Thursday, March 31, 2011

When Will This Gimmick End?

Born Loser 03-31-11
I think 3D-TV is a terrible idea considering how little you would actually be using the 3-D technology. Plus, if 3D looks terrible on a gigantic movie screen, then won't it look worse on a much smaller TV?

Also, hasn't Brutus had his new TV since at January?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Capitalism at Its Best

Is it me or are toy commercials for kids getting stupider and the products getting more and more pointless. I really started noticing this with those Zhu-zhu Pets but I know toys created just to sell more toys have been around for years.
Our toys seem much cooler.
The KooKoo Birds are a group of toys featuring a bunch of stone-eyed brightly colored birds that...well, I don't really know what they do. They are made by Jay at Play and the Jay at Play website doesn't really elaborate on what the KooKoo Birds are but if you want to know everything about the MushaBellys then this is the place for you.  Here's the KooKoo Birds commercial which kind of explains what the hell they are.

I don't know why all the birds look stoned--I assume it's because the developers were when they created these things. It's good to know that you can put goggles on the birds and that there is a club house you can purchase that can house your KooKoo Birds. And I am all for prefixing ordinary things with random words to cater to the toy companies.  "Turtle" Van, "Lego" Games, "KooKoo" Cars. And the KooKoo version of the Pillow Pet is pure genius.
It's a pillow. It's a pet. It's a Pillow Pet.
I love the KooKoo Birds that fart and poop other KooKoo Birds. The girls in the commercial seem excited about it too. I'm just wondering what the significance is of finding the Golden KooKoo Bird (which, by the way, looks like real gold). Can you trade it in to get your money back for these things?
I would at least try.
Another toy that I don't understand are Gomus. Obviously something from the good people of Japan, Gomus are collectible erasers. Yes, that's right, collectible erasers. Basically it's the eraser equivalent of collecting comic books and cutting out the X-ray specs or sea monkey ads from the back. Gomu is possibly something I could get behind because I like stupid stuff like that. I would just use them as sit-around junk though. The best part about Gomu is the guy singing the theme song.

See? Isn't that awesome?
Almost as awesome as all the varieties of Gomu.

Squinkies are one of those toys that I wonder why people want. Squinkies run about $10 for 10. Squinkies are also very similar to a toy that I can buy from a vending machine at my local pizza buffet for 25 cents. I'm not saying that the makers of Squinkies are just after our money but it's very likely.

The Two Halves of Brutus

Born Loser 03-29-11
Whoa. Brutus is really hoping that Veeblefester asks him to wipe his rich, pompous ass.

Born Loser 03-30-11
I don't know what they were arguing about but I love how Gladys has already decided that they will not discuss it anymore. Because that's what a relationship is about: total domination.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We Got a Surfboard In the Shot

Born Loser 03-28-11
Wilberforce is just now starting Spring Break? Aren't most places ending their Spring Break? Speaking of Spring, where the hell is it? It freakin' snowed yesterday. Did Mother Nature not get the memo that it is only a few days until April?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stull #11

Previously on Stull, Frank York was hired by Judith Lawrence to investigate the death of her husband and son.  Judith then hires Frank and his friends and co-workers Matt Stull and Katie Anderson, to investigate the Stull Curse.  Matt, a descendant of the original town founders has lost his father and his Uncle John to the curse.  Frank, Matt and Katie are now looking for a book that has a detailed history of the founding of Stull to see where the curse originated.  Their search has proved futile.  Judith, wanting Frank to succeed, willed his Historical Society $5.6 million shortly before she passed away.

Frank sat at his desk with his phone pressed against his ear.  "I know he's not the best driver but you tell him that you want to drive on the way back.  It's a company car and I'm the boss so he has to listen to me," the front door opened and two people, a tall, lanky young man with slight pointy chin and glasses and a short, freckled girl with dark eyes and brown curly hair, came in.  "I have to go.  The new employees are here."  Frank got up and greeted them.  "Hello, John Garner and Jennifer Cramer?"

"Yes, and you're Frank York?" John asked shaking Frank's hand.

"Yes.  The other two, Matt and Katie, are not here.  They are in Columbus at the history museum," Frank explained.  "Well, let me tell you a bit more about the job.  I have a rule that two people go out on investigations.  There have been times where just one person went out but I would prefer at least two people go.  Jennifer."

"Jen," Jen corrected.

"Jen, your main function will be to man the front desk.  In the past, if all three were out, we had to close the Society which I don't like doing.  Occasionally you will go out into the field which we talked about over the phone during the interview."

"Yes.  I don't mind.  I like the outdoors."

"John, you had extensive knowledge about Stanton County which impressed me so you will be out in the field a lot with me, Matt and Katie."

"I look forward to exploring the county with you," John said.

"Now to give you an idea of what we actually do out there, we have been invited to investigate the ballroom at the Delia Hotel.  It's been locked to the public since the 1940s."

"How come?" Jen asked.

"I'll tell you on the way there," Frank smiled.




"The Delia Hotel"
Katie was on her fifth book on the history of Stanton County. Matt was on his second book on the history surrounding Stull and Fort Bradshaw which was about seven miles to the southwest of Stull in Grant Township.

