Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Expects Birth of Cloned Sheep

TEHRAN, Iran - In less than two months, Iran hopes to celebrate the birth of the world’s first “second generation” cloned sheep, according to an anonymous sheep herder in Iran. The sheep was conceived by pairing an Iranian man with a cloned ewe, for “one night of steamy man-sheep passion.”

The cloning program has won backing from Iran's Muslim Shiite religious leaders, who have issued religious decrees authorizing animal cloning but banning human reproductive cloning "because cloned people shouldn't have sex." A majority of Iran's nearly 70 million people are Shiites.

In contrast, Sunni Muslim religious leaders — including senior clerics in Saudi Arabia — have banned cloning altogether, even in animals. That’s because Sunni Muslims frown on having sex with animals for the purpose of procreation. “Sex with animals is for fun, not for food,” a Sunni cleric said.

The cloning effort is a result of Iran's work in stem cell research, combined with the often lonely life of a shepherd. Officials say researchers tried to impregnate two sheep with cloned embryos, and three by “traditional man-sheep love methods,” and one of the sheep is expected to deliver twins on Feb. 14. The gestation period for sheep is about five months.

"Of five surrogate mothers, three of the sheep are pregnant. One of them has two babies in its womb, an unprecedented occurrence in the world's brief cloning history," said Saeed Kazemi Ashtiani, head of Iran's Royan Institute. The expectant father couldn’t be more proud.

The latest ultrasound performed by veterinarians last week showed the twins in good shape. “They look a lot like their father,” the veterinarian said. "Fortunately, everything is pointing in the right direction. We appear to be in perfect shape for many more generations of sheep sex." Ashtiani said.

Park Se-pill, director of the Maria Infertility Medical Institute based in Seoul, South Korea, said the expected births "shows that Iranian men have the sex drive to create cloned sheep like Dolly," the world's first cloned sheep, born in 1996, “but not the technology.”

Scientists at Royan Institute also tried to clone a cow, but the farmer fell off of the ladder. Ashtiani said cloning sheep and cows could lead to advances in medical research, and reduce the number of brothels in Iran.

Ashtiani said Iranian researchers would never try to clone a human being because Iranian farmers highly prefer having sex with their livestock.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

News Flash: Children Break Their Toys!

Researchers Find Barbie Is Often Mutilated

LONDON - Barbie, beware. The iconic plastic doll is often mutilated at the hands of young girls, according to research published Monday by British academics.

"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

I wonder...

-How many millions of dollars (okay, pounds in this case) were spent on this research?

-Was this alleged "study" of Barbie destruction funded by the British Government, or was it Mattel?

-If it was Mattel, why do they care what happens to Barbie post-sale?

-How long until some tree-hugging quacks determine that everyone who destroys their Barbie doll (or their sister's Barbie doll) is psychologically damaged, and desparately in need of mental help?

-How long until idiots start believing that this type of "torture" actually causes Barbie physical pain, and attempt to outlaw Barbie torture?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Redneck Sledding

I took the kids out redneck sledding over the weekend. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of redneck sledding, let me describe it to you.

We all went out to the country, looking for a particularly flat farmer's field, or a really snow and ice-covered country road. We found a great road just a couple of miles out of town. I pulled over, grabbed two of those round sleds that look like garbage can lids, and strapped them to the back of my truck with some rope. I then dragged the sleds down the road, while the kids sat on the sleds, squealing with delight. Think of it similar to water skiing, but you're in a car (or a 4X4 pickup in my case) instead of a boat, and the kids are sitting on a sled, not standing on skis.

It may sound a little unsafe, but no more so than water skiing. In fact, if you use a little common sense, it's probably safer than water skiing.

-Make sure to do this in a flat, deserted area.

-If you are on a country road, make sure the road is flat, and pull over as soon as you see any traffic... oncoming, or approaching from behind.

-Have an extra passenger who can act as a spotter.

-Use common sense and don't feel the need to be a speed demon. I was going 10 miles an hour with my kids, and they thought I was flying. I let my spotter drive and went for one ride myself. He got up to 20 MPH with me, and it felt like I was going to go airborn.

-Make sure to watch out for road obstacles... areas with no snow coverage, rocks, etc.

-Don't forget to have fun.

By the way, this may be called something else where you live... bumper skiing, whatever. I just called it redneck sledding, because the title is appropriate.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Kid's Bedroom II

Here's the foot of the bed. Notice the abundance of flowers on the wall. The tree (shown in my earlier entry) is the main focal point of the room, but I wanted an auxiliary accent as well, so I decided to stencil a lot of flowers on this wall.

Kid's Bedroom

This is a condensed version of a bedroom redecorating project I did on my younger daughter's room. I'm doing the condensed version because I suspect that few people will be interested in the before and after pics, but I'm proud enough of the final product that it still warrants being posted here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Measure of Success

If success is measured in monetary terms, then i'm not that rich.

If success is measured by your possessions, then i'm doing a little better.

If success is determined by your friendships, then i'm well-to-do.

If success is determined by life experiences, then i'm incredibly wealthy.

If success is defined as your level of happiness, and the love in your life, then i'm rich beyond my wildest dreams.

Here's wishing you success and happiness.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Poll: Lawmakers' Standing Drops

Indictments, investigations and a congressman's guilty plea for taking millions in bribes have left most Americans convinced that political corruption is a deeply rooted problem, according to a survey.

Missteps and misconduct that have reached into all levels of government — from the White House and Congress to governors' offices in Connecticut and Ohio — have contributed to the overwhelming majority of those surveyed saying the problem is a serious one. "It's mathematically impossible, but politicians in general got negative numbers in our polls. This isn't just bad for the politicians, it also means that many of our mathematical laws are invalid," an anonymous math geek was quoted as saying.

Scandal has touched all politicians.
President Bush's approval rating was 4.2 percent, slightly better than his standing in the previous poll, due in part to the economy sucking a little less. Still, "lots of people" surveyed disapproved of Bush's handling of the presidency.

More ominous as the 2006 elections loom was the public's opinion of the Republican-controlled Congress. Twelve percent of respondents disapproved of lawmakers' work in Washington and only 3.1 percent approved. The rest said "Work?!? Those ass-clowns don't work! I work!"

Several of those interviewed said corruption was endemic to a political system awash in colossal amounts of lobbying money and beset by an insatiable demand for campaign cash. In 2004, federal lobbyists spent $2.1 billion — the equivalent of the gross domestic product of the Republic of Congo or the amount the U.S. government spends annually on energy assistance for low-income Americans. In that same year, candidates pursuing the presidency and seats in Congress spent more than $3 billion. To put this in perspective, politicians think it's twice as important to get themselves elected to office as it is to help poor people keep their homes heated.

Some of the experts who make their careers focused on government ethics and reform were struck by the strong public perception of politicians. "We know that politicians are corrupt, because it's our job to know. We didn't expect that the average idiot would know this too," said an anonymous source at the Center for Responsive Politics campaign watchdog group. (Try saying that really fast five times.) "If the cretins in Kansas realize that politicians are corrupt, then it's got to be pretty blatant," he continued.

