reverse-engineering a project that was designed to have no end; harder than you'd think

OK, THE LAST ROAD HOME is back up to speed, the ending sequence is finally paced out in a way I like and I'm kinda sorta back on a regular schedule again. Whee. Unfortunately, I had to choose between keeping it real by retroactively posting blank panels for the days I spent figuring out the ending -- essentially, the month of August -- or cramming in content on those days but blowing the end date I want for the strip. I'm a crammer, not a keeper. If it would please any of TLRH's seven fans to just read the text for this month instead of trudging through the whole month's archive, here it is:

080109
080209
080309
080409
080509
080609
080709
080809
You never loved
the fine arts.
081109
For truly,
if just
a few morsels
from
my previous opus
nauseated you so,
then any three
living Mr. Universe
winners will not
be strong enough
to keep
your fingers
082409
-- or your gun --
082609
out of
your mouth
after digesting
my current work.
083109


I assume that was totally worth it.

The 1897th step on the last road home.

A tale of love, jealousy and spanokopita

I made a respectable Espaniel D'Coppolla a few days ago. Some would claim that it was what gave me a little gas.

Some would argue that I was cruel to Little Man recently, going so far as to claim that I farted in his little face and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Some would claim that when Littles somehow knocked the cleaned Pyrex dish that I make the spano in to the floor, shattering it (third photo), it was retaliation for my alleged attempt to give him pink eye.

If you ask me, these Some-ones are all insane. But you decide: does Little Man look embarrassed or triumphant in the bottom photo?

LITTLE MAN DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR AUTHORITY

Gaze deeply into his procrastination-friendly fuzziness, if you dare.

LITTLE MAN REGRET NOTHING

This could have beem something constructive, but I just can't care.

LITTLE MAN HATE WIRE

I just don't know how to work tonight.

ghetto polka for Sunday breakfast

I heard a hilariously [mild] mannered cover version of "The Night They Invented Champagne" on a local polka radio show a few months ago, but didn't bother to write down the name of the band performing it. Why bother? It was amusing while it lasted, it's over, eh. That song has echoed in my head, on and off, for months.

It's essentially useless to search for the song by title -- most search engines insist that you meant "Champagne Polka," which must be the "Louie Louie" of polka songs, considering how many bands have recorded it -- and even the DJ couldn't place the song or the artist. Maybe I hallucinated it?

Something finally shook loose in my head last night and I remembered that the word Captain is somewhere in the band name -- "Blah BlahBlah and TheRestoftheBandNameHere." Throwing "Captain" into my searches brought the answer up in the first three results: Ken Lazar and The Captain's Crew Button Box Group -- say it three times fast, I dare you -- and the song is on what's apparently their only album, A WHOLE LIFE LONG. That wasn't so difficult, was it?

I've discovered, after an hour or so of listening to the 30-second mp3 sample on the above page, that Windows Media Player's visualization of the sound looks a lot like a brainscan of a person suffering a migraine while being forced to look at pulsating klieg lights. I'm buying the album soon. What kind of dead-hearted nimrod doesn't love a good polka?

Anyway, making breakfast today, I found the song fragment inseparably tangled with a line from DOLEMITE, so I crooned this to the cats while I cooked: "HE THINK HE BAD AN AIN'T GOT NO CLASS? I'M GONNA ROCK THIS SHOTGUN UP HIS MUTHA FUCKIN ASS the night they invented champaaaaaaaagne it's straight for you and meeeee and far as we can seeeeeeee ....

I got problems, Bud.

*******

The name of my polka band will be "The Button Mashers." We will cover nothing but video-game music, Minibosses-style, but with worn-out accordions instead of totally awesome super-Strats.

The 1896th step on the last road home.

Listening to GATCHAMAN disk 4 while Painting

Has ADV run out of crappy anime to crank out on DVD yet? I would like to pay big money to finally find out if GATCHAMAN II and especially GATCHAMAN FIGHTER are as bad I've heard over the years. Could someone entice Alex Ross with a roast-beef sandwich or a million dollars to start drawing pictures of the second God Phoenix and the other spiffy new toy designs vehicles of the sequels? Apparently his advocacy for the show was what got the complete first series released over here. [I'm sure Ross already knows this, but Ken has a sword in Gatch-F -- an awesome new prop for his Ken model to wield in the reference photos, Alex! And it's not a particularly simple design, either! Think of all those reflective surfaces to render in near-fetishistic detail. So shiny and ..... long ... and ...... hard .......]

