Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Babies the Musical, On Ice

Take any movie, cartoon, or play. Now have the players lip-synch to tinny orchestrated music. Then add ice skates.

If you're really looking for something new, turn most of the main adult characters into babies...

And voila!-- an evening of fun for the whole family.

That got me thinking about show ideas that simply didn't make the cut. Ones that were entirely too awful to even see their way to Ice Rink Glory.

And that's why I believe hidden somewhere in the bowels of a production company basement, covered with dust and cobwebs, you will find...

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Babies, the Musical, On Ice.

Naturally, with something that absolutely dreadful... that inappropriate... that tasteless-- well, I figured I'd have to try writing it up for you folks. So, here we go!

The story centers on a young Norman Bates, as Mother runs the "Bates Hotel and Daycare Center," trying to pick up extra cash. (Also rich, widowed salesmen with small children.)

The show opens as Mrs. Bates skates in, clad in her black flowered dress and shawl. We're in her creepy Victorian parlor, watching the guests' children play. In "Love Cuts Like a Knife" she sings of the challenges of being a full-time single mother/part-time serial killer...

Young Jimmy goes missing
And sweet Suzie, too
Those traveling salesmen,
They haven't a clue
So handsome, so dashing
In perma-press suits
The thing that's between us
Are these little brutes
Here Suzie, there Jimmy
You stay in the cellar
While I rhyme and make time
With this swell salesman feller
And if he protests,
well, that's so like a man!
He'll be fond of the pond
And you, Sue, an orphan

The former-Olympic-skating-hopeful playing little Norman, meanwhile, is lamenting the mysterious absence of some of his daycare friends, in his solo number, "Sing to Me."

Twinkle, twinkle little star
Did little Suzie wander far?
Why won't Jimmy play with me?

It happens like this every day
I make a friend, he goes away
And here is Norman all alone
A game to play, the kids all gone

So I'll be Jimmy
I'll be Sue
And I'll be Norman,
Also, too!

I'll never be alone again
I'll always, always have a friend
I'll sing to me
Oh, how I'll sing to me!

And donning the dress he finds in Little Suzie's left-behind luggage, Norman does a well-pointed triple-axle, a crossover and a camel spin.

Ah, but little Milton Arbogast, one of the visiting children (who will grow up to be a private investigator one day) is suspicious about what's happened to his dad, the vacuum cleaner salesman.

Slipping away, he steals Mrs. Bates' keys and unlocks the door to the mysterious fruit cellar she never allowed anyone to enter.

And there, in the half-light, he sees Suzie and Jimmy and 15 other children, tied up among the fruit crates, gagged and crying.

He frees them one by one and they form a skating conga line to sing about their trials and tribulations, kidnapped at the hand of crazy Mrs. Bates.

This forms the basis for the Caribbean-styled hit musical extravaganza, "It's the Pits."

No adult will believe us
No grownup to know what she did
They'd think we make-believed it
'Cause who would believe a kid?

But we're happy and we're free now
And we'll all run away
And get years of psychotherapy
But for now you'll hear us say,

Living in a fruit bin is the pits
Living in a fruit bin is the pits
I don't care for a pear
And apple is crapple
Living in a fruit bin is the pits

The show closes as the kids skate off to safety, picked up by a traveling band of singing nuns who, coincidentally, run an orphanage.

Mrs. Bates is left with Norman, and they conclude the production with a "Sing To Me" reprise in duet form.

Yep, I think I have clearly proven this script is one that should hide quietly among hundreds of other musical Capades, in the great warehouse of rightfully-quashed dreams...

Of course, I also don't think necessarily it's any more terrifying than seeing, say, "Dora the Explorer in Live Action"... But, hey, that's me.

So any suggestions for other "on ice" shows that should never, ever make the cut? Or do you recall seeing a show you thought was almost too bad to believe? I'd love hearing about it!


Hide the Children, Subversive Cabbages are Here!

Oh, now you've done it. And are you ever going to be sorry! Yep, life for you is never, ever going to be the same, my friend...

And I must ask-- how can you stand to sit there reading a site which is banned in some public libraries and workplaces?

Banned for being naughty and subversive and.. er, putting the toilet paper roll on in the entirely wrong direction?

The only one-- out of even the edgiest Humorblogger sites-- to be blocked from some public places tighter than an old man's fiber-free colon?

It's befouled. Can't you feel the befoulification?

Since I heard the news my site's been blocked, I've been trying to figure out just where Cabbages and I went wrong.

I mean-- how is it that a blog that talks about things like... oh, song parodies devoted to the death of a personal computer...

And getting struck in the head with sheep on Facebook...

