January 30, 2007

That is unusual

That page of unusualness and (subsequent wiki surfing) led me to discover that I suffer from an rare and unusual medical condition.

I have, and I must stress that I am not joking, Exploding Head Syndrome!

How unusual is that!? (Also awesome, since this syndrome is apparently harmless)

So what's the over/under on when big pharma develops a treatment for this? And might I suggest the following slogan

"Ask you doctor about Craniattenuum. Because with a name like 'Exploding Head Syndrome'it must be serious!"

Note that exploding head syndrome is not an example of spontaneous human combustion, nor does it otherwise involve the head actually exploding.

Lying Liars and the Lying Lies they Lie About Lying

Dr. X posts this from Psychology Today:

"Fiddle dee dum, fiddle dee dee,
"Scooter's lying, or else Ari."

January 29, 2007

That's Unusual

Dr. X posts this from the Unusual Museum:

"I found this unusual article about unusual articles interesting...and unusual."

January 28, 2007

Ugly rumor: Kevin Smith to direct The Hobbit?

Not that I don't like Kevin Smith, but how in hell would he work Jay and Silent Bob into this one?

January 27, 2007

A Small Inconsistency

Dr. X posts this from Trent Lott's porch:

"The Washington Post has an article about the do-it-yourself recovery underway in the wake of the execrable Federal response to Hurricane Katrina. It is by turns heartening ("the waves of volunteers typically come down for a week or two, work during the day and at night sleep on cots and bunks set up in places such as the old school library and huts on the community's football field")...

"...maddening ("the two-by-fours inside the walls of George and Margaret Ladner's new home are inscribed with biblical verses, each written by one of the Alabama schoolchildren who raised money to buy the lumber")...

"...and infuriating ("the reason for the charity's dominant role in the rebuilding is that little, if any, of the $3.2 billion in federal aid for Mississippi homeowners has reached anyone here").

"Perhaps this vindicates the arguments some conservatives have made that handouts make people weaker, that significant direct aid to distressed populations is a recipe for profiteering and undermines genuine progress. Perhaps this proves that the best thing to do is to trust people to lift themselves up by their bootstraps and figure it out for themselves. Perhaps the conservatives have been right about this all along.

"Now maybe we should try it in Iraq."

Watch Out for them Factory Accountants

Dr. X posts this from the Institute for the Delay of Middle-Aged Mental Decline:

"Maybe you've tried sudoku, the new puzzle craze that's sweeping the country. Maybe you've passed some hours on a plane, or maybe you've missed a day or two or work, or maybe you've played sudoku non-stop for weeks without food, water, or basic hygiene, until the Police broke into your house because everyone thought you were dead.

"But it's good for you, really. Or so the doctors say. If I do enough of them maybe I can have my car keys back.

"I was interested to see they had a World Sudoku Championship last year. I wasn't surprised to see the third-place winner was a software engineer from Google, nor that second prize went to a Harvard grad student.

"But the winner was Jana Tylova, a factory accountant from the Czech Republic. I don't know what they're making in that factory, but if that's their accountant I wouldn't want to see their actuarial analysis team, if you know what I mean.

"Tylova said: 'There is no difference between men and women and I tried to prove that even in logic men and women are on the same level.'

"She proved it. She also proved that you'd better watch yourself around Czech factory accountants, or they will kick your ass."

Love in the Time of Rockets

Love and Rockets - the comic, not the band, you poser - is celebrating 25 years here in Seattle in February.

It is possibly the best art comic, the one that really did push narrative graphics into literature. There is a spare grace in the drawing, and a solidity and elegance I can't compare to anything except Krazy Kat, 60 years before. At its start, completely distinct from its legion of neurotic cousins from from R. Crumb to Peter Bagge, it was the Califonia punk rock version of One Hundred Years of Solitude rooted in the Mexican-American experience, when punk rock, if you can dust off ancient memories, had some serious ambitions as an art culture. And as L and R became more ambitious, it had to become, to recall a brilliant word coined by the Laird, desciencefictionalized, discarding it's future fantasy trappings for the harder, richer drama of real life. Maggie and Hopey were strangely hard to remember did not exist and could not be called on to come hang out to, listening to the Pixies or Black Flag on the stoop, taunting the cops.

I despair of the intelligent anarchism and spirit of independent culture in America represented in Love and Rockets; its style was crazily successful - its ethos is a shade. A poll came out recently: something like 70% of young people believe celebrity and money are their highest and best ambitions, double or triple what it was 30 years ago. Bleah.

But Maggie and Hopey are just 25. That's how I choose to think of this.

It's Got a Good Beat, and You Can Withdraw to It

Isengard.gov's folk counselor powers up the anti-war charts on Neil Young's Living With War Site, with Eddie's Song.

There was a day last week when eight soldiers from Alaska died in Iraq.

