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“Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment."
--Solomon Short

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--label on a key holder


      I was checking in a beer order when I overheard the owner talking to a customer about a local brewery. I said "Do you want their [highly-sought after, difficult-to-get double ipa]? We literally got it in minutes ago!" With difficulty, I got him a 4-pack. "Perfect timing!" he said. "Yes," I agreed in pain, "it's all about the timing."
      After a terrible night's sleep the night before, I really wanted to sleep for about 10 hours. I slept a very deep sleep with crazy and detailed dreams (about a science expo in some alternate reality where the Soviet Union bioengineered weird little lifeforms that escaped and were crawling all over the place. An American sheep bit me and I got anthrax from that, and the Americans and Soviets kept blaming each other while I went blind and died, but then they gave me a virtual reality suit that sent me to Let me just stop here, before my dream got really weird). I woke up just 2 minutes before the alarm was due to go off at 7, which was good. As I hadn't set it. And I normally sleep to about 9/930. I could've been very late to work. Good timing!
      It almost was; there was a breakdown on the slowest part of the highway. In the center of the merge lane of the onramp, so there was just enough room for cars to squirm by it. An emergency vehicle pulled up to it just as I passed, and flashing lights means a huge backup. I was only 4 minutes late. Good timing, since it was raining and that always adds minutes to the commute.
      I had 150 cases of beer coming in, but they were late. A liquor delivery came. I saw that his handtruck had wet wheels, but I put that to the rain and sent him all the way to the liquor aisle. That's when we both noticed that the bottom case of Stolichnaya 1.75s was gushing vodka from the bottom. Shipped half a world a way from Russia, straight onto a Connecticut floor. The guy quickly restacked the rest of it--and then just stared at the flood. I said "We'll mop it up, just get it out of here!"
      I grabbed the mop, got the worst of it, took one step, and violently slipped. I didn't fall! I twisted in just the right way to throw my back out, right at the point where my spinal arthritis lurks.
      It did not feel good.
      That's when the owner came in. If he'd come in 5 minutes earlier (he was late, not because of traffic), he would've been the one checking it in. Maybe he would've slipped on the vodka, but he's half may age and doesn't have that spine thing that I do. Perfect timing! For one of us!
      Not me. I was in a lot of pain. If only I'd twisted the other way!--but the precise results of twisting in mid-slip is not a thing your brain gives a lot of analysis to, and I would've gone head first into metal shelving. I then put the whole order away by myself. Rather slowly. A coworker said "We have ibuprofen!" but that's the type of pain I don't want dulled, because then I just forget about it and make it worse. I have to work 10 hours tomorrow...
      The pain wasn't unbearable--yet. So I asked a coworker who was coming in anyway to cover for me, if he could, although he said maybe he couldn't, as he depends on a ride to work. Then the biggest beer delivery came in, and, yes, I started putting it away. "Rest it, then work it!" my physical therapist said, while the driver and I discussed our years of lower lumbar pain. I largely communicated with "grunt" as every fifth word.
      "I can make it!" I thought "Rest it, work it!" And then the other guy came in earlier than he said he could, and it wasn't like I could tell a guy with no ride to get a ride home and come back 4 hours later.
      So I went home, losing 5 hours pay, and just rested and worked it. Still hurts. And I have no idea how tomorrow will be when I wake up. But it's all about the timing! Bad, bad timing.

      I sort of remember Red Buttons, as a washed-up comic who appeared on 1970s game shows, and that paratrooper who got his shoes shot off in The Longest Day. Apparently in the early days of TV, he was a gigantic star and also a gigantic fucking asshole. He hired most of the greatest comedy writers of his time, and then fired them after a week. Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, the guy who would create MASH--buncha hacks compared to Red Buttons!



      Spending way too much time over 2 weeks to get your website simply there doesn't induce much writing once it's back.
      Remember our friend, the Swedish Coat Factory that redirected the News? It wasn't them--for the fourth time--but the Chinese Knock-Off Shoe Company, for the third time. Every other time, I called ReadyHosting and bang, it was fixed. Now, the site just went down. A call told me that my "site has 4000 malware files, and it's suspended. We put them in this folder, delete them." Well, I would kinda think that preventing malware and getting rid of it is YOUR FUCKING JOB, READYHOSTING. But I deleted them, and my site was taken off suspension by ReadyHosting, which you would think meant that it was back online, but they did nothing.
      Then, a few days later, another email said the 4000 files were back again. I deleted them, and my site remained invisible as Hawaiian cows. Then I got the email AGAIN. But this time--oh, I should call the "experts at SiteLock," their strategic corporate partners in crime, and pay them to fix it for me. Also, I should fix it myself, and the files this time are "in the attachment to this email." The email had not attachment, it went to the latest in my long series of trouble tickets, and trouble tickets have no fucking attachments.
      So on my latest call, RH explained--well, really nothing about SiteLock, because at the 10 day point, I just wanted this fucking thing over with. $189 for a one-time sweep and a year's worth of supposed protection. And of course, my site remained "suspended."
      Getting home on the 10th, SiteLock insisted that I call them. Do you think they wanted more money? Long story short, yes, of course, for the SUPA-POWERFULS firewall. $69 a month, on top of the $89 year's worth. I refused. After 2 fucking weeks of bullshit, I admit to being curt with the operator in a "What is this going to cost me?" way, but she wasn't very pleasant back, so yeah, nice extortion scheme you guys got going. Her spiel boiled down to "Nice site ya got...wouldn't want to see nothin' BAD happen to it, capiche?"
      Interesting that "all of a sudden" Readyhosting suddenly stopped preventing the malware and flushing their own toilet. It sure as fuck wasn't coming from anything I uploaded.
      Of course, the site came online at That Time of the Month, when I work so much I had no desire to update. Also, on a Saturday just as I was rushing to work. I only checked that it finally was up, not what was here until I got to work. "Oh, right, they made me repeatedly upload my entire page, I didn't know there was unedited content. Eh, who's going to look at the page on a Saturday after it's been down for 2 weeks?"
      Well, at least 3 of you! Sorry about the garbled alphabet soup you tried to digest. And also to everyone who's looked since then, hoping it updated. Here's what I could've written, if I wasn't busy thinking of how many of Readyhosting owner's Mercedes tires I could've been slashing. It ain't much.