And what classic book authors would have written if they'd blogged...?

How is this ban-worthy material? So this is the best I can determine:

  • Too many zombies. Frightened by the truth about the potential for a zombie plague, concerned parental groups wishing to turn a blind eye to possible undead infiltration, have decided to suppress critical need-to-know information regarding zombie defense and cliche prevention.

So-- hide the children. Lock your doors. And if Old King Cole Slaw starts peering through your windows, make sure the lights are off and everyone stays really, really quiet.

But if you choose to continue on as a regular reader, well, don't say I didn't warn you! You'll want to wipe that befoulification off your hands before you head off...

Here's a nice disinfectant wipe, and a cookie. There... that's better.


Hulk Versus the Telemarketers

For being on the Do Not Call list, it's incredible how they Do.

They've got their loopholes worked out to the loopholiest. So politicians can reach out and touch you...

And not-for-profits can give you a ringy-ding...

And places you only ever once bought something from six years ago can play catch-up...

Not to mention, anyone doing a survey.

"Hi, I'm from the Bielsen Ratings in BigRedTree, California? And we want to know what are the last 27 movies you've watched, in alphabetical order..."

"I don't remember what I had for lunch today. I'm sorry. I have to go."


"Hi, I'm from Gargleblatt University and we're doing a survey and want your opinions."

Swallowing a bite of the dinner that was interrupted, I'm usually full of opinions. But probably not about the topics they'd like.

Or even:

"Hi, this is a courtesy call from Bomflast about your cable. Did you know that if you combine your cable with your internet, telephone, water bill, gas bill, electricity and the tip you'd normally pay your garbage man at Christmas time--- you could get one big-giant-mondo bill from us instead? Making accepting all your hard-earned cash so much easier on our accounting department?"

"Was this that information you mailed me yesterday? And also the three messages you left on my answering machine? Oh, and also the people who stopped by personally at my door at 8pm last night?"

"Um, yeah."

"Okay, probably not interested. Thank you."

Worse is, I am becoming Not Nice about it. I mean, I usually try to treat people in these sorts of jobs with respect. After all, they're only trying to make a buck. They don't make the rules.

But I went all Hulk on a student from my alma mater last night who was just trying to get donations. Normally, I'd politely chitchat and then say I'm not interested.

But this was the second call I'd gotten that evening in a string of such calls over the week. And I'm afraid my patience was worn to "Hulk Smash" before I picked up the receiver.

She began with talking to someone else in the background, until she was sure she wasn't wasting her valuable time on dialing me. And then broke into-- "Hi!! Mr. Thorson! Er, Mrs.... Mrs. Thorson.--"

I contemplated identifying myself as the whole hoard of them, just so she'd get to the point. "Ms."

"Mrs. Thorson," she persisted, "How are you doing today?"

She waited for me to tell her how I was doing.

I waited for her to identify herself.

But she was still concerned about my welfare and wasn't about to move on because the script said, "Caller says they are fine."

I didn't. I waited some more.

She waited some more.

"What do you want?" I finally growled.

This threw off her whole spiel. I am probably now marked down in the fundraising annals of my alma mater as the meanest alumna ever.

The kind of person who'd kick the school mascot and egg passing freshman.

The conversation ended with me telling her I didn't want any, and her backing slowly away without a fight, because... well, she had to wipe the egg off before it dried, and attend to the mascot's bruised paw.

Now I know, I don't actually have to answer the phone.

But the thing is:
  1. Sometimes people I actually need to talk to call, and
  2. If the telemarketers do not get you for their courtesy calls, they will courteously call you every half hour for several hours each evening until they do

Until your eyes go red... Your skin turns green.... And eventually, you're back at "Hulk Smash" from the sheer courteousness of it all.



The Day I Hydroplaned Without a Car

Cats and dogs... The rain was coming down like cats, dogs and guinea pigs for good measure. (Nothing can output liquid like a guinea pig with an ambition.)

It was spring, in college, and I was on my way to an evening screenwriting class with a friend we'll call "Annie."

We leapt through the poodles and Persians, Annie and I-- umbrella-less and carefree. Proving once more that higher education and good sense don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. Or even live in the same neighborhood.

In fact, most of the time, good sense lived a few miles away and had to take the bus to catch up.

And it didn't have exact change.

The dorm lights this night reflected gold on the slick sidewalks of the campus. And in spite of Pittsburgh's reputation as one of the U.S.'s most rainy cities, Annie and I were still somehow surprised by the Noah-like flood conditions. (The cats and dogs were now coming down in twos.)

We were drenched in an instant.