January 26, 2007

The Words of Kings

L'etat c'est moi. (I am the state). -- Louis XIV

I'm the decider. (I am an an autocrat and a fucking moron.) -- George II

Bush: 'I'm the decision-maker' on Iraq - Yahoo! News

(BTW, Lois XIV is also quoted as saying "It is legal because I wish it so." Sound familiar?)

January 25, 2007

Anchorage's New Brand

The lid is tight on Anchorage's new "brand," to be revealed next week.

To honor the most ancient Isengard.gov traditions, I propose we immediately make light of this effort with our own suggested branding of Anchorage, Alaska:

"The Internet Tubes Crossroads of the World"

"Anchorage is for Stalkers"

"A Bridge Too Far"

"An Enthusiastic Tributary of British Petroleum"

"Your AM Talk Radio Fairyworld"

"Cash, Grass or Ass- No Rides For Free"

"The McKinley Building Is Finished"

"If Anything Ever Happens in Anchorage, It Will Probably Stay There"

"We Envy Phonenix"

January 24, 2007


Regarding Marriage

Love-besotten cut key questions in crops,
hire zoo whales and helicopters
and gorilla suits
as Mercury.

Yes. Who says no to a camera?

Overheated grooms and brides, preachers and flower girls
drop like axed trees.

From the unnatural stiffness, the tight clothes,
a groomsman wobbles, rights, and stumbles again
through a hoarde of swans and penguins
to dent the creaking floor.

Say certain gods:
"How obvious can we get?"

Now cakes are misapplied: eyes, chins, breasts, crotches:
A sexy, vicious frosting.
Elderly relatives choke emotion into the wrong end of the microphone.
The table of food greets an incompetent dancer with a shower of potato salad.
Dionysus wants a better party.

The horses toss the brides,
the wagons run over them, nearly.
Veils rise like northern lights,
and their billowing signals
the transition between a lifetime apex
and the moment
where the great Swan chases the white feathery cloud of her
around the lawn,


On this televised field,
We know it is more likely
that the proud model plane will prefer,
to the infinite sky,
the back of his head.


The sock puppet shakes Clinton's hand.
A giddy hand draws a clown nose on video Bush.
A child apes aptly the president's confusion.
The motorcade crashes slowly into itself.
Entropy is democracy.


January 21, 2007

Colonization Lives

Dr. X posts this from New Spain:

"There is a nice open source clone of Colonization in development. It works fine now, but is still missing some features - their goal is to make an exact clone. Once that's done, they want to 'go beyond the original Colonization and will have many new features, it will be an implementation of our (and our users') image of what Colonization 2 would have been.'

"Thumbs up from here."

January 20, 2007

Tormentor of the Beast Dies With Honor

Dr. X posts this from the Cafe Presse:

"Art Buchwald...now there's a name I haven't heard since...

"Nixon had his tormentors - Pat Paulsen, Dick Tuck. But in a time when many serious people, and a majority of the American people, thought Nixon was a pretty good president, Buchwald lacerated him with intelligence and humor.

"He was a big star in his time, bigger than most of the people we talk about in this column. Even though he was nominally a humorist, other journalists liked and admired him. He managed to pull the best job there ever was - miscellany columnist, for the International Herald-Tribune, in Paris, in the 50s and early 60s.

"According to the Washington Post obituary,
He escorted Elvis to the Lido, strolled the boulevards with Satchmo and Ellington, gave tours of the paper's office near the Champs-Elysees to Humphrey Bogart, Danny Kaye, Fred Allen and Jane Russell. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were "one of my favorite couples." Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Mike Todd tried to stiff him on a $4,000 restaurant tab. Thornton Wilder assured him that "the rich need you more than you need them." Lucky Luciano, the exiled gangster, took Buchwald to lunch in Naples, which led to a novel that he sold to his friend Stanley Donen as a possible movie for his other friends Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
"It would be natural to slack off a bit and just enjoy the party, but he did well enough to win a Pulitzer in 1982, and got on well enough with the French that the Embassy was throwing him a birthday party as recently as 2005.

"Art Buchwald lived well, and died cheerfully on the Vineyard, leaving a good joke behind at the end. Farewell sir, you go with our blessings, prayers, and various incantations from Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings which have special meaning to us."

January 19, 2007

Is Alberto Gonzales Dick Cheney's Illegitimate Love-Child?

I'm just askin', is all.

(Oh, he pointed out to the Senate that there's no grant of Habeas Corpus in the Constitution. Just because the government can't take a right away, it doesn't meant that you had the right in the first place, he reasons.)

January 18, 2007

Not Worth a Title

Speaking of the corruption of money, and desire as the source of all suffering, I want a replacement laptop, and I don't want to spend too much, so I thought I would amuse myself by perstering my more compu-conscious colleagues with asking:

1) What is the best budget laptop available new?
2) Is a used, more powerful laptop a better deal?
3) Which brand of computer can help me break the cycle of endless rebirth?

