NEW 124

“The point is it's very hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you've had to eat your boots."
--Dirck der Lint

Jump to the Newest of the New


      Yeah, I know, finally a new News! All things change eventually.

      Easter: Nephew Matt, who has a catering business, so it's only been for the last 2 holidays I've seen him in almost years: "I'm going to an NRA convention in Illinois!"
      Matt's FOX-news worshipping Dad, instantly frothing: "NOT THAT THERE'D BE ANYTHING WRONG IF HE DID!!" He then angrily rubbed his bald head twice, which is a thing he does when he's spitting out a talking point.
      After a second of stunned silence in the room and a wince from Matt, Matt said "The National Restauranteurs Association." Way to step on his joke, Dad.
      Other interesting bits: A discussion about the demise of Toys R Us. My nieces & nephews are in their 20s, but they remember going there as kids as the highlight of their lives. Prowling the aisles, looking for that one offbeat toy they wanted. How could they fail so quickly? Just Amazon? Amazon is for zeroing in on things, not browsing. I wondered if was because of...umm, venture capitalists, is that what they're called? I looked it up afterwards, and they're called "private equity firms." They buy companies at minimal self-risk, leverage their debt until they're just nothing but debt, suck the marrow from their bones, then throw the husk away. Toys R Us was a profitable, successful company until the vultures swooped in--wait, vultures only feed on the dead, they don't murder them first. They're more like those wasps that lay eggs in caterpillars, which then eat their way out while it's alive. Funny thing: Now they're talking about bringing my old bete noire KB Toys back to replace TRU. Guess what killed KB...
      There was a discussion of a pet some new relatives' friends have. Pumpkin the Raccoon, Google it yourself. I figured that there can't be that many raccoons named Pumpkin, so I said that I'd seen that on I Can Has Cheezburger just days before. Yes, it was the same raccoon. Possibly the only one in the Bahamas, where another nephew is getting married and about to be Pumpkin's in-law. Apparently, he is not that fucking cute in RL.
      There was a conversation between me, Cassie and Matt--the nerds--about Ready Player One, which none of us were super-enthused about beyond as a future rental. I said "People are saying 'It may not be great, but it can't be bad, it's by Spielberg!' Two words: Crystal Skull." I remember Kev and Scott when the book came out: "Did you get that reference?" "Yeah! Did you get this one?!" "YEAH!" I asked "Is that all it is, just 80s pop culture references?" "Yeah, it's great!" "But is it good? If it was 70s refs, would you still like it?" "Nah. We wouldn't get those." Thinks to self: "That was actually 2 questions, but you just answered them both." Apparently, it's doing well at the box office. So did Suicide Squad.
      I told sister Sue that I was looking for a job, but being picky. Okay, picky enough that I've applied to only 1 place twice. Still no word from the grocery store. But I haven't run out of tax refund yet, and haven't touched savings.
      And the next day they called me back.
      This time I grabbed the phone mid-message "I heard the machine, and ran from cleaning the litterbox...Umm, that's probably more information than you need..." And I made an appointment for an interview. He called the next day to schedule it. He wasn't available from 11 to 1, but afterwards, fine. I paused, said "I was having lunch with my Mom at 1, but I change reschedule."
      "No, don't do that! Can you come in earlier?"
      Wh--what? They're letting me take time off when I don't even work there?
      For the first time in 6 months, I awoke to the alarm and went straight into the shower, despite protests from roommates who've become accustomed to immediate breakfasts. (And a protest when I got home, obviously organized by KK; the 3 sitting away from me saying "No work no more!!") I arrived 10 minutes early, but at customer service I was stuck behind a gentleman angrily debating the exact price of chicken sausage. "I don't have time for this!" he repeatedly said over 15 minutes. His bags were all from Whole Foods, so there's a guy who really knows how to not get overcharged for groceries.
      The interview went very well. In the sense I didn't crap my Hanes. Filling out a form, I said "You know you're nervous when you blank on the year!" I followed the first rule of interviews, always denigrate yourself, never talk about your achievements. I spent 14 years being beaten down by that liquor store. I guess that's how I see myself now. I left thinking "Guess I'll re-apply in another 2 months..."
      And the next day, I got a call from them. "We'd like you to come and meet the district manager for an interview--JOB OFFER, sorry." District manager?! I'm applying for part time shelf stocker! I called back, and got Jeanette in Another Part of the Company in New York again, and thought...Maybe I'm doing this wrong? The phone tree is "Dial 0 for customer service, 1 for job opportunites," which would you call first?
      And that offer took longer than I thought, but the die was already cast. There was no district manager, but the grocery manager who I'd be working for. As when I applied, his first/only question was "Have you ever worked retail before?" "Yes, over 35 years." And as last time, his eyes looked like he'd just won Powerball. I assume they get a lot of teenagers and retirees. The teens discover that No, you can't get paid to use your cell on the floor, and quit; the retirees suddenly get hit with the karmic payback of a lifetime of screaming at retail workers over nothing, now that's YOUR job, and quit.
      SOP is new hires start on the registers, because of course why wouldn't you? I quickly found out that basically everyone in the store, management included, worked their way up from being a part-timer. JUST LIKE MY BELOVED LECHMERE!
      In the interview, I was told "We're a union store. I'll give you the cons first: $75 fee to start, then $9 a week for dues. The pluses are--" Me: "You're in a union!"
      And they'd just found out that there's a store-wide remod in 2 weeks. Which I've never done, but at Lechmere, that was basically my second job. If they opened a new store, I was there setting up the music/video department. Of course, the store wasn't open, but I guess I'll find out. I might be skipping register training to get ready for this first. New hires start at 15-20 hours, but I've already been asked if I'm available for 40.
      Not to say that tomorrow I'll get a call saying they've changed their minds. But it looks good right now. And if so, fuck you, liquor stores!
      A thing I was worried about--can you ask for a day off right as you get hired? The AM said "I'll give you your schedule tomorrow. Are there any days off you want?" Me: "Um, if it's okay, Weds the 11th..." "Okay! If I schedule you by mistake, let me know, I'll change it." He said this 3 times.
      But all things change eventually. Sometimes for the better.

      Emulators of handheld video games. I had different, and I mean the CORRECT, versions of Zaxxon and BurgerTime, not these ones. But Tron is spot-on, even if the controls are a bit unresponsive. I was always amazed that in the early 80s, the Light Speeders left trails that stayed even when you left the screen.

      The Brian Eno song that you, and everyone else in the world has ever heard more than any other, in a different (and suitably more ambient) version:




      Of course, I didn't get my work schedule Friday. Or Saturday, so I called, and didn't get a real answer. If you know me, you know what this means: WORRY.
      I kept telling myself "NO ONE is going to hire you, put you in the union, and then do a background check." Not that there's anything there to find. Unless they called my last job, and instead of Whoever Owns It Now, got Mr or Mrs Backstabber. An owner would know the law: all they can do is verify that you worked there. Mr, and especially Mrs, would feel free to editorialize or just flat-out lie. I once wondered if that's why I never got my first interview: They called to verify employment, got the Garbage Couple, who then spread their poison. If that sounds paranoid, Mrs was still doing that over the phone to her last job 3 years after being fired. But I told myself that retail is always barely controlled chaos, and the ASM of a giant store probably had a million other things on his plate before some new hire's hours.
      I called Sunday, and got a call back with my hours. "Tues 12-5, Weds 12-5, Fri 12-5. The remod got pushed back a couple of weeks, so you'll be trained as a cashier first, then, you'll be in Grocery with more hours." I said "We talked about--" and he said "Weds! You wanted that off, you got it." I said "I can work Thurs, or tomorrow, or Sat--" "Saturday, 12-5. See you then. Actually, I'll be out of the store almost all week, so see W; she'll be training you."
      Whew! Looks good so far.

      Since who knows how much time I'll have to post stupid things that no one cares about once I'm working, here we go! A sampling of the CDs I borrowed from my Mom's library. I asked "How many CDs can go out at one time?"
      (shrugs) "15 or 20?"
      Me: "I'll get the wheelbarrow."
      I left with 12. Three were multi-disc sets, so, 26 actual discs. To give you an idea of how insane this place's selection is, here's what I got.
      There was a large freestanding rack of some less popular genres, and a bank of file cabinets of everything else. With comfortable chairs to sit in while you browsed. Unlike my local library, which had some obviously donated shit rack that held 2.5 CDs per slot, each with 3 per slot. If you want one, bring your needlenose pliers!
      Of course, my first drawer was "approximately E, for Eno." The first one I saw was from Can, the world-famous chart-topping hit-busters from 1970s Germany, seen on many a K-Tel compilation on Bizarro World. Behind it: Another damn Can CD. That's not possible!
      I had a very long list of items, but after a while just gave up and realized this was like my old Lechemere store days: It's impeccably organized by the alphabet, but there's so much there that you can only crack your knuckles and start at A and work your way forwards. I did my short list of classical CDs before I tossed the list.
      Prokofiev's complete symphonies, 4 CDs.
      Kronos Quartet: Early Music
      Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone, the scorer of many an excellent Italian movie, except now on cello
      The Music of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection. 8 CDs, if you count the CD-ROM that didn't work. The Corellian Edition features "The most popular themes from all 6 episodes on 1 CD!" It contains a whole 7 tracks from the Prequels, including The Phantom Dennis the Menace's "Flag Parade." Boy, if there's anything I remember from that movie's soundtrack, it was "YIPPEEE!!" and the slow realization that Lucas cared less about the characters and story than he did making sure that all the podracer's engines had different sounds.
      In the same section and face out, The Charleston Era: 1925-1930. Since I love music from that very early jazz era, sure, it's free, why not? The UK liner notes try their best to tell us about a time that the writer doesn't seem to super know much about. "It helped alleviate the pain and poverty of Great Depression, and celebrate the End of Prohibition!" 1930 would be the only year in 1925-1930 that was in the Depression, and Prohibition ended in 1933. "And this was when America elected its greatest president, umm," (looks at notes) "Franklin Benito Hitler!"
      I just randomly piled the rock CDs I gathered before just going through A to E and deciding to come another day:
      Sex Pistols, because I love the Oldies!
      Sigur Ros "Angelis...something in unreadable font." Strangely, no lyric sheet
      Cabaret Voltaire, earliest releases, this was in a suburban library seriously what the fuck
      Ash Ra Tempel, "Schwingungen" and boy did I just spend a lot of time trying to read that tiny script. I think it's German for "Jar-Jar's Swingin' Flag Party!! Vol 57 Now That's Music"
      Some guys who either are, or named, their album "The Beatles." Two CDs and that's all you could come up with? Whatever.
      Daft Punk, and Amon Duul II. There, that's all of them. I imagine not all 12 of those have gone out at the same time before.

      And all the while I typed that, happy music played on iTunes, matching my mood. Just now:




      I don't seems to me if something has been missing from this site for a while. Something almost obvious by its omission...OH RIGHT!



      On my first day of work, it was all training. And not just for me. I was in a tiny, 2-chair, 2-computer office with the front end cashier manager. I was getting trained by a cheezy computer course on how to be a cashier, while she was being trained to do the front end payroll. By another person, right by my ear. My computer training was largely audio, and given from the clear crisp sound one always associates with the built-in speaker. I left with some salient facts. I shall present them to you, as true/false questions.
      "To scan a UPC, you should look for the UPC." I'll give you time; the first person I asked this asked back, "Is this a trick question?"
      True, it's false! You should scan the UPC by never looking at the UPC. You should scan it twice, and if it doesn't work, then look at the UPC, and key 10 digits in by hand. I got this wrong on my quiz, even knowing that I had already been told it, because, WTF. I use the self-serv registers exclusively, and I always look for the UPC. I figured out while sitting there, "It's not going to be on the front, just the bottom or sides, so if I twist the product with the face towards me, that should catch it 3 out of 4 times." Here's your next question:
      "WiC is an EFT."
      My answer: "Umm...what the fuck is an EFT? I know what an EBT is, a debit card. Look, Computer, I can only lean so far into your speakers, and right now the only fact that's been unintentionally squeezed into my brain is that the front end has 182.75 hours of payroll on Sundays."
      Then I was on the sales floor, with a young man and I mean so young, he had never shaved in his life, and no, that's not a joke. He thought he was growing a beard, I'll bet. But he knew more about the registers than I never will. He went through his "new cashier checklist" really fast. I mean, MicroMachine Man fast.


      I went from semi-heard computer training to I-have-no-idea-what-you-just-said training. And so, time to do it in real time on a live register with actual live customers! Can't they have Crash Test Customers I could try out on first?
      Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat! In over 35 years of retail, these are the most incomprehensively complicated registers I've ever seen. Multiple main screen menus that lead to submenus that lead to subsubmenus. And arranged in the same order you'd get by throwing a jigsaw puzzle on the floor. My new copilot helped a lot, in the sense that she continually had to bail out the guy who owns clothes older than her. And it never stopped. On an ordinary day; no snowstorm, no major holiday, just a line that never ended. I screwed up constantly. Other jobs, I've worked with registers that an ancient Sumerian could reliably operate after 10 minutes, but still had to stand by some idiot for 2 weeks saying "To sell Ice, hit 6, then enter. Yes, you hit 6, but you didn't hit enter. Hit...Enter." (And if that sounds like a joke...I literally had to do that 8 times in 2.5 hours, to the point I just hit 6/enter and walked away)
      I got to use everything I had no chance to learn! I got a WiC which is an EFT motherfuckers, a check that I had to stick in the register twice while either okaying or cancelling various prompts, food stamps from a guy who in retrospect was a little too friendly, sold and redeemed gift cards (including one that had 80 cents left on it. "Give it to the next person!" she said. It took a long time before anyone decided to redeem it. I was ready to grab it myself.
      At one of the very few lulls, my trainer asked "Have you ever run a grocery register before?" I said No, but it wasn't until hours later that I thought "Did she mean 'Because you're really good at it!' or 'Is your last name Oreck, because you think that your job is to suck?'" She also later said "Was your training just being told a lot of stuff really fast and then being put on a register?" And her nod when I said Yes made me think, Yeah, and so was her training too.
      I only had 1 crabby customer. She had one of those handheld scanners--the customer scans all their groceries and bags them, and then they plug it in and the register reads the data and charges them. This was literally the only 30 seconds when I was flying solo. She ran up quick and explained what to do. To ease the tension, I jokingly said to the customer "I'll bet you were using this because you thought it would make things faster!" "YES," she said, "I DID!!" in a tone that caused every flower in the nearby floral department to wither and die. scanned and bagged everything and then stood in a LINE at a FULL SERVE register? Your logic escapes me.
      I was scheduled until 5, so I asked my guardian angel if I was supposed to wait until I was told my shift's ended, or just clock out? (Look--if they schedule hours to point-7-5 rather than round it up by 15 minutes...) "If it's like 4:58 and there's no line, just clean the work station and clock out." And, at 4:58, there was a long line, so I just kept going. "Wow, do you really want to work all night?!" she said and turned my lane light off. My last customer simply vanished, and when she suddenly came back with an item she'd forgotten to grab, I said "I was afraid that you'd left saying 'I'm not getting rung up by that guy!'" She laughed. I left 15 minutes late, so there's a thing I need to ask: should I leave 15 minutes early next time?

