Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Harry Potter Theater Experience

The Harry Potter Theater Experience

Cleaned the apartment most of the day. So much damn dirt.

Took a break, looked to see what was playing at the movie theater. Of what was playing here in town, there were only a couple of things that I was interested in seeing and I haven't already seen.

The Terminal looks alright, and I've heard from a couple of people that it was enjoyable. But it looks like one I can wait for to come out at the movie store.

So I went with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Short review? I liked it, and I liked it quite a bit more than the previous two Harry Potter movies. This one's darker, by a measure.

I especially liked the combination of grandeur and creepiness that Hogwarts carries in this movie. The Hogwarts of this movie is closer to what I imagined when I read the books. It simultaneously seems more spry, yet less of the fairy-tale like place it seems to have been in the first couple of movies. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, or even distracting from the first couple of movies. But in this movie, Hogwarts seems alive. It's a character itself. I enjoyed watching the background in a lot of shots.

And can I make a brief comment about the bringing of babies into theaters? Folks, please stop deluding yourself. The rest of us hear the baby crying, too.

Let me say this, too. I've not spent a lot of my life around infants. So a lot of what goes on with them is conceptual for me. I've read about it in books, seen it in movies and on TV, heard about it from people. But I haven't had a lot of proximity with the little tiny humans. When I am around one, I am often surprised by what goes on.

The lady behind me had a baby. Not all that old. I heard her burping the baby. And the baby spit up. I know this, because it was so loud, I almost thought the lady herself had thrown up behind me. When I realized the baby had spit up, I wondered if it was a baby she'd been feeding, or a bear.

Also, I know this because the lady announced to one of the kids with her "The baby's spit up, I'm going to clean up."

"You're going to miss the good part," says the kid.

The kid has seen the movie, and performed the service to his friends of telling them to watch when a good part was coming up. You know, for those of them (and us) who generally have trouble paying attention to the huge screen taking up some 60-75% of our field of vision.

Also, I accidentally tripped a kid with the size 14 kayaks I call feet. I was just sitting normally in the row on a cross-aisle, and a kid comes walking through with a parent, and trips on my feet.

I apologized, but the mother said "Don't worry...he should have been watching where he was going."

And then we gave each other high fives.

And then she tripped the kid again as he was going up the stairs, and said "Did you have a nice trip, Gerald Ford? I'll see you next fall!" And she kind of punch/pushed him in the back, and stepped on him as she went to find a seat higher up.



Doing the final clean through on the old BSTommy Compound, and I'm amazed at just how much loose change I'm finding.

Just on the floor, and under furniture.

And then there was the $17 in quarters I found in my ear. That part was pretty cool.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Middle of the Night Baseball

Middle of the Night Baseball

Slept some this afternoon. Woken up by people setting off fireworks and firecrackers. I'm not going to miss that aspect of apartment life...the people who set off firecrackers in the middle of a ring of flat buildings, so that the sound is amplified.

Woke up to find that the Braves and Marlins were just starting their game, after a three hour and twenty minute rain delay.

Loves me some middle of the night baseball. Once in a while.

They're in the bottom of the second right now. Lots of guys swinging at the first pitch. It sounds like the umpires haven't substantially widened the strike zone. Yet. We'll see what happens around 12:30 eastern. I'm thinking at that point, if the ball's thrown between the dugouts, you'd better swing. The Umpires are sleepy.

Little things I like: Joe Simpson and Skip Caray betting on whether they'll finish before the west coast games. Texas and Seattle are in the fourth, right now.

Also, it makes me laugh, but Skip keeps insisting on pronouncing the name of the team in Baltimore as "Oreos."

Brad Penny just plunked Braves' catcher Johnny Estrada. The umpire warned the pitcher, and Jack McKeon just came out to argue. He wants to be kicked out, I think. Jack's pretty old. It's been past his bedtime for about an hour now. He just wants to hit the hay.

I don't think he got his wish. Poor guy.

Favorite Things

Favorite Things

Seen at Sheila's:

My favorite sculpture:

I have not been exposed to enough artistic culture to answer this question in a meaningful way.

However, I always giggle when I see one of those fountains where it looks like the little kid or the cherub is peeing into the pool.

My favorite painting:

You can't go wrong with The Scream, by Edvard Munch.

My favorite food:

Barbecued chicken has been my answer for a while, but a good burger, cooked on charcoal, about medium, with bacon and a piece of provolone cheese. That sounds good.

My favorite beverage (hot):

Harlan Ellison, in his Hornbook, I believe, has a recipe for the coffee he used to drink before he had his heart attack. It was about 1/2 coffee, with the other half comprised of real cream, baking chocolate, cinnamon and half a dozen other ingredients. A lot of sugar, a lot of caffiene, and a lot of fat, which might not have caused the heart attack, but certain cleared all the trees from the path. It's not good for you. But it's good drinkin', if you make it right.

But regular coffee's fine for me.

My favorite beverage (cold):

I've tried to stay away from sugary stuff lately. But a nice sweet tea is extra good.

My favorite play (modern):

Fences, by August Wilson.

My favorite play (not modern, not Shakespeare):

I like both Uncle Vanya and the Cherry Orchard.

My favorite Shakespeare play:

Twelfth Night

It makes me smile.

My favorite book (non-fiction):

This is tough. Thinking about it, I guess I'd have to say Jim Bouton's Ball Four. Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, I enjoyed. And Mick Foley's Have a Nice Day is a neat look at a weird career in the squared circle.

My favorite book (fiction):

It's a tossup between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces. Of Mice and Men is also high on the list. And Harlan Ellison's collection of short stories "Stalking the Nightmare," for sentimental reasons.

My favorite poem:

A Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes.

(I also like Casey at the Bat).

My Favorite Song:

I don't know. This once changes from day to day. If I had to answer right now, I'd say that I found an old mix CD with a live version of Cheap Trick's "Surrender" that I've listened to about 30 times since I found that CD again.

But I always enjoy "Joe Bean," as performed by Johnny Cash; "the End of the World as We Know it (and I feel fine)" by R.E.M.; "the Foggy Dew" that Sinead O'Connor did with the Chieftains on the Long Black Veil album.

And here lately, "It's a Great Day to Whup Somebody's Ass," by Paul Thorn. They play it on Bob and Tom. It just makes me happy any time I hear it.

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

Gooseneck, his wife and her thoughts on Bobby Bonilla: All revealed in a conversation with Frank.

A game, cuz I can't sleep

A game, cuz I can't sleep

Emily did this the other day, and it seemed properly time consuming.

1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.

This'll be fun, because, except for one of them, they aren't my books. Found them on the coffee table.

Ethan said, "I hate baseball. You're from Interpol, I assume?" When the ballots were counted, however, Republicans held the day. Transfer the sausages to plates or a platter, and let rest for 3 minutes. Not by combining together, to protect injustice and cruelty, and making a common capital of sin, is this Union to be saved--but by repentance, justice and mercy; for, not surer is the eternal law by which the millstone sinks inthe ocean, than the stronger law, by which injustice and cruelty shall bring on nations the wrath of Almighty God!

Boy. That didn't turn out well at all.

The books were Summerland, by Michael Chabon; Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown; Don't Know Much About History, by Kenneth Davis; How to Grill, by Steve Raichlen; and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Sunday, June 27, 2004



I highly recommend Dodgeball. It's a funny, funny movie. I laughed out loud at this movie more times than any in recent memory. Lots of good gags. There were a couple of times I was laughing so hard I missed what was going on next.

If you'd told me that Jason Bateman would be featured prominently in two of my favorite comic outings in the past year, I'd probably have given you the benefit of the doubt, unless there were money being placed on the idea.

Regardless, as good as he's been playing it straight in Arrested Development, he eats up the screen as ESPN 8 (The Ocho) Announcer Pepper Brooks

Great cameo by William Shatner. I won't ruin a couple of the other excellent cameos.

Go watch it.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Esther Sighting

Take a Breath

Take a Breath

I've had to tell myself to "take a breath" about a hundred seventeen times over the past few days. It's a calming mechanism. It keeps me from going to prison.

Or at least from making a scene in a public place. Like where I'd start screaming profanities at the top of my lungs at the girl at the Post Office with the accent. The accent firmly entrenched somewhere in the Far East; the accent that did not come to America when her family and the rest of her body did; the accent that's been hiding on an island in the Pacific and thinks he's still fighting the war against the Allies; the accent that allows only 40% of what this girl's saying actually filter into my white, male, southern brain.

And she's not doing anything annoying. That's the worst part. If she was being a pain in the ass, then I'd at least have an excuse for pursuring the satisfaction of flipping the asshole switch and hurling a few obscenities.
But she's just trying to explain to the whole process of forwarding mail and whatnot.

And I'm the big dumb white guy who's not getting it.

No, it's not her fault. And I didn't yell. I'm actually not that much of an asshole. I realize that it's my fault that my big dumb ass is the one trying to get seventeen different things done in a space of about 12 minutes just because I'm too stupid to actually utilize forethought and foresight and actually working to plan things out. I'm the one with the temerity to get frustrated and surprised because there's a LINE AT THE POST OFFICE. I am the dumbest man in America.

