NEW 120

"If the universe is bigger and stranger than I can imagine, it's best to meet it with an empty bladder."
--John Scalzi


      Well...I guess I should write a something.
      I received this heartfelt email greeting:      Well, that's great. Also, "kapptur," who the fuck are you? The people who got to the copyright office 5 seconds after the guy who came up with Captcha left? "Kapptur," sounds like a villain from a lame late-90s X-Men comic. Did he capture your bone marrow and draw it from your pores in a big gush, and have tiny feet because he was done by Liefeld? (He would keep your bone marrow in his many leg pouches to power his big guns!)
      Also, a sweet pear becomes mushy rotting fruit after about a week. I hope 2015 goes better than that for me.

      You may or may not get a free can of Red Bull via telling them your New Year's resolution (I got all the way through, but it never said I was getting a can). I said "MY RESOLUTION FOR 2015 IS: to pick the right week to stop sniffing glue." In retrospect, maybe I should've said "to not be a rotting pear."

      This New Year's Eve was probably the busiest I've seen in a decade. Also, the most times I've been asked "Are you closing early?" followed by utter disbelief when I said "No." One, why would we close early on the day when the parties start the latest, and 2, why did you ask if you thought you already knew the answer? 3, why are you asking while you're in the store buying? To know that you can't buy later? 4, why buy on the third busiest day of the year and ask "Do you have any cold champagne?" when you could've bought a day early when it was slow and just stuck it in your fridge? Of course it's cold, everyone's buying it nonstop and we put it in the cooler 5 minutes ago! We lowered the temperature to Kelvin. Do not lick the bottle.


      Coworker: "Did you expect it to be this slow today?"
      Me: "It'd be almost as slow if it wasn't snowing."
      Maybe it's just me, but it seems to snow on Saturdays and Wednesdays a lot. Wednesday I have off, but Saturdays...also a day when most people don't work, so plowing tends to be minimal.
      It was to snow only 2-3 inches, but heavily and all at once, then become freezing rain, then rain as it warmed from the 20s into the 50s NO CLIMATE CHANGE IS HAPPENS, IS TOTAL SANE WEATHERS!!
      The worst part is just getting out of the town I work in (20 miles from home). They never plow until the storm's over. There's a commuter parking lot at the exact border with the next town, where the plows turn around. The road goes from 6 inches of frozen sludge to perfectly clean right there.
      Driving home yesterday, I saw that the town had pre-treated all the roads. Even the very minor residential backroads I drive on. Crap! They're not planning on plowing at all, are they? Just wait for the rain. Well, the rain comes after midnight, I drive home at 9, that's awesome, thanks.
      The Store is inbetween the fire house, the police station, and the emergency clinic. 30 minutes after the light wet snow began to fall, we were surrounded by constant sirens. A part-timer who is also an EMT said "There are 3 accidents, one major. And a chimney fire." (I'm guessing that was unrelated) And an hour later, we finally saw the plows. Guess the town didn't want any lawsuits.
      Leaving, I scraped the ice off my windshield, then lent my scraper to the coworker. He goes to college in Mississippi, but crimeny, scrapers are sold in dollar stores, keep one in your car in CT. In the 2 minutes he used it, my windshield completely iced up, and I had to pull over and scrape again. Guess I should lend it to him first next time.


      Not because I think slowly or am easily distracted, but I was thinking about Christmas at my sister's and doesn't Halloween shopping seem to start earlier every year, and do gerbils eat french fries? I mean, a french fry would be like the size of a Duraflame log to a gerbil. If you crossed a gerbil with a grumpy hamster, would it be a hermit crab, or a crabby herbil?
      That last sentence proves nothing about my inability to self-edit. On Xmas, which was like 3 weeks ago or maybe in the 1890s, I met my sister Judy's pony. I mean "dog." What kind was he? The big kind. The fucking 90 pound kind. I imagine there's a more specific breed, but "Jesus Fuck, it's the Leviathan!" also works.
      "We're his fourth family," she said. "He started in Indiana, ended up in Connecticut. No one ever said why they gave him up! Well, his last owner was a single mom, and I can't walk him by myself. I don't walk him, he drags me!" I said, "That would be why. Uh-huh." (thinks to self: "Probably nothing to do with the fact that in 4 months, he's sent both your kids to the emergency ward")
      "Jimmy," as the behemoth is named, likes to half-lie in laps. His mighty girth would take like 3 laps at once to fit. There was a noise, and Jimmy jumped up while in her daughter's lap. His massive head smashed into her jaw and gave her a concussion. Jimmy was unfazed by her injury, possibly still focused on the threat of a cloud moving across the floor or a squirrel farting outside.
      Judy's son was playing with Jimmy the Impaler, and he decided to have a staring contest. I've never tried this with a dog. I have with cats, but as they have 19 different eyelids and one is an unblinking "LOOOOK into my EYES!!" one said in a Bela Lugosi voice, humans will always lose. Apparently, Monster Dog Version is "GARRRRHHH YOU DIE JOE!" and Jimmy jumped and tried to eat Patrick's nose off. So Patrick celebrated Xmas with 10 stitches.
      DJ cut my ear last month. I used up like 2 Kleenex!
      Adopt cats, people. Or maybe small dogs. Or just go ahead and adopt a sloth. When it goes for your face, you'll have 2 days warning. "Oh no, I'm being attacked by a sloth! Sorry, Slothy, but I have to go to work." (gets home 8 hours later) "Slothy honey! Oh, wait, you're still attacking me. Okay, I'll stand here, but I have to go to bed in 5 hours."



--on screen, Fox 23, Tulsa



      "COLD ENOUGH FOR YA?!" Sorry. I work in retail and hear that a lot. To be accurate, it was more like "Oh god oh god never warm again"
      It was actually worse yesterday, with no sun and more wind and WTF, it's 5F out an hour after sunset. My road had a utility crew on a cherry picker, and did I pity them. I briefly thought about driving my car the 1/5th of a mile round trip to my mailbox.
      My car stays in the garage, which is built into the side of a hill, so it's about as well-insulated as it can get. I'm the only one of the 4 units in my building that puts a car in the garage. One guy has a workshop in his, the others use theirs for storage. Reasonable. One garage is full of big plastic storage bins stacked to the ceiling, and also 4 deep in the back. They also have packages from the Home Shopping Network outside their door 1-3 times a week, and that's just when I see them. They have issues, or maybe they're storing stuff for other people who maybe can't leave a box outside their door when they're not home or in their garage-less place without it being stolen?
      OK, a little far-fetched, but the people I share half the garage with...Why you would have a complete kitchen and laundry room in your garage, I don't know why you'd keep that as a backup. The washer and drier are gone, but were replaced with a table covered in big, taped-up boxes of whatever. Unless they're full of what it says on the big boxes, "Single-Use Disposable Vaginal Speculums." Hopefully unfilled with things that have had one use.
      Last night before bed, I shut the inside storm windows. Miss Killsy immediately ran up to the first one and yelled what I guess was "But I LOOK out of that!" Then I closed the other, and she ran up and said "But I look out that one, TOO!" I don't think you'd wanna for the next few days, dear heart.
      I should say that I turned the heat up to 80 nearly 4 hours ago, and the temp has gone a whole none degree. It was at 70, but 70 in the spring outside is "Shorts weather!" 70 inside in the winter is "OH GOURD FROSTBITES"


      My heat is still set at 80, and the house went all the up to 72.
      I don't want to make this a blog about the weather, but don't pretend you don't talk about it, too. Today's forecast called for an 80% chance of snow during the morning rush hour, and also a 70% chance, or a 50% chance of just snow showers, depending on which part of Weather Underground's page you looked at. A few flakes fell as I left the garage full of speculum boxes. Ten minutes later, it was just light blowing snow while I did 70 on the highway. I took the exit for the next highway, and I didn't even reach the end of the quarter-mile ramp before there was an inch of snow on the road, a whiteout, and I was doing 15MPH. The fuck? Where did THAT come from?! All the delivery drivers had a similar story "It just came from nowhere, right as I reached [place name]!"
      Then it stopped and 3 hours later, the sun came out and melted it all. This crap the liberal media spreads about "Global Warming makes the weather insane" must be wrong! It SNOWED in WINTER!

      Much later, my rib hurt. The one I fractured like 13-15 years ago. It still does that. Maybe I lifted something wrong, maybe it's the weather? (Okay, I'll stop talking about the weather) Then a customer came up from behind me and gave me a friendly punch in oh, guess where exactly. I gasped in pain, told him "Maybe you just numbed it!" and said as soon as he left "Maybe you didn't" and took 3 ibuprofen. Next time he's in--well, the store does have a tire iron behind the register...


      Via the only thing I read on Daily Kos anymore:      No one remembers that we also invented the Wiffle Ball! And comic books! The helicopter! The first female governor who wasn't the wife of a sitting governor! A really weird/ugly state flag, and were founded by a guy named Hooker! Hamburgers! And Preppies!! Several men named George Bush!!! Okay, maybe I should've stopped 2 points ago.



      Here's a Fleischeriffic video! Why, it's even Cab Callowayeriffic!


      Which reminds me of this! It's also Muppeteriffic!!






      BFFs! Snuggle buddies! Friends to the End!
      Actually, see that cascade of CDs? Killsy was being bugged by DJ 2 days ago, and she very deliberately dumped that stack onto his head. Siblings, really.
      If you're wondering why he has that pink spot on his nose, when gets in my lap he sometimes likes to rub his nose very vigorously against my short, rough beard, to the point he rubs himself raw. He doesn't mind.

"Cy-Kill 1 to Rock Lord 3! Abort mission! Abort, abort!"
      (long pause)
      "Cy-Kill 1 to Rock Lord 3! Urgent, urg--"
      "I told you at the start of the mission, I am not responding to any code-names based on Go-Bots."
      "Okay. Papa Smurf to Snork. Can you receive through your head funnel, or is it full of, how should I know, Scooby Snacks?"
      "Tarantino. I told you before insertion."
      "sigh Mr Black, this is Cy-Kill 1--"
      "Not responding."
      (grits teeth) "Okay, this is Mr PINK, are you happy?"
      "Roger, Pinky! What's the status?"
      "Jesus! ABORT! Did you miss that part?!"
      "Why? Am I stuck in the middle with you?"
      "Christ! Christ almighty, ABORT! The CAT is out of the BAG! ABORT MISSION!"


