Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

The Dude, She-Devil and Gus all get together to wish you and yours a happy new year.

And then they run away.

Happy new year!


West Wing Overload

Over the course of my week off, I've seen roughly eleven episodes of The West Wing on DVD. I can hear the theme song, and the closing credits theme, when there's nothing else to listen to. Luckily, I'll be working again in a few days and I'll be forced to scale back on these.

One thing I've noticed -- every now and then there's a "Previously on The West Wing" segment that does nothing but have the characters introducing themselves to people. I like that. There's nothing you need to know except who we are and what we do.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Homeowner Clean-up Hints

#615 in a series.

There's not a lot of visual difference between spattered with wood stain and just plain freckly.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Meme of the Secret Ten: Four-Color Shopping Spree!

I have to jump feetfirst into something today, but I wanted to end the suspense and post this before I began. In answer to Ami's question:

1, 4 and 8 go into a comic store, with a total of 250 dollars, what would they buy?

I offered you a duck, a professor, and a fruit. Here they are:

#1 is Daffy Duck, #4 is Professor Frink from The Simpsons, and #8 is Liz Lemon from 30 Rock.

Daffy, of course, wants as much of the $250 as he can get, declares it a shopping spree and goes rushing off to find some Duck Dodgers and Duck Tracy comic books. Professor Frink races through the store, soon getting his hands on some of Jim Ottaviani's excellent science comics, like Dignifying Science, Two-Fisted Science, and Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards. He also picks up some of Phil & Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius collections and a couple of Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibi for the real way-out stuff. "I bet I can glaven the anti-life equation before unheyden Darkseid can, if I just carry the one..."

Liz wanders the aisles, picking up a collection of Jessica Abel's Artbabe, thinking it's been something she's been planning to read for quite a while now. (Me, too, honestly. And La Perdida.) But she quickly also finds herself drawn to Evan Dorkin's Milk & Cheese and Dork! comics, and Kyle Baker's comics, like Cartoonist, You Are Here, and Birth of a Nation, with the first issue of Special Forces for good measure. Ms. Lemon likes the yuks.

Daffy, of course, has very little luck finding Duck Dodgers or Duck Tracy comics. A big fan of larger-than-life heroes, he picks up the hardcover of Green Lantern: Rebirth and whatever recent Sinestro Corps War issues he can find on the stands. And one of IDW's Dick Tracy comic strip collections, because even a cheap imitation of Duck Tracy is better than nothing.

Naturally, this is all way more than $250 worth of comics. But Frink momentarily baffles the clerks with glaven, and our heroes are soon all running from the store before anyone knows better.

Oh, That Frink!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

MOST: Can I Drag This Out Any Longer? (Signs Point To Yes.)

Well, I promised Ami that I'd answer one of her questions today. But now I'm late for dinner with some high school pals, all because I got caught up in the West Wing season 1 finale on DVD. What to do, what to do?

Oh, that's right. Stall.

So Ami, here's the question I'll be answering: 1, 4 and 8 go into a comic store, with a total of 100 250 dollars, what would they buy?

And who are numbers 1, 4 and 8, anyhow? A duck, a professor, and a fruit. Make of that what you will.


Because I Promised

Here's to you, Greg!


Kill Your Television

We watched The TV Set, starring David Duchovny, on DVD the other night. It wasn't nearly as good as I'd hoped. It was written by Jake Kasdan, of The Zero Effect and Walk Hard, which I haven't seen) and produced by Judd Apatow, of, well, everything. If follows the trials of a writer trying to get his tv series picked up as a pilot, then as a series, while the network suits (led by Sigourney Weaver) strip out everything personal about it. It's ripe territory for satire, and I loved a Kevin Bacon movie from the 80s called The Big Picture which pretty much did the same thing with movies.

Problem is, having seen The Big Picture, I didn't see anything new in The TV Set. Even worse, the "heartfelt, personal" script that the show begins with felt tin and corny. Everyone talks about how good it is, but what we see is pretty much dreck -- it's just sappy dreck instead of lowbrow, fart-joke dreck. There are some okay moments in the film (I really liked a character bit about Taxi Driver -- in fact, Arrested Development's Judy Greer gives the best performance in the movie), but the film as a whole never really gets going, and is gone like the blue pinprick of light we used to see when we turned the tv off.

Maybe the main difference is that the The Big Picture was a romantic comedy, and The TV Set plays like a comic tragedy. But it's a personal tragedy for Duchovny's character alone. In the end, his personal vision for the show has been lost. For the viewers at home, a mediocre-at-best show has been replaced with a bad one, which isn't much of a loss at all.

(And no wonder The Big Picture is better; it's a Christopher Guest movie. I didn't know that until I fetched the link.)