Although, when the older gentleman in line in front of me decides to turn the decision of "which set of stamps do I buy" into a song and dance routine the likes of which Broadway's never seen, I came very close to stroking out. It made me smile when I thought to myself "I'm so angry my left side just went numb."

I did take a little bit of my frustration out on a particleboard bookshelf I was taking to the dumpster. You wrasslin fans know what a powerbomb is. Well, I powerbombed the hell out of that bookshelf. Sure, it was falling apart anyway. But I tend to think I broke it the best.

I did get good news. I've got a job over there in East TN. Not prestigious, but it beats having to hoof it looking for work. I'd have preferred not to do that two summers in a row.

So the world ain't shitting on me like I sometimes want to believe.

Unless this job I'm taking turns out to be the worst job ever. Then yes. Yes the world is shitting on my like I believe.

The good Lord plays subtle mindgames.

My name is Big Stupid Tommy. And I need one of you to buy me the Joe Schmo DVD set.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Superstrong Toddler

Superstrong Toddler

Today's fun with science story concerns a freakishly strong toddler who makes his home in Germany.
Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat.

DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.
At least he wasn't born with blue skin and a pointed tail. That almost got Kurt Wagner killed.

But, instead of shunning, alienating and even fearing this monstrously strong child, scientists are looking at his genetic makeup, searching to see if the answer to muscular dystrophy and other degenerative disorders can be found there.
The boy's mutant DNA segment was found to block production of a protein called myostatin that limits muscle growth. The news comes seven years after researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore created buff "mighty mice" by "turning off" the gene that directs cells to produce myostatin.

"Now we can say that myostatin acts the same way in humans as in animals," said the boy's physician, Dr. Markus Schuelke, a professor in the child neurology department at Charite/University Medical Center Berlin. "We can apply that knowledge to humans, including trial therapies for muscular dystrophy."
I like that the writer of the story refers to "the boy's mutant DNA segment."

I wonder how his folks like it, having this monstrously strong child walking around the house, pushing down trees and flipping over the family car. Honey! Junior's ripped the Berlin phone book in half, again.

I joke, but it's kind of cool.

It could be worse. He's not blowing the wall off his house with his sun-fueled optic blasts.


Link comes from Warren Ellis at Die Puny Humans.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Dog Science

Dog Science

Today's interesting weird science-type story:

Some of those scientist guys are investigating whether Dogs can sense oncoming epileptic seizures.

At present, the mechanism is unknown. But some researchers speculate that the dog could be using subtle visual or olfactory cues that occur before a seizure.

Gregory Holmes, a neurologist at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, says the dogs could be detecting a change in smell. "People have autonomic changes, such as increased sweating, which a dog could pick up on."

According to Douglas Nordli, director of the children's epilepsy center at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, such external changes could result from a small electrical discharge that occurs in the brain before the full blown electrical seizure.
Just thought it was kind of interesting.



I'm just a little tired of rain. About the time I wanted to start loading the truck this morning for a trip to East TN with a load of BSTommy's Crud, the skies opened. I kept thinking about that Jack Handy SNL bit...something about how it's cute to tell kids when it's raining, it's because God's crying. And how it's even cuter to tell the kids, "probably because of something you did."

I was able to get everything covered, and got everything loaded without anything getting too wet. With the exception of me. But it's all good. I probably needed the shower.

Can I just mention again that moving books is insane? Insanity being the repetition of an action, each time expecting a different result. It's like I'd expect the books to be light. Or maybe sprout wings and fly themselves to the destination.

For the books themselves? You'd think I was literate, or something.

I'm a big fan of the shipping case boxes that the big bottles of liquid laundry detergent come in. They're very sturdy, and the Gain boxes have foldover lids that can be taped securely shut. I enjoy those.

I'm going to back off my suggestions of shenanigans a bit as concerns Ken Jennings' streak on Jeopardy. It was an absent-minded blathering, anyway. Tonight's show, either by design or by luck of the draw, was a bit harder than a few of the other shows I've seen during Ken's streak. But he still stomped his competition's ass.

I won't mention that he missed a Daily Double and he either blanked on Final Jeopardy, or decided that since he was so far ahead of his competition he'd just goof off and say hi to somebody.

And, I should say that I've maintained all along that he'd take me to the cleaners, if I played him. He would have today, too.

Today's Funny, as heard on Bob and Tom:

Little Red Riding Hood's walking through the forest, when she spies the Big Bad Wolf squatting behind a tree.

"My, what big eyes you have!" she says.

And the Big Bad Wolf runs away.

A while later, she sees the Big Bad Wolf squatting behind a bush.

"My!" she says, "What big Ears you have!"

And the Big Bad Wolf runs away.

A while later, agian, she finds the Big Bad Wolf squatting behind a wall.

"My!" she says, "What a Big...."

Huffily, the Wolf stands up.

"Lady, do ya mind? I'm tryin' to take a dump...."


Monday, June 21, 2004

Things that I've found in the course of packing

Things that I've found in the course of packing

The days are waning here at the current Big Stupid Tommy compound. Doing a little bit of packing, here and there. I wonder at the amount of crap that I have. Where did I get it? Big Stupid Tommy got no money to buy crap with. Never has had any. Where the hell did this stuff come from?

It's actually not so bad. I've seen worse. I've helped move worse. But I gotta just stop and shake my head in disappointment at myself, just for being an even bigger packrat than I thought I was.

Among the items found while doing a cull over the course of the weekend:

--My Johnny Cash, American III CD, which I'd assumed lost for good. I still had the jewel case, but I couldn't find the CD itself. This was a while back. I figured that I'd taken it in the truck with me with the portable CD player and lost it there, or maybe I'd lent it to somebody at my old job, and hadn't remembered. I ended up getting a replacement. I found the disk under the nightstand in the bedroom. It was a little cracked.

--Five little foam baseballs with the Nashville Sounds logo on one side, and the Kroger logo on the other. They'd throw these out between innings at Sounds games. People would go apeSHIT for these things. But they'd throw HUNDREDS out. I don't think I ever tried to catch them, and just by benefit of sitting where I did, I'd get one.

--I've long suspected that there's a secret place to which all the pens in my house scamper to seek asylum. Even with all my concerted efforts to put all the pens in single, centralized location: a "pen cup" or even a "pen drawer," if you will. They'd disappear on me. I found 16 pens (16!!!!) behind the bookshelf in my bedroom. Including my Mayfield's cow pen, and my lucky camouflage pen.

--2 flashlights I didn't realize I still had. You can never have enough flashlights. Apparently, "enough flashlights" means one behind the books on a shelf in the closet, and one in the back of the cabinet next to the stove. That latter one may have been the stowing place for one of the former roommates. It'd been there so long the batteries had corroded.

--About 15 small, styrofoam cups. In the back of the same cabinet.
Never seen them in the long time I've been living here.

--The remains of Jeff, our old roommate. Mostly skeletonized by now. We just figured he was just out working, and that he didn't want us going in his room.

--On top of the kitchen cabinet, one very small, very dainty paintbrush. The artsy fartsy kind. With only a couple of hairs left on the brush itself.

--And I did an official count. There were 24 legal pads total. 8 of them empty. 4 with all pages written on. 4 more with most pages covered with writing. Six with various degrees of writing. One that's just a sad testement to OCP...it's a legal pad filled with Jeopardy scoring grids. And one that's just filled with frightening snippets, phrases and doodles, mostly done in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. I had to laugh at what's in some of those notepads. I'll probably share some this week.

I shoudl mention that posting might be a little light. It might not. I won't get down to the actual nitty gritty until this weekend. But if you're wondering, that's why.

No Money, No Hamburger

No Money, No Hamburger

My new hero is Bruno, the dog in The Triplets of Belleville. An incident with a toy train traumatizes him as a puppy, early in the flick. His hatred of the real thing knows no bounds. It's a running gag in the movie. I identify very much with Bruno.

Also? No Money, No Hamburger? It's a small bit in the movie, but it made me laugh.

The movie's a lot of fun, if you haven't seen it. Lots of good gags (check out how one of the Triplets catches frogs--you won't be disappointed). There's very little dialog, and the movie relies on the strength of its animation to tell the story. It's very well done.

It's not a kids' movie. You won't see smart animated stuff like this come out of an American studio.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Where Were You When....

Where Were You When...

Boy, you jump online to look up Lou Ferrigno's birthdate, and you get distracted by stuff over on Sheila's blog:

1. Where were you when you heard that Ronald Reagan died?

Watching baseball on Fox at my folks' house. They broke into the baseball game. I was kind of selfish. I got irritated that they kept talking about it, all while baseball was being played. It's not like he could have died MORE. Yeah, I'm a selfish sumbitch like that. No lectures.

2. Where were you on September 11, 2001?

It was my second day back at the old job from vacation, so I was kinda depressed at having to work for a living. Add to that I'd just found out that one of my guys I supervised was calling in sick, and I'd have to go work a donation trailer.

I was pissed.

