Tearing the Universe a New Cosmos

NEW 98

"Life is what happens when you're trying not to die."
- -Bill Young


      It went about as I expected. I whisked through the front door, cat carrier in hand, straight past the baffled cats and into the bedroom, and shut the door. I let DJ out of the carrier on the bed, grabbed the camera, and


      ...well, nice talking to you, DJ. He vanished. Well, his foster mom did say that he was "an explorer, he loves to hide."
      I set up his litter box, food and water, and he didn't reappear. Byron began scratching at the door almost immediately (his big, nonretractable claws make a much different sound than Killsy's tiny razors of death). After 20 minutes, I left with the carrier and put it on the floor for the kids to check out.
      Byron waltzed right in, sniffed around, and exited unperturbed. Kill Kill slowly slinked up, gave it a sniff and a loud hiss, then retreated to the living room to scowl at me. When Byron entered her field of vision, she hissed even more. "YOU brought another HIM in here, DIDN'T YOU!" I tried explaining to her that DJ was here to bother Byron, and take the pressure off of her.
      After a pause for DJ to reorient himself, I went back in the bedroom and found him


      ...relaxing on a pile of old clothes on the floor of the closet. Not scared, just chillin'. He had the Happy Cat Face with the squinting eyes. His foster mom also said "If you can catch him, he loves nothing more than a good pet, and he purrs his wee heart out!" I scratched his teeny head and he purred louder than any cat I've ever heard, and Byron's purr can be mistaken for a passing motorboat. I began to play with him using a piece of cord from some old cat toy, and a series of terribly-framed photos resulted.


      That, actually, would be the best of them. He kept purring as we played. I eventually coaxed him down to the floor


      YES that is cat litter on the carpet, and not from his new litter box. Also, a small host of old cat toys, which he played with in turn. While purring. Loudly, and continuously.


      "I find this particular scrap of crud on your filthy floor--fascinating!"

      Then we roughhoused a bit (he purred) and then he got a pet/belly rub on my legs. While purring. He discovered his food bowl, and began eating. WHILE PURRING. He purred without a break for FORTY SOLID MINUTES. Amazing. I've never known a cat to purr that much, and I know Jessica's happy man Majoriam.
      Then I put him on the bed to see what he'd do. He ran around a bit, then did what he did the first time: jumped off and disappeared. I haven't seen him since.
      Meanwhile, outside the door: When I first found him in the closet, Byron battered down the door after ripping the carpet up in an attempt to burrow in. Since he seemed only to want to check out the lil' guy, not moiderize him, I let him poke around. He immediately found his helpless prey, and ruthlessly pounced!...on the bowl of kitten food. It seemed like he was going to eat the whole damn thing, so out, damned splutcat!
      Killsy's mood moderated over the evening. Maybe she was thinking that DJ will never leave the bedroom, good riddance, or she recalled that life with Byron was actually better than it was without him. Right now, everything is normal, except for the bedroom door being shut. I still can't find DJ--I caught a glimpse when I opened the door once, but he bolted under the bed, so I'll just let him be until bedtime.
      DJ will stay inside the bedroom until Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, but I think everything is going to go smooth as silk, or as smooth as that cat fur that gets all over you when you pet them.


      Oddly, Kill Kill now seems to be the one less annoyed by DJ's existence. Maybe she thinks he'll be in the bedroom forever. Byron keeps staring at the door. He was right by it when I went in this morning, so I left it open to see what would happen. He crawled in, in such glacially slo-mo that I thought he was trying to reach him by continental drift. I picked DJ up and placed him in Byron's view. DJ arched his back and puffed out his tail. Byron hissed at him 3 times, which is 3 times more he's hissed at anyone who's not a vet in his whole life. Then he ran out. DJ followed him, but I decided that today was not the day for introductions. Friday night or Saturday morning, I think.
      Don Juan is a good name for him. He's quite the lover boy. He purrs the entire time I'm with him, from the second I walk in the door. Maybe it's because I'm not always in there (as that would not be a good way to prep the other kids into accepting him). He plays happily with the toys in there, then breaks for play with me--sometimes stopping from biting me to licking me--to pets, then back to play. And he purrs when he eats, something I thought only Killsy did, and something she does only when I'm petting her at the same time. He pounced me a few times during the night and I played a bit, but not enough that he gets the idea that 3AM is happy fun time. He has a bit more orange tabby in him then I thought; he has stripes on the end of his tail, and 4 on his face, including half of a forehead M. And freckles on his nose. You can kinda see it here, using the time-honored kitten camera close-up trick of dangling the wrist strap in the face:


       He certainly has that legendary "I luvz evryonez!" OT personality. Most kittens won't offer their bellies up for rubs during the first few hours with their new human.
      I was planning on doing multiple things outside the house today, but decided against being gone too long, and so split them in 2. I went to BIG!Lots, prly for the last time. Not a single item of interest. Upon seeing the shelves and shelves of analog TV antennas--even if they were free, what good are they after next Tuesday?--I thought "that's the most useless thing I'll see here today." That was before I saw the multiple copies of a VHS tape titled "Y2K: The Millenium Bug." Blurb on back: "Is it a tempest in a teapot? Or the collapse of civilization?" If it was the latter, you came to the right place to stock up on bottled water and toilet paper--BIG!Lots brand toilet paper. Which made me think "Wow, they've invented half-ply TP."
      There's a Dollar Tree in the same plaza, so I looked for more Speed Racer Hot Wheels. Out of the 24, I now have 23. I bought an umbrella, which I'm sure won't last in the wind, but it can't be any worse than the last cheap one I bought, which will last forever as it can't be opened. And, as a joke for Jessica--


      That's not the one I got. Mine's worse.

      My parents had a big History of Art coffee table book, light on history but thick with pictures, and one of them was of a realistic painting of a pipe titled "This Is Not A Pipe." It made me mad! Of course it's a pipe! That's not art, that doesn't even make sense! It bothered me enough that later I went back to the book and saw that it was from a movement called "Dadaism." Looking that up in the family encyclopedia, I found out that it was a satire of art, and as a kid raised on MAD magazine, I immediately was intrigued. I looked at the picture that accompanied the article: a clothes iron with carpet tacks soldered to the base. It was titled "The Gift." And I laughed. I'd been given useless gifts like that myself! Like a belt buckle, with no belt attached. That's like giving a Jiffy Lube gift certificate to someone who doesn't own a car.
      I became a big fan of Dada. 20 years ago, there was a traveling exhibition of Dadaist works at the Hartford Atheneum, and I knew that I wasn't going to get a chance to see this stuff, for real and up close, ever again. I stood and stared at some of the first and most famous creations of Dada, such as the aforementioned Ceci n'est pas une Pipe (it's not a pipe, it's a painting of a pipe!) and Fountain, Duchamps "sculpture" of a urinal. It was art because he signed his name to it. That's hilarious.
      But was there another, unnoticed level to the joke?

      An interesting piece of art history detective work. And the jokes are now even more hilarious!


      Failed to mention from yesterday's Dollar Tree trip: It's disconcerting to hear someone talking aloud to herself in public, but it's even more so in the cutlery section, when she's holding a knife she's taken out of the package and says "This is really sharp...just what I need!"

      DEAR ASK DJ:
      DJ, I am a kitten, newly adopted. The human lets me sleep in his bed, but I don't know the proper protocol! How should I act?--signed, Dewormed but not DeWorried


      Dear Deworried: If your person lets you sleep in the bed, he must really like you! So you just like him back! Sleep close to him! No, closer than that! CLOSER! You must feel bare skin on your fur!
      Have you ever heard a human say "Boy, that guy's feet smell!"? Obviously, if human feet can smell, then the feet must be where their noses are! Yes, I know it's strange, but they wear "clothes" and have "jobs," so anything is possible! So if the only bare skin you can find is his face, feel free to cover his mouth and nose-looking thing with your body! It may tickle him a bit, which is why by the end of the night, he'll end up almost falling off the other side of a king-sized bed.
      Humans do not know how to properly clean themselves. I have not seen this rumored "shower" that they take, so it must be a myth. Imagine you or me willingly going into WATER! Help them when they sleep by showing them how it's done properly. Lick them with your wonderfully raspy sandpaper tongue! The nose-like thing is good, as our tongues are excellent exfoiliants. Don't forget the lips! ESPECIALLY clean the lips! The tingle means it's working!--yours, DJ

      Tuesday, DJ would run every time I opened the bedroom door, until he was sure it was me. Wednesday he'd be waiting for me to come in and play with him. This morning, BANG, out he ran into the Outside World. As his foster mom told me, he's very fast and hard to catch. And it went over SWELL. Angry hissing and vicious growling from the others. I don't know whom I was more disappointed with; Byron, for acting like Killsy did when he was a kitten, while DJ acted like he did then, just wanting to be friends with the older cat, or Kill Kill, who, unsatisfied with hissing, walked right up and took a swing at the poor guy. Everytime I'd open the door, out he'd bolt out and the dramarama began anew. I hung my trenchcoat over the door knob to slow him down, put him on the far side of the bed, then ran for the door. Which wouldn't close! What a time for it get stuck! And stuck on, what? I looked down, and there was DJ, getting squished. (don't worry; he's fine)

      I did one of the things that I didn't do yesterday and went to Up. I saw something horrifying in the parking lot: 3 empty school buses. I made sure to ask before I bought my ticket, but no, they were about to leave (in retrospect I assume that they saw a special screening of Earth). I saw it in 3D--why not, as there were 4 times as many showings as the 2D. I got to spend $11.75 for a matinee (or not; I used a gift card I got on my birthday), and was treated to 10 minutes of ads. Ads for what? Got me, I've already forgotten! Nice waste of your money, cinema advertisers!
      The ads were followed by a preview for a pretty dire and unfunny-looking Eddie Murphy picture (wow--unfunny Eddie Murphy comedy, there's a surprise!) and then a bunch of 3D trailers. Maybe if they had made those ads in 3D, I would've remembered them. And save your money. 3D is a joke unless the whole movie is planned for 3D, as the trailer for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was (what, there were mammals first, then dinosaurs? Is their target audience Creationists who view the Flintstones as a documentary?).
      Up was pretty good. But pretty good Pixar is better than 99% of movies, so I can live with that. The plot arc was no surprise, but it was fun and exciting, and even touching in the wordless montage near the beginning.
      You could wait until the DVD, but if you love you some Pixar, you might want to see it on the big screen. In 2D. If you see only one movie this year with a broadsword versus senior walker fight, let it be this one!

      When DJ purrs as he's eating (and he purrs no matter what he does), his last 3 swallows sound almost exactly like "yum yum yum!"


      Today's weather was to be the best of my vacation, which was perfect, as it was the day Jessica and I were to go antiquing in Putnam. Then the forecast changed: it was to be the worst day. But she changed her plans, too, instead wanting to visit DJ, as she's met all my kids when they were kittens. I would meet her in Sturbridge, pick her up and drive her here, since she's not allowed to drive more than half an hour due to her narcolepsy.
      I got up earlier than I needed, which was good, as it gave me time to check my email. As soon as I saw a message from Jessie, I knew what it was. Her symptoms were really bad this morning, so that was the end of the visit (for now).
      Without anything else to do, I decided to do part 3 of the original 1-part trip from Wednesday. I'd go to the state park before the rain started, then go to a third Dollar Tree to see if I could find that 1 elusive Speed Racer Hot Wheels car, then register my free membership pass at BJ's Warehouse Club. I was going to get gas in Sturbridge, as it's usually 10-15 cents a gallon cheaper than here, but BJ members get cheap gas, too.
      I left the house the moment it started raining, so the park was out. I headed to Dollar Tree but drove right past the exit. I got off at the next one, then back on towards the highway, then remembered you can't get to the Dollar Tree exit from that direction either. Okay, so I'll do things in the opposite order. Good thing I'm getting cheap gas, as all I'd done so far was waste it. And BJ's was more than it was right on the corner of my street! Well, I'm here, might as well not waste more gas, just go to customer service and register...in this line of 6 people with 1 clerk working. Goodbye.
      I went to Dollar Tree, and hoped that I didn't find that "Snake Oiler with Jump Jacks" Hot Wheel. Their line had 1 clerk and was 12 people long. But they had the greatest amount of the cars I've seen, and they looked largely unshopped. Maybe because they were pegged from the floor to 7 feet off the ground. I used to manage a toy store, and you know, I didn't merchandise thinking that the children were mutant Watusi giants. But all I had to do was to tip the cars slightly sideways to read what they were. I tried standing on the shelf base while supporting myself on the next shelves, but those were made of cheap, flimsy plastic. A ladder was stupidly sitting out on the floor in plain view with no employees around...I could grab that, then fall off and sue for a MILLION Hot Wheels! No, there has to be a better way--hey, some brat tore open a toy sword and shield set! I used the plastic sword (more of a gladius, really) to tip the cars. YES! I had successfully wasted more gas by coming here for nothing!
      I went home, gassed up cheaper than I could at BJ's, bought some delicious Indian takeout, and decided to give DJ a trial run outside of the bedroom. A whole lotta hissing was going on, but Killsy is clearly getting a bit more tolerant of him, especially after he rolled over and submissively showed her his belly. Byron wants nothing to do with him. He just so wants to be friends with the big cats, and doesn't understand that it doesn't have to happen right now. But unlike Byron, he clearly knows his boundaries. He'll push them, but he so far he hasn't crossed them.
      I expect by the end of my vacation all will be well in my expanded family.




      DJ was still wide awake after 4 hours of the World Outside the Bedroom last night, which is a long time for a kitten. I picked him up to bring him into the bedroom. He squirmed a bit, then rolled on his back in my arms, purring estactically.
      Did you ever have a day as a little kid that was the most fun imaginable? You ran and played and laughed and never wanted it to ever end, but eventually it had to. You kept talkling about it excitedly all the way home, your brain still racing ahead of your exhausted body. You protested going to bed, but you were asleep almost as soon as you were tucked in, and the last thing you said before sleep was "That was the best day ever!" and you said that because it was true?
      That was the look in DJ's eyes as I laid him down. He was off to Dreamland almost immediately.

      Today was the first full day of Outside. He'll go into the closed bedroom with me tonight, and will prly briefly go back when I go to the Farmer's Market tomorrow, but after that, no doors. He got hissed at a lot today. Less and less from Killsy, but just as much from Byron. His deafness is working against him again; he looks around for DJ, but always scans the floor, not hearing him as another cat would. And so he never knows when DJ will pop up right next to him. DJ spent all day approaching the cats with a complete "HEY YOU LOOK REALLY COOL I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND!!!" attitude, then retreating when they hissed. Or in Byron's case, gargrissed. His normal meow is the dreaded hi-decibel Byron Siren, so his deaf-cat hiss is a growl mixed with a hiss with a weird gargling noise at the end, like something out of a horror movie. DJ knows when to back off, but not when to stop. He's persistent, and persistence can win in the end.


      Baby steps, people. Baby steps.


      Last night was the first time the bedroom door's been left open since Tuesday. DJ came to me already diurnal, so he goes to bed when I do and wakes up when I do. Just as Killsy and Byron used to do, *effusive and nostalgic sigh* (actually, Byron still does it October through May). It was breakfast time, when the wet food is served, and all 3 gathered in close proximity for the first time. DJ buried his face in his food, and Killsy buried her tongue in his ass. Well...that's gross, but also progress. Then she ate, but kept stopping to hiss and growl. Dude, you just tossed his salad, and now you're mad at him? Deej ignored her because FOOOD! Byron gave DJ's butt a close inhale, the only physical contact he's has with him. Progress!
      DJ got to see first hand the horror that is THE SHOWER, running away in terror when I turned it on. Then he was closed in the bedroom for maybe the last time, as I'm gong over to Kev and Meg's for a movie tomorrow. I guess maybe I should leave him out. I'll be gone likely for 3 hours, but I need one long dry run before I go back to work. Then I picked up Kev and we went to the Coventry Farmer's Market, open for the first time this year.
      Not only had he not been to the market, he'd never been to any farmer's market. I parked in the secondary lot without bothering with the main one. I really don't get the American concept of finding the closest parking space on beautiful days like today. "The bright yellow sky-thing, it burns us!" Plus there was a flea market there. The usual detritus from the 80s (Sweet Valley High books) and the 90s (Barbie CD-ROM games). Things that I would've bought during the InExOb days (and now kinda regret not) included a Disney-approved 7 Dwarfs plush. I think it was "Happy," but the crushed-squint eyes and shrieking mouth made him look like the Dwarf they locked in the cottage attic, Derangey. A prescription bottle of something, dated 1932. I turned it over and it was a bottle of whiskey, "bottled no earlier than 1913." In 1932, a scrip was the only way to legally get whiskey. Surprisingly, there was still some brown liquid sloshing around in the bottle. It was called "Golden Wedding," and pictured 2 old fat guys sharing a glass. They had gay weddings even then!
      There was a lava lamp, missing about a third of its fluid, but it was a dollar, no more than a Speed Racer Hot Wheels! "Don't let it break!" warned the woman I bought it from. "It's full of toxic chemicals! My daughter had one that broke, and we almost DIED!" I nodded, as one should do with people who have no idea what they're talking about. Maybe it was one of those old lava lamps; I'm pretty sure the current ones contain mineral oil and wax, substances not likely to recreate 3 Mile Island or Bhopal. "I'll wrap it up good!" she said, and grabbed a diaper. With a large brown stain on it. "Umm, THANKS, I'll pass on the diaper!" I said hastily. She looked at it and said, "Oh, that's not poops! It's probably barbecue sauce!" She turned to grab a bag and I said to Kev sotto voce: "I don't want to know."
      The lamp carefully put in the car and used-Pampersless, we went to the market, teeming with white people. (Sorry, these things just suddenly jump out at me, like the disproportionate number of patrons that drove a Prius with an Obama sticker) A Revolutionary War fife and drum corps was performing, as this was the homestead of Nathan "I regret that I have one life to give so that my dad's house can be a farmer's market" Hale. The Hale people were selling a Nathan Hale doll, although it looked like the noose was sold seperately, maybe with the "Nathan Hale Malibu Dream Homestead." We bought lots of good, healthy local food. I got some strawberries, early and small but ripe. The fruit turns up later in the season, but, boy, could you stock up on fresh rutabaga! (Seriously, what is that shit, and who first decided to eat it?) I never spent more than $7 on anything, but I spent $38, as vacations are for splurging, and I got so much that I'll have to go the fridge and see what it was.
      Of course, I got some Beltane Farm goat cheese. An article in the local free paper on Connecticut artisanal cheeses was how I discovered the market in the first place. Another thing I always get is Salsa Loca hot super-fresh salsa. And you can too, if you want to join their salsa of the month club! For $20 a month. I was planning on buying from a new vendor, Highland Thistle Farms--seriously, I'm half-Scots, so why wouldn't I? They had fresh, free range eggs for about 90 cents a dozen more than the ones at the supermarket. We passed by some poor girl dressed in a chicken bodysuit, and I said "Great, we're at the furry convention." An impulse buy was Snooty Foods garlic herb butter spread, based on the deliciousness of the sample. I hesitated on buying it, wondering what I was going to actually use it for, but logic was trumped by the forces of utter deliciousness. Two booths down, an Italian bakery was making fresh canolis, and Kevin "the Tailor" Sartori's eyes leapt from their sockets. I had a feeling he was going to buy one of everything. I saw some Italian bread, so fresh I could smell it, and realized that I'd just solved my problem on what to use my garlic spread on. Kev got a big loaf of bread with sausage and broccoli baked in--oh, yeah, he was buying plenty, too. Eggs and Beltane brie and fresh kale, whatever that is, some Salsa Loca black bean (I suggested we try the hot salsa, and as I was saying, "Oh, that's good!" he was wincing in pain--I did say it was hot). And we both got some handmade fudge in little restaurant condiment containers. I don't remember what he got, but I got penucchi walnut, which I wish I'd bought 2 of, as I'll save this one in case I see Jessica before vacation's end, as it's her fave. Then we passed someone dressed as a carrot, and I said "Great, now we're at the furry veggie convention." "That's so wrong, " said Kev, "although I admit that I am a bit turned on." "Dude, that's fucked up! If it was asparagus, sure!"
      There were some old 1930s cars which were cool to look at. The instrument panels consisted of the ignition and a single gauge marked "AMPERAGE." The cars were largely made of wood. We went to the Indian food booth, which I felt bad about avoiding last time, as there was no one in line. But I was buying Indian food later that day at Taj Mahal. That would be the day I found out that Taj had gone out of business. But they were doing well today, and we had chicken tikke masala, the kind with yogurt, so it's not as spicy. The guy filled a standard-sized picnic styrofoam bowl with a lot of basmati rice, making me think well, this is why it's only $5, and then he ladled the chicken on. And ladled. And ladled. I was full when the food was just even with the top of the bowl, so I wrapped it in my napkins and it waits in the fridge. But not tonight. I have so much great food to eat.

