Onions Picked By Slave Women

Spotted at the warehouse club store:

Sure, some of you might think that’s an ampersand and not an O, but we know followers of the kajira have to hide in plain sight.

Actually, scratch that: People who would have embraced a Gorean lifestyle based on the books are probably in nursing homes by now, and today’s alternative lifestyle crowds don’t have to hide in the face of banning.

Still, even though I’m more vanilla than true Norman aficionados, it’s the first thing I saw.

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They Saw Me Coming

Facebook has barraged me with ads for companies that can take a photo of your pet (or other loved one, as some of the ads indicate) and put it on a shirt.

Needless to say, they saw me coming.

That’s my black cat Isis and what she thinks she looks like.

Actually, I clicked through on another ad and bought t-shirts for the family as Christmas gifts, and I was so enamored with the designs, I bought one for myself (July is not too early for the “One-for-you, One-for-me” Christmas gift buying protocol). Also, I am comfortable announcing the Christmas gifts because the designs, which are not black cats, will delight them, and nobody in my family reads my blog anyway.

When I got shipment notification, I was a little concerned that the items originated in China; however, I used PayPal for real (I hope) this time, and I hopefully won’t need to cancel my credit card and get a new one, unlike last year.

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Thanks. I Needed That.

As you might recall, gentle reader, we had a cat euthanized last month.

So a share from Instapundit on Facebook really hit home.

“It turns out that pets also have last wills before they die, but only known to vets who put old and sick animals to sleep.” Twitter user Jesse Dietrich asked a vet what the hardest part of his job was.

The specialist replied without hesitation that the hardest thing for him was seeing how old or sick animals look for their owners before they fall asleep. The fact is 90% of owners don’t want to be in a room with a dying animal. People leave so they don’t see their animals leave. But they don’t realize it’s in these last moments of life that their animal needs them the most.

Vets are asking owners to stay close to animals until the end. “It is inevitable that they die before you. Remember that you were the center of their lives. Maybe they were just a part of you. But they are also your family. Even if it’s hard, don’t give up on them.

Don’t let them die in a room with a stranger in a place they don’t like. It’s very painful for vets to see how pets can’t find their owner in the last minutes of their lives. They don’t understand why their master left them. After all, they needed the consolation of their master.

Veterinarians do their best to make animals not so scared, but they are totally strangers to them. Don’t be a coward because it’s too painful for you. Think about the animal. Endure that pain for them. Be with them until the end.

You know, we’ve had to put down four cats and a dog over the years, and I’ve always been with them to the end. Galt expired on my wife’s lap as we were on the way to have him euthanized, and Ajax died in the yard.

Yeah, the hardest part is not the grieving. The hardest part is watching someone you love grieving.

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A Couple Songs For Those Of Us Feeling Our Age

You know, back about 1990, I would have been hard pressed to say I had a favorite New Kids on the Block song because in my neighborhood, the New Kids on the Block were uncool. If pressed, I guess I would have said “The Right Stuff” or “I’ll Be Loving You Forever”. I guess my neighborhood jumped off the New Kids on the Block train early, as they had a number of albums after 1990, and my younger cousin is still a squeegirl about them.

But thirty-two years later, I have a clear answer: “Bring Back the Time”:

This is also my favorite Salt-n-Pepa song, my favorite En Vogue song, and my favorite Rick Astley song simultaneously.

Also, how about a selection from Billy Ray Cyrus?

You know, I got a speeding ticket recently, and that should have made me feel young, but in the hair color slot, the officer wrote BALD. C’mon, man, I am not completely bald–I have short hair, and it’s blond or maybe steel grey. I mean, I would go full Statham but my wife is against it. So I have not just gone full Statham yet.

And I am growing uncomfortable going to my mother-in-law’s retirement community because I’m often mistaken by other residents as being a new neighbor. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of those ninety-year-old ladies thinking that anyone from forty to seventy looks young and not that I look seventy.

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The Year Ends In “2”

FCC orders phone companies to block auto warranty robocalls

Clearly, the spam auto warranty calls were blocking the spam political calls, and the politicians demanded action.

I kid you not, we have been getting calls from one robopolling company several times every hour for several days.

You know who election year phone calls is killing? The phone company. We’re one of the last holdouts with a land line, and we’re about to dump it just so we can get our scam and spam calls on the go on our mobile devices.

(Link via Wirecutter.)