Benazir Bhutto has been reported killed in a suicide attack in Pakistan this morning (evening there). Considering she represented the main opposition to Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf's leadership, and there'd been a general election scheduled for two weeks from now, things have been completely upended. I'm worried that we're about to see what happens when a country armed with nuclear weapons plunges into chaos.

I don't know what the right moves to make on the foreign policy front are here, but I can only hope President Bush makes them, and manages to ease the tensions there rather than inflaming them. He tends to operate with a sledgehammer. Let's hope this is one of those times when a sledgehammer is the right tool for the job -- or better yet, he looks a little deeper into his toolbox and finds just the right gauge wrench.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Meme of the Secret Ten: All You Can Eat!

The Meme of the Secret Ten continues apace -- with a new entry from Travis, who breaks the Mighty Ami Monopoly! Travis writes:

2 and 9 open up a restaurant together. What kind of rest.? What is the name? What else can you tell us about it?

And I scratch my head and ponder.

Obviously, Margie Gunderson (#2) likes a nice smorgasbord. It's in her Nordic blood. They give ya a lotta good stuff ta eat, ya?

The trouble is #9, her partner. He's a bit of a sourpuss. It comes from feeling neglected his whole life. After all: No one wants a Charlie in the Box!

So Margie and Charlie get together to open a big buffet. Margie is really the first person (other than a reindeer and a short little kooky dentist a long time ago) to give Charlie the time of day. (Did he lose his legs in the war? she wonders. That poor, poor, springy man.) Charlie, grateful for the partnership, decides to name the restaurant after Margie. "You're such a super lady," he says. "We should call it SuperLady's Smogasbord!"

But Margie, super lady that she is, refuses to take all the credit. She insisted they install a drive-thru window where patrons can have their orders freshly pulled from the buffet and paid for by weight. The entire operation goes by "SuperLady's Smorgasboard and Charlie's Box Lunch."

Scout's honor, that's how it happened.


(And remember -- there are still five characters left unrevealed! There's still time to play!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

That Most Holy of Days

Have a Merry Monkey Tuesday!

Feliz Monkeydad!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Meme of the Secret Ten: Shoedown!

So, it seems y'all are letting Ami control my fate in this, the dreaded Meme of the Secret Ten. I can't find my list of numbers right now (it's either in my car or in the bedroom, and Kathy's asleep, and there's no chance I'm turning on a light), but I think I remember numbers 2 and 5. So we'll go with Ami's question:

2 and 5 go shoe shopping, what would happen, where would they go? :D

Shoe shopping. Sigh.

This question pairs up what may be the ultimate northerner and the ultimate southerner: #2, Police Chief Margie Gunderson from the Coen Brothers' Fargo, and #5, Johnny, the fiddle player from Charlie Daniels' song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Margie, being pregnant, wants comfortable shoes with a lot of support--but also something she can run in in case she needs to chase down a perp before he gets to the wood chipper. Good traction, too -- there's a lot of ice in Minnesota. Johnny, of course, wants some new shitkickin' boots. For, well... kickin' shit, I guess. I don't really understand the impulse, to be honest.

Johnny, being a gentleman, offers to pay. They go to a nice store in the Mall of America and try on shoes until they're both satisfied. Then Johnny hauls out the golden fiddle he won from the devil and tries to get change. The shoe store cashier insists on cash.

Meanwhile, Margie begins to wonder where Johnny got such a valuable item in the first place. She doggedly checks Johnny's credit rating and consults numerous financial institutions, as well as the Securities Exchange Commission, to see if Johnny might have stolen that fiddle. Johnny tells her he won it in a bet with the Devil. Margie asks for details, which Johnny supplies.

So she pulls out the cuffs and arrests him. Neither Johnny nor the so-called "Devil" could produce any licensing for legal gambling in the state of Georgia. However, upon extradition, the state of Georgia releases Johnny after he wins a fiddle contest with the warden.

The warden bowed his head, and told the judge to set the bail
Cause he finally found the one guy even Margie couldn't jail
Johnny said, "Warden, just say the word if you wanna sing a different key
Cause I told you once, you son of a bitch, the best fiddle player's me!"

Oddly enough, Johnny's golden fiddle somehow disappeared from the evidence locker. The warden retired in disgrace shortly afterwards, and now lives on his own private island.

See how much fun this can be? Why not leave me a question? Or better yet, come up with your own Secret Ten!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hallelujah, Everybody Say Cheese

Another favorite Christmas song: "Merry Christmas From the Family," by Robert Earl Keene.

Feliz Navidad!