"I didn't know my great-great-great grandpa played such a big role at Fort Bradshaw. And did you know that before 1840, Rock Creek Township was an Indian reservation for the Comchau Indians," Matt said.

"I did not know that. I didn't even know that there was a fort in Stanton County."

"It sounds familiar but it was probably something I ignored Frank on when he would talk about it. It looks like it was pretty short-lived--1817 when the reservation and the county was created until 1832 when the reservation was disbanded when Comchau Township was established--the township would be renamed Stull for two years until being named Rock Creek in 1835," Matt read. "It appears that it was requested that Fort Bradshaw be closed after 'the controversies surrounding the Stull founding and massacre,'" Matt concluded.

"Massacre?" Katie asked. "What massacre?"

"I don't know. It doesn't say in this book and the other book I had didn't even mention a massacre."

"The books I read didn't mention a massacre either. They didn't even mention the Comchau."

"It's like some sort of century old conspiracy. Whatever happened must've been terrible. And since it appears the people staying at the fort are covering up then it must've been something the town founders did," Matt said. "Something my great-great-great grandfather helped do."

"Now don't think that way. It was a different time back then and I'm sure it's not as bad as the term 'massacre' leads it to be," Katie reassured, taking Matt's hand.

"I'm going to ask the researchers if they have any other information on the massacre then we can go get some lunch," Matt said, standing up. He then walked over to one of the people that worked there.




Frank, John and Jen were a few miles west of Delia and they could see the town on the horizon. "So in 1947, a homecoming dance was being held at the Delia Hotel. The dance was then crashed by Curtis Montgomery, a serial killer that had been leaving a trail of dead bodies along the Ohio-Indiana state line. There was a stand-off for nearly 24 hours and while some of the kids managed to escape, Montgomery was able to hold onto some slicing their throats when he needed to. The police were able to capture Montgomery but not until after he had killed thirteen students. The ballroom has been sealed up since," Frank said as he drove them to Delia.

John and Jen remained silent for a few seconds. "You're making that up!" Jen exclaimed.

"I agree," John said. "It sounds too much like a movie plot to be true. Maybe a Lifetime movie. And I'm pretty sure, as an employer, you cannot legally haze us like we're in a fraternity."

"I'm not hazing you," Frank said. "The new owners of the hotel are doing some renovations and want to renovate the ballroom into a bar."

"I still say you are lying," Jen sighed.

Frank pulled into the gravel hotel parking lot and parked. "All right. You'll just have to see for yourself," Frank shrugged. The three of them walked up to a man who was stacking crates in the back. "Mr. Bruce? Frank York from the Rock Creek Historical Society. This is John Garner and Jen Cramer. It is their first day with the Society and they don't believe a serial killer crashed a homecoming dance in the 1940s."

"Oh, it happened. Made all the papers in a five county radius and the big papers in Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati. In fact, rumor has it that the ballroom was sealed up so soon that the blood is still on the dance floor," Mr. Bruce said. "Come on, the only way down is through the hotel. The outside door was sealed up by bricks."

They went to the front of the hotel and went in. Despite being closed for fifteen years, the hotel interior was still in great condition. Mr. Bruce led them past the front desk and into a large room labeled 'employees only.'

"The kitchen was remodeled after the murders and the door was hidden by a gigantic refrigerator along with being padlocked. We are completely renovating the kitchen also and when the fridge was moved, the door was rediscovered," Mr. Bruce picked up an axe. "Ready? We don't have a key for the padlock."

"We're ready," Frank said.

Mr. Bruce struck at the padlock on the door several times until the clinked to the floor and the door clicked open. Mr. Bruce grabbed a flashlight and Frank pulled one out of the pack he was carrying. They all slowly descended the steps into the ballroom. A thick layer of dust coated everything. Giant spider and cobwebs were everywhere and the slight scurrying of either rodents or insects could be heard.

"Well, this is gross..." Jen scoffed.

"Don't open your mouth too much. You never know what could fall in it," Frank said. Jen clamped her mouth shut.

They all looked around for several minutes. The stage at one end of the ballroom creaked and groaned as Frank pushed against it. Frank found something on the floor and called Jen and John over.

"What is it?" Jen asked.

"See for yourself," Frank pointed the flashlight at the floor and a faded red spot dried hard to the dust-covered dance floor.

"Is that..." Jen began.

"Blood?" John finished.

"I'll show you the newspapers when we get back to the Society," Frank smiled.




Matt and Katie had left the historical society and went to a restaurant to talk about what they had learned. "So from what that lady found out about a massacre in Stanton County, it is--or was--called the End Road Massacre. It happened a year before Stull was founded. It was apparently a fight between the Comchau and the soldiers at Fort Bradshaw. She didn't have any details on what the fight entailed but that it was requested that Fort Bradshaw be shut down," Matt said. "I think my ancestors did something horrible to the Comchau."

"You have no proof!" Katie exclaimed. "We can give Frank this information and we look into this further. We have a name for it now. The End Road Massacre. I'm sure your ancestors didn't do anything wrong. And if they did, so what?! It in no way changes who you are," Katie reached across the table and took Matt's hand.