      Funny, but it still seems like...I'm forgetting something here. OH WAIT


      GIANT FUCKING SCRAPMETAL ROOSTERS!!'m still not getting what it was...OH RIGHT
      I've had a bad 6 months since getting laid off. Jessica has had worse. I've said nothing here under the Constitutional Amendment XIV subsubmenu A. "We hereby decree that none of this is any of your Damn Beeswax."
      We were getting together 6 months ago, when her Mom had a stroke. And then a series of strokes. Her ex-husband, Jess' dad, is a drunken druggie unemployable loser. Mom divorced and married (see guy above, with different name). I was expecting our visit to be a lot of me listening, but Jess is doing all the work while her confused mom prefers her husband's attention. I'm only hearing one side of the story, but I've learned enough about him over the last decade that a story about him "bursting into the hospital drunk to scream at my semi-conscious mother at 2AM" is by no means surprising. We moved on, because it's none of my beeswax either.
      Antiquing in Putnam! I was fashionably late. Okay, I accidentally typed "See you @ 11!" when I meant 12, so...She was there for an hour before I got there.
      We stopped at a Putnam that didn't look like it did 6 months ago. Lots of new businesses! 10 years ago, every time we went, there were less. We went to a coffee/bakery, and she got a Chai with maple syrup, so gross. They only had 2 more styles of Chai, and both had coffee in them, the fuck. "I don't eat gluten and have a nut allergy, so can I have a PBJ on Wonder Bread?"
      The tea was just near-boiling water. I should've put gloves on, because I kept shifting it from hand to hand in pain. "HERE," said today's copilot, "let me hold it!" Because coffee drinkers have 4th degree burns on their fingers and feel no pain through the scar tissue. I politely said "Thanks, MOM."
      And we shopped, I guess? We talked and talked and talked. She got a bag of doll heads impaled on little wires to mark her garden plants. She almost bought a box and then said "I thought it said $20, but it's $220!" and the box was for embalming fluid. She got a pack of 1950s/60s nudie playing cards, as that's another thing on her list, and a the cover of a Tiddeley-Winks box with a black cat from, I'd say, pre-1920 from the cover art? And made by Milton Bradley, in nearby Springfield MA. I got a Rocky & His Friends Golden Book from 1960, and all you Jay Ward scholars out there know that R&HF and 1960 means the first season before it became the Bullwinkle Show. All the interior art was from that 1st season. Inside the front cover: "This Little Golden Book Belongs to: RAER[pi symbol]E" which is either an incantion to the Elder God Cth'FearlessLeaduh, or a kid's attempt to write what was written below in adult lettering: Arrants. The plot begins with Rocky saying "Today's my birthday!" I said to Jess, "I'll bet it's all about how everyone ignores him, and then he finds out that it's because they're giving him a surprise party!" First words on last page: "Oh, what a surprise," said Rocky happily." I nailed that trope, but the next lines were "Then they all roasted nuts. They drank up all of Bullwinkle's mooseberry juice. They sang songs and told stories and they did not fall asleep until the sun came up over the trees. See you next year at the Burning Moose Festival, WOOO!"
      Then I got home and also my mail and in it was a lenticular birthday card of a DJ-esque kitty fighting off flying birthday cakes with a light saber, from Sailor Kitty. And THAT. my friends, was a true birthday surprise.

      Giant Scrapmetal Roosters evolved from Giant Robot Dinosaurs!!

      Brian Eno on bizarre instruments: "I was thinking today about a piece of technology [...] called the Telharmonium. It was built by a man called Thaddeus Cahill in 1906. He built three versions and the biggest weighed 200 tons. However, it was probably the first truly portable electronic music instrument."

      While I was typing this, something came up from the depths of the 20K tracks in iTunes I was unaware of.




      My new job plays They Might Be Giants on the store muzak.
      After my first day: "I think I did...average. I only use the self-serve registers, so how should I know how I compare to professionals?"
      Day 2: "God I fucking suck."
      Day 3: The front end manager said "BILL!" in a bright and welcoming voice. She seemed...happy to see me working?
      If you('re lucky enough) to have a bagger, the cashier still puts any raw meat in plastic bags before handing it over to the bagger (wash your reusable bags, btw). I put some ground burgercowmeat in a bag, noticed that I forgot to give it to the customer either 30 seconds or a year later--"Make sure it rang up" is all I do, not memorize who bought what in the literal 10 customers I get in 3 minutes). And then I did it again, and so I got fired. Okay, I didn't, but still. Someone's going to get home and say "Where is our slaughtered flesh we paid for?!" and I'd be mad too. But both times, some boss-like person said "Oh." and walked over to Customer Service with it. So I assume this happens all the time? (They printed out some receipt and put the food where it came from, so don't worry if it happens to you. It wasn't sitting 6 hours under someone's used laundry)
      But at the end of my shift she said "You're doing great!" So...maybe I'm doing better than average at the job, and worse than most at not fretting about it.
      As of 5PM Saturday, I didn't have a schedule. I was sure that I wasn't working Sunday, despite it being the busiest day...because they pay OVERTIME for Sundays. So fuck yeah, I saw the all-stars I'd worked with previously all making that extra money. I'd work Sun, but only if someone who's worked there longer didn't want it. I'm not stealing anybody's hours. I went in on Sun, trying to find out what my schedule was. I still haven't even punched in like a 21st century person yet. I got my employee code, and a different front end manager showed me how to use the machine. "See, it knows that you're not scheduled today." I said "...WOW." and really meant it. I guess that's how you know your schedule. "And now just use the biometric scanner with your finger...Have we done the Finger Thing yet?" "No."
      So I guess tomorrow I do Finger Thing.

      The guy behind that 1960s cartoon Roger Ramjet that makes you say "The what was who did what?" has died. An overview of his incredibly-limited-animation style. The first Roger Ramjet Youtube and "Why Man Creates" are worth viewing.

      My Rocky and His Friends book looks more and more like something that was made before Bullwinkle became a star. They were just working from press materials: Sherman is blond, and Bullwinkle is not an idiot savant (who's mainly an idiot). This is based on what is probably the only early 1960s kids cartoon that ever based a joke on molybdenum.
      (Bullwinkle accidentally rolls over a boulder from the top of a mountain of worthless rocks. It smashes into the assayer's office, covered in bits of precious metals. Boris & Natasha find it. Boris puts it into a machine that analyzes it)
      MACHINE: "beep beep, silver."
      BORIS: "SILVER!"
      MACHINE: "beep beep, gold."
      BORIS: "GOLD!!
      MACHINE: "beep beep, diamonds."
      "beep beep, molybdenum."
      " GOLD!"
      The book's still more on-model than Amazon's new series. It looks like it was made by someone who hasn't seen a cartoon since a 1998 Flash animation ripping off the last cartoon THAT guy had ever seen, a Ren & Stimpy repeat. Might as well tape your body to crutches now, before those sides start a-spilttin'!


      I awoke to BOOOM! and all the power going off. I thought "A transformer blew up," but all it did was flip the fuse switch off in only the bedroom. Weird: this is the 3rd time it's happened in less than 3 weeks. A bit later, after an inch of sleet overnight and then a windstorm, thunder went BOOOM again. Byron was right by the window, and jumped. Jumped at the sound. He went around the room, obviously having heard it but apparently unclear as to where it came from.
      The three clock radios, all 20 to 30 years old, were fine after the power surge. My 4 year old phone answering machine apparently is dead. Great. Six months ago, I would've welcomed it. Now, I have a job, and not every call will be the ping scam.


      "DON'T PUT THE CAR ON TOP OF THE BANANAS!" is not a phrase I thought I'd ever hear.
      I expected some funny workplace stories, but the damn registers are fucking non-stop sensory bombardment. And as a person with a lifetime of chronic insomnia, Brain On Fire After Work only made be happier that I was back to a schedule that started at noon. As I was getting to sleep around dawn.
      "You're on Express?" asked a coworker. "I hate express!" I said "Is it just me, or does express get the slowest customers?" I personally liked the people who'd give you reusable bags, which is what I use, but Express has no counter room, so unless they bagged their stuff, things just slowed to a crawl. And you don't get a bagger when you're on Ex, and you get the people who refuse to even put their damn bags in their damn cart.
      "Have you gone on break yet?" I was asked, because it's a Union store, and your bosses make sure you get what you're paying for. "Wait," said another manager, "J. has to go too!" I figured J had been there longer that day and worked harder. Then later I had a feeling I saw for the 1st and last time a teen who was tasked with emptying register trash cans. I had a long line, and both me and the customer were bagging. He was hovering in the background, then came up and said "Do you want me to finish your bagging?" to the customer, when she had 1 can and 2 bags of chips left. His tone made it clear that the answer he wanted was "No." He was J. He wasn't working harder, he just whined harder about getting his break.
      Then I was told I was going to be helping do the 8 fucking AfuckingM in the mornfucking. Their crew was already there; I was the only store labor involved. I was helping strip the organic/natural aisle with a couple of Other Place's guys. One said to the other "Someone asked 'Where is the juice now?' and he said 'IN THE JUICE AISLE!'" and I had a feeling that spectacular punchline was going to be repeated every other minute, and it was! Just like the ad on the store radio for Hefty Trash Bags! Did you know smelly bags are "STINKY STINKY STINKY!"? I sure do. Then Juice Man dropped a bag of coffee beans, and his coworker said "Someone spilled the beans!" which is actually clever and wasn't repeated like a fucking garbage ad.
      Then I finished my section, with some left over. I asked what I should do, and was told "I can't make any decisions, and we're all going to lunch now." So I wandered around trying to find out what I should do, and ended up in the grocery department, which is what I was hired for. And that's what I did. My hours were getting billed to the remod people, but why should I care if they want to pay me to do something that's all for the store? Of course, my training was "Put this away." "This" was a bunch of crap that was almost everywhere in that half of the store. "I SUCK" I thought, but was told "Wow, you powered through that first cart!" I took my lunch at home, because I live 2.2 miles from the store, but I only spent 15 minutes there, so maybe not worth the gas. As I hadn't been paid yet.
      Turns out that actually I had, just not as direct deposit. My pay stub is...interesting. I was paid CT minimum wage ($10.10/hr) as Regular Pay, $15.15 in Overtime (what overtime?!), and $11.10 for REG NIGHT ST, which stands for...Standard Time? ShifT? Short Term? I have no idea, but my average rate was $11.81/hr. As opposed to 16.65 at Old Job, but since I didn't HATE EVERY FUCKING MINUTE I WORKED, hey, sounds fair. I didn't get docked for my labor union dues, and I'm getting that addressed tomorrow. I want to be Union!

      We think we're the first advanced earthlings -- but how do we really know? Interesting article, but assumes the same thing that every "Alien Intelligence theory" assumes: Intelligent life has to be exactly the same as human intelligence. Must have technology, and must use it the same way humans do!
      Yeah, get back to me when humans can talk to cetaceans. If we can't communicate with other mammals obviously intelligent, but just in a way that's different from exactly us, then we're going about it wrong. Start at home, then imagine your Star Wars walrus-head guys. Maybe the smartest species DON'T develop atom bombs. Or even the plow. I think that "intelligence" doesn't automatically mean spaceships, and especially aliens that discover faster than light travel and come trillions of miles to make crop circles, anally probe weirdos, and only appear to people who can't operate a camera.
      Boing Boing looks at the same article.

      The Christmas Bullet Was The Worst Plane Ever Made. The corrupt bastard who built a plane with a 100% death rate just continued to fail upward. Too bad he's dead, as Trump would make him head of the FAA.

      Oh, and the car was a Hot Wheels. It weighed far less than the bananas. Maybe his kid was going to eat the banana peel, and Dad didn't want imaginary oil dripping on it.


      I got in trouble at work. I was late 3 days. This was because the store manager said I'd be working 8-430, but the grocery manager scheduled me 730-4, since no one had showed me where the actual schedule was posted, so I didn't know.. He said "Oh, no problem." And it wasn't. Since the remod people said that they didn't need me, he rescheduled me to come in later. Until next week, when I'm back at 8AM helping the remodders...after leaving at 9PM on Sunday. Overtime, but wow, is that next Monday going to suck. And every other day I get up at liquor store hours. I thought that was behind me.
      And there's the clear problem that I'm doing some brutal physical work. Ever pick up a 24-pack of plastic water bottles? Ever pick up a hundred in 10 minutes?
      The remod--where product is everywhere, the natural/organic stuff is literally in 4 different aisles, most of which is on wire racks with no rhyme or reason to its positioning. The natural juice aisle was my first day on the floor, and I was told "Keep everything in the same order it is on the shelf!" But there were 7 shelves being put on 5 shelves of wire racks, and 7 don't divide by 5 that great. And when things are reset, the remods don't change the signs, so every day we come in, shit's in a different spot. All this money our company's spending on this, they couldn't require one remodder to stay and just direct people to where stuff is now? I've only begun to realize how much of anything and everything grocery stores sell in a day. There were 2 of us stocking eggs yesterday, and there was a guy restocking them the next day. And while the shelf tags are kind of easy to read (if you know the last few digits of the UPC), if you pay minimum wage, from some people you'll get minimum effort.
      And, to add to customer confusion, for some reason the 1st week of the remod involves the 1st week of the store Dalek. "Marty" is a robot that wanders the aisles, looking for spills and telling some other robot to declaim "CLEAN UP ON AISLE 3." It--for some reason, the people behind this technology insist on calling it "Him" in no way foreshadowing this thing taking all our jobs--will eventually scan the shelves to make sure items are stocked correctly. And to ID items that are in the wrong spots, it is so not going to take our jobs. Just as the self-scan registers didn't. And I really thought that I'd found the last brick&mortatr job that would never be replaced by technology. (If you're wondering, adorable "Marty" frightens children, creeps out adults, and is made by Badger Technologies because the name Skynet was already taken.)
      Coincidentally, today I read that the #2 job in Modern America is cashier. And that security robots are going to take over our schools, because banning guns is just too offensive. Just scroll down, and see that one of Killbots looks like Marty.

      From femme fatale to complex superhero: The evolution of the MCU’s Black Widow

      Admit it, you'd buy #8 too. And make sure to read the package on #3...It's what Marty dreams when in sleep mode.


      This Cat Has A Disability But His Facial Expressions Are Going Viral

      50 years ago, a piano was dropped from a helicopter


      Still not as good as the classic:




      Things seem okay on the job front. I was expecting to come to work at noon, but I've been there at 8 for the remodel. And ending up doing store work instead. So...why am I coming in at 8 again? OTOH, I assumed I'd be working part time, and did 38 hours last week and up for 32 next week. At 730AM, great.
      But, unlike the last job, the people are universally nice, and time does not crawl by. I briefly ran into a beer delivery guy from that job, so the cat's out of the bag if he tells the old job I work there. But he was always the least interested in talking to anyone when I was there, always in a rush to get some 2nd load action, and if I'm right about who got my job, no driver wants to talk to that asshole.

      The cat's also out of the bag as far as actual cats in actual bags. There's a lot of discontinued stuff--I'm sorry, "B-items"--that are 50% off. I got a little tray of Lindt's chocolate, and a bunch of freeze-dried cat treats. OK, all of the freeze-dried cat treats. I have an employee discount of 5%, which is 5% more than I expected, and while $1.89 is kinda expensive for a tiny bag, the kids love 'em. Byron so much that he looked in the plastic grocery bag to see if there were more. He got his stuck his head through the handle and was wearing it as a Superman cape. He walked backwards, that didn't work. He stepped on the bag and walked forward, that didn't work. He then stepped on the bag and walked backward, and it came right off. Smart guy.