      You know the old saying: "Nature abhors a vacuum, yet strangely Nature never vacuums whores."
      Looking at that, maybe only half of that is an old saying. Maybe the rest came from that unfortunate incident when I was beaten with a Hoover by a hooker, I'm not sure.
      At any rate, where there is a need, someone will rush in and fill that need, or possibly throw an ElektrikBroom at it: You can move your Geocities site to a German free webhoster called JimDo. Nothing I would use, given that I pay for a site already. But the interface is "type your url and click send," so if your grandma or such has an old Geo site, it certainly looks like a viable option.

      I think tomorrow I may leave DJ with the other cats when I go to Kev's. It seems unlikely that they'll think "Human's been gone for over an hour! Byron, use your thumbs to open the window and we'll throw DJ out! "YEAH! And when the human's back, we'll just say that he was stolen by dingos!" "Dingos. On the third floor." "...Dingos...with jet packs?" "*sigh* Byron, it'd be best if I did the meowing, 'kay?"
      We'll prly see Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! finally. We'll either get pizza, or maybe Kev will make some barbecue chicken on his grill! If he does, I'll say "Hold the diapers."


      I forgot to mention from yesterday something that (had I remembered a camera) could've gone on Wordsplosion: a sign that read "FRESH ICED CHIA TEA." You drink it from a porcelain head, and then grass grows on your tongue.

      I found out why the lava lamp was low on water (yes, I looked it up; it just has water in it, not radioactive cyanide e.coli vomit): the top is loose, so it was from evaporation. I didn't find this out by watching its insides turn to vapor. I found this out 2 hours after placing it on its side on the floor "for safety, so no cat knocks it over." Kevin used to brew his own beer, and has a bottler gadget, so it should be easy to fix.

      DJ purrs over everything, but he's been to the vet before and has had shots and blood tests, so when we went for his rabies shot today, I expected his happy demeanor to change. Nope! He purred so much that the vet couldn't hear his heartbeat. She apologized for what she was to do, then blew in his face to stop him. But he kept right on going. "Time for Plan B!" she said, and turned the faucet on. He only discovered the shower yesterday, but he certainly had a bath at some point, so he stopped. His heartbeat was fine, as I could attest from this morning, when in bed he laid on my left ear and purred for 5 minutes, then stopped, and I heard his little ticker lub-dubbing away. He really stopped purring when she gave him his dose of heartworm medicine. "It's banana flavored!" she said. No wonder he didn't like it. He may act like a crazy monkey, but that doesn't mean he eats like one. Try tuna flavor next time. He got it on his nose, his feet, and somehow the cat carrier, which he wasn't even in.
      He didn't get his rabies shot. This is because he has to be 12 weeks old, not 11 weeks, 5 days (no, seriously). He gets to go back next week, but they waived the office visit fee. He got a Free Parting Gift, a Science Diet starter pack. A 1-lb bag of dry kitten food, 2 cans of wet food, a spiral-bound book and a DVD, both of which will remain unused. It's kitten #3, I know the rules by now.
      When we got home, both Killsy and Byron hissed and growled in agitation. I think that they thought I'd brought him to Customer Service to demand a refund.
      I left for the state park for 45 minutes, the only time all 3 had been left alone. Everything was fine on my return. So when I go to Kev and Meg's tonight, he'll stay out. This is the only extended time I'll be gone before I go back to work, so this is the big test. I think we'll all pass.


      I did something this vacation that I normally don't do: eat crap. Well, the Indian food's pretty low fat and healthy, but not so much the pu-pu platter and the bacon cheeseburger pizza. But I had coupons! I can get extra meals from them for cheap!
      Today I went to Friendly's for a "Munchie Mania." Do you think that they had a particular demographic in mind when they named it that? And wonder if most of the sales come after 9PM? But I had a COUPON! The first time I got one, I split it with Kevin, and it was exactly enough food for 2 people. The next time we had it, it was not enough food. They kept the price the same, but must've shrunk the portions. Both times we called the order in not only was it done when we arrived, it was already getting cold. So I decided to order it when I got there, eat half now and finish the rest off later.
      "It'll take about 5 minutes," she said. I wasn't wearing a watch, but there was a bank time and temperature sign across the street, and it took 12 minutes. Well, at least it'd be hot!
      As my food was going to the bag, one clerk started a conversation with the cashier bagging it about funions, which I think is a bunion you get on your face. Why was this holding up my dang food? The bagger opened the container, while the other read the menu and said "You're right, you're right--no waffle fries." The bagger apologized and said that I was supposed to get onion rings, it'll be a couple more minutes, but they'll be free. I thought, if this wait was for anything but onion rings, I'd just say "Thanks, I'm good" and leave. I was hungry by now, and opened up my meal for a nosh. Umm...this is a lot of food, and the waffle fries have cheese and bacon on them. I guess that they increased the portions, after howls of red-eyed, mellow outrage from buzzkilled stoners.
      I made it about a third of the way through it. If I get 2 meals out of this, it'll be a bargain, but I don't think all of this will reheat well. Ever see a McDonald's fry 30 minutes out of the heat lamp? Shrivels up like an earthworm in the rain.

      I'm surprized that I was able to eat as much as I could, given that a hour before I'd seen Unusual Canned Foods from Around the World. There's a few you may have seen before, like the cheeseburger-in-a-can that made the rounds a few years back, but almost all of these are new to me. An InExOb once mentioned the potential horror of whole canned chicken, and now you can see the horror made real. And I hope that's the "good" cholesterol in those canned pig brains.

      It only took 25 years of trying, but yesterday I saw Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! I can see why it's a cult classic. It's ludicrously over the top, with screaming sports cars, male characters that are either insane or wimps, and women with long histories of lower back pain:


      The dialogue is so overwrought that it almost seems like it's deliberate. IMDB has a page of quotes, but if they included every insane line that no human would ever utter, it'd just be the whole script. There's nobody in it who can't act, just nobody that should. It's a good thing that there's no scenery, as it would be completely chewed by the end of each shot. It's a cheap movie, so cheap that you expect that the close-ups of the "chickies" driving the cars to just be them sitting there while somebody shakes the motionless car. But there's enough shots of their hair blowing in the wind the exact wrong way that you have to wonder how intentional the unintentional humor is.
      It's trash, nobody behaves like anyone would in real life, and basically every character in it is no smarter than the next closest rock. But it is never boring. In fact, it's very entertaining, and that's the best thing that you can say about a movie. I'd say "See it! " but good luck unless you want to buy it. I'm lucky to know someone who can download these things. I may have waited a quarter century to see it, but I don't need to see it again.

      What., 3 days since a kitten pic? What's wrong with me!
      Before DJ arrived, Byron kindly ripped a hole in the shade I draw at night in the computer room. DJ has been most happy to enlarge it.


      I am not sure which end of the kitten is facing which way here.


      Unlike Killsy, who has long since learned to ignore the camera, or Byron, who never heard me using it, in the above pic DJ woke up from a silly position and made himself presentable. Dang it!
      This post took a long time to type! Not because of any deep thoughts, as it was mostly about me buying dinner, but because Mr DJ today discovered that I have a lap. Due to my anti-ergonomically designed pre-computer-era desk, my lap is where my mousepad is, on a book. And anyone with a cat knows that it is psychologically impossible to remove a sleeping feline from your lap without the house, and yourself, being on fire. Eventually he just went schlump to the side of the chair.


      He's currently sleeping on my foot. I may never be able to leave this chair again.


      If you ever feel a need to eat a Friendly's Munchie Mania, don't. As filling as you found it yesterday, today you will be filled with only regret.

      Jörg Schwarz had recently said "I will die before I eat another turnip!" But that was the entirety of his current options. Another turnip, or death.
       He could butcher the 2 cows. That last chicken dinner was delicious, but now he missed the eggs. What would his family do without the milk? Or the cheese, he thought, if anyone had the time to wait for cheese. Maybe when it was finally over, there'd be time for cheese.
      He did not consider himself a simple man, although he was. He had no time for anything but the farm. And his family. And the pub, back then. He had the time to do this modern "voting" then, but it seemed like such a waste of time. And he must've been right. There was no voting, not since the current government had been voted in. He had saved time after all.
      Turnips were all that would grow, and that's all his family had left to eat. All the family he had left, now that Dietrich had died in Russia, Klaus in Africa, and Karl! Just 14 years old, and just drafted to fight someone somewhere. Jörg knew he'd be the next to be drafted. And what then of his wife Lotte, and tiny Rebekka? Eating turnips as I die, he thought bitterly. He was glad to be in the fields, not listening to the radio at home. He bought it to hear music, but for years it had been "The thieving Jews! The subhuman Reds! The race-traitors of the West!" He had believed it once.
      When the government changed, the markets became full again. Now--were they empty, or were they destroyed? The Americans destroyed any trains they saw, so maybe the food was left to those lucky enough to escape the bombings. At least I'm in the country, he thought. The British bomb the scheisse out of every city at night, too cowardly to bomb in the daylight. He'd seen warplanes just once, when he went to that party rally before the war. He pointed at a Heinkel bomber and cried to his wife, "Maybe that's the one our boy Wolf is on!" Wolf had died heroically, he was told, over England. He was still proud of him.
      But not so proud that he wouldn't rather have him here on the farm.
      He pulled up a turnip. We will survive another day, he thought. The bell on one of the cows began to ring, then the other. What was frightening them? A hum came from above, then became a rumble, then a scream.


      From the clouds tore a squadron of fighters. Americans! Jörg fell to the dirt, clutching the turnip. He wasn't sure whether his life or his turnip he valued more at the moment. And the planes, in a seemingly endless line, rushed in grim, remorseless determination eastward.
      Towards Berlin, he thought. He stood up as the endless line raced above, turnip in hand. The last plane in the line dipped its wings, and the young pilot waved and smiled. Jörg waved back, then caught himself and stopped. What if someone had seen him? Then he realized that in his mind, he'd been waving at Wolf, his eldest child so long dead. He watched the last plane until it disappeared, then listened until the roar of the engines was replaced by silence.
      He calmly walked to his house, his wife and daughter still hiding in the basement. He placed the turnip on the kitchen table. Then he pulled the plug of the radio from the wall.

      Umm, okay, I was just inspired a bit. It's really a picture of a hummingbird. I think my version is better.


      Byron suddenly decided that DJ was tolerable last night. Today, he actually played with him. Repeatedly. He even grabbed one of his old crow feathers while DJ was in my lap, played with it, looked at DJ, then left the room. And immediately came back and played some more, then left. He did this 2 more times, stopping only when DJ took the bait and followed him. No growling or hissing ensued. *whew!* And this my last day of vacation!
      Killlsy likes her tiny Heineken box. Killsy likes to sleep with her head smushed against the inside of the box. The box is green.


      So is Killsy's forehead.


      Two unrelated articles, except on how they intersect with American gullibility: Alternative medicines are a load of bullshit, and Time magazine wants you to be afraid of EVERYTHING. Seriously, America was going to be destroyed by Pokemon?


      After every assault on Kill Kill today, DJ got a lecture on how Kill Kill is the Chill Chill and she is Love, if you don't jump on her head like a manic dervish. Even Job had limits to his patience. After too many assaults, he got a 10-minute time out in the bedroom. Once released, he immediately ran up to Killsy in the window. And this is what he did:


      He's learning.


      DJ has apparently never seen the inside of a bathroom when a human was using the toilet for its intended purpose. He always follows me in and jumps on the edge of the bowl to stare at my pee stream. I really, really expect this to have a negative end result when he either sticks his head in at the wrong moment, or just flops right into the bowl.

      I was sorting empty cans at work when I saw some guy, obviously from one of the plaza's restaurants due to his apron, pushing a wheelbarrow to the dumpster with two beyond-dead shrubs in it. They were so brown that if someone flicked a lit cigarette butt into one it'd be instant napalm, but with a refreshing pine scent.
      Since Saturday is always Redemption Day, 10 minutes later I was sorting more cans when I saw the same guy taking the bushes out of the dumpster and wheeling them back.
      I don't have a funny line about this, because I have no idea what the hell this meant. Maybe they were going to replant the bushes and hope for insurance money from arson.


      A surprisingly quiet day in the Young family household. There was hissing, there were slaps to the forehead. But it was mostly peaceful, and there was also DJ sleeping in the living room sun only a yard away from Killsy and Byron, who were sleeping with Bigfoot's tail touching the Small White's heinie. The baby steps continue. But even the smallest step is one that moves everything else forward.

      Beause I loves me the Dollar Tree, $25 at the Dollar Tree. Gets funnier as it goes along. Slime Egg, wow, what a great toy.
      (If the article inspires you to go to Dollar Tree, remember that I need a Hot Wheels Speed Racer Snake Oiler with Jump Jacks, and a Grey Ghost with Saw Blades. I'm willing to pay TWICE what you'll pay for each for them!)

      One of those sites you should read every week, but here's this week's if you don't: Stupid Comics asks "Did you ever wonder...?" Complete with Archie bukkake.


      I was under the impression that cats are immune to The Nip until 6 months of age, so I decided to give Killsy and Byronus Bigfoot some tonight, something Junior wouldn't understand. DJ, having tasted turkey breast!!! in italics with 3 exclamation points earlier, was eager to see what it was. So I gave him some too.
      Like his elder siblings, he gobbled it down. Then also became mellow, then flopped asleep. Not next to my leg, but right across my lap, which he has never done before. And stayed there for an hour. Eventually one has to pee, and I did my best to carefully shunt him aside. But I dropped the mouse and the mousepad and the book that the mouse and mousepad sit on in my lap, and he awoke. And went immediately back to sleep.
      Having finished my bathroom duty, he's just climbed back onto to my lap. And seems about to fall asleep.
      note to self: this is only observation; insert anecdote's punchline here later, should one occur


      June Sixteenth!
      Happy Tenth birthday, Kill Kill! Happy Sixth, Byron!
      No tuna this time, just lots and lots of catnip. This is because that given DJ's first reaction to leftover pizza today--it seemed that he would kill just for the crust, trying to bat Byron away from his prize--his first reaction to tuna may rend the Earth from its orbit and send it spiralling into the Sun, DJ purring all the way.
      Catnip fiends fall into 2 categories, rollers or eaters. Killsy and Byron are eaters. They gobble it down, either get briefly frisky or chill, then sleep. I thought that 6 months was the age when kittens first get into nip, but we disproved that yesterday with only a pinch. If he had plenty, would DJ be an eater or a roller?


      He's BOTH!
      Surprisingly, Byron watched him, them found some of his remaining nip and rolled in it. He did it again later, when he found DJ's stash. Killsy, of course, will have no truck with such juvenile antics, except to watch the silly ones embarass themselves. These kids today, she no doubt thinks.
      So, LTRoTD, you know Killsy and Byron's net-famous "cute kitten pictures" so well that I won't repeat them here. Is this DJ's?


      DJ went to the vet for his rabies shots today. Not much to tell; he didn't like the shots, but he was still a purring friend to everyone. Bad news: he has some unicellular parasite. Good news: there's a treatment taken orally that tastes like something cats like! Bad news: I have to give it to him for the next 8 days, so I hope he really likes the taste. He's all Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid over wet food, so I'll squirt it in his mouth before he gets the wet. Maybe he'll tolerate that.

      I Regret Nothing has the worst product on TV. I left my reaction in the comments, but really, watch the ad first and decide for yourself.

      Oh, the vet said that the general rule for kitten weight is that they gain a pound a month. At 3 months, DJ is 4 pounds. Likelihood that he becomes a moose: pretty high.


      I don't care if "it's a flavor cats like," I dreaded forcing 1cc of gut-bug killer into DJ's mouth via a tiny syringe. But while he fought its delivery at the vet, he did eat it all...Of course! Mix it in the wet food he goes berserk over!
      I gave him a big gloopy glop of Friskies Chicken & Tuna, then squirted the medicine onto it. It came out quicker than I thought it would. I put more food on top, then mixed it. And DJ dove right in!
      And paused. This he has never done. Then he jammed his face back in, gobbled some more, then moved his head in the universal symbol of "Wow, this tastes odd." Byron hadn't touched his own bowl, so he went after that. When Killsy had enough of her food, he ate that. Everytime he went past his bowl, still full of food, he'd pass.
      Great. Tomorrow we do it the hard way. For a week.
      But, lo! When there was no other cat's food to steal, he ate all of his. Maybe liked the taste, but connected it with having it literally shoved down his throat yesterday? I think I need to squeeze it out with greater precision, and stir it with a fork and not a spoon. This may be painless after all. Well, except to the microscopic bastards swimming in his intestines, but that's the point.

      Messed-Up Bible Stories. These are pretty funny, and get funnier as the episodes continue. For years I've been making the same remark about those who believe that Noah's Ark is literally true--how did they get the kangaroos?


      Hey, Stupidest Things Ever Said Calendar...Homestar Runner? You're shittin' me, right?
      Here's a free one for you, from me, for free, to you:      Or do you guys not understand the difference between stupid and deliberately stupid? Will you be quoting Beavis and Butthead in future calendars?




      I was looking at some old comic book characters on Wikipedia yesterday. I like the fact that this leads to an infinite recursion of links, and you can start at trying to find out how that "Captain America is no longer dead, like that should surprise ANYBODY who's ever read a Marvel or DC comic book in their life" thing played out, which can then somehow lead to this unlikely string of words:      Two exciting events are coming up on my same day off. Which should I choose?
      The one that promises such pure, unadulterated adrenalin as "Christian Bowling Session" and "Open house at Rockville Downtown Association, including the possibility of the CT Music Hall of Fame being based in this building to honor the 'Rockville Rocket,' Gene Pitney"? Or the one shown in this slideshow, which promises face painting of coma patients, some douchebag, swordfights, more face painting, and GIANT DILDO RAMMINGS?
      Leave your opinion in the Comments!

      I Needed A Job, And Xenu Was Hiring

      I know that you really only came here in hope of another cat picture, so here's that photogenic boy again!


      Even DJ is thinking "DANG that's a big foots!"



      I had a doctor's appointment today. I made it back when I worked second shift, so 2:15 seemed like a good time. Now, it seems late. So I accomplished nothing this morning on the computer, then found some other way to waste my time.
      The store radio had ads for the imaginatively-named Savers. I normally tune out the ads as best as possible, but this one began with "used clothing." And that should tell you all you need to know about the current American economy. It turned out to be as if the Salvation Army was turned into a chain store. Except that the SA gets its stuff through donations and uses the money for charity works--where does Savers get its merchandise, and who profits? It took a bit of Googling to find even their homepage--the top result was for "savers.au" so I thought it was some different chain down under, but no, it's them, they started in Australia. They pay nonprofits for their donations, and then sell them and, I assume, keep the profit. So, yes, Goodwill with a middleman. Better than WalMart, for sure, and anything that encourages the Most Wasteful Nation on Earth to buy used is a good thing.
      It's mainly clothes, just like a SalvArmy (a really HUGE SalvArmy). I held to the periphery where the clothes weren't, and the first things I saw were DVDs and VHS tapes and CDs. I looked up at the same type of pricing sign one would see at a SalvArmy, and it began:      Umm, what? I looked down, and there they were. Piles of sleeveless 45s, the top ones being "To Sir With Love" by Lulu and "She's My GIrl" by the Turtles. They were both from 1967. And an 8 track by "Stanky and his Five Philadelphians" titled "Red White and Blue POLKA!" Holy crap! And I do mean crap!
      And just like the SA, there were lots of obsolete electronics, except instead of "AS IS" stickers they had "NO EXCHNG" ones. It's not a bargain if you get it home and it doesn't work. There were also NES games.
      I left without buying anything. I wasn't sure what I thought of the concept. These guys could put every Goodwill and SA and tiny thrift shop out of business, and I really don't like that idea. It wasn't helped by the fact that they were in the same plaza as the Wal-Mart that killed every local business that the Mall didn't.
      It was next to PETCO, "Where the Pets Go (to be Horribly Overcharged!)" Seriously, this same brand of litter costs $6.99 at the supermarket, and $10.99 here? PETCO, "Where Bill Goes (Right Out the Door!)"
      I still had time to waste, so I stopped at Toys R Us. I knew that it'd be the last place to go for the elusive Speed Racer Hot Wheels, as it'd be the first place collectors would strip. And I was right; just common Mach 5s and 6s left. But they had 6-inch Godzilla figures! Who could resist their own SMOG MONSTER figure, especially me?! Well, me could, as TRU has apparently evolved beyond the need to put prices on toys or the shelves they're on. (The website says they're $10.99, which is a bit steep for something DJ would knock to the floor so that Byron could pee on it)
      And I went to the doctor and I'm in perfect health, and OH BOY, I get to have a colonoscopy soon! Just because I'm 50, that's all. But still...the fun, the fun.


