Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday Cipher #17 - The Widow's Faulty Engine

Oh no! The widow's car won't start! If she doesn't leave soon, she'll miss the team-picking for the Girl Scouts' annual hairshirts vs. skins hockey game! As a trained masseuse you'd love to help, but the engine seems to have been replaced by a magical word puzzle! Solve the puzzle and the Girl Scouts will surely give you cookies for helping out their biggest fan!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: E equals P.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I came up with the idea for the aqualung one day as I was holding a burlap sack of kittens under the water. I thought of a way I could live underwater while these kittens died so easily." - Jacques Cousteau

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Love Critical Analysis

Here are my professional thoughts on the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" as performed by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine
I knew he must 'a been about seventeen.

The record machine? We're off to a bad start. First line and I'm confused. What the hell is a record machine? Is Joan Jett (and presumably the Blackhearts as well) in some sort of factory? I mean Factory Records started as a club called The Factory, and then the record label was called that, but I don't think there was ever an actual factory involved. Other than in the production of records of course. The physical production of records, not records being produced, like in a studio. Whatever. Either way I think this kid's gonna loose a finger in that machine. He's probably only seventeen, too, so he really shouldn't be operating machinery, let alone dancing while doing it. I mean, when I worked in a deli clerks were required to be at least 18 to operate the slicer, so I imagine the same holds true for some sort of industrial record press.

The Beat was going strong
Playin' my favorite song

This is of course a reference to British ska band The Beat, known in the states as The English Beat. They may have been playing a show in the factory. It's possible one or more of the members worked in the plant and they jammed on breaks.
[See also Mingus in the Classroom Conboy, pp 183-190]

An' I could tell it wouldn't be long
Till he was with me, yeah me

An' I could tell it wouldn't be long

Till he was with me, yeah me singin'

This concerns the aforementioned underage machinist from the first line. Joan Jett anticipates being with him in some capacity. Perhaps she's going to take him to HR and get him some safety glasses or make sure he's even allowed to operate that machine.

The machinist and his v-neck shirt

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby

A dime? I realize this song was written in 1975, but still, a dime? What did that get you, like half a song? In the mid-to-late eighties when I used to play my jams on the jukebox at Round Table Pizza I think a dollar got you five songs, so maybe that is how much one play cost in 1975. It just seems cheap to me. 10 songs for a buck? That's a lot. I think that the dime must have been the standard unit of jukebox currency for something like 70 years, and it just got you fewer and fewer plays over time. In 1940 a dime got you like 58 songs. Or a live performance of one song by the real-life Glenn Miller band. By 1975 it got you one song. Maybe not even that. Maybe she wants him to put another dime in the jukebox because the last one is almost up. It's like a peepshow booth window where you have to keep pumping in money to keep it up. [Take that last sentence however you please.] That's also why she asks for more money to be put in a number of times throughout the song. This shitty jukebox plays 18 seconds of a song before you have to feed it another dime. And it only takes one dime at a time. If you haven't heard the "time is about to expire" klaxon yet your next dime just falls through the slot, and the exit hole is about two inches off the floor so you have to pick up your dime off the nasty linoleum. While I'm talking about jukeboxes, allow me to digress.

I really dislike these newfangled Internet-connected jukeboxes that bars have nowadays. I always thought that a jukebox was a great indicator of a bar's atmosphere. If you don't like a single song on a particular bar's jukebox, you probably should not be drinking in that bar. Now the music on the bar's speakers is determined by what asshole wants to dump in money to download his jam from the Internet. I've even been to bars where a couple slots held CD's from regular patrons. Also, it seemed to me that the ability to pick a great set from whatever music the bar had available was a key skill for the habitual bar-goer. Your friends would always like to see what you picked and give props if props were deserved. I don't think it's that fun to go out and pay to listen to the same songs I would play at home from my personal music collection. Also, you never knew when your set was going to play, and it made it so much better when your songs came on. There was always a chance that some dude put like ten dollars in there right before you and your songs wouldn't come on before you left, but that was fairly rare. Now most 'boxes (that's what they call jukeboxes on the coast; they actually pronounce the apostrophe) allow you to play your song next for additional credits. Theoretically people can prevent your songs from ever being played. I've seen it happen. Some bros hang out by the 'box and talk about college and continually pay to hear that awesome Dave Matthews song next until some drunk chick wants to hear "Sweet Caroline" and your songs never come on because you decided to play fair and let the music play in the order it was put in. And this download nonsense. It enables some bad shit. I was at Don's Mixed Drinks once after it had started to go downhill and they had installed an Internet jukebox. Some hippie downloaded and "play[ed] next" a Phish song. Thanks to these contraptions the whole bar was treated to a fucking live Phish track that was seriously like 18 minutes long. I bet the hippie thought he was really clever, too. I bet he thought, "Wow, not only is this an awesome jam, but it's so long the 4 dollars I just spent is totally worth it! That's like 22 cents a minute, man". Not that a hippie would really do the math on that. It would be more like "It was like four bucks, but that's like... um... a TON of music, so...". Lastly, these things are freaking expensive. I know I can't get 5 plays for a buck anymore, but I think a dollar gets you 1 1/8 credits on these things. And with the option to pay to download or "play next" your song a person could spend like $13 to hear "Sex Dwarf". Which is of course why these exist. Just like the old style 'boxes, it's about the coin, not the rock 'n' roll.

