Friday, March 31, 2006

Looking for Dorian Gray in all the wrong places

There is a March 16th post below about Steve Coombs, an actor who is appearing in a play in LA based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I had recently reread the book (it’s a free download) and, therefore, I read reviews of the play as I came across them on the web. Mr. Coombs plays Dorian Gray, some of the time apparently without any clothes on.

All of the reviews praise the play for being a faithful adaptation of the book. Oddly enough, however, the book has no nude scenes in it that I can recall – to the contrary, Wilde usually describes what Dorian is wearing in great detail. There are vague reference in the book to affairs with married women, and undefined relationships with men, but little if any detail is provided. The premise of the book is that Dorian’s portrait ages, and becomes grotesque because of the evil life that he leads, while he remains young and handsome.

I went to Mr. Coombs’ website to see if he looks like Wilde’s extensive description of Dorian. That is where I discovered that he lists his driver’s license on his resume. I thought that was funny and did a quick post. There was a Top Ten list with it (The Top Ten Ways To Pad Your Resume) but I removed it because a couple visitors though I was making fun of Mr. Coombs.

Over the past several days, there has been a flurry of visitors to It’s Jim via Google searching for “Steve Coombs" -- Welcome! -- but there are no nude pictures of him here.

"I can see clearly now, my pants are gone!" (April 9, 2006)
To Be or Not To Be, with marinara sauce (April 9, 2006)
The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Exhaust (April 13, 2006)

Man recuperating on mattress that attacked him..

Original post is from March 29th:

I ordered a new mattress. UPS delivered it. The mattress is in the box in the photo above. It is not a big box -- Rooty would have a hard time fitting in it (photo below).

I don't know how they got the mattress in the box. The box has been sitting on the living room floor for three days. I'm afraid to open it -- afraid it will spring out at me in one big twang!

[And, yes, I know that I have exactly the same carpeting as every Cineplex lobby in North America.]
Friday, March 31 -- I finally opened the box. As soo as I cut the plastic covering the matress, it started to swell -- they seem to have smashed all of the air out of it, then rolled it up and placed it in that box.

In the picture above, you can see how the mattress is continuing to swell, somewhat unevenly. I put a pair of glasses next to it to give some scale.

It slowly unfolded itself -- about 45 minutes -- there was no dramatic twang! It is about mattress size in the photo above.

An ill wind this way cometh, rather quickly.

It's about 1:00 AM Friday morning. The image is the National Weather Service Radar for St. Louis (with all the non-radar options turned off). It's sort of a pretty picture, unless the wind was flattening your mobile home, the hail was tenderizing your Buick, or the lightening was turning your big-screen TV into a paperweight. Rooty and I are in the blue area, just a little right of center.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Googlie Wooglie

The inner workings of Google are a strange and mysterious thing. The Googlers tweak with it's innards all the time to thwart Google-whores and click-through scam artists.

Meagan is a blogger who sometimes visits it's jim and leaves comments.
That is the only explanation I have for why a Google search of

"cyber girl Meagan from elimidate"
would rank it's jim as number one (search results).

The Google searcher was from Chicago, Illinois.

What is it?

It's about the size of a quarter -- scroll down to see.

It's a meat thermometer for steaks.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Tax Man Camest!

TurboTax and I finally finished the taxes.
I sent them off electronically.
Please send food, clothing, shelter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In case you have ever wondered....

This is what a cell phone looks like after it has been in the washing machine.

Clean, but much less functional.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"Would you like a bath tub of fries with that?"

Rooty and I just made a late-night trip to McDonald's. I ordered an Extra-Large Coke. The 19-something who working the drive-thru asked: "Do you want the 'Extra Large" or the "Extra Extra Large." I assume an Extra Extra Large Coke would come in a keg.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How does the rain always know when it's midnight?

Sunday Evening: "A 30 percent chance of showers after midnight."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Don't you hate it when people litter?

[Photo by Spencer Tunick]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This is what Dave thinks his wedding is going to be like...

For new visitors: Dave is my second cousin once removed. For a long time he has been my house-sitter and Rooty-the-Dog sitter when I'm out of town. When he talks, he uses a lot of nicknames that he has for people and places, and he makes many obscure references. I call this dave-speak.