It all drained away to that weird shock I got after I'd turned the channel from Sportscenter to see the first tower with a huge gaping hole, with smoke coming out of the hole, all on the Today show. My mind asked if the picture was for a movie somebody was promoting. It wasn't but a few seconds later that the second plane hit.

Weird day? I worked a donation site for nine hours, and saw one person that whole day. With nothing to do but listen to radio coverage of everything that was going on.

3. Where were you when you heard that Princess Diana died?

That was another weekend I'd visited my folks. I'd just gotten in from visiting with friends from my hometown. We'd gone to a movie, and I think it was Beavis and Butthead do America, but I'm not sure.

I remember watching for a longer time than I'd have thought.

4. Do you remember where you were when you heard Kurt Cobain had died?

No. I must have been the only teenager in American who couldn't have cared less.

5. Take one for The Gipper: What’s your favorite flavor of jelly bean?

The black ones.

6. Where were you when Magic Johnson announced he was retiring from the NBA due to AIDS?

I was in high school. We had Channel One, that 12 minute news show they showed to get kids interested in the news. And they sent out a special report. I was in one of the science classrooms, so I was either in homeroom or going to biology or chemistry.

7. Where were you when Reagan was shot?

I was four. So I was probably fighting evil.

8.Where were you when the Challenger exploded?

At the home of the lady who took care of my pre-school age sister. We had a snow day from school. I've blogged about it.

9. Where were you when the 0J verdict was announced?

I was living in Gracy Hall at MTSU, and I was waiting to go to lunch with friends. I remember the whole process being drawn out, and hearing the resident advisor, with whom we shared a bathroom, yelling from his room for Ito to hurry, because he was late for class.

I remember laughing in disbelief, but it was nothing compared to neighbors next door. They went absolutely ballistic, screaming and yelling with a vitriol that would have made you thought they were related to Nicole Brown.

I was the one who delivered the news of the verdict to the lunch crew.



Do any of you regularly watch Jeopardy?

I'm usually asleep when it's on here in the Nashville area, but I've managed to catch a few games of Ken Jennings' win streak that's been showing here lately.

In the past, I've kept score whenever watching Jeopardy. But I haven't been feeling particularly obsessive-compulsive lately, so I watch with half an eye.

I ask this because I'm relying on my impressions of the games Ken's been playing, rather than a concrete accounting of just how well I've done myself answering questions. Sometimes my impressions are a little off.

My question: Are the questions during Ken's games a bit easier than normal? I haven't watched much lately. Have they been this easy for a while?

And I don't ask this to sound smarmy or smart. I'll just say that I do well with trivia games. And here lately, on Jeopardy, I've felt like I've done exceptionally well answering the questions along with the contestants.

A lot of the questions haven't been so much the straight knowledge questions, but rather the little game-y "rhyme time" or "before and after" questions. Even more so than usual.

I don't want to call bullshit. But I'm thinking the games here lately have been favoring Ken, in that he's fast on the buzzer. With questions that focus a little bit on problem solving or tricks rather than straight knowledge. And I wonder if Jeopardy's done something just so that they might publicize a winning streak like the one Ken's been on.

Which is not to say Ken's not a good player of the game. He's a great player. He's got balls when it comes to betting, and he's damned fast on the buzzer. Damned quick on the buzzer. And he's got a good recall of trivia. But not necessarily any more than a lot of the previous champions.

And, I think he'd kick my ass in a game of Jeopardy and make me smile about it, if I played him.

I think he solves little word trickery problems well, and I think the questions may have been molded to his strengths, just a little.

Or am I completely off?

Here's a New York Post article about it, off of Fark.

Here's the Jeopardy main page.

A personal addendum:

I dunno. Maybe I'm just bitter that the bulk of contestant searches STILL favor northern and western cities. Very rarely do they wander south. I'm sure somebody could write a thesis or two on the prejudice still displayed against those with southern accents in this world, especially by those who produce television shows.



[I'm as astounded by this post as anybody. For whatever reason, this post got mixed up with what I'd assume is somebody else's post on somebody else's blog. Somehow, serendipity made it terribly surreal. Keep in mind, the first 75% of the post is mine...I did not write the last four paragraphs. This is from somebody else's blog, I assume.]

Do any of you regularly watch Jeopardy?

I'm usually asleep when it's on here in the Nashville area, but I've managed to catch a few games of Ken Jennings' win streak that's been showing here lately.

In the past, I've kept score whenever watching Jeopardy. But I haven't been feeling particularly obsessive-compulsive lately, so I watch with half an eye.

I ask this because I'm relying on my impressions of the games Ken's been playing, rather than a concrete accounting of just how well I've done myself answering questions. Sometimes my impressions are a little off.

My question: Are the questions during Ken's games a bit easier than normal? I haven't watched much lately. Have they been this easy for a while?

And I don't ask this to sound smarmy or smart. I'll just say that I do well with trivia games. And here lately, on Jeopardy, I've felt like I've done exceptionally well answering the questions along with the contestants.

A lot of the questions haven't been so much the straight knowledge questions, but rather the little game-y "rhyme time" or "before and after" questions. Even more so than usual.

I don't want to call bullshit. But I'm thinking the games here lately have been favoring Ken, in that he's fast on the buzzer. With questions that focus a little bit on problem solving or tricks rather than straight knowledge. And I wonder if Jeopardy's done something just so that they might publicize a winning streak like the one Ken's been on.

Which is not to say Ken's not a good player of the game. He's a great player. He's got balls when it comes to betting, and he's damned fast on the buzzer. Damned quick on the buzzer. And he's got a good recall of trivia. But not necessarily any more than a lot of the previous champions.

And, I think he'd kick my ass in ng off until the tapestry is gone".

I have a philosophical outlook on all this, my brother Paul fell down a deep water well in our garden potting shed when he was two years old, in reality, he should have drowned but somehow, he didn't. Someone notched an additional twenty years onto his life thank you very much.

My mum and dad had a great life over almost seventy years and everything collapsed in over a brief thirty-six months. A strange by product "silver lining" of my mums dementia was that she did not appear to grieve too much when my dad died although she choked me up completely at his funeral when I was holding her hand and she sang "The Lord is my Shepherd" in her little girls voice.

I see them all, every day when I look in the mirror.
completely at his funeral when I was holding her hand and she sang "The Lord is my Shepherd" in her little girls voice.

I see them all, every day when I look in the mirror.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

How Sweep it is

How Sweep it is

If you'd told me two weeks ago that the Cubs would go down to Houston, and would sweep a four game set against the Ass Trolls, I'd have laughed in your face.

But that's because I have issues.

If you'd have told me at the beginning of the season that the Cubs would do it this week, I'd probably have headbutted you.

I tend to think that means I'm getting better.

In all seriousness, things have come together nicely the past few games. The starting pitching has been lights out, and the bullpen's played its part (though I pooped my pants a little with the Astros' two run dong in the ninth), and the hitters took advantage of some tired Astros pitching. Especially the Moistest Alou, playing against his one time mates.

It doesn't get any easier. I think we play the A's this weekend.

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday. I jammed my left ring finger.

I skipped the first two questions, and went right to the third, which asks:

3. If there was a movie to be made about your life, what actor would portray your father?

I've ruminated over this for quite some time.

In the movie of my life, my father would be played by The Enforcer himself, Arn Anderson:

Their looks, builds and demeanors are eerily similar.

And my Dad's been known to slap a DDT on a feller for reasons known only to him. Out of nowhere. You'll be standing hallway, picking the underwear out of your rear, and Boom! You're out for the three count.

I'd assume he covers and hooks the leg for the three count. I'm generally unconscious for a good while, but Dad's always preached the value of practicing the fundamentals of the squared circle.

Spirits on Everest?

Spirits on Everest

Just a story that caught my eye this morning:

Everest Haunted by Spirits, says climber....

Wednesday, June 16, 2004



I did some packing today. I found the foul ball I caught last season up at relatively lovely Greer Stadium, the home of the Nashville Sounds. It had fallen behind my bookcase. It still has that nice, new leather/new baseball smell.

Haven't slept well the last couple of days. I'll sleep for an hour, wake up for an hour.

Caught the tail-end of Last Comic Standing. I cringed for DC Benny when he stuttered during his Indian rap. It's the kind of slip I'd make.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing

Jeebus. Big Stupid Tommy: Your Online Headquarters for Monty Hoffman. While Last Comic Standing was on, I got sixty (60) search hits for comic Monty Hoffman.

Looking at Google, it makes sense. I come in #6 on the searchlist.

All based on a single remembrance of TV Shows past.

I was sorry to see that Monty didn't move forward. I like his style of humor. I like Ant, too, so I don't have a gripe so much about his getting to the house. But that sour grapes thing I get whenever things don't go my way had me wondering just how much the need to get a wide variety of people in the house played into Ant getting in over Monty.

A bit, I think.

Just sour grapes from a bald guy in training.

I picked three out of five housemates correctly. I was fairly sure given the catty nature of the comments from and toward both Bonnie McFarlane and Kerri Louise that we'd end up seeing both in the house. If only so that you can have the cat fight.

Kathleen Madigan got on. She cracks me up.