      "Nah, she's still in it. Now, if it was a little green bag--"
      "Hey, The Gimp, this is Royale with Cheese. Oops, signal breaking up. You are requested to begin self-extraction. Start with your head and your ass."
      Small cat in bag yawns, stretches, says "Mew," and 10 big burlap bags rip open, each holding a Bengal tiger.
      Small cat goes back to sleep.

      Developers of Glorn FAQ, "The Ultimate German Strategy Board Game for 16-32 Players."


      Around 3AM 2 days ago, I was laying 10%-awake in bed when DJ came in and laid on my chest. Wait, it's not DJ, it's Kill Kill! She's never in the bed! And never a lap cat. So I petted her for no idea how long, between 10 minutes and an hour. It became apparent that I wasn't going back to sleep, so I got up. And Killsy was still hovering around me!
      Because she'd swallowed one of my 2 foot long ponytail hairs, and now an attached piece of her poop was dangling half out her ass. I'd spent some long amount of time blissfully in bed petting the Patty Deuce Show.

      I don't know if "the Patty Deuce Show" is funny or even coherent. I awoke between 3 and 4 this morning feeling awful, as awful as, I don't know, a cat with a cold piece of shit waving out her butt. I thought "I should call out of work," but I said that while on my hands and knees in a fetal position in the shower, "but I can't go back to bed for 90 minutes when my hair's wet." Apparently all my current problems are related to my long hair.
      I got to work, I guess, as I was at work. I guess. It felt like I wasn't there, just dreaming it. I held together for 4 hours and went home (I guess, as I'm at home). I fed the cats, then slept until 6, then ate the last of the homemade chicken soup Mom gave me for Xmas. With another million hours of sleep, I should be ok to go to work tomorrow, because otherwise (INSERT PUNCHLINE HERE TOMORROW)

      I guess "Mysterious Mose" was a thing once, because here's Betty Boop covering the song during her "I took the brown acid" phase:





      Wow, Stupidest Things Calendar. I bet you wouldn't do that joke if it was "He's gay." I guess transgender people are still okay to mock.
      I think this is where a lot of religious and racial tension comes from: If the people at the top can keep the people at the bottom fighting with each other, they can't band together and fight the people at the top who are their real threat.
      Sit at the back of the bus, and we also don't serve the Irish here.



      The weather wasn't great, cold and very windy, but the company was awesome.
      Jess and I in Putnam on a Tuesday. We usually come on Wednesdays, but she had a feral rescue scheduled. We hurried to the art gallery through the cold. It was closed. We dashed off to Jeremiah's Antiques--it was closed, and they only close on Tuesdays. We started towards Cosmic Cat, a New Age store that had Phantom, a lovable store cat. "Why are we going?" I said. "They're never open!" And they were.
      Jess asked about Phantom. I cringed. We haven't seen him a long time, and she forgets how long we've been seeing him--14 or 15 years we've been coming here. He died 2 or more years ago. Jess and the owner began talking about cats, cat health, ferals, Jess' husband's cat Bogart getting renal failure after peeing blood two weeks ago. My look of shock and sadness was not discussed but obviously noted. "You know what works?" said the New Age store owner. "Reiki." I kept a poker face (as I was still internally screaming "BOGART? RENAL FAILURE?"), but if I was the other person in this conversation, I would've ended it there. If you don't know, Reiki involves hand waving. Literally just that, without touching somebody. I think it balances both your chakras and your chi and possibly your feng shui, maybe also your orgone energy, your vitreous humours, and the Force. She said "It can also be done remotely!" Suuure it can, it's not like you're touching anybody anyway. The store had an unsold copy of the book 5/5/2000: The Ultimate Disaster. What bullshit! We all know the world ended on 12/21/2012!
      The owner has a feral visiting her porch that she's feeding, so the conversation turned to that, as that's what Jess does. "I spend so much time doing it, I don't even have the time to see my friends!" Jess said, turning to me. The owner said that she was thinking about rescuing him, and a very long talk ensued. The owner repeatedly said that she worked as a vet's assistant, but also made it clear that she trusts not the demon vaccines. This is not the point that I would've left, this is the point I would've stabbed the woman with a rusty nail and yelled "Don't get tetanus shots, they cause the autisms!" Jess tried to discuss this--"I've seen cats get distemper, and it's the worst way to die!"--but Ms Pro-Whooping Cough waved it off. Maybe she was using Reiki! Or the Force. "These are the diseases your children are looking to get!"
      Jess left her contact info. Outside, I said "It's a good thing they were open!" meaning that she'd rescue the feral, and not New Age Lady (I like to pronounce "New Age" as "newage," so that it rhymes with "sewage"). "Bogart" I said, and she said "I don't want to talk about him. I'll just start crying." But she did anyway, swallowing the lump in her throat: "We almost had to make a hard decision last week." But Bogie is a fighter. He's had a heart murmur since he was a kitten, and has had many close calls. As she told the newage lady, "Every year it's like he thinks we need to spend $2000 on him!" (Which was followed by "think magic thoughts" words by the lady, and I could see Jess' patience fraying) And now he has a cold, which actually is a big deal even to humans when they already have a compromised immune system. But he's a trooper who probably has at least 2 lives left. She said "He's going to be pissed if it's a cold that gets him! 'Are you kidding me? I'm tougher than that!'" Bogie is a cat who should go out defeating a supervillain and saving the world for all Catkind.
      We were silent for a bit, then she asked about my kids. I told her that Byron had snarled at DJ for the first time in months, as he had one paw on Byron's tower and the other on his head. Yes, B has been much less hostile to him lately, but that isn't the way to make friends and influence cats, buddy.
      Jess gave her opinion of newage. "I believe in some of that stuff, so if I don't, it's really nuts!" She went to a New Age con with a friend who needed "food." She believes whatever crap someone wants to sell her, all this "cleansing" stuff. There was a toilet for cleansing she wanted to buy, because when one drops their special snowflake deuce, not all the evil doody ying-yang comes out. There is something to this--humans didn't used to sit on chairs to make yule logs, they squatted out their Chocodiles. So you could, umm, maybe just raise your legs when making a Dick Cheney's Soul Loaf when you're doing the Dying Elvis? "You sit so your knees are basically in your armpits!" laughed Jess. I said "I'm sure it was reasonably priced." It was basically boxes that spread your Limp Bizkit Music Maker and we end now as I run out of heretofore unknown poop synonyms.
      Her sister--who is basically more the opposite of Jess than Bearded Spock ever was of his--is into dopey crystal shit. "We need to go to the beach in January!" she said, "to recharge my crystals! I can't use them until after the full moon! OH GOD, don't touch them, you'll transfer your negative energy to them!" I said "I'd think the only crystal your sister would care about was crystal meth." (This is funnier when you know her sister. Also truer)
      We poked around, somehow mistiming our poking with 2 old ladies who poked at a much slower pace, and who were always dominating whatever booth we wanted to poke in. We eventually took a different route, and they still somehow ended up booth-blocking us. This trip's theme was militaria. Just booth after booth of helmets and bayonets. One was a 60s jet pilot helmet with a mouth mike. I want to wear that to work. While making jet noises with my mouth. If I get pulled over--"But officer, it's handless!" Jess said that I'd be safer in a crash, as I'd be wearing a helmet.
      Since I need a new work coat, I tried on a wool Marine wool coat. The sleeves were longer than my arms, and since I've entered the "Incredible Shrinking Bill" phase of my life, I kept looking for one less orangatangy. One was a Royal Navy coat. Jess held my coat while--goddammit, Old Ladies, you're looking through that very coat rack! When they left, I took it off the rack and said "Holy Shit!" That fucker was for a ship's deck in the North Sea in January, and must've weighed at least 40 pounds. Again, the sleeves were too long. Just as well, as I can imagine walking up 3 flights of stairs with that monkey suit on my back. "I bet I'll regret not buying that if I ever get a job a battleship." "Don't worry," she said, "If you do, I'll make sure to keep reminding you."
      "Lots of purses," I said of one booth. She said "Yeah, I'm pretty much done with purses, I have so many." Her purses are always cheaply bought but very cool and odd ones. Then she said "Look at this!" She found a big, circular wooden purse, with a mirror inside and lined with velvet. Five bucks! "Won't that hurt your legs after carrying it for a while, banging against them?" "No," she replied, "I hold my purses like this," and she crooked it on her elbow, "like a lady!" "The only thing ladylike about Jessica." She laughed and said "That is so true!"
      I pointed and said "Baby hands." Jess said "OMG BABY HANDS!! A DOLLAR!!" A tiny package of 2 baby forearms. Plastic; we weren't at the Lecter Emporium. She told me that she has a big jar of dismembered doll parts at home, because Jess.
      I looked at CDs, because I want to fill up my 160GB iPod, and because I need more things to stack so that Killsy can dump them on DJ's head and I can slip on in the middle of the night while trying to reach the lights. I would've finally bought Deee-Lite's first CD if it didn't look like someone used the disc to sand wood. I bought 3 generic New Agey CDs (I don't dislike the music when it's $3, just the philosophical "wishing makes it so" idiocy behind the movement's beliefs), "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" soundtrack because Morricone, a Drum & Bass CD that I may regret, even at $3, and a didjeridu CD. The insert has no info on the CD, just ads for 2 "HARDCORE TECHNO" CDs, because I guess this for when the club crowd's MDMA was wearing off around 5 AM. In the next aisle, I heard some girl whisper "That guy's looking at--CDs!" He turned out to be a boy 10 or under, possibly horrified that I wasn't downloading them for 3 times the cost.
      Man oh Morricone, I didn't check the CD good enough! It looks bad and ugly, with what looks like a fucking Magic Marker stain over some tracks. This won't burn well. What a waste of $3! Shoulda downloaded!
      Her haul: purse ( handmade in 1973 by "CJK"), a ceramic tiger cub (or maybe orange tabby kitten), a Huskies bracelet she's going to alter for her UCONNy mother-in-law, and dismembered hollow baby hands. After we goofed around with them like little kids, she realized "Oh! I could make this a pin!" holding it against her lapel, "with little flowers in it!" I said "I'd expect you to put a forearm bone sticking out of it." She's decided that she's going to make it with a bouquet of tiny forearm bones sticking out of it.
      And Antiques Marketplace was pretty much the only place open. We went to "small cheese pizza," which we call that restaurant because that's what she's ordered since we first came there before the Apollo Moon Landings. She always gets a pizza, I always get a wrap. "I think I'll have a pizza!" I said. And she said "I think I'll have a calzone!" And we did, because WE ARE SO CRAZY.

