Twenty-Two Year-Old Mystery

Monday, August 4th, 2008

In 1986, a man cried out in pain, and the world was introduced to an unsolvable mystery unlike anything ever seen before.

Twenty-two years ago, in a courtroom drama unparalleled to this day, a man in a vertically-striped suit sat in the witness stand and tried to explain to the nosy prosecutor how his life had been destroyed by passion-gone-wrong.  Although the witness tried to keep his cool under the baleful gaze of the judge and voyeuristic curiosity of the jurors, he eventually broke down under questioning and started darting around the courtroom yelling at the judge (emulating a gun with his fingers as an implied threat) and sliding back and forth in front of the jury box.  Later, as the transcripts were studied to find out just what went wrong, it was discovered that the witness had acted out under repeat pressure from the prosecutor to answer one simple question.

“Who is Johnny?”

The prosecutor, however, was playing her own game that day, one that still puzzles law historians.  According to one witness, an Ally S., the prosecutor asked about Johnny’s identity and then tried to look the other way.  “But,” added Ally S., “her eyes gave her away.”

The witness, El D., was enraged by this behavior and yelled out, “My heart’s in overdrive, and it’s great to be alive!”

Stunned silence.  What did he mean, the jury wondered.  The jury foreman, a Steve G., recalled his attempt to be emphatic.  “I tried to understand because I’m people, too.  And playing games is part of human nature.”

But the prosecutor was having no part of it; she continued to question El D. by repeating over and over again, “Who’s Johnny?”

“It was horrible,” said Steve G.  “Each time she brought up the question, she tried to look the other way, still pretending.  Is that any way for an official of the court to act?

Apparently, El D.’s frail body couldn’t withstand the mental pressure, and he started flailing wildly about the courtroom, shouting out that he was in pain. After the prosecutor asked about Johnny for the fourteenth time, El D. gasped aloud, “There she goes and knows I’m dying when she says ‘Who is-who-who is-Who’s Johnny?'”  It was obvious he was in medical danger, evidenced by his sudden issues with stuttering.

In a peculiar moment one could only assume was strategy,  the prosecutor inserted a videotape into a VCR and started watching television, completely ignoring the witness.

“I was astounded,” Ally S. remembered.  “I know this girl was only teasing.”

Sadly, a fire started near the judge’s desk and in the ensuing confusion, the witness snuck out of the courtroom, never to be seen again.  Twenty-two years later, no one knows just who Johnny is.  But thanks to a recently discovered canister of film, we can now take a peek at the events of that obscure day in legal history.  Special thanks go to the History Channel for allowing us to show this clip:

A Horrible Must-See

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

From Joss Whedon (and others)–Creator of Buffy, Angel (fangs, not wings) and Firely–starring Doogie Howser and Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day and Not Me Which Is A Pity Because I Think I’m Like Excellent And Stuff:


Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Beethoven’s 5th

Monday, June 30th, 2008

… or, more accurately, ours.  Happy 5th Anniversary to the esteemed Insta-Princess, the best wife I’ve ever had. (And the prettiest, too.)

Not Fauna, No Way

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Does everyone know Flora?  You should.

‘Cause she doodles.

“So what?” you ask.  “I doodle, too.  I doodled just last night after some righteous pizza.”

Yeah, well… see, you cretin, it’s not that type of doodle (that’s a doody).  What Flora does is some hardcore doodling. (Stop your snickering.  It’s not diddling.)  This is the type of doodling best left to the professionals lest someone puts his eye out with a random swipe of a doodle-dilly.  Not only that, but it’s Happy doodling, which puts to shame all the rest of the doodles out there, clearly in the need of some major Paxil.

Here in Skippy Land our doodles are not so happy.  In fact, here’s one I did during a meeting today because I was bored:

It truly shows the lighter side of me, doesn’t it?  Plus, bonus, it was quite a surprise to my boss I was doodling in the first place.  Considering we were the only two people in the meeting at the time and all.

Flora’s doodles beam down to us from a more positive planet, so be sure to check out a much more optimistic blog over at Happy Doodle Land.  (Seriously.  Go right now.)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of…

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Holy Crud This Was A Bad Movie!

[spoiler]Okay, I can accept Jones having a by-blow with Karen Allen, and I can accept that he’s aged so much that his next greatest adventure should probably be against the evil triumvirate of corns, bunions, and that insidious smell of Ben-Gay, but Shia LaBeouf is no more a tough, motorcycle-driving greaser than Urkel was.

