them and then doing her best to fit into the shoebox they came in. I tried to take a picture, but my camera's battery failed. It does that a lot. I probably need a new battery, but for a heavy, clunky and dozen-year old camera...? I have a $900 property tax bill due, so I think we can pass on a new camera for a while. Ms Kays snoozes partly in the shoebox now, all huffed out on sneaker fumes. DJ bathes himself on Byron's old favorite stack of beer boxes. ToeBoy himself has slept contentedly ever since the Feliway was plugged in...Maybe he'll go back to
      No. I dare not hope.


      5 Jokes That Make People in Service Jobs Want to Kill You. Oh, yeah. The weird thing is how hard people laugh at something that millions of people before them have said, when they're the person saying it. No one else ever laughs, no matter how many other customers in line they look at, implying "AMIRITE?!" When something doesn't scan and the customer "jokes" "Then that MEANS IT'S FREE HAW HAW HAW! me funny!" I just deadpan "Actually, I have to charge you double for having to look it up." That gets more smiles from the customers behind Super Hilarity Man than he gets.
      "That'll be $10.66," I once said. "That was a good year," he said, "if you were William the Conqueror." And that is exactly the only time in 30 years of retail that I laughed at the "That was a good year" anti-joke. Just a couple of days ago, the total was $9.12, and a guy not even involved in the sale said "THAT WAS A GOOD YEAR!" The woman I was ringing up winced, and decided to pretend she didn't hear him. As did I. Because, what did he mean? 912 AD was awful, but 912 BCE--that was fuckin' hilarious! Something happened then. Maybe the first time some Phoenecian made that joke, while buying a trireme.
      10 years ago, I wrote this:



      If you really want to piss off a retail worker, try this: Ask questions and immediately assume the answer is wrong, so keep asking the same question, expecting a different answer from the same person.
      "Do you have any more of this?"
      "No, we don't."
      "Are you sure you don't any more of this?"
      (emphatically) "No, we don't. We're out."
      "Are you sure? Do you have any more in The Back?"
      (gritting teeth) "No. We had a run on it today. This is all we have."
      (customer gives disbelieving look; ponders asking again)
      Ask me one more time, you asshole. Then I'll say "YES! You got me! OF COURSE WE FUCKING DO! I LIED TO YOU THE FIRST 3 TIMES, but now I will tell you the TRUTH! I DON'T WANT MY STORE TO MAKE MONEY! I hide everything you want. Why don't you go explore the mystical, mysterious wonderland that is 'THE BACK' until you complete your mighty quest? BE WARNED--'The Back' is defended by demon dogs made of flaming zebras made of bees that are themselves made of fire ants with a diarrhea of Jersey Shore episodes! And they eat people who think everyone else is a liar! I sure hope you're also not a fucking moron, because--OH GOD, HERE THEY COME! RUN AWAY, RUN--DON'T RUN AWAY! Because I'm such a liar, so why would you? Know what else isn't in "The Back'? Gwyneth Paltrow isn't in 'The Back,' and she TOTALLY won't have sex with you if you lie down in traffic! And she sure doesn't think it's sexy if you set yourself on fire first."


      I have a Hotmail account, basically as a spam trap. It's good at catching the garbage, but today one got through to the inbox, titled "recipient." Well, that sounds like a must-read!
      Did you know that Obamacare has--"on page 107"--an exemption for Muslims? Because of "Dhimmitude is the Muslim system of controlling non-Muslim populations conquered through jihad (Holy War). Specifically, it is the TAXING of non-Muslims in exchange for tolerating their presence AND as a coercive means of converting conquered remnants to Islam." That sounds totally believable! This random email does say it's on page 107! I wonder how long before you mention Sha--"ObamaCare allows the establishment of Dhimmitude and Sharia Muslim diktat in the United States." Oh. I was going to say "Sharia Law," but "Sharia Muslim diktat" does sound worse! "Diktat," that's a word in the Muslim language, right, the one they speak in Muslimistan?
      Oddly, it "proved" this claim by referring to With a Google search result that clearly was just sentences from the same email, and wasn't clickable. Because anyone who still believes this "sekrit Muslin birther" shit sure doesn't know how to cut&paste an url, and is still deciding if the Devil invented this "monthly showering" stuff. But sure enough, if you do look, Snopes has a page about it. Can you guess what it says? That's right! Ted Nugent only shoots moose to have sex with their corpses, while Ted Cruz watches and yanks his little Teddy!
      No, it says it's bullshit. From 4 years ago. Interestingly, my updated version changes "How convenient. So I, as a Christian, will have crippling IRS liens placed against all of my assets and will face hard prison time because I refuse to buy insurance or pay the penalty tax" to "[best read in Church Lady voice] How convenient. So I, as a Christian, will have crippling IRS liens placed against all of my assets, including real estate, cattle, and even accounts receivable, and will face hard prison time because I refuse to buy insurance or pay the penalty tax." OMG, not your CATTLE! Your precious cattle, the sekrit Muslins should be nuked before they come for our goats! And our Busch beer and delicious Bacon Bowls (TM) and Duck Dynasty tshirts and also stop us from huffing our Magic Markers!
      Crimeny, idiot resending bullshit from 4 years ago, the best you could do was add cows and "accounts receivable" to the ObaNAZIs crimes? At least the red and yellow highlighting you added to someone else's paranoid rant was original. Ugly and stupid too, but I assume that's what you were going for. In your email, and in your life.
      Have fun with no insurance when you get Mad Cow! Oh, wait, they saved you from that when they took your cattle. I can so relate to that, they took my cattle for an overdue library book. You will have my sympathy when you serve your Hard Prison Time over not paying a fine. Say "Who is John Galt?" to every inmate in Hard Prison for me. (Helpful hint: you can trade 4 cigarettes for a Magic Marker and a huffing bag)



      I put a couple of CDs into iTunes yesterday, and then checked the iPod to see how many songs it had added. Zero. Not zero added, zero on the iPod.
      It deleted them all. This thing's only a year old! So I connected it again to synch it and get them back. That did exactly nothing. So I did the 3 R's: "Retry, Reboot, Regret paying $200 for a brick."
      I deleted and redownloaded iTunes and reset the iPod to its original factory settings, but it still wouldn't sync. I eventually figured it out--default is to micromanage every song, like I'm doing that with 15,500 songs. It took I don't know how many hours to reload the songs. I went to bed and ejected it in the morning
      I plugged it in the car, and it...worked? It displayed a song's information for only a second, then skipped 5 to 10 songs before deciding to play one. Sorry, that's not what I meant by "Shuffle." When I got home, I plugged it in again, and iTunes pretended the iPod didn't exist. When I ejected it, it said "0 Songs." So I reset it again, and it's currently syncing, and will be doing so for about 7 hours, or after my bedtime. I hope I'm not going to have to do this everytime I use it. If so, I'll get a big flash drive for a lot cheaper than another iPod.

      Apparently I was so obsessed with my stupid, stupid iPod that I wrote that yesterday and forgot to actually post it. Well, there it is, in all its incandescent glory, so that generations after us can only shield their eyes from its brilliance! Of the story of me and my stupid iPod. And LO, how they shall wish they lived in such times of historic provenance!
      Well, fuck those guys for now. After I re-reset it and resynched, it seems to work. Minus exactly 250 songs. Which ones? "Dunno, Copper!" Like I'm checking 15,257 songs on a squinty iPod screen to see what isn't there. Although I do one that isn't: "Music to Splut By," the recreation of a 1999 mix tape I made for the Divine Kitsplut. She said that she'd gone to "some pretty skeevy websites" to find the songs. The first time I put it in iTunes, it argued with me about it. Maybe something was crawling around in it, like silverfish or earwigs. I'll leave it off the Pod and just listen to the CD from now on. Listen on headphones, as I tend to play that one really loud.

      This can't be a beer ad! Where are the hot bikini babes?!





      My Sunday of the month to work. One a month is fine, although I miss WWUH's Sunday Morning Ambience show. But since I also now have Tuesdays off, I can listen to Tuesday Afternoon Synthesis, my favorite radio show! I haven't had Tuesdays off since 16 years ago, so unless I'm on vacation, I heard 30 minutes of it on my lunch break. Now I'm back to being able to hear all of it every Tu...Oh. WWUH just added a 2 week archive of all their shows, so I can listen to it any time. They couldn't have done that 16 years ago?

      Fortune cookie fortune found on the floor at work: "You have many special gifts, go experiment with them!" On the obverse, the Learn Chinese word is "DISEASE". Maybe be a little bit choosier with whom you experiment with.
      It informs one that "DISEASE" is pronounced "bing", which may explain why Google's competitor gets avoided like the plague.



      I picked 2 good days off from work! Bitter cold, high winds, and a snowstorm!
      I could've picked a better day to go antiquing with Jess. (see above reasons)
      I got out of the shower and saw the clock. "I thought I had more time than this! I have to leave in 10 minutes!" I jumped on the highway--not literally, my car did--wait, not literally--I drove onto the highway, looked at the clock and grimaced "I have less time because we're meeting half an hour later than usual." So either sit freezing in a parking lot for 30 minutes, or turn around and go home for 15. I chose the latter. The song playing on the iPod during this was titled "Your Mind," which in my case should've been called "Your Mind (May Be Defective; Better Return It: I Hope You Kept The Receipt Mix)." Most of the way back I thought, "All I need to do is have a cop ticket me, and then have to immediately loop back onto the highway again" And there was a cop waiting to bag people running a stop sign. I made it through safely.
      Jumping on the highway, this time literally (I have one of those Speed Racer cars), in Putnam I gave Jess a big hug and a bigger bag of Iams diet cat food. Killsy doesn't eat it anymore, and doesn't need to. DJ's playtime is now spent exclusively with her, thanks to Mr Byron's psychological issues, and she's lost 2.5 pounds. I apologized, as diet food isn't a thing feral cats need. But she said "I can mix it with kitten food!" thus averaging the calories out. Win/win!
      Swaddled head to toe besides our faces, and with at least me wishing he had a balaclava, we spent maybe 4 desperate minutes walking in the near-zero windchill to the nearest form of shelter, on the first Tuesday we'd ever gone to Putnam!
      And the last. 2 of the 3 places we were going to are closed that day. At the Big Store, we found lots of new booths and lots to wisecrack about. There was a sign forbidding trespassing on state land that contained the warning "Removal of this sign carries a $100 fine." She pointed out that "Well, somebody removed this one!" Here's your $100; I'm going to sell this for $498 in the future. (Yeah, that's what they wanted for it. Must've wanted to get the fine back from 50-70 years ago, adjusted for inflation) That was this time's theme--we saw stolen-from-state-land signs everywhere.
      Jess looked for cookbooks. I don't know why; that was my old obsession a dozen-plus years ago in the InExOb days. I grabbed one titled "The Playboy Gourmet", but sadly it did not have women as hot as her cradling dishes of hot, steamy food. There was a picture section, and she said "Well, that fish is naked!" "No," I said, "it still has scales! Those are fish clothes!" I flipped to a random recipe that began with "Sausages: as hard-as-a-rock" and we laughed and closed the book.
      There was also a badly made folk art beaver, and I will spare you our "beaver" jokes. (Sample: "I spilled my drink! Now my beaver's all wet!")
      Our favorite spot is usually the creaky-floored basement, where the bargains generally are. For some reason, Jess always falls far behind me down there, so this time I decided to flip through CDs, just to kill time. Wow, this is just like timetravelling to Lechmere 20 years ago! All the stuff I used to sell, that everyone forgot about! One hit wonders like the Spin Doctors, Hootie the Blow Me, the Presidents of the United States! Crimeny, here's a CD titled Macarena! I actually grabbed 2: BachBusters, a very-late period Moog LP ripping off 1967's Switched-On Bach in 1985 (it's not very good; weak tea compared to its inspiration), and a 1998 Negitivland EP, Happy Heroes, that really wasn't worth the $3. There was a $28 Mr Machine, which only has nostalgia for me because...something. I think I saw some ads for it as a kid. Since there have been multiple versions of it since 1960, I was better off not buying it. Cool looking as it was. Hey SteamPunk, 1960 invented the wind-up top-hatted robot before you did! And sorry, KitSplut, but if you want it, I'll get that 1978 Battlestar Galactica Poster Book for you next time. "Secrets of MOFFAT 2!" it promises, although the secret is that it's a chimp in a furry R2-D2 costume that it wants to tear it off and kill Boxie and his fucking super-futuristic 1978 Dorothy Hamill bowl-cut.
      We left for lunch. I was hoping to try out the new place, but that was an extra 100 feet away and now it was snowing with a whipping wind, so we went to our usual place. We looked at the menu, despite us always ordering the same things, although it gave me a chance to point out that "Specialties" was spelt "Specialty's", which aggravates me. She countered that since the place is named "Something Special", maybe that was deliberate, and I said "Like short bus special?"
      I took a picture of what she bought, which was--No, my camera has exactly enough battery to tell me it has no charge. She took pictures of us with her stuff. We'll discuss those when she sends me the pics. She offered me an old camera of hers, because "I have no patience for it." It only takes 3 pictures a second when she holds the button down. She has one that takes 12 pics now. "Is it smaller than my camera?" I asked. She said "I can't think of anything that isn't!" Well...mailboxes? Those are bigger. (Lily: thank you for the generous offer, but save yourself the postage. It'd be easier for her to hand me hers than for you to have to mail me yours)
      We had a long discussion about my Bigfoot, both of us at our wit's end trying to figure it out. I may try Feliway, sprayed on a towel laid on Elba, his Tower of Self-Imposed Exile. The new diffuser has at least cut down on his snarling and snorting.
      We each boxed up half our meals, and withered through the cold and snow to our cars. The forecast claimed that we'd be leaving before the storm got bad, but the forecast was wrong. If I'd been 30 seconds earlier getting onto one road, it would've saved me 15 minutes of crawling behind a snowplow doing 25MPH. Does that make it a slow-plow? And while she was driving away from the storm, I was driving into it. For 35 miles.
      There was at least one near-inexplicable business sign, but that will have to wait until I have a working camera. And despite living 3 miles from it since 1987, I only just noticed that there's a road called "W.T. Ferguson III Road." Man, way to piss off W.T. Ferguson Junior, town of Vernon! "If you're so special, why's there no road named after you, DAD?!" Note that my town doesn't just have a road with the beautiful and inspiring name "Industrial Park West," but a road named "WTF."
      "The highway? Take a right turn onto WHAT THE FUCK, not there, onto WTF the Third!"