      That calzone is about the length of a normal loaf of bread. "And I bet you eat it all," I said. And she did! My buffalo chicken pizza was so wicked awesome, I see why pizza was what she always bought. I took 2/3s of mine home. She can eat as much as she wants, as she has the body of a bikini model and the metabolism of a hummingbird. I can eat whatever fits in my small stomach and feel fed, and have the metabolism of a tree sloth and the body of a 55 year old man.
      She's decided to stop dying her hair black and go back to her natural color. I'd describe it as auburn/reddish brown, she describes it as "cherry cola." Here's a pic that kinda exaggerates it because of the window behind her, but it's really here to show off her handmade handbag:


      From Cracked yesterday (when I was too busy typing to read it), 5 Awful Lessons I Learned Living With a Mystery Illness. It took 2-3 years for Jess to be diagnosed with narcolepsy--it was only discovered a few months ago that it's an autoimmune disorder, which kinda makes sense. When you're sick, the first thing your body tells you is "Go to sleep." And you remember Young's Syndrome, with my involuntary, random puking before it disappeared as weirdly as it started. So of course I read it. And the guy has involuntary, random puking! Maybe I had some very, very light version of what he had? And by "light" I mean worse things happened to him in item 1 than ever happened to me, and I had it for years.

      Like yesterday's post wasn't verbose enough, here's some addenda:
      When we met, I gave Jess some Funny Times that I'd read, and she gave me a wrapped Xmas gift, obviously a book. It was The Cat and the Curmudgeon by Cleveland Amory, a sequel to The Cat Who Came For Christmas. I own that already, so good educated guess on her part. It came with a button that, based on the font, I say was from the early 80s. "I (heart) Connecticut ___" it reads. It has a knob one can turn to add a phrase in a little window. "I (heart) Connecticut Charm" is what it was on, but she turned it so it read "I (heart) Connecticut Ladies." I said "Oh yeah, the ladies!" forgetting that she's lived in Mass for a dozen years.
      Other phrases are "I (heart) Connecticut Hospitality"--HAHAHA, the famously friendly New Englanders! "Nightlife"--New York is the city that never sleeps at night, Hartford is the city that closes at 5PM workdays. "Comfort"--at this time of year, that means "indoors with the heat on," but we're only 6 months from it meaning "indoors with the AC on." And "Ladies" is followed by "Gentlemen," so maybe they're talking about our public restrooms. I do find them to be very clean. I should ask the CT State Tourism Board to consider "Our toilets ain't encrusted with Shit" as a slogan.
      "I'd buy this hat!" she enthused, "If not for my phobia." I said "I was thinking 'She's actually touching that?'" The phobia would be from at least a decade ago, when we were in Pink House Antiques, and Jess browsed a rack of vintage clothing. Until a swarm of tiny white moths flew out. She's enough of a germophobe that I quickly learned to not even reference that. We walked by the long-abandoned Pink House storefront and she noticed that the windows were dripping with moisture. We hypothesized about this on the way to the restaurant, her theory being "Maybe they have steam radiators?" On the way back, we stopped and took a closer look. Water wasn't just coating the windows, it was running down them in rivulets, and it was 32 damn degrees outside. She noticed that the walls were covered in mold and mildew, and I saw her guess was right: a steam radiator, rusted out on the side facing the windows. Then we saw that the entire inside storefront was rotting. This had been going on for a while. They'd have to gut the whole thing to make in usable for humans again. Does nobody own this place? They're totally renovating the building next door into a YMCA, so maybe that will eventually be part of that. Or maybe the whole YMCA will get mold-sick.
      Things I should've stopped and photo'd: The Concrete Factory, which has lampposts with giant ice cream cones on them. I've never seen anything in that storefront, and I'm never more than 2-6 months between visits there with a certain leggy knockout. Which would go out of business quicker: A store that sold ice cream made of concrete, or a contractor who made concrete out of ice cream? The former would be gone after the first chipped tooth, the latter as soon as spring warmed the temperatures and the buildings began to fall over.
      I guess it was in the middle. According to this post, it was an ice cream store from 2008 at least 2013. Wow, how did I miss it? When a giant chain of stores goes out of business, even my beloved Lechmere, I'm "Who cares?" When it's a small business, that's someone's lifelong dream failing. That makes me sad.(Although naming your ice cream store "The Concrete Factory"...)
      Also, a billboard for Zoe & Co's bra-fitting service. The picture was of a buxom lass waving boxing gloves, with the tagline "PUT 'EM UP!" I guess they're called "dukes" now.


      Jess recommended Rescue Remedy for Byron. She just used it on her ex-feral/still kinda-psycho cat Paul, and it worked. It's possible that I'll get mine tomorrow. I doubt it can hurt.
      With the not-good news about her 14 year old Bogart (who I still bet will be the first cat with 11 lives), it was good to see my nearly-16 year old Killsy find an old toy mouse, and then go nuts on it for 5 minutes. She might've go on longer, except that I kept giving her encouragement. "Good girl! Mighty Fighty Bitey Hunter Cat!" which distracted her from her epic battle. She snoozes now after her workout, but what human at the equivalent of age 78 wouldn't?

      Your Pledge Week PBS lineup: "8 p.m.: Who�s the President? Dr. Niles Rakoff. Dr. Rakoff introduces simple tricks so that almost everyone can remember their phone numbers or what day it is."


      Coworker with a gift for metaphor, on a fingernail that hadn't quite broken: "I'm babying it like a baby!"



      I got Rescue Remedy on Friday. Jess swears by it for calming. The box said "Homeopathic," and I might've been swearing after reading that. That means "Not a medicine, so the FDA lets us sell it, even if it doesn't do anything*" (The * means "SUCKER!") And its ingredients are a buncha flower extracts and "27% Alcohol." Whaaa?! The recommended dose is 4 drops, but for a 12 pound kitty cat? After wasting who knows how many drops trying to get the damn security tape off it, I put one drop in Byron's water, he saw me and he freaked the fuck out. Running and jumping around his little domain, angry at me for doing it. Yeah thanks, it's calming him down a lot, Rescue Remedy!
      And the problem isn't that he's stressed. He's quite happy in the realm of Byronia. He gets angry at DJ sometimes, but I'm thinking that having him be angry and drunk isn't going to help things.

      In Connecticut, 5 inches of snow means either "Well, that will be inconvenient" or "DOOOM!" depending on how stupid you are. And, like grocery stores and gas stations, liquor stores are full of survivalists who think that the state's snow plows are drawn by starving oxen, and the roads won't be passable until Spring. It's the grocery store runs that are the most baffling--if the storm's bad enough that the power goes out, your car will have gas and you'll have booze, but you've just added to the rotting food you're going to throw out.
      So I had to drive to work on Saturday in a storm both ways. I grumbled to myself that every storm this season, snow or ice or heavy rain, I've had to work. Most weeks I only work 4 days, so there's a near-50% chance it shouldn't happen. I checked the weather when I got home, and there's a big storm coming Tuesday. A foot or two? Even the sane New Englanders pay attention to that. But it's on my day off! I have no problem with snow when I can just watch it pile up from my home with a cup of tea in my hand and a happy cat in my lap. Then 12 hours it's starting Monday, right around the time I get to work. Great. Wouldn't want to break my losing streak.


      Please, sir, may I have some Less?
      That was fun; let's not do it again. The forecast was that the heavy snow to start at 7, 2 hours before closing. Eh, whatever. Then this morning, 7 was when the blizzard would start. The NWS usually says before a bad storm that "Travel will be difficult at best." Today they said that at the height of the storm, "Travel will be impossible, and also life-threatening." They even said you shouldn't walk.
      I got to work at 12, and we'd already done almost a regular Monday's worth of business. I figured all the businesses would let people out early by 1. No, they let them out every hour, on the hour, so every hour, on the hour, we had another mad rush. Then the state announced a complete road closure from 9PM Mon to (not kidding) whenever they decided it was over. That calmed people down! By 5, we'd done another $10K, or $2K an hour. Christmas Eve is not that busy.
      And we had the usual Monday staffing. AKA, skeleton crew. So, yay, fun. Then, at exactly 530, poof! went the business. Because of the road closure, it'd already been decided to close at 8, earlier if we had no customers for 30 minutes. So we closed at 745. The blizzard hadn't started, and I got home only 35 minutes later.
      And, despite the fact that the worst is yet to come, we'll be open tomorrow. They think that if we're open, we'll make money, even if it's less than the cost of being open. Since they're saying "a blizzard with at least 2 feet of snow," people aren't going to even be walking there. We'll be the only thing open in the whole plaza, so they might not even plow the parking lot. Since snow could fall at 2-4 inches an hour, why would they? Hey, who cares, I ain't working. I'm going to drink tea in my pajamas, and then drink beer and eat hot wings in my pajamas. If the power stays on.
      I had a message from the town saying that there was a parking ban. From 9PM Mon to 8AM Saturday. Yeah, that'll calm people down. What does the town have, a single snowplow and 2 guys with one shovel? Arguing "NO, it's YOUR turn to shovel!"


      Re-reading last week's posts, I saw that I somehow referred to Jessica as a "leggy knockout." Which sounds like something from a particularly bad 1948 noir paperback.      I could've been Raymond Chandler, but he beat me to it.

