Saturday, July 31, 2004

My New Favorite First Name for a Cub

My New Favorite First Name for a Cub

Nomar. It's a neat name.

(For the record, my old favorite first name for a Cub [based on the aesthetic value of the name and that alone] was Thad, for good old pinch hitting specialist Thad Bosley).

I think Nomar's impact on the team will be (at minimum) 93 times what Thad Bosley's ever was.

What's more, we got rid of a certain NLCS-losing, 125 strikeout-a-year, .222 hitting shortstop to make room for Nomar. By AGon.

You mean to tell me we get Nomar Garciaparra and we get to keep Matty Clement?

The fear/certainty that lies in the heart of every Cub fan right now is that whatever's a little wrong with Mark Prior right now's going to go Pop! or Twinge! (or whatever noise is most descriptive) and then will then be a lot wrong. And when it does, it'll be the last wee see of Mr. Prior until 2006.

Call me Dusty Baker, but I like an experienced pitcher like Matty Clement in the rotation down a stretch run more than a youngster. Because I'm a fearful fart about those things.

I'm sorry to see Francis Beltran go. I don't think he's necessarily a superstar in the making, but I think he's going to have a long and productive career ahead of him.

For the first time in a few weeks, I'm actually happy about the Cubs, and what they've done. I'd started to think Jim Hendry and co. were going to walk away from the trading table.

Now. Let's see if we can get us some more bullpen help during the waiver-trade month of August.....

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday, because I once saw a guy stab himself in the forehead with a pencil because he sneezed.

Week 11 - My Life.
This week the topic is YOU.

1) If there was a movie to be made about your life, what actor/actress would portray you?

You know, if Jim Varney were alive, it'd just be a given, what with all the same mannerisms and tastes we shared.

Now, I'm torn between David Prowse and Maggie Smith.  One or the other.

2) What actor/actress would portray your love interest? Your best friend?

Gary Oldman would portray everybody I've ever known in my life.  Male or female.  Old or young.  He'd be on camera all the time. Playing everybody. Chameleon that he is, I'm not sure that he isn't doing that already.

3) What would be the title of your film?

Zim Zang Zoom: the Story of Col. Jimmy Joe Meanpenis and the Marauding of Niota, Tennessee.

Bonus) What moment of your life would be the highlight of this film?

Probably the time I went to Walt Disney World with my family, and got a hug from and a picture with the Robin Hood character, and then got a rash from any place the synthetic hair on the Robin Hood costume touched me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Inner Gary Busey

The Inner Gary Busey 

That blank white page is frustrating me.

It's been frustrating me for a few weeks now.

It is my enemy.

Do you know who else is my enemy? Gary Busey.

Or, rather, the disembodied voice of Gary Busey.

I'll write something. Whether it's for myself, or intended for publication, or for this very blog you're reading now. And I'll write it. I'll struggle with it. I'll wrestle with it. Sometimes, it's like wringing water from a cloth, and the cloth is twisted until the tension in it is pulling knots and threatening to tear the fabric. The droplets that fall out? They suck.

Or, at least that's what Gary Busey says.

Gary will read what I've written. He sees with my eyes.

"Boy," he say, his voice wavering between disappointed incredulity and derisive condescension, "that really sucks."

Gary Busey is my harshest critic.

"You can't do no better than that? You've been sitting in front of that computer for hours, and all you got is a couple of paragraphs about how much you hate some guy named Alex Gonzalez?"
You write what you know.

The voice leans in. I don't know how. It's Gary Busey. Gary can do anything.

"You ain't got shit, then."

Gary Busey is my inner critic. And he mocks me. Dammit, he mocks. And I loved Under Siege so much.

The inner dialog, it goes a little something like this.

I write:  The bear went over the mountain.

Gary wanders up, from out of nowhere, deep within the recesses of my brain. Reading what I've written, he comments: "Naw. That ain't no good."

The bear lumbered over the mountain?

"Lumbered, huh? Did you get that word the sameplace you got that haircut?"

What the Hell does that mean?

"Never mind. Why the hell you writin' about a bear?"

(I can see his big, googly, scary, baked and burned out eyes even across the ethos. I do not answer.)

"Everybody's already written the hell out that bear."

I'm trying to make myself write, Gary.

"By writing something's already been written? Something that nobody care much about in the first place?"

It's writing something.

"No, it's writing nothing, and it's re-writing nothing."

I'm just trying to be funny. I figured it was a start.

"Trying to be funny?"


"Like a clown?"

Well, after a fashion, I guess.

"After a fashion?" (Incredulous, and a little angry. Like he might lash out.)

After a fashion.

"Like a clown?"

You're confusing me.

"I hate clowns. They scare me. It's the mouths, and the big giant teeth. And also the eyes and noses."

How did we get from bears to clowns?

"I hate bears, too. They scare me. It's the mouths."

And the eyes and noses?

"Are you mockin' me?"

No sir. I think you're mocking me.

"You get riled too easy. Need to take up some tai-chi. Settle your mind."

Will that help my writing?

"Couldn't hurt."

What would you write about?


Texas? The state?

"No, retard, Texas the Panty Hose."

I've been to Texas.

"Texas the Panty Hose?"

What were we talking about?

"Your lack of writing skills. And that you suck. And bears."

You're scared of bears?

"Not scared. Maybe once. Maybe a long, long time ago."

But not anymore?

"One day, I had an inkling that I was scared of bears. And if there's anything that Gary Busey hates, it's being scared of something.

So, what did you do?

(Even though he's just a disembodied voice, I can feel Gary Busey leaning in, violating that personal zone, getting right in my face.)

"It's all about mastering your fear."


"It's all about letting that fucker know that it can't whip you."

Can't whip me?

"It's about getting in it's face, and saying 'Hey Bear! I ain't scared of you!' and then smacking the shit out of it, just to show it that you ain't kidding."

Doesn't that make the bear angry?

"Hell yes it makes the bear angry!  It pisses the shit out of a bear!  But you just gotta get back angry at it. Smack it again. Let it know that you're the boss."

I'm the boss.

"No, I'm the boss. Can you believe that Tony Danza is getting a talk show?"

Back to the bear...

"Glad to see you're payin' attention."

You just smack the bear again?

"Just hit it again. Poke it in the nose."

Doesn't the bear fight back?

"Yeah. It fights like hell, sometimes."

Does it win?

"Sometimes. But..."


"But at least you went out there and punched the shit out of the bear, and didn't sit there starin' at it, lettin' it whip you without even touching it.  At least you got whipped trying."


"Yeah. I hate bears."

Thanks, Gary.

"Anytime. What are you thanking me for?"

Just the thought.

"Yep. What thought?"

What about clowns?

"Clowns scare me. It's the mouths, and the teeth. Also the eyes and........"

The Greatest

The Greatest

Mike Toole brings us a thought on a sighting ofRickey Henderson or, as he is known around this particular household:  The Greatest.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Buy Me Things

Buy Me Things

One of you fine, fine people should buy me the first season of Sledge Hammer, which was released on DVD today.

I loved that show. 

That'll be one to look for down the road.  Why, oh Why must I have born in February?

Yeah, my half birthday's next month, but nobody who'll buy me presents believes in that.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Today's Directive

Today's Directive

From the Home Office, in Lima, Peru, you the reader are hereby requested to use the phrases "def" and "stupid def" in normal, every day conversation.  Try to work it into your conversation casually.  Don't use it to get a laugh.  Use it to see if anybody notices.  Don't put special emphasis on the words.  Just use it to describe something you enjoyed very much over the weekend.

Example:  We had a def barbecue at my Mom's this weekend.  Uncle Joe cooked up his stupid def ribs.

Thank you, and good morning.