Plus, the crystal skull?  A leftover Alien prop bound in Saran Wrap.  Overall, a pretty disappointing flick.[/spoiler]

(Click to read.)

Hotel California

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Awesome Sauce:

California’s El Supreme Courto has overturned the state’s gay marriage ban.

Now, if only forty-eight other states would follow suit…

I will say that I’m horribly surprised–stunned, even–that ever since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, it hasn’t affected my marriage one bit.  Shocker, eh?  No degradation, no crumbling of our marital foundation, no plagues, no Satanic massacres, no end-of-the-world, nothing.  Not even any post-coital doldrums.

Wait.  Post-Coital Doldrums.  I’m so naming my next band that.  Thank you, Massachusetts (and by relation, thank you, California); it was your actions that led my band to rock name infamy.

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Now You Have A Strumpet In The Diamond Business

Friday, April 11th, 2008

It had to happen some time, I suppose. After dodging the diamond drill bit for thirty-seven years, Kansas City has somehow given birth to its very own Ephialtes, an Arnold (Benedict, not the Austrian robot) who must have revealed to Tom Shane and minions a dusty, dirty, secret and most of all, effective, path, into the metro area. The Shane Company has, indeed, invaded our lands.

Founding the business in 1971, Tom Shane quickly sacrificed a nearby muse to the Beelzebub of Banality and started flooding the airwaves with commercials featuring his own voiceover work. You’ve heard them, no doubt. He earnestly assures that we now, after years of desolation and loneliness, have a friend in the diamond business. Without using the exact words, his folksy manner and attempt at awkward charm imply that Ye Olde Shane Company is a local business instead of the Denver-based bauble juggernaut it truly is.

My problem isn’t that he advertises, nor is it that he sells diamonds (dropped cleanly from the sky by Lucy, or bloodied gems from strife-ridden Africa), or even that his goal is to make wheelbarrows full of cash. No, my issue is the way in which he advertises; specifically, how he paints all women as shallow, flighty girls whose affections (and, you know, affections) can easily be purchased by shiny trinkets.

Me, I’m down with jewelry; I’ve no problem with engagement rings, cracked ice, rock candy, or pennyweights. If you like it, wear it. But, when your advertising campaign consists solely of radio ads aimed directly at, and talking directly to, men about how their wives or girlfriends will tear up once the tiny velvet box opens and the glistering commences, it’s time to leave the 1930s and come up with a new idea. Never mind that the advertising obviously works (Shane Co. is a laaaarge company), I would assume ethics would pop up with a “Whoa, horsey!” when trying to illustrate the women in his life by indirectly comparing them to gift-starved children. At least pretend you think women have some dignity.

Tom asks: Been married for 20 years? Reward her for her love and devotion. Pull her from the kitchen, force some shoes on her, let someone else do the laundry for the night because, damnit, twenty years of companionship deserves a diamond! Are there tears in her eyes when she sees that fantastic gem-encrusted choker? According to Tom Shane, it’s probably not because she’s immediately daydreaming of using those polished and pointy rocks to slash your car’s tires in an effort to steal away from such a limited and degrading view of her as a person, it’s because, finally, after all these years, she’s getting her payment. Want to show her how much the past few decades of companionship, laughter, tragedy, growth, compromise, sweat and triumph mean to you; how individual and unique you think your relationship is? Why, give her the Journey diamond necklace, a theme-oriented decoration that millions of other men are giving their wives. Show her how she’s different from all the other wives out there.

I suppose it wouldn’t be such a disappointing advertising campaign if Tom also advocated buying jewelry for men. (Shallowness is an equal opportunity noun.) Or, if he widened the market a bit and recognized that not all relationships are ones pulled from the black-and-white world of Ward and June Cleaver. But since the framework of his ads are always “buy something for your wife” it shows his disrespect for both genders and all relationships.

Or, at the very least, that’s how it should be seen.

I Am Spinycus!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Two years ago, as a labor of love for the Insta-Princess, I smuggled some cactus seeds out of Arizona and back to Kansas City. “She’ll adore them,” I thought. “She can hug ’em and love ’em and squeeze ’em and call them George.” Except, those poor seeds sat on our kitchen counter for two years. Whatever mothering instincts would eventually tickle her hormones, well, they weren’t there yet, or they didn’t make an appearance for our good friend, The Cactus.  I probably should have stuck with a t-shirt, but I thought that i’d give her something more interesting to throw at me should we ever get angry.  (We don’t.  We’re perfect.  Angels, really.)