Added Jan Baran, a Washington lawyer who specializes in ethics rules and campaign finance: "The message to politicians is to get their house in order, whatever house it is... White House, House of Representatives... whatever. Get your shit together."

People questioned in the survey had no trouble reciting the names associated with offenses and inquiries:

-Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, faces money laundering charges.

-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is under a federal investigation for a well-timed stock sale.

-I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI in the outing of a CIA officer -- and she wasn't even gay!

-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., resigned after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for steering government work to defense contractors. His list of excess included money for a Rolls-Royce, antique furniture, two Laser Shot shooting simulators, and "Hookers. Lots and lots of hookers."

DeLay, Frist and Libby have said they have done nothing wrong. But what else would you expect from Washington's finest?

"They're so power hungry they'd do anything to stay in power," said Renee Becher, a 51-year-old homemaker from Dahlonega, Ga. "They've made our country become like Rome, except for the feeding slaves to the lions part."

The survey found that 91 percent of women consider corruption a serious problem, compared with 84 percent of men. This probably means that either women are slightly smarter than men, or they're slightly less corrupt than men.

Democrats were considered more ethical by 36 percent, while 33 percent cited Republicans. That difference is within the poll's 30 percent margin of error. 100 percent said "They're all crooks."

Some 40 percent of women said Democrats were more ethical than Republicans, while 32 percent of men offered a similar view. This indicates that more women than men are Democrats.

The scandals could cost incumbents in next year's election. The low regard for Congress nearly mirrors the numbers recorded in polls conducted in December 1993, several months before the Republican tidal wave that ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House. This time it looks like the Republicans are going to get tossed out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Most Say Torture OK in Rare Cases

WASHINGTON - Most Americans and a majority of people in Britain, France and South Korea say torturing terrorism suspects is justified at least in rare instances, according to AP-Ipsos polling. Nobody is really sure why people in South Korea were asked.

The United States has drawn criticism from human rights groups and many governments, especially in Europe, for its treatment of terror suspects. President Bush and other top officials have said the U.S. does not torture, but some suspects in American custody have alleged they were victims of severe mistreatment.

"They wouldn't let me have my special pink blanket," complained one suspected terrorist. Other criticisms included no MTV, new shoes that weren't sufficiently broken in, that the air conditioning was too cold, and that prisoners were allowed to go for days without having splinters and hangnails properly removed.

The polling, in the United States and eight of its closest allies, found that in Canada, Mexico and Germany people are divided on whether torture is ever justified. Most people in Spain and Italy opposed torture under any circumstances.

"I don't think we should go out and string everybody up by their thumbs until somebody talks. But if there is definitely a good reason to get an answer, we should do whatever it takes," said Billy Adams, a retiree from Tomball, Texas. "Good reasons," he stated, "include garnering information that may prevent future terrorist attacks, revenge, and to alleviate boredom among our troops stationed overseas."

In America, 61 percent of those surveyed agreed torture is justified at least on rare occasions. Just over half in France and Britain, and Almost nine in 10 in South Korea felt that way. But then again, Koreans are more likely to be tortured themselves, so that makes sense.

Accusations of torture, reports of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and claims of shadowy flights carrying terror suspects have further strained U.S. relations with some European countries. Even the Russians, known for their subversive "security" tactics, are giving America a hard time.

Mariella Salvi, who works for a humanitarian organization in Rome, said: "Human beings, as well as their rights, have to be defended, no matter what individuals are suspected of, or charged for... unless they're not Italian. Then, feel free to do what you want, but don't fly through Italy on the way to that super-secret torture chamber."

The disagreements make cooperation on law enforcement and counterterrorism more difficult, said Lee Feinstein of the Council on Foreign Relations, a group of scholars and other specialists in foreign policy. Officials with the European Union and in at least a half-dozen European countries are investigating reports of secret U.S. interrogations in Eastern Europe.

Rice aggressively defended U.S. tactics against terrorism as tough but legal. She has refused to comment publicly on the reports of secret CIA prisons. "Duh," he said, rolling her eyes. "They're SECRET! I can't TELL you about them!"

In the poll, about two-thirds of the people living in Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Spain said they would oppose allowing U.S. officials to secretly interrogate terror suspects in their countries. Almost that many in Britain, France, Germany and Italy said they felt the same way. Almost two-thirds in the United States support such interrogations in the U.S. by their own government. People universally agreed though, that it was okay to interrogate and torture people in other countries.

The Bush administration has taken the position that some terrorism suspects are "enemy combatants" not protected by the Geneva Conventions, international treaties on the rights of prisoners of war. "The Bush administration policy is against torture of any kind; it's prohibited by federal criminal law," said John Yoo, a University of California-Berkeley, law professor. As a Justice Department lawyer, he helped write internal memos in 2002 designed to give the government more leeway in aggressive questioning of terror suspects.

"The debate is whether you can use interrogation methods that are short of torture," he said. "Some who have been critical of the Bush administration have confused torture with cruel, inhumane treatment." He then furrowed his brow and said, "Wait, aren't those the same thing? Who wrote this speech, anyway?!"

The polls of about 1,000 adults in each of the nine countries were conducted between Nov. 15 and Nov. 28. Each poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 30 percentage points.

Friday, December 2, 2005

1,000th Person Executed in U.S. Since 1977

RALEIGH, N.C. - A double murderer who said he didn't want to be known as a number became the 1,000th person executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed 28 years ago.

Kenneth Lee Boyd, who brazenly gunned down his estranged wife and father-in-law 17 years earlier, died at 2:15 a.m. Friday after receiving a lethal injection.

Upon hearing that the execution had been completed, President George W. Bush called South Carolina Governor Mike Easley and congratulated him on achieving this important milestone. Both politicians said they were “looking forward to the next 1000,” an anonymous source quoted them as saying.

In related news, Singapore executed convicted Australian drug smuggler Tuong Van Nguyen by hanging. Vietnamese-born Nguyen, 25, was hanged shortly before dawn. The state of South Carolina and Singaporean officials had tried to coordinate the timings of these momentous occasions, but scheduling conflicts prevented this from occurring.

Instead, officials from the City-Country of Singapore and the state of South Carolina held a joint video press conference to commemorate the executions.

“This is a proud day for the death penalty,” officials from both places were quoted as saying. “America celebrated its 1000th death penalty since re-legalizing it, and Singapore executed a foreigner.”

Death penalty opponents vow to appeal both executions. “We will fight to the death for the resurrection of these two innocent convicted felons,” an Amnesty International representative was quoted as saying.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

French Doctors Perform First Face Transplant

LYON, France - Doctors in France said they had performed the world's first partial face transplant, forging into a risky medical frontier with their operation on a really ugly woman.

The 38-year-old woman, who wants to remain anonymous, had a nose, lips and chin grafted onto her face from a beautiful, but brain-dead donor. The operation, performed Sunday, included a surgeon already famous for transplant breakthroughs, Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard.

"The patient's general condition is excellent and she’s a lot less ugly now. Just a few major scars," said a statement issued Wednesday from the hospital. Dubernard would not discuss the surgery, but confirmed that it involved the nose, lips and chin.