Anyway, a transcript of my tremendously valuable IMs, shared with one of my more patient friends as I worked:

Dare da? Dare da? DARE DAAAAAAAAA! nohi no kani ono yuki yay tar gay no hino no chicano ........ gatchaman TOBY! Toby Tori Gatchman! YUKI! Yuki Yuki Gatchman! tube asano, gatchaman G Q tuba eek co-suit! G Q tuba eco suit! Oh gatchaman GATCHAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN

I adore the music of GATCHAMAN but holy crap, Tatsunoko was not shy about recycling its cues. Then again, they were outright shameless in recycling their "stock" footage and animation cycles.

I wonder if the session musicians got to roshambo for dibs on playing the timpani and wah-wah guitar parts -- I wouldn't have thought twice about risking two kicks in the balls for the chance to play either on those tracks.

shipa, shipa shipa shipa! it's hilarious that they hired children to sing a song about killing Galactor

nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose

I love the idea that there's a Frankenstein blog, and it's really well done.

Vaya con Dio, Señor Kennedy

Wow, did they really bury Teddy on the first anniversary of "Sarah Palin Shatters the G.O.P.'s Psyche, Hopefully Forever" Day? Nice.

Watching ONLY TWO CAN PLAY


Peter Sellers reportedly wanted Virginia Maskell fired from this movie, with probably good reason -- what a startling presence! She draws your eye in nearly every scene she has, for one, and throws the story's fundamental balance -- a bored librarian tries to have an affair with a bigwig's knockout wife -- completely out of whack.

Even for a Kingsley Amis story, the protagonist's contempt for society's rules doesn't make a lot of sense as rendered by Maskell's and Sellers' performances under Sidney Gilliat's direction and Sellers-crony Brian Forbes' adaptation, but I wouldn't think twice about choosing to make a lumpy dramady that's useful mainly as a record of Maskell's poetic stillness [what little about her I've found since watching the movie confirmed she was, indeed, a poet] and radiant intelligence than steamrolling out a movie more faithful to the book and/or base human nature. I'm already kicking myself for not programming the DVDR to record this movie: it's the opposite of THE MILLIONAIRESS in all the ways that matter. It also have some wonderful phrases and lines that I'm sure to annoy people with until I see something shiny and forget everything from this week, like using the term "Thunder box" for bathroom and "I've been to the edge of the world, twice, and I've looked over so don't you tell me ...."

Maskell's death sounds like something you'd hear if you locked Neutral Milk Hotel and Sleater-Kinney in a basement with their instruments and a four-track machine and not let them out until they made an album: Already deeply unsatisfied with her life as an actress and almost undoubtedly suffering from postpartum depression, on January 24, 1968 -- the day is widely considered the most depressing day of the year, when suicide rates spike globally -- she takes all of the antidepressants and barbiturates her doctor gave her the day before goes out into the woods she loved and often wrote about to die. She's found there the next morning, suffering acute hypothermia, but even after a brief recovery she dies within the week. This quote is so widely reproduced with her, always without attribution, that I question its ancestry, but it certainly rings true, albeit ironically:

"I love acting, but I also want to be alive. Publicity is like a prison. If you're not careful, you begin to live according to everyone's idea of how you ought to live. Ambition? To be a big, big star ... on the stage."


I knew Virginia Maskell looked familiar; she plays "The Woman" in the first episode of THE PRISONER, "Arrival." It's sad to realize that there's only five years between it and ONLY TWO CAN PLAY, yet Maskell looks and even moves like she's aged three times as many years. How much of the performance's defeated melancholy and yawning sense of knowing some annihilating truth is drawn from her acting skill and how much comes from her soon-to-ended life, I guess we can never know.

How broad is too broad when you're an ESL actress in a 50-year-old comedy?

Watching THE MILLIONAIRESS: Wow, this movie is not even close to being as good as I recalled it, and I remember it not being that great to begin with. I don't know if it's the early generation of EastmanColor film, an aesthetic choice by the director and/or cinematographer to shoot everything through dusty gauze or just a terrible digital transfer [maybe the film's negative as been lost and they had to use a safety print?], but it's as visually pallid as the jokes are oversold. Peter Sellers still outacts the bejeezus out of Sophia Loren -- the body looks familiar, but I'm having difficulty recognizing the actress who broke-a my heart in Vittorio De Sica's TWO WOMEN the same year. Then again, I don't see the hand of Anthony Asquith or George Bernard Shaw in this movie either.