Doctor Tufte Would Approve

Here's a powerful piece of graphic art from Tim Klimowicz showing troop fatalities in Iraq. (Click the red dot.)

A Scientific Basis for the Republican Party

In yet another leap forward by science, a University of Minnesota study demonstrates that simple exposure to the concept of money tends to make you an asshole.

Results indicate that these people also work longer before asking for help, are less helpful to others, and prefer to play and work alone. In addition, people who are exposed to the concept of money can even put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance as compared to people who are not reminded of money.

"It's not malicious," Vohs said. "People are focused on their own goals -- but unfortunately not others -- and are motivated to work really hard to achieve them."
Note that in the article, the phrase "elevates a sense of self-sufficiency" is used instead of "becoming a unbelievably self-obsessed dicktard" (it is after all a management-marketing study).

Thi is clearly a new penetration into human psychology. For example, except for every song, novel, painting and movie about money ever created, it suggests for the first time that money is a corrupting influence on human behavior, detracting from out natural inclination to trust others and be interested in their welfare as well as ours.

January 17, 2007

Fuck Art, Let's Dance

Dr. X posts this from the garage.

January 16, 2007

What's Hasselbeck's BFAYPA?

Hasselbeck played last 8 games with broken fingers - NFL - Yahoo! Sports

January 15, 2007

The Laird Recommends Children of Men

Children of Men is the most stunning, provocative, depressing, and exhilarating movies I've seen in a long time. It's vision of British dystopia makes V for Vendetta look like Mary Poppins.

The movie opens with our hero getting a cup of coffee in a crowded, dingy coffee shop. On the television, the news is about the tragic death of the youngest person on Earth, who was 18. He walks outside. Then the coffee shop explodes. Earth has become a living, but all too believable, Hell, where suicide pills are marketed like antidepressants and sleep-aids.

Yet, there is hope. (Just go see it.)

Clive Owen dodging...something or other in Children of Men.

January 14, 2007

Whose Sadistic Spectacle is it Anyway?

Dr. X posts this from the Flint Center:

"Saw Brad and Colin's traveling improv show last night, including the famous mousetrap bit (sadistic fun for the whole family). Lots of good stuff. Special credit to Brad Sherwood, who had a couple of good gotchas ('why, this message is six lines of rhyming iambic pentameter - why don't you read it out loud?').

"It's a fun show - they play Tacoma in April."

Oh, About That

Dr. X posts this from the Seahawks Fan Club of Tucson, Arizona:

"IAYPAs for the game - Hasselbeck 4.4, Grossman 6.1.

"Apart from this, I have no further comment."

Sport Update

Dr. X posts this from Hobart:

"The New Zealand Herald is reporting that Australia has won the toss and elected to bat first in the tri-series one-day match agains the Kiwis. Very significant indeed, and we'll have more on the story as it develops."

January 12, 2007

The Naked Gun, Bay Area Edition

Dr. X posts this from that hostage situation at that bank downtown:

"Bay Area policing, never executed with Dragnet proficiency, is reaching levels of stupidity so impressive, even the Mayor is beginning to take notice.

"Over New Year's there was a riot/beatdown of a clean-cut group of Yale singers. The bungled investigation assures this will be a cause celebre on conservative talk radio into the next century. Extra creepiness points from the involvement in the Fajitagate coverup of the parents of the party's hostess.

"More recently, an editor of PC World was murdered in his home, and the Police, Dreben-like, wasted no time in blaming it on his drug dealing. Except for the fact that he wasn't a drug dealer.

"There's lots of other murdering going on, with relatively little chance of investigation or punishment. The Mayor of San Francisco has, on several occasions, taken time off from his Getty-fluffing to offer rewards, reprimand functionaries, and complain to the press. It hasn't helped.

"There is a positive side to the story, however. Police Squad! is out on DVD. Perhaps the SFPD can use it as a training video."

Our Game Plan: Man Up!

Dr. X posts this from the Autonation FoxSports radio studies in Los Angeles, California:

"I heard an amusing call on sports radio today. The caller expressed the following sentiments:

" 'Our game plan for the Colts is simple. Peyton Manning has to Man Up! He's got to be a man, and be a leader, and take quick drops, and take the hits, and protect the football, and make things happen out there. He's got to be a man. If he does that we will win.'

"The host - stupified by the lucidity of this - paused, then recovered, saying 'we'll hear more from Tony Dungy in the next hour.'

"But this strikes me as an almost perfect framework for quarterback evaluation. A great playoff quarterback does take hits (Favre has never missed a start), does avoid mistakes (Tom Brady has the fewest playoff interceptions per attempt of any quarterback in history, #2 is Bart Starr), and leads by example.