The problem with the show is that you're seeing the comics over and over, so you're seeing a lot of the same bits. So I spent half my time watching, half my time reading.

Bonnie McFarlane's bit about the pain being taken out of being called sweetheart, that was comic gold.

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday, because for the third day in a row, I'm having trouble sleeping.

Since Father's Day is this Sunday I thought this week would be a good chance to explore TV Dads! TV Moms got their chance and now it's Dad's turn! So in honor of all those hard working and lovable dads out there, this one's for you! :)

1. Which TV Dad would you have most liked to have for your own dad? On the flipside, who was the TV Dad you'd have least liked to have had?

You know, Andy Taylor was just about the smartest man who ever lived in TV Land. I don't think you could go wrong with Andy from Mayberry as your Dad.

I don't know that I'd have liked it very much if the Dad from Family Ties was my Dad. I mean, I got no problem with liberalism, per se. But this guy was practically pinko.

Or George Lopez. Because that stuff's just not funny.

2. Who do you consider the most realistic TV Dad? Who did you consider simply too good to be true?

Roseanne and Dan Conner were the most realistic portrayal of your average American family on TV, ever. John Goodman's Dan is my answer.

There are too many too good to be true characters. I'll say Ward Cleaver is too perfect, and leave it at that.

3. Let's play a little Dad word association, what's the first word that comes to mind when you see the following names:

George Jetson :: treadmill
Cliff Huxtable :: horse ride
Dan Conner :: couch out the door
Gomez Addams :: weird eyes
Archie Bunker :: armchair
Jed Clampett :: cement pond
Ward Cleaver :: Beaver
Tony Micelli :: I'm the Boss
Ozzie Nelson :: Wedding Gift
Homer Simpson :: AWESOME

~BONUS~ Use the letters F-A-T-H-E-R-S D-A-Y to describe your own dad!

E--Ever touch my food again, and I'll hurt ya!
R--Radar, from MASH
S--Slam, as in bodyslam
D--Damn, that hurt
A--Aaaawwww, yeah
Y--You will always remember the name, of Goldust.

And a VERY Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there!! :)

I'm #1

I'm #1

The internet is scary. For a long time, I've been getting search hits for people looking for pictures of Tommy Lee's private areas.

This morning, I clicked on the msn search just to see where I ended up.

Number 1, baby.

I feel like I'm doing my job.

I often wonder if the people who end up here using that search are confused, or angry. I wonder if I've netted any readers from such a search.

The World's Oldest People are so stupid

The World's Oldest People are So Stupid

My friend Diane sent me this:

A Lebanese woman who has documents saying she was born in 1877 -- making her at least 126 years old -- could be the oldest person in the world.

Hamida Musulmani, frail and wrinkled but still working on her family's farm in south Lebanon, showed Reuters this week a document from Lebanon's 1932 census which lists her birth year as 1877.

She feels well, she said, but complained of failing sight.

Local officials said her papers were authentic, although they date from a year when she would already have turned 55.

If the census papers are accurate, Musulmani would now be four years older than the oldest person officially documented -- a Frenchwoman who died seven years ago at the age of 122.

Look. If there's one thing that I can teach you in the course of running my stupid little blog here, it's that if you ever, ever reach the age where you suspect that you might be the world's oldest person...DO NOT GO TO THE MEDIA.

Even if you're not the world's oldest person....it could be curtains for you, friend.

We don't know what...or whom...is killing the world's oldest people. But it does happen. And usually within a fortnight of the initial announcement!

Keep it under your hat, friend! Or you'll never live to see 127!

Diane guesses that good (really) ol' Hamida will be dead by the end of the week.

A new low

A new low

You're Allison Reynolds! "the basketcase"
quiet and shy, you stay in the shadows. That is
until you blurt out something random and Wierd.
You're artistic and misunderstood. If only
people would take the time to listen or notice

Which Breakfast Club Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Not much of a surprise, really. It's been my secret dream to have Molly Ringwald take me under her wing, to make me pretty.

Just a note to myself:

Just because you're bored and you do the stupid quiz (which was found at Missives Anonymous) doesn't mean you necessarily have to post the results.

Cubs 7, Astros 2

Cubs 7, Astros 2

I woke up just in time for Mark Prior to be taken out of the game, last night.

Even if the Cubbies hadn't eaten up the bullpen going 15 innings against the Angels the night before, I'd have cringed to see the 5 run lead handed over to that bullpen.

Not that I don't applaud Dusty for watching Mark's pitch count. I was afraid that some point around Mark's third or fourth start coming back, we'd see Dusty hauling him out there to throw 130 against somebody. I'm not bitching about that.

I'm just saying that our bullpen skeers me.

Especially our bullpen against the Astros, in their home park on a night when the ball's flying.

Yeah, Jeff Bagwell's in a slump, but there've been a couple of slumps ended against our bullpen, I'd think.

Big props to Jimmy Anderson, who pitched four innings in relief. That's the way it's supposed to work.

And while I don't much care for all the solo home runs...I like know that Todd Walker and Aramis Ramirez helped make Roger Clemens (who, for once, acted his age) eat it for the first time this season.

I enjoyed that one.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Today's Phrase

Today's Phrase

Jell-o Sheriff.

Taken from Bill Cosby's "To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With," which I picked up yesterday, using a birthday gift card I hadn't yet emptied. A great piece of comedy, if you've never heard it. I'd not heard the whole thing in years.

Bill paints a picture with his words. He's a great storyteller. You feel like you're in the room with Bill and Russell.

I've listend to that bit three times this morning. It's as funny now as it was when I first heard it. And when it was first performed.

Went up to Nashville with my friends Julie and Jason yesterday. There's a vintage bookshop up near Vanderbilt that we've been meaning to hit for a while. We intended to see it yesterday. But they're closed on Sundays.

I also found a copy of Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls for cheap, too. A few people recommended it. It'll go at or near the top of the stack of books I've got that I've been intending to read for...well...forever.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts

Just a few things that are going through my head this morning.

--I was glad to see the Cubs not just lie down last night when the Angels started their rally in the sixth. All things considered, we could do a lot worse than what we have. Nobody's running away with the Central. As crappy as it seems we've been lately, we're only 2 1/2 games out. Sammy's playing over in West Tennessee, to see if he can get some timing back before he's back in the lineup. I won't rush over to see him. Now, if it were Kerry Wood....

--I watched Monster this weekend. Charlize Theron's performance just kind of sucks you in I was scared by how much her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos reminded me of a girl who worked in housecleaning at the hotel I worked at a few summers ago. Right down to the way they smoked. Way they walked, jerky way they talked. Scary.

--Also, I kept wondering about the lady playing Donna, at whose home Selby (Christina Ricci's character) was staying while in Florida. The actress who plays her is named Annie Corley, who also played the eminently hatable Mary Marsh, right-wing religious activist. She's on a couple of episodes of West Wing, including the pilot, where she gets told off by the President, but good.

--I twisted my ankle a little bit on Friday. I've been over to the home of a former co-worker twice, now. And both times, the trip resulted in injury. I hit my head on a low door frame the first trip, and stepped in a hole while playing catch with his kid the second time. The ankle's fine, but I'm not keen on his house.

--Soylent Green was probably low in carbohydrates, don't you think? Do you think that's where they're heading with this whole low-carb movement? They're probably waiting for Charlton Heston to kick the bucket. Sounds like an investment opportunity, to me.

Another Funny

Another Funny

From the Bob and Tom joke page (where, coinicidentally enough, the joke I posted in the previous post can also be found).

The train was very crowded, so the soldier walked the length of the train, looking for an empty seat. The only unoccupied seat was directly adjacent to a well dressed middle-aged French lady and was being used by her little dog. The war weary soldier asked, "Please ma'am, may I sit in that seat?"

The French woman looked down her nose at the soldier, sniffed and said, "You Americans.. You are such a rude class of people. Can't you see my little Fifi is using that seat?"

The soldier walked away, determined to find a place to rest, but after another trip down to the end of the train, found himself again facing the woman with the dog. Again he asked, "Please lady, may I sit there? I'm very tired."

The French woman wrinkled her nose and snorted, "You Americans! Not only are you rude, you are also arrogant." The soldier didn't say anything else; he leaned over, picked up the little dog, tossed it out the window of the train and sat down in the empty seat. The woman shrieked and railed, and demanded that someone defend her and chastise the soldier.

An English gentleman sitting across the aisle spoke up, "You know sir, you Americans do seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You eat holding the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your cars on the wrong side of the road. And now, sir, you've thrown the wrong bitch out the window."

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

From the e-mail.

An elderly couple stop for gas at a remote roadside gas station. The old man gets out to pump the gas. While standing next to the car, a young attendant comes out, looking for some conversation.

"Where you folks from?" he asks

"We're from South Dakota" replies the old man

"EH? WHAT'D HE SAY?" the old lady shouts

"HE WANTS TO KNOW WHERE WE'RE FROM" the old man shouts back

"OH" the old lady replies

"Where abouts in South Dakota?" the young man asks


"EH? WHAT'D HE SAY?" the old lady shouts


Then the young man chuckles."You know, the worst lay of my life was a woman from Pierre. Bitchy, nasty! Boy, I'll never forget her."