      I take online surveys for points, mainly iTunes gift certificates. One I got began with this. What do you think the survey is about?

      ...what? "Why, yes, I have been with some malarias while pushing my unicycle down a garbage disposal while singing Aida arias! OH MY GOD, we are like soulmates!! ...Wait--painted my whole house?! I didn't paint my whole house, I only painted the garbage disposal! Get away, you freakish asshole!"
      And of course, the survey was about what type of beer I drink. I think it was written by a frat boy halfway through a 30 pack of Natty Ice. "I can rides ah unicycle--wait...gotta vomit. Gonna paint the whole frat house with--HOO-WAAAALP"
      The next survey was about Sam's Club, which is for people who think they should pay to go to Wal-Mart. I was asked to not divulge in any way the information I was about to see, and so pretend you're not reading this. C'mon, you couldn't read it for 2 weeks anyway! It was a series of print ads that I was supposed to rate as to how likely I'd shop at Sam's. Since there was no button for "I'd shop there when Satan says 'Wow, are my nuts cold!'" I started it.
      Did you know that Sam's has an on-premises butcher and fishmonger? That's almost as good as an off-premises butcher and fishmonger, who comes into your living room and hacks bloody meat chunks! I was to choose between ads about the on-premises butcher and fishmonger, and ones that said "Wal-Mart wants everyone you've ever met to work for sub-minimum wage and STARVE TO DEATH so the Walton family can buy a solid platinum Death Star." So I voted for every single one that featured the on-premises butcher and fishmonger. He was such a happy butcher and fishmonger!
      "And what do you do for a living?" "I'm a fishmonger. I MONG FISH. Just for the halibut! I stop whenever I get a splitting haddock and yell OH, COD SAVE ME! Because I'm in a Franciscan Order, and specialize in the genus Lophius with my trained chimp Michael. Yes, he's Mike the monkfish fishmonger monk monkey!
      "...And you?"



      Not a lot going on right now. ("A lot" begins in a week--that annual book sale that my purchases will be described in a level of detail called "excrutiating", antiquing with Jessie, see previous comment, Spamalot at the dinner theater with my second cousin in a role, 2 or 3 movies (Avengers 2: The One With Tron, Rifftrax presents The Room: The Mockingating, Mad Max: The One Without the Mouth-Foaming Crypto-Fascist Lead Actor, me standing outside the theater screaming "Tron was NOT in that! RIPOFF. Also, Max did not once blame the Jews!")
      I did go to the People's Choice Pizza Soviet for wings. Pizza Guy said "How saucy do you like it?" and I paused, thinking "That sounds like a line from a 1980s porno" and responded "HOT! As hot as you can make them!" without realizing that made it sound even more like a porno. An older employee said "Insanity Sauce! I'm afraid to even try that!" And, whoa, they were hot the way I like them: dressed as 1966 Dawn Wells in her tiny shorts really spicy hot. "Eat 3 and gasp for breath" hot!
      Today was to be a "go from my pajamas to the shower to my tiny shorts pajamas" day. But it was the first beautiful day after our horrible winter that I had off, so I went for a wee walk and got the mail. What, I got a package? A return address from Greater Good? I didn't order anything! Intentionally, anyway. Sober, anyway. I narrowed it down to Hot Babes Sending Me Something. Well, I'm seeing Ms Massachusetts in 2 weeks, so not Jess. The Omaha Hottie? More likely the California Cutie!

      DJ, you're in the way, buddy--

      Yes, Lila sent me a cat-shaped cat food bowl! "I know Killsy's eyes aren't blue, but this was so darned cute I couldn't resist! With love (and hopefully less feline acne), Sophie, Moe, Fergus and Lucky's mama."
      Miss Kays did have blue eyes, until she was 3 months, not weeks, old. I think that's why she's mine--blue-eyed, all-white cats are deaf. But given her eyes, her pointed face, big ears and general chattiness, I think she has mucho Siamese in her. Jess said "That's probably why she isn't deaf!" which isn't something that I'd thought of, but probably true.
      The bowl was from "PETRAGE." Umm...okay. Maybe keep your enraged pet away from me then. Oh, it's "PETRAGE(paw emoji)US." So, "PetRageous"? Or "Raging Pet (Stomps Your Face), AMERICA!" It's hard to say.



      Well, here's a question I've never been asked in 16 years selling booze: "Do you have any old refrigerators you're throwing out as scrap? I want to turn one into an incubator because I'm breeding snakes."

      I had dinner with my Mom to celebrate my birthday. I had dinner with her and the family a month ago to celebrate hers. And then, 2 weeks later, dinner with the family to celebrate Easter. And in 2 weeks, I'll see her, a sister and a niece at Spamalot. That's 4 times in 6 weeks, whereas I've seen Jess twice all year.
      She'd just come from her smuggling operation. I have a nephew who lives in the Bahamas--you read that right--and she and his mother were sneaking in heroin and several machine guns. Actually, that's only how they acted. It was a satellite radio, a cheese cutter, and a bunch of pots and pans. There are heavy import duties on anything not a "gift," and "a bunch of used pots and pans" is kinda hard to explain as a "gift" beyond "Well, we're super cheap bastards." They were terrified of getting through customs, as we were all raised Irish Catholic and feel guilty for things we haven't done yet. Everyone else got waved through, but for some reason they got questioned. Maybe the fact they were likely sweating as if they had suitcases full of anthrax hand grenades with "I HEART ISIS" stickers on them.
      "Do you have TAXABLE--GIFTS?! YOU MAGGOTS!" they expected to be asked. "Do you have anything besides clothes?" they were asked in a monotone. This is the way one phrases a question when you want the answer to be "No", so you can move onto the next thousand people. Then, "Do you have any gifts? Or draws?"
      "Wait, what--what was that?"
      "Gifts or draws. DRAWS."
      "I...don't understand what you're saying..."
      (rolls eyes) "If you don't know what I'm talking about, then I guess you don't have any! NEXT!"
      Mom later figured out the accent and realized what she was being asked: "Do you have any drones?" The guy they were staying with confirmed that they ask you that now. I suppose that if you come from the USA, you're expected to have a swarm of Predator drones around you, looking to kill the 159th In A Row Number Two Man In al Qaeda, and any random toddlers within his city block.



