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Deuce of Clubs home page
Autographed copies of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth are now available!
Autographed copies of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth are now available!

30jul2000 to 10aug2002

Junk you may have missed and yet managed to live happily without

10aug2002 -- TV stations continue to run windshield repair commercials featuring an offer of free jewelry by a man found murdered yesterday in a Tempe motel room -- apparently over a jewelry deal gone wrong. You might think there'd be at least enough decency among TV folk that the ads would be yanked instantly. Errrrrrrrrr, nope.

09aug2002 -- "It bothers me that I don't know anything." -- Philippe C., musing over lunch yesterday

08aug2002 -- Walter Williams and Claire Wolfe endorse The Free State Project.

02aug2002 -- What's on the turntable right now? "Little Boxes," by The Womenfolk, which pretty much sums up ... a lot.

31jul2002 -- At last! The hidden messages in Shooby Taylor's scat singing. (via lara7)

30jul2002 -- Government bites Nature -- Today's front page, above the headline (of the sorry Phoenix daily we decline to name): "The campaign for water conservation." A front page article, "Drought-stricken animals prowling urban landscape," complains that "the Valley's drought is drawing [wild animals] over and through fences into residential enclaves or golf courses ... Drought has choked off food sources, and habitats and feeding grounds are rapidly being developed." Meanwhile, on that very same same front page: "Prize winning turf: Sweep your eyes across the lush lawn of Wesley Bolin Plaza, the gateway to the state Capitol, and you won't see a bald spot. The skill and dedication behind it is not lost on lawn mower maker Briggs & Stratton, which selected the plaza as one of the nation's Top 10 Lawns in public spaces. It's the only winner from an area without abundant rain."

28jul2002 -- "A 6-foot cross in the Mojave National Preserve must go, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.... The cross (which dates from 1934], constructed from pipes painted white and cemented to outcropping, is off Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve.... After the ACLU filed its March 2001 lawsuit against the National Park Service, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, got a bill through the House making the cross a national landmark. CBS Morning News featured the cross and its supporters." Hrrm. For some reason, Rep. Jerry Lewis didn't go to that trouble for the Mojave Phone Booth. Maybe we should have painted a cross on it. [Article spotted by Cardhouse]

23jul2002 -- Art car help needed: lara7 writes: "I need about 6-8 dozen old computer punchcards for my artcar. They are an obsolete paper technology, and they look like this. [In skyscraper form, they look like this. -- Ed.] They'll be used to "wallpaper" the dashboard, ceiling, and other interior details. Obviously its okay if they're bent, written on, or otherwise non-pristine. Any color, any stamping, punched or unpunched is welcome. Someone, somewhere has a stack of these that they're saving for nostalgia's sake that they would be willing to donate to me. Once I have them, hundreds, if not thousands, of people will see them in and on my car, which will keep the memory of this obsolete old-skool technology alive. I will reimburse postage." If you can help lara7 out, contact Deuce of Clubs & we'll put you in touch with her.

20jul2002 -- "This is going to be a very, very healthy relationship." "I agree." -- Astonishingly irony-free redefinition of the concept healthy from Big Brother's Chiara and Roddy, as they lay in bed together in their underwear on national television.
(And I swear to you that the very moment I finish typing the above, they come back from commercial and Chiara says, "When I saw the scale, I really did not want to be weighed on national television." You can't make up this crap. Say! That must be why they call it Reality TV.)

19jul2002 -- They Dumb, Part II: "Them people NUTS." -- Charles Barkley, on the family feud over the corpse of Ted Williams

18jul2002 -- "Take away justice, then, and what are governments but great confederacies of robbers? After all, what are confederacies of robbers unless they are small-scale governments? The gang itself consists of men, it is directed by the authority of the chief, it is bound together by a pact of mutual support, and the loot is divided in accordance with an agreed law. If, as a result of the recruitment of desperadoes, this evil grows to such an extent that it takes control of a territory, establishes bases, occupies cities and subjugates peoples, then it assumes the name of a government, the more openly because this is now plainly applicable: not because the robbers have renounced their rapacity, but because they are no longer at risk of punishment. The reply that a captured pirate made to Alexander the Great was apposite and legitimate. For when the ruler asked the man how he could justify making the sea a dangerous place, he answered, with defiant outspokenness, 'In exactly the way that you justify doing the same to the whole world. But because I do it with a single paltry ship, I am called a robber; while you do it with a large navy, and are called an emperor.'" -- Augustine of Hippo, Civitas Dei (Book IV, Chapter iv)

17jul2002 -- Rolling Stones on tour. Yet. Again. "Well, It's like a friend of mine said when I asked him `Do you think The Rolling Stones should break up now that they've put out Some Girls and quit while they're ahead or should they keep going?' And he said, `Oh no, absolutely, they should keep going until they're totally senile, and a little bit more creepy and pathetic and creaky each time playing the same old Chuck Berry riffs until they're 60 years old.'" -- Lester Bangs, 1980
Historical note: Jagger -- 59 in about a week. Richards -- the same in about five months. Watts -- a catatonic 61 (then again, he was probably a catatonic 16). Ron Wood -- the baby of the group, a spry 55. Brian Jones -- looking smarter all the time.

11jul2002 -- Top Thirty Search Strings Bringing People to During the Month of June, 2002:
lori petty, tank girl, amy grant, smut, kolob, dragonball z, edit piaf, ute lemper, robert wadlow, choco taco, alyssa milano naked, oobi, velma, whip it, baseball strike, strip poker, alyssa milano, alyssa milano nude, museum of jurassic technology, rosanna arquette, jon wayne, burning man, space ghost, courtney thorne-smith, cocaine, anton lavey, cough syrup, una paloma blanca, julia roberts, naked alyssa milano.
Clearly, I have seriously underestimated the popularity of Lori Petty, but not Alyssa Milano. Putting "naked alyssa milano" into Google yields as the 4th-ranked result; "alyssa milano nude" has deuceofclubs 25th. However, "alyssa milano naked" doesn't seem to bring up at all. Puzzling enough, but more puzzling still is: Why is everyone so hot to see Alyssa Milano naked? Someone is spending a lot of time looking for Alyssa Milano naked, and it can't be just Alyssa Milano's mother.

09jul2002 -- "Captain H. L. Scott was in charge of the move [of the Apaches from exile in Alabama to exile in Oklahoma]. He had come to Mt. Vernon [Alabama] to talk to the Apaches and see how they felt about it. They told him that they did not like living in a place `no longer than your thumb nail on which the trees were so thick that you would have to climb up to the top of a tall pine if you wanted to see the sun; and when you climbed down and went somewhere to sit and rest yourself, there was always something waiting to bite you.' Oklahoma would be better. Scott promised to take them where they could see the sun without climbing a tree and could even see mountains again." -- From a biography of George Wratten by his son, Albert Wratten, excerpted in Geronimo and the End of the Apache Wars, ed. C. L. Sonnichsen (Bison, 1990), p. 113.

05jul2002 -- Reading some George Ade (1866-1944) excerpts and it seems that maybe Wayne and Garth didn't invent the "NOT!" trope. I know; you are shocked. But check it: "Probably they preferred to go back in the Front Room and hear more about Woman's Destiny not" ("The Fable of What Happened the Night the Men Came to the Women's Club"); "Yes; Grace loves me -- not" ("The Other Girl"); "they remarked that Clara was a Miserable Hostess, they didn't think" ("The Fable of the Adult Girl Who Got Busy Before They Could Ring The Bell On Her"); "The cocktail is a pleasant drink; / It's mild and harmless -- I don't think" ("The Sultan of Sulu"). Just something to bring up at the next cocktail party you attend -- not. [Pause for ensuing flood of post-grad work on the subject]

Update, 25apr2005 -- Another example (this one not attributable to "she loves me / she loves me not"):
Tell me, little Buster, are there any more at home like you?
NOT!!! There is only one
Buster, and that is BUSTER KEATON
(1908 PR for the Keaton family vaudeville act, of which a young Buster was the star, quoted in Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down, p. 4)

05jul2002 -- On the lighter side, Is America a Police State? (an address to the House by Rep. Ron Paul)

03jul2002 -- The Bullock wildfire, leaking toilets, and desert golf courses / Also, a good summing up of the wildfire situation

01jul2002 -- The Rodeo fire turns out to have been intentionally started by an out-of-work contract firefighter looking to scare up some employment. And he was angry at his parents. Evidently his parents are what, dryads or nyads or something? Makes as much sense as anything else. What with firefighters and forest rangers committing arson and the forest service carefully managing the forests into giant tinderboxes, it's a wonder there's any forest left on the continent at all.