You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can get a pretty clear idea of what a movie will be like by its promotional pop song:



I always liked Sellers & Loren's other single, "Bangers and Mash," but now I don't think I want to seek out and watch whatever movie that song is supposed to promote.

The 1895th step on the last road home.

Once again, I offended a clerk with my mere existence. SCORE!

Being able to easily pay bills online and hating the town I live in so much that it galls me to inject any of my money into the local enconomy, I rarely have go to my bank. I can't even guess at roughly how long it's been.

But, this week I had a loan repaid in cash and a check actually arrived in the mail, how quaint, so I took them and my plastic cup of change down to make a deposit.

My credit union has an auto-sorting coin machine that was free to use for members, which makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Unlike the change machines in grocery stores and post offices, a sorter in a bank is actually more helpful to the institution than its customers who use it: the bank doesn't have to spend teller manpower and hours counting (or doublechecking customer-rolled) pounds of coinage every day. Not using the machine hurts them more than us.

So, I walk to the machine and see this sign. They want a 3% commission on money that their customers -- again, not some bum off the street, someone who has a partnership of sorts with the bank -- are probably going to deposit in their coffers within minutes of the machine's sorting. This is so stupidly short-sighted -- in the time I was there, I saw two other customers go to the machine, read the sign and walk away (one of them straight out of the building) -- that I really did think about pulling my money and closing the account.

If these institutions have grown so strapped and desparate that they've taken to nickel-and-diming us over literal nickels and dimes, maybe the total collapse of American finance is finally upon us and my money, such as it is, would be better invested in buying and renting out pinball machines or classic cars or something. It underlines what a fine job our schools do to churn out taxpayers/consumers who are so well-conditioned but under-educated that they don't go apeshit at the idea of giving a business a 3% kickback for the pleasure of making their employees' jobs easier.

Anyway, I would like to publicly apologize to the teller who handled my deposit. Sorry to inconvenience you by forcing you to count so many, many .... many $20 bills, on top of a check that had a lot of numbers to look at, and then leave you no choice but to somehow endure counting out $3.34 in change to make the deposit a nice, round number. I don't know what I was thinking, but I can assure you it will never happen in that bank again.

Yours in Christ,
-- Secretary-General Skeletor, Esq.

The 1894th step on the last road home.

Millions of images ..... millions ....

I seriously doubt this is my first link to the radness that will always be Tokyo Damage Report. I know it's not my first to Monkey About.

Circuit Breaks what's left of my mind, then I need a Tofutti Break. It's Deadlicious!

But now, the greatest photography archive ever amassed and posted online, thanks to Google: 250 years of photos from LIFE Magazine. [Via WFMU, which gives you an idea of how long these links have been buried in my to-blog bookmark pile] Cancel all of my appointments, including my death, I'll be too busy looking at amazing pictures for a while. Here are two for the nerds:


[click for better view]

Milt Caniff tries to not push American comic books under the bus, December 1951.


[click for better view]

I'm 90% sure that's Walt Kelly -- he's virtually tethered to Caniff in all of the histories recounting testimony regarding the "Comic Books: Threat Or Menace" hoopla of the early-to-mid-1950s and that man does look like Walt Kelly drew him, my often-useless yardstick for assessing an artist's merit in person. But the December 1951 date is puzzling -- there were rumblings about the damage funnybooks did to children's psyches then, but I don't think that the government got seriously involved until a few years later. Also, Alex Raymond was President of the National Cartoonists Society in '51 -- key representatives of the NCS were staples of these hearings -- and he's nowhere to be found in these photos. Kelly, on the other hand, was Society President in 1954-56, which was when most of the official investigations and hearings were held. The LIFE photos' dateline, or the Google transcription, is probably wrong and these are from 1954 testimony.

Now, a few pictures for for me:


[click for better view]

Those are the most chipper-looking motherfuckers you'll ever see limp away from the biggest clusterfuck of World War II. Dieppe, 1942.


[click for better view]

Even with him standing way over in a neutral corner, and reminding myself over and over that he was so impressive because his generation of heavyweights were so pathetic, I would shit my shorts if I had to stand in the same ring as a prime Rocky Marciano. [For the record: I'm projecting myself as the referee in the photo, not the other boxer. If I had to fight The Brockton Blockbuster, I would play dead -- not "knocked out," I mean "DEAD" -- as soon as I saw the whites of his eyes.]

The 1893rd step on the last road home.

Is Apple's Web site intentionally unhelpful ....