      Well, today was interesting. For no reason I'm sure of, I was awake just long enough to go to sleep again. All day. Well, the cats liked it. That's their regular schedule anyway.

      I took another survey. It asked about the last time I drank alcohol in a place that serves alcohol for drinking. (It kind of repeated itself) That would be the beloved Someplace Special in Putnam CT, with a certain long-legged lady with freckles. You know who I mean! (She was on stilts and Freckles is her pet Komodo dragon. Damn thing ate 3 people)
      The 99 Restaurant and Red Lobster were names I recognized, but the rest were utter cyphers to me.
      "We were thinking of going with 'Beer Hovel' or 'Place Where You Ingest Alcohol and Then Vomit,' but it's not like we're English majors here!"
      "You can't miss it! Turn right at the burning cross, then look for the synagogue covered in spray-painted swastikas!"
      "You can't miss it! Look for the melting sky and the talking clouds, turn left at the...the...OH MY GOD THE COLORS ARE SINGING"
      "Formerly Dicks Herpe."
      "If you glance at the sign from a distance, it totally says FUCKERS! Oh God, we are so awesome!" (high fives another shithead)
      (pounds on car hood) "HEY LADY I'M DRINKIN' HERE!!"
      "Oh, and I suppose you've never named your place using the leftover Scrabble tiles!"
      "D'ya get it? Because we're drunk too!" (falls down)
      "Try our damn fine apple pie coffee stout!"
      "Yes, this was in the survey twice. But here your order is filled by a dwarf who talks backwards!" DWARF: "!boj siht etah I"
      This I've actually heard of, and it's still the worst name for a restaurant besides "MR SHARK: Where You're the Menu!"



4/23      An email I sent to Jess titled "Byron has a lip thing."

      I just noticed it yesterday. It may be a few days older. I caught it because his hair has NEVER been grey there. Sorry, the pics are big and also the best I could get.



      He doesn't want me to touch it, but he doesn't want me to touch anything below his back anyway. He had no trouble eating or drinking, and I'm not sure he's even aware he has it. There's been some fighting with DJ, maybe he got what he was dishing out. Maybe he got MORE than that. Like I said, it's recent, but if it looks bad to you, well...gonna have to get him to the vet.

      And what do you guys think? I'm giving it a few days to see if it goes away, unless it begins giving him obvious annoyance, or he has trouble eating. Yes, any other cat I'd immediately bring to the vet, but my other cats don't get crippling mental illnesses from going to the vet.
      I should add that I'm always trying to get him to raise his chin, so I can check out his acne, so this may be only 2 days old.


      My on-call vet (Jess) says that Byron's carbuncle is feline acne. I'm keeping an eye on it--not physically directly on it, that'd be super gross--but his chin acne is receding, and he has no contact with plastic. His wet food is placed in styrofoam bowls, but it always has been. So, confusing. It does look a bit better than the last 2 days.

      Woo, Annual Historical Society Book Sale! I actually didn't get that much, but I'll go 2 more times. They have so much they can't put it all out at once.
      Since I know you care, 2 CDs: a Narada New Age sampler, and Cantus Artica by...bear with me, he's Finnish...Einojuhani Rautavaara, born to parents on the day they had a big sale on vowels. I came so close to buying this back in my Lechmere music manager days, so worth it for $2. 3 books: a Bob & Ray book, as there always seems to be one Bob & Ray book every year. Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need To Know About American History But Never Learned, a 670-page slab about what the title says. I opened it at random to the story about Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by a Hartford, CT native. And Panati's Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything, and Everybody. It's by a guy named Panati. A quick read at only 470 pages, let's flip through: The Cambrian Extinction, which I just read a book about, Henry the Eighth's unfortunate brides, oh, cats can live to 27? (looks at Killsy, fast approaching her sweet 16th) Both of those last 2 look like they'd never been read.
      Seven dollars for the lot. I'll go this Sunday, then the following one for the 50% off sale. It'll give me something to do before seeing Spamalot again.

      7 Lost American Slang Words. It's spizzerinctum! An English teacher in high school said that his favorite Elizabethan word was "prog," meaning somebody who pushed their way through crowds. We could use that word today. If a guy's doing that at a Rush concert, he could be a Prog prog!


      COWORKER: That will be 18.05.
      CUSTOMER: That's the year I was born!
      COWORKER: You look good
      This math is why we have computers to do our counting now. Or maybe it's because of having computers to do our counting now.
      ME, an hour later: That's 19.07.
      CUSTOMER: That's the year I was born!
      ME: You don't look a day over a hundred!
      And she gave me a dirty look and left angry. You're the one that made the "joke," lady, and you looked 70! Also...that was weird, twice in an hour.
      It was at least better than "If it doesn't scan, IT MUST BE FREE HAHAHAHA!!" Why every person who says this thinks they're the first person in history ever to make that non-joke and yet always adds their own laugh track like it's Gilligan's Island, I dunno. Just like after 40 years, I still get "OHH NOOO MR BILL!" followed by gales of laughter from not-me. The Drunken Toddler did it every few months, apparently thinking it was both brilliant and something he had never said--for 11 years. Well, at least there's one person I won't hear it from! (As he's dead. I wish every original "wit" who says it was too)



      I carried out a case of beer for a customer, and he popped his trunk and said "Just put it on the cow manure." I thought it was a weird joke, but I put it on the bag of cow manure. Kind of closer than I like my drinks to be near manure.

