Monday, March 31, 2008

My Weekend, In No Particular Order

Taxes filed.

Futon delivered.

Phone repaired.

Dishwasher emptied, filled.

Dude medicated.

Movies watched.

Peeps gobbled.

Were-baboon bisected.


Say What You Want About Spitzer...

...but he hasn't been caught participating in Nazi-themed orgies. I swear, the human mind is a snake pit.

More appropriate themes for orgies?

  • Gilligan's Island.
  • King Kong versus Godzilla.
  • Senate Subcommittee on Foreign Relations.
  • Arbor Day.
  • Exiled in Space!
  • UFC: Ultimate F***ing Challenge
  • Rollerball.
  • Slap leather! The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Arbor Day = HOT.


Pilling a Ferret

It seems like we've found a solution for how to pill the Dude. Well, it's not technically a solution; technically it's a suspension, but it solved our problem, so it's both.

Pill Pockets didn't work for Dude -- he didn't have any interest in them, so there was no point sneaking a pill into one. On the other hand, we've come up with a strategy that gets most of the medicine in him and has only gotten us peed on once. (And by us, I mean Kathy. Phew.)

First, we grind the half-pill up with a mortar and pestle. We had one already, so we figured it was worth a shot. This reduces the pill into a much finer powder than crushing it between two spoons.

Originally the plan was to put it into a syringe with the Vivify vitamin supplement he was already taking, but it wasn't possible to get it into the syringe after the Vivify was inside, and we didn't want to contaminate the Vivify supply. So instead, I dumped the pill powder onto a spoon (inderectly; I use my finger to scrape the powder from the mortar onto a folded piece of paper, which I then tilt and pour into the spoon). Then I squirted the measured amount of Vivify onto the powder, stirring it around with the edge of the syringe.

Then I scruff the dude and give him his medicine. First comes a syringe dose of his prednisone, which he doesn't like but goes down quick. Then there's this pill/Vivify mix. I put some on my finger and rub it against his teeth and gums. He instinctively licks at it (and then makes a bleah! bleah! sound). I repeat this until the mix is done. He never likes it, but he can't help himself from licking it, either. So it seems like some of the medicine is getting in him. At any rate, more is getting in him than with our other futile efforts, and while he hates it, he's a lot less stressed out by the process than the other things we've tried.

Anyway, I write about this in such detail not for the regular readers of my blog, but because I did a lot of online searching for alternate methods of pilling a ferret, and didn't find much. So hopefully this will give someone in our situation another method to try. It's not perfect, but its the best one we've found.

It helps that afterward, we get to give him a medicine that he really likes. A spoonful of sugar, and all that.

UPDATE: Later on, we found a better way of getting the pill/Vivify mix into the Dude that we were all much happier with. I was able to draw the mixture from the spoon into a syringe with a wider nozzle. Then I could scruff him and give it to him usually in one squeeze, sometimes two. He still hated it, but it went down much quicker that way.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fanboy Myopia Throwdown

Copyright of the Superman material in Action Comics #1 has reverted to the heirs of one of Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel.

Naturally, fanboys at Blog@Newsarama want to congratulate the family on regaining some measure of profit from the creation of the superhero -- heck, the genre -- that has given them so much joy.

Oh, wait, this is Newsarama. They go apeshit: "Greedy families, how dare they? Superman is DC's! Superman is ours! Waah, waah, waah."

Get a grip. There'll be an exchange of money, and it'll be business as usual. This is a good thing for creators, and a good thing for Superman. It's not particularly good for Time Warner, but they won't be washing windshield on a corner anytime soon.



God of Thunder, God of ROCK!

(Via Progressive Ruin)

Why There Are No Mint Issues of Mad Magazine

Mark Evanier is right -- this interactive New York Times retrospective of Al Jaffee fold-in cartoons from Mad magazine is mighty cool. (And here's the story that goes with it.)


Friday, March 28, 2008

Girl's Costume Warehouse

As much as I love that Mike's Marbleopolis commercial, this one captures the kooky local ad vibe even better. It's out of season, but I don't wanna wait seven months to share it.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Internet Ads

At first, I thought: "This is the website for me!"

And then I realized that the site itself wasn't Coulter-free. Entirely the opposite, in fact.

Pity. I thought they were promoting pest control.


Golden Fire

Comics blogger Kevin Church is suffering from a terrible urinary tract infection. How else to explain this protracted and irritating pissing contest?