I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

I don't get the "take your time" part. "So, mosey on over hear and eventually we'll dance. Not to this song, because it will have ended some time ago, but that's really my fault for telling you to take your time." Maybe the dancing is him taking his time. Maybe he's got to go do his dishes or something but instead he's taking his time and dancing with her. I suppose she could be saying the dancing itself would not be rushed, but would be enjoyed leisurely. That doesn't jibe with my concept of dancing to rock 'n' roll, but I may be wrong about the whole concept; I don't really dance.

He smiled so I got up an' asked for his name
That don't matter, he said,

'Cause it's all the same

I love this dude. He has disdain for names. He's like "Whatever, it's just a word for somebody. They're all the same. Pffft. Names." Have hipsters turned their cynicism and irony on names yet? 'Cause this dude just won. I have no idea, but I imagine hipsters currently have somehow ironic names. Maybe men named Leslie and Tracey(Tracy Morgan doesn't count because he's hilarious and clearly not a hipster) and Warren. Women named Agatha and Gertrude (Trudy). But this dude totally just won. He's like "Oh, you use names? Right."

Said can I take you home
where we can be alone

It's not entirely clear, but I think this is the machine operator speaking these two lines. He cuts the crap. He doesn't even put up with shit like names, so you know he cuts to the chase when it comes to propositioning women. Life is nasty, brutish and short at the record factory. One second you're pressing a never ending stream of 3 Doors Down albums and the next your pulped phalanges are on their way to making "Kryptonite" skip and ruining Alpha Sig's circle jerk. You have to grab love when you can.

An' next we were movin' on

He was with me, yeah me

Next we were movin' on

He was with me, yeah me, singin'

Joan and the machinist relocate to another location, presumably a filthy apartment above a tattoo parlor.

I love rock n' roll

So put another dime in the jukebox, baby

I love rock n' roll

So come an' take your time an' dance with me

I think rock 'n' roll is a metaphor for sex. Joan loves it. I'm not real sure what she means by the "So put another dime in the jukebox, baby" thing though. If the jukebox "plays" rock 'n' roll(sex), then the dime makes it possible for the jukebox to play(commence) the rock 'n' roll(sex). So the dime is him feeding her drinks. But that makes her the jukebox. Does that work? Maybe dancing is the sex metaphor. I don't know, screw it. The line "So come an' take your time an' dance with me" refers to her concerns about premature ejaculation.

Said can I take you home
where we can be alone

Maybe now they are going to relocate to the other person apartment for more sex? Like, Joan is sick of hearing the buzz of the tattoo gun coming out of the shared air ducts and wants to go back to her place because she lives over a laundromat and it always smells like fabric softener there, which is nice.

Next we'll be movin' on

He was with me, yeah me

An we'll be movin' on

An' singin' that same old song

Yeah with me, singin'

The video is confusing as hell too. It follows the basic plot of the song - Joan arrives at a bar, a young man is dancing by the jukebox, they party together. But evidently the song that he is jamming to on the jukebox, which as Joan stated is also her favorite song is this song. The underage guy in question is also the bassist for The Blackhearts (Gary Ryan). So according to this video Joan somehow wrote this song (I know, it's a cover. Deal with it) about meeting this stranger(Ryan) with a guy who was already in her band(Ryan again), and he's the same guy, and they are listening to this same song before they ever met one another. That's some nightmare Escher bar that Joan frequents. I imagine myself drinking an everlasting mug of beer that I'm busy brewing with my wife that I have not yet met although she gave me the recipe some months ago. And of course the band is shown playing for excited bar customers.

These people love rock 'n' roll

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Cipher #16 - Sammy the Whale's Dilemma

Sammy the Whale has a whale of a problem! His fiancée just came back from Baseball Fantasy Camp. While she was there Carol(that's Sammy's fiancée's name, and yes she's also a whale) left a drunken voice-mail that gave Sammy the distinct impression that she had just slept with one of the other campers. She didn't say anything definite, but he's pretty sure she screwed some guy from Tampa. Should Sammy sit down with Carol and try to get to the bottom of this in a calm manner, or should he tell her about getting loaded and nailing her sister Margaret when Carol was in the hospital six years ago having ovarian cysts removed? Help Sammy solve the code below and save his marriage?

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: K equals Q.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"There was a little misunderstanding with that whole 'Emancipation Proclamation' thing. It was supposed to be a couple days off to say 'thanks', then straight back to the grindstone. They all seemed so happy I didn't have the heart to correct the error." - Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Forgot about Her Adamantium Coated Skeleton

I'm supposed to believe that 8 grown men can't carry Elizabeth Edwards' casket and need wheels under it? I bet that's where they hid Curly's gold! Tacky, I know. It's too soon, I know. Sorry, but this is actually what went through my mind when I saw this picture: "That coffin can't be that heavy, they must have put something in it, like bars of gold!" It reminds me of the end of the original Ocean's 11.
Also, what are they going to do about those stairs?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Metal Head

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago. It was probably written in 2001, maybe 2000. It's got sexy content. It appears here in its original form.

Metal Head

I love your Metal Head.
I love the sound it makes
When it bumps my head board.

Your reality distortion chip
Blows my mind
It forces horrendous
Thoughts into my brain

Your metal head is the most

Sometimes I try to
Crush it when we fuck
It always bruises my fingertips
Like my hips bruise your pelvis
I could squeeze 'til the cows
Come home, and it's still hard

I love your sexy metal head
When you come down the hall
To my apartment
And you reek from the sex
We're about to have

You've got your impenetrable
Metal head and your
Bag of Hostess products

Your crotch has soaked everything,
Not just your clothes.
The carpet squishes with every
step you take down the hall
And people start calling me from
Eight blocks away, complaining
About the smell.

