NEW 117

�What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?"
--Ursula K. LeGuin




      Yes, the blog has been quiet all week. There's a reason. It's called "should I talk about the elephant in the room or not?"
      Well, let's. 4 days ago I saw Kev & Meg, and the opening conversation can be summed up like this:
      "We're moving to Austin, Texas in 4 months!"
      "So you got a job there?"
      "NOPE. We're quitting our jobs here, and get jobs when we get there!"
      Hands in the air: How many of you read that, and didn't scream "WHAT THE FUCK?!" Hey, that's a lot of you--oh, you were throwing your hands in the air in disbelief.
      We watched Gravity, a very exciting movie, and I generally don't like "non-stop thrill rides/every escape happens at the last second" movies. Nearing the climax, I began yawning. Why? It's not because I'm bored, it's not because I'm tired, as it's 4 in the afternoon--Oh wait. This is what my brain does when it confronts stress and there's nothing I can do about it. It goes into cold shutdown, just like Sandra Bullock's doing in the movie. I felt like she did, overwhelmed by events out of her control.
      I made it poltitely clear what I thought of this...decision. Then I left, and didn't have to pretend how I felt, thought "This SUCKS" and went home. The Kids knew something was wrong as soon as I walked in, as I plodded in depression to the bedroom, changed into my jammies, got a beer and sent a brief, unhappy email to Jessica. My response to her response:

      Her reply to my reply etc:

      Okay, that was funny, but offtopic. Although the "bugs" may refer to most Texans. She also said "The fact that he lives in TX or not does not change the reason why they are not calling him back. The fact he is willing to move to work there shows ambition and promise. (...) If you work at Walmart as a cashier the future employer is going to ask, why does he want to work here? He doesn't even have experience and besides he has only been there for a short time, where as with the current job he is at, even if it does suck, he has been there for a long time showing them that he is committed and is showing them he is willing to move further since he went to school while still at his current job. Not to mention what the hell address is he going to put on his applications, Motel 8!? Yeah, because that looks so much better because after all it is a Texas address! (...) So he is going to keep paying his condo mortgage, condo fees, motel fees and storage fees for their crap? (God forbid there is an issue with the condo and they have an assessment!)" Those would be the calmer lines of her reply.
      So, yeah, I'm unhappy about this. As stated, every few years, he makes a snap decision and sticks with it. It happened when I first met him, when we worked in the same store. I was the assistant on the Sam Goody side, he was the one on the Suncoast side, so our breaks tended to be at the same time (that's how we became friends). He was reading a book that converted him to Veganism halfway through. He'd stop reading and say "JESUS! Listen to this!" and read a passage about the horrors of meat and dairy. The author was in his mid 20s, when we're all as wise as we will ever get (besides when we figured out the world at 14), and his name was either Baskin or Robbins. Son of one of the ice cream company's owners. Did the author's hatred of dairy have anything to do with Daddy issues? (And whose money did he use to get published?) Of course, vegetarianism is not only benign, but beneficial. I said at the time, "I'm just glad the book you read wasn't Mein Kampf. 'Why, there are surely some interesting ideas in this book by that Hitler chap! Also, I do like his choice of facial hair!'"
      But he also snap-decided to marry a spoiled bitch, then bought a house because spoiled bitch said so, then bought a bigger house because she wanted one, then bought another bigger one, went into credit card debt because, to her, money appears from Heaven (meaning her parents). But you can always get divorced and remarry (and to clarify, that's just what he did. His current wife is awesome). You can't quit, move to Texas, decide it's a bad idea, and then...what? Move back to CT, your second time trying to find a job without one?
      He never reads this page. I hope he does now.

      And now, GOOD news! I got up to check on Byron, and not only was he off his tower, he clearly was planning to jump to the floor! And he saw me, and back to the tower.
      But I gave him pets, and them waved him to the floor, and he jumped! To a big box, not to the floor, and immediately back to the Tower of Exile. I gave him treats and pets, and with encouragement, he landed on the floor! But it was still lava, so back he went. I petted him more on the tower, and of course DJ had to come to ruin it and get an angry paw to the head.
      But it's progress! The most I've seen in 6 months!

      Infographic on The Great Toilet Paper Debate.



      L.P.D.: Libertarian Police Department


      Oh boy, my birthday week is in 2 days! On Sunday, it's the actual date, and I actually have it off! I feel so insane, I think I'll buy WINGS! (Me buying takeout is rare) I was thinking about going to Denny's for my FREE birthday meal, but WTF is with their site? The only parts you can click on are like a fifth of the screen, and clicking on the subwindows just makes them mad. It's like they don't want these Kids Today with their short hair and quiet music! Young punks like me, those 55 year olds with their music by the Devos and that group of the Talking Heads and Yellow Magics! Or maybe they just don't want to give you free food on your birthday. There's a Denny's just 2 miles from me, and it's been there for the quarter-century I've lived here, but I've never been in it...I think I'll just get wings. Somewhere else.
      And on Monday, I go to WORK!
      Then Tuesday, I may go to the movies and watch Captain America! At the $5.50 matinee. I was planning on skipping it until it was on Netflix, but I read a couple of really positive reviews. One had a spoiler, but it was the spoiler that made me want to watch it. The trailer told me nothing besides "It's a superhero movie--and PEOPLE GET PUNCHED!" Wow, thanks, that's informative. I was expecting Marvel-Ivory.
      Weds: A day with a good friend. And I won't tell you who! (Hint: not the one who wants to move to Redneck Land; is also sane)


      "Have a happy birthday!" said a coworker in as nasty and sarcastic a voice as she could. Yep, still mad because I dared to have a regularly scheduled day off that fell on my birthday. The woman whose coworker husband had 3 birthdays in a month. Oh, no, now I feel so bad about it!
      HA HA HA! Any day you can piss off an asshole is a good day indeed! Thanks for the early birthday present, douchebag!


      And the birthday wishes just poured into my inbox today! From my Mom, 102.9 DRC-FM, Liberty Honda, Capital One 360, and RealAge! *sniff* Thanks, I didn't know you cared! And, besides my mother, you fucking don't, you automated corporate robots.
      And I went to Google stuff, and the logo is...birthday themed. The fuck?
      "Open the birthday doors, HAL!"
      "I'm afraid I am programmed to do that, Dave."
      "Thanks, but...Bill. My name's Bill."
      (red eye stares back unblinking)

      Then, as everybody does, I spent my birthday giving money away. I donated to Alley Cat Allies and Pammy's Way of Cats and the ACLU. I believe in defending the rights of those least able to defend themselves.
      Then I watched the sun set behind my personal Stonehenge, the twin grain silos that jut above the horizon. Oh, dang, it just missed, a little to the north! It would've set perfectly behind them yesterday! Guess I should ask for those days off too, if it counts towards the "2 birthdays a month off" allowance the store seems to grant.



      I went to Captain America: The Winter Soldier today. Good crowd for the first midweek matinee of the day. Excellent movie! I see now why the trailer told nothing about the plot: There's really nothing that could be said that wouldn't be a spoiler. It changes the whole course of the Avengers-themed movies.
      I was planning on renting it on DVD because of the trailer. I mean, the title is a spoiler! To someone who stopped reading comics over 20 years ago, anyway. The audience sure seemed surprised. I guess today's superhero movies are watched by people who never read comics.
      All these Avengers-arc movies first installments seem to get darker in the sequels. The first bad guy is Batroc. In the comics, Batroc the Leaper! Oh, sorry, Batroc ze Lea-pair, because he was as 1970s a Marvel villain as they came, an evil acrobat who was so French, zat 'e talk like zees, ohn-ohn-ohn! His power was leaping. That's like having your power be "not falling off your mountain bike." More useful in real life situations than fist-fighting superheroes. To the movie's credit, not only is he reasonably bad-assed, he does a lot of fucking leaping.
      Of course, there is the obligatory scene wherein the villain can kill several people at will, and chooses not to kill a main character. This is like saying "I'll stick my penis in you last, garbage disposal!" It ain't gonna end bad for the disposal.
      I'm still amazed, that after all these years, 90% of the audience leaves the theater as soon as the credits begin to roll in a Marvel movie. You can't wait 3 minutes to see the credit cookie? In the next Avengers, "the twins" will appear. Pretty obvious who they are, but they'll have to be explained without using the word "mutant" (Sony can't use that word in movies, Warner owns it via its long-dormant X-Men franchise, which itself gets a sequel soon, featuring the twins' comic book dad).
      So, either see it now in theaters, or expect to have every spoiler revealed online before you rent it.
      Okay, one spoiler: a kind, bittersweet scene when Steve reunites with his "best girl" from WWII, now well into her 90s.


      Antiquing with Jess in Putnam today. Not overly blogworthy, although a fine time was had by all.
      The town is on the rebound since the recession closed many small stores. New stores have opened, and the giant condemned building is almost fully renovated. The art gallery has expanded into 2 rooms. One was full of beautiful Impressionist-style landscape paintings of the town Jess lived in for 12 years, Grafton MA. She recognized the places pictured. "That's the part of town where the millionaires live," she said of one set. "Where they have bowling alleys in their basements."
      In one place, she bought a rubber Mickey Mouse cheap, and I got a couple of 1962 James Bond figures cheap. Because who doesn't want their own Dr. No? There were multiple figs, which was good, as my white-tuxed, gun-pointing 007 fell over when I placed it on the counter. Shaken from too many martinis, maybe. I almost bought a much newer in-package "Little Nellie," the autogyro from You Only Live Twice, with Bond in the cockpit in his classic "arms folded holding a gun" pose. I guess he was steering with his knees. But up close, it had either a dead bug or some bird crap on it, so I passed.
      In the Big Store, I said "There sure are a lot Hitler books in here this time." And then bought one. "Hitler: The Victory That Never Happened." It was like a serious version of "My Tank Is Fight!", reimagining WWII if the Germans had made the right military decisions, and the "nightmare world" that would've resulted. The selling point for me was a section of photos, recaptioned for Nazi victory. A photo of an SS war correspondent's gleeful reaction to some radio news was now about "the fall of London." New York City gets A-bombed in the last chapter, titled "The Final Solution." I have a feeling the nuking is not as bad as what else happens in that chapter.
      She wasn't going to get anything, until we hit the bargain basement. A ceramic yawning cat, 2 pewter cats (and a dog--it was a set; she hates dogs now that her neighbors let theirs run free by her transplanted feral colony), a tiny leather wallet, a slim book of photos titled "Lesniak" (her married name. She's going to give it to her father-in-law, and the book couldn't have been more Polish, as it was published in Krakow), some tiny rugs for her dollhouse, and a 1960s Micky & Minnie metal crayon case. I pointed out that the previous owner had written his name on it: "Billy." Her haul only cost $16.
      Overheard there: GUY: "Know how Snoopy always fought the Red Baron? Did you know that he was real?" PRETTY GIRL: "Yes," with a silent "duh!" That's how you impress an attractive woman, bro. Assume she's dumb. If I'd asked that of Jess, she'd probably say "Oh, so you think Snoopy was real?"
      Late lunch at the brand new brew pub! My Israel Putnam Velvet Red was awesome, and she loved her brown ale. I rarely eat red meat, but we both got burgers. Hers was a 1/2 pound, mine a 1/4, and each with a mound of hand-cut fries. Guess who took half his fries home, and who literally ate twice as much food as him? The metabolism of a hummingbird: she looks like a bikini model and eats like a pig.
      She talked about her grandfather, a teen in WWII France. When the Germans invaded his town, they raped and killed his mother and skinned his cat alive, right in front of him. "No wonder he was an alcoholic," she said. He joined the Resistance as a messenger, was almost shot by an American GI, who then took him under his wing, brought him to America, raised him as his own. If he hadn't...I wouldn't have been talking to her. She wouldn't exist.
      We went to a place she discovered just up the road. Two rooms, one of which was 80% tool shed, the other not much more. They do furniture more than Disneyana and little Dr. Nos. "I'm sorry!" she jokingly whispered. Not all the stores we find can be gems!


      What are the non-irritating chaps? The assless ones you wear to the S&M dungeon?


      For $75, it'd better not be BYOP.



      I had my belated birthday dinner with my Mom. Which she made--poached salmon, mashed potatoes, a spring salad with strawberries and walnuts, all made by hand. I'm still digesting it. Mom has always cooked in such amounts that it seems she expects her kids to bring over an extra guest, like the Green Bay Packers.
      She's taking an early retirement from the library! 81 years old, that's early, right? She looks no older than 70. A family trait of her side of the family, the Torphys: she and her kids all look younger than we are. And her married name is Young. (Feel free to joke "YOU'LL ALWAYS BE YOUNG HA HA!" because you're the first person to say that to me in 55 years. Possibly throw in a witticism about "Oh no, Mr Bill!") When I saw Jess, I told her about a girl I knew named Lisa Olds, and when I said "If we ever got married, we'd have to change our names to 'Bill and Lisa Middle-Aged'."
      Mom told me about a recent trip to her library by a kindergarten class. The library director took them from room to room. "Here's the reference desk, here's this section, that section," and introduced them to any employees. "And here's Mrs Young!"
      A little kid looked at her and said "She's not Young, she's old."