They both froze and looked at each other. "So we'll call Frank when we're finished with dinner?" Matt asked.

"Yeah. Sounds good. He can start looking while we're driving back to Stull."

"Or we can go see a movie before we head back," Matt looked at Katie who blushed and innocently took a drink of her tea.

"That sounds even better," she smiled.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Because We See Gladys In Dresses So Often

Born Loser 03-26-11
I am assuming Brutus (and by extension, Chip) were rooting for Ohio State or possibly Cincinnati. Which I can see Brutus rooting for Cincinnati because while they got into the playoff and beat Missouri, they lost to Connecticut in the second round and that's what being a loser entails...picking a decent team and watching them fail after getting your hopes up.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Right Next to Jack Nicholson

Born Loser 03-24-11
Really? It's a good thing you have a wide-screen TV so you can see the rolls of fat, wrinkles, premature liver spots and reflective shiny dome that constitutes Brutus' body?  You and I obviously have a different meaning for the term "good thing".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do Not Insert Paper Clips

Born Loser 03-23-11
From the look on Brutus' face, it looks like the reason he likes shredding the mail is because he gets an orgasmic thrill from destroying things.  Since he's kicked around at work by Veeblefester, picked on by Hattie and harangued by Wastrel Gravesite on an almost-daily basis, he needs some retribution and this is the form his comes in.

Hey, Libya

Rob Rogers 03-23-11
I'm glad we're finally doing comics about the airstrike on Libya. While I understand why we are doing it (I heard something about a "no-fly zone" but I am assuming we caved under pressure for people here and other countries who feel something needs to be done since it is obvious Gaddhafi is not going to step down of his own accord) I don't condone it. We are not the world's policemen and we've been acting like it since George W. Bush came into power, however, I do slightly blame Clinton since we did airstrike Iraq toward the end of his term.

I don't understand why we have to continue to be in Libya.  Couldn't we just drop a few bombs, damage a few of Gaddhafi's things, kill some innocent people then have Obama go on TV and say "if Gaddhafi doesn't step down there will be more of the same"? Sigh, I probably just don't understand war.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lent? That Still Going On?

Born Loser 03-22-11
If Brutus gave up sweets for Lent then why was he upset when St. Patrick's Day rolled around?  Brutus could drink!  Maybe he was more upset about the hat he was wearing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No. 21: Carrying Valerie

1. “Shit,” Valerie said as she stared at the plus sign on the pregnancy test. “Shit-shit-shit.” Valerie began dialing her cell phone. She looked around her apartment at the empty pizza boxes, beer bottles and full ashtrays. There were also random clothes strewn about. She wasn’t sure which were hers and which were other peoples.

“Hello?” someone answered. “Val?”

“Hey, Crystal. Remember last night when we all started making jokes about how much of a slut I am?”

Crystal chuckled. “Yeah. That was actually pretty mean. Sorry.”

“No, no. Don’t be. And remember how Erin brought up that every month I have pregnancy scare and I jokingly took a pregnancy test?”

Crystal laughed loudly. “Yeah. Again, I’m sorry.”

“It’s positive.”

Crystal was silent.

“Crystal?”

“Uh, yeah. Maybe you should go to a doctor and make sure. Those tests are not always accurate.”

“I don’t know where to start. I don’t know who to call. Do I call the hospital or a gynecologist or a—what do you call it? Pediatrician?” Valerie began crying.

“Val, calm down. I’ll do that for you. I remember what all my sister did when she got pregnant. I’ll call you back with the information.”

“Thanks, Crystal. You’re too good to me.”




Valerie was lying on her back in a paper-thin hospital gown on top of an exam table as a nurse slid a transducer around in her vagina. It was slightly uncomfortable and caused Valerie to squirm and make clenched faces.

“Everything looks good,” the nurse said, looking at the monitor. She moved the device into a different area where a small smudge appeared on the monitor. The nurse pointed to the white smudge. “And there’s your baby. Looks almost a month along.”

“Oh, wow. That is so cool,” Valerie said, looking at the monitor.

“And everything looks healthy and normal,” the nurse said and gently removed the sonogram from Valerie.

“Do you know what it is?” Valerie asked.

“No, it’s the size of an orange. We won’t be able to tell for several more months,” the nurse said.

“Ah,” Valerie nodded. “I was wondering if you had any information on help for paying for these appointment because I can’t afford even one of these a month and my doctor is asking for two or three a month.”

“I can give you some pamphlets which will give you the information you need.”

“Thanks.”




“The cost includes doctor, therapy, the procedure and everything else,” the person on the other end of the line said.

“So it’s a flat cost?” Valerie asked.

“It varies depending on how far along the fetus is and how long the procedure lasts. From what you’ve given me, it’ll be around $500.”

“$500? I guess it’s not as much as all the doctors appointments and actually raising the child,” Valerie sighed.

Valerie got no response from the receptionist on the phone.

“Do I have to schedule an appointment?”

“Yes. We do procedures from 8 to 4:30 every day but Saturday and Sunday,” the receptionist said. “We do require someone come with you because you will be a little wobbly after the procedure.”

