Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Special Request
My mother will be away all of next week, traveling with her mother and sister, my grandmother and aunt, respectively. Call me a wretched son if you wish, I am dearly looking forward to the break. I love her to pieces, but I need a respite from her creeping madness and constant, corrosive worrying.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Simon & Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy in New York" from Bridge Over Troubled Water (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Entirely unrelated to the song's actual content and significance, I cannot help but think of Jack Kirby's Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Doctor Who Season Four
"Voyage of the Damned" ('07 Christmas Special)

"Partners in Crime"
"The Fires of Pompeii"
"Planet of the Ood"
"The Sontaran Stratagem" Pt. 1
"The Poison Sky" Pt. 2
"The Doctor's Daughter"
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Silence in the Library" Pt. 1
"Forest of the Dead" Pt. 2
"Turn Left"
"The Stolen Earth" Pt. 1
(to be concluded)

The Loot
A most profitable birthday, my friends! The loot flowed freely and all gifts, with one most welcome exception, were in accordance with my birthday list, officially styled, "The Summer of Indiana Jones: Mike's 2008 Birthday Wish List."

Mike Mignola, et al., The Hellboy Companion (Mom & Dad)
Mike Mignola, Hellboy: Strange Places (Mom & Dad)

{Motion Pictures & Television Series}
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
* (***censored***)
The 4400 - The Fourth Season (***censored***)

John Williams, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (***censored***)
Less Than Jake, GNV FLA (***censored***)
She & Him, Volume One (Mom & Dad)

Pan Am Washbag (The L.A.W. & Brother-in-L.A.W.)
Fancy pants grown up watch (Mom & Dad)
Largess to purchase a pair of proper running shoes (Mom & Dad)

I also received a number of birthday greetings through the Facebook... but of course the value of these is slightly, ever so slightly diminished in that the well-wishers were reminded of the occasion by that selfsame Facebook. The Sardine was the first to express her wishes for a happy birthday an hour before midnight the evening prior, and she was kind enough to ring again on the day itself, both times leaving messages on my mobile; The Guy and Dr. Hee Haw left comments here at The Secret Base; and Skeeter has declared herself a "total jerk" for not wishing me a happy birthday until yesterday. As a family we watched The Day of the Jackal after dinner (kielbasa!), cake, and presents; only later did I catch up on videotaped broadcasts of, in descending order of affection, Doctor Who, Psych, Monk, and Stargate Atlantis. 'Twas a most joyous and satisfactory last birthday of my twenties!

To any and all who feel the slightest pang of guilt over not personally expressing any birthday wishes, I have always hewed to the philosophy of Moe Syzslak, "I'm a well-wisher in that I wish you no specific harm."

There are now thirty-one years remaining until my demise, three decades and change before I become The Late Angry Man. Thirty-one years to build a career, cement a legacy, take a wife, and sire children. Eh, I'll start tomorrow. Maybe next week.

*All four came packaged in one standard-sized D.V.D. case as "4 Film Favorites"! I had not requested the Lethal Weapons, but they were a glaring whole in my woefully inadequate action film section.

The Venture Bros. Season Three
"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny"
"The Doctor Is Sin"
"The Invisible Hand of Fate"
"Home Is Where the Hate Is"
"The Buddy System"
"Doctor Quymn, Medicine Woman"
"What Goes Down, Must Come Up"
"Tears of a Sea Cow"
"Now Museum, Now You Don't"

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
She & Him, "I Thought I Saw Your Face Today" from Volume One (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "No, I couldn't help but fall in love again."

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The University of Michigan Marching Band, "Sing, Sing, Sing" from Hurrah For the Yellow and Blue (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Once upon a time, I could actually play "Sing, Sing, Sing" on my saxophone. Not well, mind you, but I could adequately play it. Ah, the halcyon days as a band geek....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXXXVII - The Short Sunderland.

Sweet fancy Moses, I love flying boats!

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Can't Get It Out of My head" (live) from Out-of-State Plates, Disc 1 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I was trying to convince myself of something, but to no avail. I do not believe my heart ever quit "The Endurance," despite public pronouncements to that effect. I misled no one more than mine own self.

