The Queen recently had a birthday. This is what I gave her.

As it seemed inconvenient to keep them in our bread drawer, I also built her a wormbin to keep them in.

I went with the OSCR Jr. model. The irritatingly cryptic plans are in this PDF, with useful supplemental information here.

Now, before I go on, let me assure you that this wasn’t one of those situations where I gave someone a birthday gift that I secretly wanted for myself. My wife’s hobby is gardening, mine is playing board games; thus, of the two of us, she is generally the one more enthusiastic about worm crap. My opinion of the whole enterprise was, essentially, “oh great–another 500 mouths to feed.”

But I reckoned correctly that she’d appreciate he gift. And to get the ball rolling, I took the initiative in feeding them the few few days, gathering up our our banana peels and coffee grounds, taking them out to the bin that we had parked out in the garage, and burying the foodstuffs into the bedding.

Our book on vermiculture (Worms Eat My Garbage!) suggested we save scraps for a few days, and feed them only two or three times a week. Even so, I was out there giving them three squares a day, plus in-between-meal snacks. I don’t know what got into me. My inner Jewish Grandmother rose to the occasion. I’d fix myself a huge bowl of fruit salad, take one bite, and say “Wow, I can’t take another bite. But it would be such a waste to just throw this away …” The Queen would be tossing eggshell into the garbage and I’d leap across the kitchen to intercept it. “No! No no no no, the worms!” I’d cry. “The worms can totally eat eggshells. It helps them multiple. Put it in the Tupperware container!” She’d sigh and oblige. And as soon as the Tupperware container was sealed, I’d seize it from her hands, rush to the garage, crack open the wormbin and holler “Soup’s on, my lovelies!”

When there was no food I would just go out there, peel back the bedding, and gaze upon them in adoration. I can’t say that the returned the affection. They were more, like, “Gah! Turn off that light, dumbass–we’re photophobic!”

Anyway, long story short, after about a week the ratio of decomposing advocado rinds to Eisenia fotida was about 3:1. You’d think the wrigglers would be appreciative. But no–instead they stabbed me in the back. They started inviting undesirable types into the home I had lovely crafted for them, and these guests quickly turned the joint in a sex palace. The only thing my wormbin lacked was some red lights and a Barry White soundtrack.

I discovered when I went out to check on my worms one Friday morning. I opened the bin and a large, black, cloud of insects rose ponderously from it, like that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, except with less face-melting. As the wormbin was right outside the door to the garage, and I’d left that door open, they serenely drifted into our home like a raincloud over the savanna.

And so I spent the weekend conducting the following Google searches:


"fruit flies"

"fruit flies" kitchen eliminate

how "get rid of" "fruit flies"

(kill OR eradicate OR destroy) "fruit flies"

(massacre OR slaughter) "fruit flies"

"fruit flies" death "most painful" torture


"anger management"

And for their treachery, those ingrate Drosophilidae-loving worms got their house moved to the back yard. Little bastards.

Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t hate my wormies. (I mean The Queen’s worms! They totally belong to her ! I’m just, you know, helping out with them.) And the fruit fly debacle was ultimately of my own making, as I gave them way more food than they could consume in a timely fashion.

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy: build yet more wormbins, until I have enough to process all our kitchen waste. Given that I am already in the thrall of vermimania, that might not be the rational thing to do in my situation. But when is love ever rational?

Things Not To Say

I went over to a friend’s house the other day, where we ate a bunch of pizza and then played 120 minutes of Power Grid. I knew most of the players, but two of them were a rather prim couple I had never met before.

After the game was over, I opened one of the pizza boxes and, discovering that there were still a few slices left, grabbed one.

“Hey, I’ll throw that in the microwave for you,” said my friend.

“No, thanks,” I said, and then–because it’s my standard line in situations like that–added, “I like my pizza the way I like my women.”

I didn’t have a punchline in mind when I said it. But, having set the joke up, I had no choice but to follow through. “Cold … and a few hours old.”

Update: Okay, so normally I wouldn’t post something like this here, as necropedophilia jokes rarely go over well with my typically readership. (Hi Mom! It gets worse!) But I got such a torrent of amazing alternate punchlines when I posted this elsewhere, I had no choice but to share.

