Thursday, August 21, 2014

10+ Favorite Simpsons Episodes

I was happier than I perhaps should have been about realizing I do indeed get FXX on my Cable system.  Tomorrow begins the massive marathon showing of every Simpsons episode ever.

I was a fan.  Still am, I reckon, though it's been at least five years since I've watched regularly, and probably more.  The show stopped being appointment television somewhere around season 10, truthfully, and stopped being DVR worthy somewhere around season 14 or 15.  (And yeah, I kept watching out of some odd loyalty even after that).

It's hard to say what's changed, necessarily.  Different writers, mostly.  A lack of understanding behind the keys to Homer's humor (the transition from mostly well-intentioned oaf to just a jerkass) and a need to give way to the cutaway style of Family Guy (hey, we'll mention an odd concept, and then show said ridiculous concept in action immediately after since your Mountain Dew reduced attention span can't remember a concept...).

Your best bet for the Simpsons marathon will likely come in the first three or four days of the marathon.  Still, there's interesting stuff here and there beyond....

So, in alphabetical order, my top 10+ favorite Simpsons episodes:

22 Short Films About Springfield, Season 7, 4/14/1996

Seymour!  The house is on fire!
No, Mother.  It's just the Northern Lights.

And Maggie Makes Three, Season 6, Original Airdate 1/22/1995

Winter/Spring 1995 was a good one for Simpsons.  This is one of Homer's best, and I think best exemplifies who he is.  Best Gag:  Homer drumming up business for the bowling alley.  I suggest copying his idea for my store at least twice a year....

Bart gets an Elephant, Season 5, Original Airdate 3/31/1994

Another well quoted episode.  Homer's cruelty speech.  First appearance of Cletus.  I love that.  Reminds me of elephants....

Bart vs. Australia, Season 6, Original Airdate 2/19/1995

This one is the opposite of Family Guy humor.  A lot of okeydoke misdirection.  Again, didn't realize the air mattress gag referenced something else until reading bill Bryson's book on Australia...

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson,  Season 9,  Original Airdate 9/21/1997

This one grew on me.  I think it was Homer's homemade car that put this one over the top.

Homer at the Bat, Season 3, Original Airdate 2/20/1992

Baseball and the Simpsons.  The favorite wavers, but this might be my favorite episode at the moment.

Homer's Barbershop Quartet, Season 5, Original Airdate 9/30/1993

I still sing songs from this episode.  And Barney's toothpick gag still gets a laugh.  Every time.

Homer's Enemy, Season 8, Original Airdate 5/4/1997

I like this one because I've been in both Homer's and Grimey's shoes.  Homer's power plant model is a thing of beauty, too.

Homer Goes to College, Season 5, Original Airdate 10/14/1993

Damn.  I was 16 when this one came on.  I've used Homer's description of hiding under a pile of coats to describe a co-worker or two....

Homie the Clown, Season 6   Original Airdate 2/12/1995

I think this might be the episode I quote most for the line:  those pants were supposed to be baggy!  That, and the Joe Valachi gag, which I didn't realize was a real thing until much later....

Hungry, Hungry Homer, Season 12, Original Airdate 3/4/01

Dancing away my hunger pangs...

Marge vs. the Monorail, Season 4, Original Airdate 1/14/1993

Another one that gets me singing.  Leonard Nimoy.  I call the big one Bitey.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Had to delete a post where I was not clear about a point in Ferguson, and it sounded like I was defending the actions of the police.  I'd like that clear:  I'm not at all condoning the killing of an unarmed person.  That's wrong, and to my mind there needs to be accountability there.  My point was that both sides of the argument have some right, and a lot wrong in this situation.  And there needs to be a lot of accountability on both sides. With the community, and with the police.  Absolutely.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The listens, this day, 13 August 2014

If you'll forgive my saying so, it's a fucking beautiful morning in my little corner of East Tennessee.  It's my first day off in a week.  I took advantage of the morning to take a walk.  I'd intended to start the Jeff Shaara Civil War book I'd downloaded off Audible (takes place in and around Chattanooga), but instead popped on the music.  It was a good walk:

"Love Roller Coaster"        Red Hot Chili Peppers
"15 Million Light Years Away"       Shooter Jennings
"Maxine"      The Traveling Wilburys
"Say It Ain't So"      Weezer
"In the Hearts of Men"        First Aid Kit
"Hide Me"         Hayes Carll
"Radio Gaga"      Queen
"Holy Roller (Hallelujah)     Portugal, the Man
"the Organ Donor's March"       Kim Boekbinder
"Put Down that Weapon"      Midnight Oil
"Under African Skies"     Paul Simon
"Wilting Flower"       Ten Bartram
"Play the Game"      Queen

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

Robin Williams died yesterday.  A stocker told me.  I sat down to drink a bottle of water, and thumbed my way through the Twitter, hoping a lot more than I'd have thought that it was a twitter hoax.

A conversation at work among several folks had us trying to create a consensus around several actors and actresses in the broad term of whether or not they were funny.  We said we needed a chart.  There was debate, and many of us came away appalled at the opinions of others.  Benjamin made himself a pariah by stating he was not a fan of Bill Murray's.  A name that didn't bring as much debate as I'd have thought was Robin Williams.

Personally?  I had mixed feelings. I thought he could be a camera hog, and that his volume came from the school where loud = funny, but ultimately I liked him.  I especially liked the silly.  But I also appreciated the dark place his humor came from.

Shyam and I talked about it Sunday night.  In recent months, I've wandered across Death to Smoochy and Insomnia.  I enjoyed both, especially the latter.  I considered both a small attempt at Robin to look into that dark place that his humor came from.

I also caught Jack on tv one afternoon after getting off from work.  It's not a great movie, but I always enjoy watching Bill Cosby ham it up.  I could also note that the flick was the genesis of a crush I carried for Jennifer Lopez for a time.  I was especially struck at what a perfect role it seemed to be for Robin Williams.  A guy who, at 40+, still had the ability...or the play, to be silly.

It's not a great movie.  Flawed in many ways.  If you haven't seen it, Robin plays the titular character as a 10-year-old whose aging process is sped up.  10-year-old mind in a 40-year-old body.  IMDB lists Tom Hanks as the first choice to play the part, but I gotta say that Robin seemed to be the embodiment of that spoken ideal.

I hadn't seen the movie in years...maybe since it came out for rental in 1996 or 1997.  I watched, and was struck by the school scenes.  By Jack walking alone on the playground.  

I think my favorite scene was Bill Cosby, as Jack's tutor, trying to keep Jack's attention, as he is distracted by the boys his own age.  Jack wanting to fit in, and reaching out in the only way he knew being weird.

I hated to hear about Robin's death, especially since it's reported he's taken his own life.  Given that Shyam's and my conversation about the dark place his humor came from came the night before.  It resonated as I sat in the office at work.

I didn't think it'd feel like a punch to the sternum.  But it did.

Thanks, Robin.  Thanks for the silly.

I wish it had gone down differently.

I would like to share this, from Rob Delaney, who is also silly (but quite correct in this) right here:  On Depression and Getting Help

A few favorites....mostly for the silly:

(I still love Baron Munchausen, which I watched a month or so ago as part of my Big Stupid was another flick perfectly suited to Williams.  Everybody is in a scenery chewing contest in that movie.  Loud, colorful.  Perfect for Robin....)

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Big Stupid Tommy's Mindlessly Stupid Project

In the mornings, I watch movies or TV on DVD as I get ready for work.  It's just a habit I've gotten into.  I've found that, for some reason, watching the news or Sportscenter tends to slow me down.  I'll stop what I'm doing to watch a highlight, or catch a weather report.  If it's a movie or a TV show I've seen, I'll just follow along aurally as I go about the business of finding just the right pair of boxer shorts to go along with the black pants, socks, white t-shirt and green, blue or white dress shirt that I wear every day of my life.

Or so it seems.

Please excuse the free floating hostility.  Your old pal Tommy's working like a botard again.

