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2002oct01. You are buying original comic artwork from the original artists! You are using Comic Art Collective because all the money goes to the artist! Those people over at C.A.C., they’re nuts. Their pain is your gain!

2002oct08. Exchange emails through handshake. Think of the pastabilities! With this amazing technology, you can get a computer virus and a real virus at the same time! I’m still waiting for the robot to climb up the damned stairs and give me my beer.

2002oct09. Mail.

My 5th grade son Ryan [last name] would like to work for your company playing or rating games. If you have anything available please let me know. Thank You.
Sandra [last name]
[phone]

2002oct09. Mail.

I’m sorry you feel so bigoted about Ad men [see here] and flossy pork, which just sounds daft in the translation. I have a tin on my desk here and it’s so good I’m going to re-brand it and import it!

Bigoted? Just like an ad-man – god, scrape up some money between all of you and get a dictionary. As far as flossy pork goes (and it can) ... It’s a race to the poorhouse! I think you will win, ad-man. I don’t have a job, but you’re putting out sweet sweet money for PORK FLOSS. There’s your gimmick, eh? Portion-controlled piggies that clean your teeth! Good luck.

2002oct09. That nonsense with Willow returning to her super puppy-dog eyes personality after becoming HELL WITCH is just too much. She should at least have a little aggro spark in there somewhere, not this “whiney” Willow stuff (her own words). I’m not talking about an “evil” spark, it just seems like she should be like “you know, I almost destroyed the world, I bet I could pick up a phone AND FIGURE THE FUCK OUT WHY MY FRIENDS DIDN'T PICK ME UP AT THE AIRPORT ROARARRRRRR DESTROY EARTH”

I mean, except for that last part.

2002oct09. Here is a “fun puzzle” for Bay Area commuters. Why are there regular Blackhawk helicopter patrols running up and down US-101 several times a day? Six in the morning, 7:30pm at night, you name it, for the last week or so? They’re at about three hundred feet, it totally blows the camouflage. Fleet Week? The coast is thirteen miles thataway, boys.

2002oct09. Another exciting puzzle. This is the second time it’s come up in the last year, and I go off on a google jag for an hour and never find it. There is an oft-used musical piece, an orchestral string-plucking happy tune, very bouncey, that sounds a lot like the original music composed for the “Land of Chocolate” sequence on the Simpsons, but is not. It also may have been used in the Ren & Stimpy double-episode Stimpy’s Big Day/The Big Shot and/or other episode(s). It is not Hugo Winterhalter’s “Vanessa” but sort of sounds like that as well. Any help would be appreciated.

2002oct10. Mail.

Is it “Holiday for Strings?"
Destiny-land

Well, it –

Here’s my guess as to the mystery music you’re asking about ...

“Holiday For Strings"?

I’ve attached a version by The Voices Of Walter Schumann, whoever they may be ... more info on the particulars in the mp3 tags.

Usually when I boast about “the voices” I’m asked to up my dosage.
– Scott M.

Okay. Originally this request was made by someone who was looking for a pizzicato instrumental musical composition that was used extensively in commercials. I believe this is the same song that is used in “Stimpy’s Big Day” during the make-up sequence (the commercial VHS tape features practically no musical credits at the end). This does not sound like “Holiday for Strings” (available here). There are variants of “Holiday for Strings,” perhaps it’s actually one of these (Spike Jones?). It is not the Voices of Walter Schumann version, that’s got the creepy choir singing along with practically the entire song (“doo doo, dooOOOoooodahhh” brrrrrr). There are a lot of these speeded-up plucky string instrumentals, and it seems that the success of “Holiday for Strings” is the reason (read the note at the url above).

2002oct10. Mail.

Is it Happy Go Lively by Laurie Johnson – the happiest song in the world?
misterpants

Yes, Mr. Pants! For more information/verification, see here, and there, and way over that way. So much for my googlin’ prowess. And thanks to everyone who wrote in!