UPDATE: I should probably mention that I enjoy the Jill Sobule version of this song better. I think it's the quality of her voice: She sounds more innocent, while Keene sings with a smirk. He seems to stand apart from his family (and maybe that's an impression I'm drawing as much from the video as the song itself), while Sobule just shrugs her shoulders and joins in.

That said, when I sing the song, I hear Graham Parker in my head. I don't think he's ever covered it, but I'm sure he'd do a stellar job, and wouldn't go easy on the bitters. "We need some celery and a can of fake snow," is a line practically custom-made for him.


I turned my face away, and dreamed about you...

The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, singing one of my holiday favorites. And yes, that's Matt Dillon in the video.

I really do love this song. The shouting and anger cloaks a genuine affection that the singers can't quite express. There's so much regret, and when the early hopes are revealed, it only magnifies it and makes it beautiful.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Secret Ten: Comic Blog Showdown!

I'm going to reveal my Meme of the Secret Ten choices little by little, in case anyone other than Ami wants to play. (C'mon, folks! Right now the only person pulling my strings is one somewhat hyperactive Canadian! That's not just bad for the meme: It's bad for America. Show some national pride! Add a question in the comments here or in the first meme post.)

So rather than takle Ami's first question, I'm going for this one:

3 and 10 start separate comic blogs, what would they blog about, would any of their blogs show up on WFA, and would they ever get into a flame war and troll each other? xD

Oh yes. Oh yes they would.

First off, #3, "Steven Colbert" (the persona he plays on his show, rather than the guy himself) would start up his own Tek Jansen fanblog under a ghost name, JansenFan64. It would start getting massive hits once Colbert himself recommended the site on his show. Things would be going fine, thanks to all his readers -- "the Heroes" -- posting a lot of fawning comments on the blog.

And then #10 would show up. Writing only as tehBastard, the commenter would begin by poking little holes in the Jansen stories, noting how ridiculous they are and how they seem only to be written for Colbert's self-aggrandizement. tehBastard provokes and provokes, eventually driving the Heroes to distraction and JansenFan64 to the point of apoplexy. His comments would get so trenchant, and so vehement, that Colbert himself would "step in," (remember, he's actually been there all along, but this time he's using his real name) calling tehBastard out on the blog. tehBastard accepts his challenge, appearing on a special Colbert Report: Where he's revealed as Spider Jerusalem -- and he in turn reveals Colbert as JansenFan64. The Heroes, of course, dismiss Jerusalem as an America-hating tattooed freak from the future. But shortly thereafter, JansenFan64 retires from the blogosphere, looking for a less acrimonious venue, like cable news.

When Fangirls Attack links as they deem necessary -- they're never ones to shy away from a car wreck on their side of the street.


Whaddya think, sirs? I'll try to post one of these a day, holidays permitting (Christmas is sprawling over 3 days for me this year). So feel free to send me more ideas!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Surprise, Surprise!

My Angola book shipped; I got my comps in the mail today. I swear, sometimes I forget I'm an author. It genuinely slips my mind.


Putting the Sub in Subway

I heard on the traffic & transit report on the radio this morning that the B & D lines were suspended.

I didn't know there were B&D trains! I'll have to grab a studded collar and ball gag and head on down.


Oh, I've Got a Brand-New Engine Coolant Cap

...You've got a brand-new key.

Judging from the driving I've done in these past few days, including circling the Woodbridge Mall parking lot for 15-20 minutes, it seems like my car is finally fixed. No boiling coolant, no leaky fluid, no overheating engine.

And what did the trick? Not the new radiator (though that was damaged in the initial occurence and had to be replaced), nor the new tubing. Instead, what I needed was a new cap on the coolant reservoir to better keep things pressurized. The higher the air pressure, the higher the boiling point. Simple physics, as anyone who's ever hard-boiled an egg in Denver could tell you.

But believe me when i say, my Christmas is looking a thousand times merrier than it had been, thanks to a five-dollar piece of equipment.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ho Ho Hurrrkkk!

A nice little train ride home, at 10:30 last night. I caught one of NJ Transit's fairly new double decker trains -- a rare treat for me. Plus, I had new comics to read; always a plus. And there were some tween girls a few seats ahead of me, every now and then singing Christmas carols, but not being obnoxious about it. They wore reindeer antlers. It was nice.

Then, as the train stopped in Newark, someone either stepped onto the train and started vomiting, or just sat there and started vomiting. However it happened, we couldn't see him; we could only hear. Loud,, heaving. The entire upper deck of the train cringed as a single unit.

Eventually the heaving stopped; the people would could see out the windows said the guy was escorted off the train.

As we got moving again, the conductor walked up into our car, and said "I bet you all could hear that."

"The whole train could hear it," someone said.

"Well, I'll say one thing for the guy," said the conductor. "He sure chews his food well."