      I watched Avengers not yet. Maybe soon, when the lines cool down. I watched something I was unaware of, 2016's Shin Godzilla. This is the Japanese reboot concurrent with the American reboot, and I've lost track of fucking many reboots there've been on both sides of the Pacific. The first was titled Godzilla 1985. I think this is the 3rd Japanese reset? It's the Mean Green's latest first appearance, so he doesn't have a name. Like the recent US version, he's known by a dorky acronym first (US: Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or MUTO. Japan: Giant Unidentified Life Form, or GULF). He initially appears as a lungfish type critter:


      Oh no, there goes Tokyo, go go GOOFZILLA!
      He mutates from his original dollar store craft section googly eyes to a bigger, and equally googly-eyed version, before finally turning in a more recognizable squinty-eyed one, who also just kind of...stands there a lot.
      It's like the old school movies, and I mean like the really old movies. There's a lot of boring bits where people talk about Gojira and how much Americans are assholes. I'm glad I watched the dubbed version, as this doesn't just have subtitles, but overtitles. You get the name and function of every government official and piece of military hardware and exact location, literally every few seconds. It's better than just remembering "He's the Secretary of Agriculture" because you eventually give up, epecially when at least 3 times the location tells you "on a rooftop." I...think it's modeled after the official response to the tsunami? There's a lot of snippets of press conferences and ministers and several debates over whether Japan can use its army to attack a giant monster, because the constitution forbids and Americans boss everybody around. The best scenes come when they finally do counterattack. Of course Bullets Don't Even FAZE Him! And G develops some pretty righteous anti-aircraft beams and bad breath. Best part: I guess the movie's called Shin Godzilla because when the (Type 10) tanks attack, they shoot him in the fucking shins. Sadly, no one says "Gojira's Achilles Heel is his shins!" because all it does is annoy him, like he stepped on a very large Lego.
      All in all, it was, whethere intentional or not, a great tribute to the old films and the newer. Non-goofy Godzilla is pretty badass, and the fight scenes are awesome. Worth viewing, even if G doesn't do a flying leap at Megalon.

      Remember when the Jetsons promised us the 4 hour workweek? If automation is everywhere, why do we have to work 40 or more hours? If you threw every CEO out of their penthouse windows, it would affect the stock portfolios of the rich. If every garbage company and grocery store and water plant went on strike, would you be shooting squirrels for food and throwing their corpses on your lawn after drinking their piss? ‘I had to guard an empty room’: the rise of the pointless job "Everyone is familiar with the sort of jobs that don’t seem, to the outsider, really to do much of anything: HR consultants, communications coordinators, PR researchers, financial strategists, corporate lawyers or the sort of people who spend their time staffing committees that discuss the problem of unnecessary committees. What if these jobs really are useless, and those who hold them are actually aware of it?"

      Speaking of bullshit jobs: I placed a stop on any payments from my checking account to Farmers Insurance / Bristol West / Foremost Insurance, as they've called themselves seemingly at random to me. They wanted me to print out, fill out, photograph, and then fax them proof that I had other insurance. That done, they wanted me to do the same with other documents. FAX them. Why? Was the Pony Express rider's horse sick? Now they sent me a cranky letter saying that because I blocked payment, my insurance with FI/BW/other FI will be cancelled. That was the idea, guys! Hopefully that's the end of it. Then again, they may want next to have me send them my death certificate by semaphore flag.


      I was hoping that I'd eventually get 25 or so hours a week at the Job. At minimum wage, that puts me even with my monthly bills. I've worked 32 to 38 ever since I went to the Grocery department, so, sure. I did explicitly say that I wanted to come in no earlier than noon, and put it in writing in my paperwork. Because I'm "helping" with the remod--for 1 to 2 hours--I've been coming in way earlier than I'd ever want. But that's temporary, I've been told.
      The...I think Assistant Store Manager? There are a lot of managers with jobs I have yet to learn--pulled me aside today. I thought "This is probably not good." In essence, her offer was
      "Do you want to scrub fucking toilets?"
      Not put that way, of course. I asked "Am I really doing this that badly?" No, she wants someone "reliable" to clean the store. I basically said "...If that's what I have to do..." She said "Don't tell [ASM of groceries--I think] about this, she'll flip out. And don't worry--it's only temporary."
      I've worked there a month. I have no idea what "temporary" means to them. I "temporarily" worked the early shift at Shit Job for almost 9 years.
      Afterwards, I thought "Cleaning boy?! It's not like I need this job," and then PING! I really DON'T need this job. I could quit and live off of my savings for 5 to 6 years. After only a month, it's not going to look any worse if I don't list them as a past job. I have no problem giving maximum effort as a minimum wage stocker, but a minimum wage janitor? Yeah, there's a resume: As a former hire and fire manager, without any outside information I'd see Bill's career arc as "Laid off after 14 years; 2 weeks as cashier; moved to grocery. 1 month as grocery, demoted to shit-licker. So: couldn't do math, couldn't stock shelves, replaces urinal cakes. Yeah, I'd better snap this guy right up before someone else does!"
      I can make minimum wage anywhere. We'll have to see what tomorrow brings. Maybe another extended vacation. If worse comes to worst, she unintentionally gave me an out: Don't be reliable.

      More funny knockoffs

      Punny Cosplay

      The wrong person to scam


      "Sorry I haven't had a chance to check up with you," said the guy who interviewed and hired me, "but this [remod] madness takes up a lot of time. How are you doing? Do you like it here?"
      I responded cagily. "I'm very happy with my current position, if you hear the staement that...I'm not stating?" Meaning the Job Change to God-Emperor of the Urinal Cakes.
      Of course he didn't. Would you get that from my Riddle of the Sphynx? So I said "I was told not to say anything, but I'm going to say something." And he agreed that the store "desperately" needed a reliable toilet polisher. "But I don't think you're the guy for that. I think [the ASM] doesn't know about your retail management background."
      So. Looks like I may not have to quit. I don't know what will happen when the remod ends, when my hours get directly billed to the store and not the remod--I was told that I'd probably get less hours, but I've worked anywhere from 32 to 40 since it started. I was expecting 25 when I was hired; that's enough to keep the bills at bay without touching my savings.
      I'm glad I said something. I'm not glad that I waited for someone to ask me. I was planning on asking that very guy. After he reassured me that everything was fine, he said "I can see the tension lifting from you!"

      My next day off is soon. I needed it off for Ms Killsy's latest bloodletting. But that happens late enough that I can see Avengers! I hope the effects are as good as they were in the Captain America films!




      Bad stock photos of jobs. Every scientist needs 3 things: a lab coat, a stethoscope, and a test tube of colored liquid.

      If you're interested and have 25 minutes, Brian Eno's career at 70 (actually at 60; it's a rerun)

      Still in Kickstarter mode, but coming out at the end of the year in some form: the card/board game awesomely named Space Cats Fight Fascism. A cooperative game, so it would work solitaire too. In a misstep, the Fascists are sentient rats, but not called Ratzis. And speaking of fighting fascists in Space: Star Wars Without Any Star Wars.



      We all know that Kill Kill got her name from a 60s Russ Meyer film. The name was chosen over a decade before I decided to adopt a kitten. You may not know that I didn't see the movie until she'd lived here for 15 years! Before that, I'd owned CDs called Beat at Cinecitta, all of soundtracks from 60s Italian movies. I'd heard those many times over (they're awesome, and probably on Youtube). I recently decided to check the lyrics for one of my favorites. Bada Caterina. Nice little lyrics site: there's a small video window so that you can see the song with the translated lyrics. I think if I knew those lyrics 19 years ago...Maybe her name would be Bada Caterina. Meaning "Catherine, be careful!" which is a thing you might say repeatedly to a rambunctious little kitten.

      Passion the website-- really user pleasant and who?e lots to see!
      It seems that my Hotmail spamtrap trapped a lot of--
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      --Hormel meat products. Guh-LUBB!!
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      Yes, anonymouse pers?n, although you were either Wendy or Pammy or Chad or I'm sorry, there were 150 of these in my spambox, all with relatively acceptable Americano names, and never the same one twice, in the course of a 5 hour overnight bombardment to an old comments page, Speed and Machines Are the Art of Our Empire. How old? 2004, when this page had maybe 50 regular readers. HOW OLD? The last topic was fucking Gonterman.
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      Oh, yeah, rub it in there, Brandy. "Be a shame if sumtin' happened to it, ay squire?"--Luigi Fricotti
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      Wait, what did you say, Evan?
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      I read through 150 of these tributes to my utter brilliance, or about what Mike Pence says about Trump in 37 seconds.
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      I knew working Saturday it would be busy. The main day--and only good day weatherwise--of a holiday weekend, and people are stupid robots who all think the same thing at the same time and decide that they can wait until the last minute to buy groceries, just as they always did with booze. (Well, not all--Thurs and Fri were also busier than normal, because some people thought at least that far ahead)
      One of my (many) bosses and I were called up front for carriage roundup. She said "I'll get the carriages, you jump on a register." The first customer was screeching at her for not having ALL the registers open, and continued to loudly bitch at me, despite the fact we'd just opened a register and she was first in line. She probably had a great-great grandmother who was in the first lifeboat to launch from the Titanic, and complained "I suppose now room service will be late!"
      She snarled "Did everyone call out sick?!" as if that made sense.
      "No. It's the start of a major holiday weekend, of course it's busy," I said.
      "Monday is the holiday!" she snapped, as if that made sense.
      "Everybody has to go to work Tuesday, so they do all their parties on Sat or Sun."
      "Everything's closed on Monday!" she nearly yelled, as if THAT made any sense.
      I laughed. "No they aren't! Even the liquor stores are open!" The next customer said "They are?!" "Yes, for over 5 years now."
      She left, still bitching. I have a new rule from my limited grocery career: You don't get to complain about a line if you have 10 fucking items and are too lazy and entitled to go the self-serv register and do it yourself. For a liquor store comparison, there was an always-asshole guy who bought a 4 liter jug of $10 wine, drank it all, then was back the next afternoon to complain "It gave us a headache." Yeah, so does hitting yourself over the head with a baseball bat, go sue Louisville Slugger over it.

      The Irish Ban on their Abortion Ban got little attention in this country, maybe because the pro-life-until-you're-born-then-fuckyou guys want to ignore it. So here's an ex-Australian in the UK's take.

      Here's SCRAPPY! An early 1930s cartoon that I was unaware of. I guess back in the Depression, little kids wanted escape by watching near-nightmares. Here's a pair of them, and SPOILER ALERT: Racism from nowhere, and the first one has a cartoon human baby centipede.


      Speaking of cartoonish racism from nowhere, Roseanne is out of work. Jeez, all she did was say some black lady was a Muslim ape! She still believes that Pizzagate is real and George Soros was a Jewish Nazi. What did ABC expect?
      Funny, I was thinking of her just the day before! The store radio switched to "patriotic" muzak for the holiday, which was good in that it wasn't the same damn 3 hour loop of songs, instead a 3 hour loop of oldies and such toe-tappers as "Hail to the Chief." One of the oldies was "Muskrat Love," which is what Roseanne feels for Trump's hair. A coworker and I shook our heads at hearing the same fucking horrible, screeching rendition of "GAAAWWWWD BLESS... AAAAMERIKAAAAHHH" in 2 hours. I asked "Why are patritotic songs always screamed and not sung? Do they want to to make sure every country in the world hears them?" This was after he said "If they wanted American music, just play Elvis! He was fat, rich, crazy, and on barbituates!"
      But I was thinking about her not because I have neurons I want dead, but because it was right after the NFL declared that taking a knee during the National Anthem wasn't free speech, so into the back of the bus locker room with you. I thought how Roseanne had become a right wing darling for loving Trump and Alex Jones, but her version of the Anthem at a MLB baseball game was singing it as horribly as she could, which is something since her default voice is fingernails on a chalboard being stuck up a really nasal toilet, and finishing by grabbing her crotch and spitting on the ground. Now THAT'S respecting the Flag! And of course, the next day she's being defended for using her freedom of hate speech by bigots, including the Most Powerful Moron in the World. Who thinks the CEO of Disney owes him a big apology for saying mean things about him. GOD BLESS MODERN AMERICA for the few years it has left to exist.

      In unrelated links, Fuck off, Adolf: 15 creative ways to kill Hitler. Ever think of spiking a Big Mac with hand-shrinking drugs?

      I finally got to see Avengers, and for $5.75. All these weeks avoiding spoilers, and...there really weren't any. I read and reread the Infinity Gauntlet comic limited series, and the trailer had "kills half the life in the universe" pretty prominently featured. Well, spoiler for the next movie: Everybody's going to come back to life! That's how the comic ended. Howver, that was at the end, and this movie ended about 10 pages before that, so the question is how. SPOILERS inbetween the promised second Scrappy cartoon, and a third one. SPOILER: Scrappy looks at Elon Muskrat's love for flying cars, and adorable imp Scrappy spits at a blind man like he was singing the Anthem.


      Dr Strange saw every possible future of the attack on Thanos, but only one where it was successful. So, giving up the Time Gem was part of his plan.
      During the first Captain America movie, I thought at the end "In the comics, the Red Skull picks up the Cosmic Cube/Tesseract and is disintegrated by it. But it turns out that he wasn't. He was teleported." Movie: "A lifetime ago, I too sought the stones. I even held one in my hand. But it cast me out, banished me here, guiding others to a treasure I can not possess." Which leads to some interesting ideas about the MCU's afterlife: He's in Hell. Is another character, briefly seen, in Purgatory? In the comics, the Infinity Stones/Gems have sentience; are they Gods?


      Twitch is showing all the classic Dr Who episodes, in order, for like 2 or 3 weeks. I can't find a schedule, so luck of the draw as far as it comes to seeing any one ep. There is this vague schedule that at least narrows them down--Genesis of the Daleks will air "sometime" on June 20th.
      Now there's a more accurate schedule for the Who marathon


      I think I may have finally figured out why I'm both constantly exhausted after work, but also nearly incapable of falling asleep before 4AM: The job has no mental downtime. It requires 100% concentration on What I'm Doing This Second, Every Second. In a grocery store, I don't have the time to even mentally compile a grocery list. This week, I've been on the register, which is even more mentally intense.
      Last Saturday it was extremely humid. Enough to cause the entire dairy cooler to decide it couldn't keep up. I was working in it, and suddenly it was turning itself on and off over the course of minutes or even seconds. This happened at the Last Job, except in one of the beer cooler's condensers. It was days before the Memorial Day weekend, and all the beer was now 65 degrees warm, and rising. Baby Owner didn't do anything. I pointed out that both condensers were bought at the same time (and bought used), so if the only one had to work twice as hard, it would fail as well. Since every penny the store made in profit went right back into the store the owner's pockets to fund his "3 long weekends and a week's vacation in another country every fucking month," he said "I tried to find a used compressor, but it was $3000, and I'm not spending that," while he thought "You know how much it costs to fly from CT to Vancouver every month?" His solution: turn the AC up. But...the cooler doors are designed to keep the outside temperature, umm, out...
      6 weeks later, the other compressor failed. The beer was now getting as warm as the outdoors, and it was 95 outside. Oh, and it was the Fourth of July weekend, and I mean that in the sense that the 4th fell on Monday...THEN he decided to fix it. I'll bet that, on a weekend, on a holiday, with 2 compressors ordered immediately, probably cost more than $3,000. Like, maybe even $3,015! We were all sworn to secrecy to never tell his father how much he spent. Which implied that Daddy was too fucking stupid to ever check his son's bills. Maybe he was! When your kid's first job is arranged by Daddy, and his second is buying him a store at age 25...That's downright Trumpian.
      At the grocery store, management recognized it as a crisis, dug some huge old styrofoam signs from somewhere, and blocked the open shelves. The cooler hadn't died, it was just getting warmer. Behind the signs, it was 40 degrees F. But it meant it was full service, and I was nominated to be the team leader or whatever. Customers understood once it was explained, and we helped them pick things out. Except for the people who didn't care, and just ripped the signs off, or jammed their hands in without looking. Did you know that if a single egg is broken in a carton, it's now trash? The chain has a food-trash-to-energy plant, so if you live in southern New England, your computer is currently running partly on broken eggs.

