RIP Cindy Williams

Glad for Marquette Day to squeeze in between my catching up on the obits, I don’t want people to think Picayune is always morbid and bitchy. But I can’t forget Cindy who had a big presence in my childhood like her comedy partner Penny Marshall.

Before she landed her biggest role, Cindy had worked in numerous bit parts for TV: Love American Style, Room 222; big roles in a couple successful movies: American Graffiti and The Conversation. The former was a major factor for ABC developing Happy Days and Lavern & Shirley in the new nostalgia for The Fifties®. I think their characters originally had a couple guest spots on Happy Days as older ladies the Fonz knew via dating. They were definitely his backup singers when he performed “Heartbreak Hotel” at Arnold’s.

Years ago I used to have a book on 50 cult movies and Cindy starred in one that came back to bite her once Laverne & Shirley was a hit. The First Nudie Musical was a low-budget, R-rated comedy in the same humor or style as Kentucky Fried Movie. Despite the topic entailing pornography, it’s a tongue-in-cheek thing mocking the Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland stuff in which they put on a show to save the farm or in First‘s case, a failing movie studio. ABC wasn’t thrilled. The film’s producers originally released it in 1976 but it made the rounds by 1978 again with emphasis on Cindy Williams being a key actress. I’ve never had any interest in watching it, the trailer was enough to make the point…and why National Lampoon‘s primary humor was often unfunny and juvenile.

After Laverne & Shirley ended in 1982, Cindy carried on with guest appearances until her passing. She did have one more chance as a lead in a SitCom during the Nineties, Getting By. As per it had 31 episodes so I’m guessing it had a season and a half via Fox. Our loss. Cindy had great timing.

Thanks for everything Cindy! You played a great scaredy cat to Penny’s loud, libertine. My brother named a kitten he loved very much after your character in honor of you and during my favorite radio show for WMUR, Sheila and I would do your little ritual dance from the show’s opening as our opening.

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Marquette Day 2023

Here’s a tradition I’m getting better at even though I never was and never will be a “patriot” for my alma mater‘s basketball team, the players are 90% spoiled assholes who all think they’ll make it to the NBA. I do like this celebration as a nice get-together to find out there are more graduates from Marquette than I figured in Austin. I’m confident the bigger cities have larger turnouts and especially the further north you go.

The men’s team played Butler again, an even more un-famous private school based in Indiacrapolis; I visited their campus when I was in high school for a science fair thing. They had Butler under control after letting a 10-0 run happen, aka, defense got its act together.

I do enjoy the company of all the different people, their varying lines of work and how each experience is unique: why they went, where they group, what they studied, etc. Some brought their small children, which bummed me a little because I forgot to bring little Playmobil or LEGO toys for them to keep and more importantly, distracted long enough for the adults to converse. Now to help out the latest person handling all the future get-togethers as I’m always full of suggestions: Stars v. Admirals, Pinballz, Geeks Who Drink (Marquette v. Notre Dame!), etc.

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RIP Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet

Another great player who changed professional hockey for the better through his play and decisions. On the former, Bobby was a fast skater, hence his nickname (he was blonde too). He also perfected a mean slapshot. I think he’s a major reason why there are restrictions on stick modifications; the puck’s flight via his slapshots were unpredictable, leading to goalie injuries. Sure, it was during the waning days of helmets and masks being optional but these weren’t going to counter a mean, six-ounce piece of vulcanized rubber in the face much.

With the latter, his defection to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets helped raise the pay of other professional players. I don’t think he was ready to retire from Chicago but they asked, what will it take and he answered off the cuff, “a million dollars!” An outrageous sum in 1972, today it’s $7.2 million, a steal given the packages worked out to dodge the salary cap and how out of control it is with the other pro sports.

Much like his hero Gordie Howe, he had a very talented son we all know as Brett Hull and they share spaces on the all-time scoring records. It’s rare when a fantastic athlete has a child that’s equally gifted. See Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan.

Thanks for all you did Bobby! You had your personal shortcomings (a nasty divorce) yet you were a memorable player with a good sense of humor. When I was watching a special about Gordie, you joked at a farewell ceremony for him, “I’ve enjoyed every slashing moment of playing with you!”

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A couple, local, tough customers

To celebrate Caturday this week, here are two cats who live near my house. I often see members of their “colony” around a neighbor’s house but given the super, super cold weather, I didn’t bother trying to pet them. I figured they were all settled in and managing the best they could together. I’m puzzled on why they were in the open, I’m confident their human(s) have shelters set up for them when we experience extremes. You can tell by the looks on their faces, they’re not thrilled to be outside.

If you must know why I was walking about then, I had to run up to the near Circle K to get something Jennifer urgently needed and I forgot to pay for it, ergo, I hoofed it as a form of penance, get a lay on the land on how much damage we were looking at until the thaw.