A Ding Dong falls out of
Your bag as you turn to
Knock on my door.

The cigarette held by your metal jaw
Pushes against my door
And the smoke circles
Around your metal head.

I know it's you, because I
Can't see anymore
Your reality distortion chip
Has blinded me for now.
I can also smell the
Saturated carpet
I don't know if we'll ever
Leave here again.
One or both of our lives
May end in this apartment.
Maybe tonight or in forty years.

I wish I knew what was in
Your metal head

I can hear three distinct clicks
In your metal head when
you light a new cigarette.
You've eaten five Ding Dongs in
The past half hour.

What do you think in your metal head?

I'll try to crush your
Metal head again tonight
Just because I know I can't
You know I'd cry if I did.

I love your metal head.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fun Fact #4 and Others

Fun Fact: Cyborg, the 1989 sci-fi action flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, was actually born from aborted attempts at a Masters of the Universe sequel and a Spider-man movie.

Funner Fact: Masters of the Universe was originally intended to be one of the many big-screen adaptations of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. The main difference in writer David Odell's vision of the classic tale? Jane falls in love with the Wolfman. The Wolfman later became the character of Beastman in Masters of the Universe.

Funner and more Furious: Odell's original script was later turned into the smash hit Eyre Bud, which coincidentally opened the same weekend as Eyre Force One (itself an adaptation of Emily Brontë's only dog novel, Wuthering Bites).

Fun Fact: Tokyo Drift: Cyborg 2 was Angelina Jolie's first starring role. No shit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Cipher #15 - The Tooth Fairy's Revenge

The Tooth Fairy has decided to pay you a magical visit in your bed! Unfortunately she's up to her eyeballs in gambling debt and wants her money back. The good news is that she's willing to return your baby teeth. The bad news is that she intends to shove them back into your gums unless she gets her $20 back with interest. Decode the secret chant below and send that bitch back to hell!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: O equals T.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"Who would've thought that going to a fancy dress party in an electric wheelchair from the trash would snowball like this? I mean, Christ, I graduated from culinary school." - Stephen Hawking

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hitler Bad, Vandalism Good

Here's a few screen captures of Wikipedia vandalism I've run across recently. Wikipedia vandalism is one of my favorite surprises. Sadly I don't have a picture of the best instance I've ever seen; It was an article on Jonathan Livingston Butthole. Classic.

An entire section of the Space Age Pop
article devoted to "hoe nads with my go nads"

The article on the Guns N' Roses tune "Mr. Brownstone"
contains a reference to Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho's
play of the same name. While one of Cho's plays was indeed called
Mr. Brownstone, whether he was in fact a "cool bro" is
open to debate.

A bit of trivia from the Nicolas Cage
film Vampire's Kiss.

Not a credible source my eye. Although to be fair, many more reputable sources have also published false information. For example, diabetes was invented by a mischievous editor at World Book Encyclopedia and in 1952 an Encyclopædia Britannica article on Eleanor Roosevelt referred to her as a "butt slut".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You'd Be Grouchy Too

Here are some things I think might be inside Oscar The Grouch's trashcan.

  • Soup

  • Garbage
  • The Lindbergh Baby's Body
  • Fancy Mixed Nuts

  • The Lindbergh baby, but now he's grown and just happens to work at Sesame Street. He's been there for like 30 years. It's taken him a long time to get promoted to Oscar operator, because it's a highly desired spot, and Sesame Street is union. He was the key grip for quite a while. Frequently during shooting he could be seen standing off stage mimicking Oscar's movements with his own arms.
  • Kim Jong-il

  • Stars
My God, he's full of stars!
  • A smaller Oscar The Grouch
  • Big Bird
  • Octopodes

  • A... plunger?

What could be in here?

A Dalek!
  • ICP. Not that I really think Violent J is in there, but it seems right that ICP would be huge Sesame Street fans and this would be a dream come true. Violent J: "Man, Sesame Street is off the hook! I love that shit! Big Bird all up in there. Gordon was always teaching kids and junk. They taught the shit outta some kids, dawg! They just gotta say the word and we'll drive the dark carnival all down Sesame Street and set up tents and shit."

    Shaggy 2 Dope: "After I found out all them puppets and shit wasn't real, I cried for like two weeks. I bawled my eyes out, and I ain't even playin'. After I got my shit all calmed down I wanted to do that, man. Like, I wanted to be Oscar The Grouch all teachin' kids and shit. I ain't never got to be a Fraggle or nothin', but we still helping kids in our own way. 'Cause, y'know, our music has words and shit, so like kids cold probably learn to read from it.
  • A horrible centipede spine that's wearing clown shoes

  • His own tentacle body. By the way, don't ever do a Google image search for "tentacle" without the safe search on. In fact, just never look for pictures of tentacles on the internet.

  • Elian Gonzalez
  • A bacta tank with Luke Skywalker inside

  • Maybe this guy

Oscar Fun Fact: Oscar the Grouch (the monster, not the puppet) is actually orange, not green. In Oscar's first appearances he was clearly orange, but in 1970 took on his more familiar green color. He has stated that it is the result of a vacation to Swamp Mushy Muddy. The green is primarily moss and algae. He once bathed and became orange again. He quickly returned to the swamp and restored his green hue.