      I read a brief article on the terror of senior driving. I once was rear-ended at full ramming speed while in line at the DMV for emissions testing by some fossil driving a Buick tank who mistook the gas for the brake while in park. He hit me so hard, he pushed me and the larger car in front of me forward 6 feet--and we were both in park. How decrepit do you have to be to not only forget which pedal does which, but ignore the fact that when you press the brake pedal to the metal, your engine doesn't gun? I guess you have to be deaf, too.
      Ever since that day over 15 years ago, I've said that you should have to take a driver's test at age 70, and again at every 5-year interval. The article linked above was about wearing a "senior suit" that reduces your reaction time and restricts your movements to that of an 85 year old. Sponsored by an insurance company, of course, who don't want to pay people like me for things that happen during the Drive of the Ancient Mariner.
      They even made a game, Grand Theft Auto: West Palm Beach (name may be made up). You can drive at ages 65, 75, 85. It really sucks. The game, I mean. Anything with arrow keys does. I know that you have to hold down the gas pedal to move, but you don't do it with 1 finger on your 3 finger steering wheel. It's hard to drive a car in a way that no one has ever driven a car in real life. The gas pedal should've been the space bar, and it'd be more accurate if it was something you didn't have to think about it--hit once to accelerate at the constant rate of the game, then once to brake, twice to slam the brakes hard, then once to speed up again. But the purpose is to make the adult parents of children think "I had an Atari and I can't play this! So I'm hiding Mom's keys! And sending her to a home! That way the insurance company won't have to pay out on any of her potential accidents, and I'll have to pay them to house Mom till she dies!"
      It's a game with one winner. And it ain't you or your 'rents.

      Just because everyone loves kitten pics...



      It says something about a country's "news media" when it takes an item about a pop musician whose music hasn't been relevant for two decades to dislodge as THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTEST STORY IN THE WORLD'S HEADLINE NEWS an item about an actress whose entire career has been irrelevant for three decades. And the fact that they were each in turn described as "American cultural icons" tells you even more about the paucity of American "culture."
      What's the news coverage exchange rate on human life? How many dead Afghanis, Iraqis and Iranians does it take to equal one Ed McMahon?


      Ernst Bitterman responds to me in the Comments:      SHAWT:
      HIM: Do you sell ping pong balls?
      It's not a complete non sequitur. I'm sure he wanted supplies for beer pong, the (binge) drinking game. But why go to a liquor store? Was his next stop Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up a keg?

      Why Are We Here? Funny, but funnier if you've ever read a Jack Chick tract.

      The next wave of movies inspired by 1980s toys:


Funny Videos | Funny Cartoons | More Video Clips



      The Killsy-DJ transition has been less than cordial. DJ and Byron, sure, smooth as cat fur. Last Wednesday Toemaster B and Loverboy became partners in crime, the big guy leading with the little guy eager on his heels. Byron started playing with him rather than fighting with him. Killsy, hmm, yes, there's that.
      Why does he insist on running up to her when she responds with hisses and swats? Why is she so mopey? How come she never seems to eat anymo--WAIT, I haven't seen her eat in front of me in FOUR DAYS!
      And if you're thinking "Well, Bill, at least you didn't panic" I will simply fold my hands in my lap and scream "AAAAHHH!!!!!" whilst running along the walls. I called the vet to make an appointment for her the next morning. I called work to see if the boss was in, because I'd be in a half-hour late.
      Two hours later, of course I saw her eat. No doubt the amount of fussing and petting and talking calmed her down.
      But still, why does he go to her when she growls and smacks him? Pure optimism, born of a young soul who loves everyone? Or youthful ignorance? Couldn't be the last; whenever rejected, he always and immediately backs off.
      Last night she was asleep in a box, and up he ambled. "Not a good idea, DJ," said I. Sleeping, she didn't react. Then he jumped half in her box, planting his front legs right on her! GAH!!! said I, "Dial 911!" As I reached down to swoop him away before WWIII began, he started licking her. And she just laid there, loving it. Until she realized that I was watching, then he got the snarl and the swat.
      All this time...FAKER! She's done this bit of theater before with Byron, pretending that she haaates him, except for a few rare times when she forgets and I see the loving that happens when I'm not home. She's always been given plenty of attention, so I think she does this just so that she gets more attention, to remind the lowly males who's the Queen of the World.
      Then they both laid inches away from each other, blinking into the other's eyes for a long time. I think it's like professional wrestling: "Nothing personal," says the champ, "I like ya just fine. It's all for the cameras, kid."


      A thousand words:


      A few words:
      One thing that I've always done for Killsy is to whisper "Shh! Don't let your brother know!" While Byron was sleeping (although he wouldn't hear me if I'd screamed the words. I wanted Kays to know that these words were for her) I'd let her sneak "outside" to the common hallway, or sneak her some treats.
      Both boys were snoozing in sunbeams in the living room, while Kill Kill was in the main room with me. "Shh! Want some treats? Don't let your brothers know!" I said in strictest confidence. I quietly pulled the treat bag from the cabinet, as DJ hears perfectly, and...she walked with determination into the center of the living room. DJ woke up, then Byron did, and only then did she turn to me for her treats. The boys got some too, of course.
      Houston, I believe we have paradigm shift!
      Also, after a month of his life with us, DJ clearly does not meow. He squeaks, creaks, chirps and brrrps? all the time though. When he jumps off something high, he hits the ground with a noise like old toy baby dolls once did. Eep!
      Now you should go back and look at that greatest cat picture EVER, and sing Sister Sledge's "We Are Family." "We are family! Byron, DJ, Killsy and me!"


      This morning we had the usual Friskies breakfast. But it was the first we've had that all 3 cats ate with their bowls only inches apart. DJ gets more food than anybody, but he's just an eating machine and finishes first. He'll nudge into Byron's bowl, and Byron doesn't seem to mind. DJ knows not to try to eat from Killsy's bowl until she walks away, saying "All yours, kid." And the hissing and swatting seem to have passed into--umm, the past. We Are Family.
      DJ must have read my blog yesterday. After eating his Friskies, he decided to meow! And meow. Also, mrrrROW. Like 20 times in a row, just walking around meowing. And he did it again later, all in a row, like he just discovered how to do it this morning, and for all I know, he did. Maybe he was saving it for when both cats accepted him as a sibling.

      The way to save money on groceries is to not impulse buy, and the way to not impulse buy is to make a shopping list and then only go to the aisles with the stuff on your list. I always have a mental list that I put together at work when things are slow. But things are never slow during the end-of-month buy-ins. I had a vague feeling that I'd forgotten something Monday when I shopped after work. As I was ringing myself up on the self-serv register, I noticed that someone had abandoned the coupons that the register prints out. I grabbed them; even if they were for something I wouldn't buy, at least they'd get recycled. Hey, $2 off of Purina One! I buy that! It wasn't until I got home and noticed that I'd forgotten to buy PURINA ONE CAT FOOD. It's the only kitten food Stop & Shop sells. It was the MAIN REASON I went there. Oh well, now I can save $2 when I have to go again!
      Today I had my new mental to-do list: drop off DJ's poopie sample at the vet, get a trial membership at BJ's warehouse, gas the car, get Purina One and a couple of other stuff at Stop & Shop, and...umm...park the car outside the garage so that I could put some power steering fluid and antifreeze into my leaky engine. Hmm, seems a step is missing there, don't remember what. Got home, parked and--GET ANTIFREEZE! Stop at AutoZone and get the damn antifreeze! The MAIN REASON that I parked outside! Why'd I only remember half? I'd like to blame it on being old, but I've always done this. Stupid brain of mine!
      Eh, who cares. I drive by the place every time I go to work, so I can get it tomorrow. Best of all, I have a happy family.


      Unactual books: It's the Annual Bulwer-Lytton Awards!


      On the commute home I heard that Sarah Palin is resigning as governor.
      My first thought on hearing it was “2012 presidential run for 3 & 1/2 years.” Then I thought, Is she resigning before her seemingly inevitable Republican scandal erupts? We’ll have to see what she does next.      Wolcott sums it up nicely with Sarah Palin Quits While She's Behind. "Only dead fish go with the flow." What--she actually said that? Wow, that sounds like something a soon-to-be-dead Alaskan trout would burble, as it desperately swam away from a grizzly's paw.

      I'm torn as to what I hope it is. Disappearing forever seems optimal for me right now, but her running in 2012 currently looks like it would be the most lopsided election since FDR vs Alf Landon, 1936.


      If the Fourth falls on a Saturday, liquor stores in CT are open, but only if it's a Saturday. If Christmas falls on a Saturday, we're required to be closed Saturday. And Sunday, and Monday. Do not try to figure out the logic there, as there isn't any.
      It hasn't happened in 6 years, and won't for another 6. Apparently, this made it news, as a local station sent a cameraman to do a brief in-store interview. Larry said No, no extra business; it seems like it's a regular Saturday. "What do you think about being open on the Fourth?" he was asked. "I think making people work on the Fourth of July is UNAMERICAN!" And that ended the interview. I guess the guy had his pull quote.
      Will they use it? Who knows, I'm not watching it, as I don't even have the digital converter hooked up to the TV, or have tried using the VCR since I got it. And it was the FOX News affiliate. If he'd said "OBAMA making us work is UNAMERICAN!" they'd use it. If he'd said "The GOVERNOR making us work...!" they wouldn't (she's Republican). Since without that the implication is "Our CORPORATE OVERLORDS...!" no, they won't use it.
      When the camera was turned off, I barked at Larry "Why do you hate FREE ENTERPRISE?!" and later told everyone that they had to work hours past closing because I was a Communist. Although I promised them each a bottle of vodka and a ride on the tractor.


      The last word on Michael Jackson.


      There's only one way this headline could be any better: If Police foil radio control zeppelin jailbreak replaced "radio control" with "monkey-wearing-Snoopy-goggles-piloted."

      Last week I got an email from the Coventry Farmer's Market titled "Blues and Brews." My first thought: Kev will want to go. Sure enough, his email was there, too. The first gorgeous day in a month, and FREE BEER! Who can resist?
      Me, in the future. 11AM is waaay too early to be drinking beer. Only about a full glass's worth, but it was all pretty potent. I wanted to get something to eat first, but was outvoted. One to three, by Cos, who later said that he regularly eats a lunch that includes 2 liters of beer (to Americans: half a gallon). Kev, Meg and me were a bit woozy afterwards. Good beer, though.
      After drinking, I beelined for the Indain booth and got a super-delicious veggie samosa, then we all went shopping. I bought the least. Some fine cheese, stuffed bread that looked like it would make 4 to 5 meals, that awesome garlic butter spread from Snooty Foods, some penuche-walnut fudge for the next time I get together with Jessica. That was all; farmer's market food is excellent, but expensive, so I eat it as slowly as possible, so I still have some slasa left over from last month. Everybody else bought a lot.
      Meg brought Penny, her Cavalier King Charles Toy Some Other Nouns Spaniel, who received lots of attention. "Was it wrong for me to give someone my [dog training] business card?" she asked me. HELL no! I said, get out there and network! I don't know if she'll get any business from it, but if she doesn't, all she's out is a card.
      We retired to Kevin's place for an hour, and I had to leave, as the beer was making my brain shut down. These losers banging on the liquor store doors for vodka at 8AM, how do they drink that early? Another hour, and I was asleep at 4PM for a 3-hour nap. As always, I awoke unrefreshed and dark-eyed and unbushy-tailed. I stumbled around for less than 3 more hours, then went asleep until GAHH! DJ attacking my face at dawn, out from the bedroom you GO, little scamp, so that I can sleep and GAAAAHHH! the fucking alarm already!
      I really enjoyed the trip, but next year, no beer.

      I realize that no one cares, but I managed to get 36.7MPG out of my dozen-year-old, 138,000-miles-plus Mercury Tracer this week. Put that in your overpriced, rollover-prone, no-resale-value SUV's tailpipe and smoke it.


      A Russian spacecraft landed on the moon hours before Apollo 11, an unmanned craft looking to return lunar samples before America could. The reason even a space geek like me has never heard the story before is, well, it landed a tad hard.


      What political affiliation would cats have?
      None, obviously, as they're cats. But if human, would they be libertarians? No. They hate rules like "Don't scratch that!" but they hate having chairs moved a foot or food that they don't like, so they like Order. Does that make them conservatives? Well, they're nothing but layabouts who contribute nothing to the labor pool. To a conservative, that means they're welfare queens, living off the largesse of society. To a liberal, that means they're corporate CEOs, living off government welfare, enriching themselves at the expense of the working class.
      Dogs, of course, are hardline conservatives. Master is always right! Disobey Master at your peril! They accept food and shelter the same way Blackwater did from Bush; they're hired mercenaries. And since cats, if they had bumpers, would sport stickers that said "Question Authority," maybe they are liberals. They may stare at or warily watch intruders into their domain, they don't immediately start barking "I WILL KILL YOU!" as soon as they're aware of them. A cat's first inclination is cautious diplomacy; a dog's first is aggression, like a Neocon.
      Just kidding! One's a solitary hunter, the other a pack hunter; they just have different styles.
      Killsy and Byron have been raised in a good liberal household. They are tolerant of DJ's differences. They also are in favor of recycling! Killsy likes to crawl in the paper recycling grocery bag when it's new, and Byron likes to sleep on it no matter what shape it's in. So what does DJ think?




      "Remember that "Turn off your lights for an hour" day? I turned all mine ON! I even ran the damn BLENDER for an hour! To prove that LIE-berals are GAY FAGS! Okay, all I really proved was how high I could drive up my electric bill in a single hour, but I was MAKING A VALID POINT! About, umm..."


      "THERE! DONE! NONE of this will be recycled! I'm going to throw it in my SUV and LITTER IT ALL! After SETTING IT ON FIRE! Again, I have proved...something important! TEA BAGS!"

      DJ, no! Please tell me that you're not a wingnut! You're sounding as crazy as Sarah Palin!


      "wink YOU BETCHA!"




      I listen to the radio when it's turned off.
      Most radio stations have online streaming, so why run power to a radio when I'm running it to the computer? Especially since I used to have to flip from station to station as one stopped playing classical music, and another started.
      I mainly listen to WFCR, because they have 2 HD streams. When the first is playing classical, the other is playing news, and vice versa. The first feed is the actual station, with live DJs and NPR programming. The other is outside prgramming; BBC World Service for the news, and some outfit that does just classical, running the overnight music on at least 2 stations in CT. I don't know where they're from, although once a DJ mentioned the time, and it was Eastern Standard (it was her first day on the late shift, and she complained "I can't imagine anyone who'd be listening to the radio at 2AM!" Well, there was me, and there was everyone else who just heard you say that, so nice way to ingratiate yourself to the second- and third-shifters). I assume that the shows are prerecorded, as they end exactly on the hour for station IDs and then start up again 30 seconds later, and recorded on the same day as they're broadcast, as there will sometimes be references to the day's news.
      I could be wrong. Turning it on yesterday on the hour I was told "Happy New Years!" Huh? On July Tenth? It's not New Years, Chinese or Jewish or any other one I'm aware of. Am I missing something? Oh, he's going to play a Strauss waltz, traditionally played on New Years. Just a classical music joke. And as soon as the piece ended, he wished me (and my family) a Happy New Years again. And proceeded to do so for the next two hours, after every piece. He once said something about "music that's now from the last century." Ummm...
      I woke up this morning and turned on the same feed, and got the same announcer. "HAPPY NEW YEARS!" WTF? "And a happy new millenium!" Yes, for reasons utterly unknown, it was now 1/1/2000. What, did every announcer call out sick for 2 days, so they went with a rerun? An unbelievably obvious rerun? I hoped for something about how we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as New Zealand was seemingly undestroyed by the Y2K Bug, but I just kept getting wished a Happy New Year/Millenium, nine and a half years late.
      Then the clock chimed that magic number, not midnight but 11AM, and the same announcer was back to normal. Was it again 7/11/09, or now 1/2/00? I'm listening to the guy now at 10PM, and he hasn't mentioned the 9/11 attacks or the Florida recount or "American Idol" or the Hindenburg Crash or the Robot Holocaust, so I have NO IDEA what year he's in.
      At least I know that the shows are prerecorded. So why was that woman bitching about her audience at 2AM? She was asleep in bed by the time we heard it.


      For the first time, JESUSFEST fell on my day off! So I went, Praise Dagon!
      I dressed as generically as possible, wearing a Long Trail beer tshirt, as I the only Bud tshirt I have is XXL. Although it is for Bud Select, which in retrospect might have made a subtle comment on people self-described as God's Select Few.
      It was just 2 or so miles up the road, so I walked. There were 2 ways I could walk around my building--wait, I'll skip going that way. The Evil Bitch who Loves Jesus but Tried to Run Over Byron is out sunning her insectile carapace, the better to feed her numerous parasitic growths. In a lawn chair right next to the dumpster. Well, like always seeks like. I'll go the other way, away from the garbage.
      It was a beautiful day, and I was glad I went to JESUSFEST, and also went the other way! Because only a minute out of my condo and I found a $20 bill! Surely, a sign from the fish-god Dagon that I was blessed! Cod be with us! It was next to some curbside recycling, and while I'm a fervent recycler, I draw the line on paper recycling at actual paper money.
      I followed a trail through the woods towards downtown, and just as I exited, a few police motorcycles went past, followed by civilians on motorcycles. And then more, roaring behind. And then more. And more...like two or three hundred cycles, of all shapes and designs. I would estimate the average driver's age at about 45, as motorcycles have become the replacement for the red sports car among the male midlife crisis set.
      I assume it was for charity, given the police involvement, even blocking off the intersections so that they could pass. The last vehicle was a patrol car from Stafford, which is on the Massachusetts border and not exactly around the corner. Given the pain I felt in my ears after they decibeled past, I hope the charity was for the hearing institute. As the last bike farted into the distance, the church on the corner let out. The last 10 minutes of their ceremony must've been interesting.
      Downtown is also the poor part of town, though it's not like a slum or anything. It used to be worse--my first store manager at Lechmere moved into downtown because that was where she'd grown up, 30 years before. She even took her mother with her. One day she got home and mom said "Oh, we had some excitement here today!" She thought, Sure, I'll bet the power went off. "Why, mom, what happened?" "There was a gang shooting in front of the house, and LifeStar landed in the road!"
      Yeah, it's better than that now.
      The light changed just as I was going to cross the road--clearly another miracle! Thank Dagon! I restrained my desire to ask the heathens "Have you heard the Good News about our lord Cthulhu? Bless you in the name of the Trinity of Dagon: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Mackerel!"
      You know what? Slap "JESUS" on something, and the bar for Americans is automatically lowered so far down you couldn't limbo under it. JESUSFEST had booths for fried dough and ice cream and hot dogs (Yes! Fatten yourselves, sheep, for the CULLING!), a mobile petting zoo inside a trailer (possibly so kids could get an idea of what Noah's ark smelled like), an alarm company (shouldn't you expect that G*D will protect you from the Philistines?), Mary Kay (Jesus sure didn't hear the prayers of those test animals), and lots of tshirts. Check out the ones from these holy douchebags: "Our great nation seems to be in disarray. Whether it's the very intense issues of government bailouts, out-of-control spending, global warming, terrorism, alternative lifestyles, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, energy independence, immigration, healthcare, eroding family values, or God's rightful place in American culture...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH." Are those things they're against or for? Terrorism, alternative lifestyles, same thing. Of course, JESUSFEST's own mission statement says that you don't go to Sky Disneyland by being a good person or performing good works, oh no, they ignore every thing that the guy they named their stupid festering after said, and cherrypick that one Bible line that says "Say these Magic Words and keep on being an asshole." This would explain why the booth with the least amount of interest was the one for canned food donations for the poor. Because Jesus, he hated the poor people. That's why he hung out with the rich, making needle's eyes big enough for them to fit their camels through. And that's why there were so many people at that scAmway Ponzi booth that was recruiting idiots to Sell From Home their Amazing Juice (acai and pomegranate and all the other trendy juices blended) with a brochure titled "Home Selling SUCCE$$." Welcome to the temple, moneylenders!
      Dagon says that he wants to save your soul, but only so he can eat it later. At least the Elder Gods aren't fucking hypocrites.
      Took me 45 minutes to walk there, and I didn't FEST for more than 3. I went home, taking a more scenic route. Past the old mills, now all apartments. Wished I'd brought my camera, so that I could've taken a shot of the 6-story 19th century brick chimney at one, with a tiny tree growing at the top. Found a giant crow feather for Byron to play with. Passed a construction site with a giant dumpster that had a sign on it that read "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY." Probably to keep that Evil Bitch who tried to run over Byron from sunning herself in it.
      JESUSFEST was worth it. A long walk on a beautiful day, a reaffirmation of my lack of faith, and a free 20 bucks! PRAISE GREAT DAGON!

      If you didn't click on the mission statement link, here's the truly awesome picture that accompanies it:


      A Roman legionary, a nun, a hooker, a bride, an alien, Queen Elizabeth II, the rainbow-wigged JOHN 3:16 guy, and--Neil Armstrong?!
      But where's Waldo?