Anyway.  I watch movies or TV.  Usually it's old favorites.  I go in series.  The Star Wars flicks.  The Star Trek flicks.  Harry Potter.  Or by director.  Kevin Smith.  Mel Brooks.  Wes Anderson.  Or, I'll go with a TV show.  Amazon had a good deal on the whole Seinfeld series earlier this year.  I watched those.  Seinfeld was trouble, because there were episodes, especially in seasons 8 and 9, that I hadn't seen since that show's original run, and in one case, never.  Those sometimes slowed me down, made me late.

Should I mention that it's all DVD, in the mornings?  I can't stream Netflix to the bedroom TV (old house, old TV, not worth the effort, when I can watch Netflix in the living room, or on the computer, or on the Kindle or on my phone so much more easily).  So, I just pop a DVD in the player.  I press stop when I need to.

Occasionally, the picking of the next watch became an issue.  I'd stand there at my DVD/BluRay shelf, staring at the 450 or so movies and the 75 or so seasons of TV shows I've accumulated in the 14 years or so I've had a DVD or BluRay player, and just be completely unable to make a quick choice.

Which was stupid, I decided.  I wasn't picking something to sit and watch.  I was picking familiar stuff for background noise.  So, I just decided to go in order.

I'm not too anal about much.  But, I do keep my movies in alphabetical order.  Just easier, that way.

As such?  Easy to pick an order.

I've been on this particular project for a couple months now.  Most flicks, it takes about 3 days to watch.  Usually, it'll run for a half hour in the mornings, and maybe another 15 minutes at night.  Some movies have ended up not taking as long.  There have been a couple flicks that I'd forgotten their charms, and ended up moving them from the bedroom TV to the big TV to give them their proper attention.

Most of what I've watched?  Pretty familiar stuff.  But, there were a couple movies I put into the DVD player, remotely curious as to what exactly made me pick that particular movie up.  So far, both movies made me remember what I liked about them.  This will be a long post, because I want to say a couple words about each movie.  A couple flicks might even warrant longer posts.  

Anyway....what I've seen so far?

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag   (1997, D: Schulman)

Not a great flick, by any stretch of the imagination. I could never find a way to argue such. Still, it's not a bad flick, for a ham handed dark comedy, where Joe Pesci doesn't lapse into parody so much as he wallows in it.  I like it for individual performances.  Pesci, David Spade and Andy Comeau both make me smile.  I think I saw Comeau in a cell phone commercial not long ago....

13th Warrior    (1999, D: McTiernan)

I love this movie.  I have always loved this movie, from the day that I saw it one late summer afternoon on a day off from work.  This is a movie best seen on a cloudy winter day.  I watched it on a summer morning in June.  Yeah.  Hammy.  But I love ham.

28 Days Later   (2002, D: Boyle)

I hadn't watched this one in five or six years, if not longer.  It's not a bad movie, but outside of Brendan Gleeson (making Tommy's Movie Shelf Appearance #1) and Christopher Eccleston, there's not a lot in this movie that I really enjoyed.  The next time I do a cull of what I own, this one probably won't make the cut.

30 Days of Night   (2007, D: Slade)

Another I hadn't watched in a while. Except for the fact that it wasn't wrapped in cellophane, there isn't much that makes me think I'd watched this since I saw it in the theater. That said?  I liked this movie. Plus, I've had some time to get past my "Ugh, this guy again?" thing with Josh Hartnett.

the 40-year-old Virgin   (2005, D: Apatow)

I've gone sour on Apatow's stuff.  In fact, I'd really felt like I'd watch this, and end up taking to trade at McKay's or just donating to Goodwill.  Still, there's a heart to this one.  Somehow, outside of an odd scene or two (waxing scene...), there wasn't much that sounded particularly flat to my ear.  I ended up especially liking the stuff with Steve Carell and Kat Dennings, and Steve Carell having to bail Romany Falco's character out of a tight spot with his girlfriend was still good.  Not an A-movie, but still my favorite of Apatow's stuff....

61*    (2001, D: Crystal)

I hadn't watched this one in a little while.  I can remember calling this one a favorite baseball movie way back in the early days of my Blogamathing.  I still liked it well enough, but I don't put it in my top 5, nowadays.  Pepper's good, and Anthony Michael Hall and Bruce McGill are fun as Whitey Ford and Ralph Houk.  Somehow, I couldn't quite cotton to Thomas Jane drawling his way around this flick. 