"Consider the play against Seattle that led the Cowboys to depart the playoffs in disgrace. There was no part of this test that Romo did not fail: he failed to make things happen, when hit he coughed up the ball, and then wept. (It is not wrong for a grown man to shed tears over failure on the gridiron, but it is good form to wait until the play is over.) Romo will need to improve on all these dimensions if he wishes to reside in Canton along with Unitas, Fouts, et al.

"As for leading by example, I thought highly of the performance of Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms the third week of the season. He performed well in a losing cause, throwing 1 TD against 1 INT and no fumbles. Perhaps a modest achievement until you consider that, after the game, he had his spleen removed.

"That is how the professional quarterback position is to be played."

Note to Angela:

Dear Angela,

You stole my car yesterday, and my laptop.

Fortunately, you were seen, and the Man is looking for you. You are apparently well known by now.

I am not without a certain respect for an 18-year old redhead meth fiend who steals Hondas in front of public libraries, who even the police describe as "hot," although "preppy." (Note to Steller.) But knock it off.

You were kind enough to leave my car to be found in fair condition less than a day later, sans camera, little cd player and the cassette to 1/8 stereo converter. Bad shock when you discovered I still have a tape deck. I relish your disappointment. Did you even recognize what it was?

You left your sweaters, as well as a down vest you boosted from Kavu. But you had no right to leave your Madonna and The Crow soundtrack cd in my car. This is beyond the pale. I must say that your poor taste in music was only exceeded by your taste in sweaters.

Enjoy my 4 year old laptop. I hope it explodes.

Entirely Uncharmed,

First Sea Lord

RAW has left the building


Damn it all. It's not the 23rd yet.

ps. fnord

January 11, 2007

Rebar for Tootsie Rolls: Party of Two For Murder and Drinks Available In the Bar if You Care to Wait

Sure, I'd realized last night under a yalmuka made of the pineapple left over from a huge mai tai poured on my head as Aethelgifu stormed out of the Top of the Mark to grab the last plane to Tampa with her half of Pasteley Marstonbury's ill-gotten war profits, it had to be the uranium-powder for-baking-soda-scam I'd suspected when Pastley's ex Jenny'd baked a thirteen-legged dungeoness into my crabcakes, a big fat detail left over from the Billy Mars to the Moon case - the kind of loose end that not only breaks your heart and takes your one shot at the big time and hides it in the sock drawer, but tends to get wrapped around your throat at about 2am in the alley behind John's Grill by a couple jute-suited greaseballs, both supposedly named Ramon and working for the Treasury Department, and leaves you to a comfy night in a cozy brick gutter with Perverted Granddad bottles for pillows and about 40 degrees of drizzily fog and Moldy the Hobo's vomit for blankets, which is where I was now, my head throbbing like a grizzly waking from hibernation to find himself sewn rudely into a burlap bag; but the revelation really didn't help my physical appearance before two sets of legs, one in all-too familiar thick black cop shoes, and the other full stack of sexy in slick red platforms leading up to a towering pale girl in a brown mink coat, her vivacious body making Myrna Loy look like Jimmy Stewart, the sweetest scoop of ice cream since at the age of seven I stole a vendor's cart on State street in Chicago and tried to hide from the cops in the bucket of cherry vanilla.

"That's him, Officer," said the brunette in a low, deliberate voice, "that's the private detective who took my case and....

"Graarrahaaharrggh!" I said, beating off what turned out to be invisible flies.

"...and my money to find my missing husband and then he just up and disappeared and I haven't heard a word in three weeks. Make him give it back!"

"Well, Mister?" said the cop with the huge moustache - a thick, soupy sort of chowderhead I didn't recognize.

I tried to say hello again to Mrs. Wickersham and tell them that after the blondie dumped me last night I was assaulted by foreign agents, and while the military had covered up the whole rigamarole, I just saved the Bay Area from the Nazis a week ago by foiling an elaborate uranium powder and Hollywood murder plot which had come to fruition when the Santa Angeles sank in the Bay, along with two full batallions of crack stormtroopers. But it came out: "Mahmoudahmadinejad! Mahmoudahmadinejad!"

The cop had developed a thesis: I was raving lunatic. And it looked like the committee was about to award his degree.

He cuffed me like a Chaplin outake. "Yer' coming downtown, Mack."

Lovey Chickie-Poo Wickersham - her first name escaped me - piped up. "Is that necessary officer? I just want to find my husband." She looked on my pathetic state (at the moment, trying to brush someone's else's dried vomit off my lapel with an empty whiskey bottle) with much the reserve and compassion Catherine the Great might have had for a dying ferret she'd just stepped on.

"Dr. Brain," she said, recalling a profession of mine I'd even forgotten, "Were you able to discover anything?"