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A Little Con, But A Con

So on Saturday, after a rare martial arts class for me, I dragged my youngest to Rublecon at Relics Antique Center. As you might remember, gentle reader, I visited this small comic book and collectible convention in 2019, when I bought Potbelly Mammoth Volume 1. Of course, with the Ever Recent Unpleasantness, I have not been to a similar convention since then.

But we went in, not long before the only cosplayer present, someone dressed as Cobra Commander in battle mask, arrived. This person was putting on the helmet as we crossed the parking lot.

So it was a little smaller than Gaming Arts Media Expo and LibraryCon (RIP, apparently). I’d taken out some cash from the automated teller machine machine using my personal identification number number before hand, and the first two tables counter-clockwise were Anthony Hunter and Matt Decker, the comic book artists behind Lame Brains, Silent Sillies, and Zombie Dave. Which kind of explained a bit of my confusion: Both have zombie-themed comics, and I see them every (couple of now) year(s) at cons. So I was not sure about which issues I’d had of their work. So I overbought to be safe.

So, basically, the comics were it. I got:

  • Silent Sillies #2 and #3, although research indicates I already had them.
  • Lame Brains #3.
  • Zemara #0, a preview issue of a new series that Anthony Hunter is working on.
  • Zombie Dave #4 and #5. The son helped keep me straight as to which issues we had in this series.
  • Cub Team Alpha #1, which looks to be a kids’ series.
  • The Big Bad Book of Bill MUrray by Robert Schnakenberg at a retro collectibles table. It was $10, but it’s BFM.
  • The History of Pierce City Through Post Cards, Photographs, Papers, and People by David H. Jones at a table with old magazines and whatnot. The author, the guy behind the table, is a historian and librarian from Pierce City, so of course I told him the story. The book is not in the picture because it slid around in the back of the truck, so I didn’t grab it with the other gleanings. I was pleased when I went back to the truck and found it–I was afraid I had set it down on a table and left it there.

So it was about sixty bucks, but I saved a lot of money.

One table had old video game systems and had an Atari 2600 in its box ($150) along with some cherry cartridges in their original boxes including several Star Raiders complete with keypad controller. But I already have, what, five or six Ataris in both black and wood trim and an Atari, Jr., floating around here? So I told my youngest, “Ah, but if they had an Intellivision or ColecoVision…”, and I looked to the other end of the table (to which the helpful proprietor was gesturing, and lo, an Intellivision with all the accoutrements. $200 could have bought me the lot, but I demurred. I am thinking of downsizing my collection as it is.

Another booth, the one where I bought the Bill Murray book, had some off-brand first generation table tennis game that also accepted cartridges along with several cartridges for $300. I don’t think I’ve seen one like it ever before. But, again, fiscal responsibility and thinking about unhoarding while people my age have some spending power.

It doesn’t look like there’ll be a LibraryCon this year, and apparently the GAME con here in town will be the last one. Which, too, will help my fiscal restraint. But not Saturday.

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The False Cats of Nogglestead

Yeah, verily, some might think we worship cats at Nogglestead. We have several (three indoors these days, one outdoors, and another that comes around but has a day home or day job). We have statues of cats. We have paintings with cats in them. When one is at Nogglestead, one sees cats everywhere. Sometimes when there isn’t actually a cat.

Such as this tableau that appeared on the table for a couple of weeks. The table downstairs, now a larger table after my mother-in-law’s downsizing, is not only the staging area for numerous Good Book Hunting photographs, but it’s also an accumulation point for the downstairs detritus. Books and toys (even now) that should go back to the boys’ bedrooms; Christmas cards and thank-you cards gotten out for periodic card-writing and then not put away for a while; articles of clothing (not socks) that need to go up to the laundry; puzzles and games gotten from the game cabinet but not returned; and a throw blanket or two.

From time to time, a cat will hop up there to have a rest amongst the soft nesting materials. So when I saw this, I thought the black cat had done so:

But the black cat was passing through on my lap.

Apparently, my pattern-matching algorithm favors cat in the house, as this was other things.

Instead of a cat, we have a crumpled cleaning cloth (made from an old Telerik Tools t-shirt, if I am not mistaken) and a Phillips 66 cap.

Even knowing now what I didn’t then, I would still want to pet it. As I do with an old stuffed cat that has found its way onto the back of the sofa in the living room (not Tristan II, who is still hanging above the bed) and the other scattered stuffed cats–c’mon, man, of course, Nogglestead has stuffed cats, too–or throw blankets that are arranged with corners sticking up on the sofa in the dim light.