300    (2006, D: Snyder)

As much as I want to sneer about Zach Snyder, I own four of his flicks.  He knows how to translate and create a visual for the big screen.  I ended up putting this one on the big TV, with the sound on mute, and listening to Metallica's S&M album.

1941   (1979, D: Spielberg)

I can't call this one a great movie, but I admire its scope and ambition.  Still, I think it's worth noting that I wouldn't have paid much more than the $1.95 I did for it.  It's got ham.  I think we've established that I like a nice hammy comedy, every now and then.   This movie features Dub Taylor appearance #1.

2012    (2009, D: Emmerich)

I like movies with Destructo.  Show me a National Landmark being destroyed, and people running from it in your trailer?  I'll be there on opening day.  (At this writing, Into the Storm is opening later in the week, and I'll be there with bells on).  As Destructo Movies go?  Lots of it.  Still, it's a badly paced mess.  It's almost like Emmerich wants to channel Altman in his flicks, but doesn't quite understand the need for chemistry or even good words to put into their mouths.  There's much cringeworthy here.  Still, I'll pop it into the DVD player once a year.  Another one maybe to put on headphones and watch.

Adventures in Babysitting    (1987, D: Columbus)

Another cheap purchase, picked up after a conversation with Shyam about Vincent D'Onofrio.  Prior to that conversation, I was unaware (or I'd forgotten) that he plays the mechanic in this flick.  I'd forgotten much about this movie.  Major plot points, I remembered, but the one-armed mechanic?  Or Penelope Ann Miller's adventures in the bus station?  Completely forgot. Nice nostalgic rush when the "don't fuck with the babysitter" line pops in there.  My folks had a conniption when they heard that line while 11-year-old me and 7-year-old sister watched and laughed.....

Adventures of Baron Munchausen   (1988, D: Gilliam)

Until I saw Brothers Grimm, I always said Terry Gilliam would never have to apologize for anything he did.  This one isn't a great movie, but I love its fairy tale energy, the huge colors, the seeming scenery-chewing competition that erupts.  Oddly?  I like Sarah Polley's ability to ground the larger-than-life characters.

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence    (2001, D: Spielberg)

Didn't really know how well I'd like this one.  I've always considered it a meandering mess.  Still, there are plenty of creepy visuals.  This movie contains Brendan Gleeson Movie Shelf Appearance #2)

Alien    (1979, D: Scott)

Damn, but this a beautifully put together movie.  Scary as hell, still.  I'm a bit claustrophobic, and this is one of the movies that makes me need to go out and take a walk in an open area after I watch.  I ended up putting this one on the big TV.  Because it deserves it.  I hadn't sat to watch in a couple years, which is a pity.  Every time I watch, it vaults back up into my personal top 20.  (Also a pity?  I owned Aliens, at some point, and I couldn't say where it is.  I don't know if I lent it to Dad during his convalescence a couple years back, or I've lent it to someone else.  I need to rectify this situation.  It is also great, but for completely different reasons).

the Alamo   (2004, D: Hancock)

Another movie I would not own except for the fact I found it at a closing Hollywood Video for two dollars. And if I judged on the basis of performances from Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson and Jason Patric, I would probably have overpaid by nearly $1.91.  Still, there's something I like about Billy Bob Thornton's Davy Crockett.  Billy Bob seems best in roles where he's ill-at-ease with public perception.  And the cheesy fiddle scene?  Yeah.  I like ham.

Apocalypto   (2006, D: Gibson)

Had to put this one on the big TV.  It's not an aurally friendly movie, if you're trying to get ready for work.  I like this flick.  Gibson's a raving, racist lunatic with a persecution complex.  That man against the world vibe works in his favor in this flick.

the Aristocrats    (2005, D: Provenza)

I hadn't watched this in years.  Maybe since I first bought it.  Made me want to try standup again.

Army of Darkness   (1992, D: Raimi)

Heh heh heh.  This one is still so much fun.  Boom Stick.

