M00SE DROPPINGS #49 July 13, 1994 AM00sing Anecdotes and Illumination By and For the Pawns

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M00SE DROPPINGS #49 - July 13, 1994 =================================== A-M00s-ing Anecdotes and Illumination By and For the Pawns of the M00se Illuminati _M00se_Droppings_ is published on the 13th of each month. Send submissions and subscription requests to wrd@beer.wa.com. All contents copyright the respective authors. More explicit copyright notice forthcoming, pending consultation with Pr0phetm00se, our resident expert. This issue is being mailed to 74 chapters of the M00se Illuminati. STAFF: Editor In Chief: Bill Dickson Assistant/News Editor: Dominic White Reviews Editor: Gary Olson IN THIS ISSUE: Editorial Notes News Droppings M00ses in the News! Reporter positions available Special Features A Rose By Any Other Name, or Divining Online Honesty The M00sey Congressional Record How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea Regular Features Ask The Sage Tracking the M00sey Age Reviews The Shadow Fun With Milk and Cheese EDITORIAL NOTES --------------- From Pickle, your Friendly Editor Hello everybody, and welcome to _M00se_Droppings_#49_. Yes, that's right, after a mere 73 months since our first issue, we are one issue shy of the big five-oh. Exciting, isn't it? So I'm pleased to announce that, as of issue #50, we will be changing the title of the newsletter to "The Gary, Eric, Dominic and Bill Follies." The publication has evolved in its time, finally settling on a format that includes frantic last-minute scrambling by four people, plus (this time) a submission from Bill's mom. We believe that the new title more accurately reflects the spirit of the newsletter, and hope that our readers will agree. Of course, if our readers ~don't~ agree, they could probably express their displeasure with the decision by hunting me down and wrapping me in a huge slice of stale Velveeta that has been soaked in city water for three days. However, I would personally prefer that they send some submissions to help round out the content of _M00se_Droppings_, making it more truly reflective of the vast variety of m00siness out there. Trust me, if I hate your submission, I won't embarrass you by publishing it. I won't even laugh at you. I'll just quietly stick it in the "use later if necessary" folder and forget about it until the Inspiration Well dries up completely. We've got a couple offers for people who want to do regular features as well (see below). Drop me a note! NEWS DROPPINGS -------------- Little turds of information for your enjoyment and edification. _M00ses_In_the_News!_ Sending out a call to all M00ses! Yes, this is to M00ses everywhere! This regular feature will let other M00ses learn about fellow members of the International M00se Illuminati and focus on those M00ses who have done something to aid in the conspiracy, no matter how mundane it might seem! Did you cause a major corporation to crumble at your feet? Did you engineer (from behind the scenes of course) the assassination of a puppet dictator of a South American nation? Did you single- handedly cause the stock market crash of '29? Did you brush your teeth this morning? If you, or any M00se you know of, did one of these, or anything else news-worthy , let me know. And remember, we here at M00se Droppings trust our fellow M00ses. And you know what that means! Yes, it means we are too lazy to chase after bothersome details such as the truth, proof, and facts. Please send any M00sey action by you or a fellow M00se that you find fit to be in "M00ses in the News," to Ickym00se (ick@artiste.wa.com) by the 10th of each month. Thank you. Bl00p! _Editorial_Positions_Available_ _M00se_Droppings_ is in need of two good m00ses. In response to great demand (the single response was positive, making for a 100% approval rating), we would like to create a new regular feature, the Superguy Review. Unlike our standard Reviews section, this will not be an analysis of the quality of Superguy stories; rather, it will be a very brief review of the month's occurrences on Superguy Digest. Sort of like _Soap_Opera_Digest_, only less incisive. The reporter in question will be expected to read Superguy regularly and thoroughly, and ~very~ briefly summarize the major events of the month's episodes in a positive light that will encourage people to subscribe to, and read, Superguy. We make no pretenses at impartiality here at _M00se_Droppings_. Our second new feature will be "Meet the M00ses," a regular interview piece. The reporter will email (or, if brave, live-chat or even phone) the subject M00se, selected at his or her discretion, and conduct some sort of interview. This will be reminiscent of the old "Meet the M00ses" feature pioneered in M00se_Droppings_#22_. Both these reporters will need to have their stories in to Pickle (wrd@beer.wa.com) on the 11th of each month. If you're interested in either of these features, please contact Pickle and let him know why he should give you the job. Bear in mind that neither position pays so much as a farthing. SPECIAL FEATURES ---------------- In this issue we have an essay on life and love on America Online from M00semom, a transcript from a secretly-taped meeting of several M00se Illuminati, and a detailed description of the life-affirming methods of making the best cup of tea you've ever had. A Rose By Any Other Name, or Divining Online Honesty ---------------------------------------------------- Part one of a two-part essay by M00semom [This article is to be first published (if they don't get any decent submissions) in Moose Droppings, the illustrious publication of the slightly anarchistic but mostly harmless Moose Illuminati, which is read by tens of persons who've not much better to do with their time, apparently, except to fish about for like-minded looneym00ses (looneym00si?) with which to commiserate. The names of the scurrilous have been changed