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The Media In Action

The New York Post, (July 15, 2022): ‘Jaws’ made people irrationally afraid of sharks, scientists declare.

The New York Post the week before letting the “scientists” blame the fifty-year-old movie:

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I Didn’t Need To See The Filename

At the end of his Florida Man Friday post this week, Vodkapundit includes this GIF:

And I asked Stephen, my Facebook friend of long standing, whether that was from the film Hell Comes to Frogtown, which I had just been thinking of otherwise as I watched Conan the Barbarian recently, and both films star Sandahl Bergman.

Well, Stephen hasn’t answered yet because, c’mon, man, we’re Facebook friends, but when I went to compose this post, I went to snag the image from the post, and it’s Hell-Comes-to-Frogtown.gif. So, yeah.

You know, I saw the film on cable’s USA Up All Night back in high school when the film was fresh, and I recorded it on my own videocassette at some point. I watched it numerous times and even came up with an official VHS tape which includes the brief boobage you didn’t see on basic cable.

It’s been a while. Soon, I will have watched all the Conan movies available. Maybe I should revisit that classic which is Rowdy Roddy Piper’s best film. Not They Live!

Come at me, bro.

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And We Have Named Him Samwise Gamgee

So in addition to the loss of one of our cats, we also made the difficult decision to put one of our other cats who had a problem with inappropriate urination out back.

We’ve done this before; ten years ago, we had a pair of tabbies whose occasional IU became more consistent, including peeing things on my desk, that we put out in the back yard. We provided them food and water and bought fairly expensive small dog houses to ignore whilst they sought shelter under the deck.

The food drew some of the other neighborhood cats and other fauna along, and so it was with Athena. A black male cat has been showing up, even before Athena was out there and food was available, but he comes around in the evenings for a little nibble. He makes a strange sound, and he will not get close to us, but he is comfortable enough to flop on the patio or the lawn nearby. And Athena, who did not get along with the other cats in the house–she would spit and hiss at them and then lose any escalated encounter that occurred. But she’s cool with Peirce, as we have nicknamed the cat (not a typo: He is named for Charles Sanders Peirce). She’ll not yowl at him and will sometimes trot off to see where he’s going when he leaves the yard–but Athena does not venture far, which is probably for the best.

It’s kind of nice having a backyard cat, Athena. I’ve taken to bringing a book out in the evenings to read, and Athena will jump onto my lap. Sometimes, she’ll jump down and lounge on the patio pavement or on the table between the chairs, and I’ll actually get to read that book.

Like last night. She hopped down and settled against the wall of the house behind my chair, and I read a bit.

But then Athena spit a hiss and moved from under the chair, and I turned to see if it was Peirce, and it was a different cat….

No, wait, it was not a cat. It was a raccoon that had basically sneaked toward the food dish by creeping under the chair I was sitting on.

He went to the food dish with one eye on me and consumed the remainder of the food in the dish.

So I have named him Samwise Gamgee, although I am not sure I will be able to recognize him again.

But I’ve been closer to him than I have to Peirce.

We try to keep the amount of food in the bowl to a minimum to prevent too many wild creatures in the back yard. When we had the boys out there, we kept the bowl for them full, so every night we had possums, raccoons, other cats, and skunks stopping by–sometimes more than one of each at a time.

Given that we sit out on that patio more these days now that we have a patio set, I don’t think I want to encourage it.

But I think I’ll take my phone out to get a picture from now on.

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Climate Prediction

In six or ten years, when we have another hot summer like this one, most people will not remember how hot it was in the summer of 2022.

Because most people are going to spend this hot summer indoors where it’s cool, and they won’t remember acutely that the days here in Missouri rang the 100° bell a lot this year.

I can say this with some confidence because I’m getting Facebook memories where I’m commenting on the weather, and I found a site called Climate Spy that acknowledged temperatures reaching 100° in June (highest: 100.9°), in July (highest: 106°), and in August (highest: 106°). It got to 96° in September, for cryin’ out loud. In December, Mizzou published a brief Jeremiad about Hot 2012: MU climatologist: last year was warmest since 1895.