The old man leans into the car


Saturday, June 12, 2004

Pictures on Money

Pictures on Money

All this talk about Ronald Reagan and the people wanting to put his face on money got me to thinking about If I Ruled the World.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think about Ruling the World quite a bit. I tend to think that if I'd spent even half the time that I'd spent daydreaming about what I'd do if I ruled the world on actually working on and implementing plans to actually take hold of the reins of society, I'd probably have long since come into my rule by now.

Maybe not.

But this time, I got to thinking about who I'd put on the money.


On the penny, I'd leave President Lincoln. Except I'd change the picture. Instead of Lincoln in profile, I'd put that drawing of the tall, younger Lincoln holding the axe and splitting the rail that we've all seen.

Also, I'd start making the pennies out of posterboard. Because it's cheaper than metal, and it's easier to draw that picture on posterboard than metal.

And every penny would be made by hand. By prisoners. On the backside of the penny, they could write anything they wanted (no showtunes).


On the front of the nickel, I'd have a picture of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Because I'd like to cut off at the knees all those people who say silly stuff like "Don't take any Wooden Nickels."

On the back, I'd put the Batman symbol. Because I'd like to put that on money.


On the front of the dime, I'd keep Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On the back of the dime, I'd write a whole bunch of curse words. In tiny letters, but in perfect script. You'd need a magnifying glass to see them.

I'd also make the dime even smaller. About the size of a watch battery.


Alf (Gordon Shumway) would find his face on the front of the quarter. We might write something about Melmach or "We Eatum Felis" or something along those lines. Or maybe we could find some technology that would make Alf's "Ha!" laugh any time two of the coins clicked together. I'll get my people to work on that.

On the back of the quarter, I'd have the old silver, shiny WWF logo.

Fifty Cent Piece

All the fifty cent pieces would be made out of tarnished gold, and would be worth roughly 19 dollars apiece. I'd probably just use some pirate gold that I have laying around.


I'd take dollar bills out of circulation. What a waste of cotton fiber paper.

I would make the dollar a coin. It would be right around the size of a 6 oz. can of tuna. On the front of the dollar coin, Emmanuel Lewis, as Webster, would be smiling angellically from the from the front of the coin. We'd have something like "Hi George" and "Hi Ma'am" on the front.

On the back of the coin, we have rotating highlights from every World Series ever played.

And since the edge is about an inch wide, I'd write the lyrics to the Gilligan's Island theme song.

Also, the outside of the coin would be foil. You could take the foil off the coin, and find that the inside of the coin is made of chocolate. Or mud. See, that's the game. It's like the lottery.

Two Dollar Bill

There was a flaw to my taking the one dollar bill out of circulation. Nothing to tip strippers with. Think of how embarrassing it would be for the strippers to go to the store with 500 tuna-can sized coins. They'd get all muscled up.

Cooter, from the Dukes of Hazzard, would be on the front of the bill. It would NOT read Ben Jones. The inscription below his name would be "Cooter" and he'd be completely in Dukes of Hazzard character.

And we'd call 2-dollar bills "Cooters."

The back of the 2 dollar bill would carry a Far Side cartoon.

5 dollar bill

I'd put Grover Cleveland on the front of the 5 dollar bill. The front of the bill would celebrate his stint as 22nd president.

I'd put Grover Cleveland on the back of the 5, too. On that side, I'd put all the facts about his stint as 24th president.

10 dollar bill

On the front of the bill, I'd put that weird picture of the 19 (or however) year old Stephen King that's been showing up along a current picture of him on the dust jackets of his books lately. The one where he's wearing the horn rimmed glasses, and he's hunched over, kind of like Zorak, like he's getting ready to devour some kill he's just made.

On the back of the bill, I'd put a map to the nearest Sonic drive-in restaurant. (Or, Pizza Hut, for those states without Sonic).

13.43 dollar bill

I'd make a thirteen dollar, forty-three cent bill. Because these idiot kids running cash registers at the fast food restaurants need a kick in the ass when it comes to thinking. It's easy to take 9.78 out of a $20 bill. But try making change out of a $13.43.

On the front of the bill, I'd put comedian Lewis Black. And he'd be pointing angrily.

On the back of the bill, I'd leave inspiring messages like "Stay in school, retard."

20 dollar bill

I would put Keira Knightley on the $20 bill. And it would be a color photograph. And it would be awesome.

On the back, I'd golfer John Daly. Just for balance.

30 dollar bill

I think we need a $30 bill. Because. Just because.

On the front, I'd put Chewbacca. With the nameplate. Chewbacca.

On the back, I'd put a picture of Mt. Rushmore. And in really tiny print, you'd see Superman fighting Dolph Lundgren, in the sky above the monument.

50 dollar bill

Who's on the 50 dollar bill now? Is it Grant?

Well, I'd make two sets of 50 dollar bills.

One, looking exactly like it does now. With Ulysses S. Grant on the front of the bill, and the U.S. Capitol on the back (I think the capitol is on the back...I see $50's in my hand about as often as you saw black people on the Andy Griffith Show).

On the second set, which would be printed in equal numbers, I'd have Robert E. Lee.

And you wouldn't be able to use the Grant fifties in the south, nor would you be able to use the Lee fifties in the north.

Just to stir the pot a little.

You states without allegiance in the War of the Northern Agression be damned. Whenever you need a fifty, just use 2 30's. The math is almost right.

100 dollar bill

This one's simple.

I'd put Oprah Winfrey on the $100 bill. And I'd print new ones every three months or so. That way, collectors could refer to the June 2005 printing as the thin Oprah, and the March 2006 printing as the fat Oprah.

On the back, I'd have a still frame of the fight scene between David Kieth and Roddy Piper from They Live!

500 dollar bill

I would put my own picture on the 500 dollar bill.

On the back, I'd put the lyrics to Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It!" along with Dee Snider on the edge of the bill making a scary face.

Just for shits and giggles.

That's all.

(Guess who's procrastinating today.)

Friday, June 11, 2004



I spoke yesterday on the late Ray Charles, and said that whenever I thought of him, I associated him with Diet Pepsi, and the series of commericals he did for the beverage back in the 90's.

Simply because most ad campaigns are drilled into our heads, and this series of commercials, where Ray sang "You got the right one, babay!"

It's a comment, though, on how easily things become associated in our minds. Or in, at least, my mind. There are certain things that are always going to be linked in my brain, and if I hear, see, smell or even touch one thing, I'm going to immediately think of this other thing that, for whatever reason, became imprinted in my mind and was forever linked.

Do you know the song Breathless, by the Corrs? It got big in the fall leading into the winter of 2000. It's one of those little earworm songs that works its way into your subconscious, where it can eat away at your sanity like a moth.

I heard that song on the radio the other night at work. And it brought me back to January of 2001.

My sister and I went to New Orleans that January. The initial reason for the trip was so that I could try out for the Jeopardy gameshow, but we wouldn't have gone all the way to New Orleans just for that. Mostly, we just wanted to to hang out in New Orleans.

It was really kind of a horrible trip for me. I got sick on the trip down. I felt fine enough to take the contestants test, and walk around the French Quarter for a little while. But other than that, I mostly slept.

We left New Orleans the afternoon of the contestant test. I was really feeling pretty miserable. My sister drove us out of the city. I was in the passenger seat. We'd been driving along for a few miles. I'd pulled out a legal pad and was writing a couple of thoughts down. We'd just passed Picayune, Mississippi. I'm writing on my pad, and the song "Breathless" comes on the radio.

It's about halfway through. I'm still writing. I'd just popped a cough drop in my mouth. And the next thing I know, I have a face full of airbag.

I hear my sister curse, and say "Oh no!"

The next thing I remember is not being able to breathe. When I got hit with the airbag, I inhaled in surprise, taking the cough drop down my windpipe with the sudden rush of air. I managed to cough it up, so I don't want that to seem so dramatic. But because I was engaged in that process, I don't recall my sister pulling to the shoulder.

The whole while, that song is playing...

It's like a dream
Although I'm not asleep
I never want to wake up
Don't lose it
Don't leave it

We got pulled over, I coughed up the cough drop. I asked, "What happened?"

"We hit a deer?"



See, I never saw the deer. I was looking down at what I was writing. I never heard the deer. At least, I don't remember hearing my sister's car hit the deer. I just remember getting hit with a face full of passenger airbag. Which isn't a lot unlike getting hit with a feather pillow by somebody who can really bring it.

We were okay. We both made sure of that. We got out. A fellow who was riding behind us stopped to see if we were okay.

By the time he got to the car, the Corrs' was going off. I don't know what song came on next.

I walked with that guy back to look at the deer we'd hit. The guy, who was from Ohio and who said he'd been coming to that area to hunt for years, shook his head in good-natured irritation.

"It's the biggest deer I've ever seen down here," he said. "I haven't seen any deer this year, and you hit the biggest one I've seen with your car!"

It was a monster, too. An 10 point buck. We counted. Had to find the other antler, which was lodged in the ground a couple of yards from the rest of the carcass.