      Back in the Old Store days--hey, for simplicity and me not having to hit Shift more than once, let's call it Shitstore--I was frequently stuck in traffic in my 35 mile round-trip commute. I decided to get some bumperstickers from Build-A-Sign. The idea was for some asshole in a BMW getting stuck behind me, and then seeing my inexplicable sticker, either get baffled, or baffled enough that he used his stupidphone to Google it, and then he got rear-ended, rather than him hitting me. I tried, and finally came up with one that, if you Googled it, would actually leave you with more questions than it answered. I came up with
      That's pretty readable, right?
      Okay, presented in bumper sticker form, aka all-caps with other lines bolded:

      There's a layer, then another layer, then a third layer. Can you dig it, man? Whoa. Deep as an onion.

      Ever wonder how your pet sees the world, literally? Details that look sharp to people may be blurry to their pets "Humans can resolve four to seven times more detail than dogs and cats, and more than a hundred times more than a mouse or a fruit fly. A person who sees less than 10 cycles per degree is considered legally blind. Most insects, it turns out, can't see more than one."


      The First Incredibles Movie Is a Web of Massacred Disney Superheroes

      The Very Worst Album Covers. I own about 6 of these, because of course I do.

      25 Ridiculous Off Brands That Might Be Better than the Real Thing

      Sept. 9, 2018: New MST3K Dark Horse Comics Series

      Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue, aka Maybe your anti-drug screed shouldn't make the anti-drug forces total nightmares. Especially the 2 cartoon characters at the start, who tell you it's about "drug and alcohol abuse", alcohol being represented by a fleeting remark about beer that Dad apparently drinks enough of that he forgets that he did, and Mom shrugs it off. Really awesome music though.



      Maybe our species is the only intelligent one after all. Like all these articles, its base proposition is that Humans = Intelligence = Civilization = Technology. Based on what? It took 250 years for humans to invent the steam engine, then only 150 more to invent atomic weapons that we can voluntarily use to destroy our intelligent civilization. And another 50 to find out that, hey, the steam engine's descendants in technology gave us the ability to change the climate and wipe ourselves out without even trying!
      Scientific knowledge is greater than it ever has been, and expanding so that we'll discover everything about everything eventually. You think the amount of exoplanets humans have found matters to the insects that will inherit our debris? You think birds go "Whoa, dude, my ancestors were T Rexes!"? Do you think dandelions are planning a way to shoot drone missiles at the lawnmowers that run over them every week? Do dolphins and whales worship us as gods because of the Giant Plastic Mountains we're giving them?
      A feral cat's most precious knowledge is how to find food every day. They don't think "Maybe someday, there will be CATS walking on the MOON!" The Moon to them is when there's more or less light for hunting at night. 250 years is not enough time to tell whether Technology is a boon for "intelligent" life's survival, or its greatest enemy.

      That having been said, here's cute old-timey newspaper articles on cute animals who don't give a shit about quantum theory and 4G smartphones and childnapping millionaire fascists! There's even one from Hartford CT, a place that our rival intelligent species, the whales and dolphins and other cetaceans, super don't care if it's the Insurance Capitol of the World!


      Low posting mode. I really shouldn't be losing sleep over a part time minimum wage job, I think at 3AM when doing just that. I was expecting that minimum wage = maximum work, not maximum stress.

      I overheard a woman with 2 little kids use the Stop That! voice, when the mom says "FIRST NAME, MIDDLE NAME!" His name was "RIVER WILD!" I smiled, thinking "He's named after a movie? At least it was a Meryl Streep film. But who names their kid after a movie? Ha ha, I'm gonna name my kid--" and stopped.


      Well...there is that.
      I have all the cats/kids I ever will, so I can rule out naming the next one "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade," or "King Ralph."


      I'm officially poor! Medicare D sent me a free smart phone!
      No, I don't know how it works. The phone's smarter than me. It's weird to have as many phone numbers as I have cats. Guess which I could live without.

      I'm still learning how to operate my new corded landline answering machine. JOB likes to treat me like they don't want me to be there when I'm there, but JOB won't let me have a day off without them calling me to come to work, so that I can get treated like they don't want me to be there.
      If I turn off the answering machine, it will ring 10 times, and then announce "PLEASE ENTER YOUR ACCESS CODE." This is great when I'm trying to sleep, as JOB lets it ring until10 rings. Even robocallers hang up after 5 rings. If it didn't, I wonder how long JOB would let it ring, never getting an answer? To Infinty, and Beyond!
      There's no way to turn off the "access code" function. The access code is if I want to call on one of my other 2 unused phones to see if I have any messages. When I turn the answering machine off, it will not take any more messages, so I can call it to hear what messages I told it not to record. Pretty useful!
      I figured out, with no help from the manual, that this can be circumvented via Quiet mode. Everything's on, it just makes no sound when it works. So...exactly like it would be if I could turn the machine off. But now, I can later hear the message when they want me to work, to cover all the other people who called out.

      Introverts share their favorite things in life.




      "Best Defense for Attacker Tragic girl's life could have been saved by this new safety device" Yeah, I'll trust my life to a cheap-looking panic button gadget made by someone who couldn't afford an editor.

      Funny Fake Posters

      Hoarders, Hauntings, and Two-Headed Cows: Dealing Dead People's Things


      Working in a grocery store lasted 3 months to a day. That shit liquor storw job lasted 14 years, and it was less stressful. "Minimum Wage for Maximum Work" I expected. "Be perfect from day one with no training on how to do it," that I did not. I expect--well, I expected to work stocking shelves and coming in no earlier than noon, because that's what they told me I'd be doing. Nothing I was told to expect is what I received. I quit.
      I did get proof of concept: 20-25 hours a week at minimum wage really did cover my bills. But I ran the numbers again, and I won't deplete my savings for about 6 years, even with no income.

      Is Dan Aykroyd attracting UFOs to Martha’s Vineyard?

      There are a couple of surprises in this video! By which I mean, no not really. They earned their places.




      I knew I'd written a review of Godzilla: Final Wars, so I googled myself. No wonder I'd forgotten what I'd said. It was from 13 years ago! (For purposes of historical dating: 4 years before DJ was born) I clicked on the Comments. Back when a day without a Comment was considered a "lag"! And when we all, so young and naive, were heavily into the Daveykins. Anybody remember this, possibly the greatest thing he ever wroted?
      "Out of the dark void came what looked like a giant rabbit followed by small rabbits which had looked as if they had undergone a mutation with three ears and 2 tails. They discovered they were on Rabbitania."

      Tweets to brighten your day, and remember when the word "Twitter" didn't automatically mean "Narricisi-Fascist Orange Asshole?" Those were the days!

      Remember "Starlee and the Moonbeams," the most 80s of 80s cartoons? A simpler time!

      Remember 1991, when I was helping refit a Sam Goody in a mall in White Plains NY, and where I was cheerfully told that "We don't call the cops on shoplifters here. We drag them out the back of the building and beat them with pipes." They thought we CT people were hopelessly naive, waiting for the cops to come.
      I saw them surround and harass a young black guy who was shopping. He protested. I kept my distance, and then noticed an extremely clean-cut white guy in a suit and about the same age. He didn't seem to be watching the altercation as much as furtively looking around.
      After they threw the black guy out, I noticed that White Guy had already left. There was nothing missing from where Black Guy was, and about 50 CDs missing right from where White Guy was fidgeting...
      I said to their "security team" "Maybe the black guy was just there to distract you from the white guy?" They looked angry, said nothing, and disappeared to the back room for 20 minutes. They never spoke to us for the rest of the day.
      Nice scam, really.
      Accusing random black people of crimes they haven't committed! Thank god we're better than that now!


      Kind of long and sciencey, but here's 6 major problems with a flat earth, which can be reduced to "everything."
      There's lots of amusing ones, like the Flatheads explanation as to why you can fly from Chile to Australia without flying over the North Pole. My favorite: They don't believe in gravity, because that would mean that the Earth would be round. So what happens when you drop something? There's MAGIC! an as yet unexplained force that pushes from the bottom of the flat Earth constantly. So, when you drop something, it doesn't fall, the Earth rises to it. Simple! The force is pushing towards them at a rate of about 22 miles an hour. They also think that the Sun and Moon are 32 miles wide and 2-3,000 miles away. So if you drove 22 MPH for 100 hours...wouldn't you cover 2,200 miles? And crash into the Sun and Moon? My math is bad--it's not 22 MPH, it's a constant rate of 22 MPH. "Having the universe accelerate at a constant rate of acceleration raises the obvious problem that the earth would soon be going faster than the speed of light, which is impossible."

      How a big orange toddler sees himself:




      Recent coincidences:
      On my last day of work, a woman was in line with a service dog, wearing a Fidelco shirt. "I have a friend who used to work there! It was years ago, maybe you don't know her--Meg S."
      "MEG?! Omigod, she was my best friend! I saw her and Kevin in Texas a couple of years ago!"
      The next 3 are all from Cheezburger sites, which I should've but didn't bookmark.
      On FAILblog, a post called "The Worst Public Meltdowns." "Here's a video I took! Here at UConn, we have mac 'n' cheese days in the cafeteria, and this one kid wanted bacon jalapeno mac 'n' cheese..." Yeah, THAT guy. The person who took the video? Jessica's husband's nephew, who quickly deleted it from Youtube--although, obviously not fast enough.
      On I Can Haz Cheezburger?, a list of animal photos under the title "It was worth it." A brown bear caught in midplunge from the tree he'd been tranquilizer-darted from. In the background, the distinctively weird and ugly roof of my last job. Not clear enough to see it, but I was looking out the window as it happened.
      And finally, on Cheezburger today, maybe a picture you recognize:



      No personal connection, but also from Cheezburger today, 8 Cats In Super Slow Motion.

      One of my favorite cartoons of all time was the 1990s Tick. A DVD collection came out years after it ended, except that it didn't. It started with 1 disc out of 3 seasons, and was missing an episode. Months later, the 2nd DVD came out, representing the next season with 1 episode missing. Why uncomplete sets were issued has never been adequately answered. Since the season 1 missing ep involved Molemen, and S2 a parody of Galactus, maybe because of the ever-litigious Marvel in its pre-MCU FOB phase? (Fighting Off Bankruptcy) The 3rd season never was released--except in Europe, with a region code unplayable in the USA.
      As Bacon Mac Kid will tell you, the Internet is forever, and you can now see that long-lost season on Youtube, if you look hard enough. Nothing is more subjective than humor, and 20 year old humor even more, but I think this is the funniest of Season 3. Some are crap versions--the picture's cut off at all 4 borders. Look for any uploaded by "Mikee Doverty," those are the best.




      Kraftwerk performs a live duet with an astronaut on the ISS
      A few years ago, some coworkers called me outside. "There's a UFO out here!!" I went out and said 'Oh, that's the ISS; they said it was going to pass over us tonight." I had to explain what "ISS" meant, and they were almost pissed off that it wasn't ET, "just" reality. I watched it cut its circle through the sky. They continued their smoke break, no longer caring.
      I remember as a kid during an Apollo mission when the Moon was visible during the day. "There are PEOPLE up there!" I realized in excitement. Thank you, Kraftwerk. I felt that same amazement watching this today.

      Hey, remember when "UpChuck" was a feature here? I made fun of the goofy/evil Chuck Asay's political cartoons. Here's a pair from exactly 10 years ago.

      When I say "exactly 10 years ago," I mean "When Big-Ears was still just a Senator, not the fucking president." I wonder if Chuck today is like most Republican conservatives, happy that their leader is a Russian stooge.

      The 50 greatest special effects movies of all time, with clips.

      Late bloomers: 10 classic books with terrible initial reviews.

      Since I linked to my favorite Season 3 Tick episode, here are my favorites from earlier seasons: The Tick vs The Uncommon Cold ("It's THRAKKORZOG! With a K!"), and from Season 2, The Tick vs. The Big Nothing ("WHAT?!" "Hey!")


      There was this TV show I'd never seen (and to this date, never have) called "Family Guy." Kevin loved it! He once quoted a line from it: the main character turning to the audience and saying "Have you ever noticed that these aren't so much jokes, just references?" A year later, I said that to Kev and he frowned. "I stopped watching it. It really WAS no jokes, just references."
      Any fan of MST3K knows what I mean. They pretty much invented the "reference as a joke" thing. When I was rewatching them after a dozen years, I'd pause the playback and be confused. "Oh, right," I'd think, "that was from a 90s TV ad for a product they don't make anymore." I wonder how many people who never saw them back in the day just shrug and give up after the third reference to Mentos.
      Not that a ref can't be a joke. Kev and I saw a truly bizarre 1960s Toho movie about ninjas and giant cats--oh, wait, it was this one:


      --which gives you far, far less of an idea of how bonkers it was. Early on, I said of the villain "Oh, David Bowie's going through one of his phases again! Thin White Ninja." Now that's a ref AND a joke. And we made other Bowie-centric comments throughout it. I said "Screwed down hairdo, like some cat from Japan." Now that's just a ref. Because the actor was Japanese. It's not really a joke. At the climax, Kev said of Watari the Ninja Boy "Ziggy played the axe!" That's a joke AND a ref! Because of that song, and guitars are sometimes called an axe.
      So your movie has a big CGI car chase. One car is the Batmobile from the 60s TV show, and when it brakes to a halt, the tires go na-na-na-na-naa! like the show's famous theme song. That's a ref and a joke! If later someone yells "It's MECHAGODZILLA!" and the soundtrack plays the Godzilla March, that's just a ref, hoping some kaiju nerd like me gets it, and feels superior to everyone who didn't.
      And it's called "Ready Player One."
      Kev and Scott were rhapsodizing about the book years ago. "Did you get this bit?" "YES! Did you get that bit?!" "YES!" I said "Is the book just a bunch of 80s pop references?" They said "Yes! That's why it's so awesome!' I asked if they'd like it if it were 70s trivia--"No, we wouldn't catch those references."
      Then Spielberg decided to make it a movie. Hey, what decade was he last relevant in? The 80s? Huh! Coincidence!
      And yeah, it's not very good. The first 45 minutes is a solid block of exposition, without any explanation of how this world works. Who built the Stacks? Are there toilets? How does this economy work, when no one works except for virtual coins in a VR game that are used to buy more in-game crap? Can you cash them in for groceries? Okay, that's nitpicking. How about...what the fuck is going ON?! Why does everyone care about this damn game? Especially the bad guys? Why is it not odd that people care more about their avatar losing his hat than they do when the only people they know in RL get murdered? One could make a dark satiric point about that, but nah. We must fight the Evil Corporation that wants to...put ads in a pay-for-play game? In a movie that's nothing but copyrighted trademarks and ads? (Note the ad for St0k caffeine drinks, which truly immerses us in this world of 2045. People will watch this in 5 years and have no idea what St0k was)
      I'll spare you any spoilers, although there really aren't any because the movie is that predictable, so if you want them just watch this.