Sunday, July 25, 2004



I'm glad that Cheese Whiz is a food product, and not a medical condition.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

Via Sheila and Bill:

Five Movies I Not Only Own, But Watch Regularly, Which I Shouldn't Admit To But I'm Braver Than You So I Will:

(I'm not ashamed, really.  I like disaster movies and bad but well meaning comedies.)
  1. Independence Day.  I'll watch the first 45 minutes or so, up until the aliens have blown up New York, Washington and L.A.  The people in that movie are so blinkardly idiotic, when I see the Statue of Liberty face down in the water when day 2 opens up, I turn the movie off, and just pretend that the aliens won.  That makes me happy.
  2. Armageddon.  Same type of vibe.  I don't know why I get off on this movie so much.  I love Billy Bob Thornton (It's the size of Texas, sir), and I crack up at everything Steve Buscemi's character does in this movie.
  3. Police Academy 2.  This one's a weird childhood thing.  It's not funny compared to most movies, but still it makes me laugh.  It's not good, but for whatever reason, I enjoy the crap out of it.  It's disjointed (four acts, instead of the comfortable 3).  I own it on DVD.
  4. Best of the Best.  This is the best bad karate movie ever.  It stars the less talented siblings of both Julia Roberts (Eric, as Alex) and Sean Penn (his brother Chris, as Travis, who invests more into his character than every other actor in the movie combined).  It's James Earl Jones at his slummy best, too.
  5. Ready to Rumble.  I love inappropriate displays of emotion.  It's why I like David Arquette.  It's why I like pro wrestling so much.  I figure there's no more appropriate mixing than David Arquette and pro wrestling.  Oliver Platt is really, really funny in the movie.  And Caroline Rhea's got a couple of great lines, too, in her brief appearance.  It's a stupid buddy comedy.  But I'll watch it once a year.  

Take my AGon. Please....

Take my AGon.  Please...

Anybody want a shortstop with a low batting average, who can't hit what the situation calls for, who strikes out a lot, who grounds into double plays against the Phillies and has a tendency to help lose game six of a NLCS with his iron glove?

If I were Jim Hendry, I'd trade Alex Gonzalez for a couple of buckets of spackle to use on crumbly old Wrigley Field.


Top of the ninth, no outs, and we get Goodwin on second.

In my mind, there is no reason a good team should not get that man across before  the third out comes.


Thanks, Mr. Goodwin.  For not even trying tag up on the fly to right.

Thanks Corey.  Keep swinging.  This generation needs a Rob Deer, too.

Thanks, Sammy.  For everything.  Thanks for saving baseball and being so cute and saying things like beisbol's been berry gud to mi. 

Thanks to the whole franchise.  I haven't written about the Cubs lately because I feel like a chump for following them.  For getting my hopes up.  For praising them when they win.  I feel like they win in spite of themselves.  Today, they were, by the Phillies, again exposed as the frauds they are.  They're a team of wannabe heroes, not realizing that it's little things like moving a runner over, and keeping tempers in check when a certain umpire you don't like is behind the plate, that's what wins championships. 

Not combining for four home runs a game.

The Cubs go out each day and they play a stupid, stupid, brand of baseball.  It's a brand that is staggeringly lacking in fundamentals, and it's a brand that makes them either unable or unwilling to adjust to any situation other than the one Dusty and the crew prepared for.

I got myself in a good mood this morning.  I looked, and I said to myself, they're only a game out of the wild card slot.  The Cubs aren't out of it...there's still time.

But the effort I saw in Philadelphia today was sorry.  Yeah, the Phillies are good.  But they didn't have a closer, and they've got more nagging injuries even than the Cubs.  And we couldn't capitalize.  Twice, in two innings, we couldn't capitalize on good situations.  A runner on third with one out?  A runner on second with no outs? 

I hate the Cardinals.  I hate Tony LaRussa.  And Steve Kline and Jim "Smiling Stupid" Edmonds. 

But the Cardinals are playing good baseball.  Tony LaRussa has them in the right mindset, and they're doing the little things that teams do when a team wants to win it all.  This year, I think is their year.

The Cardinals deserve to win it all.

Those ol' Humpday Blues (On a Saturday)

Those ol' Humpday Blues on a Saturday

I began writing this post Wednesday night, but a phone call interrupted me, and I never got around to finishing it.

On this Saturday morning, just pretend that this is a Wednesday night, and that I'm contemplating the idea of "hump day."

I've known many fine canines for whom every day is hump day.  And they don't seem to mind it at all.

Wednesday.  I've always felt that we're spelling the name of the day wrong.  I think we need to change it to something a little more easy to spell.  Like Jeff.  Or maybe Jeffrey.  Jeffrey's pretty easy. 

Monday, Tuesday, Jeffrey, Thursday....And so on.

Ain't got much on my mind on this Jeffrey.  I watched Ocean's 11 (the Soderbergh version) again.  I've got two favorite scenes in the movie.  The first is when Ocean and Rusty are first discussing what it would take to pull off this heist Ocean wants to pull, and Rusty starts reeling off all the technical jargon in the con game....

Rusty: You'd need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons.

Danny: Like what, do you think?

Rusty: Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Bowski, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald... ever!

I love the little jargon, and I love that it's left up the viewer's imagination to briefly imagine what such a thing as a Leon Spinks is in the con game.  
My other favorite scene in the movie is between Bernie Mac's Frank Catton and the car dealer, whom Frank strongarms, literally, into selling him two white vans at a very, very nice price.

Here on this Saturday, I don't much know how to go about finishing a post.  I don't know what I was thinking five minutes ago, let alone three days ago.  I'll just say that I want you fine folks to go out and have a helluva Saturday.  I hope the weather's pleasant up in your neck of the woods.

Baseball. It is Good.

Baseball.  It is Good.

Went with the family to a Chattanooga Lookouts game last night.  A hot, muggy summer night that's perfect (in my mind) for watching a baseball game.  Bellsouth Park, the Lookouts' home, one of the better minor league stadiums I've visited, was filled to about 80% capacity, as the Lookouts (the AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) played the Carolina Mudcats (affiliated for the first year with the Florida Marlins).

My sister had free general admission seats.  There's not a bad seat in Bellsouth Park, and we found an excellent vantage point behind home plate.  On such a muggy night, I actually appreciated the bleacher style seating and the slightly less-than-capacity crowd.  We were able to spread out on the bench a little bit.   Had we decided to move down into the box seats, the chairs would have had us stuck together in a proximity not entirely comfortable on the muggy July night.  The bleachers gave us breathing room.

The game itself was fairly fast paced.  The Lookout pitchers worked quickly to combine on a three hit shutout of the Mudcats, whose team philosophy seems to be based muchly on the teachings of Cubs' manager Dusty "Walking's for Sissies" Baker:  swing at any pitch between the nose and the toes.  I was rooting, more or less, for the Lookouts, so I was pleased by the Mudcats' tendency to put the ball in play usually by the third pitch of the at bat, even if it meant popping weakly to the infield.  Had any Mudcats' fans (or Marlins' fans looking at prospects) made the trek, I know the urge to scream "Take a Pitch" would have been near unbearable.

The crowd was pleasant and polite, but a little quiet for my tastes.  I think little yelling and screaming is good, so long as it's honestly enthusiastic and imaginative.  Though, to my discredit, I didn't help out any.  I think I yelled at the umpire once for a close call at first base, which led to one of the Mudcats three hits.

A few interesting things I wanted to note:

Part of the discussion up in our area of the bench was over the home plate umpire.  I hadn't been paying much attention during player or umpire introductions, so I missed the name of the home plate umpire.  We had a good vantage point for watching the strike zone, and I was impressed with the consistency of calls (the home ump was giving the inside corner but was a bit stingy on outside pitches, but she was consistent about it). While noting this, there was something I noticed.  I said to myself, that umpire's awful dainty.

