Sunday, March 30, 2003

There's something missing from movies these days. I think you all know what I'm talking about:

Robots falling in love.

Sure, Chicago was lauded by critics and lavished with Oscars and Golden Globes and blue ribbons at the local 4H livestock show, but it felt a little hollow. Richard Gere singing is a poor substitute for a lonely pile of tubing and steel mesh achieving sentience and expressing the futility of its unrequited love.

The Hours was all about Virginia Woolf, but couldn't it have been helped by a little levity? Something along the lines of #5 from Short Circuit eyeballing Nicole Kidman longingly? Of course.

You may point out, quite correctly, that I didn't actually see these movies. But I am relatively certain there are no robots, and certainly not lovesick machines mooning at a feeling they can never truly know. Unless there are. Then, never mind.
Ahh. Let's play ball.

Time for heartbreak, triumph, uncomfortable plastic seats, overpriced beer, icky hot dogs, lazy pop-ups, obnoxious hecklers, the smell of the grass, fresh white chalk lines, hanging curves, dead red smoke, bean-balls, catchers sweating off midriff bulges, Joe Morgan, John Miller, managers getting thrown out, balls, strikes and gopher balls.

Let there be baseball! And about time too.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

On the plus side, I think my hair looked pretty good today. Also I went frolicking at Paektu Mountain and the rainbow came out again. After dinner some of my subjects sang me a song because I invented Outer Space.

Kim Jong Il's LiveJournal

[via pretty much everyone and their brother and a guy they kind of know who does needlepoint which is kind of weird him being a guy and all but hey this is the 21st century and guys can do needlepoint if they want even if they are purely theoretical and not real but if they were real it would be ok and we could all have robots like on Buck Rogers]

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

We went to the inspection for our almost-ours New House™ today.

Something was nagging at the back of my mind as I looked at the yard. Then, it struck me: a family lives there now with two kids. And you know what that means:

Hamster-bodies in the soil.

It's not even that big of a yard, I figure maybe a fifty hamster-body yard, if you figure that burying a hamster is going to take about one square foot, and allowing for a couple of feet "elbow room"* on each side of your departed chum, in case he gets restless. And of course, you don't want to be burying Fluffy Mark VI and dig up Fluffy Mark II right in front of your recently bereaved progeny, do you? So I figure each hamster-body will need about 3 square feet of ground.

This handy equation should help anyone who is contemplating moving into the real estate market:

x = (y/3)³ * z

where x = total number of hamster-bodies likely in yard
y = total area of yard in feet
z = number of kids

This equation will be helpful to you in determining the likelihood of disturbing a hamster-body's eternal slumber, thus angering the hamster-body legions, and potentially causing a Hamster Vampyr uprising of truly epic proportions.

*The question of whether or not hamsters have elbows** has been debated for many years in the Irresponsible Scientist Community, and while debate has been at times exciting, no conclusion has truly been reached.***

**One thing is for certain: hamsters have just needlessly huge testicles.

*** I stand by my assertion, however, that dogs do not have knees.
Donate to the UNICEF fund for emergency relief for Iraqi children.

I seem to hear a lot about donations for American troops, members of the richest military in the world, but not a whole lot about how to help with the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

Monday, March 24, 2003

They have installed an unholy air freshener in the men's room here at Purgatory, Inc.

It smells like grape tootsie pops.

What their rationale could possibly have been for choosing that scent, I don't know, but of all the things that I could smell in there, grape tootsie pops are pretty low on my wish list.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Giant Bagel!

Giant Aspirin!

Giant Ketchup Bottle!

Huge and Gargantuan Rubber Ducks!

Great Big Lighter*

Get it? Everything's really big! You see? Oh man, I can't take all the levity and good times.

* Actually, I have an encyclopedia sized knock-off Zippo that would put this one to shame. Eat that, Big Stuff people!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Send Back Liberty!

Someone is sending those outrageous French persons a message.
So Fleischer says it "has begun".

To whatever controls such things, or to chance and fate itself, my hopes and fears and thoughts are with the Iraqi people tonight.

I am ashamed of my government.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

My salad spinner is sadly maimed, a victim of a long forgotten and best unremembered incident involving a recalcitrant toaster. Now, we have but the inner mesh strainer portion and a bizarrely warped outer shell. We spin the salad manually, weeping for the past, when salad steeled itself against thunderous g-forces, like in those machines in the training portion of astronaut movies that spin hero-types at hundreds of miles per hour, their cheeks rippling stirringly to an inspirational soundtrack. Not that salad has cheeks, you understand, except for rarer varieties of radiccio.

Monday, March 17, 2003

From the department of common sense:

Robert Blake is guilty. There hasn't ever been anyone as guilty as that guy. I know he has to be tried and endless hours of E! Channel have to be devoted to covering that trial, but let's be honest here: not very innocent.

John Edward can't talk to dead people. Nice people are lonely and distraught and he takes advantage of them.

President Bush does not have your best interests at heart.

If aliens exist, they're probably not all that interested in what's in the rear ends of middle America.

Subsisting entirely on Dinty Moore Beef Stew is not a real good idea.

Monday, March 10, 2003

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The planet Jupiter just doesn't impress me.
Nice pictures of Kathmandu

No reason, really. They're just nice.
I didn't sleep too well last night, woken by an evil foe in the small hours and forced into battle.

For the span of over an hour I was locked in mortal combat with my toilet. For the squeamish among you, I am not referring to anything untoward or involving poop. No, you won't be getting that easy sort of "potty" humor here at My Life As An American Gladiator (the site that sometimes capitalizes the small words™). In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have been eating quite a lot of brussels sprouts lately, since it has been brought to my attention that you people out there aren't doing your part sprout-wise.

What happened was that a few days ago, the little chain inside the cistern (or "tank", as the unitiated might be tempted to call it) snapped for no reason at all other than to be irritating*. When I noticed that no flushing was happening, I immediately sprang into action and mentioned to my wife a mere two hours later that the toilet was broken. I rationalized that we do, after all, have another toilet, and it was statistically possible that a random current in the tank would reattach the chain, relieving me of further concern.

This, sadly, did not transpire.

Being the handy fix-it guy that I am**, I went in. Armed only with a paper clip and stark, wide-eyed fear, I lifted the lid from the cistern. In the interest of public service, I will describe the internal workings of my toilet. They may be different from yours. I don't know, never having looked in your toilet. In a toilet you have:

the handle for flushing purposes
the handle is connected to a chain
which pulls up a little flap, which looks a little like a plastic manhole cover. You can imagine tiny Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles clambering out of it, sputtering and giving you accusatory glances that suggest unkind things about your digestive tract.
There are a few other items in the cistern that frankly look a little superfluous to me. There's a big floating ball thing, for one, that looks totally unnecessary and is perhaps some sort of buoy for stranded mariners who have lost their way in your plumbing's inner workings.

Anyway, the chain was the problem here. I figured out, after gazing into the cistern for only about ten minutes, that the chain would have to be reattached with the help of the paperclip. This meant reaching into the toilet. Friends, I'm no nancy-boy, but I felt a little trepidation. I mean, it looked fairly clean in there, but how can you really tell for sure?

I reached into the depths, remembering at the last minute to remove my watch (a step even the most seasoned plumber will occasionally overlook). I pulled up on the part of the chain still hooked to the tiny manhole cover thing and attempted to reconnect it to rest of the chain. The water drained out around my submerged wrists, and then the full horror of my situation struck: a truly remarkable volume of water began jetting into the cistern as I struggled with this high-tech piece of office equipment that offered my only salvation: the mighty paperclip. My arms were being buffeted by a current akin to the Amazon. I was a giant steamship, helpless in its waters, and Klaus Kinski was playing opera music on my decks! It was like The Perfect Storm except without George Clooney and, you know, if there was a remote chance you might care even a little bit about the main characters!

Somehow, some way I managed to hook the chain back together. The tank filled up again, and I collapsed against the towel rack, spent but victorious. I had bested this demon wonder of technology, and it could no longer torment me.

Little did I know that the toilet was not beaten but was only resting, regrouping for another assault.

I lay in bed in the predawn hours, tranquilly slumbering beneath my yak-fur blanket, as is my custom, when I became aware of a hissing noise. "Great" I thought. "The cat is possessed again."

But no! It was the toilet, and it was angry.

So I spent an hour or so variously cursing, wailing and tightening and untightening things in a somewhat random fashion, until I was satisfied that the toilet would be quiet.

Of course, no-one can use the toilet now, but that's a small price to pay for a good night's sleep.

* I have noticed, in my time here on this crazy mixed-up world, that simple machines like this often break for no reason except to make me angry.
** This is blatantly untrue, just in case you were wondering. I have a deep desire to be the sort of person that can look at a garbage disposal and feel confident he could do something more meaningful than get a fork stuck in it or sever a number of major blood-throughways in my body, but I am resigned to this never happening. My wife likes to quietly giggle when I say that I am going to try to fix something, and I suspect she has a first-aid kit handy should I succeed in hurting myself in ways as yet undreamed of.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Updated the Music Swap Trade Thingy List

This time some

Cowboy Junkies
Rolling Stones
Tom Waits.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I had a dream last night that involved rassling puppets. That's about all I remember about it.

I don't know what that means.

They were little puppets, like marionettes, and I was doing battle with them.

I don't remember it actually being frightening or anything either. Maybe it was more just tedious. Like "Oh great, the puppets are back." Then I'd have to rassle with them a little bit, and maybe let them think they were going to get their little puppet mitts on me, before I snapped their little spines.

I'm pretty sure I could take a puppet. Unless it was really mad at me.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Yes, it's true. We put more photos up at, of our New Year's Trip to New Orleans and the Alabama Gulf Shores.

I'm not saying they're interesting or anything, just that they're there. Actually, this one's interesting:


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