"We still don't know if the patient will get laid," he said. A blind date is planned for Friday.

Scientists in China have performed scalp and ear transplants, but experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant. In 2000,Dubernard did the world's first double forearm transplant, allowing the man to masturbate for the first time since his accident.

The surgery drew both praise and sobering warnings over its potential risks and ethical and psychological ramifications. If successful — something that may not be known for months or even years — the procedure offers hope to ugly people everywhere.

The woman was "so ugly" that it was difficult for others to speak and chew in her presence, according to a joint statement from the hospital in Amiens and another in the southern city of Lyon where Dubernard works.

Such ugliness is "extremely difficult, if not impossible" to repair using normal surgical techniques, the statement said. Critics say the surgery is too risky for something that is not a matter of life or death, as regular organ transplants are, unless the patient is super-duper ugly.

The main worry for both a full face transplant and a partial effort is organ rejection, causing the skin to slough off. “But this chick was so ugly, even that would be an improvement,” the hospital was quoted as saying.

Complications include infections that require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts, perhaps even one or two years later. Drugs to prevent rejection are needed for life and raise the risk of kidney damage and cancer. Complications also include infections that turn the new face black. In order to mitigate this specific risk, doctors generally prefer black patients.

In the United States, the Cleveland Clinic is among those planning to attempt a face transplant. The French surgery "doesn't change our plans," said Cleveland surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow. "We are really looking for the right candidate," which she described as "severely ugly patients" for whom a transplant is the last chance.

The double-forearm recipient, Denis Chatelier from France, said in 2003 that he had regained "normal usage" of his hands and was even able to shave himself, "you know, down there.” His forearms were severed in a model rocket accident.

Doctors from Jinling Hospital in Nanjing, China, reported that in September 2003, they transplanted two ears, part of the scalp and other facial skin from a brain-dead young man to a 72-year-old woman with advanced skin cancer. She now looks like Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

Four months later, there were no signs of rejection or tumor recurrence, but it is not known how the patient fared after that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

TSA to Allow Scissors on Planes. Decision on Rock and Paper Expected Soon.

In a surprise decision, TSA officials have announced that airline passengers will be allowed to carry scissors onto planes, delighting children who travel by air. One TSA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the decision would allow them to focus on more crucial aspects of their job, such as harassing women with under wire bras and military veterans with metal plates in their heads.

Six-year-old Johnny, a frequent airline traveler, was thrilled by today's announcement. "Oh, this is awesome," he was quoted as exclaiming! "Hopefully, TSA will also raise restrictions on rock and paper, so me and my brother Timmy can play one of our favorite airplane games. On a flight last year, we both called 'scissors.' The flight attendant confiscated our fingers, and threatened to kick us off the plane, saying that we smuggled dangerous weapons through airport security."

TSA and airline representatives have refused to comment on Johnny's allegation, citing their policy of silence during an ongoing investigation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Was A PhD Required to Figure This Out?

I read an article today entitled "Longer Needles Needed for Fatter Buttocks." I wonder what rocket scientist first figured this one out? Oh wait, it was probably a medical doctor, and he probably got millions of dollars in funding from the government in order to help reach this stunning conclusion. I don't know what part of this article is worst... the fact that this "study" was needed in the first place, the fact that the government quite possibly funded this "research," or that our illustrious media actually believed this piece of gross common sense was actually newsworthy.

I think I'm going to ask the government to fund my study to determine if hitting your thumb with a hammer causes pain in that thumb. I will need several million dollars for the research, a few thousand hammers, and a few thousand subjects willing to repeatedly strike their thumbs with a blunt instrument. You'll know what my results are when Reuters publishes them on page one.

Monday, November 28, 2005

An Open Letter to my Nephew

I was talking to my brother recently and found out that my nephew is turning into one of those “troubled teens” that you hear about. I know the chances that he’ll read this are minimal, but I feel like I’ve got to say something, so I guess my blog is good as anyplace to give him a piece of my mind. Here goes...

Dude! WTF are you thinking!? You’re only fourteen years old! You’re not old enough to drive, but you seem to think that you’re wise enough to start smoking cigarettes. You’re too young to vote, but you think you’re smart enough to 'know' that smoking pot at such a young age isn’t going to cause you any problems. You think you’re too smart for school, but you’re failing your classes. You think you’re too slick for the cops, but you’re on probation. You surmise you don’t need your dad, so you disrespect and alienate him. You don’t believe that rules apply to you, so you stay out late with your loser friends. I can tell you where you’re headed, but you’re at that age where you think what I say won’t apply to you… because you think you’re smarter than that.

Bullshit! Listen up kid, and listen good. I’m going to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Not only am I going to tell you what you don’t want to hear, but I’m going to tell you so there’s no mistaking what I’m saying. I’m going to tell you this in plain English, so even if you choose not to listen to me, you won’t be able to say ‘Nobody told me' when the shit I’m going to say happens to you. Hey! Pay attention to me boy! I’m over here, not on that damn video game! Get your ears out of that MP3 player and focus on your uncle. Your mom may let you tune her out, but I'm not your mom. Your dad may let you walk away from him, but I’m not playing that game. You’d better lock your nasty little eyeballs on my face. You’d better forget about the skate park, and get your attention on my words. That’s better. The sooner you listen to me, the sooner we’ll be done with this talk. The sooner you start doing what I’m talking about, the less you’ll suffer. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

How do I know what I’m talking about? Well, I’ve done most of the shit you’re doing right now. I smoked for 20 years; for several years I thought that pot was the fifth food group; I was a criminal. I did shit that I won’t talk about here, because your grandma still doesn’t know. I did shit that I won’t talk about here because I might still get into trouble with the law. I know what I’m talking about, because I did the shit you’re doing right now. I know because I saw people around me die – yeah, that’s right, die because they went down the path you’re starting to head down. I know others that went to jail; some of them will never come out. That’s right boy, some of these people I know are serving life sentences. So shut your hole, and open your mind boy, because none of these kids thought bad shit would happen to them either.

You need to quit the cigarettes boy, and you need to quit them now. You may think that you can quit any time you want, but try going more than a few hours without one. You’ll start getting nervous; you’ll start getting cranky; you’ll lose your concentration; before you know it, the only thing you’ll be able to think about is that next smoke. Then you’ll cave, come up with some rationalization about how you made it long enough to make your point… about how you were really stressed… about how you can quit any time you want. You’ll say all of this as you light up, freezing your ass off because you’re smoking outside during the winter, and coughing up chunks of dark brown shit from your lungs, because you’re inhaling cancer. How do I know? Kid, I smoked for 20 years. I’ve quit dozens of times, and I always caved, using the same rationalizations that I just gave you. It took 20 years before I finally quit for good. I'd like to save you that pain.