29jun2002 -- Amazingly, this morning evacuees from Show Low, Pinetop, Lakeside, &c. get to go home. It's hard to believe now that just a few days ago a wall of flame was expected to rush right through Show Low within a matter of hours. Best wishes to those returning to their homes, and our sympathies to those who lost homes and property. The fire is still only 10% contained and is burning its way west toward Forest Lakes and south back toward Cibecue.

28jun2002 -- The fire remains at 5% containment, but the lines are still holding, and the fires have not crossed US60.
White Mountains Online has updated information on all matters regarding the fire, the evacuation, and ways you can help. Susie from Vernon sent along another good information link.

27jun2002 -- Things are looking much better for Show Low. The fire is still very close to town and is still only 5% contained, but the flames have been staying low. It's actually looking possible that Show Low will escape (which is a good step up from "it is inevitable that Show Low will burn").

26jun2002 -- The Rodeo-Chediski fire is still about 2,500 feet from Show Low and 405,000 acres have burned but the fire is now 5% contained. 5% is better than no percent. The complication is that dry thunderstorms have brought rainless lightning into the area, so there is a danger of new fires starting or previously burned areas sparking up again. Some of the rainclouds have been evaporated by the heat of the fire. But Show Low still stands.

25jun2002 -- The Rodeo-Chediski fire is now half a mile from Show Low, but yesterday not a single structure burned. The fire has burned over 351,000 acres and is still officially "0% contained," so Show Low is still in great danger ... but the firefighters are no longer saying it's "inevitable" that the fire will tear through the town. Fingers crossed.
Here are some ways you can help.

24jun2002 -- Incredibly, things are sounding a little better today. The firefighters have apparently been able to construct a firebreak along Cottonwood Canyon, between the fire and Show Low. They're still saying it's "inevitable" that the fire will go through Show Low, but at least it might not be a wall of fire. Contributions for the firefighters and evacuees are still being taken.

22jun2002 -- Sad news: the city of Show Low is being evacuated. Heber and Overgaard are burning already. Keep hoping for rain, and if you can, please contribute to the relief effort.

21jun2002 -- The massive Rodeo forest fire, which has already swept through Pinedale, continues to threaten Show Low. If you're so inclined, you can contribute to the relief effort. Also, pray for rain...

18jun2002 -- Carita: I wish I could just sleep forever. DoC: They call that death.
[Moments later]
Doc: I wish I could read for years & years.
Carita: They call that Grad School.

07jun2002 -- HONG KONG, China (Reuters) -- A Hong Kong woman has lost her case for compensation against a hair salon which she claimed made her look like Osama bin Laden when she wanted a hairstyle like Hollywood actress Julia Roberts. (via Mike, who adds, "After viewing [The Julia bin-Roberts Home Page], I can see how such a mistake was easily made.")

06jun2002 -- "Everybody is advised to be Sure and come to Salome on next Wednesday and Thursday nights and see the Moving Picture Show that is coming here as advertised on the Notice stuck up on the front of the Post Office. This is one of those things that I saw in Los Angeles once and have been telling Folks about and so many of them don't believe it, so Come and See for yourself -- Pictures that Move, just like they was Alive and do everything but Talk. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't seen it myself. This will be the First Moving Picture Show that has ever come to Salome -- so Don't Miss It. Admission $1, but I get in Free on account of telling about it in the Paper." -- Dick Wick Hall, founder of Salome / proprietor of the Laughing Gas Station / editor of the Salome Sun

05jun2002 -- "Let's everybody Boost for Salome and go over and Meet the Train every Night so as Strangers going through will Think that Somebody Lives Here and not get the Idea the Train has stopped just because there is a Cow on the Track or something like that, which I heard a Passenger stick his head out of the window and ask the other night. If we don't Boost Our Own Town, Nobody else will, and about the best way to do it is for everybody in town to all go over and Stand Around the Depot and Make a Lot of Noise when the Train gets in every night. Salome has more automobiles Per Capita than any other town in the U. S. -- 34 cars and only 19 people -- on account of so many Tourists getting Busted on their way to Los Angeles and having to sell their Wrecks to finish the trip. If Home Folks would drive half a dozen of these cars over to the Depot every night and hollar [sic] out the names of different Hotels, like the Waldorf and the Ambassador and the American House, etc., somebody might get off the Train some night and stop here -- and after the Train had gone they would have to stay One Night anyway, even if there is only One Hotel here. One Hotel is as good as a Dozen as long as it is Empty most of the time." -- Dick Wick Hall, founder of Salome / proprietor of the Laughing Gas Station / editor of the Salome Sun
Small desert towns are the best.

03jun2002 -- So the lady at the county sheriff's office says it'll be $7.50 for a copy of the burglary report. And no checks or cash -- money orders only. So there's another buck. "Go to Scottsdale," she says when I complain. "They'll charge you fifteen." I guess the moral, if there is such a thing, is to choose carefully where you're burgled, or else you could be held up, to boot.

20may2002 --
From: Holly F.
i sent money last month and you never said "thanks". Even the dude by Sharret's Liquors says 'god bless you' when you give him money, even though it's for booze.

Apologies to Holly & everyone else donating via Amazon: Amazon does not reveal donor names except by specific request of the donor. nevertheless, please know that everyone's help is very much appreciated.
p.s. -- & i'm not a drinker, if that helps

14may2002 -- Shady side: Just took the Pixies Quiz: "Which Pixies song are you?" Leaving aside ontological conundrums, I "am" the song "Where Is My Mind?" ("You're smart, shy, and often nonsensical. You have dreams of being famous, and you're quirky enough that you just might pull them off. Some would call you a genius, others would call you insane, but in reality you're pretty well-adjusted. Take a vacation once in a while- it'll help take your mind off of your troubles.") Fitting in some ways (especially the vacation part), except that Bonnie Burton got the same answer. There are probably only a dozen possible results -- astrology according to Black Francis. Still, in light of recent tragedy, "Where Is My Mind?" is about the best Pixies song summary of my current existence, unless there's a Pixies song I don't know about called "Where Is My Stuff?"
Sunny side: Muchisimas gracias to both friends and strangers for their kind and gracious support. Your goodness has been a much needed and much appreciated tonic. Again: thank you all.

19apr2002 -- By way of apologia for the recent dearth of site updates, let us say that life is being spectacularly unkind at the moment. If Deuce of Clubs had a flag, it would be at half-mast. Actually, Deuce of Clubs did have a flag -- more than one, even -- but they were recently stolen: as you may have heard from Cardhouse, Deuce of Clubs HQ was burglarized and vandalized. The many other difficulties of recent months make the theft especially hard to take. Leaving aside all the Tools for Gracious Desert Living the thieves stole or destroyed (camper, tent, camping equipment, tools, brand-new woodburning stove, &c. &c.), the worst of it are the irreplaceable personal objects, of value (one would think) only to me: personal notes, writings, photos, & documents, along with many things you may have seen on this site, such as (to list only a few) the banner for Whip It! ... the masters for all the Wagner zines ... objects featuring Deuce of Clubs ... Items of the Week ... nearly all the Mojave Phone Booth glass and ... my phone booth. A reward is offered for information leading to arrests, convictions, and/or objets d'recovery.
20apr02 -- More info.