      The GeoCities Apocalypse was announced in May. The exact end was to be announced in the fall, with all sites gone by the end of 2009. I figured that I had months to transfer my pages, so I decided to take it slowly, just grabbing stuff on my vacation and then on my days off. I don't know why, but my site faded into the mists of history by mid June. I've no idea why. At first I thought that some old fan of it was rereading it, using up the meager daily bandwidth Geo provided (sometimes not enough to even reach the end of one of those Jen White Davey comics MySTings!), but it never came back up. Maybe they gave each site X amount more bandwidth to use up before shuttering it. And yet the multiple other sites I used to host things like the White comics were (and are) still up. Well, there's always Google Cache!
      But the Google caches began disappearing, and now, there isn't a single Vienna 9938 page on it. Well, there's always the Internet Wayback Machine!
      And of course, those didn't grab everything before the end. I lost half of a collaborative story effort from the long-gone Yahoo Ghost Planet fansite, which is a pity, and all of the Shrine of Bukoff and a few other bits that I don't think the world will be worse off for never seeing again, and bits or all of 4 Jen White MySTings that I can think of alternate sources for, one being the author. So that's why there's been little here the last few days. I think that I have all I'll ever have. Now begins the really slow and tedious project of recreating the original page.
      It'll be slow because I have all I can get, and shit, you had 12 years to read it! And it'll be tedious because, holy shit, will it be tedious. And I as a rule only do "tedious" when it's for pay.

      Of course, I didn't slave away on the defunct page all the time. I still found time for 2 DVDs a week. I just looked over my old Netflix queue, and wow, I haven't mentioned movies for a while. So long that i've forgotten why I liked them or didn't. So I guess I'll just briefly mention this week's flicks.
      The Taking of Pelham One Two Three--no, not the needless remake and latest Travolta-bomb, but the original, that every negative review of the remake spoke of in terms aglow. I had a very, very vague memory of seeing the fucking TV edit of this fucking movie, where I assume that every other goddamn fucking word was "gosh," given the F-bombardment of the original. And worth its rep, as there wasn't a single dull second. And it was exciting and funny, while still always being plausible.
      While at BJ's Warehouse using my trial membership, all the big BluRay TVs showed some anime with lots of airplanes shooting at each other. That was all there was to the trailer, just aerial dogfights. I only knew it was anime because there'd be the brief shot of some mopey wide-eyed dude moping. "By the director of Ghost in the Shell: The Sky Crawlers" is what it was.
      And Crawl it fucking did. It looked like someone made 15 minutes of crazy plane-on-plane shooting action, and was told, "We'll buy your footage! Now turn 15 minutes of shooting up shit into a 2 hour movie. And be done by the end of the month."
      I have never seen a movie that consisted of so many scenes of people staring into space, or at walls, or at each other with unlit cigarettes dangling from their mouths, or into the sky at the clouds. I think that I've hit my personal limit on such films. Maybe cats would like it; they sure love staring at nothing. But just as I was about to turn it off, I went all "NO, Movie! You will not beat me! I will beat YOU, Movie!" and vowed to subject myself to some Deep Hurting.
      The "plot" would take more time to type about than actually occured in the movie. You have no idea what's going on until 90 minutes in--a LONG time to watch people stare at the drapes, mind you--and when they tell you the actual PLOT, then it's LOL timez naow! Apparently, giant corporations have started an endless war because--I may be misremembering the exact quote, because I was laughing so hard--"If there isn't endless war, no one can appreciate PEACE!" Who wrote this, Cheney and Rumsfeld after reading half a sentence of 1984? If the war is supposed to keep the populace satisifed in some way, why does everyone, the pilots fighting it and the public watching it on TV, not care? If they don't care, why should I? Why do characters get introduced continuously, then drop out the film after doing nothing but staring at each other? Why is the Deadly Enemy Ace even in the movie, as we learn nothing about him? "OH NO! It's DARTH VADER! He shot down that guy, and now he's going to...fly away. Okay. See ya, Vader!"
      The other Big Reveal--in the last TWENTY minutes of a 2 hour (very) long movie is that the pilots are "Kildren." Umm, they're always teenagers, they're clones (I guess), they can live forever but they remember nothing but they're born with the skillz of their last dead clone, but none of the personal memories, so they all become fighter pilots, except for the ones who don't. This is the type of thing I would've come up with at 14, when I'd just started reaing a lot of science fiction. Something that made no sense. Why would you build this massive infrastructure building and storing immrotal clones who know THIS part of their memory, but not THAT part, just so that they could be shot the fuck down by the Baron vader Richtoffen in his PROP PLANE? Why not invent the fucking JET ENGINE? Why not invent drones? Why not take your IMMORTAL tweeners and let them remember everything they've learned, and thus become the greaest sages and geniuses of the ages? Wow, Newton and Copernicus and Darwin and Einstein are still alive, listening to the music Mozart did in his latest collaboration with JS Bach and John Lennon! Hendrix on guitar, Paganini on violin!!
      NAH. Make 'em cannon fodder! But don't worry; these questions won't bother you, as you won't begin to think about them until the last 30 minutes. Three quarters of the movie you'll just be staring at a TV while the characters stare at walls and fold newspapers. Repeatedly fold newspapers. What, you think that's a joke?
      Tap, tap newspaper. Fold, fold newspaper. Crease, crease newspaper. Tap, tap newspaper. Repeatedly. Every second of newspaper folding action, carefully and meticulously shown. THREE DIFFERENT TIMES.


      Enviromentalist that I am, I'll admit that there was a time in my life when I was in favor of littering.
      Littering of a very specific definition. Litterers who would empty their car's ashtrays in the parking lots of all-nite self-serv gas stations, usually only yards away from actual trash cans, from about 1978 to 1981. Because I worked third shift in those gas stations as a young stoner, and pot was so prevalent back then that the ashtrays were half roaches.
      (The unused but THC-saturated bit at the end of a joint, not, you know, dead bugs)
      I really hate people who throw cigarettes out of their car windows. Your SUV came with a fucking ashtray, didn't it? And you, too, are so lazy that you can't empty it properly. (I asked one person whose car I was in why he threw his butts out the window--"I don't want to smell like cigarettes." Hey, Marlboro Man, then maybe you should throw all your clothes out, too.)
      It's the lit ones, flying from their windows like little comets, that really piss me off. You can't even just snub them out in the ashtray first? How do you know there isn't some gas or oil leaked onto the road, or some dried brush beside the road, ready to explode into flame? Several wildfires in California have started that way.
      Which is a long way to say "AH--HAHAHA! Instant karma's going to get you!"
      Tragic part: There were probably some perfectly good roaches in there...


      I have probably the only job where I can think "I'll just clone a Hooker!" and not have it be in the field of Mad Science.
      ("Cloning” is creating a new item listing by copying its closest analog, so that you only fill in the fields that need to be changed, such as the UPC and name, rather than tediously building the whole thing piece by piece. “Thomas Hooker” is the name of the founder of Connecticut, and also a local beer company)

      Joann: Can I see your ID, please?
      (very young female turns away, silence)
      (question is repeated, girl looks at pimply-faced boy, question is repeated)
      BOY: Yeah, I’m me.
      Joann: Well, hi, how are you? Can I see your ID?
      (silence, question is repeated)
      BOY: I wouldn’ta come in here if I had no ID!
      WOW, you’ve completely found the ONLY FLAW in our system! Oh, let me buy your booze FOR you, to make it up! (QUESTION IS REPEATED)...
      He eventually showed ID, and was of age. After the douchebag left, Joann was still mad. To relieve the tension, I said “I would’ve told him ‘The only reason I’m carding you is because of your horrible acne there, Pizza Face.’ That would’ve defused the situation. Then I would’ve offered him a paper towel and said ‘You got some leakers going on, Volcano Range.’”
      I can say that because I had acne. In high school. And you can’t be all huffy about being carded when you have the skin of a 15 year old. And especially when you have the personality of a totally obnoxious asshole.
      If you card someone who is of age, you can always tell they are because they smile, and if they’re old enough, get positively excited. The surly assholes are the youngest ones. I once had someone do the same “Old enough to drink like an adult, nowhere near old enough to act like one” routine once. When she finally coughed her ID up (after I played my trump card, “I can’t sell to you then”), she barked “Don’t I LOOK 21?!” And she was 21. 21 and ten days old


      I think that only Dungeons & Dragons book I own is the Fiend Folio. I bought it with my 25% off employee discount back during my much-unbeloved Kay Bee Toys career. It looked like the Guinness Book of World Records or Dictionary of Wars, 2 books I used to read to make me fall asleep: short interesting snippets, but with enough boring dates and trivia that after a while my brain would shut down. I also bought it because, unlike all the other D&D books, it wasn't $12.99 (in 1985 dollars; in today's money, that'd be $26). It was $2.99. A pretty strong indicator of how highly it was esteemed by the people who played the game.
      Something Awful takes a look at it.

      I had to go through a word verification yesterday, and the "word" was "haculculhu." That's the sound an Elder God's giant tentacled cat would make as it hacked up a hairball. A hairball made of human scalps, of course.


      How's the new kitten working out? Terrible, thanks for asking.
      Outside of DJ's constant attacks on Killsy, up to a week ago things were fine. DJ and Byron weren't friends, but they became partners in crime, the little one following the big guy around wherever he went. Since DJ was meant as Byron's playmate, that was great. But last Sunday, DJ decided to stop playing for a bit and snuggle in my lap. Byron saw this and froze, his mouth literally open, and stared at us. My lap is his place! DJ jumped down after only a minute, and I immediately signed "Come up and get pets!" to my deaf boy, but he continued to stare at me, like a wife who'd caught her husband with a mistress. Then he walked into the bedroom.
      And lived there. Normally, he's sleeping by the door when I get home. But the next day he wasn't, and I couldn't find him anywhere. It's not like him to skip a meal of wet food. After half an hour, he wandered out of the bedroom. He seemed, well, depressed. I tried to calm him with food and treats, but he disdained them. He growled if I petted him for more than a few seconds.
      The next day, again, he was nowhere to be seen. I began to worry--was he sick? Cats hide when they're sick. I combed every inch of a very small condo, even using a flashlight in the closets, but to no avail. He must be under the bed, I thought. A 500-lb waterbed. I removed the drawers built into the bottom, which despite being designed to come out took an amazing amount of work. And even more to put back in; it took me an hour of true struggle. Of course, a little face popped out of the closet halfway through--Byron had been in there the whole time, way in the back, and had ignored the flashlight.
      He spends a lot of time in the bedroom, and now he does go under the bed. He takes a while to come out when I get home (since he's deaf and seems surprised to see me, I assume he comes out when he's hungry or wants to use the box). At night, he's been sleeping on the desk in there. He wasn't there last night, or this morning, so I assumed that he was out of sight under the bed again. Today, I kept looking at the clock--half an hour after I'm home, he's still invisible, then 45 minutes, an hour...
      I get home before the mail arrives on Mondays, so at the hour point I went out into the back common hallway to get it--and there's Byron! What?! I immediately looked at the windows, to see if he'd clawed the screens open, because I never left the house yesterd--oh, wait, I dropped my Netflix rental in the mailbox. He must've muscled the door open, although it's on a return spring, and not easy for even a cat with hands to open. He'd been out there for about twenty hours. But how had I missed him on the way back in? Oh, wait--he must've darted out as I came back in Sunday.
      He made a feeble whimper at me, and I gently picked him up and he made a noise that sounded remarkably like "Put me down!", brought him inside and quickly opened a can of his favorite wet food, as I assumed he was starving. He sniffed at it, then used the litterbox, poked around a bit, still ignoring the food, growled at DJ's poorly-timed attempts at play (although not as much as I did!), then went back into the bedroom.
      Okay, I just checked on him. Still hadn't touched the wet food, but he devoured a big pile of treats, purring with his mouth full and drooling as he did. Now he's having some Perdue Short Cuts turkey breast, eating with gusto. WHEW. When cats don't eat, that's bad news, and Byron's not the guy you can take to the vet for a checkup without anaesthia. Now he's just chillin', a few feet from DJ, like nothing's wrong.
      My ass, nothing's wrong. The monitoring of this situation goes on. Kill Kill once spent an unplanned night out in the common hallway, and she was none the worse for wear. And while she is no DJ fan--except when he's grooming her--she's the one doing better of the two older cats. If a situation ever called for as "Ask Pammy" at Way of Cats, it's this one.

      7/20/69 was the latest I'd ever been allowed to stay up--I think there might've been the promise to see in the New Year and watch the ball drop at Times Square more than once, but my parents promised that knowing their kids would be dead asleep by then, not just from the time but the flat-out boredom. But that night I outlasted all of my 3 younger sisters, because ASTRONAUTS in SPACE!!! That was second on my Best Things Ever list at age 10, falling just behind dinosaurs (and slightly above newspaper comic strips, especially Peanuts). The Eagle had landed!
      We watched it on CBS, with Walter Cronkite, because, sheesh, who else would you watch? I was told that I made it to about 1130 when they carried my sisters to bed, and I followed and kept saying in amazed disbelief, "There are PEOPLE on the MOON!"
      The next day I looked at the Moon and said the same thing to mysef, in a tone of awe and wonder. I did it every mission right up through Apollo 17, when I was otherwise a jaded teenager. People, up there, right now, on the Moon. That sense of wonder and awe has never left me. We live on a tiny speck of dust that random chance let form in an orbit at just the right point for us to evolve from cyanobacteria to something that can appreciate the near-endless Universe that lies beyond us, should we care to look.
      Not that dinosaurs aren't still cool, mind you.
      What Apollo means to me by the Bad Astronomer.

      Byron's looking out the back window now. Looking into space, with his siblings nearby. We'll have to see how his extravehicular activity last night has affected his new desire for solitude.


      Byron Bigfoot spent most of last night outside of the bedroom, but inside of the actual condo with the rest of his family. He slept outside of the bedroom, joined his siblings for wet food before I left for work, and was only a few minutes late for dinner, as he was back in the bedroom, but not so far back he didn't realize I was home. I left right after that, but since I've been home, he's spent all night in the main room with the rest of us. I regret his time in solitary yesterday, but it seems to have gone a long way in curing him of his recent disappearances. And that is very good.

      I left as soon as I got home because I went over to Kev's to see the Watchmen: Director's Cut. I was...not as enthusiastic as one might expect. Even if I like a movie, I prefer to wait a year to see it again, so that I forget most of it, and I'd seen Watchmen just 3 months ago. And if it wasn't long enough, it had an extra half hour added!
      It did? Not that we could see. Maybe 12 minutes, tops. Was there an 18 minute blooper reel during the credits? The scenes that were added were all useless, except for the murder of a character, unseen in the theatrical version. Tellingly, I sorta liked it, Kev really hated it, so that was probably why it wasn't in the movie. But when your blockbuster movie doesn't make its money back, you have to sell it as best you can on DVD--maybe by getting its fans to buy it twice. The Indian food we had was good though.


Beloved site the Way of Cats has an ebook! I knew about it a week ago through the newsletter, but didn't get around to ordering it until the official announcement today.
      I burned it to a CDR, but haven't looked through it yet. Okay, I love the site and want to support it, so that's the main reason I got it. I promise at least an overview by Sunday. If you want it anyway, use the discount code FRIENDBLOG and get 15% off, through 7/31.
      Pammy always includes a LOLCat pic with her posts. By amazing coincidence, just yesterday I finished the book in the picture, Cat Crimes! Detective stories involving cats, sometimes so tangentially that it could've been called Hamster Crimes with only a few words changed, and seriously, three stories involving people being poisoned, but the cat finding out instead? The cat survival rate was pretty high, however. And there was a lot of humor in it, and when there was cat-hate from a character, the haters got theirs.
      All but 1 story was worth reading, but I don't think I'll reread any. Anybody want the book? I'll send it to anyone, free, if they promise to read it, and then pass it on to someone else who might like it.


      I mean, so nobody wanted a free book with cats in it? I wonder about you people sometimes.

      I suppose that this joke has been LOLCatted before, but I did it anyway.




      I thought that the last Cat Update ended on a positive note, but I've had 2 requests for status updates. Things aren't where I'd like them to be, with everyone accepting the little nut-head and all his kitten energy and orange tabby "I love everybody!"ness, but at least Byron isn't being weird. He's back to "normal," as in "what he was originally like when the crazy Alpha kitten came into the house." He takes dinner with the family and has stopped hiding under the bed, although he still sleeps on the bedroom desk. I thought that he'd dislike being shut in the bedroom when DJ invariably gets tossed out at dawn after attacking me, but he seems to like the solitude.
      DJ used to wake me up at 5:15--at the earliest 5:13, at the latest 5:16, showing a precison unseen anywhere but with atomic clocks. As dawn has, umm, dawned later, he's become more flexible in when he massacres my face. I grab him and throw him out of the bedroom, and he purrs all the way out. One would think he knows what's happening after almost 2 months, or maybe he does, and just thinks it part of a game we play every dawn.
      Sweet Killsy gets his licks, but also the brunt of every fucking attack. She strangely pulls her legendary mighty-fighty-bitey punches. Byron has lost every fight with her for 6 years, despite having on his side youth, energy, muscle, and thumbs. Why she doesn't mash DJ to the pavement 10 times a day is a mystery only she knows...Maybe she likes the little goof, as Kill Kill is Love. The little goof needs to figure this out. Little Goof needs to figure many things out, but he is still a little boy...Excuse me.
      He was attacking her, so I let her Out into the common hallway, but left the door open only enough that I can hear her wanting to get in, not enough that he can get out.
      There would be pictures, but SOMEbody pulled the camera's power cord out from the wall, so the batteries aren't charged.
      Things are generally good with them.



      Something Awful's Fiend Folio, Part Two.




      I hope you noticed that this page has updated since the "Pinky and the Brain" LOLCat, since I didn't fix the link until now. Don't worry if you didn't; there wasn't much of the updating.

      DJ caught a housefly on the second attack! Previous kittens have tried, but Killsy could only regularly get those tiny white moths. Byron caught (and et, eww!) a housefly, that most elusive of prey, but it took him hours.
      And the kids are fine. Still some grumbling over DJ's sometimes clueless playtimes, including me at 5AM, but things are going good. I want to hook up my new printer, but Byron has decided it makes a fine bed, so I won't disturb him.
      Pictures may result soon, as I bought a battery to replace the now-dead one the camera's had since...(checks)...oh, I got it almost exactly 7 years ago. I guess that justifes the $10 the new one cost.

      Remember Nora The Piano Cat™? Well, here's the inevitable: someone wrote a classical concerto based around her (edited) solos. As a classical fan, I have to say that they did a very good job. Although it's unlikely to enter the repertoire.

      I know that there weren't any fans of my series UpChuck, and I've joined them. Sure, the guy's just gotten crazier (prove it to yourself!), but he's become crazy enough that he's become that guy at work who never ask about even the weather anymore. Because then he might start insisting that Obama isn't a mere "Socialist," whatever that word even means to that guy anymore, he's a Communist. Then he might rail against health care while pretending that insurance companies never use "pre-existing conditions" to exclude people from health care, only Democrats in their as-yet-unenacted health plan. In fact, he may actually claim that nobody should get health insurance at all:


      I read this one maybe 5 times over 3 weeks, and that's the only possible message I can get from it. Chuck's mad that Wal-Mart gives its employees too many benefits, a claim I've never heard from anybody outside of the Walton family before, and is horrified that he may be paying a few extra pennies on his Chinese-prison made shit to keep some stupid lower class person's children dying from the whooping cough, or whatever it is that peons die from these days. BIG GOV'T INSURANCE: Bad! CORPORATE INSURANCE: Bad! What does THAT leave? Rich people insurance?


      Yep, pretty much! This is another of Chuckles' themes of late. He's always done the "Will no one think of the RICH?!" before, but it's just become a weekly feature of his. He sure loves him the Upper 1% of the Economic Bracket. I really wonder how many papers outside of Scroogetopia run his cartoon. I imagine it runs in the Goldman-Sachs house organ.
      (Also: note how that Bush's bank bailout has, as I predicted, magically become something the DEMON-RATS did)
      Most bizarrely, Chuck has apparently decided that he's the President's "Science Czar"! Seriously, who else could that be writhing on the floor, speaking in tongues and ranting about shit only insane, super-fringe racist fundamentalists ever think are important, or even rational, or even exist, outside of their basement bunkers?


      Who thinks about "FORCED ABORTIONS" and "EUGENICS" and "WEED CONTROL PLANS" (??) outside of the guys who still think our water has flouride only because Stalin and his Jew Masters put it in there?
      UpChuck's like one cartoon away from showing Muslim Terrorist Obama's "birth certificate" being forged by the Elders of Zion.


      "BASEY say YEH! John Birch/Jack Chick for President in 2012!"


      Remember my second-to-last line yesterday?