Arsenic and Old Lace    (1944, D: Capra)

Cary Grant has maybe the best double take in all of cinematic history.  

The Avengers    (2012, D: Whedon)

You know, the logistics of making this movie are still amazing to me.  Good on Marvel for getting this one done, and done well.  I still get a Fan Boy grin whenever the heroes are in a circle for the first time.


I'm going to end this particular post here.  The baseball game I'm watching is going off, and my butt's tired.  Currently, I am watching Bridge on the River Kwai.  Between Avengers and that one, there's maybe 15 more movies to write a quick capsule'll come....

Thursday, July 31, 2014


I'm really not caring much for 2014.

Not sure why.

Not enough stegosaurus, probably.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Night, Part CXVII

An Insomnia Post?

Once a staple of ye olde blogamathing.  It doesn't seem to happen often, anymore, a sleepless night.  Once a month, I'd wager.  A regimen of Valerian Root before bed seems to help, trippy dreams and all.  I've moved over to Advil PM for about a week, though.  I've had a shoulder that's been bugging me off and on for a bit, and the past week it's been shouting a little bit. Took a couple before bed last night.  It's cut the shoulder pain, but here my ass is, wide awake since getting up to take a leak around 2.

Random thoughts?

Shyam came over Sunday and we watched the World Cup Final.  I can say without any exaggeration that I've watched more soccer in the past month than I have in my entire life put together.  I wrote a brief post about it a couple weeks back, when the tournament was still in Pool Play.  My feelings are much the same as then.  I have a better appreciation for the game.  It's still not my cup of tea (shorten that field, dammit), but I can see the appeal for you folks.  Like I said, a few billion people can't be all wrong, and in this case, are most likely not.


For the first time in a long time, I'm optimistic about the Cubs' future.  Shyam was talking about the prospects of the United States ending up in a World Cup Final in her lifetime, and comparing it to the Cubs' history.

Toward the US in the World Cup, I can see it happening, though it'll be difficult.  It'll take a bit of a philosophical change for the Unites States' program, but I can also say that as a country, soccer's moving more into the limelight.  With so many sports available to athletes, it's hard to say that soccer will be able to influence the best athletes away from American football, baseball, etc.  But, I think they'll have an easier time of it, especially given the exposure the game seems to be getting, lately.

As for the Cubs?  I'm optimistic.  I think the core of young offensive talent in the high minors is exciting.  Very much so.  I think Theo and Jed have done much toward reshaping the organizational philosophy around talent development.  I think it's going to bear fruit, and quickly.

I'm not going to tell you the Cubs are going to win a World Series in 2016, or anything like that.  I am going to tell you that over the next 5 years?  I think they're going to be very much in the conversation.


A lot of my time awake tonight has been spent thinking about work.

Truth be told, the job's been difficult the past few months.  I wish there were one thing I could spell out that were the particular bugaboo.  It's a lot of things, though.

Scheduling is the biggest concern.  The inability to get weekends off, or even two days in a row, is a pain in the ass.  Not sure what exactly has changed in the past year.  I went back and looked at the schedules since last July.  I've had 3 weekends off that weren't associated with my taking a vacation.  And I'd call bullshit, except that my boss is in the exact same boat.  And we both have vacation time where it averages out where you get your weekends, but in the end, that's exactly part of the problem.  I wander into this week, covering for his vacation.  In two weeks, I'll be having to cover for another.

I'd asked for next weekend off to go to a Braves game with the family.  With him on vacation, it's a no go.

I guess that's the frustrating thing.  There have been plans for camping, or for baseball games or some other manner of event over the past year that I've had to give up because of work.

I'm a grownup.  Or at least, I'm trying to be.  I understand that you don't get what you want all the time.

Family and friends understand (I think).  They ask if I can attend things well in advance.  It's tough saying no.  Especially since we're all grownups, and the window to be able to get together to do things opens and shuts pretty quickly.

Other concerns?

Having to depend on people who don't give a shit.  Such is life in the minimum wage world.  And it's where the weekends get tedious.  Had two call-ins on a Saturday night shift.  And we couldn't get anybody to come in to cover.  The call-ins themselves are enough of a pain.