"In this death of a thousand cuts we're always confronted with some harmless old functionary who obviously loves his grandkids, some pleasant young bureaucrat who doubtless loves her cat and bakes cookies for her co-workers and smilingly assures us she's `just doing her job' as she requests our Social Security number here ... our thumbprint there ... the signed permission slip from your kid's elementary school principal for possessing a gun within a quarter-mile of the school ... and a urine sample, please, if you'll just follow the matron into the little room..." (Vin Suprynowicz)

12mar2002 -- I've been telling people for a while that the best chance for freedom would be to concentrate the non-robots in one state and take over electorally. If only I had time to organize that (as if I have any organizational skills -- I mean, look at this website) ... and then yesterday I ran across The Free State Project. I'm ready to take over whatever state looks ready. (My vote would be Nevada -- they're already pretty good at despising centralized planning.)

11mar2002 -- Slice of something or other: Last week a little girl, couldn't have been even four years old, ambled up to me in a bookstore, where i was kneeling looking at a lower shelf, and announced to me, "You. Have no. Hair." I complimented her observational skills and assured her that I had hair when I left home and didn't know where it had gone. She patted my head. "You have water on your head. You are sweating." Again with the observations. She asked where I was born, and I asked where she was born. "Scottsdale," she said. I told her that couldn't be, because no one is born in Scottsdale. I asked her name, and she said, "Chloe. No! Samantha." I squinted. "I changed it," she explained. I looked over at her mother, who shrugged, but with pride. Cool kid.

09mar2002 (or 10nov1798, take your pick) -- "1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." -- Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

04mar2002 -- Lynda writes: "on hbo's six feet under, in the episode called 'the room', nate finds a room that was rented by his father. he goes in and there's a deck of cards on the table, and he picks one up, and GUESS WHAT IT IS??? YUP, it's the deuce of clubs!!!!!! sorry, i don't have a tape of it." Anyone? Bueller? Breath mint? Mojave Phone Booth glass? Comprende?

21feb2002 -- Last weekend JJ and Hitch the Sheltie and I climbed a mountain behind my property. You can see forever from up there. JJ wondered how far above sea level we were and asked, "Is there such a thing as an ... elevation measuring ... thing ... an ... elevomiter?" I said, "There is. It's called an altimeter." Upon reflection, I vote that henceforth altimeters be called elevomiters. Selah.

08feb2002 -- Think twice -- better yet, think three times -- before signing a contract with Sprint PCS. They'll require you to fulfill the letter of the contract, but they refuse to fulfill even the spirit of it. I just spent twenty minutes wrangling with Donna P04DPARNE01*, who has been well-trained in new age feel-speak ("I understand how upset this must make you feel"; "I'm sorry you feel you are being cheated") but, like the rest of the Sprint PCS crew I've had to deal with (including "Claire," their worthless virtual customer service system) doesn't know the first thing about service. Sprint has been unable to provide me with dependable phone service, yet they refuse to cancel the remaining 2.5 months on this contract without extorting $150 from me for the privilege of finding a cell phone service provider that actually provides cell phone service. After signing up for Sprint PCS, I began to find their "HEY CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW UNBELIEVABLY CLEAR OUR CLEARLY UNBELIEVABLE PHONE SERVICE IS" commercials even less funny than before. And even less believable. Finally, on 15 January they promised to send me a different phone, which would supposedly work better, within eight business days. They sent a charger. No phone. When I tried to find out what was up, their computers were down for days, so no one could tell me anything useful. Today their computers are up. Still no one can tell me anything useful. Today Donna P04DPARNE01 tells me that they "don't know when" they can send another phone (Me: "So it could be a week, could be five months?" Donna P04DPARNE01: "That's right." Me: "No, that's not right, that's just wrong."), but even though they cannot provide me with the service they're contracted to provide, they will not let me out of the contract unless I pay them $150. So I have to pay a monthly bill to Sprint PCS and get pretty much nada in return. Yay. Think i'll stay with Sprint PCS after this one-sided contract expires in April? Bet against it.

Addendum: a cursory Google search turns up lots of pages like this, featuring lots of unhappy Sprint PCS customers. Also take a look at before you sign a year of your phone life away.

(* "Donna P04DPARNE01" was all I could get in the way of identification. I don't know where this call center is; Donna P04DPARNE01wouldn't tell me "because of Nine-Eleven." "Nine Eleven" covers a multitude of sins and boatloads of stupidity.)

03feb2002 -- If you've been following along, you know how much the phrase "Too much time on his hands" is hated here at The Cardhouse Robot has pointed out a fine rebuttal of that idiotic idea.

14jan2002 -- What this country needs is more pretzels and fewer politicians...

14jan2002 -- From a university exam found on the web: "In the early 1970s, Parker Brothers introduced a toy called an oobi (which failed miserably in the market). This was a small plastic container into which you put a message. On the outside, you wrote the address of the recipient, and then you left the oobi anywhere. Friendly people were supposed to pick up oobis, check the address, carry the oobi some distance if they were heading in the same direction as the oobi's address, and then leave the oobi for someone else to find and carry. Does the oobi provide a datagram model of communication or a virtual circuit model of communication?" Hanged if I know.

02jan2002 -- ACHTUNG! It has come to the ACHTUNG, or rather, attention, of that there are confirmed sightings of "O" Mountain Monograms. One is in north-central Washington state. It is probably in Oroville, though it could be in Omak or Okanagan. "O," of course, is one of the three remaining Mountain Monogram letters of which we have not yet obtained photos. Orovada, Nevada is also said to have an "O," along with Orofino, Idaho, Orland (or maybe Oroville, Oregon City, Ordbend, or Old Station California), Orem, Utah, and Oakland, Oregon. Not only that, there is a "Z" in Zap, North Dakota. Yes, it is a real place, but the important thing is that people in these areas take photographs of their Mountain Monograms and send them in. [The "Z" I cadged from Zap's home page, entitled, "Zip to Zap, the little town with a big heart." Still no sign of X, though... anyone?]

31dec2001 -- Hurrah, hooray: "The best thing about Tucson has always been its men and women. We have had our share of crooks, rapists, child molesters, and drug addicts, but they have always been a tiny minority." (C. L. Sonnichsen, Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City)

26dec2001 -- A few nights ago I dreamed I sent away for some cheesy Kachina doll or something like that. The accompanying instructions advised against treating it roughly but at the same time asserted its relative durability, summing up with "So just sacred it slightly."

20dec2001 -- I don't fear terrorism. What I fear is a government that gobbles up freedoms (and in the name of "freedom," at that ... hmm) and a populace that applauds the slavers who steal away their freedom. Chances are slim that a terrorist will harm you (almost nil, if the government would mind its own business, instead of poking its nose into every hornets' nest it can find), but elected knuckleheads back in D.C. have been making war on you since the day you were born. I don't suppose anyone knows of any state on the verge of seceding from the union...?

13dec2001 -- I accidentally bought a Duracell 223 Photo battery. I meant to buy a Duracell 245 Photo battery, but it was a while back and I have no idea where the receipt is and I'd have been too lazy to take it back to the store anyway. I'm not too lazy, however, to offer it in trade for something to one of you, o my little droogies. Trade for what? Oh, I don't know. Suggest something. Do it quick, or else I'll ... I'll ... be stuck with a camera battery I can't use, is what I'll be.

10dec2001 -- What can come of a "national emergency" -- the familiar ring of Hitler's actions after the Reichstag Fire (27feb1933):

Recognizing that this presented him with an opportunity as well as a challenge, he reacted immediately to use the fire to his advantage. On the following day, February 28, 1933, he had President Paul von Hindenburg declare a state of emergency under Article 48 of the Weimar constitution and issue a decree "for the protection of people and state"; that decree led to the mass arrests of thousands ... in the next weeks and months and also provided the original pseudo-legal basis for the terror that plagued German citizens for the rest of the Third Reich's existence.