He called Sunday evening.

Dave: How was St. Patrick's Day?

Jim: We has a good time. What did you do?

Dave: Cold Tamoles, then The Fraggles. [He had dinner at Taco Bell (which he always calls Cold Tamoles), and then drove out to Franklin County to see his fiancee -- he now refers to her, her two kids, and her two German Sheppards as "The Fraggles."]

Jim: Did she like her (engagement) ring?

Dave: Yah, she said to thank you, we should do that again, it was fun. [Dave, a friend of mine, and myself picked out the ring.]

Jim: Davie she only gets one engagement ring?

Dave: Why? She already has two, why not three? [He had me there, so I just mumbled something into the phone.]
Dave: Does Rooty miss me?

Jim: He's taken every toy out of his toy closet, maybe he thinks you're in there!

Dave: *Laugh*

Doesn't this mean just the opposite of what they want...

Isn't the cliff, you know, behind of the sign.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sleet Happens!

Rooty and I just took the trash out -- it's sleeting. The sleet is supposed to change to snow in a few hours. The irony, of course, is that it's the first day of Spring.

I don't care, however, because the threat of four or more inches of snow has resulted in my favorite annual TV news story -- people who wait until it starts to snow before they buy a snow shovel. Do they just have no sense of planning ahead?

The photo is of Rooty and I last year -- this is what it's supposed to be like by morning! I have the snow plow gassed up and I'm ready to rumble!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

For you old rock 'n rollers...

I-44 at Springfield, Missouri, before US65 was realligned.

"Although Buffalo Springfield was never a major commercial success, 'For What It’s Worth' was a legitimate hit, and the group’s reputation would only grow stronger with the later successes of its members. Stills went on to form a band with David Crosby of The Byrds and Graham Nash of The Hollies in 1968; Young launched a solo career but also seemed to take almost perverse pleasure in perpetuating his love/hate relationship with Stills by occasionally showing up to play on Crosby, Stills, and Nash albums; Furay and Messina both became founding members of Poco before going on to other things, including Furay becoming one third of the Souther, Hillman, and Furay band and Messina one half of the Loggins & Messina duo."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

My father's family is originally from Westmeath County -- from some little place near Multyfarnham. The most distant direct male ancester was born near Multyfarnham in 1807 and came to America when he was 16. He entered at New Orleans and eventually moved to Kirkwood. He drowned in the Meramec River in 1858, but only after marrying and subsequently fathering five children (one nun). His wife to be came to America in 1833 (we have no birth date). She moved with her brother from Philadelphis to St. Louis. We still have the same last name as that boy born in Westmeath County, Ireland, over 200 years ago.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Dave Free Press

I received some questions about Dave's pending nuptials.

Q. Why are they waiting so long?
A. Dave would get married immediately, especially if he could do so before he next had to do laundry, but his parents insist that they wait. There are two children (whom Dave now calls "Yahoo" and Google") and an ex-husband ("the Tootsie Pop") in the mix.

Q. Will you be in the wedding?
A. I doubt that I'll even be invited. It will take place in one of those churches where every members of the congregation is invited to every wedding. That will leave little room at the ceremony or the following reception for the groom's family -- remember, Dave is a somewhat distant relative.

Q. What do her kids think about their mother marrying Dave?
A. They think she's adopting a third child.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

St. Louis MetroLink announces plans to increase capacity while I-64/US40 is closed for three years.

Remember the Seinfeld rerun where Elaine has, err, difficulty finding a doctor to treat her rash because her first doctor wrote that she is "difficult" on her chart?

Jerry's Apartment:

Elaine walks in.

Elaine: You are not going to believe what happened to me at the doctors office today .

Jerry: Not the gown again.

Elaine: No , no . I was looking at my chart and it said I was difficult . Why would they write that?

Jerry: They have gotten to know you.

Elaine: Then the doctor writes more stuff down and doesn't even look at my rash.

George: Why don't you find a doctor that doesn't know you're difficult.

Elaine: Oh come on . I'm not difficult. I'm easy.

Jerry: Why because you dress casual and sleep with a lot of guys.

