23 January 2007

Fun with telemarketers

Wish I'd thought of this.

(Not entirely safe for work.)

15 January 2007

Wheezing Fred is having a baby!

Well, to be precise, Mrs. Fred is having the baby, and while Fred did some of the preliminary work, it is rather unfair of him to claim all the credit when the difficult 99.99% of the manufactury process is left for his wife.

This is not to say that that men couldn’t make a baby, especially if we were allowed to use Bondo, power tools, duct tape and plenty of beer was involved. But let’s face it, we’d probably end up with some freakish looking monstrosity and we get enough of those when politicians breed (N.b. Dear reader, Should you happen to be a Massachusetts Senator please don’t sue me, you can blame this one on heavy metals in the Cape Cod water supply.)

No matter. “Congrats!” I say enthusiastically as this is a perfect excuse to drink his whiskey. I am free this weekend as Gretchen and the louts are at Cape Kennedy, where no doubt the louts are attempting to steal solid fuel boosters for the car that they foolishly think I will let them buy when they are in the increasingly unlikely event that they live to be 16 years old.

Fred had a far better idea. We should go to work and drink the boss’ whiskey.

An hour or so later we sat in basking in the happy glow that can only be achieved with top-notch booze that has been paid for by someone else. My feet up on the boss’s desk, I batted lazily at his chaos machine while Fred examined his Crooke’s radiometer.

“I’ve often wondered,” Fred speculated, “whether one could get the vanes of such a light mill to spin in a microwave oven.”

“Well it’s a thermal effect, isn’t it?” I replied. “A microwave photon shouldn’t care about the presence of the black paint. The painted vane would react in the same fashion as the unpainted. No spin.”

“Well, that would be true for a monopole type point-source, but as you know, the emission in a microwave is directional. If we are careful about placing radiometer, it should respond not unlike a turbine.”

We made some crude calculations on the white board, but some questions simply must be resolved experimentally.

Now, it should be noted that Fred and I are both highly trained scientists. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

Try this at work, where the ensuing damage can be blamed on the cleaning staff.

We first had to disable the turntable and when the microwaves were emitted, the vanes spun wildly. For a second or two.

Then they became incandescent. Really, really incandescent.

“Gah, I’m F-ing blind!” Fred wailed. “What should we do?”

“Well, it’s said that whiskey helps!” I suggested.

“That’s for snake bite!” Fred replied disdainfully.

He’s right you know. So I bit him and back we went to the whiskey.

Long story short, our vision eventually returned; if double for a period. We’re getting a new microwave at work and the cleaning staff are getting a stern talking-to. Gretchen and the louts returned with some suspicious looking long tubes that will cause Houston some problems if they don’t notice them missing before the next shuttle launch.

Damned good weekend, all told.

28 December 2006

Well, then.

No posts for two months. That should prove: 1). I am adhering to the plea agreement, and 2). The new firewall at work effectively blocks any Blogspot site.

Not that I feel there is anything wrong with this. A successful company really can’t have its employees spending half of the day porn surfing, now can it?

Anyway, I was told this by an indignant Über Manager from the Mother-ship (Corporate HQ). He went on to inform me that my computer had been used to access a porn site during business hours.

Well it had, but it was a simple mistake. You see, I was looking for Allied Electronics’ web site and accidentally transposed a couple of letters. Next thing I was at “Huge-Titties.com”. It could have happened to anyone.

“But you were there for four hours!” Sniffed the corporate Nabob.

“Well, yeah. I didn’t notice at first. First there was the unfortunate misspelling of ‘Circuit Broad’, which seemed to fixate the silly machine on electrical dominatricies. I thought the computer had a virus. Then I searched for ‘Industrial Transformer’ and was shown something no one should ever have to see. ‘Robots, well something in disguise’. Definitely not the sort of thing one would feel comfortable attaching wires to. It was then that I realized that I was at the wrong website.”

The return sniff was less assured. It was time to go on the offensive. “Besides, it’s not like I spent the entire week viewing ‘Mary-Kate and Ashley’ porn like Irish Bob!”

It’s true. They make me Bilious. For years they’ve been these sweet kids and the minute the turned street legal transformed themselves into tarted up ho-wannabes. For God’s sake they look like two Kowloon prostitutes* that have spent the afternoon mud wrestling on Tammy Faye Baker’s face. Not sexy at all, especially when your mental image of them is as little kids. Irish Bob should be arrested.