“Okay. I will have to call you back. Thanks for the info,” Valerie hung up the phone then dialed another number. “Hello, Ted?”

“Hey, Val,” Ted said. “What’s up?” Ted was Valerie’s older brother. Ted and Valerie were very close and she often came to Ted for her more adult problems.

“I was wondering what you are doing two Fridays from this coming one.”

“Nothing I have planned. Why?”

“I thought we’d have a road trip,” Valerie said.

“A road trip? To where?” Ted asked.

“To get me an abortion,” Valerie chuckled uneasily.

Ted was silent. “Valerie, if you’re joking then you are no longer my sister.”

“I’m serious. I’m pregnant and I just can’t take care of a baby. You know my lifestyle.”

“I know how much you like to drink and have promiscuous sex,” Ted sighed.

“So you do know.”

Ted sighed again. “Valerie? You need to grow up. You’re 25. We can’t keep taking care of you. You have a college degree and you’re working as an idiot in a call center. But even though you work in a call center, you make more money than me but somehow Mom or Dad or Aunt Penny need to pay your rent…”

“Utilities are expensive,” Valerie said quietly.

“So is beer. Which one do you think is more important”

“I didn’t call you to get a lecture,” Valerie said with an angry tone.

“Then be smarter, Val.”


Brutus Is a Bit Too Excited

Born Loser 03-21-11
It's been a nice couple of days of Spring here. However I am reminded that we did have a snowstorm last year during spring break and the rest of the week is supposed to be slightly chilly so who knows what could happen!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where Will Kewpie Pee?

Born Loser
Or you can do it yourself and do it right the first time. You could also put up a fence and just let Kewpie roam free in the backyard.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

#228: Ex

I made the mistake of looking up an ex-girlfriend on Facebook a couple weeks ago.  It wasn't all that horrible.  Confirmed that she was still alive and still married and that was pretty much it.  However as I doing it, I got dizzy.  My pulse started racing and I got a little sick to my stomach.  Why, after all of these years, does this one girl still have such a hold on me?  I've been married over a year to a woman who I love completely and who loves me back, a woman who I thought would make a great step-mom to my son and who I wanted to be the mother of any other children I may have.  I think it is mainly the way that our relationship ended and the fact that our relationship basically became just another statistic.

After we broke up, there was a slight chance we could get back together but she had planned to move to Massachusetts and I was not going to do the long distance thing.  I now can't remember the reason she went to Massachusetts except that there was a guy there.  She'd been talking to this guy all through our relationship (and before) and telling me that she could never like him in "that way".  I don't know if she really thought that she was convincing me that she didn't like him or if she was trying to convince herself since they were separated by half a country but I knew better.  We had many fights about this.

After she moved I learned, in quick succession, that she was happier, they got married and had a child.  While I was upset at first, I got over it when I met my future wife and it didn't seem like a big deal but I kept thinking, since she was willing to dump someone she said she loved and who loved her back so horribly then they cannot break up.  They have to stay together forever.

I feel the same way about Mary Kay Letourneau who had sex with a 13-year-old student and gave birth to two of his children while in prison.  She essentially ruined her (and her husband's, her family's and her student's) lives to be with Vili and they now have to be together forever because if they aren't it is a even bigger slap in face to all the people who were hurt or embarrassed during the whole debacle.  Some people may feel that saying they have to be together forever is a little much because things happen all the time that may lead to divorce but I say that if you are willing to ruin several lives for love then you need to be together for the rest of your life.  I plan on staying with my wife for the rest of my life mainly because only an idiot would leave a wonderful woman like her.  But think about it.  *Run into ex on the street* "Hey, hi!  How are you doing?" "Oh, I'm good." "How's that marriage working out?  You know, the one you left me for after lying to me about it for nine months?" "We...got a divorce." "Oh, that's too bad.  If you hadn't kept lying to me about your relationship with him/her then I might give a damn."

But seriously, I guess it only matters that you experienced love and the amazing happiness that comes with it. I'm not angry and upset anymore because I met someone else and while I know I am not perfect but the woman I ended up with did find me perfect and obviously saw herself with me for the rest of her life unlike my previous girlfriend who, while she said she loved me and wanted to marry me, did not.

I am always amazed by the relationships I see on my high school friends Facebook pages. I wonder how the hell they wound up together but then I realize that their relationships in high school were pretty odd too. It was either they were dating someone too good for them or dating someone way too beneath them. I would like to say I dated someone at the same level as me but I will never know and maybe that's for the best because I was way too over-dramatic in high school.

What?

Born Loser 03-19-11
WHAT?! Do husbands and wives actually have conversations like this? It felt damp (whatever that means) but then it felt dry (which I get). Whatever. I'm just going to forget this comic ever happened.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Will You Give This To My Daddy?

If you don't want to get mad at me or think that I am an unpatriotic jerk then you probably shouldn't read this.