You need to quit the dope, boy, and you need to quit it now. I’m going to be straight with you, I don’t think that pot’s super bad. In fact, I think that both alcohol and tobacco are worse than pot. But I’ll also tell you this. You’re too young to be smoking the ganja. Your brain is still developing physically, and intellectually. If you start putting that shit into your brain now, your brain will suffer. Not only will your brain suffer, but you’ll live for the next high. You’ll get to the point where you only want to smoke up. You won’t want to go places, you won’t want to do things, and you won’t want to see people… unless they’re your tokin’ buddies. And oh yeah, you’ll want to eat. But you already know that shit, don’t you? Here’s the problem… if you spend all of your time getting high, you’re not learning things… you’re not growing as a person… you get to the point where you think that just getting high is enough, but letting your intellect go unused is uncool.

Get your ass back to school. And don’t just get your ass back to school, get your ass back to school and learn. I sure as hell don’t spend my tax dollars on school so you can skip. I spend my tax dollars on school so you can learn… so you can do a little better for yourself than I did for myself… than your dad did for himself… just like my dad did, and his dad, etc. Do you want to sling burgers for minimum wage and no benefits for the rest of your life? Do you want to live in a one-room shit-hole apartment, driving a vehicle that never runs right, collecting the welfare checks? Because that’s where you’re headed. Shit boy, you’ve got to go to college if you want a snowball’s chance at being anything other than a bum. And the way you’re going won’t get you into college.

I know you’ve already heard this shit before. But you’ve been getting lectures from people that don’t know like I know. They’re spouting shit they’ve read somewhere else. I lived the shit boy. I smoked tobacco for half of my life. Quitting was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I smoked a lot of pot, and wasted a lot of my life. I had the dirtbag friends, all of whom ditched each other when the going got tough. These idiots aren’t your real friends. I, on the other hand, get it. I get the allure of where you’re headed. It’s a lie. I, despite how pissy I sound now, am telling you this because I truly love you, kid.

Now that I’ve said all of this, I want you to know that I’m not going to spend a bunch of time lecturing you from now on. I’ve said my peace. You can go get high now, or you can go smoke your cigarette, or you can go hang out with your dirtbag friends… the ones that’ll ditch you when the shit hits the fan. I’ll be waiting here, for when you want to talk… for when you want to just hang out… for when you’re ready to get your shit together. I’ll be here because I was there, where you are now. I’ll be here because I’m your uncle and I love you. Don’t make me wait too long, okay?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Shower Faucet Repair - Epilogue

I was so pleased with the results of my shower repair that I tackled my kitchen faucet a few days later...

The sprayer in my kitchen sink hasn't worked for over a year. During the last year, I had replaced the sprayer and the sprayer hose; neither replacement fixed the sprayer. I looked into replacing the guts of the kitchen faucet, but decided against it.

Being emboldened by the success of my shower faucet repair, I decided it was time to tackle the kitchen. I bought a new kitchen faucet and just replaced the whole damned assembly. I had it successfully done in about an hour. I got the sprayer working again just in time to use it over Thanksgiving.

Shower Faucet - After

I repeated the process for the cold water handle, except I had everything I needed up front and knew what I was doing, so it only took 20 minutes instead of four days. I also bought a new shower head, and new flanges.

Instead of caulking the flanges on this time, I caulked under the flanges, and let the flanges float. This will prevent the rust you saw at the beginning of the project.

Shower Faucet Cartridge Reassembled

The shower faucet cartridge has yet another new gasket on the end (the first flat one got really chewed up by the old pitted shower faucet seat), and the threads are coated with teflon tape to prevent leaking.

Taped Shower Faucet Seat

The new seat is covered with teflon tape, ready to be re-installed into the shower faucet.

New Shower Faucet Seat

Here's a picture of the new shower faucet seat.

Shower Faucet Seat

This is the shower faucet seat. The surface that made contact with the gasket was pitted from years of corrosion.

Shower Faucet Tool

Day four...

This is the third time I've taken this thing apart. I'm getting pretty good at it now. I'm taking this slow for the following reasons...

-There are no leaks, so other than the fact that the women-folk have to take a shower in the "creepy" shower, there's no reason to rush.

-I want to do it right, but I don't feel like making several special trips to the hardware store. I'd rather drop by on my way to or from work.

-This way the house isn't without water for an extended period of time.

But anyway...
This is the third time I've taken the cartridge out of the shower. I look at the flat gasket and see that it's been chewed up, so I went to the hardware store and bought the tool you see in this picture, so I could remove the shower faucet seat.

Digressing a Bit

This repair work actually took place over the course of four days. I did the preparatory disassembly on Wednesday.

I made my first attempt at repairing on Thursday. The repair stopped the leak, but I could tell by feel that the repair wasn't right. That's what I get for taking Mendards' advice instead of going to a reputable hardware store.

Friday I disassembled things again, and took it to a hardware store. The hardware store guy told me what was wrong the first time (the wrong-shaped gasket), and told me about the seat located inside of the shower assembly. I got the right gasket and found out what to do next if that didn't fix things...

Shower Faucet Cartridge Disassembled

The shower faucet cartridge disassembles even further. I've got no idea why.

My next step was to go to Menards to see if they had a replacement shower cartridge. They didn't. They did, however, recommend that I replace the rubber gasket on the end of the shower faucet cartridge... they gave me the wrong one.

They gave me a cone-shaped gasket, when I needed a flat gasket. After re-assembling everything and testing it out, I found out that the leak was stopped, but the faucet didn't feel right. I stopped work for the night.

Shower Faucet Cartridge

The shower faucet cartridge has been removed from the shower.

No More Chrome

The chrome sleeve came off by hand. The brass internal parts needed to be removed with a wrench.

This should be a no-brainer, but I'm going to say it anyway... turn off the water before you remove this piece.

The piece is referred to as a shower faucet cartridge.

Moving Right Along

After removing the handle and flange, I went to Menards for advice. They recommended that I remove this chrome shaft.


Of course I've got to do the disclaimer...

This series of entries is designed to discuss my experience. I'm not a plumber, and you folks probably don't have the same type of faucet as me. If you try to repair your faucet, you can feel free to use this as a guide, but it's not an instruction manual. If it helps, great. If not, don't come crying to me.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, look at this picture. I removed the flange and the handle.

Amateur Plumbing

Today's entry will chronicle the journey of repairing a leaking shower.

I've got two showers in my house... the downstairs shower that nobody uses because the girls think it's "icky," and the main one. The main shower has had a leaky faucet for about a year or so. You know the type; you can stop the leak, but only if you really crank the handles. I finally got tired of hearing "drip... drip... drip" in the middle of the night. I finally got sick of the puddles in the bathroom. I finally got fed up with the wasted water and decided to do something about it...

On with the adventure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Police Hit Man in Genitals With Taser


The following article was lifted from AP

---Begin Original Article---
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Police accidentally hit a naked man in the genitals with a Taser after he was caught breaking windows and asking women to touch him, authorities said.

Jeremy J. Miljour, 26, tried to run away when sheriff's deputies approached so one of them shot their Taser, said Cpl. Matt Chitwood. But one of the gun's prongs accidentally hit Miljour's genitals and got stuck, Chitwood said.

"The Taser is relatively accurate, but when someone is moving like that, it doesn't matter if you have a Taser, or a pistol. (Officers) can't aim," Chitwood said.