      Hey, wasn't the Iron Giant a pacifist? Way to fuck over that too, "Ready Mary Sue: the Movie."


      iTunes played a bit from "Malamondo," a 1960s Italian junk movie, scored by a pre-fame Ennio Morricone. It's goofy music. The import CD I got if from had no information as to what the movie was about. It was paired with the soundtrack from a contemporary film, something about a giant tarantula. I assumed the title meant "Sick World," but I should've guessed that it's of the brief genre created by "Mondo Cane." Basically, they were "shocking" documentaries with lots of staged footage and zero attempt at coherence. Here's the trailer. Word on the street is that it's frantic!


      I found an article on the movie. And it's from Night Flight. Yes, the 80s USA Network show! There's a subscription service that I'm not going to invest in, but it apparently shows the old episodes in full.

      The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time. It's lo-o-o-ng, but worth it. Like those old WFMU Kliph Nesteroff articles on creepy comedians. Napoleon basically created self-help books, especially those like "The Secret" or "The Power of Positive Thinking," or the "Prosperity Gospel." You can go far telling people that Wishing Makes It So. Too bad Nappy didn't wish himself into being someone who wasn't a slimy, rageaholic con man.


      In our last episode, Boris and Natasha were holding America hostage with a president hopped up on Goof Gas--wait a minute. (shuffles papers) Sorry.
      In our last episode, I mentioned the movie "Malamondo." Lilly approved, and recommended an awesome video, a number one hit in Italy. It was what American English sounded like to Europeans, and done by Hobo Fourth Doctor and his S&M Disco Nazis. It became my new favorite music! The next day, Weird universe had the same song, except in color and horribly boring. It was mentioned on NPR! So I heard on a song on my iTunes, that led me to search for the movie, which led Lilly to send me a link to a guy who was briefly featured in Malamondo's trailer, that was then featured elsewhere! Coincidences can be exciting!! Look at my exclamation marks. I used so much I ran out;;
      And now, a story of coincidences so amazing, that the Hero is YOU!! a sense. Okay, tangentially and also not really. I was trying to get you to read via clickbait headlines. Don't read any farther--Number FOUR will Amaze you! Number SIX will give you EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA!
      I need to work on my clickbait headlines.
      "Here's to a celebration that should've happened 3 months ago!" is a line from the movie. No, a celebration over 17 years ago. If you're such a LTR that you were here in 2001, YOU are the HERO! And you may remember a regular Commenter, Lunamoth. She was a NYC kid who went to Japan as an exchange student. She also had a connection to Hollywood, through I think her uncle, who was working on a big budget movie called "Monkeybone." I imagine the Elevator Pitch was "It's BEETLEJUICE--meets ROGER RABBIT--but Roger's an ASSHOLE!" It had been sitting unwatched in my Netflix queue for as long as I've had Netflix.
      One of those Onion subsites, AV CLub, Gizmodo, whatever, had some brief complaint about Netflix, with it structured around a joke about "Netflix doesn't have Monkeybone!" I shook my fist mightily! "Maybe they don't have it streaming, but it's RIGHT HERE!" and I moved it up to 2, right under another blockbuster comedy for weirdos, "Death of Stalin."
      You might ask why it took me 17 years to finally watch it. You may also ask, "Hey, wasn't I supposed to be the hero?!" as you sit on the toilet because you read Number Six. I waited because every one of its reviews mentioned the final scene. This involved a dead gymnast organ donor being reanimated and who then spilled his organs everywhere. This seemed unfunny to me, and so I put it off just as I did for years before watching "Maniac." Its most famous scene involves the titular Maniac ripping out a cat's eyeball and eating it. The movie was from 1931, 4 or 5 years before CGI was invented by Edison's Brain in a Jar. I assumed that they just took a cat and...umm, yeah, no thanks. But it turned out that the writer/director/star couldn't even take the time to find a cat that wanted to be held for a 15 second shot, so he was lucky that they eyeball lost wasn't his. The young, wiry, angry black cat's eye was "ripped" out of a much older, fatter, and substantially oranger cat, who had clearly lost the eye years earlier, and was clearly baffled as to why some guy was slowly moving an olive from his long-empty eye socket. The broken-necked gymast's organs look like nothing from a human body, or anything's, and at one point in a fight he begins flinging them at his opponent screaming "HAVE THEM ALL! I DON'T NEED THEM, I'M DEAD!" The dead guy is the hero, throwing them at his own body, which has been hijacked by the evil cartoon monkey.
      We will now have a pause while you try to imagine this movie.
      You see, there's this cartoonist, played by the always likeable Brendan Fraser in a role that killed his career, and there's a cartoon called "Monkeybone," and the cartoon is truly awful, so awful that you'll think "This really is the type of thing that Adult Swim or MTV would've greenlit, just because it's offensive and unfunny, oh wait, what other cable network would've run this, damn, I know this..." and then Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall comes on and says "It's been picked up by the Comedy Channel" OH THAT'S THE OTHER ONE! It's such a hit that people are falling all over themselves to sell merchandise based on Monkeybone. This is...evil, I guess? (LATER SCENE: Characters eat HAAGEN DAAZ from giant half-gallon sized buckets labeled HAAGEN DAAZ) At any rate, Brendan gets in a car crash and a coma and goes to "Down Town," your "Home away from Home-a while you're in a Coma!" It's a city of various weird creations, and all of them aren't CGI, but practical effects. Yes, that nightmarish/semi-cute Cyclops is a little guy in a foam costume!


      I have to stress: Lunamoth's uncle and his crew did a damn fine job on this. Everything is super weird but just as real as in a dream. Let me say this now--you ain't gonna like this movie if you're looking for coherence besides Dream Logic. I love this kind of movie when it's done right, as it is here. The "car crash, coma, welcome to insanity world" is just the first 12 minutes of the film. That's the point I where I just decided "Well, let's see what happens!" rather than try to understand it. I dare anyone to define what a "Reaper" is. The first one's a Grim Reaper, except he doesn't kill people. The rest are...I don't know, other people in Down Town? I guess it's Coma Purgatory, except ruled by Death (Whoopi Goldberg), and it needs nightmares or something, and goat-legged demon man and sexy cat-lady and Stephen Fucking King are there. Also, the license plate 4TRIO19, which is so shoved in your face that I thought it might mean something, but googling just led me to people obsessed with that plate appearing in Lost and some TV show called Psych that I think it's just some Hollywood guy's real plate, hey did you know that if a movie uses your license plate, you can sue them? That's why all movie phone numbers begin with "555"! Also, 4TRIO19 adds up to 24 or something, Christ, Lost fans, you were just trying jam any meaning at all into that "making it up as we go along" show, weren't you? (Note: all the Lost refs I found dated from 2005, so apparently they didn't know that it was first used in Monkeybone)
      Is it a good movie? NO. Is Plan 9 a good movie? NO--I mean, sure. If "Beetlejuice meets Asshole Roger Rabbit with amazing practical effects" sounds good to you, and you don't mind 90 minutes of incoherence, sure! I have to give it that one last test ("Will it make more sense crazy stoned?") before final judgement. That might be the best way to watch it the first time.
      "But--I thought I was the Hero!" Well, you are! If you weren't here before the movie was made and Lunamoth told us about it, you were surely here in 2011. There was an antique store in Putnam, CT that you've heard mentioned here lo, many the time. It had a collection of taxidermy and a giant prop head from what we assumed was some very expensive stage production. It looked like this. Now I know that it was very expensive. Like "movie with a $75M budget" expensive.




First, a kitty!! Then, all politics.

      Room 8, The Cat That Adopted A School.

      All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose If You Don't Show Up In the First Place.

      How three conspiracy theorists took 'Q' and sparked Qanon.

      One of those knocks-it-outta-the-park Seanbaby articles, 5 Awful (But Revealing) Examples Of Conservative Comedy. I thought "I hope it has the Fox 1/2 Hour News Hour!" and it does. This lastest 4 whole months, and only because Fox really hoped it would take off. Watch the clip, smell the flop sweat!

      There's a link in there: Dennis Miller’s new podcast is an incoherent marvel. I think 15 years ago I was channel surfing and came across him doing commentary on Monday Night Football. He said, I dunno, something like "If the Romans played like this during the Third Punic War, on the Fourth of July we'd be launching Carthaginian candles!" There was laughter. From Miller. His 2 fellow commentators didn't say anything, because the only person who gets a Dennis Miller joke is nobody else. That linked article mentions him recently Tweeting, "Hmm...does anyone else think the NFL resembles a Stradivarius these days?" They...are like the world's most valuable instrument? They're..."fiddling" around while someone "pulls their strings" while "stringing them along"? Is it because Trump hates brown things?

      Okay, I lied. Neither cats nor politics, here's...wait, there are pets and some politics, so I lied twice? Not ready for prime time: 18 animated series that didn’t make it a full season. I was at least aware of 11 of these, and saw most of them. Not for long. They all got cancelled, and some of them there was no reason to watch more than 15 minutes of. They all came from when the Simpsons burst on the scene, and, as always, Hollywood took exactly the wrong ideas from that. Jaws was big, so audiences want to see people get eated by fishies! Star Wars was bigger, people want people in SPAAAACE FOOORCE! (I think they actually combined the 2 with that thing you never thought was the stupidest thing you ever saw, Empire Strikes Back's giant asteroid eel that has things that eat power cables in its mouth. Explain THAT ecological niche) Simpsons: people want cartoons about dysfunctional families! Speilberg and Burton combined to make Family Dog, and even the fucking dog was unlikable.
      Also, I am probably the only person in the world who owns a Fish Police toy.


      Whoa, it's been almost 2 weeks since I posted. I've been busy. Sleeping counts, right?

      How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise.
      It's a really amusing article, but I guess I need trigger warnings for my snowflakiness, because (without reading it) I FB commented:

      10 or so days later, I posted this:

      It wasn't until I put them here that I realized...that's basically the same joke, isn't it? Oh well, Larry the Cable Guy's a millionaire for telling versions of the same joke.

      In my stalled quest to discover the source of the Monkeybone Cyclops Head, I wondered, hey, What Ever Happened To Brendan Fraser? He was always so likeable an actor, and he seems to still be. His reason for largely leaving the public eye is not what you'd expect.

      Recommended: the BBC series "Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrel," based on the 1,100 page book / thing that hit Wile E. Coyote when they ran out of anvils. It's about the rediscovery of Magic in Napoleonic War-era England. Two magicians use Magic in war, with varying results. In the book, I wondered why it didn't really alter the history of the war. Watching the show, it's more used tactically than strategically. It was best shown in the Battle of Waterloo, at the chateau at Hougoumont. Strange summons rain to put out the burning building, then uses mud in a creative way. The day after viewing, I saw this: Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo caused in part by Indonesian volcanic eruption. Rain was a major factor in Napoleon's defeat, miring his more experienced troops and horsemen. (But like the Nazis invading Russia, and Imperial Japan attacking Pearl Harbor, he would've lost anyway, just maybe a little later) From the article: "Dr Genge said: 'Vigo Hugo in the novel Les Miserables said of the Battle of Waterloo: 'an unseasonably clouded sky sufficed to bring about the collapse of a World.' Now we are a step closer to understanding Tambora's part in the Battle from half a world away.'"

      For those not ready to watch 7 hours of magic, here's


      Good to see Number 5 from Short Circuit there. Remember when they were trying to decide if the crappy robot was human, so they told a "priest, minister, rabbi" joke, and decided it was human because he knew the punchline was "Jews are greedy bastards"? Good role model, kid movie from the 80s!

      Speaking of stupid weird robotic bigots, GOOGLE IS NOT 1 GUY IN A ROOM WHO HATES YOU, MR VERY GOOD BRAIN. Nice job making everyone Google "Trump News" and see that it's all you showing These Kids Today that you don't know how phones work. It would've been funnier if as soon as someone else figured out how it worked, the translator said "Oh, President 'Enrique,' which is not a name you were told how to pronounce 15 minutes ago, has gone to the bathroom, please hold. His stomach bothers him--he ate a lot of Big Macs last night. That's what happens when you eat American food!"
      Is "Google Bomb" still a thing? You know, like when Santorum became a thing? If it is, I don't know, maybe the world should all Google Trump News so it goes to that link. Trump will like the news, as it's all positive! Because it's Trump talking about Trump.


      Brian Eno Releases Experimental, Extremely Targeted Album “Music for Waiting at the DMV on Your Birthday, Kevin”

      15 of the internet’s best clapbacks at Trump that we really, really hope he saw.

      The Best of the Worst: Your State’s Favorite “Bad” Movie. Not sure about this methodology--you'd think more states would have the same movies, but most are "popular" in only one (CT: "Gigli"). And how do they know people are watching them because they're bad? I watch "Super Mario Bros." because I like it.

      32 Laziest Cats The World Has Ever Seen

      35 of Blackadder’s most cunning quotes: “Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.”




       Thanks, New York Times Op-ED Self-Declared Hero of the Resistance Anony-Coward! You're the brave soul fighting behind enemy lines in the White House, and now you've told Trump exactly what to look for. That's like the French Resistance saying "Hey, Gestapo! We heard about the upcoming D-Day landings, and boy oh boy, will you be surprised! Normandy. They'll land in Normandy."
      I love how everybody in the WH is falling over themselves to say "NOT ME!" like some demented version of a Family Circus cartoon. Wanna bet that when the roof finally caves in, they'll all be screaming "I WROTE IT! NO, I DID! OVER HERE, I DID!" It's double Cover Your Ass. Or it's some Iago, placing Desdemona's scented handkerchief so that everyone else is suspected, and only he gets ahead...(Pence, wiping with handkerchief): "Hey, it's only because my nose was really brown!"
      And, of course, I'm sure we can expect a calm and measured, well-thought-out response from the Commander of Space Force. The rest of the month is going to be...more interesting than we might like.
      I'll bet that they're giving the Russian version of the High-Five to Vlad up and down the halls of the Kremlin right now. "Nice way you pushed those dominoes over, boss!"

       I wish I knew the story behind this song. I hope it went:
      RECORD LABEL: You need to make a hit single!
      MEMBERS OF WIRE: Yeah, sure. What do you want?
      RECORD LABEL: You know, catchy hook and chorus!
      (later) GOTOBED: So, what do we write about?
      LEWIS: Cartography.
       GILBERT: Yeah, and let's make the title not the chorus, but an impossible to remember set of coordinates!
      NEWMAN: And just before the chorus, I could sarcastically say "CHORUS"! But where should the latitude and longitude be?


      In a less danceable mood, Cat Calming Radio


      NPR news headlines kept opening with "THIS JUST IN: Breaking news from 17 years ago!"
      Way down the end, they'd mention something else that happened 17 years ago: Oh, right, apparantly we're still at war in Afghanistan. The USA beat Hitler and Tojo in the equivalent of 4.8 Afghanistans. Still hasn't done anything about the hijacker's enablers in Saudi Arabia, besides sell them the bombs they use to slaughter "human shields" who happen to be in school buses.