to protect their identity. The innocent, on the other hand are precisely who I say they are, since they don't seem to give a damn. Otherwise m00sefully submitted by Deborah Kate of the M00semom persuasion.] Convinced by my son through shameless enticements, nay promises, of more frequent mail from him to me, I went, at the tender age of 46, ON-LINE. I lasted for months on AOL never using up my allotted hours and only paying the requisite $9.95 per month fee. Few letters came. Having been divorced and living on my own for two years, on the occasion of my ex-husband's announcement that he had beat me to the punch and got himself a date on-line I naturally signed on myself to investigate chat rooms, humming "Anything he can do I can do better." I hadn't a clue what I was waltzing into, I assure you. I'm a small-town M00semom, and though a long time and some distance removed from my small town roots, vestigially, at least, I'm naive as hell. So imagine my surprise when after less than a minute on-line I received a little private instant message on my screen from a fellow saying "Please tell me you're an exciting woman!" Spontaneously and enthusiastically, I replied "Please tell me you're an exciting man over 40!" It seemed cute at the moment. And this fellow took a little time to flirt before I got the gist of what was going on when he told me in anatomical precision exactly what he'd like to do to me. A little shocked, I told him off and he finally gave up and went away. I'd not yet learned the miracle of the ignore option on the screen. This sort of thing turned out not to be uncommon. During the first two weeks I was on-line I felt like the new woman in town who everyone was checking out, sizing up as prey. Sometimes people are perfectly polite and straightforward asking quickly and simply for what they want, and those tend to take a quick polite no in return very well, nod their thanks for the moment I took to reply and walk away. Some are crass, on the other hand and terribly persistent. So frustrating and annoying are these types that early in my on-line chatting I answered a simple hello from a man by snapping "I hope you're not yet another man looking for sex this morning! It's only 8goddamo'clock!" The poor fellow said, "Good grief no," went away and I never heard from him again. "Oh, great," I thought, "now I'M becoming a rude on-liner!" But just when I was fearing that I'd never figure out how this electronically oriented community operated or find intelligent, pleasant life forms within it, life on-line took a decided turn for the better. I saw a fellow named Harpmaker in a room. Having an abiding fondness for the Celtic harp, I asked him if he made the instruments. Imagine my delight when Harpmaker actually turned out to be a man who (drum roll, please) makes harps! He was in fact working on his first Celtic model but specializes in reproducing ancient Aeolian wind harps. We talked about where he lives, on a mountain outside Albuquerque, and his animals and our common love of nature, our philosophies about living. One afternoon I checked my e-mail to find a letter from Harpmaker, who was feeling very low. He'd lost his job that day. I decided to pick up the phone and tell him, in real space voice, that I got his message and that I cared and that I was available if he needed to talk. We've had some great, in-depth discussions about the nature of work in our lives and the opportunity and risk he's taking by accepting this loss of a regular, paying job, and turning harp making into his full-time livelihood. Harpmaker Bob has become a friend in a couple of very short months. Not a casual friend, but the kind I'd want my family to notify if I suddenly fell unm00sely ill. I met another man in a hot tub in an Over Forty room one night. He was singing "Down By the Old Mill Stream" and I began to (if you're on a Mac, please note the deft double entendre) chime in with alternating lines of the song. We exchanged e-mail and it seemed we could read one another like the proverbial book and yet be delighted with one another's observations and ideas. It was so obvious to each of us that we were exactly who we presented ourselves to be, that this man sent off his home and office phone numbers to me in his second letter! Like my friend Bob, Alex is also married, so this decision on his part involved a lot of trust. I mentioned that, when I sent my phone number in my next letter to him, and he simply replied "Yes, it does." This is not a naive man. This is, in fact, a lawyer in a rather highly placed state office. I value his artfully straight ahead prose on all manner of subjects, ridiculous and sublime. And I know if I needed a shoulder or his insight, he'd be there for me. I know this, because I've had occasion to find out the hard way. Our friendship is deep and solid. A third happenstance meeting led me to think a lot about who's who on-line and off. I'll call this man Tackackack. Now Tackackack sounded, and was, in fact, interesting and intelligent. But he had a notion about on-line relationships which distressed me. I'd heard it from other people before but from no one as convincingly self-indoctrinated as this man. He spoke of on-line as "up here in space" and talked about flying together and he wasn't just talking about sex, though I'm pretty sure he was getting around to that part. No, Tackackack really needed to believe that on-line represents an alternate universe where we can develop a new self- image, or remake ourselves, at least temporarily. The problem with that for me is, that it's tough enough to trust people whose faces I can see and read. Most folks don't convey through words all that I need to know to develop a trusting relationship, or they seem one way when they write, but are very different in face to face dealings. I do think that on-line chatting and e-mail provide a wonderful forum, an informal workshop if you like, for developing our communications skills and