      I watched Interstellar. It started off brilliant, with a documentary feel for a story set in the future about a dying Earth. Then the science got a bit off. A planet for colonization orbits a black hole, so "the gravity is so heavy that an hour here is 7 years on Earth!" Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's how gravity works. Wouldn't kill the astronauts that high, just, you know, go all dog years on them. Whatever, I'll just accept that. Then we find out the truth in the film's most important lines, via Michael Caine's deathbed confession: "Wuh bluh buh duh muh..." The person he's talking to replies in shock "Muh blug huh?!" It's a Christopher Nolan movie, and he made one in which Batman and his enemy exchanged long chunks of dialogue like "RASP rasp wheeze rasp!" and "Mmph mmph RASP gasp urgh."
      I guess it was "There are no habitable planets, it's a hoax, just propaganda to give people hope!" because the movie also thinks the Apollo landings were a hoax (yes, that's at the very beginning). So, your propaganda was...about your Top Secret Program that no one's heard of, to give the people who've never heard of it hope? Da Fuq? But you built actual spaceships and sent them through wormholes and...This was already at the point where I was laughing at the movie for the wrong reasons, and soon the second false ending came. I checked the time left, and it was 20 minutes. "10 of that will be credits" I thought, "but 10 more minutes is too much." and I turned it off. I'm guessing Astronaut Farmer man made it home to his daughter. Didn't care if the characters lived or died at that point.
      His daughter's name was "Murf." Someday soon, Nolan will make a movie where every line of dialogue is "Murf. Murf MURF, murf murf murrrrrfffff" followed by Batman coughing up a hairball.


      Dr Oz: I Am Just Helping Complete Idiots Be Their Best Selves.


      "I love going to Putnam," I thought, "but I hate the drive." I got off the highway, drove a mile and--the road there was closed?! I took the detour. And drove. And drove. 10 minutes later, it put me back on the highway. The highway was 2 minutes behind me, dammit! I feel sorry for the businesses on that road, especially the animal clinic. I'd hate to be rushing a pet there for an emergency and then discover I had to find where the next closest place was.
      I ran into road construction 5 times, the last one blocking the traffic despite no one coming in the opposite direction. Then I got stuck behind a guy doing 10 MPH below the limit, and when I finally ditched him, got behind a fucking farm tractor hauling manure. "Yeah, this is a load of manure!"
      Jess was running late herself--because of road construction, we both hate that drive--so it wasn't so bad. I suggested "How about we go to the new place, and if most stuff is unpriced, and the stuff that is is overpriced, we leave. We really don't need to go upstairs to look at the 20 foot long table of dirty bottles. Unless you need dirty bottles. We can always check the trash cans." 9 months the place has been open, and still...let's just leave it at we didn't look at any dirty bottles.
      We went to the comics shop to see if they had any Jem & the Holograms variant covers by our friend Amy Mebberson. Sadly, issue #1 was gone, and I so wanted an Aja. Jess would've wanted a Jem. They had 1 issue of #2 with the Misfits. Do not feel bad if you didn't understand those sentences: you may not have been a young girl in the 80s, and I'm probably the only straight male of my age group who does. She's going to check her comic shop, but I suppose I could ask Amy herself and maybe even get an autographed one. Do feel bad that we didn't get them, because I was going to take photos of us miming the cover's poses. Also, there were 4 people working there, and all of them loudly complaining about how the boss doesn't order right. Must be a fun place to not work at.
      At the art gallery, a crow cawed loudly from a phone line while staring at us. "The messenger of death!" she joked. "It's trying to tell us something!" Inside, she liked a picture/painting of a dead bird. "You would," I said. Then she waxed philosophical about the transience of life, "It's dead, and no one sees his body, just walks by, like his life had no meaning..." which went on for about 2 minutes. Oddly, we had both forgotten about the crow.
      One of our favorite places had a "UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP" sign, and, wow, sure did. You could walk in there! There wasn't crap piled upon crap! We'd rather have less stuff to choose and be able to see it without our eyes glazing over. We didn't buy anything, although I was tempted by the $6 inflatable blimp. But where would I hang it, where DJ wouldn't try to climb up and take a lunge at it?
      We went to the Big Place. She got a bookmark, a Mickey Mouse paint set complete with dried up squares of umixed paint (that fell on the floor when she tried to pay), and 2 handbags, all cheap. I didn't see anything interesting, except for a book for very young kids called "Cookie's Week," which begins with a kitten who falls in the toilet and continues on her merry ways, causing havoc throughout the house. Silly book, that's called "Young Byron's Life!" And the book "SPAG," about a guy you've never heard of, which I mention here because Kitsplut's bestie is moving to Holyoke MA, and I said "It's too bad she's going there after Spag's closed. It was like a BIG!Lots for the insane. I only went once, and it had a giant Stalinist-style statue of Spag himself, and an endcap of rat poison leading into the toy aisle." And he also commisioned a book about himself! He must've been a super great egomaniac to not work for. There was a WWII poster of a dramatic falling bomb with the words "STOCK UP ON TOILET SOAP NOW!" which I guess was for when you walk in and say "WOO, who dropped a bomb in here?!"
      We discussed more serious things over lunch. I had the buffalo pizza, she had the small calzone. If you remember our last trip, it's the size of a fucking football. A large must be the size of a sleeping bag.
      "Remember to always end your essays with a summary and closing line." Summary and Closing Line.




      Arrgh, apparently there are problems AGAIN with my page--or more accurately, Readyhosting and/or SiteLock. I can see it just fine. Other people can't. It looked like it was not being shown on certain browsers, except when it would. My hit counter dropped to just users of Firefox or IOS, but there's an IE and now a Chrome in there, so I don't know. You can't get there by Googling, as I assume they visited during the downtime. I am so sick of this shit. And I have better things to do than get on the phone again, just to be told that I need to pay SiteLock some more protection money.

