Monday, August 31, 2015

1269: 4:35 P.M.

I've seen that too. It's called the clock is being set to the time on the central clock because I would assume all the clocks are connected.

Or Veeblefester sneaks around in the walls and manually changes the clocks to mess with his employees. No, what am I talking about? Veeblefester would never do that. He'd pay someone to sneak around in the walls and manually change the clocks to mess with his employees.

Monday, August 24, 2015

1268: Back to School

I never got bad dreams or nightmares before the first day of school but what I did get were searing pains in my stomach and a healthy dose of near-diarrhea. Both of those being something that would continue for the rest of the school year. I wish I had just simple dreams but those always ended up all convoluted and erotic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Liberty #53: The Ballad of Daphne and Jacob

The red and black boxelders were back-to-back and motionless on the sidewalk. They were peculiarly large boxelders with a bright red outline, not the pale red Daphne usually saw. An eight-year-old Daphne Clare laid on the sidewalk, arms crossed under her chin and legs kicking in the air. She watched, motionless, as the bugs mated. A sneakered shoe came crashing down on the bugs right in front of Daphne’s face.

“Jacob!” Daphne shrieked as she jumped to her feet. “They were making babies!”

“Glad I stopped them then. Like we really need more bugs anyway,” Jacob laughed and looked at his friend, Nick.

“Bugs are important, Jacob. We need bugs,” Daphne informed.

“You are such a dork,” Jacob said to her. He turned back toward Nick. “We aren’t allowed to kill bugs in our house because Spider-Girl here wants to see them and ‘catalog’ them. Basically she has a notebook of spiders, moths, and ants.”

“I like bugs. Stop teasing me about it,” Daphne screamed. Emotions overcoming her, Daphne ran away. That evening, before dinner, Jacob went into Daphne’s room. “What?” she asked angrily.

“I’m sorry about earlier. I shouldn’t have stepped on those bugs. I also shouldn’t make fun of you for being passionate about something,” Jacob said as he sat next to Daphne on her bed, his hands clasped between his legs. “Even though I wish you were passionate about something less dorky but you are a pretty cool sister.”

Daphne hid her smile but then turned to Jacob. “You’re a pretty cool brother,” Daphne stood up and kissed Jacob on the cheek. “But don’t tease me again.”

“Promise,” Jacob raised his hand and smiled at his sister.

Six years had passed and much had changed. Jacob and Daphne got closer after their father died. Daphne continued her fondness of bugs and during the summer before her freshman year she attended a science camp where she got to learn with real entomologists and create her own catalog of insects.

Jacob’s summer was not as enjoyable as he seemed to spend most of his free time fighting with his girlfriend, Lisa. They finally broke up the first week of August and two before Daphne got home. Jacob made the drive to pick up Daphne and was anxious to see his sister again.

They hugged for a while, Daphne seemed to have grown taller, became tanner and filled out more. They got in the car and began the two hour drive back home. “How was your summer?” Jacob asked.

“It was amazing. A couple of the entomologists really thought I had a knack for bugs,” Daphne said. “They brought all these specimens so I got to see hundreds of bug from around the world. One of the entomologists even offers a summer class at the university for kids 14 and up.”

“That’s cool. Dorky, but it’s cool for you,” Jacob said. “Did you make friends with anyone?”

“Not really. I hung out with this girl, Lacey, for most of the camp. We were into the same things. I mostly hung out with Brent.”


“Yeah, we were kind of a couple at the camp. We were each other’s first relationship. We’re not seeing each other anymore. We promised that when camp was over, that we’d break up. It’s more romantic if it’s just a summer fling anyway,” Daphne explained.


“How was your summer?” Daphne asked Jacob.

“I worked most of the time. The rest of the time, Lisa and I broke up.”

Daphne made a noise of acknowledgement. “I didn’t like her anyway. She made weird noises when you two would do it.”

Jacob chuckled, imagining him and Lisa together and the odd gasping noise she made. “She was a nice girl,” Jacob defended. “And you shouldn’t eavesdrop on people having sex.”

“I’m just glad that I don’t make noises like that,” Daphne said.

“What? How do you know?”

“I told you that I spent a lot of time with Brent.”

Jacob pictured a pimply-faced boy with thick glasses and a bad haircut pawing at his sister. For some reason, in this image, Brent was in a white button-down shirt with a pocket protector. “Mm. Hope you used protection and that it was your decision.”

“Of course. Actually, Brent wasn’t really on board but I was able to change his mind,” Daphne smiled.

“Okay, I don’t need to hear this. What else did you do at camp?” Jacob asked, then added, “That was bug-related.”

“Jeez, Jacob, it was just one guy, I’m not the whore of science camp,” Daphne chuckled. “When we got there, we talked about what entomologists do and how they got into it and then they started telling stories of where they’ve been,” Daphne began and continued talking about her summer.

On the day that school started, Jacob woke up with a pressure on his chest. When his eyes opened, he saw Daphne laying on him like she used to do when they were kids. She was, of course, heavier now, her breasts pressed into his ribcage.

“Daphne, what are you doing?” Jacob groaned.

“Remember when I would do this every Saturday morning?” she asked.

“How could I forget?” he groaned again and shifted in bed. “Why are you doing it now?”

“Seemed like a good way to wake you up for your first day as a senior,” Daphne said. “Though when I was four and five, I didn’t have your morning wood poking me in the stomach.”

“Okay. Now it’s weird,” Jacob tried to get up but Daphne became dead weight on top of him.

“Did you know that I get to be in AP Biology my freshman year?” Daphne asked.

“No, I didn’t know that. I knew that you and Mom were fighting for it though. Congrats. Since I’m a senior I don’t have any science classes.”