2002oct11. Bowlingual (news story here, Japanese-only home page here) is a small electronic device that will translate your dog’s “feelings” into Japanese phrases, which is great if you speak Japanese. My Japanese is pretty poor, but by slowly, methodically “lying” I was able to translate some of the standard “feelings” which appear to the right. [via misterpants]

2002oct12. I was following a Subaru in my car earlier today and there was a large Husky in the back. We stopped at a light, then the light turned green, and the Subaru hit the gas and the Husky’s ass was pressed against the back window for a few seconds. Well, that’s my funny story for today. I need to go outside and tell the ice cream man I would like to hear “Turkey in the Straw” a few million more times before I turn in. I will tell him this with a magical speaking brick.

2002oct14. I AM BOILERPLATE ... I WILL EAT YOU ... I love the internet.

2002oct14. A friend writes ...

In the context of bowling, what is a “bungee” or “bungee frame"?

I am seeing references via google that seem to indicate that it is equivalent to “bumper bowling.” If anyone can shore this up or set me straight, please do.

2002oct15. Mail.

Regarding your fun puzzle ... there have been exercises at the Concord Naval Weapons Station for a couple weeks or so. Imagine my initial surprise at seeing a US Marine in full battle gear standing guard at the corner of Willow Pass and Olivera road ... .but that’s what it was i guess.

Ah. Port Chicago. I still fail to understand “let’s pretend we’re driving down US101 at 300 feet” aspect of their commute. I’d yell up to them, but the noise makes me want to run in a closet and hide.

2002oct16. Hooray! The tenth telemarketing call from my robot buddy Michael Seever in as many weeks. The phone number’s changed, though, it’s 1 800 634 5018 now, just in case you wanted to give them your checking account number. Strange behavior for a “non-profit.” Wow, they have a lot of names. Coincidentally, my barber bent my ear off the other day about the incredible amount of telemarketers trying to weasel their way into his wallet, asking for his SSN, checking account number, etc. I guess I should be happy with just Mr. Seever’s pre-recorded company. Unfortunately they’re in Florida, too far to drive for me. Somebody go work for them and scramble their phone number DB. Thanks.

2002oct17. The I Don’t Like Hard Things in Soft Things Manifesto.

I have a series of stringent rules involving the material composition of cakes, candies, and other dessert items. In the past, I have relied on a general rule, “No Hard Things In Soft Things,” but it has come to my attention that there are exceptions. In an effort to quell public fear of the unknown, I am sharing the list with you, my friends. There are swear words in the manifesto, because of how important this is.

1) No Nuts In Cake.
This is a simple rule, and is unbreakable. There is no present need for nuts in cake, and the taste sensation of biting into something hard while enjoying the smoothness of something velvety soft is something that everyone should be able to avoid with a minimum of fuss and outrage. There are cakes that have whole nuts in them, cakes that have broken nuts in them, and cakes that have ground nuts in them. These are all illegal cakes.

2) No Nuts On Cake.
Again, the stress-resistance between the cake and the nuts is too great. There also is nothing visually pleasing about thinly-sliced almonds, for example; it appears as if someone has gone and dumped a crate of Lee Press-On Nails onto the top of the otherwise delicious confection. The usual configuration of nuts on cake consists of a thin layer of chopped nuts slathered on the side of the cake so it looks like gravel. This is easily scraped off onto the closest wall or dog.

3) No Nuts On Pie.
I don’t see this that much, but when I do, I take pause, gather my strength, and remove the offending nuts in question. Why, I ask an uncaring world. Why does everything have to have the goddamn nuts on?

4) No Nuts In Pie.
Unlike nuts in cake, nuts in pie present a more complex dilemma. It is almost possible to remove all of the nuts in question in the first two categories of nuts-in-cake – the whole nuts, and the semi-nuts. But with pie, it is a different story. It’s just not worth the effort. If there are nuts hiding in pie, you can bet I'll be somewhere else and I will leave no forwarding address for the odd pie chock full o’ nuts.

5) No Nuts In Brownies.
I cannot even begin to enumerate the experiences I’ve had encountering nuts in brownies. These are the nut-infested brownies that escape careful and prolonged visual inspection, usually with a layer of clear fluorescent-lit glass between my eyeballs and the object in question. I will always always follow up my examination with a question posed to the confectioner: “Are there nuts in the brownies?” I don’t know why I bother, invariably the answer is “no” and invariably I’ve just purchased a fucking nut brownie. Now I’m starting to understand why people freak out over trivial things – what you’re seeing is a lifetime of disappointment and frustration finally breaking free and taking majestic flight.