Now, don't get me wrong about Tammy Faye Baker. I’m not knocking her. She represents over 40% of the US strategic cosmetics reserve. If we are ever forced to go to war with France, she alone will insure that all those Goth kids are happily supplied with all the cosmetics they need.

Well, less unhappy then. Happy that they can express their crushing despondency through the medium of pancake base and eyeliner.

* I was once propositioned by two Kowloon prostitutes. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so they both looked about twelve. “No way!” I said. “You’re both way too young. Now your older sister over there…”

“That’s Cheng, our Pimp. He’s not our sister!” They replied, laughing hysterically.

“Really?” I squinted at him. “My mistake. From a distance it looks like he’s got a nice pair of Allied Electronics, you know.”

19 October 2006

They Booted My Car!


This isn’t the same type of car boot that you ultraviolent Brits are so fond of stuffing dead bodies into, this is a car immobilizer. And just because I had a few dozen unpaid parking tickets!

Bastards! Arse-fiddling bum-monkeys! Vile Meter-Nazi Scum!

In retrospect, I guess those home-made diplomatic plates were not such a good idea. But $450 to get the damn boot off? That’s highway robbery!

After all, I can buy a plasma cutter for less.

Sadly, the manufacturers of the car immobilizer have thought of this too and I couldn’t very well go home with a $450 ticket and a brand new plasma cutter.

Hmmm. I took a good look at the car boot rod that went through the tyre. Turns out it wasn’t a rod that went through at all...just a hook that grabbed the inside of the rim. By prying the top plate back and holding it open with my big toe, I was just able to get the cutting torch inside the car. I could cut off the lug bolts! I’ld pop the booted wheel off, borrow one lug bolt from each other wheel, pop on the spare, then drive off, leaving the booted wheel for the perplexed and none-too-bright Meter-Nazi.

Egad, I’m brilliant!

Now, you’ld think that the sight of a fat man alternately cackling and cursing (when the sparks burned my toe) whilst cutting off a car boot with a plasma torch would garner some attention, and normally you’ld be right. But this is central Pennsyltucky and we are used to such sights.


I completed the rest of the tasks and hopped into the car only to find to my horror that the Meter-Nazis had disabled the ignition!

And changed the colour of my upholstery!

And left a bunch of tacky beanie babies in the rear window!

Erm, that’s right, I drove the truck today.

Sorry, Judith Wheaton, whomever you are.

18 October 2006

Support the Venetian Blind

It all started with me sleeping on the couch for some trifling domestic infraction like making disparaging comments about George Clooney’s masculinity or comparing Gretchen’s posterior with that of a Wildebeest.

Sleeping on the couch is really not such a bad thing since the couch is more comfortable than the bed, and it is in close proximity to both the TV and the beer-miester.

The down side is of course cat related. In the living room, one is regaled nightly with the sounds of furball manufactury, cat box depositions (it's in the basement but there is an open heating duct) and curio destruction. Occasionally a cat will go so far as to jump upon one's delicate bits without advance notice.

This time, I was awakened by the sound of a cat licking the Venetian blind. Cats seem to like the taste of plastic because, well, they’re idiots.

“Knock it off!” I yelled, to no avail.

I tried to push it off with my foot. It just moved out of reach.

Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. I hate that damned sound.

I kicked out a few times with all the grumpy vigour of a severly constipated badger. I didn’t hit the damned cat, but he decided to leave.

Unfortunately, I did hit the Venetian blinds and ended up with my foot entangled.

Now, you lot may not realize this, but it’s almost impossible to get back to sleep with your foot tangled up in a Venetian blind three feet above your head. I tried reaching up to free my leg, but this is like actual exercise. I fell back supine, grunting with fatigue. Then I tried again.

“Clatter!” rang out the blinds as I hauled myself up. “Grunt!” as I gave in to fatigue. The cat, having sensed that I no longer posed a threat, returned to his ecstatic blinds-licking session.

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

Soon the lights were flicked on.

“The cat did it!” I exclaimed guiltily. Of course, by this time he was feigning innocence by delicately licking his rump.

“Feel the burn, Dad!” encouraged Lout the Elder, while Lout the Younger snapped pictures.

Gretchen shook her head. “You’re buying new blinds tomorrow!” was all she said.

Do you lot have any idea how much those things cost? I shall have to start a fake charity. “Give to the Venetian Blind!” I’ll tell my coworkers.

And they bloody well better, or I’m giving them all cats.