      COWORKER: "Here's the kosher wine."
      CUSTOMER, grabbing a bottle of red: "I also need a bottle of kosher white wine."
      ME, thinking: Oh god please don't ask me...
      COWORKER: "BIIILL! Where's the kosher white wine?"
      ME: "With the kosher wine."
      5 minutes later...
      "BIIILL! Brut is the sweetest champagne, even sweeter than extra dry, right?"
      "Champagne isn't sweet, and brut is drier than extra dry."
      But I should cut her some slack. She's only worked in a liquor store for 10 years. If we worked in a grocery store, it'd be "BIIILL! Is skim milk in the milk section? And underarm deodorant is good on sandwiches, right?"

      I know most of you are Facebook friends with me also, but I have no idea how Facebook works and what you do or don't see, so feel free to skip this exchange with Dirck if you've read it:
      DIRCK: "After seeing "Sigma Madagascar Rosewood Dreadnought" on a sign, I really expect to see a REALLY COOL spaceship. I'm sure the guitar is neat and all, but raised expectations will render it mundane."
      ME: "From an old sf gaming magazine:"

      "Er, yeah, I'm from the 'Malodorous Incest', but moving on, what ship are you from?"
      "Uhh...the 'Vainglorious Sphincter.' And you?"
      "...The 'Billy Joel's Persistent Crotch Itch'."



      So, You're Going To Die, Kirk Israel's brilliant Mortality Guide For Skeptics as a comic book.


      Some tree trimmers came today. Not the next 3 days, when I don't have to be here listening to their noise. Why now, in spring? It's the winter when branches fall.
      I went out to get my mail and saw that no one takes that many branches down unless the tree's going next. Perfectly healthy trees. Based on my experience, the majestic 40 year old oaks will be replaced by either scrawny-ass little trees, shrubs that die within months and rot there for years, or they'll just leave the stumps there forever. It's part of my idiot Condo Association's ongoing Complex Uglification Program.
      I fucking hate my Condo Ass.

      I like that local college radio station WWUH has an archive, so if I forget to listen to a show I can still hear it. I missed Tuesday Synthesis yesterday, and was able today to hear...most of it. Their archive has a tendency to stop recording, and then play dead air. I've no idea why.
      But I would guess the DJs did or didn't do something. The Indian music show's DJ still seems oblivious to the "download finished" tone that plays during her show while she's using the station's bandwidth for personal purposes. One Sunday Ambience DJ's show features old vinyl, but apparently he takes the headphones off, as there can be 3-5 minutes of silence before he realizes that Side One is over. Or not noticing when an LP skips over and over.
      Listening to last Sunday's show, the DJ was talking when his watch alarm went off. And stayed on, for 3 minutes. Didn't turn it off, or mute the mike and throw the watch into a corner of the studio, just let the soothing sound of "beep beep beep--beep beep beep" continue. Volunteer staffed.

      It took me until the third show to get why the beginning of Tyson's reboot of Cosmos had a slight pause between the C and the S before fully spelling out Cosmos--Carl Sagan, duh!
      Why's it rated PG? "WARNING: May activate brain cells, make kids want to be scientists"?
      I'm not seeing the embed code on this, possibly from not looking hard enough (we're volunteer staffed), so here's a link to the new rebuttal show, Creationist Cosmos. (Warning: autoplays the next video)


      Killsy is using DJ's butt as a pillow.
      That is all.



      Since I don't seem to be putting much here, I think I'll post random pictures from the archive. Some will have comments, some will just be put up without context. Such as these two:



      Paging through my pics, I found that they fell into categories I'd expect, such as weird crap (see above) and the cats. Then other categories I didn't, such as a truly horrifying amount of fucking Chuck Asay cartoons, and exactly one pic of Kev & Meg, and I guess I should get moving on that since there won't be many more chances, and a LOT of pics of Jess. This is because when I'm with Kev, we just watch a movie. Jess & I go out and do stuff, and in fact that's where a lot of the pics of weird stuff originate. They're pretty much aren't more types than those, except for a few of myself. I don't take the greatest selfies:


      I'll bet you ALL remember that one!


      I hope you all had fun enjoying today's holiday! Happy Hitler's Birthday!
      My family decided not to hold Easter today, as several kids work at a fancy restaurant and work every holiday. So instead, it'll be celebrated on...Mother's Day, when they'll have to work, and so will I. If you're going to pick a random date, why not one that's not a holiday?

      After the condo complex's trees were massacred--where's an Ent when you need one?--spray painted kabbalistic symbols appeared on the driveway. That's usually a red flag for "Road getting dug up," GREAT. Then a frontloader and a dump truck parked here, with a pile of 30-foot long narrow pipes. And today, some guys planted literal red flags all over, especially the courtyard where the trees aren't. Noting buried power and cable lines. I assume last week's Battle of Isengard is related, although they'll still have 40 years of giant, intertwined roots to deal with. I'm hoping that the multitude of flags shows where they're not digging, as otherwise, this could go on all summer. Whatever the fuck they're doing. So much for sleeping past 8AM...

      The annual Vernon book sale is this week! It's gigantic. I'll go at least twice. New rule I learned from my last used book purchase: No more Hitler books.
      I should've read the introduction to the one I got with Jess. The author said that he's a wargamer, and I immediately thought "Uh-oh." I was into that in my late teens/early 20s. I subscribed to Strategy & Tactics magazine, which had a monthly, historically-based tabletop game in it. Eventually, they started a science fiction-themed magazine, and I subbed to that and let my other sub expire. Because, how goddamn many WWII games do you need? And never ones involving Japan, of course, just Germany, and almost always battles the Germans historically won. Even the magazine's editor complained about how few readers wanted other games made. Games should be fun and challenging and not "I want the Nazis to win." The magazine eventually folded, mainly because of the rise of computer games that you could play without arranging for someone else to play, or worrying about accidentally knocking a hundred cardboard counters over. But I think that I was not alone in my distaste for the creepier players' fetish.
      In the introduction, the author says "I made only one change to the timeline; the Germans don't attack Russia or the Japanese Pearl Harbor until a year later." WHY? That makes no sense! Especially as he doesn't give a reason, but I knew after that one sentence why: because then the Nazis would lose.
      As a WWII geek, lemme tell ya: That would never have happened. I told Jess about a turning point in the war. As Hitler lined up allies for the invasion of Russia, Yugoslavia's government joined the Axis. For like 15 minutes. Then a bloodless coup ousted the rulers and told Hitler "Nice hairdo, also fuck you." Now, a sane person would grumble "When I'm done with Russia, your turn's next, Yugoslavia." But this is our Birthday Boy here, and "rational thinking" was out of his skill set. He immediately invaded, and in a month, the Germans had conquered Yugoslavia, bailed out Mussolini's dumb-ass and flop-sweating invasion of Greece, and handed the British Navy a bloody defeat. It looked like another massive victory for the Unstoppable Nazi Juggernaut, but it delayed the invasion of Russia by 6 weeks. And Hitler invaded anyway. With those weeks, they could've taken Moscow before winter. They didn't, and while there still was a long, horrific struggle ahead, it likely cost them the war. They went ahead with the invasion for the same reason Japan attacked Pearl Harbor: everything had gone so easily for them up till now, they weren't just overconfident, they were arrogant to the point of hubris. Why else would they be so stupid as to each attack the only countries on Earth that they shouldn't even have gone near? (Pearl Harbor is another perfect example of a seemingly giant victory that was really a massive defeat in the long term) There is absolutely no historical reason for the Axis not to have done what they did when they did it, which is why the author doesn't even bother to give one. Want more proof? After America declared war on Japan, Hitler declared war on the USA. Hey, we Germans so badass we can win a three-front war! That's like you're a drunk who gets into a bar fight with the biggest dude in the bar who's minding his own business, and while you're doing pretty poorly in the fight, punch the other biggest guy in the nuts. The element of surprise will only get you so far before you're kissing the curbstone with 2 angry giants jumping on your stupid-ass head.
      Then I took a closer look at the book's chapters. I thought it took each campaign individually, looking at alternate realities that could've happened. No, it was a chronology. The Nazis take Malta (the reason they didn't attack there historically was because even they knew they'd lose; in this book, they win handily). This means supply routes to the Afrika Korps are open, and Hitler sends Rommel extra divisions because, hey, they're not invading Russia for another year. The Germans win, taking the Suez Canal. The Egyptians cheer their Nazi liberators! Because Nazis love their conquered peoples! (But not as much as they love slave labor and genocide) South Africa now quits the war, as seen through the viewpoint of a Nazi-loving Boer, who applauds through a speech by some historical fucktard who "eloquently" talks about hating Commies, Jews, blacks. I should point out that we're told the anti-Nazi South African premier has "a quivering moustache." I should point out that this crap was published in 1988, when Mandela was still in prison and rightwingers in England (such as our author) were decrying the possible loss of that fine system called apartheid. You know, when you write about people who think "Nazis were KEWL!!" and don't add any authorial disgust in your means you're not disgusted. In this case, it means the author was a member of the National Front.
      The next and mercifully brief chapter outlines how the Germans are building advanced tanks and aircraft and, oh yeah, a little thing called the atomic bomb. NO THEY FUCKING WOULDN'T. They didn't do any of that until the Russians began handing them their asses. Remember after 9/11 when Bush declared a War on Vague Concept, and said the biggest "sacrifice" Americans could make was to "keep shopping"? Did you know that when the USA went to war in 1941, we actually stopped making civilian cars? The Germans did the same thing. Three YEARS into the war, when it kinda looked like this whole "Stalingrad" thing wasn't working out so well. They didn't start working on their "wonder weapons" until the fucking war was lost, and all that diversion of resources did was make their collapse come sooner.
      To clarify: I do not like this book, or its Nazi-blowjobbing author. It's not "alternate history," it's that wargamer who cheats at solitaire. It's his "I Heart Hitler" fanfic. I expect at any time for Hitler and Goering to meet in private and have the book turn to slash. "Oh, mein Fuerher! I have dropped my jodphurs! Dive bomb my fat pimply ass with your big hard Stuka! Blitz me hard, Dolphie!"
      Actually, I could read that and feel less dirty than I do reading it as written. I put it down for a few days, then start again just to see how bad it is. I may just skip to the last chapter, "The Final Solution," the last sentence of which is "Mein Fuerher, we have won the war!" It also involves New York City getting Nazi A-bombed, and probably nothing about the Holocaust except maybe "Job well done!"

      Let's cleanse the palate with some Hitler pictures!


      How do you like THEM Easter eggs, Shickelgruber?!

      As realistic a depiction of WWII as the book's:




      The author's online avatar.

      Well, time to watch some Futurama and enjoy that other 4/20 holiday!


      "Ho ho ho, Rudolph! This is some GOOD SHIT!"


      The "I Heart Hitler" author has finally acknowledged some real history. Stalin annexed the 3 Baltic states in 1940, and when the German invasion of Russia began, the locals welcomed the Germans as liberators. Until the next wave of troops immediately arrived, the Einsatzgruppen, SS death squads that quickly began murdering civilian Jews, Communists, even mental patients, in the tens of thousands. Our author, Hansi the Boy who Loved the Swastika, reacts with horror and revulsion at this cruel inhumanit--Ha ha, dumbkopf, you fell for my little jest! He sadly pouts that the locals could've been recruited by the Nazis to fight the Russians, if not for that little social faux pas of mass murder. More cardboard counters for the wargame he's playing with only one hand. He doesn't come out and actually say "They could've waited and killed them later", but he also doesn't have to. He does admit that the Nazis had a pretty bad record of dealing with Jews and other ethnic minorities (which would be all of them--a Nazi-ruled Earth would, by their Aryan "logic", lead to the enslavement or murder of about 85% of the planet's population), but he dismisses this because "the Russians treated them worse." He doesn't elaborate, leading me to wonder what exactly is "worse" than Auschwitz. And "But he did it too!" is the type of argument most people realize won't work on even their parents by the age of 8.
      You can't even call Hansi a crypto-fascist. He's a decrypto'd-fascist.

      Well, that needs another palate cleanser. Yes, given the sheer amount of them, the reposting of old pics would eventually involve a certain feral cat rescuing bestie. I believe these will be the only ones. It's a little game of "Spot the 3 differences." Here we are last July, with another with her daughter Jacqueline.




      And here we are, in December 2002.




      Holy crap, I wasn't old once! And Young Jacques looks like we got her from Central Casting, Cute Kid Department. In the last picture, even the Bumble is amazed!

      Here is a picture of a man knighting a penguin, and if you don't know immediately WHICH SUPERHERO NORWEGIAN PENGUIN IT IS...please turn your LTRotD badge in at the door, and ask for the refresher course.