Learn more:

So what's really inside Oscar's can? Much like a hermit crab, Oscar uses the can as a sort of exoskeleton. Let's peek inside
Just meat

Lastly, I stumbled upon this image while searching for pictures to use in this piece:

I wish I could say I made this picture, but alas I did not. Here's where it came from:

Next time: We interview the five cats and a badger that brought ALF to life!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Cipher #14 - The Babysitter's Trance

After her third bottle of OE and OJ, your babysitter just lapsed into a magical trance. The legendary Brass Monkey has taken over her motions! She's speaking in the arcane and sexy language of the Brass Monkey, but you've managed to transcribe some of her words! Can you crack the code and learn the monkey's secret before she shits herself!??

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: H equals E.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"Sure Rosie and I are both famous lesbians. But you know what the difference is between me and Rosie O'Donnell? P***y's not scared of me." - Ellen Degeneres

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Cipher #13 - The State Fair State of Affairs

It's the last night of the State Fair. The animals have been judged, the midway is closing up, and the light sprinkle of rain is melting your cotton candy afro. Can you make it to the Ferris wheel in time to propose to your sweetheart!??

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: W equals L.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"We actually named the band after a nun at my Catholic grade school that had severe osteoporosis." - Dee Snider

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Cipher #12 - The Clockwork Boy's Final Test

The Clockwork Boy has proven his compassion, honesty, and valor. Now the final test stands between him and his metal heart's greatest desire. Can Rusty finish grooming all three Standard Poodles and giving them paw-dicures before the big show!??

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: S equals N.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I've never been a blackout drunk. I'm more of a black and blue drunk. Like, you'll end up black and blue if you fuck with me." - Anne Frank

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gift of the Walleye

Here's a pretty useless pun.

Myrrh man.

Example: "That guy's really in to myrrh. He's a total myrrh-man."

I'm having a hard time imagining when this play on words might come into play. It's not often that both fish men and fragrant resin are being discussed. Perhaps with the Christmas season coming a person could casually bring up the Magi, steer the conversation toward their gifts, and feign confusion. Still, myrrh man is going to be tough to work in there.

The Bible doesn't mention it, but one of them
was a fireman. Also, his lower half may
have been shrimp tempura.

I would really like it if either of you that read this would try to use this pun and then tell me about it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fun Fact #3

Gwyneth Paltrow did not originally audition for the part of Pepper Potts in the Iron Man films. She tried out for the lead role of Tony Stark. In the end, the producers said that they felt Tony Stark should remain a handsome playboy, rather than an insufferable bitch.

Tony Shark again

Sunday Cipher #11 - Turn of The Screw

Oh no! It turns out that the spiral staircase in St. George's Cathedral was the "Giant's Screw" that the old Gypsy woman's rhyme alluded to! And now it's screwing into the reactor core! Can you solve the puzzle in time!??

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: U equals B.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I don't dress up for Halloween. I already wear this mask all the time so America doesn't see the face of Satan staring out of their televisions every night." - Walter Cronkite

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday Cipher #10 - The Forgetful Ghost

Can you solve the puzzle before the forgetful ghost opens the cabinet of horrors? Oh, wait, that was supposed to be a couple days ago? Oh, I guess it must've slipped his mind. Well, he's here now, so... do you still want to do this? If not, that's cool.

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: I equals L.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I drew Peanuts because Charlie Brown is the only kid I could imagine with a worse life than my own. The fact that he didn't hang himself every day, when by all rights he should have, kept me going." - Charles Schulz

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crowbots in Disguise

Well, Hallowe'en week is upon us once again, and with very little time left to get your costume together, The Swarm is here to help! We will not be providing any costume suggestions for you, because you really should have had that figured out a week or two ago. Instead, we at The Swarm would like to provide you with suggestions for your pet's costume!

There are a plethora of commercially available costumes for your dog, and a few for your cat. The shortage of cat costumes seems to be a combination of a feline's natural unwillingness to do absolutely anything you want it to, and the fact that an internet search combining the words "cat" and "costume" results in slut costumes. Also goddam furries.

This piece will primarily focus on costume ideas for the owner of alternative pets, like llamas and ants.

So... I guess we'll get those two out of the way first thing.

Llama - Shave it. Liberally apply self-tanning lotion. Now it's a camel. Maybe also put a cigarette in its mouth.

Ant Farm - Fry them. Now they're Forbidden rice.


  • Glue a little globe on its back.
  • Glue a little plastic elephant to your turtle's back, and a little globe to the elephant's back.
  • If you have multiple turtles, glue them on top of one another in descending order (if they tip over you've got it backward) and cap it with the elephant/world combo. Use as many turtles as you have available, 'cause it's turtles all the way down.
  • If you happen to have a real elephant handy, the same concept works with an Earth-print beachball. If you're also going to incorporate the turtle motif, I suggest sticking to Giant Tortoises. And have the elephant stand on just one at first to see if it can hold the weight. Stand back, just in case it explodes like an egg under a cinder block.
  • Lastly on this theme, if you have a homunculus, make it carry around a small globe like Atlas. He might not like it, but you made the little golem, so tough.
Now, onto snakes.