Did I say it was a monster? Huge deer, plus sisters' cars going right around 75 mph don't usually add up to much good.
The car ended up being totalled.

The funny, surreal part of that whole incident was how a dozen or more orange-vested, orange camouflage wearing hunters would kind of mosey out of the woods, trickling out in twos and threes. No laws in Mississippi about hunting that close to the interstate. It wasn't until later, at the insurance office in Picayune, that it dawned on me that it was, dollars to doughnuts, a hunter that had spooked the behemoth of a deer out of the woods and onto the highway.

A Mississippi state trooper showed up. He took our names. Made a report. Correctly pronounced our last name without having to ask us to say it after looking at our ID. Perfect teeth. Nice smell. A class act, all the way.

After a while, a couple more hunters showed up with a truck, asking what we'd be doing with the deer. The state trooper (whose name I forgot--even at a stage where I was writing everything down, I forgot to write the guy's name down to remember it) told us that Mississippi state law says that he who hits the animal has first claim. I laughed, but the trooper wasn't joking.

I deferred to my sister, who told the guys they could have the deer, if they wanted it.

"It's the biggest deer we ever saw," the told us, as they carried it to their truck.

The state trooper gave us a ride back to Picayune. I got to ride in the back of a trooper's cruiser. It was awesome! We were about 12 miles past Picayune, so we had to go up to the next exit, turn around and go back. And, except to stop and turn, the trooper did most of the trip at right around 85 miles an hour.

On the ride in the back of the trooper cruiser, I made a point to try to make eye contact with every driver we passed. Most of them went by too quickly for me to register their expression...most people will slow to the speed limit when they see a police cruiser thundering down the road, and on this stretch of highway, it was 65.

But I did make eye contact with one little kid in the back of a mini-van, as we waited for a transfer truck to move aside. People always look, especially if there's a person in the back. I wanted to make eye contact. Maybe even make the devil-hand or something. And I made eye contact with the kid. He just stared, and I stared back.

I didn't make the devil-hand, or make a Gene Simmons face. I figured I might get punked by the trooper for taunting kids.

We hit the insurance office. Got help. My sister got pissed at the insurance agent, who kept wanting to talk to me despite the fact that it was my sister's car, my sister's insurance policy and her deal completely.

We rented a car. An itty bitty Ford, with no cruise control and a heater that barely worked. It was like riding back to Tennessee from southern Mississippi in a tuna can.

Anyway. That's the story. I kind of meandered.

But now you know. Any time I hear "Breathless," by the Corrs, I think of riding in the back of a police cruiser. And that unspoken connection I made with that little kid in the mini-van.

Thursday, June 10, 2004



Murfreesboro is something like the staging area for the dirty hippies as they coordinate for their attack on Manchester, some 30 miles down I-24, the site of the Bonnaroo festival.

As such, I made a point to travel out by the interstate this morning, just to see all the SUVs and RVs.

I saw that the motels and Waffle Houses were packed with people.

There was a line outside of one of the Waffle Houses (there are four here in Murfreesboro, two on each at exits 78 and 81 on I-24). A line!

I hope it wasn't a line to go in to eat. That they were just milling there, in a line formation. Maybe that's just me. I'm not going to stand in line for a waffle and an order of scattered, smothered and covered hashbrowns. Especially if there are three other Waffle Houses in a 4 miles radius.

But then, that's my local knowledge coming into play.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles

My CNN e-mail says Ray Charles just died.

My first thought was how's he gonna see the light, to know where to go?

You know, Ray had a bunch of great music. This fact I am not denying. However, being the child of TV and of the age that I am, the first thing I associate with Ray Charles is his singing "You Got the Right One, Baby!" in that Diet Pepsi commerical.

And also of Jon Belushi wearing the Ray Charles sunglasses with a powdered wig singing "It's Alright" on SNL.

Grizzly Bears


Last night I had a grizzly bear loose in my apartment. You heard me.

I was watching the tail end of Last Comic Standing before heading to work. To that end, I was happy to see Kathleen Madigan, Monty Hoffman and Tammy Pescatelli move forward in the game. I found myself rooting for Vladimir, the Russian kid, and was sorry that he didn't likewise move forward. Anybody who starts their set with the deadpan admission "I used to pee myself," I appreciate.

But I was watching Last Comic Standing, and eating a hamburger patty. I made hamburger patties the other morning. Six of them. I didn't eat them all at once. Though I wanted to. Oh how I wanted to. Some, I ate on wheat bread, with cheese. Others, like this one, I ate with a little salt, plain.

So there I was, watching Last Comic Standing, rooting for my favorite comics and their 20-second standup routines, eating my hamburger patty, and drinking Cran-Grape juice (sweetened with Splenda), and this grizzly bear gets loose in my apartment!

A grizzly bear!

I didn't do anything at first. I noticed it as they were going to commercial break. I watched that commercial with the two Sonic guys, the ones that make me so mad. I turned my attention to the grizzly bear, and watched it flit around the room. It would kind of buzz from one corner of the ceiling, to another. It floated over, and investigated the light fixture.

Then its ass lit up! A couple of time. Yeah, that grizzly bear had that whole ass-light-up bioluminescence thing going on, something fierce! It was cool. The grizzly bear's ass would light, that eerie pale, green light, and then blink off, as quickly as it had come on.

I don't know how the bear got it, but I noticed a penny-sized hole in my window screen, and I figure that must have been how.

I got up, trapped the grizzly bear in my hands, walked to the door and let the little feller out back into the wilderness. It floated away into the night, its ass blinking green light at me twice, in what I'd like to call "Grizzly Bear Thanks."

It was awesome.

Update: I did some checking, and it was actually not a grizzly bear that visited me in my apartment. It was a "firefly," or as some in these parts call them, "lightning bug."

I was kind of disappointed.

It was an issue of semantics.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004



I made two conflicting decisions the other day to sit my ass down and start writing more, but also to spend a little more of my life away from the computer screen.

Here's the bugger: It's hot outside. I went for my walk, except it was more of a swim. I had every part of my soaking wet with sweat by the time I wandered back to the Big Stupid Tommy Compound.

And then I tried to write. I know to do these things the other way around. I just didn't today.

Here now, is what I wrote.

A top 10 ranking of the things around my computer.

10. The small table my keyboard rests on.

9. The two dirty socks at my feet.

8. The Johnny Cash CD case (no CD in it) under my monitor.

7. My Yoda figurine.

6. An big plastic cup with about two sips of water left in it.

5. A copy of Don Delillo's Pafko at the Wall

4. Bits of dialog written on a legal pad.

3. Me.

2. A pair of needle-nosed pliers.

1. One of those squeezeball suction thingamajigs intended to remove ear gunk, but used around my house as a makeshift squirt gun.

Yep. I do important stuff around these parts.

Good Ol' Summertime

Good Ol' Summertime

I just got to revisit one of those "joys" of summer I'd damn near forgotten.

Leg of my shorts rode up just enough for the skin of my right leg and the vinyl of the chair I'm sitting on to meld into a single unit.


That's the sound my leg made when I got up from the chair.

My folks had a big yellow pickup truck with those vinyl seats. I think by the time they finished with that truck, It had taken enough skin off me to make a set of Samsonite.

Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing

Given my ranting against reality TV lately, I should probably be a little ashamed to say I really enjoyed the first episode of the second season of Last Comic Standing last night.

A lot of good comedians made the cut. Tammy Pescatelli always makes me laugh. Kathleen Madigan and Louis Ramey, too. I'd heard Alonzo Bodden's comedy a little on the radio, and thought he wasn't quite my sense of humor, but his joke about white guys being breeders for white chicks made me laugh.

Another of the comics I recognized, but didn't know exactly why. His name was Monty Hoffman. I thought maybe I'd seen one of his performances, until the tone of voice he said something in reminded me who he was.

I saw one or two episodes of a show called "The Good Life," which ran for a while in the mid-90's. Monty Hoffman co-starred with John Caponera and Drew Carey. And the bit I remembered Monty Hoffman and Drew Carey having a race to a bathroom, with Drew Carey winning.

Monty Hoffman's character is trapped outside, really having to pee. He yells through the door "C'mon! Let me in! We can swordfight!"

It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard on TV.

(You had to be there, and be me, I guess).

Tonight's episode apparently is performance in front of comedian judges. I read a while back that Drew Carey and Brett Butler got pissed and walked off the project. They were mislead, they say. They were upset that their judgment was considered of lower priority than the show's producers, or that their judgment was only for show, when they went into the project thinking that their comic judgment was a big part of the choice of comics going on to the final round.

Anyway. I have Monty, Tammy Pescatelli and Ant, the gay comedian, going far in my office Last Comic Standing Pool.

If I Were the King of Baseball

If I Were the King of Baseball

Bill asks this question over on his fine, fine France Hatin' blog:

If you're going to have one Wild Card per league, shouldn't the schedule be balanced in order to provide a level amount of competition?

In the American League, you can't tell me it's fair that the As have to play most of their games against the Rangers and Angels, while the Twins or White Sox can fatten themselves playing most of their games against the Indians, Tigers and Royals.