      They've started the Big Dig at the complex yesterday. I called it that because, for reasons unknown, the Condo Ass decided to hire mercenaries from Massachusetts. I'll call it that even more, now that I've heard a couple of their workers talking. They're so from Bahston that I expected them to say "The way these water lines are laid out is wicked retahded!"
      They dug up a 300-foot line for the pipes, then buried it again. I'm guessing that tomorrow they'll dig it back up. Yes, the Big Dig it is.

      Now, several links unrelated to Hitler books.
      Short: What Are Cats Thinking? Inside the mind of the world�s most uncooperative research subject. I'm not sure what to make of an article that says dogs can count and cats can't, when the evidence is "Dogs can tell the difference between 2 dots and 3" while "Cats can only tell the difference between the sizes of dots". Aren't numbers just differences in size? Also, "Dogs understand pointing, cats don't". Cats have the best hearing of any mammal besides bats, and bats use their hearing to see. As do cats. I remember throwing treats down the back stairs at night when the hallway light had burned out, and Killsy snagged every one in near-total darkness. I threw one a short distance, and she couldn't find it. It was between her front paws. Cats' eyes are best at detecting movement, and so once the treat stopped moving and making sounds, it was invisible to her. Me pointing didn't help. Me pointing and tapping near something always does, because of the sound. But if a cat can't hear...if I point at his eyes and then point at the object, Byron truly understands.
      I'm always confused by researchers that decide cats aren't as smart as dogs because they don't act like dogs. But which species poops in a box and buries it, and which digs the same shit out and eats it? If obedience and swallowing shit are your qualification of intelligence, I guess the smartest people on Earth watch Fox News.
      I mean, just look at this big dope!


      An unintentional tie-in to this week's Cosmos: (and long) "America's Real Criminal Element: Lead New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing."

      Short: Lessons of Immortality and Mortality From My Father, Carl Sagan

      Dogs obey authority automatically. Cats don't. Some humans are like dogs. Some are like cats. Who's smarter?


      At the local Big Dig, I saw a hole deep enough that they actually could fit a ladder in it. Like a 12-foot ladder. (To our readers whose countries don't use a system where "a foot" wasn't based on the length of the King's foot or the size of a hot dog he could eat, in the metric system that's called a "kilomile") I imagined the guy at the bottom running around inflating underground dragons with an airhose, so now I will refer to it as "The Big Dig-Dug".
      I saw a big, very job-specifically designed truck hauling 5 Port-a-Potties, with room for one more. My first thought was "How the hell many Port-a-Potties are they going to drop here?" when I realized that it was both dropping them off and picking them up. Yes, interstate soiled toilet transport is a job, and some company built a weirdly-shaped truck to move those, and only those, because nothing else is that shape. Because phone booths no longer exist, and a TARDIS moves itself.
      Then I knew that in Bahston MA, after traveling from Hahtfahd CT, somebody has to fucking hose the full stinking toilets of their waste that had been sitting in the sun for days. And you thought your job was bad!

      Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece

      Minor Inaccuracies in the Animated Historical Segments of Cosmos




      Anyone else notice that on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson always pronounces "water" as "warter"? That's wicked bizahre!

      In a chapter that seriously could've been titled "Young Nazis in Love", an SS spy meets the Duke of Windsor, the King of England before he abdicated. True fact: the Duke and Mrs Simpson loved them some Hitler. In Hansi's latest fever dream, he's asked to give a radio speech from Berlin to tell Great Britain and all the Commonwealth that he'll be their king again, and all that they have to do is surrender and let the Nazis take over their governments and Hitler has pinkie-swore that he'd be real nice, and also they'll all go out for ice cream after! Now that a second front has finally opened in Russia, and the USA is giving material aid to the UK (because they're not in the war yet. Japan's still dragging its ass about attacking Pearl Harbor. Classic Tojo!), the Commonwealth says "Sure, why not? What downside could there be?" and surrenders immediately. King George instantly abdicates and goes to his retirement in Canada, and the Nazis move into Vichy Britain and begin the executions, starting with Churchill and all their other leaders.
      No, seriously, that's it. One guy gives one speech, and the war's over. In half a paragraph. Due in large part, we're told, because super-awesome South Africa has unFriended England. I assume that this happens because Hansi realizes that with the UK and Russia and the USA (if they ever join the damn war) on the same side, his beloved genocidal maniacs can't win. So let's get England to surrender now, because ex-King. He wargamed all this! With hand lotion and lots of Kleenex.
      I'm going to finish this awful book, in the same way one vows to watch King Kong Lives to the end. How insane will it get?

      The Spoon Theory.
      I sent that link to Jessica, whose gotten "But you don't LOOK sick!" ever since her narcolepsy developed.
      Yeah, she's so not-sick that she had to go on disability, only so she could qualify for her doctor's recommended medication. Which is a Class One narcotic that they give to special forces in war zones. They take one and stay awake for 48 hours. She has to take two a day just to stay awake for 16 hours. Her doctor wants her to go on an even stronger drug than the one she's on. "Stronger than a Class One Narcotic?!" I asked. "What is it, a Class Infinity narcotic?" I could tell you many stories about how we had to cancel plans before that drug because of her level of "spoons". Well, I had to cancel a plan on seeing her. She had to cancel her life, one time being awake 7 hours--spread out over 3 days. Her response to the article: "Wow! This is my life!!!!"


      Just in time, the Historical Society's annual book sale! Because I'm one chapter from the finish of that awful Hitler-licking book. (Currently, Russia is on the ropes and Japan finally has attacked Pearl Harbor and of course done better than they did in real life. Hansi is uninterested in this, as he's busy telling us about how all of Europe is gleefully joining the Nazis. Even Ireland, so I guess Switzerland is next. Adolph will make the cuckoo clocks run on time!) The odds of me buying anything worse are pretty minimal.
      I almost didn't go, as it's the first free day of the sale, and I expected a crowd. Oh, right, why read when your DVR is full? I got Why Not Catch-21? about how famous books had their titles changed before publication. Surely we all remember that Kubrick film with the old ultraviolence, A Robotic Banana.
      I hope you're sitting down as you're reading this, rather than rapelling down the Empire State Building with your other hand, because I bought books involving cats! I know, who saw that coming? The Treasury of Great Cat Stories, by Poe, Twain, Kipling, Saki, Lillian Jackson Braun (ew, I only made it halfway through the only book of hers I tried to read), and P. G. Waterhouse. I'm pretty sure they mean Wodehouse. Unless there's a story in there by cat lover Ernest Hemingwaterhose. Hey, a buck for 500 pages. And The Cat Who Will Live Forever, which turns out to be the last of a trilogy about a Scottish Fold named Norton (spoiler: cat does not literally live forever). I may check Amazon for the previous volumes, if I find it good enough to stop reading. I wouldn't have wanted to have only read the last book in Cleveland Amory's Polar Bear the Cat trilogy. And a Kronos Quartet CD.
      Well, Readyhosting seems to be having one of its periodic (and rare) outages, so I'll stop typing before you use your rapelling hand to tap "try again" and plummet to your death.


      And the site is back. Thank you, ReadyHosting! And that is not sarcasm; after 13 years, I love those guys. Affordable with immediate support.

      The thankfully last dreg of the Hitler Book, titled ominously "The Final Solution":
      America falters against the fascists of Japan, because the USA never upgraded its weaponry, because they had no reason to. Unlike the Million Year Reich, which continually upgraded theirs because they had no reason to. Also, while the war still rages, we have the First Nazi Into Space, 15 years before it actually happened because Nazi=Awesome. Man, I don't want to imagine how many paper towels Hansi needed to mop up his lap after writing that! I really just skimmed the last chapter, as I didn't need Wehrmacht porn about which dashing and virile group of Waffen SS exterminated which group of defenseless Soviets. If the USA ever actually declared war on the Nazis, I missed it, so I'm pretty sure that the US didn't. So anyway, the Nazis launch for scheisse und giggles their super missile and nuke New York, except--and this is amazing--they kinda miss! Yes, the world's first (and only) ICBM only manages to hit Long Island, "destroying Bridgeport", which I think Hansi thinks isn't in Connecticut. Oh, and the "Final Solution"? The only mention of the Holocaust is a concentration camp that our heroes, THE NAZIS, test their A-bomb on. As per usual, massacre of Jews is presented in the most matter of fact way. As if it was a feature, not a bug.
      I'm a firm believer in passing on books so that someone else can read them. This one's going in the fucking landfill, so that only its intended audience, rats and maggots and bacteria and boys who love the swastika, can savor it for the glue on its binding. If I had a fireplace, I might ironically burn this pro-Nazi book. But then its fumes would be polluting the atmosphere. I'll just remove one more copy from circulation, and make the world one less book better.

      At the Vernon book sale--holy shit, go on opening day from now on, Bill! Day 3 was mobbed. I can't believe how depleted it was from just 2 days ago. Well, of DVDs and CDs. Do they still sell used CDs in Best Buy? Because that was the most denuded part. Buy it for $2 here, trade it in for $3 there?
      "Hi, my name's Bill!" said a guy who very much wasn't me to every silver-haired old lady working there. "If I may quote Shakespeare from his play, Horny Old Man Who Thinks Quoting Shakespeare Still Works"...
      "ATTENTION, PEOPLE!" yelled an old lady and probably ex-school teacher. I think I was the youngest person in the room by 20 years, and I'm fifty-fuckin'-five. "If we have a lot of books by one author, they're under the tables. So if you want Danielle Steele, SHE'S LYING ON THE FLOOR!" Which only I laughed at. What if I want the 1966 Dawn Wells? Because I'd totally be under THAT table!


      As a fan of the mega-science, ultra-liberal, super-atheist blog Pharyngula, I was amazed to hear that PZ Myers is going to give a free talk about his new book at Hartford's Mark Twain House!
      From the rather navigation-unfriendly Mark Twain House website--because, don't you hate websites that have no permalinks and act like HTML stopped developing in 1997 and DON'T ANSWER THAT!--      I'll be going, and it looks like Kev & Meg will, too! Why he picked our little fly-speck-sized state over any other is a bit of a mystery to me. We do get our celebrity speakers, usually at the Bushnell. But we also have ConnectiCon, the convention that...okay, no real names go to. Nary an Amy Mebberson nor a John Scalzi there. Artists like that go to NYC, and I guess that after the East River it's just Suburban McMansion or Hicksville to them. (Although my coolest relative niece Cassie will have a booth showcasing her art, and she'll also cosplay as Harley Quinn, so I may go anyway)
      It's funny that such a rational scientist would appear in the same venue that has these listed before his appearance:
      THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT: Paranormal Legends Trip: The Spirits of The Mark Twain House, THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT--Republican Primary Gubernatorial Debate, and also Dan "The da Vinci Clown" Brown guy--oh, wait, The da Vinci Clod is at the Bushnell, which has much more seating for an author who can't done write a sentence worth him a tobaccy chaw and also albinos.
      Oh pleeease let there be some religious wackaloon/Mr Gumby in PZ's audience to bark his arguments for Jesus Riding Dinosaurs because Second Law of Thermodynamics and irreduciable EYEBALLS! Against Professor Myers, that's not shooting fish in a barrel, that's putting the fish in a blender.


      Overheard at Stop & Shop:
      Hyperkinetic little boy: Are those for the dog?
      Babysitter or grandmother: No, those are for the goat. The puppy pads are for the goat.

      I figured I'd go to the newest Godzilla movie, as it'll fall on my vacation and I can see it for $5.50. Because Godzilla reboots are sooo good, like Godzilla 1985, or Godzilla 2000, or that American one in between that I refuse to soil my retinas on. Because "People helplessly running from enormous beast ignoring them" really isn't all that filmable (cf. Cloverfield). This is why Japanese kaiju films generally skip to monster-on-monster wrestling matches, best viewed by audiences of either wee little brats or amused stoners.
      There is a slight spoiler after the latest trailer.


      I mean, Rodan's no Gigan, the monster with the penis dentata, but it's not just tanks and fighter planes getting destroyed. Mano a mano a monster! Maybe it can deliver what Pacific Rim failed to.


      If you're wondering how the Big Dig Dug is going (and you aren't), I guess they're installing gas lines? Even though we don't use gas? And I have no idea why they chopped down the trees and left their gorgeous stumps, as they're digging around the roots. All I know is that walking to my mailbox now involves slogging through more mud than most World War One battlefields. I hope I don't get trenchfoot.

      I post now to you a link. It is a link to a site most disturbing. How disturbing, you may ask? It is to WEST GERMANY'S MOST DISTURBING VIDEOS! Look upon Kyle MacLachlan, promoting his "Twin Peaks" of TV! And vhen it comes the time on Shprockets vhen ve dance, DOES HE NOT DANCE THE GRANDEST? Are there crabs in his feet, scuttling him sideways? LIEBER MEINER ABSCHMINKEY!

      Now is the time on Shprockets vhen ve show photos! Will horror stricken you? Of course. For they are pictures of nature's menace. The hideous housecat!


