Friday, April 23, 2010


Today, there were doings transpiring at the jobplace. It is the way things go. And because I decided to revel in a four-day weekend last weekend, much in the same way a dog will revel in a new smelly dead thing it finds in its wanderings, life since Tuesday evening has consisted largely of work and sleep. More of the former, less of the latter.

Eh. Life outside work is overrated. Right?


Anyway, the doings are not as important as the fact that Big Stupid Tommy managed to make an appearance at the jobplace. Early in the day, I was introduced to a person, new with the company, and told his name. Twice. I shook the man's hand, I looked him in the eye.

And proceeded to refer to him by the wrong name, to his face, for the rest of the day.

I was corrected late in the day.

I blame The Shawshank Redemption, which I've been watching on the laptop as I get ready for work the last few mornings. The man's name in question is very close to the name of the Infirmary attendant Heywood yells at, early in the's that winning horse of mine doing?

So, there's not much else to report in the life of Big Stupid Tommy. I work like a sandpapered asshole, and I fixate on a character in a movie (namely, Heywood, in Shawshank Redemption...William Sadler's just fucking funny in the flick...), and suddenly, I'm calling everybody in the world Tyrell.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Just a couple of passages that I liked, from something I started reading last night:
Here we arrive at the reason why this here tale of American Puritans is more concerned with the ones shipping from Southampton for Massachusetts in the Arbella in 1630 than with the Pilgrims who sailed from Southampton toward Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620: because the Plymouth colonists were Separatists and the Massachusetts Bay colonists were not.

Before I explain that, I will say that the theological differences between the Purtians on the Mayflower and the Puritans on the Arbella were beyond small. Try negligible to the point of nitpicky. I will also say that readers who squirm at microscopic theological differences might be unsuited to read a book about seventeenth-century Christians. Or, for that matter, a newspaper. Secular readers who marvel every morning at the death toll in the Middle East ticking ever higher due to, say, the seemingly trifling Sunni-versus-Shia rift in Islam, might look deep into their own hearts and identify their own semantic lines in the sand. For instance, a devotion to The Godfather, Part II and equally intense disdain for The Godfather, Part III. Someday they might find themselves at a bar and realize they are friends with a woman who can't tell any of the Godfather movies apart and asks if Part II was the one that had "that guy in the boat." Them's fightin' words, right?"

---Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates

From the same:
Winthrop uses a word to describe such a calamity that must have been especially terrifying if he was delivering this sermon at sea: shipwreck.

"The only way to avoid this shipwreck," he says, is to be "knit together in this work as one man."

Winthrop then utters one of the most beautiful sentences in the English language:

"We must delight in each other, make other's conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body."

I am a reasonably happy-go-lucky person with a serviceable sense of humor and a nice-enough apartment in New York, the most exciting city in the world. Once I decided to devote years of my life in deciphering the thoughts and feelings of the dreary religious fanatics who founded New England nearly four hundred years ago, I was often asked at parties by my fellow New Yorkers the obvious question, "What are you working on?" When I would tell them a book about Puritans, they would often take a swig of the beer or bourbon in their hands and reply with either a sarcastic "Fun!" or a disdainful "Why?"

At which point, depending on my mood, I would either mumble something about my fondness for sermons as literature or mention taking my nephew to the Mayflower replica waterslide in a hotel pool in Plymouth. I would never answer with the honest truth. Namely, that in the weeks after two planes crashed into two skyscrapers here on the worst day of our lives, I found comfort in the words of Winthrop. When we were mourning together, when we were suffering together, I often thought of what he said, and finally understood what he meant."

---Sarah Vowell, the Wordy Shipmates

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Don't Hate the Playa, Hate the Game

A brief exchange between my sister and me:

April: We have a bird's nest on our roof.
Me: What kind is it?
April: A shingle roof.
Me: Touche.
April: I win.
Me: Well played.

Thoughts on the Shining...

I don't have cable. Have I mentioned that? It's not an issue, until I'm home for an evening, and there is something out there I want to watch. In this case, it was the Predators/Blackhawks playoff game. No cable, and even if I had cable, I'm unsure the local affiliate would be showing the game, anyway. I listend to the audio feed on the Predators site for a while, but it kept going in and out. Unsure whether it was an issue with Nasvhille radio or my internet connection, I found a movie instead.

So, I popped The Shining into the DVD player. I bought the flick with trade credit from Digital Planet, way back in the Murfreesboro days, even before they'd moved into their new(er) building where it currently sits in The Boro. The disc package actually still had the Digital Planet price tag with a March 2002 price tag. A group of us watched it that night at my friend Julie's house. I don't think I've actually sat to watch the movie since then.