And I got to looking, and I tried hard to listen for the ball and strike calls, but we were too far up for me to hear much.

I finally asked my sister what she thought of the umpire.  "Is it a girl?"

We both looked for a while.  Got Mom and Dad in on the discussion. We couldn't decide for sure. Mom was fairly sure, but the rest of us were on the fence. It could be a girl, or just a really skinny guy.

Finally got to looking this morning, and sure enough, for the second year, the Southern League employs Ria Cortesio. She's been umpiring a few years now. I did not know that. And we move one tiny bit of info from the gigantor pile of Things Tommy Didn't Know to the teeny pile of Things Tommy Knows.

She did good work.  Hope she gets to move up.

A couple of other things of note about the night:

My sister works at the Creative Discovery Museum, which is located pretty much right next to Bellsouth Park.  She lent us a work parking pass to park right behind the museum.  We thought we'd be pretty punk to have such nice parking spots, but nobody was policing the parking passes, and the lot was pretty much full by the time we got to the stadium.

One of the things I was sorry to think I was leaving behind in Middle Tennessee was Fat Mo's, a really great small chain of hamburger places.  Imagine my surprise in the last couple of weeks to find that Chattanooga has its own Fat Mo's!  If you're in the area, and you want to eat a fine, fine hamburger, it's on Lee Highway, not far from the Shallowford Road intersection.  I ended up eating their twice yesterday...once when the Filthy Hippy and I wandered down there to pick up a bed, and again before the game.  I've had my Fat Mo's fix for a while....

Like I said, the game was right around 75% to 80% of stadium capacity with the crowd.  Nice crowd.  Lots of kids.  Lots of well behaved kids.

Even after the trip to Fat Mo's, I procured a baseball hot dog.  The best place for hot dogs is the baseball stadium.  There is nothing like a stadium dog.  You know, if I put a couple of franks in a pot and boil them up at my house, they're a simple but fairly pedestrian lunch.  Grinded meat and rodent hair in a skin.  But at the stadium, they're the food of the Gods.  They taste better.  They look better (maybe it's the wrapper).  They smell So Much better.  My friend Steven, who is a resolute vegetarian, has admitted to enjoying the wondrous scent of a stadium hot dog.  I think he was even tempted once out of his vegetarianism on the special Wednesday Quarter Dog special up at relatively lovely Greer Stadium one afternoon.

I'm going to briefly mention stadium etiquette.  There was a feller who'd moved down from general admission with his brood of kids to a set of box seats just a few rows down from where they'd been sitting.  It was early in the game, the second inning or so.  And the people whose seats they were sitting in came to claim them.  The guy and his family didn't want to move.  The usher came to resolve the problem, and the squatter decided to use the argument that since the game had started the original ticket holder had lost his claim to the seats.  It was a short exchange, but the usher told him that he could move out of the guy's seat (he didn't even tell him to go back to general admission), or he could leave....  Such a thing would normally be an ugly conversation, but I enjoyed how polite all parties were.  Even the guy squatting in the seats.

Polite is good, when it comes to stadium etiquette.  That's the first thing I want to say. We're all there to chill and have a good time.  There's no need to be a jerk to somebody.

Like I said previously, there's not a bad seat in Bellsouth Park.  In fact, I like the general admission seats better than the box seats.  But if you're wanting to move down from general admission , I'll say that I'm not morally opposed to it.   Lord knows I saw an armload of games for free up in Nashville one summer thanks to my friend Jophes, so I'm not caught up the moral ambiguity of the subject.  And hey, if you can find seven together to move down to for you and the rest of the Brady Bunch, more power to ya, feller.

But if somebody comes to claim the seat, you gotta move.  That's all there is to it.  You don't have an argument.  No legs to stand on.  In such a laid back environment, you're not going to get a lot of crap from anybody, unless you go starting it by arguing that it's yours just because you're sitting in it.  If that was the case, I'd get to play because I'd be moving down to the dugout any chance I got.  If somebody tells you to move because it's their seat, then move, and don't start nothing.

That's the etiquette talk.

The Lookouts won the game 6-0 on the strength of their pitching.  Three-hit shutout.  Good crowd, most of them stayed till the end.

All in all, a good night of baseball.  Here's hoping to go back soon....

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday, because yellow and blue make green.

Week 10 - Moments

This week's Theatre Thursday is dedicated to those Onscreen Moments that stay with you forever.

1) What moment from what movie still makes you laugh out loud - no matter how many times you see it?

Here are a few, since I have diarrhea of the mouth and can't stop running once I've started:

Bill Murray, in Stripes,  proclaiming that he and the men have been completing their "Arrrrmmmy Training", and that's why they're late to company graduation.

Cleavon Little, in Blazing Saddles, whipping it out....

Christopher Guest, in Princess Bride, turning tail and running from Inigo.

And National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I is probably the dumbest movie ever made, but at one point, they lampoon those Tinactin commercials.  One of the other cops takes off his sock, complaining of a burning sensation.  Samuel says in the best deadpan:  "What the hell you expect?  Your foot's on fire!"

The revelation of the Stonehenge monument in Spinal Tap.

Mr. Creosote in the restaurant, in Monty Python's Meaning of Life.

2) What moment from what movie still makes you cry like a baby - no matter how many times you see it?

I've said it before that I can't watch Field of Dreams around other people, when Ray asks his dad to have a catch.

3) What moment from what movie made you actually turn your head from the screen - either in fear, revulsion, or contempt for the fact that you actually paid money to see the film?

You know, I've seen all kinds of gruesome stuff in movies and not flinched, but I spent more time looking at the floor in Hannibal than any movie I can think of.  Especially the Ray Liotta brainfeast.

BONUS) What is one single moment from a film that is indelibly etched in your brain? Not a scene or a sequence exactly, but three or four seconds from a movie that contain an image or phrase or concept that transcends normal movies?

Slim Pickens riding the atomic bomb in Dr. Strangelove.  That's a good one.  It makes me smile.  Because it's at the same time completely absurd and incredibly apt.

Take a Moment and answer these questions, and you'll feel you've flown across the moon..

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

Ultimate Robot

Water out the nose.



Slept on my shoulder last night.  My right shoulder.  Which, coincidentally, appears to be the wrong one.  Things that were difficult so far this morning.
  • Turning off the alarm clock.  Turning off the alarm, incidentally, is when I figured out that my shoulder was hurting.  My mind says "I don't want to be awake now" to "Criminy! My shoulder hurts!  Why is Cousin Larry tormenting me?"
  • Adjusting the shower head.  And while I don't mind the shower spraying directly into my belly button, I didn't figure it was the very best way to get clean.  My shoulder hurt a little less, at this point.
  • Putting a t-shirt on.  I went from relishing the warm, cottony feeling of a nice clean t-shirt, I winced a little, but I was able (Praise Balki!) to fight on.
  • Getting the box of Cheerios off the top shelf of the cabinet.  Honestly!!!!  Who puts cereal on the top shelf?!!?!?  We got a hurt man here!  I posted a memo that from now on, all cereals will be placed on the bottom shelf of the cabinet, and arranged on said shelf according to height, and then color, should two boxes be the same height, and in this case, the order of the colors will be determined by a coin flip, with the coin landing on a head meaning cereal boxes will be arranged along the ROY G BIV standard, and tails meaning they will be arranged (from left to right) along the lines of prettiest to ugliest.
  • Petting the dog.  The dog wanted my Cheerios.  I shouldn't have petted.  But I did.  Telling her as I did so "There ain't no way I'm giving you my Cheerios!"
  • And my shoulder hurt a little while NBC's Tim Russert hyp-mo-tized me with his cold, reptilian eyes.  He said "A lot of people still don't know who John Kerry is." but in my mind, I heard his true intention "Stop praying to Perfect Strangers characters and send your tribute to me!!!!"
  • Addressing the envelope to send tribute to Tim Russert
  • Laughing when the lady on the TV said "Bangkok."
  • Bullet points.  Gotta love them