      Look upon the scene! One cat has been driven to a madness that exists entirely within his own soul. And yet, his most hated foe, a cat who loves him, is allowed to exist beneath him. Does the grey cat believe that the redheaded one is in Hell? Of course he does. This is the way of these creatures.


      Here there is another. She looks at the sky. She asks "Why has all gone mad? Why does not the sun rock from the sky and cleanse us in its burning fire of flame that is very hot?" Or possibly says, "Is that a camera?" WE WILL NEVER KNOW.


      Germany's guilt! The failure of the flash on the camera twice fails to illuminate, as life fails us all daily, tricking us into thinking that the flash has gone off. Here is a disturbing picture of a disturbing book. It loves the Hitler. And yet, like he, it now lies amongst the fetid gatherings of cat piss.


      And now, unfaithful mistress as she is, the camera's flash performs. Poor Hitler Book! Lying in the dumpster. Lying among the lumps of litter. Lying, lying, like the lies of the book. Soon--lying in the landfill. Like all who stand upon the wrong side of history's arrow. Who shall mourn your passing, Hitler Book? None. NONE. And now comes the time on Shprockets vhen ve dance upon your landfill grave! Even the old E.T. for Atari cartridges mock you!


      6 Forgotten Toy Villains. My 80s KB Toys job-centric memories are enough that I knew which franchises each was from by the name in half the cases. And I still own examples of 4! The article does not note that RIOT's General Mamba was clearly Idi Amin--with whiteface paint on him. I have that one, and there is a layer of black paint beneath it. And before you say "So PC!" who the fuck makes an Idi Amin action figure for kids?! The Indiana Jones figure line never had a Hitler.

      How'd that get here? 10 surprising historical artifacts in the U.S.


--from medical transcripts


      Speaking of self-referentialism, and the fact I have nothing else to say, a Facebook exchange.

      Linda Scott, on a conversation with her precocious toddler:
      "Yes, Fletcher?"
      "I am your son."

      Danielle Huse: Been watching Empire Strikes Back?

      Bill Young: Maybe he was saying "I'd really appreciate it if either of my parents didn't CUT MY DANG HAND OFF, and maybe tell me if my prom date is ALSO MY SISTER."

      "DAD! That was TOTALLY like my favorite hand!"
      "YES, son. And I know what you were doing with it."
      "You were thinking about...YOUR SISTER."
      "Umm, no...that would be the Wookiee."

      "Luke, it was the Seventies, your mom and I were in an open marriage and we were experimenting--"
      "With WOOKIEES?"
      "It was the 70s. Things were different...and also, our standards of body hair--"
      "NOOOOOOO*aack* CAFF CAFF spew!! Sorry, hairball."


      Last day if the Vernon book sale, and everything was half-off. Dang straight I was there.
      Books: 50 cents. I bought a Ripley's Believe It or Else! collection, which is so picture-heavy that it may take me a whole lunch break to read. And Whatever Happened to Tanganikya?, a book of "nostalgic geography." I got it since I'm totally enjoying Why Not Catch-21?, which really isn't about book titles, but rather short essays about the odd stories behind famous works.
      Surprisingly, a DVD for $1.50. Iron Monkey, which I was about one rental away from buying used anyway. I love that movie, so, score!
      Mainly I bought a pile of $1 CDs. Let's see: Northern Lights, which looked very familiar, so it must've been in my music department at Lechmere; Finnish New Age. Next, music by Biageo Marini, some Baroque composer I've never heard of, and it was a dollar. LEBANON screams the cover art that looks from the 1960s, although it's really "The BAALBEK FOLK FESTIVAL featuring the fabulous Fairouz." The CD's back cover is the back of the LP, listing Side 1 and Side 2! Absolutely...SHUMKA, which is Ukrainian folk music done as a dance ensemble, so I guess like Kiev RiverDance? Odd that this ended up for sale during the recent events there. And Thomas Kinkade's Quiet Moods. Yes, the Painter of Light and Really Lame Shit. Not music by him--how would they embed shards of glass into a CD?--but 2 discs of what I expected, cheesy New Age with nature sounds, and also fuck you, I'm a sucker for that kind of modern elevator music. And it's on Madacy, the shitty old company that was music's version of Good Times Video. As Kev and I used to say in the days of VHS, "Good Times means bad video." Bonus: a free DVD! What's on it? Who cares, but let's find out. It's different generic music, with close-up, very long pans over Kinky's paintings. Too bad I haven't dropped acid in 25 years, as this would be quite a joy of "Quite Moods," as the DVD title says. Oh, Madacy! The effort you put into everything! You probably use your hands to wipe your butt, as the toilet paper is way over there.
      Annie Lennox, Medusa, her cover album. All I've heard was the single No More I Love You's. A song that really hit me when it was released, and I'd already decided that there would never be any "romantic relationships" in my life. There would be No More I Love You's. And that was a decision that I was happy with, and still am.


      For reasons unknown, beyond "our New Owner is 26," it has been decided that the Likker Store needs a social media presence. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, ignore us on Google+! (I'm sorta on G+, but not doing anything, and everyone who's asked me to join seems to be within 10 years of my age, plus or minus. Maybe Google+'s slogan could be "Like us on WrinklyFacebook, follow us on Geezer!")
      No, there will never be a link to it here. I don't need anyone at work knowing about our little den of sin. At any rate, there will be pictures of us on it, and mine was taken today. The kid whose idea the whole thing is wanted me to sit on a throne he made from 30 packs of Bud Light. I said, "If I'm on a throne, I'll need a scepter," and grabbed a bottle of Ommegang's "Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Red Ale," and gave my best look of royal disdain. Co-workers? Peasants.

      One thing I forgot to do with The Hitler Book before it went to its fate in the bunker was to google the author. How much of a right wing National Front racist was he, and did he raise begonias? I found 2 links. One was a comment board titled "List your AH books." Holy shit, your Adolph Hitler books? Well, I guess that answers the question about begonias. (They actually meant "Alternate History") The other was a black man in England who found the book in a second-hand shop and "quietly put it back on the shelf." Good advice that I wish I'd given myself.
      But I'd gotten the title of the book wrong. Correcting this immediately led to his Wikipedia page. Why, is there no Nazipedia? Note that his name is a homophone for "quarry," a place where one can find things that literally have "the heart of a stone" or are as "dumb as a rock" (not that I think the guy was stupid, except in his awful politics and racism). Here we learn in his skimpy bio that he "owned a large miniature army of wargames figures, including the entire Westphalian army of the Napoleonic era." Which I guess is...a thing to be remembered for, after your death. I hope to be remembered as "the weird, funny loner with all the cat hair on him." If you're wondering where Westphalia is, it's a part of Germa--oh, you guessed that.
      He also has his own collection of books on Amazon. If you click on that, you'll see an immediate trend in his topics. Oh, you guessed that too, huh? Here are a few titles:

      Sadly, he did not live to amass the entire WWII German army in miniature, or write what would likely be his next books:      He could have had a career as a country singer, with his hit songs "To All the War Criminals I've Loved Before" and "Mama, Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Alive (Buchenwald Mix)."


      I went to the new Dollar General today, because it's right there on the road I'm almost always on when I'm going anywhere. I'd been grocery shopping with frozen food in the car, so it was just a quick browse. It was big and had a lot more than I thought, but how were the prices? Are Doritos a good price for $3.50? How should I know? I don't buy Doritos.
      "CAT FOOD" said one aisle. Okay, I just bought cat food, and I know how much that costs. And they have a whole aisle of cat food! Wait, they totally don't. One side is mops and such, but on this side there' food. Then, dog food, and next, food for dogs. Oh. Now there's cat food. One-sixth of the aisle. Maybe the sign should've said "PET FOOD AND MOPS OR SOME OTHER RANDOM SHIT."
      Cans of Friskies, 55 cents. At Stop&Shop, that's the regular price. Except that Friskies cans are never regular price. It's on sale for 50c for like 10 months a year. Fancy Feast, 3/$2. I just bought that also for 50c, and while that's not always on sale, S&S's regular price is 60c, not Dollar General's 66.6c. The price point of SATAN!
      Their vitamins were--I don't know how to compare. S&S puts a brand of vitamins on Buy One/Get One Free every week. So if their vitamins are twice DG's price, then they cost the same, and you buy them half as often.
      It wasn't a long browse. I left, and when I got home, the ice cream was still frozen.
      But put "DOLLAR" in your name and people who don't know the prices just assume that it's cheaper. During the End of Days at Lechmere, we all knew that the "Going Out Of Business" sale would begin next week, but the customers didn't. In my CD/VHS department, we had our typical sale going on, so that Internationally Known Incompetent Fuckwads Montgomery Ward could squeeze a few last sales from their malevolence before the (even worse) liquidators took over. Some father and his brood of squawling loin-spewage dragged their knuckles past me, and he made a point of loudly barfing "Their CD prices have ALWAYS been higher than anyone else!" and his idiot children agreed, because when I was 6 years old, I comparison shopped. He made deliberate eye contact with me. If I gave a shit about anything at that point, I might've said what I was thinking: "Our CD prices have ALWAYS been $2 cheaper than the next cheapest place, and right now they're $2 cheaper than that. Nice job teaching your brainless brats how important it is to talk out of your ass, Dad."
      A few days later, the Going Out Of Business sale began. Everything Must Go, at the amazing price of 10-fucking-% Off! And people came to me with stacks of CDs, 10 to 20 at a time! Because now they could get them cheaper than the $2 off they'd been for a month--now they were an incredible at-this-price-they-won't-last-long deal of $1.29 off!
      "YEAH! USA, NUMBER--fuck, man, that's math, that's for losers. USA NUMBER SOMETHING!"
      Then I'd get this exchange, over and over:
      "Do you have [CD/VHS]?"
      "No, they're all gone."
      "When will you get more?"
      "We won't. We're going out of business."
      "But [other retailer] has it!"
      "They're not going out of business."
      "'re not getting any more?!"
      "No. We're going out of business."
      I know that at least one coworker at the customer service desk said that we no longer gave refunds, and was told "GET ME YOUR MANAGER! I'm going to get you FIRED!" Which was met with gales of laughter from everyone else, including other customers.


      And you thought that my trip to Dollar General was a rollercoaster of thrills? Today, I did my laundry!
      We should probably just move on.

      Facebook Quote of the Day, and not by me:
      "The Wall Street Journal is nothing more than Fox news for people who just learned how to read."--Rob Cos

      The top ten global warming 'skeptic' arguments answered:
      "You may have noticed some patterns in these questions. Most are based on false premises and are trivially simple to answer. These 'top ten good skeptic arguments' are frankly not very good or challenging."

      Hurt Locker, the musical





      I think our last customer Sunday thought that the holiday was called "Motherfucker's Day."

      Every Human in Star Wars is Really a Humanoid Bee. Sure, why not. Makes more sense than invading a frozen planet with walking tanks, not knowing if your thousand-ton AT-AT is about to step on frozen lake, then break through and sink to the bottom.


      Playing on the radio at work when I walked in: The GoGos, "Vacation." And I'm 5 days from mine! Or maybe 7, I found out today. But I think it'll be 5. I can work an extra day to get a week off.

      Since I've had little to write about lately, here's a comment I left on the always-awesome Way of Cats blog, on the subject "Do cats need baths?"



      Putting away the chocolate Easter bunnies I bought on clearance (14 cents! 90% off!), I noticed that they were kosher for Passover.

      If I use the grocery store's gas station, I can get cents-per-gallon off my gas. The guy behind me at the pump must've really been concerned about getting that dime a gallon savings. He was driving a Hummer. That's the car you get when you want to save money on gas.

      Team of scientists discovers a way to induce lucid dreams in people. Thanks for clarifying, headline! "The team hopes next to induce them in crocodiles, trees, Twinkies, very small rocks."

      Yes, there is now a 24/7 stream of cat videos. Yes, it annoyingly autoplays.


      I had my yearly physical today. And I got some bad news. I should've seen it coming years ago.
      I should've seen it coming years ago, when the nurse said "We'll call that 5' 7"." But no! I was in denial. And today I've been diagnosed with a case of...oh Gourd! A case of 5 feet 6 and 1/4 inches! I'll never look Jessica in the eyes again! Because her eyes are "up here", and I won't be!
      I was also told "Your prostate feels fine!" Well, it didn't to ME, guy ramming a finger up my ass! It wouldn't feel good if a hot babe stuck her finger up there! Although I once had a girlfriend who really liked it when I did that to her. Wait, why are you looking at this page all grossed out like that now?

      I won't find out until tomorrow when my vacation actually begins, but there's the plan if it goes as currently scheduled. (NOTE: does not involve any finger/anus combinations)

      Other days: Probably won't go farther than the state park 5 miles away, or possibly the mailbox. Every day: not give a shit about work.


      The idea of my vacation being delayed a day or two didn't bother me. It's been 9 months since my last one, what difference would a couple days make?
      When I went to work today, I thought "Damn straight that would suck." Would you say to a woman, "You've been pregnant for 9 months, so what's another 48 hours of labor gonna hurt?" You could say that, but I think you'd find out pretty quickly the definition of "gonna hurt."