      "Whew!" I thought last night, "I got home before the blizzard!" I checked the radar online, and...where is the blizzard? The northwestern third of the state wasn't getting any snow at all, and that's Litchfield County! For those out of CT, when there's a storm, snow or thunder, they always get the worst of it. I might get a forecast of "sleet changing to light hail," but they'll get "showers of ball-peen hammers, with occasional downpours of falling grand pianos." I've never been up there, as that would involve a trek of an enormous 60 miles, or almost as far as Oregon to a New Englander, and I don't want to die of dysentry on the way. I picture Litchfield as a blasted heath, covered with broken trees and with Mount Doom smouldering on the horizon. Haha, kidding, no volcano, just lots of random meteor impacts!
      It depended how far east you were. Putnam, where last week I met a femme fatale with legs so leggy that a mannequin would die of jealousy by poisoning itself by eating way too many grapes, they got 2 feet. (Mannequins usually get two feet at the factory) Here, 14 inches, which isn't a little. I just finished 10 minutes of petting Byron while watching someone dig her car out, and she started shoveling before I started petting, and I finished petting before she finished shoveling.
      It's better to err on the side of caution. Traffic accidents were minimal. Of course, now it's going to snow Friday (when I work and have to commute in both rush hours, OF COURSE), and no matter the forecast, people will say "Pay no attention to the weatherman behind the curtain!" and it'll be worse than the Blizzard of Nots.

      Couple of funny ones from Something Awful. Start out slow, become funnier: The Men Must Pay for What They Did to the Footballs: "The treacherous New England Patriots are guilty of deflating their footballs. We must punish them severely in the name of holy retribution. This transgression has been the biggest headline in the United States for an entire week, and it should be the primary concern of all nations."
      I haven't bought Rolos in a long time, but they were my favorite candy. Interesting results of a survey of Rolo ingestors: Who the Hell is Buying Rolos? "The average consumer of Rolos is between the ages of 75 and 120. They are male. They have extremely long fingers, possibly with an extra joint, and a simian oral region that comes to a Grinchian pursing of the lips."

      If an article that begins with "I have spent the past two days at an academic conference about the electronic music group Kraftwerk" in a completely unironic way doesn't immediately interest you, please do not click that link.

      "Blizzard of Nots" is a registered trademark of ThotViCo Incorporated.


      My favorite action movie is The Road Warrior. I'm also the one who pointed out to other fans of it that the movie would be over if there was one guy with an Uzi. And there's no way it'd be easier to maintain a fleet of running cars than one gun.
      Super-brief trailer to a movie that solves that question. And set in the far-off apocalyptic year of-- !


      "Square Pegs, Square Pegs--Square ~ Pegs!" We watched the show's premiere to see how much of an asshole the "New Wave" character would be. But we agreed that Johnny Slash was the show's most likable character. Close to the only likable character. As the article says, it started strong, then just got kinda not, and I don't even think I watched half of the only 20 episodes.

      A beginner's guide to the Redpill Right, the manchild world of libertarian "atheist" MRA Gamergaters. I put "atheist" in quotes because it's not really atheism if you replace worshipping Gourd with worshipping something else, which in their cases seems to be themselves.



      The Unexpected Bass Meets The Cat with No Name


      Hey, Get A Load Of This Evil Doctor. I'm not going to include a pullquote, just say "I really hope this guy gets the measles super awful."



      Wait, what, I haven't updated? I guess I was distracted. Yeah, distracted, a much better word than another one I could use. And use more accurately.
      I could've talked about the weather. There was a big storm Monday, so I asked a coworker if we could switch days. He lives 5 minutes from the store and has an SUV; I live 20 miles away and drive a Honda Fit. I was hoping to switch my Monday for his Tuesday, as there wouldn't likely be any deliveries until then. He wanted me to work his Sunday. Well, better than me driving in a fucking blizzard. (They didn't plow the condo until 2PM, and then the snow got worse, so it was good I had a plan in place) He also wanted me to come in on Tuesday and put the beer away. Yes, I should spend an hour in my car to keep you from doing half an hour of work.
      Turned out that one beer company delivered on Monday, and the other on Wednesday, so whatever. And, as I expected, he didn't even do the half hour's work. Y'know, there's no point in me ordering product that we don't need. But he didn't even put away stuff that was 2 feet from where it went. So, lots of holes. And those holes were empty with nothing in them like some sort of void looking at an abyss, and surprisingly, people tend not to buy the existential concept of beer. "Try this. It's called N'existe Pas. It tastes like nothing you've ever tried before. Like Nothing. Ever. Ever and ever."

      NBC's Brian Williams admits he wasn't on a helicopter shot down in Iraq. Wait, you..."misremembered" being shot down in a helicopter? Have you been shot down in more than one? I've been shot down, hmm, not once in a helicopter, I think. An autogyro, maybe, I could forget that. I remember 20 years ago when a car in front of me stopped short in an intersection, and I tapped it on the bumper doing 1 mile an hour. I don't look back on it and say "I remember King Kong throwing me at Godzilla, and my car landed 20 miles away on top of the Dynamite, Spikes and Poison LLC Factory, and it took my head clean off. Good thing I had some Scotch tape and string cheese to glue my head back on! Then the weather warmed up, and the cheese melted, but luckily I grabbed my head before it hit the ground and screwed it back on." And now I say "I conflated that time I used Scotch tape with the time I used Irish tape. Irish tape is green. Anybody could've made that mistake! Fucking King Kong, what an asshole."


      Also, I welcome our new reader from CSI! The Church Of Scientology International. I think I made one joke once about exploding Dianetic volcanoes, or maybe Tom Cruise, but really, I just do a blog with 15 readers. I don't even know if Xenu is a good guy or a bad guy. Although Battlefield Earth, come on! I made 2 attempts to watch that. Make a better movie next time.


      That quote would be funnier if Crowe liked petting crows, or his name was Russell Cow, and he starred in the movie "Cattlefield Earth."

      Hey, Owner Guy, maybe you should only hire people who actually want to, I dunno, work? A guy who does sent an "I'll take your hours!" text to everyone but the owner, so I got stuck with a guy who wants the pay, but not earning it (he was there because a woman who "wants extra hours" never actually works her scheduled hours, calling out half the time). He was the third person there, but like having a quarter of a person there. He spent his entire time on his phone, which is kind of a thing I've gotten used to from the lazy, whiny college age kids the owner--I was going to say "hires," but I guess "funds" is more accurate. But when a customer would ask him something, man, what a stink-eye he'd give them. "Don't you see I'm on my phone? I'm not getting paid to work, just be AT work!"
      What is this generation called? "Generation Wretch" works for me. Works more than they do.


      Awesome that I traded last Monday to work Sunday so that I didn't have to drive in the snowstorm! And ended up today driving home in a snowstorm.
      Tomorrow the storm continues all day, with the snowfall forecast estimated between 3 inches and 6 inches and 2 feet and the planet Hoth and changing every few hours. I've already arranged a backup if I can't make it, but enough with the winter already! One might think there was something about this "climate change will make the weather go nuts" thing I heard 30 fucking years ago, but IT SNOW RECORD NUMBERS IN WINTERS, FOXNEWS SAY NO! Also, vaccines are bad, Fox say so, while keeping away from the sickly poors.


      After the latest change in the forecast to "4 to 6 inches," I decided to go to work. It has to be at least 10 inches before a Southern New Englander worries! (Nebraskan and Canadian readers are rolling their eyes so far back, they can see inside their brains)
      Once on the highway, it wasn't too bad, unless you drove like some kind of doucheburger. Which I say because I saw doucheburgers driving. A guy in a Jeep with giant offroad tires blasted out of a gas station and flew all over the road. On the highway it was 2 lanes instead of 3, if you wanted to drive where there were at least drier ruts in the snow. If you wanted to drive fast in the unplowed fast lane...I doubt the guy in the big sedan said "WHEE!" as he careened across the HOV lane, breakdown lane, shoulder, and onto the grass, over the course of about 30 feet. Where I assume the grass is. It's where they've plowed all the snow. He ended up perpendicular to the road, in snow higher than his hood. He was trying to back out. Yeah, good luck with that, Charlie.
      The store might've done enough business to break even. The owner left me with the usual snowstorm criteria: "Close if there are no customers in half an hour." There was the usual smattering of drunks who don't plan ahead regulars, but no one for 35 minutes. 10 minutes from 830, so I figured we'd close then. Then there were 5 sales in 3 minutes, so, I guess we close the usual time. Of the last 3 customers, 2 were driving snowplows and one was a pizza delivery guy. 2 of the 3 are talkative, Pizza Guy being a total asshole who everyone in the store hates. If some jerk orders a pizza delivered in a snowstorm and then refuses to tip, fuck that jerk! Unless they're not tipping that guy.
      On the way home, my Fit's anti-skid computer ran the brakes a lot. I got caught behind 2 snowplows, which is great, because I could do 50, but not so great when I got right behind them, and I was doing 25. And then I was behind a guy who refused to pass the plows when they got into the same lane, but I was ahead of Mr Impatient, who kept flashing his single working headlight at me to let him pass me, so he could flash his light at the guy in front of me. What was I supposed to do, ram him? If you're in a hurry to get somewhere, how about...not drive in a fucking snowstorm? On the main highway, he passed me and then almost caused 2 accidents. I hope he's stranded on the highway like that other doucheburger, or at least dead.
      I didn't make it up the last hundred feet of my condo's hill, except that I did. Almost 30 years living there, never noticed that the long way around the loop is more gradual. I think my anti-skid computer's run my brake pads down to the size of pencil erasers. And we have another storm coming in a few days. On days I work. Of course.


      It didn't snow, so just links today.

      IIRC, Basic Hip Oddio was a site about a decade ago that offered streaming of 60s/70s oddball LPs, then vanished. I may be wrong, but here's something doing exactly that. Probably not of interest to those people who don't like the forgotten genres of Moog, lounge, or e-z listening, but I don't care about those people anyway.
      I'm working my way from the first one on up, and it's titled "We Dig Mancini." Because who doesn't dig Mancini?

       Vanishing Act: Barbara Newhall Follett was a prodigy who transfixed the literary world�and then vanished.

      But don't worry! Looks like you'll get to hear me whine about the snow on Thursday!


