Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Oscars

Briefly, if I were voting:

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, Mystic River

His transformation in Mystic River was just so complete, and sold me completely on who Dave Boyle was...which to me was nice because I had a completely different picture of the man in my head when I'd read Dennis Lehane's book.

Ken Watanabe was excellent in Last Samurai. Easily the strongest part of that movie. He's a very close second in my mind.

I haven't seen any of the other three nominees in their movies. Nashville's got a couple of arthouse type theatres. One's a pain in the butt for me to get to, and the other...well, the other's a pain in the butt for me to get to, too.

And of course, Murfreesboro has a total of 22 screens, as many as twelve of them usually dedicated to the same couple of big pictures.

Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

Again, the best, most human, part of that movie. Holly Hunter would be my second choice for Thirteen.

I really didn't like Marcia Gay Harden's performance in Mystic River.

Best Actor: Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

I keep waffling between Bill and Sean Penn, in Mystic. I finally decided that were I a voting member of the Academy, I'd vote for Bill because the Academy has this real hardon for not taking comic performers seriously. Like it's not hard or any less of a talent to get up on stage or screen to make people laugh. Bill kind of touched on it in his Golden Globes speech.

Case in point? Someone much wiser than me once asked: "Ever watched De Niro trying to be funny? It's painful." He spoke true.

I wouldn't mind if Johnny Depp won for Pirates. His performance there, and in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Are you a Mexican, or a Mexican't?) were easily two of the most enjoyable of the year.

Best Actress: I dunno. Charlize Theron, I guess, in Monster

I've yet to see any of the movies in this category, except Whale Rider, which I thought was good, but not great. Keisha Castle-Hughes was pretty good in that. But I've heard so much about both Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts' performances.

Maybe I'd just be a pig and vote for Naomi, because she's purdy. And because The Ring kicked ass, and Mulholland Drive was just weird.

Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo

Brother Bear was okay. I didn't see the Triplets of Belleville, though I've heard a lot of nice things.

But Finding Nemo, which I saw at the Midway Drive-In (midway between Athens and Etowah, Tennessee), was as engaging as any movie that came out this year. I mean, the entire Drive-In shut up to watch this movie. It was great.

Best Director: Peter Jackson, Return of the King

How could you not give it to the guy? He's made probably the best trilogy of movies ever. And I say this being a huge fan of the first Star Wars trilogy.

I haven't seen City of God. Arthouse theater thing again. Sofia Coppola got so much out of both Scarlett Johannson and Bill Murray. Peter Weir did neat things with Master and Commander, and Clint Eastwood is always solid in his movie making.

But this is Peter Jackson's world, this year. The rest of them are just along for the ride.

Best Picture: Return of the King

I didn't see Seabiscuit. Too many underdogs packed into one picture for my taste.

Again. Lost in Translation...pretty good.

Master and Commander....very good, very well crafted.

Mystic River....Excellent.

Return of the King? He's done great things. Period.

Lastly: Does anybody else make a macabre point to watch the segment where they flash up pictures and video clips of those people in the industry who've passed away in the past year? I'm there, every time.
February 29

You know, our culture's got a huge mad-on for days that happen once a year. Fourth of July. Thanksgiving. Super Sunday. I mean, we start getting ready for Christmas five months in advance.

You'd think the furor surrounding February 29th, the day that happens once every four years, would be four times as big. Maybe it's my math that's faulty.

(Voice in my head:'s your math that's faulty...)

But you'd figure there'd be parades, and games, and prizes and rides. A nation...nay, International...Day of Celebration.

Facts compiled by Joanne Mamenta, found in the Tennessean:

--If it's your birthday today, you're one of 187,000 leap day babies in the U.S., and 4.1 million worldwide.

--Why do we have leap year? To keep the calendar in line with the seasons. The article asks if I want to see it snowing in September. Yes. Yes I do.

--The Egyptians were the first to come up with the idea of the leap year. Later, the Romans adopted this solution, and designated Feb 29 as leap day.

--Leap year became the traditional time for women to propose marriage to men. According to English law, Feb 29 was ignored, and had no legal status. Folks assumed the time's stricter rules of courtship went out the window, such as the taboo on her asking for his hand in marriage.

--A few leap year babies: Dinah Shore, singer-songwriter Gretchen Christopher and rapper Ja Rule.

--It's also Superman's Birthday.

A few other facts about leap day, that may or may not be true:

--In Wyoming, each citizen is entitled to one pre-meditated murder, without fear of criminal prosecution, on Leap Day. You must be a natural born citizen of Wyoming.

--Ricardo Montalban invented Leap Year, Leap Day, and the Cotton Gin.

--Your chance of being born on February 29 is one in 3.1 billion.

--Children born on Leap Day have wondrous, magical powers. These powers include, but are not limited to: Flight, Telepathy, Transmigration of the Soul, X-Ray Vision, Blaster Heinie, Healing Factor, Big Wings out of the Back, Optic Blasts, Manipulation of the Weather, Communication with God(s), Invulnerability to Advertising, Inability to Recognize Texas, Eye of the Tiger, Gator Jaw, Zombification, Leprousy, Super Speed and Really Big Left Hand.

--Free Will technically does not exist on February 29. Or is it Free Willy?

--Here's a neat trick: Bite the ends of your pinkie fingers. Hard, but not painfully. For about a minute. Then hook them together, and try to pull them apart. That weird, kinda painful feeling in your fingernails? That couldn't have happened without February 29th. I'm not sure how that works.

--It is possible to communicate with each of the dead Presidents of the U.S. on Leap Day. But you have to know the phone number. If you find out what the phone number is, remember that William Henry Harrison's kind of a prick, so don't ask to talk to him. History doesn't teach us all of these things.

--It's best not to leave the house at all on Leap Day.

--The concepts of the "mob mentality" and "mass hysteria" were both invented on Leap Day. But they work any day of the year. But it just feels special on Leap Day.

--The technical name of Leap Day is "Anybody Can Be an Astronaut, Especially You, so Let's All Eat our Quaker Oats and Make a Leap for the Stars" Day. But that won't fit on calendars.

--Mmmm. Leap Day Stew. Secret Ingredient? Hamster.

--The Laws of Thermodynamics have occasionally been known to fall out of whack. For one day, Perpetual Motion is possible. If you have the cash. That's why it's not such a special day. The only two people who could afford a device capable of perpetual motion? Bill Gates, and Ricardo Montalban.

So. Go Enjoy your February 29th. Wish your family Happy Greetings, and enjoy the Leap Day Brunchelsupper. My Leap Day Feast: Broccoli, Carrots, Diet Mt. Dew, 3 Gallons of Water and the Travel Section from the Sunday Paper.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Friday Five

I've not played Friday Five in a while, and I wanted to this morning. Imagine my dismay when there was no Friday Five. What a bunch of crap.

By way of Second Breakfast we find out that there are surrogate questions from the Farm Accident Digest:

1. Are you now or have you ever been a communist?

Two, three times. At parties and stuff. I got introduced to it by this guy named Vlad, he kept saying "try'll like it...." And you know what? It makes me feel all warm inside....kind of a red glow.

I made my self stop pretty early on when I couldn't sleep, one night, and I said you know, being a communist would help me sleep....but I got scared that if I was a communist right then, I'd never be able to sleep again without being a communist. So I just quit, cold turkey.

2a. If you could be a tree, any tree, which tree would you be?

This is a hard question. There's one thing to consider. Do I get to be sentient as a tree? Or do I have to be plain old stupid silent and barely alive tree?

Sentient tree: One of the palm trees in Jack Murphy Stadium (I will not call it whatever corporate name they want me to call it) in San Diego. Because the weather's alright, and I get to watch baseball 80-90 times a year, depending on whether they make the playoffs.

Non-Sentient tree: I dunno. A dogwood. Because then I'd be pretty.

2b. Which would you not be?

Apple Tree. Because I absolutely hate it when people pick shit off of me and eat it.

3. What's 2+2?

A math problem, it would appear.

4. How would you describe your novel?

Taut. Just because I like that word.

You want more? Pushy, ain't ya?

It's kind of an adaptation/re-working Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. It takes place on a distant planet in the year 2294, and instead of Benji being retarded, he's a space dragon who communicates via sense of smell. And Jason gets killed early on, by space raiders who take offense to his exaggerated sense of entitlement. And in my story, Quentin eats so much that he weighs like 900 pounds. Pretty much the only thing's the same is all the sex Candace has, and how worried about it everybody else seems to be.

5. How much time did you waste writing all this up?

Ten minutes. That I'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get back.


Speaking of soup recipes, in amidst the gun and dog posts, Say Uncle posted a recipe for soup called Mustgo, and I would like to give a short review.

I think it's best to stick to the ingredients he lists.

See, the operative phrase in his recipe is "use your own judgment."

Mustgo is a soup designed to be tasty and also to clean out the fridge. If it's good in soup, put it in the soup pot. (I paraphrase).