      6 Failed Rap Commercials From The '80s And '90s. I remember 2 of these, but there are YouTubes to make you wish that you didn't remember them, too.

      10 Strange Tales About Paranormal Research: "Grebennikov�s alleged levitation techniques were based on a specific, arcane geometrical structure he claimed he had built from insect parts. This bug machine was supposedly able to lift him for over 305 meters (1,000 ft) and could easily reach speeds of over 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) per minute. He was protected from these high speeds by an energy grid all around him. Well, that�s his story anyway."

      Edgar Allan Poe is Hired to Sell Sleep Number Beds



      I saw something on a comments page, rolled my eyes, and said "Yeah, sure." Then I checked Weather Underground and found out that the commenter was right--it was currently 25 degrees colder in CT than it was in Fairbanks. Alaska.
       Can global warming be real if it�s cold in the U.S.? Um� yes!
      I heard a coworker doing that thing more predictable than Fox "News"s lame "There's no global warming if it gets cold in the winter!" Which is like saying "I'm going to live forever because so far I haven't died." It just proves you know nothing about what you're talking about.
      In late December in CT, it was 60 on a Monday and 6 on Tues. YEAH THAT'S NORMAL. Pay no attention to the oil company behind the curtain!



      I got a free comic book in the mail: "The Invincible IRON MAN in Forging the Future", by Marvel and the American Welding Society. Will there be welding involved? EXCELSIOR, True Believers! Oh, wait, that'd be by the American Wood-Based Packing Society.
      Admittedly, what Marvel hero could better represent welding than Iron Man? They could do a whole series of corporate-themed comics. THOR for Arm & HAMMER! "Verily, demonic fridge odors, get thee hence!" (dramatically places box of baking soda behind the salad dressing) SPIDER-MAN vs the ORKIN MAN! "In this issue, SPIDEY DIES! No, really, he does. Orkin paid for this." CAPTAIN AMERICA for Kotex Panty SHIELDS! "It's the Red Skull's daughter, the RED CROTCH!" Maybe I should stop.
      The comic opens in media res, with the Indigestable Iron Man being attacked by arch-enemy and C-list villain Titanium Man and the Spymaster, aka "Who?" In media res and then in a 5th period high school shop class flashback. Hispanic Guy and Black Guy and White Girl discuss the amazing joys of arc welding. I guess they do that in high schools now. Their teacher informs them that "The demand for welders will be greater and greater. Employers are raising salaries and benefits as a result." Superhero comics dialog sure has changed since my day. There are many, many words on each page, mainly about the $34 billion dollar American welding industry, but there is less than one exclamation point per page! Although there is a "?!?"
      At any rate, at a field trip to Stark Industries, Tony Stark invites the kids to his Iron Man suit room, and the bad guys burst in, attack and quickly defeat the Apparently Quite Vincible Iron Man. Then they just kinda leave him on the floor, T-Man grabbing suits of armor off the wall (there's a dozen; I guess his main superpower is carrying stuff) while Spymaster looks at internet porn steal's Stark's secrets (which are internet porn). The kids grab welding equipment, and, right in front of the villains, weld Iron Man back to health. The Scrumpdillyishus Iron Man grabs a welding torch, and defeats the creeps by the power of welding, as he
      On the next page, Agents of P.A.N.T.Y. S.H.I.E.L.D. cart the villains away, and if you were a woman dressed in S.H.I.E.L.D. spray-painted bondage gear like the female agent is, you'd make sure you had Kotex's extra layer of protection, too. Mr Stark, the Incredibly Horny Iron Man, eyeballs the blonde jail bait and offers her--not the guys--a job at Stark Industries, possibly in the Special Molestation Unit. She declines, because Welding.
      "I think Heather has the right idea. Super heroics are too dangerous. And, besides, I think there's plenty of excitement to be found in my new career choice--
      I wish I had a scanner, so that I could show you the back page. "Everybody wants to give you career direction." Clockwise from the top, clip-art photos of Angry Teacher, Super-Pissed Off In-Your-FACE Douchebag Boss, Somewhat Disinterested Guy, Your Fucking Stupid-Ass Mom who is Not the Boss of You, Worried Girlfriend/Wife, Super Bitchy Girlfriend/Wife. Fuck those assholes! I'm gonna fucking weld the SHIT out of my life!
      "Printed Courtesy of Lincoln Electric, the Official Welder of Super Heroes." Ooh, yeah, fucking big electrician man, ooh! Come outside and I'll weld your fucking ass, wiring fag!
      Which is a long way to say that Stupid Comics has another giveaway comic, starring deciBell, the really loud cow. Her battle cry: "EAT MOR CHIKEN," so yeah, Chick-Fil-A made it. Can hooved animals wear superhero booties? Why wouldn't they?!?

      I'm just going to quick-proof for errors and html this, and leave it as is:

       I'm about to watch the greatest cinematic achievement of the 21st century, "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure." Wish me luck! Or at least a swift and painless death.

      Previews: "Adventures in Shapesville Park." "The fun of learning, with the power of LeapFrog!" There is a song with the lyric "THIS SHAPE IS A CIRCLE!" Next, "Thomas the Tank Engine Discovers Mountain-Top Removal Mining and/or Fracking," something like that. Only 2 previews for an audience that's generally happy when their pants aren't full of shit. Good sign.

      Meet the Oogieloves! Nerd Boy, SUPER FUN BOY!! and Linguistics Girl. Seriously, she speaks every language, "including ANIMAL!" Yeah, right; you're an adult-sized toddler puppet and yet you understand "BLAARGH!" and then Animal bangs his drums and eats another Muppet. they then get applause. Oh, right, I heard about this. The movie congratulates itself on its very existence in order to get you to like it. "THIS IS THEGREATEST MOVIE EVERRRR!" gets more applause. More applause than "THIS IS THE GREATEST [ice cream cone/2 week vacation/Lotto Jackpot winning ticket/someone's mouth on my genitals/Iron Man comic about welding] EVERRRR!"

      This SUCKS. And I'm at the 1:45 point. The 1 is a minute.

      Hey, Oogie Super Fun Boy, don't say "IT'S TIME TO GET UP AND DANCE!" when the subtitle is "It's Time to Get Out of Your Seats!" Are you trying to make toddlers dumber? (Oh, right, probably your mission statement)

      Fuck you! You're not playing those instruments! Mill Vanilli was more true to their art! Oh wait they're in sports mascot outfits, they can't even move their mouths when talking.

      Know what Oogs like? Jumping! Know what else? Jumping! Know what else? Very short attention spans! And patronizing toddlers!

      Long pan across a bedroom, and a shot of an Oogie's ass. Thanks, movie. MOTHRA OF GOURD, what the fuck is THAT?! A horrible Uncanny Valley face on a wall! GAH it burns! AND SINGS

      AND SINGS "wonky wonky loo and poodle-loodle chew and weasle teasing weiner" (paraphrased, but not by much) and asks "How's little shloopy doing this morning?" Stop looking at me in bed and my shloopy, Winnie! (She's named Winnie because she's a window!) And it won't be shloopy once I take my Shiagra!

      Shloopy is a pillow, really hungover. He vomits a feather and doesn't wake up when the Oogs scream [SPOILER] "IT'S SHLOOPY'S SURPRISE BIRTHDAY TODAY!" Shloop justs mumbles incoherently, and the Oogs don't turn him over so he won't choke to death on his feather vomit. oogs were on Hendrix's ambulance.

      OK, I need to just watch this. Windy Window is singing a song about Windy Window, and now she has a Southern accent. Also drapes that are her hair. And the cruelest stare you'd ever imagine a sentient window could have. She's a window--you don't know how much she's seen! And some day, a child whose parents bought them this will awaken screaming from their dream with "WINDY WINDOW, WHAT DO YOU SEE? 1, 2, 3!" That's the whole song, repeated repeatedly. I may be the one screaming tonight.

      It's J Edgar! OH, JUST GUESS. Yeah, he's a sentient vacuum cleaner, that sucks up everything it can find on Martin Luther Dyson Jr! And the happiest actor on Earth is totally not regretting that theater major while he dances in a full-body VACUUM CLEANER SUIT.

      J Ed just...had a grand mal seizure? He just spun around and screamed while taxidermied chipmunks reacted in horror, like they were watching someone die. Then--he lost...
      Ah, FUCK.
      He lost 5 mylar balloons. That's the adventure, right? I was kind of hoping for zeppelin battles.

      I cannot find the widescreen button in my DVD player. Is this movie not available that way? It's ruining it for me! I want to watch it like the director intended!
      Wait, that'd be surrounded by screaming, bored toddlers needing new Pampers Pull-Up Pants.

      "Marvel presents: POWER PACK and the Pampers Pull-Up Pants!" Power Pack? Old 80s-90s comic? It's the only one that makes sense.