      With one day left until vacation, I realized that there's one thing that I won't miss about work: Every-thing! No one has ever made that joke, I'm sure!
      I'll just leave it at: the New Owner, off for a long weekend himself but with a part-timer out with a bad back, said that "J and L will work it out between themselves who covers his hours." The least dependable worker and the second least dependable? That's like "I'm leaving the store's money in the hands of heroin addicts and crackheads who steal scratch tickets" oh wait right that already happened.
      There's a customer named Tommy who is in and out all day, buying big cans of bad beer and dollar scratch tickets all day, and who also has never changed his clothes in the 2 years he's been coming there. I describe his eau de stench as "Like someone pissed in an ashtray!" He's so fragant that you can follow his path through the store via the odor trail he leaves. He's like the kid in the Family Circus comic strip, leaving a dotted line of pheromones. Bad as he smells, do not breathe through your mouth. Then you can taste what he smells like.
      But he does have a job. A new job! A job gutting fish. GUESS WHAT HE SMELLS LIKE NOW. If you guessed "Like someone pissed in an ashtray, and then rolled around in DEAD HERRING ENTRAILS," you win! The grand prize is "You don't have to smell him."

      Speaking of monstrous, as we near the epic movie about Lip Balm, here's Godzilla: The Outtakes. A real diva on the set. Smashed the catering cart; ate the caterers.
      Back in the days when I started buying comics as an adult, I was a big fan of the Quarter Bin. I found a lot of "This must be so bad it's good!" stuff like Jack Kirby's fucking insane "Captain Victory" and his other oddball series ("OMAC," anyone?). And Marvel's 70s attempt to make a Godzilla comic. Like the kaiju movies of the time, it was so bad it was good and came out the other side as even better. Destroy All Monsters was the ultimate G-man movie. And Marvel did it better, setting in their Universe and having Mean Green battle everybody. Only time will tell if the movies follow the comics, and he fights the Avengers.
      I assembled a nearly-complete run of its serious goofiness from the Quarter Bin, but here are the highlights: The Ultimate Battle! GODZILLA vs. the Marvel Universe!

      And here's a spoiler-free review of the movie from the reliable

      Good to know, via the Ripley's Believe It or Not comic: "A poronkusema is a unit of measurement used by the Sami people of Finland--It's the distance a reindeer can travel before it needs to urinate." Wikipedia says it's "not well defined but allegedly 7.5 kilometers at maximum."
      Did you know that a "firken" is the weight of a fully-loaded churn of butter? It's 56 lbs. Good to know! Not useful to know, just good.
      "Oh god, this must weigh a firken! I can't carry it another poronkusema!"


      Happy vacation to me!
      It didn't start out so great. The weather has finally become warm enough for the store to get quite busy. And Least Reliable Employee decided to blow off work, for the very good excuse that he wanted to blow off work. He used to arrange for others to cover his hours--he does this 2 or 3 times a week--but in the last month it's been "Ain't comin' in, and that's your problem." I'm noted for my generally laid back manner, so I greeted this news with "That fucking worthless PIECE OF SHIT! Why the FUCK does he still work here?!" My coworkers reacted to my outburst the same way they might've reacted to me pulling out a gun and firing it into the ceiling. I'm very slow to anger, but so are earthquakes.
      So we scrambled to try and find someone to cover for him. Guy who's out with a bad back? Doesn't answer his phone. New guy? No one has his number. J to her husband, seeing if he has it: "Bill's using the F word a lot." Me: "Friend! That's my F word! My FRIENDLY FRIEND JOEY!" Joey's friendly friend and equally useless worker--we didn't even try. Pretty much all who was left was the New Owner's brother. The New Owner was off in Vegas for a wedding and we didn't have his brother's number either (this store is pathologically weird about not doing the things every other store I've worked at does as a matter of course). So we called the Main Store and asked the Real Owner, father of both. It turned out that the brother couldn't work either, but a fellow old-timer who needs the money agreed to stay. A 13 hour day! I gave her an extra lunch break on the clock because that's a really long shift--okay, just 3 hours longer than mine, but damn, that's still long. She got a call from Useless Boy, who wasn't sick or nuthin'--"I have a job interview." From 4 to 9 on a Saturday night? What are you interviewing for, Slacker Batman? ("It's the Slacker Batsignal! The Joker's murdered half of Gotham!" "Oh, god, do something now?! I'll send the Joker some sarcastic texts, I hope Commissioner Gordon is okay with that. I'll send him one first: 'L8DR ur not my dad!!!!'") I said "If I ran this place, I'd say 'Hope you got the job, because you don't have one here anymore!'"
      Then he said he got the job, so...who knows? They'd better have a pretty high tolerance for "Can't come in; lazy." Then Real Owner called back, asking for his number...and "Hope you got the job, dude!"
      And this is the last I'll think of the job for 8 days. Oh, Fired Slacker was doing the Facebook page, so don't expect to see my "Game of Thrones" picture. And if New Owner hadn't been in Vegas? He'd still have his job, pulling the same shit for as long as he "worked" there.



      This was my first day of vacation that I did something (unless you count taking out the recycling). First I went to the state park, and was told to turn around and drive back. "You could've put up a Road Closed sign," I thought, and that's probably what was lying flat on the ground. They were repaving the road. I tried an alternate route, and that road didn't have a Closed sign. It also ended up not having a road. They'd completely removed the asphalt and dumped a 10 foot pile of dirt there. I was told to not to turn around, and squeaked by the mound. After a brief hike, I took a third route back, and that last road now had a Closed sign on it. Your government in action.
      Then I went over to Kevin's, for pizza, beer and Speed Racer. The pizza was Bacon Double Cheezeburger. Kev asked when ordering "Is that as greasy and awesome as it sounds?" (It was) The beer was Ommegang Game of Thrones Red. I thought he didn't like Speed, but he just had to grasp what he was watching first, which is because that movie is insane. He'd never seen a movie like it, and nether have I, and we've seen a lot of movies. He's happy he'll never see Spritle and Chim-Chim again, as are we all.
      His mother stopped by to drop something off, and to tell him about someone at work who had moved to Texas. Yes, he's still doing that, in 3 months. He loves to talk about the low cost of living there, but this woman discovered that her monthly water bill was $400, literally 10 times what he pays here. And electricity is expensive, because you run the AC 9 months a year. Groceries cost about the same. And, even if the cost of living is lower, so will be the pay, so you're effectively making the same money. But he's like Monty Python's Harold the flying sheep--Once 'e gets an idea in his head, there's no shiftin' it.
      Anyway, here's a picture of his doggies, Penny the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Stella the mutt.


      When I started writing this, I had a beer. And thought "There's no room in my stomach for a beer. But I finished eating 5 hours ago! Why is this pizza not digesting?" Then an hour later, I started puking it up. Less awesome than greasy, I guess.

      Things I Never Saw in Speed Racer Before This Viewing (because there always are): The last guy Kid Speed passes in his Crayola-scribbled cartoon racing daydream is Snake Oiler.
      During the Crucible race, Kev pointed out that Speed uses every single gadget the CIB added to the Mach 5, except the Homing Bird thing. And then they never do. Was a brief scene cut, probably in the scene where Snake pulls out a gun and it's seen directly from 10 feet above?
      Next time I watch this movie, I'm counting the dings. The "ding" sound that cartoon characters make when they get an idea. Tracy makes a *ding* on the soundtrack a lot, sometimes by just being there. Royalton does once, and it's a very different ding. The reason I love this movie, outside of the reason IT'S FUCKIN' AWESOME, is because there's always something else in there to discover.
      No, wait--that is why it's awesome.



      Guess what I did today!


      You guessed right!
      I liked it. It went by quicker than Pacific Rim, and at least not all the monster fights were at night during rainstorms. If they�d had one line �Kaiju are underwater creatures, they can only attack when it�s raining!� it would�ve been better than me thinking �Jurassic Park was 20 years ago! They had an excuse for their primitive CGI!�
      Cloverfield was okay in the �escaping the giant rampage� sense, except that the characters didn�t do that. They kept running back into danger so frequently that they just seemed really, really stupid. I expected someone to yell �But we HAVE to go back to certain doom! I dropped my phone! Dudes, all my STUFF is on there!� Everyone else: �Okay.� �Great! But first, let�s make a detour under it�s feet. I left my latte there.� �Okay.�
      Godzilla was more disaster movie than monster movie. Almost every human's action is "Get me out of here, I don't want to die!" until the very end, when it becomes Action Hero Time. Most of the movie treats the monsters the way they should be--as Acts of Godzilla. Who is not the friend of all the children, he's just an impossibly large and implacably stupid animal acting upon ancient instincts. He intervenes from his peaceful slumber at the bottom of the ocean because, not kidding, "Can't my damn neighbors keep the noise down at night?!" I say that because there is zero humor in this movie. I mean, none. It's played as straight as it could be. Humanity is an anthill these things accidentally knock over.
      At the $5 matinee, and watching it as a lifetime Godzilla fan, it was worth it. But, if you're not, like Pacific Rim, rent it. Movies like this are always better on the big screen, but they can be just as good as a rental. There's also a "Wait--what? How's this better than what's already happened?!" thing at the very end that, like Pacific Rim, could be explained by a line of dialogue. Let's just leave it as "Look at who's all refreshed from a healthy breakfast!" (note: That would not be the actual line of dialogue)

      Almost all the trailers were for disaster movies, so I guess that's a thing again. People barely escaping death, except for the thousands or millions or even billions more that don't. There will be a movie where you can watch Tom Cruise die every 10 minutes! That's the actual plot. There will also be "22 Jump Street," in which you can watch the actors' careers die in 2 hours.

      I was hoping for the new trailer to "Guardians of the Galaxy."


      Yes, it certainly looks like it has just a shade more humor than Godzilla. The theater poster, which I wanted to rip off the wall, and then rip the GotG tshirt off the ticket-taker, has the weird tagline: "You're Welcome." Hopefully, this is confidence in their superhero comedy, and not hubris.


      That should be "...and Santorum is surging out the rear." Oh, you're welcome.

      What's a vacation without ma belle amie? And doing the same thing we do every other time. At the Crack Bar, they actually got our order correct! No grits or gravy, bacon extra crispy as otherwise it's extra greasy (I've had my greasy bacon moment this week, thanks), Jess's toast with heated butter. I got an earful about a friend who promised 6 months ago to watch her cats over the week she'll be in Disney World, then said she couldn't, so Jess had to scramble to find replacements, making her look like the last-minute jerk. Then a group of old men at the next table looked over when I said "Lance Armstrong's missing testicle." It's a card in a game Jess likes called "Cards Against Humanity." She and her husband Ron usually win, as they have the corrupt sense of humor one needs. She also said that "The only 2 guys who would ever marry me are you and Ron!" I said "I'll keep that in my mind if you ever get divorced." She laughed, because she won't. And plus, I'm already married! My wife weighs 12 pounds and shits in a box.
      The "occasional showers" that were predicted became "cold, unstopping downpour" over our brunch. In her car, she handed me a bag with a Garmin GPS that she didn't need, and an iPod speaker base that she doesn't use ("You could use it at work," although "if the power goes out" might also be useful), and some shirts from somewhere (I was wearing a shirt she gave me once). They call me Second-Hand Bill!
      The main goal: the antique store with the Shop Cat! It took us a while to find her, or more accurately, her us.


      Cleopatra! Jess thinks she's a Singapura, given her light blue eyes. She's quite small and young, and very friendly. And mobile. It took several attempts to get that shot--note that she's poly!