He does say "use your own judgment" as to what's good in soup.

Well, a word of warning. If your judgment says that a jar of bleu cheese salad dressing, nine kosher dill pickles, two leftover pieces of fried chicken, the can of tuna and ocean whitefish cat food you bought by accident, a can of coconut milk and the remainder of the pitcher of Strawberry-Kiwi Kool Aid would be good in a pot of soup, then you're probably not the one to be cooking supper tonight.

It's not so much those things that are bothering me, though. I keep the aloe sunburn gel in the fridge door, and it smelled kind of like the beach....

My guts...they's a burnin.....

However, I have seen, smelled and cataloged nearly 40,000 new colors that we'll begin discussing once we've got Leap Day out the way.

Just a short update: Jeebus H. Crisco, I've got a Journalism'd think I'd learn to spell/use proper grammar/proofread.....
New Blog

You know, anybody can talk about the Cubs. Well, not anybody. Little babies can't. Mutes. Most dogs. Monks under a vow of silence. Dead people. And people who don't follow baseball could, but they'd probably be talking about something different.

My point is, sometimes you have to do something special to catch my eye.

Just North of Wrigley Field did it. Chicago Cubs talk. And Professional Wrasslin' fantasy booking. Throw in a fart joke or two, a breast reference or three, and a nice soup recipe every now and then, and it would be the world's most perfect Tommy-reading blog.

It all started with my friend Julie, who e-mailed me to say that she's never had trouble sleeping in her life, until very recently, when her brain has decided to think about any and everything at 2 AM. I haven't heard if last night went any better for her.

I'd been sleeping nicely, thank you, for about a week and a half, and figured I was in for another three or four week trip of nice sleepy days. But Nooooooooo. Actually, yesterday wasn't so bad. I just couldn't get to sleep when I laid down, even though I felt ridiculously tired. I still managed to get the six that I need, so I ain't bitchin'. Just had to read a while to finally get to sleep.

But then, I went to work, and a co-worker blames me for his not being able to sleep that day. I told him it was because the kids were home from school because of the snow....which I was informed was also my fault (I couldn't follow the reasoning, but I've been blamed for bigger stuff more non-sensically, so I just let it go). But it was my talking about not being able to sleep a while back that got him to thinking about it, and there he was, all day, lying awake.

AND THEN, this morning, I get an e-mail from another buddy of mine who's not been sleeping well. And he decided last night, at 2:45 AM, on his fifth day of no sleepy, that his insomnia was my fault, and that he'd be driving from Virginia to cut me up with a hatchet. And then he would be able to sleep.

AND THEN, I read Gooseneck's lament on the effect of the they related to the sleepless nights.

AND THEN, the Sloth got on board the night train last night. He calls us freaks.

I have bouts of insomnia. They come and go. Sometimes I'll go months without being bothered by it. Sometimes, it'll seem like it's been months since I slept. It's not a bother, really. The biggest effect is that I'll just be cranky at work, that's all. I mean, really, at least I'll have a reason this time around.

I don't take sleeping pills. They seem to take forever to wash out of my system. I still feel groggy when I have to get up the next day, and I feel like I'm moving a speed setting slower than the rest of the world.

NyQuil works, if I'm looking to abuse over the counter medication. I don't take it just to sleep. But if I've got a cold or sinus problem, and that's what's keeping me up, a double shot of NyQuil will clear me up and knock me out. The side effects, though, include its taste (It tastes like what I'd imagine rotten licorice stored in Roseanne Barr's armpit would taste like) and the fact that Nyquil gives me really messed up dreams. Nothing scary or intense, or even trippy. Under the influence of NyQuil, I'll have super-realistic dreams about the mundane goings on of my life....basically, I'll dream I'm awake, and doing something extremely ordinary like tying my shoes or sitting in a chair. All night.

Generally, if I can't sleep, I read. I do that every night (day) before I go to sleep anyway. Sometimes, I just get more read. (I finished The Restaurant at the End of the Universe yesterday, and just started the next book in the Hitchhiker series).

It's the same if I wake up in the middle of the night, and can't get back to sleep. I'll just read a while.

Or I'll write. Either on a notepad, or I'll get up and write on the computer. Usually stories, or character outlines, but sometimes on here, too. There've been a few Ass End of the Night (or Day) Insomniac posts on this blog.

I don't watch TV too much, though my friend Adam (Brother in Insomnia) swears by Headline News or ESPNews. After once through the repitition, he'll start nodding off. But the light keeps me from going to sleep, so I don't do the TV.

A glass of milk helps. Tomato or Chicken Soup work better. I'm not a big night-time solid food eater, though I remember an aunt telling me once that she kept turkey in the house, and she'd eat some if she couldn't sleep. Whether it was psychological or turkey, she didn't know, but she swore by it. If I eat too much in the middle of the night, it sits on my stomach.

My boss at my old job never drank, she said, but if she was having trouble sleeping, she'd take a shot of whiskey. Whatever works.

There are other methods, which work with varying degrees of success.

But my favorite, which I never really believed 100%, but which makes for a good story, is the story of how my buddy Matt dealt with his insomnia.

Matt made an enemy of a teacher in his high school. Matt says it came about by Matt's being smarter than the teacher, even as a teenager. Basically, the teacher's relationship with Matt was completely antagonistic...the guy was a bully, and Matt was just a quiet guy going about his business. The teacher, one afternoon, told Matt in front of a class that Matt would never amount to anything. That he'd end up a bum in a go nowhere job and stay there, forever.

Shortly after Matt graduated high school, this teacher was made to resign over an impropriety with a student. Apparently, the teacher's life went to hell, after that. Divorce. Bankruptcy. You name it. Matt ran into him a couple of years later, when he took Matt's order at a McDonald's.

Not long after, Matt couldn't sleep. He was in the kitchen, and he noticed the phone book. He looked up his old teacher's number. And his insomnia cure was, essentially, to harass this guy who'd said he'd never amount to anything. His usual ploy was to call and say "Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce....etc."

Or sometimes he'd ask for an extension on a paper he'd meant to turn in in the eleventh grade.

But he said he got the most satisfaction out of just repeating back to that former teacher what he'd been told in class that fateful afternoon when Matt was in high school.

And any time Matt did that, he said, he'd have no trouble sleeping after that.

The story, taken with a grain of salt, tells of the best cure for insomnia I can think of. A little schadenfreude-driven harassment to ease the mind.

Again...whatever works.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Everything said today, was false.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Today's Funny

From the e-mail (for my birthday):

So the two airline mechanics get off work at LaGuardia,
NY and one says, "Let's go have a beer", and the other
says, "Why don't we try drinking jet fuel? I hear it
tastes like whiskey, and you don't have any hangover
in the morning."

So they drink about a quart of it apiece and it tastes
great and they have a good time, but the next morning,
one of them calls up the other and he says,

"Hey, how do you feel?"

"I feel great."

"Me too. No hangover. Just one thing. Have you farted

"No---- "

"Well, DON'T. I'm calling from Phoenix!"

Big Stupid Tommy: Where Fart Jokes are Still Cool.

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
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One Word

I've been getting a lot of links from Missives Anonymous lately. You'd do well to go and read there. Because it's good. And then you can come here, and say "Well Hell! I saw that mess yestidy, what decade you livin' in, Mr. T?"

But One Word was kind of cool as a short writing exercise. Plus, it ordered me to go tell people about it. I'm afeared of the computer, and the demons that live in it.
Mr. Miyagi

You remember that part of Karate Kid, right after Daniel-san has done "paint house" (side-side)? Daniel-san's gotten pissed off because Mr. Miyagi went fishing, and he's been doing his chores (wash cars, sand floor), and Mr. Miyagi wants to give Daniel-san the epiphany of finding out that he's already been learning karate?

Mr. Miyagi wants him to show him Sand Floor.

Daniel-san says "I can't even move my arm."

And Mr. Miyagi uses his special mystical handclapping Okinawan healing powers to fix Daniel's shoulder? We learn later in the movie it also works on hurt legs. I wonder if it could be used to cure broken hips, or maybe backs. Or broken necks....Mr. Miyagi could cure Superman!

I could use some of that Miyagi-do type magic today. My shoulder's killing me. I managed to sleep on it twisted up underneath me, and it hurts to raise my arm above the shoulder.

Mr. Miyagi could fix that shit in a minute, if he wanted. But I'd probably have to just go and fight the Kobra Kai when he fixed it.

I wonder if Mr. Miyagi could teach me karate. Probably. He's a smart dude. But I don't have any bullies who dress up like skeletons chasing me around, and keeping me from Elizabeth Shue (there's a judge in California who's got something to say about that, however).

But I've done a lot of chores. I wonder if any of them can be used to retroactively teach me karate. Kind of like Advanced Placement credits from high school to college.