      Just replace the first skulker with "COMMUNISTS" and the third with "JUDEN" and leave the middle skulker exactly the same, and you'd have a cartoon print-ready for the Völkischer Beobachter, circa 1936.
      Seriously--ACORN? Seriously, Chucklehead? Are they stealing your thoughts with their magic brain machines, and feeding them to their radio Frankenstein monster gods, to sell them to unsuspecting Christian children as pudding?
      Seriously, Chuck--when was the last time you left your house? Or the basement bunker?
      UpChuck's right, though--this would be a very different country if the press had done its job during the Iraq War runup, or the 2004 Diebold-won election, or treated climate change as anything but a joke, had cared about the bank bailout, or about a thousand other things, including the ones they still are ignoring in the now-disappeared years of 2001-2008...Very different, and so much better. Too bad they blew their investigative wads on Monica and all the other non-scandals of the Clinton years, so that they were so tired that they could only tongue Dubya's asshole for 8 years.
      And if that doesn't scare you...
      ...ACORN! BOO!



--flyer for a dance recital, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (thanks to M. Glahn)



      Men are from Penis, Women are from Mons, or however that goes, but tomcats are lefties and females are righties. Having repeatedly viewed handedness in my only cat with hands, especially the time he threw the contents of the cutlery drawer on the floor, I have to agree.


      And there is, all a-snooze yesterday. I'm glad that the old minifridge gets some use.

      I haven't posted much, well, nothing really to post about. What do you want, the menu from my dinner with my mother yesterday?

      Things are improving with the old kids and the new one.


      Caught between the influences of Thanos and Lenin, of course he's become known as the Creamsicle Terror. Here he lies in repose, plotting either the siezure of Petrograd, or blowing up the Universe with the Infinity Gauntlet. It's hard to tell, given that his pupils seem to have disappeared. Maybe he's just rolling his eyes at me, and the Damn Camera again.



      And he dreams. "ZZZZ...Must...kill...ZZZZ...Silver Surfer...and the Tsar...TZZZZaaarrr..."


      Only Killsy remained awake. Mayhap she pondered the multitudinous minutiae that led to a serendipitous synchronicity that placed her in personal proximity with such bumptious brothers. Or maybe she just wishes that her eye boogers didn't make her look like she has a catnip hangover.

      So anyway. I went to dinner at my mom's, and really, stop reading; there are no more cat pics.
      I have a few carrots and a yogurt at work, some hummus and crackers when I get home, then I have a main meal of Meat. Poultry, usually. I take after my Mom, i.e. we're both short and skinny and don't need to eat a lot, but Mom always cooks like she expects a surprise visit from the Green Bay Packers. Her meals have, get this, courses! And vegetables! Yes, crazy, I know. We started off with an appetizer of her handmade crabcakes, utterly delicious. At first I thought she served them with tartar sauce, but quickly realized, no, she made the sauce by hand, too. It would be quicker for me to just list what she didn't make from scratch--the couscous and the pie crust. Yes, she apologized for only making the pie's filling. We also had pan-cooked herbed salmon and local corn on the cob. Okay, so she didn't handmake the salmon and corn by genetically altering some plywood in her own DNA Recombinizer & Deliciousizer.
      There were 2 meals worth of food left over (3 if I just eat pie), and I saved the salmon skin, because what feline wouldn't want that? Apparently not the old fogeys. DJ gobbled all 3 portions while the oldsters grumbled about the Kids Today and their weird food, wearing all the time their parachute pants and playing the "boom box" too loud with that "Whitesnake" and "Jem and the Holograms" noise they so like. Then they waste their allowance on the Space Invaders at the arcade! Those kids will grow up to be no good, I'm sure of that.
      Mom also gave me some granola. Guess who made it!

      And since I don't even have good links anymore, here's a good link.



      The Island of Misfit Foods. Huh! I thought. That seems like a phrase from my past...Like someone said it in an email, a long time ago. And it's "Grocery Outlet." That...really sounds familiar...
      Oh, yeah! MEATSICLES!!
      "The Island of Misfit Foods" was a line in the email Johnny Bananapeels used when he told me about Grocery Outlet, and he lived out there...I wonder if he was involved in that article. Unlikely, sure, but one wonders if he was, at some point in as an old link in the chain.


      Today was my screening appointment at the GI for my upcoming colonoscopy. Which reminds me of something I forgot about my recent visit with Mom.
      As I got in my car, I thought "Is her unit 43 or 34? I turned the computer off, so it'd take 5 minutes for me to find out...Okay, I've only been there once, but I'm sure I'll recognize it."
      I remembered every little twist and turn until I realized that all the units duplicated each other, like some reitrement community designed by Escher. I headed towards #43, and Mom was waving at me from inside her screen door. Hmm, I thought, she looks shorter from this distance. And I walked right into...the apartment owned by NOT MY MOM. I only made it as far as opening the screen door, but like a retard I just stood there apologizing while holding the door open for half a minute before shutting it. In Florida, Not-Mom could've legally put 2 shotgun blasts into me the second I walked up.
      I told Mom about the colonoscopy, as she's driving me there, and who has a vested interest in me getting one: Colon cancer killed my Dad. I'm getting one only because my doctor recommended I get one at age 50, but Mom told me something that I never knew. Dad had the symptoms of colon cancer for a long time and his doctor kept recommending that he get a colonoscopy. But he never did until the symptoms got so bad they couldn't be ignored. And then, it was too late...He might've died of something else in the 8 years since, but if he'd had the colonoscopy when it was recommended, it wouldn't have been from colon cancer.
      In turn, I told Mom about a regular customer at work who was one of those "I hate doctors!" types. He got so sick even he admitted he had to see one. And he was told "You have hepatitis C and 5 days to live." And the doctor was very, very right.
      It was for (what is to me on my new schedule, which apparently my body will never, ever get used to) late, so I planned a few other side trips before I went to the doctor. Why waste gas? I timed it all out, and left myself 10 extra minutes. Since I just found out that my town is one of the few that participates in a used book donation service, I took a quick spin by the Transfer Station where the drop-off is for their hours (open Wednesdays! Success!). Then I went to Stop & Shop for the turkey burger sale that I'd already been to TWICE, without burgers or even a damn sign indicating where they were. I needed litter anyway, but if they didn't have the damn burgers, I was getting a rain check! And they didn't! So I went to customer service, and their were only 2 people in the line.
      The first guy wanted to cash a check. Should be simple, right? EIGHT MINUTES SIMPLE. I was going to drop off my prescription refill form at my PCP's office after this. They have to have it mailed precisely between 9/18 and 9/25, and my next appointment with him isn't until a week later--thank gourd we ain't got none GUMMINT HEALTH CARE, with all their dumbass rules! This was killing my extra time, but this was the THIRD TIME I'd been to the store for one sale item, and after 8 minutes I'd invested enough time that walking away would just waste more. The next guy: LOTTO ADDICT. I deal with these idiots every day, and I could be there another 30 seconds, or another 10 minutes. I abruptly remembered a concept lotto losers have never learned, the sunk-cost fallacy. "I've wasted so much of X, it'd be worse to NOT waste more!" Fuck that, and fuck me for falling prey to it, and I walked out. I had just enough time to get gas, drop off those scrips at my PCP, and make it to the other doctor.
      The supermarket has a deal on gas; you get 10 cents off a gallon for every $100 you spend on groceries. I figured for once to try it. I knew there'd be a line, a long line, so I did what all the other people "saving on gas" didn't, which was turn my damn engine off while in line. When you're idling, you get 0 MPG. I read this month's Funny Times in the sweaty humidity. I saved 30 cents a gallon! And then a minute later drove into--a construction delay! 8 minutes to drive 500 feet! There goes my 30 cents! The GI said to come 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork, so forget going to my PCP to drop off the scrip, as I was going to be late. But I was only 5 minutes late, the paperwork took 2 minutes, and
      ...I sat there for 15 minutes. Kinda goes without saying, huh?
      With her brown eyes and hair and many freckles, the (doctor? nurse? I don't know what to call the Medical Professionals if they don't have a nametag these days) reminded me of my buddy Jessica, and we got along well. Then the (receptionist? tech?) set me up for a colonoscopy in a week. Umm, I need a bit more time than that to mentally prepare, and--oh, wait, Killsy has a vet appointment that day anyway. So it's in a month.
      I could've tried getting those scrips signed off on, but I'd lost all interest in sitting around (at customer service/the gas station/in traffic/another doctor's office), so I headed to the final stop, Ocean State Job Lot, as it was on the way and I was running out of their cheap Stash English Breakfast Tea. Given the way today's gone, I thought, they won't have any. When I walked in, I saw the dreaded "Forgive Our Appearance as We Remodel" sign. Given the way today's gone, I thought, the only part being remodeled will be the only part I'm shopping in--DAMN! Yes, it wasn't just the food part, but the only part they were taping off, and taping off just now, were the endcaps where the tea was last time!
      But they'd moved the tea. I bought some pomegranate juice also, and went home.
      I can't eat the day before the colonoscopy, but I can have "clear liquids," which include "fruit juice (no pulp)." So beer the night before is out, but vodka and pomegranate isn't! Good news at last!

      This actually started a month ago, but I waited until all 4 parts were done:The Most Incredible E-mail Ever. The link is to the last part, as it's the only one with links to all 4. Click on Part 1 and start reading, because it won't make sense otherwise. I mean, at no point will it make ANY sense, but start from the beginning.


He’s gone out so fast he’ll have to be careful he doesn’t start lactating.--swimming commentator Nicole Livingstone, at the 2006 Commonwealth Games (thanks to Andrew Jamieson)


      Now, I ain't sayin' that ole Chuck Aswipe done gone round the bend, mental-head wise. But the day after a cartoon telling us how E-VIL the Cash for Clunkers program is, he--What? You don't see how E-VIL Cash for Clunkers could be? Because them thar cars could be going to the Salvation Army!


      WOW, a true miracle! UpChuck actually spares a thought for the poor people he so normally hates, loathes and despises while spitting on them, rather than fawn over the mega-rich--oh, wait, a rich dude would get a tax break when he dumped his old (last year's) Hummer on the SalvArmy, whereas a middle-class person trading in their decade-old minivan will get money off of--ugh!--a fuel-efficient car that will make less money for the oil companies! And you thought that it was about "helping the least of us," as that SOCIALIST Jesus guy said. Fuck that commie fag, with his long hair and beard!
      This is also the fault of climate change, but in a bad way, because it makes people get cars that lead to less climate cha--I mean, a GOOD way, because Chuck doesn't think that there's such a thing as clima--Umm. Okay, I think I'll stop figuring out exactly what this madman means, and just wonder how a car's going to fit into that little pot.
      Chuckles, in his ever-shrinking span of sanity, instead pulls this from the talking points the insurance companies and Big Pharma pay him to drool and babble about:



      A Cracked article sure to drive Chuck insane(r) if he read it: Bill Clinton’s Badass Equivalent: Bond or McClane?


      DJ jumped into my lap while I was playing Civ2, and I began petting him without looking. Something I'd learned to do whenever Byron settled in my lap. Hey, wait! For the first time in 2 months, it WAS Byron!
      And he stayed there for a good 20 minutes, purring and giving his signature gentle love-nips. This time it was DJ who stopped and stared at the cat in the lap in disbelief.
      Then he left. Leaving about 2 month's worth of cat hair on me...
      Welcome back, my Bigfoot.


      If you knew me in the 80s (and you didn't), you heard this on a mix tape I gave you: Reagan Speaks For Himself. Note that outside of the very obvious edits near the end, this is Saint Ronnie speaking as best he could off of the top of his lilttle head. No, Dumbya wasn't the first inarticulate moron figurehead President. And Ronnie at least had the excuse of being senile.


      I had one of those rare days when I spent money on things that actually were not essential. Okay, at Dollar Tree I bought shampoo, shaving cream and mousse, as I want to not look or smell like a bum. Also power steering fluid, as my engine leaks that (cost to fix leak: $120, or about 10 years worth of power steering fluid. I don't plan on having this car past March '11, so it's a better investment) and I need to drive to work.
      Which today I didn't. I had a personal day that I wanted to use Saturday, but couldn't because of Something. I was not given a reason. There's another guy at work with 4 years less seniority than me who takes 1 or 2 Saturdays a month off, but my boss is an arbitrary drunken asshole. So I guess that was the reason. This basically left only Monday as a potential day off. Oh, well. I got paid to not be there. And that gave me 3 days in a row to sleep later than 7AM!
      I woke up at 6AM, of course.
      I went to the state park up the road early, before it got humid, but unfortunately the carnivorous bugs were in full flight, so I left early to go to Best Buy. I needed a splitter so that I can have my VCR and DVD players hooked up without switching the plugs around. I was expecting a little plug like one used for one's Intellivision, but no, it was forty damn dollars. And it was next to a $105 DVD/VCR combo...nah. Not when both players still work fine.
      The employees outnumbered the customers by about 10 to 1. And yet, there was only 1 cashier. I guess the economy isn't recovering that quickly. Thinking about that, I decided to do something I hadn't done in maybe 10 years: go to the mall. The mall I worked in before it even opened. I wondered how many stores would be closed.
      Eleven. The Disney Store's gone, but Sunglass Hut still exists? I didn't count the open storefronts, so I can't tell you exactly what percentage of the mall was empty (10% maybe?), but I did see one leading economic indicator--first floor, next to an anchor, right by a main entrance, was a dollar store. If they can afford a mall lease...
      Just as I was thinking "I wonder if they have any Speed Racer Hot Wheels" they didn't. They had Speed Racer Jada cars, based on the TV cartoon's designs. Man, people had a lot of faith that the movie would be a success. But Jada played it safe; there were 24 Hot Wheels based on the movie, but their "Collect Them All!" had only 4. I Collected Them All quite quickly.
      The Sam Goody/Suncoast I helped freakin' build was replaced with a futon store. I went into Radio Shack to see if they had a cheaper splitter. They had none, and the customer-to-employee ratio was 1-to-1. There was a Newbury Comics, which I didn't expect (with 2 visible employees). The first thing I saw was a life-size cutout of a Dalek, so of course I poked around. Lots of Dr Who crap there, and I was briefly tempted by the Dalek wall clock. Not $40 tempted however, and disappointed that on the hour the casing didn't open with a mini Davros popping out to squeak "Ex-TIME-in-ate!" Every damn thing in the place was ridiculously overpriced, but I suppose that's why they could afford 2 employees. How many $30 action figures do you need to sell to stay profitable?
      Not a lot, as one store over there was a second overpriced "collectables" store. Remember those little GI Joe figures from the 80s? They had a line released in 2007, and they wanted $20 for each. Go blow me, Joe.
      I left the mall with my $4 of Jada, and went went to Dollar Tree, where I spent $20. Some relatively healthy snack food along with the previously mentioned stuff, and also a dish towel for Byron. No, his thumb usage hasn't evolved that much. He keeps sleeping on the old minifridge, so I laid it there to make it more comfortable. He figured it out quickly, but I didn't take into account that maybe there's another reason he sleeps there. It's turned off, but in the summer the metal must feel cooler to him, as he moved to the kitchen counter next to it. Then went back to it, twice. If he avoids it, I'll just use it as a dishtowel. Although I did buy one that color coordinated with his fur.
      I got groceries, but forgot the only things I "needed," some colonoscopy prep stuff. Still got a month to go to get that. Then I hooked up the splitter with only a little confusion, due to the sparse directions, even attaching my old Super Joy (apparently unavailable, having been replaced with an equally copywrite-infringing deluxe model). I credit my success to my attentive male assistants, even if the female supervisor quickly decided to sleep on the job.


      I do think it's a good look for Byron.



      Yesterday I had to take a delivery to our Main Store. I'd been there but once in 6 years. I also had to put $10 of gas in the old clunker station wagon (and only $10; fill the tank up past halfway, and the whole inside stinks of gas from some leak somewhere) (oh, and the inside rearview mirror has fallen off) (and when we bought it for $1600, the last owner left a few dollars worth of loose change in it--glued into the door pockets with some unknown substance) (and someone just smashed the side panel in, months after someone else egged it) (other than that, it's one sweet ride!) (y'know, I somehow seem to have lost my original train of thought here)
      ...gas in it. The low fuel light came on immediately, so I went to the station on the corner. It has 4 pumps with a single lane on either side, and over the 6 years I've TRIED to get gas there, I've never succeeded. But the Main Store is in a huge area of retail, so there had to be multiple gas stations.
      I remembered how to get to the other store 20 minutes away, except for the part where the store actually was. I was originally told "It's by the CVS!" but the CVS is even less visible from the road than our store.
      With that done, I went to what apparently was the only gas station in town. The pumps had handmade signs that said "NO GAS." Maybe you need a second gas station, town!
      Back to that station on the corner, and was successful in again not being able to use a pump. So I went to the next closest station. But the road to it was closed off to construction. So I drove 3 miles, with the CAR HAZ NO FUELZ light aglow, to the next closest gas station. And spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to open the damn gas cap! (It's a tiny lever on the floor, put there for the reason "Ford hates people"). Gassing a car was the biggest challenge of my day.
      I know, when you phrase it like that, it sounds like "And tying my shoes was second place!"

      Today's biggest challenge: The VET! But it was with Killsy, so the challenging part was getting her into the carrier. When it's Byron's turn, the challenging part is coming out alive.
      "It's time to weigh you, Kill Kill," said the vet as he hefted her to the scale, "and I bet it won't be good news!" Then he was enthusiastic. She'd lost over 2 pounds! Then he was concerned. "Is there a reason for this weight loss?"
      I said "Kitten."
      Yes, she may hate DJ's constant attention, but she's benefitting from it. And she's eating fatty kitten food! She got her rabies shot and got a very thumbs-up physical. Which is good. She is the center of our little universe, and I need her around for a long time. She is the Sun around which we others are lucky to orbit.
      After she got home and calmed down, she (and the bumptious brothers) had wet food. She doesn't know that she'll get TUNA before long. She's certainly earned it.

      23 Badly Placed Internet Ads. They should've cut it down to 20, or ideally 15, as there are that many not-so-funny ones.


      Why, after kitties have had tuna juice, do they spend the next 10 minutes licking their front paws? Never their back ones. Even Byron the Bethumbed doesn't eat liquids with his hands.



      On the way to work, I was passed by an SUV with the vanity plate PNKWTR, which I can only parse as "Pinkwater." My first thought, as I am weird, was that it was a version of blackwater fever, a deadly result of malaria. Or was it the woman's auxiliary of Cheney's goon squad Blackwater? And why did it take me this long to realize that "Blackwater" named itself after a vicious killer of people in the poorer parts of the world? The only difference: malaria kills for free.
      Then I passed a slow mini-convoy of cars. Someone was moving, and the 3 cars seemed to contain the bedroom. The middle car had a mattress and boxspring bungeed to its roof. With the driver holding it in place with one hand. Umm, unless that car was being driven by Peter Parker--FAIL.
      Ah, Saturdays at work! How I love you! Wait, I meant "loathe." Somebody got all mad because she was asked for her ID by Jo, possibly our politest cashier. So worked up that she called back to scream on the phone about it. (Special note: when you end your asshole tirade against nothing with the vow, "I WILL NEVER SET FOOT IN YOUR STORE AGAIN!" no matter what the retail person says to you next, they're thinking "DEAL! Let's keep it that way!") She didn't have her ID, of course, which is always a sign of underage buying. Why she bothered to call back--who knows? Probably got reamed out by the 12 year olds who sent her. She said "[Jo] had an ATTITUDE!" which is retail customerese for "I have an ATTITUDE, why else would I be such a big crybaby in front of people in public?! And then CALL BACK?!" And "She didn't like my jeans!"
      Y'know, there are a lot of reasons why we decline sales, but the dress code ain't one of them. Jo said "Her jeans? She was wearing a Bebe shirt! Of course I carded her! Bebe's what my neice wore when she was 16!" I had something to top that, but...It waited a solid 5+ minutes.
      Here's our Afterschool Special Learning Moment. Okay, every reader of this drivel knows this, but maybe you can pass this on: When you piss off retail workers by being adamantly assholish, you are the subject of derision for at least 5 minutes, maybe 10, maybe the rest of the day, maybe months or years. Regular customers don't decide, "Wow, I always thought this store was nice, but that shrieking harpy has put me on her side!" No, they love to join in abusing you, and so do we--it's a bonding thing. Then those customers leave and tell their friends "Hey, listen to what I saw at the liquor store today!" It's really an amazingly simple principle that applies to every human interaction: When you act like an asshole, everyone thinks that you're an asshole.
      Shit, it's not rocket science. It's not even flint-knapping science. In 30,000BC, it's why that asshole Tharg was told to stand near the front of the stampeding mastodon.
      Oh, yeah, the thing I said. She looked underage because she dressed underage. I told them about the time when a girl tried to buy from me with no ID. I asked for hers because she was wearing a tshirt that said "Manchester High Class of 1998."
      In 1999.
      She "forgot" her ID, of course. Just like she forgot to go home and change her shirt.