The Rivers Will Flow Green With the Blood of Leprechauns

Born Loser 03-17-11
From my extensive research on Wikipedia, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which can begin anytime between February 4th and March 10th, and ends Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter).  St. Patrick's Day is always on March 17th so Lent and St. Patrick's Day cross quite a bit so if you want to be able to drink on St. Patrick's Day then don't give that up for Lent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hunting Ground--A CSI: Miami Adventure

My wife got me into CSI: Miami which is so awfully bad that it's good. David Caruso is just amazing as Horatio Caine and it makes me wonder if Caruso is this bad in the first season of NYPD Blue. I wouldn't think so because he won a freakin' Golden Globe. And they don't just hand those out willy-nilly.
Oh...
The plots on Miami are pretty stupid and a few of them are just not plausible and when I found out this recent episode ("Hunting Ground"; aired 3/13) was about people hunting people, I grabbed my popcorn and was anxious for the magic. Then I noticed who wrote it. Adam Rodriquez--who also plays Eric Delko, an investigator who is there to be slightly attractive and add a bit of Latin flair to the otherwise whitewash of the Miami-Dade Police Department. My wife then informed me that he also directed the episode (I had missed that part of the credits). I then flashed back to a couple years ago when the series Numb3rs was still on the air.
FBI Agents or professional models?
The episode was "Trouble in Chinatown" (aired 1/23/09) and it was written by co-star Peter MacNichol and it was about Chinese girls being sold on the black market to families of recently deceased men.  The girls were then killed and buried next to the dead man because apparently it was shameful to have a dead son who was not married.  The entire episode became a public service announcement for something that sounds made up (possibly for a crime procedural).  I feared the same thing with "Hunting Ground" being both directed and written by Rodriquez.  I figured he read one article or saw that movie "Surviving the Game" one too many times.  Anyway, the episode opens with a man being shot with an arrow so hard that it attaches him to a tree.  Another man then comes up to the now-dead man and begins removing a necklace around his neck when Horatio suddenly appears (he was watching Lockup on MSNBC when he heard screams apparently) and the man "stealing" the necklace begs for Horatio to shoot him.  Now Horatio wants to know why.
YEAAAH!!!
Quickly going through what happens, the team does an autopsy on the arrow and finds that it's custom made and leads them to the only hunting supplier (played by Not-John Waters) near the murder scene.  Not-John Waters says humans hunting human is against nature and the CSIs leave.  They then question this douchey stock trading guy who keeps hitting on Natalia (Eva La Rue) but he seems clean.  It's then determined he's not, something about a leach and a flower spotter and the CSI team is led back to Not-John Waters who is taking money and letting people hunt people.  The CSIs stop the hunt while Horatio confronts Not-John Waters and hilariously gives him 15 seconds to get a head start.  Just like Not-John Waters did to the victims of his manhunt.  Not-John Waters begins to run but Horatio shoots causing Not-John Waters to fall down.  Horatio points out that he wasn't going to kill him and that Not-John Waters has now peed his pants.  The police then arrive and apparently are just going to ignore the slight police brutality because Horatio Caine has freakin' gun.
Yippe-i-o-ki-ay.  *puts on sunglasses*
So the H-Squad (or is it H-Team) wrap up another case and it doesn't get as preachy as I thought it was going to get.  Sure the two brothers being reunited and the guy who was killed in the cold opening had a wife and daughter but other than that it was pretty standard escapist fare from CSI: Miami.  Next week's episode is about the connection between a murdered delivery truck driver and murdered housewife.  Should be a hoot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not Gringrich for 2012

Robert Ariail 03-15-11
While I am glad to see people who have a track record and who I actually know wanting to run for president unlike these people who only people in their state have heard of who obviously do not have the common man run. However, I am not excited about Newt Gingrich. Mainly because I remember he wasn't that great in the 1990s and he's still not that great. My choice for Republican Presidential nominee: Mitt Romney. And I'm not joking. I've liked Mitt Romney since the 2008 Campaign.

The Beginning of Gargles Gone Wild

Born Loser 03-15-11
"Why the hell should I care whether you are gone or not? You don't live here, Mother Gargle."

Is she just stopping by to rub it in Brutus' face that she is able to afford a nice vacation on her Social Security income? And I've seen that look on faces before...right before someone is sexually assaulted.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stull #10

One house remained to mark the location.  The town existed for only a short time and most of the houses were torn down after the occupants left and the land changed hands.  It stayed a small community well into the 20th Century until new generations of farmers moved in and Swissvale became all but forgotten.

The remaining house was dark limestone with an ornate Italian-style roof, windows and chimney.  The windows were boarded up but all still intact.  The owner has kept the house protected from nature and vandals although he has not set foot in the house in nearly ten years.




Frank, Katie and Matt walked through the field toward the house.  Frank dug the key the owner had given him out of his pocket.

"This is a really nice house," Matt said.  "Too bad it's been sitting abandoned since the forties."

"The owner's done a really good job of protecting the house.  According to him, the house was left alone until the sixties.  That's when he started boarding up the windows.  He changed the locks on the house after someone kicked in the door and started a fire in the early nineties.  The fire really did a number on the stairs so a couple years ago, he had the stairs removed," Frank inserted the key in the lock and unlocked the three locks that were installed on the door.  He, Katie and Matt turned their flashlight and stepped inside the house.




"Swissvale"
Right in front of them was hallway next to where the staircase used to be. Off to the left was a living room, to the right was more than likely a bedroom. Frank took out his camera but grumbled.