Some chores I've done:

1. Carry Firewood
2. Lift Furniture
3. Fold the Laundry
4. Wash the Dishes
5. Take the Trash to the Dumpster
6. Clean the Dust off the TV Screen
7. Cook Lunch
8. Look in couch cushions for coke machine change
9. Read a book
10. Fight Pirates
11. Mousercize
12. Crush Aluminum Cans by Stepping on Them

Surely some of those could be used to teach me some karate.

Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 80's, but it seemed like every kid in my class back in the day, especially after Karate Kid came out, was taking karate classes. I was like the only kid not taking karate lessons. We had Hobby Day, where everybody got to bring in something associated with their hobby, and something like half the class wore their karate outfits to school. I brought in my baseball cards, and talked about them. (What, did ya think i was was going to bring in the scab collection? That's for specials).

So. Only kid not taking karate. I was also the only kid in my grade school class who could not roller skate. Coincidence? I think not. It sucked a little, because in fifth grade, frigging EVERYBODY had a roller skating birthday party. I just stayed in the arcade and played video games (Q-Bert, the Legend of Kage, and Galaga).

I'm rambling. What I meant to talk about was this:

Remember that part when Daniel comes into Mr. Miyagi's workshop, sees Mr. Miyagi trying catch the fly with chopsticks, and then Daniel tries, and he actually succeeds in catching the fly with the chopsticks? ON HIS FIRST TRY!?!?!??!?!?!

This is how I know Karate Kid is fiction. Because in real life, when Daniel-san catches the fly and lapses into his elated "Hey! Mistuh Miyagi! Look! I did it!", Mr. Miyagi would have unleashed a vicious crescent kick that would have put Daniel into a coma for the rest of the movie. Or maybe just broken the kid's jaw.

Either way, Daniel would have come away with an important lesson about respecting your elders, and not sassin'. But Hollywood likes sass. So they left the part where Mr. Miyage kills the big stupid American on the cutting room floor.

Last thing? The guy who gives Mr. Miyagi shit at the beach (Must Learn Balance!) about being Oriental (calls him Mr. Moto) and puts beer bottles on Mr. Miyagi's truck, before Mr. Miyagi karate chops them all to hell? That's Larry Drake, L.A. Law's Benny. I did not know that until last night.

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


You know, there's a lot wrong with the Gigantor of retailers, but it's so hard for me to argue with a DVD 4-Movie pack that includes both my favorite Buster Keaton movie (The General) and my favorite Charlie Chaplin movie (the Kid) for the low, low price of $5.50.
Your Online Otis Nixon and Bea Arthur Headquarters

I'm Google's #1 Result if you search for Otis Nixon Bea Arthur.

For Now.
Gay Marriage

I've probably said it before, but my favorite thought on this whole gay marriage quagmire came from the Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who wondered if gay marriage were sanctioned...did it mean that we would all have to marry gay? Because he didn't think his wife would like that.....

The only other thought I have on it is my co-worker, who works a full time job and two part time jobs mainly because he doesn't want to have to spend time with his family. Which is rough, I know, and ultimately not good for anybody, but it's amusing in the abstract. Especially watching him volunteer for extra work so that he won't have to be home.

In my mind, I think of this guy very much as Al Bundy. Except he's not nearly as charming.

And I watch this guy, as he gets called two and three times over the course of a shift from home. Every night. In the middle of the night. His wife is calling him in the middle of the night. He tells me that she wakes up just to call him at his night job.

Here is a representation of his part of the telephone conversation with his wife from last night.

Him (picking up the phone): This is ______.

11 second break while she talks

Him: I know.

8 second break while she talks

Him: Yeah.

A very long break, almost a minute, during which he makes eye contract with me, frowns and shakes his head

Him (finally): I dunno.

Another very long break, during which he sits and rests his head in his free hand

Him: Then clean it up.

ANOTHER very long break

Him: Yeah.

ANOTHER very long break

Him: You don't have to harangue me like this...

A short, 10 second break during which I was impressed with his use of the word harangue

Him: Yeah.

Right after he says that, he jerks the phone away from his ear in surprise.

"She hung up," he tells me. No goodbyes or "I Love Yous" or anything like that.

I repeat all this not to make either party look particularly bad. We're looking at a very small piece of their relationship, and only from one side, so I'm not saying we should judge anybody here. If there's anything that I take from witnessing this conversation (and others like this one), it's that he talks little, she talks much.

But I bring it all up to say this:

Finally, he said to me, after hanging up the phone and rubbing his face with his hands for an indeterminate amount of time: "If the gay people wanna get married, they can have it, but only if they make it so that I can't be married anymore."

Take from it what you will.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Tournaments, and stuff

Via Missives Anonymous comes this link to Tournament of Stuff.

I've posted a few brackets of my own, of generally stupid stuff, too. Usually when I'm bored. And to get weird stuff out there on my page, just to see what comes up on search engines.

I like my initial pairings better....but their follow-thru is something to behold, at least in terms of meaningless goofy shit.

About a week ago, I asked for a few recommendations for something to read. I appreciate all the kind suggestions...

Bill McCabe suggested a couple of biographies on The Illustrious T.R....

Deb suggested Da Vinci's Code, which I read just a few weeks ago....I enjoyed it. She also suggested Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale, a's been a while since I've gotten into a good fantasy. I may have to give it a look.

Diane suggested Lies My Teacher Told Me, and we've agreed to a Gregory Maguire literary exchange that will benefit both parties without too much collateral damage...the next time I'm over that way.

Haws suggested Les Miserables, and touched off a small debate over its quality.....I've read it once, but it was one of those assigned things, so I was mired quite a bit in my resentment at being told what to do, so it's possible I didn't get as much out of it as I could have....

Danielle suggested a little Bill Bryson and Gaston LeRoux's Phantom of the Opera....I've had several people say they enjoyed Bill Bryson to me. Next time I'm in a book store.

Lisa recommended Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris...that's a funny-ass book. They should use that one as a blurb on the next printing.

Eric told me I should read William Manchester's Goodbye Darkness, and that I can't go wrong with that one. I haven't read anything on WW2 in a little while...I think I'll look at this one when I get a chance.

And over the e-mail, a Riceville Elementary School Alumnus suggested I check out Agee on Film, since I enjoy Pauline Kael's work so much.

Paul, who has gotten quite a bit hostile toward me lately, said I should stick to coloring books and Sunday Paper coupons.

And the Filthy Hippy suggested Devil in the White City, which he's just read.

But here's the decision.

Emily suggested Hitchhiker's Guide the Galaxy, a move seconded by Gunny.

But I've already read Hitchhiker's Guide. An old, musty paperback copy. And it's one of the few books that actually makes me laugh out loud. Mr. Adams had him one of those senses of humor I've heard so much the ability to string four or six words together in a pleasing manner.

I've never read, though, any of the sequels/other stories in the Hitchhiker's universe. Even though somebody got me the big collected More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide for my birthday last year.

So. Starting this morning, when I head to sleepyland, I'm going to go with The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

And I'll look at a few others on that list, too. And if you find something else, just let me know.

Sunday, February 22, 2004


You know, Otis Nixon came up in conversation the other day.

You know Otis, right? Former Major League speedster. Nice glove in center. Played for the Braves for a while, when they were first getting good in the early 90's. Ugly. Ugly as home-made sin.

I once got beer dumped all over my by this crazy drunk girl at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, as she screamed her heart, lungs and liver out for her favorite player, Otis Nixon. I was like 14, and this girl in the row behind me decided that Otis was cute (I did say she was drunk, but the argument for her being either blind or stupid would be strong), and spent most of time from the third inning on screaming as loud as her voice and lungs would allow for Otis.

In her defense, yelling "Otis" is fun. Next time you're at work, wander the hallways yelling for Otis. Or even out in the parking lot. And when somebody asks you who Otis is, don't answer them...just walk away in a huff muttering something about how "that ugly summamabitch better get here now."

But along about the seventh inning, she really got into the scream, and decided to gesticulate wildly while screaming for Otis (which is only proper)....and ended up flinging her beer all over me. But I understood. Because A.) it was cheap Kool-Aid Concession Stand Beer and B.) It was Otis.

Well, I bring this all up, because Otis has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery.

Poor Otis. Ugly man just trying to make his way with the ladies, and they go and call the cops! Can't nobody get a break these days, least of all Otis!

How ugly was Otis? You know when they flash a player's picture up on the big jumbo screen with his stats? The noise from 30,000 people going "Ewww" all at once got to Otis' self esteem and his average started dropping, so they just started showing pictures of Otis fielding his position....usually taken from a safe distance of 400 feet or more away.

And as far as the coincidence of my talking about him, and then his coming up with his legal troubles?

I think Otis stays in some manner of trouble. I think he's probably had more run-ins with the law than I've had hot meals, so it's not that big a thing. Seems like every three months I'm running into some story about the poor guy being hassled by The Man.
Just a couple of movie thoughts

Watched Road to Perdition tonight. It's just one of those movies that I'd never picked up, though I'd meant to. I liked Max Allan Collins' graphic novel, which I read back when the movie was in theaters. I just never got around to watching the movie itself.