You all go out there and have yerselves a helluva Thursday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


I've not updated my readlist, like I said I would.  I'm a dirty, dirty liar.
What I've been reading lately:
Summerland by Michael Chabon.  (I enjoyed it, but felt like Chabon was writing down to an audience a little bit, rather than write the story for all ages that he wanted to write.)
Tales to Astonish by Ronin Ro.  (A biography of comics legend Jack Kirby.  Ultimately, I lost a lot of interest, so my thoughts probably aren't worth a lot on this one.  After a point, I ended up only lightly reading this one.  I dunno, my impressions of Kirby have been a little less rebellious and rockstarry than Ronin Ro seems to want to paint the man.  Maybe that's what biography's about, changing impressions.  But this one didn't work well for me.)
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams.   (Funny.  I wish I could do something that's as broad in scope as the whole Hitchhiker's Guide, and as consistently as funny.)
Inside the Animal Mind by George Page.  (An examination of possible cognitive abilities of the other animals.   I'm still reading this one, and it's interesting.  Page has mentioned a couple of other books that I want to pick up and read, too.  I don't know enough yet on the subject to comment well on what Page has done, but I'd like to learn more.  I'll post more when I've finished this one).
A Death in the Family by James Agee.  (Just started this one, after picking it up at a used book store a while back.  So far, so good.)    

Tonight's Snack

Tonight's Snack
I miss The Mullet.  He was an early and regular commentor here on Big Stupid Tommy.  He started a blog, but had to suspend his efforts when he had to figure out a work situation.  Here's hoping he makes it back sooner, rather than later.
One of the things I liked about the Mullet was his affinity for snacks.
Tonight's snack at Case de Big Stupid Tommy?
Golden Flake Louisiana Hot Sauce flavored Pork Skins.
Yeah, it's pork skin.  And it's great.  And it's spicy.  Very spicy. 
Very nice.  Until you sneeze, and get some of those spice particles lodged in the drainage tube that runs from your nose to your throat.  Then, you're a mucus making machine!
BSTommy:  Mucus Making Machine.

Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing
Last Comic Standing set up its final episode's household of comics tonight.  I'm pretty pleased with the way everything turned out, as far as comics getting into the house.  On the whole, there were only a couple of comics I ended up not liking (Ant and Jay London) and they were both eliminated before tonight's episode.
I've been surprised by how much I've enjoyed Alonzo Bodden's comedy.  Granted, I'd only heard him on the radio and seen him on a short comedy bit on The Tonight Show (I think), so I hadn't been exposed to much of his comedy.  But that joke about cleavage being currency on the singles scene for women was great.  Because guys can't show a little penis and get free drinks.
All the comics in the final five make me laugh to some degree, so I won't have much to gripe about when the eventual winner is named.  I've really enjoyed Tammy Pescatelli's efforts.  I think I'd like it best if she won.

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday
TV Tuesday, because if I write about the Cubs, I get so damn mad....
Week 18 - Special Reports 
*beep* *beep* *beep*  We interrupt your normal TV viewing for this special report!!!    You guessed it, this week's topic, Special Report interruptions!  *grin*  
1.  On a whole do you feel most Special Reports are really that special?  Or are they simply annoying?  

We have entirely too much media coverage in this country, and in the constant search to have something...anything new to talk about, I think a lot of what's given "Special Report" status doesn't really warrant a special's just something new to talk about.
This isn't the best example, but NBC put up the Special Report music and broke into commercials, and the Today Show, one of their own news shows, to announce a while back that John Kerry had tapped John "Smiling Mandroid" Edwards to be his running mate.  They broke into the commercials on their own TV show for a Special NBC report.
Because of 9/11, I do perk up and I do pay attention.  And then, I'm disappointed whenever it's something that didn't require that kind of in depth and immediate attention. 
2.  What special report has effected you most?  (IE:  (9/11, Reagan being shot...etc)
I guess it's hard not to say 9/11.  They also broke into baseball to tell us President Reagan had died a little while back.
3.  Do you stay tuned in for Special Reports or do you reach for the remote?
Eh.  I'll watch to make sure it's nothing terribly life threatening.
~Bonus~  Not exactly a special report but more on special coverage.  What are your thoughts on some of the "Special Coverage" spots that have hit TV lately?  One that comes to mind for me is the 24 hour a day coverage of Ronald Reagan's body laying in state at the White House.  Something we needed to see or just plain morbid?
Like I said, I think we've got more media and media outlets than there are actual events to be reported.  I think that's what the Reagan coverage and the like grow out of:  it's a need to talk about something different.'s a need to talk about SOMETHING.  What with all this 24 hour news coverage, sometimes there's just not 24 hours worth of news to talk about.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Duck and Cover

Duck and Cover 
Had a very nice evening over at my friend Shyam's this past Saturday night.   I headed over late in the afternoon.  The shindig was held in the same venue as my buddy Steven's rehearsal cookout.  A nice, country setting. 
There was no beer canoe.  I need to get that out of the way.  I was disappointed.  There was a keg.  But it was not in the canoe.  I think all parties need a beer canoe.
The canoe was filled with watermelon (which, as Drew Carey once told us, is nature's tastiest laxative).  After a half a second's consideration, I decided that I could live with the idea of a watermelon canoe.  Yeah.  Watermelon canoe's are alright by me, too.
(In fact, upon thinking about it, most things are made cooler by being placed on display for consumption in a canoe.)
There was catfish, and hamburgers, and beer, and slaw.  None of which was served in a canoe, but all of which was really, really tasty.  Shyam made the wonderful, wonderful slaw.  Wonderful.
I arrived at the get-together in time to catch the tail-end of a water fight, in which the young children present were flinging cups of water at each other.  Tremendous fun, of course.  Since none of the kids had brought along bathing suits, they were participating in the contest in their skivvies.  There was discussion among the spectators as to how old you have to be before it becomes inappropriate to wander in public in your undies.  After a night's thought, I think it depends on which party controls the White House.
Needless to say, if I were to walk around in my shorts flinging cups of water on people, I'd probably spend a night either in the hospital or the graybar hotel.  No matter who was in office.
Later in the evening, I was traumatized in the worst possible way.  Simply:  Fish water in my shoe.  Shyam will pay.
A pretty decent rainshower blew through after I'd been there a while.  A good, hard, soaking rain, one that blew in sheets, and kept us huddled in the picnic area, which was protected by a tin roof.  The roof kept us dry, but the shower pelting against the tin but also made conversation impossible unless you shouted.
The rain passed.  A few people left.  A few more came in.  And we all talked of many things.
And then, night fell.
And I was drafted.
See, there were fireworks.   And owing to the fact that I was there, and I had enough fingers to operate a lighter, I was drafted into the corps of folks who wanted to set off fireworks.
There were attempts to draft me at the rehearsal dinner I spoke of.  That night, I was able to beg off.  I mean, honestly, who in their right mind wants somebody who calls himself Big Stupid Tommy out there lighting explosives with them?  That logic worked fine at the rehearsal dinner.
Last night, "no" was not an acceptable answer, because Shyam's father was doing the asking.
To the other side of the lake we went, loaded with explosives.
I'll make a long story short.  The five of us came out of the experiences with no missing fingers, and no powder burns.  And how that fact came to be? It be only the grace of God his own self.
Over on our corner of the lake, we managed to destroy all but one of the five launchers we had.   I was afraid it was my ineptitude that had destroyed a couple of them, but we decided that the cheap fireworks were more to blame, when Hal and Shyam's father had also destroyed their share. 
We made it out with no missing fingers.  There were ringing ears, however.  There were more than a few times that we had to go ducking for cover.  And a couple of us ended up in the bed of a dry pond when the triple launcher decided not to work exactly right....
After maybe forty five minutes, we'd expended our ordinance.  I'd say we got 85% of it up into the air.  Some exploded on the launching pad, and some of it went out onto the lake, with one in particular making a beeline toward those sitting on the dock across the way watching our "masterful" display.  We wandered back to the eating area, covered in mud and soot.  We were happy, and we'd all had our aerobic exercise for the week.  Running, screaming and ducking will get that heart rate up for you. 
Riding back, I asked Hal if the ringing in my ears meant I'd had a good time.
But it was fun.  The American male likes blowing things up, even if it means risking blowing himself up in the process.  And to do a job right, you need the truly stupid.
I'm Big Stupid Tommy, and I ain't blown my self up.  Yet.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Red Licorice