      Byron's broken 2 ceramic water dishes, as he loves to smack the bowl around before drinking. So he's been using a plastic one, which he stills whaps to the floor, but at least it doesn't break! And his chin acne is something that David Croenenberg would look at and say "Eww, gross!"
      It's not just covering his whole chin, it's both thick and loose. As I was one of those kids who always picked at scabs, it's hard not to just try and yank it off him. When Killsy had acne, she pretty much ignored it. But he scratches at it until it bleeds. So last night, I decided I'd go to Dollar Tree and see if I could find a ceramic bowl that was big and heavy enough that he might not be able to move it, but also could fit snugly in a plastic bowl, so that if he did knock it over, it might not break. Because if you don't worry about your pet's health, you don't deserve to have one.
      And this morning I got an email from Jessica titled "Bogart."


      I've learned that any email with the name of her pets in it is not going to be a good one.
      His kidneys have gotten worse since Saturday. "I was really hoping he would pass at home but it looks like he is going to be stubborn (we wouldn't expect him to be any other way)!" The little guy's always been a fighter, and they wouldn't have made this decision if there was any other choice. He's her husband Ron's cat, his first cat, and after neutering, Ron noticed "Bogie hasn't moved since he got back" and rushed him to the emergency vet. The vet said "He'll live at most 3 years, probably less. You should put him to sleep now." Ron refused--if it was to be 3 years, then it would be 3 years. Bogart is 14 now.
      He's been on meds ever since. He has a heart murmur. She says that if you put an ear on his chest, you can hear it. Bogart doesn't like taking his meds, but he doesn't fight it that hard. Ron said "I'm not giving him meds if he's eating or drinking," and B figured it out. He'd pretend to eat or drink, just standing by his bowls. Or he'd hide. Once there was an open umbrella drying on the floor, and he "hid" under it. Everything from his shoulders to his butt was viisble and oh god, this was supposed to be a funny anecdote but i need to cry for a bit.


      Okay, 20 minutes has gone by, and DJ has left my lap. Funny how cats sense that crying needs comforting. Given how Aloof and Unaffectionate they are.
      That above image is from last summer. (The first with the stuffed animals is from 2002, past the point the vet said he'd live) He spent most of his time in his bed, but when the "Georgia Peaches", the 3 orange tabby kittens Jess was fostering were running free, he got up and poked around with them. I believe she said "They love Bogart, and he's the only cat they don't harass!"
      After reading her email, I thought "Killsy's almost 16..." and in she raced, playing "Chase me!" with a cat 10 years younger. Her time will come, too. Poor Ron, he must be devastated. His first cat, the one who taught him to love cats, and someday, my first cat. The best cat.

      Not long after her email, I saw this.




      When most people get depressed, they binge-eat and can't sleep. Me, I can't eat, and binge-sleep.
      I kept imagining yesterday how Ron must feel, and how I will when it's time to make the same decision about Kill Kill.
      Then I got home from work today and, since my hands were full, gave Byron a head-bump hello. Later, KK demanded little slices of cheese, while DJ, after intentionally closing himself in the bathroom, saw a tiny moth and obsessively searched for it.
      The time to leave is always soon. But it's not now. Love your friends while they're still here.;



      Back to Bill's Blizzard Blog! Where the Winter Fun Never Ends! Because it never begins.
      Forecast Friday: It'll be 3 to 6 inches over 24 hours. Who cares? Next day forecast: 4 to 8, pretty much all at once, 55MPH wind gusts, blizzard conditions, right when I need to go to work. Since one of the closers lives in literal walking distance, as opposed to my 20 miles, she agreed to come in for me Sunday. Drunken Toddler would throw fits if I didn't come in because of the weather, but New Owner only cares that the shift is covered (and that he's not the one covering. Fair enough!)
      It snowed today, and it actually was busier than a regular Saturday. The roads weren't that bad yet, as they'd been plowed. I got home to the hill, and went up the outer loop, as I couldn't go up the inner one Monday, as those riveted by my "It snows here" stories recall. It'd been snowing for 9 hours, but had paused.
      It wasn't plowed. After 9 hours of snow.
      After much trying, downshifting, reversing and trying again, I fucking gave up and parked in the lower lot, barely making it up even that slight incline. I could smell my brake pads burning, as the anti-skid computer refused to turn off. This is the first time in 28 years I couldn't get up the hill. Obviously, the Condo Ass doesn't want to pay for plowing more than once a storm. WE LIVE ON A FUCKING HILL. HOW THE FUCK MUST IT COST?
      So I walked in the 15 degree weather, which wasn't too cold, as I was hot with anger. Since there's snow up to my shoulders and I couldn't walk in a straight line home, it was a long walk. Imagine unfolding a paper clip the long way, and walking along that length. I took my lunch bag, with my cheap phone and expensive iPod with me, leaving a 30 pack of Genessee Cream Ale behind. Trust this to happen the only time I took a cold one! Hopefully it won't explode overnight.
      There's so much damn snow, I can barely see out my front window. My plan was to wait an hour and hope they plowed, so maybe I could make it up the hill. "How will I know if they plow if I don't hear them?" I thought, petting Byron and looking out the window--Who is this idiot going out in this weather in his car? They haven't plowed, you may not be able to--WHY IS THIS FUCKER TRYING TO OPEN MY CAR DOOR
      I grabbed my house keys and walked onto the balcony, glaring. Christ, I guess I should move that $13 of beer into the trunk before my window gets smashed, as I'd probably throw my back out if I carried it in along Mount Bent Paperclip. And, once at the bottom of the hill and judging by their footprints...they just walked around the front of their car to brush the headlights off. Great. I needed the fresh air.
      And, let's see. It stopped snowing 4 hours ago (and counting), and they still haven't plowed even once. I hate the fucking Condo Ass, and they're getting an earful on Monday. I'm expecting Sunday to get the car plowed in.


      For those of you who want to rent The Grand Budapest Hotel, it's a comedy that involves a cat getting murdered. And it's presented as Comedy Gold. I watched for another 3 minutes.
      If they threw a dog out a window, and you saw its bloody corpse splattered on the ground below, would that be funny? Was Old Yeller a laugh riot? How about a human baby! Oh, my sides are splitting, just like the baby's did when it hit the pavement! No, that would be horrible. Because it's not a cat. And then the cat's owner hands in a "hat check" ticket reading "Persian Cat: Deceased" and is handed a bag with the corpse dripping blood, which he throws in a trash can. HA. HA. HA. Also, it was not Chekov's Gun. If the cat had lived, it would not have affected the movie's plot; if the cat had been completely left out, it would not have affected the movie's plot. I've never considered Wes Anderson to be anything more than Okay slash Pretentious slash Convinced himself he's a genius, but I'm sure the fuck done with him now. I'm severely tempted to just snap the DVD in half, but then Netflix would just buy another.

      I'll admit that if that one scene had been left out, I might've sorta liked that movie. It looked better than the story was, which isn't a big plus. One could say the same about the Star Wars prequels, and at least those didn't kill any pets. I just was not in the mood for that today. As I was going to bed last night at 120 AM, I took one last look out the window, and--wait, did they plow the driveway finally? Shittily, but finally? I pulled jeans over my dorm pants and grabbed the winter coat and walked the paperclip a 3rd time. No, they had not. It'd just been rutted by vehicles driving down it. So I tried again, and this time I made it to my garage. I was so frustrated and angry at the Condo Ass that I couldn't fall asleep until after 330AM, despite Benadryl, a cup of bedtime tea, and plenty of beer.
      And I got up this morning, are fucking kidding me. They hadn't plowed even the main loop! They eventually did, at 11AM, or 24 hours after the storm started. They just now cleared the garages and walkways. It's SIX O'CLOCK. Fuck you, Condo Ass! Is Wes Anderson on your board? Can I throw all of you out a window to die? IT WOULD BE THE HILARIOUS


      I realized that the original day I was going to see that movie was last Wednesday, but decided I was too depressed to watch a comedy, as it was the day Jess told me about Bogart. Good choice. Imagine how mad I would've been if I tried to watch it then! The DVD surely would have gone back in pieces, and possibly on fire. I do regret not returning the disc after at least eating potato chips and leaving greasy fingerprints all over it.
      Old Yeller was a bad example. This movie treated a cat's murder as a joke, and Frankenweenie treated a cat's murder as a good thing. Can anyone name a single movie where deaths like that happened to dogs?

      It's going to snow! HOORAH! Because it's the first storm I don't have to drive in any part of and Oh wait, it'll snow less than an inch. Even my penis says "An inch? That's nothing!"


      The Ultimate Ranking of American Presidents.

      The original British pilot for Max Headroom. It packs a lot of story, characters and plot into a single hour, and never once drops an Exposition Bomb.



      No, they should start in Waterbury CT! That's where Holy Land is!
      Assuming the Jesus they're looking for is about 3 inches tall.


      A customer was talking about a med he gave his cat, who, like Byron, goes into a murderous Hulk rampage at the vet, despite not wearing purple pants. She was in the car, so he brought the pet carrier in. Like KK, she was all white! Much bigger than her, heavier and longer. And she had blue eyes--well, blue under the dilated pupils. But she had Killsy's face, just with more weight. Since Killsy has a pointed face, and had blue eyes until she was 3 months old, I've often suspected she's part Siamese. While she's always been a Chatty Catty, the fact she has developed into a very talkative at wet food time I think proves it. (By "talkative" I mean "YOW! YOW! YOW!" until she's eating) When I told Jess that last month, she said "Maybe that's why she's not deaf!" I didn't think to ask the customer if Wynnie was, but I will.
      I checked Byron's horrible chin acne yesterday, and it's still horrible. He only got the ceramic water dish last week, so it's going to take a while to heal. I brushed my hand across his chin just now, and wow! His chin's white fur again, with the Thing about to fall off! And he hasn't broken the bowl yet. So that was worth a dollar.