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It’s been a great 29 years thus far!

Amidst the ice and tree damage, I still remember the day I arrived in Austin as if it were yesterday. Hell…the time has gone by so quickly, it could’ve been! The weather was much nicer than today, typical winter day for Central Texas and incredibly warm for me after being trapped in the Midwest over the last eight years of my life.

I wish I were feeling better to have a stronger celebration beyond Jennifer taking me out to dinner. We had a great meal at the nearby chain steak joint. Same kind of meal I ate for my first evening in Austin! Service has improved immensely. In 1994, our waiter quit at some time after taking our order and this was rather typical. Sadly, minimum wage for waitstaff remains the same insulting $2/hour. Nah, I’ll be recovering soon. The new stuff from my doctor is working (the drowsiness is on the money) along with talking to my therapist a little extra. I love catching up with all my friends I’ve made along the way too. Doing little good deeds is another thing warming my heart or joking with the little kids in the area, “Snow Day! Snow Day!”

On to another 29 years? That would be pretty cool despite being in my eighties. Unlike Girth Vader, I will make sure the odor guard on my Depends are always operational!


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Well this is some Groundhog’s Day gift!

Nobody was harmed, especially the house. We did hear it snap and fall. I wish it were a juniper tree, those are the real cause of “cedar fever.” When I got some time, I took my chainsaw to it so this would be less trouble after we thaw out. Jennifer pointed out how lucky we were on the major branch not taking out a power line.

Matters were better by the afternoon as huge chunks of ice started falling everywhere. The misting rain accelerated it. Over a quarter million people remain without power in pockets around Austin. Many were starting to blame ERCOT which was incorrect. There wasn’t an issue of no power, it was a local failure of imagination on this much icing. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll be discover how much the city and county’s landscaping budget was cut in a few months; for pruning trees they have domain over. The ones on our property, that’s on us but they’re not near the house except a crepe myrtle, the skinny bush we treat as a tree, the Gilligan of forests!

Contractors were already on the make to score some easier money cutting up the fallen trees while they could. I’m confident many used to be “roofers” and “small car-dent repair specialists” when we had the incredible hail storm over a decade ago. The beauty of how swell Texas Deregulation works, giving no recourse to the victims at every level! Somebody already shared a story about an employee accidentally having a chainsaw go through their thigh. Just hearing it made me swallow a little puke. Yeah, my grandma was right, I have a weak stomach unlike Bob Woodward.

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Happy New Lunar Year! Year of the Rabbit

Well, the Chinese aren’t the only culture with a moon-based calendar still in operation. There’s Judaism and Islam readily coming to mind. Then I’m stumped after these three. It is odd how none chose to adopt the more accurate 365.24 day setup or figured it out given their love of Science and contributions. With the two wrapped around religion, I can only say their mistrust of the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans who adopted it, overrode the need for accuracy. OR…they developed the additional-adjustable month to compensate sooner than I know.

The Header for Chinese New Year is a collection of rabbits from popular culture (from upper left to right and repeat left to right with the lower):

  • The logo for the VW Rabbit, the US name for the Golf until the Nineties.
  • Jaxxon from Marvel’s Star Wars comics in the Seventies, Lucas hated him.
  • Roger Watterson from The Amazing World of Gumball.
  • Judy Hopps from Zootopia.
  • The Playboy magazine and club logo. There was a time it wasn’t tied to sleaze.
  • Peter Rabbit from the Beatrix Potter books many a Generation X know.
  • The imaginary Harvey from the 1950 movie of the same name.
  • The “beast” rabbit who kills some knights in Monty Python’s Holy Grail.
  • Bongo as Maggie’s toy but was a main character from Life in Hell.
  • Obviously Bugs in the center.

Beyond some superficial changes on the site and stories I wrote with scheduling releasing later (not all), I’ve been sick again as in I encountered difficult with my medication…again. The side effects I fought near the end of 2022 came back, ergo, 2023 already has a word of the year…akathisia. It means I continued to deal with the jitters which usually appeared as my right leg bouncing up and down, sometimes the left. Plus I couldn’t sit still and there was this panic to do something yet no idea what. The doctor and I are trying a different medication. Is it working better? I think so but it needs a bit more time due to half lives and minor lifestyle changes, namely how this stuff can make you fall asleep quickly after ingesting it in 30-45 minutes alongside me actually being groggy in the morning. These days, I wake up 90% of the time like a shot. I hope to get back on track ASAP.

On to the elephant in Texas and it isn’t the logo for the American Fascist Party, the ice storm! In my 29 years of living in Austin, I have never seen it this powerful. Believe me, I remember past ones and they crippled the area for a couple days via the roads. This one generated a slug of ice to pull down power lines and tree branches. Practically half of the city is without power. The roads were only nasty around overpasses. A tree I never liked in the back yard snapped a major branch. Missed the house easily. Good thing I bought a chainsaw last Spring!