Do you:

A. Adopt a more football like post-season with wild cards for each division.
B. Adopt a balanced schedule.
C. Keep it the way it is.
D. Scrap the Wild Card and go back to a two division setup.

My answer turned out to be more complicated than I thought.

I'll preface my whole answer by saying, this is what I'd do for Major League Baseball if I were made the unquestioned and all powerful commissioner.

The first thing I'd do is restore the League Offices for each individual league.

I want the leagues to be two separate entities again. With their own offices, their own umpires, and even their own rules. I want there to be a subtle distinction between the two leagues again.

One of the way I'd do this answers Bill's question about the playoffs.

My concerns about the wild card are a lot the same. Bill says that it's not right that the A's get to play tougher teams like the Rangers and Angels, while the Twins get to play Kansas City. I'll agree with that, though I've never really gotten upset about it.

To me, the bigger wrench in the monkeyworks is interleague play. Say the N.L. Central is playing the relatively tough A.L. West. St. Louis is in the wildcard spot. It's a lot less fair to St. Louis to have to play the Angels, Rangers and A's, while Philadelphia (for argument's sake) gets to play games against K.C., Detroit and Cleveland.

Both situations are unfair, but at least within their league, the A.L. Central teams get to make up some of that stagger by playing teams in the A.L. West; the Cardinals won't get a chance to play most of the teams in the A.L. Central, like the Phillies. To me, that's a little less forgiveable.

That's a long statement, which I'll punctuate by saying my second act as Supreme Ruler of Baseball would be to abolish Interleague Play. Again, I like the separation of leagues. And having interleague play would make the schedule changes I'm about to make a little difficult.

Plus, I want any competition between the two leagues to mean something. As it works now, the interleague games mean very little, no matter what the MLB hype machine wants us to believe about the epic Detroit Tigers/Atlanta Braves series.

Act III, to ultimately answer Bill's question.

Another way I'd establish a difference between leagues is to alter the way each league is divided up, and the way it determines its pennant winner.

First, I'd keep the two tiered playoff format. For each league. I was a little on the fence about this. I could take the extra playoff round or leave it. For sake of conversation, I'd say I'll keep the two-tiered playoffs around. Until that extra round angered me.

Begin the craziness:

In the National League, I'd divide the league into four 4-team divisions. And I'd have an unbalanced schedule.

In the unbalanced format the National League would play over the course of the 162 game schedule, a team would play 54 games within their division, which would make for 18 games, or six 3-game series against in division opponents.

Which leaves 108 games to be divided among the other teams within the N.L. I'd just divide them evenly among the other 12 teams, meaning you'd play 9 games (three 3-game series) against every other team in the N.L.

The playoffs would be played by the four division winners, ranked tournament style based on their records.

Despite my irritation at the long season, both rounds would be best-of-7 series, to keep teams with a 1-2 pitching punch from running the table so easily.

Now, over in the American League, I'd move the teams into two seven-team divisions.

The postseason participants would be the top teams from each division, and then the teams with the two best records. It could be the two second place teams, or a second place and a third place team.

With the seven team divisions, you'd play 13 games against the teams in your division, and 12 against the teams from the opposing division. Which is close enough to a balanced schedule for goverment work, so the competition for those last two playoff spots would be from teams playing pretty much the same teams the same number of times.

Then, the playoffs would be played with the division winners getting the top seeds and homefield advantage. Again, Best of 7.

Yep. If I were king.

(This is what I thought about for a while at work last night after I read Bill's question.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday, because I wrote some crap this morning, and now I want to talk about what falls out of the glass teat:

From the tame and elegant setting of Oprah to the wild and crazy brawls of Jerry Springer daytime talk TV has a little bit of everything. They've got make-overs, psychics, paternity suits and things you'd rather not know about but their ratings are through the roof!! Like them or hate them they're part of TV culture.

1. Do you watch daytime talk TV? If so, which shows do you watch? Do you prefer the calm shows like Oprah or the wilder side like Jerry Springer?

No, not so much. There was a time that I watched Regis and Kelly before I went to sleep, sometimes. Mostly for the Kelly Ripa. I don't know why I stopped watching.

If I watched, I watched Jerry Springer.

2. Which daytime talk TV show would you like to be on? What would the topic be?

I'm not deformed enough to be on Maury Povich, so I think I'll pass on all of them.

3. Is there a daytime talk TV show you miss that's no longer on the air? Is there someone you'd like to see get a daytime talk TV show?

I really miss Richard Bey. Not so much daytime, as middle of the night fare. But Richard Bey's show was gloriously guy oriented. If it was about fighting, drinking or strippers, Richard Bey had an episode about it.

Richard Bey was Jerry Springer when Jerry Springer was Phil Donahue.

I think the WWE's Big Show should have a daytime talkshow.

If he weren't dead, I'd have said Sorrell Booke (The Dukes of Hazzard's Boss Hogg). For no real reason.

~Bonus~ Before talk TV took over game shows ruled the airways during the day, which do you prefer? Or are you a soap opera fan?

Hello? TPIR updates? Gameshows ruled.

And I prefer my soap operas to be played out Monday Nights in the WWE ring.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

Mike Toole meets a hero.

Blog Stuff

Blog Stuff

Thanks to those who left me nice words over the weekend. I appreciate it.

Back to something of a regular schedule, except that I need to say this: this month, posting might get a little sporadic. I've got a couple of chores that'll take up some of my time. I'm planning a move out of the current Big Stupid Tommy compound, so that'll take up some of my time.

And I've got another writing project that I want to focus on for a little bit.

I'll still be posting. I just don't know how much.

The way I work, I'll probably end up posting more...this blog is a hella-good procrastination device.



I just took a short break.

Saw the movie Troy this weekend. A bit long, and I kept wondering why Hector didn't just become the Incredible Hulk. I thought that's why they hired Eric Bana, who played Banner/Hulk in the Incredible Hulk?

That's a talent I'd put on a resume: "Can morph into huge, green, ultrastrong goliath when angry." I'd probably put that under special skills. I tend to think having the Incredible Hulk on the side of the Trojans would have turned the tide of the war. I know that the Hulk would have smashed Achilles in their one on one fight.

Also, do you think that Orlando Bloom fella just puts "plays archers" on his resume?

Also, Bryan Cox continues his current practice of being in every movie made. Bryan Cox, and Ben Stiller. If you put their totals together, they're in something like 910 movies a year, the two of them.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Big Stupid Tommy

Big Stupid Tommy

I'm going to take a couple of days' break from the blog. Maybe a little longer.

I'm spending too much of my life in front of a computer. Writing, or on the internet.

If you're bored, please help yourself to the archives. There's the occasional nugget of joy in there. I recommend June-August 2003.

Lastly, please take the name Big Stupid Tommy as an attempt at irony. Stop taking things so literally.

And stop sending me e-mails explaining things. Dammit.

Best of Friday Five

Best of Friday Five

I was looking for something on this here internet, and I remembered that I'd linked to it last summer. In searching my archives, I found this, one of the first Friday Five memes I'd done. It made me smile.

And sometimes I forget with this blog, that's all that's important.

Since it's Friday, and Friday Five has since passed on:

From July of 2003, I was in South Cakalaki on Vacation, and I wrote this. The Friday Five topic was The Movie of Your Life:

My priorities/Friday Five
Proving that I have my priorities in order, I've gotten internet access just long enough to set the players on my fantasy baseball team and do this weeks Friday Five:

1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?

Police Academy 8: the Son of Tackleberry

2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?

Well, the score to the Police Academy series, of course. But also "Joe Bean," sung by Johnny Cash; "Who Made Who?" by AC/DC; the theme to Transformers, by White Lion; "I got You Babe," the duet with Cher and Butt-head, from the first Beavis and Butthead album, and the Chili's Baby Back Rib song.

3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?

Live Action. It would be ridiculous to try to animate the presence that is Bubba Smith. He's a human cartoon as it is.

Actually, though, I think it'd be neat to see a day of my life re-done anime style.

4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?

I think I should be played by either Tommy Chong or Will Sasso. Or maybe Betty White.

Bill could only be done justice by Clancy Brown.

My Dad should be played by Wrestling's "Double A" Arn Anderson, circa 1993.

My friend Jason bares an uncanny resemblance (in both personality and appearance) to Bruce Campbell.

My friends at Tennessee Overhill, Diane and Shyam, must be played by a resurrected Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance.

My sister should be played by Mr. T.


Bubba Smith as Hightower
Steve "What else am I doing?" Guttenberg as Mahoney
Michael Winslow as Jones
Marion Ramsey as Hux
Bobcat Goldthwait as Zed
Tim Kazurinsky as Sweetchuck

And the Village People would play themselves.

5. Describe the movie preview/trailer.

The screen would be dark, and then lightning would light the screen and thunder would roll across a cityscape. And while different scenes of the violence that is marring the city cross the screen, the movie guy voiceover would say:

"In a world, fraught with violence and discord, in which, there is no hope...."

"They have lost one of their own..." And it would show the Police Academy crew around the grave of Eugene Tackleberry (who was played in the previous 7 movies by the late David Graf).