You'll notice several of the last few ideas involved gluing things to an animal. This part will be largely the same. For some reason this always seems to be a problem for reptile owners. Some guy that owns like seven lizards and five snakes and is the most hard rocking metal-head you've ever met freaks the second you talk about doing anything cool to one of his pets.
Dog owners are usually cool. They assess each situation on its own merits. Shove a dog down a slide? Sure. Dog blindfolded and shoved in a dark room? Cool. Spinning a dog on the floor until he gets sick or bites you in the face? Why not? But snake owners, as soon as you want to put it in a tube sock or roll it up in a Boboli crust and pretend it's a burrito, they're like "Dude, not cool. Don't touch my f***ing snake. You're gonna rip off a scale and it'll leak snake juice all over and die. Why are you trying to hurt my snake?"Now, for the life of me I would assume that at some point, someone somewhere would have developed a glue for use on snakes and other scaled beasts. But since this doesn't seem to exist, I recommend plain old super glue or a resin-based epoxy.


  • Glue a toy airplane under your snake. Snake on a Plane!
  • Make a little cardboard articulated bus. Put your snake in it and let its head hang out the windshield. maybe put a little bus driver hat on it. Also, you could dress a mouse in a little business suit and... you know.
  • Coat your snake in a jam, like boysenberry or blackberry and now it's a giant earthworm.
  • Construct a giant ketchup bottle out of a laid-down old water heater and a traffic cone. paint your snake red and periodically make it crawl out of the end like some living ketchup spill. Other combos: Mustard bottle/ yellow snake, giant baby bottle/ white snake. Picturing any of these really unsettles me.
  • Tie your snake to a number of old school roller skates and glue on a poodle skirt. She's a car hop! (a blonde ponytail would be cute too!)
  • Paint it brown and either keep it agitated or glue it into a coil. Dog poop!
  • Coat your snake in glue and roll it in garishly colored feathers. Feather Boa!
  • Paint it brown, add 4 legs and two ears, and it's a Dachshund. The best thing to use for both the legs and ears is corn dogs. They are the right color and really drive home the "dog" part. Also the sticks can be glued directly to the scales, so even after the corn dogs are eaten, it's an eerie skeleton dachshund! I suppose if you're really messed up you could just have your snake eat a dachshund and then poke holes for the legs to come through. Nope, that's just a bad idea.
  • Take a spray bottle, fill it with water and black food coloring. Spray down your bird. Now your cockatiel is a crow!
  • If you have several birds do them all and turn them into God-awful Southern jam hippie filth rock band The Black Crowes.
  • Put your new crow next to an ibis and make them fight. Crow vs. Wade!
  • Dress your crow like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. Looks like he's ready for Crow-vert Operations!
There should have been a picture here of a crow
with Aladdin Sane face paint. Now just pretend it's
still David Crowie and naked Mick Jaybird just left the room.

  • Put your fake crow in a blue gingham pinafore. Where's she from? Somewhere crow-ver the Rainbow!
  • If you have a dog like the one on Frasier, glue your new crow to its back. It's Jack Russell Crowe! I suppose you could actually do this without the bird. Just dye the dog black and staple some wings on its back.
  • And while we're momentarily on dog costumes, put a gray wig on fido, tape a cane to his foreleg (unless he's already in one of those dog wheelchair things) and give him some little wire frame glasses. He's rover the hill!
  • If you don't like the idea of dying your feathered friend, coating it in melted black wax or tar should make it look like a bat.
  • Ok, this one's a little complicated. Take a large piece of beef tenderloin. Either glue your crow to it or just staple some wings and bird feet on the beef. Dye the beef black to match your crow-keet. Now dress it in a little loin cloth and give it a caveman club. It's Filet Crow Mignon! I guess this one could really just be done with a piece of meat and a leopard print loin cloth. No dye or wings or anything needed; it would still be Filet Cro Mignon. But that's not a pet costume; that's dressing up raw meat.
  • If you're a rodent lover, take your pet rat and enmesh its tail with the tails of many other(live or fake) rats. Now that's a King Rat!
Lots of little crowns aren't necessary, but would be adorable!
  • For your pet rabbit, a little red food coloring by its mouth turns it into the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • For a bit more involved bunny costume, stiffen its ears with copious amounts of Elmer's glue, add a Beanie Baby "Twigs" head on top and tape yard sticks to its legs. Now that's a crazy tiny giraffe. Color as needed with markers.
  • If you have a ferret, glue its mouth to a ball. Now it's one of these things!
  • Generously spread Peanut butter all over your hamster and roll it in bird seed. Bird feeder!
  • Your bear needs no costume. It is a bear. That's about as awesome as it gets. Maybe buy it a wallet so it looks even more important. People will see him and go "Holy crap! That bear has a wallet! He must have important stuff to keep track of!"
  • Ok, this one is tough. The problem is that goats don't really "dress up". If you put a big mane on it, it kind of looks like a scrawny lion, but really it looks like a goat in a mane. Cow? Well, goats already have udders and some of them are spotted, so it's just a goat, or a really crappy cow. Dog or cat? All the parts are there - 4 legs, tail, nose, etc. It's just a goat. So, the only solution is to dress your goat as Baphomet. Make your goat sit in the corner on his haunches in front of a dim light. Slap some fake boobs and giant leathery bat wings on it. It will scare the shit out of your guests.

  • Paint your cat like a raccoon. Or a skunk. A line of white paint down its back and it's that cat from the PePe Le Pew cartoons!
  • Dress your cat like Justin Bieber. I think a cat in a little hooded sweatshirt with a Bieber wig would be precious.
  • Maybe dump some food coloring or Jell-o in the tank. That's about it.
  • Own a shark? Iron Man is popular.
Tony Shark

Lastly guys, I did not have nearly enough time to make illustrations for each awesome costume idea. If anybody would like to e-mail me a picture/drawing/whatever to help flesh out these ideas, that would make my day. All contributions will be added to this article, and I'll credit you as the artist. Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Cipher #9 - Order in the Court!