Samstag, 26 Juli
Less Than Jake, "The State of Florida" from GNV FLA (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: This one goes out to The Watergirl, currently on holiday in the State of Florida, the second worst state in the Union.

"He says Florida is slowly sinking,
Sinking into the ocean.
He says the housing tracts
Are built on half facts
And the rest half fiction.


Too much too soon too little too late."

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Happy Birthday" from "Weird Al" Yankovic (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Accordion!

Donnerstag, 24 Juli
They Might Be Giants, "It's Not My Birthday" from Then: The Earlier Years, Disc Two (T.L.A.M.)


"It's not my birthday,
It's not today!
It's not my birthday,
So why do you lunge out at me?
When the world comes down
Never marvel, be around,
Though I wish you were there,
I was less than we could bear,
And I'm not the only dust
My mother raised."
Birthday Sweepstakes
And the winner is: The Sardine, who called my mobile and left a message an hour shy of midnight. Congratulations, Amanda, and thanks. Sorry I missed your call. For myself, though, though the time stamp of this post is accurate, I shan't consider it "my birthday" until I wake up in the morrow after a pleasant night's slumber. Still, in this as in so many things, it is the thought that counts.

Who loves ya, baby?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Stars My Destination

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "A Fine Day For a Parade" from Utopia Parkway (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXXXVI - The July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe (1773-1850), last King of the French (1830-48).

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Genius in France" from Poodle Hat (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny"
"The Doctor is Sin"
"The Invisible Hand of Fate"
"Home Is Where the Hate Is"
"The Buddy System"
"Doctor Quymn, Medicine Woman"
"What Goes Down Must Come Up"
"Tears of a Sea Cow"

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
New Found Glory, "All About Her" from New Found Glory (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary:I really wished they'd kept the band's name as A New Found Glory.

Sonntag, 20 Juli
They Might be Giants, "Which Describes How You're Feeling" from Apollo 18 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: A song from Apollo 18 to mark the thirty-ninth anniversary of the first Moon landing during Apollo 11. Next year, for the fortieth anniversary, we at The Secret base are going to go whole-hog, batshit nuts.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Wunder Years, "Two Sticks" from Mailorder is Still Fun!! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I assume that The Wunder Years is named after the seminal television series The Wonder Years, with the spelling having been changed for some manner of copyright issue. But, this is merely an assumption; so, I might be entirely wrong.

Fred Savage rules!

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Voyage of the Damned"

"Partners in Crime"
"The Fires of Pompeii"
"Planet of the Ood"
"The Sontaran Stratagem" Pt. 1
"The Poison Sky" Pt. 2
"The Doctor's Daughter"
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Silence in the Library" Pt. 1
"Forest of the Dead" Pt. 2
"Turn Left"

Two words: Bad Wolf.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
William Shatner, "I Can't Get Behind That" from Has Been (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Bill, can you turn around and do one more?"

"Always can do one more."

Donnerstag, 17 Juli
The Wombats, "Let's Dance to Joy Division" via iTunes, Single of the Week (T.L.A.M.)

Mittwoch, 16 Juli
Five Iron Frenzy, "Eulogy" from Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Man alive, today was surfeit with vexations.

Coming attractions: "Die Fledermaus," "Junkyard Dog," and the practical applications of "If-."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Special Request
Work continues apace on the construction of additional storage space in the attic, and my darling mother continues to contribute none of the labor. Also, ostensibly for "cost cutting" reasons she has dispensed with the services of our fortnightly cleaning lady; so, this weekend she bade me vacuum the entire ground floor and clean both bathrooms. Fine and dandy, I don't mind one bit doing by part to keep the house clean... but neither she nor my father lifted a finger for housekeeping duties. Okay, that's not strictly true, my mother did do the laundry, but I do my only laundry; her efforts benefited only those who didn't clean any toilets this weekend. So, now, in addition to doing the dishes every night, taking out the garbage, feeding the cat, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner one or two nights a week, and not burdening her with my laundry, I am responsible for cleaning the house, too? There is something else happening here; the game is afoot.

