Welcome again to Miscellanal, the only teen trivia column that's not only interesting to me but is recommended by my doctor.

I.D.IOTS: Modern science continues to please me with its many conveniences. Example: imagine that somebody calls you as a result of incompetent dialing. Wrong number. They apologize and hang up. They forget about it and get on with their lives. But you don't ... why should you? And, thanks to Caller ID, you have their name and number forever. And you call them periodically and remind them of what they did. You have the satisfaction of knowing that they will never again make the mistake of calling you by accident. Oh, they may call you intentionally, asking you to please leave them alone. But you are a busy man and you hang up, after of course first explaining, "Sorry: wrong number. Again."

ACHOO, BRUTUS? I've always said that the handicapped are society's true rebels - doing things their own way, ignoring convention - and now there's good news: after several fits and starts, the 1st Annual Allergy Pride Parade is finally a go. The Broadway march - which in previous years had been kiboshed by outbreaks of pollen, animal dander, lactose, and the fact that participants were allergic to each other - will be given a semblance of validity by special "allergy-victim-bashers" hired to provide heckling and to gently pelt marchers with hacky-sacks soaked in hypo-allergenic animal blood.
Now, as you know, I am not the sort of newsman who merely passes along items of miscellany. No, I do not merely inform: I teach. In the sense that I also talk about how these items of miscellany affect me emotionally. And I know what a lot of you are wondering: "Clark? Will you - given your slew of allergies, phobias and disorders - be marching in the parade? Or will you be amongst the hecklers, seeing as how your various disorders cause you to heckle, harass and generally irritate those around you, although not very effectively?" Fuck you, if you were wondering this, or if you laughed when you read it, I hope you get an allergy and die, I hate you.

BORED WITH SEATTLE DAILY; HATE SEATTLE WEEKLY: I have the rare gift for observing any sort of common, mundane thing and simply ... sensing what I don't like about it, and you'll be happy to know that I've finally discerned what I hate about Seattle Weekly's decision to inflict itself upon us free of charge. It used to cost you 75 in order to hate them for wasting your money, but it was money well-spent. Well, I still dutifully plug three quarters into the Weekly box every week, but now that it's free, my money's really wasted. I hate them so much now I can hardly write this item but I managed to.

BORED BABY BOOMER ON BOARD: Usually my praise of computers and the Internet has a forced, mildly baffled aspect to it, but I've finally found an infobahn offering that I can praise without rationalization: the new GM Virtual Test-Drive service. Yup, you can take actual, real-time test-drives in new cars using only your PC, a standard mouse, and the miracle of the Internet; the automobiles themselves - rigged up with fancy mechanisms - never leave Michigan. Why do it this way? Because, thanks to the anonymity that the Internet provides, test-drives can thus be made available to people (like me) who cannot obtain valid driver's licenses. Note: last week, while test-driving a new '97 Chevy Caprice (I was impressed with its responsiveness and comfort) I discovered another convenience afforded by this service when, purely on a whim, I steered the sporty sedan through the front window of a Dominoes Pizza in Lansing, killing two.

MOUNTAIN GROAN: When I call someone boring, I am really saying something about myself: that I am not easily amused, and that I hope for better things from you. In a way I intend it as something of a compliment: you should be flattered, really, that I took note of you long enough to achieve boredom. But some people are ruled strictly by their emotions. When, six years ago in this space, I came to the very public conclusion that I had grown bored with actress Virginia Christine (the Folger's Coffee lady, "Mrs. Olsen") I suspected it might result in the end of her career; but I did not guess that it would lead eventually to her unfortunate death last summer from cancer. She was an elderly 72. And I would just like to say to her family, assuming she had one, that if Virginia were here right now I would say to her lifeless corpse, "Virginia? I am not at all sorry for what I wrote: I long ago came to accept the sometimes grim consequences of my journalistic duties." Here I stroke her hair gently. "Virginia, although you and I never came to an agreement on the value of your work in life, I just want you to know that, for what it's worth, Virginia ... news of your death did not bore me."


Did you know that you can clean your computer keyboard - and make it smell fresher! - using simple baking soda and vinegar? That's just one of the helpful hints contained in Clark Hrumpher's new book, Loser: the Real Seattle Guide to Downloading Internet Porn. Loaded with expert tips, shared feelings, items of miscellany. Available at certain book stores.
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