      A movie recommendation you aren't expecting from me: "Paddington 2." I've never seen the original (though Netflix says I soon will. described it as "by the numbers") It was the rare movie that got NO negative reviews. And it's damn near perfect. And a kids' movie with not ONE fart joke! (It was proceeded by a 2-minute trailer for Teen Titans Go, which either had 3 fart jokes in 30 seconds, or a 30-second long fart joke) The closest it came to LCD was "Nice buns!" said by Joanna Lumley at her Ab-Fabbiest.
      I didn't need to see the original. You can figure out what's going on with the established characters without knowing their exact backstories. They're given "What are they doing now?" recaps at the very start, and that's enough, you better pay attention just a bit. This is one of those few films without a single wasted scene, single wasted shot, even single wasted line. No matter how much of a one-off joke something seems, by the end of the movie, it gets used. This is brialliantly economical storytelling. I watched it 3 times before returning it, and I know there's still foreshadowing in there I missed.
      Most importantly, the jokes work! In a kids' movie! And there are multiple ones a minute! The first 20 minutes have the least funny style of humor, slapstick, pretty prominently featured, but even those are funny. All the characters are funny, even the lame Clueless Dad Trope. Even the villian is likeable, in a vain jerk way. Or the brutal prison inmate: "MY NAME IS KNUCKLES! WITH A K!" (holds out tattooed knuckles, which read "N U C K L E ' S")
      Funny thing: It almost didn't get released, because it was released by the Weinstein Porduction Company. Ironic thing: the bad guy is Hugh Grant, who 20 years ago had his career derailed through a sex scandal.
      You know what movie it reminds me of? Another you can rent without seeing the first one: Babe: Pig in the City. As Mr Ebert himself said, "I liked "Babe" for all the usual reasons, but I like "Babe: Pig in the City" more, and not for any of the usual reasons, because here is a movie utterly bereft of usual reasons."

      Maybe I've posted this before, but The silent version of the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

      Something Awful is Getting Sued, And It's All Thanks to Hitler.

      I've had years of careful study of the Conservative mindset. Okay, I read Mallard Fillmore, the world's worst comic strip. There are pretty much 3 stages of whte racism, which any racist will say in no particular order:
      "There is no racism in America!"
      "Well, there IS, but it's racism against White Male Republican Christians!"
      "WHY CAN THEY SAY THE N-WORD AND I CAN'T?! THIS IS VERY THE IMPORATANTS!!!" Also, I'm not racist, there is no racism in America."
      How the Republican Party Became The Party of Racism.

      Cat Calming Radio reviews: DJ woke up from another room, walked in, stared at the speakers for about a minute. He went back to the other room, fell asleep. Killsy: Woke up, moved near the speakers, had the greatest of purr-faces for 20 minutes, then purred to sleep. Me: I've left it on when I've gone to bed, and Man do I have some weird dreams. Byron abstained, for an obvious reason.


      Hey, remember that time when this page opened with a quote from Stupidest Things Ever Said? It doesn't do that anymore, but here's a thing that it might've used, courtesy of J-List, your source for Pocky, hentai, and sex toys you'll probably wish you never knew of. Anime series with strange titles:
      Bubblegum Crisis
       Samurai Pizza Cats
       I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying
       I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job
       A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd
       Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
       What If the Female Manager of a High-School Baseball Team Read Peter Drucker's 'Management'
       That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
       Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
       I Want To Eat Your Pancreas

      "Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl"" basically describes all my relationships.

      Ever have a conversation when you thought "Oh, wait, that reminds me of...something? Never mind, it's gone."
      And the next day you're brushing your teeth while your tea heats in the microwave, and you're "OH. Right! THAT."
      Did you ever come up with an amusing anecdote for your blog and realize it couldn't be told in less than 42,000 words?
      Anyway. (your TL;DR moment begins here), I was lunching with Mom and she told me of a family get-together I missed, because it either involved me driving 2 hours one way and back, or a motel room, and I'm from New England, our idea of "really far" is "CHRIST. I'll have to close my garage door after I pull out, won't I?!" It was in the far-distant land spoken of only in legends, a state called...RHODE ISLAND, which literally is not a fucken island, liar Providence people. Mom told me that the cousins asked about me. Even Liz!
      I met my "cuz" (as we called each other) Liz when I think we were 12 and 11? It was at one of my family's 2-week 1966-1973 vacations at Cape Cod. We became instant friends. We kept in contact though "letters," which were like really slow texts that were sent to you by the same way Amazon sends you microwave ovens. I KNOW, IT WAS A WEIRD TIME
      I didn't go to the Island of Roads, but Nick was there. Nick, Nicolai, Nickolas, Tsar Nicholas the 800th, whatever the living fuck he was calling himself that week. He is famous for this. Inventing new names for himself, and getting mad at anybody who called him by whatever name he used last time. Let's just pick one name, 'kay?


      He was staying with my aunt. She's in her 70s, and said to Mom, who is 85, "We were talking about his daughter, and I was saying how wonderful she was, and he took all the credit. 'Daughters need a strong father figure!' I agreed, and do you know what he said? 'THAT'S WHY LESBIANS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE CHILDREN!!'" When women who grew up during World the Fucking War Two think you're behind the times and on the wrong side of history...YOU ARE, NICK.
       There was some controversary when he entered the family. My Cuz was 16, and he was 26. And he was her high school English teacher. I never heard any more details than that, even from her. I myself would eventually learn that "29 yo guys shouldn't live with 18 yo old girls," but that is a story for another time.
      Back in the dreaded year 1978, when Disco was not dead, there was a pounding on the dorm room door. "FRESHMAN MEET & GREET! FREEE BEEEER!" I'm awkwardly circling the shrieking mob, Solo cup of Bud Light in my hand, when I see someone else doing the same. We lock eyes, we both kinda giggle, and walk towards each other and simultaneously say over the boom box noise "I LIKE YOUR HAT!" My name is Bill, wearing a Castro hat. Her name is Bethel, and wearing a bowler hat.
      This was pretty much exactly 40 years ago. I may be conflating some incidents here. I know I was wearing my Ironic Corduroy Suit Jacket that hadn't fit me in years. I think she was wearing what would be her iconic look, a bright yellow shirt that said "ANTIGONE." Bethel was a blue-eyed blonde whose forebears came from Scandinavia; I was a Scots-Irish blend, and both of us were scrawny as fuck and looked like we'd need SPF95 if someone turned a flourescent light on. She had...let's just, lower back pain? Oh wait, I got it: She suffered from "my-eyes-are-up-here-itis." And I looked at her shirt and said "Antigone? The Greek tragedy?" She said "YES! I was on the stage crew! You know what most guys say after staring at my shirt?!" Me: "Anti-gone?" "YES!" "But you ARE anti-gone! You're standing right here!" I didn't realize that I'd just passed a test.
      We became roommates. Our relationship could be best described as "It's Complicated. I mean, REALLY COMPLICATED" And you're already saying "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ABOUT ANYWAY?!"
      The year is 1979. Earth is still under the cruel and vise-like grip of the Disco. My family is going to have a backyard BBQ / family-reunion gala, and my cuz Liz will be there! With her boyfriend / teacher / umm no one was quite sure. I talked Liz up to Bethel the whole way from Romantic Willimantic (this was their literal slogan, when the town was using its tiny river as an open-air industrial sewer). "You'll like her! You guys are both smart and funny and creative!" Bethel said "Is she weird?" I said "Well...No. Not like we are." (This was our literal 4 criteria for friendship then. When we realized we needed another roommate, that's what she put on the flier. We luckily ended up with a nice guy who liked porn, and not a guy who really liked murder, WTF were we thinking)
      I hadn't seen Liz in maybe 2 years. "CUZ!" we yelled. Nick the Prick forced the tiniest of fake smiles, and a sort-of nod. I kinda thought "I guess 'HI!' is too many syllables for you" as I hugged my cuz. We began a spirited discussion, well THREE OF US DID, and I was so happy that Liz and Bethel were warming up to each other. I thought "Welcome to our family!" And then the neighbor's micro-dog came wandering over, with a goofy puppy smile.
      Bethel said "That dog is wearing a sweater!!" and THREE OF US went "Aww! That's cute!" And Prick finally smiled.
      It was the smile you see before someone says "NO, Mr Bond, I expect you to DIE!" About 90 seconds into this rictus, which is a long time when THREE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY TALKING, Prick announced
      "I'll bet that dog's in line for the Concentration Camp!"
      Bethel and I were "" And then Liz, beloved cuz, said "Oh! The sweater's made of wool!"
      "I don't know! He's YOUR relative!"
      "HE'S NOT--he's not my relative! I just met him! The first words from his mouth weren't 'Hello,' they were CONCENTRATION CAMP!!!"
      We had some potato salad. It was cold, but I was steaming. "My neighbors are Jewish. That means their DOG is Jewish! Fuck, I'm going to go demand to know what Prick meant by--" She grabbed my arm. "BILL! Bill. (sighs, shakes head) Bill..." I eventually said..." from sheep? So...the people at Auschwitz were...sheep?" "Bill. I don't want to talk about this anymore."
      Ever see a chart of a "really successful that then isn't" company like Enron? The lines go up and up and then POW, straight to the bottom. That's what my relationship with Bethel was like after this.
      Thanks, PRICK.

      Stupid Comics has a great one: TALONZ! I'd like to hear Criswell from "Plan Nine From Outer Space" say "THEY ONLY SERVE TO CHAFE INANELY!" That's right up there with "Future events like this will affect us in the future!"

      As we used to say in the Comments, New Lackadaisy. And then our jaws hurt for a week from dropping.

      I should've posted this here when it was posted there, but I worried that some people might get squicked by the last photo. But, yeah, you can see it coming: Owning the libs, a tale in three acts


      Remember FailBlog? It's still there, with lots of posts (most of which I don't read). Sometimes they have ones about "texts between seller and cheap-ass buyer." I know that some of these conversations go like these, as I'll bet anybody who sells their own creations on eBay / Etsy / whatever can attest, because my friends who do get them way more than they want.
      I must've read too many in a row, because I couldn't sleep and scrawled this.
      yes, it's in vg shape and $150
       I WILL OFFER YOU $20
       no it's $150 that's as cheap as I will go
       well, happy birthday to your son, but it's 150
       so...happy birthday and I'm sorry? 150
       look, 150, take it or leave it
       I think this convo needs to end

      A surprisingly large amount of these buyers give birth and raise sick kids in between texts...

      More weird knock-off products. One of them was so great, I tried to see if it was available for cheap online, because I have a sick cat, his gout is terrible, look at the size of his feet, all that he really wants is a tshirt that says "BOSTON, MSAEACHUBAETS." It's one of those tshirts with the bad of spellings from the Asia! I looked it is! From...a US company? If you look closely between the two, the knockoff one has a worse version of the US flag, and thus is a knockoff of a parody of an Asian tshirt made as a parody of Asian tshirt knockoffs.
      What a great time to be alive! (drowns in hurricane)

      And now, KITTIES!!!
      15 Songs About Cats

      These Cats Did Not Belong To Anyone, So They Decided To Claim Humans

      15+ Cats Who Rule Their Homes And Make Their Own Rules

      But just try and find a HARTFORD COTIENCTCET tshirt, or one with a picture of Long Island titled LAWN GUYLAND...
      (And, if you scroll down the tshirt page...the knock-off one is there, as an ironic knockoff of a knockoff of a parody of an Asian tshirt made as a parody of Asian tshirt knockoffs and THE ABYSS STARES BACK)


      Somehow, Facebook has learned that I'm wilfully unemployed. As of a year ago, so why it's become an issue for them to address now is strange. They've been telling me about possible job openings in "the area" (which would involve a 2 hour commute). These aren't helped by the frequent use of a picture of a pair of hands, one holding a blue pill and the other a red one. Yes, Matrix, but today just as associated with the Men's Rights Assholes. One offer was for an "over-the-road driver." As opposed to what? Under-the-road driver?
      If the job says "Company car included," I might take it.

      Cracked has done a series of articles on making--and eating--horrible food from old recipe books. They're always funny, and always so gross. As the clickbaiters say, You won't BELIEVE number one! 5 Of The Most Disgusting Recipes Of All Time, Tested.
      Yes, someone ate that. Some of it.

      Maybe I've posted this before? It's song by an XTC member. It's not background music, you have to listen the lyrics to get it.


      I posted that to the Far-Out Sounds FB group, and someone said "I reckon Damon Albarn listened to this more than once before he wrote Parklife!" I had no idea what this meant. I once bought a used Blur CD that had a fucking Pearl Jam disc in it. Cool video!


      Wow, must be that Cracked is catching up to the InExOb after only 20 years! Another article features 5 Products That Got Popular For Unexpectedly Creepy Reasons . The first listed...Yeah, I still have a pink one.

      This may not be funny if you didn't read MAD magazine back at the time the National Lampoon wrote a satire of it in 1971, but, hey, there it is.


      Something Awful alters an old Nancy comic strip about banks in amusing ways.

      Yeah, I don't really want to hear the Toadstool's voice either, but this is really clever. Yakko's World Song updated

      For hardcore Pythonites only:




       Facebook is still sending me job offers. The latest is for a place called Team Spirit, which I guess sells sports tshirts. My lack of knowledge / utter disdain for sports would leave me out. "Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?" "Either the Mets or the Maple Leafs!" "No...the Super Bowl." "Uh, I only like teams that begin with M, so...the New England Matriots?"
      On the other hand, maybe I should try. The ads repeatedly have listed the wage as $1,120 per hour. I could work a 40 hour week, then come back a year later.

      I have DSL, so I have a landline. This means I get a lot of spam calls. One was "This is a call for --William-- we would like you to take a survey about Connecticut. If this is --William--please dial 1." I didn't, but I looked up the phone number. The first result was for this page. It includes "How fast Bill runs! I think we should keep this a secret. He was at the point of death when I arrived. I was asked for my personal opinion about the matter. I would never lie to him. I'm sure everything will be OK."
      Actually, that's not --William--, that's just a random sample. Go to the page and read it. Then hit reload. I did it about 15 times, and it was always different. The only constant was that there's only one city in the world, and it's Boston. I guess that some college student walks around with a digital recorder on, then types up the random bits of conversations it finds. There were a couple of good aphorisms floating in there, "Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change" and "Good medicine tastes bitter, good advice is hard to listen to."