      Yeah, J Ed--you fucked up! Bet the oogs shiv him.

      Idea Marvel shouldn't go with: "The Punisher's Potty Journal." Imagine being toilet trained by that guy. "Do a Number 2 in your pants, I put a .22 bullet in your pudgy little arm. Just as an incentive."

      They live in "Lovely Loveville"

      While the "We think antifreeze tastes like orange juice!" oogs go to find the last 5 magical balloons in Lovely Lov--motherfucker, I can't say it twice, J Ed can stay with Windy! He reacts with either abject horror or blushing horniness, okay maybe both, because who the fuck wouldn't want to be a vacuum cleaner trapped in a room with the Wizard of Oz's wall-mounted grandma who thinks she's a cougar.

      "Y'all know the magic words!" drawls Windy from her meth lab. "1--2--3!" A giant sausage casing drops from the ceiling and dresses them Wait, they look like Garbage Pail Kids, except uglier. Even that movie was better. FUN Boy doesn't like belts, so his pants fall off, just like those Negro kids at the mall the writer saw, with their droopy pants, back in MY day, we didn't listen to this "rap crap," we stuck our faces in garbage disposals!

      "Every time your pants fall down, we're going to shout 'GOOFY TOOFY, PICK UP YOUR PANTS!'" HOLY SHIT THIS "MOVIE" IS GONNA HURT

      Windy smiles at the thought of Toofy's pants falling down. Smiles like Toofy is naked and tied to the bed.

      10 minutes in! Now a song about J Ed's flapjacks. That applauding I mentioned? Still happening at everything. And everything has a song. Clap, clap, for the flapjacks, the clapjacks.

      "is that teapot in a treetop?" "No, it's a treepot WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!? YOU LOOK HUMAN!.
      Zooey Deschanel clone raps about her tree ladder to get the 1st balloon. Chorus: rhymes square with there, lingering closeup of Zooey's butt. BEST SCENE YET

      WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!? I leave for a second and some mummy is there, covered in rouge and looking like Hell for guys who masturbated to Dolly Parton too much. She "loves the sound of ooooh." I'll bet you do.

      See, Zooey loves squares, Dolly loves spinning in circles. It makes her think of her--Favorite Song! It reminds me of my favorite bowel movement!

      its dance is called the Polka Dotty. Not St Vitus, that was already taken.

      "Stick your fingers in your ears and dance around in circles!" I've already stuck my fingers in my ears. How about you stick your fingers in your eyes and jump out the Winny?

      Kids, now that you've learned to count to 3 and maybe know the difference between squares and circles, let's now here the phrase "his skeletal configuration is ideal for climbing!" You have no idea how many times you will use this phrase in the future! Especially in job interviews! As you will have many, many job intrviews if you use it.

      The climb in the tree is harrowing and eventful and I had to pee and rub DJ's belly and SHIT THE BALLOONS TALK! "I am a magical balloon!" sneers the smug little hipster douche, stroking his laptop in Starbucks.

      nerd Boy on Talking balloon: "That's Sciencetastically impossible!" Yeah, well melonhead, you're "ThereIsNoGOD!tastically horrible!"

      I apologize for that last "melonhead" joke to every macrocephalic, incredibly deformed, IQ of 75 person made of felt and desperate flop-sweat that made this movie.

      Toofy's pants fall. "Goofy Toofy! Pick up your pants!"

      "You're just lahk a squirrel after a nut!" drawls Windy seductively to the vacuum cleaner.

      "Milky Marvin's Milkshake Manor!" A 1950s waitress dressed in black & white spots briefly speaks, then a male Oog says "How did Shloopy's balloon get tied to that cow?" Entire careers in film criticism could be spent analyzing what that line meant to the screenwriter.

      I really hate Milky Marvin. His catchphrase is "OOH!" Balloon floats because of "helium density." Song ensues.

      Song is about using a blender. Not kidding.

      Cow wears bling that says "MOOla." Cow commands a room full of teenagers to Suck This. And they do, and 90 seconds of watching people suck on straws is 115 seconds too long.

      Close-up of their stunted costumed oog legs, to remind us that actual human beings are sadly earning a living here.

      3rd balloon goes to Beyonce. Wait--WTF
      imdb says it's Toni Braxton.

      Shit. Just as I was thinking "I would've had sex with Toni Braxton 20 years ago! I want to have sex with her NOW! Even while surrounded by hideous mutants!" they have her in a lowcut dress singing about her cleavage. ALLERGIES! She's singing about that, says every 30 & over dad in the audience at a movie with his kids. She says "Hey, my stuffy nostrils are up here!"

      She sneezes her balloon away, due to her coke-deviated septum allergies. If there is a fetish site dedicated to "hot female 90s pop stars sneezing" they've been streaming Toni's scenes in a loop. Know how to make Toni not sexy? It'd be called "visible rivers of snot" makeup.

      "HIGHER GOOBIE HIGHER!" Not higher than anyone watching this movie! I mean, "made" this movie. They're so high.

      "SPIN, J Edgar, SPIN! SPIN! SPIIIN!" --actual quote from Windy the Dominatrix
      Windy's eyes--her staring, lustfilled eyes! Windy's gone mad, I tell you! Mad!

      Deep in his opium dream, Shloopy the Pillow Thing dreams of Shloopy dreaming of Shloopy sleeping. Next scene: Balloon4 is at "Trippy's Truck Stop." They're so high.

      Sports mascots pedalling tricycle scenes are just as funny the 3rd time as they would be after 6 months of watching this in Gitmo.

      It's Cowboy Bobby Wobbly! He walks all bow-legged! He has either a degenerative muscular disorder or has a really bad case of the squirts. Maybe Windy did him in the ass with a strap-on.

      Safety warning: Do not climb on top of tractor trailers to grab their exhaust pipe; too dangerous. And knowing is half the battle!

      OH FUCK Bobby Wobbly is thrilled that the Oogs like bubbles so much that's thrusting his hips like all sexy. "Walk this way!" he says, and the Oogs don't walk like he does. Softball punchline there, Oogs! "Why do you walk so wobbly?" Bobby says "Because it's more fun than not wobbling!" Dads: a thing to say to the kids after you've had a little "medicine."

      Wobbly song now. "Give your tush a pat!" while they snort bubbles from tubas. Cocaine. That's what they're all high on.

      Sometimes when you stare in to the Oggielove's Wobble Dance, the Oggielove's Wobble Dance stares back.

      Pants fall. Goofy. Toofy. Pick up your pants.

      Seriously, Wobbly, don't act like that. You're the guy Tourette's victims make fun of.

      Jah Wobble's parrot can't fly because she's old, has a bad back, and "cataracts in both eyes! tee hee!" WTF is in this town's water, Polonium-110?

      Does the parrot also have Stage 2 diabetes and severe rhuematoid arthritis, fucking kids movie? Is the parrot a Norwegian Blue?

      They sing a song--of course they fucking sing a song--and the parrot can fly! I'd also run from an Oog song, even if I had 2 broken legs and beartrap in front of me

      "HIGH FOUR!" they say hilariously, because no point has been made of them having 4 fingers till now.

      Bobby Wobbly Major Brainstem Injury gives them a bubble machine. Know who else used a bubble machine?!
      What I wouldn't give right now for a Calcinator Death Ray!

      Horny J Ed lovingly combs Windy's drapes. But do they match the carpet?

      Last balloon: in Holland. Amsterdam much, filmmakers?

      Stuffed ducks float in tiny boats, moaning. A llama says "I speak perfect English. Most llamas do." UFO lands. It's a giant sombrero and its crew Mexican. Christopher Lloyd speaks through bongos only. Jaime Pressly aka "Who?" is his wife; her dress is tight and she does a sexy tango to the bandoleon. Then she yells "AYE AYE AYE!" and shakes her Latina hooties. Ecstasy. They're on E.

      I somehow missed the part where they need to dance endlessly to move the fish (there's a fish) to the windmill to get the balloon. Just saying that there's 10 minutes of boobie shakin' and Christopher Lloyd embarassin' himself.

      "Wacky whoppers! That tulip is GROWING!" Acid. They're on acid. The brown kind.

      Mrs Lloyd uses her hands to make the tulip grow long and hard. Dunno what drug she's on, but you can put me, her and Toni in a room with a big bucket of it.

      The Oogs all get on the tulip's branch, the same one, 3 different times, because fuck if they were paying for a second cheeseball effect.

      Fish to the rescue! (There's a fish) Mrs Judge Doom gives him a big wet kiss on his fish lips, and he enjoys it and she moans in pleasure "Holy Mackerel!" (he's a fish)

      The fish is named RUFFY and he's ORANGE! I JUST GOT THAT

      Judge Judy Doom can also use her hands to make your erect stem go down. Nerd Boy says "Going down, anybody?!"

      Pants fall. Volcanoes erupt. Dianetics.

      at the completion of their quest, the Fellowship of the Magical Balloons near edge of Mount Shloopy's Birthday Party, or did you forget that part? The wind carries the balloons away oh FUCK YOU MOVIE don't start again! No, the balloons need to come back, so long as every minor in the sudience blows kisses at them, because "Love is the most pwerful thing in the world!" Thanks for teaching kids to ignore the Second Law of Thermodynamics, movie.

      Shit. I've been wrong all along about this movie! The bed-riddden, stroke-victim quadrapalegic pillow's name is ShlooFy. I apologize for any confusion.

      "They're magical balloons" says Tuffy, in the same sarcastic voice a kid would use to get you to eat poop

      Bender: "Aw, crap. Singin'." Balloons sing doo wop birthday song with CGI that costs less than my monthly car payment.

      Movie DOES start again! Characters all give their bday wishes to Shloofy the drooling lackapate. Zoey and Dolly throw pieces of their clothes at him, and they land on his face like fabric bukkake. Windy grins lewdly. All the boys run away when I bring my Milkshake Marvin to the yard, as he blows feathers and they land on his face like feathery bukkake. Windy grins lewdly. Toni "When did this become my life?" Braxton sneezes rose petals and they land on his face like rosy bukkake. Windy grins lewdly. Neuromuscular disease sufferer Bobby Wobbly blows bubbles and they land on his face like bubbly bukkake. Windy grins lewdly. WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE?! OH GOD PROFESSOR BROWN IS HERE WITH HIS HOT NOT-HISPANIC WIFE GIRL LADY, THEY'RE GOING TO BUKKAKE SALSA ON FLUFFY Oh whew they throw a sombrero. Notably, Windy does not grin lewdly at this. Money shot or nothing for Windy!

      "It's the Oogie-oogie-Oogielove Boogielove Oopy Doopy Loopy Dance!" they shriek.
      All of them. They were on all the drugs.

      The movie ends by giving itself a standing ovation. Not a joke. And credit cookies that are just shots from earlier and the Oogs break dancing. The kids today, they love the breakdancings!

      (Addenda: Imdb says the correct name is "Schluufy the Pillow")




      WARNING: Extremely large picutre of my gargoyle-like countenance follows!

      I could've made it smaller, but my patience with Photoshop is limited to "a few seconds." But if I'd presented them in the size Jessica sent them, they'd be affecting the Earth's tides. They're from our visit to Putnam last week, showing 2 of her 3 purchases:


      Well, that wasn't a good picture except of her Horrible Angel. It cost her $20--she thought it was a bargain. To me, it looks like Elmer Fudd finally was killed by a falling anvil, and them Bugs followed him to Heaven and dropped a second one on him, breaking his left wing. Or maybe Clarence from that endlessly repeated Xmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life Until You Die of Cirrhosis." Note the other thing! That I'm holding! Yeah, black on black that's also on black doesn't show up so good.