The whole mess was supposed to be over today by noon. Then NOAA and others said this morning, whoops! It will be tomorrow by 10 AM. Fingers crossed. I know I won’t have any interest in what the Groundhogs say. The immediate forecast matters more. How much longer Winter will be has to wait until the weekend. I remember how cranky the six-week thing made my dad. He’d always say, there’s always six weeks of Winter remaining on February 2nd! I guess the tradition was trying to say how rough those last weeks will be.

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The 1860 gubmint of Texas shows how “free” speech is

My immediate guess is that the Texas Republicans are building up a distraction so the Corporate-Owned Media (COM, my new term because Eric Alterman a NeoLiberal racist and establishmentarian can kiss my Leftist ass!) will not see how the Lege will piss away the budget surplus. With the bingo-card choices via their bullshit Culture Wars, I’m going with their usual…subsidizing billionaires/megacorporations in order to “create” shit-wage jerbs! When in reality, it’s destroying thousands of better-paying jerbs from other states, preferably Yankee ones and sticking Texans with the bill. Past examples, the PBA (Pro Bowlers Association), Toyota and Caterpillar. Man, Dallas, what a hub of high culture The City of Hate is; it’s why many former Toyota employees went back to Cali as soon as their obligations on relocation were finished.

Anyhow, the plan is to widen punishing entities with consciences from landing state contracts; in short, if the contractor/whatever divested from fossil fuels, firearms or decided Israel shouldn’t continue drifting into an apartheid state…well, that’s violating those three’s “Freedom of Speech,” as how the Republicans see it. I love how there’s a loophole allowed for the accused to prove any withdrawals were based upon poor profits. Given how the US is a major exporter of oil now (thanks Obama) and Latin America’s best source for guns, there should be a high hurdle for the GOPs’ buddies to clear. The immediate hope we have for Israel to turn it around and rejoin the liberal democracies of the EU (Amerika too) is to have Netanyahu arrested and put in prison. He’s corrupt and dirty; the majority of Israel deserves a better prime minister. So, I’m guessing building for-profit prisons and settlements in the occupied territories gets a better return than what my 401K is pulling.

You can read more about it here. All part of why the Republicans will fight to the end to prevent Texas from a professional full-time lege like California, New York and Illinois. It’s going so great having a legislature composed of mainly rich assholes who can afford the staggering cost of campaigning given the paltry compensation in return.

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Happy Caturday, from these two terrorists

Last week, we hosted these two little jerks at our house since the “kids” had nowhere else to hide them for reasons best not stated.

Above is the misleading, adorable Morpheus who has a beautiful gray coat with spots. He resembles a gray leopard so he’s a rare cat unless you probably find the right breeder. Morph wasn’t thrilled to be removed from his regular environment. After giving up on the bedroom because Jennifer wasn’t always around to “protect” him from the more curious others, he chose to use the kitchen cabinets as a roost to know when an “attack” was heading his way. For his going-away present, he took a big steaming dump in the car before returning to hang with his brother Orion. When he’s comfy, he’s just a nice old cat asking for scritches.

Since Orion didn’t cooperate, we were forced to take in Totoro who is also a terrible asshole bully with any cats. He proved to be of no exceptions in our house. To give you an idea how bad, he guarded two food dishes and wouldn’t allow the usual residents to eat without a fight. He cut Isis’ ear. I think he gave Agamemnon a new scar below his ear. Nubby is too stupid to do anything. Vegas already knows he’s trouble. Metztli doesn’t take much crap but she decided to let this baby have his bottle. With humans, Totoro can be somewhat better and he’s quite vocal.

I’m just grateful, our five are rather mellow and tend to keep to themselves if they hate each other. However, it’s always cute to see Isis and Agamemnon team up for warmth, lying around or grooming. Not sure if Metztli will ever given in. It’s too late with Vegas and Nubby, the former is too old, set in his ways and the latter has only a few good brain cells.

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Some people just won’t let Natural Selection do its job!

This is a rather stupid warning. A better one would’ve been to remember removing said hangar from your clothing before putting it on as I fell victim to that dumb move when putting on a hockey jersey in a rush, completely forgetting it was a nice plastic hangar from my closet. Meanwhile, how would someone swallow this thing whole to get the Looney Tunes comic effect?

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You miss one meeting and you get left out of the agenda!

Definitely some very good satire! Even the craziest KKKristian knows we don’t eat babies, many Atheists are annoying and pushy Vegans since there’s more enjoyment in ruining the consumption of meat!

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Super Retro Milwaukee Admirals jersey spotted

Spotted this at a recent Stars game! The wearer said it wasn’t an original but a re-release. It’s still pretty cool as it harkens back to when Milwaukee continued to tough it out in the IHL, competing alongside the AHL/NHL duopoly. The character definitely resembles an admiral much better the latter incarnations the franchise has gone with: a horrible design inspired by Tim Burton and now a skull thing which has more in common with pirates.