“That sounds terrible,” Daphne sneered. She sat up a little, her shirt fell open and Jacob could see most of her breasts. He had not noticed how much Daphne had developed in the last year but saw now that she was growing into a beautiful young woman. “Whatcha thinking about?” Daphne asked as she fully sat up, still on top of him.

“Nothing. I need to start getting ready for school.” Again, Jacob tried to get up but Daphne put all her weight on him.

“Hold on a sec. One last thing,” Daphne leaned down and kissed Jacob on the mouth, her eyes closed and breasts fully pressed against him. She tried to force his mouth open with her tongue but he kept it shut. She pulled away and rolled off of him.

Jacob bolted from the bed and ran into the bathroom, locking the door. He turned on the sink faucet and waited for warm water that he splashed on his face and rubbed his eyes. He took off his clothes and turned on the shower.

As he washed himself, he could still feel Daphne’s lips on his. He ashamedly admitted to himself that he had wanted to kiss her back. He felt terrible about it. Daphne was his sister but she started it and refused to let him finish it.

He imagined the kiss and the weight of Daphne on top of him, her breasts hanging loose in her shirt. Jacob found himself fondling his genitals under the shower water. He took his imagination one step further and pictured himself pushing himself inside Daphne, causing him to finish, dripping onto the shower floor.

Angry and upset with himself, Jacob quickly finished his shower, dried off, wrapping the towel around him, grabbed his clothes and went back into his bedroom, locking the door.

Every Labor Day, the Clare family held a get-together at the home of one of the uncles. He and his wife owned a decent sized ranch house on a large piece of property surrounded by a wooded park. Neither Jacob nor Daphne liked going because they barely knew any of the relatives who came. They never remembered any names and the relatives never seemed to remember their ages. Jacob had to work at four so he drove himself while Daphne rode with their Mom.

“A senior?” asked one of the distant cousins in surprise. “Getting so big. You look so much like your father.”

Jacob shrugged. “Well, I try,” he smiled.

“Are you seeing anyone?”

“No, Connie. I’m preferring my senior year not be stressed out by being in a relationship. Besides, I’ve been working too much to have any free time anyway,” Jacob explained.

“Where do you work?” Connie asked.

“At a hardware store,” Jacob said. Jacob looked behind Connie and saw Connie’s daughter, Cindy. Cindy was three years older than Jacob and Jacob suddenly remembered the crush he had on Cindy when he was younger. When Jacob was 14, Cindy was a long-haired, tight pants wearing, big breasted taboo.

“Jacob? Are you okay?” Connie asked, getting his attention again. “Did you hear me?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. What’d you ask?”

“I asked how your sister is doing.”

“Daphne’s great but why don’t you ask her yourself? She’s right over there,” Jacob pointed over to Daphne with four other kids about her age. “I have to go. Excuse me.”

Jacob went to the garage to go in the house. Coming out was one of Jacob’s favorite relatives, Myron, a large man with a full, thick beard that was salt and peppered with gray. “Jacob, how you doing?”

“I’m doing good, Myron. It’s great to see you.”

“I know. How’s school?”

“It’s my senior year so it’s pretty laid back.”

“How’s work?”

“Can’t complain.”

“Are you seeing anybody?”

Jacob sighed. “No, Myron. I’m taking this year off from girls.”

“I don’t blame you. Women are wonderful but sometimes we men need a break,” Myron slapped Jacob’s shoulder. “Nice to see you, Jacob.”

“You, too,” Jacob said and he went inside the house.

Daphne was still with the four other kids. Malachi and Austin were fighting with sticks, Molly was typing on her phone, her face never leaving the screen, and Alex was coloring on the sidewalk with chalk which was what Daphne opted to do.

The boys were now whacking themselves with their sticks each saying “Ow” with each hit. “Boys, stop it,” Daphne said.

The boys kept hitting each other and giggling. Austin hit Malachi’s stick out of his hand and it broke in half. “Hey,” Malachi exclaimed. “Stop. I need to get a new stick,” Malachi ran off to find another stick.

“Why don’t you color with Alex and me,” Daphne offered. “You can join us, too, Molly.”

“Ugh,” Molly sneered. “Coloring is kids’ stuff.”

“Yeah, and you’re twelve—still a kid.”

“I am a young adult,” Molly said snobbily.

“Found a new stick,” Malachi approached the four of them, swinging a large branch that had broken off a tree over his head.

“Malachi, put that down. You boys need to find something else to do,” Daphne said.

“You can’t tell us what to do,” Austin said.

“Yeah,” Malachi said and he swung the branch toward Austin. He nearly hit Molly and Daphne as well.

“You’re going to hit somebody with that,” Daphne warned.

“That’s the point,” Malachi said.

Daphne groaned loudly. “I’m going in,” Daphne stood up and went into the house. As she rounded the corner of the hallway, she ran into Jacob. “Oh, hey. Am I really related to these people?”

“I’m afraid you are.”

“Why do I have nothing in common with Austin, Malachi or Molly? They are all terrible, terrible children.”

Jacob laughed. “I don’t know. I want to know why everyone here seems so concerned with my romantic life. Everyone has asked me if I’m seeing anyone.”

“And what’d you say?”

“I told them that I’m dating my sister,” Jacob said. “I said that I’m taking a break from relationships for my senior year.”

“Nice. No getting run out of the family with torches and pitchforks today,” Daphne leaned up and kissed Jacob on the mouth. He kissed back but quickly pulled away.

“Careful,” Jacob rubbed her cheek with a finger. “There are eyes everywhere. Are you coming home with me? I’m thinking of leaving.”

“Yes, please,” Daphne said. “I’m gonna go to the bathroom. I’ll meet you outside.”

“Okay, I’m going to tell Mom we’re leaving and say good-bye to everyone,” Jacob said.

The drive from the get-together took about an hour. Daphne was upset that no one asked her about school. Jacob decided that he would stop going every year and go every other or every third year. Daphne also complained more about Malachi and Austin but soon started talking about school assignments that needed to get done.