A few thoughts:

It's a very pretty flick, and one I actually wish I had a better teevee than what I do to have watched. Kubrick's flicks are very often about color, for me, and The Shining is all about the reds, blacks and whites. I even paused to go back to look at some of the scenes in the Overlook's hallways a couple of times, simply because there's so much going on visually there. I don't drop the money on a larger TV because I'm not home enough to justify the expense. I'm saving last attempt at this was donated to the Red Cross after the Haiti earthquake. Watching a flick like The Shining me think about dropping the cash, anyway.

This is probably the fifth time I've seen the flick, and again, the first time in eight years. I remember thinking so before, and I decided that I think so now, but I want to qualify the next statement. If the movie The Shining is about Jack Torrance's descent into madness, then I don't like Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. If the flick is about his descent into madness. At least, I don't like the way the descent is set up with Nicholson. His Jack Torrance is a douche. He is smarmy and untrustworthy at best. He's short with his wife and his kid, and has already had abusive moments with the kid. As it is, he needed only the slightest of pushes to slide headlong down Crazy Street anyway.

But then, I might be comparing the flick to the book, which was the first Stephen King book I read, and still one of my favorites. The book itself is a harrowing look at Torrance as he fights a lot of demons, some within and some without. Watching the movie last night, I don't think the movie itself is as much about the descent into madness as it is the run through the funhouse after the sudden elevator ride down to Crazytown. Which kinda makes the initial interview scenes a bit superfluous and tedious, to me. Honestly, watching Nicholson in those first scenes, and I don't know how you can not expect him to slaughter his family if left alone in a hotel over the winter. Given that something similar happened the previous winter at the Overlook, I'd have to take a second to look at the manager's hiring criteria.

A few things more things I thought as I watched the flick:

I'd like a Big Wheel. And I don't mean a little kid's Big Wheel. I want a Big Wheel that'll fit the frame of a 6'4", 300 pound man. And a giant hotel to ride it around in. Seriously, that looked like something a man could derive a great deal of enjoyment out of. There's a part that I always dig, and it's as Danny's looking at room 237, just after riding past it. He goes to ride away, and so that he's not just spinning that big front wheel by pedalling, he gives the right rear wheel a spin with his right hand, to get the rig moving. I don't know why I like the logistics of such things, but I do.

For some reason, I'd forgotten that Scatman Crothers had a painting of a topless woman with a huge afro in his apartment. It seemed so out of place and damned tacky that it made me laugh. Nothing in Scatman's personality up to that point (which, albeit, we saw in only the briefest of looks) in the flick would point to having such a thing. It just seemed funny, too me. There is a moment, when Scatman's touring the kitchen with the Torrances, and he asks Danny if he likes lamb, to which Danny replies "no," there is a briefest pause where you almost think Scatman's going to say "Well fuck you, anyway" to the kid...or maybe that's just how my mind works....

I've gone back and forth on Shelley Duvall's performance, as well, the few times I've watched it, but I decided last night that I like her performance very much. I decided that Wendy Torrance is a woman who's very likely looking at much in the world for the very first time, and is unsure how to handle it, whether that thing is the Overlook hotel, a CB radio or ghosts following her through the hallway. For me the flick is very much about Wendy, and her maternal instincts in the face of the craziness. There are a couple of points where she's backed into corners, and manages despite her meek nature to fight her way out. I'd have to sit to watch again, but I end up digging Wendy very much through the flick.

Also, can I say that the Simpsons Halloween parody ( ye wanna get sued?) came close to ruining the flick for me. How 9 minutes of comedy gold keep popping up. Whether it's Gimme the Bat, Marge, or No Beer and No TV make Homer...something, something... The Shining had the surprise effect of moving The Shinning up on my list of favorite Simpsons bits, too. Had to dig that one out this morning to watch it again.

Lastly, I wonder how long it would take me to chop through a door with an axe. It's merely gotten me curious how long it would take me. I mean, ghosts aren't telling me to hunt my family down and kill them now, but who knows what the future may hold? Seems like that's valuable information to have at your disposal....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Thoughts, as I wander back into regular life...

Rambly? Rambly.

It's like I went through a wormhole, or a ten-day coma the past little bit. Rip Van Stupid looked up, and suddenly it was April 16, or something. Did my part in a Dog and Pony Show at work, which involved a handful of 14-hour days, and one 17-hour day, which is too long to be doing anything, frankly, that doesn't involve curing cancer or perhaps fighting off zombies. But, the Dog and Pony Extravaganza went off without a hitch, and I find myself this Friday staring a four-day weekend in the face.

