Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Other films dissed by the Academy.

Okay, it's been more than a week, and I'm almost over the Academy Awards screwing over my entry in the Best Documentary Short category. Me and Clint Eastwood got hosed, yeah. But I'm a forward-looking guy, and I'm thinking about the Google Science Fair now. 

Anyway, we know that a lot of fine movies and movie makers got overlooked by the Academy this year. Others who should have won,, if there was any justice in Hollywood, include:

The Delicate Pain of Butterflies

Jonathan Thipplewaithe, Hungarians in the Moonlight

Theresa DelVulva, El Cid and Nancy

Ice Bukkit, Electric Boogaloo XI: Born on the Boogaloo

Minerva Screemstress, Planet of the Llamas

Herschel Levinski, Like I Should Care

Nabba'i miniṭēra ēbaṁ ēkaṭi mukha phasakāni nāṭā'i (Ninety Minutes and a Blooper Reel, Bangladesh)

Mark Thyme, Outrage and Pepper; or, The Fantastical Adventures of My Right Fibula 

Gerard Daint and Alice Comely, Updog (from Les Miserables)

LeShay Tee, "(The Hills Are Alive with) Big Pimpin'"

Miscellaneous Household Garbage 2 (Pixar)

Why the Academy Awards Suck So Hard

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cold hands, warm cop.

As I described the other day, I have spent a lot of time standing outdoors in one of our most brutal Februaries on record while I wait for the dog to do... something, anything. After a while the thin gloves I had were not preventing the frostbite from endangering my delicate digits. I had work gloves, driving gloves, and some goofy cloth gloves, but nothing really useful for sub-zero temperatures. So I had to get something that would actually keep the meathooks warm.

After looking around online and trying unsuccessfully at the Army-Navy store, I happened to see a pair of what were billed as Canadian police gloves in the Vermont Country Store catalog. Hmm---cops have to hang around outside all the time, and every last bit of Canada is north of here. "The supple leather lined with thick, protective pile is a style that’s been keeping Canadian policemen’s and dog sled champs’ hands warm since 1947," says the text. Kind of pricey---but what the hell. Let's try them.

You're under arrest, eh?
I have two problems with them:

1) They're lined with fluff and really thick. Like, you can't make a fist while wearing these. Forget getting your finger in a trigger guard; I don't think you could fire a Nerf gun. I know there are lots of different kinds of police officers in any police force, but can any of them perform their duties with no manual dexterity?

2) On that note, I looked up some pictures of Toronto cops, traffic cops, Mounties, etc., and none of the winter pictures showed gloves like these. I don't want to call the folks at the Vermont Country Store fibbers, but...

Anyway, they are the warmest gloves I own, and I still have all ten fingers, so I'm going to call it a win. They're not super warm, though; standing outside in a Saskatoon winter for eight hours, I think my hands would still get plenty cold. If they get damp the chill seeps in quickly. And if I get mugged while wearing them, I will be helpless to beat off my attacker. Even if I could punch him it would feel like a pillow fight with very small pillows.

Still, while this terrible winter drags on---March 1st it snowed six inches!---I'm grateful to have them.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thoughts on the McDonald's drive thru.

What's so special about Special Sauce? Is it really that special? Isn't it just like mayonnaise with hypertension?

Sometimes they tell you to pay at the first window. Sometimes they tell you to pay at the second window. Do they not have adequate staff to keep the first window open all the time? Is it a crowd control mechanism?

I like pickles.

This line is taking a long time. Is someone up there waiting on an order of fries individually basted with Special Sauce? Because the other guys were always the "Have It Your Way" guys.

Not sure that that girl got my order right. She seemed to be a little distracted. I'm sure I heard giggling. My order was funny, but not that funny.

Speaking of funny: Do people really yell into the face of the clown at Jack in the Box? Maybe that used to be a thing but not anymore. Hard to believe that a modern chain would expect people to talk into a clown's face, except ironically.

Damn, what's going on up there? Someone interrogating the manager about the contents of the Special Sauce?

They sell Taco Bell condiments in the stores, and now McDonald's coffee, but not Special Sauce. Hmm.

About that clown thing -- let me check the phone... Nearest Jack in the Box is... 523 miles away. Shoot.

Do I know anyone who lives in California who would know about shouting into the clown? Lots of Jack in the Boxes in California.