When they got home, Daphne immediately took off her pants and bra. “I need to finish the questions for chapters five through eight,” she sighed.

“You have Mr. Rappaport so you are reading To Kill a Mockingbird?” Jacob asked.

“Yep, which I read two years ago. I’m excited to read Romeo and Juliet and Grapes of Wrath later this year.”

“I own both of those books if you want to read them.”

“I may do that. At least with Grapes of Wrath,” she sighed again and walked over to Jacob. She pressed herself against him and hugged. “What time do you have to be at work?”


“We got time. Come into my bedroom…” Daphne said sweetly, slightly pulling Jacob with her.

Like every morning, Jacob’s alarm clock went off at 6:45. He rolled over to shut it off then rolled back over to Daphne. “Morning,” he said, like he said every morning and kissed Daphne on the forehead.

“Morning, bro,” she kissed him on the mouth. She snuggled next to him and lined herself up with him. “Can we have a quickie this morning?”

Jacob and Daphne had been together for a little over five months and since Thanksgiving, they’d become lackadaisical in keeping their relationship secret. Trysts at home that were originally saved for when their Mom was out and they were alone were now done almost every night after Daphne went from her bedroom to Jacob’s. They had also started to do some of their lovemaking outside either in Jacob’s car at Spring Lake Park or the wooded area on the backside of the levee.

“We can’t. Mom’s going to be up soon if she isn’t already,” Jacob threw off the blanket and got out of bed. Daphne got out of bed and grabbed her underwear and a shirt that used to belong to their Dad off the floor. Jacob glanced at Daphne’s naked body before she started covering herself.

From a glance, Daphne looked like an adult. Sturdy legs, a flat stomach, big breasts, confident shoulders and knowledgeable eyes. But in more ways, she was just a child. Self-applied chipped nail polish, bruises on her legs from gym and being outside, unkempt pubic hair, baby fat prominent around her hips and armpits, braces and self-applied hair dye that wasn’t evenly distributed in her hair.

“Are you okay?” Daphne asked, noticing him staring off toward where she was standing. She had put on the shirt, it went down to her knees, and her underwear—a faded pink pair with flowers and bees—was bunched up in her hand. Jacob’s eyes flashed up toward hers and reached out, grabbed her arm and pulled her onto the bed. Jacob got on top of her, Daphne giggled like a girl in Kindergarten the whole time.

Their Mom had opted for a small gravestone for their father with only his name on it. Jacob had left school after fourth period to go to the cemetery. He sat on the grass in front of the stone with his legs crossed.

“You probably hate me,” Jacob began. “But it’s both of our faults. Daphne first suggested it but I guess I could’ve turned her down or not let it go as far as it has. I don’t even know why we did it but I know that it needs to stop. I wish you were here. I’m graduating in a couple of months and Daphne is becoming a fine young woman and I’d like to think that our…special relationship helped that. This would be easier if you were here. Maybe I became her lover because I wanted to be more than her brother but being her father was too stressful. I should’ve just stayed her brother and not let it bother me. I wish I could start this school year over again—at least in that area.”

During fifth period, as Jacob was at the cemetery, Daphne was usually in the library with Cameron Sinclair helping him with his math. Cameron was a sophomore and was assigned to get tutoring help from Daphne.

“This is all easy stuff, slope, x-y coordinates, graphing. All easy. You’ll pick it up quick,” Daphne said.

“That’s good. It looks easy but that’s probably because it’s mostly pictures,” Cameron said.

Daphne giggled. “That does help. Okay, for number one, you have to find the slope of this line,” she pointed to the graph with her pencil eraser.

“Before we start, I have a question.”


“You’ve been tutoring me how long?”

“Since the semester began so two, two and a half months.”

“Would you want to go out with me?”

“On a date?”

Cameron nodded nervously.

“That’d be nice,” she smiled and took Cameron’s hand.

As spring break came to a close, Daphne and Cameron made love for the first time. Jacob might not have even known Daphne had started dating Cameron if he hadn’t come home from work the Saturday before school started back up after vacation and saw Daphne and Cameron making out on the couch. Their liaisons had ended a while ago with no explanation and Jacob wasn’t going to try and pry one from her.

“I didn’t know you had company,” Jacob said as Daphne slid off of Cameron and adjusted her clothing that was askew. “Who is this?”

“This is my boyfriend, Cameron. Cameron, this is my brother Jacob. You have probably seen him around school,” Daphne introduced.

“Hi,” Cameron said. “Daphne and I have been dating for more than a month and she hasn’t introduced me to her family yet. It’s nice to finally meet one of them.”

“I didn’t know you were dating anyone, sis.”

“I didn’t know how you would take it,” Daphne said. “I know how much you liked my last boyfriend.”

“Eh, he wasn’t that great. I think he took advantage of you a few times and he definitely moved way too fast for you,” Jacob said, lowering his voice.

“I took advantage of him, too. I wanted someone I trusted and cared about to be my first. It helped show me what I wanted in a boyfriend and how to handle boys. It was a good relationship and because of it, I now have Cameron, who I am really falling for as you may have noticed,” she chuckled and took Cameron’s arm.

Jacob was silent for awhile, working his way through his sister’s explanation of their relationship. He had used Daphne to get over Lisa but not lose the physical contact while Daphne had used him to grow up and learn more about herself. He felt worse than he had during their relationship and was disappointed that he hadn’t been a good brother or boyfriend to Daphne.

“You two have fun,” he smiled at them. “You should invite Cameron to stay for dinner some night, Daphne.”

“I will,” she held Cameron tight and kissed his chin.

“I’ll see you later, Daph. Cameron, I hope to see you more.”

“I hope so, too. Good-bye, Jacob,” Cameron said and he and Daphne left the apartment.