Those federal Ramons had worked me over something fierce on top of the hangover, and the Bear in my brain started gnawing on the inside of my skull, leaving, I was sure, fang marks. I rubbed one of the decorative assortment of yellow, black and purple bruises on my face: my cheek would make a good baseball for Hell's AAA team. Somehow, my uvula ached.

But I was a pro, heat-hardened and tough as rhino jerky. I'd given depositions in worse shape before, once on a LA divorce case when my liver had to be removed temporarily to drain and bandage it properly - and my client not only won the house but got her husband sent to the chair.

"Mrs. Wickersham.." I gathered my remaining corpuscle to action, "I'm sorry..delays..Nazi batallions... Blonds with icicles for hearts..never mind. I have one lead.."

"Yes?" She looked expectantly, cool, intelligent eyes almost amber in color. I stood with her finally, eye to eye - tall girl, dressed like a gin-joint canary but with a Nob Hill address on her bank statement.

"Does the....does the name Slagophurm mean anything to you?" I looked close to get the expression.

"Slagophurm?" She blanched, which was impressive because she was a pale as a Copenhagen ice sculpture contest already and had to turn a little blue to register emotion.

"Is it - I need to know - is Slagophurm the dental adhesive?"


"Ma'am, you need me?" said the cop.

"Not anymore. Thank you, officer. I'll be fine, really." And he shrugged off, stopping for a sec to club a zoot-suiter on the back of the skull.

Slagophurm. It was an old mystery I'd only connected to a dusty aisle in a Sunset pharmacy when the doc dug out an old brown bottle from the turn of the century labeled "Slagophurm."
Trouble was, about once a year since 1932 some joker's turned up in my office with a cagey reference to "Slagophurm" right before they disappear faster than free steak in a Hooverville, until I get the phone call from a glum life insurance adjustor trying to confirm the bizzare circumstances of their death, like a bicycle crash inside a freight elevator or an asthmatic's last encounter with a pie full of angry bees.

"We've got to get you cleaned up, Dr. Brain. Come along. "

Lovey Chickie-Poo - what was her first name? - with what I had to call a fistful of courage, called us a Cab and took me back to her place at the St. Francis.

"It's my husband," she explained to the doorman, "bumped by a cable car into a Chop Suey dumpster." The doorman replied with an inscrutable but distinct expression for which he was bribed handsomely.

She signalled a bellhop and handtrucked this wreck of myself to room 3434. They dumped me unceremoniously into the bathtub, and soon I was dead to the waking world.

I woke up
two days later in a soft bed in the same, spacious room. The grizzly in my head was more like a gerbil now. Lovey Chickie-Poo walked in, wearing a long pink silk house robe with shoulder pads, made up and radiant, pushing the room service cart.

"You look very nearly human again. " she said brightly. "Orange juice, oatmeal and coffee, Dr. Brain?"

"And what is your..." I belayed the question. "How can I thank you, Mrs. Wickersham? "

She sat herself brazenly on the bed. "Shush. Eat your breakfast." And she feed me a spoonful of oatmeal before I could say anything, leaning toward me for optimal viewing.

This was too good to be true and too true not to be good.

Lovey Chickie-Poo needed something. Something about Slagophurm. It was good to be needed.

Lovey nodded her lovely, craning neck toward the closet. "I've sent for some of your shirts and a new suit - I hope you don't mind."

Speaking as a doctor, let me just say a word about the suprasternal notch, the little depression at the base of the neck above the breastbone. I was examining that notch now, like a magical dell in the rolling pink foothills of Lovey Chickie-Poo. It was a feeling like finding a seam of ore and wanting to dig for gold, except the ore is love and the seam plays out at the heart. And among all the suprasternal notches in the world, her notch was the greatest goddamn notch I'd ever bored my leer into, the nattiest notch, the wicked notch of the West.

"No, I don't mind at all. " Notched out like this, I wouldn't have minded if she just told me she'd sold me to a rendering plant.

"Um, Mrs. Wickersham.."

"Silly..don't be so formal."

Wait - had something happened? Deep in a reverie of notch and mystery and Slagophurm came suddenly this most awkward social error - had I slept with her and somehow forgotten, or was this a fresh assault on the Mack Brain fortress of love?

I was just working up a good quizzical expression when the closet door appeared to explode, sending splinters through the room, and standing in the pile was a three hundred pound side of longhorn in a suit who looked like he'd just found out his wife was in bed with another man. Which she was, although it was not a moment for cogent reason and calming tones to explain that the man in question was uncertain as to his own status.

"Brain!" Was all he said before I was picked up like a glass vase and thrown at the wall with a huge crash that shook the plasterwork from the ceiling, leaving a surprised detective-shaped hole in the wainscotting.

"Solenoid!"I said. "Don't..." was all I got out before I found myself watching the curious arc my own body was tracing as I crashed through an art deco lion lamp, into the bathroom, and hit the clawfoot tub so hard it overturned with a sudden spray of hot water as the pipes tore from the tiles.