Red Licorice
Earlier in the week, I posted a short list of the foods I wasn't a big fan of.  I forgot to include Red Licorice.  Won't eat it.  But the thing is, I think the smell is 10 times worse than the taste.  It's a nasty, sickly sweet type of smell.  I am not a fan.
I've been tormented by the red licorice.  My sister and I (all of 23 and 27, respectively) have had long, involved arguments as to whether it's okay for her to lick one end of a red licorice whip, and then wipe the wet end across my glasses.
For the record, it's not okay.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday, because I would much prefer it if they spelled it Mellow Yellow.

Week 9 - Robots
This week sees the opening of the film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's classic "I, Robot" starring Will Smith.

1) Who or what is your favorite movie robot?

The Iron Giant

2) Will we ever see the day where walking, talking robots truly become a part of every day life?

What the hell are you talking about? John Edwards was just tabbed to be John Kerry's running mate. Kerry's part of a super secret society bent on world domination, and Edwards is his mandroid assassin bot.

3) Should a robot ever be programmed to kill a human?

Only if that human is Bud Selig.

BONUS) If you had a personal robot, what would you call it? What would you like it to do for you?

I would call it Emmitt, and I want it to make me a sammich. Many sammiches.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Thursday Morning

Thursday Morning

Hello, and welcome to the Thursday Morning Big Stupid Tommy blog post.

A little bit of interesting trivia? Phil Garner, the new manager of that baseball club down in Houston, is originally from the tiny town of Niota, Tennessee. Niota is a small town a few miles up the road from me, here in McMinn County. Nice people. It was once known for having an all female town government. And also for having a circular house, next to a cemetery.

But the radio said Garner was originally from Niota. I did not know that. It was a piece of information that made me say "that's interesting." Of course, it may be interesting to me, and me alone.

Of course, Phil Garner replaces Jimy Williams as the Astros' manager. I always thought Jimy Williams spelled his name wrong. I look at the word "Jimy" and think it needs to be pronounced Jime-ee.

His last day in an Astros uniform was the All-Star game.

Changing the subject. Is anyone else sick to death of hearing about the Scott Petersen trial? I thought that was why we invaded Iraq, so that we wouldn't hear about this mess anymore. I got kind of ill with a radio host the other day, as I was sitting at the stoplight. ON the talk show (I believe it was Neil Boortz, with somebody guest hosting), they'd moved well beyond discussion as to whether Petersen was guilty or innocent, and were discussing instead the most appropriate punishment for the man, throwing that old "no cruel and unusual punishment" thing out the window all the while.

No Senator Ditka for you Illinois people. He said on the Today show that he didn't want to subject himself to the media scrutiny, and at his age, his family is his priority. He also joked that he didn't want to have to wear a suit every day. That suit thing would have been enough for me.

If I were in the Senate, I would wear a tuxedo. Every day. And being the Senator, most likely, from Tennessee, I'd insist on being referred to as Tennessee Tuxedo.

Senator Tennessee Tuxedo.

(Tuxedo is a funny word, if you type it enough.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

All Star Game Thoughts

All Star Game Thoughts

Went to my friend Steven's to watch the All Star Game last night.

A couple of thoughts:

1.) Once again, I lost my life's fortune betting on the National League. That's $14 that I'll never see again.

2.) The steps the starters had to take from the dugout roof to the field during the lineup introductions were a little scary.

That looked like a good way for a couple of freak injuries to take place. I mean, Sammy Sosa missed the 98 All Star game because he slept wrong on his shoulder, and a long time this season because he sneezed. Falling down stairs looks like it would be right up his alley. At one point, Jeff Kent whirled and waved to the crowd. He didn't get really close, but he took a step toward the edge of the dugout roof. That would have sucked, to have started the All Star game carting Jeff Kent off the field with a broken back, falling from the roof onto the railing below.

3.) Can we vote on All Star Announcers next year? I really don't like the Buck n' McCarver show. Joe Buck tends toward hyperbolic statements like "nobody outside of Texas had heard of Hank Blalock" referring to Blalock hitting the game winner last year. Screw you. Gimme some credit, willya?

And, yes Tim, we know you played Major League Ball, and that you made two All Star teams. Quit bringing it up.

Among national announcers, I'd take Jon Miller and Joe Morgan any day of the week over these guys.

As an addendum to this thought, these two pissed me off more than anybody as it concerned the whole Clemens/Piazza thing. What were they going to do? Instead of throwing the ball, Clemens just springs to home and tackles Piazza?

4.) David Ortiz is a hoss. I knew that already. I just thought I'd bring it up again. David Ortiz Smash! Because David Ortiz is the Strongest One There Is!

5.) Before Randy Johnson came into pitch, Fox flashed a little bio-graphic, and in the picture in the graphic, Randy was smiling. The Unit smiling is a lot creepier looking than I'd thought. If I were around him, I'd prefer him to keep glowering.

6.) How often do you think Muhammed Ali's family gets the shadowboxing routine that ARod and Jeter got last night?

7.) My favorite at bat? I enjoyed the Eric Gagne/Hideki Matsui at bat, if only because Gagne was just leaning back and bringing the heat. He was telling Matsui "Here it is. Hit it if you can."

8.) Lastly, the game finished up just in time for me to drive home in the middle of a quick but intense thunderstorm. Branches down, sheets of rain, high wind, the whole deal. And it lasted just as long as it took me to drive from Steven's house to mine. Pretty rough.

Ah well. Back to the grind. The Cubbies gotta get a reliever. And if they can get a shortstop to hit high in the lineup, that would be cool, too. Let's git 'er done!

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

It's July 14, which means a couple of things.

First, it's Bastille Day. Which, if my sources are correct, is kind of like French Christmas, where Charles de Gaulle and Napoleon ride around arm-in-arm in a carriage around the French countryside, farting in everybody's general direction.

And secondly, and more importantly, it my friend Julie's birthday. She's one of my best friends, and I wanted to tell her happy birthday. I hope it's one of the best for you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

All Star Game

All Star Game

I found a tape of the 1998 All-Star game in a box when I was moving. I've been watching a little bit of it over the last couple of nights.

A few things I've noted:

Gloria Reuben sang the Canadian National Anthem, and Faith Hill sang The Star Spangled Banner.

The game was played in Coors Field, home of the Rockies. Larry Walker and Dante Bichette get huge ovations.