      And here, Jess looms Godzilla-like over the city. Her angel looks like a Cabbage Patch doll gone to seed. Cabbage seeds, I guess. But here we can make out another purchase, a black cat candle holder. It's doing "the Johnny Scoot," she says--her cat named Johnny drags his ass across the floor, in a manner that anyone who's had a dog will understand. She left the string from the price tag on his butt, as that's why she says this cat is scooting.
      "What else could he be doing?!" she laughed. I think they just soldered it on wrong. Turn the cat 45 degrees, and all but 1 paw is on the floor, the raised one ready to play or be licked clean.
      Unseen is her 3rd purchase, a shotglass from Disney World's Margaritaville Bar. I was surprised that I'd never mentioned to her before that I'm related to Jimmy Buffet, and how much she refused to believe me, with multiple "No WAY!"s (Even LTRotD may forget that he's my mother's cousin's brother-in-law)


      The FBI's attempt to decode the dirty, dirty lyrics in the 1963 song "Louie, Louie". It says a lot more about the FBI's mind than the near-gibberish lyrics.


      My monitor has jaundice.
      The background color has gone from white to yellow. So far, turning it off for 5 minutes makes it go away, but not tonight. It's not unusable. It's just that the 3 things I tend to look at after the monitor are my white keyboard, my white refrigerator, my very white cat, and it's like I'm snow blind.
      I have another monitor, right there in the living room. (I suppose I should rename that room after the only person living there, as "the Byron Room") When my computer died, I immedaitely went to Best Buy and bought another. I'd be slower buying a dead refrigerator. The receipt said that if it went on sale within 30 days, I could get the difference back. And 4 days later, it was not only 10% cheaper, but the newer deal came with a free monitor and printer that they gave me $35 to take away.
      I know I'll have to dismantle everything and put in a new monitor, I just don't feel like doing that right now. And it's time for dinner!
      ...And now it's back to normal. For now. Yeah, First World problem.
      How come no one talks about Second World problems? "I stood in line 6 hours at the GUM department store to buy a rain slicker with 6 months salary, and my Trabant wouldn't start! Then a giant poster of Krushchev fell on my head! And I'm complaining internally, because I don't need STAVAK knowing about it!"
      And now it's back to yellow. I said this would happen if they purged Beria!




      SHAWT from last week: Our least intelligent coworker called the store.
      CoWorker 1: I left my car keys there! Did anyone find them?
      CoW2: Where are you calling from?
      Cow1: Home! I can't find my keys! I left them there!
      CoW2: Your keys aren't here! You DROVE HOME in your CAR.
      (Repeat conversation for 5 minutes)
      This is the coworker who had her car repossesed. When she woke up the next morning, she panicked when it wasn't parked outside! No she didn't. She thought that she was so drunk that she parked it in the wrong spot, and forgot where.
      I remember when I bought new glasses when Sears had a great sale--free frames! They were only $110. I told her about it, and months later she said "I can't wait to get my new glasses!"
      "What? Mine took like 3 weeks to get."
      "Well, I had to pay for them first. They were $400."
      "WHAT?! Four times what mine cost?! Why?"
      "I wanted to get the designer frames! They're by that designer--" she paused. "I forget his name."
      Yeah, that's worth $400. Then she got wasted and lost them 6 months later.
      "I wish I could get new glasses!" I heard her say today. After she left, I said "If Y calls looking for her glasses, she left them in the bathroom."


      Kevin's wife's out of town doing a service dog placement, so I went over his place, with the widest-screen HDTV I've ever seen, we brought some beer and take out, and we not-watched the shit out of the Super Bowl! We watched some weird, arty and/or nerd movie instead.
      In some alternate reality. He caught a stomach bug at work, so, yeah, I don't need that with my murgh tikka. So we postponed till Wednesday, the strangest-spelled day of the week. At least we won't have to compete with all the people getting take out during the Stupid Bowl! Just find a place that doesn't have us wait with a skeleton crew because everyone worked Sunday.

      10 Failed Utopian Cities That Influenced the Future. Interesting, but the "influenced the Future" part gets stretched pretty tenuously by the end.


      Memo to myself: Next time I wake up and the heat's not on, don't go to work assuming that the neighbors will call it in. Because it might be only my heat that's out.
      I don't yet know if that's the case, as the guy comes out to check it tomorrow. Although it's dropped 6 degrees overall, it hasn't dropped any lower since I got home--brick buildings tend to lose heat slowly. And I'm in multiple layers of clothing (a sweatshirt over a sweatshirt over a tshirt, and doubled up on everything else) and own a sleeping bag. Bet I get some cats sharing their body heat tonight.


      The heating guy said he'd be here at 8AM. I woke up at 930 swaddled in my cocoon and thought "Should be warmer than this." I called the condo asses, and they said that "He may be on premises right now!" There's nobody in the parking lot, so, not unless he walked. I need this fixed today, as I don't think it's going to be fixed during tomorrow's foot-of-snowstorm.
      Then I saw the truck, and 25 minutes later, it left. The heat was still not on. Were they getting a part? 2 hours later, I thought "Where are they getting the part, Albany?!" (Albany NY is 2 hours away, which is a nearly incomprehensible distance to New Englanders. People living west of the Mississippi, it'd be like you saying "Are they getting the part on the Moon?!")
      So I called the chipper operator, so chipper and perky that I imagined her looking like this:
      "I'M PERKY, you FUCKS! TEE HEE!" Which isn't a bad thing, since this was my second call.
      She immediately called back, saying that the service tech had "replaced the zone valve and it started flowing," whatever that meant. Sounds perky--and sex-ay! (I don't get out much) Mike the tech would call me back. Currently, he was going to Enfield to fix a gas leak. Gas leak? Who cares about leaking gas! My tootsies are cold!
      Mike called back, confused as to why the replacement zone valve failed to work. "Just let me finish with this gas leak. I don't see anyone outside any more, I just need to go on the roof and check." Well...okay, if they're outside, there must be multiple cold tootsies. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the tootises of the me. I'm self-sacrificing like that.
      The sun moved to the west side of the windows, so it finally got warm enough for me to take a shower and not worry about ice crystals forming on me. Mike and his assistant Matt arrived, and were in that school of thought that, when entering my freakishly-decorated condo, just think "Don't look around you and then it's not real." Mike removed the thermostat from the wall, saying "Cloth wires! This must be from 1982, too! The zone valve was marked 1982." Yeah, but 1982 zone valves are classic, man! I was into them way before anyone else was. Got an '81 in my bookcase. May eBay it someday. They left to re-replace the valve.
      Of course, from his Dark Tower, Byron observed all, with a look of mild interest. DJ lasted long enough for Mike to say "Hi, kitty--oh." as he disappeared. Miss Killsy kept calm, as she was in another room. They all came out to mill about the room after the guys had left. Left for a long time. Is this fixable? They returned, DJ raced away. "Is the heat on?" Mike asked. I held my hand to the vent and--"Yeah, I think it is!" Mike touched it and said "It should be a lot warmer. That boiler's set to 190 degrees!" He reattached the thermostat, repeatedly saying that despite the predicted snow, he'd be working tomorrow, and if I have any problems...He said it enough that I think he thinks that there will be problems. He was elsewhere in the complex yesterday fixing the same thing. Great news, when the heat is back, and the guy who made it come back on is that confident about the complex's aging, 1982 infrastructure. Where were you in 1982? I was 23 and working in self-serv gas stations. A time so far in the past, we thought Return of the Jedi would be awesome, Smurfs and Troll Dolls fought for dominance, and Moon Unit Zappa was not yet a star shining in the heavens above.
      What if the reason the zone valve didn't work is because it's a Twilight zone valve? Will everyone else freeze to death, leaving me time to read all my books, but then my glasses break, and I can't see that the title of the book the Alien gave me was "To Serve Bill"? And then I'm on a plane with a wing seat, by which I mean a seat outside on the actual wing, and William Shatner's looking at me all weird, and the only other person on the wing is Talking Tina? "I'm Talking Tina, and I like talking through flights with strangers! Talking aaaall the way through the flight!" And then we have a long solemn discussion about the nature of fear, but it turns out the giant alien monster was actually a balloon? (No one but me remembers that episode) Maybe I just keep typing all stream of consciousness until YOUR glasses break?! IRONIC ENDING!
      Who cares, the heat is currently on, if just barely. I toughed it out like a Green Beret, no, a super green beret, with chilly extremities for 2 whole days! I can endure anything!
      Wait...does anyone else smell gas?



      There was a debate on evolution vs creationism, if "debate" is what you'd call a guy whose whole half of it was "BIBLES SAY SO!" between Bill "Nice Tie" Science Guy and a guy named, no shit, and by his parents, "Ken Ham." Imagine if was between Ken Ham and Bill Pork Chop! Imagine that because--okay, don't, it was just the first thing I thought of.
      22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution
      And that's as exactly as how you would think their messages were. If you've followed the "Creationism vs the Truth of Evolution" debate as long as I have, you simply wonder "How long before I roll my eyes at the invocation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?"
      Not long at all! Oddly, the last one is the first one that these willfully ignorant morons always use: "If we evolved from monkeys, WHY IS THERE STILL THE MONKEHS?!" And since the USA evolved from England, why are there still English people? OK, more to the point, humans didn't evolve from monkeys, the evolutionary lines diverged 10 million years ago, so WHY, if we evolved from Australopithecines, why are there still Australopithecenes around?!? Wait, what, they're aren't? Umm..."Are you SCARED of a Divine Creator?" Are you that scared of there not being one? "Is it completely illogical that the Earth was created mature? Trees with rings, Adam created as an adult?" What? That's your brilliant question? Is it completely illogical that you mama suckled you with antifreeze? Tree rings? So, the world was created 50 years ago? Is it not logical that the entire Universe was spawned when you were, you egotist that All Creation was for? I mean, it's not like you remember it before you were born, so it must've been made for you, just you!
      "How do you explain a sunset if there is No God?" Dunno, Copper! Maybe--Earth's ORBIT? How do you explain HEMORRHOIDS and BIRTH DEFECTS and RELIGIOUS WARS without GOURD? Did God also make Chex Mix?
      You can read the rest, and get all mad at the stupidity yourself. They repeat the same "unanswerable" questions--Second Law, Lucy, apparently the Big Bang is the new thing they can't believe in because it ain't in the Magic Book. Hey, do you drive a car to work, or walk alongside your camel? I read your magic book, and there's no "internal combustion engine" in there, so I guess Science is wrong about that, too.
      sigh Yes, there are multiple "GOTCHA!" questions about evolution--or even all of science--being "ONLY THEORIES!" Know what else is a Theory? The Theory of Gravity! Why do you guys always leave that one off? Let me hold this giant cinderblock--ugh, it's heavy--right over your foot, and just before I drop it, you pray gravity away really hard? 1--2--3--
      Huh! Possibly not so theoretical to you now. Don't worry! I'm totally praying for an ambulance with a podiatrist onboard!
      Unless you're a Christain Scientist, because then that ain't ever healing right. Just praying. I'm not wasting cell phone minutes on your crushed foot!
      Hey, Bible literalist Ken Ham, did you know that the one thing the Bbile hates more than anything is--HAM?! WHOA bet I BLEW YOUR MIND THERE, KEN PORK PRODUCT


      ...As long as it's not KEN HAM FLAVORED! eww gross

      Speaking of which, Kirk says of my rant yesterday "For a more measured but less entertaining list of those 'Questions by Creationists' making the rounds and some thoughtful responses, see this Slate piece" by Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer. Very reasonable answers, but only one funny one:

      27 Weird And Creepy Vintage Valentine�s Day Cards




      Tuesday is errand running day. I put air in my tire, just one tire, to see if it's leaking and the reason why the Tire Air Pressure Monitor keeps coming on (and it is; time to buy some tire sealant, as that's cheaper than buying a tire). Although when I went in to the store to ask them to turn the air on, I bought a Lotto ticket. If I win the $3.2M jackpot, I can afford like six tires!
      I went to Dollar Tree and boy howdy, were they all "BOY HOWDY!" chipper. The manager was running a register, and enthusing everyone with "Did you order this BEAUTIFUL WEATHER?!" Actually, having just put air in a tire when it's 15 degrees out in 20MPH wind gusts, it's not that beautiful. He twice told me about the velvet roses, "So you don't get in trouble this week!" Yeah, nothing melts a lady's heart like something from the dollar store. I said "The closest thing I have to a girlfriend is a cat, and she'd prefer catnip!" As soon as I entered the store, I noticed a pair of guys loitering by the front, and my Retail Sense tingled "District Supervisor and his boss at Corporate." A Dollar General is being built just up the road, thus the puppy-like enthusiasm from the workers. Dollar General seems like a Dollar Tree, except with its Chinese-made crap sometimes more than a dollar in price. I suppose that a General outranks a Tree, but working there would be one long stream of customers shrieking "TWO dollars?! But your name has DOLLAR in it!" And, yes, if my worst fears over the holidays were correct and I lost my likker store job, I was planning on applying for a job there. Hopefully at no lower a position than a Dollar Second Lieutenant.
      I bought a ceramic dog bowl at the grocery store. Because the old plastic food bowl that's become part of Byron's self-imposed exile is giving him feline acne, and also his siblings who steal his food. Taking away the old one, a gift from my Mom to her grandchild-cats, I saw that it was not only made in China, but of melamine. That thing the Chinese put in pet food 7 years ago that poisoned thousands of pets? A quick check told me that the melamine in bowls only gets into food in very small amounts...but not small enough to scab up Byron's chin. Goodbye, bowl. The ceramic bowl is, of course, made in China, so I guess I should make sure it's not painted with lead.

      Comics-mocking site Gone and Forgotten is back again. Good site name, as he posts fervently for 2 months, then he's gone and the site gets forgotten for another 6 months, before he starts the cycle again.
      Still funny, even with that eye-strainingly painful white-text-on-black-background choice. And occasionally serious; this time "Hansi the Girl Who Loved the Swastika" gets a second and more deliberate analysis. As he points out, it's probably one of the few comics involving whole-heartedly obeying the Nazis that makes the villains not the Nazis, but the Godless Commie Russkies. And a Christian-themed comic aimed at children with threatened and/or real rape. How much? A lot. But the real shocker comes when Hansi comes to America and sees a horror beyond the bland non-horrors of Nazism, or the rapey Russians--hippies! Mr. Comic Book Drawing Christian Guy had some issues.

      Secret Atheist Back-up Singer, a backstage look at the Christian Contemporary Music scene. "[T]here�s such a thing as �Christian sexy� in the general look required by everyone hired to work onstage with a CCM singer/band. There�s a quality to someone�s face that classifies them as �probably Christian� (typically pale perfectly clear skin, wide eyes, button noses, stick figured) without being sexy (big lips, big boobs, big ass, though exceptions are made for gospel). Basically the goal is to have a really pretty face that any guy would want to fuck, but innocent-looking enough that nobody can accuse you of flirting."

      Is this spam? I'm not sure. It's from FBI SPECIAL AGENT and it's "Attention: Beneficiary."

      HOLY SHIT! $75Usd and my MTCN Number is a small price to pay before being arrested under the Anti-crimes laws that are followed to the core by the World Court of USA,Germany,Benin and Nigeria and avoid riot of the law on me and my entire family! Wait, what's an MTCN? "Many Targets Collect from Nigerians"? I'll bet it does! THANKS FOR FREE BENIN MONEY THE SOON IS COMING, GARRY (the extra "R" in "Garry" stands for "Really Believable"!)


      Bought some Fix-A-Flat to fix the flattening tire. Discovered that they've changed its design. It now involves a tube and a screw top now, when it used to just be like a can of whipped cream held against the tire valve. Also, it now has the bonus of oozing nasty white chemical foam over the hands when unscrewed, like tire bukkake.
      Tried doing my taxes again. Remember my Scrooge-McDuck-like lottery winnings of $1986? That had its own W2? Did you know that you can get halfway through your return, only to discover that it's a W2G ( for Gambling)? Of course not! It doesn't say that on the W2. The government wants that to be a special surprise, just like winning it! And I also discovered that the freefile service I was using won't let me start over, and just kept throwing me back into the same halfway point. So I tried another freefile, which gave me an unreadable Captcha and wouldn't let me reload it, but then went right to the sign-on screen without it, which...doesn't make me confident about their security. So I gave up, and tackled the real problem.
      Fucking monitor! Going all yellow, or worse, flickering inbetween yellow and white and every shade inbetween. That's more irritating than it sounds. It's like intently watching egg yolks being mixed into the whites, randomly and constantly and then back again within the same seconds, like staring at an eggbeater that shuffles backwards in time. Since I prefer my eggs scrambled, and not all timey-wimey...Yes, time to swap out the monitor.
      I have a spare. I just didn't want to do it, with all the crap on it already, or taped to its sides. But I did, and achieved what I consider a True Win: Didn't break nuthin. And WOW, is it bright! I also found stuff behind there that I have yet to catalog. And covered myself in a decade's worth of dust.
      Then I downloaded some iTunes--apparently, 15,500 isn't enough for me--including one I was surprised to find not only there, but on YouTube.


      And of course, iTunes gave me the "SURE you paid us for it. We just didn't bother to download it so you can hear what you paid for!" finger. Then I watched the critically- acclaimed "All is Lost," aka "Robert Redford Lost at Sea," which is amazing for the first hour. Then, just as I jokingly thought, "What a bad week this guy's having! What's next, a giant ship misses his life raft and then sharks attack, ha ha!" a giant ship etc etc. Oh, sorry, meant to say "SPOILER!!" there.


      Another big snow storm, so of course everything was closed, even gas stations right by the highway. I know this because, of course, the liquor store was open.
      After calling to make sure that they were open--I live 18 miles away--I ventured out, leaving twice as much time as usual, and getting there right on time. Would've been early if not for the idiots who think that snow means that a 2 lane road is now somewhere between 1 and 3 lanes wide. There was 6 inches on the utterly unplowed roads when I left home, 8 inches when I got to work. As it was snowing 2 inches an hour, and visibility was about 20 feet.
      I think we did enough business to make money, after the payroll and other expenses, by which we may've made $200 or so in 11 hours. I was closing for once, as the usual closer was on vacation. He does things half-assed, but that's better than no-assed, yes? Didn't look like the cooler had been touched since I left 3 days prior. I know that they think we're not making money when we're not open, despite the fact that during snowstorms, we can lose money by being open. But I guess "not having things on the shelf to sell that we actually have but no one put them there to sell" is also a way to make money. "On Bizarro World, every shelf am not stocked! Please don't buy our nothing and leave shelf more bare!"
      We closed 2 hours early, when almost all of our customers were driving some form of snowplow. (The others were driving a car piloted by a moron) Once on the main secondary road, it was so well plowed that it was just wet! And then I did a 90 degree turn onto the I-291 ramp, and whump there was a 2 foot high, 6 foot wide bank of snow that a town plow had left on the state road. After 5 minutes of rocking back and forth and going nowhere--not helped by the fact that the anti-skid technology that was the reason I bought the damn Fit wouldn't turn off (I've never had to--you don't press the button, turns out you have to hold it down till it pings), a landscaper's snowplow came up, plowed behind me, and in another minute of reverse-drive-reverse-drive, I was on my way.

      Since there was a request for a Byron update in the Comments, here's an update about Byron, by request. "This one's goin' out to you, in Pine Grove! Right after we play a hit by Klaus Nomi!"
      I tried Feliway spray on a towel, placed on his Tower of Solitude. Of course, he hated it. "You defile my sanctum sanctorum THUS? I shall sit on it never! I shall first waste away in wilderness of the bookcase, in the bitter wind blown across the steppes of the stereo speaker! How DARE you--huh, okay, climb on here and--ooh, nice soft towel! You have broken my resistance down after my long 15 minutes of suffering! zzzz..."
      Lo, but the towel was but a towel of hand! And it did fall, many times, from his Tower of Wood. T'was but a Towel of Hand, so small it was, and fell through the slats of his wooden tower. He quickly got used to me putting it back; I got it there originally only because he'd knocked his tower over, and I put it on when he wasn't on it anyway. Now, I'd hold it up, then unroll it as he stepped lightly over it, purring all the time.
      And I did my best to fix the wobbling tower with an empty box of Carlo Rossi of Modesto, beloved Saint of the Elder Drunks, because shit, no one under retirement age drinks cheap-ass fart-wine from gallon jugs. And it fit, exactly did it fit at the bottom of the Tower, just as the LARD GOURD prophesied!
      His screechings and growlings lessened at his brethren. Or just his sistren; he still got growly with his most devoted acolyte DJ, just less so. So I shooed him off and put a Towel of the Bath, anointed with the sacred Feliway Spray, and he was displeased by this offering. "NEVER shall paws as Awesome as mine tread upon such a foul garment!" he declaimed, for about 20 minutes and then he thought, "Ooh, nice soft towel, big and warm! Saint Simeon Stylites, eat your heart out!"
      And there we are. I've made his hermitage more comfortable and hermity, but what can I do? I dealt with the deafness, I dealt with his destructiveness, I'll deal with his life as a pillar hermit. Most owners would have dumped him at the pro-kill shelter as soon as they discovered he was deaf. This is his home, he is my friend, he is my first son. If this is what he wants, I'm only going to make it easier for him.



      Hey, snowstorms?
      BASTA, you bastards! Give it a rest until next winter!


      21 Jokes Only History Nerds Will Understand, if by "jokes" you mean "eye-rolling puns".


      A customer buying lottery tickets made the usual whine about how "I never win anything, no matter how many I buy!" Well, simple solution to that problem: don't buy any tickets. Use your dollars as toilet paper. You still won't win anything, but at least you'll save on Charmin. So I said the thing I sometimes say, "You need to talk to the governor about that!" And you know how sometimes the absolute worst innocent question you can ask someone is "How are you?" Because then they tell you. And tell you for 5 minutes...
      "I did call the Governor," she said, "first Weicker, then Rell," [those playing at home: there's about 25 years seperating the 2] "and the guy just said 'You'll win next time!' Next time! NEXT time!" And then she launched into her little rant, about how she hopes she wins so that "I can leave this state! Where they monkey with our gun laws [bear in mind, Sandy Hook is in CT, and that was just a year ago], tax us up the ass, and gas costs more than in New Jersey!" My "fake smile for assholes" face had frozen at this point, and began to transition to my "What excuse can I find to get away from this nutjob?" face. "What do they do with our money?! Send it to New Haven and Bridgeport [she meant "poor nigger towns"] and TORRINGTON!" The wha'? Torrington, is the state propping up the Warner Theatre? Live arts is--wait, is it all gay faggy homo? Even "School House Rock Live"? "And that bus thing to New Britain! [minorities live there, awful brown ones--but she probably still hated it when it was CT's home to Polish immigrants] Bus...rail? Bus...rail? [low brow furrows in "thought"] BUS RAIL! Bus rail from New Britain to Hartford! Who goes to HARTFORD? Well, I suppose they do, when they want to visit someone in jail."
      That's what sucks about retail. You can't say "Fuck off, you inbred racist libertardian shithead!" and still have a job. But then she finally--her diatribe lasted 5 interminable minutes--took her worthless tickets that do nothing but fund a state she hates to live in, and walked away. On her knuckles.
      I hope she wins the jackpot! And dances in the street, and then slips on her gun and throws herself under the Bus Rail.