Also, a small repair to Lumi became necessary this afternoon; so, Thursday morning (Wednesday is my longest and busiest day of the week), I get to wake up at the crack of dawn and scrounge around Tiger Auto Salvage for a replacement part before work. Make no mistake, I love going to Tiger, but I really would have preferred if Lumi had waited until Friday for that particular bolt to snap in twain so that I might have taken a more leisurely sojourn to Tiger on Saturday morning.

Eye of the Tiger
Strike "feeding the cat" from the list, I mind not at all taking care of Tiger. Though, of late she has been play-biting more frequently and I simply will not stand for this. Undoubtedly, my perceptions were warped by my late, lamented Sam, who never play-bit: each of his bites was chockablock with malice. Bog, I miss that misanthropic bastard. In any event, Tiger's play-biting has been encouraged by my sister's youngest brother, who visited a few weeks hence. His house is ruled by his three cats (yes, three, qualifying him as a crazy animal person), and he seems determined to spread his anarchic philosophy to our abode. In this he shall fail, you have my guarantee.

Hot and Muggy
Yesterday was a vision. Not to bore you with anything as mundane as the weather, but if all the days between Memorial and Labor Days were as splendid as yesterday I would have far less cause for bellyaching about the sweltering summertime. Tomorrow, the hellish Floridian humidity returns. Gird thyself.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Fire In the Canyon" from Traffic and Weather (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Previously selected as a B.T.W. South Song of the Day by my then-roommate.

Montag, 14 Juli
The Aquabats!, "It's Crazy, Man!" from The Return of The Aquabats! (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Not nearly enough songs incorporate a few bars from "Pop Goes the Weasel," but, as usual, where other bands fall short, The Aquabats! pick up the slack. Awesome awesomeness!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXXXV - The now-demolished Walled City of Kowloon, Hong Kong, at the same time a nightmare and a wonderland.

The Walled City served as an inspiration for the neighborhood of "the Narrows" in Batman Begins and, I have heard, The Dark Knight, set to open at the week's end.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "I'm Impressed" from The Else (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Dr. Worm" from Severe Tire Damage (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Jubilant is no exaggeration, "Dr. Worm" is not merely grandly celebratory but jubilant!

"They call me Dr. Worm.
Good morning, how are you, I'm Dr. Worm.
I'm interested in things.
I'm not a real doctor,
But I am a real worm,
I am an actual worm.
I live like a worm.

I like to play the drums.
I think I'm getting good,
But I can handle criticism.
I'll show you what I know
And you can tell me if you think
I'm getting better on the drums.
I'll leave the front unlocked
'Cause I can't hear the doorbell.

When I get into it I can't tell
If you are watching me
Twirling the stick.
When I give the signal
My friend Rabbi Bull
Will play the solo.


Someday somebody else besides me
Will call me by my stage name,
They will call me Dr. Worm."

I hope one day to give Captain Marvel's enemy Mr. Mind, an evil telepathic worm from Venus, a foil, the virtuous Dr. Worm. Mr. Mind versus Dr. Worm for the fate of the universe, tell me you wouldn't love to read that story.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Birthday!
Happy birthday to my first friend, Dan the Man. Precisely a fortnight my senior, he and I met as soon as my family relocated from Burton to Grand Blanc, when there were only two Wilson siblings. Both fair skinned and tow-headed, as children we may very well have looked like twins. As we grew older, I grew taller, fatter, and brunette, while he stayed blonde, curse the man. A friendship this ancient requires no maintenance; were we not to speak for the next score of years he could call upon my aid and I would come running. He is my brother, nothing more and nothing less. Happy birthday, Danny!

No Space Week this evening as the broadcast consisted of In the Shadow of the Moon, which I had the fortune to see a few weeks hence on the Discovery Channel. Though the evening was still spent with my head in space, this time indulging in science fiction not science fact, another extraordinary episode of Doctor Who and another mediocre episode of Stargate Atlantis. Bog, the Doctor is brilliant!

"Voyage of the Damned"

"Partners in Crime"
"The Fires of Pompeii"
"Planet of the Ood"
"The Sontaran Stratagem"
"The Poison Sky"
"The Doctor's Daughter"
"The Unicorn and the Wasp"
"Silence in the Library"
"Forest of the Dead"

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Dance Hall Crashers, "Elvis & Me" from Honey, I'm Homely! (T.L.A.M.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

To my great joy, Space Week dominates my evenings.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Aquabats!, "Hello, Good Night!" from The Aquabats! vs. The Floating Eye of Death! and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 1 (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Aqua, "Back From Mars" via iTunes (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Back From Mars" is one of the first songs I bought through iTunes back when I first acquired my Macintosh HAL in the Fall of '06, and was the B.T.W. South Song of the Day on 30 September of that year.