I liked it, though I really think my experience was hurt by pan & scan. Saturday night being a busy movie rental night, most everything I wanted to see was out, including a widescreen copy of Road.

But like I said, there looked like there were a lot of interesting noir-ish shots in the movie, especially where it concerned Connor Rooney and Jude Law's ghoulish Maguire. But a lot of the periphery of the frame was cut out in the pan and scan formatting, and I think I missed out a little a bit.

I did enjoy the shot where we are introduced to Maguire, the hitman/photographer of the dead, as he walks between the columns of the Elevated train, and we get a distended, fisheye type look at the little ratty, ghoulish man as he marches toward his duty.

Let's see if I can say "Ghoulish" one more time.

I liked the diner scene between Law and Tom Hanks. Hanks' Mike Sullivan sits at the table. Jude Law's Maguire? He hovers. Ghoulishly.

Pretty good movie1, I thought. Excellent performance by Mr. Law.

I also rented Runaway Jury, kind of on a whim. The video store I go to puts the newly released titles on the counter, and I saw that a copy of this was in. I kind of wondered about the wisdom of the move...I mean, if it's actually in a movie store on a Saturday night, how good can it be, right?

But I kind of liked this one. For the ensemble performance, mostly. John Cusack's put himself in a couple of nice ensemble pieces lately, Identity being the other I've seen him in lately.

The movie itself is kind of light, and it panders to the audience a couple of times having to reveal that Rachel Weisz is in disguise, at one point. You know. For those folks who aren't able to pay attention to a movie long enough to actually look at her face.

But it does have Bruce "D-Day" McGill in all his southern, blustery glory, and Luis "I'm in P.T. Anderson's movies" Guzman, playing, well, himself, as near as I can tell. Jennifer Beals shows up, though she's not given a lot to do (no dancing). Wet Hot American Summer's Marguerite Moreau likewise appears, though in a much more conservative tableau. Orlando Jones makes the briefest of appearances...and did I mention Rachel Weisz is in the movie?

Because I like Rachel Weisz. She's purty.

The whole anti-gun thing wasn't so much of a distraction for me, but I could see where a lot of people would get annoyed by it, especially since those who are pro-gun in the movie are all portrayed as huffy, ignorant, redneck savages. With money.

And....could somebody just tell Dustin Hoffman that he doesn't need to do his southern accent any more? As a southerner, it was more than a little distracting. To me, a badly performed southern accent, however sincerely attempted, is a mocking southern accent.

One more note on the whole movie renting experience, and this is just a quick note to another customer.

To the lady (and I use that term loosely) who darted in front of me to make sure to pick up one of the three available copies of Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star before (I assume) that I could grab them...I assure you that there was no need.

There were three (3) copies, ma'am. Even if I were to rent Dickie Roberts, I'd just need one of the three...or maybe two, just in case the first one broke. But I wouldn't rent all three, all at once. I mean, I'm just one man, and can only take so much of that David Spade Glitz all at once. So I ask you to, even in the presence of that warming glow of that David Spade Glitz, to control yourself, and respect all socially recognized boundaries of personal space.

Thank you, and enjoy your movie.
Tennessee, and stuff

I link to this CNN story about Dayton, Tennessee, the Scopes Monkey Trial and the beginnings of a historical tourism trail mainly because it contains a link within it to my friends over at the Tennessee Overhill Experience, who've been doing this kind of good work for quite a while.

And also because it contains the briefest of mentions to McMinn County, which is where I was born.

This is almost as good as the time an episode of X-Files (about snakehandling churches) was set there.

Friday, February 20, 2004


27 years ago today, a dark and stormy Sunday, my mother had to go to the fetus frightening room to get me scared from her stomach. They even had the Machine That Goes "Ping." Michael Palin kicks ass.

Whenever I ask about the event, I get only a nervous coughing. She says "I don't want to talk about it," and I get an icy, hard stare for the rest of the day.
Hey! A Quiz

You're The Sound and the Fury!

by William Faulkner

Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips
with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue,
but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard
time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant
anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Seen at Sugarfused

Thursday, February 19, 2004


My intent was, when I sat down in front of my computer, to re-create what I'd done this morning, in order to jog my memory.

I've misplaced my keys. Normally, I put them back in my pocket after using them, but for whatever reason, I didn't this morning.

Still can't remember what I did with them.

Got distracted by that Sloth rant.
Baseball Blog Bullshit

When it comes to talking about the Chicago Cubs, and reading about them on the internet, do you want to know the first site I read? The Uncouth Sloth.

I like the Sloth's site because he's passionate about his Cubs. And everything he says on his site comes from that passion. He doesn't spend countless hours making charts and comparing OBP or any of the other cold and heartless numbers. He just eyeballs the proceedings, and tells you what he feels. Which is something I appreciate. I'm not a numbers guy, when it comes to the baseball.

I say passionate, and that's not a descriptive enough word. He's angry when the Cubs (or anybody else) do something stupid (which is often). He's skeptical about true-believers. He's not quick to jump on any bandwagons. He wants the Cubs to do the right thing to finally win one.

And he hates it with every fiber of his being when they fuck up.

But also, he's not apologetic about anybody on the team. Which I like. Hates him some Sammy Sosa. Michael Barrett is not the answer for him (I think Barrett's a lateral move at best at catcher). He'd like a different shortstop ( who doesn't strike out 125 times). He's quite correct in his beliefs that we don't have a solid leadoff hitter (can I point out that until Kenny Lofton got there last year, we didn't have a decent table setter and we were mired as far down as third?). He hated that six fingered freak we had in the bullpen last year.

And he's tired of the Cubs mortgaging their future for pathetic attempts at a division title, the past few times they've reached for the ring.

But what's more.

When he sees something he likes, he'll tell you about it just as quickly.

When the Cubs actually looked like they were doing all the right things to win last season, and they finally convinced the Sloth that they had the tools to carry my ears, there was no louder or more proud a banner carrier.

Others: He's got a disquieting amount of man-love for Mark Prior. He's really happy about the minor league set up, right now. Loves Juan Cruz, but not enough that he wouldn't take a decent leadoff hitter for him.... And he, like a lot of us, is warm n' fuzzy over Professor Maddux returning to the Friendly Confines, but not at the expense of higher priorities.

But there is one thing about the Sloth. And it's in his blog title. It's that he's UNCOUTH. You know, when I first read the title, Uncouth Sloth, I wondered. Why's it called Uncouth? And I read, with my feet set just a little, and I found out. Hey! The Sloth Curses! And I started to get offended, and call my local church, when I remembered that I curse quite a bit and I'm not affiliated with any particular religious movement, and that I don't have a giant stick up my ass.

At least not about people cursing and being a little uncouth.

But Rob's (I hope I haven't outted the Sloth too much by using his name) rubbed some people the wrong way. He's not gotten linked to by a couple of the other Cubs blogs because they don't like his language. One such site didn't include the Sloth's very insightful thoughts on the recent Maddux signing in its roundup. Because they run a family site.

Well, you know, everybody's got a prerogative, I guess.

Mine's that you should make the Uncouth Sloth your online headquarters for passionate, angry rants about the greatest baseball team in all the universe (the Nippon Ham Fighters coming in a distant second).

And shit on those who don't respect the man, just because he talks rough.

It's what I do.

Next time I'm up Chicago way, I'm going to buy the Sloth a beer.

Now, if only I could afford to go to Chicago....

(With props to the ever-faithful Say Uncle, who is not a baseball fan and despairs when the baseball fans write about a game that they won't even be playing for six more weeks....I say again that we can't all write about guns all the time....)

Three Things, before I sleep

1. Today's shit in my pants moment was brought to you by the girl so involved in her cellphone conversation that she stepped right off the sidewalk into the path of my truck as I was driving down the street.

2. Les Jones has the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party up.

3. My new favorite euphemism for going to the toilet is "getting some religion." A co-worker said this the other night. I asked the derivation, and he calls it that because he's getting rid of his demons.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Some Things Just Feel Right

You know when you've hit something and it just feels right? Like when you bowl, and you know that you've just spun it really well, and you know that it's a strike without even having to watch?

That kind of it feels right. Where it just makes you feel better.

Putting on those old comfy shoes.

Falling into the normal cadence of conversation with a friend you've known forever.

Punching the shit out of a mime.

That feeling of power when you're in control of all the power windows in a car full of friends and you've had nothing to eat over the previous 12 hours except bran flakes, broccoli, Mexican food and beer....and calling you a wee bit gassy is like calling Otis Nixon a wee bit ugly.....THAT IS ULTIMATE POWER!!!!!

Well, call it wishful thinking or call it hopeless optimism. But having Greg Maddux back on the Cubs just feels like it's the right thing to do.