Miljour was treated at a hospital before being taken to the Lee County jail. He was charged with indecent exposure, resisting an officer and criminal damage.
---End Original Article---

I just wanted to use one of the word verification words in a real world context.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Getting out of Iraq?

Yep, it’s time for me to get back on my soapbox about Iraq. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think it was a mistake to go into Iraq. It’s not that I believe taking Saddam out was a mistake; I think we did the right thing there. It’s got very little to do with the whole WMD issue; The fact is, Saddam did everything he could to keep us guessing. While there is reasonable doubt as to whether or not he had a lot of weapons of mass destruction, there should no question that he came across as a despot who possessed chemical and/or nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein not only presented an image of someone who had WMDs, he also proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was capable of using such weapons – against his own countrymen! No, I don’t have a philosophical problem with going into Iraq in and of itself. I think the problem was mainly a matter of timing.

There was never any doubt in my mind that President Bush was using pretenses for going into Iraq. I’ve always been firmly convinced that his reason for going into Iraq was either for personal reasons, or to send a message to the world that we’re not going to tolerate terrorism. Good message, but bad execution. We were already committed in Afghanistan. By going into Iraq, we opened a two-front war, and we proved to the world community that we’re nation-builders. Fighting a two-front war has proven itself a strategic mistake time and again. Forces are spread too thin, and the military is less capable of achieving its objectives. I’m not against nation-building per se, but I am against the idea of forcing our ideology onto sovereign entities.

That said though, we made the decision to go into Iraq. We were told that it would be tough. We were told that it would be expensive. We were told that it would cost human lives. We chose to go anyway. Lo and behold, a couple of years later, we’re acting surprised as we discover that the war in Iraq is difficult, expensive and costing human lives. Well, I hate to tell you this folks, but that’s what happens in war. What you’re experiencing is the logical, forewarned consequence of a choice you made when you authorized the President to declare war against Iraq. So let’s see here, it’s getting a little tough and you want to bail now? What the hell are you thinking? Do you want to make a bad situation worse?

If we leave Iraq, what kind of message are we sending to our enemies – all of our enemies – current, former and future – all enemies – what kind of signal are we sending them? Oh, America’s tough, but only at first. If you can last more than two rounds in the ring with ‘em, you’ll be able to outlast ‘em. They’ll throw in the towel after that. Is that what we want? Because if we leave Iraq now, that’s what we’ll get.

How about the “timetable” idea? Bad. It’s more of the same “get out of Iraq,” just taking a bit longer, and having a slightly tougher face. The only difference is that we’ll show that we’re lasting three rounds instead of two, that we’re telling our enemy our exit plan, and that we’re letting the enemy know how long they need to wait. Again, bad idea.

What I recommend instead is that President Bush tells our country what his end objective is, and gives America quantifiable milestones that must be reached on the way to that objective. This way we know what to expect, and the enemy understands that we’re not leaving a job unfinished. This way we understand that the Bush administration has a coherent plan for winning the war, and the enemy knows that they can’t just wait us out. And no, saying “We want a stable Iraq” is not a sufficient answer. That’s good for the end goal, but we need to see milestones, so we know that the President knows what he’s seeking… so we know what the President’s seeking… and so we know that the military knows what their objective is.

The partisans in Washington have both got it wrong. The “trust us” right has squandered away that trust based on the political missteps of the last year. The “get out now” left is trying to pander to us, in order to get themselves back into power. The real answer is in the middle… we made a bad choice by going into Iraq when we did. Now, we’ve got two options… see things through and minimize the repercussions of our initial bad decision, or turn tail and go home, making a bad decision worse. That’s not my answer. My answer is to achieve the victory we set out to achieve, but make sure that everyone understands and agrees on what “victory” is. Going in when we did was a bad decision. Let’s not compound things by leaving now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Our Business Here is Done

"Our Business Here is Done" is the Seventh and final installment of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

Click Here for Part II

Click Here for Part III

Click Here for Part IV

Click Here for Part V

Click Here for Part VI

Between the excitement of the day, and the ‘entertainment’ of the evening, it took me a while to drift off to sleep. But once I was out, I slept like the dead. The next morning, I was awakened with a startle by my body’s new co-host.

“Wha..?” Then I remembered what had transpired over the last day. “I thought that was a dream.”

“No, that was very real,” my inner voice assured me.

“Hey! I thought we needed to use the salt and vyrioclr for you to be able to communicate,” I observed.

“No. That’s a one-time procedure that aligns our essences. Now we can communicate freely.” In fact, if you don’t want others to hear, you can just will the thought, a voice in my head explained. Wow! That’s COOL! I answered.

“It is, isn’t it,” my voice finished?

“It’s what,” Tammy asked quizzically?

“Well, I found out that my body’s new co-host and I can communicate telepathically.”

“Isn’t that just special,” quipped Tammy’s boyfriend? “Speaking of that, we need to figure out a way that we can tell when you are talking and when it’s talking.”

“Oh, I hadn’t though of that. I guess it had been pretty clear to all of us up to now, eh?”

“How about if I talk like Yoga from Star Battles,” my inner voice offered. The imitation was crappy, but we all got the point.

“Okay,” we all agreed.

The next several months were spent training me in the ways of the intergalactic superhero…

“…You must vipyu before you actually use your superpowers…”

“….Oooooh, that one was particularly flowery. You smell like a lilac bush…”

“… You can’t use the maxazaps setting – whether it’s your fafkmno’s laser, or your power of flatulence, unless your life is directly in danger. If you are not in danger, you must only seek to incapacitate…”

“… So many rules…”

“… So much concentration…”

“… You must hold your pinkie up when you drink a fjdaq…”

“… You need to save civilians in this order. The kuwrty women are first. They get us the most headlines. Children are second. They will tell our story and propagate our legend. Old people are third. They are grateful. Men are last. They should be able to take care of themselves. This one is more of a guideline than an actual rule…”

“… How will I remember it all…”

“… You must maintain focus at all times…”

Before I knew it, I had my first assignment – A local franchise owner required his female employees to wear DQXiers, and it was impacting the cleanliness of the store. I scoped out the establishment; after days of undercover work (Tammy really enjoyed that part of her new job) we were ready to strike. I boldly entered the store when the manager was there, pulled some zyzax out of my utility belt, and cleaned a large film of piieul from the counter.

“Mr. Manager, this must stop. Your women are so uncomfortable in their DQXiers that they can’t perform their jobs. Your establishment is becoming unsanitary, and you are driving away customers. You must renounce your ways of poor fashion sense – for both you and your employees – or you will drive yourself out of business and into madness.” The manager was dumbstruck.

“Wow! You’re right. I had never thought of it like that.” The manager had seen the light. “Ladies,” the manager continued, “effective immediately, you are no longer required to wear your DQXier. In fact, if you’d like to, you may go out to the dumpster and burn them. And oh yeah, who wants to cut my mullet?”

“Allow me,” I offered, pulling out my handy-dandy shears. I belched the scent of pumpkin pie, to put him at ease, and before he knew it his mullet was gone. In its place was a beautiful coiffe, created by yours truly.