Well, life does indeed imitate art:

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 8, 2006:

Palm Beach woman sues Walgreens over insulting comments on prescription
So when the 53-year-old Palm Beach resident read the Walgreens printout attached to her prescription last week for the sleep aid Ambien, she couldn't believe her eyes. Typed in a field reserved for patient information and dated March 17, 2005, was "CrAzY!!" In another field, dated Sept. 30, 2004, it read: "She's really a psycho!!! Do not say her name too loud, never mention her meds by names & try to talk to her when ... "

The notes would have been readable on computers in any of Walgreens' 5,122 stores.

There will be a quiz later.

The official name of Rhode Island is “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Give Me That Really Old-Time Religion

Here I am standing in line in Moscow's Red Square, waiting for that old guy to finish his dive, so I can plunge head-first into ice-cold water. The air temperature in Moscow was about -22F/-30C.

Many Russians take a plunge on the feast of the Epiphany primarily because it's traditional -- and in spite of the fact that holes have to be cut in thick ice in order for them to take the dunk.

Members of the Orthodox Churches, however, hit the freezing fluid as a matter of faith -- they celebrate the Epiphany, the12th day of Christmas, as the day of the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan. Orthodox Christians believe that water from any river, pond, tap, or shower becomes Christ's Baptismal water on the Epiphany. Sometimes, a crucifix is thrown into a river or lake, and swimmers race to reach it (first photo below). Other times, a cross-shaped hole is cut in the ice and a Baptismal ritual takes place (second photo below).

You can see another example of the Baptismal ritual by clicking on the photo of the Russian paratrooper with the pained expression (third photo below), taken by Konstantin Zavrazhin, a photojournalism based in Moscow. On his site there are some amazing photos of Russian paratroopers being Baptized. Keep in mind that jumping into water that cold is usually described as like being "hit by a thousand knives." Oh, and you're right, that's not me in that line in Red Square. It is surprising, however, that my exact body double would live in Moscow.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ring, ring.

Second-cousin twice-removed Dave, my friend who used to work in a jewelry store, and myself went shopping Saturday afternoon for an engagement ring for Dave to give to his fiancee.

The conversation in the car went like this:

Jim: Davie, have you set a date?

Dave: Seattle.

This exchange prompted a very puzzled look from my friend -- but those of you who've grow accustomed to dave-speak should have know immediately that they are planning the wedding for next Valentine's Day.

Seattle -> Sleepless in Seattle -> the key date in the film, Valentine's Day

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Maybe it's why drive-up ATM's have Braille buttons...

Hundreds of school districts in Illinois, including the massive Chicago school system, require students to pass driver’s ed -- even if they are blind. That's right, we make blind kids take driver's ed -- and pass a written rules-of-the-road exam in order to graduate high school. Source: (AP)

"First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards." [Mark Twain]

Friday, March 10, 2006

"What's love got to do with it?"

Photo above -- sometimes the husband simply comes home early.

Sign here Mr. Tupic: Winning the award for stupidest lover ever is Zeljko Tupic, from Belgrade. Nothing too unusual, except that he stuck a pencil inside his penis to keep it stiff during sex. Even after an ambulance had to be called, he did not admit to what he had done until the doctor saw the pencil on an X-ray. The doctor told local reporters: "Tupic said he had no idea there were things like Viagra available but agreed that in future he will try pills before he takes any more chances with pencils." No indication as yet as to where he might stick the pills.

Dear Ricky Revenge: This story flew around the Internet on Valentines Day. If it's not true, it should be.

A Marine stationed in Afghanistan recently received a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home. It read as follows:

Dear Ricky, I can no longer continue our relationship. The distance between us is just too great. I must admit that I have cheated on you twice, since you've been gone, and it's not fair to either of us. I'm sorry. Please return the picture of me that I sent to you. Love, Becky

Following is Ricky's reply. He included 57 photographs in the envelop.

Dear Becky, I'm so sorry, but I can't quite remember who you are. Please take your picture from the pile, and send the rest back to me. Take Care, Ricky

Thursday, March 09, 2006

That Wal*Mart Cart-Fetcher Guy Would Do This!