Or would that be Jacks in the Box?

I know I was hungry when I got on this line. Not so hungry now. Did I eat something without thinking?

Is there relish in Special Sauce? I may be onto something here. This could blow the lid off the whole Special Sauce cartel.

Did I swallow my gum? Maybe that's why I'm less hungry.

Jacks in the Boxes, maybe?

You'd expect giggling if you were giving your order through a clown head.

I'm almost sure I wasn't chewing gum.

Could I pull off the line? I could have driven to the nearest Jack in the Box by now.

Wait -- that Odyssey is getting two... three... four bags... tray of drinks... Okay, he's the bastard who's holding up the line. Everyone stare daggers!

Now I'm hungry again. Those pickles sure are tasty.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

One weird trick!

I was just wondering what the blog would look like if I start selling ad space.

Conclusion: Even dumber.

P.S.: Never respond to ads like this. People who use words like "belly" cannot be taken seriously.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tralfaz the spy.

I live on a quiet street, or at least I used to think so. Then I got a dog. Now every night it seems we are living in Grand Central Station.

Here's a typical breakdown of a trip outside. Imagine, if you will, that it is the coldest night of the winter. Not too hard for me to imagine; we've had about five coldest nights of the winter so far. ("This is the coldest night of the winter!" Two days later: "God! That's even colder!" A week after: "Damn it to hell, this is the coldest night EVER!" etc.) Now, commence with odd pacing and whining. From the dog, not me. My whining comes later.

Mrs. K: Honey, he needs to go out. Can you take him?

Me: Okay, sure. (*dramatic sigh*) Come on, Tralfaz.

(Tralfaz, who cannot be trusted out in the fenceless yard by himself, is thrilled for the chance to go out, even though it's become so cold we're now measuring temperature in Kelvins.)

Me: Okay, Tralfaz, go potty.

(Suddenly the sedan belonging to the Athleticson Family comes tearing down the block. Tralfaz loses his train of thought, despite the fact that two minutes ago his bladder was going to go off like an IED. The car whips into the driveway and jerks to a halt in front of the garage. The door opens and Mr. Athleticson can be heard yapping into his cell.)

Mr. A: Good. Good. See that you call them in the morning. Don't tell him about the upgrades yet.

(Tralfaz stands at attention. Mr. A continues to yap up the driveway to his mailbox. Tralfaz looks like he's frozen solid now, except his large nostrils open and shut, open and shut. Possibly he's determining what Mr. A had for lunch seven hours ago. I can no longer with any great accuracy feel my own fingers.)

Me: Come on, Fazzy, get the lead out.

(Mr. A finally gets back in his car and the garage door opens. Tralfaz watches, still not moving a muscle, as the car glides in. Only once the garage door has shut completely does the dog move again.)

Me: Thank you for alertness in protecting us against the menace of the neighbors. Now pee, damn it.

(Tralfaz wanders off the path into the snow. Sniff. Sniff. My feet are going numb. Tralfaz starts eating a chunk of ice.)

Me: Focus, damn it!

(Tralfaz finishes his refreshing ice and remembers that he came out to empty his bladder, which by now must be turning his eyeballs yellow. He manages one pace before another sound his heard. This is the minivan belonging to the Destractiones Family three houses up. No member of the Destractiones can do anything quietly. They floss loudly. The minivan grinds to a halt and so does Tralfaz. He watches. The doors fly open and the sound of teenagers whining pierces the night. Tralfaz sits down on the ice and settles in. This could be good.)

Me: Not now, Gladys Kravitz. Get back to work.

Male teen: --left it out and then they FORGOT it!

Female teen: --think of anything so stupid--

Mrs. Destractiones: (unintelligible warnings and directions)

(A cold gust of wind from the Ninth Circle of Hell sweeps over suburbia.)

Me: Gah!!!!

(Young Distractiones male is instructed to bring trash can up to the curb; does so, singing, as loudly as he can, while the others slowly make their way indoors, bickering. Tralfaz watches, rapt: Will the male actually finish his mission and get to the front door first? Could be a dead heat, which would be the only heat about in the neighborhood.)

Me: Come on, Tralfaz! Get off the stick!

(Distractiones Family huddles inside, the boy a disappointing third. After the door closes and the dog slowly becomes convinced that it will not reopen, he rises to his feet.)