Can I just say this?  I haven't thrown up 3 times in the past 5 years.  However, if you find yourself sick enough to puke 3 times in 5 weeks?  You've got a problem that you need to see a doctor about.  That, or you're full of shit.  Can you guess which one I'm leaning toward?


Lastly, it occurs to me that it is Bastille Day.  And I still wonder, after all these years, if my friend Julie gets nostalgic for prison breaks on this, her birthday....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Come to work

Come to work.  How about it, America?

Maybe not act like an upstanding populace, instead of a 2500 mile wide landfill filled with putrid garbage people.

Come to work.

Even on Saturdays.

We have a problem in this country.

Somewhere along the lines, we decided it was a bad thing, something for other people to do, to work weekends.

I've mentioned in the past that we don't have an unemployment problem.  We have an unemployable problem.

I leafed through work applications tonight.  The number of people who list themselves as unavailable on weekends?  Roughly 50%.

It's a service industry.  It's not always fun, but it is what it is.  That means working weekends.

Still.  Some of us botards end up working more than our share.  It wouldn't be such an issue, if everybody pulled their weight.

I'm a big believer that if everybody works hard, nobody has to work too hard.

Not everybody shares this view.

Your old pally Tommy is a tired asshole tonight.  Covering for two people will do it to you.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Link Dump

I'm just going to leave this here:

Presidents with Boobs on their Faces.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

In which our hero retires for the evening....

Two thoughts.

It is 3:18 AM and it is 80 degrees outside.  Either I am not holy enough, or entirely too holy.  You shouldn't get swampass at the Witching Hour.

I'm going to bed.  Do not wake me before 11 AM, unless Bea Arthur has risen from the grave, and has chokeslammed her way to the McMinn County Line.

Good night.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup

Bulletpoint thoughts on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

  • I have watched 5 soccer matches in the past couple of weeks.  Which is roughly 4.5 more soccer matches than I've watched in my entire life..
  • I'm mostly excited that everybody is excited.  I said it before.  The game isn't my cup of tea, but I acknowledge that a few billion people can't be all wrong.
  • As such, I don't have a dog in the hunt.  Not really.  Though I did feel a sting of patriotic disappointment when Portugal scored its last seconds goal against the United States.
  • So, I guess I am rooting for the United States.  I think it stems a lot from the fact that this is a sport that our country doesn't dominate.  Moreso, it's not even a sport that the US has been consistently competitive in.  
  • Still, I didn't dig the "Unfinished Business" narrative we had with Ghana, for their pool play game.  Yeah, they've beaten our team before.  We beat them this time.  I forget the twitterer who said so, but I enjoyed the thought:  Losing to the United States in soccer didn't even rate in the 100 worst things to happen to Ghana that day.
  • I find that I enjoy the pomp and revelry that are attached to each game.  Had I realized the sport was this close to Pro Wrestling in terms of entrances, I might have latched on much earlier.
  • Aesthetically speaking, the sport is still not necessarily my cup of tea.  I am seeing the appeal more now than I did a couple of weeks ago.  Still?  The play area?  Too huge by more than half.  Shorten that motherfucker.  My lazy ass only says that somebody running an average of 8 kilometers in a game hasn't figured out a better way to spend their time.
  • Added time feels wrong.  It's a shyster's move.  Five minutes in that U.S./Portugal game?  We were only listening to that one on a car ride back from Cincinnati, but that feels a little too much like whimsy.
  • Stop flopping, by the way.  What shit.  I will enjoy the sport more when you stop theatrics like that.  And I'm the guy who praised your sport for the pro wrestling entrances just three bullet points above!
  • I will note that the logistics of qualifying for this sumbitch are way more interesting to me than the actual competition.  I like tournaments and the such, anyway.  But the logistics of finding 31 teams plus the host country?  Insane.  And I like insane.
  • I have added Argentina's and Uruguay's National Anthems to my favorite National Anthems, by the way.  Jaunty.  Lot of fanfare.  Dig it.
  • Again?  I'm mostly excited that they're so excited.  I dig the energy of the crowds.  Especially the South American fans for their teams.
  • I watch this as Argentina and Nigeria look to be getting into a slobberknocker.  I do wish there were more scoring.  I realize that's probably Luddite of me.  4 minutes in, and it's 1-1.  This one could go another 86 minutes with this score.
  • Ties bother me.  I get it, I reckon.  Still, the American in me is bothered because that reptile part of my brain says There Can Be Only One!!!!!  Shyam and I argued about this, with her taunting me about hockey shootouts.  Don't know how we got there, but I hate shootouts, too.  Play an overtime.  If it's an issue having run for 90 minutes? Maybe shorten your pitch?  I dunno.
  • Anyway.  I'm enjoying this thing.  I will say I've learned a lot.  I don't make fun.
  • Much, anyway....  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Walking, yes indeed...

