Saturday, March 25, 2017

Music Challenge, Day 2

Almost forgot.

Day 2:  Name a Song you like with a Number in the Title.

There were a couple that popped up, but the one that gets stuck in my head:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Music Challenge, Day 1

I've seen this floating around on the Twitter, and I suppose I'll play along until I forget, or get bored:

Day One:  Name a song you like with a color in the title.

Today, I choose "Apocalyptic Modified Blues" by Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans:

I'd wandered across Corb Lund a time or two, but it was the inclusion of "(Gonna) Shine up My Boots" in the movie Slither that made me actually seek the guy out.  I like the way he makes lyrics fit together, and he throws a curveball from time to time....Apocalyptic Modified Blues being one of those enjoyable ones.....

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Notes from the Ether

I dreamed of Dad last night.  That after his heart surgery a couple of years ago that there was actually a clone dad that had been living in his place, and that was the one that was sent back after the surgery was the one that died a few weeks ago.

Thanks, Brain.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Favorite Movie, year by year

It's one of those things going around Ye Olde Facebooke....what's your favorite movie for each year of your life.

I'll have to Google a bit, but:

1977:  Star Wars
1978:  Animal House
1979:  Alien
1980:  Empire Strikes Back
1981:  Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982:  Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
1983:  A Christmas Story
1984:  Ghostbusters  (just edging out This is Spinal Tap)
1985:  The Goonies
1986:  Stand By Me   (just edging out Aliens and Big Trouble in Little China)
1987:  Planes, Trains and Automobiles
1988:  Beetlejuice
1989:  Parenthood    (just edging out Tim Burton's Batman)
1990:  Miller's Crossing
1991:  Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992:  A League of Their Own
1993:  Jurassic Park
1994:  The Shawshank Redemption
1995:  Apollo 13
1996:  Fargo
1997:  Contact
1998:  The Big Lebowski
1999:  The Iron Giant
2000:  Unbreakable   (just edging out O Brother Where Art Thou?)
2001:  Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
2002:  The Ring
2003:  The Last Samurai
2004:   Shaun of the Dead
2005:  Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2006:  Pan's Labyrinth   (just beating out The Departed)
2007:  No Country for Old Men
2008:   The Dark Knight (but man, Iron Man and Cloverfield I like SO much)
2009:  Moon (I say this.  Lot of good in 2009, but nothing just JUMPED at me)
2010:  True Grit
2011:  The Raid: Redemption
2012:  The Avengers (but I love Cloud Atlas so much)
2013:  Gravity
2014:  Guardians of the Galaxy  (but Ex Machina is SO Good)
2015:  Mad Max: Fury Road
2016:  The Nice Guys

I can probably go back and look at this list tomorrow, and realize mistakes.....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Apologies if the blogamathing has become Big Stupid Tommy Missed His Dad, but that's what it is.  

I miss him.

I've been working like mad.  Went back the Friday after the funeral.  Mostly to keep my hands busy.  We had a minor snow rush over the weekend (lousy Smarch Weather).   It was annoying in that way that all Southern overreactions to the threat of winter weather are, but it also helped a little to get moving and put my mind somewhere else for a while.

Little things hit me.  I went to Target this afternoon, and I saw the Blu-Ray of the Daredevil Netflix series.  I'd kinda chalked that one up as a Father's Day present for Dad.  Mom and Dad's house is too far out in the woods to stream too much (although with Verizon's shift to unlimited Data, that could change though that point's moot for Dad, I reckon).  Anyway, I saw the Blu Ray and I got the shivers, a bit.

The NCAA Tournament starts up soon.  We always watched that together.  It's going to be hard without him.

This morning at work, as I started checking the grocery order, I had to stop and take a few breaths.  I don't even know what set it off, but that feeling of missing the old man just hit like a hammer.

I call Mom a lot more.  Just checking in.  Seeing if she needs anything.  We've got another cold snap coming through tonight.  A hard freeze.  Just wanted to make sure she had enough firewood.

It's tough.  I miss the old guy.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Shuffling through....

Each day is a little different.  Each day I'm dealing with a different thing.

Today, I got really upset when a red truck the same make and model as my Dad's parked next to me at Lowe's.

The Memorial Service was yesterday.  It was a good one.  Got to see a lot of people that I hadn't seen in years.  Was surprised by the number of folks in my life who showed up.  It was overwhelming, to be honest.