      Better things such as--Seeing Spamalot for the third time! With Mom, sister Pat, her husband John, and niece Cassie. (Jessica was asked, but she's currently in Buffalo, NY. Dealing with family crap--and not even her family's crap--so she wished she was here instead).
      I've seen the Tony-award winning Broadway version, the off-Broadway touring company, and now--the Broad Brook edition! Which would be the historic part of East Windsor, CT. One of the featured players was my second cousin, Randy Davidson.
      I think I last saw him when he was 8? He's probably in his early 30s by now. I remember him then, as I was close friends (well, close for me, anyway) with his mother. He was play-acting with a friend on her lawn one summer day, and she whispered to me, "I think he's going to grow up to be an actor. And maybe gay. I have no problem with either!" Good prediction on his mom's part.
      It was in an 1892 brick building with giant wood beams, repurposed many times over its lifetime. When we arrived, Pat said "We're so early! Randy's not even here!" Mom said, reasonably, "How do you know?!" And there he was, on the back step smoking a cigarette. Mom said "That can't be good for his voice!" Pat replied "Why don't you tell him that."
      The seating capacity was maybe 150, but it was almost full, which is good for a playhouse that you have drive to through residential neighborhoods to reach. The "Emergency exits are at the" speech mentioned that "We're next door to the fire department. If you hear sirens, please stay in your seats."
      And a good audience mix--the really old people you expect at these things, but also families with kids and teens. Part of their funding was ticket sales, but also a raffle. That's at a place where everyone's a volunteer. But they have rent to pay, along with all the bills the rest of us have.
      If you ever have a chance to see Spamalot near you, GO. I was expecting a dinner theater level experience, but these people were very good. Sure, there was a flubbed line or spotlight hitting off or two, and the production was done as best they could afford, with the lines rewritten to reflect this (Arthur: "Here we are in a really expensive forest rather sparsely made forest," or such), although there was a very large wooden rabbit. But the acting was great overall, the dancing was amazing--these people work at actual day jobs, remember--and, wow, they had great voices. They sang great while dancing, yeah, try that sometime. Try singing to your iPod while power walking! The Lady of the Lake even handled her demanding songs amazingly.
      The sets were, of course, minimal, and the effects even more. When the great wizard Tim appears, he's not on "visible wires" but an aluminum stepladder. The Killer Rabbit is--a hand puppet!! oh wait that's what it was on Broadway too.
      Am I biased because I had a family member in the cast? No. They were all universally good. The singing I expected, but the dancing by everybody...I guess tapdancing is still a useful skill in some settings (there was a lot of tapdancing, and it didn't look easy).
      As we left, the fire department next door's sirens wailed. A couple behind us snarled "Well, this was a complete waste of money!" and "I couldn't wait for it to end!" Mom said "They couldn't say that after they left and got to their car? Didn't they think about who could hear them?" and I said "Like--someone's family?"
      And Randy was with the rest of the cast outside, greeting the theatergoers as they left, and was thrilled to see us. "Everyone says they like my hair like this," he said, touching his blond pageboy wig, "I don't think it's a good look for me." An apparent regular said "I wasn't sure it was you!" and he took it off, showing his dark red hair, "It's me!"
      It's a really funny show, and, if it appears in any form near you, just go. If you're a LTRotD, there's no way you wouldn't like it, whether you're a fan of musical theater or Python or just like smart funny stuff.

      I thank you for being able to read this. The Fifteen is currently the...Four or Five? *sigh* More calls to tech support await.


      If you thought I gave that performance of Spamalot a glowing review because it had a relative in it, think again. Here's a review that gives it high praise, especially for my cousin Randy. (He's the one on the lower left in the photo) It makes a few minor nitpicks as I did, but it also makes one of its one, referring to the strangely flatulent Sir Bedevere as "Sir Belvedere." I think that was an 80's sitcom about King Arthur's butler.
      Randy will next be in Avenue Q. The one with the puppets. Yeah, I don't think that I'll miss that!


      I saw Avengers: The Age of Motown today, and the Hulk is terrible at Temptations karaoke.
      The movie wasn't bad. Certainly worth what I paid to see it (first matinee, $5.75). First movie, I had a lot to say about. This time...Well, we're kinda hitting superhero overload. And aren't there ten years worth of Marvel movies left? I've said for a while that eventually there will be so many superhero movies, and at least several bad ones, that the box office will drop way off. That DC is still making their money-losers is a sign of that. Then what's Marvel/Disney going to do with a pipeline filled with literally billions of dollars of movies sputters?
      Again, it wasn't bad. Worth a matinee viewing or a rental. The editing is this new standard of "A 5 second shot? The audience doesn't have the patience for that!" Especially in the first scene, which isn't quite Michael Bay in utter incoherence, but still too fast for the human mind to clearly follow. The character scenes should've been more deliberately edited as well. All the main characters get at least One Big Scene, which is good. And there are a lot of characters.
      All but me and 3 other guys waited for the credits to end. "Don't these people know there's always something at the end of a Marvel movie's credits?" I thought as I watched 95% of the audience leave. Well, SPOILER, here's what you see after the very end:
      "The Avengers will return."
      YEP. That's it. I guess those people leaving knew something I didn't.
      Trailers: Apparently, Tomorrowland really does involve a future dystopia! WOW NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. A reboot of Fantastic Four, who cares. Why not just throw Spider-Man in there and get all your reboot needs in one convenient location? In an example of "Hollywood's using all the ideas ever," it's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. By...Guy Ritchie?! Well, that's a def rental, at least. And...wait for it...ANT-MAN! The movie that made the world jump up, raise their fists, and yell "Who?" He's the character that even Marvel had no idea what to do with. He's Ant-Man, he's Giant-Man, he's Goliath, he's a bad guy, he's just some guy in a lab coat--I'm sure he's been through another dozen incarnations since I stopped following comics. The movie lost its director, star and writers, so it doesn't know what the movie's about either. He fights another bug guy. They're on a speeding train. It hits an obstacle and derails! It's a toy Thomas the Tank Engine train set, and in a long shot, it falls it should. Like a cheap toy train set. The audience got a big laugh out of the absurdity, and since the replacement director, star and writers are known for can hope that they're going to go for comedy even more than Guardians did.
      Of course, if they aren't, this could be the bad superhero movie that also derails the Marvel franchise. OTOH, the audience had a mild laugh at the trailer for Pixels, so I guess that anything can sell tickets.




      People here like to say "I like living in New England, because you get to experience all four seasons!"
      The highs were in the mid 50s last week. This week, nearly 90.
      Enjoy the four seasons! One week of Spring, one week of Fall, and 25 weeks each of Brutal Winter and Harsh Summer.
      But there's no climate change! It still gets cold in the Winter! Okay, months of a high half what it should be, and twice as much snow as normal! But half as normal and twice as much as normal is...Normal! IT AVERAGES OUT.