Hair streaming in our faces, jackets plastered to our arms, the light at the corner was about to go green. And that's when I figured, if I gave it some effort, I could make it.

In my black flat shoes, I put on a burst of speed, leaving Annie soaked and blinking behind me. Yes, I sprinted, laughing as the rain slapped me in the face, and I made one great enthusiastic leap over the flowing gutters onto the sidewalk and...

That's when the world went sideways.

Physics experts would undoubtedly speak of things like speed and weight and slope and energy and friction.

I can only speak about the great whooshing sound as my feet sought traction-- and found none-- sending a shoe up and left, my bag off and right, and toes liberated from their confines and skyward.

That's when I began to make some serious distance. Because as the rain coursed off the curb and into the street, I shot up the incline in the entirely opposite direction, along with a roaring a gush of water. Warm and frothing in my wake, I body-surfed clear to the steps of Warner Hall in my own impromptu Slip-n-Slide.

By this time, the light had changed and from Annie's vantage point on the other side of the street, I was roadkill. Which would probably bum my parents out a little when she told them.

Later, she would recount tales of the sight of me, running, gliding, and accessories flying like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

But when she got to me, I was apparently still laughing. It had been like the best water-flue ride our amusement parks had to offer. I didn't even mind giving the blooper reel moment to all the cars driving by.

Once you've publicly hydroplaned, one does not speak of pride.

I do remember Annie's face peering down on me, pale, drawn, her glasses speckled with rain. "Are you all right?" she asked, breathlessly.

"That was fun!" I told her, in fits of hysterics.

Annie wasn't finding the fun herself this moment. But then she'd just made memorial service plans for me a moment or so earlier. So it was hard to switch gears.

Well, Annie grabbed my bag, and I peeled myself off the sidewalk and tracked down my shoe. The current had swept it into the gutter and was making good time toward the drain.

That's when I noticed I'd taken a large chunk out of the side of my foot.

Annie and I went to class, anyway, because, well-- I grew up with a father who felt any injury or illness could be cured by "doing a few squat thrusts." Pulled your back out? Do some squat thrusts. Have pneumonia? Do some squat thrusts.

I have no barometer for personal mercy.

And so we sat there in class and dripped, and I bled, and the professor-- having not seen anything so grotesque since we'd watched the torture scene in Marathon Man only the class before-- sent one of my classmates for some Band-Aids for me.

Funny, but I still recall the moment fondly. My foot hurt for weeks and seeped, and there was a big knob on the side of it for several years.

But the sound of the roaring water, the rush, the exhilaration...There's just nothing like the little surprises that step in, pants you, tickle your sides, and remind you you're alive.


The Bagel Shop Sketch

The Earl of Sandwich would have felt his buns deflate over the sad state of public sandwich making these days...

The following is the real-and-for-true conversation I had yesterday at the local bagel shop.

The players include Myself, your blog hostess...

The Cashier, a pleasant 20-something...

And our leading actor-- a fellow we'll call SandwichJockey, a man of about 40, whose nametag says he's an Assistant Manager.

(As far as I can tell, everyone who works there is an Assistant Manager. I guess the moment you learn to put meat between bread, they slap you on the back, and issue you your new nametag.)

Enter, the bagel shop.

SandwichJockey: Hi! (beaming smile) Can I help you?

Me: (smiling, too) Yes, thanks-- I'd like a honey grain bagel with ham and American.

SandwichJockey turns and looks confused where the honey grain bagels might be hiding. Fails to notice large sign on a bagel bin reading "Honey Grain" on it. After a small indecisive dance, suddenly spies it, and grabs a bagel.

SandwichJockey: So that's ham and...?

Me: American.

SandwichJockey: Ham and American. Do you want lettuce and tomato?

Me: Yes, please.

SandwichJockey looks up at me, confused.

Me: Lettuce and tomato-- yes, please.

SandwichJockey is still looking at me blankly. I decide to revise the way I explaining it.

Me: Lettuce and tomato are good.

SandwichJockey: So that's ham and lettuce and tomato and...

Me: And American.

SandwichJockey: American cheese?

At first I wasn't sure what to say to this. "No, an American bald eagle. With a side of Alaskan wolf, if you have it handy. "

Me (aloud): Yes, American cheese.

SandwichJockey: You want mayo?

Me: No.

SandwichJockey gives me the same perplexed look as he did over the lettuce and tomato inquisition.

Me: No. No mayo.

By this time, the cashier had popped over asking if I needed anything else. I was thinking I'd just be happy if I got my sandwich.

Cashier (to SandwichJockey): What's the sandwich? I'll ring it up.

SandwichJockey: Ham.

Me: And cheese.