In its first section, the "Reichstag Fire Decree," as it came to be known, set aside "until further notice" the basic rights of German citizens provided by the Weimar constitution. The decree empowered the government to take "all necessary measures to restore order and public security." It placed severe limitations on personal freedom, the right of free expression, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of assembly; it permitted the authorities to spy on peoples' private communications through the post, telegraph, and telephone; it allowed the police to conduct search and seizure operations in private homes; and it enabled the police to arrest people and put them in protective custody without charging them with a specific offense. From that point on, therefore, the Nazi police enjoyed extraordinary and largely unlimited powers.

(From: Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans, by Eric A. Johnson)

05dec2001 -- New light on the "All your base are belong to us" hubbub. In the subtitles of the Yeoh/Cheung/Mui classic The Heroic Trio appears this Manglish translation of one of Michelle Yeoh's lines: "The invisible robe is belonged to us." This should be proof enough that Sean Connery was the definitive James Bond. Except for maybe George Lazenby, who really wasn't bad at all. And what a lousy excuse this is to send you over to D.o.C. pal E.C.C.'s All Your Base Are Belong To Us page.

From Jim Hightower:
AUTOCRATS ARE US: Foreign terrorists are not the only ones assaulting Americans. Try our own Congress. In a furious haste, trying to posture politically and look like they were "doing something" about stopping terrorism, our Washington lawmakers have just rammed a liberty-crushing, privacy-invading, democracy-busting, bureaucracy-fattening mish-mash of new police powers down our throats. They cynically titled it the "USA Patriot Act," but real patriots like Sam Adams, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Old Ben Franklin, Jimmy Madison and Tom Jefferson would gag and upchuck at the mere sight of this package of anti-democratic nastiness. You've likely heard that this law gives police sweeping new authority to search our homes and computers, new ways to listen in on our phone conversations and e-mails and new power to arrest us without any charges. But you might not have heard that obscure provisions in this act shift the FBI's primary mission from solving crimes to domestic surveillance -- it's now to be an internal spy agency. Worse, the Washington Post reports that the law also empowers the CIA, for the first time, to snoop on citizens in this country, even allowing the agency to use the secret, nearly unlimited, star-chamber powers of federal grand juries. What they've created here is a massive spying apparatus of unprecedented scope that essentially is authorized to violate civil liberties wholesale, going far beyond the narrow focus on terrorists who operate here. Forget legal finesse; this thing is a sledgehammer, and it's our Constitution that they're pounding. One of Attorney General John Ashcroft's hit men for gutting our civil liberties with this law blithely told the Post that our freedoms have to give way to police power: "We are going to have to get used to a new way of thinking," he said. No thank you. The freedoms that the founders put in place are not trifles to be tossed whenever autocrats find them inconvenient. See also...

23nov2001 -- A view of Washington's idea of airport security by Scott Stantis.

(© 2001 Scott Stantis, or Birmingham News, or somebody.

16nov2001 -- Today's message to government employees, courtesy of Brazil (1985):
Jill: Doesn't it bother you -- the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval?
Sam: What? I suppose you'd rather have terrorists?

12nov2001 -- "To speak about sparing anything because it is beautiful is to waste one's breath and incur ridicule in the bargain. The aesthetic sense -- the power to enjoy through the eye, the ear, and the imagination -- is just as important a factor in the scheme of human happiness as the corporeal sense of eating and drinking; but there has never been a time when the world would admit it. The `practical men,' who seem forever on the throne, know very well that beauty is only meant for lovers and young persons -- stuff to suckle fools withal. The main affair of life is to get the dollar, and if there is any money in cutting the throat of Beauty, why, by all means, cut her throat. That is what the `practical men' have been doing ever since the world began.... [T]he `practical men' have gained much practice and many dollars by flaying the fair face of these United States.... And at last they have turned to the desert! It remains to be seen what they will do with it." -- John C. Van Dyke, 1901

09nov2001 -- (Via Bonnie Burton) -- Topps, the company you know, if you know them at all, for making baseball cards and such, has issued a wretched new set called, "Enduring Freedom Trading Cards." Is there any room in America's giant political bed for all the dorks who still want to jump in & cozy up? This set of cards (with titles such as "Bush Comforts Giuliani And Pataki," "Air Assault Soldier Rappels From A Chopper," and the much sought after "FEMA Director Allbaugh Meets With Bush") ought to piss off more people than that silly serial killer trading card set, but there's not enough sense left in the country these days for much genuine outrage. One thinks of Doc Holliday's deathbed words: "This is funny."

08nov2001 -- Please, everyone, please, I beg of you, please STOP falling back on "fast-forward" as a lazy way of transitioning between paragraphs. It probably seemed cute the first 234,308,958,120 times someone did it, but instance 234,308,958,121 probably occurred about two years ago. Pleeeeeeeeeease stop. Please.

04nov2001 -- "Our government has called on true, loyal Americans to keep an eye out for others in their neighborhoods who may be plotting terrorist acts, warning us that terrorists are in our midst and can only be found with our help. We are urged to report to authorities anything and anyone appearing suspicious. And so, in the name of freedom, Americans begin to act like Cubans." -- Ross Levatter, in Liberty magazine

01nov2001 -- Randy Johnson, six-foot-ten-inch pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, carries around the unfortunate nickname, "The Big Unit." Johnson. Big Unit. Got it? So during his World Series start last week some tv cameraman scanned the crowd with his camera and lingered far too long on a Diamondback fan's homemade sign that would have outraged the network executives, if it hadn't been a FOX broadcast:


Update, 11jun2003 -- Just ran across a 1997 email of mine that seemed to fit here:
prominently displayed for about 10 seconds during the packers game on sunday were two fans holding a sign that -- to united kingdom denizens, at least -- has a decidely sexual ring. after the previous week's game, the packer ground crew had to put down new turf over the entire field at lambeau stadium. the sign:


(See also)

24oct2001 -- "I found a part-time job soldering sheet metal at a radio factory called Espey Electronics. That kept me solvent, but the work was hot and nasty. I found easier prospective employment selling flourescent fixtures. No buyers. I signed on as an electrician's assistant, installing fixtures someone else had sold. In most of the novels I read, blurbs listed the author's past occupations, always a varied list. In a sense I was making progress. I was working not on a novel, but on the jacket copy that would be used with the big book, after I got around to writing it." -- Roger Kahn, Memories of Summer

23oct2001 -- Poor old "sadly missed phone box" ... [via Cardhouse]

22oct2001 -- I finally found out what those little spinny things are that I was seeing alongside the railroad tracks. (If you never wondered about this, just scroll down to the naked photos below.) The spinning discs don't have anything to do with the railroad, said the railroad man I saw loitering next to the tracks. They have to do instead with the natural gas line running next to the tracks. The discs let natural gas workers see at a glance whether natural gas is running through the line. If the disc isn't spinning, there's a gas leak. I like finding out stuff about railroads, especially when it has nothing to do with railroads.