6) No Nuts In Ice Cream.
The ultimate soft confection, marred forevermore by the presence of nuts. It will not happen on my watch. It will not happen. Being resourceful, I can dig around the nuts like an inverse treasure hunt (“Rrrrrrrrra, seitam!”) and be somewhat satisfied.

7) Nuts On Ice Cream – Okay, with restrictions.
Here I am thinking of those nutty-buddy cones, with the sprinkling of ground cashews on top. Combined with the hard chocolate coating, the nuts please me. While on this topic, it seems important to mention that hard ice cream cones are okay. The ability to eat a food’s own container trumps the hard-vs-soft problem by about fifty times.

I am still developing this list. There seems to be an infinite amount of foodstuffs to which one can add nuts. Finally, let’s wrap this up with a conversation I had with my mother about a year ago:

Mom: And I made a cake for your birthday!
Me: Wow! Thanks! What kind is it?
Mom: It’s a carrot cake with white icing, and it’s got nuts in it.
Me: Great!
Mom: What?
Me: No! That’s good!
Mom: You’re the one who doesn’t like nuts.
Next week: Have you seen my “cell phone hammer"?

2002oct17. Mail.

Adding nuts to soft confections is just one of an entire class of nonsteroidal additive methods which extend (or “juice”) foodstuffs to increase the number of available servings. This practice that dates back several centuries, and the ebb and flow of its application parallels that of history’s leaner times (e.g. the Black Death, the Great Depression, the WB network). Other (un)popular additives are dried fruits, citrus rind, coconut, and common tubers. Even in times of great bounty, these “juiced” foods seem to remain a favorite with public school students, hospital patients, and military personnel – with the exception of the soufflé, the contents of which transcend disappointment.

2002oct17. More nut mail.

In Bolivia you can get cherimoya ice cream, which contains the (inedible) seeds of the fruit. Taking a bite of ice cream and then having to spit foreign objects onto the sidewalk is about as wrong as you can get.

-- Defective Yeti

Bolivia: Bring strainer. Check.

Nuts to Nuts

I personally have never understood the need to put nuts in any food whatsoever. I'll leave the dessert forum to you, but personally, my general rule is “No nuts, no how.”

I can’t count the number of otherwise fantastic meals (especially around the holidays) when I’ve sat down to what I thought was going to be a great serving of stuffing only to find that there were almond slivers mixed in there. (At this point it should probably be known that I think almond slivers are satan’s minions.)

Cereal is another food that seems to have been invaded by nuts. Wheat flakes, bits of fruit and almond slivers or walnut clusters or pecan chunks. Cereal should eventually end up slightly soggy in your milk. It should not end up as a bi-level conglomeration of slightly soggy stuff on top with hard nuts underneath. Fortunately, these types of cereals tend to be on the top shelves at your grocery store. So, if you’re like me, your eyes need never see these offenses to nature if they never rise above the level of the Cocoa Puffs.

I suspect the Chinese are at least in part responsible for this epidemic. They seem to thrive on adding peanuts and cashews to everything. Fortunately, peanuts and cashews are easy to pick out, it’s those damn almond slivers that ruin a dish completely. (I will also admit that I do usually eat the cashews. Of course, I eat them separately and apart from whatever dish they came hidden in.)

Lest people think I am just a big ‘hater of nuts', let me say that it is untrue. There’s nothing better than a handful of salted cashews while sitting around the table playing cards. Honey roasted peanuts are a marvelous treat. And how many fond memories do I have of breaking open hard shells with a silvered nutcracker, while watching football in Grandpa’s living room.

It’s just that nuts are not a embellishment to anything else. They are a self-standing snack and should be left that way. It is not an advantage or plus to any dish to have to stop and chew up a hard, hidden intruder, when all you wanted was a forkfull of stuffing slathered in gravy.

5cott

Yes, I forgot to mention that I am “pro-isolated nut” as well – I am extremely fond of pistachios, cashews, and pistachios. Okay, I don’t like that many nuts, but I am not a nut bigot. What are those oily nuts? Walnuts? The ones that look like brains? Those can die, though.