Oh no! Prince Chauffeur just informed you that the entire tribunal has been replaced by hypnotized gardeners! Can you expose the evil plot before everyone's sandwich order is called over to the deli?!!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: K equals P.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. And getting the clap in Paris. Three things." - Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Cipher #8 - The Spider's Trap

Oh no! The giant spider has lured you into his home! Before you know it, you are stuck fast in the spider's oldest trap - the hang-man's noose! Can you solve the puzzle and release the noose before it's too late?!!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: Q equals I.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"...and it turned out, that with all the wind and rain, the leprechaun thought I said 'peanut grower'" - Jimmy Carter

Friday, October 15, 2010

Helpful Hint #3 - Stain Removal

Here's a handy chart that gives quick and easy solutions for removing common stains. You should probably print it for your fridge. I'm having trouble re-sizing a page of text as an image and still having it legible, so I just made it really small. You'll have to click on it, and then it'll still be too small, and then when you expand it, it's going to be too large. The chart should make your life simpler. Reading the chart may be complicated. I never said this was going to be easy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Skating on Thin Ice

Is it racist if I think twice before buying a pair of ice-skates that were recommended to me by a black man?

If the guy was a French Canadian white guy or some Eastern European I would totally trust his opinion on skates. Also, come to think of it, if it was a French Canadian black guy I would also believe whatever he told me about ice skates. French Canadian trumps any racial make-up when it comes to hockey and ice skating. Honestly, I assume that all Canadian men and most of the women are bad-ass skaters and have probably played on a hockey team.

This didn't come up because I was shopping for ice skates or anything. It arose because I had dry cleaning done, and I realized I would be wary of entrusting my dry cleaning to most races. I just assume when I go into a dry cleaner's that the person behind the counter is going to be white or Asian. Furthermore, I assume all the Asians in dry cleaners' are Chinese. I think we all do. I also assume that even if there's a pretty big language barrier, my laundry will be spotlessly clean and well pressed, because, y'know, Chinese know shit about laundry. It's in their silk robes or something.

Even this clip art I found is racist

But give me a black dude or a Latina behind the counter, and I might hesitate to hand over my linen to them. And that's odd, because it's more because of my positive stereotyping of the Chinese and their laundry skills than it is that I don't trust other minorities. I would much rather hand over my silk dressing gown to a normal looking Spaniard than some skeezy white dude. Being OK with giving my dry cleaning to a white person at all probably stems from having only lived in Sacramento and Denver. If I had grown up in Los Angeles or Washington D.C. I would probably only trust my laundry to the Chinese. But, damn man, white people have always been coming out of the woodwork wherever I've lived, so you kind of just have to assume that if they look fairly clean they can probably do their job.

She puts stains in clothes.
However, she doesn't work at a cleaner's.

I wonder what would happen if a Chinese person took in their dry cleaning and a Laotian or Thai was at the counter. I think it would blow his mind. Then he'd just leave and wash his own clothes, figuring he has to able to do a better job. And if they came out wrinkled or still stained he'd utter some Cantonese racial epithet for Thais that doesn't really translate into English. It'd roughly translate to "An unskilled yak that has stolen from my forefathers and longs to poison my land" or "The bedfellow of ghosts and demons that sprang from its own mother's behind" And it would only apply to that very specific ethnic group. Like people from southwest of Phnom Penh. Because, man, foreigners are raaaciiiiist! Seriously. I've worked with enough Mexicans to have heard some slang. They have all sorts of specific terms for people from other places. It's like "Oh, yeah we call guys from Chihuahua that because they're all thieves." or "That's what you call somebody from Sonora since they're all dirty." Man, foreigners are as bad as those inbred racists from Alabama.

So, should I buy the skates?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Cipher #7 - The Mystery of Carl's Missing Ice Skate

Can you solve the puzzle before Boris bites into the chocolate ice skate and ruins the whole Birthday party?!!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: D equals P.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.

Last week's answer:
"I've found that marriage is like a slot machine: you just keep at it, thinking one day it has to pay off. But at the end of the day you're alone and drunk in some place where nobody cares." - Billy Graham

Notice: Last week's cipher contained a typo resulting in the intended word "of" coming out as "on". The Swarm regrets the error and will strive to prevent this kind of thing from happening. The responsible party has been terminated. On a cheerier note, fully half of our respondents submitted answers that accounted for the typo and corrected it. Keep up the good work!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Helpful Hint #2

Looking for a way to inject a little hot fun into your humdrum life?
Try this:

When I see a rainbow sticker on something, I like to think that it's not the owner of the object that's gay, but the object itself.

Oh, you're a homosexual? Don't really care.
Wait, your boat is gay? Now that's something!

The GuyPhone and his hot black boyfriend

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pulling a Mussel

I really just don't get this ad. I mean, I get all the constituent parts; I simply don't get the ad as a whole. Or maybe I just hate it.

There's a lot I do get about this ad:
I can easily find the name of the restaurant. I see the location. I see the phone number, the website, days it is open, and also the hours for brunch. If I look at the disgusting drawing, I can even tell that there may be some sort of special on mussels and fries. This is where things start to get a little iffy. There is no price for their special, so it may not even be a good deal, but it's available.

There is a lot about this ad I understand, but so, so much more I don't get. What exactly is the Mussel special? I assume that this is an ad for a dinner special. You don't generally see The Burger King just shouting "4 ounce Burger! Several sizes of fries!" so I assume there is some sort of special pricing for 2 Pound Mussels that possibly come with unlimited fries.