Me: Last chance, Tralfaz. POTTY! (Feeling like an ass for barking "POTTY!" like a Nazi sergeant in a war picture. "SCHNELL! SCHNELL!")

(The pickup truck belonging to Bat Fastird a couple of doors down is suddenly seen coming along the street.)


(Dog is dragged inside. Five minutes later his whining will result in his return outside. Which is right about the time the Athleticson Family minivan, Mrs. Fastird's hatchback, a cop car, two guys racing each other up the block, a miscellaneous SUV, a clown car, and a frigging brass band all get set to come down my street. I start plotting a move to northernmost Alaska. It would be quieter and it couldn't be much colder.)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Bruno!

I got an e-mail out of the blue the other day -- the news was a little sad, I suppose, but despite that I was over the moon with excitement:

Dear Key,

My name is Barrister.Jacob Bruno  (Esq.) I am a Lawyer; I reside and
practice in the Republic of Lome-Togo. I am writing you this letter
with  good faith in respect of one late Mr.Alan Key, a citizen of
your country  who was my client here in Togo, until his untimely death
in the year 2011, in a ghastly motor accident, which claimed his life
along with that of his wife and only Son, The combination of the facts
that I was his Personal  Attorney and your having the same last name
with him, will indeed enable us collect the sum of ($9.5 million USD)
plus interests accruing, which the deceased kept in a Savings and
Loans Mortgage Institution here in my country.i need your urgent
respond as soon as possible OK? you can reply to  my private email
address for more details and clarification.

Best regards,
Barrister.Jacob Bruno (Esq.)

Oh, boy! Nine and a half big ones! Let's bring up the money pic again!

Official Money Pic of Your Daily Dose of Vitamin Fred.
Poor old Alan. Poor old Alan and his wife and only Son. To die not just in a motor accident, but in a ghastly motor accident, is awfully sad. I guess he had no Daughters, or maybe girls can't inherit in Togo.

I wonder how Alan got all that dough? Considering that the GDP per capita of Togo is $1,100, he must have worked very hard. I never heard of Alan before, but to have stockpiled the annual income of 8,637 of his fellow Togoans, he must have been quite industrious. We Keys have always had a good work ethic.

I'm very impressed that Mr. Bruno was able to find me. After all, there are a lot of Keys around. WhitePages.com lists almost a hundred families by that name in the Hudson Valley. How did he find me? Togoan lawyers must be awfully industrious, too! I'll bet Mr. Bruno makes a pretty good commission.

So I thought I would get the money, fill up the living room with dollar bills, and go all Scrooge McDuck on it. How many people get to do that?

But later on, I got to thinking about old Alan, and his wife and Son, and how ghastly that motor accident must have been. I figured there was blood all over Togo's road. It made me ashamed of my greed, and my hunger for wealth, in a world where so many people have to get by on barely over a grand a year. So I put away my spats and my duck bill, and I took a good, hard look at my life.

Finally I decided not to write back to Barrister Jacob Bruno, Esq. Often money left intestate goes to the government. So maybe Alan's cash can go to his fellow Togobans. Each of the 7,351,374 citizens of Togo can get a buck twenty-nine. They can probably all get a sandwich on that down there. Free lunch on me.

I'm sure that Alan, wherever he is, would like that. And his Son, too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Things that would be different if Remus had whupped Romulus.

Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Reman Empire

Remance languages

Remeo & Juliet

Pope’s title: Bishop of Reme

Mario Lanza’s recording “Arrivederci Rema”

Remano's Macaroni Grill

The Remantic Period

Edgar Allen Poe:
“On desperate seas long wont to reem,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me heme
To glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Reme.”

Holy Reman Empire

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene ii:
“Friends, Remans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

There was a Brutus once that would have brook’d
The eternal devil to keep his state in Reme
As easily as a king. (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene ii)
"What I Like About You" by the Remantics

Remano cheese

All roads lead to Reme.”

Super Bowls designated with Reman numerals

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto iv. Stanza 145:
"While stands the Coliseum, Reme shall stand;
When falls the Coliseum, Reme shall fall;
And when Reme falls—the world."
John Heywood, Proverbes, Part i, Chapter xi:
“Reme was not built in one day.”

G. K. Chesterton:
"Before the Reman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road."

St. Ambrose:
“Si fueris Remae, Remano vivito more.”

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Remo