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mute Garfield

I don't know if I've ever posted this here before, but I recently rediscovered the joys of Mute Garfield. Some folks on a message board removed the thought balloons from Garfield strips -- rendering them tiny vignettes about a pathetic man and his hateful cat. And also the funniest thing ever.


War on Chipmas

Jim the Bastard chronicles the latest dipshittery at the office. A bunch a cut-ups, we are.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Political Ad

"It's almost as if you don't want Hillary Clinton to be President." Priceless.


Meme of the Secret Ten

Okay, I found a new meme on Ami's blog:

I'm gonna make a list of 10 characters, it is a secret list. If you want, comment to this post with a question like, "2 and 8 have a dance off, who wins?" and then I answer them in a seperate post and it is the most fun meme ever. And you can ask as many questions as you like.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me. As with my last 10 characters meme, you can expect these characters from anywhere. Ask away in the comments. I'll be posting answers above.



It's Monkey Tuesday.


Monday, December 17, 2007

For All You Bone-heads

Jeff Smith talks about his upcoming comic, RASL, at Newsarama. It starts in February.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Seperate Peace?

It looks like David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, will be striking an interim deal with the WGA. Mark Evanier considers the implications.



After three trips to the shop, my car's coolant continues to boil.

As does my blood.


Unpack That Box

And now, the first in another irregular series that I may never revisit: Favorite TV Scenes. This week: The West Wing.

Since there's not much new TV on, I've been powering through the first season of The West Wing lately. There's a scene at the midpoint of the season that I've seen a few times now, and I love every time.

The lead-up is: Over the past few episodes, we've learned that a Republican congressman has gotten his hands on confidential files that reveal that not only is the President's chief of staff Leo McGarry (the terrific John Spencer) a recovering alcoholic (already well-known in beltway circles), but that he underwent treatment for an addiction to painkillers. This has been making waves behind the scenes, and will undoubtedly cause more trouble for McGarry and the Bartlett administration in the months ahead. Earlier in this episode ("Take Out the Trash Day"), Karen Larson (Liza Weil) the young staffer who leaked the information has been identified, and told in no uncertain terms to clean out her desk.

In the episode's final scene, she enters Leo's office at the end of the day. Leo had sent for her, becuase he wanted to meet her, and wanted her to meet him. He asks her what went through her mind when she read his personnel file. She explains that her father was an alcoholic; Leo's was, too. As they talk, Leo explains about his addictions, but that he hasn't had a drink for six years. And he asks about her motivations for leaking his information.

She replies, "My father, he --" and then cuts herself off, restating her answer. She talks about how many decisions he had to make, and how many people depend on those decisions every day. We don't know what she was going to say about her father, but our intuition leads us into some dark places. Whatever decisions he made were the wrong ones.

Leo understands this. His career, and all the goals and ideals he's worked for, have been put in jeopardy by her actions. He tells her, "Karen, what you did caused a lot of problems; for me, for the President, and for a lot of people we don't even know about," a sideways referral to a sex-education report the President agreed to sit on for a year to avoid a hearing for McGarry. "But I'm not sure it wasn't a little bit brave."He tells her to unpack her carton of personal items, and the two of them can give each other another chance.

It's an act of forgiveness that really demonstrates the quality of Leo's character. She might have ruined his career. That remains to be seen. But she did it out of loyalty to her country, and a genuine conviction, born of personal experience, that it was the right thing to do. And he won't see her punished for that.

It's a great scene, from a standout season.


Friday, December 14, 2007


Dreamed I had hair last night. That's never happened before...

And damn, it looked good, too.


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Chris A. just sent me this lightbulb commercial from Thailand.* Chris is a man who knows the funny: You'll want to watch it.

*Chris is not in Thailand.

I Won't Hear Better News Today

Darwyn Cooke & Co. are putting out a 48-page New Frontier Special.

Seriously. My favorite writer/artist returning to my favorite story of this past decade. That ain't sauerkraut.


Hoo-Rah for Illness!

Stopped into a meeting today. Dropped 1.8 pounds in the last two weeks. That's the empty weight of this US GI-issue tactical load-bearing vest, although who knows how much it would weigh if it contained enough pixels for a decent resolution. But in these last weeks, I've enjoyed Thai food, turkey-stuffing leftover sandwiches, a street-vendor hotdog with mustard and relish, and, just yesterday, copious amounts of peanut butter and a late-night bowl of ice cream (for the sore throat, naturally). And—oh yes—several of your Christmas cookies. So I can only chalk this up to a little bit o' sick, and generally having internalized some decent eating habits. Which is good news, any way ya wanna slice it.