13 October 2006


They aren’t much to look at when they first pop out or the hatch; looking more like they’ve gone five rounds with a slime monster than anything you’ld feel comfortable showing your family. This is patently unfair considering how large slime monsters are and how little a new-born is. I said so at dinner last night.

“Hah!” I was told. “Little?!? 8 Lbs 12 oz and 9 Lbs 8 Oz? I’ld like to see you pop out something that size!”

Though certain (disturbing) responses did occur to me, I kept my mouth shut until she assured me that women would be perfectly happy should babies emerge the size of a mouse and spend the rest of the gestation period in a pouch.

Naturally, (in the interest of peace making) I offered to make two lout-sized pouches with which to secure them until such time as they matriculate from medical school or marry an heiress, whichever comes first. Then we can present them with a bill and retire to the Seychelles.

I can tell from the bruising that I must have said something wrong, but back to the subject at hand.

I admit to being fascinated with babies. Not only are they unlikely to borrow one's truck without asking, then leave it parked carelessly in a river, but they are nature’s perfect little garbage disposals. In fact, if one could permanently plumb the effluent end into one’s drains, one’s kitchen waste dilemmas would be permanently sorted.

There is a whole industry devoted to this. Food items that no self-respecting adult would eat (I know, I’ve tried) are pureed, coloured, place in tiny little jars and sold for about the non-narcotic portion of Bolivia’s GDP.

I spent yesterday afternoon shoveling this goop into Mandy, our overworked accountant’s one year old daughter.

“Do you want the purple goop, the orange or the green?” I asked.

“Agrubbel-shmurf!” She replied, chubby fingers grabbing at my beard.

“Right! All three it is then!” and spent the next half hour or so talking like an idiot and shoveling multicoloured goop into a happy maw.

It struck me as being very much like your average management meeting, really.

I’ld cleaned her up a bit just as the Boss-man came out of the conference room.

“Who’s this little beauty?” he said, picking her up and bouncing her.

“A goo-goo-goo!” He said, bouncing her up and down like a fizzy drink in a paint mixer. “Who’s a sweet baby? A goo-goo-goo!”

Now, I’m not normally a fan of Jackson Pollock and his ilk, but I have to admit; that girl’s got talent. Or maybe it was just her choice of an Armani suit as a canvas that appeals so.

10 October 2006

I get a new laptop.

My old one was sloooow. Way too slow to handle the modern high definition pornography that is so necessary in today’s business world. I’m talking about the sick, demented, ultra high-resolution "Eeeew, what kind of sore is that?" stuff that gains one an empty row in coach class flights. Low definition porn lacks the seat clearing punch with today’s morally decadent travelers.

I blame the Archbishop of Canterbury for this.

Be that as it may, our new corporate overlords have a laptop replacement policy that states that a laptop can not be replaced before it becomes archeologically significant. Being a European company, their ideas of this are different from ours. Replaceable items would include the Ten Commandments and Stonehenge; not my hippo with mononucleosis-like 3.2GHz P4.

My God, people; there are dual core machines out there these days!

No!” Brunehilde the Gargoyle from I.T. has macht eine ordnung. No laptop for me…

“But it’s really old!” I whine in my best put-out lout voice. She is immune to loutish whining and does not budge.

“May I have some Elmer’s glue then?”

Since it does not come from the I.T. budget I may.

I dollop it liberally on the bottom of my laptop and let it dry.

“Boss, can I see you? It’s about my laptop…” He nods and I place it in his lap.

“As you can see, it’s very slow.” He does not seem receptive, so I plow on.

“And the fan is out of balance, making the thing vibrate madly!”

“Pish and tosh!” He responds.

“No really, on the trip back from Dresden, I joined the mile-high club all by myself. Check the bottom.”

At the sight of the dried glue, he flings the hippo away from him.

“You broke my laptop!” I shout indignantly.

So, I get a new laptop, but have to pay for the glue.

Fair enough, I suppose.

02 October 2006

A disappointing weekend

The last few days have been tough on the old Doc’s psyche. While slaving away at work, I read a post somewhere and a brilliant response was germinated deep within my brain, itching and squirming its way to the surface. Alas, someone mentioned going to the local and the thought left me, not to return until three in the following morning.

I pad to the computer giggling.

“What on Earth are you doing?” I am asked.