      Whoa, busy weekend! Partly Mother's Day, mainly nice weather. Well, 85 degrees in early May forbodes Evil Weather, but certainly not global warming! IT SNOWED IN MARCH so there, shut all the ups.
      Busy enough that I was on the register, even with 2 cashiers. To witness these exchanges:
      CUSTOMER: Cigarettes.
      COWORKER: What kind?
      "What kind of cigarettes?"
      "Newport 100--FORGET IT, I'LL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!" (storms out)
      "How was I to know what cigarettes he wanted? I can't read his mind!"
      Today, same customer, coworker not present:
      "She asked me 'Have you been drinking?' I said No! She said "You're drunk!' Who is she to ask that, is she the police?!" That's the short version. The 3 of us working all thought "Well, that answers whether you were drunk yesterday."

      We have to balance out our lottery drawer before closing. It takes 1 person 20 minutes to do it, if it comes out okay. It takes 45 minutes if it doesn't, like the last 2 days. If we get $3000 in sales a week from it, we make about $150. Divided by the time it's open, that's about $2 an hour. Nickels on the dollar.
      And we have a regular who's quite reasonable during the day. But he makes a point of coming in during the last half hour we're open, when he knows the lottery is closed, and then SCA-REAMING that we won't sell him any tickets. Today, he shrieked "YOU CAN'T SELL ME 2 FUCKING TICKETS?!" in a full parking lot. Why doesn't he come in when he knows we're selling them? I'm sure his wife treats him the same way when he's home. He needs some pathetic realease for his pent up, futile anger.
      You certainly remember DT. He'd verbally abuse all his employees, and random customers, in front of other employees and customers. Many times we'd have customers who'd tell him "If this is how you treat your employees, I'm never shopping here again!" And then he'd fawn all over them, because he knew that if that was kicked upstairs, he'd be in trouble.
      One time DT was moving, and told a coworker that he could take whatever he wanted. When E got to DT's house, DT started to say something and his wife said "ROBERT--SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!" And he did! People who are powerless in one aspect of their lives try to take it out on people who can't fight back. Because they're assholes.
      Note that the Booze Biz actually has the least obnoxious customers of any I've worked in.



      My vacation is but days away. I have such exciting events planned! Like an oil change, and paying a guy to shove his finger up my ass. (I'm due for a physical) I was hoping to see That Woman, but her daughter is graduating college. Amazing! Not that she's doing it, but that she's been in college for 4 years. Yeah, I guess she is 20 or 21 now.
      I worked Sunday, so I called for my traditional Tuesday after People's Choice Pizza Soviet hot wings. The phone was answered with "Yeah, what?" When he realized I wasn't the food truck guy calling back, he apologized. I said "Yeah, your greeting seemed a little abrupt!" "Did you say 'it seemed a little abrupt'?" So I apologized back, and most of the call was us apologizing. When I picked it up, he didn't apologize for making me wait while he texted, or smearing sauce on my credit card.
      I'm currently winding down the remaining time until I see Rifftrax Presents: The Room, a movie so bad even my niece and nephew recommended it.

      Rifftrax: "He had never directed a movie before. I don't think he'd even seen a movie before. Wait, he may have never seen another human being before."
      That's a good assessment. It's like a movie based on human behaviour as seen by carpenter ants. Character motivations change within seconds. They actually left a lot of dialogue unriffed, and the audience howled with laughter anyway. No human ever carried on conversations like these, with illogical interjections about something nobody would interject, except possibly during psychotic breaks. Characters appear from nowhere, then disappear, sometimes for the whole movie. Cinemax After Dark movies don't have this much simulated sex--3 scenes in the first half hour!--and those actors at least have attractive bodies. Actor Tommy Wiseau looks like someone shrinkwrapped 200 pounds of cottage cheese, and boy, does Director Tommy Wiseau love to linger over his Cronenbergian flesh. Almost every scene is someone walking into The Room, saying "Oh Hai!" and a few lines of dialogue, before immediately exiting when someone else comes in. Some enter only to to exit seconds later. Everyone seems to live outside the door. Plot, when there is any, is forgotten instaneously (what was the point of the brief scene with the screaming, gun-toting drug dealer? The mother having breast cancer, which is dropped after one more sentence?).
      The writer/producer/director/star Tommy Wiseau probably has less screen time than the other characters, who implode the Bechdel Test. Not only do the women talk only about the male characters, they talk only about him, as do all the male characters. One will go from praising how utterly awesome he is to the point a Mary Sue writer would feel embarassed for the schlub, to pointlessly backstabbing him in the same conversation. I'm guessing Auteur Wiseau had a relationship end badly, given his onscreen girlfriend's incomprehensible actions and personality. Oh, and Spoiler! He kills himself in the end, and It's all That Bitch's Fault somehow. And then he lays there dead while no less than 3 characters--apparently hanging around outside--rush in to scream at each other and cry about how much they'll miss him, including Evil GF and his "best friend" who was cheating on him. Much in the way a 14 year old would punch his pillow while thinking "You'll ALL be SORRY when I'm GONE!"
      Oh yeah, the Riffers made some really funny jokes. The latest Rifftrax offerings have been theater only, so you may not get to see it. Or maybe you will--it did have an after-credits ad for, which we thought was a weird joke, as he's selling "TWunderwear." "My underwears" is a line in the movie. But it looks legit, and for the love of Gourd, do NOT click the link. It looks like a corporate website from 1999. Yeah, I should talk (except most of my readers can't see my site THANKS READYHOSTING), with useless frames and a screaming autoplaying video. You can buy the movie's "script," and he'll throw in free underwear. That is not a joke. It's safe to visit the Wikipedia entry, and discover it cost $6M to make. It doesn't look like it cost $6K. I think the article may have been last edited by the second male lead, as his full name and the title of his book turn up about every seven sentences.