SandwichJockey (wide-eyed): Cheese?

Me (prompting any inkling of recognition regarding the elaborate international cheese discussion we'd had about this just moments ago): American cheese?

SandwichJockey: Did you ask for cheese?

Me (taking a few deep breaths, wondering whether I took my blood pressure meds this morning lest I DIE waiting for my sandwich at the counter of the bagel shop): Er... yes.

SandwichJockey blinks. This is the surprise of his day. He'd never heard of such a thing. Imagine, I'd wanted cheese on the sandwich, and I claimed I'd asked for it, yet there mysteriously was no cheese on the sandwich before him.

It was at this point I expected him to pull off a mask to reveal Michael Palin of Monty Python.

I expected him to say:
"I'm sorry, madame, we are entirely out of cheese. But would you like some dead parrot on it instead? It's in season right now...

"Beautiful plumage."

SandwichJockey, grumbling, scowling, instead disassembles my sandwich to add American cheese. I get the impression he felt it took some nerve, me telling him there should be cheese on it at the last minute, when I'd never asked for any earlier.

So this leads me to the following suggestion:

If you have short-term memory challenges, perhaps you need to either reconsider a high-powered career in the fast-food customer service industry. Or write things down.

Just sayin'.

The Earl of Sandwich weeps for us all.


Classic Books Meet Reality Television

Brides at their most Tokyo-stomping -Zillaness... Spoiled heiresses sobbing over their birthday Mercedes' in the soul-crushing wrong shade of red... Betrayal and bug-eating... Dashed hopes and dancin' shoes... This is reality for today's television network programming.

But I got to thinking-- if reality television had been popular when some of our greatest fiction classics were written, how would those tales have transferred to our TV screens-- reality-style?

Well, I imagine it might go something like this...

  • Fagin's Den. Get tips on starting your own street-urchin-run, pick-pocketing business, and compete to see who Oliver Twist's Fagin will choose as his partner for the next franchise operation.

  • Big Brother: The 1984 Edition. Seven Gen Y-ers are locked in the Oceania Apartments, and compete to create the most clever government propaganda in Newspeak. Figure out which roommates secretly belong to the Inner Party, the Outer Party and who's a Prole-- all the time, trying to avoid suspicion from the Thought Police cameramen.

  • Last Mansion Standing. Poe's Ushers (Roderick and Madeline) compete against Wuthering Heights' Heathcliff and Catherine, and the House of Seven Gables' Pyncheons to see which ancestral home decays to the ground, symbollically, first.

  • Gulliver: Lilliput. This popular survival show follows hero-adventurer Gulliver, as he fights against a variety of challenges, to eventually either be crowned king of the Lilliputian society, or exiled from the country. The show's motto this season? "Lilliput Up or Shut Up." Next season, prepare yourself for Gulliver: Brobdingnag.

  • Whose Wine Was it Anyway? Oscar Wilde and P.G. Wodehouse characters trade improvisational comedic quips over dinner to see who can be more clever. Contestants are voted off the table by a live studio audience.

  • Around the World in 16 Weeks. This clever race show takes modern contestants and challenges them to get around the globe using only Victorian forms of transportation during the course of one TV season. Steam trains, hot air balloons, unicycles and crank cars are just a few of the exciting options. Winner gets 20,000 pounds and a copy of the Jules Verne novel.

  • Hitching with the Havishams. Watch as Charles Dickens' Miss Havisham plans the wedding that's never going to happen. See her isolate new bridesmaids each week, take on caterers who don't appreciate vague event deadlines, and make seamstresses cry as they can no longer patch her crumbling wedding dress.

That's about all I could come up with for today. So tell me, folks-- what must-see classic book TV did I miss?


Ah Shall Nevah Go Uncaffeinated Again!

Coffee. It shines golden light on the cobwebby corners of the ol' brain... Brings a ray of hope to otherwise gray skies... And reissues identity to that puffy, slack-jawed face staring back in the bathroom mirror.

And now the luscious lure of an outrageously good two-for-one sale-- and a shining vision of the ultimate Java Nirvana-- has led me to behavior that otherwise wouldn't have taken hold of my soul...

I have been hoarding bags of Eight O'Clock Coffee.

And by hoarding, I mean there are now enough two-pound bags of the stuff stockpiled in my basement that the U.S. could go under nuclear attack, and I could happily live down there-- high on coffee, tinned soup and laundry detergent fumes-- for the better part of a year.

Okay, so there are also spiders down there big enough to give Godzilla a decent toss-down for Tokyo. But unlike that uncompromising giant lizard, I think the spiders and I could work out some kind of accord.