ultimately ourselves. But for me that works through extending who I really am off-line into the on-line community. One persona is quite enough for me to manage, thanks. I'm not talking about, or criticizing all the folks who have playful personas for on-line entertainment. I'm only suggesting that while humor of all kinds is a healthy part of relationships and that we certainly all have the right to "play pretend" when we want to and agree on it, there's a big old difference between entertainment and developing relationships which are meaningful and lasting. For instance, each time I'm confronted by a person who tells me that it's OK to have sex with him, or any other pretend relationship with him on-line, I have a pretty standard response. I'm not pretend. I'm real. He's real. And anything we say or do on-line together is real too. And then I remind him that I have a charge card with a verrrrry high limit and that I could be on his doorstep by morning, pretty much no matter where he is. For most people that's real enough. Some, though, insist on arguing that their concept of on-line sex is like "masturbating to a playboy magazine." (And they think this will entice me?) I gently but firmly remind them that they are speaking with a feminist who'd rather Playboy didn't exist anyhow, and point out that on-line sex is very basically different from what they describe because it's interactive. Or I assume that it should be. Would one party just sit there and let the other do all the work/play? Kind of evokes images of Lily Tomlin's telephone operator whining plaintively, "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" But back to Tackackack, if you recall him or care. One thing that had both touched and distressed me was his plea to me that he needed women friends, that he had completely given up having friendships with men, who he felt simply weren't good at it. I urged him to reconsider his position, for I, after all had already made friends with two very nice men on-line who talk with me about things which matter. Nonetheless, when he heard my arguments for extending real life to on-line he abruptly disappeared except to creep back into my mailbox one day with the news that he was having a rather sudden and intense relationship with a "wonderful woman" and he wasn't sure where it was going. He described it as scary. Tackackack is also married and encoding his correspondence lest his wife find it. (I highly recommend to him and anyone else interested in male/female communications skills, Deborah Tannen's book "You Just Don't Understand." Men are certainly capable of communicating with other men and women as friends and not solely as competitors or potential conquests. But I'll leave that discussion to Ms. Tannen's able pen.) Since then, I've met a lot of pleasant people who correspond with me occasionally or chat on-line. But the two close friends I've found are the only ones who seem always to "show up" on-line just when I need to talk to them. I've wondered how, out of 700,000 AOL members, we managed to find one another. Coincidence? Nah. Serendipity? For certain. But a well-developed sense of reading people and discerning their sincerity helps with the process of figuring out who to trust. I learned to look up personal profiles before I talk much with anyone. If they don't have one, I'm wary right away and probably will be polite but mostly ignore or avoid the individual. The on-line equivalent of "Hey, baby, what's your sign" is easy to spot because it's the same kind of line you find, well, off-line. And now I must tell you, confess, even, that in the brief time I've been learning the ropes around here, I've already (blush) fallen in love. Read the next issue, when a story of online honesty and romance is revealed, exclusively for you, dear reader, before _A_Current_Affair_ gets wind of it. The M00sey Congressional Record ------------------------------- by Big City M00se, AKA Bill Paul (ghod@drycas.club.cc.cmu.edu) Ladies and gentlem00ses, what follows is a transcript of the proceedings of the first and thus far only session of the 1st National M00sey Congress, convened on June 27th, 1994 at 3:32 PM, and recessed twenty minutes later when it became evident that the representatives were in imminent danger of missing that afternoon's episode of Animaniacs. The M00sey Congressional Record, as it's been euphemistically entitled, is reprinted here as an example to those aspiring to m00sedom and long time m00se chapters alike of precisely how not to run a government. M00ses are encouraged to study this text carefully and watch for parallels in their local and national governing bodies. In the event that such parallels are discovered, the M00sey High Command should immediately be informed, at which point absolutely no action will be taken. (No action should be required: the mere possibility of the M00sey High Command becoming involved should be enough to whip any wayward politician into line.) M00sey readers should not be alarmed by the Congress's final act, which is one of self-abolishment, for the following reasons: 1) M00sey principles strictly forbid members of the Congress from abiding by any legal decree, especially their own; and 2) Pr0phetm00se has already made it abundantly clear that the world ended some years ago, so it doesn't really matter what they do anyway. The members of the 1st Congress would like to point out that any thr0ng of sufficient size has the authority to form its own Congress for any reason, and at any time, and that each Congress has the same m00sey rights and privileges as any other, which is to say, none at all. The 1st National M00sey Congress consists of the following M00se Illuminati chapters: _Big_City_M00se_ (Bill Paul): Speaker of the apartment, representative of the state of Confusion, named official Congressional mascot over his many heated protests _Alacrity_ (John Bankert): Treasurer, Representative of the state of Housemate Loathing (reformed) _Sabre_the_Pr0phetm00se_ (Eric Alfred Burns): Representative of the state of Constantly Moving From State To State, official Congressional tea brewer, official Congressional prognosticator, also named secretary of defense by virtue of his sizeable collection of Nerf weaponry _Pickle_ (Bill Dickson): Representative of the state of Total Romantic Ineptitude, official Congressional beer supplier _SvedishM00se_ (Gary Olson): Representative of the state of Intoxication, Ladler of the sheep dip, official Congressional bribe taker _Icky-m00se_ (Dominic White): Representative of the state of Lousy Bagpipe Playing, official Congressional slut _Austerem00se_ (Evan Pongress): Representative of the state of Rigor Mortis, frequently deceased keeper of the official Congressional leather jacket _Manlym00se_ (Frank O.): Representative of the state of Unemployment, official Congressional bouncer _Also_appearing_: Gavel Boy, played by Larry 'Bud' Melman _Special_guest_defenestration_victim_: Tori Spelling Special thanks to the CIA for actually recording the proceedings, since none of the Congressional representatives thought to do it themselves, and for leaving the recordings and transcripts out in plain sight where one of our m00sey infiltrators was able to steal them. **Transcript Begins** [The Congress has convened in good sized room containing a large table with a gabardine tablecloth around which all the members of the Congress are seated, except for Big City M00se who is standing at the head of the table behind a podium. The podium is actually an empty beer keg with a board on top of it. Big City M00se is holding a gavel. Icky-m00se is sitting immediately to Big City M00se's right, followed by Pickle, SvedishM00se, Pr0phetm00se, Austerem00se, Alacrity, and Manlym00se. There's an open doorway leading out of the room not far from where Big City M00se is standing. Next to the doorway is a closed closet and next to the closet door is a window through which a city skyline is visible.] BIG CITY M00SE (rapping his gavel on the podium): Alright, alright, settle down everyone! I hereby call this, the first session of the 1st National M00sey Congress to order. [Icky-m00se turns to Big City M00se and is about to say something when Big City M00se interrupts him.] BIG CITY M00SE: Dominic, I know what you're about to say. I've made the mistake of leaving myself open for a stupid joke about ordering food, but I warn you: if so much one word escapes your lips concerning food, I'm going to crack open your skull, extract your brain, grind it into a paste and make waffles out of it. SVEDISHM00SE: Hey, that sounds good! ALACRITY: Yeah, I could go for waffles. PROPHETM00SE: Waffles all around, Bill! BIG CITY M00SE (sternly): I was making a joke: there aren't any waffles! SVEDISHM00SE: I'll have french toast then. BIG CITY M00SE: I'm sorry, Frank toasted the last Frenchman yesterday. MANLYM00SE: It was for the best guys: he was starting to go bad. ICKY-M00SE: Aren't they all. PICKLE: How about beer then? BIG CITY M00SE: Fine fine, if it'll make you all happy. [Pickle taps the center of the table and a beer tap springs up there. All of the members of the Congress, except Big City M00se, produce frosty mugs and fill up on the tasty microbrew. There is much rejoicing.] SVEDISHM00SE: I move that we begin all future Congressional meetings with a frosty mug of fine beer! PICKLE: I second that motion! BIG CITY M00SE: Very well, motion carried. (raps gavel on podium) Now then our first order of business-- PROPHETM00SE: Wait, what about our waffles? BIG CITY M00SE (angrily): There aren't any bleeding waffles! SVEDISHM00SE: I'll have french toast then. BIG CITY M00SE: Look, are we going to do something Congressional here or not? ICKY-M00SE: Can we have waffles afterwards? BIG CITY M00SE (sighs): Yes yes, after we adjourn you can do anything you want. PROPHETM00SE: Move to adjourn! BIG CITY M00SE: We can't adjourn yet! We haven't done anything! PICKLE: Well how do you expect us to get anything done when you keep going on about waffles? BIG CITY M00SE: Alright alright, no more talk about waffles, as of now, okay?! [SvedishM00se raises his hand and starts to speak.] BIG CITY M00SE (cutting SvedishM00se off): Same goes for french toast! [SvedishM00se dejectedly lowers his hand.] BIG CITY M00SE: Right, I hope that's settled. Now, since this is the first session of the Congress, our first order of business should be to create a Constitution for our M00sey Nation. MANLYM00SE: I'd like to propose an amendment! BIG CITY M00SE: Frank, we haven't even ratified the Constitution yet! ICKY-M00SE: Does that matter? BIG CITY M00SE: Hunh? ICKY-M00SE: Well, I mean, what do people most often do with constitutions? PICKLE: Hide behind them? MANLYM00SE: Amend them! PROPHETM00SE: Make waffles out of them! ICKY-M00SE: No: argue about them. Not only is it next to impossible to design a constitution that everybody will be happy with, but once it's ratified everybody winds up arguing over how to interpret it. I say constitutions are more trouble than they're worth, and that we, as M00sey elite, should set an example by not having one. ALACRITY: He has a point you know: we don't want to spend all our time arguing over a silly little thing like a constitution. PICKLE: Our constituencies would never stand for that. PROPHETM00SE: It's quite a clever idea really: it would be the only completely ambiguous constitution in existence. ICKY-M00SE: Exactly. And I have a date later so I'd much rather we just skipped the whole thing so I'll have time to get dressed. BIG CITY M00SE (scratching his head with his gavel): So what you're telling me is that you'd all prefer that we simply forget about the Constitution entirely and have just the amendments? [The other Congressional representatives offer various rumblings of agreement.] BIG CITY M00SE: Well, I'm all for saving time, of course. Right: Dominic has moved that the M00sey Constitution be nothing of