Also: I finally flipped the odometer, with my weight going into another range of tens. Meaning I lose a daily point per week. Now that I'm back on the horse, I oughta take that seriously. (shudder)



For your viewing pleasure (and because Jim the Bastard asked me how to spell "tchotchkes" this morning): Behold! The Great American Tchotchke Peepshow!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Out of the Loop

Stayed home today. Hopefully a day without speaking will bring my voice back. I finished up enough things at work last night that I would be...not necessarily superfluous to the remaining ship, but at least not essential to having it go smoothly.

I called in, and it sounds like it has. But it's weird being out of the loop like this while there's any crunch time still crunching.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I just got new glasses!

There are all sorts of things I can read at a distance now!

(Like minds...and you should be ashamed of yourself!)


Make Your Tuesday

...a Monkey Tuesday.

News of the Jaw-Droppingly Awesome

Apparently last night, Bill Clinton was heckled by a robot.

And this robot has been harboring a robot grudge for fifteen years... about Sister Souljah.

Here's an excerpt from Hotline's report:

About seven minutes into the former president’s fourth speech of the day, the man stood on a chair on the press riser and shouted that robots wanted Clinton to say he was sorry for statements he made 15 years ago.

"Bill Clinton, I want you to apologize to Sister Souljah. Robots of the world want you to apologize to Sister Souljah. We want you to apologize,” the man said as one observer gasped "Oh my God.”

A volunteer demanded to know who had let him in and the audience heckled the heckler with boos and screams of "Get out of here!” He then threw dozens of orange, green, hot pink and yellow cards into the air. A woman yanked what appeared to be a microphone out of the man’s hands, and he was escorted out of the room without further incident.

The cards read: "Robots are mad at Bill. MR-IFOBCA stands for Mad Robots In Favor Of Bill Clinton Apologizing. Mr. Ifobca says, "Bill Clinton should be ashamed of himself for slandering a Black woman named Sister Souljah," followed by a website address ( Posted on the site is a "manifesto" entitled “"Why Did I Bum Rush Bill Clinton?”

Remember, robots are strong. And when they grab you with their metal claws, you can't break free.

UPDATE: At the bottom of the manifesto us this disclaimer: "NOTE: MR. IFOBCA (Mad Robots In Favor Of Bill Clinton Apologizing) IS NOT RELATED TO, OR ENDORSED BY, MR. ROBOTO." Sweeet.

UPDATE 2: There's now video of the robot...and what a profoundly disappointing robo-specimen he is. He looks more like an German bike messenger. Now is the time on Sprokets when we protest!


(Unintelligible Grunt)

Sick as a wreck today. Last night my cloudy mind dreamt of Barack Obama trying to get permission to tether a blimp over Hartnett's, the five-and-dime of my youth. Came in to work anyway today to infect all of New York ship the magazine.

Gotta get done. Then rest.


Monday, December 10, 2007

They Smile In Your Face...

...and all the time they wanna take your place.

No, I'm not talking about the Backstabbers, although the O'Jays lay down the most infectious of grooves, so much so that I wind up singing their song whenever I pop a DVD of The Sandbaggers into my player. Family members know I'll sing anything at any occasion. Pity Kathy.

No, The Sandbaggers is a terrific British TV show from the late 70s and early 80s about Britain's Special Operations Unit, led by blunt, anti-charismatic Neil Burnside (played by Roy Marsden). It was created by Ian MacIntosh, a Royal Navy lieutenant-commander who possibly was in the british secret service. Sadly, he is presumed dead after an 1979 airplane accident as season 3 was shooting. The series ended after that. (I'm still watching Season 2, so don't tell me what happens next!)

I first heard about The Sandbaggers in interviews with Greg Rucka, author of Queen and Country, an excellent graphic novel spy series published by Oni Press (and his Atticus Kodiak novels are even better, in my opinion). Sandbaggers is one of the rare tv shows that Kathy & I don't watch together. It's dry as sandpaper -- too much of it is heated conversations in London offices, and not enough spy derring-do to suit her tastes, I guess. But I love it, possibly for the same reason I love prison movies. Burnside is obviously working within an extremely structured system. He's pressured by his bosses, by the crown, and by the various foreign stations to which he sends his three (ideally...he usually only has two) operatives, called sandbaggers. Plus, he's pressured by the enemy (either terrorists or the KGB) and even the CIA, with whom British intelligence has a "special relationship" which no one wants to jeopardize, even if the two agencies might be at odds now and then. Just like a prison movie, I like to see what Burnside can do to fight the system from within it. How can he do what he needs to while he's jumping through all those hoops?