"Belarus paratroopers pour water on themselves as they take part in 'Maslenitsa' celebrations in Minsk, March 5, 2006. Belarussians celebrate an ancient religious holiday 'Maslenitsa' (Pancake Week) ahead of the traditional Easter fast." It was 12-degrees F/-11-degrees C. (

Meanwhile, in Ekaterinburg, Russia (in the Urals), they celebrate Maslenitsa by climbing a big pole, in their underwear, as part of a Mardi-Gras-type carnival. Here are some pictures. Remember, it's really cold. Still not impressed -- wait 'til you see the size of the pole.

The Dave Shopping Network

David, second cousin once removed, called. He wants me to go with him to buy the engagement ring for his fiancee. This was part of the conversation:

Jim: Wouldn't ||||||||||||| want to go with you, and pick out her own ring?

Dave: She wants to be surprised. [I would have thought that his not having the ring when he proposed would have been surprise enough.]

Jim: What kind of ring are we looking for? [I meant antique, platinum or gold, mass-produced or one-of-a-king.]

Dave: Something portable.

And so, we enter the land of dave-speak: What is a portable engagement ring?

Is sometimes easiest to start with the negative -- "What would a nonportable engagement ring be like?" The answer would be big, really big! So, in dave-speak, a "portable ring" is one that is not big. So, we are going looking for a smallish, unobtrusive, but presumably stylish, engagement ring -- in dave-speak, something portable.

A friend of mine is going with us. For many years, she worked for a jewelry store. As a general rule, unless you are shopping for snowtires, it is always best to never send two men alone to buy anything!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is a screen test... UPDATE: 12:56 AM 3/8/06

I'm experimenting with adding video to the blog.

Click on the image to view the video -- FLASH required.

Second video -- Rooty barking at the vacuum for no particular reason.

I know it's not working properly -- on a MAC, the movie does not play at all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Would a road by any other name still dwell? recently conducted an online poll to identify the nation's wildest, weirdest and wackiest street names. The top 10 were:

10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Texas

9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.

8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.

7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.

6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.

5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston

4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.

3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)

2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.

1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.

You cannot let college students vote on things...

They're college student, they're always going to go for the joke!

Students at Hood College in Maryland recently elected a woman Homecoming King!

The classic occurred in 1968, however, when students of the University of Colorado at Boulder voted to name their new cafeteria the Alferd E. Packer Memorial Grill -- Packer's claim to fame is that in 1874 he allegedly ate five of his traveling companions. That's right, they named the school cafeteria after an admitted cannibal.

On the wall of the cafeteria is a giant map outlining Packer's travels through Colorado -- on the menu is a popular meat-filled concoction called "El Canibal."

During the trial, the judge is reputed to have said, "Damn you, Alferd Packer! There were only five Democrats in Hinsdale County and you ate them all!" Colorado has pretty much been a Red State ever since.

Monday, March 06, 2006

It's Roman Polański Day in Illinois

It's our legal holiday to honor acclaimed movie director Roman Polański -- the schools are closed, as are state government offices and some banks. Polański's many films include Oliver Twist (2005), The Pianist (2002), Tess (1979), Chinatown (1974), and Rosemary's Baby (1968). If you haven't gotten your favorite already, the shelves of the videos stores are probably completely cleared of Polański films by now.

UPDATE: I've been informed that it's not Roman Polański Day in Illinois -- the state holiday is
Casimir Pulaski Day. Well, I guess that does make more sense.

Betrothed, Bothered, and Bewildered

David, second cousin once removed, is officially engaged. She is really pretty, they look like Ken and Barbie together. She has two children, Dave refers to them as "preassembled." He calls her house "the condominium," apparently in the belief that the rest of us are as dumb as toads. She also has two German shepherds named Nitro and Glycerin. Dave calls them Fluffy and Bamm-Bamm.

Ought Goes Into Ought

There is a women's clothing size of "0" -- zero. I would have thought that even Barbie wore something greater than zero. I learned about Size 0 because Business Week reports that The Gap is going to be introducing Size 00 -- double zero, a size smaller than zero.

My shoe width is EEE, which means that I'm borderline platypus. If I were EEEE, trucks would not be able to knock me over.

Missouri and Illinois (and probably your state) are changing the mileposts on their Interstate Highways. In the original scheme, there were mileposts every, dah, mile. They were almost always just off the right-hand shoulder.

We are now getting between-mileposts mileposts, usually in the median.