.... or do only those who have drank the Mac Kool-Aid get to see the page links that would make, say, finding out what available software packages contain a copy of FINAL CUT EXPRESS a task that doesn't take five minutes, three browser windows and a separate Google search of Apple.com to achieve?

It's easier to navigate this here blog, which sucks [no really, it does -- I should know; I designed most of it to probe the outer limits of neurotypical patience] but at least you don't have to pay me for your time and pleasure. Apple.com is certainly slick-looking, but it's really clunky and old-fashioned if you focus on its functionality. I choose to believe that this reflects not on the company's computers -- I am going to be dropping several thousand dollars to purchase one, after all -- but their sales staff; that Store Web site is the work of many, many human bodies under the mental dominion of soul patches.*

Then again, this is a company that allows you to custom-design a $3,000+, virtually peerless, bleeding-edge, graphics workhorse, then offers you a chance to bundle the computer with .... a $150 deskjet printer. The 4800dpi PNG file of my dick wants to laugh.

_______

* does anyone have any money bet on soul patches becoming the new Caesar male-grooming faux pas by next Spring? I have five dollars that says it will be so, and not even a protection spell of irony generated by a hastily grown mullet will protect the transgressors from mockery. Even Zappa's corpse doesn't have a soul patch. Now.

Yes, I really named the file "Mao Suit Dung"

While attempting to clear my mind enough to work, a thought refused to be zip-tied and escorted to the "Free Speech" cage far, far away from my right brain's convention center until its demands were heard:

What did Chairman Mao keep in those jacket pockets of his? A man doesn't wear a coat with four large pockets unless he has a lot of stuff he needs handy, or he's not ashamed of his manmories. I have to admit, useless as most of it is, my brain made a good point.

It turns out that his iconic jacket is actually its own fashion style, but Wikipedia has failed me, my mind and most of the rest of us; there's no section stating what he had in the pockets. So, I devoted about five minutes to setting the record straight, once and for all:



[I'll still be able to use Microsoft Paint when my long-delayed replacement Mac arrives, right? Giving me me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the word "use" in this context, of course.]

Have I posted about Crestwood Monster books before?

If not, I should have. They were far and away the most popular books in my elementary school's library. Lotsa cool pictures, straightforward rundowns of each monster, even more cool pictures. I remember the first six-volume series -- Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, Godzilla, King Kong and Wolf Man -- a smattering of series two -- Mad Scientists and Creature from the Black Lagoon -- but holy fucking shit, there was a third series that had a Phantom of the Opera volume??? I can only imagine how awesome to 8-year-old eyeballs the vision of Lon Chaney on orange and B&W cover must have looked.

[I'd like to think that the ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE THREE DETECTIVES were second-most popular rentals, but, considering I haven't read one of the novelettes in 20-odd years, maybe I shouldn't.]

The International SHOW US YOUR TITS Remembrance Day, 2009

Like the Holocaust, only with better music yet worse teeth, today marks the 15th anniversary of the horror that was shoegazer-rock band Lush's disastrous set at the 1994 Reading music festival. Like the JFK assassination, I think we all remember where we where when we learned that one of the band's amplifiers blew out from bad wiring in the middle of "Lit Up." And, like Julius Caesar's dying words to his secret son Brutus, there's an entire world of meaning that continues to live in Miki Berenyi's between-song patter "No, sorry. I don't get my tits out. They're not actually real, you know. They're just the two halves of a grapefruit."

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year's conference about the concert, but the list of papers being presented sound great. If I ever get around to finding a driver to make my external drive work again, maybe I'll upload a zip file of the set for fellow scholars to examine. Or, perhaps just upload a new picture of Miki and/or their stomp boxes to moon over. Oh, day-glo Manic Panic, primary-colo[u]red tank-like BOSS pedals and the early 1990s -- I may never figure out if you're the senior who's totally out of my league but is too nice to break my misguided heart or my best female friend who has yearned for me since the first day we shared the same homeroom. Regardless, I suppose Winona Ryder would have to play all five of you in the movie version of my life, once I've finished work on my time machine and can cast her directly from the early 1990s. Irony, the long, hard chocolate bar that firmly but gently penetrates the creamy, eagerly yielding jar of peanut butter that is Meta. Of course, I'm too much the gentleman to ask any of the eight of you [nine if you count Emma, and I don't see why you shouldn't] to .... show me your tits.

I think I just broke the meta landspeed record; the only thing that could top it is pulling way back to reveal that "Milo George" and his life have actually been a cartoon drawn by Bugs Bunny. Well, probably more like some washed-up '90s asshole like Martin Wagner or Matt Drudge or perhaps the least untalented member of Limp Bizkit.