      This morning, iTunes played a bit of Monty Python, from the Hollywood Bowl concert of 1978:      Just in time to be too late for President's Day, Tricky Dick Nixon in comic books.

      Even too later than that, 1966 Batman Valentines You Have To See To Believe. They look like some crappy, aging comic book artist from the early 1940s did them as quickly as possible after the bubble gum company told him "We need these TOMORROW!" But he sure did a dedicated job of painting stripes on Zelda the Great in bondage, especially in the crotchal area. Only other woman: frozen in a block of ice while the mad Mr Freeze looks in utter delight at her crotch. But don't worry--all the other valentines aren't as normal.

      Dumb Starbucks and the Art of the Hoax


      Hey, Stupidest Things Ever Said calendar, was "DOD!" really the word you were going for there? Maybe you should just add that to next year's calendar.

      When I heard that they were making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, my reaction was "Why?" My comic book buying days are close to 25 years gone by, but I may possibly own one with them bought from the quarter bin. Of course, I also said "Why?" when the Howard the Duck movie was announced, so what do I know?
      I didn't know that the series had been rebooted. And lasted a whole 2 years before vanishing, but that was long enough to inspire a movie. With a talking raccoon and his pet walking tree. I hope that the movie treats such a far-reaching concept with the respect it deserves.


      ...And if it treats it like that, yes, this could be an entertaining movie! Not that I am even remotely chuffed that Gamora + Drax the Destroyer = THANOS.

      I checked the time only 5 minutes into the movie Spring Breakers, which is the shortest amount of time ever for me. "I wonder if there'll be a movie so bad that I just leave the timer on!" I thought, then turned the timer back on at the 10 minute mark. My goal was to last to the 30 minute mark, but I gave up at 25. I'd watched the same 2.5 minutes ten times. Maybe it got better after that, because it couldn't get any worse, except of course it could. If the 3 tall blond hawt princesses had names, I never heard even one. The short hawt brunette was the Christian conscience of the group. Her name was repeated every time someone spoke to her, and her name was "Faith." WOW THE FILMMAKER JUST BLOWED YOUR MIND WITH THAT SUPA-DUPA "IRONIC" OBVIOUSNESS, DIDNT HE. I'm sure it blew his own brain mind!
      It was like an endless loop of "MTV Spring Break" which I think was a show, can't verify that as I never watched a bunch of obviously "casted for HAWTness" babes scream "WHOO!" while beer was poured on their tits by HAWT guys. I find it interesting that movies that assume that if I don't have the patience for a shot that lasts longer than 4 seconds think that I have the patience to wait over half an hour for anything resembling a "story" or "actual acting" to never appear.
      Also, for a movie with endless pot smoking, maybe some technical advisor should have told them not to instantly blow the smoke out, every single time. Was the technical advisor Bill "Don't Inhale" Clinton?

      Interestingly--or at least, more interesting than Spring Wind-Breakers, two sites today also mentioned the Greatest Cinematic Achievement of Our Age, Howard the Duck!
      5 Famous Filmmakers Whose Dream Projects Were Disasters. I've seen 4 of the 5--I don't think Pirates is available, and I think I can live that loss. Although I think "3 failed attempts at painfully slogging though Battlefield Earth" should count as "actually watching it." Hey, you try watching it, Spring Breaker!
      And GAF has the Official Comic Book Adaptation. In it he says, "Lucas wanted to see a live action man-duck walk the silver screen � as have we all since the dawn on mankind - and what he got instead was something that looked like a wizard�s wet beard eating a block of cheese." Other references to the live-action Howard the Fucked-Up Costume are "something like a McDonald�s fish sandwich turned inside out and moved like a diminutive epileptic who was cursed by a wizard. Which is not even to mention the eyes, the eyes on that robot duck puppet looked like weary testicles lost forever in a fog of velvet toenails" and a "walking rubber glove orgy."
      Ominous note to end on: It debuted exactly 28 years to the day before Guardians will be released! Or am I confusing "ominous" with "random coincidence" again?





      I read an article today that was a relief--Keno most likely won't come to Connecticut. I have to deal with gambling addicts every work day, and I don't need another stupid money-sucker game wasting my time from things that make us more than 2.5 cents per dollar. Because the addicts, holy shit, do they throw their money away. One would think that games like Powerball and MegaMillions would be the main moneymakers (if 2.5 cents is considered "money" for the store), where an investment of a dollar can lead to multimillions. But the real junkies play the daily numbers. "Oh boy, I just won $41.50! And it only cost me $415.00 to win it!"
      I don't understand the thrill, even as a Lotto thousandaire. Is there a thrill in losing? Even the game with the best odds, Play 3, is 1 in a thousand. Meaning, if you played it with a thousand different numbers, you'd win $41.50.
      The article is short, although CT-centric, even if it's funny and quotes the bible just before referring to the Hulk. Keno Induces Democratic Memory Failure:      Mr McEnroe's been calling keno "an especially predatory and intentionally addictive form of legalized gambling" every time he's brought it up, but without explaining why. So I Googled it. Hey, turns out Massachusetts has keno!
      Madre de Calabaza! The maximum prize is (puts pinky to lip) one million dollars, which is the minimum Lotto prize, and nobody plays that! (Except me) Even though the odds of winning Lotto are "only" 1 in 7.1 million. The odds of winning a million in keno?
      One in 478,261,833..
      That is a slightly higher number than the population of Massachusetts.
      In fact, my math is terrible, but it looks like that if every man, woman, and baby in Mass each bought 70 keno tickets with completely different numbers (which is logistically impossible), one of them might win a million. While giving Mass $462,000,000.
      Those odds of winning that million--really, $650,000 after taxes--are less likely than being struck by lightning 45 times in a row, while being struck by a meteorite, while also being struck by an asteroid, while also being struck by a comet with the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile on top of it, while having sex on a submarine with an echidna, when you've never even thought about having sex with an echidna, and that's counting your weirdly attractive friend who goes to Comicon dressed as "Sexy Sonic on a Submarine."
      Everyone, lottery retailer and lottery customer, got mad when CT announced that the Daily Addictive Numbers would now be drawn twice daily. On our end, groan, now we have to waste twice as much time making half a nickel, and on the customer end, now they "had" to pay twice as much to play the same losing numbers a day, or 14 times a week instead of 7. What if they missed out on that sweet, sweet prize of $333.50?! That's the type of money Republican presidential candidates open Cayman Islands bank accounts for! So, are the drawings for keno more often than every 12 hours? Yes, they're every four
      FUCKING MINUTES's the state lottery version of slot machines. Or the state version of those lab rat cages with the "pull this lever, maybe you'll get a dose of heroin. You didn't? Well, then just keep pulling!"



      If you're looking for tales of excitement and ecstasy, pleasure and pain, dash and derring-do, whatever "derring-do" is, kinda sounds like a dog shitting after eating herring, here it is, right in front of you!
      In your bookmarks, near the top of your screen. If you came looking for tales of a guy buying groceries, look no further!
      Unless you want interesting tales about grocery shopping. I bought some store-made blueberry bagels.
      Then I went to the consignment store and bought some CDs and a tube sock. The CDs were by Oysten Sevag ($1, New Age, although as it was 20 years old, I guess it's more like Middle Age), Arvo Part ($1, modern classical), and Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 ($3, anime soundtrack), not a combo most people would choose. The tube sock was filled with somebody's foot catnip, to benefit Kitty Angels--wait, wasn't that who I adopted DJ from? (15 minutes of digging through my old posts later) Maybe. It was via, so maybe them. The first link googled was to the shelter Jess was "fired" from, so hopefully my $3 went to a more local one.
      Then, it was time for my car. I ramped it over a flaming van full of vicious druglords, using the Uzi in my free hand to shoot down a Soviet helicopter gunship so that it landed on top of the terrorist boss, ending his plan to bring America to its knees by making the corn syrup in every soda pop taste like mustard. He somehow survived, stumbling towards me on fire, carrying a bazooka and screaming "YOU LOSE, SPLUUUUT!" and I said "Not this time, flamer!" and threw a 3-liter bottle of store-brand Taysts-Cheep Diet Cola at him, knocking him down a manhole that was curiously over an abandoned warehouse. "Revenge," I quipped, "is a dish best served cold, in a glass over ice, with diabetes!" "AHH!" he unimaginatively screamed as he fell both through the manhole and through the warehouse's metal scaffolding, "You FOOL! Do you not SEE?! Your brake light's out."
      "Huh, what?" I quipped, while slowly walking towards an explosion, just for a change of pace. "Cops will use that for an excuse to pull me over." I de-ramped my car back to the road (it was still spinning in midair, due to a glitch in the CGI) and went to Auto Zone and bought a bulb. Since I live on the edge of a violent volcano of danger, in fact that's my middle name (not "Danger," I mean "The"), I didn't replace it yet. My cunning plan is to leave it on the passenger seat with the receipt, and if I get pulled over, hold it up and say "I haven't had time yet to replace it, officer. Too busy to find the time in this crazy modern world of car ramping." The cop will nod and let me go, because he's a loose cannon who doesn't play by the rules! Then, I'll shoot him with my loose cannon. Really need to get that trailer hitch fixed next.
      Once home, I threw the catnip sock on the floor. DJ said "NEW BEST FRIEND AND WORST ENEMY!" and wrestled with it for 20 minutes. When he calmed down, he laid on top of it with his whole body rather then let Killsy even see what it was. After her inevitable smackdown of him, they wouldn't let either of them get too close to it. So I took it to Byron, in my latest hope to get him back among the family. Of course, he'd fight & bite it and knock it off his perch after seconds. He did that and I put it back, over and over, for 10 straight minutes. Then I left the room. Will he follow it to the floor when he next knocks it down?
      So it was KK's turn next, and she was 35% wrestle and 65% snuggle with it. Now, 5 hours later, the sock sits ignored. Which I'm sure will last until around 3 or 4 AM.
      Then I took several bites of my blueberry bagel and I discovered that apparently Stop&Shop bakers think "blueberry" and "caraway seed" are the same thing. Much in the same way that "chocolate" and "a piece of pointy cactus" taste the same.
      That bitter taste in my mouth, and those bitter words--"You Lose, Splut!"--the bastard had replaced my bagels in mid-ramp! "NOOOO!" I screamed, except it came out as "mmrrph" because of all the bagel in my mouth. "I'll get you in the sequel, evil terrorist boss Brad! ...Brad? Was his name Brad? Or maybe Chad? Whevs, he's dead. Until the sequel, anyway."

      How did the universe begin? Hot Big Bang or slow thaw? "In that view, the universe always existed and its earliest state was virtually static, with the Big Bang stretching over an infinitely long time in the past. The scientist from the Institute for Theoretical Physics assumes that the earliest "events" that are indirectly observable today came to pass 50 trillion years ago, and not in the billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang."

      How did they end? The Last of Us: True tales of how various species went extinct. Spoiler: largely because humans are fucking stupid.


      I was going to write about my endlessly frustrating attempts to efile my taxes this year--I only succeeded on attempt number five--when I got an email titled "Rejection notification for your 2013 electronically filed tax return".
      This how filing my taxes this year has felt:


      ...Although I think I'll see that movie anyway. And pretend it's happening to efile tax services.