      I just watched a great comedy! Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. What, it wasn't supposed to be one?
      Ethan Hunt can teleport! I think, because he's in a different city every damn scene, despite being the most wanted fugitive ever. Technology works like magic, and also appears out of thin air. One scene involves getting a SIM card or something out from inside a giant water tank. It can magically tell if you're wearing metal, so "No oxygen tanks!" How about plastic ones? A big tank you keep outside of the water, attached to Cruise by a rubber hose? Okay, how about a goofy-looking, instantly-manifested scuba suit with a built-in LED arm sensor that blinks "OXYGEN" when you lungs get low on--How does it know? Why is the card in a vent that fills with water? I haven't tried throwing my SIM card in the dishwasher, but I guess I should.
      The action scenes are exciting and well-staged, but the movie plays like a demo reel. There's no connection between one scene and the next. People constantly say things like the bad guy saying "Don't kill Hunt! I need him alive!" and then he sends a group of assassins to spend 10 minutes trying to kill him--and when he corners Hunt, tries to kill him himself.
      Cruise runs (of course he runs; he's Tom Cruise. How fast Tom runs!) down a corridor about a yard wide while 3 gunmen blast away from a distance of 10 fucking feet, and they miss. (Leader of Russian Firing Squad in Python: "HOW COULD YOU MISS?!" "He moved.")
      The enemy is SPECTRE--er, the imaginatively named Syndicate. Previously, they were called Miss Haversham's School for Wayward Shots. I think that they should've been called DIGDUGS, for "Deadly International Group Doing Underwear Gnome Schemes." STEP 1: Spread anarchy worldwide! STEP 2: ???????? STEP 3: PROFIT! At no point do their actions make any sense. The female lead--wait for it--doublecrosses Tom! Then triplecrosses him. I gave up counting once it hit the septuplecross. Tom welcomes her back every time after she fails to kill him. In one scene, there's a big motorcycle chase, and everybody responsibly wore helmets as they careened through traffic at 120 MPH. Backstabby Lady stops hers as Tommy barrels down at her at warp 5, so she opens the visor of her helmet, showing only her eyes. Somehow Tom processes this info from a mile away in a millionth of a nanosecond, and crashes his motorcyle. Why kill her, just because she's always killing him?
      Her first appearance (I think; this is one of those movies that your brain starts deleting during the end credits) is when she's (currently) working for DIGDUGS, planning to assassinate the Austrian prime minister for ?? PROFIT! Along with 2 other DIGDUGS killers, one of whom is armed with a bullet-firing clarinet, possibly on loan from the old TV show Get Smart. When Hunt defeats Clarinet Killer in a scene reminiscent of a Looney Tunes, both other assassins fail, so the PM escapes--and his limo immediately explodes from a bomb in it. HOW MANY TIMES WERE THEY PLANNING ON KILLING HIM? Because, me, I would've just used the bomb. More profit! When the PM reaches the Pearly Gates, would it turn out that a DIGDUG was disguised as St Peter and kill him again, this time with a mortar disguised as a tuba?
      And it takes itself seriously. I like this line: "Hunt is uniquely trained and highly motivated - a specialist without equal - immune to any countermeasures. There is no secret he cannot extract, no security he cannot breach, no person he cannot become. He has most likely anticipated this very conversation and is waiting to strike in whatever direction we move. Sir, Hunt is the living manifestation of destiny - and he has made you his mission." Tom Cruise played Hunt. Tom Cruise produced the movie. With some scripting help by David Gontercruise.

      Thing that just occured to me, vis a vis nothing: Does Darth Vader's breathing apparatus have a lint trap?
      "I find your lack of faith--disAACCK! Do you have a cat?! Now, you will ALL DI--kaff! Wow. Fur really gets stuck in there. Ahem. PRAY I DO NOT ALTER THE DEAL furglaaaargh. Little help here! Dammit, I told Tarkin to pay for the HEPA chest breather!...GAK." *thud*, and a long pause
      LEIA: That was...easier than I thought it would be.
      HAN: I know.
      LANDO: SO! All is forgiven, no more talk about any deals I might, or might not have made. I'll comp you your drink tickets! Right, Lobot?
      (LOBOT silently continues to mentally watch cyborg-porn)

      On my bucket list was New England lobster roll. Bought one! Tasted like butter and rubber. Scratch that one off.
      Next: crab legs! Is my whole bucket list seafood? (Checks. No, the list is already done, besides "be as happy as DJ for one day")
      They were 50% off, so why not? I thought "Do you need a tool for these? Like nutcrackers? Eh, I have needlenose pliers, same thing."
      I opened the package and was immediately taken back to my childhood summer vacations on Cape Cod. The surf, the sand, the Air National Guard planes bombing the fuck out of an old Liberty ship moored in the harbor just miles away from crowded beaches (YES, really), the rancid stench of low tide...Wait. Eww.
      Those of you not near a major shoreline, the tide would get low enough that you could walk forever, then dig in the golden sand, and under it there was this other sand that was black, and if you were a stupid kid it took a while before your brain registered that this hideous goo was FISH POOPIES. The beach is a FISH TOILET
      But after much work--I mean, all the work, the crab could've been alive and wielding a knife, and it would've taken less work. And that "sweet crab meat"? That also took me back to Cape Cod! That time I swallowed lungfulls of sea water and nearly fucking drowned! WHAT FUN fuck you crabs. Your legs will forever be safe from me.

      Are you a person who likes to play Scary Music at Halloween to greet the Trick and/or Treaters? And it's like Monster Mash or some failed theater major going "WOOO" while rattling chains on that CD you got at Dollar Tree?
      Fuck that lame shit. Let them listen to the Hell on Earth that was Stalinist Russia! Don't answer the door dressed as Gomez or Morticia, smoke a pipe and dress as fucking Joe fucking Stalin, even if you're a lady. Hand the little opressive Spider-Men and Disney Romanoffs uncooked beets and individual sheets of toilet paper. Intone "You will be erased from history. Not even your family will dare to ever speak your name again." Close the door slowly, never breaking eye contact. And maybe give the kids fresh underwear. They'll need it.
      And next year--All the candy's for you!


      Or dress up as A Cute Animal! (it would not be one of those animals)

      No, there's something in your eye: Less Than Perfect Cats Who Got Adopted Despite Their Flaws

      The Lawn Guyland Psychic is as big a joke as her hair looks.

      You LTRs know that I have a very high tolerance for horrible shit media. I saw "Food Fight!" and "A Talking Cat?!" which is more than you can say. Also, never watch a movie with punctuation in its title!?!!?;;;
      Here is a thing. We can all agree, it is certainly a thing of some kind. Possibly a test. A test of biblical endurance.


      I WATCHED "FOOD FIGHT!" FOR YOU GUYS. This is a third as long, by which I mean L-O-N-G with a capital O-N-G. It's a Bible story that even Jesus rolled his eyes about, teaching home-schooled drool-chins something about something, seriously, Saint Simeon Stylites is climbing back on his fucking pole so he doesn't have to hear THIS story again. "I'll just crap in a bucket for another 30 years, okay?"
      It really is performed by home-schoolers who will never get a date from anyone outside of Incestutopia. You can see some of them about to scream "MOMMY! MY ARMPITS HAVE HAIRS! IS THIS GOD'S PLAN?!" Oh, they have beards. The boys do, who aren't waiting for the next shoe to drop, just their first testicle. It's about the pivotal story of King Saul, who's like what, the Breaking Bad guy's lawyer? How should I know, I'm too busy praying that G*D makes my weiner not go up around the choirgirls! And the Witch of Endor, and I literally thought that this was some Lord of the Rings thing, but then I thought "No, that's the Witch-KING of ANGMOR I think he was a Nazgul? Mom, if she was born after the first cousin, does that make her my second cousin?" "SON! Math is the Devil's science! So, sure, go to town, what kid needs to be born with 10 fingers anyway?"
      I made 25 minutes out of 35. Failed drama with fake beards=COMEDY! Comedy that utterly fails=...boredom.
      It's still sitting there, taunting me to finish it. How about for once, you watch it all the way through. I WATCHED "FOOD FIGHT!" AND YOU DIDNT EVEN MAIL ME SOME FRICKIN TWIZZLERS

      Hey guess what I did a thing with a people. "OH!" you cry, "Who are this people being?!"


      You got it in one!
      This would be only the second time we've gotten together this year, with the visits 6 months apart. And 6 months ago, 6 months from the last one. I'm really hoping that our former every-other-month date doesn't become an April-and-October one. The paranoid part of me said "This could be the last time."
      Paranoid me is stupid.
      On the way up, my iPod played an unfamiliar song. Given the amount of CDs I borrowed from the library recently, this is not unusual. It was an early 30s jazz number that included the line "When he kisses me, he's the master! His kisses stick to me like a mustard plaster!" Jess laughed when I told her that, but it was clearly a "WTF does THAT mean?!" laugh. You see, if you had a chest cold, you'd mix mustard and I guess plaster, and slime it on your chest, and...smell like Gulden's for weeks? I can't even find images of this. I can find recipes for home-made mustard plasters, because apparently that's the next thing for people who are afraid of vaccines, but don't want to be the first person in their yoga class to admit they're curing their kid's gout with leeches.
      Route 44 through northeastern CT is a terrible road, but the only one going where I needed to be. It's all hills, with a single lane except for 2 places to pass over 30 miles. Both are on extremely steep hills, so it can be hard to accelerate up them. I got in the second-only passing lane, and a giant pickup truck that wasn't behind me a mile ago was suddenly on my ass. As I was passing a minivan, it began flashing its lights at me. I found this further evidence in my observation that, in my 40 years of driving, no one who flashes their lights does it when you can do something besides cause a 3 car pileup. Most times, it happens to me when I'm halfway up the side of a UPS tandem trailer. I immediately began berating him via my rearview mirror, pointing at the van and miming "WTF AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, ASSHOLE?!"
      I waited until it was safe to pass, and also until the exact moment where he could slam the pedal to the metally-deficient and...have the passing lane end, and get stuck behind 2 other cars. As he passed, I gave him a one-handed salute--a thumbs up, laughing. "GOOD JOB, BUDDY!" I ended up on his bumper--at a safe distance, but going the exact same speed he'd be doing if he was behind me. He then illegally passed the pickup in front of me, just barely preventing an accident. We then both drove on, with him exactly one car length ahead of me the whole way, with us going the same speed. I'm sorry; it was funny. When there were finally no cars in front of him, he blasted out of sight, doing who knows what speed in a semi-residential zone. Must've been important!
      I pulled into the parking lot in Putnam's antique district. Right in front of him, as he and his not-happy looking GF got out, apparently in mid-argument. Probably the next thing he saw was Jessica giving me a hug. Good job, buddy!
      Putnam! Another bunch of stores closed. The now-ancient YMCA project has completely shut down, and all the storefronts that could easily have been turned into sets for horror movies blocked off. Never again can we see our beloved Pink House, the one with the leaking steam radiator that turned it into the Mold House. (Seriously, that was always one of our destinations, just to see how post-Trumpocalypitic the USA will look like) Another restauraunt closed--in fact, that entire building had only one tenant.
      We went to Jeremiah's, which I guess is now owned by the bigger antique store next door. I told her the story of the Monkeybone prop we saw there for months, while in the former Prop Room. It once held dozens of items not for sale, no doubt made by the same Hollywood guy who made that giant Cyclops head costume. (see above; 8/12) It's now all gone.
      She said "I have some amazing news! Want to guess?"
      "You're pregnant?"
      She was startled, for about a half-second. "That's pretty much impossible now!"
      "Well, it was most amazing news I could think of." And she said, laughing
      "If I was, I'd just throw myself down the stairs a few times! Hahaha! Or masturbate with a coathanger! Hahaha!"
      Me, slightly dazed: "Don't do that. It's still legal. Kavanaugh hasn't been there long enough."
      Her News of Amazement was that she'd rescued 2 all-white cats! A feral sister and brother, who are both deaf! And I mean not Byron-deaf, but profoundly deaf. Can't even hear the shower running. I've had the Big B for 15 years, but today, there's a whole way to teach cats sign language. "Waves arms in circles" means "get off the counter." "Closing and opening fingers by her lips" means "Want some food?" When gets home, she flickers the house lights on and off until they notice that "We're home!" She adopted them out, but they were 6 months old, the point where ferals almost can never be domesticated past. Their new parent had no interest in continuing their education. Jess sighed, "So now I have TEN cats!" When she said that, I suddenly got her jokes about abortion. She's a single mom, and sometimes it was just her and her daughter. She understands Personal Responsibilty more than I ever could.
      And Jacqueline, her daughter, is now a 2nd grade school teacher! She's as responsible as her mom (and dad), so she saved up her money and bought a Honda Civic--new! Not new to the mice that lived in the dealership's parking lot, as the vermin had chewed through the wires enough to kill all the power stuff. You know, power steering, power brakes, stuff you only use occasionally. At the dealership, the guy said "Do you have a mouse problem?' Mother and daughter laughed. "NOT IN OUR HOUSE!"
      The rest of the visit was our usual wisecracking. There wasn't much that you'd find funny out of context. Jess found (for $3, damn that girl is good) a 50s/early 60s-era cigarette case with cats on it. "Do you know what I'll use this for?" Me: "Your jazz cigarettes?" (laughs) "My business cards!" And I pointed at a beat-up old RISK boardgame, who sells that, and I told her about a game I've been playing that's as Commodore-64 based as it can get, seriously, see how long you can tolerate playing a game in 1985.
      We went to our Someplace Special, and--some fuckers were in OUR booth! We sat in the next closest. CNN was playing on the TV, instead of Fox News for once. She said "Bombs? What's going on?" I explained, and she said "I haven't been following the news the last few days. I was chopping firewood." If you were wondering "How did a woman her size drive even a Civic 20 miles without power steering"--there ya go.
      I regaled her with the story of the Wedding of the Century. MY MOM: "I will tell you this is you promise to NEVER blog it!" ME: "I promise to not blog it!" while thinking "...but if it's funny enough to tell to Jessie..." And you shall never know what that means.
      Although I will give you this weird bit of improv I came up with for Jess: "Can you imagine what it must be like to be with a guy with anger issues...on a submarine?"
      "Hey, buddy, torpdeo tube one's jammed! Can you crawl in there and fix it?"
      "Don't worry, we'll give you a push!"
      "FIRE TORPEDO ONE!" ssPWIIIiisssshhhh
      Captain, on periscope: "WHOA! Were you guys aiming for the open mouth of that giant shark?! Good shot! Medals all around."
      I guess that you'll have to imagine the rest of the conversation. But we parted with a hug and a promise to get together after The Holidays. And I think I need to listen less to my paranoid side.

      Wait wait wait, I got it! A sexy lyric without obscure mustard plaster refs!
      "When he kisses me, my heart can't be psychoanalysed by Freud, it burns as hot as a hemorrhoid!"

10/31 to 11/6:
      "America is waiting for a message of some sort or another. Yeah, but what, what you gonna DO?!"


      "Do you really want to go on like this? Do you really want to go on like this?"



      "American Way, try and explain
      Scab of a nation driven insane"


       "Here they come, with a message on their tongues...And they're running."



      "We need a NEW Broom to sweep it ALL Clean"



      "There's a midget standing tall, and a giant beside him about to fall."




      Well, you're reading this in the Future, so you alrready know more than I do. Did the gerrymandering and voter suppression work? Now you know why the GOP was so hot on forcing Brett Frat Boy onto the Supreme Court. There was a case that would either stop election fixing--or allow it. One guess what the GOP stance was.

      This was supposed to be Moby's ass-kicking version of School House Rock's "Verb: It's What's Happening," but Youtube decided to remove that a week ago. So--Oh No, it's Devo!

      "Action Boy now, Action Girl now! Be prepared to Blast into the Future!"


      It was pouring rain and cold at the polling place. Team Blue showed up with umbrellas. Team Red didn't show at all, because Proud Boys are that brave. I was thanked for coming to vote by the Dems "in this weather." It'd have to be more than rain to keep me away! Not even Donald Jr's stupid beard could stop me!
      There were more people voting than in 2016. It was probably just coincidence, but usually when I vote in the early afternoon, I'm the youngest by about 25 years. I didn't see any geezers. Maybe the weather was keeping them away? I'll find out tomorrow.
      I was again thanked for coming out in "this weather." I said "I don't care; I just voted for our country's future!" Minutes later I realized that I should've said "Of course it's wet! It's the BLUE WAVE!"