      This article on Star Wars games led me, for no reason, to think of that odd question that haunts the internet to this day: "Who would win, Star Trek's Federation or the Empire?"
      My first view of this was a site squarely in the Wars camp. Mainly it compared the size and firepower of the ships, and the Empire's were like super wicked big, dude. Which makes a lot of no-sense, if you give it any thought. How big was the Death Star? It was the size of a small...pie, right? Moon! Sorry, I was thinking of Moon Pies, those little snack cakes. It got taken out by a ship the size of a really big moon! No, wait...some farm boy in a cropduster, who used to whomp on rats or something.
      Who would win: the Federation. Because it's fiction. The Federation's the good guys, the Empire the bad guys. It's like asking if the Empire could beat James Bond. In reality, sure, but this isn't reality. Could Jabba the Hutt beat the Empire? Of course not. That's the level of nerd-dumbness this question lies at.
      A fairer match-up: Federation vs Rebel Alliance. But you know how that'd play out: They'd fight for a while, realize they're both the good guys, and team up against the bad guys. Who hopefully are the Daleks, because why not.
      Much fairer: Who would win, the Empire or the Borg? Since the Borg evolve defenses after every attack, I'd go with them. The Empire wasn't big on innovation.
      "Emperor, our Death Star was destroyed by a hick flying a Space Vespa!"
      "Hmm...the obvious solution another Death Star! Just fix that tiny drainpipe thingie so they can't drop bombs down it. Instead, leave a gigantic hole in the side and keep the inside so empty that entire spaceships can fly around the reactor core! Let them find a way to destroy that!"
      "Also, the firing accuracy rate of our stormtroopers has dropped to -5%."
      "What? How is it negative?"
      "Five percent are holding their blasters backwards. You know, some rebels infiltrated the Death Star by wearing stormtrooper armor, and they complained that they couldn't see out of their helmets. Maybe if we redesigned the helmets so you can actually look out of them, we could get our accuracy up to nearly 10%!"
      "What?! My father wore that helmet when he died! His father wore that helmet when he died! His father's father wore that helmet when he destroyed the Death Star prototype!"
      "Yeah, he was in the bathroom and got his blaster confused with his dick. Little design flaw in the prototype, you could blow the whole thing up by shooting the urinals. That designer promised to fix that in our second one, once he's finished making the enormous hole."
      The Fairest Match-Up of Them All: Stormtroopers vs Redshirts. I'm guessing a casaulty rate of 100%. Most would either get crushed in closing blast doors or spontaneously combust, and one guy would die in a tragic shoe-tieing accident.


5/17      Thanks to all of you who responded to my mass email. The site is back! And so ends the latest drama with Readyhosting. Or--HAS IT?
      Probably not. It was down 5 times in 3 months. This last one was the weirdest. It started when a Googlebot hit the page, indexing it during the last outage, so any search led to "HTTP Error 403.6 - Forbidden: IP address of the client has been rejected." Some people could still see it, most couldn't, even without a search. I could see it at home sometimes, but never at work. According to my hit counter, the ones who could were in Connecticut, Alberta, and Mexico. So, I guess Readyhosting was graciously granting me one reader per North American nation.
      I work in retail, so I'm naturally polite to other workers. Not this time. My first trouble ticket began with "Site is down AGAIN. FIX IT!! I am so done with you people. Fix it NOW and fix it FOR GOOD" When I got a response claiming that Readyhosting could see it, I replied "Well, that's interesting. I can't see it on my home or work computer, on either Firefox or IE. So, I guess Readyhosting isn't good at lying, either." It was rude, but it finally got results. I was giving a 5 step list of how they wanted me to send them a screengrab, to which I said "No. Here's the text, that should be good enough" even though I'd already sent them the error message. It kept going up the food chain until I was told "I have removed IP from blocked list." Wow, thanks. Why the fuck do you keep blocking my page? Is it the "malicious files" that I'm paying SiteLock to clean off my site? Or do you just, I dunno, suck baboon ass?
      I don't get it. I've never had a problem with them for 14 years, I don't know why it's happening now. I do have an offer from this site's greatest tech friend Kirk to host it, although he wants to charge me the exorbitant sum of nothing. (I managed to talk him down to $20 to $40 a year). I think I have at least 2 years left on my Readyhosting contract, and if cancelling and getting a refund from them is as easy as just getting them to DO WHAT I'M PAYING THEM FOR, it would likely happen when Santa Jesus returns riding a celestial wombat.

      I'm on vacation! 8 days of not even thinking about work! So I got an incoherent phone call from work at 1020AM.
      Seems J. had no idea who was working that day. K. had called out with C. covering for him, because he hates working with J. (yes, everyone there is called by a first initial, at least to confuse the Googlebots) Then C. called out, as he was sick enough to be on antibiotics. K. refused to come in, because working 5 hours with someone you don't like is an eternity! (I work 36 hours a week with people I don't like) So we asked P. if she could come in, and she could. On the phone, I asked "Isn't Y. there?" J: "Oh yeah, she's here." Me: "She was the one who asked P.! Didn't she tell you that?" J: "Oh, she wasn't sure." J.C., WTF.
      This is why I need a vacation. At work, I'm always D.W.I. (Dealing With Idiots) Yesterday, P. came in 10 minutes late, which apparently is O.K., as she always does and the boss never says anything. "Let me guess how long Y.'s half hour lunch will last," I thought. And it was 40 minutes. When P.'s lunch hit the 33 minute mark, Y. screamed "What, is she going to take an HOUR?!" "You took 40 minutes!" "SO WHAT?! I--" and I walked away saying "BLAH BLAH BLAH!" If she does it, it's justified; if someone else does it, it's a fucking war crime. That place Drives me Mad with Fury!

      Are they giving Pulitzers for segues? I think that was eligible. Because it's likely that tomorow I'll be seeing Mad Max: Fury Road. The only review I've read (reading too many just leads to spoilers) is on, and man, do they love it. Or, woman, do they love it. It's apparently not just fueled with testosterone, but estrogen. One of the script doctors wrote The Vagina Monologues. One of the reasons I love The Road Warrior so much is that it's a crazy action movie on the surface, but there's much more below that surface.


      I just Googled Readyhosting and found their Yelp reviews. Only 5, but with a single 2-star review. And that's the highest one.
      Almost all of them are very recent reviews, all saying "They were great up until now." Apparently, they were bought by TuCows, who I've never had experience with (until now), but I can't say I've heard anything good about those guys. So I need to sort this out--I may just end up paying them until it's time to renew, but move a lot sooner to Kirk. But one review said that after you cancel, they just keep charging you anyway. That can be fixed by disputing it on your card. But I'm used to my website hosting as I thing I don't think about, not something I suddenly have to pay constant attention to.