(Update, 19jan2006)

21oct2001 -- From Joseph Sobran: "My father nearly lost his life fighting for Stalin. During World War II Commander Michael Sobran served on a battleship that was hit by a kamikaze. He watched as pieces of his men were fished out of the ocean. To be fair, he didn't know he was fighting to help Franklin Roosevelt hand ten Christian countries to the Soviet Union; that obviously wasn't the stated war aim of the U.S. Government, merely the practical result of Roosevelt's eagerness to help his buddy `Uncle Joe.' No, my father and other young men of his generation were told they were fighting for democracy and freedom; Roosevelt said they were fighting for the Four Freedoms, including Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. Who would actually get the spoils of victory was never specified, but the people who wound up under Soviet control never saw any of the Four Freedoms. During wartime, rulers -- or `leaders' -- usually talk in abstractions, which the fighting men pretty much ignore. People feel they can't afford to be skeptical of the government while the war rages; skepticism is regarded as treason. The government becomes "us," our tribe, our only security. The hell of it is that skepticism of government is seldom more warranted than during war. That's when government is most likely to seize the opportunity to expand its powers and crack down on individual liberty, generally with the support of the majority. If the government bombs cities abroad while lying to its own people at home, well, these things are often necessary in wartime, aren't they? We are already seeing this mentality emerge in the current `war on terrorism.' Skeptics are now accused of being `anti-American' or tarred as `the hate-America crowd.' Some of my own readers tell me I'm a traitor for saying that our own government got us into this mess; they invite me to find another country to live in, preferably an Arab one. We're already at, or approaching, the Government-Is-Us stage. Now is the time to exercise freedom of speech -- while we still have it."

19oct2001 -- WANTED: Any information whatsoever about a character called "Peter Beal" (or Beale), a.k.a. "The Peanut Man." In the lobby of a large Tucson hotel I spotted a photo of him wearing a suit covered with peanuts in the shell. Strangely enough, the Arizona Historical Society has no information on him beyond the photo and the name. You'd think a man who would wear a peanut suit would live in memory forever (Harrod Blank and Gene Pool, take note).

18oct2001 -- Troubletown's E-Z Guide to Friends & Foes in the Region. Please also note: Two of Clubs no esta Deuce of Clubs. Muchisimas gracias y lo siento. Salga por favor de la manera.

16oct2001 -- "Those that hate goodness are sometimes nearer than those that know nothing at all about it and think they have it already" (C. S. Lewis). For the past few decades the government in Washington has moved more and more rapidly toward what might be termed Compascism -- collectivism behind a smiley face. Maybe it is not such a bad thing that the terrorist strikes have handed them a great excuse to do away with the happy face. "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience" (C.S. Lewis).

15oct2001 -- Amid the hysteria coursing back and forth across the fifty states, some rare good sense. Put. The flag. Down. And step. Away. If only for a moment.

12oct2001 -- Emails to me have been bouncing (thank you so very much, Earthlink), so if you get a bounced email message, it isn't that any of my email addresses have changed -- they haven't -- it's just an ISP on the ball and moving rapidly into the future ass-backward. Bravo! So please don't hesitate to email me. Some are getting through fine. If your message bounces, please try resending a little later. Gracias.

12oct2001 -- Curses! My lack of aeronautical knowledge asserts itself yet again: why is it that small planes -- Cessnas, for example -- can't have huge, deployable cargo chutes for emergency float-downs in case of engine trouble?

Update, 27oct2001 -- Pilot Russ C. writes, "Not a bad idea."

Update, 18mar2004 -- Jack Handy beat everyone to it back in 1994: "I'm telling you, just attach a big parachute to the plane itself! Is anyone listening to me?!" You're not the only one with deep thoughts, Mister Handy.

10oct2001 -- Adventures in telepathespeak: Out of nowhere, C. remarks, "I'm gonna put the stuffy thingy in the place." Strangely, I know exactly what she is talking about. That must be meta-somethingorother.

03oct2001 -- Barry Bonds is one away from tying the all-time single-season home run mark. It's national TV. Bonds is on deck (that's "next to hit," for any communists among the readership). Cut to the stands, where the Bonds family waits nervously. Except for his daughter, who, with her fingers in front of her face, is very plainly playing "I AM SQUISHING YOUR HEAD" with the opposing team's fielders.

02oct2001 -- "In the course of time the safe places became ever fewer: the solicitous sunshine of public concern penetrated everywhere, and the peephole in the door was placed in such a way that in the whole cell there was not a single point that the observer on the other side of the door could not pierce with his gaze." -- Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

29sep2001 -- "Infinite Justice" ... "Crusade" ... "We will eradicate evildoers from the world" ... You don't have to be a Voegelin scholar to recognize these as gnostic formulations that partake of the same deflected millenarian conceptions that regularly bring about deadly philosophical maladjustments such as the original Crusades, Muntzerism, modern collectivist statism (including our home-grown U.S. version), and even, yep, bin-Laden's wacky-assedness. Let us pause for a moment to reflect upon that insightful Beach Boys song of yore, "Wouldn't It Be Nice ... If Everyone Read George Orwell and Norman Cohn? Then Maybe They Would, Y'Know, Like, Maybe, Recognize a Phrase Like `Office of Homeland Defense' For What it Really, Totally, Like, Is. Man."

14sep2001 -- Anyone getting gung-ho about going out and bombing still more civilians should first read this.

11sep2001 -- Fox News reporter: "The Statue of Liberty is still standing. I think that's important to remember at a time like this." Indeed. In the wake of the current terrorist attacks, prepare to lose even more of your liberty. Centralized governments such as the one headquartered in Washington do not let pass golden excuses to seize more power.

Here's a rumination from one year ago on the likelihood and impetus for terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Another rumination addressing the near-universally ignored question: Why?

Aside: ABC's Peter Jennings has managed to maintain his usual standards: "I understand that one of the stewardesses ... er, FLIGHT ATTENDANTS -- my apologies to stewardesses ... er, FLIGHT ATTENDANTS."

11sep2001 -- That previous entry sure was weirdly timed.

10sep2001 -- Tim Slagle, in the October 2001 issue of Liberty: "Had [Tim McVeigh] targeted a building where tax returns were stored and destroyed it without a single casualty, he would have been a national hero. According to the September 2001 Popular Mechanics, an electromagnetic pulse bomb can be built with 1940s technology for under $400. This would be a weapon that destroys electronics and magnetically recorded information with no injuries to humans and buildings. With face scanning technology the new rage of law enforcement, cameras going up on every street corner, doctors required to submit medical information into a national database, and various law enforcement agencies watching every e-mail on the Internet, I would suggest that the security of a free state requires a Patriot's Manhattan Project focused on building up a private EMP arsenal. Oops, I submitted this one to Liberty via e-mail. Goodbye, everybody."

04sep2001 -- Who wants to buy a home in Tempe, Arizona? No, really. Seriously.

30aug2001 -- By popular request (literally): THE TOP FIVE SECONDS OF AUGUST FOR DEUCEOFCLUBS.COM!

23aug2001 -- Gary Condit is a big stupid meatballhead.

20aug2001 --- "You don't have to understand the words: it is the sound that counts. You don't even need to hear the notes: the rhythm and the beat are enough. It is the same thing with your ears against the headphones: it plays upon your skin. That is music. You feel good, like in a bubble-bath. Without knowing why." In addition: "You cannot hack without a floppy disk as canvas." Who wouldn't want a pope who utters speech like that?

04aug2001 -- From the Coolidge Examiner (Arizona) -- "The United Way: Whatever it is they're doing, we don't know what they're doing." Says executive director Bill Ludeke, "We're little and cute here."

02aug2001 -- Puzzling marketing history from the website of Tucson's KGUN-TV: "The year was 1956.... KDWI Television signed on the air. The station was owned by local rancher and lumberman, D.W. Ingram (hence the call letters) and his wife Kathleen... A short time later, the station was sold, and immediately changed its call letters to KGUN. The General Manager then was quoted as saying, "where I come from DWI don't mean nothin' good".

GUN, on the other hand, means QWALITY CHILDRUN'S T & V!

30jul2001 -- "There are folders on your computer that Microsoft has tried hard to keep secret. Within these folders you will find two major things: Microsoft Internet Explorer has been logging all of the sites you have ever visited -- even after you've cleared your cache, and Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook Express has been logging all of your e-mail correspondence -- even after you've erased them from your trash bin." Needless to say, I deleted these files and no longer use Internet Cracksplorer.