My future in a post-apocalyptic society feels secure. And it is coffee that powers this positivity.

I get overwhelmed with joy just seeing those bags of coffee sitting down there. A strange contentment washes over me, knowing that my mornings will be continue to be filled with the rich, nutty pick-me-up that blows out the brain dust-- all at a fiscally-responsible price during these dark economic times.

And so at $6 (before coupon) for a huge two-pound bag of that blissful black bean... Well, my mind envisions whole towers of coffee bags, vacuum-sealed and safe, each waiting for their turn in the morning routine... waiting for their one true and glorious purpose...

I have images of Juan Valdez and a chorus of tiny little burros, nestled in lush green South American mountains, singing enthusiastic old Columbian serenades to the beauty of the first fresh-brewed cup...

Waterfalls pouring free with gorgeous deep-brown java as rainbows streak across them...

And beans whirling in a musical tribute that rivals Fred and Ginger's best work.

Oh yes, I have had a lot of coffee.

But alas, the two-for-one sale ends Wednesday. So for the next few days, my lunch break-- which usually includes a song-and-dance number in honor of the excellent salad bar-- will now include the Quest for the Eternal Bean, pre-ground, in a final attempt to secure just a few more examples of blissful enlightenment-in-a-bag.

Perhaps you might even see me, doing an impromptu Spring dance in Aisle 12, my basket runneth over with the inspiration that puts the zippity-do-dah in my days.

And yes, yes, I know-- addiction may be an ugly thing. But half-price addiction has a face that can really grow on you.

Pass me the cream and Sweet-n-Low, would you? I think I'll have another cup.


Care to discuss the beauty that is total utter caffeination? I love hearing about other folks' caffeine addictions.


When Campbell's Chunky Attacks

Alphabet that spelled trouble.... Minestrone with a mission to destroy... Or chicken noodle with some hate on...

The type of soup matters little. It's legacy lives today, in a scar for the world to see.

I know now that my doom was inevitable. See, I love soup. From bisque to beef barley, I slurp them all down with equal lunchtime gusto...

It was just a question of when the right elements would conspire to seal my fate.

Like the microwave at work-- one of those super-high-powered jobbies, where you put something in for 20 seconds and it comes out glowing green and you need to handle it with tongs.

Or the newfangled style of plastic wrap, called Press 'N' Seal. Which never states that once pressed... 'n' sealed... the wrap is rigidly unwilling to reconsider any later reassignment of its duties.

Or me, just having things other than 131 degree soup on my mind.

I'm not sure how precisely it happened. A time set too long, followed by a too-enthused tug of the Press 'n' Seal, I suppose. But in an instant, soup cascaded over my screaming hand...

Soup slid down the leg of my jeans like lava. Soup was on the floor, the cabinets, the countertops. And I shrieked like a citizen fleeing Pompei, and ran to the sink.

One of my coworkers-- we'll call him Ted-- eyed the scene with the placid observation of an old man rocking on a New England porch. "That's some hot soup," he said helpfully. "Maybe you put it in the microwave too long."

I resisted telling him what he could do with his Pepperidge Farm commentary.

Meanwhile, my friend "The Knave" came rushing in to see if I was dying, and to help clean up the soup. That moment, I even forgave him for making me listen to William Shatner sing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds during our commute. Of course, that's another story.

Together, we looked at my poor right hand, red and unnaturally shiny in the kitchenette light.

"That doesn't look good," murmured The Knave with a frown.

"Aw, the skin hasn't sloughed off," Ted replied with a wave of his own-non scalded digits.

"Hasn't sloughed off?!" I found myself saying shrilly.

The Knave may have had to hold me back, I don't remember anymore.

Now, because I'm me, the giantest nerd in all of Nerddom, I thought for some reason that I would not only finish out the work day, but I really should try to eat the rest of my soup.

To my surprise, I discovered I no longer had a taste for it. Once you've been attacked by your edibles, the magic is gone.

Within the hour, I was radiating heat like Joan of Arc on bonfire day-- and developing nice big blisters the size of grandma's button earrings. And that's when I realized, my red right hand was a ticket to anywhere I wanted to go.

A wave of the red right hand at my boss? "I'm going to leave for the day and go to the doctor's..."

"G-ah!! Go, go, go!"

A wave of the red right hand at the doctor's office receptionist? "I don't have an appointment, but can someone fit me in?"

"Ohmigawd! OH. MY. GAWD. This way! This way!"

Second degree burns.

I don't think this was quite what Nick Cave had in mind with his wickedly eerie song, somehow. But the power of the red right hand-- if not the pain-- is one I'll kind of miss.