[Developing ....]

The 1892nd step on the last road home.

8:15 a.m., August 6 , 1945

Of all of the photos in Hiromi Tsuchida's "HIROSHIMA," this one destroys me every time:



Reiko Watanabe (15 at the time) was doing fire prevention work under the Student Mobilization Order, at a place 500 meters from the hypocenter. Her lunch box was found by school authorities under a fallen mud wall. Its contents of boiled peas and rice, a rare feast at the time, were completely carbonized. Her body was not found.

OK, I was going to linkpark the other photo/illo blogs I have bookmarked, but that lunch box made me sad.

naturlicious

EAGLE VERSUS FISH. [spoiler]EAGLE WINS.[/spoiler]

Further

The sandwich meat from the deli was wedged near the bottom of a bag of mostly canned stuff. Again, Rachel, why do you hate me so?

Another week, another trip to Wegmans

There should be a term -- I bet there already is in German -- for when your waiter/cashier/whatever hates you for no reason beyond you having the effrontery to make them do their job. Not a special, above and beyond the call of duty performance, just chosing their check-out line to unload your groceries in.

In one plastic bag, my cashier just crammed, from top to bottom: a 15oz bag of dinner rolls, a 16oz plastic container of cherry tomatoes, two bunches of bananas weighing five pounds, a loaf of soft Italian bread, two pounds of grapes in an open bag and a large container of deli-made chili held shut with a strip of masking tape and laying on its side. Oh, and a five-pund bag of red potatoes was on top of the bag in the cart. It's partly my own fault for not paying closer attention -- I've been getting lazy with cashier competence, figuring that putting the stuff on the conveyor heaviest-to-lightest would be enough, and I suppose it took more effort to get all of that into one bag than it would to pack them correctly -- but really, what the fuck. Did I somehow offend you Rachel?

The customer-service lady was pretty cool about things (I forgot to dig out my receipt before going back in to show them the bag). It took three bags to repack the stuff right. From now on, I should look for a familar, older face running a line when it's time to check out.

Also: Blondies! Blond Brownies! I had forgot all about them, but this display sounded a dim, muffled gong in the otherwise empty auditorium that passes for my childhood memories. I didn't buy them; I choose to let the mystery be.

Two great tastes that go great together

Art Deco Ireland Also, Art Deco Hanoi and Art Deco Istanbul. The 1939 World's Fair: Art Deco Overdrive.

A virtual tour of what was pretty slick for the Internet 1996: A virtual tour of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Cool urinals.

just worry about groundhogs with parachutes. and airplanes.

Ooooh, Rooftop Garden. Tomatoes are nice, but a zucchini/squash plant is the hermit crab of vegetables; plant it and half-forget about it.

low-expectation productivity day

I'm just cleaning out bookmarks today.

This is very much how I felt after deleting an entire folder fulla Twitter links*:



From the maestro:



I really should get a copy of Black Francis' BLUEFINGER, his tribute to Herman Brood and his Wild Romance. I should also get replacement copies of the scattershot of Brood stuff I had before the flood.

_______
* I have to admit that I just finished reading all 160 pages of Merlin Mann's twits, which would probably make him very very sad. But it was the front page of two or three d-list Los Angeles writer/director/thespian/artist/baristas that I happened across while clicking randomly icons on the "Following" sidebar that provided me with the moment of clarity I needed to go back to serenely ignoring Twitter.

The 1891st step on the last road home.

I missed Malignaggi's in-ring interview

The DVDR ran out of space just as Paulie was about to answer Max Kellerman's first question. I just caught that part on a rebroadcast. It's always funny how uncomfortable HBO seems about four-letter words in their broadcast, considering how they rarely repackage their fights for other media -- hell, they barely even rebroadcast them on their own channels beyond the first week of airing -- and never repackage them with the interviews anyway. But it's funny to see HBO-employee spines stiffen at the first "shit" or even .... "fuck" to escape the bruised/friction-burned/bleeding lips of a man who's just been punched in the face over and over for the last 45 minutes ... a few minutes before the network airs some R-rated blockbuster or POLITICALLY INCORRECT or TRUE BLOOD. By the way, the easiest way to tell made-for-HBO content from the theatrical-intended movies they show? The made-for-TV stuff is letterboxed. Oh, cable television, why do you play with my girlish affections so.