21jul2001 -- The latest episode of The Red Green Show demonstrated how to build a glass elevator using an old water heater (for ballast) and ... a phone booth. Hmmmm....

18jul2001 -- Did you know that a hardware store paint computer can match the color of pretty much anything? I took a prickly pear pad in there and, well, it can.

13jul2001 -- Today China was awarded Olympic hosting privileges. Hurrah, 2008 will be 1936 all over again.

03jul2001 -- Al Gore in Drag

29jun2001 -- R.I.P. Mortimer Adler

25jun2001 -- Today Mesa, Arizona police shot and killed a resident of a group home for the mentally disabled. Area residents are outraged -- not because the man was killed by police, but because they didn't know there was a group home in their neighborhood. People are lovely.

23jun2001 -- Suddenly the radio played "One Tin Soldier," which vies with "Imagine" as the goofiest lyric ever written. Who thinks about it from the valley people's point of view? I mean, here are these mountain people sanctimoniously declaring, "with our brothers we will share" -- knowing the whole time that stupid rock wasn't hiding any treasure at all, only the inscription "PEACE ON EARTH." Can you really blame the valley people for pounding on those smug mountain dorks? "Peace on earth, eh? Have a nice big "peace" o' THIS, wiseass mountain people!"

21jun2001 -- As I prepare to bid permanent adieu and good riddance to the yuppie pigtrough Tempe, Arizona has become, here are some things to ponder.

19jun2001 --
Reaction: Pearl Harbor
I was the only person in the entire theater today for this jingofest, which shows that everyone else in this town must be a little smarter than I am. Or else it means they saw it & didn't bother to tell me how BAD it is. Is it any wonder I'm leaving this town? Anyway. The filmmakers have said that Pearl Harbor isn't "about" Pearl Harbor -- rather, it's "a love story." Too bad the title Love Story was already taken. Too bad they didn't find a more descriptive two-word title. Like Steaming Load. It's abominable. It's abysmal. It's Our Gang Goes to War, with Spanky & Alfalfa fighting over Darla, supported by Tom Sizemore in his comical Huntz Hall ballcap, "Red" the Token Redheaded Stammering Guy, and even the sailor and his doggie right off the damned Cracker Jack box. And Dan Ackroyd! DAN ACKROYD I'M TELLING YOU! There weren't enough Zeros in this movie already? Besides, he was in that other dismal dogfight with zeros movie, 1941 -- which is when Pearl Harbor's script might as well have been written, it's so cornball and propagandistic. It could have been written the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed. (If so, there are two dates which will live in infamy.) The few funny moments in this movie are near the end, when characters shout "MAX POWER!" but only because it made me think of Homer Simpson, and Homer Simpson is funny. Actually, Jon Voight's parts are all pretty funny, too -- he's saddled with the job of trying to play FDR as a good guy. That should be your clue to the historical fidelity of Pearl Harbor. This is a film to be watched as one would watch JFK or The Doors -- enjoy the recreations but disregard anything you come across that resembles plot or dialogue (however vague the resemblance may be).

18jun2001 -- A few days ago, an arrest was made in a notorious Arizona serial arson case. The Feds have swooped in and declared it their collar. What makes these exclusively Arizona arsons a matter of Federal jurisdiction? Why, because some of the materials used to construct the houses came from other states, thereby making this a clear case for the Interstate Commerce boys! Silly? You bet it is, but the Interstate Commerce clause and the so-called "General Welfare" clause are the twin excuses the Feds have been using for over half a century to justify nearly all their unconstitutional actions. There is currently a bill in the House of Representatives that would put a stop to this farce, and you can help.

(See also)

13jun2001 -- R.I.P. Fred Raphael, "an early innovator of televised golf." Gee, can you just IMAGINE what life would be without the innovations of televised golf?? Speaking of utter uselessness, let's consider movie trailers on DVDs. Popped in a Harold and Maude DVD and selected "Special Features," which turned out to consist of two movie trailers. That's it. Maybe the person who cut the trailer considers a trailer to be a special feature, but I don't. And who needs cast bios & filmographies? That stuff is all on the net, anyway. Hello, movie studios? Listen. If you put extra stuff on a disc, fine, say that it's got "Special Features." We're all happy about it. But trumpeting "Scene Access" as a "Special Feature" isn't fooling anyone, ya dopies.

10jun2001 -- (via Cardhouse) Don't do business with the Post Office unless you have no objection to postal clerks watching you and informing upon you as if you were a criminal. According to the U.S. Postal "Service," "As we said before, and will say again, it is better to report many legitimate transactions that seem suspicious than let one illegal one slip through." Similar surveillance conducted by banks has shown the ridiculousness of the practice: "more than 100,000 reports are collected on innocent bank customers for every one conviction of money laundering." Didn't they use to say it was better for ten guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be jailed? I guess that ratio goes far the other way when we're talking about spying and reporting on the population at large.

04jun2001 -- Speaking of TV newsdorks, who isn't tired of hearing them mindlessly name "deregulation" as the culprit in the California power screwup? Deregulation is not what happened in California -- unless by "deregulation" you mean the sort of benevolent centralized planning the good ol' Politburo used to do. Those calling for further government salvation should understand for what they are begging.

04jun2001 -- Just saw that the city of Mesa, Arizona ("The Other Salt Lake City") is removing several of their red light cameras. This is not because the cameras are not reducing red light runners, Mesa's police department assures us. In fact, the cops are claiming an almost 50% reduction in red light runners. So ... why remove cameras? Is it that the police are finally recognizing that order and security are not worth giving up human liberty, not to mention dignity, for? Well, no. They say it's because the reduced number of red light runners makes the cameras "less cost-effective." Uh-huh. They plan to rotate the remaining cameras among a pool of intersections, so (according to TV newshead) "we won't know where they are." Except for any part of "we" who happens to be especially skilled at spotting klunky, obvious machinery at intersections.

03jun2001 -- Fat stupid sports reporter, to Charles Barkley: "Can I get a hug, Charles?"
Barkley: "Can I get my arms around you?"

01jun2001 -- Lemon oil is good for wood surfaces. I am just now finding this out.

30may2001 -- Another huge chunk of irreplaceable Sonoran desert land bites the dust, courtesy of people who don't belong in the desert in the first place. "There weren't enough seats to accommodate the crowd of concerned citizens who attended last Wednesday's meeting of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. Nearly all were there in opposition to Anam Inc.'s request for a zone change and a planned area development overlay district on a 4,600-acre parcel to develop the 8,516-unit Willow Springs-South Village master-planned community northwest of Oracle Junction.... A disabled former police officer stated that he had evidence that two of the project's backers had criminal records. Another said that the money behind the project came from Canadians who have absolutely no idea of what it is to live in the desert. Darryl Klish distributed aerial photographs of the Page Trowbridge toxic waste dump and contended that floods are washing the dirt caps that were put in place in 1995 away and that contaminants are seeping into the area's aquifer."
Of course, you know the outcome. "The supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project."

26may2001 -- "NEW YORK (AP) -- Malcom P. McLean, whose innovative use of large cargo containers revolutionized the global shipping industry and changed almost overnight the way goods are moved around the world, has died. He was 87."
RIP, Malcom.

23may2001 -- So Pearl Harbor is coming out in a couple of days, & apparently some are angry to learn that the Japanese and German releases of the film will be special edits, aimed at not giving offense. Sure, that's pretty mealy, but what really ought to anger people is that they'll probably never see a film that honestly depicts what really happened.

18may2001 -- Why shouldn't you have your cake & eat it, too? I guess it depends on what is meant by "have." If I eat my cake, I think I "have" it in my stomach. I don't know. I honestly don't know. These are weighty, weighty matters.

18may2001 -- By the way, The Shady Dell is still for sale! If you're a cool person, this could be the career and/or retirement opportunity you've been looking for. UPDATE, 2004: The Shady Dell has been SOLD, AMERICAN!