"With the windows boarded up it makes it too dark to take pictures," Frank said. "And our flashlights don't produce enough light..."

"Just do the best you can. The pictures don't have to be perfect," Katie said. "I love all the detail on the woodwork in here." Katie ran her fingers along the window trim and sills and wood around the fireplace.

Along with the wood, the fireplace had some stone detail with a stylized 'W' carved just above the hearth. "Do you know the name of the family who built the house?" Matt asked.

"The only name I found in what little history Swissvale has that starts with 'W' was Worley but I have no evidence that they built or lived in this house," Frank said.

"But one can assume," Matt quickly said. "'The Worley House'," Matt named.

"How do we get to the second floor?" Katie said.

"We don't. Without stairs the second floor is off limits. We may get hurt if we attempt," Frank nixed.

"So why are we here? We can barely take pictures, we can't explore the house, we barely know anything about this place," Matt complained.

"You didn't have to come. You could've stayed at the Society."

"You've been asking me to come with you to Swissvale for weeks, ever since you got permission to come here," Matt said.

"Because Katie's arm was broken! Now that it is healed I asked her to come. You didn't have to," Frank explained.

"Yeah, I could've stayed at the Society and did absolutely nothing..."

Katie interrupted Matt. "What the hell are you guys arguing about?"

"We're not arguing," Frank said.

"It's just a friendly squabble," Matt crossed his arms.

"I'm thinking it's related to Judith passing away," Katie said. "She left you part of her estate and you are worried that you will not use the money wisely."

"I don't even know how much it is but she wanted me to do great things with the Society and I'm afraid that I'm going to fail," Frank sighed.

"And Matt," Katie turned to Matt, "you want to avenge your uncle's death. You are mad that this curse took your father and Uncle John and you are afraid that you are no closer to finding out the reason for this curse."

Matt shrugged. "Maybe..."

"Then we need to work together. Fighting with each other isn't going to help us solve the curse and make the Society respectable. We need to explore this house as much as we can and get as many pictures as possible then we need to go back to the Society and figure out what the 'W' means," Katie said, her voice getting more excited with each word.

The three of them spent the rest of the afternoon at the house attempting to get pictures of every nook and cranny. The doorknobs had a date of 1857 printed on them and two candleholders were in each room since the house was not wired for electricity.

In the kitchen, Matt stood at the top of the stairs to the cellar.  Katie came around the corner and looked down into the cellar and then at Matt.  "What are you doing?"

Matt jumped and screamed.  "Don't sneak up on me like that!"

Katie giggled.  "Sorry.  Are you going down there?"

"I want to..."

"Then do it," Katie nudged him.

"I don't know," Matt hesitated.  "It looks kind of dark and dangerous."

"What's going on?" Frank asked, coming into the kitchen.  "Who screamed?"

"Matt.  He's scared to go down into the basement," Katie said.

"I'll go down with you," Frank said.  "Come on."

Frank began walking down the stairs, ducking because the doorway was two inches shorter than him.  Matt looked at Katie.  "I hate you."  Katie just smiled.

It was a dirt cellar and completely empty.  Frank attempted to get pictures of the stone foundation, the rafters and a small wooden closet next to the stairs.  After taking pictures of the outside, he opened the door.  The inside smelled and the wood was rotting.

"Look at that," Matt pointed his flashlight at the inside of the door where a name was carved in it.  "It looks like a name."

Frank leaned in closer and placed his fingers on the carving and began tracing it.  "I can't make it out.  Looks like Elaine or Eunice...I can't tell but it's dated 1929.  Last name is definitely Worley though."

"Guys?" Katie shouted down from the kitchen.  "It's almost five.  We should head back."

"Okay," Frank shouted back.  "We'll look it up when he get back to the Society."




The three of them arrived back at the Society at 5:30.  They noticed someone sitting on the steps in a suit and holding a briefcase.

"Can I help you?" Frank asked.

"Frank York?" the man asked.

"Yeah."

"I am an attorney for Judith Lawrence's estate here to present the papers to you for you to receive your portion of Ms. Lawrence's estate."

"Cool.  Do I just need to sign them?" Frank asked.

"Yes.  There are three copies.  One for you, one for me and one for the court," the man took the papers out of his briefcase and handed them to Frank with a pen.

Frank breezed through the papers.  "How much is this actually for?" he asked.

The attorney looked at the papers then pointed to a number.  "Uh, $5.6 million."

Frank's jaw dropped as did Matt and Katie's.  "$5.6 million?"

"Yeah.  $2.3 million to the Stanton County Humane Society and $5.6 million to the Rock Creek Township Historical Society," the attorney reassured.

Matt walked up to Frank.  "Frank?  I'm gonna need a raise..."

Next:
Two new employees and Matt and Katie get close in Columbus.

This Food Is Big

Born Loser 03-14-11
"Big"? Really? That's your critique of this meal? What does that even mean? Does it mean there's a lot of it or that the pieces of beef tips are really big?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

But Doesn't Your Team Always Lose?

Born Loser
I always thought it was weird that the most boring sport of baseball last the longest if you include spring training. March to November. That's most of the friggin' year!