Went to walk off a little aggravation tonight.  People bug me.  Much much, here lately.  We had a boogery thunderstorm this afternoon.  After it cleared out, I went for the wander.

The storm, by the way, was more intense than I'd realized.  Branches, and a middling sized tree down over in Veterans Park....

Anyway.  The listens:

"Another Rides the Bus"      Weird Al Yankovic
"Boys on the Docks"          Dropkick Murphys
"Bad Habit"        the Secret Sisters
"Your Song"        Elton John
"Whiskey Devils"      The Mahones
"Still Around"      the Dex Romweber Duo
"Letterman"       Old Man Markley
"Hey Boys"      The Dillards
"My Aeroplane"       John Mellencamp
"People, Places and Things"     the Dex Romweber Duo
"Run a Mile"      the Hard Working Americans
"So Sad"       Lindi Ortega
"Friday Night Man"       Sarah Potenza and the Tall Boys
"Anyone at All"      Kim Boekbinder

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Re-Run

I wrote this six years ago.  Just normal silliness, but involving dear old dad:

Do you have one defining image of a person? That when you think of them, the first thing that pops to mind is that defining event? It's an event that can be astounding or mundane...regardless, it strikes a tone so deep in your psyche, it transcends all logical thought, so that all your opinions, beliefs and values regarding that person use that as the starting point?

I was nine. It was 1986, and I'd just lost my very last baby tooth. The little bugger had started loosening a few days earlier, and had popped out during a viewing of Head of the Class. I was in a state I could only describe as ebullient...a level of joy I had never reached prior nor have I reached since.

I was still reeling from the satisfaction of essentially having a small bone pop out of my head, when I changed the channel to Night Court.

My dad taught nights. At least, that's what I believed, and still believe to a point to this day. At the time, he was teaching computer courses at the town just below ours, at the small college one could find there. I know he taught these classes, because I still have people in around my small town coming to me and saying "Your Dad taught me how to use Fortran."

To which I reply: "Fortran? Quit making up words, Aunt Charlotte..."

Anyway, back to the point.

I settled in for a half-hour of sheer hilarity with the comic stylings of Judge Harold T. Stone. It was a fun episode, though I feel like it's important to note that this was while Selma Diamond was still part of the cast, and before John Astin started making his appearances as Buddy. I'll grant you that it was indeed a creative valley in the show's storied run, but I'll submit to you that no better use of a nine-year-old's time could I come up with, even to this day, than to learn about the ins and outs of the legal system in nightfall New York City, and to do so with a laugh.

As an aside, I still have a thing for Markie Post.

But anyway, the episode was nearing the end of the second act, when a commotion arose in the courtroom. 

I was watching intently. "This is all quite odd," I said to no one in particular, though my mother was hosting her weekly McMinn County Lady's Mixed Martial Arts Cotillion right behind the sofa.

In the courtroom, just after Harry had rendered a verdict (Court costs and time served), a ruckus arose. The camera pans back, a little uncertain, I believe. And a rather large, hairy man starts throwing hookers, extras and bums aside. And by throwing, I mean picking up and heaving like logs of firewood through a pickup truck window.

The camera panned back for a second to Dan Fielding, who in a rare display of valour grabbed Christine Sullivan and pulled her off screen to safety.