They closed the door behind them and Jacob heard them go down the stairs. Jacob turned and went into his room. He sat on his bed and saw a pair of Daphne’s underwear tangled in his blanket. He chuckled, took them and tossed them into her bedroom. As he walked back into his, he saw a piece of paper on his desk. He went over to it and looked at it. In Daphne’s handwriting was his name at the top of the paper but the rest of it was blank.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Randy #3


Eleven years ago, Randy and Jess were in the second year of their relationship. They were in his bedroom, Jess on top of Randy, kissed and preparing to lose their virginity. Jess was clearly more into it than Randy and finally, Randy stopped her. “Look, we need to talk, I’m just not feeling this right now. I…”

Randy’s mom, Sally, then came into the bedroom carrying a laundry basket. “Oh, I didn’t know you had Jess over,” Sally apologized. “I was just going to bring you your clean laundry. Don’t mind me, I was never here.” Sally put the laundry basket in the bedroom and then closed the door behind her.

“Your Mom still does your laundry?” Jess asked.

“Yeah. She’s my Mom. That’s what they do,” Randy said. “Look, Jess, I wanted to tell you something. I really like you and I care for you but do you feel that the spark has gone out of our relationship?”

“We’ve been together for two years, that’s bound to happen. That’s why I wanted to make love,” Jess smiled and kissed him again.

“I think it’s more than that,” Randy said quietly. “I’m gay.”

Jess sat up quickly and looked at Randy, raising her eyebrow. “Gay? Really? For how long?”

“I’ve been considering myself gay for the last five months or so but I’ve had a crush on Christian Valentine since seventh grade.”

“I can’t say I’m not surprised. You were never overtly sexual with me and it explains why nothing is going on down there,” Jess pointed. “You didn’t date me because I kind of look like a guy, right?” she asked.

“What? No. You don’t look like a man at all. I asked you out because we’re friends. I figured if I liked it great, if we fell in love, a plus but if it was not meant to be, it would easy to break this off.”

“Aw,” Jess smiled. “I’m gonna go. You have laundry to put away and parents to come out to.”

“Are you kidding? You’ve met my Dad.”

“I’ll see you at school,” Jess smiled.

As she headed out of the house, she passed by Sally in the kitchen. “You don’t have to leave on my account,” she said.

“I’m not. Randy just...Randy and I broke up,” Jess said to her.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. You two were very good together considering that Junior wasn’t really interested in dating you,” Sally said.

“What do you mean?”

“Junior’s gay, right? I’m not sure but I can hear things and I see stuff in his room.”

“It should be him that tells you,” Jess said. “I’ll see you, Mrs. Brubaker.”

Jess was the last of Randy’s friends to arrive at the funeral but she wasn’t missed or noticed as she entered the funeral home. She went over to Sally, lying in a coffin. Randall was standing close, talking to one of his friends. “Mr. Brubaker, I am sorry for your loss,” Jess said softly.

“You dated my son back in high school, didn’t you?” Randall asked. “Before he was queer.”

“He was always It’s not like dating me made him gay,” Jess said. “I had nothing to do with him being gay and vice versa. Randy was just the first in a long line of guys that I dated who broke my heart and I now realize that I am talking very loud and fast and that you don’t care anyway.” Jess exhaled and walked away.

“Don’t you want to talk to anyone out there?” Brian asked Randy, who was camped out in another room away from the funeral.

Randy raspberried. “No. Besides, all those people are just blurs in my life. I don’t know them and a lot of them are former clients of my Dad’s.”

“You can at least mingle with Chrissy or Nathan or me. Jess just got here so you can talk to her.”

“I’d rather just stay here. You guys can come in here with me though,” Randy said.

“Aren’t people supposed to talk at these things?” Nathan asked as he stepped toward Jess. “Like, speeches or something?”

“They’re called eulogies. They should be starting in a few minutes. Mourners have to get in a good mood first before being made depressed,” Jess explained.

“Are you okay?” Nathan asked.

“You always know,” she smiled at him. “It’s Randy being back. It’s making feel inadequate.”


“Uh, because he started the pattern of bad relationships that I’ve had. I can’t even really blame him so it is clearly my fault. Something is wrong with me.”

“Are you sure this is the correct place to start having a nervous breakdown?”

“Randy, they’re going to start the eulogies soon. You should probably go out there,” Chrissy said, coming into the room where Randy and Brian were. “What are you doing in here anyway?”

“I don’t know anybody here and I’m not exactly a fan of my extended family,” he replied. “You should hang out with us.”

“I guess I can stay for a couple of minutes,” Chrissy said and sat next to Brian. “Do you know who is going to speak?”

Randy shrugged. “Erin and Dad did most of the work on the funeral.”

Chrissy chuckled. “She always wanted ice.”

“What?” Randy asked.

“Remember when we would hang out over at your house and she would always ask you to drive and get her another bag of ice?” Chrissy reminded.

“Oh, God, yes. She always wanted ice. You guys would be over for ten minutes and then it was ‘Randy, can you go get me some ice?’ I hated that. It was so embarrassing,” Randy smiled. “That’s one of the reasons I moved so far away--so I wouldn’t have to get her any more damn ice. I did notice that they invested in a refrigerator that makes its own ice.”

“Well, she needed ice and she had no more children,” Brian said. “I think everyone is starting to sit. We should get out there.”

After the funeral and after the graveside service, everyone started to disperse to Randall’s house for a food-laden get-together. Jess and Nathan walked together through the cemetery as everyone left. “Are you going over to Randy’s?” Nathan asked.

“In a bit,” Jess answered.

“Do you want to go grab some coffee with me?”


“Yes, now.”