Either you need to make an exception for pecan pie or face armed rebellion. Maybe if the pastry is over, oh, 75% nuts – wherein nuts are an actual ingredient instead of just filler – then nuts are allowed. Because I am willing to kill you over pecan pie. – Greg

Well, well. It’s the pro-nut “army.” Let’s do a quick headcount ... I see our four-strong anti-nut force has you overwhelmed, Greg. You want to rumble over nut-violated dessert? Bring it on, pie boy.

2002oct17. Nut mail III.

Even if the ice cream particulates/toppings start out soft, they are soon frozen by the ice cream, making them dangerously HARD! Like Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey pints. There should be a note on the lid that says “Think this through: It sounds delicious, but the bananas aren’t soft. They are fronanas now. They will crack your teeth.” Same goes for chocolate chip cookie dough (chocolate chip cookie fro).

-- Holly

I’ve never had the Chunky Monkey Parts, probably because I’m not a big fan of frozen bananas. However, the frozen dough, and the frozen little chocolate/peanut butter cups? Those, I'll dig around, isolate, then eat. A frozen nut though – it’s already pretty tasteless, and if it’s frozen, it’s not going to melt/thaw in your mouth as the dough and the cup will. Also, the tooth crack text is a good idea – America loves disclaimers. Caution: This oven is hot when you’re using it, Do not use this toaster in a swimming pool, This truck will not make your penis bigger, Don’t jump out of this window, etc. [Special to “Greg” five to one]

2002oct18. Dan Raeburn’s Imp #4 (“Historietas Perversas Mexicos Addictive Comics”) is now out. Mexican pulp comics. I haven’t seen it. It’s twenty bucks, which means quality/quantity! Yep. Email address info here.

2002oct18. I went to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area station to bomb around the Sutro Bath ruins for the millionth time and use the facilities – I then noticed that the Musée Mécanique was still open. What the? So I went in and got the 411, or, as you kids say nowadays, the “info.” It’s open on a “day-to-day” basis, they’re still pushing permits around and building up a wall. It could close any day, and then it would take about four to five weeks to open at their new location on Fisherman’s Wharf. They’re hoping to roll before Halloween, because that’s the start of the rainy season and it’s going to make moving an even bigger hassle. The owner is paying double rent right now, on the old place and the new – go on over there and drop a few quarters in the great old machines to help ’em out if you have the time. Also, in the bathroom, there was a kid sticking his entire head into the urinal as far as one could without actually touching anything, which was free of charge for both him and me. Then when I went into the stall, he stood right outside the door for awhile, facing the crack between the door and the partition. “Go back to the urinal, kid.”

2002oct18. Nut mail IV.

Dude:

I have no wish to impede your anti-nut movement. Already, your membership and the raw brainpower behind it are daunting. But I would ask you to reconsider the use of nuts in non-dessert food items. Chicken w/ cashews? The ground peanuts in the dipping sauce of a Vietnamese spring roll? The many uses of the pine-nut in Italian dishes? Perhaps these stray from your original “no hard things in soft things” doctorine, as my examples are more in the spirit of “nuts as a component item of a recipe,” which, maybe, is fine with you. Maybe you can clarify, if the horse isn’t dead yet. If it is, well, save us from becoming a third rate Chowhound. Please.

-- MrBrent

ANTI-NUT FORCES MASS AROUND BORDER OF MRBRENT

To clarify: exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, but are rare. The Vietnamese dipping sauce I am familiar with is pretty much liquid peanuts, I don’t recall this ground peanut sauce. East coast thing? Ground peanuts remind me of the ground nuts applied to the side of cakes (see Manifesto bullet point #2) – it’s as if the cook wants to “sneak nuts by” the patron by changing the physical composition of said nuts. That theoretical cook can go to hell. Pine-nuts in Italian dishes are little collectible tears arranged at the side of my plate after I’ve eaten.

2002oct18. Nut Mail V.