Today, the hand is just de-pigmented to a bisque white and tans badly, giving me a spotty leprosy of sorts every summer. It's the only thing that makes me wish Michael Jackson could actually swing that comeback he's been talking about. I wouldn't mind having an excuse for a single glove.

I've finally gone back on soup, as well. Yet every now and then, when my Campbell's Chunky Chicken and Dumplings is bubbling just right, steam squeaking melodically through the Saran... if I listen very carefully I swear... I can just make out this vague haunting refrain...

You're one tiny victim
of that catastrophic can...
Burned and deflected with
a red right hand

Or, maybe it's the wind.

OH, AND BEFORE YOU GO TODAY.... Just a quick order of business-- You may have noticed, Of Cabbages and Kings now has a brand new URL of its own! Huzzah!! The blog is now officially at . So for folks who are kind enough to link to Cabbages, if you could take a moment to update your links, I'd be mightily obliged.

Thanks folks, and have a super (not souper) weekend!


If Real Life Were Like Twitter

Twitter: life, boiled down to 140-character installments.

Now, I actually have a blast on Twitter because I know interesting folks there. At any given moment, I can be chatting with a goat, a cat, a bra... Even a few actual humans (I know-- what are the odds of that online?!)... And all in five different countries at once.

Plus-- for us Brevity-Challenged-- being forced to distill ideas down to a piddly 140 characters is just good practice.

But I was thinking--what if real life were more like Twitter? How would it go?

Well, first you'd have your LitTwits, the folks who choose famous quotes as their main Tweeting style.

STEVE: "Hey, Bob-- how ya doing today?"

BOB: "'I don't care to belong to any club who'd have me as a member.' -Groucho Marx."

STEVE: "Er, well, okay, there, Bob. Good to know! How's the wife?"

BOB: "'Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.'
- Oscar Wilde"

STEVE: "Fighting again, eh? That's too bad."

Then there'd be the Helpful Resources people. You know, the people who always share the best articles and information? Only, it probably wouldn't have quite the same effect in person....

MARY: "@Alice Microsoft just released patch for firewall problem:"

ALICE: "Er, okay, thanks, Mary. I'll just jot that down on the back of this roll of TP and check it out later, when I'm less... indisposed....

You can go now, Mary, I'm good...

Mary, I know you're still there... I can see your feet."

Of course, you'd have your OverTweeters-- folks who Tweet every thought that comes into their minds, no matter how trivial. This could be entertaining to watch, if it were extended into a face-to-face situation-- particularly a quiet room.

Picture a library common area. People are gathered around tables, studying in silence and...

"I just noticed. I have funny-shaped toes! LOL!"

Everyone looks up and stares at the speaker.

"They look like little piano key mallets. They DO! Plink plink plink!"

Eyebrows are raised. Heads are shaken. The image shrugged off. The room settles into silence again.

"My son has adenoids. Adenoids. That's a funny word, isn't it?"

More stares, glares.

"You know what's another funny word? Discombobulated. Also spinach."

By now, some people are getting up and leaving-- the real life equivalent of Unfollowing. But our Stream-of-Consciousness Sharer merrily shares on...

"I need to buy ice cream. What kind should I buy?"

Finally someone pipes up:

"You should buy yourself a big half-gallon of KeepItToYourselfLady. People are trying to concentrate around here."

And what about Re-Tweeting? That is, the Twitter-sharing of things the people you're following have just said. How would that work out in real life? Oh... I can see it now.

You're at a cocktail party. A small group of people are having a quiet little conversation. And then, four feet away, the guy next to them shouts:

"RT: @ByGeorge 'I'm using the Viagra but I wasn't expecting the side effects!'"

The cocktail party goes quiet. George's wife's goes bright red. George breaks away from the small group and slinks off to another room.

"Well... y'know... just in case you weren't following that discussion," the Retweeter explains.

So tell me, folks-- what's Tweeting you?


Cabbages First Bloggiversary Bash and a Visit to New Jack Pity

They grow up so fast, don't they? One minute, they're just a little green sprout of a blog idea, full of possibility. And the next thing you know it, they're a full-fledged cabbage with a monarchy of their own.

Yep, Old King Cole Slaw and the land of Cabbages turns one year old today!

I'd like thank each of you good folks for your kind support, for visiting, for commenting, for making me laugh (you have no idea how much I appreciate that)-- and for going along with so much weirdness three times a week, I almost have the illusion I'm fit for sane society.

My therapist will say that's progress, I think. Y'know, once I let him out of the sub-basement.

And what did Old King Cole Slaw get for his bloggiversary you ask?