      Back in the Lechmere days I bought a lot of CDs, given that I ran the music/video department and had a heads-up on deals that could be crazy awesome. "Buy a $7.99 CD, get one FREE!" became "Buy one, get TWO free!" With our 10% employee discount on top of that. I was paying less than they cost, which is another reason the Marketing Geniuses of Internationally Known Incompetent Fuckwads Montgomery Wards are where they are today! In the dustbin of history.
      One I got was "Directors Dance Cuts," dance club versions of the themes from 70s/80s movies. Some of these post-disco remakes made sense, like the themes from "Chariots of Fire," or "The Exorcist," or "Blade Runner," or "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence"--okay, not a single one of them made any sense.
      My favorite "um, why is this?" one was the club version of the theme from "Das Boot." That WWII movie about a doomed German uboat. Sadly, the song was not titled "Shake Your Das Bootie."







      CT liquor stores can be open from 8AM to 9PM, but they aren't required to. Mine is the only one in town to open at 8, getting the shaky-handed drunks needing today's liquid breakfast. Every other store opens between 830 and 11. We lock the doors at 5 of 9. Legally, customers have to be rung up and out the door by 8:59:59, so that's our 5 minute safety net. The store that opens at 11 is responsible for this. They never close at 9. They used to stay open until 9:10/15, until the store across the street turned them in to the liquor commission. They got a big fine and had to close for a day. That puts all stores in the immediate area under the commission's microscope. Shit, we're open 12 hours 55 minutes, that's not long enough? Maybe leave your house 5 minutes earlier, ever think of that? If jerks are banging on the door at 8:57 screaming "WHY YOU CLOSED IT'S NOT 9 O'CLOCK!" we say Yes, but we're closed, and also, fuck off. And direct them to our competition, who still don't close at 9. Just not as blatantly late.
      We did that Saturday, and our last not-customer raced off. And as I drove past that store, they were parked in the fire lane. And a cop car pulled up behind them and turned on its lights. Bet they learned to leave the house a little earlier that night! (And that store closed at exactly 9 for once)

      The power company needed to turn off power to our store after closing, because Library. No, I don't get it either, although we're on the same part of the grid. Why tonight? Turn off the power, there goes the heat, and tonight, it'll hit zero degrees. This couldn't wait, say, a month? So there will be no heat for about 10 hours, until DT stumbles in.
      It was probably best that it happened on my shift, as it didn't occur to anybody else that the 2 coldest parts of the store are off of the store's heating, and since they're the rooms with all the plumbing...yeah, frozen pipes can burst. I convinced the owner to turn the thermostat up, and I propped the doors to the bathroom and back room open (with hammers! One uses the tools one has), so hopefully the store doesn't lose too much heat overnight. Glad I'm not working the next 2 days, as using the bathroom might be impossible once it explodes and becomes a venue for the Ice Capades.
      I wish I had a camera, because the way one turns the entire electricity off is a big metal box with a giant lever marked "ON" and "OFF", and it looks like something made by Acme in a Roadrunner cartoon. I wrenched the lever down, and the lights went out. I'm glad they did, because otherwise I would've been standing under the lights wondering why it didn't work, and then the whole roof would fall on my head, just before I held up a tiny umbrella and a sign that says "help!"
      "MEEP MEEP!"



      We have a new hire working when there are holes in the schedule. His day job pays $70K, so why does he need a second job? Probably supporting his divorced parents, a mom he lives with and works in a bagel shop, and a dad who was unemployed for years, as he was that alcoholic (both mom & dad are among our first customers every 8AM, and dad turns up all day long. Also, mom is fucking a coworker 30 years younger than her, and 30 years ago she was his babysitter, because WHAT A NORMAL FAMILY).
      I never had a problem with him, but I'm never standing behind the register bullshitting like it seems every other "worker's" job is. Y. began making accusations about him, but that's what she does: she's such a shitty worker that it's easier for her to make other people look bad than make herself look good. And these were some harsh accusations. I waved them off. But I guess "It takes one to know one."
      Then money started going away when he worked. $20 one day, $80 on Sunday, $180 the next Saturday...He gets illegally paid under the table, because I work for a business that thinks actions have no consequences, and you just saw where this is going, I'll bet. Then he started borrowing money, $20 until his next paycheck, another $20 until he sells his old tablet, $100 from the Owner until his tax refund comes in--he asked me for $5 "for cigarettes," and I wouldn't lend my coworkers a dirty peanut I found under a wine rack. OK, I would lend that, because with some people, "lend" is the same as "GIFT," and I wouldn't want that peanut back.
      And of course, after my 2 days off in a row, the guy's been fired. Y had said that he asked her about getting on methadone--like she's been on forever--for his prescription drug habit, which is good, as he's trying to get help. Well, he also wanted help from her a few days later, when he repeatedly texted her looking for a bundle. Of heroin. Apparently that's 10 packets. I'm thinking that's a lot of heroin, even if a packet is a dose. And apparently there are bulk discounts! Only $5 each when bought in the bundle pack at Sam's Club. So that's why he wanted me to lend him $5...
      And he hadn't learned the error of his ways when he asked about methadone. He got arrested with 2 packets, in a car with fake registration and fake insurance (it's his dad's, who has had so many DUIs that they took away his license, but not his car), and if he gets into a clinic, it looks like he's an addict, and not a dealer. Okay, let's face it, he didn't get arrested because HE'S WHITE. Black with the same situation, his nigger ass is in JAIL for 20 YEARS.
      The Owner fired him without saying "you're fired, junkie" on some vague reason, and thus let all the money he begged, borrowed, stole go with him. Glad I kept my $5!
      WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THIS STORE? DT: heroin addict on methadone, still works there. Y: heroin addict on methadone, still works there. Chris: Oxy addict, stole, gone. Gina: Oxy/crack addict, stole, gone. Dave: binge-drinking alky, stole, gone. Mike: heroin addict, shot up in the bathroom, stole, gone, worked at the same bagel place the new guy's mom did, while DT made excuses for him, even as money disappeared. Now it's this guy. Stole, gone, gone with the junkie wind.
      Am I missing anyone? I'm probably missing some addict and/or thief in there.
      A fish rots from its head, they say. And DT is the store's head.
      Who will they hire next?
      "Oh, you worked in Hollywood?!"
      "Yes, I was a...TV technical advisor."
      "Really! Which show?"
      "Breaking Bad. Can you loan me some Sudafed?"


      I decided to buy a couple of cheap nips at the store (if your nomenclature is different, a nip is 2 shots). One was apple flavored, the other sriracha. I like apples. I like hot chili sauce. And they were As Advertised. One tasted like apple, the other OH FUCKING GOURD JESUS. Just because I like hot sauce doesn't mean I chug it straight from the bottle!
      I let my curiousity get the better of me. I should've stayed with the first thing I said when I was told we had them: "Imagine throwing that up."


      A woman wore a religious shirt about a women/girls camp, proclaiming her love of about 40 nouns, such as "Unity Faith Solidarity Compassion okay, that's as far as I want to remember." Except, one that is the only reason I remember it at all:
      I'll guess that they proudly proclaim "Speaking in Tongues," and not the type of tongues that would be in a women/girls camp porno.
      As if that's better. What, no "snake handling"?


      My Mom's 81st birthday! We had brunch at the super-expensive restaurant Mill on the River at an early hour, thanks to daylight savings. There were 17 of us, counting a couple of niece's boyfriends and a nephew's fiancee. Eleven sat at one table, all the under 29s plus 2 adults, at a table that had only 10 place settings. The other six--me, Mom, my sisters, the only cool brother-in-law--sat at the other. Imagine having a birthday party where 2/3s of the participants can't be bothered to sit at the table of, and then ignore, the person the party's for. Who's 81.
      Since occasionally family members find this page, I'll stop talking about my opinions of some of them now.
      At least awesome niece Cassie waved at me from time to time from the Cool Kids' table, and later told me that she's going to the local Con dressed as Harley Quinn. And at the end her mom, awesome sister Pat, told me that I was the inspiration for it all, when I asked her a month ago if we were having a birthday party for Mom. No one else, I guess, even remembered her birthday. Given how dismissive of her the party turned out, I'm not sure how I feel about that.
      Okay, I'm kidding! I know how I feel about that. And of 2/3s of them.


      Continents roam, people come and go


      Hey guess what!


      If you rolled your eyes and said "You met the same person and did the same thing at the only other place you go to" you're wrong! I also now have a camera!
      Her old camera, a Canon PowerShot. I only learned the basics, as there was no manual (I'm sure I can download one). It's a little smaller than my 13 year old Kodak, but weighs more. And has a memory card, which my computer immediately recognized and Apple refused to let me use. After 45 minutes of trying to figure out why iCloud Photo wouldn't "enable," I put it in again and Windows opened it right up.
      Brunch at the Crack Bar in Sturbridge, where the serious conversations were held. Her daughter has a boyfriend that--well, to use several of Jess's adjectives at once, her parents consider him a "rude, arrogant, condescending narcissist." "She's dating her father" Jess said, meaning her bio dad. The guy I helped get her away from. She and her husband are going to Have A Talk with both of them tonight. I don't envy either Jacques or Jerk. If her mellow stepdad Ron is that pissed off...well, her mom has the nickname "Mrs Furious".
      My lucky day! I found a half dollar in the parking lot! Except it was half of a dollar bill, ripped.
      Then junk shopping. The first place we went had "OPEN" flags flying in front, although it was closed. Which bothered us because we couldn't meet


      This cutie! Standing by the front door, scanning the parking lot for her human and rubbing her cheeks on the glass. There are deep woods right behind the old building, so there may be mice. We'd take her home at night if she was our shop cat, but mice come out when the people are gone, so maybe that's why she was there by herself. But 2 days is a long time to leave a cat alone.
      The Open flags were for a new store above it, and it turned out to be our old favorite that closed over the summer. They had to close because the utilities were more than the rent they were bringing in, and after spending $1500 to upgrade the heating system, the town told them they weren't up to code. So they had to re-upgrade--at a cost of $15,000. She sure wasn't spending any money on utilities now; her single space heater left it colder than it was outside. Jess bought a cat figure and a Disneyana rustbucket (a rusty beach pail and shovel with Donald Duck on it. Probably not even worth the half-off price she paid for it of $9.50, but she loves things that are unloved. Like feral cats). I offered to pay the 50 cents with my half-price ripped dollar. She would buy many other small, cheap things that day, all of which were in those same 2 categories of Cat and Disney.
      I'm not sure how many stores we went to after that--3 more, I think? No, 4. She was looking for an indoor flea market she'd been in, but never driven to. "It's near Steaming Tenders," she said. "WTF is that?" I asked. "A restaraunt with a steam train theme." I said, "When I hear 'steamer,' I think of what people say after walking their dogs in the winter. 'Yeah, he left a really big steamer! Too tender though; we should give him more fiber!'" and I think I guaranteed Jess will never eat there.
      We went to a garage place that's always dirty and still very garage-smelling, and a really big place I've never been in. First things seen when walking in: pictures of steam trains. "Those are some really big steamers!" and that became the theme for the day. We saw steam trains everywhere. Including this one:


      Jess: "Now that's my idea of a guy with a big steamer!" Bill: "Yeah, just look at the size of that guy's Ding Dong!" A classy couple, we.
      We went through a time tunnel to Palmer, MA. Every building looked like it was 1953, if one ignored the CVS. Loved the old signage on buildings still in use, like the bowling alley and the furniture store. We went to the Goodwill and she bought a Mickey & Minnie thing and what I very accurately described as "Santa humping a manatee." She loves manatees, just not as literally as the Santa did.
      We eventually found the flea market, a vast warehouse of cheap stuff. Too much stuff. We'd been in so many places, our eyes started to glaze over. She bought Disney and cats and a rusty toy cash register (for her feral cat rescuing friend; that's what she collects), I bought for my collection a Genessee beer bar mirror and, thanks to Jessie's eagle eye, a Genny church key. I almost passed on the mirror, thinking "Why does every booth have a sale except the ones with things I want?" but when I paid, it was 25% off.
      Things we talked about, in that way that one subject becomes another: The Mass Pike (she was late because someone tried to go through the toll booth EZ Pass lane without an EZ Pass; instead of just taking a pic of the guy's license plate, they made him and everybody in the lane back up, including tractor trailers, and if you've ever driven on the Pike near a toll booth, you're already getting fear-knots in your stomach--I've seen people weaving in and out at 70 in order to gain a car length. We don't call that state's drivers "MassHoles" for nothing), my Mom's birthday, her daughter's boyfriend, heroin addicts/addiction in general, her narcolepsy, Byron's self-exile (her vet friend may have another thing we can try), gun regulation and the crazy "Gummint gonna take mah guns!" retards, state lotteries and Keno, and every spot inbetween and outbeyond.
      And I apologize to those of you who will now never eat another meal of Healthy Choice Steamers with Fiber.