      Tomorrow I get to drive in the snow again, and I don't think I'll make as much of an effort getting up the damn hill as I did a week ago, assuming they won't plow (they won't). This is also the first winter since they installed gas heat, and it sucks.
      I had to set the thermostat to 85 to get it to 70 in here, when out there it was 15 (as a high!). Weds it got up to 76 in here, but since we're getting the same bitter cold today, I didn't turn it down. Thurs morning it was 74. Fri morning: 64. 10 degrees in 24 hours is a big drop. It was 68 when I got home, as expected with the direct sun streaming through 4 windows. And has kinda stayed there. What it'll be like Sat AM, when it's -5, I don't know. I'm wearing 2 pairs of dorm pants and a tshirt under a sweatshirt under another sweatshirt at the moment.
      How does gas work? Like the internet, I know it's a series of tubes. Is it like electricity in the summer, when there are brownouts? Oil heat is on if there's oil in the heater, but if everyone's using gas, does everyone just get less? The Condo Ass switched to gas because it's cheaper. For them. We pay them directly for the heat, and they just pocketed the difference. They also turn the heat off for 5 months a year and keep charging us for a service we can't get. Which leaves open my first thought when it got really cold in here: do they have some sort of cap on the gas, so that we can't use up their profits by actually heating our homes? If that sounds paranoid...Well, they don't care if we can get up the damn hill to our homes either, do they?
      Well, this has become a post so boring even I've lost attention. Before you read it, skip to this line and go back to the top and don't read it.

      Too Much Paranoias? As the temps have gone down outside, they've gone up inside. I'm currently wearing only one sweatshirt! Hmm...Like the Condo Ass started getting complaints and did something. We'll see how they plow tomorrow. Also, I told you to NOT read this, it's boring, please go back to the top and not read it again.



2/21 Less Talk, More Weather. All Weather, All The Time. The Greatest Hits of the 70s and 80s (the 1870s and 1380s, Your Home for Steven Foster and Guillaume de Machaut) But Also Weather.
      Yeah, another messy storm on a day I had to work. This week I knew they wouldn't plow, so I didn't even try to get up the damn hill to the condo, just aimed for the lower parking lot. I didn't even make it there. I ended up in another complex's lot at the bottom of the hill, hopefully not in anyone's spot. And if you're tired of hearing me complain about the weather, how high an opinion do you think I have about this being my only topic of conversation?


      Well, the Condo Ass is getting better! 3 storms ago, they plowed at 1PM after a storm was completely over. Then, they plowed at 11AM. Today: 9AM ITS A NEW WORLD'S RECORD!
      Sweeping the snow off my car in someone else's parking lot, a guy asked "Do you live here?" I thought, I bet he's not making small talk. "No, Weathervane's condo association has decided to not plow the damn hill until after the storm is over..."
      "You're in my spot."
      I looked down, and there was his unit number. "Oh shit, I see it now! Sorry! I thought the ones farthest from the building wouldn't be anybody's!"
      "It's not your fault," he said, "it was snowing. The open ones are in the middle of the lot."
      The way he rolled his eyes in contempt at the word "Weathervane" makes me think this isn't the first time he's gone through this. Yeah, well, I hate them more. Lots more. Since I knew from last Sat that it was inevitable that I'd eventually end up in Willowbrook's lot this season, I should've reconnoitered first to see where I could park.
      Later I was throwing out the dirty litter, and in some karmic payback, a car with New York plates was splayed across 2 garage doors, but mainly mine. I passive-aggresively opened and then let SLAM! my garage door. I have to go to work tomorrow. Either move to the damn side or get towed to the impound lot. It left a bit later.
      Who was it? Judging by the religious symbol hanging from the rearview mirror, somebody related to my awful downstairs jerk neighbors, who moved out 3 weeks ago. The hallway smelled like cooking meat, so...they came from NY to cook? Squatters? Who knows. Just don't park in front of my garage, park in front of their garage. The spot I unintentionally took meant that the guy had to walk an extra 30 seconds. The spots this asshole took meant I couldn't go anywhere.

      Chili cookoffs are nothing new. But Chicago has a poutine cookoff? Interesting! Interesting from the descriptions of the dishes, and how much you wouldn't want to eat them. "Pickled something" turns up a lot.


      I took the store's cardboard to the recycling dumpster, and when I came back, I reached into my pocket and said "Here's something you don't find in the parking lot every day!" and put some guy's jaw on the counter. Don't worry, it wasn't still attached!
      It was an impression of his jaw, a dental mold. There's a dental office in the plaza, and they just weren't great about throwing things away. After startling my coworkers, I turned it over. It had a guy's name on it. One coworker said "I know that guy!" and took it with her. To give to him.
      And how surreal was your workday? Find more teeth than me?

      Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time-Traveler From 1909, here attempting to kill Hitler, and here attempting to kill Hitler again (or for the first time--you know how time travel is).
      Which is a segue to the trailer to Kung-Fury. I will say no more than "I MUST WATCH!!" Except to point out that my dream movie involved Dawn Wells in a bikini riding a robot dinosaur, and this only delivers on the bikini and the dinosaur.


      I didn't mean to make her cry.
      It was our first visit since Bogart passed, so of course that was the first topic of conversation. She kept dabbing the corners of her eyes. Ron's taking it the hardest, as Bogie was his first cat, the cat who made him love cats. At least with Bogart they had a final week with him. The last 2 got so sick so quick they had to be put to sleep after a weekend. But there is a difference between "easier" and "easy."
      We spent almost 90 minutes talking at the Cracker Barrel, which is a lot longer than we usually do. We only went to one place (after passing a sign that said "AMERICAN SNIPER--HERO OBAMA--TRAITOR"), but it was the sprawling Yankee Flea Market. "We Buy Junk and Sell Antiques." One of the first things we saw was the Babe-Ometer:


      It's like the game Operation, running a wire around something without touching the metal ring. Of course, if you fail, it's not her nose that lights up.
      I bought a bunch of $1-$2 CDs, a Connecticut shotglass with a picture of the state capitol building (apparently that was the most scenic thing they could find), and an Un-Candle. There were a lot of places selling terrible CDs. The most terrible place selling CDs looked like this:


      That is one-fifth of its floorspace, and it all looked like that. They even had a big tray of Atari 2600 games. Which, outside of River Raid, were pretty terrible as well. If you're wondering what an Un-Candle is...


      I believe my parents had that in the 70s. I was too lazy to take a pic, and Googling told me that this is still a thing! It's a wick that sits in a little plastic dish with cooking oil in it. It's popular as a camping thing, as it can't melt down without putting itself out in the tube of water it's in, and uses cooking oil as fuel, which only makes it safer. You can even still buy replacement wicks. I haven't used them, as I the closest thing to cooking oil I have is PAM spray. I don't remember why my family stopped using them, but I suspect it makes the house smell like burning cooking oil.
      For $2.50, we both bought some mint-in-package, 1988 Pee-Wee Herman cards! Not mint anymore. Mine has photo cards of Pee-Wee saying "Why don't we stroll over to my toy box?"; Pee-Wee and Chairy; and Pee-Wee, Miss Yvonne and Cowboy Curtis: PW: "I just can't remember that number!" Miss Y: "Why not call the operator?" PW: "That's who's number I forgot!" It's not spelled "WHO'S" PEE-WEE Thanks for inventing the internet. And some tattoos (skull with a buzz cut, the "Hello!" flowers, Globey, Pterry, Jambi, PW saying HA! HA!, and...Miss Yvonne, I guess? It's titled "La Dama." An "Activity Card," I guess. One side has Randy the Puppet Bully screaming "HEY TOUGH GUY! LET'S FIGHT!" and the other has Roger, a monster who's one big eye. There's a die-cut hole in the center, and we're told "insert eye for Roger, thumb for Randy" and I totally do not understand why my thumb should be sticking out of Randy's mouth. First draft probably had the hole in his crotch. There's a "Wiggle Toy," which is one of those lenticular things that shows a different image when you turn it. It shows Conky the Robot, and then Reba the Mail Lady falling back in horror into Chairy's lap. I think I remember that scene; it was her first visit to that acid trip of a house. Also, some monster alphabet stickers totally left over from some other Topps series. I know what Gary Panter's art looks like, and those don't.
      She ended up with so much I had to help carry it out. Lots of Disneyana. "Naked Pinnochio!" she said. I said "It's not his nose that grows when he's lying!" For $5 each, she got a Mickey and Donald covered in felt. "These are worth a lot more than that!" although I'm sure she won't sell them. I'm surprised that she passed on the full-sized Grim Reaper scythe. I can see that casually propped up in a corner of her living room. I regretfully passed on a "world clock" with five faces, to be set in different time zones. Only $10, but where would I put it? I do not have a lot of empty wall left.
      Then I departed the Lady with the Legs, the Gal with the Gams, the...Pearl with the Pegs? I don't think I could write a noir novel. When I got home, I discovered that the Blur CD, which I checked before buying for defects, had a pretty big defect. The CD had a really weird and complicated pattern on it, making its title unreadable. "Why did I not buy more shoegazer music?" I thought, and now I found out that I hadn't. It was a Blur case with a fucking Pearl Jam disc in it. So I didn't buy shoegazer music. I bought shithead music instead.


      Not all of our Cracker Barrel time was spent sadly. Jess also talked about her weirdest feral cat work yet: with her friend Emily at Woodstock, CT's Solair Family Nudist Resort.
      Obviously, right now they're all clothed, as about 30 seconds outside would cause their naughty bits to fall off. She said "Everyone I saw, I pictured them naked! I didn't want to sit on anything! Or touch anything! And this pickup trck drove by us real-ly slowly, so he was probably thinking [about Emily] 'Look at that tall drink of water! Hope she's here in the summer!'"
      They said that there was a shower if they wanted to use it, because that's a normal thing a business offers strangers. "I did want a shower! AT HOME!" I said "With your clothes on?" "YES!"
      They offer nude biking, which I imagine as "Ow! Ow! OOOWWW!" and also nude hiking. Which we both imagined as "mosquito bites everywhere."
      I asked her if she was going back to do rescue work in the summer, and she said "OH HELL NO!"


      After getting her Poe magnet, she told me of a tshirt site called Society 6, which rivals Northern Sun in pop culture oddities. The tshirt section alone goes on for 80 pages!


      For some reason, hotmail did not think an email from "frankk" might be spam. Minus its link, here it is, in its entirety:


      I thought "If it existed, basically ever existed, it's on the net" when I immediately found Rolf Kuhn's clarinet version of Black Sabbath. So I looked for probably the most obscure LP I could think of, L. Voag's 1979 "The Way Out."