      I got a splitter so that I wasn't wasting 25 years of old VHS tapes, but it looks like I may be using the VCR for the only other reason I had it: to tape At the Movies. Ebert and Roeper were originally replaced with a no-knowledge crew that was more at home on Entertainment Tonight, especially the jerk who actually came directly from ET. This was to draw an audience that was "younger, hipper, more rat-fuckingly rock-stupid." They're being replaced because of the show's unacceptably low ratings. I should point out that ABC/Disney always lost money on the show; it was purely a prestige thing. But you'd get rid of that car that leaks oil, once it started exploding in flames every week.
      The replacements aren't bad. Scott was kinda dweeby, but Phillips was funny, and finally a show of movie reviews is being done by film critics, not "TV personalities." This is like going to an endocrinologist for recommendations about your thyroid disease, instead of that strip club pole-dancer. "And there's an extra five in it for you if you can diagnose my diabetes!"

      What is with me and the discretionary spending lately? Today I went to the farmer's market (where a cop placed a lit highway flare on the road, the type used at night near accident scenes. Then drove away. Why? No idea, there was nothing there besides the sputtering flare. He's a cop who plays by his own rules!) and I dropped 24 dollars in less than that many minutes. Cheese, garlic butter spread, a big loaf of stuffed bread, a vegetable samosa. So all on food, so I guess there's some benefit. That stuffed bread will be 4 big, filling meals at only $2.50 a serving. But I'd also recently bought at Amazon (all used, as I'm not stupid) a couple of CDs (Brian Eno's Apollo, which I ordered on the 40th anniversary of something, and Purrfectly Classical, which is about a certain type of mammal, as you may have guessed from the cringeworthy title), and a couple of books. Fiasco is about huge-budget Hollywood flops, and the book I just finished, My Tank is Fight!, by Zach Parsons of somethingawful.com.
      It's about "Deranged Inventions of World War II," something I know about. The missiles designed to hit New York City from Berlin? The Christie flying tank? The aircraft carrier made of sawdust and an iceberg? Every schoolchild knows about those! But the bulk of the book was crazy weapons even a WWII geek like myself was unaware of. The cross between a U-boat and a tank that had the worst features of both? The helicopter in a backpack? The Nazi space plane? The Nazi space station?!
      None of them got past the prototype phase, and most were ridiculously impractical, and some (like the space station) were simply impossible.
      Almost all of them were thought up by the Nazis. This is because they were desperate, and they were nuts. As the book points out, it's really too bad some of these Nazi "superweapons" were never built. There's the Ratte, which was a battleship turret on a tank. A tank three stories high and the size of a football field. For every one of these Hitler built, there would've been at least a hundred regular tanks that couldn't be, shortening the war by weeks or months.
      (Thing I'm surprised the book didn't mention: America built 50,000 versions of the Sherman tank during the war. It wasn't a very good tank. And the Germans built 5,000...tanks. Total, including the ones they stole from occupied countries. And except for the Panther, a handfull of Tigers, and the late-model Panzer IVs, they were shit tanks. Even if America somehow lost 9 Shermans for every 1 German tank, there would still be another Sherman rumbling up to blow that Nazi away. And it wasn't the only tank we built! Oh, and the Russians had the best overall tank of the war, the T-34, and they built 50,000 versions of those, too--and just those; they also built thousands of other tanks)
      It's a strange book. The descriptions of these unlikely weapons are made fun of in a tamer version of the SA style. Then each chapter ends with an alternate-universe version where all of them were somehow built (even the damn space station), and "What Fight Have Been." This is a brief bit of fiction with recurring characters about the imaginary weapons being used in combat, and done seriously. Real war is no laughing matter. And these are the best parts of the book.
      If you're a WWII geek who likes alternate history with intelligence, snark, combat action, but also heart, this is the book for me! Because I doubt anybody else falls into that incredibly narrow category.


      [Today, I'm turning the blog over to the biggest potential victim of a healthcare bill that includes a public option: an insurance company CEO. I've granted him anonymity to protect him from facing Obama's death panel.--Gen. JC Christian, patriot]


      I like historical forensics. Who killed Beethoven? He suffered through depression, then violent mood swings, deafness, madness, and finally died. Modern scientists analyzing locks of his hair discovered that his indicated that he had lead poisoning. Lead poisoning causes depression, then violent mood swings, deafness, madness...
      Further research turned up the fact that he was given a prescription for tincture of lead to treat constipation. Lots and lots of powdered lead. Beethoven was killed by his doctor, unintentionally.
      Who killed Mozart? There are many theories, although "Salieri in a mask" isn't one of them.
      The last most recent one was based on a letter he wrote that ended with, "What's that delicious smell? Someone is cooking pork chops!" It was written 3 weeks before his death, and 21 days is how long it takes trichinosis to kill you.
      And here's the latest theory. Man, why is the theory never "Mozart was killed defending Earth from giant alien robots"? While screaming "You may be COSI, alien, but now your FAN is TUTTI--DEAD!" BLAM BLAM BLAM! (from Amadeus, Michael Bay 2013 remake)


      Since I can now drive a mile up the road and donate used books, I decided to clean out the Book Closet. It goes to the ceiling, and every shelf is 3 books deep. It turned out to not be a one-day project, as it's a pain in the ass (or, more accurately, in the lower back). I filled 2 big boxes with books before I gave up, as I also had to load all the books I wanted to keep back into the closet. Picking the hottest, most humid day of the year to do it wasn't a good choice, either.
      It contained a lot of old books that a college graduate cousin had given me over 35 years ago. Whoever opens the box will be puzzled by the amount of books on Marx and Commie-nism. With much effort, I only managed to clean out a whole shelf and a half of books! Dang, this is going to be one long, ongoing project.
      I dropped them off at the town's Receiving Station, and there was a huge walk-in metal thingie full of books. Apparently I was the only one who read the instructions--the only books they explicitly said that they wouldn't take were old encyclopedias and ones not in boxes, and Guess What was in 2 loose piles of on the floor.
      Before leaving home, I'd called the GI doctor's office to clarify their vague "what you can consume before the colonoscopy" instructions. It's a long list that ends with "Popsicles (NO RED OR PURPLE)" and I was specifically told "no red or purple popsicles" during my screening appointment. But "fruit juice (no pulp)" is okay? Well, no, "NO RED OR PURPLE ANYTHINGS!!" really should have been the first instruction. And did "No Iron or Vitamin E (multivitamins okay)" mean NO iron even if in multis, or that iron was okay if in a multi? Yes, multis with iron and E are okay.
      I went to the supermarket to buy my prep stuff, but they had neither citrate of magnesia nor enemas. Wow. I just complained about a store not having enemas, something I have never done before nor ever hope to even think again. I did buy Gatorade and white cranberry juice (on sale for a whole 9 cents off!) to drink the day before the ass-filming. Then I went to CVS and got the citrate and an enema (in a BOTTLE I bought, they didn't give me an enema in the STORE!). As I walked to the counter, I thought that it must suck to work at CVS, as everyone getting a colonoscopy will feel the need to explain why they're buying these items.
      The cashier curled her lip in disgust as she rang up the citrate, and said "I hate this stuff!" I said "I'm not buying it because I want to!" and before I knew it, I said "I'm having a colonoscopy!"
      "I had one, too," she said," and I couldn't keep this stuff down! I threw it all up!"
      I said, "But it's supposed to come out the other end!" And immediately thought of Young's Syndrome. For several years, my name was synonymous with "violent barfing." Since then, I can't even brush my teeth without gagging. LO, WHAT FUN DOTH AWAIT ME?
      Although I thought I needed a liter of each, but when I got home turned out was only 10 ounces, so I have to bring 2 back. I'm really, really hoping that I never need to take citrate again.
      When I got home, I thought "Know what I'll do? Something easy. I think I'll sweat prodigiously!" Always set achievable goals, I say.
      Supposedly the heat and humidity ends in a few days, when the hurricane passes off the Atlantic coast. That hurricane's name? "Bill"! The big storm on the opposite coast is named "Guillermo"! Which, of course, is Italian for "Ferd'nand."
      I hope that it does pass off the coast, because if I got killed by a storm named "Bill," it would only prove the existence of a vicious, vengeful god with a sense of irony he got from Alanis Morrisette songs.



      Anyone who has ever worked in retail will appreciate this aphorism.

      I usually put the air conditioner in the window during my vacation in early June. But throughout June, the nighttime lows ranged from the 40s to the 50s. I closed the windows at night. July was much cooler than usual, with record rainfall. August was like a normal late June. Until it became--
      Assuming that when you go to hell, all you have to do is turn on a fan, take your shirt off and drink fluids.
      Hot'n'humid. I thought about putting the AC in the window, more for the cats' benefit than mine. But I always take the AC out during my mid-September vacation, and why struggle to fit the heavy bastard into the window and bug-proof the sides from insect invasion, just to take it out again? Sure, if the humidity lasted a month, I'd do it. But it's going to end in 2 days!
      Which is what the freakin' weather forecast has claimed would happen for the last TWO WEEKS. Every day we're told that it'll end in 2 days. The next day, it'll end in two days. And the day after that, they say...
      It's interesting that the older cats sleep in the open window overlooking the condo courtyard, always the coolest place in the house. But Kitten DJ, just like Kitten Kill Kill and Kitten Byron before him, always goes and lays down in the tub. Of course, it has no breeze, but humid days usually don't. Why do kittens go to the tub, but older and more learned cats don't? It really is cooler in a bathroom. Go in yours and try it out. It's all the tile and ceramic and the lack of big windows, or any.
      A thing Kitten Killsy figured out immediately: Much cooler in the REFRIGERATOR! She climbed in repeatedly during her first dose of hot weather. I tired of dragging her out, so one day I let her climb in and settle down. And I shut the door.
      Of course, after about 2 minutes I could only imagine her gasping for breath and turning blue while frost formed on her dying body, so I opened the door. And she casually sauntered out. And lost all interest in the dark, cold place.
      DJ has also figured out "It's Quite Comfy In There!" Every time I've opened the fridge for a week, DJ has been trying to use head as a doorstop. I finally gave up today when he jumped in. And I shut the door. Then I made dinner, and while this probably makes me the winner of the Cat Negligent Mother of the Day, remembered he was in there about 6 to 8 minutes later. And he casually sauntered out, saying "Inside of Fridge not so Grate Acksually." And he's lost all interest in it since.
      And Byron? When he was 6 weeks old (and I had him at work before officially adopting him), I took him into the beer cooler while I did an order. He screamed, and was shivering when I took him out just 2 minutes later--and I don't think it was from cold. It was fear. A foundling at 2 weeks, before kittens can even eat by themselves, and he was now in a cold, dark space, just like he was the night before he was rescued...He continued to shake for a while after I took him out. Unlike my other kittens, cold and dark and very, very alone were things that he'd experienced in a different context, and for far longer. The Cold Dark Alone is a place he's been happy to never visit again.



      The end of the humidity is still "two days away." Byron and DJ sprawled on the kitchen floor, with the kitten holding hands with Byron by pushing a front paw against his back one. Too bad that I forgot that I'd turned the flash off the camera, or I could show you the cuteness.

      Last week Kirk's site site caused my browser to crash. My browser's still Firefox 2, as I love the "Restore Last Session" feature: leave it on the 4 windows that I want it to open on tomorrow, and when I turn the computer back on tomorrow, there they are. FF3 didn't have that. Some of his commentrs suggested Opera. Opera looks great and loads fast, but it imported my precisely-arranged bookmarks in a weird fashion (alphabetically by url). It would take me a long time to get them in the order I wanted, so I held off on Opera.
      But today AdBlocker stopped working. Given that it was the first day of the week, I assume that "support for FF2" ended today. Looking at the FF3 download page, it assured that they now DO have "Restore Last Session," and I downloaded it, and it imported my bookmarks.
      My bookmarks from over a year ago. Seriously--WHY? Where did it find them? So I went to my trusty bookmarks CD and downloaded them from there. Too bad it didn't work. I tried again, it still didn't work. I tried again and again, hoping to figure out what I was doing wrong. Finally I discovered that I wasn't. Unlike FF2, FF3 was importing the bookmarks below the old ones, not replacing them. And after much looking, the only way that I could find to delete the 3 million extra links was one...at...a...time. Great fun, great, tedious fun.
      And "Restore Last Session"? NO THEY DON'T HAVE IT, BIG LIARS FIREFOX!

      Sane Science: a too-brief article on How We Support Our False Beliefs: "The findings may illuminate reasons why some people form false beliefs about the pros and cons of health-care reform or regarding President Obama's citizenship, for example."


      I've seen She Demons, and I give it my highest recommendation to not see.
      New to my list of movies that I give it my highest recommendation to watch is Tokyo Godfathers. Ebert's been pushing this anime for a while, but I have some pretty stark reminders that our tastes are not the same: Little Miss Sunshine (wait, no, that was good--it was a movie with a somewhat similar name that sucked--oh, yeah, it was Happy-Go-Lucky), Synechode, New York, and Gates of Heaven are 3 movies he's raved about recently, or in the case of Gates of Heaven, for decades. I didn't get past the 45 minute mark of any of them.
      Tokyo Godfathers? I lost all track of time. It's a comedy, based on (of all things) a John Wayne western. It's about 3 smelly, angry homeless people who constantly argue, despite the fact they are a de facto family unit of father, mother, child. The mother role is played by a gay transvestite man. I was expecting the worst from his character, but outside of the occasional mincing, he's the most sympathetic character. They find an abandoned baby and try to return her to her mother--hijinks ensue.
      It's very funny, and whenever it turns dark, there's a joke to change the mood. But it's also harrowing and heartbreaking, as it takes the plight of its homeless characters seriously. The plot is a bit too driven by "coincidentally meeting that significant person"--you get the feeling that Tokyo has maybe a hundred people in it at one point--but it never goes where you think it might go, is always entertaining, and you really care about the characters. Something Hollywood should learn. I really don't care which Transformer Bruce Willis kills by beating it over the head with a Terminator. Two Big Byron Thumbs Up! (and his thumbs are very big)

      Excitement is Tomorrow! DJ, poor guy, goes to the vet for his denutting. Poor everybody! He gets no food after 8PM, and neither do Killsy and Byron. It's that or trap him in a room overnight, which will only increase his stress level. The plan is to let the food run out, then in the AM when he expects wet food, to scoop him up, place him in the bedroom, feed the elder cats and fill the food bowl, and when the door opens and he rushes out to feast upon the bounty, scoop again snicker-snack and put him in the carrier.
      All kittens consider the vet an Exciting Adventure--until The Overnight Time. Then they hate it. Will DJ end up a scaredy inert block like Killsy, or a Tazmanian Devil whirlwind trying to kill all in reach like Byron? Prediction: he'll be himself, however that plays out.
      He will return Weds morning, most likely to literal catcalls from the angry elders ("We thought you were returning him!"), but he will be given a can of wet food all for him. I'd pick out his favorite flavor, but that's "All of them."


      DJ is fine. He's not here, but the surgery went well, and he's fine.
      I wondered all day at work what would happen when I got home. Killsy didn't seem to be any fan of kitten Byron, but when he stayed overnight for his neutering, she spent all night standing at my feet, meowing "Where is he?!"
      When I got home, they were both clearly baffled by DJ's absence. They even stared at the fact that the wet food bowls numbered two, not three.
      But that's been it. They both immediately fell into their pre-DJ habits. Byron has jumped into my lap for pets and purring 5 times so far, just like the old days. I don't know if it's him that they don't miss, or just his constant attacks.
      I think that Killsy knows that he'll be back--she's been through this before--but Byron thinks he's gone.
      Tomorrow promises to be...interesting.

      Why Sleep? Snoozing May Be Strategy To Increase Efficiency, Minimize Risk. My question back is: Why NOT sleep? I do it 9 to 12 hours a day. SLEEP IS AWESOME! The best part about having a conscious mind is that you can regularly turn the conscious part off.


      I picked up DJ at the vet today. I was expecting him to be excited, but he was wary. He may think that he'd just got a 27 hour time-out, and didn't know why. I was handed a bag of syringes. "Oh, no! He's not rid of that parasite yet?"
      "No, this is a painkiller."
      "But...before I never got..."
      "Oh, it's something we've been doing for about 2 years. We have the medication, might as well use it!" When my colonoscopy is over next week, I'm gonna ask "So, where's my free morphine?"
      His return didn't go as expected. Killsy hissed twice at his arrival, but then just sat idly on her windowside perch. Byron was cleaning himself in the other window, and of course didn't hear DJ. He's going to be mad when he sees him, I thought. He eventually turned, saw DJ, and didn't do much but stare. He even yawned. DJ did that gone-overnight cat thing where they roam through each room, making sure everything's the same. Then he jumped in my lap. I thought, Here it comes. Nope. Byron wasn't bothered at all. He came down to floor, and while he growled at DJ, he was playing with him, and made no attempt to escape. Later they laid next to each other. I have a feeling that, like Killsy does with Byron, Byron feigns dislike of his brother only when I'm around.
      Kays also came around, and DJ was back to his old self after an hour. Everything back to whatever passes for Normal around here.

      I had a productive day. Brought DJ home---oh, his paperwork had his weight. On the "pound a month" scale, he should weigh 5.5 pounds. He weighs eight. I should've named him Bullwinkle, as he's clearly going to be a moose.
      I did the laundry, called the hospital to preregister for my colonoscopy, wrote my state rep and senator telling them to vote against Sunday openings for liquor stores (stores have volunteered to have our permit fees doubled, giving the state a gauranteed instant $15 million--think we'd offer to do that if we didn't already know that Sunday openings will lose us money?), and got Firefox to act like it should. That's thanks to the inestimably wondrous Kitsplut, splutted be her name. She found a way to make "restore last session" work. It's unobvious, but it's: Go to Options, then Main, then Startup, where there's a dropdown for "Show my windows and tabs from last time." It actually works better than the FF2 version. It loads automatically when you open FF, and doesn't just bring you to the window, it brings you to the last spot on the window. You don't even have to scroll down. Awesome is as awesome does, Kitty!
      I also fixed the other big annoyance. When you bookmark a page, FF3.5 givs you the option of saving it to Bookmarks, which are unsorted, or Unsorted Bookmarks, and I have no idea where that last one even goes; there's no folder I can see. Every browser I've used since the turn of the millenium lets you stick it in a pre-existing folder. There's an add-on called "Old Bookmarks Sidebar" that...WTF? It only works on a page you've already bookmarked? WTF! That's useless! It's 1999 again!

      Awesome homeless guys signs. Mine will read "Will work for Firefox 3 that also works."


      Today's been the closest to a peaceable kingdom as we've had since DJ moved in. He's less pushy, and the others are more tolerant. No doubt both of which resulted from his absence--maybe now they appreciate each other's company more. We'll see if it lasts.