Anyway, the fight: I was expecting Diaz, Jacobs and Guerro to win their fights, and you can easily argue that Diaz squeaked out his win, but those score cards? There's been a remarkable number of great fights that have ended with unequivocally bullshit scoring; Cotto-Clottey being another big recent one. I think I've been cured of my boxing addiction; I'm done watching everything I can of the sport every week. I'll still watch fights by the handful of world-class fighters left in the sport, men who don't need massive amounts of promoter leverage to defeat Opponents who are [or simply might prove to be] tougher than tomato cans in the ring.

So buh-bye, Versus' Thursday-night nickel-plated Golden Boy showcases! See ya, ESPN2's FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS! We'll always have Paris, HBO BOXING AFTER DARK! In retrospect, I feel like a corporate-comics nerd who should have gotten wise years ago, and I won't be surprised if SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION turns out to be the DARK HORSE PRESENTS of boxing and I'll stop wasting time on that show too. To continue the comix metaphor: I'm now a "check to see if there's anything in my pull box once a month, maybe" boxing nerd; if it wasn't for Showtime's super-middleweight tournament promising one or two monthly chances of seeing Götterdämmerung in 10-ounce gloves, I probably would already be at the "only goes to a comics shop when a big stunt/event makes the mainstream news, but winds up not buying anything" stage of boxing withdrawal.

Every year it's the same; HBO and the other networks admit that they didn't air the most competitive, exciting boxing cards they should have aired the previous year, and swear to do better this year. The promoters concede that they probably shouldn't have protected their fighters with gross mismatches -- I guess those fights serve their clients as showcases and maybe highlight-reel fodder for later commercials to promote fights with boxers the more casual fan has heard of .... if there actually are any casual boxing fans left at this point. Anyway, everyone vows to do better in the new year, things go pretty well into the Spring, sometimes early summer, and then the march of tomato cans and "Champlin judges"* begins again.

I'm still not wild about Mixed Martial Arts -- although 90% of my resistance to the sport would immediately evaporate if they dropped all of the pro-wrestling-ish crap from its presentation and focused entirely on what happens in the cage -- but at least their judges aren't obviously corrupt. They might be -- they probably are -- but I don't think I've seen a MMA fight yet that ran long enough for the decision of who won to be put into their hands and find out. And either the MMA announcers [most of whom should either be beheaded or just mildly tranquilized before broadcast] are less burned-out on overselling mismatches as being competitive than their boxing peers, or MMA really does bring it for virtually every fight they make.

_______

* Charles Champlin was an L.A. film "critic" who lovedlovedloved Hollywood. The story is probably apocryphal, but it's too funny not to use: When someone once suggested that Champlin accepted bribes for positive reviews, a colleague rhetorically demolished the idea by asking "Why would the studios buy what they already own?"

Shared without comment.

One step forward, one step back

Yay, got to see Diaz's crying mother! Boo, that cut was from an [accidental?] elbow, not a headbutt -- but Cole ruling it a butt will save Diaz's ass if the fight has to be stopped. Yay again, the announcers are calling bullshit on the ruling too. Yay also, a cut that nasty, they'll focus on it during the round breaks and the more they do that, the more they'll cut over to mama getting more and more upset at what's happening to her baby bull. Win feh win win win.

What did Cole say to Paulie's cornermen during the 9-10 round break? It kind of defeats one of the main points of mic'ing the ref if he can cover it over and speaks inaudibly. Let's hope it was something about him keeping the elbows down, although Paulie still has the left one ready and near Diaz's face in the 10th, so presumably not.

Waiting for the final round: Well, shit. I guess all the stacking will be helpful help for Diaz after all.

Aside from the final minute, I'd say the crowd's scoring has been for Malignaggi, even if the judges' cards will not agree.

The decision: That is the taste of "home cooking," Mr. Malignaggi. Sorry dude.

I fell asleep before Diaz-Malignaggi ended

Someday, I will learn that it will never be "this time" that I can lay down and watch late-night boxing and not fall asleep within a full round. Rewatching the fight from the beginning, I'm struck by how much action there's been in the rounds I've already seen, which I didn't make a note of the first time -- part of it is that the crowd went nuts every time Diaz threw the simplest of combinations, but even Malignaggi is bringing it instead of backpeddling and potshoting. I also missed that Harold Lederman and some of the HBO announcing team have occasionally acknowledged that Diaz's people have seriously stacked the deck in their favor; he has a home-field advantage, but they also secured him an ideal ring size, catch weight [two-three pounds under what Malignaggi has said is the lowest weight he's been able to drop down to], referee [Lawrence Cole, who brings his own cloud of suspicion even before being a ringer for Golden Boy] and judges. This is what's called "unhelpful help" -- it makes Diaz look really bad, even before the first punch is thrown. On the other hand, Paulie has distractingly bad hair.

