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