“I guess I could choke down some coffee with you then we can head over to Randy’s,” Jess smiled and she took Nathan’s hand as they continued walking through the cemetery.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

1266: May the Odds Be Ever...Ah, Forget It

I don't play the lottery very often. I usually play when the jackpot gets into the hundreds of millions of dollars even though I know I would have a "better" chance of winning if the jackpot was only a million or two dollars. I'm like Brutus, I'm never going to win no matter what the odds are.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

There's No Disgrace Like Home

This episode begins with the most unimaginative chalkboard gags I think The Simpsons has every used: "I will not burp in class" but segues into one of the best opening scenes of the early seasons. Lisa and Bart are arguing over who loves Homer more only to find out that they are saying that the other one loves him more.

The Simpsons are off to a nuclear plant family party at Burns' Manor. You can really tell that the writers weren't quite sure where to go with Mr. Burns. While, yes, he does instill fear in his employees and is clearly the most powerful and richest man in Springfield, this episode shows us that he appreciates family togetherness and father-son bonding. These are two things that, while touched upon in a few episodes, are not qualities Burns really clings to. It's also shown that the whole cookout may just be an opportunity to showcase his wealth and beat all his employees in the various games which would make a lot more sense.

The Simpsons, having made five gelatin desserts (because someone (Homer) inexplicably told everyone that Burns likes gelatin desserts) trek up the hill to "stately Burns Manor."
Why are Homer and Marge in different clothes? Is it because they are dressed
in a white undershirt and a dress while the kids are in normal clothes?
We also get our first official instance of Mr. Burns forgetting Homer's name after being introduced to him in the last episode and from there, things tend to dissolve pretty quickly. Marge abandons Maggie in the nursery with only a TV for a guardian and proceeds to get drunk off the punch, Bart and Lisa harass the geese and Homer spends his time trying to keep Bart and Lisa acting normal. When Bart and Homer are forced to enter the mandatory father-son sack race, Burns is required to win even going so far as to give him a head start and the other racers moving forward one jump only when Burns moves forward. Bart considers that bullcrap and pulls ahead and would've won if it weren't for Homer tackling Bart near the finish line.
It's not explained why Burns got to participate in the father-son sack race when
he isn't a father, nor has a son...yet.
Marge, still drunk, is leading the other wives in a sing-a-long when the party ends. Homer tries to get Bart to kiss him after seeing another father and son do it and Burns acting impressed. Homer realizes that his family isn't great and wishes they could be more normal like the family singing "Bingo" as they drive into Heaven but all Homer sees are devil incarnate versions of his family chanting "one of us, one of us, one of us" to him.
Room for one more.
Homer decides to get his family to be more normal and his first idea is to quit sitting in front of the TV during dinner and sit at table. He even goes so far as to demand they say "Grace" first ("Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub.") but all this does is make the family comment that all families are like them. Homer disagrees so they go out and do a little family peeping-tomming where they find a family that is just too overly perfect right out of a 1950s television show:
Look, the dad has a shirt on.
Deeming these people to be "obvious freaks" Homer takes his family to another house with a more rustic family but one probably closer to than the Simpsons than we see:
This family ends up turning a shotgun on the Simpsons, chasing them away to another family's house that they declare is a dump and chuckle that Homer has trampled the poor sap's flower bed before realizing that it is their house. Homer, defeated, goes off to Moe's.

While at Moe's, Homer comments that his mother told him that he was "a big disappointment" which doesn't sound like the Mona Simpson that would be introduced eight or so years later. Homer's attention is caught by a commercial for Dr. Marvin Monroe's Family Therapy Center who guarantees family bliss or double your money back. Like many other scenes from The Simpsons, the family featured in the commercial are ripe for quote picking.
Wife: "Honey, aren't you going to work today?"
Husband: "No, I don't think so."
Wife: "Honey, you have a problem and it won't get better until you admit it."
Husband: "I admit this, you better shut your big yap."
Wife: "Oh, you shut up."
Husband: "No, you shut up."
Wife: "No, you shut up."
Husband: "Oh, shut up."
Kid: "Why don't you BOTH shut up!"
So Homer makes an appointment, dips into the kids' college fund, that only Lisa is concerned about, and pawn their TV in order to get the $250 needed. While Dr. Marvin Monroe, who would be a major recurring character for the first three seasons or so, starts out sounding competent by having the family draw what they think is the main stressor in their lives (everyone draws Homer, Homer draws a plane bombing a house because he wasn't paying attention) that competency is quickly stripped away because we are nearing the 22 minute mark. After having the family hit each other with padded sticks for awhile ("They'd work much better without the padding, Doc.") Dr. Monroe resorts to a kind of shock therapy which turns the Simpsons into a model family who go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes.
Wait. No, that's the family that Dr. Monroe was seeing before the Simpsons. All the shock therapy does is run up Dr. Monroe's electricity bill and mess up Marge's hair. Dr. Monroe demands the family leave while Homer demands his money back.

So with $500 in hand, Homer suggest going out for frosty chocolate milkshakes anyway and buying a new TV with a little cart so they can wheel it into the dining room on holidays. They may not be perfect but Homer realizes that they are just fine as a family the way they are.
The Simpsons is still stuck in "kid mode" with this episode, something that kind of went back and forth in the first season. Just like the first season of The Flintstones, the episodes produced leaned heavily on things that would get kids to watch which would get parents to watch. Once word would get around about how different and grown-up The Simpsons was, viewership would go up. While Bart seemed to gain headway in the popularity department, looking at the episodes, there was no clear star but if one had to be named, it would be Homer. But other members of the family would get their own featured episode including Marge in "Life On the Fast Lane" and Lisa in "Moaning Lisa Blues". Next, Bart would get his second featured episode "Bart the General".

Thursday, August 13, 2015

He's Just a Boy of Four, Each Day I Hate Him More...