Only, I feel a bit like I've just gotten out of Shawshank, and somehow, the whole world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. Consider me a little more Red and a little less Brooks, though. They don't trust me with pocketknives, anyway. More on this later.

This Friday has been about decompression and re-acclimation. I wandered out in the sunlight for a little while. The fluorescent bulbs may be a wondrous invention, but they do absolutely nothing for rickets.

Milk, maybe? No milk. Given the fact that we have pollen counts somewhere in the neighborhood of Avogadro's number in lower East Tennessee, I've been avoiding dairy like the plague, as it tends to exponentially increase my mucus production. My last day off, Monday the 5th, I went to Opening Day down in Atlanta, and managed to explode my sinuses. I've been struggling with a minor league sinus/chest infection up until today since then, which left me feeling cruddy, and sounding like I'd sucked Jell-O into my chest, which is a valid concern, I remind you. No big deal. Felt cruddy, but passable. Couldn't sing the falsetto parts of my Frankie Valli records, which was disappointing, given the expense of having that record player installed in my truck.

Seriously, if I could sell snot by the glass, I'd think it's time to re-think this entire free market system. I hope you had stock in Scottie's Tissues, because my kidneys have been near shutdown all week--all the water in my body is leaving via my mucus membranes & disposable snotrags. I hate pollen, and there were a couple of times I considered burning every tree with my very own flamethrower.

I don't really have a flamethrower. In case you're the type who takes things literally. I can't even handle a bottle opener, lately, without hurting myself. And hurting myself doesn't stop my handling of said bottle openers, so it wouldn't likely deter me from a flamethrower. Maybe I could probably get a helmet, and be okay. I don't think Amazon has flamethrowers on their wishlists, but would like you to keep that in mind, as we reach the major gift-giving holiday. Tommy wants a Flame Thrower.

So. Dog and Pony Show? Dog and Pony Show.

I avoided introspection much of the week, as what I was doing didn't warrant it, and would likely upset your old pal, in the long run. I ultimately have little patience for dwelling upon the nuts and bolts, and this week was all fucking about the nuts and bolts. It's not that I'm not detail-oriented. It's that nuts and bolts are the means to an end, and not the reason for it. It's also that I'm the type who gets bogged down in them. When asked what I thought, toward the end of the week, I answered honestly that I was beyond seeing all the forest because of all the trees.

Which brings us back to the flamethrower. I really want a flamethrower, dammit.

After two days, I have a little bit more perspective.

I don't want to work from 12:30 in the afternoon to 5:30 the next morning ever again. Like I said, unless I'm curing cancer (probably not done with a flamethrower) or fighting the aforementioned zombie hordes (flamethrower probably not ultimately successful, but definitely a stop gap, and fun as hell in the meantime). That particular jaunt, which screwed up my sleep patterns in a way that became humorous to everybody on the Day of the Dog and Pony.

My attention span, in general, is for shit. It is even more for shit on little sleep.

The day of the meeting, as the Mugwump hosting the deal is speaking, I find myself distracted by two people not in the meeting, who are speaking at the back of the room. Somehow, despite the fact that I am sitting 7 feet from the main speaker, I am hearing more of the conversation of the two gentleman conversing 39 feet behind me. Honestly, I know more about a new business venture of one's wife than I do what was being said 7 feet from my face. I turn to give my very best Shut the Hell Up look, only to turn back around to find that I've been asked a question. And suddenly, I'm in my sophomore English class again, to find my English professor looking over my shoulder, as I've been listing my favorite breakfast cereals in the margins of my notebook in lieu of listening to the discussion on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

But, it's all good.

Your old pal Tommy found himself a couple of naps, down the road, and is now looking headlong into a four-day weekend. There's beer, and MMA, and a couple of movies on tap.

Unless you've got a flamethrower for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Heh Heh Heh

There's not a lot of logic to it. But I dig Will Patton's General Bethlehem in The Postman very much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Solomon Grundy....

Your old pal Tommy's continuing experiments in Working Like A Botard have taken him to new and never-before-beheld sights.

I think I mentioned earlier that there is a Dog and Pony Show hurtling toward us, and I think that I've mentioned that I'm the Head Dogcatcher.

Work's gonna continue to take time until Wednesday, or so.

Until then, content yourself with this picture of a cat wearing a fruit peel as a helmet:


Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Morning, my little Proctologists of Insanity.

You find your old pal Tommy refreshed and invigorated by a trip to Opening Day, which despite the horrific, nightmarish outing for the Cubs, was worth the trip inasmuch as wandering back into baseball season is like putting on a comfortable pair of pants.