the sort. Any seconds? SVEDISHM00SE: I second! BIG CITY M00SE: Very well: motion carried. [Big City M00se goes to rap his gavel on the podium and immediately discovers that he is now holding a banana. He looks down accusingly at Icky-m00se, who struggles to keep from giggling. He then tosses the banana aside and pulls a new gavel from under the back of his shirt.] BIG CITY M00SE (raps gavel and sneers at Icky-m00se): Okay, now that we have decided not to have a Constitution, I suppose it's safe to move on to the amendments. Frank, what was the amendment you wanted to propose? [Manlym00se stands and places his Large Manly Fist over his Large Manly Chest. Patriotic background music begins to play. The other representatives are transfixed by his Manly form and wait eagerly for him to speak.] MANLYM00SE: I propose that the First Amendment to the M00sey Constitution read: Congress shall make no law... [The music plays on for a few more seconds then winds down. There is a pregnant pause while the other representatives anxiously listen for further speechifying which fails to materialize.] SVEDISHM00SE: Is that it? MANLYM00SE: Yep. ICKY-M00SE: I like it! PROPHETM00SE: Yes! Its simple, yet it has broad implications on the whole of M00sey jurisprudence! PICKLE: It saves us from ever having to create a supreme court! ALACRITY: With no laws there can be no lawbreakers! SVEDISHM00SE: And no lawyers! [The representatives cheer raucously at the notion of the M00sey Nation being completely devoid of lawyers.] ALL (except Austerem00se): Yay! BIG CITY M00SE (taps his gavel on the podium and calls for quiet): Okay, let's make this official: Frank has moved that the first Amendment to the Constitution prohibit the Congress from making any more laws. SVEDISHM00SE: I second the motion! BIG CITY M00SE: Motion carried! Okay, now we have to vote: all those in favor of passing Frank's Amendment into law, signify by saying 'Aye!' ALL (except Austerem00se): Ay! BIG CITY M00SE: Those opposed, signify by saying 'Nay!' [There is no response. Big City M00se takes note of the fact that Austerem00se has failed to vote either way. He further notes that he's slumped face down onto the table.] BIG CITY M00SE: Hold it... why didn't Evan vote? [Pr0phetm00se examines Austerem00se for a moment, then sits back in his chair.] PROPHETM00SE (contritely): He's dead. BIG CITY M00SE (annoyed): What, again!? SVEDISHM00SE: He left a note here that says it's a temporary relapse and that he'll most likely be recovered in time for us to catch Animaniacs. BIG CITY M00SE: Wonderful. Wait just a minute... If he's dead, how did he finish his beer? [Big City M00se points out the empty beer mug near Austerem00se's open hand.] SVEDISHM00SE: I drank it for him. (smiles weakly) He said I could. BIG CITY M00SE: Whatever. We'll put Evan down as an abstention. Alright, we've got our First Amendment. Any ideas for our second? What will the second m00sey amendment be? Due to space restrictions, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the next issue of M00se Droppings to find out. Stay tuned, and until next time, remember: it's not so much who you confuse that counts but how you confuse them! Bl00p! How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea ---------------------------------- A M00se Survival Guide by Sabre the Pr0phetm00se Few people realize what an utterly important and vital part of life and society tea is. Tea is more than our friend, it is a taskmaster which drives evolution forward in a frighteningly Darwinian scenario which we accept all unwillingly because we are forced to. Orange Pekoe and Pekoe cut black tea (the most common tea in America, including all major brands) contains significantly more caffeine than coffee, yet does not seem to be so heavy in the drinking. This dichotomy leads people to drink too much tea without respecting its power, and then their heads explode and their stomachs melt into a festering mass of Tannic Acid. Therefore, we include this Tea Brewing Guide to help promote safe Tea Usage in 44 out of the 47 States of the Union. To brew the perfect cup of tea, you will need the following: A tin of loose tea -- preferably Twinings. This tea should be one of the following: English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, Formosa Oolong, Lapsong Souchong, Darjeeling, Prince of Wales, or China Black A copper tea kettle with a whistle attachment Six ounces skim milk warmed to room temperature A jar of honey emptied into a china pitcher Silver spoons A china teacup and saucer A sterling silver tea infuser A bone china three cup tea pot A gas stove (a lit can of sterno will ~not~ suffice) A copy of British Weekly Magazine A picture of Queen Elizabeth II A rolling pin A Hotpoint Hot Shot A tea bag (Lipton or Red Rose) A Far Side mug A working cold water tap A gallon of non-carbonated, non-flavored spring water First fill the copper kettle full to the rim with tap water. Heft the tea kettle for a few seconds. This serves to limber the muscles up. Take the full kettle of water around your home and water your plants. If you have no plants (or conversely no home) go to neighbors homes until you find plants to water. Whistle show tunes as you water the plants, but do ~not~ sing. When the copper kettle is empty, return to the area where you are making tea. Fill the pot exactly three quarters of the way full with spring water. Check the depth. Wait five minutes, to let the water and pot get to know each other a bit. If they are on friendly terms, it will make the rest of the process so much nicer. Read an article from the copy of _British_Weekly_Magazine_. This will put you in the proper mood. Turn the gas burner on to medium. The copper pot will allow for even heating, but the lower flame will promote the water to boil better. Set the pot on the flame. Make certain the whistle attachment is in place, so that you know when the water will be at a hard boil. Continue reading _British_Weekly_, occasionally