“That’s soooo much better,” one of the franchise’s young women cooed.

“I know. Well, Tammy, our business here is done. Zbugi!”

“But wait,” cried the manager, as we stepped into my fafkmno. “I must know who you are.”

“I’m Fashion Avenger Guy. You can call me FAG for short.” I actually felt fwufx inside as I drove away from my first successful endeavor.

Since then, I’ve been known as FAG, and I’ve been dedicated to truth, intergalactic justice, and the fight for great fashion sense. The five gay guys you see on TV? They’re my agents. I know that my tenure in this job will be limited. There have been many FAGs before me, and there will be many FAGs after me. Eventually, I will grow older, start wearing last year’s clothing, and eventually {gasp} start wearing golf clothing, and dress socks with sandals. At that point, the spirit will leave my body, find a new host, and break in a new FAG. But at least I’ll get to keep my fafkmno as part of my retirement package.

Author’s Notes:

I’ve read several books where the author writes a few notes to readers, so I figured I’d do the same. It’s not that I consider myself an author per se, but since I’ve gone to the effort of taking a full week to write something, I guess that gives me some semblance of authorship, and dammit, I’m going to take advantage of it while I’ve got a chance.

First and foremost: This is NOT a serious piece of work. The whole thing was created in response to the nonsensical “words” created by Blogger’s word verification feature. It all started when one of my readers told me that my blog’s word verification called him fuckwagy. I decided to randomly assign it a definition, and from there it took off. I told people that if I got a list of 100 words that I’d write a whole story around the list of words. Thank God I got impatient and wrote the story at 50! Otherwise, I’d quite possibly have been involved in writing a story that I’d actually have to keep track of, and it would have kept me busy for a month. I think a week is plenty of time to devote to a nonsensical non-event.

For the record… I had no idea where this story would go until I started writing it. Okay, that’s not quite true. I knew that it would have to involve some sort of aliens, time travel, or alternate universe in order to incorporate the words. But other than that, I didn’t know what would unfold. On day one of my writing, I sat down and wrote the day’s story from start to finish, and posted it. Throughout the rest of the day, I got a very basic idea of how the next day’s plot would unfold. The next day came, and I wrote that day’s story, start to finish, and posted it. The entire story was written that way. I knew basically what would happen the next day, but that’s it. The story was written around the words that were submitted. Nothing more, nothing less.

I hope you enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope you were as surprised as I was by the events that transpired. Maybe someday down the road we can conspire to write another absurd story.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It’s Not Exactly Flying

"It's Not Exactly Flying" is Part Six of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

Click Here for Part II

Click Here for Part III

Click Here for Part IV

Click Here for Part V

“If you’re going to be a superhero – especially an intergalactic superhero – you need an image,” my voice continued. “And even a superhero needs behind-the-scenes help.” The creature turned my head and looked at Tammy and her boyfriend hopefully. “What do you say, will you help us rid the world of evldnzn and mullets?”

“Okay,” they both said, somewhat reluctantly.

“I’d much rather have been the superhero,” Tammy’s boyfriend lamented.

“Great, now let’s work on the image. Any thoughts,” my voice queried?

“Well, I kind of need to know the extent of my power,” I interjected. “Before we work on the specifics of my image, I need to know what I can and can’t do. Can I fly?”

“Yes, you can use your flatulence to propel you through the air for very short distances, but it’s not exactly flying. It’s more accurate to say that you can slow your fall to an extent where you won’t get hurt.”

“What other powers do I have?”

“You’re familiar with the ozukma. You can also deafen your opponents by loudly channeling your gas. You can nauseate your opponents into submission using particularly pungent gasses, or you can pacify them by generating fragrant odors. Use the anal cavity to employ these powers on a large scale, or orally for a powerfully channeled employment of your powers.”

“So wait a minute, you’re saying my shit doesn’t stink,” I wryly inquired?

“Not if you don’t want it to,” my voice confirmed.

“This is gonna be fun! Since I can’t really fly, I need some sort of transportation. Something cool like the Bratmobile.”

“How about a horse,” my inner voice inquired?

“Well,” Tammy countered, “It’s pretty tough to configure a horse for intergalactic travel. Besides, have you looked at the equteg on those things lately?”

“Yeah, besides, I don’t want to end up bow-legged. Nothing cornier than a bow-legged superhero,” I finished. “How about a fafkmno? I’ve always wanted one of them. Just imagine the awe we'll inspire in our fans, and the terror we’ll instill in our enemies when we zzseiyrn by them, on our way to another fashion emergency! Besides, it’ll be really easy to load it up with all of the qozxras it’ll need for intergalactic travel. If we want to really trick it out, we can drop it a few inches and drive with a really good ianvew. I’ve Uftwnt a dropped fafkmno.”

“That sounds pretty cool,” Tammy and her boyfriend agreed.

“How about a catchphrase,” my inner voice wondered.

Zbugi,” we all said in unison.

I noticed that I was becoming incredibly tired, and started to drift off…

“HEY!” my inner voice screamed. “Can you not everozp? We’re trying to turn you into a superhero, here!”

“Sorry,” I muttered.

“How about a kltbonho as part of your costume,” asked Tammy’s boyfriend? “I’ve always been really fond of kltbonhos,” he finished.

“I don’t think so,” I countered. If I’m going to end up doing any semblance of flying, I don’t need people distracting me from the task at hand by looking up my kltbonho. Besides, isn’t that kind of giving your opponent a peek at your… ummmm… arsenal?” I couldn’t help but grin at my own pun.

“Ohhhhhh. That was just awful,” Tammy and her boyfriend exclaimed, trying to suppress a laugh of their own.

“Look, I’ve had a long day and I’m kind of tired. Can we pick this up tomorrow?”

“Sure,” my inner voice agreed. “Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the rules of engagement, and do a couple of practice drills.”

“Rules of engagement? That may take a while for me to learn. I’ve always been podrmy,” I said hesitantly.

“We’ll worry about that tomorrow,” my inner voice offered. “For now, let’s have a fjdaq and nyhltosv to the end of crappy galactic culture.”

“To the end of crappy galactic culture,” we toasted.

After finishing our fjdaq, we all laid down and started dozing off. At least I was dozing off. Tammy and her boyfriend decided that they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. “Get a room,” I complained.

“You’re in our room,” Tammy rebutted.

Jssllupyo,” I complained. They giggled between kisses, and I pulled the pillow over my head. I wanted to sleep, not listen to their sloppiness.

Drop by tomorrow for the seventh installment.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lick This Salt

"Lick This Salt" is Part Five of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

Click Here for Part II

Click Here for Part III

Click Here for Part IV

“Sorry, you won’t be making the aqvra tonight,” Tammy answered, as we pulled into the parking lot of a run-down motel.

“Let me guess, we’re here.”

“Yes. We’re in room 13, Tammy added.”

“How did I know that? You do realize this is like something out of a cheesy comic book, right?”