The 1889th step on the last road home.

my friend Jay is right; notify the media immediately

The last time we had lunch, he said that you can boost the range of almost any gadget that broadcasts a signal by holding it to your head -- basically turning your entire body into an antenna for the gadget. I thought he was full of it, but I've now tried it with my cell phone, garage-door opener and two car-door remotes and I'll damned if it doesn't work. I'm gonna die of cancer anyway, might as well get some novelty and unnecessary convenience out of it while I'm still middle-aged. Try using your head today! It's fun, even if you piss your pants or develop a case of Charles Bonnet syndrome or something.

I'm disappointed to not see Juan's mama so far

But I'm not nearly as disappointed as I imagine the promoters are, seeing large patches if empty seats in the audience. It's interesting that those patches are about the same as they were at the start of the broadcast, so the people there were there for at least most of the undercard. Usually they don't show until the headline fight(s).

With six minutes in the first round

With every round, Ishe Smith looks more and more like one of the bomb-worshiping mutants from BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES.

Oh yeah, Bernard Hopkins is wearing a suit; I hope that means he'll totally be looming over the Golden Boy fighters with a big goofy grin on his face during post-fight interviews. For whatever reason, the awkwardness of B-Hop being there is wonderful to behold.

About time someone lost a point in a fight this sloppy and/or dirty.

The return of my Bizarro-world boxing predictions

With no research and sight barely seen, I say Danny Jacobs wins by split decision, Robert Guerro wins by KO and my man Juan Diaz makes Paulie Maligaggi quit on his stool after spanking his face with a thousand jabs. I wouldn't put money on any of these, but seeing Diaz's mother weep in the crowd and watching Malignaggi get beat up is worth a month's worth of HBO subscriptions each.

The name of my tribute band: The Prelacements

So, I've had a copy of Paul Westerberg's third or fourth triumphant comeback record, 49:00, on my phone's memory card for almost a year now, and finally really listened to it today via random play while running errands. Holy fucking shit, he's finally found a format that embraces and reinforces his ADHD -- or his restless creativity and impishly self-destructive sense of humor, if you prefer a layman's diagnosis -- and puts corporate rock to shame yet again. [For my money, Paul did the least amount of damage to American record labels when he was losing one of them large amounts of money by recording albums that didn't sell very well.] And he's finally found the rhythm section he's always needed, and they are ... himself. [As Rose described it, it's Pogoesque. I would agree -- Westerberg has always been his greatest enemy, after all.]

But what shocks me the most is that I never ever would have entertained the idea that Paul Westerberg is actually more of a headphone artist than Pink Floyd. I have all of the Mats records and most of his solo ones, and 49:00 makes me want to rip them all to mp3 and see what else I've missed by not having Paul yowl directly inside my ears.

As for this album being pulled from Amazon and Tunecore after a week or so -- the gloriously offensive medley of classic rock manages to hug the material while somehow giving it the finger behind its back. Even if it's true that one of the publishers is still after him for old-world, overinflated-scale royalties on a second's worth of its client's hit -- and obviously it's Paul's bank account taking the hit, not mine -- it was still worth it. If the dickhead pursuing recompense on each 49-cent download is the Partridge Family's lawyer, maybe David Cassidy-obsessive Rosie O'Donnell could surprise everyone and step in to yank Paul's ass out of the fire, Clinton-in-North-Korea style. Maybe having to serenade her with "I Think I Love You" will finally discourage Paul from playing that crappy song at what seems to be every third live show he's played in the last few years, and everybody wins.

SomeEcard idea, unsubmitted

I'm sure they probably have one that says something like this, but the idea made me laugh. And I'm too lazy to go to the site:

"I'm sorry that another Flickr Stalkr lost interest in you so quickly; maybe next time you'll listen to me about not posting that many self-portraits of you shopping for hand-knitted white belts and a MacBook cozy on Etsy.com."

The 1888th step on the last road home.

And that brings us to 2/3 or 5/8 or 11.75/18 up to date

The movie side bar is accurate all the way to the Pixies documentary I've been half-watching/three-quarters-listening to while I've been working on the blog, my photos are current, a handful of posts about random links to stuff I think is interesting are in the pipe and I've finally decided to stop worrying and learn to love the fact that I thoroughly fucked up the scheduling on the monkee strip, so it will not end on the dime I had picked for it when I accepted that I had seriously underestimated how much life I had left when I launched this every-day-for-the-rest-of-my-life's work. They should make all terminally ill people under the age of 40 launch such a project; I'm literally the healthiest I've ever been right now, and it kind of pisses me off.

