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

4/6/2018

      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:

      

      

4/8

      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:

      

      

4/12

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

      

      GIANT FUCKING ROBOT DINOSAURS!!

      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. So...you 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!!

      ...no...I'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.

      JESUS FUCK I JUST GOT IT!! THE MISSING THING!
      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.

      

      

4/16

      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."
      "DIAMONDS!!!"
      "beep beep, molybdenum."
      "MOLYB...de...n...MO...lyb...MORE 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.

4/23

      "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 Remodel...at 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.

4/26

      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 MCUs 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.

4/29

      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:

      

      

5/5

      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 dont 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.

5/10

      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

5/14

      "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!

      

      

5/22

      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.

      

5/25

      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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      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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5/30

      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

6/7

      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."

6/11

      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.

      

6/27

      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!

7/2

      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."

7/4

      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.

      

      

7/8

      "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

7/12

      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 Marthas Vineyard?

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

      

      

7/15

      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!

7/21

      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:

      

             
      

      


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