humming "Hail, Britannia." Eventually, you will finish the magazine. Check the kettle. Make certain the whistle attachment is tight, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot copper. Lift the lid and glance inside. Sigh when you see the water is distinctively not boiling. Sing all the verses to "God Save the Queen" that you happen to know. Read the classifieds in _British_Weekly_. At around this time, you will hear a rustling sound from the kettle. Run over to the stove and look at it, waiting for the whistling to start and your tea adventure to begin. Wait long minutes. Check the whistle attachment again. Stick your slightly singed fingers in your mouth and lift the kettle's lid. Try to figure out what's making that rustling sound, since the water is not boiling. Put the lid back on. Take this time to measure two silver teaspoons worth of tea into the silver infuser. Try not to get upset when you spill half the tea onto the counter. Sweep it into your hand and throw it out. Measure out more. Swear as you spill that. Repeat. Again. In a huff, thrust the infuser into the tin of tea and cram it full of tea, forcing the lid of the infuser on. Check the damn kettle. Make sure the whistle attachment isn't loose. Scream as you burn your hand. Put it into a stream of cold water from the tap until your hand goes numb. Look at the picture of the Queen accusingly. The rustling sound from the pot will be quite loud. Become convinced that it's boiling and go take the lid off the kettle. Swear loudly when it isn't. Stick your finger (from your unburnt, not-numb hand) into the water. Swear unbelievably when you feel it's merely lukewarm. Replace the lid and turn the flame up as high as it will go, and pace. Begin pacing faster -- fast enough to raise a sweat. Start singing "God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols at the top of your lungs. Give your picture of the Queen the finger. Start doodling on your copy of _British_Weekly_. Try to name all of the Rolling Stones. Give up, and settle for naming all of the Beatles. Failing that, just name all of the Monkees you can remember. About now the whistle attachment will begin to scream at 167 decibels, causing you to jump five feet and knock the honey over into the skim milk. Begin swearing as you try to clean up, yelling louder and louder as you try to speak over the whistle attachment. Begin to suffer hearing loss. Storm over to the stove and grab the kettle. Try to pour, but forget the damn whistle attachment is on, causing two drops of water to be the limit that will come out. Grab the whistle attachment and try to pull it off, forgetting that the copper of the kettle is currently 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Scream, throwing the searing metal from yourself as hard as you can, though not quickly enough to avoid third degree burns on your hand. Drop the kettle, causing the lid to be knocked off and two thirds of a kettle full of water at a hard boil to cascade out onto the pelvic region of your body. Scream far louder than you have ever screamed before, grabbing your rolling pin and smashing dents into the kettle. Use the pin to shatter the china teapot and cause the overfull infuser to burst like an overripe kumquat. Throw the magazine at the picture of the Queen, screaming "It's all your fault!" at the top of your lungs. Shatter the containers for the milk, honey, and the tea cup and saucer. Flatten the spoons. Hyperventilate. Fill the Far Side mug with water from the tap and dump it in the Hot Shot. Press the "Heat" button. A light will come on. Put the teabag into the mug. Chuckle at the cartoon, while trembling with hysteria. When the light goes out (about thirty seconds) place the mug under the hot shot's spout and press "Dispense." Boiling water will pour out over the tea bag. Set the mug on the counter, and methodically dunk the tea bag until the water turns a deep red color. Throw away the tea bag and sip. Realize this is the best cup of tea you have ever had. Go and watch television, sipping your perfect cup of tea and feeling better about the world. Forget about the gas stove burner still set to high. Die a horrible, fiery death in your sleep. REGULAR FEATURES ---------------- Returning again are Superguy Digest's The Sage with his omniscient advice, and Pr0phetm00se's report on the progression of the M00sey Age. Feel free to send in your questions for The Sage, care of wrd@beer.wa.com. Ask The Sage ------------ The Only Advice Column You'll Ever Need or Want by Superguy Digest's The Sage This is the Sage, welcoming you once again! As you (and I well know), I know everything! ~Everything,~ I tell you! Do you feel betrayed by so-called "psychic" phone lines? Feel tired of trying to follow the alleged "advice" given by other, lesser advice columnists? Tired of trying to get a straight answer out of that schleppy Usenet Oracle (which doesn't know ~half~ as much as I do, anyway)? Of ~course~ you are! I know! After all, I'm the Sage! I know ~everything!~ So, if you have a question for me, send it to Pickle, and he shall relay it to me! I, in turn, will answer it! Really! In the meantime, on to the questions! DEAR SAGE, I have a hunch that my husband is cheating on me. He stays late at the office every night, working on what he says is a "very important project." Yet, when he comes home, there's lipstick on his collar, the smell of perfume about his person, and lots of one, five, ten, and even twenty dollar bills tucked into his briefs. What gives? Baffled in Bali Baffled, Your husband is taking part in a management training course, to upgrade his job skills for the new employment market that will shortly be facing him. He is not cheating on you, though he once considered having a fling with his former secretary, until she told him she had stopped dating mammals. DEAR SAGE, Will I find love in my future? Desperate in Des Moines Desperate, Yes! Unfortunately, your love will