Now that I think about it though, the Burger King thing doesn't work as an analogy because I doubt (and really hope) that these degenerates aren't the Le Central mascots. I guess a better comparison would be if Pizza Hut had a crappy drawing of a gay couple bare-backing in a bathroom stall and shouting "3 Pound pizza! Also wings."

You can't tell, but these guys met like 20 minutes ago
and that guy is totally not wearing a condom

Those are some huge-ass mussels, too. 2 pound mussels must be expensive. Maybe the pricing changes constantly with the market. Many seafoods are at "market price" and change daily. Perhaps they should have mentioned that in the ad.

That disgusting drawing is the biggest problem. I mean, Jesus, why is that thing there? It's awful. I realize French cuisine is supposed to be sensual and people are always making some vulgar comparison between bivalves and vulvae, but just a crude drawing of people doin' it? Are these people actually shouting "2 Pound Mussels! Unlimited Fries [No exclamation point. evidently they were mostly pumped about the mussels and then calmed down and just sort of said blandly 'Unlimited Fries']" during intercourse? Were they discussing dinner mid-coitus and that bargain just made them shout? Were they starting to climax and instead of stopping the talk about where to get a good deal on seafood they just yelled it? And are they toasting with wine while this is going on? What are they toasting? The savings? God, it's distasteful. There's all that sweat flying off of them... and she's still clothed...

And what the hell are they lying on? I really can't tell. It looks very thin, like they're precariously balanced on this pile of rolled-up striped blankets that's about 18 inches wide.It kind of looks like they're doing it on the top of a sofa back. Like carpet cleaners just finished and they're stuck on the couch for an hour while it dries. They were stranded on the couch like kids playing the carpet-is-lava game and saw another, wholly different ad for Le Central's Mussels and Fries deal (that presumably included the price) and had to fuck immediately. I don't know why they didn't use the main part of the couch. Maybe there's a bunch of magazines all over it and they don't want them to stick to their obviously dewy flesh. It would leave those weird reverse image ink marks all over their backs. And what the hell is that behind his pillow?

It's clearly made of his flesh. It's so meaty i want it to be part of his lower body, like a third gross thigh something, but that makes it even worse because that means it's really loooong.

And what's wrong with their teeth? Have they been eating the mussels shell-on? I'm pretty sure people who have teeth like that and fuck on couch backs don't go out for fancy French cuisine. They refill their tiny wine glasses from the jug of Carlo Rossi on the floor and then go fuck in the cluttered laundry room while a filthy dog barks at them through the back door. And they love that shit.

I'm still really bothered by that flesh-roll behind his head.

And seriously, why are they advertising a nebulous dinner special with this horrible drawing of people screwing? I'm really not happy about this whole thing.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Cipher #6 - The Adventure of The False Contessa

Can you un-lace the fake Contessa's bodice before the robotic turtles make the switch?!!

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: K equals J.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer.
Answer from two weeks ago: "The best part about having spent those interminable years alone with all those monkeys is that no one questions how many you ate." - Jane Goodall

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Queen For A Day

I was in a meeting earlier today. One of the managers there was using this coffee mug:
It say "As a matter of fact I am the f*** Queen!" I'm not entirely sure why she feels it appropriate to let the whole office know that she's the Fuck Queen. Was someone questioning whether she is in fact the Fuck Queen? I mean, Jesus, just calling yourself the Fuck Queen at work? I really doubt that my "Sultan of Schlong" mug would be tolerated. But hey, women's lib, am I right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Cipher #5

Can you unlock the key from the keybox of locks before Professor Padlock throws the dead-bolt!?

Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: Y equals O.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! If you would like your prize sent to you, include a mailing address with your answer. Last week's answer: "Roller derby is just an excuse for fat girls to feel good about being fat."
- Bryant Gumbel

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hair'em Scare'em

"One bizarre haircut, please!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Cipher #4

Well. This ended up being The Monday Cipher this week, but shut up. After realizing the difficulty in producing an exciting grand prize each week that can be e-mailed to the winner, I am now offering a physical prize to the winner. If you would prefer a physical prize, please include a mailing address with your answer. If you wanted to, you could even send in the address of a friend or stranger. Lord knows what I might send them! The grand prize will be something I can fit in a standard envelope, so don't expect much. All consolation prizes will be e-mailed.

Can you figure out the puzzle before The Pharaoh ruins your credit!??
Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: Y equals D.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! Last week's answer: "Hey! I said I'm deaf and blind asshole, not retarded!"
- Helen Keller

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cool As Ice

Hey, water cooler at my office.

What are you up to?

Carry on.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fun Fact #2

Bald Eagles smell like fresh chocolate chip cookies. A LOT like fresh chocolate chip cookies. This is one of the main reasons they are protected. If you ever get close to a bald eagle, it's going to take every ounce of your self-restraint to not eat that thing.

His breath smells like warm brownies.
And dead rats.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Cipher #3

Can you solve the puzzle before the lesbians finish repairing their space-ship!? Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: S equals D.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize! Last week's answer: "If I wanted Mickey Mouse to have a Jew voice, I would have drawn him like a Jew rat! I'll just do the voice myself!" - Walt Disney

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday Cipher #2

Well. I've decided the Impressive Cipher will be a weekly feature, so now it's called the Sunday Cipher. There will also be a prize for the first person to e-mail me the correct answer. I will try to post the cipher between noon and one Mountain Time. The time of posting would be more precise, but the prizes won't be very good and I'm not sure anyone actually cares. Now, on to this week's puzzle!