      I tried to get a shot of Jess loving on her in her bed, but another customer came into her sight. She then clearly went on patrol, checking each aisle for mice, but always coming back for a bit of attention. I bought a little metal model of the awesomest fighter plane of WWII, the P-38 Lightning, and also--here he comes, here comes


      Speed Racer with the face of a goofy baby, happy that he just crapped his diapers. Note the date--it's from 16 years before the bomb movie, and yet it's "The Classic Speed." Did I miss a reboot? She got a plastic black cat doorstop, some little white ceramic cats, and a massive slab of a family medical book from 1926. She has a thing for those. She opened it to a chapter titled "Home Urine Tests" and was sold.
      I was then asked to bring a batch of magazines to the upstairs and seperate store, because I also always ask my customers to run errands. Since I was asked because it was pouring rain, and the things were going to get wet no matter how I held them, I held them over my head. With the back cover up, because I'm not that much of a jerk. Jess raced our stuff to her car, then came out with a cat-themed umbrella that I soon learned was big enough for about 1&1/2 people.
      We luckily missed the Dread Brimfield Show, one of the largest antique shows in the world, but the next store we went to is smack-dab in its middle. We've never seen the prices so high, so maybe they marked them up for the show and hadn't brought them down yet. As soon as I was there, a young and very attractive woman with glasses began looking at us. And looking. It was weird. Then she walked by with a much older and far less attractive guy with glasses. Just like Jess and me...Not sure what was going on, but I think something was.
      Jess found this:


      Isn't that cute! The kid lives in poverty and Dad gave him a black eye! It was named "Smile, God Loves You," so we both took pics.
      After she asked me about my purchase the last time we got together ("If you see me pick up another Hitler book, slap it out of my hands"), we came across


      YES! And comparing that to what we saw, it was a totally different Nasal Douche! I already know that the world is full of douches, but who knew how many were nasal!
      And we both bought


      "'Meow' says Kitty, 'The easy way to make DOLLARS grow is to save your DIMES row upon row.'"
      You'd stick your dimes inside, until you'd saved $3, or $26 worth of 2014 dimes. In a nice touch, you'd also complete a pic of a kitty as you did--1 dime gave you whiskers, the 30th gave you a ball of yarn. 1950s Farmville, except it only cost you the money you got back at the end. Clever idea.
      There was a whole bunch. I flipped through them as Jess flipped through postcards. "Dolly Dolphin" also wanted you to save, but there was no "Molly the Manatee." After a worker unlocked the case--"You want patches, right?"--Why the fuck would I want police patches?! I'm looking for me some HITLER books! By DOUCHES!
      There was one dime bank book that said "It Makes Good CENTS!" "Oh, god, that's awful!" Jess said, and the worker agreed. "No," said I, "Look at the art!" Which was totally in that Lucy Ozone style. "This was when art like this was used unironically! 'Gee whillikers, Dad, thanks for the keano dime saver!'"
      JESS: "And this was right after they ate someone they killed for dinner!"
      WORKER, laughing: "Yeah, a totally normal family!"
      J: "Sorry that dinner was late tonight!"
      B: "The mailman was running late. And he took forever to fall into the pit!"
      The worker laughed and walked away as we said this, but he walked away rather quickly.
      And then I saw the thing that made Jess scoff "Star Wars, not Star Trek! Star Trek is for dorks."


      The complete 70s Meco Enterprise playset! For $150! Which sounds remarkably cheap, although I don't know what these go for. I'm not sure what's with the posing of Uhuru, leaning back drunk with her skirt hiked way up. Really Drunk Spring Break Uhuru? U-HO-ra? It also had (on the left) a transporter. You'd put the action dolly in there, turn it and a "sparkling" screen would turn, and there was a little door on the back that you could open and the fig would fall out, thus pretending you'd beamed Kirk into some hot alien babe's lap. I felt kinda sorry for Sole Klingon; the other figs must've beaten up him a lot.
      Except he hadn't been. It looked like it'd never been played with, except by somebody fondling Uhura.
      She also bought a baby-in-a-bag, as she has a weird obsession with Creepy Dolls. Her limbs were unattached, and I said "It's Baby Boxing Helena!" and even she smiled with a "That's just wrong!" look.
      And then we left. It led into her saying "My friends ask 'Is Bill still single?' and I say 'yes, and I don't know why!' I saw how you treated Amy [aka Groovygirl], and I don't know why you are!" My answer: cf. above, "Cats are better."
      The GPS she gave me seems to work, but it can't get a satellite connection in the garage of a 3-story brick building. Good to know! The shirts are awesomely comfortable. The iPod thing I don't need--the batteries were never taken out and they're corroded, so the thing I'll never use is never usable. Who cares about that. Another great day with my best friend, and FUTURE WIFE GIRL in some alternate reality that I truly hope never arrives. Not even if we get to ride robot dinosaurs together.


      I did the last of the Things To Do Besides Nothing for vacation, a little trip to 2 local breweries with Kev and Cos the Baker. I hadn't been to either, but that's expected. Kev hadn't, which is a little more unusual. Cos hadn't, which is unusual, as he's been home brewing for about 25 years. But he also lives 35 miles away, and if you live in New England, you get an odd sense of what you consider a long drive.
      Meg and Kev's mom were getting ready for the weekend's tag sale. Kev told us to take anything we wanted, and I said "How much for the empty Coke bottle?" Yes, it's going into the sale, as it's some giant size. If it doesn't sell, they can get the nickel deposit back. He said "Take any books you want!" and I took a couple Church of the Subgenius books and one called "Curious Connecticut" or such, of oddball attractions in the state he's leaving. On the cover was the Giant Ant outside a pest extermination place Jess and I used to see when we went to Putnam. It's gone now, and we cried out in disappointment when it was. "They took our Ant!" she said in dismay. It was vandalized once, and it spent the end of its days with a giant Band-Aid on it. Guess I should've taken more pics of it.
      The first place we went to was Broad Brook Brewing. It was a dark bar in an old warehouse. Why not? They had pallets of cans waiting by the loading dock door, so repurposing one section into a tiny pub was a great idea. Kev said "We'll get takeout!" which I thought meant they had pub food but you bussed your own tables. But, no, the "menu" was a folder full of nearby restaurants. We had the sampler, 4 little glasses of 4 beers, maybe 100ml or so each. Kev and Cos immediately whipped out their smart phones to review each one on a--site? app? how should I know? called UnTapped. You earn "badges" for your reviews so it's like alcoholic Farmville or something, but it also recommends beers based on your likes and they say it's useful for "Wait--what was that one I liked at that pub?" It was amusing to see them get excited when they got a new badge (if you enter too many beers in a short period, one's called "You're Drinking Your Paycheck"--about the only thing you don't enter is the serving size). But both of them know a lot more about beer than I ever will, especially Cos, who's like a Jedi Master. Yes, I know, I sell this stuff for a living. But I don't make it like he does. And I wasn't born with a palate that goes beyond "Yes, continue to eat/drink" or "SPIT OUT IS GROSS!"
      We all agreed one wasn't very good, the Rhino Red, but all the rest were very nice. Unfortunately, despite the pallets of cans, you can only buy growlers (64 oz jugs that you either have to drink as soon as opened, or really like flat beer). CT has some weird liquor laws.
      Deciding agaisnt takeout, Kev said we should go to where the awful attempt at a chain brewpub Hops used to be, now called Market Grill. In the scenic and hideous Buckland Mall complex, a mall full of the wonderful memories we have of meeting at our jobs at the Sam Goody/Suncoast and then being fired by them. But this what started the whole day--he checked to see what went in there after it closed. "It's a terrible location, it's expensive, and the name is the most generic one I've ever heard!" enthused Kev, whose job is as a salesman (he was off the clock). He then requested that we sit by the gas fireplace, because, phew, 75 degrees is so chilly! Maybe he's training for those 110 degree Texas summers, and wanted a close-up of a brush fire. After placing our drink orders (water in my case, beer in theirs), I asked to move. Cos wanted to sit at the bar. I wanted clarification on who would wait on us--the waitress already had our order, I want her to get our tips. She tried to not talk us out of moving to an area where someone else would get the tips, but dammit, I made sure that she stayed as our server.
      The food was...expensive. Is $14 for a fucking cheeseburger expensive? I kept switching between the $13 turkey burger and the clam strips, then decided that I hadn't had clam strips since forever. Is $8 for clam strips expensive? Almost the cheapest thing on the menu. Cos went with the $16 mac'n'cheese, Kev with the $17 cheese platter.
      Good choice, me! I took one bite and said "I remember this taste!" Kev's platter was huge! The platter, I mean. The serving tray. And there wasn't any labeling of the locally made artisanal cheeses, which kinda defeats the point. They couldn't afford, at these prices, to print that out? There were walnuts and raisins, they couldn't say which was best with which? We all agreed that our food was delicious, but as Cos said, "Not $16 delicious."
      Next, the whole thing that started this quest, Top Shelf Brewery. It's a "nanobrewery," one step above the home brewery in your cellar. And, again, in a warehouse. In a tiny part of Manchester, which looked like Detroit, or a war zone. It was just a room, with a counter and the brewery equipment. A batch of fermenting beer, in a giant inverted funnel, passed by us. Outside, the "Oldest Wool Mill In America, founded 1780" was--well, I wished I'd taken my camera. Their little building and the main one looked old, but okay. The website is rather optimistic. If you click on "Current Tenants," it lists a lot more than apparently are there, and almost all in that one ugly building. The only other is an insurance agent, and I guess operating out a building constructed in 1895 surely demonstrates confidence in your own insurance. The buildings can be seen here, except not really. I'm sorry, but just because your hideous brick monstrosity was built in 1925 does not make it "Art Deco." The Chrysler Building is not 5 stories high and a fucking wool mill. They were probably forced to add the fire escape, which included scurrying down a a lower building's slanted roof, while it's on fire. And building Number 6--if you look at their supplied map, there is no building 6, just 2 building 5s. It doesn't exist officially. ("Who are you?" "You are NUMBER SIX!" so I guess it would be a great place to keep Prisoners) "Complete with period cupola and skylights, this pre-civil war building has outlasted all. Building 6 is the oldest manufacturing structure in Manchester and possibly the greater region." I was more interested in Number 6 than Top Shelf Brewing.
      Their beer was in little sample cups. Which was good, because the beer wasn't. Again, available only in growlers, except Honey Smack, which was the only one you could get in 22 ouncers THAT MAKES NO SENSE. They just fill them all from a tap. Yes, it's harder to go to the manual capper than it is to hand-screw on the cap, but wha?! And while Honey Smack sounds like a kid's breakfast cereal--I was hoping for fun-shaped marshmallows in the head--it was the least of their beers. The best one? "Porter's Porter," a milk-style porter that Kev bought a growler of, but I couldn't get in a smaller size. But I could buy it in 6 packs at a local liquor store. The one I used to work at, in fact! can't sell the 6 packs here? Baffling, unless it's our state's byzantine liquor laws.
      I may go back, just for photos of Building 6. Yeah, that "period cupola and skylights" won't last long, as the brick building is literally collapsing to the ground. From the front entrance. The first story roof has fucking trees growing out of it. Part of it looks like it was once on fire. It looks like those buildings you see in Chernobyl, or that Japanese island coal-mining factory-city that was abandoned 50 years ago. "Building #6 will offer executive premier business space" we're told. The perfect site, if your business is after the Apocalypse.

      Jess sent me a good description of how to play Cards Against Humanity.



      YAY going back to work after vacation is SHWEEEET!
      But it was Memorial Day, when everybody loves to work! I was only annoyed when it hit me that I'd have to wake up at 7AM to get there. I was told, but wasn't sure, that I was to be there at 8, and not noon and stay until 9PM. After fighting with my stupid phone ("Just dial the number, STUPID PHONE!") I got to speak with DT. Always a pleasure. And funny how Kill Kill isn't up yet.
      The last thing I do before I leave is feed wet food to the ca--Wait, Killsy never skips breakfast! Oh, yeah, that thing she does! I'll call her name, and she'll just peek her face out from under a chair until I notice her. She thinks that it's a funny joke to play. It took only a minute or two before it was "KILL KILL! Where are you?! This ISN'T FUNNY! DJ, where's Kill Kill?!" over and over. And DJ had no idea where she was, walking in circles.
      In desperation, I yanked open the doors to the common hallway, and--right, I'd opened the back door for seconds yesterday. There she was, unhappy. She'd been out at least 12 hours, no food, no water, no box. She mouthed a silent hiss, then ran in and disappeared under the bed, DJ following her, wet food ignored. Byron ate his with gusto.
      I was here at the computer, 6 feet from that door, for hours before bed. She didn't meow, she didn't scratch. And thank Gourd it's the hallway, but it's common, and people walk their smelly dumb dogs through there, so...Good thing I had to get up early on a Monday for once. She is home and very happy to be so right now.
      Then to work, and Guy Fired by the Real Owner is Guy Rehired by his Son. He really roped in his madcap antics today. He usually cavorts like a goofy puppet, expecting to trend on YouTube at any moment. Maybe Real Owner read him the riot act, while holding a riot baton.
      The store looked the worst it's ever looked, and since I couldn't fix it in 9 hours, it took a lot longer than that to fuck up. Like over the whole week I was gone.

      Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream Of A Silicon Reich:

      Supposedly Great Nerd God NeckBeard wanted his 3rd movie directed by This Guy. Well, it couldn't have been much worse than it would be. It wouldn't have been worse if it was directed by John Waters, with Divine as Jabba the Slut.


      The latest movie I can't wait to watch:





      Speaking of France, a small mystery of my page was solved today. I'd occasionally see hits on my counter that weren't from the Newest. That wasn't the mystery; when I archived that old page, I forgot to delete the hit counter from it. So I got a lot of image searches that led directly to


      DJ's butt. Hey, who doesn't say "I like kit butts and I cannot lie!"
      But I'd also get hits from the same page, all from Europe, and all linking to...this:


      Umm, what?
      That was near-inscrutable to Americans when it came out 5 years ago, never mind now. Are there Europeans who really have a fondness for this UpChuck Asswipe cartoon? The image search was always encrypted, so I was just baffled. Then today someone in France left the search term in, and it was "volkischer beobachter." The Nazi propaganda newspaper that--and you may find this amazing--lied a lot. Yes, there is a conspiracy of the USA's Liberal Media to completely cover up whatever the living nutjob fuck is happening in this cartoon, a conspiracy whose tentacles reach so deep that Fox News exists and so did Chuck Asay's entire career. I didn't say that they have efficient tentacles.
      Given how France just voted for their National Front party, maybe Chuck does have fans over there.

