Hit the Decks... and Each Other

Well what a week! The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled again Napster, NASA has landed a ship on an asteroid, and Congress is investigating to see if Bill Clinton stole enough gifts from the White House to cancel the local orphanage's next Christmas. However, none of this boring crap is important because... drumroll please... IT'S RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

Now while this may not seem like a major event to all you people not living in California and instead opting to reside in a normal state, one where "network television" doesn't mean "15 straight hours of hostage negotiations at the local Arby's drive-through," this is really big news. The amount of times it rains per year in Southern California can be easily counted on two hands, even less if you've been drinking particularly heavy. This lack of rainfall has pretty much spoiled the residents of Southern California and turned them into real weather snobs, constantly expecting every day to be sunny and 76 degrees, and for the most part, the weather conforms their expectations. I think it's a severe case of atmospheric peer pressure, one that Fred Savage and all the ABC "After School Specials" in the world can't cure.

However, there are a few days when the weather system looks down at Southern California and thinks to herself (I believe weather systems are female, as I have never ever seen a cloud with a giant floating penis), "you know, is it really worth it? Day in and day out I constantly provide these spoiled bastards with sunlight, only to have them wear sunhats and tan in medically-sealed booths. I provide them with warmth, just so they can complain about how it's one degree too hot or one degree too cold. Screw these bastards, let's see a little rain." Then all hell breaks loose and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come out of the local coffee shop to begin the destruction.

If you don't live in California, rain may not seem like that big of a deal. I lived in Missouri for 18 consecutive years and on the rare occasions when it actually failed to rain for a day, the humidity was always at least 450%, the equivalent of jumping into a hot tub for six hours. There was so much humidity floating around in the air that you could bottle and sell it as that trendy new "spring water", assuming people suddenly become interested in drinking water that tastes like a Jiffy Lube enema. Southern California is completely different in this aspect. When it rains, it's a major spectacle and people really care, as evident on the nightly news:

NEWS VOICE OVERDUB: (Stock footage of cars lying along ditches, helicopters flying around in circles, and Policemen chasing wild boars is running in the background) "Welcome to the Channel 8 6:00 News, your #1 news program in the entire world, as rated by the man sleeping in the back of the wheelbarrow on 15th Street and Pomona. Our award-winning news has been recognized for our various groundbreaking features including 'Batteries - Harmless Sources of Energy or Cancer-Causing Deathsticks?' and 'Garage Sales - Refuge of the Damned.' Please welcome the news anchor team given the 'Most Extreme Coverage of OJ Simpson Grocery Shopping Award,' Ted Donahue and Barbara Barbaras!"

(Camera zooms over to the news set where the lights are off and you can barely see the silhouettes of the two news anchors, who are shuffling papers and picking sweet and sour pork from their teeth. Lights suddenly turn on, revealing Ted Donahue and Barbara Barbaras)

TED DONAHUE: "Hello, I'm Ted Donahue." (He quickly turns his head to the right so he's staring directly at Barbara. This is done so the drunk illegal immigrant operating the camera knows that it's time to point the camera in a brand new direction)

BARBARA BARBARAS: "And I'm Barbara Barbaras. We welcome you to the six o' clock news. In a shocking development, scientists have determined that the entire Earth will explode in seven working days. However, this doesn't nearly strike as close to home as the recent rainfall in Southern California. Ted?"

DONAHUE: "Thank you Barbara. As Southern Californians may have noticed, water has been flying all over the place today, and we're not talking about water from your faucets or garden hoses. No, we are in the midst of a stage 14-F California catastrophe, what scientists dub as 'rain.' This epidemic seems to be centralized to our area, causing widespread confusion and chaos. Let's check in with our Channel 8 On-The-Spot-Instant-Location-Crisis-Correspondant-Action-Report-Anchor Clarisa McDonalds, who is probably wearing an entire wardrobe with 'CHANNEL 8' written all across it. Clarisa?"

CLARISA McDONALDS: (Standing in front of a highway median, wearing 190 pounds of Channel 8 rain slickers, hats, and umbrellas, just in case she forgets which television station she works for) "Thank you Ted. The mood here in Southern California is of extreme fear, worry, and ultimate terror." (People sitting inside cars in the background are waving and smiling) "The rain has gripped this unprepared city and turned it upside-down, resulting in mass chaos and unchecked destruction." (Random footage is shown that the film team captured while driving around town and eating Del Taco) "As you can see in this picture, there is a very deep puddle somewhere in Los Angeles. Here is an SUV driving through this puddle. Wow, look at the splash it made! Here is some rain falling vertically from the sky and landing on the ground, where it groups with other drops of rain and forms puddles like the one you just saw the SUV drive through. Since this is all so incredibly exciting and intriguing, we decided to interview some of the morons walking around in the rain like clueless idiots, so they may confirm what I just said and eat up air time."