Here's a picture from the receiving of friends:

We'd requested in lieu of flowers that a donation be made in his name to either E.G. Fisher Public Library here in Athens, or to the McMinn Regional Human Society.  Still, my work and my sister's work sent really nice arrangments.  Mom took them out to the graves of family members who'd died locally today.

Lastly, I posted this on Facebook, after the service, and after the dinner that the nice folks at Allen Memorial gave our extended family.  I wanted to post it here, because I leaned on a lot of you, too:

"Thank you. To all of you. This has been, hands down, one of the toughest weeks my family and I have ever gone through. The outpouring of support, though, has been nothing short of overwhelming. Thanks to those who were able to stop by this afternoon. Thanks to those who sent flowers, or food, or made donations to the Humane Society or the Library. Thanks if you dropped a note. Thanks for the hugs. Thanks if you made me laugh. Thanks for your thoughts, your prayers, your time.
You're a good bunch of people. And I can never repay the kindness.
Dad was a good guy. And that's the most gratifying thing: To hear the same from everybody. From his family. From his fraternity brothers who showed up. From the people that he worked with, traveled with. From his friends. To hear that they thought so much of the guy, calling him solid, kind, the genuine article, was an honest pleasure, though not a surprise.
We'll miss him. And we step into a strange new world without him here to talk to, to laugh with. I take comfort in knowing that I have you folks to travel with us into this odd place.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart."

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


That might be the last picture Dad and I took together.  It's a selfie I took last June when the Cubs were down in Atlanta.

Dad and I did a lot of baseball.  He was a Braves fan.  Even after they won in 1995, I'm not sure he's ever forgiven Lonnie Smith for his performance in the 1991 Series they lost to the Twins.

One good way to get him riled was to say that Dale Murphy didn't belong in the Hall of Fame.

He was a Cubs supporter, too.  That was because of me.  He always wished them well, and would cheer for them when they weren't playing the Braves.

He was happy for them and me when the Cubs won the World Series last fall.

Lot of baseball memories.

He took me out of school in 1992 to see a Braves playoff game against the Pirates.

He took me to Riverfront in Cincinnati in 1988 to see my first Major League game.  The Cubs won that one 4-2 in 11 innings.  I was eating a hot dog which popped out of the bun after the first bite and rolled down three or four rows in front of us.  He bought me another.

We started hitting Braves games pretty regularly in 1989.  It was a different world then.  Those Braves were lucky to win 70 games, and you could walk up to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and get a whole family in for about 16 dollars.

When I was going to school out in Middle Tennessee, he came out and we hit a Nashville Sounds game.  It was early in the season, and it was a cool week night.  There were maybe 500 people in the stands that night, and a knuckleball hurler was going for the other team.  It may have been Jared Fernandez, but the answer escapes me right now.  The knuckler was mostly working.  There were probably 50 foul balls into the crowd that night.

His birthday gift to me this year was going to be tickets to the Cubs and Braves in the new Stadium down in Atlanta this season.

Little things keep hitting me.  And the fact that we'll never go to another baseball game together was a big one.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Dad Movies

I was watching TV this morning, and an ad for Kong: Skull Island came on.  I started crying.

Dad mentioned wanting to go see it, when I saw him Friday morning.  14 hours later, he'd be dead.

I got a lot of my taste from my Dad.  For comedy.  For Science Fiction.  Mel Brooks.  Star Trek.

A few movie memories with Dad:

Return of the Jedi--Dad took my cousin David and Me to see this one in Bristol.   We liked it so much, we'd go see it again back home in Athens--and this was a time that we didn't have a lot of money to go see movies multiple times.

Secret of the Sword--I was crazy for the Masters of the Universe toys.  My sister went with us to see this one, because She-Ra was in the mix.  Dad hated this movie, but put up with my raving about it.  After I took Thomas to see Ratchet and Clank this year, I apologized for subjecting him to so many bad movies.

Rocky IV--We were visiting family in New Jersey.  Dad and I went to see this one, I think, because he was worn out on the in-laws.

Flight of the Navigator--Maybe the hardest I've ever seen my Dad laugh:  Kevin has just asked a man for change to use the phone when he lands the spaceship outside a gas station...Max sticks his head out the hatch to insult the man.  Dad nearly lost his mind.

Batman--I saw Batman in the theater multiple times that summer.  He went for a couple viewings.  It wasn't until later that I found out he didn't like the movie that much....Thanks Dad.