be unrequited, for Regis Philbin does not know you exist. You will die lonely, but extremely rich, and the movie rights to your life will be opted to Rupert Murdoch, who will cast Grace Jones to play you, despite the fact that you are a German man. DEAR SAGE, Hey, if you know everything, why aren't you rich? Why don't you play the lottery? Cynical in 'Cisco Cynical, Ah, the voice of the hopelessly naive speaks! It is ~because~ I know everything that I do not use my omniscience for excessive monetary gain! And you should by no means play the lottery, as it virtually guarantees that you will be shot. That's all the time I have for this issue! This is the Sage, signing off! Tracking the M00sey Age ----------------------- Prophecy McNuggets for your Illumination by Sabre the Pr0phetm00se One of the saddest facts of our pathetic existence as thinking beings is the deadline. This isn't to say the deadline and resulting deadline pressure are as nasty and anti-social as true horrors of our so-called modern age like ethnic cleansing, environmental degradation, and Zima. Just that there is a certain death of the spirit that comes when a creative individual is forced into a timetable set by the vagrancies of the publishing world. Of course, these are made all the worse when the column in question is one written by a prophet, since prophets can't just drop back ten and punt. They have to be enlightened by the spirits and forces that drag them kicking and screaming to illumination. These first two paragraphs may well have told the astute reader that your resident prophet is writing this column at the very last moment. This is more true than you could know. Saddled into a mold by the arbitrary decision to encourage readers and members of the conspiracy by producing this newsletter at some form of regular intervals, the Pr0phetm00se has found himself at the eleventh hour, without so much as a glimmer as to the next morning's weather, much less insight into the coming of the M00sey Age. It would be easy to rail against the heartless nature of the editors, except the rotten bastards have cleverly been supportive. "Oh, Sabre," they say in their high pitched editor voices, "if you haven't been enlightened this month, that's quite all right. We can give The Sage another hundred lines. Don't worry about it." They'd like me to believe in their goodwill, I can tell. But they forget, I ~am~ a prophet, even if I'm not currently being enlightened. I know full well that the minute I miss one of these deadlines, this space in the Newsletter will mysteriously be taken over by a column on Gardening Tips and Philosophy. This column will be more popular than mine, and I'll be out on the street. [Note to myself: Remember to have Sabre killed Thursday. He's getting too close to the truth.] [PS - remember to remove note in final editing.] Don't kid yourselves -- with the failure of Ross "Sparky" Perot's campaign, there aren't very many gigs for professional prophets. So even if I have to do Tarot readings for the house Shrimp, there will be a prophetic column each issue, by Leviam00se. The Shrimp, by the way, exists. He is the property of the owner of the house, another M00se whose name I cannot reveal in the interests of preventing Prophetic Groupies from camping out on his lawn all night (which is what forced me out of the apartment I shared with Guardian M00se -- well, that and Guardian M00se's taste in sausage). He is a salt water Shrimp, and he is red and white. Every other day, the House Owner dutifully drips brown sludge into his fish tank and the shrimp comes bounding over, all happy tentacles and feelers, and starts lapping it up. The sludge is called "Invertebrate Formula," and is apparently very expensive. In fact, it is incredibly expensive when you figure its just mud diluted with tap water. But the Shrimp (who I call Tippy) loves it, doing his happy Shrimp dance as he sucks it down. The House Owner used to have other fish. They're all dead now. I think the sludge killed them. I ~know~ that Tippy ate them. This, to me, is exciting drama, much like a community theater production of a Nova program on Our Salty Bugs of the Deep. I should also mention that we don't have cable. Besides the House Shrimp and the House Owner, there are two cats in our happy commune. One cat's job, as near as I can tell, is to shed. He is large and white, and he sleeps nineteen hours a day on any surface that could possibly be covered in fine white hair. He is a pleasant cat who purrs often, which leads me to believe that he enjoys his work. The other cat -- the official outdoor cat -- is far less satisfied with his lot in life. I can understand this, as he is trapped on a quest for the Holy Grail, but he's been saddled with a brain the size of the mouse next to my computer. He spends every waking minute ripping from one room to the next, eagerly searching for the Holy Grail. He slides into the room, stares for a few seconds, and then completely forgets his quest. He looks aimless for a minute, perhaps cleaning himself, and then suddenly sits up, a fire in his eyes. Oh yes -- he forgot, but now he remembered -- of course... the GRAIL!!!! He then turns and runs at his top emergency speed straight back into the room he just left, and then repeats the above process. Computer users will note an infinite loop. That's nice for the computer users, since the cat has yet to figure it out. Eventually, he thinks to ask to go out, is allowed to, and then dutifully answers the call of nature and the spirit of the hunt by passing out on the lawn. So, two hard working cats, an owner, a prophet, and a Shrimp named Tippy. This is my environment. You wonder why I can't work up a decent prophecy to save my life? REVIEWS ------- Edited by Svedishm00se All reviews for future editions of M00se Droppings should be sent to me at swede@drycas.club.cc.cmu.edu, or swede@drycas.bitnet. Review anything you like - films, fanzines, deodorants, religions, and