A new template re-design! Yup, the nifty new template you see today, done by DesignBug, is wider and more streamlined. It also has new navigation at the top of the page, so you can check out the latest News and Cabbages Favorites from the archives, as well as subscribe to posts or comments. I hope you like it!

I have to say, that while the last year of Cabbages has just flown by, this morning was not perhaps quite the way I'd wanted to start the new one.

I've had some intriguing plague for the past five days, which has helped me demonstrate cool physics concepts like how much sneeze power (force) is required to launch an aerodynamic menthol lozenge 50 feet...

And whether nasal congestion can be used as an inexpensive window caulking. (Possibly, but it will require more testing.)

Of course, not to be deterred from going to work, and taking care of the cycle of crisis inevitably waiting for me there, I piled in my car this morning, anyway. In spite of sickness, and high winds, and darkness. I am stupid that way.

And that is when my car started making the kind of clatter and roar that even my plugged-up ears could hear. Yep, as only as can happen when you're sick and old man March wants to tweak you just that much more, I had...

A flat tire.

Now, I know how to change a tire. But the thing is, I knew how to use the jack on my old car.

And this new jack seems to have been put together by the same people who create flatpack sawboard furniture in the Far East. Little buttons press in, but levers do not lift. There is this adorable little yellow tool that appears just ready and designed to remove something, which doesn't seem to be for the tire nuts and bolts. It's very cute, like Pikachu, but not as functional.

I spent a half hour in the dark and mist and wind this morning trying to figure this out. And either my brain failed me, or the instructions did.

So in addition to thanking all you guys, this year, for visiting-- I would also like to thank the guys at the extraordinarily well-placed automotive garage two blocks from where my car died. I drove around the corner, tire a-flopping, to unexpectedly spy their shining golden lights this morning, like a beacon of hope for a healthier Goodyear...

We plaguey folks get unnecessarily emotional sometimes.

So please-- help yourself to a nice big slice of bloggiversary cake. There are virtual chips and dip, and hot-wings and libations and all sorts of goodies. Turn on the tunes, pop that lampshade on the head, and let 'er roll!

Me, I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and some cough drops and nod off here in the corner for a while...

No, don't worry-- you won't bother me.


Signs Your Evil Overlord Business is Being Hurt by the Economy

So you say you have an Evil Empire. Well, the economy's affecting everyone these days and sometimes even the best-laid plans for iron-fisted world domination and mass enslavement aren't enough.

The key is recognizing just when your nefarious power loses that special zip. So to help you along, we at Cabbages wanted to share just a few signs your Dark Overlord gig might be taking a hit from cutbacks.
  • You had plans to hold the world hostage with a giant laser. But your Evil Purchasing Department gave you a laser light pen and a Powerpoint projector.
  • Your Death Star is part of a Sheriff's Sale, being bid on by developers. Of eco-friendly condos.
  • To offset the cost of your Killer Shark Tank, you renamed it "ScaryBiteyFishWorld," wrote up some educational signage and charge admission to tourists during evil off-hours.
  • You've had to trade your black custom supercar with the rockets for something with better gas mileage. Yet you sense a loss of respect each time you alight from the used beige Camry with the "honor student" bumper sticker.
  • You've had to sell your remote secret hideout in the volcanic island and move to more economical digs. But your minions complain they can't be effectively evil working from cubes in an office park next to TGIFriday's. Morale is down.
  • Your taunting conference calls to your goody-two-shoes Arch-Nemesis are interrupted because your pre-paid phone card has run out again.
  • Your expensive exotic cat died. It has been replaced by what you insist is a "violent goldfish with a black soul." You suspect no one is buying it.
  • Elaborate torture devices are now being cleverly-crafted from leftover flat-pack pieces from the IKEA clearance area.
  • Your personal anti-gravity helicopter has been repossessed, so you hijack the local helicopter tour each time there's high-speed chase scene. You charge the tourists $10 a piece for the privilege.
  • Your mass hypnotism ray has been exchanged for a more personalized technique, involving a dangling watch and instructions to cluck like a chicken. Though this method will take somewhat longer, you assure everyone the final results are what matters.
So... anything else to help an effective super-villain identify his economic sticking points during this frustrating financial crisis? I'd love to hear 'em!


An Open Plea Regarding Catbonics

(Today's guest-poster, Miss Kitty, is editor of Mewsweek magazine
and award-winning author of
Cats are from Leo, Dogs are from Sirius .)

Spelling and grammar... The fundamentals of good communication-- right up there with a powerful swat, a loud meow and crashing through the newspaper sports section.

Humorous photos of cats are among the top searched of all items on the Internet. And cat bloggers are winning niche awards, and gaining added popularity with movie and merchandising deals...