Joe vs. the Volcano--a family outing, and the only time I ever saw my Dad come close to a fight.  A guy backed up without looking, and nearly ran us all over.  The guy got out to holler at Dad, who'd pointed out the malfeasance.  The guy backed down in a hurry, when he got a look at Dad....

True Lies--Another good laugh from Dad.  He had the oddest damn fondness for Tom Arnold, but that's excusable for this flick.  It's a small line...Tom Arnold calls a driver "Fucker" and for some reason, Dad lost his mind again....

Star Trek: Generations--I didn't know until much later, he really wanted to go see this with me.  I ended up going with a group of friends the night it opened.  We ended up going the next weekend....

Return of the Jedi, Special Edition--My Dad and I went to see the Special Edition, where perhaps the only thing I like in Lucas' "fixes" are the looks in at the other spots in the galaxy celebrating the death of the Emperor.  I mentioned that the look at Naboo and Coruscant would be explored a little more in the prequel coming out the next year.....

Fellowship of the Ring--Notable for this occurrence:  In the middle of a crowded movie theater, Dad crosses his legs.  When he does, a lot of change falls out of his pocket.  It happens during a quiet part of the movie.  Change hitting concrete.  A lot of change.  Like, why is Dad carrying this much change?  While it's still quiet, he announces "That's Mine," as if a theater full of people is rushing beneath his legs to pick up change.

Slither--I'd moved back over to East Tennessee.  I was also having a very bad week--I'd worked a crazy amount of days in a row.  This was my first movie I'd been to see in weeks.  And a girl wouldn't get off her cell-phone.  This is probably the closest I've been to getting arrested....I told the girl to turn it off.  She cussed me.  She got cussed back.  Dad kept me from pulling the girl out of the theater by her hair that day.

2012--He LOVED disaster movies as much as I do.  I probably get it from him. We'd both been looking forward to this one.  It was disappointing to us both.  He described it as it being Christmas all day.

Star Wars: the Force Awakens--God he was excited about that one.  Again, he was a little disappointed that we wouldn't get to see it together--Shyam and I went to a marathon...he was invited, but he was in the midst of his hip troubles, and he knew he couldn't sit in a movie theater seat for that long.  He loved it.  We took Mom to see it on Christmas Day.

(I just started crying again when I realized he won't get to see how the saga will end up).

The Witch -- He didn't want to see this one, but he went anyway.  He ended up LOVING this movie.
Patriots Day --  The last movie he and I went to see.  We'd go to one or two a month.  Sometimes more.  This winter has been crazy, though.  And we didn't make it to much.  We did go see this one.  I was skeptical.  But it was one I ended up liking.

I'm sure that there's more to be said.  I'll think of something else.  I miss the old man.  I'm gonna miss going to movies with him.

Saturday, March 04, 2017


I lost my Dad last night.

I've spent a lot of today in a fog.  Two hours of sleep and a storm surge of grief.

I love you Dad.

Thanks for the sense of humor.  For the taste in movies.  For teaching me how to be a decent human being.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Yiddish Policemen's Union

Reunited in their parents' bed, the Shemets boys set up a whistling and rumbling and a blatting of inner valves that would shame the grand pipe organ of Temple Emanu-El. The boys execute a series of maneuvers, a kung fu of slumber, that drives Landsman to the very limit of the bed. They chop at Landsman, stab him with their toes, grunt and mutter. They masticate the fiber of their dreams. Around dawn, something very bad happens in the baby's diaper. It's the worst night that Landsman has ever spent on a mattress, and that is saying a good deal.

Michael Chabon, the Yiddish Policemen's Union

Going through this one as a work listen again.  I first read it nine or ten years ago, not immediately upon its release, but not long after it, either.

The first Chabon book I went through was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which is just a beautiful book, and one of my favorites.

I might like this one just a little more.  Turns of phrase like that are why.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines!!!!

A Valentines Day Shout Out to the customer who came in last night about 30 minutes before closing time and bought heart-shaped box of candy, a mylar balloon with a monkey carrying a heart pictured on it, a card, a bag of chili cheese Fritos, and a tube of Astroglide.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Night, Volume 5,971

Insomnia night.

I'm having, on average, one of these a week for the past several.  Usually when my schedule transitions from the closing shift to the opening shift.

What's going on in Big Stupid Tommy's neck of the woods?

Still working like a botard.  Always.