It was Stanhope "Solenoid" Wickersham, who I had in fact been trying to not find for some time now. For all the damage I actually wasn't in bad shape, and was trying to tear a lead pipe from the remains of the plumbing when Solenoid came forward with fist like a car battery and smashed me into the mirror. It was like getting hit with both the battery and the Dusenberg it was in, and I saw more stars that moment than Mann's Chinese Theater on Astronomy night.

But I wasn't done. I grabbed a rubber duck and shoved it in his mouth before clapping his ears with both hands as loud as possible, then kneed him in the jaw, then tore off the shower curtain and wrapped him up like Roosevelt vs. Hoover and he dropped to the floor wriggling about like a tube worm, which is when room service arrived with a nutritious breakfast and an offer from a certain Hortense, who I gathered while catching my breath was Venezuelan, for a relaxing massage.

But the while Hortense the masseuse stood there agape and the room service boys agapely stood there, well, I don't know if you've ever carved your way of a shower curtain with a six-inch bowie knife, but it was an impressive sight now as Solenoid sliced it open rapidly, like a vengeance-minded chicken enchilada, even as I was busily kicking him in the head in the broken plumbing mist, and when a Hotel Manager with an extremely tiny moustache worked his way past the masseuse, the room service boys, Lovey whose first name I still could not remember, and my panting, bloody self to yell at the emerging Chrysalis of Solenoid, who was completely unlike a butterfly in any noticeable fashion and was raising his knife menacingly as the police almost arrived (preventing from entering by the growing crowd) including my latest nemesis from the blue screws, Dennis "Short Pants" Wortlewingly, the kind of enormous, flatulent corrupt flatfoot that insisted on a hand job to fix a parking ticket and a 40 point piece of the action if it was murder for hire. Short Pants drew his .38 and aimed it strangely at the Hotel Manager and shot him, slightly, but the bullet went through him to it's intended target, Solenoid, straight in the right shoulder, and the knife dropped.

"Hold it!" said Short Pants.

"Oww!" said the manager.

"Aiee!" screamed Hortense.

"I'm not completely sure but I don't think I slept with your wife," I said to Solenoid.

"Mack!" said Lovey. "Solenoid!"

"French Toast?" said the more slack-jawed of the boys.

"Here!" said Lovey.

"Not about Cloie, it was...Slag...," started Solenoid.

"Oh no. Cloie? really?" I said.

"Hmmph," said Lovey-Cloie, crossing her arms.

"Slagophurm..." and Solenid passed out, his energy discharged.

I had to admit later that despite Solenoid instigating the damage to the St. Francis, it seemed crass to hand him the bill while he was still in the hospital in a coma by tucking it neatly in less bloody corner of his shoulder bandage. Still, he laid there, like that. The jokers wrapped up in whatever Slagophurm was rarely pulled through.

But why did Lt. Short Pants shoot him exactly? He was a threat in that crowded hotel room, but nothing a fully-riled Mack Brain, twelve hotel employees and a peeved estranged wife couldn't handle. Was he being paid to slam shut Solenoid's jabber-hole? In San Francisco, where you could do your dry-cleaning or buy a supervisor off in about an hour, Short Pants set a standard for corruption that made the Tea-Pot Dome Scandal look like a XMAS cookies and a cup of Earl Grey, and with 1942 almost halfway gone, the War Machine wasn't too fussy about what you call your ethics.

I never liked Short Pants. He always gave the impression of having just been somewhere much better than this. He wore a huge black moustache and his unibrow was slightly above his hairline. He had a thin, wide mouth and cruel eyelashes. He gave off a smell like diesel, gym socks, and lilac water, some kind of horrible cologne he picked up off a dead merchant marine officer he shot downtown for crossing a street against the signal while having sex with Short Pants' favorite whore, Belinda. He was standing there now, hovering over Solenoid in the hospital like a bony, East Lansing-bred vulture over a dying water buffalo, giving me the eye, which of course was just the one after what he always claimed was a sword fighting accident, but I knew was the result of the business end of a stilleto heel in a 5 cent peep joint window when he stiffed the girl in question, and not even in the interesting way. Not that he wasn't sometimes useful: Short Pants took more bribes than Tammany Hall between 1878 and 1934. Yet his pants were well-tailored.

"So who messed up Solenoid?" He said, his voice both gruff and squeeky.

"You did." I said.

"I mean who got him all steamed up to kill you? Not that rubbing out Mack Brain would cheese me off." He smiled in a menacing grimace, like a rabid badger with dentures.

"And how's you mother? Did she get the flowers I sent?" I said.

"Can It, Brain. Go back to your tarp."

"Mrs. Wickersham wants me here when he wakes up. If. And besides I'm a doctor. "


That was the second "hmmph" in two days. I may be the least qualified Doctor since the genius that tried curing Lincoln's brain shot with a good bleeding, but I didn't like getting hmmphed. I decided to carefully nurture an inward, personal resentment.