      Well. The election didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but by no means as bad as I feared. And That Orange Thing is clearly losing his famous composure over it, so I guess the good guys did good!
      I was surprised by CT's gubernatorial race. The Super Rich Businessman with No Political Experience beat the Super Rich Businessman with No Political Experience! At bedtime, Super Rich Businessman with No Political Experience (R) was ahead of Super Rich Businessman with No Political Experience (D) by a tiny percentage, but when the dust settled, it was Super Rich Businessman with No Political Experience For The Win! Yay?
      I was waiting for the news headlines on WNPR last month, and they were interviewing Super Rich blah blah (R). No, seems at the last minute he refused to show. I checked, and SRBwNPE (R) was basing his campaign on...not talking to people. He wouldn't go to town halls (what GOP pol does? They're the people who voted for him, not his REAL constituents on Wall Street and in the Kremlin). There were debates he skipped, leaving it to be between Billionaire Ned Lamont and the truly awesomely named Oz Greibel, who went to Bounty Hunter Prep School with Boba Fett. "I'm Oz Greibel, and I'm against disintegrations!" Vader: "I was...I was talking to this guy. I'll get to you, and that robot with a muffler for a head."
      In other news: Hollow Tree at Keebler factory has a new elf. Who'll be next? I've got Sarah Knucklehead Sanders in my pool.

      Planted Products. Star Wars featuring Steve Greibel? Sorry, that's just weird.

      A comic strip about adopting shelter cats. I think you have something in your eye there...

      On a SUNDAY!


      Shout TV's MST3K Turkey Day is today (if this is Sunday 11/18) at noon. I guess here somewhere (they're not good at giving exact urls for these). Most likely, it'll be several of the same ones you can see on their regular page year-round. Usually, there's 1 that isn't, and it's generally the first one, but who knows. Hosted by the Two Jo-s, -el and -nah.
      If Turkey Day's offerings make you sign "OK" while saying "IT STINKS," they've added some new stuff to their regular page, including Rifftrax, the pre-Rifftrax Film Crew (AVOID THOSE), and the everyone-else-from-MST Cinematic Titanic. The best ones are the live shows, as they had to work harder for those. CT live has The Alien Factor. RT live has Miami Connection. And, if you only have an hour and ever wondered what MST perennial Bert I. Gordon did after The Amazing Colossal Man, King Dinosaur, and Earth vs. Soup the Spider, there's Hillbillys In A Haunted House.

      "Oh. Hello." I said to the very large beetle.
      I mean, large enough. It wasn't the size of the grasshoppers from Bert's Beginning of the End. But if you made it stand on a coin, the leg span would be about the size of a half dollar. I've seen these many times before. They're called...umm...Long Skinny Head Beetles? I have no idea. Or why it was in my house, or how it possibly got in. I grabbed a cup and an old Lotto ticket, trapped it in the cup, and tossed it into the back common hallway. I didn't want to kill it, and I finally got my $1 back on that Lotto ticket. It flew to the wall, which was surprising, as I didn't think it'd have functional wings.
      Less than an hour later, I went to the bathroom. I said "Oh. Hello. You're the same species, but you can't be the same bug. Is that why the other bug was here? He's your boyfriend? And you could be pregant with a thousand young squirming larvae, so...Sorry, you I want to kill." I flicked it into the tub. I didn't see it land, but I didn't see it fly, so it must've landed in the drain. I turned the faucet on full blast.
      Less than an hour later, "Jesus Christ. YOU?" This time I caught it in a cup, but threw it out the front hallway. If it turns up again, I may just adopt it and name it Gregor.
      To find out what it was, I checked all 538 creepy crawlies of Connecticut. Twice! It wasn't in there. I've seen it before, so I don't think I let some new species escape. I did get to see an amazing amount of oddly named insects. One was called the "Sac Spider," and I laughed "Does it live in men's underwear and bite their--" and read the desciption: "Sac Spiders should be a good incentive to keep up with the laundry. They like to hide in the clothes and will bite their way out if they have to." Actually, that's a good reason to boil the laundry.
      "It is believed that the strange color and pattern seen on the Beautiful Wood Nymph Moth is a form of camouflage. Their multicolored appearance resembles bird droppings." What perv named it "Beautiful"?
      One description--I don't remember for what bug, and I'd say 538 x 2 is enough bugs in one day for me, said [sic] "Females lay their eggs in the water, which is easier for the larvae burrow into." That's the new Millenial trend--water burrowing.
      Bugs with just plain weird and/or stupid names:
      Halloween Pennant
      Hister Beetle. Admit it. Like me, you read "Hister" wrong, and pictured a bug with a beard and a bug man-bun drinking a latte and saying how vinyl "sounds warmer"
      Pigweed Flea Beetle. "This bug! Is it a flea? A beetle? Does it eat pigs while stoned?! SCIENCE MUST KNOW"
      Scentless Plant Bug. It's the implication that gets me: Some scientist's job is sniffing bugs. Lab report on this: "WOOO bug huffing is the best LOOK AT THE COLORS! Imma name this next bug--Halloween Pennant!"
      Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee. You: "It's a bee." Me: "It's a Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee!" You: "It's a BEE." Me: "They're called that because they're bicolored, and also like to drink human sweat!" You: (already 100 feet away)
      Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter. Texas Ranger Medicine Woman.
      Festive Tiger Beetle. "WHEE!"
      Schroedinger's Bugs: Differential Grasshopper, Ambiguous Moth, Confused Eusarca, Changeable Grass-Veneer
      Spiny Oak Slug Moth. Bug who always gets left-swiped on Tindersect
      The Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle. It's a ladybug with switched coloration, red spots on black rather than black spots on red. And also says a lot about whoever named it.

      I'll probably go into the bathroom tomorrow and
      "SO, Mr the Splut! You thought I, I the bug you tried to drown, would forget your crimes?! NO! And I have hired the baddest asshole bugs in Connecticut to DESTROY you! Name yourselves!"
      "Assassin Bug!"
      "Rabid Wolf Spider!"
      "Giant Mayfly! I...I don't feel so good..."
      "Masked Hunter!"
      "NO, really guys, I just had wild bug sex, and--"
      "Mealy Bug Destroyer! Wait, is this guy a Mealy Bug? No? Screw it, I got better things to do."
      "Room...spinning...blacking...out..." THUD
      Me: "Ha ha! Never bring a mayfly to a fight lasting more than an hour! You--YOU! WHO ARE YOU?!" "I'm Badwing!" (immediately gets eaten--ironically, by a Robin)
      "Cow Killer!" (everyone laughs) "No, I really DID!"
      (steps from the shadows) "Skeletonizer Moth."
      (everyone runs away screaming)



      How the World’s Only Feudal Lord Outclassed the Nazis to Save Her People

      Thanksgiving for me was fine but uneventful. Main points were 1: this damn cold someone gave me; 2: the fact that no one went for seconds (not because the food was bad, we'd all had a lot of appetizers and took some of dinner home); 3: a story. Niece-in-law Lindsey made a few trips on Saturday to bring in her groceries' leaving the car door open. When she got in the car to go to work Monday, on the passenger seat sat a tuxedo cat. His reaction to her was "Oh, hi! I was wondering when you'd turn up!"
      He'd peed on the back seat, and buried some poop in some spilled potting soil on the back floor. She took him to the vet. Besides being nearly starved and covered with ticks, he was good. He was obviously Someone's Cat at some point. He super-loves everybody, to the point he won't just insist on pets from strangers, but will flop down in front of them for belly rubs. How he ended up homeless is a secret only he knows.

      I dropped the recycling off on my way to Thanksgiving. The bin had a lot of old LPs in it! Well, I said, that's not technically recyclable, and used that as an excuse to pull them out. Top ones were Motley Crue, J. Geils, and Poco, and you can probably even guess which ones.
      Lower down and mixed in were Mantovani or early 60s Xmas records. So, obviously parents and their early 80s kids? Among the outliers--out of maybe 20 LPs total--were The Shamen's "In Gorbachev We Trust," The Cramps Gravest Hits, "The Original PISTOLS Live," I guess before Sid joined. And some semi-lounge, like "At the St. Moritz with the IRVING FIELDS Trio: Cocktail Dance Time." I haven't played it, but it looks in good shape, despite having no inner sleeve and a fucking Mantovani LP jammed in with it.
      What interested me most was that it and another had thick plastic outersleeves, announcing that they were $3.98 and "HI-FI Gives excellent sound in both HI-FI and Stereo." The second one was called "MILTON BERLE: Songs my Mother Loved" and I was laughing, saying "I hope he doesn't actually sing, like Jack Webb did once!" The whole LP is like this. You are under no obligation to listen to this.


      From the same year:


      Which is worse? Berle's nasal lisp, or Webb's delivery that sounds like the coroner explaining to the deceased's family exactly how far away they found their kid's internal organs after the crash? "Ma'am, this is why we must ban all hot rods."

      Well, that was a lot of work. I spent 3 days trying to get this post uploaded.
      First, my FTP wouldn't connect. I eventually remembered that it had sent an update, so I finally found out where my mistake was. But then, my web editor kept insisting that the 12,000 bytes I wrote was really 89, and refused to upload even whatever that was more times than I can count. Dozens of times, probably. I eventually gave up.
      This moring I saw that Byron had kicked the mouse to the floor. Hardly worth noting. But I looked at the FTP, and now the files was suddenly the correct size, and up it loaded. Strange.
      In the meantime, in between time, ain't we got a Flat Earth Calendar. It's hard to tell if it's serious or a joke, because let's face it--what about the Flat Earth Movement doesn't seem like a joke?

      After the success of the first Captain America film, Marvel decided on an insane production schedule. No other franchise planned as many movies in as short a time. And the schedule was tight: one failure could disrupt every film's production. And it was called Ant-Man.
      The film's announcement was greeted with giant "A what-who movie now?" Then, 6 months before it was supposed to premiere, the director quit. So did the star. So did the 2 writers. Marvel was stuck with it, so rather than mess up their whole assembly line they just threw it out there, basically saying "Just get it done."
      And they ended up with a surprise hit. The first superhero comedy! All the parts gelled, even though you can see where the old, serious script still was. So, time for a sequel!
      Having seen it, it's more of a remake. Like Marvel said "Do it again!" and the filmakers said "Okay, we have some new ideas--" "NO! Make the EXACT same movie! Like the first one barely happened!"
      Besides Captain America 2, I can't think of any MCU movies with a 2 in the title that were that good. Avengers 2 was a disappointment, Iron Man 2 was boring, and Thor 2 was just plain awful. Just think how bad Black Widow 2 will be! (oh wait, they haven't made a first one yet. Somebody decided famed comics character Ant-Man needed to go first) What's the point of a franchise movie that just starts again? Pacific Rim was like this. "Earth is being attacked by giant sea monsters, we must build giant robots to defeat them! Oh, the monsters went away? Get rid of the robots. Wait, 10 years later, the monsters are attacking again?! Then get the robots back!" Pacific Rim 2: "Good thing those giant sea monsters have been gone for 10 years, throw the giant robots away. Wait, the monsters are attacking again?! Then get the robots back!"
      The worst example was probably Ghostbusters 2. They deliver absolute proof that an afterlife exists in the first movie. And not Heaven, but either Purgatory or Hell. You'd think a thing like that would stick in people's minds, as it would fundamentally turn everything upside down. "You don't die when you die! You just become a flying sack of snot!" But 2 began with nobody believing in the paranormal. What's the point?
      Not that Ant-man 2 is bad. It's just been done.

      Cyberons, sexy Zygons and Mark Gatiss: the bizarre world of the unofficial Doctor Who spin-offs

      Ever notice how Big Historic Anniversaries are always and only devisible by 5, except when it's long enough to only be divisable by 10? Recent case in point: No one cared about the 95th anniversary of the end of World War One. (Word on the street is that some Presidents didn't care on the hundredth) My lax observation would be that it's a Big Deal on every fifth one--5th, 10th, 15th, etc--until the event hits the 25th or so. Then, it only matters in multiples of 10. Maybe you went to your 5th and 10th high school reunions, but did you go to the 15th? (if you're like me, you didn't go to any of them, because fuck that time travel)
      Maybe these round numbers just stick in our minds as significant. A 20th anniversary kinda popped back into my mind recently. I'm not sure if I should even write about it, because who wants to hear the story of someone who was mentioned a few times in the InExObs, and literally twice in this space?
      Who cares about the story of Groovygirl?
      I guess I do. I never wrote it down, and that's the point of this page. It exists for me to remember things. Let me collect my thoughts and memories, and I guess I'll write it about it. There are no salacious details or any movie-worthy bits. It just seems weird to have basically put it out of my mind for two decades, and then relive it.

      I hope Trump gives the eulogy!
      "GEORGE...H...Wheres Waldo...BUSH...was a great man, not with the electoral votes I got, but great, in his tiny way, and his wife, I thought she was his MOM, I mean, not a 10 or even a ONE, I like WWII pilots who DON'T get shot down, even when they fight the Japanese less than I fight the Jinese with tariffs, which are going great, so great..."

      It all flows from the One.

      All that is good.

      All that is evil.

      All that shines.

      All that hides the Sun.

      From it is Life. From it is Death.

      It is



      "Greetings, Citizen!
Are you getting enough areola?"

      Space Ghost Coast to Coast started airing in 1994. I'm not sure when I became aware of it, but I know from where: the TV crtic for the Hartford Courant thought it was the best show on the air. Frustratingly, my cable didn't get the Cartoon Network, so all I could do was read his raves.
      It started running CN starting at midnight New Years Day 1997, an hour into a SGC2C marathon. I watched the whole damn thing. I think it ended at 4AM. Outside of laughing like a maniac, all else I did was sign up for an SGC2C mailing list, using Juno, an "offline" mailing program. It was usable without having internet service. That didn't last long for me--not Juno, which I used for a long time, and still exists--but getting online via Netscape. I'd put up enough creative stuff on the mailing list that I got a Geocties website, housing mainly the Sisto Files. I also started a blog that you are currently reading (longest pause in posting: 2 months). My readers were all from Space Ghost, but then I came up with a side project making fun of some of weird things I'd found over my life, which was popular in the early days of the web. And that's how probably all the rest of you came here. Some of you have been here since 1997.
      Everything here came from Space Ghost.
      One of the people on the SG list was named Groovygirl. I referenced her in a Sisto story, and we began exchanging email.
      She and her husband were, for some reason, going to be swinging through northeastern CT from their home in DC. She wanted to get together at the Traveller's Restaurant & Bookstore, which they'd somehow heard about. Sure, I said, I've always wanted to go there.
      And then things got weird...

      Some short links that have been sitting in my open tabs for a while:

      Mercator Misconceptions: Clever Map Shows the True Size of Countries

      Timelapse of a cat growing up

      This map shows the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures. Interesting, but This Map has been around since 2015, and I don't see people using it much.

      Remember the Reason for the Season!


      Here's a palate cleanser after that music. Good thinking music.


      Nice for the Translations!

      ...And a webcomic that, for once, isn't all filled with snark and dark. Cat's Cafe

      25+ Of The Most Unbelievably Smart Things Animals Have Done That Surprised People. By "25+", they mean 118, so it should keep you a while. Especially when you'll stop and say "Oh, that reminds me of that time [pet's name here] did that thing!"       


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