Another way of looking at it is a combination of 24 and The West Wing. It's not just a successful mission that's important, but a success that's politically successful as well. It can be immensely frustrating -- Burnside doesn't always win, and he sometimes sabotages himself with his own acrid personality. But if it grips you -- and Kathy's reaction tells me that that might be a crapshoot -- if it grips you, it carries you right along on its tense, obsessive journey.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

I Can See the Floor From Here

After months -- okay, years -- of tarps and dropcloths being draped over some furniture as we stripped and sanded the molding around the floors and windows (with something like 3 different grits of steel wool for the stripping, then three more grits of sandpaper, and I'm older just thinking about it), we've finally moved on. Today, I pulled the tarps off and we moved the furniture out of the room so I could take up all the padding on the floor. I'm not quite done with the floor...but it's recognizably a room again, and not a big pile of ghostly junk.

Progress. I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I was going to save this observation for next Monkey Tuesday...

...but "Mandrill" would be a great name for a gay bar.

Rob least it's an ethos!

While checking out the Hulk's to-do list (thanks Doc!) I stumbled onto the blogger's socio-political-breakfast critique of The Big Lebowski.

It's worth a look.


Car Update

Looks like there was a faulty hose running from my brand-new radiator. Now that's fixed, and hopefully all is well. Gotta ride this baby till the wheels fall off. (Note to self: Tighten


Plans for Next Year

Patrick Stewart.



Feb 12 to March 22.

Who's in?


What an asshole.

"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom....Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." - Mitt Romney

Seriously, Mr. Romney:



Two Blocks Away From Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash

I can't help it. I lurrrve local commercials, with their cheesy special effects, oddball sense of humor, and accents you don't hear anywhere else on TV. I saw a truncated (30-second) version of this one (for a somewhat local hobby shop) during tonight's Countdown and had to rewind it twice to make sure my eyes and ears weren't deceiving me. Glorious insanity.

She's holding the train right in front of her eyes! I can't get over that!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why do we never get an answer when we're knocking at the door?

Somehow I missed this: Part five of's Greg Rucka Question interview.

Linking now, so I can read later.


I Need Happymaking!


After a long night of D&D this Friday, we pulled off the turnpike on our way home and noticed that a) my check gauges light was on; b) there was a funny smell; c) my car's hood was smoking; and d) my temperature gauge was through the roof. So we pulled into the driveway, opened the hood, and found coolant all over.

The next day we refilled the coolant and drove it to our mechanic. He replaced the radiator on Monday, and that was that.

That's what I was hoping, anyway. I noticed a strange, fishy smell as I pulled into the driveway after work last night, but thought nothing of it. This morning, as I was climbing floor after floor of my parking garage, I heard some sort of grinding sound. I opened the hood once I parked (missing my train as I looked), and noticed, yes, coolant leaking all over. I restarted the car briefly, and the temperature gauge was nearing the danger zone.

Whatever the busted radiator was, it didn't bust on its own. It was a symptom of some other problem. Hopefully that will be fixed tomorrow, and I can drive this car a while further down the road.

Until then, I need happymaking.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ook! Ook!

What was I thinking? Enough of sharks!

It's Monkey Tuesday! Have a mandrill!


Shark Update

In a rare fit of industry, I've detoothed the beast, removing the storm door as soon as I got home before it smashed itself against our house. (Low winds today, I guess; otherwise I doubt I'd have had the chance.)

Mostly, I used a screwdriver. But that final stubborn screw called for a different tool.

Yeah! How'd ya guess?


Freaking Out The Mundies

I like to gross people out as I step into elevators. From about 20 seconds ago:

"Yeah, I'm taking a week off for Christmas. It's such a crunch now that..."

(Elevator door opens, and Andre & I step on, amid riders from above.)

"...I'm gonna take a week off, saw off the top of my head and let my brain leak into the sink."

So refreshing, it's like a Peppermint Patty.


Today's Mood: A One-Picture Rebus

(Jim the Bastard, of course, has more.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

A House Like a Shark

A few years ago, playing Dungeons and Dragons, my character was swallowed by a giant shark. I had to cut myself out to escape (and then promptly popped back inside the beast to fight it from within, where it couldn't bite me).

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to cut myself out of our house.

Our storm door has been kinda broken for a while--it doesn't close right--but in today's winds, it got ridiculous. It's been flapping open, banging against the wall all night, and it's only going to get worse. So, as a temporary measure, we've tied the storm door to the main door to keep it closed.

Naturally, to open this door tomorrow morning, I'm going to have to deal with the twine. And I already know I won't have the patience to untie the knot tomorrow morning before work. So I'll be cutting myself free, while the snapping jaws of my storm door go for my head.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

To Our Dear Friends and Family,

Even as you read this, I am most likely stealing one of your Christmas cookies.