However, professional basketball seems to last a long time too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3 and 3/12ths Years Old

Born Loser 03-12-11
I was never the kind of kid to do that unless it was some kind of battle between me and another kid. "I'm six and a half." "I'm six and three quarters." "I'm six and 10/12ths."

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'd Ask Her Where Her Breasts Are

Born Loser 03-11-11
Once again we have to wonder where Hattie's parents are and why they taught their child that it is okay to ask someone if they've been chubby their whole life.  Gladys seems pretty okay with it though so I guess no harm done.  Besides, Hattie looks like she could be in the same boat so Gladys probably feels she's doing Hattie a favor.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Give a Couple Bucks You Can't Afford and They Call You a Cheapskate

So I have been without a computer for the last week and it has been driving me crazy. On the plus side, I got a lot of writing and even figured out a couple more short stories I want to write so be looking for those in the coming months. Interestingly enough, Twitter was website I missed the most. I don't really know what that says about the site, people on Twitter or me in general but during my downtime I wanted to tweet so bad.*

Born Loser 03-10-11
Shouldn't the company be paying for this guy's retirement?  Gold watch and such?  Maybe it's not your standard retirement--maybe he's being forced out.  No, they can't fire you for being old but they can make it difficult for old people to work there.




*That's what she said.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

#227: Adventures In Television

I watch a lot of television. I do more than watch. I actually pay attention to the ratings and viewership to figure out if a show will be canceled. I've done this for years but with the Internet I've been able to get better information than reading the Nielsens in USA Today every Wednesday. I don't watch every TV show because there are shows out there that I just could not force myself to watch (re: 95% of show on the CW). There are shows I try to give a fair chance to: Grey's Anatomy I watched the entire first season (mainly because it took the place of Boston Legal) and it held my interest for the first season but then I decided that all the characters were unlikable and the storylines were unbearably over the top. I can either handle unlikable characters or crappy storylines, I can't do both.

Another show I gave a chance to is Rules of Engagement. I watched it because that was the one season I watched all of CBS' Monday night schedule. I didn't exactly find it funny or entertaining so while I kept it on, it would just be background noise while I went and did something else. Neither show apparently needed my viewership as they are now in their 7th and 5th seasons respectively. Despite all the TV I watch, there are only four series which I have watched beginning to end during their original run and three of the shows are still airing new episodes.

I often wonder why I still watch The Simpsons because it is just not as good as it was when I started watching it back in 1990. Maybe it's because I'm trying to see it through, or maybe a small part of me believes it will get better but after 22, 23 seasons I understand it may be hard to be original and funny. I am secretly hoping that next year is their final season. Matt Groening has often said that he hopes to end the show before they wear out their welcome. Their welcome ended back with season 17. Smallville is coming to an end after this season and I am kind of hoping next season is How I Met Your Mother's last season after a couple of lackluster seasons.

Starting with next season, I am going to review more TV shows and post info on the many network shows that are on TV. The reason I would rather focus on network TV is because no matter how bad cable shows are or how bad their ratings are, chances are they will get renewed and get some sort of a following. I would also rather wait for those shows to be out on DVD before I start watching considering there is usually only 6-13 episodes for each season.

I refuse to acknowledge ArmyWives as an actual series though...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stull #9

The Stanton County Historical Society was located in the old Carneigie Library.  It had been been there since 1979 when the new library was built.  Frank, Matt and Katie walked in and began to look at some of the artifacts in cases against the wall.

"Any questions?" asked a man who appeared out of nowhere.

"Not about anything out here.  I'm Frank York from the Rock Creek Township Historical Society.  This is Katie Anderson and Matt Stull.  Do you recall seeing an old book about the founding of Stull?" Frank asked.

"A book?  About the founding of Stull?" the man repeated then crooked his finger around his chin.  "It doesn't ring a bell but this is only a percentage of stuff we have.  If it's not out here and we have it then it may be upstairs."

"Can we look?" Frank asked.

The man shrugged.  "Sure.  Follow me."  They all walked to a staircase that was blocked off by a rope.  The man unhooked it and led the three up the stairs to the second floor.  "It's not very organized up here so if we do have the book, it could be anywhere."

All three gasped when they saw the disorganized mess.  Shelves were packed full of artifacts, boxes were stacked up, lining the walls.  "And I thought our storage space was full of crap..." Matt whispered to Frank.

"Feel free to look around.  Take your time.  I will be downstairs in my office," the man said.

The man left and the three split up to cover separate areas of the second floor.  Frank took the shelves, Katie took the back shelves where oversized items were placed and Matt took the boxes near the staircase.

"On the plus side we may find something really cool up here," Frank said.

"All the stuff up here is junk.  Old cigar boxes have nothing to do with the history of Stanton County," Katie pulled one of the two dozen boxes off of the shelf and showed Frank.

"It's from Baylor Brothers though.  They were a cigar factory in Delia from 1891 until 1942," Frank said.

"Still.  A few cigar boxes, fine.  Two dozen is too many."

"I'll admit that it looks like they just take donated stuff because they don't want to hurt feelings but still it is all history," Frank picked up a small box from a shelf. He read the top then opened the box and saw two massive brown pills. "Ew. Suppository?"