      Still a week left to winter, so of course the summer beers started coming in today. By early June, we should get the Oktoberfests.
      On the other hand, DJ was staring with great interest at the paper recycling bag before I figured out why: The first sign of spring in CT is a robin. The second are the Tiny Unexplained Little Black Beetles. Robins bounce along the grass, Unexplained Black Beetles crawl on the windows, trying to get out after they decided to get in for their own very stupid buggly reasons.

      Remember the coworker who I strongly suspected of stealing cases of booze and reselling them to his old employer across the plaza and lying about it? His wife is also a coworker. She's taking a day off Monday for her husband's birthday! How sweet!
      Funny how this is the second Monday in a month she's wanted off for his birthday, and the third time she's said it was his birthday. That must've been a difficult delivery! Imagine being a mother in labor for 4 weeks. Maybe he came out in pieces, like she was impregnated by Ikea? "Why do I still have 3 screws and an unused conscience left over?!"



      Twice on the way to work, somebody hit the Walk signal at a crosswalk and then jaywalked without waiting for it, leaving 4 lanes of traffic motionless. On the way home, a guy on a bicycle decided to meander across 4 lanes of speeding cars on the town's busiest road without bothering to pedal up to the crosswalk and hit the Walk button. He almost got hit by the "My Car", butt-on. You really shouldn't drive aggressively when you're not driving a vehicle with sides.

      I worked with the new guy today and yesterday. He replaced the heroin addict.
      He seems nice and personable and interested in doing his job. And he taught me something I never knew about the store today! The ventilation system is hooked up in a way that lets the whole store know within minutes if you go to the bathroom and smoke weed.


      Yeah, you're a robot. It's That Day, so wear green and buy Irish beer. "Guinness is Irish, right?"
      Or buy something American with "Irish" in its name. Sam Adams Irish Red, Thomas Hooker Irish Red--okay, southern New England is pretty Irishy. My sainted mother's name is Torphy, I'm half Irish! Buy a beer from the first Irish part of this country.
      C'mon, the fuck? Killian's?! How Irish is a guy named Coors? Adolph Coors?! Are you German-Irish? Then don't buy that.
      NO, don't buy--put that down! Just because it's in a green package--BECK's is not German-Irish, it's German-German!
      Okay, you're buying Bud. All your taste is in your mouth, except that that's where you're putting that crap. At least you're not posing. You're just gonna get drunk like a good little robot. And--sigh--yes, we have Jameson nips, and Bailey's. Robot, you make baby Saint Patrick cry. Next year, wear a shirt that says "Throat-Punch Me, I'm Not Irish."
      Me? My usual libation of Genesee Cream Ale. And the can's green!

      The feel-not-good story of the day: NASA: Industrial civilization headed for �irreversible collapse�. And it doesn't even factor in climate change.


      I admit that I haven't put a particular amount of effort into figuring out the camera that Jess gave me last week, besides finding the online manual and skimming it. I did hope to get a picture of Byron's Fortress of I-Hate-You-tude and upgrade it if he was off it. If he likes the towels laid on it, how about some padded mailing envelopes below for extra softness? I walked into his Room of Doom and


      He's not on it!!
      Not off of it drinking, or eating, or pooping. Lounging. In the sun. This won't last long! I snapped this poorly posed shot quickly. And...20 minutes later, there he lies, basking in the sun. Like he used to do. Like he's always done. Like he hasn't done in SIX MONTHS.
      He recently sniffed DJ's tail (then growled), and almost touched noses with him (and snarled). B just being off his Tower is even more amazing. Maybe this will lead to him regaining his sanity?
      I doubt it. But I can hope. He's just wandered around the Zone around the Tower. You can see his water dish, but not to the left, where his supper dish and litter box are. He's gone to all 3, accepted pets from me, but still hasn't gone back on the Tower. And now he's just sitting in...the Lounge, I guess I'll call it, calmly looking around. Like the sane cat he was.
      If this continues (says to self "IT WON'T"), this is big news. Big good news.

      Do you have better things to do on a Sunday than watch Fox and a bunch of McFishwich ads? Why not Watch Cosmos on TV on your computer instead?


      SHAWT: First words out of a male customer's mouth, to a female coworker: "These days, I feel like a prairie dog in heat!" As greetings go, pretty bad. As a pick-up line, oddly unsuccessful.
      I said after he left, "Don't you think you should point out to this guy that your husband works here? Like, 'My husband and I were watching a documentary on TV, and they were killing all these prairie dogs, because they were spraying everywhere! It was sooo disgusting!'"

      Speaking of disgusting, and Fred "GOD HATE HIM THEM THAR FAGS" Phelps being dead, some Facebooking I did on the subject.


      I knew a kid in high school who had a glass eye. I said that he should just go to a restaraunt, look lost in thought while reading the menu, and then distractedly begin scratching his eye with a fork.
      He later said he did it and said the poor waiter's reaction was hilarious. After graduation, he became a McDonalds manager (this was back when that meant a hard-working 21 year old could make great money)--I wonder what he did to his annoying customers...


      Once upon a time, in a long-lost time called "the 80s", there was a little girl who loved more than anything in the world the MTV-inspired cartoon "Jem and the Holograms." Her family was poor, but every Sunday her father would take her to the toy store, and sometimes, she'd saved enough allowance to buy a Jem doll!
      And she'd buy it in the Kay-Bee store that I managed. It still seems so very weird to know that my future best friend Jessica and I were around each other weekly when she was 9 and I was 27.
      Apparently, there will be a live-action Jem movie. As a toy store manager in the 80s, I watched at least one episode of every toy/cartoon tie-in, as every fucking cartoon was a tie-in. I pretty much only kept on watching random eps of GI Joe and Jem, because they both were made by the same company and thus were both equally insane. This was the same company that also made a show about alien robots that disguised themselves as Buicks, and that was the most realistic one.
      And if something makes "My mother the car is also a robot, oh god, if I drive it, am I in its MOUTH?!" sound like the sanest series--The Ten Most Outrageously Insane Jem Episodes. "It goes without saying that there is also a yeti involved."


      WARNING: This song would cause a Dalek to exteminate itself.






      Gone & Forgotten takes a brief look at That Comic Book. That panel about WWII exemplifies my theory that at some point in his development, a clump of Tod Holton, Super Fetal Womb Beret cells decided "I've got a brain stem, why bother to keep forming a whole brain?"


      Mapping out my work-1-Sunday-a-month, I saw that, huh! I have my birthday off. 4/6.
      My sister Pat (the cool sister) was born on 4/4--not the same year, obviously. 3 years apart. Weirdly, my other 2 sisters were born 4 years apart, but their birthdays are only 5 days apart in July. Usually, Pat & I have dinner with our Mom on the Sunday closest to our mutual birthdays. It's just a symbolic day, but how many times a year do you have a birthday?
      Today a coworker manager who also closes on a Sunday a month asked me to switch my 4/6 off with his 4/13 on. Normally I'd say yes, but it's my birthday, and I was looking forward to the rare timing of having it off. His was some vague "family thing" he clearly didn't want to talk about. Since one of the only 4 keyholders to work Sundays is his wife, and the Owner's going to be out of town, I guess he's working it.
      Funny how he dropped it when I said it was my birthday. Yeah, he's the guy whose wife got days off twice in one month because she said he had 3 birthdays in 30 days.
      Again, what a long delivery his must've been. Maybe the doctor said "Well, we got his head out! I'll be back in 2 weeks to see if we can get his arms out, too. In a month, we'll see about the legs."

      Back in my horrible early days at Kay Bee Toys (the later days were more horrible), the manager announced with great glee that "Channel 3 News is going to film a report here!"
      "About what?"
      "Did...did you clear that with corporate?"
      "What? Why?"
      "It's going to be about Dungeons & Dragons being Satanic."
      His face paled. Not at the thought of demons possessing him, but the demons at headquarters drawing and quartering his head over negative publicity.
      And that was their purpose. They wanted the store just because we had D&D toys so they had something to film, unless I'm giving too much benefit of the doubt. I assume every other toy store, or gaming store, immediately said No, using a Level 9 skill of "I smell a rat." He still allowed them to film, covering up the Kay Bee identitfying stickers with his thumb. But they filmed right in front of the store, not showing the company logo but goddamn obvious to anyone who'd ever seen the front of a Kay Bee in a mall. I wonder what would've happened if he'd agreed, then refused them to film anything. "THIS STORE, in the largest mall in 1984 Connecticut, REFUSED to let us film here..."
      Again, another of my long introductions to a short article: How We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons. RPGs are now just a reminder of our grim, uncivilized past.
      Of course, it was what I've called ever since then "the Threat to Our Children du Jour." It was soon replaced with "SATANIC BACKWARDS SONG MESSAGES!" Notice how the world's been perfect since we got rid of those? Just like the perfect American Utopia that was founded 60 years ago when 1950s horror comics were banned!
      Or after the utter defeat of rock & roll 45s, the Beatles, marijuana smoking, violent cartoons, violent video games, or Pokemon, or rap music, or whatever some current pop singer just did, the Internet, and certainly the teens' current hair and clothes!
      ...sorry, I've forgotten which threat we're fighting in this decade. Something teens enjoy more than their parents, I'll bet! That's how they attack our youth!
      Wait, I REMEMBER! It's Grand Theft Auto and really low pants! Humanity is lucky that Satan really sucks at accomplishing anything! You would think he'd have learned something after bathtub gin, jazz music and flappers didn't destroy humanity in the 1920s. Satan's an underachiever, just like the teens he wants to corrupt!


      ME: Credit or debit?
      CUSTOMER: Debit.
      ME: Okay, enter your PIN.
      C: Oh, wait, hit Enter, the green button! (hits Enter, the green button)
      ME: (after a pause)...You need to punch in a number first?
      C: (laughs, enters PIN)
      And I thought that "password" would be the worst password! How about "just press Enter"?

      Let's All Give Black Cats the Love They Deserve! Seriously cute photos combined with dispellings of black cat myths. Sailors in 19th century New England chose polydactyl cats as "lucky"--that's why they're just common enough that Byron Bigfoot became one of the family. In Britain, the Royal Navy was required to have a ship's cat well into the 1980s--and they thought that the luckiest ones were all black.
      That proves 2 things: all superstitions are stupid, and all kinds of cats are lucky, if they come into your life. Lucky for them, lucky for you.