Not surprisingly, one of tonight's Space Week programs was an examination of the recent Phoenix Mars Lander: ladies and gentlemen, the rarely seen commentarylink. In the words of Brisco County, Jr., "Very fancy." A Martian-themed television show and then a vaguely Martian-themed R.B.D.S.O.T.D.; I am highly impressionable and have never pretended to be otherwise.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Stars My Destination
Planning the end of an era: shuttlelink. We will revisit this in greater detail, rest assured.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Fountains of Wayne, "Lost In Space" from Utopia Parkway (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: There is a recurring theme in my fiction, men who fall in love with girls who are not quite human, be they aliens, robots, or alien robots. Probably a manifestation of the deep-seated belief that no girl I love will ever love me back.

"And she walks the earth,
But she's not from the human race.
She's a pretty little thing,
But she's lost,
Yeah she's lost in space,
Yeah she's lost in space."

I've said it before,
Utopia Parkway is such a beautifully melancholy album.
Proud Europa: Science!
And here is a microcosm of Europe's space problem: £link. The European Union, taken all together, has a significantly larger economy than the United States, but the budget spent on the E.S.A. and the various national space agencies (an expensive and irrational redundancy in my view) is an eighth of what we spend on N.A.S.A., and N.A.S.A. operates on a damn shoestring compared to what it needs. I would love nothing better than to get into a friendly space race with our European friends, but as things now stand it is no wonder we regard them, in the field of space exploration, as our funny neighbors across the way, not as true and equal partners.

Zounds, I hope they get their act together in time to make ExoMars a rousing success. (Also, I have been neglecting our own magnificent Phoenix lander and the plucky Mars rovers. I shall have to remedy that.)


Proud Europa: The Stars My Destination
An intriguing proposal: manned spaceflightlink. The only part of this article that doesn't really add up is under the "Two steps" heading. One of the proposed uses of the "A.T.V. Evolution" would be to return research and astronauts/cosmonauts. Fine and good, as the current A.T.V.s have no return capability. The ability to return a non-human load could be up and running by 2013. Again, fine and good. Here's the odd bit, human return capability is not envisioned until 2017... three years after we fully except to have the Orion spacecraft up and running, meaning the A.T.V. Evolution will fill no operational void. Make no mistake, I am all for Europe having an independent manned spaceflight ability, but let's not justify such a vehicle on the basis of false claims. The A.T.V. Evolution would be a supplement to the American Orion and Russian Soyuz (or eventual successor) vehicles, not a fill-in until the Orion is up and running.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny"
"The Doctor is Sin"
"The Invisible Hand of Fate"
"Home Is Where the Hate Is"
"The Buddy System"
"Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman"

'Tis Space Week on the Science Channel, one of the numerous offshoots of the grand and glorious Discovery Channel. I adore outer space, in the forms of both science and science fiction; so, Space Week is quite reasonably dominating my evenings for the next several nights.

Spy vs. Spy
Murder will out, you Russkie bastards. After a lengthy interval, the return of spylink.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Overrated (Everything Is)" from In With the Out Crowd (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Overrated" was previously a B.T.W. South Song of the Day, way back in November '06.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXXXIV - The Piper Alpha disaster, which claimed 167 souls, twenty years ago to the day, 6 July 1988.

Perchance to Dream
I was awakened a little before 7:30 on Saturday morning by the sound of my father working up in the attic (per the "Special Request" post from 1 July). As this was at least two hours before I intended to arise, after patronizing the water closet I settled back into a fitful sleep.