Illinois is using decimals: 6.0, 6.2, 6.4, 6.8, etc.

Missouri is using fractions: 6 1/4, 6 1/2, 6 3/4, etc.

Illinois is having to put up more signs, but the math will be easier: The distance between milemarker 23 3/4 and milemarker 71 1/4 is how many miles?

This is a Googol: 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

Please note that all of the above is more interesting that last night's Oscar telecast!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

An the Oscar Wilde goes to...

"ABHORRENT: Intentional blasphemy, evil, gross immorality, falsehood, evil worldviews, and/or destructive, horrendous worldview problems... ...there are sure to be many leftwing awards for this twisted, laughable, frustrating, plotless, and boring piece of homosexual, Neo-Marxist propaganda." Part of a review of Brokeback Mountain by Ted Baehr,

I have been trying all afternoon to figure out what Neo-Marxism might be. This is what wikipedia has to say: "Neo-Marxism was a 20th century school that harkened back to the early writings of Marx before the influence of Engels which focused on dialectical idealism rather than dialectical materialism, and thus rejected the economic determinism of early Marx, focusing instead on a non-physical, psychological revolution." Unless Marx was playing with Engels' winkie, I still don't have a clue what that means, or what it has to do with that movie.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Stupid Happens

Rooty and I just went to McDonald's. On the way there, the car in front of us stopped at the traffic signal in the picture above. Stopped, and waited, and waited, although I'm not exactly sure for what. I thought about just sitting there until they turn the signal on in a few months (it's the entrance to a shopping center that's under construction) -- instead, I just honked. I think it was the right choice.

Swimmin pools, movie stars.

We-e-e-ll doggies! Doesn't it look as if they have attached a little outhouse to the back of this new house?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of The Simpsons?

Only one person out of the 1,000 Americans randomly surveyed by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum could name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

It gets worse.

Freedom of speech was recalled by 67 percent.
Freedom of religion by 24 percent.
Freedom of the press by 11 percent.
Freedom of assembly by 10 percent.
Freedom to petition for redress of grievances by 1 percent.

Almost 30 percent, however, could name all five Simpson family members or could recall the three judges on Fox TV's top-rated American Idol.

The most frequent mistake was naming the right not to incriminate yourself (it's part of the Fifth Amendment, hence the term "taking the 5th"). Other frequent mistake, saying that the right to own a pet was in the First Amendment.

I want my school tax money back!
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I'd pledge a few bucks!

Imagine that cop who last gave you a ticket, jumping half-naked into freezing water! Could there be more fun than that?

Sometimes they take the plunge dressed in little girlie costumes.

There are lots of polar bear clubs, whose members take a dip in icy water on January 1st or some other winter 's day.

Gaining less attention, but more purposeful, are the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge® to benefit Special Olympics. The dollar amounts raised are impressive. It's city cops, highway troopers, and sheriff deputies all freezing their nuggies off for a good cause. In Illinois alone, 3,925 plungers have raised nearly $1.2 million for Special Olympics in seven years.

Here is the link for the Illinois sites.
Here is the link for the Missouri site.
Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge -- Google Search Results

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Previous Posts

All Previous Posts are being converted to online book format.
Links in Sidebar.
Your browser might need a plug-in to load the book format. This will download and install in seconds.
Sorry, the online books will not work on a Mac (including mine).

Your Tax Dollars At Work (And Play)

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) has been described as a sanctimonious guy, judgmental, and he just dripped with his concern for our troops, with so much moral superior to anyone who would question the war in Iraq. Perhaps he was so in favor of the war because he was making so much money off of it.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. It came out this week in his sentencing hearing that he maintained a handwritten list of how much he would charge defense contractors to steer government dollars to them, using his seat on the Appropriations Committee.

Prosecutors will ask federal Judge Larry Burns to impose the statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The sentencing memorandum includes the California Republican's "bribery menu" (above) on one of his congressional note cards, "starkly framed" under the seal of the United States Congress.

The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe.

The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.

At one point Cunningham was living on a yacht named after him, "The Dukester," docked near Capitol Hill, courtesy of a defense company president.

Fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) faulted federal prosecutors, saying that although they probably knew about the bribe menu long ago, they are now “eking out their most damaging evidence . . . to bolster their position.”