Along with the rest of society, I hate Caillou, the whiny, self-centered, bald little 4-year-old. I used to watch Caillou with my son when he was 3 and 4 and 5 and we would watch it and make fun of Caillou. We'd joke about what a terrible little boy he is while I instill the knowledge in my son that he should never act like Caillou. I think that worked out rather well, considering. I enjoy reading about how much other parents don't like Caillou and while reading one of those parents, they pointed me to an episode called "Caillou's Hiccups" which is about Caillou having hiccups.

The episode begins with the Caillou family have a "big spaghetti dinner" with spaghetti, salad, some sort of dark colored bread with black things in it while some stereotypical Italian music plays softly in the background. The first problem Caillou has that we try to solve right off the bat is that he slurps his spaghetti.
Hey! Stir that up!
His parents ask him not to slurp but the narrator tells us that spaghetti is a hard food not to slurp. We then get some of Caillou trying to use his fork to push the spaghetti into his mouth but he winds up opting to slurp anyway. His parents laugh and say "that's okay, as long as you tried your best." Problem solved!!

Father makes a joke that Rosie, Caillou's little sister, is also trying her best--at not getting spaghetti sauce all over her napkin. That leads into a lecture about proper napkin usage but when Rosie tries to wipe her mouth, the sauce apparently doubles because sauce appears on the napkin but the sauce around her mouth doesn't change at all.
That bowl seems a bit full. Also, why does no one stir their spaghetti
to get the sauce mixed in?
The family laughs because it's always funny when your children are disgusting cretins but while he is laughing, Caillou emits a weird sound in the form of hiccup. Now, according to the theme song and the books and the TV show, Caillou is four-year-old. I find it a bit hard to believe that in four years of life, he's never had the hiccups. 75% of the babies and toddlers I'm around seem to always have the hiccups so something here just doesn't sit right with me.

While Mommy takes Rosie to get cleaned up, Caillou sticks around to help Daddy with cleaning up and the narrator notes that Caillou takes extra care not to drop stuff because of the noises he's making. But he ends up nearly dropping a cup anyway.
You had one job, Caillou!
Daddy laughs and says that Caillou has the hiccups. Worried, Caillou asks how he gets rid of them. Mommy says that they usually go away on their own so Caillou decides to wait them out.
Hmm. Caillou waiting-out-hiccups stance is similar to rich-kid-gets-
acquitted-of-rape stance.
Caillou waits approximately one second, he hiccups again and wonders why they didn't go away. I mean, he did wait after all!! Mommy tells him that he has to wait longer and to go play until they go away. So Caillou goes into the living room to build a tower out of blocks. He gets the tower just slightly taller than him when he hiccups and the tower comes crashing down. He whines that the hiccups are ruining everything. Mean ol' hiccups luring him into a false sense of security and letting his tower get as tall as him before unleashing gas-in-stomach fury. Mommy says that sometimes hiccups go away after being scared. Caillou is not on board with this but Mommy assures him that it will be a little scare. Caillou is scared but the hiccups don't go away. So Mommy and Rosie, for some reason, being wandering around the room wailing like ghosts which doesn't make Caillou scared because what part of this is scary?
I will admit that I am scared for Mommy's sanity. Wait, is that a picture of
Caillou in the background or Slender Man?
Daddy comes in bragging about being the world's foremost hiccups cure expert which I'm pretty sure is some dubious honor bestowed on him by himself and guarantees to cure Caillou's hiccups along with Rosie's club foot (don't bother looking, they never show it) and his uncle's impotence. First up, getting Caillou to drink water really fast. From a hose. It's harder than it looks.
Are we waterboarding Caillou because I can get on board with that.
When that doesn't work (because I thought drinking fast gave you hiccups), Daddy makes Caillou stand on his head.
What god awful Dad-shoes is he wearing?
The next "cure" Daddy does is hopping on one foot and rubbing the top of your head. Now he's just making stuff up. I'm starting to think these aren't cures at all and just ways to waste time so Caillou will quit thinking about his hiccups. Even though Caillou, Mommy and Rosie think Daddy's just hilarious, Caillou wants to get rid of his hiccups and hops around rubbing his head like an idiot just like his father.
This screen grab makes me want to punch something.
The hopping scares their cat away and Daddy trips and falls down. Caillou's hiccups don't go away and he starts to worry about having them forever. I mean, what kind of cruel god would allow a 4-year-old to have hiccups forever? Mommy then says that since the spaghetti gave Caillou the hiccups, she will not make spaghetti again. Caillou makes an impassioned plea that she can't stop making spaghetti because it's his favorite. And Rosie's. And Daddy's. And he is sure that spaghetti didn't give him hiccups and besides, they are gone now.

Mommy says that she probably scared him enough to make the hiccups go away. Caillou, instead, says they went away on their own. Your parents took time out from their day/afternoon/evening to help you get rid of your hiccups and you can't even mutter a simple "Thank you, Mommy" you little ingrate?
"While I will, and do, appreciate everything you have done for me, as parents,
I cannot bring myself to let you know until one of us dies thus rendering any
gratitude completely meaningless."
Then Daddy gets the hiccups but Caillou doesn't care because his are gone and that's all that matters. It's Caillou's world, we all just live in it.

Until next time, I remain...

1265: It Probably Started With Getting Pregnant In the First Place

Yeah, Wilberforce is a lost cause. Honestly, the thing you should do now is pack up stuff you absolutely need, run off during the night and change your names, leaving Wilberforce as a ward of the state. I know that seems harsh but it's the best solution for both parties.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Incredible Comics #3

Martin Hogue came into the Fix-It Shop and wiped his brow with a handkerchief. “It’s hot out there this morning,” he said to Harold, who was tinkering with something over at the counter. “What’cha working on?”

“This weird clock thing,” Harold sighed. “I’m afraid that it’s getting the better of me and I’ll have to have Mr. Reznicek show me how to do it. I haven’t seen you all morning, Martin. A lot of deliveries?”