More evidence here.

Get well soon, Kev. You can beat this thing.


Great Moments in Fanboy Hyperbole

So I've been rereading the infamous issues of Justice League of America in which the traditional League disbanded and Aquaman set up a new, less powerful League in its place. His rationale was dedication: Too many original Leaguers were on other missions when they were needed by the JLA, so he only took on people who could devote themselves entirely to the group. (This echoes the authorial complaint the the JLA is tough to write because of all the coordination between the characters' solo books. "Dedicated" Leaguers = No Solo Books.) Because of the location of this group's initial headquarters, this group is known as the Justice League Detroit.

Anyway, I've discovered that the book, while flawed, isn't the stinkfest it's often remembered as. Unlike the by-the-book issues of JLA before it, it actually feels like it's trying something new. It's as concerned with characterization as it is action, even if the characterization isn't particularly deep. There's down-time; we get to see the Martian Manhunter learn to make chili. That has to count for something.

And as an added bonus, there is simply some great hyperbole in the letters columns, as old-school JLA fans fired off frothing complaints. My favorite comes from Michael Pickens of Utica, Ohio, writing to JLA editor Alan Gold in the lettercol of issue #239:

"Congratulations, Mr. Gold. By allowing this drastic turn-around, you've committed the most irresponsible error in judgment since Judas Iscariot."

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, a few issues later, someone says that Aquaman is "worse than Hitler." Think I'm kidding? Tell it to Mark Ryan of St. Louis, Missouri (issue #243).


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You Mean I Can't Trust Internet Ads?

I just saw this flashing ad atop a Newsarama page:

Of course it's not a joke. Jokes are funny; this is just a lie.


The Mr. Bill of Prehistory

One of the cool things I've discovered about Hulu is that you can choose to embed only part of any video. You can clip it from the front or the back, however you like.

To celebrate this feature, here's Scrat, from the opening of Ice Age. The little guy always cracks me up.


Sweet, Honey-Dipped Love

A few days ago, Ami embedded a music video on her blog that cracked me up. And since then, I've been meaning to send you over there to watch it.

And finally, that dream is realized!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After a week in which I was extremely dedicated to losing weight (partially foiled by a bunny-related holiday), did I see any results?

You bet I did. I lost a 3.2 pound French pirate boarding cutlass, cutting my weight down to its lowest point since I started this thing.

Slice and dice, my friends. Now to make sure this week continues the success.


Livin' on the Web in Cincinnati

Baby, if you've ever wondered if you could watch the first season of WKRP online... the answer is hell, yeah. Last night, for instance, I stayed up a half hour longer than I shoulda, watching a fish fight a pig in a men's room.

And you can, too! (Well, most of you.)

Also available are Remington Steele, Barney Miller, Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Bob Newhart Show, Firefly and more.

But seriously: Fish versus Pig. Furry Fight!



Another update on the Dude. He’s been eating better and gaining weight with a new medicine regimen. Kathy & I were giving him a shot three times a week, which I found a lot easier than I expected to. Also, there was a new vitamin supplement that he absolutely adored.

Then, last week, Kathy took him back to the vet. We were expecting him to get a biopsy on the enlarged lymph node near his hind leg; we’d vetoed the procedure last month because he was so thin and weak, but it looked like he’d be able to weather it now. But when Dr. Kim saw him, he said the biopsy was unnecessary; sadly, he was able to tell just by feeling the outside of him that it was cancer. At this point, our job is to make him comfortable.

The Dude’s big issue in the coming months will be liver function. Dr. Kim said the Dude could get along pretty much fine even down to only 30 percent of his liver function; after that, he would decline. So he gave us some medicine to take care of the Dude’s liver.

One medicine, thankfully, he loves. He takes it in a dropper and laps it all up.

The other medicine, however, is (half of) a pill. We still haven’t been able to give it to Dude successfully. We tried to pill him outright, and he put up a tremendous fight and got very stressed out and frothy -- and never took the pill, even if we got it in his mouth. We tried to crush it and put it in peanut butter. No dice there, either. Last night, I crushed it even more finely with a mortar & pestle. Then I gathered up the powder and put it into a syringe with a vitamin supplement he really likes. He ate the supplement, but the powder just became a glop at the tip of the syringe.

So I carefully added some water to the syringe. I hoped it would dissolve and I could use the dropper to get it into his mouth. After a while, it did dissolve, sort of, and I squirted some into Dude’s mouth. He hated it, but I tried to get more in before he squirmed away. I had dissolved it in a fair bit of water, much more fluid than I usually give the Dude at once. I squirted a bit more, and he started to gag.

That’s when I realized I was waterboarding my ferret.

Today Kathy plans to pick up some pill pockets—little pet treats with a hole to hide pills in. I hope that works tonight. I can deal with a necessary moment of unpleasantness to get some medicine down the hatch. But I have to draw the line at torture.


UPDATE: We've come up with another, fairly successful, method for giving pills to a ferret.

Monday, March 24, 2008

If Bad Was a Boot

So, Rob, why did all those children creep you out the other day?

Well, imaginary interviewer, I hadn’t really put it together until now, but I think it might have to do with a little song I'd been listening to by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds called “The Curse of Millhaven,” about a 13-year-old precious little serial killer. I’m not going to reproduce all the lyrics here (you can probably hear the song on Seeqpod), but here’s how she’s introduced:

My name is Loretta, but I prefer Lottie
I’m closing in on my thirteenth year
And if you think you've ever seen a pair of eyes more green
Then you sure didn’t see 'em 'round here
My hair is yellow and I’m always a-combing
La la la la La la la lie
Mama often told me we all got to die

You must have heard about The Curse Of Millhaven
How last Christmas Bill Blakey’s little boy didn’t come home
They found him the next week down in One Mile Creek
With his head bashed in and his pockets full of stones
You can just imagine all the wailing and moaning
La la la la La la la lie
Even little Bill Blakey’s boy, he had to die

And there’s more and more, as a rash of killings shocks the town, until finally:

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, old Mrs Colgate
Was stabbed but the job was not complete
The last thing she said before the cops pronounced her dead
Was, “My killer is Loretta and she lives across the street!”
Twenty cops burst through my door without even phoning
La la la la La la la lie
The young ones, the old ones, they all gotta die

And this may be my favorite verse:

Yes, it is I, Lottie, the Curse Of Millhaven
I’ve struck horror in the heart of this town
Like my eyes ain’t green and my hair ain’t yellow
It’s more like the other way around
I got a pretty little mouth underneath all the foaming
La la la la La la la lie
Sooner or later, we all gotta die

I love Lottie’s depiction of herself as a monster whose true countenance no one can see. She spits “my eyes ain't green, and my hair aint yella.” I also like this next bit, where she shows a little false regret before pulling the rug out again:

Since I was no bigger than a weevil they’ve been saying I was evil
That if bad was a boot, then I’d fit it
Oh I’m a wicked young lady, but I’ve been trying hard lately
Oh, fuck it! I’m a monster, I admit it!

Now that’s venom.

So Lottie confesses to the murders that she’s charged with, and many, many (many!) more. It’s a catalog of malice, and she’s eventually committed to an asylum.

Now I got shrinks that will not rest with their endless Rorschach tests
I keep telling them I know they’re out to get me
They ask me if I feel remorse and I answer, “Why of course!
There is so much more I could have done if they’d let me!”

I really love the song–it’s horrible and terrifying on one level, propelling the listener from one horror to the next (and even one crime she didn’t commit, instead perpetrated by “two junior-high-school psychos: Stinky Bohoun and his friend with the pumpkin-sized head”). Yet it has a level of deep-black humor to it as well—both in Lottie’s unrelenting spite, and just the idea of 39-year-old Nick Cave singing for a 12-year old girl. Like he's a viper in her belly, the demon driving her to do these things.

Anyway: Take a few listens to the song, and then suddenly find yourself surrounded by unfamiliar children. Surely, one of them has a knife—but which one?


Mobble Collums

A while back, I mentioned how much I love low-budget local commercials, and the SNL "Marble Column" parody commercial with Fred Armisen and Scarlett Johansson came up in the comments. Turns out it's called "Mike's Marbleopolis," and here it is. (There's probably a 15-second (genuine) ad in front of it.)


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!


Hold the Line

I should probably mention: We've been having some trouble with our home phone line. Trouble as in, it doesn't work.

So if you need to get in touch with us, call our cell phones until we can get this fixed.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Children Are Everywhere

I guess because of Good Friday, children were all throughout the train this morning (making loud squealing sounds like they were being disemboweled) and walking all around the streets. Everywhere you look: Children.


Really. I was pretty creeped out.


In Which I Learn the Name of My Nemesis

An update on my weight-loss progress:


For three weeks, I've had no progress whatsoever. Granted, I wasn't particularly attentive to things, and I've been just playin' 'em how they lay. So three weeks ago, I lost no weight. Okay, that's fine, but I've got no picture to show you. Like so:

Last week: I lost 1.8 pounds! Yay! That's the equivalent of a hardcover copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. A substantial piece of fiction.
So now this week, what happens?

I see my old friend again. Harry friggin' Potter. And once again, no progress is made.

This week, I'm tracking every point. And I'm drowning this brat in the deepest well I can find.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Balloon Drop

At long last, I've got 34 pages of comics art to dialog. Does this make me happy?

Oh my, yes.


The Crucial "Laughing at the Pieces" Endorsement

The other night I watched the entirety of Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech. It's 38 minutes long, but I recommend making the time for it.

After watching this, I don't think there's anything in the world that would stop me from voting for a man of such intelligence, honesty and compassion. If we make him our president, I believe that not only will we become a better nation as a whole, but we just might become a better nation as individuals as well. I know that sounds pie-in-the-sky, but it's what I truly feel.

If you don't have the time for the whole speech, here's a highlight reel put together by TPM (10 mins.).


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Have No Control Over the Cone Of Silence

There's this guy in the office. A bald guy who nearly always talks on his bluetooth headset. Let's call him Locutus.

If I and my coworkers are being somewhat loud, he always closes his office door. Which is absolutely fine. That's part of why offices have doors.

However, if he actually disconnects from the Borg Collective and talks on his speakerphone, he'll talk as loudly as he likes, without shutting the door. I don't need to hear it. My coworkers don't need to hear it. I'm not even convinced the person he's talking to needs to hear it, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt there.

But he doesn't shut the door. So I take the opportunity to put on some music, in the hopes that he'll hear it and decide that I'm too loud. And shut his door, so I can get some quiet.

Passive-Aggressive? I guess so. But I don't have a door I can control. I can only use my subtle mind-control powers in such situations, and they don't always work. Not even Frank Zappa works all the time.


Testing Something

Yes, this is a test!


Precious Little Movie

Geek though I am, I tend not to follow the comic-book movie hype. Either something gets made or it doesn't; either it looks good or it doesn't. Iron Man and Batman look great, but I'm not waiting with bated breath for news of the on-again, off-again Justice League movie.

But this?

This excites me.

Bring on the Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends!

(Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), no less! Squee!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wilmore on Gov. Paterson

I think Larry Wilmore—The Daily Show's "Senior Black Correspondent"—is one of the funniest people on TV right now. Last night's segment is a good example of why.


A Strange Visitor From Another Planet...

...wishes you a happy Monkey Tuesday.


Hand... Touching Hand...

Kevin Drum wonders why he's suddenly hearing the short-I pronunciation of "divisive" all of a sudden. Which reminds me of something that struck me earlier in the week: I'm hearing a lot more people say "hand-in-glove" these days than "hand-in-hand." Anyone have any ideas on why that might be? They mean roughly the same thing, right?

Is there a cooties outbreak I don't know about?


Monday, March 17, 2008

After-Dinner Update

The fish works. Three cheers for this product, which tonight has brought beer into my life.

Yes, I could have accessed the beer another way. But no other way would have been like shoving a fish onto a bottle of beer.


This Is The Sound Of My Jaw Dropping

In retrospect, that Titans ad looks pretty good. This one (the cover for issue #3) has so much stupid packed onto a single page that it's hard to know where to start. Chin-sucking Starfire? Rubbery Flash? All the cheesy Photoshop lens flare effects?

Naw, it's gotta be Sharper-Image Cyborg. He looks like something you dangle over your flower pots to make your weed grow faster.

(Remember, you can click the image to enbiggen the awfulness!)


So today, out of the blue, I get a mysterious package of stuff sent to me at the office.

This stuff.

It turns out, they're DeCappers -- a no-leverage bottle opening system. In the shapes of a pheasant, a widemouth bass, and a shotgun shell. We haven't tried them out on actual bottles of beer yet (yes, it's St. Patty's Day, but it's not yet noon) -- but I doubt it'll be long before we do.

Anyhow, one of the DeCappers...

(this one)

...looks to me like a bubble gun... or even better, the strange little fish dude in this video. (Yes, it's that time again...time to get that song stuck in your head... Kiko-PUNCH!)


My Brother Is Freaking Zelig

My brother -- who some of you might recall from his meeting with Desmund Tutu -- tends to be in the thick of it, wherever it is. So it's not entirely surprising to see him in this CNN clip at a McCain rally, getting as much camera time as he can (he's to the upper right of McCain in this shot).

Watch the clip, and see how Jim positions himself for the camera. It takes him a second, but the boy knows how to find his light. He's a star, baby -- a star!

Also this week, be sure to catch his walk-on appearance on the freighter in Lost.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Goodbyes to Men of Myth

My editor passed along a photocopy of this obituary of Ben Chapman, the man who played Creature from the Black Lagoon, in a recent issue of The Economist. I figured I'd link to it if it was online so y'all could read it. But in looking for it, I also found their most recent obituary, for Gary Gygax.

I never met either one of them, but both men made my life richer just the same.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You Can't Tell From This...

...but I am rapidly losing my voice. Time for NyQuil-assisted slumber.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them

So McCain is now backpedaling on his (already weak) repudiation of John Hagee's comments about the Catholic Church (if you don't know, this guy who endorsed McCain called it "the Great Whore" and a "false cult." Let me get this straight: Obama never accepted Farrakhan, but is put on the spot for what he says anyway. Yet McCain gets to ride Hagee's endorsement into the Republican nomination.)

Anyway, I digress. That's all old news. What caught my eye is this TPM story about how McCain thinks Hagee's words were taken out of context. I guess he isn't certain that "the Great Whore" is a slam on the Catholic Church.

Really, Mr. Straight Talk? Is that your final answer -- that "the Great Whore" isn't an insult? I guess if it were Elliot Spitzer, you'd have a leg to stand on -- "Julia and Skyler are nice, but that Maya is one great whore!" -- but barring that, how on earth could that be taken out of context?

You're one great whore, Senator McCain. No disrespect intended.


The Wrong Week

Posting has been sparse here lately, since we're shipping the magazine. Regular service (and lack thereof) will resume shortly.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ah, Youth!

Chris Sims treats us to a forgotten piece of comic book history. (And trust me, you'll get this even if you don't read comics. Click the link, why don't you?)

(Okay, that last one might require some explanation. But you probably got the gist.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Any Questions?

Yeah, just one: What the holy hell is going on with Flash's anatomy? Is he smuggling deli ham under his armpit or something? And after more than three years of putting her at the forefront of the DCU, the Powers That Be still can't come up with a viable superhero name for Donna Troy?

Okay, that's three questions. But seriously: no matter how happy I am to see the 80s-era Titans back together, this art makes baby angels cry.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

This One's For My Homies


It's Vince Neil!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded Kevin Church's mix, Music For Reading 001. It's ambient music of the sort that plays on Echoes on xpn. Music I never had much use for, to be honest, because Echoes was always on the radio late at night, and it would always lull me into sleep while I was driving. I can hear the deejay's dulcet tones: "I'm John Diliberto, and you're listening to Echoes, music to scrape the guardrail by." So smooth you're dead afterward.

But this mix... it's something else. The music is the same sort of ambient (Ambien?) stuff, but the context in which I'm listening to it makes all the difference. Instead of controlling a ton of bone-crushing machinery, I'm sitting on a train. I read for a little bit, as Kevin suggests... and then I put the book or comic down and close my eyes.

The first time I did this, the conductor had to bang on the train window to wake me up. I was in the soundest sleep I've ever had on a train. It was winter-coat, cocooned bliss. Since then I've queued up the mix a half dozen times, and each time found myself drifting off as the music drowns out the other passengers, including a cell-phone woman next to me this morning. It's wonderful.

And waking up with these swirling, engulfing sounds in your ears? It's like being born into a science fiction movie. Everything is new. For a while, you have a hard time distinguishing which sounds come from life and which are only in the headset. I keep the music going through my walk through Penn Station, only switching to other, more worldly stuff as I emerge onto the New York City streets. I drift past the pretzel stands and magazine shop neon, my eyes full of wonder.

One word of caution: This mix is powerful stuff. Don't listen while operating heavy machinery. Prepare to take the train to the end of the line.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Green! Green! GREEN!

Keep yer pants on, fella. We still need to apply another coat tomorrow.


(What, you want an explanation? First coat of paint's finally on the guest room! Hell hasn't quite frozen over yet, but temperatures are dropping! Buy your satanic mukluks now! After three years, it's almost done!)