In the resulting dream, I was in 1962. And even in the dream I knew that President Kennedy had died of a massive gunshot wound in late 1963, but still I was convinced that he was going to die of poisoning on that very evening. I don't think I was part of the poisoning plot, but neither did I take any action to save him, I just knew he would be fatally poisoned. I was in a group of three, a friend and I escorting a gorgeous female acquaintance. I had no idea who the guy was, and I never saw his face, but I knew we were close friends. We bluffed our way past security - apparently, not only was the president to be poisoned, but he was on the premises - by insisting that were were well-known late 1950s/early '60s celebrities, but even in the dream I had no idea who were claimed to be, nor why our pathetic subterfuge worked. Immediately upon entering the ballroom (?) I spied the first face I recognized and declared, "Hey, there's Jose Ferrer!"

And only then did I realize that my distaff companion was Olivia Thirlby. And that's when I woke up.

Special Request
I do not write about my job because I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule. I have many, many flaws, but I always try, though sometimes I fail, to treat people as I'd like to be treated. Most people's jobs are stultifyingly dull, and I refuse to believe that my friends, who are a far more interesting group that the average slobs, have nothing better to discuss than the manifold indignities and inanities they must suffer to earn their paycheck. I wish not to hear your workplace anecdotes; so, 'tis only fair that I spare you mine.

Lots of people claim to be appalled by the party question, "So, what do you do?," but their claims are empty. I really am appalled by that question, if for no other reason that I sincerely doubt most of you are defined by your jobs. If one of you has your dream job, incredibly rewarding work you enjoy so much you can hardly believe anyone pays you do to it, you have my congratulations and my envy, though I am all too well aware that the latter is a sin. (I'm working on it.) But I know that most of you are far more interesting than the profession in which you find yourself. It is not a lack of interest in your and your life that keeps me from asking about your work, but a firm belief that you are more than the sum of your toils.

Now, once Project TROIKA comes to fruition so that it and subsequent writings migrate from the hobby realm to paying work, then I will consider revising this policy, as I will have joined the dream job set and will be ever so annoyingly eager to share my good tidings.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Your Racist Friend" from Flood (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Samstag, 5 Juli
Guster, "Great Escape" from Goldfly (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 4 Juli
Less Than Jake, "Great American Sharpshooter" from Hello Rockview (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "You didn't need her anyway!"

Also, happy birthday, America! I was very remiss in my Independence Day celebrations, though I did participate in the Fenton Freedom Festival, to be detailed later in "Vote For Kodos: All Politics Is Local."

Donnerstag, 3 Juli
Nirvana, "Lounge Act" from Nevermind (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The fully-dressed cover says it all, "The World's Mightiest Mortal is back!"

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Nirvana, "All Apologies" from In Utero (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny"
"The Doctor is Sin"
"The Invisible Hand of Fate"
"Home is Where the Hate Is"
"The Buddy System"

Holy balls! Marslink. We'll hardly need to terraform the Red Planet before founding the first Martian colonies! "I claim this land... in the name of Spain." This is so amazing. Everything is better with space. Pigs? Good. "Pigs in Space"? Awesome! Asparagus? A bore. Asparagus in space? Totally wicked!


The Stars My Destination & Proud Europa
Frogs in Spacelink. U.S.-E.U. cooperation in space: the first step to U.E.S.P.A.? (Now that is a joke only hardcore Trekkies will get.)

Dominion Day
Today is Canada Day (formerly Dominion Day)! Best wishes for a happy rip off/imitation Independence Day, America Junior! (There is something about the smugness of our brethren in the Great White North that brings out the Ugly American in me.)

Special Request
My darling mother's single least endearing trait is her penchant for devising and demanding grand home improvement projects for which she does no work. She is suddenly and inexplicably obsessed with maximizing the storage capacity of the house; to that end, the last of her youngest son's vestigial possessions still in the house are to be transported down to *shiver* Columbus. Also, my father and I have been tasked with a) rearranging the shed in the backyard for maximum efficiency and b) expanding the usable storage in the attic. This involves difficult, repetitive work in cramped, uncomfortably warm quarters. Work of which my mother shan't do a lick, though the entire endeavour is of her design. Charming.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Johnny Socko, "Hasselhoff" from Full Trucker Effect (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Feelin' more like Dave Hasselhoff every day." Or as Norm Macdonald, an apropos man to quote on Dominion Day, used to say, "And this proves what I've been saying all along: Germans love David Hasselhoff."