In this age of free agency, trying to think of how many uniforms a player has worn since this 1998 All-Star game. We have the single changers, like Tom Glavine, who's playing in a Braves uni and now plays for the Mets. Greg Maddux, in 1998 likewise with the Braves, now with the Cubs. Griffey is in the Mariners uniform, as is Alex Rodriguez, who's since worn the Rangers and Yankees colors.
Ivan Rodriguez was a Ranger in 1998, and has since been a Marlin and is now a Tiger.

I don't know how many teams Kenny Lofton has played for since 1998, without looking it up, but he may have everybody in the game beaten. He's wearing an Indians uni here. He's with the Yankees now. He was with the Cubs and Pirates last season, and the Giants and (I think) the White Sox in 2002. Off the top of my head, I can't think if he played with Atlanta before 98 or after.

Then there are the dregs of the league, the teams that have just the single representatives for their teams. Edgar Renteria is the Marlins sole representative, in the season following their World Series win. Devon White is the Diamondbacks only player in their inaugural season.

Then, there are players playing in the game who have since retired. Walt Weiss is the starting shortstop for the National League. He played with the Braves at the time.

Then you've got huge names, like Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. McGwire, according to announcer Bob Costas, is on pace to hit 70 home runs this season. Do you think he has a chance? Gwynn's chugging along with a .340 lifetime batting average, at this point. Ripken's consecutive game streak is still intact at this point. He'll sit on the last game of this season.

Oh, and there's that other guy who retired, the one who's starting this year's game for the National League. Roger Clemens played for the Blue Jays in 1998.

Also, outside of the game, I notice old commercials. Like that little girl who wants Pepsi, and talks in other people's voices? The Joe Pesci version (Do you think I donknow the dif'rence between a Coke and a Pepsi? What's with this guy?) played in the second inning.

Also, the movie ads. So far, we've had spots for The Negotiator, Baseketball and the really, really horrible movie Mafia, starring Jay Mohr.

But mostly what I noticed?

Barry Bonds is tiny. He looks human. I could squash him like a bug. Now, he could break me. In 1998, he's three years yet away from his year of 73 home runs.

As I write, the game is in the top of the fourth, and Tommy Glavine has just walked in the go-ahead run. Manager Jim Leyland has just called in Kevin Brown (then of the Padres) in for relief. Juan Gonzales just sacrificed in another run for the A.L.

Maybe I should just watch this instead of going to work today. Do you think they'd understand?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Foods I Do Not Like

Foods I Do Not Like

Foods I will not eat, under any circumstances:

1. Okra
2. Squash
3. Most fish (except canned tuna, and some fried catfish)
4. Banana Nut Crunch Cereal
5. Cauliflower

Foods I don't care for, but will eat if I need to:

1. Zucchini
2. Asparagus
3. Marshmallows
4. Liver
5. Water Chestnuts (I don't like the texture)
6. Grapefruit, and grapefruit juice
7. Fried Bologna (why would I need to eat it?)
8. Shrimp
9. Bananas that have gotten too many little brown spots on them.

Sunday, July 11, 2004



Not a lot going on over in my neck of the woods. I've just about gotten a routine down, so I'm thinking I'll be able to get back to writing regularly, both for my own projects and for the blog. I hope that I can get the BSTommy Craptacular back in full swing before you know it.

The last bit on the Cubs for a while. You hate to think that they've knocked themselves out of Central Divison title contention this week, but after tonight, they'll be seven games out if they win, and nine if they lose. I've seen a couple of nice comebacks from the All-Star break in my time (The Braves overtaking the Giants in 92 or so come to mind). But you don't want to finish up the All-Star game and see your team 9 out of first.

The Cubs beat themselves. They play stupid baseball. They won't manufacture runs. If you rely on Sammy and Moises and Mr. Lee to be hot all the time, then you deserve to lose. The problem, once again, is the lack of table setters. Picking up Kenny Lofton was a big help last year. We need something like that this year.

Not a whole lot else on my mind. Haven't seen any movies, lately. Haven't watched much TV lately. Mostly, I work and get pissed off about a baseball team that plays 800 miles away. Hooray!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Yeah, I hate the Cardinals, too

Yeah, I hate the Cardinals, too

But with all due respect to Jason Marquis and the fowl, Stephen Hawking could hurl what looks like a masterpiece against the Swing-from-the-heels Cubbies right now.

Pitching against the Cubs is strictly paint-by-numbers right now.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I hate the Brewers

I hate the Brewers

I don't have anything special to say, besides this. I hate the Brewers. I hate when the Cubs play them. I especially hate that the Cubs lose three in a row to them. I hate to think that the Brewers generally seem to get the better of the Cubs, even when the Brewers are particularly bad (which they are not this year).

Did the Cubs just forget to pack the bats on the team bus when making the trek up the road to Milwaukee? It's nice to have Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano throwing on the hill for us, but fellas, you gotta work a count or two. Manufacture runs.

Three in row, to the Brewers?


A weekend and a day until the All-Star Break. We're six out this morning. In second, but a week's worth of games behind the Cardinals.

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday, because I just found out the thumb on the other hand is opposable, too!

Week 8 - Favorite Things.
Doing things a little different this week due to hectic schedules. Sorry if the questions are a little boring this week.

This week its all about your favorites.

1. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I'd hope it's a long one.

Jeez. That's hard. Probably the original, 1977 edition Star Wars. Or maybe Blazing Saddles.

2. What is your absolute favorite movie soundtrack?

The soundtrack was the best thing about Forrest Gump. The best score, in my mind, is Braveheart's.

3. What's your favorite movie-time snack?

I keep a five gallon bucket filled with shelled hardboiled eggs next to my movie watching chair.

4. Favorite Actor:

I'm going to say Morgan Freeman. Even when the movie he's in is crap, I can watch what he does.

Bill Murray is another favorite.

5. Favorite Actress:

I like Sigourney Weaver a lot. Catherine Zeta Jones is another.

6. And last but not least, what is your favorite kind of movie: comedy, drama, action...etc.,???

I'm a comedy guy. 3/4 of my DVD collection is probably comedy of some form. Sheila asked about favorite comedies. That's a post for another time. But, among my favorites: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Dr. Strangelove, Ghostbusters and Clerks.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

No, no, no....I've got a Sung in my heart....

No, no, no...I've got a Sung in my heart....

Bill McCabe found a story that got me to wondering.
Pyongyang, July 6 (KCNA) -- The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces arranged a film show Monday on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the demise of President Kim Il Sung. Present there on invitation were members of the military attaches corps here.
The participants saw Part 3 of the Korean documentary film "The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung Is Immortal" which shows on grand epic scenes that he will always live in the hearts of humankind through facts that the world progressives honored his memory with most profound reverence.

I gotta tell ya. You gotta watch TGLCKISII (teglickizzy) from start to finish. You can't just jump in on part three like that! You'll be so lost you'll be halfway down the road to madness before you know it. No jumping in halfway through. It's meant to be one story.

I really appreciate the irony of screening a film about somebody's immortality on the anniversery of their death.

He's immortal? But didn't he die?

No, no, no...he's not literally immortal. He's immortal in that the idea of Kim Il Sung lives on. In our hearts.

In my heart!?!? Kim Il Sung is in my heart?


We gotta get him out! I've been strangling my heart with beef and sloth! There's not enough oxygen pumping in my blood for the both of us! I must do whatever I can to get Kim Il Sung Out of my heart.



I'm new on my job again. For the next little while, i'm "the New Guy." Which means for the next couple of days I can probably get away with peeing in the corners "because I didn't know where the bathroom was."

What's this stuff with signing cards when I don't know the person it's going to? Apparently, it's an acceptable response for me to say "No, thanks. I don't know the person, and they don't know me."

Should I have been less curmudgeonly and just signed the card?