“Nearly a dozen and I still have two more. I just stopped in for a break and to see if there were any more.”

“Not to my knowledge. You can go up and ask Mr. Reznicek,” Harold said.

Martin thought for a second. “Nah, I’ll just take these two things and come back after lunch. Mr. Banner…”

“You can call me Harold, Martin.”

“Harold, do you believe in ghosts?”

“Ghosts? Not really but I’m open to suggestion. Why?”

“I live on the fifth floor of an apartment building and there is an apartment on the third floor that always has voices coming from it. Normally, that’s not an issue because the walls and doors are very thin and everybody can hear everybody’s business. But, no one lives in this apartment, we never see anyone go in or out. Because we hear voices and noises but don’t see anyone, we consider the apartment haunted,” Martin explained.

“I don’t think the apartment is haunted, Martin. Someone probably just moved in and no one has seen anyone yet.”

“I don’t know. Amos the Wino, he sleeps on the stairs between the first and second floor, is there every day, all day, and he’s never seen anybody who looks new.”

“No offense but I don’t think a person called ‘Amos the Wino’ is someone with heightened monitoring skills. If you or your neighbors are so concerned, just let the police know,” Harold said.

“The police? Cops ain’t been in my neighborhood in months. I have to go deliver these last two packages. I’ll see you this afternoon,” Martin chuckled a bit and left the store. He hopped on his bicycle and pedaled away.

Harold put down his tools and rubbed his chin with his finger. That night, after Ellie had been asleep for more than an hour, Harold snuck out onto their fire escape and put on the sundial, the blue and yellow uniform appearing. He flew over to Martin’s apartment building, a run-down looking brick building with numerous broken windows with plywood nailed over them. Numerous vagrants meandered along the street and sidewalk but none detected Time Man hovering above them.

He figured out which window went to the alleged haunted apartment and softly landed on the fire escape and tried to peer in. The apartment was dark and he couldn’t see anything. He hopped off the fire escape and landed softly in the alley. He removed the sundial and returned to his own clothes. He entered the apartment building can began going upstairs. He saw who he assumed was Amos the Wino on the landing between the first and second floors, fast asleep with a bottle of alcohol. He went to the apartment that was empty and attempted to turn the knob but it was locked.

He looked around and slid on the sundial changing into Time Man. He turned the knob until it broke and the door creaked open. He walked in and the apartment was definitely not being lived in but there was a table with papers in the middle of the living room. Under the table were locked crates. Time Man took one of the crates and sat it on top of the table. He squeezed the lock until it shattered in his hand. He opened the crate and saw possibly hundreds of jewels. He let out a small gasp as he saw all of the jewels ranging from diamonds to rubies to emeralds and a lot he didn’t even know.

“This door’s open,” someone said from the hallway. “Someone’s in there.”

Time Man quickly closed the crate and two men came through the door, saw Time Man standing at the table and shot at him. His hand, already near the sundial, pressed the button on the side, and time froze. Time Man casually walked past the bullets in midair, swatting them down onto the ground, and took the guns away from the men. He went back to the table and laid the guns down and went back to the men, he stood behind them and unfroze time. He grabbed the men’s collars and lifted them up. “You’re coming with me,” Time Man said.

“What the…?”

“What happened?” the men said.

Time Man brought the men to a police station and told them about the apartment and jewels and within minutes, the apartment was being raided. People suddenly knew about Time Man. He was mentioned by police to reporters who included his name in their articles and radio broadcasts.

“A superhero,” Alderman Lucius Goebel sneered at the newspaper. “Probably just some idiot who reads too many of those ten cent wastes of time and has too much time on his hands.”

“What will we do about the trafficking?” Harlan Grant, owner of the apartment building, said. “We’ll need a new place.”

“We’ll keep using yours,” Alderman Goebel said. “But we need to make sure there aren’t people meddling about. If something were to happen to that building, you wouldn’t complain, would you?”

“What exactly do you have in mind?”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

1264: Solid Business Plan

1. Make terrible strawberry lemonade

2. Offer free refills for it

3. People buy the lemonade, hate it, don't want refill

4. Profit

Monday, August 10, 2015

1263: Maybe Brutus' Year Starts In July?

I don't know why Veeblefester is thinking in the last panel. This is the kind of insult that Veeblefester would love to say out loud.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Just a Couple of Good Ol' Boys

Back in 2009, when I was working for the U.S. Census verifying addresses, me and a group of people were sent down to the Miami/Linn/Allen/Anderson county area of Kansas. We had a meeting in a Dairy Queen in Iola because it was a central location to where everybody was. Being an interesting job, we remarked on some of the weirder things that had happened to us. My stories never got any more interesting than the man who had his house surrounded by cameras and wanted me to present my "badge" to the camera before opening the door. One woman had stopped at someone's house in rural Miami County, got the information she needed and began to leave. The people she had just spoken to, stopped her. "Where are you going next?" and she pointed right next door. They warned her about going over there saying that whoever lives there doesn't like people on his property and that they hear explosions--gunshots, bombs, fireworks, they weren't sure. It's so bad that even the sheriff doesn't go there to see what's going on. I've always remembered that because while this type of person is rare, it is more common than people think. There is nothing I hate more and consider more pathetic than someone who harasses or disturbs their neighbors. But it's one thing to just be a jerk and harass your neighbors and either be able to talk yourself out of punishment or resign yourself to your fate. It's quite another to use your governor brother's name is scare everyone into submission.