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The upcoming D&D movie will debut at SXSW

This is rather mixed news to me. Unlike the very loud minority of Gamers whining about “their culture” was hijacked by popular shows like Big Bang Theory (barely seen) and the novel Ready Player One (great book, crappy movie), I don’t have a problem. Besides, now the lily White Gamers can see how Black Americans felt when Vanilla Ice became a big deal! I don’t mind D&D stuff being more widely available and it warms my heart every time I witness more women playing or running the game! Same goes for non-Whites and transgendered people.

The down sides? Number one: I have absolutely no idea why the people behind the movie chose SXSW given how most industry assholes attending rarely play or did when they were in the “cool kids” clique or being their toadies. Hell, they’re not terribly smart managing SXSW’s core point: music and other forms of media. Number two: This is going to be a terribly crappy film. Hear me out. I saw the trailer and it screams, “LAZY HEIST MOVIE” or “OCEAN’S 11 with ELVES!” A friend said, isn’t that what D&D is about? My response was “rarely.” After how embarrassingly dumb the first flick was in 2000, it’s a good thing The Lord of the Rings succeeded. Others love to dump on The Hobbit and they’re only right on how it could’ve been just one long movie or two, three forced Jackson to seriously pad the story.

Anyway, a D&D movie shouldn’t be any different than a standard Fantasy movie. The only elements making it particular to the game are specific monsters, races and maybe throw in the game’s “celebrities” most know, aka Elminster or Vecna. TSR seemed to have the same struggle year’s ago when they made initial efforts into publishing fiction…just write a story without blatantly calling out game elements. It comes off stilted, dorky and too mercenary. Back in my GDW days, we often laughed at one in which the wizard practically said, “Stand back, I shall now cast Tenser’s Floating Disc!” I came across one in a Dark Sun novel I read for research too. The author flubbed a line from one of the characters and almost jumped into gaming jargon, I swear all he overlooked was stated how many hit dice the character would then have if he turned into this monster.

At its heart, Dungeons & Dragons evolved into a group storytelling game (contrary to Gygax’s adversarial nature) and a TV miniseries serves it better. Sure we have Critical Role on Amazon but let’s go with something more genuine, sincere and lost in the Fantasy. From the snippets, Critical Role is too self-aware and filled with clichés/inside jokes. In short, why Gamers got crap thrown at them during lunch hour in the cafeteria.

Do I want the movie to be a disaster? Nah. I will let the masses decide and maybe it does well enough like Star Trek or The Addams Family; they had great sequels overshadowing the mediocrity of their starts.

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January 2023 Header explanation!

Although Rio was released way back in 1982, by this time Duran Duran was all over the radio and I think they would go on to be the musical guest of SNL. What a fun talk that was with my classmates at Strake Jesuit, in short, liking them made you, what they would say in 1983…”a fag.” Uh oh, I think a Millenial’s avocado toast just went rotten. I endured because a classmate loaned me the album earlier and I really liked what I heard beyond the hits too.

Imagine what the facial reactions would be to the 40-year younger versions of those high schoolers found out when Duran Duran got inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame? I think they’d run to their Walkmen’s and start playing Pink Floyd’s The Wall at full blast, thinking it was a cure.

I also chose the album artwork for its lasting impact. Its simplicity via Nagel is what sells the image. Very few colors and lines. May be why I’m also a fan of Kevin Maguire’s art in Justice League, both capture so much expression with so little! The smiling woman conveys the playfulness of muse from the title track. It’s sad Nagel died pretty early (1984), he didn’t live long enough to see his style become one of the shorthands for “This is the 1980s!” in movies, Sitcoms or time travel.

Lastly, I though Rio was a good marker to usher the 40th anniversary of 1983 which was a rather eventful year in my life. It was filled with numerous moments of joy and sadness yet what helluva’ soundtrack…we’re all subjected to via Oldies Stations, my profuse apologies younger people. Why is it a favorite year though? I would have to say the latter half is the explanation; I feel I had discarded some emotional baggage from Springfield and with the right people, I found the upside to living in Houston.

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Not a good comparison today

Let’s get all the easy jokes out of the way!

  • That burning sensation? It’s the batteries igniting not gonorrhea, so it’s worse!
  • If you activate auto-pee, you’ll stop midstream for no reason or worse, lose control and whiz all over the people next to you!
  • Your skid marks are still not environmentally better!
  • Comes with pretentious, Libertarian asshole plates for your butt!
  • No guarantee you can be yet another, unfunny guest on SNL, Rick & Morty or The Simpsons.
  • May make you post juvenile, petty, lame things on Twitter.
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