What if I'd signed it James T. Kirk or Winnie the Pooh?

What if I'd signed it, and also written a huge going away message that took up the entire empty portion of the card?

I stand by my decision.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Slugfests, and the lack thereof

Random Thoughts

No sooner do I bring up the fact that it always seems the Brewers and Cubs hammer the crap out of each other that Ben Sheets and Matty Clement go out and have themselves something of a pitchers' duel. Gotta love a 1-0 game.

John Kerry asked if I'd be his running mate this fall. I said I would, but only if I could refer to him as President Mr. Ed. That queered the deal.

That's a phrase that doesn't get enough play, nowadays: queered the deal. It's probably insensitive.

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the autistic narrator Chris goes through a list of his behavioral problems that he believes caused a lot of stress in his parents' marriage. Among those behavioral problems? Hating and refusing to touch all things brown or yellow; Refusing to talk to anyone, for days a time; Hating France.

Working back on days now. I got used to nights. I liked the quiet. We'll see how this goes.

Supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far down here in my corner of East Tennessee. Drink lots of water. Gallons. Many gallons.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Cubs Thoughts

Cubs Thoughts

I just hit the wrong button when going to cut and paste. Instead of copying, my finger hit the paste button, and before I realized what I'd done, I screwed my whole big long post of Cubs thoughts.

I won't re-write completely. A few thoughts.

Glendon Rusch is the man. Eight innings of shutout ball. Good job Glendon.

I want a closer. LaTroy Hawkins got bailed out by the Sox bullpen's ineptitude. I pray this to Jim Hendry. Please, a closer.

I'm happy to see the Sox lose, mostly because I hate Frank Thomas. I had a big rant here about Thomas wanting "job security," and how I was working at a hotel and the day Thomas ranted about respect and job security, I nearly drove myself crazy having to chase a guest's pomeranian over the property.

I don't like interleague play. I made metaphor about the interleague play being the equivalent of free hot dogs and RC Cola at the car dealership. I think Major League Baseball and the Commissioner's job should be to make sure the very best product is being put on the field, and that the number of asses in the seats isn't the best indicator of that. I think that promotion and special things ought to be the place of individual teams ought to play with. I think interleague play's a novelty designed to get more people in to pay $8 for a cup of Icehouse. It screws up the schedule, and I don't think most fans outside of the team areas care about the Brewers vs. the Mariners. That's just me.

But I'm able to get up for the White Sox series a little. Because I don't like Frank Thomas, and seeing him lose (and whiff three times in pinch-hitting appearances over the course of the series) makes me feel happy. Because I'm small and petty.

We got something like 11 out of our next 21 against the Brewers. I hope you like Ben Sheets and Lyle Overbey. Because they'll be sleeping in your guest room for the next month or so.

I hate playing the Brewers. It always eats up pitchers. It's always a slugfest. When both teams were out of contention, it was fun to watch, in a way. But the last thing I want to see with the Cubs in contention is the Brewers coming down the road, a Brewers team that has something to play for other than the schadenfreude of watching the Cubs lose.

And the All Star Rosters were announced. Saw Sammy elected, and the Moistest Alou and Carlos Zambrano selected. I'm glad Moises got the nod. He carried the Cubs in Sammy's absence.

I voted mostly along Cubs lines, though I didn't vote for Sammy. I don't vote for players on the D.L. Especially those who hurt themselves sneezing. That effectively keeps me for voting for myself. That, and lack of baseball playing talent.

I did vote for Jack and Craig Wilson of the Pirates. Showing a little love for a couple of former Nashville Sounds. I was glad to see Jack Wilson get a nod from Jack McKeon.

I won't tell you to vote for Aramis Ramirez for the final roster spot. I did that for Corey Patterson last year, and he blew out his knee. I don't think I caused that, but I'm not going to take any chances.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

America is 228 today. That's 1,596 in dog years. Don't tell America, but I got it a gift card to Best Buy. I'm thinking America will probably spend it on the first season of Wonder Woman, which came out on DVD, although America did mention to me just the other day that it's really keen on picking up a really badass TV, like one of those wall-hanging flatscreen deals.

America said those are "really boss."

I didn't put enough on the gift card for America to get one of those TV's. But if America saves its money, maybe one day, it'll be able to afford a really boss TV.

In a related note, writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, if alive, would have turned 200 today.

But, as we all know, Hawthorne died in 1985. His head was lopped off by The Kurgan, just prior to the events chronicled in the first Highlander movie.

Because there can be only one.

Saturday, July 03, 2004



Traded a bunch of books at a used book store yesterday. Just tired of having some of them around and tripping on them. What do I walk out of the bookstore with? More books. I'm the dumbest man in America.

I haven't been updating my read list, and that's something I'll try to take care of this weekend. I did pencil out a quick list of what I've read over the past month. I'm leaving something off, I think. I can't think of what it is.

In the last little bit, though, I've read:

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer.

It's a look at Christopher McCandless, who gave up everything he owned to live the vagabond's life, in search of a Great Adventure. McCandless wandered into the Alaskan wilderness, and lost his life. Krakauer talks with those who knew Chris, especially in his last days. Krakauer lets the people of the story tell it as much as they are able.

Krakauer has a role in the story, largely to explain his motivations in retracing Chris's journey. It's necessary, and it doesn't glare in its shifting the tone of the narrative. But it does break up the tone of the book, a little. I'm nitpicking, however. I read this in a couple of sittings. Krakauer has a style that lends itself to a quick but extremely engaging read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

I just about got bludgeoned to death with the number of places and people wanting me to read this one. NPR, the Today Show (which made the book its Book Club selection), plus a couple of people I used to work with really liked this one.

It's an interesting novel. Told in the first person by autistic Christopher Boone, it's a recounting of his attempt at detective work, following the death of a neighbor's dog. Christopher, obsessed with order and facts, tells his story in the only way he can. Everything happens along a linear model. Simply, this happens, and this happens, and then another thing happens. Which is generally poor storytelling, but it's the only way Chris can understand and explain the world. He says himself that he views life along a single line. He can rewind his memory, he says and has a startlingly good memory, but in the course of his investigation, this is the best way for him to tell his story.

The style's interesting. I'll warn that at a couple of points, I put the book down because with Chris narrating, it gets a little monotonous. There were a couple of times I found myself getting thrown out of balance by the lack of passion in the telling of events. It works within the frame of the story, but a couple of times, I had to make myself stop, and go back and re-read something just to make sure I'd picked up on another character's nuance. Chris doesn't pick up on them, so you're often left to fill in the blanks that he didn't get. It's a neat device. I just got irked at having to stop my own freight train for a second.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

A creepy story for kids in the mold of Wizard of Oz and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. With a nice little bit of Edmund Gorey thrown in for good measure.

Coraline's a precocious girl who, in exploring her new flat, finds a secret door which leads to a world that is a twisted mirror image of her own. The inhabitant(s) of that other world have taken someone very dear to Coraline. This book is her trying to get it back.

It's written right around the same level as the Wizard of Oz. So it's for younger readers. But I enjoyed the flow of the book, and found the imagery sufficiently creepy.

Savage Season by Joe Lansdale

The first of the Hap Collins and Leonard Pine novels. Very pulpy. Smartass buddies getting into trouble. I like Lansdale. He writes books for guys. Pulpy, like I said. Lots of action, lots of buddy comedy. With an odd bit of East Texas philosophy thrown in for good measure.

Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah by Stephen King

A really quick read. One of the interesting points of the book itself was the lack of substantial fore- or afterword. Mr. King likes to talk about what he's done in his books. But I think with this sixth book, he's interested in tightening the screws a bit, and just pushing you down the chute as we move toward the last book in the Dark Tower series, in the fall.