"No, thanks. I'm good."




"Judith"
A couple hours passed and the three went through only a small area of the shelves and boxes. Frank was even taking the time to rearrange the shelves and make them look more orderly. Frank's phone started to ring and it was a number he didn't recognize. "Hello?" he answered.

"Is this Frank York?"

"Yes."

"I'm a nurse at Stanton County Regional Medical Center and you were listed as a contact person for Judith Lawrence."

"I was?"

"She was admitted this morning. It appears she's had a stroke."

"I'll be there in a little bit. Thank you."

"What's wrong?" Matt appeared from around the shelf.

"Judith is in the hospital. She's had a stroke."




Frank arrived at the hospital and was directed to Judith's room where nurses and doctors were still evaluating her. "How's she doing?"

The doctor turned toward Frank. "And you are?"

"Frank York. I received a phone call..."

"Ah, yes. Ms. Lawrence is up and talking but it's clear she's had a pretty big stroke. She is paralyzed on the right side and her speech is slurred. We'll keep an eye on her to see if that goes away. She will probably be here a couple more days, Mr. York."

"Okay. Can I talk to her?"

"Sure. Let us just get out of her way. We'll be back in a few minutes, Ms. Lawrence."

The doctor and nurses left the room. "'A few minutes'. That means we have a good forty minutes or so alone," Frank laughed. "Why am I your contact person?"

"Because," Judith's speech was slurred and only the left side of her mouth moved. "I have no one else. My husband and son died 40 years ago, my sister died a couple months ago and my nephew is in prison."

"I didn't know you had a nephew...who is in prison," Frank said.

"White collar. He'll be out in three years," Judith pshawed. "I'm sorry to bother you. I know you were probably busy."

"Matt, Katie and I were at the county museum looking for the Stull book. We were looking at all the junk on the second floor that's not being displayed. Some is really interesting but, like I said, a lot of it is junk."

"Never underestimate the power of junk. I'm feeling a little tired so if you don't mind, I'm going to take a nap before they all come back and start poking me with stuff again," Judith said.

"Okay. I will just sit over here..." Frank pointed at a chair on the other side of the room.

"No. You can go back to the museum. I'm just going to rest. You need to find that book. Besides, if I'm going to leave my estate to the Rock Creek Historical Society, I need to make sure the owner is a hard worker."

"Your estate? You don't have to do that," Frank said.

"But I am. What else am I going to do with it? I can't take it with me. Part of it will go to you, the other to another charity. Right now I have down the Humane Society of Tontzville..." her speech trailed off.

"You rest, Judith. I'll see you tomorrow."




Katie and Matt had searched through a good portion of the second floor at the museum and found nothing relating to the book.  Frank returned and staked out a corner that looked untouched.

"How is she?" asked Katie.

Frank shrugged.  "She seems fine but the way she looked.  She looked very pale and her eyes were very dark and glazed over.  It was kind of creepy."

"Is she going to be all right?" Katie asked.

"I think so.  The doctor seemed hopeful anyway.  I talked to them after she fell asleep.  So no sign of the book?"

"Maybe it doesn't exist!" Matt said.

"But people in your family remember seeing it--remember reading it!" Frank exclaimed.  "There has got to be a copy somewhere."

"If there is, it's not here," Katie sighed.  "I don't think we should even finish looking."

"No.  We're going to keep looking.  If you two want to go, you can," Frank said and began looking again.

Matt and Katie stood still for awhile then resumed searching in their previous areas.




It was after one thirty in the morning when Frank's cell phone rang.  In the dark, he fumbled around for it before finally answering it.  "Hello?"

"Mr. York?  This is Dr. Rebe from Stanton County Regional.  Ms. Lawrence has had another stroke and I'm afraid this one was pretty serious.  We did what we could but she didn't make it."

"Okay," Frank nodded.  "Should I come down there?"

"You can come down in the morning and release the body to the funeral home of your choice if you want.  I'm sorry, Mr. York."

"Thank you," Frank said and hung up.  Frank got out of bed and turned on his computer.  When it finished booting, he opened a word processing document and began to type and he didn't stop until the sun started coming up.  He then saved the file, shut down the computer and got dressed to go to the hospital.

Next:
Frank, Matt and Katie investigate an old house in Swissvale and learn what they have inherited from Judith.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awesome! An Acer

Born Loser 03-03-11
I wish I had a job where I got to use a company issued computer or had a flash drive with work associated things or my own office or people under me or a company car or, hell, even an actual job would be nice right now.  But I expect my own office within the first three months.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another Birthday?

Born Loser 03-01-11
I remember at one of my jobs, someone went around asking for a couple bucks to get our boss a birthday present. I was honest and said that I don't carry cash on me and that I barely knew the boss and that if I was going to go in for a birthday present then he should also get me something for my birthday. The person looked at me with a stupid look on their face then walked away slowly so as not to startle me.

That's really what Brutus should do. Take up a collection and get one really big present. A donation to a local charity in Veeblefester's name. Because rich people love donating money.*





*Yes, some rich people do like donating money but Veeblefester does not seem like one of those people.