“I’ve just thought of a brilliant comment!” I answer. “You see, someone had posted a story about a Lancaster pilot that had jumped without a parachute from 20,000 feet and survived. He bounced off a tree, through a roof and landed on a bed only recently vacated by a nun. The writer concluded that it would have been ironic had he died of dysentery before liberation.”

You all know the look, gents. It is a steely, expressionless stare that just oozes menace.

“I am going to point out that it would have been more ironic had he died of dropsy!”

The look is adjusted to include a rapid blink. I am losing her.

“Um, you see, he fell without a parachute… and erm, ‘dropsy’?”


I return to bed, my bon mot lost to humanity. I could weep.

But tomorrow is a new day, and the rising sun shall herald a tailgate. I shall be surrounded by people that appreciate my genius and free booze.

Now, for you Brits out there, a tailgate is the ultimate opportunity for male one-upmanship. The grille, menu and beverage selection must be more impressive than the next male’s. This must be some sort of mating display left over from Australopithicine times, but it doesn't seem to work for modern humans. At least not for this one.

No matter. I have been trapped in a place where good Scotch and bacon are hard to come by. Yes, they do have other extremely tasty foods. Hummus, for example, is a quite lovely paste of olive oil and minerals that I am told are mined in the Dead Sea region. It’s grand, but after a few weeks, one misses one’s comfort foods. My menu shall revolve around bacon and 15 year old Dalwhinny.

I acquire the services of a graduate student (they are the only group that can legally be paid less than an illegal alien) and put him to work wrapping quail breasts and attaching a skewer. Then it’s off to meet Flash and his fiancé at the tailgate.

“What do you have?” I ask nonchalantly.

“Oh, a chateaubriand, and some passable clarets.” Flash responds blandly. “You?”

I’ve got quail breasts!” I announce proudly.

“Well, then.” He replies, feigning professional interest while examining my chest. “Did you come by these genetically, or is this due to a procedure?”

I hate medical doctors.

“Well played, Sir.” I reply through clenched teeth and a very taut grin. I vow revenge, but neither the opportunity, nor adequate sobriety present themselves.

28 September 2006

Clearing Customs

Customs and Passport Control, Washington, Dulles. I shall strangle our travel agent. He has allowed exactly one hour to clear customs, dash across the airport and catch my flight. The next flight leaves five hours later; making it forty hours since my last shower, and already fellow travelers are already giving me wide berth.

“Where’ve you been?” asks the supremely bored passport wrangler.


“What part of Asia?” He asks somewhat more attentively. “The scary, explosive part, or the less scary ‘Kung-fu’ bit? “

I admit the former and his eyes narrow. “What’s the first thing you are going to do in the States?” he asks.

“Get me some beer and a bacon cheeseburger.” I reply. He smiles. That is the correct answer. He stamps my passport. The cavity search has been averted and fifty minutes remain before my connecting flight takes off. If I can clear customs in 30 minutes, I can still catch my flight.

A word about US customs. To clear customs in the States, one must fill out a form that asks searching questions like: “Are you smuggling narcotics into the country?”, “What about Atomic weaponry?” and “Do you have any Asian hookers in your carry on?” (Well, duuuuuh!)

As long as one checks all the “no” boxes, one breezes right through. Despite this, they catch smugglers regularly.

I blame our school system.

In fact, I am still blaming our school system an hour and a half later. Someone, it seems, has checked a “Yes” box and the line has ground to a halt.

I wish a painful, hours-long cavity search by a large wristed gibbon upon you, Mr. “Yes-Box” Checker.

Eventually, I clear customs and recheck my bag with a surly civil servant who scowls darkly; scolding us for our slowness. Apparently, we are supposed to sprint past the machine gun wielding guards so that he wouldn’t be 30 seconds late to his coffee break.

I inform him that I shall encourage any fellow fliers that I judge superfluous to my criminal needs to do so on my next trip.

He doesn't think I am funny either.

27 September 2006

Please return your seatbacks to the upright and return your tray tables to the locked position.

“We will be landing in LaGuardia in about 15 minutes.”

“Well, not to pick nits, but surely you mean ‘we’ll be landing on LaGuardia in about 15 minutes’. Landing in LaGuardia is likely to adversely affect your safety record, not to mention that my suit will probably get wrinkled.”

I get The Look™. People in coach class are not allowed to think of themselves as comedians. A Business Class ticket might earn you a flaccid chuckle, but it’s only in First Class where the stewardii feel obligated to pretend they like you.

Plebeians. I am too funny.

And that's the way I likes it.