So sorry!

Warmest Holiday Wishes,


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Doctor, Doctor

I'd heard about this a while ago, but hadn't gotten around to watching it until now: A short (8-minute) episode of Doctor Who in which the current David Tennant regeneration meets my favorite of the early batch, Peter Davison. Have some celery! Enjoy!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Lighter Than Air

I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven, to carry me home.

One of my childhood heroes passed away today.

Rest in peace, Evel.


Will Dream For Food

Last night I dreamt I was hired to write a short biography of Marie Osmond for $250. Just a page or two, to be read on the radio. All night in my dreams, I tried to recall as much as I could about her, and really worked out, sentence by sentence, how this biography was going to go. It was work, and I didn't feel rested at all until I had another dream in which the Martian Manhunter was chasing me through an office building (I lost him in the elevator shaft).

Anyway, when I woke up I felt like I'd been stiffed out of $250, and I haven't been able to shake the feeling all day. I went to an optometrist and bought new glasses, and I thought "My Osmond money would just about cover that, if they'd ever friggin' pay me."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back to the Cult

I made it to another meeting this week -- my first in two weeks, since I skipped the one right before Thanksgiving. The week prior, I weighed in at two pounds higher than the week before, and wound up in a black mood for days. As Dan Bern sang,

Some wild creature has taken command
I gave him the keys
And he's stomping through the house
He has a very busy itinerary
He does not have much time for You.

Those lines always come to mind when I get into my ugly, self-absorbed moods, which thankfully don't come too often. (Usually I have pleasant, self-absorbed moods.)

Anyway, I stepped onto the scale today expecting a modest to enormous gain, what with Thanksgiving dinner, the reunion, the gallon of gin that I drank...and found out that I'd lost a pound. Which is awesome and unexpected. My only explanation is that it must've been some sort of magical bird my mom cooked up.

Could it have been the one that appears about a minute into this video? I think it was.

(And really, how bout that video? Could I tie things up any better?) The world is one big circle. Ouroboros, baby.)


Sammich Update (Like You Care)

Less than a block away from my original shop, I found a breakfast nook that will sell me an egg-white sandwich with hot sauce on toast for a buck seventy five, no tax. With more egg whites than the other place!

Take that, evil egg manager!


...Is the Hardest Part

Screw you, Andy Warhol. I want my comics today!


Ooh, That Smell.

Apparently I wasn't the only one to note the smell in the basement lounge of the bar I was in last weekend. A few work buddies were there last night, and I'm told that one of them remarked, "It smells like date rape down here."

That trumps my description, without sacrificing a jot of accuracy.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She's the One

We had our benefits meeting at work today. You know: health, dental, vision insurance, the whole deal. And one of the questions I (some would say wisely) neglected to ask was:

If you get a tooth stuck in your eye, would that be covered under the dental plan or the vision plan?

When I got home from work, I presented this poser to my wife. And I'm happy to say, her line of reasoning was exactly the same as my own:

"That depends on whose tooth it is."

Ah, baby.


Long Overdue Linkage

Have a few additions to the blogrolls here—blogs that for some reason I’ve overlooked despite me visiting them fairly regularly.

In the Pals & Gals section, I realized I missed a couple in the vast influx of my online buddies from a few months ago. First of all, Howard Bagby just restarted his blog, In Purple I’m Stunning. (Okay, it’s a restart, so maybe I didn’t overlook it after all, but I'm certainly glad to hear from him again.) Then there’s the only one of these friends I’ve met in real life. So give a big hand to Mike Parnell, pastor, comic reader, and all around good guy, blogging at On Further Up the Road: Musings on the Journey. There’s so many of these online buds now that I should probably give them their own section. Ah, linkshuffling.

Probably my biggest oversight is not linking to Brenda Tremblay’s blog until now. I’ve gone on vacation with Brenda and her family for several years now, and we went from being strangers to friends in what seemed like a matter of minutes. We met on a big group vacation—four families in one house. A risky venture that could easily have ended in disaster. And yet—everything worked. Grownups, kids—we all clicked. Just when you think you’re done making new friends…wham. (And Brenda, I haven’t forgotten I owe you a blog post on the similarities between comic book and classical music outreach.)

Then there are the folks I haven’t met. In the comics section, there’s Mike of Are You Feeling Big Mike? He only posts about once a week, but his posts are provocative and always worth reading.

And finally, I’ve been meaning to add Johnny B’s Solar Prestige a Gammon to my sidebar, since I’ve been having such a great time checking in on his examinations of every Elton John song from before he was replaced with a pod person under a toupee.

As Lyle Lovett sings, there’s more I remember, and more I could mention…but these’ll have to do for now.