Went to my first Opening Day yesterday. I wanted to be there for the player intros and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with Opening Day, but Atlanta traffic wasn't cooperating, and we spent an hour and a half going the final couple of miles. We made it to the ballpark just before first pitch. I managed to catch it via the opening behind the Cubs' bullpen. Made it to my seat, over in section 220, right before Marlon Byrd put the Cubs up 3-0.

As we all know, the wheels fell off not long after that. A couple bloop hits get into Zambrano's head, and Atlanta gets the introduction it wanted to Jason Heyward. Dude's a hoss, and I'd say they ought to get PETA to look into animal cruelty charges for his having hit that baseball as far as he did. (And on what looked like, from our seats, not his best swing).

Eh. Disheartening to drive three hours for a throttling. Still, a bad day at a baseball game is still better than a good day at work.

I say that, looking down a long dark tunnel that ends with me getting another day off very likely around Tax Day. There's a Dog and Pony show getting ready to begin at the old jobplace, and yours truly is the head dogcatcher. Think of me, as you're out enjoying that thing men call sunshine....

Monday, April 05, 2010

Opening Day

Well, wrestlemaniacs, I'll be doing a first for yours truly, today. After following this baseball thing since 1983 or so, I'm heading down to Atlanta for my first Opening Day. Thanks to the Well of Infinite Consternation that is the Major League schedule since the advent of Expansion, Interleague Play, and the car salesman ostensibly in charge of our game, the Cubs come down to an easily driven distance once a year, and in 2010, the lone visit to anywhere near my neck of the woods is Opening Day.

There are doings a'transpiring at the jobplace, and those doings (which include, among other things, another manager's vacation) make April a minefield of Botardism, and it seemed to place the trip in jeopardy. It wasn't until the middle of last week that it looked like I would indeed get to head down for the game. Luck (and at least 10 straight days of work, after today) was on my side.

It's the true first Day of Spring, you know.

Like I said, I've been doing this baseball thing since the early 80's, now. It'll be my first trip to an Opening Day.

I'm ready for the 2010 season.

Maybe it sounds odd...but 2008 was a kick in the balls, as this Cubs fan went. That was the best Cubs team in years, and the World Title was theirs to take, as I saw it. And to curl up into the fetal position against the Dodgers, like they did in the playoffs, was painful and embarrassing. 2009, I kept my distance. I still cared, but I didn't hoot and holler, win or lose. Not much, anyway. Not as much as in years past. Ready to get back at this thing for 2010.

Enthusiastic for their chances? You know, nobody's so great in the Central. If the Cubs can stay healthy (big if), they can be the offensive machine they were 2 years ago, and if Zambrano & company can keep their heads about them, there no reason the Cubs can't be a 90-95 win team.

The subtraction of Milton Bradley is huge. Absolutely huge. Call it addition by subtraction, or what you will. You can scream about his fire and his left-handed bat all you want...I'd rather have a guy who understands what a situation is, and who isn't branded a complete psycho by the rest of the league, who can play in 120 games WITHOUT it being called the third most games he's ever played in a season.

Not that I'm all that psyched by Carlos Silva. If I can look at your physical shape and say "you need to lose a bit of weight," without a ridiculous amount of "pot calling the kettle black" rhetoric shot back in return.

Anyway. Gotta go get cleaned up. Y'all take it easy....

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jim Ross, and other wrasslin' thoughts...

Wandering through the interwebs this morning, I came across the Scottish Sun article on Jim Ross likely having called his last WWE match, something he's addressed on his blog, as well (a blog I recommend as highly as any other pro wrestling resource out there, by the way).

It's a little saddening, but not unexpected. The WWE seems to be in the "make new starts and new stars" phase of the cycle (wherein I have started cussing that I don't need Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger or Sheamus shoved down my throat, already having accepted John Cena, Dave Batista and Randy Orton being shoved down my throat five or six years hence....).

Saddening from the sense that as a creature of habit and routine, certain things ring true to my ear as synonymous. Jim Ross just has one of those voices that for a couple and a half decades I've associated with pro wrestling. I have a small suspicion that if I were to find a copy of Good Ol' J.R. reading the Norman, Oklahoma, phone book I'd find some degree of comfort in it.

I had the same thing a couple of years ago, when I wandered across a baseball game on ESPN that Steve Stone was providing color commentary. It didn't matter that it was a meaningless spring training game between the A's and Brewers (if I remember correctly). Just hearing that voice took me to a place I didn't realize I'd go. For a couple of hours, I was right there watching the Cubs on a summer afternoon, again.