Then Mrs. Wickersham came in, and the dingy beige room lit up like a Christmas tree decorated with small incendiary devices. She was wearing a dress cut so tight the ruffles failed to ruffle, and so low I didn't notice the gun she was shooting.

BANG. She missed him.

Short Pants at this point peed his pants.

"You shot my husband, you filthy whoreson!" A quaint insult in a time of obvious stress.
She started to cry, and I walked up straight to her and held her, and she started to lower the gun, little Italian black .25 auto with a rhinestone inlay on the grip, the kind of girl gun that gets girls in girl prison faster than cheatin' in the bus station.

"Give me that, Baby, I'll shoot him for you."

I grabbed it gently and shot his hat off, breaking the window. He tried moving. I shot between his legs.

"This is fun." I said. "Who paid you to kill Solenoid, Short Pants?"

The gun's noise was pretty small. The walls were thick.

"Who paid you?," and to Cloie, "how much ammo in this gun?"

"Oh, about 7, but here's another clip, dear, " and she kissed me.

"Thanks, Sweetie, but you're messing up my aim," I said as I fired another shot, which richocheted and hit a flower vase behind him.

The courage was out of Short Pants, and his normally Jaundiced pallor was lacking even the yellow, which appeared to be draining out of his skin and down his pant legs.

"Alright! Alright! Look, here, here's the money..." and he pulled a cool two grand out of his pockets in one thousand dollar bills. I hadn't seen those since The Case of the Ten Thousand Dollar Laundry.

"I don't want the money," I said, "although I will be spending it. Who paid you?"

He fiddled with his pockets again.

"Careful, flatfoot."

"Look, here's the black book...there's this business that's involved with something called Slagophurm.."

Suddenly, Solenoid bolted up, saw Short Pants, and before I could even shoot he leapt up, grabbed him like a linebacker and shoved him and himself through the window, falling three stories to Grant street, where as Cloie Wickersham buried herself in my arm we heard the distinct sound of four hundred and fifty pounds of human chops crash into a Model A roof, a sound I recognized from at least two other cases this year alone.

"Goddamit." I said.

The Complete Rebar for Tootsie Roll Stories are located in oblogotorially reverse order, at IRONCANDY.BLOGSPOT.COM. All rights are not only reserved, but emotionally repressed.

January 10, 2007

Joining the cause

My first post -- and a hearty welcome to all. Sadly the blogosphere has confused me and left me unable to do even the most simple things like remember my user name and such. Hope to post from time to time to keep your ilk in line. All hail Tim!

January 09, 2007

Steller good old days sought

Those Isengard readers who have an interest in progressive education in Anchorage, Alaska, may be interested in a site and blog dedicated to restoring Steller Secondary Alternative School to its open optional roots. A group of parents and students concerned that the place has gotten a bit traditional, middle-of-the-road, and even preppy, have begun a movement to return the school to its ideals or to start a new one. The site is at http://www.renewsteller.org. Alumni are welcome to participate.

January 08, 2007

Dumb, Corrupt, and Ugly Is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

Dr. X posts this from the Reston / Safire Home for Retired Pundits:

"In the endless quest for the ultimate slam on our President, I thought we had reached the end of the road. Surely, I thought, every analytical approach and every rhetorical device has been employed to express contempt for this benighted puppet of the plutocracy.

"But I did not have enough faith in the ingenuity of man. This fine critique from Roger Parloff makes some points that are so obvious and powerful I am surprised I have not seen them in this form before. I initially resisted, but now am persuaded by his argument that the Miers nomination was the beginning of the end. To wit:

"1) 'The big question dogging Bush all along had always been whether he himself was up to his job. He just never seemed to be playing in the same league as other presidents. Even the greatest scoundrels of either party, like Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton, had him skunked when it came to knowledge of history, government or international affairs.'

"2) 'There was also that stunted quality to his personality. The incessant macho posturing--"Bring 'em on!," "Dead or alive!"--that seemed not just reckless and dangerous, but eerily immature. He evoked one of those royals in the Europe of yore who, through the rigid workings of primogeniture, found himself King at age 11.'

"3) 'William Kristol wrote in The Weekly Standard that Bush had proposed "an unknown and undistinguished figure . . . for an opening that conservatives worked for a generation to see filled with a jurist of high distinction. There is a gaping disproportion between the stakes associated with this vacancy and the stature of the person nominated to fill it." (Emphasis mine.) Well, exactly. And the "gaping-disproportion" line would've been a great one to describe Bush's bid for the presidency in 2000, too. Kristol had unwittingly turned Harriet Miers into a George W. Bush surrogate. The concerns that couldn't be voiced about Bush now surfaced by proxy. The great discussion was finally on, and this time the conservative intelligentsia wasn't, well, playing dumb anymore. The whole electorate could see that the right-wing pundits had really known all along, but had kept mum on a calculated bet that they could adequately supervise the boy-president and keep him on the rails.'