RANDOM WOMAN WEARING ARMANI DIAMOND RAINCOAT AND PLATINUM HAIRBAND: "I don't like this rain one bit! Can't we pass a law to stop it or something? Where are all my hard earned tax dollars going to, anyway?"

McDONALDS: "...and the rain is beginning to take its toll on local area businesses." (As a general rule, EVERYTHING that EVER happens in the news "takes its toll" on local area businesses)

GUY WITH MUSTACHE, STANDING IN FRONT OF CONVERTIBLE DEALERSHIP: "Well yeah, you naturally see the sale in convertibles drop off on days when it's raining, but we more than make up for it in illegal drug trafficking. Whoops. I mean we don't make up for it in illegal drug trafficking. We make all our money through selling white babies over the Internet. Whoops."

McDONALDS: "Here is some more stock footage of items across town that are currently wet or have been wet some time in the immediate past. Here's a bench being rained on. Here's some guy running with a newspaper over his head. Oh look, it's another puddle." (SUV drives through puddle) "No wait, that's the same puddle as before. So as you can see, Ted and Barbara, the rain is causing mass havoc throughout Southern California and is turning our peaceful little town into a deathtrap, requiring major government funding to clean up and repair. Back to you, Ted."

DONAHUE: "Thank you for that groundbreaking report, Clarisa. Now let's go to our On-The-Spot-Eyewitness-Action-Extreme-Reporter Alan Fibers. Alan?"

ALAN FIBERS:(Standing in the middle of the rain like a jackass) "Thank you Ted. As you can tell, I too am standing in front of things that are becoming wet due to the rainfall. Back to you, Ted."

DONOHUE: "Thank you Alan. This unprecedented rainfall is causing the normally cautious and safe California drivers to turn into accident-prone maniacs. Let's head up to our eye in the sky, Scott Maynard, in the Channel 8 Extreme Traffic Chopper. Scott?"

SCOTT MAYNARD: "Thank you Ted."

DONOHUE: "Thank you Alan."

MAYNARD: "Thank you Barbara."

BARBARAS: "Thank you Clarisa."

McDONALDS: "Thank you Ted."

MAYNARD: "As I can see from the Channel 8 Extreme Traffic Chopper, which was recently modified to stop dropping trace amounts of Agent Orange on the highways below, every single road in the state is a complete mess. The 405 is backed up for 700 miles because a tanker trailer carrying Frosted Flakes flipped over and smashed into one of the 600 highway construction vehicles that were out trying to lay out more barbed wire on the bypass signs. The I-5 has been turned into a 'Mad Max' zone, where anything goes and hood-mounted machine guns are strongly encouraged. As always, I'd like to advise extreme caution when traveling down the highway during rainstorms. You must remember that since the roads are wet, your driving habits should change accordingly. For example, if you see a Cal-Trans worker along the road, waving orange flags at you and jumping around, don't throw your trash at him while driving 120 miles an hour. Instead, keep both hands on the steering wheel and let the passenger throw the trash at him. After all, your safety is our concern. Back to you, Ted."

DONOHUE: "Thank you Scott. And speaking of your safety, this brings us to this month's investigative report, 'Oxygen - The Invisible Killer.' Let's go to reporter Christopher Jenkins, who is probably standing in front of something wet. Chris?"

CHRISTOPHER JENKINS: "Thank you Ted."

DONOHUE: "Thank you Chris."

BARBARAS: "Thank you Alan."

With news reports like this, it's really no wonder why the citizens of Southern California panic and go insane when a little water starts falling from the sky.

What is it? It's BETTER, That's What!

Jeff K. has put the finishing touches on two brand spankin' new strips for his wonderful comic entitled, "THIS COMIC SI BETTAR THAN PENNEY ARACADE!!!" When I asked him what exactly the comic was about, he just replied with "IT'S BETTAR THAN PENNEY ARCRADE" and logged off. I'm not sure if this strip counts for his "commulity service" requirement, but hey, here it is.

ROM Renegades

What's that? Yes, the good ol' ROM Pit has been updated once again! Today's review takes a critical look at the game everybody loved to hate, Renegade. Here's a quick clip:

Anyway, when you have caused enough of the poorly dressed Asian-American men to flash / die, either a door will open or the laws of physics will once again apply, allowing you to move beyond a given portion of scenery. My only guess as to why you are being sought after by these men with blunt wooden objects is simply because they want to steal your ultra hip reddish-brown leisure suit. I assume that when one of the characters finally rips the jacket and pants from your body, you will in turn chase and attempt to beat him. Everyone wants that groovy suit! The game must never end for these crazy “Renegaders”. It is possible that you never really know who is wearing the suit. Perhaps that is what makes this game so much fun to play, or perhaps this is the wretched puzzle which keeps me up at night shaking violently?

Good lord, I knew about 50 people who owned that game, and not a single one liked it. I wonder how it got so popular in the first place. Perhaps you should read the review and try to figure it out for yourself.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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