      If you aren't watching Cosmos, it's probably because ACORN stole your TV, or because Fox News told you not to. (Ha ha, kidding! No one who watches Fox reads this page! Unless they just got here from a search, because they think having it compared to the Volkischer Beobachter is a compliment)
      Anne Druyan said that she and her husband, Carl Sagan, once got totally stoned and then had sex in the shower, and Carl yelled "That's it!" and solved a problem he'd been working on by drawing an equation in the mist on the shower door. And I thought, "How much cooler could that guy get?"
      Just a lead-in to this.




      While shopping the other day, I saw a package of the fat, greasy, fatty, oily "sausages" that one normally finds near the registers of 24 hour convenience stores. It was labeled "Gluten Free."
      Hey, get back to me when you slap the label on there that says "Slaughterhouse-Floor Sweepings & Pig Anus Free."






      5 Uncomfortable Truths Behind the Men's Rights Movement


      25 years ago, a man stopped a line of tanks. He was armed with a bag of groceries.


      He's likely dead. He's lucky if he's dead, in that country. The country that America's corporations want to turn ours into.

      What an upbeat opening to my first post in a week! Let us instead talk about the last God-given right the corporations have left us: We can buy stuff still!
      At the consignment store, anyway, where others are shedding their possessions to keep a roof over their heads for another month. I wish I'd brought my camera (that Jess gave me for free) so that I could take a picture of the most hideous lamp I've seen since the "more than life-sized Elvis head" one I never got. A big, yellow, creepily-happy owl. She watched "Twin Peaks" and came off it with an actual hatred of owls. Probably reinforced by the fact that owls prey on feral kittens. I could've bought it for her, if I wanted her to not talk to me for a few months. Or have a lamp thrown at my head.

      Eeriest Abandoned Amusements Parks in the U.S. Includes one in Connecticut, and if you're from here, you know which one. No owls, just crucifixions.

      Yeah, I'm pretty much just gonna go from random link to random link today. Some of the transistions will be unpleasant.

      At the consignment store, which is certainly a happier place to shop than one of those pawn shop/paycheck loan places, I saw a stuffed animal called "SOCKS the White House Cat." A reminder of a time when the economy still functioned and the budget had a surplus. Thank Gourd President Cheney took care of that! I just bought CDs. "Autumn in New England", because it had New England in the title. I didn't look at the song titles until I got home, and one is "The Trees Weep Leaves." Go cry, emo tree! I probably wouldn't have bought it if it was set in Long Island Sound and titled What We Found at Hart Island, The Largest Mass Grave Site In the U.S.
      I also got Messiaen's "Quartet at the End of Time", Stevie Wonder's "Original Musiquarium" (a double CD for only $2.25!) sort-of greatest hits, which was missing "For Once In My Life":


      That's okay. I'd already bought the MP3. Kind of an important song to me.

      Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds. Look: I've been best friends with the world's hottest nerd girl for goddamn 17 years (and online, friends with the 2 tied for second place), and you know what she owes me? The friendship that I've earned by being her friend. Exactly what I'd earn from a guy friend: mutual friendship and mutual respect. There is no "Friend Zone". There is an "I'm an Entitled Fuckhead Zone," and if you think there isn't, "bro," then you already are in it.
      Interesting how if a Muslim kills, he's a terrorist. If a white guy kills a bunch of people, he's "a lone nut." Muslims, they're steeped in their ca-razy "religion"! White guys who worship guns and steep themselves in internet forums that scream hate and advocate murder--there's only the only Lone Nut guy that would ever act upon it. Because, it's not the fault of our vengeance-crazed, murder-loving culture! They're all mentally ill! (points at temples making "Woo-Woo!" motions with googly eyes). Which means, "We shouldn't fund mental health initiatives or have background checks for gun buyers" because libtards are...points at temples making "Woo-Woo!" motions with googly eyes. Cold dead hands! We can only stop gun violence by increasing the number of GUNS! (nods sagely at the inherent wisdom)

      Did I miss a CD? Yes, I did! It's "Soft and Soothing Sounds" by Reader's Digest! 8 LPs of music on 4 CDs, $4. Hey, I like music that my grandparents listened to, the stuff so bland that it sounds like what you'd hear in a dentist office located inside an elevator. This the only CD I've ever bought that came with an index. Possibly playing in the car of the shriveled old apple-head who ran the stop sign and almost ran me over in a crosswalk. I gave the ancient curse that somehow still has a driver's license the finger, but I guess you don't look in the rearview when you don't look out the windshield.

      Where's Servo? A Where's Waldo-Style Poster Featuring Characters From 'Mystery Science Theater 3000. He's actually pretty easy to find. Naming the characters--one from each of the shows--is the real challenge.

       I'm about to rewatch Pacific Rim to see how it holds up to the latest Godzilla, which is predated by Sea Monster Attacks Tokyo, 1947, a very poorly thought-out hoax "newscast" along the lines of Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast. Which leads us to long time friend of this page Dirck, and his review of Godzilla, Crush Crumble Chomp. SPOILER: he doesn't like it very much.

      So. Why is Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life" have a special meaning for me? It was the first song that was played on the radio at work, the first day I was back after adopting my first kitten.

      15 years later, she's still here. And 15 years later, that song makes me tear up, because of her. And how a tiny white kitten changed everything.


      Usually, the best part of my day is coming home from work. But today, the fridge wants to be 72F, and Byron is puking a lot. (By which I mean, "more than twice in one day") I'm busy right now. Busy worrying.


      I looked under a chair, and it was growing there. Growing large. Its head had fallen off, so I just shrugged.
      No, that was its first head, the one it loses when it leaves the larval stage. It leapt out of the carpet where it had been feeding, and lunged at us with its fanged adult head. A 5 foot long insect with armored reptile skin and murderous intent. It lashed around violently, trying to kill whatever it could reach, human or cat. I only escaped because its long feeding tail was still embedded in the floor, the last stage of its gestation. It could only lash out as far as its tail. Human and cat were its prey, so I grabbed the only thing I could find, and began beating on it.
      Since that was a chair, it didn't work. Since I was beating it, it just made it angrier. Luckily, the fireplace was nearby, so I began hitting it with...the tongs? Dammit, I wanted the poker! That worked better, but the tail was coming loose from the house's foundation, and soon the shrieking thing would kill us all. I stunned it long enough to think "I need an ax!" and there was an ax. The cutting side killed it, but made a mess. It came alive through some kind of time rewind, so this time I used the blunt side. It died of internal injuries, not leaving any mess on the carpet at all! Until time rewound, and I had to kill it again...
      I didn't have sweet dreams last night.
      Most of the stress came from Byron. I came home yesterday to find a massive amount of Byron vomit on a towel that (of course) I'd laundered the day before. I mopped that up, then offered him some wet food. He refused it. He also refused to get on his Tower of Self-Exile. I later gave him some treats, which he took a long time to eat. Much more time than it took for him to puke them right back up. Refusing to eat is always a bad sign in cats, especially with a trencherman like Big B.
      This morning I awoke soaked in sweat, even with sweet DJ purring on my forehead. It was an early day, so I couldn't really hang around long before work. I gave him a big serving of Friskies wet, but he still refused to go to his usual eating spot, the Tower of Saint Simeon Stylites Tabby. I put it near him, by his water bowl. Somebody had eaten from his dry food bowl, but that could be any of my quadrupedal kids.
      I spent all day at work worrying. If a cat doesn't eat for more than a day, and is puking, that's an emergency. But Byron? How will they check his health when he's trying kill them? If they sedate him, what will that tell them? "We've determined that he's really sleepy."
      I got home about 10 minutes later than I should have (that broken down car is completely on the shoulder, you morons), his wet food from this morning was eaten. By him? I gave him his favorite, Friskies Tuna with Egg, and damn he devoured it. Would he hold it down? YES! Some sort of cat version of a 24 hour stomach bug, I guess. I hope.
      Yeah, the fridge is still at 72F. I don't know how it went from 40 in the fridge part to that, especially as the freezer went from 32 to 25 at the same time, with the fridge set at the coldest temp and the freezer at it's warmest. It's all the same unit. Fridge fan prly burnt out, and don't buy refurbished anything, guys; if it broke once, it'll just break again.
      Who cares? I have a minifreezer, so I'll just juggle the temp until this icebox shitbox's freezer is lower. Or buy a new one.
      Can't buy me a new Byron, that's for sure.


      "Those signs fell down!" said a coworker in disgust. Did she or any of the other 2 people "working" do anything about this crisis? Of course not. I put them back up and put 2 pieces of tape on them. This was apparently beyond my coworkers' cognitive and physical abilities.
      11 years I've been there. ONE out of every FIVE years of my LIFE has been spent working there.
      If I ever lose my job, I suppose I could get a job changing diapers in daycare. I'm sure trained for it. When I hear someone scream "BIIIIILL!" I half expect the question to be "How do I get out this Gummy Bear I jammed up my nose?!"




      Just an ad, but a good ad:




      Oh, New York Times! I assume that was about a guy named Ducks. But since the Stupidest Quotes calendars are written a year in advance, not one with a Dynasty. There's no more racsim in America! White Male Christian Republicans tell me that all the time!
      Except when there is, and then it's always against White Male Christian Republicans. The most persecuted people evar!! Must be true, as they tell me that.

      If you go way to the first post here, you'll see my unhappiness about losing my Best Guy Friend to the maelstrom of Texas. "I hope Kev reads this!" I said. Guess what. He did.
      Don't know what his reaction was--I didn't say anything that I haven't to his face. I guess I put it more bluntly here, and of course, said it to a bunch (approx. 10-15) of people who have no idea who he is. But we're planning on going to the PZ Myers lecture at the Mark Twain House, and he ignored my emails about it. Uh-oh. Shit! I fucked up, didn't I? Am I fucking up now, by writing about it again?
      I worried about it to Jess, who said "he should realize that he is blessed to have such an awesome friend that only wants the best for him, you are concerned about him because you care about them both." I worried back that I should apologize to him, because I while I know I'll lose him as a friend when he moves, I didn't want it to happen this soon. And then he wrote me that he wants to go! Hooray! I hope it's not to punch me in the nose. If you read this one, Kev, punch me instead in the gut. My nose is big enough already.

      Went to get the mail, and some guy was pointing a thing at the very door I was going to exit from. Some surveying thing. I waited a bit, as I hate people, and saw that it was a GPT-2003, or a "Topcon GPT-2003 prismless total station with 3\" angle accuracy and dual compensator on V&H axis to compensate tilt error in any directions with assesories." Since it photographs assesories, I assume they're shooting a porno.

      Cosmos is over?! I was a bit disappointed by the ending, when Neil deGrasse Tyson flies the Ship of the Imagination to a McDonalds and says "Hey, kids, are you hoping to be inspired? Fuck Science! Eat Happy Meals and watch Fox News, that's the REAL future!" But then he looked thoughtfully at the camera and said "But don't eat too many. Man, do I have the shits!" and ran off camera.
      Also, know that it's presented by Neil Tyson, not witten by him? Maybe change your inspiring screenshots so that the quote is from Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, the actual writers? I expect in a few weeks, the quotes will be credited to a different Tyson.


      I was hesitant to get the new Eno/Hyde collaboration, because Brian Eno hasn't had a good collaboration in about 20 years. But it was actually pretty good! For unknown reasons, my CD came with a postcard announcing The Shutov Assembly, which came out over 20 years ago. Reissued recently maybe? It's a good mellow instrumental album, ideal as Music to Browse By.


      Looking at the sidebar, all the weird super-limited Eno albums that were released only at his installations are available to hear, and not for the $100 or so people wanted online back in the day. Guess I know what I'll be listening to.


      Longtime blog friend and awesome artist Amy Mebberson is mentioned on Cracked! And apparently, her art is "unsettling." To which I can only say "Bibbity-bobbity-allez-geronimo-jelly baby timey-wimey!"

      After a long wait, a short (by Kliph Nesteroff standards) look at another forgotten comedian, Frank Fay. He invented modern stand-up and emceeing. He was respected for what he did, except for the part with might guess it from the aticle's title: The Fascist Stand-Up Comic.

      Early 1930s cartoons are so cute! They only barely enter the realm of nightmare. The Hall of Horrible Heads comes to life, followed by beatings and implied rape. Sleep well, kiddies!




      Can you name a book by its map? I got 7 out of 10, which the page said was good. The embarassing part: the 3 I missed were ones I'd read! How did I miss #5?! (In my defense, I was leaving for work in 10 minutes and did them real fast)


      And it's that day again! Mutual Birthday-day! Byron is currently 11, and the Divine Miss Kays 15. She looks and acts like she's barely half that age.