"Isn't interesting that this man's mendacious and cynical handlers recognize his incapacity for leadership, yet actively seek to increase his authority?

"Oh yes, and see Standard Paragraph."

January 07, 2007

Input Urgently Needed From Dr. Y

Dr. X posts this from the Film Room at San Jose State:

"Dr. Z's All-Pro picks are out. They are thoughtful, well-informed, and carefully assembled. Dr. Z fears no man - in his book, Brian Urlacher is the second-best middle linebacker in the NFL, after Zack Thomas. I have no doubt Dr. Z would say it to Urlacher's face.

"But they are utterly offensive to Seahawks fans. Here we are, one of eight teams left playing the NFL, and NO ONE on the team is the best in the league at his position? Not one Seahawk can be considered a premier player?

"There are four Chargers on the list. Three Ravens. Even two Broncos. But not a Seahawk in sight.

"Dr. Z only mentions two Seahawks in the article - fullback Matt Strong (like him, "but he's aging") and Walter Jones ("He's getting older and his pass blocking is not what it once was, but, oddly enough, his drive blocking picked up this season. Nevertheless he graded No. 3."). Pro Bowl linebackers Tatupu and Peterson didn't even rate a mention.

"The Seahawk I'd nominate as most effective at his position is kicker Josh Brown. 25-31, and made four game winning kicks, including two of 50 yards or more. But he's not even going to the Pro Bowl."

January 06, 2007


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Five Satisfying Words

Dr. X posts this from the Thunderdome:


"I've been ambivalent at times, but if you can't get behind the Seahawks now you are deficient in vital hormones and should seek medical help."

Bush Raises Army of Zombies for Iraq Surge

Well, not precisely, but...nice try!

BBC NEWS | Americas | US Army urges dead to re-enlist

January 05, 2007

"Please Don't Look to Me For Information Because... Sometimes... I Lie"

Dr. X posts this from SMU:

"I watched Colbert in the hotel last night. Just another show - guests included Eliot Spitzer, Peter Frampton, and Henry Kissinger, and a guitar on loan from Cheap Trick.

"Here is a brief account of what this man has gotten done in the past two years:
  • "Invented a word - 'truthiness' - which was named Word of the Year by the Merriam-Webster.
  • "Insulted and offended the President...to his face...on national television.
  • "Sang a duet ('I Write the Songs') with Barry Manilow.

"Colbert actually drops character for this interview at the Kennedy School (here - actual content begins at 12:00), and for this interview with The Onion's AV Club.

"In that AV Club interview he says:

" 'I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?'

"The historical experience thusfar has been that comedy is not of much practical use to a society. It didn't stop the Nazis or save Austria-Hungary - a point Jon Stewart has made in the past, and which is explored more thoroughly (at least with respect to Austria-Hungary) by Janik and Toulman in their study of the influenc of Kraus on Wittgenstein. But Kraus never got at the top man in front of an audience - Colbert did.

"American comedy - strongest in the world."

January 03, 2007

Meet me in Seattle on June 16th

What could be more Eisengeistinian than an Alaska cruise with our special chums from the The Weekly Standard? Beautiful scenery and political commentary from rapier-thin and reed-smart pundits. BYOBrass Knuckles.

Birthday Buddies

"Also born on this date:
  • "Cicero
  • "JRR Tolkien
  • "ZaSu Pitts
  • "Anna May Wong
  • "Victor Borge
  • "George Martin
  • "Sergio Leone
  • "Van Dyke Parks
  • "Bobby Hull
"I'll take it!"

January 01, 2007

What Would You Say?

Dr. X posts this from the Key West offices of Saucer Smear:

"Fark asks, 'when we first make contact with another intelligent race, what should be our first words to them?'

"Early contenders:
  • "We'd take you to our leader, but uh...
  • "Umm.... sorry to have to ask this, but could you figure out a reasonable way to settle the NCAA Division I Football National Championship that actually has a chance of being implimented?
  • "I am an Oil Ministry Official in Nigeria...
  • "You wanna conquer the world, you're going to need lawyers, right?
  • "All of our secrets are stored in the stomachs of our leaders.
  • "Do you believe in God? No? *bonk!* (below a picture of George Carlin)
  • "We can be friends if you help us kick the crap outa the Chinese.
  • "It is customary for visitors to our planet to have an 'agent'.
  • "Can you replicate cash?
"and my favorite so far:
  • "Are you Christian or Muslim?"

Sure Cure for a Case of the Tuesdays

Dr. X posts this from the Brookings Institutional Cleaning Service:

"Looked for TMQ, did not see it. But found this parody, which is very enjoyable."