No, I don't expect him to come in and win 18 games, or throw 8 innings a contest, or be the go-to guy he was when he left Chicago those many moons ago.

But having a cagey veteran like Greg Maddux, who was arguably the best pitcher of the 1990's, on your pitching staff with a bit left in his arm, can't hurt. Unless he really has lost the strike zone and the wind's blowing out.

This has got to be butter for Greg, too. Because he's not the go-to guy. He's not even the back up go-to guy.

Not when you have horses like Kerry "I Kill You With Baseball" Wood, Carlos "I Kill You with Beisbol" Zambrano, Mark "I could kill you, but I'd rather embarrass you" Prior and Matt "Weird Kind-of Stoned Looking Might Kill You But Only Because He's Stoned" Clement in the staff.

I think the important thing to remember in all this is this:

Maddux didn't sign with the Yankees.

I convinced myself of it at work last night. That George "Working Within the System" Steinbrenner, in an effort to shore up his rotation would sign Greg.

So, this isn't a bad start to the day at all.

And Seriously. Otis Nixon was the UG. LEE.

He didn't get hit with the ugly stick...Otis got blown up with the Ugly Bazooka.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Today's Funny

Mike Toole, on how ARod would have done had he been traded to the Mets.

Monday, February 16, 2004


Somebody suggest to me a good book to read. None of the many millions I have here in the Kennedy Big Stupid Tommy Compound look any good. Help me out, folks.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

My Day

The Truck? It is broken down. It is something entirely different than what was fixed not long ago. Fairly easily fixable. But I was born without an opposable thumb.

The weather? It is snowy. But it's a crappy snow that made it about a half-inch deep in places, but has since melted off. It still flurries. But it's a mocking snow. How is it that snow, even a trifling amount, manages to make everything twice as muddy as when it rains?

The toes? Still ten of them. Despite the coffee table's best effort's to deprive me of a digit. It's become a once a day thing to catch one of my little toes on a door jamb or a coffee table leg. Infuriating.

The sleep? It eludes me.

The Maddux? He also rejected an offer from the Giants.

The baseball, in general? Most pitchers and catchers report this week. It's about damn time. I mean, seriously, I've been having to amuse myself for the most part for the last couple of weeks.

And as much fun as Muhammad Biography/Klingon-Borg/Beercan that the NWA's Sandman used to smashed into somebody's head dioramas are to make, you can only amuse yourself for so long.

It only happens when I can't sleep. Which is every day.

That's my day.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

ARod to the Yankees


ARod's been traded to the Yankees. What was rumor before I got up to go to the toilet is confirmed when I get back.

There are still contract details to be ironed out, but it's looking like it's a go for the A.L. MVP to go to the Big Apple.

Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later will be heading to play their ball next season in Arlington.

Whaddaya bet that Theo Epstein is the angriest man in North America right now?

Besides all those Canadians pissed off at Conan O'Brien.

On the upside, Greg Maddux has rejected a proposed deal with the Dodgers. He's nosing around the Giants now, according to ESPN.
O How the Barber has Fallen

Via 1wrestling by way of Fark:

Brutus Beefcake (Ed Leslie) caused an Anthrax scare at a Boston subway station when a white powdery substance was found that caused the evacuation of the station where he was working. The substance was found on the counter of a fare booth being manned by Leslie, who later admitted it wasn't Anthrax but was cocaine.

Leslie has been suspended and has checked into rehab.

Sadly, the cocaine is not what caught my eye. There have been too many deaths in recent years from drug and alcohol abuse in the pro wrestling world for Bruti's use of the nose candy to be all that surprising.

Though given that Brutus had his entire face reconstructed after having it smashed in a parasailing accident, I consider it a testament to modern medical science that he's able to use his nostrils at all.

Back the point, if you've seen Beyond the Mat, you've seen Jake "the Snake" Roberts high on crack after a pretty rough meeting with his family.

"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and Miss Elizabeth both passed away in the last year after playing with some form of illegal self-medication.

And sadly, the list goes on and on.

So hearing that Brutus is seeking help is comforting.

But here's what really caught my eye in the short news item: Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake. Working a fare booth at a Boston subway station.

The guy was main-eventing the WWF with Hulk Hogan 15 years ago, against Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Zeus (actor Tiny Lister, for the squared-circle impaired)....and travelled on Hogan's coat-tails to WCW in the mid 90's, where he became the Man of a Bajillion Gimmicks.

I guess he snorted up those bling WWF and Ted Turner funded WCW paychecks.

Still, that's gotta suck. I mean, if you're manning a fare booth for the Subway in a major metropolitan area, you have to get recognized every now and then...

An imagined meeting:

As a stout young lad buys a ticket on the line to take him to Fenway Park....

Lad: Hey! I know you! Aren't you Brutus Beefcake, one-half of the WWF Champion Tag Team The Dream Team with Greg "the Hammer" Valentine?

Brutus:Yes....Fare is $1.75, unless you have a Multi-Pass.

Lad: You were the Barber! You feuded with "the Outlaw" Ron Bass and The Honky Tonk Man! What are you doing working here?

Brutus: Umm......Coke Hab....uh...Research. For a movie. $1.75, please....

Lad: (Dubious) What's the movie called?

Brutus: Adven...Police Academ.....Never You Mind!

Lad: Seriously, what are you doing? You're famous! I mean, you feuded with Diamond Dallas Page over Kimberly, the Diamond Doll!

And then the Barber comes through the booth at the guy.

It's gotta have happened at least once. Especially if he's coked up.

While we're on the subject of wrestlers and coke, I found the Hulk Hogan retrospective DVD at Walgreens for 5 dollars. It's pretty good, I guess, especially for a lot of the Tuesday Night Titans segments where Vince McMahon and "Awful" Alfred Hayes host a Tonight Show like show. It's a fun watch, even if I never really much cared for the Hulkster.

I bring the DVD up because there's a segment of TNT where Hogan comes in and rants to Vince and Alfred about Big John Studd and their feud. I watched this segment with wonder, as I tried to just imagine the powdery cocktail of performance enhancing drugs and whatever other stimulants that the Hulkster's gotta have in his blood just to maintain the level of nervous energy he does throughout the interview. I mean, he vibrates out of our plane of existance a couple of times, he's so buzzed....

Give it a look, wrasslin' fans.

And finally, for those keeping track, I count 15 wrestlers and managers from "Back in the Day" listed in this post.....mark it down.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Friday the 13th

Here's an article looking at some of the beliefs and history surrounding Friday the 13th.

The article notes the folks with 13 letters in their names having what's called The Devil's Luck. Jeffrey Dahmer, and Jack the Ripper are noted, although I somehow doubt Jack's given name was Jack the Ripper. If it were, I think we'd probably know by now who he was.

But it scared me for a second, because I miscounted in my head the number of letters in my first and last name (11, and not 13).

I don't know if it's related, but the radio traffic guys says it's always bad on Friday the 13th, and it's particularly bad this morning. Nashville drivers suck, but this morning sounds like it's rough even for them.

And also, I damn near broke my little toe on one of the coffee table legs a few minutes ago. I refuse to chalk it up to carelessness.
DVD Piracy: Thoughts from the Chinese Mainland

I'm really enjoying Voluntarily in China.

Ruck has a really interesting post on the ramifications of Piracy of western DVDs in China. I'd never considered the ramifications as toward the influence our movies would have on the culture...nor did I think two steps ahead to see the impact the piracy would have on the Chinese film industry. Give it a look, it's a pretty good read.
Simpsons on the Big Screen

From the Internet Movie Database:

Production bosses are finally bringing The Simpsons to the big screen after years of trying - but they're refusing to divulge any details about the project. According to creator and writer James L Brooks, an idea has been accepted which will see the family from the hit TV series - Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie - hit the big screen in the next few years. But As Good As It Gets director Brooks is keen to keep the project under wraps, because it's only in its infant stage. He says, "We've got a very good and interesting idea, and it's different from the show. You know, it's like the South Park movie where it's just a bigger, longer, amplified version of the show. I can't tell you anything specific about it. My wife doesn't even know the secret." Fellow writer Mike Reiss adds, "It's been 13 years of wanting to do The Simpsons movie. Finally Fox said, 'Let's just do it!' We never had the greatest idea that was compelling but Fox said, 'Maybe if we start paying you, you'll get inspired.' And sure enough, it worked!"

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Yeah, America's still number one.

But Italy's moving up on my list, with this story: A woman has skipped out on her medicals bills she took on for having a breast enlargement.

There are several things in the four paragraph story that catch my eye. But this is my favorite paragraph:

Police say they have few leads as the woman used a false name, but are relying on a photograph and her unusually large bra size to find her, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Fixing Things

Before you read my stuff, I want to direct you to Sheila's comments on the Star Wars thing, as hers are much more coherent, and in fairness, she spoke first. I repeat a couple of things she says, of them nearly down to the word--I chalk it up not so much to great minds thinking alike, but rather Sheila being very much in the right, and that even the stopped clock that is BSTommy is right twice a day.....

Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.

Art also has its morality, and many of the rules of this morality are the same as, or at least analogous to, the rules of ordinary ethics. Remorse, for example, is as undesirable in relation to our bad art as it is in relation to our bad behavior. The badness should be hunted out, acknowledged and, if possible, avoided in the future. To pore over the literary shortcomings of twenty years ago, to attempt to patch a faulty work into the perfection it missed as its first execution, to spend one's middle age in trying to mend the artistic sins committed and bequeathed by that different person who was oneself in youth--all this is surely vain and futile. And that is why this new Brave New World is the same as the old one. Its defects as a work of art are considerable; but in order to correct them, I should have to re-write the book--and in the process of rewriting, as an older, other person, I should probably get rid not only of some of the faults of the story, but also of such merits as it originally possessed. And so, resisting the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse, I prefer to leave both well and ill alone, and to think about something else.....
--Aldous Huxley, in the foreword to the reissue of his Brave New World, on wanting to go back and correct the text of the original, before republishing it.

I've been thinking about this passage since the rumors about the DVD release of the original Star Wars trilogy started up a while back. I finally remembered where I'd read it, and that's relief in and of itself.

You know, as much as Billionaire George can rant and rave about the Special Editions now being the Definitive editions of his movies, there is absolutely no way that in 1997 he had the entire grasp of what it was he was trying to do twenty years prior to that--he is an older, other person.

These are the movies he always wanted to make.

Well, that's fine for you, George.

But the movies that you were able to put out in 1977, 1980 and 1983 were great, in spite (and maybe because) of what you were technically and technologically unable to do.

And when you put them out in 1977, 1980 and 1983, they were no longer yours. You put them out for everybody...and they became ours. And like few, if any, other movies, they were accepted completely and totally into this generation's cultural lexicon.

Aldous said it: in going back to fix the bad, you also damaged some of the good. It's kind of like that Jenga game. You can take out a block....but putting it back in will usually jostle some keystone piece out of position, making the whole shebang a little more tipsy.

I'm like just about everybody. I like Han Solo shooting first. Kind of shows him to be the guy who'll do what he has to to survive. Letting Greedo shoot first makes Han a victim. And he's not a victim. It weakens his character.

Also, I like the matte boxes around the Tie Fighters and X-Wings in the Death Star battles. I was never bothered by them. I kind of liked them, because it showed what George and company were able to do in spite of the limitations.

I hate in Empire, where they added a few seconds of Wampa where the big Wampa is crouching over his kill and munching on it, while Luke hangs upside-down from the ice. I always liked the way it was prior to the SE because it left the Wampa to the imagination, a little. And George insulted us a little by not trusting us to use our imaginations.

And I think that's the problem. My buddy Alex, who's a wise, wise man, except for that whole living in Wisconsin thing, said after The Phantom Menace came out that this prequel was was a movie for kids, whereas the original trilogy was made for the kid in everybody.

It's like where George tries to explain midichlorians in The Phantom Menace as part of an explanation on Jedis and the doing so, he completely undermined the best part of the movies for me: Magic in the midst of all the science. Here you have space travel and laser blasters and droids and binary loadlifters....and also these guys in robes who can move things with their mind. It was a nice fantastic balance, which was completely undermined by the need to explain it. Leave it to the viewers to figure out, if they even need to.

But anyway.

I say all this, and I wish I could honestly say to you that I won't be buying George's trilogy when it comes out in the fall. But I probably will. My VHS copies aren't good for much anymore.

Who knows. Maybe George will come to his senses and let us choose. He likes money. Maybe down the road they'll package an original edition for us. They did it with the Alien movies....regular and special editions in the same package. I dunno.

There. I'm done ranting about Star Wars.
The Lie I Told at Work

I told a co-worker last night that my middle name was O'Malley, and that I was named after the cat Tom O'Malley in The Aristocats. Since it made such an impact on my parents. And I think she believed me.

I also told her that my life story was made into the movie Gremlins. I think (I hope) she was a little more dubious about that claim.
Darwin at Work

Bill McCabe linked to this story, about a 19-year-old woman who was crushed by a train after she jumped down onto the subway tracks to retrieve her cellular phone. Bill takes issue with the media's misuse of the word "tragic."

He makes a good point.

I commented over there that anytime one of these people gets taken out of the gene pool, it's probably not that bad a thing. I mean, seriously, do we want the person who is looking so intently for a phone that she's oblivious to a train to be responsible for the upbringing of more children?

To expand on that thought a's one less cell phone to go off in a movie theater, as well. I'd assume the phone was lost. It's one less person to miss completely a revolution of red, green and yellow lights because they're too involved in the conversation to even hear me laying on the horn. It's one less person to confuse me utterly and completely in a supermarket with one of those headsets that you can't see from one side...and they talk....and you think they're talking to you about going to a wedding with somebody named Fred, but noooooooo.....

That last one's more of a personal embarrassment than anything.

It almost wouldn't be so bad if the person on the phone would jump out of their conversation for a second just to say "Gotcha!"

Cellular phones. Pfah, I say.
Big Fancy Five Dollar Words

Considering that the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal often finds itself on the losing end of the struggle to use the correct version of "your/you're" in its stories, I found it a bit out of place for them to use the term "quixotic" to describe the candidacies of Howard Dean and John Edwards for the Democratic nomination in the lead story.

The DNJ bugs me, if only because it tries to run itself almost tabloid style. It'll editorialize in headlines and stories, and it likes to run "shocking" pictures on the front page of bloody car crashes and shootout victims (more of the former, and only one of the latter, that I can recall, in fairness--though I'm sure there would be more if only that we had more shootouts in our little ex-urb area), yet it's the only paper in our little town. I don't know if they feel like they're competing with the Tennessean or even the USA Today, and the only way they feel like they can do that is to resort to cheap shock tactics.

I'd be more likely to buy it if they'd just put a little more effort into their copy editing, instead of using the word from the New Word a Day calendar....

But they get terribly self-important, doing little things like not letting you link to and read archived stories on their page unless you're a subscriber to the paper already. And especially self-important if they're editorializing in such a manner on their front page as to liken John Edwards' and Howard Dean's goals as fantastic, irrational and dreamlike.

That's more appropriate for, at the very least, the op-ed page. And definitely more appropriate for a paper that does little things, like spells words correctly in headlines (To little to late, in referring to a comeback attempt by the Titans that failed during the football season). I don't know. Just kind of gives you some credibility.

And my issue isn't necessarily that their opinion of Dean's and Edwards' and Clark's candidacies were issue is that it's their job to report news, and not make snide remarks about campaigns.

Making snide remarks about campaigns...that's definitely more appropriate for a blog. Props to whomever posted the message on their blog, by the way, about Howard Dean jousting with windmills. That's a far finer Don Quixote reference, and made in a far more appropriate place. Too bad I can't remember where I read such a fine, fine turn of phrase.

Yeah. The DNJ sucks. Their comics page sucks. I mean, sure, they have Arlo and Janis, and Foxtrot....but there's no Get Fuzzy, and there was a minor to-do when they wouldn't Berkeley Breathed's new Opus strip that started on Sundays last fall, which I've only seen once when I bought a Knoxville News Sentinel when I was in East Tennessee over Christmas.

But at least the DNJ runs L.M. Boyd's useless trivia column. Which is why I was reading somebody else's copy this morning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Happy Birthday Mom

It's Mom's birthday today. As I understand it, she got out early from school because of election day, and she and Dad first went to an appointment with the surgeon who will be working on his knee up in Knoxville, and then they went out to dinner at her favorite restaurant.

I once made the assertion that her favorite restaurant was Hardee's, but I don't think she agreed.

It's February, so we're still a couple of months away from a scene like this. Too far away for my own satisfaction.

But we're getting closer.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Like My Karma Could Get Any Worse.....

Comic Editor and SF Guru Julius Schwartz has passed away.

This puts me on the board in the Amish Tech Support Deadpool.
Today's Funny

I'm just about insane due to lack of sleep. I sent this to so many people on my e-mail list that half of you have probably read this already, and those that I didn't send it to heard it in the third grade, and haven't laughed about it since then. But when I heard Chick McGee say it on the radio this morning, I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed:

Did you hear about the guy who farted in church?

He had to sit in his own pew.

Thanks, and good day.

I needed to use an old 3-prong folder I had in my closet for another educational endeavour. It was from my Grammar and Usage class I took a few years back. In the cull of usable materials, I found a few interesting things, one of which (the verb and tense exercise) I've already posted here.

I also found this on one of my note-taking pages: it is a somewhat....enhanced.....version of what the Grammar professor said in class, in the the Fall of 2002.

"Humans, being lazy bastards, wanting an easier way to say the sentence (as it is so much easier to say five words than six), decide to place the indirect object in front of the direct object."

I'm pretty bad at taking notes. Always have been.

Part of it was this....I'm a good listener and I'd reckon that I could remember just as well what was said in most classes just as well as most of those who relied on their notes. It served me fairly well...I always made good grades.

Mostly, I took notes out of habit, or to be polite. I find that it disturbs and irks some professors for you not to take notes, and to stare at them intently while they lecture.

See, when it come to notes, I either don't pay enough attention, and my notes (work or school) are covered with doodles or lists or portions of stories or snippets of dialogue or anything else other than what it is I'm supposed to be taking notes on.

That, or I'm hyper-attentive, overcompensating for my laziness, and in this state, my pen actually goes faster than what the speaker is speaking, and it's filled with mid-sentence editorializing like what we witness above.

Looking back, I have a hard time believing that my professor called people "lazy bastards" or making a sarcastic parenthetical statement. But I can't be sure....those academics occasionally get salty every now and then.....

We'll just assume it's my poor note-taking.

My notation has gotten me undue attention. I remember having a class in public policy, and as a class, we were sitting in a circle.

One of my classmates was going off on some ultra-conservative rant, and I made a note in the margin of my notepad: "I wonder if he can tell me what the Hitler Youth are wearing these days?" And my professor, who just happened to be sitting next to me in the ring happened to look over at my notepad, saw what I'd written, and started to laugh to the point of confusing all the rest of the class.

Had another class, a Mass Media Law class, where a classmate asked to borrow my notes from a previous class that she'd had to miss. I gave her my notes after class. She returned them to me in another class we'd had together, and she apologized, because she hadn't been able to decipher whatever code and tongue it was I'd written my notes in.

The sad part was, I couldn't help her much when I looked at what I'd written, either.

Probably the worst incident, I'd believed until recently, of my notes getting me in trouble was an American Lit class. In this class, the professor liked to roam about the classroom as he lectured.

We were discussing Daisy Miller, and since reading Henry James and sandpapering the asshole of an alligator in a phone booth run neck and neck on my least favorite things to do list, I wasn't in particularly keen listening form that afternoon.

Instead of actually taking notes, listening to the lecture and participating in any class discussion, I was making a list.

A list of my favorite breakfast cereals.

I'd listed around 25 cereals, and was in the process of making a rough ranking of them when I realized that the professor had stopped lecturing. It was one of those thick silences that seeps into every sense organ and hurts the ears in particular. I looked up to see the folks in front of my desk turned and looking in my direction. The rest of my senses perked up just enough for my personal space radar to tell me that this particular professor was looming just over my right shoulder (this professor was 6'8" and he could loom like nobody's business).

I turn.

"You've been pretty quiet today, Mr. Acuff" the professor says.

"Yep," is all I could manage.

"I'm impressed with your note-taking ability."

I laughed. Just one of those nervous laughs that pleads with the aggressor to just to get this little torture overwith, so that we can both move on.

"My wife won't let me eat anything but Bran Flakes or Shredded Wheat."

I nod. (Looking back, this had to have been quite the bizarre statement for the rest of the class).

"Please try to keep up, and I'll try not to embarrass you any further."

"Sure thing," I said.

I saw that professor recently at the K-Mart here in town. He's since retired, but he did remember my name, and he brought up the cereal incident.

He said that he'd noticed me writing intently while he lectured. He knew that I wasn't the type of student that normally took or needed to take his notes so intently, so he was extremely curious to find out what it was that I had been writing.

When he got there, it threw him for such a loop that I was making a list of breakfast cereals that he forgot where he was in his lecture. And after class, he and a couple of professors had had a good laugh over the whole thing.

Which would explain a great many things in my dealings with the English department since then.

Anyway. I don't really have a point. Mostly I saw the quote I listed above and just started rambling.

I'm done rambling. Go do something contructive with your day.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Mad Cow

Had a dream last night that my Dad had gotten Mad Cow disease.

Scary, except that in the dream, Mad Cow didn't eat away at his brain, it made him angry, and it made him beat people up. One part of the dream was me walking up to a restaurant, and the front window is broken, with a couple of people lying on the pavement having been tossed through said window by Dad.

Don't remember how we got him out of the restaurant, but there was another part where I was driving, and he was riding in the back of the old Ford Bronco I drove in high school, and he jumps out at a stop sign and starts tipping over cars at an intersection. Or trying to, at any rate. I remember never seeing him pick the cars up, only trying, and then looking back and seeing the cars tipped over.

Don't know how things turned out; whether we calmed him down and got him home, or if he destroyed the world in his Mad Cow rampage. I woke up before I got to the end.

Got woken up by missionaries this evening. Nice boys, but not too bright, I think. No lights were on in the apartment, and there were no signs anybody was home, yet they knocked so insistently that I stupidly answered the door, thinking something was possibly wrong, and people were trying to tell me something.

I guess, technically, they were trying to tell me something. But I don't know why they had to knock on the door like the apartment was on fire, or something. I guess that's something they teach in Missionary School. You know, get their attention...once the victims message recipients realize that there is no immediate danger, they'll be glad it's just a couple of well-behaved boys in ties.

Still, these boys took the whole people living in darkness need the salvation most of all a little too seriously. I'm pretty good with the Almighty, I think. I was living in darkness because, well, I was asleep. And I think missionaries need to take this into account.

Or maybe I should just post a sign: "Sleeps Days" on the door. Or "Angry, and Sleeps Days."

I did feel kind of bad for them, though. I was half asleep, and anything they said to me had to wade its way through a foggy swamp of sleepy incomprehension. It was like everything said was on satellite delay...they'd say it, and two seconds later, then I would understand it.

And at one point, when they explained what group they were representing, I laughed at the image in my head of a rock group called Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints.

I didn't get ill with them, though. Another day, I might have. But today I just took the stance that they're doing what they do, and nine times out of ten, I probably either would have been awake already, or would have just slept right through it. And they're just doing what they do.

However, I had to tell them no Three times. That's a lot. That's as bad as credit card telemarketers. And telemarketers are my enemy. That's the big thing that irked should only ask twice, and go on about your business. Leave a card, and go on. It's good for business, why can't it work for the church?

They did leave their card, and after they left I considered scheduling an appointment for the roommate, because he's heathen. But they'd probably come at another inconvenient time, and I'd have to answer the door, because the roommate sleeps like the dead.

So. To recap. Woken up by Missionaries. Sleep during the day. Need a sign. Didn't kill the Mormons. They just do what they do. They left a card. It's all good.

I'm Big Stupid Tommy, and you might say this has been The Missionary Position.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Saturday

This is the insomnia post. Nothing herein should be considered heavily or consumed without a grain of salt. I've got all these little thought shittles running around in my head, and if I get a couple of them out on paper, maybe it'll help me get to sleep.

I had a job for the longest time where I'd come to dread Saturdays. A lot of retail is like this. What I did wasn't exactly retail, but it was close enough for government work. I worked for a charitable organization that made its money off of donated goods. And it was my job to supervise the folks taking in the donated goods.

Saturday was the busiest day. By far. Not only would you get three or four times the workload of any other day of the week, Saturday being the day everybody has yardsales and the HoneyDo lists come out, you would also unfortunately get two or three times the number of assholes who carry with them an exaggerated sense of entitlement and a bad case of self-righteous indignation to boot: people who think that just because they dug the three moldy, wet, worm-ridden mattresses out of the backyard where the dogs have been sleeping and pissing on them, that a charity should gladly accept them, and should likewise pay to have them carted off if they can't use them.

(That last sentence, a horrible run-on the likes of which my third grade teacher would have smited me over, contains something like 112 words.)

Folks, as an aside, if you're donating hard goods to charity, call ahead to get a guideline of what the charity can use, and then don't get indignant when they can't use can be a surprising amount of work and a suprising amount of hassle for everybody if you've brought something that can't be used. For example, in Tennessee it is illegal to sell a used mattress unless it has been sanitized (one guideline says only de-loused). Which takes time, money and space that some organizations don't have.

But I digress....

You know as a kid when you wake up, and you have to take a moment to think about what day it is? Hoping, perhaps, that it's Saturday....remember that moment of elation you'd get when you realized that Yes it was indeed Saturday?

Well, at that job, I had the opposite. I woke up, and if I realized that it was Saturday, I'd usually curse the day.

And as supervisor, I never got Saturdays off. Once in a blue moon, I'd get a Saturday off. I was what you called a "sucker," because I was the rare manager who actually put his staff's whims above his own. I'm a retard, sometimes.

For some reason, I remember that in 2002, I got literally three Saturdays off that whole year, and only one weekend with both Saturday and Sunday.

You'd think I was paid and/or treated well at that job.

Looking back, it's really no wonder I burned out with absolutely one of the most spectacular cases of burnout in all of history at that job.