“I assure you, this is very real,” Tammy quipped, opening the door to room 13. “Take a seat,” she instructed as she walked through the door. “This won’t hurt a bit, but it’ll feel a little… weird.”

“Oh come on! This is too much. You’re not even using your own lines. That’s like something out of The Maytricks… where Mobius says that to Nemo before they go into the white zone.”

“We do realize that what we’re saying is a little cliché,” Tammy’s boyfriend retorted, losing his patience a little bit. Would you rather we just do what needs to be done, without warning you what’s coming up?”

“Ummm… I guess not.” He did have a good point.

“Now… As I was saying,” Tammy continued. “This isn’t going to hurt, but it will feel strange. I need you to lick this salt, and then we’re going to use the vyrioclr on you. This will put you in a state of semi-consciousness, so that we can communicate with the being.”

I had no sooner gotten the salt to my mouth, than Tammy’s boyfriend had pulled out a handkerchief and put it over my face. I reflexively gasped, and instantly found myself losing awareness of my surroundings.

XXALKK!!” The sound came unbidden from my throat. “What do you want,” continued my voice?

“We demand that you release this man from your evil possession immediately,” demanded Tammy.

Evil!?! I’m not evil,” my voice protested.

“Then why, when you possessed me, did I become so angry, jealous and possessive,” demanded Tammy’s boyfriend.”

Aajshsi!!” My body convulsed.

Blsyi,” Tammy and her boyfriend responded in unison.

“I was allergic to you,” my voice said to Tammy’s boyfriend. “Look, my voice continued. I’m not evil. I don’t possess and take over people’s bodies. In fact, I’m an Iuhnanu. My race strives for peace, love, and intergalactic understanding between the intelligent species of the universe. We achieve this peace through the eradication of crappy social culture. We seek to bring universal harmony by doing things such as eliminating evldnzn, any hair style that uses oeagojel, and the use of gpeivrbs; and by promoting healthy alternatives such as penkgx, boaeismg, and drinking fjdaqs with good friends.”

“Really,” gasped Tammy? “But we had always heard that your species was malevolent!”

“That was just bad publicity by some of our arch-enemies, like the Bad Hair Bandit and Macarena Man. They want to destroy the universe by promoting mullets and line dancing. They’ll do anything they can to destroy us. Fortunately, we can fight back,” my voice continued.

“How,” I asked, a little surprised that I could use my voice in this semi-conscious state?

“I’m glad you asked, my potential host,” my voice carried on. In return for allowing me to co-exist in your body, and assisting in our quest for galactic harmony, I can confer to you certain powers that make you special among your species.”


“Yes, really,” my voice continued. You will have enhanced abilities, based on your bodily functions. For example, you can control the volume and specific scent of your flatulence. You can also eructate in a similar manner, thus giving you the ability to employ multiple ‘weapons’ simultaneously.”

“But aren’t farting and belching in public crappy social culture, and against your doctrine for achieving galactic peace,” I countered?

“Only in the unenlightened societies. In advanced civilizations, people realize that burping, passing gas, urinating, and defecating are merely bodily functions, and are not looked down upon. They do, however, still appreciate a good fart joke.”

“That explains why I destroyed the hospital walls when I took the leak,” I surmised.

“Yes,” my voice continued. “Are you in?”

“Yes,” I surprisingly found myself immediately agreeing.

“I guess we all learned a little something tonight,” Tammy’s boyfriend observed.

Drop by tomorrow for the sixth installment.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Getaway Car is a Pinto

"My Getaway Car is a Pinto" is Part Four of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

Click Here for Part II

Click Here for Part III

I pushed the debris off of me and stood up. Once standing, I looked at the carnage I had created. I was surprised that I wasn’t hurt by all of the rubble that had fallen on me, and by the fact that I was so easily able to push it out of my way. But considering that I had recently destroyed a room by taking a whiz, I was a little less surprised by anything that had transpired in the last couple of minutes.

Just then, the door to my hospital room burst open. I turned around, ready to explain what had happened…

“Come with me,” the voice urgently demanded. It was Tammy.


“You heard me, let’s go,” Tammy commanded.

“Why would I go with you?” This whole thing kept getting weirder and weirder.

“Because if you don’t come with me, the doctors will literally test you to death, but never be able to tell you what’s going on. I, on the other hand, can explain everything. I may even be able to help you.”

“But how…”

“Here, put these on,” she continued, throwing me my clothes, “and hurry, someone will be here any second. After all, you caused quite a ruckus.” I silently obaead her.

In short order, I was dressed, and we managed to get out of my hospital room before anyone had noticed. In retrospect, I’m kind of glad that I wasn’t really sick at that hospital. If it took them several minutes to arrive when I literally brought the room down around me, I wonder how long it would have taken them to respond if it had been something a little less serious – like a heart attack. That’s the last time I go to a county hospital.

Once we were out of my room, we casually strolled out the front door. I continued following Tammy to the parking lot, where she headed toward a run-down Pinto in the back corner of the parking lot. That was when I noticed her boyfriend sitting in the driver’s seat of our… getaway car?

Remembering our last encounter, I was a little uncomfortable about running into Tammy’s boyfriend again, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like fear stop me. “I could always pee on him,” I thought. That’s about the time that I was completely overcome by the sheer lunacy of my situation. I pictured myself as a superhero whose superpower was a superhuman stream of urine. I started laughing. “Maybe I could call myself the Golden Penis,” I thought. Soon, my mental imagery overcame me and I was doubled up in the parking lot, the gffuhz spewing from my belly.

Tammy stood over me, and I was jerked back to reality. I stood back up, still chuckling.

“Get in,” Tammy directed, opening the door. Apparently I was going to sit in the back seat. I hate sitting in the back seat, but considering that Tammy’s a big girl, her boyfriend was driving, and I had no idea where we were going, it was the best option.

“What I’m going to tell you will be a little tough to believe,” Tammy continued once we were all in the Pinto.

“Ummmm…. Let’s see here,” I retorted. “I got knocked out by a wimp, my shattered jaw healed in an hour, I destroyed a hospital room with my urine stream, and my getaway car is a Pinto. Let me guess at what’s next. You’re aliens, and my body has been taken over by some uncontrollable force that’s given me super powers.”

“Exactly,” her boyfriend confirmed, looking over his shoulder from the driver’s seat.


“The force,” Tammy continued, “isn’t really a force per se. The best way to explain it in terms you’ll understand is like a cosmic combination of virus, spirit and parasite.”

“That’s why we’re here on your planet,” Tammy’s boyfriend carried on. “It entered my body a while back, and we came here to either control it or remove it from my body. In order to do this, we need a specific combination of salt and vyrioclr. The problem is, vyrioclr is only found on your planet, and even here, it’s very difficult to obtain.

Soairsa alien in me?”

“Yes,” Tammy confirmed.

“But how did it get from his body to mine,” I inquired?

“Funny story, that.” Tammy’s boyfriend answered. “Before I answer that though, sorry about hitting you.” I rubbed my jaw, remembering that punch.

“That was quite a wallop,” I grudging acknowledged.