You know, ten years is a long time when you’re young. It’s not too long ago when you’re a bit more, erm, seasoned. And when you’ve lived in the same place for over a decade, where you can watch the seasons pass in their rhythm and variety. Where you can see the warm and cold winters, the warm and cool springs, the temperate and the hot summers, and the warm and cold autumns. We’ve been at Nogglestead for a dozen years (soon to be fourteen because we’re superstitious). So we have seen. And we remember.

Unlike the rest of the modern world.

I guess I got a little of what I came for.

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He’s Probably Run It

Steve Pokin’s Answer Man column, now with the Springfield Daily Citizen, today answers Why is East Mimosa Street so confusing? Reader thinks it’s dangerous.

The reader’s question was:

I am writing about a long-standing traffic problem on East Mimosa Street. Over a brief stretch of the road as you drive east, it splits into two one-way roads. One of the roads dead ends and the other quickly converts back into two-way traffic. I and numerous neighbors have had near misses. Why is the road designed this way?

As I’m reading Pokin’s answer and look at the photographs and maps, I think it sounds familiar, especially when it mentions a mansion hidden from view right over there.

Holy cow, that’s on the route of the Evangel Temple’s 5K, the Royal Run and Rides. I’ve run it two or three times (medaling once because Joe and I were the only males of a certain age–I actually walked the route that year with my beautiful wife).

One wonders if Steve Pokin, a notorious runner, ever ran that race.

Which leads me to another question: Is it just me, or has the 5K fundraiser peaked? We haven’t run as many races as we used to back when the boys’ cross country program ran 5Ks instead of school meets, but we back in the day, we’d do several a year. Back then, you could find more than one a weekend going to the local timing company’s Web site and Ozark Mountain Ridge Runners. But now it looks like you can only find a couple a month, total. The Republic Pregnancy Resource Center used to have one annually–we attended organizational meetings one year and have sponsored it for several more–but it doesn’t appear that they’re having it this year. I can’t find the Royal Run and Rides on the calendar or on the Internet these days. Perhaps the 5K fundraiser was a fad whose time has passed.

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Amazon’s AI Has Some Bad News For Me

Buying coffee, I was presented with a list of recommendations:

Apparently, SkyNet thinks my turntable and/or receiver is about to fail. Again. After all, we have had the receiver in there for over a year and the turntable for two. So that’s old by recent Nogglestead standards.

So I should probably add a line item to the budget or two.

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I Bought It

I mentioned in passing, I went to Rolla in June to take my son to robotics camp.

As is my wont, I went to Google maps to get manly turn-by-turn directions (on the occasions where my beautiful wife is my co-pilot and sets a destination whilst I am driving, I am often subject to disappointing the AI; I am sure that I am on its/their list somewhere as someone who does not obey machines), and I saw that a main thoroughfare through Rolla leading to the residence hall where I was to deposit my offspring was marked Barack Obama Expressway.

I accepted that (believing the machine), but apparently, it is not true: No, Bishop Avenue was not re-named ‘Barack Obama Presidential Expressway

No. Bishop Avenue was not re-named the “Barack Obama Presidential Expressway.”

For the past few days, there’s been posts and confusion on Rolla-focused social media as to why Bishop Avenue was suddenly and seemingly renamed the “Barack Obama Presidential Expressway” on Google Maps.

According to many comments, there were other accounts of the glitch happening in other Missouri cities as well such as Cuba, St. Louis, St. James, Ballwin and possibly others.

Well, we found it, anyway.

And I believed it because Rolla is a college town, and, ya know, college towns.

I don’t know if I would have seen this article before driving to Rolla if I were reading my hometown newspapers (10 or 12 at last count) in a timely fashion, but probably not.

However, we here at MfBJN can very well keep you up-to-date on the news from three weeks ago or 2016.

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Comedy Albums To Drive By

Well, not in the gangsta sense, but on our recent trip to Wisconsin, I brought along four audiocassette comedy albums to break up the audio courses that we listened to for much of the ride.

Back when I was young, right after college, I drove back to Milwaukee from St. Louis probably once a month, and I had two audiocassettes I took with me: What Am I Doing in New Jersey? by George Carlin and No Cure for Cancer by Denis Leary. I didn’t take the latter with us I thought my beautiful wife would balk at its profanity and its nonchalance at the prospect of cancer (she being a, what, almost thirty year survivor? How is that possible as she is not yet thirty years old?).