I'll say this: It puts a crimp on one's social life. Any time my friends were doing something on a Friday night, I'd have to watch the time, because I generally had to be at work the next morning.

And if something was on Saturday....I was, a lot of the time, too worn out to really enjoy myself if anything was going on.

Well, now I'm at a different job. It's third shift, but I actually enjoy what I'm doing. I'm a lot less stressed and it leaves me with the great majority of my Saturdays free (there is occasional Saturday work, but there is someone I work with who prefers to work Saturday nights, muchly because he doesn't much care to spend time with his family--sad, but true).

Of course, I've only taken advantage of the free Saturday once or twice to actually do anything. Mostly because I'm a dork with the social life of your average housecat, but it's the principle of the thing. I no longer dread Saturdays. They're mine again. We're taking baby steps. Right now, when I wake up and realize that it's Saturday, I'll sometimes recoil in reflexive horror, but it'll subside quickly, and I'll sigh it away.

Usually, I'll go back to sleep. Because that's what being a single childless adult is, I think. Being awake a lot, and then sleeping a lot.

You heard it here first. Being an adult is being awake a lot followed by sleeping a lot.


And I got me a social life. It's just very tiny right now. And I'm watering it. (And by watering it, I mean I've started taking daily showers. With Soap!)

Friday, February 06, 2004

I wrote too long

I had written an opinion piece of sorts about Apologists and whatnot. It was pretty good, I thought, especially for a guy who usually spends his blogger time talking about how many grapes he's eaten and griping about how bad it smells around his apartment.

And as I proof-read (and if that's not proof of how seriously I took what I wrote, that I was proofreading, I don't know what is), the power went off. For like 10 seconds. I don't use any kind of power backup, or anything....that would be too smart. And all was lost.


It was all inspired by Emily's post here, where she links to this article on the Origins of Occidentalism, and she takes Eurosnobs and apologists to task.

Go read what she's written. It's very good. And imagine what I might have done. It might not have been as good--most bloggers are at least as clever as three BSTommy's, but I think it might have been nice. Think of it like that one post about the really bad sneeze I had, except about America, apologists and all that jazz.

Me? I'm just going to read a while, and go to bed. I get to work for 3 hours or so tonight. Hardly worth getting up for.

Stupid electrical power...stupid me for suckling at its teat.
The Friday Grape Count

I ate 39 grapes while sitting here reading the internet. The whole internet. Every word. It's pretty dry, to be honest, but at least there's nudity.

How many grapes did you eat today?
Knoxville Woman files lawsuit against Janet Jackson

Via the Smoking Gun by way of Mr. Ellis:

A Knoxville, Tennessee woman has proposed a class-action lawsuit against CBS, Viacom, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, among others, on the behalf of all Americans. In it, the plaintiff and millions of other allege that they suffered outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury at the hands of CBS, Viacom et al.

It warms me to the cockles of my heart to have Ms. Terri Carlin looking out for my best interests. We've got a lot of people like that here in the Bible Belt, who are willing to stand up and speak out on the behalf of All Americans without actually checking to see, or actually caring, whether All Americans actually agree that what happened was absolutely the most detrimental thing that happened on Super Bowl Sunday.

I loves me some living in the Bible Belt.

Shit like this bugs me, if only that people's perceptions of Tennessee in general are painted in part by religio-conservative henpecking like this. I mean, it's hard enough to shape that perception that we all own horses and spend half our lives in church without Ms. Carlin speaking out on the behalf of All Americans from her high and holy perch in Knoxville.

I wonder how much trouble it would be for me to file suit saying that I was outraged, angered, embarrassed and suffered serious injury at the hands of this kind of legal action in which something is done on my behalf...since I am an American and this suit was filed on my behalf.

On a completely different note....this is the second post this week concerning somebody named Carlin

And, also, I spelled Justin's name Justine before I corrected it a while ago. It made me smile, anyway.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did." --Jack Handey

It's rained so much here in Middle TN. There's a photography studio here in town, and it's got a pond right next to it with a man-made island in the middle. They'll use it for the occasional picture, I reckon. Well, it's decent gauge for me as to how much it's raining....

Usually, there are two cinder blocks showing above the water line. If one's covered, it's rained a bit. If two are covered, it's rained a lot. The whole island was covered, grass and all, today, and the water was coming out of the banks of the pod on the outer banks, and creeping up toward the main building.

So that, along with Morgan Freeman yelling to Christian Slater outside my apartment that "We just want the money!", will tell you that it's been raining pretty good around these parts....
Defining Your Niche

The Uncouth Sloth has a very nice piece today on his place in the universe, particularly in the baseball world and in amongst the blogs. I especially enjoyed his numeration of how he divides his time and thoughts.....
The Volunteer Tailgate Party is Up

Yep, Good Ol' Adam Groves Is Hosting The Newest Edition Of The Volunteer Tailgate Party....The Celebration Of Everything That Is Good and Just In The Rocky Top Brigade.....Check It Out....He's Done Good....

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Wednesday Thought

This stuff where I have to work in order to get money? This is for the birds, yo.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Tuesday Janet Jackson Thought

What a great publicity stunt. I mean, I can't even remember even having thought about Janet Jackson in the last three years, and now she's brought me more visits to Big Stupid Tommy than anything besides that time Steve Bartman made himself infamous.

Sorry. No pictures, though. I'm much too lazy to be posting many pictures. (But it's incredibly easy, is taking a shower but you don't see me doing that daily, either.....)

But seriously, she's managed to vault herself back into the public conscious mind with a vengeance. Seriously...I haven't thought about her in years....except when I go to my twice-weekly Janet Jackson Fan Club meetings (I'm the secretary), and when I host my Sunday Morning Radio Show (Janet Jabber: Rhythm Nation Now), or when I write, edit and mail out my Janet Jackson Newsletter; or when I look at the 1800 different posters, pictures and polaroids of Ms. Jackson I have pasted everywhere in my apartment.

Other than that, I haven't spoken about Janet since she did that weird space ship video with Michael. And then, it was only to say: "Look, it's that weird spaceship video with Michael."
Tuesday's Happy Dance Moment

It made me happy to hear George Carlin's coming back to Nashville in May. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Pudge Wanted Paid

Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Detroit Tigers.

He got that World Series ring, and then agent Scott Boras did his job perfectly: he found the team willing to pay the most over the longest period of time. And that was the lowly Tigers, for whom absolutely any lineup change over last year will be an improvement.

Hell, they called me to come play first base, but there's something in the collective bargaining agreement that keeps them from being able to pay me in buckets of chicken and scratch-off lottery tickets. So I had to turn them down.

Maybe Pudge will help them get to that vaunted 57 win plateau....

If you'll pardon me while I chew on these sour grapes, I'll just say that if he'd signed with the Cubs, he'd probably have become Todd Hundley all over again....hitting .192 when he wasn't out with some manner of heinous butt injury or some other bullshit thingamajig.
My Last Thoughts on the Booby (for Today)

You know, we're watching a violent game. That's a given, right? Where 300 pound men run in to each other several times over the course of the hour.

Played by players who were given preferential treatment all through their schooling....some of whom can barely read beyond a first grade level, yet were given a free ride through our educational system all the way to the college level based on their ability to catch a ball or run into another guy really, really good.

Also, these guys are getting paid six and seven figures a season to do what they do. Some of them will get more money this season than the greatest majority of teachers, firefighters, policemen and women, almost anybody serving in the armed forces, or even most doctors, will see over the course of their lifetimes.

And, without a doubt, a few of these men constantly push the envelope of acceptable behavior as far as how they conduct their chemical supplementation and their home lives.

What's more, the television broadcast of the game is paid for by ads for alcohol, movies that contain scary and violent images, and two different drugs that help people get and maintain erections. We even had a commercial (my personal favorite) where the girls in bikinis are playing volleyball on a beach in winter time, and at the end, they curse!!!!!! (damn).

Yet, an FCC Commissioner calls the Janet Jackson flash an outrage (quote borrowed from Mark Evanier):

F.C.C. Commissioner Michael Powell says, "I am outraged at what I saw during the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration. Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt. Our nation's children, parents and citizens deserve better."

Well, Michael, I'm sorry that your high and holy celebration of the ignorant and violent erection and beer ceremony was tainted by a brief flash of Janet Jackson's booby. Just so you know, the Super Bowl in general is a crass and classless stunt. That's part of why I like it: in the sports world, the Super Bowl and the NBA players' entrances are the closest things we have to Pro Wrasslin' in the "real sports" world.

I should add that Bill thinks what we should be worried about is the whole misconception of the breast that our children will have now because of this.

Personally, I wasn't wanting to celebrate America or have a high and holy day with the Super Bowl. I just wanted to watch a football game. (A pretty decent game, but one I just couldn't get an emotional stake in, so I ended up not caring a whole bunch....)

Now. Let's all shut up about this, and focus on what's really important:

Baseball Season starts in two months.