      Of the movies-I-won't-ever-see trailers before Mad Max: Fury Road, the only one that got a reaction from the audience was the title of one: Entourage. I can't say I understand why, but the reaction was best called "derisive laughter."
      I think that review I linked to about Fury Road overplayed the Deep Meaning bit. I was hoping that for once "empowered woman" didn't mean "kills the faceless bad guys with equal efficiency as the males do." The Slave Brides don't do more than reload guns, but the rest of the women fire them. There is some kindness and nurturing from the Brides,'s a 2 hour fucking car chase.
      With real cars! I stayed through the end credits, and the stunt team far outnumbered the CG people. And these cars are...holy shit. Ed "Big Daddy" Roth would die if he saw them, either by aneurysm or orgasm. The bigger ones are made of smaller cars. The few of you who saw Speed Racer: remember the Desert Race? Those insanely-designed cars are fucking Geo Prizms compared to these. And, you know--real. They crash a lot, with flying stuntmen. None of this "What means gravity and physics?" CG shit you see in every movie, making the effects seem "Who cares?" Crimeny, even The Room had green screen! These are real cars with real people. Crashing gigantically.
      There is some CG, especially in the weather. And I don't follow celebrities, but I'm pretty sure that Charlize Theron has a left arm. There's a shot at the end of the final chase that's clearly "Here's your fucking CGI, asshole!" But when a giant monster truck--we're talking more of a Godzilla truck--crashes, Jiminy Christmas, they couldn't fix that in post. One take, or build another Kaijumobile.
      There aren't a lot of pauses. Like Road Warrior, the bullshit that would fill another movie with subplots just isn't there. Sorry, Hollywood, but I'm guessing that when you're fighting for your life, you kind of don't care about the dating scene.
      If there's a downside, that's it. It's unrelenting. Forget what I said about testoerone and estrogen, it's all adrenaline. It's never boring. Just when you think "How more insane can this get?" it gets more insane. They find new ways for lunatic cars and their riders to interact. The main bad guys are of the "ugly is evil" kind, but more like "mutants deformed by the radioactive wasteland" variety. Showing the corruption inherent in their poisoned and poisonous souls, rotting on screen.
      Is it a prequel or some intersticial sequel? The director refers to it as "a revisit." I thought from the trailers, it was set between Mad Max and Road Warrior, as there still are guns and enough "gazoline". But while there are teasing moments that reflect on Road Warrior, such as the V8 Interceptor, the sawed-off shotgun, the metal knee brace, the bolt cutters (Hollywood's new star, Bolt Cutters, is more important to the plot here than in its historic first role), but well, spoiler--I expected through the whole movie for Max to recover the Interceptor, and maybe he still could at the scrap widely-scattered debris yard. So, I guess, same character, new continuity.
      Do you want to see it? Then, please see it in a theater. It will lose a lot at home. Bear in mind that I've seen silent movies where the heroes have more dialog. Also, if you're like me, yes, there is a lot of violence, but thankfully no gore that is lovingly lingered over as torture porn.
      Car crash porn, sure.


      That random image search link from yesterday really didn't do them justice, so here's Every Killer Car in Mad Max: Fury Road Explained. Oh, Doof Wagon, you shall e'er be my favorite!


      "It feels like a nodule," he said, jamming it further in, "Well, maybe not a nodule. More of an irregularity."
      This was the doctor, squirming his finger way up my asshole. The longest prostate check of my life.
      Yeah, I know there are people who like fingers up their butts. I had a girlfriend who would go crazy when I did that. (Note: do not assume that this will carry over into every one of your sexual relationships) There are also people who like autoerotic asphyxiation, and that's one reason why you'll never buy tickets to the INXS Reunion Tour.
      Apparently there's a blood test for "neoplasms" or whatever the form said, that tells them what bug is up your ass. Do I take a blue pill? ("THIS SUMMER: Keanu Reaves as NEOPLASM, in The Matrix: Revolting. The role he was born to play, as an inarticulate lump of flesh in your colon!")
      "Nice ceiling you have here," I said to the tech's confusion as she prepared to take my blood. "I think I'll stare at it for a while." She was great; I barely felt it, and we discussed JFK airport's passenger drop-off rules. I should ask my doc if I should give blood, given that I'm B Negative. Only 1.5% of the world has that. Know how I'm down to one RL friend? Guess what her blood type is. What are the odds?
      With that over (and up and way under), I paid my bi-decade visit to the Mall. First thing I saw: a closed store. Not as many as the last time, as the economy imploded (unless you were a banker who caused it; Dubya made sure you ended up even richer), but still a lot. The food court had the most--even the McDonalds was gone. Mostly clothing stores there now. 25 years after I worked in the Sam Goody/Suncoast when the mall first opened, I think that only Sears, the jewelry store and, strangely, Sunglass Hut, still remain. I only went into a few stores. Spencer Gifts, where the fake vomit and poop are a foot apart from the sex toys, and the only worker was behind the register blowing up an air mattress. A retro video game store, where retro is defined as Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, with prices that are not retro at all. The dollar-or-more store. The down escalator was sealed off, so I walked halfway across the mall to the elevator, forgetting how I used to impatiently run down the up escalator when I worked there. I went to Newbury Comics and bought a used CD, 2002's "Chillout Mix 3." The Borders was still there--yeah, an actual bookstore! Now half a toy store. "Doctor Who Risk," okay. "Doctor Who Monopoly," oh fuck you. Why has anyone ever played that game? They should make "Walking Dead Monopoly," as that's how most people feel after half an hour's play.
      Then I bought some Soviet hot wings, drank a bottle of Lindeman's Framboise as I wrote this, and now will watch some Rifftrax, likely with a cat purring in my lap. It's my vacation, I can do what I damn want!


      Sign I saw at the Mall yesterday: "We store is moving in mall in May 11." It didn't say which store, but I'm guessing that they weren't selling Rosetta Stone CDs.

      The New Mad Max Film Is So Feminist My Scrotum Killed Itself. It's funny, but as you might guess from the title, the humor is very subtle. (Also about the only post I've ever seen in which the comments are actually worth reading, if you don't mind spoilers)       


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