Jim Brownback, younger brother to current Kansas governor, Sam, owns a farm, like their parents, near Parker, Kansas. It was just revealed Saturday night that Jim has been harassing, threatening, vandalizing and killing animals of nearby neighbors and using Governor Brownback's name to avoid punishment. This is common in small towns and rural areas, to use someone-in-power's name to avoid consequences but we don't live in the age of isolation anymore and I'm baffled why local law enforcement could never squelch what was going on. Neighbors presented the case to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, Kansas Highway Patrol and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. None were eager to jump on the case. From the article, I couldn't gather if they weren't eager because it was just a "neighborly dispute" or because of Brownback name involved. Chances are Attorney General Schmidt didn't take it because of the name.
Jim Brownback, mugshot from a 2006 arrest for failure to pay child support.
From what I know, in the article and just being a Kansan, the Brownback's are well-respected in the Parker area. They brought up four lovely children with the black sheep being Jim, according to the neighbors. Where were these neighbors in 2010 and 2011 and 2012? All the problems seem to start in 2011 after the hogs of a neighbor were found mauled by a dog belonging to Brownback's stepdaughter. I don't know the Brownback's and I am sure the elder Brownback's are good, "salt of the Earth" people but I don't believe that Jim is the black sheep. I believe most, if not all, of their children are just like Jim but in different ways. Reading this article and researching Governor Brownback's political career, they are both completely different but also very similar. That's what having a name does to people, they believe that they are better than everyone else and will use their name to avoid what they don't want to face.

Governor Brownback has not commented on this, as of this post, and when he does, he'll disavow any knowledge, say that his brother is his own man, not to judge an entire family on one person, every family has that one relative and maybe, just maybe, he'll say Jim needs to be investigated and arrested but I doubt it. The Governor will handle this like everything else. A private meeting with Jim and a promise that he'll never do it again. And I typically don't judge families based on one person but when there are two people in the family that operate the same way just with different tactics, I then assume the whole family operates that way and when it's a family with name prestige such as "Brownback", I assume people are glossing over the terribleness and only focusing on how long they have worked on a piece of land.
Jim Brownback's property along 1900th Road southwest of Parker.
I went to middle and high school in a small town and having a certain last name could get you far. I happened to go to a school that my mom went to, my aunts, my uncle and my cousin. Teachers were thrilled to have me in class until they learned that I am nothing like any of my relatives and soon, most forgot that I was even related to my cousin despite us only being two grades apart. You could probably chalk my disdain for using name recognition up to it not working for me but that's the thing. It shouldn't work for anyone. Using name recognition should only get you so far--at most, a job but even that could be pushing it depending on the job--but avoidance of legal repercussions definitely shouldn't one of the things.

Until next time, I remain...

For more information, please read Tim Carpenter's article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Friday, August 07, 2015

1262: Last Panel Seems a Bit Clunky

Brutus has played Veeblefester numerous times in the nearly eight years I've been writing this thing so you would think Brutus would know Veeblefester's handicap. Also, why is Veeblefester not jumping at the chance to take Brutus' money? It's almost like Brutus is just handing Veeblefester his wallet.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

1261: "But It's Late Morning On a Wednesday..." "I'm Well Aware What Time It Is."

Twenty bucks? Just go to the warehouse district and visit the strip club. They have a free buffet, cheap drinks and decent entertainment you can side-eye. Sadly, they expect you to tip anyone who comes to talk to you but just keep your head down and don't call attention to yourself.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

1260: Short and Stubby

There have been a couple changes to the top of the website: First, is a Title page that will list all of the WTS sections through the years along with how long they ran and a description. It is still being updating but in the meantime, the sidebar list will still be available. I have also added a Recommendations page that list some of my favorite websites and blogs. It is constantly going to be added to and I will happily take suggestions if you know a site that can be added. You can contact me or tweet at me the link.

Mm, no. No, I don't like this strip. I don't like it when short people talk about being short nor do I like the "joke". "Hand-me-ups"? Ugh, sometimes this strip is just irresponsible.

Monday, August 03, 2015

1259: What Was a Banana Peel Doing On the Floor?

Like any grandmother, Mother Gargle cares more about mocking her grandchildren's lineage than their well-being.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

1258/10: Colossus Comics

Sun Publications was a pulp publisher started in 1912 by Arthur Gontier, Sr. Sun Publications is known mainly for publishing early work by Louis L'Amour. After being raided for possessing and distributing obscene material (pin-ups used their pulps), Gontier decided to publish historical fiction magazines and comic books. Their first comic endeavor was Sun Fun Komiks which lasted one issue.

Not much exists of Sun Fun Komiks but there are a couple notable things that happen in the comic. The feature "Supersam" is the first parody of Superman and this comic apparently features the first appearance of Adolf Hitler (seen above). The entire comic is just a parody of comic books which may be why it didn't do very well. The cost of 15 cents may have also deterred potential buyers when all other more popular comics cost 10 cents.

Gontier tried again a few months later, sticking to the formula all the other comic book publishers were doing introducing an anthology series featuring a cacophony of different stories. Despite doing what the other publishers were doing including the 10 cent cover price, Colossus Comics only lasted one issue as well but it also spelled the end of Sun Publications.

The main feature of Colossus Comics was Colossus, an anti-hero who was a normal man who was given a serum that caused him to grow big and strong.

scans courtesy The Digital Comic Museum
The other stories in the comic were Lucky Lucifer, an aviation series, Tulpa of Tsang, a series that used the mystic of Chinese magic, Lum Sims, a comic similar to the comic strip Li'l Abner, and Blond Garth, a Tarzan-esque comic about a white man becoming a god to native islanders. Blond Garth was drawn by Jay Jackson, a black man who would later work on comic strips for black newspapers in Chicago.

Had there been second issue, Colossus Comics would've introduced Icarion and continued the story of Colossus. We know little about Icarion but we do have what he would've looked like had the series continued.

After-dinner drink? I've never been offered that in a restaurant. Maybe I'm going to the wrong restaurants. Or, the waiter believes Brutus has a massive drinking problem because he's dining at a fancy restaurant by himself.