      I did something that I haven't I think since DJ was born (he's 5). I walked the park trail in the woods behind the condo around midnight. An orange moon, and several fireflies/lightning bugs or whatever they call them around your neck of the woods. (I prefer "radium zeppelins") Barely blinking. Because this late at night, they're the guys hanging out in the last hour before closing in a singles bar, hoping at least one more woman comes in. These will likely be the ones who don't mate. Hey, neither will I, but that's by personal choice. And I don't go up to random women and literally flash them with my ass.

      Just When You Thought People Couldn�t Get Any Dumber�

      For its 400th post, Stupid Comics looks at comics that aren't stupid. From the few I've read, I really agree. Which is very few; in most cases, just an issue or 2, or a story in an anthology. I read the EC one, and a Two Fisted Tales story, "IF!" It was a war comic that was anti-war, or at least anti-pretending that it was fun. During McCarthyism, when "pacifist" meant "Communist," and using the Korean War as a setting while the war was going on. A truly brave stance to take, but the creator was a WWII combat vet, and knew what war was like. In "IF!" the narrator lists all the random "ifs!" that if a soldier avoided--if he didn't pause to talk to these guys, if he didn't take that road in the jeep, if he hadn't stopped to look at some Korean totem poles--"What if--he'd never even been born?!" and then you find out that the narrator is that soldier, bleeding to death with a gutfull of shrapnel from an artillery shell that fell in the wrong place.
      Here's a look at its depiction of the glories of war. Not as accurate as the documentary "Super Green Beret".

      The trailer to the ultimate Marvel movie that will never be made, due to Marvel taking 15 years to figure out "Maybe we could make more money by not selling all the rights to seperate studios":




      There's a place called Little Mark's BBQ a mile from here. It's been open at least 10 years, and I've been once, maybe 9 years ago. They opened a new one near my job, and coworkers rave about it. Except the beef ribs, which everyone says have as much meat as a dog bone. I was unimpressed the one time I went, but I decided to try again.
      Since I lack the proper gut bacteria, red meat's not a big thing for me. I can eat hamburger, but almost any other pork or beef just kinda sits in my gut. For a couple of days, trying to break it down. For me, BBQ means chicken, so I ordered the cajun chicken sandwich for takeout.
      10 seconds into the phone call, I thought of the person taking my order, "Wow, you really don't give a shit. You sound like a McDonalds' employee working a double shift." As I work in the service industry, I grant a lot of leeway for employyee attitude. Everyone has a bad day. But a customer shouldn't say "please" and "thank you" many more times than the server, especially if the server says those words not at all. It looked like she was also the waitress, so I imagine her tip income is low.
      The other people there were a woman in a walker, a guy we can call "big-boned" (like in the 350-400lb range), and a couple with their backs to a wall in the corner glaring at me. Country music played, because I guess they couldn't afford the Sirius channel called "Nails on a Chalkboard." The ambience was old license plates, and a guy glaring at me.
      My takeout was late, but there only seemed to be one cook. The listless girl handed me my bag and said "Sorry, I had to wipe my nose. It was bleeding." Which is exactly what you want to hear when given food. Then she asked "Do you any extra sauce with that?" "No, thank you" I said politely, while thinking "You mean beyond your own personal secretions?"
      It was a lot of food for the price, by restaurant standards. It also wasn't good. First I threw the iceberg lettuce away, then the bun. I ate the okay but remarkably not-spicy cajun chicken just to justify paying for it. The cajun fries were equally bland, but I can put those in the toaster.
      On the way out I saw that an SUV, covered in right wing bumper stickers, had a vanity plate that said "NO LIBS." I think I know why that creepy guy was glaring at me! Connecticut vanity plates can have only 7 letters, so I guess he couldn't get "KILL LIBS." This is a guy who publicly defines himself as to not what he likes, but who he hates. I imagine the DMV also shot down his other choices, "NO NIGS," "LIBS FAGS," and "BLAARGH!!!" He had, among his many bumper stickers, one that said "YOUR TAXES IF YOU VOTE REPUBLICAN" which showed either a tree of money or a mushroom cloud. Given where the Bush tax cuts went and what the remaining tax dollars were spent on, maybe it was both. Also: vanity plates cost $69 above the regular price per year, so I just figured out a way a guy can save $69 on his taxes every year. Maybe then he can afford a "I 69 RUSH" plate.
      I don't think I'll go there again. Maybe in 9 more years.


Just back from the PZ Myers talk and booksigning at the Mark Twain House, with Kev & Meg. Kev gave me the wrong time to be at his place (it was the time he was leaving work), but I forgot some CDs I wanted to lend him, so I went home (I live a mile away). Glad I did. My house keys weren't in my pocket, and I found them in the garage. If I'd driven in there, I wouldn't have just run over them, my rear tire would've likely been parked on top of them.
      And it was fun! For starters, Kev did not punch me. I picked up a copy of PZ's book The Happy Atheist at the ticket counter, by which I mean "Picked it up and looked at it." I was told that it was available in the gift shop, so I ran in to buy mine.
      Not a big venue, but there were very few empty seats. As expected, mostly white, but not all. A good age range of 20s to 80s (with one high school guy), and a lot of women. A show of hands for "Who's an atheist?" led to almost all the hands. "Who has faith?" led to very few. Welcome to New England, PZ! Not that 90% of the population is an out atheist. There's just a lot more than in most of this religiously-backwards nation here.
      For some reason, at the last minute it was changed from "lecture" to "discussion" between him and the MTH's director. It went a little slow at first, like PZ wasn't comfortable with the new setting, but then it got going. The MTH guy made it clear that he's gay, and they have an upcoming event about gay Christians, so maybe he was trying to do some research from the "religion is for saps" contingent. But he and PZ were both funny, and while PZ might have to think before talking when topics shifted gears, he always had a reply that was on the mark. Sorry that I don't remember enough examples to put here, but I'm sure I'll find some over the next day or two when others who were there post about it. It started as a general overview, then the MTH guy asked open questions about The Cracker Incident (some Catholic kid took a communion wafer from a church because his non-Catholic college friends wanted to know about his sect; he was accosted in the parking lot--okay, it was a long story, but PZ was mailed wafers from around the world, he researched "How do you defile a cracker" and found out that it was another "fucking JEW SCUM do it ALLA TIME!" lie, but also you put a nail through it. So he did. Witha couple of pages torn from the Koran, and others from "The God Delusion," which he called "the atheist bible." Yeah, shitstorm erupted. And his visit to the Creation Museum, where they knew that he was coming--with 300 of his closest atheist friends--and he was forced to sign multiple forms promising to be a good little boy, including one that said he couldn't have gay sex there. MTH guy: "Were you planning to?" PZ: "No." MTH guy: "Did you suddenly want to?" PZ: "No, I'm straight. And I didn't have to sign any form saying I wouldn't have straight sex there. But I could see the Creation Museum becoming a mecca for gays."
      The Q&A from the audience began. Which SUCKED. I wanted me a CRAZY WACKALOON FUNDIE! and the closest we got was just a politely asked "Since science doesn't know what came before the Big Bang, couldn't it have been God?" Which PZ answered like he did with any question, with good nature and good humor, and solid science. I would've just said "And then who created God? Maybe it was--THE BIG BANG?!" and if you say "That doesn't make any sense!" well, yes, actually, that was my point. He got a number of questions regarding feminism and LGBT, because he's big on that. The high school kid asked "What's this new garbage they're saying that AIDS is God's plague?!" and PZ paused and said "You think that's new?" and gave a well-informed talk. The Q&A was the best part, actually. He's a smart, funny polymath, with informed opinions about a lot of stuff, but not afraid to say "I don't know" or "Oh, that's an anthropologist question!" as he's a biologist.
      Okay. Given that this is past my bedtime and I have to work tomorrow and I just tried to spell "biologist" like 9 different ways, I think it's best I go to bed. Wrap up what little happened next tmw, likely with links to other people's blogs. But let me just add that I brought my camera, and was sorry that I didn't take a picture, as I thought the signing would be closer to where he talked. Because above him was the Mark Twain quote "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." And for the entire talk, I wonder if I was the only one who noticed that PZ was sitting under the words "THE TRUTH."

      25 Of The Best Anti-Jokes Ever. They get better and more non sequitur as the list progresses.


      Hmm. I haven't seen any blog posts on the PZ Myers talk, but Google takes a while for things to float to the upper reaches. Here are a few pictures somebody took there. It really did say "TRUTH" over his head.
      There were a few people walking out during the Q&A, but I think that's just because it ran long. One was a very frail lady, well into her 90s, being helped by a younger woman. And I thought, "Wow, she was an atheist a century ago! I only replaced telling people 'I'm not religious' with 'I'm an atheist' about a dozen years ago."
      I was second in line for the book signing, as only a few others had bought their books beforehand--probably because that 1 woman told them, too. The guy ahead of me had a clipboard of pages of copious notes. Was he planning on having those signed? Then when PZ sat down, he pulled out money and, oh shit, he thinks you buy it here. By this point the line was long, longer than the line in the gift shop of people getting their own copies. It looked like at least a quarter of the audience was getting their books signed. I hope, since he was first, he was allowed to cut back near the front.
      "Bill the Splut. S-P-L-U-T." Why do I always get an odd look at signings? "What does that mean?" asked PZ, and I said "It's my webname." And then I made a fumbled joke about "It's French, LaSplou. My grandparents were in a different line at Ellis Island." He smiled politely, like he maybe does at an earnest freshman in one of his first classes, and said "Nice shirt!" My Plan Nine one, of course. And I missed the perfectly apt opportunity to say "Can you PROVE it didn't happen?! This is observational science!" and then to the line: "My friends, are you ready to accept the truth about--Grave Robbers From Outer Space?!"
      Meg complained that "It smelled like farts in there!" meaning the audience. Kev and I didn't smell anything. And in retrospect, the Bible does say "He who smelleth it is he who begat it!" We walked to the Half Door, an Irish pub. Kev was right to insist on walking; there was no parking. It was mobbed, even on a Wedsnesday. The on-tap selection was amazing, and we all ordered a draft glass. The bottled list was half a giant menu in tiny print. Given the pathetically low lighting there--so low we had a tea light on our table, and you know how many lumens those things throw off--I really didn't try to read it all, although some were over $20. One was $32. Maybe these were bigger than single-serving bottles, but damn. I don't remember what Kev & Meg had, I think a pitcher of Coors Light (each), but I had a He'Brew Pomegranate. The only nonsecular beer they had! I defy anyone to find a trace of pomegranate in that bitter crap. Kevin couldn't. Then a Unibroue Fin du Monde, because who's going to have that on draft any time soon? Or ever? And a Cisco Grey Lady, which did not taste like the New York Times. Kev enthused that his Belgian was served in "the proper glass"--wait, it was Bud, so it came in a slopbucket. Both of mine were great. As were the chicken ranch sandwiches Kev and I had, mine made better because it wasn't that half-eaten, plywood travesty I'd forced down my throat (just like TEH GAY MARRIAGES!) from Little Inedible's the day before. Meg just got a baby spinach salad, of which I said "WHOA!" when it was placed in front of her. It was a bucket of spinach, the likes of which are usually seen in Popeye cartoons. We were all hungry, and as the saying goes "Hunger is the best sauce." No. The company of great friends is the best.
      Our coversation was largely about atheism, and how we all got there. It was a lot easier for Kev and Meg, as they weren't raised with a lot of religion. My journey was longer, as I was Irish Catholic, even though I was raised by liberal Johnson Civil Rights-era Democrats. I should tell you about that journey someday soon. The anecdote I gave was "Mom, me and my 3 younger sisters would get all dressed up in our literal Sunday Best, and since it was the mid-60s, I was in a little suit, complete with clip-on bowtie. Dad would dress up in a bathrobe, unshaven with a cup of coffee, the Sunday paper, and stay home and watch TV. I asked 'How come we have to go, when Dad doesn't?' Mom would always answer, 'Because we're Catholic, and he's Protestant!' So I got together with my sisters, and one day we all got together and I said to Mom 'We've decided we want to be Protestant!' It didn't go that well."
      But the conversation also went everywhere else. Finally to the room's elephant: "How many more times will I see you?" To see Sharknado RifftTraxed, for sure, but after that? There are less than 6 weeks until the big move to Austin. Will there be a going away party? "No one's said anything. Maybe no one cares." and that was said sincerely, and met by my personal best Eye Roll.
       We didn't leave the Half Door until around 11, later than any of us expected, and Kev's Honda Insight was the last car in the lot. "WOO!" I fratboyed. "We closed the MARK TWAIN HOUSE! Anybody remember where we parked?"
      So yeah. Awesome. I don't know how many visits are left, but there will be Too Few.
      Way too few.

      And to end on an upbeat note, here's the irreduciably complex Bran Flakes song "A Susie Moppet in Sing Time Sing-a-Long":










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