In the process of shutting down the current Casa de Big Stupid Tommy.  Shyam and I will be moving in some time in the next few weeks.  The logistics of combining households, and libraries in particular, is a new one.

Here's a picture that amuses me tonight:

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The World

Spent the last week on vacation.  Cleaning house.  Getting things ready for a move.  Shyam and I will be moving in together.  Consolidating households is daunting.  Consolidating libraries?  That's mindwrecking.

I've stayed off social media as much as I could.  Trying to wean myself from that Facebooke teat.  It's an addiction, and not a good one.

Lot of anger out there.  Lot of frustration, and a lot of fear.  I think I tend to soak that up.  What used to be a few minutes on Ye Olde Facebooke seeing what people are doing and thinking ends up making me tense.

Life is tense enough without everybody looking to be the smartest person in the room.

Life is tense enough without getting shouted down.

What bothers me is the people that I consider friends who are angry.

It's not all the time.  But since all I see of theirs is what they post online?  It paints them.

I try to keep it light.  Post what I'm reading.  Post an interesting article.

And I appreciate people who do the same.

But the anger is overwhelming.

So, if I should drop out of the Facebooking world unexpectedly, don't fret.  I'm still out here.  Probably here.....

Saturday, January 21, 2017


I took advantage of the afternoon off one day this past week to go see the flick Silence.

I've taken a while to digest it.  It's a beautiful flick.  Brutal, but beautiful.

My initial reaction was negative.

It's a little long.  I'll say that.  Scorsese has had a pacing problem for a while.  Bringing out the Dead and The Departed are aberrations in that regard, over his work for the past 25 years or so.

Also: I did not enjoy Andrew Garfield's performance.  At all.  I've tried with Garfield.  There's something in his performances that I can't get past.  I wish I could place a finger on it.  I just do not enjoy his work.

The movie's stuck with me, though.  I want to watch the movie again, though.


Here's why:

I was the first in the theater.  I thought, for a second, that it'd be one of those glorious experiences where I had the theater to myself.  It wasn't to be, though.  A couple walked in a couple minutes later.  And a fourth person walked in minutes after that.

Then, the lights went down, and the trailers started (I'm really, really curious about A Cure for Wellness, by the way).  And during the trailers, a group walks in.  A group of maybe 20 folks.  All older.  A couple of them use walkers, and take seats near the entrance hall.

It quickly becomes apparent that the Jesuit priests have a cheering section.  The retirees down front.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver play priests sent to track down a mentor and missionary in Japan, who has been rumored to have abandoned his faith.

The priests are in hiding, as the persecution of Christians is the law of the land.

There are moments, though, when the priests find those of Faith in the land.  Much to the elation of the retirement set down front.  There are outbursts.


Praise God!

And most often:  Amen.

There is one point in the movie, where Andrew Garfield's Rodrigues is in a tense exchange with Japanese authorities.  He makes an analogy about not being able to grow trees on poison ground, but is hesitant to use the word "poisoned."

There is a climactic pause, before he says the word.

At which point one among the set down front cries out "Say it!"

Here's the thing.  The movie isn't a rah! rah! rah! flick.  At least, I didn't take it as such.  These outbursts are annoying, to the point of distraction.

Apparently for one of the folks who came in just after me, as he gets up, and goes to the gentleman who cried out.  I can't hear the exchange--they're six or seven rows up.  I can see gestures.  I do hear the older gentleman's reply "I am watching the movie."

But, the talk was effective.  There are fewer outbursts.  A couple of Amens.  A hallelujah.

The movie ends.  The 32 ounce bottle of water I'd rented needed to be deposited.  I wandered down the steps to note a couple members of the large group wiping tears away.

Like I said.  I want to watch the movie again.

So that the Silence won't be broken.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Man, it's hard to watch the end of the 1994 mini series adaptation of The Stand, with the Vegas crowd chewing on Flagg's every word, and not be reminded of Trump and the MAGA legion that follows him.

Additionally, there is part of me that wishes somebody like HBO, or AMC, or Netflix, or somebody, would pick up the Stand and run with it for several episodes with some 2017 money behind it.  I hate to say so, but it would actually make me buy a channel if they adapted it again.

Just don't turd it up like CBS did with Under the Dome.

Think more along the lines of 11.22.63 from Hulu.

Also, think less along the lines of The Man in the High Castle, which had an intriguing first season, but with which I've had a booger of a time even making it through the first episode of the second season.