So I brought these:

They include:

  • What Am I Doing In New Jersey? by George Carlin; as I said, this 1988 recording accompanied me many, many times on those trips to Wisconsin. In 1994(ish), the recording was only six years old, so it probably did not seem as dated then as it does now. It heavily savages the Reagan administration, which would have been winding down when it was recorded, and its political takes are often out-of-date (although abortion jokes could fit right in 34 years later, as they’re on the proper side of the political aisle). My wife had noise canceling headphones that she put on early in the tape, which means I could have brought the Denis Leary along.
  • The 2nd Best of Dave and Carole (not actually titled Some Kids Never Grow Up by Dave Luczak and Carole Caine, two morning show personalities in Milwaukee during my college years. This cassette, which came out during my college years (probably, but find it on the Internet, I dare ya), captures bits from their morning show (proceeds from the sale went to charity). I popped this in once I reclaimed the steering wheel after a snooze and after we hit the Wisconsin line. It’s disparate bits from their morning show, which includes some silly songs based on hits and concerns of the day (“Wake Up Or Eat Sushi” is based on “Wake Up, Little Suzie” and concerns that the Japanese were buying the country). We have recurring bits from “Mr. Angry,” a recurring character with brief bits. We get interviews with comedians stopping in town, including the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties and a probably twelve-year-old Darrell Hammond. So dated, too, but unlike the Carlin, it’s not political humor but more topical generally. So the venomous laugh-at-the-out-group stuff isn’t there, so it’s aged better.

    And, you know what? It’s a good reminder of how the concerns of the day did not bear out–remember how in the 1980s, Americans were worried that the Japanese would eat our economic lunch? Yeah, to what Eastern economic power could that apply today?

  • Carlin on Campus by George Carlin; I picked this up later, after my college years, and have not listened to it quite as much. Although this is an earlier (1984) recording, I thought it recycled a bunch from the earlier (to me) What Am I Doing In New Jersey?. It’s about 40% the same, but that 40% is not the political bits, so it has aged better, strangely. Although the last piece is a couple of minutes on a bit called “An Incomplete List of Impolite Words” which is Carlin running through slang for parts of the human anatomy and whatnot. I mean, I was listening with the family–although my wife had her headphones on. Oh, well, I guess it made my youngest better prepared for the transition to public school.
  • You Might Be A Redneck If…. by Jeff Foxworthy. This is the youngest of the comedy cassettes on the trip, as it’s only 29 years old (1993, old man). You know, I have reported on the book in 2006, but I am not sure when I picked up this cassette. Long ago enough that my wife ripped it from the cassette to MP3s back when she went through a phase of digitizing our audio tapes around the turn of the century. The humor on the album is topical, and the “You might be a redneck” thing propelled Foxworthy to fame and fortune in the 1990s. Of course, in that time, I have moved to the country, so I better understand the kernels of truth in the gags. I don’t care where you’re from, that there’s funny. Sorry, that’s the wrong guy. But, still, it has held up better than the Carlin material.

Well, they served their purpose in passing the time. The boys in the back seat, especially the oldest, enjoyed some of the topical Carlin bits, especially about driving–he’s learning to drive, so he relates very viscerally to the humor.

These cassettes will go back in the box, maybe for the last time, although I guess it’s possible we will take another road trip as a family (but our as a family time is winding down). If we do, the Denis Leary cassette is coming along.

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Again With The Punching Incorrectness

Ace posted this meme last week:

It’s a simple four punch set, but.

  1. Jab.
  2. Cross.
  3. Rear uppercut.
  4. Front hook.

A proper sequence, especially for training, would be jab-cross-front hook-uppercut. You want strikes to alternate sides so you can twist your hips. In a sparring situation, you might want to go same side consecutively to maybe catch your opponent off guard, but for training purposes, alternate sides.

Oh, look who thinks he’s a punchin’ expert now. I am just back from Wisconsin, gentle reader, so you should read that line in Frances McDormand’s voice and Fargo accent because that’s a little like what I sound when talking right now.

At any rate, I have seen the image without text on Pinterest where it’s explanations of individual punches, not a punch combination. Apparently, someone who does not know any martial art, including boxing, replaced the text with something amusing but that implies a sequence. Still. It’s wrong as a combo. But I guess the person who made the meme, should he (c’mon, man, it’s punching humor, so it’s a he) be able to write complete sentences (or maybe not in 2022), he is primed for men’s adventure fiction, where rudimentary understanding of anatomy, guns and light arms, physics, and martial arts is not only tolerated, but rewarded!

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