Full-time summer now, no doubt. Temps in the 80s. Green rules all. Flowers and bushes in full splendor - the foliage of Jasperwood is uniquely timed so that something is always going off; summer is like a slo-mo fireworks exhibition. I have high hopes for the hectare of grass I planted, but I should know better. I covered the seeded area with white gauze, which has always worked before - but today I noticed the package said “DO NOT USE IN HEAT OF SUMMER.” Cue the protruding eyes and AAH-OOGAH sound effect. I will probably take up the gauze in a week and find two perfect rectangles of dead brown grass. Well, I can always claim that a square UFO landed on the lawn, and use the pictures to humiliate all those UFO believer websites. You morons think UFOs are round? That’s just what the government wants you to believe. The whole thing about the round UFOs was disinformation to cover up the truth about the square UFOs. And the reverse vampires.

To show you what a half-assed effort this whole site is: sometimes the only way I find typos and grammatical errors is by reading the sections quoted on other sites. Which is always like being caught in public with your fly open and your shirttail sticking through. (A pink shirttail.) The other day I got a letter from Instapundit, asking about an entry in the archives. He'd linked to it once upon a time, but now it was gone. Que? Seems I killed the entry when I “improved” the bleat archives last year. Since I had no record of it, I reproduced the entry from the quote on the Instapundit page that linked to my now nonexistent page - which now existed again, but only reproduced the quoted section.

The ontological implications are frightening.

I was vaguely annoyed that Google hadn’t cached the page. C’mon, guys, we depend on you for his sort of thing. We all need a personal Google, a place that automatically gathers the scraps, the flotsam, the little bits of our life that get shaved off, swept up and thrown away. That lost scrap of paper with a babysitter’s phone number? Look it up on Yougle.

It’ll never happen. It looks like the TiVo radios might be on the market soon, though. Every day I hear something that makes me wish I had rewind button. Sunday it was a top-of-the-hour national news broadcast in which the news reader was struck by the most astonishing case of gas I’ve ever heard. It was as swift and sudden as an assassin in silk slippers - he’s merrily reading along, and then BORYURPH. A stunned pause followed; the fellow said “Excuse me,” continued on, and was struck once more: GORYURGMORGH. It sounded like frogs were having an orgy in his stomach.

That’s never happened to me. Ever. I’ve never burped on the air, and frankly I don’t understand how people can let it happen. Sometimes you cough, yes; that’s what the cough button is for. (If they had a BREAK WIND button next to it, people would use it for that function instead of the cough button. People are odd that way.) I’ve never sworn on the air, either. Your brain knows better. It takes all the naughty words that make the FCC frown, puts them in a little box, and puts the box under the bed for a while.

Last weekend was rerun movie time - as I noted I saw Dog Day Afternoon for the 17th time. Also saw T2 EXTREEEEME EDITION - hadn’t seen the movie start to finish since its original run, so I was interested to see if it still held up. I’ll say this: the print is so crisp, so clear, so good, that you really can tell that they're using Arnie’s stunt double half the time. It has its moments, and it’s unfair to judge it out of its context. At the time, it was an eye-popper. But the opening sequence makes you wonder exactly how John Conner defeated the machines. After all, they had destroyed the world’s industrial infrastructure. They had hovercrafts with laser cannons. The humans had pickup trucks and machine guns. Why shoot a robot with a machine gun? It’s metal, fer chrissakes; it bounces right off. All the machines had to do to defeat humanity was show up and let them deplete their ammo. Perhaps that’s what happened; perhaps the last guy who ran out of bullets did the classic old-movie maneuver and threw the gun at a robot. And it hit the reset button that caused a cascading failure throughout the system! All the airships fell from the skies; the robots slumped over like marionettes with their strings cut. And there was great rejoicing.

I’m waiting for T4: Terminator Vs. the Alien. Tagline: face-hug this.

Cameron can direct large things, but he has a stoopid streak and a tin ear. The final shot of the melting Terminator giving the thumbs-up sucks all the coolness out of the movie. “Aliens” was the best thing in Cameron's oeuvre, I think. I’d see it on DVD, but it’s no longer available; no doubt they're making a super-expanded multi-disk Director’s Cut Extreme Expanded version with 16 commentary tracks (“Hi, I’m Dora Williams, and I played the woman glued to the wall in the Alien’s nest who said ‘kill me.’ I’ll be sharing some of my recollections with you. Okay, these are the credits . . . I’m not in them. There’s Sigourney Weaver’s name - I didn’t get to meet her, but everyone said she was nice. The caterers said she sent back her coffee once because she didn’t like cream, but she wasn’t snooty or anything . . . ”) I’ll buy it. I won’t buy #3, though. And I’d buy Alien 4 only if I was entering a bring-your-own-clay-pigeon skeet shooting competition.

Aaannnd . . . I cracked open the Special Extended Nineteen-disc DVD of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Didn’t watch the movie; I’m not sure I want to. Someday when Gnat can understand it, perhaps. I bought it for the “Roger Rabbit” shorts, which I’d never seen. I watched one. It was exhausting. It set my teeth on edge from the start, and it was mostly bad until the end. Like the movie, it was loud beyond belief and pointlessly frenetic; it JUST - KEPT - HITTING - YOU - ON - THE - HEAD with a FRYING - PAN until you gave in and said ha, ha already. As much as I enjoyed Bob Hoskins (the thinking man’s Phil Collins!) and Jessica Rabbit (jeezum crow, how many 13 year old boys spontaneously exploded in a shower of shameful meat when she did that song? ), the film is a great disappointment. The fault lies with Roger Rabbit. He’s incredibly annoying. Whenever he’s on screen it’s like you’re flossing with an emery board.

Would it be better as a CGI feature? Maybe so. Maybe the toons really needed to be three-dimensional for the idea to work.

I also watched most of “ST: Nemesis,” and I still like it. In fact I liked it a little better. Here’s a gun. Shoot me. (With the DVD you can skip the wedding sequence altogether, which helps. A lot.) The obligatory making-of featurette reminded me why I like Patrick Stewart - as he explains what his character is feeling, you get the sense that he enjoys being part of this whole Trek thing. He’s spent 15 years on the character; how many other actors get an opportunity like that? Sure, it’s all sci-fi hoo-hah, but it’s given a lot of people pleasure over the decades, and he seems grateful. The anti-Shatner.

I’m obviously just babbling here, so I should stop. One of those two-column days. Incidentally, I now have a FOURTH column, of sorts - the Sunday Backfence has been moved to the front page of the Variety section, renamed, devoted entirely to my drivel & blather, and graced with a new mug. If you want to see what I look like now, head to startribune.com/fence, and yes they require registration. It’s the way of the world. Small price to pay for no price to pay, when you think of it. Anyway - I’m trying to do something new with the standard Smiling Columnist Picture. I want people to deface it with Photoshop or some such program. Give me a funny hat. A Hitler mustache. Horns. Klingon or Andorian features. (There’s a challenge.) Every week we’ll run a new version in the newspaper. Go do it! Do it now! and send the result to fence@startribune.com.

Okay, I’m done. Time for TV and something cold & clear. See you tomorrow.

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