Can you solve the cipher before the wolves finish building their catapult?? Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: k equals y.


The first person to e-mail me the correct answer at wins a prize!
Last week's answer: "Life's biggest irony is that your boner never learns." - Albert Einstein

Monótona Jane

Have you ever noticed that tortilla chips don't come in a Grab Bag size? There are no individual servings of tortilla chips available. It's like they are admitting their own invalidity as a stand alone chip. The lack of a single serving bag of them just says "Oh, we aren't very good by ourselves. You wouldn't want just us to go with your sandwich." Even the crazy Tostitos Hint of Lime don't come in a small bag. Sure, there are infinite varieties of Doritos and the like, but that's a different thing. Hint of Lime is a flavoring on the tortilla chip; a Dorito is a flavored chip that happens to be made from a corn tortilla (not really I know, but that's supposed to be the idea).

Dorito pups in the wild

I don't recall ever seeing a Grab Bag of tortilla chips. I would think that some time in the last 25 years I would have seen at least a test marketing of personal sized tortilla chips. But no, they never tried. They didn't have the chutzpah to try their luck in the go go world of snack foods and entree accessories. It seems a little odd, because everybody loves nachos. Everybody loves Mexican food. The humble tortilla chip is integral to all sorts of appetizers, snacks, and party foods. As soon as you invite salsa or melted cheese or bean dip or even jalapenos into the mess you've got a party, but the tortilla chip by itself just wants to stay home and sulk. "What's that? You guys are gonna go get drunk in the park? No, that's o.k., I'll just stay here. You guys have fun with Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar," the tortilla chip seems to say. Maybe if they made tortilla chips extreme. Like if they were shaped like interlocking tori. But no, that would compromise the honest, humble integrity of the tortilla chip. Blue corn? That was kind of exciting.
This was what it looked like when
the Lawnmower Man beat off.

Come on, tortilla chip! Grow some balls and get in that little bag! Squeeze in next to Fritos Chili Cheese chips on that little wire shelf next to the register at 7-11! Give 'em hell, boys!

It's also possible I just missed the whole thing. Do they come in individual sized bags? I wouldn't buy them; I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend at Dracula's

Sick of the same old bullshit expressions? Shut up, of course you are. To help with this problem of yours I invented a new expression you can use. It's not "weekend at Dracula's" but that one's pretty good too.

The Expression: I wouldn't even tell Dracula.

Usage: Use it when you are swearing that you'll never tell a secret. It's like putting something in the vault.

Person 1: Oh man. Now that you know my secret, please don't tell my wife that when I'm home alone I like to put on sunglasses and a fake moustache and role-play as Bernie's corpse from the film Weekend at Bernie's. And only the first movie. I don't do that bouncing around zombie Bernie bullshit.

Person 2: Don't worry dawg. I wouldn't even tell that shit to Dracula! And you know he takes that shit to the grave!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Impressive Cipher#1

Can you solve the cipher in time? Below is a quote from a famous person encoded with a substitution cipher. Each letter has been swapped for another. Today's hint: C equals G.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Men

I saw a photo of this statue recently.

God. Look at that thing. It's breathtaking. It's like if Superman and Iron Man had Batman's baby and it was a god. And that's not too far from the truth. It's a statue of a hero and possibly the most fortunate man who ever lived. It's a statue of Yuri Gagarin in Moscow.

Yuri Gagarin was, of course, the first person in space. You can read the Wikipedia entry on him just as easily as I did, but here is a quick list of facts about Gagarin.

  • Born March 9, 1934
  • Was only 5'2", which was advantageous to fitting in the Vostok 1 and a factor in his selection for the flight.
  • Greatly enjoyed ice hockey and played Goalie
  • In 1960 he was selected along with 19 other candidates for the Soviet Space Program.
  • On April 12, 1961 he became the first person in space aboard the Vostok 1. The craft completed one orbit of the Earth during a 108 minute flight.
  • In 1962, he began serving as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. I mention this mainly because, while the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union is a legislative body, I really wish it was one person. It would be such a great title. I think if one person had had that title, the USSR might have won the Cold War.
  • Later worked at Star City developing reusable spacecraft.
  • Died on March 27, 1968 during a training flight accident.
  • The statue I featured above is 40m (131ft) tall and made of Titanium.

A statue of Gagarin looking even more like Superman outside
the Hotel Vostok
in the town of Gagarin(formerly Gzhatsk).

Say what you will about the Soviets, but when they weren't murdering their heroes they knew how to honor them. Gagarin has been featured on two commemorative coins and numerous stamps. Numerous statues of Gagarin are scattered around Russia, and many locations have been named for him. He is buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

I think our country would be a little better and a little prouder if we had statues of Neil Armstrong looking like a god.

"Dear friends, known and unknown to me, my dear compatriots and all people of the world! Within minutes from now, a mighty Soviet rocket will boost my ship into the vastness of outer space. What I want to tell you is this. My whole life is now before me as a single breathtaking moment. I feel I can muster up my strength for successfully carrying out what is expected of me." - Yuri Gagarin April 12, 1961

Also, and I totally missed the timing on this one, Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of Belka and Strelka's historic space flight. Belka(squirrel) and Strelka(arrow) were two dogs that, along with numerous lesser life forms, became the first creatures to orbit the Earth and return alive.Belka and Strelka being auctioned after their return from space.
They were eaten.

Pravda has a slide show up about it. See it here.
Pravda also had this on their website: