When I was but a wee lad of 6 or 7 (I think I was in first grade, so however old that would have made me) we had a really nice American Staffordshire Terrier1 named Dreamer2. Late one night a large opossum came into our backyard, menacing Dreamer and her fairly young puppies, causing Dreamer to take action. If you aren't familiar with AmStaffs, they are very protective of loved ones. She kicked that possum's butt pretty good, but then the possum went over the fence. Not one to be outdone, Dreamer showed that it was quite trivial for her to leave the yard and apparently she only stayed in the yard all the years we had her because she was a good dog. In any case, the possum made its way to our front yard, where several of the neighborhood's free roaming dogs decided to get in on the action, and at least one of them was viciously mauled by Dreamer. This prompted neighbors with pitchforks and torches calling the police and whatnot, and after a 1am gathering of neighbors, policemen and AmStaff owners, my dad somehow convinced the police to let him be the one to shoot Dreamer, since it was going to have to be done by someone.
I learned all this about 4 hours later, which was about 5 minutes into the early morning drive portion of the fishing trip I had been looking forward to going on with my father for some time. Needless to say, this first grader did not have a very fun fishing trip, and neither did my dad.
1: The American Staffordshire Terrier is more commonly known in the U.S. as the Pit Bull. Pit Bulls get a really bad rap for being terribly vicious animals that shouldn't be allowed to live, but in actuality the ones you always hear about mauling people are generally trained to do that sort of thing, and/or have been bred irresponsibly with breeds that are erratically tempered. AmStaffs were bred for thier loyalty and never-give-up-ness, and will die trying to protect a master or loved one, never stopping until it can no longer move, assuming there is a threat. AmStaffs should never be bred with anything but an even tempered AmStaff, because you very likely will end up with the kind of dog gangsta rappers love having in slow motion pulling at thier chains throwing slobber all over the place in their videos. These are the dogs that escape chains and fences and kill the children that were taunting them innocent victims. Truth be told, Cocker Spaniels injure more people in the U.S. every year than Pit Bulls. Cocker Spaniels are fucking evil. So are hamsters, but that's another story all together...
2: Dreamer was named after her tendency to "chase rabbits" in her sleep. If you have never seen this, imagine a dog asleep, lying on her side, making full-on running motions with her legs, with excited little sleep barks emanating from her throat.
This morning I suddenly thought of something I haven't thought of in years. There was this cartoon I saw a few times as a child, depicting a planet that was flooded by a tidal wave of green slime that caused anyone who came into contact with it to suddenly age in a horrifying and dramatic fashion. I remember seeing a young child running with tears streaming down her face, only to be doused in the slime, causing her to turn into a very sad old woman. This disturbed me to no end.
Does anyone have any idea what this was? I'm thinking it might have been Space Ghost in his pre-talk show incarnation, but that's just a guess based on the fact that there was space travel involved.
This is the first installment of a feature that may make an occasional appearance here at nyquil.org, The Songs of Trey Parker.
This is my favorite of Trey's songs from the movie Cannibal! The Musical, and is about Trey's character Alferd missing his horse Leanne. Sorry about the crappy video quality, but I was trying to keep this 3 minute long clip under 20 megs. You'll need the XVID codec to view it. (You can get it from here.)
: Trey was once engaged to a girl named Leanne, and she left him at the altar for another man. Therefore whenever Trey needs a female character of questionable morals, he names her Leanne. See: Cartman's mom.
We now return to Pet Trauma Week, already in progress.
My roommate's 13 year old cat, Jake, lived with us for a year or so before succumbing to kidney failure. That was probably 4 or 5 years ago now, and mostly what I remember of Jake was the desire to be held. It seems that when my roommate was little, he would sleep with Jake clenched to him like a little purring teddy bear, and he eventually came to enjoy being held tightly. He was a generally happy kitty, but never more so than when he was being held. It seemed to comfort him.
One day I noticed that Jake had peed all over a magazine I had on the floor in my bathroom, and I was understandably pretty upset about it. I mean, I hadn't yet found out whether Christina Aguilera prefers having sex with latin men or white men before the pages of my Rolling Stone were permanently sealed together with foul smelling yellow liquid -- and I had to clean it up. Later in the day, I noticed Jake heading off down the hall towards my bathroom (where his litter box was kept) and watched him just suddenly stop and lay down. After a few seconds he got up, took 2 more steps and stopped. It was then that I figured out what was going on: he was unable to climb into his litterbox any longer, and rather than choose the various articles of my clothing I had on the floor to relieve himself on, he picked the disposable thing. I felt really bad for being angry at him.
The rest of that evening was spent carrying him back and forth from the litterbox to the couch, where he would curl up with me watching a marathon of The Munsters on Nick at Nite until getting up needing to go again. I would follow him until he couldn't walk anymore, using his bearing as an indicator of where exactly it was he wanted to go, and then carrying him there. I ended up staying up all night with him, carrying him back and forth, with occasional trips to the food/water as needed. The next day I told my roommate about it all, and he ended up taking him on a permanent trip to the vet. Kidney failure does bad things to a kitty, rather quickly.
I was a bit more upset about Jake's death than I was The Cat, most likely because I participated in the last part of his final decline. While I wasn't technically there when he died, I spent a big chunk of his last hours with him while he was helpless, and the suffering of animals really bothers me. It was different with The Cat, because I learned of his death over the phone, and he was buried in the yard before I returned home. If it had been me that had found him dead by the road, or heaven forbid in need of death by the road, things would probably have been pretty different.
Over the long holiday weekend, my cat (pictured above) got run over by a car. As you can probably guess, this has caused him to be quite dead.
Despite the normal feline annoyingness inherent in all cats, he was a good cat, and will be missed a great deal. Not so much the "constantly bringing in live animals" aspect of him, or the "claws severely scratching my legs down to the floor as he falls off my lap" aspect, but more the warm and the purring is what will be missed.
I must say, setting the cat door to 'lock' one last time felt really strange, as does seeing his bowl still full of food, and hearing his water dispenser go "glug glug" every so often, even though there is no longer anyone to drink from it. Seeing the still mud-covered shovel and pair of boots on the porch is rather awkward as well.
I don't look forward to rounding up the thousand or so toy mice scattered under every surface in the house. See, he enjoyed knocking his toys into places he couldn't get them out of, then struggling to get them back out for minutes on end before getting bored. I'd fish a mouse out, only to see him quite deliberately knock it right back under. Last time I chased down a live mouse under chair in the livingroom, I scared the crap out of myself by tipping up the chair and seeing 20 or so mice where there should have been only one. In the split second of fear, my brain didn't have time to realize that 19 or so of those mice were flourescently colored and therefore not real -- I just imagined an Attica scale revolt by the imprisoned mice, with me and the cat as prison guards.
The funny thing is, I'm kind of "in denial" about him being dead. See, every time I hear the wind move the cat door a little, I actually think for a split second "here comes the cat." Upon coming home and hearing the chainlink fence nearby*, I think "here comes the cat." Upon waking up in the middle of the night, hearing meowing and scratching on my bedroom door, I cower in fear under my covers and think "Oh shit, here comes the cat." But then I wake up, feeling relieved that my backyard isn't hiding an indian burial ground.
This most recent dead pet has gotten me thinking about my many, many traumatic pet experiences over the years, and you fine folks get to look forward to hearing some of the stories in the coming week. Maybe telling them will make me feel better.
*: every day (assuming the weather was dry) he would come running and climb over the chainlink fence when I would arrive home from work, making a very distinctive sound.
The first hint Dale Airsman got that his morning's chores might end badly was the unusual growl from Charlie, a 4-year old llama.
The noise graduated to a high-pitched squeal, whereupon Charlie spit, flattened his ears back and bared his teeth, including the three sets of razor-sharp "fighting teeth," which llamas use to rip the scrotum from male competitors in the wild.
The emphasis on that sentence is mine.
To me, there can be no clearer evidence for Intelligent Design than this; having teeth specially suited for scrotum removal could not happen by accident*. Most intelligent design. Ever.
Well, designing mosquitos to be attracted to people infected with malaria is a pretty good design too.
Here's the rest of the article, where you can see pictures of these special teeth, but if you're hoping Mr. Airsman got his nuts bitten off, you'll be disappointed.
I had a brainstorm the other day while thinking about creating my fake person and decided to try it out, only to be thwarted by American Express's's anti-fraud measures. See, my idea was to use the "get an additional card for a friend or family member!!!1" feature they're always waving at me upon logging into my account, figuring I would just request a card for my "friend" Alistair Hoel, and they'd send it out to me. I figured wrong; it seems you have to input a social security number even for people who aren't technically responsible for the account. How do they expect people to create fictitious people*??
I do really wish I had thought up Alistair a few months ago because he seems like he might have political aspirations. At the very least, he'd look great on the campaign signs. After all, if you have to put an a-hole in office, it may as well be A. Hoel.
*: ever hear the urban leged about people getting draft notices in the mail addressed to the fake children they signed up for Baskin Robbin's free birthday icecream cones 18 years prior? I'd try that out, but I don't really want to wait 18 years.
Despite the name, this isn't some stupid little film poking fun at minorities -- it is a really amusing look at the effect racism can have on a country, done in superb fake Ken Burns style. There is some swearing, but don't worry; there is no humor at the expense of anyone (except maybe racists, but who gives a crap about them?).
None of the Quicktime links worked for me, but the Windows Media player ones did just fine.
A couple of days ago, I read a story that is equal parts sad and pathetic. I'll paste the relevant bits for you here, and you can click over for more detail if'n you want it.
Match.com, a unit of IAC/Interactive Corp. , is accused in a federal lawsuit of goading members into renewing their subscriptions through bogus romantic e-mails sent out by company employees. In some instances, the suit contends, people on the Match payroll even went on sham dates with subscribers as a marketing ploy.
"This is a grossly fraudulent practice that Match.com is engaged in," said H. Scott Leviant, a lawyer at Los Angeles law firm Arias, Ozzello & Gignac LLP, which brought the suit.
The Match lawsuit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by plaintiff Matthew Evans, who contends he went out with a woman he met through the site who turned out to be nothing more than "date bait" working for the company.
The relationship went nowhere, according to his suit. Evans says Match set up the date for him because it wanted to keep him from pulling the plug on his subscription and was hoping he'd tell other potential members about the attractive woman he met through the service, according to Leviant.
Leviant said his client found out about the alleged scam after the woman he dated confessed she was employed by Match.
At some jobs, you might draw the short straw and occasionally have to do some time in a chicken costume to entice in customers, or to wave signs on streetcorners to draw attention to the business you work for. If you thought that was bad, imagine having to go on dates with a bunch of losers to help keep your company afloat. I can't help but wonder if some of the women would actually sleep with men if it seemed as if they were going to cancel. How cool would that be? A dating service that hooks you up with a willing partner if you can't do it yourself.
This evening, I was trying to help out my sister with troubleshooting her digital camera over instant messaging. She said that it said the card was full, but didn't show any pictures, so I tried to walk her through the process of getting the camera to format the card. If you've ever tried to explain this process to someone, on a camera you are unfamiliar with, while being unable to see the camera in question, you know just how difficult a process this can be. The camera doesn't seem to have a format option, just an "Erase All Pictures" option, and even after that, it still says the card is full. I was perplexed.
Suddenly I had a fleeting moment of inspiration! In the default configuration, GNOME moves anything you 'delete' to a special trash folder on whatever drive the file existed on, and doesn't actually delete it until you empty your trash. This has always been the first thing I turn off when setting up a new GNOME installation, because this is freakin' retarded. "Is it possible," I thought to myself, "that this retarded behavior has just been copied by the GNOME UI people, and isn't actually not a GNOME annoyance at all, just something they copied from some other stupid system?" Sure enough, MacOS 9 behaves in exactly this way as well; emptying the trash on the computer did in fact free up all the space on the camera.
Does Windows behave like this as well? This is like the worst possible system I can think of for dealing with file deletion, and surely someone has to have gotten it right...
Today I got a letter from my mother, and in it she included a newspaper clipping about how evil Wal-Mart is because, get this, "it reminded her of me." Apparently my ranting and ravings in the past have made some kind of impact on her, because she assures me that she "hardly ever goes there anymore." Now though, she tells me, it is Target that she has moved to the top of her list of places not to shop for political reasons. Her reasoning? Target won't allow the Salvation Army's bell ringers out front. Now if you ask me, that's all the more reason to shop at Target. Wait, wait, I don't hate poor people do I? Please allow me to explain.
While the Salvation Army most likely does some very good work in helping others, they fucking piss me off. You know those miserable looking people standing in the cold ringing the bells in your face to guilt entice you into dropping your change into the shiny red repository every time you have the gall to walk into a business establishment around the holidays? The Salvation Armypays them to do that when there aren't enough people willing to do it for free*. Wha? They are paying perfectly good minimum wage to have someone beg other people for the occasional handful of change? Does that sound like a responsible use of TAX FREE money to you? Nope, me either. There's no fucking way I'm going to give them any of my money when I know they're just throwing it away in purpose-defeating wastefulness. This brings me to the fact that most retail establishments have a "no soliciting" policy -- if you or I decided we were going to stand outside and beg people for money, they'd be giving us the bums rush, lickety-split. In past years, Target has allowed the Salvation Army to solicit outside the store, directly in violation of their own perfectly reasonable rule, but now that they're onto the Salvation Army, they have decided to no longer break this own rule. So of course everyone is all up in arms because Target has the gall to turn those fuckers away. I say, "way to go Target. I'm glad you grew some balls."
That brings me to another charity that I've had increasing difficulty in not contributing to: the Susan G. Koman Cancer Foundation. Wait, what? Do I not support ending breast cancer? Do I not want people to die of cancer? In actuality, the answer to both those questions is "yes." Wait, I mean "no", those double negatives get me every time. I want the work on a cure to progress, it's just that I take issue with the foundation itself. Every year they use the Race For the Cure to raise awareness and fundage to support breast cancer research. I think that is great. People need to know this stuff, and people want to help fund it. What could be the problem then? Well, the problem is that the Susan G. Koman Cancer Foundation only allows women to participate in this event, thus denying 50% of their potential funcraising capacity. There are plenty of men that have breast cancer who would love to participate in this event and raise money, but they are denied. There are man, many men whose wives were taken from them by cancer that would love to participate and raise money for research, but these fuckers won't let them. "No man could possibly know the effects of breast cancer." Yeh, tell that to the people I just mentioned.
Everywhere I turn, products are now labeled with pink Susan G. Koman ribbons, proudly proclaiming that some percentage of the purchase price is being donated to the foundation. Well, it looks like there will be no more Yoplait for me. What, Duracell is now supporting them too? Guess I gotta switch to Energizer. Wait, that damn bunny is pink, does that mean something, or is it just pink? Arg!
The way I see it, any charitable group that actively prevents people from helping them earn money (or pays people more to beg for it than they can possibly collect) needs a swift kick in the ass. If they have the gall to turn away money and then go out and beg people for more, then they need to be taught a lesson. I can think of no better way to deliver that kick than by telling them that they aren't getting a fucking dime until they start making some sense. And you companies hoping to sell more product by getting all the breast cancer sympathizers to buy yours instead of the competition? Shame on you. You'll get no money from me either.
*: Have you ever been an unpaid bell ringer? How many people do you personally know that have? That ought to be a pretty good measure of how frequently the bell ringers you do see are actually paid.
The last couple days, this has been floating around the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON -- Four months after the end of World War II, five Navy bombers took off into sunny skies from Fort Lauderdale on a routine training mission, never to be seen again. Soon after, a rescue plane was sent to find them. It, too, vanished.
Now a new NBC News investigation marking the 60th anniversary of Flight 19's disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle is rekindling speculation on what happened that day. The anniversary also prompted a resolution in Congress by Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, to commemorate the mission's 27 vanished pilots and crewmembers.
"Perhaps someday we will learn what happened and lay this mystery to rest," Shaw said Thursday, a day after the resolution passed the House 420-2.
The idea that the House passed a Bermuda Triangle resolution boggles my mind, and I've done much searching trying to uncover just what this resolution could possibly entail. I have had absolutely no luck, only finding the original AP article and press releases about both NBC and the SciFi Channel's Bermuda Triangle coverage. I'd really like to know the details of this resolution, and whether or not those 2 lone naysayers will be getting political backlash in the future.
Scary smoker guy voice-over: "Alistair Hoel (L-Wa) voted against the Bermuda Triangle resolution in 2005. He wants our military personnel to depart this plane of existence for a much more horrifying and mysterious one -- one that can only be reached by GETTING LOST IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE. Do you want our troops to face unknown horrors beyond the Triangle?"
1) a few years ago, I decided I was going to create a fake person. I started filling out any "free stuff" forms I could find with the name Otto Von Warren, hoping to get junk mail in that name. My zeal for this mission lasted about 2 hours, and I am sad to report that I never got one bit of junk mail to my fake person. I think it may be time to revive this idea.
2) I once subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine through a discount service, and found that they had many, many options to select from when choosing your title. Most forms are limited to Mr. and Mrs., but not this one. There was half a page worth of options, and I painstakingly pored over them to select the most appropriate. Fast forward a month ahead, and I found myself holding a large brown envelope which was hand addressed to 'Archbishop Jer Warren.' Sadly the actual mailing labels for the rest of the magazines were missing this titile; either The Church disavowed any knowledge of me, or it simply wouldn't fit on that tiny white label.
3) I am thinking about getting my name changed. I always grin when hearing people with high-falutin' names such as Stringfellow Masterson, Reginald Thompson McGinty, or Aristotle Waterfordshire. I haven't completely settled on a name yet, but I think I've got it down to either Archibauld or Alistair Hoel. Either of those would be truly glorious on the ol' Caller-ID box* -- assuming of course I ever placed a call to anyone. I'll tell you what though, Alistairs and Archibaulds get their calls returned ASAP.
*: in case this isn't clear, long names are typically truncated to a single first initial (initial initial?) followed by the complete last name.