In the last book (which we had to wait something like 8 years for), things got a little metaphysical, as Father Callahan recoils in horror to find that his story is told in a book he finds, Stephen King's Salem's Lot.

The sixth book dives deeper into that meta-type story, as King his own self becomes something of a character. I read these parts at first with a skeptical eye, but I liked how things worked out in the end.

Going back briefly to the wait between books. We had to wait seven or eight years between the fourth and fifth books, and then six months or so between the fifth and sixth. And then the last book in the series will appear in September. I appreciate Stephen wanting to finish the story at last, and maybe this is his way of recompense for the long waits up to this point between books. Not complaining, but it's an adjustment from 7 years to 3 months.

Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

I picked this up at a yard sale. I alternated between laughing out loud and throwing it across the room out of frustration. Ultimately, I liked it, but there are large expanses where you just want Dave to get to the point.

Still, Dave's excellently descriptive. He describes a lot of the mundane details of his life in a way that made me smile. I liked his descriptions of both the family den, at their home in Chicago, and also his telling of the difficulties he and his brother Toph have keeping house when they've set up home in Berkeley. I think those two sections may have hit close to home.

Friday, July 02, 2004



Fark had this link, which reports Marlon Brando has passed away. We'll wait to see if CNN or the AP picks up on it.

After this morning's post about superhero movies, I popped Superman into the DVD player. It was a minor role in his career (one he got paid very, very well for). But Brando was Jor-El, Supes' Kryptonian Dad.

It's been a while since I've sat down to watch The Godfather. Might have to do that this weekend.

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

On this rainy Friday morning, it's Theater Thursday. Because I ain't posted nuthin' this week....

Week 7 - Superheroes
Ok, this is the week a lot of you have been waiting on. Spiderman 2 opens, and the web-slinger (who in reality would have no shot at Kirsten Dunst) swings back into action against the evil Doc Ock. This week, our questions are about those quintessentially misunderstood, ill-treated, feared and respected champions of truth, justice and the Spandex Way: the Superheroes.

1) All right, have it out. What is the all-time greatest superhero movie?

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. It's the most faithful to what Batman is. It's animated, so nobody was worried about making action figures, or getting a huge movie star to play the villain; the story was the most important thing. It's a nice noir-ish detective/superhero story, and if you haven't seen it, you might do yourself the favor.

Second's a tie, I think. Unbreakable's a cool story. And it's not a superhero story in the traditional sense. I like it a lot. I appreciate that everything ties together within the framework of the movie.

I'm a sucker for Superman II, mainly for Superman/Clark giving up the Superman mantle for Lois. I really love the scene where Lois confronts Clark about being Superman. Watch Christopher Reeve's eyes. It's not just the posture and demeanor when he finally admits to himself Lois knows. When Reeve goes from Clark to Superman, his eyes change just a little. It's not much, but I enjoy that. I also like that one for Terrence Stamp as General Zod just camping it up as the evil nobleman general/genius/superman.

I also appreciate the first Tim Burton Batman movie. For a lot of the same reasons as above. I like Jack Nicholson's Joker. He's camping it up too, but I always enjoy it. (This town needs an enema!) I always laugh when Batman's screwed up the Joker's plans, the Joker calmly asks for Bob the Goon's gun, and then shoots Bob the Goon with it.

None of the Batman movies focuses enough, for my money, on the torture that Bruce Wayne is going through/puts himself through. But at least this one shows through Michael Keaton that this Batman's haunted and a little tormented by the lonely life of the vigilante.

I also enjoy The Specials, and Bryan Singer did a pretty good job with his X-Men movies.

2) What superhero movie has not been made that you'd like to see? Which existing one would you have redone from scratch?

I can't think of any new ones I need to see, but I was soooo disappointed in the Affleck Daredevil movie. I mean, not that I expected great things from the movie, but because I enjoyed the Daredevil character so much in the comics.

3) What qualities would be necessary to elevate a superhero movie from a simple action film to a memorable motion picture? Is it possible?

There are a few things. I think the quality of your villain is important. A superhero movie is really as only as good as the villain will let it be. It won't necessarily make the movie, but it can hurt it badly. Jack Nicholson's Joker in the Batman movie vs. Batman is a good dynamic, because they had that whole "you made me" thing going on.
If it's generic, like Dolph Lundgren in Superman 4, it kind of makes for a generic movie.

I like a hero who makes sacrifices. You kind of see the torment and loneliness of a Superman, in the first couple of Christopher Reeve movies. There are the briefest of glimpses that Bruce Wayne might be a little f'ed up in his Batman movies. Daredevil is like the hard luck kid in the comics, and one of the constant themes in the comics is sacrifice and even martyrdom in the name of the greater good. The MTV-ization of that movie kind of glosses that over.

And personally, I like a superhero movie to be at least a little fun, too. The Hulk's not necessarily a superhero movie, but it comes to mind as being tangentially related as it's a comic movie. Hulk was one of the least fun movies I've seen in a long, long time. I like a hero who sacrifices, or is tormented. But I don't want to be bludgeoned to death with it for an hour before Bruce Banner even becomes the Hulk.

As for what separates it from an action movie? For a lot of people, the distinction's never going to be made. But for me, I think it takes the Superhero being better than the average joe, physically, intellectually or technologically, but tormented by similar, if not worse demons.

I think it takes a quality villain, one whose motivations have a twinge of logic. The Joker was made by the Batman. I never cared for the Gene Hackman/Luthor wanting to be The Greatest Criminal Mind in the World. I mean, at least on the Superfriends, Luthor hated Superman because Luthor believed Superman caused the accident which made him go bald. I could buy Hackman's Luthor, but it took an effort on my part. And generally, I'll accept a lot of what's on the screen without bitching too much.

I don't think it means guys and gals in costumes. I don't think it necessarily means secret identities. Or secret lairs or utility belts or spider-senses. Necessarily.

BONUS) Most superhero movies take place in a more-or-less realistic modern world. If a superhero actually appeared in your city today and started fighting crime, what would be the actual public reaction?

In our celebrity worshipping culture, I think the public reaction would be largely good.

In my town, well...the biggest crime's probably people stealing out of the pharmacies. I don't think we need a superhero.

Don't forget to put your name and website in the comments section, and remember:

And remember, EXCELSIOR!

Thursday, July 01, 2004



I remember, when hearing that the Astros had acquired Carlos Beltran from the Royals, smiling quietly to myself, because I didn't think Beltran was the answer to the Astros' problems, and that they needed arms in their bullpen more than the bat. Sure, I said, Beltran's an upgrade, but he can't pitch. I didn't think his acquisition made them that much of a better team. Just another bat on a team with an even shakier bullpen.

Well, it made them good enough to beat the Cubs last night.

Stupid Tommy. Stupid Carlos Beltran.

And there I was, all excited, watching over the internet as Corey Patterson actually battled and fought in an at bat to earn a base on balls to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth. I figured that little display of higher intellect vs. free-swinging instinct should have been enough for the umpires to just award the game to us. Umpires like moral victories.

Corey Patterson walked? Free run. And then they'd cancel the ninth inning. And there'd be a big Peanuts style dance party.

But life doesn't work like I think it should. It's probably for the best, considering how petty I am.

Not a whole lot going on down in my neck of the woods. I'm over here in East TN now, deep below the Earth in my NORAD style BSTommy Special Defense Bunker. I'm still unpacking, and getting the work situation figured out. On the upside, I won't have to work this weekend. On the downside, my stuff doesn't unpack itself.

As a quick note, at the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, one of the characters is packing his belongings. With a wave of his wand, his books, bags and trunks pack themselves. I shook my head in quiet envy.