so on. You are encouraged to invent your own rating system - the more inconsistent this section is, the m00sier it is. If you are able to send your review formatted to 72 columns, please do. If not, don't worry about it - this isn't rocket science, you know. Pickle's deadline for submissions is the 11th of each month, so reviews should be in to me no later than the 9th. This month, we have a review of _the_Shadow_ by Icky-m00se, and Evan Dorkin's _Fun_with_Milk_and_Cheese_ by myself. Bl00p! The Shadow ---------- A film review by Icky-m00se Item: A movie Price: Varies with cinema Available from: Some production company of some sort Starring: Penelope Anne Miller Dr. Frank N. Furter One of those hunky Baldwin boys Upon viewing "The Shadow," I was reminded of a line from the classic (I mean 'classic' in the way that Lizzie Borden is a classic axe murderer) science fiction movie, "Plan Nine from Outer Space." That line is said with an insipid whine and goes something like this: "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" The dialogue is boring, the story is cliched to the point of being painful, and the screenplay is more dumbed down than a Jeopardy game starring the cast of _90120_. However...it looks sooooo good. I mean, they took the money they were obviously supposed to spend on scripts, line delivery classes, soundtracks, movie scores, and plastic surgery for Alec Baldwin's nose, and spent it all -- the whole wad -- on special effects and cinematography. Everything about this movie, from Miller in a skimpy negligee to Ghengis Kahn's sarcophagus to a hotel that millions of New Yorkers are unable to see, look phenomenal. It's not as stylistic as something like "Darkman," but it's ranks right up there with _Blade_Runner_ and _Brazil_ when it comes to atmosphere. (You'll notice that I didn't compare it to _Batman_ like every other hack movie critic has. Of course it's like _Batman_! The 1930's radio shows were like _Batman_ too. Amazing how _Batman_ wasn't created by Bob Kane until the mid forties. I wonder what his influences were?) So, normally, I would say avoid a movie this stupid at all costs. If you must see it, see it on video. Normally I would implore M00ses everywhere to hunt down and garrote the movie producers who demanded the screenplay to be over-simplified to the point that a...that a...that a movie producer could understand it. Normally I would say rent _Jason_and_the_Argonauts_ instead. But, alas, movies don't normally look this good, and its looks alone demand that it be viewed on the big screen. So I recommend that people see this movie, but I also recommend that you don't pay anything over bargain matinee prices, and that you scream "shut the hell up!" every time some one on the screen opens their mouth. Rebuttals are welcome and will be reprinted after they are edited into incoherence. Fun with Milk and Cheese ------------------------ A comics review by Svedishm00se Item: _Fun_with_Milk_and_Cheese_, a collection of Evan Dorkin's "Milk and Cheese" comics from the past five years or so. Price: $9.95, plus sales tax in applicable states Available from: non-sucky comic stores everywhere, or write to this address for a free catalog to order through: Slave Labor Graphics 979 S. Bascom Avenue San Jose, CA 95128 "There's this carton of milk, see, and this wedge of cheese, and they watch TV, drink beer, and yell and hit people." - Evan Dorkin, from the introduction This is one of those things that are absolutely great to experience, but when you try to explain it to anyone else, it causes their attention to wander, or they get up and leave, or, worse, listen to you indulgently while trying not to giggle out loud. I mean, how do you explain the epic violence, the ritualistic quality of each one to four page episode, the hatred, the beer, and the buckets of blood while claiming it's one of the funniest comics out there today? Answer: you don't. Milk and Cheese ("Dairy Products Gone Bad") are two characters that defy easy explanation, and would probably gouge out my eyeballs with a gin bottle if I tried. In the course of this collection, they do violence to cows, clerks, cops, book stores, the justice system, drug pushers, nuns, whole cities, malls, hospitals, bowling alleys, cars, left-wingers, right- wingers, gas station attendants, pedestrians, children, mimes, record stores, conventions, comic book readers, comedians, society in general ("See society pay! And pay! And pay!"), and many, many more deserving targets, with humor that ranges from dark satire to blatant punning, all at a furious pace. Granted, Milk and Cheese would not make very good m00ses, as they are hardly non-violent. But I think it's safe to say that a lot of m00ses would enjoy reading this collection. ADMINISTRIVIA ------------- _Subscriptions_: To subscribe to _M00se_Droppings_, send a message to Pickle (wrd@beer.wa.com), containing the subject line "subscribe M00se Droppings". To unsubscribe, use the subject line "unsubscribe M00se Droppings". _Submissions_: For a current submissions guidelines file, send a message with the subject line "submission guidelines". To send an actual submission, use the subject line "submit M00se Droppings". _Shameless_plugs_: If you enjoy _M00se_Droppings_, you may also enjoy _Superguy_Digest_, a shared-world collaborative fiction group devoted mostly to humorous superhero fiction. To subscribe, send mail to listserv@ucf1vm.cc.ucf.edu, containing the command "subscribe superguy your name here" in the body of the message. (Naturally, there are no quotes in the actual command, and you use your own name.) .. --========================_23396994==_ Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" -- William R. Dickson, M00se Illuminatus.................wrd@beer.wa.com Co-Author, Internet Explorer Kit for Macintosh........iek@tidbits.com Author, "Team Cynical," Superguy Digest....listserv@ucf1vm.cc.ucf.edu

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