Like I said, creature of routine, I guess. Nostalgic. It happens. I'm not the only one. It's why John Madden had such a long career, I believe. He was fair, at best to my mind, as a football commentator, but he had a style and cadence that bred familiarity. He became one of those voices forever associated with football, I think, because he touched something in a lot of people that they came to appreciate. He was comfortable.

It's the same bit why Scooby-Doo, or A-Team or Dukes of Hazzard stay popular...there's a formula there, and you know things are gonna turn out okay. There's a routine there, a constant. And in a turbulent world, sometimes you need that.

Anyway, I'm no different. I hope it's not complete true. There's nothing a wrasslin' fan seems to love more than a nostalgic grab at the past (hence Bret Hart's Store Of Ultimate Revenge at this past Wrestlemania, or Hulk Hogan's 27th comeback, most recently with TNA Wrestling).

Let me take a minute here to take a look at Wrestlemania 26, which wandered onto the calendar last Sunday. Wandered to the Buffalo Wild Wings (where we never want the games to end) to watch the show. On the whole, I enjoyed the show, but it didn't blow me away. It's pretty much par for the course for the WWE for...well...I don't know how long, now.

Like most Wrestlemanias, time is spend more for grand entrances than actual substance of matches. Yet, I'm stupid. I find myself hoping that a CM Punk/Rey Misterio match might get 20 minutes, and gets maybe 9. (13, if you count their entrances). Such is the way of things.

I should note that, by and large, the followup Pay-Per-View to Wrestlemania, formerly Backlash, and called something new that escapes me this year, contains a better quality of match. Largely re-match oriented, there are fewer grand, time consuming entrances to deal with. Plus, there have actually been a couple months' worth of buildup for the matches, by that point. If I ran the WWE, I'd get rid of the February PPV, and allow a full 8-10 weeks to actually build toward Wrestlemania.

Anyway, matches of note? I liked Punk/Misterio, despite its shortness. I read online later, that they had a match on Smackdown (which I don't watch), that actually went longer. That seems quizzical to me, but then my rules of logic don't apply to the storytelling in the world of wrestling, I think. CM Punk's the horse the WWE needs to put their cart behind. I hope they realize that.

I liked Money-in-the-Bank, for the clusterfuck that it was. I was surprised when Swagger won, though not in the good way. I've never been impressed with Jack Swagger. Fair in the ring, he's shit on the mike. Go back to Raw a couple weeks before Wrestlemania, and listen to his guest commentary of Kofi Kingston's qualifying match. The man has no ability to go off the cuff, and to my mind is indicative of the WWE product of late. Where CM Punk is the guy to put the saddle on now, it might be possible that Swagger would be the one to follow later, just not now. One last note on the MITB match...I've wandered off Kofi Kingston...that dude's going to hurt himself or somebody, I think.

The Bret Hart Revenge match, I enjoyed for what it was. It is the part of me that enjoys revenge stories that makes me like wrestling, and in that respect, I dug it. Were it me? I'd have brought the Hart family out onto Raw last week, to build that aspect of the story, rather than have them as surprise screwjob lumberjacks. At the very least, have the new Hart Foundation turn on Bret early in the goings, but have them turn back for Wrestlemania. But, all that aside, there's something satisfying to me to watching Vince McMahon getting pummeled with a chair 13 of 15 times....

The Money in the Bank match was a clusterfuck

The Championship matches? I enjoyed the swerve of Jericho winning (though the shit where he loses the Title Belt to Jack Swagger on tonight's Smackdown is frustrating). And the Cena/Batista match is what it is. Cena wins. He's his generation's Superman.

Lastly? Shawn and Undertaker? I dug it. Good way for Shawn to go out, if he indeed stays out. I say that, because putting the cart behind guys like Jack Swagger or Sheamus means you're going to have to keep relying on the Undertakers and Triple H's of the world that much longer....

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chapter MMMCCCLXI: In which he needs to know what currency we are using.

I had a dream that overnight we'd changed currencies here in Americaland. It was never made clear to me what we'd changed over to, in the dream, it was made clear that neither my paper money nor my debit card were sufficient to buy the Gatorade, spaghetti or mops that I so wanted to buy.

I awoke understandably disappointed.

I do not currently need Gatorade, spaghetti or mops. I do need a loaf of bread, and I wanted Orange Juice this morning, but had none. I have American Money. Am I going to get laughed out of the Golden Gallon when I try to use it to pay for my bread and orange juice?

Because I prefer that to happen less than twice a week.

I like to think maybe it was an April Fool's joke my brain played. At least it's better than last year, when it made me forget what pants were for a month, and left me without the use of my left side. The doctors blamed my diet, but I know the truth. My brain has a tremendous sense of humor. It still laughs when I try to smile....