Mute Haitian

This came up at work a few days ago: Is anyone else tired of everyone calling the Haitian mindwipe guy on Heroes "The Haitian"? Sure, maybe he's made them all forget his name -- but he lets them remember where he's from? I don't buy it. And what will they do if another Haitian joins the cast? Something's gotta give.

How on earth does everyone know he's Haitian, anyway? He hardly says a word, so his accent is no use, and he looks like he's from L.A. But they all call him "the Haitian," because otherwise they'd be calling him "that black, the creepy one."

Seriously, give him a name already. And use it.

The Pennsylvanian

Monday, November 26, 2007

Taking 20

(In which, try as I might, I somehow can't avoid sounding like a Wonder Years voiceover.)

Class reunions are the type of event that tend to call up unreasonable feelings of dread in people. I mentioned I was going to my twentieth high school reunion last week, and my co-workers generally told me to have fun and wished me luck. I think the luck remark comes mainly because I am old, and most of them are amazed that I can make it to work and back without breaking a hip.

But “good luck” is also code for “try to have a good time, you sorry, sorry, sad, sorry fool, walking blithely into the jaws of death, embarrassment, and lingering teenageism.” A lotta folks didn’t have a good time in high school, I guess.

I dunno. Looking back, I think I navigated those years pretty well. They weren’t my wild years—those were either college, post-college, or somewhere ahead of me, once I shave a few seconds off these bank-heist time tests—but I sure as hell had fun, and managed to sidestep any lasting mistakes. And I made a bunch of good friends that stuck with me, most of whom I was lucky enough to see at the reunion.

Problem is, I didn’t see nearly enough of them that night, since there were so many other people to see that I’d lost touch with in the interim. At the outset, four hours seemed like a decent period of time – but I could’ve gone longer. There was enough time for brief catch-ups, and no time for hanging out. And then, WHAM! The lights were up, and we were blinking our eyes and hauling our drunken asses out the door and hopefully into a passenger seat.

It was great to see my regular buddies, but man, was it good to see all those familiar faces, not looking as old as I’d feared. I heard this line in a play once, and try to live by it: “Friends are great, but to lead a truly interesting life, you must have strangers.” Even so – it’s really nice to see in those strangers the faces of old friends.


Note: None of this could have happened without the tireless efforts and enthusiasm of Debbie, Laurel and Bill. Thanks for putting this on, guys -- it was fantastic!

Haunting at 45 RPMs

The other night, as we were getting dressed in my old attic bedroom in my Mom's house to go to my 20th high school reunion, I played a few of my old singles for Kathy. 45s, that is, kids. Records.

Not that these were records I was listening to in high school. Those were albums, and for the most part had made the move to our house in New Jersey. No, these were singles I had picked up used, two for a quarter, at our middle school book sale before I knew anything at all about what kind of music I liked. I chose them on the strength of their titles -- anything that promised spies, science fiction, or the supernatural was in. So I was the proud owner of Steppenwolf's "Jupiter Child," Alan O'Day's "Undercover Angel," and the Who's "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde."

And man, did I ever play that song when I was a kid. A John Entwistle tune from 1968, it grabbed me from what I still consider to be an excellent first line: "Someone is spending my money for me."

Now, the orchestration on this baby is hokey (Daltrey and Townsend singing backup with falsetto ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba's), and I have to say that the record itself had seen better days, as it warped from its attic storage. But it was still a thrill hearing this song that somehow had a hand in forming me. Entwistle, always prone to a way-out song (see "My Wife") is probably my favorite Who member, as these things go. I didn't realize he'd written "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde," but upon reflection, who else could've?

"Whenever you're with me, make sure it's still me..." Not bad advice for us mercurial folk.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Outright Thievery, I Tell You! I Should Be Ashamed!

I've sat on this for about a week, figuring I'd have more to say about these links I first found on Johanna Draper-Carlson's Comics Worth Reading blog. But, it turns out... no. No, I have very little else to say. But in light of the fact that most of my family and friends don't read comics blogs of any sort, I'm just grabbin' the links and running as fast as my floppy Hamburglar feet can carry me.

I first was introduced to The Nails' song "88 Lines About 44 Women" (listen here, albeit to a version they recorded later) on a mix tape my friend Chris made for me. And I loved it like the crazy dating history I never had.* (The tape also had a Peter-Gunn sounding version of Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso," another song that thrilled me to the core.)

Anyway, an enterprising soul with the handle Slipjig rewrote the lyrics as "88 Lines About 44 Fangirls." And it is awesome.

So listen, read, and try not to recognize anyone. (And thanks again, Johanna!)

*I'm also quite fond of my own crazy dating history--but it doesn't hold a candle to "88 Lines."