The large man, whose voice became dreadfully clear to me, continued his rampage to the front of the courtroom. The bailiffs came running in, guns drawn. It was the first time I'd ever seen weapons displayed in the courtroom.

Shots were fired, and it was at that moment that the beast stopped his rampage long enough for the cameras to get a focus on his face.

For reasons known only to himself, my Dad was rampaging through the courtroom on that Sitcom.

The bullets didn't stop him. They slowed him down, though. Long enough, I think, to consider just how angry he was going to be.

With a sweep of one mighty arm, he smashed Selma Diamond against the defense table. She was on the next week, so he didn't kill her, thankfully.

In the next motion, he picked up a nameless bailiff (the one with red hair) and threw him against Judge Stone's bench. 

He took one step, and found himself face to face with all 6 feet, five inches of Richard Moll's Bull Shannon.

The air was electric. These two behemoths, nose to nose. Each bringing hell with them in their hip pockets, each holding the power of Valhalla in their hands.

The fight was epic. It lasted seven minutes, and each blow was like an frog punch from God. Lights flickered, streets ruptured, and the Hoover Dam burst (though that was later revealed to be the result of a drunken Buddy Hackett playing with the controls...still, it was coincidental and dramatic).

At the end of seven minutes, with dust and smoke filling the courtroom, the broken remains of the prosecution table underneath his dying body, Bull Shannon said to my father "I yield!....I yield sir!...."

My father, holding a filing cabinet in one hand, let it drop with a muffled bang.

"It is finished. We now know."

And he looked at the camera.

"We all know."

And with nothing more said, he left the courtroom, and Night Court went to commercial.

My mother sent me to bed after that. She was too busy applying a triangle choke to have seen what just happened, and she didn't believe me. The next morning, while eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I asked my father "Were you on TV last night, beating up Bull Shannon?"

My Dad looked at me as if I had tentacles growing out of my nostrils.

"No, I was teaching."


I wandered to school that day, and indeed many days after that, confused and questioning. I knew what I'd seen. Was it merely a creation of my own mind?

Several weeks later, during my Dad's summer break, we were sitting down, watching Night Court. Nothing much was said, until the third act. Harry Stone had just issued some edict or another, too which Bull Shannon replied "ooo...kay." I heard my dad utter a small, gravelly laugh. 

And I heard him say "he is nothing...."

He got up to leave, and he reached into his pocket, and pulled something shiny out of it. He tossed it to me, and went into the kitchen.

I still have it to this day.

It is a New York Court Officer's badge, with the name Shannon emblazoned across the nameplate....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Listens this day, 10 June 2014

I wrote today.

It came easy.  Really easy.

For the first time in a long time.

Felt good.

Anyway.  Here were the listens:

"Godzilla"       Blue Oyster Cult
"Jurassic Park"     Weird Al Yankovic   (I like that pairing)
"New York Banker"        Todd Snider
"Gettin' Down on the Mountain"     Corb Lund
"Let it Be So"     St. Paul and the Broken Bones
"Sinners, You Better Get Ready"      Black Jake and the Carnies
"Riverside"     the Beat Farmers
"Geek Stink Breath"      Green Day
"Jolene"      Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
"Sherry"      Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons   (another interesting pairing)
"Can You Hear the Fucking Music Coming Out of my Car?"      the Axis of Awesome
"More Pills"     Amy Ray
"Seasons (Waiting on You)"    Future Islands
"Heartland, Heartburn"     Siobhan O'Malley
"Broken Bones & Pocket Change"     St. Paul and the Broken Bones
"Oh Me"    the Whiskey Gentry
"Is Anyone Home?"      Alice Cooper
"Sketches of Spain"      The Pogues
"All Arise!"      The Decemberists

Friday, June 06, 2014


My last post was written 11 days ago, and in that post I lament having worked 11 out of 12 days.
Since then, I worked another another stretch of 8 or 9.

My arse is tired.

And it's only aggravating, since you can't put much of a finger on why, since we've got a full staff.  I've been running flat out since Easter.  And my arse is tired.

Vacationing.  You may refer to me as such, if you wish.

The Vacationing Tommy Acuff will be camping this weekend.

After that?  Who can say?

Just being a badass.

As one does.