So, the strip: I wrote the ending a month or two into the project, to be finished and posted by our pal "Gojira" after my death. It took two weeks of searching, but I found a copy of my ending -- it was on a floppy disk, to give you further idea of how much things have changed since TLRH started -- and it's just a little too long to fit in the 93-panel hole I have left between where I've stopped and when I wanted it to end. I've never reread the strip beyond the previous sentence when I was writing, so I have no idea the ending I wrote almost five years ago connects to the panels I posted then or perhaps how it was to connect to what I had in mind for the strip's future material as it was at that point. If I had any such ideas, which I seriously doubt I ever had.

Anyway, I've taken what I wrote and reworked and augmented it so that, instead of stopping on the 1959th Step On The Last Road Home, it will end on St. Valentine's Day. Isn't that sweet? Please try to keep it in your collective pants, and perhaps under your hats if it's big enough. Or maybe the strip won't end then? I just remembered a sentence I wrote for it that should still be on my phone's Memo app, which I don't think I actually used. I left enough gaping holes, where it's just the monkee sitting there, throughout the years that maybe I'll sneak the text in there. Or maybe not! I'm like Batman; maybe I'll help orphans leave a burning building or maybe I'll throw Catwoman off a cliff and laugh! You never know! That's why Batman's cool!!1!

[Note to self: need to either save this template and shitcan the Layout option so that links can open in new windows again and we can script a drop-down menu for browsing monkee posts, or see if either can be accommodated by hacking Layouts maybe through the Beta portal? Also, add a To-Do list to sidebar, and scratch-template for the eventual garage-sale stuff]

[ps. holy fucking shit, it's 4:15am; I had forgotten that the Internet still worked at this hour, except for porn .... so I hear.]

Abuela is reminded who the boss is

I had to go over to my sister's place to check in on Abbie, who was hiding under the bed and wouldn't come out during my last visit. As a master of pussy (tm), this is unacceptable to me. I lifted the bedclothes so that she could see me, snapped my fingers, pointed at the floor in front of me and waited for her to nervously slink out to the spot. Then I did the same to get her to the living room, then the couch, then my lap -- at which point, I pushed her off to go freshen her water and food bowls and leave.

As I was closing the front door, I leaned back in and told Abuela (in my best Frank Sinatra voice) that I have one simple rule for pussy: If you simply do what I tell you to do the first time, you get all the stroking and nuzzling you want. If you really don't think I have your best interests in my heart, you shouldn't want my affection in the first place. She chirped her confused reaction (she's a chirper) and I closed and locked the door.

I may be literally going insane at the moment -- I did mow a lawn during a thunderstorm earlier in the day, figuring that getting hit by lightning would at least be something interesting (alas, blueballs for newness) -- but that doesn't mean I'm wrong about this.

Little Man licks the Composite Superman

And finds him .... LACKING. Littles then cleanses his palate by licking the rarified air inhaled only by HIPPOCRITICLE ELITESTS WHO HATE COMICS.

Actually, Little Man literally licks the air whenever I tell him to so; this is a top-five reason why those who have my home phone number all agree that I am an honest-to-Gawd master of pussy. Even if I was a bibliophile with an all-black wardrobe who fell in with a perpetually shedding white cat who totally fuckin' hates paper and will take a bite out of any that invades his personal space. Late night, the 19th.

Basement project one

Getting the old, flood-destroyed water heater the fuck out of here. I guess the blacklunged prickly pear who installed the new heater isn't going to make good on his repeated assurance that he'll definitely be back with his assistant to schlep the dead one up and out of the house, huh? Having made multiple phone calls over the years, I guess that, even now, the furnace/water-heating business is flush enough to not demand contractors bust their assistants' asses to make an extra $50 off the scrap metal from their gigs.

Also, a better photo of the house's west corner, where the internal sump pump may or may not be ready to work in case of emergency.

Basement, before

This is probably far too ambitious a project for me at the moment -- something more along the lines of "make it a full 24 hours without ever once considering laying on the floor and thinking how much better it would be if you never ever got back up" is more my speed -- but I think it's time to finish cleaning out and repairing the basement from the flood of 2006, even if I'm the only person willing and able to try doing so. The 19th.