16may2001 -- TV talk show hosts such as Montel Williams continue to showcase hoaxster psychic Sylvia "Democrats will win the election with Bill Bradley, with close competition from the Reform Party" Browne. People laugh at Jerry Springer, but at least he doesn't pretend to believe in Sylvia Browne. Any tent psychic can do cold readings just as well as she does, if not better. Meanwhile, she continues to stonewall James Randi (see "The Sylvia Browne Clock"), after vowing more than two months ago on Larry King Live that she'd prove her abilities. Sylvia's no idiot, it seems; at least she's vastly more intelligent than anyone moronic enough to fall for such a boringly stereotypical fraud whose wild claims of assisting law enforcement investigations has been exposed many times over. Apparently, the U.S. is full of morons. [ATTENTION: This is not news.]

14may2001 -- Sorry, nothing funny today, for today the Supreme[ly Idiotic] Court unanimously confirmed that they are a band of unprincipled fools by pretending to be doctors when they don't even have the smarts or the sand to do the jobs they already hold. Which is to say, they did the Federal thing by upholding the ban on the medical use of marijuana. Nice attempt at saving face after the cruel Federal murder of Peter McWilliams. But just wait -- let one of these "justices" develop glaucoma, & we'll see whether this decision was based in principle or politics. In the meantime, voters in the individual states should decriminalize the use of medical marijuana (as voters in eight states have already done) as a first step in freeing themselves permanently from the foolish politicians in Washington.

01may2001 -- It's May Day, say the workers of the world. Today while riding my bike I ran across a guy working on the railroad. Surprisingly, he wasn't singing that song. How can one work on the railroad without singing that song? Well, he seemed friendly enough anyway, so I asked him something I've wondered about for a long time: why do they put big rocks all around railroad tracks? I thought maybe it had something to do with weed control, but the real answer, once I heard it, was so obvious I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. I dumb.

30mar2001 -- True -- I have caved in to the pressures of acquisition and the lure of contribution. Let our hearts be merry and glad.

25mar2001 -- As Steve Martin (whose sarcasm was a nice relief from Billy Crystal's smarm) noted, the Academy wants presenters to say "...and the Oscar goes to" instead of "...and the winner is." Yet on the same broadcast, the word winner was used repeatedly in introductions, such as, "Oscar winner Goldie Hawn." As a service to "the blessed Academy" (ugh), I suggest a way out of this thorny social problem. If people don't "win" Oscars, but rather Oscars merely "go to" them, I suggest replacing "Oscar winner" with "Oscar destination," like so: "Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome Oscar destination Goldie Hawn!"

So, um, I'd like to thank the Academy blah blee blah blah blee ... Waitaminnit! The Academy should be thanking ME!

02mar2001 -- Yes, it's true, no new What the Deuce?! this week. No new Deuce of Clubs Book Club book this week, either, for in preparation for my impending move to El Rancho Dos de Treboles, deep in Sonoran Upland territory, I am packing all my earthly possessions. I have a lot of earthly possessions. Therefore, updates may lack here next week, too. Maybe even the week after. But fear not, for I have heard thy cries and have provided the suckers with relief succor for the readers, in the form of El Rancho Dos de Treboles wallpaper -- at least, for those readers whose monitor resolution is set at 1024 x 768. Those of you employing other resolution settings get jack; behold, my rain does not fall upon the just & unjust alike. Selah.

21feb2001 -- For those of you who have doubted me lo, these many (nearly eight) years, I give you: THE KITCHEN SINK!
(Yes, it works!)

07feb2001 -- Some days are great mail days. Like yesterday, for example, which was a very "J" day: from J, two Whipped Cream albums, a church bulletin listing hymn #666 (and quoting the bible verse from which the name Godfrey is derived), call sheets, and a couple of very cool old Arizona postcards; from Jean, more Deuce of Clubs film & TV appearances for the Deuce Gallery; from Jessica, a bizarre Deuce of Clubs; and from Maja, two beautiful postcards from Heidelberg. Muchas gracias to one & all...

01feb2001 -- Don't miss The Mandible on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Sunday 11 February (and, if she survives, Wednesday 14 February -- appropriately enough). She'll be playing against other geniuses of the musical world, including Gene Simmons, Lars Ulrich, Chaka Khan, and a couple of Backstreet Boys. How do you think she'll do? "Wildfire," Amy's latest accuser, had the effrontery to claim that she wouldn't know the word effrontery. To be honest, my money's on Gene Simmons. But my heart, of course, will always be with The Mandible.

23jan2001 -- Apparently, someone has put up a tombstone at the site of the departed Mojave Phone Booth. Eyewitness accounts report that it's a real, honest-to-goodness tombstone, chiseled in marble & set in cement. I hope the NPS leaves it alone.

29dec2000 -- Just saw Cast Away. (Note that it's Cast Away, not Castaway -- it's a verb phrase, not a noun, allowing for a second meaning. You don't have to be marooned on a deserted island to be cast away.) Anyway, it was pretty good. It was no Joe Versus the Volcano, by any means (although the island is shaped a little like a miniature Waponi Wu (or was that Picacho Peak?). But it was enjoyable. Less than usual of the traditional Zemeckis schmaltz, thanks be to Wilson. Wagner says it's worth matinee price.

26dec2000 -- "My last name is Control / No, my first name ain't Baby / It's Janet / Miss Jackson if you're nasty." So, if you're nasty, her first name is "Miss Jackson"? And didn't she say her last name was "Control?" I am very confused today. I think I will go back to listening to Wagner...

16dec2000 -- CALL FOR INFORMATION ... I'm sitting here, minding my own business, when there's a knock on the door (normally taboo around this place) and in walks Barbara with an amazingly strange, or strangely amazing, video. It's a feature-length cartoon, sort of Japanimation, sort of Jonny Quest, sort of Scooby-Doo. I don't know how else to explain the style, but the content, well, that's something different altogether. It seems that Boston Satanists Local #666 has secured a lovely bride for Satan (Dolores, by name). Trouble is, the supernatural being who shows up to claim Dolores, Bride of Satan, is in reality the vampire Dracula, getting back at Satan for having turned him into a vampire five centuries earlier. But Drac's plan to destroy Satan's Bride go awry when they fall in love at first sight. Accordingly, the happy couple goes off to set up housekeeping, windowshop, and spawn a hellchild. Or rather, vampchild -- I'm not sure because that's as far as I got before Barbara left. But does anyone have any information to offer about this weird-ass movie??

15dec2000 -- I was going through a bag of old clothes, and what should fall out of the bag but a chunk of Wagner's head? Wagner is in California at the moment. This must mean something...

05dec2000 -- We're coming back from Mexico. Border Patrol Guy remarks that the Cardhouse Robot and I are "strangely dressed." (I was dressed pretty much like this, except for the addition of a gas station shirt that said "Jose." What, me strange?) Border Patrol Guy eyes us some more. What's in the bags? he wants to know. "Candy," says Cardhouse Robot. "Candy," say I. Border Patrol guy waves us through. No bag-checking, no IDs, no nothing. The U.S. Border Patrol: Worth Every Penny We Pay Them.

Safe and stylish

01dec2000 -- Wagner says, "Stay out of der sun ... cancer ist nicht fun."

Unsafe and ouch-ish

18nov2000 -- Contract work, secular sinecures, & other offers of employment gladly accepted.

28oct2000 -- An evil developer had me over a barrel ... he wouldn't give me an easement the county required of me (not that I want or need it) if I wouldn't give him an acre -- for which I paid $5,000 -- to him for a token $10. And why did he take advantage of me? Because it was the right thing to do. No, wait -- it wasn't right at all. So it must be because he is an unscrupulous putz. I was also presented with a document containing a "hold harmless" clause applicable to me and my heirs (should there ever be any): "from and against any and all claims, demands, liabilities, obligations and causes of action, of whatever kind or nature, whether known or unknown, past, present or future, which arose or might have arisen or may arise in the future as a result of the purchase." Splendid. Shall I just open a vein, then, and sign?