  • “Bought on a street corner” (Randombit)
  • “Patted down with a napkin and folded in half” (Umrain)
  • “Shared with 3 friends” (Newbornstranger)
  • “Available by telephone and delivered by a pimply stoner in an AMC Pacer” (Walter)
  • “So hot the top slides off.” (Phil S)
  • “Hand tossed.” (Flaunted)
  • “Liberally endowed with Italian Sausage.” (Migelikor)
  • “Stacked in a corner of my fridge the following morning.” (pyrimyd)
  • “Fawned over by nerds” (Gee)
  • “Free if they don’t come within 30 minutes or less” (Melvin)

“It’s Like ‘AAAOOOooooooooooo………’ But Forever!”*

I was with a bar with a friend and, after a few beers, attempted to describe the Shepard Scale to her.

It was difficult. Eventually I pretty much gave up and resorted to Lovecraft-like allusions. “It’s like a color that shouldn’t exist,” I said. “Or an angle that doesn’t add up.”

Here is is: The Shepard Scale. Note: ogg file; profoundly unsettling; may induce insanity.

* This was Alan Taylor’s attempt at describing it.

My aunt was going through my late grandfather’s effects, and found a carbon copy of a letter he sent to US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT a few months before he died.

Grandpa's letter

Perhaps it’s best that he wasn’t around to endure the iPhone hype.

More on Grandpa’s epistles here.

The Bad Review Revue: Skanks A Million

Critics are raving over Bratz!

“Not that I was expecting much out of a movie based on a line of dolls, but …” — Richard Roeper, EBERT & ROEPER

“OMG! This movie is SO BAD! I can’t believe I just spent an hour and a half of my life, like, watching it, when I could have been totally trying on hairbands!” — Amy Biancolli, HOUSTON CHRONICLE

“As for Jon Voight’s presence as the school’s principal, one can only assume his Oscar statue is shedding actual tears.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, DAILY NEWS

“Offers supporting evidence that any film in which ‘Awesome!’ gets uttered more than three times should get a NC-17 rating, regardless of all the benefits such a move would deny the hair-extension industry.” — John Anderson, VARIETY

“I could actually feel my brain stem shrivel up as I watched it.” — Ty Burr, BOSTON GLOBE

“To the Bratz, individualism is only cool as long as it doesn’t require unfashionable pants.” — Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“On the wrong side side of the so-bad-it’s-good line.” — John Anderson, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Doesn’t have an idea in its head but still screams at the top of its lungs.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, CHICAGO READER

Bratz celebrates something even more important than good grades or good friends: the vital acquisition of totally awesome shoes.” — Connie Ogle, MIAMI HERALD

“Will rot your child’s mind, drain her soul and likely encourage early Botox dependency.” — Tom Long, DETROIT NEWS

Also: “Even Lindsay Lohan’s mug shot was made with more skill than this bottom-of-the-barrel B-movie.” Technically this is from a review of I Know Who Killed Me, but lumping Lohan in with the Bratz seems thematically appropriate. Thanks to Daniel for the tip.

Fifteen Of My Online Forum Comments, Taken Out Of Context

  • Supermarket sushi is just a scam to get you to buy supermarket Maalox.
  • The Wonderbra has brought more joy to my life than any other modern invention.
  • Interview tips: Make or three or four oblique references to your pathological enthusiasm for Cookie Crisp cereal. About six minutes into the interview cut the interviewer off mid-sentence with “look, if you’re not going to hire me just say so now and stop wasting my time.” Enclose every mention of your skills, experience, and education in airquotes.
  • Spousal apology: “I’m sorry you totally overreacted to that thing I did.”
  • I just watched The Descent!

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    It’s dumb.

  • Q: How many racists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: THATS RACIST!!!!
  • I have yet to hear an argument against public breastfeeding that can’t be boiled down to “it simply isn’t done!”
  • I’m sure If I Did It is just the first of a series of books, in which an assortment of c-level celebrities recount how they would have killed Nicole Simpson. The next one will be written by Al Molinaro.
  • To be fair, there was no way I could have known that charcoal briquettes were inedible.
  • If you receive all three of your Netflix movies on the same day, you win the company. Little known fact. It’s already changed hands four times.
  • When I see an attractive woman, I will usually follow her for a while, hoping that she will almost get hit by a car so I can rush over, push her to safety, and be a hero. If that doesn’t work I generally get in my own car and almost hit her myself, as a service to other potential suitors.
  • We tried attachment parenting for a while; now we’re giving detachment a whirl.
  • I used to think that democracy was a pretty good idea, until the Washington State Voter’s Initiative System taught me otherwise.
  • I’ve known a few people with bunnies. My general impression is that the “interesting companion to upkeep” ratio is skewed towards the latter–not that they require a lot of work, just that they aren’t terribly engaging. That said, I like the idea of a pet you could conceivably eat if things turn sour.
  • You should start a blog so we can all not read it.

See also: Fifteen Of My Metafilter Comments, Taken Out Of Context