“Yeah, that was the parasite. When it entered my body, it made me an incredibly jealous and angry creature. I’m not usually like that,” he finished apologetically. “Anyway, when I punched you, it must have jumped from me to you.”

“Am I going to end up like that?”

“We don’t know,” Tammy answered. “It acts a little bit differently in every host it enters.”

I started feeling a little sick at the prospect, and before I knew it, I had yaqd in the back of the Pinto. “Sorry, about that.”

“That’s okay, this isn’t our car."

"I've Got to tell you two, this is a bad time to have my body invaded. I've got tickets to see the aqvra tonight."

Drop by tomorrow for the fifth installment.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My Fire Hose was a Fire Hose

"My Fire Hose was a Fire Hose" is Part Three of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

Click Here for Part II

The next thing I remember was opening my eyes and looking directly at bright fluorescent lights. I’m smarter than your average bear, but it still took me a second to realize what was what. (They say that tends to happen when you get your ass knocked out… whoever “they” are.) Yep, you guessed it; I was in the hospital.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” I heard an unfamiliar voice say.

“Oh shit,” I thought. It’s never good when you’re lying in a hospital bed and you hear ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ I propped myself up on my elbows, determined to figure out what they were talking about. For someone who was lying in a hospital bed, after just having the crap knocked out of him, I felt surprisingly good – almost J-Mode good. I did a mental scan of my body. No aches, pains, bumps, bruises, scratches… nothing. “Never seen anything like what,” I queried as I sat up? The others in the room, apparently startled a bit by my unexpected interjection into their conversation, jumped a bit and turned to face me.

“Hello. I’m Dr. Jasper, and this is my colleague, Dr. Whitfield.” We were just discussing you as a matter of fact. How’s your jaw feeling?”

“Fine, why do you ask?” That’s when I remembered what happened at the pub. “How long have I been out?”

“You’ve been here for an hour or so. That’s part of what we were talking about. When you arrived, you had a concussion and your jaw was shattered. But by the time we had started wiring your jaw shut, it had zmoau started healing itself, right in front of our eyes. Within fifteen minutes, it had completely healed… and I mean completely. Your X-Rays look as if your jaw had never been broken. Your concussion is healed too.”

“So I’m healthy? In good shape?”

“We’d like to run some more tests on you, just to make sure.”

“But you just said there’s nothing wrong." Doctors are such bystrdos.

“Yes, but we’d like to make sure. And I’ll admit, we’re also a bit curious as to how you healed so quickly.”

I got up and started dressing. “Nope. I’m not your lab rat. Let’s just chalk this one up to a freak incident.”


“Thanks, but no,” I insisted as I headed for the bathroom.

Once I was in the can, I realized that I had to go. Of course, as soon as my ass hit the porcelain, I realized there wasn’t enough puapp. Damn, I hate when that happens.

“Ummmm…. Doc?”


“Could you get me some more puapp?”

“Will you let us run a few more tests?”

“No, but if you don’t get me some more puapp, I’ll be forced to use my hospital gown, the towels in here, and if it’s bad enough, maybe even the shower curtain, to wipe my ass. We don’t want that, do we?”

“No, I guess not.”

“Thanks,” I said, as I relaxed my muscles. “Oh, doc?”


“Could you bring me some of the good puapp? The stuff that makes you TPRubPrr?”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

This is where it starts to get really strange. Now, you know how it is when you sit down to take a crap, right? You usually end up taking a leak at the same time. Well, this time was no exception. I felt the urge to ease the pressure in the bladder and the bowels. I must have really had to go, because when I cut loose, it was like an ozukma; and no, I’m not speaking figuratively. My fire hose was a fire hose. I actually shattered the toilet bowl with the pressure, which of course caused me to fall on the floor. (After all, I was sitting on it at the time.) Naturally, I was caught completely off guard, which is how I ended up peeing on the ceiling and walls, causing them to crash in all around me. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. Here I am, lying on the floor, in a puddle of toilet water, watching the ceiling and walls collapse around me… all because I took a leak. And I’m so freaked out by this whole experience that my ozukma is still spraying out of control, causing still more damage to my hospital room. Finally, I gathered my wits, stopped the ozukma stream, and laughed at the utter absurdity of what I had just experienced… and caused. I can only imagine the damage I could have caused if I had gotten around to letting the torpedoes drop. I changed my mind and decided to let the doctors run a few tests after all.

Drop by tomorrow for the fourth installment.

Friday, November 11, 2005

She Was Running Commando

"She Was Running Commando" is Part Two of an Interactive Serial Novel, inspired by the word verification feature of blogger. The story is centered around "words" that were created by the word verification feature of blogger, but defined and submitted by readers of this blog. You may want to refer to the dictionary from time to time as you read this story.

Click Here for Part I

I did a double-take. “What,” I asked!? I hope I didn’t betray the fact that I was surprised she actually had a boyfriend.

“That’s him, coming in the door now.”

When I saw him, I instantly understood how they could be an item. The guy was a little too tall, had greasy, messy black hair, and was waaaaay too skinny to be healthy. When I mentally pictured them together, I saw the proverbial thin man and fat woman from those circus sideshows. Tammy grew a little pale as her ostrich of a boyfriend came emuobn across the room.

“What’s the matter,” I inquired?

“My boyfriend is kind of jealous, and tends to get mad when he sees me talking to other guys.”

“What a zpwud,” I retorted. “Why don’t you just tell him the truth? Tell him that nothing’s going on, that we’re not flirting, and that we’re just talking. Let him know the main reason we started talking in the first place is because your friend was interested in my friend.”

“Well, he’s usually pretty jealous when I talk to guys, regardless of why I’m talking to them.”

“Don’t worry,” I replied with a grin “I won’t hurt him.”

“It’s not him that I’m worried about,” she grimly responded.

I was a little taken back by that last statement, but determined not to let my discomfort show. “Who was she worried for,” I wondered, “Her, or me.” There wasn’t really time to ponder the question though, because the ostrich arrived at our table seconds later. Each of us spent a fraction of a second sizing the other up. I certainly wasn’t intimidated. There was only one word that could adequately describe the guy… wimp! After sizing him up, I surmised that she was worried about a fight after she got home, or something like that. One thing surprised me though. I’d assumed that he’d be a little intimidated by me. But if he was, he certainly didn’t let the pressure show.

“Hi honey, this is…” That was when we both realized that she didn’t know my name. I learned hers, but had never gotten around to giving her my name. I extended my hand and opened my mouth to introduce myself, and it happened. I saw the wimp’s face twitch ever-so-slightly, my sixth sense screamed DNGRXX, and his fist slammed into my head with the force of a brick. That punch came out of nowhere! Just as I registered the blood trickling from the corner of my mouth like ptygoo, and readied myself to kick this guy’s ass, the next blow came. I didn’t even see it, but I sure heard the wasuoof. As the thvkn ran off with my consciousness and the blackness closed in, the last thing I saw as I looked up from the floor was the dremu, decked out in her dalpkj. During my last instant of consciousness, I saw that she was running commando, and I was content. What can I say? I’m a guy, I notice these things.

Drop by tomorrow for the third installment.