20oct2000 -- Pope Godfried? "My mind reels at the possibilities," says Andria.

13oct2000 -- Someone asked for my current music favorite. It's three-for-one day: (3) "Tu y Yo" (remake of "Still the One"); (2) "Dame un Beso y Dime Adios" (remake of "Kiss and Say Goodbye"); (1) "Corazon Cristal" (remake of "Heart of Glass"). Yep, all in medium rotation on Ciento Cinco Punto Nueve ("PURO MEXICO!") on your Arizona dial. Oh, English-language favorite? At the moment, it's gotta be SR-71's kindly and thoughtful "Right Now." So there.

11oct2000 -- From an old documentary on a young Leonard Cohen: "Cohen collects his letters, and makes certain he is heavily photographed. He does this simply because he feels he is becoming an important writer, and that such material will someday be of value. And yet, he is totally devoid of arrogance, and is deeply concerned with the style of his soul." All this while Cohen meditatively gobbles a sandwich. Now where did I leave my beret...?

10oct2000 -- "The two of clubs is missing." Wouldn't you just freaking know it?

06oct2000 -- "Shoplifters of Casa Grande, unite and take over..." What is it with Casa Grande, AZ? I go into a CD store and there's no browsing -- everything's behind glass. What is this, a pawn shop? Screw that. I go over to Casa Grande Mall (such as it is) and see signs everywhere about shoplifting. One clothing store warns of a $200 fine for shoplifting. A CD store in the mall has taken the most drastic (and labor-intensive) anti-shoplifting step I've ever seen: for every CD they have in stock, they cover a piece of cardboard in colored paper and hand-write the title and the entire song list on it, and that's what people browse through. No kidding. The store owner said, "Well, look at all the money I lose ... or don't lose, I should say." He's got a point, but can't people just pay for music or else do without? (Uh-oh ... I sense a Napster discussion. I'm outta here!)

04oct2000 -- In front of me, a Blazer with the vanity plate "GAME." On the radio, Abba's "The Name of the Game." GYPSY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? ("Does it mean anything / To you?")

04oct2000 -- Recommended: DoC pal Andria's Mojave Desert trip story!

03oct2000 -- "Coyotes make good friends. They don't lie, and they mind their own business." -- "Carp," quoted in The Voice of the Coyote.

30sep2000 -- What "Two of Clubs people" are like -- according to the Atlanteans, anyway.

29sep2000 -- Another Mountain Monogram came in today, a K from Kara Reuter. Only six more to go now.
Little help, anyone?

26sep2000 -- A few days ago, in the "Latest Updates" section, I mentioned that it was "labial-dental update time over at Mt. Monograms," because the recently updated letters were labials & dentals. Duh. But a few days later, beneath Tempe's "T" Mt. Monogram, a local paper discovered a real labia reference...

15sep2000 -- Not even the inane chatter of Costas and Couric during what was supposed to be a majestic opening Olympic ceremony can dim Wagner's fond memories of Atlanta `96.

11sep2000 -- Those of you in parts of the country without Trinity Broadcasting programming are just not BLESSED. Paul and Jan Crouch are the second-most entertaining couple on television, always good for a laugh or a deep thought -- but can you can tell which is which? One night last October (yes, I write these things down), Paul expressed his belief that when The Rapture comes, people will be raptured right out of their clothes. This idea horrified Jan, who wears more makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker ever did, and wears pink & lavender wigs. Paul: "It's my personal belief that [when the Rapture happens] my 42 regulars will just be left behind." Jan: "I wonder what will happen to my eyelashes?" Their son: "There's gonna be just a pile of ... beautician parts." Jan: "Well, you know, you're gonna never know your mother in heaven!"

Paul and Jan show how to disgust the masses

8sep2000 -- No Burning Man for us this year. Instead, it was a southeastern Arizona tour. Documentation will follow. Of course.

26aug2000 -- Just returned from meeting Lynda, Jamie, & Eric at the Deadbolt show. Well, Jamie, anyhow -- couldn't find Lynda & Eric, so this is my formal public apology. Did have a nice chat with Harley Davidson and 3rd Degree Burns, who signed the Deadbolt book. Unfortunately, I had to leave early, as did J, who said, "It was just noise, not music," which made me think of the time someone at a job I had heard a Deadbolt CD playing and asked me, "Don't you ever listen to music where people sing?".

23aug2000 -- The leader of the crew doing the flow test at my well was fretting because he hadn't brought a camera to document the proceedings. I had a disposable along, so I pull Wagner out of the bag and begin "documenting" for them. At first the crew is confused, especially since the only explanation I offer is the standard "He's in all my photos." After a minute, however, one says, "Ah! I get it!" I doubted he got it. Turning to the others, he explains, "It's for scale, see?" Nope. He didn't get it. But I thought it would reassure them, so I went with it. "Yep. Scale. He's exactly twelve inches tall." Snap, snap, snap. (Note: Wagner never works for scale. The Greatest Composer in History demands top-dollar.)

21aug2000 -- Is there no end of people who think that writing to a famous singer's body part will help their careers? (Or people who have no idea what a mandible is, perhaps?)

15aug2000 -- This is hilarious. I'm watching a Jackie Chan romantic comedy (no, really) on DVD with the audio commentary on. Fortunately, Jackie is speaking English. Or is he?? (If you're interested in this torture, the movie's called Gorgeous, with Qi Shu, who definitely is.)

Evil, yet harmless, mad genius seeks sinecure. (Not the religious kind, but the 2nd dictionary definition kind: "any office or position that brings profit or advantage without involving much work, responsibility, etc." Kidding.) Or work, okay, fine. Inquire within.

08aug2000 -- "Hand-finished in Thailand by adult Christian workers paid a living wage and working in good conditions" -- no Kathie Lee sweatshops here, nope! -- it's the Shoes of the Fisherman. That animated .gif just kills me. It's an Argus poster come to life.

04aug2000 -- Capsule review of The Powerpuff Girls CD: KICKS ASS! Shonen Knife, an optigan, a musical nod to the great Shooby Taylor ("Ploppy ploppy ploppy ploppy"), Komeda ... and of course, it almost goes without saying that Frank Black is the king of the world.

03aug2000, 1005am: Driving east on US 60 to a dr. appt. Tire explodes. Car won't start; the Sable (quiet, the car was inherited) becomes diSABLEd. It's in the next lane over from the passing lane. Cars buzzing by like 2,000-lb. mosquitoes. I'm stopping two lanes' worth of them. I'm trying to push the car into the passing lane to reach the nearly non-existent shoulder on the left, so I can call a tow truck. Four strapping adult males are sitting in a car behind me, watching me try to push a car. By myself. Finally, I yelled at them to help. One does, reluctantly. Thanks so much.

That's my day so far. But at least no one said I looked like Michael Stipe.

01aug2000 -- Stubbly. Haven't shaved in a few days. Today someone tells me I look like Michael Stipe. "But he looks like he's dying!" "Well ... I won't argue that." I feel great. I'd better shave tomorrow.

30jul2000 -- Just saw the guy who played Bus Driver Stu on Pete & Pete playing a psychopathic killer on some USA show, the one right before Manhattan, AZ, which is a pretty funny show. Maybe just for (real) Arizonans, dunno. What's good about the show is that it's so crass that if it gets any viewers at all (which is unlikely), Arizonans will be pissed. (Note: "Arizonans" refers mainly to hundreds of thousands of midwestern morons who have ruined large parts of Arizona, but now "defend" it fiercely -- as long as "defending" is defined as plowing under the desert to add to the hundreds of superfluous golf courses we have here already...)

Yes, that is Bus Driver Stu hiding beneath that Eddie Munster haircut

To Deuce of Clubs