In other words, we cats are finally beginning to take our rightful place as leaders of the civilized world.

Yet with this new influence comes a trend that detracts from our successes. Minimizes our fine minds. And is done with our own permission. Yes, I'm talking about the urban slang, "Catbonics."

Popularized in writing techniques used by the LOLCatz, catbonics has turned traditional grammar and spelling on its head. And humans lap it up like cream! ...

"I can haz" this... "I can haz" that. What you can haz, LOLCat, is a freakin' grammar book and a good solid dictionary. You know what they are. Try using them for a change! It simply isn't so very cute anymore.


I admit, I do feel passionate about this subject. But it's only because what these otherwise intelligent felines do not realize is that with every "I can haz"...

With every "wuv"...

With every desperate, needy, cutesy-wootsy way of catching human attention like some fur-and-whiskers version of "Girls Gone Wild"...

These cats are bringing the rest of us down. Subjugating us to simple court jesters whose purpose is to amuse the human king with pratfalls and willful ignorance.

I say it must be stopped and stopped now.

So for all of you connected cats out there reading today, I entreat you: stand up on your own four feet and show the world what you're really made of. You are a noble creature. Don't pander for attention. Eschew kitschy spelling and silly kitten-talk and instead, be true to yourself. Will you still be LOLing when the next generation can no longer read the writing on the Fancy Feast?

I think not.

And for the humans out there who share these photos, I leave you with this: by making us the brunt of your jokes, by finding amusement in our moment of poor coordination on the scratching post... an inadvertent slide into the refrigerator... does this say more about us?.... or about you?

And remember-- when you next can't find your Canon Powershot for a few days, and you see a flash as you trip on something on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night...? I would think long and hard about your position on this topic.

LOLHumanz might just be coming to a Blogspot this spring.

Thank you for your time today.
--Miss Kitty


Shutterbugging for Distance and Other Family Art

"Well, it might be Uncle Irvin..." Mom suggested hopefully, leaning in close to the photograph, as if proximity were the answer and not, say, use of the Hubble telescope.

She was right, though-- the bald dome rimmed in snowy hair was a reasonable clue. But it could have been Grandpa, too... Or that husband of second cousin Margie... Or brother-in-law Everett with a pink cap on.

Yep, Gramma Edna's composition style was less about facial features and more about full-body shots and aerial photography. Photo after photo showcased microscopic individuals lined up in some green field to be squinted at-- from teeny workboot to tiny cowlick.

Now, every photo promised feet in the shot. But heads, they were optional. Gramma Edna ran about a 50% chance of beheading. So at family reunions, you just can imagine we understood the value of distinctive footwear.

Ah, but such were the days before digital cameras. Today, we could have just cropped in to see cousin Jarhead's chocolate milk mustache. Or Aunt Gussie's real one. Or the logo on that flash sneaker.

Alas, all we're left with is eyestrain-- and boxes of photographs featuring people we assume are us. Could be there was a mixup at the photo lab and our memories are actually those of the Butterfield family in Iowa... we wouldn't know.

But we have to take some things on faith, I guess.

My dad, on the other hand, has always been a photographic perfectionist. Which means he would much rather have the lighting at an artistic angle-- a striking arc of brightness and shadow--

Than anyone in the photo actually looking, say... happy... or attractive...

Or, after the first 40 minutes, not thinking of shoving that zoom lens to dark, cavernous nether-regions.

So he'll stand there fiddling with the settings while aged posing family members die off, one by one... Until not one person in the pic is smiling any more.

And a few of those now suffer rigor mortis.

As a result, my growing up years include photos of Mom and I in the middle of whispering mutinous discussions. Smiles are forced, eyes mid-blink. If you look carefully, swords have been drawn from their scabbards and the plank is prepped in the background.

The Pop will gladly elaborate on how good the sunlight looks falling across its woodgrain.

It's fun, these family moments.

But, for those of us in this digital age, I wonder what we'll leave behind? Shots of questionable dinners we ordered and blogged about?...

Everyone in the family done Warhol-style?...

Embarrassing photos of our cats which we could use to blackmail them, if Mr. Fluffy had any sliver of shame?

I just hope I never go missing and they need a photo for a milk carton. I can see family and friends explaining it to the cops now:

"Well, you can have this one where her friend Photoshopped her into a zombie (no, we don't know where the original is)...

This one where she's cross-eyed and sneezing but the lighting on the landscape is simply stunning...

Or that one from '89 which is either her or a small tree. Your choice."

So tell me about the shutterbugs in your family, folks... What's on your milk carton?