      I've been reading Fiasco, about big-budget Hollywood flops. Very interesting, in a shake your head and wonder "What were they thinking?" way. It starts chronologically with Cleopatra, a film that isn't unwatchable, just boring. All I remember from my attempt at watching it was the parade. There was a parade when Cleopatra, authentically played by Liz Taylor as the ancient Egyptian monarch with violet eyes and a fresh tracheotomy scar on her neck, arrived in Rome. It went on for 10 minutes. Think about how boring parades are in real life. Imagine sitting there watching a filmed one. And really, the only other thing I remember was the CLIMATIC NAVAL BATTLE. This movie cost the modern equivalent of a third of a billion dollars to make, and yet so much money was blown on building the sets, then tearing and building them again, then tearing them down and building them again, and then the insane demands of the "big stars," that they used lil' toy ships in a swimming pool. Toho had better production values in 1962.
      Yeah, Cleopatra vs Godzilla, that I would've liked.
      The next movie was The Chase, a Marlon Brando movie that I've never heard of. Both chapters on those bombs mentioned another years-in-the-making, way-over-budget movie that actually was a big hit, The Longest Day. Oh yeah, I said, that fact-based D-Day movie. I should rent that.
      An interesting thing about Fiasco's chronology is that you see how Hollywood changed in a decade, with the arrival of TV and the end of the studio system at the start of the 1960s, and the damn hippies taking over at the end. The Longest Day was released in 1962, near the end of a way that movies had been made since the invention of sound 30 years earlier. They had STARS! Not, you know, actors. "Here I am! I'm John Wayne! My character in this movie will be me, John Wayne! Here's one of my many costars, Roddy MacDowell, playing Roddy MacDowell! Here's Peter Lawford, pretending to be an actual British officer who put his life on the line on D-Day! Peter will just act like himself! Here's Richard Burton, being Richard Burton, except drunk! Wait, is there a difference there?"
      It's actually a very good movie. It's just that every time the "big name stars" totter onto the groaning boards, the bored just groan and you get taken out of the movie. John Wayne, playing General John Wayne, is a paratrooper who gets a compound fracture of the ankle when landing. Y'know, it just might make his character's story more interesting if he actually acted like he did have bones ripping through his ankle and then walked on it. But no, "LACE MY BOOTS UP TIGHT, DOC!" and he struts around like--well, if he was on morphine, maybe, and I suppose the original D-Day commander he was "playing" probably did. Except, no! Wayne doesn't act at any moment ike he's in any kind of pain. Well, he doesn't act, period.
      But those are in the English-speaking scenes. Producer Darryl Zanuck was a shrewd bastard (accent on the bastard), and made sure that his giant, expensive movie would play well in America, Britain, France and even Germany (via German characters who want to more effectively kill the Allied soldiers--well, in war, that's your job--but der Fuhrer's taken a sleeping pill and can't be awakened for some potential Allied invasion, making them at least sympathetic as soldiers who don't like Hitler). The movie's best when it's just battle scenes, and that's most of the movie. Then it's amazing. You can always tell what's going on, despite the chaos of war. And it''s not "Hooray for us!" as there are several disasters for both sides. And if you're a WWII geek, the details are spot on. Hey, that tank's a Sherman Firefly, complete with folded-up flotation pontoons and the added-on exhaust ports! You know who got that besides me? Guys who were there. That's an impressive level of detail.
      Crimeny, it's 3 hours long! But there wasn't a boring minute, ex-cept when The-Duke...was e-moting. Back then, you needed Big Stars to draw people to your movies, not actors. At least that's what they thought. And Hollywood continued to change, leaving one class of star behind, while moving on to the ones who could act.
      Side point: I remembered this movie as having a theme song that was won an Oscar or something. The opening titles had no music at all. Most of the movie just had military snare drums to briefly open scenes. One scene, in a bar (with Richard Burton, probably demanding multiple takes just to get another drink), had someone plink out a few notes of it on a piano. For almost all of the movie, the theme turned up in bits and pieces, and didn't kick in fully until the very last scene, and then it played over the end titles, for the first time in its entirety. Clever, really--it's a triumphal theme, and why play it until the longest day has ended, and the end of the war is finally in sight?
      And then it's sung by the MITCH MILLER SINGERS! Oh gourd, my GRANDPARENTS had those records! And they were sing-along records! Yes, the dead of D-Day deserve no tribute as grand as the 1962 version of karaoke!



      Ehhh, PULL der STRINGK, Doc!
      Bugs Bunny in "Glen or Glenda"


      I'm only going to mention Ebert's review of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring for the last 2 lines:


      Today's the last day that I can eat before the colonoscopy, and the first that I had to take citrate of magnesia. It's nothing that I'd want to drink for pleasure, but it didn't come close to making me puke, as the CVS clerk warned. Tastes like Sprite with a mildly brackish finish. When's it supposed to make me poop? So far, it's only making me somewhat tired.

      I admit to knowing very little about Delgo, a recent CG animated feature, beyond the fact that it bombed. But so did The Iron Giant, and I count that as one of my top five movies of all time. It bombed because it was a cartoon that wasn't made by Disney. Was Delgo ignored because it was that bad a movie, or because it wasn't from Pixar?
      It wasn't that bad a movie. It was worse. This is the only movie I've realized that I should turn off 5 minutes into. I knew how the entire plot was going to play out. Evil, one-dimensional villain plots a war between 2 rival nations to exact REVENGE!! or something, as she had no motivation beyond "I am Evil." The hero, a young dreamer, and the heroine, a young princess, are star-crossed lovers. In fact, they're from seperate species on some faraway planet. Why that setting? Got me, as they talked like suburban American mall rats from 2008. Notably, IMDB does not have a Quotes page for this movie. I saw it only yesterday, yet can't think of any myself. However, let me ask you if this brings you deeper into a fully realized fantasy world:

      Yeah, awesome.
      The credits list seven screenwriters. To come up with such remarkable plot ideas as "hero's parents killed by the villain while he was a child," "beautiful, strong-willed spunky princess gets kidnapped," "hero gets captured with one of the enemy, they cooperate and escape," "enemy guy sacrifices himself to save hero and heroine," "villain hangs off a precipice, begs hero to rescue her, which he does because 'I'm not like you!' and she tries to pull him over the edge." Seriously. Oldest villain trick in the book. You'd think that at least one villain would wait until after they're rescued before trying to kill the hero, but then that would rob us of the inevitable "villain falls from a great height to die, so that she's dead, but technically not because of the hero." Oh, and there's also a "comic relief" sidekick, a shrieking shithead whose subtle, dry wit makes Jar-Jar Binks look like a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.
      Seven screenwriters! What did they do, make sure they removed all of each other's original ideas? And that doesn't count the two dozen! "screenwriting consultants." I should've been tipped off by the fact that the credits listed "Additional Staging by North Atlanta High School." Was the script edited by the freshman class inbetween food fights in the caf?
      It's not even MST3Kable, so bad it is. The trailers before it were for a Strawberry Shortcake reboot, among others aimed at the same demographic. They're marketing this PG movie to preschoolers, the only audience who might be seeing this plot for the first time.
      Did you notice how many paragraphs I spent slagging this shit movie, and how few I spent praising the one you should rent, Tokyo Godfathers? It's harder to say exactly what makes a great film great, but very easy to itierate the many ways something pisses me off. I noticed early on that the continuity was choppy (just like the shitty CGI), meaning that there was probably a half-hour cut out of the movie. For which I am thankful.

      Oh, now is when it makes me poop. Maybe it's just me, but aesthetically I find ecru to not be a good shit color, you know?


--printed on an address book cover, Japan


      It's amusing to still get the occasional happy email about the Inexplicable Object of the Week. I guess that sucker really was for the ages. Or until I can't pay my hosting bill. When I die.
      Which, thank gourd, will not be from colon cancer any time soon. The colonoscopy went well. As everyone who'd had one told me that the worst isn't the procedure, but the prep. Not being able to either eat or stop pooping, yes, not fun, but also not worth blogging about in any detail. Although I will share this: there may be a reason why "enema" is only one letter removed from being "enemy."
      When I got home, I had some Gatorade (you aren't allowed to drink after the midnight before the procedure) and instant chicken soup (fun fact: dehydration makes you feel cold, so very, very cold). And a hard boiled egg. And a microwave omelet. And a Kit-Kat. And an herbed garlic butter chicken breast. And an Octoberfest beer. Just now, a free sample I got in the mail, a Fiber One granola bar, because, fiber, I sure need to keep encouraging my colon to evacuate. I may have ice cream later. Possiby also pretzel sticks. When I've eaten all the food in the house, I will gnaw the bark from trees.


      It looks like the weekend at the liquor store's going to be the perfect storm: beautiful weather after a summer that's been either too cold and wet, or too hot and humid; and a Labor Day that falls as late in September as it can. There's a university up the road, and for once Labor Day occurs after school's in session. The amount of keg orders is unbelievable--we normally keep about 8 kegs in stock, today I ordered an additional 2 dozen. Ordering for tommorrow cut off at 4PM, thank Bacchus, which just leaves "MAYBE we can get you a keg for Saturday, if it's Bud product, but we can't guarantee it. They only send out a few trucks on Saturday, and when they're full, that's all they send." What's wrong with 30 packs? I can see the guy who wanted a Harpoon IPA keg, as that's a quality beer. But fucking Keystone Light? That's fucking urine. Get it in a 30, because if you don't drink it immediately, you still can later. Keg beer goes flat overnight and that's just as well, as it ain't pasteurized, so your next buzz after drinking it could come from whatever they IV into you in the emergency ward.
      The 2 types of workdays I hate: 1) the really slow ones, as time drags, and 2) the hectic, insanely busy days, as time drags while I run around like a fucking loonie. Don't be surprised if all I post before Sunday is from the Stupidest Things Ever Said calendar.



      This actually explains a lot...

      As predicted, insanely busy holiday weekend. Every one of those dozens of reserved kegs got picked up, except for one pair. I really hope that 24 kegs a weekend doesn't become the standard for the college year. I don't need half the beer cooler blocked off every weekend, and college kids are notorious for waiting until the literal last minute to pick up kegs, even though it takes over 10 minutes to ring up each keg, due to the legally required paperwork. You walk in at 8:50PM, we won't sell you a keg.
      Liquor stores here close at 9, but that means "out the door already paid for by 8:59:59PM." People seem to think that we're like other retail businesses, and so long they're "in the door" by 9 we have to sell to them. No, and it's obvious why, if you think about it: stores could stay open forever otherwise, by claiming "Yes, officer, it's after midnight, but the people in my store started shopping at 8:58." In fact, my store locks the door at 5 of 9, to make sure everyone's legally out the door and we don't get fined and shut down for 3 days. Yes, the state takes it that seriously. Sell beyond a certain point after closing, and you get charged with bootlegging. Yeah, all Roaring Twenties Al Capone with cement overshoes and Tommy guns-like.
      So the phone rings at 8:57:30 (I checked my watch out of complete disdain for anybody shopping at that time), and Vic answered. The conversation went like this: " (long pause as other person speaks)...Well, it doesn't matter, because we're closed...Sorry, we're closed...No, the store is closed...No, the store is closed...No, the-store-is-closed...The store is closed!...What difference does it make who this is? The store is closed!...It's VIC, and the store is closed!...(ME, in background: "Say 'Goodbye' and hang up!")...THE. STORE. IS. CLOSED. (Vic, to the rest of us) He wants a keg, NOW!" (everyone else laughs derisively)
      It went on until it was after 9. And while this happened, 3 other retards banged on the door, after 9, arguing about it. When we finally left, 2 more cars pulled up, their gasters utterly flabbered that, no, we can't sell after we're legally required to close. Another one raced to the door as I was leaving the parking lot, obviously using that belief that "If you speed, time runs BACKWARDS!"
      In their defense, Connecticut only allows them a mere 13 hours to do their shopping. But if we were open 23 hours and closed only from 4Am to 5AM, we'd still have idiots mad that we we wouldn't sell to them at 4:05.
      Remember those 2 kegs that never got picked up? The guy on the phone was that guy. He said "A guy's on the way to pick them up!" Well, he's not IN THE STORE, so maybe you should've sent him sometime in the TWELVE HOURS FORTY SEVEN MINUTES THIRTY SECONDS PREVIOUS. Because a minute or two later than that, and we still would've refused to ring him up. And as stated earlier, I think this actually explains a lot...

      Oops, forgot to mention: Siskel & Ebert's "At the Movies" show starts being once again hosted by actual film critics rather than "Television Personalities" this weekend. I assume that the show will be available online midweek right about here. Smart people telling you what movies to see not based on the box office receipts, but the film's actual quality? Fuck you, time-traveling jerks! Explain THAT!
      (I particularly like the picture for " Meet The New Hosts." They look like they're asking you "Do you know where those loser old hosts went? Us, neither. Hey, whose bags of cement are those by the riverside? They seem to have the fingerprints of the old hosts aaalll over them. Suicide, we guess. And right by the part of the river the police can't dredge. Tsk, tsk. Hey, are these their cut-off fingers on the river bank? Weird. Well, going now, got movies to review. Review like critics.")


      "At the Movies" was pretty good. I missed the beginning, which I hope was Phillips and Scott dressed as gladiators, standing athwart the dismembered corpses of the former hosts with gore-dripping short swords in one hand and a stern "THUMBS DOWN!" on the other.
      I was a little late to the show because I didn't have the VCR hooked up to the new digital converter properly. In my defense, the instructions were a single sheet that basically just said "plug the plugs into the plug-holes, figure the rest out yourself." The VCR wouldn't recognize any channels, but that was because the antenna needed to go through the VCR before it went through the new switcher. So I watched it in real time, meaning that I had to either watch the ads or surf channels. Since I have no cable, I mainly surfed "no signal" for placeholders for the current stations.
      Once I had the VCR hooked up correctly, it was now time for the greater challenge: programming it to record. SOMEbody, no doubt with four feet and being chased by a Creamsicle Terror (or the Terror himself, while chasing) had unplugged the VCR. Don't buy a JVC VCR, although I assume you'll never buy a VCR ever again anyway. Both the manual and the onscreen instructions are completely wrong about how to do something as basic--actually, essential, since it's a video RECORDER--as program it to record a program. "Press MENU when done," my ass. I haven't needed to program it in about 2 years, and I'd forgotten the SEKRIT CODEZ to make it work. Program the time, then hit--MENU, like you say? "PROGRAM NOT SAVED" Hit OK? "PROGRAM NOT SAVED" Umm...Turn it off? I remember it being something so totally counterintuitive that I was amazed that I'd ever figured it out--but No, "PROGRAM NOT SAVED." Hit TIMER, then turn it back on? "NO! PROGRAM NOT SAVED, you SHITHEAD! BAAA-HAHAHA! I AM YOUR ROBOT OVERLORD!!" Ahh...sacrifice the neighbors? "NO, BUT MAGOG THE ROBOT EMPEROR OF HUMAN FILTH FLESHLINGS DOES NOT MIND IF YOU DO!"
      After half an hour of trying every possible button mashing twice, I got it. Hit TIMER, then don't turn it back on. Yes, turn it back on after hitting TIMER, and it doesn't work. But let it record whatever crap is on the station (which was some sorta hillbilly NASCAR with pickups racin' on summa them dirt roads, pieces breakin' offfa them, and here's th' guy what won, but that ain't interestin', here's some ol' CRASHES we done previously filmed all interspersed therein, hee-yuk!), and only then can you program it like it claims you can. Many is the time that my JVC VCR almost ended up being repeatedly hit with a hammer. Shit, now that it is programmed, I may just watch the show online a few days later out of pure spite.

      Cracked's Guide to David Lynch. It's the movie at the end that makes it.


      I just finished watching A Bridge Too Far, the mid-70s WWII movie. I saw it when it when it was first on TV, back in the pre-cable days. It seemed better 35 years ago, but the only other time I saw it, I had a running commentary from someone who was actually there.
      It's about a really bad idea, a giant paratroop drop behind German lines in 1944. Field Marshall Montgomery thought it up, so, yeah, it was pretty much destined to be a bad idea. He really wasn't that great a general--Patton or Rommel, they were great generals, strategists who saw the big picture, while still being brilliant tacticians who knew where the troops should go to get the shit done. "Monty" just built up troops until he had so many there was no way he could lose. For "Operation: Market-Garden" he reallly just did the same thing, except instead of massing troops like somebody in the game of Risk who controls every continent except Australia, then waits 20 turns before attacking it, he just massed paratroopers. Paratroopers would be the guys who "jump out of planes with only what they can carry on their backs, or else they fall like anvils in a Road Runner cartoon." The point to paratroops is that they cut off the enemy's supply lines, then the tanks 'n' shit roll in ASAP before the paras get counterattacked by soldiers who have entire convoys of trucks to carry in their ammo.
      Of course, the paras are supposed to land where they can enter battle against surprised backline troops before they know what hit them. Landing them 10 miles from their intended targets, um, then they have to walk all that way. And by then, the more heavily armed enemy knows that they're there.
      In the case of Market-Garden, it didn't help that the paratroopers landed right next to a crack SS panzer division. Even if you don't know anything about WWII, you can guess how well that played out.
      A Bridge Too Far, or as it would be txted, B2F, was okay but not great. It tried to be T Lngst Dy, but it had way too many things going on. Like The Longest Day, the “stars” just distracted from the story. Especially non-actor Ryan O’Neil as Johnny the Boy General, who looked too young to buy a beer, let alone command a brigade. Unlike TLD, the battle scenes weren’t focused, and I had only the vaguest idea of what these Allies were doing to those Germans. Remember that last Star Wars prequel, when George “I think that there’s just enough space left in my ass to shove my head in a bit further” Lucas saw them Hobbit movies, and whined “I want me some big CGI battles, too, WAAH!” and you literally couldn’t even tell what planet they were happening on? B2F isn’t that bad, but it really needed to have the script cut down to about half the characters for it to make sense. Especially as these aren’t “characters,” they’re actors playing real human beings who died in real life. The point that the movie lost me is when a kid dies. And I realized that it didn’t affect me. A real human being, an actual, real-life teenaged hero who risked everything to fight the fucking Nazis died, and I was less upset that he died than I was that the movie didn’t concentrate more on people like him.
      Like I said, it was better watching it with a guy who was there. He was the father of a friend of mine, and he marvelled at the location filming (on the Allied HQ: “I used to walk by that every day going to school!”). But it was the things he told me about being a kid in Nazi-occupied Holland that made me remember the movie as being better than it was (note: I still gave it 3 stars out of 5 on Netflix; it’s by no means a bad movie, it just didn’t need to be a sprawling and unfocused epic, instead of a big story better told with smaller, more personal stories).
      Thing about this movie that has nothing to do with this movie: Mr Lankhorst was 6 years old in 1944. He told me about the battle (“We did what we always did. We hid in the cellar until the explosions stopped”), and the aftermath (“The Nazis gave us no food, so we lived on tulip bulbs all winter”). Here’s the thing he said that’s stuck with me for 25 years:
      He lived in a little village just outside of Arnhem, the target of Market-Garden. The German garrison was a single platoon, just 8 soldiers. Not the SS or rabid Nazis, just random draftees. The Germans erected a watchtower, and the German conscripts would man it 2 at a time. The Lankhorst boy and his older friend (age of 10) would take broken pieces of mirror and flash the light into the German soldier’s eyes. They did this for 2 weeks. Great fun!
      Then one morning, one of the Germans swore angrily, pulled the bolt on his rifle click-clack to load a bullet into the chamber, and pointed his rifle right at young Lankhorst. Lankhorst, age six, thought I’m going to die! And the other German yelled something and yanked the gun barrel away before his comrade could fire. Young Lankhorst ran away, never to harass the enemy army again.
      Middle-aged Lankhorst shook his head. “That was 35 years ago, and I haven’t had a week go by where I didn’t wonder what happened to the German soldier who saved my life. Or the one who tried to kill me.” And he and I were silent for most of the rest of the movie.
      And for the 25 years since he told me that story, I don’t think a month has gone by without me thinking about it. Every second of our lives, we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time. How it all turns out depends on somebody making the right decision, or the wrong one.


      Disney Freezer Bag Guy is a mumbling and smelly man who brings the empties he collects out of dumpsters, then uses as ashtrays, then wants us to give him a nickel for each. He dropped his usual cache of Natural Ice cigarette depositories today. He left a puddle of stale, rancid beer on the floor. Then he bought a nip of vodka with his deposits.
      I gave him his 18 cents back, and he recoiled in disgust. "Give me a better DIME!" because the one I gave him wasn't shiny enough. The one in the hands that dragged deposit cans from dumpsters minutes ago.
      I guess we all have our standards. Me and the customer behind him, who was barely restraining her laughter, I guess our standard after he left was "mockery." I handed her the change after her sale, and realized "I almost gave you that SAME DIME! And look at it, it's a CRIME AGAINST NATURE! I need to buy some silver polish!"


      I had Sunday and Monday off, and also today, while still being paid for a 5 day week. Yes, there are reasons why I still work in the booze biz after a dozen years. Sun/Mon I never left the house, just browsed and played with cats (Byron has an abrupt renewal of interest in the laser pointer, and is teaching the young'un about it). Today I did the usual chores, grocery shopping, maybe find some wild bird feathers for Byron etc, with a side trip or two.
      I drive the main road in town every day (assuming that I leave the house), but the entire length of it almost never. I was on one short piece of it when I went to the colonoscopy last week, and given the amount of closed businesses, I guess that I'm not the only person who doesn't drive past that scrap of pavement. A Chevy dealership gone, a big Movie Gallery video store, and, ironically, a realtor's office with a "LEASE TO OWN" sign in front. But there was a thriftshop that I hadn't known about, with a big sign in the window saying "LAST DAYS." They were either going out of business, or it was owned by the Antichrist and sold Mayan calendars.
      Even though the world's supposed to end on 9/9/09, today the store was still there. The sign was not. Maybe it had read "LAST DAYS of our big sale." It was more of a consignment shop than a thrift store; I heard the owner telling an employee how they were going to start pricing "our" merchandise with a tag with the store's name on it. Consignment stores are rarely interesting, but this one was different. In its floor. The door was level to the parking lot, but the handicapped ramp was inside, as the floor was about 2 feet lower than the lot. But 6 feet further into the store, there was a sudden incline across the whole floor, and at its apex another 6 feet in, it was even with the parking lot. The outer building looked like it once been an automotive gagrage, but why you would make a floor like that is beyond my ken.
       For the first time in a long time, I went to a real thrift store, the Salvation Army, as I haven't found anything cool in about a year. But, for $1.99, they had a Get Smart mini lunchbox. I loved that show! I also really liked the recent movie, but this was copyrighted 1999, so there was no relation. And for reasons beyond my ken, or even my barbie, it was also a music box. I gave it a crank, and it played the Get Smart theme. Assuming that the theme was "Whistle While You Work." Well, Max always did act a little Dopey. Next to it was a Wizard of Oz version of the same. I didn't test it, but it probably played either "Ride of the Valkyries" or "Ice Ice Baby."
      Then to the nearby state park I haven't had the pleasure of hiking for a month, due either to the weather or cameras up my ass. I was almost the only one there, besides the douche screaming at his dog. I returned to the car and found that a wild bird feather had floated in the open window. Thank you, random bird! That's the first thing one of you has ever left on my car that didn't require Windex to remove!
      Next was the boring part, Dollar Tree. There was conversation going on in one aisle, and after years of dealing with the public in a retail setting, I immediately thought, "The guy in the cowboy hat reallly wants this discussion to end, but is too polite to walk away, and the other guy is insane." And by "conversation," I mean "lecture." What a bad blogger I am! I just wanted to grab my stuff and go, but I should've stopped an aisle over and tried to piece together whatever the loonie was on about. All I got were fragments as I walked the aisles: "...and if you've been overseas, like as a soldier, and when that plane touches down, you kiss the ground and cross yourself--No! You've done it wrong, you've screwed it up..." "and the French, they lost 6 million people. And the Russians, they said No, you're doing it wrong. We're taking this away from you, and that's what they did. Next, the Russians..." While I could hear him talking the whole time I was in the middle of the store, he wasn't yelling. Man, in retrospect I wish that I'd stayed and listened, but all I could think about is how many times I've been buttonholed by some freak who knows that retail workers are a captive audience.
      Cowboy Hat Guy never said a single word. He wasn't dressed like an employee, so maybe he's blogging the bizarre monologue as I type. You scooped me there, Cowboy Hat!



