NEW 121

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

Jump to the Newest of the New



--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 montone. 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.





Comments for Spring 15

The Old News