      Even I thought it was weird, and back then my second-favorite "rock band" was The Residents. My favorite art genre at the time was Dadaism, but that was anti-art. This is not anti-music. It's very odd music, but it's music. All it asks is hatred of all things fair, destruction of nice hairdos.


      (tap, tap) Is this thing on?
      Are you reading it? Then I guess it is. For some reason, ReadyHosting's sites are demanding usernames and passwords. Since it's not just mine, I'll wait before I call them. This has not been my best day for technical issues.
      Things seem to vanish in this household, mainly CDs. When I got the new iPod, I couldn't find my copy of "The Pink Opaque" by the Cocteau Twins. It's a "best of" CD, but this bothered me. Where did it go? Then, it magically reappeared. In front of the boom box. Then, days later, it reappeared again. Next to the work microwave. Not the same CD, of course. Someone had left their copy of a microwave. If it had appeared a week earlier and been left unclaimed, darn straight I would've taken it, burned a copy, and then brought it back. Is that why it was by the microwave? Someone had no idea what "burning a CD" meant? Then it was claimed by the Drunken Toddler. He said "I like rock music!" and I said "That's really not rock music," but didn't press the point. I had my copy back, and he'd hate his.
      Then I looked for my copy and it was gone.
      Obviously, it was my copy, teleporting between work and home. That was 2 or 3 years ago, and I haven't seen the home copy since.
      Another one was "Galaxies: A Journey into Technospace." To disprove my idea yesterday that "If it existed, basically ever existed, it's on the net," all the net does is acknowledge that this CD did once exist in the physical realm. I can't buy it anywhere.
      A couple of months ago, I realized that New iPod did not have the Twin Peaks soundtrack on it. But...I've had that for 25 years! Did I lend it to Jess when she first saw Twin Peaks? If I did, she can't find it. Was it stolen by a backwards talking dwarf, or the evil BOB? Jess hates owls because of BOB, and it just hit me that Drunken Toddler's name was Bob!
      So I bought a new old CD online. I stuck it into the drive to burn it to iTunes, and...And...AND? It's not burning, and it's not ejecting from the drive!
      I immediately did the first thing anyone should do with a delicate set of electronics: I turned the computer on its side and banged on the back. I could see the CD with a flashlight. I tried to remove it with a tweezer. No, a real pair of tweezers, the kind my sister the hairdresser uses. They look like a cross between scissors on the grip, and pliers on the business end. I thought it'd come right out, but no. BOB wanted this CD. I could get it just close enough to grab it with my fingertips, which was exactly just far away enough that it rolled back in. It took more attempts to get out than plastic sheets you wrap a Laura in, and much banging of the CPU, but I got it out. Of course, the CD looked like some asshole grabbed it and yanked on it as if it was a rotting tooth for 30 minutes with some industrial tweezers, so, goodbye Twin Peaks CD.
      In my defense, I did quickly unscrew the side panel and Fuck, I still can't get in there. I turned the computer back on, and OH FUCK, it's not working! Oh wait, all that banging apparently unplugged it. The CD tray works fine, if one discounts the fact that "banging on a desk breaks the little plastic door." Every time I've tried closing it lately, it got stuck and the tray needed a push, so maybe the door was the whole problem.
      And Twin Peaks plays on iTunes with no problem, even with its PTSD and all (Post Tweezer Snagging Damage).

      Like a stiletto, extremely short but pointed: Standard Responses to Online Stupidity.

      I also had to redownload Firefox, because apparently turning a computer on its side makes all the ones and zeroes fall out. It kept saying "can't find XP-COM." Maybe go to a flea market? I think that's where you find 1990s computer games like X-COM.


      A coworker pointed out that I probably need new tires. I thought about this every time I drove my car, just never when I was out of my car. I mentioned it to Jess last week, and just as we were parting, she remembered. "Bill, these are bald. No wonder you can't get up your hill!"
      I still think "they don't plow" is the main reason, but I decided to replace them before the next storm or


      that happens again.
      A storm on Sunday through Monday, a storm Tuesday through Wednesday, and I missed them both! But another one on Thursday. Since my tires have been slipping on the tiniest of slippy things, yep, time to get them replaced. The plan was on Tuesday, but that storm was supposed to end by the time I got out of bed Weds, so I put it off till then.
      It was warm enough for the snow to melt. We have 6 feet of snow. This is over twice any normal year, so if you want to derp "Snow in winter, no global warming, hurr durr!" go deposit yourself in a snowbank until you gain my interest, then I'll withdraw your corpse. (It snowed this much last year, and 2014 was the warmest year on record. It's not called "northern third of the USA warming," you ignorant fuck) And melt it did! I went to Firestone for new tires. 2 workers were dragging a giant trash barrel inside, and that was the only way I knew they were open. The main room was dark. I walked in and stared at the waterfall. From the gaping hole in the ceiling. With the giant barrel beneath it.
      "It's dangerously close to the electrics," said the guy. "Is there any other day you can come in?" I thought But I'll have to drive in the snow on tires that skid in water tomorrow, and scheduled for Sunday.
      Yep. Tomorrow's commute looks like fun.




      Yes, There Is Christian Persecution in America And Here�s What it Looks Like


      The sun was coming out when I went to Firestone to get my tires replaced. I had an appointment, so it should be quick, right? On Wednesday there were 3 people checking customers in. Sunday, one, with 4 times as many customers. It took 10 minutes just to talk to someone. "You car should take an hour and a half."
      I had a plan! It was to take a magazine from the car to read, and walk across the street to the consignment store. But I left the magazine in the car, because my car would still be in the lot when I got back. You'd think that where there's a crosswalk with a Walk signal on the second busiest road in town, there'd be a sidewalk on the other end, wouldn't you? Nope! And only 8 feet of plowed snow to climb over. So I got to walk on a 2 lane road that's currently 1.75 lanes because of the snow, and on the wrong side.
      I found some great deals in the dollar CD bin. Donovan's greatest hits, which is something I'd actually been looking for; TMBG's "Here Come the ABCs" and there's no way I'd pay full retail for that could be a kids CD; some newage Island Drums thing; and the soundtrack to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," because why not. All were marked down after 6 months to a year in the store, except the last. It had been there a month, marked down from the odd price point of $4.39. I wonder how their pricing works--since they all got rung up as $1, despite all the other information on the tag, do they just toss the seller 50 cents?
      I went to Rock & Smoke, maaan, because I had 90 minutes to kill and it was in the same plaza. Their "water pipes"--if you say "How much is that bong?" they legally have to throw you out of the store, because pot laws are stupid--were 20 to 30% off! Off what? They were in locked cases, with the prices on the bottoms. I didn't ask. I'm an experienced junk shopper, and know that's a bad sign.
      Since I needed cash and also to kill more time, I decided to walk to the ATM at Stop & Shop. And that's when it began to rain. 38 degree rain. Did you know that a drive that takes 45 seconds can take 15 minutes on foot? The fact that the sidewalks appeared and disappeared at random didn't help. Or that when they existed, they were only semi-shoveled at best, switching between ice and snowmelt and mud. I decided "This wasn't your best idea, Bill" about halfway through. "When you get home, Google 'catching pneumonia'."
      I sat on a bench at S&S, waiting for the rain to end, and for my ears to regain feeling. After 10 minutes, I realized that there was a closer way to get back to Firestone. I left just in time for the rain to end. And for the snow to start. GO, BILL'S DECISION MAKING! There was a sidewalk, even more slippery than the first, and since my whole reason for replacing my tires was that they were slipping on wet spots, isn't that ironic! I don't know, I'll ask Alanis Morrissette.
      And after 10 minutes of being bored by college basketball, my car was done, and in only an hour. After 10 minutes, and $360. Surprisingly, I could feel the difference in the car's handling as soon as I began driving. And so far, I'm pretty sure I don't have pneumonia. And as I drove the 5 minutes home--that's when the sun came back out.

      "I guess American Sniper seems like a pretty exciting movie, but he doesn�t really hold a candle to Dynamite Joe � the Blast-Crazy Marine! Call me when Bradley Cooper�s firing arrows laden with thick pimprolls of TNT wildly at unknown targets. Now we got a movie!"

      Short--actually, too short--cartoon about Mark Mothersbaugh and the formation of Devo. I was interested by the beginning, when he talks of getting his first glasses. I didn't get mine until 5th grade, and my Mom remembers me saying on the drive back "I can see the leaves on the trees!"




      A movie where the future isn't a dystopian nightmare because of Science is Always Evil, but its opposite utopia? I could watch that!


      Unless it does turn out to be a dystopia. Which would be such a novel twist, after 40 fucking endless years of that kind of movie, over and over. The "Directed by Brad Bird" part gives me hope.


      This is either "The NSA and Zuckerberg are stealing all our personal info!" or "The first step to computer AI and Skynet!" or "Kinda like those old internet quizzes that told you which Muppet you are": "The Watson User Modeling service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through text messages, tweets, posts, and more." That would be Watson, the Jeopardy-playing computer.
      Put in something you wrote, and it instantly gives you a ridiculously long series of stats, right down to the exact percentage point, of what your personality is like. Even D&D players would go "WTF? My Modesty is 4%?"
      It doesn't really explain what it means--does 4% Modesty mean 96% Vanity? And the sample is the opening passage from Moby Dick, so is it rating Herman Melville or Ishmael?
      I pasted some entries from this blog in there: my trip to Firestone, Jessica's trip to the nudist colony, our purchases from our last trip antiquing, my sister's dog Cujo Jimmy. My results ranged wildly. Imagination was 1% in one and 99% in another, and Self-Transcendance (which I guess gives +5 to rolls on Bhuddism) ran the same extremes. I know that you can tell plenty from someone's writing, but it's more like "What a racist douche!" than "86% Racist Douche, 2% Open to Change, 99% Eats Cheetos."