      The real story of Area 51, which explains the rumors of back-engineered alien flying saucers. They were really oxcarts.

      Madonna kills 15 Bulgarians. And not by stabbing them with her pointy bra, but with a decapitated head!


      Vacation! 8 days of cats, lazy enjoyment, and only voluntary human contact!


      Viva la vacaciones! (I'm sure my Spanish there is flawless) I decided to kick this motherfucker off right, the only way this hell-raising son of a bitch knows how!
      I went to the farmer's market!
      I stopped first at a tiny and ancient graveyard on the way there--to see if it included anybody that I've killed on my previous vacations! I am that bad-ass. It had a barely legible sign, a very long list of the rules for being buried there, including paying a $10 fee. Fuck that! I'm such a bad boy rebel, I almost dug a hole and buried myself alive, leaving only a quarter on the grave! But I realized that I wouldn't have a hand free to leave the quarter, so I checked out the tombstones instead. After I did a few donuts on the graves with my Harley, YEAHHHH!
      Not sure why that modern sign was there, as the newest grave was from 1810. Maybe nobody can afford the $10. Maybe nobody can read the sign. Maybe because of the 2 dozen graves, almost all of the stones were so weathered that they were illegible, which kind of defeats the "eternal memory" concept. Almost the only readable ones were soldier's graves. All the others had the tall, thin, gray tombstones of colonial America, familiar to New Englanders (I drive by one 2-century old graveyard on the way to work). The soldier's graves, all decorated with American flags, were the thick, short, squat white ones most usually associated with Civil War deaths, and I'll bet that the originals were replaced by these around that time. Even though they were for Revolutionary War veterans, and even one vet of the French and Indian Wars. I took particular pains to kick that tombstone over and piss on it, because I AM SO BAD-ASS.
      Okay, I didn't, and I'll stop now.
      I went to the farmer's market for maybe the last time this year. My goals were five, each from a different vendor: goat cheese, Dutch farmstead cheese, garlic and herb butter, and salsa, and then have a last delicious vegetable samosa from that awesome Indian food booth. There was a wine tasting going on--rutabaga wine?! Gotta try that!--but the lines were crazy long, so I just went to do my shopping. Got my goat cheese (dill chevre) in a mere iota of time. Then I went to the farmstead cheese booth. Every other time I've been, there were 2 guys selling the cheese, but today there was one, so I stood in line FOR-EV-ERRR (read in 11 year old girl's voice) okay 5 minutes, but that's a long time to just stand there. Like everyone in front of me was, y'know, "Oh, let me taste that, and oooh let me have a slice of this cheese" with, no lie I'm not kidding, blue mold on it, ewww, gross, holy crap, who eats that, like crazy old farts is who, and I'm like getting ready to like go all crazy-shit
      Okay, I'll stop the tweener impression, too. "Can I have half a pound of farmstead?" I ask after 5 minutes. "We don't have that today." I go, "Oh, you've got to be kidding me!" yeah, I really did, so I was a petulant schoolgirl for a bit.
      Then I went to the garlic butter stand, to buy 2 tubs, assuming that it would be usuable over the cold months. "Does the butter freeze well?" I asked. "Oh," said the old woman, "we're out of butter." "Really," I said, then I fucking beat that bitch with a tire iron, then totally txted Kaitlyn's iPhone and my Twitter feed about it! Then I reached the end of the market, and realized that the salsa guy wasn't even there. What happened next--well, either watch CNN when the "MARKET MASSACRE" graphic comes on, or OMG hear about it in Monday study hall!
      I did get my samosa, although I completely expected the guy to say "Samosas? Just ran out. Got some Big Macs under the heat lamp, though!"
      Yes, this is certainly my last trip to the farmer's market this year.
      Then I went home, got more Indian food while the cats had Friskies wet, and all was right with the world. I hope the rest of my vacation goes better than the market visit, and that I don't have to cut that bitch Madison with a broken beer bottle during 3rd period math tmw LOL :D!!!



      What, you don't schedule out your vacations too?
      VF means Valley Falls, the state park up the road. PG means Page, meaning me trying to recreate the old Geocities page. I have so little enthusiasm for this project. I have a feeling it'll just be the old News, because that's easy to do, and the Sisto Files, which was the only thing anybody looked at it for anyway. Assuming it gets done at all. It didn't even get touched today. I'm truly incapable of slacking off for even a minute when I'm getting paid, and therefore it's almost impossible for me to motivate myself when I'm off duty. I should've just written "PLAY CIVILIZATION 2 ALL WEEK" on it.

      Although I did manage to force myself to the park, and since I've eaten only Indian food this week, to get pizza. Chicken tikke pizza! I got to the pizza place a bit early, and they were 10 minutes late finishing it, even though I was clearly the only customer. It was hand-delivered to me after the manager wandered off, and then the guy walked away. Wait, I thought, he thinks I've already paid! Free pizza! I raced right up to the counter, and said "I haven't paid for this yet!" Because I really am by no means a badass, or an asshole. I like to keep a clean karmic balance. On the short drive home it hit that it wouldn't have just been wrong to steal it...it would also have been stupid, as they had my phone number. I think I gain a point for not thinking that until after I did the right thing.

      Seen: 7 Up, the BBC series that looked at some kids, age 7, then went back every 7 years. I figured that it was a good choice for vacation, as all but the first disc are available on Netflix online. The first was confusing, given that there are 14 children in only 45 minutes, and the maze of English school types. I knew public schools don't admit the public, and the private schools aren't, but there were 2 more mutated varieties. And, being the UK, it's all about what class you're born into.
      it started in 1964, with kids as disparate as the only "coloured" child, to 3 future Upper Class Twits of the Year in a "pre-prep school," where they sing Waltzing Matilda in Latin, and whose smarmy faces you want to kick in. The kids were asked their opinions on a wide variety of topics. The rich kids all had their entire scholastic paths planned out, from pre-prep to public to post-public to Eton and Cambridge (at age 7), while the poorer kids had goals both vaguer and more like you'd expect a child to have (being the mid-1960s, most of the boys wanted to be astronauts). It really became fascinating during 7 Plus 7, filmed when they were 14. Only one mentioned the fame they know doubt had from the first film (one of the rich kids; Daddy was quite cross when Junior got one word of the name of one of his future schools wrong), although you wonder if it affected the others. The outgoing lad from a tiny Yorkshire village becomes too withdrawn to even make eye contact ( the kid in his village closest to his age at 14 is 5), as does the spoiled princess (age 7: "I've never met a coloured person, and I certainly hope that I never do!" Age 14: ditto). Of the 3 pre-preps, one is showing signs of disgust with the automatic deference the others of his class expect from the world, while another is even more obnoxiously "I'm special, you aren't" and wants to go into right wing politics. He's like a combination of Draco Malfoy and a young Dick Cheney and some sort of Jagger-lipped reptile.
      But is he? What of the kid I was sure would turn out to be a bully, but at 14 was training to be a jockey? Will the coloured kid, already feeling the wieght of prejudice at 7 and being crushed by it at 14, fight it off or sink beneath it? And really, British people do have those teeth?
      I hate Reality TV. Okay, I assume that I hate it, never having seen any. It seems fake. This is reality. I've got 21 Up ready to watch online right after I post this.


      (Same list, but with kitten)


      If you looked at that list yesterday, you know that today's plans involved VF (Valley Falls state park) and BJ. BJ cost me $120, but it was worth every penny!
      Because it costs $45 a year for a BJ's Warehouse Club membership, but every year they send me a free trial membership! I still have 2 freezer packs of boneless chicken breasts left over from a year ago. Also 2 cans of peas and a package of individually-wrapped pasteurized processed cheese food product (don't worry, I don't eat that much of it). I bought more of all of those, and also got some of that delicious precooked turkey breast (a fave of the kids). Seriously, I need to buy very little in the meat and peas & cheese categories for the next year, assuming the freezer keeps working. And then BJ's will send me another free trial...
      I saved a whopping $0.95 on 10 gallons of gas (people who drive out of their way to idle their cars to save pennies a gallon-U R TEH STEWPIE-HEDZ!! BJ's forces you to drive in with the pumps on your right, whereas most cars have gas tanks on the left. BJ's also has pumps with hoses so long you can fit them on the left, and yet people still just sat there idling rather than pull a pump over their roofs. Hint: when your car ain't moving, you get zero MPG. Turn the fucking engine off at least, Dr Professor Tesla-Edison!

      I hope no one raced out and rented the 7 Up series based on my review yesterday. 21 Up was longer than both of the first films, and while I will finish it, I needed to stop at the halfway point. Unlike the first films, this one focuses on each now-adult in turn, rather than flit about like the gnat my attention span sometimes...ooh, shiny! What? Wait, what?
      I didn't mean "BJ" THAT way!
      The painfully shy and poor country boy learned from his experience in 7 Plus 7, and worked on his it. He's now a hunky guy at Cambridge or Oxford (the fact tat CT has a rich prep school called "Cambridge-Oxford" makes me unremember details like that). Snooty rich "Don't want to meet any coloureds" girl now seems clinically depressed. Much is made of the fact that she, like 3 of the other kids, had parents who divorced between 1971 and 1978. I remember that time period in America. Divorce was a huge scandal at the start of the 70s, then much more common by the end of the decade, and the divorces always started at the top of the economic pyramid.
      Rich twit Malfoy's horrible Jolie-esque lips seemed to have retracted over 7 years, with all their fat going straight to his even more "I-am-such-a-prick" privileged right wing Tory head, while the Slightly Rebellious Rich Boy is Slightly Rebellious. (Maybe I should make LOL7Ups?)
      Oh, wait, I'm doing that thing I hate when other people do it! Not review a movie, just describe what happens! You either watch these or don't--the later chapters, and soon all of it, will be on Netflix online viewing for free. It doesn't cost anything over your present membership, so you can do what I did, and stop halfway. Tonight I think I need a bit of a breather, and will online watch Woody Allen's proto-MST3K classic, What's Up, Tiger Lily? "Russian snake! Roman cow!..."

      A couple of short Star Wars related joke videos, both of which you'll "get" quickly, but are worth watching:
      Via Kirk, The Death Star: A Year Later, and Vader's first job.


      Hey, BJs: Way to not get people to sign up for their $45 a year membership? Send them another free membership offer before the last one's even ended. I'm not saying that you shouldn't keep sending me free memberships, though.

      The Great Uncle Wong's Food Court Incident

      If you were wondering why my vacation to-do list had "just kidding" scheduled for today, it's not that J/K. I emailed both Jessica and Kevin about my vacation week, and they both picked today as the day to get together--Jess in the morning, Kev at night, so, perfect.
      I left the answering machine on all night, just in case Jess had a setback in her battle with narcolepsy. But she made it to Sturbridge, MA, the exact halfway point between our homes and most importantly, also at the half-hour limit to her driving. Her condition's become so bad that if it gets worse, she may not be able to drive, period.
      We went to the Cracker Barrel for a big breakfast, as we have the "skinny person who can eat a lot and not gain a pound" metabolism, and talked and exchanged gifts. Mine were the cheesier ones, some Dollar Tree toy bling, handmade penuchi fudge (but not made by my hands, from the farmer's market) and some Cream of Wheat I got as a free sample but will never eat but she has all the time. She gave me a set of Cat Butts Magnets, which are what they sound like, different breeds of cats as seen from the south while walking north (one little magnet was a hairball), a little "robot with a big heart" pin (she's a lifetime Disney fan, and does this "pin-trading" that she says is some big thing. The robot wasn't Disney--if it was, I'd be unlikely to wear it--but it's cute), and her other latest thing, Dunnys, which I know less about the more I try to find out about them. I guess you can get big prepainted ones, or tiny blank figures you can paint yourself. She did the latter. I tried taking a picture of the one she gave me, but DJ is going berserk all over me and could just see him knocking her artwork to the floor and eating it. Yes, eating, because when I say "tiny," I mean 1 and 3/4s inches. And yet she painted incredible detail on it--was her paintbrush like 1 horsehair?
      Then we just ran through our usual haunts, the antique store where she bought, of course, some pins, and me, of course, fridge magnets (an early 70s bottle opener magnet for "Not Your Average Drug Store FAY'S" and a pin/magnet "Chemistry: Solutions for the Future" Why I buy? Went to college in late 70s, majored in chemistry, recreational). As always, we got what we liked and spent very little.
      We went to the Worst Store on Earth, a huge gift shoppe that's racks of shit in front of racks of shit in front of shelves of shit that go to the ceiling. We both forgot our cameras, which is sad because there is no way to explain this claustrophobe's nightmare. Whoever buys for this place is either insanely rich or just fucking insane. They're one of those hoarders, the kind you hear about when their corpses are found 6 months after being buried under 3 tons of newspapers they've stolen from their neighbor''s recycling bins. Every aisle had stuff that could not be reached, not just because you'd need a ladder, but because you'd need snow shovels to get the crap out of the way before you could place a ladder down. There was merchandise piled 5 feet in front of one corner, and it was 3 feet deep! If it was "personalized," they bought it--rack after rack of jeez, so many I don't even remember anymore. Keychains, magnets, mugs, tiny faux license plates, "A Guardian Angels Looks After...", keychains shaped like Crocs because there's no way people will never stop buying Crocs. And 3 huge racks of calendars. 2009 calendars. Clocks with single hands, little bric-a-brac with broken bits galore, rows of greeting cards including several 2000 N'Sync ones. Why buy 1 case of Garlic EZ Peelers for your store when you can buy 4?
      I live in a little condo crammed with crap, but man was I happy to get out of that fucker. The entire front lawn was covered in crap that wouldn't fit inside! "Hey, I wonder what's on the second story--" then I stopped and pointed at the windows up there. Covered in boxes, floor to ceiling.
      Something only 2 retail vets like we would think: Jess kept shaking her head and saying "How do they take inventory here?!" I said "Well, I guess that they just don't." But amongst the piles of junk on the lawn was a sign: "SITE AND BUSINESS FOR SALE." If anybody is crazy enough to buy the place, they'll have to inventory it. Have fun with that, and bring about a dozen industrial dumpsters.
      We had to walk to the Bates Motel. It was once down a creepy, tree-thick dirt road, straight out of an 80s horror movie. Then all the trees died when a brook backed up behind a drain. This made it not creepy at all. This time there was a DEP sign on a tree. The Department of Environmental Protection was on it, and put a culvert to divert the brook underground. The forest that became a dead tree pond was now a dead tree meadow. The motel was now refurbished and open. In 10 years, the forest will be back. And I hope that we'll walk down the path again.

      I went to Kev and Megs with 3 pints of Schneider-Weisse hefeweissen (8.2% ABV!). We got some take-out from Panda Palace, as we are lucky enough to live across the street from the county's most award-winning Chinese restaurant, chatted for a while, then settled in to watch The Hurt Locker.
      It's about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. But it's just set in Iraq, and as it says in the opening credits, "War is a drug." More specifically, adrenalin is a drug.
      It's not political at all. I don't know what it's like to be in Iraq, but I'm sure this movie is pretty close. Every fucking second you could die, every fucking Iraqi may be trying to make you die, every fucking piece of trash on the road could be attached to a 155mm shell and a cell phone. It becomes an exercise in dread, playing out days of waiting to be killed by anything from anywhere, while hoping you live long enough to get rotated out. Unless all you want is that adrenalin rush.
      Then we talked about how great the movie was, then screamed about how we hate Republicans and the end of health care and I think I used up a week's worth of blood pressure meds.
      I've been up all day and no can type more. Time for to go to sleeps. Sorry about any typos, fix tmw, kthx luv ya bye



      The only advantage to having Sunday and Wednesday off is that I save $5 a month on Netflix. I can get the one-at-a-time plan and get 2 DVDs a week. But Wednesday I watched a movie with Kev, so yesterday I had to finish Get Smart before the mail was picked up. I normally don't watch movies that early in the day, but since DJ spent the whole showing curled up with me, I may again.
      It was my second time seeing Get Smart, and it still was quite enjoyable, working both as a comedy and an action picture; familiarity with the 60s TV show was by no means a requirement, but was rewarded with in-jokes. I think that the movie made enough to warrant a sequel.
      I've been reading Fiasco, a book about moives that will never see sequels. I've only seen 2 of the movies, Cleopatra and Paint Your Wagon, and, seemingly like most of the films in it, were not hilariously bad, just the "meh" kind of semi-boring. I've put Showgirls in my Netflix queue thanks to Fiasco (which is well worth the $2.99 I paid for my perfect-condition hardcover on Amazon; if the subject of box office bombs that leave craters of careers in their bloody wake appeals to you, I highly recommend it). I vowed that before I read its next chapter to finally see my $1 VHS copy of Waterworld. With that chapter next and an evening free after seeing a good movie, I decided to pop it in the VCR.
      It opens with the Universal logo of the Earth, and the icecaps on it melt, flooding the planet. Hope you enjoyed the only bit of this movie that didn't suck! Next, Kevin Costner drinks his pee. Yes, that is the opening scene. If you think "It can only get better," well, yes, but only in the sense that he doesn't next take a steaming shit on a bagel and have the rest of his breakfast.
      No, instead we get the steaming shit that is this movie. The pitch session obviously was "The Road Warrior/Mad Max 2, but ALL WET!" Remember when the Simpsons became a hit, and all the TV networks decided that what viewers really wanted were cheaply animated dysfunctional families, and plotzed out crap like "Family Dog", with all the family members utterly unlikeable? Well, Road Warrior was about a "burnt-out shell of a man" amid lots of action, so here ya go. Just with Costner as a "colosssal fucking douchebag" and random, incomprehensible action that doesn't make a lick of sense. I love Road Warrior, but I'm the first to admit that after the apocalypse, there's no way that it'd be easier to maintain a fleet of cars than it would be to have a few Uzis to wipe the car gangs out. But the entire planet flooded, to the point where the Rocky Mountains are under water? And yet there are still JetSkis and limitless amounts of high caliber ammunition for the unrusted machine cannons? In Road Warrior, you accept it when the movie is good enough that you don't ask these questions. When your movie sucks so much sea cucumber that all you can think about is things like heroine's pink lip gloss and shaved legs, or the things apparently built after the flood on some, what, floating iron smelter, you've got a movie that sucks. And how you can tell the good guys from the bad guys, because the bad ones are so dirty. They can't find time to wash the dirt off in the middle of a planet-sized ocean? In the middle of a planet-wide ocean, where is there dirt?
      I started off laughing at it, then grew increasingly bored with everything except the inevitable scenery-chewing by bad guy Dennis Hopper. Apparently either only he knew that the movie was sinking faster than the Lusitania, or he had some really good drugs during the shoot. It's hard to tell with him. Then it went beyond the "meh" kind of semi-boring, especially when I ran out of "Kevin drinks his pee" jokes. So truly boring that I turned it off before it ended and went to bed. Note to Hollywood: Action movies are not supposed to replace Ambien.
      Then I woke up late at nght and couldn't fall back to sleep, and decided "If it put me to sleep once..." But the VCR wouldn't play! Wait--because the tape isn't in it. I replaced it, and the end credits started to roll. Yes, it was so boring that I had watched all of it, and didn't remember. I may watch Road Warrior for the umpteenth time tonight just to flush the pee-stink of Waterbore out of my brain.


      The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences:


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