"And they must now meet their biggest challenge...by themselves..." and here, we see that the movie's enemy is Mikhail Gorbachev. And the sinister Gorbachev "New York City....will be mine....."

Voiceover: "Or do they?"

And then I appear on the screen, bursting through the wall like the Kool-Aid Pitcher man, carrying a bunch of guns, firing them into the sky....laughing a laugh that is a cross between Eddie Murphy's and Robert Carradines and James Cromwell's laugh in the first Revenge of the Nerds movies.

And Mahoney looks at Hightower and says: "Tackleberry had a son?"

And then a quick cut to Bobcat Goldthwait, who says "I thought he was a virgin!"

Then there's a shot of my saying to a perp: "You're under arrest!"

The movie voiceover guy: "There's only one problem...."

Mahoney says to Jones: "He's not a cop," followed by a montage of several different characters saying "You're not a cop!"

"And now," the voiceover guys says, "their job is simple."

A shot of Gorbachev laughing maniacally.

"They've got to make him into a cop, or lose everything they hold dear..."

Then ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" starts booming in the background. And I show up in a police uniform.

And then you see half-second glimpses of the zaniness that follows. Me falling down the stairs. Sweetchuck being chased by some dogs. Hightower and Mahoney in a strip club. Jones making machine gun noises. Zed looking at a girl in a bikini. Somebody shooting a really small gun, followed quickly by me saying "No, No, No," and then me shooting a really big machine gun.

Voiceover guy: This summer....

Another shot of a girl in a bikini.

Voiceover guy: The Police Academy Crew is Back....

Shot of Sweetchuck getting his head slammed in a police car door.

Voiceover guy: And they're training....

Hightower pulling his foot out of toilet.

Voiceover guy: The next Generation of Recuits....

Me with a whole bunch of spaghetti and spaghetti sauce all over me, asking "So when's our date?"

Voiceover guy: On July 23....The Son Rises

Zed says to Sweetchuck: "This ain't gonna be easy...."

Jones says into the camera: "Here we go again....," and then as the marquee for Police Academy 8 flashes up on screen, you hear Jones doing his megaphone voice saying "This is the police..."

Hell yeah.



The former roommate wandered out from his East TN hovel and stayed the night last night. He's here to see somebody off to Oklahoma

There were a couple of weird things from his visit.

Firstly, we lived together for a long time. In college and after. We generally knew most of everything going on in each other's lives. Just because that's the way things go.
As such, it just feels weird how when we see each other, we have to play "catch up" on each other's lives. I made the joke once that we're both static characters, and there never was much of a need for discussion on the topic of "What's going on." But still, it's weird to from seeing somebody every in a time frame somewhere around every few minutes, to seeing them every few weeks.

Secondly, he left this weird hamster creature in the bathroom when he left. Except it's not really a hamster. It's furry, and it's about hamster-sized. But it's got big bumblebee wings, and it's slowly puttering around the bathroom. I've closed the door, to keep it there. I checked in a minute ago, and it's eaten two of my towels.

Despite not having seen each other in a few weeks, we fell into the old cadences fairly easily. We've always been very much on the same humor wavelength. It's how we got along so easily.

We ate at the local wings and beer restaurant. Wandered out to a couple of other places in town. We also, watched Welcome to Mooseport, and the running commentary, we should put on tape.

His big suggestion for the movie? Ray Romano's character, Handy, should have cried more readily. Cried long and hard. Anytime something bad happens to him, from being punched in the shoulder to getting dumped by his girlfriend.

Like I said, we ended up watching Welcome to Mooseport, which I'd rented since I was off work last night.

On the movie itself, it's kinda funny, but also pretty formulaic. If you're charmed by Ray Romano's comedy, then this is the movie for you. Gene Hackman's pretty funny, and reminds me a lot of an extended family member or two. But mostly it's formulaic comedy about smalltown eccentrics for people who are threatened by the racy fare shown on Fox TV.

I will say the movie's helped a bunch by featuring Maura Tierney as Handy's girlfriend.

I likes me some Maura Tierney. Ever since Newsradio.

One more interesting point on the movie...it's about a political campaign between the former U.S. President and a local handyman for the office of Mayor, in the town of Mooseport, Maine. It was funny to see the traditional way of deciding which candidate would answer questions first in their debate...a friendly game of "rock, paper, scissors." I thought it was great how both characters ended up looking to other people, advisors and such, to help them decide which weapon to pull.

I kind of think that's how we should have decided that last Presidential Election. Just throw the whole electoral college out. Just let Bush and Gore, the two popular vote leaders, do Rock, Paper, Scissors. Best of Seven. I think that would get good ratings.

Yep. Trying to figure out what I'm doing this weekend. Moving out of this apartment at the end of this month. It's looking like I'm probably moving to East TN myself at the end of this month. I still haven't heard a positive respnose on a job transfer, and that bugs me. I was out of work too long last year to go through the bullshit of a job search again this year. But that's down the road.

Anyway. That's what goes on in my life this Friday morning. We anxiously await Mark Prior's start later today.

Mark Prior

Mark Prior

Mark Prior's scheduled to come back tomorrow, or later today as the case may be (it's 12:35 at Casa de BSTommy). He'll make his first start of the season against the Pirates.

I need a lift with the Cubs. Hell, the Cubs need a lift. I hope Prior's able to make some impact in his first start of the season. I'm uncomfortable hailing him as lord and savior, but dammit, we need something.

Ruz, over at the Cub Reporter, gives a brief commentary on Prior's pitch count status:
Prior might be on a pitch count, or he might not. Dusty [Baker] doesn’t want to say, because he’s apparently worried that the Pirates would intentionally take pitches to run up Prior’s pitch count. What sort of low-down, dastardly scheme is that? Taking pitches in order to tire out a starting pitcher? That’s positively un-American! What kind of name is McClendon, anyway? Sounds sort of Communist to me.
Are we sarcastic because we're Cubs fans, or Cubs fans because we're sarcastic?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Today's TPIR Update

Today's TPIR Update

Plinko never sat well with me. It's an enjoyable enough game to watch, but I think if I were ever on the stage at the Price, I'd be a little disappointed if I got Plinko. What with my Charlie Brown karma, and all.

See, to me, part of the attraction of The Price is that it rewards merit. If you're an educated shopper, or just good at reasoning things out, you'll come out better in the end. I mean, if you've wandered around K-Mart enough, you know that a salad shooter is right in the 35-40 dollar price range.

No, it's not education in the traditional sense. And really, would you brag all that much about your shopper's knowledge to your friends? Without them being bored, and without them ending the friendship?

But it is knowledge.

Or, at least, the games on The Price take advantage of your deductive reasoning skills. If the answer cannot be 2, then the answer must be 8. And so forth.

And if your knowledge, education and reasoning are, in combination, strong enough the Price tends to reward you. You'll get something out of the deal, at least in that particular pricing game.

But Plinko's different. Plinko's all chance. And for some reason that bugs me.

You might say it's incongruous of me to say so, since I love the Big Wheel. But that's not all chance. The numbers don't change position on the big wheel. There's some foreknowledge of the Big Wheel going in, and where it lands is dependant largely on your skill. I'm not saying it's all skill, since most folks have never spun the Big Wheel more than once in their life...your best bet is to let the gods figure it out. But you could make the argument that the Big Wheel is a skill competition, and not entirely a random event.

But Plinko, that's entirely random. In Plinko, in case you don't know, you earn plastic tiles to drop down a peg board. At the bottom of the peg board are dollar amounts. After your round tile bounces and careens down the pegboard, it will land in one of these dollar amounts. $10,000 is the biggest dollar amount. You can earn up to five tokens (you get one free), and if the Lord (whom I suspect is probably Morgan Freeman) smiles, you could win $50,000.

But it's all random (or the whim of Morgan Freeman). And I can't reconcile that the way I can the Big Wheel. Maybe part of it is that the Big Wheel is cake. You've already won, now you get the chance to win more. But Plinko, that's the main course. And whether or not you eat filet mignon, or a sackful of nothin'...you don't have control over it. See, with your tiles, you could conceivably land in the two holes with $0 marked on them. And you walk away with nothing to show for it. And to me, that goes against the grain of Price.

See, I don't trust my luck with games of chance. That's why I wouldn't want to play Plinko.

Something that popped into my head: You do have a chance to win more with Plinko than with any other game. And you have more of a chance to win something with Plinko than you do any other game. If you stick to the edges, you'll get lower money amounts, but you'll more than likely miss the 0 amount.

Boy. I'm spending entirely too much time with this.

It's time for bed, anyway.

And know you know, the rest of the story.

(long pause)

Good day.

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

I like this picture.




Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator
From Go-Quiz.com

It disturbs me that I am both Tasty and Yummy.

Once, in an orientation session at the hotel I was working at, we had to do the exercise where we had to give an adjective for every letter in our first name.

I couldn't think of anything for the letter "O" in my name, so I put "omniscient," mostly because I'm a smartass, but also because I'm omniscient.

Seven heads turned in unison to have that particular word explained to them.

Yeah, there's no bigger inconvenience to omniscience than having to explain something that's patently obvious to you to everybody else.