      Customer in his 50s, recognizing Aerosmith on the work radio: "This brings back memories!"
      Me: "It brings back memories for me, too! Of yesterday, the last time I worked."
      Does anyone listen to commercial radio that isn't paid to do so? I sure don't. The work radio station is there because the radio's old enough that we can't stream something online. Our old station, WDRC, had the most variety of any work-friendly one. It played music from the 60s to the 90s, and songs only repeated after 2 or 3 days. Every other station was just the same shit in a slightly different order, like a CD player on shuffle with 8 hours of music in it. But a station has to pay royalties for every song they play, every time they play it. WDRC got bought out.
      I was in 3 antique stores recently, not exactly a place where one thinks of finding cutting edge technology in use. Only one played a local radio station. Another played an ad-free internet station 3000 miles away. Another either had Pandora or someone's iPod playing. I never listen to ad radio. I listen to maybe 10-12 hours a week of public/college radio music, maybe only an hour of that offline. I have 17,000 tracks on iTunes of music that I chose to buy, so why wouldn't I?
      When WDRC was bought, it became "The best of the 70s and 80s--and more!" Which was odd. The other least-obnoxious station's tagline is "The best of the 70s and 80s--and more!" And they have the exact same playlist. Bought by them, I guess, to keep anyone else from competing with them.
      We listen--well, "play"--WHCN "The River" because they don't have a screaming asshole morning show. What they play is "The best of the 70s and 80s--and more!" (the "more" is generally Kid Rock and Nickelback. So, like, thanks, more), but it's really just Mall Metal. AKA "music for 15 year old suburban white boys." The other 10% is a few 60s songs (oh boy, it's "Hey Jude" again!) and Billy Joel. I have no objections to "Hey Jude," as I like the Beatles and it means there'll be 7 minutes that I don't have to hear Billy Joel. WHCN's other, and endlessly repeated, tagline is "It's all about the variety!"
      Yesterday when I got to work at 11, they were playing "Rock You Like a Hurricane." I'm sure there are people who loved this song, even when they were boys as old as 16. At 745, they said "It's all about the variety!" and played "Rock You Like a Hurricane." That's more Hurricanes than I think I can be Rocked Like in a day! Is the center of the hurricane named The Eye of the Tiger? Will the winds be so strong that they will blow me to the Hotel California, landing me on its Stairway to Heaven, right on the Edge of Seventeen? Will the Magic Man and the Piano Man be there, and it will Hurt So Good because Love is a Battlefield? Will the Crazy Train get derailed on its way to Margaritaville Down Under, where Another One will Bite the Dust as if in some Bohemian Rhapsody, With or Without You? Will I Live and Let Die while Livin' On a Prayer with Jack and Diane In the Air Tonight? Oh, god, I've been Blinded By The Light! Sister Christian, You Shook Me All Night Long, so Pour Some Sugar On Me! I'm sorry--POOOR some SHUG-GAH on MOIEEE!
      Today, at 10 of 10, I turned the radio on and they played "Rock You Like a Hurricane." Then, less than 6 hours later, they said for the thousandth time, "It's all about the variety!"
      Guess which song they played next. Hint: it involved wind.
      "You keep using that word 'variety.' I don't think you know what it means."
      In a weird footnote, tonight iTunes has played almost nothing but new additions it's never played before. It's all about the randomness.


      Rock You Like a Hurricane Watch: I only heard it once today. I did get to hear that Kid Rock song twice, so I really didn't acoustically suffer less.
      Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part Repeated Like Bricks in a Wall): "We don't need no education!" I is sure you doesn't!
      "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!" Wait, this is England. You guys eat things called Spotted Dick and Toad in the Hole, how bad could that meat have been? I'd eat Saliva Chicken before I'd eat a Spotted Dick! Your idea of seasoning is "boil it." I'll bet the pudding was blood pudding, because yum yum, better than meat. I'd almost rather eat here:




      You know today's that holiday--St. Stabby's Day! AKA The Ides of March Plus Two. Made famous by the quote "Et tu, Brute?" which is Latin for "You too, asshole? Yeah, just everybody dogpile on Caesar!"
      I'll celebrate with the traditional meal of corned beef and salad (you know which one--any with Italian dressing) and a vomitorium crawl, and the traditional sharing of this picture.


      (really not much more context here)

      Apparently there is another holiday today. After establishing that it's not Pi Day Plus Three, I think I've got it. Let me sing you a song of my people! Well, half of my people, as I'm only half Irish. Because of that, I can only sing it from one side of my mouth.


      If you want the whole "Dolfie Hearts Boney" comic, it's here, starting on Page 51. The whole 1942 comic book is weird WWII wackiness, with "comic" relief characters given subtle names like Looney and Twerp. Our hero Mr Justice sees people escaping a concentration camp, and then herds them back into it for their "safety." Yep, Mr Justice is our hero.

3/18, you know I love you. What's weird is that you sometimes change the titles of your articles in the brief time before I've read them. You did invent, for better or worse, the clickbait headline listicle--"10 [overwrought adjective] Things You Didn't Know About [noun] That Will [verb] You!" (okay, that was for worse) And I guess that if an article isn't getting the hits you want in a prescribed time, you change it around. Okay, you're doing this for a living, sure, why not.
      But you changed one article titled "How the Hero Changes Over Time" with a picture of the Evil Gremlin, to a picture of the Evil Gremlin with the title "Why Gremlins is Secretly a Metaphor About Sex." I'm...not seeing a big overlap in those subject lines.

      Since I've been off work, I have successfully gone two whole days without hearing "Rock You Like a Hurricane." I've been listening to iTunes, and I can safely say "It's all about the variety." It played these 2 tracks back to back, and it'd be hard to find any two this much different.




      Hey, look! It's





      Hey, remember "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp"? No? Why?! Are you less than 50 years old?!
      Like the Sid & Marty Krofft shows, it aired in 1970, in that exact moment when either Saturday Morning TV decided to embrace the psychedelic styles of hippie films, or was catering to college age stoners. This was around the time that every cartoon had a rock band or at least rock songs.
      Here's a sample of Lance Link. The show is just chimps in costumes doing Human Stuff. But this version also has subtitles. Whatever is generating those subtitles, apparently some very cheap voice recognition software--man, but it's stoned! "How about hiding the cold balkan leslie department bob neck and neck deep"--yeah, I must've said that once in my life. Just not all at once. Maybe a word once a decade. And that is responded to by a chimp in a chauffeur's suit popping out of a garbage can who informs us "low balls jobid a page and before they know it's nice nicole duoc would be about bob."


      For the first 5 minutes. Then the subtitling's accurate, and you're just watching chimps in suits. Until about 9:30 minutes, when "Yeah, just hold it and say Cheese, Duchess!" becomes "declining fast spots c-d-eight," and "Don't ever take anything that doesn't belong to you!" becomes "dole ever taken a view that dodgeball deal playoff leading edge dot." Later, a ventriloquist says "Hey, blockhead!" and it's translated as "epileptic."
      I may be downplaying the fact that it's a TV show with a bunch of chimps being made to do Get Smart cosplay. Because--how's that weird, right?


      Rock You Like a Hurricane Watch: I heard it twice within 5 hours. I also had the true joy that comes only from great inner peace, or hearing Ozzy voice-farting "Crazy Train" twice in 5 hours. WHCN The River 105.9 says "Look on my Variety, ye Mighty, and despair!"
      Get it? Ozzy-mandias? Oh yeah?! Well, you're a bigger one!


      Happy 82nd birthday, Mom! May there be 82 more!
      Actually, maybe not, as we'd be going into either Highlander or Struldbrug territory by age 164. We had her birthday brunch today, which is a tradition I inadvertently started a year ago. That was held at the shmancy restaurant Mill on the River. We had 2 tables. One had Mom, her children, and one son-in-law. The other had the rest of the 17, totally ignoring the woman the party was obstensibly for. My sisters and I did a slow burn over that.
      This one was held at my Favorite Sister's Pat's house. It's a small house, so everbody was everywhere, which is what you want. Cassie, my Favorite Child of my 3 Sisters, showed me her little art studio in the furnished basement, behind a folding screen. "It's kind of messy" she said, and there was artwork on the floor, "I'm teaching art too!" Some framed comic art, including a first edition of the newer/newest/latest? Batgirl comic. (Yeah, I've lost track of comics, too)
      There was much food. The best corned beef hash ever made! I wish my coat hadn't picked up its smell, because now it's all over my home.
      The conversation turned to basketball, at least in our corner of the room, and Cassie and I just kinda stared into space. Then it turned to superhero movies, and even nephew Matt joined in. I gave them the terrifying news that Ant-Man is a movie. Apparently TV's "Agent Carter" is as good as I've heard it was. DC movies are dark and gritty and suck. "I have no idea what you're talking about!" said Mom. I said "That's how we felt during your basketball talk!"
      Mom, Pat and Cassie and I are going to see Spamalot, the Monty Pyton musical! And my 2nd cousin Randy will be in it as Sir Robin! I remember 30 years ago hanging out with his mom, while he and a friend goofed around. She said "I think he's going to grow up to be an actor! And maybe gay. I have no problem with that, and I'll support him either way!" Apparently she was right on both counts, and I'll support him either way myself!


      Sister Pat had my grandfather's photo wallet, which is just what it sounds like it was. People used to carry physical photos of their families with them, I know, crazy, right? I guess their phones weren't 4G. She removed all of my Mom's pictures and had them reproduced and lined up, showing her from the 1930s through the 70s.
      I'd never seen pictures of her earlier than her wedding day in 1958, so it was interesting to see her and my uncle Walt back in the 40s, or her as a kid. Pat brought the wallet out to show her, and the first 3 pictures were of me. "Three days old!" Mom said. "Look at that little blond mohawk! The nurses loved playing with your hair! They'd never seen a blond born with a full head of hair!" (I was blond until puberty, and by 19, I could best be described as "sandy brown." The same happened to my father, except his hair went black.)
      Pat brought out Nana's (my father's mother) memorabilia from my grandfather's 1951 funeral. I never met him. My mother never did. I was somewhat stunned to hold a photo of him in British army uniform, dated 1915. He was wounded badly enough that he was sent back to Britain to recover. You wouldn't think of "Young" as a Scots name, but he was. And one nurse was from Scotland, too. They would later marry. She would be known to us as Nana.
      There were 19 people at the party. Except for Mom, 3 husbands, 1 wife and 1 girlfriend--if he hadn't been wounded and sent to that one hospital, that one floor of the hospital with that one nurse, none of us would have ever existed.
      So, umm...Thanks, Kaiser Wilhelm?




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