This past week, and with her permission, I decided to reclaim these desert dwellers for myself. I just can’t stand to see a toy go to waste.  Besides, seduced by the advertisement on the package:

I wanted to raise my own happy cactus family. Look at them! Who knew cactuses could be so much fun? They grin and show their pearly whites with abandon; they can swing their arms and, I’m guessing here, but it looks like the tall one can sing. Imagine that, my own prickly Partridge family.

Thus far, I have to admit I’m a wee bit disappointed. I mean, it’s only been a week, and I know they’ve been waiting two years for their chance on stage, but the sprouts don’t reflect what’s on the packaging. Take a gander:

Do you see eyes? A mouth? Little waving arms? A drum set or a guitar? Exactly. I mean, maybe the band doesn’t get together until puberty, but I’m starting to suspect I got ripped-off. I thought maybe, just maybe, my singing saguaros could open up for Softee. (Softee and I have a history. Love, heartbreak, being a roadie, attempt to sacrifice me to their bloodthirsty gods of Rock and maybe Roll… either that or they just wanted me to stop hounding them for autographs. I don’t hold it against them, though. But, still, a connection I hoped to exploit.)

I’m not a neglectful parent. I’ll still raise the cactus–even if only one of the five sprouts survives to maturity. I’ll call that one “Spinycus”. Or, “Kirk” for short.

A Conversation With Andy (About Shadows)

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Boogie.  Oogie.  Woogie.

: You got me looking at that heaven in your eyes.

: They’re blue. I have two of them. And you’re very sweet–but I’m taken.

: I was chasing your direction.

: Oh. I really meant to take a shower today, but I woke up late. Sorry.

: I was telling you no lies.

: That was very zen of you.

: And I was loving you.

: And that was very creepy of you.

: When the words are said, baby, I lose my head.

: And, of course, that was very Anne Boleyn of you.

: And in a world of people, there’s only you and I.

: “Me.” Only you and “me”. You went to public schools, didn’t you? (Actually, I jest. Andy’s using the proper pronoun in this instance because it follows a copulative verb and must be in the subjective case. Those silly couplas.)

: There ain’t nothing come between us in the end.

: Except, for oh… I dunno, maybe that restraining order, you freak.

: How can I hold you when you ain’t even mine?

: You can’t–and now you’re scaring me.

: Only you can see me through.

: Poor boy. Got what that Olsen twin’s got, don’t ya’?

: Do it light, taking me through the night.

: So light you’ll suspect I’m not even there. Which I’m not. Got it?

: Shadow dancing, baby you do it right.

: I’m also good at the Waltz.

: Give me more, drag me across the floor.

: Um, hello? Have you ever danced a Waltz? Very little dragging–mostly none.

: Shadow dancing, all this and nothing more.

: I’ll stick with the Waltz. Or nothing more.

: All that I need is just one moment in your arms.

: The only thing that goes in my arms are needle tracks. And you don’t look pointy.

: I was chasing your affection.

: Because it was running from you, you sicko! Have you not noticed a theme here?

: I was doing you no harm.

: Duh. I’m faster with the running.

: And I was loving you.

: Liar. Love doesn’t stalk.

: Make it shine, make it rain, baby I know my way.

: Again with the stalking. I don’t think you get the concept of “love”.

: I need that sweet sensation of living in your love.

: First, my arms, now my love? What are you, a transient?

: I can’t breath when you’re away, it pulls me down.

: Heh. You wish I’d pull you down.

: You are the question and the answer am I.

: You are teh psycho and teh scared am I.

: Only you can see me through.

: X-ray glasses. Got ’em out of the back of a comic book. I can also see boobies.

: I leave it up to you.

: I want nothing to do with your ups.

Footprints (A Conversation With God)

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

“Lord?” I asked.  “Why are you following me?”

“I’M BORED.”

“Lord?” I asked.  “Why are we on a beach?  I’m pretty sure Kansas City is nowhere near an ocean.”

“I BROUGHT YOU TO A BEACH.  I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE NICE.”

“Isn’t that kidnapping?”

“WHAT?  NO, NOT REALLY–OKAY, MAYBE.  BUT I AM THY LORD AND I HAVE PRIVILEGES.”

And lo, He took out His wallet and flashed me His Almighty Express gold card.  Membership has privileges. Said so right on the back.

I looked back along the path we had just walked, and I noticed a funny thing.  Mostly, I saw two pairs of footprints, but occasionally I only saw one. This concerned me, because I noticed the one pair appeared during those times when I was sad in life or suffering from defeat.

“Lord,  I just noticed–”

“IT’S ABOUT THE FOOTPRINTS, ISN’T IT?”

“Why, yes.”

“LISTEN, THOSE ROUGH TIMES YOU WENT THROUGH?  YOUR MOM DYING, YOUR PUPPY BEING EATEN BY THAT CRAZY KID DOWN THE STREET, THE MULTIPLE LESIONS ON YOUR UVULA?”

“Yes?”

“I TOOK OFF.”

“What?”

“YEAH, YOU WERE A RIGHT BASTARD.  ALWAYS WHINING, ALWAYS CRYING, ALWAYS COMPLAINING ABOUT SOMETHING.  I COULDN’T GET ANY SLEEP.”

“Was it too much to ask for you to carry me during those rough times?”

“LET’S BE HONEST.  YOU’VE GAINED A LITTLE WEIGHT.”

“But, you’re the Lord! You can do anything!  You can create a rock even you can’t move!”

“THAT’S WHY YOU’RE REFERRED TO AS ‘THE ROCK’ AROUND MY HOUSE.”

“Okay, okay, how about there–see it?–right there, what’s with my footprints and only one footprint of yours?”

I WAS PLAYING HOPSCOTCH WITH THE HOLY GHOST.

“But that was when my dad and my girlfriend literally ate each other in a murder-suicide-steak tartare crime!  That was the single most lowest point in my life!  Couldn’t you have stopped hopping for one moment to help me out?”

“MY CHILD,” He said, holy and tender concern lighting up His eyes.  “THE HOLY GHOST BET ME DOUBLE-OR-NOTHING.”

“You’re a real dick, Lord.”

“PRAISE BE TO ME.  HERE, PULL MY FINGER.”

Look What We Found On Our Doorstep! (In a basket. With a note attached.)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

The note read:
“Cower, mortals, and rejoice in the arrival of your new overlord, Wiggy!”

And, here’s a slightly better photo of Wiggy:

Not only does he have red hair (like his devastatingly handsome Pa), but he came into this world weighing a whopping 10 pounds and standing tall at 21.5 inches. Can I say that I’m thrilled I’m a guy? Despite the glorious help of an epidural, that just looked painful!

By the way, it was hilarious to see the tiny fold of flesh at the top of his head crown for a few minutes, and then one mighty push later, his GIANT noggin’ comes pushing out, making it look like someone just inflated a huge doll head. Plus, he came out sunny-side up, looking at the ceiling, so all I could think of when I saw his squalling face for the first time was the first coupla words from Peter Gabriel’s Big Time: “Hi, there!”

Ma Kettle is tired, of course, but doing well. She’s thrilled to no longer be pregnant. Pa Kettle stopped off at home this morning to take care of the dogs, but will be headed back to the hospital shortly.

So, yay for baskets!

A Very Buffy Election

Monday, January 7th, 2008

A short, quick post for you combination political junkies/Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans out there (there’s gotta be at least tens of tens of us):

The GOP Primary Field in Buffy Villains

 

(Mucho gracias to Cogitamus for the chuckle.)

 

Oh, okay, because you asked; here’s a fun selection from Buffy’s musical episode, Once More, With Feeling. This episode finds our perky and intrepid heroes trying to suss out why everyone in town is suffering from severe cases of Fox-Trot and Aria:

Be sure to stick around for bunnies and mustard.

Okay, okay! One more. In this one, also from the musical episode, you get to see vampires dance. I mean, c’mon, vampires… dancing! You can’t go wrong with that:

Lois Sure Ain’t Super.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

To begin with, Happy New Year!

To continue, have I mentioned my wife’s car, Lois? If not, let me contribute a quick summary: I loathe her. It’s not ‘hate’ I feel, for hate is almost too simple, almost too Saturday morning cartoonish; I don’t despise Lois, because ‘despisableness’ is much too long a word, making it a pain to keep on typing it in case, you know, I want to show off its noun form. No, I loathe Lois because she has been little more than expensive trouble since the day we got her. (Okay, the day we got her was rather kind of mild: a little snow, some ice, but overall, not too bad. Considering we drove her home without a license plate, I’d say she didn’t cause us one bit of worry in our burgeoning career as minor automotive code criminals.)

Lois is a Volkswagen, and Volkswagen as a company stinks like rotten fruit. (The smelly kind. I’ve no idea whether sweet-smelling rotten fruit exists, but I live in the world of nitpickers, so I thought I’d clear that up before any objections are made.) Volkswagen has refused to fix an engine oil sludge issue covered under warranty without first cornering us into paying over $500 in unrelated charges; her brakes and tires have given way a year after we brought her home; Lois’s signal indicator has crapped out; her cupholders suck (truly, VW has no idea how to design a car interior); in fact, Lois is such a snot that the Insta-Princess and I proudly and defiantly flip the bird at the local VW dealer each day as we pass by on the way to work. True, such unrestrained middle finger usage has earned us some rather nasty looks from unsuspecting fellow drivers thinking they are the target of our distempered digits, but so far we’ve avoided road rage.

So, knowing how I loathe Lois, even I was surprised how sorry I felt for her this past Saturday when poor Lois, for the second time this year, had her ass busted. Yes, as the Insta-Princess and I were sitting at a red light silently fuming over Lois’s crappy cupholders, a cute redhead lobbed her Lexus into the back of Lois. Ouch. Lois’s bumper buckled, meaning we’ll have to get it replaced (all courtesy of the redhead… who was, as I mentioned, rather cute and wearing somewhat tight clothing, so that’s okay) again, less than a year after the last time someone else hit us from behind as we were patiently waiting at a red light.

“Lois?!” you fume. “You’re sitting here talking about Lois when the Insta-Princess was pregnant? What about her, what about Wiggy?”

You’re right, of course.

The Insta-Princess and Wiggy are fine, thanks for fuming. A little discomfort was felt after the accident, so we drove to the ER to have both passengers looked over. I’m thrilled we did for a few reasons:

  • The Insta-Princess turned out okay.
  • Wiggy moved and grooved to the monitors for the three hours he/she was being watched.
  • Our maternity nurse, Karalie, is my new super-secret girlfriend.
  • Finally, the walls were just thin enough and our room just silent enough that I got to hear the woman next door scream out in labor a few times, and then, just when I thought she had given up, stuffed everything back inside and headed home, I heard a baby scream. “It’s a boy!” someone shouted. It was pretty cool.

Interestingly enough, Karalie mentioned that some hospitals don’t allow video cameras filming when the doctor pulls the baby from the hoohaw.  “It’s a liability issue,” she told us.  Huh.  You’d think they’d come up with a better way of telling us they don’t want to be sued for a botched delivery.  Still, Karalie wasn’t a delivering doctor, and she was very, very cute, so that’s okay.

So, Wiggy’s fine, the Insta-Princess is still sweetness and light, Karalie is f-i-n-e, and Lois’s cupholders are the pits.  How was your New Year’s weekend?

Hunters, Not Gatherers

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Lest you walk away with an opposite opinion, let me mention for the record that the Insta-Princess and I are fierce warriors. “But, Skippy,” you chuckle, “actions are important here, not words. Anyone can vouch for their own warriorocity, but we require records of deeds and darings. Maybe even a shrunken head or two—we try not to be picky.”

You doubt, oh Thomas, but reel back in horror from these gruesome photographic chronicles:

Fierce.

See what she’s doing? The Insta-Princess uses her charm and attractiveness to lure the tree into a false sense of security. “I love you. You’re pretty and a thing of nature,” she reassures the tree. “But soon,” she whispers with wickedness, “lights and hooks and decorative balls and mini-Santas will hang from your helpless limbs!”

As my partner in the hunt lulls the tree with her words of false love, I sneak up on it and wrestle it to the ground! (In case you’re wondering, that’s what I’m doing in the photo above. Seriously. I’ve no idea why people insist something else is going on.) This particular chase of our wooden Beast Glatisant was fraught with peril; a few times, before I finally sawed through its base, I nearly lost my life. See its brethren trees in the background? Don’t think they didn’t try helping one of their own. They travel in packs, these trees, and if you’re not careful you’ll find one trying to poke you in the eye as you pass by it. (Sometimes, even, piping up in imitation of your wife’s voice saying, “I’m sorry, I forgot to hold the branch for you.”)

In the end, we succeeded with our quest and took our trophy home:

Bright.  Wow.

Like the decorations? I know, right, I obviously have an eye for awesome design even before I’ve had a few glasses of Glenfiddich.

Don’t like the decorations? My wife threw them on when I wasn’t looking. “I’m wicked, I’m wicked!” she shouted. “Says so right in this blog entry!”

Oh! By the way, I’ve got a new joke that my wife—in her wickedness—failed to appreciate. “I tried looking up the tree skirt,” I told her. “But all I saw was a buncha fir.”

I know, right, I obviously have an ear for awesome jokes.