Just read your bits about putting hard things into soft things. (Which reminds me of another Web site I saw once ... ) I make a lot of zucchini bread during the summer, since my garden produces lots of that squash (whose doesn’t). I like to include chopped walnuts in the bread. I noticed you didn’t address the subject of hard things in bread. Was this on purpose, or an oversight? My coworkers, neighbors, and family all like my zucchini bread. A lot. Except for this one guy at work, Tito, who can’t eat my bread on account of an allergy.

-- Mike

The manifesto was designed to give people a “general idea” of what is wrong with hard things in soft things. If I addressed every foodstuff, and every addition to every foodstuff, it would become lengthy, tedious and wh-- CHOPPED WALNUTS IN BREAD? You will be our first P.O.W.

2002oct21. Dr. Berk and I finally got around to playing Dance Dance Revolution even though we’re long past our clubbing days. It was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be, and it’s quite a workout. We played the “wimp” level horrendously the first two times, but triumphed on our third and final attempt. There were no broken bones, nor ambulances. (DDR articles here, great headline, videos).

2002oct23. Mimi Smartypants: National Treasure.

And then we had dinner, and then we invented a really dangerous appliance [ ... ]: a deep-fat fryer for your car that plugs into the cigarette lighter. So you could drive to work and make onion rings at the same time. Except that your car would always stink of oil and then inevitably you would get in a fender-bender that would have resulted in minor whiplash at the very most, but now instead you have third-degree burns all over your thighs. Boy would that get recalled fast! Boy howdy!

2002oct23. Nut Mail VI.

Once at a wedding reception I was introduced to a dessert named Chess Pie. It is basically Pecan Pie with NO pecans in it. (i.e. It is good.) It was created by scientists to do battle with pecan pie on the streets of Tokyo.

--- Whygodwhy

This is how all nut-violated dessert should be. You would buy pistachio nut ice cream, and there would be a big burst on the package that said “CONTAINS NO NUTS” and also “PRODUCED IN A FACILITY THAT DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT A NUT IS.”

Dear Mr. Whiney McWhinerton (aka Lookit Me – I’ve Got Wacky Food Hangups – Check out how WEIRD I am!), What do you care if a cook wants to sneak in nuts or not? This isn’t some big conspiracy to “freak you out.” It’s not all about YOU, ya know. and – it’s not an east coast thing - the peanuts in the peanut sauce, we have it here in Oregon too, where we LOVE hard things in soft things ...

xoxo
tasteecakes

Thanks for the “head’s up,” Tastee. I will avoid Oregon in the future!

2002oct23. From AskMen.com ... How To Be: Funny.

What always gets a rise out of the ladies is trying to sell things to strangers on the street, like selling your wallet to an old lady.
That bit kills. “Excuse me, you senile, doddering old biddie – I would like to sell you my umbrella.” What woman could hold onto her pants after that delicious zinger?
Her: Do you know why we are in bed right now?
Him: I do not know why.
Her: It was because of the umbrella bit. The old woman, she was a stranger. And you tried to sell her something.
Him: Ah.
[SFX: Sex]

2002oct25. Interview with Andrew Hyde, eliminated last week on The Amazing Race. [creation of TAR series]

2002oct25. MOLAS!

2002oct27. Adam Sandler’s character in Punch Drunk Love apparently buys tons of pudding cups to get a million frequent flyer miles for pennies on the dollar. This actually happened (also here; photos here).

2002oct28. I think I’m going to be sick. Annie’s Mild Mexican Shells is the way to go, it totally blows the doors off all other macaroni and cheese products. All of them. This reminds me of a cheese-substitute macaroni and cheese product called Chreese that is mixed especially for you by satan ... I get ill just rolling the ole’ shopping cart by the Chreese display. [via scrubbles]

2002oct30. Always, always, always tap into parent’s fears. Good for your cause. Oh, and you paid for this ad.

The drug czar’s latest commercial, which was actually focus-grouped with teens and their parents, shows two teens getting stoned in their father’s study, talking apathetically about a bunch of stuff. One pulls out a gun from his dad’s drawer, the other asks lazily if it’s loaded, and the gun-toting teen shrugs and shoots the other kid.

2002oct31. "I don’t care about the French children. All I know is that American children must become lard rats. Roly-poly lard rats.” [via metafilter]